Start Your Day With Intention

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Centered by Marjorie Ann – L.I.T.T.L.E. Project

Welcome to another Mindful Monday! If you’ve been practicing living a more mindful life, you probably have several intentions you want to work on. Maybe you’re very aware of them all the time or maybe they run in the background. However you use your intentions, it can be helpful to set a daily intention. This can change day to day or be similar throughout a week or longer.

How are Daily Intentions Different from My Other Intentions?

A daily intention gives more focus to certain aspects of your life. Making a single daily intention can help create a theme for your day and possibly help you feel more like you spent your day the way you really wanted to (I know it does for me!)

That certainly doesn’t mean ignoring other aspects in your life, but rather giving ample focus on improving/enjoying one area that you really want to pay attention to. Most likely many of your other intentions will be in the back of your mind anyway. Setting a single daily intention simply gives you permission to dial it up on one of them (or a new one) to make it more, well, intentional 😉

While you should certainly set your daily intentions however you like, my tip is to keep it simple and set just a single clear intention for your day. Maybe it’s a smaller part of a longer week or month’s intention focus. Maybe it’s a short detour from the usual to help you appreciate something neglected.

Take a few minutes in the morning, perhaps while getting dressed, eating breakfast, or enjoying a cup of tea, to ponder what you want to align in your life today. Do you want to explore your creativity, spread more kindness, grow a relationship, appreciate more around you, or nurture yourself better? You can even get more focused, honing in on a specific way you want to live today!

Mindful Compilation
Mindful Compilation by Marjorie Ann

Use your intention to help guide your daily decisions. When planning your day or when someone invites you to do something, ask yourself if these activities are in line with your intention for the day. If they are, then you know you are living in the way you wish. If they aren’t, you can decline or redirect your actions, knowing that at least for today you need to be doing something else.

Here’s a fun article about how daily intentions can work:

Don’t worry if you forget to set one in the morning though. You can always start at whatever point in the day you realize you want to be living more mindfully! Thanks for visiting and have a lovely week ❤

Coffee Inspiration

Coffee Inspiration
Coffee Inspiration by Marjorie Ann

Happy Friday! Today I just wanted to share an inspiration board. My hubs makes a wonderful batch of french press coffee every morning. I always feel so fortunate and spoiled that he does this. I love the scent of freshly ground coffee and the comfort of a delicious hot brew, even in the summer! It’s one of my daily enjoyments. What routine do you enjoy everyday?

I also love making a coffee body scrub from the used grounds. It’s crazy easy and smells wonderful. Plus I’m so soft and smooth afterwards!

Simple Coffee Body Scrub

  • Dried used coffee grounds
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar (chunky organic sugar works best but use what you have)
  • Essential oils (if you have them)

Add about the same amount of sugar as you have leftover coffee grounds, a good sprinkle of cinnamon, and mix well. Then add enough coconut oil to create a smooth paste along with 1-3 drops essential oils (I love using orange here!). You don’t need the essential oil, but it does add an extra layer of aromatic benefits. Keep the scrub in a sealed container and use in the shower for up to 1 week. It does get very slippery so be careful when getting out of the shower or tub!

Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend! ❤

(Virtually) No Cost Organizing – #3 Upcycling Cans

Cans have long been reused to organize supplies. Clean them out, remove packaging paper and use them as is for an industrial or farmhouse look, or try something fun to dress them up. Use what you have to avoid increasing costs or opt to share some extra cans with a crafty friend or neighbor in exchange for using some of their supplies 😀 Sharing is caring!

