Open Minded: How To Effectively Organize Your Life

Becoming a more organized person is something that most of us might aim to do but actually going ahead with it can often feel a whole lot harder than we imagined. With work commitments, social outings and day to day chores taking up chunks of our time, actually getting down to work and planning out a new project can seem like the last thing on our minds at the end of a long week. In reality, however, getting organized is one of the simplest things that we can do and, once we get to grips with it, is something that can be easily incorporated into everything that we do.

Whether you want to start a new project, tidy up your home or restructure your day to day life, getting organized is a great way to shed light and clarity on a messy situation and after doing so, you might wonder why you didn’t get things in order sooner. Are you ready for a clearer life? It’s time to get your organizational hat on.

Use Your Calendar

While you might be a stickler for using paper diaries and calendars, it is often difficult to remember to take them with you wherever you go and in many cases, the notebooks just end up going unused after a few weeks. Luckily, however, there is another way around the problem; your mobile phone. Using your phone’s diary or calendar to set yourself alerts and plan in upcoming events is a quick and easy way to stay on top of your life and clearly see how you are spending your time. Most phones come with the option of balancing multiple calendars and sharing them amongst different people, so it is very easy to separate your personal, work and social lives with the click of a button. Looking ahead to see what you have planned in makes thinking about the weeks ahead much easier and also gives you the room to plan in time to work on a new project or relax.

Stick It On A Wall

Often, visual prompts can remind us of events or activities long before they take place, making managing future weeks much easier. Attaching a reduced wall calendar to your office or bedroom space can give you a clear idea of the entire year and allow you to mark important dates for the months to come. You can try using a symbol system for recurring events, making looking at each week in a single glance a great way of quickly reminding you what you have coming up down the line.

Make A Tick List

For the organized person, there is no greater pleasure than ticking a “to do” task off a list and once you start taking part, you might find it really helpful in your journey towards structure! While setting yourself giant lists for the week to come can seem daunting, noting down brief points for the day ahead is a great way of staying on top of your tasks and seeing how far you have come during the day. As with the other tips, you can try separating your list into social, work, and personal sections and list down a number of things you want to achieve during the day, or over the course of a week. Listing things according to priority is also a great way of staying on top of your tasks and will ensure that you get the hard things out of the way first. After that, it’s plain sailing!

There’s An App For That

Thank to the rise of technology, there is an app for practically every element of your life, making organizing that much easier. Staying on top of your travel, your shopping list and your social life can all be done in one place and, as you keep your phone with you all the time, it is incredibly easy to see what you have planned or to do wherever you might be. Apps like Citymapper make getting around any place really simple, listing all the travel options and how long it is likely to take you. Bring, on the other hand, makes your weekly shopping list accessible in one place, listing your most recently used items so that you can clearly see what you regularly buy. If you want to keep a note of activities to try in your city, however, Dojo is the perfect app. Listing cafes, exhibitions and all kinds of events in your local city, the app lets you create shared or individual lists, letting you get a hold of everything you have planned.

Write Your Life

We are often hit by so many thoughts throughout the day that by the time it comes to the end of the week, we might have forgotten many of the things we meant to do. Keeping mental notes is all well and good but if you want to ensure that you remember an important idea or thought, then noting it down is a great way to go about it. You can try keeping a small notebook in your handbag or even use the memo app on your phone to stay on top of things. Knowing that important things have already been noted down will keep your mind clear and make working on the present task much more simple.

5 Recipes For A Home Cooked Date Night

While Valentine’s Day might be over and done with, there’s no reason why you can’t prolong the sweetness of the holiday by indulging in a little home cooking. During the winter months, partaking in a little after-work dating might seem like the last thing on your mind, cosy nights in taking precedent when it’s cold out. If you want to socialize without venturing outdoors, however, your kitchen might hold all of the answers. After all, there’s nothing more impressive than whipping up a home cooked dish for a date.

Although we all have a list of tried and tested dishes that we turn to on date night, sampling something new can help to change things up and bit and introduce you to a whole new type of menu. Once you try these recipes once, you might not venture out for food again.

