Friday, February 27, 2015

Let's Try Something...

I think I'm trying out an experiment -out of circumstance and out of conscious consuming: I'm on a no-buy.

Now, this isn't a spectacular jaunt into asceticism, this is just I HAVE TOO MUCH. And that's not bragging at all. But I would like to make the venture towards minimalism. Please don't roll your eyes. If I was trying to have a minimalism blog, I know I'd be about five years too late. I'm not here to inspire. (Unless I do!) I just want to find an outlet for holding myself accountable and maybe make a difference along the way. I hope this can become a resource for people trying to slowly, mindfully, and realistically vote with their dollars. (A little lofty, I know!) You'll probably hear me say "conscious consumerism" a lot in the future, but that's what it is! I'm new to this whole thing and conscious consumerism takes a good amount of research, but if you can't do it all, at least do something.

"Perfect is the enemy of good."
— Voltaire

And that's the thing about being Eco-friendly, or a conscious consumer, you have to pick and choose your battles.

Oh yeah, back to "I have too much."

I went to college and was very involved in high school. (see also: extensive t-shirt collection)
I'm sentimental.
I used shopping for entertainment.
I use(d) shopping to elevate my mood. (see also: major shopaholic)

I want to change that.

Andrew Soloman says, "the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality." I have found that to be  So. Utterly. True. Thankfully, I've found some that of vitality lately. It's clearing out the clutter, getting things in order either processing them or making a plan to process them.

Admittedly, I'm not getting rid of much, yet. If I will, it will be a slow process. I HAVE noticed a change in energy with the minimal decluttering. I'm really just reorganizing stuff, which I know is a bit of a waste, but my space is more efficient, and I can tell. But, honestly, my clutter lies in my closet.

Right now I'm of the mindset "use it up and wear it out."

My makeup "collection" is mostly for utility so it's easy to go through products. It's really the clothes, shoes, and purses I've accumulated throughout the years. As for clothes, it doesn't help that my weight yo-yo's.

So far this year I've only bought consumables: food, toiletries, and maybe (ok, not maybe) I treated myself to a little makeup. I don't want to buy any more clothes, shoes, or purses in particular. That's really the no-buy. And it's not like in the past few years I've been shopping at Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. Last year, I mostly shopped at thrift stores. I can't remember the last time I was at a mall with the intention of buying. (Does it make me a hipster if I went to the mall ironically with friends?)

But I've given myself some passes:
• Tartan Blanket Scarf
• An amazingly well-fitted pair of jeans. Either Levi's, Old Navy, J Brand, or BDG not from Urban Outfitters (Still need to do more in-depth research on these brands, especially J Brand, but I hear they have phenomenal jeans!)
• Workout Clothes (within reason)
• If I find a great flannel, or dress.
• Undergarments
• A Chic Sparrow Extra-Wide Traveler's Notebook (including accessories -although I'm aware of the addictive territory I'm getting myself into!)

That might be a lot for some people on a no-buy, but my intention behind this is to be mindful with my purchases, not find a random thingo at the thrift store. More importantly, I'm being honest. I'm not going to claim I'll adhere 100% (we're all human, right?), but it helps. By giving myself guidelines, I open myself up to not buy. Plus, now, my standards for all of these items are high, and hopefully better researched. (I would also like to note that I won't be constantly looking for these items. I will be planning ahead and should I have the funds, then I might make a trip to the Levi's store or plan out what I want for the Traveler's Notebook, etc.)

So join me on this journey!

If you've got an Eco-conscious blog, let me know in the comments below! I'm always looking for more knowledge. Any advice will be gladly appreciated and thoroughly considered, and I'd just love to chat!

And check out Recovering Shopaholic. Debbie Roes has created a great resource for those of us who have used shopping as an outlet. Her accountability posts have been an inspiration for my own. Anyway, I'll keep reading that with you as I gradually find resources for eco-consciousness.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Alaskan Bush People (plus Drinking Game!)

I'm currently addicted to the show, Alaskan Bush People. It's only on its second season, but am I ever entertained.

It's one of those shows you stumble upon and don't take too seriously until it's too late. Then you catch up and are heartbroken when you have to wait for the next episode.

Should be available On Demand on the Discovery Channel. Tonight is the Mid-Season finale so catch up for its return! (The first season is only five episodes.)

And by the way, here's a drinking game!
(It's a bit much, but once you get into it, you'll understand! Side note: I didn't make this up myself! Some of these seem mean-spirited to me, but when I've been drinking... Well...)

