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Nico

Creating Yourself

How to Accept a Change of Direction in Your Life

Look back on the last year of your life. Did it unfold the exact way you expected it would?

Chances are, it didn’t. And that’s 100% okay and normal.

We know the whole “roll with the punches” and “life happens when you’re busy making plans”. The idea of while you were moving full steam ahead to attain a certain goal, good ol’ life decides to through a wrench in your plans.

You lose your job. A relationship is broken. Maybe a sudden death happens.

It could also be a realization of your own purpose.

No matter how big or small the curveball it, it will undoubtedly cause stress, anxiety, and frustration.

But what if we embrace the change, and use it to empower ourselves?

Photo Credit:Photo by Daniel Gonzalez on Unsplash

No one likes to feel out of control, especially when it’s dealing with their own life.

I just recently came out of a boxing match with myself, attempting to fight the reality of how things were unfolding in my life.

For some reason, I couldn’t let go of ideas of how things were supposed to be. I wasn’t ready to face the harsh truth that I had to step off of my soap box and go the direction that was best for me at this moment.

Are you scratching your head wondering, what the heck is she talking about? I can explain..

For the last couple of years, I have been in search of my life’s calling. My purpose. My reason for waking up in the morning.

I had worked many jobs, quit just as many, and finally realized that I am meant (meant, being the key word) to create and become a blogger.

With this new found knowledge, I set out to become a blogger.

Being fortunate that I could focus on just this, I found myself at home, in my Pj’s, staring at a blank screen with no inspiration.

However, I was determined to make it my career, so I pushed forward. I felt like if I turned to get a “real job”, I would be nothing but a failure.

Months went by of struggling to be a full-time blogger, which was also accompanied by multiple breakdowns because, after all, that was what i was supposed to be.

It took me up until a couple months ago to realize that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a full-time blogger, and instead use it as a creative outlet.

So, feeling defeated, I went out in search a full-time job.

Guess what? I don’t feel like a failure.

I have used this transformational time to realize that I am not a failure just because I took a step back.

Instead, I am able to write freely without having to worry about inserting a link to get a discount. I’m not worried about how many visitors come here. I am released from any pressure to make sure every word written down perfect.

It’s time to get intentional about your life, but also embrace a change of pace and direction.

This is not to say that you should give up entirely on what your dream life should look like, but rather enjoy the ride while you’re on it.

Create the space to let yourself live, and understand that nothing will ever be perfect.

Adventure

Benefits of Solo Travel While In a Relationship

Once you get in a relationship, there is a transition from being “me” to “us”.

But that doesn’t mean you have to completely lose yourself within that.

It’s wild how many people believe that you have to do everything with your significant other once you are together.

But what if I told you that’s not the case?

What if I told you there are benefits of taking a break from your “us” to go on a solo adventure for you?

                                                                                                                             Photo by Steven Lewis on Unsplash

My husband and I started off our relationship with a whole lot of long distance, and I’m a firm believer that if it weren’t for those experiences, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Lots of people were worried that we wouldn’t “make it” because we were apart from each other the majority of our relationship in the early years.

We are so much stronger because of the decisions we have made, and there will never be feelings of animosity or regret that we were held back.

When our careers took us to different locations, we went. Not a day goes by that I regret being on different continents or in different time zones.

Being in a relationship should help you grow with each other, but also be supportive and help you grow within yourself.

For me, I have always been a lover of alone time and pairing that with travel has opened up my eyes to so many different, and incredible experiences.

Take a look at what I have found out during my solo trips while in a relationship.

Benefits of Solo Travel While in a Relationship

You are in charge

I’m known to be on the go. When I say I want to be out the door at a certain time, I mean it. I hate having to wait for people. I’m pretty selfish when it comes to my time. So when I get to decide what time I will catch a bus, when I will eat, what time I wake up… it’s absolute bliss that it’s all on me. And I can do what I want when I want. You don’t need to consider what your travel partner is feeling like either. It’s time for you to be selfish!  My husband and I are pretty good with being on the same schedule, but being solo I can literally go whenever I want. No more waiting? Yes, please!

Alone Time

I love, love, LOVE my alone time. Ask anyone who knows me. I seriously jump up and down when I realize I will have a night to myself. That’s not to say I don’t love my husband and being around him- I just really enjoy being in my own head and spending time with myself. When I travel solo, I get to have as much, or as little, alone time that I need. Those are the times when I get my most thinking done.

Independence

It is super important to not lose yourself when you get in a relationship. You need to continue being your authentic self, and if your authentic self is like me- you want to feel independent. Taking a solo trip will help you remember that you are an individual and can continue to explore by yourself. You don’t need to feel “trapped” or always feel dependent on someone else. If your significant other doesn’t understand why you want to go alone, you will need to talk to them about how being independent will help your relationship. Chucky and I are always supporting one another and understanding that sometimes you just need to take time for yourself. Traveling solo means you only have yourself to rely on, so you will learn to develop new skills such as navigation, transportation, and working through language barriers.

Meeting New People

For some reason when Chucky and I travel, people assume because we are a couple we don’t want to be bothered. However, when you are solo, people are more open to introducing and socializing with you. It’s sad to think about, but I understand because there are times when I do that, too! Being a solo traveler you meet other solo travelers who are just as eager and excited to meet new people as you are.

Forces You to Get Social

On the same subject as meeting new people, being solo forces you to get out of your comfort zone and meet people. I can easily rely on Chucky when we are traveling together, but when it’s just me- I have to go out and introduce myself or else I won’t get that social aspect from traveling. It’s especially important for me because I’m a pretty big introvert- so when I realize I need to make some friends and socialize, I have to be the one to do it.

Heightened Senses

When I am solo, I notice my spidey senses come out stronger than ever. I am always exploring with my guard up making sure I don’t get into any unsafe situations- so with that, I notice WAY more than if I were to be wandering the streets with my husband. I see more details of the areas I’m in, smell stronger, and see people who I wouldn’t normally notice. It’s crazy to think, but I seriously see a completely different world when I am by myself and it gives me a sense of appreciation for being able to bring all those visuals and senses home and in my writing.

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Ah yes, the good ol’ saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”. In this case- there is no better saying. As much as we love our significant others, sometimes we just need space. Traveling solo really helps with that because not only do we start to miss each other all over again, but there are some incredible stories we can tell each other and have new conversations to bring to the table. Sometimes just having the same old conversations about how our days went is nothing compared to talking about the time I had to hitch a ride to a community garden run by an ex- Buddhist monk. Am I right?

 

Next time you start to feel guilty about wanting to take a solo trip, think about the benefits that come from it. We should no longer need to feel guilty about expressing our individuality! Support one another and be excited!  You need to explore a little bit on your own. Anywhere from a day hike, to a weekend getaway, all the way to an adventure abroad. I guarantee when you come back you will be a little more grateful for one another.

Who else loves a solo trip? I would love to hear about it!

 

Creating Yourself

In a Rut? Tips For Getting Back on Track

I have recently gone down a rabbit hole of self- doubt, uncertainty, and total lack of motivation.

I would wake up and feel like it’s groundhog’s day- the same unproductive routine over, and over and over again.

I was stuck in a rut.

Sometimes we have these moments that creep up on us when we least expect it.

Instead of letting the negative feelings pull you down, learn how to pick yourself up- even when you feel like there’s no escaping.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash| Disclaimer: This post is NOT to help depression. I would advise seeking professional help if you believe you are suffering from depression.

 I don’t know about you, but I need things to be shaken up in order for me to fuel my creative juices.

Being stuck and feeling like you can’t claw yourself out of it is an awful feeling.

No matter the reason for you feeling this way- work, relationships, physical or mental health- it’s normal for us to have off days!

However, sometimes that feeling sticks around longer than you would like.

Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to help yourself get out of that “blah” mode.

Here are few things that I did to kick start my productivity and get my positive mood back.

How to Get out of a Rut

Exercise

No matter how tired, lazy, busy, or unmotived you are.. you need to get your body moving. There are so many benefits that you will gain from just a 30-minute workout. Not only will it help you physically, but it will also help with your mental clarity. Maybe there’s a big project at work that’s causing you to get in this funk? Try up-ing your physical activity level and see how you can start to break down the problems you are dealing with.

Journal

Journaling will help you dive deep to figure out what’s going on in your noodle. Are you frustrated, sad, overwhelmed? Without trying to find a solution, you need to figure out the root of the problem. It’s great to get in a habit of jotting things down to help in the long run because maybe this rut you are in was a compounding of multiple things happening that could have been addressed. I like to set a timer for 5 minutes of uninterrupted and unedited journaling. Unedited being key- you want to let the words and feeling flood the paper, not what you THINK you should be writing. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Eat Well & Stay Hydrated 

When I feel myself starting to get into a rut, the first thing I straighten up is my diet and water intake. Sometimes getting into a better mood is just a simple fix of health. We need to fuel our body and mind with nutritious food that will power us through our days, not food that will make us sluggish and slow us down. Equally, drink that water! It’s key to stay well hydrated to help with your all over wellness. I can tell when I’ve been lacking in the health department when I start getting super unmotivated and LAZY. It’s not such a bad thing because it helps me stay on track health-wise!

