5 Things to be Happy About: November

Posted in Lifestyle
on November 6, 2017

We’re two days away from completely diving into the holiday season, and I couldn’t be more excited. At the same time, I can’t believe that there are only two months left in 2017. My goal is to make these last two months of the year count, and enjoy as much of the holiday season as possible. Let me know what you’re looking forward to this month whether it’s Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, food, or something else going on in your life that you’re feeling blissful about.

1| Owning a Home

As you’re reading this, we’re moving into our home this week! It’s unbelievable to think that just a few short months ago, we decided to make the largest purchase we will ever invest in. Needless to say, our lives are packed up in boxes, and we are working on making our house a home. If you want to read more about our home-buying journey, give one of my recent posts a read!

2| It’s Acceptable to Think About Christmas

And by acceptable to THINK about Christmas, I mean that it’s acceptable to start listening to Christmas music, begin Christmas shopping, and participating in all the winter-related activities.  (I know not everyone will agree with me, but i know there MUST be some Christmas-lovers out there!) Once we get through Halloween, my attention is slightly moving away from wedding planning and moving, and now is focused on Christmas, baking, and all the holiday things.

3| Focusing on Gratitude

You all know I’m a huge proponent of expressing gratitude as often as you can, which is why I’m planning a challenge for myself to express gratitude all month long with journal prompts, random acts of kindness for coworkers and strangers, and everything in between. Last year, I had a list of challenges for myself and I found that doing one every single day was a little difficult, so I plan to spread the challenges out throughout the month.

4| Holiday Shopping

I am one of those people that will most likely have their holiday shopping done by Thanksgiving. Especially with moving into the house, wedding planning, work, and life in general, I try to work ahead as much as possible so that I’m not rushing around to the last minute and feeling stressed during the holidays. This year, I want to be more conscious about spending money after purchasing the house, so I’m looking into DIYs. Make sure to share any DIY gift ideas you have!

5| FOOD.

Need I say more? November is the beginning of a two-month eating frenzy that we indulge in. From pies and all the food during Thanksgiving dinner, to holiday cookie swaps in the office, you better believe that this month is the beginning of eating all the best food. And I’m ready for it.

What are you looking forward to this month whether it’s related to the holidays or something else good going in your life? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Blissful Bits: October

Posted in Lifestyle
on November 1, 2017

 We can all use a little more bliss in our lives, right? 

That’s why I’m sharing a new series on Blissfully Brunette where I dish out videos, stories, blog posts, and everything in between that brought a little bit of bliss. Hopefully, these posts will give you the little pick-me-up you may need to get through the week whether you’re looking for new blog posts to read for inspiration, new recipes, workouts, funny videos and anything else that may bring you an extra dose of bliss.

1| 10 Steps to Declutter Your Mind Right Now

TBH when you’re going through a blogging rut, you lose your creative spark. It’s not a good feeling, and it brings on other issues like stress, self-doubt and more. Needless to say, I wasn’t in a positive headspace earlier this month because of it. After reading Erica’s post, I realized that I wasn’t giving myself enough credit. I am working full-time, blogging, moving into my first home and planning my wedding. I was stressed and burned out, and my mind needed some major decluttering. If you’re in need of a mental declutter, you’re going to want to check out her post.

2| Bath & Body Works Candles

Because who doesn’t get happy when they think of candles from Bath & Body Works? You all know I’m here for the fall scents like “Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, “Marshmallow Fireside,” and “Autumn,” but they having been bringing out the holiday collection—and it’s getting me excited for the next two months. So tell me, what are some of your favorite Bath And Body Work’s candle scents that you can’t live without during fall and winter?!

3| Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Because it’s all the wonderful things about fall in one dessert. (I know, except for pumpkin spice) So, I’ve been in a baking mood despite not having a ton of time to bake as of late, so I’m sharing this delicious recipe in case you’re looking to try something new.

Ingredients:
Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar , plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Apples:
  • 3 Granny Smith apples , peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping for drizzling after baked.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9×13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  5. For the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
  6. Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Make 16 servings.

4| The Truth about Fear & Perfectionism 

Another post I’m sure many of you can relate to because fear is something we all experience. For me, perfectionism is something I have always struggled with, so I know how difficult it can be to have something go less-than-perfect, and you’re left feeling useless, and feeling like you failed. There’s a lot to uncover in this topic, but Rachel highlights some key points of fear and perfectionism that will make you realize you’re not alone in your thoughts. In turn, you’re going to feel blissful knowing other people ARE experiencing what you’re experiencing.

5| 20-Minute Pilates Workout

I love Pilates because not only are the workouts enjoyable and effective, but they also can work your entire body. Yes, even a 20-minute workout can leave you feeling sore the next day. And yes, it’s a wonderful feeling because you’re not sweating non-stop for over an hour. You can do this anywhere in your home, hotel room, or your office if you don’t have any other option. Trust me, if you want a simple workout that will five you great results, try this video below!

What has you feeling blissful this week? Make sure to share any blog posts, quotes, videos, or anything else in the comments below!

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How to Create a Life you DON’T Need a Vacation From

Posted in Lifestyle
on October 30, 2017

I’m creating a life I don’t need a vacation from.

Yes, that’s right. You can create a life you don’t need a vacation from even if you’re an avid travel-lover like myself. I love to travel, but I don’t want such a stressful life that I’m always itching for a vacation and for time away from my life.

If something isn’t working for you, change it.

If your job only causes stress and not joy, leave.

If you’re not happy with where you live, move.

If you want to pursue your dream, go for it.

So what can you do about it?

We have the power to change ANYTHING we don’t like in our lives. Remember that next time you’re feeling stuck, confused and lost. You can change your address, your place of work, or anything else you don’t love about your life.

We also feel the itch for vacations because of burn out. Burn out is real in any line of work when we overwork ourselves without enough time to rest. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, taking time away from emails and phone calls when you’re off the clock, and put your health first. If you’re not giving yourself time to unwind every day or week, then you’re going to deteriorate mentally, physically and emotionally. AKA feel stressed all the time and need to “get away from everything.” Instead, do something for yourself every few days like a workout you love, or read a new book, or spend time with friends.

Before I get comments about how everyone decided to change their life, and they STILL aren’t happy—let me remind you of one very important thing. The goal to creating a life you don’t need a vacation from is consistently feeling blissful with the everyday aspects of your life. If you don’t enjoy getting up, going to work, and coming home to your family then you’re probably not going to be happy. If you’re only happy when a big life change happens like starting a new job, moving to a new state, buying a new home, or taking a lavish vacation, you’re probably not going to be happy in general.

You need to be happy with even the most average days of your life in order to create a life you don’t need a vacation from. 

The truth is, you’re not going to have life-changing events happen every day. Instead, find bliss in Sunday breakfast with your spouse, fresh flowers, a good book, or a fun night in with your friends. Those are the moments that you should look forward to. Those are the moments that make life wonderful, and encourage you to not plan a vacation you don’t need. You can also plan mini-staycations at home when you take a Saturday to do absolutely nothing. Say no to plans you may have committed to because at the end of the day, you need to put yourself and your health first.

So, how will you create a life you don’t need a vacation from? What will you change in your life in order to live more blissfully? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Gift Giving for Minimalists [That Aren’t Things!]

Posted in Lifestyle
on October 27, 2017

I know what you’re thinking…

Do you really want to give a gift that doesn’t include any material items? Is it right to give a gift that doesn’t include clothes, books, or something for the home?

Well, to answer your question—yes you can; and it’s perfectly acceptable to give a gift that doesn’t include physical items. That doesn’t make it less worthy of giving to a friend or family member. Plus, when you’re planning gifts for the minimalist in your life, there are some options of material gifts you can DIY yourself or work with them to create together. Today, I’m sharing some gift ideas to gift to that minimalist friend or family member in your life. Or, if you’re hoping to teach your family more about this lifestyle and decide to give non-material gifts, feel free to use this list as inspiration for gift ideas.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out Erin’s post on A Welder’s Wife for even MORE ideas on gift giving ideas for the minimalists on your holiday list this year! You can also check out her previous posts on the ultimate gift guide for minimalists!

1| Experience Gift

In my opinion, experience gifts are WAY better than material gifts, especially if it’s something you know your friend or family member will love. Grab them tickets to their favorite band or sports teams. Treat them to an hour massage and facial if you know they are particularly stressed. Or, go for something completely unique like a date night for the couple for a helicopter ride or a hot-air balloon ride. Needless to say, they will not forget how cool your gift was.

2| Gift Certificate

Because there’s nothing wrong with giving something you know the person will use and love. Plus, you can even make it personal depending on what you buy. For example, if you’re gifting $200 to Lowe’s, you can say in the card: “To start working on those kitchen renovations!” That way, there is a purpose behind the gift. This can be applied to any gift card from a clothing store to their favorite restaurant.

3| Something They Need

I know it may seem silly, but we all have cars that need maintenance. Give them a free oil change, inspection, and detailed cleaning for their car. You can also do this with 2-3 hair appointments or their gym membership. Or, offer to watch their kids for the day, so they can enjoy the day or catch up on errands. It may seem simple, but sometimes they are the best gifts when you realize you don’t need to pay for your inspection and oil change.

4| Digital Downloads/Courses

Is your friend a writer? Give them a digital course they can choose online for writing tips. The options for this are endless: there are classes and courses on everything from editing to photography to cooking to SEO to health and wellness. Whatever the course is, make sure it’s something you know the person will appreciate and get valuable information from. This is great to even include in a card: “One free class/course from *insert website here*!” That way, they can choose what class to take and they have time to look at their options.

5| Donation To A Cause They Support

Need I say more? There’s nothing better than a friend or family member supporting something you are passionate about. So whether it’s animal welfare, childhood education or environmental causes—donating $100 to someone’s favorite charity is something anyone can appreciate, especially if you regularly volunteer with the organization.

I hope this post was helpful with generating ideas for the minimalist friend or family member in your life. Keep in mind, you don’t have to ONLY give these gifts to a minimalist friend. You can give them to family members in hopes to teach them more about this lifestyle and practice consuming less as a family altogether.

Have you ever given a gift that didn’t have physical/materials items? How do you feel about be given an experience gift or a donation to a charity your support? What other ideas you have for gift ideas to give to a minimalist! Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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8 Tips to Get Your Life Together in 8 Hours

Posted in Lifestyle
on October 23, 2017

The Sunday Scaries are a real thing, friends.

Every Sunday, I’m hoping to enjoy the day, feel relaxed, and ready to take on a new week. Sometimes, that’s not always the case. Instead, I’m left feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things I want to accomplish in a short period of time before the week begins. So, I put together an easy plan that will help you get your life together in one day with these eight tips. If you’re looking for a little bliss on Sunday, keep reading!

1| Start Early

Okay, so I’m sure you’re not too happy about reading this one. The truth is, you’re probably up around your normal weekday time anyway (it’s how you know you’re actually an adult). Once you’re up—get out of bed, have breakfast and coffee, so we can make this Sunday blissful, productive and enjoyable. Start by throwing in a load of laundry, so you can have one thing checked off your list before the day fully begins.

2| Sweat a Little

But don’t go all out with an hour of cardio. Instead, do a feel-good workout like Pilates, Yoga or a 20-minute ab workout. Make sure it’s something easy and that it won’t take up too much for your time because you’ll need time and energy for other tasks. Working out first thing in the morning also increases your productivity, so you’ll feel ready to work through the rest of your to-do list for the day.

3| Make The Plan

What does your Sunday look like? Sure I know you want to relax while football is on all day, but this isn’t always realistic. So write down everything that needs to be done from cleaning to meal prepping to family time. It sounds silly to include everything, but I promise it will make your day run more smoothly.

4| Meal Prep with Ease

I love meal prepping two or three meals for the week because it helps us get through most of the week after adding in small meals you can make during the week like salads, wraps, grilled chicken, etc. I also try to meal prep something big in the crockpot for Sundays for the week because you dump everything in one pot and turn it on low for eight hours. Then the other meal will be baked chicken and potatoes, or something similar. While one meal is in the crockpot and the other is in the oven, schedule small cleaning tasks like collecting garbage, running the dishwasher etc. Use the timer on the oven as a race to see how much you can get down in 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much you get done. If you’re looking for easy meals, I recommend this chicken recipe or a hearty stew.

5| Schedule Down Time 

After you’ve made up some meals and are halfway through cleaning for the day, plan in small sections of downtime. An hour to read or work on one of your passion projects (whatever it may be). Then plan another two hours to watch a movie with the family or catch part of a game. Adding in pockets of downtime to your schedule will help you look forward to crossing off items off your list, so you can enjoy that time.

6| Prioritize Cleaning

What really needs to be cleaned on Sunday for you? I think we default to Sundays for cleaning because we don’t tackle many chores during the week. Instead, prioritize what needs to be done on Sundays like laundry, dishes, bathrooms, etc. Maybe you can plan an hour on a weekend to work on smaller cleaning tasks like dusting and vacuuming. That way, you aren’t spending hours cleaning everything in your home.

7| Look Ahead for the Week

It only 30 minutes, but it’s definitely worth it. Grab your planner, bullet journal, phone, or whatever you use to plan your life and make sure you have everything scheduled for the week from appointments, plans with friends, events, dinners, and everything in between. Taking the 10-15 minutes will save you stress the following morning, so you know what’s coming your way. Also pick out your outfit for Monday, and have your lunch ready to go for a stress-free morning.

8| Make Time for Family/Friends 

It’s SO important to make time for friends and family if you can’t do so during the week. I love Sundays and always look forward to them because we have Sunday dinner at Josh’s parent’s house, so it’s a tradition to watch football, eat dinner and spend time together. However you decide to spend time with family and friends, make sure you focus on your time with them and not cleaning, cooking or anything else.

I hope this post helps you rethink how you plan your Sundays. With a little planning comes a ton of bliss, so make sure to take the time to make a plan for the day and stick to it! You got this, girl!

How do you get your life together on Sundays? What is on your to-do list for Sunday? Make sure to share in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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