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Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

4 Mar

Gratitude-Scavenger-Hunt-PDF-791x1024We’re trapped inside this morning with about 10 inches of snow on the ground and more still falling, so I’m trying to keep the kids entertained while Brian works from home — no easy task. We’ve been on the Gonge hilltops a lot, we’ve had a dance party, and we’ve “camped out” in the girls’ indoor play tent we set-up over the weekend. Mom is ready for a break and a cup of coffee.

It’s moments like these that I feel grateful I have access to the web and resources like Kimberly’s over at Natural Beach Living. She put together this wonderful “Gratitude Scavenger Hunt”. We talk about gratitude a lot with our kids, but I especially love how this scavenger hunt is open-ended. I feel like it really encourages mindfulness, thoughtfulness and creativity — all qualities I want to develop in our girls.

What are your favorite snow-day activities? Do you have any go-to resources?


Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe Update: Jan. 2019

3 Feb

classic winter style ideas
Since I moved to a semi-capsule wardrobe in my quest towards minimalism last summer, I’ve become very choosey about what and how I buy. I used to paw through the sale racks at TJ Maxx and Nordstrom rack in the hopes of uncovering a gem, and sometimes, I did. Very rarely have I ever paid full price for anything at a major brand retailer. But more often than not, I’d come home with $100 worth of “just OK and I picked it up because the price was right.” Nothing that made my heart really sing. Then, months later when the skirt or the shirt was still unworn in my closet or drawer, I’d feel such frustration with myself for another stupid purchase. And I’d head out to shop again, determined to make better choices, and the cycle continued.

Now? I shop from a list. I’ve pared down my wardrobe to such an extent that I know what the holes are. For example, I know I like a certain type of tank top to layer under shirts. I almost exclusively reach for this ONE style of tank, more than any other I ever kept in my drawer “for variety.” But these tanks only come out seasonally, in early summer, so I’ve been biding my time, waiting to buy. Did I run out and buy “just something” to get me by. NO!

Something else I don’t do? Is follow fashion “influencers” who inspire the “buy-buy-buy” mentality. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I do follow them, but I view what they’re pushing with a microscopic lens now.  I appreciate a great recommendation — like a Lululemon yoga pant dupe: HELLO, I am ALL EARS. Come to mama.  But I won’t whip out a credit card to buy anymore. First, I’ll analyze my current workout wardrobe, determine if there is a need, and if, and only if, I do actually need the item, will I consider purchase. But I usually sleep on it for a week or two. And you know what? I have saved SO MUCH MONEY because I usually forget about whatever it was and determine that I didn’t truly “need” it to begin with.

That said, I was in Anthropologie recently, drooling over all the beautiful cuts and fabric and workmanship. I always feel so energized just walking around those beautifully styled shelves, don’t you? I was tempted to buy at least 5 things that probably would have actually filled some gaps in my wardrobe, but do you know what I did instead? I came home, went into the Anthro website, and pinned to my hearts content. Whatever caught my eye while I was in store, I looked it up. I noted the reviewer comments, assessed if I felt like the price was worth it for the value, and if I still “loved it” and felt like it met the style parameters I’ve defined for myself, only then could I officially “pin” it to my Pinterest Style Inspiration board.

What you see above, at the beginning of this post, is my final selection. All in, this is hundred of dollars worth of merchandise. But now I have it all in one spot and can check-in regularly to see if I’m still as smitten. I can look at how the pieces work together — because with a capsule wardrobe, all the pieces MUST work together. I can see where there is overlap. I also benefit from some outfit inspiration so I can shop my own closet and determine if there is anything similar, or that might be worn similarly, to anything that I’ve pinned. All without spending a dime.

