Category Archives: Lifestyle

Reflections on my Thailand Trip

I’ve been home from my Thailand vacation for nearly two weeks. My journey was occupied by elephant riding, golden Buddhas and temples, boat rides, ladyboy cabarets, plenty of shopping (from floating markets to modern malls), and even bottle-feeding a baby tiger. Here’s an update on where I’m at post-vacation and follow up on a couple of trip goals.

Jet Lag

Jet lag recovery has been tedious; I just can’t seem to get my body back to its old self (and time zone). I’m no stranger to traveling great distances (Australia and East Africa to be exact), but jet lag from this trip is more significant than before. Likely due to me being older. Swell. I also had a nasty head cold the entire trip and slept poorly. I prefer those reasons to the former and will stick to them fervently. The first night back in my own bed, I crashed for 14 hours solid, which was truly glorious. But every night since then has been a crapshoot. Here are a few remedies I’ve tested to help my biological clock get back into LA mode:

  • No iPhone, TV, or bright lighting 1-2 hours before bed
  • Taking a hot evening bath
  • Ensuring my bedroom is very dark and cool
  • Exposing myself to sunlight in the morning
  • No caffeine after noon.

Some nights I’ve been taking an over-the-counter sleep aid, which allows me to sleep until morning. On the nights I don’t take it, I wake up around 2am and have trouble falling back asleep. I’m not a fan of using drugs to catch some z’s, so I picked up melatonin a few days ago to help get me on track in a more natural way. At twelve days back, I’m finally seeing light at the end of the jet lag tunnel.

Minimalist Packing

I’m happy to report that my packing plan worked out well! Of the 17 people in the group, I had the least/smallest luggage by far. Some others had two huge suitcase full of stuff! I only had to wear a few items twice, which was just fine (the humidity wasn’t as brutal as expected). Some thoughts for next time:

  • I didn’t love one of my shirts and pairs of pants. Typically, it wouldn’t be an issue, but with so few clothes I should love every item. Naturally, I wore both of them on the day we took the most pictures.
  • I didn’t need to bring the travel hairdryer. We stayed in nice hotels that provided them (although their websites didn’t specify) and I hardly used it anyway.
  • I didn’t need my rain jacket. Useful if it had rained and a necessary item when going to such a climate, but I could’ve done without. I put it on for ten minutes the one day we had a bit of sprinkle, but I quickly got too hot and ditched it.
  • I didn’t wear my hat. I considered it a couple of times, but I either didn’t have it with me or didn’t want to deal with the impact it would have on my sweaty hair. Vain? Maybe. I still managed to thwart a sunburned face.

The big snafu in my packing plan was that upon LAX check-in, I was told my carry-on suitcase was 7 pounds over the weight limit. WHAT!? How could summer clothes, two pairs of sandals, and toiletries compute to being overweight? It just so happens that China Airlines has a carry-on weight limit of 7 kg (15 lbs).  Most airlines (in my experience) don’t have such weight restrictions (only size), so I assumed China Airlines was the same. My bad. Should’ve done more advance research on that. I went ahead and checked my suitcase, as it truly wasn’t a big deal. But the plot thickens! After more than 20 hours of travel, I landed in Bangkok two days later and my suitcase wasn’t there to join me (along with those of at least a dozen others). Noooo!

Seeing as how there was nothing I could do (other than filing a report with the airline), I found my hotel transfer and got my vacation started with an hour-long foot massage while developing a plan to buy a fabulous new Thailand wardrobe. That plan was short lived when I was awakened at midnight with the happy news of being reunited with my stuff. Crisis averted.

Christmas Gifts

I was elated when my family agreed to forego Christmas gifts from me on the 25th to instead receive exotic trinkets from my trip. However, this caused me more stress than usual over getting the most awesome gifts possible. Souvenirs were no longer a little token of my travels, but an expectation of something cool enough to be considered a Christmas gift. The added challenge of my limited luggage space for the return home didn’t help, either.

I tried to not let this pressure get the best of me. My thought, time, and effort in selecting each gift is what matters. Worrying about what others will think is completely unproductive and unhealthy. I picked up a few gems (including a sterling silver elephant necklace, a wood carving, and a table runner) as well as more standard items (couple of scarves and dresses, Chiang Beer and Red Bull t-shirts) that seemed to please my crowd at home just fine.

