Shop-stinance

Abstaining from shopping for 40 days.


Challenge Accepted! Trying not to buy any non-necessities for 40 days. No problem (maybe).

Note to new readers: Please start from the bottom up by either searching (ctrl+f) for “Day Zero” or scrolling to the bottom. Have reformated it so the current day is at the top for easier repeat visitors.


Challenge Complete: Part II — What?

I woke up this morning and placed an order online. My first purchase since committing to this endeavor and completed it. It was not what I had intended to buy or how I planned to end this story, but it was my first order nevertheless.

Originally the idea that I talked to Yvonne about the other day was making a coffee table book of these entries, because wouldn’t that be a sentimental and perfect ending? Realistically the problem with this is that a blog format works well for these entries online, but would need some work to translate it to the coffee table edition. I didn’t want to have to wait for the editing room, resolving links, and recropping everything to be able to claim my prized first purchase. Instead I just typed in a url and clicked on a couple pagesand will soon have on it’s way a brand new — more on that later.

Throughout my 40 days several friends both inspired me and proactively helped me come up with material to write about. Coming up with topics after I had explained through almost every detail of my shopping processes became difficult.

On a daily basis I’d complain to Joshua that I would have nothing left in me, or that I felt like my last post was boring. Time and time again I’d receive his reassurance that he truly enjoyed it and thought of it as a spoiler that I would think any of the posts as boring. He’d often reply with something to the effect of, “Honestly, if I didn’t really enjoy it, you know I’d just ignore you when you wanted to talk about it. That’s our way.”

Last week when I was complaining again he tells me “You know you never wrote about what you’ve learned throughout this journey. Why don’t you write about that?” Then I reveal that I’ve been saving in for the finale all along.

So what did I learn?

Blogging every day is work. I decided early on that I would use the time in the morning that I originally allocated towards shopping to write my posts, but midway through the process I realized it wasn’t enough time to organized my thoughts. I would post an entry, then go back and edit at least 4 times throughout the day before I was happy with it. Slowly the posts moved into the night, or would be 1 day delayed and on vacation I stopped all together, but I was intent on posting something for every day on the journey.

By not shopping I spent my free time learning to make things with my Nomiku, eBaying, connecting with friends, and enjoying traveling. It’s funny, I’ve been to New York four times now and this is the first time I felt like I conquered it because I wasn’t spending time looking for an acquisition that would perfectly commemorate the trip.

When you publish something to the world you need to be ready for people to judge you. The definition of non-necessity was a debate that stirred other tangential topics. My biggest issue with feedback was a lack of understanding from the people giving it. We all perceive the world differently, have disparate motivations, goals, and loves. As much as we think we know someone, and how applicable we think our suggestions are, we cannot be aligned nor should we force others to be on every topic.

The argument I hear often from people giving unsolicited advice is “Be more open minded.” Whenever I hear this, it is immediately translated into “Take on my perspective of the situation.” If your only argument is that I should change my view to yours then you’ve missed the point and have done a poor job explaining why your view is a solid solution, and why it fit my needs. They people I usually seek advice from are my experts as they are able to put themselves in my shoes when they are giving advice.

During 40 days I transfered my interest of shopping towards selling things via eBay. Immediately when I mention I’m a seller on eBay, I received advice to solve the perceived problem: “I’m wasting a lot of time eBaying.” However, this isn’t my problem. Nor was I asking for advice on it. Ebay is an enjoyable hobby for me there is an exhilaration you get from selling things and has been my the solution to another problem: “I have a lot of brand new items or used items that have maintained a reasonable value that I do not use, consignment stores won’t take, but I don’t want to give away.” I’ve never figured out why some people like to push their opinions before listening.

On the contrary to all the unsolicited solutions to problems I have yet to experience, I can’t tell you how many of my friends reached out to me on various occasions to cheer me on about Shopstinance. They helped me realize that it wasn’t necessarily the processes that people were interested in, but the ability to be a part of the small joys of my every day. They wanted to chat about what happened on the latest entry, or a detail they liked. No one said my idea was lame (to my face at least) and everyone was extremely encouraging.

  • Jade told me that she now considers eBay a legitimate marketplace just because I mentioned it often.
  • Patricia in an act of solidarity began selling things through eBay, as well as limiting herself to only gift card purchases for non-essentials.
  • Yvo mentioned she was inspired enough to start journaling.
  • Lisa Q. who I met once at a party, reached out to laugh with me about how all my nearest and dearests thought I was an addict and recommend it to all her friends and followers. The one day she mentioned Shopstinance on social networks my readership tripled.
  • I often felt like I had nothing to say, and I wanted to give up but Laurie gave me a pep talk and encouragement which made all the difference.
  • Emily and I talked about the process of blogging a lot during this timeframe, it was really nice to have a fellow blogger to talk about the difficulties and the work that is involved in creating a blog and readership.
  • Joshua I talked to almost every day about it. I cherished this time and he was inspired to write his own posts on medium.

Countless other people chimed in with their thoughts, love, and support, “likes” on the facebooks and friends gave surprise gifts to help me throughout my Shopstinance. The unexpected comments were the best surprise, as there were people that I just didn’t think would be in my target demographic for reading a blog about shopping.

Over 40 days of content Shopstinance is just over a 138 minute read. In the end I had 177 full reads and over 1400 views. The people and conversations made it fun, and being able to have the time to reflect on each day and share how I view the world was invigorating.

So finally what did I end up buying? This is probably kind of lame, but I bought a shelf for my office, a body fat scale, printer ink, purifying filter replacement for my fridge, and Simple Human Trash bags.

Now that Shopstinance is over, what’s the next challenge? No eating out for 40 days? Exercising for 40 days? I’m not sure yet but whatever it is you will be able to follow along on my blog:

http://thevalue.in

P.S. I honestly didn’t think I would binge shop after this was all over, but I totally am. BUY ALL THE THINGS!

Thanks again for reading.


Challenge Complete: Part I — The Whys

Have just decided I will never make myself drink nasty homemade kale juice again, even if it’s about to go bad. I digress.

YUCK. Vitamin Green.

Woke up this morning and finished writing Day 40, for which I had passed out in the middle of writing last night. Today is the first day I can buy something, but we’ll get to what later since Joshua suggested I should drag out the ending of Shopstinance, like Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Divergent. So here’s to doing just that.

What I really wanted to talk about in today’s wrap up was the “whys”.

  • Why do you buy so much?
  • Why medium.com instead of your own personal blog?
  • Why’d you really decide to torture yourself?

Why do you buy so much?

