Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On thrift

Daniel and I have gone from two paychecks to one in the last month. This is not as easy of thing as I thought. Granted, we do not have children  - just two needy dogs. And we've dropped some major expenses (like my twice/thrice weekly commute to Kalamazoo - oh the gas I burned, not to mention the Biggby's and Subway pit stops). But counting our pennies and really thinking about what we need versus what we want feels somehow new.
It's not that we were particularly big spenders before - in fact, we were able to save very well. But with family in another hemisphere, graduate school, and home ownership responsibilities, those savings were tapped then replenished more often that I'd like to think. And our "wants" generally meant decent wine, brunch at our favorite vegetarian cafe (Gaia), or seeing a movie at the cheap theater. It's easy to justify those because they're not caviar and cashmere, but they're still not essential, right?
So, in an effort to inspire myself and get some tips on how to really get the most out of our financial blessings, I grabbed this book off my new library's shelf (along with a couple really unremarkable ones). It's called Be Thrifty, and it's written in such a funny, light-hearted tone I found I was delighted to read it, and it's been super useful and practical... stuff like instructions on cutting hair and how to care for the items you own, plus great tips for go-to "workhorse" ingredients.

I've been thinking a lot about how the stories we hear/read and tell ourselves affect how we think about our own entitlements or decisions. As I've been reading more stories about people who look to be content with what they have and seek to be free above all else, I find myself (with joy!) thinking less about what I want materially and more about what I have to give and the shape my life can take. And thrift looks different for everyone (i.e. The Sartorialist recently was struck by the novel idea of paying someone to do your laundry - the newness is DOING laundry is the thing here, not farming it out... I'm trying to withhold judgment as best I can; everyone's gotta start somewhere!). So in the name of thrift... I cannot wait to take a few of my favorite pairs of shoes to this local find (found via my new friend's biking blog)...

photos via British Vogue, Whole Living, and Southern Spokes

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Kids

This week I've been feeling ill most of the time. Have you ever had a time when you were stressed beyond belief and everything was just so intense - but you handled it just fine - and then as soon as things settled down and you could rest, you crashed? I think that happened to me this week. I've slept an unbelievable amount of the time away, and I'm still tired! But I'm slowly starting to feel back like myself.

Before my personal-crash, I found our public library. So during all my down-time, I got completely wrapped into the world of Patti Smith and Robert Maplethorp in Smith's book, Just Kids. It'd been on my reading list for a while but knowing very little of Patti or her music, I didn't expect to connect with it as much as I did. The thing about Patti's story is that she discovered herself while strongly holding to her ideas of what's good. Most American stories we tell and retell seem to start out with like an empty stage or field, or a building or office... some very visible goal post where the story teller says, that's going to be mine someday. And then the rest of the story is about how he/she gets there. And those stories can be great, but I've never connected with them personally. Patti's story is one of wandering and discovery and chance friendships that change her life and direct her energies, all while she holds to her desire to create and find freedom and life wherever she goes.

Reading this was a great reminder to me that in this world, it takes all kinds, including my kind. I've never been very accomplished at the single-mindedness that those very American success stories requires. I love to hear those stories, especially from the people I love. And I love to work hard and make an effort in something I care about. But to get there - I like to see where the wind blows me. I like to meet the people with whom I cross paths - I learn the most from the people I wouldn't always choose or seek after if I had to make a list or something. I love exploring new abilities and interests while developing deeply into what I already know that I like. And it's wonderful to hear a story of a kindred-spirit.
via rock and roll hall of fame

via Gawker

Sunday, September 04, 2011

raining cats and dogs

Well, Hurrican Lee in Mobile has just meant rain like you wouldn't believe. It's really lovely, actually, albeit, completely wet... everything that's not shut tight away behind closed doors is completely soaked. It's like there's so much water in the atmosphere, being sheltered out of the rain does not really make much of a difference; outside = sopping. I am happy to be safe in our home with the pups and Daniel.

All this humidity, combined with slightly harder water maybe (?), has done a number on my hair though. What a silly thing to worry about, right? But all things considered, not having a clue as to what's going on with my hair is unsettling. In Michigan, my hair was reliably super dry, but with the right moisturizer, it was so so so easy to just let it fall where it would. All of a sudden, now, it's dry in patches, oily in others, and altogether limp. It won't get curly; it won't be straight. Curling irons are no weapon against this humidity, believe me.

So far, in my mind at least, my possible solutions include good moisturizer from the middle to the roots and then curlers overnight. That or chopping it super short again (although this is a risky solution because short hair can be tricky too). Another solution is to try and do the whole up-do thing... my inspriation...
Any tips on how to solve my teeny tiny problem??