As The Page Turns: August Edition

Hey y’all, long time no see! 🙂 This post is not a comprehensive list of everything I have been reading but I didn’t want to go another month without hopping on the #booknerd train and linking up with Jana and Stephanie.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

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Excellent, excellent book. Science fiction-y kind of books are not my thing nor my usual genre, but I had heard nothing but wonderful reviews for this book and I heard they are making this book into a film, so I decided to give it a read. I found this book well-written and it kept me involved even though the story went back and forth between present day happenings and the past.

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

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The author Matt Haig suffers from anxiety and depression and at one point, tried to commit suicide. This book he wrote, Reasons To Stay Alive, is his story about how he came back from the edge. He also shares “reasons to stay alive” not just from him personally, but from other people who suffer from anxiety and depression and what their reasons are to stay alive and keep fighting.

You guys, I cannot recommend this book enough. As someone who suffers from both anxiety and depression, I felt like finally, someone wrote down the words that constantly swirl through  my brain. And if you don’t deal with these issues on a day-to-day basis like some of us do and don’t know if this book is worth the read, let me tell you: IT IS. If you want to find out more about the subject because someone you know suffers from anxiety and/or depression, this book is a must-read.

A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni

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This book is the latest in the Detective Tracy Crosswhite series. Normally, I like my mystery novels to predate the computer, where detectives had to rely on old-fashioned means to catch the bad guy. That being said, the series is ah-mazing. The series takes place in present-day Seattle and is just so well-written and truly leaves you guessing. Start with the first book in the series and just go from there. Promise, this series is definitely worth your time!

What have you guys been reading? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

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Currently: The Sunday Afternoon Edition

Hey y’all! Long time no talk to!  🙂

I realized my last post was in April and I didn’t want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth.

After having my 2nd daughter this past winter, I really thought I could manage being a mama to two, and blogging, and all the other things that definitively take up my time. I thought I had this whole thing figured out.

But I have learned the hard way (crying, mostly…) that there really are seasons to life and I can’t force things. There are only so many hours in the day and there is only so much I can fill my proverbial cup with. I am trying to keep myself healthy mentally and quite honestly, haven’t been doing too well in that department, but I am getting back into my groove, slowly but surely.

All this to say is I am not going anywhere: I will still be blogging here in my tiny corner of the internet  🙂 But my posting schedule might be a bit erratic, so bear with me! Being a mama to my girls and trying to get my mental and physical health back on track, are my big priorities right now.

Moving on…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month:

Going to the farmer’s market with my girls. My older daughter loves to go and sample foods and we always come home with some yummy fruits and vegetables!

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What I Am Absolutely Over:

Anything that is trending on twitter. Just don’t click on it. I swear, the world is going mad.

What I Am Looking Forward To:

The fact that this is my older daughter’s last week of school. Yay for no homework and rushing around every weekday morning!

I know this post is short and sweet, and I promise I will be back soon! Happy June everyone  🙂

I am on Instagram. I am much more active on that social media platform. Come say hi!

I Could Never…

This post is 100% completely inspired by Courtney from Be More With Less

Courtney had this awesome email from last year that I have saved in my inbox for the past six months. I didn’t delete it. I didn’t archive it. I didn’t stick it into an electronic folder to be forgotten.

I kept it in my inbox, knowing it was important, and that when I had an opportunity, I wanted to write a post about it.

Courtney’s email talked about exploring crazy ideas and about how we have them, but tend to dismiss them. She wrote about the crazy ideas she had (she thought they were crazy at first) but then she thought about them, and followed through with them.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if we downsized and sold our house” she thought. And guess what? Her and her husband sold their 2,000 square foot house and downsized and moved into a 700 square foot apartment.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if I dressed with only 33 items for 3 months” she also theorized. And voila! Project 333 was born and it is utilized all over the world!

Courtney lists several other examples of how “wouldn’t it be crazy” sounded exactly that at first but ended up fulfilling so much more that what she thought possible. She asked her readers to think about things differently and see the possibilities in what could potentially be life changing opportunities.

Because the truth of the matter is, we are the absolute best when it comes to battering our own self-esteem. We see flaws in ourselves that no one else sees. And to be honest, sometimes those flaws are just figments of our imagination. We brutally attack our own strengths and tell ourselves that we could never do the thing we really want to do, because we simply aren’t worthy.

Pay attention to your self-talk.

You are not flawed. You are exquisite.

You are worthy.

If there is something in your life that you want to accomplish, I am here to tell you that you can make that happen. Don’t say “I could never…”

YOU COULD.

And you can. Challenge yourself and disregard those “nevers”.

Courtney had a list in her email for contemplation:

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Think about this list. Is fear holding you back? Is there something you want to change?

Is there a way for you to remove the word NEVER from your vocabulary and start moving towards your goal?

YOU CAN DO IT!

Turn “I could never” into “Guess what I just did!” and “Wow! I am so proud of myself that I accomplished that!”

You. Can. Do. It.

As The Page Turns: March Edition

I read a lot more books than I thought this month which is a good thing! 🙂

The Woman In Cabin 10

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I decided to jump into the literary cesspool that is Ruth Ware. I started with this book, The Woman In Cabin 10, and I have to say, that it was just….okay. I had heard people on the good ‘ol interwebs, waxing poetic about this book and how ah-mazing it was, and could you believe how it all turned out?

Um, yeah I could. I figured out who the woman in cabin 10 was pretty quickly. This isn’t a brag or anything, it just speaks to the author’s writing and set up of the plot and characters. Also, the narrator really could not have figured any of this out, when she is massively drunk throughout most of the book.

The Lying Game

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Ugh, horrible, horrible book. I couldn’t even finish the damn thing. It started so slowly and the premise just stretched all imagination. I literally wanted to throw this book across the room, and I wondered if it was just me. So, I went on Goodreads and looked up reviews on The Lying Game and found out that I am not alone in my revulsion of this book. Some of the reviews were completely eviscerating, and I felt better about my utter contempt of this drivel.

I have a 3rd Ruth Ware book on my TBR list and am seriously debating whether to remove it.

The Trust

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I picked this book up in the New Releases section not knowing anything about the author or any past publications. I was pleasantly surprised! 🙂 This book revolves around the main character Liam, and his having to go back to Northern Ireland for his uncle’s funeral. He learns that his uncle has set up a trust to find out who murdered him and has set up Liam as his trustee. Oh, and other family members start getting bumped off while Liam is trying to find out what the heck is going on and who is behind all this.

Definitely kept me engaged!

Rosie Colored Glasses

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Oh my gosh, this book. I felt all the feelings reading this. I identified so much with the daughter Willow and could relate to the tumultuousness of childhood when things are completely out of your control. I really enjoyed this book.

Everything That Remains

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This one is a re-read for me. This book was written by The Minimalists and I read it again for some minimalist inspiration.

The Gate Keeper

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Yay, a brand new Charles Todd book! 🙂 I love this series featuring Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge because it takes place in an era where there were no computers, no forensics, just straight up hard work, to find out “whodunit”. If you like mysteries like that, I highly recommend this series!

Want to see what I am currently reading? I am on Instagram and post pictures of what I am reading 🙂

 

Currently: Spring Is Here!

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Happy April Everyone! 2018 is in its fourth month 🙂 Can you buh-leeeeeve it???

My oldest daughter is on Spring Break this week, so I’ll make this short but sweet!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Coffee and books. Period.

What I Am Absolutely Over: Too many things to list, but a few in no particular order: the news, stories that trend that are so stupid, that I get mad at myself for clicking on it, the news, and oh yeah, THE NEWS! The world has gone mad, hence my burrowing in coffee and books. It is literally the only things that make sense right now.

