Seven on Saturday: Investing Virgin, Affirmation Animals, and Solar-Powered Bikinis

Hello, friend, and happy weekend!

Welcome back to the Seven on Saturday series! For more info on what exactly this is (and why I’m doing it), you can check out this post. To see other Seven on Saturday, here’s where to go.

Sustainability practice I’m loving

coconut oil EVERYTHING

Using organic, fair trade, sustainably-sourced coconut oil for everything.

The majority of products, no matter how pure and wonderful and environmentally-friendly and eco-conscious as they try to be, use energy in their production and materials in their packaging. I buy the biggest coconut oil jug I can find (preferably in a glass jar or recycled/recyclable plastic), and then re-use or recycle the container.

I use coconut oil as makeup remover, lotion, in hair masks, and in moderate amounts for cooking. Learn more about how coconut oil is a sustainable option (and when it’s not) in this super-detailed article by Andrea Himoff.

Self-care / simple pleasure

Affirmator card example
a photo of my mom, an Affirmators card, an essential oil diffuser, and a plant: all the things that make me feel good

Affirmation cards.

I’ve never been able to get into tarot or astrology or crystals (though I do admire the new age aesthetic), but one of my favorite daily practices is pulling an affirmation card. When I settle for the day at my desk, I sip a tea, maybe light some incense or a candle if I’m feeling the mood strike, and I draw a card, meditate on the message, and then leave it up for the rest of the day.

I bought the Affirmators! deck (after an embarrassingly intense amount of research) mainly because the affirmations are uplifiting and relevant, and they come with cute cartoon animals on the cards. I’m a sucker for anything bright and animal-related.

There are over 1000 affirmation decks on Amazon, so I’m sure you can find a set that works for you if the Affirmators aren’t speaking to you.

Skill I’m working on

Learning to invest
a few of the stocks I’m watching

Investing!

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that until a week ago, I had zero invested in my retirement fund.

I spent a few months researching investing, mapping out a long-term strategy, and discussing plans with my husband before actually pulling the trigger on my first investments (I went with a Vanguard Target Date Fund for my first IRA purchase, and Terra Tech and Insys Therapeutics for my personal investment portfolio).

I’m trying to read a bit about investing every day, I’ve set up some “watch lists” and alert notifications, and little by little I’m building up my portfolio.

It makes me cringe to think where I’d be sitting financially today, if only I’d started this investment journey when I graduated college.

Also, I’m just having FUN doing it (honestly). I bought 100 shares of some stocks for just under $700 just as the price was starting to rise, and then two days later read that the company got in trouble for insider trading and would be settling for $150 million, so I sold just as the stock started to plummet. I made $100 after commissions, and if I would have been a bit more on the ball and sold a few hours sooner, I would have made $150. Investing = fun.

Someone I recommend

Roy Swim
twist-top bikini and essential cheeky bottoms

Roy Swim.

After Victoria Secret canceled their swimwear line and I decided to try to be more intentional and ethical in my fashion purchases, I was left flailing for swimsuit options. First, I tried to buy local, and was literally LAUGHED out of the store (to the little shop on the beach road in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: NOT COOL)… taking swimsuit shopping to a new all-time low.

A bunch of hours spent internet researching found me suits that would fit my top-heavy shape, but were produced in sketchy circumstances.

Then, by some beautiful synchronicity on the internet, I stumbled across a small Instagram account featuring a photo of a woman in a bikini I LOVED. She’d tagged Roy Swim.

All of the bikinis are handmade by their designer, Liane Roy Fitzgerald, on a solar-powered sewing machine.

Supporting solar energy AND a small business AND a woman entrepreneur? Sign me up.

ALL of my bikinis are now Roy (in a variety of styles/exposures, everything from cheeky to thong, because why the hell not), and I’ve never ever ever been comfier on the beach or poolside. I’m a Roy girl for life now.

Spot you should know about

Visiting Quito, Ecuador
the main plaza in Quito

Quito!

