Lets Play The Minimalism Game! Getting Rid Of Clutter & Excess Stuff

If you read my post about My Goals For 2016 then you may recall that one of those goals was to clean up the clutter and excess stuff in my house and in my life. As a way to get started down that path right from the get go my husband told me about a game he read about on The Minimalists Blog called the Minimalism Game.

Essentially what you do is ideally starting on the 1st of a month for simplicity sake you start to pick out physical items in your life that you really don’t need, use or get any real value from and get them out of the house by the end of each day (whether that be by selling, donation or giving away, or trash etc.). So on the 1st you would choose one item, on the 2nd you would choose two items, on the 3rd three items, on the 4th four items and so on and so forth until the 30th or 31st (depending on the month you are in). The idea is to try to make it as far as you can through the month doing this everyday. So, assuming I did my math right, if you were to get through an entire 30 day month that would be a total of 465 items gone and out of your life!

Obviously the farther you get through the month the more difficult it will be to come up with enough items for each day. It really makes you think and make some hard decisions about what items really are that important that they should be taking up space in your house.

Both my husband and I are doing this as individuals and have a little competition going to see who will make it the farthest through the month (or maybe we will both make it to the end). We are still trying to decide on some sort of little prize and/or punishment for the winner/loser just to keep things interesting. When we figure something out I will let you know what that is.

We started our first round of the game on January 1st and I will be posting Youtube Videos and Blog updates for each week of January showing what we each decided to get rid of throughout the month. As it is already January 17th when I am posting this I am obviously already a little behind in getting the first couple of weeks worth of items up so I am working hard to get those posted within the next few days so stay tuned!

Also on a side note, we decided to deviate from the original game a little bit in that the items do not have to be out of the house on the same day we picked them because if we are selling something that can take a few days to a couple of weeks and we would rather have one or two bigger loads in the month to drop off for donation rather than a bunch of small loads (to save us time and gas). So instead we have a few bins set aside that we have to put our chosen items into until they are sold or hauled off to the donation centre. Of course if you try the game you can just do whatever works best for you!

I would love to hear if you decide to give the game a try and how you make out!

Katie

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My Goals For 2016!

It has been far to long since my last blog post, the holidays and first week of January really had me on the go. I just wasn’t able to carve out the time (and energy) to get back on my blog but I am anxious now to get caught back up and to be better at getting up regular posts that I hope you will enjoy!

Before I go any further I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy new year and all the best in 2016. I hope this year turns out to be everything you want it to be and more! I have lots of plans in store for 2016 and I hope you come along with me for the ride!

So I thought it only fitting to open up 2016 on my blog with a post sharing the list of my top 10 goals for the year (I have also made a Youtube video on this which you will find at the bottom of this post). These are in no particular order and are just a variety of things I want to work on as I believe it is important to always try to keep growing and improving as a person for your own well being as well as for those around you.

