Month: June 2013

Quest Recipe: Easy Adult Slush

My Simplicity Quest is about enjoying the journey. Some of my experiments in minimalism take place in the kitchen. I prefer easy recipes that require few ingredients. My Easy Adult Slush has two ingredients, tastes amazing, and takes up very little space in a cooler. A girl has got to stay hydrated while moving in the direction of her dreams…

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Quest Recipe: Easy Adult Slush
Ingredients:

  • 1 plastic resealable container of frozen juice concentrate. Any flavor. (I use Welch’s brand.)
  • Alcohol of your choice. (I use tequila)

Instructions:

  1. Make the juice in a separate pitcher according to the instructions on the container. Save the plastic container (no need to rinse it out).
  2. Fill the plastic container two thirds full with the now-made juice.
  3. Fill the rest of the container with alcohol. I love tequila so that’s an automatic choice for me but vodka would work too (or rum or whatever you like).
  4. Reseal the container with the lid and place in the freezer for at least six hours (overnight is best).
  5. When you are in the mood for a cold slushy beverage, just pull out the container and mush it with your hands or spoon. Pour into a cute glass or just drink straight out of the container.
  6. (make sure to recycle the container when it’s time to get rid of it)

Notes:

I’m not usually a huge fan of plastic but in the summer, this recipe is my favorite way to have lake-appropriate beverages on hand. I’m not a huge fan of juice either, actually. But I am a huge fan of tequila and winding down on the weekends. I share the juice and keep the containers. I love how the alcohol keeps the juice from getting rock solid and easy to slush up. Super easy and delicious!

Cheers!

 

Water Lily

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While spending time with my two favorite little guys (both five years old), one of them suggested we play outside. With the water hose. In the mud. For the record, when I got dressed that morning, I didn’t think “Hey, I should wear this just in case I end up outside in the mud today.” My reservations about the activity had less to do with my clothing choice and more to do with the hassle of getting them cleaned up afterward.

I just happened to be wearing my pink (officially Mulberry) Merrell Sleeveless Lily Dress that day. Fun in the sun? No problem! I didn’t actually get all muddy like the boys did but I spent the entire time outside with them. Yes, it was a warm, Southern Summer day but I felt cool and comfortable in my dress. When mud splatters attacked me, I just wiped them off with a bit of water. No fuss. No cranky complaints from me about how they need to pay attention to me and my clothes and to “be careful!” It really is a great dress.

Afterward (and after I hosed them down with the water hose), I let them play in the small pool on the back deck and I got in with them – in my awesome dress. We splashed and played until we were exhausted. It was wonderful and I didn’t have to change my clothes to do it. I just put it outside to dry to dry with their swimsuits. In a few hours, it was dry and I could have worn it to dinner. If I went to dinner. I didn’t. I crashed early. 🙂

The more adventures I have in the clothing I choose as my minimalist closet essentials, the better I feel about my decisions. I feel ready for anything. Daily life. Work life. Travel. All of the above. Then I enjoy my life more. That’s what my simplicity quest and my experiments in minimalism are all about. Hassle-free and fun.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

I’ve chosen this dress as a “keeper” in The Closet Countdown.

Please click here to read My Merrell Disclaimer.

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The Closet Countdown: T-1 Day

20130629-102250.jpg“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

I show up early to events. Meetings, movies, parties, The Closet Countdown… I’m pretty much ready to go. Even though I consider myself a fairly skilled minimalist when it comes to managing my closet, I have trouble imagining “making it” with just 55 items. Not sure why but I’m willing to explore it in the next 100 days. I look forward to what I learn about that and my strange relationship to my closet.

Deep down I know it’s not about the clothes. It’s about doing what I think I need to do to get my head out of the closet and into my life. Big goals. People. Work. Life. You know, the important stuff. I do not work in the fashion industry and I’m constantly surrounded by people who love me (and even like me sometimes!). They don’t care about the fit and fabric or style of my clothing choices. They care about how I treat them and how they feel when they are around me.

If I can relegate my entire wardrobe to “tools” in my mind, perhaps I can learn how to become more present in each moment. I can make space on my mental stage for different life skills. Like kindness and encouragement. Things that make me happy to be a part of the human race…

Basic updates in the decision making process.:

  • I worked in the yard long enough to feel good about my decision to keep the overalls.
  • The rubber boots have been categorized as garden/work tools.
  • Wore a “chosen” dress to dinner last night. Helped me decide that it wasn’t a Hell Yeah!

Thanks for joining me on my simplicity quest. I appreciate the company and I promise to keep posting updates. Cheers!

 

The Closet Countdown: T-4 Days

018The official blast off of The Closet Countdown is coming up fast. Now that I’ve dealt with some fear and frustration, I’m ready to think about other aspects of this experiment. I recently wrote about why I’m doing this whole minimalism thing and suddenly all my apprehension and worries faded back. The whole point of doing this minimalism thing is not to get in touch with my inner whiner. It’s to live a deeper life. So I might do some simplifying of my objectives and see if I can pick one goal to work on with all the time I’m buying for myself.

Random Thoughts on Day Four:

  • I’ve decided (thanks to a small patch of poison ivy on my leg) that I’m going to figure out how to keep a pair of pants for yard work. It will probably be my faithful pair of work overalls. Yes. Overalls. I’m just cool like that in the garden…
  • When I unpacked a box full of clothes I’d put up in a previous experiment, I found a few tops I wanted. Had to make some “tough” calls on what to put in the “unchosen” category considering I put tops on my number ten slot.
  • Summer and a love for the outdoors means sweat. Which means I might be doing laundry more often. Might have to experiment with some hand washing for fun.

That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by!

The Closet Countdown: T-5 Days

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 “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

The Closet Countdown almost ended for me yesterday. I hit some sort of wall. Not fear this time. Just fed up with thinking about it. Ready to just get on with it…but not really. Thinking about my things for too long just makes me sick to my stomach and I don’t want to deal with the tedium. As I stood and stared at my ten tops and now six pairs of shoes, it hit me…this might be why minimalism is not the most popular lifestyle choice.

It’s a pain. A real, brain-taxing pain sometimes. Going through stuff and making decisions about dresses and socks can be mentally exhausting and well…I’m lazy. This culling process feels like work. Feels like I should be doing something better with my time. Certainly something more “noble” or “impressive”. I almost quit.

I sat on the floor and let my mind wander as I considered really quitting. Pathetic. I know. I’m reconciled to the fact that I have these moments. Most of the time, they push me to give the finger to that discouraging voice inside my head, grab the reigns of my conflict, and ride it into the future. I have to know how this part of my story goes. If I quit now, I won’t get to know all the great things I could learn.

Yes, I’m lazy. But I’m also hopelessly curious and stubborn so that works out…most of the time. 🙂

The good news is that I’m not quitting and in preparation for the closet countdown, I went through a box of current clothing and easily got rid of half of it using my favorite Hell Yeah! method. That felt good. I still love that feeling that it does get easier (read more about how it gets easier here). It gets easier to let go. I guess that’s why I keep at this “silly” project. I’ve had a tiny taste of the mental and emotional freedom that comes from dealing with my stuff and I want more. I hope to find it as I continue to experiment with minimalism.

Thank you for wading through my rants and struggles (and triumphs!) related to minimalism. I appreciate your company on my simplicity quest. Cheers!

My Merrell Disclaimer

I’m fortunate to have someone in my life who loves me enough to say something like “Ginny? If I didn’t know you and read your blog, I might start wondering if you work for Merrell…”

I got a little defensive and then I read my last post about the Emery Dress. Then I read my post about the Lily Dress. Um. Yeah. It does look like I work for Merrell. So let me put it out there officially: I don’t work for Merrell. I’m just an enthusiastic fan of their products. I do not make any money from this blog. I do not get a percentage of any sales that result from my recommendations.

All I want to do – with this blog and with my life – is encourage others with what I’ve learned on my simplicity quest and my experiments in minimalism.

I feel better now. Thanks for reading!

Minimalist Closet Essentials: Merrell Emery Dress

“Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” – Coco Chanel

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This past Spring, Merrell introduced my second favorite dress: the Emery. I snapped one up as soon as soon as I saw it. While my Lily Sleeveless Dress is not as suitable for work, the Emery dress is. My old commute was almost two hours long and I spent a large part of my day indoors. That job actually gave me many opportunities to experiment with my wardrobe. I wanted to see if I could come up with something that would be suitable for both a meeting and a walk in the park. The Emery does that with understated sophistication and comfort.

It looks great with simple, black pumps or flats or another one of my favorites: my Merrell Tetra Launch Boots (keep an eye out for a post about those babies). When the stress of my job started to creep in on me, I would go to my car, grab my casual shoes, and head out to the surrounding area to just walk and clear my head. The Emery is made of a moisture-wicking material so I stayed cool and dry.

The top part fits like a cute, capped sleeved shirt and then the hem falls down almost to my knees in a flowy-ish A-line. Flattering without being too huggy and easy to move in. I would hike mountains in this dress. Might have to try that someday. 🙂

It’s another go-to item for work, play, and travel for the following reasons:

  • Flattering cut/style
  • Comfortable
  • Coordinates well with other articles of clothing
  • Easy to accessorize
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Easy to spot clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Looks great alone or with leggings
  • Opaque material (no need to wear a slip)
  • Versatile style
  • Wearable in all seasons
  • Durable
  • Excellent for travel

As always, thanks for your time. I promise to post more pictures of this dress and the different ways to wear it. While I’m a little conflicted about other items, the Emery is definitely one of the “chosen” for The Closet Countdown. Cheers!

If you’d like to see other pictures, you can check out the Merrell website and Zappos. I think Zappos has better pictures and better reviews.

Please read my Merrell disclaimer here.

The Closet Countdown: T-6 Days

One week from today, The Closet Countdown will officially be on. No more deciding, no more wondering if it was a good idea. It’s like I’m going on a journey and I’m trying to figure out what clothes to take. I must consider the activities, location, season, weather. Planing is key to a successful journey on my simplicity quest. Especially when the quest is about minimalism.

I think I identified that “icky” feeling from last week. Fear. Seriously. When I search myself and try to understand my attachment to a dress (and the rest of my possessions, actually) it all boils down to fear. Fear of living without something I think I need. Fear of living without my many options. It offends my pride to admit it. And if I choose to be honest with myself (and you), that kind of feeling seems so shallow. Afraid of living without a dress? Oh please.

It’s not about the dress in the back of the closet. Or the shoes. Or the inherited dust collectors. I believe it’s about figuring out who we are and what we want out of life and deciding to live boldly with those decisions. I must push past the fear (and pride) to find out what I can learn; to find out who I can be. No matter how “icky” that makes me feel. No matter what I must admit about my “First World” hang ups and vulnerabilities.

I’m searching for ways to gain more time to do the things l love like spend time with loved ones, write, learn about photography, go hiking, dance, and one of my favorite activities in the world: encourage people. I don’t know for sure (because I’m still testing ideas and getting rid of things), but I believe I will have a richer journey if I don’t have to lug around and take care of extra stuff. I can’t prove it yet, but I’m working on it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my words about pride and minimalism. Your time is a kindness that fills my heart with joy and gratitude. I wish you well on whatever journey you take.

Beautiful Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from a Delancy Place newsletter that my SSS (Super Smart Sweetheart) shared with me. It struck something in my minimalism-hungry soul and I knew I had to share it.

In today’s selection — in any endeavor, whether writing a book, starting a business, designing a house, or creating a recipe, narrowing the options is one of the hardest things to do. Self-editing is one of the most difficult forms of self discipline:

“In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them. Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying.

“The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom. Write a song on your lunch break. Paint a painting with only one color. Start a business without any start-up capital. Shoot a movie with your iPhone and a few of your friends. Build a machine out of spare parts. Don’t make excuses for not working — make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.

“The right constraints can lead to your very best work. My favorite example? Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat with only 236 different words, so his editor bet him he couldn’t write a book with only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss came back and won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.”

‘Telling yourself you have all the time
in the world, all the money in the world,
all the colors in the palette, anything
you want — that just kills creativity.’

-Jack White

Author: Austin Kleon
Title: Steal Like An Artist
Publisher: Workman
Date: Copyright 2012 by Austin Kleon
Pages: 137-138

Hope this inspires you the way it inspired me. I love the beauty of the boundaries we create for ourselves with minimalism and seeking out a simple life. “The right constraints can lead to your very best work.” I think the right constraints can lean to your very best life.

Cheers to you dear reader! May your boundaries ever increase your creativity…