Books on Minimalism, Meditation, and Mindset

Heya,

Because I’m a reader, above all else, I just knew that I had to share my list of books to help me dig deeper into Minimalism, Meditation, and Mindset. I usually lead a busy life due to school and Naomi and so lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the books through Overdrive.

Overdrive is an app (don’t worry, it can still be used through browser) that syncs to your library account. It is completely free. You can either get audio books to download or listen in browser, or you can get the eBook. It’s absolutely fantastic for when you need to be hands free – like when holding a baby or on your commute to work or school. Otherwise, the library is a great way to save money and space should books be an aspect you are minimizing.

If you’ve read any of these let me know! Also, if you have some great books about these topics, put them in the comments. I’d love to check them out!

That’s where this list came from! 

FYI: I’ll be adding to this list as I go and I’ll put a big fat X next to the ones I’ve completed. Check the KEY at the end. I hope to write short reviews of these books as well. 

Fingers crossed! 

Books on Minimalism: 

X —The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
XThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Manga or Book version)

X —The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha

—The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

X — Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

X—The More of Less by Joshua Becker

—Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

C — Everything That Remains by The Minimalists

— Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

 

Books on Meditation: 

X — Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris — A 10% Happier How-To Book
X — 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris

 

Books on Mindset:

C —The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

—How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen

DNF — The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

— Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

C — The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

—How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell

 

Authors Suggested to Me:
Colin Wright
Courtney Carver
Leo Babauta
Joshua Becker

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

KEY:

X: Finished

DNF: Did Not Finish

C: Currently Reading/Listening

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Messy Minimalist: 4 Steps to Sticking With It

Heya,

One of the most difficult things that I’ve found, now that I’m on this journey, is that becoming a minimalist is very different from being a minimalist.

I say this because I was so excited to get started that I jumped right in. I had already ingested as much Marie Kondo as I could and requested tons of books on decluttering and having a comfy home. I created the 31 Days of Introspection and even before December 1st I was packing things away to donate or throw away. I swept through the clutter in almost the first day and was finished by the first week’s end. Everything was given a place and everything was then put in its place.

Then the reality set in.

Minimalism isn’t just about decluttering, just as I’d read. It’s more about the mindset and I just didn’t have it down yet. Well, I should say ‘don’t have it down yet’. I am a messy person. Messy, not dirty or gross. I clean things (bathroom, kitchen, lint from the dryer) but I’m less likely to have an empty table, books will be strewn about, and clothes aren’t put back in their place. I couldn’t figure out why this new thing I was so obsessed with wouldn’t last. I knew it had to change. I wanted my apartment to reflect the changes consistently.

Step 1: Be Honest

No, I’m not going to tell you ‘Click here to take this test at this link and get this…’ and all that jazz. I’m more interested in finding out your personality type strictly in relation to cleaning. We can talk about the deep dark depths of your soul another time. (Unless you just really want to tell me what your personality type is. I’ll take it. Comment below.) 

In order to get the best out of this step is to be honest with yourself. Seriously! Be honest! Figure out what type of person you are. Are you the ‘I’ll take the trash out later’ three days in a row type? Are you the ‘I can’t start eating until I completely clean the kitchen’ type? Do you need a checklist in order to keep you on top of chores? Do you just let dishes pile up until you have to clean before you can use your sink? If you set the goal “I’m going to make my bed every single morning when I get up” will you stick with it?

My Truth: Through Introspection and trial and error, I found that I wasn’t the type of person to pick up all day. One of the reasons I struggled in the beginning was because I am a mom and a full time student. I don’t have the time, or the motivation, to clean all day. I lie to myself and say that laziness doesn’t play a part but it does. When I have a moment to sit and hang out, I want to read, not clean. During that short period of craziness I would run around like a headless chicken and scream at anyone that left things dirty. Yeah, that’s not for me. I don’t want to become THAT minimalist. 

Step 2: Solve

In order to keep on top of things you must create a schedule or idea that could help you stay on top of things. 

Once I was honest with myself I was able to come up with a solution. I’m currently writing this as laundry sits on the floor in the bedroom, the living room has toys all over the place, and the kitchen is in disarray from roasting chicken and my parent’s 5 day visit. But I’m not frustrated by this, as I would’ve been only a month ago. In that 2nd week of the 31 Days of Introspection, I would get frustrated every time things were out of place. I had this “idea” of what Minimalism (capital M) looked like and any time we forgot to put a dish in the dishwasher or left Naomi’s toys out I’d go running to frantically make sure the apartment was clean. I was burnt out in less than two days. Now, I know what I’ve set in place for myself, and I’ve been sticking to it. 

My Solution: I follow the 10 Minute Clean Up. I came up with this on my own but you’ve probably heard of a quick clean up or created a mini version of your own. Throughout the day, I go about life as normal. Of course, I try to be “mindful” (my word for 2020), by putting things back in their place after I use them, but I don’t spend all hours fumbling after myself, the baby, my guy, and myself again. 

At the end of the night, before I grab a book and go to bed, I walk around the apartment. I spend 10 minutes straightening, wiping things down, picking up Naomi’s toys, loading the dishwasher, and taking out the trash. I set myself up for the next day by putting my laptop where it should go or making sure my backpack is set up for school. It doesn’t always take 10 minutes and sometimes I race against my own clock because I’m weird like that. Once all of this is done, I do my skincare routine and moisturize my dreads (newbie at these too, and I love them). Then I hit the sack.

