My Minimalist College Dorm Room Tour

This weekend I felt inspired to film a casual vlog showing you around my college dorm room, and how I have incorporated minimalism into my daily life. This was the first casual vlog that I have ever filmed, and it ended up being 46 minutes long! I always wondered how people made such long YouTube videos, but now I completely understand!

I hope that you enjoy this more casual look into my daily life, and I would love to hear what you have been up to lately! Leave a comment below! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Being a Minimalist in College

I’ve started many new endeavors this year, but the most rewarding one thus far has been my journey in minimalism. Even though I have only been back at school for a few weeks, the positive changes that have manifested as a result of this lifestyle change have led me to inadvertently embrace all of my initial goals. Over my winter break I thought about how I could implement minimalism into my life as a college student, and when I returned to campus knew right where to start! Beginning is the hardest part, but the rest naturally follows!

So you may be wondering how I even approached going through all of my belongings in my room. I took to YouTube and Pinterest for inspiration from other minimalists, especially regarding what criteria they used to go through what they owned. Even though “minimalism” might suggest living with as few material items as you can, the essence of the lifestyle is quite different. Instead of living with as few items as possible, the goal is to own only items that bring value to your daily life.

As I looked around my room, I thought about all of the things that I use on a daily basis, and then started at my desk to go through what no longer served me at this point in my life. One of the elements of minimalism that I love the most is its approach to minimizing: an item could have had value and meaning in your life, but no longer needs to. There were definitely things that I found myself holding on to “just in case,” but I was forgetting that everything is impermanent. Change is inevitable, and it is beautiful.

I sorted through drawers and tabletops, appreciating everything that no longer served me but also letting it go. I set everything gently into two large boxes, knowing that others will find meaning in these items as they travel on their own life journeys.

As I looked around the room I knew where everything was and how it fit into my life. It was then that I was able to think about what might add value to my life, if anything. After some reflection, I realized that I now felt as though there was now room (both physically and emotionally) to engage with one of my new interests: essential oils. These take up very little physical space, but contribute positively to my health and overall wellbeing.

Through this minimizing process I felt as though I was finally acknowledging that the person I was is no longer the person I am. Something that most minimalists have emphasized is the relationship between what we own and who we are. In everything that we own we invest some of who we are. Similar to our music tastes, what we own can tell its own story about who we are. And who we are is subject to change. Minimalism highlights the relationship between the self and our surroundings, and suggests that our possessions need not remain permanent.

As soon as I felt comfortable shaping my surroundings to my true self, the rest fell into place. Where there was once makeup lies essential oils; books that I loved are now destined to be enjoyed by others.

My room has become an even clearer representation of who I am. Before it was simply my room. Now it is my sanctuary.

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It has always been one of my dreams to go to the Universal Studios™ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I loved every moment of it! Being able to vlog this adventure was one of the best parts, and I hope that you love it!

I highly recommend visiting if you are thinking about going, it was a wonderful way to celebrate my love for the Harry Potter series (which I grew up with). And if you were wondering, I’m a Ravenclaw through and through! 🙂 Let me know what house you’re in down in the comments below!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


My New Life Journey: Why I Stopped Wearing Makeup

Today’s post is one of the most personal posts that I have written on my blog, but it is something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while (especially with my new interests this year, and with my experiences). I am only writing about my own experiences, and in no way want to promote one way of living over another. My personal journey with makeup has spanned many perspectives, and I think they were all valuable for me during each phase of my life thus far. 🙂 My taste and interest in makeup has been something that has changed alongside me, and I wanted to write about that journey since I am embarking on a new one this year.

I started wearing makeup during my junior year of high school. I had problem skin for most of my early teen years, but only started to grow self-conscious about it when I was about sixteen years old. I didn’t know the first place to start with makeup, but I was constantly feeling uncomfortable about my appearance. Part of me wanted to start my journey into makeup to boost my confidence, but part of me wanted to feel as though I didn’t need makeup to feel confident in myself. I started looking online for inspiration, and found makeup tips from articles on Pinterest and YouTube tutorials.

