Holiday Pet Prep Starts Now

This blog post is in affiliation with Rover.com, a platform that connects dog owners with dog sitters. I, myself, am a dog sitter at Rover and this hobby-turned-side-hustle is one of my additional sources of income!

I consider the advent of Halloween as the official beginning of the holiday season. Every year, I make a conscious effort to make the holiday time a slow one. It’s a time of joy, but also becomes a time of great stress … hence the word effort.

Planning ahead helps alleviate the fervent rush and allows for greater enjoyment during this time of year. While it is challenging to plan for gathering head counts this early in the year, one of the things you can do today to lighten your to-do list for the holidays is to plan for your pets.

When you have a dog or cat, you have a family member. While considerably less work (at times), a pet can feel like having a small child in the house, especially dogs. You have to schedule your day around their needs and make sure they are being well taken care of.

It may be difficult to prepare a supper for ten if you have to walk the dog in between turning on the oven and stirring the soup. Also, that friendly wagging tail may get in the way of entertaining guests. Unless you are certain that all guests welcome pets, you can’t be too sure how your pet make others feel. Lastly, gathering around the table is certainly less enjoyable with a slobbery beggar putting their paws on your fancy linen tablecloth, yanking at your fine china and ruining your hard work.

All of this, of course, is the best case scenario wherein you are hosting at home. What about holiday vacations? Or when celebrations are being held at a relative’s abode?

The fact is, we have busy lives that sometimes cannot involve our loveable pets; and as much as that saddens us, we must leave them at home.

So, what do you do when you’re gone longer than preferred? You find help and Rover is a great source.

Rover is the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. They offer a ton of different services to help you give your pooch the attention and care they deserve when you are unable to. Sitters such as myself are true animal lovers with amazing customer care you can trust.

To avoid any unwanted surprises, I would start booking for your pet now. I would personally love to watch your pet and if you are new to Rover, you can take advantage of the following offer: $20 OFF your first Rover booking using code: SAMANT24058. You can find me here.

On the contrary, if you have no plans for the holidays, perhaps you would like to earn extra income being a sitter on Rover.

To hear more about my experience as a Rover sitter, check out my previous post here.

A Consideration for Indoor Air Quality in Our Homes with this Molekule Air Mini Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

COVID has forever changed the way we view health and safety in terms of air quality. One of the first changes our dental office made after the shut-down was to install an air purifier in every operatory. It made a lot of sense, since my job as a dentist involved the respiratory tract and airway. It wasn’t until later that I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have this in my home?!” By the time I came across Molekule, I knew that bringing an air purifier into my space was a no-brainer. What I didn’t know was how different it was going to make our home feel.

Owning a Molekule has brought peace of mind to me and my family. While I am off working at the dental office under the protection of KN95 masks and Hi Vac Suctions, my Molekule is equally hard at work ensuring my return to a clean space. I can tell that it works because the air immediately smells fresher. As a cat owner, I always wondered whether visitors can smell our cat upon entering our home. I mean, when Theo uses the litter box, you can definitely tell that we are cat people. But after the Molekule arrived, you can’t even tell that Theo used his litter box. Which shows me that the Molekule is doing something. Below is my honest Molekule Air Mini review.

What does Molekule do?

Molekule creates professional-grade air purifiers that use PECO technology to break down pollutants at the molecular level. Some air purifiers only trap pollutants in their filters, but Molekule destroys them. Simply speaking, PECO technology uses free radicals – which are also used to kill cancer cells – to break down VOCs, bacteria, mold, allergens, and most prevalently, viruses. In goes the pollutant, out comes carbon dioxide, water and trace elements. According to Molekule, there is no ozone by-product. PECO technology has been tested for 25 years and currently, Molekule’s FDA approved PRO RX air purifiers are being used in a number of hospitals – another consolation regarding their product’s efficacy.

Which Molekule is right for us?

The version that we have at home is a Molekule Air Mini, which is advertised as ideal for up to 250 square feet of space. To put this into perspective, my entire living space is less than 1,000 square feet. 250 square feet covers a room – either the bedroom or the living room. Molekule does sell two other versions that have higher capacity: The Molekule Air and Molekule Air Pro which stands on the floor and improves air quality of rooms up to 600 and 1,000 square feet respectively. So technically, a single Molekule Air Pro could handle my entire living space. However, as a minimalist, I prefer the Air Mini’s smaller shape and don’t mind moving it to whichever room I am at. The good thing about the mini is that it is easily portable, thanks to a handle fastened at the side that allows me to carry it from room to room. Our space is so small to begin with, so it isn’t a bother to me at all. However, I can see why a two-story home would be better off having a Molekule Air Pro on the first floor and Molekule Air Minis in individual bedrooms.

What has the Molekule experience been like?

