New Years Resolutions (Thing of the past?)

So looking at social media lately…I was a bit surprised to see so many people…NOT declaring New Years Resolutions.  It seems like there is this unspoken stigma of setting “New Years Resolutions” and that if you do then chances are you will NOT keep up with them.  As a matter of fact, I believe I see more people talking about how they are setting any this year.  I think it’s interesting to see that happening.

I am firm believer that setting goals are important.  In order to know where you’re headed you must have destination.  I also believe in enjoying the ride though.  Goals are important but I think it’s more important that in this moment in time to be happy. To be thankful for all that you do have right now and for all of the things you are able to do right now.  I believe that being happy with yourself in the present can really pave a smooth path for you and your future goals.

Advertisements

Feed the Hungry Experience

I had this expectation in my head of like a soup kitchen type set up before I went to this volunteer opportunity today.  To my surprise it was basically just a hand out of groceries to those that need it.  I happen to score a fantastic parking spot in front of the Salvation Army office on the street with easy access to the building (there were A LOT of people, ‘clients’) and I walked up to the volunteer with the San Antonio Food Bank. (She had to tell me I couldn’t park where I initially parked because that’s where the truck pulls in! Silly me.)

The 18 wheeler sized truck backed in and it was time to work.  We unloaded A LOT of food…crates and crates of dairy, juice, milk, bread, produce, and just a BUNCH of food.  It was a lot of people (volunteers) but somehow the great number of help really worked out although there was no set system in place we managed to make individual bags with various types of food in time to let the clients get in line and take what they need.

The things that I noticed and found a tad bit unsettling was how most of the clients did not smile or seem happy. I mean, it seemed like the volunteers were having a blast helping out and chatting amongst themselves.  …but the workers and the people that were receiving the food… it was almost too… I am lacking the words right now because I am TIRED.  It’s the holidays and I don’t know I guess I was just expecting a whole another level of cheer.  I mean, this is FREE groceries that these people are getting and the workers and the volunteers barely got thank yous and the workers they were friendly enough but I don’t know maybe I was just expecting too much.  That’s the problem with expectations you just leave room to be disappointed.  Anyway, I had a lot of fun and I look forward to the next opportunity to volunteer.  Besides, that was an AWESOME upper body workout!   Yes… I can already tell, I am going to be sore tomorrow. My arms are jello!

Volunteer to make friends?

So I’ve decided to volunteer to help feed the hungry tomorrow.  I have never volunteered before (outside of school and work) so this is officially a first experience for me.  I’ve moved to a new city and have yet to find a new job and friends.  I’m hoping to find a friend while volunteering but at the least I will be helping people and that’s good right?

My desire to interact with people really comes up in the grocery store where I find myself randomly chatting up with others for recipe advice and what-not. I must say it is MUCH easier to do this in Texas than it is in California. Whenever I attempted to start a conversation with someone out there in the store they would just give me this look like “Why are you talking to me?” or “What are you trying to sell me?” Yes in Texas it is much easier to say “Hi how are you?” then carry on a small conversation with someone you completely don’t know.

I remember back in school it was so easy to make friends I mean, you literally could go to another student ask if they have a spare pencil, comment on how cool their notebook looks and BOOM you’re friends!  I remember back in elementary an old school friend literally walked up to me and say do you want to be my friend and I said sure.  This method isn’t applicable in the ‘real/adult’ world is it?  It seems so much more difficult to make friends as an adult.  Can one walk to another person in the produce aisle, comment about fruit, and ask if they want to be friends?  Why not?

The Greatest Parents Will Never Be Famous

IMG_1943
I finished reading a biography of Mahatma Gandhi – no doubt this was a very influential and GOOD man… I could not help but be disappointed with how little time he actually spent with his family. Yes, he changed the world and influenced a lot of people…leaders, the poor, and everyone in between…but again, I could not help but feel almost a sadness for his immediate family.  Gandhi spent YEARS studying different religions and visiting countries and villages helping as many people as he could that were not in the position to help themselves.  He had five children but none of which he could say he was absolutely close to.  After spending so many years away from his family and even when they lived together he was always out trying to help the world – what about his children?  I wonder… did Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi’s father) spend many years away from his children?  Would Mahatma Gandhi become as driven to be as he was had he been raised differently?  Think of the famous and influential people you’ve learned about past as well as present.  Do you know of their parents?  Truth is in most cases, the best parents will never be famous.

What is more important – to leave this world a better place than when you first came into it, or to have off spring and guide them well enough to lead a quality life?  Does it have to be one way or the other?  Every day we are encouraged to spend money and make money so we can continue to spend it on things that we “need” or really want.  I do share the same belief as Gandhi that everyone rich and poor should work for what they need without taking advantage of others to do so.  However, in today’s world it’s not about family and helping each other lead a quality life.

You have people who go to school in hopes of getting a good job, to buy a house, and have a family, and to encourage the next generation to do the same.  Then you have the people that don’t work, that live off of government benefits, that go and have children to get even more benefits, and ultimately influencing the next generation to do the same.  Then you have people who work and don’t have any children. They work to pay for things: their house, cars, bills… everything we are conditioned to think are necessary…but what about family?

If you look up in the sky you’ll see a flock of birds probably flying or hanging out in the trees.  In the sea, fish swim in schools.  Elephants they are usually found to travel in their herd.  Almost every animal in the world stays with their family with exceptions of: panthers, Tazmanian devils, and moose.   Ok so it is argued that humans are not animals but for sake of argument what if we were to say we are ‘smarter’ animals… which one of these animal groups are we most like?

People feel sorry for those in the third world countries because they are starving and have no homes…but are they unhappy?  What if you were born poor, in a family, where you have to work for every meal in order to survive? Those that live in third world countries most likely depend on family and their neighbors, and chances are they are OK – they are surviving.  In fact, if they are surviving with family and friends – it is more than possible for them to say they are happy.  How many people live in our society that have a job, a home, a car, and everything else the media makes us think we need, that actually live unhappily?   Who are really the poor ones in this world – those without steady income or those without steady happiness?

Reading Books – Is there enough time?

There is always enough time to do the things you love.  For me, I’ve been neglecting my reading hobby.  I am supposed to be read 50 books in 2015.  Perhaps the goal was a little too high? ..or perhaps I just haven’t prioritized it enough. 30 books in 39 days?  Unless I made that the ONLY thing I did in my free time I am not sure if I can make it.  …but hey, I can TRY.

You can check out the books that I read here: https://citadelofthoughts.com/2015/07/29/books-read-in-2015/

What if, I were to read several books at one time?  People do that right?  I wonder if that will help me reach my goal any sooner.  If I can dedicate 1 hours every day to reading… that is 39 hours of reading. How many books can I finish reading in 39 hours?  We shall see!

So just to experiment I will read these 4 books at the same time (well one at a time but I won’t be finishing one book before moving on to the next one)

  • The Happiness Project – Ron Leifer M.D. (288 Pages)
  • Manuscript Found in Accra – Paulo Coelho (190 Pages)
  • Adultery – Paulo Coelho (249 Pages)
  • The Light In The Forest – Conrad Richter (117 Pages)

I have three weeks with these books (I borrowed three of them from the library) but hopefully it will take me less time than that to finish all four.

What are your reading habits like?  How often do you read? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Dunkin’ Donuts – Classic Egg & Cheese Croissant

IMG_20151121_095950

Today I ordered a medium toasted almond coffee (black) and an egg & cheese croissant. It was PERFECT.  I wish Costco had an option to buy just a single or few croissants so I can make my own egg & cheese croissant at home.  Instead they have this big pack for sale and although they are DELICIOUS – it is not healthy to eat that whole pack in one week (my husband and I have done it in the past).

I guess I could purchase one of those Pillsbury croissant pre made doughs.  However those range anywhere from $2-$4 I think and I might as well just run to Dunkin’ and grab one already made sandwiches there.  Perhaps if I had friends and family over it would make making a whole batch more cost effective but when it’s just me and maybe my husband too it’s more convenient to purchase them at Dunkin’ Donuts.  For $2.29 for the breakfast sandwich…you just can’t get the same value or better purchasing all of the ingredients and making it at home, again unless you have feeding several people.

 

 

Yard Sale Success Tips

IMG_20151004_093607

So our main goal for the two weekends we held yard sales was to get rid of all of our unwanted stuff.  With this being said we didn’t track our earning to the penny.  If I had to throw a number though I believe we made at least $400.  Was it a lot of work? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Don’t do it for profit
People who shop at yard sales EXPECT a bargain.  Just because you spent $200 on a kitchen appliance doesn’t mean you can turn around and sell it for $150. Seriously.  An object is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.  Sell things in your yard sale that you are willing to let go of.  That $200 item? Yes, you will have to be ready to mark it to $20 or even $10.

Designate a MAN TABLE
My husband called it a Mable.  I gave him the specific task to surround the card table with as many things as he could find that he himself may feel drawn to if he was walking by. The psychology behind this is targeting the couples where the “Mable” can keep the man preoccupied while the woman does the real shopping. He was going to throw away a few weed eaters and other misc tools that no longer had batteries or chargers to them and I told him no use it for bait. It worked!  A lot of people inquired about those things at the end we ended up just letting a guy walk away with them for a dollar each!

Price most if not all of your items for sale
People are funny… a lot of individuals may pick something up and set it back down simply because it does not have a price and walk away.  If you see a customer hold an object (this is called a buying signal) …and you KNOW you didn’t leave a price tag on it, let them know how much you are selling it for right there BEFORE they even set it down.

Know your local laws/regulations
Most of the time it is as easy as going to your city website and searching for “yard sale” and you will find all the information you need. For instance, in my city they allow two yard sales per year and they emphasize that signs are not allowed on utility poles.  They also only allowed a maximum of 6 signs per household.

Place your signs in busiest areas
I know this may seem like common sense but I just had to emphasize this.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen neighbors just hang up one sign down the street.  We maxed out our limit and made sure we got as close to the intersection as possible to lure people into our neighborhood.

Maximize your yard
Don’t try to cram all of your merchandise in one side of the yard. Spread out your items for sale and allow plenty of room for your customers to walk and browse.  This will also give the impression that you have A LOT of stuff and customers looking for a bargain will definitely be more tempted to stop by and see what you have for sale.

AVOID keeping your merchandise in boxes or the floor
I don’t know what it is but most people tend to just look at items that are on the tables instead of the blanket or tarp on the floor.  Every time we sold something off the table we would grab something else from a box to replace it and it almost immediately got more attention.  We only had one folding table and one card table so we had to improvise and flipped boxes over and covered them with sheets and blankets to make them look like tables.  It worked!

Designate a FREE pile
I found that people rarely take something from the free pile without buying anything.  Make the pile separate (a bit further from the merchandise for sale) so there is no confusion of what is free and what is not.  People love feeling like they are getting a deal and you can’t get much better than free!

Make it feel like a party: Chips, drinks, and music.
Keep your customers comfortable by giving them the option to buy chips and/or drinks.  We priced our sodas and chips at 50 cents each.  Don’t just sit in your comfy chair in silence while you have customers looking around.  At the very least pretend like you are organizing or arranging something while you have nice music playing in the background.