Really? Do you need to ask after all we’ve been through together? Ok fine! I’ll bite. Shopping like any other hobby is an outlet for creativity! It inspires me with it’s constant change and reinvention.

Why medium.com instead of your own personal blog?

Mostly because I didn’t think I’d finish it if I started on my personal blog. When I started this project my personal blog was in dire condition and desperately needed work. Knowing myself, I would have gotten distracted upgrading the site and never finished writing any of the daily updates. Medium.com allowed me to focus on getting the words out to page and publish them immediately and with a host of people that could potentially discover my writing. That being said I am slowly moving the posts to my blog so that it’s easier to read from start to finish than here on Medium.

Why’d you really decide to torture yourself?

There were several factors involved in choosing to do this. At the dinner party from Day 17 I overheard Patricia mention “We were talking one day about shopping, and she just told me the next day she’s doing this.” I like this perspective because it suggests spontaneity which is something I rarely do.

Sadly, it wasn’t spontaneous. Shopstinance grew out of two main thoughts.

  1. A desire to write again.
  2. Setting a personal goal and completing it.

Surprise! It was never about saving money or seeing if I could not shop for 40 days. From Day 8 I already alluded to having previously completed this exact no shopping rule several years ago for Lent.

On Yelp, I have written 760 reviews to date. When friends that don’t contribute reviews realize this they always say something to the effect of “Oh man, I often feel like I should give back to the community too, but I just don’t have the time.” or “That’s a lot of work.”

For me the best part about writing a Yelp review is sharing a story. It’s a platform by which I can blast into the world a small slice of personal history of who I was in that moment, how I was feeling, and who I was with, all told within the confines of visiting this establishment and eating food.

I would search for new restaurants to inspire another tale, craft it while sitting at a table dining with friends and write it up immediately upon getting home. Receiving the prized of ROTD (Review of the Day) was an honor, as to me it meant not so much about how popular I was on Yelp, but more that people were validating my writing.

This all changed when I met someone. Someone I liked, who said my writing on Yelp was “mediocre and pedantic at best”. I’d like to say that I’ve gotten over this careless comment. I might have said I did get over it at one point, but if I’m going to be completely honest with myself, those words stole from me a love, a feeling that never returned. Now, I write Yelp reviews because I have so much history with the platform that I feel like I should.

I’ve told friends that I’m working on my great American Dystopian novel for probably about 5 years now, but I have not kept myself accountable for completing it. I also spend way too much time at work. Shopstinance was my chance to make myself publically accountable for writing every day for 40 days about a topic I love, and make the time to do it.

Now that you know some of the whys we can get into the whats (i.e. what did I buy), tomorrow.

To be continued…


Day 40: Just a day just an ordinary day, just trying to get by…

I listened to this on repeat all day, replacing the “boy” she mentions with my true lover “shopping,”, for the most part this substitution almost fits perfectly within the lyrics.

While people have conitnued to ask me what my first purchase will be, I’ve decided to spend my time on a more fruitful endeavors. After all why have a “first” purchase when I can have a bulk purchase. Technology makes doing things like this a whole lot easier:

  1. Spent the day loading up a mass of saved shopping carts in my favorite online stores.
  2. Via Automator I’ve rigged up a method to go through every Safari tab at once and proceed to the “check out” flow so that every purchase finishes at precisely the same time.
  3. Did some practice runs with Automator just up to the submission flow, so that I could ensure to account for variations in the form submission process, and credit card entry process.

This methodology allows me to consider one purchase as a whole host of items via one click instead of being limited to a single bulk purchase from a seller/aggregator like Amazon. Sounds elaborate right? Was it worth it? Absolutely, if that was what I really had done. Instead I just fantasized about taking the day off to do this and went to work as usual.

Work goes by as most days do up until the point where Elizabeth came by to visit and ask how my weekend went. Midway through updating me on her house hunting progress I noticed a box under my desk that I had left a couple weeks back that I needed to take home and use for shipping ebay sales. Naturally I pop the box open to see if I had left anything in it to reveal — a mid sized cockroach!

Immediately I toss the box onto the floor, but realize in my panic that I actually tossed the box towards Elizabeth. The box luckily managed to remain closed. Stood up as she opened my office door as I proceeded to kick the box out of the doorway, then attempted to move the box into the recycling bin still using my foot, with not much accuracy until Jonathan hearing our panicked voices came out of his office picked up the box and desposed of the cockroach. Everyday heroes! After which I apologized to Elizabeth and she responded like the classy lady she is with “No problem. It’s not like you hit me in the head with it.”

After that I notice that there are still seats available for a sneak peak at Jon Favreau’s new movie Chef. Ever since seeing the preview when researching movies to potentially watch at the Tribeca Film Festival I have craved seeing this film. Sign up for it immediately and asked Elizabeth to go, after all the best apology for throwing a cockroach at someone is watching a movie about food.

We get there just in time to have Jon introduce the film and disappear behind the curtains, and are ready to feast our eyes on his story. The movie is exactly what was needed for today, funny, heartwarming, and smart, along with a lot of food porn. Afterwards Jon gives one of the best Q&As I’ve seen, with intelligent questions from the audience, and he’s kind enough to take photos with all his famished fans.

Yay.

I think my favorite part of the talk was when he mentions a scene that happens near the end of the credits that Roy Choi blurts out. I’ll paraphrase, but what I took from it is when you’re a creator whether it be a movie or a cheese sandwich, you want it to be perfect and when you fuck it up the whole world feels like it’s in ruins. What I took out of it is the counter statement to what Roy said. When you spend time doing the things you love, dedicate your care to it and it turns out amazing, that’s the best feeling and even with the the possibility of ruin.

A great way to end the 40 days.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 39: With one final day left in my jaunt with shopstinance, I bought something! This week about 15 people asked me what the first thing I was looking to buy would be, so wouldn’t it be fantastically anti-climatic if I avoided all the pressure of closing this journey by failing it early? Even more ridiculous, what if I failed this challenge by buying something completely uneventful and unnecessary like this scrunchie?

My new scrunchie!
Viva le 80s

OK, just kidding, I didn’t buy anything.

Mother’s Day started out with more cleaning. Had so many dishes left over from yesterday’s baking session that I needed to do two loads in the dish washer. This was followed by finishing my laundry and putting it away. After which I did a living room and kitchen sweep. Made another eggwhites lunch because it was easy and I bought a costco pack of eggwhites, and had fresh squeezed orange juice to go along with it.

