Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Great Purge: Peeling Back the Layers of Over Consumption

It amazed me how much stuff one can own. According to a March 2014 article in the Los Angeles Times, the average U.S. household contains 300,000 items. 47% of all toys and books are owned by children in the U.S., who only make up 3.7% of the children on the planet. It feels like 80% of those toys are in my son's room right now. Ugh. Well, to be fair, it's mostly Legos, but still...

The path to minimalism is a peeling of the onion. Layer one, all the stuff. Step one, the initial purge. This step can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you even begin? My suggestion is to start with the obvious. What stands out as a burden to you? What brings bad memories or sits around collecting dust? Put it in a box and get rid of it. Donate it to a local thrift shop, a homeless shelter, a women's and children's shelter. Hold a garage sale.

My initial purge was brought about by the end of a tumultuous marriage. I got rid of everything that reminded me of his presence. That was a really easy purge, I admit. I had a big garage sale and made enough money to pay the rent.

During the second purge, you will likely dig a little deeper. By this point, there may be some things you have been holding on to that suddenly seem trivial or silly to keep. Why do I have enough wine glasses to throw a party when I am more likely to just have one or two friends over?  What am I keeping this heavy winter coat for when it never gets cold enough to wear it where I live?

Peel that onion back. Peel some more.

The hardest part? Fighting back all the stuff well-meaning people in your life will gift you and (especially) your children during the holidays. If you find the answer to that, get back to me.

I'm in the process of yet another purge. I'm peeling away to get down to the core of what I actually need to own and what I want to keep around because it makes me happy. I've cleaned out a dressing table that mostly served as a place to catch dust, pile unfolded laundry, and just generally gather a messy junk heap that the cat enjoyed pushing into the floor. I have it for sale and I really hope a buyer comes along quickly because it's already becoming covered with stuff once again.

I've purged my kitchen yet again until I'm mostly down to the basics. I am left with one dilemma in the kitchen. I have two sets of dishes. One is a collectible and pretty. The other is basic every day and chipped from misuse. My inclination is to sell the collectible set and keep the set I don't mind getting banged up, but the other set brings me more joy. These are the kinds of dilemmas you will find yourself in as you minimalize your possessions, but don't get stuck on them. For now, I'll keep both and figure it out later.

Minimalizing can take time. Most minimalists don't begin by giving away or selling everything overnight to live out of a bus with their suitcase full of clothes. It's a slow removal of what doesn't work for you. It's a monthly or quarterly or yearly revisiting of the things that surround you, peeling the layers of consumerism that drown our society in too much stuff until you get to the core of who you are and what you need.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Help A Little Blog Grow

Dear readers,

I'm asking for a favor.

If you have read my blog posts, Living an Authentic Life and Redefining Earning A Living, you are well aware of my journey towards living a simple, sustainable lifestyle supported financially through writing, photography, and painting. My goal with this blog, particularly, is to write more often, create some freebies for you, and streamline the appearance. The blog ironically feels too cluttered, though I write about minimalism regularly.

I started The Hippy Home five years ago, not to make money, but simply to share some of my passions with you. I began at a rough time in my life. I previously ran another blog that started out documenting my family life, but it turned into something darker when my ex turned abusive. The Hippy Home was a new beginning, a focus on the something positive. A look toward a better future.

This is where you come in. What is my blog worth to you? If you find value in what you read here, I ask that you click on the image link below to contribute toward growing The Hippy Home. It's quite OK if you don't. You may be in a place where it is difficult to contribute. You may be a skeptic. Maybe you think everyone should be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps with no help from strangers. That's OK. But if you have found real value in anything I've posted, please consider a contribution that will help me transition to supporting myself and my son through blogging. If you leave me a little note with your address, I'll even send you a hand drawn postcard from Texas with a big thank you from me and the boy.

