Elevating Morning Breakfast Rituals with Balmuda

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

To say we value our mornings here at The Debtist household would be a vast understatement. We like to take it slow at the beginning of our day, giving to ourselves before we give to the world. Mornings are a source of inspiration. It sets the tone for the rest of theday. A few things we do is feed Theo (our toothless cat), meditate in bed (or on the couch), and get exercise in (such as yoga, running, or recently for me, a boxing class). We clear the dishwasher from the previous night’s load, throw open windows to let fresh air in, and occasionally do a bit of tidying up. Always, always, we make it a point to sit down at the kitchen island and eat breakfast together. It’s only natural that a bread baker and coffee aficionado gather around the kitchen in the early hours before work prioritizing the things we truly love. Spending our time making breakfast is a ritual that we cling to.

Just recently, we’ve made an addition to our kitchen and morning routine: a modern, minimalist toaster and electric kettle from Balmuda, a Japanese company promising better mornings and achieving world-wide recognition and hype about these two products. Balmuda has brought our breakfast game to another level, and as a bread baker, those words are neither said lightly, nor often. Balmuda’s products have amplified the simplicity of our mornings, while achieving the detail and complexity that we value in something as mundane as a slice of toast and a cup of joe.

First, let me wax poetic about the toaster. Their ground-breaking technology has paved the way for serving bread in its prime state. When I bake sourdough, both at the bakery and at home, I use cast-iron combo cookers to create steam, which makes the bread rise. I remove the lids five minutes before finishing to get a well-toasted, crunchy exterior while maintaining a soft, moist, inner crumb. Balmuda’s revolutionary toaster does just that by adding 5 ccs of water at the beginning of the process and steaming the bread. This keeps the center of the bread moist, while retaining its flavor. Have you ever eaten an over-toasted piece of bread? What does it taste like? Stale, dry, and honestly, like air. Real bread has flavor, and this little toaste- that-can makes sure of that.

Additionally, the toaster has precise temperature regulation, depending on the type of pastry or bread it is cooking. Special settings for sandwich bread, artisan bread, pastry, and pizza ensure that the second-by-second regulation of temperature is ideal for every baked item, whether it be english muffins, bagels, croissants, or day-old baguettes. There is also an oven mode that allows this toaster to cook more than just bread. Think gratins, cookies, and frozen food items. This toaster has the capability of bringing life back into week-old slices from the freezer. I would go so far as to say that Balmuda has reinvented the toaster, itself.

The sleek profile and matte finish of these toasters exude elegance in the most minimalist way. Interestingly enough, its shape also reminds me of toasters of yore, circa mid-century modern times. Smeg-like in style, it’s no wonder these toasters have gotten a lot of attention and are now carried by high-end department stores such as Williams Sonoma and Nordstrom. It looks great on a wood countertop as much as it does on a cement one. Unlike other toasters, it only has two dials and the feel of them is touch-responsive. The sound of the timer is like rain on a windowpane, and the chime at the end sounds like a gentle alarm clock – way better than your typical, earth-shattering “ding!”.

Balmuda has an electric kettle that is equally as impressive. I’ve written before about how we’ve owned Fellow’s stovetop Stagg kettle for many years, but we are making over the switch to Balmuda’s electric version for multiple reasons. Our Fellow kettle shows signs of wear from being heated on the stovetop day in and day out. The grates has scratched the bottom surface so that the matte black cover has peeled off and the metal underneath shows. I am hoping the electric Balmuda kettle will avoid this type of wear, since it sits on a nice heating pad rather than the stove.

The Balmuda kettle is lighter in while and has a smaller profile. An indicator for maximum volume located inside the kettle limits the kettle to about 500 grams of water, enough for a pour-over for two. Whereas the Fellow kettle can hold more water, limiting its size was a conscious decision by the company in order to keep the kettle compact. With the advent of tiny (and tinier) homes, both the kettle and the toaster can fit perfectly in the most millennial of tiny living situations.

As far as function goes, the pour itself is almost weightless, a result of tireless research from Balmuda for the perfect ergonomic proportions. The handle fits snugly in my hand, with a flat bevel to rest my thumb, resulting in better control. The spout can pour water painstakingly slow or insanely fast, it’s up to you. And like other electric kettles, it heats quite quickly at the push of a tiny lever at the base of the kettle stand. A neon light bulb indicates whether water is heating up or when it is finished. The only downside to the kettle is the missing thermometer on the lid of Fellow kettles, which indicates the temperature of the water inside. This is compensated by the fact that, unlike Fellow kettles, the Balmuda lid can be pushed down and sealed, keeping the contents of the kettle hot, for longer.

Honestly, both the toaster and the kettle have lended our mornings with that feel-good vibe. Balmuda has somehow used two common appliances to capture the essence of slow-living in a tangible form. The beauty of Balmuda’s products are best summarized in their mission statement.

