Lar’s Inventory

Cath and I are both making long lists of what we currently have in our closets. It’s a way for us to see how much we already have and to evaluate if there is anything else we might need.

As we’ve mentioned in this post, our goal is to learn to live with less and switch out quantity with quality.

We know that looking at itemized list of what is in someone’s closet isn’t the most thrilling read, so we aren’t including the lists in our posts, but we do have them on a separate page on the site. We’ll be updating the inventory page as we subtract and add (a wee bit) to our closets.

There are many areas of our lives that could use pruning, but we thought it would be easiest to concentrate on our closets first.

A heads-up on my list, over the past five years, I have gotten rid of most of my wardrobe. I had roughly three times as many clothes in my closet in my 20s than I do now. And this process didn’t happen overnight. I’m a pack-rat at heart and sentimentalize everything — even a pair of socks. But once you start, I promise that it really does get easier.

One thing that did surprise me, was how long it took me to write an inventory of every piece of clothing I own — stuff really does add up and the process makes you realize how much you already have. If you are joining Cath and I on this journey, let us know how your inventory goes and if it’s an eye-openner for you. I think it works as a great cure any time you get itchy shopping fingers. Just look back at your inventory list or start one, and your credit cards will let out a sigh of relief.

I plan to go through my closet this weekend and see if I can whittle any more bits out of it as well as figure out what I need (if anything). I’ll be posting updates in the following weeks, so stay tuned if you’d like to know my closet-clearing process.

Cath already has a plan of action for her closet — check back this afternoon to see her post.

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Welcome to the new AsianCajuns!

Cath and I wanted to start a new journey with the site to help us learn how to live with less. This is why:

  1. We wanted to be more thoughtful consumers: buying quality over quantity
  2. Now in our 30s, we really want to develop our style and not be as easily swayed by the siren song of trends and fast fashion
  3. The world deserves better than us constantly buying stuff and then throwing it into landfills (so we are oh-so-humbly trying to save the world — in a teeny tiny way)
  4. Spend less money on stuff and more time on experiences
  5. Discover and share sustainable and ethical brands and practices
  6. Inspire you to join us in this process

And let me emphasize the word “process.” Cath and I don’t consider ourselves minimalist and we aren’t aiming to create perfect Pin-able capsule wardrobes. We consider AsianCajuns as a workbook and journal of our evolution to live with less. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, it just has to feel good to us and work for us.

Over the past five years, I’ve whittled down my belongings quite a bit. It all started in 2011 when I moved to Scotland with Matt with just two suitcases each. After four years abroad, I’m back in the states and currently have way more than what two suitcases can hold, but still not much when compared to the average American household. I live in a 700 sq ft apartment and don’t have a car. I only live with my husband and we have no kids or pets. We live in an urban area in a large city that allows us to walk everywhere or take public transportation. We’ve prioritised this lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to live with less or has to fit within these parameters.

Cath lives in a 1200 sq ft house in greater Atlanta (i.e. a car is an absolute necessity) with her partner and two large dogs. She didn’t have to downsize to move across the ocean, but during 2015, she has slowly gotten rid of more and more things. Living with less will look different for both of us, but our goals are the same.

We both realized that we wanted to continue to live with less because it made us feel so good. Less overwhelmed by things, our tidied and decluttered rooms make us feel lighter and more free to think beyond stuff. I definitely wouldn’t have had the headspace, luggage space or budget to travel as much as I have if I hadn’t gotten rid of so much stuff.

Once in awhile I’ll remember a necklace or chair that I’ve given away that I miss, but overwhelmingly it’s the experiences I’ve been able to have that give me so much more. Swimming naked in the Mediterranean, eating fasulye on a rooftop in Istanbul, and drinking whisky by a roaring fire in Edinburgh, make the necklace and chair seem unremarkable and forgetable.

So we hope you join us in this process and let us know what you think. We’ll be sharing with you what we get rid of and you can hopefully watch us in our process to live with less. That doesn’t mean we’ll be anti-consumers though! We’ll just be much more thoughtful consumers. And we want to be honest and show you what we buy as well and explain why we thought a purchase was necessary.

We can’t wait to hear from you! We’ve been blogging together since 2007 and AsianCajuns has evolved throughout the years, but this is by far our most comprehensive change. We’d love to know what you think and if you’re interested in living with less too!

Time for A Change

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For the past few years, Lar and I have been struggling with AsianCajuns.com for a while. We started this blog eight years ago as a kind of lifestyle/fashion/all-things-we-like blog. Then it became almost exclusively about fashion. And then when Lar moved abroad it became about staying in touch and sharing our separate lives and the focus was a mix of fashion, travel and food.

