I’m Not Vegan, but I Eat Like One….Usually

If you asked me a little over a year ago if I’d ever be vegan, the answer was a super Hell No! I love bacon! And a nice juicy steak! But like so many other things in my life, I evolve and change and try new things. So I don’t eat meat anymore, and I am sorta kinda vegan. But I won’t call myself a vegan.

The definition of vegan is “a person who does not use or consume animal products.” So right away I cannot call myself a vegan because I am not making sure that I never use an animal product. I have a wool-lined jacket that is my favorite. I own one or 2 pieces of leather. Now, I am not jumping at the chance to wear fur but I am not throwing away anything I already own.

There are several things I still eat. I am definitely not strict. If I go out to eat and have beans that were cooked with animal fat I am not going to say no. If a friend cooks something that has bacon in it, like green bean casserole at Christmas, I’m still eating it. And the one thing I am never ever giving up is pepperoni pizza. I tried eating vegan pizza and it was like my world was crumbling around me. Pepperoni pizza brings me happiness. Like, it literally makes me smile and have a good day. So I will continue to eat it. I still eat butter on my toast. If someone brings a pie to a get together and it was baked with eggs, I’m still eating it.

Besides the occasional pepperoni, I don’t eat meat anymore. And that’s a huge change for me. It is an easy and a hard change. It’s easy because I like carbs and veggies so I just eat everything I would eat as a side without the meat. It’s hard because meat used to be such a staple. The convenience of grilling a bunch of chicken to reheat throughout the week is gone.

And then the carbs. That’s been a hard change for me but mentally a bit more than physically. When I first tried eating vegan while I was doing my yoga teacher training, I was eating so many GD carbs and I wasn’t doing the working out I am used to. So I gained weight. I thought that I would never be able to eat vegan if I was going to get fat. When I got home and returned to my usual exercise routine, the weight fell off and I was back to normal. So I just have to be mindful of making sure I continue to exercise while consuming mass amounts of beans and rice.

One of the reasons I still eat butter is because of the ingredients. A few years ago I started to eat clean and look at labels. It became normal for me to only eat things that had a couple “real” ingredients in them. So when I look at things like plant-based “butter” that are full of ingredients, yes they are plant based but there is still a long ass list, I just can’t do it. I cannot go against my clean rule and eat something full of stuff. And I know, I know, dairy products are full of shit from the animal that we don’t think about but we’ve seen on the Netflix documentaries, but I’m okay with having some butter and cow puss over a long list of things I can’t pronounce.

I also don’t eat too many fake meat products. The main reason is because I limit my soy intake. Soy is not good for people, especially women, and I’ve already had side effects in my past while consuming small amounts of soy. So I steer clear. That part is easy because I hate tofu. Tempeh is okay, and I don’t mind that as a filler, but I am the kind of person who is just better off not eating something than trying to fake it. I would rather just skip the cheese than eat the fake stuff that is usually ground up nuts and a bunch of things to make it sorta kinda taste like cheese. I’m just not about that.

I did decide just this week that I am occasionally going to eat eggs again. I love eggs. And we have chickens so I know where the eggs are coming from and what my girls are consuming.

Now I know about now there are hardcore vegans who are screaming at me because I am not really a vegan. Uh, hello, I said that in the beginning. And here’s the thing about me; I do what I want. And you know what? I don’t give a shit what you do. I am not an advocate type person. So if you tell me that you’re going out hunting to kill a deer and feed your family, good for you. You do you. I am not going to go with you and I am not going to eat the meat, but if that’s what you’re doing that’s cool with me. My husband still eats meat and I cook it for him. My daughter still eats meat and that’s okay.

Back in September when we (I say “we” because my husband was on board at first) first started, we were really limiting my daughter, too. But she’s 10 and it’s hard to teach a 10 year old new tricks. I know a few people who are raising their kids vegan and I think that’s amazing. But I think you HAVE to start kids out young or it’s going to be hard. I am her parent but in the grand scheme of things, I am raising her with TOOLS so that when she grows up she will have all these ideas and all this knowledge to make her own decisions. Our daughter has already changed so many things since we started eating clean, she’s going to do great in the health department as she grows up.

Part of the reason I decided to write this is because I have a lot of friends who are just not sure what to do when I come around. Around the holidays some of our friends were scared to invite us over to eat. But we went and ate what worked for us. And I am so thankful that those friends kept our eating habits in mind. The other day I visited a friend and met her husband for the first time. He knew I was a yogi and then she asked, “Are you still vegan?” The look on his face was priceless! He was like, “Oh no! You’re one of those.” We ended up going out for pizza. I ate cheese but had a veggie pizza. Part way through lunch he was like, “I can’t figure you out. But you don’t give a fuck.” That is probably the best thing anyone has ever said about me. Because it’s true. And it’s not at the same time. I am who I am. I don’t hide anything. But it’s true, I don’t give a fuck. If what you’re doing does not affect me in any way, I don’t give a shit what you’re doing. Just like eating vegan or not. I am choosing to not eat meat, just like I choose not to drink soda, but I am not going to stop being your friend if you eat meat, or drink soda. I feel like I am kind of going in a different direction now, so I’ll end here.

My point is, I hope you do what makes you feel good. And I hope you make choices because you WANT to and because you have done your own research and come up with your own opinions about things. And if you decide to eat vegan or plant-based and at some point start to eat meat again, that’s totally okay. There is no RIGHT way to live. We all have to go through this trial and error thing called life and do what we feel is right for us.

 

 

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Positivity: A How-to Guide

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while. I’ve seen lot of friends posting that they want to be more positive and I’ve had a lot of friends ask me how I do it. I’ve wanted to write a blog about it but until now I don’t think I had all the write words I wanted to use. I am not even sure I have all the right words now, but I have some good ones, and everything I am going to write about is stuff I’ve changed for myself, and I’ve collected a bunch of memes/quotes and I think I have some good answers to the one main question… “How can I live a  more positive life?”

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Think about it for a second. Did whatever happen today really ruin your entire day? Or are you deciding to dwell on it all day and let it keep bringing you down? Now I know what you’re going to say, “Chrissy, I wrecked my car and I can’t get to work now.” But are you alive? Did you make it home to your family? Are there other ways for you to get to work? The answer to those are probably YES, especially the first one because you’re sitting there reading this right now and you wouldn’t be able to if you were dead. My point is, there are always things to be thankful for in a crappy situation.

Let’s look at something less dramatic though. Your boss overlooked you and gave credit to someone else who didn’t deserve it. Totally a mood ruiner right? Totally! But the whole day? Not necessarily. There are a ton of ways to fix the situation if you want to. Again, if you want to. If you want to sit there and cry about it and not do anything, you’re not going to ever make it better. But if you speak up, change the situation, calmly of course, your mood gets better, your day gets better, and you move on.

I honestly cannot remember the last full on bad day I’ve had. I have bad moments, I have shitty moments, I have down times, but I always look at the positive and turn my mood around. I let it go. I move on. This is not how it always was for me. I used to hold grudges and let things bother me and get stressed and angry. And then one day I quit. I was tired of it. I was tired of fighting with my husband over dumb shit. So I stopped. When we got into an argument I would make myself stop and think about what good it was doing. When I realized it wouldn’t do anything, I would stop and laugh. It’s hard to argue with someone when they are laughing. Eventually the arguments and bad attitudes stopped happening because I would tell myself there was nothing to be negative about. Of course this isn’t just about fighting with your spouse, this can be about anything that brings you down or gets you mad. Assess what’s happening and find the positive. Even if the only positive thing you can think of is that you are breathing. Be thankful that you are still alive to have those emotions. You are a living, breathing, person.

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You can literally tell yourself to have a better day.  You can choose to be happy and positive. Adopt the habit of starting off your day with something positive. Write yourself a love note. Smile. Do something for yourself that brings you happiness. Seek out positivity in your daily life rather than dwelling on things you don’t enjoy.

If you feel a negative thought coming, immediately switch it to something positive. Don’t start a sentence with something negative. If you have to be negative, start with that but end with something positive. Example… “I had a shitty day.” Change that to, “I had a shitty day, but now I am home with my family and looking forward to (fill in the blank).”

STOP posting negativity on social media.  I cannot stress this one enough. The moment you put something negative online, other people are going to latch onto it and help you be more negative. Misery loves company. And some people love the drama that comes with other people’s negativity. You posting something negative on social media immediately puts that energy and vibe into the universe. And not only are you putting that vibe out for yourself, you’re putting it on everyone who is reading your stuff.

If you do choose to be negative on social media, I have two things you should never post about. Don’t ever post negativity about your spouse. I see it every single day; the passive aggressive posts…

“Of course my husband would choose today to be an asshole when he got home from work.”

