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I've been 100% off social media for almost two weeks now and at this point I am truly thinking I may never go back. Personally, I'm an all-in or all-out person (much to the chagrin of my father but I am who I am) it's hard for me to tow a middle line with anything in life. I tend to walk a black and white line on a lot of matters.

I'm not really sure how to go grey in the world of social media, especially when it comes to business. There are so many things I know are valuable to share, but wouldn't they be as valuable sharing through a weekly newsletter or a blog post? There are the algorithms and peak post times and the right hashtags and the most popular reel sounds or songs and the shadow bannings if you share opinions that are "controversial"... it's all exhausting.

I find the absence of social media to create a type of silence in my life I love. You find out who really cares about you as a human (not just as a personality or presence) when someone has to reach out and text/call you to reach you and you find yourself working harder to keep connections yourself with those that aren't as connected to the world of the internet... aging parents, grandparents, friends. Real life - the life that matters on the day to day, exists outside of the confines of your phone. It exists outside of the filters and the swipe ups... not that I don't love those features, but...

Two weeks without being bombarded with fear focused news, angry Instagram/Facebook/Tweets/reshares/reposts have given me a chance to breathe. To remember these things are not my reality. It's so easy to get swept up into the chaos, but it's a choice. Even if your own personal life is chaotic or sorrowful, the added stress from the outside world's voices is a choice. You don't have to add it into your life. What do we truly miss out on? Someone else's highlight reel? Someone else's doom and gloom attitude? A hopeless outlook on life?

Life is a lot more quiet. It's less stressful. Only the pertinent things matter - those who want to stay connected stay connected. It's not a fault of anyone for not - it just is what it is. Social media has created a type of complacency within human relationships. We send social media invites and wedding and pregnancy announcements. "Oh, didn't you get my Facebook invite?" We've been groomed to accept this as normal when it's far from it.

Call me old fashioned or out of touch, but I'll take the hand written notes, snail mail invites, texts (phone calls only if you're bleeding, please) over the flashed social media world any day.

Over the last two weeks, I've read almost 5 books (so close to hitting my goal of 50 before the end of the year!), written lots of snail mail, had uninterrupted evenings with Babes, not worried about the latest Reel I needed to do, not spent 75% of my phone time working Instagram or Facebook, been 100% less stressed or filled with anxiety, not felt pressured to post pictures of my outfit/workout/food/life. I've just been ME.

At the end of your life, what really matters? Your followers? Your likes? Do the people who comment on your pictures really care about you? Do the things and people you really care about know? Or, are they taking a backseat to a world that doesn't really count?

We live in a really strange, wild time, my friends. If you haven't already asked yourself the hard questions... maybe it's time.


patty lauren

I have no shame in admitting I'm a basic white girl when it comes to fall. I love the cooler temps, the changing leaves, the smells, the coziness, and the food! The official start of fall for me kicks off with a pumpkin spice latte (and decorating the house for fall, but that's another story).

The two leading manufacturers of our favorite fall drink are Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. While they are popular, their PSLs are full of sugar - anywhere from 38-72 grams per drink. The American Heart Association recommends women not exceed 25g of sugar per day - for men, it's 50. You can see how your sugar intake can easily get out of control if all of your day's (or a couple of days!) is blow with one drink.

I decided to try my hand at my home version of a PSL and I have to say, it's delicious. It's got the creamy pumpkin taste without the excess sugar which makes it my new fall drinks. I do have a Nespresso and that's how I make my lattes. It's worth every penny and has saved me so much money instead of going to Starbucks multiple times a week.

You can utilize the same method but heat the pumpkin ingredients in a saucepan and add to your regular coffee!


FitStyle PSL


2 shots of espresso

1 cup of milk (I use Malk Oat Milk, but use what you prefer)

1 tbsp pure pumpkin puree

1 tsp pumpkin spice

2 tbsp hot water

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp maple syrup or honey

optional: dash of cinnamon

I add the hot water and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, vanilla, and maple syrup in a separate jar and use a milk frother to blend all of the ingredients. I tried adding all of them to my Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother but the pumpkin puree clogged the internal whisk. Once all of the pumpkin ingredients are mixed, I then add them to the milk in my milk frother and let it do it's thing while I prepare my espresso.

Finally, pour the milk over your espresso in your favorite cup! I use a spoon to hold back the milk froth - you don't have to but it makes it more official. Top with a dash of cinnamon and there you have it! Enjoy!

This PSL is not on the super sweet side - if you crave a little more sweetness, you can add a touch more maple syrup or honey but both can be high in sugar as well so keep that in mind when adding.


patty lauren

Weekly, I have people ask me tips about travel. It's definitely one of my huge passions in life and I want to be able to help others who enjoy exploration in making it a little more enjoy.

