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Three Sustainability Kit Hacks that are in My Bag Right Now!

My thought process and intention for sharing this with you are to convey that you can be sustainable no matter your income. It only takes little steps to achieve less waste. For myself, I get the urge to buy something that seems to “Save the World,” but in truth, if you didn’t need it before, chances are you don’t need it now. There is also things around your home that you can use, and items you can buy that is under $10 that will help achieve less waste.

As you go through these photos, please remember that another way to help is by contacting companies or following companies that have a reputation for being wasteful. It cost almost nothing to send a photo to their DM or write to these companies. In the end, it’s about getting larger companies to stop their wasteful practices. They are the main culprits of plastic and other waste in our oceans and land.

I have three kits. One is for eating out, another for drinks, and one is for grocery shopping. Most of the items shown were repurpose from other uses or purchase for a small fee. I try my best not to buy plastic, but if it comes down to it, my kit will last me more uses than a single-use item. I feel it’s worth it, especially if your budget does not allow you to buy fancier items. It’s more about the statement that you can be sustainable without given into the companies requirements for consumption and to add a quiet protest to their pollution impact on the planet.

First Hack: Eating Out Kit

I found this satchel and thought it would work quite lovely for this kit. It gave it a new use and time. In it, it contains a tea towel, a collapsible silicone straw, and a spork.
The tea towel was getting old. I didn’t want to throw it away, so it became my on the go napkin or seat covering. It works well, and it is easy to clean. I have saved myself from using too many paper towels or asking for paper towels because I have this is always with me.
The spork was something I found in our local donation bin. Our building allows people who place useable but no longer needed items into a small area. I saw this and jumped right on it. I found I was in luck. The plastic is environmentally friendly and non-toxic to me as it is made with 100% recyclable and recycled material. I know it isn’t entirely eco-friendly but for a starter it, it’s a piece of gold. I will continue to use it until it has been worn out.
The collapsible straw I found on Amazon. It is made with safe plastic and very inexpensive. I struggled with this as I heavily rely on straws.
I have physical issues that make it hard for my head to go back to drink completely. This item works well, and it is easy to clean. It is contained in a case, so I don’t have to worry about leaks or getting it dirty. I love this straw very much.

Second Hack, My Drinking Kit

I love Mason Jars. I particularly like the blue jars. When they were on sale, I bought four. I use them every day to drink or to eat from the jars. They are fantastic for on the go person like me.

However, I have an issue with drinking. The lids are not friendly for drinking liquids. I certainly did not want to go out and buy different containers for all of my needs, for example, smoothies, ice coffee, soup, oats, and water. It was just easier to have it all in one. This is where I found my answer to my lid issues.
This lid is pretty amazing. I thought this type of product did not exist, but there is was, on Amazon, for less than eight dollars. I bought with the assumption that it may not work. However, it has proven me wrong. The seal is tight, and the mouthpiece stays closed. It is a real gem to have this as a convenience but also as being sustainable and practical that keeps me in my habit.
However, there is also the issue of condensation. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, your jar will sweat. It also can get scorching with soup and coffee. I realized very quickly but did not want to buy a sleeve. I thought about it. I remember that I keep my odd socks in a drawer. I do this because sometimes they show up. However, sometimes, they do not.
Some of my socks are too cute to recycle, so “ding!”
I repurpose my sock to be a sleeve and a mouth protector. It works well to control the dewiness and heat from the jar. It also works as a layer of protection in case the mouth opens in my bag.
If you don’t have a mason jar, you can always use a jar that you have at home. I would make sure that it is heat resistant, but this empty jar is an instant coffee container from Trader Joe’s, and it works well.
I have used it in the past, and it fits enough to get me through the day. It is also much lighter than my mason jar, so on days that I need to travel light, I will reach for this jar.

Third Hack: Grocery Shopping Tote

Living in NYC, having an extra tote in my bag almost seems intuitive. Plastic bags can get clunky and can be hard to move in the subways.

The most significant change happened a few years ago when I realized that I did not have to use plastic bags. I can use my tote. It has been a game-changer for me. I can fit more in my bag, and some stores offer discounts for bringing your bag. It’s pretty awesome.

The bag I currently use to do my shopping is a bag from H&M. It was on clearance and it only a $1. This seems to be the right tote for me. I have used it ever since. It is sturdy, but light and can carry a massive amount of food. I love it.
My produce bags came from Amazon. I got them for an excellent rate. It is the same brand that I have found in eco-friendly stores around the city but for a fraction of the price.
I couldn’t resist it. I use them every time I buy food.

I am taking steps to get to understand my impact on the planet. These three habits are available in my bag that are staples in my routine. For me, they are the easiest way to start. It takes a little creativity, but I bet that most people can find one low impact habit that does not cost money and can be reused, recycled, and reduce your waste.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please let me know some of the ways you worked into your life to reduce waste.

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Minimalist Benefit: Save More, Spend Less

I try to live a minimalist lifestyle because it is useful for many reasons. One reason which I am going to discuss in this blog is the ways it has to help save money.

I made a small list of little habits that work well for me. Particularly, when you may not have it to spend, or you are struggling to find a way to make use of your dollar. Hopefully, some of these ideas can work for you.

I am going to concentrate on good habits to help with “fast spending” or mindless spending. I think it is something that we all struggle with, and I want to share my techniques on saving. I realize that some of these suggestions are not a realistic option for some people. It depends on your situation.

Take a photo / Leave it in your cart
I think this habit has made the most significant difference is cutting out impulse buys. Thinking about things before you buy them makes the most difference.

I used to buy maybe multiple things on impulse buys every time I went shopping, and they were never pricey things. However, they did add up. I noticed that beautiful displays in the store or an appealing ad would lure me into buying more. Now, whenever I get into a situation that I feel the impulse come on, I take a photo. If I am shopping online, I leave it in the cart. I do notice within a couple of days after doing this action. I didn’t want it, anyway.

Make the most of what you have
I like to keep everything as it is until it no longer works. I always try to use up what I have before I buy something new. I make sure I squeeze out everything I can from the item before I purchase something similar. I take great care of my stuff, and that’s why it always lasts me for a long time. I’m forever grateful for it. Trends and fast consumerism do not influence me.

Shop with intention
I also shop for specific items. I’m not randomly going out shopping for clothes or things that will not serve my family or me. Changing this habit from buying without a plan to searching for a specific item, does make shopping easier and curves my impulse buying.

Have an intentional wardrobe
I now have an intentional wardrobe. I used to spend a lot of money on clothing and accessories. It was my biggest indulgence. It wasn’t that I was buying expensive things; it just added up after a while. There was a time when I spent at least a hundred dollars on clothing each month and sometimes more.

Being intentional with my wardrobe helps me curve my spending habit. I only have about 35 hangers in my closet and two small boxes for seasonal clothing. When they are full, it means that I have to get rid of something before purchasing any new items. This helps me to think before buying something. I also ask myself the following questions like:

Do I need this new item?
Has the last item been worn out or no longer needed?
What will I do with the item once I decided it no longer serves me?

Having these three questions as part of my spending habit ritual does invite the discussion of my actual need versus wants of things. It is a mindful practice that doesn’t take very long to master or for me to get an internal response.

Use sales to save
If you want to save money, then use sales wisely and to your financial advantage. For example, there is a wallet that is 50% off, and it is now $20. If you didn’t need a wallet, but you buy it anyway, then it’s not a good deal. You’re spending $20 that could be saved for something that you actually may need in the long run.

If my wallet gets worn out, and I am looking for a new wallet. Then, buying it on sale would make sense.

You are also not saving if you are buying things that are more expensive because they’re on sale. For example, I would never buy a wallet that’s $40, even if it used to be $80. I would, however, buy a wallet that’s $20. So, if I see a wallet on sale at or below my budget, then I’m saving money.

If you want something or need something and if it can wait, then wait until you can find it on sale. I do this with a lot of my purchases.

Cancel subscriptions that no longer serve you
Canceling subscriptions and memberships that you are not using or serves a purpose in your life. I have canceled most of my subscriptions. I only have Netflix and Boxycharm. These are choices that I made because I enjoy using these services and products a lot.