Ideas for Personalizing Cans

  • Create stripes with washi tape
  • Wrap in pretty paper or book pages
  • Spray paint a solid color
  • Dip bottom half in paint for color blocking
  • Paint with Chalkboard paint to write on/label
  • Cover in butcher paper or cork for a clean aesthetic
  • Wrap in yarn, embroidery floss, or fabric for a crafty feel
  • Color or draw on with Sharpies for artistic decoration
  • Wrap in jute, twine, or rope
  • Decoupage with magazines, paper, or fabric
  • Wrap in ribbon or lace for a feminine feel
  • Cover with felt for a kid friendly touch
  • Wrap in washi or masking tape to label
  • Use chalkboard tape to label

 

Organizing with Cans

  • Stand up to fill with office supplies, utensils and tools, toiletries like q-tips and cotton balls, brushes, etc.
  • Adhere or screw can sides to a board for vertical storage in offices or bathrooms
  • Add hooks or handles to hang from storage bars or on other hooks in craft rooms or garages for holding tools or supplies
  • Glue together onto a mini-turntable for an office, art, or craft organizer
  • Stack like a pyramid or rhomboid and glue together to hold office or paint supplies, wash clothes or other smaller items
  • Adhere can bottoms to a board for stable storage for kids arts and crafts supplies, or spray paint finished assembly to create an office supply holder
  • Glue/Wrap 3 cans together for a utensil holder

 

Cans make great semi-permanent or permanent organizers. You can even remove your decoration and recover them if you get tired of the design! Always make sure the edges of the open can aren’t sharp and watch out for rust – typically in bathrooms, kitchens, and wet arts. Use and reuse until you’ve found a better solution or they wear out or get dented, then simply uncover and toss in the recycling! Design tip: having both round and square/rectangle organizing elements keeps things looking more interesting like in the photo above.

Make sure to head back next Wednesday for the 4th installment of virtually no cost organization! Thanks for stopping by and enjoy! ❤

Living Intentionally

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Photo by Marjorie Ann – L.I.T.T.L.E. Project

It’s Mindful Monday and today’s tip is on setting Intentions. I wish I could say I was great at setting intentions or that by setting intentions I always follow through and live how I want to live, but that’s just not the case. However, setting intentions HAS helped me become more mindful of how I want to approach my life and definitely helps me make more decisions aligned with my desired life path. For me, it’s a lot like yoga, it’s practice with the intent of becoming better rather than trying to attain a specific goal. Speaking of which…

Intentions are Different from Goals

Intentions are values and perceptions you want to have and live your life by, rather than the tasks to complete in order to reach your goals. I look at it like this, my intentions are the journey I wish to take in life. Goals are more like destinations, places I wish to go. An Intention, my personal journey, may take me away from a goal, especially if that goal doesn’t align with my values. Another way to look at it is: goals are what we want to accomplish in life, while intentions are how we want to live life.

Intentions are Guides for Your Actions

In some ways Intentions are much better than making a goal to achieve a desired outcome. Because intentions are behavior based, they force us to look at the things we are doing right now, moment to moment. Once you’ve set Intentions for yourself, you can ask yourself at any time: Does doing/saying/responding like this align with my intentions? If not, do I think doing/saying/responding this way is worth the consequence to not following my intention(s)?

There are a lot of articles to help you on your path to setting intentions. These were just a few of the helpful ones I’ve found.

Being mindful this way can help you find better clarity and happiness in life. Some intentions are easier to follow than others, some are relatively painless. Others are harder and can even make you feel like you’re turning your life upside-down and inside-out! I’m a firm believer that if I’m not at least somewhat challenged, I’m not growing – I’m being stagnant.

Of course, I’m no expert. I fail many days to be mindful and have to pick myself up and try again. Setting intentions have helped me focus on the bigger picture, to be more kind and patient with myself and others, and to allow myself to grow and change. I’ve only been practicing this mindfully for about a year but it’s made huge positive impacts already though not without struggle, heartache, and lots of tears sometimes! Change can be painful, and some of living Intentionally can be painful (though I find much of it isn’t). Either way it certainly forces you to grow.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

― Cynthia Occelli

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy and have a beautiful week ❤

Tropics Inspired 10 Piece Wardrobe

Tropics Day Trip
Tropics Day Trip by Marjorie Ann

I’ve got tropics on the brain with all the rain we’ve been getting lately. Not that it’s hard for me to be to be inspired by the tropics 😉 One of my favorite uses for the 10 piece wardrobe is traveling. It makes it so much easier to pack a single carry-on when you have a set of coordinating clothes to make a bunch of outfits with. I like to start with an inspiration piece. For this set it was the tropical print shorts, so fun and stylish!