Asian Chicken Vegetable Soup

Let’s face it, when it’s blowing a storm outside, you need something comforting to put in your belly and there’s no better way to do this than with a bowl of home cooked chicken soup. While you might have your own family recipe that you swear by, this variation on the dish adds a little oriental spice into the mix, resulting in a soup that is both comforting and incredibly delicious. Stuffed with Asian vegetables, slow cooked stock and the most tender chicken you will ever taste, this is a dish that you might want to cook all of the time, date or no date.

Marinated Rib-Eye Steak

Sometimes, however, you really want to pull out all of the stops and if that’s the case, then you can’t go wrong with a side of steak. This rib-eye steak is quite possibly the best around, slowly marinated with lemon, garlic, chilli, rosemary and soy sauce. When you cook it in the pan, expect that marinade to get nice and sticky and really crisp up. You can serve this solo or with a healthy dollop of homemade pesto for a real flavor explosion. Your date will never forget it.

Seared Scallops

If you want to pull out all of the stops, then tackling seafood is a surefire way to get your date’s attention. Served with a side of herby butter, these seared scallops taste just as good as they look and won’t leave you slaving away in the kitchen. With the recipe calling for any variety of herbs, it is up to you what flavor combination you serve up with your scallops, although sage, tarragon or thyme might work the best. Completed with some seasonal greens, this is truly the dish of kings and it won’t cost you much extra time, either. Sneaky.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Some flavor combinations are simply so good that they deserve some kind of medal. These roasted sweet potatoes are exactly like that. Slow roasted in the oven and topped with a mixture of cheese, chilli and spring onions, the potatoes pack a serious flavor punch. While they’re great on their own, you can also try adding in an extra side of bacon or grilled fish if you’re looking for something a little more meaty. A no-nonsense recipe, these sweet potatoes practically do all of the work themselves, leaving you much more time to focus on what really matters.

Lemon and Asparagus Pasta

Nothing shows affection like a huge bowl of comfort food and if you really want to show how you feel, then you can’t do it better than with pasta. Accompanied by fresh asparagus and a creamy, vegan sauce, the recipe requires very little effort and can be whipped up well in advance. Using entirely natural, non-dairy ingredients, the meal is actually a lot more healthy than you would think, making the question of going back for seconds a little easier to figure out.

Thai Fish Parcels

If you want a cook-in-one recipe, then you need this fish parcel dish. Steamed in individual bags, all of the ingredients are cooked at the same time; all you need to do is prepare them beforehand. Topped with a Thai marinade, the dish is packed full of ginger, coriander, soy sauce and chilli. Even though it might still be cold out, you can pretend that you’re in much sunnier climes.

No Boys Allowed: Essential Podcasts For The Every Girl

Listening to and learning from great women is something that we all aim to do in our lives. With tell all biographies from the likes of Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler making the publishing rounds, getting to the heart of what makes our favorite women tick has become easier than ever. In a few hundred pages, we can get up close and personal with the things that helped them to become who they are and by revealing their innermost thoughts they show us that they, too, experience all of the same insecurities as the rest of us.

Inspiring women are not just writing about their lives, either, and thanks to the rise of the podcast, it is easier than ever for us to understand some of the most successful in the world. While a medium spanning every topic imaginable, the podcast has taken off in a big way for women’s listening and now, there are a number of shows which are simply unmissable. If you’re new to the world of podcasts, never fear; follow this listening guide and rest back in the sweet knowledge that everything you hear will be hilarious, heart-warming and just a little bit honest.

Slumber Party With Alie & Georgia

Let’s get to the heart of the really good stuff. Since taking off in 2009, this two-women podcast has taken off in a really big way and now, it has given way to its own cult following of eager listeners. Recorded in California, the podcast does exactly what it says on the tin, with the two hosts discussing crushes, education, breakups and everything in between, usually with a special guest. The episodes are always hilarious and touching in equal measures, and will change the way that you listen to the radio. If you can’t get enough of the duo, you can also follow their exploits on the Cooking Channel, where they just got their own show.

Throwing Shade

If you’re looking for something with more of a political edge, however, you will turn your attention to Throwing Shade. A feminist podcast, it focuses on all things LGBT and female related, discussing current news and events around the world. If you’re worried that the issues discussed sound a little too specialist, don’t be; the hosts both contribute to Funny Or Die and always spin their issues with an incredibly entertaining edge. As each episode is topical, you can start the series wherever you like, meaning there’s no better time in which to start than now.

