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September 22, 2017

I'M GOING ON A NO-BUY!



Heeello, everyone!


I'm FINALLY going on a no-buy. I've been wanting to do this for so long, but I always have things or events holding me back, like someone's birthday, graduation or something along those lines that requires me to buy a gift or an outfit for myself. I mean, I couldn't not buy someone a gift, but I could not buy myself an outfit to attend a certain event and maybe try to borrow something from a friend or my sister.. But, I didn't want to do that. 

I picked October to go on my no-buy because I don't think I have anything planned that would require me to buy something. I do have my sister's birthday, but I already got her present so that's done. Other than that, I don't have anything planned that would require me to do any shopping, which is good. However, I'm excluding Christmas gifts from this no-buy because if I see something on sale that I think someone in my family would appreciate as a Christmas gift, I'm buying it. But that would be an exception. Needless, I will still buy groceries and food because I need to live. 

This no-buy is going to include everything I would buy for myself, I don't care if it's on sale or if it's buy one, get one. I'm planning on really sticking to it and not buying anything. I'm even including ebooks, which you guys know is my weakness. I have a book haul up on the blog at least two times a month so that's going to be hard. I'm also planning on doing at least one day a week when I don't spend any money at all, like doing all my meals at home and everything, but we'll see how it goes. 

WHY?
Like I've said, I've been wanting this no-buy for a while. Ever since I started to implement minimalism to my life I've been more conscious of what I'm spending my money on and, as you can see, I've been doing way less hauls. It's not like I want to see the value of money because, trust me, I do know the value of money. It's more like I want see if I can. Even after learning about minimalism, I still buy stupid shit sometimes - way less than I did before, but I still do and I don't want to anymore. 

What I really want to get out of this experience is how to stop shopping when I'm bored. There are literally 6 malls in my neighborhood, all 15-20 minutes away from my house, so it's hard not to. But the more you learn about minimalism and the zero-waste movement, the more you realize that shopping when you're bored is not harmless. It's not only bad for your bank account, but it's also detrimental to the environment and people all over the world. 

HOW LONG?
As of now, the goal is to keep it up for one month - from October first to the 31st. If it doesn't kill me and I'm able to keep going for longer, I will. I don't think that's going to happen, but there's a small possibility that it will. I see people online going on no-buys for 3 months and I don't think I'll ever be able to do that. 

UPDATES!
I'm thinking about making two updates, one in the middle of the month and the other at the end. But, I can do more if you guys are interested in. I'm also planning on taking pictures of everything I don't buy and maybe adding up the amount of money I actually saved - I think that would be fun! And also, it would be good for me to see the overall amount of money I'm saving this month. 

I guess that's all! If you want to join me on this experience, let me know on the comments so we cheer each other on because I'm sure this is going to be hard, way harder than I'm imagining right now. But, this is something I feel like I have to do. Anyway, wish me luck! I'll give you guys more updates on social media (the links are always at the end of  each post), so you can see me suffer everyday. Ok, that was intense. I need to chill, it's just a no-buy, right?!


Do you want to join me?
What do you think about no-buys?

Let's hang some more!

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk you later!



September 21, 2017

TOEFL // Tips + Tricks You NEED To Know.


Heeello, everyone!

I know this post is not going to interest most of my usual readers, but I wanted to talk about it anyway because I feel like it could really help out a lot of people out there. I've talked about this before here on the blog, but one of my plans for next year is to apply for a masters program. I have no idea where I want to go or which universities I'll be applying to, but my recent research has shown that no matter where I want to go, I'd need to take an English exam. The most popular ones are the TOEFL and the IELTS, so I decided to go with the TOEFL because it was the one that every college will accept no matter the country. 

I was terrified. Clearly, English is not my first language and although I believe I speak English very well, and I obviously know enough to have an entire blog written in English, I was still terrified. I had no idea what to expect, if it was extremely hard or if it was kinda easy. So, I did a lot of researching to ease my mind and found some great tips and tricks about the exam that I wanted to share with you guys! Before you ask, I got a 104 out of 120, which is pretty good if I do say so myself and more than enough to apply to all the universities I've been thinking about. So, let's get to it!
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THE EXAM // 
If you're planning on taking the exam you already know how the exam is structured. There's a reading section, a listening section, a speaking section and a writing section - in that order. I think you get around 4 hours to complete everything and there's a break in the mirror, but the TOEFL website will inform you better about timing and everything like that. I just want to say this: only take the exam if you really need to and take it in advance. This things take time, to schedule, to study and to get the grades, so make sure you have at least a couple of months before you have to hand in your scores. 

HOW TO STUDY // 
Well, I studied all by myself because I know that's how I learn best. I also didn't want to spend more money on classes or anything like that, so a friend of mine lent me his book and I looked for a lot of tips online, there's a lot of free resources out there. However, the first thing I did was take the free TOEFL online course on the edX website. You can access it on this link. It's a self-paced course so I think you'll still be able to watch everything. This course only covers the basic stuff, like what kinds of questions to expect and how much time you'll have for each task. It does give you helpful tips and I learned a lot with the classes, it's just not enough. 

If you don't know anyone that has the prep book, I would highly suggest buying it. It's expensive and it's a pretty long book, but it's worthy. They have sample tests, practice questions and little tutorials that you can follow. Practicing is the key here so take as many practice test you can. 

If you don't have the money or you just don't want to buy the book, there's still hope. I'll link up some useful youtube videos and other websites for you to check out. I had the book and I still used all these links - the book only has 4 practice tests and I believe I did 8 or more. The exams don't change much, most of the questions in my exam were extremely similar to the ones I did before. You need to practice and study! My favorite links:
Magoosh Blog // Magoosh offers a lot of plans and study schedules for people that are taking the TOEFL, but they're all paid. The reviews are great and a friend of mine really liked working with them. However, their blog is free and they do offer a lot of good stuff. It's worth checking it out, I got a lot of templates and things like that from them. Super helpful, specially for the writing section. 