Now that Lar is back in the states (best thing ever, btw) we no longer feel a need to share our lives with each other through blogging because we can actually talk to each other every single day. Plus, fashion just really isn’t our thing anymore. Let me rephrase. Fast, trendy fashion isn’t our thing anymore. At the ripe old age of 32, we’re no longer excited by trips to Zara, H&M (et. al.). Staying on trend is no longer thrilling. In fact, it now feels a little depressing.

This change has come about slowly and for a number of reasons. We’re getting older and wiser – or at least we are getting older. And that means things like travel, owning a home, saving up for furniture and other adult things have taken priority over clothes.

Growing up I was always the more practical twin and in college Lar was the one who was always buying tons of cute clothes. When she moved abroad, I became the twin with all of the clothes and billions of accessories while Lar while was the poster child for minimalism. Then Lar got the KonMari bug. Then I did. And now we’re much more conscious of the clothes we buy. I still probably have more clothes than Lar, but significantly less than I had even a few months ago. On top of all of this, the whole capsule wardrobe, zero waste home, ethical consumerism, and minimalism movements have totally got us excited – as excited as we used to get about trendy fashions.

So with all that being said, Lar and I are moving AsianCajuns in a more focused direction. We want it to become our experiment space where we can share our journey of living more simply. That doesn’t mean we’ll turn into monotone minimalists that live in perfectly edited Scandinavian-inspired homes – not even close! We’re human after all. Humans that are on relatively tight budgets and are fans of a lived-in look that’s not perfect.

The first category we’ll be focusing on will be clothes because we still love clothes. And even though we’ve both cleaned out our closets, there’s still a lot more to explore. We’re both intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. So we’ll be blogging about what we have, how we make it work, and why we decide to buy certain items if and when that happens.

I hope you can join us on our journey and find it interesting. Even though we’ve been mulling over the future of our a blog for a while now, one of the things that we’ve consistently loved about it is our readers. The blogging world is an amazing (albeit shrinking) community that means so much to us. So stay in touch and let us know what you think!

P.S.: As Lar has mentioned in previous posts, we’ll have a new design up soon to reflect our changing direction. Plus, we’ll start posting regularly once we’ve worked out all of the backend kinks.

December Already?!

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Hi Lovely Readers,

Thank you for your patience as we work toward the new AsianCajuns. Cath and I have been so excited coming up with our new idea(s) and posts that are in the works. Right now we’re just tinkering away on getting some schnazzier stuff happening in the background.

In addition to AsianCajun-ing, I’m still frolicking in what is left of the autumn leaves in Seattle (see photo). Cath is finishing up her very last week as a master’s student at Georgia State — huzzah!

This December, we hope you are enjoying lots of mulled wine, chocolate gelt and lots of hygge-ing! We can’t wait to start afresh with you guys in the new year!

xoxo,

Lar (and Cath)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving week (or just a wonderful week in general if you live outside of the USA — belated happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers)!

This photo (above) is from Thanksgiving two years ago. Cath had flown over to Scotland to hang out in a drafty mansion with me for a week and it was heavenly. This year we will be apart again (boo hiss), but we will both be reading from The Thanksgiving Reader at our respective Thanksgiving celebrations. Have you guys heard of it? I found out about it through Seth Godin’s blog and I think it’s such a beautiful way to share a day of giving thanks with people you love. Let us know if you guys are doing the reader too!

Most years I avoid the shopping deluge that is Black Friday, and this year is no different as I’m completely skint. But if you are partaking in the discounted smorgasbord this coming weekend, definitely check out Small Business Saturday to support your local, independent businesses (Cath will be overseeing the going-ons in Decatur) and if you are more digitally inclined, check out our Shopbop‘s discount bonanza happenings (below):

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We Interrupt this rainy November .

To bring you pictures of sunny, warm places!

I don’t know about you, but my eyeballs are so tired of the gray and the rain and the bare-branched trees of November. Any Southern hemisphere readers are probably frolicking in more amiable climes as we speak, so this post might not be as necessary as it is for fellow Northern hemispherians desperate for vitamin D.

So, without further ado, please enjoy some of these pics of our road trip through Croatia a few months ago: the beautiful Roman ruins of Split, the delightful poppyseed pastries of Dubrovnik, the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, and the mystical sunset of Zadar. Winter is coming, but it’s good to remember it’s not always here.

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How’s that feel on your eyeballs? I love how cozy the holidays feel, but Scotland (and now Seattle) has turned me into the sun’s most grateful acolyte.

Stay tuned post-Thanksgiving for a sneak peek at what’s coming to AsianCajuns.com! I know we keep teasing it, but the new AsianCajuns is coming to a screen near you soon. Thanks for your patience, lovely readers! xoxo

 

The New AsianCajuns is .

