Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Let me start off by saying I am, by no means, a minimalist. As I have said in past posts, after being with Andrew and reading other people's blogs and seeing how minimalistic so many people are - my eyes have been opened and I am MUCH more aware of how much "stuff" I accumulate. I hardly ever buy brand new things now, I try not to get as attached to material things as I used to, etc.

I have been home for winter break now for a couple weeks, and it is killing me. I love my family, don't get me wrong! But MY GOD. There is SO MUCH stuff in our house! I don't even know where any of it came from. I don't know where any of it goes. I don't know whose stuff it is. I just don't know! It doesn't help that I have my clean laundry in my hamper, heaps of stuff from when I went to Andrew's family's house out of town, and have all my Christmas gifts, blah, blah, blah. It's too much. How the heck did I get this much stuff?! Trust me, I know I have lots of clothes and I know I should get rid of some... but geez I didn't know I brought this much home with me! I don't ever lose things; and I've lost at least three things since I've been home! Bahhh!!! I hate it. I'm overwhelmed.

So I have decided that when I "grow up" and get a big girl job and have a big girl house/ apartment, I am going to get rid of as much stuff as I can. And I am going to make a great effort to being as minimalistic as possible. I need to. I can't have it any other way! I do not NEED so much crap! I've always been one to keep stuff "just in case", so this goal is going to be difficult... at first. But after this trip home, I have realized how much I have and how much I don't need. (Yes, Andrew [and everyone else] you can hold me to this! Gotta crack down on me!)

Luckily I'm not as materialistic as other people I know. And I know it could always be worse. And I know I'm lucky to have the privilege to have "stuff". But come onnnnn, it's just not necessary! Kind of ironic timing I'm saying this as the holidays have just ended too... Media and society is constantly promoting "MORE! MORE! BETTER! STUFF!" and everyone feels like they have to "keep up with the Joneses".... And it's sickening. It really is. We don't need all that crap because we end up getting bored with it in a short period of time anyway!

I was visiting a friend yesterday, and she has three kids. Her house was swamped with toys. Everywhere. It was crazy! I've never ever seen that many toys. And the kids are totally just going to get bored of those toys and want more, etc. It's a vicious cycle. We've progressed as a society that we constantly need something to keep us happy. Yet most little tots I know are completely content playing with tupperware, silverware, and basic kitchen utensils. Why do we need to buy them 94859485 kinds of different gadgets and toys!? They just don't need all that!

Like I said, I am not perfect either. But I am so much more conscious of what I have now... And I'm glad. And I am going to get better! I'm usually not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I think I am going to subconsciously make a goal to A. get rid of unnecessary crap I don't need and B. not get/ purchase more unnecessary crap and be happy with what I do have! Simplicity and minimalism makes for a much happier and less stressful life. Then we can have more time to enjoy the people and moments we share each day, and enjoy the present time instead of stuff.

(all pictures source: pinterest)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grad School... Eek!

Ahhh It's all happening so quickly!!! Well, not really. I've known about grad school for quite some time now. I'm just now finally starting to finish up the application processes! I've filled out my application for UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City), just have to mail my Webster application, sent the transcripts to both schools, and will get the letters of reference once the spring semester starts!

I'm scared. Excited. Anxious. Hopeful. Doubtful. Proud. All sorts of mixed feelings are taking over! I can tell you one thing is for sure: I am NOT ready for the GRE. Ugh. I know I should be positive about it, but seriously, me + tests = disaster. It's been like that since I came out the womb! :P Ha, but really... I have been studying here and there, and I know I should definitely be doing more of it. But it all comes down to when I get to the test: I know what I know, I can do my best, and that's all I can do!

I am going to research some more schools in The Cities to see if I could possibly go there (just to have a plan B in case KC doesn't work!), and I think I'll apply to the WSU program too. Might as well, right? I'm just scared SOMEthing won't work out and I won't be prepared, then I'll go into a state of helplessness or depression...something not good. So I figure it's better to prepare for that instead of winging it. :)

But let's all keep our fingers crossed that UMKC and/or Webster work out!

