Lessons learned during my month of being a vegetarian 30 day challenge

Lessons Learned During My Month of Being a Vegetarian

Vegetarian.

I hadn’t heard the phrase Veganuary, until well into the month of January. Otherwise, I might have gone Vegan for the month. As it was, my January Challenge was to become a Vegetarian for 30 days.

Along the way, I learned a few lessons.

Lessons learned.

Likely, the biggest lesson that I learned was :

  • Be Prepared.

Originally, I had anticipated going vegetarian for the month of February. When my husband asked me to move it up to January because he wanted to participate, I did. However, I had not mentally (knowledge-wise) prepared.

Which brings me to the next lesson learned:

  • Know your daily nutrient needs.

I did not look in to my daily nutrient needs prior to beginning the month of vegetarianism. It was a busy time for me so I didn’t do the running and/or yoga that I do on the days other than my M-W-F Pilates class. But it wasn’t just because I was busy, it was also because my muscles were sore for longer after my Pilates classes. This may have been due to them being a harder workout for me, or possibly I wasn’t getting enough protein (which is my husband’s educated guess). Our bodies also need specific vitamins and minerals and I wasn’t monitoring any of those.

Pineapple Avocado Smoothie

  • Keep your house stocked with choices.

If you failed to heed lesson #1, you may find yourself craving different types of food. While I am no expert, my opinion on this is that your body is asking for a certain nutrient. You should keep your house stocked with choices to satisfy your hunger in the moments.

  • Adjustment.

You should also be aware that it’s likely your body will need an adjustment period to any big changes in diet. I’ve shared in my varying purposes for taking on this challenge. In case you missed them, I’m sharing them again. Heart disease runs in my family and I am endeavoring to lower my risks. While I haven’t tested positive for a specific autoimmune disease (of the ones tested), I did test positive for autoimmune antibodies. The main reason, however, was that I have had digestive health issues for the majority of my life.

I was hoping that going vegetarian would miraculously cure them. Instead, the first five days, my stomach was in more pain than in the past. Some people will say that this is a detox period. I don’t know if that is the case. There was a shift on day 5 in which my body decided that it would cooperate with this diet. I should also mention that I was eating vegan the first 5 days. My goal was to cut out dairy and so I just included the other components of eating vegan.

  • Food Choices.

After that first week I found myself relying too much on bread and cheese. I could have made much better food choices. I did spend the entire month being a vegetarian and learned that meat was not that important to me. Sure, there were a few moments when I stood before the refrigerator or pantry and thought, “Oh, that sounds good for lunch. Oh wait, that’s meat!”. This mostly goes back to being caused by failing to heed Lesson #3 and partially Lesson #2. Otherwise, I was very happy with the food choices available to me.

 

Cream Cheese Stuffed Date

  • Take-Aways.

After a month spent as a vegetarian, I had a few take-aways other than just the lessons I’ve shared. One such take-away came in the form of an article that my husband sent me about NFL players going vegan. I was already familiar with the fact that Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen were 80/20 vegetarians. However, I was surprised by the number of athletes who are vegan.

I was quite fascinated by the 300 pound Vegan, David Carter who is a former NFL player. It made me feel confident that I can work harder at vegetarianism and possibly veganism if I focus on my nutrients.

I’m still not sure if I’ll move toward 100% vegetarian or if 80/20 is a better goal for me. I think with proper nutrients I could be 100% vegetarian locally. Where the 20% comes in for me is that I love to try new foods when I travel and some local delicacies include meat.

Who knows?! Perhaps if I fully shift to 80/20, I will begin to view it all through new eyes.

If you’re wondering if I’ve eaten meat since the end of the challenge…I have. Mostly due to the fact that there are leftovers from making meals for the teenagers and I still struggle with food waste.

I’m still working on the balance.

We are all works in progress.

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 51

Friday Faves Edition 51

Friday.

I’m not sure how many different ways there are to say, “Hooray, it’s Friday!”. However, I keep trying.

This week, I used google translate to give me a little help. If google got it wrong, comment the correction.