If you’re spending money on something every month, then take a moment to think:
Am I getting my money’s worth?
Am I using this often enough?

Automatic monthly payments can be kind of tricky because they’re easily overlooked. However, it does add up if you do not cancel them and you are throwing money away.

To avoid spending whatever is left
It helps to save that money. However, I have to be mindful not to spend the excess on other items. I put away whatever I have at the end of each month. As you get more used to minimalism as it becomes more and more your natural lifestyle. You will buy less and fewer things and this way you can even bump up your savings incrementally. I am still new to this thought process, but I like to view it as a game. Each month, the extra is my reward. The more dollars I have, the more money I earned.

Save first and spend later
So if you know roughly how much money you need to get through the month, Then you also know how much money you will have left to save and instead of waiting until the end of the month.

These saving habits do give me a backup and do help me to share experiences with loved ones. For example, my daughter was able to go to her ideal camp for the summer. My intention was to saved to allow her to go. The ultimate prize was to see her confidence go up as she did what she enjoyed doing.

I hope you got something from this blog. Please let me know what you do to save money.

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Low-Waste Kitchen Hacks for Busy People

Living a fast-paced lifestyle is a convenience we have grown increasingly comfortable in, but like everything else, such comfort comes at a cost. The price we are paying for convenience is a considerable one.

Our convenient lifestyle that accommodates our need always to be on-the-go comes at the cost of the environment, which is why, I wanted to share with you some simple methods that I try to use, to keep with my eco-friendly values while maintaining that sense of convenience daily.

I live a lifestyle vibrant with entropy. No two days ever look the same. I need a structure in place to help me function properly, even to be able to perform the most basic of tasks like, eat, or maintain some level of sanity. I am sharing with you today just a few of the things that really help me and hopefully help you as well.

Make your own drink!
Who doesn’t love a warm/cold drink in the morning? Having tea or coffee every morning is something we all look forward, too, it gets our day going. Unfortunately, on the busiest of days we can be tempted to get one at a shop, but making your own, at-home drink could make all the difference for the environment since most of these shop cups are not recyclable or compostable. Every day millions of us around the world buy these cups and dispose of them. When a single person buys one cup of coffee every day, it builds up the numbers landing in the trash.

Try to make your own, help the environment and of course, hence, help yourself!

I’m a big believer that your morning routine starts the evening before. Every night I set out my coffee needs (cup and top) and have the water ready in the fridge. I have my coffee already ground and store it for use in the morning. When the morning arises, I can quickly put it together while I am getting ready. I then put it in my thermos, and I am prepared to go. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and you don’t have to think about it.

I stopped going out for coffee in the morning when I realized it just wasn’t any faster. You’re probably not saving any time by making a 20-minute trip and waiting in line to get a coffee. It’s that extra step that will help you maintain your convenient lifestyle without having to give up your eco-friendly values.

Freezing prep for your meals
I love freezer meals. I measure it out so that one mason jar is enough food for one person. I can layer the rice on top of the beans and then add a sauce or vegetables. You can let them thaw overnight, and then you can throw it in your bag on your way to out or for a convenient meal.

You can heat the glass, but you have to remove the lid off the mason jar and put it in the microwave.

You can also save most of your glass jars and use them for this purpose. When you freeze something in a glass jar, make sure there is enough space between the liquid and the top since liquids expand on solidifying. When you heat up your to go meal, make sure to let it thaw and defrost naturally or the glass will be shattered and can cause harm, not to mention it is a pain to clean!

Yes, I know this from experience!

You can freeze individual serving sizes of things like hummus in little containers and just let them thaw in your bag when you head out. By the time you are ready to eat it, it is prepared!

Please remember, if you have plastic containers, it’s OK to use them to freeze. Just make sure that they are safe to be microwaved. Some plastics leak toxins into your food and your body.

Mason Jackets!
The condensation on the outside of the glass was causing a mess in my bag. The jar also can be sweltering and hard to touch with your hands if it is heated. I’ve been grateful for how convenient jackets are for my needs!