The minimalist in me was surprised and confused at the sadness I felt upon giving away some of these gifts. They were pretty cool and I wanted to keep them for myself! I felt this much more prominently than on any former vacation. I focused on the pleasure my family expressed in receiving the items, keeping in mind that none of those physical things could ever match the experiences I lived while in Thailand.

I already miss this…


Minimalist Packing for Thailand

As I prepare for my 12-day trip to Thailand, I’m excited by the challenge of bringing the least amount of stuff with me, while still being weather-appropriate, comfortable, and looking super cute. I thought YouTube would be a good place for advice…nailed it!  A couple favorites are this full playlist from LightbyCoco and packing tips by Estee Lalonde.

The weather in Bangkok is predicted as hot and humid (about 90 degrees F and 60% humidity). Being a SoCal native, I’ve handled my fair share of heat, but not that kind of humidity. We’ll see how my wavy hair holds up.

My research has led me to attempt bringing just two bags, both of which I will carry on my flights:

1. Carry-on suitcase

I’ve had this green beater of a suitcase for about 15 years and it’s still going strong. It rolls smoothly and is just big enough to carry on, so why replace it? Here’s what I’ll put inside:


  • Black t-shirt
  • Dark grey t-shirt
  • Light grey t-shirt
  • Black & white striped t-shirt
  • Pink tank (wear on flight)
  • White cotton button-up (wear on flight, not pictured)
  • Black cardigan sweater (wear on flight)
  • Rain jacket


  • Green chinos (wear on flight)
  • Black capris
  • Denim shorts


  • Black sleeveless short dress
  • Black & white sleeveless dress


  • Black sneakers (wear on flight)
  • Black sandals
  • Silver flip flops

Other clothing:

  • Animal print scarf (also a wrap or beach cover-up)
  • Bikini
  • Pajamas & slipper socks
  • Bucket hat
  • Socks (3 pair)
  • Underwear (6 pair, not pictured)
  • Bras (2, not pictured)

Other items:

  • Mini first-aid kit with ibuprofen, band-aids, alcohol wipes, anti-diarrhea medicine, etc.
  • Toiletry bag (pictured below) with toothbrush & paste, hair items, a little make-up, menstrual cup, face wash & oil, sunscreen, bug repellent.
  • Travel size hair dryer. I typically wouldn’t bring something like this on vacation, but I’m determined to look somewhat cute, dammit. Although straightening in the humidity will likely prove futile.
2. Carry-on shoulder bag

I decided to bring this bronze tote bag on the plane with all the essentials I’ll need to access during the flights. It will also be used as my overnight bag for a couple nights of the trip and will house my black cross-body purse that I’ll carry with me daily.

  • In the bag: book, journal, pen, snacks, phone charging cord, empty water bottle
  • In the pouch: earbuds, eye mask, tiny moisturizer, lip balm, sleep aid, mints/candy
  • In the purse: passport, wallet, hand sanitizer, tissue, glasses, sunglasses, smart phone

I’ll be doing my family Christmas shopping while on the trip. I expect all of the above will leave me just enough breathing room to cram in those goodies on my return.

(Image: kalexanderson)

Impromptu Thailand Adventure

I did something spontaneous a couple of weeks ago. I booked a trip to Thailand! It’s a bit unlike me to make such significant plans so suddenly, without months of meticulous vacation preparation and budget obsession. But the stars seem to be in alignment, pointing me towards taking time for myself to experience a new part of the world. Here’s a glimpse:

  • It’s been over two years since I’ve taken a big, international trip (safari and climbing in East Africa. AMAZING.)
  • I’ve never been to Asia. This will be my sixth continent (I’ve got my eye on you, Antarctica).
  • My workplace closes for a week around the holidays, so I only have to take four vacation days to cover the two-week trip.
  • Speaking of work, there was a shake-up at the studio last month where a significant number of employees got laid off. I survived these cuts and feel that my position is relatively secure this year.
  • I have the money in my savings, as well as a nice stock-pile of unused travel rewards points.
  • I found a tour company that specializes in trips for single people. Their itinerary falls at the ideal time to a place I’ve been wanting to visit. Strangely perfect.
  • As a single person, I’ve learned over the past 15 years that when a travel opportunity arises, take it. Especially if it’s with a friend, but even if it’s going solo. I won’t be on earth long enough to see everything, but I might as well take a stab at it.