Aside from the Galapagos Islands (which are absolutely as amazing as everyone says, if not more), I feel like Ecuador is ridiculously underrated. The culture, the cuisine (especially for vegetarians), the landscapes, and the capital city of Quito are all worthy of rave reviews.

If you’re looking for a pretty, historic South American city full of things to do and potential day trips (all at GREAT prices), look no further than Quito!

Secret

El Bosque Hotel Monteverde
I’m afraid of the dark because of things like this

I’m afraid of the dark.

Like, irrationally so. I’ve been doing more active work on this but it’s still apt to creep in, especially when I’m experiencing high levels of anxiety throughout my day.

When I was traveling with my younger brother around Mexico and to Cuba, there was even one night when I woke him up and asked him to look in the closet in my Airbnb (it was way too tall for me to see inside: I’m 5’2″ and he’s 6’3″ish). And yes, he totally got up and checked and was SO NICE ABOUT IT. My brother is the best.

I always, always have to check under the bed and in the closets before I turn out the light when I go to bed, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have an intense urge to turn on the light (which sometimes I do, sometimes I fight and don’t).

When I’m traveling and particularly anxious, sometimes I’ll even sleep with a small nightlight on (which isn’t good for your sleep depth, I know).

I like to think of myself as adventurous and independent and rational, so this is something I’m embarrassed of. Do you have any phobias? Are you afraid of the dark? I’d love to hear from you (either in the comments or, if you’re embarrassed like me, send me an email!)

Something else

I am REALLY struggling with my writing practice.

I used to write (anything: journaling, for posts, random thoughts) every morning for 30 minutes.

Lately, though, I just feel DRY in terms of ideas and really resistant to my usual practice. Something I’m trying is writing down a bunch of different prompts (random stuff: “What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 10 years old?” “What’s the most disappointing place you’ve ever traveled?” “What does your ideal day look like?” “What do you look for in a friend”), and putting them into a little jar and drawing one out every morning, and free-writing on it for at least 15 minutes.

How do you deal with writer’s block? Do you have any favorite prompts?


What about you? I’d especially love to hear about any self-care favorites, sustainability practices, skills you’re working on, secret spots you rave about, and small businesses you recommend!

Steph

A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. 6 years later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and Puebla. Steph is on to her next adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is traveling the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

2 Comments

  1. Caroline
    August 12, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    Hi Steph,
    I’m scared of talking in front of people. I’m also intimidated by leaving comments on blog posts. I simply enjoy reading other people’s stories and for some reason feel like I’m not entitled to leave a comment. I’m giving it a try here and it’s gonna take me 20 minutes to write something that someone else would have written in 5 minutes! Arrgh!

    I’m also a writer and often struggle to write and find new ideas. I haven’t tried any writing exercises. What works best for me is to disconnect completely from writing and go for a run or a bike ride. Another trick I have is I try to write on a subject with a humouristic tone. I guess it works for me because I tend to feel uncomfortable writing in a formal way.

    Maybe you already knew but solar-powered bikini does exist. I was curious when I read your article title and did a quick search to see if someone found I use for that. Technology is just going crazy!

    I love reading your articles!

    • Steph
      Author
      August 13, 2018 / 11:17 am

      Hi Caroline!

      I totally feel and empathize with this fear: I have the same one! But as a blogger, I know that comments are SO appreciated… sometimes it can feel like you’re just talking to no one 🙂 I am truly thrilled with every (nice) comment I receive, as it gives me an opportunity to connect!

      I also find that disconnecting helps! I tend towards procrastination, though, so sometimes I worry whether I’m disconnecting for real or I’m just avoiding work!

      Oh wow, you mean like the bikini itself makes solar power? I’ll have to check that out – giving a google now! The solar-powered bikinis I mentioned are created with solar power (solar-powered sewing machines), but they don’t generate power themselves.

      Hope you’re having a great week so far!!

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