At 2:30pm Kumi stopped by, because the real gift to any mother on Mother’s Day is treating themselves to a visit with me. I said this to her as soon as she walked in the door, and she does her full bodied laugh. Oh how I adore Kumi because she laughs at my terrible jokes and allows me to feel funnier than I am.

She mainly stopped by to try the scones I made for my mom, and had posted to Instagram. I made extra and packed up a box for her last night to pick up today, after she visited her mom. We chatted about the good old work days and where people are now as I continued to finish up my errands: folding towels while watching Silicon Valley and then prepping the marinade for the Nomiku dinner I would cook for my mom later on in the evening.

At around 4pm it was time for us both to get going. I packed all the supplies I’d need for dinner: Nomiku, potatoes, green beans, marinade. The rest I was going to buy before reaching my parents house about 30 minutes away.

The list:

  • Tulips — Bought at Safeway, not beautifully wrapped but the flowers were pretty. They are my mom’s favorite flower.
  • Strawberries — Didn’t plan out a real dessert, so the best dessert is nature’s candy.
  • Catfish — Braved Marina foods on a Sunday. I should get brownie points for this as any Chinese market is a madhouse on Sundays..

Finally arrived at my parents’ house at 5:30pm, and my first instinct is to throw away everything they have sitting on their counters. Their home looks like it’s ‘on the verge’ of being featured on Hoarders. Move everything out of the way that I wouldn’t be using for cooking and start looking for a vase to put the flowers in. Interior to the cabinets I was transported to a museum of appliances by decade. Pushing aside history, I eventually find two vases that will fit the oversized bunch of flowers I had brought for my mom.

When my mom wakes up from her nap, she comes downstairs and her voice sings when she spots the flowers and notices that I’m cooking. A friend of hers calls and she beams while coyly saying she’s too busy to talk as her daughter is making dinner. Once she sits down at the dining table she eyes the scones, and asks if she can have one before dinner. My answer is, “Absolutely! It’s your day.” While she noshes on that I continue to cook, she pronounces that my scones are delicious and proceeds to eat another.

For dinner I made sous vide catfish, with stir fried string beans and toaster oven potatoes. Dessert was plain strawberries.

My mom was ecstatic the whole time and it felt great to show how much I appreciate her. It was probably the best gift I could have given myself on Mother’s Day.

Then while eating dinner we realized, I forgot my Dad’s birthday last week.

Fail.


Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 38: Two more days.

Slowly peeled myself out of bed this morning, checked emails and fell in love with Nike Free sneakers. Had seen Yvo’s adorable running shoes while exiting her house the other day and decided I also want a pair. Spent 30 minutes on the Nike site looking at things like this, before ignoring my impulses and pivoting my focus towards cleaning.

My home becomes disorderly in direct proportion with how busy I am. Right now it’s a hot mess. Did a sweep of the room from left to right, and managed to start moving things back to where they belong. An alert on my computer goes off and I see that I’ve sold another vintage toy on eBay. Packed it up and threw it in the car, along with the poster that I promised to give Linda a couple months ago.

Christina got me into signing up for an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), because of this I’ve had .5 lb of rhubarb sitting around on my counter that I didn’t know what to do with. Having never cooked with rhubarb or eaten it in anything aside from a store bought pie, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I refuse to let it go bad. Found this scone recipe that would be low carb and easy to make. Signed on to Google Shopping Express to order the additional ingredients timing the delivery to be from 6-9pm, since I wasn’t sure when I’d get around to buying them in the daytime.

Promised to meet up with Linda at the Ferry Building around 1:00pm, so I could pretend to be a tourist while with actual tourists, I try to pratice method acting on the weekends whenever I get a chance (No, not really but isn’t it fun to say?). To get there on time I have to leave my home around noon. I would end up having an unhealthy lunch if I went straight there, so instead I made microwave egg whites.

Healthy brunch to go.

Super simple and fast to make:

  1. Spray a microwave safe mug with Pam or some cooking spray.
  2. Pour in egg whites, I used about 2 cups.
  3. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Heat in microwave on high for a minute.
  5. Take cup out and stir.
  6. Heat for another 45 second to a minute.
  7. Season with whatever you like your eggs with. Here I just used a bit of Sriracha sauce because I was in a rush. Normally if I had more time I would add some avocado slides and sprinkle with cilantro leaves, along with the Srircha. Making a delicious flavor combination which I learned from Laurie’s mom.

In addition to eggs, I pulled out some blackberries and put them in a tuppeware, along with a bottle of Smartwater for my picnic in the car. By the time I had everything ready to go I had lost track of time and it was 12:45pm. Two accidents on 280 further hindered my commute. I texted Linda of my delay, but she had actually said we would meet at 2pm, and I had completely read her text wrong. Huzzah.

Once in San Francisco we walked around for about an hour and a half looking in the shops for snacks and other things when I spot this:

Hello Lover!

Heath Ceramics stall. If I could trade every dish in my kitchen with their ceramics I would. Jen had mentioned they were in the Ferry Building, but I had a chance to visit since they opened. Since gifting isn’t out of the question for shopstinance, I briefly considered getting my mom some new dishes for Mother’s Day, but I’m sure she would end up saying it was a waste of money, since certainly she can make things like this in her pottery class.

We walk out onto the dock to try to get a great shot of the Bay Bridge, and instead do a series of seagull photos. While loading up her Clipper Card for the ferry to Sausalito, the ferry driver asks if Linda and her boyfriend are ready to go now, as they have an impromptu ferry leaving. Surprise, followed by brief hugs and I’m ready to drive home.

Homeless lady was playing catch with the seagulls.
Gandhi says hi.

The drive home is sleepy and monotonous, I snack on Snap Pea Crisps to stay awake.

Once home, more cleaning ensues while I defrost tilapia for dinner. Catch up on Once Upon a Time, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, and Elementary before my Google Express Delivery arrives. Now it’s time to make scones for my mom!

Mmmm . I heart scones. Hope mom loves them too.

Cooking with rhubarb for the first time I notice most recipes start with soaking it in sugar. I decide to try it plain because I feel that I should know what it tastes like, after all in my second grade stump the class word game rhubarb was my winning word. My face instantly puckers as it’s pretty tart. Note to self: You now know what rhubarb tastes like and never need to do that again.

If you knew me back in 2005 I had just started my first corporate job. Back then, I would bake almost every week because I adored my team. On the menu was seasonally themed cupcakes. Halloween was my favorite, as I could afford to be more creative with spider rings and webby frosting. Shortly after the breaking up of the band (we all moved onto other positions), my baking went along with it. Whenever I do bake now, it fondly reminds me of late nights with the team at work, while being stuck in a conference room that smelled like feet, and laughing. There was lots of laughing.

