Category Archives: Going Without

A New Years Post, Less is More Style.

Paris Lover's Bridge Pont Des Arts | IPOM

So I love the end of the year, and subsequently the beginning of a new one. (It wasn’t always this way).

Is there anyone else out there who feels the way I do?

I know it is maybe a little cliche, and I am fully aware of the many out there who might point out that this time of year should be no different from any other time of year. A time to maybe set some goals, a time to reflect on the year that past, a time to plan your triumph, and all too familiar for many, a time to fall short on some of those well-meaning goals we set for ourselves.

To them I say, they are all 100% right.

French United Nations Paris | IPOM

I was recently reminded of how each new second is a completely clean & brand new one, one that has never happened before. A simple thought for sure. There really is no time like right now to look around, count our blessings, and think critically about what is working for us and what is not. Why wait for a certain time of year?

As I get older, I realize that the start of each new year does represent certain things to me, and that the power that a clean slate brings is quite wonderful to embrace. I often choose a word or two that will represent what I’d like to focus on (I already have mine for the year).

Versailles Shop Bathroon Paris, France | IPOM

Never a bad time to reflect. Each moment presents itself new.

3 years ago I was struggling with a deep dissatisfaction that I couldn’t put a finger on, I had a compulsion that was out of control and desires that could never be filled (I wrote about it here and here). It was insane and unreasonable, but all too true. Things needed to change.

Two years ago I knew changes were coming, and I was excited. The search had begun, and I had no idea how or when I would find my next project. I owe huge gratitude to those who helped bring it on!

One year ago I had started on the journey. It was exhilarating and completely terrifying all at the same time.

This year, more than ever before, I feel so thankful and hopeful for both this past year AND the coming year.

This year brought this blog, sharing good food with those who have less & a re-ignited connection to the food that fuels us. It also brought a super warm and satisfying connection with ALL OF YOU. Truly, it has been so much fun, so thank you to each and every one of you for making this year truly special! πŸ™‚

Cassis, France | IPOM

Whether you have commented, emailed, called, texted, spoken to me, (perhaps the best) passed me a sly comment at the dinner table about a recipe you’ve tried, or made a generous donation or volunteered your time, you’ve all made it a year to remember!

  • What are your thoughts on creating goals for a New Year? Do you do it?
  • Is there anything you accomplished in the past year that you are especially proud of?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and best wishes to all for a safe & happy start to 2013! I owe you guys a cookie recipe I promised, but I am thinking that might have to wait until next Christmas….what do you think? Something more to look forward to is always a good thing!

Yours in Less,

Email Handwritten Signature

46 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Sweet Treats

True Storytelling: A Not So Fast Going Without Story

Time for some more storytelling. This is our story, after all.

The day was April 16, 2011. That was the day I started fasting once a week and giving the value of what I didn’t consume to those who have less.

Not So Fast began just a few days after the idea came to me, and I knew it would be a long process of putting this whole beautiful thing together, but I wanted to start right away.

Since that very first day, a few (awesome) things have gone down. A blog or two, some great discussions, a few meetings, some great food, and all of you (wonderful readers and friends -xxx)!

But enough about me.

I am honored today (back to a new recipe tomorrow!) to send you over to Somer’s blog to read her story and to see how easily a simple concept can bring beautiful people together from all over this big, beautiful world.

So head on over to see Somer, she is one amazing woman with one amazing story. Storytelling like this is just too good to miss.

If you’d like to get involved, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org.

I’d love to hear from you!

A HUGE thank you to all who so generously donated to our cause this past two weeks, we are honored by your actions and look forward to sharing even more (in less). Our second cooking class kicks off this week, so stay tuned!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a sweet new recipe! πŸ™‚

Yours in (just a little) Less,

32 Comments

Filed under discipline, Fasting, Food, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Success, Victory

Recipe: Not So Fast Easy Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

~ John Lennon

So it happened again (so many high fives)!

A group of folks got together to spend just under two hours with a group of kids from our fair city’s toughest neighborhood to cook together. To cook real food ~ food that needs no more than a few basic skills to make, skills like peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, cutting, slicing, and best of all, caring.

