Decor · Fashion · Real Talk · Uncategorized

5 Reasons why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less.

The idea of pursuing less in a more intentional way is a topic that seems to pop up in my life every so often. I first heard about it at a conference years ago, and now it seems to be an idea I’m hearing almost weekly. Whether it be in a book I’m reading, someone I’m talking to, or just how I’m feeling internally.

You likely know by now that I’m a dreamer, a thinker. I can be pretty intense. And it’s not that I’m doing or accomplishing more than others, because that’s not true; I simply have a brain that works on overdrive. My thoughts are all over the place and there are so many ideas that I want to run with. Which can be great at times, but it’s mostly just A LOT. Internally, it’s a lot.

Then on the flip side, externally there’s a lot going on as well. My life is full of clutter and excess. There’s just so much stuff. Everywhere.

It just happens; things pile up. Whether that’s the shoes in my closet or the appointments in my calendar or my running “Adulting” to-do list. Ugh, speaking of, I still need to get an oil change and clean out my car.

And I’ve noticed that a lot of the internal and external clutter overlaps. For example, I will think about all these new beauty products I want to try to show you and accompanying blog posts I want to write (internal clutter), then I’ll go buy twenty things (external clutter), then I’ll go to do my budget and realize I’m spending too much on things (internal clutter), and the cycle goes on.

I doubt I’m the only one that feels like my life is an ongoing clutter cycle both internally and externally; I mean there are entire TV shows and books dedicated to the issue. (Which is kinda ironic because consuming information can also lead to more clutter in our lives, but I’ll leave you with that for today.) Anyways, the point is that I’ve been truly inspired by the idea of pursuing less in life as of late. And this doesn’t feel like a #BeccaBrain idea that will pass in a day. This feels like more than that. It’s something I really, really feel connected to and want to try out for real.

Living with less stuff, more margin. Buying intentionally, thinking intentionally. Removing the clutter from inside and out. Pursuing LESS.

You’ll definitely be seeing more on this topic as I dive into it in different aspects of my life (like cleaning out my shoe closest which I did a couple weeks ago…whoa), but for now, I wanted this post to be more of an intro. I wanted to explain to you what this pursuit of less was, and why I’m fired up about it. If you’re wanting to know why I’m so inspired, keep reading.

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Why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less.

I have about a million reasons here, but in the spirit of doing less (ha!), I’m outlining the 5 that really stand out to me. Or the reasons why this whole idea has sparked me to make legit changes in my life.

Reason No. 1 – More time for things that matter.

We have 24 hours in the day (maybe closer to 16 if you don’t count sleep), and we spend so little of that time doing things that truly matter. Not that everything we do needs to change the world or even pursue our dreams, but how much time do we spend on things that we don’t enjoy? Way too much! Life is short – why are we wasting our precious time on things that we dread or that don’t increase our happiness? I know we have to work. Yes, of course. But is there any flexibility in what you’re doing everyday? Could you be working towards doing more things you love and that make you feel alive? Do you even know what those things are?

So often the clutter, especially internally, weighs us down and we kinda forget about what matters – the things that light us up. We’re so bogged down in the errands and caring what people think and honestly, pretty selfish tasks. Part of it is our busy go go go culture, part of it is keeping up with everyone’s highlight reel on social media, and part of it is that we’re all working our booties off. I get it! But the idea of pursuing less to leave time for the things that actually matter is incredibly appealing to me.

What in your life or on your to-do list doesn’t matter? Maybe that book club is only to keep up with a group that you don’t actually get pleasure from? Is spending an hour a night on social media really making you happy? Are we so confused with the things we think we have to do that we forget about the things we want to do? When in your life do you feel your best? Think about it!

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Reason No. 2 – Less stress.

I mean, right?!

Studies show that people are more stressed out than EVER before and even things like anxiety are creeping up in crazy high numbers.

Like I mentioned above, the clutter cycle is real, and it’s where a lot of the stress in my life comes from. I almost feel embarrassed typing this out, but if I think about my stressors in daily life, it’s things like “Will this X item arrive on time?”.. “ughh I hope there isn’t too much snow tonight when I walk Winston”.. “OMG I need to get another blog post up” .. “I have so many calls today” .. “my voicemail is full…again” .. “Where will I put all these boxes because our recycling is full?” and so on. *Tell me I’m not alone!*

Of course I have more personal stressors and things that go wrong in my life (more than clothes), but honestly, a lot of that is because of STUFF. Because of clutter. Because of unnecessary things I’ve chosen to add to my life.

Clutter is stressful! Physical clutter leads to mental clutter and vice versa, and it can even become a psychological crutch.

Reason No. 3 – Less mental clutter.

This is probably the number one reason why I’m inspired by the pursuit of less. And it’s a lot. My mind is constantly jumping from task to thought to stressor and so on. And even if you don’t suffer from Becca Brain, in general, clutter has a negative impact on psychology. Our brains actually have 50-70K thoughts a day which is insane! But I’m adamant that if life was simpler, we might have less to think about – or at least there wouldn’t be such a wild variety of what our brain is jumping to with all our thoughts.

I’m SO excited by the idea of a simplified life and a simplified brain. Not that I’m nearly there, but this is something that’ll be pushing me to get there.

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Reason No. 4 – Simplified spaces.

For any of you who have read Marie Kondo’s book and have simplified your space, you probably know what a simple home can do for your mind. And this is one area that I really need help with. Getting organized and tidy is incredibly inspiring to me because it’s SO not my strength and it’s even a little out of my comfort zone.

As a blogger, my job is to show you new outfits, how I’m decorating my house, what I’m making for dinner and so on (or at least that’s part of my job and what I’ve been doing for some time now). Mix that with a personality that naturally likes to shop and buy new things, and I live in a house with a lot of STUFF. Not that our house is a total disaster, but as I sit here and look in every corner or at every room, there’s just a lot of stuff. Too much stuff.

My closet is probably the worst as I have way too many clothes, I know that. It’s almost (embarrassingly) impossible to get dressed some days because I literally have too many choices. And I am NOT trying to brag here – I’m trying to do the opposite actually.

Maybe some of  you can relate – at least with all the stuff. Like, why do we feel like we need SO much in order to live a good life? When all that does is bring clutter to our homes and lives, more decisions, more things to deal with, and so on.

I’m so drawn to the idea of a simpler home containing only items that I LOVE. Or even that I NEED. Not items that I’m buying to fill a space or to cope with an internal issue or because that’s what people do.

Plus, on a health-related note, a simple home is actually a lot better for our systems. Less stuff tends to lead to less dust and fewer allergies, and etc.

I want my home to be somewhere that feels serene and peaceful – and I think my mind will have an easier time following suit from there.

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Reason No. 5 – More savings.

I’ve told you that I’m trying to reign in my budget lately – we do have a wedding to pay for now. Well, it goes without saying that acquiring less things definitely helps. It’s actually painful when I look around our house or my closet and think of things I don’t love slash want to get rid of and the money they cost. It’s not a reason to keep things, I’m realizing that.

All I can do is get rid of what I don’t love (maybe sell some), and let it be a lesson. I’m also thinking of it as further motivation to pursue less so that I don’t find myself in a cycle of spending on crap.

I haven’t done it yet, but I can see myself trying to do a no shopping or spending challenge eventually to accompany pursuing less. Either way, if you buy less, you spend less. Simple as that.

Definitely stay tuned for more on this subject, because as you can tell – I’m excited! Hopefully you are too. Let me know your thoughts on this and if there’s any area of your life that you’ve struggled with pursuing less. Or areas that you’ve totally killed it in. I’d love to get your take on diving into this!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Food & Drink · Uncategorized

Meal prep: one pan balsamic chicken and veggies.

Earlier this month I shared my meal prep plan and recipe for Turkey Taco Salad and keeping my promise to you, may I present: One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies.

Please, say hello to one of the EASIEST meals ever. This is perfect as a lunch or dinner making it the ideal meal prep recipe also. It’s low on prep time, has few ingredients, and is huge on flavor (while conveniently being super healthy)! There’s a 2-ingredient balsamic glaze which triples as first: a marinade, second: a sauce for cooking, and third: a dipping sauce. This is how I think every meal should be made. Whisk two ingredients together and use that base three times.

Then the veggies are like an empty-out-your-fridge kind of ordeal. Throw them all together on a pan, toss them with some olive oil , a little seasoning, roast them, and they too seep up some of that delicious balsamic glaze.

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Honestly the only tricky thing about this dish is the timing! I wish I could give an exact time, but all ovens are different and the sizes of your chicken tenderloins won’t necessarily be the same size as mine. We’ve made this dish probably 7 times now (new favorite!), and each time the chicken has cooked a little differently.

I’ve had the chicken cook all the way through in 7-10 minutes and another time it took about 14 minutes. With timing the chicken, you’ll want to time the veggies slightly different. The veggies need about 20-25 minutes to get well roasted. At 20-25 minutes cooking time for the veggies, the carrots will still have a slight crunch (we love that) while the broccoli and tomatoes are perfectly roasted! **If you don’t like your tomatoes ultra tender, throw them in after about 5-10 minutes.**

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If you have super small chicken breasts, I’d roast the veggies for 15 minutes, add the chicken and cook for another 7-10 minutes. Larger chicken breasts, roast the veggies for 10 minutes, add the chicken and cook for another 10-14 minutes. Just be prepared to check the chicken a few times (meat thermometer comes in handy here!) so you don’t overcook the chicken. No one likes dry chicken!

Here is what you will need:

6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup zesty Italian seasoning (I use a fat free version)

1.25 pounds of chicken breasts

2 heads of broccoli

1 cup of baby carrots

1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

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Here is what you will need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray (line with parchment paper if you baking sheet isn’t already nonstick or the balsamic + Italian mixture will stick to it) and set aside.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and zesty Italian seasoning.

Trim the chicken breasts of fat and undesired parts.

Place 1/3 cup of the balsamic and Italian mixture in a large resealable bag and add the chicken breasts. Coat and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours

Chop the broccoli into bite sized prices and the carrots in half before placing on the prepared baking sheet along with the cherry tomatoes. Cover with the Italian seasoning, olive oil and garlic (you can add salt and pepper if you’d like) Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes

Remove the pan and flip the veggies over. Place the chicken breasts in a cleared area in the middle of the veggies. Brush with 1/3 cup of the balsamic and Italian mixture over the chicken

Cook for another 7-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. Be careful to monitor your chicken so it doesn’t overcook.

** Serve with the remaining balsamic and Italian mixture. This is great over rice of quinoa

Portion these up into your meal prep containers and away you go! Use the left over sauce by packaging them into these little containers and you can dip away while you eat or apply to the meal.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

 

 

Decor · Real Talk · Uncategorized

Working from home tips for productivity.

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to have the option to work from home here and there. I don’t abuse it but I do take advantage of it. And though the flexibility is freaking’ awesome – and so is not having to commute – working from home has its challenges. Being in your own bubble with beds and chores tempting you all day long, it’s easy to get off task or in home-mode. Especially when I have the cutest little pug boy who just wants to snuggle and be adorable all day long. Since I have really started putting time and effort into decorating our home office space, I’ve done better at making my work from home days more productive – and I’ve really noticed a difference in how much I’ve gotten done.

Working from home tips (that help me get more done)

So if you work from home – and have an office or not – here are a few (hopefully helpful) hacks for improving your “office” days:

Get dressed, comfortably.

I know there are rules (or “studies” or whatever) about putting on real clothes or an actual outfit when working from home, but it’s just not for me. If I don’t have to go anywhere for a few hours, I’m just not going to be in jeans and have my makeup and hair looking good. Instead, I’ll put on my favorite sweats or leggings and a comfy top. The moral is, just change out of your pajamas and feel somewhat pulled together, but you don’t have to be uncomfortable. This gets you ready for the day and in work mode, but still feeling good.

Create a routine and/or daily workflows.

Working from home has tons of perks, but it’s so easy to get off track and spend your day catching up on household chores rather than actually getting career-work done. To help put structure in your day, create a routine for yourself. Decide what time you want to be sitting down checking emails and getting started on your work and stick to it as best as possible. Write a list of to-dos and an allotted amount of time for each task, even use a calendar (I like Google Cal personally but your phone would work also) – all of a sudden your day will be ten times more productive.

Have a dedicated work space.

Having a desk or an office really gets you in the “get stuff done” mindset. Creating a space for working at home can also give you a sense of accountability. If you notice it’s mid-morning and you haven’t made it to your desk or office yet, you know you better get in gear. And even if you don’t have an office, dedicate a special spot to work. Maybe it’s your kitchen island, or a small table you’ve added to the living room to serve as your desk, hack the dinning room table works wonders also. And make it cute – add personal touches that make it inviting and inspiring, even if just a cute computer background or photo! No couches or beds allowed!!

The 2-minute sweeps.

This can be done in any part of your home, but I make it a point to hit my desk at the end of each day. Take 2 minutes (you can find 120 seconds!) and clean up your desk. Take coffee mugs back to the sink, wipe it down, put things away, etc. – set yourself up for an easy, clutter-free morning to follow. You’ll be so much more effective!

Work offsite.

Coffee shops and cafes were invented for a reason, and not just to serve food and drinks. You’ll probably need a change of scenery every now and again so use these opportunities to check out the newest coffee shops around town. Or get outside if you have a task that doesn’t involve a computer (p.s. when will they invent something to make the screen visible outdoors?!).

Learn when to unplug.

One of the downsides of working from home is you never “go home” because…you already are. This can make it suuuuper hard to know when to shut off for the day, close the laptop and stop looking at emails. Being plugged in 24/7 is really hard on a person, so make yourself a schedule where you commit to unplug at a certain time and stick to it – you need to recharge. Phones count too. I need to get better at this, 100%!

Batch errands.

If you work from home, take advantage of a likely more flexible schedule when planning errands and appointments or anything that requires leaving the house. Use a whole afternoon to do these each week so that you’re not coming and going – or getting into different brain zones every day. Same for chores around the house – designate a day for household stuff and forget about it the rest of the week. Fridays would be great to consider for this so you can casually stroll into the weekend.

Network and socialize.

You typically don’t have co-workers when you work from home, at least not in-person, so make it a point to attend networking events for your industry so you don’t forget how to socialize in the professional environment. Not having to deal with office politics or drama is a major plus of working from home, but you don’t want to become a hermit either.

Eat away from your desk.

Eating in front of your desk is extra tempting when you’re at home, but give your day more structure by moving away from your desk for lunch. Eat outside or a different place in your home, but break it up. Try to give yourself space from tech during this time too. If there is someone in your neighborhood or on your street who you know works from home, set up a weekly coffee or lunch date at each other houses, this will help keep your sanity when you haven’t talked to another real life person in a few days!

Do you work from home ever? What works best for you?

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Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.