Then I have to find a job and such... But we'll cross that bridge when we get there! Haha, I'm taking baby steps.

All I can say is that I really just want to get my bajillion dollars of debt paid off before die so I can go travel... All that debt is such a burden to carry everyday... Ugh. Sometimes I wish I would've gone to school part time or just paid out of pocket so I wouldn't have to deal with all this. Oh well. Live and learn, right? :/

I must keep remembering this! (source: Pinterest)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Sing Off!

Hi lovelies!

So... I don't have a tv in my apartment. Well, we have one. But there is no tv programming, cable, or anything. Lots of people have their shows they CAN'T miss and have to watch every week or whatever, but I don't have that! It's quite nice though, thanks to Andrew for opening my horizons to life without tv. ;) Haha. But I will say, there are times where I miss being able to turn on Univision or Disney channel as background entertainment while I eat or cook or something. When my sister Emilie and I lived at home, we always had shows we watched regularly with our dad. It was always a good bonding thing for us. But, as time has gone on, and we all get busy- we haven't really been able to have our "tv bonding" moments.

When I went home last though, Dad was telling me about The Sing Off and showing me some Youtube videos of the groups from this season. So I made it my winter break goal to watch the whole season online, so when I go home for the holidays- we can catch up and bond over the groups we loved or hated! It's the little things in life, right? :)

And so here I am, ready to RAVE about The Sing Off in its third season! In case you don't know about it or haven't heard it, it's a competitive show to decide what acapella group is the strongest. My family and I LOVE acapella singing. It's completely natural, not instruments, etc. I love this. This season (and maybe other ones, but I can't remember!) the judges are Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, and my absolutely new favorite: Sara Bareilles. They are awesome, and basically the best judges out of all the other singing shows. Not like I'm biased or anything... ;)

But seriously. I love this show. And it's one you can put on as the background and not have to watch super intensely (even though I usually end up doing it anyway!) There are different themes for each week: hip-hop, 60's, superstars, etc. They're all great, and super entertaining! And I would just like to say, if you have free time or interest in a new show to watch with FANTASTIC singing- you should watch this show! Which sounds like I'm an advertisement... But I want everyone to feel the excitement and happiness I feel when I watch/ listen to it! :D

Here are a few of my favorite songs they did... Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

To Me

Today was my first day off of work, studying, and basically anything productive- in a long time. I picked up lots of extra hours at work this week and ended my last fall semester as an undergraduate... I figured I was due for a lazy day! I was hoping to sleep in with not setting an alarm... It didn't work very well though. I woke up at 8, 9, and 11:30. I was too hungry to try and keep sleeping more anyway. But I'll go to bed early tonight and all will be well!

My parents sent me a package of Christmas decorations (and a lovely card!) today, so I put up all the decorations... they're so pretty! It really gets my spirits up, especially since it's hard being away from home through the holiday season. I also got an adorable homemade card from Andrew, so that was a wonderful start to my day! :)

I've been lounging in sweat pants, am going to have some baked veggies for dinner, and have been catching up on some TV shows online (and my pinning on Pinterest too, of course :P)

But after today, it's crunch time: I have to finish my grad school applications and UBER study for the GRE (which I'm taking on January 5th... What?!) I've started reading a new book and journaling as much as possible too. I'm hoping to get some hours at Taco John's over winter break as well, just to get some extra money to make up for the lack of hours I'll have at Chartwells.

I'm so happy because the Spanish class I need to finish my major and minor is offered in the summer! Yes, yes, yes! This means next semester will be less stressful for me too. That was a huge relief for me to find out this week :D

I'm anxious, yet excited, for the future will bring for me. But for now, I'm going to enjoy my un-productive evening while it lasts! I think it's good for everyone to have days or nights like this once in a while. It's hard to do with such a fast paced, multi tasking based society though. So make sure you remember your own happiness and sanity, at least once in a while. ;) I know I have to remind myself of that quite often!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Does An Atheist Celebrate Christmas?

Greetings friends and followers of the lovely Alisha! My name is Kayla, I blog over at Adventures of a Suburban Hippie. Lisha, my lovely best friend, has kindly asked me to write this guest post, and I'm so excited...I have spent the past week brainstorming the perfect post :)

First, a little bit of background information on me! My name is Kayla, I'm 22 and I live in Alabama. I'm getting (almost done with!) my degree in Biophysical Anthropology, and I will be going straight through to get my masters in Library Science. My dream job is to work as a librarian for the government, either at the Smithsonian or for NASA. I'm a long-term, strict vegetarian and, as my blog title suggests, very eco-conscious. I'm an introvert, but a very happy and optimistic one. I also am an atheist. A strong atheist, in fact. 

(Lucy, the Australopithecus. This is the stuff I study. I'm proud of my heritage!)

Guess what my favorite holiday is? Not Earth Day, but...Christmas! I adore everything about Christmas. While nothing will ever beat the Christmases of my youth, living in Hawaii and surfing on all holidays, I still adore it. The trees, the decorations, the smells, the pure sense of joy. I am even starting to like Christmas music again, after it was ruined for me by years of working retail in high school. 

This seems to astound Christians, the idea of an atheist celebrating Christmas. Many of them interject, asking if I call it Krismas or X-Mas (no, it's called Christmas), how I can celebrate a Christian holiday unless I'm secretly a wannabe Christian (it's not a Christian holiday), or, my favorite, if I'm just so materialistic that I celebrate a holiday for the sole purpose of giving and receiving gifts.

Christmas is not a Christian holiday, and I'm not at all bothered that the word "Christ" is in it, though I do roll my eyes when people say "Keep Christ in Christmas." The winter solstice occurs on December 22nd every year, with the sun reaching it's low point in the sky and staying there for three days. The winter solstice, along with the summer solstice and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes were common times for religious and cultural celebrations for many cultures, parts of which have shaped our present day way of celebrating.

The Norse Pagans are responsible for yuletide carols and greetings.

Wiccans came up with wreaths and decorating with holly.

Here's a big shout out to the Druids for coming up with kisses under the mistletoe ;)
Thor, Odin and St. Nicholas are all credited with bringing presents in the night.

Sleipnir, Odin's 8 legged horse, started the tradition of hooves on the rooftop.

The summary? Just because Jesus contributed the name of the celebration does not mean that only believers may celebrate. In fact, if we were tallying, the Norse gods (woot woot, I'm very proud of being Scandinavian!) contributed the most to our modern celebrations! 

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It means cozy sweaters and homemade hot chocolate. It means gathering my large family in one place for the sole purpose of spending time together. It means eating a lot of delicious food. It means exchanging thought-out gifts. It means Christmas trees, Christmas smells, family traditions. 

Of all of the above, the traditions are the most meaningful. Every year, we have lefse (a type of Scandinavian bread) with our Christmas Eve dinner. We gather to open presents. For the 23rd time in my life, I'll get a special pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve. Every morning of December, I open my advent calendar to eat a piece of chocolate. 

This time of the year fills me with so much love and joy. May you all have a beautiful, god-less, heathen, merry time this month <3

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Her ♥

I love this. So much.

You may not be her first, her last, or her only. 
She loved before, she may love again.
But if she loves you now, what else matters?
She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the
two of you may never be perfect together but
if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, 
and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold
onto her and give her the most you can. She may not 
be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give 
you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart.
So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and 
dont expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes 
you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and 
miss her when she's not there.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prepare yourselves!

Since it's now the holiday season, I thought it'd be a great idea to have my best friend Kayla share a guest post with us sometime this week! So prepare yourselves for that. ;) I asked her to write about atheism and Christmas, so I'm really excited for it!

I will definitely be talking more about my thoughts and feelings about the holiday season as well, whether you agree or not, I'm going to say whatever I'm thinking.... Hence the point of this blog anyway, right?