“In the past, appliances were designed to eliminate inconvenience. Today, however, with our daily lives more convenient than ever, what people look for in appliances seems to be changing.

What people demand from tools and services today is, in a word, experiences, whether surprising, moving, or joyful. At BALMUDA, we create home appliances designed to deliver a thrilling, wonderful experience. “

Balmuda CEO Gen Teraro

I couldn’t agree more.

This post is sponsored by Balmuda, a Japanese company revolutionizing the way we experience mornings. They have kindly gifted me their famous toaster and electric kettle and it has really brought our breakfast routine to another level. This blog post is an honest review as to how my experience has been elevated by Balmuda. Right now, you can get both the Balmuda Toaster and the Balmuda Kettle at 15% OFF for Mother’s Day when purchased together. It is the perfect gift for any mom who loves to spend time in the kitchen. Balmuda also partnered with Jane the Baker’s founder, Amanda Michael, and shared a recipe for Baked French Toast, in case husbands and children around the world wish to make something special to commemorate mom’s hard work. Mother’s Day is on May 9, so order early!

A New Ritual, with Ritual Vitamins

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

This blog post is sponsored by Ritual, a new multi-vitamin company dedicatedly supporting the metabolic processes of humans in all walks of life, transparently and simply.

I have come to learn that the successful completion of my goals are a direct result of doing the microsteps needed to, by a sliver of a percentage, get ahead each day. To the untrained eye, I am may not look like I am making progress. But what I’ve come to learn through slow living is that certain acts that our society deems as unproductive are actually beneficial to our being.

Take sleep, for example. Many of my colleagues look down on sleep, writing it off as a waste of their time. I, on the other hand, have started to schedule in 30 minute naps, five days a week. That’s on top of sleeping for 8-9 hours a night. Why? Because I know that my brain works better and I get more done after allowing myself to do nothing. I do the same with meditation, cleaning the home, saving a dollar here and there – little things that most would scoff at and call negligible. You can read, here, why I don’t believe in the word negligible.

So why is it that we refuse to do the things that get us to where we want to go?

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Two things.

Firstly, it has been ingrained in our culture that the measurability of progress is what matters, not the efficacy. We value the busy bees over the ones that put in little work, even if they reach the same end goal. We like to SEE differences, as proof to ourselves and to others that we are contributing to the group. We haven’t been taught to trust the process, trust each other, or trust ourselves.

Secondly, the daily microsteps require certain characteristics that we have not had much practice with in recent years; such as grit, patience, consistency, and hard-work. We live in an age of immediate gratification. “What do you mean I need to first limit my spending in order to grow my wealth?” Don’t we all dream of creating an invention that would eliminate the need to work altogether? Or, like my father, to win the lottery?

Both of these things contribute to the difficulty in doing the little things TODAY, that add up to achieving our end goals TOMORROW. However, this is exactly what has worked for me. I apply small wins to all aspects of my life, from finance to health. I call my microsteps habits, which I then use to create daily rituals. A habit is a task that I repeat every day to ingrain it into my life, thus making it easier to do. Rituals are habits that I cherish and complete with intention, with a purpose outside of the act itself. Rituals are the foundations of my greatest achievements.

Which brings me to Ritual, the new multi-vitamin that sets future Debtist up for success. Vitamins is one of those things that people know are good for you, but they don’t regularly take. My studies of the food industry coupled with my knowledge about human physiology has really turned me upon the importance of taking our vitamins. Mass production and irresponsible farming methods have left our soils depleted, and our produce nutrient deficient. Our WFH lifestyles prevent us from being exposed to sunlight or the natural healing contributions of trees and oceans. Likewise, our obsession with sanitation prevents us from being exposed to the microbiome that actually upkeeps our inflammatory response to infection and disease. Taking vitamins is the modern ritual we need.

Ritual has created a multi-vitamin whose purpose is clear. To provide traceable, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and major-allergy-free, non-GMO pills to groups of individuals depending on their needs. They have a multi-vitamin for men, women 18+, women 50+ kids, and post or pre-natal vitamins. I personally take this one. The engineering of delayed capsules meant to release the ingredients in the small intestine is great, because this is where the nutrients are better absorbed. And there are no artificial colorants or synthetic fillers. See for yourself!

They have transparency over where each ingredient comes from, as well as the pharmacy that provides each ingredient. Plant-based alternatives are included for animal lovers of the world. Most importantly, I love their communications regarding the functions of each component, written in lay man’s terms so that everyone can actually understand what it is they are taking and why.

