Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back on the horse

Last Thursday, I was dreading coming home from work. Monday had been a day off of work, and I'd been sniffly, so I did my best lazy Cara impression and stayed on the couch as much as humanly possible. Tuesday and Wednesday I was home from work late, hitting up the gym. Thursday meant coming home with barely any time before heading out the door to hang out with my sister. Thursday also meant coming home to a house that wasn't looking so good after three days of being, ugh, way too tired to do anything.

I rationalized, "Saturday is coming up, it can wait until then," but the warmer weather on my walk from the bus stop energized me. I decided to clean the bedroom -- which was giving me nightmares -- while the chicken defrosted.

I had time to spare.

As I waited for the rice to finish, I cleaned the living room.

And still had time to do the dining room and kitchen.

I was proud.

When Saturday rolled around, I was feeling lazy, and ready to call the place "Good enough" after my Thursday quick tidy, but knew I best go through the motions. I told Scott if he would do the dishes, I'd pick up the random clutter, make the bed, and run the vacuum over the living room carpet, since there were itty bitty scraps left from one of Scott's projects. Then, we'd call it good enough.

Twenty minutes later, Scott found me cleaning the bathroom.

Not only was that task not on my list, it's also one of the tasks I had long ago relegated to him, and hadn't looked back.

Sometimes my attitude of "Good enough" isn't just accepting that I can accomplish only what is manageable, but that it's a task good enough for me to accomplish.

The mess we found in the back of the fridge, well, that's another story.

Other ways we're Staying On Top of Things:
  • still making lunches before bed and keeping vegetables already chopped on hand
  • still making the bed regularly, and working on remembering to put our clothes away when we come home from work and change... much better since my earlier-in-the-week set back
  • planning our meals for the week
  • entering our expenses and income to our app (even if it meant having only 41 cents in my entertainment budget for the last week)
  • starting our 5k training now, with whatever we can manage during this still icy season, rather than kicking back for another couple of months and then squishing it all into a few weeks

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Apple A Day

My brother-in-law once said that the way to decide whether you're still hungry enough for a second helping of something, or whether you're just mouth-hungry (wanting more of the taste) was to think if you're hungry enough to eat a whole apple. If you are, then you can have seconds.

Or, if you're me, you'll just eat the apple.

February was apple month... I'm not sure if that is a real thing or a brilliant marketing ploy by Safeway. In either event, I've been eating apples. Like crazy.

I'm eating, on average, 1.3 apples per day (this is a completely random amount, but could be accidentally correct).

How I love my apples

1. Sliced and dipped in peanut butter
2. Mixed with oatmeal in a crisp OR porridge
3. Chomped on by themselves.

Why I love my apples

1. No packaging necessary... eat and go!
2. So many varieties for every craving you have (except salty, but they're something like 85% water, so they help with the dehydration that leads to salt cravings)
3. Perfect pre-gym snack... fills you up without bogging you down.

Currently, I'm loving sweeter varieties, like Ambrosia or Honey Crisp (which are always eaten best straight off my brother-in-law's tree... he comes by his apple philosophies honestly).

What kind of apple are you loving these days?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creating Deadlines

We're slowly ticking off organization projects from our to-do-lists.

Somethings are obvious, like when we discover something has leaked in our refrigerator. It may have been a few days ago. It may have been a few months ago. Regardless, what has been seen cannot been unseen.

Somethings are completely done on a whim, like when I opened up my underwear drawer to get dressed Sunday morning, and, instead, spent 5 minutes organizing it, all while shivering in a towel. Whims must be followed.

Somethings are dreaded, and must be forced, like organizing the cupboard under the bathroom sink. It won't take long -- I've mentally found homes for probably a third of the items, another third can likely be edited out, and so the final third should fit with no problem. That being said, it means hanging out in the bathroom for 10-30 minutes, and my germaphobia (which isn't exactly logical, since I was the last person to clean the bathroom, and I think I did a fine job, thank you very much) just doesn't like that idea.

These necessary evils must be dealt with, and the best way to ensure they are dealt with is to create a deadline. The current mess under the sink spills into every available space, meaning that as we take out a roll of toilet paper, something fills it space.

