5 things: habits

five things

We’re well into the new year by now and I’m making some serious progress on my 2019 goals or, rather, habits. That’s right. I’m making ch-ch-changes this year, especially when it comes to spending.

Here are 5 things [habits] I adopted in 2019:

budget tracking and cash flow

I’m not a huge spender, but I’ve become a bit lax when it comes to being accountable for my spending. I decided to change that and adopted a new cash flow app (EveryDollar), combined this with a paper tracker (the Happy Planner budget insert), and returned to a system that worked for me a few years ago: cash budgeting. I don’t use cash for every purchase, but by sticking to a budget, I have a better sense of where my money is going and the purchases that serve me well.

not buying coffee (unless I make it worth my while)

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m brewing my own coffee while at work. There’s a Starbucks in my building. The temptation is real and one that led me down the debt rabbit-hole when I was a low-paid college student with a caffeine habit and a credit card for “emergencies”. I’m not saying lattes will destroy your credit, but it’s such an easy habit to adjust. At home, I have a milk steamer/frother and all the coffee-making implements I need for a bougie blended drink. At work, I have a french press, a pack of instant (for when I’m lazy), and my favorite creamer. If I really want a latte, it has to be worth the $5 for the non-dairy milk.

meal prepping

Meal prepping comes with an added benefit: time-saving. I was a big meal-prepper when I was working on food intolerances a few years ago, but I fell of the wagon. Hard. Food is one of the areas where I spend the most money and it’s another one that’s easy to change. Part of my cash budget includes restaurant-spending, so I’m setting a limit that covers me for a few meals/dates each month. All other meals are prepped at home, usually with the help of my InstantPot (a life-changing bit of magic). Going mostly plant-based has also helped because cheaper, faster meals.
re-finding a fitness routine

Much like the meal-prepping, I fell off the regular fitness habit. I have reasons, mostly physical, some mental-health related, but overall, I just felt too tired and achy to workout much when my hormones were out of whack. Now that I’m feeling better (better, not perfect), I’ve started walking longer distances, running (occasionally), and reviving my relationship with yoga. I’ve also been doing the LoveSweatFitness Daily 10 routines on days when I only have enough energy for 10 minutes of physical activity.

outfit tracking

@lifeingminor is a project with a purpose – to document how I use the pieces in my wardrobe and develop a conscious relationship with the clothing that I own. I’ve been posting consistently for the last two months and recently started adding my project pan  updates. It’s another way to take control of my spending and better appreciate the pieces I bring into my home.

 

Advertisements

5 things: minimalist transitions

It’s a little more than 3 years since I decided to adopt a simpler, more minimal approach to life and consumption. I was already interested in green initiatives, but, naturally, this led to an increased interest in low waste, DIY, conscious consumerism, curated collections, and introspection. Like many, I started with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and took off from there. The book really was life-changing, altering my philosophy on home, spending, and happiness in general. My initial goal in reading the book was to inspire my mom to change some of her own habits and overcome her fear of letting go, what I found was a new outlook that resulted in a happier, simpler me.

I filmed a few videos describing my early experience with “sparking joy” (I’ll be restarting that that series soon, re-titled “minimalist transitions”), but here are 5 things that facilitated the process and/or inspired me to think about what I consume.

5 things: minimalist transitions

the book

This is the book that started it all for me. I borrowed it from my library and learned so much, I wanted to share it with everyone. I still apply KonMari’s philosophy and strive to surround myself with things that spark joy — in life, work, and home.

KeepCup

I have a coffee habit, and while I’m still working on minimizing my use of disposables, this was a start. KeepCup has since become the cup du jour among the cool kids.

I am not a cool kid, just a posh nerd.

Fjallraven Kanken (classic and mini)

I have two of these – the classic in red and the mini in brick. I work at a university and I have a lot to carry. I also travel for work and love Swedish design. These bags hold EVERYTHING and don’t make my back hurt (joy all around); they also helped me re-evaluate what I carry, and learn that I value comfort and practicality above all. I wear a Kanken on most days and have gotten sooo much use out of them. Fun fact, I used my amazon reward points to purchase both of them. I paid $0 for each.

Lesson: use those credit rewards!

tieks

I’ve talked about these before (here, here, here, and here). These were the 1st big, well-researched fashion purchase I made after re-evaluating my spending and shopping habits. Purchasing a pair of $175 shoes is an investment and not one I made lightly. This purchase forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with fashion, and appreciate the quality and durability of well-made shoes. Two years on, my first pair is still one of my most-worn items.

Another happy side-effect, I was able to let go of all the shoes that made my feet hurt. I reach for tieks whenever I’m not wearing my Lotta’s (another purchase made for comfort and durability).

Note: I have the luxury of being able to afford these. This is a luxury that I did not have once upon a time, but one that I am aware of. Buying secondhand, quality items that live up to their value is always an option. Quality does not always = $$$.

project use it up

Not a thing, but a concept – “project use it up,” or tracking my empties, has resulted in a greater understanding of what I buy and use, which leads to fewer impulse buys and more selective purchases.

some thoughts…

Do you need these things to adopt a lower waste/minimalist philosophy? No. Do they help? Sometimes, but you can find your own joy sparking alternatives. The items listed are items that I love and appreciate for their style and purpose; they have a classic, timeless style and will serve me for years to come.

Affiliate links support the Bluestocking Circle Podcast.

5 things: music to write to

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a 5 things, and with the death of Polyvore, I’ve been thinking how to create new themes.

For today, I give you 5 of the Spotify Playlists I listen to when I need to focus on writing, or while working on projects where I crave no distractions.

Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack

This album is electronic, atmospheric, and just the right amount of adrenaline-pumping to get me going. Really good for writing action.

Late Night Jazz

This playlist works for me at any time of day, but particularly when I want to relax into writing and forget about everything else. I also enjoy this playlist when settling in for a good reading session.

The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack

Like the Thor soundtrack, this one is atmospheric enough to get me going, but smooth enough when I need to focus on words rather than pacing.

Ambient Chill

I listen to this at work. It’s my version of office muzak. Unobtrusive and easy to listen to when working in an office.

Femme Fatale

Sometimes I need something dark and sexy to set the tone.

5 things I have been loving lately

5 things I have been loving lately

 

Kosas cosmetics lipstick in Rosewater

NOW Hyaluronic Acid serum

Katie Dunlop’s Hot Body Sweat Guide workouts

teapigs. Popcorn tea after lunch

The hilarious and poignant “Into the Twilightpodcast on Soundcloud, which is bringing back all the angst, feels, and trashy wonder of Twilight.

5 things: unexpected love stories

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I rounded up 5 of my favorite, unexpected, slightly unconventional, but totally magical love stories.

5 things: unexpected love stories

 

Lovely, easy breezy reads with a twist. A Song for Summer is a historical romance set against WWII, while The China Garden is set in the English countryside sometime in the ’90s (I haven’t read it in a while, but I think it’s aged pretty well). UprootedShades of Milk and Honey, and Rose Daughter need little introduction. Excellent, magical girl fantasy for all.

5 things: making me happy right now

I feel the need for a little lightness. Here are five things that are making me happy right now…

5 things: that are making me happy right now
My Lotta clogs, because this color is just perfect. Turtle necks, because it means it’s not a 100° outside and they make me feel like a French girl. Almond milk lattes, because Starbucks finally made my non-dairy dreams come true and I don’t care if they’re not Whole30 approved. My Kanken mini, because it’s orange and Swedish and the perfect blend of modern and retro. RMS diabolique, because it’s the perfect blush and if I go overboard, I look like a Flapper.

5 things: fantasy reads (or recent loves)

I read in all genres, but I always come back to fantasy. It is truly my not-so-guilty pleasure. And I have read a lot of good fantasy this year. I am especially partial to what I think of as magical girl fantasy (much like magical girl manga), so I scoured my list of 2016 goodreads books for my top 5 of 2016 (read in 2016, not published). Here they are in all their wondrous glory:

5 things: recent fantasy reads


These books are otherworldly, mythic in scope, and full of wit and wonder.

5 things: wishes (and delayed gratification)

5 things I'm wishing for

 

I made this collage a few days before the accident. These were the things I was craving, coveting, and yearning for… some are big purchases, some are simple pleasures, all are now on hold for the foreseeable future. Life is like that sometimes.
The tieks and the laptop are the biggest investments, and will likely need to be made regardless of the car-buying situation, but I’ll continue to make do with what I have for the time being and continue my research.

5 things: fall edition

5 things: fall edition
When I think of fall, I think of autumn hues and new things to write. Of course, Fall means NaNoWriMo and all things writing. I’m still debating whether that will mean a new story or a rebellious revision, but the season of the pen is among us!
Bold red lips (or very pale nudes) are also a big fall factor for me, as well as mustard-colored everything (starting with a brand new cardigan… because, hello, librarian here). A new notebook and some new scents round off my musts, and while pumpkin is the scent du jour for most this season, I find that ikea vanilla candles always send me to my happy place.

5 things: summer loves

Saying goodbye to summer by sharing some of my summer loves and faves (though it’s still hot as ever in Miami, there’s a sense that the season is changing).

5 things: summer loves

 

First up, my KeepCup! I have the saffron colored one and it makes me so happy. The color looks like a little baby duck and my barista gets a thrill every time I bring it in for a refill.
InkJoy gel pens. Total impulse buy from the campus bookstore. Mine look slightly different because they are a newer model than the ones shown above, but they are amazing. Love the inks, very bright and thick lines. I have the hot pink and neon green ones.
Marimo moss balls. I wanted something different for my home and I was inspired by More Melody’s video on Marimo Moss Care. Easy to care for and they look like little green pets.
RMS Buriti Bronzer. Even though I was less than thrilled when I first received my sample, I soon learned that I just needed to play with the application to get the right color. It has become a total staple in my routine and will probably continue into the autumn for a nice flush and coppery lids.
Lancome Juicy Shaker in Apri-CuteThis has been my color of the summer. It’s not green and it’s not cruelty free, but it has been a total guilty pleasure. I may use it on top of a darker lipstick, but will probably be returning to it next Spring.