Mindfulness

Cheers to the first of my #MindfulnessMonday posts! I am planning to do at least two Mindfulness posts per month. I'm really looking forward to it. For some who have no idea what I'm talking about yet... keep reading!

What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is something I have been learning more and more about the past few years. Basically it is being aware and intentional with a moment in time. Taking the time to notice what's around you, how you are feeling, and truly reconnecting with life. Through mindfulness you can experience peace, contentment, joy, and gratitude. 

Mindfulness is a type of therapy that can help with awareness, sense of self, confidence, energy, as well as help eliminate feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and judgement towards others and situations. 

Practicing Mindfulness can look different for everyone, but one thing remains pretty constant: you choose to enter into a state of being rather than just existing or doing. I feel like a lot of people can relate to the fact that our society is full of workaholics and people who feel like we need to constantly be productive...it is so exhausting! Being productive is wonderful and I truly thrive off of my "to-do lists", but I also thrive off of peaceful + simple moments. 

I love listening to podcasts that talk about Mindfulness while I am on a walk. I notice all the greenery and details in nature. I smile at the sun. I take deep breaths. All these things are so small, but very impactful. What also really helps me is yoga! I  have been a lover of yoga for a while now and every time I am practicing I feel so calm and connected with myself. 

  One of my best friends gave this to me in a "happiness care package". I keep it right at my desk. 

One of my best friends gave this to me in a "happiness care package". I keep it right at my desk. 

For this first #MindfulnessMonday post I wanted to share 5 simple tips for beginning a Mindfulness journey of your own. There are so many things to touch on, but for now I will start with these. I hope you enjoy them and feel inspired! 

Tips for you to try as you begin your own mindfulness journey

  1. Take a deep, slow breath when you wake up & before you close your eyes for bed. Trust me. 
  2. Write down a list of things that you love or inspire you. What are some things that make you feel alive and happiest? How can you squeeze even just one into your day? 
  3. Create an ongoing Gratitude List. Maybe do it at the end of the week. This gives you some intentional "me time" and allows you to remember the good things that are going on in your life. I believe being grateful is one of the most powerful qualities you can obtain. 
  4. Make time to go on a long walk. Go on a walk, not a run. Running is so good for you, but walking is good for the body and soul. It forces you to slow down and notice what's around you. Listen to music or a podcast. Enjoy time to yourself. 
  5. Intentionally listen to a friend. Next time you are having a conversation with a friend or loved one, really be intentional with listening rather than waiting to respond. Listen to what they have to say and be aware of their entire state of being. Notice their unique qualities that make them beautiful or quirky qualities that make you grateful they are your friend. And don't be afraid to tell them! :) 

After trying all of these or even just one- tell me how it goes! I hope this benefits you and brings you peace + smiles. While you are watching fireworks tomorrow for 4th of July, remember to be present in the moment, enjoy the beauty and people around you. 

xoxo SJBS

May Inspirations // Less is Now

I love the month of May so much. Spring is in full swing, lilacs are blooming all around, and the universal spring cleaning tradition returns to the homes of many. 

 Heavenly smelling lilacs i pass by during morning runs.

Heavenly smelling lilacs i pass by during morning runs.

About a week ago I took myself on a little date and went to the Bing Crosby Theater because The Minimalists were speaking on their Less is Now tour. I was SO excited! I had been aimlessly scrolling through instagram the night before and saw their post saying they would be in Spokane the next day. Without hesitation, I immediately bought a ticket. The next day I enjoyed a great evening filled with new ideas and inspirations.

 Joshua and Ryan run theminimalists.com and produced a film called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. I've seen the film several times now, (it's available on Netflix) and yet, every time it is still good! I do feel like the film is predominately more about consumerism and materialism...overall it's pretty convicting. After you watch it you will probably be in the mood to declutter a few items and donate to your local Goodwill! 