I used to hate the dishes, and let me be honest – it’s still not my favorite thing, but it really doesn’t take that long. Especially if I am being mindful during the day by immediately rinsing them. The only real issue with the night time pick up is trying not to wake Naomi with all the clinking, clanking and water pressure.

Step 3: Stay Focused

Once I was honest with myself I realized that a 10 minute clean up before bed would help me round out my day. 

My apartment was clean, things were in their place, I’d already cut down on my ‘getting ready’ time by decluttering clothes and keeping a small shoe rack by the door. Also, my backpack or purse was already set (via the 10 minute clean up) and I can grab and go. Now, I just needed to stay on track. I was able to release the stress and stop chasing my guy around whenever he put a cup down on the coffee table or forgot to fold the blanket from the couch. Okay, that’s not true. I still do that sometimes because he’s not on this journey with me and so he hasn’t quite caught on to the concept yet. But he is working on helping me keep things together and I’m sure he’s much happier, in general, that our apartment is de–cluttered and consistently clean.

Every night, that 10 Minute Clean Up needs to happen. That being said, should something happen stopping me from doing it (too druuuunk, tired beyond exhaustion, in pain or hurt…there are reasons), I can’t let myself freak out. Light and Happy. Light and Happy. 

Step 4: Remember

This one is easy and not really a step. When I notice the apartment is getting a bit messy I remember why I decided to de–clutter in the first place. If I’m getting into bed and I haven’t cleaned, I get up before that warm plush mattress pulls me in. I do my quick clean up and get in bed happy, knowing that my apartment is clean, I’ve kept a promise to myself, and that I’m stress free. I can breathe.

So…Mission Accomplished.

What about you? Are you a messy person? Do you struggle to keep up with the neatness that minimalism has imparted? What was your solution to being a messy minimalist? Is it working? Have you had to try different things?

Good Readdance,
Jade    

 

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Minimalism = Nothing to Wear

Heya,



In April 2019 I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Naomi. She was everything that I hoped for, wished for. I loved the idea of being a mom and after she was born I fell in love with her even more. During my high-risk pregnancy I embraced all of the things that changed. I loved my stretch marks and even called them my Baby Ink. I took the engorged breasts in stride and the swelling feet was an uncomfortable thing I knew I could handle. My fluctuating weight – and fears of not gaining enough – didn’t hold me back from feeling optimistic. Any time someone mentioned a downside about their body, in regards to pregnancy, I took in the positives and thanked Naomi for remaining healthy.

It wasn’t until I was five months postpartum, that I felt in loving her, and all that a new babe brought to my life, I had somehow fallen out of love with my body. I still embraced the things that had changed but I just didn’t feel beautiful anymore. I didn’t feel happy with the way I saw myself in the mirror. Then, I noticed it wasn’t my body. It was my clothes. 

I hated my wardrobe. Most of the clothes that I wore during pregnancy would no longer fly. During those 9 months, I donned tons of cute crop tops, high-rise leggings and jeans. I wore tight dresses because they looked beautiful over my ever-growing belly. I didn’t realize that, after birth, I would no longer feel happy in these. My stomach was flabby. I often still looked pregnant due to swelling or bloating. My breast milk filled boobs wouldn’t fit into the tighter tops I’d worn just weeks before. Instead, I wanted to wear flowy things. I wanted to twirl in boho dresses that flowed around my thighs. I wanted to wear jeans again. I wanted to wear leggings beneath peplum tops and billowing blouses, at least until I lost the baby weight. Then after I wanted the carefree feeling and aesthetic that style would give me.

I had none of those things.

 


So I turned to my closet. The drawers were overflowing. There were clothes strewn about the floor because I didn’t have enough space to pack them in the already packed closet (that’s also filled with non-clothes items as well). I instantly recoiled and for a week I tried to put the daunting task of decluttering and figuring out my new personal style out of my mind. 

One section of decluttering is Clothing and I followed all of the rules. In using Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering, I was able to go through my closet and get rid of all the things that no longer sparked joy. I threw out things I knew I would never wear. Donated clothes that I couldn’t fit. I even found shirts that still had tags. I then embraced the folding and stood my shirts and jeans up in the drawers for easy removal. I flipped my hangers to see what I wore often and what never left the closet and donated those pieces as well. I even pared down my gym clothes and the enormous collection of jeans that could use a dusting. You know, because I hadn’t gone to the gym in almost a year and hadn’t been able to fit into jeans in at least six months.

After I did all the STUFF, I felt happy. My bedroom no longer had clothes strewn about, my clothes only took up one small corner of the closet, and my drawers could close all the way. I thought that the only things I kept were items that “sparked joy”. However, after three weeks, I still couldn’t find anything to wear. I would return to the closet over and over asking myself ‘do I really want to wear this’? I would look in the mirror and feel sadness that my clothes didn’t suit me. I still didn’t feel pretty.

One of the things that they don’t tell you after having a baby is that you will never be the same. You are a completely different person. You’re a Mom now. You do Mom things. You have a Mom body. You have to look at yourself in a different light.

Those things I wanted to wear weren’t in my closet. My wardrobe didn’t make me feel together or like a mom. A part of minimalism is owning things with purpose and loving the things that inhabit your space. I still held on to things that were from the ‘old me’. I had nothing that showed I had grown as a person.

 

Remember, this was before I fully embraced the idea of becoming a minimalist. All I knew was that something had to change. I pared my wardrobe down even further. My new question wasn’t ‘Does this spark joy?’ My new question was (is) “Does this reflect the new me?” and if the answer was no, I threw it out. Mostly. I knew I had to keep enough things so that I would be clothed because, you know, they don’t let us run around naked, but the majority of the items went right into a box.

My next step was to hit the thrift store. Say what you will, be who you are, but I love thrifting. I love it. Finding great pieces at great prices has been something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. I would go to thrift stores and garage sales with my mom on the weekends and I always came home with something I enjoyed. Yes, this is definitely what contributed to my issues with shopping and hoarding but we’ll talk about that in another post. 

 

On my trip to my safe place, I found ten items that I loved. I pulled them off the rack with an excited flick of a hand. Then I stopped. I looked down at Naomi, who was happily chattering away in her car seat, and shook my head. I was about to do the exact opposite of what I came to do. Find things that reflect me. I took another look and aloud I said “Naomi, does this look like the new me?” She smiled when she heard my voice but was otherwise no help.

Taking a second, even third, look at my selections told me that no, they didn’t reflect me. They looked like the same items I’d just tossed away. I decided to take them to the dressing room anyway, to see if I was just being dramatic (which…I usually am). After trying them on, I realized that only four out of the three pieces made me feel pretty. They made me feel like an adult woman who knew who she was and had her own style. A mother who is taking back the reins of her body. One that is redefining what it meant to be stylish, in her own eyes. They are items that would also look good after I’ve lost the 25lbs (that I am pledging to lose in 2020 – also another converse for another time).

 

When I got home, I excitedly tried on every piece and did a fashion show for my guy in which I employed my best catwalk. He laughed and told me I looked happy, light. I did. I do. With every piece that I’m buying that reflects me I no longer feel that my closet is fighting against me and my happiness. I can’t say “I have nothing to wear”. It’s a journey, as I’m no expert at this, but every time I put on clothing that fits and makes me feel sexy, pretty, positive, and light I know I’m on the right track.

I hope that I’ve inspired you to not only ask ‘Does this spark joy?’ but ‘Does this reflect the new me?’

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Cherchez La Vie December 2019

Goals! Goals! Goals! *to the beat of the SHOTS song*

Here is my quick Goals list for the first 6 months of 2020. I’m really excited because I have some great ones that I’ve already been putting into practice with my ideas from the 31 Days of Introspection.

I want to implement the “2 Day Rule”. This means that I can’t go more than 2 days without doing something towards my goals. I’ll put 2DR next to the other goals that must apply to this.

1. Meditation! I want to make sure that I am taking time out of my day to meditate and center myself. One of the great things to come out of the 31 Days of Introspection is learning all I could about releasing stress and calming myself before I freak out. 2DR.

2. “Schedule” class prioress for my online classes. One thing that I realized about myself is that I need to have specific times for each class. Just as if I would go to a Face to Face class, I need to say Tuesdays at 10 am I am going to work on Theory and Practice. At 11 am…etc. This will help me stay focused!

3. Gym LIFE!!! I currently weigh less than I did when I was pregnant with Naomi. However, I’m almost 20lbs more than I was when I first moved to Orlando. I actually thought I was on the heavier side back then and it surprises me to look back and find that I wasn’t fat at all and almost had a flat (albeit flabby) stomach. In all seriousness, I’d like to get back to that size. That’s a big feat though. So I’m hoping for 15lbs in the first 6 months of 2020. I want to tone. I would like to get rid of the ‘pregnant’ look, even when bloated. I actually just bought an ab roller today.

4. Stick to my nightly 10 Minute Clean Up. I want to make sure I’m keeping the apartment clean and tidy as much as I can. Doing this nightly clean up will help me stay focused and remember why I wanted to become a minimalist in the first place. 2DR.

5. Read!!! I want to make sure that I take time to read every single day. Being a full time student and a mom means I often have less time to read when I’m in the thick of a semester. I’m including both physical books and audio books into this! I love using Overdrive to get free kindle books through my library. I am also lucky that our library system delivers. I don’t have to leave my house if I am unable to! 2DR.

What are your goals for 2020? Any resolutions that are life changing? New career? Weight Loss?

Good Readdance,

Jade

31 Days of Introspection: Week 4: Goals

Heya,

So, today is Cherchez La Vie. If you remember, many, many moons ago I was tasked with creating a holiday central to who I am. I decided to make Cherchez La Vie which basically means ‘the search for life’ (or so a  french friend advised). On the last Saturday of July and December (6 months), I do a re-evaluation of my life. The day is usually filled with yoga, or some mindful act: meditation, cleaning, organizing, eating healthy food, etc. I also make a list of goals that I want to achieve in the next 6 months.

Some are as simple as “make a healthier meal at least once a week” or “try out new recipes” (from July 2019’s list). Some are bigger, like “get a gym membership” (from the same list). I currently work out at 24 Hour Fitness, by the way. Goal Accomplished.

In 2020 I want to add some things to my list! I want to lose 15lbs in the next 6 months. I am setting a realistic goal – with school and Naomi and writing – and hoping to tone as well. I want to meditate more, even if it is only 5-10 minutes a day. I definitely plan to write more- whether it’s for novels, creative nonfiction essays, or blog posts. I just want to do what I love…more. For a complete list of my Cherchez La Vie 2019 goals click here!

I’d love to hear what your goals are for the next 6 months! What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to start your 2020 off? If you have any New Year Resolutions I want to hear these as well. Now…

Week 4 Summary:
This month has been amazing. Let me just say, I feel like a different person. This week I reaffirmed my thoughts on my career choice. I’d love to be a Professor and I will be one. It’s been a lifelong dream that I was talked out of pursuing by any and everyone when I was graduating from college. “Dont go to school for English”, “You need to do something that makes money”, and “How do you plan to get a job?” were just a few things that derailed my dreams. When I was a kid I would daydream little scenes of me standing before a class. I’d have my little messenger bag and my cool accent. I’d spark banter between students and inspire them to think about creative writing and novels in entirely new ways. It’s just crazy how much I WANTED it.

But no looking back. I’m on track now and my dreams are still coming true. One thing that would help me achieve these dreams is going to grad school. This means I need to decide which grad school to go to. I spent almost two full days looking at schools with fully funded programs. I’ve found some great selections and I’m quite excited about it. 

This week, in Naomi’s development, is all about screaming. And when I say screaming, I’m really talking about HIGH PITCHED BANSHEE SCREAMS. She loves it. She leans back, tightens her legs, and screams as loud as she can. It’s crazy. She also fake coughs. I’ll come running because I think she might be choking on something and nope, she’s smiling from ear to ear. It’s wild. One great thing about Naomi’s development is that she is eating more real food now. I’ve been happy to find baby food at the store that is 100% veggies or meat, etc. I was seriously worried about that and finding brands that are organic or whole make me happy and feel like my daughter is getting the best. And I try it myself and it’s so good. If anything, that’s a great indicator.
IMG_20200108_004751

Another thing happening this week: I need to choose a computer. As an English student, most of my school work is writing essays or creative writing pieces. There’s no way I’m going to be able to do all of this by hand or at the school library. I need to get one that also means I need to sell the car ASAP. One bill to replace another. C’est La Vie. Ugh. If you have any suggestions for great computers I’ll take them, under a $900 budget. Otherwise I’m using the money saved for the car and not the things I need it for. Ugh…again. 

I mentioned in another post that I would seriously like to become a pescatarian and man, oh man. The price of fish is so high. I bought a huge Salmon filet and it was literally twice (and change) the price of a huge pack of chicken breast. That chicken breast could feed the two of us for several dishes – multiple meals. That’s one of the crazy things about life as well. Everyone talks about how unhealthy or overweight Americans are. It makes me wonder why healthy foods are always just so much more expensive than unhealthy foods. Why does a quick salad cost $9 but a cheeseburger costs $1.25? What sense does that make?

I’ll jump off that soap box real quick. My word for 2020 is going to be Mindful. I want to be MINDFUL in everything that I do. Cleaning, writing, grocery shopping, cooking, meal prep for school so I don’t starve, etc. So if you see that word throughout my posts for 2020, that’s why. What is your word? 

 


Good Readdance,
Jade

31 Days of Introspection: Week 3: Relevant vs Irrelevant Information

Heya,

So…the oddest thing to think about is the fluidity of life. My thoughts from one week to another. The way things change just by a few well  timed words. It’s all incredulous and I’m in awe at how things turn about.

From last weeks summary, I remember an emotional rant about perception and deleting my Facebook because of my inability to externalize the opinions of others. This week, my guy and I were out on our upstairs porch, him standing with one hand tucked in one pocket, the other balancing a thick cigar between two fingers, and I, sitting on the roof with my knees pulled up close to my chest, two boxes of matches jammed between my sock and the edge of my sweats, my cigar dangling from my fingers.

We chat about life. Our goals, as if we aren’t already aware of each other’s aspirations, and any emotional hindrances from the week. It’s not until rain starts to patter on the porch, chasing us inside, silently down a flight of stairs (so as not to wake baby Naomi), and onto our screened in porch that we get to the meat of it all.

This is something we regularly did, him and I, before Naomi was born. It wasn’t just cigars. Often times we’d go out to hookah lounges, or our favorite cafe that serves hookah, and we’ll spend hours entwined in each other’s legs, our thoughts mingling. This night, we discuss minimalism and how I’m on this new journey of decluttering and keeping only the things that “spark joy” and how he’s a natural minimalist and doesn’t even know it. He tells me how appreciative he is that I’ve taken this huge leap to make our house more of a home. That it’s safer for Naomi to scramble about on fawns legs because I’ve gotten my shit up off the floor and gotten rid of piles of useless, unread books. There’s a compliment in there somewhere.

Our convo, now that we are in the throes of Our Time, turns to what he calls Relevant and Irrelevant Information. I tell him how I want to delete my social media. How it all just makes me feel like shit. Why do I need justification? Why do I need people to “Like, Comment, and Subscribe” (Blah blah blah)? Why can’t I just get on and happily watch cat videos without thinking no one cares about me? That no one loves me? That their opinions cut so deep without them saying anything? And yes, we are long since working on my aforementioned abandonment issues from childhood, but this is a deeper level of questioning. This isn’t just the want to understand. This is the want to change.

He flicks the ash from the end of his cigar and turns to look at me. I don’t know if it shows in my face, as I gaze back at him, but I need to know. “You can never change the perception of others,” he says. “It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Their opinion, negative or positive, is just that. Their opinion.” I nod but my mind wanders and I think about all the “branding” lessons I’ve learned in business and how it makes a difference when showing “yourself” to clients or employers/employees.

What he’s talking about is different. “If you knew someone didn’t like you, Jade, you’d want to know why…” he knows me so well. I’d have questions, internally at least. “I don’t want to know why,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me. Even if they were  to tell me, what would I do with this information? I wouldn’t change myself to suit their needs. So why?” This -another thing we discussed at length- might make him sound arrogant but as someone who knows and loves him I can tell you, he is not. But that sentence right there tells you how much I care. What he was saying made sense to me though, or maybe it’s because we have a bond. He cares what Naomi thinks, I think, and the opinions of his parents but there’s little else that can shake him. I’m strong like that, but definitely not in the area. I care a little too much.

Later, when our cigars have burned down and I’ve had to pinch the lip end of mine with both hands so as not to burn my lips as I drag, I tell him an experience I once had with perception. “I once had this girl tell me she didn’t like me because I was too happy. Seriously, she was mad because I always walked around happy for no apparent reason.” Now, this was before the pregnancy losses, before the attack in college, before adult life chewed me up and spit me out again. I had a rough childhood. An angry one, and in that sliver of between time that was the last two years of high school, I had gotten to a place where optimism and light were my unspoken motto and she stomped all over it.

“So…” he flicked his cigar again, “ what did you do with that information? Be less happy?” He had that sly, sideways look. With one corner of his mouth tilted up and one caterpillar-like eyebrow raised.

“Right?” I smiled ruefully and handed over the scorching hot butt of my cigar. I folded my legs beneath me and tilted my head at him incredulously. Because I’d never thought of it that way. Yes, I always remembered that mantra that force into you as a kid ‘be who you are’ and ‘it’s okay to not be liked’ but I never took ownership of my own feelings in the matter. Responsibility of the part I played. I did dim my light for her. I remember seeing that chick in the halls and feeling like I couldn’t smile. Like I couldn’t be happy.

“See, the problem is that people aren’t honest with themselves. Be honest, Jade. You want people to like you. You want everyone to like you. Most people do.” I wasn’t offended but I did feel attacked. Damn, Bear (my nickname for him).

“Well,” I said. “It’s not that I want everyone to like me.” I took in a deep breath and he lifted an eyebrow. “I don’t have a problem with people not liking me! I don’t! I just…want to know why!”

”But it’s not Relevant Information,” he said. He went on this long monologue about how Relevant Information is the Information you get that you can actually utilize. Mostly from those you genuinely care about, and vice versa, and secondary players in your life that still affect you- like a boss or mentor. It’s constructive criticism. It’s when people build you up. It’s kudos. It’s even when someone is giving the harsh truth that might make you WAKE up, ask the hard questions, or the feedback that pushes you to strive harder toward your dreams.

“Irrelevant Information”, he says before taking a long drag on the remnants of his cigar and expelling slowly, “is all that information from the unimportant people in your life that you can’t use. it’s the opinions that serve no other purpose than to bring you down.” It’s what that girl said about disliking me because I was too happy. Was I supposed to dim my light? Why did I? What did I gain from that except heart ache! What did she gain except satisfaction — then she probably promptly forgot who I was. It’s the information from people who aren’t a part of your life, they don’t matter.

Now, it’s not to say negative information is always irrelevant. Like I said, if someone says something that does hurt you, but it pushes you to work harder, be stronger, move higher, then that is Relevant Information. It’s all crazy and feels like common sense, but me thinking of it in this way was like a light bulb moment. I was finally able to just let go of all the old friends, the sordid past and start over.

Keeping those people around will harm you, destroy you, dim your light. I realized I didn’t need this repeated social hiatus- not for this reason at least. I just needed to change my circumstances. I needed to change the audience. Get back to what my social media intention is really about— why I use it in the first place.

Minimalism. Declutter, not Deactivate.

I went from around 530 Facebook friends down to 32. (seriously? Old high school classmates that didn’t even like me back then and don’t talk to me now? Random people I met and never connected with again? Hundreds of people I’m dishing my soul out to and expecting them not to trample on it? Yeah. No.) I kept only the people I felt I truly wanted to keep. Then I deleted a few dozen more. As my guy suggested, join groups you like and the people who are into those topics will fill your page. It’s kind of like keeping the things that “spark joy” only…virtually.

I want my social media – my feeds – to be about Books, Writing, amazing places Traveled, and philosophy. Instead of my hiatus I’m re-tailoring with honesty in mind.

Week 3 Summary

Since you stuck around after that whole thing, thank ya thank ya. I’ll keep my summary of this week brief.

I met up with the Black Moms group for my area yesterday and it was amazing. I really feel like I might have found a community here that can help me and provide fun events that aren’t so solitary. I met several cool women with age variety – and a surprising amount of twin moms. We sat, had tea and cackled over all things culture. I definitely want to make it a point to attend more events in the future.

It really sucks not having a laptop. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do the business, writing and editing, university work, and freelance work from my IPad. If anyone wants to gift me a laptop, I’d love it. I’m laughing but boy am I serious. Har har har. We’ll figure something out eventually. We always do.

I’ve read almost 118 books this year. My goal was 100 due to the baby and switching universities. Most of those were in the second half, and a ton of that can be thanks to audio books. I use Overdrive which is a free app you can link to your library card. Oh man, I’ve read/ listened to so many in the last three weeks. Y’all should check it out.

Lastly, I’ve been keeping the apartment clean!!! Yaaaaaas! I’m so happy because now that I’ve made it into this routine I can clean so much faster and so much easier. I’m loving this minimalist life and I know I still have more to get rid of but the hard work is done.

One more week of Introspection, guys! Then I’ll spend the last 3 days of December reflecting over the month. Cherchez La Vie is the last Sunday of the month. That’s the real holiday, I can’t wait to look over the last 6 months and set goals and plans for the next 6. Things are turning out better than I thought and I’m feeling like a better, mentally healthier, and lighter person already.

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments your thoughts, goals or aspirations. Are you a minimalist? Interested? Yogi? I want to know it all, let’s chat.

 

Good Readdance,

Jade

To help me with my writing skills, my guy suggested that at least 50/100 of the books for 2020 have to be in a genre other than Romance and Detective/Mystery. Game on! I’ve already dug into science fiction a lot this year and I’m ecstatic about it, taking any and all suggestions!

31 Days of Introspection: Week 2: Social Media Hiatus

 

Answer my question in the comments to help me decide! 

 

Heya,

This Second week of 31 Days of Introspection has been so up and down. Great things and also crappy things. A destruction of my computer, my realization that I have  no real close friends, the joy of seeing Naomi grow and the upset at books being destroyed.

I do feel like I’ve made a ton of progress emotionally. The apartment is much better now as well. I’ve donated over 1,200 books and gotten rid of so much clutter. The sad thing is that I got the dates mixed up and I put everything out on the curb too early. I used a donation pick up service and we woke up the next day to find everything still there. It had rained the night before and all of the books that we’d set out were damaged. So the whole “they’re going to a good place” ideal is gone. My precious books didn’t go to a nice place. They won’t be enjoyed by some happy family. I didn’t do a “good deed” because all the books I’d collected over the years, and gazed at on my shelves, went to the trash.

So yeah. But at least my place has less stuff. Unfortunately, having less doesn’t fix my “messiness” and I’m struggling to keep things straightened. I know some people say you’ve got to clean as you go. I try so hard, but what ends up happening is I work work work, then I take a break, then work work work, and things get messier and messier. Then I am overwhelmed at that point and I don’t want to clean. Anyhow, I’m trying to get better and some days everything is together and some days it’s like today: work shop things everywhere.

So one of the crappy things that happened this week is the destruction of my MAC. I was holding Naomi and trying to feed her. Was sitting at the table and doing the whole breast milk from the refill bottle into empty drinking bottle and Naomi, happily and with a highpitched squeal, kicked out. The refilled bottle spilled on the Mac and the rest is history. That was a few days ago. No more YouTube videos, no more recordings for audio books, no more…no more a lot of things. I actually had to remove the “Lined” option for my journals for a day until I could create a new template using my IPad. Ugh, this is all just horrible.

So, apparently, it’s not worth it to fix my computer. I took it to the Mac store. They looked at it and they said it would cost $700 in order to fix it. In order for me to get a new one, or a Mac Book Air it would cost me $1100. That’s bullshit! How is it that expensive? That’s just crazy. I digress. I’m going to have to do everything I can to use my iPad for everything: university work, the business dealings, watching TV and anything else. I’ve never had to use it for all that stuff before so I honestly don’t know what all it can do. I’m just sad about it all.

ANOTHER great thing…NAOMI CAN CRAWL!!! OR at least…throw herself forward. It’s absolutely amazing to see her growing and progressing right before my eyes. She’s so beautiful, so luminous. Sometimes I just watch her, trying to discover things, trying to put things in her mouth, ew, and just…living. It’s all so amazing.

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So, in the beginning of this month I decided to take a social media hiatus. Last week’s summary was about how low my Twitch (the amount of times I itch to get on social media) was. This week you’ll be disappointed to find that I broke my hiatus. At first, I was upset about Google and their mandatory security practices, and needed to vent and I, admittedly, felt annoyed at myself that I broke my promise to myself. Then I thought “hmmm, well I’ve already broken my promise. I might as well go ahead and go all in”. Bad idea. I know. What I discovered is that no one cared. Cares. No one missed me. No one wanted to talk to me or wanted to reach out. No one remembered me or thought of me, that I could tell. In the spirit of honesty, because that’s what this month is all about, that’s one of my greatest fears. Being forgotten. Not being important. It stems from my deeply rooted issues with my childhood abandonment- fostercare, child abuse, and all that jazz.

So, when I noticed that most of my notifications were those “____ people commented on a photo/post you are following” I broke down. Not literally, there were no tears or complaining to my guy. NO posts filled with shade, “wondering” where everyone was. There was just silence. I felt numb. Resolved. This was a part of the reason I knew I needed to take a step back from social media. Other people shouldn’t be responsible for whether I feel important enough. Guess that’s the issue with replacing a true human connection with an artificial and electronic one. It kind of reminds me of the months after my daughter Iris Giana died. I was so alone, even my mom didn’t care, didnt call or reach out to me, even though I almost died. It was…distressing.

That being said, I  know what I’ll do at the end of the day. I’m resetting everything. I’m possibly making a my business FAcebook. I’m going to keep my Instagram and Twitter but I’ll limit my usage of them to over just a few hours a day. I’m letting the past go. The funny thing is that unless people read this post (is anyone really?) no one will know. I’ll just slip away. uGH. I wonder why this makes me want to take a deep breath and meditate.

So, was breaking my social media hiatus in a rushed need for my druglike fix worth it? Yes…and no. Yes, and no. But mostly yes, because I learned things.

 

So I’m thinking about becoming a pescatarian- with the exception of bacon, of course. I’m really wanting to try new things. I’m just bored with the same hubbub. The only thing is that fish is soooo much more expensive than chicken, beef, or turkey. Do you know any good pescatarian dishes? have you ever tried this lifestyle? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

This week I downloaded a business app that will train me in skills every small business owner needs. It’s called Primer and it has great examples and animations so that anyone can learn. I just finished 2 lessons on branding and plan to do the marketing and advertisement lessons next.

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One of the awesome things I did this week is watch a ton of videos on product photography. I then went down to Lake Eola and took over 140 photos. Then,  because my computer is down, I had to take a trip to the library to upload everything. It worked out, if only because Naomi loves books, and I will be making changes to my shop as soon as I can. One of the best things in my entire apartment…my DSLR.

I’m also adding these new mini notebook sets to my shop. I’m really excited about it all. I feel like this will all work out. Everything will be ok. Be…just fine.

 

Happy Readdance,

Jade

31 Days of Introspection: Week 1: Meditation

Heya,

One of the greatest things I’ve realized that happens when you take a hiatus from social media is having more time for the things that you love. Mainly, Naomi.  I freaking love this little baby but I’m often doing school work when I am home, and my guy’s at work. I didn’t realize just how much time I spend on my phone until I stopped using it as much. When I wasn’t studying, I was crawling around on the floor with her, playing and reading books. I was able to get more bonding time with her while feeding because, instead of being on my phone scrolling through the latest Twitter feed, I’m gazing into her eyes.

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One thing that I have been doing since I started the 31 Days of Introspection is counting the Twitch. I’m not exactly sure who came up with this because I was watching dozens of videos on youtube at the time that I heard it, but the Twitch is that moment when you have an itch to reach for your phone. Most times, I want to whip my phone out and look at it during the slow points of my day. When you’re on the toilet, cooking, watching tv, in between browsing loads when doing homework, etc. I didn’t realize just how much it filled my time until I started counting it.

Th first day it was hard. As soon as the clock stroke midnight, I felt the Twitch. I wanted to post about it. I’ve been keeping track of them in my The Elyzabeth Collection journal and, because I’m using the grid pattern, I filled three lines of boxes. As the days of the week went on, I realized the Twitch became less and less often. By the 6th day, which I spent in a hotel with my guy (thanks to his mom being in town and watching Naomi to giving us a break), I only counted 3 Twitches! How crazy is that? I went from at least 20 by midday to 3. It just reaffirmed that I’m taking this Introspection month seriously.

Another thing that I really wanted to do for this month is meditate. I decided to first focus on my confidence and self-esteem. I’m not down on myself but I definitely feel that I could believe in myself more. Especially when it comes to starting my business, writing books, taking great photos, and my ability to share my creations with the world. After I meditate, using Headspace, I’m calm and relaxed. I’m able to truly think about the future, who and what I want to be. I write in my journal at that point. But at first, I wanted to dive right in, do 30 minute sessions but I’m glad that I decided to go with the free trial for Headspace. The sessions are only 3 minutes long and it’s helped me be consistent and get excited to do it. I’ve also been approved for the Student account- which is only $9 a year versus $99. I’ll definitely take them up on that offer after the trial period is over.

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I’m happy to say my hair looks fucking fantastic! I started dread locs on November 16th because I was already getting a bit lazy with my hair and I wanted to try something new that was low maintenance. My guy has been pushing me to do it for the last 5 years and I’ve finally given in. Yes, he’s excited. I’ll admit that I am as well. I feel…beautiful. Fucking beautiful. I started them with two strand twists but my hair is fine and thick and they quickly slipped out of the twist, as usual. I bought an interlocking tool and it’s made things so easy. What do you guys think?

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Another thing that I’ve decided to do is hand pour my coffee. It’s perfect timing because we literally just ran out of pods. I hadn’t known much about this before I became obsessed with Matt D’Avella‘s videos on Youtube. He has a channel that is inspirational, heavily talks about minimalism and productivity. He’s also the film maker behind the documentary Minimalism. It’s absolutely fantastic. I almost cried watching the movie and I truly believe his videos have changed my life. I am ready to take on minimalism, although it is hard to let go of my sentimental items, and look forward to this journey. I’ve already gotten rid of more than one thousand books. Anyone who knows me knows that is heart-wrenching. But it was needed.

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Speaking of books, I requested some from the library that I hope will help me on this journey to Minimalism. I’m so happy that our library system delivers! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever experienced snce moving to Florida.
These are the ones I’ve chosen:
Everything That Remains by The Minimalist (Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn- from the documentary Minimalism)
The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
The Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

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I set a goal to achieve this week. I wanted to do something regarding my business. Whether that’s to create a logo, a website, take product photos (etc). Every week has something. I started with a bang! I’ve created a website for my small business! The journals I sell are a part of The Elyzabeth Collection, check out the new site and tell me what you think!

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Lastly, I’m still working on the actual ‘Minimalism’ part of this month. I didn’t realize that when I started getting things together everything would first fall apart. My apartment looks wrecked! Books, papers, boxes, and random miscellaneous items are everywhere. I’ve been attempting to use the KonMari method (Marie Kondo) and, although I’ve gone through the clothes and papers sections, I’m still not done. I keep going back to look at sections I’ve already done to declutter even more. I think that by the end of the month I will have even LEEEESSSSSS and I’ll still feel like there’s much to get rid of. It’s going to feel so good to have a safe place for Naomi to crawl and play.

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Thank you for reading this summary of the first week of 31 Days of Introspection. I want to be a new person in 2020. A Better me. I definitely feel that I am taking the steps, to do that, in the right direction.