There is nothing that could make me any happier, or more grateful to know that no matter where you find them, kids are always just kids. They need us. They need us to teach them how to live well, and that no matter what, they are worthy of every bit of our love and our attention. Each and every single one of them.

Just two nights ago we gathered in a small community center kitchen in Vancouver’s Eastside and cooked 4 healthy & nutritious dishes, one of them being this hearty, delicious soup.

We planned for 8, thought we had 6, and ended up with 12 (by the end of the night we had 9). Having such an immense amount of interest has been just incredibly encouraging, knowing kids are eager to learn how to have fun in the kitchen. And they are hungry for good food if it’s there.

This is the first of 3 classes we will be putting on, trying to reach as many youth & families as we can in the process. I’ll be posting the recipes from our classes one by one over the course of the next few weeks, starting with today’s soup, as we are repeating this menu for the next 2 classes coming up, and in the New Year we plan to offer another round with a new menu.

So stay tuned for more great recipes, stories, photos, and full hearts! If you’d like to support us, we’d love your help. A little or a lot, it doesn’t take much to fill a little tummy. You can donate here, and read up on Not So Fast here if you are new to IPOM and my story, thanks to all of you have been with me since the start!

The Less:

Less complicated, fussy food means more pleasure in doing simple things. Less heavy, meat based soups and stews means more high-fiber, easy digesting. Less cost for good food means more to go around, so everyone can come and sit at the table.

The More:

More simple recipes means more confidence and fun in the kitchen. More warm filling soups means more warm, happy bellies. More skills where it matters means more focus on priorities, because eating well should be easy & accessible for all.

I thought I’d share what the recipes looked like for the class Tuesday night (spelling error and all). Part of our goal in arming kids with knowledge is providing tools when we can as well, so we sent each participant home with a folder full of recipes for each dish we made. It’s a little thing, but you just never know πŸ™‚

I think my heart is so full it might last quite a while. And I can’t wait to do it all over again, surrounded by literally the best team of friends & volunteers any girl could wish for (so much love & gratitude for you all). Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll share the rest of what we all cooked, how we cooked it, and the laughs and smiles we had all along the way.

To make a donation in support of our efforts, however big or small (hint: there is no small!) you can do that here, your money goes a long way! Best to all for a super wonderful week, and thank you for joining me, I am one super-inspired happy camper.

Yours in Less,

59 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Gluten Free, Going Without, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

True Stories: My Shopping Addiction & The Healing Process

A quick break for some storytelling.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

~ Confucius

True story: I love food.

I love creating food, serving food, eating food, and in general sharing the great wealth of variety & goodness we have at our fingertips.

But I love other things too.

For instance, I love shoes. And clothes. And jackets and handbags and designer lipstick.

For those of you who know (just a little) about IPOM, you may have read (at some point) my story here on my About page. The real reason I am here today, writing this blog, having started a charity from no more than a passing idea, is because just over 2 years ago I overcame a pretty big issue: a compulsive and destructive addiction to shopping.

And no, I don’t mean to cocoa nibs and kale πŸ™‚

You see, after reaching a certain level of accomplishment in my life (kids, marriage, work, home, renovated kitchen, two cars), I was at a point where I didn’t know what mountain was left still to climb.

I had it good, and it was time to show it, no? After all, isn’t that what you do after spending your life attaining all the things in life we are supposed to want?

I haven’t led a typical life, that’s for sure.

My story is long and varied for a woman of 35 and has many stories (not all of them good). I didn’t set out to have these things, but I consider myself beyond blessed to have been given them. I don’t plan to share too much here on this blog, but I do promise that one day I will, somewhere soon. When the time and place are right.

But back to that status thing. I had two healthy kids in school, a good job, and a kitchen worthy of magazine covers (I stole my ideas all from those covers and it turned out pretty good).

So I set about decorating my physical frame with beautiful things. In some cases (well, most cases), I did it with money I didn’t yet have, and with an openness that didn’t exist.

There was a period there where you could have asked me ‘What’s in the wings?’ – and I would have had at least one (or two or three) expensive items either on layaway in store or hiding in a closet deep in my basement somewhere, hidden from my husband, but secretly known to me, the shopkeepers, and that Visa no one else in my house knew about.

