The Last Sweater: My Year of No Shopping

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Wherever you stand on resolutions (you love them, you pooh-pooh them, you think they may be an impetus for change, you don’t subscribe because you don’t see any value) I think that there is merit in examining your life periodically, and setting goals and intentions which move you forward as an individual.

This year I have one main goal I am focusing on. I am setting out on a year of not buying clothing. There are many who have trod this path before me: Colleen Bordeaux, Ann Patchett, James Clear, Cait Flanders, and more. Each one of these individuals had their own structure and set of rules for their shopping furlough. For me, this quest is one I’ve toyed with for a very long time. So why now?

I have enough clothes

I have pursued style and fashion for the better part of my life. While I don’t see anything inherently negative about this, I haven’t been as careful about cultivating my personal relationship with money as I have my wardrobe. In short, I have enough clothing. I want to take a year to evaluate my wardrobe.

Shopping mindlessly wastes time and money

I can’t tell you how much time and money I’ve spent shopping, but I can tell you that it has been a lot. One thing that Ann Patchett found during her year of no shopping was that she had time for other more important and even pressing activities. One of the reasons I initially began blogging was to spend more time writing. Yes, I did write more than I otherwise would have in the last two years if I did not run a blog, but I also used the fact that one of my intended focuses was “style” to shop– a lot.

I want to take a break from the online marketing circus. Constant shopping and buying in the realm of clothing drives the machine of wasteful fashion, one of the world’s largest polluters. The industry is all built on the backs of underpaid, often over-worked people in third world countries. I hope to take this year to evaluate my approach to buying, spending. I really need and want to learn to spend more thoughtfully and responsibly.

I want to realign my relationship with my money

In all honesty I have next to no understanding of money. I have jokingly explained my relationship as one where when the water is running (the money is flowing, there is cash in the bank) then I feel free to spend until the water runs dry. Dry would obviously mean that the money has been spent, the cash is gone. I have never used a budget, and I have certainly never examined how my money could be working for me, i.e. in investments, savings, and other forms of return.

I have to say that this is one of the hardest posts I have written. Not because I am not looking forward to the challenge of “no new things”, but because I am a person that does not like to set goals and then fail and I am a bit afraid of failing this challenge!

I’ll have more of my “rules” and some updates on this first month soon! Have a beautiful Thursday!

XX,

Megan

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Bike Commuting: 7 Facts

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Image by LL Creative

Twenty-five days. This is the number of days I’ve commuted by bike. Far fewer than some, and perhaps more than most. This journey has been a cleansing one for me. Each morning I get the chance to send my gratitude out into the world as I roll along. Each afternoon, I have a moment to reflect on my work day and prepare for a good evening at home.

Even these small moments of meditation have added to the power of my zen. I thank bike commuting for this. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my husband for enabling this great adventure. He chose the perfect bike, got me set with panniers and lights, and has generally championed this enterprise from the very beginning.

After an exciting, and rather frozen, entrance into bike-commuting (my second ride began at 16 degrees), I thought a post about some of the myths and truths of using two wheels as a viable form of transportation was in order. If my skeleton doesn’t end up looking like the Victorian cyclist specimen below, I’m going to be glad I began this journey.

Image via The Victorian Cyclist

True: Bike Commuting Takes Planning

One of the very first and most obvious facts about bike commuting is that it does take additional planning. My planning usually begins every evening when I set out my gear, prep my panniers, and make sure that I have all the things I need for the following work day in their proper place. The reason that planning is the key to success is that once you get where you’re going, you probably won’t have time to return to where you’ve been (ostensibly to pick up something you’ve forgotten).

However, I want to emphasize that planning, in and of itself, isn’t a negative! In fact, I’ve eaten more healthy meals, been more on-time to my job, been more happy to return home to see my kiddos, more active physically, and more balanced emotionally since beginning to bike commute.