Need extra motivation, or a discount? Bundle your order to buy vitamins for everyone in your home, or your friend group and save $10 when you buy in bulk. You get to save money, as well as create a supportive community that reminds each member to take their vitamins. My secret to getting the job done? Find a way to make vitamins fun! My motivation is through my Unbound planner, which has a daily check-box indicator for taking my vitamin, next to the 8 glasses of water and daily exercise. Since I get such glee from checking things off a to-do list, this system works for me. Hold yourself (or a buddy) accountable, and bundle up to save.

In an effort to help others create their own ritual around vitamin-taking, Ritual has made ordering a piece of cake. Set a start date and cancel whenever. Automatic shipping is available for replenishing your bottles, and it’s FREE. Bad with creating habits and worried you won’t keep up with shipping? The bottle has an indicator of where you should be if you follow the daily ritual to a tee. Tiny reminders make microsteps easier. Place the bottle somewhere you’ll see each day – next to a toothbrush maybe. On top of your toothpaste, behind the floss. (This is your reminder to floss today). Lastly, they provide a 30-day money back guarantee.

Let me know how you like it!

World Water Day with Pact

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

World Water Day is an annual day of observance by the UN which highlights the importance of fresh water. The lack of available fresh water has been apparent to me since birth, since I was born in a third world country that depends heavily on plastic bottled water as the main source of clean drinking water. Of course, not many people in the country had access to it at the time. This was in the late 1980’s, but even when I returned as a dental missionary in 2015, I found that the people still largely had limited access to clean water. In fact, soda and juice was cheaper to buy at restaurants and stores, which resulted in a high proportion of dental caries (cavities) in the anterior region (front teeth) -a location of tooth decay that is uncommon in other nations.

It might horrify you to learn that the cleanest water they hope to drink is fresh rainwater from the sky collected in buckets during rainy season. It might surprise you to hear that toilet paper is not used in public bathrooms, but rather, a murky tub of communal water is splashed onto dirty bottoms. Nearly 5 million people in my home country, The Philippines, rely on unsafe and un-sanitized water. Additionally, over 9 million people live in places of unimproved sanitation which increases the risk of water-borne illnesses and disease. The few that do have access to clean water are contributing to the massive pollution of the islands’ surrounding ocean with plastic bottles while also littering the land. So when Pact reached out to me to be an advocate for World Water Day, I decided to take on the challenge.

Pact produces clothing and home textiles using organic cotton. Organic cotton uses 91% less water than traditional cotton. Globally, only .93% of cotton grown is organic, and farms can save 58 billion liters of water in a single year from growing with these standards versus conventional cotton. Not only is water saved, but the water is then reusable and not polluted. Cotton farming consumes 16% of the world’s pesticides and only utilizes 2.5% of cultivated land. Lastly, the fashion industry currently uses 4% of all fresh water. Those are percentages that should make anyone stop in their tracts.

I have been an advocate for Pact for a long time and have talked about their undergarments as well as their towels on this blog and social media. My husband loves his Pact boxers and I absolutely love their sports bras. Additionally, Pact’s beautiful waffle towels are the only ones we use. I am excited to share that in 2020, Pact consumers saved 35+ million gallons of water by choosing to shop Pact over other companies that use traditional cotton. Pact believes whole-heartedly in water conservation. In fact, they share their company’s conservation efforts on product pages, at checkout, within brand content, and through emails. So next time you need to buy clothing, underwear, bedsheets, and towels, consider Pact.

In an effort to promote Pact, TheDebtist readers can use the following code at checkout to receive 25% OFF of any order from March 19 to 25: thedebtist20. Of course, the best solution and practice is to buy less and use more. But shall you choose to buy, choose wisely what companies you support. I am an advocate for mitigating environmental damage by creating the smallest carbon footprint in living a minimalist life.

In case you’d like to make a difference through action, here are a few easy ways to reduce water waste in general.

  1. Take shorter showers. When I was young, my mom grilled into our heads to take only five minute showers so as not to waste water and time. She also had us turn on the shower to get wet, then turn off the shower to shampoo our hair and soap our bodies. Then we turn on the water to rinse and that is it. Whenever we took too long in the shower, she would start timing it and come in to tell us when shower time was over.
  2. Turn off water whenever possible. My mom was also very adamant about turning off the water when we washed dishes. We would rinse dishes on one side of the sink, then turn off the water while we scrubbed and soaped the dishes in another part of the sink. Only after we’ve scrubbed and soaped ALL the dishes did we rinse them in one go. It was not only water efficient, it was efficient overall. This doesn’t only apply to washing dishes, however. We turned off water to brush our teeth as well. You can also do the same when washing your hands.
  3. Wear clothes more than once. My mom disliked it when we wore our clothes only once and then threw them in the hamper. She wanted us to wear shirts, pajamas, and pants multiple times. Of course, if we ever wore clothes to school or out, we would wash them. But clothes worn at home should be worn a full week. I know that seems dramatic, but she was obviously very water conscious.
  4. Use a dishwasher. Studies have shown that green dishwashers waste less water when they are filled with dirty dishes than handwashing does. I first learned this volunteering at a regenerative farm in South Orange County. Treehugger posted a very good post explaining what it would take to make hand-washing more efficient than dishwashing here. What you want to avoid is running a dishwasher that isn’t full of dirty dishes. In a two-three person household, this may mean not running the dishwasher every night. Of course, using less utensils overall will help as well.
  5. Consider xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is a way of landscaping your backyards and front yards with plants that require very little water. Green lawns are pretty to look at but they use a lot of water to maintain. Desert plants such as cacti are more water efficient and look good, too.

