Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

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We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

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Facebook Be Like…

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

You know, I’ve deactivated my Facebook. It’s been almost a month and I don’t miss it. I do not plan on re-activating it anytime soon because:

Facebook Be Like… back in the day bringing all your photo albums and scrapbooks to your highschool and letting the entire student body look through them.

Ew. I would have never done that back then before Facebook was a thing. Why should I do that now?

I know the high school aged kids these days grew up with Facebook; but I didn’t. I actually remember the days when my private moments were private, or I could pick and choose easily who knew my life story.

I mean, that was a long time ago – but not that long. It was a simpler time with disposable cameras, landlines, and outside activities. It was a time when you worked for what you earned; everyone didn’t get a participation ribbon just for being there (hint: real life isn’t that way even today). It was the days of face-to-face contact and telephone conversations. I genuinely miss those days.

I’m not so sure I ever want to continue making my personal life available to everyone on my Facebook anymore. I want to grow my friendships offline like I used to- like we all used to.

While I am all about technology in moderation, I still must ask myself: why am I doing this? Why am I involved? What am I trying to gain or lose?

It’s all part of the process. Until then, social media off-grid I will be. The ones who are close know how to reach me; and the one’s who don’t? Well, they should be out of my business anyway.

Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

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After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 2

De-Cluttering, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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This is Part 2 of the Financial Boss series.

Within 24 hours I went from reactive to PROactive about telling my money where to go.

Because there are so many internet articles on how to budget, and how people deal with their personal finances, I want to tell a little bit about my history.

I opened up my own checking account when I was 19. Before then, I only made a little money at odd jobs and spent it all on clothes, of course. With time, my account would fill up with money, whether from work or from student loans through college. I never had a budget, I just knew I would be getting this much and could only spend so much.

This left my account empty for many, many years.

As I got older, I started working full-time and slowly began making more money, but also paying bills. I got a car, student loan debt, cell phone, gas, and insurance. I managed my bills the same as I always did: I received so much money a week, and owed so much money a month. I just knew not to spend more than I made.

Easy enough.

Then, time went on and I switched careers, got married, had a baby, and bought a house along with more bills on top of my ‘early years’ bills. I continued making more money, but increasing the money that I owed by buying more stuff. At this point, my credit card debt was minimal, and if I ever used credit cards, I paid it off quick. I knew how much I made, how much I owed in fixed bills, and then I wouldn’t charge more than I could pay off quickly to credit cards.

Insert AWESOME credit score here.

I didn’t have a hardcore budget in place at this time. I just made sure I wasn’t going in the hole. This made it possible for me to pay all my bills on time, with just enough discretionary to get what I needed. However, no money was leftover at the end of the month and I had no idea where my money was going. But, I continued on in a reactive approach. My bills were autodrafted on time, and I just didn’t spend a lot on frivious things. Still, I had no idea where my money was going. I just knew I had zero at the end of the month and nothing to save.

Insert JOB LAYOFF here.

Oh man.

I got laid off last year. Since my finances were stretched to paycheck to paycheck I certainly couldn’t pay my bills. I don’t know if you are familiar with unemployment income…but it’s not enough to pay the basics such as a mortgage or car. It’s better than nothing or you would surely starve to death, but beware: if you have debt over $800 a month you are about to spiral down to a hot mess just like I did.

Insert CREDIT CARD purchases here.

Because I couldn’t afford diapers for my child.

Now, this is extreme and I don’t take fault for this part, but it changed the way I view my current expenses.

Insert TRASHED credit score here.

If we are not prepared for the worst, the government will not cover your expenses even if you live ‘modestly’ as I do. By modest I mean: a modest house, car, and insurance. Forget it.

So, I am now trying to pay off my debt, reduce my expenses, and find out ways to survive on my own should this ever happen again. Like, gardening, savaging and the like. Sounds extreme right? Well, not really.

What would you do if you lost your job? Or, if you stay home and husband/wife supports the fam, what would you do if he/she left?

It’s something to think about, for sure. I always put those thoughts out of my mind so I wouldn’t be scared about my future.

But if disaster strikes, we need to be prepared.

This is what inspired me to boss my money, instead of letting it take on a life of it’s own without my direction.

Part 3 will discuss my first steps in de-cluttering my wallet/credit cards and getting a game plan in order.

