Sunday, September 12, 2010


"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

Yesterday, I was watching the movie "In Her Shoes" (featuring Shirley MacLaine and Cameron Diaz). In the movie, I saw how the older sister (played by Toni Collette) transformed herself and her life by making a commitment to her well-being. She kicked her sister out of the house - a sad but needed step at that point in time. She quit her job as a lawyer and became a dog walker, which gave her free time to do whatever made her happy. Through the dog walking, she was able to lose weight and focus on her health/body. She became the best that she could be, and eventually let her sister back into her life, which completed her. (She also landed a great boyfriend in the process!)

After the movie, I reflected for a bit and realized that I need to make some commitments in my life - real commitments with goals that I will achieve no matter what. With all the changes going on in my life right now, I think it's best for me to set a small list of priorities/commitments so that I remain focused and happy.

My Commitments
  1. Family - Raising a happy, healthy child isn't easy, especially as a single parent. Financial and work-related stresses often keep me from spending time with my son. He even told me he doesn't like me to work so much - he's only 4! From this point forward, I am making the commitment to playing with my son more and doing more physical activities outside.
  2. Health - I'm not happy with the way I look, and recent aches and pain in my body tell me that I'm probably not living the most healthy lifestyle. I'm a pretty good eater, and I've managed to maintain my weight for the past year or so, so I know dieting is not an issue. I need abandon my sedentary lifestyle and work out. I am committing myself to exercising. I'm not going to make a specific plan or routine just yet...I'll just take it day by day. My goal is to lose 30lbs by my 30th birthday, which is in 6 months.
  3. Career - Obviously, it's important to have a job to support yourself and your family. But a career...that's a whole other thing. I'd like to take my career to the next level, whatever that may be. I am making the commitment to enhance my career by excelling at my current position and engaging in more professional development activities.

These commitments all have one thing in common - TIME. There's only so much time in the day to work, run a household, play with your child, exercise, participate in professional and/or volunteer activities, and sleep. Therefore, I'll have to scale back some of my activities, including writing this blog.

From Facebook to reading and responding to other people's blogs, I spend way too much time online. Writing this blog has proven to be a time-sucker as well, so I am going on a hiatus from Single Mom Saves. Blogging is a great interest of mine, but I can't be committed to it on a regular basis.

And so, I bid you adieu for now...

"The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it."

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Healthy Fast Food Lunch - But At What Cost?

For years, fast food restaurants have been trying to provide healthier alternatives for their customers. Some restaurants, like Wendy's, have been successful at adding healthy options to their menus, but at what cost? From a sustainability (people+environment+economics) standpoint, these restaurants have only addressed one third of the equation, as packaging and costs are still an issue. My good friend and guest blogger The Painted Pisces points this out as she describes her lunchtime woes to us below:

Typically, I pack my lunch in a reusable container.  My meal consists of leftovers from the dinner the night before and it’s awesome.  However with the rest of my family starting school this week and making a business trip and having crafty things going on at night, I have been pushing my limits and did not remember to grab my leftovers this morning (super yummy spaghetti with turkey sausage!).

SO to make myself feel better about that I thought I would try one of Wendy’s new salads.  Yay veggies!  Also, as the winner of your first give away (woot woot) I had just finished some excellent end-of-the-season shopping with my reusable and washable bag.  I was feeling pretty good about my choices, but then ordered a salad and was given a price tag of almost $7! 

Really?!? How are people supposed to make better choices about eating, when a large chunk of the population eats on the go and is confronted with prices like these?  We all know that these salads also have gigantic pouches of dressing that rack up calories, fried croutons/chips/etc, but if you use the dressing sparingly or not at all, as well as the other carbalicious toppings, it’s not that bad for you. 

That had me a little frustrated and swearing not to buy a drive-thru salad again, but then…….. I was handed my plastic bag of individually wrapped plastic items and I almost peeled out of the driveway!  This over-priced salad was packaged in a plastic box, had 2 plastic pouches of dressing (1 was way more than enough), roasted pecans (sugar coated) in a separate pouch, a plastic fork in a wrapper, and a separate knife in a wrapper.  SIGH of EXASPERATION!  I understand the need for sanitary standards, but… can’t we be more creative? 

A lot of the time when I shop, if I don’t have my reusable bag (which is not often since my new bag is so compact and lives in my purse) I just carry my items.  It can be bulky, but really people, why are you putting a gallon of milk in a bag.  It has a handle!  Why do people put a bag of ice in a bag?  Is it really going to keep you from feeling how cold it is?  I digress…

Saving grace of the experience?  The greens in the salad were a mixed variety, not entirely iceburg!  And there was approximately ½ an apple in the mix.  Another downside though… squooshy chicken. Gah!

Lessons Learned
  1. I will have to start refusing plastic items from fast food chains as well.  I do get slightly strange looks when refusing bags at the grocery store (yay for self check out now… although I feel that is taking jobs away from people… whole ‘nother post) and retail stores (when that rarely occurs).
  2. I will need to be more diligent in bringing my own food for lunch…
-The Painted Pisces

I am totally feeling PP on this one. $7 for a salad that came packaged in more plastic than I use in one week? Ridiculous! By the way, if you're interested in the nutritional value (ha!) your favorite fast food salads or other healthy alternatives, check out the Stop and Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide.

Got any tips for The Painted Pisces on how to handle this plastic-wrapped, overpriced fast food conspiracy?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Save Water and Build Sustainable Homes!

Renowned kitchen and bath fixture supplier Kohler has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help create a sustainable future. With it's Save Water America campaign, Kohler is educating people about the Earth's dwindling water supply and ways we can save water. Here are their top tips:

  • Replace older, less efficient toilets with 1.28-gallon High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) to save up to 16,500 gallons of water per year. See HET Toilets.
  • Swap out your 2.75 gpm showerhead with a 1.75 water-conserving showerhead and you can save more than 7,700 gallons of water per year.* See Water-Conserving Showerheads.
    * Based on an average of seven-minute for a family of four.
  • Fix leaky faucets and install faucets with water-saving aerators to effortlessly save hundreds of gallons of water per year. See Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets.
  • Use the appropriate water level and load size on the washing machine when doing laundry. Consider purchasing a front-load washing machine.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean off driveways, steps and sidewalks.
  • Water your garden during the coolest part of the day, generally in the morning, and avoid watering on windy days.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving to keep excess water from going down the drain.
  • Landscape with native or low-water plants to significantly reduce water usage outside the home.
  • Use leftover water for houseplants, instead of pouring out a half-empty glass of drinking water.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded to maximize the dishes cleaned in a cycle.

As an added bonus, Kohler will be donating $1 million in water-conserving products to Habitat for Humanity's sustainable building projects. Help Kohler reach its million dollar goal by taking this short, easy three-question quiz. For every quiz taken, Kohler donates $1 to Habitat for Humanity.

How do you save water at home?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Puppy Trainer's Dream Remedy

Puppies are so precious, aren't they? (I miss my little Leo!)

As for puppy training, well, that's often not so cute (or clean, or fragrant). If you're in the middle of puppy training, here's a natural remedy to cleaning up "doggie disasters"on the carpet, courtesy of the Gorgeously Green Sophie Uliano:

Fill a bucket with really hot water. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and one cup of borax. Submerge a rag or sponge and without wringing it dry, clean up the urine. When the spot is dry, add 20 drops of lavender essential oil to one cup of baking soda. Sprinkle the soda over the stain, leave for 20 minutes and then vacuum.

Pretty simple, right? Your carpet will love you, and your puppy will be safe from toxic chemicals! And the best part is that I bet you can use this for all types of carpet disasters, not just puppy training accidents. If anyone tries this, please let me know how it works.

What types of natural products do you use with your pets? Post a comment and share!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Save Time With Smoothies!

Need a quick breakfast solution that gets you out of the door on time in the morning? Try smoothies for breakfast!

I've become a smoothie addict lately, but I've found they are the perfect option for breakfast on the go. My favorite is a strawberry oatmeal smoothie. I know it sounds a little weird to have oatmeal in a smoothie, but it's actually quite delicious. Here's the recipe (I guessed on the measurements):

Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie
1/3 cup of oatmeal
About 10 frozen strawberries
3/4 cups of soy milk*
About a tablespoon of honey

Directions - Place the oatmeal in the blender first and pulverize until it's almost powder-like. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and blend to your desired consistency, adding more soy milk if needed. For an added flavor, you can add a bit of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

* Some people use vanilla soy milk instead of regular to avoid adding extra sugar/honey. I tried this and found that it didn't make much of a difference.

Not only is this recipe quick and easy, but it's healthy too. Your children will also love it (unless they are in a "I don't like Mommy's smoothies" stage, like my son is right now). Enjoy!

Please comment with your favorite smoothie recipe or quick breakfast solution!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My New Favorite Sites

Oh, what an educational morning it has been! I didn't intend to spend so much time surfing the web, but I discovered two new sites that quickly earned "favorite" status with me.

A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss
This site is unbelievable - and relevant for people of all ethnicities and genders! It is a blog chock full of tips, recipes, workout suggestions, news, and other information relevant to weight loss while following the author's personal journey. Her story is very inspirational - she has lost at least 150 lbs through "clean eating," working out and staying motivated! I can't wait to try some of her techniques.

Mama's Organics - 100% Natural Hair and Skin Care Products
A few months ago, I posted an entry about searching for natural hair products for relaxed hair. Well, this site provided me with some answers. I came across Mama's Organics when I saw a posting on A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss about co-washing your hair after exercising. (Co-washing is short for conditioner washing, which means you wash your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.) The best part about this blog is the videos, which can also be found on YouTube. The author does several how-to videos on how to take care of your hair, especially when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. The videos kind of make me want to go natural again...third time's a charm, right? :)

I hope you enjoy my new favorite sites! Be sure to check back with me again for postings related to the topics of weight loss and natural hair care!

Have any sites you'd like to share? E-mail me or post a comment!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


***UPDATE, 7/11/10 ***

And the winner is...

Monica Mackey, with 13 reusuable bags! Congratulations, Monica!

Stay green! :)


Good morning readers!

July 9th is the last day to enter my free Chico Bay contest. Simply respond to this post telling me how many reusable grocery bags you own, and the person with the most will win the bag below. (No need to respond again if you commented on my June 30th blog post.) For you long distance readers, don't worry...if you win, I'll mail the bag to you!

What an easy way to win an awesome, free eco-friendly bag! I think I have the most right now, and it'd be a shame if I won my own contest, so post your comment today!