Slow Down: Sacrifice for Impact

Clarity, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

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It’s so easy to forget our mission in life when busyness, procrastination, clutter, and to-do-lists overtake our time. It seems a majority of us are in the cycle and it seems there is no way out. At some point, we accept it and just call it ‘adulthood.’ And once we name it, we own it. We tick through the rest of our life vaguely aware of our surroundings. Guilt seeps in when we want to take time for ourselves. We become weak, agitated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. We continue at this pace because we are supposed to.

I’d like to meet the person who told all of use that we have to live this way.

Because I truly think this ‘person’ does not exist at all.

This ‘person’ could be society. We feel that we have to compete with others and one-up our status. This one-upmanship is also known as Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones. Sure, we all agree that this keeping-up is not the best way to live – but if we are honest, we live that way anyway.

Our Facebook post has to look cuter than someone else’s. Our car has to look fancy so we can show everyone that we do, in fact, have a job and are contributing to the pot of society. The American Dream is being lived, y’all! But at the end of the day it’s no dream at all. We know it deep down, but we can’t break this cycle because we don’t want to come across as lazy, unfit, or less-than.

So, debt and possession rule our lives. It comes in between us and our families. We have no friends, because we have to work ourselves to the bone to pay for that new loveseat. It’s cute though, but unfortunately we don’t have time to host friends over because we are at work. And when we aren’t at work, we are at home cleaning, organizing, and moving around our stuff.

When our friends ask us how we have been or what we’ve been up to lately we respond:

Busy.

Yes, we have been busy. We’ve been busy trying to create a lucrative life at the hands of our employer. We’re busy thinking about acquiring a luxury lifestyle and living beyond our means.

We haven’t been busy contributing to what’s most important, which I feel safe to say is:

  • Family
  • Helping
  • Serving
  • Resting
  • Relaxing
  • Creating
  • Wanderlusting
  • Traveling
  • Exploring

Those are my most important things in life. And I’ve neglected those things for far too long.

It takes time to shift to a more simple, deliberate, slow lifestyle. But, when we realize that we need to change our path and begin to clear the distractions: clutter, busyness, overwhelm, we can gain clarity and shift focus to what’s truly important.

We won’t be remembered for our career, but we will be remembered for our impact.

There’s more to life than just paying bills and then you die.

I’m not willing to sacrifice my life for stuff and status. I am however, willing to sacrifice my life for change, memories, and impact.

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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?

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 Consumes the Mind, Controls Our Life

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

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Simplifying our lives has many aspects to it; and it varies from each person to person. For me, I am not an extremist by any stretch, but I want to remove the excess that is weighing me down so I can be energized and focus on what truly matters to me.

As I am constantly de-cluttering my possessions and spending less on consumerist spending, I am also de-cluttering my mind. When I first began simplifying my life, I knew I needed to get rid of physical clutter to have more brain space and clarity to get down to business on my insides. It was only natural that at some point, a lot of my mental clutter began surfacing as I was decreasing the amount of possessions I owned.

This is my favorite part of a minimalist lifestyle!

For me, “you are what you eat” translates not only to actual food consumption, but also to what I take in to my mind and thoughts. My focus is to remove the negativity that keeps clouding my thoughts and turn it in to positive affirmations.

I took a few weeks to really listen to my thoughts that rattle within. My inner voice was speaking; and it wasn’t pretty. Self doubt, worry, frustration, anger, and incessant chatter seemed to never end. After meditation and letting go of this mindset, I knew there were some changes that I would have to make to clear the mental clutter.

This became a priority and still is.

1. Social Media: I am off of Facebook. Period. I was comparing myself to others, and then other people’s constant questioning about my personal Facebook activity was a major trigger in anxiety. Now, all of my closest family and friends know to contact me directly via telephone or person if they have something to communicate as I am not on Facebook for the drama anymore. It was weird for a few days because I would unknowingly pick up my phone to check Facebook as a terrible habit. But, I had deleted the icon app as a reminder not to log on. I don’t miss it at all.

