Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Looking Back on 2015

     I must say that 2015 was a great year. Marc and I spent a family vacation in Las Vegas. We bought a house. We built our relationships with friends to an even deeper level. I also started the on a journey towards a minimalist lifestyle that has now completely changed the way I look at our lives, as well as my perspective on consumerism.

I'll start from the beginning. 

     I always thought that being a minimalist meant you had to live out of a backpack, have dreadlocks and eat granola. I thought that it was about being a free spirit and never settling down anywhere for a long period of time. It was a lifestyle that I admired, however after doing some research, I realized that I was definitely wrong about what minimalism was.

     I somehow stumbled across a Youtube account of a woman who decided that she wanted to change the way she was living her life. She decided to document her journey after she read a very popular book this year called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. In her video she described Marie's approach to de-cluttering your space, and only owning items that are useful to you, or things that you love. After watching that video, I tracked down the book and read it from cover to cover. I loved the idea of only owning a small selection of items, and was elated with the idea of not having clutter around me. I started to follow Marie's methods, and after a few days, I had 4 garbage bags of clothing and shoes to donate to Goodwill. 

     This method wasn't exactly new to me, as I've always been someone who was good about going through their items every so often and doing a purge. The issue was that I would turn around and buy more items to replace the ones I was getting rid of, and starting the vicious cycle over and over again. When Marc and I lived in our 1 bedroom apartment in the city, I always felt like it was such a mess all of the time.

      Now looking back I realize that it wasn't because we were messy people, it was because we owned WAY too many things that we didn't use, and didn't have room for. I felt like not only that our home was cluttered, but so were our minds. There was too much to look at, to clean around, and too much to dig through when trying to find anything. Looking back, I wish I could yell at my younger self not to hoard, but to downsize and not fall into the trap of consumerism. That it took longer to search for what I was looking for, than to just throw out the junk in that drawer, cupboard or even closet. 

     While pitching my clothing and stuffing it into those garbage bags, I not only felt a sense of relief, but a sense of hope. I was ready in that moment to change the way I viewed my life and the things around me. I no longer had sentimental attachment to things I was told to have attachment to anymore. I didn't need trinkets, and figurines, and all of those items that you are told to have out so they collect dust. I packed them up and sent them to Value Village. It was the most freeing feeling I had felt in a long time.  

     I then moved onto my most beloved items - my makeup. Yes, I was actually able to pass on items and throw things out that I wasn't using. I would go in rounds of the things I wasn't sure of, and eventually they would make their way to the garbage can. I had so much stuff that I had forgotten about items that had been pushed to the back of my drawers. I was about to get my collection down to a good size, and it made me excited. 

      Even though we bought a house, I still have been making sure that we aren't filling it with stuff. Marc has been awesome through this process, and we are working to make sure that everything we own has a place. We need to work on a few spaces around the house that aren't completely being used to their potential, however, we have made leaps and bounds thus far. My ultimate goal is to downsize even more throughout 2016, and working at it bit by bit has really worked well for me.

     I've come to realize that even though I can't see myself becoming a true "minimalist", I do see myself as someone who isn't surrounded by items. I am working towards being someone who doesn't need to organize constantly because I won't have drawers and cupboards filled with things that I never use. I want to have a warm and welcoming home that you feel comfortable in without having to fill it full. 

     I am really proud of the progress I have made so far. I feel that even though it might not look like much progress to others, I have come a long way from where I was. This idea has made such a significant impact on who I am becoming as a person, and I want to continue to work towards this awesome idea of simple living.

      Thanks for reading! I hope that I have given you some insight on what minimalism looks like to me and how it could help you if you're feeling overwhelmed by the things around you. 

Happy New Year! What are your goals for 2016? 

Until next time!


Saturday, 5 December 2015

20 Random Questions

1.What's your favourite Dr. Seuss book?
- I love the book "Oh, the Places You'll Go". Even as an adult, it is very inspiring.

2.If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?
- Well this one is easy, it would be Penny's apartment on the Big Bang Theory. I would just have to tidy it a bit.

3.What's the longest you've gone without sleep?

- 25 hours. It was for a Wake-a-thon.

4.What's your favourite Barry Manilow song?

- Ha, Barry Manilow. I actually really like his "Because its Christmas" album, and I love song with the same name.

5.Who's your favourite Muppet?

- It used to be Fozzie, but now that they created Pepe, I'm hooked. Have you ever watched Muppets from Space? He's hilarious!

6.What's the habit you're proudest of breaking?

- I honestly can't think of one. I guess the habit of owning back-up products of things, and shopping in general. Now that I don't work in the beauty industry, my makeup collection has dwindled.

7.What's your favourite Web site?

- That's easy. Youtube.

8.What's your favourite school supply?

- Well now that I work in a school, I would say anything to colour with. I prefer pencil crayons. 

9.Who's your favourite TV attorney?

- I got nothing.

10.What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles?

-  My most recent would be going to see my sister in the mountains. We were there in August.

11.What's the best bargain you've ever found at a garage sale or thrift store?

- I found a really nice leather crossbody bag for $6. It was exactly what I have been looking for and wore it a lot.

12.Where were you on September 11, 2001?

- Was in Grade 11. I remember going for lunch downtown with some friends, and seeing footage on a television at the local restaurant. I remember thinking that it was a movie trailer until realizing it was real life. Most of the students went back to school and watched the news for the rest of the day. We were all devastated, and scared for New York. We were also on alert because no one really knew if anything would happen to us or not. Those memories are still as vivid as ever.

13.What's your favourite tree?

- A Christmas tree. Well, a Balsam Fir because they make the best Christmas trees for decorating. I also love maple trees. It is the one thing we are missing in Alberta. I miss the colours they turn in the fall.

14.What's the most interesting biography you've read?

- I honestly haven't read enough biographies to choose.

15.What do you order when you eat Chinese food?

- I usually go for Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice. I also like Egg Foo Yong, and Spring Rolls.

16.What's the best costume you've ever worn?

- My parents made me a Glinda the Good Witch costume when I was 6 or 7. I had a tulle skirt and a sparkly crown made of glitter. I felt like a million bucks.

17.What's your least favourite word?

- Photosynthesis. I just don't like it.

18.If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?

- If I had to choose, it would be Maryland. Then I would shorten it to Mare. Not what you were expecting right?

19.Who's your favourite Care Bear?

-  I always liked Cheer Bear, but Brave Heart Lion was pretty cool, too.

20.If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

- Teleportation. That way I would never have to worry about flying again, and I could go home every night to have dinner with my family in Ontario.

And there you have it! Let me know what some of your answers would be!

Where the Heck Have I Been?

Well, hello! I have no idea where to even start with writing this. It's been quite a while, and although I'm excited to be back, I just hope I can keep the momentum of writing again. I really missed this.

So, I guess the only place to start is from where we left off. Marc and I are now living in Alberta, just south of Edmonton. We moved out here in September 2013, and Marc is now teaching at the local high school. I also took a position at the elementary school down the street, and am working as an Educational Assistant. This year I am working in the Grade 5 classroom. It has been interesting to say the least.

We also bought a house in July! We had been renting, and knew it was time to look for something of our own. We really lucked out with buying this place, and have a fantastic backyard! It is so nice to have bonfires again. We were lucky enough to not have to worry too much about renovations. We had to patch a few walls, and paint, but that has been about it so far. This house is a modular home, and was built in 2002, so other than being a little outdated, it is in fantastic shape. The yard and deck need a little TLC, and we have to work on some landscaping, which will keep us busy in the spring.

Our wedding is also coming up. We are getting married in Las Vegas at the end of March, and I couldn't be more excited. We only have a few things left to do for the wedding, and I'm really happy that it has all been going so smoothly. 

We are also gearing up to go home for Christmas this year. We hung our Christmas lights outside at the beginning of November, and our tree went up on November 15. I know that is early for some, but I couldn't wait any longer. I wanted to get as much Christmas time in before we fly home. I just love the holiday season.

I guess that is it for now. I have a few posts coming up soon, so stay tuned for those. Thank you for reading!