Deciding to become a minimalist ;-)

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Deciding to become a minimalist, is a transactional decision, the same way walking and eating are transactional decisions. The ability to actually first declutter and then remain decluttered, is an intentional decision. I make the difference, because one requires effort, commitment and consistency, while the other, is a reflex, human response or requires little to no effort, unless you are walking uphill with tons of Groceries, but that is our exception not the everyday. 

For me decluttering is still a struggle and remaining decluttered seems almost a personal battle, between the gifts that I get randomly, the changes in life (ex. the weather calling for different types of coats or new hobbies and activities like, my art class that requires me to go out and buy tons of art supplies that I must now find a new place for). 

I hope my personal stories, battles and successes with decluttering will help others to know they are not alone in their daily struggle(s). My biggest kryptonite is Amazon.com. I love that site. I love how I can shop at home in my fuzzy slippers and click, click, click and two blinks and all my shopping needs are dropped at my door in a day or two. I have named Amazon.com officially, “My Husband” ..lololol. You can see my day-to-day essentials under the “Essentials Page.” If you want to buy the same product, just click the photo and it will take you directly to product on Amazon.com. This will save you the horror of Googling it. Plus, if you are like me, you just love to drop random stuff in your virtual shopping basket until you really need to make a purchase.

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

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Getting Down to Your Essentials

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A decluttered, organized, healthy and minimalist lifestyle! For me becoming a minimalist was the easy part, but maintaining a minimalist way of life post-declutter, post-minimalizing and post-capsulating my wardrobe to a sexy collection of only solid black, garments is my current challenge. It is where my hell starts, as minimizing was the easy part and actually living a committed life of intentionality and simplicity is the hard part. 

Having spent the better 100% percent of my life as a consumerist. Ok 99% of my life, as it has been a whole six months, since I started this journey to moving from a life of stuff to a life of intentionality. A decluttered, organized, green and minimalist lifestyle. Well if, I am honest. The green part has been a core value for me long before minimalism, but with a decluttered, organized, minimalist and intentional lifestyle, it only helps me to have a greener lifestyle. 

The struggle is real! Everytime, I walk by a store, a grocery shop or open my computer. I can hear my mind saying. Didn’t you for get to buy something? Remember you promised to buy yourself this last week or month? You know you always wanted to try that and now it is on sale! The cost is totally worth the experience of trying that new product or adding that new item to your wardrobe. Isn’t it?!?!?! I am not sure if it’s as hellish for you, but my struggle is real! It has the bite of a hungry man and the persistance of a  2-year-old! 

Then I look around and think about all the money I have wasted. The time I wasted shopping. By time, I mean hours, days and years of my life scrolling down page by page across Amazon.com or wondering the clothing store or supersize supermarket. The post lifestyle struggle is so real for me. I do not want to pretend it’s not!

To provide myself some support. I have taken to not buying anything that I “need” or “want” without having at least 30-days pass. Once I receive the product, I immediately incorporate it into my lifestyle and spaces. If the product is food or new vitamin or supplement, I never buy more than a 30-day supply. No matter if the 60-day supply is cheaper than the 30-day supply. This strategy is not a long-term one, but it definitely helps as I continue to move into a life of less stuff, intentionality and consciousness. 

Good by for now, 

XoXo,

LBS

30-day Declutter Challenge! You can do it!

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Decluttered? Now Discover Essentials!

For me becoming a minimalist was the easy part, but maintaining a minimalist way of life post-declutter, post-minimalizing and post-capsulating my wardrobe to a sexy collection of only solid black, garments is my current challenge. It is where my hell starts, as minimizing was the easy part and actually living a committed life of intentionality and simplicity is the hard part. 

Having spent the better 100% percent of my life as a consumerist…

Ok 99% of my life, as it has been a 1 year, since I started this journey to moving from a life of stuff to a life of intentionality. A decluttered, organized, green and minimalist lifestyle. Well if, I am honest. The green part has been a core value for me long before minimalism, but with a decluttered, organized, minimalist and intentional lifestyle, it only helps me to have a greener lifestyle. 

The struggle is real! Everytime, I walk by a store, a grocery shop or open my computer. I can hear my mind saying. Didn’t you for get to buy something? Remember you promised to buy yourself this last week or month? You know you always wanted to try that and now it is on sale! The cost is totally worth the experience of trying that new product or adding that new item to your wardrobe. Isn’t it?!?!?! I am not sure if it’s as hellish for you, but my struggle is real! It has the bite of a hungry man and the persistance of a  2-year-old! 

