January 2018 Review

The first month of 2018 is complete, and I thought I would look back on some of the accomplishments and things to be grateful for!

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Steps for Pet Health Challenge

I love using Walk for a Dog, an app that lets you log your walks to help animal charities. They had a special challenge in Dec-Jan, where you needed to complete 10 walks to qualify your favorite charity for a $1000 prize. Normally 10 walks would be super easy, but in the middle of winter it’s super cold and windy outside! But I made sure to watch the weather and take a walk on the tolerable days, and my dog Chester and I completed the challenge. πŸ™‚

When the challenge was done, WoofTrax reported that “In 60 days, challenge participantsΒ walked 176,000 times, totaling 1/4 million miles. That is equivalent to walking around the earth 10 times!” Wow! Next up is the Walk and Win Spring challenge.

Online Sales

My online store was booming in January! The Christmas rush is extended for me because of the upcoming Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day holidays, so I was spending a lot of time sewing. In total, I completed 52 orders this month, with about 15% of them having multiple items! I’m so grateful for the wonderful customers who support my small business. πŸ™‚

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Trying New Things

I want to get in the habit of trying new things in life. In January, I tried 2 new foods – almond milk and dried seaweed snacks (thumbs up on the milk, thumbs down on the seaweed). I purchased some stainless steel straws, which I’ll be using from now on to save waste. I also tried a local restaurant in my city for the first time.

Recycling

One of my Resolutions for 2018 is to get serious with recycling. I saved up all of the family’s recyclables in January, and made a trip to the drop-off center an the end of the month. We managed to fill up 3 totes with recyclables, and sent them off to a new life! I plan to do this for the rest of 2018 and beyond. πŸ™‚

 

Youtube

Youtubers got some big news in January: they’re upping the requirements to be a “real” youtuber to 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. If you’re not in the know, those are pretty harsh requirements for us little folks! But instead of letting it get me down, it’s lit a fire under my butt. πŸ˜‰ During January I got 5 videos done: Productivity, Sleep, Small Business, Youtube, and Self Esteem, which the the most content I’ve made in a single month so far!

I’m going to continue to build my channel and fill it with lots of uplifting videos. πŸ™‚

 

That’s my list for January. Hopefully February will be just as busy!

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Air Purifier!

I got a new healthy toy recently: an air purifier!

My house is very dusty, partially because of pets and partially because of my aging carpet. Sometimes I get congested because of it, especially in the morning after breathing dust all night. So I decided to get a room air purifier to see if that made a difference.

I chose a Holmes 3 speed model from Amazon, because it’s about the right size and the price was good.

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It has 3 speeds; the highest is a little loud, but the lowest is very quiet, which makes it perfect for running at night.

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It has a fancy HEPA-type filter, which catches dust and allergens, as well as a foam outer filter to catch the big stuff (like cat hair). πŸ™‚

So far I really like it! I’ve been running the medium or high speed during the day, and low at night. I’ve got it sitting on the mini-desk over the cat’s litter box, since that’s one of the major sources of dust in my bedroom.

Once I’ve had it for a few weeks, I’ll write a full review and let everyone know how well it works! πŸ™‚ The exact model is Holmes HAP412BNS , and it’s currently on sale!

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New video – Self Esteem Affirmations!

Do you need to boost your self esteem? Wonder how to improve your feelings of self worth and raise your confidence? These affirmations will help fix your low self-esteem, recognize your value, and help you feel better about yourself. πŸ™‚

NOTE: If you are experiencing depression, self hate, or considering suicide, please see a doctor for help. YOU ARE VALUABLE AND LOVABLE, no matter what your mind may tell you! ❀

 

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Saving Straws with Steel!

I was introduced to the idea of straw alternatives by a great post over on Helen’s Journey, and I made a mental note to buy some soon. I thought I would have to get them online, but during a shopping trip at a local retail store, I stumbled across a pack of stainless steel straws in the kitchen section! I grabbed them with a little cheer…luckily no one else was in that aisle to hear me make a fool of myself, lol.

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This pack contained four straws; two straight and two bent, in different sizes. It also supplied a cleaning tool and four colorful silicone tips, to make the straws more comfortable to drink out of.

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I tried one at dinner, and it works great!

I’m going to use these at home, and I also plan to take one with me when I go to a restaurant. It will save a straw each time, and might even be a fun conversation starter. πŸ˜‰

If you’re interested in getting some of your own, there’s a nice set here on Amazon!

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New Video – Start a Small Business!

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own business, being your own boss, and providing customers with YOUR unique product or service? These affirmations will help you get there! This video is filled with positive affirmations that will give you the confidence to follow your dreams and start your own business. You will learn to step out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself and your abilities, and take positive steps toward your dream life! πŸ™‚

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Small YouTuber Army, Unite!

On January 16th, YouTube sent out an email to lots of small channels, announcing some big changes to the monetization rules for the platform. Currently, you qualify for membership in the Youtube Partner Program as soon as you get 10,000 lifetime views on yourΒ  channel. On February 20th, 2018, the requirements will be upped to 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of total watch time over the last year. Ouch!

Needless to say, a lot of small ‘tubers are upset about the changes! Not only will small channels stop earning money from ad revenue, we will lose some useful features like end cards and custom thumbnails.

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It’s a sad situation, but so far the response has been pretty incredible! Small youtubers have banded together to support each other and do our best to get everyone to the new requirements. On Twitter, the tag #SmallYoutuberArmy is trending, and people are making threads where users can check out new channels and subscribe to other small creators. It’s great to see everyone coming together and helping each other!

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Whether you have your own channel on Youtube or not, let’s all do our best to support small ‘tubers by watching their videos, subscribing to their channels, and giving thumbs up on videos you like. πŸ™‚ Check out hashtags like #smallyoutuberarmy and #smallyoutubercommunity to find cool new channels. The new requirements are a challenge, but every challenge is really an opportunity to stand up and succeed!

We can do this! πŸ™‚

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Healthy snack reviews!

I love trying new things, including food. On a recent shopping trip I decided to hit the health food section of my local grocery and grab a few healthy items to test out! The products I selected were Siggi’s yogurt, Simple Truth almond milk, and Simple Truth seaweed snack.

Siggi’s Yogurt

I love yogurt, but I stopped eating it a few years back when I learned how much sugar it has. Many brands average 25g of sugar, which is as much as a candy bar! :O And when they do have lower sugar content, it’s because of artificial sweeteners, which are dangerous as well as tasting horrible.

Siggi’s advertises on the foil top that it has low sugar (11-13g), and the ingredient list had only cane sugar as a sweetener. It looked like a good choice, so I selected one in mixed berry flavor.

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The result? YUM! I love this yogurt! The texture is nice and thick, so a container full is substantial and filling (the label explains that, according to Icelandic tradition, most of the water is strained out).

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The taste is different from most yogurts; because they have so much sugar, most yogurts are super sweet and taste like candy. Siggi’s tastes more like traditional old-fashioned yogurt, with a tangy, more cultured flavor.

So if you prefer super-sweet yogurt, Siggi’s probably isn’t the brand for you. But if you’re looking for a healthier, less processed tasting yogurt, I highly recommend Siggi’s! I’ve already gone out and bought a few more flavors to try. πŸ™‚ I love it!

Seaweed Snack

This was an impulse buy that I happened to grab as I was passing by. The package is extremely light, and almost feels like there’s nothing in it. Inside, I found a tray of seaweed slices.

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Each slice is super thin, like a piece of tissue paper!

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As for the taste, well, hmm. It basically tastes like fish. If I had taken a bite without knowing what I was eating, I would have guessed that I was eating fish flakes! I think I was expecting it to taste more plant-like, maybe like salty kale.

I can’t say I’ll be getting more of these snacks. In fact, I haven’t touched it since tasting the first one. It also doesn’t seem like it would be very filling, since the actual volume of seaweed is so low (I’m guessing if you compressed the entire package together, it would maybe be a spoonful of actual plant matter). It’s not for me, but I suppose if you’re a big fan of seafood it could work as a snack.

Almond Milk

I wanted to try some kind of plant milk after a post by Alys over at Alys Journals. I decided to start with the most well known one, almond milk. I like almonds, so it seemed like a safe choice. πŸ™‚

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I was surprised to see that it looks very similar to actual milk! It’s a bit thinner than whole milk, but it’s about the consistency of skim, and the color is almost identical to cow’s milk.

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As for the flavor, it’s…pretty good! It does taste like almonds, but not as strongly as the actual nut. And the more I drink it, the more I like it, probably because I’m losing the expectation that it should taste exactly the same as animal milk. I don’t see it replacing real milk for me as a stand-alone drink or with chocolate, but I think I might start using it on cereal, in smoothies, or in recipes. And this has given me the confidence to try another type of plant milk next time. πŸ™‚

The only drawback to the almond milk is the list of ingredients; it had quite a few gums and lecithins and other similar additives. I need to check other brands to see if maybe they do better in this category.

Overall, I enjoyed my health food experimentation! Siggi’s yogurt is on my permanent shopping list, and I’m going to continue to try different plant milks. I can’t wait to see what I’ll discover next. πŸ™‚

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