Acquiring nice things became a game between me and my scheming mind, and once I acquired one and successfully integrated it into the mix (‘What, this old thing?’), I soon would lose the rush and set my sights on what I could focus all of my powers on to get next.

Addiction. It’s not pretty.

Knowing myself as the addictive person that I am meant I knew I had a problem.

But like most of us, when we know we want to change something, is it easy to change?

So that brings us here. To be truthful, I am here because I needed to get better (it has worked). I needed to re-focus, and look outside of myself, and not to what is hanging on my flesh, but to who and what is going on around me. So I’ve dedicated this time in my life to nurturing the part of me that wants to connect with others, those in need, and those also in need of connection.

I needed to change my ways for my girls, and for my marriage, and I needed to connect with what it was I was really after.

A purpose far greater than just myself.

It’s still a long way away, but I am on the path, and just by being here, you are with me too, and that (IMO) is pretty darned awesome (it’s not just awesome, it’s better than awesome).

I love food, and I’ll continue to share all that brings me joy in this life, in hopes that I might continue to bring some small nugget of value to you as readers of this blog.

But I’d be lying if I told you just food was enough. There’s just so much more to celebrate and talk about.

All in moderation of course πŸ™‚

Less really can be more, in all aspects of our lives, whether it is with food, television, swearing, shopping for pretty rags & (really) over consumption of all kinds.

I know many of you blog (or read blogs) for reasons of health, happiness, inspiration, and making conscious choices that can make the world a better place for all of us.

So whether that choice is veganism, food activism, human rights, or otherwise, I’d love to know how you came to that choice. And I’d also love to hear, and perhaps even share, your story.

If there was one thing you could see going without for a better and more fulfilling life, what would it be? Do you have any destructive habits you’d like to kick for good? Have you already started this journey and want to share it?

You don’t have to share it here if you aren’t comfortable, and honestly, if you’ve made it this far into this post, I’m just happy you are still here..but I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps even share your story here.

If you like, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org. I’d like to mix things up a bit here and get real. Want to share your story of healing? I’m all ears.

I’ll get back to cocoa nibs and kale in my next post, I promise, just as soon as I pull on this old jacket and these shoes from last season πŸ™‚

I’m no saint here, but I’m trying. Trying to do better, to be better, and to help others do the same. Thanks for being here with me, and for doing what you all do to make this world a better place.

Yours in Less,

55 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Victory

On Gratitude, Gratefulness & Always Giving Thanks

Gratitude. What does it mean to you?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~ Thornton Wilder

It’s that time of year again!

The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving.

This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.

Happy October everyone!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.

~ William James

This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).

Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.

I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

~ Leo Buscaglia

Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.

We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.

A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

~ Epictetus

This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.

I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.

It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.

That is, unless you can’t afford it.

I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.

Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?

Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.

Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

~ Thomas Goodwin

As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.

My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:

My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).

Rest and be thankful.

~ William Wadsworth

I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.

Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.

Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.

I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.

Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.

Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.

I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!

I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love πŸ™‚

  • What are you planning for Thanksgiving?
  • How do you give thanks?

Yours in Less (as always),

44 Comments

Filed under Children, Cooking, Fasting, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory

NSF Update: On Cookies, Craft Beer & Giving Back

You are about to meet a very special couple.

Carla & Chris. Chris & Carla. I love these guys, and soon, you will too (I hope).

Both are bound by love and their mutual interests. Chris and Carla are both (beautiful) healthy folks who live the good life in pretty much every sense of the word. They work hard, they play hard, they eat well, and give back when they can.

While these two beautiful souls are surely extraordinary, they are also just really good, regular folk who are blessed to have their health, their happiness, and each other.

Like me or (maybe) like you.

Carla has been a huge supporter of Not So Fast since the early days, and so a few months ago both Chris and Carla decided to put themselves to the test for the benefit of others.

For those of you who are new to this blog, you may wonder what this has to do with food and delicious recipes. If you like, you can find more info here and here (I’d be honoured).

IPOM exists to share healthy, accessible recipes and inspire new (delicious) ways to live with (just a little) less.

This is a story outlining how small changes can be turned into real food for real people who have less.

How does it work?

Go without: Chris and Carla decided to fast for 40 days, by going without one specific luxury for 40 days.

The money they didn’t spend on what they would have consumed would be donated to feed those who have less.

Make It Real: Keep a journal (we are making something very special for this). Write in in your calendar. Tweet it.

By giving record, you make it real. After all, shouldn’t you take credit for your awareness and good deeds?

Feed People. We’ll do that, and soon we’ll tell you how. Or, get involved in your local community.

Here are Chris and Carla’s Stories…

Carla’s Challenge: Carla chose to go without any refined sugar for 40 days.

For those of us who are lucky to work with this lady like me, we know she works hard. She takes great care of herself. And she likes treats (but not too many).

We knew this would be tough..

Chris chose to go without all alcohol for 40 days.

This was in the midst of a few upcoming weddings. And weekends (those darned weekends)!

Chris, like Carla, is somewhat the picture of good health. They are both moderate people. But they, like all of us, have vices*, or things in their life they do not wish to be controlled by.

*(unless you don’t)

Here are a few thoughts direct from Chris and Carla themselves.Β 

This is proof that no matter how small, little changes add up, and can result in positive benefits for you and for someone else!

Chris speaks on going without:

Why did you want to do this challenge? I am faced with various challenges everyday, but at the time I felt that I do not challenge myself enough. I think I was feeling a little complacent. I think I avoid challenge to avoid additional stress in my life.

Why did you choose beer to give up? I chose all forms of alcohol, not only beer. In the past I have given up only beer but just replaced it with other forms of alcohol, like wine, so the challenge was absent. Recently I became aware of how much alcohol I consume. I am not abusive but I have a drink a day. I truly enjoy the taste of beer and wine and look forward to that after work or with friends. I could not remember the last time I went a long period without consuming any alcohol (more then a couple days anyway). So it seemed like a good idea. Another big part is health. As I get older I become more aware of health choices. I felt it could do my body good to stop drinking for a while.

What did this exercise teach you about yourself/each other? That I was more dependent than I thought on alcohol. After a long day at work or at a social gathering, I found I would be a bit grumpy knowing that I was not going to have a drink. There was a very noticeable absence in my life for the first couple weeks. I think though the social aspect was the most interesting. In my life alcohol is often consumed in the company of friends and with that comes good conversation and discussion. I missed that and found that I was less social during this time. I even think friends called me less knowing that they might be drinking alone if we went out. Giving up alcohol felt like a bit of a sacrifice, if only in the superficial sense.

What were you able to contribute as a result of this or who did this positively affect? I think the most positive effect was on me, both health and financially.

Has it affected you in any other ways? My fast came during the season of Lent so there was a spiritual element to it. Although that was not as prominent during this time, I did make a point of thinking about why I was giving something up whenever I longed for it. This would lead in many different directions, from self-satisfaction/dissatisfaction to thinking of those who have no choice in what they do not have, to health and pride.

Would you do it again/build something like this into your daily routines? I will consider doing this again in a year and currently I conscientiously practice giving things up on a week to week basis.

Carla speaks on going without:

Why did you want to do this challenge? To encourage more reflection in my life – to help remind myself of how blessed I am for what I have, and that there are many who have to go without –being able to choose to go without is a luxury. I also wanted to support NSF by giving to those who have less.

Why did you choose sugar? I chose sugar for health reasons… and because I crave a little sweetness at least once a day. I knew it would be a little difficult.

What did this exercise teach you about yourself/each other? It taught me self discipline and encouraged generosity and reflection. It was encouraging to see how well Chris did in his fast and it helped me stay on track. Seeing that Chris and I could complete this challenge (not without our moments of weakness…), who knows what else we could take on.

What were you able to contribute as a result of this or who did this positively affect? Food issues are important to me – where our food comes from, how it is produced, what we put in our bodies and food waste. We are donating $$$ to NSF for a local food project they are involved in.

Has it affected you in any other ways (either positive or negative)? This fast has taught me that I don’t need sugar (and probably a lot of other things in life) – and should try and treat it as something special – that I’m lucky/blessed to be able to have, while others have to go without.

