My Favorite Thrifted Items from 2018

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about people best thrifted items from 2018. I started to think about what I would include in my own. 2018 was the year that I really rekindled my love of thrifting, even opening an online vintage clothing shop. Looking back these were the thrifted items that really stuck out to me.

Black Wool Coat
I love this coat!! It’s almost a bat wing coat in black wool with suede details on the shoulders. It’s cozy and warm and makes me feel very scandanavian chic.I got this coat for $10 at a local thrfit shop.

Oversized Chair
We knew for a long time that we wanted a big puffy chair to cozy up together in. Something bigger than a chair, but smaller than a loveseat. We found the perfect chair at our local ReStore shop. We paid $49 for this chair and every single person in the house loves and uses it.

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Rainbow Mugs
In 2018, I decided that I wanted more rainbow mugs and kept an eye out for them throughout the year. I use them every day and they make me happy! I like that they have become a collection and they lend themselves to the curated living feel that I want to achieve.

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Spiderman Notebook
I’ve talked about this one a lot already bc I use it as my bullet journal, but I love it!! I love using a thrifted bok, I love the size, I love that someone else lived this book and there are drawings scattered throughout.

As you can see all my favorites this year are very useful or utilitarian but also my personal style definitely shows through. What have been some of your favorite or most used thrifted items from 2018?

The Big Why Behind the Habits I Want to Create

One trick to building new habits is to have a strong reason for doing them. Most people will tell you that in order to make a habit stick you have to be super motivated for them to work. You have to have a “why” behind them.

When I talk about the habits I want to make, I mention why I want to make them, but here I want to state in a simple, straightforward and brutally honest way,

Here are the habits I was working on in 2018 and continue in 2019:

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Stretch everyday - I’ve never been a stretchy person and I don’t want to be old and feeble, or unable to bend and tie my shoes, etc…
Dish free sink - The sink get gross and I would rather it be free and clear. This helps make doing many tasks easier.
Read everyday - Reading makes you smarter and reminds you that the current digital age is not the only way to live.
Morning pages - I want to be able to clear my mind and think about my issues.
Daily Face Massage - I’m not getting any younger, but I don’t want to look old
Clutter-free couch - Why have a couch if it’s too messy to sit on?

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What are some of the Whys behind your habits?

6 Things To Do This Year to Become More Zero Waste

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

One of my 2019 goals is to be come better at being Zero Waste and Plastic Free. I made huge strides in this effort in 2018. If this is your goal too, here are 6 ideas, one for each month in 2019 until Plastic Free July, of things to do to generate less waste.

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January - Trash Audit
Since we are mid way thru the month, this is a perfect time to take the next few weeks and observe what trash you are generating. This is a very easy way to see areas where you might reduce your waste. Use paper grocery bags to separate your trash into at least 4 categories: plastic trash, other trash, plastic recycling, other recycling. At the end of January, share your thoughts and results here in the comments!

February - Declutter Everything
The beginning of the year is always a good time to clean and declutter your space. Feb is the perfect month for this bc it’s short! Use whatever method you most like and works for you. Go crazy Marie Kondo style, or just your usual cleaning and declutter routine. When the month is over, give yourself a break, whether you’ve finished or not! Make sure you let us know any insights or tips you might have at the end of this month! What was wasted, what was essential?

March - Switch to Paper
An easy beginner switch to make is to ask for paper bags at the grocery or for your take-out lunch. Asking for paper is a good start to prime you to bringing your own reusable bags. Paper bags can be reused and recycled or composted. These paper bags are great to use as your trash bags. Now you’re choosing to use paper over plastic for trash bags, too! (See how many paper grocery bags you reuse and fill for the month. Was it less or more than your January trash audit?)

April - Compost
I know this one is scary for a lot of people, but composting is super easy. You can compost anywhere and there are more resources than ever before. All you really need to start is a bucket or a bowl and a place to take your compost. This can be your back yard, your balcony, your local dump, your local farmers market, a community garden, or one of many more options. How much food waste do you collect in a day, week, month, year? In April, we’ll talk about what we can do with the compost we are creating.

May - Meatless Monday
The meat, fish and dairy industries are notoriously wasteful. A great way to make an impact is to lessen your participation with them. A lot of people transitioning to a meat free diet will start with one set day a week where they avoid meat. Variations on this could be going dairy free or vegan one day a week, going raw one day, or raw before four, or eating only local, etc… The beginning of Summer (in the US) is a great time to work on this bc there are so many fresh food options. Share what you might give up or some recipes below!

June - No Bottled Water
The month before Plastic Free July can be all about giving something up. If you are still buying bottled water it’s time to give it up!! If you’ve already given up bottled water, try giving up disposable coffee cups, say no to plastic straws, stop using plastic utensils or plastic food wrap. There’s a ton of things that can be given up this month and it will prep you for a month of plastic free living. What will you stop using this month?


I hope these simple zero waste tips help you in the months to come. I will post more about each of these ideas in the month they take place. Would people be interested in a link up for each month?

Remember, going zero waste, low impact isn’t easy. We can only start where we are and do what we can. Every little bit helps.

Bullet Journal Check In: January 2019

I started my current journal half way thru November of 2018. I’m not one to start a new journal for the start of the year. I don’t make a grand show each year switching over with lots of fancy new spreads, etc… I really only do a few over view spreads, like an index and a future log. All of my other spreads I make new each month.

For Jan I have been watching a lot of new journal set ups on you tube and there are some spreads I might try to incorporate this month and in months ahead. But mainly I just use what I know works for me and continue to tweak how my bullet journal helps me be more organized and productive.

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I’ve talked about my current journal and how I thrifted it in another post. It’s a very different size than I’m used to and it took me about two month to figure out how it works best for me, but now I’m loving it!

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You’ll see that my Bullet Journal is very minimal and utilitarian and I really don’t mind if I make mistakes or try things that do not end up working out.

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I like that this journal is so large that I can put my monthly calendar and tasks on the same page. I follow this same practice for my habit tracker and my goals. My tasks are appointments and and items that I try to get done each month. My goals are more aspirations that I want to fulfill each month. Intentions and inspirations.

All of these are different than the monthly goals I’ve been setting in this blog.

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For January, I had room to put a content calendar for this month and the next. I’m still trying to get the hang of using this, but I have found it more helpful than not, so I keep at it. I also have a general idea of the content I want to post each day on the bottom of the calendars.

The next spreads are my sleep tracker and blog tracker. I like the content calendar for theoretical content, but I always track what I do actually post. I use the space under these spreads for various things, different each month.

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New to this month, I’m tracking the clothes that I wear each day. I want to couple this with outfit of the day photos, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’ve tried to track my clothes before, but this is really working for me this month. This month, I’ve been adding the clothes as I wear them, but in the future, I would like to write them all down more neatly.

The next page is an example of my daily spreads. In this journal I find this layout the easiest and most effective. I have been trying to journal a little bit about each day with all the space provided.

Below, after another page of dailies, in which you can see a shopping list, and some ideas for a reset day, is a completely failed cleaning spread. I hope to figure out a way to use this or something like it in coming months, but for now, I just gave it up.

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What do you do with unused spreads?
How do you plan your months? What does your January spreads look like?

Last Bus to Woodstock

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Last Bus to Woodstock, An Inspector Morse Novel by Colin Dexter. Read by Kevin Whately.

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I finally caved and started buying digital audio books. I really held out for a long time, listened to every free audiobook that audible had (that interested me) before I bought new books. I waited for such a long time partly bc I knew that I would want to buy so many books!! And I was right. I still take umbrage at the prices, but there are a lot of books on Audible that are quite reasonable. I was delighted to find a whole trove of Inspector Morse novels for under $10.

Inspector Morse eyes a possible new partner as he is called to the scene of a grisly murder. As the two investigate and are constantly confronted with lies along the way, Sargent Lewis gains insights in to the odd but effective methods of the cantankerous Morse. Lewis soon learns there’s a softer side hidden there, too.

Now, I’ve long loved PBS’s Mystery series and Inspector Morse is a great one! I also particularly like the spinoff, Inspector Lewis. I’d been looking to read the original books but never managed to pick one up. In this, the first book in the morse series, we are introduced to Morse, not everyone’s favorite police inspector. He’s off beat, weird, love opera and whiskey, is prone to angery explosions. He doesn’t work or think like other officers but he gets things done. He takes a shine to Sargent Lewis, who thinks more traditionally, more by the books. Together their skills combine to solve the convoluted murder of a young woman. It might have been by destiny that they become partners, or it might have all been by Morse’s design. I really enjoy Morses grumpy style and the subtly of the back story of the characters. Last Bus feels like a first attempt, but it was very enjoyable. I can’t wait to listen to more of this series. One of the things I loved most about this Audio book was that it was read by the actor that played Lewis in both series!! I highly recommend this book for those who like police novels, British novels, and murder mysteries.

Do you have a favorite Inspector?

Off Season: Asbury Park Post Office

One of my favorite places in our city by the sea is the Asbury Park Post office. Built in 1912 and in continual use, it’s a very lovely old building tucked into a quickly modernizing city. Functional and beautiful, the PO sits close to the train station, police, and administrative building on Main Street, Route 71. It has a grand sweeping exterior but inside is full of beautiful small details.

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Below is a pic from the early twenties when the post office was first built. in the thirties is was renovated and a back extension was put on.

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I’m not sure when the above photos were taken but the modern PO looks just about exactly the same, now. That tree on the south east corner of the property is still standing and shading people waiting to cross Main Street instead of a hedge row, there are roses around the perimeter. I found these photos here.

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Although not a luxurious stop in a fast growing beach town, this gorgeous link to the past is well worth a visit!!

Monthly Goals - January 2019

All the goal setting in the beginning of the year has me itching to get things done. I posted my overall goals for the year, but I want to make some smaller goals for each month, as well. Some of these align with the larger goals. Some are just things I need to get done.

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For January | 2019

Inbox to 0
I’ve already started working on this in the last few weeks and have gone from over 8000 messages still in my inbox to just over 4000. I want to have it completed by the end of the month so I can move on for the rest of the year.

Find 2 Japanese resources
I’ve already downloaded a lesson book. I would like to find some writing and reading resources to work with as well.

Blog at least 4 days every week
I did pretty well on this in Dec, so I hope to continue in Jan.

Photograph 6 items per day for mad cat market
Weather permitting. I feel like if I set this lofty goal, I’ll at least do more than I have been currently.

Add 12 listings per week to mad cat market
This is pretty much the same as above.

Add tags to 100 blog posts
Right now, I only use categories but I think tags will be easier to find and cross reference.

When making these goals, I didn’t realize that they are almost all about technology. I like that without trying, I made a theme for this month.

These seem like actionable and achievable goals for this month. What are some of your goals for January?

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December Plant Update

December tends to be a tough month for plant observations, and this one was the same. It’s cold, Winter has set in, it’s a busy month, and this year we were sick for a big chunk of the month. There were still some good plants this month. December was a month of critters! Perhaps this we should be calling these posts Plant and Animal Observations?

On a warm day, Tom checks out if there’s any catnip left.

On a warm day, Tom checks out if there’s any catnip left.

Our garden, waiting for spring.

Our garden, waiting for spring.

The pines are happy in the yard.

The pines are happy in the yard.

The vines are happy in the kitchen.

The vines are happy in the kitchen.

December was cold, but there were enough warm days to go to the beach.

December was cold, but there were enough warm days to go to the beach.

Can you spot the cardinal and blue jay?

Can you spot the cardinal and blue jay?

Some stray kitties getting special attention.

Some stray kitties getting special attention.

A night visitor.

A night visitor.

A happy sidewalk.

A happy sidewalk.

Very festive front yard.

Very festive front yard.

Also festive.

Also festive.

We don’t get an xmas tree anymore, which overall we are happy about. But there is something nice about having an ever green in the house during the darkest days and winter months. I’m always happy to visit family who continue this tradition.

It’s been a great year of plant observations. I love to go back thru and see what was happening in each month. In the coming year, I hope there are many garden posts, many houseplants observations, and lots of getting outside into nature!

What were your favorite plant moments of 2018?

December in Review

Well, that’s 2018 Done and Dusted!

Last night, for the last few minutes of the year the whole family (people and cats) were eating a late dinner and before we knew it is was 12:01am. It was the first year in a really long time that we had “missed” new years. But we were happy together as a family, content, well fed, but not quite in line with everyone else in the world. It felt like a good metaphor for the year. And an interesting thing to see at the start of a new year.

In December, we saw friends and family and had low key celebrations. We got back into doing a few beach walks, and tried to spend our time off together doing things we love. We were sick this month, so self care was a priority.

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This month we made a conscious effort to create more, to eat healthy, to make new habits, and to care for the health of ourselves and the cats.

#watchercats were few, but we saw some this month!

We worked on our house a little in December but more than work, we identified somethings we want to work on in 2019.

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Overall, Dec went by quick and easy, and it was a good month.

Now we are ready to say goodbye to December, goodbye to 2018, and hello to 2019.

Bullet Journal Check In: December - Daily Spreads with Journalling.

With my new larger format Bullet Journal, I was excited to start reincorporating some notes on each day into my daily spreads. Although I use my BuJo for organizing and keeping myself on track with goals and tasks, I also use it as a record of my life. I fell out of the habit of this practice, which was always one of my intentions with bullet journalling.

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My weekly spreads look a lot different in this bigger journal. It’s perfect to jot down a few notes for each day. I like to record what we did, how I felt, what time I got out of work, and general info.

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What info besides tasks and to dos do you like to keep a record of?

Recipe | Zero Waste Vegan Baked Oatmeal

I usually like my oats pretty simple. Hot water, fruit, sweetener. The other day I made this baked oatmeal for a brunch and it was a huge hit! It requires slightly more work, but it’s still really easy and can be made very low waste! This recipe is easily adaptable, you can swap out your favorite flavors and change it up often, make as little or as much as you want, and eat hot or cold!

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Ingredients
Quick oats
Dried spices. I used nutmeg and ginger.
Lemon Zest
Sugar
Frozen berries. I used bluebs and cherries.
Plant milk. I used cashew.

Equipment
Oven safe dish
Micro plane or zester
Spoon for mixing

Put your oats into your baking dish. I used about a cup of oats, but you can add more or less depending on who your feeding. Add dried spices, lemon zest, sugar to taste, and mix. Add frozen berries and twice the amount of milk as oats, mix well and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Mix again and pop in a 375 degree oven until oats are cooked and the top starts to brown a little. for the amount I made it took about 20 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or cooled. This would be great served with some warmed milk poured over it or with yogurt.

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A few notes:
- The lemon zest is key!! used about half a lemon’s worth of zest But I could have done the whole lemon. if you don’t have a zester or micro plane, you can slice off the skin and fine chop.
- I used white sugar bc that’s what I wanted to use up, but this recipe would be great with brown sugar, maple syrup or any other sweetener you like. You can also change up the spices and fruit added.
- To be extra fancy, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and pop in the broiler to brown and crystalize the top of your oatmeal.
- My oatmeal came out a little dry this time bc I didn’t add quite enough milk. It was still good.

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To make this recipe low waste, I used bulk oats and spices. I also used up some of my spices, which feels so good! I used pre packaged frozen fruit; I like the fruit from Whole Foods bc you can rinse out and recycle the plastic bags they come in. To make even more low waste, use fresh fruit or fruit that you have frozen yourself.

I didn’t plate mine up very beautifully, but it was still delicious!

This is an easy meal to make in advance. What are some of your favorite easy breakfast foods?

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Pantone Color of the Year 2019

Each year Pantone, the paint and color people, choose a color in December for the year ahead. They imbue these colors with ideas and ideals for the new year. I don't always agree with the choices but along with many in the quilting community, I like to ruminate on them a bit.

For 2019, Pantone chose Living Coral.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

I may seems like a downer when it comes to Pantone’s color of the year. I started examining it and sharing my thoughts in 2016 and I’ve disagreed with the meaning or idea behind just about every color since. Serenity and Rose Quartz (2016) felt confining in it’s binary structure (at a time when we should be seeing past blue and pink), Greenery (2017) felt tone deaf in it’s optimism in nature as opposed to the world-leader’s intent to destroy it, and Ultra Violet (2018) would have made more sense if they had called it Ultra Violent (I mean, it was the year with the most mass shootings in the US so far).

I’m sure that Pantone intends these colors to be uplifting and inspiring.

But come on!! At a time when most of the world coral reefs are headed soon to destruction, when the US is actively repealing environmental safeties and sustainability, Pantone is going to say looking at an intestinal putrid pink is going to save us from the fantasies of the internet and connect with nature and the world??

But perhaps it is all in the name. If it had been called Puke or even Drink the Koolaid or Road Kill, I might have felt it was more appropriate for what we have to face in the coming year.

If this is our color of the year, let it be named Extra Strength Pepto Bismol. Pantone, help me stomach another year like the last few.

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But don’t take my word for it. Here are a few articles on Living Coral

From Tree Hugger (you know I love them!)

NJ News likes it bc it’s from NJ!

I always love to read what A Quilter’s Table has to say about the Color of the Year.

Well and Good thinks Living coral is … sexy?

I really like what Thrillist says: “it's not a reflection, it's a response -- an answer”. I personally can’t seem to get that point, but I want it to be true!

What are your thoughts on Living Coral?

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