Friday Rant: Registry (Take 2)

I know I’ve talked about registries before, but now that I’m deeper into the wedding process I wanted to revisit this idea. I will admit, we made a small registry. It had 2 sets of towels, 2 sets of sheets, and some tea supplies. This is because our adorable rats chewed holes in all our linens and I really love tea. We also made a second registry. It’s a donation page for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Last year my fiance’s dad passed away from complications related to type 1 diabetes and we hope that in lieu of gifts our family and friends will take the opportunity to donate to our cause. We’re minimalists. We don’t want another blender. We want a world where people with type 1 diabetes don’t need daily injections and where their life expectancy isn’t reduced by 10-20 years.

Well, the registry gifts are coming in and guess where people have put their money…

…did you guess?

They bought the towels. In less than a week our entire registry was purchased and yet not one single person has made a donation. I’ll have to admit, I’m somewhat disappointed. I was hoping that our loved ones would donate to a cause that hits too close to home rather than buying the towels. Here’s to hoping things change…

WEDnesday: Wedding Planning is Easy

Wedding planning is easy. As of now our wedding is now 53 days away and I’ve hardly given it a thought. People keep asking me how stressed I am, or why I am so calm. Sometimes I ask myself the same thing. Why am I so calm? Weddingwire says I have 50 more items on my checklist to do. Why does that not stress me out? Because all of the important stuff is booked (venue, food, and officiant). Because I let go of the details. Because the wedding has never been anything more than a happy thing for me. I get to marry my best friend, my friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in years) are flying in from all over the country, and I have felt so loved through this whole process. Not to mention that I’m so concerned about how I am going to teach nuclear chemistry to 96 tenth graders next week I can’t even think about flower arrangements.

Our wedding has been a community effort, not something that I am planning on my own. I couldn’t micromanage if I wanted to due to the time commitments known as being-a-first-year-teacher. I’ve become a master of letting go of the details and delegating things to a supportive group of friends and family. I trusted a graphic designer friend to make the invitations. I left my future mother-in-law in charge of accommodations. My aunts had my dress made in Thailand. My future sister-in-law’s best friend is making cupcakes. My artist friend is making a guest book and signage. Everything is booked. We could have the wedding tomorrow and it would be fine.

I can see why wedding planning could be stressful. If I were invested in every single detail and wanted everything to be exactly perfect, like a vision on a Pinterest board, then I would probably be a basket case right now. But rather than burdening myself with unnecessary stress I relinquished control. I’ve let my wedding become a patchwork of contributions of different people that I love and trust. And I’m actually happier it worked out that way. It feels so much more meaningful because it’s a community thing, not just a “me” thing.

Minimalist Monday: Failing Forward

I’ve fallen off the wagon. In the past 13 months I have been so strung out and exhausted from graduate school that I have lost touch with my minimalist side.

Our budget is out of control. Real talk: somehow 2 people have managed to spend around $4000 a month for a year. That’s way more than we have brought in, considering it’s been 13 months since I’ve gotten a paycheck. Our savings are in shambles. And my self esteem is in the toilet. How did I let this happen? Why did we just spend $120 at Target. Did I really need that moped? HOW DID WE SPEND OVER $1000 ON FOOD THIS MONTH!?

The clutter is piling up. I look at the mess in the kitchen and try to pretend it isn’t there. The “junk cabinet” is at a horrifying level. The fiance made a joke the other day that my “Chinese element is cardboard” as the Amazon purchases roll in. Stupid stress shopping.

As I beat myself up over how far I’ve drifted from my ideals, I remember the ideals that my new principal (I finished my master’s and got a teaching job by the way!) ingrained in us: “fail early and fail often.” My minimalist journey is still fairly young. Mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process. Fail forward. I can’t let the mistakes I’ve made paralyze me. Instead I will keep them in mind as I get myself back on track. Keep moving forward.