2. News: I love the news and shows like Nancy Grace (my hero!). However, I feel very agitated, angry, and defensive after soaking in updates from around home and the globe. Truly, I was getting to where I felt hopeless and sad. So, I simply just don’t watch it any longer. Now, I know they say to keep up with cultural events and such; and I do get info from my Husband on events that I am interested in so I can stay in the loop on what matters to me. But guess what? The world hasn’t crashed and I haven’t become an obsolete being just because I am not ranting over politics and the like.

3. Diet: I can’t think well if I don’t feel well. My eating habits have changed and I no longer include sugar in my diet. I feel more energized and can focus on what matters – like having fun – instead of feeling guilty because of what I have eaten during the day.

4. Drama: Other people have a way of sucking me into their drama. I am by nature a very empathetic and compassionate person, so I take on other people’s burdens as my own. This drags me so far down and makes me collapse with exhaustion. This is probably one of my #1 soul suckers. I have to consciously choose not to be involved in drama anymore and it’s making a huge difference in my positivity.

I want positive, hopeful, happy thoughts. Along with my possessions, I am de-cluttering the gunk as well. We think what we take in. We speak what we take in. We feel what we take in.

Isn’t it time we put a barrier to the negativity so we can embrace our true selves? If you want to feel energetic, you must take in energy. If you want to think positively, you must consume positivity. Let’s use our energy for positive vibes instead of the negative, shall we?

What gunk to you need to get rid of to add some light into your days?

Tending to Your Soul

Clarity, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

Yoga isn’t about executing the poses perfectly or having the best balance. Yoga is connecting with yourself. Yoga is like learning to breathe again, or that moment when you jump out of bed in the morning, rush outside to do the sun salutation, and you’re utterly blinded by how brilliant the world can be. Yoga is taking a moment from your stressful, up-beat life and remembering you have a soul that needs tending to. ~ Unknown

The world truly can be beautiful and brilliant when we take the time to slow down and enjoy it. This has always been so hard for me: just as it is for so many people.

I feel that it is selfish and un-productive if I stop to breathe and do a few stretches.

Since I have began my yoga journey, I see how important it is to take the time to look within yourself. Yoga is not about being a pretzel, it’s about being deliberate. Being deliberate in loving on yourself every day. It’s about letting go of house chores realizing that it’s OK to take a break, get healthy, and press on within. When sticking through yoga, the to-do list shows up in the mind, but you learn to see it, and let it go. You begin to understand that the dishes will still be in the sink when you get done. They will. And it is perfectly fine.

It’s a daily practice of peace.

Whether you do yoga or not, it’s important you find something that allows you to be still, get healthy, and focus on yourself. It could be a walk, a bubble bath, a jog down a trail, gardening, drawing, watching the sunset. If it means you check in with yourself for at least 20 minutes or so to allow your self-worth to come forward: then you have found it! When you find it, do that and do it every day.

Desiring Heart

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Simplicity

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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Let’s not continue being insane, lost, chaotic: a feeling of chasing rainbows and wishing. We all can make our lives align with our true soul, if we just listen to our hearts and take action. It’s a matter of taking the first step in the right direction. It’s about saying no to the petty and yes to the good. It’s about clearing the clutter and the stuff that holds us back: whether it be physical possessions, mental negative chatter, or relationships that no longer serve us. One step at a time. One moment at a time.

Let’s take back control of our lives and live free. We can, if we choose to. Let’s live for today – forgetting yesterday and allowing the future to unfold as it’s divinely supposed to.

What do you not want in your life today?

I don’t want:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Useless work
  • Frustration
  • Exhaustion

I want so badly:

  • Clarity
  • Lightness
  • Happiness
  • Space
  • Freedom
  • Love

Today I will let go of the chains that bind me to yesterday. I will let my wings sprout and make the right choices that align with what I want.

I will let go of stress and the things that I can’t control. I will rest when my body tells me to. I know that I am in control of my reactions and I will choose to make the best decisions each and every moment. When I make a mistake; I will let it go and learn from it. I know that each moment is a new chance for my life.

Let’s embrace today, shall we? Let’s do something that we’ve always wanted to do. Let’s lose the guilt that tells us that we are not exactly where we think we should be. We are where we are supposed to be: right here, right now, with the hurt, sadness, frustration. See it for what it is and try to let go. Envision happiness and peace.

The 4th of July weekend is a perfect time for me to appreciate the freedom that I do have right now. It also makes me hopeful for the freedom I can accept for myself if I invite it into my life.

It’s an open invitation. Welcomed. Safe. Secure.

The Journey Is Worth It

Clarity, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Natural Beauty, No 'Poo / Lo 'Poo, Simplicity

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You know the drill. We buy a bazillion dollars worth of hair and make-up products all our lives and then wonder why our skin looks horrible, and our hair is thinning, bland, and falling out. It’s no secret that the products we buy are damaging, but we do it anyway because we think it’s no big deal.

Well, I had a turning point with my hair. A huge chunk broke off last month and I know I had to make a change in the products I was using. My face was broke out, red, and splotchy from all the creams and scrubs and medicines I was applying. To top it off- I was using Mr. Clean All Purpose Cleaner to clean house and it totally rusted my appliances and discolored my counter tops. If an ‘all purpose cleaner’ isn’t all purpose, then….I’m going green, baby.

This change is taking a while as I research and test products to arrive at a place where I love the items I buy and they actually work. It’s a process. If you have experienced the same type things I have and are looking for an alternative, experimenting and using less may be the answer.

It has been for me.

I am not an expert by any stretch. But, I have learned some things and I want to share.

  • No Poo/ Low Poo: I went no poo for a while, but have changed my process. I now only use natural shampoo, conditioner, and products. Unfortunately, I blow dry and flat iron my hair again. My wiley curls just wasn’t working out. Maybe one day I can be just as hardcore. However, I did learn that I will survive if I don’t wash my hair ever single day, and if my hair is curly and wild – so be it.
  • Natural Soap & Body Wash: I use Zum Bar soap and Burt’s Bees body wash. My skin is hydrated, dry-patch, and red bump free after a month! I thought there was no cure for my skin conditions (per dermatologists as well), but that’s just not the case. Apparently, regular chemical-filled soaps, body washes, and scrubs were destroying my skin.
  • Caveman Regimine Skincare: This is a miracle. I only wash my face with water and a baby soft wash cloth. No soap or creams or moisturizer touches it! I’ve been doing this for a while now and my blackheads are disappearing and not coming back, my red cheeks have nearly went away, and my skin glows.
  • Natural Makeup: This is still a work in progress, but currently I use Physicians Formula Organic CC Cream, and shimmer bronzer (or cinnamon) on my face. I’m phasing out my eye makeup and when it’s time to replenish it will be organic. I also use grapeseed oil on a cotton ball to remove my eye makeup.
  • No Sugar Diet: In a perfect world I would eat Paleo. That is my future wish, not my reality. However, I do not eat sugar – or when I do, it is minimal and natural occurring (like watermelon occasionally). This means lots of meats and veggies. Also hemp hearts and peanuts, almond milk, and coconut flour to name a few snacks and additions. Without a lot of carbs and eating foods of high protein, I am fully satisfied, full of energy, and get better sleep. It works for me.
  • Live With Less: I quit shopping to waste time. I evaluate every purchase and make sure it will be used and is in line with my core beliefs. I am paying of debt, so spending wildly is not an option.
  • Clearing Clutter: Getting rid of clutter and unused items in my home to make space for things that matter and brings me peace of mind.

I like to remind myself of the changes I am making and the progress I’ve made so far. Sometimes it seems like there is so much I need to change that it’s overwhelming. I didn’t make all these changes in one day. It has been phased over time and have allowed myself plenty of space to make mistakes, start again, and to experiment. I am having fun and enjoying the ride.

Are there things you want to get rid of to make space for more of what you want? What’s your motivation and how are you getting back to your authentic self?

