Clothes Shopping Rundown 2018

It’s still January, so not too late to be looking back at the previous year right?

Here’s a rundown of the clothes I bought for myself last year and how I feel about them now.

  • Activewear:
    • 2 workout Ts – I was on a quest to find long tees to cover my bum in leggings. I ordered these two mid-length ones from Amazon and they work because I’m short. Also, they’re cotton which I prefer.
    • 1 WearPact leggings – I wanted to try cotton leggings for the gym since I prefer cotton tops. They’re much more breathable than plastic. I’m sold. Cotton they shall be!
  • Thrifting: I love visiting thrift stores, especially when I travel. It’s like grocery shopping. I get a taste of local flavor – even though, let’s be honest, the Internet and social media has homogenized us a lot.
    • Sweater vest – My absolute favorite clothing purchase of 2018.
    • workout tee – It has New Orleans printed on it, so this is not only a gym shirt, it’s a souvenir.
    • Work appropriate top – In hindsight, I didn’t need another top for work, but eh, I’ve gotten use out of it.
  • Fast Fashion: This is stuff I’m trying to cut back on, but it’s also the longest list.
    • Skinny jeans – Had I known how many cute pairs of jeans were awaiting me at the thrift store in NOLA, I wouldn’t have ordered these. But I so wanted a pair of comfortable stretchy skinny jeans that I ordered these from Nordstrom Rack at the beginning of the year. Were they worth it? I wear them weekly! They’re like leggings. But because I got these, I skipped out on a really cute pair of Levi’s at No Fleas Thrift store. Yes, I could’ve still gotten the Levi’s but Marie Kondo would not have approved. And I never need another pair of jeans. Despite cleaning out 10 or so pairs last year (they were too small), I still have a drawer of jeans.
    • Yellow turtleneck sweater – Free shipping made me do this. I hate that I do that – buy garbage for free shipping. I end up paying more than I would have for the shipping. Why do I do this? This sweater is plastic and scratchy. I hate it, but I wear it to work because it’s warm and it doesn’t pill and it’s a good color on me. Every time I have it on though I tell myself I’m throwing it in the Goodwill pile.
    • Undershorts and stockings – I got these from YesStyle/YesAsia (along with the plastic yellow sweater) and the quality of the undershorts are decent while the stockings are complete trash. They’re disposable in that they only last one wear and barely at that. I have nothing good to say about YesStyle. The pictures on the site look great, the quality is absolute junko. Save your money! Darn you YouTube influencers and your sponsored videos!
    • Plaid tencel shirt – I’m not sure if this is legitimately an ethical fashion brand, but they’re called Threads for Thought so it sounded good. The shirt is cute (I’m a sucker for plaid), but the quality is only so-so and because of that, I can’t say I like it. I’m trying to go for items that last, rather than disposable garbage clothes. This one leans a bit disposable.

I’m hoping to only take clothes out of the closet this year and not add anything. However, I anticipate failing when I travel and if I thrift.


Surprise! Malls still exist and thrive in the age of Amazon! I haven’t walked around in a mall for years but I had a dinner date with friends at a restaurant that happened to be at the mall. Since I got there early, I shopped. I should have gone to the shoe store pronto since I wore the wrong pair of shoes to shop (totally out of analog shopping practice) – my toenail is probably going to fall off because I chose the Lush rather than shoe adventure.

My friend had told me about their shampoo bars years ago and I’ve always meant to try them. I wanted one for hair loss and the sales lady told me ‘New’ might encourage baby hairs.


I also grabbed the ‘Jumping Juniper’ because it has rosemary in it, and I’ve heard that can also encourage hair growth. I’ve used the ‘New’ a few times and so far I’m liking it. I kinda’ wish I didn’t, because I don’t want to develop a Lush habit, because $$$ but after using it, I feel like my dander problems have improved. I’m not sure about hair growth, it might take a while for that, but I like the way my hair looks after and I love the scent. I especially like the smell of the juniper one.

For comparison, other shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley are better than these Lush bars. Some of my favorites include Babassu Marshmallow and Ayurvedic Herb. They are quite effective at treating my dandruff, much more effectively than Lush.

So yes, I just said I like these Lush bars. Which should you get? If you’re not used to bar shampoo, Lush could be good for first timers since they lather easily and don’t dissolve as quickly as the Chagrin Valley. Overall though, Chagrin Valley is a superior product because they don’t use sulfates and they also seem to use up more quickly because they’re more old school soaps (oils and sodium hydroxide).

For me, going forward, I’d stick to Chagrin Valley if I’m ordering online. But if I’m ever in a Lush shop, I’d probably grab a couple more bars of shampoo. They’re hard to resist when I’m in the store smelling them.

Terrace House – Opening New Doors

This is my favorite reality TV show. I normally browse or play games while watching TV, but for TH, I put the iPad down to read the subtitles. This show is the Sims IRL!! If you put six Sims together like this the results would be not too different. Except my Sims would definitely squeeze out a couple of kids before too long. The characters in the show are attractive, talented, entrepreneurial, and opportunistic. So this show is a publicity generating platform for them as they develop their brands while we viewers watch them socially interact. I almost think of it as panda porn for Japanese youth. Kids, this is how you engage each other socially. Pandas, this is how babies are made. Beautiful.


This may be a backslide on the decluttering-throwaway resolution front. This mountain of stuff on the coffee table that inadvertently became the storage area for all Costco purchases started getting a bit out of control. I suppose a space as small as this has no business storing Costco-sized anything but on the occasion, I do like to pick up a few cartoonishly large-sized items. Ironically, the stocking up is a result of not enjoying the Costco experience. Buy more, buy less frequently. Y’see the logic?

Coffee Table of Crap

From what I understand of the minimalist thinking, the general idea of organization or storage items is they tend to, in the long run, exacerbate clutter. They’re clutter magnets. It’s better to not have the storage items and to just get rid of the stuff that you would have kept there. I’m not at that level yet. That’s like Michelin 3-star level minimalism. So even knowing that, we got the rack anyway because we figured the coffee table footprint is larger than the rack footprint and the rack optimizes use of vertical space. It’s Hong Kong here in my little place.

Costco Shrine

Maybe I will come to regret this Costco shrine installation. One feature I’m glad it has is the caster wheels. Boy if that isn’t my favorite furniture feature for small spaces. I want walls to come with wheels. And the coffee table goes because it doesn’t have wheels. So I suppose zero sum in terms of stuff. One in-one out.

The Life and Good Times of Allie Aloe

Allie moved into the neighborhood wanting to start her life as a mother. She’d given up on finding a relationship or partnership or whatevership. She just wanted to live up to her name, and bear many pups, as a good Aloe should. Allie first met Blair Lothario at the local park where she liked to hang out. This man happened to be spending the day at the park with his seven other housemates. Lucky Allie introduced herself to them all. That night though, it was Blair who was lucky enough to go home with Allie and then they both got lucky. Allie was pregnant on their first try. Allie bid farewell to Blair. Then, she went to the park to relax. There, she got to know Chet Lothario a bit better, so she took him home and they got to know each other even more. After he left, Allie went to the hospital to have her daughter, whom she named Blair, after the child’s father. Allie thought it easiest to keep her baby daddies straight by naming her child and all future children after their fathers.

Once Allie brought Blair home, she called her now close friend, Chet, over to introduce him to her baby. Then Allie and Chet got to be more than just friends and lo, Allie Aloe was pregnant. Pregnant Allie called a sitter and set off to meet new people at the park. There, she chatted up Wayne Lothario. Wayne followed her home and they got to know each other very well. After Wayne left, Allie gave birth to Blair’s little brother, Chet.

Since Wayne had grown to be such a good friend, naturally she called him first to invite him over to meet the new baby. Then Allie and Wayne bonded over this family and decided to make another. Now pregnant with her third and two young ones at home, even with the help of a sitter, going to the park while pregnant and tired all the time was not going to be possible. She called Colin Lothario to chat, just wanting to have adult conversation.

As they grew more familiar with each other, she invited him over and they became more than just friends. So much so that after Wenya was born, the first person she thought to call over was Colin. In the excitement of meeting the new baby, Allie and Colin found themselves expecting another baby. Having toddlers Blair, Chet, baby Wenya, a babysitter whom she had to keep her hawkeye on, and pregnant with Colin Aloe, it was all Allie could do to keep it together.

Allie had to find a relief valve from the stress and she found it in Steve Lothario. Steve bravely visited Allie and tried to help with her children. Facing a challenge together helped strengthen their budding relationship and they found themselves passionately in love. So in love were they that after Colin was born, the first person Allie wanted by her and the children’s side was Steve. And being by her side, Allie found herself with child again.

After Steve Jr. was born, Allie’s equipment needed a break. Also, she could barely keep it together with five needy wee ones. Luckily Blair was starting to be a little more independent. After Blair grew old enough to start helping with her younger siblings and Chet was old enough to care for himself, Allie had her two youngest back to back, with Arnold and Jaden.

By the time Jaden was born she had plenty of help with the younger toddlers and newborn and Allie Aloe could mostly kickback and relax and be pleased with herself. She had seven beautiful children with seven charming Lotharios. And they all grew up to be master gardeners.

Except Wenya, the little hussy. She decided to seduce her brother’s father, Chet. After finding out Wenya was pregnant with her older brother’s nephew/brother, she shared the news with Allie. Allie found joy in being a grandmother to the third Chet. Nobody was confused by the three Chet’s in the neighborhood.

A hotpot kind of night

Forecasters called for snow this weekend and I instantly thought, hotpot. I started brainstorming with a friend, must-haves to include.

Her favorite items to toss in:

  • Yuba – Dried sheets or sticks of tofu skin. It’s only available from China, so she tries to go for the ones manufactured in Hong Kong.
  • Bamboo – She goes for the frozen ones, though recently they’re available fresh.
  • Frozen firm tofu – After freezing, tofu develops a sponge-like texture. It soaks up the soup well.
  • Daikon – Fresh daikon makes a tasty broth. I also like to ferment the skins with some carrots, ginger, and salt water for a few days.
  • Taro
  • Chrysanthemum greens
  • Enoki

I have never added bamboo or yuba in my hotpot but they both sounded tasty so I got some to try. Another item I suggested to her is seaweed. It adds umami and deepens the flavor of the broth, along with some onions. Other items I like to include are napa and cabbage and sometimes lotus roots.

I’m so hungry right now just thinking about it. Hotpot is my winter comfort food.

By 2020

Twenty twenty has a nice roll off the tongue. Tuh-wen-ty twen-tee. Five or six years ago, 2020 seemed like a nebulous faraway place. I’d daydream of this or that and say, by 2020. These are the cans that I kicked down to 2020 (and am probably not going to achieve):

  • Move to a place with a yard.
  • Get a dog
  • Get a cat
  • Get a chinchilla
  • Get an alpaca, llama, Brahman cattle, chickens, goats, apiary…

Yes, I see now that my life goals involve owning others. How not-so-subtly possessive. But alas, given that 2020 is less than a year away, I probably won’t achieve my despotic wishes by then. I’ll have to rethink my priorities.

Clarity via health scare

Coming back from the New Year, my coworker dropped by to catch up with me about his newfound interest in positive life outlook? I don’t know how else to describe it. Connecting to inner spirituality? Think meditation, nature bathing, values-questioning type stuff. He recently had a health scare where one of his heart arteries was majorly blocked. It wasn’t a heart attack, but he needed surgery to get a stent to open up the flow. He mentioned his wife also isn’t in the best of health so he’s been re-evaluating his life and thinking about retirement.

He mentioned a few things that stuck out to me:

  • I can trade time for money, but not the other way around. He says he’s seen so many boats and RVs for sale from owners who didn’t get to use them for long because after they retired, they were older, or got unforeseen conditions that left them unable to enjoy those things. He wants to be able to enjoy these things while he and his wife are still physically able.
  • Real estate taxes can take a big chunk out of your retirement. He’s thinking of selling his place after he retires and moving somewhere less expensive because even though he’s no longer paying a mortgage, the taxes alone will take a significant chunk of his retirement. I never thought of it this way, but home ownership isn’t true ownership. We pay rent in perpetuity to the gubment. I am having second thoughts about how badly I want that backyard garden.
  • Buddhism can be applied as a philosophy rather than taken as a religious dogma. I think he’s trying to apply aspects of it to his life and maybe rethink or re-prioritize his values? Or something?
  • Retirement classes cover a whole lot about finances but don’t really help much in the area of how-to-life.

Anyway, I was glad to get a glimpse of what goes on inside the mind of someone as they start thinking about retirement. I sometimes feel like I’ve been ready already, but when it’s staring me in the face, I will be a lost little lamb!

Supplemental resolution

The other person who inspired me a lot last year (well, maybe for a few years now) was Mr. Money Mustache. So between Marie Kondo with her get-rid-of-your-garbage philosophy, and MMM’s stop-buying-garbage philosophy, I was torn about which I would adopt as my theme for 2019. So I’m taking them both. I’m sure I’ve recycled these two ideas in past resolutions. It’s an uphill battle for me on both fronts and they relate. Stop trading my time and space for garbage.

With MMM in mind, I had originally drafted a post geared towards what I thought was going to be my 2019 project of reducing my annual food cost from 2018. This was in November before the end of the year and my data was incomplete so I waited to finish the post with all the dollars tallied. Lo, the outcome was stupid. Yes, I can lower my food costs. No I’m not as Mustachian as the man himself. But no. See food expenses in 2018 were lower than in 2017. Good enough for me. I apparently made strides without even trying.
My theory is, part way through 2018 I gave up on finding decent plant-based options in the area because they were mostly just mediocre, so we ate out a lot less. I don’t see the dining scene suddenly improving this year. We’ll still try a few places every now and again, but maybe this isn’t the pie slice I need to improve. I will just have to look elsewhere to improve my clutteriffic living situation. Anyway, it’s not like my food takes up that much space. Except maybe the beans and rice – I hoard that as if the next apocalypse were upon us.

The Daily

First day back at work from a two week extravaganza where I kept the hours, diet, and life of a college kid. Family has a way of bringing out the old habits of youth. I even fired up Sims again. Unfortunately my body doesn’t handle that like it used to so I got sick. I still have some lingering congestion from my New Years cold but I know I’m on the mend when my immune system goes back to tilting at windmills (aka allergies).

I didn’t really feel like going to the gym today, but I ended up going to yoga tonight. It’d been two weeks and I felt stiff and hoped maybe the stretchy part would help. The gym was packed this evening. I forget how busy things get after the New Year at a gym. I supposed I was glad I went even though I wasn’t feeling it. I did look at the clock a few times and took whatever easy option I could. At the beginning of every class this instructor often asks everyone what they’d like to work on (it’s a small group). I was tempted to say savasana, one hour! I still feel stiff but maybe less so? Fighting entropy is a losing battle. But fight I must!