23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years

While you’re reading this, I’m off adventuring in Boston for the first time with Josh in celebration of our birthdays. Yesterday, I turned 23 (eek!) and I have to say that I’m happy with where I’m at with this age. Today, I want to share 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years with you. Make sure to share some important lessons you’ve learned over the years as well!

1| Do more of what makes you happy.

Why wait until you’re 30 to pursue your dream job? STOP WAITING. Go out and do all the things you want to do right now. I’ve realized that your passions are your calling and you should always pursue them. So go out and start doing what you love!

2| Love above all else.

Let’s be real, friends. Life is too darn short to waste it on hatred. Giving love even when you think that person may not deserve it is one of the strongest things you can do. When in doubt, let love win. Always choose love and always give love.

3| Don’t let social media fool you.

That girl took more than 40 selfies to get the right angle to post on Instagram. The lighting isn’t always perfect, and yes—everyone reuses their Starbucks cup for several Instagram photos because no one wants to spend $50 a week on coffee.

4| If you can’t get a miracle, be a miracle for someone else.

Simply remember the words.

5| Friday nights are different. And that’s okay.

Because there’s nothing better then spending a night in with good friends, some Disney songs and a lot of sushi. You don’t always need a night out to enjoy your time with people you care about.

6| Surround yourself with people who lift you up.

You deserve to be around people who love you and appreciate you. Don’t waste time on people who are negative and don’t bring anything positive to your life. You’re a product of your environment, so make sure you’re spending it with amazing people.

7| Savings are too important to ignore.

Girl, pay off your debt and start putting aside money every week and every month. You can’t pretend that savings aren’t important because they are. Set a budget, prioritize the necessities, and start saving money for your future house, travel, your business or anything else that is important to you.

8| Quality over quantity.

Now is the time to invest. Invest in one pair of high-quality shoes that you will love and use for the next 10 years. Invest in your skincare products, invest in good luggage, invest in a a good piece of jewelry you’ll wear every single day. But always remember quality over quantity.

9| You are enough.

You are enough. You are so enough it’s unbelievable how enough you are.

10| Take care of yourself.

Drink water. Get enough sleep. Keep your home clean. Make yourself healthy meals you truly enjoy. Make regular doctor’s appointments. Ask for help when you need it. Take time for yourself when you’re overwhelmed.

11| On that work/personal life “crisis.”

In the midst of what seems to be a disaster, ask yourself: will this matter in five years? The truth it, it might not even matter a year from now or a week from now. Take every “crisis” in stride and remember that this too, shall pass.

12| Minimalism matters.

Get rid of anything in your life that isn’t beautiful, useful or brings a sense of joy. You’ll be amazed what a difference this makes.

13| Forgive yourself & others.

Things happen and everyone makes mistakes. Forgive others if they have wronged you, but also remember to forgive yourself of your past mistakes, too.

14| Travel and explore.

The world is too large and beautiful to stay in one place. Spend money on adventures and traveling. Traveling is the only thing you can buy in life that will make you richer.

15| Spend time alone.

The most important relationship, and the relationship you’ll have for the longest is with yourself. Enjoy time alone and use it to learn and grow. Your future self will thank you.

16| Never stop learning.

You have a degree, but that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Read as much as possible. Listen to podcasts. Watch documentaries. Listen when someone is speaking. Travel (See number 14). There are so many opportunities to learn in your lifetime.

17| Treat yourself.

Treat yourself to a hot bath with Lush products, or to a glass of wine, or your favorite dessert. Buy that Starbucks drink when you know you haven’t had it in months. You deserve it. Remember it’s the little things in life!

18| On working out.

Working out isn’t just about “looking” good. You should be spending time working out because it’s good for your mental, physical and emotional health. Work out because it’s a priority for your well-being. Find exercises you enjoy and do them regularly.

19| Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Don’t let that negative email from your boss or the evening traffic get to you. Life is too short to get worked up over things you can’t control. Remember this when something unexpected and frustrating comes along in your life.

20| It’s okay to not have it all figured out.

Of course, we want to be able to say we know exactly what we want and have our 5-year plan mapped out. This isn’t always realistic. It’s okay if you know where you want to be in 5 years. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too because plans change. It’s all about being able to roll with the punches.

21| Dress up. Show up. Never give up. 

If you’re having a rough day, dress up and spend a little extra time getting ready so you feel good. Put on an outfit you can rock all day. It will help with your productivity and happiness throughout even the most difficult Monday. I promise.

22| Learn when to say yes and no.

Say yes to adventures, new experiences and things that will bring you the most joy. Say no when you know you’re unable to fully commit to something and when you need a break. Learn when to say these two words, and you’ll always find balance in your life.

23| Be thankful.

Be thankful for every positive and negative experience in your life because it was either a blessing or a lesson. Regardless, it was able to help you grow! Express gratitude at every opportunity.

What are some life lessons you have learned over the years? Make sure to share them in the comments below!

 

 

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Minimalism is More than Decluttering

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m not giving props to the people who donated/tossed/sold more than 50 percent of their wardrobe. (Seriously, that is something to celebrate because it’s a HUGE achievement in your minimalism journey.) But, I think it’s equally important to know that your journey shouldn’t end with your closet and your belongings.

At first, I thought my experience with minimalism was going to begin and end with my closet. Once I began to practice minimalism in my everyday life, I realized that I craved to live a more simple life altogether. I wanted to have more time, more happiness and less stress or worries. I wanted to practice mindfulness and simplicity in a busy, hectic life.

It took awhile to learn what would be the best way to achieve my desire for a more minimalist lifestyle that went beyond my closet. Here’s how I took my minimalism journey to the next step:

1| Practice conscious shopping

Stop unnecessary shopping. We have all been in that situation where we haven’t been shopping for a few months, so we treat ourselves after spending freezes on good deals, etc. Instead of treating yourself to a jacket or makeup, treat yourself to an experience like a nice dinner, a spa day or an overnight trip with your friends. These will mean much more than a sweater you found on sale that you don’t need. Also, ask yourself if you truly need that item you’re looking to buy. If you don’t, be strong enough to walk away.

2| Practice saying no

“Ma’am, would you like a free gift with purchase today?” If you don’t need it, say no. If a friend offers an old handbag, say no. If a store is offering free, trial samples for beauty products, say no. The more you practice saying no, the easier it will become. The goal is to be ruthless of what you allow into your home. Your sample-sized beauty products are going to sit in a box and you’ll forget about them within a few weeks. If you truly don’t need it, say no.

3| Practice mindfulness

Instead of rushing with a cup of hot coffee in a travel mug to get your breakfast sandwich, wake up 20 minutes earlier to enjoy your coffee and breakfast at home. Instead of rushing your morning routine altogether, set your alarm for an hour earlier than you normally would. This way, you’ll give yourself enough time to get ready in the morning without forgetting your lunch and presentation information. Enjoy the little moments of each day. This makes a huge difference.

Although decluttering and getting rid of anything non-essential is a huge component of minimalism and practicing a minimalist lifestyle, it isn’t the only component of that lifestyle. It’s about working toward living a simple life where there is less stress and more time for happiness. That is why this lifestyle is appealing to many people.

Are you on a journey toward living a minimalist lifestyle? What has been the easiest or most difficult part of that journey? Make sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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10 Questions to Help Declutter Your Closet

Are you ready to tackle your closet?

Don’t be overwhelmed. You got this, girl! Today I’m sharing some of the questions I ask myself when I’m decluttering my closet and what I find to be the most helpful. All it will take is a little time an patience to work through your closet and ask yourself the following questions.

1| Do I need it?

Be real with yourself! If you don’t need it, don’t keep it. It’s seems simple to say, “Of course I need this.” But dig deeper. Why do you need it? Are there other reasons why you want to keep it? Do you truly need it? Be honest about your answers. Then decide if you need it.

2| Do I love it?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kept something even when I don’t truly love the item. This is no bueno and you shouldn’t do this. Make sure you’re only keeping items you truly love and that bring you happiness to wear. You’ll love getting dressed when you have a closet of clothes you love.

3| Does it look good on me?

We all that one top that doesn’t fit right or a dress that doesn’t flatter our figure. But you don’t want to donate/sell it because you feel like you’re wasting the item. Remove the idea of waste from your mind. If you’re keeping an item in your closet and not wearing it—you’re wasting it. So, grab your BFF, husband, or mom and get a second opinion from someone else who won’t steer you wrong.

4| Does it fit my style?

Y’all, I know you have some clothes that don’t reflect your personal style lying around in your closet. And you know you’re not going to wear them anymore because your personal style has changed drastically since high school. This was also me. I held onto clothes I LOVED in high school but they simply weren’t my style anymore. “But I LOVED it back then,” I told myself. Well, you don’t now and you won’t wear it. So get rid of it.

5| Can I pair it with 5 other pieces in my wardrobe?

There’s nothing worse that having a piece of clothing that you can’t ever wear because you have nothing to wear it WITH! AKA, several skirts with awkward colors and patterns that truly didn’t look good (even with neutral tops). Yet, I held onto those skirts for years without wearing them because I felt guilty. So they collected dust before I finally decided that it wasn’t worth keeping them anymore. I know they probably have found a better home now.

6| Do I wear it regularly?

There are some articles out there that can break down how often you wear an item to see if you’re truly getting enough value out of an item based on what you’ve spent and how often you wear it. But, you know if you’re getting the wear and use out of an item. If it’s past its prime, or damaged—toss it. If you wear it a few times a year, note it as a special occasion item. Remember to consider your lifestyle when you’re asking yourself these questions.

7| Am I keeping this out of guilt?

Because you don’t want to get rid of your bridesmaid dress from your cousins wedding from seven years ago even though you’ll never wear it again because it doesn’t fit. Don’t keep something out of guilt. Donate to a good cause like a Prom Dress Drive or a similar charity. Someone will be able to use it and love it. That reason alone should be enough for you to donate it!

8| Have I worn it in the last year?

To keep myself in check on this, I set all my hangers facing the opposite way of how I would hang them. Once I wear something, I make sure to turn the hanger the right way. It works as a check mark saying, yes I wear this piece. After six months or a year, see what items are still facing the opposite way. Do you love these pieces? (I mean…clearly you don’t.) Run through the other questions and see if it’s an item you can donate or give to a friend.

9| Am I saving this “just in case?”

But let’s be real for a minute. Saving it just in case of what? You might find that after three years of not wearing the sweater, you might fall in love with again if you keep holding onto it? It doesn’t work that way, girlfriend. Donate or sell those items, and you won’t have to worry about keeping anything “just in case” ever again. #amiright

10| Why do I feel like I can’t get rid of it?

Sometimes, I’ve been stuck after asking myself the above questions. And I find that I always come back to one of the above answers: feeling guilty about getting rid of it, keeping an item “just in case,” etc. You’re only human. This is why I will sometimes default to the 3-month box. I’ll keep a small pile of items I’m not sure about and if I try to go looking for that piece, then I know it’s time to get rid of that item. But make sure you don’t keep adding pieces to that box and not doing anything with them later.

When is the last time you took time to declutter your closet? What questions would you find the most challenging? What other questions would you ask yourself if you were decluttering your closet? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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How To Save An Extra $400 This Month

Yes, you heard that right. You can save extra money whether you want to believe it or not.

But it’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice and a little extra work at home! But it IS possible and it is definitely worth it, especially if you’re looking to save up for a trip, new home, etc.

When I moved to Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to be conscious with my money. Now that I was working my first real job, and paying real bills—keeping my spending habits on track was important for me. So you’re interested in saving an extra $400 a month? Keep on reading to give your wallet and savings account a little extra bliss.

1| Skip Starbucks (or that morning bagel):

Ah-ha. So, you thought I was only going to call out the coffee drinkers of the world? Well, think again. Because whether you’re having a $4 coffee or a bagel with cream cheese, you’re still spending around $100 a month or more. Make coffee at home (because you have a Keurig so you may as well use it) and budget a little extra time to have breakfast at home.

2| Pack your Lunch:

“But I only buy lunch three times a week.” Even if you’re spending a bare minimum of $10 on lunch three times a week, that’s still $120 a month. Meal prep on Sunday, and you will thank yourself later. You’re also going to save yourself a lot of extra calories by making your own food. So, if you’re looking to save money, time and calories—you’ll hit all three goals by packing your lunch.

3| Stick to the list:

How many times have you been to Target or the grocery store with a list of 10 things, yet by the end of it you have 30 or more items not on the list? When you make a list, make it a priority to stick to the list. Spend extra time making sure you’re only buying what you need. You could save around $100 or more every month by only buying what you need at the store.

4| Chill out at Happy Hour:

THE HORRER…but not really. Listen, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to happy hour ever again. Instead, take a month off from the extra drinks. You know you have a bottle of wine at home, so why not drink it? Say you only have 7 drinks a week at an average cost of $5. After tip, that’s $150. Cut back on your alcohol consumption if you’re looking to save money for a few months.

Ready to save some money? Start with the four tips above, and you’ll work your way to an extra $400 by the end of the month. Do you have any extra tips on saving money? What are you saving for (trips, new home, or wedding)? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 1

 

Remember in 2016 when I said I really wanted to collaborate with other bloggers on posts? After months of not reaching this goal, I opened up about how my anxiety was getting in the way of my desire to work and collaborate with bloggers.

At the end of 2016, I decided that I wanted to overcome this side of my anxiety. I wanted to say yes to more opportunities and take more risks on my blog. It was shortly after that Erin from, “A Welder’s Wife” reached out over Twitter to talk about a collaborative challenge for February.

Y’all,  I was so excited. I said yes without overthinking things; and I kept reminding myself that it was going to be an amazing opportunity. So, we came up with 30 different challenges categorized in a four different themes set out for each week. This will be unique compared to the decluttering posts and challenges you may have participated in on the blog. These challenges will help you achieve mental balance and clarity in the new year. Below are a list of the challenges beginning today.

 

This challenge is perfect for you if you are:

1| Looking to cleanse your mind.

2| Focus on calmness and self care.

3| Enjoy the simple moments in life.

4| Explore new mental-based challenges every day.

 

Every Monday throughout the month, Erin and I will be posting and discussing the challenges and achievements from the previous week; and talking about the new set of challenges for that current week. Needless to say, I’m excited to see where this month of challenges will take me! Make sure to follow along as I share my posts and content on Instagram (@kiaracatanzaro) and Twitter (@BlissBrunette). You can also check out Erin’s Instagram and Twitter.

So, if you’re interested in trying to create a little extra bliss for the month of February, I hope you’ll take on these challenges; and join Erin and me as we go through this journey ourselves. Be sure to stop in next Monday to see how we did with our first week of challenges!

The first week of challenges: Self Care

  • Jan. 30: Set two goals you would like to achieve during this challenge
  • Jan. 31: Treat your face to a special pampering facial
  • Feb. 1: Go for a walk
  • Feb. 2: Journal for 15 minutes
  • Feb. 3: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal
  • Feb. 4: Make a Gratitude list of everything you are grateful for in your life
  • Feb. 5: Take a long bubble bath

I hope you all find that this month is challenging yet motivating to focus on self care, cleansing your mind, and bliss. Have you ever participated in a 20-day mental cleanse before? Make sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

 

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