In addition to simply enjoying the exploration of a new land, I have other personal goals for this trip:

Renewed appreciation for my awesome life
  • When it comes down to it, I lead a life of privilege and excess. It often doesn’t feel like it, but compared to most other people in the world, I am rich and have an excessive amount of personal freedom. Travel helps me remember that.
Do not stress about spending
  • As a reader of this blog, you surely realize by now that I’m pretty damn anal about my finances. On past vacations, I’ve found myself getting anxious about money and how much I’m spending, particularly in the final days as the tab rises and the reality of returning home sets in. When similar thoughts creep in on this trip, I will remind myself that the experience is priceless and invaluable towards my personal growth. I am worth every penny. I will make more money, but I will never get this time back.
Minimalist packing
  • Carry-on only, baby! The weather will be hot and humid. I’ll be taking a capsule wardrobe of items that can all be worn in different combinations while still looking fab. I’ll break down my packing strategy in my next post.
Journal every day
  • I usually do this when on vacation, but not in real life. I like taking time each evening to reflect on what I experienced that day. There’s no way I can remember all the details and having them documented for later recollection is priceless.
Eat whatever I want
  • Two words: Fish. Sauce.
And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better….
Thanks to this trip, I don’t have to buy Christmas gifts for my family! They’re all much more excited to receive Thai treasures, rather than stuff I order on Amazon. My lack of visits to the mall is the best gift they could ever give me back. It’s a win-win. 

(Image: Jared Kelly)

Volunteer Burnout

426011335_62be4f4fc5_zVolunteering is a wonderful thing. There are so many organizations that do amazing work and rely on people to give their time for free in hopes of helping others and making a difference. Do it. Now.

Unfortunately, I’m experiencing major burnout from just this. Let me explain. I purchased my Los Angeles area condo almost nine years ago and I’ve been on the HOA board since day one.

As you may or may not know, condominiums typically have a Home Owners Association (HOA) made up of volunteers. They make sure the community and/or building runs smoothly when it comes to common area maintenance, residents following the rules, handling the occasional emergency, and maintaining a balanced budget. All great stuff that’s super important.

When I moved in, I was eager to help out; totally stoked that I actually bought property in LA! I was quickly recruited to join the board and happy to do so. The following year, I took the position of Secretary, seeing as I had wicked good note-taking skills from many years as a coordinator. Over the next four years, the core five board members changed little.

The time came when our president had had enough (looking back, I suspect he experienced the same burnout), no one else wanted the job, so I stepped in. Jump to today, nearly three years later, and I’ll say that I’ve been a pretty damn good president. I’m organized, pay attention to details, and don’t let things slide through the cracks. But these past few years have brought an onslaught of issues that have worn me down.

We’ve had a major construction project lasting more than two years, asbestos abatement, an emergency assessment, two liens, one foreclosure, several owner deaths, bursting pipes, and even a five page nasty letter about a board member mailed to all residents (don’t get me started on that one). It’s like having a part-time job that I do for free and don’t like.

During my HOA tenure, I have experienced a good amount of satisfaction knowing that my time and effort contributes to building a better community, as well as protecting the financial investment of my condo. This time last year, I was also ready to quit, but the other board members asked me to stay and I begrudgingly agreed in order to help wrap up a few big projects. Since then, I see myself getting annoyed easily during our monthly meetings and frustrated with each email or phone call about another random problem to solve . I just don’t want to do this anymore.

I expect that it will again be difficult to leave this year; no one else wants to be president, let alone on the board. But this time around, I will not cave! I won’t let guilt convince me to do something I don’t want to do. I’ve given so much of my time and now it’s someone else’s turn to step up.

But this will not be the end of my volunteerism. I feel it’s important to shift focus from something that mainly benefits me to working for the benefit of others. In the wake of last week’s presidential election, there are an overwhelming amount of charities that need support in the form of time or money. As a fan of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, I’d like to throw out his suggestions of where one can start here.

I’m excited to move on from this project that no longer brings me satisfaction to one that could make a difference to someone more in need. I could use a state of mind shift right about now.

(Image: Herman Turnip)

Where in the world?

208898190_ba01ee572f_zI now have a shiny new travel rewards credit card and am already more than half way to earning the  50,000 point bonus. I’ve also done a bit of research on round-the-world travel and “gap years”. One great resource I found is BootsnAll. This site will help you plan a trip anywhere in the world for a reasonable price. I signed up for their free RTW30 Sabbatical Edition email series. Every day for a month, I get a new email with step-by-step guidance on how to plan and prepare for my “career break”. I expect them to be extremely useful once I’m ready to plan out my adventure.

But before I can start too much of that planning, I need to figure out where the hell I want to go. Do I want to travel around the globe? Or would taking my time exploring the United States (and possibly Canada) be just as cool of an adventure? I’m going to start out with a good ‘ol “Pro vs Con” list and see what discoveries abound.

United States Travel


  • Logistically, it would be  much easier. Minimal foreign currency, language barriers, sim card swaps, public transportation, etc.
  • It has the potential to be cheaper, since I could do it all in my car (no airfare, unless I hit up Hawaii or Alaska)
  • Great opportunity to see old friends and family that live across the country (Washington, Idaho, Minnesota, Arizona, Illinois, Alaska)
  • Exploration of places I might want to live in the future. I could see myself ditching the So Cal craziness in favor of a more nature-friendly, slower paced lifestyle.
  • Could I take my cats with me!? Seems crazy at first thought, but it might actually be do-able if I can’t find them a temporary home.
  • Cheaper and faster to get home in case of a family emergency.
  • I wouldn’t get exposure to foreign people, cultures, and lands (although I can image many places seeming like a different world than Los Angeles)!
  • Some would say it’s less exciting and exotic than seeing the world.
  • Driving around in my car seems almost too easy. I could go anywhere at any time. Something about the limitation of not having a car is exciting.
  • Easier to bail out of the trip early when it gets difficult or lonely.
International Travel
  • I’d get to see distant places and experience foreign cultures that not many Americans do.
  • How cool that I could literally go around the world!?
  • It would be hard, but in a good way. Taking me out of my comfort zone and facing me with daily life challenges.
  • The experience has the potential to expand my mind and world much more than if I stayed in the US.


  • International travel has the potential of being considerably more expensive, mainly due to long distance airfare.
  • Added hassles of things I take for granted now, such as medical insurance, money conversion, visas, my cell phone, laptop, wifi, etc.
  • Challenges that come with not speaking the language.
  • I think I would get more lonely on an international trip.

How interesting to see that my pros for US travel is the longest list.  That could be because it was the section I started with…maybe I got all of the good ideas out early and didn’t feel the need to repeat them? Or am I telling myself that’s what I want to do, deep down?

And I am keeping in mind that this is not necessarily the one and only period of extended travel in my life! I could start with the US this time, and then go international in a few years. Or if we’re getting totally wacky, there’s no reason why I can’t do BOTH this first time around! I know that whatever I choose, it will be the right decision. Just gotta make it and commence preparations!

(Image: Hans Splinter)

Living with less waste – Reusable tissue

IMG_4055I spent a wee bit of time on Saturday afternoon preparing for a new method of reducing my household waste.  I’m making my own bathroom tissues! Don’t worry, I’m not talking TP. Just a jar of tissue-sized cotton scraps that I can use to blow my nose, remove make-up, etc.

Right now, I buy disposable facial tissues and use at least one a day. Making the switch to cloth napkins and towels has been pain-free, so I figured this is a good next step to tackle. For any of you skeptics out there, Kleenex has only been around since 1924. For hundreds of years before that, people used cloth handkerchiefs and did just fine. A little snot isn’t going to gross this girl out!

My inspiration comes from a YouTube video sharing ideas for a zero waste bathroom. The whole project took less than an hour. I was already preparing a new bag of clothes for donation and realized that I had two cotton tank tops that would work perfectly. With my quality fabric scissors, I cut them up into squares slightly smaller than the standard facial tissue size.  Both tops gave me 14 squares. I figure that’s enough to test out whether reusable tissue is something I want to jump whole heartedly into.

