Thursday, October 30, 2014

No-Buy November and Potatoes

I signed up for a November challenge on my YNAB forum where I vowed not to purchase anything non-essential in November. This is timely for me and I think that food will probably be the biggest problem, especially snacks and convenience food. This all ties into potatoes, but we'll take about those a little later.

I plan to give it a real go though and test the limits of my own self-control. The reason why I am embarking on this journey is to do my best to continue to exercise my budgeting muscles and also to tie in well with a project I am carrying out.

I recently picked up the book SoulSpace again and I am going through the Assess phase where I write down every object I own and what feelings it gives me, or does not give me as the case maybe.

The goal is to de-clutter until your space is only filled with things that you love, things that inspire or things that are useful and you have neutral feelings for. I made this poster to keep me focused through-out the process.

I love Sharpies.

This process will definitely be made easier by not buying anything else (making a list of everything I own is already daunting). It also is a lot easier than it would have been before I de-cluttered hundreds of items earlier in the year, so I am thankful for that.

I aim to be finished with the Assess stage by the end of November and then move on to the Cleanse stage in December. During the Cleanse stage I will use my notes as a guide to say good bye to the things I need to part with in order to create space for the things that I really want to have around me. Wish me luck.

Now back to those potatoes. I had a craving for fries but since I knew my No-Buy November was right around the corner, I resisted the urge to just buy some ready-made.

Instead I bought some potatoes, diced them and boiled them just enough so they were cooked. I then pan-fried them until they were golden-brown after which I tossed them with some pink sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and dried cilantro.

I put the last of the pico de gallo next to it as well as a piece of smoked herring that I pan-fried as well. It was delicious and satisfied my craving a lot better than stopping at a fast food restaurant. Win! And it was a lot cheaper as well. Double Win!

Yum Yum Yum!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meanwhile in my Kitchen..

I had promised to put up some of my cooking endeavours, so here is some shots of the food that has been cheering up my appetite:

Carrot, Kale, Yard-Long beans in a stir-fry. I love stir-fried veggies, no matter what the combination but this Kale was extra good for some reason.

My version of Pico de Gallo, made with the leaves from the spearmint plant I had to trim. I love it and I have been using as a condiment for all of my meals. 

It is pumpkin season in the US, which has nothing to do with the fact that my Father brought home a nice big piece. I have been steaming it bit by bit and using it either as a side, or as a replacement for rice. Yummy!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Shopping and a bit of Pruning.

I went to work this morning, quitting my bed at minutes to five and eventually finding my way to the airport at 7am. I got to rest for an hour, then worked until the end of the shift.
It was mostly a very quiet morning, but I got to practice breathing and having some confidence in myself, so that was great.

After work, I stopped off at the supermarket, primarily I was looking for Kale and or Broccoli. I only got the latter but managed to pick up some Hummus for snacks and some Soya Sauce for a stir-fry.
Later today I will try to plan my meals for the rest of the week, and for the month really. I want to eat as many veggies as possible and thankfully the vegetable drawer is full.

I spent some time last night drawing up a Calender for November and filling it out with my work schedule.

Doing this made me inordinately happy and I am beginning to realise that any time I get to use my Sharpies is a time when I am in a very pleasant mental zone.
 I ordered another pack to fill in the colours that I am missing and I am looking forward to adding a few more to it over time.
I had to trim back my plant because it was leaning. Here is the before or after pictures. I think it looks a lot happier now and no worse for the wear.

I got a commission request from a friend that lit the fire under me to look into making a small side business from knitted accessories. I have decided to put in the preliminary brainstorming and research and see where it leads me.

I am doing as well as I can manage and I find myself smiling for no reason during the day. I hope that you all enjoy your weekend and to help, here is a bit of sunshine and sea.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Achievements and Highlights 2014 (So Far)

  1. Passed On the Job Training in Radar
  2. Got Recertified in Tower 
  3. Got my Air Traffic Control License Grade II
  4. Celebrated 5 years in ATC
  5. Taught myself to swim
  6. Learned to snorkel
  7. Saw a ship wreck
  8. Paid off a 4K debt without wrecking my budget
  9. Saw turtles
  10. Went on my first hike through a gully
  11. Went into a cave and waded through ice-cold, waist high water
  12. Learned to surf
  13. Went on my first catamaran cruise
  14. Successfully upgraded the quality of my diet
  15. Tackled medical to do list 
  16. Hired a life coach and improved my life 100 fold
  17. Started offering free financial counselling and have worked with 4 people (LOVE it!)
  18. Launched my business' Facebook page
  19. Wrote several articles on Personal Finance for my blog
  20. Went to first Yoga Class
  21. Went to a workshop and made lots of new friends
  22. Decluttered 100's of items 
  23. Created a workspace for myself
  24. Went on a Solo Staycation and enjoyed the hell out of it
  25. Lost 15lbs and dropped a dress size. 
  26. Learned to Meditate

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To Market, To Market and Doodle WIP

Greetings again. I hope that the week has been treating you all well. :) I have been having  a pretty spendy week but happily everything was budgeted for and so I have no buyer's remorse. I will share some of my purchases here as well, and my current work in progress doodle.

These shoes are for work. I seem to have lost some size in my feet and both pairs of my work shoes are literally dropping off my feet. It is a bit embarrassing and dangerous as well, since walking in them is not too stable. I chose clog with the back out to hopefully ward off stinky feet.

These ramekins are destined to hold my veggies during prep work and condiments when I have a meal that includes a lot of them. Most recipes to use them are not gluten and dairy free so I am still not sure if they will ever actually be used to cook in. However this is not too much of a stress as te handle of the over door broke off this week.. so I don't suppose I will be doing any baking for quite a while...

Next up we have this delightful journal. I have fallen in love with the colour orange over the years and I hope this cheerful journal will inspire me to write happy, grateful entries inside of its pages. We shall see...

And here now is the next doodle I am working. I am unsure what to do with the white space in the bottom right corner. I am oscillating between showing the top of a house to simply more foliage. Hmm.. I just don't know yet. I suppose we shall see.

I went to the supermarket as well and stocked up on red lentils, fresh veggies such as celery, white cabbage and cucumbers. The meal plan for the week includes Chunky Lentil Soup and Mexican Red Lentil Stew. As you can tell, I eat a fair bit of lentils both brown and red. My diet is getting more vegan with the passing weeks but I still sink my teeth in fried chicken if it passes my way.
Further to the list of my non-veg discretions, I can add canned smoked herring. I am getting quite fond of sautéing it lightly with bell peppers and putting it next to my vegetable dishes.
 Making sure not to trigger my allergies and cause my sinuses to go haywire is still my number one  priority so I am doing my best to keep my taste-buds interested. Balance is key, and as you all know, their isn't balance without ice-cream.

To that end I bought some Nut Thins which promise to be a gluten free snack. They taste great but admittedly I forgot to check if they had in dairy. Sadly, they do so the hunt is still one for a tasty, on plan convenience snack.

Well that is all for now., save to say that my cats keep knocking down my plants and I may have to get unlazy and find a solution for that.  I suppose selling the cats isn't really an option, since I am quite sure no one would want them. Cheers!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Doodling and Cooking makes me happy

I jumped right in and started a doodle. I had lots of fun, and I have adjusted my approach to yield better results next time. I found it very relaxing as well and that was a blessing.

I have also been writing and cooking a lot. Look out for some more posts on the latter soon. This vacation has reminded me that I love to cook and having my meals preplanned really helps me to get in the kitchen and get going.

I hope to one day be cooking with some vegetables from my own garden. With that in mind, I am definitely planning to be ready to action that with some container gardening when the growing season starts.

Without any-more prattle here is my first doodle, lopsided though it is:

This is done with Sharpie Markers on recycled cardboard from a Puffs Tissue box.

Hope that you are enjoying your weekend. Mine has started out quite rainy and while I am sure the plants are happy, I was quite pleased to see the sun this morning.

Until then.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Back for the Last Third

*dusts of blog*

Greetings. I have had quite a roller-coaster set of months and now I am waking back up to the world and jumping in. I have made great strides in clearing out my spaces and drastically paring down my possessions. I can move forward with clarity now and put my dollars in the places that they need to be.

Life here in Barbados continues to roll on and I am convalescing from a viral illness. I still feel very weak but I am pressing on to get as much of my to-do list crossed off as I can in these days before I head back out to work. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you want to look at it my sick leave ran straight into my vacation and so as my sick leave ends today I will still be off work until the 19th.

My list contains very mundane things such as washing up, cleaning, writing blog posts and getting some long overdue letters and packages out the door, but as I accomplish each task I am filled with happiness and that feeling is getting quite addictive.

My garden of two plants is thriving, more thanks to the rains than to me but seeing them blooming pretty and green uplifts my spirit. I had to save the one off to the right from a enormous caterpillar and another smaller one today that were using it a restaurant, so I guess I did my part in some small way.

Mr. Mint and Ms. Sage.

I have taken steps to start my financial consultancy and so far the demo sessions that I have had really fill me with joy. This is something that I plan to dedicate myself to even if it never brings me any financial gain. I enjoy writing articles on the topic of personal finance and abundance; the more I delve into it, the more inspiration for other articles I seem to get. This is something that is adding much energy and happiness to my life. It has stuck with me even as I have battled depression and discouragement and for that I am grateful.

I have decided that I will not give up. Auset Finance will continue to live on in some small way through every action that I take to express my passion for it.

I am searching still for a way to balance all of my interests so that my life feels just full enough but not too overwhelming. I am now beginning to fully explore what it is like to go after what brings you joy in life. Some things that I did before may well fall to the way side but I trust that in the end whatever is meant to be with me will still be there.

Knitting is something that I have not paid much mind to while I was struggling with depression. I confess to being unsure if I want to continue being creative with string of any kind. I am paring down my craft supplies and of course I am left with an huge amount of yarn - a shipping barrel's worth actually, which makes me feel simultaneously ashamed and overwhelmed all at the same time.

I am a bit jaded with the string but also reluctant to give up on it entirely. Most of my enjoyment comes from gifting my friends my finished pieces. I love being generous but they are several other ways to be creative that would allow me to share with the world.  I think I will try with drawing and calligraphy and see how those grab me. I also love to doodle and never tire of it.

Writing is one of my greatest loves and so I plan to make time for it in earnest. I have already started to write some prose and a few articles for my business but I hope in the coming weeks to expand that once again to poetry which is where my love affair with the written word started in my teens.

Life is a journey and the path twists so that you cannot see what is coming before you. I will keep walking forward using the things that bring me joy as breadcrumbs to help me get back on track if I ever feel lost. Thank you all for being in my life. I feel beyond grateful and blessed that I have made friends through my crafting over the years. True friends whose warmth reach through a computer screen and touch me here in my room in Barbados.

Yours with love and smiles, Asha.