Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Flight

Dark clouds drift inland as I'm waiting for my flight to London, connecting in Houston, Texas. I'm standing in line listening to impatience grow. Believe it or not, it has a sound. More like the ambient noise coming from the TV. A white noise, though less pleasant.

A negative energy seems to linger as everyone is trying to hurry to their next destination.

Rain, snow, and ice will be covering the airport I'm supposed to fly in to, but my mood is light and I'm happy where I am in life. Especially right now.

Enjoy opportunities in life that are presented to you, even if it involves being patient to get to your destination.

My flight was canceled, but a new direct flight was made while waiting in line.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cold hearted and guarded or am I?

After a trivial amount of relationships, each one seems to become more difficult with respect to trusting one another. In a world so vastly relied upon electronics and instant satisfaction, it's hard to be patient for anyone. Or is it patience? It also seems as generations continue so does the inappropriate personal conduct and mistreatment of our partners on both ends. We as a society have allowed certain behaviors and outbursts to be considered okay, when they are, in fact, not. What happened to elegance and being proper? Reflecting upon my peer's lives including my own, I only see lies, false acquaintances, and hurt souls, clinging to the next person or object that satisfies them just to numb the pain. I see cycles continue. A path of wrong decisions led by another just to cure the stings of failed tries. Eventually, it's like a rubber band, crawling back to what was comfortable instead of pausing to catch a breath of fresh air and starting on a slate that's never been scribed upon. So I ask this. Is it cold hearted to tell the truth to someone so blind, they choose not too see it? Or am I so guarded I'm making false accusations to protect myself from falling back in to the viscous cycle?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Ride

Sometimes silence is the best gift you can give yourself. A mental pause. A break away from reality to let the mind just drift. The sound of the road, the wind brushing past the car, changing scenes triggers pleasant and creative thoughts. Take time for yourself to let go and wander from ideas to masterpieces. Stop being in a hurry. We're all headed in one direction. Forward.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

To-Do List: A Philosophy of the Most Procrastinating, Simple List to Write

Is a to-do list a sign of too much to do? At what point does a to-do list become procrastination? Do we become forgetful because of multiple distractions in our busy lives? If a to-do list gives us permission to forget, do we have a harder time with the capacity to remember later on? What use is a to-do list if you forget to read it?


I'm on a mission to find what works best for me to remember important commitments. However, I find myself forgetting to even look where I wrote those items. It's aggravating and disappointing when I've missed opportunities and deadlines.

In hopes of helping myself remember, these are the things that I've tried: 
Phone apps - Inkpad, Calendars, Alarms, Evernote

Handwritten - notes in my Rite in the Rain book, a timed schedule of my important tasks

Because I've tried to remember tasks with multiple resources, it becomes overwhelming trying to find what I was supposed to do, remembering to open the apps or bringing my books/notes with me. Pretty sure if my head wasn't attached, I'd forget that too. I'm on a quest to determine what works with my minimalist lifestyle in addition to life's wonderful distractions.

Self observations: 
If you write all your tasks down on a piece of paper, including what you think you may accomplish, you're in trouble. There is too much happening on the paper that other important items may become missed. A list of 100 tasks with 99 of them crossed out might look rewarding, but the one left over should have been the only thing accomplished for that day and leaves you still behind.

Struggles with writing to-do tasks with a time frame or time limit are demotivating (to myself). I look down on myself for not completing them in a timely manner and believe this is a negative approach. It doesn't work for me specifically, but everyone is different.

Between Evernote and Inkpad, I have enough random thoughts and notes to write half the content Barnes and Noble has on their shelves. I'm a digital hoarder. These two combined do not help the situation. I'm looking to eliminate as much as I can, including digitally.

I need a melting pot to hold my scatterbrained ideas and commitments, but I also need to accomplish them. Browsing through a couple sites, one of the articles said to write ONE objective to accomplish and only look at that until it is done. I really liked this concept, so I'm going to try it out over the next week. My review will be posted below as time goes on.

Please be sure to check out these other great links to make your to-do list work for you.

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_05.htm
https://www.toodledo.com/info/whyuse.php
http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2014/06/02/five-best-to-do-list-tips/

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mud

Throw enough mud against the wall, eventually it'll stick.

This blog is my mud.

Most of it will fall off.

All of it will be molded.

I will be successful with my muddy masterpiece.

Just keep throwing.