I love them, and they’re brilliant. The jackets come in a variety of different materials like silicone or cloth. You wrap them around your mason jars, they protect them from getting broken, and they protect your hands when you hold it.

It takes away a little bit of the stress during the day because I don’t have to worry about these small, simple things. I can go about my day without having to worry if the mason jar’s broken and caused a disaster in my bag.

Pre-chopped frozen veggies
Chop those vegetables up, put them in a container and fill it with water then pop them in the fridge. Not only do your veggies remain fresh and crispy, you always have a healthy snack at hand. Just think of eating crisper carrots and celery with your thawed hummus throughout the day. It’s like you went to the store on days you don’t have time to stop, and it requires less packaging.

It works wonders. The best part is that you could do this with almost any product, It’s comfortable, convenient, and helping maintain a cleaner Earth.

The multipurpose ice-cube tray
You can use the ice trays as measuring devices to measure the individual sizes of things like lemon juice or vegetable broth. You can put them in the ice tray, and then after they’re frozen, you put them in a jar, You’ll end up with frozen individual-sized servings in bulk quantities.

You could do the same with silicone muffin or cupcake pans for more significant portions.

You can also use your ice-cube tray to make homemade candy and other treats! One easy recipe is, buy chocolate chips, melt them down, put a little in the bottom of the tray and then add nut butter or fruit, top with a bit more chocolate, and you have package-free butter cups and bonbons.

Be creative
Instead of buying unique products that are marketed with “eco-friendly” agenda, you can use those everyday things lying around your house. For instance, instead of putting the leftover in zip locks or unique wraps or containers, just put the food in a bowl and close it with a plate. Alternatively, cut old fuzzy socks for jar jackets or you could even a knit or crochet. It’s effortless to make one of those jar sleeves and a great way to use up scrap yarn and recycle old clothing.

BONUS HACKS:
Here are a few simple tips that could help you along the way:

  • Prep your food for the week on Sunday nights, you could be watching Netflix or listening to some music.
  • Also, try storing herbs, green onions, celery, etc. upright in a few inches of water to retain its crispness.
  • Lastly, the plastic bins with screw-on lids are GREAT to reuse for things you buy in bulk and for art supplies like crayons or markers.

I hope these tips and hacks prove useful to you. They are effortless to execute and efficient. However, this might not work for all of you. You may need to be slightly altered your practices from time to time as life gets in the way. Just remember to be a little creative and find different styles and structures to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Let me know some tips that have helped you spare more time in the morning or in life, just leave a comment below.

Also, check out my Amazon Associate Store if you need some inspiration for your journey. Here it is: https://amzn.to/2YJdfbn

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Living with A Dysmorphic Disorder – What’s Going On and How to Cope?

I want to discuss image dysmorphia.

I’m struggling with it.

My distorted image makes it hard for others to give me proper advice. No matter how many times someone tells me that I am not the way I see myself, I still see a different person in the mirror.

My “friend” in the mirror sees all of my flaws. She also hides my clear image. I literally can’t see my real self unless I give myself a side-eye. Then, my “friend” will quickly distort the picture before I can fully process what I just saw. It’s frustrating to know you can’t see yourself, but your own mind will not let you change your distortion.

Sometimes, I wonder if I can see any bit of the reality that others see. Sometimes, I wonder if they are wrong, and my truth is right. Sometimes, I just know I am right. Sometimes, I know I am wrong.

When I take photos of myself, I look at them in disgust. I see flaws in every part of my body and mind. This leads to thoughts of self-deprecation. When I question myself, my “friend” hisses to shut-up because I am the one that knows nothing. I am stupid. I sometimes ignore her, other times, I fight her, but most of the time, I cower away too afraid to lose another battle.

I can look in the mirror, and I can see many things that I hate about myself. My “friend” makes me believe that everyone can see what I see and hate me as much as I hate myself. I can unconsciously (thanks to my “friend”) seek out specific people who with 100% certainty will validate what she has been telling me. She can’t be wrong if other people believe it too. It is a cycle that is tricky to break.

No matter how much I protest or try to protect myself from her evil thoughts. She is there, waiting for me to be weak. She comes in like a savior but leaves me as a sinner. I hate her, but she is me, so I love her too. My self-image is split and shattered. I live with this for most of my life.

So, there are so many ways my story could have gone. My path is twisted and hilly. I still rely on her to tell me, “like it is” when I don’t know the answers. She always comforts me with her evil banter.

However, it has gotten better. I can stand my ground and have won a few battles. The war still rages, and my reality will forever be distorted, but I go on. With every battle won, I hope to be closer to my truth.

Here are some ways that help me win my battles.

Get Help / Seek Out Positive People

When you see yourself as an awful person, you attract people who think the same about you. Try to find a couple of good people in your life and be honest with them. Tell them that you are trying to conquer a demon and need a supportive friend. This can be difficult at the beginning because your judgment in others may be off. If you can afford it or have the resources, seek professional help. They will help you learn the tools and guide you into accurately finding the right type of people that you need to surround yourself to maintain a healthy environment.

Say at least 3 things you love about yourself.

Many people struggle with this and only focus on the negatives. Sometimes, you have to stand for 30 minutes before you can come up with something. However, this is what you need to do.

Look at yourself in a mirror.

I avoid mirrors as often as I can whenever I look in the mirror I just think negative thoughts. Now, I try to focus on other things apart from what my “friend” thinks. It helps me to stop thinking so negatively about myself.

Look at yourself as though you are someone else.

I’m the type of person who often sees the good in everyone. I can look at someone and instantly see good qualities about them. I realized that I had to see the good in me. I had to see the positives about myself even if that means looking at myself as though I am another person.

I can look at others and think how great they are as a person. It helps me to realize that people look and act differently. We are all beautiful and unique.

So, why can I be the same too?

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others, you first have to learn to love yourself. You have to see how you look genuinely. Sometimes, it is tough to do. Especially when I feel that person has everything, and I have nothing to show. I start to turn on the negative faucet and pour it all over myself.

When I catch myself doing this, I turn it off. I stop looking. I stop trying to understand why they are so “great.” I try to focus on myself and what makes me “great” or what “in” nature is beautiful at that moment. One of these two mental exercises does pull me out of my head.

So, these are some exercises to help me to learn to love myself. You will be able to say good things about yourself. That initial haze of feeling stupid and vain will start to fade out. This is just your “friend” trying to stop you from seeing your truth. You will begin to pick up the habit of counteracting some of your thoughts and distortions.

If you spend most of your time, your thoughts and your energy on your body shape and flawed mind, you won’t indeed be happy. It takes so much energy and time out of your life. You need to let go of the obsessive thoughts and learn to love yourself and to live life.

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31-Day Challenge: Great Journaling Prompts for Self Love and Self Care

In today’s mostly digital, paperless reality, the thought of the journal might evoke ideas of hidden young crushes or something that you “used to do.”

However, why keep a journal?

As you get older, the benefits of maintaining the journal become stronger. The journal will be valuable — documenting what you did and where you were. Examples include cases, where you want to remember what you thought on a particular day or event. Not to mention, it will help with critical thinking and your anxiety. It has helped mine.

So, in July, I will write one prompt each day. I will ask Siri to pick a number from 1 to 31 and then write about the prompt related to the number that she has announced. It is reasonably straight forward. I hope you join me on my journey. I would love you hear what you have to say. So please, send me your blog link relating to this challenge.

Below are the challenge’s writing prompts for July.

  1. How have you grown this year?
  2. What’s holding you back?
  3. Describe a scene from your day.
  4. How can you give yourself a break today?
  5. List & draw things that make you happy.
  6. When in your life, did you feel your best?
  7. What habits & actions did you do to feel amazing?
  8. Where was your headspace right now?
  9. What’s on my to-do list today?
  10. What’s one positive change I can make in my daily life?
  11. What good habit do you want to begin this month?
  12. Going forward, how can you commit to loving yourself every day?
  13. What would your life be like if you didn’t have stress?
  14. How would you describe yourself, affectionately, to a stranger?
  15. What things make you feel bad, but you find yourself doing them anyway?
  16. Make a list of 10 things that make you smile.
  17. What are your 10 worst habits, and how do they impact your life?
  18. When was the last time you indulged yourself and how?
  19. Write about something you do well.
  20. What’s something that you need to get rid of?
  21. Whom would you invite to an imaginary luncheon, and why?
  22. What do you love right now and how it makes you feel.
  23. Where do you want to travel?
  24. Who is someone you admire, and what are their qualities?
  25. Take a selfie just as you are. Write a description of your face using loving words.
  26. What are your ten best talents?
  27. What friendship that you’ve had was the most meaningful?
  28. What is the unique thing about you? Do you like to hide it or let it show?
  29. What is your superpower?
  30. What is one thing that you regret and why?
  31. Write a bucket list.
Have you loved yourself today?

This challenge is cheap and is great for your mental health and can easily be added to your daily routine. Try to add it into your morning or evening practice so you can start to make it a habit. I usually keep this list by my bed. I’ll use a prompt and write in my journal each morning when I wake up.

Writing for a few minutes every day doesn’t sound so scary, does it?

The trick is that all of this adds up and promote healthy well-being.

I hope you found this journal prompts for self-care useful.

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Holding Yourself Back

Tip: Look for a language that places you as a victim. “No one understands” or “always happens to me bad” is a red flag.

If you are thinking of yourself as a victim, take a deep breath and then make a step to improve your life. The best way to deal with self-doubt is to test your forehead on your forethoughts. Your brain will have a slight difference of observation as you confirm that your mind is capable and having checked your doubts will develop your mind.

You cannot expect to know everything about yourself when you don’t try. If you think of yourself as an expert in something, it’s easy to assume that you know everything. You have to be open to change. Decluttering your mind opens you up to that change and to new possibilities. You can learn from others’ and your mistakes and make better decisions for yourself. It’s a good idea to keep your mind free of all the things you don’t need and just focus on what you do need to be content with life.

These are some suggestions helping to get rid of any clutter in your mind that may be holding you back. If you are not sure where to start, try these tips:

  1. Find a place that feels comfortable so you can be opened to change and find an intention.
  2. Find someone who has been there before and knows how to deal with it.
  3. Take some time to think about what you want out of life and then find a way to make it happen.
  4. Find a hobby that makes you happy and doesn’t require much effort. This is a great way to keep yourself busy while also keeping your mind clear and focused.
  5. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and your work even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  6. Take a walk around your neighborhood or park.
  7. Find a quiet spot in your house where you can sit and meditate.
  8. Write down all the things you need to do, and list them on a piece of paper in order of importance.
  9. Get rid of anything that distracts you from your work-related tasks by being mindful of the actions you take before you start your work. You will be surprised just how much mess you have in your mind before you even begin an important task.

How do you protect your mind? Find your intention or purpose for your moment or day. Focus on what needs to be done to help get some of the load off your mind. The intention is an integral part of your life, and we all need to be aware of what it’s doing to us.

When you’re in a mental state of chaos, there is no way out but through the mind. If you want to get rid of clutter, then stop thinking about it and start focusing on the present moment or your intention. Don’t think about how much time you have left or if you can’t get it done. Just do it.

This will help you feel more at peace with yourself and your surroundings. I’m sure you’ve heard this before: ” the only thing that matters is what happens next. So make the most of it! Don’t worry about tomorrow, just live now!”.

If we will focus on how we use our self to organize your thoughts and create a life of mindfulness and relaxation, peace, peace, and freedom.

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What I ate for dinner this week

I am not a chef, but I like to make food. I love being able to sit with my family and have a moment to regroup, talk or even watch a movie. It’s the family time in my home. I feel like the outside world is on hold while I enjoy my moments with the people I love.

Sometimes I eat quite a unique blends of foods and spices. I’d instead do that then let food go to waste. It also sparks creativity in me when the world can be so cold. These are the best thing about dinners for me.

What about you?

Penne Pasta with Pesto Tomato Sauce
Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Quinoa
Sausage and Peppers with White Rice
Potato Soup (Minus Liquid — I know, I hate soup though) with Garlic Bread
Stuffed Zucchini with White Rice
Greek Salad Mixed with other salad stuff and French Fries
Penne Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken