30 Day Minimalism Challenge

Hi guys!!! Happy Sunday! It is like the happiest Sunday EVER because Ben & I just signed our dream lease and I’m kindddd of freaking out. I will definitely go into way more detail about this later! But the house hunt is already done.

Woo!

Ok. So you guys know how important my environment is to me. I don’t know why but my surroundings have the BIGGEST effect on me and any time I can simplify my environment, I find myself so much more calm.

So after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (you can read this super old post on it here) I started to become a little more particular about what I brought into the house for decor and clothes I’ve purchased and all that fun stuff. Aka no more I-just-bought-20-items-from-Forever-21-for-no-reason shopping trips.

Then, I found out more about the concept of minimalism and kind of loved the idea of it. Because I cannot stand to have a bunch of STUFF for no reason. I think it comes from growing up in a smaller home and we just didn’t have space to store it all. Oh, and moving 8 times in the past 9 years also kind of has made me hate random stuff because I just don’t want to pack it all up and move it if I don’t have to.

Ok. So I swear this is all going somewhere.

My friend Dorothy and I went to dinner a couple of weeks ago, and she is like TOTALLY on the same page with me when it comes to random crap in the house. And we’re both long overdo for a big donation haul. (Seriously, my closet is overflowing with scarves and I can honestly say I have not worn ONE scarf this winter).

SO. I told her about this 30 day minimalism challenge that I heard about on a podcast (and you can read The Minimalists’ post on it here).

But no, this is not the minimalism challenge I attempted in January. Even though it did help me radically cut down on spam e-mails, have an excuse not to wear makeup for a day, and teach me that yes, I can survive a day without social media.

Basically you give away 1 item on day 1, 2 items on day 2, 3 items on day 3 and so forth. You keep going for a full 30 days (!!) with your partner so you can hold each other accountable. And honestly I thought no one in their right mind would be my partner in crime on this.

EXCEPT MY GIRL DOROTHY.

March 1st was day 1 so I’m a couple of days late on this BUT – I purposely didn’t post about it until today because it’s really not too late to join. The way that Dorothy & I decided to do it was to break it up into weekend hauls because in my tiny 1-bedroom apartment there really isn’t a way to “collect” stuff without being in everyone’s way.

SO WHO IS WITH US!??!!

Or maybe you want to partner up with someone in your life.

Doesn’t matter to me!

But heres the breakdown:

Yeah, I know, right? HOLY. ITEMS.

BUTTTTT. Hear me out.

I am personally TOTALLY counting old socks as 1 item each and articles of clothing as 1 item. So when I think of it that way it’s not too intimidating. But that’s part of the challenge! We want to see how far we can make it.

Honestly I think getting rid of socks, undies, and dishes will be at least 1 full week for me. Lol. And clearly I’m not donating everything. The unmentionables will be tossed for anyone who is like uhhhhh??

Ok. So who thinks I’m crazy?

Who wants to join me?

Who is excited to see my skin-and-bones home that remains just in time for my moving date? ūüôā

March is going to be a FUN month on here, you guys. I’ll see you SO SOON with something SO FUN. Love you all. Xo.

-TWB

Coffee Talk: House Hunting

Hi sweet friends!!! How is everyone doing today?! I am SO excited that it’s Thursday and time for our weekly chat! Seriously, it makes my week. I even treated myself to some fancy coffee this morning so I could really get in the groove.

Do you have your coffee too?! If not, pour yourself a big mug because that’s part of the rules. (Or tea, or water, or a nice little 8 AM ros√© moment, or whatever floats your boat but I like to pretend we’re on a little coffee date).

Ok real quick, before I dive straight in, the other night I had this like major blog breakthrough (in my head). All week this week, Ben has had to work late, which means I’ve been home alone with the cat every night until about 9 PM. No complaints or anything, but I feel like when I’m alone after work, I am actually super productive.

So the other night it was storming SO BAD and I’m absolutely terrified of storms. And I tried to watch the news and literally started crying (yeah, it’s that time, y’all lol) but honestly I was crying because of the tornado damage to a nursing home which is REALLY FREAKING SAD and I just decided I couldn’t watch it anymore.

