Lately I’m not sure I can even call myself a minimalist anymore because my physical clutter has transmuted to digital declutter. 😅 I am going to schedule a weekend soon to deep clean and organize my digital space.
Getting a new computer last year gave me the illusion that my digital space was pretty clean and organized, but the truth is I have a backup hard drive that needs to be decluttered and downsized. It has been sitting around just collecting dust for too long. I have 2 backup drives but neither is close to full, so the goal is to consolidate into one and then sell the extra terabyte drive once emptied.
Alot of this mess is simply redundant pictures – you know when you take 15 of the same shot to get the perfect crop, lighting, and frame – but you never deleted the ones that were less than par? I have more than I can count. oopsie.
When it comes to internet tabs – I am so guilty of this! If I keep a tab open it is because I still need to complete an action with that page. I have a set for work, a set for personal, and a set for my side hustle. I am a very productive go-getter type so I am often juggling multiple projects, both industrious and creative varieties. At a certain point I tend to just consolidate the links into a list or calendar recurring to-do “event”, and revisit them as needed, otherwise I feel like I just lose efficiency. It has gotten a little out of hand lately so I am working on getting a hold of my tabs TODAY.
Since 2016 I made a goal to simplify my life as a New Years Resolution, which set me on the unbeknownst journey of downsizing and becoming a minimalist in the first place. That entailed closing out so many things that no longer served me that I spent a year and a half “closing shop”, and learning how complex things had really become before I even got started with the original goal of “simplifying”. 😳 I have done a great job since then of evaluating what is worth my time and attention. Still,occasionally, it comes in waves, where I need to check in on my priorities and make sure I am not giving too much time and attention to items that aren’t serving a greater purpose for my goals, health, or well being.
I am looking forward to the day when I’ve overcome the clutter waves to the point that they no longer demand attention to wrangle them back down to manageable bites. With intention and mindfulness, I know it is right around the corner. 😉
What tips and tricks do you have to keep digital clutter at bay? Let us know in the comments! ✍🏼
It’s worth stopping, acknowledging, and celebrating! I am so pumped at my own success that I wanted to use this energy to share some inspo with you! Manifestation is simply the process of bringing about events and experiences through the energy you put out into the world. We all have the power to do this, it’s all about mindset. Here are 10 quotes to get you stoked to take action and manifest the life of your dreams! 🧚
“Where attention goes energy flows.” ~ James Redfield
2. “If you can dream it you can achieve it.” ~ Zig Ziglar
3. “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” ~ Maya Angelou
5. “Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.” ~ Bob Proctor
6. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein
7. “Whether you think you can or can’t, either way, you are right.” ~ Henry Ford
8. “To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe.” ~ Anatole France
9. “Your life is the manifestation of your dream; it is an art, and you can change your life anytime that you’re not enjoying the dream.” ~ don Miguel Ruiz
10. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I was turned down for a mortgage for 3 years straight before I bought my first property.
I kept asking questions. What does one need to be approved for a home loan? What do I need to change to be approved? How can I get there? What can I realistically do to achieve this? Can I actually even do this?
I grew up dirt poor and had no role models or financial IQ. All I ever knew was survival mode. I thought I was really financially responsible because I always paid my rent and utilities on time, a result of being evicted and homeless throughout my childhood. I always kept that money saved and never dipped below that balance. However, I was completely financially ignorant. I’d like to say that the worst of it was that I carried large credit card balances but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
I went for years without even paying a DIME to my school loans…and it was intentional. I was mad. I took out so much money for school and living expenses to put myself through college, but I couldn’t even get a job in my industry, and I was at the top of my class. I graduated not long after 9/11 so the economy was junk, and then I gave myself a bigger challenge by moving to Austin which was still a pretty low key town at the time, especially coming from a big city like Philadelphia. So I couldn’t find work, went back to waitressing, and stayed broke. “Why should I pay these loans that did nothing for me? Credit? I don’t need credit because I’m anti-capitalist and anti-consumer so who cares about credit?!”
Very idealistic and naive, yes oh yes, beautiful youth. I’m still anti-consumer but as an entrepreneur minded person I can’t quite call myself anti-capitalist. Growing up in desperate poverty I had always followed the implicit tenants of money is evil and convenience is the enemy, but in truth, money is a tool and it’s just in how you use. It is also an energy, so it doesn’t have a singular essence. Again, it’s how you use it. You can assign it to good or evil. You pick. Further, that is banter created by the patriarch to disempower the masses.
So, how did I turn this ship around? First and foremost, I gave myself an education. I was already in my 30s when I started to hear myself say, “I’m so sick of being broke and constantly struggling financially. I’m smart and able but I literally can’t work any harder to get ahead. There has to be another way.”
It was true, I was working my tush off. I would work months on end on shows that would load in at 6am, work all day setting everything up, then breaking it down after the show and getting to bed at 2 or 3am. I would do it again the next day, and the next, sometimes with no days off for weeks or months, and then sleep for a week. How could I break the negative financial cycle and get some work life balance? What was I doing wrong? The answer, in short, was everything.