Break Things Down

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you feel like you are overwhelmed with the number of things to do, try making small goals. It will seem less daunting and help reach what you are trying to accomplish. For instance, I was in a funk and couldn’t for the life of me finish a blog post I had started. So instead, I gave myself a small task of writing just a paragraph. All I needed was to write that. And when I did that, another paragraph. And then another. Same goes for the to-do list. Tackle a single item without thinking about all the other tasks that need to get done. Plan out your day and prioritize to be most efficient.

Get Social

Nothing is more therapeutic to me than meeting up with friends or family to just chat about life. I talk to my husband Chucky all the time about what I’m going through, and he is such a great support system. However, there are times where you need a different perspective and point of view. Grab a coffee with a close friend and just spill it all. Chances are, they will do the same for you and it will help both of you learn more about each other, as well as about what is truly going on with yourself. Socialization is key to happiness and getting yourself back on track.

Jump on the Podcast Train

I absolutely love getting fired up by listening to motivational or inspirational podcasts. Finding ones that fit exactly where I need help in my life at that moment- from getting that extra nudge for this blog, finding healing through spirituality, and even fitness motivation- there is always a podcast, book, or article that will help you. I recommend podcasts because there are literally no excuses to listen.. while you are driving, working out, or even showering. But if reading is your jam, then you do you! I am currently obsessed with listening to the Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo. She’s raw, real, and extremely motivational in helping us grow in many different aspects of our life.

Force Yourself

I acknowledge this isn’t really the advice you are looking for.. but every once in while you need to just eat that frog. Do that thing you don’t want to do AT ALL. The more you procrastinate, the more dread and stress will come from it. Just get’er done! Something I’ve been working on is getting the most important tasks done first thing in the morning. Knowing your hardest task is done and the rest of the day is smooth sailing is a fantastic feeling.

Get Some Vitamin D!

SADS, winter blues, or whatever you may call it- there is a reason these terms exist. We need some good ol’ rays of sunshine to help put us in better moods. So what if the sun hasn’t escaped the clouds in months? You can still benefit from taking a stroll on a cloudy day because the sun, believe it or not, IS behind those clouds 🙂 Just make sure to wear your sunscreen, even on the cloudiest of days.

Relax

Take a deep breath. It’s okay to not feel 100% all the time. You can’t always be Mr./Ms. Positive Pants. Sometimes these moods will wash over us and the only thing that will make us feel better is to realize that it’s okay to feel sad/down/unproductive/unmotivated. We all need breaks and maybe this is your body telling you to do just that. I have a hard time accepting that I’m stuck, but once I acknowledge it, I am able to take the steps to get me back on track.

We are all human, and life can be tough. Adulting is hard! So next time you are feeling in a rut, remember to follow some (or all!) of these steps to conquer your emotions.

 

Creating Yourself

How to Use Journaling To Manifest Your Dreams

Imagine this: dreaming about how you want your life to look like, and BAM- that’s your new reality.

Unfortunately, dreams don’t come true that fast but that’s not to say this can’t actually happen. I can tell you about multiple instances where I have literally dreamed up a situation and then a couple months (or years) later I am living that exact dream. To this day I still get goosebumps realizing that I literally created the life I want to live.

And guess what? You can too.

I use journaling as a tool to help manifest everything that has come into my life thus far.

That is the beautiful thing about writing things down- it makes you really think about what you want, how you want your life to look,  and what your biggest and scariest dream are.

Once you put it down on paper, you can then let the universe work it’s magic to draw it in. I know some people get a little squirmy with using the words such as “universe”, so we can say positive vibes instead 🙂 When you send out positive vibes, it will be a domino effect and create lots of positivity around you and soon you start to see your world shifting toward what you want.

In order for all of this to happen, it starts with how you journal.

Here are some tips for writing the most powerful journal entries to help you get closer to your dreams.

5 Steps for Manifesting Your Wildest Dreams

1. Set Intentions

In order for everything around to start clicking into place, you need to write down exactly what you want. Your intentions are to help you dive deep into yourself to figure out what your dream life looks like. Overall, what type of life do you want to live?

2. Write in The Present Tense

This is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are NOWHERE near where you want to be. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and seeing all the acne on my face and noticing every fat roll on my body and  writing “I have clear, beautiful skin and a fit body.” Did I at the moment? Absolutely not. But I wanted it so bad, that I knew I had to write things down as if I had them already. You need to write everything in the present tense to get yourself in the mindset that you have these things already, or you are doing the crazy things you always wanted to do. Writing “I wish.. If only..”, sends of negative vibes, and we are trying to do nothing by positive thinking here, folks!

