Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One Month in Seoul

I can't believe I've been in Seoul for one month already, time truly flies. I didn't actually mention it here, but I flew into Seoul on May 23rd and have just been enjoying my time here thus far. I'm not new to Seoul, or Korea for that matter. I actually lived here for 5 years when I was younger and have been back to visit almost every year since 2001. Last year was the first year I spent a full two months here, and I decided earlier this year that I wanted to come back again for another extended period of time.

Being away from home for two months (and staying with in-denial hoarders - sorry Mom & Dad, LOL) definitely validates that minimalism is the preferred lifestyle for me. I came here with a backpack (for the plane), one carry-on size and one mid-size suitcase, and I honestly still have more than I need here. 

Of course, I have the luxury of staying at my parents home while I'm here, and they have an abundance of everything, so even if I needed something back home, there's a good chance they have it here. Or I could just go out and purchase it, which is something I would not do for a shorter trip.

Although, I did find myself without a proper outfit for a wedding that I didn't know I would be going to before I arrived here, but luckily Korean weddings don't require formal attire.

Also, I'm thinking of doing a sort of "what's in my suitcase" type post or something similar. Let me know if you're interested in how I packed for long term travel. Or anything else related to travel or my time here in Korea. 









Monday, June 13, 2016

Where is the love?

Super saddened that it seems almost every time I log on or turn on the TV another tragedy has taken place in our world. How people can be so full of hate is something that I will never understand.

I'm very thankful that I was raised in an environment that taught me acceptance and love, rather than discrimination and hate. I can only hope that future generations get to experience more of the former.

Sending love & light to Orlando, the LGBT community and everyone across the world.

Spread love.




Monday, June 6, 2016

Black on Black Everyday Shoes

Admittedly, I have too many pairs of shoes. I've gotten rid of a mass majority of them, but without counting I still probably own over 80 pairs.

Minimalist, right? 

As for a good portion of my shoes, I'll admit I don't wear a lot of them. They're more of a collection that I'm not ready to part with just yet and I'm okay with that.

But I do have my pairs that get lots of wear. They're my go-tos for everyday wear and are perfect for travel.

Currently I'm loving the black on black Roshe Run by Nike. They're comfortable and they look good. I'm wearing them pretty much daily these days, especially if I know I'll be doing a good amount of walking (which I'm doing a lot of lately).

I couldn't find the black on black colorway anywhere in my size, so I did have to get these custom made but I couldn't be happier with them.

Nike Roshe Run



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Monday, May 30, 2016

Tips for Long Term Travel

Up until last year the longest trip I had taken was about 3 weeks long (unless you count the occasional summer at Grandma's, but when you're 9, you have no say in the planning). Last summer I decided to start taking extended trips to Seoul, to immerse myself in the culture (Atlanta's Korea town is cool, but not quite the same) but quite a bit of planning has to take place because two month is not a short period of time.

After last year, I think I have a pretty good system in place.

Travel tips for those long term trips (or even some shorter stays)


CLEAN LIKE YOUR ALLOWANCE DEPENDS ON IT 
I like to make sure my home is nice and fresh before any length of travel, because nobody should want to come home to a dirty bed, trash and piles of laundry. But I find returning to a clean home after a long trip is doubly important. You'll probably be exhausted and just want to pass out, and that'll be impossible if you have to deal with a bug infestation that manifested while you were gone.

I personally make sure all dishes are washed, trash is taken out, bedding is clean, floors are clean, counters are wiped down, laundry is done...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

21 Random Facts

Something a little different, little random today, but I wanted to share with you a fun (okay, maybe not that fun) post with some random facts about myself to help you get to know me a little better. Or maybe you'll just walk away thinking I'm a cry baby who can't make decisions. Either way.

Also, this caricature looks nothing like me. But that's okay.

It was free.





Monday, May 23, 2016

Decluttering Challenges

I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to decluttering, but I've also been told I have no emotions so that could be why.

Just kidding. I have emotions. I'm not a monster.

I am just very practical when it comes to stuff. If I don't need or love it, then I generally don't have a problem getting rid of it. And I always keep in mind that things are replaceable.

Decluttering has it's initial challenges, but you don't have to fall victim to them. Face these challenges head on and reclaim your space.


But you're not me, and you might have a little more trouble parting with your stuff. A lot of people do, they either don't know where to start or they find themselves faced with some of these challenges once they truly start examining their clutter.

