Citrus and Happiness.

It may not be scientifically proven, but I think citrus is good for the soul.  

Your homework this week is to find a willing neighbor* that will let you pick a few oranges or lemons off their tree.  

Put a few in a bowl on your countertop.

Have an orange with breakfast.  

Squeeze some fresh lemon in your tea or on a salad.  

Place a bowl of them on the kitchen counter.

Nothing seems to lift my spirits like looking at a happy bowl of goodness. Just look at this bowl of lemons and oranges.  Picked right off the tree.  I dare you not to smile. 

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Simple Tonic

1 cup warm water

Juice of one fresh lemon

Dash of sugar if the tang is too much for you

Mix together and add a few ice cubes

 

Tangy Tea

1 cup of chamomile tea

1 shot of Makers Mark Whiskey

Juice of one fresh lemon

1 teaspoon of local honey

Let the tea steep for 3 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir.  A cure for what ails ya'!

*Make sure they are willing!  In California, the picking of others' fruit and vegetables can be considered grand theft depending on the amount taken.  Fruit trees on public land are fair game.

Simplify and Save $500

$500?  How?

Well, I've been yammering on about simplifying my beauty and cleaning routines, and it turns out that not only is the process saving my space, sanity and health, it's saving me dough

Scroll down for the bottom line, or read the details. 

I used to spend money on:

Cleaning Products:

  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner - $2.99
  • Glass Cleaner - $3.39
  • Antibacterial Surface Cleaner - $2.99
  • Bathroom Spray Cleaner - $2.99
  • Shower & Tile Spray Cleaner - $3.99
  • Laundry Detergent - $12.99 (53 oz/66 uses)
  • Bounce Dryer Sheets - $9.39 (200 ct.)
  • Air Freshener/Room Spray - $2.99

Cleaning Products Total: $46.45 (tax incl.)

Paper & Single Use Products:

  • Qtips - $2.99 (500 ct.)
  • Cotton Balls $2.24 (200 ct.)
  • Paper Napkins - $4.19 (500 ct.)
  • Kitchen Sponges - $5.89 (6 ct.)

Single Use Total: $16.80 (tax incl.)

Beauty:

  • Shampoo $19.99
  • Conditioner $19.99
  • Nighttime Face Lotion - $14.99
  • Bath Gel - $13.99
  • Shave Gel - $2.64
  • Body Lotion - $15.99
  • Aveda Damage Remedy Hair Balm - $24
  • Thermal Protectant Hair Cream - $25
  • Clearasil Face Wash - $7.79
  • Apricot Face Scrub - $3.04

Beauty Total: $161.79 (incl. tax)

Total for all: $225.  Let's assume I have to buy these things 3 times a year.  

That's $675 per year.

I've replaced the cleaning supplies with a gallon of white vinegar ($3), washing soda ($4), and Sal Suds ($14), the single use items with napkins, rags and rounds made from old shirts (free!), the beauty supplies with a bar of shampoo/body soap ($8), and a bottle of jojoba oil ($7). 

Cost for all of that:  $36.  Assuming I have to buy all that 4 times a year, that's $144 per year. 

Savings?

Cash savings per year: $531

Total time savings from only using a few products.  Immeasurable.  

Total health savings from not having to smear so many chemicals in and around my house, priceless.  

Bath Time!

Is there anything more luxurious than lighting a few candles, pouring in some lavender salts and sinking down into a warm bath? 

I think not. 

But, thanks to this drought, I've been trying to do my part and save water.  Well, it turns out that easing up on the hamburgers and chocolate saves a hell of a lot more water than skimping on a bath time.  So my homework this week, and yours, is to light those candles up and get in that bath.  My aching shoulders can't wait.  Bonus points if you can get someone to bring you a glass of champagne while you're soaking.  ;-)

If you're feeling even a bit squeamish about using that water, just remember that residential water use only accounts for 10% of our state's water usage.  Seriously. 

Until next week, take care of yourself.  It isn't selfish!

Digital Downsizing: Part 4 - Unsubscribing

Unsubscribing from all those damn newsletters (mine included, if it bothers you) is probably the act of downsizing with the biggest bang for the buck. 

You can do it manually, or there are several apps/programs available that do it for you. I have personally used Unroll.me and love it.  It allowed me to unroll from 32 newsletters in about as many seconds.  When you sign up for it, it takes a few minutes to scan your email account and see what you're subscribed to.  Then it lists them in alphabetical order with a delete option for each and just like that, click, click, click, you're unsubbed. 

They do send you a daily "Roll Up" with all of your remaining subscriptions combined in one email.  I suppose that can be a good thing, but if it annoys you, just unsubscribe from it as well. 

I promise this one task of unsubscribing will truly make a difference in your day to day email interactions.