Author Archives: Janelle

Eating Locally and Earth Hour

26 Mar 15
Janelle
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Earth Hour 2015 – Eating Locally

Like Megan said in her last post, this month our focus is on supporting local food produce growers and providers. We have chosen this as our focus because that is the theme of Earth Hour 2015 in Australia.

As many of you would know, Earth Hour will be held on Saturday 28th of March, 8:30-9:30pm local time. Earth Hour asks people, businesses, councils and cities to turn their ‘lights off’ for an hour to raise awareness and start conversations about global warming.

Earth Hour was started back in 2007 in Sydney and has now grown to be a worldwide movement. LiveKen supports Earth Hour and encourages everyone to ‘switch off’ and to participate in any events that are being held in your local area.

For instance in my local area, the Campbelltown City Council is holding a community produce swap and showing a documentary called ‘Where does my food come from’ for Earth Hour 2015. There are also many other events being held around the country and you can find registered events on the Earth Hour website and you can even register your own.

Have you previously participated in Earth Hour or intend to this year? We would love to hear what your plans are and encourage you to talk to your friends and family about Earth Hour to raise awareness. You may even be surprised how many people are planning to switch off their lights.

 

Local Food

Sourcing your food and produce locally I believe is a good choice. You will generally be buying foods that are fresher and more sustainable because they haven’t needed to travel as far to reach you. Also buying local supports your local growers and farmers which benefits the whole community. These along with many other environmental, health and economic reasons is why people tend to source food locally.

We would love to hear your reasons behind why you source your food locally or if you don’t.

Local food is easy to find once you start to look with many stores priding themselves on their local produce. A green grocer in my area even has a map painted on a wall near the registrar of where they source their food.

Farmers markets are also a great way to find fresh local produce – you may be surprised how many you can find in your area with a little bit of research. They are also a great place to bargain especially with fruit and vegetables that are in season.

Recently I have been sourcing my fresh produce different – it is delivered to my door! It is part of an online delivery service provided by Aussie Farmers Direct. They source all Australian products and deliver fresh fruit, vegetables, diary, meats and breads straight to your door, with more products added to their delivery service regularly.

For me, this is not only convenient and time saving it ensures fresh local produce and offers a huge variety options to the shopper. If you want exactly the same produce in every order or if you would like to be surprised with one of their in season boxes, I would recommend trying them or at least looking into similar options in your local area.

Have you tried delivery services before? We would love to hear about your experience and if there is anywhere you would recommend.

 

Eating from Your Garden

Another great option is to grow your own produce. It could be big or small and will be limited to what time and space you have to do this. Megan has been growing her own fruit and veggies with varying success for a few years now and thoroughly enjoys it (for more see her last post).

I have been meaning to start up my own garden for a while now and am looking forward to starting. When I do, hopefully this year I will share with you all my successes and many failings – which will be plenty I’m sure.

Do you grow any of your own food? Please share with us your experiences and tips.

 

We encourage you to think about sourcing your food from local producers if you do not already and please take part in Earth Hour this year to raise awareness about global warming.


100 Goal Challenge

100 Goal Challenge: Life Enjoyment

19 Feb 15
Janelle
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Like Megan’s last post, I will be sharing with you my 100 Goal Challenge. This challenge came about for Megan last year when she was reading a self-help book that focused on getting the reader to conduct activities that would help to identify your passions in life. The book is titled It starts with Passion by Keith Abraham and the idea behind it is to “do what you love and love what you do”.

The key to this challenge is that by writing down your goals, whether achievable tomorrow or maybe in the next few decades, you have identified the direction in life you want to take and inherently giving yourself something to strive for.  That drive in life is what makes you jump out of bed in the mornings instead of just rolling over wishing you could sleep for another few hours.

This will be once again a long post and I have, like Megan tried to break it done into categories to make it easier to work through. My 100 Goals are not just physical things that I want to do or achieve but also about creating and working towards the mindset and person I want to be, which I feel is just as important. What follows is my 100 Goal Challenge in no particular order of importance.

My 100 Goal Challenge List

 

House and Garden

  1. Buy a house

    A plant from our garden – many more to be added

  2. Have and maintain a garden
  3. Make people feel welcomed and relaxed in our home.
  4. Clean regularly – something I need to do after I finish writing this!
  5. Build a garden from a patch of dirt.
  6. Grow a herb garden
  7. Cover the walls with our lives and adventures (art that is personal)
  8. Grow a fruit tree
  9. Renovate (or even build?)
  10. Grow a veggie patch
  11. Knock down a wall!

