7 Important Steps for Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Habits usually start out as slow steps or small choices that lead to actions becoming a part of our daily routine. Before we know it years can go by as unhealthy habits can be our safe place, our crutch, our sense of sanctuary. We may not even realize we are performing some of these habits, they become part of our subconscious operation. Like most challenges in life, breaking old cycles and creating new ones in our habits and coping mechanisms requires a thoughtful holistic approach.

1) Identify the Actual Root Cause

It’s vital to not only identify what the habit is, but WHY you even perform this action in the first place. I can’t say I’ve ever met a smoker who claims to use tobacco products because they enjoy coughing or raising their cancer risk. Smoking is typically bore from the need for calm and stress relief, until it becomes a physical craving and need. Stress can manifest in a wide array of behaviors such as nail biting, over-eating, angry outbursts, smoking, drinking, I’ve even met people who had slowly removed their eyelashes from plucking them during stressful times. Stress is just one variable in unhealthy habits. Understanding why, can help you identify a plan of action.

Some examples of Root Cause of habits: 

• Overeating due to equating food with love and safety

• Smoking related to stress and seeking relief from our bodies nicotinic receptors

• Nail Biting, Hair pulling, Skin Picking due to anxiety

• Excessive Consumption of Sugar/Carbs can change your Gut Flora to naturally crave them more

• Excessive Screen time on TV or Phone as a need to escape reality

• Being a Pack Rat of items out of a fear of loneliness or loss

2) Identify Triggers

After Identifying the Root Cause, you want to prepare for urges by recognizing what triggers your habit. It’s easy to say you will rely on your will power, but if we’re not prepared for the moments of weakness we become easy prey to mental chains of comfort and habit. You can identify triggers by reflecting on what is going on when you perform the habit and journaling is a powerful way to keep track of and identify triggers. For example, maybe you pick your skin when you’re nervous, so you create a plan by buying a stress ball instead. This will keep your hands busy. Ideally, you can remove the trigger from your routine or environment. However, if you cannot entirely avoid the trigger you can create an action place for alternative steps to take. This leads to point number 3..

3) Replace the Habit with a Healthier Alternative

The Quitting “Cold Turkey” Approach to breaking a habit is often unsuccessful for many, and It’s not due to lack of willpower. If you look into how the human brain works we operate on complex systems, connections, and subconscious workings that direct all of our choices big or small. Willpower has nothing to do with it. By simply stopping a bad habit, you are creating a void in your routine and coping mechanisms that leaves room for over indulgence of said habit or you may even replace one habit for another. For example, folks who quit smoking may be prone to snacking to replace the time lost in their routine and lack of another healthy alternative. It’s true, we’re not actually “Breaking Habits” but what we are actually doing is exchanging harmful behavior for a more constructive one. If you love soda, consider seltzer or flavored water in replacement. Instead of smoking you may find relief with the oral fixation and (especially if you like menthol) chewing gum or mints for the minty shock to the taste palette.

4) Enlist a Support Person or Group

Enlist anyone you trust to be a support to you while you’re making changes in your lifestyle. Sometimes we indulge in our habits when nobody is watching, and this can make the indulgence even sweeter. However, if there are loved ones helping you hold yourself accountable for your behavior it becomes a little harder to mentally push aside the consequences of our actions. You can’t depend on another person to be your only motivation, but It does help to have a trusted shoulder to lean on to avoid temptations and celebrate our victories.

5) Small Goals are Much Less Daunting

I’m guilty of wanting results FAST. If I don’t see big change or the (often unrealistic) goals I set for myself I feel like giving up entirely. However, this isn’t the best way to be kind to yourself or create a long term plan! For example, if you are trying to find healthier snack alternatives but don’t like many fruits or vegetables start with slow and subtle changes. My guilty pleasure is potatoes!  And who doesn’t love a fresh cut French fries (or Chips for my UK Pals!). I allow myself to have them every once in a blue moon, but without self-restraint I could indulge in them multiple days a week. Instead of frying them you can consider baking them in the oven or air fryer with delicious seasonings. You’re still getting the potatoes, but it’s prepared in a better way by being baked rather than fried in grease. Small Steps for the win! If you wish to get more exercise, start small with only a few days a week at home rather than signing up for a gym, making extensive exercise regimens, and starting slow can prevent injury. Moral of the story here is, small changes are much easier to face than massive life upheavals. Humans naturally enjoy routine, changing the routine too fast can lead to failure.