 

Tropics Vacay 10 Piece Wardrobe
Tropics Vacay 10 Piece Wardrobe by Marjorie Ann

This particular set creates over 2 weeks worth of outfits, great for a vacation or just infusing a summer wardrobe with some tropical vibes! When putting together boards or wardrobes, I like to think about how the pieces relate to each other, how they can dress up or down other pieces.

Try it with some of your own wardrobe. How do each of your pieces relate to each other? Do you have a pair of pants that seem to go with everything? On the flip-side, do you have something that seems to never work with anything? Try to identify what is working and not working in your wardrobe. Just by going through this exercise, you can become more mindful when you shop or pack for a trip in the future. ❤

 

(Virtually) No Cost Organizing – #2 Upcycle Boxes

Once you’ve decluttered, you should have just the things you’re willing to keep, use, and store. For those things that can’t be (or you simply don’t want them to be) displayed, boxes are a common solution. You don’t have to buy them though, there are plenty of products that we use regularly that come in boxes. When keeping costs low or trying out different organizing solutions, try upcycling boxes or altering some of them first.

Ways to Organize with Package Boxes

  • Use pretty shoe or package boxes as is to hold photos, office supplies, paperback books, etc. Adhere labels to cover brand names if desired.
  • Cut boxes (like cereal, cracker, or shoe boxes) to fit as dividers in drawers for larger items – like underpinnings, socks, utensils, larger bathroom supplies, etc.
  • Trim tops off small boxes (like tea, snack, or cookie) to use whole as dividers in drawers – like for batteries and rubber bands in junk drawers, small bathroom items, office supplies in a desk, etc.
  • Cut tops off and wrap corrugated cardboard boxes in jute, paper, or rope to create baskets for holding supplies like toilet paper in the bathroom, cards in the office, or magazines in the living room
  • Use firm/thin cardboard from product boxes to create custom sized organizers, like this cereal box organizer tutorial. Wrap in paper for prettier presentation (use wrapping, craft, or butcher paper to give your drawer personality or create a seamless look)
  • Reuse tissue boxes as bag dispensers or for holding other types of supplies

 

The best part is how customizable cardboard boxes are. With a good box cutter, tape, and paper to cover them – you can create all sorts of great looking smaller organizers! Try to store your boxes until you can complete one whole project (an entire drawer or set of organizers) if you want your dividers/boxes to look cohesive. However, there’s no rule that says you need to match them, cover them, or alter them at all. You can always go the easiest route and cut down the boxes to the right height and use as you please!

Eventually your boxes may wear out, get soiled, or bent up in some way. I have some that I simply replace with new product boxes (while the old ones get tossed in the recycling) and some that are placeholders for more permanent solutions. You can make your box organizers last longer by covering them with contact or wall paper, but if you’re buying those the cost increases. Of course if you’ve found the perfect box for the spot, it can be worth more to customize it with a durable cover than to try and find a more permanent container that might not fit as well!

Be sure to come back next Wednesday for more no cost organization ideas! Thanks for visiting and have a lovely week! ❤

 

Discover

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Photo by Marjorie Ann

Hi there! Welcome to another Mindful Monday. Last week I had a few conversations with some friends about forgotten plans. You know, those things you always plan to do and say you should do but never get around to actually doing? It was interesting to me because the topic seemed to be in the air. It came up randomly in a few convos I had with completely different people, one of whom I went out and did one of those things we planned and talked about. We made a day date of it and went! The photo above is one of many I took while on our day trip 😉

So my mindful focus for this week is to be more aware of those ‘we should…’, ‘we could try…’ and ‘it would be fun to…’ activities and scheduling them throughout the month. I’m just more likely to do anything as long as it’s in my schedule. My SIL made a kind of bucket list out of hers – once a month she’s picked one of those things to do and had put it on her calendar, bought tickets, enlisted friends to go with her, etc., for the next 3 months. Another friend is planning to do one every week.

