Kondo-ed…an update.

It’s been a week since I began my decluttering process the KonMari way. You may remember my mentioning it last week on Little Things Thursday and I promised you an update after reading the entire book and applying what I learned. I found the whole thing life changing in terms of how I view things.

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Last week there were mixed reactions to the book. Most people who left comments were fairly on board with simplifying while a few others were thinking that decluttering was the last thing on their to do lists. There is no judgement either way because the real purpose of the book is not to force you to discard items you really love, but to help you make sure that you are surrounding yourself with things that “spark joy”.

Personally, I was not as joyful with my surroundings as I could be. I knew that we had some excess baggage that felt more like an anchor than a bolster of joy. In an effort to give us space to pursue our true passions, I needed to spend less time managing items. If we can’t steward and store things well, then they must be superfluous to our lives. Storage is just a bandage to the bigger problem of excess.

I spent a full week purging every single room and closet. I took a serious look at each item, as the method suggests, and asked myself if the items “sparked joy”. I did feel a little foolish verbalizing the question, but it was so helpful. Marie suggests starting with categories, not rooms. You begin with clothing, move to books, papers, misc. items, and then on to nostalgia. Never start with nostalgia if you want to make it through the discarding process. You end with it because by the time you get to your nostalgia, you’ve honed the skill of knowing what brings you joy. Nostalgia is the most guilt inducing category, so you want to have your brave pants on before tackling it. This works! The only item I disagree with tossing in this department is photographs, obviously. I mean there may be some you could let go of, if you don’t even know what they are. However, we do need to be better about taking hundreds of nothing shots. And we do need to be better about giving our photographs that spark joy places of honor by displaying them. That’s my high horse.

I also love how Marie gives you permission to just let go of anything you have buyer’s remorse over. So often we hang on to things simply because we feel guilty about wasting money on it, even though we know we secretly hate it and will never use it. Or maybe we just have ambivalence about it and store it simply because it’s not that bad and maybe we will use it “someday”. She redeems those poorly purchased items buy telling us that we were taught that we don’t like shirts with patterns, or plaid doesn’t look good on us. We learned what not to buy next time! Or maybe we can let go of something because it’s purpose was already fulfilled by bringing us joy in the past, so we can let it go now because we are no longer gaining joy from it.

I discarded about 10-15 bags of garbage items and made a couple Goodwill donation trips. Remember, I’ve never been a pack rat. Still, I had that much miscellaneous garbage and unused items stuffed in drawers, closets, and spaces. It has been so freeing to give it up. Some things I just decided I could live without. We weren’t using them and there was no reason to keep them. We reached the place of “enough” and “joyful”. Everything has a designated home. If you discard thoroughly and put everything you keep away, you will stay decluttered. As the theory goes… So far so good in our home.

The tip on folding clothing has been revolutionary. I never knew I had that much available drawer space until I folded the KonMari way. Try it…it’s amazing. If this is all you gain from the book, you won’t be sorry.

Lastly, I truly believe this method will stay with me if I simply ask myself when purchasing, “does this spark joy?” I think I will know immediately if the items are needed, bring me joy, or if I am seeking to soothe some fleeting emotion inside instead. I will teach my kids to ask the same question, even if I gave them the items. No guilt. I don’t want them navigating their adult lives feeling bound to stuff. Sometimes I think we all just need permission to throw stuff away and to have less. It is a bit counter-cultural to think this way. We have to learn to carry memories and experiences without all the tchotchkes. Unless they really spark joy! I have a few items from Thailand that are joyful for me like my Celadon tea set from Chiang Mai. I prefer to buy one really great thing over a 100 little nothings.

If you took a look around my home today, you would not see sparse minimalism. You would see essentialism. Though, I can get on board with both and be happy. The bottom line for me is having freedom to follow passions without the anchor of stuff.  Beautiful essentials are all I need. I love that take away from reading the book.

One thing I am not addressing here are the chapters that touch on some of the Japanese spiritual philosophies regarding things as living beings. This is briefly mentioned and from the perspective of a Japanese author. This subject is beyond the point of the book, in my opinion. If you want to ask me about those from my Christian perspective, I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.

Grab this book if you are serious about decluttering and simplifying your space. You can find the book on Amazon. Link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through this link do bring a few pennies my way and support this blog. Thank you.

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A Pocket Full Of Sunshine Boutique|Review

I’m doing a little something different for Little Things Thursday this week! Over the summer, I was contacted by the super cute children’s clothing company A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique to try out a couple of their items for review. My little girl is all grown up, but I’m surrounded by darling little girls in my town.  I put out a model call for one of them to model some dresses for me, and this doll stepped forward!

First, you have got to see all the clothing on A Pocket Full of Sunshine’s website. The outfits are adorable.  I love all the unique items that your girls will love this back to school season.  You won’t find these items in the collections in your local stores.  To me, that is a plus! As a photographer, I am also always looking for great companies to recommend to my clients for putting together a wardrobe for portraits. A Pocket Full of Sunshine has so many great, affordable options.

Like this adorable Blue Lace Florence dress:

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I love the lace detail on the neckline and the empire waist!

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Next up is the Cream Crochet Maderia dress. Even my high school daughter said that she wished this came in her size!

APFOS blog post 2This is such a versatile dress! I can see this as an autumn look with a cute pair of tights and some cowgirl boots. It’s a perfect Back to School look! I know you’ll find so many looks to love this fall!

A Pocket Full of Sunshine is graciously offering my readers 25% off orders when you use the code littlebylittle! A little savings this time of year is such a blessing to the back to school budget!

And a parting shot of my darling model, because she was so fun to shoot! APFOS 04-LBLblog

Now come link up for Little Things Thursday with us and show us what you’ve got! Be sure to stop by A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique to get 25% off some unique Back to School clothes with my code!


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Boon Suds Bottle Washer| Product Review

The good folks at Boon reached out to me to review one of their new products, the SUDS Bottle Washer.  SUDS was designed for parents who are in that stage of constantly washing baby bottles and sippy cups.  Boy, do I remember those days! In our early years of parenting we did not have a dishwasher as those were not common in the country we were living at the time.  I always felt like it was a chore to really get bottles and sippy cups clean. Even though we are no longer in that stage, we are in the stage of constantly washing sports bottles for our kids.  I hand wash those because dishwashers tend to cause these bottles to expand and that leads to the dreaded leaks. On top of this, I also like to hand wash my coffee travel mugs.

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I could see that a Boon SUDS Bottle Washer could be a boon for me as a soccer mom! 5 water bottles after every game and practice really adds up to time at the sink.

To use, simply fill the basin with warm soapy water, invert your bottle, and push down a few times! Warm sudsy water splashes inside and the bottle scrubber does the rest.  It’s easy peasy to clean your bottles in mere seconds.  The basin fits in your sink and contains all the mess! This is a #ABoon4Bottles!

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I’m trying it with my trusty coffee travel mug!

The Boon SUDS Bottle Washer is now available in Target stores and at Target.com.

Check out the action here with this video!  I hope you will find the SUDS Bottle Washer a boon for your bottles! And hey moms, this totally works on those end of the day wine glasses, too.

*Post sponsored by Boon, Inc.* All opinions are my own.

 

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Bumblebean’s Smart Solutions

As you may know, I have had the privileged of curating for Bumblebean over the last year.  I just love this company that showcases specialty brands for modern moms, kids, and babies! If you haven’t had a look around Bumblebean’s site, you should definitely make a visit soon because you will fall in love with the brands.

Today, I want to introduce you to Bumblebean’s newest help for all you moms and dads out there.  Bumblebean has launched Smart Solutions with all sorts of parenting hacks to share with you straight from the community of moms and dads who visit the site! Smart Solutions was designed with you in mind.

You’ll find tips for raising kids , tricks, advice and everyday ‘life-hacks’ for everyday challenges.   You can upload videos, images or just words of wisdom, share them with our community and with friends.  We select the best of the best and rotate them through our home page for others to see.
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I’d love for you all to stop by and share some of your best hacks with the community.  I know you have great wisdom that will benefit us all as we make our way through this journey of perenthood. Maybe you’ll find a tip to employ while you are there.

And of course you’ll always find great collections curated by Bumblebean’s experts!

Hope to see you there!

 

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Little Things Thursday

Have you guys tried essential oils yet? I was a total skeptic at first, until a friend (who happens to be a pharmacist) offered to let me sample some for free.

And you know what? They really have addressed some things for me.  Don’t worry, I’m not leading you to a gift shop at the end of the post.  I’m not selling, just telling.

essential oil diffuser

I’ve been using oils for a few months to address sleep issues, headaches, the occasional burn, digestive issues, and etc… It’s really been fun to experiment with them. The whole thing has been kind of a surprise.

