Simplify Sunday- Women and Friendship

birthday partyI’ve been feeling very introspective this week. I am prone to anxiety and over thinking things, so I try to focus my attention on the now, rather than the past or the future. However, sometimes living an intentional life means self examination.

Last week I mentioned that my favorite part of My 35 Project has been pushing myself to really connect with my loved ones. That’s still true. It has changed my perspective, and reminded me that it’s not selfish to take time out to nurture my friendships and relationships with my family. It’s actually what life is about, the core of it all. It’s easy to feel over scheduled and like spending time doing something for yourself is low priority, but it isn’t.

I was looking through the pictures on my laptop, and found this photo from my 30th birthday. Four years later, I am still very close to all of these girls, and I am so thankful for that. There are a couple of my girls that were missing that night, but they are the core of my support system 🙂 When thinking about what I want to be, what I want my life to mean, et cetera; being a good friend to those I love is near the top of the list.

However, the realization that I have come to through all of this retrospection is that I also need to be my own friend. I need to prioritize myself, and love myself the way I would a friend. This is next to impossible for me, because I judge myself nine ways to Sunday. It’s been said over and over, but it’s so easy to be your own harshest critic. WHY? Don’t we have the rest of the world to judge us? Who is going to love us most, if not ourselves? This week I am vowing to be my own friend and show myself some love and understanding. The most simple concepts can be the absolute hardest, and I think that’s why I struggle with this. I can and will do better.


Simplify Sunday- Strawberries and Cleaning

bedroom 1bedroom 2







I thought I would check cleaning out the bedroom off my list this week. As it turns out, there was not a single thing to get rid of in the bedroom. It is already really minimal. There isn’t even anything in that closet except two summer weight coats that I’m not currently using. I still feel good knowing that’s it’s been gone through, but I got off way too easy on this week’s project. That being the case, I decided to also provide you with a cocktail recipe!

ingredientsstrawberry sunset

I love to make up drink recipes, but I try to keep them as simple as possible. This has a few steps, but the ingredients are basic, with no extra sugar or pre-made mixes involved. It’s important to me to know what I’m drinking 🙂

Strawberry Sunset (serves 1 strong drink)

  • 5 strawberries
  • 3 ounces whipped cream vodka
  • 1 tablespoon limeaid (or just lime juice)
  • 3 ice cubes

Muddle the strawberries (save one for a garnish, if you like) until they are all smashed up! Then muddle in the vodka and limeaid. At this point, if you’re okay with the texture, you can just stir in the ice cubes for a few seconds to cool down the drink, then pull out the ice cubes and pour into a glass. If it’s too chunky, pour it in the blender for a few seconds (I ended up doing this). If you leave the ice cubes in when you’re blending it, you will get more of a daiquiri like texture. I took them out and got a thinner texture (I’m not crazy about frozen drinks).

Bottoms up!



Simplify Sunday- a Solution For Storage Containers

before and afterI asked everyone for ideas last week on how to organize my storage containers (Tupperware, Pyrex, random metal containers- all different shapes and sizes). I got almost everything in order, but this cabinet is always killing me! General consensus seemed to be that the best idea was to stick to the same shapes (too late for that) and store the lids separately. Here is my before and after! I know it’s not drastically different, but I’m pretty excited about the new look.

I didn’t really want to buy anything new, so I created this little box from things we had. I’m only a little ashamed to say that I pulled a cardboard box out of the recycling.

lidsI bent it to fit the space we had, then cut it so that I had sides and folded in the ends. I taped it all together with packing tape. At this point, it looked terrible. I decided to wrap it in wrapping paper. Then I went over it again with clear contact paper, to attempt to make it easy to clean and more waterproof (let’s face it, the lids are not always completely dry when they get put away). I lined the bottom with plastic shelf liner (which I also taped to the bottom with packing tape, thinking that it would be really annoying if it was always falling out with the lids). Now we can store all of the lids on the side, and easily pull them out.

I’m hoping this helps, and I’m super excited that I was able to make something entirely with things I already had.

In other news of the minimal, I pulled out a coat that I hadn’t worn in a long time. It’s wool, and I’m allergic to wool. I buy the dumbest things. Anyway, I wore it and it was a nightmare. I was able to convince myself that this beautiful coat must be donated, then went through the upstairs again (I am addicted, I can’t stop!). I found several more things to donate, and some items in the bathroom that were trash. Donation total for the week: $32. I feel so good about how everything is shaping up!

What do y’all think of my container? My husband thinks it’s kind of ridiculous, but he seems happy that the cupboard isn’t shooting plastic out at us every time we open it.