The Hippy Home

Click Image Below:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe

I've been on an obsession with grain bowls (watch for an upcoming blog post). If you aren't familiar with them, they usually start with a grain, most often rice, and are topped off with a wide array of vegetables. They are quite versatile and can be created in endless flavor combinations. I decided to create a Southwest grain bowl using barley. I topped it with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, avocado slices, and black beans. To make it even more flavorful, I whipped up a batch of Cilantro Lime Dressing to drizzle over the vegetables. My picky eater devoured it.

No doubt this dressing would be great on refreshing summer salads, too. Mix it up in a wide mouth jar so you can easily refrigerate left overs.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 3-6 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP fresh lime juice
Add all ingredients to a wide mouth jar. Mix until smooth. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if mixture is too thick. Cover and refrigerate before using. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Natural Relief for Sore Muscles

It hurt to move this morning. Yesterday, I really pushed myself hard with overhead presses during my crossfit class. My shoulders were in intense pain. I've been doing crossfit for about a year and a half, so it's not the first time my muscles have complained after a workout. It's almost a constant, actually.

It obviously doesn't take a grinding workout to leave you with aching muscles, though. I've woken up with tight, aching neck muscles just from sleeping wrong.

Instead of popping an over the counter pain medication, try one of these natural remedies for soothing those aches and pains:

Foam Roller

I love my foam roller. I use it regularly. It's great for working out tight leg and thigh muscles, as well as your upper back and shoulders. You can find them just about everywhere these days. I bought mine off of Amazon, but I've also seen them at Target and some discount stores. I've included the following video to with some good tips on how to use a foam roller.

Hot Pepper Stick

The Hot Pepper Sha-Bang muscle stick was a life saver for me after I injured my back last December. I was looking for natural pain relief when my friend Crystal posted about the muscle stick on her Facebook timeline, so I gave it a try. Capsaicin is the soothing ingredient, radiating a nice, warm feeling across sore muscles. I'd put it on the injured area before a workout. When my body heated up, so did the hot pepper stick. It was like a portable heating pad. You can also apply direct heat with a hot towel or heating pad. I recommend keeping some in your medicine cabinet. You can find it here: Perfectly Posh.


You can use either oral magnesium tablets or take a nice, warm bath with magnesium salt, more commonly known as Epsom Salt. Add about a cup of Epsom Salt and soak for about 15 minutes. For the extra benefit of relaxing the muscles and easing inflammation, add about 3 drops of lavender oil to the water.

If your body is deficient in magnesium, it can cause muscle soreness and cramps. Keep foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds on hand for a healthy snack high in magnesium. A good magnesium supplement can help, too. I can tell when my body isn't getting enough magnesium when I start craving chocolate. 

Tart Cherry Juice

According to an article by Oregon Health and Science University, runners participating in a study showed less inflammation and significantly less pain after consuming tart cherry juice a week before they ran a long distance race compared to runners in a placebo group. They also had faster muscle recovery. You can read the entire article here: Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Muscle Pain and Inflammation.


A massage after an intense workout can not only make you feel better, but it also helps with muscle recovery by decreasing inflammation. So go ahead and book that massage after your next workout. Just a short, 10 minute massage is all that is needed to feel the benefits, however, book me for the whole hour! Make sure to request essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus, and thyme for added relief.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may bring relief, however they have been shown to cause heart, stomach, and kidney issues. So toss out the pills and use one of these proven natural choices for pain relief. Oh, and be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause muscle cramping and soreness as well.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Redefining Earning a Living

I've always felt a calling toward creating. Painting, photography, writing. I was always told those weren't legitimate choices. People like to throw out the much overused "starving artist". Then they pick some poor artist or writer who remained unknown until his or her death to use as an example. You'll end up like that, they'd say. So I've always held on to the belief that as long as I pursued these callings I wouldn't make any money from it. And, guess what? I've never really earned any money from any of these endeavors. I mean, yeah, I've earned a little here or there, but not really what I was worth. Because I wasn't expecting to.

Our American society, and perhaps all societies built on similar economic systems, holds that the only worthy way of earning a living is by sacrificing your time and your dreams. It's the American dream you are supposed to be going after. Big house, nice car, pretty things. You get a J-O-B working for someone else at least 40 hours a week. If you are lucky, it's something that both pays well and brings some level of satisfaction. If you are lucky. If not, you slog away your days for someone else just so you can keep a roof over your family and food on the table. In our society it's never been about what brings you joy. It's how much money you make and all of the things that you can buy with that money.

Earn a living. The word "living" should never be associated with monetary worth. That's where we have gone horribly wrong. You earn an income for the deemed value of your work. That value often seems arbitrary to the whims of society, e.g. starving artist.

There is another way.

Minimalism and the tiny house movement are a part of this revolution to rethink and redefine what it means to earn a living. If you have less stuff, you need less money to maintain or replace that stuff. You can work less or chose work not by how much it pays, but by how much joy it brings you. That is liberating, especially for someone who doesn't fit in with this consumerist mold.

Someone like me.

And now here I am J-O-B less. Falling into the same traps. Hearing those old voices. You can't make a living blogging. No one wants to buy your art. The photography market is over saturated. You can't earn a living that way. You need to get a real job. Rent is coming due and you are broke. Get real.

I've given up on those dreams too many times. I quit art school. I stopped painting for a while. I stopped writing, stopped trying to get published. I gave up my photography business because the ex told me I needed to get that "real" job. Start. Stop. Start. Stop.

I'm tired of stopping. I'm angry at those voices. It's time to prove them wrong.

I've read about people young and old who sold everything to live a mobile life. Some earn a living through their computers. Some live off of the funds from selling everything that held them down. I've read about people who live off a small plot of land, modern day homesteaders who need very little from the outside world. There are the urban minimalists who live in small apartments and use their time and money on experiences instead of filling up an oversized house with stuff. These people are truly redefining what it means to earn a living. If they can do it, so can I. If they can do it, so can you.

Embrace your joy and earn a livable income. The two aren't mutually exclusive, contrary to what we've been taught.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

21 Day Kindness Challenge

I fully admit I've been struggling. June was a rough month for me. Sometimes when you decide to do something big, fear can grip your heart with some big old ugly claws. I've been stuck inside my head too much, worrying about not being able to cover the bills, taking myself too seriously, and generally falling into a self absorbed funk, which accomplishes nothing towards being able to actually pay the bills and left me feeling highly anxious.

I know I'm not the only one struggling these days, and our current political environment doesn't help. The news looms large with violence and negativity. Our world is a mess.

A couple days ago I watched the video, My Turning Point, by Kristina Kusmic (aka Truth Bomb Mom). I found myself sobbing loudly and uncontrollably. I haven't allowed myself a good, healthy cry like that in a long time. It really hit home. I'll post the video at the end because I want to get to the challenge, but it was something I deeply related to and got me thinking, What is one little thing I can do right now? What am I good at?

I like to think I'm good at blogging. I can use that platform to help others.

So, the 21 Days of Kindness Challenge was born, just a few hours ago actually. Starting tomorrow, July 3, 2017,  I want all my readers to perform one mindful act of kindness every day for 21 days (I will be participating, too) and come back here or to the Hippy Home One Simple Change Challenge Group and share your act of kindness. Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger. Put change in someone's parking meter that's about to expire. Contact that friend you haven't talked to in a while and let them know you are thinking about them. Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Volunteer your time. Reach out to an elderly neighbor. There are so many ways to express kindness that don't involve money. Think outside of the box. And if you are having a particularly rough time, save one of those 21 days to treat yourself with kindness.

Share this post everywhere. Spread the love. Let's see how many people we can get on board. The world needs more kindness and change starts with one small act at a time. With many small acts from many people, amazing things can happen. The world may be a mess, but there is still beauty out there. Kindness and goodness still exist. Let's do this!

Here's the video I promised you. Have some tissues ready.