Would you do it again/build something like this into your daily routines? Yes.

Making it real…

Carla used this little notebook to record what she was giving up, and the value of it too.

In it I found little gems of her writing.

Putting words to something somehow makes it real, like thoughts once they become spoken words.

Do you keep a journal?

Everyday is a new challenge..what’s yours?

Chris and Carla donated enough money to sponsor a very special NSF event coming up.

I can’t wait to share this with you as the planning is in the works as we speak. Seeing the results of their challenge has inspired many great things and I can’t thank them enough for their courage and willingness to take part.

Not only will their funds provide much needed food, but we will also be sharing cooking skills that will (hopefully) enable folks to keep feeding themselves. Stay tuned as we roll out more πŸ™‚

I’ll be keeping the recipes flowing too, starting with these delicious cookies in my next post…

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

~ Oscar Wilde

  • Have you ever considered giving up a vice or a habit?
  • If you did what would it be?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and thank you my friends for reading about this amazing effort by amazing people. I told you you’d like them. Was I wrong? πŸ˜‰

There is lots more to come, and I’d love to hear from you all!

Here’s to a super week everyone!

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Discipline, Fasting, Feeding, Food, Going Without, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Uncategorized

The Less and More of Closet Cleaning & Letting Go (just a little)

Anyone due for a closet cleaning?

The things you own end up owning you.

~ Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Holla dear friends and readers!

I alluded a few months back to some closet cleaning I did in an attempt to free up some space.

I wouldn’t consider myself a minimalist, but living with (just a little) less has given me the opportunity to look at more than one area of my life. I often get bogged down by ‘stuff’ and feel the need to purge.

Sound familiar?

Part of this could have to do with my tiny 1940’s closet (one girlfriend cried when she saw it, citing ‘cruelty to women’), part of it is just trying to stay up to date with what the weather is doing, and a huge part of it is just wanting to be (just a little) more free.

A fit, healthy body – that is the best fashion statement.

~ Jess C. Scott

This past year has brought some big changes in my life as I started to approach things differently, with more awareness, and a huge desire to grow. It’s been challenging, exhilarating, and, quite literally, the best time I’ve ever had.

So, if you’ll oblige me, I’d love to talk (just a little) about our closets!

Many wealthy people are little more than the janitors of their possessions.

~ Frank Lloyd Wright

I’ve often found myself captured in a fantasy of me as a lone traveler wandering with a single backpack and nothing else.

In this fantasy I imagine the freedom to move with just the bare minimums at hand, and the thrill of having the world at my fingertips. The wide open spaces. The sheer open possibility without the burden of choice (what to wear?) and the weight of grounding possessions.

But reality is quite different. Real life requires certain things.

We work. We play. We run. We hike. We go out. We garden. We have outfits for each.

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.

~ Democritus

Clothes are fun. I like clothes. Jeans, shirts, shoes. Bags, scarves, and more scarves (I have a few scarves).

If you are anything like me, you end up with a few jam-packed drawers, and clothes hung so tightly you can’t see what’s in there. Items hung and not worn for months.

Sure, that blue number you got last year is a cool piece, and you got a killer deal on it, but do you wear it?

So a few months ago, after too long of looking at the same stale picture of my closet, I took action. Before I shared, I wanted to see what happened. Here is what I did.

This is my all time favorite. Classic white. Wear it till it’s dead, and get a new one.

The Less:

Less clothes in your closet means more easy ways to find favorites. Less maybes means more yes’s so you can deliberate with ease. Less guilt around what doesn’t work means less weight on your shoulders, so you can dress those shoulders smartly everyday.

The More:

More loving what you do have means more loving what you wear. More knowing what you love means more knowing who you are. More letting go means more control over your life, so you can get on with what matters in your heart.

I always have one favorite. What’s yours?

The What. The How. The Wear (pardon the pun).

Jeans & Pants: I cut my jeans selection into 3rds: those I wear often (every week), those I rarely wear (but still love and have a purpose), and those I never wear (the wide leg thing didn’t work for me). The never wears were axed, and the rarely wear got cut in half. I went from a diluted 17 casual pants to a slick streamlined 9.

Shirts & Blouses: Anything not worn in the last 2 months got axed. I took out 2/3 of what was hanging in my closet! Vintage thrifted items, lace tops, colorful fussy things I never wore. My lifestyle doesn’t change too much, and I know if I am getting dressed (down or up) a little black anything is all I need, and feel best in guaranteed. All those dresses I bought and never wore? Gone. All those tops that get put on and taken off before I leave the house? Gone.

Jackets: Jackets take up lots of space, and I had a few blazers I’d collected through the years just hanging out. I work in a pretty casual industry and trust me, the need for a blazer is rare (business attire behind the espresso machine anyone?). The wool coats, down soccer-mom gear and fleece went to the basement for the winter (to keep), along with all the rain gear I never wore… ‘but it’s new!’. I never wore it. Gone.

Shoes: Anything uncomfortable was gone. Those black booties I got on sale and hid from the hubby during my dark days of obsessive shopping? Gone. They might have been (super) cute, but they hurt my feet. Loose shoes? Gone. Old shoes? Gone! I refined my shoe selection down to less than half.

T-shirts & Running Gear: After too many times of muttering ‘where is my sports bra?’…’where is my favorite t-shirt for sleeping?’ or passing over lesser items for the ones I really wanted to wear I said enough was enough. The ones I really wanted to wear were all I needed. 2 pairs of good running shorts, 2 good athletic tanks, 2 good sports bras, 3 favorite t-shirts.

Less laundry, more finding, and more living were mine. I just had to let go. And so I did. 80% gone, and 100% better!

Classic. Comfy. Goes with everything. What’s your classic?

The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.

~ Coco Chanel

The funny thing is, I cheated when I did this.

I totally went the easy route. And now I’m here to tell you I think you could too (only if you want to of course).

I didn’t actually get rid of any of the good stuff yet. I packed it in boxes, and put it downstairs. I told myself as I felt the scared ‘are you crazy?’….’this is beautiful!’…if I missed it, I could have it back.

Guess what?

Getting dressed has never been easier.

I am done in (seriously) one try. Everything (well, almost everything) in the closet now gets worn. I don’t feel guilt towards items that don’t work. I don’t feel remorse everyday looking at things that I should be wearing.

I realized the other day as I popped on a fave pair of pants, threw on my latest favorite t-shirt, and slipped into my oxfords, that I am free.

Freer than I have ever been as a matter of fact! I don’t miss a single thing, and couldn’t even tell you what is down there.

I like just a little. And it goes with everything!

Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.

~ Coco Chanel

I don’t even know what’s downstairs, and I really don’t need to. It’s out of my mind, and out of my space.

Just like a fast clears the body of food debris, and lightens the mind – this letting go in a material sense has been of tremendous value. I’ll keep those things downstairs and maybe ‘shop’ the boxes here and there, after all, a little absence may make the old seem new again.

But more likely I’ll be giving it all away.

I am no minimalist (yet), but I like letting go, and I think I’ll be doing it a lot more.

  • Are you in need of a good closet clean or purge?
  • What are your favorite basics you can’t live without?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. After all, we (hopefully) don’t eat more than we should, or stock more food than we need (unless you do). We only eat what we like, not what doesn’t agree with us.

Why shouldn’t we take the same approach to our closets?

Thanks for reading dear friends, I’d love to hear from you! I am off on a work trip this week and may be here and there with my comments again – this is the last one (I think) until the big one (France!)..have a wonderful week all!

Next up…a fabulously delicious dairy free white bean dip!

Yours in Less,

86 Comments

Filed under Fashion, Going Without, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Photography, Shopping

Dancing Shoes and Lemon Love

There’s something about a hot mug of Lemony Love.

The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.

~ Albert Einstein

When thinking of simple pleasures, there really is nothing better than a Friday afternoon.

Is there?

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, there is always something to brighten the mood of you and those around you when the countdown to the weekend is inching to a close! It’s here!

My favorite thing to do on a Friday is to come home, drop the bags, the phone, all the noise of the week, and hit the outdoors.

Alternatively, if the weather is the way it was all this week (with rain and more rain), I love nothing more than to curl up on the couch with my grandmother’s afghan, my laptop or a book, and a hot cup of sweet honey lemon.


This is my go-to fasting drink, and a way to soothe the soul and perk up any old day. This drink (to me) is a classic.

Growing up, my mom used to make it with boiled ginger (a few thumbs of fresh ginger in a boiling pot of water for 30 minutes), or simply as shown. We always had in our family kitchen a giant bucket of local honey from a beekeeper named Albert (as I recall that was his name). When we weren’t prying it open to steal spoonfuls, we used it as a seat to rest our tired legs.

I respect and admire all the reasons to avoid honey – every drop is a beautiful and sacred thing – and I am always sure to appreciate it and regard it as an extremely special and beautiful gift from the bees.

After all, without the bees we wouldn’t have these:

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.

~ Victor Hugo

They are a treasure, and so are the bees that pollinate our fruit. We enjoy honey and use it very sparingly, and with gratitude. Of course, hot honey-lemon can easily become hot maple-syrup-lemon, and both are yummy and extremely beneficial either way.

The More:

More lemony goodness means more cleansing vitamin C and healthy vitamins for your body. More soothing hot beverages means you can enjoy it over more time. More slow sipping means more slow living. More slowness is nice. So relax and enjoy, it’s Friday after all!

The Less:

Less refined sugar sweetened lemon drinks means less of the white stuff in your clean water. Less coffee, tea and other sweet drinks means less calories, milk and all the other things that go with them. Less outsourced drinks means cheaper nourishment for you and less waste overall.

Hot Honey Lemon Drink:

  • (1-2) organic lemons
  • (2-3) tbsp local unpasteurized honey to taste (or maple syrup)
  • (2-3) cups boiling water
  • (1) favorite mug
  • (1) sprinkle cayenne powder (optional)

Put up a kettle to boil of clean water. Squeeze the juice of your lemons in to your favorite mug, adding a few slices to crush inside. Crush your lemon slices with a spoon or fork until juicy and pulverized. Add honey to lemon juice and lemon slices and crush together. Add optional dash of cayenne powder.

When the water boils, pour directly into the cup and stir. Taste to see if sweetness is right (and add more honey if desired).

Grab a book or a bright corner with a window and enjoy the view. Breathe deep and enjoy….because you can. I call that a great way to start the weekend.

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.

~ Socrates

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you do it in style – after all it’s not the start of the weekend everyday!

Here’s a little shot of something that made me smile this week.

My daughter returned home from her grandparents house (my parents) with these shoes – my jazz shoes from the stone ages (I was about 12).

I was (just a little) overjoyed to see them as I had no idea they were still around. I was even more pleased to put them on, and believe it or not they still fit! (but if you must know my toes are popping out (just a little) a bit).

Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.

~ Unknown

So now when I talk about kitchen dancing, you can be pretty certain I might just have these on πŸ™‚

  • How are you planning to ring in April?
  • What’s your favorite way to start the weekend?
  • Are you a lemon drink fan too?

Thanks to all of you for reading this week and for my new IPOM followers!

I was beyond thrilled this week to receive comments from old friends, new friends, and family from afar – I just love to connect with you over food and sharing enthusiasm with you all just makes my day..

Next I’ll be sharing about those french lentils, a new breakfast bar, and a wonderful recipe sent to me by a fellow blogging buddy…;)

Cheers to Friday or whatever day it is in your part of the world!

Yours in Less,

40 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Fasting, Going Without, Happiness, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Finding More in coffee and (just a little) fun with friends.

More Chocolate anyone?

This one is pretty straight forward.

Like Chocolate? Check.

Like Coffee? Check.

Like sweet, iced, lusciously energizing beverages? Check.

Let’s not talk about our occasional jaunts to Starbucks, K? I won’t tell if you won’t, and for the record, they do a lot of things pretty well, and I kind of have to credit them with getting me hooked on coffee in the first place (and life is (just a little) better with coffee in it, in this girls’ very humble opinion).

