Alyssa J Freitas

March 14, 2018

Basic Investing Advice

I am proudly frugal. I will walk an extra 20 minutes to avoid paying for another subway ride. I will buy all of my clothing from a consignment shop. Heck, I’ll even stop shopping for an entire year (although to be fair, that was a minimalist experiment, just like my recent packing post). However, I know that there’s more to growing your net worth than simply saving money (check out all of my money saving posts here, here, here, here, and here).
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Considering investing? Here are some basic tips to examine your mindset and make a game plan
Aside from saving money like, well, Scrooge, or getting a higher paying job or a side hustle, you can also make your money work for you. While I am gearing up to start investing after just finishing college, here are some basic tips I've learned from my research to think about when managing your investments. And remember, there are so many different strategies, so take all advice with a grain of salt and make your own, informed decisions. Here are some articles I've found helpful so far: easy ways to start investing, how to start investing, best investing advice for 2018.

Know your investing personality

Are you a risk taker? Super conservative? It can be hard not to compulsively check your investments on a daily basis, but it can be made easier when you feel confident in what you've done. Maybe you'll like picking individual stocks or will be more of an index fund or ETF sort of girl (here's a great explanation of how to get started with ETFs). However you find yourself investing, make sure you are comfortable with the level of risk. 

Know what you're investing in

While you don't need to know the ins and outs of every company, it is important to have an understanding of how the industry is performing and decide if this is a place you want to put your money. For example, if you think the auto/retail industry is interesting you can research different companies and take a look at what analysts are saying, like with this post on AutoZone stock. Or maybe you're a lover of fashion and think the recent Coach/Kate Spade merger is going to be a real winner and you want to invest in Tapestry (the name of the parent company. I imagine that negotiation going down with the best dressed people around haha). When you're interested, you're much more likely to enjoy investing and make strategic decisions.

Be aware of fees

Using an app like RobinHood will allow you to invest in stocks without fees. Or you could consider a "robo-advisor" from a list like this one that gives you investing recommendations based on your profile, though you'll have to pay for this advice. Like I mentioned, I'm just starting to invest so I can't vouch for these services personally, but they are a good place to begin your considerations.

There is a lot to learn as you venture into investing, but don't let the vast amount of information scare you off. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to improve your strategy and grow your net worth.

What do you consider when investing? Do you have any advice for people starting out?


This is a collaborative post that may contain affiliate links.  

March 7, 2018

How A Minimalist Packs For A Week In Europe (In A Backpack!)

Let's begin the Italy posts! I have a series of Italy posts headed your way, including my experience with solo travel and itinerary tips, but before that we're starting with me packing.

Since I was visiting multiple cities and staying in an apartment in Rome on the 5th floor of a walkup building, I wanted to be able to move as freely as possible. Plus, I figured it would be a good minimalist challenge to pack in a backpack. Here is a video of what it took to get a week's worth of clothes and necessities ready to go.

Posts mentioned:
Natural Skincare To Eradicate Your Acne (aka a Lush appreciation post)
How To Save Major $$$ Holiday Shopping Online (aka how I get all of my clothes on the cheap)
Best Purchase of 2016 (aka the best noise canceling headphones)

What do you think!? Could you see yourself packing in a backpack? Were these tips helpful? Would you like to see more video content? Please let me know your thoughts :)


P.S. Sorry for cutting off my head and the overall quality. This is my first video attempt (besides my seasonal life compilations, which you can watch here, herehere, and here), and I still have a lot to learn. If you want watch the process, make sure to follow me on YouTube!

February 28, 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately

It's been a lifelong dream of mine to be in a book club. I know that may sound dramatic, but I love to read and always wished I had people to talk about books with outside of English class. There weren't any book clubs at my high school or college, but when I joined IBM I became an inaugural member of the IBM NYC book club. While we don't have too many members (yet), the discussions are wonderful and I look forward to our meetings all month!

Today I'm sharing the books we've read thus far, as well as what I've been personally reading in between. If you're a fellow book lover, let's be friends on Goodreads :) 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Get some ideas of what books to pick up on your next trip to the library

The Circle by Dave Eggers

This was the first book the club read. It's a novel about what happens when a technology company gains too much power and the consequences of giving away personal information. There were twists I didn't see coming, fast moving story lines, and thought provoking scenarios. We especially liked to discuss this book since we work for a large tech company. Our conversation centered on how we can be a responsible tech company and allowed us to expand our imagination of what is possible and good for society.

Pro tip: Don't watch the movie with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. It was nothing like the book.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

We alternate between fiction and nonfiction, and our next book was this memoir by the founder of Nike. I wasn't sure about this one at first, but got so into it! Our discussions were even better around this book as we learned about what it takes to start a company and how much passion and perseverance went into Nike. We were all impressed by how much detail Phil Knight remembered and how we were able to relate to his challenges (although none of us are in the midst of starting a company that will be globally recognized to my knowledge...). I could go on and on about this book, but you should just read it for yourself.

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

I actually just picked this book up yesterday (the library didn't have an e-book copy. Tragedy.) so I can't make any comment yet. We're back to fiction and it's a series of short stories. I'll let you know what I think about it later haha

Pitch Perfect by Bill McGowan 

This book was given to me as a prize during my IBM Summit training (!) and it's all about how to effectively communicate in public settings. I kept running notes on my phone with all of the tactics included in this book, and will definitely need to reread it. If you want some more information on how to communicate effectively, check out this guest post I did for Career Contessa and my 5 essential public speaking tips

Russka by Edward Rutherfurd

Oh. My. Goodness. I LOVE Edward Rutherfurd. He writes epic novels (sagas, really) based in different cities/countries and I am planning to read them all. So far I've read Paris, New York, and The Princes of Ireland, and now I have added Russka to the list. Each novel follows different families and characters that all end up connecting in the most interesting ways. I love the history and culture I learn about in each book and can't wait to tackle London next. Cannot recommend these books enough or say how much I love them. 

There you have it! These are the books I've been reading over the past few months. 

What have you been reading? Any recommendations you have?


February 21, 2018

Thoughts on "Trying"

I love a good YouTube video, but it's hard to find a good video to love. You know? I've blogged about YouTube videos before (here and here), and have finally found a series I adore. Lucie Fink is the star of two YouTube series I love from Refinery 29 (not into much else from them, other than Lucie): Try Living with Lucie and Lucie for Hire.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Have you ever thought about trying something completely new? Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone? We don't have to do anything radical to grow and learn, it all starts with trying something new
In Try Living with Lucie, she does 5 day challenges and records her methods and results. She takes suggestions from her fans and turns them into fun videos that end up giving her audience ideas for how to improve their lives. Lucie for Hire shows her trying different jobs and learning about what goes into a variety of careers.

I'd always viewed her videos as an entertaining way to learn a little something and maybe walk away with some self improvement ideas. She's consistently positive and is the kind of girl I imagine I would be great friends with. That was about the extent I thought about the meaning of her videos until I saw this Ted Talk.

In this talk Lucie shares how she got started on her creative path and highlights why she films the videos she does. Her story revolves around "trying." 

I have a feeling most of you would consider yourselves perfectionists to a degree. Or at least, you prefer to put yourself in situations where success is a more likely outcome than failure. I can put two hands up for that! 

However, when I reflect on every activity I have ever engaged in or challenge I've set for myself, I usually play to my strengths. No doubt this is a great strategy for most of your life. For example, attempting to become a professional broadway actress when your singing leaves something to be desired and your dancing ability is nonexistent is not a good plan. 

But there are so many other opportunities in your life to try something. To stretch outside of where you know you'll be the best. My greatest memories and points of growth come from throwing myself into something new and uncertain; joining the crew team, being vulnerable in relationships, and embracing a city that (had you asked me a few years ago) I had no idea I would love so much. 

Watching Lucie's videos make me wonder why we don't do this more? There are opportunities, both big and small, that we can engage in to expand our minds and abilities. Here are a few of my favorite episodes to give you inspiration for something new you can try today (or, like the pizza one, maybe something to just fantasize about).

Here's how to try a variety of new things.

And be more lovey.

How about becoming a pasta maker, à la Master of None?

Or making jumbo pizza (I promise she does more than make food, but those are my favorites!)

What are your thoughts on trying? Do you often step outside your comfort zone or challenge yourself to do something new? Any ideas for how you will incorporate more trying into your life?    


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!