May 2017 Wrap Up

By the time you read this, I'll be stretched out in sunny Kos. I'm hoping to keep up my posting schedule but I make no promises! In the meantime, here's a look back at everything May had to offer, as well as a special announcement. 😉

[UPDATE: I'm actually back from Kos. The wifi was pretty much non-existent... as was my work ethic.​ But it's good to be back and it'll be business as usual from here on out.]

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I'll make a small commission. They're for The Happiness Planner and books from Amazon, and they're clearly marked. Thanks for feeding my book and stationery addictions. For more info, read my disclosure.)


May 2017 wrap up

On The Site — May 2017

{As usual, pinks are links, or click the pics to be taken to the post.​}

Since I started the "No Shampoo Challenge" 5 months ago, I've been getting a lot of questions about my experience, so I pulled everything together into one post. I listed the benefits I'm seeing, as well as the downsides, and shared some progress pictures. I also threw in a few tips that could help if you're planning on doing the challenge too. (If you are, let me know in the comments!)

After that I shared some strategies for resisting impulse purchases, those tricky beasts that eat up all our income. ​Altogether there are 12 tips that, when implemented, will add up to huge savings in just a short space of time.

No 'Poo Method: My experience 4 months in | No shampoo method | no shampoo hair care | haircare routine | shampoo alternatives | no 'poo update | no 'poo pictures | no 'poo challenge | no shampoo challenge | no shampoo update | no shampoo pictures | before and after photos
12 ways to stop impulse purchases for good. Sick of impulsive buys? Here's how to curb your spending so you can save money and have a less cluttered home

My sleep routine was all over the place in May, and I fought hard against my night owl tendencies. Given that I have to get up early each morning with my daughter, it got me thinking about how to reap the benefits of late night motivation without sacrificing adequate sleep.

Speaking of sleep, lack of it can stress me out and I start feeling like everything is getting on top of me. This sense of overwhelm brings out the pessimistic part of me and I start imagining all sorts of unlikely scenarios, so I need to do some damage control as quickly as possible to help get me back on the positivity track. I talked about how I do it, and also offered a free worksheet you can fill out if you need to curb your catastrophic thinking too.

When a night owl needs to get an early start | not an early bird? Here are some tips to help your morning go a lot smoother
How to study effectively -- 6 step technique to improve your memory and help you recall information | Study tips | Study habits | Learn | Learning

Finally, a new logo went live on the site in May, as well as across some social media channels. I'm excited to roll out even more new graphics in the coming weeks and months! What do you think of the new design?

On YouTube — May 2017

I had a minor personal setback in May that threw me for a loop at the time. But, luckily, I've developed some strategies to help me view difficulties as opportunities, and I was soon back to my old self again, so I wanted to share how to re-group after a rut.

As well as that, I'm continuing my minimalist mission (and I'm about to step it up a gear soon, but more on that later), so I thought I'd share 10 things you can declutter from your home today. It's my most viewed video of 2017 so far!

May 2017: Getting back up when life knocks you down. How to get out of a rut.
May 2017: 10 things to declutter from your home today

Then, because I loved our first collaboration so much, I teamed up once again with the beautiful force of nature that is Carie Harling. Since I talked about digital planning last time, Carie and I thought it would be fun to turn the tables a little, this time with me sharing my planner and notebook collection and how I use them. Over on her channel, Carie talked about the digital apps she uses to keep her life on track. Please do check out her channel if you haven't already. She's such a sweetheart and I hope some day we can actually meet in person so I can fangirl to her face!

Sticking with the planner theme, I couldn't wait to unbox The Happiness Planner and give you a good look at the inside. I was so excited when the company agreed to send me one to review, and it was like Christmas morning when the package finally arrived. I was NOT expecting all the extra goodies it came with!​

If you'd like to get your hands on your own (they have quite the selection of gorgeous stationery), then visit The Happiness Planner online shop. (That's an affiliate link, folks. For every purchase made through it, I'll earn $2. I'll immediately invest it in more stationery. Here's another:) They also have a beautiful monthly subscription box, cleverly called "A Box Of Happiness".

May 2017: My planner and notebook collection, and what I use them for. Collab with Carie Harling. Includes my Filofax collection, Kikki K, Bullet Journal, notebooks, Ban'do agenda, Leuchtturm and Moleskine notebooks, and more!
May 2017: Review of The Happiness Planner

And, finally, I shared an update on how I'm faring with my 2017 resolutions. Some of them are flying and some are failing, but I'm pretty pleased with my progress overall. (And thank you for all the lovely comments about my new hairstyle.) I'll have a mid-year review for you very soon! [UPDATE: My 2017 Mid-Year Review is now live!)

May 2017: New Year's resolutions update

This month, the channel hit 20,000 subscribers! THANK YOU! I'm tickled pink. 😀

And did you hear I'm aiming for 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2017? Help me make it happen by clicking that big ol' subscribe button below!

August 2016

Social Media Stats — May 2017

  • Facebook: 2,950 'likes'. And I love each and every one.
  • Twitter: 975 followers. HUGE jump here because of BloggerConf. More on that later!
  • Instagram: over 1,350 followers. Will be stepping up my game here in June so definitely follow along. Lots of lovely planner goodness!
  • Pinterest: over 4,950 followers. Still my #1 traffic source by a long shot.
  • Newsletter: 2,500 amazing people on the list now.

HowToGYST HQ (AKA home) — May 2017

Let's just start with the big announcement, shall we? WE GOT OUR VISAS. Third time was the charm, it seemed. It's been a long, frustrating road (and a bloody expensive one to boot) but everything's now stamped, sealed and delivered, and we'll be emigrating to Cincinnati, Ohio in the next 12 weeks or so. I can't deny I'm devastated to be leaving friends and family behind, but I have big plans to take over the American blogging scene, so watch this space!

At the beginning of the month I attended yet another YouTube event. I have to say, I'm starting to come out of my introvert shell a little more at these things. I recognise some faces now, and I try to do a little networking online beforehand by finding out who else is going and sending a tweet to say hi, which makes it a little easier to break the ice in person. I actually ended up staying longer than intended and speaking to a few other creators instead of just hiding in a corner, face buried in my phone.

May 2017 YouTube Creator RoundTable Morrison Hotel Dublin

L-R: Sean Connolly (The Sonic Screw), Lena Klein (Ingenious Blue), me, and Klara McDonnell

May 20th was my birthday. I spent it in a slightly unusual, but still spectacular, way. Y'see, I'd been asked to speak on a panel of bloggers at BloggerConf. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I'd attended every other BloggerConf and remember thinking at the very first one that, someday somehow, I'd speak on that stage. I can't even describe how wonderful the whole day was, how lovely everyone was, and how much I took away from it. Having people come up and say that they liked my talk or they read my blog or watch my videos is a pretty surreal experience and it gave me all the warm, fuzzy feelings. I could gush on and on about it for ages but suffice it to say that it was a memory I'll cherish forever.

May 2017 BloggerConf Blogger Panel on Stage

Speaking of cherished memories, Scout had her very first ballet recital in May and it was as cute as you can imagine. It took place at the National Concert Hall here in Dublin and, though we weren't allowed take pictures of the performance, we managed to get a lot before and after. Scout, like me, is quite introverted, and crowds and noise tend to unsettle her, so I wasn't sure how she'd take to the whole thing. But she came out on stage without batting an eyelid, spotted us in the front row, and proceeded to spend most of the performance waving excitedly at us. I'm not the soppiest of mothers but I don't mind admitting I welled up at one point.

May 2017 Scout's First Ballet Recital National Concert Hall Dublin

So yeah, it was a month of pretty big events. No wonder I wasn't really sleeping properly!

What I read in May 2017:

(Contains Amazon affiliate links which means that if you buy through my link, I'll earn a small commission on the sale... and use it to buy more books. Hurray! For more info, read my disclosure.)

I'm starting to get back on track with my reading this month but I'm still behind on my goal. The aim for this year is to read 50 books and so far I'm only up to 15. BUT I always read loads on hols so I'm hoping to jump that total to almost 25 by the end of next month.

  • "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. It took me a little while to adapt to the writing style, which can be quite abrupt and perfunctory, but it was worth it. It's a warm, witty tale of an unlikely hero with old-fashioned values and oddball tendencies. I can't say I absolutely loved it but it was certainly a welcome break from some of the rubbish I've been reading.
  • "Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries" by Helen Fielding. I was expecting it to be total tripe but was pleasantly surprised. Having said that, that's not too much of a compliment. It's certainly better than "Mad About The Boy" but -- and here's something I never say -- skip this one and just watch the film instead. It's not amazing either but, out of this duo, it's the best you're going to get.
  • "Pollyanna" by Eleanor Hodgman Porter. Classic literature isn't a genre I generally enjoy and I can't say this was any exception. It tells the story of a young girl who, finding herself orphaned, goes to live with her aunt. The two couldn't be more dissimilar, with Pollyanna being an upbeat little cherub and her aunt being a dour old spinster. It's not awful, but it seemed to me to be twice as long as it needed to be. 
  • "Jab Jab Jab Right Hook" by Gary Vaynerchuk. You may recall I read another of his books last month. I've only just started on it so I'll reserve judgement but, so far, I'm finding it much more enjoyable than the other. If social media and digital marketing for business are your kinda bag, this will probably be an interesting read for you, particularly if you're already a Vaynerchuk fan. Be warned that the content type means it's becoming more and more irrelevant and outdated as the weeks fly by, but there's still plenty of basic, applicable advice in here, whether or not, for example,  Facebook's features change.

Y'know, looking back at all that, May was actually a bit hectic. Thankfully we'll be on holidays for half of June so I can recharge my batteries and top up my vitamin D levels (in which, being Irish, I'm severely deficient). And I'll definitely need the break, not just because I've been busy but also because, as soon as we get back, the moving madness starts. If you know of any great resources or blog posts on how best to organise an international move, don't be shy, drop them in the comments.

The rest of the year certainly promises to be interesting!​


What was the highlight of May 2017 for you?

Aaand... bikini on, feet up.

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