2019 Goals | April Recap and May Goals

Goals are funny things. Sometimes they make you feel great, sometimes they make you frustrated and sad. Goals and what the results are when we meet them have the power that we give them. The goals I set here are for myself, to improve my life and my state of mind. Sometimes they are about work, life, or more creative endeavors. But not achieving them in the time frame I’ve put out for myself shouldn’t mean I feel bad or like I’m failing. How do we meet our goals, or not meet them, and feel good about the progress we’ve made, no matter what?

Here are some goals I set for April:

Make and post 1 youtube video
I’ve made several in the past, but tis is really something I want to get into and incorporate into my creative life.
I can’t quite seem to make this goal a reality. I wonder what is holding me back or if it’s just that the right focus hasn’t been placed on it.

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to make sure to get away a little in April and May before the Summer season really sets in.
We have talked a lot about this but not actually done it yet. Let’s roll it over.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
There’s a lot of yard work and garden work to do and we are running up against the planting clock.
I was able to get out in the yard and, as a bonus, in the community garden in April. We haven’t done much planting yet. I want to modify this goal to keep me getting outside and in the yard.

Get back to blogging 4-5 times per week
Gotta get back in the habit!
This was a big N O for April, let’s try it again for May.

Better health 15 days of the month
I want have some breadless days, some vegan days, some exercise and stretching days, etc…. Overall be more mindful of my body and health. (I’ve eaten totally vegan 1 day of the month so far!)
Yeep, shall we try again?

Move my 50+ plants
Rolling this goal over, too.
This was the one goal that I totally finished this month. I like to do this every few months so that my plants continue to be healthy and happy. Next move will prob see many of them go outside!

Inbox to 500 and maintain
Another goal from last month. I’m ready to get back on track with this in April.
Why is this last 500 emails so hard? Anyone have any tips for this?

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OK, here are some goals for May:

Make and post 1 youtube video
Let’s try this one again. What are some videos you would like to see?

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to get this done this month so we can take the time off we will need to.

Plant 6 or more garden beds.
Now that the weather is nicer, getting out in the yard and garden shouldn’t be too hard. I want to make sure we have our beds planted, so that’s the new goal.

Better health 15 days of the month
Ok, getting out into nature will help, eating better will help, morning walks will help, stretching and exercising will help. Now I’ve got to actually do those things.

Inbox to 1000 and and decrease
My inbox has crept back up to well over 1000. I even had to buy more storage, so this task should be easier.

Blog as many times as I can for the month.
I want to eventually have a steady 5 days per week blog schedule, but posting as many as I can will help me settle in.

I feel like I could add a bunch more goals, like getting a new car, trying to find a therapist, or loosing 10 lbs, but I’m going to cap them there.

What are your goals for May?

6 Months of Zero Waste: February Declutter Review

In January I posted about 6 ways to reduce you waste, or become closer to the Zero Waste lifestyle. Here is a little refresher of something to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
March - Switch to Paper
April - Compost
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

How have you you been doing so far? I’ve gotten behind in reviewing and documenting each month, so hopefully you’ve been following along on your own. If not, no worries, it’s never too late to jump on and start! If you need the push to get started here is the February Review:

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In February we declutter.
That could be a motto for America this year, right? With Marie Kondo’s method for clean living being on the top of everyones to watch list, this was an easy month to get your self and your stuff sorted. Whether you use her life changing magic, or you just had some good old fashion cleaning sessions, decluttering and minimizing is a great step towards Zero Waste. Like the trash audit, it allows us to see what we are using and what we are wasting. Once we have established that, it’s easier to see where we can reduce in out day to day.

Personally, I didn’t get a lot decluttered in Feb, but I have been trying to declutter as I go, day to day. I know that I still need to take a full day for each area that needs to be reassessed.

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What’s great about this challange, is it’s ok to go at your own speed. Starting to think about waht your wasting, cstarting to be aware of waste that’s created day to day is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Changing your midset to think like a zero waster is the hardest part of being sero waste, but it’s also the biggest step, so once you’ve made that mindset shift, you’ve already come a long way!

How did your declutter go?

March Plant Update

I had high hopes that I would be out and about for most of March, but the weather was still cold and I was still in hibernation mode. I did get out some and we were able to check out some local plants in March.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

There was a theme this month.

There was a theme this month.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

And fully popped!