Then I look around and think about all the money I have wasted. The time I wasted shopping. By time, I mean hours, days and years of my life scrolling down page by page across Amazon.com or wondering the clothing store or supersize supermarket. The post lifestyle struggle is so real for me. I do not want to pretend it’s not!

To provide myself some support….

I have taken to not buying anything that I “need” or “want” without having at least 30-days pass. Once I receive the product, I immediately incorporate it into my lifestyle and spaces. If the product is food or new vitamin or supplement, I never buy more than a 30-day supply. No matter if the 60-day supply is cheaper than the 30-day supply. This strategy is not a long-term one, but it definitely helps as I continue to move into a life of less stuff, intentionality and consciousness. 

Goodbye for now, 

XoXo

LBS

 

Freeconomics, Furnish your flat for free!

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The horror and expense of getting furniture can have a new and better ending….

Living in a digital age we can get furniture free or at a great price. When I moved into my Manhattan apartment, I spent 10,000 dollars cash in a few hours on just furniture. What a waste!

Once you buy it, you will never see that money again, so here are some tips to not make the same mistake as me -as some studies say people spend on average between 10,000 and 160,000 to furnish their home and their small business. 

# 1 COMMUNITIES…

If you can not afford it, don’t use your credit card! There are tons groups online and locally that are giving away furniture. I am a member of a few on Facebook, so just Google free furniture or furniture give aways and you can find some awesome options (ex. Freecycle.com or Craigslist.com).

# 2 FAMILY…

Call your parents and grandparents. If they are anything like mine, they have tons of furniture that they never use and you can have for free.

# 3 CHARITY SHOPS…

Brilliant! Most big or international groups have stores setup up just for furniture sales. The American Red Cross is a great example. The furniture is in great quality, the price is almost nothing, you know your money goes to doing a good deed and creating 0% more waste in an already clutter world. 

Goodbye for now, 

XoXo

LBS

DIY Potluck Party

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An DIY Potluck Party….

A party is a great and free way to get new art, decor and furniture (even decor and design ideas) into your home and work spaces. It is also a great opportunity to hang out with your friends or get to know your colleagues over a night or afternoon of good food, laughter, and exchange. The purpose of the game it to get everyone who is attending to bring art from their home(s) or work that they never use, do not like or would like to replace. Then during the party people can see the art that everyone has brought and exchange their pieces until everything they brought has found a new home and they have also gotten some pieces that will add great ambiance, value and a fresh style to their space at home or at work. 

Here are the rules, feel free to reorganize them to make your DIY Potluck unique: 

  1. Try to keep the number to about 10 people, because after that it can get crazy.
  2. Define what is art and what it is not, so everyone is clear on what they can bring.
  3. Put a minimum and maximum of pieces for entry. If this is for work, there is no need to set a minimum or maximum, wherever excess you have presents a great opportunity to donate it to a local charity, as mentioned in Podcast 003 | Art. 
  4. Have everyone bring one dish to share, as it is still a potluck and you will need to eat. It is always great to make sure you do not end up with same food 10 times, so asking your guests if they are bringing a salty, sweet or savory helps everyone out. 
  5. You will have to either make or buy some kind of ticket or trading currency for the exchanges. I recommend using something easy or fun like stick pads or stickers. 
  6. Give everyone one ticket (or your currency of choice) for each piece of art they brought to exchange. Each ticket gets them one new piece of art during the exchange. 
  7. Let everyone know that they should definitely start looking for the pieces they want.
  8. As its about the opportunity to share and participate in a kind of shared economy, do not do any negotiating until after sharing your randomly yummy dishes. 
  9. With lunch or dinner done, start the trade, but do not stop the good times or party.
  10. If any pieces are left, offer to take them to your local charity for donation. If people prefer to take their unchosen art pieces home or back to their office that works too.
  11. Remember this is all about having fun, reinventing or repurposing things that you own, but never use (that could add value and happiness to someone else home) and at time to spend some good old quality time with the people you love or work with. 

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

I finally reached my 100th country….

I finally achieved my goal of visiting 100 countries….

It seems yesterday when I was 25 deciding that I was fed-up with the lies I had learned in school and decided to take control of my “re-education,” with a little bit of courage I set off on my first trip to Europe alone at 27 after doing much prep work: going to a club alone, a bar, a movie theater, a play and then one day to London and Rome..now 7 years later I have done it.. visited my 100 country, traveled 6 continents, visited some places 2 or 3 times, lived in Europe and still had time to get a few degrees… I feel really proud!

