Letting Go of Being Wasteful - February Update 2018

I decided to stop buying items under a few categories in the hopes to be less wasteful and this a monthly update.  Read my original post here so it can all make more sense and it was inspired by Zen Habits blog post here

I would say it was both successful and also not, let me explain.  

1. Books - I purchased a book for a book club that a group of family and friends are reading this year.  I think this is a-ok since it falls under my professional interest and development and WILL be reading it since it is part of a monthly book club.  No waste.  

2. Online Courses - I bought an online mastermind which would be considered an online course, but I completed it and moved forward with following through with the homework so I consider this a success because I got good use of it. No waste. 

3. Journals - No new purchases and even filled one journal up and can grab another one from my stash. 

4. Pens and markers - No new purchases and ran out of ink on a few. 

5. Scrapbook paper - No new purchases and used it in mixed media.

6. Crafting supplies - I might have to rethink this category because my word of the year is ARTISTIC and will be needing supplies beyond Life Book 2018 and besides making things is my super hobby and passion!  I do still keep in mind that I have to USE the items.  As long as I use them, then I'm absolutely fine to buy in this category.  So I'm going to be switching this one with Magazines.  I have magazines that I haven't read yet, but want to buy more.  Once I read them all, then I can buy more, that easy!

7. Office supplies - No new purchases and using the ones that I have. 

See you next time to see where I stand on the constraints that I have set up for myself mid March.  

Take Steps to Declutter the Mind

Things that may seem to not be taking up space in your mind really do in the background, sort of mental clutter.  I’ve recently cleaned up several areas of my life that were cluttered that are not physical, but online.

Let’s get started reviewing the areas that I worked on and take any of the ideas that may resonate with you to declutter for yourself.

  • Phone images - My experience is that at the end of every year, I spend weeks trying to upload pictures from an Android to a Mac laptop, lots of time and energy wasted.  Eventually after all photos for 2017 were uploaded to my computer for storage on an external drive, I decided to make a new plan this year and stick to it.  

My Plan - The plan is to clear out the pictures on my phone then download them at the end of every month….when December 2018 comes, it will be easy breezy, problem-solved.

  • Apps - I took a look at my apps on both my tablet and saw that I had many that I was not using, so I went one by one and deleted the ones that I didn’t use.  I also had duplicate apps that served the same purpose, so I chose the one that I preferred.

My Plan - I’ll take a look again in a few months and see if there are any more apps that I don’t use and delete them.

  • Emails - For emails, I took a look at a few different things:

    • Email Accounts

    • Zero Inbox

    • Organization

Email Accounts - I took a look at how many emails I had and realized that I had six and wanted to simplify to less accounts.  There were some issues because I had different emails on different social media accounts, so I took out a notebook and began writing down what emails I had for what social media.  After changing some emails on some social media accounts, I was able to streamline to three email accounts.  One is personal, one is for my blog, and one is for social media only so no emails are coming in there.

Zero Inbox - Then I went into my personal account and deleted about 2,000 emails and only leaving 48 starred emails that I need to keep for reference.  As much as I could, I would find an email that I no longer wanted to be subscribed to and unsubscribed, then I typed the name in the search button, selected all and deleted.  This way I made sure I didn’t delete something I needed. 

Organization - I’ve labeled emails that I’ve kept into different categories or starred them if important.  

My Plan - As new emails come in, I will be unsubscribing to ones I haven’t or deleting as I go so the emails stay at zero. As far as the 48 emails that I’ve kept, I will be deleting them as I go through the information.

  • Facebook Groups - I took a look at the 67 facebook groups that I was a member of and trimmed it down to 18.  

My Plan - From the facebook groups that I am in, I’ll continue to see if there are any that I don’t participate in much where I can continue to delete.  

  • Website Accounts -  I noticed that I had a lot of accounts that I no longer used, such as Flickr or Tumblr, so I went through and deleted as many as I could.

My Plan - There are more accounts that I’d like to delete, so I can continue to do so as they come up.

  • Social Media - For Zook Living, I have several social media accounts, but decided only to focus on Youtube and Instagram, so I took all the other apps off of my home screen on my phone.

  • To Do List - This last item is not online necessarily, but it’s definitely something that creates mind clutter.  Although it helps to write your to do list down, the next step is doing the items on the list.  So a light bulb missing or papers to shred are things that sort of hang over us.  So the idea is to attack To Do lists!  So new tasks aren’t added on to an already long list.  To help with items that you may want to do, you could start a SOMEDAY list.  Keep your To Do list short by taking action fast and writing your to do only in one place.  I use my Day Designer from Target which I carry with me most places and if I don't have it handy, I'll type to do tasks in my phone.  

My Plan - Attack my to do list in bursts and not let it get so long.  

Let me know what you do to help declutter your mind?  



