Go ahead and sit down...

Yea...you're going to want to sit down for this.

Take a deep breath.

Keep an open mind.

Read the Disclaimer below.  

Disclaimer:  We are cRaZy!!!

Ok..............don't say we didn't prepare you!

So, do you remember back in August when we were all like, "WE'RE MOVING TO GREENVILLE!!!"???...and you were like, "WHAT ABOUT YOUR NEW, BEAUTIFUL HOME?!?!?!?!?!"...and we were like "OH WELL!!!!!"...and you were like, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WILL Y'ALL DO THERE?!?!?!?!"...and we were like, "WE HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!!!"...and you were like, "WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE Y'ALL GOING TO LIVE?!?!?!?!?"...and we were like, "WE HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!"...and you were like, "WHY ARE Y'ALL DOING THIS?!?!?!?!?"...and we were like, "WE JUST WANT TO MOVE TO GREENVILLE SO WE ARE GOING!!!!!!!"...you remember all that?

Well........muahahahhahah (our best evil laugh).......

---Have we got news for you...

First, let's play a little game...we want you to GUESS what our NEWER big news is:

a.  we have sold everything we have, given to the poor and decided to live on the streets of downtown Greenville.
b.  travel fever took over, so we are packing up and heading to Bolivia.
c.  florence is where home is and we have decided to come back after missing it for a few months.
d.  a friend sold us a cheap camper, so we are going to drive across the country indefinitely.
e.  Nick decided he really wants to try farming, so we are moving to Utah for him to work in Young Living's lavender fields.

As I was typing all of those out, I was thinking, "Wow, that would be awesome...I wish that we 
really were doing that!!!!"

So, do you want to know the answer!??!?!

Drum roll please........................................................................................................................................



Yes...the correct answer is B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  


Cochabamba, Bolivia to be exact :)

Beautiful, isn't it!!?!!?!!?

     Wow.  I didn't plan for answer "b" to Bolivia and for it to be the correct answer...it just worked out like that with the "b's"!  It's a sign!  Just kidding.  Anyways.  Seriously.  I know that some of you are freaking out and want to ask a million questions...this will get you started:

When?...Dec. 29-Mar. 27
Who?...Nick and Emily
Why?...Click Here

And maybe some of you are NOT freaking out and you're thinking..."Nick and Emily... SO typical..."

Need a little more info?...the "plan" (nothing ever goes according to plan, but whatever...) is to:

1.  fly to Cochabamba 
2.  settle into our apartment with Juana and Sandra (they lived with us while I was growing up in Bolivia)
3.  teach people about essential oils
4.  participate in missions 
5.  travel
6.  see what comes after 3 months in Bolivia (that's right, we aren't sure!)

PS...don't panic.  We will blog A LOT and keep you in the loop!!!  



giving Thanks
"the expression of gratitude"
being Thankful for what we have

Happy Thanksgiving from the Stewarts


Our One Year Oilyversary

     November 2013 will go down in Stewart history.  One year ago, we learned about Young Living Essential Oils, bought a Premium Starter Kit and became Lemon Droppers!!!  Best decision we ever made!...Ok, well, one of the best :)

     Nick and I have spent the past 12 months using the essential oils, reading and learning about them, loving them and telling other people about them, while excitedly watching how they help us, our friends and our family!!!  Even my annual trip to the doc, due to a double ear infection and strep throat, NEVER happened!...this seriously shocked us both!!!  I have many stories of how the oils have made a difference :)  I'm sure if you follow us on Social Media, you know how cRaZy we are about these precious little bottles of goodness...

Since many of you will be struggling to think of the
perfect Christmas gift for a loved one 
AND for easy ways to support charities 
during the "season of giving", Nick and I
wanted to throw out an idea!!!

     In Celebration of our ONE YEAR Oilyversary, YOU can get a Premium Starter Kit AND support World Missions at the same time...WIN WIN!!!  From TODAY through DECEMBER 25th, Nick and I will give $50 to Burn Care International for every person who signs up (with us) for a Premium Starter Kit!!!  Burn Care International works to improve the lives of burn victims in developing countries around the world.  By signing up with us for a Premium Starter Kit, you will cover the cost for a compression suit for a burned child!!!  

If you or someone you know wants a Premium Starter Kit AND wants to support
Burn Care International at the same time, click HERE!!!!!


Toiletries and Makeup

Ok, you got me…I'm always on some sort of kick.  I know I know I know...