The life of a traveler is amazing…. Personal Testimonial of the rewards of Traveling:

I met a woman from the Ukraine in Andorra country 99 just 4 days ago, where we said goodbye, as we would probably never meet again. Today, As arrive back home in my tiny city of Grenoble, France. Look who is the first person I see.. Ana from the Ukraine in my tiny city when we meet 4 days ago randomly in Andorra… amazing.. making connections Jamaica-America-Ukraine connections Andorra-Monaco-France 😉 100 countries and still the blessings of traveling surprises me!

Thank you…

Thank you all my friends and family that messaged me along all my journies, opened their homes to me, liked all my vacation posts, shared their friends so I could have a friendly face to meet me at each country and given me more travel tips than lonely planet could dream about! 

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

Getting Comfy With A Little Criticism…

 

 

 

Society has told us that Criticism is negative and feedback is positive, but is it true?

From criticism it is possible to extract some unknown truths, strengthens and weaknesses. It is also possible to discover who are your friends and your enemies (those jealous of you or passing their own personal fears on to you as a way to stop you from maxing your potential). How can we to use this Criticism to our benefit?

1.Look at who its coming from….

Is this person confident and happy in their own lives, then why would they waste their time to tell you something that they thing adds value to your life. You should take the time to first thank this person, as they get nothing from taking the time to share with you ideas to help you improve your life, relationships or experiences. They have in fact, took a big risk by sharing with you in the first place, as most people only want to hear the good stuff about themselves and become angry about the less positive parts of their personality or actions. However, if this person is bitter, filled with regret and has never tried anything that required even the smallest amount of risk -living in fear of the unknown-. You can be sure that their words come from a place of jealousy, poor intention and aim to project their own fears on you to you, so do yourself a favor and ignore it! Politely of course.

2. Perceptions are cash in the bank….

Whenever someone who knows nothing about you shares with you (normally in passing conversation and indirectly) what their perception of your energy, life, performance and skills. You can be sure this is invaluable information, as this is probably how everyone else sees you, but doesn’t have the courage or care to tell you. For sure, some of it will be awesome, but some of it will also be in areas you need to improve or change to improve your environments perception of you.

3. What to keep and what to change….

Meaning, you have to decide what parts of your personality are you, that you love and that you do not want to change under any situation. Once you decided, you have to be willing to take accountability for those parts of your personality and character, ready to defend and stay true to them when people ask you to change them. For all the other stuff, make a plan and begin to change your life today! No more excuses or waiting for the right moment. There is no right moment, so just make a plan and do it.

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

A Traveling Me, Equals a Healthy Me ;-)

I can remember a time when….

I was hitchhiking from Croatia to  Montenegro and a car stopped in the middle of the street, because they said they saw my profile and awesome references from over 200 people on Couchsurfing. Not only did they give me a ride, but we spent the day cliff-diving and having a picnic on the coast of Croatia.

In the the South of Italy, I got on a bus and told the girl sitting next to me that I needed to find a place to sleep. She said, “I am a Couchsurfer, you can have my downtown 2 bedroom condo all to yourself for 2 weeks if you want?” I had access to a washing machine and air-conditioning, when the temperature was at is hottest.

 In Cyprus, I meet my Couchsurfing host for what I thought would be a few days in the Greek Capital of Cyprus, but instead she planned a whole road trip. We spent the next few days driving the whole island. What is there not to love about Couchsuring or to loose by trying? Nothing!

I surfed over 500 Couches! 

Couchsurfing is an awesome community and a great way to get introduced to the dynamic and diverse cultures of the world. It is free to join and participate in this awesome community, the only thing you have to do is give your time and willingness to share your travel experiences, passion and dreams.

I used it when I wanted to see the world, but from a locals perspective. I have surfed in boats, cars, apartments, tents, caves and camper vans. I have surfed in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and North America in over 500 homes. It was difficult at first to get a couch with no references, but once I passed a 100 references, people started to contact me and offer me a couch.

So, here are 5 quick tips to start your Couchsurfing Journey with success:

  1. Complete your profile fully with several photos
  2. Go to as many events in your local area as possible and ask every person you meet to write you a reference that vouches for your characters
  3. Share what ever travel experiences you have had on your profile, calling it my “My best travel experience(s) yet or “My favorite places in the world.”
  4. Share a list of all the countries you dream to visit and say why you want to visit them. I would start with my top ten and update that list as you go along.
  5. Put on your status and profile that travelers can contact you for travel tips, if they want you to show them the city or grab a coffee or drink. 

