I moved!

Hello friends! I hope you’re all having a wonderful New Year’s Eve.

2016 has come to an end, and so has this blog. It will remain active for a time as I save favorite old posts, but I finally set up a new, personal blog at my own domain.

If you are interested in following me at my new blog, please check it out: https://shelbylynn.blog

Thank you so much for your support over the last ~2 years. I love and appreciate all of you.

Cheers to you in 2017!

Advertisements

things I’m loving lately

hi all!

oh boy- I’ve been working to minimize my life in order to maximize the value I receive from the things, people, and activities in my life. it’s really been a journey so far and I don’t want to lose momentum. I’ll keep you guys posted with more updates as I go.

somewhat ironically, today’s post is a little list of things I’ve been loving lately. it’s an eclectic little list, but maybe one of these things will add value to your life.

1. podcasts- specifically, The Minimalists podcast and Gaby Dunn’s Bad With Money podcast. both are inspiring, entertaining, and make me feel like I’m starting to get my life together.

2. Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough– this cookie dough is the answer to my vegan prayers. it’s dairy and egg free, and tastes amazing raw or baked. a jar is also less than $4 dollars, and it’s become basically a staple in my fridge.

3. Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens– these pens are the best damn pens I’ve ever used. the colors are vibrant and lasting and the pens write smoothly. I’m excited to use them for journaling.

4. Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara– as I write this, I’m freaking out just a little because it seems to be out of stock everywhere. it’s unsurprising, though- this mascara is incredible. it’ll give you so much length and volume that people may ask you if you’re wearing falsies.

that’s it for now, friends.

september simplicity update #1

hey ladies and gents!

I wanted to post a quick update: in my last little post, I mentioned my intent to get deeper into minimalism this month. so far, I’ve decluttered my makeup collection and my electronic files.

when I decluttered cosmetics, it was pretty easy. my collection is honestly much larger than necessary, but makeup is a hobby for me and I found that is was easy to be pretty objective and throw out products that I never use, were years old, or were bad colors for my skin tone. I could declutter more, but I’m content with where I ended the decluttering process.

yesterday I decluttered my electric files, and that was overwhelming. I deleted pointless and duplicate photos, old school papers, and other documents. I had to take multiple breaks because the number of files on my computer and drive was overwhelming. the process made me really anxious. i didn’t even feel attachment to the things I was deleting, but the thought “what if I need this someday? what about x, and y, and z???” was making me hesitate to delete files. but electronic clutter is one of my biggest stressors. seeing hundreds of files and pdfs makes me feel so anxious, like each file is important even when i have five other documents that are identical. why hang on to my research paper from 2012? why hang on to the rough draft of that paper? it’s so unnecessary. I did manage to clear out a good number of documents, but this is definitely an area of my life that could use more decluttering.

finally, I’ve started compiling a box of random items to sell or donate and I’ll mention what I managed to throw in there at the end of the month.

decluttering can be a process. sometimes it’s stressful. but it is so freeing to let go of unnecessary material things in oder to focus better and think more clearly.

much love to all of you. xo

september simplicity

welcome to september, friends.

minimalism has always been an interest of mine ever since discovering it as both a philosophy and aesthetic.

I love the idea of doing more with less and simplifying life in order to get the most from it.

last month, I attempted a “no-buy” month and failed spectacularly (hence the lack of mention of it here on the blog) and rather than attempt it again this month, I’m going to focus on minimizing my life by clearing out my closet, cosmetics, electronic files and maybe- if I can work up the strength- my bookshelves.

by acting with intentionality, I hope to learn some lessons through this process. hopefully I’ll have something worthwhile to share when I write a follow-up post at the end of the month.

I’ll update soon(-ish)

xoxo

 

trading FOMO for GOMO

it’s summer, y’all.

summer is a nostalgic season- it brings up the visions of bonfires, s’mores, sunsets, sangria, wildflowers, concerts, and stargazing.

summer is the season for running around barefoot and embracing the moment.

a season of excitement and discovery.

too often the summer resolutions we all set for ourselves fall to the wayside, and we let the routine of everyday life distract us from using the change in the season as an opportunity to embrace change in ourselves.

it’s time to trade the fear of missing out (FOMO) for the act of going out more often (GOMO).

it’s time to DoMo: do more.

go to concerts. take road trips. step out of your comfort zone and do something fun this summer.

I’m trying to push myself this summer and- despite working a 9-5 with very limited opportunities to take vacation- I plan to do more.

this summer:
I’m going to go to a Panic! at the Disco concert with friends
I’m going to get a tattoo
I’m going to do something for my birthday (still figuring this one out)

in addition to a few, easy-to-list goals to beat the feeling of FOMO and encourage GOMO, my goal this summer is to be more open to opportunities that present themselves.

