insulated water bottle

Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


Klean Kanteen was one of my first introductions to the eco-friendly world way back in 2007. When I found the company, I ordered one for each of us. We each had a small sports-cap topped water bottle that fit in our bike water bottle carrier. They were single-walled, narrow opening, and got banged up. But they still held water and we loved them.

When Michael started working I bought 4 of the big 32 oz bottles. He’d take 2 full ones to work every day. They worked quite well except on really hot days the water became warmer than lukewarm and in the winter they would freeze. So then we bought him a cooler to keep in the work truck. It worked.

I was truly wildly ecstatic when Klean Kanteen introduced their insulated & wide mouth bottles. I slowly began to switch us over. I love the color of mine. It suits me perfectly. I like the 12 oz size because it isn’t heavy even when full. It can tuck into my tote bag or the side pocket of my luggage. The smaller size also encourages me to not over-hydrate.


Reading:  At Home in the World (M Guenther), Zurück in Zürich (German), The Long Way Home (Gamache, L Penny)

Listening:  A Wrinkle in Time

Watching: Fringe


thinking through a capsule wardrobe

More Simple . . . Less Stuff meets my Closet!

I have tried eight ways to Sunday to make my life and closet fit into the 333 parameters. You know what? It won’t. To lump April, May and June into one season in southeastern Indiana is pure folly.

Why, you ask? Because it might be 40* on Sunday and 84* on Monday. Our temperatures and humidity vary so widely from day to day. Six years ago (the day of our tornado) we had a Friday high of 82* and a tornado at 3:30. That night we got 4 inches of snow. No power, no windows, no roof — and snow! It was a mess.  Truly.  By Saturday afternoon the temperature was back up in the 50s.

It is late March and I have taken all my warm weather things out of their storage tote, washed, hung to dry, and spread out over my bed in piles. I have created some questions and done some research on body shapes, color analysis, and spent way too much time reading style blogs.

Here are the results —

Step One:

Body Shape and Type:
1. I am petite (under 5’3′).
2. I am “busty.”
3. I am a figure 8 if you look closely at my lines: shoulders and hips are the same number of inches, clearly defined waist (although it is also where I hold weight).
4. I am equally proportioned head to leg-break and leg-break to floor. Within that I have a long neck, short waist, and long shins.

Best Colors to Wear:
1. I am a cool (veins in my wrists look blue not green).
2. My hair has definite ash tones (Courtney, who cuts my hair, says I am going silver not gray.)
3. I have pink tones in my skin and I blush something fierce!
4. I look better in clear, rich (saturated) tones. Pastels and yellows make me look ill. Although, I look pretty good in my neon yellow bike shirt. I used to wear a lot of brown (before my hair started turning), but now it makes me look tired, especially if it is a tan or orangish brown.
5. Black and pure white look pretty good on me. I always get compliments when I wear a bright emerald green, cobalt blue, or some reds.
6.. I “think” that makes me a winter. — Deep Winter probably, but it might change a bit as my hair continues to gray.


My Lifestyle, Roles, and Activities:
1. I am a stay-at-home gal: cleaning, gardening, reading, writing, coaching clients, etc
2. I exercise: walks, FWtFL, yoga
3. I run errands, go to church, go to my Spiritual Companion Group, doctor appointments, lunch out with friends/family
4. Also as my vision loss continues, I need everything to match everything else. No outliers to trip me up and make me look like I got dressed in the dark.

What Do I Like, Dislike?:
1. I like comfort, natural fabrics, flat shoes, cardigans, weather appropriate, soft, fitted (but not tight).
2. I dislike: buttons (arthritic hands), to feel constricted, anything stiff, anything itchy, tags, being hot or cold, deep V necks, deep scoop necks, heels

I want to be . . . My favorites make me feel:
1. I want to be: tidy, clean, down to earth, steady, calm, neat, capable, friendly
2. My favorites make me feel: slim, confident, comfortable.

Therefore my basic style is relaxed and casual. With proper accessories and a few special pieces relaxed and casual can be chic when appropriate.

Step Two:

Dressing as a busty 8: 
1. Keep details above my waist.
2. Vertical details below waist.
3. Keep lower half straight (with a slight flare below the knee if at all).
4. large chunky jewel-line necklaces or a grouping of smaller necklaces.
5. All volume above bust.
6. Thin, lighter scarves
7. soft, knit blouses and sweaters
8. Shirts stop at natural hips
8. Best neckline are V-necks and crew neck (below collar bone): no high buttons, no high crew necks, no thick cowls, no pockets on chest, no turtlenecks.
10. Think columns of color : black pants, black cardigan, colored t-shirt or blouse, and black shoes. Dark wash denim pants, navy cardigan, colored t-shirt, blue shoes). Also reverse columns — although to this newbie, this isn’t as easy to recreate with a limited wardrobe size, which is a priority for me.

Closet Time
1. Take everything out. Everything!
2. Try on everything. Everything!
3. Ask: Does it fit? Is it in good shape? Is it one of my colors? Is it right for my body shape and type? Is it right for my lifestyle? Do I love it?
Any NO means it goes in the donate pile! Although I kept a few things that were “no” for garden work.


