Hidden Litter Box

This post is for all the cat moms and dads.

Let’s talk litter boxes.

In my opinion, the only downside to having a cat is the litter box.

It’s unsightly….case and point. ^

(You’re not crazy, that litter is brown because it’s made of organic walnuts. I’m always trying new options because I’m psycho; however, this one didn’t last long.)

AND it doesn’t matter how many times a day you sweep or vacuum,

there. will. ALWAYS. be. litter. on. the. floor.

It’s like they hold as much litter in their paws and then leap out of the box to spray it all over the floor. Probably on purpose.

Studio living proved to be a challenge when it came to Loki’s litter box. Where would I put it? I definitely didn’t want it in my bedroom because my bedroom is technically my living room and kitchen. And putting it in the bathroom left me looking my cat in the eyes while we both took care of business. I CANNOT handle the bathroom staring contest.

I did an extensive google search for “hidden litter boxes”. Everything that came up didn’t fit my decor taste, was over priced, or was too small. I mean come on, I want the guy to be comfortable. I hopped on Pinterest and was surprised to find little results for what I was looking for, but was lucky to find this site and this site for inspiration. Then I got creative. I found this cabinet at IKEA (of course). It comes in a range of colors and options. The cabinet I chose was sleek and modern to fit my decor, and the perfect size to give Loki enough room without taking over the bathroom. Now Loki has privacy when he goes to the bathroom, I don’t have to see it–ANY of it–and the extra room in the cabinet eliminates the litter to almost nothing outside of the box.

THANK GOD.

The best part of this piece is that you don’t have to live in a studio apartment. This design is perfect for any space in your home.

I started by sketching an 8″x 10″ opening in 2 of the 3 walls.

(Make sure to decide which side you want the entrance to be before you cut)

I had a friend cut the openings for me since I don’t own a saw.

Following the directions I put the cabinet together.

I left one side wide open without any shelves. I put one shelf on the other side for storage.

I used white duct tape to cover the raw edges of the openings and heavy-duty velcro to keep the doors closed. I knew he would get smart and figure out that he could open the doors, one step ahead of you, Loki.

Lesson learned: Duct tape the pieces BEFORE you put them together. Taping it afterwards is possible, but there’s a bit more swearing.

I cut this mat in half ( I already had it, but carpet squares at your local home improvement would be a less expensive option) to catch more litter and put an air freshener inside.

Voila!

How did Loki adjust? Perfectly. Maybe it’s all the moving we’ve done, the fact I’ve changed his food to find the best organic blend, or the hunt I’ve been on for the best litter, but change hasn’t really affected him. Like I said, I’m psycho and he knows it, so he just rolls with it.

….Remind me to find a boyfriend like that.

Studio Living

Since moving into my apartment, I’ve had a lot of questions about how I’ve made studio living work. When I signed the lease to my 550 sq. ft. studio apartment I was excited. Excited for this new chapter, excited to move into my new home, but even more excited to take on the challenge of studio living. How was I was going to cut my living space in more than half? Where would all my stuff go? How was I going to make a studio apartment feel separated but yet not closed off?

Let’s just say I love a good challenge.

There’s still a few things I’d like to add to the space, but I believe a space is always evolving. I’ll keep you updated on the different changes but for now, this is my 550 sq. ft. studio apartment as it is today.

Anyone who knows me knows that my style can be summed up in one word, minimal. Everything that I own has a place. I don’t like clutter, and knick knacks have never been my thing. Too much stuff stresses me out. Like I literally. can. not. function. I LOVE neutrals. I love mixing in natural elements and I LOVE plants. They’re a great way to add color and life to a neutral space without feeling like its cluttered.

I wanted to create a space that separated my bed from the rest of the area so I didn’t feel like I was entertaining in my bedroom and sleeping in my living room, ya know? This cube bookshelf from Ikea was exactly what I envisioned. Large enough it actually separated the space, small enough it didn’t over power. It serves as extra storage and allows the natural light to poor through. Win. Win.

What do I love most about my apartment? The floor to ceiling windows. The natural light that pours through makes the space feel light and airy. As an added bonus, they’re perfect for part time people watching.