So without further ado…

  1. Be consistent with eating healthy (at least 80% of the time) and working on increasing my fitness. I want to do this for both my overall health and for weightloss. I want to continue following a plant based diet (for more info on this see my posts on my diet here) and get in at least 15,000 steps a day (I got a Fitbit for Christmas) and do a high intensity 20 minute workout 5 days a week.
  2. Post weekly blog posts (ideally at least 2 per week) as well as at least 2 Youtube videos per week (check out my Youtube Channel here). I really want to grow my blog and Youtube channel to reach a wider audience and to connect with more people. It is also something that is an outlet for me to talk about and explore my interests, goals, struggles, feelings etc.
  3. Clean up the clutter and excess stuff in the house and in my life. My husband and I are really trying to take more of a minimalistic approach to our lives and part of that is eliminating things and items that really don’t add value to our lives. We want to get the house completely decluttered, minimized and organized so that everything has a place and a use and brings real enjoyment and value to our lives. If we haven’t looked at or used something within the past year it probably doesn’t need to be taking space in the house. We don’t want to have stuff just for the sake of having stuff anymore.
  4. Spend more time training our dog Watson. For example, teaching him new tricks, improving the tricks he already knows and maintaining and improving his basic commands. Since our daughter came home we just haven’t spent as much dedicated time to his training or as much time just playing and snuggling with him as we did when he was an “only child”. I want to work on giving him more one-on-one time with myself and my husband where he doesn’t need to compete for attention with my daughter.
  5. Get an Esty Shop up and running and attend a few craft shows, handmade shows and farmers markets this year. I enjoy and am quite good at making various hair accessories for babies right up to adults, as well as a few different pet accessories. I make different kinds of bows and fabric flowers which I turn into hair clips and headbands etc. I am hoping to turn this hobby into a bit of extra income (as I am a stay at home mom) for some of the things that might not always fit into the budget or just to help boost our savings each month.
  6. Carve out more time for my husband and I to spend together doing things we enjoy as a couple. This could look like perhaps maybe a dedicated date night on a regular basis where we would get a baby sitter as well as just doing more things even at home where we are playing a game or doing an activity we enjoy together more often. I think as the foundation of our family it is really important to keep that relationship as a couple healthy, strong and fun. It is not at all that I think our relationship is bad or that we don’t do things together now but I just think there is always room for growth and improvement.
  7. Having more patience in certain circumstances or situations that would typically annoy, frustrate, upset and/or stress me out. It isn’t that I am an impatient person but I think we all have those certain triggers (specific situations, people, behaviours, events etc.) that get to us faster than normal. Basically I want to work on not giving my “triggers” as much hold over me and also not sweating the small stuff as much and just going with things even if something isn’t going the way I hoped.
  8. Be more social and outgoing. I am actually a pretty introverted and quiet person. I really dread being the centre of attention and much prefer just hanging out in the background at larger social gatherings. I would definitely describe myself as a homebody and that is where I am most comfortable. Now that I have my daughter though I want to work on becoming more comfortable going to social events and gatherings and the like because I don’t want my shortcomings in that area to hold her back in any way if she happens to be the personality type that thrives on being around large groups of people and just being out a lot doing things and socializing with others. To work on this goal I will try to accept more invitations to social events of any size as well as to initiate more of these types of events with friends and family. I would also like to get my daughter and I into more organized activities on top of the many that we already do to give us both more opportunities to socialize and meet new people.
  9. Work on my self-confidence and growing a more positive body image. This kind of ties into and is an extension of number 8. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my self-confidence and body image which in turn makes me shy away from being around others and initiating conversation with people I don’t know. I really have a hard time viewing my body in a positive way and convincing myself that everyone around me isn’t always judging the way I look in a bad way. I often have negative thoughts about myself such as “you are so fat”, “you aren’t pretty enough”, “you look terrible today” etc. I know that isn’t healthy and as a role model for my daughter I really want to portray to her a positive body image and lots of self-confidence because I want her to be confident and positive about herself no matter what she looks like on the outside or decides to do with her life.
  10.  Live more in the moment. I need to be better at just focusing on and enjoying exactly what I am doing in the here and now. It is so easy to let your thoughts wander into the list of things you still need to accomplish or what you need to do tomorrow or later that day when you should just be focusing on whatever is happening at that exact moment.

So there you have it, my list of goals for 2016. I in no way expect myself to be perfect or to walk away from 2016 saying I have completed these or no longer need to work on these things. Many of these goals I am sure will be ongoing for years to come and for 2016 I am just hoping to move forward and make some progress. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some of these happen to evolve or change as I go along and perhaps I will decide to add in a few more as well.

I will try to do a progress update on my goals in 3-6 months depending on how things go so stay tuned for that! If there is anything you would like me to elaborate on further or if you have any questions please let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you come back again soon!

Katie

 

Favourite Drugstore Makeup Products

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Another quick post to share with you some more of my favourite products. This time it is 3 of my favourite drugstore makeup products. A full coverage foundation, a concealer and a pressed setting powder. So without further delay here they are!

 

Concealer – Maybelline New York Fit Me Stick

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The Maybelline Fit Me Stick is just a nice silky smooth concealer that does a great job of covering up those dark under eye circles and other unwanted skin imperfections. I have been using this for a few years now and it is my go to concealer. I believe it is generally about $10.00 CAD give or take depending on the store and if you can get it on sale or not.

 

Foundation – Revlon 24 Hour Colorstay Foundation

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The Revlon 24 Hour Colorstay formula is just a really nice full coverage foundation. It goes on smooth, covers up all the imperfections really nicely and doesn’t feel super heavy on your skin. It really does seem to stay in place very well all day. This is definitely my go to drugstore foundation and has been for a couple of years now. I generally find it to be around $16.00 CAD give or take depending on the store and possible sale pricing.

