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 Health, Life

2018: The Year of Self-Care

2017 really tried a sista, and if I take one thing away from the year that was, it’s I did not take time for me. I received a very demanding yet rewarding promotion at work (an actual highlight) that literally consumed everything in me. I was so focused on proving that I deserved this promotion (Duh, why would I get promoted if I already hadn’t proven myself?) that I neglected myself—physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I often worked ten plus hours a day and many Saturdays (with no overtime!) because I wanted to be the woman! Coupled with my indie editing side-hustle, which I find equally rewarding and satisfying, I had no time for me, Patrice.

Sleep (what’s that?) was often an afterthought where I averaged anywhere from five and a half to six and a half per weeknight. I was lucky to clock in up to ten on the weekends.

Eating was often on-the-go. Fast food from Five Guys to Fridays kept me full, broke, and malnourished (I still love you, Five Guys ❤ ).

What free time I did have I spent vegged out in front of the TV or social media, fawning over people, places, and things.

So, what does this all have to do with minimalism? E-VE-RY-THING!!

I was a prime example of “unmindful” living. Nothing I did was with focus or intent. When existing on auto-pilot, you do what is necessary to simply survive or get by. All of these things attributed to my wasting money—eating out daily for at least two of my meals, internet shopping, extra doctor’s visits (which means extra co-pays) because my body was telling me, Not today, Satan…

I have vowed to make 2018 the year of me. Self-care has always carried this stigma (at least to me) of selfishness. If you put yourself first then you don’t care about anyone else. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How can you give yourself to others while neglecting the mind and body that sustains you? I came to this realization when I literally looked in the mirror and saw dark circles, overgrown chin hairs, chipped, uneven nails, a larger than usual stomach pooch…

Now,  I know I have just described the physical manifestations of my lack of self-care, but looking your best is also part of feeling your best. It’s not vain or selfish to take an hour or two out of your week to pamper yourself physically. In fact, I need to add that to my self-care goals. And no, you don’t necessarily need to spend money to do it. But if spending $60 on a mani/pedi every two weeks is part of your self-care must-haves, then by all means, do you, boo…

By incorporating some mindful self-care rituals into my daily life, I know my minimalism journey will only be less rocky and more maintainable.

 

Posted in less is more, Life, Musings

Goodbye 2017

2017 Wrap Up

 

I’ma keep it real: 2017 was an incredibly shitty year for me. Now, we all endure different levels of shit, and while I have a job and a roof over my head (for which I am grateful every, single day), I am not happy. I’m not happy with this clusterfuck I call a life, and do you know how I self-medicate? I buy shit. Yup, if I’m feeling down or if I’m mad at the world (and there’s plenty to be mad at), Amazon or Gap or my IG feed is a literal click away, and BOOM! “Thank you for your order” never felt so good! “Your order has shipped” was fucking euphoric!

And this is why I have not posted a thing since October. I really thought that adopting this freer, cleaner, leaner lifestyle would be easy. NOT! When you’re raised with a consumerist mindset, that having “things”, quality, expensive things, is the ultimate sign of success then you are destined for failure. Especially when you don’t have a plan. Especially when you think just by getting rid of all of your shit that you’re suddenly a minimalist.

Welcome to The Brown Sugar Minimalist…

I’m ready now. I really am. How so? What makes things different from the first time you decided to “become a minimalist”.

Whereas the first time, there was this need to just purge and live with less and label myself a “minimalist”, this time, the desire to want to live simpler—and save some damn money in the process — is burning a hole in my soul.

Speaking it into existence

2018 will be a new beginning. I’m not saying it’s going to be a piece of cake because like a drug addict, the cravings never truly go away. But the desire, the wanting to do better, to be better, to live better is more powerful. I’ll continue to use this blog to hold myself accountable — and to call myself out.

I’ll be back on the 1st to list my 2018 goals beyond. Happy Holidays and Merry New Year!

 

Posted in Life, Musings, Purging

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye…

So, I was thinking to myself; Self, how can I live lighter and still keep the things around me that make me smile yet not junk up the place?

Make them functional and purposeful!

I love owls (except when the bastards are attacking eagle nests with the little eaglets in them!). I love their big, bug eyes, their majestic plumage, and those damned hooked beaks. But what I don’t love is a house full of owl shit that just sits collecting dust.

So, instead of dedicating a shelf or wall full of crazy owl tchotchkes, I decided to cutify my kitchen with some owl salt and pepper shakers and a scrubber dish (I really needed this because I was just sitting my used SOS pad on the edge of the sink, and it was gross!)

And looky, looky! I also found some owl candles! Okay, so, technically I could’ve done without these, but they were marked down to $2.00 after Christmas last year, and I always lose power during a really bad storm, so there! Shut.it.

My point is that you don’t have to give up the things you love and bring you joy if you can find functional, purposeful uses for them. Now, if I could only make art with all these useless lipsticks I have…

Save

Posted in less is more, Life, Money Matters

September Wrap-Up: I Did Better Than I Gave Myself Credit For

So, for the month of September, I created some pretty lofty goals for myself. One thing this minimalism journey is constantly teaching me is the art of mindfulness. I see that word used constantly among the more seasoned minimalists, and I always poo-poo’d it with a “Chile, bye”, but now, I freaking get it!

Once you’re mindful and intentional with everything that you do, you’re already halfway there. Trust me, I’m not trying to sound preachy, but it’s true. For me, I’m so used to doing what I want, when I want, and damn whatever else. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month thinking about spending my money before actually spending my money. I have always been of the mindset that it’s my money; I earned it, and I’ll spend it any way I choose. Anybody like that? Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the results!

  • E-book purchases: I have a small disclosure here. I did purchase e-books in September, but I did not spend money on them. I used my Amazon gift card balance, so the books I bought were gifts, not purchases 😛
  • Clothing purchases: Honestly, I thought this would be the biggest struggle for me, yet it wasn’t. I think now that I’ve resolved that I don’t need any new clothes and that I’ll be creating a fall capsule wardrobe, there wasn’t anything I really needed, or wanted, for that matter. I was hella tempted, though. I have not unsubscribed to a few mailing lists of my favorite retailers, and I actually did go to a few websites and added some things to my basket. HOWEVER… I BOUGHT NOTHING!!!!
  • Fast food breakfast: This also was a tough one. I love to cook but not 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Yeah, yeah, do it the night before…But I don’t like reheated breakfast food. Sue me… I love Panera and Chic-Fil-A, which are directly across the street from my office and oh so convenient… I toughed it out and got my ass up to cook a hot breakfast in the morning. The question is, can I continue this? Not gone lie, the answer is probably no. But I will be more mindful of this. Shit, I saved about $50.00 not buying breakfast in the mornings. If that ain’t incentive, I don’t know what is…
  • Grocery shopping: I was fully expecting not to meet this goal, and I did not disappoint myself :/ I am a horrible grocery shopper. I rarely make lists; I don’t comparison shop; I’m an impulse or “good intentions” buyer, knowing damn well, I don’t eat yogurt or squash like that. I’m seriously working on this, and I expect to make significant improvements in the coming weeks. I ended up spending well over $300 in groceries. Admittedly, my breakfast food items slightly contributed to the spike, but not that damn much!

In conclusion, I’m pleased, overall, with this self-imposed challenge. There is room for improvement on all fronts, but I feel good. I hope October’s is just as, if not more, successful.

See y’all next week…