I LOVE reading books, blogs, magazines, articles, browsing Pinterest/google and just about anything that gives me new, fresh ideas and views on products, subjects, lifestyle choices, etc.  I ALWAYS love a new challenge :)  I just completed my Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe because I love keeping things simple and having a purpose for everything I do and every decision I make.  I don't want to do anything just because someone else does it or someone else thinks that I should do it.  So, in addition to my wardrobe, I am always trying to keep my life simple.  I even enjoy keeping my toiletries and makeup simple...I am NOT a makeup girl and I am definitely NOT a hair girl…because of this, I am NOT a big products girl (so it's pretty easy to keep it all simple anyway).  Since I don't buy a lot of products, it takes me A LONG time to get through a bottle of anything (usually they expire before I finish the bottle).  So, when I do buy something, I try to be careful and do my research by using the EWG.  I look up each product to see if it has harmful chemicals.  If I can't find the product, then I look up each of the product ingredients.  Every product/ingredient is rated 1-10 and breaks down the safety issues and concerns.

     Do you look up your products and their ingredients to make sure that you are being SAFE with yourself and your family?!?!?!?!?!?!

Curious what my current products are?!?!?!?!?!?!  

Young Living Thieves Mouthwash…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients.

Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Gel…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients…love using it as my moisturizer.

Toms of Maine Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste…has a Score of 1---great score and I love it.

Thayers Original Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera…has a Score of 4---ok score, but there are concerns…I do enjoy using it as my Toner.

Young Living Copaiba Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients…it smells like lime coconut beach in a bottle!!!

Eminence Seven Herb Mask…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients…I love using it as my face mask a few times a week.

Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker Blush…has a Score of 2---good score, but there are concerns.

Maybelline Great Lash…has a Score of 3---ok score, but bad bad bad…most mascaras have formaldehyde!!!!!!!

Eminence Organic Sun Defense…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients.

Toms Naturally Dry Antiperspirant Deodorant…has a Score of 1---first time that I've had a deodorant with safe ingredients that actually works!!!

Physicians Formula Nude Eyecolor…has a Score of 2---good score, but there are concerns.

Dove Dry Shampoo…has a Score of 6---very bad, serious concerns.  I have to use this on my hair for the no wash hair days…ugh.

Tresemme hairspray…has a Score of 6---very bad, serious concerns.  I got this sample size to try to start being a "do my hair everyday kinda girl"…blah blah blah…don't really use it much after all.

Arbonne Matifying Powder…this product isn't available on the EWG, but has good ingredients.  It helps with the oily face issues.

So, all this to say…I'm trying, but still want to improve!!! 

     Once anything is applied to the skin, it is absorbed into the bloodstream within 26 seconds.  That means that if you are rubbing in and spraying on harmful chemicals, you are putting them straight into your bloodstream in under a minute!  I feel like most everything in my toiletries and makeup is ok or "good enough" except for the dry shampoo and hairspray.  UGH…I don't want to use things that are harmful to me, but vanity kicks in.  I WANT to look pretty!  However, I have decided to crack down even farther on the toiletries and I also decided to back off of the makeup.  


WHY back off of the makeup?!?!!?!?!!?!?

1.  Makeup makes me feel ugly.  I find that the more I wear makeup, the more I feel like I HAVE to wear makeup.  Makeup makes me feel like I need makeup to be pretty.  Makeup should be used to enhance, not hide.  It's like a vicious cycle.  Are you hiding behind your makeup??!?!?!?!?!?!

2.  Makeup makes me break out.  I know that not everyone has this problem, but the more I wear makeup to cover up breakouts, the more I breakout and need more makeup to cover those breakouts.  Another vicious cycle.  Do you have bad skin and make it worse with your makeup?!?!?!?!?!?!

3.  Makeup is expensive.  If you are buying the good makeup that is free of harmful chemicals, it is going to be expensive.  And wearing makeup makes you more dependent on wearing makeup…so you'll always need to buy more and more.  So, what about spending that money on good toiletries to get beautiful skin?  Are you covering your face in cheap crap makeup?!?!?!?!?

4.  Makeup can make us age.  If you are buying cheap makeup and if you are not washing your face at night, makeup can actually make you age more quickly!!!!!!!  Are you using good makeup and washing it off every night?!?!?!?!?

5.  Makeup takes time.  Seriously…I don't enjoy wearing makeup and I hate taking the time to put it on.  So, why don't I use that time for something else?!?!?!  Do you want to find another way to spend those minutes, instead of applying makeup?!??!!!?

In light of all of the above :), I am going to go without makeup and work on improving my skin.  I have embraced that I am not a make up girl and I am not a hair girl.  So, I will just focus on using good products to keep my hair and skin clean and then use my essential oils to treat the issues :)

What about you?!?!?...Are you careful with what products you use?!?!?!