Which brings me to the Mindful Monday tip for this week: Be mindful of those things you’ve been saying you should try or discover, and do what you need to turn those wishful thoughts into concrete plans. We only have so much time and there is always so much to see and do in life. Make sure you’re not letting your desire to discover and explore life go unfulfilled simply because you aren’t paying attention! I hope you have a wonderful week exploring, trying something new, discovering or rediscovering something you love. Thanks for visiting and have a lovely Monday! ❤

 

How Many Pajamas Do You Really Need?

Sleep Capsule
Sleep Capsule by Marjorie Ann

Happy Weekend! Today I wanted to go over one of my favorite categories of clothes – pajamas! It’s so easy to go overboard on our clothes – to just buy whatever we feel we love in the moment. I think it’s even easier to do so on our pajamas. But you don’t really need many. Creating a nightwear capsule not only can help you simplify your nighttime routine, but it can also help you save money and space in your closet!

About 5 years ago I had tons of ‘pajamas’. I air quote that because most of them were just worn out pieces from my regular or athletic wardrobe. Almost none of the stuffed two drawers I had were actual pjs and the few that were were mis-matched clearance bin finds that never quite fit to begin with!

After the trip that got me to create my first capsule wardrobe, I found that as I spent less on my regular wardrobe that I could for the first time, afford a nice pair of PJs. I was tired of wearing torn, stained, stretched, ill-fitting clothes to bed so I vowed to save up enough to get myself at least 2 sets of quality pajamas.

When I had finally saved the money, I found two sets that I fell in love with. I tried them on to make sure they fit, something I’d never done before with pjs. One of the sets didn’t fit me the way I wanted so I put it back because I wanted something I’d love and I felt I already had so many things I didn’t like, why spend money to replace them with something else that I didn’t quite like? I had to hunt through some other stores but eventually I found another set I loved and felt good in when I tried them on.

The difference in how I felt going to bed after that was incredible! Suddenly, getting ready for bed was a special treat and when I woke up I felt confident and lovely even with my bed head and drool trail! It’s amazing how liking the way you look and feel in your pajamas effects your confidence and happiness. 😉 The crazy part is, even 5 years later I love slipping into my pajamas. It’s special, it makes me feel good and I get that every night with only 4 sets!

 

Classic Pink and Black Jammies
Classic Pink and Black Jammies by Marjorie Ann

So how many pairs of pajamas do you need? You can certainly do just fine with 2 pairs. Later, I got rid of all my other ratty sleepwear after feeling so wonderful in those new quality pajamas. In fact, I simply couldn’t bear to put on the old ones, which I’ll admit, made it really easy to let them go. I even managed just fine for 3 months with only those two pair – one for wear, one for wash. I never once felt deprived, never once missed those other mis-matched ‘pajamas’.

However, everyone has different habits. Since I shower before getting ready for bed, I typically wear my pjs 2-3 times before washing. So that eliminates the need to have enough to get me through the work week (I wash clothes on the weekend). While anyone can reasonably get by with just 2 pairs, I think 4 is a pretty magic number (at least for me!) Want to figure out yours?

How to Simplify Your Sleepwear

  1. Choose! Start with 2 pairs of your favorite pajamas. If you have pajamas you love already, wonderful! Use those. If you’re like I was and didn’t have any pajamas you cared for then save up and invest in 2 really nice pair that make you feel wonderful.
  2. Purge: Eliminate all the pajamas you don’t feel amazing in. You should only keep nightwear that makes you feel amazingly comfy or amazingly sexy or any other amazingly that you feel good in. But if it doesn’t make you feel good, let it go. Remove all those non-amazing pjs from your closet and drawers.
  3. Store: Pack away any other pjs. Put them in a box (I suggest with your couple next most favorite pajamas on top, you’ll see why later) and put that box someplace inconvenient – up on a shelf, in the garage, in another room, under the bed, etc. This way you don’t waste any wearable pajamas you still like, but they won’t be easily accessible to mess with your experiment either.
  4. Stress Out! Really, it will probably feel stressful at first so go ahead and feel that anxiousness. If you don’t, great! But if you are worried, that’s normal. Tell yourself you’ve got this – because you do. Our inner turmoil is the hardest part. When we’re used to having an abundance (even if it’s an abundance of stuff we don’t even like), it feels scary to suddenly have less.
  5. Try it! Wear just those two pajamas for 1 week.
  6. Reflect:  What did you learn about your habits? How did you feel about using just the two sets?
  7. Adjust: Add 1 pair if you ended up not having pjs one or more nights (or close to), pick your next favorite from your storage box.
  8. Repeat: Try another week with the new pair or continue challenging yourself with just the 2, then reflect on what you want/need to change.
  9. Evaluate: After the 2nd week, do you need to add any more or were you just fine rotating those favorites? By now you should have a better idea about your previous habits, be more aware of what you do and don’t like about your pajamas, and feel a little more comfortable with simplifying.
  10. Finish: Adjust your sleepwear wardrobe so that you feel satisfied and then donate/sell/trash the remaining pieces. Remember that your goal was to simplify, so resist the urge to keep pieces ‘just in case’.
  11. Enjoy: Pat yourself on the back and appreciate the extra space in your closet/drawers!

 

Magical Bedtime
Magical Bedtime by Marjorie Ann

If using just a few sleepwear sets for a couple weeks seems too extreme, you can easily use the 10-piece wardrobe guide to mix and match a 10-piece pajama set. An easy rule of thumb is 4 bottoms, 4 tops, a one-piece and a robe. Of course, you’ll likely want different sets for hot and cold weather. And when the seasons are in-between, like fall and spring, it’s easy to mix and match your cold and warm weather pieces!

Tip: We have a tendency to buy more in order to fill storage up whether we need the items or not. If you have a lot of excess space after simplifying, try putting in extra linens or consolidating your drawers so that you have a spare drawer to use for something else. A good guideline is 80-90% full. This way you will be less tempted to make unnecessary purchases and will be more likely to shop with intention when you do need or want something.

I love wearing the matching sets, but you can easily create pajama outfits by staying within a color scheme or theme. Or if you don’t mind, just mix up your sleepwear however you want regardless! The point is to simplify and keep only those items that make you feel wonderful when you wear them. We spend 1/3 of our lives asleep; it’s our time to recuperate. So it makes sense that we should feel our absolute best when we go to bed so we can fully recharge our inner and outer selves! I hope you enjoy the weekend and thanks for stopping by! ❤

(Virtually) No Cost Organization – #1 Decluttering

I love pretty organized spaces. It’s easy to have a lovely space when you have time to shop and money to buy the things that would make your rooms just right. The truth is though, you don’t need a lot of money to create organized spaces. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some virtually no cost organization solutions! Bonus – not only are these solutions nicer on our wallets, they’re better for our environment too!

#1 Declutter!

Alright, while this is nothing new, decluttering should always be your first solution when thinking about organization. After all, if you have to spend time organizing all those things, they should at least be the things you are going to use and truly want to keep! Why waste precious time, effort, and money on keeping items that you won’t use or appreciate? One of my favorite quotes about this is:

I thought I needed to organize. Then I realized I just needed less stuff!

Before you begin decluttering, visualize the space you want to have. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Be concrete! Instead of thinking “I want a clean bathroom”, think of what you want in the space – “I want a resort spa style bathroom, clear counters and tropical flowers to great me in the morning. I want an oasis by the bath tub, with glass jars holding bath bombs and a couple palm fronds so it’s like I’m on vacation.”

If you have a hard time imagining your future space, find a couple inspirational pictures online from Pinterest or Instagram to keep you motivated and in-tune to your goals. Focus on what you want the space to be when you are done. Once you have that firmly in your mind, you will declutter with more purpose and confidence. It’s easier to let go of things when you have a clear picture of what you truly want to keep solid in your mind!

linen-closet-before-and-after

Photo from Experience Life

Simple Steps to do a thorough Declutter:

  1. Gather bags for trash and donations/selling, boxes or baskets for moving items between rooms, and a few cleaning rags
  2. Handle each item. Decide where it needs to go – donate/sell, recycle, trash, or another room. Really scrutinize those items you are thinking about keeping, Ask yourself :
    • Does this item make me happy?
    • Do I use this?
    • If I were moving next month, is this worth wrapping, packing, unpacking, cleaning, and finding a place in my new home?
    • Is this item in line with my goals for the space? Where will it go in my future room?
  3. Put items in the bags/boxes where you’ve decided they need to go – donate, recycle, trash, another room.
  4. For the Keep items, wipe them off and then put them away or set them aside to be rearranged once you’ve finished decluttering.
  5. Once you’ve gone through everything you planned, immediately take out the trash and recyclables. Then take the donate/sell items out to your car/garage/front door – whatever space you have that will get you remove them from your home as soon as possible. Remember, all that stuff is still your clutter until it’s out of your home!
  6. Clean up your space with the rags (and/or cleaner if need be) and then put back your keep items according to your new visualized ideal. Or move things around until you’ve reached more of your ideal before putting items back.

Decluttering is one of the best tools in any organization arsenal and it doesn’t cost a dime! It does, however, cost in time and energy. Isn’t it worth all that effort though, to create the life you want? I find the most dramatic differences in a space don’t come from adding storage, they come from getting rid of excess! 😀

 

Now, not everyone likes to declutter the same way or even in one go. There are books and guides and articles all over to help you on your journey. Find one that resonates with you. My favorite is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. However, here are some links to other great strategies to helping you on your path to a decluttered home!

Be sure to stop by next week for the next installment of the Virtually No Cost Organizing series! Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by! ❤

Mindful Monday: Take Time to Re-Center Yourself

Mindfulness Compilation

Mindfulness Compilation by Marjorie Ann

Do One Thing Every Day that Centers You

Welcome to my first Mindful Monday post! One of my Resolutions this year was to remember to just breathe. It’s a tricky resolution for me in that there isn’t any way to really quantify my success in remembering to take a moment for myself. The thing is, while I was trying to decide whether or not I’ve been doing a good job of it, I realized the point of my resolution was not to succeed at anything in particular, but to remind me to center myself and be present so I can feel happier and more connected. Kind of a duh moment that took me 6 months to reach, but I finally got it.

Today’s Mindful tip builds on that idea of just breathing. Often we get caught up in our everyday and forget to take some time out to re-center ourselves, or even maybe to center ourselves in the first place. At the beginning of the week, I’m often much better at giving my day an intention, but by the end, I’ve all but forgotten everything but my ever present list of what to do and when. Re-centering throughout the day can be especially helpful, especially on days when I start out with that go-go-go mentality!

If you’re also looking for some ways to reconnect with yourself throughout the day quickly and easily, here are a few things to try. I’m aiming for centering myself whenever I’m feeling like I’m just not all there, whether it’s from stress, wasting time, or just being out of focus.

5 minute Centering Activities:

  • Close your eyes and just breathe – forget focus and let your thoughts flow freely
  • Get up and stretch – really feel your muscles lengthen
  • Think of someplace you’d love to visit and imagine being there
  • Listen to a couple favorite songs (without multitasking) – focus on the lyrics or melody
  • Meditate – 5 Tips for Beginning Meditating
  • Color or doodle (Tip: use a designated book and pencils (or other coloring tools) to help your mind shift from work/busy time to relaxation/meditation)
  • Go for a walk, even if it’s just down around the hall – try noticing unique things about your surroundings or focus on how your gait feels
  • Lay on the floor in Corpse Pose (Savasana) – How to Do Corpse Pose
  • Massage lotion firmly into your arms and hands, focusing on massaging palms and each finger
  • Make a gratitude list
  • Focus on something that made you happy earlier this week, try to recreate the moment in your mind
  • Care for some plants – water, remove dead/dying leaves, wipe dust off, move toward sun, etc.
  • Sit quietly and feel your heart beat – take a moment to listen to your body

The key is to try to let go of everything else around you while you center yourself. Give yourself permission to take a few minutes to check out and reset. Of course, you can certainly take longer, but I tried to include things that could reasonably be finished in about 5 minutes. Everything else will still be waiting for you when you’re finished and you’ll feel more refreshed and focused after taken a couple minutes to re-balance yourself. Thanks for visiting and have a beautiful week! ❤