Covid19

I went to the Asian grocery store to get my pantry staple hulking bag of rice. I ran out late last year and have gone without rice for too long. While at the Asian market, Mom got me so spun up about this virus, we quickly grabbed random greens, some noods, miso paste. While debating over the choices of miso, an old Asian gramps standing by the miso paste let out a big cough and it concluded our miso debate. We were in such a frenzy to get out that halfway to the car, I realized we didn’t get the hulking bag of rice. I went back in for round two. I’ve had rice daily since. Glorious.

Moral of the story – Eat rice, not animals.

Runners Up Purchases of 2019 (and how my 2019 resolution panned out)

Second to the TV and PC that I got last year, these are other things I treated myself to that made me very happy!

  • Hotplate. I got this at the beginning of 2019 and used the heck out of it. When fall rolled around, it was our daily evening ritual to steam up our place with tasty cooked vegetables. It sits permanently atop our coffee table year round! I love hot pot!
  • Kindle. Anything that can save me space is a winner. I think I read exactly one book in 2019, and I didn’t even finish it until the beginning of 2020! (In case anybody’s curious, it was Fat Chance by Dr. Robert Lustig. Very highly recommend!)
  • Hiking sticks. I went hiking in West Virginia during the early part of 2019 and these came in handy to help keep all of us balanced and just feel generally steadier when navigating unpaved terrain. Not used on a regular basis, but if it prevents even one injury or fall, it’s a win in my book! I love being outside and seeing trees!

Probably Unnecessary Purchases – For my 2019 year of decluttering and minimizing purchases, I probably didn’t need to get these things, even though I did.

  • Cycling shoes with clips. I use them maybe once or twice a week, at most. Some of the bikes in my class have clips that are messed up so I can’t clip into those anyway. I like the firmness and the feel of them when I’m trying to focus on pulling up on the pedals, but either way, I know I can get a good workout with or without these fancy shoes.
  • Seed sprouting lids. I got some lids with screens on them to sprout seeds like alfalfa or broccoli seeds. I had such a hard time using them though, the sprouts just never looked that great and I ended up preferring to eat the broccoli seeds unsprouted anyway. I use the lids now to rinse oat groats, buckwheat, and millet, so they’re used, just not for the purpose I originally intended.
  • Hair ties. I was trying really hard not to get hair ties. Sooo hard that they were all I could think about. So when Prime Day rolled around, what did I get on impulse? Hair ties. What we resist, persists! This was a low point in my life during 2019. I am remorseful. And I use these hair ties and they work fine. I just could have easily lived without them.

Wins (Things I resisted purchasing)

Ok, obviously, this could be a crazy long list, I mean, I didn’t buy a yacht or private jet or dog. The list could go on! So this is just stuff I would have normally gotten when the urge struck and I wouldn’t think twice, but I resisted in 2019.

  • Shoes. Aside from the cycling shoes. My god, I want new shoes all the time! It’s an addiction that will never go away. Eating plant based has been easier than giving up shoe shopping. Hence the cycling shoes moment of weakness. I have shoes pinned on my Pinterest board and the list grows. I fear one day I may explode. But for now, I take it one day at a time. Breathe in, breathe out…
  • Clothes. I got basics that one can’t (and probably shouldn’t) get secondhand such as underwear and socks. For the rest, I am so fortunate and grateful to have friends who are kind and generous enough to give me their clothes they no longer want. I have a closet stuffed to the gills from their generosity! And I’m still in perpetual pare-down mode. Just not the drastic Kondo-method.
  • Earrings and other gewgaws. My ears got sensitive to most of my collection of costume jewelry. As soon as I put them on, they would start burning. So I got rid of them and now rarely, if ever, wear earrings anymore. I could easily restock my collection with hypoallergenic earrings, but I am okay with what’s left of my existing collection. It is tempting though, when I spot something colorful or twinkly.
  • Beans. Surprise! Bet you would have never guessed in a million years that pulses would be on my list of things I don’t buy! I eat them almost daily! We’ve just found that lentils are easier to digest. They’re easier for me to cook (faster) too. And to be honest, I have a pantry full of beans. I’ve just been using up what I have. So even though I love, love, love beans, and I love having a variety at all times, I’ve had to resist adding to my collection. I’ve almost used up what I have and I know this year, I’m going to have to get more. In the meantime, I keep a big 25lb sack of brown lentils in my pantry that I dip into for any dish. They are so versatile and creamy and tasty! Maybe this is why I saved so much on food in 2019. Those Rancho Gordo orders! Ahhh, now I want some Rio Zapes and Alubia Blancas! SOOO GOOD!
  • Baking soda and vinegar and soaps and shampoos. All myriad of cleaning products. I am such a sucker for buying cleaning products. Much less of a fan of actually using them. Or maybe I just don’t use them up as fast as I can impulse-buy them. Also, I don’t know why I feel the need to have 6 giant jugs of vinegar on hand and still throw in a couple more jugs in my cart at every Costco run. What is this fear of running out of vinegar?! Is it biology? Trauma of having the urge to clean and not having the vinegar to do it? I don’t know. But I stopped buying it and I still haven’t run out.

Best thing I got in 2019

Ok it’s a little late to be doing this, but I just thought of it because I’m sitting right here staring at it! And that is, my fave purchase last year – a giganto TV. It is 55″ and was about $320 during Black Friday. I say it’s my favorite, but it really goes hand in hand with my new computer. The old one was about eight years old and even though it was fine for browsing, it really struggled with running games like Sims. My Sims have been busy populating Sim world, growing enviable gardens, and climbing their career ladders ever since the new computer!

So I have been wanting a new TV for years – since August 2015 when the screen of our old TV started spazzing out. Our fix had been to turn it on and “warm it up” by playing any video on YouTube. It would clear up in a minute. Then 5 minutes. Then 15 minutes. Every year, Black Friday would come and go and I’d hem and haw, and then last minute decide, naw, we’ll wait another year. Then this year, it was having spasms at random times throughout use, even after it was warmed up. It was eyeball-hurting and headache-inducing. I finally said E-Nough! It has been such a relief to have a clear screen that doesn’t wobble or fritz.

Separately, I wanted to give a bit of a review on my online eyeglass purchase experiences, now that I have two under my belt.

  • The first time I got online glasses, I used Zenni. They were inexpensive and did the job. I wore them for a year and a half! But I could tell from the start that they were flimsy and loose and were just a bit rougher around the edges. Literally and figuratively. The lenses weren’t polished on the edges.
  • At the end of 2019, I got new glasses from EyeBuyDirect and let me just tell you, they are way nicer! Aside from the polished edges, the frames just feel sturdier and better quality. Also, I love that they don’t come with plastic cases. I have a whole drawer of eyeglass cases which I never use and even though I’ve donated a bunch, there are more! Like tribbles. Instead, EyeBuyDirect ships their glasses in hard cardboard boxes inside microfiber drawstring bags that double as lens wipes. Brilliant. Those I use regularly and I like to keep them in various places like one in my gym bag, one in the bathroom for when I’m getting ready in the morning, and one at work. The glasses are a bit pricier, but worth it in my opinion. I also got prescription sunglasses. They feel like such a luxury when I put them on. Finally, I can wear sunglasses without contacts.

Poppin’ some tags

Ok, by some, it was really one. For a thrifting excursion, that’s pretty good. I found a seemingly never worn cotton men’s crew neck sweater. The kind you can layer over a button down shirt, or just wear on its own. It was only $7! which is not the point of thrifting. I have to keep reminding myself of that when I get hand-me-down clothes from friends or when I find a deal. It’s not about the monetary value. It’s about the space I’m trading to hold this thing, whatever it may be. Real estate is valuable! Fill it with care. So yes, this particular item checked the appropriate boxes:

  • On my short list of things that I’m seeking
  • Natural plant fiber
  • Comfortable
  • Layer-able and mix and matchable with multiple bottoms
  • Work and casual appropriate
  • Pleasing color (lemon yellow but not neon) – Flattering
  • In good condition and seemingly well-made; will hold up
  • Machine washable
  • Bonus: not made in China.

I’m still slowly draining my overflowing closet. Turning the spigot off to a slow trickle is helping, but boy did this sweater give me a nice dopamine rush.

The fabric of my life

I zealously (seems to be the only way I do anything) hopped aboard the synthetic activewear bandwagon because they were ubiquitous (still are). I was leggins to the grocery store, leggins for travel, leggins with tunics on casual Fridays, leggins to the gym of course. It was leggins for mah life! And eight pairs of leggings and three years later, I have come to the conclusion that even though leggings are nice, I prefer my clothes non-synthetic. Nothing is more breathable than cotton. Yes sweat, but I change out of my sweaty exercise clothes regardless of fabric.  And skin being the largest organ in our body, constantly breathing, taking things in, I am not sure if covering it with plastics is the best way to go.  Note: I have done zero science research fueling this concern.  It’s just how I feel. Still, I’ll wear what I have, still take them to the gym, still handy for light-packing travel as they can wash and dry overnight anywhere. Going forward though, they’ll be replaced by cotton.  But aside from the gym and on travel, I won’t live in them anymore.  I don’t treat them as loungewear or weekend errand-run clothes.  That’s where old school cotton sweatpants come in, or jeans if you want to be fancy!     

Cycling

Cycling or spin class is one of those gym activities that I never find easy even after months of going at it! It never feels like I’m getting better. But I think I might have grown addicted to the good mood feels after because I actually look forward to it. Not normal for me. At all. But let’s admit it, this is just another hobby, which = just another excuse to go shopping.

Untitled

So here it is! My cycling shoes! With clips! I feel a little extra getting shoes for one specific activity. But they feel nice. Well, actually they feel tight. For reference, I wear size 7 normal shoes. I wear 7.5 running shoes. I got size 38 mens European for the cycle shoes (the equivalent of 7.5 women’s). They feel like size 6.5. My toes are right up to the toebox. They are not comfortable to walk in and I wear nylon knee highs as socks and trimmed all my toe nails. However, once I’m clipped in and cycling, if I’m using proper form, pulling and pushing evenly, making full circles, they feel good. When I’m standing to pedal, I feel the toe pressure again. And of course, as with any shoe, after wearing them for a while, they seem to feel better so I’m hoping that over time, they will feel even better.

Comfort aside, my first impressions after cycling in them is they really make my quads burn more and I like the feeling of being able to pull up more. Also, in the past, my foot has accidentally slipped out of a pedal before and that feeling is a little freaky to have a loose insecure foot. So I appreciate the clip. New toy!

Impossible Tickets

Tickets to Taylor Swift’s Lover Fest opened today at 4 PM. I was logged in to Ticketmaster all day today and in the “waiting lounge” at 3:50. It is currently 7:45PM and I’m still watching the status bar not move. We just got an update that:

Due to high demand, ticket availability is extremely limited. You may find more options available for platinum, single, and upper level seating as you shop for tickets.

Soooo, I’m not holding my breath that I’ll be able to get any tickets.

Final message at midnight:

Due to high demand, ticket availability for the Verified Fan offer is sold out. We will be going offsale in a few minutes.

Next album perhaps.

Resolution Check-in

My resolution this year was to stop trading my time and space for garbage.

Two parts:

  • Get rid of trash.
  • Stop buying trash.

How am I doing? Well I just got a physical music album when I could’ve just gotten the digital version, so I could be doing better. On the whole, I haven’t purchased too many items and I got rid of three trash bags of clothes and shoes and I’m working on filling more, just not as diligently lately. The worst part of this year has been Amazon’s dang Prime Day. I got hair ties, a vegetable peeler, a Kindle, and these wooden Thai reflexology massage tools, a cotton yoga headband, a couple of essential oils, and seed sprouting lids for Ball jars. Obviously these items were not necessary even though I had a very good reason at the time I ordered them and I do use all of these things.

Other purchases I’ve made this year include a pack of silicone reuseable straws. I also got three pairs of socks and underpants, and two cotton t-shirts.