I started my journey with very minimal and basic makeup, and learned from trial and error about what best suited my skin. Over the years I discovered that I have quite sensitive skin, which eliminated wearing foundation and other higher coverage concealers as options. I started to straighten my hair and wear more makeup over time, trying new products until I finally reached a point where I knew what worked best for my skin.

When I entered the world of blogging, I started to learn more about different products and brands. Makeup shifted from being something I did to gain more confidence to something I enjoyed for myself. I loved learning about new makeup techniques and products, and trying them out for myself. It became a hobby of mine, especially in college where I was able to learn how to create more professional and everyday looks. When I started on my vegan journey during my second semester, I began to think about looking into cruelty-free makeup brands. This created a new shift in how I related to makeup, and I started to prefer more natural looks with products that contained natural ingredients. I learned more about what products I liked to use (I did an E.L.F. and ULTA haul a few months ago 🙂 ), and my interest in makeup and skincare grew.

My time in college has caused many a breakout, which I initially thought was due to stress (and I am sure that stress was definitely a factor), but I discovered that on the days I didn’t wear makeup (often weekends), my skin would be a lot less temperamental. I also found that I was slowly going back to being less confident in myself. When I looked in the mirror with no makeup on, all I thought was “wow I look exhausted, I need to fix that”. But my way of fixing it was to cover it up instead of get at the root of what was causing my skin woes.

Once I started winter break, I didn’t wear makeup as often. I started to see improvements in my skin, and felt less like I needed makeup to look more awake and energized. It was then that I started to realize that wearing makeup was allowing me to create a temporary solution to the root of a lot of my skin problems. I had also developed so much as a person over the course of my time in college that I felt more confident in my direction and in my interests. I no longer felt as though I needed makeup to gain confidence, but I did feel as though I needed it to feel and look more awake and present. This shift in mentality coincided with a shift in interest away from makeup and towards skincare. Taking care of my skin started to be more of a priority (and as some of you may know, I started to become a bit obsessed with face masks after a long day 🙂 ). I found that as I focused more on my hydration, nutrition, and skincare, I didn’t feel as though I needed makeup to feel more present.

My interest in minimalism and more natural living over the past few months also contributed to this shift, and I decided at the beginning of this year to officially go without makeup. I’ll be honest, at first it was a bit difficult to feel as confident on a daily basis because I felt as though I was missing a part of my routine. When I looked in the mirror, it was surprising sometimes to see my reflection. But as the days went on, I started to be truly comfortable in my own skin yet again. I became more focused on my skincare routine and making sure that I was staying as healthy as possible. As the days went on it became even easier to let go of cosmetics. There hasn’t yet been a time when I felt as though I would be happier if I were wearing makeup.

My interests have always shifted alongside my life changes, and makeup has been one of those interests. Though I am no longer interested in it for my current path, I think it is absolutely wonderful when people are. There was definitely a time when it added so much to my own happiness and became a hobby of mine that I loved investing time in, and I love watching other people feel the same way. I wanted to write this post as a way of revisiting how my life has changed, and how my interest in makeup has changed with it. A year ago, or even a few months ago, the decision to not wear makeup wouldn’t have been one that matched my lifestyle.

I think it’s really important to live with intention, and to do everything that you do with love and passion. I have been reading about intentionality quite a bit recently, and being able to love everything that you do is such an amazing feeling. I think that it’s natural to have shifting interests in life, and they are all valuable to who we are in the moment that we are living them.

I’m embracing this new year with new visions, but still remember fondly the interests that I have left behind. I hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Four – Wildlife Preservation

Today we went to an amazing Giraffe Ranch wildlife preserve that was family owned and operated, with the mission of confronting the issue of mass extinction with many species around the world.

This was my favorite day of the trip so far, and definitely my favorite vlog to make! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Be Bold 2017: Blog and Business Goals

So far in 2017 I’ve done quite a bit of brainstorming about where I want my blog to go in 2017. As you’ve seen this week, one of my main goals was to expand my content to include videos on my YouTube channel. Throughout my blogging career, I’ve learned that taking creative risks is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself.

When I started my blog, one of the reasons I did so was my love for writing. However, another contributing factor was the fact that I wasn’t yet comfortable being in front of the camera and making media in that way. This year I decided to challenge myself and start making more visual content to pair with my writing. So far, I’ve loved the challenge that this has presented! (If you’d like to check out my YouTube channel, I would love to hear your thoughts or have you subscribe! 🙂 ).

One of my other goals is to blog about my new journeys. There are a few journeys that I want to take this year, and I hope to venture into new creative endeavors in the process. I want to live my life more intentionally, pursuing my passions and living a life that I love. I want to help others, and I have learned that I have numerous interests that I want to explore over the course of my undergraduate (and post-graduate) career.

I also want to start a big project this year, and am still thinking about the specifics. I want it to be a creative venture that combines all of my passions into one. I’m still in the planning stages, but I have received so much support from the blogging community about starting such a project! 🙂

So there you have it! Those are my three main goals for my blog and business in 2017, which I was inspired to explore as part of the Be Bold 2017 Linkup organized by The Social Butterfly Gal. There will definitely be more posts corresponding to these goals, but if you would like to learn more about what I’ve done so far in 2017 to achieve these goals feel free to take a look at My Journeys!

What are your blog and business goals for this year? I would love to hear them! 🙂

If you would like to participate in this Linkup, click on the button below!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Two

I’ve had so much fun making more media content this year! Today we went to a beautiful beach where I actually stepped in the ocean! (For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the biggest fan of water). The water was quite cold, but the views were breathtaking! I hope you’ve been enjoying these vlogs, I’ve certainly loved making them! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.



Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

One of my goals for 2017 is to create more video content on my YouTube channel, and this trip has given me the perfect opportunity! We took a beautiful hike today, with perfect weather and breathtaking scenery! It was a wonderful way to spend our first full day in Florida!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Nutritious Vegan Pancakes

This post has not been sponsored. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that I get a percentage of a purchase you make when you click on them. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Wise Willow possible! (Also, as always, everything I promote I personally love! 🙂 )

Do you ever have those days where you start craving something that you wouldn’t normally? Today was one of those days for me, as I was craving pancakes all day (mostly because I was scrolling through Pinterest and kept seeing pictures!). I decided to take all of the ingredients that I could find laying around, and give an experimental recipe a shot! For those of you who have seen me cook, you know that I’m all about experimentation. This is probably why baking goes terribly for me, but cooking is more forgiving in that regard. 🙂

This recipe turned out much better than I anticipated, and I just had to share! It made six pancakes, which were perfect for my dinner. I still have two leftover (since they were quite filling!). They took about twenty minutes once all was said and done, and were delicious! I also didn’t have any non-dairy milk lying around today, so I had to use water. Despite that, they turned out to be great!

My favorite blender to use at the moment is the Oster My Blend , because it is perfect for one person! It also has the ability to turn into a cup to bring with you on the go! I also have been loving this Pyrex Prepware 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowl Set, because it has all of the sizes that you could possibly need! It’s perfect for my minimalist kitchen. 🙂 I am also loving all things bamboo (toothbrush for example!), so I have brought that into the kitchen as well! This set of two wooden spatulas is perfect for all types of recipes, and won’t melt like plastic does (which is great for people like me who sometimes leave plastic utensils in hot pans while I change up my Spotify playlist…Oops.).

These pancakes would be perfect for a quick and nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner! In my dorm we have a tradition where we make pancakes for everyone on Saturday mornings, so this may have to be my new go-to vegan recipe! 🙂

If you give it a go, please let me know what you think! And if you make any variations (as I said, I’m very experimental too). I’d love to know! Feel free to tag me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.



Blogmas Day 3: Mis Experiencias con los Idiomas

blogmas-day-three-2Empezó estudiar el español después del nivel cinco, porque quería aprender sobre las otras culturas del mundo en una manera lingüística. En mi vida diaria ahora, puedo pensar en ingles y español sin pensar de los contextos. Pero, al contrario de los pensamientos que muchos tienen cuando digo que hablo los dos idiomas, no fue fácil por muchos años. ¡De hecho, no entendía las reglas y los conceptos por casi cuatro años! Mi mente no pude entender los pronunciaciones y las reglas gramáticas, y en unos casos quería dejar de estudiarlo. ¡De vera, ya no puedo pronunciar mis “rr”s correctamente, y intentaba muchísimas veces jaja!

