Shows I've Re-Watched Completely

January 31, 2017

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Fellow binge watchers out there, this post is for you: my list of the shows (that I can remember at least) that I have re-watched in their entirety.  Many times.  Because I certainly love a lot of shows I've watched from beginning to end, but I haven't watched them all more than once.  And I think that's a key to letting you know I extra, extra love it and feel confident in recommending it.

I had this post scheduled to go up in February but then Lauren announced a new link up that she was hosting called 'Add It To My List,' on the last Tuesday of each month, so I bumped it up.  In her words, "We want to hear about the things you're already recommending to your friends in real life from a Costco bargain to a great recipe to your current favorite twitter account and everything in between. Focus on one thing, or make it a list: just talk about things you've already done and tried and are really worth other people's time and money."  Sounds like fun, right?  Can't wait to see what other people will be linking up.

So the next time you're in a show hole, try one of these (in no particular order):

Quick Tips for an Organized Fridge and Freezer

January 30, 2017

Our life can be busy, particularly during the week.  I plan and prep meals and try to make them pretty healthy.  We also get up extremely early (4:30 a.m. most days) so I try to make breakfast and quick and efficient as possible.  A huge part of that is keeping the fridge and freezer organized, which helps with all meals of course, not just breakfast.  So I thought I would give you a little tour of how I organize my fridge and offer some quick tips on how to keep your space organized and running efficiently when life is busy.  I hope they help you stop wasting food because it's gone bad sitting in your fridge, one of my biggest pet peeves.

Perfection and Procrastination

January 27, 2017

We're approaching the end of January, which means the end of a lot of resolutions.  If you haven't trashed them already, of course.  I didn't make 'resolutions' exactly - I made a 2017 bucket list.  I'm making progress on it, actually.  The first one, the 30 bags in 30 days, is almost done in fact, there will be a post about that next week.  Tons of them are in progress too; I've been successfully painting my nails more often, limiting how often I wear ponytails, and working on my 101 list.

And then there's the ones I've been so far ignoring.  Just completely pretending they aren't there.  Wearing my Invisalign retainers, improving my handwriting, posting more Instagram photos... my eyes just seem to gloss right over those.  So although I'm usually pretty good at accomplishing goals, even I'm not immune to the post-new year slack off.  I'm vowing for it to be different though!  I'm going to specifically target those ones I'm pushing off.

You know what a major issue is in resolution follow through?  At least for me?  And I don't think I'm alone - the lack of perfection.  Seriously.  I bet you've even tried it - 'well, I missed the gym today. Guess I'll start over next Monday/month/...year.'

Three on Thursday

January 26, 2017

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Welcome back to Three on Thursday, my weekly even though I sometimes skip weeks list of things I'm loving at the moment that I think you should do, try, or buy.  If you're interested in past weeks, you can find those here.

How to Survive a No Spend Month

January 25, 2017

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February seems to be a popular month for spending freezes.  Maybe because the holiday craziness has died down and the credit card statements are rolling in, maybe it's that it's a short month, which makes it seem easier.  No matter the reason, I'm always fully on board for spending freezes.  I do think, especially for first timers, that totally freezing your spending for an entire month is incredibly ambitious and not always successful, but that shouldn't deter you.

Yeah, Me Neither (III)

January 24, 2017

Wow, part 3!  It's been a very long time since I've written one of these - I probably didn't even need to say it was part 3.  But the first two are pretty amusing (part 1 and part 2) and when I decided it was time for another, I figured you might also like to go back to those too.

Do you ever...

buy a whole cart full of groceries, and then go home and order pizza because the shopping process was too exhausting to now have to chop and cook things?

spend a good portion of your work day planning all the things you can finally get done once you get home, and then get home and do none of them?

binge watch entire shows because the new season is starting and you need to be caught up even though you've already seen them all?


January 23, 2017

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So.  Hygge.  'What is it?' or 'please shut up about it already' are probably what you're thinking right now.  Am I right?  I very quickly mentioned the concept of hygge as an afterthought in my post a couple weeks ago about my 2016 wrap up and expectations for 2017, and a surprising number of people asked me what the heck I was talking about.  I say surprising because I thought it was a lot more prevalent than it apparently is.  Probably because of my own interests and internet searches, I was definitely feeling like the concept of hygge was being written about everywhere, and certainly more so towards the end of 2016.  But for those of you who weren't and still aren't totally familiar with it, I decided I'd offer a quick post on my take on it and why I really like it, trendy or not.