There have also been a couple of uncomfortable moments due to my poor planning. Like the day when I forgot my pants at home. Yes, I said pants. Add to this the fact that I was being evaluated by my administrator later that afternoon! (Insert laugh-crying emoji here). The crisp white tuxedo shirt, black thermal biking spandex, and mid-ankle duck boots was a fun look, for sure. But my husband saved me from evaluation embarrassment by bringing my pants to me after first hour class.

Bekka Wright, a long time bike commuter in Boston, MA, sums up what bike planning sometimes looks like at my house below– DO I HAVE IT ALLLLLLL? Her bike comics can be found on her website, bikeyface.com , and she’s become a real inspiration as my commuting continues. The important part of planning is that you will get into a groove. You will get better and better at prepping for your day. You WILL remember your pants (most of the time), and you entire day will be better because you rode your bike!

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Image via Bikeyface

False: Bike Commuting is Impossibly Difficult

I realize that bike commuting seems fraught with difficulty to the outside observer. There are a lot of working parts to get this baby rolling. First there’s the mechanical aspect of the bike– tires, chain, pedals, seat, derailer, etc. Then there is a fair amount of gear– helmet, shoes, Lycra, gloves, work clothes, panniers, toiletries, etc. But the goal is not to over complicate something that can become a habit, and really just a way of life.

I shrugged bike commuting of as inconvenient, difficult, and even untenable after we moved farther from my work. I let fear of mechanical difficulties keep me from bike commuting for a long, long time. I’m the first to admit that I really don’t do a good job changing a bike tire. Heck, I’ll be honest that I also didn’t want to show up at work a hot sweaty mess, and never be able to recover my composure.

I also have to come clean that in the mechanical realm, I have a fall back– my husband. Any of you who know Perry, know that he is a bicycle guru. If I’m in a bind, I know that I can call on him at any moment. Additionally, I have a co-worker who has agreed to be my emergency contact at work. She has said that she’ll pick me up and get me to my classroom on time.

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Image via Bikeyface

True: Bike Commuting Brings You Health

Cruising on the interwebs a few days ago, I saw an article in the New York Times that listed a nine ways to make 2018 your most healthy year-to-date. One of the items listed there was “Bike to Work.” There are scads of articles that support this finding– bike commuting will make you a happier (we’ll talk about that below) and healthier person.

Honestly, how could it not?!? I went from working out sum 0, to instantly incorporating 50 minutes of ride time: read work out time into my day. If you read my article “New Balance” you know that I was really struggling to find the time to work out. Now I am feeling fit and sassy once again. I cannot praise and preach enough about how this one simple change in my life had brought me a new level of health and wellness.

False: Bike Commuting Takes Too Much Time

For me, this was one of the greatest factors that kept me from bike commuting in the first place. I told myself over and over that I was a busy human. I had commitments to fulfill and schedules to keep and things to do, and biking to work was not one of them.

I really felt as though I would be taking way too much time out of my day. But here is the math. It takes me 25 minutes to bike to work. It takes me 10 minutes to drive. BUT it also takes me two minutes to park, plus a couple minutes to warm up the car in the morning. I have to haul all of my stuff out of my car and into my classroom if I drive, and I often don’t take the time to pack a lunch so I am leaving campus to grab food in the middle of the day.

The truth is, it really does take almost as long for me to get to work in my car as it does on my bike. Yes, I have to build in a little extra time to get to work. Yes, I do have to make sure I have time to get dressed when I arrive at work. Yes, there are times when the unforeseen has made being on a bicycle a little bit inconvenient. But I find that driving my car can actually be pretty inconvenient, too!

True: Cars Do Not See You

When I began bike commuting, my sons also began riding their bikes to school more frequently. Partially this grew out of moving a little bit closer to their school, but it also did feel as though our commitment to bike was a family affair!

I’ll never forget the first time I felt like a car was actually going to hit me. I was turning left out of the school parking lot. A driver was turning left into that lot. They didn’t have their blinker on, didn’t move into the turn lane, didn’t see me until my front tire had nearly met theirs. Scared me half to death.