The Molekule Air Mini arrived fairly quickly in a box with very simple set-up instructions. First, removal of the top portion of the air purifier was required in order to remove the plastic around the PECO filter inside. The top lid securely fastens by twisting in a clock-wise motion until it clicks into place. It requires a bit of elbow grease to get it closed all the way so I had Mike help me with that. Make sure you hear the click to ensure that it locked. Otherwise, when you lift your air purifier by the handle, you may find the bottom half clattering on the floor!

After the plastic is removed from the filter, it’s a matter of plugging the device in. A cord can be found on the bottom and can be unraveled to length. I like that the rest of the unused cord can stay hidden and tucked away underneath the device. There is a notch too where the cord can exit the bottom so that the device sits evenly. With a press of a button, you’re off and running!

There is a central button on the top of the unit. Pressing it would start the fan speed at level one. You can continue pressing it to go up to level five. I have found that level one is silent as a mouse, but level five is as uproarious as a vacuum. I prefer to keep it at level three during the daytime and turn it down to level one in the evenings, however, I wonder about the efficacy in relation to fan speed. The fan speed determines how fast air gets sucked into the device, hence the whirring sound. I would imagine that the more air gets brought in, the more action, but the sound is just way too loud to bear at level five. I love my quiet space and will likely remain at level three or lower. Holding down the button for a few seconds places the device on stand-by.

Final Thoughts…

The Molekule Air Mini is honestly a wonderful addition to any home. It is modern and minimally sleek. The design is impeccable from the beautiful grey felt handle to the top air vent. It is subtle and quietly does the difficult work.

With more people choosing to stay in, it’s time we focus inward on ways we can keep our homes clean – and that includes the air that we breathe!

Of course, every home is different. We live in a small space so I feel comfortable with having only the Molekule Air Mini. For larger homes, one can purchase multiple air purifiers in bundles in order to properly tackle every corner of the home. Also, if you are unsure of which purifier would work best for you, Molekule has a 30-day trial period. Try the product and if you are unsatisfied, you can always get a full refund.

One thing is for sure: Considering indoor air quality will become a new normal moving forward – whether the concern be due to local fires, pollution, or a circulating flu virus.

I don’t know about you, but I already wear a mask at the dental office 8 hours a day. You may wear it to the grocery store. I don’t want to go home and continue living that way 24/7. This gives me the lifestyle that I want to see for myself. This let’s me shake my hair loose, and take my mask off. This allows me to breathe easy, knowing that my family is kept safe and our home is kept a sanctuary.

With the advent of yesterday’s Southern Orange County fires and all fires that has plagued the West Coast this year, I wanted to increase accessibility of air purifiers for all households. Readers may use the code thedebtist to receive a discount on their Molekule purchase – $25 off Air Mini, $32 off Air Mini+, $50 off Air, $77 off Air Pro. I think that air purifiers are more important than ever and I want to do my part in making sure we all have access to cleaner air.

This post is sponsored by Molekule, a company dedicated to providing cleaner air in our homes and our businesses. I have had the privilege of trying their Molekule Air Mini in my home and this my review of the product. The links from this blog post are affiliate links which means TheDebtist earns a small commission from any purchases made from this site. As always, thank you for supporting the companies and businesses that support this small space. I can say in all honesty that all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Minimalist Year Round Bedding with Parachute Home’s Linen Sheets

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

The seasons are turning and we are sticking with our linen duvet cover and pillow cases from Parachute Home. Typically, linen is the fabric of choice for summer months. However, I am an enthusiast for the stuff – linen table cloths, linen napkins, linen coasters, linen clothing, linen couch cover… you name it. So it doesn’t surprise me that I chose linen fabrics for our bedroom year round. Perhaps it is the right choice for you, too!

Before winter hits, I want to make a case for why linen sheets are ideal for modern minimalists who wish to only own one set of sheets all year long.

Why We Chose Linen Year Round

Linen is a classic material that comes from flax. It has historically been valued for its strength and durability – two characteristics that are necessary for something so oft used as bed sheets. At first, I was afraid linen would be too delicate, prone to snags and pilling. However, after living with linen sheets for six months, I have come to realize that it is not delicate at all.

Our cat Theo loves to chase fly toys on the bed every morning, and digs his claws into our duvet cover. And while he gets caught occasionally in his fervor to catch his toy prey, the tiny holes that his claws create never get bigger. In fact, the strength of these fibers is apparent in the way the holes close up over time. The linen never breaks and the hole caused by his nails gets pulled in different directions until it finally closes again. As far as pilling goes, my Parachute Home linen duvet cover comes pre-washed and even though we wash them every other week (to avoid cat dander accumulation), I have yet to see my first signs of pilling!