We’re almost reaching the last quarter of the year. I’m hoping to not have a total meltdown at Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Anytime I start jonesing to shop, I hop online, fill my cart, and then close the browser. Then I whine and carry on about wanting someone to go thrifting with. Then I forget about it for a few weeks and then do it all over again. So far, it’s working out. Part of my motivation now besides decluttering my life, saving money, reducing my environmental footprint, all that do-good nonsense yada yada, is to not contribute to the C(onsumption) in the GDP. It makes up 70% of the GDP and if not shopping can somehow speed up this impending, unavoidable recession in time to affect election outcomes, that’s just all the more incentive to not shop. One might argue that’s not a very nice thing to try to induce seeing as how people suffer in recessions. But follow my logic here, I’m assuming it’s inevitable. And the alternative is worse. At any rate, saving is good for the economy. We pour countless negative externalities into the market that are involuntarily paid for eventually, by our future generations all for the sake of the comfort of today. It’s a nationwide dopamine addiction. Did I mention the jonesing? So yeah, every hurricane, drought, unstoppable fire and extreme climate change event is us paying for the cheap comforts of the two or three generations before us. This is the real trickle down economics.

And reality check here – I am but a drop in the bucket. I’m no more making an impact to the GDP than I am hurting big agri by not eating animal products.

Also if there is an impending recession, I’ll be happy to have saved a cushion so I can afford whatever extortionist price the Lover concert seats in the nosebleed sections will command. Take my life savings Taylor. I *heart* you in a healthy way.

Lover

I took the day off from work on Friday to spend a very personal day with Taylor. She generously released the album on YouTube for free. And I’ve been listening to this album on repeat all weekend and will probably have it on repeat for a while because I am obsessed. I’ve also been revisiting her older albums to try and figure out my new TS albums rankings. It’s such a futile effort since I change my mind at every listen. I’m fully aware it could be recency bias with this new release, but I think Lover is my favorite of her albums. Lover just highlights exactly where she shines – her lyricism. She has the gift of language to poetically describe relatable universal human emotions. And of course she sets it all to music that I can’t turn off, literally. It’s been going all weekend.

For the moment:

  • The eponymous track Lover, is my favorite song in this album.
  • I have these at the top of my list too in no particular order: Cornelia Street, Daylight, The Man, Afterglow, Paper Rings, Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince, You Need To Calm Down, Cruel Summer, I Think He Knows, London Boy, The Archer
  • Soon You’ll Get Better is why I had to make a Lover playlist rather than just play the whole album. It’s a beautifully heartwrenching song and I cry every dang time it comes on. Every stinkin’ time. Weeping. I just can’t be doing that all day. Thank you, T, for including it though.
  • I don’t have any skip songs in this album (besides the one that makes me cry and it’s not because I don’t like it. I do still play it periodically). I don’t have any skip tracks in the reputation album either.
  • This is the first album where I’m not really trying to decipher which man this song is associated with, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if this speaks to growth in myself or her.

Understanding that buying physical albums is not the best option environmentally-speaking, and cd-players are going the way of dinos, I decided to just get version 4 as opposed to all four versions of her deluxe album at Target yesterday. I went with that one because it’s pink. Of course. And it has the All Too Well lyrics. It looks like it was written so quickly, I can only imagine it must’ve been pouring out of her brain so fast her hands could barely keep up. There’s also a poignant entry about her antiquing with her mom. Ugh. Weep more at the Soon You’ll Get Better song.

She was only 19:

7-12-2009 Today was a wonderful day. And not because of some massive career accomplishment or award show. It wasn’t about world domination or another number 1 song. Today was just… wonderful. Today was simple and perfect. Because today was just me and my mom, driving around, looking at antiques in little antique shops, talking about what chandelier should go in the foyer and if this cabinet would look right in the guest room. We stopped for ice cream cones. It started raining hard while we were shopping, so we had to run back to the car, getting soaked and screaming.

We met up with Dad and Austin for dinner at Kabuto. But the best part of the day was just driving around with my mom. Correction: riding around with my mom with a bunch of antiques clanking together in the trunk. I just kept thinking, when I’m 90 years old, re-living the good old days, I doubt if I’ll look back on the number one parties as fondly and as frequently as I’ll look back on today.

Wearing red lipstick for no reason, mom in her black t-shirt and wet hair, driving around talking about which chandelier should go in the foyer.

T. Swizzle

It reads like a song. I swear this woman’s life must filter through her head like a Broadway production. What it must be like.

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.