Challenges | Carisa Hendrix | Magician, Circus Stunt Girl & Fire Eater | Calgary & Edmonton


Tossing Business Cards, Notes, & Manuals – Minimalism

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism, Showbiz Leave a comment

When it comes to notes, instruction manuals, business cards and really anything else with a potentially useful bit of information, I had the worst sorting habits for years. I refused to get rid of any scrap of potentially useful information for fear I would be at a loss without it. However, since I did such a terrible job of organizing any of it when the time came to find something I would end up digging through boxes, not finding the stupid thing and making a giant mess.

When I had a meeting at the bank last month and could not find a single file they requested, I realized that something had to be done and with the help of Evernote I managed to digitize absolutly everything into a searchable database of secure files I can access anywhere in just 3 days.

Evernote is a program that uses image capturing, audio recording, tags, and notebooks to digitize, store and organize your information in a way that makes it searchable as hell.

Business Card Capturing

One of Evernote’s best features is business card capturing, which is perfect for helping you remember the people you meet at events of conventions. The business card camera capturing feature takes the clearest possible image of the card, reads the data and adds it in the appropriate fields then finds that person’s Linked in profile and saves everything into a contact note.

This feature alone is worth the price of admission, which can be as little as free depending on which features you need.

Notes & Document Capture

No scanner? No problem. Scannable is a sister app created by Evernote’s that captures paper documents quickly and sharply and creates high-quality scans you can sort, save and share with the touch of a button. Alternativly you can also scan documents into the Evernote app directly, but there are a few extra features with Scannable that are worth considering, including a crop feature.


Once in a while a product actually comes with an electronic copy of the manual, yay! You can file any of these immediately in your Evernote storage. I created a Notebook just for the manuals, then tagged each with a “type” (#tools, #appliances, etc.) to make them easier to find when I need them.

If you don’t have a digital copy of the manual, it’s time to go on the hunt. We can start by visiting the manufacturer’s website since most companies have a cache of docs going back years; as long as you have a model number for the product—usually printed right on it—it is typically easy to find. If that fails you can search manual collections online. ManualsLib is my preferred hub for product manuals, I am always surprised how few people have heard of them since they are likely the largest online database of product manuals.

When you’ve got all your documents digitized and sorted you can go ahead and recycle the original paper copies saving space in your office and your mind.

Tossing my Bills & Recipts – Minimalism

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blog, Challenges, Entertainment Tips, Geek Bleep Vlog, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism, Showbiz Leave a comment

After tossing all my membership and loyalty cards, the next thing to downsize was the pile of business receipts and bills that had been accumulating for years. Every little write-off since I started the company years ago, I was overwhelmed.

In just 3 days, I use 3 killer tools to climb out of the pile of paper and into a clutter free office. (Note: please recycle the paper you declutter)

Automated Book Keeping

Gone are the days of paper bookkeeping, although I loved my paper accounting ledgers I am now a complete Mint convert. Mint is a free online bookkeeping system that automatically pulls transactions from all your accounts in real time. The super clean and easy to use interface allows you to sort and categorize purchases, build budgets, search past transactions and even creates little charts that help you to visualize your spending habits. You can add cash spending transactions manually and the program even starts to learn how to automatically sort your purchases over time.

Easy Receipt Management

Of course with all your bookkeeping migrating online, what do you do with those pesky receipts? Expensify is by far the best app for keeping track of your recipes! Their “SmartScan” system reads your receipt and uses OCR technology to automatically scan for details that allow it to sort and categorize them in an instant.

Paying Bills Online – Go Paperless

The last major change was to make sure all my bills were available online and were no longer being mailed to the house. Phone, internet, power and gas, they can all be paid online which would avoid the extra filing and the extra paper waste. Some companies want you to switch to paperless billing so badly they even charge a small fee, so check your statement to make sure you’re not getting dinged for paper bills you didn’t want in the first place.

Staying on Top of Paper Clutter

The best part of this deliberate purge and move towards digital solutions is that with Mint tracking my bookkeeping, Expensify sorting my receipts and no new paper bills coming in, keeping on top of the office paper clutter is remarkably easy.

Geek Bleep Episode 1 – What to Expect

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blog, Challenges, Geek Bleep Vlog Leave a comment

In this video I talk about this year’s project. To explore my nerdy side for 1 year and vlog about it. Yay!!!!