1. Drink two when a quote in the preview is said.
2. Drink when the score is much more epic than the situation requires.
3. Drink when a "huge" problem is resolved quickly.
4. Drink when you think Matt is weird or gets "crazy eyes."
5. Drink when Noah says something creepy/poetic.
6. Drink when Rainey is apathetic.
7. Finish your drink when an animal dies.
8. Drink when Snowbird says she's one of the guys.
9. Finish your drink when a barter is completed.
10. Drink when Billy tells someone to stop screwing around.
11. Drink when Bam acts like a crotchety old man.
12. Drink when Bear runs unnecessarily.
13. Drink when Mr. Cupcake is mentioned.

Alaskan Bush People on The Discovery Channel Fridays 10/9C

Monday, February 16, 2015

How I Organize on Pinterest

When I'm on Pinterest, I go crazy. Pin this, pin that. And I encourage you to just go crazy, too. Also, somehow, food pins will satiate me when I'm hungry (does anyone else get this?). But, anyway, how do I stay organized...?

The format of Pinterest lends itself to messiness. You either have to have pinned something recently, or remember what was in the description box. Well, for me, I'll make boards specifically for my next project. My DIY single-tasking board is called "In The Works." You can literally call it "Next" if you want. At best, it is a single-tasking board. My single-tasking/meal-tasking board is called, "What's on the Menu?" Even if I have 43 boards, I find that this keeps you focused and realistic versus overly ambitious and overwhelmed. Your "Next" board is the best of the best. This is what you want to and will do soon.

Keep track of your finished projects with their own board. Mine is "Been There, Done That." This gets the motivation going. Make notes on your thoughts when you edit the pin to the board. This is especially great for opinions on or adjustments to recipes.

Don't be afraid to make A LOT of boards just to be specific. This is your best bet. I have 10 DIY boards because there are a plethora of different types of crafts, and even then, I could get more specific.

Into blogs? Pin your favorite articles onto here. It's even better for your style pin board if you're more of a fashion blog reader. If you're into other types of articles that you would like to keep private, don't forget to utilize the Secret Board!

Custom Board Cover Photos
I don't think I'll do this, but I still think it's an awesome idea. I wish I had bookmarked the original place where I saw it, but if there wasn't a tutorial there, there's one here!

I feel like Pinterest needs an "I'm feeling lucky!" feature. Choose your board, choose the category, choose the whole frickin' thing. Think choosing a particular board might be the most successful out of all these ideas, but nonetheless, it's something I'd like to see.

Pinterest is an amazing thing, isn't it? Here's to hoping every link you pin stays on the Internet forever!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bullet Journaling & General Productivity

So sometime late last year, maybe November 2014, I stumbled upon a video on Bullet Journaling. I really don't remember much about how I found it, but I remembered the system. I tried it out in a binder, and it was pretty cool. Now, I'm doing it in an official notebook. So far, I've been using it for logging: diet, purchases, screen time, what I watched, what I did, sometimes, even, what I wore. So now I have an informal journal again. Now that I've decreased my backlog of digital clutter, I feel lighter. In terms of the other clutter backlog, I had paper EVERYWHERE, and now it's contained in one binder.

It is unbelievably satisfying to be using up a random notebook leftover from high school chemistry. HIGH. SCHOOL. I'm not necessarily a hoarder (ok, maybe somewhat...), but I have a weird thing for keeping paper... it's not necessarily being eco-conscious (but I'd like to think it is). I just don't want to throw out unused paper. Plus, I have a penchant for notebooks and pens. I'd like to think that I kept that notebook because I don't really see grid-lined paper all over the place.

I've been addicted to watching Bullet Journal videos. From that I'm getting tips on how to go about journaling. For example, two great tips I've stumbled upon are spacing between weeks in the monthly spread and putting stickers in the corner of pages that are completed/no longer need to be looked at. I kind of think I've seen everything I need to, so I'll just watch more videos if anything looks interesting in my feed.

It's nice and surprising that I'm not anal about numbering pages. But I am anal about all the information that goes in it. It's a little neurotic, but I'm being accountable of everything I'm doing. By using the Bullet Journal, I'm actually keeping track of my time and what I do. It's also pretty satisfying to see what I've accomplished. I feel like this will help me minimize my life at the end of the year when I review it.

A SUPER-PLUS of the system is that I get the satisfaction of writing instead on brain dumping into a a digital medium. And I've heard that you learn better when you write versus typing.

Another thing for productivity is The Secret Weapon.

It's a little involved, but has been helpful in the past for digital To Do's. It is VERY helpful if you need to prioritize many things. If a lot of other people are involved with your tasks, you can also use your tags to categorize the tasks you need to do, sort by location, or to delegate them.

I find that I don't like The Secret Weapon as much due to the fact that I feel as if my tasks get lost when I type them into Evernote... Evernote is more of a brain dump. I'm pretty much in love with my Bullet Journal. I like the Bullet Journal because what I need to get done for the day doesn't become lost with other tasks. I've gotten to the point where I have some projects to complete, but they're not urgent or that important, so I can just look them up for a rainy day.

I've also employed the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. (see also: The Art of Manliness's version)

Now that the backlog is pretty much organized and caught up, it's amazing to prioritize your tasks. This is good if you have a lot to do. Obviously, you can do whatever you want first, but the quadrants pretty much spell it out for you. I would suggest tackling those big rocks, but also have some easy, "fun" tasks to do to take a break, and get that hit of dopamine when you cross something off.

Quick Productivity Tip: For things you don't want to do, set an alarm for 25 minutes and work straight through. Give yourself a 5 minute break, and go again! (I think this is called the Pomodoro Method.)

A little more about me and journals...

I've been journaling since 1998. As the years progress, the way I would write evolved. More recently, my journaling has been about goals I have for my life. The evolution to the Bullet Journal is the next step. I can keep track of anything and everything for not only productivity, but personal reasons. I'm in love with the system.

I've been keeping track of what I eat, what I watch, and my daily amount of screen time. A little more recently, I started making to-do lists in there and I find that they actually get done! More recently, actually a few days ago, I started putting quotes in there. Once I start using a nicer book (I got a Moleskine for my birthday!), I may even paste in ticket stubs and fortune cookie fortunes that I like. A little while ago, I brain dumped the idea of using a productivity "to-do" notebook chronologically (if that makes sense), and the Bullet Journal was basically the answer to that idea.

I'm in love with this system, and you should try it too!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Nifty Thrifty Tag

This tag was going around the YouTube-osphere a while back. Here's my (non-videoed) take on it!

1. Most expensive thing you've thrifted:
I thrifted a bike from Savers for $49.99. I haven't gotten around to refilling the tires with air, but I'm looking forward to some jaunts on it this summer.

2. Least expensive thing you've thrifted:
Plates, mugs, & glasses for $.49. I have an affinity for these, but need to have some self control because you only need so many!
Little plates like these come in handy for soap dishes, plate stands, and accessory corralling. 

3. Favorite thing you've thrifted:
Three-way tie! I can't help it! I love my floral blouse with sheer sleeves, my green 90's sleeveless maxi, and my ugly grandpa sweater.
1. 90's green maxi   2. Grandpa sweater   3. Floral blouse

4. Most regretted purchase:
A lovely, but never worn fur mink stole.

5. Favorite thrift store:
No preference. Plato's for on-trend clothes, Savers for a nicer selection, and Goodwill for the thrill of the hunt, vintage-y pieces.

6. Weirdest thing you've thrifted:
A light blue vintage maxi sleeping dress/slip. I was going to wear it for Halloween as a "sexy" (ish) Cinderella, but decided against it.

7. Most worn thrifted item:
Oh gosh. There are a couple. I'd say, any shorts from Plato's Closet. Wore them everyday this summer!

8. Favorite thrift experience:
Anytime I'm with the S.O., thrifting with my friend T in Missouri.

9. Best thrift deal:
A gray Gap cardigan with brown elbow patches or my DVF luggage/overnight bag.

10. Longest owned thrifted item:
It's all such a blur that I have to cop out and go with my Polo sweaters I got off eBay in 2008. I got one at the outlet and needed more. They're cropped hoodies, and they're my absolute favorite! I'm actually wearing my navy one right now! The ones with pockets have holes, and I'm hoping to get a couple more years out of them. I don't know what I'll do when they're gone!

11. Favorite thrifted fashion trend:
Big cozy grandpa sweaters. If you can style it in a way that you can wear it out of the house without embarrassment, you've won.
I also love floral.

Send me a link if you do this!

Later, Lovelies!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I feel a little hipstery.

Definitely a different kind of sound, reminiscent of Gotye's Sombody I Used to Know.