I just got back from an awesome work trip where I took over 50 participants camping on Santa Catalina Island. It reminded me of my teenage years of being a camp counselor, I had so much fun! Obviously the days when I’m outside for work are always the best, I feel so good after being outside all day. Sadly, most days I don’t get that great opportunity to connect with nature while at work. Most of the time I’m at my desk in a crowded office with zero natural light. Unfortunately it’s too easy to get wrapped up in projects and email, and rush through lunch, only taking 15 minutes in the break room or worse yet, in front of my computer.
There is so much research showing just how good it is for us to get up, move around, breath some fresh air and be in natural light. Not only is it physically healthy for our bodies but it also wakes us up and energizes us in a way coffee and tea cannot. Anyone else deal with the 2pm slump? Getting outside will help boost your energy, and make you more focused. Just what you need to get through those afternoon tasks!
The weather in San Diego is beautiful right now, it’s a shame to miss out on all the wonderful sunshine. Well, no longer am I going to be stuck at my desk trying to get one more email sent out. No longer am I going to “try” to get out each day during the work week (which in the past always means once or twice a week). I’m starting a Get Outside During the Work Day Challenge!
I started this challenge for myself last week and I got outside 4 out of the 5 work days, a new personal best. Since this is something I’ve struggled with for a long time I figured maybe you might be as well. I’m assuming I’m not the only one here that gets carried away with computer time…Anyone?
Work life gets busy and stressful. We can end up feeling that while we are at work we need to be working the entire time. Not true! I’m here to remind you, and myself, to take your breaks and use them as a way to refuel. Reading those few emails or reviewing some document can wait 30 minutes while you enjoy your lunch outside. If you get outside, breath in fresh air and move your body a bit, you will be more awake and alert therefore being more productive at work . Bonus, this will totally have a positive effect on your mood.
Here are some tips that will help you be successful in the Get Outside During the Work Day Challenge.
Take a full 30 minute lunch! What’s crazy about this is so many of us (me included) get a 30 minute lunch and don’t take it…crazy. This is stopping now.
Bring a magazine and enjoy some non-screen time. Flip through and read it purely for pleasure. One of my favorite magazines is Sunset.
Eat without distractions. Put down the phone! To get the most out of your break time you need to not just replace work emails with personal emails. Take a look around and take time to enjoy the food you’re eating.
Is there a book you have been wanting to read but you never seem to find the time at home for it? Is your nightstand stacked high with books like mine? Bring one of those books to work and leave it at your desk, read it during your lunch break. Even just 10 minutes a day and you’ll be surprised at how fast you can get through it.
Bring head phones and go for a walk. Listen to some music, an audiobook or podcast.
The point of all of these is that they should be enjoyable, something you will look forward to, something that will help you stay committed to getting outside each day. A BIG piece of living an eco-lifestyle is getting outside and enjoying this gorgeous planet of ours. I’m a strong believer that the more we enjoy the outdoors the more we will want to take action to protect it.
Let me know if you’re going to give it a try. Tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you take any photos while you’re out enjoying your lunch break, I’ll be sure to share photos as well. :) Here’s to not being stuck inside all day!
I’ve wanted to grow my own food for years. I love the idea of having something to tend to that would make sure I spent time outside each day, would reduce my carbon footprint, and give the satisfaction of eating organic foods that I’ve watched change day by day. Seriously everything about it just sounds so enjoyable and sustainable.
When we bought our home last year I knew I wanted to start a backyard garden and finally try to grow something more than succulents. I admire people with natural green thumbs, sadly that is not the case for me. I have accidently killed off pretty much every plant I’ve ever had. All those poor plants didn’t exactly leave me feeling confident about the whole growing part of my backyard garden dream. Despite my past plant history it has been a wonderful surprise how well it has been going so far. I figured if I can do it anyone can, and wanted to share how I got started with you all. I have a super small backyard, less than 300 sq feet, so our box is not big but it’s a start and you can do the steps below to build any size box you want.
1. Find your spot! Look for a place that gets good sunlight and take some measurements of how long and wide you’re going to want your box to be. Now with your measurements head to the hardware store to get your supplies.
2. Make sure to buy non-treated wood. This is super important, you don’t want pressure treated wood lining your garden. The treated wood can leak all kinds of nasty chemicals, including formaldehyde, into your soil which is no good for your organic garden. I got redwood since it’s naturally resistant to water rot and pests. How deep you want your box is totally up to you mine is 15 inches. Also if you’re not married to a carpenter ;) you can ask the nice workers at the hardware store to make your cuts for you there.
3. You will need a power drill to put your box together. While you’re at the hardware store pick up some 3 inch long screws, organic soil, compost and weed liner. I got one part compost for 3 three parts soil mix to fill my box. Not everyone will need or want weed liner but if you have insane crab grass like we do it’s totally worth it; I swear one day I’m going to wake up with it crawling through my bedroom window. I was so happy to find some made from recycled plastic bottles…so cool!
4. Once you get back at home loosen the dirt where your box is going to go and lay out your pieces of wood. Make a corner by putting one cut end to the flat surface of the other piece of wood, then put a screw through the outside flat surface into the cut end, being sure to keep your pieces flush. It will be easier if you pre drill the holes for the screws, this will keep the thin cut edge from splitting. Screw your pieces of wood together, and work your way around to the other corners; repeating the process, to make your box. Use at least three screws per corner joint. Put down your liner if you bought it and staple it to the inside sides of your box.
5. Fill your box with your organic soil and compost and be sure to mix them together.
6. Now you’re ready to start planting!
I might do another blog post on types of plants to grow and when to start from seed and when to buy plant starts; if that’s something that would interest you all let me know. I’m a total beginner but I figure we could learn together if there’s interest since I’m doing the research anyways. Anyone else have a backyard garden or dreams of one?
Who doesn’t want clear glowing beautiful skin? Drinking this green smoothie can totally help you get just that. I have been battling skin issues since I was a kid with eczema and now as an adult with acne. I have pretty much tried every cream, pill, supplement and wash out there and nothing, I mean nothing, has had the effect that changing my diet has had. It has made a huge difference in my skin and overall health. I still have small flare ups from time to, to time but my day to day life is no longer focused on dealing with uncomfortable and embarrassing skin (which is such an amazing feeling!).
Our skin is a direct reflection of what is going on inside of our bodies. If you are also battling skin problems I can’t recommend enough looking at what you eat and how it might affect you. It’s way better and more effective than spending all your money on miracle creams that never seem to work. Skin should be treated from the inside out not the other way around. One of the best and easiest places to start is by drinking enough water (half your bodyweight in ounces a day). Spend a few days seeing if you really drink that much. You might be shocked to see just how much water that really is. Bust out your reusable water bottle and give it a try for a week, most people walk around chronically dehydrated, and you don’t what to be that person.
I wanted to make a good tasting green smoothie that was full of amazing healthy skin boosting foods. After some taste tasting and ingredient researching I came up with this cucumber, pineapple, coconut smoothie. It’ll be great to enjoy all summer, as long as you like cucumber that is. ;)
Cucumber is not just for laying over your eyes to help with puffiness and dark circles! Cucumber is the go to vegetable for clearing and healing from the inside out as well, it’s packed with hydrating goodness!
It’s no accident pineapple is in this drink, it reduces inflammation, helps fight off acne and evens out skin tone; it’s packed with vitamin C and B6 both offering great benefits to the skin. And lastly coconut is truly amazing for the skin in so many ways. I added it to this drink because of its antioxidant property. It slows down the ageing process by protecting the body from harmful free radicals. This green smoothie is very light and refreshing so give it a try and let me know what you think.
1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup pineapple
1 cup cucumber
2 Tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut flakes (1 to add into the blender and one to put on top once it’s ready to enjoy)
1 Tablespoon of chia seeds, optional
1 handful of ice
Add all ingredients in the order listed above into a blender and blend until liquid.
Pour into a cup and enjoy!
It’s a great practice to take your morning green smoothie outside. After being inside all night the fresh cool morning air will really help you wake up. Take some time to set a beautiful intention for your day while you enjoy this clear skin smoothie.
Do you struggle with skin problems? Do you have any tips? I’m all ears, I’d love to know.
I know this post might be out of the ordinary from all my green living posts you find here but Tyler and I made it through our first year of owning our first home and it feels like something to celebrate! Sadly it was not all rainbows and Martha Stewart paint samples. I wanted to write about the experience and a few lessons learned in the hopes it will help or give some insight to what was a pretty tough first year of homeownership.
Last year I shared this post about our little Eco-home in the city and it has remained one of my top 5 posts. It’s a year later and I thought maybe there are others out there googling for advice, help and insight like I know I was before we bought our first home. There’s tons of advice on buying your first home, refinancing, what to do if you’re underwater on your mortgage and how & when is best to sell your home but if you ask me just one year in there’s a lot going on outside those few categories and not a lot of advice. It feels like once you get those keys you’re on your own.
Tyler and I got the keys to our home on my 30th birthday. What should of felt like the best birthday gift in the world felt overwhelming and more foreign than anything in my life ever has. Getting to the point of having keys in our hands was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Our offer didn’t get picked, then we got a call two weeks later (after we had finally gotten over it and started looking again) saying the other people had pulled out and that they’d like to accept our offer. Then we ended up having an unexpectedly long escrow due to plumbing issues which had us working with our landlords at the place we were renting to extended our stay for an unknown number of days. Needless to say we were on edge, shaken, nervous and both trying to keep our shit together for the other.
I think it would have been nice to know that it’s OK that I didn’t want to do the happy dance. Knowing that feeling overwhelmed and nauseous was pretty normal would have made it all a bit easier. Instead I felt like I was putting on a show for friends and family about how happy I was. I thought the more I tried to be happy about our new home the more I would be. This was not the case. Be gentle with yourself if you’re not doing back flips of joy the first day, not everyone does.
We are both very grateful that although we pushed our budget to the top limit to buy our home we did not go over, not by even one dollar. Banks, realtors and blogs were all telling us “you won’t notice a couple thousand more”, “it’s an investment, everyone ends up doing it, it always works out”. I ask you please don’t get swept up in the “it’s only $5,000 to $10,000 more” syndrome because it can be oh so easy to do. There will be enough stress transitioning and budgeting from being a renter to homeowner without added money stress. Adding $50 to $300 more each month then you were planning is not the smartest, believe me that money can be used for about a million different home improvements.
Moving in was a blur, a crazy whirlwind of projects that needed to get done before we could move in. The unexpectedly long escrow meant that we only had 4 days to get our house ready before we had to be out of our old place. We had dreamt of having plenty of time to do our few must do projects before having to officially move in, but that didn’t happen. Does that perfect timing ever workout for anyone? If it did for you be sure to thank your lucky stars.
3 weeks into owning our home we should have been finishing unpacking and enjoying decorating, instead our plumbing issues were back and they were really bad. We had to move out of our home for close to 4 weeks they were so bad. We are lucky to have many kind friends and family that offered us a place to stay but there were still many mornings we were getting ready for work in a hotel room. I vividly remember sitting in my livingroom surrounded by boxes crying my eyes out on the phone with the unwavering uncaring home insurance lady. It was a long battle of who was going to pay, home warranty, us, the previous owners or home insurance. The worst part of this entire long horrible process was the warranty and insurance companies were doing everything they could not to pay the $8,000+ bill. All said and done the home warranty plan ended up paying for it (4 weeks later and after about 8 plumbers came and looked at the problem). Once the plumbing work started 2 and a half days later we were finally back in our home.
Please be sure to ask for your home warranty plan to include the plumbing all the way out to the street and not just within your four walls. To this day we are so grateful we insisted on this additional protection because of the previous plumbing issues we had during escrow. If we had not, we would have been out of luck and stuck with a huge problem to fix on our own.
I wish I was joking but, sadly I am not, 3 months later we had even more plumbing problems. This time it only took a week and a half to get fixed. It’s weird to be grateful for only being out of your home for a week and a half, but we were. With all these massive interruptions to our day to day life and stress about having to pay large bills or be forced out of our home again, you can only imagine that we started to question everything. Was this the right house for us? Should we have ever bought a house? On and on, down the “what if stress” street we went. It’s not a very fun street to hang out on. I recommend you find a way out as fast as possible.
A few months later (this one is just comical at this point) we came home after being gone for about a week to a home that smelled like skunk. Yes we had a skunk dig and make a home under our raised foundation house. After a $300+ humane removal bill and lots of airing the house out, sleeping out on the couch (it was worst in the bedroom) and essential oil sprays we were skunk smell free.
This past year I would have ran away and hid many times to get away from all the chaos and uncomfortable feelings if it wasn’t for Tyler. He was absolutely amazing at keeping me feeling grounded in a very tough time. Just because there are many days you wondered, “Should we have really bought this house?” or “Was this a smart idea?” Doesn’t mean it was a bad decision it just means you are growing into a new version of yourself or there is some bigger lesson to be learned.
Share your feelings with your partner and closest friends and family. It feels so good to be honest and not keep it bottled in. I always felt so uncomfortable, like I was the only person to ever feel this way after buying a house. The more I shared with others and heard their stories I started to feel not so alone. It was great to get hugs, and be reassured that things will work out. Put your fears out there so you can see them and begin to find solutions. It was a great relief to not have to pretend to be super happy when I was feeling frustrated.
I have a very free spirit and am constantly daydreaming of all the places I want to go and adventures I can’t wait to experience. If you fall into the wanderlust category, beware because you might have, what Tyler calls your inner gypsy, cry out in panic. Buying a house means that you are putting down some serious roots. I had to take a lot of time to journal and reflect on what owning a house meant for me and my free spirit. My advice would be you do the same. Don’t lock those dreams away and think they are for “someday” (aka never), get creative where there’s a will there’s a way. We went on a long road trip and saw a part of the county we never had before, we booked a trip to Cancun, Mexico through Costco because that’s what we could afford. Save your dollars for what matters, if you love to travel don’t keep buying $20 shirts from Target every time you go there to get shampoo (or does that only happen to me?). Set your mind and your priorities straight and it will make a world of difference, I know it did for me.
I’m totally proud of my generation for reshaping what the “American Dream” looks like now because the old one is dead. It’s time we allow each individual to create their own standards of success, like putting ALL your money into buying a small 700 sq. foot 92 year old home in the city or taking out a loan to open a coffee shop or becoming a yoga instructor or not giving up on the dream of being an artist. I find this movement so inspiring. I like being apart of it, finding my own way to happiness.
I’m so excited to begin a new year, with fresh intentions and perspectives. Knowing that my perspective is all I really have control over. I’m ready to leave that rough year in the books and start a new one. It feels so good to state that.
If you’re still reading you’re awesome and I hope that you will never experience such a rough introduction into homeownership. If you do or did I hope you found this helpful in some way and know I’m sending you a BIG HUG!