October Challenge

Less 01

 

A one month resolution.  Not a full year, not 6 months, not even more than 31 days.  One month.  That seems to be the sweet spot.  Short enough that it’s attainable, short enough that you can plan, long enough that you really wrap your head around it and most importantly, long enough that you can initiate or reset a habit.  For our 2014 resolution, Keller and I would do one month resolutions.  January was a no TV month.  See we were not excessive by any means, but it was something that we wanted to reset, something we wanted to live without for a while. February was.. crap I can’t remember.  I know March was no bread, which turned into no gluten for me, which turned into chaos.  This was about the time we stopped.  I don’t know if it was the gluten, or something else, but this was right about the time my body went A-wall.  I stopped the challenge 2 weeks in, slowly adding in bread.  I won’t get into the details, but it was not fun.  Every time I ate, my stomach would hurt.  I could only eat at home without feeling awful.  Then summer came and resolutions were the last thing on my mind.  Here we are at fall, which is all about new beginnings for me.  Since there are no rules to this thing I call life.  The rules I set can be moved around.  So I can start a resolution up in October if I want to.

October was a no spend month.  The rules around it were hazy, but it was basically anything I could live without.  No clothes, no makeup, no office supplies, no halloween decorations (I know sad ), no halloween costumes (it gets real these resolutions), no retail therapy, and no online shopping.  A whole ton of yes to hiking, yes to taking a walk, yes to writing in this blog, yes to reading a book and yes to less clutter!

On one hand this no-spend month made one part of my life SO MUCH EASIER.  Actually, it made a few parts of my life a whole lot easier. On the other hand, I didn’t save the planet or cure cancer.  My life didn’t change in any great measurable amount, but you know it’s those little things that make up the big things.  So I will focus on the oh so important little things.

A) The decision process in shopping is rather laborious for me.  Do you feel me on this one?  I get the sense I’m not the only one with these crazy thoughts.  It’s the “is this the item I have been searching for?  That one sweater I got 4 months ago really worked out, maybe this will be just like that, or maybe it will be like that striped shirt I never wore and never will.  How will I know if this truly will be the answer I am looking for?” I take my purchases seriously can ya tell?  They hold the answers I tell you!  This inner dialogue can consume me and really stress a girl out.  By having a hard fast NO, it makes life just that much less stressful.  Here are some examples, Dilemma: Do I need to buy the gel manicure kit from target, it will be glorious I tell you! Imagine all the colors! Answer: NO, and then 5 minutes later I completely forgot about the need for anything. While I chip away at the week old polish.  Dilemma: It’s starting to get chilly out, I could use a new jacket, I really feel like I need to step up my cozy game.  Answer: NO, I have jackets, plenty of them.  I will live.  You get the idea?   So here comes the dramatic part.  It helped me to think of others that are less fortunate.  Bear with me here.  If these moms, kids, dads and families from countries that  are not doing so hot, are living life just fine with what they have.  Then so can I.  I would think of an image I had recently seen of someone in Africa, or Guatemala.  Or even someone here in America.  These people have needs and wants, and they don’t go buying gel manicure sets just because they probably can.  They buy what they need, because thats what is important.  Yes, I want to enjoy my hard work.  I also want a reality check once in a while.

B) It came to my attention how much of my day came to thinking of things I needed to buy.  Simply walking past stores, reading blogs, seeing instagrams.  It was like a whole world I no longer needed to buy into.  I started to notice so much of what we do as American’s is consumer based.  I follow a couple bloggers I adore and I soon realized that all they post about are things to buy or what they recently bought or things they want.  I don’t want to live in a world that makes me feel like I am always in need of the next best thing.  I am content with what I have.  I want to love what I have.  Its all really good stuff.

C) I focused on spending less time shopping or seeing if shopping can fill my time, I spent quality time with the people around me.