I Seem Fun: The Diary Of Jen Kirkman

Recorded from the bed of host Jen Kirkman, this podcast is as intimate as they come and feels like you’re having a chat with a friend in your pajamas. Spanning topics as diverse as acts against feminism and extreme iTunes reviews, the podcast jumps from one theme to the next, just as you might in conversation. Jen herself is funny and cynical in equal parts, making listening to the podcast a real joy.

Girl On Guy

Taking a popular theme and spinning it on its head, Girl On Guy sees host Aisha Tyler interviewing a different creative each week, who is usually a guy. Parodying the popular “comic interviews an artist” format, Girl On Guy presents the phenomena in a different light, with Aisha lightly poking fun at the genre of podcast. While the episodes do go into the creative industry, they do so in a conversational style, making listening along feel like you’re talking to your friends.

Ronna & Beverly

It’s not just about non-fictional podcasts, however, and across the board, there are a great number of series which use fictional characters as their backbone. Ronna & Beverly follows exactly this format, detailing the lives of the two eponymous Jewish mothers. While they often bring in celebrity guests for interviews, they also run through their elaborate 40 year history that forms the basis of who they are and what they think. If you grew up missing the Jewish mother you never had, this is the podcast for you.

Whatever the genre or topic, there are a great deal of podcasts out there to meet any kind of listening style. Getting advice through the lives, thoughts and careers of these women, you can take a little inspiration along with you wherever you go. All that’s left to do is subscribe, load up your phone and go along for the podcast ride.

Easy Ways To Change Your Shopping Habits

While starting afresh is traditionally done at the beginning of a new year, there’s no reason why it can’t be done a few months down the line. More often than not, the trials and stresses of January mean that, by the time you’ve managed to recover from the holiday season, focus on work once more and re-route your way in efficiency, you’re far too exhausted to tackle any new task you set yourself at the end of December. Changing a significant part of your life can be best done once the dust has settled and you have time to give your all to the new project.

Being smarter with the way that we shop and spend money is something that many of us endeavour to do but in many cases, it is much easier said than done. With a lifetime of bad habits stacking up against us, we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to saving. Changing just a few small habits, however, can drastically change things up and before long, you might just notice a few extra pennies stacking their way up in your account. Just because you shop more smartly, it doesn’t mean that you can’t splurge from time to time.

Know Your Triggers

While we might aim to be sensible in the kinds of purchases that we make, there are certain areas in which many of us are helpless and, no matter how strong our resistance might seem to be, we just can’t help splashing the cash when faced with something we want. Identifying the areas in which you are more likely to spend money is a great first step in understanding how exactly you can avoid such impulse purchases. If shoes are your thing, try and avoid looking at shoe shops or online sales until you really need a new pair. Likewise, if you’re a sucker for makeup, make a list of the current items that you have and browse new purchases only when you’re sure you need a replacement. Avoiding what you can’t control is the first way to shop a little more carefully.

Change Your Routine

If you find yourself at the mall every weekend like clockwork, try changing up your routine to include new activities. Surrounding yourself with tempting purchases is one of the worst ways in which you can try to overcome your spending habits, so getting away from it all might just give you the perspective you need. You can try visiting friends, journeying to a nearby town or picking up a new hobby. Once you fill the gap that shopping once took in your life, you might be surprised by how much you don’t miss it at all.

Leave Before You Purchase

Although avoiding shops when you’re trying to save is a great idea, you will have to go shopping eventually and when you do, it pays to be smart about your approach. If you are looking to make a specific purchase, allow yourself sufficient time to really think it through before going ahead with it. Even if you find the perfect item, leave the store before buying it and come back an hour or so later. If you still feel the same way about the item, then you know that it is something that you genuinely want to buy; if you’re not sure about it, leave it and move on to something else.

Shop With A Specific List

Going out with only a vague idea of what you want to buy is a great way in which to get distracted and come back with arms full of shopping bags. While it might be hard at first, making yourself a specific list of items can be a great way of controlling your spending habits and only purchasing what you really need. If shopping lists like these don’t work for you, you can try taking out a specific amount of cash and leaving your credit cards at home. Shopping like this will mean you will only spend what you absolutely want to and won’t splurge on unnecessary items.