  • Hurra, es Viernes (Spanish)
  • Hurra, es ist Freitag (German)
  • Hourra, c’est Vendredi (French)
  • Hoera, het is Vrijdag (Dutch)
  • Hooray, o le aso Laititi (Samoan)
  • Hooray, tá sé Dé hAoine (Irish)
  • Evviva, é Venerdì (Italian)
  • Hooray, is e Dihaoine a th ‘ann (Scottish Gaelic)

Friday Faves. Edition 51.

I can’t believe that this is edition 51 of Friday Faves. That’s so close to an entire year of coming here a recapping my faves of the week.

So let’s get to it!

Family Date.

Since my sons are 16 and almost 18, they are rarely home. Between work and friends, they like to be on the go. The hubby and I realized that we were seeing less and less of them and yet are moving closer and closer to the day that they fly the nest (one is a Junior and the other is a Senior in high school). We decided the best way to remedy the situation was to implement a family date.

A family date will now happen at least twice a month. We all like to go out to eat, so that became the best choice for us. I know that meals around the family dinner table are promoted for this quality time. It’s not like we don’t ever have those. We just find that when we eat out, the teens are less distracted by wanting to move on from the table. Also everybody becomes fully involved in the conversations. Plus, I don’t have to cook and the diversity of the palates of five people can be easily satisfied.

This past Saturday was our first “official” family date. While we left it open for the boys to bring along their girlfriends, it ended up with just the five of us. We decided on Mellow Mushroom. Mellow Mushroom is a pizza chain found mostly along the East Coast of the United States. We dined at one in Asheville, NC many years ago. It was big news when they opened here in Roanoke in October of 2016. I hadn’t been to this location before because Miss Sunshine is not a pizza fan. However, she did go here with a friend and said their pizza was good. The teens all got pizza. The hubby and I got veggie calzones. They were much larger that I anticipated, so I ended up eating the other half for dinner.

All in all it was “first date” success.

 

Fog.

Sunday, the fog rolled in. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture some photos. I’m still processing and editing them, but I did get one up on Instagram.

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Early Mornings.

Monday, I shared about my recycling journey so far. It was a major house cleaning day. One of my least favorite jobs to do. Weekdays are always filled with way too many early mornings.

Superlatives.

One of the things that I didn’t share last week was that Miss Sunshine had been nominated for an 8th grade yearbook superlative. If you aren’t familiar with superlatives, they are usually “best smile”, “most likely to succeed”, etc. and the nominees were high school Seniors. At some point, they found their way to middle school yearbooks, where 8th graders are nominated since they are the BMOC.

I don’t know all the superlatives chosen, but there were some I hadn’t heard of. Miss Sunshine was nominated for one of those. “Most likely to become a female activist.” She wasn’t sure what it meant since all of her friends were saying it meant she was most likely to become a feminist. I knew that wasn’t the case, but we looked up the definition of an activist, which is “a person who campaigns to bring about political of social change”. So, yes, a feminist is an activist, but not all activists are feminists (which should have been particularly obvious since superlatives have a male counterpart.

I have spoken in the past about conversations Miss Sunshine and I have had surrounding feminism. I believe that women are and should be treated as equal, but I don’t think that any agenda is furthered by the bashing of males. It doesn’t accomplish anything other than spewing hatred while claiming tolerance. I find this to be the case in many social conversations, which is why I mostly avoid them.

Trains.

Anyway! Miss Sunshine won the nomination. My heart is quite proud. I think it’s an excellent superlative. Hopefully she does change the world. She had to be taken in to school early on Tuesday for photos (which didn’t happen, but that’s a different story). On my way home, I got held up by the train crossing. I’m never first in line, so I took the opportunity to grab a picture.

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Riverdance.

Wednesday, the hubby and I had tickets to see Riverdance. I was so excited!! We saw it live when we were dating. I got all dressed up (a rarity), put on makeup (even rarer), and even put on fake eyelashes (for the first time). The lighting wasn’t good, but we still snapped a few selfies.

No photos were allowed during the performance. There were those who chose to ignore it. The lights from their phones was rude, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. There are those who will answer a phone in the library and carry on a full conversation. I’m talking about people of all ages…even some old enough to be my grandparents.  I’m still questioning when this became acceptable.

But I digress. If you can see the show, you definitely should. My hands hurt the next day from clapping so much. It was phenomenal!! I can’t rave about it enough!!

