Soothing Sundays: Whacking Balls... ;-)

Ok...maybe that doesn't sound too soothing...or maybe you're still giggling.  BUT, let me say, this was a super zen activity that I hope you try. 

$7 for 70 balls at the driving range.  That's cheaper than a movie and wow...I am sore today.  Yes, I'm writing this on Monday because I was having too much fun hanging out with  my in-laws (seriously!) to go type something on a computer.  I was going to blow off this Sunday post anyway (bad Kat!), but this was just too much fun not to write about. 

My dear Mom in law took me to the driving range while JT helped put up their Christmas lights.  It's been about 7 years since I've been to one of those and my golf game is anything but par.  That being said, the aspect of trying to get a really long, very thin stick to hit a very, very small ball can either be infuriating or enlightening.  I chose enlightening.  And the weirdest thing was that when I didn't overthink it, but just took a breath, focused on the ball, and swung, I knocked it pretty far out.  When I overthought, held on too tight to the handle and didn't breathe...well, I almost nailed a fellow driver.  I didn't know the balls could bounce backwards like that.  

Ties to life? I think there are many.  

Take a breath, hold on loosely and let it happen. 

If you can't make it to a driving range this week, choose something that requires single tasking.  Something that takes your entire focus.  Maybe this is listening to your kid tell a story.  Maybe it's baking a cake.  Maybe weeding your garden...assuming you're in California and not covered in snow at the moment.  

Whatever it is, take the time to elevate the ordinary to zen.  

Simplified Saturdays: Holidays Part 4 - Decorations

Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed.  I suppose it's officially the holiday season.  

How did you vote with your dollars yesterday?  We opted outside.  Trying to be mindful of what's important to us....and snuggling with a very fuzzy horse won out over deals on stuff we didn't need!!

So moving on...Decorations!

Not gonna lie...this is my favorite part of Christmas.  Each year, we get a Noble Fir tree, put a pot of spiced water on the stove to make the room smell good (cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spices with the burner on high enough to make the mixture steam!), and queue up the Christmas music.  Unwrapping each ornament, I pause to think about the person it came from or what was going on the year I got it.  It's my favorite trip down memory lane.  

Do you have any rituals for decorating?  Or is it just a bit of chaos and frustration as you try to find and unload your Christmas presents from where they were stashed last year?  It used to be frustrating to me, but I've figured out a few ways to make it easier. 

1.  The time to sort and purge decorations is when you take them out to decorate for the current year.  I tell all my clients to wait until then - it's not worth doing twice in a year.  So now that you have them down, as you take each ornament and decoration out, ask yourself if you still love it.  Was it from someone that brings up good memories, or from someone you're now estranged from?  Do you still like it's color or texture? Do you just have too many and someone else could benefit from them? Are any cracked or broken...maybe it's time for it to go to the big Christmas tree in the sky.  

2.  Use an ornament storage box - this can be as simple as a cardboard wine box with the bottle dividers still in place.  Trader Joe's always has plenty for free.  If you'd like to purchase one, they are available at Target or Amazon and are plastic or canvas bins with cardboard dividers.  This keeps your ornaments from making a tangled mess.  Wrap each in a bit of recycled paper at the end of the season and they will stay protected and neat until next year. 

3.  For the rest of your decorations, aim for 2 or 3 plastic bins' worth.  This seems to be a manageable amount that doesn't feel overwhelming to take out or put away.  66qt bins with red lids can help make them easily identifiable in your garage or shed.  

4.  Wrapping supplies also tend to get unruly - I used to have several boxes, but have now pared down to one.  Is it possible for you to donate some of your unused bags and bows or share them with friends? Hosting a wrapping partying and pooling supplies can be a lot of fun!  Once you've pared down a bit, consider using a wrapping paper specific bin if you mostly have wrapping paper OR a single plastic tub if you generally use bags and tissue.  Also, keep your eye out for alternative wrapping supplies as most commercial ones wind up in the landfill.  Repurpose boxes from Amazon, the grocery store or anywhere else you can find them.  

I hope these tips help!  If you have any ideas to share or holiday rituals you love, please share them in the comments. 


