Category Archives: Gratitude

I’m Grateful for Anti-Hauls!

Confession: I’m a YouTube beauty junkie. I love watching makeup tutorials, vlogs from my favorite You Tubers, and makeup hauls. The tricky thing about watching these types of videos? It makes me want to buy, buy, buy! The latest foundation from It Cosmetics? I must have it! The new Tarte eye palette? Yes please! A ridiculously expensive and unnecessary Hourglass powder trio? Gimme!!!

My YouTube love does NOT help my attempts to become more minimal. At least it didn’t until I discovered Kimberly Clark’s Anti-Haul videos.

She creates highly entertaining videos about why she isn’t going to buy a certain product. I find them equally as addictive as makeup haul videos, except I don’t leave them feeling like I need to spend every last penny at Sephora.

So, if you’ve never seen Kimberly’s videos, happy Wednesday, my friends:

The Women’s March

Oh, you guys! I still have such warm fuzzies over yesterday that I had to post just one more pic here on the blog. Hope you aren’t sick off looking at a sea of pink fuzzy hats!

Cath marched in Atlanta and I marched it Seattle (pic above). Joining 4 million amazing people around the world in peaceful protest against hate and fear, felt so good.

And this is just the beginning of our peaceful activism. I just signed up to get weekly updates about ways we can remain active on this site: Wall of Us. I know it can feel overwhelming — like nothing you do can make a difference — but after yesterday, we know that’s not true! As this little guy knows, we like naps, but we’re woke!

Feeling fancy, not guilty

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I found myself roaming around downtown Seattle with a belly full of french fries and wine (the result of an early happy hour with a friend), heading in the direction of Nordstrom’s flagship store.

Fortified by my dutch courage, I confidently sidled up to the glowing beauty counters and demanded serious answers to one of life’s greatest questions: how do you prevent your make-up from sliding off your face and looking like an oil slick by the end of the day? Life-shaking stuff. Truly.

But the nice beauty-counter lady seemed to understand the gravitas of the situation and told me my “shinies” could be blotted away with this wondrous powder by La Prairie.

Brilliant! Hand it over!

My “confidence” didn’t let me blanch when she revealed the price tag. Of course getting rid of my shinies makes any price worth it. But by the time I walked away from the comforting warmth of lipstick tubes and La Mer lotion, my pinot glow had deserted me and I was beginning to feel those tiny needles of guilt just where my french-fry-wine-laissez-faire had been a moment ago.

Readers, I had just spent $100 on a jar of fairy dust powder.

I have never spent anything close to that on one beauty product. I still remember my very first purchase with my own money at the Clinique counter: pastel eyeshadow that cost $20 back in 1998. Twenty dollars! That was big money to this teenager.

But here’s the funny thing with this La Prairie purchase. The guilt didn’t grow, it dwindled.

I use this fabulous fairy powder every day. And not only does it 100% prevent my afternoon shinies, I feel like a goddess when I sprinkle it on my face.

The powder is a lighter, fluffier consistency than any powders I’ve used before — and it has this beautiful light scent that makes me feel like I belong in the pages of a glossy magazine.

I’m now convinced that sometimes a bit of luxury (even if purchased after a glass of wine) is totally necessary.

Talk about “sparks joy,” this powder does the trick. I’ve also noticed that since November, I haven’t once caved when browsing the drugstore make-up aisles when I feel I need a pick-me-up.

Buying better, but less wins again!

It’s the little things

Literally. Tiniest lucky cat in the world. #Iheartyou

This is just distraction really. Cath and I are still trying to process the heart-breaking election here in the States.

I feel angry and sad and embarrassed — and absolutely devastated that so many people here (and around the world) will be afraid to live in or visit the United States because of fear-mongering and cruelty supported by a racist, sexist and bigoted president.

Yes, Cath and I both believe in continuing to fight the good fight, but I know we both feel like we need time to process this before we pick up the pieces and can move forward through this hostility toward a united humanity.

And hopefully in four years or less, love and inclusion will triumph over divisiveness, racism, and fear.

Much love to you all!

We love you, we love her. Please vote.

In this election I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils. I’m voting for the person that fought for minority and disabled children after leaving law school when she could have gone to a cushy firm and made partner. I’m voting for the person who fought for healthcare for families and children and continues to do so. I’m voting for the person who said “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights” even though she was encouraged not to — and has continued to support women domestically and internationally. I’m voting for the person who worked across party lines as a senator and got money allocated for 9/11 responders (and to think when she was running for that senate seat everyone said she would be too polarizing and wouldn’t get anything done). I’m voting for the person who is the most qualified presidential candidate we have ever had in the history of our democracy.

Does she walk on water? No. Do I think she’s a perfect person? No. Do I agree 100% with all of her policies and choices? No. Has she made mistakes in her long, political career? Yes.

But I don’t expect perfection in the White House (even if you came close, Barack and Michelle!). I want a hard-working, strong and whip-smart, public advocate who embraces equality and can weather the undeniably complex issues of our present and our future.

Quality over quantity?

One minimalist maxim is idea of buying “quality over quantity.” The idea of saving up for one really good thing rather than lots of cheapie versions of that same thing, totally rang true to me when I started curbing my consumerist habits.

Now after nearly five years of being a more conscientious shopper, I still agree with the idea, but I’ve changed my expectations a bit. Let me explain:

When I first heard the idea of buying less, but buying better, I had visions of myself wisely shaking my head “no” to every overpriced but cheaply made Urban Outfitters or F21 purse. Instead, I would magically save my money and be blessed with the ability to purchase a Celine bag — or at least a classic, well-made and hand-made leather carry-all that would last me for years, maybe even be passed on to future generations.

But just because I love the idea of buying better (and knowing the origin of a purchase) doesn’t mean I now can afford an expensive bag of my dreams.

A large part of this is due to my own priorities: I much prefer to save up to travel or spend more time with my far flung family than use thousands on a bag. But it’s also partly to do with coming to terms with what kind of consumer I was and am.

Even if in the future I have much more disposable income, I think I will still have a problem with spending thousands of dollars on one item (even if it’s “timeless” and will “last forever”). Apart from indulging in really expensive smells (see soap photo at top of post or my bottle of Le Labo perfume tucked in my drawer), buying things isn’t my favorite way of spending my hard-earned cash.

I know some people love bags and love shoes, and to them, spending money on those things is the best idea. I’m just saying I’m surprised I’m not doing the same! In my 20s I really enjoyed shopping things and getting them at a discount. So I assumed in my 30s I would be doing the same, just buying less, but better versions of the same things. Apparently, I’m not just changing how much I buy but also what I consider important enough to spend it on.

This realization is so freeing! It made me realize that not only do I not really need or want those cheaper purses, I also don’t really want the uber expensive one either. Just because you can afford the cheap version of something isn’t an indication of actually valuing the more expensive thing.

Maybe that seems obvious, but it really didn’t to me. And again, this is no judgement on people who love to use their “quality vs quantity” money on bags or shoes or fancy kitchens. Things are great too (again, see expensive soap above)! But knowing that it’s not always about the thing in the first place helps me make better purchasing decisions now.

Thank you, gray sweatshirt!

Guess what? One of my all time favorite clothing items is gray. Shocker, I know – especially if you saw my ideal closet post and that whole post about my favorite gray shirt. Gray might as well be my favorite color – and black.

I purchased this Funktional sweatshirt years ago hoping it would up my cool factor – you know, that whole boxy/structured/minimalist look. Turns out, I’m not cool enough to achieve that look, but I wear the sweatshirt all the time anyways because it’s so warm (I always packed it when I was visiting Lar in Scotland). It’s also structured enough that I can get away with wearing it to work in the winter.


I love how roomy it is and it’s the perfect length. Am I wearing jeggings? Stretchy pants? Real jeans? You can’t tell because the sweatshirt more than covers the waist and hip area. #winning

The fabric is more neoprene-y than sweatshirt-y, which is why it keeps its shape even after a number of washes. I wish all of my winter clothes were made of this material. I would walk around in my boxy, structured, yet comfy outfits all day long.

Thank you, red coat!

I wear black most of the time. It’s so easy! And so forgiving! And I can pretend I look artsy or Parisian-ish. But apart from the preponderance of dark neutrals in my closet, red is the other favorite. It’s as if the brighter, more exuberant side of my sartorial predilections smacks the moody dark attire out of its moribund ways when things get too gloomy.

The red item I wear the most, when in need of de-moribundification, is this lovely toggle coat. I figure as Cath was talking about her winter woolies, I would as well.


I love the toggles, the hood (no umbrella needed — take that, Seattle drizzle!) and, most of all, the crimson red of its wool blend exterior.

I’ve owned the coat for nearly three years. It’s the only item I managed to snag from the brief, but delightful Kate Spade line called Saturday, that is now defunct.

It’s been around the world (or bits of Europe and the US) and back, and made me feel pulled together at a fancy dinner in Edinburgh and stomping around the streets of Berlin (with my beautiful and brilliant friend Dexin — see above).

Having lived for nearly five years in places of incomparable gloomy weather, my red coat always makes me feel a wee bit more cheerful: armor against the gray. And for that, I am most grateful.

Thank you, Ferragamos!

I think one reason we have so much stuff in our closets is because, well, there’s so much stuff in our closets! We can never find things and gems get buried and aren’t unearthed until we have a good clear-out. And after a wee while, we start buying things again and the cycle continues.

So Cath and I thought it would be a good idea to write about specific pieces in our closets that we love. It will be like a gratitude journal for our wardrobes — we’ll focus on what we already have and not feel like we constantly need more. As an added bonus, we thought we would sketch our favorite items — a small act of homage to the things we tend to take for granted in our closets.

So to start, here are my much-prized Ferragamos:

I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn’s style, and what says ‘Audrey’ more than a classic ballet flat? And not just a flat, but a Ferragamo flat?

A few years ago, I had saved up enough money from our sponsorship with Shopbop that I could actually afford what would normally be way-too-expensive shoes for me. I also was thinking the whole time “I’m getting Audrey’s shoes!!!”

When I finally held them in my hands (and then put them on my feet), I felt ready to be whisked away by Fred Astaire or run through Paris at night with Cary Grant. After I bought the shoes, I learned that this particular style was not actually worn by Audrey (she preferred one of Ferragamo’s lower-heeled flats), but much loved by … Margaret Thatcher. Heyho. They are still a lovely pair of ballet flats that have just enough of a heel to give my already staggering height of 5’3 a bit of a boost.

On a more personal note, I first put these shoes on after I had been in the hospital for two weeks due to complications from Endometriosis. I still felt terrible and incredibly sad and vulnerable, but getting to shuffle around my flat in my Audrey/Thatcher shoes, I momentarily felt as light as air. 

So thank you so much, Thatcher Ferragamos. I look forward to many more years of floating through the air with you on my feet!