In all seriousness, I consider myself very fortunate to have access to some of the very best roasted coffee in the world – check out the roaster I work for here – and I don’t really hit many Starbucks, unless I am traveling.

But who doesn’t love a decadent pick me up now and again?

Crafting this insanely delicious concoction isn’t rocket science, but you do need to be prepared (as in you have to have made the almond milk and the ice cream from the last two posts)…

Almond Iced Mocha:

Combine everything in your blender and enjoy!

You might also want to cover your bases with a good activity planned for after ingesting this.

(No, really).

Chances are you’ll be pretty juiced and I’d really hate to see that energy go to waste…

Got a book to finish? Write it. Gardening? Have the shovels and gloves ready! 10K time you want to beat? Now’s your chance.

Or, if you are anything like me, you might just kick back and enjoy another kind of activity that I wish I could do more often.

The joy of doing nothing.

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

~ Aristotle

However you choose to enjoy your time, do it well.

And do it often!

So that will wrap the sweet stuff for a bit…(I promise)..

I am excited to share some wonderful savory recipes and an idea for a series I’ve been working on.

Here are a few shots of the Not So Fast photo shoot we did on Sunday, it was a blast!

 

Huge thanks to all the new readers who have shared your enthusiasm with me, you are all amazing!

  • What do you do with your excess energy?
  • Are you a coffee drinker too?

Happy Wednesday folks!

Yours in Less,

27 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Going Without, Happiness, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Running, Success, Vegan

Finding more in (just a little) less on the plate.

A full plate seems like a dream come true. Indeed it is for many.

What does a full plate mean to you?

To many it’s the picture of a literal plate, a plate filled with food, and (hopefully) a plate to nourish and fuel us.

A full plate is a nice thing to have, and I like to imagine most of us are keenly aware that this is not a luxury all are lucky enough to enjoy.

Then there is the other full plate: the fuel of our lives, made up of to do lists, obligations, chores, passionate pursuits and promises made to ourselves and loved ones.

This plate is rarely empty for many of us, as we hustle through the day trying to keep up with all we commit to.

Our hungers for achievement and successes drive us with voracious appetites…we pile the plates so high until we actually can’t see it all clearly anymore.

When my plate gets too full I start to lose my appetite.

When I get a plate that’s too full for too long – I have to say I stop knowing real hunger anymore. Literally, figuratively, or otherwise.

When this happens to me I know something’s got to go.

So whether you are looking to lighten your load by streamlining what you eat….or dropping a few commitments you’ve made, feel strong in knowing your strength and your wisdom can only do you good.

When times get tough, I always try to lighten the load (just a little).

Step 1: Don’t be ashamed, no one can do it all! Admitting weakness is healing and empowering. Better to know now than further down the road.

Step 2: Look objectively at your life. What brings you joy? What isn’t working?

step 3. Take action! You aren’t going to change overnight, but you can start tomorrow. March forward fearlessly!

Begin to make changes in small doses. This will show real results and can be very motivating, it also won’t overwhelm you.

If you need to devote 10% less time for a friend you just aren’t getting anymore, or even spend 10% less time volunteering because you haven’t time for yourself, you are only going to gain somewhere else. The same goes for your diet. Try cutting meat one day a week, or dairy, or sugar. Give yourself a small boost and try again. Small victories add up.

Chances are, when you streamline, you’ll start to see clearly again. And you may just end up finding that sweet spot, the modern holy grail, that sweet blissful spot known asΒ  just right’.

When you cut out what's not working, you will start to see clearly....you can even add a little more variety. Less is more.

I’m working on it constantly, and it’s why I am here today.

Because many of us could all do to live with (just a little) less.

I am so glad to have found some friends along the way….stay tuned next week – I’ll introduce you to two of my friends who are doing just that! We’ll follow their journey as they both give something up for the good of others….I am so excited to share their story.

I love this response from the Dalai Lama when asked what surprises him most:

β€œMan, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

  • Is your plate too full?
  • If you had to drop one thing from your life, what would it be?
  • Could you live with (just a little) less?
  • Are you already?

I’d love to know.

Stay tuned for a killer raw recipe tomorrow….a little something sweet!

Yours in Less,

2 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Fasting, Going Without, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory