Tag Archives: minimalism

SoCal Curls Hairtie Review And Giveaway!

Welcome to ChasingSantee’s very first giveaway courtesy of SoCal Curls.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience!

I love unique, natural, and American made products and SoCal Curls Hairtie is one of my favorite hair discoveries, EVER! Why? It’s heat-free, takes about 90 seconds of effort, and is portable, light-weight & comfortable to wear (also, only $18.99, which is a steal!).  For those who know me, I really don’t want to spend time on my hair, makeup, clothing or general morning routine. But I want to look nice, is that too much to ask? NO IT ISN’T! Here’s how you can get simple beachy curls, without pulling out the damaging (and pricey!) hot styling tools! Woot!

Scroll down for a coupon code that will score you 20% off and FREE SHIPPING!

Step 1: Heat it (microwave: 30 seconds)

Step 2: Wrap it (click here for a video!)

Step 3: Unwrap it (I’m sure ya’ll can figure this out!)

Step 4: Do all the things you need to do in life! Who has time to waste getting ready with everything else you have on your plate!

Click here to see my tips for using SoCal Curls Hairtie with Short Hair!

How it works: I started with second day hair that was a little damp from the shower (not washed, just went along on my head for the ride).  I simply microwaved the band for 30 seconds, wrapped my hair around the tie using these instructions, gave it a light spritz of hair spray and left it in for about 30 minutes. Voila! Beachy waves!

Ready to buy? If you’d like to buy directly from SoCalcurls.com, I’ve got fantastic news! We have a special coupon code just for you that will give you 20% off and FREE SHIPPING! Click here and use code: chasingsantee to take advantage of this awesome offer!

How to customize your curls: Just like any styling tool, there’s a learning curve to using SoCal Curls and, obviously, everyone has a different head of hair. You can customize your results by tweaking the time (even 15 minutes gets some nice waves in my hair), wrapping your hair damp v. dry or using different products like gel, hair spray, or sea salt spray (here’s my favorite- Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray).  Also, you can never go wrong with a spritz of dry shampoo for extra grip (here’s my favorite- Aveeno Dry Shampoo). You will also get different results depending on if you wrap the hair straight up and over the hairtie, or twist as you wrap. Just give it a few tries to find out what works the best for your hair! It might take a bit of experimentation but imagine the time you will save in the long run.

Now, on to the giveaway! I can barely contain my excitement!

What are you giving away?
We are giving away one SoCal Curls Hairtie in Pinup Blue, valued at $18.99. Thank you so much SoCal Curls for making this giveaway possible!

Who Can Enter this sweepstakes?
You must be over 18 years of age and live in the US to be eligible for this giveaway

How do I enter?
Enter below starting on August 1, 2017! The contest will close at the end of the day on August 7, 2017!

How will the winner be chosen?
We will be selecting the winner via Rafflecopter.

How will the winner be notified?
Winner will be announced via Facebook, so be sure to like our page! We will ship your prize within 3-5 business days of receiving your shipping info. Good luck!

Anything else I should know?
Yep, the fine-print stuff: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning determined by eligible entries.

Disclaimer: I received a free product from SoCal Curls in exchange for my honest review. These are all my own thoughts just as if I were talking to a friend about the product. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy New Year

I am feeling very optimistic about 2017 for our family. I feel so grateful for the blessings of 2016 and I can truly say that I feel more at peace than I have in a long time about attacking this coming year.

If I had really been on the ball with blogging, I would have a series of posts lined up to greet the new year. A minimalist challenge, a meal planning calendar, a homeschooler’s guide to getting through winter.

If I were on the ball, I would be hosting a giveaway, sharing DIY essential oil projects, and working on my Instant Pot Recipe ebook (this book does not exist, except in my imagination).

Instead, I am catching up on sleep. I am cuddling my kiddos. I am putting away holiday decor with more excitement and glee than I have ever had in opening a gift. I am staring at my new planner with stars in my eyes, imagining what the next year could be. I’m making lists and I’m taking my time. I’m thinking about a theme word to guide my year. (I’m considering the word savor. Kind of weird but it jumped out at me. Any thoughts?).

A dear friend asked me what happened to push me towards minimalism. I can’t exactly put my finger on when the change happened. As I rebranded my blog in the spring, I renewed my passion for writing, shifted my efforts away from looking for deals and began searching for my niche as a writer. But the significant change happened somewhere in between my Target boycott and when I started researching ethical shopping practices. In the midst of the busy everyday of parenting and life, I was crying out to God, asking Him for direction. I was so tired of being so overwhelmed and feeling like such a failure as a wife and mother. I begged God to show me another way.

God answered me very clearly by saying, “Stop valuing stuff”.

Soon after that moment, I read the article “How Getting Rid of Stuff Saved My Motherhood” by Allie Casazza and I knew that this was my answer. My answer was minimalism, and next I had to find out how to become it myself. I then began reading furiously everything I could find on the topic and spending every spare moment emptying our home and studying minimalism as if my sanity and survival depended on it.

In this process, we have filled and emptied both cars many many times. Boxes of donations, from furniture, clothing, gadgets. Tons of papers have been recycled or shredded. We’ve pared down, and pared again, and realized we still aren’t done. We’ve parted ways with items both sentimental and senseless. We’ve worked hard, we’ve had a few moments of panic and we’ve seen the holidays come and go with less chaos than usual.

So that brings me to today, January 4th 2017. I’m still tired and overwhelmed. We haven’t finished the process, there is so much more to do. But I am so hopeful and can’t wait to see what this year brings. Here’s to 2017!

Lessons as a New Minimalist

I’m tentatively thinking of myself as a minimalist now. It feels very strange, as if I am wearing someone else’s shoes. But I feel like I have spent enough time to warrant the title at this point. And I remind myself that minimalism is a choice I have made, not something that requires years of education, special equipment or a particular skill set.

Don’t worry, I’m not going around introducing myself to new people as a “minimalist” or ordering business cards or anything. I’m just telling myself, “it’s different now. I’m going in a new direction.” And I know this change is for real.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned a few months into my minimalism journey, in no particular order. (By the way, I used to roll my eyes at the term “journey” but now I sheepishly admit, a journey I am on and there isn’t really a better way to describe it). If it sounds snobby, please forgive me. There are times when the best words sound obnoxious, and this is one of those times.

  1. Yes, I really am materialistic. I had no idea the hold my stuff had on me, until I started to let it go. I’m still materialistic but admitting it is helping me to make better choices for the future.
  2. Our house isn’t small. I had spent so much time trying to squeeze “stuff” into my little house, I had forgotten how much space there actually is here. 1400 sq. ft. is really not that shabby for five people and one beagle.
  3. Working towards a positive goal is so much easier than giving yourself restrictions. All the times I have told myself to “stop shopping” have been difficult because the bad habit wasn’t replaced with something positive. Now that I am working toward a specific goal, I don’t miss shopping (yet). “Stop wasting money and filling the house with more and more stuff” just wasn’t working for me as a goal. “Focus on the important things and eliminate the things that get in the way” is a motto I can stick with. Maybe semantics, or maybe the secret elixir of life?less-to-clean
  4. Organizational tips can become traps. I was constantly trying to organize and constantly struggling. I had believed so much false logic in regard to organizing and I didn’t even realize it. One of my main mistakes was storing things in multiple spots. Since we had “limited space” I thought I should utilize every nook and cranny even if it meant spreading out the junk so that nothing was easy to find and I had no idea how much we actually owned.

    Then I proceeded to spend time every day searching for items that I wasn’t sure were even there to begin with. Making my life constantly frustrated.

  5. Allowing clutter is just another kind of procrastination. I am not sure where I originally read this statement but it has really stuck with me. For multiple reasons, we tend to let clutter build up even knowing we will eventually deal with it (or at worst others will deal with it). Whether it’s from guilt (“I never should have bought this”) or dread (“I’ll never really be able to get this taken care of”), we can be paralyzed. But I want to enjoy my home NOW. So no more waiting and no more putting it off for later. Seizing the day and acting can be very empowering and I love that I’m finally DEALING with issues rather than burying my head in the sand.
  6. Just because I love it, doesn’t mean I have to re-create it at home. This is something I never realized I was doing but it has been another light-bulb moment. I made choices of purchases and preferences rather randomly, based on a vague notion of re-creating things I enjoyed outside of my home. If I like eye-catching colors, I wanted them all over. If I enjoyed visiting a home with tons of tiny details, I thought maybe that’s what my house needed too. What I ended up with was a busy, eclectic combination of unrelated styles with no common thread. I have finally realized that I can go outside to enjoy nature, go to a museum to enjoy art; I could go to Cracker Barrel to peruse random collections of dusty collectibles, for Pete’s sake. I do not have to have each of these aesthetics in my home! My home is about creating a restful space for my family to re-charge so that we can go out into the world again. That takes a lot of pressure off me and helps me make decisions with clarity. 

I also have one item I would like to recommend for Friday Favorites. This is one of the cheapest diffusers I have found and we have been very pleased with it at only $12.99! Check it out here via my affiliate link!

That’s it for now! Keep simplifying, friends!

Minimalism, menus and buying in bulk

Right about when I started my official “minimalism” conversion, the much-awaited Costco opened up near me. I had been waiting for this moment for YEARS. Remember, I am a Shopaholic at heart. I was afraid Costco was going to become a major stumbling block in my journey, but that hasn’t actually been the case. In fact, buying in bulk has actually helped me simplify our meals. I never thought of cooking in a minimalist way, but now that I am devouring minimalist literature like there is no tomorrow, I’m finding that nearly every aspect of a simplified life appeals to me. With three kids, a part time job, homeschooling and all the details that come with mom-life, I’ve simplified our menu significantly. Check out some of my easy meal ideas here and here. I want to share a few ways that buying in bulk has actually helped my kitchen become more streamlined, efficient and enjoyable to my family.

I should preface this by saying that my children, especially my girls are remarkable open-minded and cheerful in their diet. All three of my kids try whatever they are given. I know that isn’t typical so some of my ideas will not apply to everyone. If you are dealing with a picky eater, you have my sympathies. My kids eat like champs but none of them ever sleep past 7 AM, if that makes you feel any better.

Also, I would like to say sorry I haven’t included any of the prices. I will try to add this info in the future for a post update.

  1. A signature salad: We have never eaten as much salad as we have this year and it’s totally due to bulk-buying. First, we buy the huge container of Organic Baby Spinach at Costco, the huge bag of Craisins, the huge bag of croutons, the huge bag of bacon bits, and we found a salad dressing we all love: Vidalia Onion Vinegrette (we are still using up this dressing from Sam’s Club, but I would like to try a similar one from Costco next). We mix the salad up in a big bowl and the girls have gotten great at gauging the perfect amount of each add-on. Since we always have these on hand, it’s great to always have a healthy side ready to pull out. (Note: sometimes we throw in other veggies or strawberries or cashews. The nice thing is that the base “recipe” is very simple and shelf-stable. I realize the dressing could be healthier, but I’m striving for small steps. Eating a big pile of organic spinach is still a win, in my book. Also, I’m convinced that when a salad is properly tossed in a large bowl, much less dressing is used.)
    minimalism-and-bulkbuying
  2. Beans & Rice: Sorry to mention it again, but it is still a favorite for the Prescotts and it is so crazy easy in the Instant Pot. At Costco, we can buy pretty much all the ingredients in bulk and just have that recipe ready to make any given day. We have loved having a HUGE bag of black beans and a HUGE bag of rice on hand all the time. minimalism-and-buyingbulk
  3. Parfaits as a main course: I totally get that this doesn’t appeal to everyone, but for my kids it’s like they’ve won the lottery. From their response, you would think we were giving them ice cream sundaes for dinner when it’s actually: vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and/or bananas and granola. We really like the big double bags of granola from Costco and they are insanely cheap compared to granola at the regular grocery store.
  4. Limited Options: One more mindset-shift that fits in nicely with minimalism and bulk-buy is limiting options. Now, I know this sounds like a negative thing, but please bear with me. As parents, most of us bend over backwards providing for our children. We want them to have the best of everything that they might want or need and we want them to have all the choices in the world. One thing I have really been working on in an effort to cultivate contentment in our home is limiting our options.
    Examples: instead of having crackers and cheese, tortilla chips with salsa, potato chips, popcorn and pretzels all in my pantry at once, I am aiming for one main snack for the week (or shopping period). Instead of filling the fridge with all the veggies and fruits, we can maybe have pineapple and carrots this week, apples and broccoli next week. (The exception is bananas, we try to always keep those on hand for smoothies and snacking). This is something new for us, but so far it’s working pretty well and there is less produce wasted. This is so much easier than constantly feeling like I need to provide an entire buffet & salad bar of healthy options for the kids at all times. (When I tried to do this, produce was becoming so wasted and I was exhausted from prepping food or guilty when I handed them a Popsicle instead of prepping the rapidly-expiring food. Live and learn.)

chalkboard-magnetic-menuOne last quick thing and it’s an affiliate link for a product I have really loved having! We ordered this HUGE chalkboard style magnetic menu for our fridge and we have really enjoyed it. It totally helps me to have a cute visual reminder of the menu plan for the week and I’ve used the grocery list spot a lot as well. The magnet is super strong and it goes so well with our other chalkboard items in the kitchen.

What are your thoughts on bulk buying and minimalism?

 

A season of change: minimalism/simplicity thoughts & resources

Happy Labor Day  to you all!

I am still struggling to spend the time blogging that I’d like to, but I have been taking a brief time out to read, watch and think about simplicity/minimalism and what changes we want to make towards that end. I’m feeling super conspired (yep: convicted + inspired = conspired).

The last month has probably been our smoothest month of chores and household duties ever. The house has stayed neater and the girls have really done a great job stepping up with our new chore system (blog post to come). It’s been a lot of ground work (planning, list-making, reminders, etc) but we have been enjoying the benefits. Also, this has been our smoothest school transition ever and we have fallen into homework assignments, schedules and new curriculum with much more ease than in years past. (There have been a few tears, but MUCH less turmoil than anticipated. We are still human, and three of us are female).

In addition to that, we have joined a family group with our church that has been a true answer to prayer (especially for me). The truth is, parenting really put us in survival mode….a decade ago. I believe that’s a normal family phase but for various reasons we are just now pulling out of it. You heard me: ten years later. I could go on about this, but by God’s grace I do not live in the past. I am right now so grateful that God has helped us find the resources we needed to plug back in to the body of Christ, and it has been incredibly refreshing. We are also going through a wonderful series at church that I am honestly on the edge of my seat listening to; I mean, can’t wait to get to church, taking furious notes, thinking about it all week kind of sucked in. Like, praying to God to help me soak it all in kind of good stuff. I feel like I have been thirsty for way too long. I’m so so grateful!

minimalism.God.me.less

Finally, I feel like I am ready to work harder at being the best mom and wife I can be (rather than just managing to survive the rat-race of life). It’s very overwhelming, but I also know it’s the right thing! (note to self: the right thing doesn’t mean the easy thing). Deep breaths, this won’t be easy.

I have danced with the idea of minimalism for years. It appealed to me for it’s educational benefits, it’s mental benefits, it’s hygienic benefits; but I’m just starting to seek what the spiritual benefits could be for us. And I don’t mean becoming a yogi with a candle in the middle of a stark-white room, seeking enlightenment.

What I mean is, could shedding excess STUFF in my life equip me to better seek and serve God with all of my heart???? For me the answer is  undeniable, obvious, and crystal clear:

Yes.

I know that many of you are on the same page. If you are interested in this idea of having LESS for God, here are some of the resources I have been studying over the last few weeks.

Please read this article, it is so very thought provoking for me. (How Getting Rid of Stuff Saved my Motherhood by Allie Casazza). This isn’t a faith-based article, but as a Christian mama I’m still mega conspired by this. (Note: I do realize I am mis-using this word, but I would like to point out that my definition is much better than the common use, so I will continue).

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. To my memory this is also a secular book, but very inspirational and something I constantly reference mentally. I need to read it again in light of a new phase of parenting tweens.

Christian Faith & Minimalism from Nourishing Minimalism. Short and too the point. This article helps us ask ourselves, “what if?”

I have recently joined a minimalist/motherhood facebook group and I am loving the food for thought that is constantly tossed around. I was completely captivated by one mama’s statement about what minimalism had done for her family. Her statement was very simple, but so impactful to me: (paraphrasing) “minimalism allowed our family to adopt.” Period.

I don’t know what my family’s whole story will be. I don’t know if we will live all our days in this tiny house. I don’t know if we will continue to homeschool. At this time, it seems our family is complete and will not include any more children. Nothing is set it stone, we do not know what the future holds. BUT I know that God is not finished with us. I know that we have more glory to bring to Him yet. I know that we have more to give. I know that we have more worship, more love, and more to learn of His amazing grace. 

If having less stuff enables me to give MORE, then what is stopping me?

What if God wants LESS from me?

I would love to hear from you on this topic.