Lucky Vitamin

Essential Oils, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Natural Beauty

I don’t know anyone in my real life that is searching for a more natural, simplistic lifestyle. This is why I love blogging so much and meeting like-minded individuals! It’s such a relief. Normally, when I tell my fam or friends what I am doing I get blank stares or weird comments. I think it’s just because it’s a little different. No harm done.

Anyway, it’s hard to find natural products where I live. I mean, there are holistic stores here and there and a Whole Foods but it’s many miles away and just very inconvenient. The inconvenience has stopped me from living like this, but not any more. This year, my mantra has been ‘no more excuses’ and I am trying my best to live up to it.

I spent over 3 hours this morning searching online for products that I have learned to love so I can order when I want. You may be in the same boat with your location, so I wanted to share.

Website: LuckyVitamin. Use coupon code 5OFF49GS205 (through July 2015) for $5 and you get free shipping on $50 orders.

1. Natural Hair Products: Sure, WalMart has Burt’s Bee’s but did you know their shampoo/conditioner ranks a 4 on the scale of hazards? Look, that’s better than most, but I want the least hazardous rating I can find. I ordered Andalou Naturals shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray. They rank at a 2 on the hazard scale.

2. EWG Skin Deep Database: This database shows the hazard/chemical rating for cosmetics and products. I used this site to determine the safety of Andalou hair products to make my decision.

3. Hemp Hearts: My new fav snack ever. They have them!

4. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil + Glass Spray Bottle: I plan on mixing a little skin moisturizer up with a new essential oil. Supposed to smell sweet and floral and does wonders for stress and it’s an aphrodisiac!

5. Eco Nuts: This is all natural soap nuts that I will be using to wash clothes. One box is equivalent to 100 loads of laundry. It’s safe, sudsy and natural and has been used for centuries! I am so excited!

After researching and trying to order from Amazon, Vitamin Life, and Lucky Vitamin: the Lucky Vitamin got my order.

Vitamin Life didn’t offer free shipping, and neither did Amazon. Amazon was actually going to charge $25 in shipping for the same items.

Lucky Vitaman though? Had all the items I wanted, a $5 off coupon and free shipping since I ordered $50 worth of items.

If you are looking for a convenient place to find your hippy stuff – check it out!

Re-Arranging Life

Clarity, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Simplicity

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An excess of possessions is sure to smother a good mood. You work all day just to come home to a house full of chaos. There’s cooking to do, rooms to clean, and stuff to put away.

It’s an energy-sucker for sure.

I know how it goes and I still get very frustrated at the unused, useless stuff I have sitting around.

I’ve spent so much time and money re-organizing and then organizing my stuff again and again throughout the years. The fact is, we can re-organize our stuff, but not re-organize our life. This is the key.

We can get rid of things, purchase containers to store, rent a storage building and still end up cluttered and out of control. Our behavior and priorities have to change first to be successful.

I wish this was as easy as it sounds, but it does take effort, soul searching and work.

Currently, I am re-arranging my life and my stuff.

This takes a lot of clarity and focus to make the result I want a priority. My priorities:

  • Quality family time
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Freedom in my schedule
  • Plenty of rest
  • Search for passion
  • Pay off debt
  • Get healthy and active
  • Rid home and life of excess and clutter

To do these things, I have to focus. The heart of my minimalist mission is to get rid of excess clutter to make room for my priorities.

That is the first thing that makes sense to go, to free up the time for me to spend with family, get more rest, explore my passions and future, and to pay off debt.

My daily decisions and choices are key. I have to make it a reality that I am living the life I want. Do I chose a bottle of water or a coke? Water. Do I buy a bunch of stuff I don’t need, or pay off debt? Pay debt. Do I want to work myself to death to buy useless stuff, or do I explore my passion and get my life in that direction? Work towards passion.

Every decision I make is important. Every time I feel overwhelmed and tired and unmotivated, I focus on my priorities and do that.

When you get to the point in life where you realize what you are actually doesn’t line up with who you want to be, it’s time to make a shift and change. Otherwise, you will wallow in guilt, shame, and sadness. I know, I’ve been there. And now, I’m scratching and clawing to simplify and focus on the important things. I want to be who I was born to be, not who society tells me I have to be.