Now, ultimately, I’ll reassess in a few weeks and decide if I want to actually purchase any of the above. And if they sell out? No big deal. There will always be the next thing, but at least now, when I’m pinning the next time, I’ll be able to notice if there is a pattern developing — for example, if I pin ANOTHER pair of nude suede flats, then I might be persuaded that it’s time to buy. But for now, I’m just window shopping. ❤

Currently Digging: Emily Ley’s, “A Simplified Life”

1 Feb


More than six months ago, I picked up Emily Ley’s book A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living. If you know me or have been a long-time reader, you know I don’t often buy books. I love to read and I LOVE books, but feel that too many just weigh a space down. For something to take up space on my shelf, it has to be my absolute favorite and/or a favorite I will reference often, like a book of poems.

Therefore, I err on the side of hitting the library before committing. I owe Marie Kondo a debt of gratitude for teaching me this when I read her book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up a few years ago, (which, yes, I do own and highly recommend.)


But Emily Ley’s book is a keeper, for sure, too. Just holding it in my hands at the bookstore made me feel calmer and hopeful that I could soon be back in control of everything that had been spiraling as of late last summer. And with it’s preppy, Kate Spade-esq navy, pink + green stripe cover, I was styling it on my shelves and coffee table long before I’d even cracked it’s spine.

Some of my favorite tips include:

  • Simplifying breakfast
  • Planning scheduled Friday Pizza Nights
  • Having a uniform

None of these are particularly mind-blowing in and of themselves, but sometimes you’re so in your own way that having someone tell you to do something via a book is just what you need. I’ve always been a huge consumer of anything in the “self-help” genre and, in general, would describe myself as a very goal-oriented, focused, driven person. There is so much that interests me, among which is self-improvement, so I read a lot about creativity, productivity, being your own boss, manifesting positivity, and so on. A lot of the books that did make the cut when I semi-gutted my possessions after reading Marie Kondo’s book were the “get it together” and “organize your life” types of books, so it’s safe to say I’ve always aspired to make the chaos of my life, home and mind more tamed.

It was the chaos that ultimately drove me to the Self-Help section at Barnes and Noble last summer, on what I jokingly call my “mom vacation” where I sip a coffee, alone, browsing books in peace after I’ve handed the kids off to my husband after those particularly challenging day as the “stay at home parent.”

There were a LOT of tough days this summer, let me tell you!!! I think I need to develop a multi-part series to really dive deep into the year-long journey I’ve been on as far as redefining my values, moving towards my goals and dreams, and eliminating all the unnecessary “noise,” in my life, be it wasted time watching mindless TV, keeping in touch with friends I’m not particularly close with, or even completing workouts I don’t absolutely love. But I digress.

What I learned from Emily’s book is not so much what or how to organize, but rather, what I can gain by focusing more on what outcomes or feelings I want in my life. And what I gain is margin. What is margin, you’re wondering? It’s the free space of your life to feel like you can plop down on the floor and actually play with your kids, free from worry about all the other to dos you “should” be doing. And going out to dinner with your spouse because you have a standing date night every other week. And it’s also being able to spontaneously walk out the door for a long walk just because it will feel good to move and get some fresh air, without having to rush off to some commitment you’re not that excited about. Margin is the single biggest takeaway I gained from reading Emily’s book.

Really, a lot of this ties in to everything I’ve shared since reading that Oprah article  last summer in addition to everything I’ve learned since starting my Bullet Journal practice last January.

Having two young kids at home used to mean toys strewn all over the house. Mealtimes were exhausting and stressful and the paper mess got out of control if I wasn’t vigilantly on top of it. Having to decide what to eat for breakfast myself often seemed like too much, to give you a sense of how starved I was some major self-care.

The past year has been a period of intense self-introspection and incredible shifts in redefining my values. And the result has been that I’m happier than I’ve ever felt, I’ve lost weight with minimal effort, I’ve appreciated and valued being at home with my kids more because the difficult moments are more tempered now, and I actually feel more fulfilled in my own dreams because I’ve managed to create space for me to actually devote time to them for a change. In a word = margin.

I can say with certainty that Emily Ley’s book, A Simplified Life, changed my life SO MUCH for the better in 2018 and has continued to do so in 2019. If I could gift just one thing to all my friends and family this year, it would be this book so I highly recommend.