If anything, these sheets get softer over time. This makes linen great for those who have sensitive skin, such as myself. I developed skin rashes about a year ago and whenever my skin comes into contact with something itchy like wool, a hypersensitivity reaction develops. That is why the softness of linen sheets are important to me. Some people argue that linen is a harsh fabric, but I would attest to the fact that our sheets are softer than cotton and are getting softer with use.

Additionally, linen is versatile enough to combat the seasonal temperature changes. The fibers have a hollowness to them that allows air to move throughout. Egyptians valued linen for its wicking abilities and breathability, which is why it is a great choice for California’s summer months. But as the mornings turn colder, I have noticed that our sheets have kept us warm. The fabric is of medium-weight and acts as a natural insulator.

Lastly, linen sheets are a beauty. There is elegance in simplicity. The natural wrinkles imbue a gentleness to the fabric and fits in with our no-fuss lifestyle. It gives our bedroom a lived-in feel that photographs as nicely when the bed is made up as when the sheets are left rumpled and undone.

The imperfect state in which we leave our bed somehow still exudes charm in ways that cotton sheets do not. Which then allows us more time for playing with our cat, sleeping in, reading a book, and all the slow-living things that we love. Honestly, an unmade bed is underrated.

The Benefits of Only Having One Set

I live a simple life and that’s the bottom truth. In fact, I work very hard to maintain my life’s simplicity. Having only one set of sheets means I don’t spend my hard-earned dollars on unnecessary stuff. What’s the point of owning two pairs of sheets when one of them is always unused and collecting dust? For me, it’s best to invest in one set to be used daily and be well-loved. Plus, duvet covers and bed sheets are expensive!

The argument for having a spare set for “just-in-case” doesn’t fly. These aren’t life-or-death “just-in-case” situations here. Soil a set of sheets? Wash them during the day. Stain them beyond repair? Keep until you get a replacement. I don’t really know of a “just-in-case” scenario that would be worth wasting money on.

How to live with just one set of sheets

Living with only one set is simple. We wash our sheets every two weeks. Our cat loves to play on the bed with his feather toy and cuddles up between us every night. His lazy afternoons are usually divvied up between the bed and the couch. Washing our sheets frequently is a no-brainer, especially with my sensitive skin. Which is why durable linen works so well for us!

We usually throw our sheets into the washing machine in the morning. Our sheets are Sateen sheets by Wattsuma, a wedding gift from almost four years ago that has been so reliable for us. We also have Parachute Home’s Linen Pillowcases in Bone and our duvet cover is Parachute Home’s coveted linen duvet cover in Terra which has sold out twice this year! We wash on delicate cycle and dry on delicate cycle. Surprisingly, the linen fabric did not shrink – a fear that I initially had when I first bought the duvet cover. Like I said, linen isn’t as delicate as I once thought.

Occasionally we will hang dry the sheets over our banister to let it air dry to completion. We make our bed in the early evening and enjoy for another two weeks.

For those seeking simplicity in their lives, I really think linen sheets are a worthy consideration. Whether or not you choose linen as your fabric of choice, having only one set is a minimalist must. The decorative pillows are Flecha Pillows in Cream gifted from Territory Design, the book I am reading is The Vanishing Half, and my pajama set and scrunchie are from a boutique store in San Clemente called Melrose in the OC, although a similar product can be found here and here.

Below are a few Parachute favorites to welcome the colder seasons, and this simple lifestyle. Even though linen is my own personal bedding choice, there are other options that may better fit your lifestyle!

Top Parachute Home Winter Bedroom Picks

1. Honeycomb Duvet Cover Set 2. Washed Velvet Quilt 3. Vintage Linen Bed Cover 4. Linen Venice Set 5. Washed Velvet Sham 6. Oversized Knit Throw

Self-Care Guide for Health Professionals

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I know it’s year 2020 and all, but health care professionals have always had a tough job. Hence, the idea to write a post about caring for the self for health professionals. While I don’t represent all workers in the medical field, I also know many of them can relate to the routine exhaustion one feels in the physical, mental and emotional sense. Not only is dentistry back-breaking work (think hunch-back- of-Notre-Dame), it also requires mental concentration (we are making tenths-of-millimeters-micromovements inside a tiny cavity) and emotional stamina (the minute the patient’s chair leans back, their everyday lives come spewing out). Sometimes I wear the hat of clinician, while other times, I simply play the role of listener. I have to help anxious patients through to the other side of treatment, as well as psychologically support depressed patients through to the other side of life. It’s a fulfilling job, but also a taxing one.

Many times, I come home with no one to fully understand the tolls of my work. Mike wonderfully understands that having dinner ready and giving me space to decompress with yoga is very important. He understands that on some days, I simply don’t want to talk. But he doesn’t really know the why. Sometimes, I feel guilt over acting selfishly, but as clinicians, we need to start removing that word from our vocabulary. You aren’t selfish because you need me-time after giving everyone else their me-time.