Thoughts on TINY

Browsing through Netflix, I stumbled upon TINY, a documentary about the tiny house movement. The messages of course resonated with me, but as I have just spent the past year in graduate school looking at the gap between middle class whites and working class minorities something struck me: every single person in this documentary was a middle class white person. It made me think about the tiny house and minimalist movements in general. Almost every blog is dominated by white individuals that oftentimes grew up in the middle class. There are many discussions of leaving corporate jobs to live simpler. I think that is all great but it seems like we are missing an entire perspective. I’m curious to hear the perspectives of minimalists with a different background. Please share your story in the comments, I would love to hear your voice!

Minimalist Fashion: Makeup

This year has been a bit of a fashion transition for me. Last July I went from working in an it’s-cool-if-you-show-up-in-sweatpants lab to treat-every-day-as-a-job-interview student teaching. I also had to start waking up at 5:30 am to get to my teaching assignment on time. After months and months of trial and error I have finally figured out how to make myself presentable as I sleepwalk through my morning routine. This post will be the first in 3 (makeup, hair, and wardrobe) about how to make yourself look professional with minimal tools in a small amount of time.

Today let’s talk about makeup! Here’s a quick before and after.  This takes me a little less than 10 minutes (12 if you include hair, but we’ll talk about that next time).

photo (1)photo

 My Tools:

Everything I use can be found at CVS.

 Foundation

I like this foundation because it’s light enough to not feel cakey but buildable enough so I can cover any dark circles or blemishes without concealer. I apply my foundation in two steps.

(1) You’ll need about this much. Apply it to your face using your fingertips. This is where you may want to make it kind of thick if you need coverage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, we’ll touch it up in the next step.

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(2) Blend using a foam wedge. This is where you can even out the color.

photo 4

 Eyes

Eyes are pretty simple.

Eyeliner: I do a single line of brown eyeliner on the top of the eyelid only. I start at the corner and pull the liner pencil towards the center of the eyelid.

Mascara: A single coat of black mascara on the top lashes only.

 Lips

I LOVE this Burt’s Bees lip shimmer. It’s got the signature Burt’s Bees minty tingle and the Plum color is fantastic. It makes you look like you’re put together even if you’re not. Use lots, but blend gently or else it rubs off.

 

And there you have it! 5 tools and 10 minutes for full makeup.

 

 

 

UPDATES!

Hey Everyone!

As I go through my Learning and Technology course the power of the internet as a learning resource has been impressed upon us as future teachers. Bloggers, sharers, content creators, we are all contributors to the collective human knowledge that is the Internet. In light of these thoughts I’ve been rethinking the design of Minimalist Bride from just a blog to a true resource (which was my original intent). I’ve already done some restructuring, you probably noticed some changes in the appearance, and I have some new content planned for the site.

Here’s what’s new:

Here’s what’s coming:

  • Simple Routines and Recipes under Tips for Minimalist Living
  • A compilation of wedding planning resources
  • DIY/DIT wedding projects

I hope you are as excited for the changes as I am!

Minimalist Monday: 20%

Untitled drawing

This semester I am taking a course called “Learning and Technology” for my master’s program. Initially, I had wanted to learn how to successfully implement technology into the classroom but the way my professor has designed the course is around the abundance of learning opportunities offered in this connected world we live in.

One of our tasks is to create a 20% project. This means devoting 20% of class time to learning anything of interest to us. The idea comes from Google’s 20% project, where Google employees devote 20% of their work time to their own personal interests. I love that companies are gravitating towards this model of letting people follow their passions while earning a paycheck.

I have always been troubled by the mentality of “work to earn a paycheck so you have money to do what you want.”  In reality you may have the money to do what you want but working a job you hate drains your energy and time, so is there really time to follow your passions? It’s a broken idea. But following your passion involves huge risks and a lot of sacrifices that some are afraid to take. A company that allows its employees 20% time allows freedom and security to do what you like without the risk.

Anyways, you can read about my 20% project hereWhat do you think about 20% projects?

Minimalist Monday: Meal Planning

Since September I’ve been horrendously busy with school and student teaching and as a result my diet took a turn for the worse. My days start at 5:30 am and don’t end until 7:30 pm, at which point I am far too exhausted to cook myself a healthy meal. On top of that, the holidays and the fact that I’m making no income has taken a toll on our food budget. So take out and frozen dinners it has been.

A few weeks ago I decided that needed to change. I needed a plan of attack, some organization, a way to make easy healthy meals on a budget. I needed a meal plan. I did a quick Google search and read this article on how to make a meal plan and went on my way creating a meal plan. It’s done wonders for our diet and makes my life so easy.

If you’re interested in a meal plan here’s what I did:

1. Flipped through the Fresh and Easy cookbook for recipes. If there is one cookbook everyone should own it’s this one. The meals are simple and fresh, and it has photos of all of the ingredients and each step. Best cookbook I’ve ever used.

2. Made a list of recipes I liked. My criteria was that they take less than 20 minutes and, of course, that they look delicious.

3. Use the recipes to make menus. I used 10 recipes to make 5 menus as follows:

-Middle Eastern: Falafel and Tabouli

-Italian: Pasta with tomato pesto, caprese salad

-Light & Fresh: Poached eggs over asparagus, beet/goat cheese salad

-Country Picnic: Pan Bagnats and Gazpacho Soup

-Fish Dinner: Baked Fish, Cooked Spinach

4. Make a printable grocery list. You can see mine here. I have it broken down into the ingredients needed for each meal. I left off things like garlic, onion, and spices that I always have in stock.

5. Get shopping and cooking!

Notes: I have been choosing 3 menus a week to cook on MWF. On the off days I have leftovers. There are also some fabulous apps and websites for meal planning. I played around with Pepper Plate and I really liked it.

Bouquets are expensive, these are not!

Paper flowers

whovianbride

Holy florist batman!  Most things wedding related are expensive.  I know that.  Spending a bunch of money on flowers that will most likely get tossed in the garbage can.  Now, that may not be the case with you, but I would not preserve them.  So yet again, I took my love for all things tedious and made all the flowers for our bridal party, groomsmen, parents and grandparents.  I do mean made.  I looked up how to make paper roses and was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it is.

It really came down to finding the time to roll hundreds of book pages and card stock into beautiful flowers.  The bouquets have anywhere from 40-60 flowers in them.  The book pages were from a book I had purchased years ago at the library book sale for 50 cents.  I picked it up because it had some of the most…

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Minimalist Monday: Wabi-Sabi

Last week I was catsitting for my friend and visiting her apartment for the first time I fell in love. There was something beautiful and comforting about the space with its aged wood floors, candles, ancient stove, and consignment store furniture. I had been contemplating redecorating for a while (since I perpetually crave change) and her space just spoke to me.

As I sat on the couch petting the cat I spotted this book on the bookshelf:

The dust jacket read, “Simply put, wabi-sabi is the marriage of the Japanese wabi, meaning humble, and sabi, which connotes beauty in the natural progression of time. Together, the phrase invites us to set aside our pursuit of perfection and learn to appreciate the simple, unaffected beauty of things as they are.”

Intrigued, I began paging through the book. I read about the origin of wabi-sabi in Japanese tea ceremonies. I skimmed the chapter on creating space. I read passages about forgoing complexity for simplicity, celebrating damaged goods, and opting for the handmade over the mass-produced.

I’m hooked. This idea of wabi-sabi is a merger of minimalism and sustainability. In a nutshell, it encourages letting go of things that are not beautiful, functional, and meaningful (minimalism), repairing rather than replacing (sustainability), and making (or if you aren’t crafty purchasing) good quality handcrafted items from available resources. It also embraces celebration of aging and imperfection rather than pursuing eternal youth and imperfection. Simply put, age and imperfection gives character.