Monthly Archives: March 2012

AIM 4: Lessons Learned

Wow that felt good! My phone is all cleaned up!

1. OHIO is the way to go with everything!!! Do not delay, take care of it right away, or later you will pay!

I had so many grocery list notes, random notes about my son’s shoe size, expired reminders and so on. After deleting all of the nonsense, I was able to finally SEE the things I needed.

2. I also learned that deadlines work. I knew that I had to finish the project by the time night came, so I MADE time to complete the task. Without that deadline I would have continued putting it aside for “something more important.”

Stay tuned, AIM 5 starts tomorrow!


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Quote of the Day:

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things this is the best season of your life. -Wu-Men

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Intro to “Views and Voices”

Speaking of smartphones…

I was sure that when I got an iPhone, I would become more organized and efficient. After all, I would be using iCloud to sync all of my photos, contacts, notes, appointments, etc. with my computer, iPad, and phone. To my dismay, the overwhelming selection of apps and games available have contributed to a bit of dawdling on my part; Words with Friends and Scramble are a constant source of both distraction and entertainment, often taking  from other priorities. I am sure many share my sentiments, but here’s an article written by my sister-in-law Cynthia Haddad, with a slightly different take. Comment, and let’s open this up for discussion if you wish.

I will be posting articles on emotional/spiritual and overall lifestyle enhancement in the ” Views and Voices” category of this blog. If you have an article you would like to post. E-mail me at, or comment and I will get back to you.

Cynthia Haddad’s Article:

The Facebook Problem

                 Cynthia Haddad

     Social networking, they say, is the way of the future. The Internet, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram… we couldn’t escape virtual media if we hid under a rock. These various forms of virtual communication offer quick and easy satisfaction, with an ever-changing nature allowing for constant excitement and entertainment. I believe that there is a downside to this existing and growing trend and that it is, unfortunately, rearing its head most in the younger generations. Through my own experience and through hearing others’ stories, I have come to a realization that usage of these many types of online media contributes to a real lack of self-confidence and a tendency toward self-scrutiny and comparison with young people.

At first I thought it was just I. It was just I who was feeling really low when signing off of Facebook after scrolling through other people’s pictures. Worse than I had felt before signing on and by worse I mean unconfident, degraded, and unhappy. These feelings were not blatantly punching me in the face and putting me into a severe depression, but they were present enough for me to notice a shift in my mood.

But, why? What about Facebook left me feeling upset? Perhaps it was the friend requests, or lack thereof, that had me comparing myself to friends who had more than I. Or maybe it was looking through a friend’s photo album for pictures of me that I thought looked good and worthy of the ever-important “profile pic,” which everyone would see; I know I was definitely searching for those pictures of me that I thought were not good enough for people to see and that in turn led me to beg my friend to delete those “bad” photos. It could have even been the “Honesty Box,” which some may remember allowed people to share their secret feelings- good and bad- about you anonymously. Whatever the specific reason was though, I knew how it made me feel and one year ago I decided to delete my Facebook.

Fast-forward a year and we find the emergence of the popular Instagram application. Now, who with an iPhone has not heard of Instagram? It is an application especially designed for smart phones that allows one to post pictures with desired enhancing effects for friends, or “followers,” to see. The application gives users the opportunity to request and accept followers and to comment on, and “like” photos.

When I first got the iPhone I downloaded Instagram. At the start, I found it fun and entertaining. But not after long did I start to feel those same feelings as I felt when I had a Facebook account. Again, I was spending my time looking through other people’s pictures in a way that made me upset. Only, this time I realized it was not just I. Upon overhearing some younger family members discussing how many “likes” they had on a picture, who “liked” their pictures, and how many followers they and other various kids had, I knew there was an obsessive aspect involved and that it effects many of its users.

Social networking gives people an opportunity to compare themselves to others based on superficial things. For those involved, often times “likes” on a picture turns into how many people actually “like” you, while virtual “friends” and “followers” turn into how many real-life actual friends you have. I have heard comments like, “Why did you un-follow me?” which I took to mean, “What don’t you like about me that you do not want to see my pictures anymore?” This leads to the obsession with cropping, fixing, editing, enhancing and perfecting pictures before posting so that others will like and comment on. The better the picture, the more “likes,” the more “followers,” and the more “friends.”

I do not believe it is these virtual “friends” that we need. Is it actually a confidence booster when you gain a follower or a friend? Maybe for a short while. But face it. You are really focusing on those who don’t follow you. Why don’t you follow me! What do I have to do to have more followers than people I am following? It must be tiring, spending all that effort in constant worry about what other people think about you. Comments such as, “Did you see how many “likes” she got on her picture?” serve to depict the sad truth that our attention is being diverted to other people instead of ourselves.

We spend so much time scrutinizing other people’s pictures, comments, “likes,” and amounts of friends all the while rejecting the person who really needs all of that attention- ourselves. We need inner focus- not the kind that makes us enhance and change the photos we post in order to see what others feel about us, but the kind that allows us to think about our own actions, characteristics, and insecurities and to find ways to better them. And sadly enough, the younger generation is seeing so much technological advancement before they are mature enough to understand concepts like self-confidence, security, and independence. This generation of children is getting hit the hardest. They do not have the opportunity to know what it means to allow attention for their own lives because they are being bombarded with the publicized lives of others.

Now I do not want to disregard the many advantages of these forms of social media, nor do I seek to condemn those who use it and enjoy it. I simply suggest, for those interested, to think about how social networking is affecting you. If you believe it is negative or even if you don’t and are curious, then perhaps you could try clicking delete. Experiment. You do not need to delete every virtual account you have, nor does it have to be permanent, but it could be nice to see how you would react without regular updates on your friends’ lives. I must add that I have not done any research on the topic and this is not based on science, but I figured that if I felt this way in regard to Facebook and Instagram, I am likely not alone.

I deleted my Instagram account two weeks ago and I have most definitely seen a positive change for a less judgmental and more confident person as a result.


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AIM 4: Clean Up Your Smart Phone

I’m caught in between 2 AIM’s for the week, so in the mean time I decided a mini AIM that could be completed in a short time would be appropriate .  Here it is:

Between tonight and tomorrow night it is your job to delete old notes, e-mails, and text messages from your phone. Also delete unwanted apps, and photos.

If time allows, then you can also make sure all of your photos are transferred to your computer.

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Thumbprint Hamantash Recipe

This recipe is really for round Thumbprints, so I will give you the original version.


1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup raw almonds or walnuts

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I like Arrowhead Mills Whole Grain Pastry Flour)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 jar (you will have extra) all natural strawberry or apricot preserves (I like the Fiordifrutta brand)


1. Combine oats and nuts in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until you have a smooth dough.

3. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Press thumbs into the center of the ball and fill with strawberry or apricot preserves.

5. Bake at 350 until bottoms are slightly golden (About 15 minutes).

Finished Product:




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AIM 3: Lessons Learned

Ok, so AIM 3 was not the success I had hoped, but some lessons learned none-the-less!

1. The rules could have allowed for a bit more flexibility, as I do have children and a husband who deserve not to suffer!

2. DO NOT walk into a store if you really do not want to shop (Moishe’s excursion with Sam).

3. I really can cook out of my refrigerator! My husband and I try to eat a very clean diet of simply prepared proteins, vegetables, and grains throughout the week. Most of my recipes require 5 fresh ingredients or less!

4. Minimalism in the kitchen is not for everyone! Over Purim, I received some face to face feedback from some unhappy readers! The thought of a limited pantry was too much for them to handle! There are those who enjoy the feeling of a fully stocked pantry! (I conclude that it all depends on the turnover in your house…) 

Oh, and by the way, I told these readers that I would have loved to have read this feedback on my blog! All feedback is welcome, I want your opinions.

Here is my pantry "Before"

Here is the failed, even less organized "After" Cut me some slack, Purim got in the way!


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Quote of the Day:

Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.
Henry David Thoreau

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For those of you celebrating Purim…

Some rules for the day…

1. Read the article in THE JEWISH HOSTESS  How to Get Your Family to Eat Healthy on Purim.

2. Take Pictures! But when you do, keep in my mind next weeks AIM will be all about PICTURES!!! so…CENSOR, as you are snapping away, see if you could use OHIO with your camera by deleting the bad shots RIGHT AWAY.

3. HAVE FUN, be MINDFUL of the DAY, and BE HAPPY!

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AIM 3: Progress Report…

Yesterday, I gave in! I was with my son at the park, and when we left he told me he wanted to buy a snack. The closest store was Moishe’s Discount Supermarket, so went just for a snack…But rule # 1 when you are trying to buy less…DO NOT WALK INTO A SUPERMARKET (especially a cheap one). I picked up:

1. yogurt for my baby

2. sugar cereal for Shabbat (my son was there, so I thought I would let him choose)

3. Oats (I used the Oats in the Thumbprint Cookies, so I was running low, and I do eat oatmeal daily)

4. YoCrunch for my son, as he chose it…

Oh Well…I still managed to make all of my meals from my pantry, but 2 consecutive failures is hinting towards perhaps an improvised AIM 3 in the future. (Maybe in time for Passover? we can all try this one again!)



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AIM 3: Progress Report…

Wow this is not easy…I am able to COOK out of my pantry, but I really did run out of items that we use daily! I gave in and ordered my prized almond butter, yogurt for my baby, baby food, and jelly for my husband (I used the jelly on those Thumbprint Hamantash), and THEN my mom called and said she was going to COSTCO, and well, while I intensely dislike buying in bulk, there are key items that I find truly worth buying there. So, I was caught in a bind, let my mom buy those few items and save myself the trip, or honor my commitment to AIM 3? I chose the former, and I’ll explain: The purpose of goneminimalist is to simplify my life and free up my time– what is more simple than having someone do an errand FOR you? Additionally, I was able to save myself from buying IMPULSE items at Costco.

Here are some Costco Rules:

1. You are not allowed to buy any items not on your list! (if you realize you forgot something that you authentically meant to put on the list exception applies)

2. Start upstairs (in the Brooklyn store) and work your way down!

3. Try to go when there is a sale.

4. Avoid buying specialty food items. Try them in smaller doses first!

5. Absolutely NO bakery items.

6. If you know you like change in the kitchen, do not buy bulk ANYTHING.

7. BUY organic milk if you have children.

8. If you like to buy natural/organic items (including toiletries, food, vitamins), and they are not available at Costco, do NOT give in and buy the one available at Costco (we all know that if you give in and purchase it, as soon as you get home, you will see the organic one on sale at, and you’ll order it anyway!)

(If you are curious, the items I had my mother buy where staple items including, shredded cheese, coffee, canned tuna, and surgical gloves used for food prep.)

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