    All ready for some plants!

  12. Build a wall.
  13. Have a proper compost pile
  14. Have a house full of laughter
  15. Set up a rain water tank to recycle water
  16. Have a functional and usable home
  17. Spend more time in the garden to enjoy it.
  18. Share my home with friends and family
  19. Grow a hedge of fruit trees (espalier)
  20. Set up a veggie patch with aquaponics

Travel

  1. Visit each continent

    Plane wing from our last overseas trip

  2. Travel to India
  3. Go diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  4. Put my feet in as many seas as possible!
  5. End every holiday with a restort to relax.
  6. Go on local holidays a few times a year
  7. Climb a Mountain!
  8. Don’t go on fast tours – stay in destinations
  9. Go and see the Northern Lights
  10. Honeymoon!!!!

Food

  1. Cook and bake more for the enjoyment

    baking some cupcakes

  2. Try new recipes every month
  3. Eat less meat
  4. Learn how to cook Indian
  5. Make healthy snacks
  6. Learn more vegan and vegetarian dishes
  7. Cook a pavlova.
  8. Eat more fruit and veggies
  9. Learn how to make more raw dishes
  10. Drink more juices and smoothies, every few days!

Me playing some tennis

Fitness and Exercise

  1. Maintain and increase my current level of fitness
  2. Get to 10 000 steps most days
  3. Go swimming weekly
  4. Play a sport socially – always!
  5. Be able to do 10+ push-ups without dying
  6. Have a six pack once in my life
  7. Get up before work to do exercise
  8. Improve my tennis game – win more often!
  9. Compete in obstacle courses (True Grit)
  10. Try out running, as a habit.

Education and Learning

  1. Never stop trying and learning new things

    Graduation a few years ago

  2. Educate myself on finance
  3. Get further certification / degrees
  4. Research and implement further sustainable living
  5. Stay open minded to ideas and technologies
  6. Teach myself about soils, fertilizers and composting.
  7. Learn more about photography
  8. Learn nutrition
  9. Learn massage and body movement
  10. Learn aquaponics
  11. Learn about myself and further my interests
  12. Education in business management
  13. Improve on self-confidence, projection and conversing

Mind Development

  1. Listen, learn then form opinions

    spending time alone to reflect is productive

  2. Approach everything with an open mind
  3. Respond do not react.
  4. Be more patient
  5. Speak to my sister every week
  6. Be more assertive
  7. Value my own opinion
  8. Spend time alone every week
  9. Focus and remember the positive
  10. Do not be afraid to disagree
  11. Become more patient and giving with my parents
  12. Be present where I am
  13. Voice my opinion, especially when I don’t agree
  14. Become aware of time constraints and be realistic in planning

Life…

  1. Own a house
    just waiting to be ridden!
  2. See parents once a week
  3. Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – ‘not yet’ is not an answer
  4. Visit my sister a few times a year
  5. Have children
  6. Learn to ride a scooter (maybe a motorbike)
  7. Fix my own computer once or twice
  8. Laugh and enjoy the people around me
  9. Hold dinner parties regularly
  10. Catch up with friends more often
  11. Save where we can but not at the expense of living
  12. Go on more dates

    our cat – being sneaky

  13. Use less chemicals
  14. Declutter my home
  15. Declutter my life
  16. Go Abseiling / rock climbing
  17. Skydive
  18. Go in a hot air balloon
  19. Find a work / life balance
  20. Have more family pets (especially a dog)
  21. House at least one Guide Dog
  22. Read more – fact and fiction
  23. Get Married!

 

Alright so that is my 100 Goals! It was hard to get started but once you do you’ll find that it just follows out. I’m also sure I’ve probably missed things but its written down for now and as I grow and change so will my goals.

Now the challenge is set! Go and get a pen and some paper if you have not already and start writing down your 100 Goals.

We would love to hear how you went so please let us know if you try the 100 Goal Challenge or if you have any suggestions for future posts.

Simplifying Your Life: Decluttering Your Wardrobe

22 Jan 15
Janelle
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[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post has been in our backlog for several months. We apologise for the delay in sharing this part of our journey.

Last year (28 August 2014) Megan talked about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we hope you have taken some of our ideas and been inspired.

This week I’ll be talking to you about decluttering your house and especially your wardrobe, which I have recently undertaken. I’m fully aware not that many people enjoy the idea of cleaning out their wardrobe and I can tell you honestly I have never been the biggest fan myself.