I'm still waiting for snow to come... It just doesn't feel like holiday season without snow! I'm a true Minnesotan because I LOVE snow! I also left all my Christmas decorations at home, so I'm not going to be  in the full spirit while I'm here working over break... Oh well. Only 20 more days til I'm home, 21 more days til I see Andrew, and only 23 more days til I get to celebrate with my family! Time will most definitely fly by, I'm sure of it.

My goal this season is to attempt to make vegan eggnog. Why not, right? :D

:) Stay tuned, lovely readers!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dia de gracias

[Random pre-post note: I hate when people call Thanksgiving "turkey day". That's dumb. That's not the point of the holiday. It's especially annoying for non meat eaters I think too :P]

Ah yes... Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Mine was quite hectic this year, but as always, it was totally worth it. I baked and cooked on Wednesday, then went out for some tasty Mexican food for girls night with my aunts, Grandma, [one] sister, and my mama, and finished the night perfectly with the arrival of Andrew who I hadn't seen in a month <3! Thursday was filled with absolute chaos while we scrambled to clean the house up, bake pumpkin pie, two loaves of banana bread, sweet potato casserole, and potatoes. There were apparently about ~31 people at our house that day/ night... It was hot, crowded, loud, and most of all- amazing! Family from out of town came and we had family photo shoots with Great Grandma D. We played corn hole (with the bean bags and wood boards) outside in the dark, with the help of my dad's genius flashlight-in-a-cup-under-the-corn-hole-board idea! I totally dominated at it, too. No big deal. ;) We finished the night off with cousins, some wine, Charlie Brown, and a board game. Oh and Team Weber (my aunt and uncle), Mom, and I dancing to/ blasting tunes while cleaning up the after-party mess and dishes.

Friday Andrew and I went out to lunch at Pizza Luce, got me [another] new phone (that I still hate), and went on down to his hometown. It was a fairly laid back weekend there, along with hearing live music at one of the local bars. Our friend and his brothers played, which was the main reason we went to see it, and they were awesome. Totally unbiased opinion ;) Hehe. Then today we went out to lunch with our friend and Andrew's cousins, then had to say our goodbyes.

I'm now back in Winona and I would really love to just sleep for 12+ hours. But I need to unpack and study for my finals and the GRE. Boooo.

With that, I shall leave you with a list of [most of] the things I'm thankful for in my life. Since it just seems like the right thing to do after such a great break.

* My beautiful sisters. Despite the fact that we're all totally different personalities, we somehow find common grounds and get along. Very well. They've been my best friends since the beginning.

* My freaking wonderful parents. Words can't describe how much I love my parents. They're so great, have helped my sisters and I so much, and taught us good life values that I can treasure forever.

* The rest of my family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Family always has been, and always will be my number one in life!

* Andrew. He's a genius, philosophical, handsome, caring, hilarious, goofy, sweetheart of a boyfriend and my life could not be complete without him!

* Andrew's family. Even though I haven't known them that long, they've been so welcoming and caring towards me. It's so nice to have that. I really love his cousins too (at least the one's I've met so far!) because we get along well.

* Friends. I love them. From Winona, Spain, the cities. Wherever. I love them.

* Having a job! Well, technically two jobs for now. Even though they're not super high paying, it helps pay my rent, bills, and groceries. And so many people are not lucky enough to have a job. I'm glad I do, and that I like it.

* The ability to speak English and Spanish.

* Knowing how to cook and what to eat. I'm glad I've been able to learn how to take care of myself and live a healthier lifestyle.

* A place to lay my head at night.

* The ability to walk, talk, see, hear, taste, feel.

Mostly I'm thankful to be alive. Even though life seems like it sucks sometimes, and even though I cry or yell or don't know how to handle a situation- I know I'll get through it. I'm young still and have so much life to live! I'm lucky to be here and where I am today. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

25 Facts :)

1. I hate being barefoot. I love wearing socks, even in summer.

2. I wore contacts for a couple years in high school, only because I wanted to wear sunglasses. But I gave up on them because I HATE the feeling of them. My eyes got too dry and painful all the time. So now I only wear glasses, and I have prescription sunglasses.

