Friday, April 11, 2014

Simplicity through frugality

I have not always been frugal. Sometimes I get flashbacks to unnecessary spending and recognize that I would rather be $30 closer to my tiny house than have that pair of unworn pair of pants sitting in my closet. Over time I've come to realize that I can't always predict buyer's remorse. Sometimes I will wait a month to purchase an item only to regret it anyways. On other occasions I have made impulse buys that I continue to love, use, and appreciate today.

For me, simplicity and frugality go hand in hand. To live simply is to want less, to want less is to buy less, and to buy less is to live frugally. Frugality then becomes simplicity as well. A circle.

Here are some ways to bring both simplicity and frugality into your life:

1. Consider what role something will play in your life. Do you own an item already that could serve the same purpose?

2. Think about money in terms of future goals and experiences. "Is this kitchen gizmo better than lunch in a European cafe during my travels?"

3. Question your intentions. Do you want something because it would truly better your life or is it just something you feel you shouldn't pass up?

4. If in doubt, live without. A purchase can always be made in the future. For now, put the cash towards your future goals! For me that means it goes straight into the travel/tiny house fund.

Living frugally is an art form that I have not yet mastered. Last month on my travels to Taos, New Mexico I set a budget and stuck to it. hough that money was still spent on meaningful things, in the end it was still unnecessary purchasing. I tried to buy from places I wanted to support- free museums, local businesses, and people who were passionate about their craft. Though it's not always possible, I try to make my purchases speak to my way of life.

Contemplate this: what does the way you spend your money say about you and your values?

Enjoy today,

Monday, March 3, 2014

On introversion

It came to my attention that I casually drop the term "introversion" in my writings quite often. I'd like to define what I mean by that word and explain my little introverted self.

What introversion means to me:

  • I need time by myself, especially if I've been spending time with other people
  • Writing and thinking introspectively are a top to-do
  • Sometimes I make a bubble around myself to observe rather than participate
  • Loud noise and/or music can be overstimulation and make me power down
  • When I get the chance, I like to take myself on "dates" to the library, coffee shop, or farmer's market
Coffee and studying... by myself

What introversion isn't for me:
  • Shyness- I may look like I'm timid, but often I'm just listening 
  • Fear of people- spending time with good people brings me joy... but I still need to recharge afterwards
  • Something to overcome- Though I can push it aside when needed, I've accepted my introverted nature and respect it. It doesn't prevent me from living fully.
Taking myself on a farmer's market date
We all describe ourselves differently. Some who identify as introverted might find all that I have written above to be entirely inaccurate in defining themselves. Some who identify as extroverted might connect with what I have written. The power comes when you define what you need as an individual human and stand by that with all of your might.

Enjoy today,

P.s. for more reading on introversion read Quiet, visit Susannah Conway's blog, or check out this old post of mine

Monday, February 24, 2014

Simple foods

Veggies. Spices. Smoked salmon. Oatmeal. Whole wheat. Banana. Grapefruit. Whole foods to remind me of the simple joys in the everyday- and the simple joy of making and sharing food with loved ones!

Enjoy today,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Enough: practicing my word in 2014

Last year my word was brave. How fitting, for a year of change and growing up. For 2014 I chose enough. As in, I am enough (inspiration from Brene Brown). In the past month and a half, I've been practicing the art of enough.

I say I am enough when...

  • I've been busy all day... and then I go to bed at 8
  • Eating healthy has been a priority... and then I have some chocolate
  • I managed to get myself to the gym after a long day... and then I take it easy in my workout 
  • All I've done is listen... so I sit in silence 
  • I forget to floss my teeth 
  • I'd like a nice, introvert-friendly evening of books and pens and tea
  • Choosing to take care of myself is more appealing than another commitment 
I am enough
I am enough.
I am enough.
We are all enough.

Enjoy today,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine to my hometown

I dream of rainy days, grey skies, and biking through mud puddles with precipitation speckled on my glasses.
I long for the smell of liquid sky on concrete. The jingle of a coffee shop door and the whine of my favorite espresso machine. My pen pausing for a sip of the bitter love from a hand-warming mug. 
I've been trained up well. Throw me in a farmer's market and I can find my way around just fine. I can spot a local restaurant just a bike ride away. My wardrobe tests positive for precipitation antibodies in the form of rain jackets and knee-high rubber boots. They're my first line of defense. 
Take me back to the state of local kale, moss, and alternative transportation. 
This dry, snowy place is only temporary. Soon I'll trade snotsickles for damp hair.  Snowflakes for raindrops. My home for my home home. 
Enjoy today,
p.s. check out the first of my series of monthly contributions to here!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brave: 2013 a year in review

A little more than a year ago I was sitting on a beach in Hawaii, deciding what my word would be for 2013. Inspired by Susannah Conway and her workbook Unraveling the Year Ahead, I wanted to pick a word that I could use to push me forward in my year of change. Nothing seemed more daunting then graduating high school and leaving for college 1400 miles away. Knowing that I would be faced with making new friends, trying new things, and managing mostly on my own I figured I could use some guts. So I picked brave. Let's look back at how this word, thought to myself, pushed me to take so many opportunities in these past 365 earthly rotations.

Tiny House Workshop

In April I took my bike (and my parents) down to Portland for a PAD tiny house workshop weekend. This was the first time I thought to myself, be brave. I didn't know anyone who would be there and on top of that I would be attending the workshop solo. But I did it anyway and met some wonderful people (like Lina). My biggest lesson here was that it's worth it to do what you love- you'll make friends along the way!

You Can't Take It with You

 Yes, that's me swooning in the apron on the left. Somehow I went from managing auditions to getting a part in my high school's spring show. It might have had something to do with my grabbing a script and hopping up on stage with the other auditioners. My previous acting consisted of a single monologue in Drama 1 as a freshman, so I was fairly unprepared. And did I mention I had to attempt a Russian accent? Stepping out from behind the stage manager's script was a true test of my bravery and an experience I'm glad I had (though I'm highly unlikely to repeat).

I marched across that stage and gladly accepted my diploma, knowing this meant change was to come!

I spent this summer traveling to the Oregon coast, the California redwoods, and volunteering at farm camp thorough the lovely Common Threads Farm. This was my first time working with kids and leading cooking activities. Surprisingly, that took some bravery. Teaching kids about healthy eating and cooking is my plan for the future, and I didn't want to start off poorly. I got the hang of it, though, which leads me to....

Undergraduate Research
Ask, and you shall receive. Be brave. I kept these two things in mind as I met with a professor at CSU who currently runs a research program in the prevention of childhood obesity. Simply by asking I was able to work with graduate students teaching cooking and tasting lessons in 4th grade classrooms across two school districts. This project (and my participation in it) will continue through my four undergraduate years at CSU. Truly a dream come true.

I made friends, accepted my introverted self, and fell in love with blues dancing. All by being brave enough to say yes to new adventures.

Being back home has made me realize how much having brave as my word guided me to live fully in the past year. I accepted so many opportunities that I might have said no to before, and I see the positive way my life has changed as a result. Through 2014 I will have a new word and though it won't be brave, bravery will continue to be a part of my life.

As I wrote on the cover of my planner, "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for" -Oprah Winfrey. In the coming year I ask for life, love, gratitude, and grace.

Enjoy today,
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