Houseplants…An Addiction

I don’t think New England is the most optimal place in which to have an addiction to houseplants, but  it is where I live so…

I have always enjoyed houseplants and have always indulged myself. My husband, does not agree with me on this point, but has given up trying to have an intervention. I usually bring them outside in the summertime and when it comes time to bring them back in, they are usually bigger. He did say once “Aren’t they suppose to die in the winter” I allowed as to how if I left them outside they surely would but that was not my intention.20190913_133837

I do not have nice generous window sills or even sunny rooms in most of the house. My office faces south and it has a window on the south as well as facing west so most of my  plants are happy to stay the winter in there, the fact that my husband doesn’t frequent the room is also a bonus. The fact that my master bedroom has south facing windows and one facing north works for some plants, but I have to be careful of the placement so my husband doesn’t really notice them, I have even snuck in a small ivy plant in the master bath, this was daring on my part. I am not sure the plant is all that happy because it has not really increased in size, but it is still alive, a point in it’s favor.

I will point out that there are quite a few houseplants that I love, but well, they will not live in my house. I have tried, but their deaths are always slow and painful to watch. They look great for a few weeks then they settle in and they just languish, I don’t want to be a plant killer, but when I go into a greenhouse in January and February I want all those tropical plants and throw caution to the wind. With my outdoor gardens I am very careful to buy and cultivate plants that are suited to the place in which I choose to plant them, but when I look at houseplants I rationalize everything. Sure I have bright indirect light! I don’t even have a place to set the plant on. Plants are known to be healthy and purify the air, it sets me to wonder if the plants are doing so much to purify the air that they can’t handle it anymore and just die.

I never really thought my house was dark until I started watching houseplants slowly die in my care. I am beginning to wonder if the plants talk to each other and tell themselves that if they can just hold on until spring it will be okay. I talk to them, I spritz them, I feed them, but you can tell some of them are just humoring me.

I can grow spider plants, Pothos, Christmas Cactus, and Peace Lily with regularity and yes I have a lot of them but I would like a variety as well. I am trying to blame this all on light and environment, but I know that it is also me and the way I care for them. I either shower them with attention or forget about them. Of course, the plants that do well under these latter conditions are the ones that I have quite a few of, so do I stick with those or do I keep trying new ones.

It has been said that houseplants give off an addicting substance that makes you want more and that you will be able to grow anything you want even without a greenhouse. This type of bravado gets me into trouble, I think this year will be different, I will be the best plant parent ever, I will give classes on how to have wonderful, healthy, vigorous plants. Yeah, well, that may be a pipe dream, but what is life without dreams!

I am off to a local greenhouse, I have a coupon and a dream! Watch out plants here I come.

Posted in dreams, everyday life, houseplants, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

First blog post

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Minimalism is Not About Decorating

I was having a day of not being at all productive so I went on Pinterest, a rabbit hole to be sure. I did have some things that I was searching but a post caught my eye and after reading it I realized that so many people would read it and it would perpetuate a false narrative. I don’t remember the exact title but I think it was ” Tips to fake a minimalist look”.

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Minimalism is not a decorating trend it is a mindset and a way of living an intentional life. Yes, people have taken to the spare look and have run with it as a way to decorate their spaces, but they are missing the whole point.

One of the tips was to remove everything from the walls and paint in white tones only. True minimalists have things in their living spaces that are beautiful and provide them happiness. While, I still have too many things in my home (the average American has over 300,000) the artwork is not something that is keeping me from being a true minimalist. It is the things that I do not need, the things that I never use that are stored away or not lending any use to my everyday life. Art lends beauty and contentment to my everyday life.

Another tip was to have furniture that could store things, because if you could stuff everything in a cupboard or armoire then you got a clean look. It reminded me of when we were trying to sell our first home. We would get a call that someone was coming to see the house and we would run around shoving things into drawers, closets and even the dishwasher or dryer! Out of sight is not out of mind. I agree that if you have things out it can look cluttered, but if they are things you use and help in your existence then by all means find a better way to store them, but that doesn’t mean just shoving things out of sight so it looks spare.

