2020 Best and Worst Purchases of the Year, Favorite Restaurants, Favorite Activities

Top Purchases for the year:

Getting my hair professionally cut and highlighted – I was starting to get a weird bowl cut looking vibe and as soon as it was highlighted, I feel like my look was completely transformed and I loved my hair again.

Amy Cohen’s masks bundles for myself, boyfriend, grandparents, and parents – Not only was I supporting someone I knew (mother of a friend), but these masks were adorable and after months of wear they still hold up!

Lush shampoo bar – I have loved every sample and bar that I’ve tried from Lush. They are super sudsy and very long-lasting. They travel very well – no leaking!

Native deodorant – I really like the natural scents and it’s one of the best natural deodorants that I’ve tried over the past few years.

ebike – I bought a secondhand Raleigh Sprite iE 45cm 2017 from someone who had used it as a commuter bike in Seattle (a gamble!) and I absolutely love this bike. I’m really happy that it works and I only spent $1000. I’ve already put over 300 miles on this bike and it makes biking where hills are involved pleasurable.

Low cost DIY pallet garden – I was able to build and plant my garden for just over $200 because I spent time and effort sourcing free materials and was gifted several tomato starts and the time and help of my friends and family.

Garage fridge – After cleaning out the mini fridge I got for free several years ago, I left it to defrost outside and it never turned back on so I invested in a $200 compact but full-sized fridge for the garage that we put all our hard cider and fridge overflow into. This was a great investment since there are three of us sharing our small full-sized kitchen fridge.

Orgain Keto chocolate (especially on sale at Costco) – I love this tuff! I can make a mousse when I mix it with milk. I can make hot chocolate when I mix it with hot milk. I put it into my granola bowls to make them taste like dessert.

Rock paint markers – I got really into rock painting as a new hobby in the summer and have been hiding and gifting the painted rocks all over town. This set works so well though I have accidentally squished down the top of the white too much. They don’t have a fine tip, which is mostly okay and I can make adequately detailed rocks.

Pecan pie from Grocery Outlet – Who knew my favorite pie was pecan? Thanks to my partner for picking pecan, now I know that it’s my favorite! Grocery Outlet’s $5 pecan pie was the best pie we’ve found this season.

Fiskars Micro-Tip Blades – I went all out for my DIY garden this year and love the clean and sharp pruning scissors I got to help me harvest my greens.

Soccer shoes – Though we only got to play one time with other people before lockdown, my boyfriend and I enjoyed multiple nights of practice play and these shoes made so much of a difference!

Top Gifts for the year:

Summer veggie box

The perfect sized cup in my Edible Arrangements birthday gift from my mother – I love this cup so much that I will wash it after each use so I can re-use it again. I eat my granola out of this cup because it also makes the perfect deep-bowl.

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Worst Purchases for the year:

$238.51 Indiegogo masks reusable N-99 silicone masks from ModPPE and $60 for additional filters – After backing this project in April of this year, I finally received my product in December. They have had a full production company since late summer, yet they didn’t cancel my order when asked and didn’t bother shipping from their US warehouse either. Worst customer service I’ve ever experienced from a company selling a product. And check out the sorry state the box arrived in! The product doesn’t fit either so I paid quite a bit of money for useless trash that took 9 months to arrive. You want one? I’ve still got most of them sitting in my closet.

Mixed seeds from Amazon – Never again. Not only did they just dump unidentifiable seeds in the packet, there weren’t 100 and they didn’t grow at all!

The AMC refillable bucket – Haha 2020. You got me!

The Lobster Shop – Most disappointing restaurant of the year. Overpriced. Too salty. Quality was meh.

AirBnB gift card – I thought I could use this gift card to pay for the second half of my reservation (should have read the fine print). Now I still have that gift card just sitting in my account when it could have gone to something more useful.

Pistachio oil and Pistachio extract – The pistachio oil didn’t have enough pistachio flavor and I didn’t really know what to put it in other than my salads. The extract was terrible and tasted very artificial!

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Favorite Restaurants:

Pagliacci – I really have taken a liking to their pizza. I like the crust. I like the cheese. I absolutely loved their fig seasonal pizza. I like how they have new seasonals every few weeks.

