Recommitting to a new approach in 2017

19 May

I’ve been very silent on this blog especially on one of my favorite hobbies, fashion. I started this blog after my daughters birth to share my love of all things girly. The truth is that pregnancy reminded me yet again about how unsustainable this hobby is. Fast Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. IT is also an industry which supports a ton of livelihoods through sweatshop like conditions. I’ve felt guilty about both. In fact this is extended to all aspects of my life. I have tried very hard to justify purchases of “cute new things” across the board (Kitchen, toys, organization etc). I have been re-purposing shoe boxes, sheets, glass containers etc. The hardest part is toys to engage kiddo.

I’ve looked at certain minimalist blogs and find them really hard to follow. No, I am not going to downsize and live in a 500sqft apt and throw out every single thing I own. I still have decor on my wall, books, furniture, appliances etc. Throwing out everything is not practical to me. However, I am willing to change my mindset to consume needlessly. Reducing waste is interesting to. I will no longer throw out brand new things which could be loved by someone else. I definitely have to read more on this subject.

That said, since the end of February I started slowly shopping again. My approach has been for a lack of better term better.This time around, I have been sourcing items from sustainable luxury options. After a few months , here is my experience.

In 2016, I added 112 new things . This includes every single purchase such as Clothes(including scarves), lingerie, handbags, jewellery / watches and shoes, makeup, skincare and books. Its perhaps not a terrible number. In 2017 so far, I have added 12 things for myself in the past 12 weeks. That is almost 1 thing a week. However only 5 of them are new. 5 new things in the first 5 months of the year. Maybe I can restrict myself to 7 new things for the next 7 months this year? TO be clear , I can participate in purchase of consignment goods. Ok, even if I can, there are problems with this approach. All I am doing is deferring participation in the consumerist cycle . I am also depending on over-consumption by others. This is definitely not a long term solution. What would that be? Don’t buy any non-essential and waste less. In the meanwhile I am content with my resolve to restrict myself to 12 new things this year. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking away

26 Jul

Over the past few months I’ve bit my lip extra hard when experiencing rude behavior because of who I am (insert caste, race, country etc.) , not because of my actions. It is very hard blaming some people though because they seem to directly reflect their parent’s opinion or a popular politically incorrect opinion. I can’t dislike them but I can dislike the actions. Here is a theorem:

For every race, religion, country, <insert differentiator> there will be a subset of jerks. Infact some SAHM’s are jerks, some working moms are jerks. These people will discriminate based on something which can be utterly baffling to normal folks. A common thought is to take it personally . Such actions reflect only on the wrong doers part.Walking away and smiling at the ignorance is a decent way to tackle such kind of pettiness.

Mini Goals..

16 May

1)Do Classes – DONE! Attended 4 vinyasa yoga classes 🙂

2) Complete mini-me projects – DONE! (1 board game from scratch, decorated the room with her and spending plenty of time during our vacation)

3) Positive workaround – My hardest goal this time NEUTRAL. I dont know, I had both positive and negative moments. There were 2 particular moments when I was calm and assumed that the attendant had a bad day. There were atleast 3 moments when I was quite irritated. It is super hard to be empathetic towards people who treat you like crap based on your age/sex/race)

4) Donate either 3 hours of time or $100 (probably to Akshaya patra org) – FAIL. 1hr donated. $50 bucks donated so far. will do $17 more

5) Read/Listen to a work of fiction and one of non-fiction -> 1/2. Dan Ariely’s “the upside of irrationality”. Couldnt finish pulp fiction “l.A dead” because I started reading it at a cabin and had to leave for hte next one.

Oh And for the new experience..2 words: Spin ClassIt was intimidating to be in a class where I was one of the fatter ones ..(HAHA)…..AND where everyone had abs at the minimum and upto 6 or 8 pack.  Not kidding or exaggerating, this is a fact.

I am giving myself a score of 3/6. Huh, next months goals.

  1. Start learning a new language
  2. Learn a new skill
  3. Spend an unplanned day with no scheduled stuff. I’ve scheduled an activity or errand every day in the past year so this is going  to be the most challenging goal this time.
  4. Go 30 days without buying a single WANT thing in categories such as clothing/skincare/home related purchase etc -This is my 2nd attempt in the past 1 year to do a 30 day fast on everything (could be a $1  nail polish) that is a want and its very hard. Last year I made it to 12 days before buying an earring. This time I am on day 17. 13 more days!
  5. No processed food for atleast 20/30 days until Mid-June.
  6. Stay away from distracting mediums like facebooks/forums/ etc.

As always, look forward to one new experience !

Edit: The past 2 weeks hve been super rough. Extending goals to end of June. Lets see.

Well made stuff

21 Apr

You guys (and I know there are enough because of the blog views) , here are a few stores that you could buy well made, high quality but affordable stuff from. You know thats my mission this year. This is not for those who get tired of the same clothes but if you are like me and wear a piece until it rips apart then these will certainly last longer.