D) I actually spent less money on other things.  When I was grocery shopping for the camping trip, I went to buy the snacks, s’mores and beer.  Instead of my normal routine, buy 2 different kinds of each item because more is better!  I actually only bought what I needed, and you know what?  No one else noticed. I didn’t have a bunch of extra stuff I didn’t need.  Thats a lie, I bought too much beer and case in point (get it case? haha), I have a ton extra. (not complaining here)

E) The best part is that my budget at the mid and end of the month was so much better.  It was FUN.  I do my budget, I track every little thing I buy.  I am an accountant, it’s what I do.  Normally, it was a pain, moving money around and stressing at the end of the month because I was not within my limits.  This time around I will meet my budgets and finally have a good step going forward.

F) Lastly, Unexpected items were not so hard.  I was hit with a bill I was not expecting.  Normally this would have thrown my Misc items budget out of whack and it would stress me out a little.  This time around though, it was ok.  I had the room for it.

Results:

My goal going in:  October budget was to save some cash and see if I could really do it.

Results, I spent $1.29 on a makeup pencil sharpener (mine was left during house sitting) and Kelan bought me a planner, which was sort of not the point, but had he not been there I wouldn’t have gone for it anyway?  Not sure, again these are my rules there are no consequences.  I saved an unknown amount of money, but in the end I will admit it was not as much as I had hoped. I thought I would be swimming in money.  While I am still in my limits, I am in no way a surplus.  I will say my credit card was not touched once this month.  Now THAT is saying something.

Lesson learned: Less is more.

Points:  If 5 was winning at life.  I’d say I was at a 3.5, you know because I bought the sharpener and didn’t totally cut out on eating out.  However, that should probably be a challenge in and of itself.

November Goal:  Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

In balance

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Do you ever feel as if the world is slightly tilted to one side and you are using all this extra muscle to stay upright, but it’s not enough of a tilt that you actually realize it until your muscles get tired and you think -yeah, this has been a lot of effort lately, what’s up with that? I had been feeling this but hadn’t put much thought into it until my sister proclaimed on Facebook that her stress levels were off the chain, and my cousin Lisa commented saying that it was something in the moon and October and the star alignment. I don’t know the specifics, I’m obviously not very scientific, but I suddenly started to notice this anxiety in myself as well. Lisa then said that it should be passing soon. I sort of doubted that not thinking this little stress ball would ever leave, but then these past couple days it’s as if the world righted itself and my inner argument has finally subsided. All is in peace. Out of nowhere. Not sure if any of that makes sense. It does to me. My theory is that it’s the change in the seasons. We instinctually cling to the world we know and when the weather and daylight patterns start whipping us around, our heads start to spin. Now that I fully feel as if fall is here I just want to jump up and hug all those glorious colors. I want to skip down the street.

My other theory on feeling in balance is exercising, working hard at work- you know not feeling like a slacker, focusing on the good in people, listening to a good album and returning from a camping trip. Maybe there is truth in the work life balance. Maybe there is truth in the work hard play hard. Maybe there is truth in good music. Either way, I’m digging it. I want to keep the steady going.

Currently listening to The Paper Kites -Featherstone. My cousin Lorin made a video with that song and I can’t get it out if my head since! I made this little quote thing to go along with a lyric from the song

Birthday/Camping

Wow, this is long over due.  Here I was looking for the post I did on camping back in July.  Turns out, I didn’t post one.  To summarize, my mom came up to visit for my birthday which was just perfect.  We had a Thursday all to ourselves, walked all over the city, Mission Beach Cafe in the morning for breakfast (NO LINE!!) then we meandered down Valencia, stopped at Tartine, because there was NO LINE!! we picked up some bread pudding and this meringue thing I love so much, we walked past birite, searching for a pie needed for the family camping trip, no luck.  This brought us right past bi-rite ice cream though, and since it was my birthday I was all, who cares if we just had brunch and have bread pudding in a doggy bag we are getting ice cream yo, because again NO LINE!!.  So we walked up to the top of Dolores park, for the view.  We talked about this and that, pondering on where we would end up next when all of a sudden I said RUN, bc the J came and I knew our legs were tired and there was a pie shop with our name on it.  My mom, so proud of her, didn’t even hesitate just ran right with me.  Turns out the pie shop had the pie we needed. WIN.  After this long adventure we napped before indian food for dinner.  Family came, it was precious.  Then we went home early because we all had to get ready for camping the next day.  Which leads me into part 2, but first, a commercial break.

