New Year, New Blog

Long time, no post! I apologize for abandoning this little blog, but I am back and ready to continue. I explain everything on my new site simple. blissful. life.  If you are interested in continuing to follow my tips and musings on living simply, please check it out here.

Thank you to all who gave me support when I began The Thrifted Year. I am looking forward to the year ahead! ❤

Building My Capsule Wardrobe: Part 1

As I mentioned in my last post, for part of my minimalism journey, I will be creating a capsule wardrobe. I came across the Project 333 website a while back and found it very intriguing.  Project 333 challenges you to dress with 33 items for 3 months, and has a wealthy amount of information on how to simplify your wardrobe and “dress with less”. This site definitely inspired me to want to take on my own capsule wardrobe “challenge”.

As a former shopaholic, I really wanted to take this on, or at least modify it to fit my needs while still following the general guidelines. I used to shop all the time, for all the wrong reasons. Most buys were often impulsive, and I accumulated more clothes, shoes and accessories than I knew what to do with. I thought buying more stuff and having an overstuffed closet made me happy, but in reality, it was suffocating.  It was stressful trying to get dressed in the morning because I had an overwhelming amount to choose from. My closet was organized, but it was organized chaos! I dream of being able to open my closet and be able to pull a few pieces that mix and match well, and be done with it.

Enter: Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe can be defined in a few different ways.  I view it as a simplified wardrobe made up only of items that suite your personal style.  There is not necessarily a set number of pieces, I’ve seen capsule wardrobes with 12, 30, 45 items, etc. It’s about finding what works for you and your lifestyle, without all the excess.

I’m beginning with 108 items in my closet (and that is AFTER I already packed up a bunch of winter pieces a couple weeks ago…eek!).  This total just includes clothing and shoes.  It doesn’t even take into account accessories, workout clothes, etc.  For this project, I will be narrowing down my wardrobe to 37 pieces.  I feel like this will be a challenge, while still giving me room to play.  Who knows? Maybe I’ll even find I don’t need that many pieces.  Here is a rough draft of the guidelines I’ve set for myself:

  • 37 wearable pieces total. This will include clothing, shoes and accessories (some people often choose to omit accessories, so if you do, that’s totally fine 🙂 )
  • Workout/recreational(hiking/camping) clothes and pajamas will not be included in the total, and they were also not included in the starting total. However, I will downsize in this area as much as possible.
  • The initial sort will go something like this: pull EVERYTHING from closet.  Categorize by clothing type.  For each pile, pull the clothes I absolutely cannot live without and put those back in the closet. Go through the rest of the piles and decided what I know right off the bat can be donated. If there is anything in the remaining clothes that fits in with the ‘love’ items, and add those back to the closet. Otherwise, bag up the rest and place in storage above closet for the next 3 months.
  • At the end of the 3 months, re-evaluate and donate more items (this is what I anticipate anyway!)
  • I know I need to replace some items to complete and make the most of my capsule wardrobe (not to mention I have a few pieces on my mental wishlist when envisioning this wardrobe 🙂 ).  I will be making a list when I do the closet clean out and then go thrifting to find these items….oh, that means first thrifting haul on the blog coming soon :D!

So yeah, that’s the general outline for this project! I’m super, SUPER excited about taking this on.  I plan on beginning the closet clean out very soon, as I’m setting April 1st as the official starting date of ‘dressing with less’.  Part 2 of this post will include details on how that process went for me, as well as a list of the items I chose for my capsule wardrobe.

On that note, here is a picture of my closet BEFORE (this isn’t even all of it…did I mention I get really lazy when it comes to putting laundry away?! All the more reason for wanting less clothing to deal with 🙂 ):

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Have you ever thought about building a capsule wardrobe or ‘dressing with less’?

Thanks for reading ❤

Beginning Minimalism….

After months and months of reading various blogs and articles, I have decided I am ready to fully embrace my own minimalism journey.  I also knew there was no better time than during my ‘Thrifted Year’ project to get started, as I feel the two go hand in hand.

When I hear the word minimalism, so much comes to mind.  It’s about finding joy, beauty and simplicity in all aspects of life.  It’s about learning lessons and embracing moments we’ll hold onto forever, rather than acquiring physical objects that will lose meaning overtime. It’s about new experiences. It’s about ridding my life of things that bring negativity or negative emotions.  It’s about only holding onto the things that enhance my life and hold meaning.  I’m not trying to achieve a certain look or looking to own only a certain number of things, but rather clear out the clutter that holds little to no meaning. The stuff that weighs us down.

After re-watching a TEDx Talk from The Minimalists, I was inspired to start the process earlier this week. I went to my home office and got to work on my desk drawer and four boxes of papers and all kinds of other odds and ends.  I was able to fill a large box with paper to be recycled, found some items to sell and donate, and completely organized that space.  I now have one small box of important files and a desk drawer that is practically empty.  It’s pretty awesome because, I do not feel deprived I do not regret getting rid of those items that may have served a purpose in the future.  I don’t miss anything that might have held a special memory, because getting rid of the object did not erase the memory from my mind. I feel free, like it’s a weight off my shoulders. If this is the elation I feel after the first small step, I can only imagine what’s to come!

This is just the beginning, but I am so excited to embrace this lifestyle and share my experience.  What makes it even better is the fact that Adam is totally in and willing to help as we declutter our living space. We have the goal of one day building our own ‘tiny house’, so in our minds, the less stuff we have to deal with, the less space we need, the easier that goal will be to achieve.

Aside from decluttering here and there, my next step will be building a capsule wardrobe by taking on Project 333 (which you can read about here), beginning on April 1st. I’ve already begun to take a look at my closest and pull out some items I no longer need, but getting it down to 33 will be challenge for sure! I will have a post with details on that coming soon.

Have you heard of minimalism, or been curious to try it? What are your approaches to decluttering? Any tips to share?

Thanks for reading ❤

Watch the video that got me started:

DIY: Eyeliner/Eyeshadow

As a former “makeup junkie”, I love a good eyeliner/eyeshadow.  A while back, I decided I wanted to try to make my own, because let’s face it, makeup products like this can add up. That is especially true if you pay for good quality products.  After doing some research, I came up with a black and brown liner/shadow that works for me. That’s something I love about these as well, it’s like having two versatile products in one! Who doesn’t love that??

Both recipes are super simple and super thrifty. Just 2 ingredients each (or even 1 ingredient depending on your preference).  The average cost of eyeliner/shadow can be anywhere from a couple bucks to up in the $20 range, depending on quality.  These finished products cost under $1 each, and they work wonders!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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For black:

  • 4 activated charcoal capsules
  • jojoba oil
  • small glass jar (or other small container) with lid

For brown:

  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • jojoba oil
  • small glass jar

For black, empty the activated charcoal capsules into the glass jar.  This part gets messy as you can see in the picture below, so I recommend putting down a piece of cloth to make cleanup easier. Add jojoba oil until you reach your desired consistency. Mix well. For brown, the instructions are the same, only use your teaspoon of cocoa powder instead of charcoal. Easy!

DSC_1216And now for some tips!

*Personally, I like to add about 10 drops of jojoba oil.  This keeps the finished product at a loose powder consistency, but you also get the nourishment from the oil. Or you can actually skip the oil altogether if you like and have a totally loose powder.  Or if you would like a more liquid, gel-like consistency, add more oil until you reach that desired consistency.  The possibilities are endless!

*I originally used coconut oil, which worked great. However as cold as our house gets in the winter, the final product became solid and was difficult to use.  I switched to jojoba oil and found that it works just as well.  Plus, I recently read that jojoba oil, among its many other wonderful benefits, has been shown to enhance lashes and help increase hair growth. (link below)

*To apply, wet an angle brush, dip in the product, tap off the excess and apply along your lash line.  For everyday, I like to press the liner as close to my lash line as possible for just a little definition. Or you can play around and try winged liner for a look that’s more bold.  To use as shadow, apply to the lid and blend into the crease. Play around with different looks to find what you prefer! For brushes, I love EcoTools. They’re affordable, sustainably made brushes that can be found at most drugstores!

I tried to take a picture of my eyes with the liner applied, but the lighting was not in my favor. Here’s a swatch of both colors:

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You can layer the colors to make them as natural or as bold as you like.  Let me know if you try this out as well as what other types of DIY posts you would like to see throughout the year. I’m open to any suggestions!

Thanks for reading! ❤

Sources:

http://www.beautylish.com/t/rxjvsc/can-jojoba-oil-make-your-eyelashes-grow-longer-and-thicker

Our Story and a Bit About Our Big Day

Adam (my fiancé) and I are not a typical, normal couple.  Well, let me rephrase that…we’re so cute and weird together, it’s disgusting. Except, it’s not disgusting, it’s perfect.  It is love and happiness that I never knew was possible until he came (back) into my life.

Let’s rewind 13-ish years ago to middle school band class.  Adam and I were introduced by a mutual friend, and encouraged to talk. Aside from the general 7th grade awkwardness, we clicked instantly.  We started dating. And by dating, I mean sitting next to each other at lunch, giving each other looks in class and walking down the hallway with arms around each other. (If any 7th graders are reading, do not walk down the hallway in middle school with your arms around each other. You will get yelled at by authority figures. Save yourself the humiliation and take my word for it.).  Anyway, we continued “dating” through 8th grade.  And I mean 8th grade dating, like going to school dances and hanging out watching *insert popular ’03 movies here*.  He even bought me a Beach Boys CD for Valentine’s Day our 8th grade year and told me to listen to #17 (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice).  He said, it was how he felt ❤ .

However, like most typical middle school “relationships”, it didn’t last. Adam and I remained best friends though. Together, we ruled a pit percussion squad, had many random adventures in Wytheville, roamed the FCHS hallways and constantly bonded over our love and appreciation for classic rock and oldies.  People around the school knew, where one of us was, the other was not far behind. Graduation day rolls around and we parted ways.  Adam heads off to Marshall University, and I go to school to earn my degree in Early Childhood Development.  From 2008-2012, we saw each other twice and only talked a handful of times.  We were caught up in the whirlwind that is college life.

December 2012 rolls around and I’m on a beach trip with my mom.  Adam ‘liked’ a picture I posted on Facebook and I thought, “hmm, I haven’t talked to Adam in forever. I’m going to text him later to see what he’s up to.” Fast forward 3 hours later and my phone buzzes. It’s a text from Adam saying, “Hey, how are you?” Fate. We meet up when I return.  The rest, my friends, is history.

highfiveAtop Buffalo Mountain in Floyd, VA. May 2013

And now here we are.  Doing the little dance called life in the best way possible…together.  Just thinking of ‘us’ puts a goofy grin on my face and makes me want to shed tears of joy.  As I said before, we’re not a traditional, typical couple.  We are not into fancy, schmancy things.  We are laid-back, down to earth, introverts to an extent.  Neither of us is very comfortable with being in front of a huge crowd, and we strongly dislike stress.  We want our wedding day to reflect our values and be all about celebrating the joy of our love.  We do not want to deal with different locations and fittings and floral arrangements and seating charts.  If a traditional wedding is your style, GREAT! It’s just not our cup of tea.

After delving into wedding planning, we decided that we will tie the knot in an intimate ceremony surrounded by our immediate families. We will do this somewhere by the beautiful New River with the fall foliage as our decor.  This is our vision of the perfect wedding.  Simple, meaningful, special.

That being said, we have so many family members and friends that mean the world to us and we want to bring everyone together to celebrate our marriage.  That’s the keyword, ‘celebrate’.  Just because we are forgoing a big ceremony does not mean we do not want to celebrate with our loved ones. We want a relaxed, laid-back fun time where everyone can mingle, dance, eat, drink and be marry (pun intended).  We found our perfect location, and the the minute I walked in the door I envisioned all of our loved ones together carrying on and having a good time, helping us celebrate our love.

Since this will be happening during my ‘Thrifted Year’ project, I full well plan on sticking to my goals of buying nothing new and creating little waste.  We will have minimal decor, made from recycled, sustainable materials (mason jars and cloth napkins, anyone?).

Oh yeah, there is the small matter of…the dress.  That mission was actually accomplished at a thrift store back in December! I said yes to a dress (and shoes).  The total ensemble cost $14.00. That is not a typo.  My wedding dress and shoes cost $14.00 total!  Both in perfect condition and purchased secondhand.  Just another occurrence that inspired me to start ‘The Thrifted Year’ project.

I’m not posting a picture of the dress until after the wedding since Adam reads the blog. While I may not be traditional, I am superstitious to an extent haha! There will be plenty more wedding related posts, DIYs, tips, etc along the way as we get closer and closer to the big day.  Stay tuned!

If you guys have any tips as far as Eco-friendly wedding ideas, let me know in the comments! I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks for reading! ❤

DIY: Homemade Peppermint Mouthwash

I have been experimenting with DIY beauty and personal care products for a few years now, and I’ve come across some great concoctions.  I will be sharing these, as well as any new recipes I discover during this year of being thrifty.  I wanted to start off with something simple and VERY common. Chances are you probably have some sitting in your bathroom right now…

Mouthwash. In my opinion, mouthwash is an essential part of an oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, conventional mouthwashes often contain harsh chemicals that can do more harm than good. Alcohol, aroma (fragrance), Poloxamer 407, Benzoic Acid, sodium saccharin, and artificial colors are just the tip of the iceberg.  These ingredients have been linked to dry mouth, mouth ulcers, allergic reactions and asthma among other ailments.  Not to mention, the cost for a bottle of mouthwash from the drugstore can run anywhere from $4-$8.  Of course, there are plenty of natural mouthwash options on the market, but those can get costly.

There is an alternative! Enter: Homemade Peppermint Mouthwash.  Using just three simple ingredients, you can create an effective mouthwash with ZERO toxins for a fraction of the cost of conventional mouthwash (around $0.05 an ounce to be exact).  I’ve tried many different combinations of homemade mouthwash, and this one is my favorite (BONUS: Adam, a former Listerine fan, loves it as well!).

Let’s start by listing the main ingredients & benefits:

DSC_1196Baking soda: helps neutralize odors that cause bad breath, balances mouth pH, whitens teeth

Peppermint Oil: freshens breath, reduces cavities, soothes inflammation, antibacterial and anti-fungal

Tea Tree Oil (optional): antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial

I like to add tea tree oil for an extra boost of germ-fighting action, but again that’s totally optional.  You can also swap out peppermint oil for orange or lemon essential oil if you prefer a citrus flavor.  These also have antibacterial, breath freshening properties.

**Always remember to use 100% pure, high quality essential oils with no additives.  I love Aura Cacia ,which I purchase from a local health food store.  I’ve also heard wonderful things about Young Living, doTERRA and NOW Foods.  Keep in mind, essential oils may seem costly at first, but they are a great investment.  They are very concentrated so they last for a while, as a little goes a long way. **

So, without further ado, here’s everything you’ll need:

  • 1.5 C distilled water
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil (more or less depending on your flavor preference)
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1 TBS baking soda
  • glass bottle or small Mason Jar (I upcycled an old Patrón bottle 😉 )
  • funnel

Add all ingredients to the bottle, using the funnel to prevent spilling.  Give it a good shake and voilà! Now you have Homemade Peppermint Mouthwash! Super easy, right?

DSC_1201I added a chalkboard label to jazz mine up.  It’s actually REALLY difficult to write neatly with chalk in a small area, BTW. 🙂

To use, simply swish for 30 seconds after brushing, or anytime you want to freshen your breath.  Always remember to shake well before each use because the baking soda will settle.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment and let me know if you try out this recipe 🙂

Sources:

http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/269558/behind_the_label_listerine_teeth_and_gum_defence.html

http://draxe.com/peppermint-oil-uses-benefits/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

So what is “thrifty”?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “thrifty”? Cheap? Inexpensive? Bargain? Frugal? Chances are probably one or more of these words popped in your head!

Merriam-Webster defines “thrifty” as:

managing or using money in a careful or wise way

While that is on point, the way I am approaching this “Thrifted Year” project goes beyond saving a buck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked to keep track of and total the amount of money I save throughout the year, and I hope some of my ideas will help others do the same. To me though, thrifty=mindful. This year, if nothing else, I want to become more mindful of how my actions and purchases impact my life, the lives of others and the environment. The point is not to go haul a bunch of things from the thrift store simply because “it’s not new” or go buy a bunch of “stuff” discounted at the store just to say, “look how frugal I am”. The point is to put real thought into where my money goes. The questions I will ask myself before making purchases:

1. What purpose will this product serve? Do I really need it?
2. Where was this product manufactured? What are the working conditions? Did it come from a small business? Does purchasing this product benefit anyone or give back in any way?
3. What impact will this product have on the environment? Is it made from sustainable materials? Can it be reused or recycled?
4. Not a question, but rather a statement pertaining to beauty/personal care products and cleaning products: If I cannot make it using non-toxic alternatives, it probably isn’t essential.
5. Food: Is it local? Seasonal? Whole (unprocessed)?

I am sure more areas of question will pop up along the way, as I am constantly coming up with new ideas and adding to what I hope to discover/accomplish in the year ahead. Again, the main goal for myself is to be more mindful rather than, say, conveniently forking over the cash for a new dress manufactured under horrible conditions and living in blissful ignorance.

Oh yeah, one more “note to self”…Upcycle my nifty Mason jar I carry around for water into something resembling a tumbler so it doesn’t look like I’m toting a jar of moonshine everywhere I go.

Thanks for reading ❤️