Values and Goals

     Last weekend, Nick and I drove to Chicago and attended something called FUEL.  We learned about leadership, inspiring action in others, challenging ourselves to meet our goals, identifying our values and so much more!  It was SO inspirational and we came back home feeling motivated and ready to "Change Our Stars" (if you've seen A Knight's Tale, you'll know what I mean).

     We learned
-we should ALWAYS set Goals and be working towards those Goals!
-to create those Goals, we must know what it truly important to us!
-to know what is really important to us, we must know what our Values are!

     So, during FUEL, we did an exercise were we looked back on our lives and identified the times in the past when we were 1. happiest, when we were the 2. most proud and when we were the 3. most fulfilled and satisfied.  In each of those three areas, we had to write down 5 examples.  For example, I was the happiest when I was with Nick, traveling overseas to visit friends, seeing a new country, trying new foods, taking photos and blogging about all of it…I was the most proud when Nick and I paid off all of his student loans because we had a mutual goal, we sacrificed and we did it together…I was the most fulfilled and satisfied when I spent time learning about things like natural products and simple living and talking to other people about what I learned through word of mouth or blogging.

     Once we got all of that written down, we had a list of words that we could chose to determine our TOP Values.  This part was actually SUPER difficult, because there were so many words to chose from!

     We finally narrowed our values down to these:

Making a difference

     It meant a lot to me to look at this list and know that Nick and I share these Values!!!  I LOVE HIM SO MUCH :)  Ok, there I said it…its out…moving on…

     After getting our Values figured out, it was time to create our Goals!  We learned that Goals only work if they line up with our Values.  So, here is Our Bucket List…it is basically our life Goals that we created and have been editing since we met each other in 2005.  But, do you want to know our BIG SCARY GOAL??????

BIG SCARY GOAL:  To be able to support ourselves in such a way that we are able to pack up and travel the world, while teaching people about health and participating in and supporting world missions.

     I was actually inspired when I realized that our BIG SCARY GOAL is totally in line with our Values!!!!!  Since we didn't even try to manipulate this to turn out "our" way, it confirmed with us AGAIN that God truly does have a hand in our dreams and the direction that our lives take!  

     The last step was figuring out what is getting in the way of us achieving our Goals.  We had to write down ten ways that we are doubtful, fearful or just disbelieving that our goal can actually happen.  For example, "I don't think that we will ever accomplish our BIG SCARY GOAL because I don't think that we will ever have enough money and I don't think that it will work out because it is just too crazy."  Then, we had to take that and create an opposite.  For example, "we are good at saving money, we have traveled the world many times before and we are already involved in world missions, so there is no reason why we can't accomplish our BIG SCARY GOAL."

     I challenge you to figure out your Values and create your Goals!  You only have one life.  Make it count and live with no regrets!

One of my favorites from FUEL…

"Will the next five years of your life be the BEST five years of your life or just another five years?"


A Command (not a suggestion)

Missions is a command.  
PS…Sorry the background color is all messed up…I can't figure out how to fix it :(

You either:

1. GO
2. you help someone else GO


Romans 10:14-15
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[g]

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:15
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

John 20:21
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Acts 1:8
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

You know what I LOVE?!?!?!?!? My parents have followed this command my ENTIRE life! When I was six, we prepared to move to Ethiopia and lived there until I was nine. Even when we were in the USA for a few years, we were going overseas on missions trips. When I was 12, we moved to Bolivia and stayed there until I graduated high school. Not only did my parents GO, but they also GAVE. Even today, they continue to GO and to GIVE so that others can GO. And you know what I LOVE the most?!?!?!? They GO to everyone! To the sick. To the healthy. To the cheaters. To the liars. To the adulterers. To the alcoholics. To the people who think they are perfect. To the coveters. To the murderers. To the idolaters. To the rich. To the poor. To the abusers. To the gossips. To the people who don't look pretty and their lives are a total disaster. To the people that no one else wants to help. To the people in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Bolivia…to the ends of the earth. To all sinners. To you and me.

A story recently shared by my dad, Wick:

"Someone recently sent a link that would allow me to vote on dumping my Starbucks coffee down the toilet because of the companies stance on same sex marriage. I was also urged at the end of the promotion... “In addition to Starbucks coffee shops, the Starbucks Corporation also owns Seattle's Best Coffee, Verismo single-serve coffee system, Evolution Fresh, Tazo Tea, Torrefazione Italia Coffee, and La Boulange.” In other words...so let's dump them also.