Letting Go of Being Wasteful

Letting things go to waste is something that I don't feel great about.  Fortunately, both my husband and I grew up simply and we continue to live a simple life without thinking or discussing it, it's just who we are.  We have our essentials, plus much more, but not in excess.  Our closets are small, our kitchen is small where we have the essentials for daily cooking, and our furniture is minimal.  We use our furniture, clothes, linens, towels, appliances until they are old, torn, or no longer working.  We own a little bit of everything we need and so there is little waste.  Generally most areas of my life are absolutely not wasteful. But there are some specific things that I own where I am completely wasteful and it doesn't feel right to me.  It doesn't matter the number of things that I own, it only matters to me if they are not being used. 

This week, I read this blog post that clearly spoke to me.  The last few years, I've said I won't buy another book until I read the ones that I have, but of course I stop by Barnes and Noble and buy more books.  I do the same for the things listed below.  I've decided to write constraints like Zen Habits did, but based on the items that I have in excess and that at the same time I really would like to do.  I'm committed to not let things go to waste. Here is the list of things that I won't buy in 2018 until I "use" the ones that I already have: 

1. Books - I have tons of unread books, this may take me a couple of years. 

2. Online Courses - Yup, online course junkie, this may take more than a couple of years to complete.  

3. Journals - Plenty of journals to write, do art, doodle in, enough for a few years

4. Pens and markers - Probably have enough writing utensils for a year

5. Scrapbook paper - Tons of paper and it's all color coordinated, this will take a couple of years to use

6. Crafting supplies - I have tools now that I don't use, so until I get all the use I can out of those, there is no need for more; But I will buy art supplies needed for the course I'm taking called Life Book 2018 which is sort of a different category

7. Office supplies - to all office supply junkies, you know how hard this is, but I truly have plenty

Just want to reiterate that it doesn't matter to me if I have 100 books.  I don't mind buying things at all, the only thing that matters to me is that I actually read and put into practice the message I learn from every book I buy.  That the item doesn't go to waste.

As I look at this list and envision this new situation, I can see myself creating, writing and reading more,  I also imagine my studio emptying out little by little as I use up my materials.  I've already decluttered so I've kept only things that I really want to use.  This is a very exciting scenario for me.  Then after I use up my things, then I will have room for all the new things.  

Every month, I'll do an update in the form of a blog to see how it is going for me whether it's going well or not.  This is a bit of an experiment for me and I'm happy to share my journey. 

What areas of your life do keep simple? In which areas of your life do you have excess and things going to waste?  I'd love to hear from you. 


My Word of the Year: Artistic

This year I'm embracing the word Artistic as my word of the year.  My time and effort will go into art and making my creative projects more artistic.  And so I'm calling myself an artist in training.  I thought about Zook Living and came up with some ways that I can add artistry to this passion project of mine.  All these are hobbies that I've yearned to delve into more than I have up to now and so a focus on practicing my artistic skills in 2018 is helpful.  As the year goes on, I'd like to reflect on my progress and how much art I've infused into my life.  I love to journal, but for this intention, the way I want to notice progress is by seeing the end physical products and running out of my art supplies.  I'm thinking more production, more doing and less thinking, less judging my work.

6 Ways I plan to add ARTISTIC to 2018

Photography - This year I want to develop my photography skills with styling and editing photographs.  I want to use images as a way of expression and convey messages.  Platforms where I can use the images are: Goalscrapping, Instagram, Website, and Family Pictures

Video Making - I really enjoy making youtube videos and I would like to create more artistic videos involving different camera angles, scripting, and editing.  Platforms where I can use the videos: Youtube, Instagram, Facebook

Paper Artistry - Journaling is one of my favorite activities and I've discovered a youtube called Amity Bloom.  The creator has inspired me to make my own artistic journals for my own journaling. 

Art Journaling - Just letting loose and trying out new techniques and materials.  My art supplies will dwindle down to zero if I do this right!

The inner critic is what I have to let go of, even if it is there, I'd like to learn how to hear and then ignore it and move on.  This is the main obstacle to adding ART to my life.  But now that I've publicly acknowledged it, it's power and hold will lessen.  As I write this, I'm already feeling the hold lessening.  This is my wish for myself and for you who is reading this.  Let's make 2018 a year of bring ART into our lives with BRAVERY and AUTHENTICITY. 



3 Steps for Making Goals for a New Year

Although we can set goals and achieve them on any day of the year, the New Year brings a burst of energy that is so useful to make the best of.  Surely the way you start off your year can help set the tone for the first few months.  There are some things I do to make sure that I am best prepared for the New Year and here are my top three.

