Review: More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore

So here is my review of More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore. This is more expanded and slightly different from the shorter one that I posted on amazon.

More with Less by Michelle Moore (c)

Rating: 5 stars

I’ve decided that this is the “year (or possibly years—because lets face it I’m sure I’ll procrastinate a little at some point)” that I start having an active participation in my own life. This ranges from making sure I’m in a job that I at least enjoy going to daily, to making new friends (and getting together when possible with old friends), and that the house/apartment/bedroom (wherever I’m living) isn’t totally jam packed with stuff. This book is focused on that third area: making sure that I’m not just living surrounded by stuff.

I’ve read several different books on the minimalism over the past couple of months (and probably will still be reading some more just to get ideas on what to do), and this one ranks right up there in the top five.

The book covers several different things related to minimalism: hygge, and the Swedish death cleaning method; and then the author takes you through basically room by room on how to slowly start decluttering your own life/home.

One of the main themes behind this book (besides minimalism) is hygge, or the cultural practice of Scandinavians meaning “well-being” or coziness. Since hygge is a “practice” it can be considered both mental and physical—do things that make you feel cozy or increases your well-being. Read More

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Day 14 of Photography Challenge

Decided that today’s photo would be a peek into my first attempt in keeping a bullet-like journal. The reason why I’m calling mine “bullet-like” is that I’m still writing in it daily; I’m just incorporating some of aspects of a bullet journal. I really do like the weekly habit tracker, as part of the bullet journal.

Peak into my habit tracker

This week I’m trying coloring in each block. Last week I used star stickers, and the week before I just checked the box (and I’ll admit the first week of the month was rough and there weren’t that many boxes checked).

The habits that I’m keeping track of for awhile also fit in with a couple of other personal development goals from 52 small changes: One Year to a Happier and Healthier You by Brett Blumethal (and I realize that I never formally reviewed book–I gave a brief blurb when I started the blog–note to self–add the book to the list that needs a review written over them).

So back to the habits–I’ve always been slightly bad about making sure that I take my multi-vitamin and supplements (such as an extra calcium pill, and I’ve added one or two that help with digestion and joint relief). So I’m tracking that I take those daily. Meditation is new to my list, as a way of self care, I try to sit and clear my mind for hopefully at least five minutes every night before I read (I’m go between 3-5 minutes). My goal is to get to 10 to 15 minutes of mediation a night. I know there are numerous sites that can lead meditations, but right now I prefer just sitting in a dark bedroom and listening to the fan, aquarium, and noise maker going.

I’m also trying to make sure I get enough water in. I vary with this one depending on what I’m doing daily. If I’m sitting at a desk at work for some reason I drink less than if I’m on my feet and away from my water mug. The weekends are at times difficult as well. Right now I’m aiming for at least 70 oz of water a day (halfway between the 8-10 glasses that are suggested). I know some people say take your weight & divide it in half and that is the amount of water you should be drinking in a day–but that won’t work–at times I have to remind myself to get the water I’m focused on–going up is good–but at times it doesn’t happen.

Stretching is something else I’m adding to the list, before bed to help make sure that I’m not going to be a totally achy mess in the morning. My workouts are also going to be tracked, and while it isn’t shown in the picture, below is a list of different workouts I can chose from this week (since I’ve allowed walking to be the main one for the past week and a half–I’m trying to get back into a fitness routine).

I love reading–though at times I love reading fiction more than non-fiction. So I’m trying to make it a habit to read at least thirty minutes a day from one of the many non-fiction books that I have on my kindle (then I will go and read a fiction book). I’m seeing a lot more book reviews being put on the blog this year–both fiction and non-fiction alike.

Listening to podcasts is something new as well. I’ve figure this is a good way of spending the time waiting for the bus and heading into work. Also I will listen to one while I’m marching in place/circles to get my steps in for the day (if I’m not there after work and the evening workout).

So in conclusion,

I’m slowly falling in love with the bullet journal, though I think I will keep to the format that I’m currently using a mixture of a bullet journal and a normal journal. It’s nice to have a couple pages for each week where things are planned out. Then I will use the next ten pages (or more) as the normal journal to keep track of my food, my mood, and anything else that I feel I need to.

This is the year that changes will occur, and I think writing in the journal will accomplish many of those changes

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Focusing back on a new job search

The New Year has started with a new job—though the job may or may not be there for the next year (have to love budget cuts to higher education). So I’m back on task for trying to determine what it is exactly I want to do within science (or outside of science), since I really can’t see myself slaving away to try to land one of the coveted assistant professor positions and then work my way up the academic ladder.

So now there are some key questions that I need to ask myself as I continue on this journey of professional development and transitioning into a different job in industry.