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Classic Novel.

Speaking of libraries…I have started on my February Challenge. I’m about 1/4 of the way through my first classic novel, Pride and Prejudice. I’m really enjoying it. It still seems strange to me the formal way that people spoke to each other. Even amongst girlfriends. I wonder if they really spoke that way or if that was only in writing. I suspect the former.

We went to the library last night and once again they are having “Blind Date with a Book”. I love surprises and couldn’t pass it up. I chose this one because it said “heartwarming classic”. That meant that it should qualify for my challenge. The book ended up being Random Harvest by James Hilton. I had not heard of it before and looked it up. Apparently, it was made into a film not too long after it was written. That film is considered a classic. I suppose that makes the book a classic as well. It will be my next read.

Microwave.

My microwave died. Appliances hate me. Don’t believe me? Read some of my older posts. They definitely hate me. End of Story.

Pilates.

I went to Pilates today. I don’t do Pilates on a Reformer. It is at my gym and is considered mat pilates. We sometimes use a small or large ball, light weights, therabands, and/or rings. Each instructor has a different style. What are the odds that after reading this article, questioning the benefit of burpees, that a day or two later I’d be doing them for the first time in a Pilates class? I will say that there was an option of stepping back with one leg a time to a plank and then walking it in and standing. The exercise wasn’t done nearly as fast as in some higher intensity classes. I appreciated the harder workout because “beach season” is coming. I just thought the coincidence was strange.

Music.

Also when I went to the gym, I heard a familiar song playing on the speakers. It was because I shared the song (by Tom Walker) in Edition 38 of Friday Faves. Today’s song is by Mondo Cozmo. The singer is from Philadelphia and is now based in L.A.

I hope you have an amazing week.

See the light in other and treat them as if that's all you see -Dr Wayne Dyer

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Doors of Stirling Scotland UK United Kingdom

Doors of Stirling

Photography Series.

I’ve been enjoying creating these photography series. They seem the best way to showcase the photos that I’d like to share with all of you. I have shared many doors since discovering Norm’s (host of Thursday Doors) blog.

I shared in last week’s Friday Faves that my mother and I would be traveling back to the United Kingdom in May. The logistics were still being worked out at that time, but have since been booked. I promised to share our plans so I thought that for today’s photography series we’d travel back to my time in Scotland.

Stirling.

Our time in Stirling, Scotland to be exact. I’ve chosen this location because Stirling is considered to be the “Gateway to the Highlands”.

You may recall that we took a day trip from Edinburgh to visit Stirling Castle. I’ve even showcased the King’s Old Building that is located at the castle. But I also admired the doors as I strolled through town.

Hotel Colessio.

The Hotel Colessio is located at 33 Spittal Street. Its architecture was quite magnificent. I’ve captured the end, but the entry has a portico with Doric columns to welcome you. My shot of the entry was through the fence as we were heading toward a lunch destination, so it didn’t do it enough justice to share. I’ve linked the hotel in case you’d like to see the entire building.

History.

The hotel website shares that this building was a landmark in Stirling. I did a little digging because I know you all want the details. According to Canmore, it was designed by James Gillespie Graham and was built 1825-1827 as the Commercial Bank. It was converted to use as the first Stirling Infirmary in 1873-1874, and enlarged in 1878, 1883, and 1913. It was later used as the district library and offices for the Forth Valley Health Board.

The Stirling Highland Hotel.

I didn’t get any photos of the doors of the Stirling Highland Hotel, but the building was just too beautiful not to capture.

The hotel is located on Spittal Street and according to its history section, the property was once a Franciscan (or Greyfriars) Convent, founded by King James IV in 1494. The King who died at the Battle of Flodden often did penance at the Greyfriars. The Convent was demolished in 1559.

In 1852, it was proposed to build a new school house. Stirling’s old Grammar School merged with the English and Mathematical Academy, and in 1856 the new High School of Stirling, moved into this site. The hotel has retained remnants of the old school in its interior design.

Number 4.

Since traveling and photography are still somewhat new to me, I am learning lessons as I go forward. One of those lessons is to take notes on the locations of my photos. Sometimes, I am able to use Google maps, taking into account where the photo falls in my sequence. It’s likely that this door was on St. John Street, but don’t take my word for it.

