Grocery Apps Part II

I’ve been using Out of Milk, a grocery app, for close to two years. I first blogged about using a Grocery List App (read here) in 2017. Overall, I’m still satisfied with the app. It’s fairly basic as far as functions go, but that also makes it easy to use.

My favorite thing about the app is having a centralized place to immediately capture whatever I need, no matter where I am. Prior to having the app, I would scribble down my grocery lists on random scraps of paper, post-it notes, or even in the margins of my notes. The paper system worked okay, but I find it much handier to keep a running list. Now, as soon as I notice or remember I’m running low on something, I can add it to the app so it’s there the next time I go shopping. If I just wanted a centralized place to write down my grocery list, any note-taking app would do. Or I could use a white or chalk board in my kitchen, which is useful but limited in some ways. The difference is Out of Milk is designed specifically to enhance the process and offers some features to that make it more efficient.

The “Pantry List” is convenient for adding frequently used, or routine items, to the grocery list. From the “Pantry List,” they can be added to the grocery list. Items deleted from the grocery list, remain in the “Pantry List,” available for reuse the next time I go shopping without having to write them again.

I’ve also found it’s pretty useful for creating customized lists. The Out of Milk app is fairly versatile so it’s pretty easy to create and maintain lists for specialized stores or non-food items. For example, I created a separate list for a specialty grocery store I shop at for certain items. I also have separate lists, or categories, for drugstore or hardware store items. Again, super useful to have a centralized place to record all of my shopping needs when I think of them so they are captured and ready for when I go out.

The thing I was most frustrated about with the app, namely that it allows me to add the same item more than once to the same grocery list, is still there. Aside from that, it’s a keeper.

The Rules of Global Language

A few months ago, I blogged about tech companies “Controlling Global Language.” With billions of people using social media platforms and producing billions of posts daily, things are bound to get complicated. Language is nuanced and context counts for a lot when evaluating content. This factor is further exacerbated when considering that social media platforms now exist globally and work across cultures. Something that is permissible or not offensive in one culture could be interpreted differently halfway across the globe.

To deal with this some companies, like Facebook, create “rules” and hire thousands of humans to review content (e.g., posts, images, comments, etc.) and make snap decisions on whether or not it is deemed “harmful.” Recently the New York Times published an article titled “Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech” by Max Fisher. The article describes in some detail how humans around the world are supposed to evaluate billions of posts each day according to rules created by Facebook on what is, or is not, deemed acceptable content for their platform. The rules even include guidance on how to interpret emoji in certain contexts when they could be considered offensive or indicate something more serious than a smiley face.

One of the many challenges about opening up platforms for anyone and everyone to post content is that it’s difficult to regulate. And then you have to ask yourself, should it be regulated? And by whom? How could rules be created to monitor posts and content without being subjective? Or largely influenced by who’s in power in a particular country?

Facebook will remove content and ban users that are considered offensive, threatening, or dangerous, according to its rulebook. Then I wonder, where do these people go to post content? Banning or eliminating content from one social media site doesn’t get rid of it. Most likely the content owner simply moves to another platform where s/he can get support for his/her viewpoints. This is also a danger because then this content grows in the deep, murky areas of the internet unnoticed, sometimes until it’s too late.

The problem is complex, perhaps one that wasn’t fully anticipated or considered when social media platforms first appeared over a decade ago. Or one that was pushed aside to focus on growth, content production, collecting data, and sharing. The solution, it seems, will have to be equally complex to have any impact.

Making Space: New Things for the New Year

It’s customary for most of us to start off the New Year filled with resolutions and the promise of change. We’re pumped and motivated to stick to our goals, go to the gym daily, eat leafy greens, make our beds each morning, or whatever else sounds appealing as a fresh start for the new year ahead. Inevitably, most of us will begin to slack on our resolutions within a short period of time.

This year, instead of making a whole bunch of resolutions, why not focus all that energy and motivation into making space for new things to happen in the new year? Most of us make resolutions because we want to change something about ourselves or our lifestyles. Well, that change can’t, and won’t, happen unless we create an opening for it to take shape. Whether you realize it or not, clutter represents stagnant energy and it will stand in your way of accomplishing your goals.

Statistically most resolutions are bound for failure. Why set yourself up for that kind of guilt and pressure at the start of a new year? Relax! Concentrate instead on getting rid of the dead weight where it bothers you most. Space can be made anywhere and everywhere. And you don’t have to stress yourself out by tackling big, annoying to-do projects that have been lingering around for a while. Start small, start easy. Work your way up to the bigger things. Small wins will boost your confidence and motivation.

If you’re bothered by physical stuff, make space by cleaning out a single drawer or shelf. Go through that medicine cabinet or the deep underbelly of the bathroom sink. It will likely take less time than you think. Or focus your energy on one type of clothing/item (e.g., shoes, socks, t-shirts, etc.). Perhaps you feel irritated by a crowded desktop on your computer. Or too many digital photos on your device. Set a timer for 20 minutes and clean out some of the electronic clutter.

If you need additional tips and inspiration, check out my book, The Art of Making Space: Choosing Quality Over QuantityYou can even download a free chapter when you sign up for The Deletist mailing list to begin making space immediately. This offer expires on January 15, so sign up today! The sign-up box is in the right sidebar. 

The famous Gullfoss in Iceland. The sky cleared for a few minutes and we were lucky to see a hint of a rainbow.


Iceland: From Reykjavik to Stykkisholmur

Read the first part here and see more photos here.

We departed early the following day and headed north along the western edge of Iceland. Within minutes of leaving the city area, the landscape opened up to reveal mossy fields dotted with blackened nubby lumps of lava.

