Category Archives: Minimalism

Wool& Stella Tee Review: I wore the same shirt for seven days in a row!

Woohoo! I’m happy to share this honest review of the Stella Scoop Neck Tee by Wool&. First of all, I am so grateful when a brand is willing to work with me as a small influencer; it truly means a lot. As you know, I choose my affiliate partnerships very carefully, since it’s very important to me that I only represent brands I use and love myself. I want my followers to trust that I’ll always be honest and only share links for products that I’m 100% using myself in my own home. Wool& sent me this shirt as a gift for my review, so thank you so much, Wool&!

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on purchases with no additional cost to you. Thanks for shopping with me!

Live Simply. Consume Carefully. Do Good.

When I was two years old, I famously told my grandparents, “Fashion is everything”.  I am not sure what the context was for this preposterous statement, but for the next thirty-some-odd years I have gone back and forth on the topic. I have maintained a love/ hate relationship with fashion, and altogether spent WAY too much time on my wardrobe in general ever since.

As a teen, I vividly remember a fairly long stretch of time when I would record my outfits every day so that I would never repeat a combination! Fast forward to now, as a busy homeschooling mom, I never thought I would wear the same thing for a week in a row. And yet here we are.

After following the crowd into the “fast fashion” machine and getting burned by tshirts that pill after one wear and styles that are out of date before the receipt cools, I definitely became disillusioned by the status quo for clothing. There has to be something better, right? My wardrobe had become revolving door for items that didn’t fit well or weren’t particularly flattering or comfortable. I was shopping as unintentionally as I could without putting much thought into the situation. I realized this was very much contradictory to my commitment to a minimalist lifestyle. 

That’s when I began exploring a more sustainable model for my shopping habits which has included second hand shopping as a first option and taking a more intentional approach to new purchases.  Click here to read my blog post on Sustainable Fashion.

Even focusing on sustainable fashion, I still didn’t think that Wool fabric would find it’s place in my wardrobe! Honestly, it sounded like something that would never work for my Deep South climate and my initial thought was, “it’s scratchy, right?” At that point, I discovered the company Wool& and started to learn the truth about wool and what makes this fabric special. I realized it is NOT scratchy and in fact there is a lot more to love about it! Did you know that Wool has incredible natural properties making it:

*Antimicrobial
*Temperature Regulating
*Quick Dry
*Odor Resistant
*Ecological Sustainable
*Strong & Durable

For me the very best part of wool is that it is Antimicrobial & Odor Resistant. This translates into LESS laundry and less wear to the fabric. What if your favorite tshirt could be worn again and again before it needed washing and last for so much longer because of it? That’s what I discovered with the Wool& Stella Scoop Neck Tee. 

I did size down with this tee and am glad that I did. I’m about 5’6″ and currently 160 lbs (*COVID weight gain, hopefully temporary*). I’m normally solidly in a Medium, but I chose a Small for this shirt. The generous length and swing style made small the best size for me! I love the scoop neck and longer swing-style plus the light weight wool blend is super comfortable. I love my Stella tee and totally recommend it!

I didn’t plan to wear this shirt for seven days in a row. But after a couple days I realized the shirt still had no odor and was totally fresh and ready to go. Plus a black tshirt can basically be paired with anything right? So what was stopping me from putting it on again and again? NOTHING WAS STOPPING ME!

After a week in the Stella Scoop neck tee, I felt like I needed to wash it. It did NOT have an odor but I’m a messy cook and had spot cleaned it a couple times so I felt like it needed it at last. I loved the fact that it could go from wear to wear without washing. I can’t wait to travel with this tshirt year round!

Thanks for checking out my review! Interested in the video version of it? Click here for my YouTube review! 

My Kitchen Makeover (New Product Share!)

 

I wanted to share a new product that I am really enjoying! Since getting into minimalism, I have tried to be very, very intentional about purchases. That often means I go for a long time waiting to find the right thing. Years ago I eliminated plastic from my kitchen and I’ve been also trying to eliminate lead and other toxins. We have a family history of some complicated health issues which make it difficult for our bodies to detox, so this is a little more on my radar. I recently found #sweese and they were kind enough to send me a beautiful set of mugs. Sweese is made from a type of premium LEAD-FREE and NON-TOXIC ceramic, chip-resistant and more sturdy than stoneware. I love the design of these, the beautiful colors and the fact that they are really sturdy which is a must for my clumsy mornings. Most important, I trust the company to be SAFE for my family, so we have ditched our random collection of mugs from here and there. Sweese also makes stackable mugs (LOVE!), beautiful butter dishes, serving platters and more. Check them out here (and thanks for shopping through my affiliate links)!