Anyway, it was just great seeing people whom I admire and derive inspiration from, in person. Especially after seeing them originally on my TV, it all felt pretty cool. The show was great and felt very personal. These guys are honest, hilarious and inspiring. Below is the trailer to their documentary if you are curious :) 

Some favorite things Joshua & Ryan said at the show which really stuck out to me:

  • "Use things and love people. Because the opposite never works."
  • "If you can't afford it, you can't afford it."
  • "There is no such thing as good debt."

Pretty great huh? Very simple, yet powerful words.

Overall it was a great show. I loved learning new things and leaving with some applicable takeaways. I just really love the way these guys (Joshua + Ryan) go about it all. They aren't shoving anything down you're throat, but simply offering a different recipe to see if any ingredients resinate with you in order to help you discover what really adds value to your life. 

You know, I don't see myself ever becoming an "extreme" minimalist where things feel a bit cold, or I only have one pair of shoes and three shirts... however, I do see myself continuing to declutter + donate items, discover what really adds value and functionality to my home, and create a more simplified space + life. I believe the less clutter and distractions around you, then the opportunity for more gratitude and meaningful relationships will present itself. Psalm 107:8-9 says, "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds to mankind. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things". I just love this verse and the reminder about always being grateful. I think this is a great contrast to our naturally consumeristic society. Buying things and keeping up with the latest trends will never fill your heart with true contentment or love. Just like the quote above said, "Use things and love people, because the opposite never works". So stinkin' true. Remain grateful. That's what I'm currently working on... everyday man. 

I love this quote from David Thoreau. Seemed fitting after that evening and the rest of my May inspirations.

 image via pinterest

image via pinterest

interior lovin' | minimalist homes that make me drool

Just for fun, here is a cluster of beautiful images serving as my current inspirations for great minimalist home decor + designs. Basically a mash-up of what my dream home looks like. I love love love white walls, natural light, greenery, wood floors, and bohemian accents. A simple (and bright) home, is a happy home according to me hehe.  *Images below via Pinterest*

 Seriously?! my dream kitchen. 

Seriously?! my dream kitchen. 

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Aren't these different homes just gorgeous?! Love the idea of a floating shelf instead of a bedside table, so clever! What does your dream home look like? What is something that really adds value to your life lately?

Thanks for stopping by as always. Subscribe to the blog below! xo Sarah

Spring is Here & so are Some Thoughts

Spring is just the best. Spring and Fall are tied for my favorite seasons of the year. There is something so happy and uplifting about spring though. Colors are changing, flowers are blooming, and people just seem a bit happier. 

This past winter was rough. Avista shared how this was the worst & coldest winter in 30 years...(thanks Avista for sharing that lovely fact while you also doubled everyone's bill. humbug.) Anyway, as cold and seemingly terrible as winter was, I am thankful to live somewhere I get to experience and look forward to the seasons changing. As seasons change, our minds and hearts tend to shift with it. I love that. I believe there is something powerful able to happen if we just lean into the change. If I look at my life over the past say, 6 years, (being a senior in high school, to now, almost ending my first year post-grad) SO much has happened! My kids (I teach high school art part time) tell me how excited they are to be 18 and start college in the fall. I have to say, I can easily remember those feelings! Sometimes it is easier to fall into friend mode versus teacher mode (I guess that is my downfall sometimes- I am too relational!). But, I remember  I have a good five years on them, and truly truly, what has played out the last six years has been massively important to my personal growth and who I am becoming today.

In the last six years:

  • I moved back to Gig Harbor from Glen Ellyn, IL and finished high school with my best friends (thank you mom + dad!!!)
  • I started my freshman year of college at Whitworth University
  • Left Whitworth my sophomore year and did community college. Also started dating my high school sweetheart again (enter: Nick)
  • Transferred back to Whitworth my junior year to eventually graduate with a B.A. in Art Education (somehow managed to finish in four years & pass the ridiculous EdTPA)
  • I have lied to my parents a lot- something I am not proud of. A few years ago I started to build a wall where being honest became so hard because I was filled with fear and doubt. 
  • I lost a best girlfriend- something I never saw happening with that friendship, and I am still not sure what exactly ended it. Boo. 
  • I went to Hawaii for almost a month and discovered a beautiful place that filled my heart and soul with peace and gratitude in a time I desperately needed it. 
  • I struggled with body image and hating how I felt in my own skin. I have experienced my lowest points due to not having any love for myself, and really letting comparison be the thief of my joy.   
  • I have gotten a few spontaneous tattoos- something small, but in the big picture my little tats remind me to not take life too seriously, and enjoy being a spontaneous & care-free person. 
  • I'm learning how to be 100% honest and handle confrontations
  • I gained a sister-in-law, Katie, who has become one of my best friends. I am so thankful for her friendship.
  • I keep getting closer and having more fun with my siblings and parents. I just love them. Maybe the fun drinks helps ;)
  • I went on a road trip with my sister from Nashville back to Spokane, and now she lives just two minutes away from me!
  • Dating Nick: through my four years of college Nick and I  have experienced SO many ups and downs. Break ups, emotional & spiritual growth, battling with my family over trust and support, gaining that family support, a year and half of long distance...you get the picture- lots has gone down. Last Christmas we hit our rock bottom when I unexpectedly broke it all off. It was awful, emotional, and felt really devastating knowing I was the cause of someone else's pain & sadness. I hated it. About six months later we started dating again and things are going so good. I regret how much I hurt him, but I guess I don't regret the action or bad times because with out them I don't think either of us would have grown so much, or be in this positive place now. I guess that saying was true for us- we hit our rock bottom so the only place to go was up! Nicky has contributed a huge part to my personal growth over the years. He has helped me be a more confident, honest and spontaneous person. He is constantly inspiring me to chase my dreams and just make them happen. He is my rock and forever source of laughter. Nick is someone I always wanted, I just didn't know if we would actually end up together. But now, I can say with full confidence I am so grateful we have each other and want to spend forever together!

I can't tell you exactly why, but when I started this post I didn't know it would turn into a big reflection, but I decided to roll with it and be honest. And to be honest I am still navigating through a lot of the things mentioned above. I still struggle with body image and what it actually means to love myself. I am beginning to understand a bit better, but let's be real- what woman, on some level, doesn't struggle with body image or self-esteem? It is an on-going battle for me I will admit, but I'm moving forward :) One of my best friends, Shayla, often reminds me to give myself grace in this area and know/believe I am cherished, accepted and enough in God's eyes. And so are YOU. 

As random as these reflections felt to me, it has been cool to take time thinking about them and realizing there really has been a lot of growth. I am in a place now where I experience feelings of love, contentment and mental clarity everyday. My mindset has shifted a lot and am much more interested in a simple life. A life that isn't filled with material things, but one that is filled with love and community, good health and habits that bring me joy and excitement. I am so grateful for where I'm at nowadays. I always want to remain grateful; starting and ending each day with recognizing the good happening in my life. I encourage you to do the same! Maybe start a gratitude journal, where each day just jot down something you are grateful for. I believe a grateful heart leads to true contentment. All in all, I am so ready for Spring and am looking forward to what God will do during this new season.

Thanks for stopping by as always. Maybe this post will lead you to take time to reflect on your own personal growth! xoxo

Journaling

For as long as I can remember, my sister is someone I have looked up to and one reason why is because she has always consistently journaled and spends intentional time in the Word. I am trying to be more like her and do more of the things that simply bring me joy or make me feel full.

For Christmas this past year I got this beautiful journaling bible. It's perfect for me! I love being able to actively interact and engage with my bible in a way that makes most sense for me: through art! I love spending time with a passage or even just one verse, and pull what stood out to me and illustrate it. If you are someone who is interested or curious in a journaling bible or something new for your faith life...I say go for it! Especially if you are an artsy-fartsy person who loves colorful things :) 

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Aside from my bible, I love spending time in my journal. Journaling is such a safe place for everyone to go to and just let it all out. I always feel refreshed after word-vomitting my thoughts, fears, dreams or whatever else is stuck in my head that day. Putting thoughts to paper helps provide an active sense of letting go. I know I have things in my life that I still don't understand or am frustrated about, and sometimes all that helps me is trying to let go of it. Get out of my head so I can move on from this moment, onto something better.

Let go & let God. 

I really love that saying. There are always going to be things happening in our lives we don't, and never will understand this side of Heaven. Lately, I have been pretty consumed with the feeling of disconnectedness. I hate it! I miss my people...family and friends. Aside from the obvious bills, adulting sucks because everyone you care about spreads out more and more. I spent some time this past week journaling about all of this and was reminded of something: my word for the year is intentional. If I am feeling disconnected from relationships I care about then I have to be intentional about it and make even more of an effort. I feel SO full after spending quality time with the people I love. Whether it can be in person, or just a face time call. It fills me up.

All in all, the past few weeks have been a bit emotional and challenging. I get to fly home tomorrow morning and have a mama-daughter weekend. I am really looking forward to it because I know it will be a restorative and peaceful time. Just what my spirit needs. 

Overall love people well and put in the effort to maintaining a real and full relationship takes. I believe it's worth it. Also, mama's make everything better :)

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New Apartment Tour | part 1

 

Why did I move? Well, I think this was evidence enough it was too cold inside...my poor plant baby went from thriving to dying...RIP

All in all it was really fun and easy getting settled into this new place. I am excited to share more little apartment tours with you! This space is really different in comparison to the last... I think my favorite room is the kitchen and living room. It has a very open layout, which helps make it feel cozy. Right when we moved in it already felt like home. Also, we are both in love with having a washer/dryer in unit! It makes such a difference! Sometimes it feels like I am living in a hotel... We are just so grateful to be here.

So I am someone who loves planning my dream home... this new place is definitely not that dream home, and in this space there are things I wish I could have or change. Like painting the walls a nice white, or getting a new grey couch instead of this beat up stained one I found for $50 on craigslist...things like that. But at the end of the day, it really should be function over form as they say. Our couch is comfy and we all get to cuddle together (and by all I am including our cat, Mimosa hehe). I don't want to be someone who gets caught up in materialistic things for bringing me happiness. Sometimes I struggle with that because I truly love and care about how my space feels and looks. But fortunately, I can do that in a budget-friendly way :) I need to remind myself that yes, someday I can have that dream grey couch, but for now I need to remain grateful. So all of that to say, here is a beginning look to some living/dining room photos. Up next will be a little kitchen tour. I hope you enjoy! 

 I found this Ikea lounge chair on craigslist- it was fate. I had gone to Ikea two days before, saw it and wished I could afford it, then found it on craigslist for only $50! What a dream! And Nick got me this beautiful coffee table for Christmas- I am in love with it! 

I found this Ikea lounge chair on craigslist- it was fate. I had gone to Ikea two days before, saw it and wished I could afford it, then found it on craigslist for only $50! What a dream! And Nick got me this beautiful coffee table for Christmas- I am in love with it! 

 In our old place we pretty much never used the kitchen table because the kitchen was so separate and cold. Here, we are using it all the time! Sitting down having breakfast or dinner together, doing homework or painting...it's just nice :) 

In our old place we pretty much never used the kitchen table because the kitchen was so separate and cold. Here, we are using it all the time! Sitting down having breakfast or dinner together, doing homework or painting...it's just nice :) 

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 I scored this beautiful copper hanging fruit basket at goodwill. 

I scored this beautiful copper hanging fruit basket at goodwill. 

Life Lately: Christmas Reflections

Happy New Year! I have been so excited for this new year to come. New year brings new hope and new things to get excited about and work towards. In the past few weeks I got to enjoy an amazing Christmas break back home with my family, move into a new apartment, start teaching again, celebrate my brother's 25th birthday, and create new routines. 

Christmas time is always  so special, and this year was no exception. It was a great break full of relaxation, walks with the puppy, good family talks, cuddles and scratches from Thor, crackling fires, and lots of tea & wine. This year, one of my brothers and his wife spent two weeks in Europe (jealous? yes, we all were...) which made Christmas a bit odd not having them there, but it was still wonderful. I grew up in Gig Harbor, and there is something so comforting and peaceful about that place. My parents make Christmas magical and fun. They have ever since we were all kids. I am filled with such a simple joy when I am home surrounded by family just talking, drinking, laughing, playing cards...no matter what we do, when we are all together I am overflowing with joy and thankfulness. They are lifelong friends. 

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Another great thing about going home to the Harbor is the waterfront views. There is and always will be something about vast open waters that stirs my soul and quiets my spirit. One morning I took Sydney on a walk down to the water and just closed my eyes, breathing it all in. It was so simple, but all I needed. Sometimes I wish I could stay in a moment forever. That was one, and so was sitting on the bulkhead in Hawaii last January watching the waves crash...so good. 

My time spent home got cut short due to Nick and I moving into a new apartment back in Snowkane, I mean Spokane. It was another beautiful Christmas break. As I reflect on it, I am proven once again it really isn't about the stuff you get, but the people in your heart who make life FULL.

Now that Nick and I are moved into our new place and reality has kicked in again (and kicked our ass by both of us getting sick this past week!) we are so much happier. It's amazing to be in a space where the pipes aren't frozen and it's not as cold outside as it is in. To say that the space you dwell in affects your spirit or mood, is an understatement! Our new home is cozy and minimal. I couldn't be happier or more grateful for how everything has worked out. 

With 2017 already off to a great start (aside from getting sick this weekend!) I am feeling very hopeful and excited for all the good I know is coming this year. I am excited for Nick and I to continue working on becoming the best version of ourselves, and how to love one another better. I am excited to explore how to love and care for myself better. I am excited for travel and trips to see friends and family. I am excited to become a better teacher, friend, sister, daughter, and girlfriend (and maybe be more than just a gf this year ;) hehe). I am excited for an intentional year. Intentional is the word guiding me through 2017 (I will talk about that more in a separate post). I hope your New Year has started off strong and positive! Thanks for stopping by, xo.

Apartment Tour

I thought it would be fun to do a little apartment tour! Although my apartment is really old and completely freezing right now, I love this space. The last few years I have fallen in love with interior design and decorating. I would love to pursue it more in the future. In the past month I went through everything I own and began the decluttering process. Right now I love decorating with shades of blue and lot's of plants. I try to keep the overall design clean and minimal with touches of bright, mismatched items. A lot of the furniture you will see (and some artwork) is from Ikea. I am inspired by the minimalistic Scandinavian style as well as bohemian beach vibes. I try to bring the two together in my home. Also, I am a big flower lover, they make any space better in my opinion. Especially the Christmas bouquet's from Trader Joe's ;)

The pictures go through a little bit of the bedroom, then living room - bathroom - kitchen. Enjoy! 

 Bedding from  Urban Outfitters

Bedding from Urban Outfitters

 My sweet kitty, Mimosa.

My sweet kitty, Mimosa.

 I keep all of my essential oils in this adorable pouch I got from  Atticus Coffee & Gifts  downtown Spokane. 

I keep all of my essential oils in this adorable pouch I got from Atticus Coffee & Gifts downtown Spokane. 

 Postcards from all of the places my sister and I went on our big road trip this past summer! I loved the vintage look of these.  

Postcards from all of the places my sister and I went on our big road trip this past summer! I loved the vintage look of these.  

 Painting by yours truly :)  I have another one similar in style I am currently working on that will be for sale soon! 

Painting by yours truly :)  I have another one similar in style I am currently working on that will be for sale soon! 

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 Mimosa just loves to pose for the camera. This neutral geometric lamp + shade I found at  World Market .

Mimosa just loves to pose for the camera. This neutral geometric lamp + shade I found at World Market.

Little bathroom details. I found this unique print at Fringe & Fray