On my SIMPLICITY radar

It’s become a broken record saying, but it holds steadfast: Gratitude brings happiness into your life.

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I like this gratitude recording app because it pops up at random times during the day (hence the name!). I like going back through my days to see what was bringing me joy.

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Paleo eating has proven challenging when traveling to multiple destinations with the family.

I can’t remember what author stated that one who is mindful about what they eat “shouldn’t be caught with their pants down” (meaning, having nothing in my purse and a plethora of fast food joints in view are not a good combo). I have discovered some great purse-worthy snacks and these are at the top of the list.

RawRevolution

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This bar  and this jerky have gotten me through some moments when there wasn’t any food for me around and I was in peril of snarfing down garbage.

 

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Loving this book—a good summer read when there’s much reflecting about the necessities of life. I have fallen in love with so many quotes from this gem…notably: “How do you grow into someone you like?”, “We must root to rise”, and “No one is static. You didn’t marry one person, but all the past and current and future people within that one person”. Molly Caro May is a poet and a visionary. Can’t wait until she writes another book.

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HGTV candy

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This tiny house blew my mind on Tiny House Nation. It had so many cool uses of multi-use space. I’ve got a big ‘ole crush on Zack Giffin...and not only for his building skills!

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Finally, a fan letter to the Matriarch of Tiny (the BIG tiny, that is)…

Dee

Dear Dee,

I adore you. Your wit..grit..humor..bravery. All of it. I got some strange looks on the plane while reading your book—seems laughing wildly is not acceptable in small spaces these days. I was moved by your story, but even more inspired by your character and attitude about life. You are a treasure and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

With admiration-

Lara Blair

(Hmmm…seems someone has an author crush. I can’t help it! There are so many wonderful simplicity writers out there putting their uplifting words on paper. So glad to have time to read this summer! ‘Beauty of being a teacher.)

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What are you eating, reading, watching this summer, friends? I’d love to hear!

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On my SIMPLICITY radar

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Lara, meet your local libary. Library, meet Lara.

How awesome is not paying for books?! I’m realizing I’m late to this party, but I didn’t realize how many titles are available. I used to buy so many books used on Amazon and this was not helping my clutter problem. I put the library search catalog on my phone home screen and when I come across a book I want to read, I plunk in the title. Most of them are available in our county system and I can place a hold on a book. It will be sent to my local branch to be picked up and I will get an email alerting its arrival. I love this! This process also forces me to actually finish a book in a timely manner because there’s a due date. How convenient is it for you to stake a claim in your own local library?

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Speaking of books, I had a skyscraper-ish stack next to my lawn chair when we had some downtime in the Twinkie a few weekends ago. Here are some of my current favorites:

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1) Great advice from Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel. We are smack in the middle of teaching our kids about budgeting and this book helped.  

2) Love Jon Acuff’s humor and love his outlook about just beginning already. Great words from someone who’s been there.

3) Tsh is a favorite blogger and now a writer I admire. Her story is exciting & amazing, but the practicality of her wise words is applicable to any life.

4) This is an oldie, but goodie. Pierce chronicles the stories of people on their simplicity quest, with lots of little tidbits helpful for the rest of us.

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If this video doesn’t make you want to jump in your portable house and just GO, I don’t know what will. Trying really hard not to covet this fellow Airstream-loving family on their adventure:

Tomorrow Somewhere New from Dark Rye on Vimeo.

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SimpleREV is happening October 3-4 for “simple living enthusiasts and advocates”. ‘Wish I could go. Next best thing, though, is reading the blog and listening to Dan and Joel on their SimpleRev podcast. They’re just so darn likable.

 

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vitamix

This thing is rocking my smoothie-loving world. I simplified my diet by eating mostly raw foods–some of which are blended each day. I am in LOVE with this thing. I didn’t realize how much I was missing with my blender. Ahhh…the bliss of completely pulverized spinach (no chunks!).

I’ve also been stocking what I call the Food Pharmacy Drawer in my kitchen. These foods are tasty and have helped my tummy and energy level. I”m a believer in being healed with good food.

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This is a great site for green smoothie info. Good new recipes too!

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Also enjoying having these bars for my emergency paleo snacks when I’m out and about. A little spendy, so I hoard them for special occasions–but nice to have at the ready nonetheless.

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I hope you’re having a lovely spring, friends. The sun has arrived in the Northwest and I am one happy camper!

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On my SIMPLICITY radar

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I’ve been waiting for this new read to come out.

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Have you ever watched Dee Williams in action on Youtube? She is so incredibly likable and charming. I just wanna have tea in that little bungalow.


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Another good read comes from Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who really has some fabulous ideas in the area of our digital lives:

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This book  speaks about a topic that is going to become hot in our country as our brains morph from our digital connectedness.

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Ever since the Happiness Project I’ve been tirelessly mindful of the small things that bring joy in my life. I like this idea:

 

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100 Happy Days is a fun challenge. I think it will require more effort on my part to recognize what I’m grateful for….not a bad idea.

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When I took complete control of my health, juicing and green smoothies became a big part of my diet. I have at least one every day. A girl can run out of interesting recipes to toss in the Vitamix!

