Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!


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The downsized guide to downsizing

my husband’s closet, downsized

It’s so ironic; I could write VOLUMES on how to downsize your life, covering everything from decluttering, to cutting spending, to changing your living situation. But in the name of downsizing, I commit to keeping this brief.

1. GET ORGANIZED

The first step to downsizing your life is put everything in its place. Don’t know where that  HDMI-or-USB-or-maybe-maybe-it-charges-my-old-camera cord goes? E-waste it!! You can always buy a replacement on Amazon if it ever comes up. The #1 rule I learned from “Hoarders” tv organizational expert Linda Isom is everything should have a place. Now, when I’m picking up the house or going through mail and I’m thinking more than two minutes about where I’m gonna put this, it’s gonna go OUT. you should pick something up and know it gets filed here, or put in this specific drawer. Make sense? It’s a life changer. Getting organized also means keeping a budget, keeping your affairs in order, tying up loose ends, keeping a calendar. Basically, getting rid of that impending doom feeling that you might be forgetting/missing something.

2. PURGE

This is the biggest commitment to downsizing. you read this everywhere, but it’s hard to picture it Happening in your life. But let me inspire you. I’m a TV host and you think I need endless clothing so I don’t wear the same thing on TV every day. Good assumption, but I actually pared all my clothing down into one small collection that features various staples that can be rearranged for endless combo ls of outfits. My husband and I each bought a rolling costume rack from the classifieds and whatever didn’t fit, WENT! And it’s not like I can’t get any wardrobe updates. if I want to buy “new” (always secondhand!) clothes, I sell some of my old ones first – usually to the same secondhand shop – so, really, I’m always wearing current clothing by upcycling , and it hardly costs me anything! Sell something, buy something with the in-store credit. It’s an even trade, rather than stockpiling or over-consuming.

What about my BOXES of childhood poems (I was heavily influenced by Shel Silverstien, which means they’re ridiculous), schoolwork (brag much?) and mementos? Am I just gonna let them collect dust in the garage? I want to, but I decided to go through and take out only the ones I know I’ll get a laugh over again and again, or that truly represent me as the person I am. I still have one box left, but it’s better than 8. And now that I have a little one, it’s just gonna keep piling up, right? Not when you upload all pics to an app like SHUTTERFLY, and photograph all art and awards for upload onto a storage/sharing site like KEEPSY. Now I’ve gotta go do that with the box of stuff I have left.

And do you really need 5 different wooden spoons or pairs of snowboarding socks or DVDs? Get rid of repeats and obsoletes. YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY IT AGAIN ON AMAZON IF YOU MISS IT DESPERATELY. This has happened to me exactly zero times.

3. MAKE THE LEAP

you’re never gonna truly downsize your life if you’re still working that stressful job or living in your 2000-square-foot McMansion. Life changes need to happen in order for you to become truly unshackled. Get rid of your mortgage! Here’s how. Drop your full-time job and get two creative-brained part-time jobs (it’s the new normal; thanks, Millenials!). Go on Flexjobs.com and get inspired. Don’t know what your life’s purpose is? Take a weekend vacay to clear your head and plan your next steps. This is your LIFE we’re talking about! We’re talking about ripping out all the stuff that stresses you out and holds you down so that you can live your happiest life, because it’s the only one you’ve got! Unless you’re a reincarnation type; then it’s just good karma.


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3 Reasons I’m Buying a Tiny Home

   
 
I am a feature reporter for the CBS affiliate here in Utah and I literally squealed when I got this assignment. COVER TINY HOMES!? Like, GO INSIDE TINY HOMES?! I never thought – after years of living vicariously through Pinterest and HGTV – that I would get to step foot into one of these beauts, let alone 6 of them.

At the Salt Lake Home Show, I was joined by HGTV superstar Taniya Nayak, who fell in love with these homes like I did. I was expecting to be like the wussy potential buyers on Tiny House Hunters who say, “I didn’t think it’d be THIS small..”

But no. I’m more in love than ever. And here’s why.

1. Who doesn’t love cozy?

Think of that cabin you always rent or dream of renting in the mountains, with a fireplace, because it’s so darn cozy. Tiny homes are that. They have that feeling where you just want to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and binge-watch “making a murder” all night. 

2. They have everything you need

This one could t have been more than 300 square feet and it felt huge! I think the trick was the big bathroom that included a W/D and full size tub. The kitchen took up one wall and a TV hung over the sink so the adjacent couch had a nice view. The loft felt big and cozy, too! I thought I’d hate those and feel claustrophobic with little head room. Nope! I wanna climb in and have a treehouse sleepover every night!