No. 2 Baker Street.

The doors aren’t really visible on this building, but the building itself looked amazing.

No. 2 Baker Street is a Belhaven Pub. This is where we stopped for lunch before catching the train back to Edinburgh.

Pubs.

While I am no expert on dining in Scotland, there was one thing that I noticed about many of the pubs that we frequented. Unlike at a “restaurant” where the waiter/waitress takes your order and serves your meal, at these pubs, your table has a number on it. You then order your food and drinks at the bar and let them know your table number.

I ate fish and chips at almost every pub we visited. You just can’t go wrong with fish and chips. In case you’re wondering, I did try a bite of my aunt’s haggis. Although this was not the day or restaurant in which she ordered it.

Beer

I liked that No. 2 Baker Street offered a flight of beers. I love trying beers that aren’t available (or at least, easily available) in the United States. I tried many different brands while in Scotland. The bartender helped me choose my flight because I prefer darker beers (think Guiness as opposed to a citrusy IPA). Another lesson learned about note-taking… I could barely remember the names of the three I had chosen by the time I sat down. It was hard enough to remember all the parts to correctly order for three people, much less remember beer names. Next time I’ll snap a picture of the taps. I do know that my favorite had “red” in the name and I’m pretty sure it included a man’s name. When asked which was my favorite, she informed me that one had the highest alcohol content. Big surprise that it was my favorite! Just kidding. I really like its flavor best.

39 St John Street.

It’s an interesting thing about 39 St John Street.

Ancestry.

I took the photo of this door because it said Bothwell House. Documents vary on the birthplace of my great-great grandfather James Scott (1865-1925), but further research shows that it is Bothwell. He was born in Holytown, which was a village in the parish of Bothwell, explaining why they were used interchangeably. His wife, Agnes McLachlan (1865-1944) narrows it even more on her U.S. Naturalization Records, stating that he was born at Pollocks Hill, Scotland. At one time, I had found information on Pollocks Hill, but it is buried in my paperwork. Given that his father was miner, I suspect it was an area of homes rented by miners.

History.

The interesting thing about this door though is that I looked up its history. The townhouse was originally built in the 16th Century, although it has gone through many alterations.  It is traditionally associated with the family of Bruce of Auchenbowie. Robert Bruce of Auchenbowie was magistrate of Stirling in 1521 and Provost in 1556.

Horseshoes.

While I could tell you exactly where this is located or you could take a stroll along Google maps and find it, since I can tell that it is somebody’s actual residence, I won’t be publicly disclosing my information. The reason that I stopped to photograph the entry was because I loved that they had horseshoes hung on the entry, along with the hanging planters and window boxes (Cee’s “X” fun foto challenge)

Good Luck.

I’ve always heard about horseshoes being hung for good luck, but had never seen it done in real life. According to this website, horseshoes have always been a traditional symbol associated with good luck. They are often used as a part of a Scottish wedding ceremony. The “U” shape retains the luck.

Beliefs.

Pre-Christian traditions hold that its supernatural powers were associated with the crescent moon. Many modern associations are associated with the 10th Century legend of St. Dunstan. St. Duntan trapped the devil and extracted a promise not to enter the home of Christians, evidenced by horseshoes over the doorway.

Number  7.

A horseshoe was commonly held in place by seven iron nails, which has been considered an important number since the ancient times.

Given that this home has four horseshoes, I hope that it finds itself very lucky indeed.

The Turquoise Door.

I saved my favorite door for last. The Turquoise Door. I can’t tell if this was a private residence, but it’s extremely close to Stirling Castle. If you’ve been to Stirling Castle, then there is no way that you’ve missed a door this vibrant!

Travel.

As to why I’ve decided to take you along a tour of Stirling, it is because this May my mother and I will spend some time visiting the Highlands.

London.

We will be flying in to London and spending a few days seeing some of the local sights (I know this is nowhere near enough time to see all that London has to offer). We have a pretty action-packed trip, mostly because my mom is not sure if she will travel overseas again (She said that the last time. I’m pretty convincing).

Inverness.

From London, we will fly to Inverness.  We will be relying on public transportation, which makes the logistics a little harder, but I’m sure we’ll manage.

Isle of Lewis.

We fly over to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis because we have a dream of seeing the Standing Stones of Callanish. It is a one day over and back trip. We are also doing a day tour that will take us to see Eileen Donan Castle and the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye, as well as some other sights. While we haven’t booked anything, I don’t think we can go all that way and not do a boat cruise along Loch Ness to search for Nessie and take in Urquhart Castle.

Must See.

I’ve also read about a bookshop (Leakey’s ) and a pub (Hootenanny’s. – this one, for traditional Scottish music, but also because “hootenanny” is an Appalachian colloquialism and I now live in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia) in Inverness that I must visit.

Any other words of wisdom, or must sees, in Inverness?

Edinburgh.

We will then head to Edinburgh for a few days before traveling back to London to fly home. We plan to see things that we didn’t see before and may take the train over to Glasgow since that area is where our ancestral roots are located and we loved it so much when we visited before.


Those are our big plans.

If you’ve been to any of these places, share your favorite place and thing to see.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

A Stroll Along the Seine

A Stroll Along The Seine

Paris.

Isn’t it strange how once you’ve visited a place, there is a different type of familiarity when you hear about the location on the news? That has recently been the case as I hear about the flooding along the Seine in Paris.

There RER C line is temporarily closed. That was the line we took to visit the Palace of Versailles. I have walked inside the Louvre. We have strolled along the banks of the Seine.

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Along the Seine.

I visited Paris last April.

Springtime in Paris.

I could just swoon saying those words.

It was during my first overseas trip and Paris was more lovely in the spring than anything I had imagined.

No trip to Paris is complete without stroll along the Seine.

Pont de la Concorde.

Our first view of the Seine was from Pont de la Concorde. This is the bridge that connects Quai des Tuileries at the Place de la Concorde (on the Right Bank) and the Quai d’Orsay (on the Left Bank).

I’ll let you in on a little behind the scenes secret. The hubby and I watch Vikings on the History Channel. He had been to Paris many years prior to our trip and here he is  pointing out the background on the attack of Paris. If you don’t watch the show (while it’s not historically accurate), the episode was based on the Siege of Paris in 845.

The historical accounts are that the Danish Viking Reginheri (thought to be the same person as the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok) sailed a fleet of about 120 ships along the Seine, raiding the city of Rouen as he progressed. They went on to pillage Paris, which at the time was an island city, located on Île de la Cité, where you now find Notre Dame.

 

Right Bank of the Seine.

While we walked along the Seine numerous times during our visit to Paris, my photos are predominately from the Right Bank of the Seine. We walked from the Jardin des Tuileries to Notre Dame.

Looking across the Seine at Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France

Museé d’Orsay.

While I did not have a chance to visit the Museé d’Orsay, I did admire its architecture.

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d’Orsay. It was finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It was the terminus for the railways of southwestern France until 1939.

After 1939, it was used for suburban services and part of it became a mailing center during World War II.

In the 70’s, the idea came about to turn the building into a museum. The plan was for the museum to bridge the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art.

The museum officially opened in December of 1986.

The museum is open daily (closed on Mondays) from 9:30 am to 6 pm, with extended hours until 9:45 pm on Thursdays.

With works by Renoir, Degas, Manet, and Van Gogh (just to name a few), it will definitely be on my “must see” list when I return to Paris.

Have you visited the Museé d’Orsay?

If so, what your favorite piece of art?

Views.

All along the Seine, the views are breathtaking. Miss Sunshine was ill for most of our time in Paris. However, she was a trooper and soldiered on during our walk to Notre Dame. This was the view from a water break we took before perusing the stalls of the bouquinistes.

Love Locks.

There are numerous love locks along the Seine. While one of the most famous locations for their placements is along the Ponts de Arts bridge, we found them while walking along the Quai des Tuileries.

While I admire a good love story, I did not leave a lock.

The weight of so many locks can eventually create damage. I have my memories and I’ve snapped some photos of the locks both here and in Amsterdam.

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Travel.

I feel very lucky to be able to travel. To have visited Paris and to have walked along the banks of the Seine.

 

Have you ever been to Paris?

Which area was your favorite in which to spend your time?

We had a very short visit there and I hope to return again someday.

I hope to return again to Shakespeare and Company, to look amongst its book-filled shelves. To admire the doors of Paris as I stroll along the rues and boulevards.  There are daydreams of sitting upon my current favorite Corner of Paris and watching the vibrancy of Paris.

And, of course, to see all that I missed.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

A Recycler’s Journey

Recycling.

Recycling is defined as the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.

But you probably already knew that.

Recycling has become something that is a mainstream topic of conversation.

In the United States, the EPA uses the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle“.

And I think that we can all agree in the importance of recycling.

According to this article by recyclenation.com, the EPA estimates that about 75% of the U.S. waste stream is recyclable, but only about 30% of the waste stream is actually recycled.

You might be questioning why this is the case.

Recycler’s Journey.

I will share the embarrassing truth about this recycler’s journey and why I have not been a very good recycler.

I’m lazy.

When I started my #thisis40 challenges back on my 40th birthday in September, I chose one that would be easy for me. 30 days of no one-time plastic bag usage.

I hadn’t been using plastic bags for many years and knew there would only be a few moments of needing to say “I don’t need a bag”.

I also had stumbled across facts about the consumption of plastic straws (the U.S. alone goes through 500 million straws per day) and began to work on limiting my usage. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, it should come as no surprise that I devour knowledge. One of my past career dreams was to be a research scientist. Instead, I read articles and try to sift out reality from bias. My love for facts is why I try to find credible sources before sharing with you.

So where had I become lazy?

Well, when I moved to Virginia from Florida in 2013, curbside recycling was not part of the county’s trash collection. I had been spoiled with having owned homes with curbside recycling for the prior 14+ years. After the move, I found the local recycling drop-offs and was pretty good in the beginning. Those drop-offs didn’t take glass, but I figured I was still doing pretty good. However, most times that I would load up my car and drive to these drop-offs, the bins were so full that people had left their recycling on the nearby ground (I’m not even sure that gets recycled as the drop-offs are giant trailers that get hitched to a truck). So I’d end up just taking it back home and collecting more. Then I noticed that I slowly began to just throw it away.

It bothered me that I was choosing to do this because I felt like I was living completely outside of my personal principles. You know that whole brain-gut connection? Well my gut was making me feel guilty.

Curbside Recycling.

I knew that I could hire a private company to pick up my curbside recycling. I just didn’t. Why? It came down to needing a paradigm shift.

I remember the first time that I ever heard the term paradigm shift. I was 16 and was a senior in high school. It was in a class called advanced reading (which we got college credit for… under “introduction to college” and “speech”). We did pretty much that… read books and analyzed them, gave speeches, and practiced college interviewing (I’m sure there’s more, but the introvert in me remembers speaking in front of the class).

Paradigm Shift.

A paradigm shift is an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. His simplistic example was when you are vacuuming and you go over and over the same spot, hoping that it will pick up the paper on the floor, when if you just changed your thinking, you could bend over and pick up that piece of paper and move on with the rest of the vacuuming.

My resistance to curbside recycling in Roanoke County was because I had to pay a separate company to do something that for years had been handled by the county in which I lived. However, in Florida, I was still paying for curbside recycling. It just was part of my property tax bill. While I’m not going to delve into the ridiculous taxes that they collect in Virginia compared to when I lived in Florida, most people are familiar with the fact that Florida’s property taxes are not low. So ignoring the other taxes I pay and just focusing on the property taxes, I was able to justify (not everyone has this issue of needing to justify their spending. Yay you!! You are so lucky! However, I work with the personality I was given) hiring a curbside recycling company.

Shift Complete.

And that’s just what I did! I hired a company at the beginning of this year. Already, there is noticeably less trash going out on collection day. He also takes glass (so those wine bottles aren’t ending up in the landfill!).

Reusable bag from Publix grocery store. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - Native American Proverb

Progress.

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to share this blog is because even though I’ve made changes, there are still many areas of recycling or reducing or reusing in which I fail. My existence is still spoiled and I often make choices that go against my environmental desires. I would not want anyone to think that I have managed to completely change in all the areas that are possible in creating a smaller footprint.

