An Intro Guide to Minimalism

Want to get into #minimalism but not sure where to start? I got ya, right here! A quick intro #guide to minimalism

Have You EVER Asked Yourself “Why Do I Hold Onto This Shit?”

Anxious downward spiral thoughts.
The sweater your old roommate got you… 2 sizes too small.
Every TIME, Women’s Health, Business Insider, and Psychology Weekly from 2009-2016.
The friend from high school that makes you feel guilty for being successful (why?).
The 5-inch cheetah heels you had to have because they were 50% off.
The catty personal trainer that manages to help you lose 10 pounds- 7 of which you are certain was confidence.

Can you think of anyone that doesn’t hold onto to anything they shouldn’t? Probably not.

If we aren’t conscious about how the way things around us make us feel, we will exist in a state of constant stress and confusion. How can we enjoy life like that?  Yet, every single day, we hold onto shit that makes us miserable. I thoroughly believe we are only confined by the walls we build ourselves, and minimalism will aid you in knocking those walls down.

Minimalism is essentially disposing of things that do not bring joy, and making room for things that do.

Minimalism is not some cult you have to pay for. There are no rules except the ones you put on yourself. Some people stick with 100 or less possessions, while others are more lax in their minimalism. Remain intentional, and respect the mental and physical journey of minimalism, and you’ll be fine!

 

My minimalism journey began…

…because my life was in shambles. There are two types of people in this world, those who never forget anything and those who always forget something. I’m part of the latter group. One of the reasons was that I had a really difficult time letting things go. Hoarder is an understatement. My purse would be overflowing with receipts, business cards I took for NO reason other than to make the owner smile, trash bags, rocks, etc. Kinda hard to find your damn phone amongst that. My car? A literal hell-hole.

But the worst part was my overflowing closet.

At 24, I share a 1 bedroom apartment with the love of my life. So, I have 1/2 closet to fit 4 seasons worth of clothes, including heavy jackets. For months it has been turning into a serious monster, sticking it’s little cloth fingers from under the closet door. Picking out an outfit was a damned nightmare. I had so many articles of clothing but nothing to wear- which would make me feel guilty! By then I’d be so stressed I’d grab whatever was closest and least wrinkly. Luckily, I stumbled upon the book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, creater of the KonMari Method. The gist of the book revolves around the idea that we should only hold onto items that bring joy. For our own sanity, and for the vibrations of the universe. Without giving too much detail, because you truly should pick it up, I will have to say I never thought I’d feel compassion for an inanimate object, but Marie Kondo (the KonMari method) I dig it! Half-way through the book, I jumped right in.

Even though my wardrobe was small for American standards, I still had dozens of clothes that were left untouched for years. It took me three rounds over two months to bag up all of the clothes that no longer serve me. The best part? Now someone else can appreciate the items I used to love.

My Minimalistic Closet Rules

It has to fit properly now.
Try each item on.

It has to be something I enjoy wearing.
When you feel good, you look good. 

It has to be ready to wear.
Can create an outfit with the item from current wardrobe.

The key to minimalism is that it is a journey in the truest sense. There is no true final destination or goal, other than mental relaxation. For 98% of my life, I absolutely despised cleaning and organizing. As in, I would completely avoid my domestic issues until someone finally spoke up, which would naturally lead to a small, yet needed, dispute. It’s a blessing I landed a patient man so domesticated he makes a bed like the Ritz, no shit.

But that’s not fair to anyone, is it? So after a few months of practicing, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t have a near- panic attack every time I throw a scrap of paper away. I don’t feel guilty not responding to toxic people. I absolutely adore opening my closet to see this  I no longer have to spend my mornings cramming my shoes and crinkled dresses back into the closet after getting ready. I spend 1/3 the time doing laundry as I used to and I’ve made room for clothes that bring me joy.

Your Journey Doesn’t Have To Be The Same.

As we all know, joy is much more than possessions, so my first advice is start with internal patterns and external relationships.

Frenemy.

Whoever popped in your head has got to go. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known each other. It doesn’t matter if they remember your birthday every year. If you have a friend who brings you stress and bad vibes, why would you consider them a friend? It’s like staying in a relationship when you’re not that into a person. Waste. Of. Time. You deserve happiness.