When I was shopping for a couch, again I had versatility in mind. I knew I didn’t want something that was big and bulky but I also knew I needed something that would serve as more than just a couch for when I have guests over.  Price was also a factor because let’s be real, I’m not dropping $2,000 on a damn couch.

I found this one online, and I won’t lie, I was a bit leery since I couldn’t see it in person. I read the reviews and dismissed the ones that said something like “It was hard to put together because I had the wrong tool.”  (side rant: why are those types of reviews even allowed? It’s not the couches fault you can’t get your shit together?) but anyways, all in all the couch had great reviews. In all reality, my couch is a glorified adult futon, but it’s perfect for the space.

Tips for studio living? Keep it simple.

Also, Target and IKEA will be your best friends if you’re on a budget 😉

Sources:

Runner: IKEA

Boots: Hunter

Cube Bookshelf: IKEA

Fabric Storage Bins: Target

Plant Basket: Similar here

Ladder: Homemade but similar here

Plant Holder: Home Depot (I stacked 2 together)

TV stand: Thrift store find

Cowhide Rug: Similar here

Mirror:IKEA

World Map: Fritz and Sparrow

Bar Stools: Target

Couch: Target

Living Room Rug: Target

Pillow: Target

Blanket Basket: Target

Corner Chair: Rummage sale find

Chair Throw: IKEA

Floor Lamp: Target

 

Thankful To See Another Year

I’m sitting here on the eve of my 26th birthday reflecting on the beautiful day I had. My belly and heart are full. Birthday’s for me have always brought on a lot of anxiety. 5 year old Alysce couldn’t handle turning 6 and that resulted in a full blown meltdown. I don’t know where the fear of being another year older came from but it has stuck with me every year. Last year, I left the country to try and forget that I was turning 25, only to realize you can’t escape that shit. This year I caught myself slipping into the same cycle, trying to plan a last minute road trip and running from the fact that I would be one year older. The thought that “26 is closer to 30 than it is 20” crossed my mind and “I’m really old” crossed it too. Then it dawned on me. Instead of running from the inevitable, I need to embrace it! The reality is this: I personally know far too many who won’t see their next birthday because the unimaginable happened. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I need to enjoy another year because nothing is certain. My 26 years have brought me years of trials and errors, love and loss, and lessons learned. And I’m so incredibly thankful to see another year!

Leave Your Phone At Home

As someone who has been on both ends of the breakup, I can tell you the first holiday is always the hardest. The feelings that come with the plans that never happen. The one less family gathering. The feelings of loneliness. The holidays bring up every emotion and with those emotions you might find yourself reaching for your phone. DON’T. Don’t pick up your phone and call your ex. Don’t send a text, an email, or a damn carrier pigeon. The holidays are meant to be joyful. The holidays aren’t meant for you to feel a bit lonely and then text your ex.

The act itself would be simply selfish. Don’t be selfish in a time of desperation. The potential pain which comes from that moment of weakness isn’t worth the few texts that might make you feel a bit less lonely.

No, they don’t want to hear from you on their holiday. Hell noooo. Your call or text won’t make their holiday better. In reality, you probably ruined it. Your call or text may have made them feel better… for a few minutes…. until it sent them on another downward spiral on the emotional rollercoaster. The reality is still the same.  You are no longer a couple. Now the selfish act makes you look like an even bigger asshole.

When you feel the urge to contact them here are few things you can do instead: call your best friend, text your mom, go for a drive, or sit down, make a list, and remind yourself why you ended the relationship in the first place. There’s a reason. Unless the reason has significantly changed, don’t even think about picking up your phone!

During the holiday season and always, choose to not be selfish.  Leave your phone at home, especially if wine is involved!

10 Tips and Tricks For Easier Moving

Holy shit guys!!!  I’m finally in my new place!  It still feels a bit surreal. Saturday was the big day and I went nonstop!  

A huge thanks to my dream team for helping with the unloading and unpacking. Seriously, we got the U-Haul unpacked in an hour. Amazzzzing!!! Since this was my 3rd time moving in 2016 and what feels like my millionth time moving since I graduated from high school, I’ve kind of got this whole moving thing down. So I’m sharing 10 tips and tricks for easier moving that I’ve picked up along the way.


1. Establish your dream team, but don’t get crazy.

Ask friends and family to help you move but be careful to not have too many people. Sometimes, TOO many people can actually get less done.


