Movies Watched In :: September


Well, I watched four less movies than last month but I’m okay with that. Apparently I was really digging documentaries and crime/dramas this month. I’m hoping to get in some good horrors in October.

*The title of each film is linked to the trailer for it.


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (documentary) – First off, thank you again to Tori for recommending this! If you want to be inspired by someone, look to none other than Ai Weiwei. He puts his life on the line in the sake of art.

The Kings of Summer (drama) – Maybe I’m bias but a movie about building a house out in the woods, free to explore…count me in! Loved the cast, the story, and that house.

The House I Live In (documentary) – What I loved most about this film was how it showed the detriment the ‘War on Drugs’ is having by getting the perspectives of the prisoners convicted, lawyers involved, corrections officers, and the cops doing the arresting.

West of Memphis (documentary) – Wow. Wow. Wow. Though centered around the killings of three boys in West Memphis and three teenagers accused of the crime, what this film is really about is just how broken our system is. Powerful. Informative.


This is Not a Film (documentary) – Yet another artist barred for making art. While simple, it’s also inspiring.

Side Effects (crime/drama) – I was totally caught off guard by this one, in a good way. Loved it, the acting, the cast, and the twists and turns of the story.

Happy (documentary) – This documentary does a great job touching on the topic of happiness, via interviews and research.


The East (crime/drama) – I was probably too excited about this because hello Alexander Skarsgard. I was also excited because of the concept, revenge on big businesses wronging people. I think it was making a statement for our time. While I did enjoy it, my expectations were too high and that was my fault.

World War Z (action/horror) – I read and enjoyed the book World War Z but I knew the film was taking a very different approach with it. I expected it to be cheesy and poorly done and honestly, I enjoyed it. Zombies aren’t much my thing because I don’t find anything all that scary about slow moving dead people but in World War Z, they aren’t slow at all and I think that elevated the action.

Coraline (animation/fantasy) – I’ve been on a Neil Gaiman kick after reading and loving The Ocean at the End of the Lane. So I read and enjoyed Coraline, wishing I had a friend like her when I grew up, and I think the film adaptation did a great job of telling the story.


Man of Steel (action/adventure) – I’m one to love super hero films (love!) but meh on this one. Henry Cavill played an excellent Superman, which I expected nothing less, but all else didn’t live up to his acting for me.


The Bling Ring (crime/drama) – This one just didn’t peak my interest at all and I’m not surprised by its low ratings.


What movies did you watch this past month? Any recommendations?


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Simplifying Sunday is where I share weekly ‘little things’ that make me smile (my take on a gratitude journal), ways I simplified my life that week, and every now and then I include a podcast on simple living.

1. Saw a beautiful Monarch butterfly on a walk in downtown Austin.
2. Had some fresh Italian ice from the farmer’s market, a split of black raspberry and mango.
3. Walked to the library and picked up my holds. Finished Fangirl and loved it!
4. I had started a scarf a while back but Jasmine ended up claiming ownership. She still religiously sleeps on it. So I started over and just finished my first scarf!
5. What look like itty bitty trees creeping their way around a rock. Saw it on a trip to the magical, Hamilton Pool Preserve.
6. Went to a postcard and photograph sale, didn’t get anything but had fun perusing.

Simplified this week:

  • Keeping my email inbox to no more than 50 read and unread emails (it’s helped me to really focus on each incoming message)
  • Checking email only in the afternoons, leaving mornings for ‘high priority’ and nights for relaxation and reflecting (thank you Leo Babauta!)
  • Decided to ‘cut the fat’ in my writing because I often get unnecessarily long winded and I believe that if you can say the same in less, do so. As was once said, “Write like you’re being paid by the word. Edit like you’re being charged by the word.”


Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to podcast only when I have something I’m super passionate about – otherwise, forced content is poor content. It’d be different if I were doing it for a living. But I’d be doing a disservice to myself and anyone taking time out of their day to listen if I did otherwise.


Why I Started


There is something that I don’t want to forget when it comes to this blog, why I started. Why we start something is the very thing that can keep us grounded throughout, so that we don’t stray too far. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meander, but I’m talking lost to the point where you lose yourself.

So whenever I write a post, I want to come back to this one and remember why I started this blog.

I started it to chronicle life, simple as that. Knowing that we were soon going to be taking on a big adventure in purchasing a RV and living in it full-time, while traveling the country, I wanted to capture the process. I wanted to share what excites me, the things I love, what I create, what I let go of, what I read and watch, the adventures I go on, daily ponderings, all while connecting with others. In a nutshell, life. I know it’s not grand but it’s grand to me.

While I do a DIY tutorial here and there, I don’t want that to be misunderstood. I stand my ground in what I said in my, ‘It took me 8 blogs…’ post, in that I’m not a category. It’s going to get diverse. Nothing will be consistent. I know in a world of ‘finding your niche,’ diversity gets underappreciated because, well, everyone’s not going to connect with everything you do and that’s okay. The important thing to me is that I connect to what I write and share. Because if you don’t love what you are writing, no one will. Some days I might want to share tons of photos, some just write my heart out, sometimes have a lot to say and show, some not. But in the end, I don’t ever want to forget why I started.


5 Ways To Save Money On Craft Supplies

Speaking of creativity, I want to share some ways I am able to stick to my budget and monthly allowance of $50 while still being crafty.






1. Used Bed Sheets - Fabric can be expensive. Save some money by purchasing used bed sheets from the thrift store, estate sales, or garage sales. All of the sheets in the first picture were $2 or less. Some were large dresses, which are nice because then you can reuse the zippers, buttons, and other parts. White sheets are great because they are blank slates that you can make your own.

2. Branch Buttons - I do a variety of things with branches (which is why my future shop is called  A Fallen Branch) but one thing I do is make wood buttons. Simply use a hack saw and a drill for the holes. Voila, buttons.

3. Stuffing - This one may be controversial but I’m putting it out there anyway. Stuffing is also very expensive. One day I saw a couch near the trash. It was missing some pillows but in good condition. So I went back, got some reusable bags and my Gerber knife and cut the couch, pulling out all the stuffing. If it was raining, the couch looked gross or smelled of smoke then I wouldn’t do that. I think we forget how much fabric protects what’s inside and that our handy dandy eyeballs can check for bedbugs. I did get a few looks, cutting open a couch, but I do now have 8 full bags of fresh looking stuffing to make some pillows with.

4. Repurpose - What do they say, ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure.’ When you see something by the trash ask, can you break it down and use the parts? Fix it up? Or heck, resell it and use that money for craft supplies? The fourth image is the tray I use for my laptop when I’m in bed. I took the top of a tv tray, sanded it, sealed it and now have myself the perfect sized repurposed tray for my laptop.

5. Work with Nature - Similar to the tree branch, one of my favorite necklaces was made using an acorn I found. I love collecting acorns. Not that long back I collected feathers and plan on doing a project with them. Nature inspires me. I get out every day, otherwise I feel a bit disconnected, and have come to love the beauty of working with it.

There are loads more ways to save and I hope to share some more projects in the future doing so! I also realize that all of these suggestions are repurposing, but I wanted to get specific on some.

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Minimalism and Creativity


While it took me 8 blogs to figure out how I want to approach blogging, there are still some things I struggle with. We can’t have everything figured out, right? You see, I enjoy creating. I enjoy the process of creativity in all its forms: writing, repurposing, you name it. I love the exploration of learning new and useful skills. But I began to wonder, am I sending mixed messages? Here I am promoting minimalism and simple living but I also have a couple tutorials and many handmade things. Am I a hypocrite?

I’ve thought about this well before this blog and I’ve come to a conclusion, with the help of my husband. I asked him if it’s possible to be a minimalist, a lover of less, of embracing the now while being creative and he said, “Aubrey, everyone creates. The root and result of creativity is to create.” Maybe it’s a story, an e-book, a crash course in photography, or more tangible things. They are all creations.

At first I thought, but maybe something non-tangible is better because it’s not more stuff. But I’m wrong. It’s still stuff. Stuff comes in all sorts of mediums.

Here is what I realized, minimalism encourages creativity. It embodies it. I thought back to a conversation I’ve been having with someone about toys and kids and how I feel like society bombards kids with too many toys, which results in lessening their creativity. I remembered my business law 1 teacher, a humorous man in his mid 70s, who told the class (after telling someone to put down their phone) that he recalls the days when a sandbox and a cardboard box was enough. That by having less it forced kids to be creative. It challenged their minds. They created whatever they wanted instead of what some toy restricted them to doing.

So what I realized is that minimalism and creativity are intertwined. One breeds the other.

I made the mistake of confusing creation, the result of creativity, with consumerism. We are all consumers, be it food, the air we breathe, the electricity we use, or the things we buy. But are we consumed? I think that’s the difference, to be consumed by what we use. It’s a disconnect really. Consumerism is a disconnect. It’s robotic purchasing of ‘what’s in,’ of the latest gadget just because it’s the ‘latest’ and trending, of mass amounts of things we don’t really need like large houses and one too many cars. Creating is the opposite. Though they both have one thing in common, the creation itself, what separates them is the connection. When we connect with something we didn’t make we rarely connect on a deep level. But when we’ve made it ourselves or know it wasn’t something mass produced, churning its way down an underpaid assembly line, then we connect with it on a personal level.

Sure, I think we can be creative and end up with lots of junk. A while back I sold nearly all of my crafting supplies and kept the essentials that meant a lot to me. One thing I noticed is that I’m drawn to things that take time: wood burning, book binding, wood carving, screen printing. They all require much patience and so creating, based on what we choose to create and the skills used, can force us to slow down. And the epitome of minimalism and simple living is a slower, calmer, happier life. So there is a positive connection between minimalism and creativity after all.

And the other thing I must always remember, is that minimalism isn’t just about what you don’t keep but what you do keep. And boy if it’s something you made your own then you’ve given it purpose, further meaning and minimalism, to me, is purposeful living.

The other day I read a minimalist blog post and in it the woman said that you can’t be a minimalist and have a shop or have advertisements on your space. I didn’t comment on that post because I don’t ever comment if I’m feeling defensive but I do remember thinking, “what a short sighted way of thinking” and feeling frustration for the many people commenting who were upset by that declaration.

Maybe this post is a bit out of sorts, all over the place, but my mind has been pondering this topic way too long and I’ve decided, upon reflecting on my last post, that it’s okay. And there is nothing contradictory about being a creator and a minimalist. I think the key is to create with purpose and learn with passion.

Image: Was selected because it reflects my feelings, ponderings on this topic and includes a necklace I made from an old tail light from our car.


It’s Okay


I’ve been pondering a lot about the things we beat ourselves up about. And I just wanted to say, It’s okay.

It’s okay to…

Stay in bed and read all day (or watch movies).

That’s what I did two weekends ago. I just read and read. Three books later I realized, “oh I guess the dishes need doing” but even then, I waited until I finished the book I was on because the dishes can sometimes wait.

Hit delete.

The other day I had 15 tabs open. It’s a terrible habit I have. I told myself they were all important and worthy of my attention but deep down it felt like I was checking off boxes going through each one. So I closed out every single one because I don’t want to be a box checker.

Not respond.

Be it phone, email, or any other form of communication, we can’t respond to everything. If we do then we will have less time to produce, to live, to share. And let’s be honest, most aren’t waiting on hot coals for us to respond. It’s not about disregarding, but about doing you first and making every word matter.

Put down what you’re not enjoying.

Live as though life really is short because…it is. It was when I told myself that I’m putting a book down, if I’m really wanting to chuck it across the room, that I started to love reading more. I make some exceptions because, as a writer and reader, it’s important to read the bad too since it gives us perspective on what good really is. But majority wise, stick with the good. Good inspires. And remember that putting down what you aren’t enjoying doesn’t make you a quitter. It makes you a lover, a lover of life and making every moment count.

To fail.

You want to know who has failed before? Every single person on this planet, including the heroes, the shakers and makers of our time, including celebrities, and even your cat. I remember watching my cat (Leia) try and jump on the cabinet and she just missed it. I was about to get up and help her until she did it again but made it. Remember, if you stumble, don’t fall. If you fall, pick yourself up. And if you get a bit hurt in the process, use it as leverage to push forth. And, as I said in a letter to myself, allow yourself to suck. Because when we all enter the ring, our first level is suck, it’s beginner, it’s amateur. However, we can only grow from there. The choice is ours.

To be different

There is so much worry about, “what will they think?” Coming from someone who prefers non-conformity, being different has its perks. It’s refreshing. It’s honest. It’s you. The moment we read posts on “how to be like [insert anything]” is the moment we lose a bit of ourselves. Be you, even if it ruffles feathers, even if it flies in the face of adversity, even if it means standing up when everyone is sitting, and even if it means losing followers. Since let’s face it, the heroes of our time didn’t sit down. They said things others wouldn’t, did things many were afraid to.

Change your mind

There have been moments where I read something and immediately thought, “ah, that’s not for me.” But I stuck it in my little brain card catalog to later retrieve it and realize, “huh, well maybe…”  There have been times where I made a commitment but realized I no longer wanted to do it, but I did it anyway because I felt that I’d otherwise be an ‘unreliable’ person. I’ve come to find that it’s better to be deemed unreliable than unhappy doing something you don’t want to.

Take a break

Forget apologizing, prefacing, and defending why you need a break, just go for it! Take the time off, for anyone truly interested will still be around to support you.


It’s okay.


Simplifying Sunday 03







1. Been making (possibly too much) homemade hot chocolate lately.
2. Went to a library book sale and snagged a few books.
3. Biked among some beautiful puffy clouds.
4. Visited the state capitol building and found a large group of people meditating in a circle in the middle of it.
5. I love fresh pulled carrots but the ones I saw at the farmer’s market were just too cute!
6. And I can’t talk about the capitol building without sharing a photo – After living in Austin for a year and a half now, we finally did a little walk through of the capitol. I’m not much for politics but I do find architecture fascinating. Though we were a bit bummed that their columns were just wood painted over.


Simplifying Sunday is where I share tips and talk on all things simple living via a weekly podcast (below) combined with my favorite pictures of the little things in life.

Sept 22, 2013 :  Talking Time

If you’re having any issues with the web player, here is the download for this week’s podcast : Talking Time

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