I already had a mason jar that I’d picked up second-hand a few months back. I stuffed them inside and it now sits on my master bathroom counter! Stupid easy.

Dipping my toe into travel hacking

14117602520_7a18a71a97_zI’ve previously mentioned my dream of taking mini-retirements while I’m still young(ish). This sounds much more interesting than punching a timecard for twenty more years before getting a significant break from the working world. However, it will take some careful planning to be sure my MRs are funded, as well as the eventual big-retirement. This week, I’ve taken a step towards making it a reality: I’m gonna be a travel hacker!

Well, having one travel rewards card may not make me a full-blown hacker just yet. Being the anal-retentive gal that I am, I’m not just unabashedly jumping into this. I’ve been prepping myself over the past couple of months.

I’m responsible with my credit card usage and have proven to myself that I can pay off my balance every month. For several years, I regularly utilize the 1.5% cash back rewards on my Capital One card. However, that’s only netting me about $15 a month at my current rate of spending. I have another card with rotating bonus categories, but that too only gets me around $10 back per month. Switching to a travel-specific rewards card could get me a much better return.

On an episode of the Mad Fientist podcast, I learned about Travel Miles 101. There are lots of websites that promise secrets of travel hacking, but I particularly like how Alexi and Brad presented the information. In their free online course, they do a good job keeping the process clear, whether you chose to get into it hard-core, or with just one card. Of course, they make money from the links on the site. The information in the course and their forum is so useful, I’m A-OK using their application link.

I decided to dip into this slowly with just one card: the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has a strong offer right now, giving you 50,000 points (worth $625 of travel) if you charge $4,000 in the first three months. That’s more than my regular credit card spending, so I’ll need to plan out some purchases and shift recurring bills around in order to hit that target.

But first, I had to get approved for the card! I wasn’t too worried about that, since I have a great credit score and no outstanding debt. But I did have to spend a little money prior to applying. Back in August, I placed a freeze on my credit to ensure that no one pilfers my money or identity. Since the new credit application would trigger a hard inquiry, I had to visit Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion websites to authorize a temporary lift of the freeze. Each transaction cost me $10. Lame, but worth the extra protection and small hassle.

Having lifted the freeze for two weeks, I filled out an online application and within 30 seconds was approved! I was shocked by how fast and easy it was. It may have helped that I already have a credit card with Chase Bank.

My next step will be an interesting challenge: spend $4,000 on that card in three months! In a future post, I’ll get into the nitty gritty of that task. I already have a few bills ready to pay once I get the card. I just don’t want to get into a mind-trap of justifying unneeded spending for the bonus.

(Image: rodeime)

Living with less waste – Worm composting

7787472496_1683ccee0a_oIf you know me or are a regular reader of this blog, you may have come to realize that I like to take on random projects in my life. One such project (particularly random) is my worm composting bin (AKA vermicomposting). They’ve been going strong for over a year and it’s about time I share the worm wonder with you all!

Why do I have 600 pet worms, you ask? Well, I eat lots of fruit and vegetables and it bothered me how much of it I was throwing away (either scraps or by going bad).  Then, I read that excessive food waste in landfills is actually a problem. The rotting food doesn’t have the conditions to compost, so it emits methane gas into the air. Creating my own little compost project seemed like an easy way to do my part.

Living in a condo, I don’t have a yard in which to place a nice, big compost pile or bin. So I researched other methods and found that I could keep a smaller bin that turns over faster with the help of lots and lots of worms. Not only am I giving them a happy home, but in return they give me nutrient-rich fertilizer for my other plants, or to give my gardener friends (which they love).  Here’s my process for setting up and maintaining my first worm composting bin.

Step 1 – Prep your container

I picked up two identical, 20-gallon, plastic storage bins from Home Depot. I drilled small holes all over one of them (lid, sides, and bottom) to allow for airflow and drainage. That bin sits inside the other one and will be filled with bedding material.


Step 2 – Fill your container

Some folks say you can use leaves, shredded newspaper, and other natural bedding materials. I decided to go with coconut coir (which I bought on Amazon).  It comes in bricks (see pics below) to which you add water and they expand into a soil-like material. The pH level of coir is ideal for vermicomposting and I didn’t want to take any chances with 600 tiny lives at stake! Here’s a video that I used for some of this info.

Step 3 – Add your worms

Red wiggler worms are what you need for worm composting. Regular garden earthworms won’t cut it. I started off with purchasing 100 from a fishing tackle store here in LA, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the size of my container. I bought an additional 500 on Amazon. I read that worms will reproduce to fill the size of container they’re in, but mine don’t seem to be getting it on too much. Now a year later, I feel that I could easily add more with the amount of scraps I need to toss.

Step 4 – Feed your worms

After they’ve had a few days to get used to their new home, start dropping in your fruit and veggie scraps! As I go through my week of food prep and cooking, I set aside my scraps (apple cores, outer leaves of brussel sprouts, asparagus ends, wilted greens, carrot tops), cut them up finely, and stick them in a container in my freezer. Chopping and freezing/thawing the food will help your worms break it down faster. It also prevents me from having a potentially stinky compost bin on my kitchen counter.

Best things to feed: raw fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds (in moderation, as they are acidic), egg shells (rinsed), tea bags

You can include, but may cause odor issues: raw onion, garlic, ginger

Don’t feed your worms: Citrus fruit, meat, dairy, processed/junk food, pet feces


When starting out, you may need to experiment with how much your worms can handle. Ensure you don’t overfeed by waiting until all is gone before adding more, as the food could rot if they don’t eat it fast enough. I give my 600 about a cup each week. I produce more than this, so I just purchased an additional 500 worms.

In order to harvest a smaller amount of castings more frequently, I feed my worms on one side of the bin at a time. I just dig a hole with my hand on one end, drop the food in, and cover it up with coir (which helps prevent insects from finding it). I continue to feed on the same side for a couple of months. When that’s ready to harvest, I start feeding on the other side, the worms move over, and I can scoop out the castings. Then, I backfill that side with fresh coir.

Step 5 – Harvest your castings

Here’s where you need a bit of patience. It took me about 4 months before I harvested my first batch of castings. The coconut coir is a chocolate brown color and castings are more like espresso in color, but I still find it difficult to know what’s what so I give it plenty of time. Tuck your composting bin aside on your balcony, patio, or even under the kitchen sink. I check on it once a week to feed and be sure the environment is still damp. I only have to spray water inside every couple of months. When it rains, some of my little dudes try to escape and I just toss them back in.

I’d love to hear about your experience with worm composting! Once you get set up, it’s super easy to maintain and you’ll have less stinky, rotting food in your kitchen trash can. And I’m sure some of your quirkier family and friends would appreciate receiving a gift of worm poop topped with a little bow!

(Top image: phuthinhco)

My experiment with fasting

6955508271_4a8cb662d5_zI watched a documentary last week called “Eat, Fast and Live Longer”. In it, Michael Mosley interviews people who performed research and/or used various kinds of fasting in their diets. He also tries it himself. As a regular listener of various food, health, and “biohacking” podcasts, I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting in the past few years. As a woman, I’m not convinced it’s the best regular practice for me, but I thought a short experiment could prove useful for my state of mind.

Not only did I want to test it out for its purported weight loss and longevity benefits, but I thought it might help change my perception of food and how much I really need to eat in a day. I think that I’m a little obsessed with food. When I finish a meal, I often catch myself immediately thinking about the next one…

  • When will be my next meal?
  • What if I get hungry before then?
  • There are six hours between finishing lunch at work and eating dinner at home! Can I go that long without a snack?
  • What if my stomach starts growling in a meeting?
  • And on and on…

I generally eat good food, but a bit too much of it. I’ll load up with big salad and hot side for lunch, then make sure I have an afternoon snack. Usually it’s a large mug of soup, but I’ll often throw in additional bites of nuts, a bar, some snack food, or hot tea with honey. I like food and think about it a lot; I don’t like the feeling of hunger.

