Archive of ‘clutter’ category

Be Beautiful!

You may have noticed that I changed my layout (again). I’m very indecisive and I can never stick to one thing for an extended period of time. I like changing wordpress themes into styles that I like. (If you have a blog and ever want help, just let me know – I used to do this for a living.)

I have a new favorite product, and I have no idea where to get it.


Heather sent me this for my birthday and now I’m addicted. It’s a Vosges Goji Bar. I’ve been trying to savor it slowly, but I think it’s doomed to be finished today. I made it last almost a week, which is good. I’m going to check Whole Foods and Cost Plus first. I hear it’s also sold at Nieman Marcus, so next time I’m in the city (San Francisco) I might try to find it there.

The bar has a hint of salt, which brings out the amazing goji berry flavor. Vosges seems like a pretty cool company; they have other crazy flavors like bacon (!), oaxaca, ginger & wasabi (called black pearl), and woolloomooloo (hemp, macademia nuts). I love it. Thank you Heather!

Another thing I’ve been loving recently is Bare Minerals makeup. I’ve been making an effort to feel great about my appearance ever since my birthday and my abandonment of raw foodism. This includes wearing makeup, wearing clothes that make me feel cute, and eating things that I love. I got the starter kit ($60) and I’m so glad I did. I know that Bare Minerals is not the best natural makeup (it does have a few scary chemicals), but it has been working for me. It even came with a DVD that explains how to put it on! This is my new prep station:

15 bare minerals

My skin is generally quite problematic, but I’ve seen a dramatic improvement over the last few days due to half a dozen things I’m trying: MSM supplements, Maca powder, new makeup, Origins oil-free thing (in picture), not touching/picking at my face, and no more detoxing (see, I really did mean half a dozen = 6 things). I don’t know which one of these things fixed my skin, so I guess I’ll have to keep doing all of them.

I mentioned cleaning and organizing a few days ago (I spent my birthday night cleaning – by choice). A clean and clutter-free house makes for a very happy Maggie. I have a few bags in the back of Bobby’s Saab to take to Goodwill and I made this jewelry box so that I can access my jewelry quickly and easily. Organization makes me happy.

16 jewelry

This was so simple to make. I took a cardboard box (I think it was from freeze-dried apple chips; yum), and stapled tissue paper on it. I save tissue paper from my purchases (Anthropologie has the best). I hung my dangly earrings on the sides and put the other stuff in the middle (I made that brown dish in ceramics).

Bobby has a class all day today, so I’m on my own. I’m gonna work out, drop off an application, eat some Greek yogurt (yes, dairy is back), and chill out. I’m also going to listen to songs from this website. Heather’s brother started this awesome site (Start My Song) where songwriters can upload their new songs – a lot of them are really good. I’m listening to the Country station now.

Enjoy your Saturday! What was the last thing you did to make yourself feel beautiful?

June Challenges Update

Happy 4th of July!


I’m finally going to update about my June challenges.

  1. Decluttering.  I did okay with this, but only because I already had 2 big bags of books to give away and several bags of clothes.  I haven’t taken them to goodwill yet, but I will soon.  As for my pantry, I actually did do well with that.  I used up a lot of pasta, soba noodles, random nuts and dried fruits, to0-sugary instant oatmeal (made vegan cookies for Bobby to take to work), frozen veggies (I think I might be over them), random frozen snacks (Bobby), frozen shrimp, instant miso soup, and maybe even more that I’m forgetting.  Bobby has also decided to sell his Wii.  He has an Xbox so he doesn’t really need the Wii anymore. (If you live in the bay area and want to buy a Wii + controllers + games, let me know – otherwise he’s going to sell it to a resale place.)
  2. Drinking water before bed.  I’d forgotten about this, but I did it anyway.  Sweet.
  3. Pantry items – see above.
  4. Cleaning/organizing 5 minutes every day.  Not intentionally, but I did end up vacuuming and wiping stuff down more often.  I need to work on the organizing part.

