Friday, January 30, 2015

Fitness February: Goals and Action Steps for Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle + Robots

It's so easy to take the most important thing in our lives for granted; our body. I sure as hell did. I have the balance of an "air dancer" flapping aimlessly in the wind of a used car lot and the strength of a frail, shivering teacup Chihuahua. This is the universe's punishment when the only "lifting" you did for years was a succession of french fries, one by one, into your gaping maw. I kid on the last two. Mostly.  The truth is, I've never been athletic. I've always been weak and clumsy. I've been working to change that the past six months. I'm getting toned, stronger, and healthier. It was my missing for better health. Yet I'm facing some set-backs getting the results I want. I know it's going to be slow, but six months in without the right results, I know it's time to evaluate and get serious. It's Fitness February Time!

The Problems: 

(1) My lower body is way more toned than my upper body from lots of running, biking, and possibly more leg days. My roommate Marianne and I joke that she's the upper body of a mecca and I'm the lower body. In case you're not unrepentant Geek, the body parts of the "megazord" or "master form" of a Japanese Giant Robot, if you will, are formed by individual smaller bots piloted by whiney teenagers our young heroes. That's why Voltron above has metal wildcats for feet and legs. Marianne and I bust out laughing discussing how this works at the gym. And emulate it. Giving the Big Brother camera-watchers something to laugh and/or roll their eyes at.

In short, my upper body is flabby and my lower body is firm and I need to make it even before I resemble a potato on stilts.

(2) I've gained 10 lbs since I started working out. Like most I tend to yo-yo 5-10 lbs anyway, but damn, not what I want 6 months into working my ass off at the gym. I think it's the fact that I have to eat more now that I'm burning more calories but I'm not working all my areas out evenly.

The Solutions / Join for Fitness February if You Dare!

1) Balance Carbs and Proteins: Consume about one gram per pound of body weight of each
2) Balance Calories: Get in what's needed that day. Never deprive.
3) Balance Days: I'm making a schedule to work different body groups evenly.
4) Sticking to a Menu: Planning and cooking ahead saves money & helps you hit goals!
5) Write down everything I eat: So I know the real picture. Try it. It's scary how it adds up.
6) Move Daily: The shortest month of the year is the perfect month to make myself move daily! In February there's a silly $150.00-in-products gym contest to enter to keep me hitting the gym and going to the associated classes daily. I won't go as hard with each session, but it will be interesting to see the results. I also want to incorporate more "active rest" like long walks and hardcore deep cleaning.

Me in real-lifes leaving the gym a couple hours ago. I am, shamefully, not a robot. :(

Beginner Tips: If you need easier goals, I'd challenge you to make sure to move more, whether it's as simple as a daily walk during lunch break, and have a big, healthy salad for lunch or dinner. (I have salad recipes here, and staples here.)

The little changes do add up to big differences. In my experience you have to tailor your fitness routine to you. Do what makes you happy, never restrict, and have fun. Even when it's torture! Voltron has spoken!

Related: My Sedentary artist-person 3 month fitness journey + interviews for personal trainers for beginners

Anyone have further tips? Would love to hear 'em. I have an exact menu and routine I'm following, let me know if you'd like to see it in the comments. Let me know if you have any questions, I'm studying nutrition now and I've interviewed/worked with several professionals on the subject of fitness and nutrition. Answers are not all universal, but it's fun to help each other the best we can. I'll post updates on the blog and on Instagram
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Looking Back at my 16 Favorite Blog Posts From 2014: DIYs, Personal Stories, Travel

'Twas a year of streamlining, exploring, and refining on the blog, with work, and in life. When looking back and picking favorite blog posts from 2014 I'm drawn to the simple posts on crafting, travel, and personal stories. These are usually the most rewarding posts for me. I could literally write a blog just on kitschy motels and traveling and feel satisfied. Here are a few of my favorite posts from 2014:

1. DIY Shoes Off Sign Photographed above. I like it because it's when I was filled to the brim with blog ambition and thought I'd do a craft post per week. Ha! Not yet! But craft posts are very rewarding for me. Also, getting the photo of me holding the sign involved me standing awkwardly on a ladder and took many re-takes.

2. The Hostel in the Woods and my Birthday Re-Visit Don't be surprised if I move here one day. I would love to live on a hippie commune and this is one of my favorite places on Earth. So relaxing.

3. Robot Toy Keychain DIY: Even the simplest DIY posts takes hours! Loved this one, love my toy key charms.

4. The Mexican Fisherman and The American Businessman I have made an almost full-fledged switch to "Fisherman." Love it. Life isn't about a "job" and "money".