Simplify Sunday- the Great Room

living room 1I was really nervous about starting with the kitchen minimalizing task, and honestly intended to put it off. I thought I would do the living room and dining room (including the bar cabinet), and call it good for the week. I am in love with all of my dishes! I started with the living room, and it was way too easy. I moved onto the bar cabinet pretty quickly. I recycled a magazine I had read and a ton of recipes that I had never used. Going through all of the recipes was awesome because it inspired me to try some that I had forgotten about!

living room 2All that I could find in there to donate was a water pitcher, but I did find things to relocate to places where they would be used- throw pillows and candles. Then I was motivated enough to do the kitchen! I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I use almost everything. I found some old food to throw away and a few duplicates to combine (chocolate chips and oats that I buy in bulk), but only a Cuisinart attachment, a serving spoon I’ve never used, and dog harness Riley has outgrown to donate.

Guess what this means?!?!?! The whole upstairs of my house has been minimalized! I am so happy about this. J think I’m nuts, but he was extremely pleased that I organized the kitchen cabinet full of food- so I guess we both win.

I just have one big bag to take to donate, and then I need to finish the downstairs (which includes the garage). I do tend to constantly go through things anyway, so it hasn’t been a huge task, but I still feel really great about it. I love knowing everything that I have and that it all is here for a reason.

What’s the thing you most dread going through? For me it was the papers- the recipes and the files. The dishes, though, were what I didn’t want to part with. Maybe next week I will show you pictures of my kitchen and cabinets. Everything is pretty good now, but I do need a better way to organize the “tupperware” cabinet (any tips for that?). It’s a hot mess.


Simplify Sunday- Purging the Files

filingSo, if we’re being honest, and obviously we are- I had a rough week. Nothing serious, just too little time, too little sleep, too much cold not going away. I thought to myself about how I’m behind and hadn’t prepared anything for Simplify Sunday. I thought, I am almost done with the closets! I’ll just finish that, it will be so easy.

Ah hahahahaha. First I opened the guest closet, which was all done except for the Christmas box. I had told myself that I didn’t need to go through that, since I use it all. That is only sort of true. The worst kind of lies are the kind you tell yourselves, remember that! 🙂 I opened the box. There are two people in my household, and two dogs. We need four stockings, and that’s if I’m being generous because I’m pretty sure not everyone has stockings for their pets… uhh. Putting that aside, okay, I needed to get rid of four extra stockings. I also got rid of decorations and ornaments I don’t actually like or couldn’t remember where I got them. I like these things for the memories behind them, so that was a good decision maker for me.

Once that was done, I went to the downstairs closet. I couldn’t find much to get rid of, mostly just folded some blankets. THEN I realized that my safe aka filing cabinet is in the bottom of the closet. I needed to catch up on filing, and then go through everything and purge what was out of date or garbage. Everything on the floor in the picture above was shredded if needed, and recycled. I absolutely detest going through paperwork. After that I was feeling quite pleased with myself, so I rode that high and emptied out the shredder (involves cleaning the floor because I ALWAYS spill it all over the country) and did the ironing (ironing side note- J asked me yesterday why there is a permanent basket of laundry on top of the dryer. I was not pleased with this question and decided it was clearly time to do the ironing…). I finished up by quickly going through everything that has already been done and making sure no new garbage had snuck back in. So much for my quick minimalizing!

Total donated this week: one large kitchen bag equaling $42. Recycled a huge stack of papers and got my files organized. Got several dumb chores done. Feeling pretty good!


Simplify Sunday- My Dresser

Dresser BeforeLast week I posted a picture of my guest room, with some thoughts about my dresser. This is a close up of the dresser. I wasn’t sure if I liked the veil over the mirror. I got some feedback from readers that it would look better if I put the records away, and the idea to frame the veil. I like the frame idea, but I want to use it as a backdrop for something else and haven’t quite figured it out yet. For now, I reorganized a bit and went through the clothes in there. It only holds socks, tights, and work out clothes; none of which count for a capsule wardrobe by most accounts. Still, I like to keep everything as minimal as possible, and this seemed like a quick start for organization.

The dresser itself was a gift from my grandmother. It is part of a set that she has had for years, and I love having a part of her in my home. I sanded off the original paint, which was olive green and very worn. I spray painted it almond, switched out the handles, and lined the drawers in cute shelf paper. It is so fun to see things evolve and continue their usefulness. I like to see things be reused instead of thrown out. I wish I had before and after pictures! However, I do have the after picture of this week’s project.

Dresser AfterWhat do you think? I heard a quote once about how after you get dressed you should remove one accessory. I need to remember that more, because I think this looks much better now.

Here’s what I am going to donate:

  • one new pair of slipper socks that just feel weird on my feet
  • two pairs of trouser socks that I have never ever worn and for some dumb reason have kept for years
  • knee socks that I feel ridiculous in
  • two pairs of work out pants I never use
  • a bandana

Do you have any furniture that has been handed down? The problem with things like this is then you feel you can’t get rid of them if they no longer fit your lifestyle. However, I love my dresser! I would be happy to see my (as of now non-existent) daughter use it someday.