Planning While Traveling


Planning While Traveling

Hubby and I take frequent weekend road trips to see family. This is great since we get to spend lots of quality time with them, but it can make planning a little more challenging for me. I’ve come up with a couple things that have helped make planning while traveling easier for me, so I thought I’d share in case anyone else finds this info helpful, too.

I like to do my planning over the course of the weekend, which is why I bring what I need to get planning done while I’m out of town. And I am that Type A that I want my week decorated so I know how to best fill it in when I learn about upcoming events and what not. Heaven forbid I use the wrong color! Seriously, though…I used to color coordinate my planner by using a specific color for a particular category. I’ve recently begun to use colors based on the week’s color scheme, so I do like to have at least the colors picked out before I start writing in the week’s spread. This brings me to my first tip:

Tip #1: Choose Your Color Scheme and Coordinating Planner Decorations

I use the Erin Condren Life Planner, which comes with month and week views. When I’m traveling, I’m usually focused on the week view only of the upcoming week. One of the best things I can do in the days leading up to my trip is choose a color scheme. This reduces the amount of supplies I need to take with me, especially the more selective I can be. If I know I want to go with a pink and turquoise theme, then I don’t need to bring any of the supplies in other colors. I actually decided to bring all my Valentine’s Day supplies with me this past weekend, and I have a lot of those. A lot. Seriously, I’ve been raiding the Target Dollar Spot like whoa. So, I’ll do another post with tips on if you want to bring a bigger stash. To keep things simple, the easiest thing is to have a good idea of what you want to do and bring only what you need to make it happen.

I like to bring:

  • 2-4 washi tape options
  • 1-2 decoration sticker sheets (purely decorative – flowers, hearts, etc.)
  • 1-2 sticky note sets (usual 1 sticky note design and one of page flags)
  • my functional sticker sheets (to-do list headers, checklists, etc.)
  • my colored pen set
  • scissors

Planning While Traveling

Tip #2: Store Your Planner Supplies in an Accordion File

I picked up a cute turquoise polka dot accordion file from the Target Dollar Spot recently. Actually, let’s be real. I picked up a few of these. But, I find the short and long shape (there are three options that I’ve seen so far) works best for planning while traveling. It’s long enough to hold some of my taller sticker sheets. It can also fit my sticky notes and washi tape. Probably the best thing about it is that it keeps my stickers nice and flat so they don’t get out of shape or accidentally peeled off. I also like having most of my supplies in one easy-to-access place and the ability to keep my stickers separated. You could do them by color or theme, but I’m currently keeping my Etsy stickers grouped by shop. You can even put your scissors in here. It holds so much, and it was only $1.

Tip #3: Have a Dedicated Tote/Bag

I’ve been using planners longer than I can remember. It was always one of my favorite school supplies when I was a kid. I think I started using them as early as middle school. Since then, I’ve tried carrying it in various ways. I’ve tried jamming it into other bags containing many things. I put it in the same bag as a reusable water bottle one time, which was a big mistake. What kind of water bottle leaks!? The best thing to do is to have a dedicated tote to protect your planner from liquids, foods, pointy objects etc.

Keeping your planner in a separate bag will also help since you can treat that bag extra gently. You won’t put it at the bottom of your luggage or shove it into some crevice of space in the car. You can really take care of your precious…I mean…planner.

Tip #4: Go on a Planner Supplies Adventure

It’s amazing how different stores, even of the same big chain, can have a different stock of planner supplies. When I’m traveling, I like to go on mini shopping adventures. I love to check out the stores to see what goodies I may find. Inevitably, I find a new sheet of stickers of a style of washi tape I’ve never seen, so I like to use my trips to collect new supplies. I like collecting a couple different things (mugs, journals, etc.), and craft supplies is definitely high on my list of things to shop for when I’m out of town.

Planner Post Requests?

Hope you enjoyed my Planning While Traveling post! If you have any planner-related post requests, let me know in a comment below or shoot me an email at thechiclife at gmail dot com. I’ve toyed around with the idea of making a video because I think some things are just easier to show in video format, but videos terrify me! I keep hoping to muster up the courage over the years, but I may just need to stick with photo-blogging. We’ll see!

Thanks for stopping by!

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape


Whether you’re new to decorating your planner or you’re just browsing for new ideas, here are some simple tips on How To Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

{I’m decorating my Erin Condren Life Planner (my fourth one!) in this post, but you could apply these ideas to other great options: Kikki K, Filofax, Kate Space, Passion Planner, and others.}


Especially if you’re new to decorating your planner, things can be a little overwhelming. There are so many great supplies you can use to add some zest to your planner: washi tape, stickers, scrapbook paper, stamps, post-its, etc. The options are endless, but the budget is (at least for me) not. I remember when I first started scrapbooking many years ago. I wanted one of everything. But, especially if you don’t already have a lot of scrapbooking supplies, things can add up quickly. I decided to experiment with a spread of my planner to see if I could decorate a week of my planner with just washi tape. And since washi tape is so versatile, I was able to get a lot out of just two rolls.

I was able to decorate my planner for less than $5 by using a two-pack of washi tape I found at Michael’s. With coupons/discounts, I paid $3.14 for the pair, but you could pay even less if you used one of those 50% coupons I see frequently. The full price at the time of this post was $4.99, so you could get it for only $2.50 plus tax. If you’re like me, you’ll probably want more color options and to eventually add other materials (stickers, etc.), but it’s good to know you can do a lot by starting/going small and simple.

And speaking of simple, I generally like clean layouts, but you could really add as much personality to your planner as you want. Go crazy. Experiment. See what you like. Layer the tape on, use several different colors if you want. It’s your planner, so you should do whatever makes you happy because that will make you use your planner and motivate yourself to stay organized.

What is Washi Tape?

Washi tape is a decorative tape that is very thin and lightweight and comes is a wide array of colors and patterns making it great for coordinating colors in your planner decorations. One of the best features of washi tape is that it’s repositionable. I don’t recommend ripping the tape up too quickly, though, since it can actually rip your paper. Yes, I learned the hard way, so just trust me on that one.

Washi tape comes in many sizes, too. The most common sizes I’ve seen are 10mm and 15mm. The size you want to buy will depend on where you want to place the washi tape in your planner. I’ll list sizes below for the areas I decorated. I generally like seeing the original labels, numbers, and other words in my planner, so I usually stick with the more narrow tape sizes to cover up less.

I’m planning to do a separate post/page of my favorite places to buy planner supplies, but I get most of my washi tape from craft stores and Etsy. It’s pretty easy to find.

What You’ll Need

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

You’ll want to at least have:

  • washi tape (I recommend 2 coordinating colors at least, but even just 1 would work)
  • scissors (the smaller size than pictured may give you a more precise cut, but I only have this size – the smaller version is on my shopping list)
  • ruler (optional for my fellow Type A-ers out there)
  • color-coordinating pen

I’m using a two pack off washi tape with one 10mm and one 15mm in size. I recommend using sizes 6mm, 10mm, or 15mm for the ideas in this post, but you may find a different size works better for you.

Before You Start Decorating

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Here’s what the planner looks like sans decorations so you can see where I started.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Before I start dropping tape onto my planner, I like to measure around the planner to determine the best size washi tape to use in the areas I want to decorate.

For example, one of the most common places to add washi tape is around the morning/day/night boxes, which is the main section of the weekly view. The washi tape is usually placed vertically on the left side to cover the polka dots and horizontally underneath to cover the “meal plans | exercise | daily dos…” line.

The vertical area is about 10mm between the top left calendar and the main box, but the polka dots reach wider than this, at about 15mm. I like to put 10mm or 15mm tape here. The 10mm won’t quite cover all the polka dots, but the 15mm will cover either some of your calendar or some of the main box, depending on where you place it.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

The horizontal area is about 10mm between the lines and the bottom of the main area, but you could use a really slim tape (6mm) to cover just the words. You could also use a much wider tape to cover the words plus a couple lines or even the whole lower section. I really like the lines at the bottom of the planner, so I try to cover up just the space between them and the main area with the 10mm tape.

It’s not really necessary to measure. You could eyeball it. But, I like to do this step to try to determine the best sized tape to use.

Adding the Washi Tape to Your Planner

Here are six examples of how to decorate your planner with washi tape.

As I mentioned earlier, you can really decorate your planner to your heart’s desire. There are no rules to where you can or cannot put the washi tape. I’ve seen people cover all of the printed numbers and words with tape or just run the tape around the page borders. Remember to experiment and have fun with it. The following are just some ideas to get you started.

#1 Borders


Working with washi tape is pretty easy, especially since it’s repositionable. For long lines, like these borders, I usually like to attach the tape at one end. Then, I slowly lower the tape down from the starting end to the other end, pressing lightly as I go. I also try to ensure it stays aligned throughout. Once it’s down and lined up okay, I press the tape into the paper again to ensure it’s really attached.

For this layout, I put the horizontal (turquoise) tape down first because if there was any overlap, I wanted the vertical tape on top. Then, I added the vertical (floral) tape vertically down the left side, covering the polka dots. If you use the 15mm washi tape as I did, you’ll have to decide whether you want some of that top left calendar or the Monday column covered. I went with the latter.

If you like a more minimal look, you could stop here (or skip the borders altogether), but I wanted to spread the color throughout the page more.

#2 DIY Page Flags

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Have you seen all the amazing handmade planner stickers there are on Etsy? I have some and will blog about my faves another time. Page flags are one of the most common sticker shapes I see (besides the obvious circles, squares, etc.) for planner materials. Many great Etsy shops offer them with words and cute graphics like this one or even blank so you can write on them. While I am planning to use some of those stickers, it’s good to know you can also make your own page flags with washi tape.

To make them, simply cut a rectangle out of the washi tape and then cut a triangle* out of the short end of one side. You can place them any direction you’d like. Most page flag stickers seem to have the pointy ends pointing down, but place them as you like. I used a really patterned tape that isn’t ideal for writing words on. I’d probably need to use bold lettering to make the words really readable. In this example, I used the tape more to bring some of the color from the left side of the planner to the right side. I put two page flags on the right and one on the left to try to balance the floral tape across both pages.

*NOTE: Save those leftover triangles! We’re going to use them in the next example. I don’t like wasting materials, so I’m always trying to think of ways to use up scraps instead of throwing them away.

#3 DIY Weekend Banner

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Another popular planner sticker is the weekend banner, like this one (I really want to order this one soon). There are non-weekend banners and single day banners, but the weekend one seems most common.

I got the idea to make a banner with washi tape from Belinda (check out her site and YouTube for some other cute planner ideas). But, instead of using page flag shapes, I decided to use the leftover triangles from the DIY page flags I added to the boxes.

To make the DIY weekend banner, use a color-coordinating pen to draw a line from the top left corner of the Saturday column to the top right corner of the Sunday column. You may wish to make your curve less swoopy and more flat so the tops of the triangles line up better.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Add the triangles so the edges line up with the line you drew, evenly spreading them.

#4 DIY Labels – Left Column

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

You can add a little color to the left side of the planner without covering up too much by making some simple labels. I used a ruler to measure how wide I wanted them since I didn’t want to cover the paper from the edge of the paper to the vertical tape border. This helped me make sure each label was the same size.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Add the tape to the left column, spacing them vertically as you like (in case one list/section needs more space than the other). You can use these to simply divide the space. Write some words on the tape (“To-Do”, “To Buy”, etc.) to create a label instead of using them as space dividers.

#5 DIY Labels – Banners

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

To pull some more of the color of the turquoise tape throughout, I created a couple simple banner labels. To make these, simply cut a rectangle out of the tape and cut a small triangle out of each side. You can also reserve these triangles to add to your DIY weekend banner, if you’d like.

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

You can also add words to these. I used one for “Weekend!” and one for “Party!” (forgot to write the last one in before I snapped the next photo).

#6 Shapes

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

I guess this one is pretty obvious, but you can cut all kinds of shapes out of washi tape to just add pops of color here and there. I cut a couple short rectangles and then cut them in half on the diagonal to make some triangle shapes. You could use these as labels or just for decoration. I used mine to distribute the color a little more. You could also use punch cutters, etc. to make even more shapes. I recommend putting the washi tape on something else before using a punch cutter, though. Since the washi is repositionable, you could probably use any paper. I’ve seen others recommend using something the tape will come off of more easily, like vellum or wax paper. I haven’t tested either of these out yet, but they make sense.

All Decorated

How to Decorate Your Planner with Washi Tape

Anywho, here’s the finished product! I used color-coordinating pens to add in my notes for the week, and I’m really loving the color scheme. It not only makes me smile, but it keeps me on top of things, too.

Erin Condren Discount Code

I’ve been using the Erin Condren Life Planners for the last four years, and I absolutely love them. I haven’t seen Erin Condren discount their Life Planner in a long time. But, they do have a great referral program (open to anyone, not just for bloggers). If you’re interested in getting the planner photographed in this post, check out the Erin Condren Life Planner. You can save $10 by using my referral link and signing up for an account. If you use my referral link, I’ll also get a little credit, so we both win. ;)

More Planner Tips

Click here to learn how to make a DIY Weekend Banner with Stickers

Click here for my tips for Planning While Traveling

More Planner Inspiration

If you want to see what others are doing with their planners, check out some of these hashtags on Instagram:

  • #erincondren
  • #ecplanner
  • #plannernerd
  • #planneraddict

There are many more, but these will get you started, and then you can find others to also check out. There are so many creative planner lovers out there. I just love seeing what everyone is doing with theirs.

Erin Condren has a really active Pinterest account, and they’re always posting photos from their customers. A couple of mine have made the boards even! Click here to check out the Erin Condren Pinterest page.

I’ll be posting photos of my planner decorations and planner supply hauls on my Instagram account @thechiclife, but I also usually repost these to my Twitter and Facebook accounts if you use those instead.


What’s your favorite way to use washi tape? Do you have any tips I should try with my washi tape? Let me know in a comment!

Thanks for stopping by!

Green Jeans – Scores and Sales {SouthPark – Spring 2014}


Hey Guys!

I thought I’d share a little bit more about the results of the latest Green Jeans sale I participated in – the 2014 spring SouthPark event. I’ll start with some highlights from my experience as a shopper and end with my seller results.

Green Jeans Shopping Scores

Here are some of the great finds I purchased…

Green Jeans Purchase

I spotted these sparklies when I was volunteering in the designer section. I managed to resist them at first, but once I was able to purchase them for half off ($8) on the second day, I had to get them. They’re a little on the heavy side for me, but I was willing to take a risk for such a low price.

Green Jeans Purchase

I saw this bright pink Rachel Pally dress when I was helping break down the room. It was on a rack that was marked to be donated and literally right in front of my face as I was helping move the rack. Since this one was only $14.25 (the price tag said the retail is $198!), I thought even if it doesn’t work as a dress, I can use it as a beach or pool cover-up.

Green Jeans Purchase

Here’s another find from my last day of volunteering. Someone put this army green top on the return rack after trying it on, and it caught my eye. I’m a sucker for over-sized t-shirts. This Cynthia Rowley shirt was only $2.50 since it was half off day, so I quickly added it to the rack for holds to purchase after my shift.

Green Jeans Purchase

This black Ya Los Angeles dress with a studded “belt” was a try-on-just-for-fun item. But, once it was on, I really liked it. I noticed the dress had an interesting cut at the hips that jutted out just a bit in a way that I found really unique. The half off price of only $12.75 definitely made the sale worthwhile for me. I’m thinking it will be fun to wear on a date night.

Green Jeans Purchase

Here’s one of the few things I purchased “full price.” One of the other volunteers handed me this pretty patterned wrap dress to try on, and I just loved it. It’s a Boden, and it was only $19.50. I can’t wait to wear this to work this summer! The purchase inspired me to order the catalog, which came just a couple days later. The style is a little preppy for what I’m wearing these days, but I may find something cute to wear to work.

Green Jeans Purchase

And here’s another item I waited to go half off before I pounced – a beautiful zig-zag Missoni shawl. Missoni! I scored this for only $35! Woohoo!

I purchased a couple other great items, but I thought I’d just share a couple of the stand outs.


Green Jeans Sales Results

Green Jeans Results

I don’t think I’ve shared much information on my consignor results in the past, but I thought some of you (especially you Charlotteans!) may find it interesting.

Here are my results selling at the spring 2014 Green Jeans event:

  • Of all the items I took to the consignor drop off, 8 weren’t accepted to the sale.
  • I had 114 items in the sale (between hanging items, shoes, belts, scarves, etc.).
  • After the sale, 5 items were returned as not-sellable (items can get marked during the sale if they’re found to be too worn, have defects, etc.).
  • I sold 24 items with a consignor percentage of 75% (thanks to all those volunteer shifts).
  • All in all, I made $291.56 and more space in my house!

I got really geeky with my sales info this time around. I copied it all and pasted it into a spreadsheet where I could create all kinds of pivot charts and reports. I found that I sold items that had been transferred from almost every past sale (I’ve done 5 total now). This happens almost every time I sell with GJ, which is why I always do the pick-up and transfer the items to the next sale. The kink with this strategy is that you have to bring all that stuff back to your house and hold onto it. Since I have an extra closet, this isn’t a problem for me currently. I also calculated average price per item by category, number of items sold by day, and number of items sold by category…among other things I won’t bore you with.

I had another great Green Jeans sale! I only wish I had participated in the Lake Norman one, too, because I probably would have made closer to $500 total! Ahh…at least there is plenty of time to prepare for the fall sales!


Have you had any luck consigning at a shopping event or local consignment shop?

Anyone else doing a major spring clean purge of their closets? Don’t forget to check out my 3 rules for closet purging if and when you do!

Thanks for reading!

3 Rules for Closet Purging – Closet Spring Clean


It’s time for a spring clean of my wardrobe! What about you? I haven’t posted recently about working towards my Parisian Wardrobe, but it’s still very much a goal for me. I’ve been letting everyday business get in the way of spending some QT looking through my clothes and accessories, but there’s nothing like a Green Jeans Consignment Sale to kick your rear into gear.

As I looked through my closets, I followed 3 rules for closet purging. I’ll share those below.

Green Jeans Consignment Sale

{My goods for the Green Jeans Sale – I have 114 items in the spring Southpark sale}

Each time I participate in a Green Jeans sale, it gets a little easier to let things go. It also helps to look at something and say, I didn’t sell this in the last 5 sales because I said I’d wear it. Here we are, and I still haven’t worn it. Maybe it’s time to let it go. There are some other items, like a couple Coach purses, that I’ve been holding onto for sentimental reasons. But, I finally added them this time around. One of my main motivations is knowing I can turn those clothes (and accessories) I don’t wear into cash.

Green Jeans Consignment Sale

{A couple J. Crew cardigans that are super soft and pretty with cute little buttons that unfortunately shrunk}

3 Rules for Closet Purging (Parisian Wardrobe Style)

I’ve been doing a lot of analysis on my current wardrobe, and asking myself some good questions. What do I really-really wear? What are my favorite things to wear? What are the things I gravitate towards. What do I have in my closet that I like but look at and say, I don’t want to wear that today because   (insert reason)   ?

Rule #1: If there are things you consistently pass over, they need to go…even if you like them or think they’re cute. If you’re not wearing them, they’re taking up precious real estate in your closet that they shouldn’t. Make room for something you love.

You may pass over something because of the next rule, or because the item in question is too big, too small, too uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, unless you can fix it (get it tailored?), it may be time to move on.


I’ve also tried to be realistic with myself about my style. My current style. I used to wear a lot more preppy pieces of clothing and accessories. I’ve grown away from that in both my work and casual wear. I try to remind myself – there’s a reason you stopped wearing some of things you did.

Rule #2: Ask yourself as you evaluate something if it fits with your current style. Style can easily change over time, and your wardrobe should change with you. I used to hold onto things “in case I need them one day”, but unless you have a huge basement or attic (and even if you do) to store these types of clothes, this may not be the best strategy. Remember the goal is to have items you truly love and love to wear in your closet.


Rule #3: Quality over quantity. It’s better to replace ten things you don’t wear any more or don’t really like to wear with one item you love and that makes you feel confident and happy.

This last rule is really a theme of the Parisian Wardrobe, but I try to remind myself of this as I’m pulling items from my closet. I used to dream of having a closet like Cher’s in Clueless. You know, the one with the rotating hanger rack. But, I’ve come to a place where I believe you really can have too much clothes.

I pulled six pairs of shoes that fell under Rule #1 above and replaced them with one new pair I recently purchased. I moved the six pairs into another room where I was gathering items for Green Jeans a few weeks ago and forgot about them! Guess I didn’t need to hold onto those after all if I can’t even remember I have them. If I was actually wearing them (and needed them), I would have looked for them. I didn’t, so they’re getting prepped for sale at Green Jeans right now!


Even though this process of closet purging is getting easier, it’s not easy. I probably shouldn’t be so attached to my clothes and accessories, but for whatever reason, I often am. I’ll remember a special event where I wore something or if I bought something because of a special event (a raise at work or for another celebration). I try to remember that I have the memories and the experience and that’s more important than the physical item. You’re not defined by the things you own. You are just you, and you are fabulous with or without those strappy shoes you haven’t worn in two years. Got it? Good!

Anyone else doing a spring clean of their closet?


If you’re in the Charlotte area, check out the Green Jeans Consignment Sale. It’s happening this weekend and Sunday, most of the items go to 50% off! If you’re thinking about consigning, I recommend stopping by, even if you’re not planning to shop to get an idea of how the event runs and check out pricing to give you guidelines for when you consign with Green Jeans.

Thanks for reading!

Pots Off Peachtree, Hair Tie Holder, Lavender Cookies, & a Healthy Eating Book


Pots Off Peachtree

I did one of the coolest things I’ve done in Charlotte this past weekend. I went to a secret, underground dinner. It was wonderful, and I can’t wait to share photos (and more details) in my next blog post. But, for now, I have some other cool things to share.


First up – check out this beautiful, handmade pottery. When my friend Ted offered for me to check out his mother-in-law’s handmade pottery, I jumped at the chance. Pots Off Peachtree gifted me with this bowl and a mug.


From the Pots Off Peachtree etsy site:

Charlotte DuPre began making pottery in Atlanta over 35 years ago and has sold her work at both galleries and stores including Macy’s and Henri Bendel in New York. Back in the 1980′s her Manhattan studio was named Pots Off Broadway. Now in Atlanta and after a long break from her craft, she is very excited to be making functional porcelain and Raku pots again, and she has chosen to name her online store Pots Off Peachtree, in reference to Atlanta’s most famous street.

Her porcelain tableware is oven proof, microwaveable, and dishwasher-safe. She also fires Raku pots, which are primarily decorative. All of her glazes are lead-free.


I love Charlotte’s signature on the bottoms of her work.



And I really love how the pottery is a pretty, pearly white on the outside and then vibrantly colored on the inside. She has some other pieces that have different coloring, but I think the white outside and colored inside is a signature look of hers.


Check out the gentle curves of the mug.


I’m definitely going to have fun using this pottery, and you guys know I love handmade pottery, especially.

If you want to get your hands on some Pots Off Peachtree pottery, you can click here to check out Charlotte’s etsy site.

New Use for Old Things


Here’s a quick new-use-for-old-things tip. I had an almost-hair-emergency last week when I was teaching Zumba. I had put my hair in a bun using some mini claw clips to wear at work, but I forgot to bring a hair elastic with me for later. I thought I had some in my bag, but I didn’t. I realized I didn’t really have a good, small bag to put them in, so they never made it into the gym bag (or purse). I recently used some Lululemon gift cards to get a couple new goodies, and I almost turned in my gift card holder to the store to recycle. Good thing I didn’t because it makes the perfect hair accessory container for my gym bag. I’m definitely going to need to make sure I have some extra hair ties at all times. Though I like to teach Zumba with my hair down sometimes, it has to be planned. It doesn’t always work and putting your hair up can be a must. Luckily, one of my class assistants had an extra in her car. Phew!

Lavender Cookies


And check out this beautiful creation.


My friend Lindsey made lavender cookies and gave me two to enjoy. They were delicious, and you can find the lavender cookie recipe here if you want to try them yourself.


Healthy Eating Book

Are there any fellow non-dieters out there looking for some healthy eating advice? I know I’ve blogged about this book before, but for new readers, I highly recommend Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It’s short, simple, and has easy-to-digest tips. I’ve found the tips in Pollan’s book the most memorable, and I even think of many of them today (almost exactly 3 years after first reading the book). In fact, it’s been awhile. I should probably re-read it sometime soon. It’s a fast read, and I think it only took me a couple hours to finish. Now that’s what I call a good ROI. Of course everyone is different, and what works for one person won’t work for the next. But, hopefully, even though we may resonate with some of Pollan’s rules more than others, there are some good tips in there for everyone.

The most memorable rules for me are:

  • #2 – Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
  • #6 – Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients
  • #7 – Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce
  • #22 – Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
  • #25 – Eat your colors
  • #39 – Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself


Check back soon for the secret dinner photos. I took a whole bunch, and I’ve selected some to share with you guys. I just have to get the full post together. Can’t wait to share!


Reader question: What healthy eating book is most memorable for you?

Pantry Clean-Out and Eat in Month Groceries


I’m so glad to hear so many people are joining in on the Eat in Month challenge! Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with people sharing how they’re getting ready. The theme of the day seems to be prep, mostly stocking up on groceries. It’s a good strategy and one I started on the other day while I had some free time.

I spent a good portion of Sunday prepping for Eat in Month as follows:

  1. I removed any old/expired foods from the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
  2. I assessed what I had remaining and what I thought I needed (as far as solid staples) and made a shopping list.
  3. I went grocery shopping, focusing on getting staples that were on sale.
  4. I re-stocked and re-organized (grouping like items) the new and old staples in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

I gotta say, this is definitely a great way to start the year. I feel like I have a great grasp on what foods I have and I’m ready to tackle the new year eats-wise. And I just love how everything is so organized! Here are some photos of my pantry and the groceries I picked up:





I still want to get some more storage containers, but I’m researching good options. I’m considering just getting larger mason jars, but I’m not sure they’re the most efficient. I definitely want to get glass containers. Do you guys have any recommendations?


I love having frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer at all times. The vegetables make a great, last-minute side and can also be thrown into soups and noodle stir-fries.


I love broths for quick soups, to cook grains, or to make simple sauces.


This is a random mix of items here. I don’t drink soda very often, but I like having some light options when the mood strikes. I love having the ginger ales they sell at health food stores around – they have great ingredient lists. This one in particular is sweetened with honey and pineapple juice. I also really love Cascal. Fresh fruit is a must – we almost always have bananas and apples. Snack bars are also a must, but I didn’t see any that had a good sale price. I love these Green Superfood bars, but they’re a little more expensive than I want to spend for pantry snack bars. I try to stay under $2. Larabars are my favorite, and I like to get big boxes of them at Costco.


Pasta and sauce = easiest last minute dinner ever. We have a quasi-homemade beef sauce that we make when we don’t know what else to eat. I should probably share that recipe with you guys. Maybe in the next week or so? But, if you’re really desperate, you can just cook pasta and add this sauce and call it a night.


Various tomato products are great for some many things – to add flavor to soups or make quick sauces.


Here are some more great pantry staples – tomato paste – to add to sauce and soups. Garlic – good with almost everything. Panko breadcrumbs – makes a simple and easy dinner when paired with chicken.


I’m not vegan or dairy-free, but I prefer non-dairy milks to make oatmeal or smoothies.


Tofu – an easy way to bulk up protein when you haven’t been to the store recently. I like to add these to soups or noodle stir-fries, and it’s great marinated in soy sauce and then roasted. I love yogurt for a filling but healthy snack – straight-up or topped with granola. Eggs – a great, quick protein and a breakfast staple in our house. We love fried eggs or egg bakes with whole grain toast.


I’m thinking of re-writing my pantry tips post. I read the one I did a couple years ago, and it’s still good, but I think I have a couple more tips, and I’d definitely like to update the photos. Any interest?

Anywho, I’ve got some ideas for quick and easy meal ideas, and I made a new soup recipe that would be great to make for a cozy meal. Plus, it makes lots of leftovers that you can freezer for later. I think frozen soup is going to be my life saver this year as far as the challenge goes.

Reader question: What groceries have you gotten recently?

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