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7 Simple And Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Life In February

Share positive things with friends each day, find out exactly how much time you spend on different apps each week, and more!

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Hello, friends! We made it through a January that seemed to last for somewhere between 5 and 87 years, and it's a brand-new day!

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Here are a few little ways to make February all it can be:

1. Create some shortcuts for at least one of the meals you make a lot.

Rachel Miller / Via Instagram: @the_rewm

I make this chickpeas and pasta recipe a couple times a week; it's pretty quick and easy, but I was finding that the whole chopping rosemary thing was kind of getting me down. So I did a little research and found out that you can freeze rosemary in olive oil cubes — which actually works out perfectly for the finishing oil of this recipe. (I froze the fresh rosemary in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add an extra 1/2 tablespoon of oil when I am making it.) So convenient!

I was feeling pretty confident after my adventures with herbs, so I decided to take things a step further. I measured out and froze the tomato paste in separate servings (which meant I didn't have to wash the tablespoon each time I made it). And I transferred the pasta to a mason jar with measurement marks on the side so I didn't have to pour it into a measuring cup each time I'm cooking. One evening of a tiny bit of extra work paid off twentyfold, is what I'm saying.

Even if you don't make chickpeas and pasta all the time, there are probably similar shortcuts you could create for the meals you make regularly — preportion your oatmeal, chop and freeze herbs, or buy some extra tablespoons so you don't have to keep washing the same one, etc. I've found that it's just so nice to have fewer steps (and dirty dishes) between me and dinner.

2. Share three positive things with your person every day.

NBC

One of my BFFs and I recently started a little ritual where, every evening, we text each other three positive things that happened to us that day. It's so nice! (And usually once we get going, we come up with more than three.) Gratitude texts FTW!

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3. Regularly check the amount of time you spend on different apps each week.

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I recently learned that iPhones show a breakdown of how much time you've spent on each app in the past seven days.

The first time I stumbled across this, my numbers were...not good. (14 hours on Twitter! I don't even LIKE Twitter, and I definitely didn't think of myself as a power user!!!) Now my friend Brett and I have a standing Wednesday night appointment to screenshot and share our numbers from the previous seven days with each other. It's been interesting (if slightly embarrassing) to track, and it's a great reality check if you're feeling too busy to do things like reading or writing or getting enough sleep. (To see yours, go to Settings > Battery. Give it a second, and a "Battery Usage" widget will load at the bottom of the screen. Toggle to "Last 7 days" and tap the clock.)

A couple weeks after checking out my numbers regularly, I started using the Forest app, which lets you set an amount of time to not be on your phone, during which you start "growing" a tree. If you check your phone before the timer is up, the tree dies. It's really helpful for those times when you want to focus but keep picking your phone up out of habit. Definitely recommend.

(P.S. I am now down to less than three hours a week on Twitter!)

4. Get yourself some OxiClean stain remover.

I recently woke up with my first-ever bloody nose. It was pretty jarring to see a HUGE drop of bright red blood fall onto my brand-new white flannel sheets at 6 a.m. But because I'd recently read Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, I knew exactly what I needed to get it out: an enzyme cleaner and cold water. *And* because I'd recently read Home Comforts and learned this, I'd ordered some OxiClean online the week prior just to have around in case of emergency. What timing! I had to strip everything off my bed, but after spraying the stain, letting it sit, and rinsing with cold water, the sheets were as good as new. Then, two weeks ago, someone backed into me and spilled their coffee all over my white jeans in the elevator at work. It was way too big of a job for a Tide pen, so I marched my ass to CVS, bought a big spray bottle of OxiClean, and went to town. After I removed my socks and winter boots and took my jeans fully off to rinse the stain/treatment out in the bathroom, the coffee was gone. Get some from Amazon Pantry for $3.09.
Nathan Pyle / BuzzFeed / Via instagram.com

I recently woke up with my first-ever bloody nose. It was pretty jarring to see a HUGE drop of bright red blood fall onto my brand-new white flannel sheets at 6 a.m. But because I'd recently read Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, I knew exactly what I needed to get it out: an enzyme cleaner and cold water. *And* because I'd recently read Home Comforts and learned this, I'd ordered some OxiClean online the week prior just to have around in case of emergency. What timing! I had to strip everything off my bed, but after spraying the stain, letting it sit, and rinsing with cold water, the sheets were as good as new.

Then, two weeks ago, someone backed into me and spilled their coffee all over my white jeans in the elevator at work. It was way too big of a job for a Tide pen, so I marched my ass to CVS, bought a big spray bottle of OxiClean, and went to town. After I removed my socks and winter boots and took my jeans fully off to rinse the stain/treatment out in the bathroom, the coffee was gone.

Get some from Amazon Pantry for $3.09.

5. Check out the Girls' Night In newsletter.

I signed up for this weekly newsletter after a few friends told me about it and I'm such a fan! It's sent every Friday morning includes links to good articles plus a little smart, thoughtful commentary. (A recent subject line: "Open if your bedtime is most likely 10pm tonight." I felt so seen.) I'm just really into the voice and overall vibe, and the linked articles are always great! Sign up here.
instagram.com

I signed up for this weekly newsletter after a few friends told me about it and I'm such a fan! It's sent every Friday morning includes links to good articles plus a little smart, thoughtful commentary. (A recent subject line: "Open if your bedtime is most likely 10pm tonight." I felt so seen.) I'm just really into the voice and overall vibe, and the linked articles are always great! Sign up here.

6. Make yourself a cozy cup of tea.

February is a hard month for a lot of people. (Well, every month is a hard month for a lot of people, TBH.) But creating some little feel-good rituals in your everyday routine can really help. And a nice cup of tea is a pretty good ritual. (Turns out, basically all of human history was really onto something!!!!) After some trial and error with loose-leaf tea, I settled on the perfect-for-me cozy cup: David's Tea Alpine Punch, a little vanilla syrup, and a splash of half-and-half. (See the full recipe here.) It's so soothing and pleasant and is something to look forward to on days when it gets dark at 4 freaking p.m.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

February is a hard month for a lot of people. (Well, every month is a hard month for a lot of people, TBH.) But creating some little feel-good rituals in your everyday routine can really help. And a nice cup of tea is a pretty good ritual. (Turns out, basically all of human history was really onto something!!!!)

After some trial and error with loose-leaf tea, I settled on the perfect-for-me cozy cup: David's Tea Alpine Punch, a little vanilla syrup, and a splash of half-and-half. (See the full recipe here.) It's so soothing and pleasant and is something to look forward to on days when it gets dark at 4 freaking p.m.

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7. And get yourself some good-ass socks.

Rachel Miller

We've still got quite a bit more winter ahead of us, and one thing I'm doing to prepare is investing in better socks (and not losing them in the laundry). I have chronically, creepily cold extremities thanks to Raynaud's, and keeping my hands and feet warm and dry has been an ongoing project this winter. After I fell hard for my first pair of Smartwool socks ($17.95 on Amazon), a friend recommended Carhartt as a cheaper alternative (you can get a two-pack for $13.99 on Amazon). After trying a few different styles, I'm happy to report that they are all fantastic! Very warm, very cozy, and super cushy/comfortable. We spend so much time in socks and not nearly enough time respecting them; one of my big goals for 2018 is to fix this.

This has been another edition of Sock Talk (TM).

Have a lovely February, and tell me what you're doing to upgrade your life this month in the comments!

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