Posted in less is more, Life

Are We Related? Embracing and Rejecting a Minimalist Lifestyle

I love my sister dearly. She’s my best friend and confidant. We gossip together. We confide in one another. We have the same tastes in food and music. We are practically alike in every way except looks—I’m darker, she’s lighter; personality—I’m an introvert, she’s an extrovert; and lastly, lifestyle—I’m trying to live minimally; she acquires new things on the regular and has no shame nor gives any fucks how anyone feels about it. And you know what? I totally get it. We grew up in a direly dysfunctional household where we didn’t have a lot, so as we got older and were able to do for ourselves, we did. And grandly.

Sis and I overcame some serious odds to become fairly well-rounded black women. We both make good money in our respective careers, which afford us the means to basically buy whatever we wante. From designer purses to craft supplies (We’re both huge crafters), if we wanted it, we bought it.

I no longer buy purses, even sent a few to a consignment-like online boutique, and I haven’t crafted anything in almost two years, and I miss nothing. Sis still has a closet full of Coach purses, some nearing vintage status, and a room dedicated solely to her craft supplies. The funny part? We now both cringe at each other’s lifestyle.

Our “distaste” for how the other sister now lives is all in good fun. Clutter now literally makes my skin crawl while sis finds comfort in her possessions. She’s never met an empty space she couldn’t fill. Add two kids to the mix, and her home is drowning in a happy, lovable mess. At least, that’s how I view it. She sees my home as a dwelling with bald patches in need of some serious Rogaine for homes.

One thing I can say is that sis and I are respectful of one another’s choices, even if we vehemently disagree with them. Do I think she could benefit from paring down and getting rid of some shit? Yes, I do. But that’s her life and her clutter. She tells me that I’m a crunchy weirdo, in so many words. To that, I respond, “Why yes; yes I am.”

Posted in Beauty, less is more

May Is for Naked Face

Confession: I got my first zit at age 11, and I’ve been traumatized ever since. My skin has been horrible since puberty. “Horrible” may be a bit of an overstatement, but to a young girl with the “chocolate chip” skin (Those were the acne scars left on my brown skin, by the way), I think that’s what helped to facilitate my life of introversion. I didn’t want to be seen with a face full of acne.

Now, I’m in my 40s, and I still have greasy, acne-prone skin. As you can see, my skin is uneven and a lil rocky in some areas. Oh, and now I have wrinkles! I call them happy wrinkles because I’m always laughing at something or someone, so I embrace those lines.

I have mostly good days, but when I have a bad skin day, my face erupts like Mt. Rushmore! I don’t just get one isolated zit. I get four or five cystic mountains that are painful to the touch and last for days.

I’m nowhere near Jackie Aina status, but when I want a beat face, I can do a lil sum’n.

Ok, the brows are a lil tragic, but focus your eyes downward.

So, where am I going with all this? Well, as the title of this post implies, I am declaring May a makeup-free month for myself. I not only want to get my skin in shape but also curb my impulse spending. I am a confessed makeup product junkie. I don’t wear a full face of makeup every day, but I do love buying tinted lip balms and glosses, mascaras, and any eyebrow product on the market. If I could only choose three makeup products to ever use, it would be a tinted lip balm, mascara, and a bomb eyebrow pencil. But for the month of May, I am going completely bare-faced nekkid for all 31 days. YIKES!!! So, exactly what does that mean?

  1. No foundation
  2. No concealer
  3. No lip color (Ok, maybe a tinted lip balm)
  4. No mascara
  5. No brow pencil
  6. No eye shadow or pencil

For the entire month of May, I am going to focus solely on skincare. The plan:

  1. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day
  2. No dairy (I’m testing a theory that my skin troubles may be dairy-related.)
  3. Apply a clay facial mask twice a week
  4. No picking at any new blemishes (This will kill me.)
  5. In bed by 11 p.m. on weeknights (When I say “in bed”, I mean prepared for sleep.)

What I hope to accomplish:

  1. To not rely on makeup to feel and look my best.
  2. To take proactive steps to achieve a clearer, brighter complexion (Not lighter. Don’t get it twisted…)
  3. To develop a habit of drinking more water.
  4. To lessen or totally eliminate dairy completely from my diet.
  5. To develop a regular sleep pattern.
  6. And finally…

Posted in Health, Money Matters

Minimalist Diet?

Malika Yasmin’s fridge is real goals. Sheesh…

When I was a child, you could count on me to eat five things without fail: Spaghetti and meat sauce, fried chicken, corn on the cob, home fries, and pancakes. Anything else, I’d have to be forced to eat, or I didn’t eat. I remained a picky eater until my ’20s, when I started being more socially active and trying new things.

Spaghetti and meat sauce are still a monthly staple, as is fried chicken, home fries, and pancakes. Corn on the cob has been elevated to elotes, but the point I’m making is I never stressed about what to eat as I do now. This is truly one of those instances where having too many choices stresses me out. It’s bad for my skin and my wallet. And we’re not even gonna talk about my waistline.

I am a household of one, and I swear my grocery bill looks like I’m buying for a family of four! I admit that I make poor food choices in that my shopping cart is always filled with pre-packaged foods and junk, but I also include lots of miscellaneous “one-off” ingredients with the intention of making a recipe that I saw online.

Fast forward to two weeks later and the vegetable has molded, that spice has been pushed to the back of my cupboard, and that special utensil is collecting dust in the utensil carousel…

Now that I’m mindful (snort) of where my money goes, I started tracking my trips to the grocery store, and I average 3-4 trips a month. That’s once a week! For a household of one+cat! My grocery bill averages anywhere from $65-$75 per visit, and I have nothing but a bulging belly to show for it! Why aren’t my cabinets overflowing? Why is there an echo in my freezer and crisper? Uh, maybe because your fridge and counter tops are filled with quickie meals and processed junk.

I am shell-shocked because I’ve always looked at grocery shopping as one of those necessities, no matter how much I spend. A girl’s gotta eat, right?

Well, that all changes, starting today. I am a creature of habit, and my food choices are going to once again reflect that. It won’t be spaghetti, chicken and pancakes every other day, but there will be more hand-prepared meals that I actually love to eat that are both healthy in nature and will carry me two-three days (Any more than that, and it’s getting tossed anyway…), meal-prepping (I actually did this for a while but got sick of eating the same lunch every day), and less eating out. It’s hard, though, when Chic-Fil-A, Panera, Fridays, Five Guys, and Qdoba are literally within fifty paces of my job :/

Posted in Purging

Ten Things: Kitchen

After two months of major slackage, I am back with a brand new ten things. I apologize in advance that there will be no photos to accompany this post as I forgot to take them before a pickup from the Vietnam Veterans of America.

I have a galley kitchen so it’s small. And I love my kitchen. It’s not fancy nor does it have modern appliances, but I throws down on the regular! My gut and butt can attest to it :/

Your remodeling options are limited when renting, so I gotta make it do what it do…Contact paper will be your BFF.

In spite of the limited space, I managed to fill my little kitchen with unnecessary shit. I am a gadget fiend. If it promises to do something cool, I buy it, past tense — bought it. From digital food scales (Because, yeah, I’m gonna weigh every crumb before I inhale it) to digital meat thermometers, ya girl bought it.

Enough jabbering; here are the ten things (Technically, more than ten, but I’ve grouped like things together) that I purged from my kitchen:

  1. That oblong, black speckled roaster that damn near every black family I know uses around the holidays. I am a party of one (plus cat). I ain’t roasting no turkeys or inviting company over for mass quantities no time in the near future (That’s the next five years in introvert speak.)
  2. Two Foreman grills (Eff George Foreman…)
  3. Assorted travel mugs acquired from gift bags and subscription boxes (I mean, how many adult sippy cups does one really need?)
  4. Any mismatched dishes just taking up space to be taking up space
  5. Chipped drinking glasses and keepsake tumblers. Just, bye…
  6. Old, warped plastic food storage containers. No explanation needed
  7. Scratched-up, non-stick pans. They were uglying up my storage rack. And besides, I already have a shitload of pans. I could probably stand to get rid of a few more, but I need them. I really do!
  8. Unwanted bakeware. I’m not much of a baker, so I didn’t need a second loaf pan or the round cake pans.
  9. Old rags and half-used or near-empty bottles of cleaners that were piling up underneath the sink. I still need to do a separate purge for that. I still have an unused Soda Stream thingy from 2006 that I haven’t bough refills for since…
  10. THE PRINTED INSTRUCTION MANUALS TO EVERY KITCHEN APPLIANCE I’VE EVER OWNED! Ok, I’m embellishing a bit, but one instruction booklet is too many when you can go online and get the info you need. Amirite?

The kitchen is not completely decluttered. I know I could realistically get rid of a dozen more utensils and cookware, but I also know the moment I do, I’ll need it for something. And I’m not making the same mistake of doing another blind purge only to kick myself because it was something I frequently used. The struggle is too real!

I’ll be back the next time with Operation Dining Room aka my “attic”.

Posted in less is more, Purging

Ten Things: Coat Closet

Do you say “foy-ay” or “foy-er”? I say the latter, but po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe…

Y’all! I can’t believe I actually followed through on a decluttering project. Not only did I find ten things to purge, I found 13!!! Thirteen!!! So, without further ado, here are my thirteen things in pictures.

Not the cat! Although, sometimes… I bought this wrap from Urban Outfitters back in 2006 (I remember all of my purchases vividly) and probably wore it five times since. It was cute but not my style but I paid a lotta fucking money for it so yeah; it collected dust in my closet for over a decade. Deuces!
It’s lizard scarf! I bought the yellow and blue pieces off Etsy a few years ago. They were cute for a minute, but again, not my style or color. The bucket hat is an early 2000s relic that gave me perpetual helmet head. Sayonara to all three…
Just two pairs of ugly gloves that should’ve never been in my life to begin with. I don’t even remember buying the colorful pair and the black ones are Isotoners that my old boss gave me one Christmas. I think she got them from the sale bin at Macy’s…
I just wore this Gap coat two weeks ago, but I have a similar one in black, faux fur hood and all. I’m sure it will bring happiness and warmth to someone in need 🙂
I’m 5’1 and cropped anything makes me look like a stuffed pastry with my ample assets. But, as usual, I see something on a statuesque model and have to have it. Can I get my money back?
Another had to have purchase from 2003. I was so pressed for this rain trench, but it was rigid and uncomfortable af! But it was from the Gap, and I paid $38 for it at the time, so I hung on to it. Wore it ONCE! One time!
I loved the idea of this aubergine wool coat with the turtleneck collar, but it didn’t love my body. It was too tight in the bust, so it bunched out awkwardly. But eggplant is such a lovely color… I’ll buy a lipstick or nail polish next time…
My co-worker gave me a lovely 4-ft Christmas tree that sits in planter-like container. It’s much nicer than the 3-foot one I bought from Target two years ago. I don’t need two Christmas trees. Merry Adios!
It’s a torn bag. I don’t think any justification is needed.
I didn’t like this rug when I bought it but I needed to cover up some stains in my foyer, so it served its purpose — until my cats decided to use it as their personal scratching post. Assholes…

So, there you have it! Project Ten, Round 1, is complete. And all of my donate-able items are going to The Vietnam Veterans of America.

I’ll be back next week with the kitchen.