This past weekend, I took four days off to vacation with family on the coast of Southern California. My sister-in-law joined us Friday afternoon after her four clients. She also works in health care as a psych therapist. She joined us after a hectic day, and still had a few clinical notes to write. I noted that she looked a bit tired and she mentioned that some of her clients are especially draining, not in the physical sense, but in the mental and emotional sense. She even has one client currently on suicide watch who constantly occupies her mind. We talked of the tiresome nature of healthcare and agreed on the importance of taking care of ourselves first. We also noted that while we are excellent care-takers of others, we usually fail to save room for us.

This is a reminder to all health-care professionals that self-care is key to success. And sometimes, the only person who would be able to give you that space is yourself. If you are a reader who knows of a health-care professional, make sure to check in on them during this time. You might be surprised at their sadness, tiredness, weakness, or loneliness. Below, I wrote a simple guide to taking care.

Self-Care Guide

+ Practice deep breathing in between seeing patients. Deep breathing is something I first picked up from yoga class ten years ago. Yoga itself is a practice focused on returning to the breath, which has been called our “life-force”. Returning to the breath is the last thing on a clinician’s mind. The immediacy of our work and the need that our patients have far exceed our willingness to turn inward and work on ourselves. However, I implore all clinicians to consider deep breathing. This practice was first recommended to me by a wellness coach, Michaela Puterbaugh of Starting from Within and it has been a real game-changer! I would highly advise getting a wellness coach like Michaela (you can book a consultation here), but if that is not your vibe, then deep-breathing is the one thing I learned to do that helped me most with my career. It’s simple. Before running to your next patient, stop by an office or a break-room or a quiet corner and breathe in for five seconds, hold at the top for five seconds, and breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat five times, then you’re good to go. I guarantee that your patients will notice and feel the difference in you. (PS: It helps to close your eyes.)

+ Stretch throughout the day. Many dentists end their careers earlier than they would like due to body aches and pains. Hospital workers also suffer from the same. Nurses and physical therapists have to carry and assist disabled bodies and the elderly. To be honest, physical tolls extend past the medical field and also applies to hospitality workers who stand on their feet all day and desk workers hunched in static postures in front of LED screens (blue light blockers for the win!). Stretching simply makes sense; for everybody. I picked up stretching advice from a continuing education course on ergonomics. There are certain stretches especially helpful to dentists, so I would seek professional advice regarding specific careers. For dentists, the upper back and shoulder muscles, as well as the core muscles, will help alleviate lower back pain and that hunched-back-look. Just like deep-breathing, this can be done in between patients or during any break. After work, I make it a point to roll out my Manduka mat and join a CorePower LIVE session to create movement in my body. I even took my mat on vacation with us this past weekend! That’s how important stretching is to me. Not getting on my mat is like a surfer not getting out on the water. Speaking of water…

+ Drink plenty of water. We are constantly moving from room to room and it’s very easy to forget about the water bottle we have sitting next to our desks. But wherever you choose to do stretches or deep breathing, keep a bottle of water close at hand. It also helps to have a habit built around staying hydrated. I drink two glasses right when I wake up and an entire glass before my shift. Between the start of my workday and lunch time, I make sure to finish at least another bottle. The same standard applies between lunch and the end of my shift. Then when I get off work, I drink two glasses straight away. My water bottle from Kinto_USA is quite portable and the tab at the top of the lid makes it easy to take with me wherever I go. If water is not your favorite drink, why don’t you try tossing pomegranate slices into your bottle or dress it up with ice? Check out my thoughts on staying hydrated!

+ Find someone to talk to. I know that Mike doesn’t fully understand everything that happens at the dental office, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to when I come home. It also helps that he is a great listener. My daily recaps help release any negative energy that I take home. But don’t get me wrong – dentistry isn’t ALL bad. Talking to someone is also a great time to celebrate the daily wins and highlights, a time to practice gratitude for a rewarding job. Of course, the person you choose does not have to be the same person every day. It can be different people, too. As long as you schedule a few moments to connect with someone outside of work, you’ll find less tension and stress when you unwind for the evening. (Sage tip: Don’t dwell on your workday alone. There are other things to address in life.)

+ Eat healthy. It’s hard to follow our own mantras of consuming healthy foods when we return home stressed and over-worked. I’d be the first to admit that fruits and veggies are not on my mind after a long day and if it weren’t for my husband making nutritious meals for us every day, I would probably be quick to order to-go foods a few nights a week. However, we must follow what we preach. I try to consume only one cup of black coffee a day (otherwise I’d live from coffee to the grave), and balance it with a cup of ceremonial-grade matcha green tea in the evening. I try to choose dark chocolate (88% cocoa or more) for dessert, and fresh fruits from the farmer’s market for snacks. I use a budget to monitor how often we dine out and we still try to follow our zero plastic diet religiously. Skip the temptation by choosing not to buy those bags of chips – or whatever else that has a gravitational pull during your weakest moments. Shop in such a way that sets you up for success.