6) Give Yourself Grace and Patience

Remember as I said at the beginning of the post, our unhealthy habits can form over or sustain themselves for many years. These habits may even feel like part of our identity. Celebrity Model Ashley Graham is a perfect example of this.  A few years ago, she was shamed online and in social media by many folks claiming her choice to lose weight meant she wasn’t an advocate for full bodied women. You may feel a loss of identity with you let go of certain habits. These habits that likely formed over many years of experiences, environmental factors, and maybe even forces outside our control will not go away overnight. If they took years to form, they will take time to break and replace. If you stumble and give in along the way, recognize even though it is a setback, it’s NOT the end of the line. Forgive yourself, be kind to yourself, as you would if you were supporting your loved one in your shoes.

7) Recognize When you Need Professional Help

It’s important to recognize that sometimes a habit is more than just some bad choices or behavior. If your habit has taken control of your routine to the point where you cannot function in daily life without it, you may be faced with an addiction or an issue such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. With an addiction or diagnosable disease you will require some form of support and need tools for coping and manifesting a healthy lifestyle. All the steps above are helpful, but they will not be sufficient for dealing with a serious condition such as addiction. It sounds cliché, but it’s very true that the first step to change is being able to recognize that you have a problem. You wouldn’t let your loved ones suffer in silence, so why would you do that to yourself?

Refreshing Night Time Routine

I loooove night time! Day time is a time to get things done but night time is my absolute favorite because it’s my “me” time.

It’s a time I can retreat into my bedroom, turn on my diffuser, and light up my Himalayan salt lamp.

Before I hop into my cozy sheets for some Facebook scrolling, Pinterest pursuing, and Netflix binge I take a shower and wash my face.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

It’s strange to say but washing my face at night makes my day feel complete. I can only use Lush products because they don’t break out my super sensitive skin.

I couldn’t take bubble baths until I discovered their bubble bars (Bewitched & French Kiss are my two favorites).

Why A Night Time Routine?

For me it’s a time to help me wind down from the day. To let go of all the stress I’ve been carrying around for the day. A time to be myself, listen to my thoughts and sort them out, have a cup of lemon tea and rewatch an episode of Gilmore Girls for the 1000th time.

These three products are my go to’s for my nightly skin care routine. They make my face feel so fresh, soft, and clean.

Angels on bare skin – is a gently-exfoliating cleanser with a light herbal-lavender scent that balances both oil and dryness to leave your skin feeling soft, supple and comfortably clean.

Breathe of fresh air – gives dry skin a little pick me up with soothing aloe vera and rose spritzer with hints of cleansing rosemary and mineral-rich sea water.

Cosmetic lad – not only for the lads, but it works well to combat the irritation and redness that can follow regular shaving. Soothing ingredients make it ideal for all sensitive skin types.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

 

By the way, none of these links are affiliated. I’m not an affiliate of Lush, I just love their products and wanted you to check them out for yourself if you’re interested.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

There is a show on The Cooking channel which I love watching but anyway, the show is called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. I can’t pick just one though. I’ve been eating for 30 years and I have so many favorite!

The best thing I ever ate
If these photos don’t make you drool even just a little then you’re not living your life right, I’m just kidding – I know you love your life. I hope you love your life because you only get one of them. Anyway, enough motivation because that is for another post. However you can visit “My Guide To Confidence In 6 steps” if you need a little self love at this very moment, or you can pin this post and come back when you have time to read it through.

The mocha pudding from a place at Carolina Beach that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant. Look at it though, how can you not want to grab a spoon and devour it?! The mocha and the caramel are made for each other when it comes to this dessert.

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Chocolate Lasagna & Zeppoli from Olive Garden, don’t knock it until you try it! It’s so rich and the cream choose brings together the chocolate mousse and the thin chocolate layers of cake. There are shavings a top the lasagna to top it off and it makes it so pretty but you can’t wait to dig in. You can definitely share it with someone else became it is a little on the rich side.

