Don’t Look Away

I have this wonderfully powerful yoga teacher who sometimes asks us to stand face-to-face, heart-to-heart with sweaty strangers during class. People who we see often but probably smile and otherwise ignore. He tells us to look into each other’s eyes, and don’t look away. Don’t laugh, don’t fidget, just look at each other, notice one another and be there in that moment with that other person.

Surprisingly enough, this can be a very difficult exercise for many of us to do. It wretches us from our comfort zone and asks of us something we are not familiar. Something we may think is weird. Because normally we would look away as soon as eye contact was made.

But why?

For me, it brings up all the things we routinely look away from in our everyday lives, and perhaps don’t even realize we do it until we are chest-to-chest with sweaty strangers. Perhaps it takes a moment outside of our comfort zones to allow learning to happen. A feeling comes up and instead of noticing it, thinking about its purpose and reflecting upon it –we push it down and pretend not to notice the sensation it left us with. Why? Because it may be uncomfortable. It’s different. Instead, we ignore it and we lie to ourselves and pretend – - and we busy our lives and our bodies and our brains with things and people that don’t quite fit, just so we don’t have to deal with our truths – whatever they may be. Because they might be ugly.

My Truths

Over the past 3 years, I have had the continuous feeling of being stuck in my life. Stuck in an overpriced mortgage, in a house that is no longer adequate for my family. Stuck in a neighborhood that wasn’t quite ‘me’. Stuck in a stressful financial situation that has no quick fixes that I so desperately want. Feeling stuck is shitty. It leads to feelings of helplessness, which is even shitter, and then some spats of depression. The circle of shit could go on and on if you let it.

At one point during those 3 years, when the majority of my major to do’s had been checked off, I was left with only myself. I was at a personal tipping point, a crossroads, and I knew that I had an important choice to make. I could add more items to my lists and continue to distract myself, or I could choose to sit with my emotions.

And I consciously chose – for the first time in my life – to not look away.

No more distractions. No more projects. No more senseless relationships. No more busying of my mind. Instead, I chose to just be present, and sit with myself and whatever feelings came up–without acting on any of them.

I continued to sit with the uncomfortableness of it all, for an uncomfortably long time.

I think of it like having a friend in emotional pain – perhaps someone grieving or going through a depressing time. There’s not much you can physically do to help your friend get through this time, but you can BE with them. You can sit with them, hold their hand – hug them, mostly in silence – but your presence can be felt as you quietly support their emotions. It’s kinda like that. Walk next to your big emotions as they come up, be with them, without trying to fix them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During this time, I was sad. I cried a lot – sometimes I didn’t even know why I was crying, but I cried anyway. And I allowed that to be okay.

Then, one day the crying slowed and I had this sensation of clarity that I had never seen before and all of the sudden everything felt simple. I peeled myself off the floor and gradually began making decisions – BIG, life altering decisions in mindful ways. It felt right, and it still feels right.

The Yoga Connection

Like most things, my yoga practice has truly shown me the way. It has taught me how to sit with the uncomfortable things in my life and when you’re ready for them, the ah-ha’s will come flowing in.

They say that the pose begins the moment you want to get out of it – and I completely understand this now :)

Wiggling my way into the more difficult asanas and then staying in them when I want to fidget or collapse, breathing through the uncomfortable feelings and bringing a sense of calmness and ease to something that feels so uneasy has shown me how to sit with the uncomfortable things that pop up in both my body and mind in daily life. It’s shown me that I CAN! I practice it on my mat so when it happens off the mat, I am equipped to handle it. This is yoga and this is why I love it!

The Lessons

Choosing not to distract myself brought up many things that I had simply been ignoring. Some big things, some teeny things, but things none the less, taking up valuable real-estate inside of me. You can run from things, distract yourself from things and ignore them – but I assure you, they will continue to show up in different forms until you make the decision to not look away.

Wellness Wednesday: Got a Sweet Tooth?

I was always a salt person, until I met Mike. On one of our first dates he told me very explicitly, “I will share everything with you that I have…except my dessert” and he was 100% serious. Nearly 10 years later, he has turned me into a sweets person and boy do I LOVE a good after dinner sweet tooth – especially in the summer time. But I also like to fit into my clothes :)

The more mindful and deliberate I am about my eating habits, the better I feel – both mentally and physically. I am not one for diets or food restrictions, but more about moderation and consuming whole, real food.

