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Sunday, December 29, 2019

#noshop19 Year End Recap

I went 365 days (well, 363 days because it is not the actual end of the year) without shopping for myself. And you know what?? Not shopping sucks. There. Ok. Feel better? I sure do admitting that.

This has been the HARDEST thing I have ever challenged myself to do but it has been worth it. Seriously. As HARD HARD HAAARRRRRDDD as it has been, and damn it has been HARD, it has been worth it. I have learned SO much about shopping, my personal habits, the dependency it is for me, and more.

Hold onto your seats because this is going to be a long one. Worth it, yes... but it's a lot. I mean, shopping runs in my veins and I gave it up for an.entire.year. 

At the end of 2018, after having what I thought was a difficult resolution of a selfie every day to commemorate #thisis40 on Instagram, I decided I needed to reevaluate my spendings and made the resolution to not shop for myself in 2019. I followed alongside Meg Hall in her #noshop19 challenge and went hard core. Read all about my decision here.

I updated on the blog throughout the year with some snippits. I also share a LOT in my Facebook group and I did on Instagram before I took a little break from that part of social media for the end of the year. 

Month 1 update This is where I shared what things I'd done to help the process run smoothly. Unfollowing 'influencers' on social media. Refusing to swipe up. And giving myself rules. RULES were needed.

Month 2 update and Month 3 update

Month 5 update Here I delved into my rules because I kinda sorta didn't cheat. Did you remember this one?! Did you think it was cheating? I ended deciding it was NOT cheating.

Halfway update A few insights into what I learned.

Month 8 update  Getting real with you on this one and open honesty that not shopping is hard because, well, it's called retail therapy for a reason.

And now here we are. The end of the year. The final recap.

First of all. Here is what I have "purchased" for myself this year:

- a sequin blazer from ThredUp for 53 cents after using credits (I posted about whether or not this was cheating and it was determined it was not cheating)
- a pair of workout sneakers because I ripped my old ones, $100 out of pocket, a necessary purchase
- a pair of Birdies that I traded someone on Poshmark for, free as a trade
- a black TopShop dress I had been stalking for 3 years on Poshmark, used $20 credit on it, nothing out of pocket 
- a yellow Anthro kimono top I, again, stalked on Poshmark, used $45 credit on it, nothing out of pocket (this ended up not fitting and being mistagged and I have HORRIBLE buyers remorse over it)
- a yellow JCrew raincoat, a necessity as I didn't have a raincoat, but cost me 3 cents after rewards and stacking coupon codes
- a JCrew rollneck sweater that was a gift but I exchanged it for a different color that wasn't the same price, spent about $5 out of pocket on the price difference
- some new underwear from Soma, a necessity, but waited for a killer sale and stacked coupon codes on top of the sale price, $30 for 9 pair
- a pair of Spanx leggings on crazy sale ($19) on Zulily
 *I succumbed to the pressure on this one and am less than impressed with them. Wish I hadn't bought them. Total buyers remorse. 
- a pair of black booties over Thanksgiving weekend after finally finding a pair that fit, that was comfortable, and that was affordable - $52 (I did not own a pair of black booties until this purchase and was on my list of can-buy items via my rules)
- a JCrew cable knit sweater for under a dollar with a $50 JCrew gift card in the mail
- 2 new pair of Rothys, both bought with referral credits, so nothing out of pocket 
- a new pair of Spanx shaping underwear (bought from Shapermint), a necessity as my Spanx bit the dust in the wash this year $12
- a new bathing suit coverup and burgundy dress, both from Amazon, bought with Amazon referral credits, nothing out of pocket
- Hannah Andersson matching family pajamas for the holidays (on crazy sale with a coupon but still more than I wanted to spend but SO worth it) $140
- an Anthropologie dress off of Poshmark via trade, nothing out of pocket
- a pair of Madewell jeans, via Poshmark, using credit, nothing out of pocket, to replace my everyday jeans that ripped and needed to be replaced
- a pair of leopard booties, bought in December but arrived in January (does that count?!) with Poshmark credit so nothing out of pocket
- matching mommy & me aprons, via Poshmark with credit, nothing out of pocket
- a pair of faux leather Spanx leggings via Poshmark with credit, nothing out of pocket (again, succumbing to social media pressure of the *best* leggings ever and truth is, they are even better than sliced bread)

Seems like a lot when I list it all, doesn't it. Yikes! I spent $360 total on "shopping for myself" this year. And that includes matching family holiday pajamas (a yearly purchase we make) and $100 sneakers. So realllllly I only spent about $100 out of pocket when I deduct those two purchases. $100 on myself for an ENTIRE YEAR. Let's focus on THAT for a moment. That's like nothing!! But here's the thing: What's crazy is I can totally justify every purchase, every item had a reason for purchasing it, nothing was a spur of the moment purchase, and every item had thought and purpose behind buying it. 

Which brings me to the biggest thing I have learned this year:

SHOPPING NEEDS A PURPOSE.


For me, shopping is complete retail therapy. I get a high from it. It's my drug of choice. It fills a void I have inside. I enjoy it 1000 times more when something is causing turmoil in my life. Family drama, a sudden death or loss, friendships gone south, a cranky toddler, a spousal disagreement, rainy day blues, snow day blues, you name it. Whatever causes me stress also fuels my desire to shop.
When I have a purpose and a specific item I need and am looking for, it is just as satisfying if not more. The excitement I felt finding and scoring the two items I'd been hunting for a long time made me feel like I was high on a drug or had just won something on a scratch off lottery ticket.


What y'all have been asking and want to know... 


How have you avoided resisting temptation without completely avoiding/ignoring the internet?

   Well, the first thing I did at the beginning of the year was unfollow over 1000 'influencers' on Instagram and social media. The constant "you need this" and "swipe up for the new must have" was just too much for me. Not only was it tempting, I was honestly annoyed. Really? Is this REALLY a must have? Is it really your ABSOLUTE most favorite thing EVER?! I doubt it. Do you want to make 17 cents off of my purchase? That's more like it. 

How did you build up the willpower?

   Basically, I am stubborn. People didn't think I'd be able to do it. And I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to prove I was capable of self-control. 

Hardest thing not to buy? How did you deal with it?

   Honestly, I miss TJMaxx and HomeGoods. I haven't been in either store all year (except to help a friend shop one day) and I miss the fab find. I miss the mall. I miss the outlets. I miss the great deal, the incredible bargain, that gorgeous piece for a steal. I don't miss digging the racks because I hate that. But I do miss that random fun find. I also miss strolling the clothes section in Target. I avoided that area like the plague this year. And I cannot WAIT to go back. I don't think I'll buy anything but just to wander and browse... I miss that. 

How would you define need vs want?

   A need is something you truly need and can't imagine your wardrobe without. A classic staple. A perfect basic. A fun pop of color or print to mix in easily. A want is everything else. 

If I lose substantial weight, can I buy stuff? What limit would you set to this?

   Ummmm.... YES. We don't want you walking around naked or looking like a frumpy homeless person now do we?! I would stick with basic basics and a capsule-like wardrobe til you are done with your weight loss AND have maintained it for a clear period of time. Clothes are expensive and constantly rebuying and replacing the same items in different sizes is no fun for you or your wallet. 

If you were to do it again, would you do it the same or set different rules and boundaries?

   First of all, I would NEVER do this again. NEVER. NEVER EVER. NO WAY. Nope. Got me? Second, I set some lenient boundaries in the beginning but didn't actually utilize the leeway I gave myself. For example, one rule was if I went a full month without buying something for myself then I could buy something off of my list of things I wanted. I didn't do that until almost the end of the year. 
   As far as rules and boundaries, I would be more lenient with myself and not be my biggest critic and constantly judge myself. 

Do you think you have made extra of other purchases to suffice the need to shop? Like clothes for Ness or Dave or household decor?

   Nope. I actually was just as good for them as I was for myself. I surprised myself there. 

   And also - household decor was on my list of what I couldn't buy as well. So I didn't buy any of that either. 

What do you do to cope with stress instead of shop now?

   Drink wine. You asked and I'm being honest. #sorrynotsorry I have also read a LOT more this year. Almost twice as many books as the prior few years. I also went back to my love of art and have been doing that more this year as well.  

What was the biggest impact? Time? Money? Stress? Less stress?

  The biggest impact for me was the realization why I shop and how it is truly a coping mechanism for me. I saved time because I wasn't shopping to occupy time or spacial energy. I saved money because I was spending less. I saved stress because I wasn't wondering how I was going to pay a larger than normal credit card bill. 
   I was able this year to not only pay off the minimal credit card debt I had but I was also able to pay for my son's activities easily. Part of my resolution was also to purge my home. I got pretty far in my basement, including a tag sale over summer, and REALLY purged my closet and listed hundreds of items on Poshmark. I made a pretty penny there this year and have saved almost all of my earnings to splurge on a playscape for my son this upcoming year and a fun family trip somewhere. 

Did you online shop and leave it all in your cart?

   Yes. Seriously. There were days when I just really wanted to shop and would make online carts all over. JCrew, Nordstorm, Anthro to name a few. Plus, if pieces really sparked my interest and that I could envision easily fitting them into my wardrobe I added them to my 'wish list' note on my phone. That list is quite long right now but only because it's been growing all year. I have added, and deleted, many items throughout the year but some have stayed put so they'll be things I hunt for early on in 2020.  

Did you track what you think you would have spent if you acted like you normally shopped?

   I started to. At the beginning of the year, whenever I was out and would grab something and eventually put it back (a graphic tee at Target, cute boots for my son, a fun throw pillow) I would take that amount of cash the items cost and shove it into an envelope. After about 2 months I stopped doing that. And used that envelope of cash to pay for a few of my son's activities for the season. But here's the thing too... I don't walk into Nordstrom, see a mannequin in an outfit, and buy everything they're wearing. I am a bargain hunter and love a good deal AND a great find. So 'normally shopping' will be interesting come January 1st. 

Is there anything you really regret not buying? Not just an "I wish I had that" but a completely sad missed out on purchase?
   
   YES! I was helping a friend shop in TJMaxx and found a Rachel Zoe sweater coat, in my size, for $30. I tried it on and it was perfection. And I did not buy it. It is a good 3 months later right now and I still think about it often. 

What recommendations do you have for someone who wants to do this in 2020?

~ Have a reason and a purpose for doing it. First and foremost. Prepare ahead of time and come to grips that it is HARD. No new shoes at Target. No fun new throw pillow from Home Goods. No random Amazon box arriving with something you forgot what it was. No new lip gloss or nail polish. 
~ Give yourself rewards. I had told myself if I went a full month without a purchase that I could buy something for myself. I never actually did it but had it there just in case. 
~ Track your what-I-would-have-spent longer than I did. I only lasted a month or so doing that. I'd love to see what I actually saved by the year end. 
~ Don't be hard on yourself. I cried often this year because I just wanted to go shopping and was denying myself the ability. Even if I gave myself $50 and a few hours at the mall, I might have not bought anything but the time wandering and browsing would have made me feel better via retail therapy. 
~ And pleeeeease, at the end, take what you've saved and treat yourself. Money towards a new home, pay off debt, a splurge you've always wanted, an incredible trip, ANYTHING. Buy SOMETHING for yourself because if you make it, you SO deserve it. 


MY SHOPPING PLAN FOR 2020

Buy whatever I want. Ha! Just kidding. But I do have some ground rules for myself. 

- No immediate purchases, regardless of what a great deal it is. I will continue with my notes app and writing down things that I want, where I saw it, and leaving it there for a bit to decide if it is a worthwhile purchase that I will use and wear. Otherwise, it's a no go. 

- Poshmark is free shopping. Because I sell so much on Poshmark and have credits, it equates to free shopping in my mind. No money leaves my bank account. No charges appear on my credit card. Therefore, it be free. Don't argue with me. I'll win. 

- I truly do have plenty of stuff. I really don't neeeeeed anything else. We all have enough. But something pretty shiny sparkly and new is fun. Denying yourself that is just mean. So I'll treat myself once in while just because. It won't be a $1500 handbag every month, not to worry. But I will treat myself because I deserve it. 

- Continue to say no to fast fashion. I don't need to be on trend and 'cool' because I prefer a classic, simple, preppy style anyways. In this world of influencers everyone is trying to sell you something and not succumbing to that pressure is my main shopping goal of 2020. 

- Make a list of what I need and what needs replacing. Stop and think before I buy. Do I already have this? Do I need another striped shirt? Can I wear this multiple ways and for multiple occasions?

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...

Here's the thing. This resolution for me... It's like a diet. Everyone needs a cheat or exceptions. I don't have a curated wardrobe. I have a wardrobe that's ME. I don't wear $250 sweaters and $400 jeans. My favorite t-shirt is $11 from Target. I love JCrew and would live in Madewell if I could. I am basic but clean cut. I love preppy classic looks with a little punch for fun. Which makes for a wardrobe that's a little bit of a clusterf*ck. I wear a variety of colors and don't live in blue, grey, and cream. I am a shoe whore and while I purged this year probably 50 pair of shoes, I am itching at the bit to add a few classic styles into my collection. 

When all is said and done, I am damn proud of myself and how I did. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on it too. 



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Stay Tuned!

So... if you've noticed, it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post and my last post was more of an emotional one. 

With that being said, it was also the most popular, most viewed, and most shared post in my ten-ish years of on-and-off blogging. Which shows y'all really like when people are real. Like REALLY real. 

I've been looking at my blog a lot lately and trying to figure out the point and reasoning behind why I do it and decided a little break to revamp was needed. In a world where social media is a highlight reel and people think everything they see online is real, I want to show that my life is real. And that it is far from perfect. Because, in reality, ain't no one perfect. 

Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad. 
Sometimes we get dressed, sometimes we look like people of Walmart. 
Sometimes we shower daily, sometimes we stay in pajamas all day because we need to. 
Sometimes we go to therapy. 
Sometimes we cry. 
Sometimes we have date night with our significant others. Sometimes we have date night alone. Because we need both. 
Sometimes we have a glass of wine before noon because we deserve it. And need it. 
Sometimes we yell at our kids. There, I said it. 

With this all being said, my break is going to be a little more than I originally planned but more so because I want to get a better grasp of my space here and how I want to share what I want to share. Because while I've loved sharing food and fashion and fun I have realized that I am ready to share more than just that. 

So... stay tuned! 


Friday, November 1, 2019

Being A B-List Friend

Yes. Today is Friday. And yes, for the past 5 months, every Friday has been #fashionfriday

But today, it's time for a heart-to-heart. And a break from routine here on naynayknows.


Sometimes, you get slapped in the face with a rude awakening and it hits you like a ton of bricks. And it has happened to me recently.

I am a B-List friend.

There, I said it. And you know what, it sucks. I would never, in a million years, ever even think any of my friends would be on a B-List, let alone any list. But recently, I have come to realize that people evolve and change over time and sometimes you just need to grow apart and separate. And they move you to their B-List. 

And in the world today, friendships are a lot of work. A LOT. In a world of social media where people put on a false persona and an almost-picture-perfect life to idolize, you question who they really are. Are they who they say they are? Or are they completely different? More times than not, they're completely different. And the disappointment in them is real. And the disappointment in yourself in falling for it is also real. And then you think about your children and the life that they are going to grow up with in this falsified sense of perfection and the mask of social media. (THAT is a whole other post or series of posts for another time...) 

You see people commenting on posts of others, 'liking' things on social media, tagging people in threads and building these virtual relationships yet when walking down the street, they don't act in the same way. They are a different person. The false persona is just that: false and fake. 

I had (see that? it says had, not have) a friend who would repeatedly blow me off for 'better' things to do or simply forget that we had plans. Regardless of how many times I'd remind her (and why should I have to remind grown adults that they have plans with me?!) But yet would brag about get-togethers with other friends and count down the days til she would get to see them. But me? Nope. I didn't matter to even remember we had plans. Often. Know what that makes me? Hurt. Heart-broken. And disappointed.
B-List friend.

I had a disagreement with a friend and she attacked me and my beliefs, my values, and devalued my opinions while refusing to listen to my side. And unfriended me and blasted me across social media.
B-List friend.

I had a friend going through a hard time. I reached out to see what I could do, offered help and guidance, sent a card. My life was falling apart at the seams and not a peep from her. A group of her mutual friends and I all reached out to help her and she blasted us all for no reason and insulted us left and right. 
B-List friend.

I had a friend who stood by me at my wedding. Next to me in fact. And over time, her personal beliefs changed and did not align with mine. And because I wouldn't change to align with hers, she no longer needed me or wanted me around. 
B-List friend. 

This year, my father's best friend died in January. My "other mother" died after a long battle with cancer in April. My mother unexpectedly passed away in August. My father was in a terrible car accident in early October and thankfully is ok now. My brother has not returned a single phone call about any of it and my mother-in-law doesn't care to even make a simple "I'm sorry" statement to me about any of it. And in the last month, I have had several friends, or so I thought 'friends', smack me figuratively across the face that I do not matter to them. Needless to say, I'm ready for 2020. 

Emotionally, it's exhausting and draining. This is not a whoa-is-me or a feel-sorry-for-me. This is a people-go-through-a-lot-of-shit-sometimes and when they're down, try not to kick them even more. 

A while ago, I posted about different types of friends. The givers, the receivers, and the takers. (read it here if you'd like) I am a giver. I've known this about myself for just about, well, ever. And I adore my friends who are also givers and receivers. But the takers, gosh there's a lot of them. But why do we keep them around? Why do we almost punish ourselves with friends who don't treat us how we deserve to be treated? Why do we do this to ourselves? I wish I had the answers. Believe me, I do. 

BUT, here's some reflection after a long year (with two months to go) full of hurt, heartbreak, and disappointment...

1. Friends help us when we're feeling low. If your friend is not bringing you up when you are down, they are not your friend. And you should remove them from your life and your thoughts. Because they probably are not thinking about you. 
I need to work on this. 

2. Life sucks. A lot. And shit happens. What doesn't break us down makes us stronger.

3. Cry. It helps.

4. Learn to detach, disconnect, and not take it personal. It doesn't matter what you do, did, or said. If someone is going to insult you or hurt you, they're going to do it to you regardless because it's them, not you.
This one I'm working on.

5. A real friend makes you a priority. Otherwise, they're an acquaintance.
Another one I'm working on realizing.

6. Friendship is a two-way street. It's a give and take. You listen and they listen. You give and they give in return. 


What was the point of this? I don't actually know. But pouring my heart out helped me a little so maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else too. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What's Cooking Wednesday: Greek Bowls

OK. Back to yet another EASY dinner. 

Now, I must preface this with I do my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. If you do not have one near you, I sincerely apologize because it's just the best. Everything in this week's recipe comes from there. And this is one of those 5 minute dinners (yep, you're reading that right, only FIVE minutes to assemble) that you'll turn to all.the.time. 

Carmelized onions. 
You have seen me rave about these for the last few weeks and here's my basic recipe. 
It is a little time consuming, but I make them alongside dinner either Sunday or Monday and I have the container available for the entire week. Which makes recipes just a bit yummier in my humble food-loving opinion. 

Take a bag (yes, a bag) of onions. Yellow onions, sweet onions, doesn't matter. Slice them up. Different size slices is fine. I don't do super thin because that just takes more time. #momlife there. 

Take a large saute pan, drizzle some olive oil in and toss in 2 tablespoons of butter (give or take). Let that melt together a bit then toss in the onions. Drizzle the onions after about 5 minutes in the pan with some honey. Maybe 2 tablespoons. But just squeeze the bottle about 2 rings around the pan. It's not specific or scientific. Also depends on how sweet you want them.  Then, after another 5 minutes, drizzle some balsamic vinegar in. Maybe a tablespoon. Then, stir every so often. This honestly usually takes a solid 25-30 minutes. So, grab the glass of wine and relish it while these beauties carmelize. 



Trader Joe's precooked chicken strips (diced up), a little bit of red onion (diced up), some seedless cucumber (sliced up), some fresh tomatoes (diced up) are the base of this meal. 

While you are dicing these up, toss a bag of Trader Joe's frozen jasmine rice in the microwave for 3 minutes to cook. 



Microwave dings! Split the bag of rice into 2 large dinner bowls. Top with everything you diced up - chicken, cucumber, onions, and tomatoes - and add some carmelized onions too. Then sprinkle some crumbled feta on top and put a BIG dollop of tzadziki on top of it all. 



If I remember, I grab some garlic naan while at Trader Joe's to have on hand. FYI, keep it in the fridge because otherwise it'll only last 2 days on your counter before going bad. 



And that's IT. A delicious 5 minute dinner ready to go. Super yummy, fast, and even kids like it too!