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The Intrigue of Minimalism (Have I Made the Jump?)

a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity

Is it just me, or has the idea of minimalism been taking over the world during the past few years?

I have been looking into this concept for a while now. Living in the U.S. enables us to have so much "stuff" at our fingertips, yet minimalists across the country (and the world, really) are showing society how to live with less and be happy about it. I find it so refreshing.

Since minimalism is a subject that seems to occupy a good majority of my thoughts lately, I thought I would share my thoughts on the phenomenon. My life is also changing because of these thoughts, so I will certainly discuss that a bit as well.

The Discovery
When I was preparing to go abroad a couple of years ago, I became super overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that I owned. I was sorting through mounds of clothes, numerous knick knacks, multiples of lotions and other toiletry items, and way more decorative stuff than could even fit in my apartment...trying to decide what to sell, what to trash, what to keep, what to donate, and what to take with me to Prague. I was overwhelmed, to say the least.

To cope, I started watching a lot of YouTube videos on packing, purging, and organization. Somewhere along the YouTube video road, I discovered Light by Coco, a channel devoted to minimalist living. I was hooked after watching one video on the subject, which led to binge watching all of her published videos, then searching the depths of YouTube to find other minimalist channels. (Some of my other favorites are Lavendaire and Sarah Nourse.)

Why It Amazed Me
While I have always been a person who has a lot of "stuff," I have also always been very organized and particular about cleanliness. I have lived the majority of my life struggling with anxiety, and sadly, a lot of the time my anxiety stems from the state of my space. If my space is messy or cluttered or not exactly the way  want it to be...I dwell on it, and that dwelling often makes it difficult for me to make it through the day in a decent mood.

Minimalism just made so much sense to me...less stuff = less anxiety. That thought alone allowed me to purge so many of my belongings before my year in Prague. The only thing I really ended up putting in storage was my book collection, then I essentially lived out of a suitcase during my time in the Czech Republic.

So...am I a minimalist now?
Short answer...no. Not technically. I've been home from Prague for going on a year now, and while I don't have a ton of "stuff," I have definitely slowly been accumulating enough to make a wardrobe and turn mine and Slade's apartment into a home.

While I do love the idea of really committing to minimalism, I also know that some of the more common aspects don't really fit my lifestyle or personality. For example, while my clothing is very simple, I'm never going to have a primarily black capsule wardrobe. I also refuse to nix my book collection, and while I don't want to overdo it, I still want to customize our home with a few things that we both love.

I think I've decided to call this a journey of "partial minimalism." I'm going to have less stuff in all areas of my life, particularly in the areas of clothing, random knick knacks, and items with no particular usefulness. I'm going to buy toiletries and other products on an as-needed basis, and refrain from having multiples of the same item that probably won't get used anyway. I want to amplify simplicity, and cut down on wastefulness and the anxiety that comes along with having too much stuff.

I'm going to share posts along my journey to hold myself accountable. The first one will be coming soon, as I have plans to do a closet cleanout in the near future!

What are your thoughts on minimalism? Would you ever follow this concept? Do you practice any of the aspects already? Please share your thoughts and experiences with me!

Weekend Recap {3/25-3/26}

Happy last Monday of March 2017!

Speaking of March lasts, how was your final weekend of the month? Mine was pretty swell. It went a little something like this...

Friday evening I met my parents and rode down to Horseshoe Beach with them. Horseshoe is a teeny tiny fishing town on the Gulf coast that is in the county in Florida that I'm from.

My Grandma and her boyfriend were down there visiting some friends and they invited us out for a dinner. It was a celebratory dinner for my Grandma. On Thursday, she finished her final round of chemo/radiation. She did so well with the first bout of treatments, and we couldn't be happier to see her remaining in good spirits. She will have another scan in 3 months to see where things stand. Fingers crossed for continued good news! It was a really beautiful evening in Horseshoe, and it was great to just relax and have some good food with my family.

I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish on Saturday so it was a pretty exhausting day. Slade woke up for work around 6:30 and I couldn't go back to sleep after he left. That's ok though, because the main productive thing I wanted to do this weekend was spring clean, and spring clean I did. After a coffee run, I got started on cleaning our upstairs bedroom and bathroom and worked on that until I had to leave for an appointment.

After the appointment I went to wash and clean my car, then I ran to Target to pick up some cleaning supplies. I really wanted to try the pink grapefruit Method cleaner that Chelsea has mentioned a few times. With cleaning products in tow I went back home and really got down to business. I was able to fully knock out our bedroom, both bathrooms, and the living/dining room.

After a little quality time with Bell, I got ready and headed out to go watch my brother race. I was hoping to see him win since I missed his big win a couple of weeks ago. He placed 3rd in his heats, but wasn't able to finish the feature due to some issues with the motor. It was an overall crazy night at the track and I actually saw the worst wreck I have ever seen in the 20-something years I've been around racing. Thankfully the driver was okay.

Sunday was another early morning as my friend Liz and I were heading to Jacksonville for a fun day! Liz's birthday was at the beginning of the month and I bought her tickets to the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. (The Little Mermaid is her fave!) It was at the Times Union Center in Jacksonville so we made a day of things. We drove over and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. After that we went to the performing arts center and found parking, then went for a little walk before heading inside for the show. The Little Mermaid is the 4th Disney Broadway production I have seen. (The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and Beauty and the Beast being the other 3.) It was really magical, and the costumes were phenomenal!

I got home around 5:30 on Sunday evening and cleaned the kitchen/pantry (now all I have left is the guest bedroom and the laundry room!), then sat down to draft some blog posts for the week. Slade and I ended the night with some pizza and wine. (Bell picked out the wine.)

Tell me about your weekend!

{Babybel Blog Takeover} Puppish Facts About Me

Hey, what's up? Hello!

I would like to thank Fetty Wap for the inspiration for that introduction. Trap Queen is my FAVORITE SONG. Don't tell my mom and dad though...they said it's inappropriate for puppies. (Not that I really care.)

Babybel Rogers here. I'm kind of the star of this blog...or at least the best thing about it. I know my mom writes about me a lot, and I guess that's cool. But...you know what? Sometimes my mom makes me so mad because she stops playing with me and calling me cute so she can sit down and write a blog post. I mean, what even is that supposed to mean? I'm a PUPPY for crying out loud...what else do you need in life? 

Anyhow, I digress. (I've always wanted to say that!) Mom and Dad are at work right now, so I thought I would play a super funny trick on them and schedule a post without Mom's permission. She's gonna be so mad! But I won't even get in trouble because she loves me so much. 

Here are 5 super interesting puppish facts about yours truly. 

1. My mom and dad adopted me from a shelter when I was two months old. That was all the way back in December! I wasn't even surprised when I got adopted super quick because the nice people at the shelter taught me how to be really precious and stuff. They told me to be clumsy and poke my pudgy belly out at people as much as possible. Mom and Dad said they fell in love with my eyebrows, which I don't even doubt. Brook Shields is a distant relative of mine. The shelter also told Mom and Dad that I'm a pit bull/retriever mix...which means I'm going to be the strongest and smartest dog ever. 

2. My parents named me after a frieken' cheese snack! I mean, cheese is delicious and all, but seriously? Babybel? That makes me sound like a scaredy dog, and I am NOT a scaredy dog! At least they call me Bell most of the time though. I just pretend like there's an "e" on the end of that and I"m actually named after that super badass fairy tale girl who likes to read a lot. 

3. I cannot function without two frozen peanut butter Kongs a day. (If you don't know what a Kong is, what's wrong with you? It's a fun rubber toy that holds yummy food...duh! Gosh, humans are so weird sometimes.) Anyway, my Mom is good for something besides cuddles because she fills the Kong with peanut butter then freezes it and gives it to me for a treat when I have to go in my crate in the morning and at night. The Kong is my lifeline guys...seriously! 

4. I'm a pretty popular pup. My mom and dad know lots of people with dogs, and they all love playing with me! Sometimes Mom laughs and jokes about how I have too much energy for my older dog friends, but she doesn't know what she's talking about. I also met a REALLY cute boy in my puppy kindergarten class. He's an American boxer name Dexter. I think I'm gonna marry that boy someday. 

5. On the way home from puppy kindergarten graduation last week, I got hold of the air freshener that was in the vent of my mom's car and licked some of the gel out of it before my parents realized I had it. Mom freaked out because she thought I was poisoned or something and we had to pull off the road to call the animal hospital and poison control. My parents were so nervous and I just sat and looked at them like they were crazy. Do they honestly think I'm dumb enough to eat something that could hurt me? (Hello! I had just finished my degree.) They eventually discovered it was basically alcohol based gel and wasn't even enough to make me tipsy (darn it!), but Mom didn't stop worrying for like two days. Dad and I laughed at her. 

Well, I'm gonna go now. Dad will be home soon. Plus, this blog thing is kinda boring! How does Mom do it so much? 

Babybel out.

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Pupstagram @therealbabybelrogers.

Another Bargain Book Haul {2nd and Charles}

In case you couldn't tell from my Ollie's haul a couple of weeks ago, I really appreciate a good book bargain.

There's a store right down the road from my office called 2nd and Charles. My cousin Shelby told me that they have great prices on gently used books, so I have been meaning to take a look around in there for a while. I finally made it over to visit on my lunch break last Friday, and I was definitely not disappointed.

They have such a HUGE selection...sections for basically any author you can think of. The prices vary on the condition of the book, and they also have a fair amount of brand new books if that's the route you prefer to take. I could have spent half of my life perusing, and half of my bank account purchasing...but the responsible part of me was somehow able to remember that I had to go back to work and I also have a vacation coming up in which I will need money. So...I made out fairly unscathed with just four books in tow.

Let me stop rambling and get into detail about what I bought for a total of $18.48.

//The Shining by Stephen King
I've never read anything by Stephen King, but there are a couple of reasons I picked this book up. First, the movie version of this is actually one of my favorite films. Second, my Grandpa who passed away five years ago loved Stephen King. He would always encourage me to read him, and I really want to devote some attention to that request.

//Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
This is another movie that I really love, and the book has been on my TBR for years. My co-worker saw that I had purchased this book and we talked about it for a while because it's one of her all-time favorites. I love seeing people get passionate about their love for a book. It makes me look forward to reading it even more!

//The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
This one I purchased purely out of curiosity. The story sounds compelling and it takes place in post-war Germany...which is one of my favorite time periods for books. After doing a bit of research on it, I realize that this is actually a fairly popular movie as well, so I'm looking forward to watching it after I read the book.

//The Diviners by Libba Bray
I'm only a couple of years away from my 30's, but I sure do still love some young adult literature. Libba Bray is the author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, which is one of my fondest reads to date. The Diviners is supposed to be fantastic, and I can't wait to dive into it sometime this year.

Have you found any good book bargains lately? Maybe you've read some of the books that I've purchased? Tell me about it!