Year of the Rooster

January 20, 2017

Although many of us have already celebrated the new year on January 1, the party isn't over for everyone!  It's almost time for the Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, which is the largest holiday celebration on the Chinese calendar.  A re-start to your already lost resolutions, perhaps?!  Oh yes those things you forgot about already....

The Chinese New Year is going to be celebrated on Saturday, January 28, the date that marks the beginning of year 4715 of the Chinese calendar.  But there's a lot of events surrounding that particular date so I highly recommend seeing what's available in your local area in the coming weeks.  I'm (clearly) not Chinese, but I have been to Chinatown for the parade in years past; it's such a fun celebration.  Chicago's Chinatown is just south of the loop, and the parade is on February 5th this year.  They have floats, performers, and the 100 foot paper dragon.

Three on Thursday

January 19, 2017

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Welcome back to Three on Thursday, my weekly even though I sometimes skip weeks list of things I'm loving at the moment that I think you should do, try, or buy.  If you're interested in past weeks, you can find those here.

3 Frugal Things I Do Monthly

January 18, 2017

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I love saving money.  I just do, is that strange?  I prefer having the dollars in my hand to any sort of shopping.  I regularly work through self-imposed shopping bans and spending freezes, I find the challenge fun.  Currently, it's all about using up everything in my house before buying anything new, as far as personal products like makeup.  But I'm definitely considering going total shopping ban for the month of February, as in no dollars spent.

Not that I don't implement frugal things each month!  I do, I stay on top of my finances pretty well and I figured I could share some of those little tips with you today, in case savings is part of your 2017 goals list.  Now let's be real here - there's a lot of advice on the internet about what you should or should not be doing to save money.  Most of the time you hear about not buying coffee at Starbucks, getting rid of your cable, taking your lunch to work instead of eating out.  All of these things are well and good, I do all of them myself.  But occasionally, you need to go the extra mile when it comes to really being frugal.  Here are a couple of things I do every month to save money and stay on top of my finances.

According to Myers-Briggs

January 17, 2017

I'm an ESTJ.  Have you heard that before, all those weird letters?  Because it's a thing, apparently, taking this test online and finding out what your 'type' it.  Your 4 MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) letters.  There's 16 different types.

Here's what each of the letters mean and how I got my 4:

House to Home Tour

January 16, 2017

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It's been about 8 months since we've moved in and I think we've really settled in nicely.  We haven't added too much since the house tour you saw here, but I wanted to do a video update anyway so you could see the little tweaks and get a feel for the layout.  I hope you enjoy the house to home tour!

17 (More) Ways I'm Simplifying My Life in 2017

January 13, 2017

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Right at the beginning of the year, I posted about the top 4 ways I've already simplified my life over the years.  I believe they've made the biggest impact in my surroundings and in my day to day routines.  Since posting that, I've been reading up on what everyone is planning for in 2017, and a lot of people are embracing things like finding balance, slowing down, clearing out physical and mental clutter, devoting more time to what matters and less to what doesn't.

Obviously, I love this.  I have a whole section on this blog dedicated to the things I'm working on simplifying and I want everyone to embrace simplifying their lives in various ways this year.

Three on Thursday

January 12, 2017

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Welcome back to Three on Thursday, my weekly even though I sometimes skip weeks list of things I'm loving at the moment that I think you should do, try, or buy.  If you're interested in past weeks, you can find those here.

If You're Going to Read Just One

January 11, 2017

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This started out as simply 'my most recommended books' but oh boy did that list escalate quickly.  Apparently I recommend a lot of things.  So I've narrowed it down instead by category.  As in, if you're going to read just one book on finances, or on zero waste, or whatever it is, make it this one.

I Have Some Terrible Habits

January 10, 2017

It's been... 8 months since John and I moved in together into this house.  Time flies, doesn't it?  And I gotta say, he doesn't have too many annoying habits!  Some people said it would be tough, but those people are (a) my mom, and my dad is HARD to live with, I have 18 years of my own experience of that and (b) a friend, who pretty much constantly rags on her husband.  I tell her that's her reality, not mine.