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these mimosas were huge. Just how we like ‘em.

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these ladies worked at cooks in a restaurant near by, they just happened to be on a lunch break. Loved the scene

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Camping was fun.  I can’t do a summary, because a) I lost my phone for 3/8ths of the visit.  I loved camping so much that I thought, eh who needs a phone.  ME, I was the one that said that.  The one who takes one bagillion photos of the same damn leaf.  This spot was so perfect, a big beautiful lake, boats to rent, islands to swim to and on the other side of the highway were pot holes to hike and swim in.  So much fun was had I can’t even get into the details.  Spending time with family while camping is now at the top of my list. Something about allowing everyone to do what they want but all be near by is so comforting.  20 people, including the dog.  There was always a nook where someone was laughing, others were screaming, others were napping.  Pure magic.  I can’t wait to do it all over again.

My cousin Lorin made this rad video.  Damn she is talented.

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note Jackie’s little lion chair

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Jackie fell back, but don’t worry nobody was harmed in the making of this picture.

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clothes line + tent = heart eyes

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My canoodle partner <3

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we boated over to this private island and we declared it to be called grass island from here on and forever

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How adorable is the committee above.

All the rest of these were taken by Lorin

Silver lake 2014

we didn’t get the whole gang, but this was the only group shot we took.  Note Kelan’s ensemble

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Stella and bowie silver lake

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Jackie

Bowie

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hooowww adorable are they?

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Tom in waterfall

chillin in a waterfall :)

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House sitting, birthdays, camping and other related event

We’ve been house sitting slash pet sitting as of lately and I have to say its been so very interesting.  I suppose I’ve never been near home, but not actually have gone home for extended periods of time in, well, ever.  It’s this weird- I know where I am, I know the directions and all the places around, but I am too far from home to just stop over and water the plants or swap out some t-shirts but I’m still close enough that I cooould do it.  Keller and I had these big ambitions.  We thought that a shake in the routine, a good change of scenery would kick our butts into gear and let us unleash the productivity bubble we had been hiding.  Turns out, nope. Just the same.  Actually, it’s not the same, its’s worse!  Ever since we started this house-pet sitting extravaganza I feel like we have lost about 4 to 5 hours a day.  Yes, my mornings are cuh-razy with the kids, but the evenings are wide open, yet I go to bed far too late having not a moment to spare.  Our initial goals, er I mean MY initial goals were to hike, bike, walk, cook, jump full force into illustrator all the while skipping along with normal life.  So far, I’d say we have touched on all of the goals but a very mild easter egg pastel, not a full punch in your face neon like I had hoped. I might blame it on the weather though, 90 degrees does not lend itself to running, hiking or cooking fall soups.  Things might turn around though, we still have time, and I can see a WALL of fog lingering over the hill near by.  It’s been tickling the neighborhood for about an hour now.  Rolling in, rolling out, in, out.  Right now we are on the in.  I’m hoping it cools it down enough to cook some squash.

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evidence of our hike

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isn’t that moss oh so rustic?  It is obviously not evident, but this picture was so awkward to take, but I just had to!  About 20 feet to my right were two highway patrol officers holding 4 boys hostage.  We decided later that they were being held hostage for having BB guns.  I bet those little shits were hitting squirrels and birds :( Let’s not think about it.

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How cute is this lending library in the neighborhood? I wonder what kind of books are in there.  Next time I’m going to take a peak.

Fun fact, I have not taken ONE picture of the kids.  It’s really weird, I love them so much, all their little feathery parts, but I have not taken a picture during this visit.  I have TONS and tons from past visits, but I keep looking at my phone for one and don’t see any.  I attribute it to the lack of time, the missing 4 hours.

Keller and I went to celebrate Stina’s birthday this past weekend.  She turned 30, 30 full swings around the sun – she said.  I agreed with her, 30 was not very much at all.  We camped at Refugio which is this adorable little camp site RIGHT off the highway and RIGHT on the beach.  We scored a huge group spot, and camped to our hearts content.  Apparently camping to my hearts content meant eating s’mores for breakfast.  Don’t judge.   I make a mean s’more only perfected by jumbo marshmallows and andes mints.  Don’t worry I have the step by step perfect s’more instructions.

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adorable I know.

Since we were so close to the beach, Stina and her friends brought a kayak, paddle boards, floaties and goggles.  This was SO FUN.  I tried paddle boarding finally, harder than it looks, but WAY more fun than I ever gave it credit for.  It’s this mix of keeping your muscles tight for balance but completely limber to roll with the water.  The trick is to A) not think about it.  It’s similar to meditation.  The second you think about it, release that thought. Just let it go.. there is no need for the thought of standing on water to enter your mind.  It won’t help you.  and B) look in the distance horizon, beach, surfers, boat, anything but the water in front of you.  You can eventually look below you because that is the coolest part.  Seeing the world below you which was not revealed to you before when you were swimming in it.  Somehow, standing above the water, not roughing it up allows for a clear look down below to the shells, fish and goodies.  All this floating, swinging and laughing chalked itself up to one of the best weekends.  I’m starting to think there is a pattern, whenever I go camping I say out loud several times “this is epic”.  Outside of this camping world, I never use this word.  It is not a word I’m comfortable with throwing around, yet come sleeping bags and apparently breakfast s’mores and you got me practically yelling “eeeeepic”.

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This moment, we were free.  We just let it all go.  On those swings, in that moment we were free.

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Don’t even get me started on the water and how clear it was.

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How adorable is this camp site?  The dude appreciated the fact that we had to back up and take the picture of his campsite.  I got a smile and wave/thumbs up as we went past.

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Here is that s’more I was telling you about.

Anyways, epic times were had and I’m so ever grateful for them.

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Ruby

It’s a real sad moment to lose a pet but even more sad to lose a friend.  Ruby was our family dog, but most importantly was my Mom’s dog and she went to live on brighter, muddy, hilly pastures this past weekend.  She was such a good pup, you know, one of the best.  All smiles, never really complained, except in the early years when she was addicted to blankets and she just HAD to have the blanket thrown on top of her when she was snuggling in.  She loved empty peanut butter jars, long walks and hikes, a good roll in the mud, and would eat anything and everything, even bird poop.  She hated the beach, in fact don’t even think about bringing her to the beach, that would just be rude.   Anyways, this was a hard one.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, but I’d do it a thousand times over if I could relieve my mom of just an ounce of pain.  Sweet mama lost her best friend.  Thats a tear jerker in itself.  Ruby, I hope you are running fast, eating all the peanut butter, laying in the hot warm spots, sleeping on all the couches you were never allowed, and thoroughly enjoying every moment.  You sure are missed.

My aunt and I went down to join my sister and be with mom on this hard weekend.  To be her rock when she needed it and to revel in the beautiful life Ruby had the privilege of leading. Even though we were visiting  on the very sad circumstances, it was one of the best weekends.  We all just sat around with the whole family, talking, napping in each others pretense, drinking margaritas and just hanging out with each other.  No to-do list, no expectations, no plans, just being with each other was all we wanted and it was all we needed. It felt real good to be in that glow of people you love.  I miss everyone so much already, but am glad I got to say goodbye to my friend, and be there in those hard times.

 

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