Monday, November 28, 2016

November Budget

Guys, I didn't buy any clothes this month!  Well, kind of.  Brass, one of my favorite clothing brands, launched a program called The Edit, which I decided to invest in.  It was a pretty steep price tag (600, eep!) but what's included is awesome.


The Edit is basically Stitch Fix + Marie Kondo, in a weird way. Basically, Brass is combining minimalism with a capsule wardrobe.  The Edit includes tools to clean out your closet, beautiful hangers to hold your new swag, a Skype call to figure out your closet needs and wants, and one piece a month for 6 months.  They are offering 10 pieces in the core collection, plus one new seasonal piece a month for you to choose from. Basically, style advice and 6 pieces of clothing spread out over 6 months.  While the initial outlay was high, I'm planning on not buying anything else, so the cost will get spread out.

I'm really excited about focusing on other things with my money/time, rather than clothes, especially with the holidays coming up, but I'm guessing I'll receive a few things for my birthday (Friday!) and Christmas, so those will be included next month!

PS Happy Cyber Monday!  J Crew (plus 10% back on ebates, LOFT and Ann Taylor are having amazing sales - loving this festive sweater, this classic bag, this gorgeous dress and these perfect heels

Linking up with Fran!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Slow Cooker Squash Soup

During the last day of my CSA, they do a vegetable bonanza - take what you'll use.  I am never good in these situations.  I let the bargain go straight to my head and grab more than is reasonable for one person, and am then faced with crippling guilt because I absolutely have to use everything and use it well.  Soup for days and a freezer full of meals it is then.  This soup is bananas easy and very tasty.  I realized after photographing everything that I had a baggie full of roasted pumpkin and acorn squash, so I dumped that in to jazz everything up, worked great!



Ingredients

1 newborn-sized butternut squash (best I could come up with)*
1 onion
1 apple
2 cloves garlic
3-5 carrots
1 can lite coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ginger
Sprinkle of cinnamon

*As I mentioned above, I added roasted pumpkin and acorn squash too.  Roasting the squash gives it a bit more flavor, but is definitely not required


Directions

Chop everything up, add it all to the slow cooker, mix it, cook for 4-6 hours on low, 3-4 on high. Done, nailed it, your house smells like high class baby food. Boom.*


*If you want a silky texture, you can immersion blender it.  I liked it slightly chunky and ended up smushing the bigger squash pieces against the side of the crockpot and leaving as is.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ethical Gift Giving Guide


As I've mentioned, I'm trying to be more careful about where I spend my dollars.  With the holidays coming up, my goal is to give my loved ones gifts that they love, but also stays in line with my morals, especially now that we're pretty much all adults and don't need too much "stuff".  I've come up with a list of ideas below, but I'd love to hear yours!


Clothing

Zady (25 dollars off 100) // Zady has their own clothing line, but they also sell products from other ethical brands, including jewelry, skincare and homewares.  Their mission and transparent practices are awesome, and I love that they actively support other brands that are doing good work. Emma Watson wore one of their sweaters in an outfit I immediately wanted to replicate, so if it's good enough for Hermione, it's good enough for me.

Everlane or Grana // I think that pretty much any adult can appreciate a really beautiful basic piece, which is both Grana and Everlane's wheelhouse. They recently dropped the price of cashmere (only 100 bucks), which is awesome, and they sell a variety of items for both men and women (cashmere sweatpants <3). The Everlane booties have been on my wishlist for ever, but they both also sell a lot of small, lovely gifts with lower price tags


Homewares

Etsy (ebates) // Living in a part of the company where supporting small businesses is tough (just not a lot of access), I love that Etsy brings that marketplace to me wherever, whenever. I prefer to filter items made and shipped from the US, but Etsy makes it easy to shop however you like.  There are so many items on Etsy, you can buy something for everyone and contribute directly to an artisan.

Fair Trade // The Fair Trade designation can be given to items in a ton of different categories, not just homewares, but the linked list is a good place to start. Fair Trade means that the items were created through direct, equitable trade and that the producers are paid fair wages, work in safe conditions and minimize negative environmental impact.  There are physical Fair Trade stores and popups around the country, but the Fair Trade USA also has links to hundreds of partners that they've vetted.


Charity

Depending on who you are buying for, a charitable donation in their name or to a cause they believe in could be the perfect gift (looking at you, person who has everything). This database can help you figure out which charities do the most good with your money, and how moral their practices are.  Favorites of mine are Heifer International (pair with a stuffed animal for kids), Planned Parenthood and Save the Children.

Experiences

The last few years, I've given my Dad tickets to something at least once a year. He's a tough guy to buy for, but we've really enjoyed the things we've gotten to do together.  I think a cooking class, floral arranging workshop or tickets to something is a great gift for loved ones.  Quality time is way more impactful than yet another thing.  Groupon often has awesome deals on things to do in your area at decent prices!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Currently and Small Goals

Currently

Discovering // Some new holiday music! The Pentatonix album is a favorite (Hallelujah is on repeat) and I love Kacey Musgraves new album. Holiday music is one of my absolute favorite parts of this time of year, so there's no shame in my starting early game

Celebrating // A few quiet weeks before Thanksgiving and the end of the year craziness kicks off!  We get a bonus day off tomorrow, and I'm planning on scrubbing the absolute life out of my apartment and slow-cooking squash soup.

Starting // Holiday shopping.  Makes me feel way less stressed to get it done earlier, plus I take gift-giving VERY seriously, so I need time to prep!

Wearing // This sweatshirt on repeat for ever, often with these boots and this vest

Googling // The weather in Aruba.  My mom's side of the family is traveling there for Thanksgiving, which is going to be amazing. I just ordered a couple bathing suits from here (more on that below) and am stocking up on sun screen and books

Goal Update

Commit to dressing up // Done!  I went as Wednesday Addams, which was fun! Most of the adults on campus recognized me, almost none of my students. Oh well.

Buy a new bathing suit // I snuck this into the last day of the month, because I used it as collateral for the next goal. I ordered two Kortni Jeane suits, which I'm hoping work well for me, but we'll see! I'll do a review later if they fit

Workout twice a week // Not only did I workout (20+ minutes twice a week) but I completed Tone it Up's 31 rep challenge every day but 2!  I found the 5 moves/31 reps each thing to work really well for me, so I'm going to keep that up moving forward.

Get off campus // Done! Had a lovely afternoon exploring Lenox and Great Barrington, both of which are delightful

Classic movies // Not even close. Totally forgot it was a goal. Mulligan


November Goals
Watch two classic movies // I will do this!

Read 2 books // My reading stack has been a little neglected over the last few months, and I really need to get back to it!  I just started Alison Weir's book on Elizabeth I and am enjoying it!

Track calories every day up until Aruba // There's a 0 percent chance I track calories on vacation, but I'd like to keep an eye on things until then (#bikinibody)

Buy no clothing // As I mentioned in my budget, I'm feeling pretty good about my closet at this point, and unless I find myself needing something specific/replacement, I'd like to focus my budget on other things

Vote // Please dear lord, let us just vote and move on from the election. I've been listening to Hamilton on repeat to remind me what America is supposed to be like.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Favorite Holiday and Getting Ahead

Happy November 1st, and my personal holiday season kick-off, though I try to keep it under wraps until after Thanksgiving so that my family doesn't kill me.  I totally appreciate wanting to tackle the holidays one at a time, but I also know that Christmas can get overwhelming REALLY fast for most people, so kicking a few things off earlier can make it easier.


Cards

Sending and receiving Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of the season. It's like holiday cheer in an envelope.  I sent cards on my own the first year I didn't live with my parents, but lost track of it last year, so I'm committed to getting things done earlier this year.  Paperless Post has Rifle Paper Co cards that I'm obsessed with, though I love this one too (or maybe it's just the adorable picture/baby) and they have some that benefit charity.  I've got two years worth of pictures of Tallulah and I in a sleigh at the place my family typically gets our Christmas tree, so I'm hoping to get one there and use that!

Gifts

One of the things that makes the holidays a little more stressful for me is that buying presents/travel/being home = budget busting, so I try to spread the costs I can anticipate (buying presents) out over the months before the holiday.  I've got the rest of my family figured out, and have started ordering some things. I don't want to spoil there surprises, but my own wishlist is below!  I really don't want that much stuff this year, which, all in all, seems about right.



Barbour hood (sage)
Roomba (might be cheaper elsewhere)
Allbirds Sneakers (natural gray)
Navy wool sweater




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