Archive for the ‘ Sundry ’ Category











You may have noticed that most recent posts have started to have a singular focus on books, bookstores, reading, etc. And while I’ve always been a bit of a bibliophile, it’s become apparent that I have a problem. So after taking the first step of admitting that I DO have a problem, I’m taking the next logical step and opening a bookstore. But not just any bookstore, we are opening a store full of amazing new adult and children’s books but also carrying over 20 local artists who make brilliant goods that fit into different book genres. Add to that some community space for after school art classes, book themed birthday parties, BookClubs, etc and I’ve created my own dream of local, literature heaven. I invite you to join me over at The Novel Neighbor / @NovelNeighbor to stay up-to-date on opening information, book reviews, author visits, etc. I’ve had a wonderful time creating Life Simplified but it’s time for me to make my life a whole lot more complicated. 🙂

What was I thinking?

foldersI’ve been on a bit of a purge lately as we move from one season to another. The area that I’m slowly wading though are the crazy amount of folders that have pages and pages of articles that I deemed so important that I ripped out (one dates back to 2004) and filed. Yesterday I managed to clear out the entire HOME folder. You know the one – dream rooms, decorating ideas, possible purchases and I’m cracking up at what I’ve found.

Apparently I was very into vintage fruit signs, curtains, water filtration systems, energy saving tips, video cameras strawberries& composting. I probably haven’t looked into this folder in over 5 years but I’ll catch you up. We moved into a new house last year and there are definitely no vintage fruit signs anywhere and they only curtains are in the guest room. (My mom most frequently stays there and she bought them herself). We drink water out of the faucet, definitely don’t follow energy saving guidelines (which we should) and the only videos I ever take are on my phone and of course they stay there as I forget to download them. The only thing we managed to start is composting and that’s simply because my son got into it and stays on top of it.

It’s interesting to me how quickly I’ve come to rely on the convenience and accessibility of evernote to organize what used to be my chaos of ripped out pages. If you’ve never used it before, I recommend checking it out. I’m able to keep track of all my varied interests and it doesn’t make me feel insecure like pinterest. Now onto my ‘GIFT IDEAS’ folder. That should be a hoot.

At Least I’m Reading

With 13 days left until the official Chinese New Year starts, here’s where I am with my preparations and resolutions. Once everything kicks in, I’ll update with much more detailed info.

Cooking More – I’ve tried 3 new recipes over the last week and 2 are keepers. Also, I’m getting better at remembering to thaw out my ‘make-ahead’ meals that I do on a semi-monthly basis at Time for Dinner.

Eat More Paleo / Blood Type O – Not so good. Having a difficult time at breakfast and damn those chips & salsa.

Get up earlier – I’m reading Laura Vanderkam’s What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (ebook) and it’s a strong, persuasive argument for not hitting snooze. I also joined the Hello Mornings Challenge that started today and maybe tomorrow I’ll actually get up early for it.

Find an exercise to do 3/week – I carved out the time that I could go exercise, but so far haven’t made it out the door.

Read 43 books – 10 books so far. Okay I cheated and started counting on January 1 AND I read really fast AND I LOVE books. Next post, I’ll give my favorites from 2012.

Watch 15 Independent Films – 1 so far. I may have to partner this with spending quality time with husband as that’s harder to plan that I realized.

For the remaining ones, I’ve done zip, nada, nothing but that’s what so ingenious about this plan. When most people are already falling off the wagon with their resolutions, I’m just getting started! Anyone else with me?


The Year of The Snake

credit BBDesigns on etsy

For the first time ever, I am making a serious concerted effort to celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 10th, 2013. Truth be told, it will have given me 41 additional days to sort our my resolutions and goals for the year. January 1st arrived much too quickly and I didn’t want to make any knee jerk resolutions. According to ‘research’ people born in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be thoughtful and wise and to approach problems rationally and logically, seldom instinctively. While I was born in the year of the dog (we can find fault with many things and are noted for our sharp tongues), this particular snake year seems to be aligned with where I’m headed.

Life Simplified continues to be a great place for me to provide shortcuts, solutions and suggestions for living a more simplified life both here, facebook & on twitter. Moving forward, for this particular year, I’m also going to share my quest to follow through on the many goals, ideas, & resolutions that I always WANT to accomplish, but somehow (always) let slide.

In no particular order…

  • Cook more.
  • Eat more Paleo or Blood Type O foods/diet.
  • Prioritize husband / couple time.
  • Find an exercise that I will do 3/week.
  • Entire family to learn basic Spanish.
  • Read 43 books (tracking on
  • Watch 15 independent films.
  • Get up earlier, even if it’s 15 minutes.
  • Go to bed earlier, turn off bad TV.
  • Less screen time, more kid time.
  • Focus on positive, stay present.
Nothing like learning rocket science, but at least if it’s public, there’s more accountability. And what I’m really hoping is that this helps me direct my time as opposed to wondering where it went. What’s on your agenda for this forthcoming Chinese New Year? I’d love you to share any of your own shortcuts, solutions and suggestions for getting where you want to be! GOOD LUCK!


Must See Documentaries

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a  BIG documentary fan, escapism is much more my speed but I’m becoming a bit of a convert over the past year. It started when I attended the Sundance Film Festival and was fortunate enough to see the brilliant Miss Representation directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. I consider this film, which explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence, a must see for any adult and any child over 6th grade.

Recently our family picked up Being Elmo from the library and while you can love or hate this well known muppet, you can’t help but be inspired by Kevin Clash, whose only dream was to make puppets. This documentary follows him through a series of good breaks that led him into the universe of Jim Henson and “Sesame Street,” and we even hear an eyewitness account to the day he “discovered” the Elmo character.

Currently at home, we have No Impact Man which I’m hoping will continue to move me into a less wasteful lifestyle and Page One, which grants the viewers unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom. Last but not least is The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement. Trust me, even the trailer is genius!

Many others have generated their must see documentaries as you can review below but l’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations as well!

Do you like me – I mean really “Like” me?

If you’re anything like me, you may follow different people or companies through a variety of avenues-  twitter,  RSSfeed, direct email or facebook. In case your main way of connecting with Life Simplified is something other than facebook, I wanted to share a few links with you that I had recently posted ‘over there’ as I’d hate for you to miss any great shortcuts, suggestions or solutions.

“Hear’s the Thing”

After years or borrowing my family’s headphones, I finally went in search of my very own. I promised myself that good headphones would be the key to  start exercising. Here are ones, plus a few accessories, that made the final cut:

  • Zipbuds earphones – Tangle resistant zipper integrated cabling keeps your cables in line so you spend less time untangling your earbuds and more time listening to your music.
  • Vers earphones –  individually crafted with sustainably sourced hardwoods & Bamboo, and produce that familiar, natural sound quality Vers has become known for. Also, for every tree Vers uses in production, they re-plant 100 through their partnership with the Arbor Day foundation.
  • iFrogz EarPollution Plugz with microphone
  • Skullcandy earphones – IF I was a sports fan OR badas*
  • Modcloth funky headphone splitter
  • fredflare GIANT earbud speakers

Would you like to purchase the Extended Warranty?

Ugh, this question gets me every time no matter where I am & no matter what I am buying. The very nice salesperson does his/her best to make me feel like an idiot if I don’t purchase it but my head tells me that I’m not supposed to – right?

Since I’m admittedly no expert, here’s what I’ve found from others who are more knowledgeable than me in this area. Mark Huffman from offers the 5 Reasons NOT to Buy An Extended Warranty:

  1. They Usually Cost More Than They’re Worth.
  2. Warranty Work May Be Unreliable.
  3. The Warranty May Not Cover What You Think It Does.
  4. Warranty Underwriter May Go Out Of Business.
  5. The Extended Warranty May Overlap the Manufacturer’s Warranty.

Gary Altunian from poses the following questions about electronics & their extended warranties.

  1. Does the Product have Moving Parts or is Delicate?
  2. Is the Product Based on New, Unproven Technology?
  3. Is In-Home Service Provided?

Specifically for auto extended warranties, there’s a considerable amount of research online, and Stacy Johnson from WiseBread had pulled together a great article that puts it all in one place. Overall it seems like a gamble and by buying an extended warranty you are essentially betting that your item is going to break & the companies are betting that it won’t. Who’s got more stacked in their favor?

Outrageous Offermatic!

I had never heard of offermatic until last week when my sister, Nancy, sent me an email about it and all I can say is – WHERE THE HECK HAVE I BEEN? Michael Arrington describes it best, “offermatic is the freak love child of Mint, Groupon & Blippy“.  Here’s how it works: You register your credit cards with Offermatic via the Yodlee back end (which is secure). Offermatic then downloads your individual credit card purchases and matches offers from advertisers relevant to your purchase history. If you buy something at Home Depot, for example, you may get a $30 off coupon from Lowes. You’ve spent money on textbooks and you get a special offer from Chegg. Etc. All offers will be 40% – 90% off normal retail, says Offermatic.

Within 5 minutes of registering my main credit card, I received a FREE $25 gift certificate from and $5 off coupons for Walgreens & Macy’s. Check it out!

Do the (good) deed! photo

February 14-20 is national Random Acts of Kindness Week. Not that we all shouldn’t be looking for ways to be kind on a daily basis but next week in particular encourages us to ramp it up a bit. There are thousands of ways to perform a random act of kindness (at home, work, running errands, etc) and these sites make it really easy to start.

So put your kindness cap on & plan out warm, fun, inventive and creative ways that you can bring some light into someone’s life next week!