Less Food.


photo (c) shellyshuey 2015

I learned about minimizing my meals from none other than Jennifer Anniston.

We go way back (to nowhere). But still.

She says she takes her plate of food and divides it immediately in half. After eating the half-portion, she takes a pause for some water and conversation… strokes her hair and watches a Friends rerun… and then if she STILL wants that other half, she goes for it.

But she never does.

This morning, ThatGuy made my favorite breakfast, and I was pretty stoked to eat it… but wondered why he gave me a half-portion. Which I then had to halve again, because Jennifer Anniston.

Between getting up and down to check the laundry, reheating my coffee, and working out the day with the kids, I never went back for the second half.

OK, maybe someone else had eaten the other half by then, whatever.

Anyway, the point is I’m cutting the food in half and doubling my exercise time. That math works, trust me. Will you minimize your food intake today? Or are you already good at eating just what you need and nothing more?

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Minimalism: Camera Gear

If you know me AT ALL, you know I’m a camera enthusiast, specifically Canon brand DSLRs.  During the course of my blogging life, I’ve owned everything from a Canon Rebel to a 60D, to a 7D, to a 5D MKIII.  If that’s geek Greek to you, think entry level to pro.

Not only did I have a pro-level camera, I had all the  bells and whistles.  A huge collection of lenses, filters, tripods, cases, you name it.  Retailers call me a “Prosumer,” because I consume like a pro.  Other terms are, “Enthusiast,” or “Early Adapter,” or, “Broke.”

Enter Minimalism.

There was something “icky” about opening my closet each morning and seeing boxes upon boxes of camera gear on every shelf.  There was something “awkward” about arriving at a friend’s party with a giant bag of lenses on deck.

Can you guess what I did this morning?

I boxed up every.  Single.  Canon product I own.  Everything.  We’re talking thousands of dollars in gear.  And it’s all on its way back to where it came from.

You see, the camera store I purchase from has a buy-back program and I’ll get 70% of retail in cash or trade.  That’s money I can use to pay down bills, or — buy a small camera with one or two lenses.  For family pictures and yes, fun — but not at the expense of all that closet space.  I no longer need to own EVERYTHING I hear about online.  If my photography skills are any good at all, the equipment is only one part of the equation.

If you’d have told me last December that I’d do this?  I’d have thought there was a gun to my head or some other non-negotiable.  Now?  I feel differently.

I’m at peace.

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The Minimalists (and Me).

I’m excited about this blog for the first time in years.

Thanks to middle age, I am now laser-focused on how I want the second half of my life (and blog) to go.  Are you ready?  Here it is:


That’s right.  Enough of the Stuff.

Bloggies, I’ve found some bloggers named Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and their site: The Minimalists.  Josh & Ryan are going to blow your mind, and then you’re going to join me on a crusade for LESS.

Getting started is as simple as asking yourself one question: How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions? – The Minimalists

So that’s all well and good for those guys, because they’re apartment-dwellers in their 30s on the talk show circuit.  Is Minimalism a realistic goal for someone like me?  I’m older, married, a homeowner, a hobbyist, a photographer, a parent of five kids and three cats…

That’s a lot to minimize.

My 17 year-old son listened to my pitch and said, “Mom.  You would be the Worst. Minimalist. Ever.”  So there’s that.  If you know me in real life, you may be thinking the same thing.  Let me show you what I’m made of.  Stick with me as I start this journey toward being more by having less.

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Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl {Lena Dunham}

I am nothing if not hip & happening.  I think.  I thought. That’s why I was completely surprised that I was a little too… prissy… for Lena Dunham’s new book:

 Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”

Here’s a little background on my Lena Love for you:

  • I’m obsessed with her show, GIRLS
  • I’m similarly intrigued by her fictitious love interest,  Adam Driver
  • We’re both narcissists
  • We both have tattoos that people ask us to explain
  • We’re both sort of clutzy and word-vomitish
  • We’re both really good dancers.

When I heard about the book, I immediately preordered.  When it became available this week, I jumped into my fluffy white bed with pillows and coffee, got completely curled up and zoned in.  I was expecting a quippy, real-life version of her HBO show.

Dudes.  It’s been a long time since I was 20-something.  Let’s face it, it’s been a few moments since I was 30-something.  I can barely remember the sort of  ‘romances’ she refers to in this book.  Unfortunately, reading her essays reminded me of a few guys I’d suppressed intentionally forgotten for more than twenty years.  Maybe that was my problem.

There are many essays — I counted 29 — but this is the one garnering all the attention and conversation:

“The day after Barry, Audrey and I meet up to do homework in the computer lab. We are both still in our pajamas, layers and layers to guard against the cold. In the bathroom we are washing our hands, letting them linger in the hot water, and I say, “I have to tell you something.” We crawl up onto the ledge above the radiator, and we huddle together, and I describe the events of the night before, finishing with “I’m sorry about your wrap dress.”
Audrey’s pale little face goes blank. She clutches my hand and, in a voice reserved for moms in Lifetime movies, whispers, “You were raped.”
I burst out laughing.”  –Excerpt From: Lena Dunham. “Not That Kind of Girl.” 

So, she’s bringing attention to date rape.  Which is needed, for sure, but I have a kid in college and I’m so not ready to discuss that.

I realize in writing this down how dumb I sound… “I wanted to be entertained and you made me feel something, you mean author, you…”

Am I still a fan?  Of course.  She’s changing mindsets.  This is more about my faults as a reader than it is her fault for being born in 1986.  Also known as the year I graduated from high school.  She could be my daughter, which sucks.  Getting old sucks, but being 20 sucks in some ways, too, as graphically outlined in this book.

I give her:

  • huge props for honesty
  • huge props for perspective
  • a big ole cringe for her graphic delivery
  • an apology for using the word, “props”

And yes, I’ll be buying her next book.  Which will probably be about her experiences as a 30-year old, which I will also be too old for.  Turns out I’m not that kind of girl.

So, there’s that.

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{Rick Springfield}. Because the 80s were just a little less complicated, yo.

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Rick Springfield is 65 years old.

As in, sixty.  Plus five.  Look at him!  He looks better than I do, and I’m not sixty-anything!

I know a lot more about Rick now than I ever did back in the 80s.  Why, you don’t ask?

Clips of Rick on General Hospital, memories of Rick on my record player, Rick on MTV, Rick singing, “Jessie’s Girl,”… talk about a flashback.  I’m not saying I’d fly cross-country to see him in concert, but if he shows up at my door selling Girl Scout cookies?

I’m buying.

And buying, and buying.  Since watching the documentary and buying his book, I’ve gone on to buy every Rick-hit and souvenir I can get my hands on.  Ka-Ching.

If I pull back for a second, it’s easy to understand why burying myself in my (pre)teen-crush’s pseudo-lap feels good right now:

The 80s were just a little less complicated, yo.

No one in the 80s cared much about  things like parenting, keeping house or aging.  Mainly because we weren’t experiencing any of those things.  Parenting?  As if.  Keeping house?  What house?!  Aging?  Well, yeah, someday I guess…. but not today!  Pass the saccharine and red dye.

I know how you are, you sunny-side-up people.  You wanna shake me and say 2014 isn’t so bad.  You’re right, in a lot of ways.  On the other hand…

Teen One leaves for college in just a few short weeks (ouch).  Teen Two?  He’s busy with a job and a (gulp) girlfriend.  The youngest three aren’t making moves like those, but they’re becoming their own little people.  Little people who don’t need Mommy for every little thing.

So now, I’m rocking in the corner with my fingers in my ears, “Lalalalala…”  The song I’m singing in my head?  Jessie’s girl, a whole new way:

Ricky is a friend,
Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of mine
But lately something’s changed that ain’t hard to define
Ricky’s turning sixty-five, and I want to turn back time

And he’s watching me with those eyes
And he’s lovin’ this credit card, I just know it
Yeah ‘n’ he’s holding my money in his arms
Late, late at night

You know, I wish I was an 80’s girl
I wish I was an 80’s girl
Where can I find a decade like that?