Enter my new favorite kitchen tool:

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If you haven’t seen any of Farnoosh Brock’s stuff, it’s worth a look-see. She is lovely. And positive. And inspires one to take charge of his or her gut health.

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I wish I could go to this conference.  Joel and Dan really know how to put an event together. If you’re in spitting distance (or further) from Minneapolis, this should be on your list.

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‘Very excited to be Freshly Pressed last week. Thank you, WordPress! Super fun to reach some of you I would have never found. Your comments were so appreciated and it absolutely made my week!

Also thrilled to be a link on the BecomingMinimalist newsletter. Joshua Becker makes me think on a weekly basis. ‘Love that guy and his message.

 

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Searching for courage in all the right places

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The world is desperate for, even envious of, people living purposeful lives that are free from fear.

Jeff Goins

In a reflection about the past couple of years, I evaluated the heaping piles of reading material and bookmarked blog posts consumed on simplicity and minimalism. It’s quite impressive, really. When I am intrigued by something, somehow every orifice of the earth is excavated to hunt and gather books, movies, articles, websites and blogs that fill my internal subject file with wisdom. I’m stopping short of calling this simplicity quest an obsession, but lately as I scan my bookshelf, it feels it might be heading in the direction of “dog with a bone land”.

I decided to ask myself why.

Why do I feel compelled to read the thoughts of people who have successfully pursued a more simple lifestyle?

The simple answer…

I’m looking for courage.

I’m mining the minimalist masses for inspiration and stories of change that mattered.

I’m learning that people really can let go of the conventional and embrace the meaningful.

I’m understanding the degree of discipline and self-evaluation it requires.

Intention. Purpose. Meaning….these are new friends at my table, asking the hard questions, pointing to the places where courage lives and waiting for action.

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What it comes down to is this: I can do hard things.

In 43 years I have:

-Endured a whole heart surgery process with my first child

-Run four marathons

-Started over with my husband in New York with two toddlers in tow

-Started over again after we moved back to the Northwest

-Successfully dealt with eating issues in college that nearly broke my spirit

-Created a thriving photography business

-Published a book

-Met with my parents to talk about the damage of their divorce

-Dealt with and healed from said damage

-Re-entered teaching after 13 years and discovered the whole climate has changed.

 

I. Can. Do. Hard. Things.

 

Then…..why the heck is it so hard to hold up two shirts and decide which one needs to go?

Why does clearing out my attic in this house feel kin to building the Golden Gate?

Why do I get stomach flutters when faced with the neck-breaking pace of our week’s schedule?

It’s not rocket surgery, as my daughter likes to say…and although I know this, the process somehow has become a little more pie-in-the-sky than I’d prefer.

By reading stories from successful simplifiers, I think I’m looking for someone to make it look easy…and I might even be looking for permission, which seems ridiculous, given my can-do list above.

What is the metaphorical jack-knifed truck in my minimalist highway?

Fear that I might not succeed is one. What if the crapola in the attic never gets to a small manageable pile? What if I miss items that have been ruthlessly purged? What if my friends and family think I’ve lost it? What if I don’t appear minimalist enough to the community I write this blog for?

Yet…with every story of simplifying, I find a little smidgen of courage. With every blog post read over breakfast I gain a little more wisdom about why it’s important.

You know what?

I decided I’d like to provide that kind of inspiration for others on the fence. Sometimes it’s just plain awesome to read about someone else’s process and how they overcame their hard things.

There’s a book in the works. I’ve been chronicling this journey for awhile now. I’m diligently writing it for an hour and a half each morning before I leave for my 3rd grade classroom. It’s encouraging to read what I’ve written and discover that I’ve come a long way, baby.

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It also helps to chronicle what’s been done for change and what still needs to be done. Writing keeps me sane and I love it. I’ll keep you posted as to the when and where of it all.

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How ’bout you, friends? What gives you courage to move forward with something you know is needed in your life? What are your hard things?

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This week on my SIMPLICITY RADAR

Radar

Good reads:

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Dan and Vanessa Hayes have written a book for moms….and friends, it’s a great one. If you’ve ever tried to be SUPERMOM instead of a super mom, this one is for you. So many  useful tips and lots of great videos and links. They poured their hearts into this project and it shows.

For the next two days, a pdf of the “Super mom vs. Supermom” will be available on the Edit and Forget it page on Facebook. You can request to be a member through this link. After that, I’m assuming it will be available on their site.

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sevenbook

Thank you, Jen Hatmaker, for completely obliterating existence as I know it in the Blair abode.

If simplifying, sorting and tossing were Olympic sports, you would’ve watched me on TV last month, instead of the crazy people on death defying jumps and small skirted cuties scraping ice chips off their tushes in the rink.

I am on a mission, friends, (hence the debut of c’est blog).

Mrs. Hatmaker is a personal hero of mine. In her latest book, Seven, Jen’s family identified seven areas of excess and in seven months fought against “modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence”. This woman makes me think—seriously think (and laugh out loud too, because she’s hilarious) about our own family ways. I feel a surge well up from deep down that has been festering like an active volcano with an eruption plan.