Keep a daily diary during the year

We are destined to make the same mistakes if we don’t even realize we made a mistake.  This is where a daily diary comes in to help you reflect on your life.  At first you can start general like writing down the things you do.  Then start to write down times that you wish had been different.  The diary allows the space for reflection.  Reflection is key to change.  Without it, then we can go through life repeating the same negative thoughts and behaviors over and over.  The daily diary gives us insights into what could be potential goals for the New Year because patterns start to emerge.

Look at different life categories

Make a list of the life categories that are important to you such as relationships, spiritual, financial, creativity, health, family.  Just go online and there are lots of ideas for categories.  What is important for one person may not be so to the next, so develop your own unique list of categories.

With information from your daily diary, go through each category and do a review for yourself.  Start with what is not working because it will be a quick and easy way to define goals.

  1. What are the failures that I have in this area?

  2. What is not working for me in this area?

  3. What are the obstacles in my way?

Then move to what is working

  1. What successes did I have in this area?

  2. What worked for me in this area?

  3. How did I problem-solve in this area?

Make a Plan

Once you define what area you would like to start with, start making a plan on how to achieve growth on that goal.  

  1. Look for online resources like online courses, ebooks, talks, people who are experts in that area

  2. Make a learning schedule where you dedicate time to learning and planning next steps

  3. Keep a journal specific to that area so you can work out your thoughts and progress

  4. Make a list of ways that you will be able to tell that you are progressing in your goal

  5. Celebrate successes

Reading List for 2018

2018 is just around the corner and in planning content for you and in the spirit of diving back into reading, I've shopped inside my own library (except Wheat Belly) and chose one book a month that I will be reading or rereading to share reviews with you under the main topics I will be sharing here on Zook Living: Creativity, Mindfulness and Wellness. 

I thought I'd share the entire list so we can read together.  I've also added links to make it super easy for you to purchase them from Amazon*.  Jump in any month as the year goes on and let me know which book you are reading in the comments below (or email me at info@zulmacadena.com) because I was thinking that it would be so fun for some of us to gather on a private google hangout and discuss the book.  It would also be a fun way to get to know each other, let me know what you think.  

Let's start scheduling our your reading list for 2018 in our planner! 

Book list.jpg




Goalscrapping: Weekly Vlog 01

I decided to share my goalscrapping process via vlogging for at least four weeks.  It's been a week now and it's been helpful to keep me focused on my goals.  The two main goals that I'm working on is preventative health/fitness and mindfulness/mediation.  Goal documenting helps me to highlight when I was inspired to follow my goals and put them down on paper. This helps remind me of the times I worked towards my overall goals. 

Goals are dreams you act on - Click here to Tweet

Goalscrapping: A Way to Develop and Process Goals

For those of us that love journaling, pictures, paper AND we enjoy setting and achieving goals, then goalscrapping is the way to go.  Goalscrapping came about after wanting to scrapbook, but since I'm in a goal minded phase, I didn't feel that I had enough time for both.  Instead of scrapbooking about past events, I thought I would scrapbook my goals that way I can have all the creative fun, but at the same time work on my goals.  I'm sure I will scrapbook in the future, but for now, this is calling my name.  For creative people, we need to process, reflect, make, think and discover and so I feel that goals setting and progress monitoring in this way is a great match for us. 

Goalscrapping has 2 parts:

Goal Envisioning (Goal Setting): This part will show the images, words, sketches, and information that represent your goals.  It acts as a reference for yourself and a reminder of your goals.  We are using the tactile sense as we develop our goals here.  Information can also be important in achieving goals, so this section will contain that. 

Goal Documenting (Goal Achieving): This part will document the progress of your goals. What does working on your goals look like on a daily or weekly basis? What are the results?  Have all the creative fun here, showing all the progress of your goals.  Cut, paste, write, draw, handletter, there are endless possibilities. 

I've made a video where I talk more about the process, you can watch below.  For the next two weeks, I will be vlogging in my studio a bit everyday as I goalscrap and will edit the clips together to make two videos that I will post the next four Sundays to give a glimpse into my own goals which are preventative health/fitness and mindfulness/meditation. I'll also be posting blog posts with pictures, but more than anything, I'd like to see your goalscrapping...if you use #goalscrapping on Instagram I will be able to see how you are doing it! 

Today is the best time to do what we are called to do and goal setting is the first step, so let's get goalscrapping my creative friends!

Make Paper Flowers as a Decorative Planner Paperclip

Making our planners cute makes our creative souls sing and helps us be more productive too. If you have extra scraps laying around make paper flowers to decorate your planner.  Here is how I made them step by step using the July Planner Society kit paper.  

1. Cut two squares the same size and one smaller.  Experiment with different sizes here, you can make big ones as the one here or make tiny ones.  


2. I cut out the flowers without pattern, but you could make yourself a template and trace then cut the flowers. 


3. Place adhesive 3D pop up dots in the middle of the two large flowers.  You will place the them on top of each other and add the smaller one on top.  