On The Healthy Living Front: I am eating carrots again! I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, but when I was pregnant, the baby had a serious aversion to carrots so I couldn’t eat them. They made me nauseous. It has taken me a few months postpartum to actually go to the refrigerator and deliberately pick them as a snack. Woo hoo for small victories!  🙂

What Blog Posts I Am Loving:

Stop Filling All The Spaces by Courtney Carver

I Lived on an Average of $31,000 For 7 Years in Los Angeles by Tonya at Budget and the Beach

How To Be Anxious by The Minimalists

How is everybody’s week going so far? Let me know!

Extra Square Feet = Extra Anxiety

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When I first started this blog, one of my first posts had to do with the size of our apartment at the time which was 530 square feet. This housed myself, my husband, my daughter, and my cat. And it worked for a while. Honestly.

But last year, we found out that we were expecting a baby at the same time my husband and I were starting to feel that after 18 months of cozy togetherness, the walls were starting to close in our beloved 530 square feet. So last spring, we upgraded to a bigger apartment and added another 150-ish square feet.

So now we are a family of four humans and one cat resting comfortably in 700 square feet.

Or are we?

Here is the thing: I absolutely try my darndest to limit what comes in our apartment. I freely admit that clutter and messes give me anxiety. I am also aware that I have two children who will inevitably make messes and am also aware of the hilarious dichotomy between the two.

Now to some, 4 people and a pet living in 700 square feet sounds just fine, while to others, the word “claustrophobia” probably comes to mind. And that is okay. This just happens to be our season of life right now.

I find that with the extra square footage that we acquired last spring, it is easier for items to make their way past our front door. It is easier for paperwork to pile up on the kitchen table and counters. It is easier to shove items in the master bedroom closet since it is bigger than our last one and now voila! items are now unseen.

And all of this ramps up my anxiety.

I understand that another reason we have additional items is because we now have a baby. Babies need clothing and diapers and wipes and…well you get it. They have things they need and all of this stuff has to go somewhere. My older daughter also has her items whether it is homework stuff, or her books or toys.

So being methodical about what comes in and out of our apartment is something that I continuously have to work on because I do absolutely love the size of our apartment. I love the natural light we get and I love all the trees I can see outside of my windows.

But I also need to find a healthy balance because anxiety is no joke. Clutter drives me crazy. I need to get a bit of Zen in my day-to-day, for reals…

Do you guys live in a space with a limited number of square feet? Any tips and tricks you can share? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

Capsule Wardrobes: A Love Story

I know capsule wardrobes get a lot of heat for being boring or too small, or how can one possibly get along with only two pairs of jeans or one black t-shirt?

But here is the thing that I think people may miss: a capsule wardrobe can have however many pieces you want. There is no arbitrary rule stating you must have X number of pieces or you get kicked out of the capsule wardrobe club. They don’t take away your minimalism fan club identification card, if you have more than one striped shirt.

A capsule wardrobe can have however many pieces that make sense for you and your lifestyle.

A few weekends ago, I did a massive wardrobe clean-out of my closet. You can read more about that here.

When I was done, every single item that I had placed on a hanger, was indeed a piece I would wear and wear often. Gone were the “just-n-case” clothes. Out the door went anything that I didn’t LOVE. Yes, the word love is in capital letters because that is how I had to feel about the item. I wanted to be able to get dressed in the morning effortlessly and seamlessly. No more hemming and hawing in the a.m. trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t.

Every piece in my closet fits me and I enjoy wearing them.

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I also realized that living in Southern California does not require two separate seasons of wardrobes. I don’t need to have separate winter and summer clothing because our weather here just really requires a healthy affinity for layering.

For example, in the winter it can be in the 60’s during the day. But we will also have random days during winter where it can be 75F or 80F outside. And then at night, it can drop down into the 40’s. So being here just requires layering of clothes for when it is cold. No layering required if it is warm 🙂

Now that may not be the exact definition when it comes to capsule wardrobes but the beauty of the thing, is that it works for wherever you live, whatever climate you are currently habitating.

My learning of capsule wardrobes and how to utilize then came from the blog of Jessica Rose Williams and her printable helped me do my sorting!  🙂

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I also learned quite a bit from blogger Sarah Anne Hayes. She has this super informative article, Slow Fashion For a Simple Life, which I found to be super helpful.

“We associate comfort with things like yoga pants and oversized t-shirts and convince ourselves we just have to deal with pants that dig into our waist and shoes we can barely walk in. The truth is, you can look amazing and be comfortable if you choose to be. You don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion”. -Sarah Anne Hayes

For me personally, I guess I would call my style “California Casual”. My every day outfit is jeans and a t-shirt, and a pair of Converse. If it is chilly outside, I throw on a cardigan or a sweater/jacket. In the summer, my converse are still worn, but I also wear flip-flops. My jeans make way for shorts, and occasionally I am rocking a tank-top.

That’s it. No other bells and whistles.

I also tend to wear the same colors over and over again. I have reached an age where I know what colors go with my skin tone and which do not. I am also not a big color person to begin with, so neutrals have always been my go-to.

When I sorted out my closet, I stuck to a specific palate to make it easier to get dressed. I stuck to four colors as these are the ones I tend to wear over and over again:

• Grey

• White

• Blue

• Khaki or Olive Green

That’s it. Those are my four main colors. I do own a black cardigan as well a black skirt and even though those two items don’t fall into my main four colors category, that is okay. The skirt is an all-purpose skirt which can be worn to just about anything, be it church or a night out. I have owned this skirt for over 15 years and that baby has held up all this time! I am not going to get rid of it just because it isn’t a specific color that I normally like. I don’t like wearing dresses or skirts to begin with, so having just one skirt to fit all my needs, works perfectly for me!

My closet is functional and it actually is nice to have a bunch of empty hangers!

I know this post is super long, but if there is anything that I missed that you have questions about or are curious and wondering just how many pieces of clothing I actually own, please let me know in the comments!  😉

As The Page Turns: February Edition

Hey all! I am surprised at the number of books I was able to read in the last month or so, considering I have a baby at home, but I am not complaining! Let’s get on with it, shall we?  🙂

The Life We Bury

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I liked this book but I figured out what was going on pretty quickly and so when the ending bared out what I believed to have happened, I was a bit disappointed. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book, because it was!

Elizabeth Is Missing

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I loved this book!!! Someone on the last book blog round-up mentioned this book and the premise sounded so interesting. A woman who has dementia, believes her friend Elizabeth to be missing. She leaves notes for herself that she thinks are clues, but she is also rapidly losing her mind. Does she find Elizabeth? Was she really missing? You’ll have to read it to find out!  😉

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

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This book was a total bait and switch. I picked this book to read thinking, along with several other readers it turns out, that it was about a true missing persons case that occurred in 1917 and the woman who solved the case. Turns out, the case doesn’t even take up half the book. The author spends an inordinate amount of time bringing up other cases that the detective/lawyer Grace has solved and even ones where she doesn’t. And it is boring as hell. Seriously.

This book jumps all over the place and you are like, WTF most of the time. It also suffered from a serious lack of editing.

Do not recommend. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Last Christmas in Paris

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This book was another recommendation from the last book blog round-up. I thought it was just okay. This novel, about friends that write letters to each other during the First World War and promise to meet in Paris for Christmas, was predictable and trite. I also feel like the authors picked all the moments from history that happened during that time frame, and made all of them happen to those characters. A serious pet-peeve of mine.

No Shred of Evidence

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Charles Todd is one of my favorite mystery authors, so it probably was a given that I would enjoy this book 🙂 If you enjoy post World War One mysteries concerning a detective from Scotland Yard, than definitely check out the Ian Rutledge series!

DID NOT FINISH: The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes. I tried and tried but could not get past the first couple of chapters. The book just couldn’t hold my interest. I hate giving up on a book, but I had to.

Want to see what I am reading or what I am up to? Check me out on Instagram! All these photos are from my page  🙂

What have you guys read lately? Let me know!

Minimizing: Wardrobe Declutter

So I mentioned last month that my goal for March is to simplify. March is the start of Spring here in the states and everything seems fresh and new. A perfect time to get rid of what’s been weighing me down.

I decided to start with my wardrobe.

I do not have a ton of clothes, nor are they super stylish (read: expensive). I am not a fashion blogger or fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. I do not own clothes with price tags still attached or super trendy accessories.

But…

I will hold on to “just in case” clothes. You know what I am referring to, right? “Well, I’ll keep these pants which are too big, just in case I go up a size” or “This skirt isn’t really my style, but I might have an occasion to wear it so I’ll keep it just in case“.

Sound familiar?

I also will tend to hold on to shirts that have long passed their expiration date. They are either stretched out of shape from repeated washings, have holes, stains, or their color has faded.

In order to simplify my wardrobe and get rid of items I no longer use, I read up on capsule wardrobes which basically are a set amount, a very small amount actually, of clothing/accessories that you use and most articles I have read, have it set up seasonally. Meaning, your capsule wardrobe for winter will look different when you put together your capsule wardrobe for summer.

But here is the thing: I live in Southern California. While it has been cold the past few days, our winters are usually very mild. Unless you live in a snow-prevalent area, your winter wardrobe isn’t anything to write home about.  I am sure most So-Cal’ers own several pairs of shorts and flip-flops.

So when I started to ruthlessly attack my wardrobe this weekend, I kept in mind several things.

One, is the item wearable? Does it have holes? Is it tattered?

Two, when is the last time I wore the item? I know most people operate under the six months rule, which states, if you haven’t worn something in six months, you are never going to wear it, and should just toss it. However, six months ago I was pregnant, so I can’t operate under that particular dictum.

Three, is the item comfortable? Is it itchy? Do I get hot wearing it? Is it too tight? Too big?

Four, do I like the color of the item? Does this color reflect well on me?

Five, do I genuinely enjoy wearing the item? Or am I just meh about it?

These are the criteria I came up with for myself when going through my wardrobe. And by the time I was done, I had three separate piles of clothes to donate.

Some are maternity clothes which I hope some mama-to-be out there will enjoy!

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I also got rid of some scarves I have had for at least 20 years. Me, who hates scarves with an ever-loving passion. I always feel like I am being strangled whenever I wear one. See also: turtlenecks. And again, I live somewhere where they really aren’t needed.

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I have empty hangers in my closet which makes me happy! I will be spending a bit of money to replace a white t-shirt I have that is stained, because I wear white t-shirts several times a week.

I am thrilled with my results from the weekend and I can’t wait to share with you some more tidbits I learned with this project!

RELATED POST: When Organizing Stops Working

RELATED POST: The Joy of Less: A Book Review

Simplify: My Goal For March

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Although I embarked on decluttering missions last year, I feel like more can be done. And not just with decluttering, but with simplifying as a whole.

For example, mail gets tossed on tables, forgotten about, and then all of a sudden we are late paying a bill.

Weekday mornings are spent scrambling to make my daughter’s lunches.

We were gifted so many newborn clothes and other accoutrements for my other daughter, there is no way to wear them all or use them all, and they are taking up precious space in our small apartment.

I could go on, but you see where I am going with this…

Spring starts in March and so next month seems as good a time as any, to start simplifying our home and streamlining what we are doing and what is coming in and out of our home.

I literally am feeling overwhelmed with our living space. My OCD/neat freak tendencies are making my normally rational self become undone.

So I am taking action and March is the month to do it. 31 days to get $&!* done.

Who’s with me?  🙂

RELATED POST: Decluttering: Drowning in Paperwork