Don’t Miss Today’s Guest Post at Beautiful Undefined

I’ve had the privilege and great honor of writing a guest post for today about capsule wardrobe for one of my current blogger heroes, Alicia, over at Beautiful Undefined. Hop on over and check it out!

Chambray Top Collage
Sneak peek | One shirt, three ways. Versatile pieces are key in a working capsule wardrobe!

My lovely cousin Alyssa styled and shot the photos for this post. We had so much fun together and I was thrilled with the ideas she brought to the shoot + her sharp eye.

Click the links and leave these ladies some love! ❤

Minimalism vs. Essentialism

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These two words, and the concepts they represent, have been squatting on some pretty prime real estate in my heart and brain, lately. I’m still plugging through back episodes of The Lively Show and being inspired towards things like simplicity, intention, efficiency, and authenticity, and I’m reading Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and I’m having conversations with friends and family about de-cluttering and eliminating excess. I’ve been working on perfecting my summer capsule wardrobe, and helping my husband with his, and going through other drawers and cabinets and storage containers around the house, getting rid of things that we don’t love. I have a capsule wardrobe collaboration coming up, and hopefully some more similar projects. Life in general continues to invoke deeper meaning, the longer I live.

I’ll definitely have to post a full-fledged book review of 7 once I’m finished with it, so I’ll save my ramblings on that for now. But that, along with the Essentials issue of Kinfolk Magazine I was reading while we were camping the other weekend, the conversation I had with my friend Jenny on the way home from the beach yesterday, and an article I read online last evening, have distracted my thinking for much of the day.

The aforementioned article was called The Problem With Minimalism. The title caught my eye as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, and since it was posted by a friend whose opinions I value and admire, I decided to check it out. (If you haven’t opened that link in a new tab by now, do it before you scroll down any further!) It’s a somewhat lengthy but easy-read discussion of the elitist persona that minimalism tends to incur, which put into words some of the struggle I’ve been wrestling with as I’ve been getting rid of things. Also, as one commenter on my Facebook post noted, it evaluates both sides of the spectrum without demoralizing either one.

The Kinfolk issue referenced “essentialism” as an alternative to minimalism. It’s maybe mostly a splitting of hairs terminologically, but the difference between the two is realizing, investing in, and hanging onto the things that are “essential” to each of our individual versions of “the good life” as opposed to trying to “make do” with as few things as possible (in some cases, even assigning a number to that goal, i.e. The 100 Things Project).

If the process of letting go of material possessions in order to create more time and energy for people, for the things we really love, and for the Creator and His Creation is something you’re intrigued by, that particular article and that particular magazine (Issue 16) are some of my most highly recommended reading. You can also click here for a few other resources I referenced a couple weeks ago.

What’s been inspiring you towards a higher quality of life lately? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Instagram Feeds I’m Loving

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I love sharing my favorite things with you. That’s what The Realization of Good is all about! Today’s post is a quick lineup of my favorite Instagrammers. If you missed them earlier, check out my favorite blogs and Facebook pages, too!

  1. @the_beauty pill  //  super pretty beauty product feed
  2. @malisyourpal  //  Mallory has such a cool ministry over at @theuneditedmovement + I feel a kinship to her since her pregnancy loss earlier this year
  3. @marylauren  //  such a gorgeous feed + I think Mary looks a lot like my best friend, Michelle
  4. @oldjoy  //  mama + homemaker (whose hats, and baby-filled belly, I adore)
  5. @tortoiseandthehareclothing  //  a just-launched handmade heirloom children’s clothing line designed by my very own sister [in-law]
  6. @sackclothxashes  //  the coolest blanket company in the history of ever — I just placed an order for one this week & can’t wait ’til it arrives!
  7. @emilyhogarth  //  talented papercut artist & creative mama
  8. @mamawaters  //  such an inspiring mama, with a precious new tiny!
  9. @caroline_joy  //  it was a sad day for many when Caroline stopped blogging at un-fancy…but thankfully we can keep up with her + her fabulous outfit inspiration on Instagram!

