March Life Admin Day and GYST List

I’ve mentioned it before but I first found out about Life Admin Days friom MuchelleB on YouTube. This is a day that you schedule where you sit down and get stuff done. It’s a day or part of a day to get those nagging tasks that you keep putting off out of your way. Things that have been on your “to do” list but keep getting put off for another time. Action items that require you to do something you really dislike, like for me, talk on the phone. Your life admin day is a time to knock off as many as these tasks as you can in a set amount of time.

A Lot of people and productivity gurus are now also calling this a GYST Day (get your sh*t together). One of the keys to these methods is to schedule in this time and treat it as work, or any other event you have bc it’s easy to constantly push annoying life tasks aside.

I tried to have a Life Admin Day in February but I kept pushing it back and back! Defeats the whole point, right? This month, I decided to do it early in the month to make sure I got it done. I scheduled the time I wanted to take and put it in my bullet journal as an appointment or task just like I would if I were going to work or writing a blog post.

Here was my list for things to get done:
call for car appointment
pay bills
sort out eye doc bill
sort out urgent care bill
sign up for ez pass
start seed/garden list
clean cat boxes
water plants
lunch with mom


I also wrote myself a physical list outside my BuJo to be able to check everything off, carry around, or move as needed. I love crossing things off any to do list!! I blocked off several hours to get things done and proceeded to do as much as I could! Not all my tasks were admin tasks, some were just weekly or daily things that needed to get done.

As you can see, I didn’t get everything done. Some items got pushed to later in the day, some to the following day, some to the next admin day (or the next one). Although I didn’t get everything done, It felt really good to complete some tasks that had been nagging me to weeks. I definitely plan to have another Life Admin Day, perhaps making it a monthly event.

Have you planned a day like this? If so, was it helpful to keep your life more organized? Do you have any other tricks for this sort of productivity?

Three Days in New Orleans

In the end of February, we took our first (of hopefully many) Johnson Family Travel Vacation to New Orleans!


Our trip started very out very early and very rainy! But it was all worth it to get to NOLA and the sunny 55 degree weather! We headed straight out to the French Quarter, and into the Marigny to find our first meal of the day.

One struggle we encounter this trip was how meat oriented many of the restaurants in New Orleans. The last time we were in the city, my husband and I ate fish, and we found eating out much easier. This trip, each time we looked for a restaurant we had to pass up one or two before we found one that had enough vegetarian or vegan options. This can be frustrating, but we actually had really awesome luck and stumbled on some amazing restaurants!

After delicious vegetarian lunch at Sukho Thai, we headed back thru the quarter and checked into the hotel. We had no idea that the preliminary Mardi Gras festivities would be going on, but we had fun checking out all the tourists and locals enjoying the New Orleans fun. We saw a ton of dogs all dressed up and later learned that we missed the puppy parade by mere minutes!


It was a beautiful day and we relaxed, went in the hotel pool, walked around, spent time with family, people watched, and ended up in Uptown to find dinner later in the evening. Another thing that had changed quite a bit since the first time I was in NOLA, was that we saw far less cabs and far more ubers/lifts. Since neither my husband or I use those services, we spent a lot of time hoping for a cab but instead walking a great distance. It worked in our favor bc we discovered some great places we may not have. We stumbled upon and ate at an amazing hole-in-the-wall Ethiopian place that we will definitely revisit on another trip!


Our hotel was very fancy and accommodating, and we were happy to retire there at the end of the first long and adventurous day.


Day two started with a touristly trip around the city on a double decker bus. It was rainy and cold which was pretty perfect to get toured around and see an overview of the city. After the tour with the family, we split up to explore some things we saw, or had on our lists.

A tip I would have for visiting New Orleans is to remember that a lot of things are closed on Mondays. This is the second trip that I have spent a Monday in NO, and it’s a bit of a challenge to plan things that we wanted to see around the fact that Mondays are kind of a dead day there. It all worked out since we love to just want around and see different neighborhoods which is exactly what we ended up doing.


One of my favorite things about walking around neighborhood in New Orleans (and everywhere!) is seeing cats and other animals. We were not disappointed this trip and even saw this dog talking to two local cats!


After two days we had walked around 7 neighborhoods; Central Business District, The French Quarter, The Marginy, Uptown, The Garden District, East Carrollton, and we ended the second day by walking through the 9th Ward to get drinks with a friend and see live music.


For our final day we headed back to East Carrollton and ate at one of our favorite restaurants in NOLA. Most of our family was able to come and it was nice to have a big meal together before the end of the trip. Then we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art. None of us had ever been to the museum before, so it was nice to see everything together. I’ll talk more about the museum in another post!


Our final stop before traveling to the airport was to go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets! A must do for every visit to New Orleans!