Since toilet paper was on sale, and we had room in our household budget, I bought a big pack of toilet paper which requires unpacking under the now-full cupboard. With guests coming over, I knew it wasn't the best time to start an organizational project. Rather than shoving it all in and calling it "good enough" (when it clearly wasn't), I've stashed it in another cupboard, where our winter duvet lives. It's out of the way for now, and while winter still has its grip on us, I know we only have 5 rolls of toilet paper left under the sink. I have until those 5 rolls are gone to talk myself into organizing our bathroom.

And that's a deadline you can't mess with!

Monday, February 25, 2013

In the Red

I've been battling rosacea for years, but more so in the last few weeks. Where the rosacea starts and the allergies end, I'm not entirely sure. Winter is hard on my skin because it's so drying. Lotion is hard on my skin because it's so greasy. If my cheeks aren't flaking from dry skin, they are covered in (fortunately) colourless (unfortunately) papules. And on those odd days when I have both things under relative control? Throw me in sunlight, give me a glass of red wine, or feed be anything tomato based and I will flush in seconds.

I've tried the prescriptions. I've tried the green tinted cosmetics. I've tried the dietary restrictions. If they work on one symptom, they exacerbate another. What I've found most successful is to keep the products relatively simple.

1. Cetaphil cleanser (or whatever generic brand equivalent)*
Washing my face twice a day for as little as 3 days brings all three down major symptoms into somewhat control. Whenever I recommend this to someone, their response is always: "I tried it, but my face didn't feel clean." While "tight" has become synonymous with clean for those of us raised on Ivory, the little more tender, Dove, or even worse, the salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide of medicated cleansers, Cetaphil seems to be significantly less harmful at least to my face. I've paid top dollar for the Clinique Redness Solutions Line cleanser, and while I love the tingle of their composition, I find it leaves my skin slightly greasier than moisterized as the Cetaphil feels.

2. Cetaphil moisterizer (body or face)*
I accidentally grabbed the body lotion instead of the facial lotion the last time I bought this -- cheaper and yet still seems to work the same. I am allergic and/or have rosacea triggered by scents, dyes and sunscreens, so this utilitarian lotion gets my vote of approval.

3. Clinique Redness Solution Primer*
Does the green tint work on anything? Who knows. I've learned I'm less self-conscious with my flushing when I don't look in the mirror (since it tends to be episodic, rather than continuous). That being said, I find this primer works better than the Sephora primer I had before it. While I've read that anti-chafing cream is a much cheaper option for primer, I love Clinique's mostly because of the SPF 15. For a girl who can't use most sunscreen (I'm allergic to one of the major chemicals. Not sure which one), I love the old school use of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to give me some protection from the sun without leaving me in a dense covering of hives. It also seems to help with the sunlight-induced redness episodes (and no, I'm not talking sunburns, only flushing)

For foundation? I haven't found one really better than another, mostly because I simply use them for tint, blending two of them (with ratio depending on season -- a little darker in summer, a little lighter in winter) with equal parts of moisturizer and primer (as per the above anti-chafing link).

Using these three products has helped reduce the papules, the dry skin patches, and the incidence of flushing. That being said, the best thing I can do is wash my face regularly, wrap my face in a scarf whenever I go outside, and avoid red wine... in public... ok... in public in broad daylight (maybe that's just a good rule for life). The days where 2/3-3/4 of my face have turned purple in a second and lasted for hours are fewer and further between.

I am no pro at managing rosacea, and definitely not one to say anything about managing normal skin (oh, to be a pro at that!), but these are simply tips that are beginning to work for me. Take these and try them... or let me know what works for you!

*I am not being offered any compensation for this post, either in the way of money or product (though I'll willingly take either!). I'm just paying it forward for all those blog posts I've scoured over looking for a solution to my redness issues!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting painted

On July 20th, I'm going to run 5km while people throw paint at me.

When I'd scanned running websites for local races this summer, I thought: "these are all boring. I can't get myself excited for these! My first run has to be memorable".

And then my sister posted an invite to her team for the Color Me Rad run. And I was in.

Doing what you likely shouldn't do, I decided to make sure it was physically possible to run 5k before signing up. I've been a semi-regular gym-goer for maybe a month, a month and a half now. Definitely not in top running shape yet. But that 5K didn't kill me.

I didn't make my goal for that initial run (33 minutes -- having only done interval training to a max distance of 4km, I shouldn't be surprised), but I wasn't that far off... 36:13.

Over the next 5 months, I want to do the full run every 2 weeks, transitioning from treadmill to track to road, posting my time with the hope that will keep me motivated to keep shaving off minutes. While jumping into the full run maybe wasn't the best way to start training, it did give me a realistic idea of how much work I have ahead of me... and how my body responds (there is an email in to my athletic therapist, I believe with the subject line: "am I too young for double hip and knee replacements?").

My goal for race day? That day isn't about winning our heat. It isn't about setting a personal best. It's about finally completing my first race, doing something I enjoy, and getting pelted with coloured powder.

... but getting into the 20-25 minute range would be pretty awesome.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We don't need this much stuff!

We unloaded a trunk full of items at Value Village three weekends ago.

We unloaded another at my in-laws' two weekends ago (we apparently have stolen a thing or two of theirs over the years... mostly reusable food containers... with food in them).

Last weekend, I found another trunk full of crap lingering in our 806 square foot apartment.

The good news is that our new car is a hatchback, so while the trunk space might be the same as our old sedans mathematically, most of that space is vertical, and I consider the trunk to be "full" when there is no more floor space.

The bad news is that I know there is at least another 3 trunk loads full of crap in our suddenly-starting-to-feel-less-cramped apartment. And now we're getting into the sentimental crap.

The clothes my parents gave me for Christmas a few years ago because they were so "Me" (but were almost identical to items already existing in my closet).

The nicknacks from my grandmother's house that she passed on to us as she moved into smaller and smaller accomodations.

The cookie jar from Scott's youth that is shaped as a dragon, which is awesome, but is pink, which isn't so awesome.

Somethings, like the clothes, have collected enough dust in the closet that I can slip them into the giveaway pile. Somethings (like the pink dragon cookie jar) we display and hope everyone sees the "dragon" and not the "pink." Somethings go into the nearly-over-flowing-no-mom-i-won't-tell-you-which cupboard for the items where the thought outweighs the use.

How do you deal with items with so much sentimental value that you can't bear to part with them, but that don't necessarily fit into your life?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jazzin' up our bedroom

For a couple years, I was part of our school's jazz band. I don't have many recollections of that time, like which songs we played, where we performed or even who was in it. But I do remember one lesson we were given about improvising. Since blues scales are pentatonic (consisting of 5 notes per octage) instead of septatonic (which is more common, and thus had been drilled into our heads for most of our lives), we would often throw in a note or two which didn't necessary fit into our key. In our head, these were mistakes. Our conductors advise was to keep hitting that mistake, until we made it seem like it fit.

It felt weird at first, repeatedly hitting a wrong note. We had to overcome our instincts to quickly back off the errant sound, and push it forward with intention.

And that's the key (pun only half-intended): intentionality.

The thought came to me this weekend, as I was doing some home decor tweaking. It occurred to me that all the green pieces in my living room worked... but were never actually part of our original colour palette. In fact, the pillows that lead me down the 1970s path didn't include any green. I just kept insisting that green worked... until it did.

(Thank you to my in-laws for stealing this chair out of my
brother-in-law's bedroom when he wasn't home)
Walking though Ikea the other day (oh ya, we finally have an Ikea here. So much time wasted in their mini-self-contained houses.  592 square feet of bliss!), I came to the realization that I hate our bedroom. It was falling out of favour with me every day for the last month and a half (that is the downfall to having a clean house -- you can actually see the decor), but that Friday I just snapped. I couldn't live with it ANY LONGER!

I swapped out pillowcases. I sewed some curtains. I just couldn't make the room look anything but country. And I'm not country. There was the obvious solution -- remove the gifted-to-us-as-a-joke-but-ended-up-in-our-bedroom-because-it-matched-even-though-it's-broken wicker chair. But that still didn't help the make-do-bedside-tables that we bought three and a half years ago. Dark stained bambo and water hyacinth drawers sound tropical... but looks country.

In case I haven't said it, I'm not country. I'm retro. I'm mid-century. I'm clean lines. I am NOT country.

I tried to see what they would look like if I covered the baskets with fabric. My mother tried her best to contain her sneer of disapproval, and to be honest, it did look less country... but just as campy.

I tried to find boxes (either in a colourful leather, or a wood which we could paint), and nothing fit their bizarre size.

