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Gift Guide for Minimalist Chefs

I absolute LOVE cooking. I also love having a neat kitchen where everything has its place and it doesn’t feel cluttered. Minimalism makes perfect sense in the kitchen because it helps ease the already stressful event that happens in there 3 times a day (… or more if you are like me 🙂 )

To create a minimalist kitchen, it is important to invest in items that will help make it easier to find things, as well as clear up counter/cabinet space. Focus on items that have multiple purposes, and of course, sustainable for the environment.

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Minimalists love things of function, and that’s exactly what the list has.

If you are trying to find the perfect gift for a minimalist chef in your life, take a peek at the items that I have that make life SO much easier.

Magnetic Spice Rack

The Gneiss Spice Everything Spice Kit was bought by my sister as our wedding present, and I’m still beyond thankful for this. This magnetic spice rack is the bee’s knees. Like, seriously. We live in a condo that has limited space, so we put the spices on the side of our refrigerator, and immediately saved space on the counter and in the cabinets. They come with so many spices, but if you want a different kind you can order empty glasses and just fill em up with whatever you choose. Each spice has a sticker to put on the bottom for easy searching, no more pulling out every spice jar hoping it’s the one you want! I like the fact that it encourages you to go in and fill up the jars, instead of throwing out your old plastic spice jars and buying new ones. Not only is it super eco-friendly, but they look awesome displayed in the kitchen!

Magnetic Knife Holder

A Magnetic Knife Holder is another perfect way to clear up limited counter and drawer space. I keep not only my knives on it, but a pair of scissors and our can opener. It’s SO much easier to just see exactly what you need right in front of you.

French Press

Another gift we received was a French Press from Chucky’s brother. We use this every.single.morning. It’s now my favorite way to wake up because it’s almost meditative. The French press is so small, which was something our big ass coffee maker was not. There are multiple dual purposes for this guy; you can make coffee or tea in it, and you can use it in your house or camping! This french press has gone with us from California all the way to Maine and back and has brewed the most amazing coffee. Another feature is how eco-friendly it is- you don’t need to buy any filters for it or plug it in. It’s a win-win in almost every aspect.

Cast Iron Skillet

Have you ever tasted desserts or meals made in a Cast Iron Skillet? There is such a distinct flavor in it that no ordinary pan can create. That’s why this is on the list because every chef should have one in their kitchen. I like making fajitas and other types of smoked flavored dishes, as well as baked apples and delicious treats. I love that we can use it on the stove, in the oven, and over a campfire! Just make sure you don’t wash it with soap, rather rubbing salt on it to get it clean.

Hopefully, this gave you a couple of gift ideas for the minimalist chef in your family!

Anyone else have staple items in their kitchen?



How Minimalism Helped Clear Up My Skin

I know what you are thinking- Nico, isn’t minimalism all about owning less stuff? What does that have to do with skin?

Yes, and no. Minimalism is the art of living with essentials that bring you joy, and eliminating all other items that you don’t need and/or cause you stress.

This can mean decluttering your home, to eliminating toxic relationships, all the way to being intentional about the products used in your personal care routine.

My husband and I have been minimalists for about 4 years now, and I would never have thought that I would get out of it as much as I have. Namely- my skin clearing up. Even as I type this I’m laughing because it was something so random and amazing that happened due to minimalism.

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 Now, I’m no doctor (shocking, I know). However, it’s not a coincidence that growing up I struggled with acne, and once we started paying attention and living intentionally through minimalism- my skin cleared up.

Here are the habits that occured through minimalism, which in turned helped my skin.

Reducing Skin Care Products

I remember I used to be a product JUNKIE. I spent thousands of dollars (no exaggeration) on products claiming to clear up my skin or reduce scarring, or worst- brighten my skin! My skincare routine consisted of washing, scrubbing, toning, moisturizer, spot treatment. Ah, just writing this makes my skin crawl. Once we adopted minimalism, I took a good hard look at all the products cluttering up my bathroom and decided enough was enough. I started looking at labels and realizing that I was putting, pardon my french, toxic shit on my skin. So not only did I have a ridiculous amount of products, those products had a ridiculous amount of chemicals in them that I needed to give up. So that’s how I ended up with my skin care regime that I have been using for 4 years now. The following are in my bathroom now:

1. Dr. Bronners Soap: Used for washing my face, body, and makeup brushes. This stuff is THE soap to use if you care about what you put on your skin and the environment. I love the lavender, eucalyptus, and non-scented ones. You can purchase from Amazon here.

2. Jojoba Oil: Yes, I use oil on my face. No, it doesn’t make me more oily or break my skin out. Jojoba oil is known for being very similar to your skin sebum, so it naturally moisturizes and helps with age spots and mature skin. It’s slightly oily (duh) when you first put it on, but it soaks in nicely within 10 minutes. This is my knight and shining armor. I like the Plant Therapy Brand found on Amazon here.

That’s it. Those are my only two products that I use now. Talk about opening shelf space and saving money!

Using Less Make Up

Makeup is a touchy subject for me. I believe that makeup can be used as an amazing tool to enhance your face and used as self-expression. However, it can also be used to cover up and mask your face- which is what I used to do. This can be a vicious cycle. You break out, slather your skin with foundation which clogs your pores, which in turn makes you break out. I realized that I was using it as a temporary fix for my skin problems. I was seriously SO uncomfortable in my own skin, I wouldn’t leave the house with foundation on.

I attempted to stop putting so much on, because maybe the makeup was actually doing more harm than good, and I wanted to get rid of as much makeup that I could. I took baby steps from wearing liquid foundation and powder foundation to only powder foundation. And then putting it on every other day. Now, I use it to enhance my face when I feel like getting dolled up. It’s really liberating. And again, makeup is EXPENSIVE, so not wearing it every day = it lasting longer= not having to spend tons of money on it!

(Disclaimer: All makeup brands are different and have different ingredients in them. I now pay very close attention to make sure all my products are derived from plants and are all natural.)

Being More Organized Helped With Hygiene

Alright, I’m going to sound like a nasty girl for a little bit, but bear with me. When I was living my non-minimalist lifestyle, I let a lot of things fall through the cracks. Like hygiene. Now before you judge too hard, I know a couple of readers out there are probably going to read this and immediately think “oh shoot, that’s me”. So here it goes…

  •  Neglecting to clean makeup brushes weekly
  • Not swapping out pillowcases and towels frequently
  • Forgetting to wipe down items like phones or keyboards

Now that these tasks are part of my weekly routine, it’s crazy to think my life wasn’t like that. Having time to actually think about these tiny, but important, steps has everything to do with minimalism and being able to think clearly.

Cleaning Up My Diet

Minimalism has altered my way of thinking and now I question everything. Do I need this? Will this bring me joy? Will this add to our health and well-being? I also apply it to the kitchen and what we put into our bodies. I won’t go too in-depth here about our veganism journey (look out for the post on Why We Chose to Become Vegans soon), but I can tell you this much- it is a serious game skin changer.

We are very intentional with what we put in our bodies in the sense of whole grains, fruits, and veggies. We make it point to keep out all the crappy junk food (although we do love our cereal). This helps with our organization- the fruit goes in the fruit basket. Veggies in the fridge. Nuts and grains in mason jars.

What started out as a 1-month challenge morphed into our lifestyle for the past 7 months. I just look at how we used to eat as nothing more than a messy spread of junk. Don’t get me wrong- we were healthy. But now we are EXTRA healthy 🙂 And my skin is seriously glowing.

Having a New Outlook

Minimalism is so beneficial in many ways. Freeing yourself from what you think you need, to just having or doing the things you want is an incredible feeling. I owe my change in thoughts to this lifestyle because I realized that I don’t need a lot to be happy. I can be content with very little, and explore a lot. This has helped me step away from the mirror where I used to scrutinize every inch of my skin and body, and just live! My attitude toward beauty has changed- less is more. Fewer products. Less time spent criticizing myself. More time living a happy, natural, life.

Final Thoughts

Being a late- 20’s woman, I know how hard it is to not let your skin rule your emotions. However, I hope you are able to incorporate one, if not all, of these changes to see if it will help you. We are all such beautiful, unique individuals, and I can’t wait for everyone to have the confidence to just enjoy our days not being concerned about our skin.


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.

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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!




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.

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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 🙂