7.31.2015

The KonMari Method | An Introduction

book, Marie Kondo, the life-changing magic of tidying up, book review, organizing, decluttering,

My goal for the summer is to totally reorganize my house.  I started with my bathroom and now that I'm back from vacation I'm diving in head-first with The KonMari Method.  Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing is a super quick read.  She outlines her method which I've realized is actually very simple.

The first thing to know is that Kondo recommends decluttering by category instead of by location.  She says to start with clothes then move onto books and papers, then miscellaneous other items and finally sentimental items (because those are the most difficult).  The second thing is that she says this method only works if you do it completely.  That means discard items and then put away the ones you are keeping.  Do all of your clothes, all of your books, all of every category.  Tidy your entire house and then you'll be more likely to keep it that way.

This is an emotional cleaning method based on deciding which items bring you joy.  I will say that the word "joy" means different things to different people and can actually mean different things for the same person when talking about different items.  It's a highly personalized process and can be difficult.

I decided to film my process for some (or most) of the categories.  My introductory video to the series can be found on my personal channel.


What are your thoughts about The KonMari Method?
Have you tried it?

Thanks for reading!
:) Alice

7.30.2015

What I Ate | Maine Vacation 2015

healthy eating, grilled chicken, rice, bbq

one dish meal

Vacation!  I just got back from a week in Maine where I had no internet or cell service and it rained about 50 percent of the time.  I spent the entire time either reading on a couch, reading on a beach, playing board games and watching movies with my husband and of course... eating so much food.  Ha ha!  

steak, bacon, corn on the cob, grilled asparagus

steak, corn, grilled, grilling, summer, dinner, healthy, what I ate

The experiment of the trip was to try to make bacon-wrapped corn on the grill.  Obviously I got the idea from Pinterest.  Obviously it did not turn out quite as I'd envisioned.  But it did provide us with yummy bacon to eat with our steak, corn and asparagus.  I call that a win.

berries, waffles, Eggo, healthy, breakfast

scrambled eggs, toast, jam, coffee, water, breakfast, brunch

If you know me, then you'll know what a huge breakfast/brunch fan I am.  We went through an entire box of frozen waffles along with a bunch of eggs and fruit.  We also polished off that bacon.  Duh.

bacon and eggs, waffles and syrup, breakfast, brunch,

waffles, bacon, fried eggs, berries, brunch, breakfast

We went to a grocery store an hour and a half away from where we were staying and we had left our house at 5am so we didn't write a list, were crazy from lack of sleep and so much driving and anxious to get back on the road.  As a result, we didn't really plan very well for lunches.

pickles, tuna, sandwich, lunch

We literally bought two cans of tuna (that would be one for each of us for 5.5 days) and then just ate random snacks thrown together for the rest of the days.  We did manage to keep it on the healthy side.

lunch, snack, healthy, hummus, tortilla chips, V8, vegetable juice, water, raw vegetables, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, green peppers, chopped

What I Ate, grapes, red grapes, crackers, goat cheese, gluten-free

After dark was a whole other story.  On the day that it rained from sun-up to past sun-down we decided that we still wanted to make s'mores.  So we used the stove to cook the marshmallows.  They came out pretty well but having to be super careful to keep everything from dripping down into the burners (don't try this at home) made it somewhat less satisfying than it would've been if we could have made them over the grill or a camp fire.

what I ate, dessert, chocolate

hot chocolate, marshmallow, s'mores, dessert, chocolate, treats, sweets, sugar

Having a break and getting away from the internet and texts and phone calls and even friends and family is such an important thing to get once in a while.  While it would have been nice to stay even longer, I think that we had enough time away to decompress and be able to come back refreshed.