So I bring to you the perfect solution!

Nom nom nom

Banana Chocolate Chips

 

Sweet, simple and oh-so-satisfying.

About 12 organic, dark chocolate chips (from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s) is equal to 1 serving which is 4g fat and 80 calories. Not bad! Raspberries are also fun to do this with.

What are your favorite ways to indulge a sweet tooth?

Brunching in Manayunk

I have lived in Manayunk for nearly 7 years. Manayunk (allegedly meaning Native-American for ‘where we go to drink”) is a small section of Philadelphia, just outside of Center City. Some refer to it as the Hoboken of Philly and I would have to agree. The rent is cheaper, the commute is easy and Main Street has a lot to offer people of any age or demographic. I have been here as a single chica, a married young couple and now as a family-so I have literally seen it all.

There are so many great places here that I want to share my personal favorites with you. Today, let’s talk breakfast/brunch. My favorite meal of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with these yummy choices.

Xman & His Volo Fix

Got Volo?

Volo Coffeehouse: Come in for the rustic ambiance and fascinating people watching. Stay for the perfectly toasted bagels and rocket fuel-like La Colombe coffee. What to order: An everything bagel toasted with veggie cream cheese, a chocolate croissant to accompany your vanilla latte, or the grilled chicken panini with perfectly spicy mayo. Free wifi and outdoor seating makes for morning bliss.

Winnie’s LeBus: A Manayunk staple, LeBus offers healthy, locally sourced options for your morning meal. Don’t forget their famous bread and sparkling mimosa menu. Get here early or you’ll have a wait ahead of you. What to order: Banana walnut pancakes, thai turkey salad, mimosas & bloody marys. Plenty of outside seating right in the heart of Main Street.

Greg’s Kitchen: Right at the beginning of Main Street, across from the fire station, you can smell the aroma of Greg’s cooking. New to the Main Street scene, you can find Greg himself cooking up some tasty eats. What to order: Challah french toast, bacon pancakes and a giant bowl of tater tots. It’s a small place with no A/C so grab a seat outside or near the doors if possible. Sometimes the wait is long, but that giant bowl of tater tots makes it all worth while.

Derek’s: A little more upscale than the others, Derek’s offers an interesting take on the standard brunch menu (weekends only). What to order: Banana’s foster french toast, chicken and corn quesadilla and get ready for the best part – mimosas and bloody’s are $3/each every Saturday and Sunday until 3pm – so drinking your brunch is totally acceptable.

Happy Brunching!

brunch meme

 

Wellness Wednesday: Is Your Vagina Organic?

 

My Organic Cotton Products

My Organic Cotton Products

When I began my wellness journey back in 2010, I started with the most obvious changes that I could - the food going into my body. I researched GMOs, the differences between conventional and organic foods, veganism, juicing and began to decipher food labels and food label laws (or lack thereof) and made several immediate changes. Next up were the products that I cleaned my home with. With a little one on the way, I knew he’d be on the floors and have things in his mouth at lot, so I began making my own cleaning concoctions with different mixtures of Dr. Bronner’s Castille magic soap, vinegars and essential oils. It’s cheaper, fun and non-toxic. This lead me straight to my beauty products and I now also make my own lotions, creams and scrubs. What I don’t make, I buy organic from certified Non-GMO companies.

I will never forget the day I realized just how far down the rabbit hole went. It was about to be my special time of the month, so I ran to the store to gear up. I grabbed a box of tampons and some chocolate and went to check out. Stuck in a long line, I began to read the back of the box and it talked about Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which lead me to think about plastics and all the chemicals used to make them. And then it dawned on me that what I have been putting directly into my body for the last 2 decades are harmful and filled with chemicals. Angry at what I was realizing, I put the tampons back and headed to Whole Foods in hopes of healthier choices for my vagina.

I had never even given thought to my feminine products as harmful, which was both upsetting and disturbing. A lightbulb went on inside of me and when I got home I began my research into organic tampons and why we all need to be using them. A woman’s vagina is the most sensitive and absorbent part of her body. According to Dr. Mercola, “putting chemicals on your skin may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body” and this was just the beginning. Andrea Donsky, Founder of Naturally Savvy, has done extensive research on the importance of organic feminine care. She has discovered a number of shocking details about the potential hazards posed by tampons and sanitary pads during her research for the book, Label Lessons, such as:

  • Conventional tampons contain pesticides… Cotton crops make up just 2.4 percent of the world’s land, but each year a whopping $2 billion is spent on pesticides to spray this one crop.