That’s enough for today. I’ve done all the above and now it is time to hang everything up and have dinner. More next week when I get practical.


keep cup

Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


My Keep Cup is a 12 fluid ounces, barista standard, glass reusable coffee cup–what’s not to love?

In the past year Keep Cup has removed 3,735,715 disposable cups from circulation.  The plastic used in 20 of those cups would make 1 Keep Cup lid. Even if the disposable cup is recyclable it takes a commercial compost facility to compost it — you can’t just stick in your compost bin at home. That means energy is used to compost it.  This is not an ideal situation.

The Keep Cup is a great solution. It feels like a “Starbucks” cup in your hand, yet it enables you eliminate the disposable cup. I’ve never had any barista complain about this cup. Before this cup, I did occasionally have problems with them complaining about the size or shape of my old mug.


Reading:   Zurück in Zürich(German), At Home in the World (M Guenther), The Long Way Home (Gamach #10, L Penny)

Listening: Speaker for the Dead

Watching:  Fringe



Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


My purse is a Tom Bihn Side Effect. It is quite small and forces me to be deliberate about what I carry. It is light enough that I can carry it for miles and miles. It is water resistant so I don’t have to worry about things getting wet (unless it is a gully washer and then all bets are off). The strap can be adjusted so that it is long enough to carry cross-body and can be shortened to fit just under my arm. I have another strap that makes it a wristlet/clutch, and yet another that can be used around my waist like a fanny pack.  It is quite versatile.

The purse has one zipper compartment on the outside that holds my iPhone 7 (with plenty of room) and it has an O-ring. The inside has 2 pockets (one holds my Tide stick and pen then other holds my eye drops, lip balm and pocket knife). The main pocket has four O-rings. I attach my slim wallet to one with a double carabiner. My keys are attached to a second with another carabiner. My reading glasses, pen, a pouch with my ear buds, and a tin of Dr. Bronners’ hand salve fits in too. My sunglasses slide in on top of the rest.

In fact, I love this purse so much I have two. A Verde (green) with purple interior, and a black with green interior.

When I am going somewhere and need more “stuff,” I just throw my Side Effect into my tote bag and head out the door.


Reading:  Walzer in Wien (German), At Home in the World (M Guenther), The Long Way Home (Gamach #10, L Penny)

Listening: Speaker for the Dead

Watching:  Fringe


Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


I’ve had more expensive watches that didn’t last as long as this Timex from Target. One thing I love about it is that the band can be switched in under a minute. I have a black band, a rainbow band, and a teal band. The watch face is big enough I can see it without putting on my readers, the face lights up if I need that (which I never use, but . . .), and as clumsy as I am it still doesn’t have a scratch on it.

I replace the battery about once every 18 months.


Reading:  Walzer in Wien (German), At Home in the World (M Guenther), The Long Way Home (Gamach #10, L Penny)

Listening: Speaker for the Dead

Watching:  Fringe

more wellness (part 2)

A Depth Year: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5


Wellness isn’t just about what you eat and how you move your body.  It includes things like sleep and connection to people.

Sleep: According to all the reading I’ve done, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep.  Not 7-9 hours of being in bed, but actual sleep.  I fall on the longer end of this spectrum. To operate at my best and not require a nap, I need 8.5-9 hours.

My night routine includes oil washing my face, brushing my teeth, turning on the fan, turning on the salt stone lamp, turning off the light, and turning off my phone. I meditate for 12 minutes, then read a good book. I try for something not too exciting (in fact, if I get the exciting part in a mystery I’ll try to finish it during the day instead of at night) and I read for about 30 minutes. Then I turn on an audiobook (30 minutes using the audible sleep timer) and fall asleep listening. This seems to work best for me. The fan helps keep noises from bothering me and the audio book keeps me from hearing the tv in the living room.

I like the room totally dark, but noticed that Jasper has trouble getting around in the pitch-black darkness and I was waking up to turn on the salt stone when he needed up and about.  So now I am sleeping with the curtains open. It lets in just enough light that he can get around and I am actually sleeping better with fewer wake-ups.

I have become a complete convert to the fitted sheet, sheet, and duvet world. It is so warm and yet so light.  I am wondering about needing a lighter weight duvet in the summer. I think I’ll try just using the cover and see if that works. I also use only organic fabrics on the bed.

As a side sleeper, who rotates onto her back once in a while, I need a fairly firm and tall pillow.  I am petite, so nothing terribly drastic, just a bit of loft. I have a Casper pillow that I love and a Threshold (Target brand). What I love about the Casper pillow is that it is actually 2 pillows in one. When you unzip it you find a slim pillow in the middle.   This means when you wash it, it fits nicely in the washer and dries much faster than a conventional pillow. Each week when I change the sheets, I unzip the pillow, shake all the parts, and then re-zip, and put inside a clean pillowcase. I’ve had the pillow for a year and it continues to be comfortable.

Connection: I’m an INFJ and a 5w4 — which means I am about as introverted as a gal can get. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want or need other people. It just means that I need plenty of alone time to process.

