As we head further into 2019, I’m continuing to feel the push towards simplicity. If you follow this blog or you are part of my email community, you’ll know that life was chaotic last year. Not a bad chaotic, but in a good, beautiful mess kind of way. The biggest struggle for us has been money (or lack there of). To fill you in quickly, my husband and I had our wedding last June, than went on a house-hunting trip here in Victoria, my husband was gone to the East Coast on a course for over a month and then we moved to BC shortly after he arrived back home.
On the business side of things, I stopped taking weddings in Niagara for any date after September 2018. If we had been staying in Niagara, my 2019 season would have been fully booked. With the transition to Victoria, I had a good 4-month lull of not being able to make any real progress in the community out here. Even though I had been working on my marketing and SEO for Victoria, the real power in weddings is connections and relationships. Without physically being here, or being here and getting ourselves settled, it was hard to really pick up any momentum. That combined with our wedding debt, plus my husband not getting his full paycheck (due to having to go through so many channels to update his paperwork for living here in Victoria), we’re not our most magical financial selves.
Authenticity and Rising Together
Anyways, this isn’t a whoa-is-me kind of story, nor is it a lesson on what I did to embrace my new community. Though, what I did do to finally gain some traction and see results through inquiries would be a great tale for another day!
Today though, I want to talk about the lessons I learned through having the least amount of money I’ve ever had in my life. And no, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to tell you this. I always strive to be honest, open and authentic with you. What’s the point in waiting until I find success again to then tell you about the struggles we went through to get back. I want you to know, I’m in this with you. Together we will rise.
I knew that moving to Victoria would be the right choice for us. It would take time before my business was back in a position of authority and expertise. I was really quite aware of the time it would take to develop relationships and get noticed by potential clients. I’d even go as far to say that business is picking up and gaining momentum more quickly than I had anticipated. Which is obviously great!
I truly feel that going through this season is exactly what needs to happen to shape us into the people we are supposed to “be”.
Lesson 1 – You can live with so much less than you think you can.
I used to go to the grocery store buying pretty much anything we felt like having. I would choose more expensive brands, stock up on cleaning supplies with different scents, etc. Now I am very conscious about the price of what I’m buying. While we might treat ourselves to say a steak once in a while, it used to be a staple. We haven’t purchased paper towel, saran wrap or aluminum foil since we first moved here. Even though a goal of mine is to reduce waste, I honestly never thought I could live without those items. Choosing not to purchase those items as a “need” actually showed us that we can indeed live on without them. Instead, we use dishtowels or rags and throw it in the laundry to be washed right away.
Lesson 2- You can make almost anything from scratch.
I’m talking staple items. Let me tell you if you have a big bag of flour, eggs, and water you can make just about anything. Instead of buying bread, bags of pasta, tortilla shells, bagels, etc. I buy one bag of flour and make them all at home. Not only are we not spending money on items that go to waste, I know exactly what’s in the food we are eating. Sure that’s a load of carbs, but it’s also preservative and chemical free. It can also be so relaxing and rewarding to make these items, which brings me to my next lesson.
Lesson 3- Intentional living starts with slowing down.
One of my big goals over the last few years has been to live more intentionally. I want to live life on purpose. I don’t choose to make those items from scratch purely to save money. It’s a way for me to put love into our home and our meals. There’s a joy that comes from slowing down and appreciating the simple things in life. The way the bread rises and expands or the contribution that just one little teaspoon of salt makes. It’s the things you’ll never notice if you don’t slow down and let yourself be aware.
Lesson 4- An expansive spice selection is the greatest treasure you can have.
Having no groceries forces you to get creative with food. Last night I made chimichangas (with homemade tortillas of course). I didn’t have salsa for the filling, but I did have leftover bolognese sauce from the night before. A few salsa-like spices later and I had a filling worthy of its Mexican title. Last week I made homemade Ramen in a beef broth. The only thing was that I didn’t have beef broth or soy sauce. 😂 Let me tell you though, I sure made it taste like I did. I used my cooking stock ( made with leftover veggie and bone scraps) and made a substitute for soy sauce, thanks to Google. It was just a combination of balsamic vinegar, molasses, and the right spices.
Lesson 5- The importance of partnership.
Not to get all sappy on you, but this season would probably look a lot different to me if I didn’t have my husband to lean on. In the rare but totally vulnerable moments where I cry to him that I don’t think I’m building my business up here fast enough, he’s there to comfort me and cheer me on.
Lesson 6- This is necessary.
In this season, we are learning so much about how each other responds to challenges, defeat, and our egos. I’m actually glad for this to happen now, so early in our marriage together so that we can learn and grow together in a supportive, strengthened marriage.
Lesson 7- This may be the most important.
It is possible to find a very drinkable bottle of wine for under $15. 😂
The best thing of all,
I’m able to see the vision for my future more clearly. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I feel the shift towards living more simply. Physically not being able to spend money on “extras” has actually paved a path towards simplicity.
When I picture our future, I’m always living in a big beautiful old farmhouse. I have a space for writing, a studio for creating, and I (weirdly) always have a freshly baked loaf of bread or other simple baked good. I have time to garden or sit on the porch swing drinking a glass of wine. It’s an easy life, right? Perhaps not so easy to get there, but that’s why I’m working my butt off now!
What’s funny about this simple vision though, is that my food recipes we’re always so elaborate. I was trying to stand out in the world of recipes by making my recipe more layered and in depth. Yet, in-depth is the opposite of simple.
So, while I will continue to share food posts and recipes, I’m going back to basics. I’m going to share recipes that let just a few ingredients shine. As always, I want to embrace the gathering aspect of food but let’s take it back to a less done-up dinner party and more towards eating lunch at your grandmothers’. Simple, wholesome, brilliant.
Care to join me? Join my online community for more stories like this, tips for living intentionally, simplifying life, and how to create a life you’ll love.
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