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The post also commented about colors and natural materials. It is true that whenever you see a minimalist interior it is all in shades of white and beige with natural wood used in furniture. While this is a lovely and soothing aesthetic, it is not the only way to decorate. Minimalism as a way of life is more about living with what you need, and find beautiful(as this adds to your well-being).

Another item was window treatments. They advise to have bare windows and while I personally would love to have all my windows bare, there are privacy issues. Maybe having heavy drapes with lots of accessories you could do away with or cut back, but most of us do not live in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors around. I also use my curtains to cut down on energy costs, by closing them against the sun in the summer and at night in the winter against the cold.

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Minimalism is not about deprivation, it is more about living intentionally with what you need. It is a personal journey not the same for everyone. What it means to me is going to be different to someone with small children or a couple just starting out. I love plants so I have quite a few of them, they help to purify the inside air and lend a soothing tranquil feeling for me. I do not buy them because the magazines and decorators are showing them in their rooms.

I am cutting back on the things I have. I wanted to do the 30 day challenge, but as I have done this in the past I already have made a huge dent, so I am going to challenge myself to go through one room a month and seriously question every item I have. I will ask myself the following for everything:

  1. Have you used this in the past 12 months?
  2. If you got rid of it could you use something else instead?
  3. Are you holding on to it for sentimental reasons; if so is there a different way to honor that?
  4. Does it make you happy to see it?
  5. Did you buy it in the hopes of starting a hobby?

I am getting older and I really do not entertain as much as I used to so quite a few things that I can let go of are part of my life that has passed. I am living in a different stage now so my life and my intentions are not the same. I can pass some of these to my kids, sell them or donate. My life is more than things.

I encourage anyone interested or curious about minimalism to look up on Netflix or YouTube “The Minimalists”. They have done 2 documentaries and have a channel that is very engaging and important.

So, have you only heard about minimalism in the frame of decorating or its true purpose?

Posted in clutter, conspicous consumption, consumerism, decor, everyday life, Home, Intentional living, living with intention, minimalism | Tagged | 1 Comment

Honesty-Yup, It Is Still a Thing

Most of us will claim that we are honest people in words and deeds and we probably are. I wonder though are we being honest with ourselves? How many times have you said that you were going to do something and just never did. This is not a huge deal, life happens, right? Well, thinking on how people set intentions or New Years resolutions for things we want to do or how we want to improve, but if we are being honest with ourselves we know in our hearts that they are not going to happen. Now, I am not saying we shouldn’t try or strive to do better, but how do you feel when you are unable to fulfill those intentions. I know I feel like I have failed, but if I was truly honest with myself I would have not set myself up to fail. Instead of “eating healthier” I would have given myself a smaller goal of saying “eat one more piece of fruit a day” or instead of “exersize more” I would “move or walk 20 minutes every day”. These would be honest achievable goals because while I want to do things better I am honest enough to admit that I have to take things in smaller increments. I am not saying that I am giving up, just that I am honest with myself and my limitations and I need victories not failures.

Honesty with other people has its consequences. Telling someone a little white lie about their new haircut is seen as being kind. There is no need to be brutally honest about things such as that, but if people are fed a constant stream of lies about big things, they have a tendency to believe them and then you can’t go back and fix it. Lies build and get bigger and take on a life of their own and what started as something small and insignificant have grown into a monster with 3 heads.

Our society doesn’t really reward honesty. Advertising and marketing really stretch the idea of honest information. Buyer beware. Greenwashing is a real thing. People believe that a company or product are good for the environment or sustainable when in fact they are not, but the language used in the marketing and advertising is not regulated in any way and consumers are left to look into claims themselves, but most will not have the inclination to do so thus feeding into the belief that they are buying a “green” product.

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When do we stop taking people at face value and believe what they say or should we question everything? I suppose it depends on how important the subject matter is to you. People will naturally gravitate to those that think along the same lines as themselves and will not go the extra mile to seek answers or even question their own beliefs. They have chosen to believe that their view is the only honest one. As we know there are 2 sides to every conversation and we all believe that we are honest so who is right? Does someone have to be wrong and someone else right?