However when you can no longer easily fit anything back into your wardrobe without waging a battle with your clothes and are contemplating buying more storage space I think everyone would say it’s probably time.

Now my partner and myself had decided to clean out and simplify our wardrobe a little while ago and being much better than me – he had more than finished doing his stuff before I even started mine. But I make myself feel better by saying that I helped him do his side first – even if my help was minimal.

I find if you are ever dragging your feet to do anything – like I was – I find some music helps you get into the groove- so I suggest putting on anything that makes you want to dance! Two of my favourites at the moment are; “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Ready” by AJR and while I know that many people would think my choices are a little lame I can’t help but want to dance and sing along to them like an idiot.

But enough about avoiding. As Megan said last week through decluttering your physical environment you’ll feel calmer, more organised and have made your life simpler. So after convincing myself I had a huge task ahead of me and should wait for a free afternoon or morning to begin – thus putting off staring for longer – I randomly walked into my wardrobe one evening and just started.

And while I thought I would need come back when I had more time, I said to myself why not move out some of the items of clothing I knew I didn’t want to keep while I had a few minutes. Half an hour later I had stormed through more than half my wardrobe and had a significant pile of empty coat hangers and a large pile of clothing that I no longer needed.

I decided to start at one side of my wardrobe and work my way along as I went, meaning I could stop and come back at any stage. However, many people think taking everything out onto your bed is a better way to start. This way you have to go through everything before you put it back into your wardrobe and nothing can be missed or left to another day.

But it doesn’t really matter what way you start just that you’ve started, find a way that works for you. If its everything out at once or different sections at a time.

For us, once we had separated into keeping or not keeping we then further separated into another two different piles for the clothes we no longer needed. One for the bin and one to donate and recycle. Anything that was not really recyclable, broken or about to fall apart ended up in the bin pile and anything that was still good quality but either didn’t fit or was something that would be rarely or never worn again went into the recycling pile.

I think it is also important at this stage to mention that you don’t necessarily need to give away your unwanted clothes. They could be used for other things round the house, you could take them to a clothes swap and potentially pick up some new items yourself, or see if any of your friends or family members would appreciate them – this is especially true for growing children. I remember many times getting hand-me-downs from my cousins that were a few years older than me and it is a good way to save money, recycle and re-use clothes.

At the end of our wardrobe spring clean-up we ended up with four full garbage bags of clothes to donate to our local Salvos store. This is a reasonably large amount but I decided to be brutal with my selection, getting rid of anything that I couldn’t remember wearing recently. You don’t have to do this. Instead, if you are unsure about something pack it away for 3-6 months and see if you need it – if you do use it keep, it if not it might be time to find it a new home.

Another popular way of sorting out what you use and not use is to put all of your coat hangers around backwards and as you use what is hanging on them put them back in your wardrobe the other way round. In six months or so you will find out what you no longer wear and once again it might be time to let some else use and appreciate it.

Another good suggestion to try out is Project 333. This is essentially the idea that you have 33 items of clothing for 3 months of the year and is all about keeping things simple. Even if you don’t give it a full go it’s definitely worth a read.

Decluttering your wardrobe is a great place to start and I am very glad I have finally finished mine, it is very nice to have clothes in your wardrobe that you want and like. Donating clothes also makes you feel like you haven’t wasted anything and your once loved items of clothes can find a new home and help someone else out.

I am now going to move onto other areas of my house and start to declutter them also. Starting with my bathroom cupboard, but not just decluttering the cupboard I want to simplify and cut back on the number of products and chemicals I use on my face and skin and I look forward to sharing it with you all on this journey.

Have you decluttered your wardrobe or any other rooms in your house?

Let us know how you went and if there is anything you suggest we try.

Live Your Life

Where are we going? Your Life Journey Starts Now

21 Aug 14
Janelle
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Everyone talks about doing more of this and less of that and while we mean what we say when we talk about these ideas they turn more into ‘if I could I would’ than actual plans to move towards achieving these goals.

The key in moving these ideas and plans forward is to identify what it is that you really want, think about where you are at and then to identify where you want to be. This is what Megan and myself have been talking about for the past few weeks.

We have been talking about our journeys towards simple, sustainable and meaningful lives but where does this fit into our lives and where are we heading?

Simple

It sounds straight forward doesn’t it? I want to lead a simple life. However this is far from easy to achieve.

We all have commitments and obligations which take us away from what we would necessarily like to be doing. This is a part of the world and unfortunately there are few of us that have the luxury of solely doing what we want.

This is not however what leading a simple life means.

