2019 February Goals – Accountability, Check in, and Unexpected Surprises!

It’s already March!

I spent February working like mad to sell off/give away/get rid of without trashing a lot of my belongings that no longer serve a purpose for me. I sold furniture that has been sitting around, clothing I never wear and won’t realistically ever wear or want to wear, and some other random stuff that I thought other people might value. I gave away opened items or low-value items I didn’t think were worth my time trying to sell. I still have a small pile of things I am giving away or selling. I have also up-cycled some of the plastic packaging and containers we’ve taken into the house – like the plastic container that we got our Costco cherry tomatoes in I use to hold my cotton up-cycled shirt hankies. The #10 can from one of my prepper foods that we used up is now the receptacle for the used hankies in the bathroom. Our ‘trashcan’ in the bathroom is only used for compostables.

On a related note… We lost power for 3 nights and 2 days this month and had to work with our old-fashioned yet reliable fireplace for heat. Thank goodness our stove top is gas powered! I was able to burn a lot of the paper that’s been sitting around the house from junk mail and records that needed shredding. Huzzah! I was also able to cook/pack in coolers and ice/take to a hotel and put in their fridge to conserve all the food from the fridge/freezer that was mine. Thankfully, I don’t stockpile frozen food.

I also tried out the Imperfect Produce with mixed results at first. I did a cost analysis of all the produce I chose in the first box and looked at pricing from our local Safeway store here in WA state and found that the prices were usually 30% less with Imperfect Produce! A win for my budget. I also was able to use a discount code for my first box! I really like how naked the produce from Imperfect is and how customizable each box is. I can buy organic or regular produce at a discount. I also scheduled weekly boxes so I can reduce my trips to the grocery store, thereby reducing impulse buys. I highly recommend you try out Imperfect Produce too! You can use this link to get $10 off your first box!

I have been saving up Amazon gift cards until I had enough to purchase some silk floss, Ethique shampoo bar sampler, reusable pads and loofah sponges. I have mixed feelings about the floss – but I think over time I can get used to it. It came in the cutest cardboard packaging and I re-used their cardboard mailer. I haven’t tried the Ethique shampoo bars or reusable pads yet. The loofah sponges were smaller than I realized but I put one in the shower to use on my face/body and will use another in the kitchen when my old sponge is used up. Those did come in plastic packaging.

I still am looking to source a Zero-Waste toothpaste and facial moisturizer alternative in the near future, but still have at least 30% of each bottle left that will last me a good few months.

Next month’s goals: to test out my zero waste shampoo/conditioner, cutting (and donating) 12″ or so of my hair, trying out my reusable pads, and learning to wash my up-cycled shirt tissues and pads.

My ongoing and future projects:

  1. Make my own laundry detergent or source a better alternative
  2. Line dry my clothes instead of using the dryer (when we have sun again)
  3. Stop my junk mail (or parts of it?)
  4. Get/Make/Source reusable cloth napkins and store in a usable location for both upstairs and downstairs
  5. Source facial lotion
  6. Source a toothpaste tablets/powder I like?
  7. Visit the zero-waste stores in my area

I’ve been reading Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson and think it’s a very useful guide!

Do you have any other ideas I should consider to reduce my waste?

As far as fitness goals go: I’m able to find my balance point in crow and can hold it for several seconds without teeter tottering out of it immediately! I continue to work on strengthening my wrists, lifting weights, and walking every day. Eventually, I may find it valuable to work one-on-one with a knowledgeable hand stand instructor.

My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I’m doing this by earning more money, spending less money, and investing the money that I do have. Here is my monthly budget spreadsheet and a brief breakdown for how February went.

Even with my unexpected car expenses, I was still able to spend under 50% of my earnings! Woot woot!

What are your goals and how are you meeting them this month?

Here is my January goal check in blog post!


2019 January Goals – Accountability, Check in, and Bragging!

January may be over, but I still have goals on the horizon…

My journey to less waste began in late 2018, but I’ve been looking closer at the trash my purchases make and I resolved to make even more changes this year.

