Manage your wardrobe and not the other way around.
I love clothes. I love buying them, wearing them and especially donating them. When simplifying things in our lives we have to be ready to let go of attachments. Once we learn to let go-only then can our lives begin to transform to be a little bit healthier and happier.
The funny thing about this particular simplifying project is that my one-month-old daughter is the one who inspired me to take a closer look at my wardrobe situation. She gave me the bright idea to simplify both my closet and my dresser because they were both just too much. Isn't it weird how too much of a good thing can be stressful? This was the case for me.
Anyways, like I said, my daughter is what kick started this all. You see, all of her adorable baby onesies are hung up on hangers in a closet so I can clearly see all of her wonderful wardrobe options. I didn't want any of her cute clothing buried and wrinkled at the bottom of a dresser drawer. Well can't this same brilliant strategy be applied to my wardrobe as well? I want all of my clothing options visible too, so it makes choosing an outfit and even putting away my clothes a little bit easier.
I realized after emptying out my entire dresser that if I can't see it, I won't wear it. I had at least 15 short sleeve shirts wrinkled and stored in my drawers that I hadn't worn in years because they were at the bottom of the pack, no where to be seen. I only wear what's hanging up in my closet or what's laying on the top layer of my dresser drawer. This is when I decided to revamp my clothing life to make it a little healthier + happier for me.
First, I got rid of anything I hadn't worn in a year or any clothing or accessory that I didn't LOVE. Donating clothes makes me feel super happy.
Next, I decided that my closet was going to showcase my clothing options for that particular season ONLY. Currently I only have my Summer clothes hanging in my closet.
Then, I gave my one antique dresser a new purpose - it's a place of storage for all of the other seasonal clothing. See ya later Winter + Fall clothing!
After following those three steps the rest of my simplifying project was pretty easy. My closet and dresser now have a new purpose in my bedroom -- to make my life a whole lot simpler :).
At the end of this season I will remove my Summer clothing and replace it with Fall clothing. Going through this process also helps me reevaluate my wardrobe every couple of months to decide if I really LOVE my clothing or it may be better to find it another home.
See below how I gave my closet and dresser a more intentional makeover- no money required!
(I share a small walk-in closet with my husband)
1. Display or hang SEASONAL clothes only. If it's Summer put away those bulky sweaters!
2. Use nice baskets and/or bins to store out-of-season clothing on top shelves. I have sweaters and some long sleeve shirts in them now since it's too hot to wear those.
3. Neatly fold and store pants/shorts on top shelf.
4. Use a long bottom shelf/rack to store and display SEASONAL shoes.
5. Don't be afraid of empty space- it is your friend!
1. Store underwear, bras, socks, pajamas and spandex in drawers.
2. Store out-of-season clothing in drawers (anything I don't plan on wearing for the season I am currently in).
3. Store purses, hats, shoes or any other accessories in drawers if needed.
So if you are anything like me, and you crave more simplicity in your life- then please give these tips a try. I hope it makes your life a little healthier + happier!
Be remembered for the life you lived, not the things you bought.
It's way easier to buy, than not buy. This is why it was so difficult to change my habit of over-consumption. I used to be a blind consumer, buying anything on a whim and not thinking twice if it was really going to make my life better. But now, I consume with eyes wide open, making intentional decisions that meet my needs. If something isn't going to add value to my life then it's not worth my money and especially not my time.
Over-consumption was an unhealthy habit of mine that was very difficult to change, and it didn't happen over night. It took time for me to see all of the blooming positives in my life once I started buying less. Some of those positives included more money for traveling and experiences (like buying tasty lattes and croissants in coffee shops with friends) and less time spent cleaning and organizing excess stuff in my house. I have listed some Tips to Help Buy Less (see below) that I have learned throughout this habit-changing journey. These simple actions have tremendously helped steer my life towards more health and happiness. I think they are worth sharing, especially if they can help at least one other person too.
TIPS TO HELP BUY LESS
1. Avoid malls, stores + online shops when you're bored.
Try taking a walk outside, visiting a park, or reading a book if you have some spare time on your hands. I admit I had a habit of going to Target when I was bored. I would buy myself a Starbuck's latte once a week and walk around to "window shop." The plan was never to buy anything on these weekly shopping visits, but we all know how that goes. Stores, especially Target, have a great (and very sneaky) way of convincing you that you have to own whatever they're selling right now! Between fashion constantly changing and sale racks screaming "30% off" it's pretty difficult to come out of a store empty handed.
Now, I just avoid stores altogether (not unless I really need something). This new habit has helped me save a ton of money on excess and overpriced coffee drinks and random stuff I thought I needed. Instead of shopping I spend more time in nature, hanging with my family or listening to my favorite podcasts which make me a much happier and healthier person.
2. Find creative ways to use items you already have.
Before purchasing new items I take inventory of what I already own. Do I really need that brand new kitchen tool? First, I think about what I have at home and if it can be used to do that exact same job. For example, I own a knife that can slice and dice lots of different types of foods. I really don't need a fancy mango or avocado cutter because my knife can do both of those jobs and it takes up way less space and stress in my kitchen. The less kitchen tools I own, the easier it is to find that tool when I need it.
Anything I buy will ultimately take up space and time in my life. We often don't think about the time that an item is going to take up in our lives. You don't just buy the fancy bread maker, you take time to make space to store it, to wash it, maintenance it, and even dust it (especially if you don't use it that often). Try to purchase items that can be used for multiple jobs and not just one.
3. Assign a "place" for every item + evaluate what you have in-stock before shopping.
Do you know where every thing is located in your house? It makes life so much easier when things have a designated "place". This is something so simple that we can do with both our items and our food. I was guilty in buying extra stuff, mostly because I was in a hurry and I didn't know the exact "place" for that item to check my inventory.
Do you own more than one of an item that is really unnecessary to have?
I have 7 decks of cards in my house. Why should anyone own that many cards? That's ridiculous.
The less stuff you own the easier it is to assign a proper place for your things. Try it out and see for yourself!
Now, I make the intentional effort to check my "house stock" before shopping. I have made a new habit to check the refrigerator and pantry before I create my grocery list. I don't need 3 bags of shredded cheese and 4 boxes of pasta in my house. This habit has helped me waste less and save money! Get your hands dirty and evaluate your house - are you stocked or not stocked?
4. Unsubscribe from online store emails + recycle paper coupons.
Let's face it, coupons are sent to us on a daily basis in the physical mailbox and in our digital mailboxes. Companies aren't stupid, they are actually pretty brilliant. They know that words such as, "BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE" will trigger our brains to buy, buy, buy (especially when 90% of the time we don't actually need anything).
But why should we continue to let our mail outsmart us?
It's way cheaper to spend nothing than half price!
Once you get in the habit of throwing coupons in the recycling bin and trashing your digital deals- you will have less reasons (and temptation) to go shopping and more reasons to spend time doing something you truly love with the people you love.
5. Before buying something ask yourself these two questions (see below). If the answer is no to any of these questions, then you are a much happier + healthier person without it in your life.
Do you have tips to help you buy purposefully? Please share them below!
Always craving health + happiness,
Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause.
- Cecilia Tran
There are many things that we do during the day that take up our time and our energy. We give and give and often forget to "refill our tanks." But guess what ...
You can't pour from an empty cup.
Self-care activities look different for everyone. But no one can force self-care onto someone else. It's up to that person to choose and make time for daily activities that make them feel happy and healthy.
Self-care isn't selfish, it's showing your body respect.
Since I've already shared my acts of self-care or self-love (read about my acts here) I thought it might me enlightening to share my partner's thoughts on this subject. This topic is very dear to my heart because mental health is equally important as physical health, and self-care relates to both of those categories.
My husband was kind enough to share and write what activities he makes time to include consistently in his life. The 8 activities he has listed directly relate to self-care because these are habits that help him stay healthy, manage stress, and feel connected with others. I am so grateful to have a very open and honest relationship with my husband. We communicate to each other when we need time for ourselves (self-care) because it makes us both a happier and healthier individual so we can be a happier and healthier couple. If we don't carve out time in our days to take care of ourselves, then we can never be our best self to serve and help others.
MY HUSBAND'S TOP 8 SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES
by: Nick Koscielniak
Coffee is a must have in the Koscielniak household. We drink it for obvious reason - to jump start our day, or when we are feeling a little tired and need a pick me up, or just because.
When we are together at home, we sit and drink a cup of coffee before we do anything (although that has changed slightly since Lucille was born). We drink our coffee and talk about what’s on our minds or the day ahead. It’s very relaxing.
Over the years we have become quite the coffee snobs (using the word snob for lack of a better term). We’ve gone from buying Folgers grounds to buying organic coffee beans and grinding them right before we make the pot of coffee to optimize the flavor (yes, coffee should have flavor).
Our family takes great joy in coffee and we will continue in our quest to make sure we are enjoying the freshest cup(s).
2. HOMEMADE COCKTAILS
There's nothing like a great cocktail to wind down the day. My go-to lately has been the Manhattan (rye, sweet vermouth, bitters, maraschino cherries) - so delicious and easy to make. I also really enjoy making cocktails for my wife, sister-in-law and our guests. Besides the Manhattan, I also make a pretty good mule and the Bees Knees (Jill’s favorite).
Homemade cocktails are a much cheaper alternative to going to the bar--although we do love our date nights and those usually include a cocktail or two. We drink occasionally (once or twice a week) and find great joy in this treat. Which leads me to my next self care activity--date night.
3. DATE NIGHTS
I love date nights. Period. Jill and I have thoroughly enjoyed our date nights ever since our first date (we went to Otani for sushi on my birthday/Valentines Day and it was amazing). Our tastes have changed over time (more so the type of beverages we prefer...see section on cocktails), but good food and great conversation have been consistent.
Not only do I get to eat great food and drink amazing cocktails, I get to spend some quality time with my favorite person in the world (not trying to score brownie points here, but I’ll take them). We get some quality time to discuss what’s going on in our lives, how work is going, planning trips and vacations, projects to complete around the house, sports, you name it. See previous post 3 Reasons for Weekly Date Nights.
All I know is that I look forward to date nights. We may not go on them as much now with Lucille just being born and all, but she’s pretty great to hang out with too on a Friday night :).
4. PLAYING SPORTS
I don’t go to the gym or workout much (we do go on walks when the weather is nice), but I play softball doubleheaders on Sunday nights. I’ve been playing with the same core group of guys for about 8 or 9 years.
We are like brothers--let’s just say you have to wear some pretty thick skin to play for our team. We give each other so much crap, but that’s what makes it so fun. We are a competitive team that doesn’t take ourselves too seriously.
The three plus hours that I am at the field goes by quickly, but it’s just enough time with the fellas before I start missing the family.
5. WATCHING SPORTS/A GOOD TV SERIES
We have been trying more and more to watch less TV. But, let’s face it--sometimes you just need your sports fix or a good series to watch. I used to watch the Orioles (baseball) games almost every night. Now that we have YouTube TV, I have not been able to watch them at all this year because MASN has not signed on (not really missing much this year).
Besides the Orioles, I love watching the Capitals (I can finally say that now that they have won the Stanley Cup this year!), college basketball and every now and then the NBA. Of course there’s those major sporting events that only happen every four years: the Olympics and the World Cup.
There’s also nothing like a good TV series to get absolutely lost in. We’ve watched some great ones over the years: The Americans, The Wire, Dexter, Breaking Bad, and The Office just to name a few. There are also documentaries like Chef's Table that Jill and I love. That one tends to make me very hungry.
TV time gives our family some time to relax together and not have to think much about our responsibilities or work.
6. YARD WORK/ HOME IMPROVEMENTS
Believe it or not, I find mowing the lawn to be very therapeutic. We have a decent size yard, so it takes me about an hour and a half to mow, trim and clean up. Last year I bought a riding lawn mower from a neighbor that was moving out of the neighborhood, yet I find myself using the push mower more often. Mowing the lawn is my "workout."
When I mow the lawn, I usually listen to music (often times something upbeat). This also helps me get in the zone to get my lawn lines perfect (I am very OCD-haha).
Home improvements, although sometimes stressful, are very gratifying when the project is complete. I try not to do large projects (i.e. bathroom remodel), but I like doing smaller things like updating the hardware throughout the house. Recently, I replaced the smoke detector, thermostat and door lock with Nest products--we are going fully automated!!
I have a confession to make...I love getting my haircut. It’s not so much the feeling of a fresh cut, but the experience at The Quintessential Gentleman (The QG) in Baltimore. This place is absolutely amazing!
When I go to The QG, I pull my car into their valet so I don’t have to worry about parking. Also, traffic can sometimes be unpredictable in Baltimore, so it’s nice to just pull up if I end up running behind.
Checking into The QG is very easy. At check in, I am offered a complimentary beverage (water, coffee or beer--yes, you read that right, BEER!). In the waiting area they have a pool table, lounge chairs and a TV that is always playing ESPN.
I’ve been getting my hair cut by the same person (Sam) for about three years now, so I never have to explain how I want it cut or worry about him messing up. He is one of their best!
The QG is more than grooming, they also have a spa, department store, cigar lounge and a restaurant/bar. You can literally spend an entire day there. I definitely recommend guys (who like to take a little extra special care of themselves) to find a place similar to this that gives you that relaxing experience we all need in our lives.
I have a long commute to work--at least 1 hr 5 min each way. I used to listen to local sports radio, but I got tired of listening to uneducated fans calling in and making ridiculous “takes” on the Orioles, Ravens and other sports issues. So I turned to podcasts. You can listen to them anytime you want and pick up where you left off--can’t do that with radio.
My go-to podcasts right now are Pardon My Take, The Tom Woods Show, Dave Smith Part of the Problem, Your Welcome with Michael Malice (yes, he spells it “Your”), The Joe Rogan Experience (I cherry pick his podcast), and The Scott Horton Show. If you look them up, you’ll probably see a recurring theme with the types of podcasts I listen to.
I love that podcasts are giving many people alternate media consumption options. These provide me educational entertainment and fill up my drives very easily. Every now and then I’ll listen to music, but I am all about podcast at this point in my life.
If you take away anything from this blog post I hope it's that self-care is vital to our mind, body and soul. Self-care activities are not a one-size-fits-all and depend on your interests. But in addition, taking care of yourself should always include eating good, real food, movement, and plenty of rest.
How you are treating yourself, is how you are inviting others to treat you.
Always craving health and happiness,
Jillian & Nick
Healthy isn't boring. If it is you're doing it wrong.
Are you ready to blow your taste buds out of the water? These tacos are blasting with fruity flavor. The best part about these tacos is that you can totally take advantage of some healthy shortcuts to make this meal in less time! By using sour cherry fruit preserves as the base for the Cherry lime sauce it literally takes only a few minutes to whip up. Also, by purchasing a bag of kale + cabbage slaw mix that's already chopped and prepared saves you some precious prepping time. You can absolutely make your own slaw from scratch by using fresh kale and cabbage, but just know there are healthy short cut alternatives to save you time and your sanity :).
ITALIAN CHICKEN SAUSAGE TACOS
with fresh kale slaw + cherry lime sauce
(serves 4 - 5)
1. In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp of ghee, butter, avocado oil or olive oil on medium heat.
2. Once heated add chopped onion and cook until slightly translucent.
3. Add ground sausage to the pan (remove meat from casings if it has them).
4. Break sausage into small chunks as it's cooking.
5. While sausage is cooking make the Cherry lime sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
6. Pour kale + cabbage slaw mix into a large bowl and add extra virgin olive oil all over. Use your hands to massage kale for about 1 minute or until leaves become tender and a dark green color. Working those greens with your hands renders them soft enough to eat without cooking.
7. Once meat has finished cooking and the onions are browned nicely you can start to assemble your delicious tacos!
8. To assemble tacos first place a handful of the kale + cabbage slaw mix on our warm tortilla, add your meat, some shredded cheese and top it off with a heavy drizzle of that zesty cherry lime sauce.
Enjoy the fun flavors of these healthy tacos!
Always craving good food,
Intentionality is usually the answer to almost any problem.
Every spill, mess, window, mirror and so on seems to be cleaned by either a paper towel or a paper napkin in our house. Wowzers, that's A LOT of paper products! If you can relate to this dilemma then you might be wondering the same thing I was.
How can I use and waste less in my house?
How can I instill realistic and simple zero-waste habits?
How can I be more intentional about helping the Earth?
In order to get some answers I decided to evaluate my daily habits and routines to see just how much I was using and wasting. Then I had to intentionally make changes to adjust our habits to healthier ones for my family and our environment. These changes were an investment but will definitely pay off in the long run.
My goal is to waste less so as to save time and money for more meaningful experiences with my family.
Our house isn't a zero-waste house by any means because perfection is not my goal. It's all about creating realistic, simple and intentional actions that me and my family can take in order to help make this world a little healthier and happier. Below I have listed 10 simple ways to reduce house waste that my family has integrated thus far into our daily routine. I have also shared some product recommendations (I am not affiliated with any of these companies) that we are currently loving. Changing habits takes time and effort, but my family is devoted to helping make our home and our Earth a little bit brighter.
Let's all do a small part in keeping mother nature gorgeous, because a bunch of TINY actions can make a HUGE impact. :)
10 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY HOUSE WASTE
1. Use cloth towels, rags and napkins instead of paper towels and paper napkins. *
That's right, trade in those precious paper products for something a little more environmentally friendly. Keep a drawer in your kitchen specifically for housing rags and towels just for this purpose. To help make this process a little easier you can also designate specific colors or types of rags for different uses. Example: Blue rags are for dishes, red rags are for bathrooms, and yellow rags are for cleaning up kitchen spills.
*To help make this a realistic routine in our house we have a small brown basket sitting on our kitchen island shelf to collect dirty towels and rags. (See above photo) This way we can easily dispose of them once used and wash them weekly with the rest of our usual load of towels. Work smarter, not harder. This basket blends in seamlessly with our kitchen decor so no one would even know there's dirty towels and napkins in there!
2. Invest in glass spray bottles and make your own household cleaners.
In the past I've bought cheap plastic spray bottles from Target. But unfortunately their shape started warping and the spray nozzle was less than impressive. Now I've invested in glass spray bottles that will not only last longer, but they are more attractive too! There are several simple DIY All-Purpose Cleaner recipes out there so experiment with which ones you like best. Making your own cleaner and reusing your spray bottles saves you both time and money- winner- winner!
3. Use reusable bags for buying and bagging produce and groceries.
Every week I purchase lots of produce at the grocery store and often feel guilty using all of those small plastic bags to organize my fruits and vegetables. Now, by making a small change in the bags I use I can use less plastic but still keep all of my produce organized. Investing in small cotton bags for storing produce you buy and using large reusable bags for carrying your groceries home is another simple way to waste less!
We store all of our grocery bags on a hook near our front door so we don't forget to leave the house without them when it's time for food shopping.
4. Use wooden natural bristle brushes.
Sponges aren't recyclable and need to be replaced frequently after they acquire that dirty sponge smell. Wooden brushes last longer and can be tossed into the compost when it finally wears out. Replace your dish sponges, toilet brushes, tub brushes, and brooms with a more Earth friendly product.
5. Use your glass or ceramic plates for everyday use.
Save the paper and plastic plates for large parties and gatherings. But for everyday meals use your beautiful ceramic or glass plates that you probably spent some valuable time picking out. We keep our plates on an accessible open shelf for easy grabbing and stacking.
6. Invest in a silicone baking mat.
The silicone baking mat has saved me tons of money. Instead of buying rolls and rolls of parchment paper and aluminum foil I use this mat instead. This nonstick mat can be used to bake anything from cookies to brussel sprouts. It saves waste and it's super, duper easy to wipe clean.
7. Have a No Food Waste Day!
Pick one day during the week to use everything up that's in your fridge.
Check out what ingredients you have in your refrigerator and create either a hodge- podge meal or enjoy a fun snack-dinner night. I have found it easy to combine random ingredients to make a quick pasta, casserole, egg scramble or frittata dish.
8. Use glass jars instead of plastic containers to store dried goodies in your pantry and leftover food. Steel containers work well for kiddie foods.
Reduce plastic in your house by choosing more glass products instead. Using glass containers keeps our food freshly sealed and allows us to visibly see what's inside our containers as well. You can even label the glassware using a white board marker to write food names and/or dates if needed. This writing can easily be wiped off to be reused for other food goodies. Steel ware may be a better alternative to glass when packing foods for kids.
9. Use old pillowcases or cloth bags as small trash can liners.
Ditch the plastic bags and liners used in small trash cans in your bathroom and bedroom. Instead, try using something more reusable. Pillowcases or cloth bags make a great trash liner alternative. These can easily be cut to fit any size trash can and are washable too. (see photo above) I use a cloth bag and an old pillowcase in both my bathroom trash can and bathroom recyclable basket. I put these in the wash when I do a load of towels and/or sheets so it's no extra work for this mama.
10. Use wool dryer balls.
Stop buying dryer sheets! Wool dryer balls are reusable and last practically forever. They dry clothes, towels and so much more a little faster and more efficiently. You can also add drops of essential oils on the dryer balls to give your clothes and towels a lovely scent.
If you have any simple tips on how you reduce waste in your house please share below!
We all have gifts to share. May we always find ways to use our gifts to help make the world a little healthier and happier.
much health love,