Tiny House Tuesdays: Ball Jars & Bulk

I know, I know.  Ball jars are getting a bit cliched.  BUT there is no easier, cheaper solution to storing bulk goods in your pantry.  You can find them at your local thrift shop or, worst case scenario, at Target.  The large, gold topped, plain bottles I purchased at Target came with minimal packaging - only a paper insert.  Not zero waste, but getting there. 

Another option is French canning jars and I must admit these are way classier...but, $1.99 vs. $12.00 made it an easy decision for me.  I was able to order screw top gold lids on Amazon for about $12.  Using the screw-top, single piece lids for non-canning purposes makes the jars a bit friendlier.  

I have been using the mesh bags I purchased on Amazon to purchase bulk items with.  Flip and Tumble is a Berkeley based company and I have contacted them and asked about their ethical standards of treatment for the people making them.  *fingers crossed* They have been useful for everything from salt to coffee.  You can actually make your own bags, with a few stitches, if you have a few pillow cases lying around.  I'm waiting for a rainy day to make those happen.  Bea, of Zero Waste Home, has plenty to say on the matter.  


I know it's Thanksgiving-time and I hope each and every one of you stop, and say thanks, for the absolutely amazing life we are allowed to live. 



It sounds like they might actually treat their workers ethically:

Hi Kat,
Thanks for getting in touch and for your interest in how we ensure our products are made ethically.  
We make sure that the bags are made ethically in China. As a baseline, our factory has the quality management certificate of ISO9000 and the Environmental management certificate of ISO14000. In addition, we have a 3rd party company go in and check our own list of stringent requirements, ranging from Quality Management Systems, Code of Conduct (labor and compensation), Environmental Management Systems, and Security Compliance. We also visit the factory ourselves to see things first hand.
If you have any further questions please let me know.
Take care and Happy Holidays!
flip & tumble
p. 415.830.5624
f. 415.373.3750

Soothing Sundays: Breaking Bread With Friends & Family


Not gonna lie, I'm a born introvert.  If I need to recharge, I do it alone.  If I'm feeling down, I hide.  If I'm sick, I'd rather suffer in silence. 

In the face of an upcoming crazy holiday week, my knee jerk reaction to a dinner invitation is "eh, I'm gonna go ahead and stay in bed".  Here's the thing though...I've found that when I don't feel great and want to hibernate, the best thing for me is to be around others.  Friends, lifts me up and boosts my spirits, no matter how terrifying the prospect of being around people.  

So, my self care challenge today was to say yes to dinner.  If you are presented with the opportunity this week, before the Thanksgiving chaos, to break bread with friends and family, I urge you to do it.  If you know someone who's going to be alone on Thanksgiving, reach out to them and cook something simple like spaghetti.   If you get invited somewhere, all the better.  Less to clean up! ;-) 

We need community.  It's good for your soul.  


Libraries Rock.

Pop Quiz: Do you know where your local library is? 

No? Get on it. These places are magical.  I feel like I rediscovered the lost kingdom of Atlantis or something.  

I hadn't been to a library since 2012 according to the expiration date on my card.  Fail.  So why now? 

Well, there was a book suggested on my favorite podcast, The Mind Palace, that I really wanted to read.  However, between reading Zero Waste Home and Mr. Money Mustache, I was feeling guilty about the excess packaging and expense that comes with getting a book on Amazon.  I realized I could kill two birds with one stone if only I would just borrow the damn book from the library. 

The benefits were more than I expected.  Beyond less waste and more money in my pocket, I saved the transportations costs of shipping the book, got in a 2 mile walk to the library, saved on emissions and gas by NOT driving my car, and decided to shop at a local store on my way back home, rather than driving to Trader Joe's.  Sure, I spent $2.47 for a small head of cabbage, but at least I feel accomplished.  

Less packaging waste, more money in my pocket, more knowledge for my head, less clutter in my house (the book is being returned), more exercise, fewer emissions, less gas, and supporting a local grocer.  Not bad for a day's work.  

Your local library.  Try it, you just might like it.