Minimalism + a Toddler: Beauty

Disclaimer: I’m not a beauty blogger and this post isn’t sponsored. This is probably the only makeup related post I’ll ever write – so enjoy!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming a mother it’s that we all do things differently. And by “things” I mean literally everything that goes into being a parent, including how we get ready in the morning!

Have you ever gone through all your makeup to pack the essentials for a trip? When I reviewed my makeup that’s what I wanted to keep at the end. Just the essentials.

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I didn’t have a large makeup collection to begin with but after getting rid of duplicates, replacing broken items, and tossing anything I didn’t use regularly I still had too many items for my personal taste.

Here are my two favorite new discoveries to replace the clutter.

A friend posted about this Maybelline SuperStay Lip Color and after applying it for the first time I happily got rid of every other lipstick I owned. All you need is a thin layer of gloss with the lip balm on top and you’re set for the day. No stinging, no clumping, no exfoliating, and no losing your separate gloss only to realize your toddler drank the rest of it. True story. I’ve been wearing Blush On for almost two weeks and I love it!

My other new favorite is the Maskara makeup palette. She’s created a compact to hold foundation, contour, blush and highlight. You can replenish the magnetic singles as you use them so there is minimal waste, it’s completely customizable, and it’s all in one place!

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They sell a double compact which can also hold eyeshadows…so once I find an eye shadow I like I might have to upgrade. I’ve been using it since Christmas and I have to say it’s been so nice to have everything in one compact!

Last but not least — let’s talk nails. I’ve always loved doing my nails and a few years ago got into doing gel nails on my own. Once I had Calvin I didn’t make the time for it and my supplies sat unused. I switched over to essie Gel Couture nail polish and have stuck with it for almost two years! I typically wear Fairy Taylor (the neutral color) since it goes with absolutely everything but if I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll switch over to one of the reds.

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The biggest takeaway when it comes to minimalism is that, just like parenting, it’s different for everyone. If having a makeup collection brings you joy then my suggestion is to throw away anything that is broken or expired and make the most of what you keep!

I’m loving my simplified makeup routine and love having less clutter even more!

Cheers!

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Let Them Be Little

The other night Calvin wasn’t wanting to cuddle before bedtime like usual. He was happy and very much awake. He kept pointing to the door and I was too tired to force bedtime so I let him get down. I brought him into my room, settled him onto the bed with Cars 3 on my phone and I laid down to get a little rest.

After about 10 minutes Calvin put down his movie and took the next 30 seconds to slowly pull a blanket over me. He’s so small and the blanket was so big it took him several one-handed pulls but once he was satisfied he patted my back and went back to his movie.

I teared up a little then and I get teary-eyed now just thinking about such a tender moment shared with my little guy. He is so sweet and loving and I never want to forget how he thought to look out for his mama like that.

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IMG-4158Like most moms, I lose my patience from time to time, and I worry that those moments of weakness will be what my child remembers. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I’m tired and accidentally fall asleep on the couch. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I spend more time doing dishes and cleaning than playing with him.

However, I hope he remembers the days that I cover him in kisses. I hope he remembers the days that we spend at the park just playing and running around. I hope he remembers the tender moments we’ve spent together as I rock him to sleep. And most of all, I hope he remembers how much I love him.

I hope he remembers that he changed my life in a million wonderful ways.

IMG-4167IMG-4166More than anything, I hope I forget all those times I lost my patience and that my memories of Calvin’s childhood will be the ones when we played, laughed, hugged, and discovered new things together. I hope my memories are filled with the first time he held my hand to walk down the street, the first time I rode a bike with him on the back, the first time he gave me a kiss, and the first time we played hide and seek together.

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Being a mother is definitely challenging. It’s so hard. Sometimes it seems impossible to figure out the best way to raise a tiny person who is always changing! But it’s also an incredibly beautiful journey full of tender moments that make your heart melt.

I hope I remember them all ❤

 

 

The Reality of City Life

We have officially lived in Hoboken for six months! To say time has flown by would be an understatement but I feel like life in general is passing by way too quickly.

I blame Calvin. I also blame him for the six new white hairs on my head…probably because he still calls me “dada”. It’s a good thing he’s so cute!

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So is living an urban lifestyle really that different from living in the suburbs? Uh yes. So far nothing has made us want to move back though! It’s been a positive change and we’re really happy with where we’re at.

Here’s how we’re making it work!

 

I MASTERED PARALLEL PARKING…THEN WE SOLD OUR CAR

Parking is complicated in Hoboken and expensive no matter where you go in the area. I wanted to keep our car when we moved (to make the transition a little easier) and I’m glad we did because not only can I parallel park like a boss but we’re also experts on the rules and regulations of parking in Hoboken.

Parking in a lot can cost up to $350/month so we opted for the $15/year street parking. Since Brandon takes the train to work and I wasn’t planning on using the car that much this worked out great.

We sold Brandon’s car before moving to New Jersey and as we got closer to 260k miles on my car it started having more and more issues. After we settled in here we were only using the car once a week so we decided to sell it. I frankly LOVE not dealing with repairs, insurance, and needing to re-park it every week. I take the bus or light rail most places and if we need a car for a roadtrip we can rent one from a block away. Selling our car removed a huge hassle in my life and it’s been great so far! As long as we’re in this area I don’t see us buying a new car.

IMAGINE A LIFE WITH NO LAUNDRY

In-unit laundry is rare here and unfortunately you’re lucky to find an apartment building that has laundry in the basement like ours. The first weekend we moved in we had NO clean laundry and couldn’t find where to put money on our laundry card so we discovered something that has changed my life & I never want to go back.

Same-day laundry service with free pick-up + delivery.

Most laundry places around here do Wash/Dry/Fold and provide free delivery. One of the vans I’ve seen around says, “Imagine a life with no laundry” and let me tell you, it’s pretty sweet. We have a scheduled time every week where someone picks up our two bags of laundry and returns eight hours later with beautiful, clean laundry that’s still warm. Yes, it’s the best thing in the world.

ALL MY GROCERIES FIT IN THE STROLLER

We initially ordered our groceries through Amazon Fresh but the produce wasn’t staying good long enough and we were throwing away too much food. I started getting our produce from Trader Joe’s and eventually make the switch to shopping for everything there.

Having Calvin come with me actually makes grocery shopping more convenient because I load everything into the stroller basket underneath his seat or hang it from the handle. While I’m shopping I do have to keep in mind my limited space but I’ve been surprised at how much I can fit into that basket! All the heavy things go down below while the lighter things stay in the bags. I bring the reusable bags and wrap the handles around the stroller handle so it carries most of the weight. Trader Joe’s is only three blocks away so it actually works out really nicely!

It also helps that the workers at Trader Joe’s are genius at bagging your groceries.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION — YOU NAME IT, I CAN NAVIGATE IT

Calvin loves every form of public transportation so taking it with him is easy. He waves at the drivers and even hailed a taxi last week — he was just copying Brandon but I love hailing taxis so I was proud of my little city kid!

Learning how to navigate public transportation has been challenging but it makes me feel accomplished when I successfully navigate my way around. Each system has it’s own quirks but once you get the hang of it, having access to public transportation is fantastic! We have a bus stop at the end of our block which gets us into NYC in about 10 minutes.  The ferry terminal is a 5 minute walk from our place and if it wasn’t $9/person I would take the ferry into the city every time because it’s only a 6 min ride, it’s super convenient with a stroller, and it’s I think it’s so fun!

I’m still not a master of the Subway but I can get to the Upper West Side on my own which is where Central Park, Levain Bakery, the LDS Manhattan Temple, and the Natural History Museum are — so the essentials 🙂

 

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Minimalism + a Toddler: Multi-Use Items

My favorite multi-purpose items!

One of the best things we’ve done in an attempt to have a more minimalist lifestyle is to review what we own and decide if there’s a more efficient way it could be used or if multiple things could be replaced by one item.

Here are four items we love and intentionally chose because of their functionality!

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I love our couch. We used to have a large couch and loveseat set from IKEA that took up our entire living room when we lived in Madison. We decided to look for something that made more sense in smaller spaces and opted for this couch + our yellow wingback chair.

I picked this one out based on the look but when I realized it pulls out for an easy guest bed – I was sold. It’s also fun for movie nights since there’s plenty of room for the whole family and then it’s a super easy clean up when you’re done!

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The chaise provides easy-access storage for games, blankets, and spare bedding.We also have two twin air mattresses that we store in the chaise – it stores an impressive amount of stuff! When we have guests over everything we need is right there IN the couch and it goes right back in the morning. Easy setup, easy clean up!

CUTTING BOARD + COLANDER

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After buying three sets of cutting boards in four years this was one area I thought we could use some serious improvement in. Why have a small, medium, and large cutting board when you can honestly just use one large cutting board for ALL your needs?

I happily parted ways with our multiple cutting boards when I found this beauty on Amazon! And yes, we got rid of our colander as well. The collapsible colander works great standing on it’s own but it also locks into place so you can use the cutting board over your sink and rinse what you need to right there. And so far, it hasn’t been a problem to just have ONE cutting board.

CALVIN’S DRESSER + HAMPER + CHANGING TABLE

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Mr. Layland actually picked this out, I took some convincing but I’m glad we went with it. We knew that we were going to use a dresser as Calvin’s changing table so we could use it long-term but this design is more functional than we were originally looking for and it’s been awesome!

I use the right basket as his clothes hamper, two of the drawers hold his clothes, the bottom drawer holds extra wipes, his second set of sheets, and spare towel. The top drawer is where I keep all his diapers, lotion, hygiene items, socks, etc. The left basket currently stores his blankets and any 2T/3T clothes we have.

SORTING HAMPER + IRONING BOARD

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We got this hamper when we moved to Hoboken and it has been exactly what we needed. We chucked our ironing board and old broken hampers and fell in love with this sturdy bad boy. I can’t say enough good things about it…and if you’re in a similar situation to us I would seriously consider adding it to your home!

It actually comes with three baskets…but a certain someone got into one of the baskets and ripped one of the sides from top to bottom. So that’s currently in the “fix this” pile.

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The baskets have super strong handles so the individual bags are well supported from the top and they are easy to carry when doing laundry. My biggest concern when we decided to order it was the shape of the ironing board. Since the traditional ironing board comes to a point at the end I was worried this wouldn’t be as functional – but it’s been fine! The wheels lock into place so it’s sturdy and sits where it’s supposed to.

 

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Minimalism + a Toddler: Where to Start

If you’ve ever felt like it’s impossible to keep your home clean and you’re wondering why you have so much stuff — this is for you. And honestly it’s for everyone but especially for those with little ones at home!

Right before we moved to Hoboken we watched “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix and I realized this was the answer I had been looking for.

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Watch it! If you only have 10 min check out this TED Talk featuring Maura Malloy for a quick rundown on living simply.

Most of what I’ve watched and read on minimalism is created by singles, married couples without children, or by one couple with children in grade school. Which left me empty-handed in my search for how to live a minimalist lifestyle with a toddler at home.

So here’s how we’re doing it!

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WHERE WE STARTED: Clothes. A big inspiration for me has been Jennifer L. Scott who lived in Paris as a foreign exchange student and wrote a book about what she learned from the family she lived with about always looking your best with a small, high-quality wardrobe. We got rid of any clothes we hadn’t worn in the past year, anything with holes, and anything that we didn’t fit into anymore. We’ve gone through our clothes a few times over the past two years and gotten more serious about getting rid of things each time. Eventually we decided to develop capsule wardrobes so that’s what we’re in the process of putting together right now – even for Calvin.

Having a capsule wardrobe for your kids means they can get themselves dressed and no matter what they put on – it’ll coordinate! It means less decision confusion – that feeling you get when you’re staring into your closet and think you have nothing to wear – because all of your clothes will go together and you’ll love each piece you have.

It also means less laundry! Wahoo!

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Calvin’s tops go in the second drawer and his bottoms and pajamas go in the third drawer. That’s it!  He wears 75% of his clothes every week and I don’t feel like I’m wasting space with those clothes kids never wear. The right basket is his laundry hamper so it’s super convenient when I’m changing him.

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RULE OF THUMB FOR TODDLERS: Designate a space for toys. Toys can take over your home if you let them, which is why I’m SO glad we’re working towards minimalism while Calvin is still young. We don’t keep any toys in the living room — all of Calvin’s toys stay in his room and have a place to go. We bring them out to the living room to play sometimes but they always go back before naptime/bedtime.

For the most part, we’ve been trying to limit his toy collection to the two white bins at the bottom of his bookcase and his books to the shelf above it. We went through his toys before Christmas and I set aside anything that was either no longer age appropriate or items he didn’t play with as often. We were in a really good place…and then we had Christmas! We had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed our time with family but I had to go back to the drawing board to figure out if and where to keep everything.

It happens more often than I’d like but it’s always good to assess where you’re at on a journey and look for ways to improve along the way.

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We gifted the kitchen + play food to Calvin this year for Christmas and he absolutely loves it! It’s been a great new addition that’s added value to his imagination play and I love seeing him cook and be more interested in helping me in our kitchen.

His closet is currently housing a shallow bin of Duplos, two puzzles, his grey/white teepee, this IKEA rug for driving his cars on and a puppet that Mr. Layland couldn’t live without named Pedro – he’s teaching Calvin Spanish 🙂 Right now this works for us but I’m considering a roll-out bin that will fit under his crib for those toys.

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THE BEST PART: Having less to keep up with! Even when Calvin pulls out ALL of his books and toys from his bins (like he did last week) it takes less than 5 minutes to clean it all up. It’s helping him really use the toys he has and helping us both have less stress in our lives. So far it’s working really well and he’s a fantastic picker-upper!

THE HARDEST PART: Gifts. You control what you bring into your home but you can’t always control what others give you. We’re doing our best to ask for things our entire family can enjoy, things we need, or experience-based gifts. Despite a few bumps in the road I think it’s going pretty well so far!

So that’s where we’re at in this journey towards minimalism with a toddler!

If there is something specific you’re curious about please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to fit it into a future post! I’d also love any ideas you’ve tried and love!

How to Love Your Tiny Apartment

After living in Arizona for a few years I needed a change of pace (and weather) and that’s how we ended up in New Jersey! We lived in Madison for a year and a half in a small 1 bedroom + den and really enjoyed it but we ended up in Hoboken or NYC most weekends and loved the idea of an urban lifestyle.

We casually looked at apartments for a full year in the Hoboken/Jersey City area because when Brandon and I go apartment hunting we go full-on HGTV. We make pro-con lists, do a TON of research, and talk each other’s ears off about each one we see. By some miracle we find apartments that work for both of us and eventually we found this apartment in Hoboken! We saw it in the last week of June and by Aug 1 we were all moved in and thrilled with our new home.

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Everything I read about urban living said the lack of square footage could be made up in great natural light + high ceilings. Since I spend a good portion of the day at home with Calvin and I also work remotely, having those two things made the top of my list! I love the light we get through our windows every morning, it makes everything feel fresh.

I fell in love with this apartment the moment we stepped through the doorway and by the time we made it to the second bedroom we were both sold.

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It’s been the perfect fit for all three of us!

The high ceilings and windows make our limited space feel surprisingly open. It’s exactly what we needed and even on those cloudy, rainy days (or maybe especially on those days) I’m so glad we found a home with such wonderful light.

If you’re in the market for a tiny apartment, here’s my two cents: don’t let limited space scare you! Find a place with high ceilings and great natural light and hopefully you’ll love your home as much as we love ours.

 

So, that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Happy New Year!

 

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In the last few weeks of 2017 I excitedly pondered what goals I would set for the coming year. For the first time in my life I felt thrilled by the idea of setting goals to change my life and make it what I want. Don’t get me wrong – I love my life – and my goals are nothing drastic but the overall mindset and momentum behind my goal setting was unprecedented.

Here’s what did it for me: The Compound Effect and The Minimalists.

If you haven’t read The Compound Effect, you really should. Long story short: picture the life you’ve always dreamed of and set goals today that will get you there. This idea isn’t revolutionary but the details in the book guide you to make the most effective physical and mental changes so that those dreams can become a reality much sooner!

Keep in mind, that dream life is probably not hiding right around the corner – it will take a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy while we pursue that dream.

“The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life…you make it.”

Thomas S. Monson

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The less we negatively compare our lives to the lives of other people, the happier we’ll be! And believe it or not – the less we HAVE the happier we’ll be. If you have Netflix check out The Minimalists documentary, it’s life-changing. While I don’t think all of my belongings will ever fit into one suitcase, the idea behind it is what I’m working towards.

If you limit what clothes and household items you have, you limit the choices you have to make and the mess you have to clean. Instead of having five $10 shirts you sort of like you can have one $50 shirt that you love, looks amazing on you, and will last. And who doesn’t want to easily get dressed in the morning, always look fabulous, and have less to clean?! Less laundry and less clutter = more time and more of what you love with the ones you love.

Nothing makes me happier than being a mother and the entire package of life that comes with it. Now, that’s not to say that it isn’t hard – it is – but each day is a chance to start fresh and do better than the day before! And who would not love to be kissing this little face instead of doing laundry and cleaning?!

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I have several goals set for each aspect of my life but they all come together for the one goal of making the happy life I want with the ones I love. I hope yours do too!

Happy New Year!

 

 

PC: LW Photography