Fun Winter Activities That Won’t Break the Bank


When you finally have some free time after hours of hard work, it can be tempting not to spend all your hard-earned cash. It seems like just about everything enjoyable costs money. Want to see a movie? That will run you about $20. Dinner and drinks? $40. Concerts, unless you find a free one, can run you over a hundred dollars. Finding an affordable activity to do with your friends in the wintertime is even more of a challenge, because you’re cooped up inside most of the time where you always seem to fall into the same routine and getting outside to do something tends to cost money (skiing, snowboarding, tubing, a spa retreat…they’ll all cost you). As a college student, I understand the paradoxical need to save money while wanting to have a good time as well.

So what are you supposed to do to avoid feeling bored and restless, or worse yet, overwhelmed, from all the work you have to do for school or your job? Believe it or not, scrolling through your social media profiles on your phone or parking yourself in front of the tv are not the only options. There are plenty of free and affordable activities that will offer you a fun outlet without breaking the bank! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Get crafty: There are no limits to exercising your creativity, so try out a craft or DIY project if you feel like your creative bug has been in hiding for too long. The materials you’ll need to work from home, such as paint brushes, pencils, markers, paper, and paint will cost you if you don’t already own them, but if you buy good quality materials, they should last you awhile. You could even just get a coloring book and colored pencils- adult coloring has been scientifically proven to reduce stress. Or if you’d rather ease into an artsy activity or would prefer to get out of the house, check out a paint and wine class with your friends. They usually run around $35 a seat, but you’ll get to take a beautiful painting home with you! Plus, some craft stores offer free classes and events. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try taking on a DIY project in your home, such as painting or redecorating a room.
  2. Go rock climbing: Rock climbing is a great indoor winter activity, and for the price of a movie and snacks, you can get a day pass to spend all day honing your climbing skills. Do a search of rock gyms in your area to find one close to you! You’ll learn trust and responsibility as you learn how to belay your friends as they climb and trust them to do the same for you. Plus, rock climbing is a great workout. You can develop some serious arm and leg muscles from all that climbing.
  • Give snowshoeing or ice skating a try: Some winter activities, such as skiing and snowboarding (especially if you plan a whole vacation around them!) can be pricy, but there are other activities you can enjoy for free or very little money right in your own backyard! Okay, maybe not literally in your backyard, but you can probably find a local indoor or outdoor skating rink, which shouldn’t cost you more than $10 for admission and skate rental, or you could skate on a frozen pond or lake if you check that it’s safe. Another idea is snowshoeing, which can look a little like skiing, except instead of coasting downhill, you are gliding over the snow as you walk through it instead of sinking into it. It’s a form of hiking.

  • Take a winter hike: Along those lines, take a winter hike! Hiking isn’t just an activity reserved for the warmer months. Find a local trail for something convenient and affordable, or if you happen to be located within a reasonable distance of a national park, you can enjoy the tranquility of exploring their plethora of trails in the off-season.

  • Take a swim: I don’t mean a polar bear plunge into frigid water! But if that’s what you’re into, go for it. Luckily, if you’re a swimmer like me, you don’t have to give up your swim game in the winter. Fit in some practice sessions at your local gym’s indoor pool and reward yourself afterwards with a dip in the hot tub. If you live near one of the United States’ 1,661 natural hot springs, even better!

  • Bake or cook something: The best kinds of activities are the ones that involve food you get to eat! You don’t have to be a good cook or baker to enjoy spending some time in the kitchen- cooking/baking is made easy with the abundance of recipes available online and through sites like Pinterest. Find a recipe with a few simple ingredients and give it a whirl! You’ll probably surprise yourself with what you can make.

  • Play it old school with a board game: Video games, unless you already have a collection, can be expensive! Not to mention, you don’t need me to tell you (I’m sure your mom already has) that it’s not good to stare at a tv screen all day. Plus, video games (unless they’re mmos) can be kind of isolating. So put on your social skills and your thinking cap, and have a game night with friends or family! There are so many great games out there. Looking for something challenging? Check out The Settlers of Catan or Risk. Something humorous? Can’t go wrong with Cards Against Humanity or Rotten Apples. The years of enjoyment you can get out of a board game or card game are well worth the down payment.

  • Explore your area as a tourist would: Even if you’ve lived in your hometown (or wherever you currently reside) for several years, there are probably still some local attractions you haven’t gotten around to checking out. Even if they’re kitschy tourist traps, it can be fun to approach your town from a new perspective. Check out museums, parks, galleries, or attractions that you’ve never been to and you could be in for a pleasant surprise. Groupon and LivingSocial are great resources to find fun activities in your area at a bargain price.

Bonus idea: Volunteer! Volunteering can be hard work, so you may not necessarily think of it as fun, but the fulfillment you get from helping others will stay with you and is more worthwhile than the transient fun any other activity can provide. Check out to find causes you care about in your area, and reap the benefits that volunteer work provides! As much of a service as you may provide to someone else through volunteering, you’ll also be doing a service to yourself as you gain valuable experience in your field of interest, and it looks great on a resume!



Five Superb Sports Memoirs


Many celebrities are multitalented individuals. In addition to being great singers, actors, athletes, comedians, etc. there have been a lot of celebrities who’ve put out some pretty great autobiographies as well. Admittedly, some may have ghost writers helping them with the writing, but even if that’s the case, at least some of what makes the page comes from their own minds, and the thoughts and ideas are largely their own, if not the words themselves.

In my opinion, sports memoirs are some of the most enjoyable autobiographies to read because so many athletes came from humble backgrounds before stepping into the spotlight and inspiring fans. Many had to overcome major obstacles and adversities to get to where they are today, and have put their heart and soul into their sport. Theirs are true triumph over tragedy stories. If you’re a fan of sports (or even if you’re not) and are looking for a little inspiration in your life, check out my list of five excellent memoirs from some of the world’s most beloved athletes on my website,

5 Reasons You Need to Open an IRA…Immediately


Whether you open a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, there are great benefits to either. It’s a personal decision on which type you’d want to open and depends on your personal financial situation, but saving for retirement is a must. If you’re young, it probably doesn’t seem like that pressing of a concern, but the sooner you start, the better.

Add to other accounts

Even if you already have a retirement account with your employee, like a 401(k), you can still take advantage of an IRA account. Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs do not let you contribute more than $5,500 per year, but it’s still incredibly beneficial, especially if you do not have another retirement account open. Adding the most into your retirement accounts as possible can only help you as you get older.

Be prepared for your future

Saving as much as you can for retirement is one of the best decisions you can make for your future. You won’t be able to (and certainly won’t want to) work the rest of your life, so you need to have enough money to live off of after you retire from your job. Taking steps to prepare for retirement is something you should do as early as possible so you don’t miss out on contributions in years when you have fewer financial responsibilities.

Save on taxes

A great perk of IRA accounts is that you benefit in the taxes you have to pay. Depending on which type of account you choose, you may not have to pay taxes on the money you contribute or you avoid paying taxes in the future when you need to pull out money for retirement. Learn the tax differences and decide which best fits your finances.

Combine with other accounts

Another fantastic benefit of IRAs is that you can often meld your other retirement accountswith your IRA. If you have an account to save for retirement with your current employer, but end up changing jobs, you’ll want to transfer that retirement fund to something you have control over. Find out if you can combine it with your IRA.

Pass on to your children
Finally, if there’s unused money in your IRA account after you pass away, this money can get passed onto your children. Even if you know you won’t need the money, creating an IRA account for your children, particularly a Roth IRA, is a fantastic way to ensure your children receive the money you want them to get.


4 Cool Fitness Apps to Keep You Fit


Let’s admit it, we all need a little help staying on schedule when it comes to doing things we don’t particularly want to do. For most of us, this includes exercising and staying fit. We like the idea of a healthier self in theory, but actually putting in the work to make that happen is a whole different story. It can be difficult to deprive yourself of things you enjoy, even if they aren’t healthy. And getting into a regular exercise routine is always challenging. The following apps can help any person who is having struggles reaching their personal fitness goals.

Map My Fitness

Map-lovers rejoice! There is an app that allows you to see where you have been on that morning jog you have been meaning to do. A great app called Map My Fitness allows users to see just where they have been on their journey to better health. Turn on the app and just go for your regularly scheduled run, jog, or walk. It will track where you have gone via GPS and show you a map of that travel. It also logs the distance, duration, and pace at which you took that journey.

All Day

A sponsored app that can help keep you healthy is the All Day app from Adidas. This app does not do just one specific thing related to your health. Rather, it tries to encourage you to make healthy life choices in every stage of your day. This means that it helps you track the exercise you do as well as your hydration levels and even mental health. Gentle encouragements to do things like meditation are great for those with a busy and stressful life who are looking to live a healthier lifestyle.


If you are wanting to bulk up and work on building muscle, there is no better app than Jefit. It is what many bodybuilders use to track their progress. It has thousands of training exercises pre-loaded onto it, so you can check out the different ways that you should work out for the sake of building up different types of muscles. It may just be the case that you are doing the wrong workout for the area of your body that you seek to improve. If that is the issue, you will realize it very soon when you start to use this very useful app.

Yoga Studio

Yoga can be a helpful companion in the quest to become a healthier person. It is something best done in a class with others for proper instruction. However, an application may be used as a substitute for those with limited time or resources. The Yoga Studio app provides numerous lessons for those who are just entering the world of yoga as well as for those who are seasoned experts. It is a must have for your phone if you are serious about personal health.


7 Fantastic Fitness Blogs to Follow


No matter where you are in your fitness journey, whether you’re just trying to get in shape or have been working out for years, you can seriously benefit from fitness blogs. You can find new ideas for workouts or some guidance on something you don’t know much about. There are plenty of fitness bloggers out there who are experts in the industry and can offer quality advice. You can learn about new products and techniques and often connect with a community of people who share the same questions and interests you do. Here are some great fitness bloggers to take a look at.

Breaking Muscle

Breaking Muscle is created by a group of personal trainers and fitness experts who bring you the most recent news in the fitness world while also debating and offering their own opinions. You can get a wide range of information on this blog from various sources. This blog is a great resource for fitness and nutritional advice.

Tabata Times

If you’re into CrossFit, this blog is for you. Tabata Times focuses on offering tips and tricks for anything CrossFit related. You can check out the latest workouts and inspiration and easily find it on one blog.


This blog aims to help people have fun while working out and strives to make fitness interesting. No matter what you like, it’s definitely a site worth checking out and often features inspiring stories of people who have succeeded in their fitness journeys. The blog focuses on all aspects of lifestyle as well, anything that can help you lead a healthier life, even if you’d never given it a thought before.

Mark’s Daily Apple

Mark Sisson shows that he clearly knows what he’s talking about in this blog, which he should, since he’s a former endurance champion. He’s also currently a best-selling author on fitness. In this blog, he discusses fitness realistically and bases his posts on scientifically-backed ideas.

Pavement Runner

Focused on runners, this blog is written by someone who’s run over 40 marathons and sincerely knows what he’s talking about. However, do not be intimidated if you’re a beginning runner, there are still valuable resources for you to check out.

Roman Fitness Systems

The editor-in-chief of this site, John Romaniello, offers quality advice on fitness, diet, and even other topics like career success. His writing is engaging and gets past any fluff, making it a great resource if you’re looking for quick, straightforward information.

Tony Gentilcore

Located in Boston, Tony Gentilcore is a personal trainer who’s worked with people from all walks of life. His posts are encouraging and offer quality advice on how to better train and target your fitness and strive toward overall well-being in the rest of your life as well.


6 Ways to Create a Better Morning Routine


No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re working full-time or still in school, it’s important that you craft a great morning routine. In order to have a successful day, you need to start off well. Unfortunately, many people do not have much of a morning routine at all and try their hardest to get a few more minutes of sleep in, even if it means they’re rushing to get ready and feeling stressed out. Here are tips on how you can create a great morning routine that improves the rest of your day and pushes you down the path to success.

Get up with your alarm

The biggest mistake most people make in their morning routines is continuously hitting snooze. Though you might feel great in the moment getting ten minutes of extra sleep, it doesn’t actually help you throughout the rest of your day. That small amount of sleep does not make a difference in your energy and can actually make you feel sluggish since you’re disturbing your sleep. You’ll find you have more time in the mornings if you get up with your first alarm.

Make your bed

Right now, you might not have time to complete this step, but if you stop hitting snooze, you will. It only takes a few minutes and making your bed ensures that you don’t get back into it to take a nap later in the day or waste time while you’re getting ready. It also makes your mind feel at peace because everything in your room looks more organized with your bed made and makes moving forward with your day easier.

Eat healthy

Most people have the best intentions when it comes to healthy eating, but find it’s much harder to put into practice once you’re competing with your busy schedule. While you should be eating healthy your entire day, the meal you eat in the morning is vitally important. Make yourself a protein rich breakfast and take time to slowly eat it; do not eat something full of sugar that leaves you feeling hungry and tired a few hours later.

Do some activity

Some people find it’s incredibly effective to work out in the morning, though this routine isn’t for everyone. You might not want to hit the gym, but do a few exercises in your room right after you get up. Take time to stretch, do some pushups, or something else and you’ll find you’re more alert and ready to face the day.

Go over your day

Staying organized is important to your daily routine so start the day by going over what you need to accomplish in the next 24 hours. Just quickly reading through a planner or making a short to-do list helps you focus and get ready for the day ahead. You’ll stay focused and avoid forgetting important meetings or tasks.

Avoid your phone

A lot of people reach for their phones as soon as they wake up, but this habit can lead to you wasting time in the morning scrolling through social media. Instead, go straight to your routine and wait until after you’re fully awake before you check your emails and the weather. The less time you spendlooking at your phone, the better.


5 Reasons You Should Continue Your Education After College


Up until your college graduation, a large portion of your time has been spent furthering your education. While post-graduation feels great because you can stop worrying about attending classes, paper deadlines, and finals week, it’s important you continue your education in some other way. You might be done with a formal education, but you need to keep learning even after graduation. There are plenty of invaluable reasons to continue your education; here are just a few of them.

Career advancement

One of the biggest benefits of continued education after official graduation is how it can help your career. No matter what your job is, there’s more you can learn and there’s someplace to advance to. Maybe you want to get promoted, but lack management skills or another business skill. You might want to pursue an entirely new career, but lack some of the necessary skills. Luckily, by continuing your education, you have opportunities to learn more skills and pursue a new direction in your career. It also showcases your work ethic to your boss and proves that you care about your job and can work hard.

Improves your mind

Plenty of studies have shown the benefits reading and continuous learning have on your mind and overall health. You strengthen your mind, which can help reduce memory loss. You’ll find it’s easier to recall facts and teach yourself other skills if you make a point to keep learning. While general learning is also helpful, you can teach yourself specific skills that help prevent other health issues, such as reducing stress or learning about proper exercise and nutrition.

Makes you interesting

The last kind of person you want to be is someone others find boring to talk to. Whether it’s a conversation with your family, friends, or strangers, continually educating yourself provides you with insightful ideas and interesting topics to discuss. You never know when some interesting fact or skill you learned could come in handy. Being able to hold an interesting conversation improves your personal and professional lives as well.

Discover new passions

You might not realize you’re incredibly interested in photography or the history of Australia until you begin teaching yourself about it. Even if a topic doesn’t seem like something you’d really want to learn about, try reading a book or taking an online class about it. You never know what strikes your interest or where it’ll take you.

Learn useful skills

Unfortunately, most schools do not teach students basic life skills. Once you graduate, you’ll realize you need to know a lot of information no one told you about, like signing a lease, filing taxes, opening a credit card, or maintaining upkeep on your home. Take time to read books, blogs, or watch videos that address these issues. Any question you might have about a certain life skill can be found either in your local library or online, so teach yourself these skills and make your life that much less stressful.