3. They’re only getting better

New technology and more efficient design are making it easier to live tiny without feeling the sacrifice. Well-stowed kitchen tables, trundle beds, and push-button bump outs are just some of the tricks that add the most space to your sanctuary.

I could gush all day about the low cost and high value of living tiny, but I’d be writing all day! Here’s to keeping the dream alive that one day, my 1400 square feet will become 300 plus an acre for horses. 🐴


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5 things yogis always bring on airplanes 

This is a post on how to survive air travel. I say, “survive” because: if you’re monkey-barring it from redeye to redeye (SLC to JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland for me), your body and mind are very much in full-on survival mode. But instead of imploding with dehydration, fatigue and mind-exploding annoyance, a few simple tricks derived from yogic principals of self-care can help you keep you sanity, physical health, and most importantly, sense of humor (proof these work: I just belly-laughed after waking up on an airport floor over my “bed:” A spread out coat with a jumbled up scarf as the pillow). So remember to bring the following items next time you travel!

 
 1. GOOD GEAR

I don’t know why I resisted the travel pillow for so long (too tourist you?). I thought I had it all figured out by piling my coat on the tray table and face-planting into hopefully an hour or two of lame plane sleep. But when I tried a cushy neck pillow (paired with my sassy lil eye mask), I found it even easier to catch quality shuteye whether in an aisle, window or middle seat – or even at the gate during a layover Without these items, my “heads up, seven up” position – in which, by the way, I am frequently head-slammed by the person in front of me raising and lowering their seat – is my only option.

 2. IMMUNITY BOOSTERS 

You know that tray table I was just talking about? Travelmath.com says it houses more germs than the handle on the toilet. It’s no surprise that airports, public restrooms, and flying capsules in which hundreds of dirty little sardines are packed are breeding grounds for vacay-ruining viruses. So not only chug your water (save $$$ by buying a water bottle after security and keep refilling it), but also stock up on prevention methods and put in your body only what serves to strengthen immunity. I’ve had great success popping a Doterra OnGuard beadlet, capsules of various bacteria-fighting essential oils, pre- and post-flight to keep me healthy. For that same reason, I always stow packets of Emergen-C to mix with water at my new destination for a measurable boost in my physical wellness and energy. In addition to these virus-vanishing methods, plus eating healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt and fruit, I always drink green while traveling! Pre-flight out of Salt Lake City, I slammed a Suja Mighty Greens cold-pressed juice. During my JKF layover, I found an energy boost with Jamba Juice’s Matcha (and kale) smoothie. Then I stepped off the plane in Reykjavek, Iceland, and after two nights of travel, I let out an audible “yes!” when a juice bar is the first thing I see out of passport control (which also says a lot about these healthy Icelanders). I chugged my kale-packed Green Mile juice and fought off jet lag long enough to enjoy a 2-hour horseback ride – in freezing Arctic temperatures, no less! This trip, I know all the nutrients saved me from getting that God-awful roly-poly tummy and just overall hangover feeling i get on trips where French fries, potato chips and chicken fingers are on the menu.

3. PEACE OF MIND

Remembering flight times, replaying travel plans, and dealing with the mildew-smelling man in the seat next to you is a recipe for anxiety. So keep your head calm with music; its proven to fight stress. My husband made fun of me when I resurrected my 80GB-packed iPod (whose curation was my life’s work up until about five years ago) to save on inflight wi-fi fees from web-based services like Spotify. But I was the one laughing when he sheepishly leaned over to ask for an earbud when he had trouble falling asleep! I also stocked up on guided audio meditations, which help promote the “go with the flow” mentality that’s so crucial for travel. Then there’s adult coloring books (worth the space in your carry-on, I promise), and also pampering yourself, which we’ll discuss more now.