I’ll be doing videos every week about the adventure so please subscribe 🙂


The Pendulum Swing, 100 Things Challenge Part 4

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blog, Challenges, Minimalism Leave a comment

My last 100 things post revealed how indulging in little purchases sent my list well above the limit. In true fashion, I have since overreacted to the slip-up and trimmed my list all the way down to 77 items. How? Well, I found a way that makes maintaining your personal inventory easy. By shifting your focus to upgrading, repairing or replacing, rather than buying new things, it’s easy to maintain control over junk creep. I upgraded my laptop with 2 extra gigs of ram and replaced the damaged charger cord, bought a very cool toothbrush I had long coveted, and replaced tattered clothing with more fashionable, better-fitted ones.

It has been more satisfying, and easier to manage since there are no new things to keep track of or add to my list and now that my stuff is in tip top shape, I feel less distracted that nagging feeling that something was not quite right. And here’s another interesting paradox. Although I own even fewer things than before, I feel as if I have everything I need. Each item is now better suited to its job, works just right or fits perfectly.

I better appreciate each shirt and every gadget and with fewer items, I’m even finding it easier to make everyday decisions. It reminds me a conversation I had at a dinner party once. I was chatting with an ex-Mormon (or No-Mo-Mo), eventually, I couldn’t resist my urge to ask if she ever missed any part of the Mormon faith. She said “the only thing I miss is always knowing what to do, fewer options made my choices feel easy and correct. I almost never know if I made the right choice anymore.” That statement really stuck with me and now I feel I understand what she meant. It’s like the common belief that Einstein wore the same thing every day and had a closet full of the exact same suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. He didn’t want to take time or focus away from his work to spend on the repetitive task of deciding what to wear. It would seem that having a few good choices is far better than having many mediocre ones.

If you learn from a mistake then nothing was really lost. My previous 100 thing failure has become, as one particularly insightful friend would call it, a teachable moment.

My Very Few Items


  1. Shirt – White Tank Top
  2. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top Black Lace
  3. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top Orange
  4. Shirt – Long Sleeve Knit Top, Horizontal Striped
  5. Shirt – Solid Red Fitted T-shirt
  6. Shirt – Patterned Yellow Fitted T-shirt
  7. Shirt – Patterned Black & White T-shirt
  8. Shirt – White Buttoned Down Top
  9. Shirt – Work Out
  10. Shirt – T-shirt for Lounging at Home
  11. Sweater – Gray Wrap
  12. Shell – White Lace
  13. Shrug – Black Ballet
  14. Pants – Fitted Dark Jeans
  15. Pants – Black & Orange
  16. Pants – Black & Blue
  17. Pants – Charcoal Coloured Dress Pants
  18. Pants – Work Out Shorts
  19. Pants – Stretchy Yoga Pants for Lounging at Home
  20. Skirt – Long / Black
  21. Skirt – Short / Red Striped
  22. Skirt – Mid Length / Grey
  23. Dress – Pink and White Sun Dress
  24. Dress – Little Black Dress
  25. House Coat – Kimono
  26. Socks – 10 Pair
  27. Underwear – 10 pairs / 2 Bras
  28. Bathing Suit – Polka dot one piece
  29. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  30. Shoes – Brown Moccasin Stye Winter Boots
  31. Shoes – Black Exercise Shoes
  32. Shoes – Grey Ballet Flats
  33. Shoes – Heeled Boots
  34. Long Warm Coat
  35. Sun Glasses
  36. Hat – Warm Tuque
  37. Gloves – Warm Brown
  38. Belt – Wide and Black
  39. Hip Sack – Blue


  1. Jewelry Pieces (3 items)
  2. Make Up Palette – Mac Palette
  3. Make Up Brush / Grooming Kit
  4. Hair Straightener
  5. Hair Brush
  6. Hair Comb
  7. Hair Clips
  8. Toothbrush – OHSO Pocket Toothbrush
  9. Diva Cup
  10. First Aid & Repair Kit

Office and Electronics

  1. Laptop – Macbook with Second Skin Folder
  2. Video Camera – Flip
  3. Camera – Point and Shoot / Olympus Water Proof Digital
  4. Phone – iPhone & iPhone Mobile Tail
  5. Hard Drive – 500 GB
  6. Hard Drive – 100 GB
  7. Thumb Drive – 10 GB
  8. Headphone – Wrap Around
  9. Headphone – Ear Buds
  10. Podcast Microphone
  11. Battery Charger
  12. Solar Powered Battery Charger
  13. Label Maker
  14. Notebook – Mole Skin
  15. File Folder