“It’s always so nice when my husband takes his sweet time coming home from work.”

This goes for husbands posting too but it’s usually the wives. Sorry, ladies, but it’s true. And what are you getting out of this? I’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting. You’re getting your other lady friends to hop on the husband-bashing train and now you aren’t the only one being negative. You just recruited a whole batch of other people who are going to be negative too. And then when your spouse comes home, what kind of mood are you in? What if the reason your spouse came home late was because he decided to stop at Starbucks and bring you a Trenta Hibiscus Refresher? But you don’t know this so you’re an asshole to him when he gets home and you’ve already posted all that hate and negativity all over Facebook. You can’t get that back. It’s out there.

Next, Don’t ever post negativity about your kids. I am not talking about the stories about your kids that you tell as satire to make people laugh. We all love those and we know you aren’t really going to “sell the kids on ebay or etsy.” (Have you seen that meme? I love that one). I am talking about the same passive aggressive stuff like I said above. And I am talking about stuff that you should really just keep to yourself. I’ve seen so much negative stuff about some of my friend’s kids that if you asked me about those kids, I would only be able to tell you bad things. What does that say about those parents who are posting? It just puts out more negativity into the universe and you can’t take that back. You called your kid a little shit and at least 10 people saw that before you decided to delete it. Just stop. Make it a point to only post positivity about your kids.

One other thing…so 3 things you shouldn’t do… Don’t over-share. It kind of goes with the posting about your spouse and kids. But social media doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING, especially if it’s negative.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

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I cannot stress this one enough. I am not sure if I mentioned in other posts, but when I lived in Arizona I lived in a black hole of negativity. And it was so easy to get sucked in. I actually lost quite a few friends because I would choose to stay out of the drama and just stay home. I was constantly around people who would take something good and immediately turn it into something bad. The very first day I was at my brand new house, a lady drove by and said, “Oh you’re new? Welcome to Hell.” This is the kind of negative vibe I am talking about. She put that on me. I was so excited to live in a new place and she immediately put a bad taste in my mouth within the first 10 minutes of me being there. Obviously we never became friends, lol.

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Evaluate the relationships you have. Are your friends constantly negative? Do they like to bring you down? Or are you friends with people who love to have fun and smile and make you happy? It’s a hard task, trust me. When you start to really look at people in your life, sometimes it ends up that your closest friends are not the people you want to be close with anymore. Some of those people even end up being family members. But are you happier without them in your life? Yep!

 

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I am not saying you need to learn to meditate, although it wouldn’t hurt, but take 3-5 minutes and just breathe. Lock yourself in a closet and breathe. Making yourself take a break can work wonders for your mind and change your mood. Close your eyes, don’t think about anything negative, and just breathe. Try it. For me.

If you take one thing away from this, let it be that YOU can make yourself positive. You have that power. You just need to do it.  It won’t be the easiest thing you do, but it will be the most rewarding.

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You Have To Want It

I feel like my daily life has turned into a huge reflection fest after I got back from my YTT. I used to spend time reflecting but never as much as I do now. It’s a neat new habit. I reflect on everything including things I read, things I do, and things people say and do. And man, am I learning a lot!?!

If you read my blogs you will know that I’ve been on a health journey for some time. I am always learning new ways to improve myself. And people around me are eager to know what I am doing. But I’ve started to notice a few things that I never realized before.

First, people are so judgmental of what you are doing! I mean, I guess I always knew this, but maybe I just notice it more. Everyone has an opinion about what you’re doing. And the quickest and easiest way for people to express how they feel about what you’re doing is to make fun of you. Sometimes I think it is the only way people know how to start a conversation. If they make fun of you it’s their way of saying they are interested but they don’t know how to express it. Sometimes it is definitely just a way to poke fun, but sometimes not. I noticed this when I got back from yoga school. I went to a get together with a bunch of my husband’s work friends and their spouses. As soon as I got there the fun-poking began. I didn’t (I don’t ever) take it to heart, I just played along, and I came to the “conversation starter” conclusion because after the jokes, they were all so proud of my accomplishment. That group has said congrats to me more than anyone.

The other thing I noticed is the overwhelming theme of “I could never do that.” I get it. I was the exact same way. I think back to when I first started trying to get healthy and I was full of those statements.  I could never give up soda. I could never run a race. I could never stop eating sugar. I could never give up meat. And you know why I said all those things? Because I didn’t want to give them up or accomplish them. It’s really that simple.  There are so many times in life when we have to put our needs over our wants, but in the health department, I think it has to be the other way. You don’t NEED to change the way you live, you have to WANT to change it.

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“I really need to go to the gym.” No, you don’t NEED to go. You know what this statement says? “I want to do something to improve myself but I am going to find something else to do instead.” Change that sentence to, “I WANT to go to the gym today!” Make that shit happen. The more you say you WANT something, the more likely you are to make it a reality.

“I need to eat healthier.” I know so many people that could lose weight, feel better mentally and physically, even reduce symptoms of chronic ailments, but they won’t until they change that sentence. Because it’s true, you do need to eat healthier if you want to be healthier. But again, you have to WANT it.

“I could never do what you do.” You’re right. You can’t because you don’t WANT to. Stop telling me all the things you are never going to do. I cannot make you change. I can continue to tell you what I do and what works and why you should try things, but you won’t until you WANT to.

Of course, I believe that love and support is also a crucial part to changing your life. You can’t always make it to the gym without a babysitter, or cook healthy if you don’t have a ride to the grocery store. But when all your cards are stacked in your favor, do something. WANT to do something! WANT to eat healthy. WANT to try to not eat certain things. WANT to try something new. WANT to be better.

A Month of Firsts: YTT Part 1

It’s official! I am a 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate!! HEYO!!!!

I spent a month living at an ashram, a”forest school”, learning everything that is YOGA! I slept in a dorm with other yogi ladies, ate vegan food, chanted, and walked away with so much more than a certificate.

I have a ton to write about but it would be a gazillion pages long so I am going to try to break it up into categories the best I can. I’ll start with this one, a list of my “firsts” from this trip. Being in my 30’s it kind of seems weird to be experiencing things for the first time, but there is definitely a list so here goes…

My first time graduating after high school. After I graduated high school I started at San Diego State. I was a year in when my boyfriend joined the Army. So I quit school, started working full time to save money, got married, and never went back. I am not at all sad about it. I wouldn’t ever take any of it back.

Since then I have always had people wonder if I’d ever go back to school. My answer has always been no, I don’t want to have to go through all that, but if I ever did it would be for something specific. I guess I lived up to that. I went back to “school” to be a yoga teacher.

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My first time to Pennsylvania. After getting married I have frequently traveled along the southern states. For quite a few years, the DC area was the farthest north I had ever been. Now I can add Pennsylvania to my list of states visited.

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My first time to New Jersey. Sure I only visited the edge of Jersey that borders Pennsylvania, but I was still there. One of the last evenings at the ashram a group of us drove to an amphitheater in Jersey to see Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

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My first time walking through a river. This one might surprise you. It sure surprised my friend who watched me walk in the water like it was normal. Sure I’ve swam in lakes but only ones that were highly populated for recreational purposes. This river was not one of those types.

On our first day off, a new friend and I ventured into town to do laundry, eat lunch, and go on a hike. We happened upon this great river area that had a walking trail, a giant covered bridge, and just all around great scenery. My friend is a seasoned river-goer so in we went. Of course I did yoga!

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Sticking to the theme here… First time jumping in a swimmin’ hole via a rope swing. On another day off we ventured to this great little town called St. Peters that sits along French Creek State Park. We nicknamed it the “Spirit Village” because it was just that; a quaint little village with yoga classes, a gem shop, and all around spirit, nuzzled up next to hiking trails and a river. I came here twice, the first time just for hiking, but found that this spot in the photo is where all the families hang out to swim and swing. So the second time we went I knew I had to get in and see what the fuss was all about. I guess you could say I am kind of adventurous. What an exhilarating experience! And yes, the water was cold.

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First time eating (almost) all vegan. I came into this really eager to see what eating vegan was all about. Having someone else cook it for me was definitely a plus! I plan to write a whole post just about this so I won’t say much but I will say this… I survived! LOL! I ate vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 20ish days. I even stuck to it when I went out in the real world. It was pretty great! I didn’t miss meat or cheese. I now have quite a few ideas to incorporate into my regular life. But around day 20 I was tired of eating the same thing everyday so I staged a revolt and went out to eat breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I am not sorry!!

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This is a tough one… First time dealing with the loss of a pet. About half way through my time away, my husband had to make the choice to put down our boy Simon. It was a bit easier for me because I wasn’t around to witness it and I am also a bit more level-headed in situations like this. But that may be what made it harder for me; I couldn’t be there for my husband when he needed someone. I had the support of my new “family” while he only had the support of one of his best friends. Thank goodness for that one friend.

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Simon smiling on his last day.

Last but not least..My first time doing something totally alone, for myself. I got married when I was 19 and since then have been doing EVERYTHING with my husband. I have a 9 year old daughter, so the last 9 years have been spent doing almost everything with her as well. For me, doing things all alone involve me being alone at home or going grocery shopping. This was yet another road on my journey that I never expected.

I spent 24 days without my husband or daughter. I spent them in a “foreign” place. I shacked up with 7 other ladies in a dorm. I lived with 15-20 strangers for 24 days. I drove 6 hours in the truck to and from the ashram (I think I’ve topped out at 3 hour drives). I lived and survived on my own for the month. That’s the gist of it really. I elected to live away from my family and go on this crazy journey and I had to problem with it. I jumped in head first and it was AMAZING! I could easily say that being a military kid and wife prepared me for such a road, but I like to think that I am just awesome to be able to handle this kind of thing. 😉

What a trip!!

Stay tuned for more exciting posts coming soon!!

From Guide to Teacher #NamasteTuesday

I became a yoga teacher a little over a year ago. And I know that even though I am not certified, I am still a teacher. But when I tell people that I teach I sometimes use the word “guide” rather than teacher because I am not certified. I tend to get self-conscious about using the word “teacher” because I have never been formally trained. I have attended classes, but I am mostly self-taught. I have never been taught how to teach, I just gave it a try and found out I am pretty darn good at it. And while I feel confident as a teacher/guide, there are still some aspects of teaching a class that I could use a bit more confidence. Well…the time has finally arrived.

I am going to officially get my 200 hour yoga certification next month! WOOO!!!!

I have been talking about doing it for a while. Not only to be more confident when I teach, but mostly for myself. There is only so much that you can teach yourself. And there is sooooooo much more that I have to learn. But there have always been obstacles. First of course is money. It ain’t cheap to get your certification. The second obstacle has been scheduling. Although I don’t work and you would think I have all the time in the world, I don’t. Especially on the weekends. And yoga cert classes are not on YOUR schedule. Most of them are only one weekend a month; Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. Even though that’s only one weekend a month we have to work around, that’s a lot of work. And we only have one car and a kid. So making sure my husband is going to be home on time for me to drive for an hour and make it to class, and then if my daughter had somewhere to be on the weekend…you get it. One weekend can really mess things up. We were, of course, going to make it work, but it was going to be tough. Until the Kula Kamala Foundation popped up on our search.

One other quick thing that was going to be tough with the other classes, a lot of them required that you go to their studios at least once a week to attend a class. Again, I would have to really rework my schedule to be able to do this. Oh, another thing, it seemed to me that a lot of the classes are also geared towards getting your certification so you can turn around the find a job as a teacher. I don’t need that. Sure, in the future my certification will make it easier to get a job, but at this point I am not looking for ways to market myself. So….

There were a couple classes that I was going to settle for. We were going to make it work. And then Kula Kamala came up. I don’t even know how my husband found it because it isn’t local. But this was THE one. This one has everything I was looking for and more. First, it’s not as expensive, and let’s be honest, that is always a plus. Second, it’s all done in one month. One super long, intense month, but no big schedule changes. Including not having to find child care because my daughter is on her own vacation until school starts. Double win! Third, and this is the pretty cool part, I am going to live and be fed at the school for the entire time, and that’s part of the tuition. And four, this class seems to be more about the spiritual side of yoga, while also teaching you how to guide others. This is going to be so crazy and awesome!

I have never done something like this. I have never lived on my own. I have never done something like this where I leave the family for an extended period of time. And I’ve never imagined I’d go off to live in Pennsylvania with a bunch of other yogi weirdos (I’m definitely one of those so I am not making fun of anyone) for a month. It’s going to be fantastic. I am going to be mingling with my people. I am going to be completely immersed in yoga for a month. And I get to experience a ton of things I have never had the chance to before.

I am also going to be vegan for the month. The food served is all local or homegrown at the school and it’s all vegan or vegetarian. I am honestly not sure what there will be that is vegetarian, (milk?) so I am going to assume that it will be almost 100% vegan. I am pretty excited about this too. When I think about eating a vegan diet I always say, “That would be great…if someone else made the food for me.” You want to cook vegan for me? Perfect. I have to prepare everything and buy new things and learn new recipes? No thanks. So the fact that I will be eating this way because it’s what is being put in front of me is going to make it a helluva lot easier to try. Not like I’ll have a choice, LOL! But I am honestly excited. I have not, until now, realized that most of the yogis I know or follow online are all vegan. So it will be interesting to see what it does for my mind. I am very eager to see what it does for my skin, if anything. I suffer from acne and cannot figure out what the hell causes it. Maybe it is something in animal products. I have read about it being caused by dairy but I do not eat a ton of dairy. But you never know.

You won’t see a blog from me in a while since I’ll be very busy, but I will definitely find time to journal and blog when I return.

The next time you see me, I should will be able to say with confidence, “I am a yoga TEACHER.”

And for fun, here’s me smiling while inverted. 🙂

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The Purge! #JTM

I know I already had a Volume 1 of the purge post but this really should have been the first one. The other one I wrote was more spontaneous while this one was more thought out.

As I mentioned, we are slowly working on our journey towards minimalism. As soon as I watched that documentary I immediately started looking around the house at things I didn’t need. The first purge was clothes.

I purge my clothes pretty often. I used to be a clothes hoarder. I would keep ALLLLLL my t-shirts from forever ago because at one point I loved them. Then I got pregnant and most of my clothes never fit me again. Purge. Then I started losing weight and clothes didn’t fit. Purge. But I would still keep a lot. WHY?!? One day I read something about cleaning out your closet and it stuck, and it’s what I ask myself whenever I clean my closet. “Weather dependent, would I put this on today and wear it?” If the answer is no, it goes. It’s really that simple. And you know what? I don’t miss any of those things I got rid of. Another rule someone mentioned that is a good one: if you buy something new, something old needs to go. It really keeps you from frivolous buying. I purge my clothes seasonally and it seems to be working for me.

But I was not the only one purging this time. My husband purged his clothes and I think he had 3 times as many bags as me. While I hoard shirts, he hoards pants. He had stacks of jeans that he never wears. Why? Because he might wear them someday. Would he put them on that day and wear them out? NO? Out they go!!

Here’s our SHARED closet after we were done. Most of our clothes are foldable and are in cube-type storage (Ikea stuff) but this is all that hangs.

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You can see my husbands current pile of pants, lol. He is rotating his clothes so only shorts are out for wearing now. I have to cut him some slack though because he needs more clothes for his job. He can’t just dump everything when he has uniforms and certain clothes for certain jobs.

Next was the craft closet. I say craft because it’s in our craft room but really it’s the “catch-all” closet. The place you put everything you don’t really have a place for. Also where you throw everything you don’t want to see. I wish I took before photos. Grrr! But still, it’s a thousand times cleaner and more organized than it was.

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That white hanging compartment was full of shoes. I think I kept one pair. I even went through all those plastic drawers and organized them. I was putting in work.

Next was the kitchen. This was the next biggest purge after the clothes as far as how much I got rid of. Why did I need 14 dinner plates when we are a family of 3? Why did I need 44,000 plastic cups? Why did I need to start collecting mugs when I only drink out of one? And why did I keep things just for the sake of keeping them? Do you have an answer because I sure don’t.

I kept our one set of 8 dishes; large plates, small plates, bowls, and mugs. I got rid of all the other dishes. If we happen to have a party or something I’ll buy paper plates. It’s really that easy. I kept about 10 mugs that meant something to me. I kept about 10 drinking glasses and a few plastic ones for the child. I went through all the plastic tumbler-type cups and matched them with their lids. No match, why do I have you!?! The biggest part of this purge was getting rid of glasses and cups we NEVER EVER use. The ones you get when you buy the special drink at a restaurant but you never use the cup again. The flasks that were a fun gift because they had a mustache on them but have never been used because we don’t drink liquor from a flask, lol. All gone!! And now I have empty shelves. WHOA!

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I also went through the drawers. Why was I hoarding steak knives when we only use the 4 new ones?

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The top left photo is all the silverware that WAS mixed in in the drawer. I had wayyyy too much. The photo on the right of the drawers is great because previously you could not see the bottom of either of those drawers.

So what did I do with all the other dishes and stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. A lot I put in that huge pile for a yard sale. And some of it I wrapped up nicely and put in boxes for my daughter when she moves out (she’s 9 now). I had a set of China that my abuelos gave to me when I got married. It used to be our normal dishes until I bought something new. It’s a great set with dinner plates, small plates, tea cups, saucers, a platter, a huge bowl, tea pot, and sugar container. It’s really a perfect set of dishes that was collecting dust in my cabinet. So that will be given to my daughter. Basically, my daughter’s kitchen will be fully equipped. She will have all the dishes, glasses, mugs, and utensils. But only the things she will use. And the cool part is that they will all mean something to her. The mugs I chose to give her, rather than sell, are all from places she’s been as well. And if she decides she doesn’t want all that stuff at some point, it will be hers to decide.

Not pictured but another big purge was our movies. Sure we love movies, especially without cable, but there were so many we never watch and probably won’t ever again. I have a giant black garbage bag full of movies to sell. Also not pictured, on Easter my daughter and I purged her room. She’s really good at it. She is a small time hoarder of things “she might play with later” but she still understands and is willing to part with a lot.

I think the craziest part so far is seeing how much shit we had upstairs with us that wasn’t bringing any meaning to our life. I’ll show you this photo again…

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ALL of this stuff for the yard sale was upstairs. I can’t. I don’t even get it.

So now the storage purge continues. After my last post we stopped going through everything because we were headed to a friend’s house, but we emptied 4 boxes. We have a pile set aside to keep, a pile to burn/toss, and then we’ll add to the yard sale pile. It’s a good time going through the stuff because I do keep some really cool things that mean things to my husband even though he had no idea they did. I kept a box full of the letters he received when he was in basic training and overseas. He didn’t know they were still around and he really enjoyed reading some, especially the ones from family members who have passed away. So really it always comes down to that question…”Does this bring me happiness?” Sometimes you find things that truly do make you happy and those are the thing we won’t ever get rid of. But if we have no connection to items anymore, out they go.

Purging Volume 1 #JTM

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I am currently in my basement going through storage stuff and thought I’d share a couple pictures.  This is what the purge looks like.  The photo above is my current garage sale pile.  I’ll post a more in depth post at a later time about exactly what’s in the photo, but that’s just the start.

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This is the side of storage boxes we are currently going through.  So far we’ve gone through about 4 boxes,  made a small keep pile, a huge trash pile, and a burn pile.

Asking ourselves these questions… Does this make me happy?  Is this thing in a box bringing meaning to my life? Will our daughter care about this when she’s older? If the answer is no,  to the trash it goes.

 

p.s. I might be a bit of a hoarder

The Journey Towards Minimalism #JTM

Hey all. I’m starting a new hashtag for future posts.  #JTM will follow any posts I write about my family’s Journey Towards minimalism. First post starts tomorrow. I’ll add these posts to a new page as well.

Embracing Change: A Love Story

This post has been brewing for a long time. It all started with a question quite a few months ago; I’ll get to that. I was going to write it yesterday but the day came and went. But here it comes.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of being “John and Chrissy.” 18 years as a couple. Our story began in 4th grade when we sat next to each other. I moved to a different community for middle school but then came back for high school. The rest is history. We started dating freshman year and have been “us” every since.

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Freshman Year, 1999

A few months ago I went to have a coffee date with a new friend. We were doing the usual “get to know each other” question and answer session. She asked me, referring to my husband and I being together so long, “Have you guys changed a lot?” My immediate response, with a laugh, “Pshhh, no!” I didn’t realize the impact of that question. I have thought of that question almost every day since then.

When I initially asked myself the question again, my reasoning for the NO answer was this: I am still the goof I was in high school. He’s still the muscle that can pick me up and swing me over his shoulder. We still listen to the same music. He still drives and I passenger. We are still together so of course we haven’t changed. But then I continued to ask myself the question over and over since then and I keep realizing, we are totally NOT the same people that we were when we first met, or got married, and we definitely aren’t the same couple after all these years.

The easiest change to see, we are now parents. And even that has changed in the 9 years since we had our daughter. But the other changes might not be as obvious, even to the people who know us best.

The first thing I think of is the way we eat. On our 1 year dating anniversary, John took me out to a super fancy seafood restaurant, not realizing I didn’t eat any sort of seafood. I filled up on bread and ordered a chicken meal. It took me a good 15 years to live that one down. “Remember the time I took you out for fish and you ordered the chicken?” When we were first married I don’t think I ever cooked a vegetable. We ate meat with rice or pasta. We ate out a lot. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago we decided to make changes in our diet. And it wasn’t until just last year that we really decided we were going to clean out our cabinets and start from scratch and start eating clean. Vegetables are now one of our favorite things to eat! And I LOVE seafood!! And I cook wayyyy more often than I ever did; we rarely eat out.

We grew up in southern California. I am not trying to say that there are only two types of people in SoCal, but for this blog there are two types of people; fancy people and hippies. Maybe instead of fancy I could call them lavish. In my opinion, lavish people want a perfect house, the perfect clothes, the perfect tan. Hippies are carefree, they differentiate between wants and needs, and they care more about other people than themselves. I would say we grew up being a healthy mix of those two. We lived in a pretty great neighborhood with all the things we wanted, could go to the beach to get our perfect tans, but were also pretty grounded with good heads on our shoulders and good morals.

When we were first married I think we wanted to be the lavish kids we thought we were. We bought all the things we wanted. We had a tv in each room. We HAD to have cable with HBO. When we could afford to, we spent money on new clothes and new things for the house because we wanted them. And when we had our daughter we wanted her to have all the latest and greatest gadgets because that would be the best for her. We aren’t those people anymore.

We’re the hippies now, 100%. We were slow and steady to make this change. Moving out to the country away from everyone was the first big step. Wanting to live off the land and not have to spend all our money on food when we could grow our own. We realized we wanted to spend more time with each other doing things outside rather than watching tv, so we kept extra tv’s in the moving boxes. We discontinued cable. We had very limited internet (this wasn’t a choice in the beginning but it was a blessing in disguise). We took away our daughter’s tablet (another thing that we didn’t realize was a blessing). We’re in the process of downsizing all of our stuff. We are heading in the minimalist direction, hoping to one day maybe be those weirdos who live in a tiny house with just a bed and a stove on a huge plot of land with chickens and a garden (I’m not kidding, it’s become our dream).

Growing up we weren’t raised religious. We had some church background but nothing that I would say was enough to form us into the people we are today. We still aren’t religious, like Bible religious, but we are both very spiritual. We are constantly learning and sharing ideas with each other that build on our spirituality. It’s something we have grown to share.

And then there’s our relationship. We have always loved each other, no question. And we’ve always been best friends; we GREW up together, how could we not be best friends? But when we were first married, and only 19, we still had growing up to do and things to experience. We did everything together but we still had those moments when we wanted to get away from each other. I was that annoying nagging wife at times. And he was the worker bee that I wanted more attention from. We fought over dumb things, like any new couple, we kept grudges, and would dwell on things we had no control over. Today, we not only love each other more, we LIKE each other more. There’s totally a difference. You can love someone but not enjoy being around them. We enjoy each other. We want to spend time together as much as possible. And we definitely don’t hold grudges. We agree on a lot but when we don’t, we figure it out without being assholes to each other. We laugh A LOT more, me especially when I think we’re fighting over something stupid. We work together. All while still maintaining our independence.

The point of all this is that the answer to the question, “Have you changed?” is most definitely a, “Hell yes, we’ve changed!” And the best part is, we’ve done it together. The second best part is, we are happy. Like, really happy. The happiest we’ve ever been. When talking about us and our lifestyle, hippie-ish, I always tell people that I think this was all in there deep down but it just took a while to really embrace it. Deep down we wanted all this but maybe just didn’t know how to make it happen. And all the roads we’ve taken together were all eventually going to lead us to this point. And now, this is the new starting point down our next road of adventure. Will a lot more change in another 18 years? Who knows. I would guess that we will just further embrace a lot of the things we are moving towards now. And the best part is, we’ll still be doing it together.

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April 13, 2017. 18 years

Adios 2016

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So yeah,  this is totally me right now.  Not just in life but in the blogging world. Is it #NamasteTuesday? Is it #FarmlifeFriday? When’s the last time I actually did yoga?

My husband has been working half days and everyday after work we’ve been building a chicken coop. When we weren’t building we were shopping for supplies.  When we weren’t doing those things we were eating.  And if we weren’t  eating we were out spending gift cards from Christmas. My point is,  we’ve been thoroughly enjoying winter break!  So much so that I dunno what day it is and I  haven’t sat down to blog. So….

Here’s my lasy blog of 2016! I hope everyone has a marvelous last few days and a Very Happy New Year.  I’ll be back in 2017!

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