Cars simply don’t see bicycles. Most drivers didn’t grow up accustomed to watching for cyclists, and I would say that only in the last ten years has bike commuting taken off (but I haven’t done a lot of research to this effect, so that may turn into a future post). Every morning that our boys take off for school my husband reminds them, “Be careful. Cars don’t see you.”

The reality is that as a cyclist you need to ride defensively at all times. I’ve caught myself daydreaming more than once on my bike, and then I am pushed back into reality by a car that comes far too close behind me after I’ve crossed an intersection, etc. The point here is that as a cyclist, I try to be hyper-aware of the vehicles around me. I have lights, and bright clothing, and  a really loud orange bike. But sometimes that doesn’t seem to be enough. I hope I never have to face a bike accident caused by a car. In fact, one of my constant prayers is that cyclist won’t get hit by cars. Period.

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Image via Bike Boom

False: Bike Commuting Is Dangerous

Now beyond the fact that bicyclists are hard to see from larger vehicles, I also have come to the conclusion that bicycling to work is NOT the most dangerous choice you could make. I am pretty sure that you are more likely to be in a car accident than you are a bicycling accident.

Heavens, you’re probably more likely to step off of a curb and spiral fracture your ankle than you are to be in a bicycling accident. Dave Walker’s cartoon really made me smile as he supports this claim. Almost everything we do has an inherent risk. So I’ll take the risks associated with biking if it means I might poke my ear (or even my eye) when putting on my sun glasses (see below).

Practically all of us crazy homo sapiens live, and love, and have joy despite the fact that we will drop dead at some point along our journey. So instead of hiding from death, which not a lot of us are afraid of, let’s live and celebrate life with each breath.

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Image via Dave Walker

True: Bike Commuting Makes You Happier

I can speak to the happiness that bike commuting brings like a trumpet! I have absolutely, positively LOVED commuting on bike to work for this past few months. I know that I still have a long way to go to make those 1,000 decisions, properly made, that Specialized Sequoia’s encourage. But I have been uplifted, lightened, zenned by bike commuting.

Image via Bike Radar and Bikeyface

So I don’t have much more to say than, keep bringing on the zen! A huge shout out to my hubby who really gave me the push that got me out on the road, and to our lovely local bike shop– Slim and Knobby’s— who has taken such good care of me every pedal stroke along the way!! I hope you have a fabulous Friday, and a gorgeous weekend. What are your thoughts on bike commuting? I’d love to know! You can comment below, or give me a shout out on Facebook, or head over to Instagram to see more of my pictures and posts.

XX,

Megan

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Image via With All I Have 

The First Day of the Rest of My Road

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1,000 decisions, properly made -Specialized Sequoia

The day has come! Today is the first day of the rest of my bike commuting journey. After writing a recent post about finding a new balance, moving into my second year of full time work, I realized that it was going to take even more focused planning to realize some of the goals and balance points I set for myself. An even more deliberate change of lifestyle was necessary if I wanted to reincorporate exercise, healthy movement, and cycling miles into my life. Here are a few factors motivating me to bike commute:

  1. I haven’t been to the gym even one time since my posting about balance.
  2. Time is my most precious resource at this point.
  3. I haven’t changed my position about seeing my boys each morning before work.
  4. I need a way to incorporate movement and exercise into daily life more closely aligned with my every day activities.
  5. I happen to be married to a bike guru who I knew could bring it all together (that’s just what he did). He has become my biggest link to bike commuting success!

Bike Commuting Is the Cat’s Pajamas

Bike commuting will be an entirely new world for me, but I’ve seen its benefits firsthand. When we lived in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of D.C., my husband commuted by metro for the first year of his job. I could write an entire article about the reasons that he started bike commuting, but the number one reason was that his commute to and from the city generally put him in a terrible state of mind.

He’d come home bummed out, tired beyond belief, and full of depressing tales from his mass transit commute. (Let me state here that metro, subway, bus, and train– all of these are superior to one human getting into one vehicle and burning mass amounts of fuel on their hour-long commute each day.)

