how to make the most of your mornings

i've always been one of those people that needs a good nine to ten hours of sleep a night. it's the only way i have enough energy to be productive throughout the whole day. this past year, i've started going to sleep at 10 PM and it has been life changing. i wake up feeling refreshed and motivated to get things done (sometimes i even beat my alarm). scroll down for six easy habits to incorporate into your morning routine. you just might become an early bird too! - carm

wake up early

i tend to feel my best when i wake up a little earlier than i have to in the morning. i'm not rushed getting ready, i have time to look over my calendar and to-do list for the day, and i get to spend some extra time with my puppy! to me, there's nothing more stressful than waking up ten minutes late and running out the door. try setting your alarm clock for just 30 minutes earlier and watch how it transforms your morning.

make your bed

i used to think making the bed was pointless. i mean, it's just going to get all messed up again in a few hours! but after hearing this commencement speech a couple years ago, my ideology shifted. the speaker explains that whether you have a great day or a bad day, you'll always love coming home to a well made bed.

sit down for breakfast

i've found that taking the time to make a delicious breakfast at home can lead to a more productive work day. whenever i scarf something down while getting dressed or eat in the car on my way to work, i end up hungry for lunch before noon. sitting down for breakfast allows me to start my day happy and healthy. after all, it is the most important meal of the day!

drink more water

often times, the first thing we do in the morning is turn on the coffeemaker. while caffeine may wake us up quicker, it's important to rehydrate your body with water. when you think about it, you haven't drank any water in the past eight hours! a tall glass of cold water will naturally clean your body of toxins and kickstart your metabolism - all before 9 AM!

read the news

nowadays there are so many different outlets to catch up with what's going on in the world. my old roommate used to watch the today show religiously, while i tend to surf the web for my daily news fix. if you're looking for information on big world issues (in a language that you can actually understand), there's no source like the skimm. sign up and soon you'll be informing your friends about presidential platforms and what exactly is going on in syria.

get some fresh air

we've all had those mornings when we are physically awake but our bodies are still asleep. my favorite way to overcome this battle is by getting outdoors. if i'm feeling ambitious, i might take my pup on a walk around the lake. but if i'm strapped for time, breakfast on the patio usually works just as well. breathing in fresh air and watching the sunrise gets my blood flowing and wakes me up for the full day ahead.

photos: 1, 2, 3

turning a house into a home

i've moved apartments every year for the past six years... with ever-changing roommates and zip codes, i find myself choosing furniture and home decor pieces that can adapt with any space - even if it's not totally my style. but recently, i've been itching to refresh some of my living spaces to make them feel more personal and homey. so here are five easy updates that can help you transform your apartment/room/condo/house into a home. - carm

knobs & pulls

replace the factory-made handles on your dresser or desk drawers with cute finds from antique stores or anthropologie. i've also stumbled upon some pretty cute ones at hobby lobby. if you're feeling really ambitious, swap out your door handles and kitchen pulls as well!

home fragrance

create a signature scent for your home with your favorite candle. it will instantly make your home feel more relaxing. my favorite home fragrances are volcano by capri blue and santal 26 by le labo. collecting cute match boxes also adds a fun detail to your coffee table.

house plants

bring some life into your home with a house plant. i have a deep love for fiddle leaf fig trees, but if you don't have the greenest thumb, try investing in a cactus or succulent. they rarely need water and can withstand most climates, even in texas.

smart storage

the number one secret to creating a pinterest-worthy home is hiding all of your not-so-pretty products in storage containers. toss extra TV cords in a woven basket and stash unnecessary kitchen tools in a cabinet or drawer. use cute jars to store your bulk pantry items and replace plastic soap dispensers with something more stable.

decorative pillows

start a collection of throw pillows in different designs to accommodate your ever-changing sense of style. i have a set of neutral pillows to throw on the couch when i'm feeling inspired by classic home design. and i have a set of printed and patterned pillows to swap out when i'm in the mood for something with a little more color. trading out accent pieces is an easy way to revamp your space.

photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5