one of my seemingly annual new years resolutions is to get an actual grip on my money and start meal planning and making shopping lists. every year i resolve to do this and every year i seem to fail. over the past couple of years i’ve managed to cut out a lot of impulse buys as far as clothing is concerned, but i do still feel like i make a lot of impulse buys at grocery stores, and i feel like i have to run to the store several times a week because i’m always out of something crucial.
i realized that part of what makes grocery shopping lists and meal planning so arduous for me is that i eat unconsciously a lot. the chore of grocery shopping gets rewarded by little impulse buys, which i eat secretly. my 3 year old son has a habit of snacking instead of eating meals, and i have to admit that i do this as well (proving once again that children are the biggest mirrors to all of our unconscious bull shizz).
i figure there is no better way to really look at where my money goes than by keeping track of what i buy. i felt like outing myself on the internet/public humiliation was the only way to go, so, i decided to chronicle my spending. this was an actual yikes, but it kept me in check and made me pay attention in a new way. after a couple of weeks of this, i kinda feel like i have it down. i am able to plan out the week and make 3 shopping trips (mostly to go where the bargains are, cause i’m a pro shopper yo). below is an example of a pretty successful, lean week. one where no alcohol or fancy meals were purchased (but we did get to eat out on saturday night). i did have things like oils, spices, quinoa & rice in my pantry, but other than that everything was purchase and used in the same week. for the three of us, it came out to $150 for the week.
monday: breakfast: instant oatmeal. lunch: peanut butter & banana sandwiches & apples. dinner: purple sweet potatoes with thai sauce, frozen pizza for my son.
tuesday: breakfast: frozen gluten free waffles. lunch: smoothie of spinach, bananas and almond milk & a lara bar (the boys snacked on trail mix, pbj oat bars, gluten free pretzels & grapes). dinner: black bean & sweet potato chili, turkey sandwich for my son.
wednesday: breakfast: toast with peanut butter. lunch: chips & hummus. dinner: roasted chickpeas & sauteed spinach with tahini sauce for me, oven fries for the boys.
friday: breakfast: instant oatmeal. lunch: smoothie of spinach, bananas and almond milk & a lara bar (the boys snacked on trail mix, pbj oat bars, gluten free pretzels & grapes). dinner: roasted chickpeas & sauteed spinach with tahini sauce for me, frozen tamales & steamed rice for hubs, turkey sandwich for my son.
saturday: breakfast: toast with peanut butter. lunch: snacking on apples & peanut butter, lara bars, chips & salsa. dinner: vietnamese: spring rolls, pho & five spice chicken with a fried egg & rice.
sunday: veggie burgers for everyone!
trader joe’s: chickpeas, tamales, almond milk, gf bread, vegetable broth, black beans, canned diced tomatoes, instant oatmeal, salsa, mirepoix (chopped onion, celery & carrots to use in soups and rice/quinoa dishes), eggs, sweet potato, oven fries, pbj bars, granola bars, chips, hummus, tahini sauce, grapes, chia seeds, apples, peanut butter, spinach, bananas, yogurt, trail mix, frozen pizza= $78
target: gluten free pretzels, lara bars, gf frozen waffles, turkey lunch meat, milk= $26
sprouts: cilantro, green onion, purple potatoes, red onion, avocado, veggie burgers= $16
dinner out: vietnamese= $30
a couple of winters ago i started what would turn out to be the long journey of cleaning out my closet. inspired by the book of the moment, i extreme cleaned and donated and got down to what i thought was a very minimal wardrobe. around this time i also went on my first fast fashion fast, which successfully broke me of my forever 21 habit (because it turned out that at 36, 21 is no longer forever). i started focusing on investing in slow or high fashion, which turned out pretty well. i got pretty skilled at buying better pieces second hand on places like ebay and the real real. i subscribed to mailing lists of all of the major luxury shopping sites like avenue 32 and moda operandi so that i would know about sales. but by the end of last year i felt like i was right back where i started: with a closet overflowing with clothes that i didn’t really know how to wear.
while i’ve managed to stop impulse buying clothes from places like target and forever 21, i do still find that i have a seasonal need to blow off steam/fill in where my investment pieces fall short by hitting shops like zara (the largest of the fast fashion chains). i also have a near weekly habit of thrift store shopping, which has added up to more vintage pieces than i could possibly wear in a lifetime.
i notice that when i clean out my 3 year old son’s toys, he is much happier to play with a few choices than having to pick something out of an overfilled shelf. i feel like this is pretty true for all of us, in most cases we do better with less. the dilemma for me is that i no longer have a closet filled with cheap clothing that i’m not attached to, i have a closet filled with beautiful, designer and vintage clothing that i love. yet, i still feel like i have nothing to wear or that i don’t know what to wear every day. i stand in front of my closet and feel exhausted by it all.
so, i’ve decided that what i need to do is really wear all of it. i’m going to go through my closet and put on everything in it, and see what feels good and what doesn’t. whatever i can’t or don’t want to actually wear out into the world, should go. in the meantime, i’m not buying any new clothes until i’ve worn it all. which will be painful, because i’m a leo.
i’ll be posting outfit pictures here because i don’t believe in blowing up my poor social media comrades feeds with daily selfies of the likes of myself.
wish me luck and godspeed and all the rest.
i always love to get a glimpse into the houses of people that i admire. there’s always something intimate and cool about seeing a famous person photographed in their own home. i always look around and notice all of the little items around them and think about their style, and wonder how much they put into decorating their house. above are some of my favorite photos of people at home. these photos were all nabbed from the tumblr-verse, which is notoriously awful about not crediting photographers. i hope that the photographers above will forgive me.