 

Pressed Powder – Loreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Powder

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I have been using the Loreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder for many years now and that is because I just really like this product and how it goes on and keeps everything in place all day. I don’t find that it feels heavy and it doesn’t seem to cause unwanted dry skin. It comes in a variety of shades and you can also pick the best formula for your specific skin tone (cool, neutral or warm). I believe this goes for about $15.00-$16.00 CAD again give or take depending on the store and if you can get it on sale.

 

So those are the 3 favourite drugstore makeup products I wanted to share with you today. You can also check out my corresponding Youtube video below

Until next time!

Katie

Favourite Dry Shampoo Products

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This is just a quick post to show you my 2 favourite dry shampoo products. One is a drugstore product and the other is a higher end product you would typically find at say a hair salon or beauty store such as Sephora. I LOVE dry shampoo because it is a great way to get an extra day or two in between hair washes. I really don’t like to over wash my hair because I already damage and dry it out so much with hair colouring, blow drying and straightening/curling. I like to give it as much of a break as possible in between and dry shampoo really helps me out with that. A good dry shampoo will remove that oily hair look and feel and leave your hair feeling clean and refreshed for longer. I always have this on hand!

 

Drugstore Product – Batiste Dry Shampoo

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My favourite drugstore dry shampoo product by far is the Batiste Dry Shampoo in the Coconut & Exotic Tropical scent. This works just as well as the majority of the higher end products I have tried and for a fraction of the cost. It goes on a bit white but once massaged in and brushed the white residue disappears. I find dry shampoos to typically have a fairly strong scent so finding a scent I like is important to me. I really like how this one smells which is a nice bonus since it works so well. You can also get Batiste in 2 other scents that I know of, original and another which I believe is a floral scent. I am in Canada and often find this at Winners for a great price but I have seen it at other big chain drugstores and grocery stores. At winners I usually pay $6.99 for the 6.73 fl.oz. can and I think I have seen it for about $8.99 at other stores (in Canadian funds).

 

Higher End Product – Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo

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I really love this dry shampoo. My favourite scent is the Mango Coconut but I believe there are a few other scents to choose from as well. This dry shampoo works really great and I find it leaves my hair feeling very refreshed. Like the Batiste I do find that this goes on with a bit of a white residue (but less so than the Batiste) and again that goes away once the product is massaged in, left to work its magic and then brushed out. I purchase this from Sephora and in Canada it runs for about $27.00 for the 4.75 fl.oz. can. I believe it is available in a smaller more travel size can as well.

 

So there you have it, my 2 favourite dry shampoo products. If you are interested you can also check out my Youtube Channel for the corresponding video to this post.

Thanks for stopping in!

Katie

What I Ate Today On The Starch Solution

I FINALLY have a “What I ate” post for you! If you follow me on Instagram at all you probably already have a general idea of some of the things I am eating these days but if not this will be a bit of a look into what a typical day of eating might look like for me. I definitely do not eat the exact same thing everyday so I will try to get another one of these done again soon. Today was a bit light on the potatoes compared to a lot of days!

 

Breakfast

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For breakfast today I had dry fried (no oil added) frozen hashbrown potatoes with some chopped fresh red pepper and green onion mixed in. On the side I had half a slice of whole wheat toast with a very thin layer of natural peanut butter and some slices of mandarin orange. To drink I had a big glass of water with some fresh squeezed lemon juice (I drink this every morning with my breakfast).

These hashbrowns are not fat free, they are store bought and do have a bit of oil on them. I haven’t been able to find these in fat free yet and these are the closest thing to that I have come across so far. They are fairly low fat and fry up really nicely because of the small amount of oil on them. I do sometimes dice up my own potatoes instead but these are great to have on hand when you just need to quickly get breakfast made. I usually also add in spinach and mushrooms but I just didn’t have any left in the house at the moment. I also often change up the colour of pepper and type of onion as well.

 

Lunch

For lunch I had some Happy Planet Thai Coconut Soup over top of some white basmati rice and corn kernels. On the side I had some oven warmed whole wheat naan bread with an ever so thin layer of Earth Balance spread and a touch of garlic salt. I also had some cucumber slices with a bit of garlic hummus and a couple of my mom’s homemade beet pickles. To drink I just had water.

I usually eat brown rice instead of white rice but I am totally out right now. A trip to the grocery store is in order very soon!

