Seven on Saturday: Summer Bucket Lists, Dirt You Can Eat, and Tea

Hi and happy weekend!

Sustainability practice I’m loving

use Diatomaceous Earth as a natural solution against bugs
diatomaceous earth: what it looks like, including sprinkled on a plant (far right)

I live in a place that has a LOT of bugs: more bugs than anywhere else I’ve ever lived (which is strange, because I definitely expected a lot of creepy crawly insects in Thailand and Brazil, but I didn’t have any issues).

While fumigation and pesticide application for necessary for the massive termite infestation we, unfortunately, moved into (though I did try my darnedest with a clove oil spray that worked but just wasn’t powerful enough to get the thousands of buggers deep inside the walls), I want to avoid using poison in my home as much as possible.

I’ve been particularly impressed with the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth, which naturally kills bugs (its MO is brutal) but is not poison and is so safe that your dog or baby can touch it and you can even consume it. Seriously. People eat the stuff to battle parasites.

I sprinkle it around the outside door frame and especially along the bottom gap between the door and the floor, and I use it in my potted plants that tend towards gnat infestation. It is SO effective, as long as it’s dry (if it gets washed away or wet, you’ll need to dry the surface and re-apply).

Self-care / simple pleasure

10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality While Traveling

I work/study from home, and I’m a boredom eater. This is a recipe for diet disaster. Or, it was… until I discovered natural dessert tea. These teas are noncaffeinated (perfect, because I avoid caffeine after 2pm), all natural, zero calorie, and DELICIOUS!

Instead of mindlessly snacking when I’m bored or procrastinating, I get up, set some water to boil, go for a little walk around my house, and then brew my tea. It’s probably not the smartest of beverages considering the intense temperatures and humidity going on in my home city, but I do work in the air con and it’s definitely working to keep my snacking at bay.

It always feels like a pleasurable little treat in my afternoon, to take a moment away from work, and sip on a delicious tea that tastes like dessert without any of the guilt.

Skill I’m working on

Isabela Island of the Galapagos Islands
ready to run?

When I was younger, I used to be really into running. After my mom’s death, though, running became really painful emotionally and physically. My mom used to come to all of my track meets, and ran track herself in high school. Running without her felt like shit, to be honest.

It’s only been in the past year that I’ve really tried to pick running back up. Truly, it is a skill of both mental and physical form. Physically, you’ve got to condition your body, build up your stamina, and increase your cardiovascular ability. Mentally, you’ve got to make time for it (if you live in a hot AF place like me, that probably means early morning when you’d rather be sleeping in) and not put it off or cancel on yourself.

The number one thing that has helped me in becoming a more successful runner has been changing my self talk. Every time I catch myself saying internally that running sucks or running is boring or I wish I didn’t have to run, I actively “switch channels”. Instead, I crowd out those negative thoughts with positive ones, expressing my gratitude for being able to run, reminding myself of how great it feels afterward, and that running is enjoyable.

Someone I recommend

Social is my Thing

Mexico In My Pocket is one of my fave accounts on Instagram because, well, I love all things Mexico (especially living here!!). So you can imagine how SUPER thrilled I was that Luisa, the social media genius behind Mexico In My Pocket, decided to spill all her success secrets at Social is My Thing… FOR FREE.

Now, any woman interested in authentically growing her brand’s Instagram presence has an engaging platform and step-by-step instructions to do so. Luisa regularly posts simple, easy-to-do challenges for followers to improve their own Instagram accounts (on everything from what your best profile photo looks like to rephrasing your bio and beyond).

Luisa is someone who epitomizes the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as she selflessly shares so many helpful tips. She’s so nice, uplifting, and positive, and someone whose Stories I’ve come to look forward to watching, not only to learn a TON but also to brighten my day.

Spot you should know about

What I love about living in Mexico
<3 Cholula

I lived in Puebla* for a little over a year, and that’s a pretty unknown spot in itself for foreign visitors (in fact, every time I’ve told a Mexican that I used to live in Puebla before Puerto Vallarta, I get a confused look and a blunt, “why?”).

Still, Puebla is getting more known, little by little, especially for its mole sauces, beautiful architecture, history with Cinco de Mayo, and its convenient location as a stopping-off point between the more popular cities of Mexico City and Oaxaca.

Cholula is a little town located right next to Puebla, and is even less well-known, which is weird to me because it’s my FAVE! All of the best little hippie hipster vegetarian-friendly restaurants are there, so many cool little cafes, interesting pyramid ruins, cool markets, and so much more. It’s also the oldest still-inhabited city in the Americas! So if you go to central Mexico, don’t miss Cholula, next to Puebla.

*Puebla is a state and a city (so is Oaxaca, actually). Puebla the city is located in Puebla the state. I’m talking specifically about the city here.


Hotel Birger Jarl Stockholm Sweden
I’m horrible at sleep

I’ve mentioned before that I have some sleep problems. But let’s be totally honest now: I suck at it.

I need my room to be dark, cool, and pretty much completely silent (white noise or traffic noise or even construction work is okay, but no random sounds). When it comes to living in Mexico (or pretty much any city in any country in Latin America), this is no bueno… because it’s especially loud at night, with fiestas and canons (?!) and fireworks and bells and middle-of-the-night mariachi proposals.

I have some embarrassment around my sleep issues, like my inability to sleep in all but the most prime of conditions somehow makes me a “weak” person (even though I only think that about myself, and would never think that about someone else going through the same issue – doesn’t make sense, does it?). Adding to this is that I’ve had people say some harsh things to me about it (like, that I shouldn’t be living abroad in the “real world” if I can’t cope with some noise), which makes me feel even worse and more shame.

The only thing I’ve been able to do that is even slightly working for me is wearing eye masks and earplugs (this Lewis & Clark mask and these Mack’s earplugs are the best I’ve found, of the multitude I’ve tried).

I also have anxiety around this, because I am so affected by my lack of sleep, that I worry about future moves, and we even plan where we live around the neighborhood’s relative quietness, and a complex’s noise regulations.

Something else

San Pancho, Mexico
San Pancho, one of my summer bucket list items: to see a new beach town

Is it really the end of August? My dad has a theory that the older you get, the faster time goes, and I have to agree with him.

I like to use the end of a season (and the end of a month) to reflect, to think about things I want to do and accomplish, and what I want to change in the time I have left.

Because I’m type-A, I like lists. But even more than I like lists, I like to-do lists, and I like CHECKING. THINGS. OFF!

Last week, I created an end-of-summer bucket list with all the things I want to do (or do again) before summer ends,  this is what mine looks like:

  • Take a yoga class at two new-to-me studios (1/2: already went to ONE)
  • Try SUP yoga
  • Swim in the ocean (X)
  • Visit a new beach town (X)
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Find a new favorite coffee shop (X : thank you to Danasia of the Urban Realist for this one)
  • Walk with Mickey – my pup – along the beach (X)

I’ve just got two (and a half!) left to hit, with one week left… I think I can do this!

Do you have an end-of-summer bucket list?

Full disclosure, this whole “end of summer” thing is really just a figment of my imagination, because I live in a place where it’s literally summer year-round. Still, I keep track of the seasons based on how it goes back in Michigan: September, October, November are fall; December, January, and February are winter; March, April, and May are summer; June, July, and August are summer.

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!


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook

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