  • Tampons and pads with odor neutralizers and other artificial fragrances are nothing short of a chemical soup laced with artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene, and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness, and infertility.

  • Conventional tampons most probably contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According the USDA, 94 percent of all the cotton planted in the US is genetically engineered.

If that’s not enough information to make you consider switching, keep reading her site and watch the videos, it’s alarming. What’s crazy to me is that no one talks about this stuff!? Why have my OB/GYNs or midwives never brought this up to me? In my humble opinion, these harmful chemicals are just as important as the food we are eating, if not more so.

There are other options:

1. Natracare Organic Tampons and Pads (I get mine at Wegman’s or WholeFoods)

2. Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Tampons and Pads

3. And for those feeling extra crunchy & adventurous The Diva Cup :)

 

Happy Menstruating!

DIY Organic Quinoa Coconut Granola Protein Bars

If you’re on the move as much as we are, it’s nice to have ready made snacks available to grab and shove into the bag before heading out the door. It’s easy to opt for convenience items at local cafes and stores, but with a little preparation, you can just as easilly make them ahead of time and pack them with you to save money and also to know what ingredients are going into our bodies.

When snack packing, I typically aim for ones with extra protein to re-energize and refuel because we run and sweat…a lot.

Quinoa Coconut Granola Protein Bars

Quinoa Coconut Granola Protein Bars

DIY Quinoa Coconut Granola Protein Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa

  • 1 cup uncooked oats

  • 1 cup coconut

  • 1 cup your choice nuts, dried fruit (I used raw almonds & smashed them into small pieces)

  • 1/4 sea salt

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease (butter) a glass 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside

Spread the oats and quinoa onto a cookie sheet and toast in the over for 8 minutes

Return the mixture of oats and quinoa to a large bowl and add coconut, nuts & dried fruit

In a medium saucepan combine salt, peanut butter, honey & oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove ASAP and pour over the mixture of oats and quinoa. Mix together until evenly coated.

Pour mixture into your 9×13 baking dish & press it down into the pan

Bake for 20 minutes

Let cool for up to 2 hours, then cut and serve

I melted chocolate and spread it on top of a few of mine for some extra yumminess :)

The best part about these are you can work with the ingredients you have laying around your kitchen and taylor them to your needs. Next time I plan to add chia seeds and dried cranberries.

Happy Snacking!

 

Philadelphia Sprayground Guide

With temperatures scorching these past few weeks, I have been on the hunt for ways to keep cool and tire Xavier out at the same time. The perfect solution? SPRAYGROUNDS!

Kid jumping into water

Lucky for us, Philadelphia has tons!

Fairmount

  • Sister Cities at 18th & The Parkway
  • Smith Playground at 2100 S. 24th Street
  • Clemente Park Playground at Wallace St & N. 18th

Fishtown

  • Shisshler Rec Center at 1800 Blair St (The corner of Berks & Frankford)

Germantown

  • Waterview Rec Center at 5826 McMahon St (Rittenhouse & McMahon)

Manayunk/Roxborough/East Falls

  • Neighbors Park: The corner of Hermit & Terrace St 
  • Houston Playground and Rec Center at 900 Grakyn Ln – Behind Andorra Shopping Center
  • McDevitt Rec Center at 3531 Scotts Ln

Mt. Airy

  • Mt. Airy Playground and Rec Center at 7001 Germantown Ave. (Sedgwick St)
  • Pleasant Playground at 6720 Boyer St.

Northeast Philadelphia

  • Ferko Playground at 1101 E. Cayuga St (‘J’ & Cayuga)
  • Junod Rec Center at 12770 Dunksferry Rd
  • Picariello Rec Center at 10801 Calera Rd
  • Chalfont Playground at 4330 Deerpath Ln

South/Southwest Philly

  • Herron Park Playground at 2nd & Reed St
  • 48th & Woodland Rec Center at 4740 Woodland Ave.

Strawberry Mansion/Brewerytown

  • Athletic Rec Center at 26th & Master St

Washington Square

  • Seger Park at 1000 Lombard Street (11th & Lombard)

Stay Cool Out There!

Keeping Your Kids Safe

As a parent, I feel like WORRY is part of the job description. We worry or think about everything, all the time. Did X eat enough? Is his foot too bendy and slightly to the right? What is that small dot on his arm? Silly things, medium things, huge things – we worry day and night. It’s just part of the bag and also part of the reason I might never sleep soundly again.

Since my *almost* attack a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about victimization and the role it plays in our lives on many levels. As a Mother, I am always thinking of ways to keep the people I love safe and healthy. 

We’ve all heard the stories of sexual abuse or abduction and some of you might even know someone or be someone who has been closely affected by it. To me, there aren’t very many things worse than horrendous things happening to innocent children. The thought of someone sexually assaulting my child brings up feelings that fit into their own category of darkness. It’s something we hear about and something we think about – and I want to prepare my family the best way I know how, with information.

I realize that I am not in control of anything other than my own actions - however I’m a big believer in giving people the tools they need to handle situations they might come face to face with. Throughout my research, I have come across some very useful tips that I think every parent can put into practice to equip you and your family to lessen the chances of a predator viewing your child as their next victim.

1. Talk about uncomfortable things. As soon as you can, teach your child the proper names for their body parts (penis, vagina, breasts, nipples, etc) so you know what they are talking about if they try and tell you something. Make up a song, read a story, just make sure they know the names of their body parts. There’s a link at the bottom for some great books you can use.

Explain that their parts covered up by their underwear or bathing suit are what people will refer to as ‘private parts’. Tell them that only Mommy and Daddy and the doctor (when you are in the room) are allowed to touch them in these places. If someone tries to touch their private parts, they have the right to say NO! or STOP! and run away – even if they think they might get into trouble for not listening.

2. Body Ownership. Don’t force your kids to hug or kiss anyone (even relatives). This also teaches them to trust their gut and gives them control over their own body. Ask before you go in for that smooch, “Can I hold you and give you a kiss?” This is a difficult one as older relatives often do not listen and will grab kids anyway, but you can use this as a teaching moment to talk about respecting peoples’ words/wishes and feelings. You could ask, “How did it make you feel when PopPop didn’t listen to your wishes and played with your hair anyway?” and then the door is open for conversation in a safe environment.

3. All Feelings Are Okay. In our house, we feel a lot. We cry a lot, we laugh a lot and we talk a lot. I work to build an environment in our home where X can feel like he can express his emotions and unless he is hurting himself or someone else, I let him do his thing. Sometimes a good sob is all ya need :) [Side note: last week at the park a little girl was crying and X went over and sat with her and said, "It's okay to cry. Sometimes crying makes you feel all better!" Holy proud Mom moment]

4. Don’t focus on stranger danger. X is SUPER friendly to literally, every single person that walks by him. I want him to be aware and prepared but I also never want him to lose the love he has for ALL PEOPLE. The statistics show that 1/10 of abductions are committed by strangers. That comes out to about 115 a year. The rest are by close acquainteances or family members. We talk about not talking with people we don’t know when Mommy or Daddy aren’t with there.

5. No Secrets. Create a difference between surprises and secrets. If Grandma says, “we can get cookies later just don’t tell Mommy”, firmly and politely reply, “We don’t keep secrets in our family. Surprises can be fun sometimes, but not secrets. We can tell each other anything”

6. If You Get Separated. Kids run FAST and in the blink of an eye, they can be across the room from you. It can be a scary feeling and those few seconds feel like hours when you are searching for your little noodle. Tell your kids if they ever can’t find you, to look for another Mommy and tell her you are lost. She will help you find me.

More Resources

Your Body Belongs to You

Some Secrets Should Never be Kept

8 Common Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

Your Child’s Best Defense is YOUR Warning

Urban Adventuring: Summer in Philadelphia

Throwing Rocks in The Wissahickon

Throwing Rocks in The Wissahickon

I always enjoy discovering new things to do around Philadelphia to keep life interesting and learning fun, and summer in Philly is the best. Last spring I shared some ideas here and here for Fun & Free Toddler Adventures. With these, along with our Frog Pond escapades and general roaming about the city, we definitely won’t be bored :)

While I am all about nature and learning in natural environments as much as possible,  it’s also good to change things up and go to actual events. While events can sometimes be tough for spirited kids (sensory overload), it’s good for us all to push beyond our comfort zones. This is where we can experience the most growth.

Philadelphia has a ton of great stuff going on this summer and we’re taking our urban adventuring up a notch!

Here’s where we will be ~ join us?