There you have it! Ways to celebrate World Water Day every day.

Photo by mrjn Photography on Unsplash

The Health Benefits of Magnesium

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Magnesium is a very important mineral. It plays a role in multiple processes that affect the function of our brains and our bodies. It is necessary in over 600 reactions, all of which promote our overall health. Yet 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium, mostly because historical sources of this vital mineral such as our diets and our soil have been depleted. This is why I recommend adding a form of Magnesium supplement to everyone. I myself have been using this Magnesium spray for months and find that it helps me to reduce stress, relax my muscles, fight fatigue, and get a good night’s rest. To understand why Magnesium is vital to all of those things, here are a few facts to know.

Magnesium may reduce muscle fatigue after exercise.

Magnesium moves blood sugar into muscles and disposes of lactate. Some athletes report improved performance in physical activities, although the evidence remains mixed. However, because it disposes of the lactate by-product from the muscles, it helps reduce fatigue. I like to spray Magnesium after my work-outs to help relax my muscles.

It improves sleep.

Magnesium is involved in transmitting nerve signals and relaxes the muscles and the brain. This has been shown to improve sleep, even for insomniacs or those who experience high-stress, which then helps with improving energy during the day.

Magnesium boosts mood.

Low levels of Magnesium are linked with depression. A study has shown that low levels of the mineral increases risk for depression by 22%. Some trials have shown that increasing daily dose of Magnesium to 450mg results in reduced depression symptoms equivalent to taking anti-depressants.

It helps with PMS.

Magnesium has been shown to help with bloating and fluid retention for menstruating persons. That, coupled with its mood enhancing benefits, is why it is included in this company’s everyday supplement for women 18+.

Magnesium can reduce inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is the cause of many systemic diseases, but Magnesium can help. Low levels have been linked with increased levels of CRP – an inflammatory marker in the blood. Likewise, increasing magnesium intake has shown to decrease CRP. Reducing inflammation can help with alleviating joint pain, reducing cell damage, and preventing disease.

Magnesium helps with insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetics are usually low in Magnesium mostly because these patients are chronically high in insulin levels, which leads to the loss of Magnesium through the urine. However, increasing the intake of Magnesium has been shown to improve the processing of sugar, thereby lowering the body’s blood sugar levels. It is therefore important for pre-diabetics and diabetics to maintain their magnesium levels.

There you have it! The reasons why we need to add magnesium to our diets or as a supplement are plenty. I should note that the most bioavailable version of magnesium is magnesium citrate, which is the form this company uses. I, myself, only use The Nue Co.’s Magnesium Spray to help alleviate sore muscles after workouts, reduce stress, and aid in sleep. It one hundred percent works for me! I prefer to ingest my magnesium by altering my diet to include magnesium rich foods rather than taking a supplement. Foods high in magnesium include fish (salmon and mackerel), leafy veggies (like spinach), whole grains, beans and nuts.

Tushy: The Cushy Way to Spray DooDoo Away

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I am going off-grid from the PC charts here as I digress to talk about tushies and Tushys – as in human ones and bidets. I have been meaning to make the switch to bidets for a few years now. One of our closest friends has been raving about its usefulness and environmental friendliness at every opportune moment, but I never did like that big clonker that was sitting atop his toilet. So I have been putting it off for the sake of aesthetics, which we all know is an important part of my intentional life. However, as more and more of our friends made the switch, the urge to get one increased, and finally, my less-waste self came across the most minimalist, affordable, pretty bidet I could find: Tushy!

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Where It All Began

Tushy was founded by Miki Agrawal in 2015, the same co-founder of Thinx. It has since then revolutionized the way young people doo their business. Bidets have become a sort of fad, but it is nothing new. Many countries around the world use bidets, and my friend who I mentioned earlier got his after visiting Japan and using bidets in the public and personal restrooms. In a more primitive sense, I, myself, experienced butt-washing in my youth, having never used toilet paper until I was thirteen years old. In my country, we use buckets of water to rinse our bums or simply hop in the shower. In fact, I remember first immigrating to the United States and being told by my mom that “toilet paper does not do the job.” To her, a bum’s not clean until it has been washed with water. This, of course, wasn’t the reason I got on my hands and knees to add a bidet to my toilet. The motivation came from the environmental effects of making the switch. Below are a few statistics.

How Much Are You Saving with Tushy?

The average non-bidet user uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day. This adds up to about $10 worth of toilet paper a month, or $120 of toilet paper a year. A tree produces about 100 pounds of toilet paper, and one person uses up about 50 pounds of toilet paper a year. For a family of four, this adds up to two trees per year. Because it takes 37 gallons of water to create one roll of toilet paper, 4884 gallons of water is wasted per person per year.

It takes no statistician to confirm that switching to a bidet results in saved money, trees and water. However you also save yourself time from having to buy toilet paper. You save yourself stress during no-TP emergencies. You save your bum from chafing and your significant other from skidmarks. You save yourself the embarrassment.

Tushy is juuuuuust right

Is this all feeling a bit too much? Well your wallet won’t think so since Tushy is quite the affordable bidet, costing only $109 (although my readers can receive 10% off of their Tushy purchase using any of my affiliate links within this post as long as they enter the code: THEDEBTIST at checkout).

Does that sound too little? Tushy is the perfect minimalist bidet, with a sleek white frame and simple adjustable knobs in neutral colors (ours is Bamboo!). We own the Tushy Classic and as baby bear says, it is juuuuuust right! For those who want a little more, the Tushy Spa has a water temperature control making those cold mornings more comfortable.

The Dirty Details

So I know some of you are hoping I spill a few dirty details. However, the only thing dirty might be your toilet seat cover when you remove it to place a Tushy underneath. No worries though! Seeing all that gunk is the most difficult part of this set up. And hey! What a great time to clean up!

Breezy Installation

Here are, however, a few things we came across during installation that you may appreciate. The manual says to turn off the water using the water shut-off valve behind the toilet. Some knobs, however, no longer function due to disuse. In which case, one would need to turn off the water to the entire house. Which is what we had to do.

Secondly, have plenty of towels around. You want to catch any water that comes out of the toilet, in case the shut-off valve doesn’t work. Also, wear gloves. When you get to the part that requires toilet seat removal, you want to make sure you won’t feel any surprises. Hopefully you clean your toilet regularly, but we won’t judge!

Lastly, adding the bidet underneath the toilet seat cover may make the screws that once clamped the toilet seat down too short. The added height of the bidet will require longer screws. No worries, I simply trekked to Home Depot and went down the bathroom and toilet aisle. There’s a section for toilet repair and you’ll need to buy two very long screws, which costs about $3.

Overall, I think the installation is super simple. I was able to do it by myself. If I didn’t have to run to Home Depot to get more screws and if my toilet’s water valve actually shut off, it would have probably taken me 15 to 20 minutes. Which means I would have been using Tushy within the hour. But instead, it took me a good hour due to the “complications” I came across. It’s taken me longer to build Ikea cabinets.

The Reviews

It has only been less than 24 hours but I absolutely love Tushy! I feel suuuper fresh and squeaky clean. Mike gave me a thumbs up as he exited the bathroom this morning. That’s a HUGE sign. In addition, I have had a lot of positive feedback from people in this space. I’ve had people reach out to me to tell me they received this for Christmas. I’ve heard stories about moms installing this in every bathroom in the house (including the trailer!). I have friends who just moved in together literally this weekend saying they are getting one for their new space. And that one friend that has been raving about bidets for ages? He said, “Welcome to the first day of your new life.”

I feel it.

This post was in partnership with Tushy. They gifted me the Tushy Classic with a bamboo knob and I am straight-up IN LOVE. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your bum. To get 10% off your new Tushy bidet now, use this affiliate link made especially for TheDebtist readers, or enter THEDEBTIST at checkout! All thoughts, opinions, and content are my own.

Reducing Waste One Lunette Cup At a Time

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I suppose it’s safe to say that this is a space wherein I talk about the topics people normally never talk about – like money, social status and the American nightmare. It’s no surprise, then, that I will talk about how menstruating persons can reduce waste, one Lunette cup at a time. So as not to disclude half of the population, I would like to open this topic up by saying that we all know someone who menstruates. So whether or not that’s you, I hope you still read on to see how we can work as a society to reduce waste in this absolutely common and normal thing.

It is now 2021 and the availability of menstrual products on the market are vast compared to what it was a decade ago. It can be difficult to choose the best solution and it depends on many factors, including cost, lifestyle, level of physical activity, fit, comfort, and consumption preferences. But before we go into why Lunette satisfies all of these factors for me, let’s first discuss what you need to know about menstrual cups in general.