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Roscoto wine is my favourite! It’s a sweet wine that pairs well with desserts so a glass or two with the chocolate lasagna. You can get Rosocto ate Total Wine, trust me if you like a sweet red wine then you’ll want to be all over this!
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Not Your Mama’s Banana a Pudding is absolutely amazing! When I first tasted it my mother and were in Savanah, the first time checking out the scenery and doing the tourist thing we decided we wanted to see what the hype was about Paula Dean’s restaurant. I found the recipe from The Food Network and I fell in love as well as every event I’ve taken it to.

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I hope this post has satisfied your sweet teeth in a very cyber way, if that’s a thing. I hope you stick around because I may keep up and add on top this post as I find new favorites.

 

What is one of your favorite foods that you can’t wait to shovel into your mouth?

My Guide to Confidence in 6 Steps

Wow…This is my first guest blog!

When I first started blogging, the thing I was most excited about was having other people read my thoughts and hear my advice. But then, when I started writing, I was like ‘woah.. this means I am totally vulnerable to criticism!’

This, I’m sure, is relatable for so many people – not just bloggers! If you’re applying for a promotion and you’re asked to present to a group, you may feel vulnerable and insecure about your ideas in the same way.

Nonetheless to strive for what we want, we absolutely must remove ourselves from our comfort zone and remind ourselves of a few very important things.

For my first ever Guest Blog post, I’d like to share with you some advice on confidence. It’s something we; lack, build, lose and encourage. But how? And why?

My Guide to Confidence in 6 Steps

Confidence is a feeling of belief or faith in someone that you can rely on. It is a mindset and ‘someone’ can be yourself or anyone else.

We are encouraged to be confident from such a young age, but the methods to attain it are often never mentioned. One seemingly timeless piece of advice is to ‘imagine everyone is naked’ when giving a speech – has this ​really ever worked for anyone?

So, since lockdown, I’ve chosen to take some time for reflection. I have reflected upon who I believe I am as a person. Some traits I am sure I can use to describe ‘me’

– such as organised and conscientious. However, when it comes to confidence, I can’t quite make my mind up.

It is so natural to be confident in certain settings over others. You may find that in the office you are comfortable chatting with lots of different people and have no trouble with being the centre of attention, thus, confident. However, when faced with your In-Laws, it may be a different story and you may feel less confident in your own abilities to hold a conversation.

 This is normal! We often find ourselves changing our persona depending on who we are surrounded by and our confidence may fluctuate depending on how comfortable we are in any given social setting.

You may be reading this and ask yourself ‘but how do I become more confident?’ You may be quite introverted and want to put yourself out there a little more.

Well, here are my tips on how to become a more confident person. Some may come across as blatantly obvious – but I feel it is important to remind yourself of these things. Others may be less obvious – I hope you make a mental note of these and remind yourself when needed.

Your goals surrounding confidence will differ, as will your reasonings. Nonetheless, I hope you find my advice useful! Here goes…

  1. ALWAYS Stay True to Yourself

It is so important and possibly my number one piece of advice for just about anything you want to achieve. In this case, you want to gain confidence. The most effective way to do this is be sure of yourself and what you stand for. You’re going to need to know what it is you want (I’ll come back to this later on) but most of all, you needtoknoww​hy.​Whydoyouneedtoportrayconfidenceinasocialsettingwith high profile members of a particular organisation? ‘​To make an impression, make yourself known and to put you in good stead for a career.’ ​Whatever the reason, you need to understand your motives and stay true to who you are and what you wish to achieve.

  1. Write Down Your Goals

A major factor in confidence is the belief that what you want to achieve can actually come to fruition. I know it sounds cliche, but you really can achieve what you set your mind to. The moment you start doubting this is the moment your confidence lacks and you begin to falter or deviate from your goals. So, by writing them down in an assertive way, you will be able to more easily envisage yourself achieving them.