Financial Boss: Part 1

Clarity, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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It totally happened yesterday.

I am now in charge of my finances aka THE BOSS.

Financial advice is totally rampant on the internet because so many of us live reactive to our money.

I want to share with you how I went from reactive to proactive in 24 hours. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is and it a’int. It was a long day yesterday getting my finances in order:

but I went to bed PROactively in charge of my money last night. 

I’m going to break up this explanation in parts because it is a little lengthy. I want to share my personal history and background and then tell you how my strategy changed drastically.

It’s not a magic potion or fix-all. It’s just a financially lazy, simple girl’s way of shaking up the way I do things and TELLING my money where to go.

You may be in the same place, but scared to make a change. It is kind of scary, but when you have your mind made up that you must do things differently, take risks, and are in an energetic, positive mental state: It can be done.

So, follow along if you want to hear about it. It’s time for change and it’s time to be the boss.

For starters:

That picture above was my stack of credit cards as of yesterday. Wow. Let’s just say that it has reduced drastically as of today, only 24 hours later.

What a Minimalists Makeup Routine May Look Like

De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism, Natural Beauty

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We all have to define our simplifying journey for ourselves. Each of us are different. We have different passions, motives, and reasons. For me, I am simplifying many aspects of my life to create clarity and joy. My clutter, spending habits, and schedule are taking away the most valuable thing in my life:

Time to do what I love doing.

This lifestyle that I created is stealing away what I want most. It’s finally taking it’s toll on my health. I’m suffering from true, shameless burnout. My stress is the worst it’s ever been. My emotional and mental health is a struggle.

My de-cluttering efforts are paying off and I am finally thinking more clearly. It hasn’t happened over night. As a matter of fact, it’s taken me months of fierce, ruthless, savage change. It’s primal, and it’s serious.

There are small things I do that seem like no big deal. But when it’s all compiled into one day – it is a huge deal over time.

I’ve changed a bunch of things, and one of my favorite changes is my beauty routine.

A few things that have helped ease my dependency on commercial products are:

1. Caveman Regimine: I only wash my face with a baby rag and water. Facial washes were stripping my face of natural essentials leaving me clogged, rashy, reddened, and dry. Now my face does it’s on thing. My face thanks me, has cleared up, and I’m not wasting money on chemical filled products.

2. Natural Body Soap: For the same reason as my facial cleansing routine. My body was patchy, bumpy, and dry from body washes and chemical soaps. Now I use all natural goat milk soap. My skin has cleared and is moisturized naturally.

3. Makeup: If I could have all the money spent on makeup I would be sitting pretty. Perhaps I believed what the commercials told me about makeup making me more beautiful? Maybe I just bought new products because I felt like I deserved it? Regardless, it’s expensive and wastes good space and time. I got rid of all the products that I rarely used and now I keep the essentials.

1. Bronzer

2. Bronzer Brush

3. Mascara

4. Eyeliner: I only wear on special occasions, not everyday anymore.

My makeup routine is a drastic change from the past. I got rid of concealers, fake lashes, colored eye shadows, eyeliner shades, foundation and an eyelash curler.

I realize now that the bronzer highlights just enough and mascara opens my eyes and it’s all I really need for every day wear. No one else has commented on my makeup change. It takes me 1 minute to do my makeup now.

It’s easy, cheap, and I feel ‘done’ enough for work and still feel good about myself.

When I run out of my current stash, I am going to replace with more natural ingredients. I feel this will help further reduce redness and dryness with a little time.

It works. The more time I have in the morning to watch the sunrise and meditate, or do a little yoga before work, the better. I can do that instead of using my face as a canvas. Simplifying my beauty routine has changed my mornings. Less stress, and more time to ease into my day.

One Item Favorite: Living Room Wall Art

De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism, Simplicity

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I seriously donated numerous SUV car loads of wall art to the donation center a few weeks ago. Yes, car loads of wall art.

My de-cluttering process has been a complicated one over the last few years. I would de-clutter, and within weeks be right back where I started. This time is different because I am very deliberate and intentional.

Several years ago, I got into thrift shopping and refurbing my home decor. It interested me and I had the time to piddle with it. I would bring home carloads of frames, pictures, knick knacks and then refurb. For some reason, even if the decor didn’t work for a space; I felt obligated to use it.