This troubles me. As “Christ Followers,” we are told to be operating in the world but not of the world. I'm not so sure that Jesus would be dumping those business' that are owned by successful people who think that same sex marriage is ok. I think the Lord would have enjoyed a good blonde roast with 2% milk as much as the next guy or gal, straight or gay, that he was spending some time with, so that they could see he loved them.

If Christ Followers are going to start dumping great tasting refreshing drinks in the parking lot because they support same sex marriage, who is going to stop talking to me because I am a liar...I am also a cheat...I tend to want to look at pornography, I don't, but I sure do want to...or how about us folks that fix our books to pay less taxes, gossip, abuse our wives, our kids, our parents. If Christ Followers decided to start boycotting all the things that are ugly in the world then we would have to lock our selves up into very small closets and hire someone from some establishment...that might hire same sex couples, to come and feed us through a small slit in the door so we don't have to mix with “those people.”

Let's be careful. Let's love the sinner and hate the sin but at the same time, make it easy for sinners like ourselves to sit down and talk with us about what they think and why they think it.

I am reminded of my dear friend George. We had known each other for years, but struck up a close relationship after our family returned from the mission field in Bolivia. George and I would see each other at an Atlanta Bread coffee shop almost every morning. We began to have coffee together and then the occasional lunch. One day, I could tell that something was wrong with my dear friend. I asked, “What's up buddy?” He broke down and cried and asked me if I would pray about some bad issue that had happened at his office. Someone he trusted had robbed him of a lot of money and he had trusted them completed. I said, “Sure George, let's pray.” Immediately he grabbed my hand and we prayed right there in the restaurant. From that day on we spoke openly about each other faith, lives, struggles, successes. We became very close friends.

I received a call some months later...early one morning. The person said, “George is not doing well and wants to see you, he's in the hospital. I went to see my dear friend. He was in a hospital bed and could not move. It happened quickly, from a friday after a flu shot to a monday with no ability to move from below his arms down. I went in and I immediately kissed him on the forehead and said, “What's going on buddy?” It was Guillain–BarrĂ©, and my buddy never left hospital beds again, although he was transferred to several as he fought to live, so that he could hold and raise his newly adopted daughter. Every time I was with George I would talk with him about the love of the Lord and about God's saving grace. He would always bring it up...I never had to. I kissed him and prayed with him before one of my trips back to Bolivia. “Come see me as soon as you get back in town,” George asked. “Course I will buddy, I love you.” I kissed him again and walked out the hospital room.

I never saw George again. He died while I was away and they even had the funeral while I was traveling. 
The next time I walked into the Atlanta Bread shop, there was an emptiness, my dear friend was not there. But one day, while I was getting my fifth cup of coffee a young handsome man tapped me on the shoulder. He spoke softly, and emotionally told me he wanted to thank me for what I had done for George. I must have looked dumb founded but I said, “I loved him very much and will miss him.” The soft spoken fellow said, “but you will see him again.” The fellow went on to explain, “George spoke of how he had come to know Christ through you spending time with him and that he was forever grateful.” The same thing happened a couple of weeks later...and one other time. Always different people.
You see, I had no idea that my gay Jewish friend George had been listening. I had no idea, that what I said or did, was making an impact. I would have never put the two of us together as people who might share a cup of coffee and then that blossom into a friendship where we will only be apart a short while now because he found Christ in the middle of a friendship. God is Sovereign.
So...I want to tell you...especially those of us who claim to be Christ Followers that we need to be real careful about the band wagons we are willing to jump on. Let us remember that we were once lost and without hope...until Christ...through the Holy Spirit...rescued us...so that we might be able to share the Gospel, The Good News, with anyone within ear shot...or near a coffee shop."

God Bless
Wick Jackson

---It's A COMMAND…not a suggestion.  So let me ask you a question:  Are you GOING or are you GIVING so that someone else can GO??!?!?!?!?!?  If you can't go, please GIVE to people like my parents so that they can GO!!!



Soooo...it's October 1st and today was close to 90 degrees!  But, in a few days, the high is said to be 62 degrees.  I go out in the mornings and I'm cold, but end up burning up by lunchtime.  I've been trying to work on my fall capsule, but didn't have much extra money to spend...plus, when I did shop, I honestly haven't found much! So I decided to use what I already have and make changes along the way.  So, I'll wear my older items and switch them out for newer items as I'm able.  Since the weather is crazy, I have lots of options for layering for the changing temperatures :).  I chose to do 37 items!

Here is my breakdown of my FIRST fall/winter Capsule Wardrobe...

Items 1 and 2: black and white tanks---I bought these white and black tanks from Target in 2011 to use for layering...they are actually from the maternity section becasue I like how they fit longer :).  The white tank isn't really white anymore, but I'm keeping it until I replace it.

Item 3: colorful flowy tank---I bought this second hand at the Recycled Rooster earlier this Spring.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I have to wear this teal solid tank under it and I don't use the teal tank for anything else...it's so old and bad looking that it can't be visible...so I count the two items as one :)

Item 4:  patterned tank---I bought this in August from Stitch Fix!!!  It's my favorite item right now :)

Item 5: blue and white striped shirt---I got this as a birthday present a few years ago from my mom…from TJMaxx.  I LOVE the cut and the color :)

Item 6: white and navy shirt---I got this shirt from my mom for my birthday a few years ago…from TJMaxx.  This shirt has some weird lining that won't stay tucked in at the neck...it's so aggrivating, but I'm keeping it until I can replace it :)

Item 7: white shirt---I got this from my mom for my birthday this year…from TJMaxx :).  Love the soft, stretchy fabric and the fit :)

Item 8:  navy flowy shirt---I bought this second hand at the Recycled Rooster earlier this spring.  I LOVE the comfortable fabric and the cute little buttons :) 

Item 9:  white shirt---I stole this from my moms closet a long time ago :).  Love it!

Items 10, 11 and 12---I bought these Cuddle Duds at SAMs a few years ago.  They are soft, warm and great for layering!

Item 13:  black sweater---I got this for my birthday from my mom a few years ago…from TJMaxx.  I LOVE it because it's soft, stretchy, has a long torso and arms and the cutest brass studds!!!!!!!!

Item 14: tan cardigan---I got this from my mom for my birthday years ago…from New York and Company.  It's all stretched out and has holes, but I'm keeping it until I can replace it :)

Item 15:  beige vest---I stole this from my moms closet a few years ago :).  I LOVE it and she can't have it back!

Item 16:  purple vest---I stole this from my baby sisters closet...sorry Lizzie, you can't have it back either!

Item 17:  pink vest---I got this for Christmas from my mom years ago…from Lands End :).  I have mostly used it to layer for exercising in the cold, but I'm going to try to wear it with my outfits!  The color in the photo isn't good, but it's a pretty pale pink :)

Items 18 and 19:  gray and dark green cardigans---I got these from my mom for my birthday and Christmas a few years back…from TJMaxx :).  I LOVE them because they are great for layering, traveling and they are warm and comfy!!!  The green one has a hole, but I'll mend it :)

Item 20: blue dress---My aunt cleaned out her closet and gave me this!  I LOVE the fit and the color :)

Item 21: navy blue dress---I got this as a birthday gift from my mom a few years ago…from TJMaxx.  I don't actually love how it looks on me and it is itchy, but I get compliments so I am keeping it until I can replace it :)

Item 22:  black skirt---I got this as a birthday gift from my mom this year…from TJMaxx!  Still haven't gotten the chance to wear it, but can't wait :).  It's got that soft warm material that will be perfect for cold weather!!! (update, I ended up returning it because I couldn't figure out what to wear it with).

Items 23, 24, 25 and 26:  Last year, I bought myself one of the jeans, the beige skinny pants and the black skinny pants :).  Last week, I bought the other jeans.  They are all from TJMaxx :)

Items 27 and 28:  brown flats and brown clogs---I bought the flats at Clark's a few years back and the clogs second hand at Recycled Rooster this past spring.

Items 29 and 30: wedge sandals and black suede pumps---I bought the black heels at Clark's last year and still haven't worn them!  I MUST wear them this year! I bought the wedges at Target this spring for a friends wedding.  I'm not into heels but these are both comfortable!!!

Item 31:  cowgirl boots---Nick bought me these for my 25th birthday!!!!!  I wear them almost everyday during the cold months...with pants, jeans, skirts and dresses!!!

Item 32:  red Toms---Nick bought me these for my 27th birthday...these are my go to shoes :)

Item 33:  fossil purse---I got this from Nicks step mom for Christmas a few years ago and still love it :).  It's perfect for when I have a lot to carry!

Item 34:  fossil purse---Nick gave this to me for Christmas during the same Christmas!  I still use and love this one too...it's perfect for when I have less to carry :)

Item 35:  scarves, leggings and tights---they count as one item :)

Item 36:  pea coat and raincoat---coats count as one item :)

Item 37:  jewelry---yep, one item :)

So, right now I'm wearing my jeans,  tanks and Toms a lot!  As it gets cold, I'll begin to layer with the sweaters, scarves, leggings, tights, cowgirl boots and eventually use my coats :).  Yes, most of my clothes have come from second hand stores, TJMaxx, gifts from my mom or even my mom and sisters closets :)  Also, I didn't count my underwear, pjs, workout clothes, dirty housework clothes or my favorite lay around the house sweatshirt...but, I still have made it a point to keep those items to a minimum in my attempt to have a more minimalist closet!

Tell me what you think!  Could you do a capsule wardrobe??!?!??!!!!?!?!

If you are interested in getting started, but don't know where or how to start, I suggest getting this book, Lessons from Madame Chic, and reading it!  There are tons of bloggers and authors out there that talk about Capsule Wardrobes, but Jennifer L Scott is my absolute favorite.  She spent time in Paris, learned valuable lessons, started her blog and eventually became an author.  She has been my favorite minimalist to follow since I got into all this craziness!


Minimalist Closet

     Ok…just last week, I did a post on Simple Living and explained a little of WHY I love the idea of living with less and how I try to follow it with my own lifestyle.  Then, to help YOU live a little simpler, I followed that with the post No Hoarder Left Behind where I explained my method of doing a good clean out in my home :)

     I thought that I was the master at living on very little.  

     The next day, I went out for Orange Leaf (frozen yoghurt) with a friend in town and she told me about how she was going to clean out her closet…I was like, "OhMyGosh, you read my blog!!!!"…she said, "what?"… and then I said, "I just wrote about cleaning out"…anyway, come to find out, it wasn't my blog that inspired her, but another girl's blog.  My friend told me about how this girl has a "capsule" for each season and that during each season, her capsule will only have 37 items of clothing.  WHAT?!?!!?!?!?  I was SO interested and got more and more excited as we sat there talking.  I went home and stalked this girl's blog, UnFancy…at first, I was still a little skeptical.  37 items.  Rotating capsules by season.  Wasn't sure about that for these reasons:

-I don't like to store things…if I'm not using it, I don't think I should have it (of course I DO keep my Christmas tree, old wedding dress and things like that…I'm not that crazy).
-The weather is so unpredictable…sometimes, during the winter months, I still might need my summer tank tops and sometimes during the summer, I might need a jacket on a chilly night or in the freezing restaurants and stores.
-37 items is actually more than it sounds…it's actually 148 items per year, which doesn't sound very minimalist (to me).
-I don't have $500 budget (that's how much the girl in UnFancy had to spend)…I have to save up a little at a time for buying new clothes.
-I don't want to shop for everything at one time…I do better when I have time to leisurely shop, look for one item at a time according to what I need and I like waiting on a sale (if I have to buy it all within two weeks and in "bulk", I know that I will end up making bad choices in a panic).

     Although, this idea may not work for me, this idea may be EXACTLY what works for you!

I wasn't totally sold on the UnFancy blog idea, but I WAS totally sold on the idea of the minimalist closet…so (of course), I went crazy on Pinterest (it's like Google for girls).

-I found The Daily Connoisseur and read about her 10 ITEM CLOSET!!!!
-I learned about The Five Piece French Wardrobe!!!!!
-I also remembered that my mom visited a friend in Spain about 28 years ago and said that although the family had money, her friend only had a few items in her closet.
-I saw LOTS of ideas for clothing basics, minimalist closets, simple outfits and more!!!!

The more I looked, the more I LOVED…

challenge accepted.

     I'm not saying that I'm going to do a 37 item seasonal capsule and I'm not saying that I'm going to do 10 item wardrobe.  But, I AM saying, that:
-I'm going to purge my closet even moreif I don't love it, it goes (even if it is still in good shape).  
-I'm going shopping a little at a time...I will evaluate what I need or want to add to my wardrobe and I will shop for one item at a time so I don't get overwhelmed or make bad choices.   
-I will choose quality over quantity…instead of spending a little money on a LOT of low quality items, I will start spending more money on less items of higher quality.  
-Each season, I will re-evaluate my closet…I will start the whole process again according to what I need to let go and what I need to shop for.

I have NO IDEA how this is going to go or how it is going to turn out, but I will keep you informed :)

What do you think?!?!?!  Is a minimalist closet for you???