There came a moment one Wednesday when Perry showed me a Surly Long Haul Trucker on Craigslist. He said, “I’m going to start bike commuting.” I have vivid memories of that gorgeous green Surly still. Sweet moments when our little P would call down to his daddy from our second story condo window, “Love you daddy! Be safe!” are forever logged in my memory. Off my husband would go on his bi-pedal hoss. I remember thinking then what a great example he was for our son, and how I hoped that we would always honor biking as an important transportation reality.

The change in Perry’s demeanor was dramatic and nearly instantaneous. He had more energy, not less. He looked forward to heading in to work. He loved the challenge of pedaling to his place of employment regardless of the weather. He has plenty of stories that involve snow up to his free hub, being cut off by cars, particularly one crazy taxi cab, near the Jefferson Memorial, and spinning through ankle deep water. Even a less-than-happy story about confronting someone at a stop light who had almost ended his life at a traffic circle was part of his daily bike commuting experience.

On the whole, the entire affair was wonderful for Perry. Plus, the other people in our family who have been consistently bike commuting are my two boys. After our move this summer, we switched elementary schools and the boys have been commuting by bike since school began. I have to be honest that those first few afternoons I waited for them at the top of the driveway– excited and a little nervous. But they have cruised up our road safely every day, and it’s given me an even stronger desire to ride out on my own commute.

Of course, I hope that my commute won’t be fraught with danger. Part of my ride will be on bike path, and the other piece on less-traveled town streets. But I will be commuting in the early-morning half light, and I plan on subbing out my current tires for studded snow tires this winter. I hope I’ll have the presence of mind to stay safe and be aware of motorists and fellow cyclists alike. But beyond some of the cautionary tales I’ve heard, I am more than excited to take on this new mode of daily transportation. With my new transportation adventure happening real-time, there is a chance to talk about some bike commuting essentials.

Here’s the gear that will go with me as I set out on my new adventure:

First, The BIKE

This Specialized Sequoia will be my daily commuter. I really enjoyed reading this review of the Sequoia, though these folks took this gal out for a real, true gravel grinding tour. One aspect of the Sequoia I am looking forward to self-testing is what Sarah Swallows describes, “It feels equally capable with or without a load.” I’m not only planning to use this bike on my commute, but as my weekend pleasure cruiser.

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Wear a Helmet, for Cranium’s Sake

This may seem to go without saying. But I’ve seen plenty of commuters who roll on sans skull protector. It only takes one story like the following to change your mind about helmets.

One sunny day last summer, I was riding to work without a helmet. I’d been riding this way for a few weeks, after I got a new bike for my birthday. I was turning off my street, where there is a gas station and a car pulled out of that lot , into the street, without looking. The guy didn’t see me, but I saw he wasn’t stopping with enough time so I swerved. He pulled out far enough that his front bumper knocked me further into the street, but I’d swerved enough that it didn’t knock me over. At 5 mph or less, the force of his car, not to mention his sheer stupidity, were enough to scare the ever living sh*t out of me.
I turned around and grabbed my roommate’s helmet and wore one from that day forward. Two weeks later on that same corner, no less, I took a spill and landed square on my face. Broke my right wrist, dislocated my left shoulder and lost my two front teeth, among others. It was awful, but that helmet saved my life. To anyone getting on a bike, no matter how experienced, please pick up a helmet first. I’d be eating through a tube or worse were it not for that helmet. -wordwithsam from “Gear You Need to Commute By Bike,” Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

Here’s to not breaking a wrist or especially losing any teeth on my commute (this is actually one of my most longstanding fears– toothless glory). But it should go without saying that a helmet is non-negotiable gear.

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Light Your Bike, Like a Diamond

My sweet hubby tricked out my bike with two lights– a headlight in the front, and a Specialized Stix taillight in the back. Technology has advanced in every realm, and bike lights are no exception. Once I’ve reached my destination, I simply plug my lights into my USB to charge them for the next day. Genius!!

