by gillian claire: November 2017



Keeping the Holidays Simple, (Tips from a Minimalist!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyHolidayEscape #CollectiveBias

Having a Minimalist Holiday (2)

It's easy to feel so much pressure as a mother during the holidays to create fabulous celebrations and traditions and make everything perfect. Honestly, this does not come naturally to me. You know that simple living + living small are important aspects of my life and sometimes it's hard to mesh that with the elaborate expectations of the holidays!

I am a minimalist and I actually don't even like having a Christmas tree- hah! This will be my 10th Christmas as a mother (can you believe that!?) and I'm still on my own personal journey of finding ways to make the holidays memorable while staying true to my values of simplicity.

Here are a few things I'm keeping in mind this holiday season so that I can enjoy spending time with my family while keeping things simple + stress free!


Taking a Step Back

Especially working in social media and as a blogger, I find myself being inundated with images of families making things and doing things and crafting things and celebrating almost 24/7 and it can make me feel like I'm not doing enough....

I have to remind myself often that social media is only a snapshot of real life. Families aren't really doing something fun and planned out every day of the week. Also, bloggers create and take wonderful pictures as part of their job. Even though this is part of my job as well, I can still easily get wrapped up in the cycle of thinking my life doesn't add up.

It's important for me to take a step back and remind myself that the internet isn't real life. I also find it helpful to take a step back from the craziness of Christmas in the real world as well. I love Christmas shopping but the stores this time of year are just beaming with lights and decorations and commercialism. It can just be too much. I like to participate in the experience but to also remember that I don't need to be out in that craziness constantly.


(Grab a coupon + pick up a copy of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway!)

Creating Me Time

As a busy working mom, having "me time" is so important, especially during the holidays! There is more to do and more to plan for this time of year and I need to create time for myself to relax and stay centered.

You already know that coffee is imperative for my me time and I love relaxing with a candle and something good to read to help clear my mind.

Right now I am reading the holiday edition of REALSIMPLE® magazine for inspiration! I love flipping through the pages of REALSIMPLE® because it is full of beautiful imagery and simple, lovely ideas! I like to keep a notebook on hand because creative thoughts always seem to flow when I'm looking through magazines. Right now I'm looking for gift ideas and maybe a couple new things to try with my kids this holiday season. I'm also thinking about the blog and what kind of content I'm looking to put out in the next couple of months.

I picked up my copy of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway. I like stopping by the Safeway in our neighborhood to pick up a coffee because it's always clean and relatively quiet there and this magazine was right by the checkout, perfect!

Making Simple Traditions

Lastly, I have to remind myself that our family doesn't have to do what every other family is doing.

Overall, we keep things simple this time of year and that's ok! I don't make homemade Christmas cookies with my kids but we do always buy a gingerbread house kit to work on together! My wrapping paper comes from the dollar store every year and it's not Instagram-perfect under our tree but the boys are just as excited to tear into their presents! We don't visit Santa at the mall but we talk about the wonderful spirit of Christmas often during these months and it's such a magical memory that I make with my little boys.

I hope you found these tips inspiring if you're looking to pare down and keep things simple and easy this holiday season! The beautiful thing is that we are all free to create the type of holiday we want. Some people love being on the go and want to pack these months full of as many experiences as possible and that's perfectly ok too!

For me, I'm going to keep on keeping things simple...

I found my holiday edition of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway.
Grab a coupon and pick one up for your "me-time"!

"Spring Cleaning" in the Fall.

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Bona but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I have been going through some crazy Fall Cleaning vibes lately. "Spring Cleaning" in the Fall is huge to me because I love freshening up and organizing my house before Winter hits! First of all, I like getting the house ready for holiday visitors. Secondly, I love doing some deep cleaning and organizing before we are all stuck in our tiny house all Winter long!

I made a list of 10 things that I'm working on accomplishing before Christmas. I hope it sparks some ideas for you to put on your "Fall Cleaning" to-do list! 

✔️ Get New Front Door Mat

I still had my watermelon doormat out so I caved and bought one of the new Joanna Gaines doormats! (Just like everyone else- ha!) I love how simple it is and it will be perfect for Fall and Winter! As a minimalist, I've actually never been into doormats much but I've realized this year that it's such an easy and simple way to add a cozy touch to the house!


✔️ Paint Our Bedroom

We have painted our entire house since moving into our condo 4 years ago except our bedroom. Our bedroom has been the last room to get any love and it's depressing because that is where I go to relax! Aaron spent two weekends ago painting it gray for us and it looks beautiful. (Although to be honest, it looks purple, oh well!) I'm hoping to keep the motivation going within our bedroom and work on making it more of a retreat and less of a catch all mess!

Hang Artwork

Hanging artwork is one of the easiest ways to make the house feel cozy and for some reason it always takes us forever to actually hang things! I bought this wall hanging a year ago on clearance at Target and it took me 2 seconds to make a big change to our hallway by hanging it over the electrical box! I have a few other pieces of art that we've collected over the year that I'd like to get up on the walls in the next month!


✔️ Take Old Mattress Out of Kids' Room

Since we got bunk beds for the boys in the past year, we've had their old full sized mattress still sitting in the room taking up space. On Thanksgiving, Aaron had his brother help him finally take it out to the trash. Their room is so much more spacious and nice now!

✔️ Clean Out Outdoor Closet

Cleaning out and organizing our porch closet was a big undertaking that I tackled over Thanksgiving weekend! Nothing was accessible before and there was a ton of stuff that needed sorted and thrown out in the trash. This picture is the after: it looks so neat and tidy now!


✔️ Go Through Kids' Clothes

This went hand in hand with cleaning out the porch closet. Most of the bins in the photo above are full of clothes that the boys have outgrown and are either waiting for Asher (or a future baby...?) to grow into. I had so many piles of clothes in our laundry closet that I needed to sort through and put away in these bins. I also added a couple more that I was able to empty out from the boys' room. 

Wipe Down Appliances in Kitchen

I always like to wipe down the appliances in the kitchen before we have holiday guests, such as the dishwasher, front side of the stove and refrigerator etc. It's not something I think to do everyday but once I spend time on it I realize how grimy everything has gotten! 

Go Through Kids' Toys

We always get rid of a good amount of old toys before Christmastime since the boys are about to get a lot of new ones! I tell my kids that Santa brings more toys if their room is organized and has empty empty so this works perfectly- hah! We still have some progress to make on this one...

✔️ Clean out Hall Closet

We had one pretty atrocious hall closet that I've been wanting to tackle all year. I finally did it while Aaron was painting- success!

Clean Floors

I am really bad about cleaning the floors on a regular basis but it's something that definitely needs to be done before having holiday visitors. I like to shampoo our carpets and also deep clean the hardwood floors. You've seen me talk about my favorite hardwood floor cleaner, Bona PowerPlus before!

I do not love dragging a giant bucket of water and a mop around my kitchen and the Bona mop and Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner make cleaning the floors so much easier! It also makes for super easy wipe down and cleanup after visitors. Bona makes reusable as well as disposable dust and cleaning pads. 

Bona PowerPlus has an oxygenated formula that loosens and removes heavy dirt build-up so you can deep clean your hardwood floors with minimal effort! 


My little Asher always loves to join in the cleaning efforts. We call him our, "helper boy" and he loved testing out our new Bona products! Our kitten, Finn, joined in the efforts as well. :)

Be sure to visit the Bonafide Fanatics page to sign up for Bona's newsletter so that you can receive coupons and seasonal offerings!

Do you do "Fall Cleaning" in your house? Happy cleaning, friends!



Family Stocking Stuffer Ideas! (Old Navy Edition)

     I hope you are all having a great weekend! Yesterday, I finally started looking around for Christmas present ideas online- eek! Have you all started Christmas shopping yet? (Or already finished?!) 

                                                                       *This post contains affiliate links.*    

     I thought it would be fun to put together a quick post while I was hunting around on the Old Navy website. I found some great stocking stuffer/small present ideas that I wanted to share! I do some Christmas shopping at Old Navy every year and they always have something cute for all the people on my list! Tell me your favorite picks in the comments!

++Toddler Boys

5 Ways to Get Better Skin! (That Don't Involve Skincare Products!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AGummyYouCanTrust #CollectiveBias
5 Habits for Better Skin By Gillian Claire Wrinkles Acne

Most of you know about my obsession to find my best skin and I've been sharing a lot about skincare products this year. Finding skincare products that work is half the battle but there are other important factors to look at that can help your skin tremendouslyThis is a post I've been wanting to write forever and I'm finally partnering up with Nature Made® today to share 5 ways to get better skin that don't involve skincare products! 


Drink More Water

Making sure you're drinking enough water is a huge component to living a healthy lifestyle and it's no surprise that it benefits your skin as well! Water delivers essential nutrients to your skin cells and keeps your skin moisturized, hydrated and supple from the inside out! Keep a cute water bottle on you and make drinking 8 glasses a day a habit; your skin and body will thank you!


Stress does a number on your skin (I know it has in my case) so it's important to find ways to de-stress in your life. Yoga and meditation are good for the soul + subsequently your skin as well. Exercise is one of my key ways to de-stress. Exercising reduces stress as well as releases toxins and improves circulation in your skin.


Take Vitamins

Have you all caught on to the trend of taking vitamins for your skin yet?? I am obsessed with these Nature Made® Hair Skin & Nails Adult Gummies! I've been hooked on the Nature Made® Adult Gummies for a while now- it is so much easier for me to remember to take my vitamins when they taste so good! Can anyone relate?

These Gummies come in delicious Mixed Berry, Cranberry and Blueberry flavors. Nature Made® Hair Skin & Nails Adult Gummies provides 2500 mcg biotin and 100 mg vitamin C per serving and may help support healthy hair, skin and nails in those deficient in biotin.† Vitamin C provides antioxidant support and supports collagen synthesis.† Nature Made® has the 1st Gummies to receive USP verification. The U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) is a third party nonprofit organization that verifies products for purity, potency, and quality. Learn more about Nature Made and USP here.These vitamins are such an easy (and yummy!) way to support skin heath every day!

Analyze Your Diet

In addition to adding nutrients with vitamins, it's important to look at your diet in general and see if anything could be triggering skin problems. Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you consuming too much sugar? Could you possibly have a food intolerance (such as dairy) that might be causing breakouts? Eating right is going to help your health overall and your skin will reflect that as well. 


Get Enough Sleep

They don't say "beauty rest," for no reason and getting enough sleep is imperative to good skin health! Getting proper sleep gives your skin the right amount of time to rejuvenate. Look at your sleeping habits and see if you can make positive adjustments.

Did you know that the type of sheets you use can affect your skin as well? Low thread count sheets and pillowcases pull slightly at your skin when you toss and turn more than a softer of silkier fabric which could contribute to wrinkles over time. I have been wanting to purchase some silk pillowcases for this purpose but haven't bit the bullet yet. Doesn't sleeping on silk pillowcases just sound like the most luxurious thing, ever?? (Putting these on my Christmas list!)

Keep Things Clean

A huge game changer for my skincare has been to make sure I'm changing my pillowcases and sheets more regularly. Dirt and oil can build up on your pillowcases (gross!) and lead to breakouts. Try washing your pillowcases every 2-3 days and see if you notice a difference! Also make sure to regularly disinfect your phone if you notice breakouts near your chin or mouth!


Remember: Appreciate the Skin You're In!

While I love sharing skincare products with you guys and totally encourage exploring solutions, it's important to remember to love the skin that you currently have no matter what! Appreciate the skin that you are in now; don't wait for the skin that you'd like to have. Take care of and love yourself during the journey. At the end of the day, no matter what skin "issues" you are struggling with, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful and amazing! (Because you are!)

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure prevent any diseases.



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