Living Simply, Uncategorized

A Merry Minimalist Christmas

In my humble opinion, the best gifts are ones shared with loved ones and getting to experience something memorable together.

If you are trying to figure out what you should get your friends, family and significant others for Christmas, but don’t want to add more unnecessary clutter to their lives, I’ve got a few ideas for you!

Minimalism and Christmas actually can go hand-in-hand. After all, the man himself, Dr. Suess said it best,

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
What makes a gift good isn’t the store from where it was purchased, the price tag or anything like that. What really makes a good gift is the memories that can be shared this holiday season.
So, if you are looking to go the more minimalistic route this Christmas, give an experience instead of a thing. Here are a few ideas!
  • A surprise picnic.

Take inventory of your loved one’s favorite drinks and snacks and make a run to the grocery store! Pack up a basket with a blanket, food to share, a Christmas-y playlist, a fun game or two, and enjoy each other’s company!

Now, during this time of year, this idea is for those who live in warm climates. If you live where it snows, use this idea, but bring it inside! Make a pillow fort and hang some Christmas lights and you’re golden!
  • A show.
I love this type of gift! You can get dressed up and feel all classy while you indulge in the arts. Check your local theaters to see what performances or plays are coming up and snag a couple tickets for you and your friend! They could even be in the nose-bleed section, but still, nothing beats getting to experience a magical musical show or concert with a loved one during the holidays!
  • Explore a new city
This idea can be really fun if you get creative! If you know of a town or city close by that you have yet to explore (or maybe the city you’re in has a really cool vibe!) create a list of 10 questions that lead your person to different places to do different things. For example, Atlanta has super sweet places like the Georgia Aquarium and SkyView. Make cute riddles and have something special waiting for them at each stop–whether it is a photo op or an activity!
Gift-giving doesn’t have to break the bank, and it doesn’t even have to be about the bank. Make this holiday season one for the books by truly celebrating it with loved ones and sharing in the Christmas season magic together.
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Living Simply, Surviving College

Mindfulness.

The Christmas season.

The week full of final exams.

The excessive spending.

The exhaustion.

The stress.

 

Mindfulness.

I urge you to be mindful this month.

A word that represents an action that is neglected very often in our everyday lives, but a practice we should observe religiously.

Mindfulness is a state of being that halts any further action and observes what is being exerted from your thoughts and body.

You have control over what is flowing in and out of your head, you have the power to object negative thinking and forbid overstimulation.

This post is in no way to encourage you to seek some kind of mystical enlightenment. It is a post, however, to encourage slowing down and being kind to yourself. What you put in your body is what you’ll get out of it, as they say.

Be mindful in this season of your life. Be mindful of your thoughts, actions, the way you treat others and the way you think about yourself.

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Tidbit Tuesdays

Tidbit Tuesday

In this stage of life that we are in, not only are we learning more about who we are as people and growing and evolving, the people around us are experiencing the same changes too.

When we become attached to our friendships, sometimes we experience rough patches. Those rough patches can result in a stronger relationship, but, they can also result in an ended one. It can become difficult to navigate feelings when friendships become rocky, and it can quickly feel like you are alone when relationships change and become distant.

When this happens to you, become your best friend.

Treat others with kindness, even when the people in your relationships don’t treat you well. Be loving to them, but be loving with yourself even more.

Stay positive about yourself, affirm yourself, encourage yourself. Respect your efforts and understand your limitations.

It is so important to embrace your humanity and be mindful of your own presence. You are a necessary part of this world, no matter what others may say.

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Living Simply

7 Practical Ways to Practice Minimalism Every Day

Our day-to-day lives are slammed with a multitude of things vying for our attention. It happens over time as we slowly integrate and adapt to trends, new forms of media, new relationships, more homework, etc.

Take a step back and analyze your mental and physical health. Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Over-stimulated? Do you feel like you are constantly searching for more things to bring you happiness? Do you feel like you never have enough time in the day to get all your tasks done? If you identified with any of these questions, consider taking the time to read through and apply some of these simple tools to your life to guide you into living a more intentional life!

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Encouragement courtesy of my bedroom wall Junior year.

Prioritize

Minimalism is based on the concept that we must get rid of the things that do not add value to our lives. What do you spend most of your time doing? Make a list of 3-6 things you love. If you aren’t doing those things every day, re-evaluate where you place your time.

Declutter

Where you spend your time impacts the quality of your day. Do you rummage through piles of items to find a pair of shoes or that notebook for class? Have you noticed that your closet is stuffed, but you reach for only a handful of items each week? Give your space a detox as often as you notice things aren’t being used for any benefit, or if they do not spark joy.

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Hot air balloon taking off over Disney Springs.

Disconnect

Notifications on your phone for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, text, and the list goes on and on, leave you with a false sense of urgency. Those things can wait. Turn them off.

Breathe

In order to truly disconnect, we must first connect with ourselves. Taking the time to breathe and examine the state of your mental health is of utmost importance. Consciously breathe and take things slow when you start to feel overwhelmed. Nothing is more important than your well-being.

Write

When we write, we are connected even more to the inner workings of our mind. Free-writing is simple yet helpful in clearing out the cobwebs and making space for only fruitful thoughts. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and let yourself loose.

Unsubscribe

We should all aspire to be life-long learners, but too much information at our fingertips dilutes what is actually meaningful to our lives. Pick a few favorite sources to subscribe to and say goodbye to the rest. You don’t need to know or have it all.

Relax

They weren’t kidding when they said Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that truly can apply to the standards you hold yourself to. Relax. You are a beautiful creation capable of so many incredible things. Be mindful of yourself, your space, your possessions, the value of your time and your well-being. But most of all, relax. You are one human in the world of billions. Let go of what isn’t making you a better person and strive every day to do your best.

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Living Simply, Surviving College

Dorm Decor Ideas + a DIY

Your room is your sanctuary. Especially at college. It is where homework is done without interruption, naps are taken often and alone time is always had…in a perfect world, right?

Over my college years, I’ve shared rooms with girls who became my closest friends, and I’ve also lived in tight quarters with people who I haven’t gotten along with 100% of the time. All my experiences have led me to today. It is my senior year of college and I have been given the (absolutely wonderful) chance to live in an alternative dorm on campus that gives me the opportunity to have my own room.

Despite whether I have had to live closely in tight spaces with a best friend, a complete stranger, or on my own, I have found that when my room is clean, cozy and cute, I am the most relaxed and productive. I have also found that the way my space is decorated and organized affects my mood. There is power in owning your space–and it is not as hard as you may think!

Here are some of my best tips on making your space yours, for even the smallest of college student budgets!

1. Keep it simple.

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Neutral colors are calming and don’t overload your senses. When there is a lot going on, your brain is trying to focus on everything and then some. I recommend white bedding because of its ability to feel cool and clean. Plus, if you’re looking for a pop of color, white bedding goes with any kind of throw blanket pattern or throw pillow color.

Check out Target‘s collection of bedding for an affordable option!

 

2. Keep it affordable.

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If you are in college, you are most likely paying a whole lot for your degree, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on transforming your tiny room. It’s the smallest things that make your space the coziest.

Christmas lights aren’t just for the season, they’re for making your space sparkly and magical. Get a box for under $5 and string them along your window or wall for a pretty glow that will soften up your room for the semester.

Go for the vintage-inspired globe style lighting, or for the classic Christmas light look. Both are sure to bring the perfect amount of warmth to your space without breaking the bank.

 

3. Keep it “you!”

Even though university dorms are limiting with the rules against hanging things with nails or creating holes in the walls, there are alternative ways to make your home away from home more “you!”
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Tapestries are very very trendy at the moment, but they serve a very beautiful purpose. They have the ability to add personality to a bland dorm wall with little effort (you can use thumbtacks which are approved by most university residence hall protocol. Simple tacks will do the job at keeping them in place all year long!)

And, you can almost find them anywhere!

  • $ – you can find all kinds of affordable tapestry patterns in all different colors on Amazon.com!
  • $$ – if you are willing to splurge a little,  Society6 offers a variety of unique and bold designs for a little extra cash
  • $$-$$$ – I think we can all agree that Urban Outfitters knows what they’re doing when it comes to home decor. Their tapestries do not disappoint! And, some options are pretty budget-friendly!

A Decor DIY!

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These dream-catcher-esque wall hangings add the sweetest whimsical touch to my room! Not only are they super adorable, they were insanely easy and cheap to make!

Here’s what you need to make your own:

  • Twigs
  • Twine
  • String
  • Fabric
  • Hot glue gun

First, gather three twigs around the same length (I got mine from my backyard!) then, begin connecting them together by tying a knot around both ends

Next, begin connecting them together by tying a knot around both ends and wrapping the twine around multiple times while dabbing hot glue to adhere the twigs to the twine.

After you have your twig triangle, tie string at the top of the shape and wrap loosely around the twigs.

Lastly, cut up fabric in about 2″ wide, 3′ long strips, fold in half longways and pull through loop.

Ta-da! An easy, simple, and earthy addition to your abode.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Having a cozy space doesn’t mean it has to be costly. You can easily find cute decor items at shops like TJ Maxx, Target, or Marshalls, or even go the Amazon route to achieve a dreamy dorm.

Just refer back to these tips for the sweetest space you’ll never want to leave!

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Living Simply, Surviving College

Tricks for Treats – a foodie’s guide to discounts on Halloween!

“If it’s free, it’s for me.”

You may have heard this phrase before, or may even say it yourself.

It’s true. If there is one thing that joins twentysomething’s together, it’s food–not just any kind of food–free food, or discounted food. Any type of food that we don’t have to pay full price for a full tummy.

And although we are a bit too old to go trick or treating around our neighborhoods and stash away candy for the next 6 months, there are restaurants out there that want to treat the kid in us on this holiday.

Here are some of my favorite restaurants with scary-good deals!

Chipotle: from 3pm to close, customers dressed up in their Halloween costumes will get to enjoy a $3 “boorito.” This discount applies to burritos, burrito bowls, and tacos.

Krispy Kreme: Trick-or-treaters get a free donut! No purchase necessary.

Baskin-Robins: pick one of their 31 specialty flavors for $1.31 one-scoop cones!

I hope you take advantage of these dinner and dessert options–goes to show we’ll never be too old to enjoy the benefits of this holiday.

No tricks–just treats!

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