Downward Mental Spirals.

After a pitch or presentation, do you ever find yourself spending countless minutes, that turn into hours, overanalyzing and critiquing your every move? You convince yourself that you’re falling behind in your position. You probably won’t get a bonus this year. OMG! What if they fire you right before Christmas? Your boss never liked you. You spend all your free time job searching on Glassdoor, Linkedin, and Craigslist.  This goes on and on until finally two weeks later, your boss says, “I forgot to tell you what a great job you did on that XYZ project– keep it up!” Vow to deal with issues as they arise in reality, not in your mind. 

The Habit You’re Slightly (Or Extremely) Embarrassed By.

Get uncomfortably honest with yourself. What do you feel like holds you back from success? Or relationships? It could be something minor, like nail biting. Or, it could be a little bit bigger of a challenge, like a drinking problem. Eliminating a habit that causes emotional distress will allow you to live a healthier, happier life. In the next few weeks (June-August 2016) I’ll be creating some posts regarding habit tracking and goal setting.

For My Travelers.

Going from lugging a 25 kg bag to less than 10 kg for a month long trip is LIFE changing. Never have to worry about checking the bag. Never have to pay last minute fees for RyanAir. Never hating yourself for being hungover and having to carry said 25 kg bag up 3 flights of stairs to get to the monorail. Have you been there? I have. It was not pleasant.

By focusing on a handful of items you love wearing, preferably in an easy to please color scheme like blue/black/white/grey, will ensure you have confidence AND comfort. Even more important than the clothes is the accessories. How many times have you overpacked your toiletries? After freaking out the day before I left, trying to squeeze my huge BB cream bottle into contact containers, I used my BB cream one time over a 21 day trip.

 

Don’t Know Where to Start?

They say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’ve compiled a list of 10 simple ways to jump into minimalism that you can try today.

10 Simple ways to Start Adding Minimalism to Your Life #wellness #happy

10 Simple Ways to Start Adding Minimalism to Your Life

Minimalism is a lifestyle choice that essentially requires the disposal of things that do not bring joy in order to create space for things that do. This revolves around getting rid of the negative and unnecessary, without guilt and remorse. You can choose to focus on physical possessions, such as maintaining a minimalistic closet  or toxic relationships. I prefer to use minimalism as a guiding principal for relationships, emotions, and household items. By letting go of what you do not truly care for, someone else can come along and love those things. Although I don’t necessary think this quote applies to (most of the) people you have to let go, it is true that one man’s trash in another man’s treasure. Why hoard something that brings you stress?  To give you a little taste of the pleasures of minimalism, I’ve created a list of 10 simple ways to add minimalism to your life today.

 10 Simple ways to Start Adding Minimalism to Your Life #wellness #happy

  1. Declutter all technology, including emails and apps.
  2.  Identify toxic relationships by writing them down.
  3. Clean under the bathroom sink
  4. Write a letter of gratitude.
  5. Create a “To Don’t” List.
  6. Stick to one makeup item, such as lipstick or mascara.
  7. Choose one habit you’d rather live without.
  8. Schedule a full day of free time.
  9. Empty a junk drawer.
  10. Go a full 24 hours without social media.

The Minimalist Travel Carry-On Essentials

Ever feel like you are over-packed yet underprepared? #minimalism #travel

Have you ever waited for quite a while to make a big purchase, telling yourself you’d wait it out and if you realllllly want it, you’ll buy it, only to lose it within two weeks? If that sentence was shorter, it could be the title of the story of my life. Traveling so happens to magnify my lack of organization and after years of tearfully calling hostels to “please just check one more time sniffle” for something I shouldn’t even packed anyways, Ive gotten my shit together. Tons of people understandably dread flying. But, just like everything in life, there is a trick. I’ve been a little smitten with attempting to turn into a minimalist, especially travel. Preparation is the difference between a great trip and a shittay trip and when it comes to a carry-on, minimalism is key.

Headphones

Should be enough said, but I’ll say it again bring ya damn headphones! Introverts will delight in the realization that putting them on, whether you are jamming out or not, will usually prevent strangers from chatting with you. Do yourself a favor and actually download music- you won’t be able to stream music even if you purchase inflight wi-fi!