Items Just For Fun

  1. Book – Non-fiction
  2. Bike – Hampton Cruiser
  3. Art Collection

Every Day Items

  1. Keys
  2. Money Clip
  3. Business Card Holder
  4. Messenger Bag – ChicoBag
  5. Portable Purse Hanger
  6. Water Bottle – Nalgeen
  7. Aeropress Coffee Maker


  1. Suit Case – Carry On
  2. Suit Case – Blue, Air Canada, Medium Sized
  3. Hanging Toiletry Kit – Victorinox

Resources for this article:

Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times‘ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits’ blog article

One Drawer Fashion, The 333 Challenge

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges Leave a comment

image of my meticulously organized Single drawer of clothing

The Challenge

Originally proposed by Courtney Carver of the Be More With Less book and blog, the 333 challenge is an effort to live for 3 months with only 33 items in your wardrobe, including jewellery, shoes and other accessories.

With the 100 items challenge having already whittled down my clothing collection substantially, reducing it even further is a significant challenge. A tangential issue is that I’m not actually doing all that well at keeping my possessions to 100 items, at the moment I’m sitting at around 110 since indulging in a retail therapy experiment for my “30 days to find my zen” challenge.

The Rules

  1. When: October 1 – December 31
  2. What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  3. What’s not included: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – socks, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing
    How: over the next two months, outline your 33 items, by the 1st of October, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  4. What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe you can live, work, and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out, approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

In July, I began the initial part of the 333 challenge by sorting through clothing and considering something I rarely had before, fashion. Actually making the 333 list exposed my deep fashion naivety when it occurred to me that I didn’t know the names for the types of clothing I owned, such as the shrug, the knit top or finding out that it’s a button down top not a button up. I still have a few weeks to finalize my list of the wearable items that will get me through work, play, and travel for three months, but this is my preliminary list:

My 333 List


  1. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top
  2. Shirt – Tank Top
  3. Shirt – Long Sleeve Knit Top
  4. Shirt – Red T-shirt
  5. Shirt – Yellow T-shirt
  6. Shirt – Patterned T-shirt
  7. Shirt – Star Trek T-shirt
  8. Shirt – White Buttoned Down Top


  1. Pants – Jeans
  2. Pants – Red
  3. Pants – Black & Red
  4. Pants – Black


  1. Skirt – Long / Black
  2. Skirt – Short / Red Striped
  3. Skirt – Short / Grey


  1. Dress – Sun
  2. Dress – LBD


  1. Shoes – Flats
  2. Shoes – Walking
  3. Shoes – Heeled Boots

Coats & Sweaters

  1. Long Coat
  2. Long Grey Sweater


  1. Sun Glasses
  2. Hat – Fedora
  3. Belt – Black
  4. Hip Sack – Blue
  5. Shell – White Lace
  6. Shrug – Black Ballet
  7. Vest – Leather
  8. Jewelry – Earrings
  9. Jewelry – Necklace

The challenge officially starts October 1st and I’m excited to use the limitations of the 333 challenge to spark my fashion creativity and passion.

Wish me luck 🙂

Too Much Stuff Fail, 100 Thing Challenge Part 3

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges, Minimalism 1 Comment

Edited by Patricia Taylor

After two months of doing the 100 Thing Challenge, I’ve run into some…well…challenges. My initial 97 items have ballooned into 112. It wasn’t even until I went through my things in preparation for this article that I noticed how many new items I had actually acquired.

How does this happen? How do we accumulate so much stuff without even noticing? I asked around and did some research and discovered that we are all susceptible to a few common traps.

The Trap of Justification

Whenever we think about making a purchase, there are little justifications we use to convince ourselves the item we want is really and truly the item we need. If you are anything like me the internal monolog of retail rationalizing sounds a little bit like this:

“Do I need it? It’s a bit pricey, is it really worth it? Can I get it cheaper? Well, I’m here now and I have that money coming in next week from X, Y, and Z. I deserve a little treat anyway, and I think I’d use it. Imagine all the stuff I could do with it. Yeah, I should get it.”

Next thing you know you’re bouncing home, purchase in hand, confident you made the right decision and have enriched your life with this new trinket. Fast forward a week or two later, where is that item you were so sure you couldn’t live without?? In a closet? In a drawer? Or in the trash?

The Trap of “I Deserve It”

At the beginning of May, around my birthday, two interesting ‘stuff’ related things were happening. First, I was feeling very grateful that most of my friends were giving me digital gifts, or taking me to dinner or a show for my birthday. Nearly no one bought me physical items that would count towards my list. I felt warm and fuzzy when I thought of how this reflected the support of my friends and family, though part of me suspected it may have actually more to do with convenience since I am notoriously hard to buy for.

I also found myself unable to resist a few birthday purchases. It was so easy to tell myself “well it’s my birthday, I deserve it” and buy a new iPhone and other gadgets guilt free.

I suspect this trap of rewarding ourselves with new stuff is a huge contributor to our mass consumption, crippling credit card debts and overstuffed houses and minds. There is nothing wrong with celebrating your successes, in fact doing so can contribute to the overall better quality of life; but what about taking a nice bike ride, having a lazy afternoon or curling up at your favorite coffee shop with a good book from the library. Why not start a habit of rewarding ourselves with experiences rather than things, it’s at least as satisfying, usually cheaper and better for the planet.

The Trap of Things as Crutches

Whether it’s retail therapy issues, buying things to reinforce identity or being unable to resist a sale, it helps to know the ‘why’ behind the things you buy. Take some time to do a little soul searching and ask yourself why you keep buying all that unnecessary flotsam and jetsam.

In the last couple months, I have fallen prey to many of these traps and I realize now that I’ll have to try a lot harder if I want to keep to 100 items.

My Too Many Items


  1. Sun Glasses – Clic Googles
  2. Hat – Fedora
  3. Hat – Fox Tuque
  4. ***New*** Hat – Ball Cap
  5. Belt – For Pants
  6. Belt – For Dresses
  7. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  8. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  9. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  10. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  11. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  12. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  13. Shirt – Warm Weather / T-shirt (Fightlinker)
  14. ***New*** Shirt – Warm Weather / T-shirt (Firepedia)
  15. Shirt – Warm Weather / Red Jacob T-shirt
  16. Shirt – Warm Weather
  17. Shirt – Warm Weather
  18. Shirt – Warm Weather
  19. Shirt – Button up
  20. Shirt – Cold Weather / Invader Zim
  21. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  22. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  23. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black and Grey Striped long
  24. Shirt – Cold Weather
  25. Shirt – Cold Weather
  26. Sweater – Lulu Lemon
  27. Sweater – Long & Grey
  28. Sweater – Work Out
  29. Vest – Leather
  30. Pants – Jeans
  31. Pants – Pin Strip Black Formal
  32. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  33. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  34. Pants – Work Out
  35. Pants – Work Out
  36. Pants
  37. Pants
  38. Pants
  39. Shorts
  40. Leggings
  41. Leggings
  42. Skirt – Long / Red
  43. Skirt – Long / Blue
  44. Skirt – Long / Partnered
  45. Skirt – Long / Black
  46. Skirt – Short / Black
  47. Skirt – Short / Grey
  48. Dress – Evening
  49. Dress – Sun
  50. Dress – Cocktail
  51. Suit – Grey Pinstripe
  52. House Coat – Kimono
  53. Socks – 10 Pair
  54. Bathing Suit – Pokka dot one piece
  55. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  56. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  57. Underwear – 10 pairs
  58. Shoes – Flats
  59. Shoes – Converse
  60. Shoes – Heels
  61. Long Coat
  62. ***New*** Black Jacket
  63. ***New*** Hip Sack – Blue


  1. Small Jewelry and Costume Pieces (12 items)
  2. Make Up Palette – Mac Palette
  3. Make Up Brush / Grooming Kit
  4. Hair Straightener
  5. Hair Brush
  6. Hair Clip
  7. Hair Clip
  8. Comb
  9. Toothbrush – Electric
  10. Face Cloth
  11. First Aid Kit