Travel can be overwhelming for a lot of us. What to do? Where to go? Where to eat? How do I create a budget? What should I pack? Often, these questions can cause someone to miss out on a lot of amazing things because it all just seems so overwhelming. My goal is to start sharing some of my insights and experiences to help you make your travel life the best it can be.

Last week, I shared how I pack in one bag - my favorite tip of all time! Traveling light leaves you with a lot less stress and way more time to enjoy wandering. If you haven't checked that post out, you can find it here.

In this post, I'm sharing three of my MUST KNOW travel tips. I have more than three, but this is a good place to start and are at the very top of my hacks!

1) Make Reservations... everywhere

This might seem like a no brainer post 2020, but making reservations is key to having a memorable trip anywhere you go. Most all places accept reservations but often people don't take advantage of making them. Or, they make the mistake of waiting too long to make them.

When? Book reservations for dinners/drinks/experiences at least 3 months in advance, if you can. I know, I know. You're like "WHAT?!" But, like they say "the early bird gets the worm." If you are hoping to get in at a super swanky, highly sought after place, book even further in advance. The earlier you book, you secure your preferred time and can even get an early bird discount when booking certain experiences.

If you wait until a month before, your chances are much slimmer of optimal preferences and if you don't make a reservation at all, you risk missed opportunities and a possible stressful situation.

Tell them Why! If you don't remember anything else I tell you, remember this one. If you are celebrating an anniversary/birthday, put it in your reservation. If you are celebrating a job promotion, put it in your reservation. If you just found out you're pregnant and celebrating, put it in your reservation. I book through OpenTable and Resy frequently and they both have spaces to tell them why you are celebrating. Be specific.

If you are booking a hotel or resort, the same applies. Talk to someone and let them know why you are staying with them. I cannot tell you the amount of complimentary things/extra special treatment we have received over the years when we simply let the establishment know why we are there. Places want your repeat business and they want to celebrate you choosing to eat or stay with them for your special event. It makes celebrating your occasion even more special.

2) Stay local

When planning a trip, skip the tourist traps. Part of traveling is soaking up another city and culture. It gives you a unique experience and, often, a much less crowded time away. Most tourist driven restaurants, activities don't really hold the charm that a local place would. It can feel intimidating to seek out the local joints because often, the first places listed on a public search are the tourist stops. It can be overwhelming and maybe we don't want to get out of our comfort zone. But, that's the best part of travel - getting out of your comfort zone! A few of my favorite ways to plan local only activities:

  • Ask a local - if you have a friend (or a friend of a friend) who is local to the area or has connections, ask. I have always found people to be so helpful and excited when sharing about a place they love. Sometimes this can open doors to other experiences maybe not provided to all visitors if your connection has an in at a restaurant or experience.

  • Know where to search - your basic Google search isn't my favorite way to scour your resources for local haunts. I like to hit up hashtags on Instagram to check out local spots. You can try ones such as "local(city)" and see what pulls up. Sometimes these can lead you to local bloggers, foodies, and tours that are off the beaten path. Condé Nast is another go-to for me, especially in bigger cities. CN will provide more resources on hot, new stops so it's a great resource to try unknown spots. They also usually have old, faithful stops that are steeped in the culture of your visit.

  • Lastly, read reviews from other travelers! Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor - all of these resources can help you get inside details of a place or restaurant you want to visit.

3) Plan the "must dos" but leave room for "maybe dos". Have a backup plan!

I fall somewhere between having an open palm and being a planner when we travel. For the best experiences, you have to be okay with plans being changed due to unforeseen circumstances (hello 2020!), traffic, or just wanting to change things up. The best way I've found to do this is plan the "must do" activities. If it's a restaurant you booked 6 months ago and you've been dying to try, it's a must do. If it's a 2 hour drive away from your hotel to a special site you have always wanted to see, it's a must do. But, if it's wanting to hit up a fancy beach one afternoon but a viscous rainstorm rolls in, it's an opportunity to pivot.

Have a backup plan for each day of travel... have a list of places you'd like to go, if time allows. A museum? A local book store? A quaint coffee shop? Just walking around downtown? These aren't must dos, but they make pretty sweet backup plans if something else falls through. Allowing yourself room to pivot keeps your trip flowing and you making memories without allowing changes to put a damper on your adventures.

None of these tips cost money - but they can add value to your trip! Do you have some favorite travel tips you've learned over the years? Share them with me and I would love to try them!


patty lauren

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