Weekending—Art is all around me

washington DCSmithsonian Natural history museumI should’ve been an art history major. Sometimes, in my dreams, I’m that sexy African Art / African literature professor with funky style, elegant locked hair, and an office full of books about Africa.

Wait—that’s kinda my life—without the Ph.D…and the sexy office…and no dread locks (yet!).

Instead I’m surrounded by a couple of wild children, one hand in a pot on the stove as the other sweeps dirty dishes into the sink for the fifteenth time today. My beloved books about Africa are in a pile in the corner of a room earmarked as the future family library.

Natural History Museum DC

_DSC0119 Smithsonian DC

This past weekend was different though. I was surrounded by art. I love art, so we went to the Smithsonian on Saturday. It took us two hours to escape the suburbs (which is 4o minutes away from DC)! But we did it. We took the girls to the Natural History museum. We figured animals and nature are things they can grasp at 2 and 4 years old. We plan to visit all the museums in the city eventually. The museum of Natural History was a good start. The highlight of our visit was the sculpture museum’s botanical gardens. There was a magnificent fountain where visitors can dip their feet. The girls loved it.

Natural History Museum DCsculptural botanical garden

_DSC0140 botanicalGardenSmithsonianDC

Rare stolen moment between sisters

Rare, stolen moment between sisters

On sunday Ev and I went back to the city to see my brother perform spoken word. It was his first public performance. The vibe was very young and energetic. There were a variety of performances at Art Undiscovered and his poetry was a hit! I’m so proud of his courage to go up there and perform. It was nice to be in a room full of fresh-faced, young, talented artists. The energy and eccentricity in the tiny art gallery was electrifying.

spoken word in DC ArtUndiscovered

ArtUndiscovered DCWhile I dream of being credentialed in the arts, I know creativity runs through me and onto this keyboard. I like to paint pretty pictures with my written words, while my little brother speaks his art, I write mine.

We don’t need Ph.Ds for that.


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The “Use it Up” principle

african home decor, wall art

I bought this canvas from a flea market. I fell in love with her haunting gaze. Evans is creeped out by it, but she shall linger in my basement no more! I hung her up in the foyer…to scare away annoying solicitors perhaps, and set the kids straight.

Recently, I picked up a quick read of a book from my local thrift store. It’s called, Living Well on One Income; In a Two-Income world, by Cynthia Yates.
We’ve been a one income household for about 4 years now, and I didn’t think there was anymore knowledge I could gain on the subject. But eh…, I gave it a look anyway.

The book was full of sound reasoning and useful tips on how to live well and mindfully while rejecting the new consumerism.

One tip has stayed on my conscience since finishing the book a couple of weeks ago: “Use it Up.”

The simple concept has become a meditative(?) truism for me. Simple, but effective.

How many times have I spent money on something, say, a face cleanser, a household cleaning product (the intoxicating fragrances of these money traps lure me in every time I pass by the cleaning isle in Target), fresh produce, a new book, paint, nail polish…etc… that never gets used up? The half-full bottles take up space in my home and in my subconscious. They idle there until I eventually get rid of it; donate it, or throw it in the trash.

empty paint cans

Half empty paint cans idle away in my garage.

How to store fresh greens kale and basil

Fresh produce now get prepped and frozen before they go bad

picture frames

frames, frames, frames and more frames! In my basement waiting to be repurposed and hung (the girls sprinkled them with easter basket grass)

Every year, I get lured into sexy wrapping paper.

Every year, I get lured into sexy wrapping paper.

Until I read all my unread books, I vow to only check things out of the library, for now.

Until I read all my unread books (I’ve read most of these #noJudgement!), I vow to only check things out of the library, for now.

What the book hammered home was that each thing we have has a dollar sign attached to it. Be it the peach that’s withering away on my counter to the home I live in and love in.  So, If I bought it, I must use it up! (before buying something else, presumably)

This principle can be applied to everything in life; my purchases, my relationships…the present moment.  If I choose to invest in it, I will use it up and give it my all. I will be purposeful with my purchases or, if all else fails, repurpose, in an effort to, as the book suggests, take the “path of least expense.”

In practicing the “Use it Up” principle, I notice that:

  • I value everything I buy more
  • I’ve become selective and discerning about all my purchases
  • I buy things to last, things that are reliable, and that I will get more than one use out of, An example would be in buying clothing.
  • Using things up makes me feel great! Like I’m the most efficient person in the world. It’s zen-like and limits clutter in my home and guilt in my mind
  • I save money
  • Practicing it has cleared up room for other things; I can move on to the next thing on my list. It frees time, money, and space for other endeavors and interests.

Like I said, benignly simple, but mindblowingly effective. Try it! Right now, I have a hankering for yummy, hot, crusty bread, but before I rush to the store, I’ll use up the flour sitting in my pantry, first. See! I saved the money and the toxic ingredients.

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Vegan Scones and houseguests

I’m never eating another Panera Bread scone again!

Have u ever had a real scone? I mean one not glazed over with sugar glaze? Straight out of the oven homemade scones taste AMAZING! Even better when they’re vegan.

Vegan cinammon raisin scones

My 4 year old helped me make these cinnamon raisin scones for her (first ever!) guest who came over for a playdate, so presentation and perfect triangles were thrown to the dogs. My house smelled good though.

Ellie and her BFF from preschool, also named Elyse. Ellie’s first non-cousin playdate at our home. They had a blast!

My god! These were yummy! They are from my cherished Joy of Vegan Baking cook book.

yummy scones Ellie purred with delight and savoured each bite of her “scome.” Each bite elicited an adoring “mmm…” “Hunmm” it was funny to watch. Until she caught me capturing the moment. Then I got this:

image 2
I’m keeping up with a challenge I gave myself to stay within budget for food and household items by cooking at home everyday. To say the least this challenge has motivated me to be creative, mindful, and less wasteful.

The best part is we haven’t been to a restaurant in two weeks. I’ve been intentional about each thing I buy, by sticking to the weekly menu I plan out in advance of grocery shopping for the week.

I make sure we eat or repurpose all leftovers as well.

I think I’ve saved about $200 in waste and unnecessary purchases in the last two weeks! Enough to afford myself a facial and a massage from my new favorite local day spa. #noJudgement lol!

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