Mental Wellness: Minimalism

Minimalism is mah jam. I love it. And while I have acquired more things since I started down my path of less things, they aren’t just things to have things. I have gotten into a really good routine of cycling out clothes in my closet that are old, don’t fit me, aren’t in my style aesthetic, or were just something cheap that I got to have a trendy piece. Now I could direct you to an article that you can read all about their tips for decluttering your closet (which let’s be honest, I will, HERE it is) or…I can give you a peak inside my closet…

I have two closets in my bedroom and yes I do use them both.

Starting w/ the far right side

I keep in insane amount of sweatshirts plus all my work tops (long and short sleeve) plus all my work bottoms (pants and skirts). I really need to go through this and cycle out. You can see in the bottom left corner, I keep empty hangers. I refuse to buy any more hangers than I have (which is 56, yes I did just go and count). I then use these bins to separate my socks and under things.


Next is the other side to that closet where I keep shoes and boxes. Again, in need to a good throw out of things but I sort of get worried that if I throw out everything I want to…I won’t have anything left to wear.



Ah yes, on to the other closet. This side is really empty. Top corner I have PJs and jeans (I’m down to two pairs of jeans and a pair of capris) and then my suits, cardigans and dresses.


On the other side, I have long sleeve tops that I don’t like to hang, long sleeve running tops and plain tank tops and then the tshirt zoo. At the bottom of this closet are my dirty clothes.


I have mentioned that I get my clothes ready to go the night before, I use this guy to help me out. I will hang up my workout clothes and my work clothes up on this in the morning so I just grab and pack.


The final thing is that I always keep a laundry bin of clothes to donate so that during the year, I can just set them aside in a set place and know that this is my bin to donate. If I don’t reach for an item after I put it in, I’m good to donate it. I try to donate about 4 times a year or whenever I have time and the basket is getting really full.


So obviously my closet isn’t the neatest thing in the world and I do have stuff that I need to go through and donate, but it was a look inside my world. Like I said, I only have 56 hangers (and 10 of those are in my coat closet…the shame…I don’t even use that many jackets). And I am pretty good at my one in one out policy. Minimalism is something that I love and something that has really taught me how to be grateful for what you have, give to others, and that a fulfilled life doesn’t necessarily been a life filled with things.


Financial Wellness: Invest in Your Future

I have been open on my views that I do not feel that high schools (at least back in the day when I was in high school) properly prepare students for the realities of being an adult and they sure do not prepare students with the knowledge that they need going into college and what debt they will likely acquire. So you can imagine my excitement when THIS article landed in my inbox last week. 4 courses for young adults on money? Tell me more!

Well, apparently you are only a young adult if you are enrolled in college. All 4 of the courses mentioned are for college kids. I guess they assume that you have your life together after you graduate from college and you are perfectly aware of your finances. Even though this is when, excuse my language, but shit gets real. Loan payments are no longer deferred. Student discounts disappear. That free, er, “free” gym membership is gone. Public transportation is no longer free or discounted. You all of a sudden maybe want to eat more than ramen noodles. You are working a full-time job which means financial forms to fill out, health insurance to figure out, retirement funds…shit gets real when you get done with your schooling!

I’d like to see a real financial course for adults and I’d like to to be free! Really I would just like to not feel like I’m flopping around when it comes to my finances. And I’m not even just talking about paying bills and making ends meet. I got that…it’s the rest that I am not so good at.

Physical Wellness: The Bucket List

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I was sick with something but I’m on the mend and feeling much better. It always surprises me that I don’t do more posts when I am at home sick but I suppose that is because I’m at home sick and sleeping and not playing on my computer.

Just a quick update post, I have officially registered for a full marathon! I will be running in the IMT Des Moines Marathon on October 19! This is something that has been on my bucket list for awhile. I saw on Facebook this week that Sunday, April 20, would be the last day for pre-registration (aka the cheapest fee). So I decided that I would make my decision by Sunday, yay or nay. I talked to a few people and then I talked to my mom and it pretty much sealed the deal for me. I have kind of taken this year as my let’s get things done year. Let’s do things that I am afraid of, let’s push myself, etc. I chopped all my hair off and now, now I am going to be running a marathon.

The things on my bucket list aren’t like the things on other people’s bucket list. There is no marriage or kids on there. There are things like chopping my hair, running a marathon, traveling to certain places…I just have different priorities. So while some may see my bucket list as an odd assortment of things…it’s my life. Not in a “it’s my life, I do what I want” sort of way but this bucket list marks what my life is.

So here I am, signed up and registered to run a marathon. Tips and advice are of course welcome as are recommendations for a new GPS watch!

Environmental Wellness: Starting a Garden

This isn’t so much a how to post or anything like that as much as it is…so I want to start a small little balcony garden…but I’m not really sure how or what I should do…do any of my readers have gardens? Can you offer any feedback? Tips? Advice? Right now I’m looking for planters at garage sales. I have scouted some local areas for buying plants (I’m probably going to pick them up at the local farmer’s market) but beyond that…I really haven’t thought through the process of what all I am going to need or how to plant things…

My mom had a huge garden while I was growing up so you would think I would have picked up something from her…but nope. I got nothing.

Physical Wellness: The Early Morning

One of the biggest questions I get when I tell someone that I workout in the morning is, “How do you do that?” So I thought I might give you all a look at what I do to make AM workouts work for me.

One of the biggest misconceptions most people (including myself) have about AM workouts is that the hardest thing is to get up in the morning and get going. They tend to fixate on the morning thinking that everything is about getting up in the morning but really, it’s the night prep that makes morning workouts possible. So here are what my nights look like.

7:00 pm:  I’m finally home from work, doing a night workout/seeing E, and running any errands that I may need to do. I grab dinner and set up shop at my laptop to start writing the next day’s blog post.

7:30 pm:  I try to finish everything up by now and start doing my dishes. The latest I will let myself be on my laptop is 7:45.

8:00 pm:  Shower. I’m a night shower person. I shower in the morning sometimes but I just prefer to shower at night.

9:00 pm:  I’m done showering and I do a quick walk through my apartment to make sure everything is locked, things are put away, etc. I turn my TV on and hit the sleep timer. I have a 19″ TV in my living room so I really can’t see the TV in my bedroom, but I like to fall asleep to noise. I watch Community to fall asleep and I have seen every single episode so I never find myself actively watching it. It’s just background noise. The last thing I do before I go to bed is lay out my clothes that I am going to be wearing tomorrow, both my workout clothes and my work clothes.

9:15 pm:  This is the latest I will stay up during the week. This early bed time plus getting my clothes ready the night before makes early mornings a breeze for me.

5:05 am:  My alarm goes off. I give myself 10 minutes to grab my phone and go through my social media. But at 5:15 am, it’s time to get up and get out of bed. No exceptions. One of the first things I will do is check the weather as it has usually changed a bit from the night before to evaluate if I will be able to bike and if I am wearing the right clothes to bike without being uncomfortable.

5:15 am:  I start my morning routine which includes washing my hair and face. Then I put my dishes away while starting to make my breakfast while putting together my food for the day. I finish all of this by 5:35 am and that gives me a good 10 minutes to eat my breakfast and enjoy it. Then I brush my teeth, change into my workout clothes, pack my bag and I’m out the door by 6:00 am at the latest.

6:15 am:  I am in the gym working out.

7:00 am:  finish my workout and get ready for work

7:30 am:  arrive at work

Rinse and repeat.

This is my routine for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday is the same ish except I run Tuesday morning so I am not in the gym and I take a shower in the morning. Thursday is the only day I “sleep in” waking up at 5:30 am instead of 5:05 because I run w/ a run club group Thursday evenings. But every night is structured the same. I prep the night before the best I can so that the morning is simple and easy. E actually makes his breakfast and lunch the night before so all he has to do in the morning is grab and go. But we both can vouch for early mornings are made by night prep. We both do things that make our early mornings a breeze. And we have been doing early morning workouts since the beginning of the year so the habit has really formed.

Do you have any tips for making your mornings any easier?

Mental Wellness: The Gift

One of my favorite movies of all time, of all time, is The Ultimate Gift. I love it so much. But this post isn’t about that movie. Well, in a way it is. One of my friends on the Facebook (I like to put articles in front of social media…I just do it) shared an article from HuffPo on how your insecurities can actually help you determine what your gift is (gift theory…I’m not 100% on it, but the article explains and has links). I have never heard of gift theory before reading this article but I really like how you can make a positive spin on something negative. Because, let’s face it, we all have insecurities. But how can we turn these insecurities into something positive? I think this is where gift theory comes to play. Because you work to find out what your “core gifts” are. Ken Page, psychotherapist and author of the post, suggest that your core gift is actually something that you may find shame in or not see as a gift. HOLY CRAP! I bet there is a bit of reframing in gift theory! Sorry, nerd moment there.

Anyway, I’m sharing this article and theory not because I’m an expert in these, but because I think it’s interesting. I think it’s something to think about. And I think it’s something that can help you grow.

Spiritual Wellness: Traveling

Spiritual blog posts on this blog won’t be like they would be on others. I’m not religious, at all. For me, experiences and endorphins tend to be my “religion”. One thing that I love so much is traveling and exploring new areas or getting to experience old memories. I love to travel and I love to just get lost in a city. Whether it is actually lost or just lost in the crowd. One of my favorite trips was an ~18 hour trip to NYC where I spent more time in airports than I spent in the city (not really, just felt that way). My sister and I had planned to meet up in the airport and take a taxi to the hotel we were staying in. She was in the city for business and invited me to tag along. My flight ended up getting cancelled so little small-town Vanessa, never been to NYC had to get a cab herself and get from La Guardia  to Times Square by herself.

But then, once I got to Times Square, I got to walk around and experience the city (and smells). And that’s an amazing high. And a trip full of experiences and memories that I will never forget.

New York Times posted an article of the 52 Places to Go in 2014 and while I won’t be going to near that many places or any of those places in 2014, it just gets me excited about future trips and brings back the memories of past trips. It also made me think that even if you aren’t going to all these 52 places, there are probably places that you can go near you to experience something new. I know in Kansas City, they just brought in a King Tut exhibition that I am eyeing up hardcore to go and visit.

What are some of your favorite trips that you have gone on? Favorite memories? Funny stories? Experiences that will be with you for a lifetime? (I for one will never forget the smell of Central Park in the summer…a lot like vomit and trash)

Occupational Wellness: Transferable Skills, The New It Thing?

Actually, nope, it’s always been an it thing. But I wanted to start a conversation on this. On transferable skills. On the skills that you learn in the classroom, in the office, on your run. And how you apply those skills in your professional life. (Clearly creating full sentences isn’t a skill that I have.) Why are transferable skills important?

Well, they are important because there are basic skills that everyone needs to walk, talk, and function at work. Things like getting along with others, problem solving, decision making, time management. But then there are specific skill sets that each position that you have with each company that you work for that you will need. Things like the software that the company uses, the specific job skills, etc. It is important to hone in on those job specific skills, but it is also important to think broadly and work on your transferable skills.

These transferable skills are important for everyone but even more important for all you graduating seniors/grad students out there entering the real world for the first time. I read an article in the New York Times recently about how someone didn’t realize that work isn’t school and that you have to take initiative to get things done at work versus at school when you got assigned projects and deadlines. I can definitely relate to that – it’s weird when you just get thrown a project with no real due date and you are just thinking, “ok, so … I will just do this then …”. I think some employers forget when they hire students, that they are hiring people who have been in school since they were 4 or 5 and no one really talks about how to make the transition from your academic world to real life, professional world. That’s were these transferable skills come to play.

Physical Wellness: Food Prep

I have a routine that every single Sunday, I do meal prep. I really enjoy doing meal prep on Sundays. I get my entire week started on the right foot, it makes my mornings a breeze, and I feel like it makes eating healthy the easier choice. And I thought I would walk you through my process of how I do meal prep. It’s really easy and I’m in no way an expert chef.

On Friday, I think (and sometimes actually make a list) of what groceries I am going to need for the upcoming week. I will go through the sales ads and see what I will be getting.

I go grocery shopping on Saturday morning, mainly because that is one of the best days for me to get deals on meat.

On Sunday, I do all my meal prep. For this week, I’m going to be having pork tacos. My fruit for the week is watermelon (on sale this week!). I will break down what my meals are and what I prep beforehand.

Breakfast:  the only thing I have to prep is cutting up some turkey sausage and sometimes I have peppers. I make either scrambled eggs w/ turkey sausage, veggies (spinach), cheese, and salsa. So there isn’t much that I have to prep for that.

Morning Snack:  protein bar, zero prep for that, although I should really look into making some homemade protein bars. I have one recipe that I have used in the past, but if you know of any, let me know.

Lunch:  Pork tacos – I prep pretty much everything for this meal. Lunch is my big meal of the day. It’s my favorite meal. For this week, my tacos will have ground pork, spinach, salsa, cheese, and a bit of lime. I will also prep my watermelon and bring that in for lunch.

Snack:  Veggies and peanut butter – I have to cut up my veggies

Dinner:  My protein smoothie.

As you can see, there is really minimal food prep, but the food prep that I do makes my early mornings (5am wake up call to ride my bike into the gym) simple.

Do you do meal prep? What are some of your tips (fyi – I went to the dollar tree and bought a bunch of dollar tupperware to help with my meal prep)?

Social Wellness: Making the Effort.

Way back when I first started up this bad boy blog of mine, my friend Kalyn gave me the suggestion to write about how to meet new people and make friends when you move some place new. Probably because I am 26 and since I was 18, I have moved every year and lived in 3 different states. One thing that I realized last week as I was running to run club was that you kind of have to put yourself out there and get involved. And beyond that, when someone makes the effort, you have to make the effort as well. Which for someone like me who is insanely introverted, this is really difficult and nerve wracking. But honestly, there really isn’t a good way to do that. Sometimes in life, you just have to be uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable like you feel like your life is in danger, but you know what I am saying. To grow you have to challenge yourself. And sometimes it is taking tiny challenges but at some point you just have to take a leap.

But like…be safe. I know I can sit here and tell you to get uncomfortable and challenge yourself, but that’s a general suggestion. You have to know YOU and you have to be the one that makes decision. By the time I started going to run club, I knew someone that I was going with and I wasn’t in danger. When I got invited to a community dinner, I knew a few people there and I knew where I was at. Don’t take my advice and do something that actually gets you danger. I don’t know why I am adding this disclaimer…but I think it is important to know that when you are in a new place and you don’t know many (if any) people, that you are responsible for making sure that you are safe. Make sense?