TOEFL Listening Practice // This was the best and most accurate listening practice I've found and it really helped me out. If you do a little youtube search you'll find a lot of tests like this one. Do as many as you can.

TOEFL Speaking Full Test // Another great one. I like this videos because the question were pretty true to the actual exam and also because, since it's a video, it's easy to track your time. During the speaking section, when the timer runs out - that's it! The computer stops recording you and you're done, so it's super important to practice with a timer. 

TOEFL: How To Start // Marina is amazing! I think she's also Brazilian, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, that's not relevant right now. She has a bunch of videos talking about the TOEFL exam and all the sections in depth. Her videos were super helpful and I'd highly recommend starting with them.  

TEMPLATES // 
Templates work for me. I know a lot of teachers online advice against it, but they make me feel prepared and at ease. And you need to feel prepared and at ease. The thing is I know how to work with templates during the exam and if they also work for you too, I say go for it! I would recommend copying online templates word for word on your exam, but it's good to have some phrases memorized. Like a general introduction sentence you can change up to fit most topics and a good conclusion sentence. In my case, I suck at transitions so I memorized a few words to help me out. This is also important for the speaking section because you have very little time to put together a good answer, the clock is ticking and you start freaking. 

If templates stress you out, don't use them. If you feel like you'll freak out during the exam because the stuff you memorized doesn't fit the topic, don't use them. And so on and so forth. You need to do what works for you and you'll only know what works for you by practicing and studying, so get to it!

OVERALL ADVICE // 
Well, study! I know a lot of people think they are already fluent in English and they don't need to study, but speaking English is not enough to get a good grade.. you need to know HOW to take the exam. I know the whole exam takes about 4 hours, but trust me, it's not enough time. The texts are boring and huge, you only have a couple of minutes to get your answers ready before speaking and it's just overall hard. It's supposed to be hard, but it's doable. If I got a good a grade, there's nothing stoping you from doing the same. The sooner you start studying the better!

Another good piece of advice is: don't use words you don't know. I know it sounds simple, but it's worth mentioning. Don't try to sound smart and cultured, be smart by not using words you're not sure how to spell! Having said that, I think you should memorize a couple of "difficult" words and sprinkle them throughout your composition, but only if they make sense. 

I hope this help you out somehow! If you've found this post by googling "toefl tips" right before your exam, CHILL! I know you have to pay a small fortune to even take this exam and I know sometimes it feels like your life is going to end if you don't pass an exam, but guess what? IT WON'T. Life goes on and you can always take the exam again. Freaking out will only make things harder, the whole anxiety thing will get the best of you and you don't want that. Relax, you've got this! 

I'm EVERYWHERE!

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk you later!

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September 20, 2017

Links I'm Loving // Pinterest Galore.


If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've rediscovered my love for Pinterest as of lately because that's basically all I can talk about. I'm not a newbie when it comes to Pinterest by all means. I made my account years ago, right when I started the blog, but I kinda forgot it existed to be honest. However, my obsession came back in full force when I was working on the blog makeover. I was wanting to change things up with the design and all online roads led me back to Pinterest. Now, I can get enough! I've been pinning and creating new boards like a madwoman and I'm loving it. Me and my sister make a new recipe almost every weekend and I wanted to share some of that with you guys as well. So, here I am! 

THE LINKS
You guys know I've been trying to be more minimal and live a more minimalist lifestyle. I love it and I'm really glad I started down this path, but it's hard. Letting go of things and learning how to live with less when all your life you were thought that basically "more is more" is extremely challenging. When this post popped up on my page, I just had click on it. Even if you don't consider yourself a minimalist, I would highly suggest giving this a read if you have the time. 

WOW! This list was super helpful! There are websites in there I didn't even know existed. I spent a good hour going through everything and checking out all the links. If you're a blogger, you have to read this. I even bookmarked it!

If I'm being honest here, I never thought I would ever need a Media Kit until yesterday. I got an email from a brand offering to send me some products and asking for my media kit and I was like... S#!t, I'm really gonna have to do this, aren't I? So, I sat down on my desk and pushed through it. I googled it, read a bunch of blogposts, and this one was by far one of the most helpful ones. 

The Pretty Bee // Chocolate Banana Bread
I'm a BIG fan of banana bread, it's one of my favorite "deserts" - I'm using quotation marks because I usually eat banana bread for breakfast. Cookies are still number one desert in my book, btw. Anyway, this recipe got me so excited! Me and my sister tried it out last Saturday and O.M.G., it was AMAZING. We changed a couple of things (actually she changed it, I mostly just sat on the kitchen reading the recipe out to her), but this was everything.

Cookies and Cups // No Yeast Cinnamon Roll Muffins
I've been craving cinnamon rolls for months and, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), they're not easy to find here in Brazil. It's like in the US where everywhere you turn there's a Cinnabon. So, I decided to make them at home and it was a fiasco. But then, silver lining, I found this recipe too and decided to try it out instead and all my cinnamon roll dreams came true. Even thought it doesn't have yeast on it, don't be fooled! This is not healthy at all - but it is so so so good! They say don't eat your feeling, but this is like eating a hug. 


Those are all the links I've got for today, guys! I really hope you get to check them out, specially the recipes, and let me know how they worked out for you. I hope you're enjoying getting a post from me everyday. It's been super challenging and I know I've skipped a couple of days, but I'm trying really hard. Everyday September is almost over, but I will try to make blogmas happen this year too. Super excited about that!


Do you have any links to share?!

Let's hang some more!

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk you tomorrow!

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