The scenery was so spectacular that I scarcely noticed the time passing until we stopped at a wool studio. The owner, Guðrún Bjarnadóttir, showed us how she uses plants and natural materials found in Iceland to dye her wool. She used a couple of imported materials, but the majority was found in Iceland.

Guðrún demonstrating how she makes yellow, one of the easiest colors to create.

After, we stopped at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes where we took a self-guided tour of the Viking settlers in Iceland. Then lunch! I was surprised by the food in Iceland. Every meal featured lots of fresh vegetables, fresh-baked brown breads and copious amounts of butter.

Feeling full and sleepy, we boarded the bus and continued north for one last excursion before reaching Stykkisholmur, the town we would stay in for two nights. We stopped at Helgafell (“Holy Mountain”), a sacred hill about 250 ft. high.

Don’t speak to anyone or look behind you on the way up, we were instructed, if we wanted our wish to come true. Once at the top, go into the ruins, make a wish, and twirl around three times. Then you may speak. 

I tried to remember all the rules, but it was challenging considering the magnificent surroundings. It was hard not to look around at the stunning views while hiking up, but the terrain was just as interesting. Mosses in an array of colors and tiny plants dotted the landscape. From a distance the effect was similar to a Monet painting, but up close, I could see the intricate details and uniqueness of the plants and mosses.

When we had all hiked up and made our wishes, we headed to Stykkisholmur. We took a short walking tour through the sleepy town.

View of the church next to the hotel.

I was delighted to discover the local swimming pool was a 5-minute walk from the hotel. As per usual, the pool was outside. This time I also sampled two of the hot tubs.

It looks cloudy in all the pictures, but that evening it cleared up and we saw Northern Lights for the only time on our trip. It was too cloudy the rest of the time.

Bonus picture of a fresh fish meal in Stykkisholmur, much appreciated after the swim. 


Read more about the trip to Iceland here.


This time of the year people are supposed to let grudges go. Get into the holiday spirit. Forgive and forget, isn’t that what we’re told?

Every time I experience how amazing it feels to forgive, I’m always left wondering why it’s so hard for us to do when it feels so good? To be fair, maybe this isn’t hard for everyone, but I find the hardest person to forgive is myself. Though through practice I discovered that even this was possible.

Some years ago I took a four-week art therapy workshop at Callanish on “Loving Kindness and Forgiveness” and experienced the sensation of forgiveness. Each session started with a check-in where we shared what was going on with us that week. This was followed by a guided meditation-relaxation session focused on loving kindness with forgiveness added in. After meditating, we went into the art room where we were free to choose any available materials to create whatever we wanted.

One particular session, it seemed as though everyone’s energy was synchronized in a peaceful, calm way. The session started with some heartbreaking news of a recurrence from one of the participants. Something about her story touched me deeply leaving me open to forgive everyone, but especially myself. For big things. And small things. A heaviness I had gotten used to carrying was replaced by giddiness, followed by a wave of tranquility and calm.

It happened seamlessly in a single instant during the meditation. I forgave myself and released bad feelings I had about a lot of things. Resentments, anger, hurt… all dissipated to be replaced by something nicer and space. That day in the art room, I can still recall the synthesis of our respective creativity. One woman’s knitting needles clacked together rhythmically. To my right I could hear the sound of shears cutting through fabric as one woman created a string of flags to spell out the word, “gentle.” It was her own personal reminder to be that way with herself more often. The scratchy swiping of my brushes against the wooden boxes I was painting added to the mix. 

I’m big on forgiving, but I don’t always like to forget. This doesn’t mean I hold grudges, but it does mean I try to remember the lessons learned. And try to forgive as often as possible. It feels good.

Running stream at Wulaia Bay.

Keyboard Shortcuts: Hidden Time Saver

A couple of years ago I accidentally discovered an underutilized time-saving technique, using keyboard shortcuts. It was something I hadn’t really thought about so I decided to learn more at a “lunch and learn” offered by my client at the time.

It was really eye opening! Every time we move from the keyboard to the mouse, we’re expending more time and energy than we need to. Learning keyboard shortcuts is a great way to make your movements really efficient, plus you can avoid some hand/finger strain from all that mouse clicking!

Since I know that habits are hard to change, even when they’re being replaced by better, faster ones, I decided to approach this one in small chunks. Here’s how I started:

  1. Go through a list of shortcuts, or observe one action you do with your mouse that interrupts your flow on the keyboard.
  2. Pick 1 – 5 keyboard shortcuts that you think would be useful.
  3. Write them on a sticky note.
  4. Place the sticky note where you will see it when you’re working on your computer (e.g., your monitor).
  5. Be mindful and try to incorporate them into your routine. Make an effort to consult your sticky note when you’re working to help remember the new actions.
  6. If you forget, be gentle on yourself. Changing habits takes time!
  7. Once you have mastered the ones you selected, pick a few more and start over.

Here are a few I use often for PC or Mac:

  • Tab = to move to another cell or field (e.g., when filling out forms)
  • Shift + Tab = to move back to a previous cell or field (opposite direction of the action above)
  • Control + C = to copy something (on a Mac use Command + C)
  • Control + V = to paste something (on a Mac use Command + V)
  • Control + X = to cut something (on a Mac use Command + X)
  • Control + Z = to undo something (on a Mac use Command + Z) – this is a big favorite!
  • Shift + left, or right, arrow key = to highlight one character of text to the right or left
  • Shift + command + left, or right, arrow key = to highlight a whole line of text (on a Mac)
  • Shift + command + up, or down, arrow key = to highlight text above/below (on a Mac)
  • Alt + Tab = to shift between open applications (on a Mac use Command + Tab)

Click below for more:

Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows (10, 8.1,7)

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts