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    18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

    Friends! Happy (almost) 2019!
    This year has been a real struggle, and I feel comfortable saying that only because I think a lot of people feel exactly the same way. 2018 had a lot of tough moments, but we made it. I made this list for you guys to showcase some things I found that make life a little better and a little easier (and yes, I included lots of links to said products). Enjoy!

    18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you!). Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    1. Blue Light-Blocking Glasses.

    These are first on my list for a reason: they literally saved my eyes.
    Blue light-blocking glasses help ease headaches and eye strain for anyone who looks at a computer screen or tv monitor for long periods of time. I’ve never felt that I needed them until now. Onto the embarrassing story… I got shampoo in my eye. I’m a grown adult and can usually keep pretty good track of where my hands are at all times, but one night for some reason I smacked myself right in the eye with a big handful of shampoo. And since then, my eye has been a little blurry, I get headaches, and my eye is full of those stupid eye floaters and it started to really impair my vision. Not to mention the fact that between blogging, streaming, and editing videos, I’m on the computer all day every day. I finally decided to try out blue-light blocking glasses to try and help ease my headaches and eye strain, and I KID YOU NOT, since the first time I put these glasses on, I have had ZERO eye floaters. Not a one. These are actual magic. I bought the TIJN ones in black, but I plan on buying them in pink and the leopard print too!

    2. Bullet Journaling.

    Bullet journaling is not a new thing. It’s not even a new thing for me. I’ve been hooked on The Happy Planner for a few years now, mainly because all the work is done for me and all I have to do is fill in the blanks. I’ve tried creating a bullet journal in the past but have never stuck with it, until I realized that I don’t need to have flawless pages. It sounds like “duh, Brittany, that’s the whole point of a bullet journal”, but for a perfectionist like myself it was a hard concept to grasp. I now realize that I can do it however I want, use whatever type of journal I want (currently using a lined 8.5″x11″ softcover journal because I love the lined pages and the large size), whatever type of pens I want, etc. AND I LOVE IT.

    3. The One-Minute Rule.

    I never thought this would make a difference, but BOY HOWDY was I wrong. The one-minute rule basically states that if something will take you a minute or less, just do it now instead of putting it off until later. Sounds simple, but I’ve felt so much more organized (and the house has been a lot cleaner!) since I started.

    4. Essential Oil Diffuser.

    I tried to fight it, but I finally became one of those people obsessed with my oil diffuser. I never wanted to get into essential oils, partly because it can be an incredibly expensive hobby and partly because I don’t really believe in the “healing properties”. But within 10 minutes of turning this thing on, our entire apartment smelled incredible and I’ve never looked back.

    5. “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.

    Please don’t leave, I would usually be rolling my eyes too. A self-help book, really? But there’s something about this book that just really stuck with me. I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, but there are a few little specifics that I still have trouble with (how can you ‘let go and forget’ your desires!?). This book is such an easy read, and it writes everything out so simply and explains the LOA so clearly. Honestly, I can’t put it down.

    6. Getting a New Tiny Friend (AKA Putting an Aquarium in My Office).

    Let me be a responsible pet owner and say something right off the bat: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. You should never get a pet (even a fish) if you don’t have the time to take care of it. Now with that said, I put an aquarium in my office and life hasn’t been the same since. I told my boyfriend that I wanted a new pet for Christmas (yes, I’m actually 5) and when we went to Petco to buy Christmas presents for the cat (yes, I’m also a crazy cat lady), I let my eyes pass over the Betta fish display. I never let myself look at the Betta fish, because seeing them in the little cups makes me so sad. But for some reason I looked. There sat a cup marked “Baby Boy” with a tiny pink fish who was smaller than my pinkie nail (not an exaggeration). I had to have him, we bought him on the spot, brought him home, and put him in an old fishbowl until I could overnight a new tank for him (thanks, Amazon Prime!). He’s got a super cute setup in my office now, and as I write this post I hear his filter humming away and every so often I’ll look over my shoulder to see him swimming around, and it brings me this sense of peace that I can’t quite explain. If you have the time (and the room!) for a fish tank, I highly recommend it.

    18 Things That Made 2018 Easier (Yearly Favorites Round-up)

    7. Daily Gratitude.

    I have trouble with gratitude, not because I’m an unhappy person or because I don’t have anything to be thankful for. But I’m a natural pessimist who gets stressed very easily, so it’s hard for me to see the good sometimes. I’ve been trying to focus on all the good in my life throughout the day, and surprise surprise it’s helping. I know it seems painfully obvious but focusing on good rather than bad is easier said than done. Noticing all the tiny things that make me happy (a hummingbird outside, a text from a friend) as well as the big things (being healthy, having pets, the ability to blog for a living) has made me happier overall.

    8. Letterboards.

    Letterboards were a huge trend this year, and for good reason. I bought one from Target a few months ago and have so much fun customizing it every week or so. Currently it has lyrics from The Front Bottoms (my favorite band of all time), but it’s also had lines from New Girl and The Office, and “Subscribe to Pewdiepie”, because duh.

    9. Yoga Every. Single. Day.

    Out of everything on this list, this is the one that has single-handedly changed my life the most. I try to do yoga every single night, a 40 minute workout if I can. And if I don’t have the energy, at least a 15 minute stretch. There’s something about yoga that helps your mind as well as your body, and doing it every day just amplifies that.

    10. Vega Protein Powder.

    Are you noticing a trend here? This year I tried to really start taking better care of myself: figure out my macros, work out every day, drink enough water (but not too much, which I’m actually guilty of). When I figured out my macros, I realized that I’ve fallen into the cliche vegan trap: I’m not getting enough protein. I’ve never been a fan of protein powder, but now that I’m working out every day it seems necessary. The Chocolate & Greens from Vega is by far my favorite protein powder. It blends super well and doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth (which a lot of protein powders do). I usually make a breakfast shake with frozen bananas, cold coffee, ice, almond milk, and this protein powder and oh my god is it delicious. 10/10.

    11. Deleting Old Social Media.

    It’s always bothered me that my old social media accounts are just out there, hanging around, forever embarrassing me (I’m lookin’ at you, MySpace). So quite recently I decided to purge my old social media and yes, it took a lot of effort and a lot of digging through old notebooks to find passwords (or even worse, password clues). But now I feel so relieved, knowing that my angsty high school tweets are no longer out there for everyone to see.

    12. Cravings (and Cravings 2).

    Ahhh, Chrissy Teigen. Queen of Sass, Maker of Delicious Recipes. These cookbooks have gotten me through many nights of “I don’t know what I want to eat”. The Salty-Sweet Coconut Rice and the Hawaiian Roll Fish Sandwiches are two of my favorites.

    13. The Realization That You Can Start at Any Point.

    I think a lot of us wait for “the perfect moment” to try something new or take the first step, but I hate to break it to you, there will never be a perfect moment. You just have to do it. I’ve been waiting to decorate our apartment because I don’t like the layout, or the color of the walls, or the color of the carpet, etc. But I realized that this is where I am right now, and I won’t like the layout any more if I don’t decorate. So I started really decorating this place and WOW has it made a huge difference. Same with starting a second YouTube channel or posting more on this blog. Just start!

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

    Chinese Proverb

    14. Reusable Cups & Straws.

    If you’re not using reusable cups and straws, what are you waiting for? DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.

    15. Reusable Grocery Bags.

    While we’re on the subject of reusable things, reusable grocery bags are something that everyone should be using by now. DO IT. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.

    16. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars.

    Not everything on this list is so dramatic or life-changing. These are my favorite chocolate bars, that’s all there is to it. Try the 70% Dark Cocoa, you won’t regret it.

    17. Establishing a Small Morning Routine.

    Every morning, I make a fancy coffee and some breakfast, go sit on the couch, and eat my breakfast while I watch an episode of Criminal Minds with my cat. Is this some life-changing revelation? No. But it’s a small act of self-care, and that’s what 2018 is all about.

    18. Asking for Help.

    Ugh, this makes me cringe just typing it out. I HATE asking for help. But this year has taught me that asking is ok. My mom always said, “if you don’t ask, it’s an automatic no” (I think all moms say that?), and it’s true. I hate every second of it, but asking a simple question can make all the difference. I finally started to ask people to share my videos and my stream, and my social media skyrocketed because of it (my number of viewers TRIPLED). I ask people to try my recipes and give feedback, and in turn I usually end up getting even more ideas. I ask restaurants if they’ll make me a vegan meal, and I always end up with a delicious (and filling) meal instead of just settling for a salad. Asking doesn’t make you weak, it makes you courageous.

    What was something you found or learned about that made 2018 easier?

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  • Animals & Veganism LIFE

    Going Vegan: My First eBook!

    So… I wrote a book.

    An ebook technically, but it still counts. I’ve been working on this book for the past month or so, and I’m really excited about it. Here it is:

    Going Vegan: My First eBook!

    It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Going Vegan, and it’s all about the transition into veganism and how to make it easier, staying healthy, and how making small changes in your everyday life can help the planet. It’s a good read for new vegans, anyone considering a plant-based diet (or just eating a little healthier), or even a longtime vegan who needs a little brush-up on their vitamins and minerals.

    Going Vegan: My First eBook!    Going Vegan: My First eBook!
    It includes tons of super useful pages and diagrams, such as:

    • An Introduction to Veganism
    • 10 Reasons to go Vegan
    • Plant-Based Benefits
    • How to Stock a Vegan Pantry
    • Eating on the Go
    • How to Make the Transition to Vegan Meals
    • How to Go Completely Vegan in 2 Months
    • The Vegan Plate (AKA What You Should Be Eating)
    • An Extensive List of Necessary Vitamins and Minerals

    And so much more. It’s a non-preachy way to explain veganism without any graphic images or descriptions, and I hope you guys love it!
    Going Vegan is available in my Etsy shop, which is linked here and also down below. And because I love you guys so much, I’m offering 10% off everything in my Etsy shop until July 26, all you have to do is enter coupon code GOINGVEGAN.

    Going Vegan: My First eBook!
    This is the first of a few ebooks I have planned, and the first of many vegan materials that I’ll be releasing throughout the next few months (I’ve had a few people ask about ecourses… so be on the lookout for that too!). Enjoy! ♡

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  • LIFE Some Things on a Sunday

    Some Things on a Sunday, 9

    Some Things on a Sunday, 9Image via Google

    Welcome to my series, Some Things on a Sunday!
    Every Sunday, I like to share my random thoughts & cool things I’ve found, along with a weekly recap and some photos from the week. Enjoy!
    This post may contain affiliate links.


    • First of all, shout out to my new website layout! I’m so excited about it. I had a lot of problems with my old layout, so I finally took the leap and bought a new one. It took about 6 hours to back up, transfer, and customize everything, but it was so worth it.
    • Speaking of the new layout, lots of new exciting things are coming to Panthers & Peonies… including a shop. Shhh.
    • If you’re only going to watch one video this week, please make it this one: Camouflaging Myself into a Chair.
    • I’m obsessed with these floral Vans.
    • So I listen to The Beatles like, a lot. Like I’m a little bit obsessed with them and have been for many many years. But I have this bad habit where every time I watch Across the Universe, all I want to listen to is the songs from that movie specifically (sang by The Beatles, not the actors duh), on a loop, for hours and hours.
    • Although that Jim Sturgess is pretty fine.
    • Speaking of The Beatles, many years ago I got to see the Cirque du Soleil Love show and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.
    • I’m planning on making Cassie a homemade cat bed this weekend because she’s beautiful and wonderful and she deserves it. Also, she’s never had a pet bed (she always just lays on the couch), and I don’t even know if she’ll like it, but I’m making it anyways.
    • It’s been so hot (literally 110F every day), so these no-bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Graham Sandwiches are on repeat.
    • I’ve been looking for a new bedspread and honestly this Anthropologie duvet cover is everything.
    • Ok, this shimmer velvet duvet cover from Nordstrom is also everything.
    • Forever obsessed with Buddha bowls.
    • Everything Le Creuset makes is perfect, but this heart cocette is perfection.
    • PS did you guys know I have an Etsy shop? I sell tons of printables and planners, check it out!
    • Last thing, I’m completely obsessed with this cow bracelet.

    Posts from this week:
    Lamington Donuts
    Strawberry Pie Bars

    You can follow me here:

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    I hope everyone has a great week! ♡

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  • LIFE Some Things on a Sunday

    Some Things on a Sunday, 8

    Some Things on a Sunday, 8

    Welcome to my series, Some Things on a Sunday!
    Every Sunday, I like to share my random thoughts & cool things I’ve found, along with a weekly recap and some photos from the week. Enjoy!
    This post may contain affiliate links.


    • First of all, we’ve got to talk about E3 (if you don’t care about video games, then just skip ahead a few lines!). There were a ton of new games announced that I’m super excited for, most of all FALLOUT 76. I honestly can’t wait until it comes out in November.
    • If you guys didn’t know, I’m kind of totally obsessed with Fallout, you can watch me play it on Twitch and on YouTube.
    • One more thing, I finally posted some pictures from my PUBG cosplay, you can see them on Instagram!
    • Ok, done talking about video games. Onto food. This no-churn cookie dough ice cream is everything.
    • DIY Pocky? Yes please.
    • Jessica from How Sweet Eats has a new series called Summer Fridays, go check it out. I love it so much.
    • How to make a 5 year plan. Super simple and super helpful. Creating goals and planning to meet those goals is something I need to get better at.
    • Cheeseburger fried rice? I’m drooling.
    • And one more cheeseburger recipe, because cheeseburger chopped salad? That’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
    • These curtain tiebacks? Anthropologie, take all my money.
    • This breakfast grilled cheese would be perfect with a tofu scramble.
    • 3 words: FROZEN. S’MORE. SANDWICHES.
    • I’m all about reusable cups and straws (gotta cut down on plastic waste!), and this love potion tumbler is perfect.
    • Speaking of reusable, I hope everyone buys a set of reusable straws!
    • I’ve been obsessed with Instagram stories lately, so this guide on creating beautiful Instagram stories is awesome. It took me a really long time to get into, but honestly now I watch stories more than look at photos.
    • Last but not least, here’s one of my favorite videos of all time from Jenna & Julien. I can’t begin to explain how hard I laughed at this. Enjoy.

    Posts from this week:
    I Started Using Coconut Oil as Moisturizer, Here’s What Happened
    Chai Breakfast Cake

    You can follow me here:

    InstagramLogoTwitterLogo YoutubeLogo TwitchLogo PinterestLogo

    I hope everyone has a great week! ♡

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  • Breakfast FOOD Home LIFE

    5 Tips for Better Mornings, & My Favorite Dirty Chai Recipe

    Every morning, we wake up with a whole new day in front of us. It’s exciting, but more often than not we’re tired, groggy, and hitting that snooze button. If that sounds like you, it’s ok! Waking up stressed and groggy is actually something our brain naturally does: it’s called the negativity bias, and it can be super difficult to control. But waking up early and sticking to a morning routine can help you overcome it, in addition to setting your whole day on track.

    Waking up early has tons of benefits for both your brain and your body: it enhances your productivity for the day, helps your mental health, kicks your body into go-mode earlier (which can lead to losing weight and having more energy), and can even prevent certain diseases.

    5 Tips for Better Mornings, & My Favorite Dirty Chai Recipe

    Here are 5 tips for better mornings:

    Drink some water.
    Drinking water first thing in the morning is one of the healthiest things you can do: it instantly raises your metabolism, gets your system working, keeps you hydrated, and flushes out toxins from the day before. If you can’t drink a whole glass of water, it’s ok! A few sips is better than nothing.
    I also take a minute in the morning to fill up a gallon-sized water bottle for the day. If you have a full glass of water next to you during the day, it makes it a lot easier to stay hydrated.

    Make breakfast work for you.
    I’m one of those people who eats right when they wake up, usually before I even shower or get dressed or anything. But not many people are like that. In fact, only about 30% of the US population eats breakfast every day, and over 31 million people (about 10% of the US population) don’t eat breakfast at all!
    Yes, they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day: it gives you a boost of energy and gets your system working. But if you’re not hungry in the morning, don’t force yourself to eat. If you’re a little hungry, grab a granola bar. And if you’re really hungry, sit down and eat breakfast.

    Get up and move.
    It doesn’t have to be a full workout, but try to go for a 15 minute walk, do some light yoga, or just stretch to wake yourself up for the day.

    Make a brain dump list.
    I usually find it best to write my to-do list the night before, but writing in the morning is helpful too. Write down everything you need to do for the day and everything that’s on your mind, either in a planner, journal, or on a scrap of paper. Just take a minute to get everything out of your head and onto the paper!

    Take a moment to be grateful.
    Taking a moment before you fall asleep at night and a moment right when you wake up to say thank you is something that we should all be doing. Feeling grateful will put you in a good mind set for the day, and it’ll help you to start thinking more positively (a good step towards overcoming negativity bias!).

    But my top tip for a productive morning? Coffee. Here’s my favorite dirty chai recipe that really kicks my brain into overdrive. Enjoy!

    5 Tips for Better Mornings, & My Favorite Dirty Chai Recipe

    My Favorite Dirty Chai

    Prep Time15 mins
    Total Time15 mins
    Course: Drinks
    Servings: 1
    Author: Brit Wolfe - Panthers & Peonies

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup nondairy milk
    • 1 chai tea bag I like Tazo Chai Vanilla Caramel
    • 1 cup freshly-brewed strong coffee
    • Sugar to taste

    Instructions

    • Add the milk to a small saucepan, set over medium-low heat, and let warm until the milk is steaming and small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.
    • Once steaming, remove the pan from the heat. Add the tea bag, cover, and let sit 15-20 minutes.
    • Pour the milk into your favorite mug, top with freshly brewed coffee, and enjoy!

    Notes

    If you want your drink sweeter, add sweetener of your choice to the milk after you pour it into the mug.

    5 Tips for Better Mornings, & My Favorite Dirty Chai Recipe

     

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