If people in charge of companies, government, families etc were truly honest with those around them, we might find more in common.

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Goodbye 2020 and Thank you.

I know what you are thinking what do I have to thank this past year for exactly? Well, I have learned from this year and have grown to appreciate certain things.

I have learned that although my house is not beautifully decorated or even my dream house it is warm, keeps us protected from the elements and holds many happy memories.

Everyone has suffered some sort of mental health issues this year and if you say not you, then you are in denial. I learned that even strong, level headed people have suffered and that others now know that mental illness is real and not to be fluffed off. I was able to help family members through this time, even though I was absolutely terrified, but gained confidence in the knowledge that I was able to help all the time struggling to maintain my equilibrium so I stopped feeling helpless.

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There are toilet paper snobs, I was never one of them, but the realization that my supply is now delivered and I never have to worry again about running out, it showed me that we as a country use too much paper to flush down the toilet and we are way too close to rioting over toilet paper!

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I will never take my local library for granted again. I have not been able to go in and browse the stacks searching for an author I have missed or the newest NY Times bestseller. I haven’t been able to go in and read the local newspaper, pick up an issue of a magazine that I do not have a subscription to or even donate my old books to the friends of the library.

I have learned that getting outside for fresh air on a daily basis is more important than I realized. It helps with my sleep, breaks my inertia and helps with keeping weight gain to a minimum.

I am a solitary human and I allow my schedules to be disrupted by others too easily. I retired before this and was enjoying life, I made small schedules for my daily life, but when we went into lockdown and even when my husband was only working part time I put my schedules and rituals to the side. I have taken them back and while we still do things together I am not putting my own needs to the bottom of the list. We all need different things and I am just as important.

I have learned that while some people looked down on some of my hobbies as not constructive they all wanted to borrow puzzles and books and ask for my bread recipes. Welcome to the sunny side of life people.

Holidays had a much deeper meaning. I just wanted to see people and to know they were all okay.

Hugs are not to be overlooked, human touch is an essential sense.

I had always held the belief that we are a consumer society and this was highlighted when our economy shut down and went into a tail spin because people couldn’t shop. We already have too much stuff, but when we couldn’t go to the stores we found a way to survive. I am not talking about food or medicines.

In all my years of working in retail I never was considered an essential worker (except by my employer who wanted to have the store open in a blizzard). People still don’t respect retail workers but more and more people are considering them important.

It will never cease to amaze me that there are people who take personal liberty to mean that the laws and edicts of society don’t apply to them.

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While I knew in the back of my mind that racism still existed, this year it brought it to the forefront and I am glad it did. We need to have better communication and laws and attitudes need to change. I think the laws will be easier than the attitudes to be honest.

I am glad that I live in a small town, this year I have learned that there are so many good people willing to help others. I am sure this is happening in small towns as well as cities all over the country, but I was able to see and experience it first hand.

I have learned what people I want to avoid because well, that conversation will go nowhere fast.

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Most of all 2020 taught me important things about myself and my ability to make sense out of madness, a lesson will help me in the future and for which I am extremely grateful. So goodbye to 2020. 2021 will be hard too, but I will take my lessons forward and try to apply them in a positive way to improve my life and those around me as well as the country at large. So as we welcome in the new year don’t expect things to automatically turn around, it took a long time for us to get into this state and it will take a long time to get out. I wish you all a great New Year.

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What’s In A Name?

There are people that say we will experience a new baby boom in the beginning of the new year, 9 months or so after lock down.If this is the case I would like to take on the subject of baby names as there have been some resurfacing of older names.

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You can almost tell a person’s age by their name, actors or actresses that were popular during certain times will spawn quite a few names, but I am not really talking about them as much as the names that were prevalent when my mother was growing up. My daughter, has a friend that named her daughter, Agatha, seriously is that name making a comeback!? I don’t think men’s names have the aging problem as much or people just are not naming their boys with names from the 1900’s.

