This month I am experimenting with my first “No Spend” month. My rules for this first month are simple: no purchases of clothes, accessories, home decor or organization items, furniture, cosmetics & toiletries (unless I run out of something), books, movies, meals out or coffee with cash or credit cards. If I have a gift card, I can use that for little indulgences (and I have purchased two Kindle books for a car trip and a couple of coffees from Starbucks), but the no clothing/decor/accessories ban remains in place. Now that I am writing this I realize I did actually pay for coffee from Quick Chek in New Jersey, but I’m going to have to let that slide because a) it already happened and there is no sense in throwing in the towel over something that is already done and b) we were staying in a hotel, so I couldn’t brew my own and even during a no-spend month I’m not going without coffee.
I have set a few exceptions to the “no-spend” rule as well. I can buy gifts, as necessary, because I need to pick up a few small things for Valentine’s Day. I also set aside a certain amount of money to use at a home-party that I was invited to. A good friend is hosting a direct sales party in a couple weeks and since she has always supported my efforts in this area I’d feel guilty if I didn’t purchase something from her. (I’m sure that’s a problem in itself, but not one I am going to worry about today). I am not attending the party so I will not be tempted with any additional items, but I am allowing myself one purchase from her show. And I don’t feel remotely bad about it.
I think the way to make a “no-spend” time work for you is to set guidelines that make sense in your particular circumstances. I am trying this experiment as a way to cut out unnecessary and impulse purchases. For me, simply being more intentional about what and how I spend is the purpose of this month. So, predesignating a certain amount of money for this one event fits easily into those parameters. And lest you think I am just making an excuse to spend, I was actually invited to four different direct-sales events this month, but I turned most of them down so I don’t “have to” spend money I don’t want to.
During this month of not spending, I am focusing on my favorite non-material goods and things that I already own. But just because I’m not spending money, doesn’t mean I can’t window shop. So, I thought it would be fun to also highlight a few of the things on my radar for the upcoming months.
HBO Documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed
Okay, it might be a little bit premature to put this on the list since I’ve only watched the trailer but I LOVED the first season of the podcast of Serial and I became captivated by Adnan’s story. I still don’t know whether or not he did it, but as a former lawyer I found the entire crime, investigation and trial fascinating. Since I was a “late listener,” I could have binge-listened to the entire show in one go; but, because I liked it so much I paced myself so that I could spread out the enjoyment. (Does anybody else do that with shows, podcasts or even books they really like? Or is it just me?) I was so sad when the season ended and I can’t wait to see what the documentary has in store.
Minimalist Moms Podcast
Speaking of podcasts, I have shared many of my favorites on these lists before. This week’s selection has been inspirational in my journey to finally eradicate the clutter in our home. I first found the Minimalist Moms a few years back when I was investigating capsule wardrobes (nope, I haven’t taken that leap yet, but maybe in the spring . . . ) and I love their down to earth, no-nonsense approach to parenting as suburban moms who are trying to avoid the trap of having too much stuff. They focus not only on reducing physical clutter, but also on emotional and schedule clutter so they have more time for “what matter’s most.” This attitude really resonates with me, and I think we could probably all learn a thing or two from their approach to their life. I recommend listening to their interview with Myquillyn Smith about how to create a cozy, minimalist home.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Not typically a big deal in our house, but a nice time to celebrate our family. One way we do that is with our annual Cherry Vanilla Heart cake. I am getting excited just thinking about it. (I just checked out those photos from way back and I am too embarrassed to re-post them here. I will definitely be snapping some new pics this year).
Last month I returned to the studio to teach Pilates reformer and I have been loving my weekly workouts on the machine. It helps me feel longer, leaner and most importantly stronger. I’ve been on the reformer at least twice a week over the last few weeks and I definitely feel a difference in my body. It’s a great compliment to my running (which has been on hiatus since I’ve gotten sick, sob, sob). I think it’s so energizing to find a workout that you truly love.
It’s cold and flu season. Again. And I think everyone in our family has been afflicted with one form or another of illness over the last six weeks. Right now, it’s my turn. But instead of conventional remedies, which often leave me feeling out of sorts and which do nothing to heal the symptoms but rather mask them, I have turned to more traditional remedies: lots of tea and honey, chicken soup, possibly a shot of whisky in my tea, and essential oils. I have been diffusing them in the air during the night, and using a roller ball (with a carrier oil) to rub some onto my wrists, temples and chest. So far I have not sprung for the “expensive oils” – my go-to oils are the NOW brand that I purchase on Amazon, although I have also been known to pick some up at TJ Maxx. Please tell me if there is a good reason I should make the switch to one of the big-name oil brands and let me know which ones you recommend. For cold and flu season I favor eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint and frankincense.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
Late January brought an arctic blast that sent the mercury plummeting below zero for three days, with wind chills much colder than that. Oh that wind. I still shiver just thinking about it. Or maybe I am shivering because after a brief reprieve of temperatures in the 50’s and even 60 degrees, we have returned to temperatures in the teens despite the groundhog’s welcome prediction of an early spring. So, we have been drinking a lot of hot chocolate around here. This is my favorite hot cocoa recipe and I like to make a homemade mocha with just a few tablespoons of hot chocolate stirred into my coffee.
And now for a few things on my radar:
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely ready for spring. Although it will be several months before spring attire is appropriate, I am thinking that these Harper Mules deserve a place in my closet. They are easy to slide on and off, they fit my narrow feet (which is no small feat for a mule), this light tan color is perfect for spring and will go with almost everything and the classic look is sure to be in style for some time to come.
Lounge Couch Ideas
I’m currently in the market for a new couch for our office turned tv lounge. My taste is minimalist-traditional crossed with mid-century modern and a little bit of rustic charm thrown in good for measure. Because of this I find myself drawn to two very different, but equally appealing, aesthetics for the new couch.
One is a traditional slip-covered sofa that screams comfort to me:
The other is a more modern and glam looking velvet sofa. I love the air of sophistication it would bring to the space and I think it would contrast so nicely with some of the other elements of the room. But I worry that it won’t be comfortable for lounging or sleeping. And I’m just not sure I can order a sofa from Amazon.
Decisions, decisions . . .
White Kitchen Cabinets
I have wanted a white kitchen for as long as I can remember. And while a full remodel is not in the cards these days, I keep hemming and hawing about whether or not to paint my kitchen cabinets. I painted my mudroom cabinets white and I love them! My current kitchen is builder-grade cherry that is not my taste and very dated. Not to mention, the cabinets are also in terrible shape. I’d post a picture, but I don’t want you all seeing just how bad they are in case I decide not to paint them.
We recently had the house painted and took the kitchen from a golden yellow to calming edgecomb gray, which has helped a lot. But I am still dreaming about cabinets in either a light gray or ivory color. I’m thinking of Ballet White, Light Pewter, Swiss Coffee or even Classic Gray or all by Benjamin Moore.
I love the look of these crazy white cabinets with the dark brown granite. What do you think? Should I go for it?
Athleta Shanti Jacket in Powervita
This running jacket is also on my list for spring. I fell in love with the Stash Pocket Tights in Powervita™ fabric about two years ago. They are soft, silky, smooth and don’t catch on dry skin or nails. They are also high-waisted and hold everything in, if you know what I mean. Plus, the side pockets are perfect for my phone. I’m slowly converting my entire legging collection to these tights and next on my list is this pair of moto-inspired leggings. I recently learned that Athleta has expanded their Powervita™ fabric offerings, including these adorable and practical jackets. The website describe the jacket as “buttery soft” and there’s thumbholes too! I can’t wait to add this to my running wardrobe.
Stay warm this weekend!