Baby Wipes

Not for what you’re thinking 😉. After a few hours of flying, locking yourself in the bathroom and cleansing your face (and body) feels like a gift from the heavens. It’s tempting to purchase a pack of scented facial wipes, but trust me, don’t do it! I’ve fallen into the facial wipes trap before. After 12+ hours traveling, your face reacts unkindly to the extras in facial wipes, making your skin either sticky or Stick with the classic for a refreshing mini-cleaning.

A Small Notebook

write down your passport number, any confirmation numbers, and your flight number. It wouldn’t hurt to secretly enter your credit card info as well, by secretly, I mean do not put the sequence on the same page. This has saved my arse a hundred times while nursing a dead phone.

Pack of tissues

OYE. This is my life advice to girls- always keep tissues on you, especially when traveling or at a festival. Plenty of places do not provide toilet paper in public restrooms (if there are public restrooms) and Porta Potties are quite unreliable- especially at festivals!

Soft Shawl

The perfect pillow, blanket, and jacket combo. Sticking with a neutral tone, such as a grey or a brown will allow for versatility. I prefer thick cotton or wool blends to make for a perfectly plush pillow. Take some time and invest in one you find comfy, you two will become great friends.

Charger + Adapter

Especially if you happen to be the type of person that wings the important tasks like finding accommodation. Hell is arriving in a city, with a dead phone, and no place to go. Don’t let it happen to you.

A Med Pouch

If you haven’t gotten sick on a plane yet, I pray you avoid it at all costs. Feeling ill with no chance of relief is hell on earth. In my med pack, I generally keep Emergen-C, Advil (caffeine) and Melatonin. And most importantly… hand sanitizer! Especially if you just rolled your eyes. Trust me, I’m all for the “building of immune systems” with letting germs germ around. Flying is another animal. Ebola. SARS. Plenty of other shit I’m sure. If that doesn’t bother you, please think of errybody else. Don’t be so… Shellfish 🦀

iPad/Kindle/Magazine/Book

Ideally, every traveler would have an iPad that holds all their favorite books, songs, and movies. However, if you haven’t jumped on the Apple train yet, no fear! Simply grab two novellas (they will fit easier and you have a variety) or one novel and one magazine. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a master of the novella- “Of Love and Other Demons” is one of my favorite books!

What To Do Every Sunday to Prepare for Monday

 

Sunday is the most important day of the week and arguably the most fun, the secret weapon that will make or break your week. I LOVE my Sundays, having mimosas with friends maybe catching some fooseball. But, when the sun starts to set, I retreat to my home to prepare for the week that is nearly upon me. Here are the 8 things I do every single Sunday to prepare me for the next week!

 

8) Take alone time

Living with your significant other has a ton of obvious perks… In fact, there’s nothing to complain about over here, except the fact that I sacrificed having a pink and champagne bathroom BUUUT that’s a battle not being waged today. Every now and then you have to actively seek alone time or you won’t have time to get to know yourself and ensure you’re on the path you’re supposed to be on 🙂

 

7) Check my finances

Just because you don’t check your bank account doesn’t mean it isn’t suffering. I know after a long (fun) weekend it can be difficult to bring yourself to do it but you MUST.

 

6) Stock up on healthy food

I admit it, I get HANGRY. Like really hangry. Like it’s known when I say “ I need to eat” it’s not a suggestions it’s a life or death situation for anyone within a 15-foot vicinity of me. Try to keep different levels of healthy, nutritious food. Berries, bananas, and unsalted nuts are super easily to munch on and require no prep time. Be sure to get all of your colors!

 

5) Review the past week

Nothing messes up my Monday worse than a non-reflective Sunday! Doesn’t mean I can’t participate in an early brunch, but I thrive on having time to review what went well and what I did poorly.

 

4) Prep for fitness

Making sure you have clean sports bras, matching socks, hair ties, and whatever else you enjoy in your fitness routine is essential for success. It also doesn’t hurt to plan out your workouts ahead of time.

 

3) Catch up on the world

Taking time to catch up on world events is great for personal growth AND makes you more interesting than you already are, especially to employers. There are also a few blogs that I check weekly and bask in the glory of having a full Sunday evening to enjoy them, ahem, Alex in WonderlandTravel Alphas, and Helene in Between.

 

2) Treat myself

If I haven’t made it clear yet, I LOVE baths. The whole idea behind spas and aromatherapy and all things relaxation is what keeps me going. Put on some relaxing music, light a candle, and put the phone on “Do Not Disturb.” Maybe sneak in a glass of pinot. It’s good for you!

1)Practice gratitude

It’s a work in progress, I admit it. Just like anyone, I get caught up in the every day hustle and bustle of life and can look past what’s really important. Taking time to appreciate what I have clears my mind so I am able to go out there and get the things I desire.

 

 

What’s your Sunday routine? Anything I’m missing? Besides brunch?

 

How to Stay FIT While Traveling

I’ve been meaning to post this for about three weeks now because almost immediately after posting my “how to stay sane while traveling” post, a friend texted me and said “f*** my sanity, how do you stay fit traveling?”

I’ve honestly found it almost easier to stay in shape while traveling solo than back in the states. (induce eye-roll now) But really! You don’t feel as tempted to grab a cheeseburger (swoon) when you’re surrounded by new foods and you have plenty of opportunity to walk around. Here are the rules I follow in order to stay fit while travelling.

 

One meal a day must be soup or salad

For me, this is to keep my vitamin levels feeling pleasant. I feel downright sluggish if I can’t get at least one serving of fresh vegis a day. Surprisingly, I’ve found Greek salads served in most of the world. When in doubt, go Greek because it will most definitely have a plethora of fresh vegis no matter where you are.

how to stay #fit while #traveling || a tipsy gypsy life

Get a 50-30-20 routine

I promise you will love yourself if you stick to this! Switch it up with whatever you like, although I suggest keeping at least one static exercise

50 bicycle crunches
30 sumo squats
20 walking plank to push up*

*My FAVORITE static exercise -start in a forearm plank position. Bring your right arm to push-up position, bring your left arm to match. Do one push-up and return down one arm at a time to forearm plank. Repeat.

 

Avoid taxis (especially during the day)!

SO many reasons. You’ll be able to get a more local vibe by walking and utilizing public transportation. You’ll save yourself some cash. ANNNND you’ll be keeping your heart pumping. What else could a traveller want?

the "Taxi Trap" how to avoid it and stay #fit while #traveling || a tipsy gypsy life

 

HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE

Don’t be that girl that passes out in the middle of a tour! Water is life, my loves, never doubt that! It keeps your organs running properly, your skin smooth as a baby’s bottom, and energizes you. Drank it up.

 

Adopt an adventure mindset

Even if you consider yourself unathletic, that is no reason to short yourself on the exquisite adventures! For those looking for a physical challenge, mountain biking is one of the most intense sports you can do all over the world. If you aren’t too keen on the possibility of wiping out, look for watersports such as kayaking or snorkeling.

how to stay #fit while #traveling || a tipsy gypsy life

Get your 2-a-days in

Not workouts, good stretches! This lady is my favorite – Tara Stiles. The benefits of a good stretch are endless. In the morning, sunsaluatations will open up your lungs, awaken your nervous system, and give you the opportunity to meditate before exploring the world. Before bed, realign your spine with these never-fail poses.

How to stay #fit while #traveling || a tipsy gypsy life

Never doubt the power of a good shake

Shake your tailfeathers, groovething, booty, a$$. Whatever you wanna call it, just get it done. Dancing is a wonderful cardio option, as well as great for strengthening the calves and thighs. Try to work up a good sweat to really make it a work out.

 

dancing my a off in Singapore

 

When in doubt, vodka comes out.

It’d be silly to suggest giving up drinking. But there is a big difference between a pina coloda and a vodka martinti – over a 400 cal difference.

how to stay #fit while #traveling || a tipsy gypsy life

Give yourself a break!

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself! I promise you will not actually gain 10 lbs in two weeks from eating pasta in Italy. The best thing you can do for yourself after a good meal is to get great rest afterwards. Let your body digest and appreciate the deliciousness.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed these tips! How do you stay fit while traveling? What’s the most intense physical adventure you’ve been on while traveling?