Basically I closed all the blinds, turned off the TV, turned on some soothing music, lit every candle in the house and then I just sat here and THOUGHT.

I called it – wait for it – my Rainstorm Brainstorm.

Lol.

I thought it was hilarious and so did my mom OK!?!?!

Yeah I know it’s kind of lame, but that’s me, so whatev. Anyway. I actually just sat here with an open blank document and typed out every single idea that came to my mind that I could talk about. And then I pulled out my (barely used) content calendar, and actually WROTE DOWN when I needed to post these ideas, and also what I want to Instagram each day.

It was pretty epic. Because if there’s something that I’m not super good at, it’s planning ahead. I’m just a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person.

SO. With that being said I really do have so many fun posts coming up, and my Instagram (hopefully) will be a little cooler because I watched a tutorial on photo editing and I just hope it takes it all up a notch.

Sooooo within the next month expect maybe a few tweaks here and there. But I’m pumped.

Ok.

I feel like we just had a full coffee talk but y’all don’t even know what we’re about to discuss yet!

Let’s get into it, shall we?

*Dramatic Sip*

Today I want to talk about something SUPER relevant to me TODAY and that is house hunting. Or should I say – apartment hunting. Rental hunting, maybe? Idk. It just doesn’t sound as cool lol.

But yeah some background here, Ben & I are renters and we currently live in the Lakeview neighborhood. We love it, but we have both always wanted to live closer to the city. Honestly though, we’re really not high-rise types. I LOVE to visit high rises (hello!? Doormen, amazing views, elevators, pools, and gyms – who wouldn’t want that?) but for some reason I just think living in one would feel like I’m living in a hotel. So we really prefer more of a residential feel.

Yeah, if you couldn’t really tell (*sarcasm*), my living environment is super important to me.

You know the type of people that can just live wherever and as long as it’s cheap or by their work or whatever they really don’t care?

Yeah. Not me. I’m pretty particular.

And our landlord is actually selling our current place which gives us a deadline. I’m actually totally OK with this, because we currently live in a 1-bedroom and we just need a little more space. So the house hunt has officially begun.

But it made me think (because I’m like obsessing over it) – what do you guys look for in a new house?

I realize this may have a crazy variety of answers depending on where you live – someone’s NYC list won’t be the same as Hoxie, Arkansas (yes, I’m obsessed with Bachelor even though this season is SO BORING). But I still want to know!

Like if you were on an episode of House Hunters RIGHT NOW – what would be on your list?

Do you need a yard for your dogs? A parking spot in the city? Washer & dryer in the unit? Hardwood floors? Carpet in the bedrooms? An updated kitchen?

Are you a modern design lover? Joanna Gaines farmhouse-style? Or do you prefer more of an eclectic, vintage-y feel?

I seriously want to know!

I feel like you can learn so much more about a  person when you see their everyday environment and I seriously want to know your thoughts on this.

My wish list? In-unit washer & dryer are non-negotiables for me (and actually pretty hard to find in the neighborhoods I love). I am also a stickler for hardwood floors AT LEAST in the living areas. Bedrooms – I can deal with a little carpet, it keeps things quieter. Major updates aren’t a huge factor for me – I’m ok with older appliances as long as they work lol. Oh – and outdoor space is crucial for me. Idk what it is, but if I don’t at least have the option to walk out on a little deck or patio I feel kind of trapped.

I don’t feel like that’s too much to ask, RIGHT?!! Lol.

Should be an interesting next couple of weeks.

Ok but really. Can you guys tell me now??? Give me your House Hunters list! Even if it’s extreme, it’s just for fun! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!! Oh – and do you have any advice I should heed while looking? Anything you’ve run into that you want to warn me of!? Tell me that, too!

I will be back on SATURDAY. Yes, SATURDAY. With a new post where I’m sharing a challenge that I’m taking on in March. I’m excited to share. See you soon! Xo.

-TWB

 

Whole 30 Stir-Fry

Hi friends!!! How is everyone doing today?! I had a super relaxing & fun weekend in Louisville, and I actually tried to heed my own advice and slow it down a little this weekend. It was so nice and I automatically felt like my mind was “reset.” Anytime I’m feeling a little off, going home or spending some time alone is the cure for me.

So anyway.

It’s time for me to introduce you to your new favorite recipe.

I’m serious.

It’s the easiest & tastiest one yet.

And look. I get it. I say every recipe is the easiest & tastiest I’ve ever done. But that’s because a) it’s totes true and b) this recipe LITERALLY takes it to the next level in both categories. I’m talking fool-proof. You don’t even have to use a knife. You just need 2 pans, a couple of ingredients, and about 15 minutes of time.

That. Is. It.

It’s insane.

And anyone who watched my chicken burger debacle unfold on my Instagram story (it’s still on @thewindyblonde right now – worth a peek) you’ll know how important it is to me for recipes to be fool-proof, so I don’t end up coughing up a lung due to black smoke inhalation.

Lol.

But seriously it’s so good and filling and delicious you will feel like you’re cheating.

And sidenote – this is what I’m actually eating and taking to work every day this week, too. It heats up REALLY well. Y’all know I’m weird about microwaved meats and before I started¬†on my Paleo-ish lifestyle I really didn’t even eat meat before dinner.

This changes the game.

Have I hyped it up enough yet?

You guys are probably like OK WE GET IT, IT’S GOOD, MOVE ALONG.

But I have to at least fill my post with something because the ingredients and instructions are so minimal that there’s not much else to say. Lol.

Ok FINE YOU GUYS I’ll get to it.

Ingredients:

  • Ground chicken
  • Trader Joe’s Asian Vegetable Stir Fry blend (this part is KEY if you want this to be easy and/or not spend the entire day in the kitchen chopping veggies!!)
  • Coconut aminos (I use the Coconut Secret brand from Whole Foods)
  • Sesame oil (I know this is inconvenient but don’t buy the Trader Joe’s brand it’s not good! The Eden Selected brand from Whole Foods is worth it, I promise!)
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes (optional for a little heat!)
  • Fresh ground pepper (also optional, I just love pepper)

Directions:

  1. Pick out the baby corns from the veggie blend. Lol. #WHOLE30LIFE.
  2. Heat up some sesame oil at the bottom of two skillets over medium-high heat.
  3. Plop your veggies in one skillet and your ground chicken in the other.
  4. Season your veggies AND chicken with the same blend – coconut aminos, garlic powder, red pepper flakes (if desired!), ground pepper, and another dash of sesame oil. Don’t be shy with the seasonings!! I love mine super flavorful. Just keep in mind that the coconut aminos is a substitute for soy sauce, so if you don’t like salty things, don’t add a ton of this! Just use it as you would soy sauce.
  5. Stir the veggies and cover them and let them cook. Don’t stir!!! That’s how they get all brown & carmelized & delicious.
  6. Use a wooden spoon or other utensil to break up the ground chicken and continue cooking it until it breaks up like ground beef. Add your seasonings again – coconut aminos, garlic powder, and another dash of sesame oil. (Seriously.)
  7. Check your veggies so they don’t burn, stir them up!
  8. Let the chicken mixture cook on the pan until the water cooks out and the chicken starts to brown. Again, not stirring will help it get that nice carmelized color!
  9. Pour your chicken over your veggies & stir them together. I like to let mine sit in the pan for 1-2 minutes together after they’re stirred, taste test, and add any last-minute seasonings needed.
  10. Serve it up!

I like to throw mine in a few of my favorite glass bowls ever for lunches.

And then I put them in my new Scout bag & off I go!

So tell me… is this recipe something you would try? Do you think I hyped it up way too much? Do you have a favorite Whole 30 friendly recipe to share? Tell me everything!!

SIDENOTE: I know I mentioned this in my story but I LOVE getting reader suggestions!!! Let me know if you have an idea or if you’ve heard of a health or wellness trend that you are curious about!

I’ll be back Thursday with a new coffee talk! Until then. Xo.

-TWB

PIN IT!

Coffee Talk: Slowing Down

Photo above from @theeverygirl_ taken by @pollyandbooks.

Hi friends!! How is everyone doing today?! I am freakin’ exhausted. And I have no idea why. The other night (as in Tuesday)¬†we stayed out til almost 11 (!!) playing trivia. That MIGHT have something to do with it, but I also refuse to believe I’m so old that staying up past my bedtime one night can affect me so much.

I MUST be getting sick or something, right?!?!

Lol.

Anyway.

I hope you guys have a super strong coffee in front of you because it’s THURSDAYYYY! And that means it’s time for our weekly coffee talk. I had to stop at Starbucks this morning to get the job done (see my rant about fatigue, above) and nothing gets me going quite like a cold brew with a splash of coconut milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a pack of peptides. (You can read more about peptides and how they’ve helped save my skin¬†here).

Ok. Let’s take a collective sip and chat.

Last week I had a fun new coffee talk feature with Jordan Shull and it seemed like you guys loved it! I don’t think one-on-one coffee chats will happen every week, but I do hope to get some fun guests on the blog soon! I also got some good feedback on some other topics y’all want me to talk about, and I can’t wait to get started on those, too.

This week, though, we’re back to getting deep.

Because I know you guys secretly love it.

And today I want to talk about slowing down.

I’ve talked before about how I’m basically a psychopath who wakes up at 5:45 every day. I¬†shower, blog, take pictures for¬†that day’s¬†blog, chug coffee, make a homemade breakfast, try (key word) to pick a cute outfit for the day, then I¬†finally go into work, work a long freakin’ day, go home, cook dinner, catch up on e-mails, and then 9 days out of 10 I accidentally fall asleep at 8 PM on the couch because I’m so pooped.

And I’m exhausted even typing that out.

But that’s pretty normal… right?

Haven’t you guys ever thought about how weird it is that THAT IS NORMAL?

Sure, I fit blogging into my day and most people probably don’t do that, but I also don’t work out every day. I think if I did that I would go insane.

Lately though¬†(as in, probably the past two weeks or so) I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow way down. You know… allow time for rest and naps and movies. Not rush around like a maniac in the mornings. Drink my coffee in peace. Spend time with friends without watching a clock.

I have even been sitting down in the shower.

Yep. Just sitting down in there. Staying awhile. Not rushing to get out and get on with my day. (If you have never sat down in the shower, I highly recommend just taking a seat every now and then).

It has honestly been so nice.

I think we all put so much pressure on ourselves to go go go because we feel like we’re going to miss out on something if we don’t. I actually talked about this awhile back in my post You Deserve A Day Off.

But I still feel like our days off shouldn’t be the only days we take a little slower.

The craziest part about slowing down is that I feel like I’ve actually been more efficient with my time.¬†Usually I’m so rushed and life feels so hectic and overwhelming that I forget half of the stuff I have to do anyway because I’m going too fast. And then I have to backtrack and try to fit it in. And it creates even more chaos.

I can honestly say that hasn’t been happening since I slowed down. Sure, I do things a little slower, but I do them right the first time.

Isn’t that so weird how that works?

So I guess what I want to know is this Рhow do you think you could slow down in your day-to-day life? Would you slow it down a little in the morning? After work? On the weekends, maybe?

And if you did slow down, what would you do? Maybe spend a little extra time enjoying your coffee in the morning? Spending more time with your little ones? Calling someone just to chat? Reading a book? Taking a walk? Sitting in the shower?!?!?

Tell me everything!

Seriously! Don’t be shy about it. I LOVE hearing your feedback, and it helps me know that you guys are just as caffeinated as me daydreaming about a leisurely life. Lol.

I’ll be back next week – I have some FUN recipes on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them!!! Until then. Xo.

-TWB

 

TWB Tidbits Round 3

Hi friends! For some reason it feels like forever since we’ve chatted even though it was only last Thursday. Idk why. Probably because this weekend was a nice, slow weekend filled with movies (I watched Julie & Julia – so cute – and Lion – I literally sobbed the entire movie) and binge-watching super family-friendly shows like Unreal. (If you’ve seen it I’m sure you can sense the sarcasm here…)

Anyway.

I feel like I have so much to share with you guys that I’ve been doing. So today I’m going to share some tidbits! (You can read my first tidbits post here and round 2 here). Tidbits are just kind of things that I’m into lately that I’ve seen on¬†Pinterest or other blogs.

Are you guys ready!?

Let’s dive in.

Dry Brushing

Lately I’ve been obsessed with dry brushing because¬†I have a runny nose 24/7 (I’m super allergy-prone but I’m stubborn and don’t want to take anything for it) and whenever I dry brush at night, I wake up in the morning with SO many fewer allergy symptoms. You can read more about dry brushing here, but it’s basically exactly how it sounds. You use a natural bristle brush and on dry skin, brush upward toward the heart, starting at the ankles.

It actually has a ton of health benefits including:

  • Reducing the appearance of cellulite (still waiting on this one, tbh)
  • Sloughing off dead skin cells
  • Improving circulation
  • Increasing lymphatic drainage
  • Unclogging pores
  • Increasing energy

But I feel it the most on my allergies. No idea why or how it’s connected but there’s definitely a strong correlation between the two.

The Banana Bun

So you guys know I’m all about the low bun, but half the time it falls out into this weird, long-john looking bun-thing. Apparently it’s in style and it’s called the banana bun. So I’m definitely going to keep rocking this one, on purpose or not.

Natural Deodorant

I’ve been slowly trying to live a more “natural” lifestyle by removing as many unnatural substances as I can from my daily routine. I haven’t gotten too far – I still use an unnaturally vibrant blue toothpaste, and regular shampoo and body wash but I’m getting there!! For now, my biggest swap has been natural deodorant. I was actually a little hesitant on this one because hot yoga + nothing but essential oils in your pits = a little scary. BUT – not only has my deodorant kept my odor at bay, it has actually cured me of my sticky pit syndrome. You know that nasty,¬†sticky feeling you get when you forget the big D.O. at home. Doesn’t happen anymore. Pretty wild.

Plus I knocked this one out in one try. I am obsessed with Death by Lavender. I really don’t think I’ll have a reason to try another. This one really works for me! And it’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about living a more natural lifestyle, too.

(Oh and P.S. do you guys have any recommendations for natural toothpastes?! I think this is my next move. I cannot deal with the blue sticky slime all over the bathroom lol)

Dosha

Ok I know this is a little out there, but I’m super¬†interested in dosha right now. Dosha is basically a blueprint of your body and how it’s made up¬†of the elements¬†(you can read more about what dosha is here), and it’s made up of a proportion of Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Each of these¬†types have unique characteristics,¬†and they help explain what can make each of¬†us feel balanced based on our type.

Sidenote: I’m a sucker for quizzes and you can take a quiz to find out your dosha type here. My main dosha is Vata, and when I read about it, it’s scary similar to how I am. Like – it even tells me that I should go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6 to feel balanced, which – HELLO¬†– spot on.

Anyway. I won’t keep blabbering on about this, but learning about your dosha may be helpful for you if you’re just feeling a little “off” and want to get back on the right track!

Creamy, Smoky Whole 30 Pork Chops

Maybe it’s because I watched Julie &¬†Julia this weekend, idk, but this week I have been all about following new recipes. I definitely have to share some of my favorites soon but this creamy smoky pork chop recipe is freakin’ amazingggg. And easy, too. I’m serious, you should try it.

Ok.

Those are my tidbits!

I will be back Thursday with a new coffee talk! Any ideas on what to chat about?! Tell me below! And also share any tidbits of YOURS – favorite natural products, Whole 30 recipes, accidentally fashionable hairstyles – tell me everything! Xo.

-TWB