Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Go are Ad Free! Why that Matters

People see 5000 ads a day. This is way more than the 2000 ads a day people saw 30 years ago, according to the New York Times.

As if the sheer quantity wasn’t enough, over the past 20-30 years ads have become more and more deregulated, to a shocking point. For more information check out the Miss Representation documentary on Netflix. Ads are designed to make you feel nothing but negativity. They want you to feel bad about yourself so you buy their product, they want you to feel anxiety if you don’t buy their product. I remember watching toy ads as a kid and literally feeling panicked if I didn’t beg my mom for everything.  The commercials were loud, fast, overwhelming and they worked. I thought if I just got my mom and dad to buy whatever toy they were selling that I’d feel happy again. I remember even asking for things I didn’t actually want. Thats how well they worked!

While watching Hulu months ago I saw one of these toy commercials and was shocked that these were still being made, I mistakenly assumed our society had come so far since then, but apparently not. I then decided I didn’t want my kids to feel this way, so we upgraded our plan and for a mere $4 more a month we stream Hulu 99% ad free.

It was when I upgraded our plan that I realized I’d been systematically riding our home of as many ads as possible. When we first moved into our first home almost 3 years ago I subscribed to numerous magazines, now I subscribe to 1 (and it’s an annual Christmas gift- Organic Living). I somehow receive Glamour, Marie Clair and a few other women-hating magazines and either I automatically throw them in the paper recycling bin or I look at the headlines, shake my head, pray for any girls/women who read these and feel bad for themselves and then chuck them in the bin.

One word about fashion/fitness magazines, these magazine server double duty making women feel bad, not only do they body shame women who aren’t between a size 0-6, but they also make you feel poor because all of the items they showcase are ridiculously expensive so out they go! Once I realized reading these magazines only made me feel like shit and that I could stay abreast of fashion trends by knowing my own personal style and by following fashion bloggers online I felt no remorse recycling them.

We got rid of cable almost 2 years ago, going with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Go, none of which have commercials, and other than a few select shows (Fixer Upper) and some golf tournaments (for my husband) we haven’t missed cable at all. In fact when I am exposed to cable, while getting my oil changed or visiting my parents, I do not miss it because I realize the commercials negate the experience of the show for me.

Just getting rid of magazines and commercials has been HUGE. I don’t really have a specific way to measure this, but I can tell you I am more confident and I feel like I know myself way better since the clutter of commercials has mostly been removed from my home.

Now when I see an ad or commercial I know exactly what it’s doing and I know better than to fall for their trap.

And before I conclude I’d like to touch on internet ads briefly, I don’t have ads on my blog so this is my completely unbiased opinion, but I don’t mind them. Yeah they’re creepy, it’s unsettling that Facebook seems to know my Google searches and then targets ads to me based on those searches, but I honestly prefer that because odds are good that if I’m Googling something I have an interest in it and an ad on Facebook not only makes better use of my time because it’s something I’m interested in and it maybe helps me to find a better deal or product. It doesn’t try to convince me to buy something I don’t want or need. And they’re fairly innocuous, for the most part they won’t trigger seizures or give you feelings of anxiety so despite the creepiness I am mostly pro internet ads (with the caveat that I’m sure at some point I’ll regret making that statement in the near dystopian future).

If you’re interested in ads and how riding them from your home might benefit you, I highly recommend the documentary Miss Information that I mentioned above, it’s shocking, informative and will help you to better understand why we’ve chosen to remove as many ads from our home as possible.

And if you’ve done the same thing or have the same goal as I do feel free to leave comments with any idea/tips/tricks or opinions on how to achieve this goal. I’d love to hear from you!

Get rid of it.

I have 8 bins packed to the gills with all kinds of clothes. I tell myself it’s fine cause I have to rotate for winter and summer but it’s not fine. I feel beholden to keep them all whether they fit or not, whether I like them or not because I keep telling myself I’ll list them on eBay and make money. But here’s the thing, I fucking hate selling shit on eBay.

So needless to say my bins kept getting fuller and fuller. I tried listing things, some clothes sold, some didn’t, but throughout the process when something sold I found myself dreading packing it up, and printing the receipt and everything else. I just hated it but now here in New Hampshire I believe/hope winter is finally turning to Spring/Summer and I need my summer clothes, so it’s time to bring out the bins. I can’t put it off any longer.