Pues, mi experiencia con el español es algo profundamente positiva en mi vida. Sin este idioma, no descubrió la pasión que tengo por los idiomas y las culturas del mundo. Tengo una lista de las cosas que quiero intentar de varios países, como la ceremonia de las uvas por el año nuevo en España. ¡Y la Tomatina en Buñol! La Tomatina es una pelea con tomates en la ciudad de Buñol, y es algo que quiero hacer si viajo a España.

¿Entonces, como mantengo mi fluencia con el idioma? Pues, la música tiene un papel grande es mi experiencia con Español. Unas de las canciones que escuchaba cuando estaba en los niveles seis, siete, y ocho fue “La Camisa Negra” de Juanes. ¡Me encanta esta canción jaja! Si quieres saber más sobre las canciones que me encanta, puedes ver mis playlists en mi cuenta de Spotify. Además, cambiar el idioma en mi teléfono a Español, que ayuda mucho porque mi mente necesita cambiar la moda de pensar muchas veces cada día. Algo interesante es que por muchos años (como, desde la nivel once) de vez en cuando tengo sueños que están en Español. Cuando viajé a Italia con mi familia unos años atrás, el uso del Italiano (de las personas que hablemos con) resulta en una cambia en mi mente a Español de inglés. Ahora, estoy estudiando el Italiano en la universidad, y al empiezo fue difícil porque siempre estaba pensando en Español! Pero ayuda mucho con la clase en que ahora es más fácil para aprender a un idioma.

Por unos meces quería hacer una categoría por otros idiomas en mi blog, porque es buena practica para mi y quiero expander mi audiencia. Entonces, Blogmas es una oportunidad perfecta para empezar esta camina. ¡Voy a incluir traducciones cada vez, y espero que les gusta este nuevo proyecto!


I started studying Spanish after fifth grade because I wanted to learn more about the world through language. Now in my day-to-day life I can think in both English and Spanish with ease. But contrary to what most people think when I tell them that I speak two languages, it wasn’t always easy. In fact, I didn’t understand the rules and concepts for about four years! Since I hadn’t learned a second language at that point my mind couldn’t comprehend the pronunciations and the grammatical rules, and there were a few times when I wanted to stop my studies. In all honesty, I still can’t roll my “rr’s” correctly, and trust me I’ve tried many times!

My experience with Spanish has been something profoundly positive in my life. If I hadn’t made the decision to start a study of Spanish, I wouldn’t have discovered the passion that I have for the languages and the cultures of the world. I’ve started a list of all of the things that I want to do in different countries, such as the celebration of the New Year with grapes in Spain. And the Tomatina in Buñol! The Tomatina is a huge tomato fight in the city of Buñol, and is definitely something that I want to do if I travel to Spain!

So how did I maintain my fluency? Music has played a large role in helping me to keep my fluency. One of the songs that I listened to in middle school was La Camisa Negra by Juanes, and I still love that song! If you would like to see what music I typically listen to, check out my Spotify playlists! I also changed the language on my phone to Spanish, which helped me to keep using the language in my day-to-day life. Something interesting is that for a few years now (since about my junior year of high school) I sometimes have dreams in Spanish. When I traveled to Italy with my family, constantly hearing Italian made my mind switch to Spanish! I’m currently studying Italian this year in college, and it was quite difficult at first because my mind kept switching to Spanish automatically! But knowing Spanish has helped a lot with the conjugations and specifics of Italian.

For a few months now I have wanted to start a language section of my blog, because it will be great practice for me and I want to expand my reach past primarily English posts. I will always include translations with the posts, and I hope that you are excited to join me on this journey!

©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


Alyssa DeBella

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! I'm a third-year college student passionate about writing, minimalism, vegan living, and coffee. I would love for you to join my online family!
Follow by Email1k

PC: jasminetaliaphotography #trees #outdoors #adventure #exploring #nature @ Csu Oval

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..."

"Love your body and teach your mind to respect it".

Load More...

Blogger Babes are Sophisticated Bloggers Seeking Simple Solutions and Support

Real Time Analytics


Wise Willow Moments @wisewillowblog