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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Photo Challenge That Illustrates Why I Live Green

I've decided to Take the Change the World Wednesday Challenge and snap photos this week of those things I love, enjoy, cherish, or want to preserve. 

I've included photos which show some of the reasons why I think it's important to live green. I invite you to get your camera out and start snapping too. Post the photos on your blog or share them with #CTWW (link below). If you'd rather not, just take photos to remind yourself of why you live in an Eco-friendly way. 

Every time I've made a small change in my daily life and live greener, I'm contributing to a global effort of common people to make significant strides in helping to save our planet from devastating effects of global warming. Climate change with severe weather extremes has already destroyed homes, killed men, women, and children, and left people starving and with no clean water to drink.

Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

Here's one mess I'd like to change or prevent, that has been captured in the clip art below.

This photo wasn't taken by me, but it does show exactly what is happening to some parts of our planet.

Now here's the good part. Following are some things that I'm doing to conserve, reuse, recycle, and live green 
  1. reusing glass jars from foodstuff as storage containers
  2. recycling rubber bands that come from store-bought vegetables as an office supply
  3. using large food cans, tires, and jars as garden planters
  4. using china, glass, silverware instead of paper goods at large gatherings and at small parties too. If I don't have enough of my own dishes or glasses, I ask guests to bring their own.
  5. taking my stainless steel thermos bottle along with me for water instead of drinking from plastic throw away water bottles. Just to illustrate plastics' impact on our environment, here's a statistic that may floor you. In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, about 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as non-durable goods, such as plates and cups. See more on this from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  6. recycling hangers as mobiles, and for other arts and crafts projects
  7. exercise by walking in my neighborhood or doing yoga at home instead of driving to the gym, park, etc.
  8. donating my time, money, and energy to the cause of reducing my carbon footprint. I have spoken out to elected officials, government agencies, written blog posts and articles, and contacted companies that manufacture products that are environmentally friendly or harmful and will continue to do this.

I spotted these beautiful flowers in a neighbor's yard, while out for my morning constitutional. Aren't they gorgeous? If climate change made it any warmer here in Arizona, I doubt I would be able to walk outside or see beautiful things like this. I bet this type plant wouldn't even be able to grow so well.

Here's a picture I snapped at a botanical garden. Aren't the plants beautiful and what about these delightful creatures? The earth's water supply is finite. If climate change continues at its rapid pace, I'm worried there won't be enough water for people and animals to survive. In some third world countries, this is already the case.

Don't forget to read what Reduce Footprints and guests @ #Take the Change the World Wednesday Challenge say about this topic. Please comment by email at or reshare the blog on social media.

Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful, yet green life!

Here's the quotation for today:

"Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man." Stewart Udall

This post has been shared at Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #51

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3 Secrets To Help Clutter Proof Your Home

3 Secrets To Help Clutter Proof Your Home

Colder weather in January and February may mean you retreat inside. It can be an opportune time to clutter proof your surroundings and make your home more functional, relaxing, and appealing. Discover motivational tips, ideas, and support to help you get off to a fresh start.

Secret # 1-Recognize you are not the only one. An online stress trigger study conducted by the Huffington Post in 2013 of over a thousand people, revealed that close to half of the respondents reported feeling nervous that their home wasn’t clean or organized enough. This group included those who felt overwhelmed about things like crowded closets, dirty dishes in the sink, wash that was left undone, and uncertainty about where they put down their car keys, reading glasses, important papers, or even where to find a pen or pencil to take down a message.

Secret # 2-Change your thinking to transform your actions. Set the intention to make your abode more livable. When you are willing to learn how to streamline what you keep around you, simplify your cleaning and organizing routine, and give away or sell what no longer serves you, you’ll act more decisively. See whether you notice that when you clear space for those things that really matter to you, you feel happier at home.

Secret #3- Seek help from family, friends, and the pros. Until now, you probably haven’t requested or gotten help from those you live with. If roommates or your family members need convincing, explain why it’s important to you that they pitch in and how you’ll all benefit from the results. If you are unclear about how to put new routines into place or question why it’s healthful for you to do this, research the topic by reading a book about home care. Annie B. Bond, author of Home Enlightenment: Create a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home states, “As with any sort of clutter, clothing clutter included, when you have too much crammed into closets, drawers, and trunks, you’re not appreciating or honoring the things that do make you feel good. There comes a day when you need to let go.” Annie goes on to describe how to do just that. Here's a link to her Website.

Another expert whose words ring true for me is Jodie Watson from Supreme Organization. Here’s her fix for a front entry make-over. 

Here's a link to a savvy organizational expert named Jennifer Renee, who suggests this 30 minute de-clutter.

The last pro I’ll mention is Alejandra Costello, who appears on a YouTube video to show you how to organize a home office.

For additional ideas to reduce clutter and bring order to the place where you live read on 

1. Spend 10 minutes today to organize that junk drawer in your kitchen, nightstand, or magazine rack in the den. That's all you have to do the first day.

2. Do the next 10 minute project tomorrow. If you feel raring to go, notice how you feel if you start another clutter removal project as soon as the first is completed. Learn to check in with yourself so you can proceed at your own pace.

3. Remember to pause between tasks to savor the satisfaction of doing a job well.

4. Donate, give away, or throw out anything you haven’t used within the last year. Used clothing, books, magazines, and household goods can help the needy. Recycling cuts down on the amount of things that collect dust, and reduces junk that’s dumped in a landfill.

5. Make fluffing the pillows, pulling together your bed, and taking out garbage part of your daily exercise routine. Mop up spots on kitchen and bathroom floors as soon as they happen, in a moving mediation style. This will keep liquids from being tracked all over your house and keep you entertained as you clean.

6. Clean bathroom and kitchen counters, when anything spills on them or soils appliances.

7. Drop dirty towels into a laundry bag or bin, near your washing machine. This will save time on wash day and get them out of sight right now.

8. Keep garbage in a sturdy, washable container or pail that's out of sight, and take it outside daily. Share KP duty with all members of your household.

9. Tackle closet organization one part at a time. First, arrange clothes neatly on hangers. Then, create your own management system. Some people like to arrange clothes according to category like causal, dress, and exercise gear. Others prefer to sort by colors, and still others like to place shirts, pants, and outerwear into separate sections. Next, think about what would be most effective for you. I have installed hooks for bathrobe and pajamas and shelves for hats, belts, pocketbooks, and items that won’t be damaged by storing them this way.  I use clear storage bins and racks for shoes, bags, and odds and ends. The shelves in my master closet look neat and and items stored are easy to see. 

10. Affirm that if you haven’t worn or used an item for a year or more, it comes up for review. I’ve found that when I release something I never use, it makes me feel less burdened with stuff.

11.Be a cautious shopper, and think long and hard, before you buy new clothing or household goods. Before I take home any item, I ask myself whether I have something similar at home, is it an impulse purchase (what empty space inside am I trying to fill up), or do I really need it? If I decide to purchase a particular item, I get rid of one I already own by putting it in the rag pile, donating it, or giving it to someone else.

Please share about any tips or tricks you have up your sleeve that help you clutter proof an area in your bedroom, bath, kitchen, home office, or living room. I love to learn new housekeeping short cuts. Contact me by email If you feel I’ve provided useful information, please share a link to this blog and credit with my name, Nancy Andres. Here’s my Pinterest Page and Facebook Page

Also, here's a friendly reminder. Don't forget to order an autographed copy of my woman's self-care journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It offers many tips and ideas to help women readers feel a greater sense of well-being and joy in daily living. 
Colors of Joy on My Website

Yes! This post has been featured at The Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop 50 in the green living category.

This post has appeared on Natural Family Friday Weekly Linkup 1 16 2015

This post has appeared on Live it up at the healthy, happy, green and natural party blog hop 49/

The quote for today is: “I think people want very much to simplify their lives enough so that they can control the things that make it possible to sleep at night."
Twyla Tharp

Sunday, December 21, 2014

4 Ways to Discover Balance and Joy This Holiday Season

Discover balance and joy this holiday season by aligning your mind, body, and spirit. If this seems like too much of a challenge to you, you’re not alone. According to a study from Weight Watchers, the average American gains around 7-10 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

The holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder plague others. Learn what Maude Purcell LCSW, CEAP suggests to help you outsmart the holiday blues at Beat the Holiday Blues

Are you one of the those people who have unrealistic expectations of yourself and others or a preconceived notion of how the holidays should turn out? Has entertaining, party going, gift shopping, and life on the run become a drudge or thrown you off center? There is help for you.

Here are 4 ways you may wonder off from a healthy course and 4 remedies to fix them.

Excuse # 1: Everyone strays from their routine, especially since it’s a stressful and “so much happening” season.

Remedy #1: Talk about feelings as they come up, rather than stuff feelings with foods, over-spending, or a frenzy of activity. Limit commitments, holiday events, or preparations to things you really want to do and only add extra things if they won’t tax your sense of well-being. Choose to be with the people who matter the most to you and bow out of situations with people, functions, or customs that have less meaning for you. If you feel bent out of shape or anxious, meditate or do deep breathing exercises to bring you back to your center.

Excuse #2: I have no time or energy for exercise.

Remedy #2: Fit exercise into holiday activities, by parking your car as far away from stores as possible and use the stairs instead of escalator or elevator at the mall. When you can, walk to shops, post office, or food shopping instead of driving. Stretch at your computer, on line at the bank or farmers’ market, or in bed before you get out of it in the morning. Include the playground, park, roller or ice skating ring, biking, skiing, and walking in family fun activities for the holidays. Give exercise gifts like a spa day or gym membership to yourself or others.

Excuse #3: I’m too pooped to cook. This excuse may create a dangerous situation, because you’re likely to grab snack or junk foods instead of real food or overeat in a restaurant. Most foods sold commercially include ingredients like soy oil (unless it’s organic it’s likely to be GMO), artificial sweeteners, high sodium, and heavy sauces and dressings.

Remedy # 3: Shop for holiday presents throughout the year. That way there's no last minute rush. Cook up batches of food and freeze to use when you’re too tired to whip up something that day. If you go to a restaurant instead of cooking, make sure to eat smart when you eat out. Here’s a link to a blog post that will help you do just that. Eat Out Eat Smart

Excuse # 4: I’ll start to diet in the New Year. In days gone by, I've said this to myself in hopes that it would postpone the pain I'd feel from disciplining myself to push away from the table and stop eating unhealthful foods. I also thought stalling with a start date gave me permission to gobble down that basket of bread right now. But I did feel the pain, as I patted my middle section and felt where all that bread went. That’s not all. The day after a holiday party and three cups of Eggnog, I felt bloated, unattractive, lethargic, and cranky from sugar and simple carb overload.

Remedy # 4: Change your mindset to change your behavior around food. Look at what you eat, when you eat, why you eat, and perhaps you’ll conclude that prevention is more effective than cure. Researchers have found that it’s advantageous to make a lifestyle change the minute you realize you need to clean up your food eating act. You won’t have regrets for maintaining a bad habit or guilt from procrastinating. I have noticed when my awareness level and motivation is at a peak, the momentum keeps me going longer and stronger. Be gentle with yourself if you have a food slip, but start anew to notice what foods you crave or gorge on. Ask yourself when, where, and under what circumstances do you eat unhealthily? Set a health improvement goal rather than weight loss or gain. This way you can be a winner over and over again. 

Here are 2 Websites that address emotional eating...

Keep in mind the winter holiday season coincides with cold and flu season. That’s why it's important to ward off illness and energy drain by eating nourishing foods and filling yourself up with the love, peace, brotherhood, and light that Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa holidays convey.

Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life. Happy Holidays Everyone!

The quotation for today comes from Geneen Roth, Author of Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. “Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are. It's about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can't have it.”

Don't forget to order a copy or two of my woman's self-care journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It offers many tips and ideas to help women readers feel a greater sense of well-being and joy in daily living. Colors of Joy on My Website

This post has been shared at Special Holiday Edition: Celebrate the Season at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop 2014.

This post has been shared at Tues With a Twist # 90 is Live!

This post has been shared at Tues. With a Twist #91 is Live!

Friday, December 5, 2014

3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

For many, this time of year is anxiety producing and stressful. Right now you may think there is too much to do or worry that holiday shopping and decorating, cards, food prep, and house cleaning won’t be finished in time for the holidays.

Before you jump off an emotional cliff, ask yourself these questions; am I trying too hard to create a “perfect looking" holiday? Are the horrors of past holidays coming back to haunt me? Do I believe I have super powers, can run myself ragged, and will know when to stop before total exhaustion sets in?

Research suggests it’s never too late to change outmoded behaviors and attitudes. When you open your mind to a new way of being and pay attention to your true needs and wants, you will find greater satisfaction and joy this holiday season and all year long.  

1. Learn ways to moderate your emotions. Set the tone for your day in the morning. Wake up a few minutes early to allow for quiet time to practice Mindfulness Meditation. It is a powerful tool that helps you notice thoughts, observe your emotions, and increase self-knowledge. Keep it simple; breathe in and out for a few moments. A mind-body practice like meditation develops increased awareness of the present, and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditation lowers heart rate and deep breathing has a calming effect for hours after you move into your day. Meditation helps you clear your mind and encourages rational thinking. Rational thinking enables you to plan ahead, and make effective decisions about daily activities. Studies show that daily mindfulness meditation done over a period of at least 8 weeks, makes a significant improvement in overall quality of life and health. 

2. Simplify your celebration by anchoring it to reality. Do you act out of a genuine love of a particular custom? Perhaps it's time to release traditions and preparations that don’t align with your time, budget, or spirit. Limit time spent with people, places, and things that drain your energy. Reserve time for those people and functions that matter to you.

3. Remember you have options. There are no holiday police, who dictate what is right for you. You may want to relax at home, have company, visit friends and family, or create a new tradition this year. Some folks shift gears by going to the movies, visiting a park, helping a shut-in neighbor, or do service at a soup kitchen. Perhaps this year you want to get away from it all on a vacation. You will fail, if you try to people-please everyone in your life. Aim to be loving and kind to yourself and others. Make the choice to do what works best for you!

For those times when you're traveling with kids, here’s help for you.

Please comment by sharing your tips for stress reduction. If you'd like to, mention what things you want to reduce, improve, or eliminate in the new year. Studies show when you use pen and paper and record your intention, it reinforces the idea in your mind and body.

For many more creative ideas about effective self-care practices and exercises that help you appreciate simple pleasures, pick up a copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It’s a great gift for all the women you love. See more here.

The quotation for today is an original, "“Self-care is a privilege only you can grant yourself.” Nancy Andres

Before I go, I'd like to thank you for your support and encouragement during 2014. Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy, Healthy 2015. 
This blog post appears on the Special Holiday Edition of the Healthy, Happy, Green, and Natural Party Blog Hop 2014

This blog post appears on Tuesdays With a Twist#88 is Live!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving, Gratitude, Thoughts and Feelings

Thanksgiving has come again and I'm counting my blessings. Gratitude fills me up for good health and joy in my life. I'm blessed by sharing love with a special someone and appreciate my career, friends and family, and a calling to serve a Higher purpose in my life. I am thankful I live in a free country, where I create the space and time to make new discoveries about myself and others and be more truly who I was meant to be. And I'm grateful for blogging, which gives me the opportunity to write down how I feel and what I think.

Here's the quote for today:

"Half our mistakes in life arise from feeling where we ought to think, and thinking where we ought to feel." J. Churton Collins

Wishing you a festive holiday and the insight to sense when enough food (or anything) is enough.

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and will return again. Wishing you a day that's brimming with good health and peace. Warm regards, Nan