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Under-seat Pack, a Must

No one wants a flat tire, but it’s bound to happen. This reality is one I must face, and I must sheepishly admit that I’ve been taught to change a flat time more times than I have fingers. I haven’t mastered this skill in all my years as a roadie. Now’s the time to figure it out!! (I also secretly hope my hubby will be within phone’s reach.) This under-seat pack holds everything you need to change a tire successfully.

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Multi-tool, Oh My!

Along with changing a flat, a multi-tool will always come in handy. Seat adjustments, chain/cable problems, I got this! Below, the Specialized EMT multi-tool, is a good option for most commuting scenarios.

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Fenders, Why Yes

When it comes to all-weather commuting (yes, this is my intention and I’ll keep you posted!) fenders are a must. Rain, snow, mud, you’re going to see it all. If you want to make it to work without having to hose off before beginning your day, you should invest in fenders. Leave it to my partner to source the best-of-the-best. Woody’s Fenders are custom, handmade in Bend, Oregon. You check them out HERE, and HERE.

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Panniers, for All Weather

I tend to have a lot of STUFF when I head to work. Depending on the day I may have my laptop, two class texts, a set of student papers I’ve graded, my daily planner, a change of clothes, shoes for work, and breakfast and lunch for the day. I knew that I’d need some roomy panniers and these Ortleib Commuter QL 2.1 bags are a good match for my commuting needs. Water-proof, professional, without screaming bike nerd, I’m excited to pack the crap out of these and roll.

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Clothier

Leave it to me to look into stylish clothes for my bike commute. At this point I plan on alternating between these carpi length Ibex bike shorts, and my Specialized long leggings. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my eye on some new bike bottoms. I’ll keep you posted as update my clothing. For now I really do plan to stick to the standards I listed above. I am also wearing the brightest jacket/topper I could find for greater visibility, the Specialized Women’s Deflect Jacket. It’s light, bright, and sure to catch the eye of motorist and fellow trail blazer alike.

I hope you all have an wonderful Monday. I’d love to hear any of your ideas or experiences bike commuting. I’m completely new to this realm, but really looking forward to the ride!

XX, Megan

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New Balance: Five Things I’m Doing To Renew Daily Equilibrium

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Here are five things I’m doing to renew balance in the eternal quest for equilibrium.

  1. Working out in smaller chunks
  2. Contacting one of my friends every week
  3. Maintaining some of the positive changes I’ve made to my schedule this past year
  4. Scheduling chores and cleanup in a set timeframe
  5. Meditating

(If you need the quick details, scroll down to the bottom of the post!)

With the beginning of my second year of teaching I’ve encountered the reoccurring matter of balance. We have on-boarded a lot of activities and obligations to our family life. In addition to working full-time I will also be taking college courses as part of professional development for my teaching licensure over the next two years.

We are involved in soccer, cycling, and a host of other activities associated with work, school and community. We are still recovering from our move. For some, it sounds ridiculous to say that a return to normalcy would be so hard to achieve after moving. In all honesty, moving really threw me out of my groove. Maybe many of these feelings of precariousness come from that uproar. It was a big life change. But I think there is more to this moment in my life than moving, career focus, or realigning my goals.

I need another reset, a re-centering, a restoration of balance and order, in my entire existence. It would be foolish for me to say that simply because I recognize this, I’ve achieved my balance. I feel as though I am entering a new time in my life. I have lived my childhood, my young adulthood, my child bearing years, and we’re into the real thick of the child rearing years, and it has always taken me a while to find my equilibrium.

Now I have reached another new juncture in my life. I am experiencing the need to return to some of the tried and true things that make me who I am, and I now have the opportunity to incorporate some of the good habits I’ve picked up on returning to the workplace. I am excited to see what this part of the journey holds for me and my little family, and I am committed to finding my balance in this new episode.

I have written about balance on the blog, HERE. Perhaps the first post should have covered it for me. When I wrote that first article, I talked mostly about balancing blogging and home-life. As my quest for balance continues, maybe yours does, too. When I say balance I mean the confluence between the things we prioritize in our daily schedules, and perhaps some of the things–activities, practices, time frames– we might want to bring into the daily stream.

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One of the hardest transitions for me in returning to work has been that I have really let go of working out. I’d like to say that “I had to let go” of working out, but there are plenty of people who are up at 4:30 am getting their physical activity on. Therefore, I have to place the responsibility for my physical fitness needs and desires solely on my choices.

One of the reasons this shift into zero work outs has been hard is that I find that physical practice has just as imporant mental impact as physical benefit. I truly believe in the mental cleansing that comes from working out.

This entire internal dialogue came to a head one night about a month ago around 8:45 p.m. I had recommitted myself to returning to the gym that very next morning. My intention was to make a morning work-outer of myself. (This has yet to happen in 37 years, but why not try again now when I really need it!!!!?!) My alarm was set for 5:00 a.m., my intention was to head to bed.

But it just didn’t happen. One of the boys got up with a tummy ache, I realized that I still needed to turn off all the lights downstairs and let the dogs out, my husband asked if we were ever going to hang out again. The pressure was on. The other reality is that I absolutely hate going to the gym in the mornings.

Leaving for the gym at 5 a.m. also means an insane amount of preparation: packing lunches, gym bag, work clothes, prepping breakfast, solidifying lesson plans– all things that I usually do in the morning before work. First world problems, I realize this. But stumbling blocks, nonetheless.

More importantly, if I am gone in the mornings I miss out on those precious moments right as I am heading off to work and my boys rise each day. We say our good mornings/goodbyes. I’m able to give squeezes, and kisses, and wishes for a wonderful day. This time is very important to me. So what am I to choose?

I’ve been looking at this problem from many sides for a few months now and it is time to make a change. Something’s gotta give. I understand that part of this conundrum is the “having it all” syndrome. The idea that you can balance the big five: family, work, sleep, working out, and friendships.

The night my plans to make a fresh start in the working out world crashed and burned for maybe the seventh time in as many months, I sat on the couch dejected. My phone buzzed with a text message from my husband upstairs. “Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one who can’t have it all.” He wrote, with a link to an Inc.com interview by Jessica Stillman with Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Mark). Ms. Zuckerberg explains that if the five pillars of life are family, work, sleep, friends, and working out. A person who wants to be successful (in any of them, to any degree) should choose three.

Wa-wa-wahhhhh. I’m still not stoked on this paradigm. Though I have to admit that I’ve been living it for half-a-year or so. (Or if you ask my close friends, people who I loved, cherished, and treasured before I had a full-time job how I’m doing on the friend front [read POORLY] I’ve probably been struggling with this shift in balance from day one of full-time employment.)

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After parleying the merits of this approach– big five, choose three– for some time now I’ve come to believe that perhaps a more nuanced look into each of these– family, work, sleep, friends, working out– might yield more benefit. I read this article by Mallika Chopra, and it encouraged me to be more open to examining my balance, desires, and involvement in all aspects of my life in a more refined way.

Below are the five things I’m doing to realize more balance in my every day:

Working out in smaller chunks

In the past I had time to work out for 60 to 90 minutes a day, no problem. I have always enjoyed working out, so I knew that I wasn’t experiencing an apathy issue. I just simply didn’t/don’t have the luxury of devoting the same amount of time as I did in the past to physical fitness.

One of the mistakes I made was to mislabel the lack of time I had (of course my schedule is tighter) for NO time whatsoever. I DO have time. I simply need to realign my idea how much time a full work out really needs to be effective. My plan is to work out for 30 minutes a day.

If I have more time, great. If not, I’ll take the 30 minutes I can get! I have also had to refresh some of my work out modes. For example, I set my bike up on my trainer at home. I can hop out of bed, into my clothes, and be on my bike in less than five minutes. I also downloaded several workout apps to my phone. This will make it easier to get SOME sort of workout in, no matter the days’ schedule.