I still consume…a lot.

However, as I learn more and more, I find it hard to ignore the facts.

According to the article that I shared, recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for up to three hours. The EPA  shares that recycling 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for 25 hours.

Natural Life pouches made from recycled plastic water bottles

Pollution.

This article from National Geographic states that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. Much of that plastic ends up finding its way into the ocean. Research published in 2015 estimates that amount of plastic at 8 million metric tons EVERY year. This is the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of coastline around the globe.

Many of us have heard about the garbage patches in the ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the term “garbage patch” doesn’t paint an accurate term about the marine debris problem because there is more dispersion throughout the ocean than just in the “patches”.

I do think that much more information is readily available than in the past. However,  I still stumble across information that I didn’t know. Such as the fact about plastic straws, but also recently learning about the existence of plastic microbeads. According to this article on the UN Environment website, as many as 51 trillion micro plastic particles (500 times more than the stars in our galaxy) litter our seas. Some estimates state that by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Accountability.

I think that far too often it’s easy to think that “what kind of difference will I make? I am only one person.” But going back to recyclenation.com, it’s estimated that the average individual creates four pounds of trash per day, which adds up to 1,500 pound of trash per year.

Obviously, 1 person can make a difference.

As I continue to gain knowledge about environmental problems, I have a responsibility to accountability. It can no longer be thought that my actions and choices don’t make a difference when the facts point otherwise.

I will continue to fail and to make poor choices, but I will also continue to make even more good choices and gain victories.

If you’ve learned some facts, I hope that you’ll progress on the journey as well.

If you have any tips or knowledge that you’d like to contribute to the commentary, please do.

Look closely at present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. -Alice Walker

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 50

Friday Faves Edition 50

Friday.

I hope that you all have had an amazing week so far! My teenagers finally went back to school this week. Hallelujah! We have finally made it to Friday and I’m sharing some of my faves for the week.

Friday Faves.

First off, I just want to say “thanks so much!” for showing up each week to read my Friday Faves. As my blog has evolved, I find that I have more things that I want to share (i.e. travels, 30 day challenges, photography) over the course of the week and Friday is the main day where I’m able to update you all with what’s happening in my daily life.

Essential Oils.

In December, I mentioned that the hubby had purchased some essential oils for my diffuser as one of my Christmas gifts. I read many of the daily articles at mindbodygreen.com and had read this article which shared how tea tree oil and eucalyptus have been clinically shown to kill the airborne flu virus. It also states that lemongrass and cinnamon bark work at battling the bacteria in the air (and yes, I did peruse the medical articles that they used to state this).

I don’t often get sick, but I also like to take precautions to prevent it. According to the EPA, most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, where pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. I try to spend time a lot of time outdoors, but winter and I don’t really get along. For that reason, I’ve been focusing on cleaning up our indoor air. I had already seen some diffuser blends that included lemongrass and was planning to add it to my collection. I went ahead and picked up tea tree oil (which is supposed to be great for acne…luckily, I don’t have that issue) as well.

Are you a fan of essential oils?

Crafts.

I’ve shared before that I am not a crafty person. However, I really, really want to be a person who crafts. In fact, I mentioned in this post that I had bought a wooden dowel and some rope and was going to try my hand at macramé. That was over a month ago and the dowel and rope still sits on the kitchen counter! Occasionally, some teenager will pick up the dowel and swing it around while I frantically tell them to put it down before they knock a glass off of the counter or break a window.

But just this week, I was at the library (making plans for my February Challenge) and saw a book on macramé on the new release shelf. I took it as a sign to get moving on this craft project. Have you ever crafted with rope?

Dreams.

Okay, so I don’t often share my dreams publicly. Sometimes they are a little cray, cray. I usually always tell them to my husband because I need to verbalize them to try to read the clues. Is this something I’m processing? Is this old baggage? Etc… I realize some people don’t put a lot of stock into dreams. Which is probably another reason why I don’t share them.

Journaling dreams.