Thanks for reading!
Have you had a relaxing vacation recently?
Are you planning one soon?
Let me know in the comments!
:) Alice

7.21.2015

Small Bathroom Storage

organization, blue and white, home decor, bathroom, decor, bathroom tour

Steve and I have been working hard on revamping our bathroom.  If you watch our vlog then you'll know that we have been pretty single-minded about it for the last week.  The biggest negative about our bathroom is that it is TINY!  The main wall actually slants in from the bathtub to the door which shaves off about 10 inches of space on one side.  Then the door opens directly into the toilet so we can't even get it fully open.  There is a window inside of the shower, small cabinet under the sink and 3 shelves inside the mirror.  Up until last week we were undecided as to whether or not we would be moving out of this apartment.  After thinking a lot about it we decided to resign our lease for another year and spend the rest of the summer fixing some of the issues that we have with this place.  Needless to say, the bathroom was number 1 on the list.

After doing a deep cleaning of the entire room (floor to ceiling but not actually ceiling because we did that not too long ago), we went to The Container Store to see what we could find to fix our storage problems.

The Container Store, bathroom, organization, shower, storage

We found this MASSIVE hanging shower caddie.  It is so awesome!  The top has a screw so that the hook can wrap around the shower head and be tightened.  It also has some gripping material up there to keep it secure.  There are also two suction cups at the bottom to help with stability.  The two main baskets are adjustable both up and down and side to side so it can accommodate pretty much any size bottle you have.  The bottom of the soap dish is removable for cleaning, as is the little bar that I have on the lower basket that is creating a separate slot for my sponge.  The hook on the bottom holds the loofah and there are hooks on the side to hang a razor on.

I don't have a before picture of the way we stored our shower products but we kept them in the window.  The loofah was hung on the window lock, the entire window sill was packed and we even had stuff on the top edge of the bottom window pane.  It was annoying to have to move the curtain, everything was wet and slimy and it was just a huge mess.  By the way, to keep the window from being soaked I hung a second curtain rod over the window, put up a clear shower liner and then cut it to the exact size I wanted.

bathroom, organization, storage, before and after,

Since we only have the one cabinet for storage it had everything under there.  I had all of the bathroom cleaner shoved in the back.  On the left was the trashcan (because my cat eats plastic) and extra rolls of toilet paper.  Hair products and mouthwash were in the middle because they are too tall to fit in the mirror cabinet and then my drugstore sized stash of feminine products on the right.

bathroom tour, storage, organization, home decor, cabinet, The Container Store, sliding drawer, under sink storage

These sliding drawers have made a huge difference already!  We had to prop them up on some shelves from a piece of furniture we aren't currently using because the bottom of the cabinet has a raised edge so the bottom drawer couldn't open until we raised it up.  The tall containers are still in the middle and we had to take out the cleaner and the trash can but everything is so much more accessible now that it's all sorted.

blue, bathroom, decor, pet friendly, small bathroom

Speaking of the trash.  I bought this can with a lid at Target.  The inside is completely removable so I can tuck the bag down inside which will hopefully minimize the amount of snacking that Stella does with it.  It's not realistic to keep her out of the room completely because a bathroom needs to be open and aired so that it doesn't get moldy and gross.  Every decision I made for this bathroom had to be measured by function first, cat second, and prettiness third.

Target, white, bathroom decor, small bathroom

Another cat friendly (hopefully) change that I made was to switch the big shower liner from plastic to fabric.  I bought this machine washable fabric liner at Target.  It will require a little more maintenance because I will have to wash it periodically to keep it free of mold but if the cat isn't choking and barfing then I'll be happy to do it.  :)

bathroom, storage, organization, small storage, home decor, bathroom decor

Last but not least, I wanted to add storage in the room itself and also make it a little prettier.  Steve put up three cube shelves from The Container Store (the finish on these is called "driftwood").  I moved some blue glass bottles in that had been in my bedroom and I filled it out with a candle and a couple of new candle holders from Target.

blue, white, bathroom, small bathroom, storage, organization, home decor


Since we rent this place and it isn't really ours, we are limited in what we actually have control over.  I still don't really like this bathroom, but it is SO much better than before!  If you'd like to see a video tour of the finished bathroom please head over to my YouTube channel or click on the embedded video below!




Thanks for reading!
:) Alice  

7.17.2015

Collective Clothing Haul | Spring/Summer 2015

spring fashion, summer fashion, consignment, style

I have had some changes to my schedule (meaning I left one of the jobs I have had) so I have been feeling like getting dressed in clothes that make me feel good every day is this newly found luxury.  It's ridiculous but still, I went shopping.  The items I am including in this post were bought over one to two months so some of them may seem a little heavy to include in a summer wardrobe.  However, I only wear true summer clothes if I absolutely have to.  I prefer to pretend that it is perpetually Autumn and so there are plenty of sleeves to be had in the following images.  Enjoy! :)

blue, white, skirt, details, style, fashion, women's clothing, Buffalo Exchange, consignment, love...ady, skirt, short skirt, cute

This skirt is SO cute!  I bought at Buffalo Exchange, which is a consignment store.  It is by the brand love...ady and still had the tag on it.  It puffs out a lot when worn which makes it pretty cute and I love the exposed zipper detail in the back.


Buffalo Exchange, consignment haul, clothes, black, white, polka dots, shirt dress, sheer top, style, fashion, women's clothing, texture

Both of these items were also bought at Buffalo Exchange.  The sheer top is really cool.  It is boxy and loose with a scoop neck so it looks slouchy and casual over a tank top even though it isn't really made out of casual material.  The dots are raised velvet so it has this interesting texture and 3-dimensional quality to it that I really like.  The shirt dress has a very loose shape to it.  It is by Old Navy and is so soft and comfortable.  One benefit of getting second hand clothing is that you can often find things that other people have worn and washed so when you get it it's already at the comfy stage of something you've had for years.


grey, gray, white, blue, seersucker, jacket, blazer, pockets, buttons, details, sweatshirt, crisp, shirt, top, style, fashion, women's clothing

These are my two favorites.  The jacket is by Nine West and I bought it at Macy's.  I think it's a nice, bright alternative to my darker blazers.  The top is by Loft but I bought it at Buffalo Exchange.  I've actually found a few Loft pieces in really good condition there over the years.  This top is a soft thin sweatshirt with a panel at the bottom and sides that looks like a crisp, white button-down shirt is sticking out.  The cuffs have a functional button as well.


art smock, Urban Outfitters, Target, leggings, bright, gray, casual, comfortable, pockets, dress, long sleeves

This dress.  This dress.  THIS DRESS!  I bought this on clearance at Urban Outfitters at the beginning of the summer so I don't know if they have it anymore.  But they do have tons of similar styles listed in the dress shop on their website.  I have worn this a few times.  It's literally just a giant bag, kind of like an art smock.  I roll the sleeves up a little and then, because it is pretty short and billowy (especially when the wind blows), I throw on a pair of leggings underneath.  I bought these two pairs at Target because I think that with a totally plain gray dress you can get away with a more bold print on the bottom.


Walmart, Eddie Bauer, Urban Outifitters, graphic tee, pink plaid, flannel shirt, blue knit tank top, style, fashion, summer, spring, women's clothing

That t-shirt!  My husband actually found this hysterical graphic tee in the men's section at Walmart.  I think the picture speaks for itself but it also says "Everyday Struggle" next to that totally baller kitty.  I would wear it every day if I could.  Ha ha ha!

The plaid flannel shirt is the final piece that I bought at Buffalo Exchange.  I love the colors in it.  I tend to look a little better in jewel tones as opposed to bright red so I'm glad I was able to find a snuggle-y flannel that I actually look good in!  Although I suppose you can go judge that claim for yourself because I wore in my most recent Summer OOTD post.  :)

I showed the blue knit tank top on the right in the Americana OOTD post that I put up about a week ago.  I think I succeed in getting a lot of really comfortable pieces that still look interesting.  When it's really hot out or when it suddenly gets cool after dark but you want to hang out by a campfire with your friends, the last thing that you are trying to do is to feel stiff in your clothes.  The few pieces that I got that are more structured (like the jacket and skirt) are awesome because I feel like I can make them work in any season.

Thanks for reading!
:) Alice

Check out my Clothing Haul video on YouTube!



7.15.2015

OOTD | Summer Plaid

flannel, shorts, pink, plaid, ootd, outfit of the day, Alice Manfrida, style, fashion

Hi all.  I've got another outfit of the day post for you.  This one is for a slightly cooler summer day.  (a.k.a. NOT today)  I found this plaid flannel shirt at Buffalo Exchange a few weeks ago and I love it so much.  I know that a flannel isn't really a summer item but I bought it with our vacation in Maine in mind (the nights get pretty chilly up there).

ootd, outfit of the day, summer style, plaid, pink, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, Alice Manfrida

The shirt is Eddie Bauer and it is seriously the softest fabric I've ever felt.  I think that these colors suit me a little better than the more traditional red that you usually see.  Of course the shorts are one of my ancient pairs from the Weathervane that I've had for at least 10 years.  The white sandals are mtng Originals, which I got from Nordstrom Rack.

fashion, style, cross-body bag, green, purse, shorts, Tignanello, Alice Manfrida

This little cross-body bag is by Tignanello.  I wore this one because there is actually some lime green in the shirt.  They are just super skinny lines so I don't think they show up well in the pictures but they do show in person.

plaid, pink, flannel shirt, style, fashion, summer, Alice Manfrida

Thanks for reading!
:) Alice

7.14.2015

Tasty Tuesday: What I Ate Today [7.14.15]

I had the same breakfast for the past two days in a row and it was so delicious.  Looking at the picture of it here though is bumming me out because I finished off the blueberries this morning.  I'll have to think of something else for tomorrow.

Breakfast:


It was WAY too hot to cook today!  I had yogurt with granola and a handful of blueberries along with a cup of coffee.

Lunch:


I made a whole chicken in the oven yesterday complete with stuffing (from a box) so I made a chicken and stuffing sandwich for lunch today on sprouted grain bread with hummus and tomato.

Snack:


These cookies were from the cookout we went to at my Dad's house on the Fourth of July.  They are basically 100% sugar so they were still good over a week later!  I only ate the blue one.  Steve had the white one.  :)

Supper:


Here's where it all fell apart.  Mac n cheese!!  I just really wanted it so we had Annie's Macaroni and Cheese made with yogurt and I put some parmesan cheese on top.  I just really wanted cheese.  To balance out this cheesy-carb meal we made smoothies.  So I still had lots of fruit and spinach, too!

Thanks for reading!
:) Alice

7.09.2015

OOTD | Americana

tank top, urban outfitters, Fourth of July, summer, ootd

Just because the Fourth of July is in the past doesn't mean that you can't keep dressing like it's not.  Being American I'm a little biased, but I think red, white and blue just look really good together. (Doesn't hurt that I live in Boston and am a Red Sox fan...)  The pictures I have here today are actually from July 4th but I think this outfit will be a summer staple for me.

red, shoes, moccasins, Minnetonka, flats

I love my Minnetonka Moccasins.  They are so comfortable and, since I've had them for a year now, they are stretched exactly to the size and shape of my feet.  Luckily, for the sake of theme dressing, they are red because I spent the afternoon the day before walking around the city in sandals and got a huuuuge blister so my busted foot couldn't have worn sandals again for anything that day!

red, white, blue, modcloth, minnetonka, target, urban outfitters

It was actually a little chilly and rainy for part of the day so I threw my Airport Greeting Cardigan on to keep warm.  My jeans are new.  They are the Low Rise Skinny jeans from Target in the regular length.

ootd, July 4, Fourth of July, red white and blue, summer

Here I am showing my all-American muscles... Ha ha ha!  But seriously.  I bought this knit racer-back tank at Urban Outfitters and I love it!  It's very slouchy and thin.  It is pretty long in the back but it also has really huge arm holes so it needs something underneath.  I obviously went for a basic white ribbed tank top from Target (because...USA!) but I have worn it with other colors under it that didn't stand out so much.

Chavez for Charity, American Flag, bracelets, beads, peace sign, accessesories

I kept the accessories to a minimum but they were USA to the max.  The beaded bracelet was a gift and the one with peace signs is from Chavez For Charity