Last week my best friend Rachel came to visit us. She was on spring break (she’s a Chicago Public School teacher) and decided to take a visit to NYC & D.C. for her vacation. Typically, when people come to visit a popular place, they want to do all of the popular tourist things. In the case of NYC, that would be Times Square, Rockafeller Center, and of course, Central Park. Since NYC is such a destination hub, I have evidently done these touristy things multiple times so far this year…and obviously, I’m a little sick of it. So when Rachel’s visit came around, I asked her if we could avoid as much tourist stuff as possible.
Every spring, I plop all of my clothes on the bed and sift through what to keep and not keep. It’s been a tradition of mine since I started shopping for my own clothes back in middle school - mostly because that meant giving myself more room for new clothes. Now it just means living extra minimally…and potentially making some money while doing it.
So back in October 2015 I was totally sick of all my purses. I was the definition of a purse hoarder – always buying a new cheap purse and racking up my collection, with zero room to put them all. Nevertheless, since I was buying cheap purses they were always falling apart. I’ve had so many straps rip, inner-linings tear, and zippers fall apart after using them on a regular basis. Also, with using multiple purses all week, I was leaving important stuff in different purses that I would need...such as my subway card, my I.D, even my whole wallet from time-to-time.
Right before I turned 24, my parents came into the city and treated me to a day of shopping. We hit up a ton of stores around Union Square and Soho, but for some reason it was a total bust. Except for the new Kate Spade purse my dad bought me (praise), I wasn’t able to find any good clothes. Nothing seemed to fit right, even when they were my size. Too loose. Too tight. Too short. Too long. After at least 5 different stores, we just gave up and got a drink.
I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism. I know some of you that ship has already sailed. But honestly, the more I think about it, I believe minimalism can easily be the secret ingredient to living a thriftier, healthier, and happier life. Think about it; the less you own, the less you have to worry about, the less money you spend. When it comes to your house, your closet, even your choices at the grocery store - giving yourself less options can actually open you up to some freedom in the long run.
The other day I was frantically scrolling through Pinterest trying to figure out what the heck to wear to work. I needed something - and something fast. Something that took, you could say, five minutes. As I was scrolling through my boards I came upon an old idea of mine that I published a very long time ago: The Five Minute Outfit Guide.
It was 4:30 p.m. I just finished a shift for work and, after scrolling through my Instagram for thirty minutes, I felt anxious and shameful. Why? Because I wasn’t getting anything done in my to-do list. I mean, I just got off work and spent time to decompress – which in any other eyes seems completely normal. So why in the world was I feeling so shameful for it?
We are only a few days (heck, few hours) into 2017 and I’m sure you’re already feeling a little anxious about those goals you set. How easy let ourselves slip from those goals we set at the beginning of the year. Yes, they feel exciting at first, but even after a few days in I’m sure they can feel tiresome and you question all reasons to why you create new year’s resolutions in the first place. Especially if your goal was to spend less or be better with money. My friend, let me help you out a little bit!
Although right now we’re a bit broke, I have to admit that I have been fortunate throughout my life to travel quite a bit. My amazing parents have taken me to different corners of the world – from Paris, Florence, Munich, the Swiss Alps, and more. We traveled the west-coast taking a road trip from San Diego to San Francisco, hiked the Grand Teton mountains, and have probably scaled the entire east coast. In my years of travel experience, I have picked up a few tricks along the way…ESPECIALLY when it comes to packing. Hope you don’t mind if I gloat, but I have that weekend-in-a-backpack routine down pretty good.
A while back I made a carry-on packing guide that was to help me pack less on a trip to NYC with Oliver (evidently that was the trip we decided to move here), and it blew up on Pinterest! Turns out people want a simple packing guide for weekend trips! Having a small amount to pack in a carry-on back means saving a good chunk of change that would have been spent checking a back.
A few months ago I noticed that trying to commit to good quality pieces that I already owned helped me to save money immensely, which is why I posted my first My 5 Go-To Style Pieces. At the time those were the pieces that I constantly chose to wear with numerous different outfits. I figured it was time yet again to show my readers what my latest obsessions are from my closet. Here are my current five:
Hello, hello! For a few weeks now I've been warning you to keep an eye out for my new home decor series, and here it is! Home Decor Under $20 challenges me to choose a part of my apartment each month and try to transform the space using only $20. The trick is to know exactly what to look for, so after some thorough research on Pinterest and talking to one of my good friends in interior design Michelle, I was able to plan out the perfect entryway/coffee bar for our apartment!
Hello everyone! As some of you know, this month I'll be starting a home decor series in my apartment, and I figured before starting any projects I would talk to tan expert. Meet Michelle! She is a good friend of mine who lives in Minnesota with her husband, Ross, and works as an interior designer for Bria Hammel Interiors. The room you see above is one of the beautiful spaces her team put together!
It may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s actually possible to save money while on vacation. How? It’s simple, spend less. That could seem impossible, but if there’s anything Oliver & I recently learned when it comes to traveling, spending lots of money doesn’t actually render a better time spent on vacation. We found that staying away from the tourist traps and exploring the hidden gems is actually way more worthwhile, and gives you an even more honest depiction of the culture coming from that particular area. Plus, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much your stress level decreases when following these money tips. Here’s a few from us:
Living in a tiny home for two? For us, the emphasis is certainly on *tiny* #thanksNYC. However, there are always pros for the cons, and when it comes to small studios that means the amount of cleaning (or lack of cleaning) that we have to do for our space is incredible. I like to take time on my weekends to clean up the apartment, and with a small space such as ours it takes me just over an hour to get through my entire list.
After a few years of living with roommates and getting situated with another person, I have created a seamless cleaning schedule that makes sure to cover all of my bases. I thought it would be helpful for others to share the cleaning schedule that we now implement in our OKay household. Plus, what better way to do that but through an infographic?
As some of you may know, Oliver & I spent our honeymoon in San Francisco. We had a blast exploring the bay area, hitting up the city as well as wine country, Berkeley, and even hiking in the Redwood City. We loved our little journey and took lots of notes throughout the trip on what we enjoyed, what to avoid, and how to save money while traveling.
If you’re taking a trip to San Francisco any time soon, here’s a few cheap hangs from us to you:
One of the things that Oliver & I absolutely adore doing together is cooking. We love to plan out recipes, grocery shop, cook together, pair our meats with wines, and evaluate new meals for our collection of “married people” meals. Ever since the wedding (which I can proudly say we cooked quite a bit on our honeymoon), we have noticed a decline in our budget when it comes to groceries. This, of course, meant we had to start getting creative with our cooking adventures. Here’s a few tips that we have gathered (both during our time dating and marriage) when it comes to saving money in the kitchen.
This is how my mornings have been lately. I get up, have coffee with my amazing husband, read the news, then stress for way too long about what I'm going to wear to work that day. I work in Soho, which if you're not familiar is probably one of the most fashionable plates in the country. It's full of people shopping, but also full of really beautiful people going to work. My first day down there I felt very out of place. So every morning I take too much time planning an outfit and stressing over not looking good enough for Soho. I know, it's ridiculous.
This spring break is going to be a quick one for me, so Oliver and I are about to take a mini trip. We are flying to the East Coast this upcoming weekend and taking day trips to New York and Boston. Since we are flying in to Newark and flying out of Boston, that means we have to pack pretty light. And when I mean light, I mean "let's try to cram everything in my tote bag" kind of light. Seems impossible, but I think I would much rather carry less stuff then have to drag a suitcase around both cities when we visit. Plus, packing light means saving money on paying for that checked bag!
If you're planning on taking a weekend trip and want to save on that checked bag, here's the small packing list I'm following for my 3-day city trip.