 

Afternoon Snack

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I was feeling a bit hungry right before I started getting supper together so I had a small handful (half a serving at most) of Luke’s Organic Superfood Tortilla Chips. These are a much healthier alternative to the ordinary tortilla chip and are so delicious. Sometimes for a full on snack I will have some of these with garlic hummus, hummus mixed with sriracha sauce or tomato salsa. We buy big bags of these from Costco.

 

Supper

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For supper tonight I tried a new Thai Green Curry recipe from the actual Starch Solution book (apparently I have a Thai theme going on today). To keep this fat free the recipe calls for using a non-dairy milk such as soy, rice or almond milk and adding coconut extract to get the coconut flavour (instead of coconut milk). I had never tried this before and it was great! I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. I didn’t have all of the specific veggies the recipe called for so I just added and substituted with what I did have on hand.

Essentially what you see above was made with white basmati rice, almond milk, vegetable broth, coconut extract, low sodium soy sauce, Thai green curry paste, broccoli, carrot, onion, garlic, peas, corn, red pepper and yellow pepper. It was really delicious, I will definitely be making this again!

 

Evening Snack

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It is a couple of hours before I head to bed and I am feeling a bit hungry so for an evening snack I am having some beans in tomato sauce (the kind you buy canned) with a couple of Luke’s tortilla chips stuck in there to scoop them up. For the remainder I will just use a spoon! I find beans of any kind to be very filling and satisfying. The perfect snack to hold me over until breakfast tomorrow!

 

That is it for what I ate today for weight loss on the Starch Solution. I hope you enjoyed and found this post helpful. I also made a Youtube video of everything I ate today so for a little more footage on the actual preparation of my main meals check that out!

See you again soon!

Katie

Baby Product Review: Boon Grass Drying Rack & Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer

We have a couple of baby products my daughter has now outgrown so we are getting ready to send them out of the house but we really liked these 2 items so I thought I should do a quick review on them just in case it might be helpful to anyone out there who may be considering purchasing one or both of these.

The two items are the Boon Grass Drying Rack with Twig Accessory and the Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer. I purchased the Boon Grass and Twig from West Coast Kids which is a small chain Canadian boutique type baby store and the Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer I purchased on a great 50% off sale from Amazon.ca. Both items I have seen at BabiesRus as well and I am sure they can be found at many other major chain and privately owned stores that carry baby products.

The actual review you will find here on my Youtube Channel:

 

And as promised on my Youtube Channel review, here are a couple of detailed pictures of the two items:

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We really liked both items and would definitely recommend them to our own family and friends. I found them to be very handy to have around as they made the process of bottle feeding and cleaning up simpler and quicker which is always a blessing when taking care of baby!

I hope you are all having a fabulous week! Until next time!

Katie

Makeup Brush Storage Ideas

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I just wanted to do a quick post to share with you how I store my makeup brushes. This is not my original idea as I saw it somewhere (I can’t remember where) a few years ago when I was trying to find a better way to display my brushes. Before this I either had them sitting loosely in a taller glass container or stuck in a drawer and I found that both ways were not ideal because I was always having a hard time finding the brush I wanted to use…especially with the smaller and/or shorter ones. They would always annoyingly disappear into the abyss that was my makeup brushes!

The idea I came across was to fill a glass container with unground coffee beans which work like how sand or gravel would in terms of holding the brushes upright in place when you push them into the container. Coffee Beans also smell great (unless you hate the smell of coffee) and they are a really beautiful  and rich dark brown colour. The beans do stop smelling (unless you really stick your face in) after a few months so if you love having that coffee smell in your makeup area you would have to change the beans out every few months.

To add some extra glam to the beans you could mix in some glitter or instead of using coffee beans you could use coloured gravel (like what you see in fish tanks), other types of small decorative stones, glass stones or beads, coloured sand etc. There are really so many different things you could do depending on what type of look you are going for.

You could also change up the shape and size of the glass container you are using. Mine is just a simple cylindrical shape but I have seen rectangles, cubes, triangles, hearts, ovals…all kinds of things. You could really easily and inexpensively make this your own!

Anyway I hope that you might find this helpful if you have been struggling with trying to find an effective, easy, attractive and inexpensive way to store your makeup brushes.

I would love to see pictures of your creations if you decide to try this out!

All the best!

Katie