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Decluttering | Letting go of your Fantasy Self

With my Minimalism Challenge in full swing, I thought I’d dedicate a post to some of the bigger things that I’ve faced. While simplifying my skin care and beauty products was cathartic, some of the other decluttering projects that I’ve tackled have been… More challenging.

Emotional even.

I wasn’t quite prepared to feel those heartstrings tugging when it came to cleaning out my closet. But tug they did. The first pair of designer shoes I ever bought. The handbag that I got at Barneys after getting my very first bonus. The vintage clutch that my grandmother left me when she died. Did I use any of them? Nope. But I found that I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them even though rationally I knew that I didn’t need them.

What I discovered was that there were two categories of items that I had trouble getting rid of during my cleansing project.

The first were items, like the ones I mentioned above, that I had an emotional attachment to. I’m not a very sentimental person, and I don’t tend to hold onto things for the sole purpose of indulging in nostalgia. Ultimately I decided that since I’m not hanging on to yearbooks or prom dresses, I could justify keeping a few things that I had a genuine emotional attachment to even after all the years.

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The second category was something I hadn’t expected. I had a pair of heels that make my legs look miles long and I just knew would look fabulous with any little black dress. The problem? I don’t wear high heels anymore. {Check out –  The Painful Truth about High heels.} I had a divine poison green strappy bodycon cocktail dress from Diane Von Furstenberg. The problem? I don’t wear bodycon styles AND it was at least a size too small. Maybe two. I also had a pair of low riding, boot cut jeans that I bought when I was 21 and living in Italy. The problem? I rarely wear jeans and when I do they are decidedly not boot cut.

So what did all of these items have in common? They were all part of the fantasy life I’d created in my mind for a fantasy version of myself. I was shopping, and holding onto clothing, for a life I don’t lead. And truthfully, probably never will.

Fantasy me likes to show off her curves and isn’t in excruciating pain when she wears heels and loves to rock low slung jeans on weekends. Who knew?

This really changed my perspective on what to keep and what to hold on to.

Do YOU have a fantasy self? If you had to get rid of one thing that you’ve bought for your fantasy self, what would it be?

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Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials | Fall Edition

Over the last year I’ve been working on simplifying my life and that has meant decluttering my wardrobe. So, with a more minimalist approach to fashion in mind, here’s a peek at my wardrobe essentials for Fall.

I’ve never loved the concept of a “capsule wardrobe,” but in my late twenties and early thirties have learned to appreciate the “quality over quantity” approach to shopping and building a useful closet. There’s no denying that having high-quality, perfectly fitted pieces that can be effortlessly mixed and matched for a given season is a great approach.

It simplifies getting ready, reduces the wasted space of tons of pieces in your closet that you don’t wear, and it allows you to save money that you may have spent chasing a trend or buying fast-fashion pieces that would fall apart in a few washes.

So what are my minimalist essentials for Fall? So glad you asked. 🙂

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What are the minimalist basics that YOU need for Fall?

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Minimalism Challenge

If you look up the definitions for minimalism or minimalist it can be a bit intimidating. From complex musical or artistic movements to strict guidelines on how many items you can have in you life.

I tend to be more forgiving with my personal definition. Minimalism, to me, means that you’re making a conscious effort to live with less clutter in your life. That means physical, emotional, and all other types of clutter. For me it’s about simplifying.

I’ve been toying with this practice for years now. My 2016 New Years Resolution was to simplify my life – Letting go of little things. And when it comes to material possessions I’ve worked hard to reduce shopping, donate unnecessary items, and focus on consignment and vintage when I acquire new pieces.

My desire to incorporate a minimalist attitude in my life is two-fold. First, the ecological and carbon impact of buying fewer things. While I can’t change the world, I can reduce the environmental impact that I personally leave on the planet. Second, I hate clutter. I hate having things thrown on counters. I hate not being able to navigate a cupboard or closet because there’s too much stuff crammed inside. I hate being unable to find things because there’s just too much stuff.

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So I decided to give myself a challenge – Set a few goals and be mindful about my day-to-day life in an attempt to declutter. Here’s the challenge:

First – It’s time to purge:

Cleaning out what I have is step one. Going through the whole apartment and being brutally honest with myself about what I’m keeping and why. From the dress that I bought that too small and I held onto it in the hopes that I would one day fit into it to the blender that I haven’t taken out of the back of the cupboard since we moved last November.

  • Purge wardrobe
  • Purge jewelry, shoes & handbag collections – This is HARD FOR ME
  • Purge skin care & beauty products
  • Purge kitchen cupboards
  • Purge closets

Second – Donate & Sell:

Since I do a decent job of purging on at least an annual basis, most of the items coming out of this very serious purge will be nicer, higher end things. That means they won’t be thrown down the garbage shoot, they’ll be sold or donated. So while I’m cleaning I’ll be making piles for each room and determine the best way to get rid of things. Clothes and accessories may be sold on Poshmark while appliances and furniture may be donated to Goodwill etc.

Third – Stay focused:

We have ALL been there. You get all excited about a project, you run around, laser focused getting things done, and then… You completely forget about it.

Since I want this to be an improved way of life and not a fad or short-lived experiment, I need to stay focused on why I’m making these choices and find ways to reinforce them every day.

For me that will mean spending time tidying up every day, even just a few minutes, de-cluttering regularly, and truly evaluating all purchases.

Speaking of which…

Fourth – Curtail shopping:

I have a nasty habit of not thinking before I buy things. ESPECIALLY online. If only my Amazon account could talk… My goal is to really change my perspective and be more present when I spend money.

Ask myself – Do I really need this? Why? What will I use it for? Does it serve a real purpose?

This, surprisingly, also needs to be applied to food purchases. I don’t want to over-buy and end up wasting food, so I need to be diligent when I’m deciding how much to buy during weekly grocery store visits or farmers markets trips.

Fifth – Reevaluate:

I want to set aside time for myself each month to really think about the changes that I’ve made and evaluate the impact on my life.

Do I feel like I’m missing out on something? Then maybe something needs to be tweaked. Do I feel like I’m calmer and more relaxed without the added pressures? Maybe I can simply even further!

Do you need some more inspiration? Check out these amazing, motivating minimalists who are inspiring thousands on YouTube!

Have YOU thought about minimalism Any tips, suggestions, or recommendations?

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MCLV Travel Diary | Packing Health Goodies

I tackled my Summer packing list and my toiletry essentials recently so I wanted to carry on with the MCLV Travel Diary series and talk about my “health” bag.

What does that mean?

Well, in addition to the usual things like toiletries and some serious snacks, my suitcase always has a health bag. If you’ve ever had a trip ruined by your body or your body’s reaction to something, you’ll understand the wisdom of carrying some of these items. Everything from teas to superfood supplements to first aid, these are my happy traveler, good health necessities.

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  • Ginger Tea – Helps with upset stomachs which is good if you have food allergies or get motion sickness
  • Digestive Tea – Please don’t make me explain this one…
  • Sleepy Time Tea – To help me relax during long flights and bad nights
  • Daquil & Nyquil – Just in case
  • Mini First Aid Kit – You never need this. Until you need it. Better to have it, I promise.
  • Dramamine – I’m usually fine on boats, but nothing ruins a day on the water faster than getting sea sick
  • Beano – This can help if you have a sensitive system and are eating new foods
  • Pepto Bismol Tablets – This is another must have when I’m traveling, perfect for those little upset stomachs that sometimes pop up when you’re off your routine
  • Motrin – Great when you’re sore, have a headache, or whatever else pop up
  • Miscellaneous Feminine Products – Because, you never know…
  • Natural Calm – My go to nighttime calming product
  • Kora Organics Noni Glow Skinfood satchets – Superfood supplement packets that you dissolve into water, it’s an easy way to get some nutrients while you’re traveling

What do YOU travel with to make sure you stay healthy and happy? What should I add to my kit?

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Fall Footwear | Boots & Booties

I don’t know about you – But this time of year I start itching to pull out my boots and booties. Over the years I’ve put some time and attention into my collection. While I used to veer towards stilettos and less-than-comfortable brands, I’ve come to realize something very important when it comes to footwear.

Happy feet, Happy Caity.

So here are some of my favorite styles – Including both steals and investment pieces – That you should look at for Fall.

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Ankle Booties:

Whether you like some height or want to keep ’em low, ankle boots never go out of style. So find a pair you love and hang on to them!

Mid-Calf:

I remember my first pair of mid-calf height boots – My mom got them for me for Christmas my junior or senior year of high school. Probably junior year since I remember wearing them while touring college campuses. I remember the feel of the leather and my sadness when I saw how much the heel was wearing down!

The love affair continues…

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{Images from Fall & Winter Fashion Pinterest Board}

Knee-High:

These boots are a must. You can wear this style for everything from work to errands to date night. It’s extremely versatile, and if you play your cards right, comfortable.

Thigh-High:

There was a time when I immediately pictured Julie Roberts a la Pretty Woman when someone said that phrase “Thigh High.” Now these babies are a staple in my wardrobe. Here are my top picks for “OTK” (aka Over the Knee) boots that you can wear all day long.

I’ve GOT to know – What’s YOUR favorite pair?

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