What You Need to Know About Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are sustainable alternatives to disposable tampons and pads. There are many positive characteristics around menstrual cups, such as:

  • They are environmentally friendlier than disposable products.
  • They teach us a lot about our individual anatomies.
  • They are comfortable to use.
  • They are efficient at leak control, even during physical activity such as running or yoga classes.
  • They open our minds to normalizing menstruation cycles and open our hearts to sharing with other people the way sin which we mange them.

However, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows right away. Some difficulties when transitioning to them include:

  • Like everything else, they require a bit of practice in terms of placement and removal, but once mastered, it’s as easy as using tampons.
  • It takes a while to learn what your body needs and to understand your flow schedule. No one else can teach that except you.
  • They are a bit more inconvenient for traveling in places where clean water is inaccessible or for emptying in public restrooms.

When I ask others whether they would be willing to transition, most of them naturally have fear around switching over. I will say, however, that it is no different from learning how to first deal with the monthly Mother Nature visits back in our wee teenage years. Remember how awkward that was? We survived once, we can survive again.

I try to put it this way. Think about how much money you spend a year buying disposable tampons and pads. Count how many products you send to the landfill each month. Research what exactly it is you are putting in your body. Recall the number of inconvenient times you’ve had to run to a pharmacy. For me, plenty.

Focus on your health, your lifestyle, and your impact, and use that to overcome anxiety and uncertainty. I find that when we fear something, it is usually because it is something we don’t understand. But it is important we try to elevate ourselves past that point, and if at the end of the day it still isn’t your thing, then at least you know WHY.

Why I Love Lunette Cup

So why Lunette, specifically? If I am being honest, Lunette was the first one I happened to try. Promoting Lunette isn’t discounting the other available menstrual cups on the market, but when I find something I like, I stick with it to avoid decision fatigue and overwhelm. Lunette, to me, was not only good enough at first go, it was bloody awesome on all counts. Both the company and the product are doing fabulous things, which I briefly outline below.

Environmental Impact

The vegan masterpiece from Scandinavia is a reusable and recyclable product. The company’s efforts to be as sustainable as possible is apparent in their zero-waste packaging and renewable energy. This is also one of the few companies that encourage remote work from their employees, a transition that I really wish to see in the near future.

Social Impact

Lunette understands that education is the key to empower menstruating persons. Destigmatizing periods is a form of activism that we all need to take a part in. They have printed and distributed over 150,000 education booklets around the world. Over 30,000 Lunette cups have been donated through various organizations, while over 500 education packs are delivered to health professionals every year. So far, their product has prevented over a billion period products from reaching the landfills and our ocean. On top of all this, they have increased awareness via their fun, informative, and beautiful blog.

A Frugal Choice

At $32 a cup, this and other menstrual cups, are a frugalist’s best friend. A small box of tampons that last me about one cycle costs $5-7. Multiplied by twelve cycles a year, that comes out to $60-84 per year. A Lunette cup lasted me three years, which would have been about $180-252 in tampons. Assuming the lower end range, buying a Lunette cup saved me $150 over the course of three years. It also kept away at least 432 tampons from the landfill and oceans.

A Minimalist’s Best Friend

I am weird about storing multiple things for future use. In short, I hate doing it. We only have 1-2 toilet paper rolls available at a time. I only buy toothpaste or soap when it runs out. I don’t keep things for the “just because”. It’s the organized, controlling, clutter-free minimalist in me. So when it comes to period products, I don’t like keeping a box under the sink for just-in-case. I also dislike carrying four tampons or two pads in my purse wherever I go. No sirree, not for me. I keep a Lunette cup satchel in a tiny clutch, along with my wallet, cell phone and lip balm. That’s it. For the minimalist, they have this cute clear cup that I absolutely adore.

A Safe Product

The Lunette cup is made with medical silicone that is BPA free and chemical free. It is FDA approved and verified as vegan friendly. It also contains no latex for those who are allergic. Be aware of cheaper menstrual cups that are made with low quality materials that could include BPA, phthalates, latex and heavy metals. Also, look at where it is being made. Be cautious if they are coming from China. Learn what to avoid when buying a menstrual cup for the first time here.

Lifestyle First

What I chase is not money or accolades, but a lifestyle – and an atypical one at that. Lunette, however, fits that lifestyle. I like to purchase environmentally friendly products that make good social impact, which Lunette does. I like as few things as possible and as inexpensive as possible, without sacrificing quality. I like zero-fuss when it comes to my day-to-day. I like comfort, versatility, and ease of use. Simplicity is key. Lunette satisfies all of those requirements, too. I can depend on it during periods of physical activity such as running and yoga. I can depend on it at work, at home, and during sleep. It is easy to maintain and clean, especially with Lunette’s vegan cleanser solution – it only takes a drop. And it can hold twice as much as a tampon plus, so it reduces the amount of times I have to stop during my day to empty them. My period weeks are without a hitch! The only time Lunette has been a challenge for me was when I travelled to countries wherein I could not depend on the cleanliness of their tap water. In which case, I do switch my menstrual management over to Thinx, which I wrote about here! However, Lunette has stood by me for everything else. And with their release of 100% biodegradable cleansing wipes, it is possible that travelling post-COVID wouldn’t be so much of a challenge anymore. It’s a game changer for those who like to camp, road trip, or simply walk 20 hours around a new city.