Food has also become part of my identity. Especially when I was doing endurance sports: “Gotta feed the machine” was validation for over-indulging. Sure, the body might need additional calories to refuel after a long, difficult training session, but I had used it as a crutch to justify eating when and what I wanted.

The desired outcome of a day-long fast is that I’ll realize I can function without constant feeding. I can stop worrying about where I’ll get my next meal or if I’ll get caught somewhere with no snack in my purse.

So last Saturday, I had no plans and figured it was the perfect day to give it a shot! Here’s how it went:

  • Woke up and went for a walk.
  • My one “meal” for the day was a big cup of Bulletproof coffee (blended with butter and MCT oil), which I usually have for breakfast a couple times a week.
  • I worked on chores around the house. I felt hungry now and again, but nothing too serious. Realized I should be drinking more water.
  • I got light-headed once or twice when bending over or lifting something heavy during my housework.
  • Showered and went out for a few errands in my car.
  • Came home and spend a couple of hours writing.
  • I decided to eat one soft-boiled egg around 4pm. That staved off hunger for a while.
  • I then had hot tea with honey around 5:30pm.
  • Hunger would come and go throughout the afternoon, but my tummy never growled.
  • Drank another hot tea and a fig bar around 8pm, in hopes of not going to bed too hungry.
  • Surprisingly, I felt no hunger when reading in bed around 10pm.
  • The next morning, I didn’t feel hungry immediately upon waking. When I made scrambled eggs with mushrooms and coffee, it tasted good, but not particularly amazing.

Obviously, I did have some food that day, but dramatically less than I would normally. And the experiment did work! Since that Saturday, I am more consciously listening to my hunger and don’t just assume that I need a big afternoon snack to get me to dinner. My perception of food and how much of it I need is starting to shift. I might fast again to periodically strengthen my confidence if I sense it waning.

(Image: LaurentBolli)

3 Words to banish from your vocabulary

4858001669_8509bf64c5_zDo you ever hear that little voice inside your head commenting on everything you do in life as it rolls along? Admit it. Everyone does. Occasionally that voice is kind and supportive, but more often it will be downright mean. I sure know mine is! I frequently catch my inner voice saying things I would never utter to a friend or family member. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

That’s way too huge of a nut to crack in this humble post. But one facet that’s worth a few minutes of consideration is how the negative self-talk can get reflected in our speech. There are three words in particular that I hear myself use and am beginning to understand how they impact my view of myself and my relationships with others.


Most of us have heard the sage advice of Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Powerful words for jedi, as well as us normal folks. Telling someone I will “try” to do something can be a cop-out. It lets me off the hook for not staying true to my word. It’s my excuse to not follow through or take a stand. In the zombie apocalypse, there’s a profound difference in telling your partner…

“I will protect you from this onslaught of the undead!” vs.
“I will TRY to protect you from this onslaught of the undead!”

When I’m standing on a country road surrounded by walking corpses with only a pocketknife in my hand , I sure know which one I’d rather hear.


When I want to cast judgement on myself, feel that I’m not good enough, or think that I’ll never meet expectations of others (or myself), I go straight to “should”.

“I should eat more vegetables” (judgement: I’m fat and unhealthy.)
“I should’ve known that” (judgement: I’m stupid and will never figure this out.)
“I should be more like her” (judgement: She’s better/smarter/prettier than me.)

Tiny adjustments take away judgement and give me power:

“I will eat more vegetables” – I just made a commitment to eat more healthily!
“I’m surprised I didn’t know that” I just spotted an opportunity to learn something new!
“I’d like to be more like her” – My friends can be positive influences in my life!


Seems like an innocent word, right? However, BUT can be very limiting and stop me from facing new challenges.

“I want to get a better job, but I don’t have money for school.”
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, but I don’t have a boyfriend.”

That’s it. I’ve stated something I want, followed by the reason I can’t have it.
The end.

Try replacing BUT with AND to see how the same sentences transform:

“I want to get a better job, and I don’t have money for school”…so how can I earn that money?
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, and I don’t have a boyfriend”…so I’ll go out with some friends and meet new guys!


Take a few minutes to think about your use of these words. I’m getting more adept at stopping mid-sentence for an attitude adjustment, but I’ve got a long way to go!

(Image: e.r.w.i.n)