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?

Made From Scratch + Giveaway

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

I picked up Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich after I found her blog, Cold Antler Farm.

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Last year, I went thru a rash of buying books I was interested in on Amazon. I am very torn over this practice. On the whole, I think amazon is a bad thing, but it does make it easy to find many things easily and quickly. I really appreciate that it’s easy to find used books from smaller sellers. This was a book I bought used off of amazon, it’s taken me forever to finish it.

The first of several books from urban farmer, Jenna Woginrich, Made from Scratch follows Jenna while starting her own homestead. With high hopes, and great expectations, she sets out on a unique journey that often is less exciting and more difficult than she imagined. Ultimately she finds a fulfilling life, handmade.

Although this book was informative and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t love Woginrich’s voice in this book, part know it all, brash and unapologetic, part entitled, part humbled by experience (but to a much lesser degree). I understand that there will be trials and errors in farming of any kind, but she kills an entire hive of bees, a rabbit and creates other waste with very few pauses to reflect on this aspect of homesteading. It does make sense with the gung-ho attitude in which she dove into this new lifestyle, that her memoir of it is gung-ho as well. Unfortunately, this just did not resinate with me. That being said, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy! I love and connect with her idea of seeking out used equipment, and household items, that she places great importance on music, handmade food and clothing, solitude and being unafraid and unashamed to try new things, even if you might fail. I recommend it to those who are interested in homesteading, thrifting, and simple living.

Now for something a little different: A giveaway! I didn’t love this book, but one of my readers might!
Since I’m not interested in keeping it in my collection I want to pass it on to one of my readers, coffee rings and all. Head over to my instagram, to the post with Made From Scratch, follow me there, and leave a comment telling me what you’d name your farm/homestead to be entered to win this book.

The giveaway will be open only to those living in the United States and runs Thursday 4/11 to Thursday 4/18 and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4/19. I chose these dates to align with the full moon for this month! Good luck!

2019 Goals | March Recap and April Goals

I had a lot of high hopes for March but not a lot of success. This month was kind of a wash for me. Work was extremely busy and my energy for everything was pretty bottomed out. Not a lot got done in life or work other than the bare minimum. Let’s take a look at my March goals:

Schedule 1 life admin day
I have to schedule this in, and not let anything bump it off the schedule. I have to write a list of everything needs to get done for this day.
I was able to schedule and stick to getting one life admin day done. I really enjoyed it and it felt good to get some annoying tasks done that I have been putting off forever. I definitely want to make a monlthy life admin day part of my monthly routine.

Plan my next 2 trips
Getting away a lot in February was great! I have a feeling March won’t see a lot of travel, but planing some trips that I want to take will be a good compromise.

We certainly didn’t get to take any trips in march, but we also didn’t get to plan out any new trips, either.

Morning walk 3 days a week
I’m gonna keep trying with this goal.

I didn’t quite make this goal, but I did well enough and had it in my head enogh that I think it’s time to move it over to be a daily/weekly/monthly routine.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
Every year I want to improve our yard, porch, flower beds, etc… and every year I start too late. This year, on nice days, I want to get a head start.

Writing this on the 30th, I doubt this goal will get done but you never know.

Blog 4 times per week
I want to get back in the swing of this after slacking in Feb.

OMG, I fell down on this goal so hard. This is why I haven’t been able to make this a routine. My blogging is still so up and down.

Move my 50+ plants
Every few months, I like to give my plants a little extra care. I like to repot, dust, top up soil, aerate, and move around all my plants. There are a lot of them so this takes some time.

I had no motivation for this so I’m pushing it to April.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
I did good to get rid of the bulk of emails, now it’s about maintaining organization and not letting it get too out of control.

OOooff, after making so much progress on this in past months, I wasn’t able to maintain this at all this month. My inbox is creeping up again!

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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.

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.

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.

Get back to blogging 4-5 times per week
Gotta get back in the habit!

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!)

Move my 50+ plants
Rolling this goal over, too.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
Another goal from last month. I’m ready to get back on track with this in April.

I have set the same number of goals this month as last, but it feels like less to me somehow.

What goals have you set for April?

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?

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

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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?

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.

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Everyday, always, forever starts off with coffee.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Past trips:
Philly
Princeton
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Goals, Habits, Routines

In this series I explain low impact terms, lifestyle terms, and other verbiage that I use on my blog and in my daily life, simply, in case they are new to readers. In some cases, I have done some research on them, but these definitions are mostly what I understand them to be and how I use them.

My readers have heard me talk a lot about goals, habits and routines. For these simple everyday terms I have written the dictionary definition below and then gone into detail about how I use them.

Goal
”The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”
Goals for me are anything I am striving to do. This can include creating a new habit, or building a new routine. It can also be saving money, traveling, or being productive. See some recent posts on goals here:

Habit
”A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
I try to create habits for things I want to be better at or practice. I want to have habits for productivity, learning, wellness and

Routine
”A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”
I love to have routines! Utilizing routines help me keep my habits and meet my goals. Some routines I have are long and take hours to complete, some are short (like a leaving the house/checking the cats routine), some are rigid and some are more loose.

Are these the definitions you would use?

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The Big Why Behind the Habits I Want to Create

One trick to building new habits is to have a strong reason for doing them. Most people will tell you that in order to make a habit stick you have to be super motivated for them to work. You have to have a “why” behind them.

When I talk about the habits I want to make, I mention why I want to make them, but here I want to state in a simple, straightforward and brutally honest way,

Here are the habits I was working on in 2018 and continue in 2019:

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Stretch everyday - I’ve never been a stretchy person and I don’t want to be old and feeble, or unable to bend and tie my shoes, etc…
Dish free sink - The sink get gross and I would rather it be free and clear. This helps make doing many tasks easier.
Read everyday - Reading makes you smarter and reminds you that the current digital age is not the only way to live.
Morning pages - I want to be able to clear my mind and think about my issues.
Daily Face Massage - I’m not getting any younger, but I don’t want to look old
Clutter-free couch - Why have a couch if it’s too messy to sit on?

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What are some of the Whys behind your habits?