The good news is there are a lot of people who are stopping and redirecting themselves…and their families…just like the Hatmakers.

There is hope for our excess-filled nation. The promise of a new awakening to Less is More excites me to no end and books like this one push the movement further into view. Thank goodness for that.

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Documentaries:

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I have Amazon Prime and watch lots of documentaries for free. Stumbled on this one somewhere and I found it hopeful for a generation who might be changing the game.

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Blogs:

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For the design obsessed there’s Home Adore They feature many small dwellings that are loaded with good design and space efficiency.

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For the tiny house obsessed (raising my hand over here in Washington):

Small House Swoon

and

Tiny House Swoon

provide some dreams for what may be possible someday.

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Project 333 wardrobe additions:

After purging random multi-colored items that never seemed to go with anything, I have assembled quite the widow wardrobe. I found the perfect addition to my summer capsule items:

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Lovely for day or night (just add wedges and a sassy scarf). It is made of swimsuit material, so if you wanted to spontaneously hurl yourself into the waves, it would most definitely be okay.

Speaking of sassy scarves, I’ve been turned on to a wonderful company that creates the most beautiful accessories (and all for a fabulous cause):

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I figure this will be my go-to scarf for all of spring and summer. It’s light, neutral and goes with everything.

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‘Hope you find some of these helpful. Thank you for being here as I blissfully blog away the ideas scampering through my busy brain.

I’m uncovering a whole-lotta awesome in this quest for less.

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On my Simplicity Mission Radar

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Beyond excited to be the first guest post over at SimpleLifeTogether! Love those Hayes folks…just good people with a very important message. I am incredibly honored to be on their blog this week. It gave me a chance to hammer out how this whole thing ignited for me. I even learned a few things by getting it all down.

Thanks, Dan and Vanessa!

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Good Reads…

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I love it when passionate, smart people share their journey with the rest of us…and I think it’s cool that all three authors are in different stages of life.

1) Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (two hip, single men on the road trip of life) tell the story of an incredible journey towards minimalism.

2) Courtney Carver, veteran minimalist and an incredibly pure voice on the internet for many of us, compiled some terrific articles that are great to read one at a time (for maximum chewing 🙂 )

3) Allison Vesterfelt, newly married and settling down, chronicles her “letting it all go and heading out” tale of adventure.

Inspiring, indeed.

~  Last week I did a separate post on Clutter free with Kids, Joshua Becker’s newest book. I’ve read it twice. What can I say? I’m on a mission! ~

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I’m a documentary junkie.

I could watch one every day. I find it helpful to be informed on all kinds of random topics.

These were my favorites recently:

1) Hungry For Change – terrific and inspiring when you’re on the path to good health (I’m doing theWhole30 at the moment and this keeps me keepin’ on when I’d kill for a bagel)

2) Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (okay..so I’ve watched this 2 times) – I’m a juicing believer and benefactor…I haven’t been sick in 6 months, and I’m a 3rd grade teacher, for cryin’ out loud! Can you say petri dish?

3) Sprawling From Grace – What the heck is happening to America? Sad, but also hopeful little tale of woe.

4) Happy – Funny how this movie really emphasizes relationships and giving to create happiness  (in fact, owning a lot of stuff proved the opposite)

5) Tiny – I can’t find this on Amazon, but I can’t wait to see it. I’m a bit of a tiny house stalker, even though you could place one in my living room.

6) Wal-mart, The High Cost of Low Price – Okay, so this one just made me MAD. I can’t even drive by that store without having a reaction. My kids watched it with me and they said, “Mom, how can people shop there, knowing all of the bad business they practice?” I had no answer…except to tell the world to watch more documentaries.

7) Kids + Money – Another one the kidlets agreed was a source of good info. We’re really working to teach them smart money practices and this one put it into kid language.

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New blog find…

I’m a bit of a Hawaii fanatic.

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As in, I never miss Hawaii Life on HGTV  (“Don’t bother me, kids…mom’s daydreaming”) and I have a drawer of sand and shells under my desk to put my feet in when it is a rainy, sloppy mess here in the Pacific Northwest.

Exhibit A:

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Yes, I’m aware that this is weird and pathetic…

YET, it’s all part of my plan to will my life there in retirement with my Hawaii-loving spouse. Seriously, I will settle for a shack on the center divider of the King Kamehameah Highway.

I digress.

MauiShopGirl is my new spot to visit and it’s almost as good as putting my feet in the little sand shoebox! Hooray for me, strange teacher-tropics-obsessive-lady!

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Tania Ginoza’s interview on the Hayes’ podcast was terrific–‘loved it.

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Okay, friends.That’s it for this week. My head is swirling with all kinds of things I’m learning and experimenting with. So excited to have a spot to put it all! I’ m working on a good/but simple design post for a simplified home. I’m a recovering interior design magazine addict, but it did help me learn the basics to put it all together, minus the multitudes of STUFF.

I really appreciate you being here. Have a fabulous week!

Thank you!

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