Where Ya Matt – Local food truck with phenomenal New Orleans soul food. Worth breaking your diet for those beignets…

The Slip – New favorite non-traditional burger place. The Slip has fun burgers that are delicious! My favorites were the Thai PB&J and the Burgadilla

Jeff’s Texas Style BBQ – we keep coming back for this BBQ.

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Favorite Activities:

Horseback riding at Mone Farms – what activities can you do that are naturally socially distanced? How long is a horse you ask?

Trusted Housesitters – I love looking for new listings weekly on Trusted Housesitters and though we were only able to fit one sit in before lockdown, I still peruse their site every few weeks. It was such fun sitting this little guy. You can use this link to get 25% off a membership at Trusted Housesitters: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/refer/RAF286731/

UFC family watch nights – Good food and good company, though I didn’t care too much about the UFC…

Mexico Vacation prior to the pandemic – Best vacation all year… I truly took a vacation (no sneaking in emails like I do during staycations).

Surprising my grandparents – chalk message, hidden painted rocks, and traditional Christmas breakfast

Building raised garden beds and a railing bed with my housemate (especially using her power drill) – I loved building the pallet garden beds instead of buying them. Saving money and learning a new skill!

Staying the weekend in a Tiny House in Tacoma (staycation) – I have become mildly obsessed with tiny houses and it was such fun to try one out for the weekend.

Pokemon Go – Another steadfast quarantine hobby has become Pokemon Go. We played so much that I was able to level up this year after playing almost every day.

Beatsaber, Sock Boy, Heads Up, and other games with my partner – Though I almost always lost, I still had lots of fun playing games and laughing with my boyfriend.

Painted Rock Hobby – Hiding Painted Rocks

Rock painting… I saw some of my friends doing it on social media and I thought to try it out. I reached out to my BuyNothing group on FB and found a starter set with simple paints, one brush, and 4 dark river rocks. I googled rock painting and found some fun images! I tried out a minion and a ladybug for my first two and then picked a chicken and a pennyfarthing to paint for my grandparents. I really liked painting the rocks! Because the surface is uneven and the pictures are often rudimentary, my simple skills were sufficient. All I needed were more rocks…

I bought this set of paint pens and painted more rocks! What fun.

Now I started hiding them. I hid my first set of four the facility where my Grandparents live. I hid rocks near the little free libraries. I hid them with other rocks. Can you spot all the places I hid my rocks?

  

Finally, I started sending rocks to friends and family and leaving them when I did my cat sitting gigs. 🙂

Eventually I even received a rock response!

 

2020 Q3 Goals – Accountability, Check in, and Biking

Financial Independence Goals for 2020 Q3 snapshot

  1. Max out my Roth IRA, 401k and HSA contributions = monthly deductions mean this happens automatically!
  2. Build up my emergency savings to 6 months/~$18,000 = $12,300 in current emergency savings and $7600 in savings for car/computer/travel/phone
  3. Save 50% of my income = less than 50% of my gross income and about 67% of my net income (only one month so far this year under 50% net income not including business income)
  4. Don’t renew housing lease end of July (no rent spending 8/1 onwards = change of plans. We have renewed our rent with our current house as travel and house sitting is not a good option right now. I will continue to use house sitting as an option for potential low-cost travel. I love looking for new listings weekly on Trusted Housesitters. You can use this link to get 25% off a membership at Trusted Housesitters: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/refer/RAF286731/

I’ve readjusted my budgeting for the next three months based on my 2020 goals and my past spending for the year. No surprises that I’ve already maxed out my groceries category for the year as my ‘goal’ was too tight and not realistic for my current lifestyle. I’ve increased my budget for gifts, groceries, household and clothing, and misc while decreasing my budget for health, fitness, education, and transportation. My budget categories of eating out, travel, entertainment, housing, phone, and charity remain the same.

Notable spending:

  1. I bought a TV for the first time in my life! Our old one (that I got for free) was slowly dying and it was time to replace it.
  2. I paid to have my taxes prepared this quarter. It was completed towards the end of the extended deadline.
  3. We received nearly one month’s credit for this billing cycle for our auto insurance.
  4. We took a mini vacation to stay in a tiny home for the weekend!
  5. I bought clothing for the first time all year (2 shirts for me, 1 for my partner, and 1 for my Dad).
  6. I got my first haircut/highlights since March. I’ve since added thinning shears to my hair tools so I can better upkeep my short hairstyle between professional visits.

Fitness

Here are my fitness stats for Q3 of 2020:

  1. Biking: 334.8 miles
  2. Pole classes: 13
  3. Other activities: Gardening, Beach Body Workouts!

Health goals 2020
1. Full P90X for 90 days! We did it! woot woot.
2. Lose 3% body fat (I went from 26% to 29% using the BodyScan measurement 01/19 to 06/20). Nailed it! I am down to 26.5% bodyfat
3. 5+ pull-ups any format (I purchased a secondhand pull-up freestanding bar) and can currently do 4 chin ups, 3 pull-ups, 1 wide grip pull-up, 3 narrow pull-ups. I have done 9 chin ups, 6 pull-ups, 3 wide grip pull-ups, 5 narrow pull-ups and have plans to get to 10 chin ups!

New Health goals 2020/2021:

  1. 10 chin-ups in a row
  2. 30 push-ups in a row
  3. 10 narrow push-ups in a row with top form
  4. 2 pole classes/week
  5. Pass intermediate inversions test by my birthday (1/22)
  6. Finish floorwork series by end of 2021 (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
  7. Improved pike/splits stretches
  8. Handstand?

Writing Goals for 2020:

  1. Deplete my physical book inventory = Since there aren’t opportunities for in-person events, I’ve been running giveaways each quarter.
  2. Break even on Ataxia and At One’s Beast = I met this goal in Q1!
  3. Revamp my website = I haven’t made any substantial changes to my website yet
  4. Write 4 short stories = I wrote 2 short stories thus far for two separate anthologies. The second story was published in the The Lost Train: An FVP Books Anthology
  5. Send out 4 newsletters = I’ve sent out 2 newsletters so far this year and will send out my third shortly.
  6. Publish a new coloring book = Haven’t made any progress on this goal yet. I’m still deciding on the subject material.
  7. NEW GOAL: Finish outlining my new novel “Two for Tiny” and begin writing.

Deception Pass Day Trip with one of my favorite masks

Local author Ksenia Anske’s long awaited book she started writing on the Amtrak!

Physical copies of my books are still available at the Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds


What are your goals and how are you meeting them?

What I Ate in ~3 Months – P90X review – 6/15/20 – 9/21/20

I finished! My partner and I successfully completed the P90X exercise program! Though we may not have completed every workout and we may have skipped some days here and there, we have gone all the way through the 90 day program. I feel accomplished! At times it became repetitive but there was also a comfort to knowing what each exercise entailed. My partner knows so many Tony Horton phrases now…

But what is P90X and what did I really think about it?

P90X is a fitness program, part of the BeachBodyonDemand website of workout programs. You can follow their schedule and work out to their videos and follow along with their nutrition plan. The workouts are repetitions of the same workout for 3 weeks with a ‘recover’ week in between each set of 3 weeks. The workouts are 6-7 days a week and the workouts are typically 45-55 minutes (with the abs workout 3x/week for an additional 16 minutes). The workouts became long and repetitive at times. I prefer shorter workouts with more diverse sets of moves. Sometimes, especially towards the end of the program, as soon as my partner was done with the workout, I was glad to quit working too. We kind of just got bored of the program and were tired of an hour a day almost every day of the week devoted to P90X!

I tend to eat gluten free and dairy free >50% of the time, so we followed our own nutrition plan. We attempted to eat low carb on days where we didn’t have a cardio workout and then more ‘cheat’ type meals on the weekends. We both did a BodyScan at the beginning of the program and at the end.

I decreased my fat tissue by 3 lbs. and increased my lean tissue by 4 lbs. in just these three months! Total weight change according to the BodyScan was +1.2 lbs., but as you can see from my home scale data below, I lost 2.2 lbs. initially and then slowly gained a few lbs. back. My home scale tells me that I ultimately ‘lost’ 0.4 lbs. but the BodyScan tells me that I converted 3 lbs. of fat to muscle and added on an additional pound of muscle! Woot woot! Interestingly enough, my VAT is the lowest of my three measurements (taken 1/4/19, 6/16/20, and 9/22/20).