GOMO, however, isn’t confined to the sunshine of summer. it isn’t too late to make the most of all of 2016, which for me means staying open to opportunities, revisiting my goals for 2016, spending more time with friends (and less on the couch), and enjoying life as much as I can.

part of GOMO might include planning my birthday bash through the free tools on Eventbrite, or scrolling through the posted events to find opportunities to GOMO near me. Eventbrite makes it easy to do something new and exciting and ditch the FOMO that settles when our days become to routine.

the sun is shining and the water is warm- dive into making the most of your summer and turn FOMO into going out more and doing more.

EB-GOMO
Eventbrite invited me to write a post to help promote their exciting new summer initiative. All thoughts are my own.

 

tofu quinoa lettuce leaf tacos

hi friends!

I know it’s been a while since I posted, but that’s life, ya know? not to worry- there are a few posts in the works that are coming soon to a blog near you.

last week, I was feeling pretty bloated. I’m one of those people that gains all their weight right in the stomach, and it makes shopping for bathing suits fucking impossible less than ideal. I’ve been eating well and working out, but losing weight takes time.

I started researching what I could do for my body shape, and one of the suggestions I found was to adopt a ketogenic diet.

giving up carbs? absolutely not.

while I don’t think a ketogenic diet is realistic for me, it did inspire me to come up with some meal ideas that aren’t totally reliant on carbs, like these tofu quinoa lettuce leaf tacos.

IMG_0394

vegan? yes.

ketogenic? sorta.

easy? most definitely.

and tasty, too!

IMG_0388
first things first- kick your pouty pets out of the kitchen. Darby was sad that I didn’t drop any scraps for her.

ingredients:
16 oz. tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 packet of taco seasoning (or be classy and mix your own spices)
a pinch of salt
an avocado
fresh lemon
leaves of romaine
your favorite hot sauce (optional)

IMG_0382

directions:
-heat one cup of water in a small pot until boiling. turn down the heat to medium or medium-low and pour in the quinoa. cover and cook until done, which should be about 10 minutes.
-while your quinoa is cooking, prep your romaine and avocado. cube the avocado and rinse the leaves of romaine. lay out the leaves to dry. you can also pat the leaves dry with paper towels. cut about two inches from the bottom of the romaine leaves to remove the hardest and thickest part of the vein.
-once your quinoa is done remove it from heat and lower the heat slightly. crumble your tofu into a larger pot or saucepan and pour in the quinoa. add the tablespoon of olive oil and stir well to mix and crumble the tofu.
-stir in your taco seasoning to taste. I actually used a packet and a half of seasoning, and the tofu blend had a nice spice to it. return your pan to the heat, warm the blend throughly, stirring frequently until the mix is warm and well mixed. remove the pan from heat. add a small pics of salt and stir once more.
-lay out the leaves of romaine on to your plates and scoop the tofu mix into the leaves. top with a small squirt of lemon juice and cubed avocado (and hot sauce, if you’d like). I think it would also be good to add chopped tomato, but I opted not to.
-serve immediately.

makes 6-9 tacos, depending on how full you fill the leaves of romaine.

IMG_0389

enjoying them with a cold glass of chardonnay and Mumford & Sons playing in the background is optional, but highly recommended.

the broke rich girl guide to budgeting

…that title wasn’t entirely truthful, but I wanted to make sure this post begins with an acknowledgment and disclaimer: I come from a place of privilege. I’m not rich, but I do live at home with my parents, who don’t charge me rent and are more than willing to let me use their resources as I learn how to act and manage money like a grown-ass adult.

that all being said, I thought I would share the penny-pinching, strategic spending tips and tricks I’ve learned so far.

  1. ditch the word budget. budgeting has the connotation of being restrictive, annoying, difficult, and limiting. use a term like spending plan to create a more empowering connotation- you are not slave to a budget, but the director of your monetary life. you are in control.
  2. figure out your monthly take-home pay and your expenses. this is where you’re going to need to get both creative and serious. your expenses cannot exceed your take-home pay, and your expenses are going to vary from the expenses of others based on your situation. like I said in my disclaimer, I am in a situation right now where I can put my money towards things other than housing, which frees up quite a bit for me to reallocate and to loosen the reigns slightly on my monthly plan. below is an example of my monthly spending plan:Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.25.31 PM.png
  3. use tools to help you manage variable expenses. some of my expenses like groceries, gas, and my “fun money” are estimates, and I may spend more or less during the month. if i spend less, awesome! if I spend more, I may need to review my spending history and adjust for the next month accordingly. my favorite tool for this is Pennies, which I was able to download for free (thanks, Starbucks rewards!). I enter my monthly limits and then track what I spend for each category, and the color coded graphic shows me the length of the month, my balance, and if I can spend freely or carefully. below is a screenshot of one of my budgets in the app.                                                                              IMG_0324.PNG
  4. find a penny, pick it up. it might seem tacky, but if I am walking and notice that there is a penny or other coin on the ground, I will pick it up and put it in my wallet. all the change I accrue goes into a mason jar, and once the jar is full I take it to a CoinStar and exchange it for a gift card to Amazon or elsewhere! and FYI, when you choose to turn in your coinage for a gift card or as a charitable donation, there is no percentage deducted. woohoo!
  5. carry cash (or don’t). figure out which medium is best for your spending habits. while there are studies suggesting that the physical and visual act of handing someone paper money makes you more aware of the consequences of spending money, I know that I tend to spend cash when I have it but think more carefully about how swiping my debit card will affect my checking account. I try to carry a little cash for emergencies but use my debit card for most purchases. and I don’t carry or use credit cards. period.
  6. if you shop at Target, go red. I signed up for the Target red debit card and overtime I shop, I save 5% you also get free shipping for online orders and an extra 30 days to make returns.
  7. use Ebates for online shopping. if you haven’t started using it yet, YOU NEED TO. the site gives you a portion of the affiliate payment it receives from the associated retailers. if I spend $50 at Sephora, Ebates will give me $1.50. it might not seem like much, but it adds up! you’re getting small savings that you otherwise wouldn’t, so why not go after them?
  8. coupon and sign up for rewards programs- but only if you’ll use them. I coupon only for products I use regularly. jut because it’s money off, doesn’t mean it’s money you should spend. the same goes with reward programs. I am a Starbucks Gold member, Barnes and Noble member, and an Ulta Platinum member, but only because they are already regular expenditures for me. the B&N membership gives me 10% off each purchase I make and the points I earn at Starbucks and Ulta I can redeem for free coffee and huge savings.
  9. reduce, reuse, and recycle. be minimalistic. challenge yourself to reduce your energy bill each month, or to turn your daily Starbucks habit into a once a week treat. buy cloth towels instead of paper. keep glass jars and use them for storage or as a tupperware alternative. save your cans and bottles and recycle them- you will probably earn a couple bucks doing so.
  10. give back and invest in yourself. give back to your church or your favorite charity and use your flexible spending funds to invest in yourself- get a tattoo, pay for an online certification class, book a trip to a new place- spend in ways that will make your future self better, proud, and confident.

I know there really isn’t anything groundbreaking about my advice, but I encourage you to put these tips into practice; I think you’ll be surprised at how much they will help you manage your money. before I did these things, I had a habit of spending myself into the red. since I instituted my spending plan, my savings have grown, as well as my confidence.

what advice do you have for money management? share it in the comments section!

IMG_0322.JPG

know how to tell if someone is vegan?

don’t worry…they’ll tell you.

I didn’t intend for my next post to be another post about veganism, but hell- it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

“how do you know if someone is a vegan? don’t worry, they’ll tell you!” it’s a long running joke. occasionally deserved, always eye roll-inducing. as far as my personal journey with veganism goes, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this statement does apply to me.

I am vegan and I will tell you. I’ll tell you because…

…you asked why I ordered the veggie burger without cheese and asked that the bun not be buttered.

…I want you to know that I appreciate the doughnuts you brought for the office, but I won’t be eating one.

…you invited me over for dinner and it would be incredibly rude of me and awkward if I never said anything before coming over.

…you offered me something I don’t eat and still insisted that I try it after I said “no, thank you” and I know you’re trying to be kind, and I don’t want to be rude.

…you are a waiter/waitress and I want to explain why my order is complicated.

…the brownies I made have ingredients like avocado, and I want to make sure you’re not allergic (and then you ask why on earth the brownies contain avocado).

…you gave me a quizzical look when I brought my own hot dogs to the barbecue (and yes, they are soy dogs).

…you asked if I’ve changed anything in my routine because my skin is better and I’ve lost weight.

…veganism is something I’m passionate about I want to share with you the things that make me happy and are important to me.

…I get excited about the things I’ve learned and the way I’m living my life.

…because you asked.

I’ll absolutely tell you that I’m vegan, but I won’t preach at you or blabber on and on about the ethics or health advantages. I’m not going to judge you for your choices or act insulted because you offered me a slice of pepperoni pizza.

long ramble made very short: yes, I’m vegan and yes, I’ll tell you.

now let’s get back to eating and laughing and enjoying life.

