Alyssa J Freitas

February 14, 2018

Surprise! Guess Where I'm Going

I have a surprise! But first of all, happy Valentine's Day <3 Check out my post on Valentine's Day Etiquette and all of my relationship posts here and here. I hope that you are all having a romantic and loving holiday with whoever you are celebrating with.

Ok, now on to the surprise. Next week I will be in Italy!!! I spontaneously decided to book a trip (only got my ticket a month in advance, which is unheard of for me) to visit Rome for a few days on my own then meet up with my best friend Ally who is currently living and working in Trieste (follow her on Instagram here). You can see some of our past adventures here.



When I get back I will do a full trip recap with my itinerary, packing, and travel tips. Until then, follow along with me on Instagram to see what I get up to!

Ciao!
AJF
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February 7, 2018

Miami Travel Tips

Getting to travel for work is awesome, and also a major tease. Last month I went to Miami for the first time, for a meeting. I flew in on a Wednesday morning and out on a Thursday afternoon, not leaving me much time to do anything other than snap a quick picture for Instagram stories (if you want to see some more action on Instagram, be sure to look out for my big announcement next week...).

Since I didn't get to do all that much in Miami, I'm excited to bring you this collaborative post with some tips to begin planning a trip to Miami.
Click to read now or pin to save for later. Welcome to Miami! Here are some tips to make the most of your trip

Packed to the brim with culture, endless amenities, and entertainment, it’s not surprising that Miami draws the attention of all sorts of visitors year round. If you’re planning on visiting, here’s everything you need to know to get your journey started on the right foot!

Getting to Miami

Chances are that you’ll get to Miami by plane, landing at Miami International Airport. Miami is a spread out and sprawling city. All of the attractions aren’t located in one central spot, which means you’re going to have to learn to use the public transport options relatively quickly. Metrorail, Metromover, and Metrobus all provide cheaper, faster, and more environmentally friendly transportation than renting a vehicle or using taxis. They will all be able to get you anywhere in the city. Just use maps or ask individuals working in the stations for help if you do get lost or confused!

Where to Stay

Miami is a bustling urban centre that attracts many visitors, so no matter what your preference and expectation, there will be something to suit you. For comfort, security, and a touch of luxury, consider the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, South Beach. Not only are rooms clean, spacious and comfortable, but you will be in an ideal location, close to world-class restaurants, white sand beaches, and exciting nightlife. This will save you a lot of time and money in travel as well as providing you with ultimate convenience!

Things to Do

To make the most of your time in Miami, it’s important that you plan exactly what you want to do and schedule it before arriving. Check out my post of 6 Practical Steps for Planning a Trip for more strategies on how to comprehensively plan your trip. Besides the stunning beaches, there are plenty of cultural activities to take part in (this may remind you of my attitude on my trip to Cancun. The beach is alright, but the history is what I love). Get a taste of Europe by visiting the Vizcaya Museum located in a Renaissance-style villa in Coconut Grove. To feel like you're in Cuba, stroll down Calle Ocho and dine in the Versailles Restaurant.

Have you ever visited Miami? Do you have the same experience with work trips?


-AJF
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This is a collaborative post that may contain affiliate links.

January 31, 2018

3 Lessons I've Learned In 23 Years

Yesterday was my birthday (well, technically today because I'm writing this a day in advance haha)!!! Since turning 20, I've written about 5 things I've learned each year (check out 20, 21, and 22). All of the lessons hold true and my birthday is a great time to remind myself of my former words of wisdom.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! In 23 years I've learned quite a bit. Here are the top 3 lessons
Fun fact about Alyssa: my birthday is also the only day of the year that I eat a Cinnabon. I LOVE Cinnabon. I follow them on social media, I've had Twitter conversations with their account, and I may or may not have had a Cinnabon as my phone background for a time. But it's not good for you, so I wait to have it once a year on my birthday. I am picky though, and will not accept a subpar Cinnabon. Joe and I went to two different Cinnabon stores on Saturday when we were celebrating my birthday and were unsuccessful. Wish us luck today (technically yesterday...but you know)!


Anyway, back to the actual post. This year I am narrowing it down to 3 lessons, mostly because younger Alyssa has taken a lot of the really good ones and also because I like the sound of "3 in 23." Let's jump into the lessons!

Vulnerability is the way to connection

I wrote an in-depth post on vulnerability, so I won't rehash everything here. Suffice to say that being vulnerable in your relationships and ambition and with yourself is how you can find deeper meaning and connection. It's scary and it's not like you have to go sharing your soul with everyone that you meet, but I've found that over the past year I have benefited from acknowledging and leaning into what makes me vulnerable.

You have to be kind to yourself

We are really good at being our own worst critics. We know exactly what to say to ourselves to make the most negative impact and tear ourselves down. Then we try to "fix" ourselves and end up in a harmful cycle of never being good enough. Although it takes a while to completely modify our mindset, it is essential to have a positive soundtrack playing in our heads. I wrote a more detailed post this year about how to banish negative self talk. Since making these adjustments I appreciate myself more and am happier in my own mind.

You're stronger than you think

You'll face a myriad of challenges in your life; some that you seek out and others that are forced upon you by circumstance. Each time I've come to a point where seemingly everything is going wrong and I think "there's no way I can handle this," I do. And the next day comes and it's hard and tough, but I make it through the day and keep going. I've talked about the power of our minds many times (perspective, responding v. reacting) and the bottom line is that we are equipped to handle anything we face, even when it seems impossible. 

There you have it, 3 lessons that I lived through over the past year. Here's to 23 bringing even more lessons (hopefully at least 4, so I can do "4 in 24" next year)!

What were your biggest lessons when you turned 23? Any tips for this next year?

-AJF
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January 24, 2018

How To Unplug In 2018

I recently met up with a friend from college for lunch. We went into the restaurant, sat down, and proceeded to spend hours together without picking up our phones. I've had so many conversations with friends about deleting social media and reconnecting with the world to avoid the comparison trap and feeling like our lives are "boring" if we're not engaged 24/7. My friend brought up a different, harmful effect of social media that I hadn't given much thought to before: the waste of time.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Are you looking to unplug more in 2018? Reduce your time on social media and enhance your everyday life with these tips
While there are many reports on the amount of time people spend on social media (some have said as much as 5 years of our lives!), all seem to agree that it's simply too much. Time is our most valuable resource and we have to determine how we want to spend it. I certainly don't believe in cutting out social media all together, but here are some ways I have been unplugging in 2018.

Unfollow

If you've spent any time on this site at all, you know that minimalism is a huge part of how I lead my life and encourage others to incorporate the same principles. In fact, I blogged about social media minimalism back in 2015 (R.I.P. tons of comments when the blogging world was less saturated and commenting was in its heyday haha). Unfollowing people whose content doesn't add value to your life makes the time you do spend on social media refreshing and inspiring. So go ahead and unfollow and unfreind all those that aren't wowing you.

Designate specific time

Another tactic I find helpful to limit the time I spend on social media and make it less of a reflex is to designate "social media time". I've recently started doing this and at first when I grabbed for my phone in a free moment I automatically went to mindlessly scroll, but now I am stopping myself and turning to another activity or just taking a moment of inactivity instead. My "social media time" is when I first wake up (I know a lot of people are against that, but it helps me ease into my day), at lunch, and again before bed. Since I follow so few people, it adds up to about a half hour/45 minutes a day between scrolling through feeds and reading blog posts. Find what times work for you and stick to only opening your apps then.

Delete all together

This is something I haven't been able to bring myself to do just yet. I love Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter and like to check my Facebook groups on a regular basis. However, I have some friends who have completely deleted certain apps, indefinitely or for a period of time. Since I am not ready for that just yet, I have put my social media apps in one folder and turned off notifications. I have found that it helps to keep the apps out of sight so I am not tempted to hop on at any free moment.
Also, I made this my lock screen background to remind me that I want to unplug more. It's a gentle reminder to put the phone down and pick up a book or my journal instead. 

How do you manage your social media use? How do you plan to unplug in 2018?

-AJF 
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January 17, 2018

The Tragedy Of Discontinued Products

I have a tragic story to tell. Actually, it's not at all tragic, but it was quite upsetting in the moment and there are other really tough things happening right now, so I'd prefer to focus on this trivial story. Ok with you? Great.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! What do you do when your favorite product is discontinued? This is a reality I wish you will never have to face
Imagine this: I'm with my friend in the mall, going to pick up some color supplement from Lush (my version of foundation). As you may remember, I wrote about how I finally cleared up my skin by switching to natural products and Lush has become my go to place. To my horror, when we walked over to the makeup area they were completely out.

I quickly asked a worker if they had more and he gave the most dreaded answer: it's discontinued.

What!? Discontinued? No, no, there must be some mistake. Cue my friend searching on her phone and me calling a friend who works in another mall to have her investigate too. Despite our best efforts, we could not find this elusive product.

There are few products I care this much about, but I am hopelessly devoted and could not end the hunt there. Miraculously, I discovered an eBay seller in the UK who just so happened to have my color, but I was outbid while at work.

I took to Twitter for some answers, and was told that there wasn't any information about a replacement product. But I was advised to "keep my eyes open on our social media for updates." Thanks, no thanks.

After trying a Burt's Bees foundation that made it look like I was wearing makeup (I want foundation to basically melt into my skin) and watching more YouTube review videos than I'd like to admit, I finally ended up with a BB cream from Kiehl's. Today is my first day wearing it, so fingers crossed it'll hold me over until Lush comes out with something new.

Have you ever had a favorite product discontinued? How do you decide on a new one? Any advice for how to move on would be much appreciated!

-AJF
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P.S. Sorry for this short post! I promise you I had a post prepared, but when I went to schedule it, it was deleted. I vow to work on posts further in advance and draft them in a Word doc to avoid this situation in the future.