5. Let Me Take You to Paradise, Caracoles, Puerto Rico A true paradise. Every time we visit Puerto Rico it's hard to leave. Also, Climbing and swimming in a giant waterfall!

6. Being my Mother's Daughter More stories about mom and family to come this year, including at least one family recipe.

7. Magic Beach Motel It was a needed break, a fun trip down memory lane, and much fun to photograph something so kitschy. Looking back, was also when the AJ and I were first falling for each other. Related: Jaybird Inn stay and Postcards from Mod Vilano

8. DIY Textured Jars Fun to make and photograph. I love easy crafts!

9. Short Cuts for Living a Healthy, Minimalist Life I've shared it before, but I like this one. It was fun to shoot the still life for it and organize the thoughts here. Really believed it would help people.

10. Kitschy Tampa Hotel Will someone pay me to record a series on staying in random kitschy motels? Can I submit a pilot?

11. Lucky Maneki Neko-Chan's of Japan I'm an unabashed Japan-o-phile and crazy cat lady.

12. Wolf's Museum It's amazing!

13. Transformers Game Board Push Pin I love Transformers, and the odd art/colors/print of these made-in-China game board pieces.

14. Whale Tooth and Spring Cleaning: The only "Thrift Core" post to have my real writing voice. It's nearly impossible to tap into it anymore.

15. Easy 3 Step Record Bowl A long-time "want to craft" project crossed off the list. Enjoyed how these came out.

16. I Will Find You, and I Will Kill You Wrote this post while laughing with my roommate/best friend. In "real life" I'm weird and whimsical, shines through in this copy. I still miss the hell out of my bike and haven't found a replacement yet.

I look forward to sharing more personal essays, art/creativity updates and re-caps from interesting travels this year. There are so many interesting spots I can't wait to sneak my camera into as soon as possible!

/Comments Off 
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Goal Updates: Reselling, Making, School. Success, Failures, Trucking Along


This year I'm sharing monthly business and personal goal updates. It holds me accountable and it gives you a behind-the-scenes on a free-spirited soloprenuer (and naturally, broke, ha!) student's lifestyle. It's been a crazy, but rewarding month full of new experiences. Behold!:

January Business Progress:

  • Lost $$$ on my antique mall booth. No time! Downsizing to a tiny one next month.
  • Excitedly doing Web Marketing for two local natural living indie businesses. 
  • Copyeditor and designer for a quarterly local natural living magazine!
  • Testing for our organic body care line going amazingly well! Soft release soon.
  • Raised item prices, earning more without slaving. Win/win/win. 
  • Teaching bi-monthly raw vegan cooking classes. Merch/books to come. 
  • Less blogging cured my sleep deprivation woes! Cognitive ability level-up.

Been making and playing with kombucha flavorings. Post to come!

January Personal Progress:

  • Now a full-time student studying herbalism and nutrition. Dream come true!
  • Increasing weight & challenge with each gym visit. Making future torture-plans. Gym=torture.
  • Sold more house clutter for $200, will sell the rest next week. Less clutter=clear mind.
  • Let myself work/stress less and sleep more. Feeling much healthier for it.
  • Streamlined/beautified the home. More progress to come; ongoing.
  • Started beautiful seedlings, will start more and get gardening this year. 
  • Taking lots of creative/craft classes.
  • Corrected my calorie/protein levels. It took another fainting spell (in class; pathetic) to force change. I'd forget to eat + didn't realize how much more I need to eat as a now active person.

A few of our soaps and products, curing. They smell INCREDIBLE. All testing going well.

Some herbalism homework. I happily sharpened my prismacolors for the Botany book!

January Fails:

  • Need more blog posts finished well in advance. 
  • Antique mall income fail. Income drop in general.
  • I didn't get outside daily as intended, even with my challenge
  • Client work took over, need to balance time better.
  • Didn't set aside daily meditation/reading time. Must rectify.

Can't wait to order herb seeds and plant some more babies. Our body care line will have organic, home-grown, healing herbs infused within!

February Adjustments/Goals:

  • Soft opening for my body care line
  • Fill up editorial schedule
  • 5 photoshoots/interviews
  • DO DAILY: Get Outside/Explore, Read, Meditate, Work on eBooks
  • Re-shoot ALL current merchandise for Etsy. 
  • Use a timer to get client work done faster. Focus!
  • Entering a Feb. daily workout and class contest. 
  • Make a better schedule/system to fit everything in!
  • Get progress on my art lines, move along to the next step.
  • Move focus make to profit in February, will share the results.

Our hot water heater heater was out for 22 days straight! Suffering from a cold and desperate, I heated water for my bath on the stove! Also, washer/dryer literally burned out and we had to call the fire department! Got laundry to catch up on as soon as this post is done, it's piled on my couch...

I NEED YO HELP: I'd love your articles for my blog and magazine project! I'm looking to post home tours, collections, business interviews, artist interviews, DIYs, and interesting informative posts. Please e-mail me, I'd love to interview and share your home. If you're local, my camera longs intrude on my life. Contact me

My mom and niece making bath bombs in one the many creative classes at Green Lotus Studios

A small peek at my first cooking class. Was fun to buy some colorful cutting boards for it.

That's a wrap, January. One more week to go.

I could have done better, but overall, January was a success. Yesterday I completely mentally and physically exhausted myself; it was awesome to finally feel that way again. I've needed to really challenge my mind to work those creative brain muscles and my new classes and gigs have re-booted my system. 

How has your January been thus far with sales, personal life, goal following up? And seriously, if you're lurking and want to collaborate/have me write about you/have questions, let me know! I want to work with you.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guides for a Healthy New Years Body: Weight Loss, Recipes, Exercise and More

You revamp and organize you home (see: guides for organizing your everything) for the new year; but it's equally important to streamline and care for our bodies! You only get one, it deserves the best food and care possible. I've worked in a commercial raw vegan kitchen for three years and I'm currently enrolled in nutritional herbalism and master herbalism courses. I'm extremely passionate about learning the inner working of our bodies down to a cellular level and giving it the optimum fuel. I love creating like crazy and staying busy as hell. You, too, have a never-ending list of things to accomplish. We need healthy bodies and minds to keep at it.

Spent three hours yesterday testing my menu for my class at Green Lotus Studios today from 6-9. E-mail if you'd like more details. I'll be teaching a couple of classes a month. Going with an asian theme for this month. 

For everyone who's trying to lose weight, alleviate pain, eliminate blemishes, get toned, improve concentration/creativity and overall get healthier, I have many posts coming for you. For now, here are all the guides you may have missed over the years.

Personal Weight Loss Stories

Weight Loss Tips / Detox


Healthy Raw Vegan Recipes

Budget Healthy Eating

Yummy/Healthy Teas and Drinks

The Raw Vegan 101 

Raw Vegan 101: Preparing Easy, Healthy, Damn Delicious Living Meals
Vegan Feasting: My Go-To Vegan Websites and Recipes

Raw Vegan 101 5 Part Series

Part 1)
 What is it and Why is it Good for You? + Another Raw Info Post
Part 2) My Raw Routines and Tips to Stick to It
Part 3) 
Essential Raw Vegan Tools, Books, and Resources 
Part 4) Pantry Staples for Creating any Dish you Crave Rawfully
Part 5) Adding More Raw Healthfulness to Your Diet on the Cheap
Extra) Straightening Out Misconceptions and My True Mission


Buyer Beware: Organic/Healthy Lifestyle Gimmicks That "Got Me". Nutritional Blood Analysis and Essential Oil

And of Course...

5 Tips to Truly Stick to Your New Years Resolutions: Program Them!

I'll be writing more about herbalism, natural body care and more in the coming months. This is something I can easily see myself taking clients for into the future, over a year from now when all my medical school is done, of course! It's incredibly rewarding to help people detoxify their bodies, heal, consistently stay properly nourished, and harness their full potential. If you need help or have any questions at all don't be shy, e-mail me.

/Comments Off  Gotta ship packages, write books, print books, take photos, write, make marketing plans, work forevers! Stalk my random adventures on InstagramFacebook and Twitter
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Apartment Tour and Challenge, Room 1, The Living Room / Office / Dining Room


My forever-task of re-arranging my apartment continues, but it's getting better every day! Limits force creativity, and my challenge is a money-saving one. I want to solve as many living space solution problems as possible, if not all of them, by not purchasing anything new. I can thrift a little, I can make things, but for the most part, I want this to be a $0.00 challenge. My living room/office area isn't done by far yet, but here's the current progress.

I've read in feng sui it's good to move your desk so that it "overlooks your workspace" for good energy. I've had it facing the wall and out the window and wanted to try breaking up my "open space" a bit. I deliberately have it facing my calendar and weekly to-do list and a feel a little more productive this way.

The desk being "connected" to the expedit unit was an idea I gleaned from IKEA. The same Expedit unit I have has been paired with matching "work desk". I actually considered buying one (fool!), but i have a perfectly good desk to push against it. I like the color contrast better this way. A fun change for now.

I'm trying to sell my dining room table. We never eat at it and I inevitably let work clutter pile of top of it. Pushed to the side as an "ornamental" table (guests sit when they visit, otherwise, virtually un-used) the room feels bigger and the "energy" flow is better.

I like it by the window as my "plant table" for now.

The desk also faces a new little "reading nook" I carved out. Don't mind Yuko's distracting cat toy there. I was about to stash it out of the way for the shot, but meh, went for authenticity. I'm dying to move the dinosaur and Robert Land print lower even if it defies the gallery height rule to balance the distance between art and couch. I'm pedantic that way. Besides, now my desk faces that wall and I'm looking at the imbalance all day! Rawr, kill it!

I sold some more of my massive book collection a couple of days back. It hurt to accept the checks for my prized comic books, but they were long-unread and gathering dust. I hope to read off a lot of this "reference" collection and keep reducing.


Here are a couple of before and in-progress shots. Hard to believe it go this bad before it got better! The holidays were crazy-times. You can see all the products I was shooting on top of the expedit unit and just the crazy mess deep-organizing and shipping stuff out daily is everywhere else.

In Progress...


I like how moving the desk to the middle actually opened up the layout a lot.
This space has had a lot of incarnations from when I first occupied it. I've seen lots of furniture come and go. It's looking a little spartan, but the clean is nice for now. I think some bigger art pieces/better wall art composition will really finish it off in here. Maybe some curtains, too. Expect some fun DIYs before/afters soon.

Right behind me as I work is the living room. Where the AJ and the roomie often watch football. While reading the ipads or smart phones simultaneously, naturally.

Again, needs some better composition on the walls, but I like how the sectional completes that space. Much more cozy and inviting and more cohesive and practical than the mismatched couch mix I had before. Guests usually ending up sitting on the floor, not enough chairs for the butts in the room.

And if an AJ is usually beside me, a Yuko is in front of me. She inexplicably adores this rug. I've tried to throw it out but...

I affect a weird "foreign" accent when I "talk" for my cat. I can't be the only one who "talks" for their cat, right? Anyone? Everyone in this apartment "talks" for the Yuko. I'm not alone!

She loves the hell out of it! Fine, keep yo fuzzy gray rug, cat. It ties that part of the room together nicely anyway. "Anchors" the reading area, if you will.

So, my goals for the living room/dining room/office space area are to:

(1) Read and sell off un-needed books/magazines
(2) Sell dining room table and chairs
(3) Find or make bar stools
(4) arrange existing art for better composition
(5) make some feng sui pieces where needed
(6) Find or make small curio cabinet
(7) Arrange the stuff in the expedit unit black boxes again, they got out of whack post-holiday blitz :P

I shall update with progress! How's your new years organization/purging/re-arranging going? Any particular challenges you're trying to work out? Sorry for the crazy post, I usually like my posts and shots to be more contrived, but it was fun to mind dump here last night.

If you're not, get to it. Yuko is JUDGING. YOU. Get to work.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to be an Explorer of The World: Week 2 of 5

Results of last week's explorations:  It rained most of the time last week, preventing me from completing the "daily walks" prompt, but otherwise, I'm glad I made these prompts public and accountable. It forced me out of the house when I was enjoying a writing job so I could go out and enjoy the rare, sunny weather.  It was fun to play with composition, too. The "childhood collection' shot with the soda can actually looks like a scene from my childhood! The ribbon looks exactly like cheap necklaces I'd wear (it was, after all, the 90s), I was addicted to coke and always running around in the woods collecting moss, flowers, etc.

Week 2: Explorations 11-20

Exploration #11) Differences

Collect multiples of one thing (such as leaves, stones, shells, seeds, etc.). Lay them out in front of you. Observe them in detail. Using the "object log". List the differences you see. Try to document at least twenty-five things.

Page quote: The imagination needs moodling- long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. - Brenda Ueland

Exploration #12) Fifty Things

Write down (or document) fifty things about one of the following: A trip to the library a trip to the grocery store, a walk in your neighborhood.

Page quote: Before familiarity can turn into awareness the familiar must be stripped of its inconspicuousness; we must give up assuming that the object in question needs no explanation. However frequently recurrent, modest, vulgar, it may be t will now be labeled as something unusual. -Bertold Brecht

Exploration #13) Collecting Type

Document lettering you find out in the world. Take notes about where and when you found the samples.

Exploration #14) Sound Map

Sit in a location for one hour. Document all the sounds you can hear and the times you hear them. Mark the approximate location of the sounds in relation to you on a map.

Exploration #15) Consumer

Record everything you consume or everything you purchase in one day/week.

Source: Kate Bindaman-Burt

Exploration #16) Survey

Create a simple survey of at least five questions. Give it to a sampling of people. Document the answers in a way that is interesting and readable. (For instance, as a graph, spreadsheet or pictogram.)

Exploration #17) Instant Sculpture

Consider that everything around you is a source for sculpture. Try  making quick pieces using whatever you have around you in the moment.

Exploration #18) Structure

Document part of building(s) that most people ignore. (Examples include the ceilings, bathrooms, corners, closets, and the insides of drawers). Pay attention to the hidden places. Alternate: document the corners of your home.

Exploration #19) Found "Paint"

While on your travels, come up with as many things as you can find to use pigment (adding water if necessary). Some examples include crushed berries, mud (using different kinds of dirt), crushed leaves, spices.

Alternate: Document an experience using stains.

Exploration #20) Small Thoughts

Make a list of placid small thoughts you have throughout the week (For instance, what were you thinking just now?)

Excited to get out and explore today after our new washer/dryer is delivered!  /Comments Off
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Thrift Wish List 2015: Unique Art, Kitchen Goodness, Mid Century Modern Furniture

For years now I've taken The Compact, a vow to Buy Nothing New and only shop second hand for most needs. (I've written tips on starting your own here and 12 reasons why I chose to buy nothing new, too). Everyone has their own exceptions and I've allowed a new purchase or two, especially when I've been hunting for years and haven't been able to find what I needed second-hand. After making some plans to clear out some final bits of clutter I feel confident allowing myself to do some thrifting soon, but I'm setting strict rules!

I haven't allowed myself to thrift for months because I was incredibly frustrated with the process. It was time to pause, re-assess. I wanted my home in "perfect" shape before I started replacing pieces and I think I'm close to ready. Below is my Thrift Wish List for 2015, bits I'll search for when I get back to the hunt:

[From HiBrowModern on Etsy. Would love a lounge like this.]

1. Tall Industrial or MCM Bar Stools: I have a very tall built-in bar between my kitchen and living room that I'd love to use for serving, but conventional retail stools are too short.  If I don't find some I'll go with the original plan of custom-making something.

Cheap Food Processor: For making raw vegan cheeses or crusts, doesn't have to be too fancy. Right now I use my Vitamix for everything but it's not ideal.

Jars: For my growing herb and spice collection. I'll continue to get more massive and beautiful. Extra points for matching jars but it's no big deal. Easy to find at yard sales, especially.

Mid Century Modern Lounge Chair: Would be fun to find a nice, light, industrial or Mid Century Modern reading chair to replace our current one.

[This exact cabinet would be perfect, exactly what I seek! via Vintage ReBop]

Curio Cabinet, Small Preferable: A small glass situation to keep my collections safe. I had to sweep up two of my favorite glass pieces in the past month! Shared apartment woes! (They've been set aside to make mixed media pieces. Sigh.) One like the one above would be PERFECT. If I can't find something like it, would love to try to make one just like it.

Tackle Boxes/Organizing Things: I have tons of smalls and little supplies that could use some pedantic organization. I'm excited to get work on mixed media piece making!

[I need ALL the baskets and jars and organizing things. via MDQuality Goods]

Industrial Baskets: For organizing. And selling.

Industrial Signs: Fun ones to keep. And Sell.

[I love kitschy signs as art. Want this one! Every day should be Halloween. via OhioPicker]

Unique Art: When it comes to acquiring new things I think practically. Will it be hard to move to a future place? Will it be hard to clean? Is it a cluttery knick-knack that prevents good "energy flow" in the home? Artwork always fits the bill. Easy to move, inspiring to display.

Window Box Planters: I want to grow from my 2nd floor apartment windows. Not sure if it's possible to attach window boxes yet but I want to try.'

[via zinandbert]

Beautiful Pottery Planters: Only the best! None of the rest.

Interesting Toys/Bits: For mixed media artwork.

Interesting T-Shirts/Vintage Clothes: I may be working on vintage/up-cycled clothing this year. I'm starting with outfitting myself and some individuals to see how I like it before diving in. I'll write a lot more about this soon.

Cannot Buy Under Any Circumstances (Hard, So Hard to resist):

  • Beer Steins
  • Ceramics
  • Vintage Kitchenware
  • Mugs
  • Glass knick knacks
  • artwork to sell
  • most large objects

I adore my current apartment and intend to stay here for a long time, but I don't want to be tied here, or anywhere. I want to lighten my load and continue to accumulate as little as possible. I don't want heavy and hard to move things in particular. I want to feel light and location independent. I love that the yard sales, Goodwill by-the-pound store, flea markets, and thrift stores are here as resources to help me source good quality household needs and find beautiful objects along the way for less.

What will you be hunting for second-hand this year? Any lists of your own or must-find items?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

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