I didn’t know how to save. I didn’t know how to invest. I didn’t know how to manage debt. I didn’t know how to negotiate. As far as the banks were concerned, I was crap on paper. So I began by cleaning up my credit score which started in the 300s. I got into a credit rehab program with the school loans that I had neglected. Trust me, that was painful. If you get only one takeaway from this blog, let it be to take the initiative to thoroughly educate yourself about compound interest. It can make you rich or it can ruin your life. In my case, it shoved me down a large, deep, dark financial hole, and it was very hard to climb out.
I made it my mission to find ways to pay down my debt. The interest that had accrued in the 10 years I let my school loans simmer, made what I owed nearly twice as much as what I had started with. The only difference about my anger towards this debt was that it had become self directed. Now I wanted to have a good credit score so I could have access to buying a home, or access to capital to potentially start a business, and I knew that the reason I didn’t was entirely my own fault. What I learned was that I had written myself out of options and had to start from scratch as a middle aged woman to get myself on track.
From then on out it was just consistent laser focus on #GOALS. I stopped eating out so much, and drinking as much, stopped shopping mindlessly, and started to learn how to create a functional budget. I learned (and was shocked) about my actual spending habits by building and studying my budgets in MINT. It took a couple of years to really get it right through alot of trial and error. Not gonna lie, it was a big learning curve. When you think you’re responsible because you pay your rent on time and you don’t buy expensive things, and then you start looking at the actual data and categorization over time which causes your eyes to bulge and your mouth yells, ” I spent how much on what?! HOW!?” To my surprise I found out I wasn’t frugal like I thought I was, I was just cheap. Chump change adds up quick when you start collating. Once I was finally able to lower my spending on useless CRAP and pay off my debt with the #debtavalanche method, I was eventually able to invest.
I started with ACORNS which was perfect for someone in my shoes because I had VERY little to invest, not nearly enough to meet the minimum requirements of investment platforms like Vanguard, Schwab, or TD Ameritrade. I also still had a TON to learn about investing as I had only gotten as far as teaching myself about crushing debt and following a budget. I was still in the theory stage of investing and not really clear how to get into that. In fact before I even invested formally, I let Acorns take round ups from my daily purchase swipes. I am not exaggerating when I say I did not notice this at all. It made zero impact on how much money was in my bank account. It was so seemingly miniscule that I didn’t even look at my Acorns account for the first 6 months. When I did I was amazed to see that I had saved several hundred dollars. This feature is brilliant and was definitely a turning point for my progress. I kept taking one baby step after another. This is attainable. It takes educating yourself, but dang that internet sure is generous with sharing information.
Women were not legally allowed to have a bank account until the 1960s. They didn’t get the right to have a credit card in their own name until 1974. That is onlyone year before I was born. And that was white women. Black Women and all People of Color didn’t have it handed over as easily, just look at what happened to Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK. Still today, systemic racism is so bred into our institutions that black homeowners have to have a white person stand-in and pretend they are the owner just to have their home appraised for what is actually worth. The disparities have been 10s of thousands and even millions of dollars. So, if you want to call someone a sellout for wanting to achieve financial control for themselves, I’m here to tell you that no one is getting one over on “the man” by staying broke and hating money. That sentiment is just part of the plot.
I decided I wanted to have enough to share because being opinionated and preaching to the choir wasn’t really gaining traction. I started to imagine what my childhood would have been like if I had been born into financial security, not rich per se, just secure. Where would I be now? Would I have followed my ambitions with direction and certainty instead of spinning my wheels like I had for so long? I went into deep contemplation over several years to battle some very deep seeded ideologies I had built around money. Along that journey I also had to learn that you must fill your own cup to be able to give fully. So now I am working on setting myself up for my future while simultaneously increasing donations to organizations that make a real difference with ACLU and NAACP, as well as contributions to IndieGoGo / GoFundMe campaigns for as many people and causes as I can. I also love supporting local businesses that pay a living wage and use sustainable products. That kind of money isn’t evil at all. It is a force for good.
10 years ago I would never have believed how quickly you can turn your finances around with a few simple tweaks and awareness, or that I would even be debt free in my lifetime. I hadn’t even started thinking about that 10 years ago. It has only been 5 years since I purchased my first property and I still had quite a hill of debt when I did so. Now I am consumer debt free, own 2 properties, have 2 retirement funds growing (401K, IRA), and a 6 month emergency fund. More importantly, I know I’m on a secure path, and my morals are very much still in tact, enhanced actually. I want you to know there is hope. There are methods. There are programs. It is never too late to start. I believe in you.
*I am not a financial advisor. This is my personal story. I believe in hope through education and relentless determination.
If you’re lucky enough to have a father figure in your life, you may have heard the old adage that Dad’s are notoriously difficult to shop for. How many ties or wallets can you really give a fella? Plus, many people are getting burnt out on our incessant capitalist materialism, and people are beginning to crave, both as givers and receivers, something more meaningful than a forced token.
