What You Gain As a Minimalist

Original Image by James Joel via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

I can’t give you a definitive calendar date of when my love for tiny houses started, but I’ve gone to every available tiny house open house available in Dallas, TX, watched [almost] every Tiny House Nation episode there is, applied to go on show and have my own Pinterest board dedicated to tiny house essentials. I can’t remember life without loving tiny things! Even the things I like are mini, such as tiny saucers and purses. After a quarter of a century, I’m quickly seeing first hand why the ‘less is more’ is so true!

Minimalism hasn’t been about living with as little as possible, at least in my life. It’s been about removing the extraneous, so that the essential things have space to live. -Leo Babauta


Why you should minimize some aspects of your life?

  • Less stuff = a greener planet. The fewer things you buy, the better for the environment. Rampant consumption is a terrible waste of the Earth’s natural resources.
  • Clarity of purpose and releases freedom of being tied down to ‘things.’
  • Less to clean and more time to focus on what you really want to do, such as exercising or increasing quality of life by spending time with loved ones.
  • It’s been found people dictated by materialism are often times have lower self esteems.
  • Able to save more and spend on more quality, fresh ingredients.
  • Promotes individuality and self-reliance

Yes, minimalism contradicts every advertisement that bombards us, but take back your life and ability to pursue what you want, not what you think you should have.

Sources: http://chemistry.umeche.maine.edu/CHY431/Basics/PurPyrm.html

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How Being a Yelp Reviewer as Made Me Ask More Questions and Connect with Servers

By: Nikki Nies

Last night, my roommate and I went to Sushi Star in North Dallas as our last meal together before we part ways. While we’ve lived together for the past year, this was our first meal out together. We’ve done tons of cooking in the home together or take out, but when I thought about it, it was crazy to think this was our first time breaking bread together. It made me realize how much one can learn about another just by dining out.

What do I mean exactly? I warned my roommate that I tend to ask questions when dining out, it’s rarely a quick exchange of ordering. Thankfully, she was fine with that. Over the years, I’ve learned to ask questions, not only for clarification of what menu descriptions are, but to discern what to order if it’s between two menu items.

Someone ordered a beer or maybe two
Original Image by Susanne Nilsson via Flickr

For example, we were debating on either getting the salmon or crabmeat sushi tower. After learning about the nutritional difference between imitation and real crabmeat, I make every effort to eat only real crab meat. Since the menu didn’t detail which type of crabmeat was used, I asked! I’m glad I did, as the restaurant uses imitation crabmeat.  After a few more exchanges, we didn’t end up getting either tower as I was drawn to the tower due to aesthetic look of it. I’m glad I asked more questions (e.g. how much food is it) as I would’ve been underwhelmed with the tower dish. I hope servers can see my genuine interest in understanding what’s been served and recognize I understand there’s only so much space on menus for descriptions.

Of course, there’s always a polite way to ask menu questions. I try to only ask the ‘necessary’ questions and take the suggestions, such as ‘What do you recommend?’ as they should know the menu quite well. When dining out, I try to order foods I wouldn’t necessarily make at home. I don’t mind spending a few more pennies for the ‘seafood’ version of  a meal, as I’m grateful someone else is taking the extra steps to cook the lobster or steam the mussels.

Hopefully, you can relate to my inquiries. I’m sure you’ve seen some menus state subsitutions aren’t allowed. Politely, if it’s not too busy of dining time or you can sense they’d be open to substitutions  (e.g. a local, fresh restaurant). Most servers want to accomodate requests, especially dietary restrictions, but don’t want to be bombarded with elaborate changes.  Many restauranteurs are happy to make accomodations if the dishes are made to order and again if you ask politely. While I believer it’s a minor request, I always ask with a smile if they can hold the mayo or sour cream. I urge you to ask for substitutions whether it’s listed or not. Many patrons are fine with [sweet potato] french fries as the generic accompaniments, but I never opt for that. I know I have to make a more concerted effort to obtain my allotted fruits and veggies for the day, so I’m willing to pay the extra couple dollars to do so.

I hope from the above suggestions, you can tell I enjoy the whole dining experience and appreciate any and all suggestions servers make. I want to use all my senses and take advantage of their knowledge of the dishes. Most recently, I’ve started writing restaurant reviews on yelp.com, which has elevated my dining experience. I want to be able to articulate better how a meal was, better than stating ‘It was good.’ While critics may say some of the reviews on yelp aren’t written by real people, I’ve used yelp religiously to pick out great restaurants and I want to do my part to help direct people to great restaurants, food and service.

Are you an avid yelp user? Do you write or read reviews regularly? How has asking your server questions shaped your dining experience?

Sources: https://www.rewardsnetwork.com/blog/questions-every-restaurant-server-know-answer/

Get Inspired with ‘From Fat to Finish Line’

Original Image by From Fat to Finish

By: Nikki Nies

Wanting to jumpstart your health regime, but seeking a team of encouragement and accountability to help? ‘From Fat to Finish’ may be the community you’ve been waiting for! Through this community

‘…of dedicated runners with one goal, to help each other.’

you are not only given a real time, virtual community of people that are working towards their own fitness goals,  but ‘challenges’ that can keep the tasks exciting and twists to up the ante and find local events to get to know your fellow runners. Besides, you never know how you can be an inspiration to others by sharing your story too!

Therefore, whether you’re just getting back into walking a few blocks a day or training for your ‘nth marathon, From Fat to Finish can meet you anywhere you are during your journey!

Needing a bit more inspiration? Check out the 2015 documentary directed by Angela Lee that walks through 12 runner’s experience with 200 mile race from Miami to Key West Florida while losing over 1200 pounds!  Initially, many of the runners dealt with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other by products of obesity, but through the use of digital community and working together to meet their goal of shedding pounds to run the race, they once again proved that if you set your mind to it, it can happen! One pound at a time! Get your copy today via rent, download or purchase!

Learn more about how you can join the community and get moving today! Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Youtube 

Sources: http://www.fattofinish.com/