One of the huge questions that I need to decided on the answer to is—do I stay within my comfort zone or do I start edging out of my comfort zone. Now everyone has numerous different comfort zones when it comes to work and personal life. The one I’m going to be contemplating here is my professional comfort zone of doing research.

Being a research scientist is something that I love. I’ve always considered the role of a research scientist as someone who is slowly trying to put together a massive jigsaw puzzle without a picture or knowing how many pieces you’re suppose to be working with.  There are others helping you put together that puzzle, and over time they leave to work on other puzzles, or you might even get bored with that particular puzzle and head off to help other people with their puzzles. You might learn new skills by moving from puzzle to puzzle (or you might not).

With the way funding is going these days, if I’m going to stick with research—it will be within an industry setting. I picture those puzzles are a little bit more defined by the project managers and senior scientists—so at least when you come in there should be the frame of the puzzle already put together.

Going outside of my comfort zone would open up a lot of different doors for me to peek through to see which one would be a good fit. I’ll be talking more about those positions in later posts. But for now the other positions I’m thinking of include health economist, technology assessment & alliance officer, technology transfer officer, epidemiologist, or possibly quantitative research analyst.

Another key question I will have to ask myself, is do I want a job that I know may require long evenings or the occasional weekend? I know that scientific research isn’t just a nine to five job Monday thru Friday. But at the same time, I do like knowing that I can go home at the same time everyday and not have to take work with me (for the most part).

I know that any of the positions may require evening and/or weekend work (and even possibly travel), but I want to make sure that the work is worth having to “give up” some of the valuable “personal/me time” that needs to be carved into our days.

Another question is where do I want to live? I know that going into industry will require moving again (there just aren’t that many biotech type jobs in Oklahoma that I’m interested in). So then it is a matter of trying to decide: Where on the East Coast (NYC, Boston, somewhere else), the upper Midwest (MN or WI), or maybe the Pacific Northwest?

I have one major requirement when it comes to moving to a new city—there needs to be a good (or should I say decent) public transportation system. The reason for this is that I don’t drive (anxiety issues with being behind the wheel), and will be needing to be close to a bus or subway stop for getting to both work and various stores.

Now before you say anything—this is how I survived in Boston for my first postdoc. I lived near one of the subway lines, which gave me access to pretty much the entire city and the surrounding suburbs. Yes it took longer to get to work with the way I went—but that gave me time to wake up in the mornings. Going home at night was a pain, especially if there were sporting events in the city—and weekends getting to and from work were even worse (but I tried to plan my weeks to where weekend work was minimally needed).

Once I figure out comfort zone or not, which geographical area (city), and then which company I want to work for—I’ll start the next fun step of tailoring my resume and cover letter to fit each job application.

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Saturday Night Sayings–Day 13 of Photography Challenge

Decided to have fun with laying out different sayings and trying to find a good combination of sayings to share. Initially I had a set of twenty cards, and when I laid them all out, and tried to take a picture, the messages were blurred and lost. So I decided that I’d share a small set at a time over the next few weeks. Apologies ahead a time–I’m sure that one or two of them are going to be repeated within the different sets.

Saturday night sayings.

These first four are especially resounding for me right now–two of them have to deal with both personal and professional development: Never stop learning and stay curious. I will be the first to admit that after graduate school, I did stop learning for awhile–I had switched focus a little in my first postdoc, but there wasn’t much learning on the job (skill wise). I did learn a few more skills over the next few years as I did my second postdoc position and then the two different senior research specialist positions.

I am starting to push myself to start learning again, and I am remembering the enjoyment of learning (yep–I’m a nerd). In addition I’ve always been curious–one reason why I fell in love with science–there is always something new to discover and learn. I love being out in nature (weather permitting, and temperature dependent [I don’t care for super cold or super hot–though I know how to deal with both]) and taking pictures or just sitting outside and enjoying the breeze and being outside.

The third quote: Why not?–this is a reminder that anything really is possible, and we shouldn’t have to answer to people for wanting to learn or for being curious. It is also a reminder that we shouldn’t have to explain either to people when we want to back off a little and relax and take things slow and try to enjoy life every so often.

The final quote: Don’t settle.  This is a reminder that I need to really figure out what it is I want out of life and not to settle for anything less than what it is that I want.  I’ve realized that at times I’ve just settled in a little and taken the path(s) of least resistance. Doing the postdoctoral position(s) was just following the basic academic roadmap–the switch to being a senior research specialist, was a shift away from the basic academic roadmap. Now I’m trying to figure out the direction that the new road map is going to take and aim for a position in industry.

I’m going to start looking more into say three or five different types of industry positions (or non-academic), and then see which ones mesh more with the things I want to try to do with my life: travel (one [maybe two] vacations a year to some place new), par down on the belongings, and get back into a fitness and health routine that I know I need to focus on. There will be post updates throughout the year on the new job search–so check back every so often to see where I am on my professional development/journey to an industry (non-academic) position.

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Photography Challenge–Day 12: Pyewicket and Waffles

Today’s photograph is brought to you by the cats again today.

Why are you in there?

One thing that I’ve realized is that when its cold out–the creativity bug bites in different ways. I’m thinking of starting a new afghan, and maybe try to finish making a charm bracelet as well. I love taking photographs, but at the same time I really don’t care for cold temperatures (at least until I can find a decent pair of winter gloves that work with electronics and other things. In other words–I want them to be thin but warm around the finger tips, and warm on the rest of the hands as well.

The two cats that are showcased today are Pyewicket (our calico) and then Waffles (our Russian Blue). Pyewicket is the alpha cat in the house, we had her for about a year and a half before we got Waffles and Pancakes (our breakfast duo). Pyewicket was sitting in the lower half of the cat condo, after racing around the room chasing the red laser light.


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Throw back Thursday–Day 11 of Photography Challenge

Well decided that today’s photograph was going to be in the style of the #TBT or throwback Thursday mode. The cold Arctic air has pushed down into the southern plains again, and it was frigid today. It was a little sad that the nicest temperature we had today was the early morning temperatures–it fell steadily throughout the day.

Gulls in Flight

This photo was taken several years ago on vacation with my parents down at South Padre Island, Texas. It was a nice warm day, perfect for being on the beach and watching the waves, birds, and other people. I enjoy going to the beach, mainly because its being out in nature (even though there are numerous other people around you) and it can be calm or it can be quite wavy.

I was actually quite happy with myself when I saw how well this photograph turned out–I clicked it just as the three gulls launched themselves into the air.  You can see the shadow of one of them on the beach and then a little sandpiper slightly up on the beach looking for the small crustaceans that it enjoys eating.

South Padre Island was a cool place to vacation–though I wouldn’t want to go on spring break–the end of July was perfect. Yes it was hot, but there was water to both sides of the small island, therefore you sit on a beach at almost any point on the island.

Double Crested caracara at the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge

We took one afternoon and drove through the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge and saw several double crested caracaras sitting on top of very tall yuccas.

Brown Pelicans flying over the bay

I actually got up early in the mornings to go down to the beach and try to catch the sunrise. This particular morning, I got the surprise of the flock of brown pelicans flying over the bay. No sunrise due to the fog that was rolling through, but it gave a great backdrop to the birds.

Hermit crab on the move

I was fascinated by all the different mulluscs that I was seeing. I even managed to capture a picture of a nautilus, which will probably getting posted at a latter date, in a page dedicated to the trip to South Padre Island.

Heron at sunset

One night we drove to the cove that faced the Texas shore to catch the sunset, and I managed to get this picture of a lone heron fishing on the sand barge.

Goes to show that life is rough for everyone–even if you fly, you can still be prey.

While I felt sorry for this little guy (unless he does yoga), but was also impressed that (s)he’d made it to adulthood having lost a leg (and I’m betting it was to a shark further out in the ocean or wherever he winters).

We took an afternoon to go the Padre Island Birding center to see what type  of birds and other wildlife we could see there. I spotted:

Ibis on the boardwalk at the Padre Island birding center
American alligator looking around in the lagoon at the birding center.

It was cool seeing the alligator–the people behind us missed seeing him by like less than a minute. One second he was up and the next second I had no idea where he went. For all I know he was just laying at the bottom of the lagoon waiting for us to continue walking away so he could pop back up and look around.

Heron at the birding center

There were several herons scattered throughout the area around the birding center.

A flock of birds at the birding center


One place that people need to go to is Sea Turtles Inc. which is the sea turtle rehabilitation center that helps to rehabilitate sea turtles and release them back to the ocean. They also keep an eye on all nesting sea turtles to ensure that the nests aren’t destroyed and the baby turtles can hatch and make their way to the ocean. That is one thing I would love to go and see–is the release of the young sea turtles as they race to the ocean.

Sea turtle at the rehabilitation center

I think that there will be another page being created under travels, dedicated to this past trip to South Padre Island. I have other picture of birds, waves, turtles, sunsets, and flowers. It will also be nice to bask in the warm memories during the winter.

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Sunrise–Day 10 of photography challenge

Today was I was waiting for the bus, I noticed the gorgeous sunrise and decided that it would be the picture of the day. It is nice that the days are slowly getting longer, it isn’t totally pitch black when I head to catch the bus to work, and it isn’t getting dark when I head home from work–I can actually enjoy a little bit of the day around my work schedule (even if it is in very brisk temperatures).

Waiting for the bus.

I love both sunsets and sunrises mainly because of the stunning colors that the clouds turn as the sun comes up and goes down. I love the radiant purples, deep pinks, and sharp reds and yellows before it either becomes a blue, cloudy sky for the day or a dark carpet of stars with a few clouds at night.

I’d love to be doing more night photography of the moon–especially full moon, with an occasional cloud passing over it, but that will require a slightly better camera than the one I currently have, and even a little bit better than the camera on the iPhone. I’d also like to maybe be able to capture a good picture of an owl at night, or even bats in flight over an lake during the summer. I’m thinking that these types of photography challenges will be going on a photography bucket list or wish list, that I may start creating to help determine vacation plans for the coming years, and things like that.


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Day nine photography challenge–the cats: Pancake and Pyewicket

Today’s post is brought to you by the posing of Pancakes and Pyewicket. I’m thinking that Pancakes wanted in to eat since we place their food bowls in the inner cubby of the tallest part of the cat condo–and Pyewicket was just being bratty by sitting there after she ate staring down at me. It was almost like she was daring me to take their picture. These two (plus our Russian blue–Waffles) are a bit picky in their eating habits. We have two small dishes that are filled with dry food and placed in two different corners of the condo. They will absolutely start harassing me if one of the dishes gets almost empty–doesn’t matter if the other one is totally filled or not. If that orange tinted dish isn’t topped off, they act like we’re starving them to death. So I’m sure that was what Pye was trying to convince me–that the orange dish is almost empty, and therefore no one would be able to eat tonight.

What are you staring at human???

Their other favorite activity is to run up and down the halls as fast as they can, and as often as they can usually in the evenings or the mornings when I’m just getting up and have to make sure that I don’t trip over my cat in the dark hallway.

Does anyone else have an absolute cuddler in their cat? Pancake will crawl onto my lap usually whenever she wants–one sure way to get her on my lap is to be working on my laptop, and then I’ll have to shift her to my shoulder like she is a infant that needs to get burped, then she’ll curl backwards around me to where I’m almost resting my chin on her as she purrs over my shoulder (also makes it really difficult to try to drink a warm mug of decaf tea at night as well).

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Day 8 photo challenge–shortish post

Well nothing says the age we’re living in like having to update our electronics. I’ve been at this for over a day and right now am also on line with tech support to see what I can do about it.  It seems that the installer never wanted to finish installing on my computer to do the update to High Sierra. I’m now totally leery about trying to do the latest update (even though I know it will protect against all types of viruses and other problems). I just don’t want to go through the headache of wondering if I’m going to lose everything on the computer (either through the computer upgrade or me losing my temper with the speed of the update and doing something to the computer 🙂 ). So for now I’ve decided that I’ll step back and maybe try to do a step by step update from the operating system that I have instead of a leap from what I have to the one they suggest.

trying to update


Aren’t computers fun………I think they’re so much fun that this one is grounded from any type of updates until further notice (I didn’t like feeling like I broke my computer with no money to fix or replace it).  Here is hoping that the week will go better than how it started.

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Day Seven of photo challenge

Well today is a little of a two for one—the photos are both for the challenge and also for almost completing an task off my 101+ Goal List.

If you remember with the goal list (and even level 10 life), you can set anything to be a goal as long as you try to complete it within next 1001 days (or for the level 10 life, whenever you’re going to be doing another reassessment of the levels and whether or not that goal is on that particular list).

The extremely cluttered desk is almost back to normal


One of the things that has been on my nerves lately has been my desk (see the above picture left corner). It is a catch all for just about everything in my life right now (due in part to not having a dresser and it taking the place of said dresser). There were a lot of things on the desk that needed to either find a new home (I boxed up the big notebooks that were taking up quite a bit of the space), or just get organized (nothing like using one of the many coffee cups that I seemed to have collected as a pencil/pen holder).

There is some free space now in the middle, to where if I want to place a chair near it I probably could put my computer on the desk and actually feel like somewhat of an adult for using the desk for its main purpose.

One of the books that I’m reading (and ones that I’ve finished) state that the bedroom should be kept to just sleeping and getting dressed, and therefore shouldn’t have everything else from the house found in there–I agree, with the exception that for the most part it is the rest of the house (minus the bathroom and kitchen) for me (especially if I want to get away from everyone else–having the TV is nice that I can watch what I want without worrying about what others might be wanting to watch).

There are still a few other things that probably can be moved off the desk and will over the next few weeks, but at least I’ve started to clean off the catch-all that my desk had become. Not bad for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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