If you wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle, a healthier one, a more frugal one, or even a simpler one, I would highly recommend making the switch and trying Lunette Cup. Perhaps 2021 is the year to make a commitment to the planet and yourself. If so, make use of their offer this month and purchase an animal-friendly Lunette. All Lunette Menstrual Cups are 20% OFF with the code veganuary at checkout, an ode to their public registration with the Vegan Society. You can use this or any of my affiliate links within this blog.

For those who are just starting on their menstrual cup journey, I highly recommend the Lunette Starter Kit. It comes with one cup, the cleanser, and cupwipes. I was gifted the two cup version, which allows flexibility depending on the flow. The size guide can help you decide which to buy if this is your first time. Or you can always get the starter kit with two cups to learn more about yourself. Both happen to be on sale.

Once again, I thank you for your open mind, your willingness to listen, your intention to understand, and your support of this blog space, including the companies that support me. This post was sponsored by Lunette, but all thoughts, opinions, and content are originally mine.

Intentional Living: Invest in Rest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

A good night’s sleep is one of the best forms of self-care. It is regenerative for the body, mind and soul, and much to any frugalist’s joy, it is free. Often viewed as an unproductive activity, getting a good night’s rest lies low on the priority list for the majority. On the contrary, I attribute much of my productivity and success to sleep – and a lot of it, too!

Ever since I was young, I was very fond of the stuff. My parents love to tell the story of how I would nod off in my high-chair, often plopping my face down on my food. I was the last to wake up on Christmas morning (well, every morning for that matter) and the first to fall asleep at night. At family get-togethers, one could be sure to find me on the couch, hogging up the sitting space asleep in fetal position. I took afternoon naps until high school and even in college, I was one of the few people who got eight hours of sleep, frequently trading in a night of partying for my warm sheets.

There was a time when I went against my sleeping pattern and took up midnight shifts as an early-morning baker. I noticed the toll it took on my health. Even though I was still sleeping eight hours every night, the fluctuation between night shifts and day shifts every other day really wrecked my body. I started depending on coffee, lost a lot of weight, and had trouble eating. My mind was exhausted and I noticed that I was on survival mode, less productive overall and more lenient about my tasks and deadlines. It only took three months for me to realize the effects, and while I was happy and alive, my body was barely keeping up.

As I gained awareness of my body’s circadian rhythm, I learned that my optimal sleeping time is 9 hours per night. If I receive less than that, it is best if I take a mid-afternoon nap. Now there are groups of people who would argue against the health benefits of this. But every person is different and the range of ideal sleep time is vast. Regardless of what the actual number of hours is, sleep is a crucial part to your overall productivity and here is why you need to make sure you get enough of it.

Reasons to Invest in Rest

  • Sleep is important for memory and processing daily experiences.
  • A night of sleep more than doubles the likelihood that you will solve a problem requiring insight.
  • Sleep clears toxins in the brain.
  • Sleep is the most crucial factor for peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function, mood regulation.
  • Even mild sleep reduction has detrimental effects on cognitive function many days afterwards.
  • One-third of working Americans sleep less than six hours a night.
  • Sleep deprivation was declared a public health epidemic by the CDC in 2018.
  • Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, and cancer.
  • Getting consistent sleep is very important to your health.

As a person trying to live an intentional life, I care a lot about sleep. I understand that the long-effects of getting enough shut-eye will outweigh the few hours I lose each day. Investing in rest doesn’t just mean making the resolution to sleep a set number of hours each night, although that is the FREE self-care part of it. However, one must also consider what they sleep on.

I spend a lot of time curating my bed, and highly recommend getting a mattress and pillows that are ergonomically beneficial. Spinal problems caused by having a cheap bed will translate to decreased quality of life and productivity. My personal favorite company is LEESA. We own their mattress topper and pillows, and it has been such a game-changer. I used to have a lot of neck and back pain due to maintaining static postures and craning my neck at the dental office – so much so that I would wake up in the middle of the night from the pain and spend entire Saturdays lying on the couch unable to move. Once we switched to high-quality pillows and added the LEESA mattress topper, the pain went away! After watching my dad undergo three spinal surgeries in the last two years, I knew that I was not going to wait until my own symptoms got worse. If you want to step up your bed game, Try LEESA! Get up to $400 OFF a LEESA mattress this MLK weekend by clicking on my affiliate link. They have a great trial-period guarantee. For those who are wary about making such an expensive commitment to their health, LEESA also offers 0% financing through Affirm for as low as $25 a month, the equivalent of 8 drip coffees! Think of it as getting better sleep and saving on the coffee.

Likewise, I also invest in high quality bedsheets made out of clean fabrics that are good for the skin. I really like Parachute’s linen sheets and have written why Parachute sheets are the only sheets you need to own this post. Since then, we’ve tried a cotton duvet cover from them as well, pictured above, and we love it just as equally.

An alternative for those who wish to have cotton sheets is PACT. Pact is an eco-conscious company who makes clothing and textiles for the home. Currently, they have a sale on their bedding and bath products lasting until January 31, 2021. Simply use the code REFRESH25 to receive 25% OFF. You can access the sale by clicking on my affiliate link here.

Shop Pact Today.

Other rituals I have around my sleep include making my bed every morning so that the sheets stay clean, turning on a humidifier, and putting my phone away an hour before bed. We also wash the sheets frequently, vacuum the mattress, and rotate the toppers and pillows as outlined by my ultimate cleaning list.

Regardless of what you do to make sleep an important part of your day, make sure to prioritize it for the years to come!

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Why A Kitchen Reno Is Not Happening Any Time Soon

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Sometimes, this space is as much for my readers as it is for me – a place where I can store letters to myself or record the reasoning behind this experimental project which I call life. Today, it serves as the latter, although my readers may find the value in it too; A kind note to myself as to why a kitchen renovation is not in the cards in our near future, and why that is perfectly okay.

I toyed with the idea of re-doing our kitchen in December, after visiting a few friends who underwent just that. Their pretty white cabinets and shining appliances made an impression on me and had me stumbling down a rabbit hole of quartz countertops and custom-made wooden doors. In my musings, I mulled over all the flaws of our tiny kitchen space – the creaking faucet that is sure to break any minute now, the super thin metal sink banged up from carelessness, the water-logged floorboards caused by a leak every time we ran the dishwasher left undiagnosed until three plumbers later, the oven that clicks without a fan in the rear, the plastic microwave with its sticky hooded vents, the peeling panels stickered onto the laminated cabinet doors and the crusty chipboard slowly giving up underneath these fake countertops – all the things that my dream kitchen did not have.

My consideration even went so far as physically going to Ikea, planning a kitchen with a consultant, getting quotes from the third party counter-top company and the installation crew, and coming up with a game plan to ensue renovation at a moment’s notice. As usual, my husband gave me pause and we agreed to dog-ear the project and revisit at a later month.

During which, all the things I love about the kitchen re-surfaced. I had already written another note to myself about How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen but forgot it in the midst of celebrating all the newness of our friend’s “new” home. Which goes to show that sometimes, we need reminders of our love, such as that which I hold for my own space.

How it was my own bakery for a year of my life, how I know exactly the way my breads will turn out in this faithful oven of mine, how the light hits the fake-wood and adds a soft glow to my mornings and late afternoons, how the countertops never cause me worry and allow me to thoughtlessly spill sauce that would certainly stain marble and leave hot pans unattended which would certainly burn wood, how the kitchen fridge holds enough food for the three of us, how my dishwasher keeps my hands from drying out in the winter time, how we eat breakfast and prep meals around the free wooden island that came with the house and those fold-up-Ikea chairs, how there is just enough room to store all our belongings, how a cabinet in particular holds the exact dimensions needed for my beloved KitchenAid Mixer, how there is a very specific counterspace wide enough to house our espresso machine and coffee grinder, and how it brings me so much joy to stare at my kitchen from the couch, thanking my lucky stars that we get to call this abode our home.

With all of this recognition for our kitchen’s enoughness comes the flaws of doing a renovation. Redoing a kitchen would definitely put us behind on our loan repayment journey, which serves as our number one priority and biggest goal. Redoing a kitchen would take away time from our daily lives, as well as erase my bakery’s memories. Redoing a kitchen will unlikely bring us lasting happiness, as I continue to spill sauce on new countertops and drop things in a new sink while relearning the workings of a new oven. Lastly and most importantly, redoing a kitchen is not exactly what we are about.

In an effort to practice gratitude for what we already have, to live freely from working 9-5, and to live purposefully and to the fullest, I have decided after much consideration not to tackle the kitchen renovation. And while Instagram will feed me mementos as to why renovation is a must, I will be baking away in this darn kitchen, grateful for it supporting all my culinary endeavors, forgiving my experimental failures, and hosting my favorite people while learning and relearning the beauty in the aging of things and the growing of ourselves.

Other reminders and related posts: