Newsom Natural Living

5 Steps To Spring Cleaning Our Life

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Even though it's starting to look like summer, we are still enjoying the abundance of spring. And with spring comes spring cleaning! I have been on a big kick lately of cleaning out the garage, our little house, the trash left on our property when we moved in, and the products we use in our home. It's really a simple yet profound concept - back to the basics.


Here are some ways we've been spring cleaning different areas of our life:

*Decluttering. If that sounds intimidating, just pick 5-10 items each day that you don't use or like or want, and get rid of it. We are always adding to the pile in the garage for a yard sale... It consists of nearly 3/4 of the items in our garage! It feels so good to be getting rid of stuff, yet we still have more to go. We cleaned through our closets, and now need to go through knick knacks in the tiny house. (If you are still on the fence, watch the show Hoarding: Buried Alive, and try telling me afterward you want to keep everything in your house!)

*Buying wholesome. I've been looking more and more at the labels of items, rather than just the price. It makes a big difference. This includes dog and cat food, laundry detergent, body wash and shampoos, and even looking at where our clothes are made. In fact, I have something exciting to share about this soon!

*Slowing down. This basically means that we don't overplan our days and weeks. We hardly plan them at all. Specifically it means that we only have a handful of places to go and leave the rest to come. This creates less stress, more time comfortable at home, freeplay outside, etc. Just knowing there isn't anything planned is freeing because you aren't caught up in trying to keep it. So we read, play, fish, walk, paint, just simply enjoy our "free time"!

*Nutrition. This includes looking specifically at labels and ingredients in daily vitamins and buying whole foods, rather than microwaveable quick meals. Yet, this can also include buying smart: frozen veggies, fruit or meals from wholesome brands to steam, fresh produce on sale, etc. I stick to the necessities and try to get as much fresh as we can. This is where the frozen veggies & fruit come in handy for daily smoothies!

*Know Your Yes. To me, this little phrase means to know what (+why) you are saying yes or no to, and don't respond a certain way just to please or for the sake of. Make smart decisions about what activities you agree to or what place you agree to go to lunch during your break. Not just for the sake of it, but thoughtfully: does this take away time or resources from something more important? does this benefit my physical, emotional, spiritual wellbeing? does this contribute to x, y, and z as I'm told? will this build me up or tear me down?



There are many more ways to simplify different areas of your life into the kind that you are excited about... Don't get stuck in the day to day mundane. There is no reason to! If something isn't right, there is never a better time than now to change that. This list of mine is just a start. it is by no means extensive..... And I know in this learning of slow living there is more to come!


I wonder... what would you add to this list?
 

The Joy Of Complete Vision (+ A Coupon Code!)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Something happened a few weeks ago. We went to visit family near the gulf coast and did a lot of fun things. We went to the Houston rodeo expo fair, looked at some boats, and had a relaxing time with family. Taylor loved saying hi "kikiki" to the giant bunnies and "moo'ing" at the abundance of cows at the expo. We had some fair food (what we could find that wasn't fried... tacos) and perused the booths of things and lifestyles for sale. It is a huge ordeal, and quite a big deal. If you know anyone that lives in Houston, they have likely been to the rodeo before.... Sometimes just for the fair, sometimes just for the market, sometimes just for the livestock shows, sometimes just for the concerts.... There is loads to do. We had fun!

But back to the main story. Something happened. And it wasn't at the rodeo, it was near the boats. It was frivolous of me to do it, really, but I didn't think ahead. We were touring a boat that my parents were looking at. They actually just put their house on the market and are going to buy a boat to live on --- downsizing over 2,000 square feet and who know how much stuff in the process --- does that sound familiar? I may share more on that later. Anyway, back to the main story.