Our next adventure...


we have some news (and no, we aren't pregnant, for the millionth time)…

In 2012, when we completed our commitment with OM Ships, Nick began working for my dad in construction and building/renovating our house on the back right corner of my parents 6 acre, center of town, lot.  I assumed that we were "done" with life.  We would live in Florence for the rest of our lives, eventually pop out some babies (and everyone would rejoice), buy our perfect custom home, live the American dream, upgrade to an SUV, grow old, send our kids to college, retire and die.  Sad.  In my mind, it was over…our adventure was done.  Seriously.  No joke.  I felt defeated and depressed, but figured "I'm an adult and I need to suck it up and settle somewhere eventually".  I kept bringing this up with Nick and he kept saying that he KNEW we weren't done.  I would roll my eyes because I had already given up.

Ever since we got married in 2007, we have dreamed of living outside of Florence (Florence isn't bad…we just love to dream).  We've talked about moving to Bolivia, Greenville, the West Coast, Europe and so many other places!  Dreaming dreaming dreaming.  But, our reality is that Nick has a great job with my dad and we have an amazing house being fixed up for us.  Why would we EVER leave?!?!?!!?!?!  However, a few months ago, Nick and I were enjoying yet another amazing weekend in Greenville.  We were talking and dreaming about how wonderful it would be to live there.  All of a sudden, Nick said "why don't we just move here?".  And I said, "really?".  We both just looked at each other and burst out laughing.  Fast forward a few months and a LOT of brainstorming, praying and talking…WE ARE GOING FOR IT!!!

Are you freaking out?!?!?!!?!  
We are too!!!!!

Do we know when we are leaving?  
No, but we will once Nick gets a job.

Do we know where Nick will work?  
No, but he is applying for jobs now.

Do we know where we will live?  
No, but we will find something, somewhere.

Do we know how it will all work out?  
No, but we won't know if we don't try.

     So, just when you thought you knew what to expect from the Stewarts, we go and throw you another curve ball.  We just like to keep you guessing!  You officially know as much as we do about our change of plans…we will keep you in the loop as things begin to happen!!!

-Nick and Emily :)

No Hoarder Left Behind

So, if you read my post last night and now you are simply inspired to do a deep clean and purge, then this post is for YOU!  I realize that many people DO want to live more simply, but don't even know where to start!  Well, let Emily help you :)

First things first…make two piles:  GIVE AWAY and THROW AWAY.  There is no "maybe" pile.

We are going to start "big" and keep narrowing it down, until your entire home is cleaned out and you feel like a new person.  You don't have to do this in 1 day…you can do 1 challenge per day until you finish…it's up to you!

My BIGGEST advice?…when you go to an item, "look" at it, don't "touch" it.  While looking at it, decide whats going to happen to it, then pick it up and take it straight to the give away or throw away piles.  If you touch the item, you will all of a sudden become re-attached to it and think of all of the reasons why you should keep it.  Sounds crazy huh?!?!?!  I'm being totally serious.  Look, decide, pick up and take to designated pile.  No touchy…huggy…definitely no kissy…if you do any of this, you will quickly put the item back where it was and keep it for two additional decades.  AND once you have put an item in its designated pile, it stays there for good…no going back…DONE!

Ok NOW let's get started...

challenge 1.  Everyone has things in their home that they never liked.  They may have been a gift.  An impulse buy.  Whatever.  Go get those things now.  You know what they are.  Don't feel bad.  Go to each room, collecting those items.  Now put them in GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY.
Challenge 1 Done.

challenge 2.  Everyone has things in their home that they DID love at one time, but that was a while ago.  Don't feel bad.  Be happy that you enjoyed that item and move on.  Remember the good times.  Go to each room in your house, collecting those items.  Now put them in GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY.
Challenge 2 Done.

challenge 3.  Go through each room of the house and do a "sweep" of the visible items (not things put away and unseen in drawers and closets and cabinets).  While looking (not touching) these visible items, ask yourself these questions:
-do I use this item everyday?
-do I consider this item to be beautiful and I enjoy looking at it?
-do I consider this item to be sentimental and I cherish it?
-do I consider this item to be seasonal, like a Christmas tree, and DO use it for that season or holiday?
-do I consider this item to be a specialty item, like a cake plate, and DO use it for that purpose?

***If you answered NO to all of the above, pick that item up and take it immediately to GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY.  Move on to the next item and repeat this over and over until you have looked at and decided the fate of each item in that room.  You should be looking at EVERYTHING…lamps, pillows, blankets, TVs, bedding, photos, frames, everything sitting on shelves, organizing pieces, boxes, decorations hanging on the walls, knick knacks on all surfaces, rugs, plants, books, dvds, artwork, gifts from people, racks, coffee tables, everything sitting on any surface, side tables, sets of drawers, chairs, couches, beds, headboards, hope chests, shelves, candles, basically anything and everything in the entire room that is not the four walls, ceiling and floor.  This may take a while, but thats ok!  Think of how long it took you to accumulate it all!
Challenge 3 Done.

After doing challenge 3, you may feel a little freaked out.  Your rooms will look very different (especially if you did a GOOD clean out).  They may be emptier, but do you feel lighter?  Freer?  Do you have more space?  More room to breathe?  Just tell yourself that you are going for quality, not quantity.  You want everything that you own to be things that you truly enjoy and love.  All of the clutter only takes away from the few truly beautiful things that you own.  Think of how much better you will feel looking at your dresser and seeing that ONE beautiful photo frame next to your favorite lamp, WITHOUT all of the clutter that you had blocking your view before!!!!!!!

challenge 4.  Your going back into every room for another round.  This time, you will be cleaning out the drawers and cabinets (don't do the closets or any furniture with clothes yet).  Open every single drawer and every single cabinet and TAKE EVERYTHING OUT.  Yep.  Take it out and throw it on the floor (or a bed or table top).  You are going to go through the same process. While looking (not touching) these items, ask yourself these questions:
-do I use this item everyday?
-do I consider this item to be beautiful and I enjoy looking at it?
-do I consider this item to be sentimental and I cherish it?
-do I consider this item to be seasonal, like a Christmas tree, and DO use it for that season or holiday?
-do I consider this item to be a specialty item, like a cake plate, and DO use it for that purpose?

Honestly, MANY things that are put away in drawers and cabinets don't get used.  Usually, those items are there because you forgot about them or because you don't use them and they needed a place to "live".  You should really be getting rid of A LOT of stuff at this point.

***If you answered NO to all of the above, pick that item up and take it immediately to GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY.  Move on to the next item and repeat this over and over until you have looked at and decided the fate of each item in that drawer or cabinet.
Challenge 4 Done.

challenge 5.  Your clothes.  This is usually the worst.  You are going to have to try on a LOT of items and be VERY honest with yourself.   This includes shoes, socks, underwear, bras, pants, shorts, skirts, all tops, dresses, belts, scarves, hats, pjs, bathrobes, swimsuits, coverups, all jewelry, gym clothes, EVERYTHING!  Take it ALL out of of your closets, drawers, shelves, cabinets, boxes, storage bins, from under your bed, everywhere…EVERYTHING!  Take it ALL out and throw it on your bed or floor.

Look at each item and ask yourself these questions:
-is the item stained?
-is the item stretched out?
-is the item an awful color on me?
-does this item make me feel ugly and/or fat?
-is this item old looking, picked, dingy, etc?
***If you answered yes to ANY of these, the item needs to go to GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY!

Now, everything that is left, should be good-looking items.  Ask yourself these questions:
-have I worn this item in the last 12 months?
-is this a seasonal item, like a winter coat that I DO wear?
-is this a sentimental item, like my old wedding dress?
-is this item a special item, like a dress that I DO wear when invited to weddings and formal parties?
***If you answered "no" to all of the above, the item needs to go to GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY!

Now, EVERYTHING that is left, you are going to try on and look at yourself in the mirror.  EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF CLOTHING.  For each item that you put on, ask yourself:
-does this make me feel beautiful when I wear it?
-do I feel comfortable in this?…no cutting off circulation, no leaving deep red lines anywhere, no painful blisters...
-does this color look good with my skin tone and eye color?
-do I get compliments when I wear this?
-do I enjoy wearing this?
***If you answered "no" to any of these, the item needs to go to GIVE AWAY or THROW AWAY!
Challenge 5 Done.

If you have completed all 5 challenges, you deserve a……………….
trip to Goodwill :) 

Challenge 6:
Seriously, you have GOT to get that stuff out of your house ASAP!  If you leave it there, you will dream about it, think that you miss it, tear back into that bag and put that ugly item back where you had it.  DON'T FALL INTO TEMPTATION!  
1.  Take all of those bags and boxes you labeled THROW AWAY and go to the city dump and trash them NOW. 
2.  Take all of those bags and boxes you labeled GIVE AWAY and go to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, mens and/or women's shelter, church (or where ever you choose) and leave them NOW! 

PS:  If something is stained, torn, broken, etc. please trash it.  Only give away items that are still in good condition.  Just because someone is poor doesn't mean they want your trash…

      I'd seriously LOVE to hear your stories of how you cleaned out and turned your home around!!!  Please send me an email at nickandemilystewart@me.com …also, if you live near me, I would LOVE to come and help you, but be warned…I am a SERIOUS cleaner outer (is that a word?)…don't invite me over unless you mean business!!!