Archives for March 2012

March Goals Update + April Goals

This post is scheduled since I’m currently in COSTA RICA for several days. I also decided to combine the two (March update and April goals) to make it a little easier.

March Goals Update

  1. Read 5 books (see the full list at 52 in 52)
    Black Diamond on 3/1
    Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis on 3/2
    Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa on 3/3
    Murder in the Rue de Paradis on 3/15
    Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life on 3/16
  2. Pack my stuff for the move!
    Not quite, since I still have 3 more weeks, but I’ve gotten some major things out of the way.
  3. Keep up with gratitude journal
    Success 🙂
  4. Practice French 15 minutes a day
    Fail. But I kicked this into overdrive in mid-March.
  5. Begin practicing yoga again
    Success! I actually started at the tail end of February after posting my March goals.

April Goals

  1. Finish #18: 52 Books in 52 Week (Only two more to hit 52!)
  2. Reevaluate my budget
  3. Keep up with gratitude journal
  4. Keep up with the French learning
  5. Exercise 3 times per week (yoga, walk/run, etc)
  6. Eat healthier (hit daily nutrition goals)

How did your month turn out?  Are you making any big changes for April?



image via oficinadeestilo.tumblr.com

I’m leaving today for lovely Costa Rica. See you Monday!


My room is not this minimal! (via minimalisthousedesign.com)

I’m moving in less than a month. I’m not sure how often I actually mention it, but I feel like I talk about it all the time to anyone who will listen.

Packing tends to be easy for me at first, but it gets progressively more difficult once the easy things (books, clothes, knick knacks, etc) are out of the way. I’m don’t know exactly what I struggle with, but I tend to keep everything. The past several years have been better, but I still have way too much Stuff.

#3 on my 12 for 2012 is minimalize. Between the move into a MUCH smaller place and some news I received several weeks ago, I felt prompted to start taking action instead of theorizing.

Exhibit 1:

I told myself I was going to pack my t-shirts into a clear box under my bed, but while doing so would get rid of just three more. Three out of twenty shouldn’t be that difficult, but as I flipped through the stack I hit a mental block and thought I couldn’t get rid of any of them.

Instead of just keeping all the shirts, I changed my mindset. Do I really need to keep those t-shirts from when I ran Warrior Dash and the Tower Run? What does it prove? How does it improve my life? I already have photos, do I need the physical clutter too?

The answer was no.

The next ten minutes were energizing as I moved through my room. Picking different categories of items and telling myself to get rid of two things here, four here, one there. The questions I asked myself have been collected over the past few months from a variety of sources (I didn’t save any of the posts or articles, so I’m sorry I can’t point you all to them!).

Questions I asked myself to declutter:

  1. Is this item still in good condition?
  2. How many of this item do I already have?
  3. What does this particular item mean to me?
  4. Do I have something else that means the same or similar?
  5. Does it cost less than $10 to replace? (Courtesy of this great Expat Yourself post on how to “Keep or Lose.”)
  6. Do I use it every day? Once a week? Once a month? Ever?
  7. What is at the heart of my reluctance to get rid of this item?

It’s not a perfect system obviously, but it definitely helped me put all my Stuff into perspective and clear some of it out of my life!

Do you have any tips for getting rid of the extra clutter and Stuff in your life?


What Credit Cards Do You Travel With?

Since I’m leaving for Costa Rica in less than a week, how I’m going to pay for everything is obviously on my mind. I was planning to only take only Discover card as my credit card, plus my debit card, but my mom convinced me that I really should take something other than Discover… just in case.

Which two cards and I taking and why?

image via Mint.com

Discover Open Road

Obviously. I’ve already mentioned it three times. Why? It has ZERO foreign transaction fees and they have made an effort recently to expand their international presence. Currently accepted in 50 countries worldwide, Discover’s largely in China and Central America/Caribbean right now… which is perfect since I’ll be in Costa Rica. It also has no annual fee, which I love.

image via USAA

USAA Platinum Mastercard

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I l.o.v.e USAA. I’m not even military and I think their products are the best around. Somehow, I never realized that non-military members could get credit cards. Even though the interest rate is a little on the high side, they gave me a substantial line of credit and it only has 1% foreign transaction fees–far better than the 3% my other Mastercards give me. Additionally, the line of credit will serve me well in case some disaster does strike. Theoretically.

So there you have it, the two credit cards that will be making the trip with me. What credit cards do you travel with?


Packing List: 5 Days in Costa Rica

I leave in ONE WEEK for Costa Rica!  Needless to say, I am very excited. I’ve even packed already. And I took pictures! I’ll only be gone for 5 days so I probably could have done with even less, but between the city, the beach and the rainforest, we are hitting a variety of weathers and places.

My two bags


  1. Light jacket
  2. Black long pants
  3. Grey shorts
  4. Black skirt
  5. Blue shirt
  6. Black tank top
  7. Swimsuit
  8. Underwear
  9. Bra
  10. Hiking boots
  11. Flip flops


  1. Shampoo
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Toothbrush
  4. Hair comb
  5. Razor
  6. Glasses
  7. Contact case
  8. Contact solution
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Small tube mascara
  11. Small powder set
  12. Chapstick
  13. Advil
  14. Inhaler
  15. Kleenex

 Everything else:

  1. Day bag
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Passport
  4. Notebook
  5. Pen/pencil
  6. Travel documents
  7. DSLR camera
  8. Camera charger
  9. Cell phone
  10. Phone charger
  11. Credit card
  12. Cash
  13. Paperback book
  14. Bandana

Most of the bags’ contents

What does your packing list usually look like? Are you more minimalistic when packing or do you always pack more than enough?