If a dream really strikes me as strange, I will journal it. Usually it’s in snippets, like it’s seen above. I don’t try to write neatly…I may go back and add more things I want to remember about it… My notes aren’t censored or edited (I realize “liver” isn’t the proper term, it was just the best way to add a small notation). I’m only actually sharing the photo of the writing because it’s still hard to fully explain the strangeness of the dream. This dream was on the late evening of 1/9/18 or early 1/10/18. I can tell because there’s some notes around it about my Two Years of Blogging post.

Written below in my journal is another dream that I had the same night. One of the reasons that they struck me as needing journaled is because my notes end with hearing a man say my name and me waking up (like, for real, waking up). Then I heard the bells ring (that the dog uses to let us know he needs out) and yet he was in a dog crate. I lay there awake with the irrational part of me thinking somebody was in my house and the rational part of me thinking no it’s probably between 2 and 4 in the morning and if somebody were in the house, the dog would be barking.

Processing dreams.

So back to the strangeness of the dream. The princess in the country, I did not know. Her sister asked me to help with the bird. The princess was getting married and she loved this pet bird of hers.. There is some other strangeness about when I tried to put the bird into its cage…thoughts I had… whatever. The dream shifted to me being in a space to watch the procession of the Prince’s wedding. I can tell you that was Prince Harry. I know why I had that part of the dream. It’s 99.99% likely that my mother and I will be flying into London (please share recommendations of what we should see!) when we take our trip in May (in fact, I’m booking our trip after I finish this post).

You may be asking yourself why this strange.

More to the dream.

Yesterday, as I was looking at places we want to tour in London and about the wedding (I will be there near the wedding, but not actually the day of) and discovered that Princess Eugenie has recently become engaged. No, she and the Prince aren’t having a double wedding, but they are planning to be married at the same location as each other. And in the dream, I knew that the person other than the Prince wasn’t at exactly the same ranking (she’s farther down the line for the crown) and it seemed as though it were a cousin. The part that my husband found strange is that while looking around google maps for where we think we want to stay in London, I stumbled upon a road that appears to be near Buckingham Palace called Birdcage Walk.

So that was my crazy experience yesterday! It’s okay if you don’t see the oddity of it. I’m entitled to my strangeness. I still haven’t quite figured out if there’s any relevancy between the two. Just keeping the intricacies and originalities of all parts of me as real as I can 😉

Do you pay attention to your dreams?

Shopping.

On a much lighter note, I went shopping this week. It happened to be a melancholy day for me. I did feel much lighter after meditation and writing this post. I went to Target looking for some things I needed to clean my hardwood floors. I got sidetracked by the fact that they had bathing suits in stock. Since I’ll be spending spring break in Aruba, I need some swimsuits. Not too long ago, Target introduced a line of bathing suits that sell the tops by bra size. This works out much better for me. However, in the past, they’ve been sold out of my size by the time I think about buying bathing suits (which is never in January). This time, I found plenty.

Clothes.

I don’t usually take photos in the dressing room (that’s not 100% true, but it’s usually only to send them to the hubby for a second opinion).  While there are some bathing suit snaps, they aren’t being shared. Nope. I snapped the pic above because I loved the sweatshirt. It’s saying was so perfect. human • kind be both. The shirt was a little too wide and made me appear to have no waist. They didn’t have a size down so I took the picture to look for it online. I’m a little concerned that a smaller size may have shorter sleeves. I have a love/hate relationship with long-sleeved clothes.

Is there an article of clothing that you have a love/hate relationship with?

Theater.

One of my super exciting pieces of news is that the hubby and I are going to see Riverdance next week. We saw it live when we were dating and now are going to the 20th Anniversary World Tour!

And that’s the week so far.

Music.

This week’s song is by a band, Frenship, that I shared a few weeks back. I don’t normally choose a song which has been viewed by so many.  Usually, I’m looking for under the radar music. However, after sharing that song, I stumbled upon this one. Not only do I like the song, the real reason I’m sharing is that I found the dance in the video absolutely moving. If you aren’t a fan of contemporary dance, then you may not get as swept away in emotion as I did, but it’s lovely nonetheless.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend and wonderful upcoming week.

I’m off to book some travel plans and I’ll be sure to share all about them next week!

If you are always trying to be normal, nobody will know how amazing you can be. -Maya Angelou

Let your light shine!

Amy