Mindful Tuesday: Meditation with the Calm App

The modern workday is often rushed and leads to overwhelming sensations and frantic maneuvers to pack as much into each one as we can. They can be stressful, and expectations do not always leave room for mindfulness. I wrote a Mindful Tuesday post a while back to express how thankful I was for hot tea and a new podcast on a particularly mindful morning. The experience had a very positive effect on my day, knowing that I had put good intentions into sharing what had helped me remain centered and focused. So much so that I’ve taken to the idea of writing Mindful Tuesday posts more regularly to move me toward more mindful practices. Continue reading

My Morning Routine

For the past three years, every morning as I picked up my bag to start my commute, I have told myself that one day I would make the bed before heading to work. This week I finally started doing it.

It’s not that I don’t like making the bed; I actually find it relaxing because it cleans up the entire room in one action and makes it look much easier to navigate. What has stopped me thus far has been our schedules, specifically my partner’s sleeping schedule that allowed her to sleep until well after I had left for work. And you simply can’t make the bed while someone is in it. Trust me.

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Rethinking Minimalist Purchasing

I say “purchasing” in the title because “shopping” can bring about interpretations of shopping binges, multiple purchases at one time, or even mindless consumerism, most of which minimalism rejects as unnecessary. “Purchasing,” however, brings to my mind the idea of how one spends her money, whether it be on a necessity or treat and what that goes to support in the way of her life as well as the areas of consumerism she supports. And as many minimalists like to tell us, there is a right and a wrong way to do it – however, we disagree with that mindset. I think it’s all about how you view purchasing in relation to your home.

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Major Savings: Post-Holiday Ham

The holidays are full of treats and sweets, and we had our fill this year. When we returned from visiting our families, one of the first things we had to do was refill our pantry and fridge. The shopping trip was a bit refreshing in that we were out of nearly everything, so we were able to start from scratch rather than make a list of items we were missing; however, we are always on the lookout for new meats to vary our meals. At our local HEB meat counter, we can find grass-fed options in ground beef, steaks, ground bison, bison cutlets, bison hotdogs, and ground turkey. There is also ground lamb, which made a delicious lamb shepherd’s pie, the perfect mid-winter meal, as well as bacon. But it still feels slightly limiting to us.

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Minimalist & Less-Waste Planning for Holiday Trips

This holiday had us traveling and giving and opening gifts are both of our families’ abodes, which I didn’t truly digest until a few days before we set out for our trips. As I started packing for our trip, I realized there were a lot of items we wanted to take with us that were either going to create waste by us using them or were going to create waste just by nature of what they were (such as gift wrap). For the first time we had to consider how we were going to create a footprint on our trips and how we could accommodate the issue.

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Our First Intentional Gift-Giving Christmas

Christmas is just a few days away, and, now that the holiday is nearing, it seems like time is finally slowing down. A few nights ago, my partner and I gave each other the gifts we had gotten for each other. We set a goal this year of trying to spend less money and only purchasing gifts that were functional. They could be surprises and even funny or unique but they would be practical in one form or another. We didn’t necessarily meet the first goal, though we might have spent a little less given that several of our purchases were on sale, but we embraced our purposeful gift giving very well!

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Zero Waste Christmas: Sycamore Leaf Tags

As Christmas comes closer, less than a week away now, some of us are wrapping up our last few presents. In an effort to keep our Christmas as close to zero waste as possible, I not only chose craft paper for wrapping so that it can be recycled–also keeping a simple look for presents–I am using natural items for decorating our packages. We found all of my package decorations in nature to minimize our impact on nature during the holiday season.

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The Wonderful Utility of Glass Jars

Well, it’s been a steep month since I last posted. I could list reasons, but the reality is that, after feeling a little overwhelmed, I took a leave of absence from certain social media sites. And that spilled over to minimal internet activity altogether, WordPress included. I could have announced my brief reprieve from blogging, but it wasn’t planned, more of a spur-of-the-moment, post-election, pre-holiday season sort of reclusiveness. At any rate, I’ve re-evaluated how I want to get along with the internet, and I’m quite pleased with my new routine: Instagram once or twice a day (there is such little opinion and bias in the accounts I follow, which simplifies the purpose so much for me), Pinterest a few times a week when looking for ways to be productive or crafty, and WordPress.

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A One-Gift Christmas

Autumn is a magical time of year, when nature reminds us of life’s cycle and reintroduces us to the promising vacancy of winter: crisp breezes, overcast skies, and that sharp scent of the cold followed by fresh wood and pumpkin spice. In Houston we don’t have the full-fledged experience; November arrived with temperatures in the 70s and what leaves have fallen are mostly brown, overlooking the rusty shades of the northern trees. During my few years in Indiana, I fell in love with autumn–the physicality of cold Octobers, bundled walks beneath gray skies and in the remnants of lake effect gales, and canvases painted with tangerine leaves that floated at my feet as I made my way from the neighborhood cafe to campus. Now, for me, what bit of that I can collect in cities on the Gulf is very welcomed–that clean smell that comes on the breeze, promising less pollen and humidity, the overcast skies between storms, and finally cool enough temperatures to warrant a jacket, jeans, and a warm mocha without being ironic.

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