While we are still at the start of our journey and have much to learn, we want to spend our time doing what is important and fulfilling to us, and want you to do the same. This is different for every person but the steps towards this are the same.

Have you identified what is important to you?

We have and now we are starting our journey towards our goals. This, for us is starting with decluttering our lives. By identifying what is important to us we can focus on these things and everything else can take a back bench.

Focus on what makes you happy and start making choices and decisions that lead you there.

We have also began to declutter our lives by donating or disposing of physical items in our lives. When was the last time you looked around your house and thought every item I own I use regularly? I haven’t.

Are there items in house collecting dust? Maybe it’s time to find them a new home. Doing this also creates more space, less to clean and simplifies your living.

Does your house have too many things distracting you in your own house or is it a peaceful place that you go home to and relax in?

By physically organising yourself and your belongings, you are determining what is important to you and putting it center stage.

This is what living simply is about for us, identifying what is important and what is taking up time in our lives and then moving towards what makes us happy.

Sustainable

Sustainability is a very over used word at the moment and is at the top of many debates around the world.

While we do agree that the sustainability of the planet should not be ignored, when we talk about living a sustainable life we mean closer to home, we mean each of us individually living sustainably.

Do you consider the life you lead to be sustainable?

Do you think about the impact of your decisions or do you live your life impulsively and whimsically?

Living sustainably does not just mean the environment.

[checklist style=”green”]

  • Are living within your means?
  • Are you financially sustainable or do you constantly blow your budget and max out the credit cards?
  • Do you maintain sustainable relationships in your life?

[/checklist]

Both Megan and myself are working towards sustainable lifestyles. We are trying to incorporate sustainable aspects in all categories of our lives.

By defining if physical items are wants or needs when we want to purchase things. This is not meaning we are going without, just becoming more conscious about what we are buying, where we are buying and why we are buying items.

Do you shop locally or support local business?

Do you recycle? With a little research in your area you can usually find a better place for items than the bin and you will feel better about having helped to recycle.

We are also starting a veggie patch of our own which we hope to grow and expand.

Working towards a sustainable lifestyle is not an overnight decision and will take time to get used to as it involves changing habits and your thought processes.

We look forward to sharing with you our journey and all the bumps along the way as we journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Meaningful

Leading a meaningful life involves identifying what you value and cherish in your life and working towards this. People who lead happy and fulfilled undertake activities that are important to them and have a sense of direction and self-awareness. Once again this will be different for every person.

By working towards simplifying our lives we have determined what is important to us and decided to focus on putting our energy into these activities making our lives more meaningful to us.

If you live and organise your life around what is important to you, you will as a by-product start to lead a meaningful life however big or small you dream.

No one wants life to pass them by and when you start to do things important to you start to live and what you do has meaning. Do you get out of bed in the morning and feel excited about what you are going to do for the day?

Next week we will be talking about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and how we have started our journeys.

What are your thoughts on how you could begin a simple, sustainable, meaningful life today?

LiveKen’s hopes for you in the Next Year

07 Aug 14
Janelle
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Last week Megan spoke to you all about our goals, both within the business and personally.

This week we thought we would take some time to share with you what we hope you achieve with us.

Start Thinking

I know it seems too obvious, but that is all we would like you to start doing.

Just start thinking…

But don’t just think about nothing.

We would like you to think what it means, for you now and for the future to lead a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Remember, this is not a race you do not need to have an answer straight away and it does require some real thought – it’s not as easy as deciding want you would like to eat for breakfast.

Also for most, it’s not just singular – do you have a partner? Children? A family? Then you will need to think about what it means for you and discuss this with your loved ones and find some time to learn what it means for them.

Once you have thought about it quantify it – say it out loud, write it down – make sure YOU understand what you mean by a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

Steps Forwards

After identifying what a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle is for yourself start to think again.

Do you have areas that need work? Can you identify problem areas that are holding you back? What steps can you take to move forward towards a more meaningful life?

And most importantly start taking these steps in your own life on your journey to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Share With Us

We would also love to hear your stories as you discover what is important to you and your journey to them.

Also there will be opportunities for you to share your story here with us and to join, our growing community, through feedback and discussion groups.

Most of all we look forward to your feedback on our journeys and to share with us your ideas and suggestions on leading a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Now, like Megan last week I will share with you a few of my personal targets for the coming year.

I have decided to set myself some general targets and a few specific ones at this point of time in my journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life, as I am still determining what this means to me.

This is after all a journey and we are never, hopefully set in ours ways and as we grow and learn we need to change and review our targets. What follows are some of the goals I am setting for myself;

Reduce the energy I waste on worrying about things that continue to be out of my control and to accept things that have happened and to not waste time dwelling on them.

Re-direct my energy into activities I enjoy, like this journey.

To take time for myself, learn to say “no” and stop apologizing – I have recently realised that I am a bit of a push over!

To get myself fit again – everyone has decided at one point or another that the couch looks better than getting up and doing something and this has been myself over the past year. Its time I started to get back some of that energy I have lost to eating too much chocolate 🙂

Reconnect with the enjoyment I have when I bake – I shall hopefully share some of my time in the kitchen with you all.

And finally the one I am very excited about – start planning my wedding!

What are your targets for the year? Have you thought about setting yourself some goals?

What do you hope to achieve and learn with us on your own personal journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life?

The first step forward is to start thinking about what is meaningful to you and if you are focusing energy towards what is meaningful to you. If not then why, and does something need to change?

Please share with us your targets for 2014/15.

Travelling to a simple, sustainble meaningful life – Janelle’s Journey So Far

23 Jul 14
Janelle
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As Megan said last week everyone’s journey through life is different and people travel through stages of their lives at different times and ages. This week I’m going to share with you some of my journey so far and what I’m hopeful for in the future.

By both of us sharing our stories and journeys to a simple, sustainable and meaningful lives we aim to open ideas and doors for you along the way as you move forward and grow with us.

 In The Beginning

From a young age I was taught the meaning and importance of friends and family in my life. Every birthday and holiday for as long as I can remember was always celebrated with friends and family – whether I wanted to be there or not. This has translated into my adult life and I have a high regard for friends and family and prefer people’s company over many things even if we are doing nothing special.

I grew up with my parents and sister and while we never wanted for much, we were never handed anything just because we desired it and were not spoiled. I still remember the first thing I purchased with my pocket money because it was given with a lesson in monetary value. There was a new Barbie doll out that I wanted – a mermaid one if memory serves me. I had to wait for a whole week after I had saved up enough money before I was allow to purchase it – which is a long time for any child. I was also sat down by my father and talked to about what this would mean. He told me that if I really wanted it I could have it because it was my money, but I then wouldn’t be able to buy anything else because the money would be spent. I was also asked if I needed it as I already had a few dolls. Now, I did end up getting that Barbie but I valued it more than any previous toy and whenever I purchase anything these days I ask myself these similar questions. Do I need or want it? What am I unable to have if I purchase it? And most importantly why do I want to buy it and is this reasonable?

I learnt through my childhood that it is not money or consumerism that will make you happy – it is the simple things in life that will bring you happiness and meaningfulness.

 Education and Entering the Workforce

Towards the end of my schooling I realised I had a passion for the environment and biology – the functions and processes of the natural world fascinated me. So this is where I focused my energy at university, where I also developed a keen interest in sustainability. At the end of my studies I wished to continue my interests in sustainability, environment and how these interact with people and governments; however this did not happen.

I did not end up getting a job in the areas that initially interested me and I did not wish to study any further, leaving me in need of finding a job. I ended up getting a full time job in the health industry where I have learned many new things yet it is not where my passion lies. I was originally happy just to be earning money, paying bills and got swept up in life.

 Where I Am Now

Today I am still in the same company with a slightly role and while not unhappy in life, I have drifted further than I had realised away from what I wanted for and from my life. Over the past year I have found I am not healthy, I have let many things just slide past me and come to the conclusion that I want to change.

I am not ill but my body has been sending me messages that I have not really been paying attention to. I have been swept up in life and while not unhappy, I do not feel satisfied or content with the life I lead. I have been friends with Megan for many years now having originally meet through our partners. We found that we have very similar interests, passions and even studied some of the same subjects at university, which has naturally lead to a close friendship. When I heard she was looking to do this website about living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life I thought this is exactly what I have been trying to find. While not entirely sure at first whether I had time to help her, I came to the conclusion it is time to start making time to begin leading the life I want to lead.

 Moving Forward

Now I’m excited about the future and changing the way I live my life, as I journey with you to a simple, meaningful and sustainable life. I am looking forward to setting goals and challenges as I learn what will work for me and what doesn’t while continuing to keep true to my core values. I want to make my life more meaningful and a life that makes me want to jump out of bed and face the day. I am looking forward to taking this journey with you.

Next week we are going to talk about what we mean, in more depth, by simple, sustainable and meaningful lives and what we hope to achieve over the next year, in the following week we’ll share what we hope YOU will gain from following us and joining with us on this journey.