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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!

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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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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The Ultimate Gift Guide For Minimalists

Posted in Health, Lifestyle
on October 20, 2017

Yes, I know that you maybe thinking that it’s way too early for Christmas. 

Well, let me tell you that it’s NEVER too early to get ready for the holidays. Plus, planning ahead of time is what decreases stress and increases bliss before the craziness of the holidays come in full force. So, if you’re looking for a little bliss, and looking to prepare in advance for some holiday shopping, keep reading. I’m collaborating with my wonderful blogging friend, Erin from A Welder’s Wife to bring you some gift ideas for the minimalist friends in your life. So, make sure to read her post on the same topic! Erin is a talented writer, and her blog posts on minimalism are always inspirational.

Keep in mind while reading this post that the gift ideas are meant to simply someone’s life. They aren’t things that your aunt or sister would expect unless they are living a minimalist, simple lifestyle. So, while these gifts might not seems like the right type of gifts that would appeal to everyone—they will definitely work well for the minimalist friend on your list who you know will appreciate a gift that simplifies their life.

1| Reusable Bags

One of the top items I use and love is a reusable bag for grocery shopping, and it has decrease our need for gathering plastic bags from Target. Instead of holding onto plastic, your friend will help the planet by using a bag for all of their shopping. Plus, they can use these for traveling or errands. For the reusable bag, you can include other gifts inside that you know your friend would love like a book on their wish list, their favorite candle, or a tin of Christmas cookies. Make sure to include a note that explains her favorite things in the bag and that the bag that holds everything is reusable and can help make any farmer’s market trip stress-free and easy!

2| Cleaning Cloths 

I’ve been taking steps to reduce the amount of unnecessary products like napkins, paper towels and similar items. So, I’ve been using more green-friendly products that make cleaning simple and easy like these cleaning cloths. Any busy mom, or environmentally-conscious friend would love these. Not only can they be washed easily, but they also replace up the 15 rolls of paper towels. You can feel good about helping the environment and giving a gift you know your friend will be using every single day. You can create a gift with items that are made from recycled materials, or gifts that give back to charities to help the environment. This is especially the perfect gift for your minimalist friend who doesn’t want extra things in their home when they can get everything done with one item.

3| Coconut Oil

You’re probably wondering what friend would want coconut oil. Well, fear not because you don’t have to give your friend a jar of coconut oil and call it a day. Coconut oil can be used not only for cooking or cleaning, but also for beauty items as well. It’s the perfect, multi-purpose item that your minimalist, simple-living friend and use all-year long. Coconut oil can be use as a moisturizer, cuticle treatment, deep conditioner for your hair and more. So, you can create a relaxing, pampering basket that includes: coconut oil, a face mask, essential oil, and you can even create a DIY scrub that uses coconut oil in it!

4| Gift Cards

While you have a ton of options with this one, you have to keep in mind that you want to think about where you’re buying the gift card for? Is it a store that will promote unnecessary shopping? If yes, then it might not be the best gift for your minimalist friend. Instead, treat your friend to a gift certificate for a local market, an all-natural, beauty shop, or a place where they can get anything they need (hello, Target)! Make sure you’re intentional about the gift cards you choose. If you know they’re working on home projects, buy a gift card from Lowe’s or Home Depot to help them out. Keep in mind what your friend loves, and they will be sure to appreciate the thought.

5|  Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Another gift where you’re probably thinking, girl, no one wants cleaning products for Christmas. And while I agree with you, I also think that you can make anything personal and useful to a minimalist. Minimalists love gifts that make their life simple, and a multi-purpose cleaner is definitely a great way to reduce the amount of products you’re using with chemicals. Another basket idea you can make can include home essentials like the multi-purpose cleaner, essential oils for a relaxing space, the cleaning cloth mentioned above, mason jars (to store food, prep meals, or store other home items), and other things you know your friend or family member would find useful. Remember, it’s all about gifting items that will simplify their life, and that will be used in their home.

6| All-In-One Planner

If your friend is a die-hard fan of using a traditional planner, an all-in-one planner is the way to go! Choose one that not only keeps their daily schedule in track, but it can track meal planning, the amount of much water they drink, workouts, daily to-do lists, positive mantras, and more. Finding a planner that can help organize all these items will be sure to simplify your friend’s life. You can also introduce your friend to a bullet journal and get a few colors pens to get them started. Maybe it’s a project you both and begin together to help simplify your lives. Take the day together to start planning your monthly, weekly trackers and lay out your new bullet journals together.

Whatever you decide to purchase for your minimalist friend, keep in mind one question: “What will help simplify their life and make their life easier?” Whether you put together an at-home spa basket, or a bag or home essentials, you can be certain that she will love the gifts that are simple and what will improve their life. Don’t forget to check out Erin’s post where she shares even MORE gift ideas for the minimalist friends on your holiday gift list. Be sure to stop back next week where we collaborate on another holiday-related post for you!

What gifts have you given to a minimalist friend in the past? What are some minimalist gift ideas that YOU have been given that you have loved? P.S. what is one thing on your wish list for the holidays? Make sure to share everything in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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10 Questions to Help Declutter Your Closet

Posted in Fashion, Lifestyle
on October 4, 2017

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 and 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!

 

Ki Signature

 

 

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