Tossing the clutter to have a more meaningful life!

Grocery Store Rant

Paper or plastic?  NEITHER, thank you very much!

I feel the need to take a moment and express the frustration I felt when I went to the grocery store today.

This year began with several resolutions to do a better job of taking care of the environment.  One of those resolutions was to use eco-friendly canvas bags each trip to the grocery store, in order to eliminate the use of the wasteful plastic bags.

I have been doing very good meeting this resolution so far and I must say, I have found many advantages to using my canvas bags versus the plastic bags.  For one thing, it’s easier to carry – no worries of the bag breaking / busting while walking to the car or into the house.  Also, I can fit more items into my canvas bag.  What typically uses 4-5 flimsy plastic bags (not including if double bagging is required) takes only 1-2 of my canvas bags.  I love these benefits and it makes me feel even better to know that I’m doing something good for the environment.

Today, I walked up to the register and placed my canvas bag on the conveyor belt first and my groceries next.  The young girl working the register looked at my canvas bag, rolled her eyes, snatched the bag up, and began throwing my groceries in it – totally careless with the produce.  I asked her to please be careful with the produce and she started doing a little better.

Now – why on earth was it so difficult for her to place my groceries in that canvas bag?  It actually looked easier than for her to have to deal with 5 different plastic bags, which never want to separate and open up easily.  Also – not only am I contributing to saving the environment, but I’m also saving the grocery store a little bit of money each time I use my own bags when I shop – they don’t have to invest money in the flimsy plastic bags for me!

Oh well, I still feel good about keeping my resolution and living a little more “green”.  I just wish there were more people who understood and appreciated this fact.

What about you – do you prefer paper, plastic, or your own bags when you grocery shop?

– Julia


Product Review: Ninja Master Prep Pro

Two weeks ago, I invested in the purchase of a Ninja Master Prep Professional blender.  This little blender is packed full of power and makes for an easy cleanup.   So far, I have been very pleased with the product.

This nifty little blender comes as pictured, with a 48 oz pitcher, a 40 oz pitcher, and a 16 oz food processer.  Each container has a lid so that you can cover and store in the fridge for later use.  There is a set of blades for each container, but you have to be careful when cleaning or handling the blades, as they are very sharp.

The small blender attachment sits on top of each container and you mustn’t let its size fool you!  The blender is extremely powerful and pulverizes anything from ice to the toughest of veggies.

All parts, with the exception of the blender attachment, are microwaveable and dishwasher safe.  Also, because the blender attachment sits on top of the containers, there is not a concern of food or liquid dripping into the motor.

For the past two weeks, I have put this little blender to the test.  Every morning, I have used the Ninja to blend up a breakfast smoothie with frozen fruit, juice, and yogurt.  Most days for lunch I also used it to fix a smoothie for lunch, also with frozen fruit, almond milk, and sometimes adding a handful of spinach, which wasn’t too bad.  The fruit hides the taste of the spinach – you just have to get past the touch of green in the smoothie first.  It blends smoothies completely in a matter of seconds and there is no need to stir in between pulses.  Since blades are placed at the bottom and closer to the top, this allows for the smooth and accurate blending of pretty much anything.

I have also used the Ninja to chop veggies for my salad on several occasions and it handles well – good controlled chops, without mushing or juicing the veggies.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Ninja and believe it to be an excellent investment!  If you are searching for a good, solid little blender that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, I can highly recommend this one!



Stop Office Snacking!

I have to admit – I’m definitely guilty of office snacking. I am working at doing better and last week I made it without any unhealthy snacks in the office, even though there were plenty of opportunities! Keeping my fingers crossed I can keep it up!

Stop Office Snacking!.


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Is that a ray of light I see?

First off, I want to start with apologizing to my readers (if I even still have readers at this point) for neglecting the blog for so long! However, I think my fellow minimalists and health gurus will appreciate and forgive my excuses.

Since my last post, I have been diligently weeding through possessions I accumulated over the years and deciding what is needed and what must go. So far, I have made a huge dent, with many trips to Goodwill and donations to others.

In addition to weeding through the material items, I have also been working very hard on paying off the debt. If you remember, about 8 months or so back, I was looking at a total debt of $132k and some change (note that this includes EVERYTHING – mortgage too).  Since then, I have knocked that down by about $10k and I’m hovering around $122k and some change right now (still including the mortgage).

I’m feeling pretty good about this progress!  Without the mortgage, I’m at around $20k and that’s with a few hundred on a credit card which I will pay off next week, plus the college loan and car loan.

I fared well over the holidays – I did invest in gift giving, adding to the credit card balance for a month or so, but so far I have been able to pay most, if not all of the credit charges right at due date.  This has allowed me to keep the card balance down.

With all of this said, I feel like doing a happy dance right about now! 🙂

Now, I made mention earlier of my health guru followers and my guess at their coolness with my absenteeism.  Let me just say, that over the summer and fall – I was a bicycling fool!  Every weekend I was at the new bike trail (pictures in a previous post) cycling about 15 – 20 miles overall.  Then….the holidays hit….the weather turned cooler….things were busy with work and holiday hubbub…..the exercise regime gradually faded away.  After Christmas, I was determined to get back on the health wagon and started going to the gym.  I have been going to the gym anywhere from 3 – 5 times a week for 45 minutes to an hour each time.  The “dreadmill”, elliptical, and stationary bike have all become my new friends while the weather has been cooler and darkness sets in earlier.

Not only have I been exercising religiously, but I have also changed my eating habits.  Gone are the bachelorette days of frozen pizza, cans of ravioli, and take out.  This bachelorette has actually been COOKING believe it or not!  Tuna cakes, salmon cakes, crab cakes, baked sun dried tomato chicken, baked Italian chicken, turkey tacos, turkey spaghetti, wild rice, veggies – the list goes on!

Also, I have just invested in a Ninja Master Prep Pro Blender this weekend and made my first (somewhat) green smoothie last night.  My replacement breakfast meal this morning was a fruit / protein / flaxseed smoothie and it was awesome and filling, which was surprising to me.

I will let you know how the Ninja continues to hold up, but so far it appears to be a GREAT buy and ranks high on Consumer Reports ratings.

Now, I hope you can all forgive me for crawling under a rock the past 8 months…I promise I will do better and keep you updated on my journey to minimalism as well as my quest for healthy living!

Thanks for reading and keep on peddlin’!


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Bicycle Crazy!

Well, as I mentioned in my last blog, I splurged a couple of months ago and purchased a bicycle.  BEST purchase I’ve made in a while!  I discovered a new portion of the Mountains to Sea trail not far from where I live and have been taking the bike there every week for a good long ride.  I’m not exactly sure of the total mileage, but I THINK to the end and back is maybe around 15 – 17 miles.  Again, I’m not 100% on that.  The main thing is that this is not only a fun way to exorcise, but it’s also a GREAT way to relieve stress, which I’ve had a lot of the past several months.  I wanted to share some pictures with you that I’ve taken the past couple of months of the bike and the trail, so here goes….

Loaded up and ready to go!


The branch that connects to the Mountains to Sea Trail….


The Mountains to Sea Trail – bridge that crosses the Neuse River.  This trail is awesome – paved the whole way with several bridges along the way.


As you can see – the views are great alongside the river.  Views like this the whole way down the Mountains to Sea portion of the trail.  Relaxing and peaceful.


So there ya have it!  Where I’ve been spending most of my free time over the weekends…part of the reason why it has taken me so long to get a new post up here.

The next post will be an update on how things are going for me in the minimalism world.  I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Thanks for reading!



Everybody Deserves a Vacation

Good blog post by Lisa on enjoying life – so very important!

Everybody Deserves a Vacation.

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