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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‘Advanced’ Yoga Poses You Can Actually Do!


You see those OM-mazing yoga poses on Instagram and think, “I could NEVER do that!” Well, you CAN and here’s how!

  • Build Strength
  • Start Small
  • Build Confidence
  • Let go of expectations

And remember, there most advanced yoga is when you know how to LISTEN to your own body and follow its advice. So in many cases, child’s pose is much more “advanced” than a handstand!

Try this Baby Grasshopper pose, which looks quite impressive but may surprise you with its ease (for some). Learn it HERE on my monthly Fresh Living segment.

For more information or to schedule a meditation consultation, visitsimplegreenme.com.

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#15secondzen – just for parents

Lindsay Aerts, a radio personality who currently hosts a  show for moms on KSL radio, organizes the annual Climb Out of Darkness event in Salt Lake City. The event raises awareness for postpartum mood/mental disorders that include OCD, PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. 

I had to heal my own postpartum depression (and still have “blue” days), so this story is very near and dear to my heart. So many women struggle with this yet never ask for help because of the social stigma of mental symptoms. There is also a societal pressure to “snap out of it” or “that’s just motherhood” but Lindsay, who dealt with Postpartum Anxiety, says, “motherhood is hard, but it shouldn’t be suffering.”

That’s why Lindsay is featured in today’s #15secondzen. She aims to help all moms manage their moods with this one simple tip. 

**yoga and meditation helps me so much. Get yours at www.simplegreenme.com!


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From house to condo: A Downsized home tour

Though we’d been talking about it for awhile, we had no idea what we were in for: Moving a family of four (yes, we count our dog) into a 2-bed, 1-bath condo. When our (AMAZING) realtor Jenny Pace took us to the downtown condo for the initial walk-through, we had our rose-colored glasses on. But when moving day put us back into the now-empty, 878-square-foot condo, my husband and I started missing our 1400-square-foot house, and all the beautiful upgrades we had put into it. Even though we kept our house and are currently renting it out, this felt like starting over…on a lower level.  But that feeling left as soon as our stuff went in, and fit PERFECLTY! In our old house, TWO BEDROOMS sat unused; one held a desk, and the other, a guest bed. Now, our desk takes up the right amount of space – a spot in the main area – and guests may sleep on our fold-down couch. No wasted space, and no extra space to clean! Plus, the two bedrooms we do have are far bigger than the ones we occupied while in the house. 

There’s also a lot to be said about layout; our old house was pretty open but was not laid out in as good of a flow as this condo! I think because condos have to be efficient to make the building work, most times builders put effort into smart design. 

I also must say that with our own style inside, and our own art on the walls, this place feels SO cozy and luxurious! (The view of the Capitol doesn’t hurt…feels like we are in Europe or Washington DC!). We definitely plan to renovate a few things (kitchen, floors, paint) but are in no rush because we’ll be here awhile. 

The initial sadness of stepping into a new life has completely dissolved now that our new life is so EASY and adventurous and exciting and fun!! Read all the upsides we’ve experienced  by downsizing HERE
Enjoy the tour! Let me know about your own downsizing experience or desires in the comments! 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 


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We did it! Downsizing from house to condo!

  
We finally practiced what we preach and moved from our 1400-square-foot suburban ranch to a 890-square-foot condo in the city! 

Not only are we saving money on our mortgage that we’ve already been able to put toward a vacation, but we’re playing WAYYYYY fewer utilities and haven’t used our second car in a week!! And even with a crazed, energetic toddler, AND a dog, we haven’t missed our yard. I think when you make a move like this, you ACCEPT that you need to take the dog/baby out on outings, and it becomes your lifestyle, and it’s actually FUN. 

Bonus: we’re getting an amazing workout, walking to our nearby coffee shops and restaurants, and feeling IN THE MOMENT as we marvel at the simplicity and efficiency of our new life! We’ve had surprisingly tons more family time by cutting out excessive errands/space from our old life. It’s amazing how downsizing affects everything, and improves your relationships. Perhaps because there’s less to stress about, and more to appreciate? 

Moving was easy because we downsized slowly over a few months, so we only took with us stuff we really treasured/needed!

Now, everything in our new house has a place, it all fits perfectly, and we have STORAGE TO SPARE! 

Now, ill be sharing tips for downsizing/organizing your home and how to make the most of a small space. You’ll even here about my balcony garden. 

Cheers to new, better beginnings!


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8 tips for easier travel with a toddler

   
Even though it’s now a bazillion times harder (packing for two is just the BEGINNING), having a baby didn’t cure the travel bug. So, when you must drag a now-toddler first on a 13-hour road trip, then a 2-leg plane journey, I hope you find these ideas save you at least a couple Xanax (because we all know we need more than PATIENCE to cope with a small megalomaniac).

ROAD TRIP

1. Bag of Goodies – place an easily-accessible basket of goodies next to the car seat. 

  
A) books

B) fake wallet full of loyalty cards (a clear winner)

C) sound-maker toys

D) wooden “thinker” toys or single-piece/all-in-one puzzles

E) an empty wipe package full with cut-cloth squares (it was also a winner! As long as you don’t mind picking them up and putting them back in every time).

D) crayons and hard-back notepad (the crayons themselves eventually become entertainment…biting, eating, snapping in two…)

E) snacks, snacks, and more snacks! As many different finger-foods as you can muster! I liked sandwich crackers,  pretzel sticks, seed-bread, veggie pouches and the occasional sucker. For a month, at each visit to the store, I’d put another snack in the cart.

   
2. Sitting next to him or her – he was so much happier and calmer when I sat in the back with him! 

3. IPad with his or her fave flick – I don’t allow games yet (I have weird phobias) but I will let him watch a few non-lame movies. We bought and downloaded his fave movie “the Boxtrolls” (14.99 – good thing we just needed one!), and he was cool and calm drinking it in a few 20-min intervals at a time. 

PLANE TRIP

When you are flying solo with a toddler, or even with help, two plane rides and a layover can seem like a death wish! And it could be…but this is what made my experience actually pretty darn pleasant.

1. Family restrooms – your own private safe-haven to refresh/relieve yourself, change diapers, sanitize, and just play for a few minutes in peace! He liked climbing on the “baby seat” and the changing table, and washing his hands.

2. Eat – my toddler and I are used to restaurants (he’s not well-behaved, but I know what he’ll be like and what he usually needs), so it seemed natural to grab dinner during the layover. It fed us, took up time, and he made lots of friends with the servers. Plus, I got to have an adult beverage (tequila only – the sole alcohol that doesn’t make me feel sluggish and depressed)!

3. Yoga – there’s plenty of open space in the airport, so movement like yoga, stretching, stomping, dancing, etc helps get the wiggles out before the plane!

  
4. Machinery – escalators, moving walkways, elevators…you know what your toddler likes.

5. On the plane – it’s hard to keep your toddler entertained on the plane. I found “can you find the ___” game using the flight magazines to be helpful! Snacks, too. And the iPad. It really is like the only option for a cramped plane ride with a hyper 20-month-old. 

Hope this helps you prepare for your parent-tot trip! And rest assured that all this preparation pays off, and that the hard moments where you feel like breaking down are at least twice as infrequent as seeing your child experience a new place, and new memories. 


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DIY Holiday Card

   
 
It’s our first Christmas card as a family of three, but even still, the thought of getting a professional photographer and printing a gazillion cards loomed like a dentist visit. So I chose easy.

CHOOSE A PHOTO

Instead of orchestrating a family sitting, I took a photo from Halloween and got creative! It could have been any costume…all you have to do is craft your message around it. We linked ‘jailbird’ with ‘naughty list’ and voila! A clever card was born. 

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

For the cover, we edited the photo with PicTapGo (lots more options than Insta; you can brighten and equalize and color and everything soooo easily). Then we added text over it in After Photo. Now that we have the image, we needed the card. Thank you, Shutterfly, for making it so simple, I literally did it while making dinner. Uploaded my image onto a 5×7 format, wrote text to put on the back, then ordered my prints!

That’s it! Simple solution for a card your loved ones won’t likely toss in the trash…till January. 


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Is AirBnB really better than all-inclusive / resort accommodations? (Hint, YES)

this resort may have cool furniture, but thats the last thing you’ll remember from your trip!

What’s with our attachment to resorts? I swear, we hear the word and instantly conjure images of being fanned with palm leaves while being funneled full of pina coladas. Well, let’s go ahead and reprogram your brain because resorts are your grandparent’s idea of a good time, and not a friend to the experience-hungry traveler (especially with kids) on a budget. Let’s talk about the time I went to Miami, when  my husband and I booked a nice, large-scale hotel – pretty much a resort – thinking it’d be uber-convenient, especially when traveling with a toddler. Imagine being able to eat, swim, get a snack at the gift shop, and access the beach – all within steps of your room in case of the inevitable toddler meltdown! Instead, we found out the hard way that the inconveniences and costs of a resort-style hotel totally outnumber the benefits.

LACK OF OPTIONS

First, we weren’t in love with the food from the resort’s ONLY restaurant. Even if you love the resort’s restaurant(s), you will grow weary of seeing the same waiter fake a smile for you. 

Also, everything is expensive! I felt tangible PAIN every time I had to fork over $5 for bottled water (not even for the jumbo-sized kind, either) at the gift shop. And it wasn’t just the provisions that fell below par; but we also got super-bored of the whole campus in about two hours (a toddler can only climb up and down so many wing-backed chairs). Hey, even while staying at a yoga resort in Tulum – the very definition of paradise – I left campus every day for a change of scenery. We could have done ourselves a huge favor and opted for the following kind of stay instead.
Take a small, boutique hotel like The President; an Art Deco inn right on the main drag of South Beach. We actually ended up eating breakfast here every day because of the cheap prices, the variety of meal/price options and most importantly, the hostel-like vibe. A revolving door of International guests, folks sharing the paper and swapping travel stories…you know, that overwhelmingly awesome vibe that is the WHOLE reason you travel? Anyway, here, breakfast for the guests is included (even the coffee, which would have saved us obscene amounts of money thrown to the Starbucks monster). Did I mention that originally, when I was booking our resort, the option to include breakfast cost an extra $20/person per day? Tell me how much sense that makes when you can get eggs, fruit and potatoes at The President for $6.99? That’s breakfast blasphemy! 

a smaller place in the main area is a better for maximizing time and money

Guests of this smaller hotel eat up yet another treat for both wallet and senses: Dozens of culinary options, in all price ranges, within walking distance. At our resort, to break up the monotony, the only thing we had to look forward to was the food, which was the same style and cost the same $24.95 a head. So, what would happen if we wanted a $3 bagel for breakfast? A $7 sandwich for lunch? A $2.50 scoop of gelato? Sorry! You’re stuck with a $6 cup of gift-shop Hagen Daas (in a flavor you haven’t eaten since the 90s)!

Speaking of gift shops, The President’s nearby convenience store would have been invaluable for diapers/milk runs, a piece of fruit, and  bottles of water that cost $1, not $1 million. And let’s talk liquor stores – crucial! A mini bottle of cheap wine was $12 at the resort. Options are IMPERATIVE when you’re on any sort of budget.

GUARUNTEED  BOREDOM

Lastly, the GROUNDS. The pool was okay but when you have kids, you swim for 20 minutes then it’s diaper change time and either they’re done or you are utterly fried from keeping them from drowning during that time. Same goes for the beach access; it’s convenient, for sure, but don’t let that be the deal-breaker when booking a smaller hotel, because any beach worth visiting also has a public entrance, and it’s usually in the cool part of town, which conveniently allows you to plan other activities around beach time. 

You’re probably shocked and saddened by this news that our ol’ resort fantasy is just that – fantasy. Our hotel was indeed easy on the eyes. Lounge chairs on the beach. Seemingly all the luxe amenities one would need. But there was nothing practical about it. And it felt impersonal. And repetitive. We got the greatest satisfaction (I.e. Keeping our toddler happy for the longest amount of time) by driving to the main drag and taking the baby into different shops and hotel lobbies and parks and cafes. In fact, our favorite day was when we left the hotel in the morning, came back midday for nap time (always plan your day in two halves with a toddler: pre- and post- nap!), then went right back to the main area. We pretty much avoided the hotel like the boring money pit it was. And I encourage any budget-minded traveler looking for economy of experience to do the same.