Self Awareness

For fear of rejection and being judged, this blog has enlightened me in so many ways. I'm constantly learning by creating. Challenges I post for myself make me realize I need to be more accountable in following through (something I've struggled with for many years). I'm nervous for the world to see my thoughts, but also motivated to keep trying.

Push yourself out of the comfort zone. Take the leap and try something new, regardless of what others might think.

Monday, November 30, 2015

No Sugar Challenge

This is an extremely hard challenge I'm facing. I started today after getting back from surprising the family for Thanksgiving. I literally ate enough sugar and fried food to be preserved next to Han Solo. Anyways, on top of my no laptop challenge, I'm cutting the sweets and getting healthy. It will be difficult, but I foresee health problems if I continue the path I'm on.

I'm doing this for:
Healthier, whiter, and stronger teeth
Keeping healthy weight on
Reducing my awful back aches
Reduce my shortness of breath
Increase endurance
Reduce unnecessary, costly sugar binges
Better sleeping habits

Lately, I've been fatigued. My whole body, not just my back, aches constantly. Sleeping is awful. I'm either awake and can't go to sleep, have terrible nightmares, or struggle to even open an eyelid and sometimes I enjoy all three! My gums seem to be pulling away from my teeth and sugar is only increasing the speed of my roots becoming exposed. Pretty soon, I'll obtain diabetes and other health complications if I don't stop now.

The Goals:
Drink water instead of soda. Less money spent, better for your body.
Incorporate more fruit and honey instead of pure cane sugar.
No more vending machine runs.

I want to continue on my path to be a minimalist. Eating healthy is also included in this journey.

12/8/15: This is the hardest obstacle I've ever put myself through. Some days are going to be extremely hard. Going to try and create a spreadsheet to see if it helps with meal planning and less spending.

12/16/15: Sugar is an addiction. No question. I'm having a real hard time saying no. I feel good before ingesting it. I know I'll regret it with the headaches, stomach ache, bloated feeling, and fatigue. I've been drinking more tea with honey instead of sugar and the fruits seam to help curb being hungry constantly. The binges seem to be slowing down.

12/29/15: The London Diet - try everything. I'm actually doing pretty well knowing there isn't a vending machine within 20 feet of me now. Lately the sugary foods have been trying street food - sugar coated peanuts, different sodas only with meals, and a chocolate stick that was from a friend. As long as I can keep up with unnecessary sugar runs, I think I'll be okay. When I get back home, I'm going to look in to a fruit and vegetable delivery service!

01/07/15: I'm back from London and back in to the no sugar challenge. Yesterday I had my last of the sugars, but now I'm craving! The problem is, is that they have a vending machine downstairs and I know a coca-cola is only 75 cents. I have snack food and healthy cocoa covered almonds made by Blue Diamond, but they aren't helping! I need an IV of just straight liquid diabetes...I guess I'll get some more water...

01/11/15: I caved in during the weekend and had a couple biscuits from fastfood restaraunts, a bean burrito from Taco Hell and only sweet tea. Not soda. I also went shopping and grabbed a bunch of healthy food for the remaining of the week. It's extremely hard transitioning, but the main point is to keep trying to do better. With that being said, I'm going to be posting meals on here as well to help keep my feet in the fire.
Premade salad and dressing, banana, sweet potato, fruit cup, apple, pistachios, dark chocolate covered almonds, honey 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

No Laptop Challenge

I haven't pulled my laptop out of my bag in over a week, maybe longer. And if I did, I do the exact same things on there that I do my phone, except for League of Legends (An online game I enjoy playing with my brother). I've had my laptop with me for so long, my mind thinks I need it with me every day I work. It's extra weight and I'd like to learn how to navigate through my Note 4 a little more before I finally cave in to my old ways. With that being said, I'm leaving the laptop behind, listening to podcasts, and finishing my two books I've been struggling to read over the past year.

Going through my minimalist journey, it's a hard learning curve when you've spoiled yourself with anything you want at your fingertips. When I start traveling internationally, this will surely be a wake up call that I won't always have Internet nor a spot to plug my laptop in the wall. All I'll have is my phone and my Rite in the Rain book.

I will never get rid of my laptop because I enjoy connecting with my brother and battling other Champions, but I certainly want to stop carrying the extra weight every day or worry if someone will take it. I removed all of my data and backed it up on terabyte hard drives.

I'll be posting about the results of when I've found I could have used my laptop and alternatives I found using my phone.