4. For the middle part of the flower you can use anything from a pice of paper, a button or adhere sequins.  In this example I choose a button. 


5.  Lift and fold the petals up to give the flower a more ruffled look. 


6. Depending on the size of the paper flower, choose a paperclip that fits best. 


7. In this example, I used a jumbo paperclip since it's a larger paper flower. 


Enjoy making them and especially seeing them on your planners!


I'd love to see decorative paperclips.  If you'd like, tag me on Instagram at @zookpaperco. 


Making Flip Books for Creative Friends - Step by Step

One of the best parts of social media is making new friends online that share the same interests as you.  There's this one thing that connects you and that is art, crafts, and paper.   I recently made two pen pal/snail mail friends and they are the sweetest and kindest ladies.  Kerry May Makes focuses on mixed media, creative journals and you can click here to read her blog post about the snail mail I sent across the ocean!  Rachel from Greeting with Love runs a beautiful stationary Etsy shop and it turns out we have quite a bit in common.     


I made a flip book for each of them and in this post I'll show the the basics of how I make a flip book step by step.  Let's get started: 

First, gather your materials - scrapbook paper, washi tape, a papercutter and scissors.  For Kerry, Rachel, and this flip book, I used paper and washi tape from The Planner Society Kit that I get on a monthly basis.  


Cut the paper in half and then cut those two pieces in half again. You will end up with four rectangles that are the same size. 


Decide which patterns would look the best and arrange it with three rectangles in a row and one of the rectangles on top of the middle piece.  If you want to stuff it with goodies, then leave a space in between the rectangles to give it some room to close. 


After placing the washi on one side, you will turn the flip book and place the washi on the back.  I love how the patterns work on this example. 


To make a pocket, find a small piece of scrapbook paper and cut it down to the size of the the middle rectangle.  Then adhere it to the middle rectangle with washi and some adhesive to make it stick well. 


The end project is gorgeous and I was so happy how they turned out for my crafty friends.  You could also add pockets to the two sides other two sides.  Then you can embelish, stamp, doodle, put a pice of twine around it and it's ready.  I'd love to see your versions of a flip book, so make sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see them!


Organization of Past Planner Society Kits

Today I received my 18th Planner Society kit and I've enjoyed every single one to date.  It's my monthly creative routine where I get to simply decorate my daily diary without any complications since the kit is beautifully designed and color coordinated.  Here is my routine and organization of past kits.  

Current Monthly Kit - the current kit is contained in a basket or now in a Martha Stewart tin so it can be out of the way, but also convenient when it's time to use it.  The papers I keep in the basket if it's large enough or under the container if needed.  The entire month, I decorate my horizontal Erin Condren planner and use it as a daily diary.  I write about what major things that I do, lessons learned, and reflections.  At the end of the month, I use up all items that are left and store the rest. 

Kit Storage - I use a large container to keep everything that I have left over.  The paper, stamps, notepads and more.  In the video you will see it more in depth.  I use a TPS bag to keep my TPS washi.  At this point, it's nicely organized, but I will be giving away and using it as decoration for snail mail because I would like to use it all and spread the beauty.  

Setting Up a Planner (Episode 3): Ballerina from the Reset Girl Carpe Diem

The 3rd episode in my mini-series All About Ring Bound Planners is where I've set up the Ballerina planner.  I used all the products that I show in Episode 1 and matched that with the categories that I came up with.  The result turned out to be even better than I had hoped for.  I love The Reset Girl products because I love the vintage style and colors.  These products rolled out to Hobby Lobby in March 2016 so it was fun to shop them in person.  Take a look how I set it up and if you are a beginner in the planner world, I hope you get some ideas. 


Setting Up a Planner (Episode 2): Ballerina from the Reset Girl Carpe Diem

I've been setting up my planners for about 20 years now.  Before, my planner was black and not too interesting to look so that's why I loved when I found this new way of keeping a planner: fun and cute!  I thought of the steps that I naturally went through to set up areas in my planner and broke it down into steps.  

In this video I go through the process of determining categories for any planner.  You want each part of the planner to be useful and used for efficiency.  

Let me know what types of categories do you use in your planner?

Setting Up a Planner (Episode 1): Ballerina from the Reset Girl Carpe Diem

I've had a youtube channel for a year now and posted a small number of videos in between full time work and full time graduate school.  I've really enjoyed it so I've committed to making videos consistently now.  I'm enjoying the video making process from idea to final upload.  So recently, I created a mini series called All About setting up a ring-bound planner.  

The first episode shows the planner materials that used which are the Reset Girl Carpe Diem inserts, stickers, notepads, and other planner materials.  Making a planner cute is fun and I wanted to showcase the items that help to add visual interest.