Minimalism · Values

Back to the Basics

02-15 Clouds 2(Picture of Homer, Alaska.)

It’s been a while since I moved to Iowa City for school. Freshman year hit me like a bullet train and now I’m taking a couple of semesters off to gain residency.

To gain residency in the state of Iowa, the applicant must work at least thirty hours a week. I was foolish and focused all of my time and energy on my job, trying to gain as many hours as possible. In the end I came away with a fat paycheck and lot’s of hours for my residency, but my joints were out of place. I also lost my boyfriend.

We have a time difference of only an hour, yet he attends college as well. In the end, we couldn’t make our schedule conflicts work for the both of us. My joints alongside the end of my relationship gave me the push I needed to take it back, way way back to the beginning. (Yes, that was a brief Logic reference.)

This month, I’m going to make my health my priority. Not my relationships, job, or even school. Health is the foundation of life, and without a foundation, nothing else can be built.

Join me as I catalog my progress and work on improving my health.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.

Minimalism · Values

Changes; Tips on Decluttering

ByeAlaska-COLLAGE          This week I bid Alaska farewell and headed to Iowa City for uni. I sent one piece of luggage with my sister and my brother-in-law, checked a small sports bag, a suit case, and carried on a single backpack. In hindsight, if I didn’t have as much winter clothes or books, I wouldn’t need so much baggage. However if there is anything minimalism has taught me, it’s to keep the items that add value to my life, and be rid of the superfluous clutter. As I have found value in these minimalism tips, I thought I would share them on my blog.

  1. Donate clothes first.

With the KonMari method, the first category to tackle is clothing. Start with items that you have never worn. Old gifts whose origins are forgotten, clothes from primary school, old team t-shirts which you never wear. Then, move on to luxury items and sentimental ones. My aunt gifted me with a leather jacket which I never wore. I re-gifted the jacket to an underclassmen for her birthday since she seemed to like the style. It may be considered a faux pas to re-gift, but I say we eliminate the stigma. It’ll be better for the environment and our pockets.  For the last stage, get rid of clothes that don’t fit. If you’re working toward a fitness goal, ask yourself two simple questions. “Will  I actually be healthy if I can fit into this piece of clothing?” and “Is this size a realistic and healthy goal?” If there is even a doubt that the answer is ‘yes,’ donate it immediately. Working out and exercising is great for health, not for superficial clothing sizes.

    2. Have I read this book in the last year?

We all have books from our childhood. Ones that we kept clutched to our chests, others permanently glued to our bedside tables. When was the last time you’ve actually read these books? Better yet, ask a trusted partner to move the books to a different location without telling you when they do so. See how long it takes for you to notice. If a week or more goes by, donate it. My old library used to collect books and sell them to profit the library. I gave away most of my books with a smile knowing that they would benefit the community. Look for similar charities in your area. Libraries, churches, and book swap boxes are all good places to donate.

     3.  I don’t think it’s expired…

One of the main areas I need to tackle was my makeup collection. At the beginning of my Project Pan I had over thirty items in my collection. Five months in, I have twenty-two items. Most of the items I gave away to friends who I knew would find value, such as my Naked palette. I encourage you to donate your makeup items to friends and family who might find more value in eye shadows and nail polishes. Other items such as dried out eyeliners, lipsticks that are never worn, I suggest tossing in the bin. Your face is a premium canvass which should only be adorned with items of true joy. 

I hope these tips have proven to be useful, and that now I’m settled in my new home, I will actually update twice a week. Best of luck to the both of us.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.





Minimalism · Values

Adding Value in May


The above image is of course, mine.

          The month of May brutally attacked students, spitted out graduates, and left in a whirlwind. In that chaos I found several items which added value to my life, and I’m going to share them with you.  First up is media favorites.           

              Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has dark comedy, history, travel, mythology and adventure. Mysterious carousel rides, coin tricks, leprechauns, even after reading the novel, the audience will have several questions. Read it and create some of your own.       

               Riverdale caught my interest with its diverse cast, intriguing plot and the lovely Cole Sprouse. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody took up most of my youth. The hilarious Sprouse Twins and the accompanying cast never failed to make me laugh with their antics. When I finally found a chance to watch Riverdale, I gobbled it up in three days. Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) narrates the tale of Jason Blossom’s murder. The audience follows Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Jughead Jones as they battle their way through slut shaming, song composition, having a father in jail, and sordid family secrets. 

              As I was watching, Cheryl Blossom’s signature red lips caught my attention. I knew that the product came from Covergirl, which tests on animals. Thankfully in the 21st century, there are tons of dupes available and I chose NYX Buttergloss in Apple Crisp. The lasting power is fantastic, the pigmentation a dream, and the smell isn’t bad either. I always pair it with a lip liner for precision application and to minimize bleeding. Speaking of bleeding, Lookout, a Korean drama explores the lengths a mother will go to avenge the death of her child.

             Jo SuJi becomes a vigilante as she watches the boy who murdered her daughter Yoona, slip through the cracks since his father is the chief prosecutor. Together with the Boss, a genius hacker, and a shut-in, they bring justice to dismissed crimes and cases. Action packed and a tear jerker, would highly recommend.

             My final media favorite is the Neighbourhood by Sally’s Garage ft. the Neighbourhood. It’s an atmospheric song not unlike the Neighbourhood’s previous work. The indistinguishable lyrics provide a dreamy atmosphere which is perfect for late night drives.

             Cruelty-free favorites are Colourpop’s Super Shock Shadow in Flutes. and NYX Microbrow pencil. Sichenmakeupholic demoed Flutes and I knew I just had it have it. These days I don’t wear that much eye shadow. I just pop on Flutes in my outer v and slightly under my lash line for a quick contour.

Microbrow provides precision and staying power which lasts through sweat and rain. Highly recommend, even over Anastasia Beverly Hills legendary brow pencil.

         I finally got my Zero Waste Shopping Kit and I couldn’t be happier. Well… it would be nice if all of the bags came with drawstrings, but that’s a minor detail. Initially I worried about the heavy mass of my groceries stretching the bags or creating holes, but so far that hasn’t happened. The kit easy to carry around and perfect for reducing waste and not ending up with a bunch of produce bags I don’t know what to do with. Would highly recommend.

           I hope you find value in some of these products and items as I have.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.




The Night of Graduation, Family Over Casinos


The above image is not mine, but it was permitted for use.   

           May twenty-first, 2017, I finished my k-12 education. The valedictorians’ (yes, valedictorians’) speech reminded me of the struggles we faced as a class, fighting our way to earn a diploma. One of us contracted osteosarcoma, yet he still managed to graduate with the rest of us. Us of the class of 2017 are exceptionally tenacious, after all. The night of our graduation, the school and our parents organized a casino night.

              Originally I meant to get dressed up, rock red lips and kiss my friends goodbye as I made off with my wins, but instead I went home and ate dinner with my in-laws, sister, and parents.

              My time with the class of 2017 came to an end in our school gymnasium. It was time to let go of ephemeral bonds and to solidify the ones I’d have for life. Plus, my brother-in-law made pasta and we agreed to eat after graduation, and my sister and he could teach me everything I would ever want to know about gambling and casino games.

             The parents and my friends said I’d regret not going, but that wasn’t the case. We passed pasta around the table, at copious amounts of garlic and a chocolate chip pie for dessert. It was intimate, and beautiful; especially since I’m 51% extrovert and 49% introvert.

                 Now that I have a month of freedom, content on this blog will be a bit different. Just how different it will be, can only be found out in the future.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.

Minimalism · Values

Maximizing Time


Once again, the photographed person is not me, seeing as I took the picture.

            A little town where almost everyone knows each other. Forget the six degrees of separation, if you know Steve, you are connected to everyone in this town and the next. Most stores close at six, some don’t open in winter, others close at two. Welcome to my town.

            The internet devoured most of my time Luckily my family is financially stable so all I had to do was get good grades and go to school. YouTube videos, animes, fanfics, t.v., and books devoured most of my time but added little value.

            Media is a drug; the more you take in, the more you crave for that same high.

            Instead of dedicating my time to anxiety and consuming mass amounts of media, I chose volunteer at the animal shelter.

            The first day I had a realization about cats; not all of them are evil. Til that day, I equated cats with devilry, evil. It turns out not every single cat is like Luna I or Luna II (the first my family adopted then returned, the second is my current cat).

            The cats at the shelter are playful, kind, loving, spiteful, prideful, arrogant, pompous, cranky; no wonder cats are often associated with aristocrats.

             I’m thankful to the Minimalists for encouraging me to step out of the comfort zone and do more, be more, contribute more. My course load, family life, depression, anxiety combined into the perfect storm to make life about me. Everything was about me. All of my actions pertained to me and that isn’t the best life, that isn’t the life I wanted.

            Priorities, self-pity, the storm of me were minimized alongside my physical belongings. Now, almost a year into my journey, I’m still learning. The worst of the storm passed and now in the eye of the storm, calm found me.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.

Physical Health · Values

Sleep and AP Exams


The photo above is, as always, mine. Taken in Seattle 2016.

                 The first week of AP testing rolled in like a hurricane, threw students in a whirlwind, and left them behind exhausted and irritated. Last year, my hands shook to the point I worried that the scanner wouldn’t be able to process my multiple-choice. This year, I walked in prepared, calm and ready. What changed exactly? Sleep.
             Late 2016, my doctors diagnosed me with insomnia. Apparently it’s not normal to take three hours to fall asleep and wake up every hour on the hour. Who knew?
Insomnia gave me an edge that others don’t have, I can’t sleep at appropriate times at all. Why not use the time to do something productive? Last year I once stayed awake until two a.m. studying for an APUSH test. Insane? Oh yeah. Did it work? At the cost of my mental health, I did get an A in that class.
              The lack of sleep provided good grades, but it also drove away friends. Lack of sleep makes me irritable, aggravates my obsessive compulsive tendencies, and heightens anxiety. To combat the effects, I tried several different regimens. Unisom, amethyst crystals, chamomile tea, breathing exercises, stretching, resulted in a meager five hours of sleep on average. Poor quality and quantity, left a lot for longing.
             Thankfully after my diagnosis and some trial and error, I started trazadone which does wonders for my sleep. Not only do I sleep deeper, I’m not cranky all the time and the fog that permeated in my mind, vanished. It’s much easier to cram and have it be effective. I’m someone who needs seventy-two hours in a day to get all of her work done.                 Needless to say, I don’t have much freedom nor free time. When the rare chance arises, I study an hour or two before bed, changing subjects as I see fit. To my surprise, I actually remember the information I read now. It sticks into my brain and I can recall the information. I’m not as cranky or anxious. During class I can focus on the subject instead of daydreaming of ways to get out of class or doze off.
                My tips for you for better sleep is to take away the demerits. I used to overcome chilly toes with sheer force, but now I wear fuzzy socks to sleep. Not only are they extremely comfortable, they also increase the quality of my sleep. Instead of reading an engaging novel before bed, I listen to a podcast or write instead.
                This Monday I took the AP Chemistry exam. If I took it last year, I would have hyperventilated and had a panic attack or two. This year I calmly finished up my final study session before the exam, ate a Larabar, and conquered the behemoth. It’s all thanks to sleep that I came out without a scratch.
               My wish for you is to do the same. Prioritize sleep, make sleep feel like a luxury, pamper yourself during sleep. Your mind and performance will thank you.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.

Minimalism · Values

Minimizing in May

          Minimal vanity, two words, completely different connotations. Minimal, the bare necessities, nothing superfluous. Vanity, overflowing amounts of makeup, hoards of clothing, jewelry, above and beyond.
Originally I clung on to makeup for an arbitrary reason, money. Green slips of paper somehow became more important than my happiness, than my values, than my beliefs, change needed to happen.
          In February of this year, I undertook Project Pan. Since then ten products have made their way out of my vanity. For my Project Pan, I chose one product from each category, which were the only products I would allow myself to use within that month.
That first month I discovered something quite extraordinary, the bright, garish orange lip gloss I had chosen for February, didn’t have to be used up. While my inner zero waste fanatic had a myocardial infarction, she also found solace.
After the realization, I discarded the products I couldn’t pass on (lip products, products that touch my inner eyes, etc) and gave away the rest. Now I have about thirty items, but the number is arbitrary. The takeaway is this, discard items that take value from your life, better yet, gift it to someone who will find value. The next step is to practice intent.

        $180 worth of cuts, $180 worth of dye sessions. What kind of insanity is that?
My inner Ravenclaw and Slytherin conspired with each other to rid the annual bill of $360 dollars for hair, essentially dead protein.
       “Why not learn how to cut and dye your own hair? You’ll barely have enough money for textbooks and school supplies in three months.” With a quick text to my hairstylist, one lesson, and a pair of scissors, dead ends met their demise.
To cut my hair to a satisfactory level, I purchased a pair of eleven dollar scissors. The cheaper scissors from a brand I despise called to me, but I knew that these scissors would be an investment. Now instead of $90 twice a year dedicated to the dead, I can now dedicate that sum to something of value. Whether it is financial stability, gifting an experience to a loved one, getting a meal with friends, etc. The eleven dollars went beyond the scissors, it gave me a catalyst to utilize my limited finances more effectively, to practice intent.

         This month I’m also practicing intentional waste. I purchased a zero waste shopping kit from BagMeFrankfurt. While my veggies and fruits were sitting in their sad plastic bags, nightmares of choking seagulls invaded my dreams. The kit has yet to arrive, but I’m excited at the prospect of cutting back not just on shopping bags, but produce bags as well.
           The Diva Cup is also making an appearance this month. I could not recommend the Diva Cup enough. It dramatically cuts down waste, while I’m on period I can never forget it at home, (seeing as it’s in me) and the clean up and maintenance is minimal.

Flailing through chaos with minimal damage. Chronicles twice a week.