The Art of RAK'ing.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

When the idea to collab with The Human Worth Project surfaced, I had a million questions on my mind. Does everyone know what a RAK is? Are we able to RAK without exhausting our savings? Do RAK's always have to be given to a stranger? The list goes on and on. So I want to start with the basics before I go a little deeper, because I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's thought of these questions before.

First off, RAK stands for "Random Act of Kindness" this abbreviation will definitely be used a lot in this blog, partly because of my laziness, and partly because I like the ring to it. I will also use it as both a noun and a verb. Such as I just RAK'd that girl, or I received a RAK the other day. A Random Act of Kindness can be done anytime, anywhere. It can be done for your spouse, for your best friend, for the stranger behind you in the drive through lane, or for that social media follower that peeked your interest. Now that we've got all of that RAK jargon out of the way, I need to tell you that Chelsea (my friend over at The Human Worth Project), and I are working hard on compiling a list of ideas for those of you who are interested in RAKs but are unsure of how or where to start. This list will be budget minded so that any and everyone can RAK! Keep coming back, because we've got some really great ideas up our sleeve.

Now, let's dive a little deeper shall we?

I want to clarify something for those of us considering RAKs. This is a lifestyle. It is my belief that RAKing is not something that we pre-plan or arrange. Sure it can definitely be that. But what it truly is, is jumping on the opportunity when it presents itself. The lifestyle of RAKing means listening to those around you, seeing a need, and if you have the means, filling it. There is a selflessness to RAKing that is so beautiful. Chelsea, talks about this idea of selflessness on her blog and does such a wonderful job.

What I really want to try and hit home here is the idea that RAKs happen on the spot. The lifestyle of RAKing requires that we examine what's going on around us, listen to our fellow human, recognize needs, be observant enough, outside of yourself enough, to see the world around you. It requires going into the coffee shop and noticing someone who's there alone. It requires driving down the road and seeing someone's car on the side of the road with it's hood up. It requires realizing that the person behind you in McDonalds who's honking and being a complete jerk, is probably having a bad day. It's seeing your world, and seeing your fellow humans.

Second, it's acting. This is where I want to stress that RAKing does not have to extravagant. It does not mean we go out and purchase a new car for somebody. It does not mean that we go on a shopping spree and create this elaborate gift basket or bouquet. RAKing is just as beautiful and just as impacting if it's kept small. It's buying a coffee for that frazzled new mom with a crying child in her lap at the coffee shop. It's stopping and seeing if that person on the side of road needs a jump. It's paying for the guy behind you and leaving the message "I hope your day gets better". It's giving a little to your fellow human. You notice your co-worker is struggling with something you're pretty awesome at? It's taking time out of your lunch for a little tutoring. You've read, and have a copy of a book that someone is dying to read? It's lending them your copy.

Now, let me clarify something else. RAK'ing can definitely be BIG. If you have the means and the desire to largely bless someone, then do it! Are you a crafty person that loves creating get well soon baskets? Do it! Use your gifts, your talents, and what you love to do to bless others. Not everything requires money, but everything requires time. Which is what RAK'ing boils down too.

Taking the time to notice, and taking the time to care.

I encourage you to go check out Chelsea's blog at

Until next time,

The Human Worth Project

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Has life ever gotten the best of you? Like, you're a fighter. You kick, and you punch, and you claw your way to get ahead, only to be shot down? Yeah, me too.

But that's life, they say. Welcome to the real world, they say. It's only the least of it, they'll tell you. But isn't that the problem?

Everyone is too busy "getting ahead" that we never stop to think, notice, or encourage the ones that are in the very shoes we once walked in. Are we too egocentric that we fail to realize the very muck that we once overcame came can be, and probably is, someone else's reality today? And are we too good, too superior, too experienced, to extend a hand back into that shadow of our past to pull someone else out?

Has humanity lost their since of compassion? Have we lost our generosity? Our empathy? Our ability to hold each other up, be each other's crutches, lift one another, comfort one another, and just relate? While we're striving to get "ahead" others are crumbling beneath our strides. While we reach to put mounds of food on the table, other's are just hoping for the scraps.

Where are we fellow humans? What have we allowed ourselves to be? And what in the world is so fantastic about being "ahead?"

Can we ever get far enough ahead? Can we ever accomplish contentment?

My gut says no. 

**Side note**

I grew up in a humble family. Not a lot extra, but enough that we were fed, had clothes, and could play sports throughout our adolescence. There were times my parents broke under the stress of financial burdens. Times where we weren't sure where our food would come from, or how we'd make it to the next paycheck. But somehow we always made it.

My mother was the woman that taught me about life. With a flick of the wrist and a little make up, she turned her daughter into a woman who could live and thrive off of a small budget. She raised a woman that could create a home out of a small house; who could look like a million bucks from thrift shop finds; and she taught a little girl what it meant to be strong, supportive, feminine, and happy.

With $10 in her wallet, my mother could turn a boring Friday night into girls night. An evening known for virgin margaritas, facials, pedicures, and the movie Practical Magic. Some of my best memories come out from under a dollar store mud mask, and department store nail polish. And guess what? All of this rooted from when we were behind.


So naturally when I ponder about the likelihood of finding contentment, I am a bit pessimistic when said contentment is the result of getting ahead.

Rather, a different notion wisps around in my stomach, fluttering my heart, before finally managing to escape my being.

Contentment is found in humanity. 

It's found in relationships that nourish and strengthen us. It's found in people that challenge us, motivate us, and push us to better ourselves and our lives. Contentment is found when we are capable of reaching beyond ourselves and into the lives of others where we find our missing pieces.

As individuals we fail because of our weaknesses, and we succeed because of our strengths.

So why is it such a noble idea to unite together, under the commonality of our humanity, and succeed as one? To get ahead as one?

That's what I believe the Human Worth Project is all about - restoring the very essence of our humanity and our ability to relate to one another.

This post is serving as a redirection of my blog. From now on I hope that both my writings and life can center around the very purpose of reestablishing human worth. I have made a personal decision to dedicate my life to this project. To seek and restore the worth of those around me. And while simplifying our lives can and will free us to bless and invest in others. We face an exception - Humans. People. You see, relationships are messy. They are complex, complicated, and just down right exhausting.

But have you ever felt like life just got the best of you? Yeah, me too.

Janette's Post - Simplify Your Planner!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hello! My name is Janette and I'm a lifestyle blogger at Janette Lane Blog. I live in California and lead a quiet and simple life with my husband, Lovey (Not his real name. Wish it was.). Aubrey asked if I could share something today on her lovely blog about simplifying for the New Year. I'm an easy going girl and I like to keep things simple. So this post is right up my alley! Today I want to share about how I simplified my planner for 2015.

About 3 months ago, I decided to start keeping a planner to organize my daily life. I devoted a lot of time to decorating it because work was kind of slow then. I had the time and kind of went crazy with it. I decorated it with affordable DIY stickers, washi, and die cuts of all kinds. Here are some snapshots of what my planner looked like.

The beginning of the new year is always a good time to make changes. Also, it's one of the busiest times of the year for me. So I decided to change my planner, mostly because I knew I wouldn't have time to maintain it. I got a new (and much smaller) planner from Target from the Sugar Paper line. I try and keep the decorations to a minimum and mostly use it to write my daily tasks and for reminders. Here's what looks like:

Such a difference from the other planner, right??? Now I know this might not seem like such a huge change, but I'll be honest, it has saved me tons of time (and glue). Now I can devote my creative energies to other projects.

Maybe there's an area of your life where you can cut back. Try to determine where you can better invest your time, and make that change. Could be something big, like giving up Netflix marathons to exercise more, or it could be something as easy as downsizing your planner! Simplify your life! Make the change :)

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

Lovely Blog Award

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome back to 528 Square Feet, and boy am I so glad you stopped by! Before we get into Janette's AWESOME planner post on Thursday, (and I mean you WILL want to see this!) I have some MAJOR news to tell you!

I have been nominated for the "Lovely Blog Award"

This is kind of a big deal for me, seeing as I started my blog on a complete whim! <3 I'm so thankful for the nomination by Maureen over at Happily Embellished! She is literally one of the nicest and most supportive person I have met here in the planner and blogger world. I'm so happy to me making such positive friends throughout my simplified journey.

Here's how this blog award works:

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by bloggers for newer or up-and-coming fellow bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and to also help the new blogger reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the blogger who chose them.  In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines.

The rules for accepting the award are:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself!
  3. Nominate 15 or so other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know! 

I also am only nominating a hand full of people to illustrate my sincerity in my nominations!