My next challenge will be to reduce, organize, and find data. I, unfortunately, am a data hoarder and some days it gets frustrating finding a picture through the 100 same selfie pictures or the 1000 animal pictures I've either taken or downloaded.

|A post I was going to publish: 
I've been reducing many items over the past year and even bought a tablet recently. I spent about 700.00 on a smaller portable device and I don't seem to like the change. I specifically got it to increase my time blogging and reduce the weight I was carrying on my back. Turns out, I still favor my 17" Asus.

What I particularly cannot let go of is the accessibility of multiple tabs and copying and pasting notes. Another feature I struggle with is word documents, adding pictures, and other media to my blog because they keep zooming in and out or placing an indication mark at the correct place.

My Asus might be winning, but I am still on a quest to find the perfect lightweight electronic device.

What are the factors that determine this? Traveling abroad can be dangerous with electronics. If I can adapt to using only my phone, I won't need a laptop or a tablet since my Note 4 can do the job.
I have back pains already. Something lighter would mean less aching.

I do keep forgetting about the desktop view and other browsers I can download for using Adobe and other essential software.I also didn't remember I can always use computers offered in a library or Internet cafe. But how can you use them on an island? I need to learn how to be comfortable using my phone. Arggh


11/30/15: Day 1 - is different. I actually feel kind of naked without my laptop, but I'm okay with my decision. Navigating through a study guide website for NDE-ed.org seemed difficult at first, but I'm getting the hang of it. My next challenge for today is to get someone to print an email for me so I can scan it.

12/3/15: realized that I do need my laptop for certain functions in order to increase browsing speeds, such as creating blog posts, switching between tabs, and copying or pasting. I'm currently interested in another business adventure, but enjoy the ease of multiple tabs open on my 17" screen. For now, I can at least keep it off my back and in a central location.

12/8/15: doing this challenge has also made me realize that in order to leave the laptop home and off my shoulders, I need to plan my days out better. Going to try a little harder to leave the darn thing behind and focus on other tasks.

12/16/15: Still working on the leave the computer home challenge. It's made me aware of how much I rely on electronics. I definitely need to get better at planning. I'm fairly certain this doesn't help my sleep cycle either.

12/29/15: I'm in London without the laptop! I arrived 2 days ago. I enjoy the challenge of creating content through my phone. All of my current pictures are in one spot. I'm exploring online file storage, but will go in detail of my reviews at a later time. I brought my camera with me and have no way to download my photos. I'm going to try and find a library to transfer the pictures. I've also realized I'm a want to be photographer with little experience. My advice, if you want to travel lightly, it's okay to leave the cameras at home. Learn how to use the functions of your phone. Some of my pictures through here are absolutely breathtaking and offer just a tad different perspective on my travels! I feel that when I get back, I'll be leaving the laptop home more often!

01/04/15: Getting ready to leave for the US tomorrow! I'm also excited to announce I'm writing more with my phone. I'm overcoming obstacles and feel rewarded after each one is accomplished. I'll be writing a more detailed article on it later, but I've been using Fast Notepad App. This is wonderful for keeping notes and drafting articles WITHOUT the ads. Using this AND leaving the camera behind has helped me see more than I would have taking both the camera and the laptop.

01/06/15: The only really aggravating thing about not having a laptop is transitioning. I'm doing great without it and didn't even carry a bag to work today. I'm hoping I can use the "live out of the backpack" lifestyle for a while.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Minimalist Wallet Contents for a Traveling Woman: 11 Items

With this day and age, our society is continuously coming up with fantastic ideas for consumers such as rewards programs, cash back, and miles being offered. There's just one problem, how can you be a minimalist if you carry all of them with you? Your wallet starts expanding, you have to take it out of your pants in order to sit down, time is wasted shuffling through the plastic rectangles, etc. I finally had enough when I thought I had lost my credit card. Turns out, it was only sitting behind my Kohl's charge card.

Not being able to find anything, especially after working 12 hours, and rummaging through "junk" is so frustrating! This post is another step towards minimalism and I hope it becomes a motivating tool to live better with less. Stop wasting precious time digging through mountains.


11 Item Minimalist Wallet:
  1. ID - Carefully edited by me
  2. Insurance Card
  3. PNC Virtual Wallet - Debit Card
  4. Capital One Journey - Credit Card
  5. Sam's Club Membership Card
  6. Cash
  7. Pink wallet with zipper pouch - Great for coins and SD cards
  8. Carabiner
  9. Pocket Key Knife
  10. Honda Car Key
  11. Rite in the Rain Trekker Pen - for writing experiences in my Rite in the Rain book

Goal: 7 Items

I'm going to try and downsize this even more. Some companies allow customers to use their phone instead of carrying physical cards. Eventually, I'd like to find a waterproof book case with a phone and ID holder so I can just carry my Rite in the Rain book!

What about carrying a purse? 
Umm,.. yea... about that. Nope. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Holstee Manifesto


https://www.holstee.com/pages/manifesto


I am thoroughly impressed with the message this poster conveys. Originally created by Dave, Mike, and Fabian, they wrote down their personal definitions of success and thus, the Holstee Manifesto was created. "The goal was to create something they could reflect back on if they ever felt stuck or found themselves living according to someone else’s definition of happiness."

This has been a very important part of my life. My reset button. Since stumbling upon it from a friend, my life has been positively different. I used to have anxiety worrying about the future, where I'm going to be, wondering if I'm making the right decisions in life. This was a tool to help me take a step back and appreciate each day at a time. It's been over a year and I've leaped on multiple opportunities. I quit a job from being miserable. I've skydived and met new people on a spur of the moment road trip to just get away. I've been happier than I've ever been.

Read it, use it, share it. Be successful.

Minimal, Minimalist, or Minimalistic???

I've been researching what the proper terms are to describe my new found lifestyle. The word "Minimalistic" seems to be increasing in popularity and still causes turmoil over the correct choice of word to describe living a minimal life. Personally, I understand what is meant, no matter the word choice, but if you're amazing with English, I'm interested in different opinions.

What I have found:
1. Minimalistic is ironic, since the idea is to describe being minimal.
2. According to the Oxford Dictionary, minimalistic can be found under adjective.
  • A person advocating minor or moderate reform in politics
  • A person who advocates or practices minimalism in art or music
3. Merrium-Webster Definition of Minimalist:
  • one who favors restricting the functions and powers of a political organization or the achievement of a set of goals to a minimum
  • a :  a minimal artist
    b
    :  an adherent of minimalism

4. Merrium-Webster Definition of Minimalism:
  • A style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity
  • Minimal art 
5. There are better search results using the term minimalist over minimalistic, according to Google Trends.6. The Wall Street Journal changed it's article from The Making of a Minimalistic Menagerie, to The Making of a Minimalist Megagerie. I thought this was interesting since it is a highly credible source.

Resources:
https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=minimalistic%2C%20minimalist&cmpt=q&tz=Etc%2FGMT%2B4
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324094704579067621184073140
https://www.reddit.com/r/minimalism/comments/2ut2mg/the_word_minimalistic/
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minimalism
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minimalist
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/minimalist?q=minimalistic
http://www.malcolmcoles.co.uk/blog/minimalistic-not-word-minimalist-i/

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

7 Pet Benefits

1. They teach us it's okay to be alone
2. We learn a new form of communication
3. How to care for someone or something
4. They teach us unwritten responsibilities
5. Not everything cares or loves equally back
6. We learn patience through disciplining and teaching
7. They give us attention, sometimes when we need it most

While there's a lot of positive aspects in owning a pet, occasionally there are challenges as well. This includes: claws, hair, more hair, restricted nomadic lifestyle, litter box, noncontributing to society, and unemployed. However, I would never trade the happiness my animals bring me for the world.

Why I Chose a Cat


 ...I didn't.

I didn't really have a choice when Fluffy came in my life. Many years ago, the neighborhood kids found the poor, little fuzzball in the woods, hanging by a collar. I had begged my Dad for the longest time to own a dog, but he chose a flea ridden cat to live with us instead. As mad as I was then, I would never trade my best friend for anything (yes it's possible). Some days I believe Fluffy's listening skills aren't that good, almost like she has selective hearing, but let's not get in to that. My heavy, round, calico kitty has been through all of my ups and downs. She's my alarm clock, purring heater, and an excellent weight lifting partner. I pick her up, and I put her down. Many times...

A Simple Day
Most of the time, my furry cactus is just lying around. I'm convinced the only things she knows how to do is eat, sleep, scratch, repeat. Perhaps she's seen too many episodes of Garfield. She enjoys waking up her human, meowing for food (only because her bowl is half empty), clawing at my toes because there's something intriguing about attacking the mound under the covers. I also got her this sweet cardboard disc she enjoys making confetti out of. My Roomba normally takes care of it, but she's happy filing away those talon sized claws. When I'm home, I'll turn the laptop on and watch YouTube videos with her by my side or on the keyboard. So far, her favorite videos are Entertainment for Cats, do it yourself tutorials, and Shatter me by Lindsey Stirling. Also, forget anything else you're trying to accomplish. She'll manage to spread herself on your paper due for school, the book you're reading, and your favorite computer game.

Monday, October 19, 2015

List of Minimum Cat Supplies

It is possible to live a minimal life with a pet while having the bare necessities for them. For over a year, I've reduced, organized, and simplified what I need for myself, plus my cat, Fluffy. Lindsay Stordahl nails it by writing, "Pets are naturally simple. They’re already minimalists and require very little as far as stuff. They don’t need baskets of toys, cupboards of treats or 10 different outfits, collars and leashes." Pets set the best example for living minimally. Obviously being a part of family, you want to make sure they are healthy, given flea medication when needed, and provided with a clean place to eat.


List of Minimum Cat Supplies:
1. Food bowl
2. Water dish
3. Cat food
4. Cat treats
5. Flea medication
6. Cat litter box
7. Cat litter
8. Comb
9. Cardboard scratch pad
10. Catnip


If you own a dog, subtract the cat box/litter and add a leash/collar.

Like this? Please comment below!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

2014 Roller Coaster Review

2014 seemed like a roller coaster of a year for me. A mixture of highs and lows caused more stress on my body on top of other outside influences.

The Bad:
Bad Relationships. I was involved in failing relationships because I didn't know what I wanted.
Lost. I was lost trying to find myself at 23. Still living with the parents and being overwhelmed with constant stress of striving to be better and trying to stay ahead of my peers. I even began having anxiety with nausea even though I was doing all of the right things at my age.
In debt. I'm scared of any. My car payments are $350.00 a month and couldn't afford a house because of the debt to income ratio at the time. I hated the idea of throwing away money in to something that wasn't mine, but I've only been with my second job a year and the mortgage broker couldn't figure it into my income so I was stuck. I was also stuck with the rest of my $10,000 loan.

With the negative, I also had positive experiences happen for me during the year.

The Good:
2 Successful Careers. I currently work as a paramedic at the local hospital and as a field inspector for welds. Starting in February, I landed great contracts through my company working as data analyst in Michigan and New York. I worked through both outages which typically last a month each. I drove in snow, played in snow, and even stayed away from the yellow snow. ;)
Fastfoward through the horrible summer, I bounced back obtaining another contract to work in sunny Florida as a nondestructive techniologist. For those unfamiliar with the field, I inspect welds and pipes for cracks and leaks. I love it. I'm my own inspector gadget girl.
Minimalism. Getting closer to the holidays, they became harder because I no longer had that person to share to days with. I was learning the hard way to be okay with myself and find out who I want to be and who I am. Thankfully, traveling to get away, gave me the inspiration to try and pack less which leads to my current lifestyle: minimalism.
Therapy. Trying to accomplish a different lifestyle, forcing myself to go through new challenges still kept me overwhelmed. I was introduced to Therapy and found that extra support I've been looking for. I found someone that can listen to me and guide me in the right direction for my personal goals.
Traveling. While trying to find the inspiration to start fresh and get out of a negative atmosphere, I did a spur of the moment trip on my own to Washington D.C. and had one of the best experiences of my life. I met 2 wonderful women the United Kingdomand have new stories to add to my chapter of 2014.
Zenhabits. My hero. My role model. My eyes have been opened and I've been reading everything that is typed on the blog to better myself and create stability for myself. I found zenhabits.com in search of helping me obtain a minimalistic lifestyle. It's everything and more. I've learned different ways to accomplish my goals and add quality to my life.

Starting 2015 with Car Payoff!

On January 15, I paid my car off in full. A little raspberry blue Honda Fit. Best. Car. EVER. $9654.00 straight to Honda Financial Services. Over the course of two years, I managed to travel and see outside of the U.S. and put away over $10,000.

In 2014, I attempted sitting down with the mortgage brokers and they ran my numbers only to come to the conclusion, I would not be able to purchase a house unless I either refinanced my car or paid off the loan. Refinancing was not an option since I would still have car payments. The next best decision was to pay off the car. And I did just that to start 2015 off right.

Keep in mind I'm only 23 and currently renting a house with my Dad. Not everyone has the same support so it may take a little longer. Don't let it deter you from reaching your goals though!

My credit score is almost 740, I've made just a little over two years in car payments, and currently no more debt.

Let me tell you. I feel so free. I still have to save up for a down payment on a house, but I am so relieved to know that I can finally start working on the next chapter of my life. I also don't have to worry about making car payments anymore or showing up to work every day. I can afford to take a couple days off now!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Real Life Money Tree

The short version: I made money finding a fake tree, laying in the dirt. Another person's trash turned out to be my $25.00 treasure!

The long version: I found the decorative tree on the side of the road in a pile of trimmed branches. I was on my way to my mother's house when I happened to stumble upon it. So, I stopped my car and shoved it right in to my little 2012 Honda Fit. The 6' tree came with me all the way home, straight to my garage, and I flipped it for $25 dollars.


Money may not grow on trees, 
but you can make money from them, even if they're fake!


How much time and work did I spend on the decorative tree? Counting minutes: Maybe 25? This includes cleaning, listing the item on Craigslist (which was hardly detailed at all), and the transaction in my driveway.
How long did you wait until it sold? I listed the tree on 5-30-15 and it sold on 6-4-15. 5 days total just letting it sit in my garage.
What did you use to clean the tree? Lysol and paper towels. This removed all the dust and any other grime left on the leaves from sitting on the side of the road. Plus it had a wonderful lemon scent! Vinegar is a healthier cleaner and is recommended if you are sensitive to chemicals and other cleaners, including citrus.

If you do own silk plants, here is a more detailed site to help you clean them:
How to Clean Silk Flowers, Foliage, and Artificial Plants

How did you know these plants sell? I used to spend a lot of time in local auctions and observed what others were bidding on even if I might not have gone home with any specific items. After seeing the tree, I just so happened to remember more people were interested in purchasing silk plants.
How did you come up with a price? On my Craigslist post, I noted to research what others are posting the same item for. I noticed my plant could go for a higher price, but I wanted to flip it quickly, so I listed it for $35.00 and had a couple interested people. One lady came by and I lowered the price because both of us were getting a great deal regardless.

Below is a screen shot of how simple my post was. As you can see, I barely tried to create it.



You never know what opportunities are going to present themselves. It's up to you to determine if they're worth going after and what you do with them. Keep an open mind wherever you go, even if it's down the street. This lady did with an Apple Computer!

Other opportunities I could have done with this plant:
Used it on my back porch
Use it as a decoration for photos
Donate it
Place a curb alert on Craigslist so someone else can grab it
Rent it
Re-purpose it by tearing it apart
Use it as a prank
Use it as a base for hide and seek
If you're feeling squirrely, turn it in to a tropical Christmas tree!

I know some of these ideas were a tad out there, but you get the point that this tree was simply not trash. The world is your oyster. Be as creative as you want! I highly recommend this post as motivation to try something new and challenge yourselves to be successful with any object placed in front of you, including those fake silk plants!

If you're interested in downloading my Money Tree art for free, click on Box.com

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Minimalist Desktop Challenge


What does your desktop look like? Mine was littered with icons, random downloads, and programs I don't use often enough (like eclipse for java). I finally had it and felt embarrassed whenever someone would take a peek at my screen. I felt like it was a messy room with unnecessary stuff everywhere.

I bought myself two separate terabyte hard drives. I know two terabytes is a bit of overkill, but hear me out. I bought them because it's safe to back up important images and documents. I've learned the hard way of what happens when files are not backed up. Computers crash, hard drives break. It's a sad ending. Anyways, I bought terabytes because I just got in to photography. I know that's an abundance of room, but it allows me to take as many pictures as I want and have enough space to organize as I please. The drives themselves are the size of my hand which is perfect for portability. Unfortunately, I don't quite trust the Cloud, so I'll stick with what I know.

So I copied all of my files on to my drives and threw everything else away on my laptop. I now have a fresh view every time I see my wallpaper without having visual stress, anxiety, and thoughts clouding my mind with "I need to delete this, I need to move that." Unfortunately, I am guilty of being a data hoarder, but looking at an empty desktop helps me get 100X the work done because I'm not staring at an eyesore anymore. If I absolutely need the items, I'll just simply plug in my drive and find what I need.

The process took about half a day. I labeled each one A and B just in case I need something from one or the other in the future. I dumped everything on to my drives. My thought process is, when I have free time, then I'll dig through my files and organize them. Right now, it's not on my priority list so I'll save it for when I have a layover at an airport or something.

I have to say, I don't have anxiety anymore looking at my desktop and it's a nice refreshing feeling every time I look at it. In case you were also wondering, I am a League of Legends fan! My favorite champion is Fizz. Don't hate!

Clean Desktop Challenge: Send me pictures of desktop pictures. I want to know your organization process for data as well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Minimalistic Wardrobe for a Traveling/Working Woman




This mountain equals about 4 loads of laundry. After taking an entire day to wash and dry everything, I've realized that this is just laziness. I needed to put a stop to it, so I decided downsizing my wardrobe would be my first project for this blog. On top of downsizing, I would be able to find and wear that favorite shirt a little more often. Below are the steps I took to reduce the clothes from my closet.

Obviously the first step is to wash everything. Then dump it on your bed.

Make a list of essentials. I used pictures from Google images as inspiration to cut down. I'm a simple woman so I don't need many accessories. However, if you feel you need them, write them down. The following picture was found on http://lifestyle.sg.88db.com/things-to-do-that-dont-cost-money/. It helped me tremendously put together my first list.

Minimalist Wardrobe

Transitioning from the mountain to a list was a difficult task. It requires a lot of patience and retraining your brain to stop from thinking you need everything. Eventually, I will try to downsize again, but for now, this works for me.

My list of essentials include:
10 Pairs of Socks
4 Bras 4 Sports Bras
10 Underwear
8 Jeans
2 Shorts
4 Tank Tops
8 Shirts
4 Dress Shirts
5 Dresses 3 Formal/2 Semi-Formal
*Uniforms: Paramedic/Nondestructive Technologist
Bikini
Shoes: Flip Flops, Sneakers, Work Boots, Flats, Heels, Furry Boots

Everything I wanted to keep, was separated and folded.

The remainder of my items were placed in garbage bags and moved under the bed. This allowed me to adjust to my new wardrobe and if I did absolutely need anything, I could grab it. The clothes are staying under my bed for about 4-6 months. If in that time, I don't grab anything, they will be donated or given to friends. This is just my personal experience downsizing. If you feel you're okay with going straight to the donation center, I admire you.

So far, the results have been pleasant. I'm on week 2 with my downsized wardrobe and have only worn the clothes I really enjoy. I feel fresh and dressed for any occasion. I've had nothing but compliments recently. It's definitely motivating.



**As time goes on, I'll update this post to share the changes I've made, including more pictures. Til then, I want to hear your minimalistic approach to your wardrobe and the steps that were taken to reduce it! I would also like pictures of the results!



01-06-15: I went to London with just a backpack. See my minimal list for the journey here.


05-25-2016: It's been well over a year since I've written this post. At this current time, I feel that it is a tad misleading since my work has changed. This week I'll be working on a more updated post of everything I brought with me for my new work wardrobe. Check back soon!

Role Model - Pat Flynn: Smart Passive Income

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/

I hope to meet Pat Flynn one day. He is my newest role model. I've been reading about passive income for years and have been dabbling in different ideas, which I never follow through except for this blog. I hope to one day work from home just like he does. If you are unfamiliar with what passive income is, I highly highly suggest Googling every corner of the internet including reading every word of Pat Flynn's Website. It will blow your mind. Mine was...

"Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_income

Pat has an excellent example on his website about his smart passive income business plan. Which 100% works, as long as the hard work and dedication are put in to it. Since I am not the greatest writer, I haven't created any eBooks or phone applications, but I definitely plan to! Getting back to the main subject, Pat has done just that. He has taken the time to create multiple websites, phone applications, and eBooks to sustain his income. All he has to do is wait for the checks to clear the bank.

The original goal of this blog was to create passive income and to write about different ways on making money, but then I found minimalism! His first podcast, not even 5 minutes in, says that people who do this have to try even harder to make their content stand out. I eventually found this true which is why I am focusing on blogging about things that I enjoy and hope others do to.

As I continue to listen to his podcasts and read his content, I will continue sharing what I have learned. I highly recommend listening to the podcasts while driving in the car. They are very informative. Check his website out as well!

Craigslist Tips and Suggestions to Remove Clutter

http://lifeedited.com/10-tips-for-selling-stuff-on-craigslist/
I did some of my own research along with using my own personal experiences to generate a list of helpful tips regarding Craigslist. This is to help you sell your items quicker, easier, and safer. You can view my tips below the links listed. If you choose to select the links, some may include pop-ups. As I come across more helpful suggestions, I will be updating the article accordingly. Otherwise, be safe and happy listing!

http://www.lifeedited.com/10-tips-for-selling-stuff-on-craigslist/
http://ohhappyday.com/2013/07/5-craigslist-tips/
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/02/01/24-craigslist-tips-tricks-and-resources/
http://www.moneycrashers.com/craigslist-selling-tips/

Mini Marie's Tips:
  • Take high quality pictures. Show the good, the bad, AND the ugly. No one likes to be misled, especially in a sale. Make sure to use a significant amount of light. Bad pictures will deter potential buyers as well.
  • Don't give personal information unless you know that it's safe! Personal information includes your name, email, home address, and phone number.
  • Update the status of your items. If they are sold, please remove it from the list. This reduces useless traffic. If they are still for sale, offer a better price or more pictures.
  • Place your ad in the closest surrounding cities. For instance I live in the Treasure Coast, therefore, I would choose West Palm Beach and Vero Beach. The wording may have to be changed in some of the posts as it may look like spam.
  • Craigslist is great for moving products out of your home/office fast. It's also great for employing help. If you have a small business and are looking for extra hands, try it out! Be warned though, there are a lot of Joe Shmoe's off the street. You might not find the perfect person for the job in the first couple interviews.
  • It's always best to add in your listing if the items are considered new or used. Tell potential buyers if your items are from a non-smoking home or free of animal dander. Nothing is worse than getting hit by a wall of stench. Not to mention, the items will smell like their environment and someone could be allergic to animal dander.
  • OBO: Or Best Offer. This will attract more buyers. Set the price of your item a little higher than the lowest price you'll absolutely go. One, it makes the buyer feel good that they were able to haggle you down. Two, you didn't go lower than your bare minimum. People always like to feel they got the "best" deal.
  • If you do decide to use your phone number, do not put it in the ad as 123-456-7890. You will have an abundance of spam sent to you right away including telemarketers calling you constantly. Make sure to mix it up a bit by changing some of the numbers to actual words. One23-four56-seven890. This deters bots from finding your phone number in the listing.
  • Use an email address you don't mind getting scammed unless you're familiar with what a scam email looks like. For me, I use my personal email because I have it linked to my phone in case of an instant reply.
  • Choose a mutual place to exchange items and money. Don't meet up with someone in the dark unless you know the person. For me personally, I like to choose the Wendy's parking lot down the road. It's perfect, close, and lit up from all the parking lights.
     
  • Have junk? You can add that on Craigslist under the free items section. Be sure to add FREE or Curb Alert in the title so others can pick your junk up even quicker. Curb Alert allows you to literally place your items at the end of your driveway, list your address, and not have to deal with other people face to face. They simply come and pick the items up.
  • If accepting cash, don't be afraid to invest in a counterfeit marker. This will save you loads of trouble when bringing your money to the bank.
  • Every couple days, update your post. This will place your ad at the top of the list, increasing the chances of someone taking an interest in what you have to sell.
  • If you have a website to link to your products, do it. Millions of people use craigslist for a multitude of things. Increase your exposure.
  • If there is an agreement on a price with a customer, do not sell it to someone else without communicating. This can create turmoil as the stranger now might have personal information to retaliate. Let the other party know there is an interest before completely ignoring them. They may have cancelled their plans and now have to reschedule.
  • Remove posts if they are no longer up to date. People don't want to waste their time if the item is no longer available.


Credit Karma: A Personal Review to Easily Keep Track of your Credit Score


First off, I want to say, amazing app. I've been using it for a year now and can completely keep track of all my credit. Though I only have 2, my car and credit card, I can assure myself I am on the right path every month.
           
Credit Karma works with TransUnion, one of the 3 major credit bureaus. When first signing up, Credit Karma does a soft hit on your credit report to give you your score. Credit Karma will not look at your score again. Instead, monthly, a new estimated credit score is given to you based on your record. 

What's the difference between a soft hit and a hard hit? Hard hits permanently stay on your record for approximately 2 years. I just watched my third hard hit get removed! Hard hits are generated when applying for a new loan such as a car, credit card, or house. It's a hard hit because the banks are about to lend you money. If multiple hits are generated at the same time, it can affect your credit score negatively by reducing the number. Soft hits only check your credit and is similar to a background check.* To view more information about the differences in soft and hard inquiries, visit Credit Karma.

I definitely give the creators two thumbs up for this app and 5 stars! I highly recommend it for everyone to keep track of their personal life and be able to set realistic goals for themselves.

*Be sure to do your own research to make sure certain hits stay off your credit.