Creating The Elyzabeth Collection

Hey ya’ll!

How’s your week been? I’ve been wanting to share this with you for some time but I couldn’t find the right words. I’m on this deep journey to understanding myself and feeling proud of the things that I create and this is one of mine passions. I know that you guys are aware (whether through my Twitter, Instagram, Youtube Channel or any other social media that I’ve posted them on) that I have an Etsy shop where I sell handmade, custom journals. I started creating these journals last year before I got pregnant with Naomi and I was on the fence about doing it. I was afraid to fail, afraid that no one would want to buy a journal, afraid that I couldn’t make a good product. Then we found out we were having a baby.

I allowed this to be used as my excuse to not make journals or start the business. “I don’t have enough time” (back then I was working, on pregnancy bedrest because I was high risk, and a full time student) and therefore I needed to wait. I said, “How can I start something new when there’s so much going on?” I don’t know how many reasons I gave to not start it but, to be honest, I knew what was really going on.

 

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I’ve always had this issue with appearance. No, not physical appearance (you guys can clearly tell that I’m not the best in the fashion department nor do I try to be). I want to appear to have it together. I want to feel proud of myself and, sadly, I’ve always wanted others to be proud of me (yes, that’s also something I’m dealing with during this month of Introspection). But then something silly happened.

 

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This summer, I had the sudden urge to write in a new journal despite having several unfinished ones at home that I’ve bought over the years. You know writers, this is our thing. Our JAM! I browsed online and couldn’t find one that I wanted. Then I almost slapped myself. I could just make my own. I looked at the many prototypes I’d made in Summer 2018 and I was vastly disappointed. I scraped all of those ideas and went to the store. My guy was with me, along with our little baby, and he helped me pick out materials. What are the best colors? What thread is going to work the best- turns out I’m obsessed with waxed linen thread, so that’s what I use. We stood there, going back and forth. Real leather? Vegan leather? Vinyl? Copy paper? Sketch paper? Black buttons? White buttons? So many questions, so many thoughts, way too complicated. I’m already indecisive. Why can’t it all be simple?

Then my guy said what do you want it to be. So I cut out all the noise, I picked out the materials and I made something new. Something simple, with a button, a flexible cover for bending or sketching across a knee, and several different page pattern types. Grid. Blank. and then later, Lined.  Then, I held the finished product in my hand, (yes I’m always, actively, trying to make them better) and I cried. I had finally finished something, I FINISHED something, without quitting “before I could fail” (ironic and all that), and it actually looked great. The quality was great.

So then, with loads of encouragement from several friends and my guy, I started my Etsy shop. (check it out here). I am not here to make all of these vast claims that it is wildly successful. I’m proud that I started it but I haven’t been able to put my all into it as I thought I would. This semester has been hard on me, as it was my first at the new University and I have Naomi to care for, and I haven’t had much time. That being said, 2020 is a new year. It’s time to look forward, not backward, and so I’m going to be implementing all of the things I learn over the next month.

 

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And that’s why I’ve taken it an extra step. I’m really excited to say that I’ve finally created a website for my journals. It’s very new. Very, very, very new. I do not claim to be an expert on all things small businesses or to know all there is to know about being a founder/owner, or life, in general, but I’m doing the best I can. As an aspect of my 31 Days of Introspection, I’m taking a long hard look at my skills as a business owner, taking steps to growing my business, and will be learning all I can about marketing, product photography, and SEO. I’m also in the process of creating a logo that will perfectly fit into the brand of my small business. One that aesthetically fits with my photos as well. I am very excited about this! This is one journey I’m ready to take. Keep an eye open for more updates. If you’d like to support a small business, please buy a journal!

 

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Check out the tentative website here!

The Elyzabeth Collection

 

Check out the Instagram account here!
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(All photos on my instagram and other social media sites have been taken by me or my friend Colleen Watson. If you like them, feel free to like or leave me a comment!)

31 Days of Introspection: The Stats

Heya,

So I wanted to go ahead and give the stats for my December schedule for 31 Days of Introspection. I want to take a week to focus on each of these topics. I plan to take one of my own journals and fill it with daily ponderings about the topics. I am really going to try to focus on healing from my past traumas and moving forward into 2020.

Details:
Hiatus from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Yoga or meditation daily (Working out doesn’t count!!) Decluttering and getting rid of EVERYTHING that is unnecessary by the end of the month

Writing more essays for my creative nonfiction book based on my life/childhood

Donating or selling discards: DOES IT SPARK JOY!?
Find time to read

I plan to use one of the notebooks that I make and sell in my etsy shop TheElyzabethCo for my daily thoughts. I haven’t decided which color or page pattern I want to use but I’m really excited. Usually I leave them for my sales so I don’t have one of my journals, in the new design, for myself. It’s weird but this has made me so happy. Gotta use your own product right?

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To help me stay focused on my own journey I plan to post every Saturday, summarizing the week.


Introspection Schedule:

Week 1: (Dec. 1- Dec. 7)

Confidence – Self Doubt and Esteem

Week 2: (Dec. 8- Dec. 14)

Goals – Career and Life

Week 3: (Dec. 15- Dec. 21)

Hard Topics – Loss, Fear and Regrets

Week 4: (Dec. 22- Dec. 28)

Relationships – My Little Family and My Role as Mom

3 Remaining Days: (Dec. 29- Dec. 31)

Reflect over the last month

 

 

Jade

 

Let me know below if you plan to join me on this journey!