I’ve also been doing yoga daily.  I started out with just 25 minutes timed (kitchen timer) and now I’m up to 40 minutes.  I’ll probably stick with 40 because it seems to be a good balance for me.  I haven’t been walking as much, but I do try to get in some kind of walking every day.  I think I’m finally okay with just a bit of yoga and just a bit of walking… they make me feel really good.

In the last few days of trying to eat more healthy fats, I’ve found a new obsession – sesame seeds.  I’ll post about them later.  Enjoy your 4th!

A break from…

I wanted to do something new for breakfast since I wasn’t in the mood for green oats.  I decided to go all macrobiotic and do an oat bran + miso soup brekkie.

17 breakfast

The oat bran was:

  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1.5 cups water
  • dash of salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons of my ABU (1 part almond butter to 3 parts chocolate soy milk)

The miso soup was:

  • matcha soybean green tea for the base (with lemon)
  • wakame
  • spoon of miso

16 lemon green tea

I try to make a big pitcher of tea every morning and drink it throughout the day.  It was really good as a miso soup base.  I especially liked the hint of lemon (I slice a whole lemon and dump it into the tea).

18 green tea

I get the tea from Lupicia – I have a ton of different flavors and I’m trying to use them up so I can get new ones.  This is “Matcha Black Soybean Rice Tea“.  One of my (and Bobby’s!) favorites.

This breakfast was surprisingly filling, since the green oat bowls are actually bigger than what I made today (spinach gives it volume).

Don’t forget about my June challenges.  I’ll be updating about them either tomorrow or on the first of July. I have to admit, I kind of forgot about most of them.  I was supposed to declutter and give away one thing every day, but I think I only have 2 things in my declutter box.  I suppose I can find 30 things to give away tomorrow though.

Do you have any challenges that you want to work on?

P.S. Bobby comes back from Miami tomorrow morning and I couldn’t be more excited.  I missed him :)

Japanese Dinner for Decluttering

I made a very cool and very Japanese/Macrobiotic dinner last night in an attempt to declutter my kitchen and use up pantry items.


I started with this Soba Noodle & Umeboshi Dressing recipe that I’ve been obsessed with, but I had to make a few adjustments.  This was soba noodles topped with julienned burdock and carrot (frozen).  I had a few shirataki noodles for bulk, but it was mostly soba.


Then I made miso soup for each of us (from a packet, but again… trying to use up pantry items).


And I also grilled some frozen Rex Sole that I’d gotten at the Korean grocery a few weeks ago.  The sole was actually really delicious (I ate my whole piece plus part of Bobby’s – he’s not really a whitefish person) and now I want to buy more of it.  So that was a fail at pantry cleaning (unless I resist the temptation to buy more).


I’ve actually managed to use up some other pantry items – I made chocolate/raisin/sunflower seed/oatmeal cookies for bobby (oatmeal raisin is his favorite) with the rest of my instant oatmeal (it’s sweetened, and I just can’t deal with that much sugar… I tried), nuts that I never eat, and raisins and chocolate that have been waiting to be cooked.  He took them to work with him so they’ll probably disappear soon.  I also sent him in to work with a big bag of granola bars so he’s going to try to have them for snacks.  I’m totally over bars, and have been for a while.  Just not my thing.

The point of cleaning out the pantry is to use up all those things that I bought at one point and then discovered that I didn’t really like, or didn’t like as much as I thought I had.  I’m making good progress I think.  By the end of the month a decent amount of the excess food will be used up.

I just found out what my summer schedule is going to look like – I’ve decided to teach full-time for a few months instead of taking classes at community college.  I’ll be teaching summer classes for SAT prep, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry.  Fun!  I hope it will be :)

My mom comes tomorrow night!  I can’t wait to make her eat green oatmeal and kabocha.  Have you ever made your parents try something that they thought was kind of crazy?

