8 relationship habits that will make everything easier, smoother, and more fun

Can you turn being a good partner into a habit? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? Yes! Click through to read about eight of them!

Can you make it a habit to be a good partner? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? (I can hear you being skeptical from all the way over here.) 

You might be sick of hearing me talk about habits by now (not stopping anytime soon!), but I truly believe that they’re one of the secrets to a life well-lived. Studies vary, but psychologists and neurologists estimate that between 40 and 95% of what we do every day is habitualized – including how we interact with our partners.

So it stands to reason that building even one good relationship habit (or breaking a bad one), could have a big impact on your relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, read on!

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Web Time Wasters

What’d you get up to last week, friends? We hosted friends for brunch yesterday, but – honestly – it’s been pretty much just de-icing and shoveling and rescheduling plans due to ice and snow all week. Ooof!

Links for you:

Are we improving ourselves to death?
Many are psychologists with impressive academic pedigrees and a commitment to scientific methodologies, or tech entrepreneurs with enviable records of success in life and business. What they’re selling is metrics. It’s no longer enough to imagine our way to a better state of body or mind. We must now chart our progress, count our steps, log our sleep rhythms, tweak our diets, record our negative thoughts—then analyze the data, recalibrate, and repeat.

Related: The Glorious Freedom of ‘Good Enough’ + How To Find It

Some good thoughts about price + value

Grimace emoji: The unsettling psychology of an Amazon Prime addiction

“I definitely feel like I’m spending more than I should on things I probably don’t need,” Melissa says. “I feel like I come up with excuses to buy things when I could just as easily do something more productive, like creative writing, working out. I used to indulge a lot more before I had to pay rent and before my credit cards had to be canceled (by me, voluntarily). But I’m still living beyond my means.”

Though she has a decent enough salary to make her rent, rent is a huge chunk of her income, and her Amazon habit means she still turns to her parents for money. Because they never come to collect, they inadvertently end up footing the bill. That leads to arguments, and she sometimes hides purchases from them.

New (to me) podcast obsession: You’re Wrong About …

4 reasons you should try small town travel + what to do when you get there!

A true lol for all former theater and/or choir kids

This is so cool! In January of 2017, I interviewed Alessandra Biaggi about her work as Hillary Clinton’s Deputy National Operations Director. Now she’s a state senator for New York!

Fascinating: US book covers vs. UK book covers.

Supernatural collective nouns (a racket of banshees!)

This apartment tour is all my favorite things: a small, rented space that gorgeous and has been been thoughtfully decorated with thrifted things (but looks like a million bucks)

A (new to me) free tool for anyone who works with clients or students!

I’ve mentioned before how getting serious about Pinterest dramatically increased my traffic (here’s the class I took). Pinterest just released their report on the top trends for 2019. I guess it’s a good year small town travel, Brazil, bakuchiol, and DIY goat milk soap?

Related: if you like these links, you’ll like my Pinterest boards, too!

Hope you had a great weekend, friends!

9 Zero Waste Travel Tips That Won’t Suck The Joy Out Of Your Trip

Looking for zero waste travel tips? Want to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling? Or just waste less? It's possible to take part in environmentally-friendly travel without it sucking!

“Zero waste travel? That sounds … joyless,” my friend teases as we pick at a pile of nachos.

“It really does, doesn’t it?” I laugh. When I first started thinking about my carbon footprint and how much waste I produce while traveling I pictured myself eating lentils out of a mason jar, while waiting for the subway.

Not relaxing, not lovely, not very, uh, vacation-y.

But as I started to tweak and test and I discovered that – counter-intuitive and unlikely as it sounds – I actually enjoyed my trips more when I did these things.

I got through security at the airport faster, I had more conversations with locals + more picnics in the park, and I was less likely to spill coffee or leftovers all over my bag. (A surprisingly and frustratingly common occurrence.)

9 Zero Waste Travel Tips That Won’t Suck The Joy Out Of Your Trip

A giant asterisk: None of us are perfect and most things we do have SOME impact on the environment. I don’t want your trip to be a hard, boring slog of eating sandwiches while walking in the rain and denying yourself any joy or convenience.

Try one or two of these things! Do what’s easiest for you. And if you try something and it sucks the joy right out of your trip, don’t do it again. Try something else. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. (Ya know, like metaphorically.)

1. Experiment with road tripping + train travel 

If you’re traveling for the sake of traveling (like, an ‘I just need to get out of a town’ vacation), consider a destination you can reach in some manner that doesn’t involve a plane. I was horrified to learn that taking one round-trip flight between New York and California generates about 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that a car emits over an entire year.

I’m not suggesting we give up flying completely – that’s simply not an option for a lot of people. But when we’re thinking about travel in general (rather than a trip to a specific place, for a specific reason), what if we at least considered a road trip? What if we at least opened the Amtrak tab and scrolled around for five minutes?

As a side note, I like road trips a million times better than air travel. I like being able to pull over whenever I want, explore anything I see, and take the scenic route.

Also: road trips down require me to take off my shoes, belt, scarf, and jewelry while a stranger pats me down.

Related: Everything you need to know to plan an amazing road trip

2. Take a longer vacation

In case you needed it: here’ s your official permission to make your vacation longer. If we’re going to use up all that jet fuel getting some place, we might as well make it worth our while!

So tack some extra days onto that business trip or really, actually use all your vacation days this year. 52% of Americans don’t use all their vacation time! If you’ve got paid vacation time, uuuuuuuse iiiiiiiit. Taking time off literally makes you a better worker!

3. Book the direct flight

Jets burn the most fuel during take off, so here’s your excuse to buy the direct flight – one fewer flight > one fewer take-off > fewer emissions.

Also, you might want to stick with coach. Because there are more seats in coach, that means more people per tank of fuel, which means a smaller environmental impact. In fact, the emissions associated with flying business class are three times (!!!) that of flying coach. (Don’t worry, you can still get that exit row upgrade in coach!)

If you’d like to buy carbon offsets you can, but most airlines now have them baked into your flight cost! If you want to buy them anyway, you can do that here.

4. Skip baggage claim

Packing carry-on only means lighter luggage, which means better gas mileage for your road trip and an easier take off for that jet you’re on.

Also, let’s be real. Trundling down the baggage claim and waiting for 15 minutes isn’t fun.

Here’s how I packed in a carry-on for a six-week, multi-country, multi-climate trip. It’s not as hard as it sounds. I promise!

5. See the city on bike, foot, or bus

Some of my favorite travel memories involve public transport in other countries – watching people climb on top of the buses in southern Nepal, sharing snacks with my train-car mates in India, making conversation in my terrible Spanish on the bus in Costa Rica.

Public transport gives you insights into ‘real life’ at your travel destination. It also happens to be cheaper and better for the environment than taking taxis everywhere.

Most major western cities have bike sharing programs and it wouldn’t be a visit to the Netherlands if you didn’t take part in their bike culture.

And, of course, walking creates zero emissions, is good exercise, and allows you to explore a city slowly enough that you discover hidden gems. When I was in Costa Rica a few weeks ago, my friend and I stumbled across this cemetery as we were poking around San Jose. It’s one of my favorite memories of the whole trip!

Download the City Bike app to see where you can pick up and drop off bikes or check out these apps that help you find walking tours of cities all over the world.

6. Stay in an Airbnb or a vacation rental

Airbnb and vacation rentals aren’t perfect – nothing is. But from an environmental impact standpoint, they’re a jillion times better than hotels. Think of all those empty hotel rooms being heated and cooled, those hallways with the lights on all night, and the constant washing of sheets and towels, often after one use.

Besides, you get more for your tourism dollar in a vacation rental, it’s easier to stay in a ‘real’ neighborhood, and you often have a kitchen so you can make a few meals in-house and save $$$. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking!

7. Try a new restaurant

Bad news: milk, cheese, and meat aren’t particularly great for the planet. Good news: your trip can be an opportunity to try an amazing vegetarian or vegan restaurant in your destination city!

This site will help you find vegan and vegetarian restaurants in any zip code. Or just use this trip as an excuse to eat more avocados, more peanut butter, and more bread than ever!

8. BYO… most things

We can dramatically reduce the amount of waste we create while traveling with a tiiiny bit of planning. We can bring our travel coffee mugs and water bottlesa set of silverware, a tiffin for restaurant leftover or impromptu picnics, and a reusable bag.

And if you’re thinking, “That sure seems like an annoying hassle, Sarah,” I get it!

You know what I hate more than the hassle of packing this extra stuff? I hate carrying my delicious restaurant leftovers in my hands for an hour because the Styrofoam clamshell they gave me isn’t watertight, so if I put it in my bag it’ll leak pasta all over.

I don’t like drinking coffee out of little paper cups that burn my hand and don’t keep my coffee warm. I hate eating takeout with a tiny plastic fork that breaks when I use it on a piece of apple.

So, yes, bringing these things is better for the environment but, selfishly, they’re better for me. They keep my coffee warm longer. They let me put my leftovers in my bag and forget about them. They make my picnic nicer and my trip to the picturesque street market more enjoyable.

9. Forget about that dang 3 ounce rule!

Three ounces of shampoo and conditioner is not going to get you through your two week trip. Shampoo and conditioner bars create less waste, last much longer than their liquid counterparts, and don’t count towards that three-once rule. More space in your one-gallon ziplock for other awesome, liquid things!

You can also find face wash, sunscreen, face cream, and body lotion in bar form. Or toothpaste in … tab form? They won’t spill in your bag and they’ll last forever!

I want to hear from you! Share your best environmentally-friendly travel tips in the comments so we can learn from you!

P.S. How to live out of a suitcase – glamorously 

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Web Time Wasters

What’d you get up to this week, friends? Unsurprisingly, I stayed inside for 99% of it – Minneapolis is NOT screwing around with these temperatures. I’m working through Bank Boost alongside my students and as part of my Earning Spree took on tonnnnns of work. Which is exciting! And means I’m working all the time!

Links for you!

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The Secret To Getting What You Want Is Asking For It (Here’s How)

Not sure how to ask for what you want? Looking for goal-setting advice or tips for chasing your dreams? Click through for self-development tips you won't read elsewhere!
When Jen’s email pings into my inbox, my first reaction is to lean back and squint.


I’ve asked Jen for feedback on the course she just took and I’m expecting/hoping for a few kind words, some constructive criticism, and maybe some hard numbers if she’s willing to share them. Some numbers in the low four figures.

That’s what I was expecting.

Instead, Jen told me that my course had given her the courage to negotiate a 12,000 raise. That’s almost $14,000 for us Yanks! Whaaaaaaaat?!

And while I am, of course, happy that Bank Boost nudged Jen to negotiate for a bigger salary, the truth is this: Jen got what she wanted because she asked for it.

There are a million blog posts bouncing around the internet that tell us how to reach goals, manifest our dreams, and change our habits. (I know this because I write a lot of those blog posts.)

Many of these blog posts walk us through the art of getting clear on what we want, breaking our goals into teeny, tiny steps, and working towards what we want on a consistent basis. And these are all important parts of getting what we want.

But. None of that means anything if we’re not willing to ask for it. Let's say you want to get into an amazing party. Breaking goals into little pieces is walking up the sidewalk, asking for what you want is knocking on the door. Click To Tweet

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Web TIme Wasters

I returned last night from two weeks in Costa Rica – week one was hosting a retreat for Fit & Fly Girl, week two was poking around San Jose and its surrounds with my friend Meredith.

Here’s my totally unsolicited San Jose itinerary + tips for you!

  • Use Uber rather than deal with taxis. You won’t get ripped off or have to haggle prices and you can ‘share’ your ride with people at home if anyone’s nervous about your safety. (At home I prefer Lyft, but it’s not really available in San Jose.)
  • Stay in the city rather than the suburbs! San Jose super walkable and easy to get around. We stayed right in the heart of downtown, but Barrio Amon is beautiful, walkable, and a bit quieter. If I could do it again, I’d stay here!
  • If you’re up for it, rent a car so you can take day trips out of the city. You’ll have to get insurance (your American car insurance won’t cover you here), but even with full coverage, it shouldn’t be more than $30 a day. We loved having the freedom to go where ever we wanted.
  • Attempt the Tres Cruses hike. It’s sort of terrifyingly steep, but even if you just do the first half, you’ll get some amazing views and exercise.
  • Visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch. Their Sloths & Coffee tour is $60 per person but ABSOLUTELY WORTH EVERY PENNY. You’ll see your fill of sloths and toucans, as well as an ocelot, an oncilla (the world’s smallest jungle cat!!), and an animal I can only call ‘a tree otter.’ Also, the ranch is a rehabilitation center not a zoo, so you can rest easy knowing that your money is supporting a great cause.
  • Head to volcano Irazu, 1.5 hours outside San Jose. Take a million photos of the lake inside the crater and all the clouds you’re above. Bring a picnic or stop at one of the restaurants on the way up. On your way back to San Jose, stop in Cartago and see the basilica and the Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins – an unfinished church that’s now a public park.
  • Drive southwest and check out the beaches of Jaco. We liked Playa Mantas and Playa Blanca (which are technically connected to each other at low tide.) On your way to Jaco, stop at Crocodile Bridge to see 15 giant, wild crocodiles sunning themselves in the river below this overpass. After a day at the beach, check out the sunset from El Miro – the ruins of an old restaurant, now covered in graffiti – a great place to watch the sunset.
  • In San Jose proper, we loved all the street art, the amazing bakeries, the corner fruit vendors, and the wild parrots that (noisily) congregated in the parks. The National Theater is gooooorgeous and if it wasn’t their off-season, we’d totally have sprung for tickets to a show. We stumbled onto Cementerio de Obreros and loved exploring it.

Links for you!

If creativity is so freeing, why do I feel trapped?

This is SUCH a great idea if you need design input on your home without the traditional interior designer price tag!

The last curious man:
My wife came home one day, and she said, “Look. There’s a really nice woman at the newspaper. Her son is a writer. She wanted you to take a look at his work,” which seemed…adorable, right? A mother’s ambition for a son. I took this manuscript out of its yellow envelope, not expecting much. I started to read. It was about a young cook, working at a pretty average steak-and-frites place on lower Park Avenue. I called this guy up on the phone. He answered it in his kitchen. I said, “I’d like to publish this work of yours in The New Yorker. I hope that’s okay.” That was the beginning of Anthony Bourdain being published. I don’t know if there’s any way to put this other than to say he invented himself as a writer, as a public personality. It was all there.

Breakfast and beauty routines in Nigeria.

I really, really loved this essay from my girl Alex: There’s always a simpler way.

Your daily weep.

What’s it like to be an auctioneer from Christie’s?!

I read most of this on my flight home and had to subtly cry into my scarf.

I loved the black walls in this hour tour.

Pasta with yogurt and caramelized onions?

How to teach your kids to clean up after themselves!

A family in six acts.
My mother-in-law throws a party. There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and the next generation of cousins, a phalanx: eager voices and strange, improvised games. I drink a whiskey in the back garden. The adults discuss every Californian’s favorite topic: the route they took to drive there. It’s all novelty to me, the continuity of grown-up cousins and young cousins. The day grows cool. We cannot find my younger son. I usually know just where he is: attached to me. There is panic. He’s discovered, in his aunt’s bed, content and watching cartoons, wholly at home among his people.

Hope you had a lovely week! I’m excited to get back to my routine and write some great things for you!