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If you are creative, make your page colourful and pretty. If you are more pragmatic, organise your goals into; personal, relationships, work and exercise, etc. However you choose to write down your goals, you must articulate it in a way that sounds as though it is already your reality. For instance, ‘I will get a promotion’ or ‘I will save enough money for a house.’ This allows us to more easily visualise ourselves living our goals with confidence…

  1. Visualization

This is an age old technique but it is so effective and has certainly worked for me. To visualise your goals, you are imagining your life as though your aspirations are achieved. This makes the goal more realistic and allows you to see the good in what you want to achieve. Visualisation of your goals may motivate you to push that much harder for what you want. But not only this, it will help you grow in confidence to work towards what you want. It will leave you in no doubt about what and why you want your life to take a certain path.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection or Failure

Part of growing in confidence is to strive for things, however, what holds a lot of people back is the idea of rejection or failure. This is totally understandable, however, it is something we must overcome to grow in confidence and achieve our goals. So, how do we do that? Although easier said than done, we must not be afraid of rejection by others or failures. To be rejected by a new employer or by failing to achieve what we wanted to, we are simply creating new learning experiences to carry forward to your next venture. For instance, you apply for a new job at a different firm.

You are successful in your written application but do not get the job after your interview. This is not a failure because you have gained invaluable application and interview experience for a job that you will get elsewhere at a later date. (Always try to receive some feedback in this instance, too!) One handy tip is to walk away from your interview and write notes and tips for your future self! Whatever form rejection may take, you need to remember that you’re still progressing towards your goals, and

 this experience will give you the confidence to do so in the near future. Don’t give up!

  1. Build Positive Relationships

I have spoken about this in my previous blogposts on’​ Protecting Your Energy,​’ however, it is so important to build positive and meaningful relationships. Why would we ever choose to be friends with people that try to knock our confidence? Please, please p​ lease s​ urround yourself with people that want to see you succeed and who help you along the way.

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This could be in the form of inviting you to coffee when the know you might be stressed about upcoming deadlines or simply dropping you a message to check in! Likewise, try to b​ e ​this friend to others. You’ll find the world to be a happier place when you build others up.

 

  1. Do What You Love (But Not Always)

My most ambiguous tip.. but an important one, nonetheless. Simply put, it is important to do what you love to build confidence because you are assured in what you are doing and passionate about it, too. However, you should always try to edge yourself out of your comfort zone. You never know … you might just find a new passion or fill your mind with new information, equipping yourself to achieve your goals!

Here I have only scratched the surface in what you can do to build your confidence. Simply reading this blog post will not help you, either. You need to internalise this advice and carry it with you. If you ever feel inadequate or under qualified, you need to remind yourself of these six steps. You are brilliant, you are valuable and you are confident.

Grace x

August Goals: I’m Coming For You August

May-July goals were a complete bust with the lock down, social distancing, and masks. So I’m not even going to try and report those, as there wouldn’t be hardly any thing there to write.

With a little more lenience I can deal with wearing the mask (I got really cute ones from Ken and I love them, you can even get a filter! I picked up this one and this one, so cute!

I’d like to do a little more traveling around local or near to local places but the friend and I are spontaneous so I have no idea when or where we are going. We have had a few adventures like trail rides & rock crawling plus a grueling hiking trip to Catawba Falls waterfall.

August Goals: I’m Coming For You

Miles: To hold myself accountable I want to track at least 10 miles (it’s in the triple digits here and all I’ve got is my neighborhood since the gyms aren’t open. I’m hoping to break that 10 mile mark though

August goals

Books: I hope to read at least one book this month. With all this free time you’d think I’d use it more wisely – I’ve watched a lot of I.D Network & Dr. Phil. I’ve got about 2 books I want to knock out by at least October.

Yoga: I’ve done a little but not as much as I should. I want to practice everyday and it’s not like it’s hard. I’ve just fallen out of practice, maybe explains why I’ve been so moody lately 🤔

Self care: I did get a manicure and a pedicure 2 weeks ago with my best friends whom we haven’t seen in months. With this pandemic it’s been hard to get out to do anything plus the salons were closed. I haven’t even taken a bath with a bubble bar in a few weeks, I’m running low on bubble bars but don’t want to hit up the mall and be around a bunch of people.

Mental health: This is one that’s really taken a hit! My bipolar triggers are through the rough so I have rough days instead of one or two days. Some days I’m so anxious I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin while other days I’m so depressed I can barely get out of bed (would explain the lack of blog posts).

August goals

Social media/blog: I really would like to build my following, I’d love to make money from this blog one day. After I get back into the swing of things I’m going to offer sponsors for $5 a month, I’d love to have you! More info on that as it gets closer.

 

There you have it, my goals I’ll be setting out to accomplish given in this pandemic no one really knows.

I just want to get your perspective as a reader on a few things though:

  1. How’ve you been during this entire thing?
  2. What are the blogging secrets you use?
  3. What would you like to see on Balanced Mochas?

Chasing waterfalls

I know TLC told us not to go chasing waterfalls but but but.. they’re so beautiful!

Last week there was a few adventures, a friend and I had a few days off so we decided to make the most of those days.

We packed our bags and headed 4 hours to Asheville in the western North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains.

Chasing waterfalls: Beautiful Waterfalls Of NC

I love Asheville, it’s such a vibrant city. There are trading companies, chocolatiers, old factories that house local artists, historical architecture, and the beautiful Biltmore Estate (very intriguing couple with an 800 acre estate).

These waterfalls are gorgeous but the photos don’t do them justice. I’ve decided to break them up into two different posts as there is a lot to be said about each beautiful fall.

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First up we have Catawba Falls, which is my favorite!  Catawba Falls consists of two different falls but is one collective fall. There is a hike up to a second waterfall at the top of the mountain.

The 100 foot tall Catawba falls is located 26 miles East of Asheville. In 2012 the U.S. Forest Service opened a parking lot for hiking the waterfall trail in Pisgah National Forest.

There is a footbridge so no rock hoping is required to access the waterfalls allowing visitors to enjoy the falls even when the water is high.

There is a dam and stone fountain that was used as a power generator in the 1900’s but from the trail you can see a waterfall as well as the dam.

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Upper Falls of Catawba

The hike is not for the faint of heart though. The hike to the top is only about 2 miles but you use 3 points of contact (both hands and at least one foot engaged on a root, rock, mountain side or anything you can grab onto to keep you from falling) pretty much the entire time. This falls is very dangerous if you’re not a skilled climber or hiker.

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The trail leads to the 100ft lower falls, with many spots to rest and take photos of the lower falls from different angles and points of views.

This trail is only half a mile but it’ll kick your butt as there are step rocks, slippery mud, narrow trails, this beast wall, and not to mention completely uphill the entire way in high altitude.

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I got a little road rash myself, it happens when your sliding down a narrow trail in fear for every bone in your body, ya know it happens?

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Once you’ve reached the upper waterfall after a strenuous hike (with a few cuss words sprinkled about) you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The water is so cold, pure, and crisp when it touches your skin it sends chills down your spine. Once you get use to the coldness of the serene water pooling from the rushing falls above you’ll enjoy yourself.

We took a little time to enjoy the scenery, take in the smells of nature, and even splash around. We built a few rock structures that we were proud of too.

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I decided to take a breather so I sat my butt i front of this huge boulder rock for a bit. A friend decided he was going to Jenga our rock formations while I relaxed. I saw something slithering out of the corner of my eye to turn around to see a snake swimming 4 inches away from me! I’m deathly terrified of snakes, point blank, end of story!

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After shaking and trying to catch my breath for What seemed like forever I finally got it all together, however I didn’t see where the snake went so I didn’t get back in the water on that side.

 

We had a lot of fun and slept great that night. If you find yourself in Asheville, at least check out the lower falls unless you’re an experienced hiker then definitely check out the upper falls.

Trail Rides and Rock Crawls

The weekend was great, I hung out with friends all weekend. Things were pretty chill on Saturday just out running errands and hanging out with a friend.

Sunday we decided to do a little trail ride and some rock crawling. If you’ve never heard of rock crawling it’s exactly what it sounds like using your truck to climb steep and jagged rocks.

Trail rides and rock crawls

This was the first time I’d been as my friend thought it would be a great introduction, I had the best time!

There were normal trails, cross trails, 80* point turn trails, and the rock walls were insane!

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There were about 50 Jeeps that had shown up. There is a Jeep Facebook group where someone posts where they’ll be and whoever wants to show up can.

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Everyone kind of took a survey of the land for Jeeps that were similar to them and their experience group to decide which group they be in. We pretty much had ours figured out as we’d talked to everyone before hand.

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Everyone had a radio set to the same frequency so we all could communicate incase something happened or needed to happen. The trails are open to dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and side by sides as well. The really cool thing I thought was when we’d meet a group of other Jeeps they’d radio their convoy and whoever had a small pack had to pull over for the biggest pack. All of these trails are one way, which was a little scary for me. We were a big group so we didn’t have to pull over but it’s a little intimidating seeing the spaces full of rock and dirt you had to pull into, on the sides of huge hills.

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Be prepared to hear a few squeaks, scrubs, and scratching. Nothing that’ll mess up the paint on our trail but the underbody took a few hard hits. I fact we broke a sway bar bolt and lost 2 light cover lenses along the way.

The 2 hour drive home with the doors off was a little trying since it had started to rain and we all got soaked but we were laughing and it helped wash the dust off a little. My face was numb by the time we got back because of my hair blowing on my face. My hair was so dusty when I took it out of the pony tail holder it didn’t even fall for it being so dry. Needless to say washing it that night was a curly tangled adventure.

 

Although I was feeling a little nauseous by the end because I hadn’t eaten we decided to go out to eat with my friends sister and her husband. I couldn’t eat then either so I felt like a weirdo but I had good reason but I still felt rude. I felt dehydrated which I’m sure is what made me feel so sick. We decided upon a popular Mexican restaurant which sucked because everyone’s food looked delicious! I couldn’t even drink my sangria, which made me even more sad.

If you get a chance to go trail riding or rock climbing I completely think you should. Be careful because things can get a little intense.

What did you do this weekend? 

Things I Do You Probably Don’t

Everyone has their own quirks, it makes them who they are just as yours makes you who you are.

What some may consider odd or weird others think is perfectly normal, so who is to say?

I had a lot of fun writing the list for this post so I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. Let’s head into the list shall we..

Things I do you probably don’t

Things I Do You Probably Don’t 

1. I only eat finger foods if I’m in a group of more than 3 people.

There is a reasoning behind this though, when i was 3 i was in a tornado and the entire left side of my face was taken off by a cement slab – so I can’t feel it. I’m self conscious about it so finger foods it is!

2. I eat dessert first. This drives my twin brother crazy when we go out to eat. It’s the main reason I showed up for the occasion so why not. I get my entree to go so I can enjoy it at home, especially if it includes #1 ☝🏼
Things I Do You Probably Don’t - it’s what makes us unique

3. I take a shower before I take a bath, I want to make sure I’m clean so I can get clean while relaxing reading my book enjoying my “Bewitched” Lush bubble bar.

If you’re a dirty little bath taker too then I suggest the “Bewitched” bubble bar, it smells amazing! It’s only available for Halloween so you’ve got to stock up but they keep nicely. These little bars also give at least 2 baths, they are in the shape of a black cat face and they turn the water black. Soooo relaxing.

4. I listen to a new song at least 4 times when I first heard it. The first two times I’m listening to the lyrics then the other two I’m listening to the actual music. A brilliant baseline or a drummer rhythm get me every time!

5. I always get rainbow sprinkles! I think they make life better. I put that shit in everything, on my pop tarts, in my cookies & cream milkshakes, ice cream.. you get the point. SO good. I love their crunch.

Things I do you probably don’t

6. I eat pizza backwards, so crust first. I also use a fork and knife. No judging, again my face.

7. I always order free magazines but never read them. They usually get dropped off at my moms house. I might skin the recipes though.

8. I love to write and read! Everyone thinks I’m being a weird nerd when I’d rather read than watch tv.

9. I sometimes do yoga in bed, yeah it’s lazy I know. Some days I just don’t feel like getting up to complete a routine. I’ve found a few yoga poses that I can do in bed that absolutely make my day. I don’t know if it’s because I’m relaxing in a seated or laying position but my back or shoulders will pop now and then. I feel the tension in my muscles automatically ease.

What’s your quirk? We all have more than one I’m sure. Share with me what makes you unique?