Challenges Galore

Only one day left of the Whole Life Challenge. I guess the 2 weeks are over on Thursday night (tomorrow night), but I’m gonna keep going after that. I still need work! Here’s an update:


  1. Yoga – yes! I’m finally doing this every day. Tom Morley’s “buns & thighs yoga” has invigorated me. I’ve done it every morning for the past 3 days. It’s only 20 minutes and it is my favorite 20 minute class ever.
  2. Walking – I love walking. On Monday I walked to and from the post office. Yesterday I did 2 walking videos from exercise tv – a walking warm-up and a walking cool-down (each 10 minutes). They’re under pink ribbon workouts if you want to find them.  Today I walked for exactly 10 minutes on the treadmill before I went on the stepper.
  3. New Meals – definitely keeping up with this, too. Trying to de-clutter my kitchen will help even more. We were planning on going out to Loving Hut (a vegan restaurant) for our 3.5 year um… half-iversary?  But my stomach has been bugging me so we’re saving that for later this week.
  4. Organic – yep, yep, yep. Only my greens have to be organic, but I try to get the other stuff too.
  5. Green Oat Bran – duh. I LOVE this part of the challenge. Oat bran + peanut butter + spinach make Maggie one happy girl.

I think I’m finally getting into the swing of things, which is why I am definitely not going to stop. I’m even thinking of adding some more…

  • de-clutter daily
  • drink a glass of water before I go to bed (I always wake up parched)
  • take 5-10 minutes each day to clean/organize something
  • take a few deep breaths before I make any decisions – I’m impulsive, to say the least.

I enjoy challenging myself. Cindy loves it too – I get great ideas from her sweet blog. Don’t forget to check out the other participants. They’ve added some great ideas to the ones I came up with.

What other challenges would you add?  What has been your biggest challenge?

Bag of Cheap Food

What’s even better than a bag of crap?  A bag of cheap food of course!  On my way home from signing some tutoring paperwork (I’m teaching an SAT prep course this summer), I stopped by a new Asian market.  I think this one was Vietnamese.  In the Bay Area we have about a bagillion Asian markets and I love checking them out.

This one had a bargain bin where I found:

  • 08-cheap-foodsuper-ripe mangoes for $0.39 each (I got 4)
  • a bunch of eggplants taped together for $0.79
  • a bag of lemons for $1.99

I also bought 8 kabochas.  They will last me about a week.  I got “shrimp rice sheets” for $1.29 (not on sale, just cheap).


I made a pad-see-ew type dish with a mish-mosh of things in the kitchen.  Process:

  • saute chopped turkey ham, an organic nitrate/nitrite-free beef/pork hot dog, and celery in sesame oil.
  • add peanut butter, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce.
  • chop and add the rice sheets.
  • taste, then add fish sauce, rice vinegar, more hoisin sauce, and chili powder.
  • add an egg.  be sad because no more eggs to add.
  • smell delicious noodles and throw fear of oil out the window.  enjoy real food.
  • don’t take pictures because dish is ugly.

I wasn’t going to have any but it was too good to pass up.  I supplemented my bowl with a kabocha + organic ketchup + parmesan + pate.  It was a weird dinner.

So far in my de-clutter box I have my old Vera Bradley purse and a bunch of books that I want to try to sell.  I also have some bags of clothes that I’ve been meaning to give away, but haven’t yet. Can these count towards my 30 items?  😀  I didn’t do that well with decluttering the pantry/kitchen yesterday, but Bobby did eat a Lean Cuisine out of the freezer around midnight so I suppose that counts.

Be back later with a challenge update…

Are you a clutter-bug?  What is the hardest for you to decide to give away?  I tend to buy clothes on sale that I never wear.  And then I don’t want to get rid of them because I didn’t get enough use out of them.

What a bag of crap!

There is a point to this post.

Have you heard of  It’s a website that sells a new item every day at a low price.  Today’s item is a 2-pack of fire extinguishers for $9.99.  It’s been more exciting in the past – Roombas (cool vacuums), mp3 players, etc…  It’s not something I’d normally be interested in, but occasionally they sell these things called “bags of crap“.  A “bag of crap” is a way for them to clear out their warehouse and make some money off of it.  You buy 3 “bags of crap” at $1 each plus $5 shipping, so you pay $8 and agree to receive and not complain about whatever they decide to send you.  Sometimes you get broken electronics; other times you get huge HDTVs.  Sometimes you get bags of air.  It’s a crapshoot.

Bobby’s bags of crap arrived on Saturday, but we weren’t home so I had to pick them up at the post office yesterday.  He had high hopes and I was worried that it would just be clutter.  There was some clutter (a random piece of a computer, purple “space sand”, etc…), but we also got this new set of knives that perfectly matches our black and steel kitchen.


It’s an Arcosteel 5-piece knife set.  Not super-nice, but definitely made the $8 bags of crap worth it.  The knives are heavy; they’re very sharp too.  I’m having lots of fun chopping (they’re still not as nice as my ceramic knives though). In the bag was also an infrared thermometer – what do you use this for?

We also got this awesome cat-condo.  Hehe.


After I trekked to the post office to get the bags of crap (I walked 1.4 miles there and back – 2.8 total – for my exercise), I made lunch using pantry items (dried shiitakes, soba noodles).  I used this recipe but subbed in mushrooms instead of onions.  It wasn’t nearly as good and I used way too many mushrooms.  At least the mushrooms are almost gone.  I think they’re over a year old.


Today and yesterday I did yoga in the morning – Tom Morley’s buns & thighs yoga from exercise tv (~20 minutes).  I think I’m going to try to get in my yoga in the morning from now on.  It’s easier that way.

And I have an announcement – my mom is coming!!  She gets in late next Tuesday (1 week!) and is staying for a week.  I’m so excited and happy.  I can’t wait to hang out with her, and talk, and do yoga together, and all the other fun things that we love to do.  She’s going to stay in our guest room so I really have to declutter in the next week.  Good thing that’s one of my June goals.

I have *a ton* of stuff to do today (blog-related, tutoring-related, school-related, career-related, errands, chores, gah!)  How long is your to-do list right now?  Mine seems insane and almost too much (but when it’s all written down it’s so much easier to tackle).

Retiring old friends, and getting some new!

I think borrowing is one of the best concepts ever.  I love getting books from the library, borrowing movies from friends, and most recently – borrowing an awesome cookbook from our cousins:


It’s in English and Chinese (I don’t speak any Chinese at all, but I would love to learn.  I have the Rosetta Stone for it).


Speaking of new things, it was time to retire these Vera Bradley gems (they served me well).  You can’t see it in the picture, but one of the straps is being held on with a safety pin.  The straps are so worn that I don’t think I can even try to sell this.  Anyone want a free used Vera bag? If you live around here (Sunnyvale, CA) you can pick it up.  The wallet is in better condition, but it needs to retire too.


I replaced them with some new ones!


I buy Vera Bradley New With Tags (NWT) on Ebay for much cheaper than in the store.

Onto the real point of this post. MizFit is having a de-clutter challenge, and I’m going to join.  The gist of it is to give away 30 things in 30 days.  So one thing every day for the month of June.  I know where my local Goodwill is, so all I have to do is start picking items.

I’m going to be adding my own second part to the challenge though.  I have SO MUCH food in my kitchen and pantry.  There is no reason for me to have all of the random items that I have.  I’m going to try to use 30 pantry items in 30 days to declutter my kitchen.  Are you with me?  (Some pantry items might stretch out over a few days – I’m obviously not going to eat a whole package of pasta in one day.  The goal is to use something from the pantry every day.)

I’ll also be continuing my Whole Life Challenge through this Friday (and probably beyond), so June will be a challenging month.  Using up pantry items will probably help me stay on track with the *new meals* part of the Whole Life Challenge.

What will you challenge yourself to do in June?