  1. Silk Skirts – Anna Sui for Anthropologie , Tracy Reese are two brands I have tried in the past few months, granted you have to wait for a major sale. I accidentally threw the tracy reese skirt into the laundry and it came out with no tears and so I keep doing that. Tough silk = win.
  2. Pants – Old Navy. 98%cotton, 2%elastane for chinos. I got mine more than 6 months back and still look new. I thought to myself 6 months isnt long even if you wear a pant twice a week. Then I realized I have one from 2 years back. THAT has been worn 2-3 times a week. Y
  3. Shoes – I never buy shoes from the same store. Probably have tried around 30+ brands in U.S. So trust me when I say that 2 names stand out. a) Naturalizer b) Latigo. I bought this exact pair about 3 months back and it is a hardy shoes to wear if you don’t have time to spend on maintaining shoes.
  4. Pencil skirts  – Alfani, Ann taylor . I threw out some of my recent ill fitting , low quality pencil skirts when I was cleaning up my wardrobe but found 3 of them from 5 years back . 2 AT’s and one alfani. They are holding up unbelievably well after close to 5 years and I wear them atleast 10-20 times a year.

I am not encouraging or enabling you to buy more . I think that having well made stuff that lasts is very reliving . I still need to find a place that makes good quality cotton t-shirts and good quality button up skirts.J.crew’s crewneck tees don’t fit me well and I am sick of buying a grey t-shirt every single year.

On the same note, I have looked into my wardrobe and felt good for quite a while now. THe only thing that nags me is the utter lack of fitting tops, everything I have is boxy and flowing.

5 Mini goals and one Mega goal

13 Apr

I’ve seen several bloggers use this template to create and track mini goals. This is a fantastic piece way to document and retrospect on day to day life. Also, there are some long pending tasks or life goals that I never seem to have time for. This is a good starting point.

New Goals:

1)Do Classes regularly – Try to do 4 between now and May 13.

2) Complete a few projects with kid as way to spend quality time with her.

3) For the following situation employ a positive workaround:  “X said something bad or did something bad”. Assume X is at a low point and be charitable and amiable. Document instances.(X could be myself)

4) Donate either 3 hours of time or $100 (probably to Akshaya patra org)

5) Read/Listen to a work of fiction and one of non-fiction

 

Repetitive themes:

Every month, identify and incorporate a thing that I would never do – I did try something in March but more on that when I do the April Update

 

The Extrapolation Connundrum

14 Mar

Humans are strange. We know this. People get irritated by the internet, random blogs, forums, at what others say, at other people’s action, at themselves etc. But the strangest thing is getting annoyed by somebody’s perceived response. This is similar to attributing motives to someones suggestions. “I know x and x who would think this at this situation (although this was never explicitly discussed with that x)”. This is a really bad idea because it will hurt the thinker the most. Some scenarios:

-> Mothers who breastfeed and wear their babies probably will support cloth diapering and the consumption of organic food (Not true)

-> Working moms will probably be more into career and business trips (I personally have said no to business trips) . SAHMs will not support extending maternity leave and prefer lazing around (100% of my close friends are looking for a job or studying or have already found a job and all of them will vehemently support women’s rights. Or I might just be friends with nice people in general)

-> Well educated people are likely to be sophisticated.

Anyway, one of the reasons I bring this point is that I have been thinking a lot about relationships and people. In my younger days I used to get along with 10% of my acquaintances. Currently I get along wit h over 90% of the people I meet. The change is due to the realization of a simple fact. If 2 persons can be treated like 2 logical sets, then the venn diagram will show that there are points of difference, but given a certain amount of education, state of living, country/city of living and the presence of an offspring, the overlap is bound to be as large as the non-overlap. Another key point is that the venn diagram is with respect to closed sets. Since we don’t possess the entire knowledge about someone , it is advisable to keep our mind open and underscore the commonalities.

Slowing down

11 Mar

I opened this blog to jot down a few thoughts and noted to myself “Wow, 2 blog posts in less than a week” and realized it has been almost  2 weeks since my last post. Time flies I guess . The title is with reference to slowing down time, not slowing down life , so quite apt considering the timing.

I spent the better part of last week/weekend being unproductive. I didn’t finish any of my books, watched over 45 mins of tv each day  (1.5 hrs on one occasion), couldn’t do any intense workout thanks to a foot injury that persists and doing only 6 hours of office work per day . At the end of the week I feel like I achieved a few things but I felt I had not done my best and was not content.

I have over 4 books in rotation now and one of them had an interesting theory. Start the day by doing the thing you want to do the most. In other words, if you goto bed thinking “I wish I had done this today” then start the next day with that activity.  Several years back I read about a Russian physicist who had the habit of waking up at 3:30am. He worked from 4am-noon. When asked why he remarked “So that I get my work done before half the day is over”. I think he hit the nail on the head.  David Rock says that lack of stress makes people less productive. A mild stress element is required to increase output and I have to agree with this. Setting any deadline of sorts is better than giving myself endless time to do something. Finally, inhibiting distracting thoughts is vital to expanding time.

Today I reviewed my week and things look pretty good. Hope it stays this way.