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Happy Monday! It’s a new week and therefore a fresh opportunity to get a ton of things done and start on a productive streak! Mondays can be a total bummer, but with the right mindset, they can also be the key to a great week.
I don’t know about you, but even if I had a great day, it can be really hard to relax after work. There are times I think wistfully to the days that other new lawyers and I would go out to happy hour and talk about what it was like to be an associate. But then I remember how quickly a bill for glass of wine and a happy hour appetizer can add up, especially if you go more than once a week. Or in college we’d go see a movie after class to celebrate being done with a big assignment or just because it sounded more fun than than doing more homework. Of course, this was before movies were $12-15/person!
Even though I love happy hours with friends, I assume I’m not the only person who wonders how I can relax after a long day at work without breaking the bank. Here’s my budget friendly routine to chill out after a productive Monday, either right after work, or right after I finish my barre workout. I’d love to hear your weekday relaxation techniques in the comments!
1. Cook an easy dinner
No Pinterest perfect recipe is required here! I love the challenge and satisfaction of cooking a meal that not only has that “flavor profile” they always talk about on TV, but also satisfies all of the recommended food groups for good nutrition. But because I’m not married, I still make quite a few meals that are only eaten by me. Sometimes I (accidentally) eat chips and salsa for dinner, but I really don’t recommend that.
On the nights that I want to just get home and relax, and am being more intentional than chips and salsa (I hear some of my friends love popcorn and wine, or just a bowl of cereal), I choose one of these quick and easy go-to meal ideas:
- Spaghetti with meat sauce & a salad – I only use 1/2 pound of ground beef in my spaghetti to save money
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich & a salad – These are still totally delicious when you’re a grown-up
- Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken using a jarred sauce & rice – try a few different brands to find the one you like the best
- Hot dogs & chips or an apple – But never more than 2. One night I ate 3 because I was out of side dishes and I felt so gross. There are some things we ate as kids that are not totally delicious as a grown-up
2. Eat dinner (or a snack) on the couch
Don’t tell my mom, but eating dinner on the couch is one of my guilty pleasures. I bought my couch a couple of years ago, and I still loooooove it. I get tons of compliments on the fact that not only is it pretty, it’s also comfortable.
Because I want to protect my investment, and I’m a little too klutzy to eat dinner on my couch without spilling, I use Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector. You can buy Scotchgard™’s Fabric & Upholstery Protector at Target, but it’s a little difficult to locate, so I took these photos to walk you through. (PS. Get your $1.00 off coupon before you go!)
The top left corner shows what the aisle will look like from the main aisle, the top right corner shows you what the aisle will look like from the back wall of that department. I found it in between the all purpose & mopping and specialty floor sections next to the pet-mess cleaners, despite the fact that I thought it would make more sense if it were in a laundry aisle.
Thankfully, with Scotchgard™, there’s no need to worry about spilling a bit of dinner on the couch! The process of applying it to my gorgeous couch was super easy, and its invisible so it didn’t change the color of my couch at all.
1. Try to not spray on other areas of your home. I avoided overspray by laying the cushions on a plastic trash bag I’d cut open. If you happen to get it on your floors or another hard surface, wipe it up quickly and it will be OK.
2. Shake the can really well
3. Test it on a small area first. Just like you’d never slather a whole bottle of tanning lotion on your skin before testing to make sure it looked OK, don’t willy-nilly start spraying all of the fabrics in your home with Scotchgard™. To make sure Scotchgard™ is appropriate for your fabric, test it in a small area and then rub it with a white absorbing cloth. If the white color wears off on that spot, then don’t use Scotchgard™ on that item. The good news is that you can use Scotchgard™ on all kinds of things so it will still be a good purchase if it’s not ideal for the first piece of furniture or clothing you spray it on.
4. Then start spraying the item. I held the can upright and about 6 inches away from the cushions. You’ll want to overlap the lines and spray pretty slowly. It doesn’t take long, so don’t try to rush the process by spraying a super heavy coat on top. It’s better to have two light coats.
5. Let the items dry after the first coat, before applying the second. Let the item dry completely before you let kids or pets in the room, if you have those.
After 3-6 months, depending on your level of use, reapply for ultimate protection. Because I don’t have kids, I’m sure I’ll be fine to re-apply after 6 months. I’ll probably have to buy a new can though, because I can already feel the itch to go Scotchgard™-crazy on my winter fabrics the next time I’m not having a lazy night at home.
Now that my couch is protected from my chips and salsa spills, I have one less thing to worry about when I get home from work and just want to relax.
3. Pick out a fun toe nail polish
It’s getting warm outside, slowly but surely. It’s time to finally unveil those toes that have been crammed into heels or rain boots all winter. You won’t believe what mine looked like before I started painting them tonight. Just like Scotchgard™, let the first coat of your nail polish kind of dry before applying the second one for the longest lasting at-home-pedicure.
My favorite toe nail colors this season: Mint, hot pink, purple, and per usual, red.
… While we’re at it, let’s not tell my mom I paint my toes while sitting on the couch either.
4. Find a great TV show with an On-Demand service
Cable-Schmable! There are more than enough options to find good television these days, even if you’ve cut the cord.
I am totally addicted to One Tree Hill, but sometimes that show is way too intense for me when I just get home from work. A few other options that I really enjoy are New Girl, Friends, The Mind of a Chef, The Great British Baking Show or Modern Family. Some of these I watch on an on-demand service, and some I can pick up with my antenna.
You know what else helps me relax? Remembering that I’m not spending $80/month on cable!
5. Pour a good glass of wine
A “good” glass of wine is totally relative. I have a wine club membership to a winery in Woodinville, WA. I also am a big fan of the $5.99 bottles of twist-top wine you can find at Target. I wouldn’t recommend living on the edge and spilling red-wine on your newly protected fabric, but now that my couch repels liquids, I can breathe a little easier when I start cracking up during one of those TV shows and splash a tiny bit of wine on my couch.
These are my tips for a weekday relaxation routine that doesn’t break the bank! What are yours?
If you want to read about more ways Scotchgard™ can improve your every day life, check out these other ideas to stay worry free and mess free!