I want people to think about the names they are choosing because people grow old with those names. It can go the other way too. Have you run into older women with names that sounded fine until they got older like Allison? I like the name but I can’t picture a mature woman with that name. Maybe we should get names for different stages in life. When you are a small child it is one thing then once you get older and have children of your own you can change it to something you like.

The following is a list of names that I am hoping do not make a come back:

Mildred, Agatha, Lucille, Bertha, Berta, Dorothy, Margaret, Virginia(this was my mom’s name), Anita, Mary, Louise, Sally, Helen, Harriet, Isadora, Penelope,and Martha.

This list is not in any order, just as I thought of them and while there are many names I don’t like because I knew someone with that name(doesn’t make any sense I know) the others I find do not age well. I sound very judgey here I know but having grown up with an odd name I know what it is like to have odd nicknames and jokes made at my expense. Think of the children as well as the adult when choosing a name, it is all I ask.

Mens names I don’t think should make a comeback are fewer but they are:

Cornelius, Dudley, Abraham, Francis, Bertrand, Ephram, Lawrence, Ivan, Oscar, and Ulysses. I find these are not in danger of coming back, but you never know.

There will always be people that will choose odd names for their kids (Moon Unit Zappa for instance), but I feel as if that is just for shock value and then when the kid is older they change it. Celebrities are a force unto themselves. There are also family names that some like to continue to use, but I really doubt if most people think about the name past the point of childhood.

So if there is a small baby boom coming maybe we will get a whole crop of new names, I personally hope we won’t be graced with a whole new crop of Berthas!

Posted in aging, everyday life, family, names | Leave a comment

Random Thoughts to Share

I have been mulling over a few different subjects for a blog post and while I liked all my ideas, I just couldn’t stretch them enough for a whole post. So, I thought I would put together a post of random thoughts. This does show how my mind works so be prepared.

Waking up to an alarm used to annoy me, but now that I started doing it again to help my son with his new work schedule I find that I like it. He is all set but I am continuing to set it every night. It gives me time in my morning to relax before I start my day in earnest. Now I am up an running at an earlier time and do not feel rushed and I am actually more energized and getting more done. I will continue and now that it is my choice it feels good.

I love pinterest but I have yet to get a recipe off there that has worked. Whatever I make is edible but not right. Sometimes the appearance is off, or it doesn’t make as much as it says or the timing is completely wrong. I think I am sticking to cookbooks those recipes have been tested and I never get steered wrong, so while I will stick to other sources I will still go down that rabbit hole and read the recipes but not cook them, well until I try Lemon Sugar cookies.

I don’t feel Christmas-sy this year. I know it is probably because , well 2020, but I also think that I didn’t shop much in the stores. I am a retailer and have been my whole life and even though I am retired I still enjoy the brick and mortar experience, looking at displays and merchandise that I probably won’t buy, but enjoy the browsing and the atmosphere. You don’t get that shopping online. I purchased 80 to 90 percent of the gifts this year from online sources like Etsy and then had to sweat it out hoping they arrived in time. It is not the same.

I have been enjoying my new membership to Skillshare and have taken quite a few courses already. Most of them have been in productivity and I have learned quite a bit about setting goals and making habits stick. I have also taken ones on flower arranging, interior design and wreath making. Some are really good with engaging teachers and some are just okay, but I applaud these people for putting themselves out there and presenting without students in front of them for feed back. You can rate each class and offer comments or suggestions for improvement and I have rated each class, but never really said anything bad. I am trying to set the goal to take a class a day at least. I don’t mean the whole course because each one is broken up into chapters so I can hop on when I have 10 minutes and take a class, really worth it.

I think this might be my last year sending out Christmas cards at least to those people who are local. I will concentrate on far away relatives or friends that I don’t get to see. It is expensive, kind of wasteful and hardly anyone else in my circle is doing it anymore. My family used to make our own cards, my father would have our design printed and then we would sign them individually and send them out. It was a big deal and we had fun times around the big dining table one night each year. My aunt was one of those that included a family letter each year, I don’t think she was aware of how much merriment this caused. Her children(my cousins whom I adore) were always straight A students, taking classes abroad, building houses for the poor and just generally being the most wonderful human being alive. I kind of miss those.

