Top 10 (Actually 7) Uncool Cool Things

Do you also love these things that are not cool/on fleek/lit? What?

1. Scrunchies. There was an unfortunate episode of Sex and the City in which fashion-forward Carrie disses the scruchie. But they’re easy on the hair and available in a universe of colors and fabrics! What’s not to like? They still sell ’em so someone else is still wearing ’em, #justsayin

2. McDonalds. Life long fan. RIP Hi-C Orange drink 😦

3. Heating pads. Guilty pleasure of a 90-yr-old woman in the body of a 30-something. While we’re at it, hand warmers are also an oddly comforting cheap thrill.

4. Barbershop. You pitch-perfect Gleeks can keep your acapella groups (which this also is).

5. Glitter, holo, neon, glow-in-the-dark. Too many categories? This is what happens when you grow up an 80s/90s child. Dazed and confused in a culture of excess. Love it.

6. Reality TV. Real Housewives/Little Women of LA/Dance Moms/any paranormal investigation show. The bf is dubious on the using “reality” to categorize these shows.

7. Ghost hunting/paranormal. Wait, nix that. This stuff’s cool as hell.

This was going to be a top ten list, but I can’t think of more than seven things. Any suggestions to add to the list?

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Money Saving Life Hacks from a Life-long (Recovered?) Shop-a-holic

In this post, I’ll share some life hacks for saving money – they’re not all original ideas, but they have all proven successful in my life and hopefully will in yours too. Also, more on the ridiculous photo accompanying this post below… 

I LOVE shopping – the more frivolous, the better! Dollar Tree, Target, Walgreens…it doesn’t matter.  The automatic doors glide open, the real world gently falls away under the retail lighting, and all that is before me is new stuff with promises of a new me, a new life, (everybody sing, A Whole New World!).

I’ll always enjoy shopping, but I want to be more conscious of what I’m buying to reduce clutter at home and because sometimes there are more meaningful ways to spend time and money. You would think by now I would see through the marketing mirage of a newly packaged drugstore lipstick with the promise of everlasting perfection. Yet perfectly good-enough lipsticks, glosses, and lip crayons recline unnoticed in the far reaches of my purses and bathroom drawers. Which brings us to tip number one:

Shop Your Home

-Get creative and move stuff around. Bring sentimental treasures that live in Sterlite bins into the light. Arrange items into collections and create a cabinet of curiosities.

-Sort out your stuff because that junk drawer may have four pairs of scissors, three flashlights, and five rolls of tape you’ve been “needing” (true story).

Shop Realistically

Will this end up in a yard sale? Asking myself this question while pouring over a sea of whimsical, aquatic-themed ephemera  at TJ Maxx has helped me admire objects, but leave them where they lie – lest that brass sea turtle magnifying glass soon be buried in a donation pile once the whim passes. If something stays on my mind sometimes I’ll go back after a few days and purchase it, but that almost never happens.  Hitting pause staves off that impulse that can later lead to buyer’s remorse.

Grab a Hand Basket Instead of a Cart (“Buggy” if you’re in the South)

Simple right? If you’re just browsing or know you only need a couple of things, then grab a basket. This is especially helpful in stores that offer everything in the world like Target or Walmart. Sometimes I fill that sucker high to where I can barely squeeze my hand under the handle, but baby steps.

Make a List

This is essential to me for food shopping or if I’m redecorating. For groceries, this is obvious – stick to your list and you also stick to your budget. Similar mindset for home décor only you’re also keeping in mind what your color palette and style are so you don’t get side-tracked by sea turtle trinkets. I’ve made Pinterest boards that I can access on my phone to help me focus in on home décor or even clothing styles.

Carry Cash

Carrying a set amount of cash can prevent you from reasoning, “Well I want this one thing from the Dollar Tree, but I don’t want to put only $1 on my card so I better buy more stuff to make it worthwhile.” Carrying cash has saved me on numerous occasions. However, for some people, cash goes too quickly and they rely best on cards that give them visual tracking via their spending logs. Whatever works best for you to be a conscious shopper.

I hope these tips and tricks help you if you’re also on a journey to shop mindfully and find even more joy in the things you bring into your home/life.

Bonus tip: Do a budget-friendly photo shoot in your vehicle using your car’s ac vents and natural backlighting. Then slap on a free instant makeup app for a glam glow. *I’m totally kidding and my boyfriend caught me doing this for blogging purposes* 😂

Everything is Wrong – but isn’t it Always?

Today I realized something important – that I will never be happier than I am right now in this very moment. And that’s not because I’m currently enjoying a state of blissful, dizzying joy. On the contrary, I’m lacking sleep, feeling resentful, and wishing for a do-over on much of life.

The fantasy of the do-over or fresh start, is alluring. Our society loves a makeover story, but often neglects following up once the pixie dust of transformation has settled. He won the lottery, but is he content? She has a new look and wardrobe, but is she comfortable in her “new” skin? More often than not, the high of a clean slate wears off fairly quickly and we are suddenly left sober and confused (again). You feel like you got what you wanted and you should  be ecstatic every day moving forward – your spirit just bursting with renewed drive and gratefulness! Maybe you moved to another state, started a new relationship, got out of a relationship, quit your job, or got THE job you wanted (you go, you!). So what happened?

We chase happiness in a circle. Sometimes that circle encompasses a great distance in our quest for “better”. We chase new opportunities and novelties, which is by no means a bad thing IF you’re prepared; that is, don’t expect your day-to-day set point of happiness to change drastically even as the backdrop of your life does.

I now know that no matter what decision I make, it will inevitably loop me back to my baseline “happy”. There will always be good days and bad days after the initial excitement is gone.  When we fantasize about moving to our dream locale, we never account for there still being bad moods, challenges, and frustrations. This is not to suggest goals and aspirations are worthless and we shouldn’t pursue them – enjoy the high of change and all the exciting places you’ll go, people you’ll meet, and experiences you’ll have . It’s more about expectation management – enjoy what you can when you can.

So don’t delay a happy life just because it’s not your ideal in this moment. It can be easy to get addicted to the high of newness without ever settling in and enjoying the now.  It will never be perfect and that’s fine! Once you embrace this, you’re free from obsessing over what’s next – you’re open to just relaxing and taking life and its little joys as they come instead of focusing wholly on the future and becoming happy when XYZ happens. The only way to be happy is to be happy.

Final thought: I highly recommend the documentary Happy on Netflix 🙂

My Sacred Spaces in the World

DSC_0271This fitness trail in California 

I’ve moved a lot! But wherever I go, no matter how brief, I’ve always found spaces that comfort and rejuvenate my spirit – spaces that have become sacred visions to carry with me on the journey forward. These places are valuable respites to visit now in my mind’s eye during reflective moments. Taking photos of these spots has helped me create a collection of “breathing spaces” (inspired by the recurring O Magazine spot featuring inspirational landscapes). But unlike the magazine’s print-worthy vistas, many of my photos capture the “spirit” of somewhere; some specific, deeply personal detail that brings me back. And sometimes, these places are not in nature at all, but are local stores or restaurants where I established warm memories (McDonald’s always has my back worldwide – holler!). I recently moved yet again and have yet to find my current “sweet spot”, but I know it’s out there (here).

DSC00276The air smelled like flowers everywhere in Hawaii

DSC_0320The Temple of Heaven in Beijing (so nice I visited twice)

DSC_0054UFOs had taken over the streets in Roswell, NM

1909357_10203369184810057_8216478386338864203_oColorado skies never disappointed

IMG_6248_2San Diego’s coastal walks are one of my favs

IMG_47241I lied. Turns out, I do have a comfort zone here in Texas – good times in this place 🙂