And if you want to keep up with me on a personal level + all things #therealizationofgood, hit Follow on my account over at @melpfish.

What are some of YOUR favorite Instagram accounts?

Figuring Out My Version of the Minimalist Lifestyle

IMG_7153I think minimalism is part of the “way I’m wired”…for as long as I can remember, I’ve gotten a rush out of the process of eliminating clutter and excess in my life. However, it’s a part of me that continually needs shaping and fine-tuning, and I’m still learning everyday how to better use, prioritize, and organize the “stuff” in my life and what that looks like in relation to spending habits, time management, and priorities.

I’ve heard good things about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and though I haven’t read it yet, I know that the idea of getting rid of things we no longer use has been trending like crazy and “minimalism” is all the rage right now. That makes it fun, because there’s this camaraderie in all evaluating our consumerist/materialistic tendencies together.

I absolutely love having yard sales, taking things to consignment shops, selling things on Facebook, and, most recently, I’ve even bought into the Instagram sale thing. For me, ending up with a handful of cash helps me justify both letting go of things that I loved or that I paid too much for, and spending more money on the higher-quality things that I really want.

My husband has taught me a lot about the value in saving for what I really want or the better brand of something I need instead of settling for the cheap version just because it’s cheap. In the two short years of our marriage, my attitude towards spending and saving money has changed completely. I no longer feel guilty every time I choose the item that I believe is the best, rather than the one with the lowest price tag. And now that I shop this way (for the most part), I have much less to get rid of, since I less often end up dissatisfied with my cheap purchases.

But as I said, it’s a process. Doing a capsule wardrobe has taught me a lot about this concept when it comes to my clothing, and I’m realizing that I’ve subconsciously begun to think about other things (kitchen gadgets, home decor, etc.) with the same mindset.

Also, I’m only 23 years old. I am still figuring out my style and tastes — not only in fashion, but in interior design, food, and my life/goals in general. Sometimes when I start to feel panicky about everything being so unsettled and constantly changing, I have to remind myself of that. A lot of the people I admire, both online and in real life, hadn’t figured out or established the things I admire about them at my age, either. 🙂

Before I ramble on too much further, here are some links I recommend for further reading on minimalism.

What are some sources that have motivated you to live with less? I’d love to hear some good book/podcast/blog recommendations. Let’s get the conversation started!

Fun Facebook Feeds

Recently I shared some of my current favorite blogs. Today I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite Facebook pages + feeds.

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  1. IHeart OrganizingA fun “mom blog” relating to all things decorating and organizing. I love her homemade cleaner recipes!
  2. Still Mothers – This page has some uplifting content for parents who have lost babies and have no living children.
  3. A Miracle Unfolding – Gardner Quadruplets – This is a couple who, after eight years of infertility, conceived through IVF two sets of identical twins. The girls were born right after Christmas and their parents do a great job of updating their half-million fan base with a ton of cute pictures.
  4. Native American Nutritionals – I haven’t actually purchased anything from this company as of yet, but they share some great information on and recipes using things like essential oils.
  5. Nameberry – I love keeping tabs on what people are naming their babies these days. Lots of name history and fun facts here, too!
  6. Story of This Life – I just love Esther’s sense of humor, and her memes…they make my day, over and over.
  7. Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services – Midwife Kelsey Martin, CPM – Kelsey shares tons of excellent articles relating to pregnancy, labor, and delivery, making her page a rich resource for all things childbirth-related.
  8. Apartment Therapy – Ahhh, Apartment Therapy — one of the very best things in all of the internet, in my opinion. Follow them for easy access to a ton of great interior design inspiration + housekeeping & living tips.
  9. The Thrifty, Frugal Mom – I’ve learned so much from Lydia about couponing, budgeting, and living frugally in general.
  10. Bonus for you locals: Things To Do Lancaster PA – Links to good eats, events, and more! We love to come here for date night ideas. 🙂

And by the way, have you liked The Realization of Good on Facebook yet? It’s a great way to keep up with the latest around here. 🙂

I’d love to hear from you…what are some of your favorite Facebook pages?