Want this beautiful Mug Set for yourself? Click here to check it out!

Wooland (Wool&) Mara Dress Review & Styling Tips

I’m really excited to bring you this honest review of the Mara Dress by Wool&. First of all, I am so grateful when a brand is willing to work with me as a small influencer; it truly means a lot. As you know, I choose my affiliate partnerships very carefully, since it’s very important to me that I only represent brands I use and love myself. I want my followers to trust that I’ll always be honest and only share links for products that I’m 100% using myself in my own home. Wool& sent me this dress as a gift for my review, so thank you so much, Wool&!

Look at this lovely minimal packaging! No plastic to be found. 

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on purchases with no additional cost to you. Thanks for shopping with me!

Outfit #1 (see footnotes for outfit details)

In my last post, I talked about Sustainable Fashion. It’s something I have really wanted to learn more about for awhile. Wool& works hard to make sustainability a core value of their brand. In fact the company’s motto is: live simply, consume carefully, do good. I absolutey love that!

Outfit #2 (see footnotes for outfit details)

I have never worn wool in my South Carolina climate and honestly didn’t know much about  its benefits. I’m actually blown away to learn how versatile this fabric is (yes, even for a Southern girl like me)! The Mara dress is a Merino Wool blend ( 75% merino wool / 22% nylon / 3% spandex, a midweight french terry fabric) and is super soft and comfy (not itchy in the slightest, and my skin is extremely picky about texture). It does seem to warm up to your body and become even softer after a couple wears!

Outfit #3 (see footnotes for outfit details)

Did you know that Wool is naturally antimicrobial, moisture wicking, and temperature regulating? I had a vague idea about some “magical” properties of Wool based on recommendations I had read for SmartWool socks, but the extent of the benefits really surprised and impressed me. The most appealing feature of this dress for me is that it can be washed very infrequently! As someone who is CONSTANTLY doing laundry (three kids + two adults + puppy), the idea of a garment that rarely needs to be washed is pretty much the best idea ever. In fact, I’m already wondering how we can fit more wool into the laundry rotation to keep washing to a minimum. Want to learn more about Wool& clothing? Click here!

Outfit #4 (see footnotes for outfit details)

Let’s get to the specifics of the Mara dress. It’s a soft French terry fabric with patch pockets, a funnel neck (I’d call it a mock neck) and drop shoulders. This dress retails for $158. (See the footnotes for my size info). The fabric on the neck and wrists is double-thick, giving it a chunky, comfy feel. It also adds a little visual interest to the design along with the seam across the pockets. I don’t usually prefer the tightness of turtlenecks but this style gives a similar look without the constricting neckline. The fabric is soft but not thick like a sweatshirt, more of a substantial, sturdy jersey.

Outfit #5 (see footnotes for outfit details)

I have worn it four days in a row and I am in love with how comfortable the Mara style is! So far, I’ve worn it while cleaning, cooking, shopping, walking the dog and I can’t help thinking it would be a great work-from-home uniform for anyone with Zoom meetings to participate in. At first I was nervous about wearing it to teach preschool, but I think next week I will give it a try. The benefits definitely outweigh my fear that it will get a little stray paint or playdough on it. I have read that the best way to treat stains on wool is to spot clean immediately, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Outfit #6 (see footnotes for outfit details)

A Wool& dress would be the perfect item to take traveling. In fact, I imagine my bag will be a lot lighter on my next trip since this dress can make it through days of wear without washing. Now that I have tried it, I think this dress would safely be a three season staple for me since it is temperature-regulating and I won’t get too hot in our temperature-erratic Springs and Falls.  I would love to try a few of the other Wool& styles like the Brooklyn Wrap Dress or the Sierra Tank Dress. There are also several new styles coming in the Spring! I am sure I’ll be wearing my Mara dress for years to come.

Is a wool a part of your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!


Outfit Details
Outfit #1:
My Wool& Mara dress is size Medium (my true size). For your reference, I am a hair under 5’6” and a hair over 150 lbs. I’ve paired this with my favorite black flats by Fitflop. My scarf is from a previous season by Alison & Aubrey, but here is a similar style that is currently available on Amazon.

Outfit #2:
For this look, I’m wearing my favorite Jean Jacket that I blogged about here. I love that the trim sleeves of the dress work great for layers (so many of my cold-weather dresses are too thick for layering, which is inconvenient!). I’ve paired it with some of my Favorite boots from Target from years and years ago (Kamischel style), but I found a couple similar links to share for boots: Option 1, Option 2, or Option 3. Finally, I’m wearing a retired necklace from Bauble Bar, but here is a really pretty one that would stand out beautifully against the neckline of this dress!

