Friday, January 30, 2015

January Pointless Lists

FYI, this was a delicious cup o' joe.

After much consideration, I'm bring back the monthly Pointless Lists that I gave up writing last year. I don't know, I just kind of miss them is all. I'm sure no one else is as fascinated by my life's random stats as I am, but all I can say about that is there's plenty of room on the internets for you to start your own blog. ;)

Colleges that have sent Abby letters so far since she rocked her PSAT in December:
University of Oregon
Montana State (Eric always wanted to go to college in Montana...)
Seattle Pacific
University of Portland (she's excited about this one)
Northern Arizona
Carroll College (also excited)
Marquette University (excited 'cause it's big and legit)
Texas Christian University
Azusa Pacific University (huh?)
Washington and Lee University (what?)
Tulane University
Regis University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Hamline University
Case Western Reserve University (so many of these I've never heard of...)
Lewis and Clark College (heard of that one!)
Washington State University (I kind of wanted to go there for awhile once)
Santa Clara University
Northwest Nazarene University
University of Miami

...And one invitation to some medical conference meant only for high school seniors. Well, details are boring.

And yes, to be clear, I AM bragging. How many college recruitment letters do you think I got as a sophomore? As a senior? The answer is none. I think it's flippin' fantastic that my girl is so smart! YAY ABBY!

Ahem. Where was I?

Abby and Johanna update:
Last month, the girls entered a contest put on by the Sons and Daughters of the Oregon Pioneers (of which they are card carrying members, thanks to my favorite mother-in-law's diligent research and gumption), and about mid-month we got two email messages saying that both had won in their respective categories (Johanna had to draw a picture; Abby had to write an essay). Lots of jumping around ensued. It was awesome.

Project 333 update:
At the beginning of the month, I was at 29 items. After shopping at the coast, I'm now up to 33--but that's just because I decided to add my beige jacket and orange scarf back into the mix. Why not?

Oh, and actually I was down to 28 items by that first week because Abby snagged my cute purple zip-up sweater. I found I wasn't wearing it as much as I thought I would, and when she expressed interest, I was like, go for it, kid. I hate it when I buy something that I know I'll just love, and then have to acknowledge I made a big ol' mistake. It hurts less that Abby likes it.

Light grocery shopping update:
I've been doing okay on the light shopping front, all things considered. My freezers are still a mess--I'm slowly whittling the contents down--but I feel the real victory stems from my pantry, just because that's the most visible "lightening," if you will, at this point. I'm not overbuying basics, I'm trying very hard to use what's in the cupboard, and at the store I'm trying to get more fresh fruits and veggies rather than rely on their packaged counterparts.

It's a work in progress. This week I tried to match freezer contents together for quick meals (why do I have a container of cooked pasta up there again? I have no idea, but I figured paired with some pesto, what could go wrong? DON'T ANSWER THAT)... but the truth of the matter is that even that takes time and sometimes when I get home from work I'm tired and I just want to sit down and that means it's Random Crap in a Tortilla Night. Again.

Books read:
I can't quite remember when Abby introduced me to the Throne of Glass series, but that's been keeping me busy as of late: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, and THEN I found The Assassin's Blade, a compilation of novellas that take place before Throne of Glass begins. That's where I'm at now, although I stopped reading kind of on purpose after the third story because I know how it's going to end and I'm not quite ready for that yet.

And yes, it's PERFECTLY NORMAL to be so involved in the lives of fictional characters that you want to spare them pain a while longer.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the story arcs, the characters and the writing very much. I love that the main character is an assassin, and yet she's one of the good guys. I also love that she's complicated--she's not always good, and she's not always bad. She reads a lot of books, adores pretty dresses, and can kick some serious ass.

I don't know, they're kind of fun.

What I'm embarrassed to even admit but I'm totally admitting:
Abby has me hooked on Once Upon a Time and, even though I've only seen a few episodes, I'm more than happy to binge watch with her on Netflix. We're in season 3 and Hook is so freaking awesome with his pirate swagger and his shirt that shows his manly hairy chest, and he's so tortured and if he and Emma don't get together soon, I am going to be pissed.

Abby says I need to calm down. No, YOU CALM DOWN, ABBY. Jeez. Just one more episode!

Links to my favorite minimalism/simplicity reads this month:
The real cost of your shopping habits
V is for Values
The Possibility of Blank Spaces

Monday, January 26, 2015

I TOLD you Eric and I are a power couple

On Friday, Eric and I were ever so social, although honestly, we didn't mean to be, and if we'd have had our way, we'd have never left the house all night and there would have been much reading and maybe a little Super Mario Bros., which is Johanna's favorite video game at the moment.

But alas and alack, as we have already established, it's not easy being an introvert in an extroverted world. And yet, we try. Hard.

So for reasons I've never been 100 percent sure of, Eric is the government representative on our local chamber of commerce board. As a member, he goes to a monthly meeting and talks about... chamber-y things, I'm just going out on a limb with that... and then when there's a festival or something, he volunteers him and me, or him and Abby, or him and me and Abby. Jo would help too, except she's too young. As it is, Abby isn't even allowed at some of the functions, which generally include copious amounts of beer and wine and hard cider.

Friday was the chamber's annual member appreciation banquet, and somehow we got out of going last year, but this year our number was up and Eric RSVP-ed us. Bright side: It was at a really nice hotel and the theme was prom, so clearly I would need a ball gown. I have one picked out on Pinterest and everything for just this kind of occasion:


But then I remembered that I'm a minimalist and I need to make do with what I have. Just kidding. Actually what happened is I kind of forgot about it and since I only happened to remember like two days before the actual event, there wasn't time to go shopping. Plus I'm too practical to actually buy a ball gown.

That makes me sad. I'd really look great in that dress.

I remembered two days before, incidentally, because Eric sent me a text that was all, hey, just FYI, apparently we're winning the volunteer of the year award, and I was all, am I getting punked right now? 'Cause that ain't funny, dude, and he's all, if only I was.

Well... damn.

But! Then everyone was talking about it at the paper, and it sort of came about that no reporter had been assigned to cover it, except we always cover it, apparently, and what were we going to do? I was all, calm down, I'm actually going to that thing anyway, I'll do it, and my editor was all, excellent, but hey, it's this great social event so don't worry about taking copious notes, okay? Just have fun! And I'm all, have we not met? In what universe would I pick socializing over taking notes? Plus PS (and I actually did say this part out loud), the only thing that will keep me from having a full on panic attack is going to be that writing assignment. 

But then it turned out that Chelsea, our lovely general manager, was able to come after all, and that made me happy because yay! Someone we could sit with! And so what if she saw me knock over my chair, fumble with my camera, and run into a table? She sees me do that every damn day at work already.

So I'm sitting there, eating what I hope is a very all-natural non-artificial kind of meal (they had some kind of roasted vegetable dish that I really wished I'd taken two scoops of instead of one. Like, I'm not even sure why it was so good. It was just roasted vegetables. But it was amazing) and writing down the highlights of the speeches given by... jeez, everybody. The mayor, our state representative, the chamber president, everyone. Bite, notes, sip of wine (our wine tasting tour taught me that, while I'd much rather drink coffee, white wine isn't terrible), more notes, another bite. Just doing my job, everyone! Just blending in!

And then the chamber president guy is all, we're now going to present a very unique award for our volunteer of the year thingy (paraphrasing because I had kind of stopped listening as I was too busy trying to breathe normally) and we're honoring a family! The Walker family! They come early and stay late, and they're great and stuff. (Again, paraphrasing. Not panicking is way harder than you'd think.)

Eric and I were looking at each other like, uh, yeah we come early 'cause then we can get it done and get the hell out, but hey, thanks for making us sound less lame than we are, and then we awkwardly stood up and waved and then sat back down.

Hey, though, afterwards, Eric took pictures for me, which Chelsea thought was adorable (totally was), and I went around and got some follow up fact checking done, and then I sniffed out the coffee and had two cups to calm my nerves and then Eric and I cut it up on the dance floor.

Joke. We chatted with a few people we knew and then left.

And just so we're all on the same page, we totally won this award because of Abby. She's the darling of the chamber, I kid you not. They love it when she comes with us because she's a rock star and personable and smart enough to handle whatever task they set her up for, be that making coffee or taking tickets. Too bad she could't come to the banquet with us, actually. That would have been fun.

Not to point out the obvious, but clearly winning awards for being awesome is something power couples do all the time. It's so hard to be so great, you guys. Such a burden, really.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Another Christmas House weekend for the books

This past weekend was the Walker Family annual Christmas House (so-called because when the tradition started 17 years ago, we always did this at Christmastime; these days, it would be more accurately called the I Have a Dream House because it's turned into a MLK weekend kind of ordeal, but Christmas House is just quicker to say). As we have for the past few years, we rented a house in Lincoln City, Ore., on Devil's Lake. It might seem weird to rent a lake house at the coast (hello, Pacific Ocean!), but this plan is actually full of win: Less traffic near the lake, quiet setting, still close to town. Plus it's a house that fits all of us comfortably. When you're up to 25, even if three of you are babies, that's really something to consider.

I love this tradition, by the way. Instead of buying Christmas gifts for everyone, we pool our money to cover the house and food costs and just hang out together (more expensive at this point, but way more enjoyable). I love that my girls have grown up with this. Experiences over stuff, you guys. That's minimalism!

Plus the Walkers are just super fun and cool. It's not bragging if it's true.

Here's a run-down of the weekend's events for posterity. I mean, what else am I supposed to write about?

The Good
Finally saw Silver Linings Playbook (loved it!), lots of chatting, a rather delightful three-hour nap on Saturday, heavy rain doesn't deter anyone from doing anything at the coast, cousin time for the girls, card time with the boys for Eric, hot tub time for Johanna, and just general awesomeness all around.

The Bad
Why is the toilet paper in rental houses only one-ply? That is the only bad thing I can think of, and yet, we survived.

The Ugly
I took one photo all weekend. What the what?

Figure 1.
Johanna and Reid (see "The Babies," below).

The Insane
We watched the Seahawks vs. Packers game, which was interesting because there were 24 Seahawks fans and one Packers fan amongst us, and things were looking pretty bleak there for a while, but then! The Seahawks came back with like 16 points in the last four minutes, I don't know, I wasn't paying that close of attention, but it was awesome.

That's not even the insane part, though. Cute Rachel's boyfriend announced that he was going to jump in the lake if the Seahawks won, and then all of a sudden he's shedding clothing and running for the dock and we're all like, no way! and following because it's not everyday you see someone jump in a lake. Then my sister-in-law decides she's going in and has to pretty much be rescued by the boyfriend and her son-in-law Andy before Andy jumps in, too.

You guys, what is this nonsense? It's WINTER. It's the COAST. It's freaking freezing!

Johanna also jumped in the lake, but that's just because she got too hot in the hot tub and Eric encourages anarchy, apparently, even when his beloved wife is screaming from the door DON'T YOU EVEN DARE. Jo started the trend, actually. She and Eric were way too proud of themselves.

The Coffee
Coffee, naturally, plays a big part in my life, and this weekend was no different. We had coffee in house, of course, but then Abby and I were forced to go into the world (to a cute little coffee shop in the outlet mall one day, to Starbucks the next two) for more because hello, you can never have too much coffee in your cup. Side note: I finally tried the Starbucks Flat White and mmm! I'm a fan!

So is Johanna. She drank half of mine.

The Shopping
So you guys, I tried to keep light in mind while at the outlet mall. And I did okay. I replaced my black and navy long-sleeve t-shirts and my pair of jeans (and learned Levis makes a 34-inch inseam, which rocked my world) and added a white long-sleeve t-shirt, a teal pullover sweater and a black turtleneck sweater (I know, I know, but! Sweaters!). Um, I also bought a pair of super long yoga pants so someday, theoretically, if I were to fight my fears and go to an actual yoga class instead of, say, just doing yoga in my living room, I wouldn't look like (much more of) a dork. But those things don't count because Courtney.

The Unexpected
My favorite grey sweater (favorite even though I look kind of terrible in grey) got a hole in the back collar almost ASAP after purchasing the thing at Eddie Bauer in September. I causally mentioned that to the kid behind the counter as I was buying Johanna a plain black t-shirt (that is another post for another time) and she was all, that is not right, and then went and found my sweater in my size and traded me one for one right there. Um, I was not expecting that. Wicked cool, Eddie Bauer kid!

My new sweater is a little more oversized than my old sweater, but is way better quality. I can't figure out why that is, since this is from an outlet and the other was from an honest to God store, but whatevs. There are just some things in this life you can't explain.

The Minimal Packing
I wore clothes. Every day! No one noticed I was recycling the same items over and over. Oh, and oops, I brought a nice pair of pants for Mass and then totally forgot to wear them. So I could have packed lighter is what I'm saying. I kind of wished I'd packed my tennis shoes so I could have walked on the beach... or around the lake/neighborhood.

The Babies
Babies! Are fun! But they weren't all that interested in me unless I had my iPad, and then we were best friends. Reid (2) was Johanna's satellite all weekend long, which was hilarious. She took it all in stride. Logan (1) and Kayden (2) were mostly just enamored with her block building skills, especially since she let them knock all towers over.

The Food
My sister-in-law Debbie was in charge of renting the house and getting all the food figured out (no easy feat), and wow, she nailed it. Here's a little something she made for Saturday breakfast that I ended up eating all three mornings we were there because A) Delicious and 2) Leftover are the best.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Abby Texts: Poetry

Abby: Just chose a poem to memorize for English. It's twenty six lines about peeling a grapefruit. I love it

Me: Niiiiice

Abby: Can't memorize grapefruit. Too short. :'(

Me: Booooo!

Abby: I was going to do one about basketball because it was awesome at first but then it started talking about old men having sex and yeah no

Me: Gross


Abby: Oh dope, now I found a poem about onions. Imma do that one 

Me: Mmm

Abby: Hahaha It's weird I love it

Monday, January 19, 2015

Packing light, long weekend edition

This past weekend was the Walker Family Christmas House in Lincoln City, Ore., which is always a good time because A) We get to visit with a lot of really cool people and 2) babies! Fun fact: Babies are so much more awesome when they're not actually yours. (Well, mine were, of course, but there's something to be said for 10 and 15.)

But we'll talk all about that on Friday. Today we're focusing on my tiny little wardrobe and how that translates into a three night, four day mini vacation.

What I wore on the way there:
Jeans (my one and only pair)
White button-down blouse
Maroon pullover sweater (aka my favorite sweater EVER)
Ankle boots (aka my footwear workhorse)
Black coat

In the bag:
Long sleeve black t-shirt
Grey stripped pullover sweater
Beige jacket (which isn't even in my rotation. Ah, well)
Twill pants
Black scarf

Totally don't even count:
Funky jade pendant
PJs (leggings, long sleeve t-shirt, hoodie)
Unmentionables (euphemisms are dumb)
Hella tech cords for my iPod, iPad, Kindle and phone (can you say "poser"?)

I figured I could wear the jeans and sweater from the trip to the coast on the trip from the coast, so that took care of two days right there. The other two days equaled mixing and matching my jeans with my black t-shirt with my grey pullover with my beige jacket with my twill pants with my black scarf. I was tempted to throw in a black cardigan too, JUST IN CASE, but then I figured it would be good for me to embrace the fear head-on and just keep that thing hanging in my closet.

Whew! Ten (countable) items to rock a basketball game, eating, visiting, a televised Seahawks game, shopping, church and playing with babies. And P.S. I had plenty of room left in my cute little bag.

Now, the real question on everybody's minds (I'm sure): Was I able to keep my wits about me when faced with the outlet mall Eddie Bauer? That's another topic for another day. ;)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Light 2015: Grocery store edition part II

WWI poster. Fascinating!

Well, people, here we are, five days after my bold Declaration of Independence decision to focus on working off the food stores cluttering my freezer and cupboards, and you know what? This week was mostly full of win.

I love mostly full of win!

So yadda yadda yadda, here's what we ate:

Oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies. When our store's bulk aisle was 20 percent off across the board a few months back, I went nuts. I don't cook a lot with either oatmeal or coconut, so why did I buy vast amounts of those items? Huh, I forget. On the plus side, I had all the right ingredients for this basic oatmeal cookie recipe, to which I added a cup of shredded dried coconut and a cup of chocolate chips. I got that idea from a fancy-pants organic market in town that sells such cookies for $2 each. I'm kind of a copying genius.

Roasted chicken. I bought an organic chicken months and months ago and just tossed it into the freezer instead of dealing with it in a timely manner. I finally got it defrosted, but Eric gets the credit for this one, since he popped it into the oven right before he headed out the door to watch the Ducks vs. Bucks game at his brother's. We ate on this thing for three days straight and still had leftovers for the freezer. Gah, more freezer clutter. I guess we're having chicken soup next week.

Stir-fry veggies and rice. Before my decision to go all anti-shopping, my favorite grocery had a 13 hour produce sale, and I bought all manner of lettuce, broccoli, celery, carrot, onion cucumber, apple, banana and (one) pineapple (which looked kind of sketch but ended up being delicious). You can't really put a cucumber in a stir fry, but everything else (well, vegetable-wise) was fair game. Except! I forgot to cut up the onion! Ah, well. It was still delicious. Especially sprinkled with a little Walker Rub.

Oh, and the rice? Another casualty of that aforementioned bulk aisle super sale.

Pan roasted pork chops with caramelized onions. We have half of a very happily, humanely raised hog in the freezer, and one of my favorite ways to deal with pork chops is to pan roast: Starting the chops in my cast iron skillet with a little olive oil to brown, then finishing off the whole ordeal in a 450º oven. I also caramelized an onion because I have a bag of those things now so what the heck?

Turkey pot pie. Duuuuudes, we still have Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer. Like, a lot of turkey. I happened to have all the ingredients for a turkey pot pie (which used up some turkey, a couple cups of leftover frozen chicken broth, and quite a few of the fresh veggies listed above). Unfortunately, my recipe is 19 years old, and, having been cut out of a newspaper, I can't find any comparable links. (Basically, you need a bottom crust patted into a pie plate; then you make a roux with 4 tablespoons of butter, four tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of chicken broth, add your cooked chicken or turkey, add some frozen veggies--in this case I used fresh sautéed--and pour over the bottom crust. Um, duh. Then you either add a top crust or some kind of biscuit topping, and bake in a 425º oven for like 20 minutes. This is all from memory, though, so buyer beware.)

Johanna thinks turkey pot pie is disgusting. Well, she hates cooked vegetables. But Abby and Eric and I are fans. A 3/4 win is better than nothing!

Also, afterthought: Why didn't I roast the chicken first and use the leftovers there for the pot pie? Perspective! Now you have it.


In retrospect, this looks fairly boring, but you know what? We all got fed, which is most of the battle right there. One downside of not stocking up: We ran out of cheese on Wednesday, there's no soy sauce anywhere to be found, and the girls are going through withdrawals because the Annie's Cheddar Bunnies are long gone.

But hey! Progress!

P.S. The rest of the month is going to be The Great Pantry and Freezer Clean-out Part II--because my food hoarding tendencies are not just a one-week to fix kind of ordeal--but I won't check in about it again until the end of the month, just FYI. And if anyone feels like sharing their own experiences with this in the comments, I would truly love that.

And here I thought Victory Gardens
were just a WWII thing...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Zero Waste Wednesday: Bulk aisle sucanat sugar

Okay, you guys, here's some news I've been very excited to share with you. So excited, in fact, that I've just sat on this information for the past three months.

Spoiler alert: Sucanat sugar acts like brown sugar.


Hey, so in my zero waste/minimalism mania, I've been trying to figure out how to replace products in my kitchen that are generally packaged very non-environmentally friendly-like. I bake a lot, so it stand to reason that I buy a lot of brown sugar. In its stupid plastic bags. Surely we could do better than that.

I scoped out our bulk section, but couldn't see anything that looked all brown-sugary. The old hippy in our natural foods section (I'd feel bad about calling her that, except that's what she calls herself because she is awesome) happened to be floating around, so I asked her what was what.

And boy, did I get a lesson. Apparently natural food section people LOVE to talk about natural foods.

The short answer is sucanat:
It's made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. Once the juice is reduced to a rich, dark syrup, it is hand-paddled. Hand paddling cools and dries the syrup, creating the dry, porous granules we call Sucanat. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out!  
--From Wholesome Sweeteners website
Apparently (I don't know, science is hard), commercial brown sugar is made by taking everything out to make it white, and then adding molasses back in. "What is wrong with our food system?" she asked after a similar explanation. Then she let me try a sample (she's my new BFF), and based on that little interaction ('cause it was delicious), I filled my glass jar with the little granules with hope full in my heart.

Just in case you're curious, this is what I use for my
bulk flour, sugar, coffee, oats and...

My hippy friend warned me that sucanat does not act like brown sugar when you're baking with it. It doesn't completely incorporate when you're mixing up your baked goods, for example--but that's cool because it melts in the oven. (When I make my vanilla syrup on the stovetop, however, it melts just fine.) It was slightly alarming the first time I mixed up a batch of cookies, just because it IS different than what I was used to, but you guys, the results were so fantastic. How fantastic? Let's just say that I have no interest in buying traditional brown sugar anymore, and not just because of the packaging. Sucanat just tastes better. That's enough for me.

Zero waste victory!

Zero waste
Tastes amazing
No annoying brown sugar clumps to deal with

When you first switch over and your 15-year-old decides to make cookies while you're at work, she won't believe you that the sucanat is actually the brown sugar and will therefore end up not making cookies after all. That is very disappointing, because you really, really wanted cookies.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Light 2015: Grocery store edition

I am not 100 percent sure why, but I am a bit of a food hoarder. Minimalism in the rest of my life? Sure, no problem. But when it comes to food? Minimalism goes right out the window.

Every. Single. Time.

I did a search for pantry pictures and this is what came up. I'm not strong
enough to resist something like this, even though I've never been a Woody
Woodpecker fan. That guy is just annoying.

I've learned so much since becoming a minimalist, and I think it's time I get my act together on the food clutter front.

Some of it I can justify: I like to can local produce in the summertime, and we have half a (FFA) hog in the freezer. My Christmas gifts mainly involved fruit jams and butters, and that takes space to store. But most of it I cannot: The soups and tomato sauces and the bags of candy I bought at Halloween because they were only $1.79 each.

I's not uncommon for me to buy what's on my list--or not--in multiples. It's worse if something is on sale because then I really stock up.

What am I even doing?

You guys, I have no idea. But it needs to stop. I'm not prepping for disaster.* I'm just trying to feed four people for a seven days at a time.

So this week, my goal is to make a dent in the stockpile--and to be very aware of my overbuying tendencies while at the store. I tried SO HARD during my weekly shopping gig to just stick to my list. And I mostly did. Well, Abby was with me, and she really wanted to try the organic fruit snacks, and I let her toss them in the cart.


I don't have a concrete plan in place, but I have some vague outlines in mind. I'll check in on Friday to let you know how it went and how creative I had to be. ;)

*Oh, I know. Our area extension office encourages everyone to have a 72-hour emergency kit in their basement for when The Big One strikes. While we don't have emergency kits, we could totally make it, although we might get sick of, say, home-canned peaches and pickles by the time it was over. On the bright side, there's also the Halloween candy.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Project 333: January 1 to March 31 edition

Once upon a time, Project 333 caused me a great deal of stress. Well, maybe "stress" is too harsh of a word. It just took me hours to go through my clothing and figure out what was going to make the cut. It's interesting how 33 items are so many, and yet, so few. Irony! Or maybe just coincidence.

Blouse, left, and tank top, right.
Both thrifted, now that I think about it.

Well, whatever. My Winter 333 capsule isn't that much different than my Fall 333 capsule. And it took me all of zero seconds to figure this out. That's called the Just Flip the Calendar Page and Get On With It approach. It totally works.

I have, as follows:

Grey: Pants, skirt, cardigan, turtleneck sweater, pullover sweater (5)
Black: Pants, long-sleeve T-shirt, (black and white) blouse, (black and white) tank, cardigan, scarf, boots, ankle boots, flats, coat (10)
Purple/Maroon: Zip-up sweater, pullover sweater (2)
Red: Scarf (1)
White/Beige: Blouse, skirt, pants (3)
Teal: Zip-up sweater, t-shirt skirt (2)
Navy/Blue/Light blue: Cardigan, (navy) long sleeve shirt, (light) long sleeve shirt, jeans, denim skirt, scarf (6)

Some quick math shows us that this equals 29 items. That's cool. Because disclaimer, we're going to be heading to Lincoln City later this month for the annual Walker Family Christmas House, and there's this outlet mall, and... well, let's just say that I lose my head when Eddie Bauer is nearby, even if I am mad at them for their shoddy workmanship as of late. We'll see how strong I manage to be is what I'm saying.

Hey, want to know what I learned about my wardrobe recently? (I mean, besides the fact that I have a sweater problem.) I look kind of terrible in gray. This is because my hair is getting grayer and grayer, and it makes me look washed out, I think. The tops, anyway. So it's kind of unfortunate.

Ah, well. New Year's Resolution: NO MORE GRAY.

My scarves. How did I live so long without a black one?

P.S. For those who worry about unforeseen circumstances, aka a wardrobe that is supposed to get you through the dead of winter to the very first whispers of spring, what I've learned is that as long as you have a couple of pieces that could theoretically work for warmer weather--in my case, three skirts and a tank top--it's going to be fine. Also: Worrying about the future never pans out, you guys. If you absolutely have to switch something out before the three months are over, do it. This isn't clothing jail! We're experimenting with living with less! And we're keeping our wits about us as we do. ;)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Embracing the light

Art by my Johanna.

Last year, I made a New Year's Revolution, aka The Care Package Project. And that was fun. But this year, I want to do something different.

I was introduced to the idea of picking a word to guide myself through the year last December. There's a whole bunch of steps you can take to pick your word, but mostly I just focused on what I wanted to manifest in my life: Peace. Contentment. Love. And then printed those words out and pasted them to the door of my wardrobe, so I wouldn't forget.

And you know what? It was kind of awesome to have those words to focus on no matter what was going on in my life at the time. I might have been screaming "I CHOOSE LOVE (or peace, or contentment), %$&@!," but still, I was choosing it.

This year, I had a little better understanding of what this whole ordeal entailed, and so, in December, I chose a new word for 2015: Light.

Light! Light on commitments, light on technology (that's going to be tough), light on my body (choosing to fill it with the food that does not kill me), light on my mind (embracing downtime), light on possessions (yes, there are still things I could purge), light on criticism. Light when I pack, light when I feel heavy, light when I feel dark. Treading lightly upon this earth. Being a light.

Light also embraces my three words from last year: Light means peace. Light means contentment. Light means love.

The only thing I will not be embracing lightly will be coffee because hello, that's why all my people are still alive. ;)

As part of this lightening of the load, I'm committing to posting just two times a week in 2015 instead of three. My new days will be Mondays and Fridays. Sometimes I will post a Bonus Tuesday or a Zero Waste Wednesday. Sometimes I will not. Sometimes the words will be too much to contain for just two days a week. Sometimes there will be barely enough to cover the two. But I feel like, for light's sake, I need to give myself a little more leeway on the blogging front. It's been overwhelming for a while now, but I wanted to stick it out until the end of 2014 because... I'm silly that way.

So here's to 2015 and to light. See you on Friday, my friends.