Monday, February 24, 2014

Letting Go of Perfect

Last week, I gave myself a beautiful gift: I let go of the idea of perfection.

I always feel as though I need to be perfect for those around me, perfect in my school work, perfect in my house work. It becomes exhausting, as many of you may already know!

I let go of that idea. I threw it out the window and just said that I will try and do well at everything. No need to be perfect because that's just a crazy ideal.

It has been freeing to let go of that. If you're like me and hold yourself to a certain standard, you may be making yourself sick or stressed or worried over things that you don't need to stress over.

Let 'perfect' go. And know that whatever takes its place will end up being good enough and possibly even great.

Friday, February 14, 2014

One Week Spending Challenge Update!

We will successfully complete our one week spending challenge today!  We went one (school) week with the goal of only spending money on necessities (like gas) and not purchasing extra food, coffee, or stuff.  We paid for gas, parking, and some things like toilet paper but we managed to only spend $1 extra (I really needed those Lorna Doones to get me through my afternoon class!).

Just like many of the bloggers I have read who do these kinds of challenges, I really didn't miss that coffee that I thought about or the extra snack that I wanted but did not actually need.  We cooked at home every night and made our lunches to bring to school.

It was a really great feeling to have not wasted at least $10 on Starbucks and who knows how much more on other things!

Now...we're leaving for Vegas tonight for a short two night stay with my sister-in-law so we know a few meals out are in our near future.  But since we did so well this week, we don't feel bad at all at splurging a little on this mini vacation.

Have you ever tried to go for a period of time without spending superfluous money?!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The One Week Spending Challenge

I freaked out the other day.  I'm not a freaker outer really but I saw how much money I owe in loans, I panicked and came home and told my husband that we could never spend any money, ever again.

Obviously, this was an unrealistic expectation.  BUT we DID decide on a one (school week) spending challenge.

This week, we are seeing just how little money we can spend on non-essentials.  We are "allowed" to buy gas, toilet paper, dog food, etc.; the things that we need to live.  We are "not allowed" to spend money on extra food, coffee, and Amazon purchases of books or things for the house.

So far, we have succeeded in only spending $1 on extra things (I really needed some sugar to get through my late class on Monday, thank you, Lorna Dunes).  We haven't gone out for food or bought unnecessary things.  Only two more days to make it through before our weekend in Vegas!

So far, it feels really good to NOT spend extra money.  Each time I DON'T spend $7 on a burrito or $3.50 on a coffee, I know it's that much more money we can put towards the things we really want!

We'll see how the rest of the week goes!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Minimalist Fail

We bought Groupons for a yoga studio nearby (which was a great deal and we didn't mind spending money on, since we don't spend money on a gym, etc.) but then we decided we needed some yoga clothes.

Let's just say that if you tallied up what I've sold so far (one really nice leather briefcase) and the amount we've spent on the yoga stuff, we're still in the hole.

Onward and upward!!  We'll just need to do better moving forward!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Great Email Massacre

I think the only time I ever had 0 emails in my inbox or 1 unread email was the day I created my accounts.


I went through my three main email accounts and deleted all unnecessary emails and read any that were still "unread."  It feels so mentally FREEING!! I no longer have email clutter, so I feel free to declutter other places now too.

This whole minimalism thing is definitely fun so far!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is Minimal More?

It's always wonderful when, as a graduate student, my classes work together SO well that each bleeds into another and the messages constantly cross paths.  This semester, I am lucky enough to be learning about fun topics like biblical texts of transformation, topics in preaching in the 21st century, and mussar (a Jewish ethical and moral personal development practice).  Well...they're fun if you're in rabbinical school and like these kinds of things!

I have never been one to declutter my life in any way.  I am always messy, almost always disorganized in some way, and always feeling like I need to clean and declutter the major areas of our house. I'm also terrible at getting rid of things and have always looked up to my sister who has always been much better at letting go of belongings.  Well, when I decided to change my eating choices, I also started to scrutinize all of my other belongings.

Do I really need that leather briefcase that I LOVE so much?  It was the first big purchase I made when I had a read job and I bought it in hopes of using it constantly in rabbinical school.  I did a ton of research and found a company with a 100 year warranty and I really do love that thing.  I know, it's weird to love objects but I just admire its workmanship and beauty so much. I decided that since it no longer suited my needs for school AND it is leather, which no longer suits my ethical living, I would sell it.  I went back and forth at first...should I sell it?  But I love that thing!  But it doesn't work anymore and I don't feel good using it!  But what if I change my mind????

I found a friend who had been looking at these very briefcases online for some time.  He agreed to pay a hefty amount (they really keep their value since they're so well made and have such a good warranty) and I finally let go of the bag.  I knew it was the right decision, but that choice to let it go was hard.  I replaced it with a messenger bag that is big enough to hold everything I need and is made of canvas so I feel better using it.  Do I miss my leather bag?  No. I am glad to have sold it so it will be used and loved.  I feel great with my new bag and learned the most valuable lesson of all: things do not need to be loved because they will never love me back.

I was proud to be able to buy that bag and when I used it for a while, I loved the compliments I would receive on its behalf.  I don't need it though.  It wasn't right for my lifestyle and I hope its new owner will love it to its 100 year death.

So...then I was left with a big question mark about all the other superfluous THINGS in my life.  Do I really need all these books?  Some are essential as a rabbinical student, I can't just give my set of mishnah away but those random books a professor gave me to read when she was cleaning out her office?  They got the boot.

Slowly, I have been pruning back possessions.  That iPad case that's been sitting around the house JUST IN CASE we need it some day?  Gone.  The leather card case I used as a wallet for a few years but then traded out recently for a non-leather one?  Also donated.  Clothes I forgot were in my closet?  You get the idea.

And it feels very freeing.  I can let go of these items because I know I don't need them and if I ever DID need an iPad case?  We would buy one.

My venture into a more minimalist lifestyle has been guided by two blogs: Becoming Minimalist and Zen Habits.  Now, these gents are true minimalists.  I don't know if I'll ever get there but I am going to use their advice and writing to help me get a heck of a lot closer!  Some of the minimalist bloggers out there live with less than 100 items in their whole life!  I'm truly fascinated and in awe of their style.

I am excited to start making decisions to keep only what I truly need and discard the rest.  So far, my closet is cleaner, I actually have some room on my bookshelf, our house is looking a little less cluttered and I just feel better knowing that I'm donating things I just don't need anymore.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Healthy, Happy Runners - We Did It!!

Two weekends ago, we completed the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland!!  This was both my husband's and my first race longer than a 10k so it was quite a momentous weekend.
Special carpets just for the race!!
We went to the Expo to get our bibs and goodies on Friday, which proved to be a good plan in order to avoid crowds an chaos.  We also didn't need to rush once we got to Anaheim on Saturday, since the Expo closed at 5pm and we didn't get to Anaheim until around 3:45pm anyway.  We also didn't need to do much walking the day before the race, which was great.
At the Expo with my first half marathon bib!!  EEEEE!!!!
Since we ran with Team In Training, we had our hotel and dinner the night before the race taken care of, which I'm sure cut down on stress!  We headed to Anaheim with our very own cheerleader (my wonderful sister-in-law) on Saturday afternoon and relaxed the rest of the evening among our friends and new TNT family.
Thanking all of our fab friends and family for donating to our fundraising campaign!
The night and sleeping went by so quickly that all of a sudden, it was 3:30am and we were meeting the team in the lobby of the hotel to head to the corrals!  RunDisney races begin SO early (presumably to both beat the heat and allow the parks to open somewhat normally) so we needed to be at the corrals by around 4:30am at the latest for the 5am start time.  If you have never run a Disney race, I highly recommend it.  In proper Disney fashion, everything was organized, easy to navigate and FUN!!

I ran with one of my teammates (who wasn't even PLANNING on running the whole time!) and had a blast.  I won't lie, it was TOUGH.  I trained pretty hard since September but honestly, I could have used another two months to train in order to not be hurting during the race.  I also happened to hurt my left arch at our last practice and catch a stomach bug the Monday before the race.  So, I was admittedly not in what I would call "race ready" physical condition as much as I would like.

Nonetheless, I FINISHED!!  I ran/walked the whole time at a 1:1 interval.  Lots of people do this on the Disney course, especially since the plans they offer have run/walk intervals.  I highly recommend it if you're doing your first longer race.  I felt much less terrible the whole time than I would have if I had tried to run the whole thing!  I ran 14:35 minute miles for a finishing time of 3:11.  My goal was to finish in less time than the course max (3:30) so I beat my goal and obviously set a PR!!  Easy to do on your first race!

They had plenty of aid stations that I never felt like I wasn't getting enough water.  The volunteers were so kind and the cheerleaders and marching band members from local schools cheered us on the whole way!  The best part was, of course, the first 5+ miles that wound through the parks but coming back at the end to a packed finish line area was pretty awesome as well.  I got so emotional in the last mile stretch ("Oh my goodness, I'm actually going to do it!!") that my teammates and coaches were laughing a little.  I worked really hard to get to that finish line and I reveled in giving Mickey a high five before throwing up my arms and giving the photogs a huge smile.

If you're not running now, you CAN complete a half marathon.  I pretty much went from couch potato to half marathon finisher in about 3.5 months.  I recommend sticking to your training plan (like really stick to it, don't just say you are and then skip a run or two each week, you're only sabotaging yourself) and remembering that running or run/walking does NOT mean that you can eat crappy food and be unhealthy, in general.

AND - I did all my training as a vegetarian and then a (mostly) vegan!  I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for the first month or so of training and then I cut out all dairy and almost all eggs for the remainder of training.  I still sometimes eat (overpriced) certified humanely raised and pastured eggs but I will most likely stop eating even those very soon, depending on where the birds go once they're done being laying hens. Matt at No Meat Athlete or any other vegan/vegetarian/plant based runner will tell you, it's doable and worth it!!
After a hard-earned delicious lunch at ESPN Zone with friends!  Look at that bling!
Did anyone else run the Tinker Bell race?!  What have you learned by running as a veg athlete!?