Alyssa J Freitas

December 1, 2016

Could You Survive Without Your Phone?

Could you survive without your phone? Technically, of course you could, as people were able to for years before this. However, now it seems nearly impossible to get through life without our devices. Recently I was having lunch with my friend Austen (she's an awesome fashion blogger, lives in the city, works for Nylon...you know, just your average college grad. You can read the story of how blogging reunited us here) and her phone was acting up. After we snapped a few #ootd pictures (thank goodness) her phone decided it was done and would not turn back on.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Can you even remember life before cell phones? It's a distant memory, but it's worth asking would you be able to get around nowadays without it?
This posed a problem: as she had driven up to my neck of the woods for lunch, she wasn't certain of her route back. We started trying to map it out on my phone and have her memorize what she was supposed to do, when we realized that this is what it must have been like back in the day. You would ask a friend how to get somewhere, do your very best to remember the way they said, and hope for the best. Or, you would print out directions on MapQuest and hope not to make a wrong turn because, guess what, there won't be anyone to recalculate your route in real time.

This got me thinking about all of the other functions on our phone that we take for granted as necessary, but that had to be dealt with much differently in the past.

Want to know how to pronounce that word? 
Go find a dictionary.

Curious about what time a restaurant is open until? 
Better find a phone book and give them a call.

Need to calculate a tip? 
I hope you remember your mental math from grade school.

Wasn't there a movie playing in a few hours? 
I don't know, take a look in the newspaper.

There are endless examples of how our lives have been improved by increased access to information in the last decade that is absolutely mind blowing. As Peter Diamandis said in a TED Talk on the role of technology in creating a future of abundance,
"a Masai warrior on a cellphone in the middle of Kenya has better mobile comm than President Reagan did 25 years ago. And if they're on a smartphone on Google, they've got access to more knowledge and information than President Clinton did 15 years ago. They're living in a world of information and communication abundance that no one could have ever predicted."

But at the same time, our dependence and reliance on our mobile devices is also disconcerting. What happens if the internet goes down (again)? Or if censorship rears its ugly head? The likelihood of such events isn't terribly high, and I am much more inclined to be optimistic about the positive impact of ever increasing technological accessibility, but I also want to ensure that I am still able to reach a goal without having to turn to my phone right away.

For me, that means paying a bit more attention to directions when I drive instead of relying 100% on my navigation app. It also means being more present with those around me to avoid a device interfering too heavily in my life. It is an increased consciousness of what role I allow a screen to play.

I've blogged about social media minimalism before, and how to consume media consciously, as awell as how to keep your phone as minimalistic as possible (and it should be noted that the last post is from 2015, so my phone has actually been streamlined a bit more since then). In fact, I have a whole series on digital minimalism, including email, files, ect. if you'd like to check it out and get some ideas on how to use technology intentionally.  

If you have the same aim, how could this manifest in your life? Do you think the integration of technology in our lives is helping more than hurting?

-AJF 
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November 29, 2016

6 "Solo Date" Ideas

I was recently having a conversation with a friend (so many of my posts seem to be born out of conversations with friends) and we were discussing the idea of going out alone. For some reason there is a stigma attached to going out in public alone. Whether it is to the movie theater, out for a meal, or anywhere else, it seems like no one wants to be seen when they are not in the company of others.

Last year I wrote a post about 3 ways to do your own thing, and today I wanted to share some ideas of "dates" you can take yourself on so you can start to be ok with being alone. After all, as I've written about before, there is only one relationship you will be in forever and that is with yourself.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Sometimes you just want to spend time alone or want to have a new experience, so why not go on a solo date? Here are 6 ideas for solo dates where you can have fun on your own and become more comfortable in your own company

01. Book shopping

This is a solo date that is low pressure and can help you get your feet wet with going out alone. Try taking yourself out to a book store and wandering around until you find a book that interests you, then head over to a coffee shop and enjoy reading and sipping your drink, on your own.

02. Go to a class

Another way to ease yourself in to doing your own thing is to go to a class where it is expected that most people will be alone. Check out that yoga class you always thought was interesting or take the cooking course you know will help you improve in the kitchen. By going to a place where you'll be surrounded with likeminded people you can feel more comfortable and ready to start a conversation, while also enjoying being there on your own.

03. Take in a museum

There is something liberating about having an experience where you can form your opinions completely by yourself. Instead of discussing every piece of artwork and sculpture with someone else you can notice your first impressions and can follow your interests and pacing without worrying about others.

04. Have a meal

This one can be really intimidating, but I've honestly come to love eating by myself. It can be relaxing and rejuvenating to spend some quiet time alone and people watch in a restaurant. If you feel really uncomfortable having a full meal alone, try eating at a restaurant with a counter, get a quick appetizer before meeting up with friends, or go on a picnic. 

05. Check out a movie or performance

I LOVE to go to the movies by myself (especially to see Bollywood films) and consider it a pretty easy place to be alone. The next time a movie comes out that your friends don't want to see, take yourself out for it! When it comes to seeing a performance this can be a bit tougher because you have the time leading up to the show when you won't have someone to talk to. But think about the fact that everyone is there for the same reason: to see the show! This makes it simple to find a topic of conversation with anyone.

06. Go to an event

This is masterclass level because it requires you to be alone for an extended period of time where others may be surprised to find you are on your own. One of my favorite days of my life was when I took myself on a solo date to the most incredible event. Although most people were surprised to find that I was there alone, it certainly did not detract from my experience and instead opened me up to meeting new people and making new friends.

These are just some ideas for ways to enjoy your own company and to get more comfortable with being alone. It is so important to have this skill because relying on others for fun will not always get you through. I love being with my friends just as much as the next person, but I also strongly believe that the most fun comes from loving your own company.

How do you treat yourself and spend time alone?

-AJF   
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November 24, 2016

Social Media & Relationships

I'm so excited to bring you another relationship video with Patrick! We have a ton of fun making these videos and I sincerely hope you enjoy watching them. You can check out our previous videos like Flirting Etiquette, Dating Etiquette, and 7 Reasons They Stopped Texting You (plus you can look at all of my relationship posts here).
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Have you ever been puzzled by social media in your relationship? When should you follow each other on Insta? When do you make it Facebook official? Here are the answers


.In this video we discuss what we view as the appropriate timeline for integrating social media into your relationship. From asking for numbers on Bumble, to following each other on Instagram, to becoming Facebook official, we've got you covered. As a disclaimer, we film these videos 100% for fun (there is little to no preplanning...we just turn the camera on and go). Therefore, we assume no responsibility for the outcome of any of our advice you may take. If you have a question, we'll direct you to our lawyers.


Please let us know what you think! Anything we missed? What other topics would you like us to cover?
-AJF
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P.S. Be sure to connect with Patrick on YouTubeTwitter, Instagram, and his blog

November 22, 2016

Minimalist Gift Guide

"I saw something recently that I thought you might like, but I didn't get it because I figured within a year it would end up at a garage sale." This was a recent conversation I had with my good friend Calea as we were discussing the upcoming holiday season. And she was 100% right. Although I love and appreciate my friends' generosity, I really don't like having a lot of things and wouldn't hesitate to find a gift I received a new home.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Do you have a minimalist in your life and are unsure what to give them? Check out this guide for some great ideas!
Around this time we start to see a barrage of advertisements and suggestions that we need to get the perfect gift for everyone in our lives, and that these material things will communicate the way we feel and be true indicators of the depth of our relationships. While it is true that a well thought out gift can say volumes about how well you know the other person, it is also true that physical things do not need to be the sole way you communicate this.

In fact, when it comes to people who take a more minimalist mindset, gift giving can be quite a challenge. Here are four ideas for gifts for the minimalist in your life that will absolutely NOT end up at the next yard sale.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Do you have a minimalist in your life and are unsure what to give them? Check out this guide for some great ideas!

01. Perishable Items   

There is nothing better for a minimalist than something they can enjoy, use up, and then get rid of without any feelings of guilt. A lovely smelling candle, sweet perfume, delectable treats, and the like will all make any minimalist smile from ear to ear.

02. Subscriptions

Subscriptions are a great gift regardless of if the recipient is a minimalist or not because it's a gift that keeps on giving. One of my favorite gifts was a year-long subscription to Darling Magazine (check out the amazing Darling event I went to here) from my best friend Ally last year because I got excited with each new issue, enjoyed reading it, and then could pass it on so as not to create clutter (although I freely admit I love those magazines so much that I kept every issue). Getting someone an Amazon Prime subscription (read all about why this is the BEST subscription ever here) or even making monthly donations to their favorite charity in their name is a great way to go.

03. Experiences

My all time favorite gifts are experiences. I believe so strongly in spending on experiences and not things (one of the main reasons I decided not to buy clothing for a year...so I could put my dollars towards having fun and creating lasting memories), so getting the gift of an experience with someone I love is the best! Some ideas are to go to a show, try out skydiving, or go rock climbing, go on a boat for the day, see a concert, take a cooking class...the list goes on and on. It is so easy to personalize it to whatever the recipient would most like.

You don't have to have the experience on the day you want to give the gift, but rather, you can give them the physical tickets or a card letting them know what it is. Better yet, make it a surprise and give them a save the date card for a secret adventure.

04. Necessities

Getting a gift that you truly and actually need is an awesome way to give something physical that won't be a burden. If you've noticed your friend's phone case is looking a little beat up, or they've mentioned that their wallet is too small/large and isn't doing the job anymore, take that as a cue to give them something you know they will use. This requires you to pay attention to their needs and is a great way to ensure they will get real value everyday out of your gift.

So, there they are, my four top gift ideas for the minimalist in your life! Also check out my hostess gift guide if you are going to a party or on a visit!

What sort of gifts do you like to give and receive?

      -AJF
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November 17, 2016

Keeping In Touch When Your Friend Is Abroad

"All of my friends are running off around the globe and leaving me alone," I cried to my mother. This wasn't quite true, of course, but it felt that way as my close friends were gearing up to travel to Ireland, and Thailand, and I felt stuck at home. While on some level I was jealous of their travels, I was more nervous about what the time and distance would do to our friendship. Would we still be as close? Would we still be able to get each other's advice on all of the important stuff (read: what to make of what this or that guy said or did)? Would we still remember our hilarious inside jokes once they returned?
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Are you or a friend going abroad? Make sure to think about some of these ways to keep in touch so it'll be like not a moment has passed
Well, the easy answer is that: yes, we would still be close, yes, we would still get each other's advice, and yes, we would remember all of our jokes. BUT it required some effort, planning, and commitment to maintain our friendships when there was an ocean between us. Here are some methods you can use to keep in touch with friends, whether you are the one going abroad or are the one holding down the fort at home.

Set expectations

This is a very, very important first step to take before you part ways! Setting expectations of how often and how you will communicate is key to make sure that you are on the same page and that no one feels ignored or like they are being annoying for reaching out. You can have a casual conversation about this and both have the understanding that things may change as you settle into your new friendship routine. What this aims to do is give you a mutual foundation to work from together.

Share physical mementos

Before a friend leaves, write them a note or make a collage of photos to take with him/her. This way he/she can have a physical reminder of you and it can be comforting in a new environment. If you are going abroad, try sending a postcard back home to let your friend know you are thinking of him/her and to share your experience.

Text

For quick, day to day conversations sending text messages (or using WhatsApp, or your messaging service of choice) is the perfect way to keep in touch. Share a funny gif, tell each other about that hard test, and keep these messages short and sweet. This is a way to stay up to date on the small stuff!

Call/FaceTime 

Now, this requires a bit more planning with time changes, and differing schedules, and all that jazz. While it may seem like texting is sufficient, I really believe that hearing and seeing each other trumps it all. You're able to share longer stories and have those conversations that your relationship is built on. Shooting for a call every few weeks is a great way to ensure you have a ton to talk about and don't miss too much.

Be flexible

So your friend hasn't responded to your last message or had to cancel a call? Don't sweat it. You have to remember that you are each having fun experiences that may temporarily keep you from one another, but that being flexible will make you both much happier. Luckily, my friends are a pretty cool bunch who make travel videos and are pro photographers so I always have a way to glimpse into what they are up to. Even if you aren't in that situation, you can send a fast snap chat or share a fun link to stay connected while also respecting that you are each pressed for time.

By using these methods and keeping a clear and flexible mindset you will be able to survive without your friend during time abroad. You can get creative (I've used snail mail on occasion, as well) and share with one another until your joyous reunion!

How do you stay in touch when you or your friend is abroad? What sort of challenges have you faced?

-AJF
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