And fully popped!

Another.

Another.

What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

These strawbs are ready for spring.

These strawbs are ready for spring.

So is our grandma rose.

So is our grandma rose.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

Current state of our front bed.

Current state of our front bed.

What do the plants look like where you live?
Was March a good month for your plant observations?
What were you most excited to take note of this month?

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?

Off Season: Asbury Park Post Office

One of my favorite places in our city by the sea is the Asbury Park Post office. Built in 1912 and in continual use, it’s a very lovely old building tucked into a quickly modernizing city. Functional and beautiful, the PO sits close to the train station, police, and administrative building on Main Street, Route 71. It has a grand sweeping exterior but inside is full of beautiful small details.

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Below is a pic from the early twenties when the post office was first built. in the thirties is was renovated and a back extension was put on.

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I’m not sure when the above photos were taken but the modern PO looks just about exactly the same, now. That tree on the south east corner of the property is still standing and shading people waiting to cross Main Street instead of a hedge row, there are roses around the perimeter. I found these photos here.

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Although not a luxurious stop in a fast growing beach town, this gorgeous link to the past is well worth a visit!!

November Plant Update

The minute the weather changes to Winter cold, I worry that I’ll never go outside again. But we were able to get out and about a little in November. We went to one of our favorite beach-combing beaches, we went to one of our favorite breakfast spots and all their plants, we walked around our yard and neighborhood, and we watched our garden transition into Winter.

The walk up to the beach.

The walk up to the beach.

Look at all that goos stuff!!

Look at all that goos stuff!!

Natural contrast.

Natural contrast.

Some happy plants (some not so happy).

Some happy plants (some not so happy).

I moved all the plants around this month. It makes some fun new corners around the house.

I moved all the plants around this month. It makes some fun new corners around the house.

Record collection is guarded well.

Record collection is guarded well.

Perfect rose.

Perfect rose.

Hanging in there.

Hanging in there.

Te garden is slowly being taken over by Winter.

Te garden is slowly being taken over by Winter.

Visiting plant friends.

Visiting plant friends.

Perfect Autumn views.

Perfect Autumn views.

Is it Fall where you live? What are your plant observations for the month of November?

November In Review

November went by so fast, and the year is nearly over.

The weather turned very cold, so bundling up was necessary. Despite that we were still able to see family and friends, enjoy the holidays, have some walks on the beach and get a lot of work done.

1) Flounder… 2) …flounder. 3) Porch #watchercat, 4) And another warm inside.

1) Flounder… 2) …flounder. 3) Porch #watchercat, 4) And another warm inside.

#watchercats were out, finding sunny spots this month. We tried to save a flounder on the beach, and hung out with Flounder at home.

1) Morning light. 2) Afternoon light with a friend. 3) Morning essentials. 4) Giants in the sky.

1) Morning light. 2) Afternoon light with a friend. 3) Morning essentials. 4) Giants in the sky.

We traveled only a little this month, heading to Brooklyn a few times and visiting a few toy shows around NJ.

Our holidays were very relaxed and we were super happy to see family and friends.

1) Recipe coming soon. 2) A little bit of zen. 3) Holidays collide. 4) Instant collection.

1) Recipe coming soon. 2) A little bit of zen. 3) Holidays collide. 4) Instant collection.

Over all it was a really good month! We’ve started to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year. Here comes December!

What Plant Based Means to Me and How We Eat

My mom was a vegetarian while I was growing up. I was used to having tofu, tempeh, fresh veg, lots of legumes, fruits and homemade foods. Bc I grew up with it, it never occurred to me that other kids didn’t live that way. My father was always a healthy eater and great cook, but he ate meat. As I see it, I had the best of both worlds.

When I met my husband, he was vegetarian and had been on and off for most of his life. I ate meat then, but I never had any issues eating less or no meat during our meals together. Eating less meat made me realize that when I did eat meat, I didn’t feel as good as when I ate more fruits and veggies.

By the time we moved to New Jersey, we were eating fish, but little to no land meat. We wavered back and forth some (my husband even ate chicken for a while) but it was mostly ovo lacto vegetarian for us. Some events in the Summer of 2018 lead us both to come to the conclusion that we would give up all meat, from land and sea, in a serious manner.

Personally, I think humans are supposed to eat animals. We, ourselves, are animals and omnivores as far as I can tell from the evidence I know. But I think the way most people currently eat animals is unsustainable and inhumane, wasteful and unnecessary. In an attempt to lead a more sustainable and less wasteful life, eating plant based is an easy and obvious choice.

I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

I’ve been trying to eat more rice, as it is a great staple. This is a good example of a fresh whole foods meal. Rice, carrots, onions, celery, sweet potato, squash, apple cider vin, soy sauce, pepper.

Now we eat what I like to call a vegetarian, plant based, whole food diet. That’s a mouth full and what does it even mean? We stopped eating any fish and sea creatures. We do eat dairy like cheese and butter and sour cream. We try to eat mostly fruits and veggies and eat whole foods that have not been overly processed. We eat fermented foods like miso, pickles and vinegar.

We try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Some with every meal! The term Plant Based really refers to a diet that is only plants but I use it to mean a diet that is based on plants, which we definitely do.

We also try to keep local stores, growers, producers in mind when we eat. This year was the first one where we grew our some of our own food and it was a game changer. It’s important to us to eat this way so that we are conscious of the environment, animals, our home and our health.

There are, of course, some ways we could improve our current diet. An example would be to make our own cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt, or only buy local cheese and dairy. But right now this diet works for us.

Some of our typical and most eaten meals are:

Quesadillas with black beans, corn, olives, fresh veggies, sour cream and hot sauce.

Cheese, crackers, veggies, mustard, pickles, olives, and mustard.

Miso soup with veggies and noodles.

Pasta with red sauce or pesto or cheese or garlic oil.

Sides meal with potatoes, veggies, grains, and various other “sides”.

Salads with home made croutons, veggies, sometimes we add fake chicken patties, and dressings.

Tofu, rice and broccoli with soy sauce, peanuts and chili garlic sauce.

Peanut butter and jelly (and sometimes hot sauce) sandwiches.

Bean and rice bowls.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with red onions and hot sauce.

Pierogies with onions, sour cream and veggies.

Smoothie bowls with various toppings.

Oatmeal with fruits, nuts and nut milks.

Beans on toast.

Chickpea salad sandwiches with carrots, onions, celery, and mayo.

This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

This is an example of a more processed meal I might eat. The cheese bread is made fresh daily at our local grocery store and the beans are vegetarian. Beans on toast is a favorite breakfast of mine but I only eat it once in a while.

Let me know in the comments if you also eat meals like this! Or if you would like recipes or more info on any of the meals listed above. What kind of diet do you eat? What role does your diet play in your lifestyle?

Two Habits I love and Two for November

I’m still working on my habit goals for October. I’ve been better about taking a minute to stretch in the mornings, but it hasn’t been every day. I’ve been trying to incorporate doing the dishes into my mornings and keep the sink dish free.
Since I don’t do the same things at the same time everyday for the most part, habit forming has to fit in where it can. Not the ideal way to form habits! It might take me a little longer than I would like, but having my habit blog post has helped me to stick with my goals. I like to refer back to it for motivation. How do you keep yourself motivated to change your habits?

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For November there are some new habits I want to start working on. In order to get myself ready, I like to look at some habits I already have and remember why they help me and why I like them.

Watering the plants once a week
We have a lot of plants. Plants are, to me, an essential for every home. At last count we had 50 indoor plants and it takes about half an hour to forty five minutes to water them all. I like to water them once a week. I find when I do it less often, they are not as happy and they tend to leak more, or I will feel rushed watering them. I don’t water every plant every week, but making sure I check every plant each week is best.

Move the plants every two to three months
This goes along with watering on a regular basis, I love to take the time every two to three months to move all the plants around. Some plants just get a small move or turn but some go to different rooms, or areas of the house. Since the weather has turn I got to do this ritual recently and it was lovely.

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For November here are the habits I want to make:

Read everyday
I love to read but sometimes it’s hard for me to choose reading over other activities. There are times when I get in a groove and read a lot. That time is not now. But I want to read SO MANY things! This month I want to get into the habit of reading everyday, even if it’s just a few pages.

Morning Pages
Lots of people sing the praises of morning pages. Over the last few months, I have tried to start this habit a few times. But this month I’m going to get serious about it. People say there are a ton of benefits for morning pages, and I’m excited to see what it does for me.

What are some habits your trying to adopt this month?