Contacting one of my friends every week

I value all my friendships very highly. I may not be able to devote as much time and energy to each of my friends as I did in the past, but I can still make an effort to reach out with sincere love and care. I am going to call one of my friends once a week every week. This includes my sisters, and some of my friends that are very distant from me geographically. There’s no reason I can’t pick up the phone and simply let them know that I am thinking of them.

Maintaining some of the positive changes I’ve made to my schedule this past year

I have established some very good habits this past year, and I don’t want to forget that during this increasingly busy time in my life I have been able to dial in some habits that I want to keep forever.

One of those is a more balanced approach to sleep, i.e. the pure recognition that I am a human that works best if I have eight hours of sleep every night. I function better, I am happier, and I am more productive in every way if I pay attention to getting enough rest.

Another one of the healthy habits I felt stayed consistent during some of these life changes was my commitment to family dinners. A huge thank you to The Six O’clock Scramble, revolutionizing dinnertime one family meal at a time.

I have such a belief in and reverence for family dinner, and I was able to maintain a relatively consistent dinner schedule through the past year-and-a-half. Home cooked meals were and are happening, and I want to make sure that this continues.

Scheduling chores and cleanup in more organized and specific time frame

With the job, and the move, and the increased activity level the struggle to maintain home tidiness has been real! I have to say that we have tried our best to keep every aspect of life clean and good working order. But it is time, time for the chore chart, time for task delegation, and time to set up a rotating system or jobs that benefit our home environment.

We’re dialing in laundry by giving every one a wash day, and have made great strides (read my husband has worked miracles on our home to make it more sound, more pleasant, more functional, and more beautiful) to get this new home in functioning as well as orderly condition.

We’ll get there, so this week will include a long hard look at some of the chores that need to be address on the regular. My fear is that this will become a fight between the parents and other occupants of the household, my hope is that if we get into a true routine with our chores it will move along seamlessly (ha ha, I know). Cheers to trying for balance in chore land!!

Meditating

Meditation time may also fall under the category of ME TIME. When discussing some of my new approaches to balance with friends, many of them mentioned that it is important to have time for yourself. Time that is not devoted to a particular enterprise or even goal. This meditation time might be spent genuinely meditating. It might be spent reading. It might be spent painting my toenails.

The important thing is that I don’t lose sight of some of the little things that I might need to bring continuity and even free flow to my new practice of balance.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject of maintaining personal balance. As for me, I need to quit this post so that I can start acting on the steps I’ve outlined!! Have a wonderful Monday, friends.

XX, Megan

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Garlic Shrimp with Cherry Tomatoes

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This reciep posted last week, and I admit that it went to press completely unedited– no pictures, no commentary, nothing other than the recipe. I am updating it now because it really is SUCH a wonderful meal. I thought about taking the post down. I’ve never let anything publish on my blog that wasn’t written and edited before.

But this time I thought, “You know what, this is real life. Real time.” I.e. NO TIME! 🙂 And I let the article stay put. Now, a week later, I am showing up to add the appropriate photos, links, and this little blurb about my whoops!

This dinner was another Six O’clock Scramble* win? It was enjoyed by one and all. If I were to make it again, I might try it with the parmesan, as that would take it to a whole new delicious level. Beyond this dinner, thank you for reading, following, commenting, and supporting my little blog. I am still very much enjoying my tiny corner of the internet! Have a great Monday!!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (preferably US or Canadian farmed or wild shrimp), peeled and deveined, thoroughly dried
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, (4 – 6 cloves)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded (poke out seeds with your thumb after halving)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, or use basil
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
 Directions:

In a large heavy skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, add the shrimp in a single layer and sauté them for about 2 minutes per side until they are pink and opaque throughout. (Meanwhile, prepare the green beans, if you are serving them.)

Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook everything for 2 – 3 more minutes, until the tomatoes start to soften. Stir in the parsley (or basil), Parmesan cheese (optional), and toss until the shrimp and tomatoes are nicely coated. Serve immediately.

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*The Six O’Clock Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.