Best Picks for Chicago Restaurant Week

January 9, 2017

Restaurant Week is almost here for Chicagoans!  Chicago Restaurant Week runs from January 27 through February 9, and although it seems early to be posting 'top picks' for it, the list of participants and menus has been out since 2016 and I wouldn't want you to miss out on reservations.  Tons of cities have restaurant weeks now, so I'm sure you know what it is, but just in case: it's when over 350 restaurants offer lunch and dinner prix fixe menus, starting at $33 and $44, respectively, though I've seen some coming in cheaper this year.  And new this year, some are even offering brunch starting at $22.  The prices don't include tax or tip but for most of the places, like the high end steakhouses and places owned by celebrities, it's still a good deal.  You have to make reservations, it's extremely popular.  There's restaurants participating all over the city and suburbs, so you'll want to make a priority list and get your reservations in.  You can see all the participating restaurants here.

2016 Thoughts and 2017 Expectations

January 6, 2017

It's a full week into January, and I'm already on my 5th post of 2017.  Hellllooo, productivity.  Now the question is, will I be back with a post next week or did I just burn out real fast?  Time will tell.  So.  My thoughts on the last year and embracing this new one.  To be honest, I should have posted this the last week of December, but I just didn't get my thoughts together in time.  Since I still had a lot to say, I just moved it over to today.

Three on Thursday

January 5, 2017

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Welcome back to Three on Thursday, my weekly even though I sometimes skip weeks list of things I'm loving at the moment that I think you should do, try, or buy.  If you're interested in past weeks, you can find those here.  I haven't really thought yet about what I want to do for these this year, whether I want to keep going with the 3 things each week (or, most weeks) or if I just want to do the long monthly list of everything I loved that month.  I was trying to avoid that since that's what everyone else does and I hate to bore you, but maybe it's easier to track that way.  I'd fill the other Thursdays with something else, and although the something else is a mystery still, I'm leaning towards a monthly finances recap one week and maybe a monthly/weekly vlog another week.  And probably a check in on my all my goals the last week.  What would you prefer?  Three on Thursday every week or a monthly round up of favorites instead?  Tell me in the comments, majority wins like the way democracy is supposed to work.

Anyway, this week's favorites:

Best Ways I've Simplified My Life

January 4, 2017

I want 2017 to be the year of simplicity for people; the year of cutting clutter out of their lives.  I feel like it's something a lot of people are telling me they want to do this year.  My mom, John's mom, John's cousin, 2 of my nearby friends, all have expressed a desire for me to come over and help them declutter their hot spots.  I've seen it floating around the internet too, on various blog posts and Instagram pictures.  Now whether that means more people on the whole are wanting simplicity and minimalism in their lives or whether it's just a confirmation basis because I attract such an audience online and off, I will never know.  I think the fact that that minimalism documentary hit Netflix and has been watched a ton is definitely pushing more people in that direction.

But regardless, simplicity works so well for me that it makes me want to encourage it to as many people as possible.  Because the lifestyle it's the exact opposite of?  Stress and busyness.  Probably a lot of people are thinking right now 'you have 10,000 goals lists, how can your life be simple?' but that's the beauty of it.  I have and accomplish a lot of my goals because I've simplified so many other areas of my life that I freed up time to check things off my various 'this matters to me' lists.  It's been a journey to get to the point I'm at now, as minimalist as I am, but there's been a few big things that I've simplified that I think have been really key.

I'm still constantly simplifying everything I can, so this list isn't yet complete.  But for now, here's the best ways I've simplified my life.  Maybe they can work for you this year, if that's your goal.

And My Anti-Bucket List

January 3, 2017

In case you missed it, I posted my first post of 2017 yesterday, my bucket list for the year.  It was actually fun for me to write that all up.  But setting all the goals, and of course, reading other people's lists for 2017 and beyond, makes me realize all of the things that people seem to love to do but that will never, ever, make it onto a bucket list of mine.  Or my favorite phrase I adopted from Steph, 'good for other people, not for me.

A 2017 Bucket List

January 2, 2017

It's officially 2017 and officially my first post of the new year!  Welcome.  I love the fresh start of a new year.  I know some people don't, or are at least ambivalent, but everything about the month of January appeals to me.  The cold, the snow, the quiet, the days off (today!), the productivity of a new year, the clean slate, the minimalism, the slow down.  January might just be my favorite month of the year.

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