Here are some of the past habits I have tried to learn:
Stretch everyday
Dish free sink

October Plant Update

Plant observations were many this month. We had a lot of opportunity to walk around town, be in our yard, and visit new places. We saw bees buzzing, squirrels scavenging, flowers blooming and dying off, creatures and plants working together and everything getting ready for Winter.

On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

On days that were clear the sky and trees were amazing.

Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

Hardest working bee in Asbury park.

The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

The basil bolted a long time ago, but we just let it go for the other plants and animals.

Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

Some of the flowers we planted are still blooming.

The dunes looked majestic in October.

The dunes looked majestic in October.

We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

We saw many mushrooms this moth but some of the best ones were shelf mushrooms.

Another active plant observer.

Another active plant observer.

We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

We visited Allentown NJ and saw these fellows enjoying the river and surrounding plants.

Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

Allentown also had a civil war reenactment. It was neat to see a world as it may have been.

Another late bloomer.

Another late bloomer.

Another busy bee.

Another busy bee.

The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The rainy days made everything green and vibrant.

The weather was mild and it was a lovely month. For November, we are planning on ways to keep our plants happy over the Winter.

What were your plant observations in October?

Garden Tour | Summer 2018

Since first moving to New Jersey and into our own house, we have wanted to start gardening. It took about 3 years, but this Summer was the first year we seriously started growing vegetables. 

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We started small, but this was a great introduction to gardening at home! We started basically everything from plants, except our radishes which we started from seeds. For us, starting from plants was less intimidating and we thought we would have more success. We had lot of success with just about everything we planted.

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Our main bed, and the biggest producer, is in our front yard. My dream is to have more and more beds in our front yard since we don’t really utilize that space. We planted four or five different tomatoes, basil, orange thyme, and shishito peppers. We also planted items in pots that were scattered between front and back.

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In the back we already had blueberry bushes and we also put a raised bed with kale, hot peppers and radishes from seed. We plan to devote one whole side of the yard to our garden next year, have some space in the middle and eventually plant fruit trees on the opposite side.

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This summer was mild but we had lots of sun and lots of rain and the garden loved it! Our tomatoes exploded. We ate one of our favorite meals, tomatoes and mozz, all year and never bought any tomatoes from the store!!

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Mostly for my own records here is a list of what we grew in 2018 and how it did:

4 small tomato varieties - these were bananas! Next year I hope we label/mark/ remember what we plant. That would have been nice this year.

1 large tomato variety - these got completely over shadowed, literally, by the small ones so they didn’t produce much. What we did have was delicious! We like the smalls better, but it seems worth it to have one large each year.

Shishitos - this was my favorite thing we grew this year. I want to have like a million of these next year!

Hot peppers - I’m not sure if we even ate any of these.

Kale - Next year we have to get better about harvesting and eating our own kale!

Radishes - Why did we even grow these? We tried pickling them but they turned out pretty bad. Next year, if we plant them, we will only do a few at a time.

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Basil and purple basil - what we planted in beds did really well, the ones in pots not so much. I hope to plant again next year but be better about picking and using what we grow.

Orange thyme - probably my husbands favorite thing we grew, we will def be planting this again.

Assorted herbs - some of these I’ve had for ears and they just keep coming back, some are new this year. I want to get better and maintaining and using herbs next year.

Blueberries - our bluebs did really well this year. Over the winter we hope to protect them better bc they took quite a beating in heavy snows last year.

Raspberries - we only got a few but they were good! We have them in pots, but perhaps we will transfer them to beds or the yard next year.

Strawberries - we had more strabs than ever before but never got to eat them. We could never get to them before the critters.

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Looking at the list, it’s a lot longer than I thought it would be! I can’t wait to grow more next year and rely on store bought foods less!

What did you grow this year and what are your plans for 2019?

Off Season: Moth Coffeehouse

We recently headed to one of our favorite small towns, Allentown NJ, and finally got to stop in at a Moth Coffeehouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but somehow always visit the town when the cafe is closed. I was not disappointed. I love that this coffee shop is in a hundreds year old building and that it offers a lot of healthy and vegan options.

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The whole cafe and aesthetic is lovely. They have plenty of low waste options, to stay cups and plates. It’s cozy and if I lived closer, I could easily see myself becoming a regular.

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What’s your favorite coffee shop?