Lifestyle

August WrapUp: Birthdays, Books & Getting My Life Together

I can’t believe we are wrapping up another month. I’m another year older, having turned 31 on the 9th & I’ve been trying my best to live more in the moment & enjoy the simpler things. This summer has been a time of healing & rest due to the sudden burst of grief after my wedding. Planning a wedding right after my dad passed away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They say not to do anything huge the first year of grief, but I went a head & went full force into wedding planning mode. So, now I’ve been playing catch up & focusing on my own wellbeing these last few months. But I’ve also managed to incorporate tons of fun before the summer comes to a close. I want to thank LifeWithDeanna for inspiring me to write this blog post & start my own version of monthly wrap ups. If you haven’t checked out her content / blog please give her posts a read! She’s been one of my favorite bloggers at the moment!

What’s Been Fun This Month…

Towards the end of July, Todd & I went to a lantern festival in the city. Although it’s not an August highlight – I wanted to mention it because it was a wonderful experience that I highly recommend. When you arrive – you are given your own lantern to decorate. You are encouraged to draw any future wishes, past remembrances or anything that defines you. Once the sun went down – hundreds of us let our lit lanterns go into the water & watch them float. Be sure to check out my reel on the lantern festival here for a more in-depth look.

For my birthday, Todd & I ventured to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore the weekend before & ate lunch by the water. It was a rather hot one thanks to the continuous heat wave, but we cooled down by walking through some of the town shops & I took a slice of Smith Island cake to go.

And on my actual birthday, we met up with my mom & brother for dinner at Glory Days [ they have the best burger sliders ] & I got a free ice cream sundae. It was a much needed low key celebration & I was so glad we could all celebrate together as a family. Although, I’ve been spending lots of “me time” this summer for healing – I’ve chosen to lean on these two for most of my support along with my husband of course. I’ve learned it’s better to have a small group of supporters instead of tons.

On a separate note, if you are interested – I can share my thoughts on grief & how the process has been from my personal experience in a blog post.

My favorite birthday gift hands down were these custom book jackets from the brand Nerdy Ink. We all know how much I love the A Court of Thorns & Roses series! And these new covers are so beautiful on my new bookshelf.

For those who aren’t familiar with the state of Maryland – we are known for our steamed crabs [ especially during the summer ]. We enjoyed a weekend pool party / crab feast. It was fun because we literally knew one person [ but were able to meet tons of new people ]. We all sat around a long table, picked crabs & told the funniest stories. We ended the evening with a bonfire & roasting marshmallows.

Towards the end of the month, we celebrated my brother’s birthday in Annapolis. I surprised him with a Better Call Saul law school sweatshirt. All three of us – my husband, my brother & I are huge fans of that show & are so sad season 6 was their final season. Have you watched it?

find this on etsy

What I’ve Been Loving…

It’s been a long time coming but my books are no longer stored on the floor of my office. I finally have a proper bookshelf & I’m obsessed with it! Here it is >> my bookshelf . It’s already filled with tons of books [ many that still need to be read ]. I’m especially looking forward to starting the Throne of Glass series soon! * update – I have started Throne of Glass & am 20 chapters in! – fantasy is officially my favorite genre *

I’ve been creating more of a capsule wardrobe & decluttering / replacing a few clothing pieces. I updated my shorts with a few pairs of Levi 501’s & they are the best fitting shorts I’ve ever owned. I bought two pairs of blue denim as well as a white pair. If you are interested in seeing my fall capsule wardrobe in a blog post, let me know in the comments.

What I’ve Been Reading…

After finishing ACOTAR at the end of July – I was in a bit of a reading slump until I discovered a series my husband recommended which is the Red Rising trilogy. I talked about the first book in my July reading wrap up.

This month I read:

Golden Son by Pierce Brown: the second book to the Red Rising trilogy. This one is my favorite because of the epic ending! Wow – I couldn’t stop reading this fast paced sci fi action novel. Highly recommend.

Morning Star by Pierce Brown: the final book to the Red Rising trilogy. Epic action just like the other two, great character building & a shocking ending.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry: I have a bit of an unpopular opinion about this book. I don’t think I’m the biggest fan of this author. Although I did enjoy People We Meet on Vacation as a lighthearted summer read – I just don’t enjoy her writing & find the story lines to be a bit cheesy. Sorry not sorry.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: if she writes it, I’m going to read it. I loved this summer read based in one of my favorite places – Malibu, California. It tells the story of the Riva Family & the past POV of their parents. I loved following the character growth between each kid, their backstories & how the past & present can repeat itself. This has gotten me excited to read TJR’s newest release, Carrie Soto Is Back which is dropping this month.
Flock by Kate Stewart: I’ve seen the Ravenhood series all over social media & I basically went in blind. I had no idea what this story even was about & quite honestly – I’m still a little confused. But I’ve heard the second book Exodus is way better. This is a nice summer filler read with tons of spice. 🌶🌶🌶🌶 So, I’m not mad about that at all. If you are into morally grey love triangles, this book is for you.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen: I’ve had this book on my shelves for months & I was in the mood for a thriller since fall is approaching. And honestly, this was an extreme let down for me. It started out strong but immediately became anticlimactic & predictable. And the ending just fell flat. I’m wondering if some of their other books are better?

What I’ve Been Watching…

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin: I’ve actually never seen Pretty Little Liars before this spin off [ don’t come for me ]. But I’m loving this spooky mystery that airs every Thursday on HBO Max.

Love Island UK: My husband & I loved watching the newest season of Love Island UK. I was a huge Ekin Su fan. The US has their own version, but the accents and “banter” of this version drew us in. So entertaining! Hulu has all the seasons available. Which past season should we watch next? Because after following these couples for 60 episodes, I’m missing them like crazy!

A Discovery of Witches: I believe this series is based on a book trilogy. We decided to watch this after doing a bit of research on Reddit & I’m obsessed with it! Any show that has witches, vampires & demons- I’m all for it! And I felt like it would be perfect with spooky season approaching.

What I’ve Accomplished…

Mind Beauty Simplicity’s views have skyrocketed this month after publishing a collaboration with a few other minimalist creators in the community. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, click here. In this collaboration, content creators who live the less is more lifestyle shared their reason for living this way. It’s a fascinating read & hope it inspires more people to downsize their lives a little more. I’m excited to announce this post was mentioned in Courtney Carver’s weekend favorites series on her blog. Be sure to check that post out here.

I’ve also been into creating reels on Instagram. As we know, the algorithm on this platform is rather finicky at times. But I’ve managed to reach almost 50k views on some of them! I’ve been trying to change up my mindset with this platform & just having fun with it connecting with other creators. All in all, I don’t expect tons of growth with this platform, but it’s something I want to maintain to built friendships with other minimalists & creative souls in the community.

What I Want To Work On…

I want to work on being more present & limit my screen time even more than I already do. I’ve been reading a lot more to combat that screen time which I share in this blog post here. My husband & I both will spend a few hours every evening reading together. We turn on a vibey screen saver on Youtube [ like rain or a cozy cabin ] & just enjoy each other’s company. I also hope to read a few more books in the months ahead with the weather getting colder.

I also want to practice having more gratitude & not let other people’s opinions affect my behavior. I’ve been embracing the power of my alone time & enjoying my own company. It’s been the best form of healing during this phase in my life. Although I enjoy time with others – I also need time to recharge & prioritize myself. In the past – I would always put other people’s needs before my own & I want to change that some moving forward.

What I’m Looking Forward To…

I’m obviously looking forward to the Halloween season & honestly – the cooler weather! I’m so tired of this heat. I’ve purchased a few fall decor items already & can’t wait to decorate our house soon!

We do plan to go to the beach for one more weekend [ Labor Day weekend ] before the summer ends to celebrate our 8 year dating anniversary. We’ve only been to our local beach town once this summer [ which is quite different for us ]. And with this heat, the only place to really go to cool off is the beach in my opinion!

We also have a few weddings to attend this fall which is exciting – one in Virginia & another in Pennsylvania. 2022 has been the year for weddings! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my wedding series.

I hope you had an amazing month in August. Feel free to share what you’ve been up to & what you’ve been loving lately in the comments. Here’s to a new month of possibilities! Let me know if you enjoyed this style of blog post & if I should continue it.

-B

advice, Lifestyle

2 Years Blogging | Now What?

It actually blows my mind I’ve been blogging for 2 years now. What started as a quarantine based hobby because I was “bored in the house & in the house bored” for way too long; has turned into something far more than that. I’m surprised I finally got the nerve to just start a blog in the first place because I can’t tell you how many people have said “blogging is so saturated!” “Blogging was cool in like, 2007 & now it’s dead.” I’m glad I didn’t listen to those naysayers because creating Mind Beauty Simplicity has been one of my best decisions.

Life Lately…

When I started this blog, I had just moved in with my “than boyfriend” & now, I finally get to call him my husband in my posts, which is exciting. Time really flies by. This past year has been both a busy & tragic one. Blogging was my saving grace when my dad was really sick & on hospice last summer. There were so many times I thought I should just quit but for me, writing was & still is my healthy distraction. And when he finally passed, I put all my sadness into Blogtober & posted daily for an entire month. I immersed myself into this passion for my own mental health. And than, I jumped right into wedding planning when he passed because in my mind, I thought this form of distraction would be good. Although I felt my entire life had stopped, I was forcing it to keep going. And now that the wedding is over, we are just enjoying married life. For me, it’s been a “self care summer” where I’m finally putting myself first & healing properly for once. Although I thought these forms of distraction were good at the time, I quickly learned my grief still remains & I need to heal. So, I’ve been prioritizing a more slow summer. Allowing myself rest, getting lost in good books & figuring out what it is I want to do moving forward.

What’s Next For Me?

I’ve been seeing a lot of bloggers ask this same question & talking about how blogging was a lot easier in the height of a pandemic. Now that things are slowly getting back to normal, people are becoming too busy & the love for blogging isn’t quite what it used to be. I myself, have pondered such thoughts. I have less motivation to sit down & write. And when I do, I don’t feel satisfied with the results. Some of this could be due to the fact I’m in a season of healing & needing a break. And also because I’m wanting to place more energy on a career outside of blogging. I’d much rather keep blogging as a side passion & something I like to escape to when I’m feeling stressed. I don’t want blogging to be the reason for said stress, you know? And lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed creatively. One thing I have learned with my blogging journey is how breaks are really important. I know I still want to keep blogging. I enjoy connecting with you all & sharing my perspectives on intentional living & everything in between. I do think, I need to change a few things though moving forward. Focusing on quality over quantity is a good start. I also need to let go of the pressure of needing to look perfect online. I think I want to take a step back from social media & only post when I truly want to instead of burning myself out trying to keep up with a forever changing algorithm.

You Might Also Like: Taking My Power Back: How A Break From Writing Rejuvenated My Soul

What Has Already Changed

My blogging journey has been all over the place. I started posting 3x a week & strictly intentional living content for a good year. My narrowed niche quickly expanded to a general lifestyle blog, still focusing on a less is more mindset. As my following grew, I realized my audience didn’t have a specific preference to what I wrote about. Even my Instagram has changed from posting about my daily declutters to a full blown bookstagram as of late. It just goes to show, you are allowed to change things up & so what if it’s completely different from your original plan? Instagram, for instance has been a frustrating platform. I’ve taken breaks all together & contemplated not using it at all for blogging. But lately, I’ve been reading a lot [ as it’s a form of self care ] & I’ve decided to share that interest on Instagram with the book community. And it’s been going really well. I no longer feel overwhelmed by the platform & it’s actually really fun to make reels & post on there.

The thing I hold onto with blogging is the connections I’ve made. It was really nice during such isolating times in the beginning. And now, it’s a nice escape from reality sometimes. I’m not sure what the rest of the year will be like in terms of blogging, but I hope to keep finding the joy in it all. Just because I may cut back on posting or shift into other platforms [ like writing a book ] , what I want to remain constant is the connections I’ve made along the way. That is what I am truly grateful for. Thank you for 2 successful years of blogging & sharing my life.

-B

Self Growth

Lets Celebrate Our Small Victories For Once

Why is it we tend to only pride ourselves of the big accomplishments? Do we feel like our small wins are not worth to brag about? I’m here to tell you, THEY ARE worth it & here’s why.

Burn out is a real problem in today’s day & age. I’ve talked about the importance of self care & slowing down your routines, but I haven’t yet discussed the importance of celebrating every achievement in your life, especially those little ones. And to prevent this so called burn out, we MUST take the time to acknowledge these small victories as they are the parachutes to our bigger destinations. It’s so important to enjoy the journey if you will & take in those small ounces of growth. Because once you do make it big or get to the top of the mountain so to speak, you’ll be proud of how you got there.

Take social media for instance, I feel like most people wait to announce their biggest accomplishments on there. Whether its an engagement, marriage, new job, promotion or travel opportunity, people are quick to announce those things. It’s a braggers right, isn’t it? But I guess posting a photo of your coffee mug with the caption, “tasty brew today” isn’t quite enough to be brag worthy.

But I’m saying, maybe we should do that! Maybe if we focused our attention on smaller accomplishments, our feeds wouldn’t be bombarded by highlight reels of amazing opportunities. Not so say we shouldn’t be proud of those moments. Maybe we should celebrate those small victories to be more relatable & show others that small hints of gratitude are something to be proud of too. I think for the sake of society, we would all benefit from this.

I know for a fact, if I posted a picture of me just getting out bed in the morning with the caption, “actually got my ass out of bed this morning, win win for me” it wouldn’t get that much praise. I honestly wish it would though because for some people, that’s a huge accomplishment. But I get it. Those victories don’t compare to those who have bought a house or won a Nobel prize. But it shouldn’t mean you should feel any less for your small victories. No wonder people struggle with self esteem. The world makes the little things seem pointless.

Taking pride in those small wins helps maintain proper mental health. To achieve in this life, I feel like the main characteristic to have is a good attitude. I love the quote, “when you focus on the good, the good gets better” & I think that half of the reason we have tough times, is not thinking every aspect of our lives are wins. Just being alive another day should be enough, you know?

I also feel like we are always looking for the next best things in life. And my biggest fear of mine, is waiting for this so called “big accomplishment” & never feeling like I really get there. And the reason for this is the notion of always wanting something bigger & better. Once you accomplish one thing, you are off to the next one. And it’s this big endless cycle of never really measuring up. So, why not look at your entire life as one big painting. Each little paint stroke leads you to the final masterpiece. An artist doesn’t wisk through a project & just say it simply appeared there. They acknowledge the time it took to get there, every mark & line, & every color used to get to the finished product. And I think we should treat our lives the same way.

What are some of your small wins today? Comment down below.

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-B