Office and Electronics

  1. Laptop – Macbook
  2. Video Camera – Flip
  3. ***Replaced*** Camera – Point and Shoot / Olympus Water Proof Digital
  4. Old Camera Broken- Point and Shoot
  5. ***Replaced*** Phone – iPhone
  6. Old Broken Phone – iPhone
  7. Hard Drive – 500 GB
  8. Hard Drive – 100 GB
  9. Thumb Drive 10 GB
  10. Headphone – Roots
  11. ***New*** Headphone – Ear Buds
  12. ***New*** Headphone Splitter
  13. Podcast Microphone
  14. Battery Charger
  15. ***New*** Solar Powered Battery Charger
  16. Label Maker
  17. Notebook – MoleSkine
  18. Filing Portfolio


  1. Book – Non-fiction
  2. Book – Fiction
  3. Bike – Hampton Cruiser

Every Day Items

  1. Keys
  2. Money Clip (Bulldog clip)
  3. ***New*** Business Card Holder
  4. Water Bottle – Nalgene
  5. ***New*** Reusable Coffee Mug
  6. ***New*** Aeropress Coffee Maker

Travel and Repair

  1. Passport
  2. Suit Case – Carry On
  3. Suit Case – Blue, Air Canada, Medium Sized
  4. Suit Case – Day Pack / Hydro pack
  5. ***New*** Flight Case -Blue
  6. Sewing Kit

Home Decor

  1. Comforter and Sheet Set
  2. Art – Water Color Painting
  3. Art – Waterhouse Print
  4. ***New*** Art – Print
  5. ***New*** Art – Print

Resources for this article:
Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times’ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits’ blog article

The Game Begins, The 100 Thing Challenge Part 2

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges, Minimalism Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I posted an article about the “100 Thing Challenge” (a yearlong experiment to live with only 100 personal items) and my desire to try it out for myself.

Just in time for spring cleaning the ‘100 thing challenge’ was exactly the kind of personal experiment I needed. The challenge would allow me to shrink my suitcase down to the essentials for the sake of my new travel lifestyle; as well as explore my interest in larger issues related to stuff, such as minimalism, hoarding, and environmental impact. I buckled down and meticulously sorted through my various possessions, making detailed lists, hard decisions and giving a lot away. Going through and questioning the nature and uses of every possession was eye opening. I never realized how many things I kept for sentimental or odd reasons. For example, I found it difficult to give away things I had never used (and likely never would) because I felt I hadn’t gotten the value of them yet. It was a hard process but my lighter suitcase and mind are more than worth it.

The following are my rules and guidelines for the challenge.

Rules and Guidelines

  1. The number 100 is arbitrary; you might pick 200, or 50 items. It’s entirely up to you. Just make sure the number is realistic but still challenging. The goal is not to lower your quality of life. If you can’t make it to 100 items without making your life more difficult, then change your number.
  2. You may wish to count some groups of items as ‘one set’ if they are important for you to keep and would otherwise take over your list. Dave Bruno, the author of the 100 Thing Challenge book, uses the idea to count his huge library as ‘one library’ since reading is very important to him.
  3. This challenge is a personal one. Resist the urge to pressure friends or family into throwing away their junk, it’s not nice.

My Exceptions and Item Sets

  1. Show Biz Items: Props, AV equipment and costumes will not be counted since they are for work.
  2. Underwear: A pack of 12 will be counted as one set.
  3. Socks: A pack of 12 will be counted as one set.
  4. Consumables: Items such as toothpaste, shampoo and food will not be counted.
  5. Items with accessories (ie cords, covers, plugs) will be counted as a single item.
  6. First Aid & Repair Items: Anything from a needle and thread to duct tape will be put into one kit along with Tylenol and bandaids and considered as a single item. (The First Aid & Repair kit)
  7. Records and Files: Each file box or portfolio will be counted as one item. Digital files do not count.

After ample tossing and sorting I have finally arrived at 97 items, which means I have 3 items of wiggle room. Success!