We were on a boat. I did something silly and leaned over the edge to see how far down it is to the water. And guess what happened? My glasses fell into the water, lost forever in the sea. It was a couple dozen feet down, and the gulf water is so dirty, there is no hope getting them. And those glasses, I loved those glasses. They were "all me." Purple tortoise, mix of round/square lens, UV coating for being outdoors, they fit me well. I got them a few years ago at the exchange on base at Camp Pendleton, and fell for them immediately. I wear my glasses all of the time - contacts give me headaches, plus I get dirt in them easily with baby hands around - so I had to find a pair that I was comfortable in, had large but not too big of lenses, and were cute - would go with any outfit.

So you can imagine how I felt when those glasses fell. I was also being a bit overdramatic, looking back on it... At the time it felt an adequate consolation for the literal hours I spent poring over frames trying to find just the right one.

It was a blessing when I arrived home and saw an email pop up from GlassesShop.com.



While I already bought new glasses from another company online, this one was giving me glasses in exchange for a review! Woohoo! That means I will now have two pairs. Two fun pairs.

So here is what I picked:

It is their Baton Wayfarer frame. It's kind of tortoise-like, with blue and pink blending together. I love that they are still colorful and somewhat subtle. It's not screaming as glasses with white in them to any degree would do (my other pair has white in them). I wanted something a little more subdued and "professional" yet still unique and fun. I'm really not sure how professional you'd call these, but they fit me well.

And the fit is perfect. The lens is large enough I'm not squinting or feel like I'm constantly looking around the frame for what else is right in front of me. They are very comfortable and the measurements I sent in from the optometrist are exact for what I need. Buying glasses online may be a nervous experience, but this was far from it.

I love how unique they are. Once I picked the purple pair a few years ago, I just can't bring myself back to picking a plain black or brown pair like I had in middle school, when I learned I needed glasses. There are so many fun options out there! You can get a few different pairs to better suit or complement various facets of your wardrobe! It's definitely worth it to have multiple pairs, too (backups if one gets lost!)

Why, you ask?

Because they are for a GREAT price. Plus, I have a 50% off coupon code for readers! Just imagine that! Simply type in GSHOT50 at checkout for a wonderful deal. This will give you 50% off for all eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses, with the exception of sales frames.


All you need to get started is a current prescription (and your eyes do change over time, so I'd suggest getting a new one every other year or so) and the coupon code. Simply search the website for the frames you like, enter your details, and checkout!

Glassesshop.com has eyeglasses, reading glasses, prescription sunglasses, clip-ons, in all sorts of styles: for women, men, and kids! Some of those are cat eyes, rounded, tortoise, and vintage-inspired--- if you are looking for something unique.

They fit any budget: From $6.95 to $45.95 for the frames, you can find exactly what you are looking for. (lenses are an additional cost, and that varies depending on the type)


It's simply wonderful to be able to see the world in full complete vision, if your eyes lack 20/20. We take our vision for granted many times... when you lose your glasses or your contacts tore and can't be worn, it's definitely a humbling experience. And, buying your eyewear online sure makes life a little simpler by skipping a trip to the optometrist!


*This is a sponsored post. I was given prescription glasses in exchange for review and promotion. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Learning Joy in Simplicity

Friday, April 28, 2017


There's been a theme in our lives these past few weeks: What do we really need? Whether we are looking at what's really necessary in keeping the garden going, how many rainy days we are counting on, how little of my closet I actually wear, what food we actually eat that we bring home from the grocery store.... What is really the most valuable? That's what we need to keep.
 
I seem to get flustered, overwhelmed easily. So I compartmentalize and take things one step at a time. I put on this fa├žade that everything is going alright, meanwhile, I make ten different lists and lose them umpteenth times and never know what I really should be doing. It's a big reason why I haven't written much lately. It's a big reason why we are here where we are right now. Other than knowing this is where we are meant to be, that "trait," if you will, of mine caused us to get here in a way we didn't really plan on.
 
So we streamline. We move into a tiny home. And over the past 4 months we've learned what's really necessary. What are we doing that we shouldn't be, things that are killing our joy? What should we be doing, things which are life-giving, give us meaning and passion?
 