3. Be as Detailed as Possible

What would your typical day look like in your dream life? How early do you wake up.. or do you sleep in? Do you go out to eat every day or a couple times a week? Not only is it super fun to come up with little details, it also helps you truly decide what you want. I once wrote about living in downtown Denver in a cute 2 bed 2 bath condo… and about 3 years later, that’s where we are living now. Write it down and watch these things come to life.

4. Believe

Believe. Like REALLy believe you have it already. Write about it makes you feel, how you look, where you will be, etc. As you write out all of them, sit back and breathe in your dream life. Let the emotions wash over you. It’s okay to cry a little bit too. I have had some powerful journaling where as I sit and believe that I am doing what I want to do, I can’t help but get emotional with all the excitement and happiness I am about to bring into my life.

5. Take Action or Wait

Let the universe help you, but also help yourself. You cant say you want to get your dream job, and then sit and wait for them to call you. You have to actually apply with your amazing resume and cover letter, it’s up to YOU take the first steps toward it. There are some things you can set out and let happen naturally, but the majority of the time you need to actually take steps and meet the universe halfway.

6. Reread and Rewrite

Reread your journal entry every day to remind you of how bad you want it. ANd if you realize that some of the aspects don’t fit what you want anymore, go ahead and rewrite your story. And that’s what it is- your story. You decide how you want it to look and end

Final Thoughts…

I was never one to believe in the power of positive writing and gratitude journals, but time after time of my “wishes” coming true, I can’t help but preach that this actually works. There are times you get exactly what you want, and times where life leads you down a different path. Just take it, because who knows what other amazing things will happen from there.

Who else loves to journal? Would love to hear about it!

 

 

 

Creating Yourself

5 Inspirational Books You Need to Read Now

The other day I was reading, and every two minutes I would poke my husband in his arm to signal him to take off his headphones.

“Can I read this passage to you? I promise this is the last one.” I would ask, knowing that he was busy and didn’t actually have time to hear it.

I would read it, and be all giddy telling him how much it spoke to me, and that I’m ready to make changes according to what I just read. I would then apologize and tell him I won’t bother him again.

And then another powerful sentence would come up, and there I was, poking his arm “for the last time”.

This Post Contains Amazon Affiliate Links |Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

There’s no better feeling than finding a book so powerful, you can’t help but yelp with excitement every time you turn the page.

Inspirational and self-improvement books have been my favorite to read lately, because they really give you something to practice while reading them, and well beyond the time you have finished. I give credit to the following books for getting me to where I am now… writing a blog about creating the life you want to live!

The following books not only help you look inwards to find your power, they also help set a fire to get you to where you want to be. I came up with this list of my favorites, all of which attack this subject in their own unique ways.

5 Inspirational Books You Need to Read Now

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

 

This powerful book walks us through the hardships and triumphs that Elizabeth has gone through, with fantastic tips and tricks to follow your dreams, no matter what gets in your way.

 

 

 

2. Discover Your Destiny by Robin Sharma 

A transformative fable that takes you through the 7 steps of enlightenment.  It focuses on living your dream life, even if you feel like you are at rock bottom. I pretty much highlighted the entire book because every page had a great message on it. Read this if you are feeling lost and uncertain about where you are heading in life.

 

 

 

 

3. The Secret By Rhonda Byrne

I don’t think any list of inspirational books is complete without The Secret. This was the gateway book for me to explore more about the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction. Everyone should read this book at least once to realize how powerful your thoughts can be, after all, thoughts become things.

 

 

 

 

4. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

If you are in need of a book that will set a fire within you as well as make you laugh along the way- this book is for you. Jen focuses on many topics with the book from meditation, spirituality, to actual actions you need to take. She mentions the “Big Snooze”, meaning everyone is just sleeping through life and gives us the tools to wake the hell up.

 

 

 

5. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

 

Sophia is hilarious, witty, and raw. She walks us through how she went from a dumpster diving rebellious young adult to being the queen of her own vintage empire. I have this on the list for those trying to start their own business and have nothing but doubts. Sophia spells it out plain and simple- you can be a #girlboss no matter where you come from.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts 
Each individual book will help you learn how to follow a path to your greatest life. Everyone needs a little guidance in their life, and this will be the perfect place to start.

 

Do any of you have a go to book for inspiraiton? I would love to hear about it! 