3. I always wear earrings unless I'm showering or sleeping. I feel naked without them.

4. I hate the sound and feeling of two dry things rubbing against each other. For example, at work the other day my coworker rubbed a cleaning scrubby against a cardboard box; I cringed and freaked out.

5. I hate all birds except eagles. And I mean REALLY hate. Ever since Spain and the pigeons that basically tried to kill me everyday there, I can't stand them.

6. I am deathly afraid of moths. I love butterflies, but moths are basically the devil.

7. I have a very strict bedtime routine: brush my teeth, put my mouth guard in (I have TMJ), I need to have a full glass of water, chapstick, and lotion by my bed; check my alarm at least three times, check to see if the door is locked at least twice, and can only shut off the light if I have my phone light on at the same time.

8. I am really afraid of the dark.

9. I don't like cucumbers. In anything.

10. I love learning about Hispanic culture, it absolutely fascinates me. Well, pretty much learning about any other culture is exciting to me.

11. I think dreadlocks are amazing, and I hope to have some someday when my hair is long enough.

12. If/ when there is a species that eventually kills off humans, I think I will be reincarnated as that species. Even though humans are capable of doing a lot, I don't think we are "all powerful" and I think the earth will be fine without us. It sounds dark and mean, but it's just how I feel.

13. I've enjoyed Michael Jackson's music since I was little girl. Thanks, Dad!

14. I was fluent in Spanish after studying abroad there for a semester, but as soon as I came back I lost it. I want to eventually become fluent in it again. That and American Sign Language too.

15. I have never just drank a glass of milk by choice. I like milk in recipes, cereal, and coffee. That's it.

16. With that, I only have almond milk. I'm pretty much lactose intolerant so I rarely consume dairy.

17. I don't wear make up. I haven't worn it since 10th grade, except for the handful of times my friends basically forced me to wear it ;)

18. I think red hair is so pretty.

19. I am excited to give birth. I don't like little kids (unless they're my own), but I want to experience being pregnant and [hopefully] giving birth at home in a tub, with a midwife, and no drugs. (DISCLAIMER: I will not be doing this until I'm at least 30. ;]) And I'm excited to breastfeed.

20. Mexico and Nepal are my two ultimate dream places to go to someday.

21. I have two younger sisters and they are my life. We all look the same, but we're all pretty different when it comes to personalities. But they have been my best friends since we were younger, even though I told them random lies all the time and they believed me. (For example, I told Emilie that if you pause a movie for too long the tv would blow up. Oops :] Haha)

22. If I had to identify myself as part of a religion, Hinduism and Buddhism would be it. I like them because they're more of lifestyles guidelines than forceful organized religions.

23. I love shopping at thrift stores and garage sales. It's really hard for me to buy clothes brand new now.

24. I constantly get holes in the big toe part of my socks and shoes. I don't know why, but it's been happening for years. I think it happens to my grandpa too. Weird?

25. I greatly dislike gender stereotypes. (i.e. girls have to wear pink; boys have to play with trucks, not dolls; only moms can take care of the baby, etc.) Our society forms them right from when a person is born. It sucks. I want to try and eliminate those stereotypes from my kids' lives right from the get-go!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just one

DISCLAIMER: This is probably annoying/ winy to some people, so don't read it if you don't like a hint of complaining and/or boyfriend talk! ;)


Andrew and I always cook(ed) together, because we both love doing it! It's fun to try new recipes since the same ol' thing gets boring after awhile. Now that he's gone though, it's weird cooking for just me. The meals I make usually have several servings to them, and yea I can use the leftovers- but those only last for so long! (Luckily I have roomies who will eat it though!!)