2. Make sure your dream team consists of a few members who are capable of heavy lifting.

It’s always nice to have a heavy lifter on your team.


3. Pre-Pack what you know you won’t need in the weeks leading up to the move.

If it’s summer, you’re probably safe to pack your winter gear, etc. I work best under pressure (insert David Bowie music here) so for most of my moves I wait until the last minute to do all my packing. This isn’t something I’d typically recommend, but at least you know it can all be done.


4. PURGE.

Purge before you move and purge again after. Get rid of things! Donate them. Sell them. I don’t care how you get rid of them, just get rid of them! That sweater you kept last year because you told yourself you’d wear it but you never did, yah get rid of it. You’re never going to wear it. Someone else might as well love it. I’m telling you, it’s good for your soul.


5. Use laundry baskets.

Pile as much as you can in one. Less trips, easy to carry, and who doesn’t have laundry baskets lying around??


6. DON’T take your clothes off the hangers.

Why waste your time when you’re just going to turn around and hang them back up? Seriously. NO.. ONE.. has time for that!  Keep them on the hanger and either pack them in a suitcase or put a garbage bag over them. Your clothes will stay safe and you will save yourself time and energy.


7. Use plastic storage containers instead of cardboard boxes.  

I typically try to use the clear ones so you can see exactly what is in that box. You can get some for $7 and they’ll have a purpose after the move. Plus, there’s no guessing game.  If you need to immediately get to something, you can see where it is. Viola! You don’t have to go ripping through them. Again, nobody has time for that!


8. ALWAYS have a roll of toilet paper handy.

Yep, you read that correctly. That dream team of yours is going to have use to the bathroom and nothing is worse than having the toilet paper packed at the front of the U-Haul. (Except maybe not having any at all…)


9. Pack breakables extra well.

Newspaper, bubble wrap, or plastic bags have all worked for me. Even if you think they’re well wrapped, wrap them again.


And last but not least…

10. Take a deep breath and try to stay relaxed.

Everything will get packed. Everything will get unpacked. This is something I kept reminding myself during this move. Rather than being a stressed out mega bitch, I was an easy, breezy, bundle of joy (just ask the dream team)

Stay In Your Own Lane

I started writing this post while nursing quiiite a hangover. Naturally between Netflix binge-watching from the comfort of my bed and napping, I found myself scrolling through Facebook and Instagram liking beautiful pictures of cute little families cutting down Christmas trees and decorating their homes.  After seeing these happy moments, I found myself comparing my life to theirs.  

It’s difficult to not get wrapped up in the comparison trap. Facebook friends are getting married and having babies (which I love to see), and I’m over here just thankful to see my rubber tree make it another week.

I think there’s a lot of pressure now-a-days that leads people to believe their lives need to look a certain way. You need to go to college, get a degree, get a job, get married, buy a house, have babies, raise babies, and retire. That’s how life is “supposed” to be and if it doesn’t look exactly that way, then you did it wrong.

Be proud of your personal milestones. Whether your personal milestone is marrying the love of your life,  paying your student loans off, or going out with girlfriends and not drunk texting your ex then celebrate  your milestone! 

I think it’s important to remember your path may not be the same as your best friends. Take a look at how far your personal path has come and don’t beat yourself up because your path looks different than the next person’s. Everyone’s life looks perfect on social media but the reality is everyone has their own shit. In a lot of ways, we’re all the same.  Just people trying to figure this life out. So don’t compare yourself. Stay in your own lane and focus on your hopes and dreams.  Always remember: be proud of yourself, and be your own cheerleader because the world puts enough pressure on us as it is.

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Why I’ll Never Settle

The last few weeks have been crazy, and it’s taken me a while to really put my thoughts into words. There aren’t any pretty pictures with perfect lighting, and posting a mountain picture with this just didn’t quite make sense. Today, it’s just my raw, real words straight from the heart.

I’ve dated a lot. I’ve had the relationships you can only shake your head at, the ones you just want to erase from the universe, and the few I openly like to admit. Each relationship brought growth and change in myself which helped shape me to be who I am today; and I can honestly say, I’m pretty damn proud of this person.

I think there’s a stigma around people who go through a lot of relationships. “That girl is a whore”, “that guy is a player”, but what if that wasn’t the case at all? What if that person was just really firm on what they wanted and needed from a relationship and never settled?