Take It Slowly

Changing all of your shopping habits at once might feel like a tempting idea but if you pile on too many techniques at once, you risk failing before you’ve even really begun. Habits take time in which to really take over and breaking old ones can often take even longer. Committing to one shopping method is a great idea in order to give yourself the time to get used to spending less and approaching your retail experience with a different head. The more comfortable you get with the new habits, the easier that picking up new ones will become!

What about you? Do you have any secrets about how to change your shopping habits? Comment below and let us know your best tricks!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Him (And Secretly For You)

Valentine’s is a perfect day to gift your beau something special. But hey, there’s no rule stating you can’t reap the benefits from your romantic gesture. Here are some gift ideas that you both can enjoy this year.

Brewery Tour

If your gentleman enjoys a good craft beer, set up a date to visit a local brewery. Local breweries generally offer tours with inexpensive samples. You and your man will enjoy sampling various beers and leave feeling like a beer snob. Check out CraftBeer.com to discover breweries near you. If you don’t have a brewery in your area, create your own craft beer tasting. Visit your nearest Whole Foods Market and select a mix of beers you both would be interested in trying. While you’re assembling your buffet of beer, grab some snacks to compliments the beverages.

His Childhood Board Game

Prior to V-day, stealthily ask your BF what his favorite board game was as a child. Pickup the game and present it to your special guy right in time for Valentines. Pour some wine and you’ll enjoy reliving your youth through classic games. The fun doesn’t have to halt after Valentine’s. Schedule an ongoing game night and invite friends to join in the festivities.

Donuts

You can’t go wrong with a box full of his favorite donuts. And with so many punny donut-themed cards available, you can easily tie in this sugary treat with V-day. Check out Etsy for cute cards like “Donut forget I love you” or CafePress for just the right card to express your love for him and breakfast desserts. If he’s the right guy for you, he’ll share his savory gift without you having to ask. A win-win!

Record Player

The vinyl renaissance is among us. If your man doesn’t already have a record player, it makes for the perfect Valentine’s gift. Urban Outfitters offer a variety of players in an array of colors. Pick up a few records of his favorite artists or set up a date for the both of you to browse a record store. You’ll enjoy record shopping together for years to come.

Netflix and Chill

A Netflix and Chill night can never be overdone with the one you love. If you don’t already share a Netflix password, jot down your account info on a thoughtful card proclaiming that you’re ready to take things to the next level. If he has an account of his own, you can gift him Chromecast. Although Chromecast has been around for a few years, it’s still a foolproof gift to those who have yet jump on the bandwagon. Connect Chromecast and he’ll be able to cast Netflix, Hulu, and a variety of other streaming shows from any device to his TV.

Date Night in a Jar

Date Night in a Jar is an adorable and affordable way to put the spark back into a relationship that’s gone on autopilot. To make this simple DIY present, decorate a mason jar and jot down a variety of date night ideas on popsicle sticks or colorful note cards. If you’re in need of inspiration, checkout the Budget Girl’s blog on this fun idea. Your significant other will love this gift because he won’t have to come up with romantic ideas and you’ll love it because you’ll have full approval of every date!

New Year, New Gear: Workout Gear to Keep Your Fitness Goals Alive

We’re a month into 2016 and you’ve already blown your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym? Don’t cancel your gym membership or give up that ClassPass! It’s not too late to adjust your course from McDonald’s to SoulCycle. Motivate yourself back into the gym or studio with fabulous fitness gear.

Here are 5 sites for gorgeous fitness attire that will inspire you to turn the treadmill into your very own catwalk.

Bandier

Bandier is a utopia of chic activewear. The site offers a meticulously assembled collection of designer fitness ensembles. With a variety of unique styles and designs, you’ll want to wear your Bandier outfit to barre class in the morning and brunch with the squad later that day. As if their fabulous collection wasn’t enough, Bandier even curates and shares their own workout mixes on Spotify. You’ll have the perfect soundtrack to go with your athleisure gear.

Stride Fitness

Your workouts may be serious, but your outfit doesn’t have to be. Stride Fitness Apparel offers comfy graphic tees with memorable one-liners and notable characters. Fandom shirts include Star Wars, Freddy Krueger, Tomb Raider all with a witty fitness-related twist. Rock the “Don’t Talk To Me When I’m Stretching” tee and never worry about awkwardly being hit on while at the gym again.