Let’s also not make the mistake of assuming all Dads are cis men. Gender is fluid so let’s celebrate all of our Trans and Non-Binary Dads too. Plus some Moms are taking the responsibility of both parents so let’s shout out to the Mom-Dads as well! Whomever the “Dad” in your life, blood or chosen, here are some minimalist and low waste gifts to consider on Father’s Day.
Consumables Consider a bag of fancy coffee beans with that delicious aroma pouring out, or a gift card to their favorite cafe or eatery. Don’t forget to be a good consumer and shop Black Businesses. Check out MBG’s 19 Black-Owned Coffee Brands & Roasters You Can Order From Online to purchase your delish coffee gifts.
GoldBelly Delivery Oh My Gaga. Did you know you can literally get the best most authentic food from anywhere delivered with this incredible delivery service. Order a favorite dish without having to travel to a different state to get famous, mouth watering, delicacies delivered to the doorstep.
Handmade Art It doesn’t matter now old you are, parents love gifts made by their kids. Spruce up a drawing or abstract painting with a custom frame. Or take a pottery or sculpture class and make something unique. Better yet, gift the class to your parent. Michael’s has all the creative supplies you can dream of, custom framing, and regular boasts sales of at least 20% off for both new and returning customers.
Tickets to a Game, Theatre, or Concert Let’s be real, we’ve been cooped up for a long time. If it’s safe and you’re family is vaccinated and comfortable with the idea of venturing out, it may be a decent time to consider going to a show or a game. You can often buy tickets months out of you need more time to adjust (like me), or pick a venue with ample exterior seating options. Eventbrite is a great place to shop for events while supporting local and independent creators and LGBTQIA + BIPOC businesses.
Spa Day or Massage Who doesn’t love to be pampered. Whether it’s a massage or a trip to the sauna and hot tub, this is a gift anyone would love to get some well deserved R+R. Groupon is always an easy place to find a sweet local deal.
I’m ready to celebrate with a list like that! Don’t forget, these gift ideas can extend beyond father’s day to birthdays, holidays, or no-reason-at-all day. What is a favorite minimalist gift you’ve given or received? Tell us in the comments below!
For those of us without Dads, or for the moms that are shouldering the responsibility of both parents, I commend you. I don’t have a dad and I turned out pretty great. Remember, you are strong, amazing, worthy, and full of love. I believe in you!
This blog is not sponsored and these are not affiliate links. These are just brands that I like and support personally.
The Girl on Film is me, on my birthday, at Silk City in Philly when I was young enough to not even dare go out before 10pm at the earliest. I was maybe 23 years old.
I met this cute nerdy photog that night and he snapped this instant of me, the flash blowing out my face in the dark bar. I immediately loved that it was me, but it wasn’t. Without a face I had no identity. At the height of my creative lifestyle, this was pure poetry in my mind. It made the gent even cuter.
I went to take a sip of my Yuengling lager and got bumped simultaneously by an anonymous passerby in the crowd, which so easily occured due to the tight shotgun shape of the retro diner redesigned into a nightclub. That little elbow bump thrust my arm and the bottle too quickly to my mouth, chipping my front tooth. Luckily it was so tiny it was unnoticeable, but I could feel it with my tongue, and proceeded to do so obsessively all night.
Years later I put the photo in a frame with this found metal honeycomb scrap to add an extra level of creativity. I never kissed the boy.
Julie B!! Oh I was so fond of the time I spent at summer camp with this dear one who just the other day had no idea I was going to post a bunch of old pix in honor of my bday month and sent this to me out of the blue!
I lied about my age to become a CIT at Golden Slipper Camp a year earlier than I was able to legally obtain a work permit. oops
Grateful that I did because those were some of the best times of my life. Even though I was a weirdo emo art kid trying my best to hide my desperate childhood poverty and parental abuse from everyone, there were these kinds of moments with amazing humans that I got to call my friends.
This was the same summer that I was stung by a bee at 2am while painting the bunk plaque for the end of the first encampment. Bunk J I believe. Despite the rumors that bees prefer daytime, this night bee flew into Julie’s long, thick mane and she jumped around the cabin trying to shake it out of her hair. It finally got free and then we went back to painting.
A few minutes later it came out of nowhere and stung me on the knuckle of my right ring finger. I had no idea I was allergic at the time but I wasn’t feeling well right away. Our other co-counselor Denise said I was probably allergic like her. She said she just takes Benadryl and it solves the problem. I took some, but a couple minutes later I still felt really weird.
I went into the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror, the impetigo on my chin that I got a week earlier from a mosquito bite was oozing and my face was rapidly swelling. Denise and Julie agreed I should go to infirmary so I hiked over there.
Nurse said the same, probably just an allergy, take some Benadryl and sleep there for the night. I got into bed and after a couple of minutes my armpits hurt. Huh? I went to the bathroom to take a look and I was covered in hives, the teeny baby armpit hairs growing in now felt like daggers in my skin.
Back to the nurse, “um, I really don’t feel well.” This time she looked at me and immediately called the head counselor to take me to the hospital. Since we were in the middle of the woods, the hospital was about 45 minutes away. By the time we arrived I was unconscious and had gone into anaphylactic shock.
The next thing I knew, I shot up from the hospital bed, instinctively diving to rip an IV of steroids and whatever life juice they were filling me with, out of my hand. The doctor and nurse restrained me before I could succeed and calmed me down. I remember at one point seeing my heart rate monitor at 14 BPM.
After they stabilized me, they left the room for me to recover, or to go get the heart attack patient that had just come in. They came rushing in with him on a gurney and drew the curtain between us while they pumped him back to life. The curtain was not the full width of the room so I could still see almost everything going on, but didn’t have enough strength to interpret my surroundings. This was a one or two room hospital in the middle of the mountains so there weren’t alot of resources. Apparently the middle of the night is when it’s hoppin’ around there.
He kept moaning, “Oh the pain!” I looked over and saw his heart rate monitor, 148. I remember lying there thinking, if I only we could combine our heart rates we would both be normal. Bee Daze Math.
Most of the days I spent at camp and with Julie were not life threatening, but this was the day I found out I was allergic to bees. Well, maybe not the day in this picture. I wore that 70s knit sweater t-shirt any chance I could. I wish I still had that little gem. It was cropped too, back in style..because that’s how old I…I mean that’s how old that picture is now, printed on unpredictable film with a weird saturated smudge and everything.
SO overdue for a camp reunion!
ps if you want to add a little pop, bling, or zing to your photos HMU. I love making digital art for people!
Every morning I do a priming exercise that allows me to energetically connect to loved ones that could benefit from some healing energy. Energy is always moving, always recycling, always shifting. It’s such a great opportunity to share what we have on a cellular level.
Just like depression spirals downward, positivity spins upward, lifting us in its path. It’s easier said than done, but with concentration and focus, if you can keep your mindset healthy, the rest of your energy will flow in that direction and clear the path of mental, emotional, and physical stressors, which all lead to disease. The mind body connection is very real, scientifically proven, and extremely crucial for our wellbeing.
You can heal from anything in this regard. There are countless studies of people visualizing themselves into wellness, so many incredibly miraculous stories, even dissolving tumors through this practice. It is still hard when you are in pain, or are dealing with a dire situation. So that’s where the old adage comes in, I get by with a little help from my friends.
For friends and strangers, this morning practice allows me to tap into shared energy and use it for good. Not only do I send this energy into the world around me, but I benefit from it as well. It is much more pleasant starting the day this way when compared to how I used to wake up, running late and having to rush out the door, cursing my way to work, scrambling to get my act together. This new improved routine took a lot of practice, but it’s all about priorities. I wanted to prioritize having a healthy morning routine before the day goes wild. I wanted to design a beautiful life and not feel stressed and discombobulated all the time. Giving energetically in this way allows me to feel accomplished and connected before I’ve even walked out the door.
In addition, when we give, it can take so much of our own struggle away. This is a tried and true method. If you are struggling, consider sitting in a meditation that focuses on sending healing energy to others. The priming exercise I like to do that keeps me focused on healing for myself and others is this Priming Exercise.
You are strong, resilient, and unstoppable. I love you so much!
In honor of the onset of my birthday month, let’s enjoy the throwback machine.
This set from my bday party circa 2005. That’s my sweetest boy, Mars, my first puppy love. Also with little Forrest who is now a totally grown adult, and that badass @marymacx. Thanks for the pics and the wonderful memories @amymcline.
Nothing cements your #GOALS like making a commitment.
I officially signed up for my first race since moving to the #BayArea and falling off the race wagon. My last race was Cloudcroft, NM 9.5 miler in 2019. My first and ONLY half marathon was the Austin Half in 2017. My longest race to date is Sky Island 25K in West Texas. I did not race in 2020 for obvious reasons, but I also fell off my training pretty much completely. So it’s time to get back at it!
I will sign up for a few smaller runs leading up to this, and hoping to find a solid trail community in the East Bay. I’m not really into road running, but the Golden Gate Half seemed like a good entry to being an official Bay Area runner. I love a good iconic event, plus it’s the 20th anniversary of the race so it should be a fun one.
Manifesting this life to be the life of my dreams! Everyday you have the opportunity to begin anew. What are your dreams, your goals, deepest desires?
I never accepted my chronic illness. I’m not a proponent of prescription medicine, but more than that, I missed myself. The energy and clarity I had before this shift. I decided to do whatever I needed to do to regain my health.
Movement has helped more than anything. I’m not naturally motivated but I know my “Why”. I want to enjoy my body while I have it, while I can. I think about what would happen if I lost a limb, or my sight, or something worse than I’ve already lost? Experiencing brain fog and crippling fatigue was already uncomfortable enough; I don’t want it to go any further. I was sick of feeling pain and discomfort all day every single day.
Not only was it not getting better, it was getting worse, and it could be far more drastic if I were in an accident or just allowed myself to continue to age in a lazy pattern.
So I decided movement is the only way out. I can eat healthy all day but without pairing movement the benefits were limiting. So now I run for my life. I spin for my life. I dance for my life.
I’ve added a run or bike ride everyday after my kinrgy workout. My brain fog is gone. I have more energy than I’ve had in 5 years. I always feel better after sweating, guaranteed.
Let me assure you I am an amateur! I run slow. I take my time. I stop and take pics or when my dog has to pee. I gave up on my stats. I run or bike for 30 minutes a day right after Kinrgy workout. That’s what my schedule allows and following my schedule has made it more accessible. You don’t have to be a pro athlete to get the benefits of moving your body. You just need to do something everyday.
I started with 5 minutes. When I was super unmotivated I said ok just go for 5 minutes then you can go home. 95% of the time I felt good after 5 minutes, better than when I started. So I’d say ok another 5 minutes, and then another, just going with what felt good. It’s a natural progression. I’m not racing. I’m enjoying the wonders of my body’s progression. The body can do more than the mind allows. So you have to trick your mind until it learns the rewards.
This is your life and you deserve to feel good. You deserve to feel great. The choice is yours.
As a minimalist, environmentalist, and old school DIY cleaner, I’ve been using dollar store mops pretty much my whole life. From my former life in the restaurant industry, I grew to prefer the big spaghetti head mops for their ability to “catch” dirt as opposed to pushing it around like the rectangle sponge heads seem to do. If there are real terms for these mop heads forgive my ignorance, I’m not a professional. 🧹
When I was moving out of my last apartment in Oakland, I caved at the last minute and bought a swiffer. It was just one of the moments where I didn’t have enough time, I ran out of my DIY supplies, was moving during a pandemic germfest, and I just collapsed into a lazy American supply sweep at my local Walgreens. #facepalm. Now, I say I caved because I know Swiffer WetJet has been everyone’s dream mop for probably a decade for reasons I mostly totally disagree with. I don’t use one time products. I don’t buy plastic anymore. I don’t use chemical cleaning supplies. I am appalled that the majority of Americans seem to be totally ok throwing away the head (made of microplastics) after one use, and throwing away the thick plastic bottle of cleaner that it comes with when it runs out, and then pay a premium for refills. Huh?! The amount of production and clean water and waste water and shipping and petroleum that goes into making these single use plastics is mind boggling. Imagine if they let you screw off the top and just buy bulk refill cleaner? 🤯
It would be an environmental milestone for Swiffer to allow refills on that bottle. Not only would it save the environment, but they could easily still make profit by selling bulk cleanser. Unless they know about people like me I suppose. As I mentioned, I don’t like chemical cleansers because they are full of toxic ingredients that are terrible for the environment, and I especially don’t want that in my home where I am breathing them in and making contact with my skin when I walk around barefoot. So I guess Proctor + Gamble Inc is SOL until they make cleanser that isn’t contributing en masse to environmental waste. Clean up your culture already, P&G. 💩
SO I am beyond pleased to share with you this HACK that lets you REFILL the plastic jug that comes with your swiffer! It’s incredibly fast and easy and I literally yelled out loud “Oh My Gaga It Worked!” I was just as shocked as you. 📣
STEP 1 Boil Water in a small pot on your stove.
STEP 2 Once water comes to a boil, turn off heat and hold the bottle cap down in the hot water for 90 seconds.
STEP 3 Now that the plastic has softened, twist off the cap. I have tiny baby hands so I used a rubber jar opener to assist but I was also thinking there was no way it could be that easy and expected more resistance.
STEP 4 Shout, “Oh My Gaga It Worked!”
STEP 5 Cut off the tiny plastic prongs with scissors, nail clippers, or similar. I tried the ones in the pic just to see which I liked best and the clippers with the handle were easiest for my tiny baby fingers to keep a grip on but they all work fine so it’s totally up to you.
The whole project took less than 5 minutes to complete. Now you can use any cleanser you like whether it’s DIY solutions like Vinegar and Water, or homemade Pine Sol, or something else, you can now refill to your heart’s content and never buy another plastic bottle again. ♻️
I’ve worked for #fakewoke organizations and I’ve worked for the straight up #patriarchy and both types are an uphill battle. It is such a gift to finally be with a company that genuinely values diversity and inclusivity and keeps showing up to prove it.
We are offered literally 1000s of educational opportunities through our company portal and many of them go far beyond technical skill and into modules that simply help us be better humans to each other.
I’ve had to spend so much time in my career fighting with leadership to just do the right thing. I felt it was my responsibility for everyone that couldn’t do so without fear, and had more to lose than I do. My frustration at failing (or delayed success, we’ll see) with those former companies is a privilege and I know it. People who can’t even get an interview because their name sounds too “ethnic” or not “white enough” on paper have the real struggle, and they don’t deserve that treatment. People that have to live in fear for their very lives…it’s just so utterly wrong and despicable.
As a woman in a male dominated industry I have had to fight my whole career to be taken seriously. Even down to being perceived as “dumb” just by the color of my hair (blonde jokes anyone?). But I’m also CIS, white, and straight-passing which are all a privilege. The gender discrimination I’ve faced is only a fraction of the systemic inequality the BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities face.
If you have skin privilege (or any other privilege) it’s our duty to speak up and right these archaic wrongs. I think of the parallel the incredible men in my industry who stood up for me against sexist remarks and misogynist situations. It made it so much easier because if I said it there would’ve been backlash. I have said it and there was backlash. So when someone stands up for you it’s huge. Has that ever happened to you?
We have this one precious life. Stand up for each other. We are so much better together. There are 2 options, to live in love or to live in fear. Which path will you choose?
Exactly 2 months ago – once and for all – I found MY WHY and transformed, literally overnight, into a morning person. ☀️
To be fair, this personal development has taken years and countless failures and rebounds, but as I described in this post, I did have an immediate transformation that sealed the deal for this morning routine once and for all. Find your why and you can develop a morning routine like this too!
~~~ Here’s The Breakdown ~~~
5:30am Wake Up Walk Pup I used to shuffle out of bed and whine, or more realistically, hit the snooze button 82 times, but now I usually jump up a minute or 2 before my alarm goes off. This is how my energetic rockstar pup @VenusVegaDlux wakes up too so we go right for a quick squat after heading down 4 flights of stairs from our condo in the sky.
5:45amBrush Teeth After Venus relieves herself, I brush my teeth. Not in the street, silly! We went back upstairs already. I use a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush. Sorry I’m not on that obvious minimalist #bambootoothbrush tip, but I have crappy teeth and I need a workhorse to keep these dudes happy. I need to figure out how to recycle the heads like they do in Russian supermarkets, but at the moment I extend the life of the used heads by using them for cleaning or painting projects. I change them quarterly so I’m only a bad person 4 times a year. I’ve had this toothbrush for about 6 years now so at least the body is lasting a long time. I also love it because I can travel without the charger and the battery lasts over a week. The charger is tiny so I’ll bring it if I’m travelling longer than a week.
5:50amRose Water Amethyst Facial I never gave myself facials even when I was sleeping in, not even at night. Truth is I was notoriously bad at self care. I just figured if I’m going to be awake this early I should give myself something to look forward to and I came up with this little gem. It’s so easy I do it with my eyes closed, literally.
The first step actually starts with clearing my nasal passages. I’ve been doing this ever since the Pandemic started as a way to cleanse so it’s a vital part of my daily routine now. I use Now Activated Nasal Spray and it really is a game changer. Since I do breathing exercises in my morning routine (priming and meditation), this gets all that gunk out of the way ahead of time. Inflammation seems to be worse in the morning for me so it helps to start off with this cleansing routine. When I sought this product out, I was not even sure it existed. Years ago, 2004 to be exact, I was traveling in Brasil and started to feel a nasty cold coming on. I was at Copacabana Beach with a gal I met from Italy, and she literally told me to snort the ocean. As much as I was dumbfounded by what she was suggesting, she was dumbfounded that I didn’t know about this. Her grandmother showed her when she was a little girl and they’ve been warding off colds for generations this way. I did it. It was awkward, and totally worked. I got a head rush, felt the salt water drip down the back of my nasal passages, and the cold symptoms completely vanished. This spray is the next best thing if you can’t snort the ocean every morning.
Next I do a quick cold water rinse on my face and pat dry. Then I take a cotton ball and clean my face with TN Dickinson’s Witch Hazel. (I compost the cotton ball). Next I spritz my face with Rose Water. Did you know that food grade products undergo far greater regulations than topical products? Your skin is your biggest organ so anything you put on your skin should be no worse than anything you eat, but the industry doesn’t work that way. Rose water products are on trend and you have the price tag to prove it. Topical beauty products not only cost more, but they have other ingredients that are hard to pronounce (aka bad for your health). I’ve always had a 100% natural skin care routine and I’ve had nearly flawless skin as a result so I don’t buy into that beauty market ish. Save your dollars and your skin and get some classic food grade Rose Water and put it in your own spritzer bottle. Cortas was my go-to but I think they are onto me because the unit price has gone up so I’m trying this one by Sadaf next. I bought these bottles from Amazon for my DIY products.
Finally, I use this Amethyst Roller. I know Jade and Rose Quartz are all the rage but I’m a diehard rebel and an amethyst gal. I’m still moving everything around that needs to be awakened so I love this thing even if I’m not trending. I keep it in the freezer so it feels incredible to roll over my fresh dewy morning skin. I also roll over my thyroid to help keep her functioning well. Cold therapy has been one of my #1 tools in fighting inflammation, and inflammation is the source of all disease so if you can keep that at bay, you’re winning.
5:55 am Lemon Water Right before my workout, I drink 20 ounces of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. First thing in the belly and great for the gut! It’s hydrating, starts you off with a burst of Vitamin C, balances your PH, produces collagen, stimulates the digestive system, is renowned in Ayurvedic medicine, and so much more. Check out this Mind Body Green Article for more info on the health benefits. I was making my own fresh squeezed for a while but peeling lemons was not my jam and a bottle of pure, organic, lemon juice is actually not very expensive. I decided to pay myself first and free myself from this particular chore. I’ve been using SproutsOrganic Lemon Juice for a few months and it’s perfect. There are ZERO additional ingredients other than organic lemon juice and currently retails at 25 cents per ounce. I’ve also enjoyed Lakewood and Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice. All 3 are high quality, affordable, and last a long time in the fridge.
6am Kinrgy By far the highlight of my morning! I love waking up to dance and elemental connection. The Kinrgy method uses movement, breathwork, and the 4 elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air to center you and give birth to your own distinct expression. This was another gift I gained from UPW and it brings me incredible joy and energy to start my day. The guides are incredible and weave poetry, activism, and soliloquies into the workout which is an incredible bonus. I’m so so grateful for this daily practice.
6:45am Priming Next I do TR’s Priming Exercise, which helps bring focus and intentionality to my day. I also use this time to send healing energy to people that need it, and visualize my future vision of and for myself.
7am Meditation I do a 10 or 15 minute morning meditation. I can not express what a huge impact this has been on day. To start feeling this grounded and centered is something I haven’t experienced regularly since my career took off. I’m so happy to feel back in my body this way. I’m OBSESSED with @RoxyTalks. I have been wanting to do a video series of my spoken word poetry and some mantras that I’ve written and her style is almost exactly what I envisioned for that project. Roxy is A VIBE. Right now for the morning sesh I’m mostly toggling between Self Love Affirmations and Positive Morning Affirmations, but really all of her meditations and affirmations rock so just pick whatever jives with you.
7:15am Walk Pup Venus just had a quick pee when we woke up at 5:30am so now we go do the real business.
7:25am Cold Shower YES. I am actually doing this. I listened to Melissa Urban‘s podcast Do The Thing Ep 34: Cold Showers with Ed Sheeran and a YEAR later still had the anything but that mentality. After visualizing the worst case scenario of how my body would continue to decline, continue become harder to heal, continue to become stiffer and more painful, if I continued to not DO THE WORK to cure myself, I finally got smacked in the face that time was moving on without me. I refuse to live the rest of my life in a sick or suffering manner. I’ve come too far for that. So I started with baby steps, 2mm at a time, 2º at a time. By some standards my cold shower is still a baby step but it is serving me and I’ll do it in my own time. You should too. You make the rules. You design your life.
My method is I take a warm shower for 3 minutes and just enjoy it, then I use my 1 minute timer on my watch and shift the water temperature just past the middle where it’s just below luke warm and a little colder. For the second minute I move it another 2 degrees colder. That’s it. 2 minutes of cold water. I jump around and sing and howl and I’m SO ALIVE afterwards. It has flushed my inflammation and brain fog down the toilet! I don’t want to be sick ever again, so I put my full mind and intention into this 2 minutes. I am here to thrive. I am here to live a beautiful life.
7:30am Celery Juice I drink 8 ounces of celery juice while I air dry. I’m currently doing an experiment to figure out how much celery I need to prep to juice 3-4 days in advance. Remove the barriers preventing you from your good habits. I don’t squeeze lemons and celery at 6am. I do it ahead of time, usually at night. I just bought Suja Celery Juice for the first time so I’m going to try that out this week and compare it to my fresh squeezed Celery Juice. I upcycle my Synergy Kombucha bottles to prep my celery juice in advance, so I’m currently measuring this all out and calculating in order to honor my time if I can. I know Suja isn’t JUST celery so I’m thinking on that, but I’m not totally against it either. Again, I’m still in the research stage. I’ll probably land somewhere in a combo style.
7:35am Coffee Time The big reward! My morning really flows. Although it sounds like a lot, I’ve removed barriers and made these steps as easy and seamless as possible so I wouldn’t get discouraged and give up. I feel so accomplished at this point that a warm cup of joe with creamy nutpods is the perfect gift to soak it all in. I am taking a break from my superfood coffee recipe. I was using Laird’s for a while but they all have sugar in them and I’m not about that life. Sugar will ruin you inside and out. If there is only one change you make in your whole life, quit sugar.
*Stay tuned for Superfood Coffee recipes, although it may just have to live on in my smoothies if I don’t come up with a good solution.
7:35am Read Morning Brew I’ve been reading Morning Brew as my daily news burst for about a month now and it’s absolutely perfect. I love how succinct and witty it is and I can get a quick daily digest before I get whisked away into my day. I get briefed on the latest 24 hour activity of the stonks, world news, politics, vaccine updates, and even surprises like bypassing the waiting list for @Masterworks. Check out my post on my recent purchase of Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin, 1990 and my Masterworks membership.
Coffee has always been a prized start to my day but lately, it is even more cherished.
Almost 2 months ago I was finally able to develop – and stick to – a morning routine that would start my day on the right foot. I have struggled my whole life to be a morning person, in fact, I stopped trying years ago. But when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2016 it got MUCH worse.
Once this disease took over my body I was dysfunctionally exhausted all of the time. I barely made it through the day. I was going to bed at 6pm and waking up at 2am with insomnia. If I didn’t have a day job I would have been in bed the whole day without question. No matter what I did I was beyond exhausted around the clock. I could not function to save my life.
Once my medication was dialed in, which took almost a year, my sleep cycles didn’t become normal, but were more manageable. Insomnia happened less frequently and exhaustion levels went from impossible to somewhat sadly manageable, but my mornings never recovered. It felt like whatever my body was doing to process this illness it was doing overnight and in the morning I had a mega ton of bricks weighing me down. It took everything I had to claw out of bed.
I missed my formerly energetic self, my old life. I knew, like many other tragedies in my life, that this would be no different: I must refuse to be a victim. I did not want to live the rest of my days on Earth feeling this way, plain and simple. This was the WHY that kept me searching for answers.
Of course the road is not that easy with a chronic illness and though I wished to cure myself overnight, it has taken several years to gain back my strength and diminish the ever powerful symptoms of chronic fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, chronic muscle and bone pain, and more.
Coffee wasn’t waking me up, but the aroma, the steam rising from the cup, the warmth touching my lips, still gave me a cozy way to start my day. I was devastated to learn that I would not be able to drink coffee upon waking with my new medication which requires an empty stomach for an hour before ingesting anything…and 4 hours for ibuprofen so you better not wake up with a hangover.
So I started setting my alarm at 5:30am so I could take my pill and fall back asleep until I was allowed to have coffee. For the first few years I thought it would be nice to be able to actually wake up at this time and do a work out or get some writing in, but it seemed to be harder and harder to wake up even when my symptoms were *mostly* under control. “Is this medication really serving me,” I often wondered.
In the beginning of March I attended Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within and unleash we did! In full transparency, I have visualized aplenty, and I have incredible will power in many areas of my life, but I think what was different for me this time was we practiced a visualization where we didn’t see the outcome we wanted, but the outcome we didn’t want. What would life be like if you continue on this path you are on, where you are not practicing the rituals and actions that would make the difference in your life? Who would you become? How much more would it hurt? How much worse would it get? What would your life look like years after doing nothing differently that you’re doing today? How would your relationships turn out? Your body? Your mindset?
I can’t even begin replicate Tony’s incredible guidance in a blog post because it is genuine total immersion and the exercises we do over those 4 days unlock so many blocks within you using neuropsychology and other scientifically backed techniques that create multitudes of AHA moments, but for me particularly, it was beyond transformative to go into the depth of that negative visualization that really gave me the boot in the rear I needed to break the cycle I was stuck in.
What on earth does this have to do with coffee?
For the past 7 weeks I’ve been waking up at 5:30am 🤯 and getting into a myriad of amazing things to start my day. I have a nice walk with my dog, I have a glorious morning facial routine, a cold shower, drink lemon water and celery juice, meditate and prime my body and mind, and I work out with @kinrgy every day. This has been a game changer. I still have to pinch myself it’s going so well. *The full details of my morning routine will be posted on May 4th, my 2 month anniversary of being a legit morning person!
I don’t even have coffee until 7:30am! By that time it is the icing on the cake and it just tastes that much better. I have eliminated sugar from diet and I feel a gazillion times better for it. I simply add some pure, creamy, non-dairy, alt-milk like @nutpods and sometimes I’ll top it off with cinnamon and it is the perfect reward to everything I’ve already accomplished.
I love that I don’t need coffee to wake me up, but I get to simply enjoy the flavor and ritual of the ceremony.
Turns out I have a crush on disruptive #fintech. So I purchased my first art investment through #Masterworks.
My first investment is in Pumpkin, 1990 by Yayoi Kusama. It was very exciting to be able to play a part in uplifting a female artist, and an asian artist. White men have dominated art history and women often had to hide under a male sounding name in the creative arts or be written out entirely. As the Guardian puts it:
“One of the startling things … is the way that Kusama seemed to be written out of pop art history. There was a point in the 60s when she shared almost equal billing – and notoriety – with the likes of Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Part of this eclipse seems to have been by design – Kusama has long claimed that her original ideas were appropriated by the Wasp-ish men around her and passed off as their own.1
Yayoi’s personal history is fascinating and her renaissance coming full circle in her 80s is exciting to watch.
Also, Masterworks is disrupting the concept that Blue Chip Art is for the ultra wealthy alone, to be hidden in private auctions in some kind of circle jerk. Look, I’m not going to say I understand why one piece sells for $7 million and another is $25 at a coffee shop, but I do like the idea of expanded accessibility. This is essentially a crowdfunding platform that facilitates investments with fractional shares via a blockchain solution.
According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2018, artwork returned an average of 10.6% return versus a 4.38% loss in the S&P 500.2 So that’s not nothing. Now I am a FIRE gal and I love the security of #indexfunds so don’t worry I haven’t fully strayed, but putting a chunk into @masterworks.io is just another way to diversify as far as I’m concerned. Frankly I threw money away on much greater risks with no potential returns when I was young and hungry, so don’t @ me. This is interesting and I want to see where it goes.
How about you? Have you tried something new and edgy lately?