I can dig it when the fashion industry utilizes green methods in their design. Eco-eyewear breaks the scene, destroying mass-produced, environmentally damaging labels along the way. There are many designers jumping on the green bandwagon, but of those, a pioneer, Shwood sets the standard for wooden eye art. Portland based Shwood, represents the alternative, freestyle fashion and artistic culture of their home Portland. The raw, sustainably sourced, wood-grain sunglasses are effortlessly edgy. Hand-crafted, Shwood offers custom features for their clients such as different lense options for a wide variety of frames. I am instantly smitten! Their Canby Select Rosewood/Maple sunglasses a favorite staple, that is reminiscent of the classic Wayfare design. Average price $200 USD.
7 for all mankind, back-to-school, citizens of humanity, consumerism, debt-free, eco-friendly, family, fashion, gap, green, gymboree, medela, metal melisha, oilily, parenting, sale, tap out, thrift store finds
Yesterday we went to our local Salvation Army for Dollar Days where all clothes are $1 (except for red tag, which was 50% off)! For my faithful readers, you already know what I am talking about, you’ve heard me brag about this before. Of course the line was long, as usual and we were all waiting in the morning air outside, waiting anxiously for the doors to open. As each new person entered the loosely formed line, running shoes on, ready to fight their way through racks of marked down clothing. After about an hour of surviving the crowd, here is what I made away with:
8 pairs of maternity jeans and pants from Gap, Liz Lange and various others. Approx retail $29.99-$69.99 each What I Paid $1 each
Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump with extras. Retail $239.00 What I Paid: $5
2 Large Ziploc bags of Baseball and Foot Ball Cards. Retail/Worth Unknown. I plan to take these into a local shop and find out what I can get for them. I’ll post an update. What I paid: $2.50 each
Oilily girls top sz 4 Retail $89.00. What I paid $1
Nike Oregon State Shirt Retail$ 50.00 What I paid $1
Citizens of Humanity Skinny jeans Retail $198.00 What I Paid? $5 (red tag)
7 For All Mankind Georgia High-Waisted Wide Leg Jeans Retail $187.00 What I paid $1
I also scored abunch of shirts for my son for back to school. All were a dollar each and included Tap Out, Hurley, Metal Melisha, and NFL gear. He was super exited because usually I find girl stuff galore for his sisters but boy stuff is harder to find.
The purpose of this post is nor only to brag about my fabulous deals but to shed a spotlight on Salvation Army who I love and support, and challenge everyone who reads this to resist consumerism, keep fab designers and brands out of landfills and to save YOU money so you can do more with it.
When I was 6 yrs old, I learned the concept of collecting, and decided that whatever I liked enough, I would then collect. My mother passed down a coin collection to me that got the frenzy started. From there: Marbles. Popples. Care Bears. Rainbow Brite. Hot Looks Dolls. Ninja Turtles (lol! what?) Crystals. Beads. Stickers. Barbies.
I will just stop here, it’s as much as my memory will afford, but honestly, there could have been more because as my mother would joke “More is your middle name!”. I was a sweet child, I promise! I didn’t jump and kick and throw tantrums in the store isle if my mom didn’t buy me the silly puddy I just had to have. Although, that may be because I never had to. My mother showed her love for me by spending her money on me. So I learned at a young age the imposed importance of “things”. It’s just what you do. In between my Saturday morning cartoons, I was overloaded by commercials of all the things I had to have. How did they know I needed that?! I don’t think I ever stopped and asked myself why? Why do I need another Rainbow Troll or Strawberry Shortcake? I could clearly see by the kids dancing and hugging their toys in the commercials. These things obviously deliver happiness. That is until you have too many and you can’t see the floor of your room, and your mom orders you to clean it!
Isn’t there an old saying that goes “A cluttered house is a cluttered mind”? Every single Saturday morning the bright neon signs with hand-drawn arrows point the way ”Yard Sale ——->”. In fact, this is one of my most enjoyed activities. I like to call it treasure hunting. Our families livelihood depends on it. Those glass sconces from Pottery Barn that you “had to have”, well I bought them at a yard sale for $2.50 a year later when your neighbors convinced you it was time redecorate. I am so grateful for America’s glutenous, over consumption of things that ends up regurgitated on her front lawn every weekend. It makes it easy for a digger, such as myself, to make a living. Honestly, it’s an addiction to me. I am a self-proclaimed yard sale, thrift store junkie. I literally get a high when I find a first in series Holiday Barbie MINT in box (worth 200-400) for 20 bucks! That paid our power bill that month. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. I admire the “freegans” out there making their dumpster-dived dinners, I just haven’t graduated to that level. Considering my germ-a-phobia, I may never get there but that is ok, that’s where homesteading comes in. I have learned I can not hold on to these things and if I do, it will cost me an item for an item. If I buy a pair of jeans for myself, one pair goes to the marketplace. I haven’t mastered this system but I am at least trying.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you need something. We all do it, especially women. Your supposed to have the revolving shoe rack in a room sized closet, even if you don’t wear all the killer Jimmy Choos, you might one day, and besides, just looking at them makes you happy. It’s so necessary that you might drop a quarter of your pay check on one pair of shoes or a handbag because no one takes a business woman seriously if her handbag came from Target. I mean, really? Okay Okay, I will slow down because this is not a guilt trip!! Please don’t think I am here to condemn you because I once considered a handbag an “investment”. Today, I consider land an investment and so it’s plain to see that my priorities have shifted. If you have the land, and can afford the handbag, I am not here to pry it from your hands and force it in the donation pile. I simply want to make you think before you consume. Who are you supporting when you buy imported fruit from the grocery store? Will you be wearing the handbag 1 year from today? If you could trade the item in your cart for clean water to an indigenous family in need for one week, would you? Because you can. It’s an option. The media just doesn’t capitalize on it as much as Colgate toothpaste.
The questions in your mind that you have never bothered to ask.
My friends and family were concerned when they began noticing a difference. My usual bubbly-blonde self talking about water catchment systems, instead of Dior’s new line took them a little off-guard. Trading in my salon shampoo for homemade baking soda rinse followed by a smidgen of organic coconut oil for heat defense just didn’t make sense to them at the time. At first I wasn’t too keen on my new lifestyle either. My new ways were born out of need not desire. As a family of 5 our income was reduced dramatically overnight. A lot of things had to change whether I liked it or not. I wasn’t earth-wise and only got by with adopting minimal green perspectives because it had become popular to do so. God knows, I had to be popular. Suddenly, as a family of 5 living within poverty lines, my partner and I had to get creative! We would lay awake when the kids were sleeping and binge on Youtube (yes youtube), absorbing all that we could from the popular searches:
Living on a Budget
Making your own detergent, shampoo, deodorant
Raising a family on little money
The more we tried to save money the more valuable our natural resources became. You don’t have to buy fruits and veggies if you grow them yourself. But we don’t live on a farm, and have very little land that wasn’t our own. So we began to watch everything we could find regarding:
Raised bed Gardens
“The Dervaes Family” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q-6eDQ8c-A (I love this family, they have been such an inspiration to us!)
We visited our local library and thumbed through Barnes and Noble while our kids played at the train table and listened to stories we read for free! We like FREE these days! One of the first great books that changed our way of thinking is called Possum Living by Dolly Freed. This book is about living well with little to no money. Freed and her father lived on very little money when her dad worked odd jobs (rarely)and they grew and raised their own food (rabbits). Although, their lifestyle was extreme for us, we were encouraged because if they could do it, than surely we could do what works for our family.
There were a lot of growing pains for me during this time. I missed Starbucks and the mall desperately. I dreamed (literally) of Sephora clearance racks, that I would single-handedly wipe out, taking home Urban Decay eye shadows, Benefit Bronzers, Bare Essentials, for ridiculously low prices It was make up of all kinds, lipsticks and blushes galore, dancing like sugar plums in my head!!!…. then I woke up. I have never seen a crazy clearance sell at Sephora BTW, I think I dreamt this because I knew somewhere inside of me that it would be the only way I could afford these products I have enjoyed for years, they would have to be on serious mark-down. I refused to give up on make up. I started frequenting sample sites and would get high-end face cream delivered to my mail box. I began to despise my home-made shampoo less and less after the initial detox period was over. The thing about most shampoos is that they strip the hair of it’s natural oils and really isn’t good for you. (I have a review on my blog on a shampoo by Rusk that is sulfate-free and not as harsh on your hair and scalp. It’s a luxurious alternative to the baking soda/apple cider vinegar wash I was accustom to).
Our family does not struggle as we once used to. We were forced to move into a cheaper and much smaller home that we are far happier with. Far too many Americans live outside of their means. We take out loans on homes we can’t afford and the “American Dream” is to pay them off so we may finally be “home owners” in 30 years; a reality that usually never happens because you end up refinancing for the new car or the kitchen re-model. One thing about me, is that I have always struggled with patience. I know, it’s virtue but I just haven’t got the hang of it yet and 30 years of signing away the majority of my paycheck to a bank just doesn’t doesn’t sound enticing. So we I have grown a passion for:
The Tiny House movement
Bus Conversions (check out http://www.youtube.com/user/steampunkbus)
I am still not a pro at any of this folks. I am a work in progress. We are in the dreaming/learning phase of our life over-haul. Which I think is the most vulnerable time. Where there is vulnerability there is the opportunity for connection and growth. That’s why I decided to start this blog. To connect with like-minded folks who can share tips on sustainability, find and review green products and document our lives as we reach our ultimate goal to living off-grid!
Please come along! I LOVE hearing from you! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or give me tips and advise.