Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Kawaii Box Unboxing and Giveaway

Hi everyone!

I just love working with Kawaii Box on these reviews and giveaways. Here's a new one for all of you who are always asking when the next opportunity will be! It's here! Right on time for Thanksgiving.

I tell you everything you need to know in the video below. Check it out to see what was in my Kawaii Box and earn a chance to win next month's Kawaii Box!

Cheers to Novelty Kawaii Box Giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Good Luck!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Exploring Minimalism

Hey everyone,

I recently watched a video about minimalism that has sparked this topic for today's blog. Time and time again, I revisit the idea of minimalism because it's really moving to me. For those of you who are unfamiliar to minimalism, here are some things to consider:

1. Minimalism looks different and means something different to each of us.
2. It's about analyzing your living space and thinking about what is meaningful to you.
3. What is meaningful to you is always changing, therefore so will your idea of minimalism.

Image result for minimalismRelated image

So for me, I felt like I started to experience how I felt about the concept of minimalism when I packed two suitcases and moved across the country for grad school. I stayed in furnished apartments for 2.5 years and only bought the essentials. Everyone laughed with me when I would explain that I only owned one frying pan, 1 spoon, maybe 3 cups, etc. My kitchen was very bare minimum for one person to cook, clean up immediately after, and reuse the next meal. What I had the most of was probably trinkets and clothes. And that's okay. Again, what we place meaning on varies. For me, clothing has a lot to do with my settings and how I want to express myself. Being a professional, student, and young adult all at once can lead to several directions of clothing for sure.

It was kind of easy for me to stick to a minimalist lifestyle during this... what I called temporary time in my life where a home was always a temporary home. But after a few months of living in my first apartment, I realized how empty it was beginning to feel. Sure, it was clean but also inefficient in so many ways. I never had enough plates or utensils to have friends over. The living room looked bare and uninviting. And my idea of minimalism seemed more focused on being frugal and keeping my belongings to a minimum for the next move. It started to really make me think about what physical and materialistic items make me feel good and why. As 2.5 years went by, I collected more memories, more clothes, shoes, and kitchen ware. I even painted some wall decor and made pillows for my couch. The last apartment I lived in was the coziest and homiest place I lived in the 2.5 years I was there. Everyone who visited would said how inviting and warm it was, even though I still had fairly little belongings. That's when I started to realize a lot of what brings me value is making a space where I and my loved ones can feel safe and comforted in my living space.

Some things I have learned that I value:

1. A clean workspace
2. Wall art that makes you feel good
3. Fake flowers
4. Real plants -- especially succulents
5. Having extra baking pans
6. Having shoes that can be used in diverse settings
7. Picture frames with happy photos
8. A few good skincare products

Some things I have learned that I can part with:

1. All my post-its and memo pads
2. Pens... lots and lots of pens
3. Seasonal clothes that I never wear, even when the season comes
4. Shoes that fit a narrow list of occasions
5. Old letters and paper memories-- I digitized them by taking pictures and tossed what I could
6. Things I used to hold onto in hopes of making art out of it someday

Other lessons of adulthood:

1. Don't buy clothes just because they are cheap. Make sure you plan to wear it.
2. Buying things to make your life more efficient can be life changing, especially in the kitchen.
3. You don't need multiple items of the same thing if you know you can always buy more later.
4. Stocking up on sale items can be great but only if you use that item fairly regularly.
5. Recycling glass jars and containers is super useful.
6. You don't need nice furniture to have a nice place.

Main takeaway about minimalism for me:

1. Just because you don't use something in your home, doesn't mean that it's useless to you.
2. If something truly serves NO purpose to you, why is it still with you?
3. Consider other means of sharing and spreading wealth to others for items you don't need-- recycle, pass onto a friend, etc.
4. Don't buy things just for the sake of buying it. What will it do for you?
5. It's okay to have more than one of something, as long as it holds purpose and meaning to you.
6. Sometimes, DIY is more expensive than just buying a well made item you need-- and less time.

I'm now in a new home yet again but my mentality towards it is that it is a home, not a temporary place to just live. And that really changed my definition and outlook on minimalism yet again. See, it's always changing since we are always changing. But I think that's the beauty of it. Self-reflection for yourself and your physical/mental space can be so valuable. This is a healthy reminder for me to think about what is meaningful around me and look at the bigger picture. Who is meaningful to me. What activities are meaningful to me. Analyzing your belongings and physical space comes back full circle to analyzing what you are grateful for in life as well.

Thanks for stopping by to read my reflection for the day.
I'm off to organize two boxes in my closet while reflecting on what I'm thankful for today. :)

Happy Thursday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Hi everyone!

I got to check out Antelope Canyon followed by Horseshoe Bend recently. They are located about 20 minutes away from each other so it's easy to fit into one day.

Antelope Canyon has been on my imaginary bucket list for quite some time now. I had no idea that you needed to reserve a tour to check it prior to going so if you are interested in it, look into tours. I believe there are a few options and they are all located near each other in one lone parking lot. Tour guides take everyone down in groups like an assembly line through the canyon.

Things to note:
1. There are upper and lower canyon tours that you can choose from. There are different times of the day that are more ideal according to many sources for brighter pictures and sun beams if you are interested in this. The upper canyon during certain hours allows you to see these sun beams but it is more stair climbing from that I read.

2. We chose the lower canyon tour in the afternoon due to availability. Each person was around $30. We simply paid online. It was a one hour tour/walk through the canyon but the process took longer because the wait time. We got there an hour early and registration even for online registration had a 20 minute line, followed by another 30 minute line in the dessert leading into the canyon. Our tour was also an hour delayed.

4. Our tour guide adjusted everyone's camera settings to daylight and a higher ISO. Hopefully your tour guide can provide you tips as well. Also, there are certain parts of the canyon that have names and resemble different things. Our tour guide pointed these out to us and also took pictures of certain things for us along the way.

5. Because of the nature of the busy tour, it will feel like you are getting walked through the canyon quickly. It was a very unstructured tour and our guide, as nice as she was, was more of less there to keep us safe If you want more picture opportunities, there is a photography tour option with less people and more opportunity to take pictures.

6. This tour isn't strenuous for an average person, but has a lot of narrow pathways and narrow stairs throughout. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure you are hands free. Bring a small backpack for your belongings. I regretted this greatly. I had a sunhat that I had to hold along with my water bottle and phone. Make sure you can place everything into a backpack so you can focus on climbing stairs and taking pictures when the time comes.

I thought this was a pretty experience but I must say, I enjoyed the photos after I left more. I think photos capture the beauty of this place very well because you walk through the canyon pretty quickly while trying to get in a few good shots. But the pictures are a lovely and accurate reminder of how beautiful this place is. Glad I was able to go!

Right after this tour, we drove to Horseshoe Bend.
1. It's free to park and walk there.
2. It's less than 2 miles round trip. You walk on mostly a sandy trail to the actual bend.
3. Bring water, even if it's a short hike because the summer day had me baking.

This place was beyond magnificent. It was so large that I couldn't fit it in a picture. It could not be contained to a snapshot. It's so green and lush. There were people in canoes and boats while we were day, which had me vicariously living through them. It's a family friendly walk and adventure. Good and quick picture site with high aesthetic pay off.

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