+ Wind down the mind. In the evenings, I make it a point to wind down my mind. I try to do yoga after work to enter a calm state of energy. Afterwards, I shower and make myself a cup of tea and spend the evening writing or reading. This is the time I also connect with the people I live with. I check on my plants and move them around frequently, and I follow a skincare routine. I recently discovered The Nue Co.’s supplemental spray called Magnesium Ease, which I massage into my skin to help alleviate muscle tension and to improve my sleep. (Fun fact: 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium!).

+ Get full night’s sleep. Lastly, but most importantly, is sleep. I value sleep more than I value coffee – which is saying something! I make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep (nine hours is my optimal sleep-time). On weekends, I can sleep as long as 12 hours although luckily, I value my mornings too much to oversleep often. In our home, we sleep around ten in the evening and wake up when Theo meowls for food at six in the morning. I know that many clinicians tend to be night owls due to the nature of our work (late shifts and night shifts are common), but may I suggest abiding by your circadian rhythm? I cherish sleep knowing that I am more helpful to others when I sleep well. For those who have trouble sleeping, you may find these sleep drops helpful!

If you are in the medical field and have somehow come across this self-care guide, I hope it finds you well. For those who need a helping hand with mental wellness, do reach out to a professional. My sister-in-law is practicing in Southern California and is offering video services. I would also like to recommend Michaela Puterbaugh for overall health and wellness coaching as she has helped me balance life earlier this year.

For those curious about the supplements that I recommended, they are from The Nue Co., a company making supplements that you can feel working! Receive 15% off your first order with code NUE15 (affiliate links above). I am really excited about what this company is producing and have ordered the sleep drops for my mom and the magnesium ease for myself. They provide many other supplements that aid with sleep, stress, gut health, and immunity. I would definitely check them out!

The Ever-Growing List of Ways to Earn Extra Income

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

There are two paths to growing wealth: spend less money, and earn more money. I have already addressed the former in my Ever-Growing List of Things I’ve Given Up in the Name of Frugality. It’s about time I address the latter.

I am ALL about the side-hustle. I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working multiple part-time jobs and creating side hustles. I had three jobs in Undergrad at the same time, and worked after school in dental school. Job titles that I’ve held include Jamba Juice worker, Jamba Juice Training Mentor, Banana Republic Visuals Specialist and Retail Associate, Dental Assistant, Private tutor, Tutor at a tutoring company, University Librarian, Rover Dog-Sitter, Baker at Rye Goods, Owner of Aero Bakery, Dentist, and Blogger. I have earned extra money writing entire websites as well as guest-writing for people, being a “lab-rat” for all sorts of University research studies, baby-sitting, baking treats for parties, and other random title-less positions.

I know COVID-19 has caused many people to lose their jobs. I hope this post finds you, somehow. There are endless ways to earn money. There is no reason to stick to what your degree or license is on. Many jobs require very little experience, and honestly most of what I did I learned along the way. I had no culinary degree and yet I reached out to a bakery via Instagram and asked for work. I took the only shift available (the early shift from 2am to 6am) and balanced it with my 5-day-workweek as a dentist. From there, I learned how to open my own bakery and manage that from the comforts of my home.

Likewise, I had only lived with my family dog for four years, but I deemed myself good enough for dog-sitting. I simply applied on the Rover App which only required a few lines of information and a few essays as to why I would be a good fit.

I have never changed diapers in my life but I sure as heck volunteered to babysit. I used to dabble in writing and somehow, I was paid to write all of the content of an entire website at the age of 20. No one gave me permission to create a blog, or be on podcasts, or half of the other things I ended up doing. But I did them, and you can too. All you need to do is throw yourself out on a limb, ask people around you how you can be of service, and give yourself the permission to try, and fail, and grow. You need to be vocal, confident, and trusting of your skills and talents. I believe every person has a long-list of things to contribute, and by offering to do so, we not only make ourselves richer but those around us richer too.

Onwards with my ever-growing list of ways to earn extra income.

