Feeding Ourselves: Thoughts on Cooking and Convenience

Drawing of a bowl a fruit and a pear and orange on a table

I came across this article yesterday that reported the findings of a study showing that “[o]nly 10% of consumers now love to cook, while 45% hate it and 45% are lukewarm about it.”  The 10% number surprised me, as many people in my social circle cook most of their meals and seem to enjoy making their own food.  I’ll admit that I tend to fall into the lukewarm category, though it’s more accurate to say that my desire to cook ebbs and flows.

I know that cooking my own meals is generally healthier and more cost-effective than eating at restaurants.  Cooking can be a lot more satisfying, too.  I don’t live in a big city with an endless number of restaurants, and sometimes I’m just not that excited about my options for eating out.  On occasions when I want a specific dish, my chances of satisfying the craving are sometimes better if I make the dish myself rather than trying to find the precise offering at a local restaurant.  I also imagine that for families with kids and hectic schedules, eating at home is probably easier than going to a restaurant.

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Guest Post: My Journey Towards Minimalism

Today’s post was written by Courtney Miller. Courtney is a Financial Analyst from South Central Pennsylvania. In her free time, she is the Vice President of Internal Affairs for a local nonprofit, Animal Advocates of South Central PA. She also likes to travel and eat too much food. Thanks for sharing your story and tips with us, Courtney!

Decluttering, KonMari Method, tiny homes, capsule wardrobes… These terms have been trending lately, and with good reason. Actually, many good reasons. How often have you misplaced something and spent more time searching for it than you’d like to admit? Maybe you’ve looked “everywhere” and couldn’t find it. It got lost somewhere among your stuff. How much time have you spent organizing, dusting, and cleaning your stuff? Or bought something and had to “make room” for it?

How much stuff in our lives is necessary? How much of it do we actually use? Do you ever ask yourself, “Why do I even have this thing?” You’re not alone.

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My Wardrobe Challenge

Clothes hanging in a closet

If you use Pinterest or read women’s magazines or websites, you may have come across this concept:  Turn around all the hangers in your closet.  After you wear something, hang it up with the hanger facing the other direction.  You will easily be able to see which clothes you’ve worn and which you haven’t.  After six months or a year, donate or sell any items you haven’t worn.

It’s not a bad idea, but because I fully Marie Kondo-ed my closet last year (more about that later) and am generally pretty good about regularly purging clothes that are in poor condition or don’t fit well, this concept didn’t seem all that useful to me.  But it sparked a slightly different idea.

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Rethinking Gift-Giving

Oil painting of a cluster of tomatoes at different stages of ripeness and a small ceramic pitcher on a rumpled blue tablecloth
Still Life with Tomatoes, 2009. For details or to purchase, please contact Alexis (contact form in menu bar).

I recently came across this post on gift-giving from Mr. Money Mustache and thought it was worth sharing.  The post is several years old and references Mother’s Day, but it applies to all the occasions on which our culture tells us we are supposed to give gifts.

Ideally, gift-giving should be a way of expressing our appreciation for the people we love, making their day a little brighter, and perhaps easing their burden.  At its worst, gift-giving can become another obligation, and the gifts we give can sometimes add to the burdens of the receiver as well as the giver.  I’ve gone to holiday gatherings without gifts to give and have been embarrassed when others brought gifts for everyone, including me.  The gifts were not personally selected for each individual, but were, I suspect, bought en masse out of either a sense of requirement or a desire for the gift-giver to feel good about herself.  These gifts were not meaningful, but they provoked feelings of guilt and obligation in me.  That is not what gift-giving should do.

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The Weekend Listen

A pair of wireless headphones for podcast listening

I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week.

Note: This week’s podcast episode contains explicit language that may be objectionable to some listeners. 

I’m a little behind on my podcast listening, and this week’s selection is about two weeks old.  I’m posting it anyway because it serves as a nice follow-up to Sunday’s post on financial management.  On the Tim Ferriss Show, the author of The Four Hour Workweek interviews top performers in a variety of fields about their habits, beliefs, experiences, lifestyles, and how they do what they do.  Tim recently talked to “Mr. Money Mustache,” Pete Adeney, about how he retired at 30 and lives comfortably (with a family of three) on $25-27K of passive income per year.  I was not familiar with Mr. Money Mustache before this podcast, but I’m intrigued by his advice and plan to check out his website (which apparently has a cult following).

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Let’s Talk About Money: My Journey Toward Financial Freedom

Money: a one dollar bill on top of a twenty dollar bill on top of a credit card

The topic of money management came up in a conversation with some friends recently, and I later realized that it was not a subject I’d ever previously discussed with my friends. Sure, we occasionally bemoan how expensive something is or lament our monthly student loan payments, but we never really talk about saving, planning, or investing. Money is one of those subjects that is seen as taboo, especially among women. We fear being perceived as greedy, and we don’t want to invite comparisons of salaries and financial well-being. But money really is power, and we need to be able to confront the topic without fear or intimidation. Good financial management brings freedom. Let’s break the silence.

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The Weekend Listen

A pair of wireless headphones for podcast listening

I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week.

This week’s selection is HerMoney Episode 44: Moneyball, The Dating Edition.  As you might have guessed from its name, HerMoney is a women-focused financial advice podcast.  This episode is a little different than some, though.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, host Jean Chatsky interviews Date-onomics author John Birger about his economics-driven analysis of dating.  Interesting!

Have a lovely weekend, and if you are listening to a podcast you think I should hear, let me know about it!