You never think to clean your chandelier until you turn it on one evening before a big holiday and realize that it has a coating of dust all over the globes. I had to clean mine today and taking the globes off to clean them involved first unscrewing the bulbs, then unscrewing the collar that held the globes on, all the while balancing on a chair trying to make sure nothing breaks. I then soaked them in the sink, dried them and had beautifully sparkly globes. Putting them back on was harder and I didn’t want to get fingerprints all over them. I should really do this more often.

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So, these are just a few of the ideas I have had rattling around in my head and thought I would share. Maybe this is what I will do for a bit until I can really get a good post.

Posted in alarms, Christmas | Tagged | 2 Comments

Organizing The Mind, The Ultimate Project

There are a lot of videos and self-help books on how to organize your life. First de-clutter, that is the first step for everyone, but then thoughts diverge on how to proceed. There is the Konmari method, some people think to go room by room, or start small so you have some sort of win. I have tried a few of these and to some extent they have worked albeit some better than others. Fellow blogger Sandra Madeira has been on this journey and has done some incredible work, one thing that keeps coming back is a mind set. De-cluttering for an occasion or selling a house is fine because there is an end in sight, but this is not sustainable in the long run as life gets in the way. The dailiness of life gets enables items to still come into the house and have to be dealt with and dealing with them doesn’t mean shoving things in drawers or closets, out of sight out of mind.

This is what brings me here today; organizing your mind. That took a turn didn’t it? I know there are self help books and videos on this subject and they agree on one point-there is no one way to do it or even get started. Everyone has their own spin, after all you can’t just throw ideas out, toss them or donate them. You can certainly try, but the mind has a way of holding on to thoughts that you want gone and it seems as if the harder you try the more enmeshed they become attaching themselves to other thoughts or just digging in deeper. It’s not like an old coffee mug that you never liked that can easily go in the donate box, donated stuff doesn’t keep jumping out of the box and back into your home.

Organizing your mind has different categories; memories-good, memories-bad, skills, work stuff(okay that has categories too), day to day life, family(this also has sub-categories), creative and the future. These are broad and some ideas fit into multiple categories; great now they are multiplying! I heard someone talk about dividing thoughts into boxes and thought at the time that was a good visual, but all I can think of now is do you really want your thoughts shut away into rigid boxes that don’t allow them to grow or in some cases fade away. When things go into boxes, unless they are see through they have a tendency to be put away and forgotten.

The mind is ever changing and growing and while I want to organize the chaos I also realize that at least part of the chaos is a good thing. We all need ideas to float around and maybe latch one to another idea to make it a bigger and better idea. I have been taking some courses on Skillshare and have found some wonderful speakers and classes. I am trying to learn something new everyday, although this doesn’t mean I take a class everyday. These classes have chapters and I will take at least 1. There was class that I particularly enjoyed about goal setting. This helped me to organize at least one part of my mind-the future. I wrote goals down, then broke them smaller and perhaps more manageable. This process helped me to realize that just having the goal was only the first step, if your goals are far reaching then organizing the steps to get there is part of the process. He wrote his down in a mind map sort of format, but I found the list type more conducive to getting there in an orderly way. I like lists. Just the act of writing a list helps me focus.

As you can see by reading this blog I am by no means an expert on the subject, I am having trouble organizing my thoughts for this one, but realizing that there is more than one way to do this has helped me. I want to be successful at it and if there was only one avenue to go down I would be trying for the win. This is an ongoing project that continues for your entire life. There is no endgame, so to speak, just keeping your ideas and thoughts working for you in an organized way. The process changes over time as does your mind, so is having a project with no finished results really a project?