It’s crazy to think some people settle on one of the most important decisions of their life. A decision which will be with them until the day they die.

I choose not to settle. Maybe some people see me as picky, and I’m ok with it because we’re not talking about what I want on my burger. Nope. We’re talking about my life long partner. I’ll be picky about this one.

Don’t get me wrong.  I completely understand relationships aren’t “all daisies and sunshine”. My parents have been together for 20+ years.  I have been blessed to be raised in a home which has been open and honest about the work which goes into a happy and healthy relationship. My mom’s favorite saying is, “I may not like your father right now, but I still love him”. Real talk, for sure. I’m not asking for a perfect person, no one is perfect. I want to be with someone who lifts me up, someone who believes in my wildest dreams. I want to be with someone I can be 100% myself with. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m opinionated, I’m stubborn, sometimes I’m completely all over the place, and I don’t always wear a bra.  I want someone who embraces each of these pieces of me. In the past, I have been TOO much. Too much energy. Too much fire. Too much passion. Too much love.  Too much emotion. Too much drive.  Finally, I came to the realization that someone else’s TOO much was exactly what made me, me. I refuse to conform to someone else’s ideal of who they think I should be. Even through the different heart aches, I continue to believe the right person for me is out there.

I will not let the fear of being alone keep me in a relationship which does not embrace the real me.

There’s something beautiful about new beginnings. The unknown. The freedom that comes from making it on your own. This is entirely what I’m embracing! So for the person reading this who may be on the fence, trust your gut. Trust the feeling in the pit of your stomach. Don’t stay just because it’s comfortable. Growth comes from making difficult decisions. Some decisions are uncomfortable, and downright scary, and some of these decisions will change your life. Dig deep and examine exactly what you want.  If that doesn’t match where you are right now, change it. Quit that job. Move to a new state. Move into the city. Leave the toxic relationship. Do it all at once if you have to because life is way too short to be anything but an adventure!

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The Best App Ever

Before we get started, let me just say I’m by no means a fitness guru and I’ll never claim to be. Let’s be real, running doesn’t sound fun to me, I do it so I don’t get love handles. I’m just an average girl looking for ways to keep myself healthy and sane. When I find something that works, I’m going to share it–because I know there are more people out there like me.

With that being said, I just found the best app ever! It’s seriously the best! I’ve given it a week trial run, and I’ve concluded everyone needs this in their lives. This app is perfect for anyone, and I mean anyone.  I’m talking about Yoga Studio by Gaiam.

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I’m not a die-hard yogi–I’ve dabbled here and there–but yoga was something that I really wanted to make a part of my daily routine. I considered my first option, which was taking a class. Neither my calendar (nor my monthly budget) allowed that. So I considered my second option, Google.

Yoga Studio was one of the first suggestions to pop up; so I did a little research, read the reviews (always), and decided to pay the whopping $3.99. Let me tell you, it’s LIFE CHANGING. There is literally something for everyone. It has 3 different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, with a choice of classes ranging from balance, combination, flexibility, relaxation, and strength. There’s also sun salutations, earth salutations, meditations, yoga for back pain, yoga for runners, and quick yoga fix. It even lets you customize your classes, which range from 15-60 minutes, so there’s honestly no excuse for me (or you) to not get a class in.

Once you choose which class you’d like and it’s downloaded, just hit play and begin. What I love the most about this app is that the instructor walks you through and demonstrates every move. For someone like me, who didn’t know what Reclined Pigeon was, that’s extremely helpful.  The app can also connect with your calendar so that you never forget a class (lifesaving).

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So if you’re looking for something to add to your already existing workout routine, or are looking to get back into the game, give this app a try. You won’t be disappointed!

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How to Survive a 30 Hour Road Trip

And not kill your significant other.


At the end of July, Max and I ventured on a 30 hour road trip to Olympic National Park. I’ll do a separate post about the park, but today I want to focus on the most asked question: How do you survive 30 hours in the car together??!  When I typed in Olympic National Park in Maps I won’t lie, it was intimidating. 30+ hours in the car, with another person….. pukeee. Cross country road trips are not easy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done. When you master cross country road trips, you learn to love them: the sights you see, the conversations you have, and the lessons you learn by working together because in reality you are literally stuck in the vehicle. It’s sink or swim people. So with that being said, here are a few things I always keep in mind for a smooth trip.

1. Establish your timeline

What time do you need to be where? Are you on a strict timeline or do you have a little room to breathe? This trip we had a little room to breathe. We left late on Thursday evening and wanted to arrive at Olympic National Park by Saturday afternoon. We knew we wanted to stop at Roosevelt National Park and that would act as a“half way” point. Everything in-between was up for whatever.

2. Establish a sleep schedule

Who’s going to drive during the night, while the other sleeps, and vice versa? What time will you switch positions? Will you drive through the night, or will you stop at a rest stop?  

Last year, for our trip to the Grand Tetons, we drove straight through without stopping. This year, we decided to stop because we had the time; and the sites we saw were life changing.

3. Take advantage of rest stops

Rest stops may not be the most glamorous, but hey, they’re free. They’re a good place to brush your teeth, take a shower, and freshen up. They’re also a good place to park when you need to catch some zzz’s. This is the first trip that we took advantage of the park and sleep situation.  Max would drive as far as he could;  then, he would pull in and we would sleep until about 5:30am.  I would wake up and start driving. It was a good schedule and I feel we both got an equal amount of sleep.

4. Bring the essentials

A pillow and blanket are obvious essentials; but I highly recommend a sleep mask and noise cancelling headphones or earplugs. Nothing is worse than trying to fall asleep at 8pm when the sun hasn’t fully set, or being woken up because the driver turned the music up. I don’t know about you, but I’m a bear if I get woken up, so I do everything I can to help avoid that situation.

5. Always pack a cooler

For this trip, we filled the cooler with bread, peanut butter, jelly, lunch meat, trail mix, fresh fruits, fresh veggies, and water. LOTS OF WATER.  Our goal on the way is to eat as healthy as possible. We know the minute we get into the park, we’ll be strapping on our packs and hiking a mountain. You’re also saving a bit of time and A LOT of money by not stopping for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

6. Always have a wide selection of music

I include music we both enjoy because, let’s be real, Max doesn’t want to drive 10 hours listening to Beyoncé, even though I would be perfectly ok with that!

Podcasts are also one of my favorite driving tools. You’re driving 30+ hours, why not retain a little knowledge while doing so?

7. Stop and take in the sights

If you see a scenic pull off, stop and take a look. 9 times out of 10 the view will be worth it. It’s also a change of scenery, and a great time to stretch your legs.

8. When you stop for gas, ALWAYS use the bathroom

Even if you don’t think you have to go, try. Nothing is worse than having to go to the bathroom when you just stopped. There’s no reason to create that unnecessary tension.

9. Bring things to do

Whether it’s a book, a magazine, a crossword, or “whatever” keeps you busy. 30 hours in the car is a long time, and your phone can only keep you busy for so long.

10. Enjoy each other

You embarked on this trip because you really enjoy each others company (at least I hope). Don’t let a road trip ruin that for you. Keep conversations light and remember why you’re taking this trip together.


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FEAR.

It’s a four letter word that packs a lot of punch. For some people fear forms in the way of a masked clown, a spider, or a dark room. For others, fear comes from change, risk taking, and the unknown. For me, fear formed itself in this blog. The thought of openly expressing myself on the internet for the world to see was frightening. I had quit my job and started my own business; yet the thought of starting a blog was crippling. The thoughts like “Who cares what I have to say?”,  “I”m not interesting”, and “My life isn’t interesting enough” dictated my dreams.  Then one day I had had enough. I decided fear was no longer going to dictate my life. Who cares if the only person who read this blog was my mom? I wanted this, and I was going to go after what I wanted.

So my question for you is: “If you could eliminate fear from your life, what would you do with it?”

If you’re miserable at your job, quit. If you’re not happy where you live, move. If your relationship is no longer serving you, then move on from it. Be assertive with your life. Whether it’s that promotion, that dream job, or that cute guy/girl at the coffee shop; go after what you want! Because at the end of the day, I’m sure you won’t lay your head down at night and think, “I’m so happy fear has kept me here.”

And when you can feel fear sneaking in, always remember:

“the world is an endless possibility when it isn’t fueled by fear!”

 

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