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. coming to an internets near you soon! Thank you guys for your patience while we work through a new design (and new concept — exciting stuffs!). We’re aiming to have this relaunched just after Thanksgiving, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, Cath and I are faithful instagrammers, so if you are missing unnecessary pics of on-tap Kombucha (me) or oh-so-beautiful shots of delicious Atlanta life (Cath), please click below:
Cath’s instagram
Lar’s instagram

And until we see you on the flip side, have a wonderful November! xoxo

I can’t stop looking at trees

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Seattle is the first place I’ve lived in more than a decade that has a real autumn: where the skies are a sparkly blue and the leaves blush crimson and glow golden. So every time I leave the house, I’m the crazy lady standing in the middle of a busy urban sidewalk holding my phone over my head taking photos, and then more photos, of leaves. And. I can’t. Stop.

Because it’s beautiful!

And because I kind of relate to them. (Warning: I anthropomorphize everything — I’ve been known to project feelings onto a pair of old slippers). They (the trees) just seem so joyous — and vibrantly so. I feel exactly that way too when I look at them.

Instead of worrying about my job search or feeling like an unrooted nomad, staring at the trees I feel not just calmer but surer of things. Maybe change or hardship in your life isn’t something that needs to be endured with gritted teeth and white knuckles, but should be joyous even if your gut reaction is to think “when will this end — this is so uncomfortable!”

It reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview in the Atlantic where she talks about Jack Gilbert’s poetry. Here’s the snippet from his poem “A Brief for the Defense” that I think rings so true for Ms. Gilbert, for me, for trees, for you, for this season:

We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.

I feel like the trees get that, and I’m going to follow suit. Or at least keep taking photos until I do.

Slipper weather*

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Seattle is known for being rainy and grey, but last week we had beautiful weather. Crisp blue skies and just enough of a chill for a jacket and a warm mug of apple cider. But all the fall loveliness made me realise I was lacking two fall/winter essentials: a cozy robe and fluffy slippers.

I hopped onto Shopbop‘s site and immediately fell for this fleece robe (it has pom-poms!) and these warm faux shearling slippers. I spent all Saturday morning (and — ahem — afternoon) curled up on the couch wrapped in fuzziness. My hibernation skills are going to be on form this winter.

If the cooler weather has you dreaming of a new item or two for your closet, check out Shopbop’s Friends and Family sale. You get to take 25% off your order if you use the code INTHEFAM25. The sale runs from Midnight on Tuesday until Thursday at 11:59pm. Happy cozy-Fall shopping, everyone!

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*Disclaimer: this post promotes our sponsor Shopbop. By clicking on the ad on the right to make any purchases, Cath and I get a small fee — which will help us continue to grow AsianCajuns. Be ready for cha-cha-cha-changes in the near future!

A new home

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And hellooo, readers!

I’ve been in Seattle for almost two weeks and am still trying to get the lay of the land: trying to find a job, learning how to save quarters for coin-operated laundry again (oi!) and living in a partial furnished (mostly by boxes) apartment.

But what a beautiful city! I love coffee but can’t drink it which seems a shame in the home of American coffee culture, but never fear! I’ve already been to three delicious tea shops! Below I’m sampling a citrus rooibos beneath an obliging cherry tree:

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We are living in a neighborhood where just outside our door there are delicious tacos, pho and banh mi, and Oddfellows (my new favourite place because kombucha is on tap!):

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Seattle has also introduced me to my new favourite tree. Readers, meet the Full Moon Maple. How stunningly crimson, eh? I stood in awe of it’s leaves for at least a solid five minute, gaping up at all it’s glowing beauty:

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I haven’t lived in a place where the leaves change colours in autumn in more than a decade. So really all the trees are worth repeated neck straining for optimal ogling:

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Here’s a little sneaky peak of my favourite room in our flat. I have expertly cropped out my cluttered night stand to make our bedroom look presentable and serene. The night stand isn’t actually so much a stand as a pile-o-things with a lamp precariously perched atop an empty amazon box. Ahhh deceptive internet sharing!

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Matt and I (again) hate being away from all our family and friends, but if there were a city to do it in, it has to be Seattle. It feels very us. Though that might just be because of the rain (and it reminds us of Edinburgh). Ha! No, I kid, I kid! I love how diverse it is. I love the rainbow crosswalks in our neighborhood and how gosh darn friendly everyone has been.

Also.

Just to give you guys a heads up. Cath and I are going to revamp AsianCajuns and are very excited about it!

We no longer live an ocean apart and want to focus on a new chapter of our AsianCajunness. So stay tuned (and thank you for your loyalty and patience, you wonderful readers you!).

xoxox

Lar