 

and one pasta with meatless balls

…please tell me that someone understood the reference I made with my title?

anyways… I have cheesecake, mayo, and butter in my fridge. I also have ice cream and chicken nuggets in my freezer. probably doesn’t sound like a big idea deal, but lots of people seem to recoil in horror when I tell them that…wait for it…all of those foods are meatless. cue the stuttering and interrogation about getting enough protein.

humor and cynicism aside, I recently made the choice to commit to veganism. in terms of my diet, the change didn’t feel like a big leap. I’ve been a vegetarian for over five years and my dairy consumption has lowered significantly over the years, so making the choice to cut it completely hasn’t felt uncomfortable. in fact, it’s been amazing- but we’ll talk more about that in a little while.

the part of going vegan that has been hardest is the social aspect. a fact that is unsurprising, but still not always easy to deal with. eating out at restaurants isn’t very easy. every distant relative is suddenly a nutrition expert. where do you get your protein? soy is the devil! speaking up for myself and saying “no” to foods prepared for me sometimes makes me feel guilty for being the ONE person with a very specific diet.

but the way I feel far outweighs the opinions of others and the monotony of choosing a house salad or a house salad at major chain restaurants.

all the clichés of having more energy, feeling lighter, and healthier. my appetite has increased, but so have my feelings of satiation after eating and my self image. I feel no guilt about eating. I’ve even lost a little weight, even though that wasn’t a goal or motivation of my decision.

it isn’t an entirely physical feeling, though- I feel better emotionally and spiritually knowing that I have made a choice- based on my health and ethical beliefs- to better myself. I don’t like getting preachy when people haven’t expressed curiosity, but I strongly feel that in making this choice, I am living a better, more compassionate life. I initially went vegetarian for health reasons, but the longer I’ve been plant-based, the more I’ve researched the health benefits and the impact that eating meat has on our modern world. I’ve come to my decision not out of ignorance or naiveté, but out of understanding.

making this choice, for myself and by myself, has been empowering. that might sound pretentious, as the decision is new and I am still adjusting to a completely vegan diet, but I don’t care what people think. what matters to me is that I am getting to know myself and my values better, and that I’m acting boldly enough to live them out. personal choice, whether it be to go vegan, live minimally, or make any change for the benefit of the self in relation to the world, is empowering. it’s outside the norm, but comes with a sense of inner peace. I want everyone to feel that sense of peace.

…and no, meatless balls don’t taste the same. they taste better.

 

TBR 2016

I wanted to post this at the beginning of the month… but better late than never, right?

when I was younger, I was a complete bookworm. I could finish a 500-page book in a week, or even a day if I had the time. however, during college my time was consumed by my studies, work, and and extracurriculars. I was doing more and reading less.

well, reading less is a little misleading… I was reading, but only what was assigned for classes. as an english major, I had plenty to read for class. every year, however, I would optimistically bring a dozen books or so to school with the belief that I would read them “in my free time.” what a pipe dream!

now that I am done with school, one of my goals for this new year is to rediscover my love for reading. I also want to branch out and read more genres and a variety of authors. this month, I set aside books into a “to be read” pile. a few are re-reads, but most are brand new. my goal this year is to read two books a month, and at least 24 total this year. so, with no further ado, I give you my TBR for 2016…

IMG_0062.jpg

JANUARY
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone– J.K. Rowling
(Unpictured ebook) Brain Over Binge– Kathryn Hansen
(Unpictured audiobook) Red Queen– Victoria Aveyard

FEBRUARY
The Old Man and the Sea– Ernest Hemingway
#GIRLBOSS– Sophia Amoruso

MARCH
Confess– Colleen Hoover
The Opposite of Loneliness– Marina Keegan

APRIL
In Defense of Food– Michael Pollan
Saint Anything– Sarah Dessen

MAY
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore– Robin Sloan
Main Street Vegan– Victoria Moran

JUNE
The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Girl’s Guide– Melissa Kirsch
(Unpictured audiobook) Quiet: The Power of Introverts– Susan cain

JULY
Damned– Chuck Palahniuk
Under the Black Flag– David Cordingly

AUGUST
Not That Kind of Girl– Lena Dunham
Schedule Me Skinny– Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LD

SEPTEMBER
The Giver– Lois Lowry
Flashes of War– Katey Schultz

OCTOBER
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell– Tucker Max
Trick– Natalia Jaster

NOVEMBER
Fast Food Nation– Eric Schlosser
The English Patient– Michael Ondaatje

DECEMBER
Cruel Beauty– Rosamund Hodge
Furiously Happy– Jenny Lawson

with the audiobooks, that’s actually 26 books total. while I planned out which books to read each month, I have a feeling the order may change- Trick, in particular, is a book I’m itching to read and I doubt I’ll be able to wait until October. I am going to try to blog about some of these books- review at least six in detail. I can’t wait to fall back in love with the written word this year and I’m very excited to be mixing it up and reading a variety of genres. admittedly, I could use more diversity in authors, so please leave recommendations below!

now, if you need me, please go away- I’m busy reading.