  
4. WAYS TO PAMPER

During a long layover in JFK, we decided to make the most of it and Subway-it into NYC. Even though we travelled light, with one backpack each, hauling them and ourselves up and down subway steps and around 30 city blocks for at least eight hours, made for some tired, sore bodies. Fueled by desperation, back at the airport, I finally tried the Xpress Spa. Holy life-changing, Batman! I will forever budget $45 ($35 foot massage plus tip) into any long flight plans from now on. I got to lay in a shiatsu massage chair – which kneaded my sore back like play dough- while a stern woman worked the kinks out of my feet, ankles and legs. The 15 blissful minutes felt like 45 because I was getting full-body attention…for the price of a $35 foot massage! Prices there range from $20-$65 and cover services including mani-pedis, facials and full-body massages. On the way back to my gate (and aforementioned airport-floor bed), I felt like a new woman, renewed for my next leg of adventure.  Another method that helps me mold “me” time out of a flight is applying spa products. The major benefit of this is that you can allow hard-working products like masks to absorb longer on your skin than you typically have time for at home. At the very least, I always take eye cream, and as you can see, my husband approves of the under-eye gel masks I scored for $1.25 at Xspress Spa.

  
5. TENSION RELIEF

  • If sitting is the new smoking, air travel is an entire pack of them cancer sticks! Movement is key when you’re dealing with long periods of stagnation. Learn a few basic yoga poses that move stale energy and muscle tension out of your body. Yes, people do look at me weird when I bust into downward dog right there at the gate, but I don’t care because my hips and hamstrings are getting a stretch, my inverted brain gets a rush of new oxygen, and I’m toning the muscles in my arms and core. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to to be at an airport with a yoga room (thanks, SFO). But even if you’re too shy to wag your tail in public, you can at least bring along some natural, medicated muscle cream to cue your body to relax and enjoy the flight. I drop a few Nature’s Fusions Fire & Ice essential oils into coconut oil to rub on all my sore or fatigued spots. Doterra’s PastTense or Deep Blue work great, too, doubling as headache relief when dabbed on temples, and relief from your stinky neighbor when rolled onto your upper lip. 

 

Though there’s no cure-all for a few days of sleep-deprived air travel, I hope these tips help you relieve as much stress as they did for me on recent trips. In fact, as I lay here awake watching the wind swirl snow across rooftops from my hotel window, I’m reaching for some of these items to help soothe me into my new Icelandic schedule. 


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Natural Ways to Focus at Work

  
Whether it’s daydreaming, stress or fighting off a bad mood, having a ritual can keep you from plunging into the red during your workday.  The following tips are your prescription for a calm, empowered day.

Lemony fresh – Add lemon to your water to promote brain focus and energy (not to mention, detoxifying blood and boosting your metabolism). Don’t worry if you can’t get to a fresh lemon; a drop of essential oil has the same effect. 

Light it up – Place an eco-friendly soy candle on your desk and you not only have a West Elm cube, but also a few moments gazing at the flickering flames counts as meditation (for real!). Bonus: A calming scent like lavender scent fights stress and fatigue, while citrus promotes energy and humor.

Snack happy – Don’t forget to load up on healthy snacks to keep you energized throughout your shift. The golden rule is protein with a plant, so pack combos like peanut butter spread on a grain, fruit and nuts, or veggies and hummus. 

 • Caffienate wisely – Coffee has too many health benefits to kick, but just stick to one or two cups -spread over a few hours – to avoid fatiguing your adrenal glands. Instead, opt for water, green juice, green tea and b-vitamin powders like Emergen-C. And there’s a reason for so many options; getting a new beverage every hour guves you something to look forward to, and makes you feel like you’re getting a little treat!
Sound cloud – A noise machine or lyric-less music like Native American flutes, for example, entertain your dreaming brain so your business brain can destroy tasks sans distraction! 

Posture counts – HOW you sit is key for not just a comfortable work sesh, but also a comfortable aging process. It’s true what they say; sitting is the new smoking – mostly because poor posture can restrict circulation, cause muscle tension, and misshapen the spine over time. Learn yoga posture and all the different yoga stretchesthat you can easily do from your desk. It can be the difference between a healthy spine, and a sore back that doesn’t go away.

A new work ritual can free you from a perpetual “Monday,” and empower you to feeling that “Friday” vibe, everyday. 


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New Year Detox

  
When you’re feeling icky from one too many snowmen-shaped sugar cookies, reach for the green. Honestly, any natural food that is green has detoxifying properties that will reset your metabolism and give you a confidence boost. 

You already know how I feel about chlorophyll (take 2 tbl every day to detox our environment’s heavy metals out of your system). Then there’s green produce, which packs vitamins, plus the fiber to encourage elimination. Finally, take plentiful Epsom salt baths. Not only do you feel super soaking in the hot, salty cloud, but also, the magnesium pull heavy metals from your body, and nips stress in the bud as it ups your serotonin. 

So when you’re feeling sluggish and hefty, use the power of nature – and GREEN – to boost your body’s burning power.