You can go a step further, if you are able to host people in your home before you start your travels. This let’s experienced hosts and couchsurfers know that you are not just in the community to take or to have a free night in their home, but you are willing to share your home and how others the same local experience when they visit your area.

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

The Waves of Life…

Every time I think I have a plan, life throws me a big wave to ride out…

As intuitive and instinctive as I think I am, I somehow sometimes miss the approaching hidden or major waves of life. If I am honest, I really get hit by these waves of life, when I put all my trust in others ability to be ethical, honest and moral by showing the innate quality of simply being human by looking beyond themselves and their needs…

This last wave lead me to face many personal turns and relationship spins…

What I have learned from all of them is that people or life can only bring in the madness, if I let it in. For example, today I had a phone call from a person that always seems to pour drama into my life and often finds a way to leave me intentionally or unintentionally drained. Drained meaning, a headache, feeling emotionally spent in seconds and wanting to buy the first pieces of junk food I can get my hands in an effort to find some kind of quick fix comfort.

However, I decided that when I am faced with such waves and negative energy to just put my hand up, wave the white piece flag and walk far away from the situation or person, because nothing is worth allowing myself to be drained. So, in this phone conversation when the person started. I stopped them and told them that I was not going to let them take me to a negative head space or depleted energy level. Then, I got off the phone!

Of course, I failed from the moment that I began to let them engage me in their negative behaviors, conniving guilt trips, blame everyone but themselves for their problems and lies upon lies. Of course, we are all guilty of this, especially those who always feel we need to come to the rescue of others. More specifically, that one person that you have been saving their whole life and inturn enabling to behave in this dysfunctional way in your life without any consequence.

It is funny, because it is so difficult for the drained to see how much they are being milked by the drainer, but as soon as we tell one person -word for word- the details of the event that has now claimed all of our energy, ability to focus to complete our planned tasks and has now riddled us with guilt or uncertainty. What if this time they are telling the truth?What if this time they are really in trouble? Was I just too harsh? Were their accusations about my behavior, words or tone towards them true? No! No! No! Stop it!

In life you have two kinds of people, those that are happy or seeking happiness with intention and those how are unhappy and want to share it with the world as they fail to address the real problems in their lives, fear any change in life, want you to be as sad as them, think you don’t deserve your happiness or are just jealous of your happiness! My recommendation is walk away now, tell them the door is open when they are willing to seek happiness and refocus yourself back on those that add happiness to your life (that includes yourself as your happiness start first with you)!

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS

Veggies, Why not?

Why Vegetarianism….

This is a question people ask me all the time. At first, I could not understand what was the big deal and why people felt so intrigued by my decision. Ok if I am really honest with myself, I still do not understand why people continue to ask me about my transition, but I definitely understand why I chose to become a vegetarian.

It was not an easy task or life transition for me for sure coming from a Jamaican, Dominican and American family. Meat was in every meal. There was meat broth that was used to make the rice. Meat fat that was used as a base to make the gravy.  Meat, bones and animal marrow was used as the main flavor source in every soup. Meat was everywhere and remains a basic core ingredient in all my family’s dishes. 

There was an evolution process to my decision to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle….

The First….

Was on vacation in the Dominican Republic in 2007. I met a couple that had lost between 150 to 250 pounds in 2 years after becoming vegetarians. They championed all the health benefits and how their lives had improved, their love had grown stronger and their bodies fitter. The glowed of happiness and content at the mere discussion of being vegetarians and the impact it had on their lives and now on their children’s’ lives. 

The Second….

Once I began to travel the world more frequently, the burden of carrying meat around was too much. I had to worry about the temperature being to hot in Africa, the travel time to having a fridge being 20 hours too long in South America, what the animal was allowed to eat in Asia or how it was allowed to live before it arrived on my plate in North America or Europe. It was just too much! 

The Third….

With vegetables, they are used to growing in hot climates and do not require the love and attention that meat does. I do not have to worry about what my vegetable ate..lol? Who cut it up? How it was stored? If it will make me sick? Vegetables and fruits are very transparent. If the apple is rotten, you will see it. If the carrot is going bad, you will feel it!

Becoming a vegetarian simplified my life…

I love being a vegetarian, but I am also in love with people choosing for themselves what works best for their life and body. I think that our bodies are really complex and applying blanket ways of life or health approaches is a recipe for disaster, depression and anxiety. So, I can only say how becoming a vegetarian and remaining one has benefited my life. Today, I am 40 pounds lighter (from my maximum weight), definitely fitter and happily one with my body! 

Goodbye for now,

XoXo

LBS