A 5 Minute Meal

I let the ‘green’ take over lately. It’s certainly gotten me to be far less lazy….and yet lazier.

I decided in December to start watching my diet more. I cut out a lot of processed foods (quite expensive when you think about it). To keep me going, I got a few healthy eating books from the library (broke = get free things).

I decided to start incorporating green juices into my diet. I’m not buying a juicer; they are expensive, they take up a bunch of counter space, and are a pain to clean. Pass. So what can a newly minted juicer wannabe to do? Smoothies.

Now I can have a filling meal and not cook. I don’t plan on taking this very far. I certainly won’t be documenting my green smoothie fasts or tell you that spirulina takes delicious. I will tell you that I already own a blender and having dinner ready in 5 minutes is super exciting.

Blending the veggies means that you get to have all the fiber, thus the full feeling. I warn you: If you decide you feel deprived by drinking a meal, you will be unsatisfied and find solid foods to eat. Just like it is vital to victory for any goal or task to push through and believe you can make it, any doubt you are satisfied will kill that fullness. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you are totally right. You can’t. Not with that attitude.

Now that you have decided to give green smoothies a try, you accept that it is weird to drink a meal but it won’t kill you, and you have your blender in hand I can help you make this even easier.

(There’s the laziness kicking in!)

Your Perfect Smoothie recipe: 

1. Start with the liquid. Add 1 cup of water/nut milk/coffee/tea/fresh fruit juice <–don’t buy juice, like, ever again. That’s just sugar. Use this only if you do not have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or any other liquid option really.

2. Add veggies, at least 1 cup. A few sources I’ve read suggest 3 veggies to 1 fruit. It balances the flavor, keeps the sugar and calories down, and keeps flavors from getting too weird. Some of my faves include 1/2 an avocado to make it creamy, 1/2 a cucumber for a refreshing lightness, a big handful of leafy greens – you can’t taste ’em unless you focus really hard, a few stalks of celery…Really put what you have in. Don’t do broccoli because that would be a weird texture, but try the stems. Mix and match. Try organic if possible, wash them well if not.

3. Add fruit, at least a serving. Frozen berries are real winners, as are frozen bananas, green apples, and any in season fruit. If you use citrus, don’t toss it in rind and all. That will be too bitter. Just juice it.

4. Fancy stuff: 1-2 Tbsp. Want it thick and creamy, more like a milkshake? Add almond butter. Want it just a little thicker? Put 1tsp of chia seeds in 1/4c water and it will turn into a superfood gel. Need it sweeter? Hold back and use just a little cinnamon, local honey, cacao/carob, agave, vanilla, or even cut up seedless dates.

Blend, baby, blend. Play with what you use, find more recipes on the internet, get excited! Now you have a healthy 5 minute meal option when cooking seems impossible. While this is a great way to get tons more veggies in your diet, don’t try to live off these. You need a varied diet and enough calories.

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It’s Just A Calendar

As 2014 winds down, the stress to end the year with a bang builds. Which party to go to? What will I wear? Will my crush be there? What am I going to drink?

As I’ve mentioned throughout this year, one of the easiest and most elegant solutions for our problems is to simply opt out. I decided this morning that I am staying in, alone, for tonight. And I’m surprisingly happy about this decision.

What better way to save money, trumpet my laziness, and refuse to buy into the wastefulness of this annual celebration?

I am letting go of the idea that I need to celebrate things just because a calendar or tradition says so. Traditionally speaking, I ought to be married by now and tending to my husband, 2.5 children, and our picket fenced house. Depending on what and whose tradition that is.

We buck so many traditions with each new generation, yet some slip through the cracks. I’m not going to blow $100 to get trashed in 6 inch heels and spend tomorrow miserable and making unrealistic promises to myself. That would be setting myself up for failure.

Now, before you dismiss this option because you are young, hot, lonely, or just want to party, know that I am not simply watching TV until I fall asleep.

I refuse to treat today like an extraordinary day. But how am I celebrating? I am hopping into my pjs and reflecting, organizing, planning. I have many things to work on and I will no longer be limited by the calendar for when I can do that. The fact that I view today as just a Wednesday is important. I’m not starting a new year/life/me with fanfare. I’m just gonna do. And when I feel like I’m not going in the right direction, I’ll sit down on another ordinary day and reflect, organize, plan again.

This is how I’m changing. My choice to improve myself will not start with a gun shot. Life is not a race, it should not be timed.

So after I spend an evening eating my favorite food (pizza) in my favorite sweatpants drinking my favorite tea I’m going to wake up prepared for each new day ahead of me. I’m going to have goals, steps for those goals, motivation points. I’m going to tell some friends and ask for encouragement. And I’m not doing it just today. If I find I’ve failed at what I set up for myself I’ll just sit down some other Wednesday and get back on track.

By removing the external push and making it a personal, internal effort I know I’m showing myself that it’s not tradition that is pushing me to do this, but my personal choice and reflections.

This year I’m starting the year exactly how I want the whole year to be: focused on my well being. And I can do it by living up to my broke, lazy, and green standard I hold myself to.

Thank you for living this year with me, I look forward to life with you next year! Happy New Year!

The Holidays, Unplugged

I’m sure you are torn between all the sweet deals going on in stores and online to make all that Christmas/Hanukkah loot seem a bit cheaper and the whole buy-nothing-make-something movement.

I get it. Really, I do.

I’m tempted to simply jump on the give experiences not material goods wagon, but I also really want the nice backpack I asked my mom and brother to get me. So I have a solution that will be perfect for whoever reads this:

Do what makes you Happy.

If shopping for everyone on your list makes you and your wallet sob in fear, don’t. Buy cheaper things, buy group gifts for families, or hop on the buy-nothing train. If you feel stupid giving the dry ingredients for brownies in a cute mason jar or candle holders made of tuna cans and clothes pins or coupons for you babysit or wash their car for free, don’t.

As your broke and green lady, I don’t want to buy stuff. As your lazy pal, I don’t wanna make stuff.

So when I found a pricey dress my mom loved, my brother and I split it. For my extended family? They know it is expensive to fly home and are glad to see me once a year. I emphasize that I am the gift. [Insert winning smile]

My friends and I don’t do Christmas gifts unless something really catches an eye and screams your name. Then it’s cheap and it’s clear there is no expected gift in return. We treat each other by taking each other out when it’s out birthday, when we celebrate life events, when we’re a little flush with cash and buy an extra round.  That is what makes us all happy without any pressure.

If it makes you happy to one up your uncle in giving your grandma a cool gift, fine. If that January credit card bill stings through April and you’ve forgotten why by Valentine’s Day…are you really happy?

Joy to the world. Peace on Earth. You are part of this world, you are a citizen of this earth. You deserve joy and peace as well. The first year you let your consumer facade crumble a little may be scary and you may be tempted to feel disappointed in yourself. Don’t. Once you’ve lowered that artificial bar (that no one but you set up in the first place) next year will be easier. Maybe even happier.

You deserve a gift too. Why not just make yourself happy?

In Defense of Lazy

Lazy is a word with a very negative connotation.

However, I believe there are two kinds of laziness: procrastination and positive. I would like to write this post in defense of positive laziness.

First, what I mean by procrastinative (it’s a word now) laziness. This is what happens when someone asks you when a project or task will be done and you’ve been ‘doing nothing’. This kind of laziness achieves nothing, not even relaxation and usually makes life worse because it is pure mindless procrastination. In this day and age, the internet, often in the form of Buzzfeed and Netflix, is the most common ‘nothing’ that you find yourself doing all day.

You don’t feel productive, relaxed, calm. Instead you may have inflated your stress and anxiety through this laziness. (I just coughed. Is it Ebola?!)

I, instead, would like to defend and encourage positive laziness. This past weekend is a marvelous example. I got rid of some stuff, made my costume, had lunch with some girlfriends, finished a book, and took a few walks. I did it all without a to do list and only when I felt like it

I didn’t do any ‘work’, I didn’t make money, my professional life and finances got nowhere this weekend. I didn’t schedule or plan anything. I didn’t even set an alarm.

It was the best weekend in ages.

The most important part of this weekend to me is that I forgot about my phone quite frequently. I only meant to run in and grab a cup of coffee Sunday morning, but managed to end up reading on the patio for three hours. I totally lost track of time. And I feel so relaxed for it.

Go ahead – be lazy. Unplug a bit. Clear your schedule. Or if you are the kind of person who can’t freestyle a day, schedule in some free time.

Throwing out your to do list, absolving yourself of any guilt, and living 100% in the moment for one day – doing whatever nothing you want to do – will be better than an expensive, exotic vacation.

Daydream. Read. Create. This is your life, you can do what you want. Once you step back and realize how many of your actions are made purely for the benefit of social requirements, you can start taking control of your own life….tomorrow. Today, there’s a nice walk with no destination with your name on it.

Times Flies And So Will I Soon

I haven’t had much time to myself lately. Now that the weather is finally turning in the direction of fall, electricity bills will naturally start going down. I’m eating with friends at home more, mostly because these wonderful dinners happen on porches.

I’m at a point in my life where my money saving skills are starting to get extreme. I don’t think I can really write relateable material about becoming a homeless couch surfer for 1-1.5 months while I save rent money with the intent of moving around the world. I’m selling my stuff, living out of bags – as of November 1st.

Why the extreme life change? Well, I may be saving money, but it will all be spent on student loans, bills, travel, and moving. My life is heading for a massive change and I must adapt if I want it to be a successful change.

I plan to become an ESL teacher in Korea. That’s the life plan now. With no teaching experience I can only hope that I come across as intelligent, capable, and worthy of the challenge.

I’ve always wanted to travel more, experience more cultures, meet new people, see how I handle language barriers and exotic cultures. I think doing this will make it easier to relate to people so different from me. I’m looking forward to a job that also allows me to actually connect to people, to make a difference.

In my far off dreams, after EPIK, I’d love to do JET (Japan), Open Doors (Chile), and maybe see if China or Vietnam has a national program. Maybe end up in Spain one day.

This isn’t very broke (though it is helping keep me there), lazy (these applications are killer), nor green (I will be flying around the globe after all), but I wanted to share since it is currently taking up most of my time and thoughts. Back to the basic tenants of this site next week, y’all. Promise.

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather while we have it!

 

P.S. One quick update, I am back to using only diluted baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar on my hair. I had to adjust the amount. I use roughly 2-3Tbsp of each in a quart of water. Add more by the teaspoon if it doesn’t seem very effective. I’m glad I tried again; I can go 3 days before my hair looks a bit unwashed so I only need to wash it 2 times a week. It has lightening in color and has better volume now!

Electronics Giveth And Taketh Away: Facebook And Ingress

I have generally had trouble finding a good topic to write about because the little things I do (or don’t do) to save money, help the planet, and keep my butt where it’s planted are so innocuous.

This week, though, I’ve made some small changes that have been more noticeable differences in my life than usual. Both involve changes in my relationship with digital media.

The first change I made this last week was Facebook related. I decided that instead of agonizing over unfriending someone (Would they notice? Be upset? What if we accidentally reconnect? What if I need them for something in the future?) I began to unfollow them.

I began unfollowing people when I didn’t remember why we were Facebook friends, when they posted too frequently, when I realized I wasn’t that close to them and didn’t need to know all aspects of their daily lives. I also began unliking many pages I wasn’t interested in anymore.

Now, quite frankly, my newsfeed is boring. I already know what’s going on in my everyday friends’ lives so I don’t feel such a tugging ‘need’ to keep up virtually. You could be extreme and quit it altogether. I’m not quite there yet.

Now I’m free and more mentally removed from the social media tether, I want to go out more! I’ve been to the library once this week and will definitely be returning a finished book next week. I also hope to get back into exercising since my back is feeling much better.

What kind of exercise? I’m not going to go crazy or push myself. A back injury is serious, no matter how slight. So I’m walking more and the game Ingress is helping.

Ingress has been around for about two years, but it’s new to me. It’s a virtual reality game  you play by walking. The game involves a futuristic looking version of Google maps and you hack portals and use alien energy….the point of the game is to go out and explore your area. Portals are usually churches, old buildings, historical sites, points of interest, etc. You can submit your own. If you aren’t motivated on your own to get out and walk, a game with points and enemies might be the kick you need.

Now, thanks to these two small (and free!) changes  I’m even happier living in the moment.

Bottles and Jugs and Ideas, Oh My!

I started this site to not only be an outlet for my creative green juices, but to also practice becoming familiar with WordPress. I handle all the website work for my company.

We have a wonderful SEO guru, though, to guide me through the process of tapping directly into the minds and veins of potential customers. Her work makes my efforts to hook total strangers easier. Business to business sales are not easy.

My guru knows what’s up, this is her job – her bread-and-butter – and she is good at what she does. But I must admit that my favorite part of our meetings are when we get off track and talk about our green and natural tendencies. We usually enjoy a solid ten minutes of green geeking out at the end of our meetings. Just like me, green living is a great side interest for her.

She is not paying me to tell anyone about this, she just gives me free samples and lets her goods speak for themselves. Her line, Nola Essentials, will be launching in October. I have liked everything so far and will have to review them for y’all sometime.

But back to our conversation! She emptied a bottle of Perrier and informed me that the mouth is a standard size. Thanks to her, I now know (and can share!), that it is the easiest thing in the world to make an adorable soap dispenser out of ‘garbage’.

upcycling, upcycled soap pump, homemade soap dispenser, recycling, kitchen hack, broke lazy but green, BLBG

My guru is web savvy, a clever upcycler, and a good photographer. What can’t she do?

I just finished a moisturizer that used a pump, so I don’t even have to go out and buy a pump!

I also mentioned that my attempt at no ‘poo failed, I started using Dr. Bronner’s. My real issue is that I want to stop using plastic, that was why I was so excited to make my own. Now I’m back to buying shampoos in plastic bottles. I chose Dr. Bronner’s because I can travel with the smaller size I bought, and buy the large jugs to minimize impact. But still, what to do with those jugs as they add up?

Our brainstorming session resulted in some ideas: cutting off the top and turning them into plant pots; poking holes in the lids, filling them with water and placing them upside down to water your plants long term; cutting the handles off to create scoops….there are so many ideas out there! Rethink how to reuse your bottles and jugs!

Your Finances

You know why you’re lazy and all corners of the internet will tell you why you should go green. Do you know why you are broke, though?

Do you even know how broke you are?

Take a moment and write out your income. Then write out your savings, if you have one. Next, list your debts. Finally, categorize your monthly expenses – necessities versus fun, fixed versus varied – which ever way gets you to clearly see what your finances are trying to tell you.

Knowing how broke you are and why are the first steps in not being so broke.

Now, how to deal with being broke? You can go green by buying less. You can borrow, make, swap for something you need….if you are sure you really need it.

Really review every purchase. Did you buy coffee just that one time to treat yourself, or did you block out the three times you ran out quick for coffee because you were late or tired? Be honest with yourself about your finances, no one else out there is.

Buying less is good for you and the earth. What about the economy? Well, if the economy runs only because you buy plastic crap and junk food on a whim, I’m worried succeeding isn’t really success then.

I’m one of those people who can’t quite see how to trim my expenses anymore. I don’t own a car, can’t move to a cheaper place yet (if I can find one). I don’t shop for fun, buy stuff online, or eat out much. I cook and shop in bulk. At some point you can’t cut anymore. At that point, if you are still in dire straights, it’s time to up your income. Besides getting a new, better paying job (as if those were just lying around) dog walking, event food servers, working in a cafe or grocery store can all be part-time gigs. Yes, working 50+ hours a week can suck. So does living in uncertainty from paycheck to paycheck.

The detour to obvious suggestions may not have been necessary, but being aware that there are options out there is.

First things first, know how deep the hole is before you try to climb out. The best place to start is at the beginning. When you get overwhelmed, go for a walk. That is always free.

“Smile, breathe and go slowly”. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Guess I Just Have to Be Even Lazier

It has been over two weeks since my last post. I wanted to make it a post a week. To me that is the perfect amount of lazy-yet-committed.

Unfortunately, I hurt my back working out last week (good form is imperative!) and I haven’t been able to focus well lately. This is just a super short shout out to remind you and me and the internet that I’m still alive. I don’t have to tell the NSA because they already knew.

I’ll be back next week with a cleaning tip, a fast recipe, and the easiest DIY compost container you can have in your house. Short tidbits seem manageable.

Stay healthy, my broke-lazy-green friends!

What Do I Mean By ‘Green’?

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”
― Pete Seeger

Green is a hot term these days. Used interchangeably with ‘natural’ and often combined with ‘organic’, ‘sustainable’, and any word that can have the prefix ‘eco-‘ added in front of it, green can mean almost anything to anyone as long as you can picture a happy spot in nature while using the product being sold.

My problem with most of that is either the product seems more expensive or less effective (sometimes both). When I buy something, I often convert the amount of money it costs into how many hours I have to work to earn that much money. That helps me keep myself from mindlessly buying too much. It doesn’t work every time, but anytime I do remember to do that, I know I save money.

Don’t we all like saving money? But how to save money without being inconvenienced? If you don’t buy bathroom cleaner, how are you going to clean your bathroom? Who has time to handle dried beans? (Don’t they taste so boring when you cook them anyway?)

Never fear. My life is fun, exciting, green, and frugal. I don’t regret or resent any changes I’ve made because I keep the bigger picture in mind. I don’t mind any changes I’ve made because I’ve made them a priority. The health of the whole wide world is more important than me ordering in on a lazy evening. The best definition of ‘green’ I can come up with is this:

Green is (the act of) prioritizing the health of you, your community, and nature.

We all know eating whole, unprocessed food is better for us and the earth. We all know coating our bodies and homes in chemicals cannot be healthy for anyone. We all know that buying ‘green’ products doesn’t change how much resources are being used.

What can you do that doesn’t involve living in an off grid cabin, growing your own food, and eschewing any technological advance made since the Industrial Revolution? Small steps.

Being frugal dovetails quite well with being green. Ever notice how minimalism is often paired with green living? I don’t live like a monk, but I am mindful (though not nearly as much as a monk).

Being green means you can save green, keep the earth green, and make others green with envy at your new relaxed lifestyle.

Life isn’t a rat race because we are not rats. Life is art.