MY BLOG: CHELSLIVIN.COM

I decided to take the plunge and buy my own domain. www.chelslivin.com

ALL CONTENT WILL BE POSTED THERE.

I’M SO EXCITED!!! PLEASE FOLLOW ME TO CONTINUE THE JOURNEY!

-Rachel

 

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Jo Malone. Finally.

I’ve been wanting to purchase Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne for roughly two years. Yep, that’s right. Two YEARS. I heard about it in January 2014 from FluerdeForce on YouTube and read the scent description and just knew it would be perfect. I didn’t purchase because I hadn’t actually smelled it in person or tested the chemistry on my skin. Note: if you are considering a luxury fragrance MAKE SURE you spray it on yourself and see how the perfume reacts to your skin. Just because something smells lovely on your sister/friend does not mean it will on you! My friend made that mistake many many years ago when she loved how Burberry Brit smelled on me, bought a huge bottle of it, then hated it.

Anyways, I digress. Fast forward to August 2015 and I finally get the chance to try on the fragrance. And it was everything and more of what I’d hoped for. The scent reacted with my skin to where it actually smelled better over time. BUT, I didn’t purchase, because at that time I was there for a  handbag and that was already a large purchase for me.

So now, here we are in January 2016. I have just graduated from college. I’d received a few graduation gifts but chose to put those monetary gifts towards smarter things like diapers and oh so lovely student loans. I received a letter in the mail from my aunt, and it also had a check in it for $50. In her letter, she specifically said ” I know you, now use this for something you WANT FOR YOURSELF. Make it a treat, you’ve earned it.”

Well, seeing as this fragrance has been on my wish list for over a year now, I decided it was time. So I finally, FINALLY ordered the 30ml bottle of Wood Sage and Sea Salt. If I go through this bottle and decide I completely love it, I will get the 100ml bottle, but I couldn’t justify a purchase over $100 for a fragrance right now.

At first I was going to order from Nordstrom, but decided to order off the Jo Malone website. I’m so glad I did! Like Nordstrom they offer free shipping, but Jo Malone also does free gift wrapping. And yes, I definitely did get mine gift wrapped with the gift message “Happy Graduation!” because I was that excited. I love using nice boxes for storage/cabinet organization though so it will get used too. Another thing that worked out was that I decided to Google “Jo Malone coupon codes.” This resulted in me getting a FREE 9ml sample of Peony and Blush Suede!! This is almost 1/3 of a bottle for free!!! Also, when you order from the Jo Malone website you get 2 free samples. I ordered Lime Basil and Mandarin perfume (a 1.5ml spray bottle, PERFECT for a purse/car) and Peony and Blush Suede Shower Oil.

I actually cant believe I’ve talked this much about a perfume I don’t even have with me yet, but guys…I’m so excited. This is the first thing I’ve treated myself to in a long time.

-Rachel

 

 

 

 

Minimalist Spending: Fresh Financial Start

 

NOW FEATURED ON MY NEW WEBSITE/BLOG!!!!

Long story short, my husband and I have a lot of student loans racked up. And by a lot, I mean a LOT. A family member of mine gave us a book by Dave Ramsey (don’t let the name put you off if you’ve heard things, please keep reading!) called “Total Money Makeover.” I read most of it, but definitely started to get overwhelmed with things about life insurance and investments. Financially, we have these major goals CURRENTLY:

  • Pay off student loans
  • Own a house
  • College fund for our daughter (plus future children)
  • Large Emergency fund

I say currently because once we hit these goals, which will take awhile, the goals will change and that is when we will be more comfortable with other investments etc. My thoughts may change with the Dave Ramsey approach though…I’m not totally sure.

Through what I did read in the book I got excited to start a budget and so did my husband…sort of. Unfortunately he wasn’t ever as on the minimalism bandwagon as I was. He loves his toys and clothes and expensive microbrews. Okay, I love microbrews too so I can’t completely put that blame on him;) Since I was pregnant and not drinking it was a lot easier to point the finger though. Anyways, while we were living apart (I was finishing school, he was working full time) we fell off that budget wagon and just wasn’t tracking anything.

Fast forward, and for Christmas my parents bought us the “Financial Peace University” by Dave Ramsey. It is a comprehensive course to which you become a lifetime member. It’s a 9 or 10 week course, but you can attend it as many times as you like once you have purchased the materials once. Since the materials were purchased for us, it was free for us. This is definitely NOT something I would’ve bought for myself because I didn’t think we needed it. I would probably be wrong with that mindset though.

The class is pretty comprehensive. Not every financial adviser will agree with him completely, but if you are not sure where to start, his approach is great simply because he tells you almost exactly what to do. There are his baby steps (Which also are in his other books) and they are talked about specifically. Also, if you have a spouse who needs some coaxing, this class may be the way. My husband got excited and fired up about saving and realized how many wonderful things he already owns. It’s turning him into a minimalist slowly but surely! 😀

The class gives hope and though we know it won’t be easy, it’s our new beginning. I will try to update a couple of times with my experience throughout the course.

-Rachel

 

Minimalist Closet by Accident (Happy 2016! Part 2)

I started this blog because I wanted to cut down my belongings, own things I love, and stop spending money on stupid stuff. Particularly I wanted to own a minimal amount of clothing.

Well, by accident, I am almost completely “there.” While I was pregnant I bought almost no maternity clothes thanks to a wonderfully kind stranger/sister. I am an alumna of a sorority and a fellow alumna was kind enough to send me ALL of her maternity clothes because she and her husband were done having. I only had to buy myself total: 2 short sleeve shirts, 2 shorts, 2 leggings, and 2 long sleeve shirts. This is throughout the entire 40 weeks! Anyways, the pregnancy got me in the mindset of not wanting to spend money on clothes I wouldn’t wear beyond pregnancy, which kept me with a limited wardrobe that I made work.

Fast forward, and I’ve had my daughter. I’m in a stage where I am discovering all of my old clothes and realizing that frankly I didn’t like a lot that was there, and this was AFTER I’d already done a lot of donating last year before I was pregnant. So I got donated a box worth before we moved, and I’m still continuing to do so. Now I do have some clothes in my closet that are a little small, but I have been losing weight consistently (thank you breastfeeding!) so I know they will fit soon enough that it is relevant to leave them in there.

All in all I have about 6 tank tops, 5 loose “nice” t-shirts, 4 Express Portofinos, 3 cardigans, 3 leggings, and 1 pair of jeans. I DO need to go through my underwear and workout clothes again because I think I have more in that drawer than everything I just listed! So there is still work, but not very much. As far as shoes, I am not a shoe loving girl, so this has never been too difficult of an area. I have 3 pairs of black ankle boots(one are snow boots, one are rain boots, and one are nice faux leather…the weather is all over the place haha), running shoes, and on the way are some Steve Madden faux leather flat sneakers. These are replacing a pair I got from J Crew and completely wore through while pregnant (near the end they were all that would fit!)

So, by accident, I’ve nearly gotten to where I wanted to be a year ago! Well, the mindset changed last year and actions changed over time. Yay!

Now to go through everything ELSE we brought with us.

-Rachel

 

 

 

Happy 2016! Part 1: Life Update (Baby/Graduating College/Moving)

Well, I can’t even remember the last time I posted, but that is because life officially got insane….

I delivered a beautiful baby girl on November 17th. Unfortunately she was born with complications that led to a short stay in the NICU, but she is perfectly healthy now. If you remember, I was still finishing up my final semester, and this stay in the NICU was actually not in my college-town, so it put a lot more pressure on my coursework once we got back from the hospital. Commence a few weeks of 2 hours of sleep and a LOT of computer/course time and finally I got through everything. There were many times I wanted to just give up even though the light at the end of the tunnel was right there. Somehow, thanks to some much needed help from my mother and my husband, I finished all of my papers, engineering design projects (plus their corresponding reports), and finals. In fact, I managed one of my higher GPA semesters, and was just off making Dean’s List (which is very difficult in any engineering discipline).

Unfortunately, finishing my classes did not mean it was time to relax. My husband and I then had to immediately begin packing up our lives to move over 500 miles to where his job is located. I say “begin” because with the hospital time, him working remotely, a new baby, and me finishing classes…nothing had been packed. Also to make things crazier, I only finished my coursework 12 hours before the graduation ceremony,and my family AND my in-laws were both in town. Thankfully, all of the extra family members meant a lot of extra help with moving. Almost everything was completed in 4 hours the day of graduation itself. Unfortunately this packing was basically “throw everything into boxes and tape them” and wasn’t very organized. Then we made the VERY long drive with everything we owned and a 1 month old baby. Somehow we made it!

Finally, we are sort of moved in. Actually, we are living with our in-laws while we are searching for a house. This made things nice because we didn’t have to unpack kitchen/bathroom type items, and we can slowly go through everything. HOWEVER, my family was also staying with my in-laws for the holidays, so absolutely nothing productive was happening. We couldn’t even deal with any baby-things because that’s where my parents were sleeping.

Now, things have just started to settle down. My family has flown home, and our clothes are pretty much dealt with. The nursery is 90% done, just hanging some minimal decorations and bringing in the recliner remains.

I was also dabbling with the idea of setting up an actual domain/website of my own, but decided it would not be a good decision right now. Maybe in the future this year =)

I hope that 2015 treated you well and that you have a very Happy New Year! My next post will be all about de-cluttering again due to the move and my clothing/fitness situation now that I’m 6 weeks postpartum.

-Rachel

 

 

1 Month Until Baby: Nursery, Maternity Photos, Purchases, Craziness

Well, life’s definitely been crazy, and considering I have 3 exams this week I probably shouldn’t even be blogging, but oh well. When I found out I was pregnant, it seemed like several other ladies that I’ve known had also just recently announced their own pregnancies. I was the last in this little bunch. Well….they have ALL had their little bundles of joy which means: I’m next! AHHH.

I don’t know if I ever said my due date, but it is Thanksgiving Day =) Well, that’s mostly true, I’ve been given 3 different due dates. This one is just the easiest to tell people and for them to remember;) That’s exactly 30 days from today. I don’t think my husband and I have quite gotten our heads around that yet.

The nursery is pretty much finished, just needs a teeny bit of decor. My mother-in-law loves painting and helped my husband paint the room half light grey, half light pink. It looks adorable. We were fortunate enough to receive all of the furniture from family members which saved us a large amount of $$$. As far as decor, we have leftover paint so once we decide the name we will paint wooden letters and hang those on the wall. My husband and I also picked out a nice framed art piece from Hobby Lobby. There were a couple of nicks in it so we got a $30 item for under $6 (tax included!). Nothing a quick coat of paint can’t fix.

We also took maternity photos yesterday and I think they went wonderfully. I’ve only just seen a sneak peak but it was gorgeous. Where we live the fall season is stunning, so we did everything fall themed in an apple orchard. The morning was gorgeous and I can’t wait to see the results. My brother-in-law is studying Graphic Design and is a talented photographer, so our shoot was completely free =) We might have one picture converted into a canvas. I actually would love to do a gallery wall with four canvases, but that’s a different story for another day.

In other news my husband and I did a little bit more baby shopping using some gift cards from out baby shower. Here’s a few things we got….

  • Baby monitor (audio only, with 2 “parent” pieces)
  • reusable nursing pads, called Lily Pads
  • Diaper Genie bags…I was lucky enough to be gifted a diaper genie from my boss!
  • Newborn car seat head insert
  • Baby Carrier
  • Play Mat
  • Safety Kit

I think I’m forgetting a couple of items but that gives an idea. We got everything at Target because that’s where we had gift cards. Target also had a great promotion (it’s over now, sorry!) where if you spent $150 in the baby department, you would receive a $25 Target gift card. We actually MADE money with our purchases!

Also, does anyone else who has been pregnant think it is rude when someone asks if you are having twins? I personally think it is really rude. I would never actually do this, but if I have someone ask “Oh are you sure it’s not twins?” to respond with a “Are you sure you aren’t pregnant?” and look at their stomach. It sounds beyond rude (it is!) but at the same time it’s not different. They are asking if you are carrying an extra person inside you…just like you are asking them. I just don’t get why it’s acceptable to ask a pregnant woman if she’s having twins. I’ve thankfully only been asked this in an obviously joking way, but it still annoys me.

Anyways, I’ve put off studying long enough. My next post will hopefully be the guest room in the apartment. Currently it’s basically a closet.

-Rachel

Something Old, Something New (Fall Beauty Loves)

Sorry it has been forever, I wildly underestimated my busyness even with a lower class credit amount than my normal. Also I’ve been sick, thanks to the change in weather…

Speaking of the change in weather, I love fall! Call me a basic b*tch, but I love cozy blankets, candles, scarves, and fall beauty/fashion. I think pumpkin spice lattes are gross though, so I can’t be completely basic;) Though admittedly, I love my pumpkin spice candle. It’s a 30oz candle and I’ve already burnt through half of it!

Anyways, on the beauty side of things, I have an old rediscovery and a new love. First, I found my old favorite perfume, from five years ago. Yes, five YEARS. Now perfumes do change over time, and I do believe that the staying power isn’t as great, but nonetheless the perfume still smells wonderful and I’m happily wearing it every day. The scent is Burberry Brit (the Eau de Toilette). Because I’m terrible at describing scents, the notes in this fragrance are listed as lime, pear, peony, almond, mahogany, amber, tonka bean, and vanilla. It’s got everything in there, fruity, floral, and woody, without any of these three being too overpowering. I get complimented on this scent a LOT by people, and it makes me sad that I didn’t appreciate this perfume as much when I first got it. (That is because I was in my weird mindset of “not using” things that were “special,” which makes no sense at all!)

As for the “new” beauty item, that would be thanks to this video by YouTube user ItsJudyTime, who I’ve followed for a really long time. She raved about the Maybelline Matte Lipstick in the shade “Touch of Spice.” I immediately went and purchased this exact shade for $5.50 at Walmart, and I’m so glad I did. Now I did have a “fall lip color,” but it is a dark purple shade. It’s gorgeous, but not practical ( I wear it for special occasions!). Touch of Spice, on the other hand, is the perfect everyday fall shade. There’s no question it’s a fall color, but I don’t have to worry about if it’s moving all over my face, on my teeth, or anything. Basically it’s perfect. To even out my makeup collection, I decided to throw away a Revlon lip butter that I’ve had for a few years and hardly worn. I don’t remember the shade name, but it was a nude, and those shades just don’t look good on me. I’ve also been complimented on this shade multiple times, and I only bought it on Saturday!

Just real quick, two “minimalist” tips I have from these items are:

  1. USE WHAT YOU HAVE. I really shouldn’t still have this Burberry fragrance, especially with how much I love it! If you buy something, that money has already been spent, and letting a nice item like perfume just collect dust on a shelf isn’t going to bring that money back magically. If you buy something, use it =)
  2. If you bring something in, take something out. I bought a new lipstick, but also recognized that I owned one that was getting zero use. There’s no need to clutter up your life. Again, the money has already been spent, and you aren’t getting it back by having unused makeup lying in a drawer. If you have a friend who might want what you are getting rid of, offer it to them (note: that’s not always hygienic, but I’ve done it before). Just be mindful of what you own.

-Rachel

Super Super Easy Healthy Snacks “To Go” (College, Work, Mom friendly!)

I’m a college student. I’m often on campus all day and definitely don’t want to spend a lot of money on food while on campus. I avoid this by pre-packing lunch most days. However, there are those days when you just can’t be bothered to spend the 10 minutes to pack a lunch. Here are my go to healthy snacks that I bring along in that case. This would also be very appropriate for work or busy moms or anyone who just needs a go to “healthy fast snack” from home.

  • Greek Yogurt + granola: The only thing this requires is me quickly dumping some granola into a ziploc bag. If you pre-bag a few days worth, it takes seconds total. (I do have a cooler pouch on my backpack so I don’t have to worry about the yogurt spoiling.)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs: I just grab two and run out the door. I do batches of 12-18 eggs on weekends then snack throughout the week. I’m not a huge fan of egg yolks so I usually eat 2-3 whites at a time. This also keeps the cholesterol intake down.
  • Fruit: the simplest, and my personal favorite. Apples, bananas, and clementine oranges seem to be the cheapest and easiest to grab-and-go. While I do love other fruit, those often require prep. Chopping and bagging..no thanks!
  • Frozen Vegetable Bags (single-serve): This requires both a cooler and a microwave, which thankfully I have access to. My favorite is single packets of edamame. While some people try to watch soy intake, I don’t mind eating edamame on occassion. It definitely beats a bag of chips, and is way more filling!
  • Granola Bars: Not something I personally do, but I have several friends that eat these often. My biggest warning is to really check nutrition labels. Many “healthy” bars are just as bad for you as a candy bar. I have heard that KIND bars are good, but I haven’t actually bought any myself. I prefer just straight granola, but I can see how these would be much more travel friendly!
  • Baby Carrots: This is very specific, I know. I will literally bring the whole bag with me if it’s smaller than 2lbs and snack throughout the day. Other vegetables also require washing and cutting. Baby carrots are much simpler (though do consider at least rinsing them at your location!)
  • Popcorn: Not as healthy but is still making the cut because of how travel friendly (i.e. compact) this snack is, and its health relative to other crunchy snack food. Obviously, you also need a microwave. Try to avoid “Movie Theater” style or anything with extra butter, but also don’t kid yourself into thinking that “Smart Pop 93% Fat Free” is actually good for you. It’s not. Eat this in a pinch, or if you’re having a salty craving, but try the above options before;)

I hope this helps!

-Rachel

My Birthday Wish List!

Okay, so my birthday is not for over a month, but my husband was asking me for ideas. I’m typically terrible at coming up with present ideas for myself, but this year I do have some specific items! I figured I would share them with you =)

  • “Nordstrom Naturals” Eyeshadow Palette by MAC ($85): If you have read many of my posts, you might already know that the only eyeshadows I own are in my Urban Decay NAKED palette that I have owned since 2011. I have loved this palette but lately have found myself a little bored with the same looks. These limited edition 15 eyeshadow palettes are worth over $160, for only $85. This one specifically has the perfect shades of naturals, with some added depth (from the deep purple and black). I want this now because of the amazing deal, but likely would not open it for awhile, as I do still have use of the NAKED palette. There are several of these limited edition palettes on the Nordstrom website. Also fun fact, if you order online you can get 4 swagbucks per dollar, I’ve done this twice now!
  • Jo Malone fragrance in Wood Sage & Sea Salt ($65/$125 fpr 1oz/3.4oz): This scent is a cult beauty favorite, and for good reason! I have enviously watched reviews on several Jo Malone fragrances and this name always stuck out to me because I love woody scents. I made it into a Nordstrom back in August (when I bought my everyday handbag), and finally tested out different scents. This one smelled amazing and only got better once on my skin awhile! I think my skin has an odd chemistry because I find scents often smell very weird on me with time, but this fragrance was amazing and I found myself smelling my wrist all day. If I do receive this for my birthday I will immediately give away (or throw away) my Victoria’s Secret Night Jasmine fragrance that I’ve been trying to use up.
  • A Desktop Computer or Mini-Computer ($250-$500): This is definitely the most practical item on my list, and the most expensive. I need a functioning home computer for when I begin online grad school, and figured I should just ask for one now. I have 7 or so models on my Amazon wishlist from all-in-one desktops to mini computers to standard desktops & monitors. I want something that has plenty of memory and will be fast and efficient. I also do not want to spend more than $500 total. Any money I receive will go towards this purchase.
  • Express Gift Card: A very boring birthday gift idea, but a practical one. I’m going to need new clothes after baby (capsule wardrobe?!) and figured I’d start saving now!
  • Bath & Body Works candle or gift card: I love love love the Christmas-y candles from Bath & Body Works so that’d make an awesome present. I am super picky about scents though so I told my hubby it probably be safer just to get a gift card;)

That was all I could think of, and is a much more specific list than my usual “uhhh, I don’t know, a gift card?” response.

-Rachel

Pregnancy: Non-Food Cravings?

As pretty much everyone knows, pregnant women tend to have cravings. Jokes are made about pickles and ice cream, and other weird food combinations. I don’t think I’ve really had any of these….What I have had seems even weirder! Though not bad…..they are related to sound, touch, and smell….not taste!

  • ASMR: If you do not know what this is, click here for the Wikipedia page/description. Specifically, I have been loving the strong sensation of the sounds of scratching. Scratching foam, scratching fabric etc. It sounds completely crazy unless you have a prior knowledge of ASMR content. The best places to find ASMR for me personally has been YouTube. My favorites right now are relaxwithmechannel, DonnaASMR, asmrsurge, and DeepOceanofSound. It’s something I have to listen to daily, and I quite literally “crave the sound.”
  • Scratching items: I have also been loving the sensation of scratching various items myself, rather than just listen to the sound. It’s weird, I know. I’m also attributing this one to pregnancy. Again, scratching foam and textured fabrics has been what I’ve particularly enjoyed.
  • Dust: I have been absolutely loving the smell of dust and old books. For this reason I have a particular favorite spot to study in the library…one that smells the most of dusty old books. Thankfully I haven’t gotten any urges to eat dust or anything like that, but the smell has smelled so so good to me. It’s weird. I know.
  • Ice: I already made a whole post on this, but I have also loved chewing ice. The crunch and the coldness has been wonderful, especially on the hot days. This is more of a touch sensation than taste though because I have enjoyed the crunch of the ice…not the taste lol

This is all I can think of at the moment, but just know if you think you are having weird pregnancy tendencies…you probably aren’t the only one. Cravings aren’t just in regards to food!

-Rachel