I find myself cooking less and less now since he's not here... Which I actually didn't notice/realize until today. But I really need to start cooking more because it's so much healthier, and cheaper! Like I said in one of my previous posts, I can't wait to have a bigger kitchen to cook in... But only if I get to share it with someone! ;)

I made a butternut squash and black bean enchilada bake tonight that is super tasty and spicy! But it's in a huge 13 x 9 pan. So yea. Lots of food. Haha. I used vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese, and it turned out great! This was only my second time using squash though... I'm still kind of a noob. :P But I totally understand why most college folk don't cook now. When you're busy studying and such, who wants to take a couple hours out of the night to prep, cook, and clean up after a big meal?!

This girl, apparently.

hehe. just for fun. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Alright. I'm itching to go somewhere new and exciting. I always just pretend I've moved on from my life in Spain. But we all know I haven't. There I said it! I'm in denial that I'm back here.

After looking through travel themed boards on Pinterest, my travel itch has returned. I just want to go somewhere- anywhere- I've never been. I hope things in KC work out for me because I've been daydreaming about a new life there, from what Andrew has described to me. I was telling my co-worker today my life story and theory about living different places.

My whole life I had always dreamed of living in the cities, where I'm from. And that was that. I'd live there forever... Until I went to Spain and Germany and fell in love there. Now that I've been back, I want to live everywhere for at least a short amount of time. Of course I can always end up back in the cities eventually. That would be just dandy actually. But while I'm young with no kids, a home, etc. I want to live wherever I can! So let's all cross our fingers that going to grad school in KC works out, because it will be a new, fresh adventure for me!

We're all so used to being stuck in our comfort zones. It's what we know, we can't change it. I totally get that. I'm a very stubborn person and I usually don't like change either! But once you've become acclimated to the setting and environment around you, you can learn so much about yourself and the people around you! My favorite parts of being in Spain were getting lost for hours on end because it helped me get to know the city so much more than I would've if I had stayed within my familiar boundaries.

If you get a chance or an opportunity to move somewhere new, and there's nothing holding back but your fear of new places- GO. DO IT. Otherwise you may never know what you've been missing...

*all photos credit of pinterest*

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have been terribly sick for the past 1+ week or so... (it's because I stopped taking my Vitamin C supplement- I'm sure of it!) And man oh man have I been guzzling down tea like it is going out of style! Copious amounts of it. Everyday. I'm hoping it makes me better like it usually does... I've just had the worst cough, sinus pains, etc. Luckily I don't have the feverish symptoms anymore though!

Anyhow, the point of this post is to rave about tea. I went to a free tea class at the local co-op a while back and I learned SO MUCH about tea that I never knew! The guy presenting the class owns his own tea shop here, Mandala Tea, and he was extremely passionate about each and every type of tea, its origins, the temperature you're supposed to heat it at, everything. It was amazing and so fascinating! Who would've thought tea could be such an intricate delicacy?

Well one thing I learned from the class is that bagged tea is basically the "hot dog version" of teas. (Hot dogs are the leftovers of all other meat, grossest, most processed, you get  it ;P) The plants and flowers are the best quality of tea, and then of course tea leaves are up there as well. Now, because I used to be such a typical, lazy American- I had always bought bagged tea. Mostly because I didn't know of anything else! Heck, you grab the bag and go, and you're set. But after that class I decided I wanted to start trying to buy only bulk tea, not only because it has better quality, but it's cheaper and has less packaging! (Which I've said in my other posts how much I LOVE buying things in bulk!!) I bought a couple tea balls from the co-op for really cheap, and also (luckily!) found an awesome tea infuser from Goodwill for $2.00! (Kind of like this, but not really... It has the filter part and a pouring pot). So now I try to get only bulk tea from the co-op. I have white, green, black, mint, raspberry, and earl grey currently. Unfortunately this co-op doesn't have too many options for bulk tea, but the one in the cities is SO awesome. They have tons of options there!

It feels good to use less packaging and just reuse my tea balls and infuser! I do have some bagged tea still, but I only use it if I absolutely can't find the flavor I want in bulk or if I have to bring it to campus or something. I've already saved lots of money, I'm sure, just from buying bulk tea. Plus, it's so good for you! I used to hate tea. Immensely. But then one time I was deathly ill and since I don't take drugs, I forced myself to like tea. Good thing I did, because now it's basically a staple to my diet ;) haha. Sooo tasty with local honey too (which I also buy in bulk, so much cheaper....and less packaging of course!).

So go out there and try some loose leaf tea today! :D

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Awaiting the arrival of Thanksgiving

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year.

Absence really does make the heart fonder. Or whatever that quote is, it's true!

My aunt and uncle have been living in Belize, my boyfriend has a big boy job in Kansas City, MO so he's been gone living there, and my other aunt and cousin are coming home from Chicago... So I get to see them all, plus [most of] the rest of the fam! (And in case you don't already know this, my family is my life!) Oh it's going to be so grand. :D

I have lots of other things to do like... finish my major (and minor) change essay, apply for a scholarship, apply to take the GRE, prepare for lesson plans, figure out paperwork for grad schools, etc... It's been super overwhelming lately, and it really doesn't help that WSU sucks at preparing us for grad school. So I've been having to do research on my own/ asking people who have been through all this to help me out! At least Thanksgiving is my "thing to look forward to", right?

I've been eating super bad lately... But I bought several squashes today, so I'm going to start experimenting with those to prepare for winter produce and eating! It's better to eat foods that are in season. AAAND my mama and I are gonna cook/ bake up a storm when I go home! The lovely lady over at Oh She Glows posted all her last minute vegan Thanksgiving ideas- so I bookmarked that and am pumped to try out some of the recipes on it! (Now I know you're curious, so here's the link! Last Minute Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas) Yum, yum, yum :)

I love fall and winter... They're my favorite seasons, so I'm going to try my best to stay positive and focus on the simple things in life. Hopefully start doing yoga more, etc.

So here's to a refreshing season!!!

[All photos credit of Oh She Glows... From her Thanksgiving post!]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saving Money: One eco-friendly product at a time :)

[I posted this on my Facebook a while back, but it's better here I think ;)]

Okay, so around February/ March of 2009 my lovely SMBFF, Kayla, introduced me to cloth pads and the Diva cup. Sounds kinda sketch at first, right? The Diva Cup is this wonderful silicone cup used to basically replace tampons. Instead of absorbing ALL the fluids in your vagina, it only holds the blood that comes out. You can wear it for up to 12 hours (depending on your flow of course; you'll have to empty it more often if your flow is heavier), clean it with hot water and soap (or the Diva wash), and put it back in its little handy bag! In stores it's about $30+, but if you order online it's only $20! 

Cloth pads are just what they're called- pads you use that are made of various cloths, reusable, more comfortable, and there are different thicknesses/ styles/ etc. The price range for these varies; if you buy one from a store or PartyInMyPants, they're a tad more spendy. But if you can find sites online from women who make them themselves, they can be a lot cheaper! I bought 8 pads, all in different sizes, for only $36 from theappleorchard site! They are cute, comfy, easily washable, and eco friendly!!! 

So I decided to add up roughly how much money I've saved in the past two years from using these amazing eco friendly products vs. store bought disposable tampons and pads. (I can just say, I cannot go back to the disposables. I love my pads and Diva sooo much!!!)

Okay so these are all estimates of prices (Target online prices)

Box of 50 tampax pearl $8.69
- use 6 a day, about 8 days worth in a box, which is about 1 period cycle
- $8.69 x 12 = $104.28

Package of Kotex pads $5.54
- 40 pads per package, 5 a day, 8 days, about 1 cycle.
- $5.54 x 12 = $66.48

$66.48 + $104.28 = $170.76

NOW my products
Diva cup: $20
Package of 8 pads: $36
16 pads = $72 ($80 to round up) $100 total

I have spent $100 (or so) in the past 2.5 years on my feminine products. Whereas, most women are spending about $341.52 in just 2 years on feminine products! I've saved over $200!!!

I'm not telling you all you have to convert or anything; it was just something to think about. It IS sanitary still; it's more comfortable, affordable, and hey- it's wayyy more eco-friendly than just throwing away your disposable products EVERY time you use them!

Here are some sources and such to look into if you feel like it :)

[DISCLAIMER: I'm terrible at math.]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leave it all behind

I'm not an expert on the story of the buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, but it really fascinates me.

I am a people person through and through. I hate being alone. I hate the dark. I like my phone, camera, laptop, etc. I love my family and friends. And I don't really know how I would survive without them. But sometimes I have this urge to just stop communication with anyone and everyone, leave my belongings, and go to some random place where I know no one and have nothing. I'd like to just sit and meditate for a long period of time. I get so caught up in worrying about what's going to happen, what has happened, and what is currently happening. I always put others before myself. I'm constantly on my computer and phone. I hate losing things. But WHY!!! I hate it! I wish it were easy to change. But it's not. I just get so frustrated.  I frequently get my hopes up, then something goes wrong. I plan something, and the plan never goes how I think. I just want to leave everyone and everything and go find self enlightenment and get rid of all my attachments!

Can you imagine your life without any attachments? Especially materialistic people, all your expensive shoes, purses, etc. Are those things really important? Will they have any value in the end of your life? No, probably not. Or leaving all your loved ones to just be with yourself and your mind... It's a crazy idea, but still so blissful!

But personal contact is a lovely, beautiful thing. So I can't really give it up. But I can still think about it, right? It's basically what Monks do too! My friend's brother is a Buddhist Monk and he left all he had and all he knew to go do that. So inspirational! 

Like I said, it's just an urge I sometimes get. So I'm not actually going to do it. But it's still interesting to think about...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earth Teach Me

I used to attend a Unitarian Universalist church here, and I LOVED it. It was so humble and greatly focused on inner peace and how important nature and the world around us is! One day we read this prayer from a Native American tribe, and I simply fell in love with it.

We really don't respect this earth as much as we should. Actually, we're doing quite the opposite. It saddens me deeply because so many people assume the earth will last forever and there's nothing we can do to improve/ change it. Recycling, reducing, and reusing have been mottos and ways that have been taught to us for so many years, but do we really think about them? Do we really do them? Unfortunately, we don't. At least not all of us. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means either. But I have become a lot more aware and conscious of products I use, reuse, reduce, and recycle.

I recycle everything I can, and WILL dig things out of a garbage can if someone else throws away a perfectly good recyclable item. I have started buying in bulk, which is not only cheaper- it uses less packaging! So that's a double win. If you can buy in bulk, DO IT. It's amazing. I buy bulk laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, honey, spices, tea, olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, lentils, and syrup! (I think that's all... ha) I save so much money and I love not wasting so much plastic (plastic is evil, by the way. Watch the documentary Bag It to understand and attempt to comprehend how much is too much...) [Also, thanks to my wonderful novio for opening my eyes on plastic.] Like I said, I'm not perfect- but I'm at least fully aware of what I use, so I can make an effort to change my ways for the better!

All of our pollution is destroying the earth... And it sucks. Global warming, smog, overpopulation, etc... So many things abusing this beautiful place we call our home! We are but tiny blips on earth, but we can make a huge difference- good or bad. This is, of course, just a brief overview of all the issues we need to focus on, but it's definitely a new focus for many people who don't care or don't want to change their ways. I encourage you to look around and think about what YOU can do to help. Are you using energy saving lightbulbs? Are you leaving lights/ electric items on when you're not using them? Are you walking or biking when you can, instead of driving? Are you recycling that can you just used? Are you using glass dishes to avoid throwing away more unnecessary waste? Are you using a reusable bag instead of a plastic one?

The ecosystems and little earthlings that came long before our time were doing just fine and dandy without humans. So let's try and keep it as natural as possible, ok? :)

Earth Teach Me:
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
- An Ute Prayer