And this time instead of dreading it, the phrase “the more you give the more you receive” keeps going through my head. So instead of forcing myself to sell them on eBay I’m going to donate them. Maybe I could have sold some of them, maybe not, but there’s a local thrift shop I love and they’re going to receive a bunch of my clothes because the weight of keeping them now outweighs my want of money and they have to go.

At this point my clothes feel like a weight, they’re keeping me from moving on, from being happy, from being the minimalist I aspire to be so they have to go.

What are you hanging onto that no longer serves you? I’d love to hear.

The Easiest Thing You can do to Change Your Life ASAP.

Here are two of the gratitude items from yesterday's gratitude journal entry.
Here are two of the gratitude items from yesterday’s gratitude journal entry.

I remember when I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11 I saw on Oprah that she writes down 5 things she’s grateful for every night before bed. I started doing this feeling like this would be more streamlined than my usual journal session about my day.

Unfortunately I stopped doing it, I’m not sure why but here I am 20 years later and I just started up my gratitude practice again. April 19th, 2017 to be precise and I can honestly say it has changed my life. Here’s the craziest part, nothing has really changed, at least not from the outside, I still have the same old car, my son is still awesome, my husband still works the same job, we still have our two old ladies (dogs) and I believe I weigh the same, if not more than I did when I started (thank you pregnancy).

Nothing new, but I no longer see all of it the same way. I used to hate and resent our cars, they’re old and there’s always something wrong with them, but now I’m just thankful to have them. Things, like a cranky baby or two dogs who believe they also have umbilical cords attached to me don’t bother me like they used to. I no longer see my husband’s job as taking him away from us, I see it as my opportunity to stay home with Julian and pay our bills.

And as for the extra padding, well, I’m working on it, and by working on it I mean working to love myself more, not working to get rid of it. As I told a friend recently, 2nd trimester isn’t really the best time to start P90X, but instead of feeling down about myself I realized, thanks to gratitude journaling, that I can work on the way I see myself.

It’s not about being perfect, it’s about accepting, loving and living your life right now, not when you’re rich, or have a 6 pack (beer or abs) because if you wait until you have all the things you want then you’ll never be happy because you’ve trained yourself not to be happy.

There were days when I sat down to write 5 things and thought “this day was absolutely horrible, I can’t even think of one thing to write”, but I didn’t write that because I thought to myself, in 20 years looking back through this do I want to read about how horrible my day was, or do I want to read about the good things? Trust me, you can find 5 things to be thankful for, even if you have to get creative. Sometimes just waking up in the morning (despite the horribleness of the day) is something to be thankful for, the flowers in your neighbor’s garden can be a thing. Your gratitude list doesn’t have to be life changing like buying a new car or remodeling your kitchen, they can be small, like wearing your favorite outfit.

And know that as you keep it up it will become easier for you to find things that were great about each day, now I usually have to decide which things I want to add and which things to leave out.

It’s not that tough, just spend the 50 cents on a notebook and start. It’s the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to change your life.

Climate Change is Real. Here’s What YOU Can Do.

My husband and I bought an old 1864 Colonial New England home two and a half years ago. It’s amazing but it’s also a lot of work.

But do you know what else it is? Energy efficient. Yup.

Our first year here we went through 12-1400 gallons of heating oil. Now granted it was a coooooooold loooooooong winter, but so was this winter.

This winter we went through about 200 gallons of heating oil. For real and kept the house at 60 (our first winter we could barely afford to keep the house heated at 52 degrees). Our first winter was a real education. We figured out what we needed to do to stay warm and to make our house more efficient. You can do these things too and I guarantee whether you’re in a warm or cold climate it will help you cut down on your energy consumption.

  1. We bought cases of caulk and went to town sealing up every nook and cranny. I even reglazed most of the windows in the house myself (if you don’t know what that means, no worries – it’s an old house thing). Also don’t forget to seal around doors too!
  2. Side note – you don’t need new expensive windows to be energy efficient, well sealed and caulked old windows are not that much less efficient.
  3. We got a pellet stove. I hated using heating oil to heat our house, and propane was even more expensive (back in 2015 at least). We knew there had to be a better way so we did some research, electric isn’t the cheapest form of energy either so we decided to go with a pellet stove. The pellets are made from sawdust and molasses, both of which are green and renewable (and delicious – just ask the dogs). It took some getting used to but we use the pellet stove for probably 80% of our heating in the winter which is how we were able to go from 12-1400 gallons of heating oil to 200.
  4. What I’m getting at is not that everyone should buy a pellet stove, but everyone should look at alternative ways to heat your space, maybe you have a fireplace, or maybe electric heating is the way to go and a few electric heaters will do the trick. No matter how outlandish look into it. I’d never heard of pellets or pellet stoves before 2015 but I sure do love ours!
  5. Look at your energy bill. In Minnesota I believe it’s a law that they have to list where your energy is coming from, coal, nuclear, wind, etc… and what percentage. I always loved seeing that. In New Hampshire residents get to choose where their energy comes from, which I mean you can switch electric companies. Eversource delivers our energy and maintains the grid, but we go through North American Power. I don’t love them but they are less expensive and they give us the option to choose our plan, so we have a plan that only uses renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind. No coal and no gas which I love AND it’s not that much more expensive, at least not for us. I know not all states have this option but it’s definitely worth looking into and it’s definitely worth contacting your power company about. And hey, if you don’t want to contact your power company about using more renewable forms of energy I’ll gladly do it for you! Seriously, I love doing that stuff!
  6. Contact your local representative about things that matter. The federal government has some programs to encourage people to go green, I believe you can get 30% back on the total price of solar panels, so if you spend $10,000 you get $3,000 back on your taxes. This used to be the case for geo-thermal, which is pretty much the coolest way to heat your home, but it expired last year and unfortunately is sitting in a Republican controlled ways and means committee where it will probably die because some conservative from TX is the head of said committee… Despite this I still called my representative (after a few calls to Ways and Means to ask who to call, and calling the conservative TX rep) and told her I supported the extension of the geo-thermal tax credit.
    Believe it or not your representative wants to hear from you. It was a very pleasant phone call and I plan to call them again about other issues, specifically pertaining to healthcare and the environment. It’s also super easy to find your rep’s info – you can literally just Google “Who is my representative”, and depending on your location settings they will pop up or take you to a page where you can find them and get their contact info.

That’s it, that’s all we did. Other than the pellet stove (which cost us about $5,000 and was worth every penny) most of these are cheap, free and easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Its not difficult, and every year it gets easier and easier to be green, just start Googling your questions and believe me, solutions are everywhere.

Donald Trump Compost Bin
After the election we realized we had to do more to reduce our carbon footprint, so I bought this compost bin and named it after the president who inspired it’s purchase.

Hour of Power

Not really but I’ve stayed at home with my son for over a year now and it took me about that long to find a balance between cleaning like a madwoman when the house was a total disaster and not cleaning at all.

The problem is when I’d spend the day cleaning because the house was a wreck I would then be too tired to enjoy it, and anyone with a toddler knows how quickly your house becomes messy again. The problem with not cleaning at all was that the house quickly became unlivable. I’d look at the mess and feel my energy levels plummet.

But there had to be a balance between cleaning all day and not cleaning at all, and I found it. I got a little portable bluetooth speaker, this is what I have, it’s great, and I listen to music or podcasts in the bedroom, kitchen or wherever I am. While I listen I clean. Sometimes I purposely pick podcasts that are around an hour, sometimes I just go until the kitchen and living room are clean.

I’ve found that at first I had to time myself because I was so behind and could have spent all day cleaning but now I’m caught up and I’ve figured out a system. I realized if I keep the living room, kitchen and dining room clean everyone feels good and keeping those areas clean usually takes me about a half hour to an hour. This usually includes dishes but doesn’t include laundry, although I’ve started implementing the same strategy with laundry. If I’ve got a good audiobook or podcast I will gladly fold clothes all day!

And at the end of the day I don’t feel angry or resentful because I only dedicated an hour (or less) to keeping the house clean. Not only that but I also fee more at peace with my environment, I feel content and happy, I feel inspired because I can concentrate on something other than the horrible messy space. My husband feels happy because he doesn’t have to do as much when he comes home, maybe a few dishes from dinner, or maybe toss the toys that escaped back into Julian’s play area but that’s pretty much it.

Now here’s the other caveat, and this is something I remember from when my brother was a toddler and something my husband has struggled with. I rarely clean up Julian’s space. Why? Because I don’t want to do it after he’s gone to bed and have him think that elves will clean up after him, I also think he’s too young to understand cleaning up, and I simply don’t want to do it, especially when I see him taking things out, throwing things and messing up his play area as soon as I can tidy it. What I try to do is join him in his play area, we read and play and then he sees me tidying up but I do not compulsively clean up his books and toys, just a little here and there. Sometimes he gets what I’m doing and helps and sometimes he just continues making messes faster than I can clean.

This is fine. And do you know why? Because I’ve accepted it. I’ve tried to limit his toys, I also try to rotate through his toys so they are new and fresh, and because the other option is madness.

If you don’t mind picking up after your toddler all day, be my guest, as for me, my kitchen is clean, the floors are usually vacuumed and I’m quite content with that.

Julian's Play Area
Julian’s Play Area – Amazingly those 5 blocks have stayed in their holder for over 24 hours now. This is truly a miracle. Please note however that the area around said blocks is a complete wreck.

Boo & Julian Against the World.

Yesterday was our annual visit to the vet. As usual they weighed both dogs. Maya’s weight was the same as last year, which was a great feeling because we struggled to figure out how much to feed her to keep her healthy.

Boo on the other hand gained 6 pounds!!! I literally looked at Maya to make sure she didn’t have a paw on the scale! Now 6 pounds for boo is like 30 pounds for you or me, a healthy weight for Boo is 42 pounds, so 48 pounds is not good. And considering she’s 8 it’s a recipe for problems.

This is when I realized we now have a toddler who shares his food freely and that I need to stop giving her so many treats (when we crate her we give her a million milkbones…). In my defense, Boo’s weight had never been the problem so I was shocked.

I also decided we need to start teaching Julian that he can’t give the dogs his food. People think I’m nuts but you can set boundaries early. Justin and I wear glasses and when Julian was 4 months old he started going for them, I knew we could not have him going for our glasses so I would gently move his hand away and say no in a calm but serious tone. Justin did the same. It took maybe a week of that and Julian understood that glasses are off limits. People have even commented how nice it is that he doesn’t go for glasses, or on the rare occasion that he forgets I give him a little reminder.

I figured he’s older now and I could do the same for the food sharing issue. This morning I started telling him no and I tried to explain that we can’t share our food with the dogs because they have their own food.

This worked like a charm… by which I mean I told him no about a hundred times, after about the 50th time I started getting more upset and frustrated and then started getting mad at Boo for going for his food, which basically is like getting mad at another human for breathing oxygen.

It was a complete failure. Boo and Julian both couldn’t understand why I was being such a mean momma and Maya was scared because I had started raising my voice. The little voice deep within all finally found some volume and told me to find another way. This wasn’t working, it was only ruining our beautiful sunshine filled morning.

Everyone hated me, I hated me and furthermore this was a terrible way to start our day, so I gave up. The dogs got some egg with their morning kibble, Julian ate his eggs and blueberries and I told them all that I’d decided instead to reduce the amount of kibble Boo gets until we get her weight down.

I’m not going to stop telling Julian that it’s bad to feed the dogs when I see this behavior, but I’m not going to devote my mornings to watching them all like a hawk, when instead he can happily eat and share with the doggies and I can do dishes, make my breakfast a few feet away and listen to music or whatever podcast I’m devouring.

I guess the old adage is true, you have to pick your battles, so you win this time Julian and Boo.

I am a Badass

You may have heard of a little known book called “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. This book propelled my journey of self discovery and total badassdom. I’ve waxed and waned over the past year since I read it but I’m back on it and I’m more inspire than ever (especially since “You are a Badass at Making Money” comes out in about 4 hours and yes I’ve preordered it and may have been counting the hours till it comes out).

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that since I’ve been back on my self improvement bandwagon I realized something, a piece of the puzzle that I’d been missing, you have to motivate every damn day. You can’t go even a day without it otherwise you set yourself back and you lose your progress.

It really is like working out, except working out is a bit more forgiving.

I’ve been listening to podcasts, reading more and trying to keep myself pumped up. It’s only been a week or so now, but I realize this is where I went wrong. In the beginning of February I fell into my winter blah’s and felt like reading all these self-improvement, mind management books were making me feel worse, when the truth was, I wasn’t resonating with the book I was reading at the time and I was sick of my same old podcasts. I didn’t need to get away from all of that stuff, I just needed new stuff to motivate me.

Anyway, I’ve found new books and podcasts to motivate me and I’m feeling good, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to figure out how many minutes until “You are a Badass at Making Money” comes out and I can start reading my preordered ebook.