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Practicing Minimalism During the Holidays

Posted in Lifestyle
on November 8, 2017

Let’s cut to the chase. The holidays begin pretty much anytime after November 1st. Once October is over, it’s fair game to begin holiday shopping, listen to holiday music and do all those bucket list items you’re itching to do before the end of the year.

Before we get too far into all the craziness that comes from this time of year, I want to share a little insight on how you can remove any unnecessary stress by practicing minimalism during the holiday season. Not only will this bring bliss into your life, but you’ll be able to enjoy this season without feeling overwhelmed.

1| Practice what you preach

I have touched on this topic in previous posts, but it’s important to practice what you preach during the holiday season. For example, if you’re buying gifts that aren’t useful, cause clutter, and don’t have any purpose for the person receiving it—you’re opening the door for those people to give YOU those same type of gifts. So really, you’re not doing anyone good including yourself. Instead of giving your sister another scarf and candle, give her a gift of an experience like a pedicure, massage, or wine tasting for a girl’s day. Being mindful of the gifts you give to others will be a direct reflection of the gifts you will receive. So don’t give useless clutter just because it was on sale.

2| Evaluate your traditions

Traditions are wonderful. But there are some things you do every year that cause stress and aren’t enjoyable at all like a cookie-baking frenzy with 10 family members in a kitchen meant for only three people, or packing too many plans in Christmas weekend. If something is causing unnecessary stress and making this time of year overwhelming, consider altering your traditions to work for everyone. You don’t need to remove these traditions altogether, but making them work for everyone so that you’re all enjoying your time together is important.

3| Focus on mindfulness

Oftentimes, we get so wrapped up in what’s coming next for the countdown to Christmas that we don’t enjoy the moment that’s happening. You’re already focused on decorating the tree that you don’t enjoy the process of picking one out at the tree farm. You planning next week’s gift-wrapping and baking session with your friends that you aren’t even paying attention to the Hallmark Holiday movie you’re watching with hot cocoa. Enjoy each moment as it’s happening without thinking about the next plan.

4| Practice gratitude 

Between holiday shopping, baking, preparing for guests, and enjoying a slew of holiday parties, it’s easy to lose focus on what is important during this season. During November and December, I make it a daily habit to practice gratitude. It gives time to reflect on all the good that has happened throughout the year and show appreciation for those moments. It also give time for us to be thankful for the little things we may take for granted. The goal of minimalism is to appreciate what you have and not think of gaining more, so no matter how big or small something may be—practicing gratitude is essential during the holiday season.

How else do you practice minimalism during the holiday season? I would love to know more about your experiences, so make sure to share them in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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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!

Ki Signature

 

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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!

Ki Signature

 

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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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What REALLY Happens in a Blogging Rut + How to Get Out

Posted in Lifestyle
on October 9, 2017

Unfortunately, as I’m writing this—I find myself in a blogging rut.

In short, it feels horrible. It feels like the most sour form of failure as a creative individual, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. However, life happens; and it’s inevitable that these ruts will come and go throughout our blogging careers. Even the word, blogging rut, you can tell it’s not positive. Sometimes, I think we find ourselves trying to downplay a not-so-good situation to make it seem like we’re not struggling. I always ask myself why we do this, but then I remember the hard truth:

We don’t want to be vulnerable and it’s hard to admit when we’re struggling. 

So here I am…being vulnerable and admitting that I’m struggling. To be honest, this doesn’t just apply to blogging—it can apply to any aspect of your life. But, today I’m focusing on blogging because I know there are many bloggers out there who can relate to this. Today I’m sharing what a blogging rut has looked like for me in hopes that if you find yourself in a similar position, you realize you’re not alone and it will get better. Make sure to leave a comment if you have ever been in a blogging rut and how you were able to overcome it.

What REALLY Happens in a Blogging Rut: 

1| You don’t love the content you’re creating

For whatever reason, you begin your rut judging the content you’re creating. Maybe you don’t LOVE the way you ended the post, or thought you should have shared more details in the beginning. Whatever it may be, you attack your own creativity and work to the point where you begin to comparing yourself to others.

2| The comparison game strikes HARD

This blogger had her post repinned 2,000 times and you can’t even get more than 10 repins on something you worked SO HARD on. A blogger wrote something similar to a post you shared months ago, but you think she wrote it so much better. Now you’re questioning if you should remove that post you loved because you know you can’t compete with the other blogger’s work. This terrible trap leads you into questioning your work as a creative altogether.

3| You question your creativity and ability

Now you’re so upset with all of your work. You claim that your blog posts aren’t even worthy of sharing on social media because you think they aren’t good enough and they won’t be good enough to share. You question your writing abilities and if you should even have a blog altogether. Just when you think you couldn’t feel any more defeated, a terrible addition comes into play…

4| Overthinking becomes your middle name

Even when you’re excited about upcoming posts you may have written, you now overthink them. You overthink the title of your blog and think it should change because maybe it’ll get more clicks on Pinterest. You rewrite your Instagram caption for what feels like the 100th time just to seek engagement on something you created. You search Pinterest for blogging tips, and how to improve, and how you can be better. Overthinking is the beginning and ending of your day, every day. And yes, most of it is related to blogging. This continues until exhaustion kicks in, and you lose motivation.

5| You lose motivation

Your mind is trapped in a vicious cycle of comparison, doubting your talents, and overthinking every single detail. You’re exhausted. You’re upset. You feel so lost and confused. Your mind can’t possibly sort this out enough to write a blog post, so you lose your motivation to create anything at all. It’s terrible because you want to write and create something, but you don’t want to go at war with yourself again over your work. So you don’t. You don’t write for bit until the rut has passed.


Being in a blogging rut is so difficult because it begins so innocently and then turns into something you wouldn’t wish on any other creative. When I’m in a rut with writing, I always can rely on the following tips to help work through them.

How to get out of a Blogging Rut:

1| Admit it 

Yes, you’re in a rut. Yes, you will get out of it.

2| Cut the comparison

You’re absolutely right when you say you’re not like those other bloggers you’re comparing yourself to because you are your own creative. Your writing is unique and wonderful and should be shared with the world.

3| Remind yourself you’re worthy

You matter. Your work matters. Your work is worthy of sharing with the world. Please remind yourself of this repeatedly even if you’re not in a rut simply because it’s true.

4| Take a break to focus on self care

Give yourself a weekend away from social media, your blog, and the online world. If you don’t know where to begin, try a self care challenge to try different things that will work for you.

5| Get back at it

After your break, pick up your laptop and create a space that’s welcoming and calming to work in. And write. Write as much as you can for as long as you can.


I hope this post was something that you can relate to regardless of whatever rut you may find yourself in right now. Being in a rut isn’t fun, but it will pass.

Have you ever been in a blogging rut? What did you do to get out of it? Make sure to share your experiences in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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