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.

Minimalist Minimalism San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Decluttering Purge

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 Mange: Healthy Apple Crumble

When Stemilt – A family run fruit farm – Reached out and asked if I was interested in trying their new apple variety, all I could picture was baking a health apple crumble.

The SweeTango is the successor to Honeycrisp apples, and man did they live up to the hype!! Sweet, but tangy, and super crunchy. I had trouble saving enough to play around with some new recipes!

First up, I made a Fall favorite – A healthy twist on a traditional apple crumble.

Healthy Apple Crumble Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipe

{Vegan // Vegetarian // Gluten-Free // Paleo-Friendly}

Healthy Apple Crumble

Apple Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Apples
  • 1 Tsp of Lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp of Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp of Water

Crumble Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of almond meal {Any gluten-free flour could work or a combo}
  • 1 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/4 Cup of Coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • Optional: Add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts for an added crunch

Note: I made two versions of this, one with flour and one with oats, the latter being my usual go-to. And, to my surprise, the boyfriend’s favorite was hands down the one with flour. If you’d prefer to try oats, use 1 cup of oats and 1/2 cup of gluten-free flour.

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • In a large mixing bowl toss the chopped apples with lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, and water. Then pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  • Use the now empty cinnamon-y bowl to mix together the flour/oats, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, maple syrup, and nuts if desired. Mix until the liquids are absorbed and you’ll get a sticky dough-like substance. Pour over the apples, or use your fingers to crumble and drop the topping onto the apples.
  • Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until the apples reach your desired texture. If the top of the crumble starts to look too brown, you can cover the pan loosely with a piece of aluminum foil for the final ~10 minutes.

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment and check out the previous posts from this series here to see what you’ve missed so far.

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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.

Travel Diary Wanderlust Traveling Health Goodies Healthy Living San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Goyard

  • 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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Skin Care Junkie | Natural Beauty & Hair Products

Welcome back my beauties! This Skin Care Junkie post includes natural, vegan, and/or eco-friendly hair care and beauty products that I think you might enjoy trying.

So, without further ado…

Juice Organics Shampoo & Conditioner:

Juice Organics is a subsidiary of California-based skin care giant Juice Beauty and features a range of hair products featuring organic aloe, coconut, jojoba and argan oils, and without parabens, silicones, or sulfates.

I was excited to try out their repairing shampoo and conditioner. If you’ve been following MCLV for any length of time, you’ll know that I LOVE playing with different hair colors. From redhead to platinum blonde, I’ve tried a number of different hues. I’ve been going au naturel for nearly a year now because my hair is so damaged. The blonde especially really took its toll. So I’ve been living on products like Juice Organics to try to refresh my locks. They don’t have a strong scent, but are thick and creamy. I love how my hair feels after I use them – It’s super soft!

Maple Holistics Vitamin C Serum:

A Vitamin C serum has been on my Must Try list for a while now. Why Vitamin C? It’s an antioxidant which means that it helps neutralize free radicals, the little bad guys that tear down your cells, and helps strengthen your skin. You eat blueberries and other sources of antioxidants to keep your body healthy, and you can topically apply antioxidants to achieve similar results for your skin.

This serum from Maple Holistics is made from Vitamin C, Aloe Leaf, Vitamin E, and Algae extract. I’ve been applying each morning before my moisturizer and sunscreen, and have noticed some evening out of my complexion. I’m quite pale so redness can be pretty visible, and I’ve liked how this serum has reduced that.

 

Skin Care Junkie Beauty Skincare Hair Products San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen:

Collagen is something that your body creates naturally, but the production decreases as you age, and the elasticity of your skin decreases. Consuming and topically applying collagen, similar to Vitamin C, is thought to be an effective way to help combat the aging process.

Algenist is a eco-minded Bay Area skin care company that I discovered a few years ago – I swear by their sunscreen – So I was tickled pink to see this new Genius Liquid Collagen product. It’s a vegan, plant-based collagen product that contains 13,000 beads of microalgae oil per bottle.

I like the smell and the texture, and it feels pretty wonderful on your skin, though it can be sticky for a few minutes while it absorbs. I’ve been putting it on before bed for a few weeks and loving it!

Volition Beauty Helix AM/PM Eye Gel:

Volition Beauty is a very cool new company that has the lofty goal of creating real products for real people. You can even submit ideas since it’s an online collaboration platform. And, bonus, their products are cruelty-free!

The AM/PM eye gel is a collagen-rich product that helps brighten and smooth the under eye area. I love eye creams and trying new products, and even I was impressed by the de-puffing accomplished by this little gel! This one is definitely going on my rotation.

Are you a big fan of skin care and beauty products? Check out some of my other Skin Care Junkie posts: Alaska Glacial Mud Mask, Sibu Sea Berry Seed Oil, Musely Hydrogel Eye Mask & Raw Beauty & Coconut Oil.

Do YOU have a favorite natural beauty brand or product?

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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.

Boots Booties Footwear San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

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…

Boots Booties Footwear San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{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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