Microfibers = Major Problem

Did you know that microfibers are a major problem? You do now. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, The Story of Stuff Project made a handy video explaining it.

I got a second job working at a doggy daycare. It’s pretty great but I wind up wearing a lot of athletic wear for it. I was definitely feeling the environmental guilt but I had do wash my clothes. Enter My Green Closet with her monthly ecofriendly favorites video.

She’s big on the environment, fashion, and sustainability. This month she showcased the GUPPFRIEND wash bag. It catches all the problematic microfibers so you can just toss them in the trash. Wear your synthetic fabrics without the guilt. I am so happy someone made this. It’s only $20 as part of an exclusive deal with Patagonia. If you would rather buy from the original source, it’s right here.

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Thankful

Another post I’m late on but better late than never. I have several things to be thankful for this year.

My husband

He is my favorite person. He is kind, funny, interesting, and silly. We can have adventures and be just as pleased staying  in on the couch. I’m excited for the rest of our lives together.

My new family

Hubs and I were together for 4.5 years before getting married so I’ve gotten to know his family. They are good and kind people. If I can say “I’ll warn you, there is consensual butt sex between a man and a genie” and Thanksgiving dinner can keep rolling, I’ve found my people.

My new job

I’m really excited to start the next part of my life working with dogs. My working interview went well and my first real shift is in a matter of hours. I’m still only part-time for now but I hope it will go well enough for me to transition into full time.

My local library

It’s phenomenal. There’s rarely a book or DVD they don’t have or won’t get. They have several excellent community events and are just a wonderful asset to our community.

Northam won

Virginia had an election for governor recently and the republican candidate was Gillespie. Gillespie’s ads were completely from the Trump school of campaigning. Hubs and I were watching American Horror Story and Gillespie’s ad about sanctuary cities and MS-13 gang violence was so similar to the show, we didn’t realize it was a separate thing until we heard Northam’s name. Northam had a great history of public service and all of his ads addressed his policies; Gillespie’s ads were nothing but fear mongering and misleading conjecture. I was very glad to see Trump’s tactics fail and hope that message resonated with other republican politicians.

There’s a lot in my life to be thankful for and I hope to keep working to have plenty of things to bring me joy in the future.

The Reason for the Season

This is rather belated but this week was especially nuts. I had permission to telework so I heavily stacked my hours toward the beginning of the week. I only had to work partial days on Thursday and Friday. Yes, while I have an office job, I worked on Thanksgiving. Luckily, I could do it in PJs from my couch. Some folks weren’t so lucky.

I’ve heard from a lot of people that their loved ones had to be at their retail jobs at 5 or 6 PM on Thursday. Despite having a national holiday devoted to giving thanks, it was trumped by consumerism. I think it’s despicable that people are so desperate to get mediocre deals that other folks aren’t allowed to have a holiday with their loved ones. I refuse to shop before lunch on Black Friday for this reason.

Christmas should not about shopping, spending, or getting what you want. It should be about being with your loved ones, making memories, watching cheesy TV specials, and helping others. Watch cheesy movies, bake cookies, go to a community event, and find a way to do good.

I finished in a couple of stores before my husband and even went to a store because he asked. I do participate in Black Friday because you can score some good deals and I had some things I needed to get but I’m doing better at not going overboard. I’m actively trying not to get too swept up in the materialism that can dictate this time of year. Shopping for gifts is inevitable but don’t let it dictate your holiday.

25 Random Facts

I’ve seen lots of random fact videos and blog posts so I thought I’d do one of my own.