City Hall Observation Deck: Come catch a glimpse of the city from a higher perspective. Just below the William Penn statue in Center City, tours run every 15 minutes from 9:30am-4:15pm (Adults $6; Seniors & Kids $4)

Philadelphia Magic Gardens: Local artist Isaiah Zagar has constructed one of the most interesting pieces of public art around with his recycled ceramic and glass walls and sculptures. Open daily for self guided tours (Adults $7; Students & Seniors $5; Kids 6-12 $3; Free for kids under 6). Guided tours are also available for increased pricing.

John Heinz Wildlife Refuge: A 1,000 acre oasis located just one mile from the Philadelphia International Airport. The refuge is free and open from sunrise to sunset year-round. There are trails for hiking and biking, and self-directed and guided tours are available.

Fireman’s Hall Museum: The perfect spot for your firefighter in training and you can even run the hoses.

East Passyunk Car Show: If you’ve got a kiddo that LOVES anything with wheels, this will be right up their alley!

The Oval: Transformed from an asphalt parking lot, this space is constantly changing and always has something fun to explore. A quick bike ride down Kelly Drive from Manayunk too!

And one for date night: Philly’s Beer Garden Series featuring a different pop-up beer garden each week in a new location.

These are just a few things going on, not including all the festivals, movies under the stars and random other happenings. Cant think of something to do? Head over to my favorite secret place Philly Love Notes. This is an awesome project that highlights the city’s hidden gems through the beautiful stories of its’ residents. You won’t be disappointed, promise.

Happy Summer Fun to your family from ours!

Strolling the Streets

Strolling the Streets

 

 

 

The Day I Was Almost a Victim

Trust Yourself

 

Mondays are my day off, my “me” days, and this past Monday I decided to lay in the sunshine and read. So I picked up some water and snacks, grabbed the newest book off my shelf (Everything That Remains by The Minimalists) and headed to Kelly Drive, a section of Fairmount Park complete with running/biking trails and a view of the water. Exactly what I was looking for.

The grass was muddy from all the rainstorms, so I headed to the wooden rowing bleachers which – looking back – I suppose wasn’t my best move – because of their placement, I was more out of sight from the beaten path.

It was hot and humid, my favorite kind of weather, and I was enjoying my quiet time (something everyone should make time for!) when all of the sudden my heart started racing and beating forcefully out of my chest. A few seconds later, a man walked by me on the thin strip of land between me and the mucky water’s edge. We made eye contact and I said hi as I do to everyone, but this felt different…this meeting of the eyes sent chills down my body and goosebumps spread from the top of my head to my toes. After his eyes left mine, he glanced at my bag which had my laptop peeking out of it. He kept walking and took a seat about 50 yards away from me. All of the alarms in my body were going off, telling me this was bad man. I kept my sunglasses on and pretended to keep reading, but really I was watching him out of my peripheral vision and my body was preparing for fight or flight.

Eventually, he got up and walked in the opposite direction, back up to the path out of my sight. Uneasiness surrounded me. I didn’t want to overreact but I felt that something wasn’t right and I felt it in my bones. I stayed and contemplated getting out my switchblade and holding my ground. Deciding against it, I slowly, calmly, began to plan my exit. I took my rings off as not to attract any more unwanted attention (did he want to rob me?) and within that second he was back, circling me like an animal does its prey. This time walking slowly and licking his lips as his eyes locked onto my upper thighs. His teeth were dark and one was shiny gold – a slow motion scene forever burned into my memory.

Once again, he took a seat a little ways away but I knew I had to get out of there, quick. So I gathered my stuff as calmly as I could, making sure to appear confident and unrattled. All I kept thinking was, “I just have to make it to the path of runners and I will be ok…I can do that.” But as soon as I stood up, he stood as well and headed right for me. He yelled something inaudible and I picked up my pace…so did he. At this point, I had a choice – take the steps to the top (the shorter distance) and hope someone is walking by at the same time or go around the longer way and be visible to more people quicker. I took a step to go the longer way and my foot slipped in the mud. I immediately changed direction and sprinted to the top of the steps, now engaged in a full blown chase. I made it to the top first and threw myself at the first person I saw, an extremely large african american priest. I don’t remember what I said to him but he must have understood me and held me tight. Not a moment too soon, the other guy reached the top within seconds grasping for my ankles. He took one look at the man I attached myself to and bolted in the opposite direction towards Center City.

So many feelings and thoughts were -and still are- rushing through me. After I stopped shaking and the initial shock started wearing off, the whole thing felt completely surreal. Mostly I was grateful that I didn’t ignore that feeling that told me to get out when it did. What if I did ignore it? What could have happened to me? I am trying hard not to focus on that, but I have my moments. Was it because I was wearing shorts and a tank top? Was I showing too much skin? Was it because he saw that I had a computer and rings and things he could steal? Then I got pissed off. Pissed off that we live in a society that makes me HAVE TO think about these types of things. How DARE you make me feel like that! HOW DARE YOU!?

Listening to my intuition on Monday saved me from what I think could have been a truly horrendous experience. And for that, I am so so so grateful that I was able to sense danger and make the right moves in time to get myself to safety. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about intuition and I travelled back to a time in my life where I didn’t have that little voice within me.

It was a cycle that I recall all too well. I firmly believe that we are all born with a strong intuition and over time, it becomes ignored, neglected and overruled by our brains’ rationalizations and reasoning. Then one day you wake up looking for it and it’s gone. I remember a rough point in my life, desperately trying to find it, and upon locating it, not knowing if I could trust it or not. Not trusting myself was the most frustrating point for me and the hardest to work through. It was like being stuck in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language, have no maps and no way to navigate. But I did know that I had to just keep moving.

Eventually, through an onslaught of self reflection, mindful actions being present, I began to live an authentic life, trusting and believing in myself.

It’s tough though, because everywhere we look, we are being told to think logically and think things through before making decisions – but your intuition is based in your emotions. So…which is it?

Perhaps – like all things - it’s about finding a balance.

Living Deliberately: An Evening with The Minimalists

Free Kisses

Free Kisses

Last night, I had the profound pleasure of meeting two people that have helped me along in my journey in ways they may never know the depth of. Josh Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, or better known to the masses as, The Minimalists.  I started reading their blog about 2 years ago when I began my own journey to declutter my life and focus on the important things (which ironically are not things at all). Every word they write resonates with me and propells me into action. They are a true inspiration to living a life of love and purpose.

The thing about great minds is that you can listen to them speak/read their words a thousand times and each time you will walk away with something new to think about and incorporate into your life. My favorite take away from last night: Live deliberately.

Minimalism will look different for each person who chooses this path. Some people can live within 250 sq. ft. and have 50 things and some choose to have more. The key though, is to do everything deliberately, with intention. Doing things this way allows more of a connection – be it to an item, a relationship or an experience. It feels better when we act in this way and our actions not only benefits us, but also those around us.

Minimalism and living deliberatly can truly be applied to every aspect of your life. Think about television for example: From what I hear, a majority of Americans come home after work and turn on the television until they fall asleep – mindlessly flipping through shows as a mechanism to check out of their own reality. I get the allure of losing yourself in a good movie or show every now and then, but doing this most nights sounds dangerous to me. So how, you may ask, do you mindfully watch t.v.? We don’t have t.v. or cable, but we do have a laptop and stream Netflix (for $8/month) so when we want to see a show or movie, we can. It’s not about cutting something out completely, because that seems unrealistic -it’s about finding a healthy balance.

You’d never realize this unless you didn’t have a tele, but SO many conversations begin with talk of commercials and shows. Once people learn I don’t have any clue what they’re talking about I get 1 of 2 responses after their look of shock and horror:

1. HOW do you not have t.v.? What do you do every night?

or

2. You’re smart. I should do that.

Let me ask you, what would you do with that time if you weren’t watching t.v.?

Think about all the time you spend on your stuff from researching what to buy, buying it, playing with it, cleaning it, etc. What if you had less stuff to deal with and more time to do the things you enjoy? This is part of the allure of minimalism for me and I think a lot of people. You automatically become happier and lighter because you have less crap to deal with and more time for doing things you enjoy! It’s an equation that works.

There are so many people out there doing inspiring things and living lives they feel good about. Whenever I begin a journey, I look for people who have already seen the light and gain wisdom from their experiences. The Minimalists and The Thrifty Couple are my two favorites.

Here is a link to The Minimalists most popular essays from their blog – I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

The Thrifty Couple had a series on their blog called Be Intentional 30 Baby Steps for Whole Life Change that were simple and a great place for someone to begin without feeling overwhelmed.

I write a bit about Minimalism here at OSL, and intend to focus more on this in the upcoming weeks.

If these dudes are stopping by your city, be sure to go get a free hug!

Walden

Walden