My small family is my comfort zone.  My husband and children know me, get me, and love me anyway. They provide stability in an overwhelming world.  My husband and daughter work hard to make sure we have the necessities and niceties. They take me where I need to go and are patient with my struggles to remain as independent and autonomous as my deteriorating vision allows. My son has become my right hand around the house. He’s learning to do all sorts of things that I used to do. He’s learning to help me without just doing it for me. He’s also taken on nearly all the outdoor chores (and with 5 acres, there are many many chores).

My faith is very important to me. I am an Anglican/Episcopalian. I use the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) 3 times a day, read a devotional book daily, and worship at St. Paul’s as often as I can. These practices are life-giving for me. They ground me, center me, and also provide the folk I need to feel complete. This is my home. The place where being me is enough. The place and the folk with whom I choose to put down roots.

My other source of “tribe” is my spiritual companion group. This is a group that meets twice a month to discuss a book.  We’ve done everything from C.S. Lewis to Henri Nouwen. In a move of spectacular love and support, they now come get me for our group gatherings and carpool up here on alternating gatherings. This means the world to me!



Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


I feel like this picture doesn’t need any words. Tree of Life (silver, handmade) on a simple leather cord. Simple and so very me.


Reading:  Walzer in Wien (German), At Home in the World (M Guenther), The Long Way Home (Gamach #10, L Penny)

Listening: Speaker for the Dead

Watching:  Fringe

tote bag

Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


This is my LL Bean canvas tote. It is not too big and not too small. It is very light and very tightly constructed.  It is open on the inside with a flap that has three pockets: 2 slip pockets (cell phone size) and a zipper pocket.

It doesn’t zip shut so I keep everything in zipper pouches. I tuck my every day carry purse in along with the pouches when I am going to be gone more than just a few hours or if there are several stops I need to make. And next time I fly, this baby is going with me.


Reading: Walzer in Wien (German), The Long Way Home (Gamache, L Penny), At Home in the World (M Guenther)

Listening: Speaker for the Dead

Watching: Fringe

mud boots

Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


It is March and we live on a 5 acre property. That means rain and mud. Lots of rain and lots of mud. Jasper loves his daily walk through the property (and so do I). This year I finally have a pair of really good mud boots. They are insulated, heavy duty, comfortable for a 30 minute stroll, and truly waterproof.

They are, however, really hard to get off! Michael usually helps me and when he can’t it means a fair amount of pulling and swearing. I have my eye on a boot remover and may seriously breakdown and buy it.


Reading: Plötzlich in Palermo (German), The Long Way Home (Gamache, L Penny), At Home in the World (M Guenther)

Listening: No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Watching: Fringe


more wellness

More wellness . . . less confusion

A Depth Year: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

This might sound crazy coming from a certified Health Coach, but there is too much information out there regarding diet, exercise, fitness, healthy living, etc.  Way too much information for any one person to take in, sort through, and come to a conclusion — unless you have nothing else to do all day.

In the end, the information overload and information wars just caused me a lot of confusion.  So for this depth year I am pitching it all aside.  No more reading the latest study, no more buying the latest videos, no more bringing home the latest fitness gadget.

No more!

I committed to a session of FASTer Way to Fat Loss after seeing so many people I respect talk about it.  I am also committing to paying attention to how what I eat makes me feel. I commit to listening to my own body about how movement feels. I commit to being gentle with myself about my auto-immune disease and the effects of it.


I started the New Year with a Whole 30.  I followed it like it was a bible command for the 30 days. No grains, no sugars, no dairy, no legumes, no alcohol, no scale, NO CHEATING. Was it easy? Heck no!  It was one temptation after another. It was one small quiet moment of saying no after another.  But, at the end, I felt so much better.

Being honest, this was kind of the opposite of what I wanted. You see I want to be a vegan. I really do. I don’t like the whole meat industry and slaughtering industry. But, and this is the key and the thing I really had to learn for myself, MY body is not built to digest and process carb very well. So I committed to buying the very best meat I can. I stick mostly with fish, chicken, and turkey. Although once a week I make a roast and enjoy it with my family.

I’m signed up for the next session of FWtFL that starts on March 26.  I’m really excited because it appears to be a well-rounded program.  When my Comprehensive Guide came, I began putting as many of the principles into place as possible. Kind of a mini-FWtFL!

Here’s a brief summary of what I understand (before taking the actual program) of the nutrition component:

  • Intermittent Fasting (IF): 16 hour fasting window; 8 hour eating window.
  • Carb Cycling
  • Matching workout to carb cycle


The FWtFL has an exercise plan too.  Right now I am following the Prep Week information that was sent with the guide. I’m making some modifications based on the arthritis in my hands.

I’m still on week 1 of my prep, but wow! I can tell I am going to get stronger with this program. After the first strength training I felt it in my shoulders, so I used my foam roller and that helped.  I didn’t think a thing about my legs . . . until the next morning! Now my plan is to do some brief stretching and foam rolling after each strength workout.

Here’s a brief summary of the exercise component:

  • Rest Day
  • strength training
  • strength training
  • rest day
  • strength training

I will post an update before my first official day of FWtFL and again at the end of the program.