Friday, May 20, 2016

BTS: How to Enable Rich Pins on Pinterest

For this week's behind the (blog) scenes, I wanted to share how I enabled rich pins for my site on Pinterest. It was super simple and only took a few minutes.

Super simple instructions on how to enable rich pins on Pinterest


WHAT EXACTLY ARE RICH PINS?

Rich Pins add a little extra something to your pins which help them stand out on Pinterest.  By enabling rich pins, your pins will show your favicon and blog name as well as the blog post title on all of your pins. You can see see some examples below on a few of my pins.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Go-To Green Juice

I've been juicing almost daily since Christmas 2014 when my sister bought me my first starter juicer. She knew I was eating healthier and taking better care of myself and thought juicing might be something I  would be interested in. She was right. This past Christmas I transitioned from a starter juicer to my holy grail big girl super juicer and I've grown to love juicing even more. It's just so easy.

PREP. JUICE. STRAIN. DONE

I did get a little too excited at the beginning and tried to make all kinds of fancy juices with fruits and veggies with names that I had never heard of. Sometimes I do still like to get a little creative and juice a Korean sweet potato or some red bell peppers, but for most days I have two go-to juices, one green and one red.

This is my go-to green juice.
 
My super easy go-to green juice recipe.

Monday, May 16, 2016

How to start decluttering

This one is for you, Ashleigh.

Whether decluttering or adapting a new healthier lifestyle, oftentimes the hardest part is just starting. I've had a few people tell me they want to declutter but they just don't know where to begin. Some have so much stuff it becomes an overwhelming task, or they struggle with parting with expensive, sentimental or just-in-case items. I'll talk more about these struggles in depth in a future post but for now I really just wanted to touch on starting. Because it truly is the biggest battle, but once you find that momentum you almost start looking for things to get rid of. At least I do. 


When it comes to decluttering, just starting is oftentimes the biggest battle. Here are a few tips to help you make that first step.

There's no right or wrong way to start decluttering, but my best advice for those who really struggle is to...

Friday, May 13, 2016

BTS: Taking Better Blog Photos

I'm thinking of starting a new series on the behind the scenes of blogging, where I'll share some of my blogging tips & tricks as well as what happens behind the scenes to create both this website and it's blog posts. Do me a favor and let me know in the comments if this is a series you'll enjoy.

In this first (and hopefully not last) post in this series I wanted to share with you how I ended up with the photos that I did on My Minimalist Skincare blogpost. The thought to share this process actually popped in my mind when I was taking the last set of pictures... you'll understand when you see the very last photo. 


Behind the blog scenes: how I upgraded my blog post photos with a few tips & tricks


Disclaimer: I'm not a professional photographer, I don't even own an actual camera. I don't claim to take amazing photos. But when you see what could have ended up on the blog post, I think we'll all agree that the end results are a huge improvement from where they started.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Simple Green Smoothie for Acne

I'm a creature of habit, I like routine or I get easily overwhelmed and can fall into bad habits. And by routine, I don't mean I follow a strict to the minute schedule each day, but that I have a few set habits that allow me move thru certain daily tasks with ease and little to no decision making. Like washing my face. And breakfast.

I wish I was one of those people who cooks elaborate instagram-worthy breakfasts, but I'm not. Just the thought of it makes me itch.

I enjoy my simple smoothie breakfast, which has been my routine for over two years now. It's so easy to make, tastes great and most importantly has been an essential step in my keeping my skin clear.

Simple green smoothie for hormonal acne


Monday, May 9, 2016

Five Items I Live Without

Below are a list of 5 things I always thought I needed until I actually got rid of them either by choice or by force (#5). My life is no worse off without them, in fact it feels just that much lighter and more efficient.

A list of 5 household items I thought I needed until I actually got rid of them


1 / DISH DRYING RACK

I actually spent a lot of time researching the "perfect" dish drying rack, which sounds pretty ridiculous. I know. I wanted something that didn't take up counter space, wasn't plastic and ugly... and ended up using an in-sink stainless steel rack for several years. While it served it's function, I wasn't completely in love with it. It started to look a little rusty and grimy and once you pile dishes into it, well, the whole situation isn't very aesthetically pleasing.

So, about a month ago I decided to just get rid of the rack altogether and not replace it. Because the most aesthetically pleasing, non-space-taking option is to not have one at all. Now, when I wash (most of) my dishes I just dry them immediately and put them away. So easy. And for anything that is awkward to dry with a towel, I just lay a towel out on the counter and place it on top to air dry.