What I’m really loving is this diffuser that Jack bought me for my birthday. This thing, at night…oh my word!

I’m putting a few drops of Peace and Calming plus a little Lavender in the diffuser right before bed.  It’s seriously sleep inducing. The diffuser runs a couple hours and then shuts off when empty.  I’m getting some really solid sleep lately.  It’s the kind where you don’t really remember your dreams because you slept so soundly. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it.

Good sleep really changes your outlook on so much.

I’m also moving the unit around during the day and adding oils for concentration or just to inspire positive moods.  Aromas really have the power to brighten moods. I’ve already requested a second unit for downstairs.

So, anyway, this is a little thing that has been enjoyable this week.  If you get one just for the sleep, it’s totally worth it!

What say you? Anyone else trying these?


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Birthday Fun with Pic-Tap-Go

If you follow me on Instagram you may know that this past weekend was my birthday.  I confess, I did a little overgramming. One friend, who happens to share my birthday, reminded me that birthdays are a great excuse to overgram. And she is right!

However, my secondary purpose was testing out the photo app Pic-Tap-Go, designed for  iPhone and iPad.  Pic-Tap-Go reached out to me to see if I would be interested in trying the app and reviewing it for y’all.  I love Instagramming as a form of micro-blogging, so yeah, I was down with that!  Pic-Tap-Go is a name that I have heard around the block for a little over a year, but I just had so many photo apps that I put off getting yet another photography app that perhaps wouldn’t meet my needs like the many I have downloaded before.  However, I am kind of kicking myself because I really loved/love this app! Pic-Tap-Go is made by the same cool team as Totally Rad!, Inc. which provides Photoshop and Lightroom editing tools for photographers!  They know a thing or two.

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I had so much fun playing with Pic-Tap-Go’s 69 unique filters. Let’s face it, some of Instagram’s filters are a bit much. But, I quickly found some favorite Pic-Tap-Go filters that I could save as “my style” or I could create recipes by layering for my own signature look. There are also great tools such a straightening and rotation features.  There are a variety of ways to post your images to your social media accounts.  That versatility is such a bonus.

Pic-Tap-Go’s 2.0 upgrade is now available in the iTunes store for $1.99. The upgrade is free to all previous Pic-Tap-Go users.  Don’t miss the in-app Replichrome Mini purchase for 10 film-like filters for $0.99. Pic-Tap-Go 2.0 now also supports a variety of languages to bring great iPhone photography to photographers around the globe, which is so cool of them!

Thank you Pic-Tap-Go for allowing me to try this app! I will definitely continue using this app for those on the go shots when “the big girl” stays home. The best camera is the one you have with you and I always have my phone ready to document my day.  Y’all be sure to go check out www.pictapgo.com and get the Pic-Tap-Go 2.0 app! Hashtag your images with #pictapgo_app and let’s see what you create!

Today, I’m also linking with Good.Random.Fun. , a great community of photo lovers!

This post is sponsored by Pic-Tap-Go and Totally Rad!, Inc. All opinions are my own.

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Kidecals

Kidecals reached out to me a few weeks ago about trying some of their personalized decals.  The selections were great!  I love the idea of labeling everything because if your kids are like mine, they leave their stuff everywhere.  Summer is definitely a perfect time for using Kidecals durable labels.

I’m usually a Sharpie pen girl.  However, over time even Sharpie pens start to wear off.  You can use Kidecals on any surface…even fabric! They are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe.  You can be confident that these labels will keep your kid’s personal belongings labeled for the long haul.

I will use my labels on all our sporting gear that seems to get “lost”.

Kidecals is offering my readers a 15% off discount so that you can get all those labels you need for summer camps and activities. Simple use the code: fashion at checkout.  Go stock up on Kidecals for your kids!

Courtesy of: Kidecals

Kidecals provided me with their product to try and review. All opinions are my own.

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Must Haves

I’m taking a deep breath of relief this Monday morning.  We’ve gotten through the first hurried, chaotic weeks of summer and now maybe that slower summer pace will begin.  So far it has felt like the same kind of different.

However, this morning I am willing myself to carve out some time to get caught up to speed! Starting with showing you guys my POPSUGAR Must Have Box for June!

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POPSUGAR Must Have Boxes are a box subscription service that pulls together some great products for you to try!  I was so impressed with the full-sized products! My Must Have Box felt like a present!

June’s box is totally inspired by summer! The box is chock full of things to take along to the beach or a day by the pool.

Of course a fun book is requisite for lounging on the sand or poolside.  Emily Griffin’s The One & Only will be perfect for a fun summer read.  I’m looking forward to carving out time to indulge.

I’m loving that huge bottle of Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Body Lotion.  It smells so, so good!  I just want to drench myself in it.

I was delighted by the Turkish-T Beach Towel.  It’s really luxurious.  You can use it either as a beach towel or you can turn it into a sarong.  You can wrap in so many creative ways to cover up going to and from the beach or pool. I love the color and the stripes!

Lollies hair ties are so cute.  I’m always reaching for a pony tail holder during the summer months.  These ties are made out of swimwear fabric.  You can totally wear them as you play in the water.  They hold their shape, and look so polished!

Did someone at POPSUGAR know of my affinity for kettle style chips?  I can’t wait to dig into this bag of Hawaiian BBQ.  I’m not sharing.

I had to smile at the You Smell Lemon Wet Wipes.  Yep, I’m a germaphobe.  I love having ways to clean my hands on the go.  The lemon fragrance will surely add a little refreshment to the process. I’m going to save these for travel.  They will be perfect for those quick freshen-ups!

Finally, as a bonus, Native Union included a $15 gift card for their fun gadgetry! I’ve already spotted a super fun iPhone cover. If you are geek-fabulous, you will love Native Union’s range of products.

POPSUGAR’S June Must Have Box was incredible!

Because I am a POPSUGAR Select blogger, I get to offer you guys a $10 discount on a 3-month subscription for Must Have Boxes! Sign up by June 30th and use the code JUNESELECT10 for your discount!

POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Box.  The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Linking with friends at Good.Random.Fun today!

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Sonicare #powertokids

One goal of parenting is to empower your children to become more and more independent as they grow.  Now that my youngest is six, we are seeing our children take on more responsibilities to contribute to their own care and the care of our home.  They love being big enough to do things for themselves.

We are focusing on good health goals in our family in this season of time.  One of those ways is by eating more healthful foods like green smoothies.  I love empowering my children to make sound health choices.   I’ve taught Jasper how to make these green smoothies that we love with some supervision, of course.

#powertokids from Kim Cunningham on Vimeo.

Jasper was pretty chuffed to be able to make smoothies for the family!  We love putting all those micronutrients into our bodies for health and energy!

Another way to encourage healthful habits is to empower our children to take on more of their personal hygeine. One of the first things that most kids want to do to gain independence is toothbrushing.  I mean, sometimes helping kids brush is akin to wrestling alligators.  It’s a big relief when kids start brushing on their own.  The downside is the fear that their efforts aren’t enough.  Sonicare For Kids is a great tool for helping our kids develop this independence.  I love the great design of this toothbrush.   Sonicare toothbrushes come equipped with a two minute timer that helps kids monitor the amount of time spent in brushing teeth.  If your kids are like mine  you know that they are probably not brushing nearly the recommended time.  Sonicare For Kids will help make sure your kids brush long enough to cover all those areas including the hard to reach ones.  We absolutely love rechargeable electric toothbrushes for ensuring the most effective means of cleaning those pearly whites. Kids love them for their fun designs and power.  Give #powertokids with a Sonicare For Kids toothbrush.  Parents can rest easier knowing that those precious teeth are getting clean!

Sonicare

Want a chance to win a Sonicare For Kids unit to try?  Visit Philips Sonicare’s Facebook page for an opportunity to win!  Just snap an Instagram photo of your child taking on new independence with the hashtag #powertokids to enter.  Two winners will be announced between now and April 11 every Friday! Happy Brushing!

This post is sponsored by Philips Sonicare.

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Ramune Fun

We have a new Asian grocer in our area.   Since I’m helping to host an Indonesian dinner at our church next week, I thought I’d stop by and see what was on offer.  <- Excuse.  I would have stopped by regardless to stock up on some of our favorite snacks from our Thailand days.

They had Ramune.
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Ramune is a fun soft drink from Japan. Most of the fun is in opening the drink. The bottle is sealed with a marble. You get a neat plunger to break the seal.
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You push the plastic plunger on the marble until it pops down in to the bottle. It takes a bit of force.
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With the right amount of force, the marble dislodges into the neck of the bottle. I think the effect looks alien.
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You can drink safely because the marble remains trapped and cannot be removed from the bottle unless you smash it.

It is good.random.fun. for all.
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Linking with Good.Random.Fun.  And see how I just caught up my 365 very sneakily?

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