ROMAINE CALM AND MEAL PLAN

food healthy vegetables potatoes

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School started back up last week and while mentally I was beyond prepared and ready to get back to a normal schedule, it turns out that realistically, I had slowed down significantly over the break and felt like I was hit by a MAC truck after the first day! One of the things I had failed to plan for was…food. I hadn’t planned out meals for the week, nor did I do enough grocery shopping to get us through dinners, school snacks, and lunches for work. I shared my struggle on social media and my social media tribe came to the rescue. Cue: Meal Planning.

While I have meal planned in the past, meal planning for me seems to work much like working out for most of the world’s population. You do it for a month, but eat out enough times during the month, and everything goes out the window. Well, this time, I’m determined. I managed to meal plan most of 2018, so I somewhat have the hang of it now, but have some new resources that I think make me a meal-planning ninja!

A dear friend of mine reached out and said, “Have you tried meal planning this way??” and sent me a printable, fillable PDF to play with. I was intrigued. She shared this post with me, and WHOA. Hello, epiphany! While I’ve heard of and practiced meal planning before (let’s all acknowledge my triumphs of 2018), I hadn’t really thought about it in the context of saving money. I mean, DUH! It only made complete sense once I read through the article, but now I’m consciously thinking about it and implementing meal-planning as a money-saving practice.

So, I took action. For months, perhaps YEARS (2 at most), I have had this menu planning board sitting at our coffee station.

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It literally JUST.SAT.THERE. Doing absolutely nothing! I have commitment issues when it comes to altering things around the house, so I didn’t necessarily want to commit to chalk or chalboard markers on this board. Thus, I did the next best thing: I ran to Target and bought narrow Post-It notes, and went to town with a black Sharpie. Done.

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Don’t worry about the blank wall space above the coffee-maker; a super cute coffee sign is en route from Etsy as we speak. I got this. πŸ˜‰

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Not bad! I grocery shop Saturdays or Sundays, so I haven’t yet figured out what’s happening meal-wise this weekend, but I’ll likely give it some thought Friday night or Saturday morning, until I get into a routine. This week’s menu was based on things we already had in the fridge and or things that I knew I could make based on what I had in the pantry. Shockingly, based on my inventory, and using the tips suggested by The Budget Mom, all I bought this weekend were 4 cans of pinto beans, 3 cans of black beans, a bottle of creamer (which btw has saved me a ton since I no longer go to Starbucks before work every morning), and a gallon of milk. THAT’S IT. For the whole week!! I’m SHOOK.

That efficiency and low-budget grocery shopping prompted me to organize my snack drawers and pantry pronto. It helped get rid of items that were expired or near expiration, and remind me of recipes that I’d planned to try that hadn’t gotten around to trying. Y’all, I am in it to win it.

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I have a board on Pinterest for recipes, and in case you’re wondering, YES, I have a board on Pinterest for almost every facet of my life. I plan to draw inspiration from that board, but also work with the meals that I know my family loves. On Friday’s we love to have pizza. Little Caesar’s pizza is only $5, the kid’s love it, and it’s one of the “healthiest” pizza’s out there to eat. Winning on all fronts here, friends!

Ernieways, I’m super pumped about this. We’re trying to live more eco-friendly lives at home (more on that to come), but also be more mindful about our money and budget. Here’s to doing that and more in 2019!

yours truly, dr. b (1)

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PINSPIRATION

white and black floral cap sleeved shirt

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Do you ever feel like you’ve fallen into an “outfit rut”? No matter how much you shop, or how many clothes you have, you can’t seem to find anything to wear; at least nothing you like. In times like those, I like to use Pinterest as a source of inspiration, and that’s exactly what I did today.

First, let’s back up a step. Over the holiday break, I watched Tidying Up on Netflix. Haven’t watched it? It’s a Netflix series based on the book The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. In fact, the series features Ms. Kondo herself! She guides a number of families through the process of purging and keeping only the things that bring “joy” as I mentioned in my last post. Last weekend, I sold a number of things that had been set aside the past few months, but today I made a deeper, more critical assessment of the items currently in my closet. In the end, I got rid of a number of things, and plan to sell them soon. What I am left with, however, are:

  1. Clothes that fit. Part of my frustration most mornings is that items I want to wear, don’t fit, are stained, require alterations, or simply don’t fit my current body shape (remember I told you that my weight fluctuates??! sigh). That ends today! Or at least until I have another opportunity to go through my closet. Today, I only left items in my closet that currently fit and that I can wear to work. Any items that are worn less often or only worn for special occasions, were moved to my cloffice.
  2. Shoes that fit. Goodness. I love shoes. But there are shoes that are simply not meant for walking around campus or walking more than 5 feet from the car to the door of the restaurant. I put shoes that I don’t wear often in my cloffice (that I love) and shoes that fit and I wear regularly and/or to work, in my closet.
  3. Accessories I wear. Over the years, I have accumulated a number of accessories. Although I wear them from time to time, there are a minute number of pieces that I wear to work regularly. So, only those remain, with the other set aside to either sell or move, again, into the cloffice.

Ideally, I am now left with things that I can reach into my closet for and know that they fit well, and can be paired with other things in my closet. That’s where the search for “pinspiration (aka inspiration from Pinterest) comes in.

I keep a “Career” board on Pinterest, filled with pins that are either outfit ideas or career development infographics. Below are some of the outfit ideas I have on that board that I’m looking towards for inspiration this week:

TODAYҀ™S GREY
http://markdsikes.com/2013/10/28/todays-grey/

5 Fall Outfit Formulas That Look Chic AF

 

 

Perhaps they will provide some inspiration for you as well this week. By the way, I just picked up a dress at Target in the clearance section today that looks super similar to the one worn by Ahn above. I have a white coat I can pair it with, as well as some slouchy faux suede boots. I’ll try to post my outfit if it comes together the way I am imagining it, but if it doesn’t, let’s just pretend that it ended up looking like one of the ones above. πŸ˜‰

yours truly, dr. b (1)

 

 

WHEN LESS IS MORE

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For many years, I was one who thrived on multitude. If I loved a piece of clothing, I’d buy it in every color, sometimes even in multiple sizes (because hello, my weight fluctuates), and store it for what seemed like years. If Target had a 70% off clearance section, I would ravenously explore it and leave with half the inventory, because it was on sale. I’ve tried to analyze the reasons why I was likely to do so, and have realized that for some time, my income was so limited (thanks, grad school, postdoc, and daycare tuition!!), that when something went on sale, I felt like I had to have it, and as I mentioned, sometimes in multiples. I would also keep every single I owned for years, largely because I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to buy something to replace it later. Thus, clutter ensued. As time went on, I had kids, life got busier, and the enormous quantity of stuff that I owed became overwhelming. It caused chaos, lack of organization, and truly, became a source of anxiety.

Over the course of the past two years, I have slowly purged many of the rooms in our small-ish house. The purge was largely driven by our kitchen remodel and the need to displace kitchen items for storage in other places throughout the house. When those spaces were limited, I began to purge.

Today, a large majority of our house has been purged and streamlined. I recently worked on a closet that was overflowing and thanks to the magic of ziplock storage bags, is now a functional closet with space for guests.

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This past weekend, I took 5 large bags (think blue, Ikea large bags) to consign. Several items were accepted, so I am now $200 richer and the owner of 40 or so fewer items. My last project focused on the kids’ room, and their room too, is now a bit more organized thanks to the magic of Closetmaid and their cube-organizers!

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I have four major projects left on my list: our master bedroom, a closet in our basement (current catch-all), our garage, and my cloffice. My cloffice started as a blank slate, but with the busy-ness of the year, became full of un-edited clothing, shoes, etc. My goal is to take it from this:

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to this (credit https://www.whowhatwear.com/expert-ways-to-organize-your-closet/):

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While this ultimately requires a more monochromatic wardrobe, not achievable in my life, what I love about it is the seemingly sparseness of items, the uniformity in use of hangers, and ultimately, the way the items are staged, such that the characteristics that generate “joy” – to quote Marie Kondo of The Magic Art of Tidying Up – are highlighted and featured prominently.

I plan to give myself until the end of the year to accomplish the editing of all four rooms, but am excited to get started! Do you have any streamlining/editing projects you’re currently working on? If so, what are some strategies you are using to implement the process? Looking for any tips or suggestions as I start these next projects!

Yours truly, Dr. B (1).png