Friday, May 6, 2016

What I'm Loving Lately #001

// THESE PANTS 

ASOS Jersey Harem Pants
Because they are real life the most comfortable pants I have every owned. I can barely tell I'm wearing them, which is great because I hate pants. They're perfect for throwing on to walk the dog(s) or running to the store or sitting on a 15 hour flight. And they kind of remind me of "ajumma pants", which I am very okay with.

I may or may not have worn them everyday since I purchased them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Minimalist Skin Care Routine

Note: If you haven't read my acne story, you may want to do that first. Just saying.

Minimal, natural skincare routine for hormonal acne prone skin


I have a four step skin care routine (three if it's nighttime), it's super simple and it's what turned my skin around from the hot acne mess it used to be. Essentially, the routine I follow is to:

WASH, TONE, MOISTURIZE, PROTECT 

To be a little more specific I detailed out exactly what I use and when I use it down below. These are the actual skin care products I currently use + a few alternatives that are also tried & true.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Acne Story

First, I should state that I am not a professional dermatologist, aesthetician or anything of the sort. This blog post is simply a recount of my experience with acne, a lead in to future acne related posts and should be treated as such. Also, this is going to be long, and it's going to contain some very unattractive pictures that I originally never planned to see the light of day. I apologize in advance for my face.

My story of how I "cured" my hormonal adult acne (w/ before and after pics)

Prior to age 24, I never in my life imagined a life with acne. I thought I had been blessed with perfect skin forever. With the exception of a rare blemish here & there, I had pretty much flawless skin. I never wore makeup and my “skin care” consisted of washing my face with water. Once in the 8th grade, a classmate even went as far as touching my face because she couldn’t believe that I wasn’t wearing makeup. She clearly had no respect for personal space. 

But some time in 2007, after I had turned 24 and was in my last year of college (yes, I was a slacker), my face decided it hated me and adult acne reared its ugly head. Maybe it was stress, although I don’t particularly remember feeling stressed, but it was my final year and I was constantly pulling late nights in the lab and library… so you never know.

But I do remember the progression exactly, it started on one cheek. Huge, red, inflamed cysts appeared out of nowhere. Then after a couple weeks, it traveled to the other cheek and in stayed in just those two areas... during that time. But, I was pretty much devastated, and very embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me.

I had never felt uglier.

Friday, April 29, 2016

5 Benefits of Decluttering


1 \ SPEND LESS & SAVE MORE

When you intentionally live with less, it's so much easier to not be tempted into buying any and everything. Before I decided to live a minimal lifestyle over a year ago, I spent ridiculous amounts of money on things that oftentimes never got used. I would even ask for specific presents, thinking "oh, this might be nice to have", only to have it become a dust collector. Not only was I wasting my money (& space), but I was asking others to waste theirs as well.

Now, before purchasing anything I ask myself "Is this something I really need? Will I actually use this?" and more often than not, the answer is no.


2 \ SPEND LESS TIME CLEANING

Cleaning has never been easier since I started decluttering over a year ago. For me, less stuff equals less stuff that I have to dust or wipe down, or move out of the way so that I can wipe down the surface that it's sitting on. Getting rid of bigger furniture pieces and keeping as much off the floor as possible has made it so much easier when it's time to vacuum... and if you're a pug owner, it's always time to vacuum.  I love that I'm not constantly having to move things around to vacuum around or underneath them. And because there's not a lot of "junk" everywhere, my place tends to look nice & tidy, even if it's not particularly clean.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Soothe Experience: In-home Massage, No Murder

I don't really remember how I came across the Soothe app, nobody told me about it, but I've had it downloaded on my phone in a holding pattern for a few weeks now. I had been really wanting to try it because I've been in desperate need of a massage but I'm someone who hates doing anything that requires me to schedule an appointment in advance. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it, not when you can fit me in because then I probably won't even be in the mood anymore. 

The only reason I was really hesitating to try Soothe is because I didn't want to invite a stranger into my house and then get murdered. Because how much would that suck?

Soothe: A review of the Soothe in-home massage app

But at this point I was getting desperate. I have a bad back in general, which is what comes from being a lazy girl all your life. But on this day in particular, it was day 3 of not being able to turn my head after waking up one morning with a lot of tension in my upper back and neck. I had just came home from grocery shopping and after carrying 5 bags up 3 flights of stairs by myself, because again... lazy girl, my shoulder was now starting to throb. So, I said eff it, I busted out the app (which kinda didn't work for me, I ended up having to switch to the desktop version), scheduled my first appointment for an hour later (the earliest you can have someone show up), and waited. I figured if I got murdered, well at least my neck and shoulder wouldn't hurt anymore.

But honestly, I wasn't worried. I had already done my research prior, which included reading other online reviews and reading everything on the Soothe website, which assured me that the "Soothe therapists are all licensed, background-checked, and thoroughly vetted", their words, not mine.

I was more worried about whether the therapist would be okay with me leaving my socks on, because my feet hadn't seen a pedicure since last summer. Not cute. I also had to pull my epilator out at the last minute and do a very quick leg hair removal when I realized that my legs were still sporting their winter coat. Even less cute.


The actual massage was pretty amazing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Top 5 YouTube Channels for Minimalist Inspiration

Like many people I turn to the Internet for inspiration when I need it, one of my favorite sources being YouTube. I especially enjoy watching videos, or sometimes just listening, as the last part of my day. It helps me unwind right before sleep. You may or may not already be familiar with them, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites.

My Top 5 Favorite Youtube Channels for Minimalist InspirationJENNY MUSTARD

Jenny is one of my favorite content creators on YouTube, Minimalist or not. Besides the fact that I love her aesthetic, she is extremely pleasant, and very likable. Her videos tend to focus around her vegan and minimalist lifestyle, and I especially enjoy watching her Sunday Breakfast video series that she films with her partner, David.

Also, fun fact: At the end of each of her Sunday Breakfast videos, she and David would do a quick Japanese stretching routine, so I commented one day that they should try out the Korean version. And she actually read my comment and took my suggestion.  And I think it's the cutest thing ever.




Friday, April 22, 2016

Is It Okay to Throw Out Yearbooks & Photos?

Yes

It is more than okay to get rid of anything that doesn't bring you any value. I don't believe in keeping items out of obligation or guilt or just in case.


Is it okay to throw out old yearbooks and photo albums when decluttering?



If something no longer is useful to you and keeping it around only adds clutter into your life, whether mental, or visual or hidden-away-in-a-storage-closet-for-no-reason, you should get rid of it. But I'm not you, so you should do whatever feels right for you. There is no right or wrong.

But for me, getting rid of both yearbooks and photos is pretty much a no brainer. I've actually wanted to do it for over a year now, but have been making very slow progress for reasons.

Starting with yearbooks, this was a very easy decision for me. 

I actually got rid of my college yearbooks a few years back, by donating them to the Goodwill. My picture was not in a single one of the yearbooks, so I honestly don't know why I even had them. Actually, I know why. It's because they handed them out for free. I now know that just because something is free, does not mean you need to take it. 

My grade 1 - 12 yearbooks were a slightly different story, because they did have some sentimental value. But not enough for me to want to keep each book.  They definitely served their value over the past 26 or so years, from the time I received that first yearbook and got my first signature in it. I've flipped through each book countless times, rereading messages from friends, circling their pictures and highlighting their names, drawing hearts next to crushes and crossing out the faces of people I didn't like.

But as I went through each book today, and reread those messages, I could barely put faces to names. As for the boys with hearts drawn next to them, I couldn't remember why I had ever liked them. Or why I didn't like the people with big X's drawn on their faces.

The point is, now that I'm in my 30's these were no longer memories that I was holding on to or felt the need to refer back to from time to time. The yearbooks were no longer needed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Whole (Foods) New World



When I first moved to Atlanta, I lived within a 2 miles radius of two Popeyes, Taco Bell, Checkers, and McDonalds amongst others. And I fully took advantage of the easy access and ate fast food for basically every meal. In my then 25 years, I had never thought about nutrition, eating clean, or just my health in general. I've always been on the slim side and had never had any real medical issues, and well, I kinda thought I was invincible. I was stupid.

I remember one day I was telling a friend of mine that I had to go to Walmart to get a few groceries, and he looked at me with a face of shock. Why on earth would I grocery shop at Walmart? I better start going to Whole Foods. Honestly, I didn't even know what Whole Foods was. I'd never heard of it before. And it still took me a couple of years before I stepped foot in one, but as soon as I did I remembered that conversation and knew exactly what he was talking about.

But this isn't about Whole Foods. It's about eating whole foods, eating clean and treating your body right. Now I'm no expert and I'm not perfect. I'm not a vegan. Or even a vegetarian. And I still eat some less than stellar foods from time to time, because that's life.  But I'm much more conscious about what I put in and on my body.

I'm now 33, and I don't remember the exact day or even year, but I'd say it's been at least 5 years since I stopped eating fast food. But it took a very awkward trip to the doctor to take that first step. Still, I'm thankful for that embarrassing memory, because now I rarely buy packaged foods, cook most of my meals and juice regularly. My overall health has improved, I sleep better, look better and just feel better in general.

I still need to figure out how to incorporate regular exercise into my routine, because even though I've made many positive changes over the years, a lazy girl still lives here.

Every day I'm living a little better than I was the day before. What changes have you made lately?

PS. I'd love to hear from you in the comments! Also, follow me on BlogLovin to stay updated on future content. <3

Monday, April 18, 2016

Natural Deodorants Pt 1: Why So Difficult?


I have seriously been struggling to find a natural deodorant that actually works for me. I've tried a few over the last couple of years and none of them keep me smelling fresh on a hot day. Currently, I'm using the Lavanila Vanilla Coconut deodorant which I thought was really nice, until it got remotely warm one day and my underarms were all like "Oh, you thought we weren't going to stink? Nope".

Natural Deodorants: If I didn't smell so good, would you still hug me? I've tried the Toms brand,  Primal Pit Paste and several hand made versions on Etsy (only Crunchy Betty's version comes to mind right now).

And I know a lot of the aforementioned brands work for so many others, so is it just me?  Maybe I just stink. Although, I hope not, cause that's not cool. I mean, my Mom doesn't wear deodorant at all, what the heck!

I'm going to keep trying to find that natural deodorant that is just right for me, and hopefully soon, because summer is coming. And I really don't want to have to break out the Secret stick.


RESOURCES / PRODUCTS MENTIONED
Note: The following links may contain affiliate links. You no likey, you no clicky. Full disclosure here.

PS. I'd love to hear from you in the comments, tell me your natural deodorant favorites (I'm desperate, seriously)! Also, follow me on BlogLovin to stay updated on future content. <3

Saturday, April 16, 2016

How I Earn an Extra $600 per month by Dog Sitting

Sometime last year, I needed a last minute sitter for Tyson. You know Tyson, he's only the sweetest old man pug puppy in the world. And so after some google searching for local dog boarding, I came across Rover. If you're unfamiliar, it's basically in-home dog boarding (and more) by locals in your area. 

Think AirBnB for dogs.

I never liked the thought of kennel boarding or having Tyson around a lot of strange dogs, or having to impose on friends, so this service was a perfect solution and I quickly became a client.
After using the service as a client for a few months, I decided to sign up as a dog sitter on Rover. 

I love dogs, and I knew I was just the type of sitter I would want to hire to watch my own boy, so it was a no-brainer. Plus, I've been wanting to bulk up my savings account, so win-win. Within days of signing up and creating my own sitter profile, I already had my first client.

make money dog sitting with rover

In just one month I made $593. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Where Have I been?


Where have I been? Nowhere, really. And am I a minimalist yet?

Yeah, pretty much.


I went missing from this blog for over a year, but I'll admit I don't really have a whole lot to report back. At least I don't think I do. I did keep up with moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle, and am very happy with how I've progressed over the past year. My life feels lighter and cleaner with less distractions.

I've gotten rid of so much of stuff, most of it the first couple of months. And I don't miss any of it. Well, except that one time I needed a can opener and realized I had taken mine to goodwill. Did I replace it? Nope. I borrowed one from the local pizza place for a few minutes and after that decided not to buy anything that comes in a can anymore.

Along with ridding my life of unnecessary clutter, I've also done a lot of research on zero-waste and how much trash we are producing, especially in the U.S. So, I've been trying to do my part to reduce my waste. I don't aspire to be zero-waste, but I definitely have taken a lot of tips and tricks from those who do live that particular lifestyle. Currently, I've gotten down to taking my trash out less than twice a month, and it's a small can. It may not seem like much, but I'm proud of my efforts.

I know I still have a ways to go, with both my minimalist journey and creating less waste but I'm okay with that. Because change takes time, and every little bit helps.

Oh yeah, and my eyebrows still haven't grown back yet.

PS. I'd love to hear from you in the comments! What have you been up to lately? Also, follow me on BlogLovin to stay updated on future content. <3