As I use up my personal items, I’ve decided to source a more local, more environmentally friendly, higher quality, zero-waste alternative. The first item I used up is my natural deodorant. I switched to the Crystal Body Deodorant, Rock, 5 Ounce back in December and have used it since then with great results. I really like the rock, but it did come in a plastic sleeve – in a plastic and cardboard packaged container. I kept the plastic sleeve to put it in when I travel but tossed the packaging.

The second item I’ve nearly used up is floss. I’m still sourcing an alternative, but am thinking about getting dental lace. I want to check out what the Bothell Recology store has for floss, if any and take a quick peek at my local PCC for alternatives as well. I have a little bit of time before the last bit of my Costco Oral-B Glide floss runs out. I also don’t want to check out the local stores when I’m near them and not go out of my way to visit them.

A third personal item that I didn’t necessarily use up, but am already making changes for is for my menstrual health. I got the Lunette Reusable Menstrual Cup – Blue – Model 1 for Light Flow – Your Vagina’s New Best Friend in December and tried it out for 2 days. Then I read some comments in some of my Zero-Waste groups on Facebook that the device, since it uses suction, can cause a prolapse. Scary. So I haven’t tried it since. I did receive two very lovely pairs of Thinx period panties on my birthday. Thanks, Sis! I still have quite the supply of pads left and am looking forward to trying out the Thinx on the lighter days.

Other changes I have made are as follows:

  1. Composting in a bin in the backyard
  2. Keeping veggie scraps and making them into stock for soup
  3. Refusing whenever I can (envelopes at the bank, straws at restaurants, bags at the grocery store)
  4. Using my produce bags and reusable bags at the grocery store
  5. Using handmade hankies for blowing my nose instead of toilet paper or tissues
  6. I stopped using q-tips
  7. Taking the trash can out of the bathroom and leaving a ‘compost’ bin instead
  8. Using my Buy Nothing and other friendly online groups to recycle items I don’t want and don’t use
  9. Re-using any packaging materials I receive for work/personal
  10. I didn’t buy anything new that wasn’t consumable in January!
  11. Making my own rags for cleaning out of old clothes that were too worn out to donate
  12. Resolving to plan meals at home every day of the month and only eating out when cooking doesn’t work out or when I’m traveling
  13. Planning my meals around what food needs to be eaten (I’m looking at you leftovers!)

My future projects:

  1. Consider a family cloth and figure out the logistics
  2. Make my own Poo-Pourri
  3. Make my own laundry detergent or source a better alternative
  4. Line dry my clothes instead of using the dryer
  5. Stop my junk mail
  6. Source an alternative to my current shampoo/conditioner bottles
  7. Get/Make/Source reusable cloth napkins and store in a usable location for both upstairs and downstairs
  8. Source packaging free fruits and vegetables that aren’t inconvenient to purchase
  9. Source facial lotion

Do you have any other ideas I should consider to reduce my waste?

I completed a fitness goal in January as well – I successfully completed the Blogilates 100 abs challenge. Though many days I did the easier version of the ab-challenge move and some days I didn’t complete the challenge in one day, I did all 100 ab moves in the 30 days. Blogilates is one of my favorite fitness guides on Youtube. I feel stronger and more able to complete ab-related workouts now. I also feel that I do have more ab muscles.

Early in January, my partner and I both got a BodySpec scan and it was fascinating to see the measurements. According to the scan I’m very healthy. It’s always reassuring to have the numbers. It was also quite reassuring to have the 15-minute phone consultation after the scan and for them to tell me that having such a high fat content in the gynoid region (35%) isn’t bad and doesn’t indicate a higher risk for something like diabetes. The gynoid region is where you want to store your fat! Huzzah! My partner and I have both been going to the gym for strength training this month, which I have never really done before. I actually enjoy it (almost anything is more exciting and easier than cardio).

I have dog walking midday all month and have enjoyed the extra movement. Moving forward I want to continue to work on strength training, ab-exercises, and movement during the day. I also want to continue to take my pole classes and the acro-yoga classes I’ve been going to weekly/biweekly. Eventually when my wrist (specifically my left wrist) feels like it has a greater range of motion, I want to work more diligently on handstand training.

My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I’m doing this by earning more money, spending less money, and investing the money that I do have. I put the maximum allotment for 2018 into my IRA account and I am trying out some short-term CD investments. I am also looking for creative ways to earn money. So far I have tried filling out surveys (it’s hard to get chosen for the ones that pay real money), Rover (I love getting paid to exercise and I get to watch cats sometimes), selling unwanted items on Facebook selling unwanted items on Ebay, and selling the remaining book inventory (which means seeking out events where I can sell my books). By the way, if you’re local – come meet me! Cough cough buy my books cough cough.

I am also closely watching all my money. I created a yearly budget and broke it down by month and track every single expense categorically. My monthly goal is to save half of all my incoming money. Here is my monthly budget spreadsheet and a brief breakdown for how January went.

I did spend 55% of my income for January. Mostly because I prepaid my car insurance, legal fees, and 6-month maintenance this month.

Upcoming Local Event: Neverending Bookshop Author Signing in Edmonds, WA 2/3/19


The Neverending Bookshop is pleased to welcome back local author Rachel Barnard with her book “Donuts In An Empty Field”! She’ll do a reading, talk about her books, answer questions, and sign copies of her work. Stop by and join us!

To celebrate Rachel breaking even on her first ever book project, she is offering her first For the Love of Donuts book (Donuts in an Empty Field) at a discounted price at this event.

RSVP to the event on Facebook HERE


Add the book to your Goodreads shelf:


Bring your used books and get store credit to the book store.

2018: AMC A-List – the movies I saw and the ones I recommend

Total cost paid for movies watched in 2018 in theatres: $297.42… total value for movies watched = $839.45

“*” indicates a movie I particularly enjoyed and would recommend.

March: $10

  • A Wrinkle in Time (10)

April: $42.97

  • A Quiet Place (12.49)
  • I Feel Pretty (12.49)
  • Avengers (17.99)

May: $45.49

  • Black Panther (5)
  • Tully (5)
  • Overboard (23)
  • Deadpool 2 (12.49)

June: $55.76

  • Adrift (14.49)
  • The Incredibles 2 (12.49)
  • *Tag (12.49)
  • Jurassic World (16.49)
  • Uncle Drew (12.29)

July:  $110.32 value… paid $20.95

  • Ant Man and the Wasp (17.99)
  • Sicario (12.49)
  • Skyscraper (12.49)
  • *Sorry to Bother You (12.99)
  • Mamma Mia (12.49)
  • Purge 2 (12.59)
  • Equalizer II (11.29)
  • Mission Impossible: Fallout (17.99)

August: $92.93 value… paid $20.95

  • Darkest Minds (12.49)
  • The Meg (free showing)
  • Spy Who Dumped Me (12.49)
  • BlackKKlansmen (12.49)
  • Alpha (12.49)
  • AXL (12.49)
  • Crazy Rich Asians (17.99)
  • Happytime Murders (12.49)

September: $96.93 value… paid $20.95

  • *Searching (12.49)
  • Predator (17.99)
  • A Simple Favor (10.99)
  • White Boy Rick (12.49)
  • House with a Clock in the Walls (17.99)
  • Life Itself (12.49)
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 (12.49)

October: $117.12 value… paid $20.95

  • Smallfoot (10.19)
  • *A Star is Born (12.49)
  • Venom (18.99)
  • First Man (18.99)
  • Bad Times at El Royale (12.49)
  • Halloween (18.99)
  • The Hate U Give (12.49)
  • Goosebumps (12.49)

November: $125.92 value… paid $20.95

  • *Bohemian Rhapsody (18.99)
  • Nutcracker (12.49)
  • The Grinch(18.99)
  • Overlord (12.49)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Crimes of Grindelwald (18.99)
  • *Creed II (12.49)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet (18.99)
  • Widows (12.49)

December:  $142.01 value… paid $38.45

  • *Spider Man into the Spider-verse (free showing)
  • *Green Book (12.49)
  • Schindler’s List (18.99)
  • Robin Hood (12.49)
  • Once Upon a Deadpool (12.59)
  • Mortal Engines (12.49)
  • They Never Grow Old (17.50)
  • Bumblebee (12.49)
  • Aquaman (17.99)
  • The Mule (12.49)
  • Vice (12.49)

2018 Reading Challenge Books in Review and Recommended Reads

2015 Reading Challenge Blog Post

2016 Reading Challenge Blog Post

2017 Reading Challenge Blog Post

I spent $41.41 on kindle books this year

My favorite books I read this year:

• Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
• Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
• Memed, My Hawk (İnce Memed, #1) by Yaşar Kemal
• Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher
• Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
• Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss
• Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
• The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
• The Power by Naomi Alderman
• The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
• Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
• Artemis by Andy Weir
• Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
• Geekerella by Ahsley Poston
• La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

My favorite Indie books that I read this year:

1. A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris
2. Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves
3. Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves
4. Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams
5. What Happens at by Cathy Yardley
6. Aftan Whispers by Phil Williams
7. Nocturne by Heather McKenzie

The books I read this year:

Goals and Accomplishments from 2018 and Future Goals for 2019

Goals list of 2014
Goals list of 2015
Goals list of 2016
Goals list of 2017

Goals list of 2018:


  • Finish one novel writing project – I stopped writing this year and haven’t finished any other writing-related projects.
  • Plan and execute my children’s picture book I’ve put on hold for years – Again, haven’t worked on any writing-related projects
  • Submit to the PNWA contest – I did and I won second place in the short story contest!
  • Send Flora’s Last Chance for Magic to 20 publishers/agents/editors – I didn’t do this, but I did send it to one agent I know
  • Create Rachel’s guide to donuts in and around Seattle – haha not


  • Handspring to Ayesha – I can do this with a spot
  • Create a demo reel – never got around to this
  • Learn a breakdance party move – I still want to do this!
  • Level up inversions at Divine – I never went consistently enough for this to happen

2019 Goals!!!

Describe yourself in 3 words: Driven, Efficient, Restless

Describe what you want more of in 3 words: Calm, Accomplished, Considerate

Theme for 2019: Minimize


2019 Goals:

  1. Nail the Divine intermediate inversions combo
  2. Learn hand balancing moves (specifically a hand stand)
  3. Take more acro yoga classes
  4. Learn to make fluffy gluten free bread
  5. Finish my scrapbook
  6. Finish my health book through 2018
  7. Management/Kanban training
  8. Learn massage techniques
  9. Dog sit/walk a corgi
  10. Goat/cat yoga
  11. Volunteer at Thrill the World and perform for the 5th year!
  12. Learn Turkish (get through the 12 modules on my Rosetta Stone app)


Travel Dreams:

  1. Corgi Con
  2. Pole expo
  3. Blind Café
  4. Herb Farm or a Michelin-starred restaurant

2018 Physical Activity – Dance/Tennis/Acro/Fitness

2017 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2016 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2015 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

How do you work out?

Pole Dancing Highlights for 2018
2. I took 92 classes total
3. I spent $1465.74 total
4. I spent 144.5 hours in class
5. I worked with 12 different instructors

Lifetime money spent (just for pole classes): $6348.55
2014 – $90
2015 – $422.21
2016 – $1777
2017 – $2594
2018 – $1465.74

Lifetime total pole classes: 365
2014 – 6
2015 – 19
2016 – 109
2017 – 139
2018 – 92

Total time spent poling: 592
2014 – 10.5 hours
2015 – 37.5 hours
2016 – 173.5 hours
2017 – 226 hours
2018 – 144.5 hours

Class Breakdown at different studios for 2018
Divine – 21/92 = 23%
Spinderella – 53/92 = 58%
P3 – 18/92 = 19%

Class Type breakdowns for 2018
Intermediate Inversions = 13
Intermediate/Advanced Spins = 6
Level 3-1 = 35
Level 2-2 = 1
“Intermediate” classes = 8
Open level drop ins = 11
Other = (pole power hour, Open choreography session) = 1
Level 3-2 = 12
Ayesha workshops = 4
Boudoir Classes = 1

In other fitness accomplishments (53.75 hours):
1. I did 3 acro yoga classes and one at home yoga class (8 hours total)
2. I went to 2 Thriller refresher classes before the Flashmob dance at Thrill the World (2 hours)
3. I went to only 4 volleyball drop ins (8 hours)
4. I took a golf lesson with my SO (45 minutes)
5. I went to 6 different 24-hour fitness classes with my SO (5 hours)
6. I spent 7 hours in the pool doing aqua classes and laps with my SO (7 hours)
7. I started playing tennis and went to the park to play 18 times with my SO (18 hours)
8. I played basketball – shooting hoops – once with my SO (2 hours)
9. I went on two scenic hikes with my SO (3 hours)


My favorite fitness photos:


Rachel’s Favorite Recipes throughout 2018

2016 Favorite Recipes

2017 Favorite Recipes

My health and my work influenced the new recipes I tried this past year. I went from working two part time jobs to working both a full time job and a part time job to finally working a full time job from home. I also had a lot of gut healing going on in 2018 and for half the year was on a strict LEAP diet. According to Emily Fonnesbeck, RD Nutrition Therapist, “The Lifestyle Eating and Performance (LEAP) program is a diet for those suffering from delayed food and food chemical sensitivities. These sensitivities can result in an immune system reaction with the release of mediators which cause pain and inflammation in the body.” I was not eating the following foods strictly for 3 months and then reducing my intake of the yellows and continuing to avoid the reds: Coffee, Salmon,  Sweet Potato, Onion, Cherry, Cocoa (Reds). Chicken, Turkey, Pinto Bean, Soybean, MSG, Cottage Cheese, Cow’s Milk, Whey, Maple, Sesame, Clam, Tuna, Wheat, Amaranth, Honeydew Melon, Banana (Yellows).

These are the recipes I have liked and used more than once:

  1. Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  2. Gluten Free Bread
  3. Pistachio Macarons
  4. Black Bean Brownies
  5. Banana Muffins
  6. Meringue Cookies

Continue reading

Foodie Fridays: Week 2 and Week 3 LEAP diet – What it Cost

Week 2: $275.61

$7.37 2/8 Trader Joe’s cereal, fruit wrap, and hot cereal

$6.98 2/9 Fred Meyer for Cashewgurt and a mango

$11.04 2/8 Amazon cake pan for Instant Pot

$40 halfvsies at Costco for Boom Chicka Kettle Corn, Kirkland Signature beef, lettuce mix, brown rice

$97.05 Fullscript supplements: Bio-Zyme, PureLean Nutrients

$10 Flying Apron Bakery loaf of gluten free bread 2/11/18

$103.17 Fullscript supplements: Support Minerals, Amino-NR, PurePaleo Protein unflavored

Week 3: $100.74

$24 halfsies at Fred Meyer 2/16 for various groceries including my favorite pickles!

$21.29 at Fred Meyer 2/19 for dented cans of pear, applesauce, avocado, soy free Earth Balance butter, etc.

$3.45 Fred Meyer 2/21 cereal and 2 teas

$52 halfsies at Costco 2/21 for peanuts, hot dogs, eggs, kettle corn, lettuce


Foodie Fridays: One Week LEAP diet – What I Ate

What I spent on a week’s worth of groceries: $182.22 (one of the trips was halfsies and I also bought some bathroom supplies from Amazon). This does not include my monthly supplements.

My new favorite gluten free/dairy free finds:


Without further ado – a week in meals