Positively Simplifying Life

Simplifying isn't always easy…

It’s Been Awhile

Sometimes these things happen.  Sometimes you’re on a winning streak, and sometimes you fall behind a little.  Both are good, and if you can appreciate falling behind- see the good in things instead of dwelling on the bad- then you are poised to appreciate life’s fulfilling moments.

I’ve been walking about 6 miles, or 12, 500 steps per day.  To and from work I walk, but I need to get back to eating healthy.  I’ve always believed that food should be used medicinally, a way to keep your body healthy and clean;  properly hydrated with minimal toxic intake and maximum toxin expulsion.  This is a lifestyle that will keep you healthy until you die, a lifestyle for which I strive.  I don’t want to be 45, run down and tired.  I never want to worry about obesity, diabetes, arthritis, or asthma.  I don’t want to worry about any of the chronic ailments that progressively plague societies with legacies of fast food, fad diets, and diet sodas.

I’ve read the basics about blood type diets, and I try to eat the majority of fruits and vegetables for my type.  Food combining rules also strike my interest.  I know, it all sounds so complicated for a blog named Positively Simplifying Life, but it’s really very easy with a little will-power, and my digestive system thanks me when I follow along like a good girl.

Sadly, my own addictions to comfort and ease often have me acting out against my best intentions.  What I am learning as I get older is that I need to try and incorporate my love of comfort and not try to banish it completely.  And that is how I, with wishy-washy dedication, live my life.

Basically, quality raw fruits and vegetables clean dirty cells and build healthy new cells.  Processed foods, poorly raised cows producing meat and dairy, and corporate raised chickens producing perfect eggs and surgically enhanced F sized breasts are foods that wreck our cells.   Food that is bad for you, food raised in a negative environment, food processed in factories by workers running machines that dump in sugar and processed wheat and corn; this food destroys you on a cellular level.  At 38 years old, after years of yoga and walking and a basic, general attention to good health, I declare, it is time to bring in the clean-up crew.   This means Bacon Bleu CheeseBurgers- we can only see each other a few times a month.

I love the idea of drinking my vegetables.  Just throw a bunch in the blender and drink them down.  A smooth thick tonic for good health.  And I was all aboard for weeks until I realized my food-processing/$20 blender method of creation just wasn’t cutting it. Literally.  And I want a smooooooothie.  When I throw an apple, lemon and head of green lettuce- with some parsley, and kale or spinach into the blender, I want it to turn into a delicious, smoothly blended cocktail.  And this wasn’t happening.  So I stopped making the morning drink. And I do believe the morning green drink- or after work, or whatever your choosing, IS the first step of getting back on track.  So I bought myself a Vitamix and I’m going back to drinking my vegetables. Amen.

Filed under: Food and Recipes, Health and Beauty

Winter Wanes

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

A season, coming off a mild Midwestern winter, that continues to call for layers.

As seen in previous posts, I enjoy a uniform.  My life is very practical and I don’t like over-thinking what to wear, but enjoy looking sharp and stylish.

As winter wanes, I need to simplify once again my life and my wardrobe. 13 items for 31 days:

The items are:

3 Pants; 2 Skirts; 2 Blazers; 1 Large/ chunky knit  sweater; 1 dress; 4 shirts; = 13 pieces

PLUS: 5 shoes, including gym shoes; under garments for layering; accessories

I need to make my picks and get started! March 10th – April 10th? This is a good intro into spring 31 day run.

Filed under: Fashion, , ,

Make Your Own Veggie Stock

~In Honor of National Frozen Food Day~

My great friend Stephenie Presseller gave me this tip via her awesome blog, They Say It’s Natural:

I don’t buy bouillon since it’s a lot of processed stuff and has tons of sodium. So, using a great long ago suggestion from a friend, when I am prepping dinners I keep the ends of onions, celery, carrots, cabbage and sometimes ‘shrooms in a bag in the freezer. When I want to make stock, I pull from that bag of frozen ends and toss them in the pot of water. Cover and cook on medium for at least 30 minutes and you have a tasty, tasty stock. Neat trick, eh? And now you know what’s in your stock instead of guessing what someone else did to make it, which is kinda gross if you ask me.

I also put my apple ends in this frozen bag of mixed veggie refuse- it adds a touch of sweetness but doesn’t overpower.  And I boiled my stock for 30 minutes, and then simmered it for an hour and a half.  Then I strained the broth through a large strainer, and then I strained it again through a sieve.  I froze 3 jars and have been using it as a soup base for a month of Sunday soups.

I like to freeze in glass, due to personal issues (note: paranoia) I have with plastics.  To successfully freeze in glass, leave a good two inches of space between the liquid and the rim.  This allows room for expansion.  Let hot liquids cool down before putting them in the freezer.  I occasionally leave jars of liquid in the fridge overnight before putting in the freezer.  I don’t put the lids on until after liquid has frozen.

Filed under: Food and Recipes, , ,

Glow All the Live Long Day

Re-Dew: An age-old trick

Mix some moisturizer (I use jojoba oil or coconut oil) with some foundation or concealer, then add a touch of shimmer and a smidge of toner to the mixture, and load it on a few Q-Tips and place in a sandwich baggie (or a sample lotion container).  Later, when you are feeling dull, smear this concoction on the cheekbones and lights on! You are glowing again!

(A tip from the archives at Glamour: The Secret to Refreshing Your Glow Throughout the Day by Beth Shapouri)

And don’t forget the lip gloss!

Filed under: Health and Beauty, ,

Positively Simplifying Dessert

Talk about simple- this is simply the simplest!

Just the basics: According to the folks over at The Kitchn, “The flavors don’t fight, they mate.”  Sounds sexy, right?

You can find the classic here: Recipe: Balsamic Drizzled Ice Cream (Easiest Fanciest Dessert)

A scoop of good vanilla ice cream + few drops of high quality balsamic vinegar = a mouthful of happiness.

You can thank me later.

Filed under: Food and Recipes,

How are the Resolutions coming?

Mine are coming along- my 10 daily health habits are still in effect, though I have only completed all 10 only once, so far.  But it makes me realize again that my ultimate goal is to not be so hard on myself. I have been steadfast in my walking.  Already have 25 miles on my new boots!  Down 3 pounds in one week.  Feeling good.

“Pick the one thing that matters most. You’re most likely to succeed if you stick with a resolution (or two) that is compelling and inspiring to you. How to tell what’s a keeper? Pretend it’s 2013: Are you grateful you made this change? If your answer is “eh,” drop it.”  Good advice from Melissa Daly at Health.com, as seen on Huff Post.

Filed under: Health and Beauty

2012- A New Year!

2012: A New Year with new goals and stronger motivation, I already smell success in the air!

Let me start with simplifying the body.

Last Wednesday began our company’s ‘unofficial/unsponsored’ Biggest Loser Challenge. In the next 13 weeks, I plan to kick start my healthy lifestyle- AGAIN (hey, this year it is bound to stick!)-and claim the prize.

For the 13 weeks of the work weight loss competition- with Reb, the Weight Keeper, Weigh in Wednesdays and a $200 prize- losing 20 pounds is my secondary goal. My primary goal is to use the 13 weeks to instill some good habits into my life; raw food days and routine exercise and meals.

I function best on routine, and like to find healthy, quick meals to eat at lunch that taste delicious and give me something to look forward to. Nut pâté is delicious and fairly easy to make, though some time is involved for soaking the nuts. I can eat the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch, and then I like to mix it up for dinner.

January 4th: Wednesday #1. I clocked in at a cool 148.6. 25 pounds is my weight loss goal- which will be achieved by following my 10 recommended habits for health.
*10 Recommended Habits for Good Health*
1. Begin each day with 16 ounces of warm water with 1/2 squeezed lemon juice
2. 30-45 minutes of calisthenics and/or yoga
3. 15 minutes of meditation
4. Keefer Smoothie
5. 2.7 mile walk to work
6. 20 ounces of green smoothie
7. an apple a day keeps the doctor away
8. 2.7 mile walk home
9. 15 minute meditation #2 (can be a 30 minute if missed the morning 15)
10. No Spending Money on Myself While at Work

That’s my strategy.

:

Filed under: Health and Beauty

Skin Care:Pineapple as an Excellent Skin Polisher

Bromelain from Pineapple: an Excellent Skin Polisher.

Bought a pineapple today- looking for some tropical relief, both internally and externally-

I recently came across Julie Gabriel‘s Green Beauty Recipes and am loving experimenting on my skin with ingredients from my kitchen!

Last summer, when the EWG (Environmental Working Group) came out with their guidelines for safe sunscreen, I became moderately obsessed with the EWG’s ranking of beauty products. I had been spending money- way too much money- on products that claimed to be natural and green, yet loaded with toxic chemicals linked to cancers and neurological disorders.

I happened across Ms. Gabriel’s book at work on the book review desk, in conjunction with running out of my Soap For Goodness Sake Pumpkin Face Wash bar (highly recommended).  At the end of the chapter on cleansing, is the ‘Quick Green Cleanser Ideas’- where I found a few emergency go-to ideas.  First idea tried- Organic, plain whole milk yogurt.  Took a teaspoon, smeared it on my face using upward circular motions, let it set for several minutes then wiped off with a damp rag and followed up with the dregs of my morning rooibos tea on a cotton ball as a toner.  Per Gabriel, yogurt contains gently exfoliating lactic acid and makes an excellent antibacterial cleanser, while tea makes a great toner that nourishes skin with antioxidants.

I will have a follow-up soon with a demo of the Avocado and Cucumber Soothing Scalp Treatment, which I plan on using today as my scalp is very itchy and dry this season.

Filed under: Health and Beauty

Success!

The clothing experiment was successful.  I have a lot of accessories and was really able to mix it up in the end, when I was feeling bored.

And after bagging up the clothes and reading some more Alabama Chanin, I found two well-worn, yet un-notable sweaters- one red, one black- and tore them up into strips- then ripped up some bright blue and black satin fabric strips from some old fabric.  I tied all these strips together and rolled into a yarn ball.  I loom-knitted this yarn ball into something like a place mat…

Not sure what it is really, except two less sweaters from my shelf.  And two less yards of fabric from my craft room.

Ultimately, I would like to make reconstructed sweaters such as these, from Joodito Clothing:

Now it is February 3rd.  I’ve worn the same pair of black cords for three days due to the blizzard.

This is my car in my parking lot.

My husband dug a path to the car, and around the car.  I think giving up my wardrobe for the month of January has allowed me to comfortably wear the same pair of pants three days in a row.  I swear, no one cares.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

13 for 31: 13 pieces of Clothing for 31 Days of January

It’s a cinch!  It’s a snap!

Not for me.

I can only save myself from the clutter I’ve accumulated, and this year, I’m getting down to business!  2011. Simplifying Life.

In 2010, I put a lot of thought into getting rid of things.  Though I shipped carloads of trappings to the Salvation Army, I didn’t get rid of enough.  I still feel trapped by crap. I spent a lot of time researching minimalism, while I continued to plow through the fields of clothing on my floor trying to find something unwrinkled and ‘fresh’ to wear to work.

This past year, I’ve read a lot about fashion minimalism- and found inspiration from The Six Items or Less Experiment and Alex Martin of the Little Brown Dress project.  And in my efforts to set monthly goals, as opposed to yearly goals in 2011, I’ve decided to challenge myself to 13 items for 31 days for the month of January.

I will now go choose my cloths…

Back. And after sifting through the mountain of clothes in my room, I must add that I am NOT including underclothes of any kind in this number, as I wear a long underwear outfit daily to protect myself against the Chicago winter.  When it gets warmer, I will try 13 for 31 actual items of clothing (excluding underwear)…

The items are:

3 – pants- black dress pants/brown dress pants/grey cords

2 skirts- tan full and black pencil, both knee length

2 Blazers-one green and brown and the other black with brown pinstripes

1 large/ chunky knit black/white cardigan sweater

1 black dress

4 shirts- off white lace; tan long sleeve tee; black sheer; small black cardigan

My underclothing includes: (remember- I’m living through a Chicago winter!)

Brown tights/black tights

2 sets long underwear

1 grey turtleneck

2 pajama pants/workout pants

2 pajama shirts/workout shirts

1 robe

Assortment of bras, undies and socks

I think this project will help me simplify my life by giving me one less thing I have to thing about daily- What am I going to wear?  With 13 items of clothing, it’s pretty simple.

My goal in 2011 is to free up my mind and my energy to pursue creativity. One thing at a time.  Can I survive without all of my clothes? I’m off to pack the rest away and find out…

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

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