  • Start a blog. I use WordPress as my hosting site and I started this blog for free. I first learned I could earn money for this blog through this course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I then turned the blog into a business site which costs a yearly fee, but the money you earn from your blog can easily offset that fee. I would highly recommend growing your e-mail list via ConvertKit so that you can reach even more people.
  • Create an E-Course. I created my first E-Course called Mastering A Budget. My course is FREE but for those looking to sell their courses, I highly recommend Teachable. It is such an easy program to use, and I know many people who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars via Teachable. Write E-courses on things you care about or know a lot about. Trust that what you have to teach people is valuable!
  • Save electricity. We participate in OhmEvents and shut down our electricity during high-usage times. The first month, we earned $80. The second month, we earned $70. You can earn over a thousand dollars a year saving electricity. It can even pay for your utility bills for the year! Sign up using my affiliate link to OhmConnect and start earning now. If you use my affiliate link to sign up, you will automatically earn $20!
  • Pet-sit. There are many apps from which to pet-sit, but the one I use and recommend is Rover. You can choose to dog-sit either at the pet’s home or your home, walk dogs, or just swing by and check up on dogs! Getting paid to play with pets is the best!
  • De-clutter your stuff and sell them on Poshmark. I recently discovered Poshmark and have had high success selling my things on this platform. I make about $50 a month selling things on Poshmark. It’s also a good place to shop responsibly and frugally (see my previous post here).
  • Baby-sit. There are many parents who need baby-sitters. Especially now that WFH is more common. Over-whelmed, over-worked, and over-extended parents need a break! Guess who can offer their services…
  • Clean Homes. If you know how to clean, then you have gold on your hands. I know many people who hire others to clean their homes for them on a weekly basis. If you don’t mind getting on your hands and knees and you like to work in solidarity, then perhaps cleaning homes is the right gig for you. Plus, nowadays, professional cleaners are much needed! Turn on a Spotify playlist and get to work.
  • Drive for Uber or Lyft. After your day shift, drive in the evening for one of these companies. I heard that certain nights and weekends are popping. My brother did this for a while during his year between undergrad and dental school. He mostly drove around the city that he already lives in. It’s a great gig for night owls.
  • Deliver food via PostMates, GrubHub, or Amazon (Whole Foods). Food delivery has become increasingly popular and there is prestige to becoming a Whole Foods delivery person (I hear there’s a daily waitlist!).
  • Create Websites. Know a little bit of code? Understand the basics of websites? It’s okay. I didn’t either but look at me now! I am not tech-savvy. I have problems when my phone updates. And here I have built this space from scratch. Offer your services to someone who is just starting their business. I am sure they have a lot of other things to worry about. Create their website, learn along the way, take their feedback, and keep tweaking.
  • Be a photographer or videographer. Nowadays, almost anyone can turn these hobbies into a real job – that earns decent income! You can sell your pictures online so that others can print them and frame them around the house. Or you can shoot for events or companies. Just ask around. There are many people who need professional pictures. It is the digital age, after all.
  • Tutor. I used to tutor high school level math, Spanish, biology, and chemistry. I do think that everyone has something to offer. Tutor music, dance, finance, basic life-skills. Hold virtual classes via Zoom. Do something fun, like teaching a class on how to make a latte. Or how to tend to plants. Do a workshop of calligraphy – and make it a series! The word is at your fingertips.
  • Lead Yoga and Gym Classes. My best friend is a yoga teacher for CorePower Yoga. And although gyms are closed now, you can always make yoga videos on Youtube and get paid after a certain number of views. Or you can host a Zoom meeting and have people tune in. Charge them a registration fee and give them access to your Zoom room after they’ve paid. It doesn’t have to be a work-out class in person.
  • Be a professional de-clutterer or home organizer. People are stuck in their homes. They have turned their attention to long-ignored spaces. (I know I have). The de-cluttering craze has gone viral (was it not already?). But many people give up half-way through because of the rigorous process and the overwhelm. I have a friend who started a business that helps people de-clutter their homes. Consultations via Zoom or Facetime are easy to set-up. Help people create the ideal WFH spaces.
  • Work Part-Time at a Grocery Store, Bakery, Restaurant, Hotel, Coffee Shop, Retail Store, etc. This one ends up being the hardest gig to land in 2020. Who knew? But as the economy reopens, be prepared. Keep an eye out. You’ll likely have to play the numbers game and apply to as many opportunities as you can, but don’t give up!

Over time, I will add to this ever-growing list. Feel free to chime in!

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Five Favorite Fall Outfits

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I like formulas. I speak of not just the math variety, but the life variety, too. My simple lifestyle depends on tried and true equations that have been proven to work well for me. These formulas apply to every aspect of my life, from morning rituals to my capsule wardrobe.

For example, my go-to morning ritual: drink two cups of water, stretch, write three things I’m grateful for, make a pour-over coffee and breakfast.

My formula for breakfast options are: Avo Toast + Everything Bagel Seasoning, Berry Scones, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Pancakes with Berries and Whipped Cream or Oatmeal and Blueberries. I hardly stray from those five choices.

My favorite dinner recipes are: Salmon + Rice, Tomato Olive Oil Pasta + Parmesan Crusted Chicken, or Coconut Crusted Chicken + Yellow Curry.

You get the drift.

By having these formulas memorized and ever-ready, I reduce the overwhelm that many millennials feel due to a plethora of choices. Decision fatigue is what they’re calling it. Reducing anxiety and time spent on life decisions makes way for life itself.

So, too, does it go with a capsule wardrobe. You don’t need much to get you through this season. Below are some formulas for Fall clothing, featuring a few of my favorite companies: Eileen Fisher, Everlane, Jenni Kayne, and Nisolo. Of course, I wouldn’t condone buying an entire wardrobe just for Fall. I find that each season, I add about one article of clothing and cycle out another. My go-to Fall outfit of choice would be the one pictured above: an Eileen Fisher wool coat, Everlane’s tank dress, with one of Nisolo’s newest releases – a heeled boot.

Below are a few other formulas to go by.

WFH

Eileen Fisher Sweater, Everlane Leggings, Jenni Kayne Slippers

Brunch Date

Jenni Kayne Linen Jumpsuit, Eileen Fisher Vest, Nisolo’s Dark Olive Mule Clogs

Weekend Errands

Everlane’s Chocolate-Colored Corduroy Pants, Jenni Kayne Wool Shirt, and Nisolo Kicks.

Evening Out

Everlane Japanese Jumpsuit, Eileen Fisher Silk Scarf, and Nisolo Slip Ons.

How I Made $369.18 in September 2020 Blogging From Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I started blogging right after graduating from dental school without ever thinking I’d earn money from it. At the time, I turned to this blog as a place to record my daily life. Ever since teenhood, I have kept some sort of journal or diary, which has evolved over time from paper to Xanga to Melodramatic, and now onto WordPress. For almost twenty years, I’ve processed information through writing, but never once did I think I would earn money from it.

It’s been three years since owning this site but I am happy to say that it is now getting a little bit of traction and has started to earn me a little income. If I wasn’t working as a dentist during the day, I could see how this could become a steady day job. Still, even with my day job, it had turned into a fun side-hustle for me. I decided to log my earnings for my own personal tracking but also to share publicly how much one can make blogging from home.

Now that remote work seems to be in the near future for many, I do think that blogging is a good option for people who wish to work from home. Likewise, it is an opportunity to be your own boss and have your own space. Since you are writing your own content, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to, which I know can be a good or bad thing. Of course, you can always practice habits that will separate work from home. Lastly, this is a great hobby or job for creative people. You have autonomy over how to execute your ideas and thoughts, making this a very freeing experience for those who don’t quite fall neatly into a traditional work environment or big company hierarchy.

But first, how did I start to monetize the blog?

If you are new to blogging, you may not know that you can earn income from owning such a space. I certainly didn’t. But then I took this course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketingand it changed my life.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is working with brands that you love in order to spread the word about their products and in return receiving commissions for any referred patrons. Sometimes these are physical products from almost any company you can think of. Other times, they are intellectual products such as courses or services that help improve other people’s lives. The best part is that you don’t have to “sell out” to do affiliate marketing. You don’t have to scheme or cheat people. For me, it’s really just promoting companies that I believe in. For example, the companies I choose to partner with are those that promote sustainably sourced products using fair trade and ethical factory conditions. I like to promote small name businesses trying to create social or environmental impact. I try to keep it to an exclusive few even though I’ve been approved for over 2,000 different companies (so far).

There are a few nuances to affiliate marketing and I didn’t know much about it prior to the course. But the course helped me to learn A LOT and it’s just another case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You could learn it all yourself, but it’s hard to without a guide to get you through the basics.

I highly recommend this course if you wish to monetize your blog but don’t know where to start.

Extra Income Report

Now, onto the numbers. In September 2020, I made $370 in extra income.

Of that, this is the breakdown:

  • $333 is from sponsored posts. I count the monetary value of products that I receive as “income”. I do not accept products for review without first learning about the company and product. As a minimalist, I also only look for products that we currently need. I am honest in all my product reviews and list both pros and cons because I want to be as helpful to the consumer and the company, both.
  • The rest of the income was due to affiliate link commissions.

I believe that September was an average month. So far, since March of 2020, I have earned $1778!!

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but as something I do for fun, I think it’s a nice little additional income. Over time, I hope to continue posting more income reports. Maybe it will help others looking for a side-hustle get a feel for whether blogging could become an alternative for them.

As always, my goal with this blog is to promote intentional living. Writing is a way to create a lifestyle that is in tune with what you want to do. Sure, it may not be the perfect job, but if working from home and having flexibility help allow you to live your dream life (one that includes traveling the world or becoming a stay-at-home parent), then I hope this space brings you that value.

If you are interested in starting a blog, I use WordPress. Feel free to sign up using my affiliate link.

If you already have a blog, I want to refer you to the course that helped me monetize mine. It’s a really great starting point. It’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Monthly Goals: October 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

For the first time since 2020 began, I am finally starting to feel myself take root in this thing I call life. Even after my brother moved back to Arizona to start his second year of dental school and my sister moved to Madrid, Spain to start her two-year contract at the global university; even after my mother returned to working with children in person at school, scoping out the terrain in this brave new world, I find myself where I have been since the start of my teen-hood. Despite the changes, only now am I feeling a sense of home.

Today my roommate asked if I thought our life would be where it is now without COVID. Definitely, 100% no. I know it’s easy to harbor negative feelings, but I see all the positive things, too.

Without COVID, I wouldn’t have spent as much time reconnecting with my past life, putting my future life on pause, and creating the space for the now that bridges the gap between the two. I would have continued working six days a week, making a whirl-wind of activity my measurement for a “productive” life. I wouldn’t have focused my attention inward nor would I have created a home worth staying in. Instead, I had plans to travel to Japan, the Maldives, Hawaii … Now I find myself thinking that staying anywhere other than my own home is less-than.

I really want to continue this grounded-ness into October. Partly because I am genuinely loving the refreshing vibes exuding from my current lifestyle. Partly because not much has changed and what choice do we have?

Well, we still have autonomy over our thoughts.

We can choose to turn with the tide. We can choose to embrace the stillness. We can choose to believe that there is something that we can offer ourselves – something we can’t find in anyone or anything else. We can choose to practice gratitude for what is already here. We can try to bridge the gap within the whirl-winds we’ve created. We can calm the storm. We can listen to the burning fires within. We can ask why things are the way they are. We can choose what comes next. We can create the worlds in which we see ourselves living in. We can decide if COVID has been bad to us or has it been good?

As I continue to reap the benefits of having nothing to look forward to, I question whether it’s such a bad thing after all. I had a patient come in one day after the California fires wreaked havoc amidst the hottest heat wave of the year and he said to me, “Perhaps all of this is just a sign from above telling us to stay indoors and be still.”

Even if it weren’t as ethereal as he posed, there is a heavy weight in his words. Also, a light heart.

October 2020

  • Wake up at 6am and sleep at 10pm
  • Write three things to be grateful for every morning
  • Talk to my sister who lives in Spain once a week
  • Do at-home yoga sessions five times a week
  • No Instagram for leisure – only for blog work
  • Write 30 minutes every day
  • Switch out summer ice cream for dark chocolate
  • Decrease the number of patients being seen
  • Stay hydrated
  • Learn two songs on the guitar
  • Study French
  • Read two books
  • Explore two new places
  • Be present

My favorite home upgrades this year:

– A mattress top and two pillows that helps soothe dentistry-related spinal and shoulder pain. Prior to these two game-changers, I was spending Saturdays laying on the couch, too stiff to move. This is the purchase that improved my life most significantly. It is what allows me to continue practicing dentistry and I cannot stress the importance of having decent support when you sleep! I have referred LEESA to a high-school friend who just moved into a new house and she and her husband love their mattress! Also, my brother and his girlfriend have both tried out our mattress and pillows when they were house-sitting for us one weekend and they told me that it was the best night of sleep they have ever had. She now also owns the same pillow as ours. I would highly recommend buying this product straight-away. It is never too late to start caring for your posture. Your 100-year-old self will thank you. If you are going to buy the mattress, check out my review here. Right now, you can get $350 OFF and a free protector too!

– Alternatively, a couch to sink into, especially during hard times. The couch is an Ikea Soderhamn couch – a Scandinavian design that has become a global icon – re-vamped with a Bemz cover. Depending on the cover you choose, you can make the Soderhamn look like a Restoration Hardware Cloud Sectional or a mid-century modern sofa from West Elm! We wanted to make sure we got a color we would like so I first ordered the five free fabric swatches before ordering the actual cover.

– Parachute linens that makes us want to spend all day in bed. These linen sheets are a beautiful color, although this would be great for the Fall season, too!

– A pair of speakers from which to play our vinyl collection. They are currently $49 off and are absolutely beautiful in white. They’ve got great sound, too. I stopped listening to music sometime two years ago. I think I just got carried away focusing on all my “jobs”. I told myself I didn’t have time for “noise”. Now, I enjoy my weekends deep-cleaning the home, occasionally sipping coffee, while playing some tunes on our record player. This newly added mid-century media console from West Elm perfectly hides the speakers when they aren’t in use. Currently, West Elm is hosting a sale – 15% off furniture, 40% off bedding, and 30% off rugs.

– A Parachute shower curtain and a new CB2 towel rod. Right now, they have 25% off rugs and 50% off clearance items. More importantly, my birthday gift – a bathroom wall-painting project completed with Mike and my parents one summer Saturday. And for those looking for a shower curtain liner, this is the one. So in love, no signs of mildew or soap scum yet!!

– Lastly, this La Marzocco latte machine, giving us the coffee shop we’ve always dreamed of. We never go out for coffee now. Mike sold his motorcycle which was rendered useless due to his non-existent commute and used the money to buy a Linea Mini, the machine of his dreams. He has spent every day since enjoying it.