black slow living blogger

Why Do We Keep Our Lives So Hectic?

One thing I’ve learned about maintaining a complicated life is that it’s one of the best ways we have to avoid looking at some of the larger questions. It may not apply to everyone, but I believe it explains a lot about why we’ve been moving so fast. The idea of getting to know ourselves or becoming reacquainted can be intimidating.

As long as we convince ourselves that we’re so busy and our work is more important and that we can’t afford to slow down, then we don’t have to look at our own lives and the personal issues that are so difficult to address . It could be— a marriage that isn’t working, a career that’s draining, friendships that no longer serve us, the creativity we are afraid to explore, childhood traumas that have been crippling us.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares an article of why we keep living hectic lives

As you start to slow down, to cut back your work hours, free yourself from all of the things you said yes to, you’re going to have some time on your hands. You may begin to feel the need to start nourishing your body, catching up on sleep, eat cleanier, spend time in nature, exercise and learn how to enjoy yourself again. Then, you will reach a point where there is nothing left to do but deal with some of your inner issues. Creating the inner strength to move through them will lighten you up.

In Search of Our Garden Memphis Wellness Blogger shares article of why do we keep our lives so hectic

An amazing thing happens when we slow down. We start to get flashes of inspiration. We reach a new level of understanding and wisdom. In a quiet moment we can get a insight that can change our entire life and the lives of the people around us in incredible ways.

Living more simply will make it possible to create those quiet moments. Out of those quiet moments miracles happen. Be open to them.

10 Ways to Create a Simple and Natural Home

It is always been said your home is your place of refuge. Our homes should be a place of comfort, rest, and relief from the world. We all want to create a peaceful home and to enjoy people and things that matter. By taking small steps to simplify our home, we can create a more natural home that rewards us with loving environment to thrive.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger shares 10 ways to create a simple and natural home

We all know that going green and minimalism isn’t a trend, it’s what has been done for countless generations. Many women before us lived a simplified life before modern conveniences. It’s incredibly important that we are mindful of our actions as individuals today. Our day to day decisions are incredibly significant, and like many other changes we wish to see in the world, it starts at home. Some changes that can easily be made to live more simply can start with food, cleaning, and beauty.

FOOD

Eat whole unprocessed foods.

By eating whole and unprocessed foods you are not only giving your body the best advantage to stay healthy but helping the environment as well. Cutting down on the energy sources needed to produce processed foods directly benefits the environment.

Purchase food in season.

Seasonal food is better for the climate. When your food travels around the world to get to you, it uses lots of energy. Produce, especially local produce has a significantly lower carbon footprint.

Replace plastic storage ware with glass.

Take a pledge to become less wasteful and start by replacing plastic for glass. Glass jars are almost the symbol of the zero waste movement. Here’s the great thing about glass jar in your home, they can be used over and over.

BEAUTY

Add natural remedies to your medicine cabinet.

Incorporate the healing benefits of plants into your life. There’s nothing more simple than going back to using 100 percent natural remedies and medicines.

Try making your own lotion, soap, deodorant, or toothpaste.

Many beauty products can be made with cleaner and less toxic ingredients right at home. Be more resourceful and use common kitchen ingredients or natural products like essential oils.

Choose non-toxic, natural cosmetics.

The enhancement of beauty should not be a big deal. Our approach is to always be simplified and sustainable. Choose cosmetic brands that are non toxic, free of animal testing and without harsh chemicals.

CLEANING

Make your own cleaning products

There are countless options of home cleaning products that are simple and very effective. Your cupboard has some magical ingredients to clean and deodorize.

Know the recycling rules in your area to ensure proper recycling.

In the days of immense waste, recycling should not be a second thought. Find out what your neighborhood days of recycling are scheduled or recycling centers in your neighborhood.

Run the dishwasher and laundry machine only when they’re full.

Cut back on electricity usage and product waste by only running the dishwasher or laundry machine after you have a full load.

Try a cup of white vinegar instead of heavily fragranced fabric softener to soften clothes.

White vinegar can be used for so many home hacks. One of our favorites hacks is as a fabric softener. You can save money and the environment.

In Search of Our Gardens Memphis Blogger shares 10 Ways to Create A Simple and Natural Home

Creating a natural home takes time—it’s a process that occurs over years of changing your mindset and your lifestyle. By implementing a few of these small steps at a time, you can become a better steward of your family’s health and happiness and decrease your environmental footprint. Let’s all commit to creating the best possible home!

We have many, many, many more ways to create a simple and natural home. Come back for our weekly homemaking series to get updates on more ways to create a simple and natural home.


DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

While in my downtime of rediscovering myself, I vowed to make time for self care. Self care was all about baths and skincare and getting rid of these raccoons with luggage. I made myself a DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask and I'd love to share it with you. 

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Mask for puffy eyes and dark circles

Let's briefly talk about the eyes and the use of cucumbers and rosewater for this mask. The saying is true the "Eyes are the window to the soul" but I think they should have added a few more---signs of aging, lack of sleep, stress and dehydration. The eye area lacks oil glands to help keep the skin looking plump, youthful and fresh. Essentially, oil glands help keep the skin moist and hydrated. It is a bad combo when you already don't get enough sleep and then you are dehydrated. Cucumbers and rosewater however is the perfect natural combination to freshen the eye area up, brighten and moisturize the skin. Cucumbers have numerous skincare benefits mainly reducing inflamed or irritated skin as well as hydration due to the high water content. Rosewater is great for inflammation as well and getting rid of redness in the skin.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

+ half of a cucumber sliced

+ 1 ounce of rosewater

+ cotton rounds

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask for puffy eyes and dark circles

In a blender, blend the cucumber and rose water until it becomes a liquid blend. Transfer to a bowl, then soak the cotton rounds in the mixture, squeezing out excess and then re-soaking for optimal absorption. Store the extra soaked cotton rounds in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for future use.

Thaw the eye pads for about 10 minutes before you use them. To apply, place the half moon eye pad underneath the eye, making sure to apply close to the bottom lash line. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask
In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber Rosewater Eye Mask
In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

So to apply, place the half moon eye pad underneath the eye, making sure to apply close to the bottom lash line. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, paint your nails, read a book or just be.

In Search of Our Gardens DIY Cucumber and Rosewater Eye Mask

Five small habits to simplify your life

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the middle of my walk in closet, overwhelmed at my to do list, which was laid out strategically by the hour but I know within an hour everything planned would fall through the cracks. The to do list was crammed with work for clients (entirely too much for one person), Amira’s ballet schedule and school work, meeting reminders, household chores, and “busy” work. Suddenly, I realized I no longer wanted my life to be so “busy” yet unproductive and complicated.

Like many of us women of our generation, we have bought into the “Girl I’m soooo busy philosophy. We rip and run from this meeting to this event, over busying our children, multitasking with social media management in the cars and grocery lanes— all for the “grind til we shine” lifestyle. Then we gradually collide and began to realize we are anxious, nervous, and overstimulated by living a life with just way too much to do. I had always known.

Over a period of time I sat alone in the peaceful silence of my home and came up with a list of things I could do to improve the quality of my life while decreasing the complexity. I had three specific goals in mind. First, I wanted the things in our lives-our home, our cars, our clothes, our diets, our finances-to be small enough and few enough and simple enough that we could easily take care of them ourselves. Second, I wanted to free myself from the commitments, the people, and the obligations that kept me from having time to do the things I really wanted to do. Third, I wanted our lives to be consistent with our desire to live in harmony with the environment.

For me, simplifying and minimizing was not “living off the land” or throwing away every single thing in my home. Nor was it about living cheaply. For me, living simply meant reducing the scale, maintaining the comfort, eliminating the complexity, and minimizing the time demands of life as I had known it.

Let’s take advantage of the movement to reclaim our lives, simplify and live with intent. Here are habits to implement in your daily life. And enjoy.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Wellness Blogger In Search of Our Gardens shares 10 habits to implement daily to simplify your life
  1. Create routines

    Routines are the foundation of a simple life. They give structure, eliminate stress, and definitely make me more put together. Create a morning, evening, meal planning, laundry, or whatever routine you find helpful.

  2. Turn off the Background Noise
    We have access to constant noise in our culture and I think it’s easy to become immune to it, but building intentional quiet into our lives is so important. Turn the TV off. Turn the music off. Turn the phone off and listen to the sounds of your mind. Extra noise can often mean extra stress that we don’t even know we’re adding, so turn down the noise. Keep a quiet house (and car!) and see how it affects your family and stress level.

  3. Know Your Style And Create Uniforms

    Having a strong understanding of your personal style simplifies life in a lot of ways. It makes shopping easier and faster. You’ll buy things you’re more likely to wear and love. You can also double down on perfecting your personal style by creating several types of uniforms you love and fit your lifestyle and aesthetic.

  4. Cook Simple Meals

    We have access to basically any food we want, which is great, but sometimes it seems like a burden because we have to decide which meals to make each night. Sometimes those “perfect meals” just turn into entirely too much. If you want to live simpler and lower your stress levels, then come up with a meal plan with easy, basic meals. Every night doesn’t have to be special or fancy. Make a list of easy, no fuss meals that the family enjoys and rotate them throughout the month.

  5. Declutter Your Home

     If you’re always bringing stuff into your home and never getting rid of anything, then sis we need to declutter. Sitting around in a home that is full of clutter and stuff can stifle our creativity, stress us out and also make us depressed. Think about how much time you spend cleaning, moving, picking up and rearranging your stuff. Then doing it all over again. Pretty crazy, right? The less we have, the more freedom we have and the less burdened we will feel. Set aside a time each week to go through one area of your home and make a donation pile of the things that you don’t use, like or need. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how much has accumulated.

images via Pinterest

images via Pinterest

What other tips do you have to simplify your life?

My Mama Said, "God Dwells in Cleanliness and Order"

My mama used to say and still does today, when I need reminders, “Fenise, God dwells in cleanliness and order, only the devil is in mess”. My mama lived her entire life that way. It was almost godly or supernatural. Our home was always a special blend of comfort and cleanliness. Every single thing down to safety pins had an ordained place. Clutter never existed. As a child, I always thought an immaculately well kept home was the normal and expected.

My mother was just like any other mother who juggled two kids, mostly as a single mother and with a demanding work schedule. Yet, she made sure her acts of cleanliness were her way of worshipping Jesus, like her special ministry, I thought. Every morning when she rose, there was prayer and then tidying up. Every evening before she laid down, there was prayer and tidying up. Saturday was like worship service—clean, family time, cook preparing for after church’s day of rest on Sunday. That’s because, my mom’s philosophy is deeply rooted in the belief that not having order and structure, and not being in control of your home and your life can trigger depression.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Blogger shares the need to be clean for mental health

Now in hindsight, I can attribute my desperate need to declutter, tidy up, and simplify also being closely related to restoring my mental health. You all can’t imagine, how many times I’ve heard her voice when things are all over the place, physically or mentally. Seriously, I would pace the floor in disgust that I had let myself, my home, and my life get in shambles. Because, the more I lost control over my business every thing else spiraled down a windy disastrous road of confusion and chaos. The truth is I was depressed. Grief and the pressure of being a mother and entrepreneur were getting to me. Slowly, I began questioning everything great about myself and making sure my inner self knew that I wasn’t “all that”. There was one simple thing I couldn’t manage to do and that was keep a tidy house to save my life.

I had no other options but to pick myself up and get it together. What getting it together looked like for me may be quite different for someone else. I grew up in a minimalist lifestyle without knowing. My mama didn’t call it “minimalism”. She always would say that we don’t need all of that junk cluttering up our house. She bought things of great quality and great use. Whatever it was, It would purpose and immense beauty.

So I didn’t start a life-changing journey into minimalism with a heaping amount of clothes to get rid of or furniture and useless things to donate. I have never been an over consumer. I don’t know if it’s because I’m pretty resourceful. Or, if it’s because over consumption has its own psychological baggage that I have never wanted to carry.

This journey was intended more so to clear the mental clutter so that I could make time to be the absolute best woman I could be. A minimal, slow and simplified lifestyle opens the door to create more freely and be more present with myself and my family. I want to be able to operate fully in my gifts and talents without distractions. I have found a creative mind needs a minimalist space to thrive.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Blogger shares cleanliness is next to godliness

Just like my mother, I am in search of beauty and abundance through slow and simple living. I’m starting with creating household rituals of cleaning, decluttering along with rest and balance to be able to enjoy my work and my home in a more gratifying way. Taking steps to simplify my life means getting back to the basics of how my mother raised me. Also, finding ways to adjust them to my modern life and my own family. My mother didn’t spend countless hours cleaning, absolutely not. She had a precise way of taking inventory of time spent, creating systems and a routine to make sure there would always be time to enjoy herself and her family. It’s about figuring out what is really important and necessary.