Lifestyle Goals, Not Resolutions

Our new year kicked off with a start–my partner got a call offering her a well-deserved position with a local city department, and it feels like the last two weeks have been a rush of preparation that comes with changes in employers: insurance, doctor approvals, filling out information, new schedules, and what some call the good stress of moving in the right direction. Add to that a move in my office to a new floor in the same building, and we’ve both been a little frantic since we returned to work on January 3rd.

The start of a new year is a great time to make changes, as many of our resolutions lead us to believe; however, the optimism that comes with January appearing on our calendars rarely survives through spring and often fades as we neglect to make time for the gym, cave into food cravings, and justify skipping a savings deposit in lieu of working toward funding an emergency fund. It’s so common that my partner and I joke that the third week of the new year is the best time to go to the gym because all of the newbies who committed to losing weight have discovered that rushing into weightlifting without preparation does little more than leave you sore and hating your muscles after two weeks of painful recovery days. That’s why we skip resolutions and focus on two ways to make our year beneficial.

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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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Today Will Be a Positive Day (Despite the Odds)

As a local radio station pointed out, if ever there was a day where a positive attitude was needed, that day is today. If you see the world as I do, you woke up to a fearful future for our country. And the shock of a cold shower was needed immediately. Coffee didn’t magically change the election results, but I did find a colorful “I didn’t vote for him” sticker that I’m thinking of ordering. So there’s that.

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A Week’s Shopping

We returned from our trip a little over a week ago and, because we had purposefully done little shopping before we left town, we had to restock our kitchen. Aside from a few meats that held over well in the freezer, we needed most items, including vegetables, fruits, and snacks. We’ve tried to be more conscious of what foods we buy with the idea that we want to control what goes into our bodies. We also have to work on a budget, however, and we only allow ourselves to splurge occasionally and on certain items, primarily organic vegetables, leaner meats such as bison, preferably locally farmed, and specialty cheeses. The first two are for healthier eating to control the ingredients; the cheeses are simply because we both love cheese and often use it to add flavor, so it is a simple way to vary our ingredients.

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Thirty-Something Minimalist Is Now on Instagram!

My partner and I stumbled into Instagram last month when my mother asked us to join a monthly challenge for her blog. How surprised we were to learn that both of our mothers had Instagram accounts and we were much more advanced in their social media accounts than we were! After playing with it for a month, we’ve become a little more comfortable with it, and I realized the benefit of it several times when I had a picture that I wanted to share on here but didn’t think it warranted its own blog post. Enter Instagram!

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A Minimalist Christmas: Homemade Gifts

It’s the beginning of November, which means two things: beautiful autumn weather has finally arrived and the planning of Christmas gifts has begun. Normally we would be worrying about lists, scouring Amazon for good deals, hoarding B&N coupons, and thinking up until Christmas Eve how we can give the best presents. This year, however, I am doing it differently. After working to live more intentionally the past few months, I realized how materialistic Christmas had become for me, thinking mostly of what the best purchases were, how to stretch my money to but the most gifts, and how to impress people with what I gave them. I didn’t like that one bit. A lot of my focus and stress involving the holiday revolved around purchasing gifts and the financials associated with that process when many times I was taking a guess at what I thought was a good gift. The season had become very centered on tangible numbers, and that felt wrong in so many ways. Continue reading