I had offers left right and centre for dressers to replace our family's cast-offs and hand-me-downs (which we decided not to replace in the end, since we didn't have the heart or desire to get rid of them), but no one could solve my bedside table conundrum. It looked like I was going to be stuck with them.

I would have to learn to love them; take their blaring wrong note and incorporate it into my key. I had to make them look intentional.

Five minutes on the Ikea website later, I did it. I found lamps that will help tie everything together. I know it will take a few more months to pull it all together (especially since "redoing the bedroom" was not anywhere on my to-do list before this weekend), and the lamps are the most expensive part of this project. Now, even though that wicker chair is still sitting in the corner, and that lavender and mint toss cushion still reminds me of the 90s, I don't walk into my bedroom and get hit with a wave of disappointment; I get hit with a wave of excitement. All the bits and pieces may not make sense right now, but I can pull them all together. And isn't that what jazz was all about?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taking the pressure off

Competitive is not the first word I'd use to describe myself, even if I'm slowly realizing how competitive I really am. Going to the gym exemplifies this: I do believe I'm racing the person on the treadmill beside me. I have to one-up the person doing sit-ups beside me. I have to hold that plank a second longer.

There are definitely positive aspects to competition. I like to become more and more efficient at my job. I like to push myself to learn more skills. I like to try new things.

But there is definitely a negative aspect to it as well. When I see the successes in others, and I haven't achieved them, I can't see it as a "work in progress," I see it as a failure. Why can't I have a house? Why can't I go on that trip? Even when it is a goal I have that I am working towards, I find it hard to recognize the achievements I have made thus far. I begin to obsess about how far I still have yet to go, and try to find ways to get there faster -- even if it's completely unreasonable.

Since the Lenten season is upon us, I've decided to try to help myself maintain a healthy level of competition, where I do try to push myself harder to succeed (but in areas where improvement isn't an obsession -- the gym, guitar, etc), and in those other areas where I don't have as much control, or where my attempts aren't reasonable, I'm going to focus on the small victories. Rather than focusing on "giving up" my competitive nature, I'm going to find one thing, every day, that I should be grateful for, whether it's a tiny bit of progress towards a goal, or a simple joy I've found in the day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Secret

A Slob Comes Clean I'll let you in on a secret... my latest motivation to keep clean has been because of a blog I've been reading. And when I mean reading, I mean starting way back at post #1 and moving all the way to present. It's called A Slob Comes Clean, and "Nony" (the originally anonymous writer) lays it all out there for you... her messes, her excuses and her failures. Of course, you also see her organization, her motivation and her victories. I actually find myself excited to read another few posts every day, wondering what will happen next in the saga of Nony The Slob. Could you tell we don't have cable and I narrativize a lot of things?

 Source: Cara on Pinterest

The first lesson I learned from Nony is to keep things quiet. When she started her blog, it wasn't the first attempt to get her house under wraps. It wasn't her second, her third, her fourth, etc. etc. She wasn't sure if she'd succeed. She knew her husband wouldn't be sure that she'd succeed. But rather than setting herself up for public failure, which could easily create the mentality of defeat, she kept it quiet. And she waited to see who noticed. And as she developed more and more and more habits and kept her house cleaner and cleaner, she told more people. Now, while not a complete neat freak or organizational nut, she makes a living speaking publically (and not always hidden by her trademark pink scarf!) about her struggles of slobbery (by which I mean being a slob, and not slobbering).

I'm very very open about my pride of having kept my house clean for A MONTH. But there are other goals I'm working on that I think I'm going to keep quiet. I'm realistic enough to know that there is a high probability of failure. But by keeping it to myself, I don't have to face others when I fail. Instead, I can focus solely on seeing how far I can get this time, and as long as its farther than I did last time, I'll consider it a success.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oops Potatos

We screwed up in January. You don't realize how badly you can screw up a budget just by rationalizing away expenses. In order to remain within our January grocery budget, we either had to continue to rationalize away all the money we spent in grocery stores for my birthday, or just by the bare essentials for a week.

We decided to be financially responsible and go with the second option. (Next time, we'll just rationalize away that money)

By Saturday night, pickings were slim in our freezer. A stray thing of sausage, all kinds of frozen fruit for smoothies (by no yogurt, and barely enough milk), and some muffins I don't remember my mom making (hoping they were from around my grandmother's birthday in November, and not my grandfather's birthday in July). The pantry was pretty much bare except for a giant bag of potatos we'd bought on a whim the week before.

Strangely, the fridge had all kinds of weird things.

So we got creative, and while our taco-meat-without-salsa-or-taco-seasoning was really just ground beef with a LOT of sriracha and cheese, our potato meal turned out MUCH better.

Ooops Potatos

1. Have your husband cook up sausage meat (removed from casing)

2. Microwave cleaned potatoes (that have been stabbed with a fork 5-10 times) for 5 minutes. Flip onto other side and microwave for another 4-5 minutes.

3. Scoop potato away from skin (leaving the skins as intact as possible). 

4. Mix potato "guts" with sour cream, butter, and various spices (we went with our "Garlic spread mix" which is garlic, salt, and likely MSG, since everything I love has to have something I'm allergic to in it). Mix in cooked sausage

5. Restuff the potatos. Sprinkle with cheese.

6. Bake for about 5 minutes at 350. Or 400. Until the cheese is melted is pretty much the best way to judge it!

A smart person would serve this with a side of salad, or at least veggie sticks. But a smart person would have also made accomodations for birthdays BEFORE they happened. 

But a smart person wouldn't have had the fun of creating new recipes!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spice of life

We love spices. And I love Bulk Barn (the Superstore bulk foods branch). Needless to say, we have a lot of spices. Since we store our spices in itty bitty mason jars in the cupboard, I like to keep some extra of each spice on hand, stored in the freezer for freshness.

I've always just thrown the bulk bag into a giant resealable bowl in the freezer. Not only is round the least effective storage shape, it also meant creating a big mess whenever you went to refill the garlic, and without fail, you would be out of garlic and completely forgotten about it. In a fit of genius, I created an almost-fail-proof spice storage, card catalogue system. Yes, I'm a closeted library nerd.

How to Store your Spices like a Librarian

1. Gather old index card boxes and index cards (4"x6" works best, especially for the next step)
2. Buy a lot of sandwich size ziploc bags (surprise! They are pretty near the same width as your index cards!)
3. Label the index card and place inside the bag. 
4. Pour extra spice behind index card in bag. 
5. Squeeze out extra air, trying to distribute the spice up the height of the card, fold over excess bag and seal. 
6. Stand up in index card box, in alphabetical order.

It's the most ridiculously easy how to, but works like you wouldn't believe. We have 25 different spices I like to keep on hand, and they fit in 2 index card holders. I also keep an extra index card holder on top of the fridge, so when we pour the last of one type of spice from the freezer into its mason jar in the cupboard, we put the bag and card into that card box, so when we go to make a Bulk Barn run, I just need to write down which cards are up there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How to go to the gym on your lunch break

When I found out that I had a full hour lunch break when I started my job, I found it terrifying. What would I do? I asked my co-workers, and they all had varied answers -- they did the cross-word, browsed through the nearby department store, took a walk. Without a staff break room, there wasn't even a safe refuge from the public to just relax and read a book.  Fortunately, a somewhat distant cousin worked the next office over, and we started taking lunch together. After several months and some minor restructuring in her department, her lunch break changed. Again, I found myself alone at lunch, often answering phones and emails as I chomped down my salad from my desk.

At the same time, I struggling to find a time to go to the gym. It was too hard waking up early enough to go before work. I was too tired at the end of the day to go after work.

The answer quickly became going on my lunch break. With some planning, I've managed to make it work... and not make my co-workers run from my smell!

Before the gym

  1. Plan your work clothes wisely
    Yes, your work clothes, not your workout clothes (though plan those wisely too!). The faster you can get in and out of the locker room the better. Dresses are great because they are an outfit in one piece, but tights tend to get stuck on post-shower legs. I find wide legged trousers, a shell and a cardigan work best. It's easy to put on, and easy to still be appropriate when you are just too warm to be fully layered up. If you want accessories, stick with quick to remove items, or items that can remain on while you work out (without endangering your life)
  2. Bring snacks
    It's hard enough to get motivated to go to the gym, so if you're hungry and it's lunch time, it will be that much harder! I bring a snack to eat during my morning coffee break to help tide me over until my work out is done. If I was smart, I'd also bring one for the middle of the afternoon - my workouts really kick my metabolism up a gear, and making it to supper gets difficult!
  3. Make sure you have everything you need
    I share a locker, so I have minimal space to store stuff. I keep my shoes, knee braces, and (during the week) my gym clothes in there. I carry a fresh towel, shower flip-flops, shower gel and basic hair & makeup care in my bag. And of course deoderant. If I forget a single thing, I don't go to the gym at lunch. Maybe after work, but the job comes first. 
At the gym
  1. Keep your stuff organized.
    It's easier getting everything ready for your shower before you're sweating, running late and here are 10 other women in a contained area all trying to make it back to their desks before the clock strikes one. I keep my shower stuff on top of my gym bag so I can just grab and go.
  2. Be aware of the time
    Make sure you know how long it takes to get from work-out mode to working mode. This awareness includes knowing how much longer it takes to take the skywalk back to the office when it's cold, rather than dashing across the street.
  3. Know how your body reacts to a work out.
    I know I have to make time to stretch my hips after a good run, or I won't be able to walk after a few hours of sitting and seizing up. I know how much and where I tend to sweat. I know I need to ice my knees, (but never do. After all, who is perfect?). Make sure you have the time to stretch, shower and do anything else your body requires
After the gym
  1. Eat!
    It's an hour after you usually eat AND you've just put in a work out, your body needs to refuel! Eat slowly (wolfing down food after cardio is never easy on the body!), and make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! After those exercise-induced-endorphins wear off, it's easy to get sleepy, but a cold glass of water always helps!
  2. Accept you won't look perfect
    Even if are taking a yoga class, your hair might have a bit of frizz, your makeup might be a little MIA. Your strategically layered outfit may be a little more pulled on than pulled together. It happens. I have rosascea, so the best of times, I'm a little red. Every morning, I mix up a concoction of 4 different products to tame the red, but there is no point in trying to mask it after a 4km run. Yes, I look like a tomato for at least an hour after the gym. It consider it my battle scar and wear it proudly.
  3. Focus
    Yes, the rush to the gym and back may have prevented you from pulling out your cellphone to send some text messages, and logging into your personal email account, but resist the temptation to "just take a couple minutes" when you get back. If your lunch break is over, it's over. Just like there is a code (especially important when your gym is at your place of work) that you don't talk work in the gym, don't bring any vestiges of the gym to work.

Friday, February 1, 2013

One Month Check Up

Being short an idea for one post left me digging through the archives of draft posts. I found one from last week, being a "Two Week Check Up" on my New Years resolution. I shelved it at the time, thinking "Two weeks? That's barely any time!" but before I knew it, we were verging on February. A little revising later, and I bring you the One Month Check Up!

My New Years Resolution, in case you're new around here was:

Stay On Top of Things

In January, I managed to stay on top of things by:

 - Ensuring everything in the house was cleaned to "good enough" standards, so when cleaning time rolled around on Saturday, I could tackle vacuuming, dusting, and (gasp!) those organizational projects that seem so daunting when there is a mess to contend with. 

 - Chopping vegetables the minute I get home from grocery shopping, so I can grab a handful for lunches or snacks or even to spruce up salads. 

 - Doing more than just planning meals, but planning how meals work together. If you're making shepherd's pie, why not make enough mashed potatoes to have with your chicken fingers the next night? And if you bake up an entire package of bacon (yes, I said bake) when you have breakfast for supper on Friday, you have lots of bacon bits to add to Caesar Salads for lunch, or even pizza for supper on Saturday.

 - Being a grown up, and finally getting listed under a doctor's practice. She said I was her favourite kind of patient -- the one that thought about health BEFORE it failed. 

 - Setting a budget that encompasses the next 5 years, even dealing with a number of variables (houses, kids, RRSPs, monthly trips to La Grotta to buy Parmesan cheese). 

I don't want to set myself up for failure by expecting to develop 5 new ways to "stop on top" every month, along with maintaining 5 from the previous month and the previous month and the previous month.  Instead, my hope for February, is to take each of these a little bit further. 

- Increasing my standard of "Good enough"

- Making salad ahead of time

- Pre-cooking some meat for those "running late" days

- Subjecting myself to that blood test I've been putting off for years

- Use a budgeting app that works on my Mac, my iPhone and Scott's Android.  And buy more Regianno