We left the city with a long lists of places and things we want to see next time we are in town!

Have you been to NOLA? If so, what are you go-to spots?


What I Ate 2/20/19

This was a pretty typical of eating for me. And it was a pretty typical day for documenting in that it started off strong, but kinda petered off.


Everyday, always, forever starts off with coffee.


But I’ve also been smitten with ginger tea. So simple, so good! Usually this is just ginger slices in hot water. Sometimes I add honey.


For breakfast/lunch/first meal of the day I had a salad with romaine, homemade crunchy croutons, Quorn chicken nuggets, and store bought caesar dressing. And lots of fresh ground black pepper!
Fake chicken doesn’t always agree with me, but a chicken caesar salad is one of my all time favorite meals and I was craving it! I love getting this brand and type bc it comes only in cardboard (no plastic!) and I can heat just a few nuggs up at a time, so there is less waste. Store bought dressing is one things I want to give up and start making myself, but I haven’t motivated to do it quite yet.


On this day I went grocery shopping and couldn’t resist snacking on some pistachios in the car. We go on various nut kicks and pistachios have been a hot for a while now. I usually by them in a plastic bag, unfortunately. But we take that bag to be recycled at some of our local shops.


Grocery shopping usually leads to unhealthy snacking for me! I have been digging these self-serve mochi lately. No plastic!


My husband prefers the self-serve donuts. If they are around, I’ll take a bite.


As usual, my dinner pics are a little lacking! We had one of our favorite vegan meals this night: tofu, rice, broccoli, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili garlic sauce. I wish this meal were a little more zero waste, but the tofu and chili garlic sauce only come in plastic near us.

On many nights, I would also eat something sweet at the end of my meals, but since I snacked on so many sweets today I didn’t feel like eating anything else sweet.

I was happy to eat a lot of my favorite foods today but this could have easily been a vegan day of eating, as well. I find myself trying to assess my meals and see where they can become more vegan and more sustainable.

What did you eat today?

February Plant Update

February was a great month for plant observations!! We saw a lot of things, we traveled, we revisited our sacred spaces.

A snowy morning in Cape May, NJ.

A snowy morning in Cape May, NJ.

A foggy morning in Asbury Park, NJ.

A foggy morning in Asbury Park, NJ.

Two of my favorite pine trees.

Two of my favorite pine trees.

A pink morning.

A pink morning.

This plant scares my husband, but look at it’s beautiful blooms!!

This plant scares my husband, but look at it’s beautiful blooms!!

Lovely colors, oxalis never disappoints.

Lovely colors, oxalis never disappoints.

One of the only snowy days so far…

One of the only snowy days so far…

…it looked like it might be a crazy snow day, but it melted quickly.

…it looked like it might be a crazy snow day, but it melted quickly.

And then there was New Orleans.

And then there was New Orleans.

I will never get over Spanish moss.

I will never get over Spanish moss.

I also learned about resurrection moss which grows in NOLA all year, sometimes dying back and they spontaneously growing right back.

I also learned about resurrection moss which grows in NOLA all year, sometimes dying back and they spontaneously growing right back.

It was really great and very odd to visit somewhere were flowers were blooming in Feb.

It was really great and very odd to visit somewhere were flowers were blooming in Feb.

Seeing bees already hard at work was a wonderful sight.

Seeing bees already hard at work was a wonderful sight.

Going somewhere warm with flowers blooming was a great pick me up. Winter is the hardest time for me and seeing some green plants and bright flowers was an awesome inspiration for me. Spring really is right around the corner!

I’m excited to see March’s plants! What was February like where you live or travel?

February in Review

February is always a packed month, but this year it was especially so. We had many celebrations, much work, much fun, visiting and exploration.

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The very beginning of the month started in Cape May, NJ, for our 6th anniversary. My birthday is also in this month and we spent that at he beach, as well. At the end of February, we took a very special family trip to New Orleans, LA. I also went on a quick jaunt to Ardmore, PA.

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It was super cold this month, with a few weird warm days sprinkled in to keep us on our toes. But #watchercats were out and about in Feb, taking in the sun when possible.

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We tried a few new restaurants, and explored NJ a bit this in February. But we also got to visit old haunts in New Orleans! It was a treat to share some of our favorite spots with family!

February is always kinda of blur, being the shortest and coldest month here. There is the faintest whiff of spring in the air, but I have a feeling March will be another long wintery month. Let’s see!

Bullet Journal Check In: February Clothing Tracker

Starting this year, I was curious to see how often I was wearing each item in my capsule wardrobe. The size of my current bullet journal is perfect to be able to write down each item!

I used a very simple layout, in January, writing down all the items first and filling in when I wore them.


For February, I am writing them down as I wear them. And marking where I repeat items.


As for the wardrobe side of this experiment, so far, I’m very intrigued by the results. Since I have so many pieces in my winter capsule, they only each get worn a few times each month. It has really given me pause about including so many pieces in each capsule. I was also surprised that I really do try to wear just about everything I have included. I was not surprised at what pieces were my go to items that I returned to again and again. I’ll be interested to track the last 1.5 months of this capsule and see what changes in my next capsule wardrobe as a result of this tracker!

As for the bullet journal aspect of this experiment, I haven’t found a tracker layout that I really like. This feels like something I would like to continue for a few more months, at least, but this tracker is pretty boring to fill out. It’s also a little hard to read. I’m sure if I had less items to list, it would look less cluttered, but I’m not convinced that will happen! My BuJo style is very minimal, so I’m not sure what other type of layout I could use. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Do you tack your wardrobe?

6 Month of Zero Waste: Trash Audit Review

In January, I wrote about some things to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July. Are you following along?

Last month, we separated and audited our trash. What did you learn? Here are some questions to ask your self:
How much was trash?
How much was food waste?
How much of your trash was recyclable?
What part of each contained plastic?

Now that you know what your trash really looks like, where can you reduce it?
Go ahead and answer these in the comments below so we can share in your observations!!

You may want to keep separating and auditing your trash for another month, or for several month to see how your waste changes now that you are more mindful of what you throw away.

Now that we are making our way to mid February it’s time to start decluttering things, if you haven’t already. All the things. The decluttering craze is upon us so you can find a lot of resources and ideas out there. I suggest paying special attention to duplicates, paper clutter, clothing, as well as little or never used items and appliances. The goal here is to get rid of lots, but also to organize what’s left.


Do as much as you can do until we talk again!

Back to Cape May for 6th Anniversary

We are not big occasion people. We don’t buy xmas gifts, we don’t go on dates, we don’t dress up. But one thing that we have celebrated for the last six years is our wedding anniversary. We always try to take a little trip around this time and this year, we headed back to an old favorite: Cape May, New Jersey.

We took a leisurely time to drive down to Cape May and stopped at a few thrift shops we enjoy along the way. We arrived just in time for the sunset. They are usually quite spectacular in this town.


The night was easy and we took advantage of a warm room and a strong shower. In the morning we ate at the hotel restaurant before heading out into the snowy landscape.


The Victorian homes and square are particularly striking in the snow.


We always like to take a look at the sunken concrete ship at the end of the state.


Our trip was very brief but relaxing and lovely. Here’s to another year to decide where to go next.

Past trips:
Cape May
Washington DC

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

When I went on my first audio book buying binge, I was certain to get a novel by mystery great, Agatha Christie. The Mysterious Affair at Style is the first novel in the famous Poirot series and was read by James Langton.


Poirot is another classic and famous detective that I have watched for many years, but I’ve never actually read any of his novels.

Hastings, freshly back to from the war is resting and recouperating but edging to boredom until he runs into his old friend John Cavendish who invites him to stay at Styles Manor for a while. Relaxation soon turns to tragedy when John’s step mother is poisoned and the household is sent in to disarray. Although Hastings earns to be a detective, this case might prove to be too much for an ameture. Hasting speculates that if only the odd, meticulous, but brilliant Inspector Poirot were available the case would be solved in no time. And whom should he meet unexpectedly in the village… Why Poirot himself!

This is another first mystery novel that betrays the newness of the author. Long and meadandering, with a lot of contasting clues and misdirections, The Affair at Styles can drag a little. Although not the most dynamic novel, it still has all the great elements that Agatha Christie is known for. Not the least of which is Poirot himself. Fastidious, exacting, Belgian, Poirot demands as much from his suspects and friends as he does for himself. This mystery kept me guessing until the end, and I would recommend it to those who enjoy murder mysteries, famous detectives, or novels about British aristocracy.

Do you have a favorite first novel? First work, first in a series?

Something New: Intermittent Fasting

I would certainly eat all day if allowed. But for several weeks, I found myself eating unhealthily, eating right before bed, or naps, and eating food which I know doesn’t make me feel my best. I searched around for something to reset me, and put me on a better path with my eating habits. I decided to try Intermittent Fasting.


I had heard about intermittent fasting and decided to give it a try bc it seemed like it might help me get out of my eating rut. The idea behind IF is simple. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it:
”Intermittent fasting (intermittent energy restriction or intermittent calorie restriction) is an umbrella term for various eating protocols that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Intermittent fasting is under preliminary research to assess if it can produce weight loss comparable to long-term calorie restriction”

When I have heard this term, people are generally using it to mean eating for 8 hours a day and not eating for 12 hours a day or some other cycle of eating and not eating daily.

People use it for weight loss, to reset gut health, to reset eating habits, as an elimination or allergy diet, and more. There are a lot of variations with people eating for less time, more time, different times. Many people do not fully fast for their non eating times but drink coffee, bullet proof coffee, celery juice, a smoothing, or some such other thing.

As with almost every trend I follow or try, I’ve taken a very relaxed approach to trying intermittent fasting. I decided that I would try to keep to the idea of eating for 8 - 9 hours per day and “fast:” for 12 or so hours per day.

I’ve tried this method for a little over a week and here are my initial thoughts:
- The first few days were very easy. I ate from about 1 or 2 pm to about 9 or 10 pm (for reference, I get up around 6:30am and go to sleep around 11:30pm, taking a nap in the early afternoon). I found I was a little more mindful about my meals, ate well, and I felt quite satisfied.
- Even when I was “fasting” I still drank coffee with nut milk, tea with honey, water, etc…
- By the third or forth day I found I was starving and broke my fast early and ate basically all day (as one normally would).
- I’ve worked like this for the time I’ve been trying this method, eating only 8 or 9 hours per day for two to three days in a row and then being ravenous for a day or two, eating whenever I want.
- I’ve noticed that the longer I eat like this, the hungrier I am each morning. I wonder if this is physical or psychological?
- It’s been hard to navigate events, or a differing routines. During the time I’ve been trying this eating method, I went away for a few days and it was hard to keep to only eating 8 hours a day, or eating and fasting at the same time each day.
- The easiest days are those when I stick to my normal routine and take a nap in the late morning, early afternoon. We already fast the entire time we are a sleep and sleeping more makes it easier not to feel famished.
- Most days that the method is working for me, I eat two large meals, one early in my eating time, and one later. There are days (especially when I’m working) that I nosh the whole 8 hours, but AI think I prefer the two big meals.

I feel like I could have initiated this trial in a better way. Perhaps slowly building up my fasting time over several days, or setting more defined parameters for myself. But as I have started the way I have, I plan to continue as such, adjusting as I go.

Have any of my readers tried this fasting method?

2019 Goals | January Recap + February Goals

For every month in 2019, I plan to make and post goals here, and then check in with them at the end of the month to see how I did.


For January | 2019

Inbox to 0
I’ve already started working on this in the last few weeks and have gone from over 8000 messages still in my inbox to just over 4000. I want to have it completed by the end of the month so I can move on for the rest of the year.

I did not get my inbox to 0, but I did delete or organize over 3000 emails. Only about 3000 more to go!

Find 2 Japanese resources
I’ve already downloaded a lesson book. I would like to find some writing and reading resources to work with as well.
I found several resources for learning Japanese in Jan! I was off to a good start the first week, but haven’t done anything since.

Blog at least 4 days every week
I did pretty well on this in Dec, so I hope to continue in Jan.
I may not have posted four days in every week, but I posted enough to make me happy.

Photograph 6 items per day for mad cat market
Weather permitting. I feel like if I set this lofty goal, I’ll at least do more than I have been currently.

This goal was nowhere near completed, but I did make some decisions this month. I want to totally revamp, rebrand and rethink this shop which I did work on a little in Jan. We can revisit this goal another time.

Add 12 listings per week to mad cat market
This is pretty much the same as above.

See above.

Add tags to 100 blog posts
Right now, I only use categories but I think tags will be easier to find and cross reference.
I prob only tagged like 15 old posts and tried to add tags to a lot of the new posts I made.

Overall, I feel like this was a medium month for achieving my goals. Not bad, but not great.


For February | 2019

Inbox to 0
Let’s keep trying.

Have 1 life admin day
I learned about life admin days from MuchelleB and I think I need one! This is where you get things sorted that you would normally put aside, things that don’t need to happen every week, or month, but that you’ve been wanting to do. For me, this might mean making appointments, sorting out billings, taking the car to get serviced, etc…

Study Japanese 2 days a week
This seems doable.

Morning Walk 3 days a week
Not sure about this one, but I want to get back to taking morning walks, and them being distinguished from walking to work. This goes along with a goal of wanting to get outside more, as well.

Blog 4 times a week
I want to keep this up before moving on.

Add tags to 40 blog posts
Seems more reasonable.

I’m feeling good about my February goals. It should be a busy month! What are your goals for the February?

January Plant Update

I feel like I spent most of January in doors. I did have some plant observations but this was a slow month for it.
What months are you less inclined to get out and observe?

Bathroom Pothos

Bathroom Pothos

First snow of the year.

First snow of the year.

A visitor and some indoor plants.

A visitor and some indoor plants.

This local magnolia is always fuzzy.

This local magnolia is always fuzzy.

Who knows what February will bring for plants?

What did January look like where you live?