Letting Go of Books

I have always dreamed of having a personal library, a separate room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on every wall and a small sitting area where I could read in the sunlight of the window that looked out on the English countryside. Right now I settle for our apartment in the south of Houston, but it’s always a thought in the back of my mind. I had six or seven big boxes full of books when I moved back home after graduate school; I was well on my way to building my collection. So was my partner. She had her own collection of books that, when we moved in together and combined them, created enough to fill four bookshelves. It was beautiful. Continue reading

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The End of the Romaine Heart

This is the end of our romaine lettuce heart.

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For most people, reaching the last few leaves of a lettuce heart isn’t even worth considering; perhaps it’s even a weekly occurrence. For us, however, it feels like a big deal. A few weeks ago we got a wake up call regarding many aspects of how we were living our lives, two of which were our spending and our diets. We have always tried to eat healthily but you know how it goes: two or three days of solid effort leads to a cookie here and there and ends with a late-night trip to McDonald’s. Suddenly we’re off the wagon and back to unhealthy habits. When we had to reconsider our spending, we discovered that we were spending an inordinate amount of money on eating out several times a week and groceries that we wasted. The first issues was easier to address than we thought it would be. A previous post focused on our first week of eating in for every meal and I’m proud to say that we’ve kept that trend going, already saving over a hundred dollars in the past two weeks. The second item–wasting groceries–was harder to address. Continue reading

Dumbing Down My Smartphone

I am so easily distracted nowadays, especially at home. Whether it be the television while I’m trying to work on my laptop or social media when I should be cleaning or folding clothes, I have often found myself absorbed in something entirely off topic and realized I’ve lost ten or twenty minutes to a “quick” meandering of my Facebook feed. It’s a common thread for those with smartphones–it’s there with so much to offer, be it games, social media, texting, or videos. They put so much literally at our fingertips that it feels wasteful not to utilize them to their full potential. It’s a pattern that’s easy to fall into. Continue reading

We’re moving!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my company is moving offices across town, which makes my commute much less economical and more time-consuming. At first, we were rather frustrated with the news, realizing that we would have move either somewhere closer or somewhere cheaper. Given how much we love our apartment, this was more depressing than the thought of how much my commute was going to grow, but thankfully our outlook has evolved into something more positive. Continue reading

A Week of Eating In

In an effort to watch our spending and try to save as much as we can, we decided to challenge ourselves to not eat out for a whole work week. This doesn’t sound like a big deal–a lot of couples and families do that all the time. For us, though, that’s not a common thing. My partner is really good about taking her lunch every day, but I’ve fallen out of that habit recently. A while back we stopped buying frozen meals so we would be required to cook more; fresh foods are healthier, too. We also cut back on lunch meat because we never ate it all, which was just wasted food. But all of that also meant that, if we didn’t cook one night for dinner, we didn’t have leftovers for lunch the next day. My partner doesn’t have a problem taking PB&J sandwiches but I can’t stand them. So there were a lot of days where I bought lunch out because I wouldn’t have anything to take with me. Continue reading

Timing

They say it’s all in the timing, but it’s a little more difficult to accommodate when you’re not the one choosing it. It’s more complicated when the time for something announces itself and imposes on you whether you’re ready or not. I feel that strongly this week after several days of severe adulthood that left a bit of a nasty rash on my pride and a bad taste in my mouth for responsibility. In fact, I have some responsibilities leftover if anyone is interested in taking some. No? No takers? Continue reading

Why minimalism?

On my desk at work I have a small monk statue in a meditating position surrounded by rocks. I keep it in the corner where I see it every time I look up as a reminder to breathe and take things lightly through the day. It centers me, and I’ve learned after thirty years that I need that in my life. A few weeks ago, one of our executives stopped at my desk to ask about a project and paused as he took in the statue. He pointed and asked, “Is this supposed to relax me?” “No,” I replied, “it’s supposed to relax me.” Many people overlook the benefit of embracing relaxing and self-affirming habits throughout their day, and one thing I have come to understand is that I am much happier and less stressed when I have an environment that helps me live a more self-conscious lifestyle. In my pursuit of this goal, I recently stumbled onto minimalism purely by accident and am starting to think it might be a solution that aligns with my goals for a more zen-filled lifestyle. Continue reading