25 Random Facts

  1. I have a favorite font, Book Antiqua.
  2. Due to an issue with a nerve, I have a facial spasm/twitch. It’s part of why I never seriously considered doing BookTube
  3. I did not start really wearing makeup until my mid-twenties. If you’ve seen my Insta account (same name), you’ll know I like to have some fun.
  4. I only use cruelty free makeup brands and am trying to switch the rest of my toiletries to cruelty free as well.
  5. I compost. Hubs and I live near an organic market so we can drop it off very easily.
  6. My favorite ice cream flavor is cookies and cream
  7. I have never lived anywhere other than the DC metro area.
  8. Part of the reason I don’t own a ton of shoes is that I have very large feet. I mostly wear men’s shoes.
  9. Hubs and I watch The Bachelor(ette) franchise together and make fun of it.
  10. I suspect I have a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition but my insurance doesn’t properly cover therapy so I have to deal with it on my own.
  11. I don’t drink alcohol. Yes, at all, ever.
  12. I try to own my mistakes rather than pass the buck.
  13. Hercules is one of my favorite Disney movies.
  14. I want to own a mini-pig one day
  15. I had a bad experience in a haunted house attraction that left me with permanent claustrophobia issues.
  16. I participated in the Women’s March and still use the hat.
  17. Fall is my favorite time of year.
  18. I recently got into RuPaul’s Drag Race and loved it.
  19. If I had to pick on genre of music to listen to for the rest of my life, I’d pick metal.
  20. My favorite dinosaur is a brachiosaurus.
  21. I make chainmail jewelry
  22. I love Tiny Houses. I’d consider living in one if Hubs would allow it.
  23. My music taste is extremely eclectic. Halloween punk, pirate metal, electronic bagpipes, Lindsey Stirling, geek folk, metal covers of Disney songs, and the latest Taylor and Katy.
  24. I love cosplay and dressing up. Past costumes have included Lolitapool, Little Pirate Riding Hood, Velma, the TARDIS, and the glow cloud (from Welcome to Night Vale).
  25. I prefer revolvers to pistols. Being in America, I can easily rent these at a gun range or, with some paperwork and a quick drive, own them.

Surrounded

I recently had a falling out with several friends. I was going through a hard time and wasn’t handling it well. Rather than try to be supportive or interested in what was going on, most of my friends didn’t care. They knew things were bad but didn’t want to know any more. That meant I handled things even worse until they didn’t want to be around me since I ‘wasn’t fun anymore.’

This has really made me think about all of the things that lead up to this. There was a group chat with almost 20 people. It started as a core group of less than 10 but ballooned over time. It wound up including people that probably shouldn’t have been there and pushed together people who might not have chosen to be friends.

I routinely butted heads with a couple of other people in the group. Had we not had that chat forcing us into regular contact, we wouldn’t have talked to each other. We’d have drifted apart, been pleasant at parties and not had nearly as many problems.

It also showed me how well people can hide their true colors. I had one friend abandon ship and when I didn’t handle that well, she went to HR. We don’t sit near each other or work with each other so there was no reason to bring personal drama into the office. I’m a contractor and she’s a FTE so she knew full well she could have gotten me fired. She didn’t care. It was more important to have her petty revenge.

A former male friend she has gotten very close to took great offense to my recent meltdown. He tried to ghost me about a wedding invitation and when that (obviously) didn’t work, he yelled at me, demanded an apology, and blocked me on FB. I then found out he was going around to all our mutual friends telling/asking them not to come to my wedding.

This isn’t even the worst of what I’ve been through recently but it inspired me to take a really hard look at the people I was surrounding myself with. Maybe part of the problem wasn’t just the contrived situation but the quality of people. As bad as I was at my worst, I never tried to take something away from anyone that had nothing to do with me.

I’m reevaluating the friends I have left and taking some time for self-care. I need to focus on making myself better and surrounding myself with people who will further that goal. I don’t need more pain and selfishness in my life.

A Capsule for Next Year?

A lot of capsule wardrobes feel very extreme or very small. Going from a standard America closet to 33 items for a season is very drastic. I thought maybe going somewhere in the middle might be a better compromise. What about 150 items?

I did a thorough count and realized that was almost every item including coats that I owned. It’s strange to realize that I own less than 200 items of clothing excluding workout gear, PJs/lounge wear, and occasion wear. I saw this on Pinterest and thought it might be an interesting idea. Then I read through the actual list.

There is no circumstance where I need 15 pairs of shoes for regular use. 80% of my shoe usage rotates between 4 pairs of shoes: casual sandals, arch supporting sandals, sneakers, and black slip-ons. The last ones are like a flat Mary Jane. My other shoes are my dressy wedges, snow boots, Uggs, skele-toe shoes, and cowboy boots. I have a back up pair of wedges that haven’t been put to use yet because finding dressy shoes in my size is that difficult. Drag queens have an easier time than I do.

If I started counting all my costume only pieces, I might have a problem but I could stand to cut down on some of them. I think I want to start off 2018 by doing another closet purge. Dump everything on my bed and go through it all.

I’ve got some stuff set aside that doesn’t fit at my current size stored away. If my lifestyle changes as I’m hoping, I may fit into those again and don’t want to start from scratch on clothing in that size. I could definitely stand to downsize more so I’ll brainstorm a bit and see what I come up with.

The Privilege of Minimalism

I’ve been watching a lot of minimalist videos on YouTube since I’ve been especially broke lately. I came across an article by Chelsea Fagan of The Financial Diet. She has some serious vitriol for minimalism.

Her critique of the ‘no-makeup makeup’ reminded me of The Anna Edit, who freely admits to liking that look. Anna has professional photographers take a lot of her insta photos, rocks purses that cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars, and uses makeup that would kill a week’s worth of my pay. While she makes some fun videos, that life is not attainable.

Anna probably had money to start with and, through hard work and luck, created a life on YouTube and Insta that makes some people hate themselves. So much on social media screams, to quote Fagan, “Look at me! Look at all of the things I have refused to buy, and the incredibly-expensive, sparse items I have deemed worthy instead!”

Part of the minimalist mystique is that it’s voluntary. I think this is why the KonMari method blew up the way it did. You can look at your stuff, decide what brings you ‘joy’ and get rid of excess. Some people can’t get rid of a beat up old coat that doesn’t spark joy because they don’t have a replacement.

“The only people who can “practice” minimalism in any meaningful way are people upon whom it isn’t forced by financial or logistical circumstances”
I missed half a paycheck to take a vacation and it definitely screwed up my finances. I’m forced to not spend extraneously because I have bills to pay. However, I like that I’m being forced to change my ways. I don’t like being this broke but I’m hoping to learn something from this crappy situation.

I don’t live in poverty but it can warp your thinking in ways people who’ve never struggled with it don’t understand. According to John Cheese, you develop tastes for cheap, processed food and often don’t know how to handle money. They will buy the cheaper shoes even if it will fall apart sooner and investing in a better quality item would save them money in the long run. This concept well described by Terry Pratchett.

Some important tenants of minimalism could be useful to people in low income situations where an extra $50 a month could make a huge difference. However, a lot of the more visible minimalists can be pretentious shits so a lot of folks in dire straits aren’t interested in what they have to say.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, now famous for their devotion to minimalism, write about exactly this but do it in such a way you kind of want to smack them. “If we have less money, then we must be more intentional with how we spend it” is a perfect point that gets overshadowed by the ‘look how smart I am’ name drops in the last paragraph.

I think minimalism started as a natural response to the economic bust of the late aughts. People getting loans they couldn’t pay to buy houses they couldn’t fill eventually tanked out economy. Rather than dive into the consumerist lifestyle that impacted an entire generation, people started going tiny, buying locally, and trying to learn from those mistakes.

As with any major social change, you have people who go to the extreme. These are the spiritual minimalists like Nicodemus and Millburn who promise total life satisfaction. They have a documentary, a podcast, books, and tours. They got rich off capitalizing on this movement. If they’re smart with their money, they will be able to live off this for the rest of their lives.

I think there are important takeaways from consuming less, consuming consciously, and spending wisely. You do not have to be all in or voluntarily participating to find what about minimalism resonates with you. Making it your lifestyle doesn’t make you a bad person; failing to see your own privilege makes you a bad person. I aspire to be more minimal in a lot of aspects of my life. That doesn’t make me a bad or more enlightened person; it just means I’m figuring out what works best for me.