My 100 Items


  1. Sun Glasses – Clic Googles
  2. Hat – Fedora
  3. Hat – Fox Tuque
  4. Belt – For Pants
  5. Belt – For Dresses
  6. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  7. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  8. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  9. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  10. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  11. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  12. Shirt – Warm Weather / T-shirt (Fightlinker)
  13. Shirt – Warm Weather / Red Jacob T-shirt
  14. Shirt – Warm Weather
  15. Shirt – Warm Weather
  16. Shirt – Warm Weather
  17. Shirt – Button down
  18. Shirt – Cold Weather / Invader Zim
  19. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  20. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  21. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black and Grey Striped long
  22. Shirt – Cold Weather
  23. Shirt – Cold Weather
  24. Sweater – Lulu Lemon
  25. Sweater – Long & Grey
  26. Sweater – Work Out
  27. Vest – Leather
  28. Pants – Jeans
  29. Pants – Pin Strip Black Formal
  30. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  31. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  32. Pants – Work Out
  33. Pants – Work Out
  34. Pants
  35. Pants
  36. Pants
  37. Shorts
  38. Leggings
  39. Leggings
  40. Skirt – Long / Red
  41. Skirt – Long / Blue
  42. Skirt – Long / Partnered
  43. Skirt – Long / Black
  44. Skirt – Short / Black
  45. Skirt – Short / Grey
  46. Dress – Evening
  47. Dress – Sun
  48. Dress – Cocktail
  49. Suit – Grey Pinstripe
  50. House Coat – Kimono
  51. Socks – 12 Pair
  52. Bathing Suit – Polka dot one piece
  53. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  54. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  55. Underwear – 12 pairs
  56. Shoes – Flats
  57. Shoes — Converse
  58. Shoes – Heels
  59. Long Coat


  1. Small Jewelry and Costume Pieces (12 items)
  2. Make Up Palette – Mac Palette
  3. Make Up Brush / Grooming Kit
  4. Hair Straightener
  5. Hair Brush
  6. Hair Clip
  7. Hair Clip
  8. Comb
  9. Toothbrush – Electric
  10. Face Cloth
  11. First Aid & Repair kit

Office and Electronics

  1. Laptop – Macbook
  2. Video Camera – Flip
  3. Camera – Point and Shoot / Canon Cybershot
  4. Phone – iPhone
  5. Hard Drive – 500 GB
  6. Hard Drive – 100 GB
  7. Thumb Drive – 10 GB
  8. Headphone – Roots
  9. Podcast Microphone
  10. Battery Charger
  11. Label Maker
  12. Notebook – MoleSkine
  13. Filing Portfolio


  1. Book – Non-fiction
  2. Book – Fiction
  3. Bike – Hampton Cruiser

Every Day Carry

  1. Keys
  2. Money Clip (Bulldog clip)
  3. Water Bottle – Nalegeen

Travel and Repair

  1. Passport
  2. Suit Case – Carry On
  3. Suit Case – Blue, Air Canada, Medium Sized
  4. Suit Case – Day Pack / Hydro pack
  5. Sewing Kit

Home Decor

  1. Comforter and Sheet Set
  2. Painting – Original
  3. Painting – Waterhouse Print

Resources for this article:
Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times’ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits’ blog article

Spring Clean Like a Minimalist – The 100 Thing Challenge

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges, Minimalism 2 Comments

Spring cleaning is trending on Twitter which means the nice weather is just around the corner. I have a deep love for the spring scrub and purge ritual that stems from childhood. Working together as a family to de-clutter and downsize, wash and scrub is a cherished memory. Opening all the windows and doors to get the staleness of winter out and bring in the smell of spring always gave me the satisfying feeling of a fresh start.

People just need to reboot now and again and have a chance to feel free and clear of all that built up mental and physical junk. In high school and college, the semester breaks cut your educational career into manageable chunks and I think we can use spring cleaning as a way to break our lives up in the same way. Every year around this time I make a big deal of getting everything under control; laundry, home repairs, the closets, the fridge, everything.

This year I thought, why not shake things up, why not do something a little more interesting, fun, and introspective? Why not narrow my personal things down to 100 items and get rid of the rest?

The idea first came to me from the Zen Habits article on the 100 items challenge, which sparked my interest and sent me on a wild Google search for others who had challenged themselves to this practice in radical minimalism. Low and behold, Dave Bruno, the originator of the idea, had written a book on the topic. In the spirit of minimalism, I bought the Kindle version and started to read.

I love the idea of the 100 Thing Challenge and want to try it out for myself, so I will. As of the end of this month, I will own no more that 100 items. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be narrowing my worldly possessions down to the bare essentials. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing yourself I recommend you check out Dave Bruno’s wonderful book The 100 Thing Challenge

How I plan to explore this challenge:

  • Read Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge book
  • Find & read other books and resources about the human relationship with stuff, consumerism, minimalism, and hoarding
  • Go through my things and reduce to 100 items
  • Check up on my 100 items periodically to see how I’m doing
  • Explore the effects on my life and my happiness

Resources for this article:
Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times‘ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits‘ blog article

The Joy of 30 day Challenges

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blog, Challenges 2 Comments

Turning 24 was different. It was the first birthday I began to feel remotely grown up. This new sense of looming adulthood was alarming and made me call into question my efforts to become the woman I wanted to become.

After a 11 months travel binge, returning home for my birthday was a great opportunity to reflect on what I wanted out of my next trip around the sun. I made a list, my go-to solution, of important things I wanted to work on then spent the next few weeks working on all my resolutions, on and off, in an attempt to cram in personal development in the same characteristic way I used to study for finals. Vowing to eat better, get more sleep and answer all email within 48 hours then abandoning the me resolutions to watch 10 episodes of Monk on Netflix and eat an entire bag of potato chips.

Overwhelmed by my own overcompensation, I needed a better solution.

One late night, whille ignoring my resolution to sleep better, I decided to watch some TED talks. A video by Matt Cutts about creating 30 day challenges struck me. I decided to make my own list of fun 30 day challenges that would help me work with more focus and hopefully more success.

I am naturally an obsessive person so this appealed me me.

Bellow is a table created to make it easy to follow my challenges, new articles will be added for each area. I hope you will watch the video embedded at the end of the article and consider starting a 30 day challenge yourself.

This is the “try something for 30 days” TED Talk referenced above. Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google, where he fights link-spam and helps webmasters understand how search works. Read more at

If you want to follow along with my challenges, bookmark this page as the table will be updated with any new post. Let me know if you’re doing any challenges yourself I’d love to read about your experience. Please email me at

Resources for this article:
Ready For A challenge Via
Matt Cutts’s Inspiring Ted Talk
How Long to Form a Habit? Via PsyBlog

Getting Ready for a Meatless Month

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Challenges Leave a comment

For my second 30 day challenge I decided to tackle my unfortunate meat-etarian diet. Inspired by the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as a recent rounding of my belly area (a symptom of having a boyfriend who can whip up 5 star meals at a whim) I figured it was a good time to give meatless meals another try.

This was not the first time I had experimented with vegetarianism. I had tried once durring my ‘get out and protest’ phase at the age of 15. I had managed to stay off meat for 6 months before the alluring smell of sizzling bacon one morning beat out my desire to feel in-group and superior.

Later on, after moving out of the house and reading Fast Food Nation, I tried to go veg again. But working full time while trying to jumpstart my career in entertainment left little time to plan or make nutritional meat-less meals. As a result I would often skip meals or rely on cheese whiz and ichiban (early bachelorette staples I now avoid). After 6 month I looked ill and my hair was beginning to thin out. I returned reluctantly to eating meat. It was much easier, with options like deli meat and frozen dinners, to maintain the very basics of nutrition.

Since that negative experience things have changed. I have more free time now, and a much better understanding of basic cooking and proper diet. I am in a much better place to explore vegetarianism again and am excited to get started with this month’s challenge.

Why Go Meat-less?

When ever someone catches you avoiding the meat dishes on a menu they usually ask “Are you vegetarian? Why? Are you an animal activist or is it a diet thing?”

As much as I like the ideas of being nice to cute piggies and cows, it is not the motivating force behind why I want to stop eating meat. The environmental impact of our over-consumption of beef, pork and poultry is staggering and the impact on our national health is equally bad.

Bacon or sausage with breakfast, deli meat at lunch, and steak, burgers or a roast with dinner, our meals revolve around meat. The majority of North Americans consume 1/2 pound of meat a day, 7 times the recommended daily amount. I experienced this first hand. Born in northern Saskatchewan where pork abounds, and raised in Alberta on Alberta Beef, meat has been the central part of every meal.

Some Data To Consider

  1. It takes an average of 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein where as it takes 1 calories of fossil for 1 calorie of soybeans.
  2. It takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein.
  3. The methane produced by cattle is 20X more poisonous that C02.

These stats made me realize that the environmental impact of my lunch was not worth the momentary pleasure.

How I plan to explore this challenge:

  • Re-read the Omnivore’s Dilemma & Fast Food Nation
  • Research and explore issues around vegetarianism, vegan-ism, the whole and the organic food movement
  • Challenge myself to cook a variety of interesting vegetarian recipes
  • Practice self control
  • Make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables

Resources for this article:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma