Mad Cat Garden | June

May was the first month we started working on and tracking out garden, but June was when we really got down to business. June saw us buying and plating more, making more beds, and seeing plants grow and change. The changes between the beginning and end of June were huge, but these photos and records are mainly from the beginning on the month.

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June was extremely rainy. Many of the plats loved it! Our lilies returned and grew taller then me this year. They are not strictly part of the garden but a focus of June was to bring in pollinators with many flowers. The strawberries over wintered and started blossoming. We planted herbs and they thrived in the rain.

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In out front bed, also our first bed, tomato volunteers started popping up like mad and we had to thin them out. Rather than just toss the extras, we planted them in small pots to give away, or replanted them in other areas. We made new beds in the back and planted lettuce, arugula, broccoli (one is pictured in the first photo), corn, beans, and cucumbers.

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Many flowers helped attract bugs and bees. Our blueberries got off to a good start, enjoying the rain and producing lots of little soon to be bluebs.

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Tom often helped by inspecting the catnip patches. In June we created three new beds and had a delivery of filtered soil dropped off to fill them. Although pricy, we found this to be a convenient and zero waste alternative to buying many bags of dirt. We are still contributing to our compost on a regular basis, but it’s not big enough to fill beds. We do use some compost to help enrich the soil.

By the end of June, the yard looked very different, but we’ll have to wait until July’s update to take a look!

How is your garden growing?

June Plant Update

June was all about the flowers! The previous months were not as spectacular as they usually are, so June really shown this year. It was a wet month with only a few very hot day, so flowers and plants took a lot of days to grow and flourish in the wet and temperate weather. We were able to take some long walks, go to new places, visit nurseries to buy plants for our garden, and see some critters this month. This is the first month of 2019 that I feel like we got outside a proper amount.

The colors of various roses this year took my breath away.

The colors of various roses this year took my breath away.

Does anyone know what this plant is? It’s stunning and I’m seeing it in many places this year.

Does anyone know what this plant is? It’s stunning and I’m seeing it in many places this year.

Cuties.

Cuties.

So many climbing roses this year. These are not ours, but the ones we have in the back year went bananas. Those blooms were gone by June, however.

So many climbing roses this year. These are not ours, but the ones we have in the back year went bananas. Those blooms were gone by June, however.

We didn’t plan(t) well for pollinaters this year, but the bees loved our little lavender.

We didn’t plan(t) well for pollinaters this year, but the bees loved our little lavender.

Such colors!

Such colors!

Brooklyn Blooms.

Brooklyn Blooms.

There have been so many lightening bugs this year, it makes me happy!

There have been so many lightening bugs this year, it makes me happy!

Between rain showers, this neighbor headed to a dry porch.

Between rain showers, this neighbor headed to a dry porch.

Another surprising color of rose.

Another surprising color of rose.

So many kittens this year! Blooming like flowers. I hope they all find homes!

So many kittens this year! Blooming like flowers. I hope they all find homes!

A shy chicken at a local farmers market.

A shy chicken at a local farmers market.

Always in style.

Always in style.

A new generation of bunnies.

A new generation of bunnies.

What animals and plants are you seeing where you live? Do you have a favorite Summer plant?

June in Review

Looking back, June seemed so long! I feel like I barely remember all that happened in June.

We went on garden tours, saw family and friends, I took a trip to Brooklyn, we tried to stay dry in all the wet weather. We saw #watchercats and #favoritetrucks, we swam in the ocean, and walked around town.

1) A snippet of Brooklyn, 2) a sparkle of sky, 3) a style of driving, 4) a skyline to spy.

1) A snippet of Brooklyn, 2) a sparkle of sky, 3) a style of driving, 4) a skyline to spy.

It was a great month for visiting and visitor, new and frequent. Brooklyn was like a time capsule, and seeing family was like coming home. We had guests from BK, FL, OR and NJ.

1) a duo of brothers, 2) one eye to lend, 3) relaxed on the porch, 4) a black and white friend.

1) a duo of brothers, 2) one eye to lend, 3) relaxed on the porch, 4) a black and white friend.

When they weren’t hiding from the rain, watcher cats were plentiful and often draped out beating the heat.

The garden went from meager beginnings, to full swing. Flowers were everywhere!

1) A master of color, 2) some cozy light beams, 3) ready for take off, 4) bursting at seams.

1) A master of color, 2) some cozy light beams, 3) ready for take off, 4) bursting at seams.

We tried to focus on the plants, our plans, the cats, and our home in June. We walked, we swam, we rejoiced in the rain and sun.

June was a long transition into Summer. July, what will you bring?

Bullet Journal Check In | New Book in June

I’ve started my new Bullet Journal book and I’m loving it! I love that each Bullet Journal is unique and customizable. And more that that, for me at least, each one takes on a little bit of a life of it’s own.

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For my current bullet journal, I did end up buying a new new book to start in June. I went with a dot grid which I haven’t used in a while. The grid is huge compared to my last notebook! Bc of this, my approach to pages and layout are a little different.

I kept my main pages (the index, year at a glance, my monthly trackers and such) pretty much the same, but I’ve flipped my dailies and been really good about keeping up with a little bit of journalling each day!

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My first attempts at writing out my monthly trackers went a little wonky, but now that I’m more used to this big grid, July is gonna go much smoother. Another thing I love about BuJo is that I’m never upset about making mistakes, bc the next month is a chance to improve!

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Do you prefer a big dot grid for your journal? Do you keep a diary in your dailies?

What are your favorite aspects of Bullet Journalling?

6 Months to Zero Waste: No Bottled Water

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

Since January, we’ve been taking some time each month for small ways we can reduce our waste and move towards a more zero waste lifestyle. Here are some things that we have tried in the last six month:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
This month we moved to paper to get one step closer to reusables.
April - Compost
Composting is an easy way to reduce food waste and prevent it from reaching the landfill.
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

Next month is Plastic Free July, so the last of our six months is a great time to start gearing up for a more drastic anti plastic challenge.
The perfect way to start is to give up some item of disposable plastic. Find one items that you use and stop using it. Hopefully in March we were able to give up plastic bag, so this month choose some other convenience, like bottled water, plastic straws, yogurt cups, plastic cutlery, or something else you use on a daily basis but might not think about.

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By giving up one seemingly small item we can tangibly see how we can reduce our waste little by little. An important part of moving towards zero waste is moving away from the constant convenience of modern life. It doesn’t mean your life will get harder, but it hopefully will mean that your life becomes more mindful. This does take a mindset shift, a habit shift, and a being more prepared in daily life. Once we see how easy it is to live without our bottled water, it’s easy to start giving up other such items.

But how do you actually give up bottled water? Once you set your mind to it, it’s not so hard. A great thing to do is use a reusable water bottle. You can get in almost any grocery store, or better yet buy one second hand. But if you don’t have one yet, try refilling a disposable plastic bottle you already have, use a water fountain, instead of taking water to go stay where you are and use a cup or glass, bring a cup to work to use. Or simply go without until you get to a place where you can drink from non-disposables.

Next month we’ll take part in Plastic Free July and gain even more insights into what we can give up or change to be even more zero waste.

What disposable plastic item will you give up in June?

June Life Admin Day 6/5/19

In March I started incorporating a Life Admin Day into my monthly routines. A Life Admin day is a day that you schedule to get life things done, usually those which you’ve been avoiding, putting off, or might need some extra care, things that are more complex or annoying than a regular daily to do list. It’s like your “to do list extra”.

For me, these days have varied in task and execution, as well as results, but I really like the idea of making my own work, to dos, and tasks as much a priority as I would similar things at my job. A method that I find is working for me goes something like this:

Schedule the day before the month starts.
I usually do this when I’m migrating my monthly bullet journal calendar. Since I’m putting in other dates to be mindful about at this time, other appointments or obligations, it works well for me to also schedule the upcoming month’s life admin day.

Have my LAD early in the month.
I’ve found that I have had to push my life admin day back at times, like I might do with a oil change appointment, or work meeting. If I schedule this day early in them month then I feel like I have time to still get it done if it gets pushed back. Also, it feels nice to accomplish something early, instead of waiting until the last minute.

Make a list several days before.
If I make a list too early, I forget about it. If I make it the day of, it feels like a regular days to do list. By making my list a few days in advance, I can really think about the tasks I want to achieve. Ideally, this would also give me time to prioritize them, but I haven’t really gotten that good at it, yet.

Give myself a time limit to get things done.
On my life admin days, I try to keep it brief. I usually have these days on my only day off and I don’t want to spend the whole time doing work. I also tend to flit about and giving myself a time constraint is most productive for me.

Following these basic guidelines have helped me keep a LAD in my monthly routine.

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June’s LAD was a little spotty for me. I ended up doing my tasks over two or three days. And of course, I didn’t get everything done. I still felt satisfied with what I got done. As usual with life admin days, I ended up with almost as many new tasks to get done as I got done.

Do you use a LAD? If so, share some tips! If not, can you suggest other methods to use to make life tasks a priority?

Something Nice : The Joy of Using Up

One of the great things about using what you have before buying new is that you see the whole life of an object. There is a certain joy to using something until it can’t be used any more. Each item’s like span is different.

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Sometimes, like with these sneakers the joy of using up is also balanced with the sadness of saying goodbye. Once I felt the street more than the bottom of my shoes, I knew it was time to give these shoes up. Although I won’t wear them anymore, I’ll hold on to these until I find a place to recycle them.

What was the last items you used up?

Intermittent Fasting Thoughts and Update

In February, I started an experiment to reset my health by following an intermittent fasting diet.

Intermittent fasting isn’t about what you eat, but how you eat and more specifically when you eat. With this diet, you restrict your eating to a set number of hours a day. Most people eat all their meals in only about 8 hours a day; intermittently fasting for the other 16 hours. Some people eat for less hours a day and some for more.

Some of the ideas behind IF is letting your body reset and fully digest between eating periods, putting your body into a small fasting time to burn off fat for weight loss and improved health, improving sleep cycles by eating at more set times, lowering your risks for certain diseases and age related ailments… plus more. Many people swear by this method of eating for all it’s potential benefits.

I tried intermittent fasting for about a month and I didn’t follow a strict number of hours a day to eat. I ate anywhere from 8-12 hours a day. I had wanted to try this diet bc I had found myself eating very unhealthily, eating right before sleep, not eating as much as I should or eating more than I should, and generally being uninspired about food and eating.

After researching intermittent fasting, it seemed that it might be a good, low restriction diet to make me more mindful about the way that I eat. IF is also credited to work for those trying to improve gut health which in turn improves metal health.

This meal was eaten out in a food hall not too far from my house. A challenge o eating out is finding out what plastic I will consume by doing so. This was a middle ground compormise after looking at 3 different food stalls.

This meal was eaten out in a food hall not too far from my house. A challenge o eating out is finding out what plastic I will consume by doing so. This was a middle ground compormise after looking at 3 different food stalls.

I really liked my experience with intermittent fasting. You can check out the observations of my first week in this post. Over the month, I felt a lot of benefit from IF such as improved inspiration for eating, mindfulness, some gut benefits, some mental benefits, plus I just really enjoyed this style of eating.

Although I wanted to continue intermittent fasting to see how my body and mind reacted to it, after a month, I had to stop eating in this manner.

Unfortunately my day to day routines and how they changed over the month made IF very difficult. I found it very hard to keep an eating schedule for days that I worked longer hours or late hours. I was unable to maintain healthy eating for more than the month and still maintain intermittent fasting.

My favorite part of trying IF was the inspiration and joy I found in eating in this time balanced with the long periods of not having to think about eating at all. I think I would have gotten into a vey nice rhythm eventually. I was also keen to see if I lost any weight with this method. I’m not one for calorie restriction or targeted exercise, so I would like to see if this worked for me to improve my weight health.

For this meal, I asked to have my iced coffee in a reusable cup. This cafe didn’t have a glass so they put it in a large mug.

For this meal, I asked to have my iced coffee in a reusable cup. This cafe didn’t have a glass so they put it in a large mug.

One side effect of intermittent fasting that was surprising was that once I had stopped this diet, even for several months, I found myself slipping back into not eating in the morning. When I was intermittent fasting, this was fine, bc I was concious of eating well in the afternoon and evening. When I’m not mindful of this I have found that there have been several days when I have not eaten enough, or very much at all. This has made me feel terrible and is unhealthy.

Although I have to be careful not to slip into this bad habit, it let’s me know that my body craves to eat more like an intermittent fasting lifestyle. I hope to be able to revisit this eating method soon and see if I can incorporate it into my life in a more sustainable way.

Have your tried intermittent fasting or a similar method of eating? Share your thoughts here!

Mad Cat Garden | May

Each month I like to share my plant observations. This can be our yard, our garden, the neighborhood, parks, beach, and more. This year we are really trying to pick up our garden game and I think it’s progress is going to require it’s own feature each month.

Although we had high hopes to start our garden super early, May came and went with little activity. We did prep the garden, started verbally planning, moved a few items around and let Tom visit as garden foreman.

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Our first garden bed, which is our front yard and last year housed tomatoes, started popping up with plants. We had to discern what each plant was and either leave them or transplant them. We had a lot of tomatoes come up from seeds that dropped off the plants last year.

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This strange plant popped up and grew like crazy. We did some research and discovered that it was an invasive plant called Japanese hops. It’s so pretty and we interested in seeing if it was going to grow hop like cones. Unfortunately it was growing like nuts and we had to re-home it so it did not choke out our new tomatoes. We were sad to find that the hops couldn’t handle the move and died pretty quickly. We think the hop seeds were dropped by visiting birds!

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The kale that we planted last year also over wintered. We had to clear it out of our back yard bed, but put it in a pot to see what it would do. In May, it flowered and started making seed pods. Kale flowers are lovely! We have collected the seed pods and plan to replant from last years growth!

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On the last day of May was when we really started planting and reseting the garden. In only a few weeks we’ve transformed the garden quite a bit. We look forward to seeing where June takes us.

May Plant Update

Ahhhhhhh, May. What a month for plant and animal observations! Here in Asbury Park, it was a very green month, mild, rainy and fresh. We didn’t travel too much this month, we didn’t get to the beach, or local parks often. Most of our observations were around our neighborhood and our own back yard.

I didn’t see too many dandelions this month, but I did see some dandy fluffs.

I didn’t see too many dandelions this month, but I did see some dandy fluffs.

One of the most common flowers we have in our yard are chive flowers.

One of the most common flowers we have in our yard are chive flowers.

All our rose bushes died over the Winter, but we’ve seen a lot out and about.

All our rose bushes died over the Winter, but we’ve seen a lot out and about.

Nothing better than #watchercats + flowers.

Nothing better than #watchercats + flowers.

This sweet grass eater had a wonky eye.

This sweet grass eater had a wonky eye.

Mama and baby playing in the grass.

Mama and baby playing in the grass.

In the beginning of the month, the leaves were just budding out. By the end of the month, these trees were full!

In the beginning of the month, the leaves were just budding out. By the end of the month, these trees were full!

The only thing better than a fresh rose is one with rain droplets.

The only thing better than a fresh rose is one with rain droplets.

What are the plants like where you live this month? Is it warm, hot, or cold where you are?

What is your favorite flower to observe?

6 Months to Zero Waste: Meatless Mondays in May

Last month we figured out how to compost to reduce our food waste. Another food related waste that we can start to combat is the to understand the huge impact the modern industrial meat has on the waste we create.

Some great ways to combat this kind of waste is to go totally vegan, only buy local meat from small farms, only grow your own food, fish for your sea food, etc… But a simple and good first step is to be more mindful of what meat, fish and dairy, you do consume.

It can be Monday, Wednesday, or whenever, but making sure to take one day a week to consciously be aware of what you’re eating and where it’s coming from. If you eat a lot of meat, take one day to be vegetarian, if your veg, take a day to be vegan. Eat local one day, eat raw, eat no processed foods, eat only from your garden, eat only foods not packaged in plastic… there are so many ways to be mindful of what you are eating and change you habits.

By simply changing how we think about what we eat, we can become more mindful of the waste our food creates, and become more mindful of how that waste effects our environment and planet.

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Since January, we’ve been taking some time each month for small ways we can reduce our waste and move towards a more zero waste lifestyle.

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

Here’s what we have done each month, so far. Feel free to follow a long, do everything all at once, or come up with your own monthly challenge.

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
This month we moved to paper to get one step closer to reusables.
April - Compost
Composting is an easy way to reduce food waste and prevent it from reaching the landfill.
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

Where are you in your zero waste journey?

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Review

Disclaimer: My product reviews are completely unsponsored and unsolicited. The opinions are my own from my own experiences.

I’ve long been a fan of Meow Meow Tweet which I first heard about ages ago in Brooklyn. I really enjoy that they have always had minimal and recyclable, plastic free packaging. And with the coolest drawings!

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When using up my old products, deodorant is one of the last of them I had to replace to be more zero waste. I love that MMT uses all natural, vegan ingredients, and has a lot of citrus fragrances.

We tried their Grapefruit Baking Soda Free cream deodorant, which is packaged in a glass bottle with a metal top. and comes in a paper box in the store. Despite still being all hand crafted, poured and packaged, you can find MMT in several big store, including Target. I really like that this deodorant is dry and creamy, goes on easily and doesn’t leave my hands feeling gross. I think this creamy works well and you only need a little pea sized amount to stay dry.

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My husband can’t get used to the cream and doesn’t like it quite as much as I do. We both agree that the scent is nice, citrusy but not overpowering or too sweet.

I would definitely recommend this deodorant for those looking to switch over to a more sustainable, low waste, hand made, chemical free option.