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Two Books that Changed My Life

Hi guys! So earlier this week I talked about New Years Resolutions and how I was doing so far this year (you can read about it here). As I mentioned in my post, I think it’s important to hold ourselves accountable for meeting our goals so we can keep growing! One thing that wasn’t necessarily a “resolution” but just a personal goal was reading more. I ended up stumbling on two books that made a huge impact on my day-to-day life, so I wanted to pass them along!

It's the red & gold book laying right under Taffy

The Artist’s Way

We always resolve to work on our physical health – whether it’s by eating right or working out more or quitting something that’s bad for you. But rarely do we resolve to work on our mental health, which is SO important. A healthy mindset will help you accomplish all goals and keep you focused and disciplined in your life. Even though I didn’t really set out to do this, The Artists Way has helped me accomplish a feeling of better mental health. Remember when I talked about it here? It turns out I didn’t really need to buy the book at all. I just needed about four pages out of it – the ones that talk about morning pages. Honestly, I haven’t really even worked on the workbook itself. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

Morning pages are three handwritten pages of your thoughts first thing in the morning. Before you have coffee, watch TV, scroll through your Instagram feed – just your bare morning thoughts. It is crazy how much this helps your mindset during the day. I’ve been rolling out of bed, curling up in 800 blankets on the couch, and just writing. It’s kind of amazing. I write about how I feel, I whine about things that bother me, and I get stuff off my chest that I’ve been holding in. I was TERRIBLE at keeping a diary as a kid, and the difference is, this isn’t a diary – it’s three solid pages of just thoughts in your head. I literally look forward to it every morning. And it allows me to focus so much more throughout the day, because instead of this long “to-do list” in my head, I’ve figured everything out already so I just get it done. Some days it’s whining about how I don’t feel like going to work, other days it’s just random thoughts that I’ve been thinking but couldn’t really put into words.

I think the reason I’ve been able to stick with it is because there’s an end in sight. I know I’m just done after three pages. After page 3 I literally cut it off. Sometimes it’s mid-thought. And some mornings it literally takes me 10 minutes because I’m flying and other mornings it’s more of a struggle and takes about 20. But regardless, it just puts me in a better state of mind, and I can honestly say my mental health has improved as a result.

It’s pretty great and I highly recommend that you try it! It’s so easy and the mental health benefits are honestly really noticeable even after the first day, and by getting all of that internal whining out of my head I can really focus on being productive and creative throughout the day. (P.S. If you have a Kindle you can get a copy of the The Miracle of Morning Pages for just $2.99 on Amazon. Here is a link.)

 

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I bought this book because I’ve seen it everywhere and honestly the synopsis on the back cover totally reeled me in. To give you some background, the author has made a living out of helping people organize and live by a minimalist approach to your “stuff”. Aka she helps guide you in the process of throwing out crap you don’t need, and finally living in a clean and organized home.

I am the queen of having a clean house BUT when  you open a closet or drawer, things just come tumbling out. It’s been like that since I was a kid. I would stuff everything in my closet and my room would look clean to the naked eye, but behind closed doors it was a messy disaster. This book actually helped me sort through the crap and put sentimental feelings aside and actually keep only the things that make me happy. That ill-fitting sweater that I have to keep because I just bought it? Donated. That expensive shirt that I have to keep just because it was expensive, even though there’s now an oil stain on it from cheese fries? Donated. It feels so good to get rid of the crap that weighs you down.

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You should have seen my drawers before

By being honest with myself and only surrounding myself with the objects I love, I feel less stress every time I open a drawer and it is just so much easier to keep the house clean. Everything has a place and a purpose and all of the other junk is gone. I feel like I can breathe. Not to mention it takes me about 10 fewer minutes to get dressed in the morning because I open my closet doors and I genuinely like every single top/sweater/shirt option so I just grab one out! Seriously if you don’t believe me look at my closet before:

I am not proud
I am not proud

And my closet after:

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So much more room for activities

There is really no argument here – it really did change my life. Here’s a side-by-side view for full effect:

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But I didn’t just stop at my closet. I also cleaned out my fridge, food pantry, bathroom cabinet (which entailed about 2,439 unused hair products), utility closet – everything. It’s pretty great. I would recommend reading the book, though, because she helps guide you by telling you exactly how to go through your things (not room by room, but category by category) to make the most impact. To date, I have already packed my car with 9 full trash bags ready for Goodwill and  I still have a couple of categories to go. I think the reason why it has been so easy is because I think about how much these items can impact someone else’s life, instead of just sitting in a closet unused. I always feel so much better after I donate my unused things.

My assistant. Just too cute not to post.
My assistant. Just too cute not to post.

So tell me – do you write down your thoughts anywhere? Do you have a trick to keeping your house tidy without reading a book about it? Or have you already read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Tell me everything!

I’ll be back Saturday with a fun new post so be sure to check back or subscribe to get an e-mail straight to your inbox when I post! Have a great rest of the week!

-TWB

SoHo(me) Tour

A couple weeks ago I did a home tour of my apartment in Chicago and it turned out to be a pretty popular post because I think everyone likes to see other people’s houses. There’s something about seeing the way someone else lives that is so intriguing to me. I love seeing pictures of pretty houses and I stalk the Interiors section of Pinterest almost daily. I just love it.

So as you know I visited New York last week and stayed at my bestie’s apartment in Soho. It turns out her apartment is SO cute. I literally squealed when I walked in because I loved it so much and I wanted her to come home and decorate mine. So while she was at work on Friday I whipped out my camera and did what a super creepy BFF does. I took pics so I could share it with you 🙂

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

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Brooke’s room doesn’t have a closet which may sound like a tragedy for any girl but somehow, of course, she made it the cutest area ever. Oh and she has a pretty amazing boot collection from working at Frye that will make you totes jealous.

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Oh and did I mention girlfriend hooked me up for my birthday?! I guess she’s kind of nice for giving me these…?!?!

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Her bathroom is so cute. I’m obsessed with the black & white tile.

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Even her roommate’s room is adorable and even though I’m not creepy enough to go in and take a billion pics I am creepy enough to take one. I couldn’t resist. It’s just too pretty.

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Sooooo yeah basically my bestie has the cutest apartment ever. Doesn’t it make you want to move in!? And/or have her come put a gallery wall in your house?! It’s kind of amazing.

I hope you have a great rest of the week! TGIT! I will see you Saturday with a post about my skin struggles and how I think I finally found a solution. I’ll see you then!

-TWB

The Windy Blonde Home Tour

So earlier this month I did a post about my New Years Resolutions and some goals I wanted to accomplish. One of those goals was to finally figure out how to use my amazing new camera off of “automatic” mode. Well as great as that sounds it is extremely hard to practice photography in an 800 square foot apartment (I think that honestly might be an exaggeration. I may be more in the 600-700 square foot range) without taking 1,249,480 pictures of your cat.

Yes, she’s cute. Yes, she’s photogenic. But let’s face it I needed some more material. And Chicago decided to make it even harder by dropping down to single-digit temps, so practicing outside just wasn’t an option.

So I decided to practice by doing a home tour! It actually comes at a good time because I literally JUST redecorated our living room. I was actually at Ikea on New Years Day.

Sidenote #1: I do not recommend ever going to Ikea on New Years Day. Apparently a lot of people decide to redecorate their entire homes that day.

Sidenote #2: Do NOT attempt Ikea alone. Ever. I was sweating. Panting. I have wounds from the experience. I just wouldn’t recommend it.

Sidenote #3: All of the items that I can find online are linked at the bottom, in case you’re interested in any of the products shown!

Since I live with a boy (hi, Ben!) I try to keep my style as gender-neutral as I possibly can. We literally have complete opposite taste – I love light, white, and simple and he loves dark, masculine, and traditional – so sometimes it’s a little tough since I tend to do the shopping. Ok – since I always do the shopping. We have some dark, masculine pieces with our big brown couch and big comfy brown chair, so I added a white bookcase for our TV stand and opted for a small white dining table to make it feel more spacious. For pops of color, I picked blue – for some reason I’m always drawn to blue. Go cats.

I also tried to incorporate little things we’ve picked up on trips – such as our tea-bag-holders from a Curacoa delft store, our $2 maps from San Juan, and my burlap Bluegrass Roots pillow.

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For our bedroom, I kept it neutral but still added some fun items to spice it up, like our metallic lamps and faux-fur throw.

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Please do not feed the model.
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Annoyed with my jokes.

The kitchen is where I channeled my inner Joanna Gains, adding some topiary and wicker elements, plus a vintage-looking metal sign for some interest. (If you want to see more pictures of my kitchen click here).

 

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Obviously I have San Pellegrino because I’m such a #blogger. (This bottle actually sat in the fridge for 6-8 weeks and I had to talk Ben out of throwing it away three separate times. I opened it solely for this photo).

I hope you enjoyed the home tour! Shop the look below! Most of the items are on sale at Target so jump on it now! (Pssst….. There is also link for free shipping on my right sidebar!)

Living Room:

Hammered Gold Tray – Blue Striped VaseStone Colored Coffee TableBlue and White Rug – Large Wicker Basket – Gold Antlers – Three Sunburst MirrorsWindow Pane Mirror (similar) – Large Gold Candle HolderSmall Gold Candle Holder

Bedroom:

Black & White Lumbar PillowFaux Fur ThrowMetallic Lamps

*Cat not for sale

Kitchen

Sorry guys, everything is from Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Homegoods! Except for the Pellegrino – that is from the grocery.

Didn’t see a product linked? Comment below and I will let you know where I found it! 🙂

The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.