 

Data Time! 14 weeks’ total

14 weeks: 6/15 – 9/20
386 total miles biked
5231 minutes/87 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 67.3
Average ounces of water/day: 62
Days without gluten: 65/126
Days without dairy: 35/126
Total Body Fat change: 29.2% to 26.5%

Month one: 6/15 – 7/12
145 total miles biked
2044 minutes/34 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 65.2
Average ounces of water/day: 62.3
Days without gluten: 26/28
Days without dairy: 22/28
Weight change from home scale: – 2.2lbs

Month two: 7/13 – 8/9
89 total miles biked
1212 minutes/20.2 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 68
Average ounces of water/day: 62
Days without gluten: 20/28
Days without dairy: 10/28
Weight change from home scale: +1.2lbs

Month three: 8/10 – 9/6
150 total miles biked
1310 minutes/22 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 66
Average ounces of water/day: 60
Days without gluten: 11/28
Days without dairy: 2/28
Weight change from home scale: +0.6 lbs

Month four (2 weeks): 9/7 – 9/20
2 total miles biked
665 minutes/11hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 70
Average ounces of water/day: 64
Days without gluten: 8/14
Days without dairy: 1/14
Total Body Fat: 26.5%

Food Pictures! Not all meals/snacks are pictured… Not everything pictured was eaten by me…

DIY Garden 2020 – Partial Shade PNW Zone 8b/9a – 3 Months Progress Report – Summer’s Ending…

It is now exactly three months out from my original garden post which you can view here!

Front yard – my ‘orchard’ – We have ripe tomatoes! Not a lot but they’re slowly coming to fruition…

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

8/2/2020 – My lemon tree is growing baby green lemons!

9/2/2020 Bigger babies ~10

The side yard – my ‘berries’ – I’m ready to give away my blueberry and huckleberry bushes and let the salmon berry take over the box. Anybody want some fresh Parsley?

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

The backyard – ‘greenhouse’ – The cover is off! No zucchinis… I’m ready to bulldoze this bed and winterize or plant fall seeds…

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020 The mint has somewhat recovered

*Baby bird update* One morning my roommate walked outside to discover that the pot had been knocked over and the nest was empty 😦

The backyard raised bed garden – the big ‘project’ – three raised garden beds with potato planted in front and thimbleberry bush start and a raspberry bush start off to the side. These beds continue to forest out. The only success so far are the green beans! They are delicious but slowing down on producing

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020 Potatoes are wilting 😦

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

Our backyard harvest! I have picked a few more green beans but didn’t take pictures. The zucchini was fabulous!

The beds have the following planted in them:

Bush Beans
Carrots Nantes
Bush Beans
Carrots Nantes
Bush Beans
Carrots Short ‘n Sweet
Bush Beans
Carrots Short ‘n Sweet

Spinach
Spinach
Chard
Chard
6 cucumber mounds

4 rows of corn
6 zucchini starter mounds
1 row of mounds of cauliflower seeds

 

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

Our second planting of Mesclun lettuce is thriving and tastes delicious! Also – much less dirt all over than when it was planted in the raised bed. I really like this setup for the lettuce. Our third basil plant has completely died but our second plant has ginormous leaves (not that tasty but they look gargantuan!)

8/2/2020

9/2/2020

The rhubarb I planted out front looks even more meh. I know they have a long growing cycle – but now there are only two leaves :’)

Not pictured – 2 avocado seedlings now! Mango seed seems like a dud.

My future projects include the following:

  1. Build a trellis and grow loofah!
  2. Build a seed library and place it near my Pea Patch if I get permission (source an outside viable medicine cabinet and DIY it into a seed library)
  3. Plan for a winter crop and next year (less variety and more spacing between plants)
  4. Finish using the free pallet wood and build a long planter box and small square raised garden boxes
  5. Giveaway the rest of the project wood pieces

The Lost Train – An Anthology by Local Authors from FreeValley Publishing with Art from North Bend Art & Industry

THE LOST TRAIN Anthology will be Released September 1st. 
Limited signed copies available through NBAI’s Silent Auction starting August 24th. Copies available through NBAI & Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FXC28WC

 

An anthology by local authors and artists presenting a diversity of visions, ideas and genres interpreted in seven short stories and ten works of art. Created for enjoyment by all ages, on the theme: The Lost Train. A cooperative collection from FVP Books Authors and NBA&I Artists. Proceeds benefit non-profit Arts organization: North Bend Arts & Industry.

The project rallied artists to work together online while isolated during the lockdown and continues to support and inspire them through this time of social separation and change. They are excited to share these stories and artworks to encourage and entertain the community around them as well.

~An old train lost on an abandoned stretch of tracks inspires teens to imagine haunting train whistles in the night and other RAILWAY TALES. By Jeffrey Cook * Paired Artist: Lesia Tiongson.

~A tale of a mysterious gold heist follows a lost train of the past into the forest to find THE SHANGHAIED TRAIN. By David S. Moore * Paired Artist: Leslie Kreher.

~A young woman finds herself AT A LOSS when her train of thought careens through modern life and a state of ‘great collective trauma’. By Casondra Brewster * Paired Artist: Gayll Morrison.

~A remarkable coffee shop turned intergalactic train, offers escape from a dystopic earth. An eclectic mix of vibrant souls seek tracks to a more hopeful future on THE L.O.S.T. TRAIN. By Tommia Wright * Paired Artist: Madison Wachter.

~A child’s whim nearly causes the loss of his best train-friend, Folio. Captain Spyglass keeps watch as FOLIO THE BRAVE ventures into the perils of Dreamland to keep Anatole from growing up too soon. By Victoria Bastedo * Paired Artist: Pepper Allphin.

~Thoughts run OFF THE RAILS into dementia and alternate reality. Love stories run parallel through tests of time. Can a steam train break through space-time into dimensions of the mind? Is it true, all you need is love? By Sheri J. Kennedy & Kennedy J. Quinn * Paired Artists: Kristin Tetuán and Cameron Tower & Ellen Rowan.

~The theft of an Airbnb train car triggers feelings of lost stability, financial independence, and freedom. It takes a village to solve the mystery and SAVOUR the moment. By Rachel Barnard * Paired Artist: Stefanie Allison

What I Ate in 2 Months – Intentional Eating – Beyond a Program – Lifestyle 6/15/20 – 8/9/20

Data Time!

Month one:
145 total miles biked
2044 minutes/34 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 65.2
Average ounces of water/day: 62.3
Days without gluten: 26/28 (93%)
Days without dairy: 22/28 (79%)
Weight change: – 2.2lbs

Month two:
89 total miles biked
1212 minutes/20.2 hours worked out total
Average resting heart rate: 68.2
Average ounces of water/day: 62.7
Days without gluten: 20/28 (71%)
Days without dairy: 10/28 (36%)
Weight change: +1.2lbs

Food Pictures! Not all meals/snacks are pictured…

DIY Garden 2020 – Partial Shade PNW Zone 8b/9a – 2 Months Progress Report

It is now exactly two months out from my original garden post which you can view here. And one month from my last update (view here)!

Front yard – my ‘orchard’ -After walking my local pea patch several times and hearing about local gardeners’ tomatoes doing poorly, I wasn’t completely discouraged that I had zero tomatoes on my plants at the beginning of the month. Then, lo and behold, an explosion of growth! I now have green baby tomatoes growing on every single tomato plant! How exciting! One of the large potted tomatoes started getting brown/yellow leafs so I moved it to quarantine away from the others ‘just in case.’ I later found out that potentially this particular plant might have been sunburned – eek! I have also been watering all my plants at least every other day if not every day with our full days of sunshine these past few weeks.

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

8/2/2020

8/2/2020 – My lemon tree is growing baby green lemons!

The side yard – my ‘berries’ – My blueberry looks like it is slowly dying 😦 but my salmonberry is very much thriving and threatens to take over this raised box! None of my cilantro seeds panned out but I have many parsely plants… and I tried a leaf and discovered that I don’t like parsley. Sigh. In order to use this plant I’ll have to trade it for something I like or simply dry it for integrating into future dishes.

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

The backyard – ‘greenhouse’ – We’ve been leaving the cover half off this box to let in more sun and rain (not that we’ve had rain in the past few weeks). The zucchini are taking over and, along with the slugs, have killed off my three squash starts. We harvested most of the lettuce and are eagerly awaiting actual zucchinis. We still only have the flowers and I’m thinking I have to research pollinating. I’ve heard some mentions about self-pollinating and male/female flowers?

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

You’ll notice our mint is slowly dying… And that’s because I haven’t been watering due to the invasion of another type of ‘pest’ — a cute little nest of three eggs, two of which have hatched so far!

The backyard raised bed garden – the big ‘project’ – three raised garden beds with potato planted in front and thimbleberry bush start and a raspberry bush start off to the side. These beds continue to forest out. The only success so far are the green beans! They are almost ready to harvest and from the sample I picked they are 6/10 on flavor and 10/10 on texture.

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

6/2/2020

7/2/2020

8/2/2020

The beds have the following planted in them:

Bush Beans
Carrots Nantes
Bush Beans
Carrots Nantes
Bush Beans
Carrots Short ‘n Sweet
Bush Beans
Carrots Short ‘n Sweet

Spinach
Spinach
Chard
Chard
6 cucumber mounds

4 rows of corn
6 zucchini starter mounds
1 row of mounds of cauliflower seeds

 

8/2/2020

My housemate and I finished up our last wood project – building a railing bed that sits on top of the porch railing. I immediately planted more of our lettuce mix and am very pleased with how the rough project turned out. My calendula and mystery flower continue to thrive and grow very tall. The basil is somehow still alive.

8/2/2020

The rhubarb I planted out front looks meh. I know they have a long growing cycle – but the only changes I’ve observed so far are the slight yellowing of some of the leaves.

Not pictured – I’ve been trying to grow avocado trees from seed and I have two that are growing stems and roots! I’m getting ready to move the first viable plant out of its water cup and into a bucket of dirt. I also have a mango seed that I’ve planted.

My future projects include the following:

  1. Build a trellis and grow loofah!
  2. Build a seed library and place it near my Pea Patch if I get permission (source an outside viable medicine cabinet and DIY it into a seed library)
  3. Plan for a winter crop and next year (less variety and more spacing between plants)
  4. Finish using the free pallet wood and build a long planter box and small square raised garden boxes
  5. Giveaway the rest of the project wood pieces

Tacoma Tiny House Trip – Viable Living Option?

I’ve been obsessing over the tiny house movement lately – watching every episode of Tiny House Nation on Netflix, subscribing to Living Big in a Tiny House, Living Tiny with the Bushes, and Tiny House Giant Journey on Youtube. I’ve also browsed local and national tiny house listings. And yet… I’ve never actually been in a tiny house – Airstreams and the like notwithstanding. This new ‘hobby’ of mine is rather a natural development from my most recent hobbies of minimalism, zero-waste, and frugal living. Tiny house living can check all those boxes.

I spent hours combing through AirBnB and best tiny houses to rent in the PNW. I stumbled on one amazing listing that even came with kayaks and was on the water! However, it came with a 4-day minimum commitment, a lot of the good dates were taken (i.e. over weekends), and it was pricey. So I went for my second choice and a top contender for a typical tiny house with a small footprint. Away we went for the weekend.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Location of the tiny house on the host property is very important! Our tiny house was located on a typical suburban lot in the back of a property already occupied by a full-sized house. The backyard was home to the yard, the driveway, four cars, and a small play set. For the amount of space available, the location of the tiny house was ideal and as private as it could be, but also not all that private. The windows of the loft bedroom looked out on an alleyway that had pedestrians and cars going by 12 feet away. Sometimes the kids from the main house played outside and the family came and went using this driveway to the side of the tiny house. The sprinkler for the grass came on every night for at least an hour and the sound carried right into our open windows.
  • I banged my knee on the loft railing one time, hit a hip on one of the cabinets one time, and pinched my fingers twice on the cabinet that pulled out under the sink to reveal the garbage. Otherwise, I was most worried about hitting my head on the large microwave/oven but never did. My 6’2″ partner did not bump into anything at any time.
  • I found the steps to get up to the loft a little too high for getting down and felt more comfortable descending backwards.
  • The air-conditioner – when on – was loud. I like the white noise it provided. It did blow directly on me when I worked in the kitchen and made me too cold. The windows weren’t cool enough for the loft at night and I had trouble falling asleep but didn’t feel like getting up and going down the large steps to turn on the air-conditioner.
  • The stove top burners had to be lit with a lighter/match which made me nervous at first but they worked nicely and didn’t ‘flame out’ like the gas burning stove we have at home does. This stove top was actually less scary than the one I use all the time.
  • I prepped a meal with three different pans and utilized the large counter and the area beside the sink while prepping without too much difficulty but I imagine if I was really prepping using my Vitamix, Instant Pot, and chopping vegetables it would get really crowded really fast.
  • Much of the storage was beyond my reach, even grabbing and putting the dishes away was well above my head and I clacked them together finding the right rack to place them.
  • This particular unit didn’t have washer/dryer/dishwasher.
  • I tried out the bath and found it as big as it needed to be for my 5’2″ petite frame. The toilet was also adequate and I enjoyed the little stomp flush. The sink in the bathroom felt small when I was brushing my teeth and the hand towel was right above the toilet paper roll – which seemed like poor planning at first but I didn’t notice water falling on the toilet tissue. We weren’t sure where to hang our towels to dry as there were a lot of places to hang them but not enough space for them to hang down without touching trash/toilet/floor and I placed mine on the shower curtain rod.
  • The fridge was a mini-fridge and would not have been adequate for fresh food storage at the amount I usually store. We filled it up with drinks and that worked great for the weekend.
  • It took longer than I’m used to for the hot water to kick in and it took me a few tries to get the temperature just right for the shower.

This is my current Tiny House Needs and Wants list:

Need:

  • Large fridge (small apartment size)
  • adequate kitchen prep/counter space
  • Aesthetic design
  • Guest/storage loft
  • Downstairs sleeping area
  • washer/dryer

Want:

  • 2-sided sink
  • Double lofts
  • Roof porch
  • loft pole to slide down
  • bathroom bidet
  • tub
  • large tv
  • dual work computer screens

What I Ate in a Month – Intentional Eating – Love Yourself Lean Program

For four weeks I ate intentionally and according to a specific nutrition plan from the Love Yourself Lean Program. “Our 4-Week Coaching Program combines an online course, live group coaching, and 1-on-1 support to help you predictably boost fat loss, energy levels, and mental focus.” I’m a fan of charts and challenges and had fun documenting everything I ate in the last month along with my activity level and workouts. I’m always fascinated to look at the details and specifics of what people eat and enjoy the “what I eat in a day” videos on Youtube. I like seeing how the food is prepared and the portion sizes so I decided to take pictures of meals and snacks as much as possible. At the beginning of this program my partner and I did a Bodyscan and I was surprised that even though the scale tells me I am the same weight that I was two years ago, I’ve gained 3% bodyfat in the last 1.5 years. After we finish our P90X workout program we plan to do another Bodyscan and I’ll be able to truly see the effects of continuing with the Love Yourself Lean nutrition program.

Goals for the month:

Goal

Explanation/Comments

Cook 99% of meals (84 meals not including snacks)

I prepared 82/84 of my meals = 98%

Eat more veggies

So many veggies!

No added sugars

Kombucha with low sugar, dark chocolate, milk chocolate bar, juneberry homemade jam with small amount of white sugar

No cheese or dairy

Jalapeno cheese in the hot dog I ate, ricotta cheese in the GF pasta I made, Haggis (sheep’s milk cheese) = 4 meals out of 84 with dairy in them

64oz water/day (28 days total)

17/28 days drank >64oz water = 61%, 1744oz total or 62oz average per day

No gluten

Chicken wings, Where Ya Matt beignet and bites of prepared foods for 2/84 of the meals

No alcohol

Low sugar can of hard cider over two meals and two days near the end of the four weeks

 

From the Love Yourself Lean Program: Avoid as much as possible:

  • GLUTEN GRAINS
  • DAIRY
  • Soy
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Corn
  • Legumes
  • Vegetable Oils

My daily meals, snacks, water intake, activities, steps from my Oura ring counter, mile walking equivalency from my Oura ring, total burn in calories from my Oura ring, weight every morning, and any significant feelings or issues are detailed below. I noticed that the first week I craved corn chips. I could eat corn chips for every meal every day that whole week. I slowly adopted more of the nutritional guidelines into my meals after the first week while focusing on my 7 main goals.