I am trying by organizing my thoughts and ideas to make them work for me instead of being a distraction. Some thoughts and ideas have to have serious concentration and others just float around until they form something viable. I am trying to form my ideas into some sort of Pinterest board. I can make as many boards as I want then I can go back and revisit them, try to delete them if possible, move them onto multiple boards and overall look into them and why they are floating around. I am going to challenge myself starting in January to organize my thoughts and ideas into possible actions, maybe if I grab one a month I will make a good foundation for the rest of my life. As I said before, it is a life long project.

Posted in organizing, projects | Tagged | 5 Comments

The New Normal?

I was out running some quick errands yesterday and it got me to thinking what we now consider “normal” or at least things we don’t blink an eye at. Our lives have changed in the past year, that would be impossible to deny, but there are some very specific changes that jump out at me.

1.Masks-Depending on where you live wearing of masks out in public would draw a few stares last year, but now if you see people without them it makes you pause and a thought that you needed to avoid that person. If you saw someone with a mask on in public in 2019 you might think that the person was dreadfully sick or their immune system was shot. Now you smile (though the other person can’t tell), nod your head and move on, as if to say thanks and we are all in this together.

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2.Camera phone usage-I know people have been using the cameras on their phones ever since they came out, but now filming is happening all the time and it isn’t just to shame people who are complaining about mask wearing or police brutality, it is personal protection,Youtubers, vloggers and just face timing with others. This used to be done in the privacy of your home, but people are doing it all over. I know I have walked by someone while they were face timing a friend or family member. This made me more than a little uncomfortable as I really didn’t want to be part of it and was not asked. It is almost as if people now have to see people to talk with them even though they normally would not. Do we have to keep reassuring ourselves of their existence?

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3.Zoom meetings-I know most people in the business world have been employing the use of video meetings and conference calls for quite some time, but now it has worked it’s way into the lives of everyday situations. I am on the Board of Directors for a local community farm and we have to have our monthly meeting via zoom. I had a meeting with my financial advisor via some sort of video call and I was able to look at all the forms, charts and graphs on my computer while having my morning coffee, not bad, just weird. The holidays may have us opening presents with loved ones while in different houses and possibly states.

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4.Plexiglass dividers-As a former retailer I think I might have liked these dividers as I did occasionally have customers who had a problem with recognizing personal space. The banks always used to have partitions and they took them out. I guess they were trying to feel more approachable, but now they are back. Totally fine with it.

5.Hand Sanitizer- I haven’t walked into a store of any kind, bank or public building that didn’t have a container of it when you walk in. It was even present at farmers markets in the summer. Some of these are little better than nothing as the percentage of alcohol isn’t at least 70%, then they add a scent to it, I could do without the holiday smell! It used to be that people who had hand sanitizer on them at all times were considered a bit of a hypochondriac, now just sensible.

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6.Arrows-Okay some people have a real problem following these, makes me crazy. Supermarkets have them and ask people over the PA system to please follow the arrows, one way traffic in the aisles, really don’t think it is too much to ask, but I guess it is just too much bother.

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There have been changes that are positive and not so positive, but do we think we will ever go completely back to where we were? Maybe we shouldn’t.

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How Do You Drink Your Tea?

Does a cup of tea taste better in a bone china cup? I was thinking about some of my favorite meals and/ drinks and wondering if it was about the actual taste or the experience. I am usually a coffee drinker as far as my breakfast is concerned and I am particular about the mugs and how they fit my hand and if they keep the coffee hot (as I like mine scalding), but during the fall and winter I enjoy a nice cup of tea. I lean towards a strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea. I am not a tea expert but I like a splash of milk and not too sweet and for my tea I always gravitate to my bone china cup or my fancy bone china mug. Does it taste better or is it the sensation of drinking it out of a very thin delicate vessel? It brings me back to the days when I was a child and we used to have tea at my grandmother’s house. I couldn’t stand the woman, but she allowed us to sit at the table with the grown ups and have ONE Pepperidge Farm cookie. Now that I am the grown up I know I can eat a whole package if I want (although I usually don’t) and I am still proving that I can handle fine china.

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We use the same dishes every Christmas Eve for our dinner and dessert. There are times when we have leftovers (not often) and we will eat them the next day on everyday dishes and it doesn’t taste the same. I don’t think the difference is because of the fact that it is reheated, but the plates are different, making the meal less special?

So, let me ask you this does wine taste different out of a plastic cup compared to a crystal wineglass?

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Does a beer taste different out of a solo cup instead of a frosty mug or a pilsner glass?

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Does hot cocoa taste different out of a styrofoam cup or a big ceramic mug?

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I feel that quite a few Americans (me included) eat too fast or in the car on their way to somewhere else. It is more about quieting the hunger pangs then really experiencing the food. I think about when my husband and I would go out for a fancy, expensive meal, we would slow down really savor the food, not rush and enjoy the whole experience, but when we eat at home, we are usually sitting at the table but we finish in 10 minutes. Okay so maybe my cooking isn’t special enough to be savored, but why are we not even thinking about the food?

From what I understand other countries do not experience meals this way. People don’t rush into a coffee shop grab their coffee and danish to go and eat it on the way to work. They sit down and enjoy it and it is usually on real dishes and cups.

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With the holidays coming up and so many people not being able to have their usual celebrations I implore people to still make every meal an experience, have a nice leisurely breakfast, a full lunch and a special dinner. Use the good plates and glassware, get out napkins, placemats or tablecloths and treat yourselves. If 2020 has taught us anything it is to be thankful for everyday and celebrate!

Posted in adulting, everyday life, happiness, Intentional living, living in the moment, the little things | 5 Comments

On The Road To Minimal Waste

Choosing to go lower waste in my home has saved me money. Now you see I did not say zero-waste because beside being an almost impossible task, it is a term that was used, and rightly so, for industry not the consumer. It cannot be up to the individual to correct the sins of the industrial complex. I am certainly not going to attempt to fit all my trash into a mason jar for a year it is unrealistic and self-defeating. We want people to try to make their impact on the Earth more minimal not kick them back at every turn in the road.

I decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to make my impact on the Earth as minimal as possible. Yes, I recycle but that is not the be all to end all. Some items that we recycle cannot be recycled forever, they degrade after awhile and then turn into trash. I started with my single use plastics first, this was relatively easy for me as I always had reusable shopping bags, and wrapped up the lunches whether my husbands or my kids in wax paper(not a good choice but better that baggies). I used up everything I already had in the house and did not replace them with more plastic. I bought (a few at a time) glass storage containers for leftovers, reusable beeswax wraps, and reusable silicone bags. Since I started these swaps they have paid for themselves in savings. I am not saying that these items are cheap but, I bought only what I needed when I needed it. I realize that I am in the position to do this financially and not everyone is, but there are ways to cut down on your single use plastic usage without going broke. Look around in your house for items that might be reused in a different way.

When I go food shopping I do not get my loose veggies in a single use bag, most of the time I do not use a bag at all, but if I do I use a cotton bag that the cashier can see through for the code sticker. You can make your own with scrap fabric or even paper gift bags that have seen better days. You are going to wash your produce anyway.

We all know about using a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, if you don’t have one maybe a friend has an extra or go to a thrift store where you are bound to find one or two. I make my coffee at home so I really do not have this issue often but there is always one in my bag just in case.

When shopping my first issue to tackle was less packaging. I use bars of soap that I get from a small local vendor that doesn’t use any packaging, but there are well known brands that don’t wrap everything in plastic. If I have a choice between plastic, glass or metal you can be sure I will not choose plastic. At least metal and glass are recyclable even though they are heavier to transport.

I would love it if I lived near a store that sold items in bulk so that I could buy things like, flour, sugar, nuts, beans, and pasta in bulk in my own containers, but out here in the suburbs that is just not a thing right now. I have found that buying my fruit and veggies at a Farmer’s Market when I can or even a conventional supermarket I am more careful with how much I buy and things tend not to go to waste. Buying a plastic bag of apples for instance, might seem like a good price, but if there are more than we can eat in one week things go to waste, how is that saving money? This journey I am on has made me very aware of our habits and I am wasting less.

I have learned quite a bit from YouTubers and I appreciate not only their ideas but also the habits that I picked up from my mother who grew up in the depression and learned to make something from nothing. I have cut back on how many cleaners I use and made sure they were healthier for us to breathe in. I will continue to improve my habits so that I am at least doing what I can have a more minimal impact on the Earth that I am leaving to future generations.

YouTubers to check out: Shelbizleee, SedonaChristina, GoingZeroWaste, LeviHildebrand, SustainablyVegan

These are great and have so much information and they also do not assume that everyone’s journey is the same.

Posted in chemicals, climate change, doing your part, environment, everyday life, going green, habits, Minimal impact, plastic free, plastics, Zero Waste | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

The Home Edit And Organizing In General

After binge watching a show called The Home Edit on Netflix recommended by fellow blogger LA I started looking at my “organized” spaces with a different eye. Starting with my bedroom closet. I will say that I did have the Container Store put in a specially designed closet system and it has changed my life for the better. I do not have a lot of clothes so the women from The Home Edit would have a tough time with “rainbow order” which they use as much as they can. My clothes have a tendency to run to just a few colors (a truncated rainbow), but I do put my clothes together by color so that is something.

Photo by Sorapong Chaipanya on Pexels.com

On to my pantry, on the show they organized at least one of these, but mine is considerably smaller. I mostly store baking ingredients, cooking supplies(oils and potatoes, onions and such), cleaning supplies, shopping bags and the vacuum.It is an awkward space and I will be removing everything from it and redoing it asap. My problem is that for some of the baking items, say, corn meal, not a large amount so I put it in one or two of my cleaned out glass jars, not the prettiest but I can clearly see how much I have, which is the purpose of having clear containers. I do have my flours and sugars in wonderful see through plastic containers, but do I really need to go out and get smaller matching ones for the stuff in jars? The pantries that the show covered, were beautiful and rather large and of course were done for celebrities and looked amazing when they were done. They came in with a ton of containers, made pretty labels and rearranged shelves, it was like the house flipping shows, all staged and beautiful.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

My linen closet needs work and they did not do one on the show so I am on my own, but I basically have been pretty good with it anyway, with the clear exception of having way too many towels, am going through them soon so that I can donate them to an animal shelter. Even when the kids were young and living at home I didn’t have a problem keeping this orderly. I have seen in magazines and on Pinterest how people go and buy beautiful baskets to put things in with nice little labels. Photographs well and I am sure it is pleasing to open up and see everything in it’s place, But I think I might find it tedious to pull out a basket every time I wanted to grab a set of sheets or a towel, never mind putting them away.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I did clean out my medicine closet a few months ago and it has stayed organized and I actually cut down on the containers being used as things were getting lost. I didn’t buy containers specifically for this purpose only using what I had on hand. The Home Edit has a business relationship with the Container Store and I love that store, but when I see them organized it is almost as if they put things into spaces and categories to match the containers instead of the other way around. It is very retail oriented.

Please, do not take this as panning the show and this business, they are doing very well and if you watch it and take away any ideas then it has provided a service. I am trying to live a more sustainable, minimal life and I organize things in my home in order for it to work more efficiently and in that respect I find those spaces beautiful because they are serving their purpose. Is my pantry Pinterest/Instagram worthy…no. I find that more people want to organize so that they can show off a beautiful space, not me. My mismatched jars and containers are never going to make anyone swoon with their beauty. I am not going to buy containers for cereal as we change what we want frequently, it would be nice to know what we are low on, but I can pick up the box and give it a little shake to get an idea. I would not like to have to always stick with the 4 kinds we have in the cabinet now.

The only items that I would love to purchase right now and have been asking for are those pull out shelves for your pots and pans. I have 4 base cabinets that could benefit by having those installed because while I know where everything is I am frequently having to empty part of it to get what is in the back.

So my final take on the show and organizing in general? The show is fun, take it as entertainment only. Organized spaces are beautiful if they work and not just eye candy.

Posted in Netflix, organizing, sustainability | Tagged , | 8 Comments