Outfit #3:
I love this combo! I’m wearing the same boots from Outfit #2, but I threw on this drapey Olive vest from Time & Tru. It’s currently OOS, but here is another option from Amazon. My necklace is a gifted bird’s nest style that looks just like this.

Outfit #4:
I thrifted this Lucky Brand wool pullover poncho (such a fun find), but you might find a similar style here. My Frye Melissa Boots are an old favorite that work with so many outfits.

Outfit #5:
Checkout how comfy those big pockets are! You can easily fit keys, phone, and even a wallet in there in a pinch! This outfit is just showing the Mara on it’s own with my Frye boots. I love it! I also wore it with my Target boots and some purple knee high socks. I had never found a good use for those socks before, but I thought was a fun look to go shopping. I don’t usually go barelegged in the winter but I think it works with Mara’s silhouette.

Outfit #6
Mara works great for walking the dog also! For this outfit, I wore my trusty Naturalizer Carly Sneakers, favorite Columbia Women’s Mighty Lite Hooded Coat, Tortoiseshell Sunglasses, and Furtalk Beanie. For the cutest pet ever, I have to recommend a Bernedoodle!

Thank you for shopping through my affiliate links! Please subscribe for more product reviews and upcoming posts featuring Wool&!

Building a Sustainable Wardrobe

You guys know that I’m a thrifter at heart. I was raised by thrifty parents and I just love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping.  I’m a pretty easy size to fit (right in the middle of the road) so I tend to build my wardrobe with new pieces almost from scratch each year (with some exceptions of course). It’s worked well for me, but I have been wanting to be more deliberate about my wardrobe and choose pieces that will stand the test of time rather than serving me for just a season. In addition, I have been learning more about sustainable brands and have really wanted to focus on a middle ground between sustainability/quality/affordability. That spot will often fall at the thrift store for me, but I’m also exploring brands that stand out with sustainability as a core value.

Before we go any further, let’s define sustainability! What is it and why should we use it as a guide when buying clothing?

In my own words, sustainable fashion focuses on measured and deliberate movement towards more eco-friendly and socially-responsible practices within the entire framework of the business, from manufacturing, to production, to distribution and sales. Want more ideas on moving towards sustainability in your closet? Click here to read up on the topic!

Fast fashion hurts the earth and hurts people. There’s really no two ways about it. Sustainable fashion, on the other hand, seeks to right those wrongs and take the process in a more positive sustainable direction. So we should all be happy to see more steps taken in that direction, right? The problem is, sometimes we aren’t quite willing (or able) to pay for it, which I 100% understand since our budget for clothing is pretty low. Which is why shopping second hand kills about three birds with one stone (without bringing animal cruelty into the mix). You are saving money, saving the earth, and preventing over-consumption by not feeding the fast fashion monster.

At the same time, second-hand shopping can be hit-or-miss, time-consuming or simply unavailable depending on location. I’m also aware that many sizes are difficult if not impossible to purchase second hand. Online options for second hand clothing are becoming more and more prevalent (thredup, poshmark, ebay), but second-hand shopping still won’t solve all of our clothing needs all the time.

Fortunately, there are more sustainable brands stepping into the clothing arena, giving us more options for high quality clothing that won’t wind up in the landfill (at least any time soon). Higher standards for materials, packaging, labor and advertising will give us better options going forward. My next post will be a review of one of those brands that I’m really excited to share about! (Click here to read it!)

 

Cook Once Eat All Week Cookbook Review: Week One!

 

This post was created using Amazon Affiliate links. I appreciate every click as it helps to make my work-from-home dream a reality (at no extra cost to you). So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

A week ago, I could’ve sworn I would never buy another cookbook again. After 17 years of cooking, I’ve streamlined my recipe collection, simplified my routine, and gotten into a reasonable grove. My problem is, I am super disorganized and still haven’t figured out a great meal-planning method! And, even more frustrating, it’s so hard to manage the perishables and I absolutely hate when food is wasted due to my disorganized cooking style. So I enjoy cooking, but I find kitchen-management rather stressful and exhausting.

So when I heard about this cookbook, Cook Once Eat All Week, I thought it was too good to be true. It contains 26 weeks of recipes including organized grocery lists and utilizes the same major ingredients for each week, plus it is Instant Pot-friendly, Gluten Free, and adaptable for paleo, dairy-free, and low-carb…..doesn’t that sound unbelievable???

Although I could have sworn I would never purchase another cookbook, I ordered this one from Amazon the first day I heard about it (shout out to the Minimal Mom, whose vidoes are absolutely always helpful).

This was my first week using the cookbook, so I don’t have a ton of feedback yet, but I wanted to go ahead and create this review so that I could share photos and feedback on the meals as we eat them. First of all, here’s a peek at a couple pages to show you how it is laid out.
I realy love the minimalist illustrations. It’s extremely straight forward and contains detailed step-by-step instructions for each part of cooking. I actually think the layout will be great for my teens who have a lot of basic cooking skills and are great at following recipes. This book is really not about batch cooking and reheating, but about shopping and prepping ahead for several meals at a time. Which is totally what I was hoping it would be!



Week One Prep

Week one prep involved cooking and shredding chicken, cooking bacon, chopping various veggies and ricing broccoli. A few notes from our experience. I would have gotten very tired of this process without my instant pot. Cooking the chicken and rice was a breeze and if you do not have an Instant Pot, I cannot rave enough. You won’t regret it!

In addition, I do not have a food processor, so I was ricing my broccoli in tiny batches in my teeny-tiny food chopper, which was not ideal. I’ll check the necessary tools in the future before I jump into prepping! This doesn’t seem to be a batch cooking and reheating book at all, so I’m very happy about that. Instead you are planning and prepping for three unique recipes per week, and then doing the last few (quick) steps when it’s time to cook and serve.

Meal One: BBQ Broccoli & Rice
Last night’s meal was a success. My husband didn’t love it but he ate it. The rest of the family really liked it. I think he was less of a fan because the BBQ sauce I chose was a little on the sweeter side than he prefers. Next time, I’ll go with a milder sauce and maybe he can spice his up on his plate to taste. It was amazing to me how much broccoli was packed into this dish, so I was really happy with the health quotient of this meal.

I am (like I have said) kind of a messy cook and tend to measure less often than advised. So I’m not sure what happened here, probably from years of doubling subconsciously, I ended up with a massive amount of this dish. I may or may not run out of chicken and rice for the next two meals! I’m not too worried about the other two dishes, because I’m sure they can be adapted. I just find it tiresome to measure, but apparently I’m terrible at guessing.

I really wanted to learn some new healthy cooking techniques so I am excited that I now know how to rice broccoli (and am seriously considering investing in a food processor). Also, I am thrilled to have learned to shred my chicken with a hand mixer. I know lots of people like to use their stand mixer for shredding chicken, but I didn’t realize the hand mixer would work. It turns out, it was incredibly easy and quick. I will absolutely utilize this method in the future!

Meal 2: White Chicken Chili

This was easy to throw together with all of the prep done ahead of time. I’ve never made White Chili but I will absolutely make this recipe again. I loved the savory bacon, beans, and chicken but it was the fresh cilantro, lime, avocado, and green onions on top that really made this recipe cravable. It wasn’t as spicy as expected but we added some lime cilantro hot sauce for those who wanted a little extra kick. My husband loved this soup, in contrast to recipe 1 which wasn’t his favorite. Everyone enjoyed it! Recipe 1 and Recipe 2 felt totally different and really didn’t feel like a repeat at all; so far, so good!

Meal 3: Chicken & Broccoli Fried Rice

This meal was also quite easy to put together which was great because I walked into the house about 5:15. Everyone ate it but it was not the hit that the soup was and was probably my least favorite of the three meals this week. However, it could certainly be easily tweaked to taste and throwing leftovers into a stir fry is definitely right up my alley, cooking style-wise. So I think this week is certainly repeatedable because it’s got a lot of flexibility.

I’ll continue to update this post as I work my way through the Cook Once Eat All Week Cookbook. Let me know if you have tried it!

Thanks for shopping with my affiliate links! 

Life & Creativity Update

I could apologize and make excuses for what a terrible blogger I’ve been, with such poor consistency. My last post was months ago!

But I’m not going to do that.

What I am going to say is that I am having fun exploring different creative outlets and overall feeling very productive. My Facebook Group about Minimalism, Chasing Simple, has taken off and people seem to really be getting a lot out of it! It has been great to stay focused with a group of people on the same journey towards simplicity.

My sister and I have recently started a YouTube Channel called The Simplicity Sisters and it has been so fun to build something together. We’ve been so grateful for the enthusiastic response and we’ve had a lot of great interaction in the comments.  We’d love to have you check it out here!

Of all years, 2020 seems to be the best possible time to homeschool and I am very grateful that we have continued on this path. My twin girls are now 14 and my son is 8. Every year is a new challenge and this one is no different. Except it is really, really different because everything is different during a worldwide pandemic. There are ups and downs, but we are getting through day by day. I guess that’s really all any of us can do at this point.

Probably the nicest thing to happen to us in 2020 is bringing home our Bernedoodle puppy, Elphie. The kids have loved having a puppy for the first time and we have loved the easy going, hyperallergenic qualities of her breed!

That’s all for now.

How I kill COVID-19: Discount & Review

This post contains referral links. Thank you for helping to make my dreams of writing for a living come true!

During this difficult time, a lot of people have been looking for cleaner that will kill Corona Virus. A lot of cleaners that are typically recommended: Lysol, Clorox, and even bleach have been out of stock locally and online. It’s even been difficult to find rubbing alcohol! Fortunately, my cleaner of choice is in stock and still available for order (although shipping may be delayed).

Force of Nature

Because our family has asthma, allergies, and autoimmune issues, I have been very careful about what cleaning products I bring into our home. I’ve replaced Clorox wipes, windex, lysol, and other all purpose cleaners with ONE safe, effective, and affordable natural alternative. I have been using it for almost 2 years and absolutely love it. It has also been approved by the EPA to kill COVID-19.

Click here to check out Force of Nature!

It’s as effective as bleach but so much safer!

What exactly is it? Force of Nature miniaturizes the electrolyzed water technology from the industrial space. Salt, water and vinegar are converted to electrolyzed water when an electrical current changes the chemical composition of the solution into germ killing magic!

Is it effective? To be EPA registered, Force of Nature was tested using EPA testing protocols, in EPA approved labs, across multiple microbes. It can be used as a disinfectant and sanitizer in hospitals, schools, veterinary clinics and restaurants.

Want to see it in action? When I first got my Force of Nature starter kit, I created a video to share with my followers. Watch it here.

So it kills Corona Virus? YES. Here is the EPA link to check it out for yourself. Just type “Force of Nature” into the search box to see the results.

How can I get a deal? You are in luck, because there are some great coupon codes available right now. Click here and use the following discounts to save! 

Get $40 off & free shipping on Starter Kits with the code:
SAFEHOME
25% the already discounted price on Year Supply Bundles with the code:
BUNDLEPLEASE

These codes should be active through the end of April. If you have any questions about Force of Nature, you might want to check out the FAQs or feel free to leave me a comment.

Stay safe and well!

GYPO Style Challenge Drive ‘n Chat

The time has come to sign up for the Winter 2018 Style Challenge by Alison Lumbatis at Get Your Pretty On! I have never participated in the Winter Challenge, but I have had so much fun with the Fall Challenge this year that I can highly recommend the experience, especially if you feel a little overwhelmed at shopping and putting together outfits. This is a fantastic way to tailor your own capsule wardrobe for the winter on your own time, budget, and at the size and styles that make the most sense for YOUR body.

Click here for the Winter Challenge!

When you purchase the Winter Challenge for $39, you’ll get the following:

  • a shopping list of on trend winter essentials with links to shop recommended items online or in store. Don’t forget, you can find these items anywhere so don’t limit yourself. Check your closet first, then shop thrift stores, ebay, poshmark etc. to build your capsule at the price you can afford.
  • 27 days of mix and match casual chic outfit ideas with dress it up and dress it down options. You’ll get the first 10 outfits right away, then the others will be available after the refund period.
  • Membership to the seasonal Facebook group with lots of exclusive content, giveaways, extra support plus a ton of peer advice and encouragement. The community is truly amazing!
  • the 2017 Winter Style Challenge as a BONUS. That doubles your ideas for outfits and gives you a ton of flexibility while your shopping. 

    Get the 2017 Winter Challenge completely FREE when you purchase this year’s challenge!

If you are interested but just not totally sure, guess what? This is a risk-free membership and can be fully refunded through December 22. That gives you a chance to check out the lists and if you just don’t like the content, feel free to request a refund…it’s super simple!

Check out this video where I share my experience with the 2018 Fall Style Challenge. 

I think you will really love the Style Challenge for Winter 2018! Let me know what you think!

 

Why I’m trying an Online Stylist…and why you should too!

I am told that Fall is coming. It makes sense because we started school over a month ago and the pools are starting to close (tears).  Despite the Halloween costumes in stores and the pumpkins at the supermarket, it’s still ridiculously hot. In fact, it’s 90 right now and we’re definitely going swimming tomorrow (there’s at least one local pool that fortunately follows temperature rather than a calendar).

But I have hope that Fall is actually on its way and I have a plan! This year, I’m excited to be using an online Stylist, Alison Lumbatis with her fantastic GYPO Fall 2018 Style Challenge to build my wardrobe. You see, my Fall closet usually consists of whatever individual items I like that I can find for a bargain. I have never truly purchased clothing with any organized intentionality and I really wanted to do better for myself.

I’m going to share some of my reasons for trying a capsule wardrobe and why I’m using the GYPO Style Challenge to do it. I would love to have you try this challenge right along with me! Click here to discover more info and sign up using my referral link: The 2018 GYPO Fall Style Challenge. We can be style buddies! It will be so fun!

Why a capsule wardrobe?

You guys know that I have a heart for minimalism but a habit of shopping. I am a sucker for a good bargain and I enjoy the “thrill of the hunt”. Still, simplifying my life has made me less stressed and more productive. There’s just no getting around it. The same goes for my wardrobe. I enjoy buying clothes and like a variety but the more I get the more I seem to feel like I have “nothing to wear”. I often think about how much I enjoy spending a casual week at my parents’ house. Besides the fun of their company, I also enjoy the relaxation of leaving most of our possessions behind and taking just the bare essentials. Inevitably, the outfits I pack for a week long trip are my favorites. I started thinking, what if all my clothes were my favorites and I didn’t have the extra taking up space and muddying the waters of my closet?

Why a digital stylist?

I can’t afford a personal stylist and I can’t even afford Stitch Fix more than a time or two. But the idea of a professionally created capsule wardrobe is so appealing. The pieces will coordinate and can be mixed easily. The GYPO Style Challenge is so much cheaper than many programs of its kind and because it has been planned ahead, the pieces are guaranteed to work together! That’s completely different from the random way I typically shop. I love the idea of shopping with a purpose, but having the flexibility of choosing the specific brand and price point. There is SO much flexibility in the Fall Challenge!

Won’t it be expensive?

The Style Challenge itself is only $39. The amount you spend beyond that is up to you and really depends on how you approach it. The first thing to realize is that you probably already own a lot of the items. Just as examples from the cover photo: black pants, olive pants, floral print top, black cardigan, chambray shirt. The Challenge includes links to items at lots of price points, to make an outfit however you like. Don’t forget about buying second hand which is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to complete your challenge. I have found lots of the items at my local thrift stores. The great thing about the program plus the Facebook group is that you’ll find simple and inexpensive ways to get MORE wear out of the clothing you already have. Last year’s challenge included a print scarf and I found one for about $3 that totally pulled together several items that were otherwise gathering dust in my closet.

When should I sign up?

Ummm, now! Because I’m behind on blogging, I have failed to share this info with you until now and I totally apologize. The GYPO 2018 Fall Challenge is only open until September 21, so that’s just two more days! Did you know the membership is RISK-FREE? Sign up now and explore all of the lists, bonuses and even check out the unlocked outfits. If you decide it isn’t working for you, you can request a refund until 9/29 (no questions asked). I am sure that once you get a feel for how great this challenge is, you will not be willing to let it go!

What exactly do I get?

After you have registered, you can access the shopping lists, the outfit combos, the AMAZING Facebook group, and bonuses like the 2017 Fall Challenge (yes a whole other challenge doubling your outfit options), Color Palates and Dressing for Your Body Type. These resources are not only getting your wardrobe into shape for this season, but helping you have a great foundation for building your own outfits from now on! These aren’t just digital lists, they are tools to teach you how to shop and dress yourself better. Don’t forget that this Capsule will work JUST as well next year as it does this year.

I am so excited about this year’s Challenge because I love the colors and patterns. Black and white gingham, teal, and leopard print, plus some of my current closet basics like a simple white tee, olive pants and floral prints. What’s not to love?!

Click here to get started on the 2018 GYPO Fall Challenge.
If you decide to join, please message me and let me know. I’ll see you in the GYPO Facebook group!

Does your work wardrobe need serious help? Click here to check out the 2018 Fall Workwear Challenge, only $29!  GYPO can make getting dressed the easiest thing you do all day!

 

 

 

 

The Sash Bag!

I’m so glad to be writing this much over-due blog post, because I have a new product recommendation that I can’t wait to share!  Spoiler Alert: The Sash Bag was something I had been wanting to try for a few months and now that I have used it daily for over a month I am completely in LOVE with it. Yes, this is going to go in my top all time favorite products ever; I would rate it right up there with my Instant Pot and Marpac sound machines. These are things I can’t live without now that I’ve experienced them. If I am marooned on a desert island, you’ll find me with my sound machine, my Instant Pot and my Sash bag. True story.

First, let me share why handbags have given me so much trouble in the past. I carry a lot of tension in my neck and back, in fact X-rays show my right shoulder is always tensed up which is exacerbated by carrying handbags, backpacks and, for a couple years, the most well-stocked twin-prepped diaper bag in the South Eastern United States. (Carrying those twins simultaneously no doubt also contributed to the abuse of my neck and back. How I wish I knew about baby-wearing at that time).  I lived with neck pain for so long that it became normal and I didn’t even think that the bags I was carrying were contributing to the problem.

Then one day while I was wasting time on Facebook, I came across an ad for the Sash Bag and I was intrigued. To make a long story short, I now have THREE Sash Bags and I can’t imagine ever carrying another bag. (Now, I know what you are thinking, why do I need three? The answer is that I do not need three. I only need one but one was a prize from a contest, one was my big Christmas gift, and the third was a spontaneous and sweet gift from my husband. Can’t complain about that!). I know my review is getting long (what can I say, I love talking/writing) but keep reading, at the end I am going to share a coupon code so that you can save on the Sash Bag!

So let’s get into the actual review of the Sash bag. Each sash bag has an adjustable strap, RFID protection and a total of six roomy sections (the main pockets have pockets within them). There are also six card-slots (I double my cards up) so that you can completely eliminate the need for a wallet all together. At first I was apprehensive of this idea, but I absolutely love not having a wallet. Everything I need is right there and it definitely takes a load off my shoulders! The Sash comes in cloth and leather versions (and even a cool leather/cloth reversible version). Each one is made in India and the lambskin leather is directly sourced from the meat-industry there. The leather feels amazingly-soft and buttery. The three I own are the reversible black and brown leather, the Onyx leather and the turquoise/grey reversible cloth bag. Oh my stars, I love them all but I am so glad I splurged for the leather for my first bag. It’s slightly lighter than the cloth, has a little more give and truly feels like a second skin. I am not exaggerating to say that I forget I am wearing it sometimes. I walk in my house and start cooking only to realize I still have my bag on. You guys think I am joking….I am NOT joking! The design of the bag fits your body perfectly, stacks the weight ergonomically  and you just forget that you are wearing it at all. That’s a far cry from the bags I used to carry….I would drop those things like hot potatoes as soon as I walked through my front door!

Are you already convinced? Click here to check out the Sash Bag

As a mom, there have been times I had to leave my purse in a potentially risky public situation in order to chase after a toddler or deal with a parenting crisis. I bet you have done that too! Or you turn away from your cart and keep darting glances back to make sure no one is trying to swipe your purse, because who wants to carry a clunky handbag while dealing with grocery shopping? These are situations that don’t happen with the Sash bag. I already have to keep my eyes on three children and I don’t need my bag to be another distraction and burden in my life! Thank you Nichole MacDonald (creator of the Sash bag) for making something so life-changing for women!

Other bad habits I no longer do: put my purse on the back of a restaurant chair, put my purse on the floor in a bathroom, put my purse on the passenger seat of the car (I just keep it on while driving), put my purse in the seat of a grocery cart, put my purse on the counter while I am teaching. Suddenly, my life away from home just feels much more simple! Also the Sash Bag makes traveling unbelievably easy! (I’m not a traveler, but there is also room for your passport!).

Bottom-line of this long-winded post: I love my Sash Bags! I am also excited to be a part of the Sash Ambassador program which means I can share a coupon code with my readers. Click here to check out the Sash Bag! If you have any questions about the Sash Bag, let me know!

This post contains affiliate links. 

Minimalism Guide by Leah Prescott

Well, I’m struggling to find time to blog ya’ll! If I could just finish any of the MANY posts I have in progress I’d have some great content going on but I just can’t seem to find the time to do any serious writing.

I wanted to make a quick list of my minimalism links just to help keep my content organized. I know there are much better ways of doing this, but with my limited technical skills, we’re going to stick with a simple list! Here are all the blog posts I’ve written on minimalism from most recent to least, including posts I’ve written for other blogs. Although a lot of my other topics mention or link back to minimalism, these are the ones that are truly focused on minimalism topics. Enjoy!

Chasing Santee Minimalism Posts

When You’re Struggling to Minimalize

What am I even doing here? Minimalism in the Trenches

#Mom Goals and Re-learning

Happy New Year: A Minimalist Reflection

The Nightmare Before Christmas

What’s in the Amazon Cart and Mini-Minimalism Victories

Attacking the Attic, Sentimental Items & Joshua Becker

Simplify Your Life Series: Part 1)  Eliminate Excess, Part 2) Assess Needs, Part 3)  Attack Problem Areas

Lessons as a New Minimalist

Minimalism, Menus & Buying in Bulk

Minimalism Journey Ramblings

What if God Wants Less from Me?

Bargain Babe Minimalism Posts

Minimalism Journey & the Lesson I Learned from Lip  Balm

7 Small Ways to Tweak Your Life & Get Instant Pay-offs (This one is more about intentional living, but still very relevant to the minimalist lifestyle)

Have you Heard about Hygge? Get Ready to get Cozy! 

Ring in a Tidy New Year: Post Holiday Declutter Guide!

Minimalist Challenge: No Shop December

Minimalist Gifts for Kids

A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalism Month: A 30 Day Pain-free De-clutter Guide!

Dipping a Toe into Minimalism: 7 Simple Ways to Try Minimalism Today

A Shopaholic Learns to Seek Minimalism Part 1

A Shopaholic Learns to Seek Minimalism Part 2

Other Places on the Web

A Spark of Joy is Not Enough

Five Tips for Fighting Family Entitlement This Christmas

9 Easy Ways to Jump Start Your Minimalism Journey

Minimalism: Discovering My Maternal Optimism

How Making My Bed Changed My Summer

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

When you’re struggling to minimalize

I received an email from a reader (yes, I am excited. It’s my first legit email from a reader) who was struggling with making minimalist changes after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She asked if I had any advice, and here is my response to her.

Keep on with “less”

Don’t give up! It’s a process, I’m not there yet by any stretch and I’m still sometimes tempted to shop or make regrettable purchases. (Frankly, I’ve been tempted quite a bit this summer). Still, the mindset shift is what has been most life changing for us. The results will continue to come, slowly but surely.

Everyone is different, your goals will be different and your reasons for decluttering (or hoarding/over-shopping, etc) are different also. So you need to evaluate your reading materials based on your goals. Marie Kondo is my least favorite of all the minimalism books I have read. It wasn’t worthless by any stretch but I have come to think she is not a true minimalist at all and her main tenant (spark of joy) truly didn’t work for me.

A Spark of Change

I had to come to realize that the joy I needed to seek was completely apart from any material possessions. Obsessing over “stuff” and which item is more perfect for my needs was my MO, even though it went completely against my core belief system and values. Once I realized that my daily lifestyle and how I was spending my time didn’t jive with my deepest heartfelt convictions, was when I got truly serious about making a change. The More of Less by Joshua Becker is my favorite book on this topic. It’s incredibly life-changing, v. Marie Kondo being house-changing, if that makes sense. Totally different perspectives.  Here is his website if you’d prefer some quick-read articles with the same gentle encouragement. He’s wonderful.

Faith & Minimalism

Ultimately, my faith in God is one of the reasons I have become so passionate about this topic. I want to spend my time on things that have eternal value v. temporal possessions that will become dust sooner or later. And part of this struggle for me is my personality. I find myself easily overwhelmed and distracted. The clutter, the stuff, the responsibility of unneeded possessions was weighing heavily on me. And my entire family was feeling the strain.

Aggressive Progress

For weeks I would complete purging and decluttering projects every single day. Even when I was busy, I’d go through a drawer while dinner was on the stove or clean out a closet as I dealt with the laundry. When my son was in the bath I’d attack the bathroom drawers and cabinets. While watching TV I’d sort through bins of toys. Every spare moment I would devote to pursuit of the final goal. Which incidentally I have yet to reach: I want to be able to take a photo of each space in my home, every tiny nook, and share it on social media. I want to know that I have recently evaluated every possession and deemed it worthy of keeping. That’s quite a proposal for me, a messy shopaholic with poor organization skills. And I’m not there yet, but I’m way, way closer.

Results

The more possessions I unload and the more deals I pass by, the lighter these burdens feel. The more I find myself able to focus on the things that I am passionate about. For the first time, I feel like I am capable of basic household maintenance on the daily. It’s working. My counters are clear and my mind is less chaotic. I can’t think of a single drawback that I have encountered other than a few awkward conversations when I try to explain why deals don’t thrill me the way they used to.

Maintaining a Minimalist Mindset

The typical consumer mindset has been fed by years and years of commercialism and profit-driven societal-standards. Changing this perspective requires some persistence and intentionality. It helps me to continue to watch vloggers, follow groups and websites and constantly check out more books on the topic of minimalism, simplicity, hygge, slowing down, faith, and similar topics that fall into this group I’m placing myself into. It’s a pursuit that doesn’t really end. There’s more we each have to learn.

I feel I’ve gotten off on a tangent, and I apologize but your message sparked reminders for me of why I’m happy with my direction and where I came from. I don’t want to be the girl who is always stopping by the thrift store or stalking the clearance shelves. I am not that girl anymore! Good luck on your minimalist journey! No matter how you approach it, I’m convinced you will be happier as a result.