Well... things.... we don't need these "things." That's a big part of this process. I have learned that living tiny resonates so much more with a happy, abundant life, than living in a 1600 square foot house (Still a "small" house, relatively speaking in the U.S.) Why? It causes you to purge, to get rid of stuff. Or at least, out of sight, out of mind, for the time being, as everything is in boxes in our garage. We've lived without it for four months, we probably never needed it in the first place.
 
So we simplify. This past week I have taken who know how many items out of my closet because I never get around to wearing what I have. We are creatures of habit, after all. I wear the same shirts, skirts, pants, week after week. And nobody really cares if you wear the same shirt two days in a row.. Right?! Simplifying my closet is one step. I'm thinking about a capsule wardrobe to continue to streamline the clothes... We will see...
 

Taylor saying "hi" to the flowers in his own garden

Taylor pulled a radish from the big garden
to see how it was doing!
 
 
 
 
Rows of beans! (Ignore those weeds. It's a process)
Another step is to not fuss over trying to get into even more debt getting the newest tractor on the line with the best implements - RIGHT AWAY- so that we can from the get-go feel on top of this whole farming thing. And I say that, but it's so much more than that. We can't right now, and we don't need to. We are learning a simpler way of doing things, and sometimes it seems like it's all for naught. And then on a day like yesterday, Taylor pulls out a baby radish, a baby carrot, we see a green tomato growing on the vine, and it's still growing. The abundant rains we've gotten lately, the sunshine... this first season on our farm is still going to come. It just looks a little different than we'd like. But then again, that will likely always be the case. Although it would help, we don't need the fancy machinery right now, we just need to rent a tiller for a day, and use some good old tools by hand... And now as I look out on our quite large patch, I think I have a deeper appreciation for what's there, rather than the slim satisfaction you'd get if a machine did it for you. There's so much joy in that.
 
Speaking of machines, our laundry routine is different. And I am actually loving it. I find joy in washing our clothes and Taylor's diapers in the tub, rinsing and swishing the soap, doing laundry the way it was done decades ago, because there was no other option. Getting clothes down from the line is therapeutic. Even hanging them up is. And Taylor loves those clothespins as much as I do, as he pulls them apart when they fall every so often..
 
We've learned to find joy in doing things just a little bit different than one would expect, maybe different from everyone else. Maybe it just comes when you do laundry this way, look at your closet that way, clean the garden another way, for over time and you don't see a need for the "conventional" way of doing things. Even though this may take more time and is more hands-on, there is more joy that comes in the work and the end result. There is so much freedom that comes when you are not attached to a washing machine to do all the work for you, as you know more of what it takes to get your clothes clean, and you appreciate the clean clothes that much more. (It also leads to purging your closet, leaving less clothes to clean!)
 
Taylor reading his books. Another part of this
whole thing: Taylor has more books than toys,
or anything else for that matter. Stick to what's
important!
Living with a little less space and stuff is freeing. It's just a bit simpler, but it's a good bit, too. I am much happier in our tiny house than we were in a 1600 square foot house. Maybe part of that is because we are closer to town and we are on our property -- I don't have to drive 25 minutes to the store anymore, it's just around the corner. But a bigger part of that is because we are happy with less. We don't need more things. We need to get rid of more things. I've found so much joy in getting rid of things lately. Every time I take a bag or box of stuff into the "sale/donate" side of the garage lately I breathe a little easier. Every time I look in the closet and see a couple dozen more empty hangers I smile! It's really freeing having less clutter and less things biding your time and resources.
 
And once you start, it's hard to stop... Simplifying your life in turn gives you your life back. Things no longer rule you. It's really an incredible concept. You don't need a bigger house to be happy, you need less stuff. There is so much JOY found in simplicity (even as a process). Isn't that incredible to think about?!!
 
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