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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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5 Ways to Practice Minimalism [That Doesn’t Involve Decluttering]

Posted in Health, Lifestyle
on October 16, 2017

I know what you’re thinking…

You think that minimalism is ALL about decluttering. Decluttering your closets, decluttering your kitchen, decluttering your basement. It’s all about getting rid of things you don’t use. I’m here to drop a major truth bomb.

Minimalism isn’t ONLY about decluttering.

Sure, is it a huge focus that you see all over Pinterest and YouTube? Yes, it definitely is. But I want people to understand that there are so many other ways to practice this lifestyle that doesn’t involve you going through your entire house and purging every other day. Although I definitely believe decluttering is extremely helpful in this process, it isn’t the only component of living more minimally. So, I’m here to share five other ways you can practice living a minimalist lifestyle, that has nothing to do with decluttering.

1| Focus on your buying habits.

You can declutter all you want, but if you’re going right back to the store—then you’re not doing yourself any good. The purpose of minimalism is that you’re removing the non-essential to make more room for what is essential. It’s about only having what you need rather than a new trend you may want temporarily. This could be a long post by itself, but you can also focus on shopping consciously at second-hand shops and thrifting for items to help with budgeting and ethical shopping. P.S. Have you checked out the true cost? It’s absolutely life-changing.

2| Go green + DIY.

Another area where you can simplify and minimize your life is with cleaning and beauty products. I’ve been focusing on streamlining my beauty routine and researching more on DIY scrubs, and natural products for my skin like coconut oil and homemade coffee scrubs. You can also clean a lot of of your home using vinegar and essential oils. There are tons of bloggers out there who are helpful should you decide to learn more about natural, green products for cleaning and beauty.

3| Rethink your food.

I have to give my brother and sister a shoutout here because I admire how they garden. They grow their own vegetables, fruit and herbs—and you can tell they enjoy the process and work behind it. Minimalism deals with consumption, which includes the food you eat. I’ve been trying hard to stay away from processed foods and enjoy a mix of fruits, vegetables, and protein. When we move into our home, I hope to do a little more with planting herbs and gardening in hopes that it will help me choose more plants and healthy, whole foods rather than snacks and junk food.

4| Practice what you preach. 

If you’re practicing minimalism, how do you show others? When the holidays roll around, are you giving nieces and nephews more clothes they don’t need, and toys they may only use for a short time? If yes, you’re not being faithful in your practices. Although not everyone practices this lifestyle, it’s important to remember that practicing what you preach is essential. If people see you giving unnecessary things, people will give YOU unnecessary things YOU don’t need or want. You’re only hurting yourself in the long run. Instead, give your niece and nephew day passes to the local zoo, aquarium, museum, or park they love. Give your sibling a date night with their spouse to a trampoline park or a new brewery. Give experiences or things they need or are useful.

5|  How are your goals?

Let’s say you’ve been working on this how minimalism business for awhile now, and you’ve purged your entire house from top to bottom. You went from spending an hour every day cleaning to two hours a week cleaning. You now have TONS of time on your hands because you aren’t cleaning and cooking for hours every single day. So what are you spending your time on? If you’re filling up your time with Netflix and social media—stop immediately. Get our your vision board and see what you want to accomplish. Now, make more time to actually work on those goals. Minimalism is about making time and space for the goals and life you want to live. Now, go do it.

You all know I love a good decluttering session, but there are other aspects of minimalism that will bring bliss to your life. Once you’re done decluttering, look to some of the other examples above like growing your own food, focusing on your goals and dreams, and overhauling your shopping habits.

What area of minimalism do you think would be the easiest and hardest for your to apply to your life? What area of minimalism do you think you’ll tackle next? Or, are you still working on the decluttering stages of your journey? 

Ki Signature

 

 

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Why Minimalism is Refreshing

Posted in Fashion, Lifestyle
on September 18, 2017

Have you ever thought about how many things you own? Think about it. Let’s not even go  talk about every room in the your home. Let’s just talk about YOUR stuff: clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, accessories, coats, etc.

You probably have a lot. Way more than you think. Probably even more than you could ever use.

So why do you have so much stuff? Why do we feel this intense need to have more stuff even though we already have so much stuff? We have a closet full of clothes we only wear 40 percent of, a rack of shoes we wear 25 percent of, and a cabinet of jewelry we wear 10 percent of. We don’t even use what we have yet we continue to buy more. Doesn’t that seem a little strange to you?

It seemed crazy to me, too. I was a person who owned SO. MUCH. STUFF. I owned so much jewelry that was never worn and I had a closet PACKED with clothes that I hated and didn’t love or find useful. I wore the same things yet I constantly wanted to get more, buy new, and everything in between.

Back when I began this journey of minimalism, I thought it would only go as far as decluttering my closet. I didn’t think anything life-changing would come from wanting to get rid of old clothes.

Except, it did.

Related: Decluttering Challenge for Beginners

Minimalism was the most refreshing concept to me because it allowed me to be okay with having things I only loved and got use of. It didn’t force me to go shopping every season for an entirely new wardrobe. It didn’t make me feel like I needed to spend half my paycheck on things and stuff when I was completely happy with what I already had. Minimalism is refreshing and it’s something I haven’t been able to really explain until now.

The other day, I decided to go through my entire closet and dresser and count how many clothing items I had. I counted shirts, dresses, seasonal wear, shoes, jackets, and everything in between. The only thing I left out were socks, bras, etc. I was shocked at how high this number was despite the fact that it was EVERYTHING I owned.

230. From tops to bottoms to bathing suits to dresses to sleepwear to workout clothes to formal wear. I owned 230 pieces of clothing.

And I’m sure you’re saying, “Wow, she’s DEFINITELY not a minimalist.” To be fair, I do call myself an unconventional minimalist for a reason! 😉 Also, I don’t think you need to ONLY own 30 pieces in your closet to identify with this lifestyle. I also don’t think we can really judge someone’s interpretation of this lifestyle solely based on how many items are in their closet.

To be honest, I wasn’t happy with that number at first. Until I remembered how much I had before this journey began. I used to own more than 19 pairs of jeans, 37 cardigans, 10 pairs of shorts, and 40 dresses. Now, I own 4 pairs of jeans, 8 cardigans, 2 pairs of shorts, 16 dresses. 

I don’t know about you, but the difference in those numbers are pretty substantial. That alone is 76 things less than what I had before, and that’s only a small part of my closet. I also forget that I work in an industry where I need quite a bit of professional clothing for meetings, events, networking, etc. I also workout often, so yoga pants and workout tops are essential.

Minimalism is refreshing because it’s refreshing to see how much you truly don’t need to live a blissful life. I’m still constantly getting rid of things in my closet (I filled a bag the other day with about 15 things) because I know 230 is still a large number. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that I had more than 600 clothing items at one point in my life. Looking back, if you counted jewelry, shoes, clothes, accessories, I would have been close to the 800 mark or more. But I got rid of a lot, I sold a lot, and I only kept what I loved. Have I purchased some new things? Definitely. But, I’ve learned that it’s better to invest in staples that will last for years rather than items you’ll only wear for a few seasons.

Minimalism is refreshing because it helps you practice contentment rather than spend money and shop unnecessarily. It’s refreshing to know that debt won’t be in my future when I’m happy with what I have and I only shop and buy when I know I truly need something or love something.

Even if you’re not set on the idea of minimalism altogether maybe you’ll consider going through your closet to see how much you have. Maybe it’s 800, maybe it’s 50. But, I’m sure the number will surprise you either way.

Tell me, whether you’re a minimalist or not, what’s the most refreshing idea about minimalism to you? Do you know how many items you own in your closet? Make sure to share in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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Pursuing Slow Living & Why It’s Important

Posted in Lifestyle
on September 6, 2017

What’s important to you?

Be honest with yourself. What is really important to you?

 

Are you looking to have a family with two kids and two dogs? Do you want to travel the world and explore new cities and countries several times a year? Are you hoping to begin your own business?

Whatever life goals you have for yourself is wonderful. But, the problem the may be holding you back is busyness. Busyness is something we’ve turned into a new normal, and it’s not how I want to live my life. It’s something that doesn’t make me feel blissful because busy doesn’t always mean we’re working toward that life we so desperately want.

Busyness can mean you’ve put too much time and energy toward work projects and you’ve tacked on an additional 10 hours unpaid for your time, energy and money. You could have spent that time relaxing, recharging, spending quality time with friends, family or yourself.

I don’t want my life to become so busy that I forget what it’s like to have free time. I don’t want to feel guilty when I have a day off because I’m used to having my day planned with zero time to relax.

That’s why I’m choosing to live life a little more slowly. I’m focusing on something that’s essential for my well-being, and you should, too. There’s a beautiful saying in Italian that truly resonates with me and this lifestyle: dolce far niente, which means the sweetness of doing nothing. Italians are masters of enjoying the small moments of everyday life without worrying about being busy and rushing to the next task or meeting. They are wonderful with enjoying these simple moments in life, and practicing slow living.

Why slow living is important:

1| Perspective

Perspective is something I talk about a lot here on the blog because I think it’s important to gain new insight and learn a different way of looking at life and how we live it. For me, living more slowly and intentionally will give a new perspective on what I truly find valuable to me. It’s how I’ll know what’s worth spending time and energy on.

2| More 

More time. More energy to devote to what you’re truly passionate about. More money because you’re not in a rush to go, go, go and get your drive-through breakfast and coffee every day. There’s more of everything in your life that’s good when we decide to slow down and live the life you want to live. More time to enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing. Dolce far niente.

3| Fulfillment 

I feel fulfilled when I know I’ve had a productive day at work, but I can go home and live my life without worrying about work. I do ever want to bring work home with me, and I don’t plan to. Home is where I can dedicate time to myself and to those important to me. It’s where I can relax, enjoy reading, workout, cook, blog, or anything in between. I feel fulfilled knowing I don’t need to check off 10 things off the ever-growing to-do list. Stress and busyness are created from ourselves, so it’s important to recognize who is responsible creating for the chaos and who is also responsible for removing the chaos. Both answers include you. It’s up to you which life you decide to live.

How can you work on living slowly?

Disconnect from social media and from your phone to actually enjoy time in a cafe with your bestie. Don’t feel the need to rush through Sunday dinner with your family. Instead, savor the meal, talk about your week and the week ahead. Make time to be present in the current moment you’re in rather than rush to the next part of your day. Be content with what you’re doing. Dolce far niente. The sweetness of doing nothing.

Living slowly and practicing this concept can mean that you wake up 30 minutes earlier to actually wake up, make breakfast and enjoy your coffee in your home before beginning the day. It’s about removing the rush and chaos from your day-to-day life. It’s about enjoying your day without feeling like busyness has taken over what you love most.

For me, instead of talking and enjoying the moment I’m spending with Josh and his family for dinner, I’m thinking about my week ahead, new ideas for my blog, book topics to write in the future, and so much more. My mind can’t fully shut off because of my internal need to keep going and keep feeling busy. Instead, I plan to put my phone away, shut off those work-mode thoughts and enjoy Sundays.

So how will you live more slowly? How will you practice the sweetness of doing nothing? Do you have any tips on this lifestyle? What busyness and chaos do you want to remove from your life? Be sure to share in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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