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Lifestyle Habits for a Complete Life Renovation- Week 3

Starting on the path to great new habits and routines and life choices is a perpetually self-motivating act, helping us level up in more ways at the same time. Sometimes, a side effect is great new opportunities that pop up because we tried something different or went somewhere new. There seems to be a sort of serendipitous effect of so many things falling into place when you are doing in the right direction, as thought fate was telling you to keep going, this is the way.

Let’s keep going on a path toward the great life, and everything that unfolds along the way…


This week, let’s take a look at the food pantry in your house. This is where you store all your dried goods, canned foods, jars of pasta or pickles, etc. If it doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen (non-perishable), it’s in the pantry, and a well stocked pantry makes it easy to cook healthy meals at home (save money!). Basics such as basmati rice and various types of pasta, canned and dry beans, canned veggies (we mainly have corn since we tend to get everything else frozen or fresh), pasta sauce, condiments, extra spices that aren’t on our spice rack, canned skipjack tuna, organic Ramen, cereal, nuts and seeds (we have walnuts and sunflower seeds currently), dried fruit (my favorite is dried mango, so sweet and delicious!), organic beef jerky, organic popcorn kernels (we air pop them and spray with olive oil and salt in the bowl), oatmeal, honey, granola bars, etc. We can make pretty much anything with these basics, and add in some veggies or meat as needed (when we fast for Lent, we pretty much cook from the pantry except for a few perishable items we add in or store in the fridge after opening the package, such as marinara sauce). If you don’t have a food pantry yet, clear out some easy-to-reach cabinets or shelves to dedicate to building one up, or use a closet in the house that is cool and dry and doesn’t get humid to build up a longer term storage pantry.

Make sure you have the basics of a good pantry (here is a good list to start with) so that you are able to cook at home every day if you’d like to, and toss out any foods that are unhealthy, expired, or just don’t suit your taste anymore (we got rid of Sriracha sauce, because if I’m being honest, none of us like it after the first try so I don’t know why I kept it for so long). I also don’t like junk food, so while I do keep pretzels and Ritz crackers for the boys if they are in the mood for a snack sometimes, that’s it. No shelves of cookies, no bags of chips, nothing with HFCS or GMOs. What we put into our bodies should be the healthiest and best food we can find, and having it ready in your home pantry will make is easy to always have healthy food options available.


Brows have returned with a vengeance, and if you’ve seen the newest trends, the thicker the better. I’m not a fan of the rather pricy micro-blading beauty treatment going on (where fine lines that look very much like brow hairs are tattooed on to your face to make sparse brows look thicker and unflattering brow shapes look more flattering or sexier). I am a huge fan of ensuring your brows are the most flattering, and am not opposed to anyone getting microblading or other treatments, but since I’m frugal, I went looking for alternative ways to frame our faces in the most flattering way possible, and here are my tips:

– Get brows shaped (waxed or tweezed professionally), in a shape that is fuller now that those super teeny, super skinny brows are out- finally! (What were we thinking in the 90s and 00s???) If you are skilled at DIY beauty, this video from Anastasia’s Eyes will get you going in the right direction. Since natural is now in style, many of us will just need to tweeze errant hairs and work with what remains.
– Fill in sparse brows with a matching color brow pencil, powder (applied with brush), or gel… brush brows up for lift
– If you color your hair, you may want to color your brows to match, but generally speaking, the most flattering brow shade (according to a few famous colorists) is our natural shade, even if we color or highlight our hair. You probably don’t need to change your eye brow color unless you drastically change your hair color (ie go from black to red)

Eyebrows are the frames of the face, and symmetrical, well shaped brows can literally change a face and its proportions, so make sure yours are the best shape and color for you.


Many of us spend a lot of time at work, and if you love your job, this is a great thing. The problem can be when you start to confuse your work relationships with your non-work life, such as thinking your co-workers are your friends because you spend a lot of time together in an office, or that someone’s drama is your business because… well, I don’t know why, because it’s not and they shouldn’t be bringing their drama to work. Having a great work life means maintaining professional relationships at work, and keeping that professional distance so that you can do the job you are paid to do without your work interfering with your personal life, or your personal life interfering with your job.

This means it’s a bad idea to date co-workers, clients, supervisors, etc and it’s a very, very bad idea to air our your dirty laundry at work and become a source of gossip around the water cooler. Your co-workers are stuck with you all day, and vice versa, and the familiarity that comes with spending a lot of time with the same people for many hours and many days and many months may make you think your relationships are closer than they are, but many have families and relationships outside of work they prioritize that you aren’t aware of, or may be hoping to get the same exact job promotion you are shooting for, and they just see their job as a job, a means to an end, so treating an officemate as your therapist can lead to everyone knowing your business, or thinking less of you if you complain a lot or attract a lot of relational drama, or simply can’t keep a secret and have diarrhea of the mouth. Propinquity may blur the lines in your mind, but it may not for others. Don’t tell someone you are attracted to at work your problems with your spouse, don’t tell anyone your ideas that they can claim as their own, don’t whine to your assistant about your problems with your mother. It’s all so unprofessional, inappropriate at work, affects your reputation, and can lead to disastrous results.

If you really feel someone at work is a kindred spirit you can have a friendship with, ask them if they’d like to join you in an activity. If they say no, don’t ask again. If you are interested in dating someone at work and really sense that they are interested as well (and neither of you are romantically engaged elsewhere), you can very carefully suggest a lunch date and very graciously take no for an answer (and never ask again). Don’t go out drinking with co-workers after work at happy hour, and never get drunk at the holiday work parties. Don’t go to any social activities that are work-related after work hours that includes alcohol but forbids partners outside of work (think the “Mike Pence rule”… no fraternizing with co-workers when alcohol is involved). Today, it can be career suicide to behave unprofessionally, or be accused of it, so when it comes to work relationships, if you can just keep it all very surface level and extremely professional, that is ideal. The best way to get ahead at work is to do your job well and see your job as a source of income and advancement, not a source of meeting your need for connection with other people.


If you don’t have a brokerage account, this week we are going to talk about getting one. This should happen after you have an emergency fund and have worked on a budget for your money that includes cutting out everything that is wasteful and unnecessary for your life or happiness. If you are able to find a bit to save each week, consider opening a brokerage account or retirement fund or Roth IRA (anything that prepares you for a good retirement or later years) and putting in a certain percentage each week. If your job offers a 401k with matching, even better (start with that!)… and even if you can just put in 3% or 5% to start, well… it’s a good start and it all adds up. It’s empowering to take control of your destiny, and preparing for your later years ensures you know you will be ok if you aren’t able to work past a certain age, or deal with an illness or physical ailment that makes it hard to continue to work. If you prepare in advance- and the earlier the better for that magic compound interest (ie the 8th wonder of the world ♥︎) – you will have the security of knowing you will be ok, and maybe even thrive, as you get older.

If your job doesn’t offer any retirement funds as options to start funneling some of each paycheck toward, then open your own account in a respectable brokerage firm such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab, or Vanguard. When you are just starting out, and haven’t read any books about investing, start with a super-low-fee mutual fund that follows the S&P 500 or something similar. As time goes by, and you save more and learn about investing, you may decide to keep this one single fund, or to diversify into other mutual funds (or even some stocks) as well, but it’s never a good idea to invest in something you don’t understand, so this week I encourage you to start saving, and start learning. And don’t forget to indicate who you want as your beneficiary (and to update this as life changes). For most people, I would recommend you designate your own children as your beneficiaries, and if you don’t have any when you start the account, to immediately add them as soon as you do (you don’t want your life savings to go to your ex or mom or brother instead of your own children because you forgot the update your designated beneficiaries).

So now, we are working on an emergency savings fund, plugging up budget holes, and then starting to save for the future. More coming next week, including why starting earlier (with anything, but especially saving money) is always better!