- frida kahlo in bed
- kurt cobain in bed
- lee krasner & jackson pollock in their kitchen
- eric clapton in his living room
- jon cassavetes, gena rowlands & nick cassavetes in their living room
- patti smith in her room
- courtney love in her living room
- sofia coppola in her bedroom
- chloe sevigny in her bedroom
- joan didion in her living room
- bob dylan and his children in their living room
- keith richards and patti hansen in their bed
- paul newman & joanne woodward in their kitchen
- jane birkin & her daughters in their kitchen
- tina turner in her kitchen
- henry miller in his study
growing up my hippie mom always believed in the power of good nutrition and positive thinking over illness. i didn’t see a doctor until i was nearly 12 (and this was while in the care of my father and step-mother). i have very, very few memories of ever being sick as a child, and if the odd cold or flu got to us we were never medicated. i wasn’t introduced to over the counter cold medicine until i entered the work force, in my 20’s. this has stuck with me. even having a toddler, left to our own devices, we almost never get sick. however, it seems that every time i enter some enclosed space where kids are running around, suddenly i feel a cold coming on. over the last few weeks i’ve been in and out of various doctors offices and children’s therapy centers with my son, and i’ve felt the faint hint of something in the back of my throat. this immediately sends me into intervention mode. i have a handful of remedies that i always reach for, and they serve me well.
- gargling with warm salt water. a friend of mine told me about this when i had first moved to san francisco and found the foggy, damp weather difficult to adjust to. i do this whenever i feel the first pangs of a cold coming on and it almost always knocks it out. the trick is to gargle with water that is as warm as you can take it, and so salty that it would be nasty to swallow any.
- zinc and vitamin c. sounds simple, but it’s effective.
- peppermint tea. a little menthol action, and peppermint oil is said to have anti-viral benefits.
- citrus. i eat a few oranges and drink lots of water with lemon for a little vitamin c boost.
- essential oils. four thieves (a mix of clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon & rosemary oil created in the 15th century during the plague) peppermint, & tea tree is the mixture that i have going when i feel funky. these are all anti-viral and anti-septic and i swear this keeps my family from catching whatever i may have brewing.
- vegan tom kha gai soup is seriously magical. it might be the ginger, but it really does the trick.
that’s all. happy cold battling!
our house is an oldie but goodie. it’s small and cozy, with lots of creaks and crevices. my son’s bedroom is at the front of the house, and he is a notoriously light sleeper (except when he isn’t, which is completely maddening). he didn’t nap for the first year of his life without me holding him, unless he was in the car or occasionally the stroller. it is perhaps for this reason that nap time seems to me to be a completely luxury. my son is now a regular napper, and a good one, but nap time still feels like a luxury, a little piece of the day that i get to steal away for myself.
at the back of our house is a little mud room. it was once an enclosed porch, but my husband (with a little help from a very pregnant me) labored away to create a little room, which we now lovingly refer to as “the rumpus.” it has become my little office, my spot to hang out while the baby sleeps. it is the place that i write, collage, doodle, sew buttons, and work on my etsy shop. admittedly i also do quite a bit of internet surfing, punctuated by gardening and a little meditation. it’s the one room in the house that i don’t really “edit”, it’s filled with tiny items that we’ve collected, our favorite record covers, old books and magazines. the other day a storm blew threw, and it made me stop and look around and realize how much i love this little room, drenched in sunshine or in its particularly moody low light, it always looks wonderful to me.
i’ve been working on meal planning around here and boy, it is a process for me. i get overwhelmed by the idea of shopping for an entire week, and i find that my moods and particularly the weather can throw me off of what i had planned out. an unseasonably warm day can quickly derail my plans for soup, or a particularly hectic day can make an elaborate enchilada fall to the wayside in favor of large glugs of wine and popcorn. i find that i need to break the week up, keep it short and keep it simple. on monday and thursday i take a look at the next few nights and plan for them, and i tend to grocery shop on tuesday and friday. this has proved to be way less maddening than trying to plan it all on a friday and then shop on monday for the whole week. i do find that setting aside a little time to look over my favorite cookbooks is inspiring, and that making a shopping list keeps me on track when i hit the store. here is an example of a week:
monday: black bean & sweet potato chili
tuesday: bbq lentils with polenta & sauteed spinach
wednesday: frozen tamales with beans & saffron rice
thursday: potato gorditas with leftover beans & rice
friday: quinoa stuffed bell peppers
saturday: dinner out: sushi
sunday: moroccan chickpea stew