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By Amanda Foster

None of the stuff in our house is junk.

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Stuff vs junk. I think there’s an important difference. We of course have still have a knick knack drawer, and I suppose before we started consciously living intentionally we did have a bit more stuff around the house then we do now. But junk is different. Junk is rubbish that should have been thrown away, something that someone gave you, you kept but you never really liked. Junk clogs up space and you can easily get rid of it without missing it. After months of going through every room, cupboard and drawer in the house I think this statement is true:

None of the stuff in our house is junk.

The start of our journey was marked by a myriad of clutter. It was me trying to stuff another pair of jeans in the drawer. It was an overflowing linen cupboard and the removal of 6 pillows before we could get into bed. It was 10 egg rings in our kitchen drawer and 3 bottles of the exact same nail polish. I spent months culling my 3-wardrobe clothes collection down to 1.
An irrefutable excess.

Our friends and family that haven’t been to our house over the last few months might not even notice the objects that are missing. For the most part, we keep our main living areas pretty clear of stuff. Our lounge room is the most functional room I n our house, and it’s pretty.
I keep books that I have read and loved. My husband, an avid muso, has hundreds of CDs & records. We have 4 guitars, a piano and a decent chunk of recording equipment. We have every Nintendo console ever made and approximately a hundred games to go with it. I’m a clothes lover. This blog was established on fashion. My Instagram is predominately outfit photos so my wardrobe is still a decent size.

Doesn’t sound very simple does it ? But to us it is. Everything has a place and I think as long as something has purpose, and a place then I’m ok with it being in our house.
We still have stuff. But it’s not junk.

Love always,
Amanda

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

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I must say, I’m feeling pretty uninspired today. I just don’t feel like writing. I cant even remember what March brought us ? This weekend is Easter and its been a blur of visiting people, baking, cleaning and I’m so tired and over it. Just feeling pretty blah I suppose.

March started off pretty great. Alex and I headed to Mooloolaba to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary with a weekend away. We had such a great time, we hit some markets, spent time at the beach, went to the shops and of course ate lots and lots of amazing food. I really think we need to focus on celebrating the small stuff and finding time to just be with each other. Not doing anything, not being at home cleaning, or working, or running around doing things. Maybe we will head out for a long drive one day and find somewhere quiet to have lunch.

This month I was focused on finishing my Minimalism Challenge. The house is looking much less cluttered and I feel so much better just having less. I will try and make time to write an update post on our journey to intentional living. Lord. Did I just say ‘journey’ ? Anyways.

I’m off to do some baking to take to our friends house tonight. Dinner, drinks and board games. It makes me sound so old but this is my kind of night out !

Love always,
Amanda

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Dear February,

Is it just me, or does it feel like Feb lasted a whole 10 minutes. Seriously wild. This month feels so short this will probably be a short post.

What happened ? Well if January was my month of struggle February was my month of celebration. It kicked off with one of my besties birthdays, then we had my dad’s birthday and then just this past week my birthday ! All celebrated in their own little way. Normally my birthday would be a week-long celebration with lots of presents but to be honest this year I just didn’t feel like it. So Alex and I had a quiet take away dinner at home and then I had a small BBQ on the weekend with just our immediate family. Plus somewhere in all that was Valentines Day !

At the start of the month I attended a fashion market to sell some of my no longer wanted clothes and came out $300 up ! Super pleased, it was a great experience. Its wonderful to see a few more plus size fashion markets popping up around the place. I’ll write more on it in the coming weeks. I spent a day shopping with my bestie for her nursery. Huge day but his room looks gorgeous. Alex escorted (read: dragged) me to a trip to the dentist. I needed to get two posts put in. Spent the whole afternoon not being able to feel my face and it cost us $800 for the pleasure. Fabulous.

Finally, right at the end of a very busy month my other pregnant bestie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Welcome to the world Maddison Brenda. I cannot wait to get to know you.

We’re spending this weekend celebrating our one year anniversary with a weekend away. I cannot believe it’s gone that fast ! One day I’ll put up some photos !

Love always,
Amanda

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There’s nothing better than a Queensland summer. Beaches, backyards, BBQs. For those of you that don’t live in sunny Queensland let me assure you, it gets HOT. I had a bit of spare time this weekend so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite sunnies I’ve come across this summer.

1. New Look Angular Oversized Sunglasses- $16 from 203-691-0254
2. Jeepers Peepers Retro Sunglasses – $36 from ASOS. Love how fresh these are !
3. Michael Kors Mirrored Sunglasses – $325 from Myer
4. Kate Oversized Sunglasses – $49.95 – from paintability
5. Miranda Sunglasses – $99.95 from (907) 399-9351
Layla Sunglasses- $119 from 7079663644 Get the tortoise shell !

Love always,
Amanda

A life less cluttered.

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Anyone that knows me personally will know that for the past few months I have been decluttering. I’m just so sick of all this stuff. Stuff we don’t need. Stuff we waste money on. Stuff that sits around the house making it feel untidy. So for the last few months I’ve been focusing on intentional living. Focused purchasing. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life with all this crap. And working for crap !

I know that we are well and truly into Feb but yesterday I was writing down what we did well and not so well in January and I thought it might make an interesting blog post.

January kicked off with The Minimalist Challenge. You can read more about the challenge respirableness. Basically the premise is to get rid of 1 item on the first day, 2 on the second, 3 on the third and so on. Then by the end of the month you have about 500 less items in your life. I entered the challenge knowing that the traditional method would not work for me. With work and life I knew that it was far more realistic for me to just aim to get rid of 500 items by the end of the month and not try to keep up with the daily targets. It started off well, I went through out nick nack drawer (you know, that drawer) and threw out some hairclips I never wore, some pens that didn’t work, some conversation cards from a gift bag, a couple of old phone cases- that sort of thing. Over the course of the next couple of weeks I literally just opened all of the rooms, cupboards, drawers in our house and got rid of the stuff that I knew we hadn’t used in a while. This took me to about 100 items without even trying. About half way through the month though, I realised that I wasn’t going to make the 500 items target. There just wasn’t enough days in the month, hours after work to get it done. So I decided to extend my deadline until the end of March. Which seems like a long time but we’ve got a few things going on and I’d much rather do a thorough job then fail. To be fair, at the same time I was also attempting to reduce my wardrobe without counting these items.

I think I decided to not count the clothes because to me it was two different projects and I was still deciding what to do with the clothes. Eventually though, I have come around and decided to add the clothes to the list. I also decided to take my clothes to a plus size fashion market to sell them. That’s on later this month so I’ll keep you updated !

Things I did well with in January-
• Using up the last of tubs of different moisturisers. I’m a sucker for buying a new product, or different brand if it’s on sale, and then I open it before finishing the other and end up with lots of opened tubs of creams. In January I finished 2 different tubs so now I’ve only got 2 open at once.
• Got rid of 200+ items. Made up of everything you could possibly imagine, clothes, beauty products, kitchen items, towels- anything !
• Continued to read up on intentional living / minimalism / conscious purchasing- whatever the hell you want to call it.
• No new clothes purchases. This ones a big deal for me.

Things I will be focusing on in February-
• Conscious grocery shopping. This one tends to be a tough one for me. I usually have half a plan and we do tend to eat the same things all the time but I’m really wanting to only buy what we need at the shops.
• Conscious purchasing at the market. Ok so here’s the thing. I’m going to this market to sell my clothes. And I also need a new dress for an engagement party in March (ok so I don’t need a new dress, I want one). Anyway, the point is the last market I went to I purchased about a half dozen items, got home and only two of them fit. So this time I want to be more conscious of what I’m buying.
• No new clothes purchases. I’m prepared to take detour on my ‘no new clothes for as long as possible’ plan for the market but that’s it. A couple of second hand items won’t kill me or the environment, but then back to it !

Love always,
Amanda

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

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Wow. January you’ve come and gone in a blink of an eye. You were a strange month. Jam packed and yet, nothing at all.

This month I celebrated my best friend’s baby shower, went to see Mamma-Mia the musical (amazing) and celebrated my sister’s birthday. I found out another of my friends is expecting. So excited for my beautiful friend. We cannot wait to meet the little guy.

January, you were the month my love turned 30. A coming of age celebrated with a couple of dinners and a small BBQ. A very Alex event. Classic. Fun. Relaxed. Understated. A nice moment with our friends and family.

I usually love January. A fresh start. A new hope. This one, not so much. This January was tough. I could feel those around me struggling. I felt myself struggling. All struggling with different things I suppose. I’m not so sure it matters what with. Just that we were. This January has left me tired, and needing a break.

I need a rest. February, come at me (gently).

Love always,
Amanda

Dear December

Oh December, what a month you’ve been ! Christmas is over, and the New Year is so close you can almost taste it. As much as I love Christmas and am sad to see it gone I’m also fairly relieved. It’s so good to have the lounge room back, free of the Christmas tree and piles of gifts. The rest of the house is now tinsel- free and it just feels so much better. We had a wonderful Christmas with our friends and family. It was a beautifully sunny day and the pool got a workout that’s for sure !

Before Christmas came the Christmas parties, a wonderful chance to get dressed up and dance with those we normally only see in the busy office. It was a month of Christmas dinners with friends and exchanging gifts for the kids. A month of realising who you can see yourself being lifelong friends with, and who you feel will slowly slip away.

December was the month I discovered Riverdale, and re-discovered my Camera I hadn’t picked up in a while. It was a month of rushing through medical appointments before the end of year cut off (super fun). It was a time of cultivating a long list of gifts for those I love and then running out of shopping time and getting everyone gift cards.

Most importantly, December was about my love and I, and the sun. Hours spent in the sunshine, swimming, splashing, long walks, and gardening in the blistering heat.

Love always,
Amanda

(571) 207-7665

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OK, so maybe I’ve been a little bit slack with posting, alright maybe more then a little bit but I promise you I’ve been keeping busy. The other week I got to spend some time with the amazing team at Lillianna Plus. Check out the awesome time we had below !

 

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Check out Lillianna Plus for more of their fabulous styles.

 

Love always,

Amanda

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OK let’s talk politics. Not big time gender-equality, teachers-aren’t-paid-enough, Ice-is-bad-politics. Let’s talk small time politics.  Or morals, maybe its morals we’re talking here. Either way, I have a few things to say.

This morning I went to Macca’s to get my morning coffee (extra hot soy vanilla latte, for those playing along at home), usually I just slip through the drive through but today a huge line meant it would be faster to go inside. After ordering I sat down at a booth where a copy of our local paper laid open. I looked down and there’s our local Mayor, Paul Pisasale. Now, I actually like Paul- lots of people don’t. In my younger days, being heavily involved in the community and writing for a local paper, I spent a decent amount of time with him and found him pleasant enough. The number one thing I can say about Paul is that the man loves Ipswich. He truly does. I think that everything he does is to move Ipswich forward, but I do have my suspicions about just how much everything he does benefits him too. So, back to my point- the article. The article (you can read it here) appears to be a follow up to a previous article and discusses the fact that the Mayor’s wife, Janet Pisasale, was paid to be his chauffeur. That Paul was unable to drive himself home from late night events promoting the city and thus the council employed his wife to do so.

Now wait, what?. That sounds a bit off to me. If he was the CEO of his own company then I would definitely not care. It’s his money; he’s in charge- who cares. But it’s not. It’s my money. It’s your money. It’s to be spent on bettering the city of Ipswich, on our community facilities and roads, not so the Mayoress can be paid to spend time with her husband.

Saying that, I’m not actually overly outraged and more to the point I can see a grey area. If Janet’s appointment went through the official channels, she was paid an appropriate amount and performed the duties as requested then is there really an issue here? Is this really the first time someone has employed someone they know because they were in a pinch? I’ve done it. I’ve known others to do it. A friend of a friend, a colleague’s son, a cousin. Why? Because you know them, you know their character, and you don’t have to pay a recruitment agency. Or in this case you’re short on time and need to hire someone ASAP.

But does the Mayor’s position make something that would be OK for you and I to do, inappropriate for him? Is that fair? Is that why he gets paid more than the average Joe, to compensate for being held to a higher standard?

I will note however that the emails (available on the ABC website below) indicate that the Mayor didn’t really ask. ‘I would like to trial an option where [redacted] and my wife Janet job share and would appreciate your views on the most appropriate way to implement this arrangement’. Um Paul mate, there’s no question mark there. It reads like when your mum asked you as a kid ‘how do you feel about cleaning your room today?’, she’s not really asking folks. To me whilst the Mayor is saying he asked, he clearly didn’t, the decision was made well before he sent that email. And if that’s the case then that definitely does not sit well with me.

Also, I take issue with Paul bringing his MS into play. Yes, it is an illness and sufferers do need additional assistance but in this instance I feel he’s bringing it up in an effort to stop the questions. To make people feel guilty for asking, and to make those considering questioning him second guess themselves. If it is a genuine explanation for the use of his wife then that’s on me, but in this case him using it to justify his actions comes across the wrong way.

I also feel it’s important to mention that I have noticed an increase in instances where the Mayor’s integrity is being called into question. Time after time there have been articles accusing our local council, or at least the man representing our city, of doing not so honest things.  So, is this the usual political scrutiny or is there something else at bay here? Pissed off journalist/s? Someone that knows something trying to cause trouble? Or has the mayor had us all under his spell for the last 10 years and now people have had enough?

So what do you guys think? Is all this criticism of the Mayor reasonable or is there an underlying issue here? How about hiring friends or family in general, is it ever OK to do so?

It seems the investigation is being lead by the ABC. You can read information on the issue here.

The article I read appears to be the second on the subject. You can find the initial article here.

Sunday Recap

Hi Guys,

This Week…

Where to start? As always this week was busy! Lately it’s like everything needs doing and it needs to be done now. It can get a bit overwhelming but we get through it.

We finally decided on our wedding venue. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. Such a huge sum of money, such a big commitment in both the financial aspect but also in that this will be the place we get married. The place in all of our family photos. The place we will visit in years to come. The place we will (hopefully) take our children, many years from now! So yeah, no pressure to get it right or anything…

This week also marked moving forward in the blog. Today we attended a very special day for a very special little boy (more on that later in the week!) and I consciously got ready early and Alex took a few piccys ! It was harder then I thought having someone else take the pictures. It felt really awkward and unnatural so don’t mind my odd hand positions or weird squinty face haha. That conscious thinking of ‘how will this look on camera’, ‘will this suit the blog’ is something that will take getting used to.

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Also, this week’s vegetarian meal was a success! Alex didn’t eat it this week but that’s ok, it meant I had some leftovers for work. A bit more involved than last week’s pre made vege burgers, this week I made a creamy mushroom pasta. You can find the recipe 6417664603. To be honest, I found it a bit lacking but that may have just been my cooking haha. I think it just needs a bit of something and it will be amazing! Just need to figure out what that something is!

 

Two of my favourite outfits from this week… 

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Next Week….

This week I’m really looking forward to going out to dinner and a night of trivia with Alex and some friends. Once this week is over we get a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day!

To do

  • Email caterers to check availability and pricing
  • Finish some garden jobs that were started but not finished!
  • Continue heading to the gym regularly
  • Be more mindful with food
  • Clear out the study

What was your favourite thing this week?

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