My nominations are as followed:

Janette Lane

Lastly, my blogger, planner, and youtube idol:


Once again I am so incredibly grateful to Maureen for nominating me, and want to thank all my nominations for being an inspiration to me!

Now the harder part - my 7 facts!

  1. My absolutely favorite thing to do when going on dates with my husband is to go fishing! 
  2. I LOVE the new television series "Alaskan Bush People!"
  3. Before we downsized and I decided to simplify my life, I was a cluttered mess and had an overwhelming amount of craft literally couldn't even walk in my office.
  4. I am currently on a weight loss journey, and my weight has always been a constant struggle. 
  5. I was once a vegetarian until I worked in my local butcher shop where I was converted because of bacon. 
  6. I've only ever been in a hospital twice in my life - once for my birth, and the other for a dislocated pinky.
  7. I'm also a youth pastor and going back to school in February to get my teaching license.

I'm so excited to have been nominated for this award, and I can't wait to see all the other nominations that will come pouring in! I'm so thankful for my readers, and all the support I've received this far in my blogging journey! You guys are the best!!!

Simplify something this week!!!


Kelly's Fab Fitness - Simplifying your Health (Pt. 2)

Friday, January 16, 2015

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is figuring out what is and what isn’t healthy to eat. 

How you should be eating through the day and what you should be fueling your body with. Honestly, it isn’t simple in the beginning with cravings and temptations, but if you plan properly, and eat when you should, those feelings of a hollow stomach will dissipate quickly.

When creating a healthy lifestyle plan, there are a few things you need to understand:

Set a weekly goal – Every Sunday I set my goals for the week.  For example: how many days I want to make it to the gym, what I am going to eat for the week and how many pounds would I like to lose. I also like to add in other goals for myself like making it to 6 miles in 50 minutes on the stairmaster, or to add in sprinting intervals for 20 minutes on the treadmill. Something that will push me physically for the week as I LOVE a challenge.

Plan ahead – When you plan your meals ahead, it makes it a lot harder to cheat.  On Sundays I prep for the week.  I do all of my grocery shopping for lunches and dinners and then I spend a couple hours prepping my lunches for the week. I can get sick of the same thing every day for lunch so I like to mix it up for dinner.

Ask yourself if it is worth it – Every time temptation gets in my way, I ask myself if the calories are worth it.  I think about how far I have come and how hard I have worked and if it is still worth it, I eat it.  And let me tell you, afterwards I generally feel like it is not worth it. If saying no is hard, I pop in sugar free gum, or drink a liter of water, or a cup of green tea to curb my craving.

Track everything you do – I use myfitnesspal.  I track everything that I eat and drink in a day.  I set my nutrition to 45% protein, 30% carbs and 25% healthy fats. While I plan my meals, I make sure that my nutrition fits into those calories.

Cut out sugar – Sugar is one of the biggest causes of belly fat. Cutting out sugar really helps with your energy level, weight loss and overall health.  Even eating too much fruit is bad for you.  Try to cut your fruit intake to 1 – 2 servings per day and don’t consume anything with more than 10 grams of sugar.

Eat Dark Chocolate once a day – I eat one square of 70% cocoa dark chocolate per day. It helps with the sugar cravings and gives me that little something sweet.  After a while, when you eat real chocolate or sugar, you will find that those food items are TOO sweet.

Give yourself a cheat meal – if you need one. – If you feel that you need a cheat meal once a week, then give yourself a cheat meal. The reason that people fail is that they never give themselves a break. If you are being consistent and doing what you should, having a cheat meal isn’t going to kill you. Honestly, after a while you won’t need one as you will realize that your cheat meal doesn’t make you feel as great as a clean meal would.

Overall weightloss is about consistency, so make the change and you will see results!

An example of a day for me looks like this:

Protein Shake with 1 serving of fruit, 2 egg whites, protein powder, almond milk and spinach

15 Raw Almonds

Grilled Chicken
Brown rice or roasted sweet potatoes

Chocolate Milk OR apple with almond butter

Homemade Extra-Lean Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup

Total Calories: Roughly 1750
Total Calories Burned: Roughly 800

To learn more about keeping it simple and clean eating, go to my blog

Looking for my soup recipe? Check it out HERE!

Kelly's Fab Fitness - Simplify your HEALTH!

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Weighing in at 239lbs, I realized that this weight, the weight I thought I would never see in my lifetime, was a choice."

Sitting with my doctor and him telling me that I won’t be able to have kids if I don’t lose weight was a big wake up call.  I sat there thinking about how I stopped weighing myself at 220.. saying, oh it will come off.  I just have to eat an extra salad a week. Take the stairs once in a while… it will come off.  I chose to stop weighing myself, I chose to continue to drink a lot and often, I chose to eat poorly and not work out. I made that choice.

Now, at 239lbs, I had to make a choice to either continue down that path or make a change.  The thing that the doctor didn’t tell me till later is that now that I wanted to lose weight, it would be that much harder because my hormones were completely off track and losing weight with high estrogen means that I have to try harder than most people.

It took me about 4 months and an embarrassing video where my stomach was hanging over a chair to realize that I had to make a real change. It’s not easy, but it’s a choice that I had to make.  I started small, the elliptical machine for 15 minutes and 20 crunches 3 times a week.  I also did Pilates at home with my then boyfriend, now husband.  I quickly dropped 10lbs. 

Thinking that I was doing it right, I kept up with the work out, except for when I was traveling…. Which was every other week for 5 days. I ate OK most of the time, except for when I was traveling. Again, a choice that I was making to not really give it everything that I had.  So I hired a trainer at my gym.  I am not going to lie to you, I cancelled a lot in the beginning as it was hard and it was really early in the morning.  But when I started kickboxing with my trainer, working out became fun. I started to see a huge difference in my body and energy.  I realized that the food that I was eating was actually making me sluggish and not helping my work out.  So I decided to make more of a conscious effort to eat better, even when I was traveling.  At this point working out while traveling still wasn’t my thing.  But my eating better consisted of actually eating breakfast, oatmeal every day. Actually making a point to eat lunch every day and to try to make a healthy dinner, like homemade vegetable soup or salmon salad instead of Turkey Lasagna. (Which by the way sounds healthier than regular Lasagna, but really packs 1,100 calories per serving) I used to skip breakfast, sometimes have lunch and gorge on dinner and snacks all night.  I lost 30lbs. I felt great, confident, and was getting compliments all the time.

But then life happened.  I got a new project that was time consuming, I put work first and me second.  I started traveling more than I did before. And where I was able to continue to try and eat healthy, and I even worked out a bit while traveling, I gained 10lbs back.  I didn’t make my health my priority. Something that you need to do when losing weight.

In March I got engaged.  I was so excited.  I knew that I wanted to lose 20lbs before the wedding but I STILL wasn’t motivated enough to make the real change. The kind of change you need to make to live a healthy lifestyle.  Finally mid-May I got back to working out a few times a week, and eating a bit better.  Still couldn’t kick the drinking on the weekends but I was doing better.  I lost 10lbs pretty quickly and I knew that if I stayed on this track, I could potentially lose more weight than I had hoped. I was pretty excited.  However then my bridal shower and bachelorette party happened.  2 days of bad food, drinking and being EXTREMELY hung over.  I gained 15lbs over the weekend.  Now, for those of you that don’t know, it is physically impossible to gain that much weight in a weekend.  It is generally just being bloated and water weight.

I was devastated. I knew that I would never get to where I needed to be if I kept making exceptions for special occasions. 

Because in reality, every weekend was a special occasion, there were weddings, drinks with friends we haven’t seen in a while, new restaurant openings, red carpet events, birthdays, concerts, etc.  EVERYTHING WAS A SPECIAL OCCASION!!

So I quit drinking… for 1 month… to see how I would do.  I cut carbs to only whole grains and no carbs after 3pm.  I took snacks like almonds and ½ of an apple to work for when I got hungry.  I drank twice as much water to fill up my stomach and I packed on the lean protein throughout the day.  OH and a big one… I cut out most sugar.  If something had more than 10grams of sugar per serving, I couldn’t have it. You would be surprised at how much sugar is in a bottle of natural green tea – 35grams. I even cut my fruit intake to one serving of fruit a day.

It was hard.  I was hungry for a while, but I knew that I was just eating before because I was bored or stressed. 

At the gym I incorporated weight lifting and the stairmaster.  I loved the challenge every day that I was there. Every day I pushed myself a little harder and instead of food being my addiction, working out became my addiction. My before and after photos became my daily motivation. Making connections at the gym became my support group, and writing my blog held me accountable.  I found what I needed to keep me going. So after 5 months of working my butt off, fueling by body with the right kind of food, (Clean eating) I lost 47lbs, (total of 67lbs) went from a size 18 to a size 8, and lost 20% body fat. I went from only being able to be on the stair master for 8 minutes at a level 3 to doing 60 minutes at a level 12, which is 6 miles on the stairmaster.  I went from hating every inch of my body to learning how to love myself.  Even though the failures. I learned how to navigate life with having this new body, one that is smaller, more agile, and gets cold a lot faster!

But that’s the thing about weight loss, it’s a daily choice, it’s a struggle and it’s an accomplishment. 

It’s something that doesn't ever stop. You have to keep going and make the life change to stay healthy.  I still have a ways to go to get to where I want to be. Even with life changing I am making time for my goals and I am ready to face those changes head on.  Who knows, before I get to where I want to be I might get pregnant, and have a whole new struggle to face.  But what I know now is that I can do it, and what it feels like to get to where you want to be and I know that I definitely never want to feel any different!

Come back this Thursday for more information on Kelly's Diet and a delicious recipe! In the mean time you can go check out her blog by clicking on the image below!

Simplifying Your Wardrobe!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hello 528 Square Feet readers! The oh so lovely Aubrey has graciously asked me to write a guest post for you all, and I happily obliged. Since her adorable blog is all about organizing and minimizing clutter in life, that's exactly what I'm going to be writing about, except in relation to the wardrobe! First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Ash, and a few key things I'm passionate about are reading, writing, beauty and fashion. Upon realizing that blogging can contain all of these things, I  promptly started my own little sliver of the web, Blush and Bling. Luckily when the sweet host of this site asked me to write about cleaning up closets, it was something I had already gone through myself when I first started blogging. Limiting clothes, and building a mix and match wardrobe is not something that is too hard to do, and just a few things are needed. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to get onto this pathway!

To start with, get rid of anything you haven't worn in the last year or so. (This is including jewelry!) Chances are, you haven't worn that lumpy sweater hidden in the back of your closet that makes you look slightly sickly for a reason. Someitmes it can be hard to get rid of that piece of clothing you have been stubbornly clinging on to for a tad too long, so do anything necessary to get into the frame of mind where you're ready to let that sucker go to another home. Pump some music, drink some wine, whatever floats your boat. I like to give away my clothes to Good Will or other places where you know they will be appreciated. Hey, who hasn't gone thrifting to find an ugly Christmas sweater or random cat print shirt? So rest easy knowing your clothes are going to a better place, and not clogging up your closet.

Next is the best part. Go shopping!!! Not the all at once splurge your heart out so you can't afford rent this month type, but collect things slowly and surely. If you can splurge however, more power to you, and go for it! Whether you are shopping in store or online, look for basic pieces that you can match with other clothes in your closet easily. This includes some basic colours. I know, it can be kind of boring compared to that bright pink mini dress you are itching to rock on a Saturday night. However, if you have a closet full of these kinds of clothes, you won't have anything to wear during the week, or anything that is a basic color to match these pieces! Go for white, grey, beige, black or navy blue. Plus, on top of matching those crazy pieces you allow yourself to keep, they can match each other and compose a plethora of different outfits together. Some of the neutral things I bought when first starting out (and still hunt for) were classic nude pumps, a grey handbag, awesome dark + light jeans and black pointy flats. These matched everything in my closet, and will match many more things to come. When you're debating whether or not to purchase something, think about anything it will match in your closet. If you absolutely can't think of a way to put it together as an outfit, don't buy it, because chances are, it will be the same once you get home!

Now comes the trickier portion, incorporating your individuality. Not everyone just loves beige or white along with minimal jewelry, and lots of people let the light of their personality shine through by wearing bright colours. Find these pieces through accessories. Hot pink shoes, neon necklaces, big bangle bracelets, furry purse, you name it. Once you have those basic pieces like nice jeans to wear or a white shirt, you can pop it with those bright colours and it isn't too much! It's easy to even combine a few of these bright babies together and it doesn't look like a rainbow threw up all over your clothes. (Sorry for that awesome imagery!)

One more point to add.. once you stop buying all those random things that are a waste of time and money, you will have a little extra moolah to spend once you find a brilliant staple to add to the growing collection of one kick-ass wardrobe.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope these little tidbits help you in some small way!