I can’t really explain why, I just did. Now, I don’t think that way. I will only use what I love and that is all. The rest is just clutter, unfinished projects, and the notion that we must use every, single thing we have ever brought home in our home, somewhere.

The old me felt that way. The new me, not so much.

After many carloads of taking down all the wall art invisible obligations, I kept my favorites.

The photo above shows the one piece of art that I am in love with. It doesn’t need partners surrounding it to distract, or other pieces I feel obligated to hang up for no real reason. Those old items are no longer welcome in my home. They are gone.

What’s left is a statement piece and that is all.

So, one last tribute to my obligated, wall art attempts in the past. As you can see, it never felt right to me. I kept changing it trying to make it ‘work.’ But it never did because I didn’t love it.

Now, my single artwork makes me happy and the only obligation I have now is to enjoy its beauty all by itself.

Here’s the wall art pastlife. So happy to not have to obsess over it anymore:

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Obligatory family photos. I never loved the frames. What I do love is squishing and kissing on my baby girls real face.

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Obligatory chalkboard frames when I went overboard putting chalk on everything thanks to Pinterest. And the ‘must’ initial that has to be displayed in a home, thanks to Pinterest. Oh, and that’s my favorite snack: melted-cheese-on-a-plate as I call it.

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And again, repainting, trying to find inspiration in quotes, and yet again: more basket storage.

See, I realize now that I have been a stuff manager. Constantly moving my stuff around all the while collecting. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving home design, but for me personally, I’m tired of trying to be like everyone else. I want to spend time doing things I love in a clean, uncluttered home.

That’s where I am today. So my favorite piece of art, thank you. Thank you for sitting so simply alone on my wall. You work perfectly now and I can be free from my imaginary obligatory clutter presentations.

I can now sit on my couch and relax.

Goodbye, Bookshelf & a Tribute

De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist

Goodbye, bookshelf. You have been a good one. I have moved you to three different homes. I have placed you in just about ever nook imaginable. I made you a closet. I filled you with baskets. You held my dusty trinkets so eloquently.

The thought of ever having to move you again really makes my head hurt. I’ve come to realize that it is time for us to break up.

I finally admit that I simply thought that I had to put stuff on you since you were there. But, in truth you were only housing unused items, and baskets holding unused items, and it never felt right to me.

So, let’s part shall we?

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As I was de-cluttering I realized that there was absolutely no reason to even have this bookshelf. Not even one thing made the cut from the shelf that I actually use…ever.

After about a week of sitting in the tiny hallway empty, it was time to say goodbye.

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We parted ways.

And I’m not sad about it.

Without further ado, one last tribute to the shelf that housed so many unused things for sake of having a bookshelf for no real reason.

Here’s a final look into the shelf’s past:

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You were a good closet — even though I already had a closet.

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You held books that I already read, and would never read again, along with other decor that I never really liked to begin with.

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The buckled and bent shelves from so much stuff made you squeal, but I still piled it on.

Then you became a danger with kids in the house. I was always terrified you would fall over. Thankfully you never did.

But now, you are gone. There is no need to house unused stuff.

You can go be free, and so can I.

With extra space for me.

I can let go an move on.

You will not be coming with me in the future.

We are done.

Goodbye.

Item Placement that Makes Sense

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Simplicity

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The way we live truly is an art. We are all different and execute our days in the way we feel best. But what if we can execute more efficiently? What if we can use our time and resources even better?

Making better use of my space and time is another reason I am de-cluttering and really thinking about how and where my time is spent. My focus is not to fill every minute in my day with busyness; rather, I just want to spend it well.

I used this concept while I was de-cluttering my kitchen this weekend. I decided to move my food and dishes to a better placement that actually makes sense. It’s amazing where I put things just to put them when I first moved in. If it was a kitchen item, I just put it in a cabinet somewhere in the kitchen.

Now that I am really thinking about logistics: it doesn’t make sense to me and my movements.

So, I moved my canned good near the stove instead of the pantry. Now, that doesn’t seem logical offhand, but now – I can just reach up and grab some veggies right from the stove top.

Ahhh, now that makes better sense.

All of my bowls, cups, silverware, plates are now right above my dishwasher. All of them. This is so I just reach up or down to load and unload instead of all over the place in separate cabinets.

My pots and pans are below the stove so they are easy to grab.

Tonight, I plan on moving the kids snacks in an unfamiliar cabinet: down below. It was a space that used to house unused appliances. But when the kids snacks are moved to this space, they can just grab the food themselves instead of getting me to get it from up high in the pantry.

This is basic stuff I realize, but have you thought about where you are keeping your stuff?

I can say that, without a doubt, when I cooked dinner and cleaned up last night it took me almost half the time as it normally does by simple item placement in spots where I need them to be.

So, my challenge to you is: are you aggravated in a work space in your home? Could you set it up to benefit and assist you rather than work against you? I did, and am so glad.

Why Do We Do the Things We Do?

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist, Simple Life

It’s Friday and we are all super excited that it’s the weekend. We get to leave our ‘have to’ life of working for someone else and actually attempt to do something we really want to do: like our passions this weekend.

Aren’t you tired of watching the clock and counting down hours for 40+ hours a week? Do you ever wonder how life got on auto-pilot and we all just accepted that this is just how it is; I have to do this day in and day out to survive?

Well, I am wondering that very question and am actively searching for my answer. I can’t help it, because deep in my soul I can feel the fueling of the flame. There is more to life than this. Yes, I created where I am now (and am pretty dang proud of it). But if I honestly dig into where I am and what I have done to get here: it was society that told me I had to. My elders told me I better get my education and grind, grind, grind to thrive in this horrendous world. It’s dog eat dog they said.

And I believed them.

Even when that voice told me: maybe it’s not what I really wanted, I still had to do it because I would be an adult one day, and that’s just what adult’s do.

So what did my young, hopeful self do? Went to college and majored in business, of course! Because, you can’t go wrong with that and BY GOD, I MUST GO TO COLLEGE AND I MUST WORK A MILLION HOURS A WEEK TO PAY OFF MY SHOWY DEBT SO I CAN ‘FIT IN’ IN THIS COUNTRY: I said.

And I did it; like a boss.

Even though I wasn’t happy the whole time because I freakin’ hated business. Booooring. Snore, snore.

And I suck at math and accounting and statistics. Even still I graduated with a high GPA.

Mostly I am just proud that I sat through that many hours of business talk.

I still learned a lot and am not discounting my experience. But, what I am saying is:

When are we going to get to know ourselves again?

When are we going to find out what fuels us?

When are we going to do the work necessary to lead our life’s mission?

When are we going to say ‘I quit’ to what society tells us is normal and what we should do with OUR OWN life?

When will we turn the sail, get to know ourself, and actually BE that person?

The ‘when’ is right now. Not in a minute, but right now.

We can start by doing a few easy things:

1. Asking why do I do the things I do? As creatures of habit, it’s easy to get on auto-pilot. We need to find out how to shake ourselves up from the inside out and get back to center. Why do we work where we work? Why are we stuck and stagnant in our careers, relationships, behaviors? What I can I do get where I want to be?

2. Be conscious of our daily choices. We actually have power and control over our choices. Whether we do the right thing is a different story. There is power in each choice. We just have to make choices that align with our values and true self.

3. Discover what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter what makes someone else happy, I am talking about you! Everyone is different. Embrace who you are. Hint: if you would do this with no one watching or for free: that is what I’m talking about.

4. Focus on yourself. Quit worrying about what other people think about you. We are all abnormal, right? That’s what makes life awesome and everyone special. So don’t be embarrassed about who you really are. It may cause friction when the true you comes out, but you are strong and can handle it! I’m letting loose a few new things about me and it feels so good!

5.  Decide what you can do today. First thing is to start. Now. Exit out of this blog and do what you know you need to do. Is it exercise? Get a glass of water? Create a piece of art? Start your own blog? Research a new class you’ve always wanted to take? Call your best friend?

I’ve heard that good luck and success and happiness doesn’t fall from the sky:

We actually have to CREATE it. 

What will you create today and this weekend?

I’ll be enjoying swimming (handstands and flips included), creating new designs for my Etsy shop CharlisWeb (I opened my shop back up to continue perusing a passion), de-cluttering my junk, getting plenty of sleep, and loving on my family. I’m excited about it.