Creating Yourself

3 Quotes to Help You Conquer Your Fears

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Hello, Wild Tribe! Today we are going to talk about an uncomfortable topic- our fears. We are all humans, and everyone has some type of fear holding them back from reaching their true potential.

For me, I have a plethora of self- crushing fears that do nothing but create a wall. A wall that, in retrospect, can be lowered by my own thoughts. But because I spin things up, and make things seem impossible to conquer, I look at all the wall as being concrete and rooted- nothing can tear it down. If you are nodding your head thinking “Yup- I do that, too!”, then thank goodness I’m not alone 🙂

It’s easy to let fear take a hold of our thoughts, but it’s up to us to quiet the little guy. I have had three types of fear wash over me in the last year; fear of the unknown, fear of other’s opinions, and fear of failure. I was able to take all those fears, and see them as a positive thing due to three powerful quotes I stumbled upon within that time.

Read on to discover the best quotes for these fears you might encounter, as well.

 Fear Of Unknown

 There’s a reason why the term “comfort zone” exists. It’s where we feel safe, secure, and at ease. But what happens when you step out of that zone?You enter the  twilight zone of the unknown. Where everything is new and scary because you don’t know how to navigate it. Maybe you are trying to start a new career, but feel like there are so many skills you need to learn- and it’s overwhelming. Or it could be a new adventure that is waiting, but you aren’t sure how things are going to turn out so you decide not to venture down that path.

“Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing a life greater than you have ever known.” -Jeff McClung

Your life can change drastically if you just take that leap of faith. Wouldn’t it be silly to know that the only thing stopping you from reaching your dream life is yourself? Look at the unknown as endless possibilities waiting for you to unleash.

 Fear of Others Opinions

This was/is my hardest fear to date. It took me a long time to start up this blog, and actually tell people about it, because I was worried it wasn’t what people would like. Instead of reaching goals for myself, I was looking around to make sure the goal I was trying to reach was acceptable. Same can go for those living “unconventionally”, or just trying something you wouldn’t normally do in general.

” Care about what others think, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

Trying to live your life for others will not get you to where you need or want to be. You need to listen to where your heart and passions are taking you- and go! Chances are, the people you think would have judged you, will actually be your biggest cheer squad. And if not- then who cares?

 

Fear of Failure

Ah, the holy grail of all fears. It’s completely normal to be scared of trying something new, starting a new career, or adventure. It’s scary not knowing if things will work out or not.

“What if  I fall? Oh darling, what if you fly?”

We never know what will happen unless we try. So what happens if you fail? You dust yourself off and be thankful you gave it all you got because you now have a learning experience. It’s better to live life with no regrets and laugh at the times things didn’t go as planned, instead of regretting not trying at all.

Fear is a completely normal and natural part of life. What’s not normal is using fear to stop you from achieving whatever it is that you want. You literally have control over your own fear!

 

Final Thoughts

So I encourage you all to address what is scaring you and find the courage to break away. We will never know how truly amazing your life could be if you don’t take that leap. Apply for that position you think is out of reach. Quit your job if it is not fulfilling you and travel. Sing a song in karaoke. No matter how big or small your fear might be, you will thankful you put yourself out there and be amazed at where life will take you.

So let’s hear it, what are YOU afraid of?

Minimalism

Welcoming Fall with Hygge 

The weather in Denver has dipped below 50 degrees, which means… Fall is here! Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that I am #basic when it comes to fall. I have already rocked my flannel with a vest, pulled out my ugg boots, and have taken a classic changing of the leaves photo. However, believe it or not- I have yet to order a pumpkin spice latte. That’s all my husband. He loves PSLs. Needless to say, our household absolutely loves fall. So, in honor of the changing of seasons, I want to share with my wild tribe how we are welcoming in Fall the Hygge way.

This Post has Amazon Affiliate Links| Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

What is Hygge (Pronounced HUGH-GUH)?  I’m glad you asked. Chucky and I spent some time in Denmark last winter and were introduced to this amazing concept (keep an eye out for a new post on Why We Adopted Hygge into Our Lives). There is no one word in English that it translates to, but it is essentially the feeling of coziness and warmth by living in the moment and being intentional. Minimalism and Hygge go hand in hand because both focus on creating a beautifully crafted living space to promote peace and calm. With fall in full swing (I hope! Who knows what global warming has in store for us…), I wanted to share a couple of ways you can bring hygge into your home as well.

Welcoming Fall With Hygge

1.Knitted blankets

Knitted anything, actually! Hats, scarves, throws… you name it. Anything that screams “please cuddle up with me!” I absolutely love our throw blankets on our couch because when I wake up in the morning, I can just wrap myself up while drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. My morning immediately starts off on the right foot because of how cozy I can get. It’s almost like getting out of bed, to get into another 🙂

2. Pay Attention to Lighting

When you think of dim lights- you think of being out at a nice romantic restaurant, paying close attention to the person across from you. Or maybe a yoga class where you are focusing on every inhale and exhale coming from your body. We get an overwhelming sense of calm and happiness when the lights aren’t blinding us. So go ahead… turn your living room into a nice oasis with dim lights by using lamps or white Christmas lights, and lots and lots of candles. Tea candles are the way to go because you can have multiple going and have a beautiful ambiance from it.

3. Bring the Outdoors In

What is better decoration for fall than pumpkins? Pick up some small pumpkins and place them around your house to give it a good ol’ festive feeling. I’m really excited to also pick up pinecones and twigs from our walks with Ollie to bring nature inside. Ollie is VERY good at picking out twigs! It’s such a great feeling to be able to experience the season while sitting in your living room. (Note- pick up items that have fallen already. It’s nicer that way:))

4. Seasonal Dishes

Roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts, anyone?! I LOVE cooking up autumn dishes. Squashes, walnuts, cranberries… everything! There is nothing better than some warm comfort food in your belly when the temperature starts to dip. While you eat, make sure you mindfully enjoy. Pay attention to all the flavors, and savor them. Not only is that good for your health to slow down, but it is also a meditative feeling when you really pay attention to all the details.

5. Using Your Olfactory Senses

To compliment your dimly lit haven, you should kick it up a notch by adding scented candles that capture the time of the year. For me- I absolutely love the smell of clove and cinnamon. Currently, we have a Yankee candle that was a wedding gift, but once that goes out we will continue using our diffuser. I highly recommend the InnoGear Diffuser from Amazon found here. Smells are linked to memories, and being able to reminiscence on the feeling of comfort and peace makes for a relaxing moment.

6. Embrace It

The biggest concept surrounding hygge is to be present and make your environment as cozy and warm as possible. Since the seasons are in the transition, we haven’t exactly felt the full-on force that summer is over. We could easily be heartbroken that we can no longer wear our jean shorts or our cute summer dresses. However, doing so will just make you think of all the things you will miss about summer, and not welcome fall in. That, in turn, will make you start off the season in a slump. What you need to do is to embrace the new season and think about all the amazing activities that come along with it! Pumpkin patches, thanksgiving, layering, and to my husband- PSLs!

Take a moment to be thankful for this very moment that you are in, and let fall in with open arms.

Does anyone have other fun ideas to add to this list? I would love to hear about it!

 

 

Gear Reviews

Tortuga Outbreaker- The Best Urban Travel Pack

As many of you may come to find out, Chucky and I are gear obsessed individuals. The difference between us and a “gear-head” is that we aren’t trying to upgrade every chance we get.

We try and purchase the best items once, and stay with them until they fall apart. This goes hand in hand with keeping our home, and closets, the minimalist way we like them.

So as you can guess- we do a lot, A LOT, of research before you purchase any item. Before we headed out on our 3-month backpacking Europe trip (in the WINTER), we knew we needed a bag that can stand the weather, carry all our winter gear, and keep us from looking like, well, American tourists.

That is how we came across the holy grail of stylish, urban, travel packs: The Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack.

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This bad boy fit the bill perfectly. It is sleek and fit in nicely with the urban travel that we did. Our outdoor backpacking packs would not have been as inconspicuous, with the neon colors, straps all over the place, and the many pockets on the outside.

The 45L Tortuga Outbreaker is the way to go if you are planning on packing everything into a carry-on, which we did.

Here are the top reasons why we absolutely love the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack, and why you should consider one if you are planning on doing a long trip, or just want to update to a quality bag for weekend trips:

Pros:

The Design

Beautiful, and sleek, with just the logo on the outside. I never felt like we looked like backpackers during our entire 3 months in Europe because the pack blended in so well. Not to mention, the fabric is heavy duty and made out sail cloth that makes it waterproof and stands up to tough conditions.

Suitcase Backpack

Just like it sounds, when you open the inside, it opens like a suitcase and even has pockets on the side as well as two mesh pouches on the top to help store items. Talk about a dream for the lovers of organization (cough **My OCD husband** cough)

Laptop Sleeve

I absolutely loved the separate compartment closest to my back where I can slip my computer into the fleece-lined sleeve. A cozy home for my laptop, and no fear that someone could snatch it away. PLUS- lots of pockets to keep your charger, kindle, and other electronics.

The “Business” Section

The front compartment can carry your pens, notebook, camera, and other items that you would keep on your desk. It was a great function to have for easy access.

Lockable Zippers

All the zippers have loops to make them lockable, which is a fantastic feature to have while traveling! Being able to put your bag under the bus without worrying someone is going to open it and take things makes traveling so much easier.

The only issue we had, which is no fault of the backpack, is that Chuckys bag got broken into while flying from Croatia back to the US. Someone had taken pliers and ripped the locks open… it was a sad day 🙁 But again, that had nothing to do with the bag, just the terrible thieves that encountered the bag.

Shoulder and Waist Band

The shoulder straps can be adjusted up and down by a velcro latch on the back. Adjust based on your height and how much weight you want on your hips vs. shoulders. The waistband can also be tightening based on your body type. There are two pouches on the waistband that I put my phone and wallet in because it was easy to access and close to my body for protection. The back and shoulder straps are padded for extreme comfort.

Carry-On Size

Did I mention this bag is deemed carry-on acceptable?? However, you need to double check the weight limit for some smaller airlines. While it meets carry-on dimensions, some airlines  (Looking at you, RyanAir) will make you check the bag if the weight is over the limit. Since the bag is 45L, you can fit a lot! You should always double check the airline requirements before heading out to make sure you don’t get any surprises.

The Company

We are HUGE on company missions, and this one is no stranger to giving back and giving the people great quality items, not just trying to make a profit.

Cons:

With everything, there are downsides…

The Fitted Waist Belt 

This might be because I am used to outdoor backpacking packs, but I felt like the adjustable waistbelt for the Tortuga pack managed to loosen up a lot as I wore it around. It wasn’t a big deal at all, but it did get annoying at times when we were walking around the city and I felt like the strap wasn’t staying put.

Side Pouch 

Although a great feature, we had to literally shove our water bottles in it because the pouch was so tight. I would have liked it to give a little more than it did. But then again, it was great for putting little items in knowing they were secure.

No Way to Stow the Straps

We didn’t have a problem with this since we checked the bag in with us, but it would be a nice to have a way to stow the straps away when not in use.

Final Thoughts:

The pack fit all our needs while traveling abroad, and keeps serving its purpose when we go on weekend trips. It does have a hefty price, but we believe it is completely worth the price.

So if you are ready to purchase the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack, click the link to take steps toward buying a gift that keeps on giving!

If you have any questions and want to learn more about this bag, feel free to ask away!

Creating Yourself

How to Stop Chasing Happiness

I absolutely love to daydream. It’s kind of my jam. My husbands and my favorite past time is to chat about our next big adventure or future goals. There is nothing wrong with this.

However, a couple years ago I realized I was utilizing the daydreams all wrong. I felt like the present moments had just passed me by- I didn’t take the time to enjoy the smells, sights, and feelings thoroughly enough because I was always looking for the next move or daydreaming about doing something else. I was living in my daydreams trying to find the ultimate happiness, instead of actually living life to the fullest.

Once this realization occurred, a sudden wave of emotions washed over me with the dreadful question; “Am I ever going to be happy and content where I am?”

 The answer is plain and simple: If I want to be.

Photo by Jim Basio on Unsplash

It’s the amazing and terrifying ability that we literally have control of our own emotions and can make the most, or little, out of any situation. After regretting not living in the moments that have already passed me by, I realized that is not the way I want to live life. I want to take advantage of every moment that comes my way and look back knowing I lived it up. Here are the steps I take to make sure I stop chasing happiness and live my life in the moment

How to Stop Chasing Happiness

Be Present

It’s so much easier said than done. I’ve been there and done that- traveled to the most amazing places, experienced incredible things, lived in coveted areas, and yet I always found myself wanting more or wishing I was somewhere else. By the time I WAS somewhere else, I would look back and wish I soaked up every minute of being in said place. Is that a way I want to live? Constantly be regretting my past choices? Absolutely not. It wasn’t until recently where I started to adopt the mindset of being content. Live in the moment. Take in everything- good or bad. Go out dancing. Grab a drink with friends. Don’t just sit around and wait for the next big thing, because the time will pass no matter what.

Gratitude Journal

I am so thankful for my gratitude journal because it always keeps me grounded. I like to sit down in the morning and write 5 things that I’m grateful for. They can be as big or as small as you want them to be. Sometimes I’m just not having a good week and all I can think about is being grateful for the cup of coffee I’m drinking. Once you come up with these 5 things, it will help you focus on the here and now.

Set Goals

“She turned her cant’s into cans, and dreams into plans” – Kobi Yamada

When we think of dreams, it’s merely a wish. “I wish I could… I wish I lived…” But the moment you make it a plan, it’s now something you will work toward to have come to life. If you really want to be somewhere else, work to make it happen, but don’t forget to live the day to day life you have to live no matter what in order to get there. Trying to find work abroad? Amazing! While searching for that dream job, remember where you are and explore that city as much as you can.

Meditate

When you meditate, you are actively trying to listen to your thoughts and see what your body and mind are saying. This is the one exception where we are trying to go outside of the present moment. No matter what you are going through, mediation should always be your go to. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and listening to your breath for a minute, or going full out for an hour training your thoughts. You would be amazed at what you find out about yourself when you actually listen. Maybe you find out you aren’t going down the right path for you? This is the moment to really think about what you want. It’s important to check in with yourself every day.

Enjoy The Journey

It’s safe to safe that our life is sewn together by one moment to the next. But what happens in between? The not so glamorous everyday life. Those are the times we really need to stop and think about how awesome life is.  How about we all try and breathe in the moments of today, and let life unfold naturally? I guarantee you will feel a little bit happier looking back at the days you spent enjoying the moments, instead of waiting for the future to happen.

Final Thoughts…

We are all on different paths in life, but our goals in life are ultimately to be happy, am I right? So instead of searching for happiness, try and bring it into your life every day. This, in turn, will make all the difference in the quality of life.

Which one of these tactics are you ready to let into your life?

 

Minimalism

Minimalism 101: Steps to Help Declutter Your Home

When I was younger, I had about 10 pairs of (a slightly different) blue jeans. I’m sure I was the only one that could tell the difference which is what justified me having them.

Same thing goes for striped tanks, a bookshelf of books I’ve never read, and cd’s that sat covered in dust.

When it came time for me to tidy up my room, it was such a stressful task that I would get halfway through it, and then give up. Going into my room didn’t feel like my stress-free zone because of all the clutter and items that weren’t fulfilling me.

 Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

Fast forward to when I met my husband- Mr. OCD. The first couple of months when we moved in together was a huge wake-up call to me. He just didn’t have a lot of “stuff”, and yet.. it made so much sense. Since he was in the military, he had to be ready to pack up and move at a moments notice. Now that I was in the picture, I had to follow suit.

I started to evaluate all the items I was starting to tow around from place to place and realize that I was literally hauling junk that didn’t serve its purpose anymore. That was the moment I started living more simply, which in turn led to a stress-free environment.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t make the full transition right away, it took quite a long time to get to where I am now.

Follow this quick guide to jump-start your journey to a more minimalistic lifestyle.

4 Steps to Help Declutter Your Home

1. Stop Impulse Purchases and Make Sure You Are Bringing in Things of Value

It’s hard to finish a plate of food if someone keeps putting more on it. Similarly, it’s hard to clear up space and organize if you keep bringing crap in. Make it easy for yourself- when trying to pare down, you need to curb your appetite for items that aren’t going to fulfill you. Just for the first couple of days, avoid bringing home anything at all.

2. Group Similar Items Together

You need to be able to focus on what you have and see patterns on things you purchase multiples of. Take note if you have 4 different kinds of hair brushes, or too many coffee mugs when you only use one or two. Once you have a little inventory- pick each individual item up and ask yourself if a) do you use it? B) do you like it? And c) is it still relevant in your life? It’s okay if you aren’t 100% for getting rid of it, but put in aside and you can come back to it. Just realize you don’t need multiples of some items, and pair down to just the bare minimum.

3. Find a Place for Everything

Finding a place for every item is key and makes cleaning SO much easier. Once you start finding homes, you start realizing some items that don’t fit anywhere which in turn is something you might not need or want anymore. You’ll be surprised what you find does not fit your needs anymore.

4. Quality Over Quantity

We believe that purchasing high-quality items is always the best route to go and worth the price tag. For instance- I used to bundle up in the winters with layers upon layers to keep warm, that is until I met the Arc’teryx Down Jacket. This 800 down fill jacket keeps me warmer than if I were to wear a couple layers and a big puffy jacket. I was able to get rid of 3 items by replacing them with the down jacket. Same goes for furniture- we don’t purchase items that will fall apart in a year or two. We purchase items that are sturdy, we are proud of, and absolutely love. Sure the price tag is heftier, but would you rather buy an expensive couch once, or multiple inexpensive ones?

Final Thoughts

These are just the first couple of steps to get you going in the right direction. It’s not going to happen overnight. I am not perfect, I still have items that I know I should get rid of, but can’t part with just yet. And that’s okay. It’s starting that’s the hardest part.

Happy purging 🙂