5 ways to inspire healthy consumption

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Throw back Thursday to my fall/winter capsule wardrobe shirt selection

I am in the process of thinking about a spring/summer capsule wardrobe, which got me thinking about consumption in general. The more I think on this subject the more I realize that I want to own less and consume less. I think in my fondest dreams, I would live with the bare minimum of belongings, each one precious or useful in some specific way. In reality, I am surrounded by a heap of stuff that just won’t seem to budge. I think I am in a better place than I was before but still have a long way to go. I know there are certain things I will never give up like my chef’s jacket from pastry school, or all my travel souvenirs. Still, as much as I purge, I always seem to be acquiring new things to fill the space left by what I have gotten rid of. I am starting to realize that downsizing is a two-part process involving purging and then learning not to consume in the same way as before. The second part fits in nicely with another goal I have of saving as much money as possible in the coming year. And when I do buy new things, I want it to be in a responsible fashion. Here are some strategies I will be trying to get me to my goals.

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Sorting/purging my jewelry will definitely be a goal

Do a large purge

This is pretty self-explanatory. I plan to do a spring purge in all categories with the goal of eliminating redundant items (read 6000 pens) and things I never use. This will get me ready for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe and I think will make my belongings seem less heavy.

Set a small monthly budget for certain items

I order to motivate myself not to shop impulsively, I am setting very low monthly budgets for things like clothing and homegoods. So far I have budgeted $40 a month for clothing and $0 for home goods. That doesn’t include things like toilet paper, but does include things like cute knick knacks at Target and random pillows. I have been using Mint to manage my money for a while, but lately I have been leaning in to this online budget software even more with my current goal of saving money. One thing that I am notorious (mostly with myself) for doing is buying a new outfit if I don’t feel like my day outfit is good enough for my night plans. Most of the stuff I buy during these sprees ends up in the donation pile, minus a few surprise gems. I think the key to avoiding this is a) not getting lazy with my outfits in the morning and b) storing a cute outfit or at least some jewelry and heels at work.

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Knick knacks and souvenirs displayed in glass cabinets

Take care of what you already have

While I sporadically do things like get my shoes reheeled and sew buttons onto coats, I want to make it more of a habit. I also want to spend time figuring out how to wear the clothing I already have in new ways so that I value each item more. One thing that I have already done is purchase two large glass cabinets to hold some of my favorite travel souvenirs and mementos. I still have overflow but it is nice have things displayed this way and makes even the silly things (ie plastic dinosaurs) seem important.

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A hand-me-down chair which definitely counts as second-hand

Shop second-hand as much as possible

I already shop second-hand for clothing and furniture quite a bit. The challenge will be doing so consistently and including things like gifts and appliances. It can be frustrating to shop second-hand when you are looking for a very particular thing, but I’m hoping that it can be a fun challenge. There are so many options for shopping second-hand these days, from traditional thrift stores to websites like eBay and Poshmark. It just takes a little change in mindset.

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Surrounded by stuff and cats 🙂

Make a list of everything that you own

This one is a doozy! After I purge, I plan to make a comprehensive list of everything I own. It sounds daunting just thinking about it but I am curious to see what benefits an exercise like this could yield. Will I feel richer and more satisfied with what I have? Will I want to purge more? Will I discover that I have things I thought I needed to buy? Will I be inspired to make new things with my huge tubs of craft supplies? These are all possibilities and I am excited to find out what happens that I can’t predict as well. I am not putting a timeline on this as I have no idea how long something like this will take. I may combine this with the purge process. They seem to go hand in hand. I will definitely keep you updated on my progress.

How about you? Would you try any of these strategies? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo Anna

100 followers!

I was so excited to reach 100 followers this week. Thank you to all of you who have followed, read and commented on my posts over the last 10 months. It means the world to me! I feel like I have learned so much by being part of the blogosphere. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and refine my style and vision for the blog. If you have any feedback on the blog so far, I would love to hear it 🙂

In other news, I am off to Costa Rica in a little over a week. I always find the last week before a trip to be anxiety provoking. So many little details to figure out. I am trying to remember to be grateful that I have the opportunity to travel and not get overwhelmed by annoyances. This weekend I plan to lay low and get ready for my trip. I think this will definitely help with the pre-trip anxiety. I’m hoping to finally share an outfit post with you next week (hint: “travel”). Then I will be off from posting the week I am on vacation. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, definitely do, as I will be posting all sorts of vacation photos during my travels.

How about you? Any successes you are celebrating right now? How do you deal with pre-trip anxiety?

xoxo

Anna

 

 

 

 

Feeling Friday

Hate, privilege and the eclipse

I am a private, introspective person by nature. I enjoy observing situations and keeping my opinions to myself. I like to keep things light and fun, sometimes at the expense of speaking my truth. However, considering recent events, as well as a long history in this country of similar hate-fueled incidents reported and unreported, I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen and human being to firmly and loudly take a stand against intolerance and violence whether it is outright and ostentatious or creeping and subtle. I feel lucky to have a forum, via this blog, to add my voice to the conversation. According to astrology, the recent eclipse heralds a new beginning for us all and a chance to shed old habits and explore new ways of dealing with problems. I have experienced several types of privilege in my life. I will certainly be thinking on that as well as my general tendency to bury my head in the sand when I feel powerless. I will be challenging myself to go beyond my comfort level and face hate with a clear message of love.

Remember:

“Hate shrivels under strong light.”

—Southern Poverty Law Center, Ten Ways to Fight Hate (a very useful and inspiring pdf)

Feelings Friday

Feelings Friday is a semi-regular series where I take a break from fashion and lifestyle to share a little piece of my heart with you. It’s a little different every time. In the last post I talked about things that were inspiring me. Check it out here. This week I’m getting sentimental about small things…

Since I was a child I have been obsessed with tiny things. When I was young this meant that I spent hours in front of my dollhouse staging the perfect scenes. I was especially attracted to tiny food. In the dollhouse store, I would drool over intricately crafted miniature hams, delicate salads and iced cinnamon buns trying to decide where to spend my limited funds. I even crafted my own miniature food out of wax, glue and paper. I have to say, my sunny side up eggs were pretty cool.

Now that I am an adult, I still cherish small things both in the tangible and abstract sense. Through ever changing apartments, jobs and relationships, I have collected and carried a minuscule army of tiny mementos. Some were gifts, some found objects, some impulse purchases. Some have mysterious origins and some have origins I remember clearly. Now I look at them and I am awed that these little, seemingly insignificant items have endured without getting lost, falling out of favor or being broken. For sure, I have lost a lot of other things along the way, but it is reassuring that at least some things, no matter how defenseless they seem, will endure if someone cares. They also stand as a reminder, especially in times like these, not to forget the small things in everyday life and to bolster my hope that each tiny act of kindness we engage in will have impact.

xoxo Anna

Tiny things pictured: Eiffel Tower and “Love Wins” button, souvenirs from Paris; Tiny Lucky Cat, bought at Pearl River in NYC before it closed; Coral piece, picked up on a beach near Key West; Glass rune, Christmas gift from family member; Amethyst, found on a camp field trip to an amethyst mine when I was about 12. Feather and tiny dinosaur; origin unknown.

Feelings Friday

Today, I am taking a break from fashion to talk about something serious—your soul! Dum, dum, dum! But seriously, I’m starting this (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?) series to share some of the things that make me feel hopeful about our shared humanity, give me joy or just plain make me laugh. As we fight against injustice in our world, we can simultaneously find inspiration by immersing ourselves in the things that we are trying to protect. Here are a few things I’m following, reading, watching or doing…

Following

Ohareeba

Areeba Siddique’s Instagram feed featuring her amazing art journaling (among other things) is endlessly inspiring.

Taking simple actions

Composting

I have been making a concerted effort to compost my food scraps. It’s easier than you think and ridiculously satisfying. I like thinking about my scraps becoming soil that will nourish new plants. Just collect your food scraps and drop off at one of the many sites around the city. Click here for details on where to compost and what to include. Since I work in Union Square, I can compost on the way to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at the Union Square Green Market. This has been a composting game-changer for me as I used to wait until Sunday to drop-off scraps in my neighborhood and it never seemed to get done.

Laughing (but also thinking)

This comic about deeply-held beliefs…

…had me laughing while digesting some uncomfortable truths.

Laughing (but also feeling thankful)

Summer chub-rub set to music (mildly NSFW)

This video from Miss Eave is on point! Made me feel less alone in my summer chub-rub struggle. It’s a real thing! The interview is interesting too.

Crying (but the good kind)

The Handmaid’s Tale

This series, currently airing on Hulu, has been around long enough that you have probably heard about it or are watching it. I read the book years ago and liked it, but I don’t think I appreciated the story it in the same way as I do now. This dark tale of a woman caught in a dystopian, misogynistic (to put it mildly) America, has brought up all sorts of feels for me. I’m only up to Epidsode 4, but the tears haven’t stopped flowing, I think because some of the themes feel so relevant to current struggles. It can be difficult to watch (I recently had to take a short break) but somehow feels important.

What are you immersing yourself in these days?