14 January 2018

Week Two: First Target Trip

So, I ended up with a Target gift card this week.  I am like every bad mom at Target joke: I can't buy just one thing, I can't stick to my list, I have basically never spent less than 100 bucks.  However, I did have a few things I could really use, and I had the gift card.  I hadn't really addressed rules about gift cards.  Unlike physical gifts, they encourage the kind of impulsive shopping that I am trying to avoid.  However, I decided that if I made a clear plan to purchase practical items that I needed, I could use them.  So, I made a four item list: shower gel, a to-go coffee mug, toddler socks, and coffee filters.  YOU GUYS....I DID IT!  I bought those four things at Target.  And I even picked a very practical, on sale coffee mug which I have already used.  I know that this might seem like a small thing, but I picked up like 90 other things while I was in there, and I didn't buy any of them.  Plus, I didn't even spend the whole gift card.  

I have been feeling more hopeful generally about my ability to complete this challenge.  Although I have no illusions that I will be perfect, I can feel how not thinking about shopping is starting to free up some of my mental space.

Items Purchased:  Toddler socks and a to-go cup with my gift card.  Photo prints to work on my kiddo's baby books (on approved list).

Temptations:  I am really tempted by new clothes.  I have unfollowed an online boutique that I frequently buy things from, but I am still visiting the page and resisting leaving the group entirely.

Emotions:  Hopeful and excited.

Resources and actions:  I have been deleting some shopping apps from my phone and continuing to leave or unfollow email subscriptions and Facebook b/s/t groups.  It is kind of amazing how often I am confronted with opportunities and temptations to shop on the daily.  Also, I started a wishlist for things that are practical, that might even be considered "needs," but that I don't want to purchase right away.  That way, even if I do end up purchasing them eventually, they weren't impulses.  Also, I can direct people to the list to purchase gifts for me or the kids.  That list is here.

05 January 2018

Week One: My Last Hurrah

I'm still trying to settle on a format for these posts, and I think what I have decided is to start with a little reflection and then some basic stats.  So, this week has shown that I really am a binge shopper.  I knew that I was going to start this challenge on the 2nd, and I prepared by buying things.  I ordered some leggings I had been thinking about, a bunch of baby rompers, some size 3T clothes for my toddler, and I went sale shopping on New Year's Day.  Honestly, the leggings are awesome and so are the baby rompers, but I mostly felt anxiety about my anxiety.  Why was I so worried about stocking up on stuff when I had more than I would ever need?  On the first day of the actual challenge, I cleaned out my daughter's clothes to size them up (always an emotional pursuit).  When I went out to the garage to get the clothes in the next size, I realized that I had more than I could fit in her drawers.  I am surrounded by so much abundance in terms of material possessions. It is time for me to rediscover all the abundance in my life- my family, my job, my home.  I'm excited about the journey.

Items purchased:  I've purchased two things from my approved list this week.  It was my husband's birthday, so I bought him a gift (a sweatshirt that he had told me he wanted), and I consigned some baby clothes and left with a $1.50 pair of black sweatpants (I had allowed myself to get some plain baby basics with my credit).  Normally, I would have spent all my credit in that trip.

Temptations:  A Yeti cup (I have no to-go coffee cups at home) and an upgraded baby bath tub (something I might end up using consignment credit for since baby is growing out of hers). I've also been browsing some shopping sites without purchasing. 

Emotions:  I still feel mostly doubt and anxiety about my ability to do the challenge.  I still haven't told many people yet in my personal life.  I'm hopeful though.

Resources and actions:  I checked out two books from the library: this one and this one. I also turned off notifications or left shopping groups on Facebook. 

26 December 2017

A year without shopping

In thinking about my New Years Resolutions this year, and coming off the excess of the holiday season, I have decided to do a version of "a year without shopping."  I have tried budgeting in many different forms, as well as attempts to declutter and live with less, but the dramatic has always been the most effective for me, so I'm taking that route.  This Ann Patchett column popped up in my feed and sealed the deal. That said, I am the mother of two young children, so this is not likely to be a true "buy nothing" year.  So, this post is to set the parameters for what I can and cannot purchase beginning January 2nd, 2018.

What I cannot buy:

1.  Clothing/Jewelry/Shoes/Etc. for myself or my husband.
2. Books (I will stay a member of the book of the month club, but may not purchase any "extras").
3. Any unnecessary household items/trinkets/furniture/candles/paper goods, etc.
4. Magazines (even at the airport)
5. Baby Gear (except for a convertible car seat when June grows out of her current infant carrier)
6. "Stock" aka, no buying soap, lotion, makeup, etc unless I have or am about to run completely out. Also, no upgrading items that are not broken.
7. Souvenirs
8. New subscriptions (boxes, etc.)
9. Ebooks or audiobooks.

What I can buy (with parameters):
1. Kid's clothes - if the kids need clothes, I must try to consign items first, then try thrift stores, and (last resort) may purchase from Target or Old Navy.  I may buy special occasion outfits for birthdays and Christmas and family photos. Can stock up at Last Chance 2 times/year. on kid stuff only. Prioritize allowing Grace to choose clothing she likes and having a few things to wear that she really loves.
2. Gifts- I can purchase gifts for kid's birthday parties, holidays, etc, with preference going to books or homemade goods. No cards.
3. Art and craft supplies for specific projects only in the quantity needed for that project.
4. Christmas cards.
5. Kid's books and toys- may purchase from Scholastic orders from school and can reward kids with toys 1 time/month and kids must be present.  No buying kid toys online or when shopping kid free.
6. Charity/MLM parties- I may attend and purchase one thing per event/party with preference given to things that are needed and/or can be gifted/saved for holiday gifts.
7. Household goods related to our remodel.
8. Christmas gifts for kids (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read).
9. Other charity opportunities:  These will be considered on an individual basis, and gift cards/cash will be donated over goods.

What I can buy:
1. Groceries
2. Experiences (zoo passes, swim lessons, movies, photography, etc).
3. Coffee
4. New eyeglasses
5. May continue current subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club and BOTM.

Other related parameters:
1.  Use "Daily Budget" app.
2. Try to meal plan to reduce grocery costs and waste.
3. Prioritize minimizing debt.
4.  Do a 40 bags in 40 days challenge for Lent.

My goals for this project are financial, but they are also to live a more minimal life less driven by consumerism.  I'm sure I will slip up, and I'm sure that things will come up that need considering, and that is why I am going to try to blog about the challenge once per week.  I hope that some of you will join me, and that you will help keep me accountable as well.

25 November 2015

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Thanks, Christine, for hosting!

10.  I love Thanksgiving.  Mostly because it is about family and food.  We had a friendsgiving, a potluck for G's (my daughter's) daycare and the usual potluck multi-family gathering that we go to tomorrow.  I've been thinking about busting out some maternity pants to wear a la Joey.
9.  I've been MIA on my blog again for lots of reasons, but partially because I've been blogging for a challenge at work.  You can find those posts HERE.
8. Lately I have been reading on my Iphone before bed, and liking reading in e format more and more.  This is mostly because G sleeps in my bedroom and goes to bed before me.  However, I don't like using a blue light screen so I'm thinking of asking for a Kindle (or other ereader) for Christmas.  Does anyone have a basic one that they love?
7.  I've been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, and have been keeping a gratitude journal since G was born.   So, I thought THIS article was really interesting.
6.  Can't wait to see Mockingjay Part II. 
5.  Saw Pixar's Inside Out and loved it.
4.  My daughter started daycare at the beginning of the month which has been an adjustment.  It was earlier that I would have started her, but we got a spot at the daycare at my work.  So, I've been going in to the office a couple of days a week.  I had totally forgot how hard on your body sitting at a computer all day is.  I foresee many trips to the chiro in my future.
3. I recently read The Empathy Exams and didn't love it.  I'm not sure I can pinpoint why.  Did you love it? What did you love about it?
2.  I loved Lena Dunham's book.  She might be my spirit animal.  Or a manatee.  Or this smug sloth...
1. I just finished reading Gold, Fame, Citrus and I really really really liked it.  Claire Vaye Watkins is so talented, and I really want to go back and read Battleborn.

07 October 2015

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts

10. 4-5 p.m. is totally no man's land for me as a stay at home mom.  I don't know what to do with myself or my kid.  Usually she sits in a bouncer while I scroll through FB (I know, terrible).  I am totally open to suggestions for what to do with myself.

9.  I did check out this gem from my public library...
8.The new Silk cashew milk is weird.
7. I'm reading a bunch of stuff right now, and am about 75% through all of it:  Lena Dunham's essay book, Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance, and The Empathy Exams.  I keep the books in different places around the house, so if I'm nursing or rocking G, I can always pick up a book.  One is on my phone so I can read it in the dark before bed.
6.  Saw The Martian!  Didn't fall asleep!  Victory!
5.  Really liked The Martian.  I loved the book when I read it last year, and the movie really captured the tone and the excitement.
4.  If you are a new parent, this podcast is the thing.
3.  I love all of the BabyLit books, but G is especially into this one because it features dudes with facial hair.  No joke, kid loves facial hair.  This bodes well for the $50 Santa portrait session that I just signed up for. 
2.  The reality of my maternity leave ending is finally setting in.  This means two things: 1.  A day will come when I have to wear pants with a waistband; 2.  I need to start coming up with a plan to prep my classes.
1.  I really hope that I teach a class next semester in which I can teach Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried.  I have come to the conclusion that it is my favorite book to teach.

How was your week this week?  What's new in your bookish or non-bookish life?

Thanks to Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for hosting. 

06 October 2015

Top Ten Books that I Have Quit...But Would Like to Pick Up Again

I did my own twist on the TTT topic today. Majoring in English and getting a graduate degree meant lots of weekly reading, and not always finishing. 

These are books I liked enough to hope to return to them someday.

10.  Underworld by Don DeLillo:  I have read half of this book three times, but always feel compelled to start at the beginning with each reread.
9. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon:  We read this for my book club right before G was born.  I got about 250 pages (or 1/4 of the way) in.  I really want to devote the time to the book that it deserves, and my third trimester was not that time.
8. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace:  Are  you sensing a theme?  REALLLY long books might not be my thing.
7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller:  I think I got the gist of this one, but I would like read the whole thing.
6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:  This was one of the last books on MA exam study list.  I was pretty sure that no one was going to ask me about it, but I wanted to finish anyway...and I didn't.
5. Middlemarch by George Eliot:  I have actually read this all the way through once.  I was going to read it again for a class in graduate school, and just didn't make it through the second read.  I would still like to return to it.
4. Bleak House by Charles Dickens:  And again, long books, not my thing.  I usually say I read this, because I think I made it to the end, but there was a lot of skimming/speed reading involved...

I can't think of a top three, but this is a robust TBR.  What books did you start and life just got in the way?

03 October 2015

What I Read: Saturday by Ian McEwan

"He's been delivered into a pure
present, free of the weight of the past or any anxieties about the
future. In retrospect, though never at the time, it feels like profound

Grade: A

Have you read Saturday?  Let's chat about it in the comments. 

01 October 2015

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

...a day late.

10.  Every few weeks, I decide to read some sleep training books.  Then, I get totally overwhelmed by the information in them and resolve to just keep doing whatever "feels right" in regards to Grace's nap and sleep routines.  I'm in the midst of one of those cycles right now. 

9. I am trying to listen to Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse on Audible for my book club.  I  read the book when I was an undergraduate, but don't really remember anything about it except that it was difficult.  Although I love to listen to non-fiction, I'm not great at paying attention to fiction on audio, so we will see how this goes.

8.  I'm really enjoying the new Ryan Murphy series Scream Queens.  I am a fan of his in general, but I don't love all the American Horror seasons,and thought Glee got a little lame at the end.  So, I'm hoping this one keeps up its momentum, since I did love every weird, campy minute of Nip/Tuck.

7.  Jurassic World is coming out in digital this week, and I'm super excited.  When I was pregnant, I would tell my baby to stay in there until I could see JW.  My water broke at Starbucks the day before I was going to see it.  So, boo.  But, now I can watch it from the comfort of my living room.

6.  The new Lana Del Rey album  makes me feel like I've taken muscle relaxants.  I think that is the point?  It's not safe to listen to in the car.

5. In other movie news, I can't wait to see the The Martian.  It will be our first movie in the theater since G was born.  I just hope I don't fall asleep.

4. When we chose the name Grace for our baby, I felt like no one was named Grace.  Now it seems like everyone is...including Lena Dunham's sister, which I learned reading her book while rocking my baby before naps.

3.  I'm really into Jellycat books for babies.  Not sure why.  They are really short and simple, but I just think they are the cutest.

2.  This app is my new obsession. 

1. I'm happy to be blogging a bit instead of scrolling endlessly through my Facebook feed.  Facebook is like crack for new moms.  I don't like it, but I can't stop doing it.

Have a great week all!  Thanks for hosting Christine!

29 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: For Fans Of...

This week's TTT is Top Ten Books for fans off (insert popular book here).  I choose...

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

1. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson:  This book is amazing.  It is Nelson's memoir of her relationship with a transgendered man during transition and the birth of their son.  As a new mother, I found the honesty about motherhood refreshing.
2. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen:  Yeah, it's for kids, but it is the OG survival in the woods story, and it is Ah-mazing.
3. Post Secret books:  Quick coffee table reads with the same confessional tone as Strayed. 
4. The Opposite of Loneliness  by Marina Keegan: These essays by college journalist Keegan, published by her mother posthumously are worth a read.  
5. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey:  Yes, it is the most controversial because it isn't really true memoir ever.  But, it is a hell of a ride, and is a classic of the genre because of the controversy.
6. A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates:  Strayed's memoir is essentially a story of grief, and this memoir is one of the best stories of grief I have read.
7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson:  Wild is kind of a road trip memoir, and this is a great road trip memoir.
8. Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel:  A graphic memoir about a mother/daughter relationship.  It isn't as good as Fun Home, but has more in common with Wild.
9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh:  This memoir from Brosh's popular web comic addresses issues of mental illness that resonate with Strayed.
10. Jennifer, Gwyneth and Me by Rachel Bertsche: I love Bertsche's voice, and this, her memoir of trying to improve her happiness by emulating the lives of celebrities, has the same type of self-help quality as Strayed's work.

What books remind you of Wild?  What are your favorite memoirs?

27 September 2015

Back to Blogging? And my new addition...

It has been a while since I have been on my blog, but I have been working on something...

My daughter Grace was born on June 14th.  I stopped blogging during my pregnancy.  I didn't read much since I was always falling asleep!  Now I am staying home with my daughter, getting some reading in, and hoping to start working on my blog again.  Things might be a little different, but hopefully will be fairly regular.  I thought about moving to Tumblr, but it might just be a little more Tumblr-like around here instead.  Talk soon!

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