Fabletics

If you need motivation to stay active, take one look at Kate Hudson’s inspiring physique. She combined her love of fitness and fashion to help create Fabletics, an athletic apparel company that offers high-quality gear with budget-friendly prices. VIP members will receive discounts on pieces through a subscription service. Take advantage of Fabletics current deal that offers new members their first outfit for $25. Keep in mind that if you sign up as a member, you will be charged monthly unless you opt to ‘Skip the Month’ between the 1st and 5th day of the month or you call to cancel your membership.

SIX:02

When I first came across SIX:02, I had no idea it was part of Foot Locker. SIX:02 is Foot Locker’s women’s only fitness destination, but don’t confuse it with Ladies Foot Locker. SIX:02 is a sexier brand that offers styles that are both trendy and functional. They’ve also partnered with some of your favorite fitness gurus and influencers on limited collections to inspire your new gym look.

YOGASMOGA

YOGASMOGA took traditional yoga styles and engineered textiles to create high-grade performance gear. My favorite feature of their proprietary fabric is their advanced moisture management, meaning moisture and bacteria escape the fabric quickly and easily. In addition to their smart textiles, their ethics align with the philosophies yoga teaches. YOGASMOGA offer eco-friendly products manufactured in the US, so you’ll not only look good but feel good about sporting their products.

5 Winter Breakfast Recipes To Cosy Up To

When it comes to winter, it’s easy to feel down and, with the passing of the holiday season, it might feel like there’s not a lot to look forward to until spring. Getting through the cold snap is all about taking care of yourself, starting from the moment that you wake up. Beginning the day with a hearty breakfast is a great way to put a spring in your step, even if the real season is still months away. When it comes to winter breakfasts, it pays to be even kinder to yourself than normal and, while these recipes might seem too indulgent to whip out every morning, allowing yourself them once or twice a week is more than enough to cheer up any gray day.

With minimal work and maximum flavor, these tasty breakfast treats are guaranteed to make it feel like a sunny day, even if it’s still January.

Breakfast Casserole

Sometimes, you want a breakfast food that covers all corners and incorporating a number of ingredients into one dish is a great way to go. Whipping up a breakfast casserole couldn’t be easier and in the heart of winter, is the perfect way to get that cosy feeling from the start of your day. This one comes packed with sausages, cheese and a crispy dough base that is bound to keep you going for hours. Make it the night before and finish it off the in oven; you won’t say no to grilled cheese, even at 7am.

Gingerbread Pancakes

We all know that pancakes are the breakfast of kings – or should that be queens? – but even they can stand a little adaptation from time to time. Finished off with ginger, vanilla and molasses, these gingerbread pancakes are as sweet as they come. If the recipe is a little on the saccharine side for you, you can try cutting down on the extra sugar or syrup and serve them up with a side of fresh fruit. Complete with a cup of coffee, these will more than put a smile on your face in the morning.

Breakfast Frittata

Packed with potato, smoked haddock and the fluffiest eggs you can imagine, the breakfast frittata takes a lot of beating. While it has all the makings of an omelette, the frittata comes filled with a little extra flavor punch, which will keep your senses alive in the morning. If you’re not a fan of smoked haddock, you can try substituting it for a different type of fish such as mackerel, or foregoing it entirely. The beauty of the recipe is the ease with which it can be adapted; you’re always in charge.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

When the words “breakfast” and “cake” come together in a sentence, you know that you’re in for a treat. Packed full of buttermilk, this breakfast cake is as light and fluffy as they come and is in no risk of drying out after a day or two. While the recipe calls for a large quantity of ingredients, it means that batching out the cake into smaller portions is much easier. You can slice up your breakfast for the week to come or, if you want to be really nice, hand slices around when you get to the office. You’re guaranteed to be the most popular member of the team.

Stuffed French Toast

Starting your day off with a hearty breakfast doesn’t mean that you have to forgo healthy eating entirely and if you’re looking for a way to eat well and stay full, then this french toast recipe might be the answer. Adding whole grain bread, coconut oil, almond butter and fresh berries into the mix, this recipe is a great deal nicer than its name suggests and won’t leave you feeling heavy for hours afterwards. Serve it up with freshly sliced banana and a green tea and you’re onto a healthy breakfast winner!

While eating well is a great way of feeling your best during the winter season, allowing yourself an indulgence from time to time is the perfect way to treat yourself when the outside world is blowing a storm. Making your mornings all about great food ensures that you will feel much happier throughout the day, even if things elsewhere don’t go entirely to plan. There’s always tomorrow for that!

How To Step Into The New Year As The Real You

New year, new you. At least, that’s what we’re told at the start of another calendar year. While positive mantras might encourage us to overcome our insecurities and fight to be the very best version of ourselves that we can possibly be, actually going through with it can be a very tricky thing indeed. Shedding the expectations that other people place on you is something that even the most confident people struggle with and if, this new year, you want to feel  a little more comfortable in your own skin, you’re going to have to get a little savvy about it.

Inspirational posters are all well and good but if you want to go ahead with verve and confidence, you will need to take a few active measures in order to achieve it. Starting with a few simple adjustments could be all it takes, however, and pretty soon, you might notice a real change in the way you carry yourself.

Be Aware Of Who You Are

It might sound like an incredibly simple thing to do, but actually recognizing who you are as a person is a very tricky thing to do. When we are around others, we tend to mimic parts of their behavioural style in order to fit in with their world view. While this is a normal part of socializing, doing it too often can be detrimental to your confidence and sense of self. Although you don’t have to be the most confrontational person in the world in order to get your voice heard, it is ok to disagree with the people around you when you really can’t see eye to eye. Understanding how you react with those around you is a great way of understanding how you function as a person. If there are any things you don’t like about how you interact with those around you, think about why that is and how you can go about changing them. You shouldn’t have to go against your beliefs to fit in with the people around you.

Understand Where You Get Value From

Determining where value stems from in your life is one of the most simple ways to understand how you see and appreciate yourself. If the people in your life that you value don’t seem to reciprocate your feelings, it’s worth asking why you have kept them around for so long. Often, we hold on to bad relationships or friendships because we lack the confidence and self-worth to cut people like this out of our lives. Ultimately, the person you should value the most in your life should be yourself and those that you spend time with should merely compliment this fact. If you are having to change things about yourself to fit in, it might be because you don’t value yourself enough to wave goodbye to bad relationships. Cutting ties doesn’t have to be a bad thing and the sooner you do it, the closer you might be to finding people who value you back.

Find Things You Believe About Yourself

While we might all have a long list of things we feel about ourselves, we rarely focus on the things that we believe about ourselves, and that are unquestionably true. Instead of thinking that you’re not good enough, or that you don’t have enough confidence, try focusing on the things that you know you can do. If you’re a really great cook, focus on this part of your life. If, on the other hand, you’re a great sibling, or friend, look into why this is so, and how you act differently in this area of your life. Taking influence from areas of your life that make you feel happy and confident is a great way to transfer these behaviours to other parts of your life that you want to improve.

Seek Others Like You

While we might believe that we have many like-minded people in our lives, it’s not always so easy to find people who are emotionally compatible, especially when it comes to relationships. Finding traits in potential partners that don’t really exist is something that many people do when they try to form attachments, leading to problems further down the line. When you’re getting to know someone, try and be as objective as you possibly can be, and take all of the information they’re giving you in. Our brains often have the tendency to overlook negative signals in favor of positive ones, giving us a skewed perspective of the people that we let into our lives.

The relationships that we have in life with others can shape the person that we turn out to be but essentially, the most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves, as we will always be in our own lives. This new year, let yourself be your greatest love; your future relationships will thank you for it.

Simple Ways to Connect Over the Holidays

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we tend to monopolize our time with errands, checklists, and to-dos. We can lose touch with the people who mean the most to us over the festive season.

Here are some ways you can connect with your loved ones over the holiday season.

Have a wrapping party.

Don’t let the task of wrapping gifts and signing holiday cards be a taunting task. Make a party out of it! Invite your closest friends over to wrap presents as you blast All I want for Christmas is You, sip apple cider, and munch on tasty treats. Even if you do more chatting than wrapping, it only means you’re taking time to reconnect with the wonderful people in your life.

Host a quote-along

Whether it’s Love Actually or Home Alone, we all have a beloved movie of the Winter season. This year, invite your loved ones over for a holiday movie quote-along. Vote on a favorite flick and be sure your subtitles are on (as if you don’t already know every line). Go a step further and share little known movie facts from IMDb throughout the party. The quote-along will leave you remembering good memories as you create new ones.

Attend a show.

The holidays are a perfect time to fit in a play, ballet, or performance with someone you love. The Nutcracker and Trans-Siberian Orchestra always tend to make their rounds to major cities across the nation. If you’re on a budget, don’t underestimate your local arts scene. Community theatres, churches, and local schools put on holiday shows at little to no cost. Research a show in your area within your budget and invite a companion to enjoy.

Volunteer.

There’s no better way to connect with people than to volunteer. Volunteermatch.org is a helpful resource to find volunteer opportunities at charities and non-profits you support. Rally your friends, family, even co-workers to join you in your cause. Don’t let time be an excuse not to volunteer. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities you can do from the comfort of your home. Help From Home lists a variety of microvolunteering projects from quilting blankets for children with illness to snapping photos of your environment to submit for a nonprofit study on nature.

Create a tradition.

Perhaps you don’t hold a yearly holiday tradition. Nothing will bring you closer to those around you than to start your very own. It could be a wrapping party, a quote-along or something completely unique to your group and town. Not only will you create connection with among your family and friends, if done yearly, your new tradition will connect generations to come.

6 Apps to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is only a few weeks away. As with every New Year, we tend to get carried away with ambitious resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, learn a new hobby, eat healthy, save money, and get organized.

Here are 6 apps to help keep those life-changing declarations throughout the year.

  1. Lose Weight.

By far, the most widely made resolution is to lose weight. If you’re looking for solid workouts that you can do from home, try Workout Trainer. This free app offers users thousands of free workouts complete with audio and video instructions. If you seek an app to help you stick to your fitness goals, try the Pact app. Pact allows you to wager money on whether you hit the gym or finish a workout. It verifies that you’ve met your goals by verifying that you’re going to the gym through your check-ins. If you reach or exceed your goal, you earn cash. If you don’t you have to pay. Having cash at stake is a great way to keep you invested in following through on your NYE vow.

  1. Quit Smoking.

An unfortunate battle that many of us face is the desire to quit smoking. Fortunately, there are apps available to help. One of those apps is called Smoke Free. The app tracks and notifies the user how long they have been smoke free, how much money has been saved, how many cigarettes have been avoided, and how health is improving. Visualizing success helps keep its users on track and encourages their new smoke-free lifestyle.

  1. Learn a New Hobby.

There’s an app for nearly every hobby. Whether your hobby is golf, bird watching or photography, there’s an app to help you get the most out of your off-duty time. Whatever hobby you choose, use a goal app to incorporate your new hobby into your life successfully. Apps like GoalsOnTrack, allow you to set goals with clear action plans.

  1. Eat Healthy.

Losing weight is not always the ultimate goal for living a healthy lifestyle. After all the pumpkin pies, gingerbread cookies, and cider, your body would benefit from a junk food break. One of the best apps for a eating healthy is called Substitutions. Whether you’re in your kitchen or roaming the aisle of you favorite supermarket, this app suggests alternatives for foods you wish to avoid. Another great tool to replace your meals with healthier options is Locavore. This app allows you to find local, in-season food at farmers markets, farm stands, and groceries in your area.

  1. Save Money.

Saving money is an ideal goal for many of us who have a tight budget after the holidays. We can even be afraid to check our bank accounts for fear of seeing the little amount that awaits us. Level Money is a streamlined app that automatically updates you on how much spendable cash you have for the day. Another great app is Unsplurge, that helps users focus on saving by providing visuals on long-term savings goals. This might include a trip to Paris or the camera you’ve always wanted. For some of us, visions and dreams is all the motivation we need to save.

  1. Get Organized.

The New Year symbolizes a new beginning and opportunity to get our life together. Organizational apps are perfect tools to help this effort. 30/30 is a task manager that uniquely allows users to divide their days into increments of 30-minute blocks of work. These periods can be adjusted accordingly but it encourages its users to stay on task and finish projects efficiently without feeling overwhelmed. If a cluttered and fragmented calendar system is the root of your problem, try UpTo. This app syncs together your existing calendars to one, concise platform.