More cleaning ensued and then I went to bed early. Being in the sun all afternoon had made me weary. Office work has turned us all into vampires.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 1

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 37: Three little birds sat on my window, and they told me I don’t need to worry.

I thought Friday would be an easy catch up day, but it was anything but. Today’s workday was a minefield where issue after issue came up, my only saving grace was that there was a brief 15 minute massage that turned my arms and shoulders into butter for about 5 minutes after it was done. Simply amazing.

Days like this I just want get sweet sweet stress relief by clicking through to buy something. Instead I break open a pack of Peanut Butter M&Ms and munch to my heart’s content. This whole week I’ve been over committed. I just want a moment where no one has questions, needs or wants anything from me and I can basically sit in the corner seat of my couch, watch television, and ignore the world while wearing a snuggy like outfit.

Imma do me, aight?

When I’m in a funk only certain people know inherently how to “handle” me.

In college I made a very crucial mistake of staying up all night to study for the CS61C midterm. So tired was I, that I passed out on my exam to wake up with only 20 minutes left, which resulted in a failing grade. Later that day, I had already made plans with my lab partner to finish up our computer science project. Mid way through the walk from Southside to Soda Lab, I sat down on the top hill in front of the music building and refused to move for 2 hours. A little past hour 1 it started to rain. My lab partner kindly sat with me in silence drenched for an hour before he was able to coax me back to my apartment.

I learned two lessons that day:

  1. I cannot function properly without sleep, let alone take a test.
  2. How much I appreciate the selfless people that will sit with me in silence and let me have my moment, no matter how long or what the conditions might be.

Despite my crankiness, I was excited to have a catch up dinner with Elizabeth. She knows I’m in a funk, but doesn’t pretend to, or try to hard to relate, instead we have a great conversation. We took turns talking about what’s new and what’s going on, we rant, and we eat lots and lots of meat since we went to Brazilian BBQ joint Fogo de Chao.

After we both tap out of dinner the waiter comes by and offers a dessert menu. Dining with Laurie often enough has taught me how to awaken my inner dessert stomach, so now I generally take a look at the dessert menu even if my belly is bursting.

Definition:

Dessert stomach — a mental secondary stomach that women have, which allows for the ordering and eating of dessert despite already being full.

The waiter claims that the papaya ice cream dessert is a great digestive and then I’m sold.

Papaya makes the belly go “Oooooh na na na nah!”

After dessert we agree that we’re so obscenely full that we should go our separate ways and immediately jammify. After a brief hug we part ways. As soon as I enter my car, I immediately part ways with the button at the top of my jeans. A night well spent to calm my frazzled nerves.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 36: Four — The lust-worthy character from Divergent played by Theo James. Coincidentally, the amount of days I have left for shopstinance.

This morning I wake to the following messages left for me on chat, and respond half-consciously from bed.

Joshua: omg
Joshua: I feel like a chapter in my life is coming to a close.
Me: ?
Joshua: I feel like the season finale is coming up.
Joshua: SHOPSTINA
Me: Oh lol
Joshua: WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN BOTH CHRISTINA AND SHOPSTINA LEAVE?!?!
Me: Lol you’re hilarious.

Little do people realize that Joshua has anointed me with the title of “Shopstina Aguilera” for the past several weeks. The Christina that he mentions above is the lovely Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy who will be making her exit from the show this season, that we indubitably will be traumatized by. We speak in pop culture references with each other on a regular basis, since for the most part we watch the same tv shows.

I change the topic from tv and shopstinance, to being finally able to understand why our English teachers in high school made us read books like Catcher in the Rye or The Sun Also Rises. A younger self just wasn’t mature enough, but now I can finally ruminate about the themes in the book and how it maps so perfectly with my thoughts now.

In the car yet again I hear “DJ Snake & Lil Jon — Turn Down for What” which is a song I adore despite having no more than 12 words repeated endlessly to a sick beat. Every time it comes on I have an in car dance party, while yelling to myself

Definition:

in car dance party — when a song comes on in the car that causes you to dance in your seat, shaking your booty, waving your arms around and bobbing your head.

Work is the normal plow through a million emails till lunch. Head out to eat with Ivan and Arvind, where midway to our cafe I break out into a mini lunge with hands in the air like a cheerleader “4 more days!” I pronounce with glee.

“Huh? For what?” They look at me awkwardly.

“Till I can shop again!” I may have done the pose again. They give me a brief blank stare, before humoring me and asking me what I’m going to buy. I’m still not sure yet, but I do know it’s got to be something EPIC.

We talk about work and video games at lunch, I get a small salad because I’m again going out to eat tonight and I don’t want to feel ridiculously full as I have been repeating every night this week. Ivan has at the table a mesmerizing seafood pasta. Mid-meal I cease hearing his words and really want to stab his pasta, but am able to force my self control into action.

After lunch Sam chats me about my status message, it still said “5 days left” from yesterday. He asks me what my first purchase will be, a common reoccurring question that I’ve been trying to avoid. My normal pithy chat answer occurs, “Iono.”

Definition:

iono — ‘I don’t know’ like a child saying the phrase really fast.

He proceeds to rattle off some ideas about how the first purchase has to be symbolic and representative of the journey, and mentions it should be something like a shopping bag. I hiss at him through the webiverse, “No, I’m not going to buy a shopping bag. That’s lame.” But then I think about it more, and agree with him that it needs to be symbolic, I’m just not sure what.

Later on just before dinner have a brief convo with Laurie, where we both imagine that at the end of 40 days my first purchase should be — A BRAND NEW CAR!!! Fantasy sequence occurs where at the end of a talk show they pull aside the curtain to unveil a convertible. Laurie is in the audience cheering along with me as I retreat into the classic wide eyes, hands covering mouth surprised expression before the host leads me through the confetti falling from the sky to sit in my new car. Hrmmmmm. Maybe.

In a conversation with Emily, she brings back a topic that Joshua has been asking me for a while now. “What’s next?” I’ve be purposely avoiding this topic because as of this moment, I have no idea. In return, I ask her about what her next cosplay outfit will be, to try to determine what factors other people consider before deciding what their next adventure entails.

For dinner Yvo has planned a girls meet up at Shanghai Dumpling Shop. We hadn’t been able to coordinate a meet up since December with our busy schedules. This place is a comforting ritual in our group which Yvo founded years ago. No matter how bad or good the world is, in this one moment we have consistently delicious soup dumplings (XLBs) and friends to share everything with.

Between meetups the internets keep me well connected and it never really feels that long since I’ve talked with anyone because I can just reach out with openers like “OMG, did you ever watch the Power Rangers? This!” and “Holy shit! Lionsgate is rebooting Power Rangers into a movie! I might have liked the Power Rangers much in my childhood.

Nevertheless, XLBs are they key to long lasting friendship.

XLBs = Me love you long time.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 1


Day 35: The countdown begins! 5 more days. Yeeeeeeee.

Despite the excitement that now reigns through, this morning I woke up with my hair still smelling of lamb. Little Sheep Hot pot be damned if it doesn’t leave you a lingering barn aroma to take home with you, along with the fond memories.

Lately since my shopstinance will be ending soon, I have been gently perusing my usual e-commerce websites again, trying to find that je ne sais pas that will be worthy of satiating this thirst I’ve been suffering from. Should it be coveted Louboutins? Or maybe just a couple picture frames I wanted? Or maybe a new dress?

Honestly nothing seems worthy. I give up, delete the emails and head into work.

After work I promised Eva a week ago we’d do a catch up Asian foods dinner since she doesn’t get much delicious Asian food in Sweden. I end up taking her to Kotesu Ramen. She mentioned she wanted Ramen instead of Cantonese food, because she already had dim sum for lunch.

Talking to Eva, we gab about work, living abroad, traveling, and what we would do if we were to retire. My mind wanders as we chat. For me retirement would mean being able to take on something like the Amtrak Residency program to help me finish my great American dystopian novel. After all, dystopian young adult novels turned into movies are the new black. I have an outline and about 50 pages written since college, but I have never been able to complete the story.

Recently, I’ve also been reliving a solo train trip I took a couple years ago through Laurie, who just got back from a similar trip with her boyfriend. At that time I had been suffering some serious burn out. To remedy it, I decided to check off something from the bucket list: A train trip in a sleeper car from San Jose to Portland and then Seattle. Train trips are the equivalent to a modern day Hemingway-esque adventure for lost souls, and Amtrak has this great way to partake in this via their Coastal Starlight.

Could a longer trip be the cure from my severe writer’s block?

This week visiting friends and daydreaming has kept me far from thinking anything about shopstinance other than the lingering thought that it’s almost over.

Oh yeah and here’s what I was eating while I dreamt of how The Sun Also Rises while you’re in a train.

Ramen fuels Adventure!

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 34: Another sluggish morning, mostly in part from staying at work far too long last night. Rolled out of bed onto the floor in a makeshift yoga downward facing dog position, not that I’ve ever taken yoga but sometimes it’s fun to pretend.

Work goes by as it does on Tuesdays. Series of meetings, open items, tracking. This summer is going to be busy.

Around 5pm I start getting excited for group dinner, in honor of good friend and social media soul sister Linda, visiting from Singapore. Last year Linda was a gracious host while I was on vacation in her motherland. She also was a great tour guide, teaching me what to eat and where to go, while she vacationed with me for a week in Hong Kong.

The original plan was to meet at Off the Grid: Cupertino, but horrendous weeknight traffic and Laurie, Linda, & Linda’s new boyfriend traveling from both the East Bay and SF made it not a favorable dining location. One hour before dinner we swap the location to San Mateo, which would be a better midpoint for everyone.

We wanted to go to Sushi Sams, but they couldn’t guarantee a large group even if we waited an hour. In the end we decide on Little Sheep Hot Pot. I wasn’t super hungry as I had eaten leftovers late in the afternoon for lunch, so instead I ordered a fresh coconut juice served in the coconut and everything. This by far rocks any coconut you can get in a pint with a plastic screw top.

Then all through the night were fun and random chats about how Linda and her boyfriend met, social media breaks, Christina giving birth, roommate troubles, work, how to order meats vs vegetables at hot pot and how Hung couldn’t figure out how the pen worked to order our food.

Meanwhile Laurie and Martin play “hot pot chicken” while waiting for our food to come out.

Definition:

hot pot chicken — putting your finger on the hot pot burner as it heats up and whoever takes their finger off the burner first loses.

Hot Pot Chicken in Action. Ouchy ouchy hot hot.(Luckily the burners are induction, so no people were harmed in the taking of this photo.)

Near the end of dinner Martin pulls out mango sticky rice! The running joke in our group is that Martin perpetually mentions how everything in life is easy and he can do anything and everything. The first year he met Linda at the Off the Grid food trucks in Palo Alto 2 years ago, he looked at a menu and claimed how easy mango sticky rice would be to make. I followed up by challenging him to make it. The next day, while I was sick, I get texted a photo of Martin, Linda, Christina and mango sticky rice, which Martin made from scratch and apparently is super easy to make.

We plate up his creation at the restaurant. Near the end of finishing up the sticky rice and complementing him on a job well done, Martin tells us the rice he used was the same rice that he used to make the sticky rice from two years ago.

Collectively our forks drop from our mouths and hit the plates. What? 2 years old rice? Dah, what else did he use that was 2 years old? I see the faces around the table and we are all imagining tomorrow doubled over with stomach aches. I had been eating it slowly so I stopped eating the rest, but most people had already finished. We all awkwardly laugh while shooting him daggers with our eyes. He spins some tale about how rice can last for years in the war while we still eye him dubiously. The tension is broken as we are getting kicked out of the restaurant since they are closing up.

I love how Linda is able to bring us together to catch up, even though normally we’re all around but never manage to meet up.

She also left me with this crazy parting gift that she got from Australia. Thanks Linda for being the catalyst of get togethers, laughs, fun and for me social media breaks.

It’s MARVELLOUS

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 1


Day 33: Like all citizens of the corporate working world, I have a love hate relationship with Mondays. This morning even though I slept late the night before, I managed to wake up and get into work early enough to prep for some meetings. For most of the day I was pretty slammed, but managed to take two breaks. Had lunch with Arvind and James at this small sushi joint near work where we talked tv shows most of lunch. I actually wasn’t hungry after having a snack at 11:30am, but still managed to over eat this gorgeous chirashi bowl.

Dericious!

Later got in a brief conversation with Reneé. She asks if I’ve ever read “The Fault in Our Stars” because she thinks it’s my type of book. Whereby again, I’m immediately flattered. Amongst all my friends she’s the one of the few who has acknowledged my habit of binge reading. While I don’t read often, when I do I am obsessed, and will not stop, neither for sleep nor Disneyland, nor *gasp* shopping (true story).

Reneé is partially through the young adult novel, and mentions she is pretty sure she’ll be sobbing at the end. But yes, this is a book I’ve heard of and do indeed intend to read. I have wanted to read this after seeing the trailer for the movie, staring Shailene Woodley due out in June. Recently, I feel more and more like movies are fantastic trailers for the books they are based off of. To me choosing to read a book is a far greater investment than watching a film, and the desire to read the book afterwards is to color in all the details of this fictional world that the movie couldn’t contain.

We briefly digress into talking about Shopstinance again. While I’m excited to finally be able to buy something after 40 days, I feel like it needs to be something spectacular and worth waiting for. Maybe it will be the tupperware, since that triggered a huge debate, or the tv to help finish my house, or a new car because it’s huge and my car is almost 10 years old. I’m just not sure what that is yet, I’m glad I have one week to think about it.

Stayed at work till 10:30pm to both catch up on work and let someone borrow my account to debug an issue. Caught up on Game of Thrones in the process via my office tv.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0

Day 32: While Saturday was incredibly productive in terms of pampering and getting chores done, Sunday started out with a great sluggishness. Woke up at 7:30am, but forced myself back to bed until 11:15am. Every time I’d wake, I’d flip positions and sleep some more. I didn’t have to be anywhere till noon for Bonnie’s birthday.


When I finally got up, I needed desperately to put away the piles of laundry that I had washed yesterday, as the wrinkly clothes mock me from the basket. Normally while putting away laundry, I need to multi-task by watching Hulu on the iPad mini to make the activity more mindless and fun.

Andrew Garfield
on SNL does a mean
Justin Timblake

Since it was a low key event at Bonnie’s house, I decided yesterday while at Costco that I would bring 6 lbs of strawberries and the extra mason jar of dulce de leche that I still had in my fridge. Besides, I now try to mention dulce de leche as much as possible in normal conversation because it sounds fancy and luxurious, despite being ridiculously easy to make with the Nomiku. When one says warmed condensed milk, it just doesn’t resonate with the Bourgeoisie that we pretend to be, nor does it sound as tasty.

At Bonnie’s we sat in her backyard and overate in the warm sun. It was nice to catch up as I hadn’t seen everyone in a while. Got to have a normal rant session with Annie about various topics along with telling her about Shopstinance, congratulate Vivian in person about her recent engagement, and see how big Ellie has become.

Belly full, I started drifting off into thought as I watch Bonnie and Tyson interact with Ellie and think how difficult and yet rewarding parenting is. I remember going to clubs and the beach in LA with these two or traveling to far off countries, but now their world revolves around this beautiful and intelligent little girl. I wonder wistfully if this will ever be in the cards for me, before shaking away the thought with another piece of red velvet Nothing Bundt Cake.

Brian heads off to play softball, and I offer to take Annie home so we can have more time to catch up after eating cake. On the way back we talk more about Shopstinance, as she declares how hard it would be for her, including alluding to the same thought about how the things you buy have personal metadata attached to it. Little did she know in that moment I gave her a mind hug. In the rare occasions where we get to connect, she’s one of those people that I value as being truly thoughtful and someone that consistently “gets it”.

After happily declaring that we’re both going to jammify. We head our separate ways and I go home and do exactly that. Was going to try to head to the gym, but we spent more time at Bonnie’s than I had anticipated and the gym is now closed, plus spending all that time in the sun has me completely exhausted. I get home, jammify, and crawl into bed to sleep for 3 hours.

Definition:

jammify — immediately transform into jammies or pajamas.

Wake up and work on more cleaning activities, make myself perfectly cooked scallops with soy sauce with sesame oil and pepper flakes via the Nomiku for dinner.

I’m extremely lucky to have days like these past two, where I can be selfish and reward myself with leisure after having worked a stress ridden week. And I won’t feel guilty for planning and cherishing my personal time to recharge, as with all good things, they soon will come to an end.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 5

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 31: Earlier this week I had looked at my calendar and had realized that I was completely free for the weekend. While others might scramble to fill their calendar, I get excited over having open weekends. It used to be that these days were for random solo trips to the mall, where I’d wander purposeless and take my time to enjoy finding new things to take home with me.

Going shopping solo is probably the most enjoyable for me. There are no deadlines, no hideous suggestions that I have to politely decline, and no feeling guilty about someone waiting for me as I vanish into the fitting room. One of my ex-boyfriends claimed he loved going shopping with me and insisted on it, but he would just sit in the normal men’s waiting area and text me the whole time. It always made the situation anxious and distracted from the joy of the hunt. I tried to explain that I enjoyed shopping alone, but he would pout whenever I wanted to go by myself.

But now, since I’m on shopstinance, it forces me to take the time for a personal day of pampering of the mind and body. Made both a hair appointment as well as a massage appointment for today, as well as keeping it in mind to go get a pedicure and eyebrows done, unibrow be gone!

Got up at 9:30, quickly changed and headed off to downtown San Jose to get to my hair appointment for a cut as well as a touch up of my grays and ombre hair. Linda, my stylist, I see about once every 3 months. She’s a sweetheart and always asks how I’m doing and if anything is new, and I don’t know why I’m always caught off guard by this question from her.

Before the Miracuru

After about 4 years of having her style my hair, I’ve seen her go from awesome Batgirl cosplay at halloween, to engaged with an impossibly large diamond on her hand, to honeymooning in Asia, and this time a large baby bump. Compared to all these major events I see her having in 3 months spans, my life seems generally unchanged, and I feel honestly kind of boring.

I reply “Nothing much.” but only later think, oh man, I should have told her about Nomiku, New York or Shopstinance at least. The moment passes, as she spins my chair and I’m distracted by the shadow on the wall of her meticulously putting dye in my hair and foiling it up. I really want to Instagram this moment of shadow play, but decide I don’t want to be both weird and boring in front of her.

Once the dye is in and she heads off to grab a bite as it sets, I whip out my iPad mini and start reading Ready Player One, a book Joshua suggested I take a look at. It’s a lot like Charlie and the Chocolate factory but nerdier. Linda comes back, washes my hair out and gives me my standard layered cut that I adore, followed by a round brush blow out. I exclaim, “I love it” because I do, and then head to get my eyebrows threaded.

I arrive at the Threading Salon there are the owner’s two daughters are working today. One of them will always get rid of the arch in my brow that I adore, instead giving me a rainbow like curve. The other one masterfully repairs rainbow brows into an arch outline, that whereby I can fill in the gaps with my Naked Palette. I cheer a small internal victory and text Patricia when Rainbow Brows gets the person right in front of me, so I’m bound to get Arch Girl. This happiness is soon dampered by the fact that the customer that Arch Girl currently has wants to thread her whole face. Seriously?!?!

Suddenly I imagine having rainbow brows again for the next 3 weeks, and cringe. Meanwhile, I’m multi-tasking by giving Patricia a stream of texts from my consciousness at the situation unfolding before me. She replies matter-of-factly, “Just tell her you want to wait for her sister, she usually asks anyway.” Luckily Chewbacca face girl wraps up and I avoid all the contingency planning that we have come up with in the past 3 minutes.

The actual threading takes 5 minutes max, and is painless for me since I’ve been doing it for years. I hear the girl next to me crying out in pain for Rainbow Brows to stop so she can rest from the pain, just as I’m wrapping up. I tell Arch Girl she’s awesome again, as I look happily in the mirror and then bound out to my next appointment.

After walking miles every day in NYC, the soles of my feet needed pampering in a major way. It’s about lunch time, so I grab a turkey walnut pesto sandwich to-go at Erik’s Deli Cafe which is right next to my nail salon. I nosh on that while watching CNN on their Panasonic Plasma TVs, and getting a deluxe pedicure that includes paraffin treatment. Yes, this is the life.

The deluxe treatment takes longer than expected, and I’m late for my massage appointment. I rush out and make my way to the next step in my pamper superfecta.

Massage. It’s a beautiful thing. If you can afford getting one, I’d recommend it once every two months, or hell, once every month if you can. The combination of the weight lifting and traveling I’ve been doing has riddled my back in knots. I tell this to my masseuse and as soon as she touches my back she realizes this right away and focuses on the key areas. Somewhere along the massage I’m having bizarro everyday thoughts, “What are you going to do with that left over spaceship, ebay?” I catch myself, wake up with a start, and realize I had fallen asleep and was dreaming. The massage wraps up and I sleepily head home to wrap up with errands I had planned for today: laundry, food shopping at Costco, and house cleaning.

If I can’t buy things, then pampering and taking care of oneself is a necessity.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 10

Sold: 1

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 30: Wake up thinking today is going to be great. Spend 15 minutes chatting with Joshua before work about the amazing performance from Sandra Oh we saw on Grey’s Anatomy as last night.

I had checked work emails last night just to make sure there were no issues lingering. When I check this morning, silky smooth was not to be true, as nothing comes out as perfectly as it does with the Nomiku.

We forgot something. A couple hours go by of detective work and we’ve found what’s missing. Things resolve within a couple minutes after that. I go back and document the hell out of my current wiki.

It’s now past 1pm and I miss meeting up for lunch with Linda who is visiting from Singapore. Text her my apologies and I promise her that I will see her early next week no matter what.

Spend the rest of the day waffling between how I would really like to buy something today and not, while trying to catch up on work. Stress makes me want to reward myself.

When I get home I don’t go upstairs but instead sit in my office and begin to sort and eBay a bunch of childhood toys. In my box dedicated to Pokemon, I find this adorable Psyduck that was given away in Burger King Toys in 1999. I can still remember in college making my way down to Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley to the Burger King, in attempts to “Catch ‘em all”. Since then, the Burger King in Berkeley has been replaced by another restaurant.

Psyduck has a headache again. Psy yie yie.

While a lot of the toys are easy to list as most of these items I never played with, this Psyduck is particularly adorable and I hesitate on listing him, not to mention that he’s doubles as a water gun.

Digging through more boxes I find these treasures:

CASSETTE TAPES!!!

In my youth I never valued buying an album, it didn’t seem to be the value. However, I did invest heavily in cassette singles. Looking at the back of the Toni Braxton one it says 2.99 from The Warehouse. How times have changed. Now I can just click a couple buttons from my computer to preview and buy music instead of taking the bus to our local mall, run into a gang of other teenagers doing the same thing and put on unsanitarily shared headphones to sample an album before buying. When a new album came out, we’d have to wait in line just to listen to it before buying tracks off of it.

As I’m cleaning I suddenly realize that I’m 3/4 of my way through this shop-stinance. This almost derails my eBay activities as I think about adding things to cart to hold for 10 more days, so that after that final day I can just click it and be done with it. I again hold off this desire by turning to Pinterest again.

Take a look at Medium stats, and realize that along with reaching this major 3/4 milestone today I have past 1k visitors to Shop-stinance. Which I’m sure is just the same 10 friends of mine refreshing the page each day, but I don’t care. Thanks for coming along with me in this journey. 10 more days till I can buy things!

Bought: 0

Pinned: 12

Sold: 2

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 29: I got up early, but took my time getting ready for work. Today was going to be a long haul. My 2 month long project is going to launch. I lazily looked at the web and eased myself into the day by reading celebrity gossip.

Brian is in Los Angeles today visiting his parent company. They get discounts to Funko Pop toys. He asks me what I want him to bring back and I really want the mother of dragons from Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen, as well as Nightwing from the Batman series. He reminds me that I can’t buy anything. Damn it. I forgot. I pass on the toys.

Once at work I join the launch chat that I started yesterday and send out an email for the commencement of ceremonies. Launch day is actually my favorite part about working on any project. The secret of today is the singular chat room where coworkers attend from across the globe, people you have never meet in person and getting to conduct a course of actions harmoneously together as I had envisioned and planned for weeks. Then world gets to see all this coordination come together like magic. This day, while exhausting, rocks my world so much. If you haven’t realized by now, I like to organize “all the things”.

Everything goes by super silky smooth, almost as good as homemade dulce de leche. We wrap up a little later than expected, but still, no issues. Happiness surges like energy through me. Now I’m realizing I might have fibbed above. While coordinating launch day rocks my world, my truly favorite part about finishing any project is thanking the people that helped me make it happen. Today everyone was kind, helpful, knowledgable and fun to work with. Craft up and send a short message to my team of work experts to applaud them.

Normally to reward myself, I would turn to my Pinterest and buy myself something lovely. In this respect of normal habits, I do indeed miss shopping as a milestone and representation of a task completed. Instead I settle for second best: take-out of my favorite sashimi dinner. Pick that up on my way home and then settle in to catch up on Mad Men and Grey’s Anatomy. #burkeisback

Daisuke!

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 28: I’m still a little zombified and mega missing vacation. Starting to think more and more that I need to fill my world with experiences rather than things.

A bit backlogged on work, I wake up at 6:30am with East Coast jet lag, quickly change and head straight into work. When at the stoplights during my drive, I delete all shopping emails easily from my phone.

Power through a series of meetings and at lunch I have my personal training session where I can now leg press 388 pounds. Great success. I adore my trainer. She’s like a really fun friend to talk to, but who also makes me stretch and forces me to do things that are good for me while we talk about food and movies. She also yells things out like “Open those legs wider! Nothing lady like!” I sheepishly look around to make sure no one is within earshot after she’s yelled, as I spread ‘em.

Once back in the locker room, I text Christina about a CSA she got me into, but digress after seeing a lady bare all she’s got while talking to another coworker. I am part of a gym that is provided by work. Is it really necessary to lotion up your ta-tas, while propping your leg up on a bench, fully nude in a work gym? Maybe I’m being conservative, but honestly, I’m not going to bare my anything at work except for diligence, good follow through and reliability. Christina and I both agree, that if that makes us prudes to be covered up at the gym, so be it.

Back to the office there is a flurry of more meetings. At 3pm I get an email from our admin that I have a package. Totally unexpected, I again think this will be another doppleganger incident. While walking back to my desk, I search the packaging for any familiar markings. It’s indeed for me and the logistics shipping label doesn’t really give a hit to what it is, or where it’s from.

Open the box up to see that Reneé has bought me this beautiful Kate Spade idiom bangle.

For the crême de la crême.

She asks if it has the proper engraving, but I was so distracted by the fact that it was *shiny* and how it would be paired perfectly with this seafoam green chevron bangle from J.Crew, that I hadn’t noticed. -___-”

Crême de la Crême it reads. She asks if I know what it means, and I start wondering if it’s because it’s because she thinks I can be pretty creamy or swell. Since Reneé is often very witty in her remarks, I try not to interprete her words literally most of the time. (And I mean this in a good way!) “To help you through your 40 days,” she remarks. and mentions that I epitomize what the idiom means. Then flattery takes a seat next to me, smiles warmly and pats me on the head. I blush.

Stayed late to finish up some work, as tomorrow was going to be an even busier day than today. Came home, opened all the windows to my bedroom oven, and passed out while catching up on Revenge & Marvel’s Agents of Shield.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 1


Day 27: In the middle of texting with Brian and Jen last night about how much fun we had, I passed out. My face planted squarely onto the iPhone at 10:30pm. I am convinced a hot shower will help swell and dissipate the face embossing.

Luckily hot water works well to smooth marks from my face. I rush off to work without checking much of the personal emails. Today was another busy day, especially since this morning right before meetings my computer declares that it’s out of hard drive space as well as server side mail space. The fan immediately hums in protest to me performing any actions and Safari rears it’s awful revenge by quitting itself. Great.

Get through most of my meetings without issue today, but am way backlogged on post meeting actions.

Luckily instead of staying too late to finish everything Eva is visiting from Sweden and has planned us a catch up happy hour. Upon asking where to go, I suggest Harry’s Hofbrau. I’ve always wanted to try this place as they have a full on turkey leg, a wide array of beers on tap, and I have a captive audience.

We walk in and this place is enormous. I settle in with a Apricot Wheat and we gab about Swedish ice hotels, a coworker that has rats in his house, owning cats, my recent string of bad dates, and work. A fun set of eclectic topics. Then this happens:

TURKEY LEG!!!!

I love me some turkey leg. I get this at Disneyland and Northstar whenever possible, but now there is Harry’s Hofbrau that has it and it’s located right near my house. Tuesday night turkey leg? Not only that, my entire meal minus the beer is $9.99. Dream come true. I will be back.

During the meal I get 2 push notifications that items from ebay have sold totaling $30. A fun night at Hof has been covered. Awesome.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 2

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 26: Entered this day as a zombie. Since our United flight was delayed we ended up getting back to SFO at 1:15am, Brian drove us back to Jen’s place in 15 minutes, but I still had my journey home to the South Bay. Arrive home and 2:30am. Whereby I unpacked everything and threw laundry in the hamper and put things back to their pre-trip placements while catching up on Arrow and Orphan Black. After which I prepped for Monday meetings, as I was pretty sure I’d be incoherent and forgetful in the morning if I didn’t. Ended up sleeping at 4:30am.

Woke up on my own at 7:30am and was surprisingly alert, so I pulled food out of the freezer to defrost for dinner and checked work emails to make sure everything was under control.

Went to personal training whereby Lisa helped me work out the terrible soreness I had in my outer leg muscles from all the walking we did in NYC.

The rest of the day was pretty hectic at work, spanning late into the night as well, so I didn’t have much time to reflect other than how much I was missing our leisurely walks, talks, and snacks in New York.

This.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 25: Sleep No More. Literally.

After a slight snafu with our reservation at Salinas, we were lead into the middle dining hall which smelled deliriously of the fresh cut roses that filled the room and was illuminated by a sea of tea lights. Brian mentioned how this restaurant decor would not exist in an earthquake prone California where it would be disastrous for every tea light or vase to sit precariously close to an edge.

For dinner we split:

  • Negros Y Cruijentes — Crispy vermicelli, shaved sepia, watercress, sofrito and beet powder.
  • Nuestra Paella— Bomba rice, free range chicken, sepia head-on prawns, clams, sea scallops, mussels and chorizo.
  • PorcellaSlow roasted suckling pig, watercress, frisee, grilled quince and px reduction
  • Torrija Con Sorbete— Spanish brandy bread pudding, passion fruit sorbet, crispy corn tuile, mango emulsion.
Oh pork —
You’re so good to me.

Following this amazing dinner we walked several blocks down to the McKittrick Hotel, home of the Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. As the “hotel” is located in a giant warehouse with a tiny unassuming sign, it’s easy to miss it, except for the giant bouncers guarding its doors. We walked through the building, down many dark hallways until the room opened up into a beautiful intimate speakeasy cloaked in red velvet. Waiting to enter this fictional world, we were given white masks with the instructions that after passing through the elevator we were to remain silent at all times, speaking breaks could be taken but only by finding yourself back to the bar area for which we started.

The elevator operator explained that this journey was best explored as a singular experience and then snatched a woman from her boyfriend and tossed her out of the elevator at our first stop. About to close the door and head further downward, the woman pleaded nervously “not now” latched back onto her man’s arm, as another brave volunteer took her place.

Once we were in we could freely roam around 5 beautifully decorated floors, allowing us to fulfill our voyeristic fantasies by following actors (the only people who didn’t have masks on) around as they sung, danced, fought, and murdered around us. This immersive show was unlike any experience I’ve had the joy of partaking in.

When we finally came out for air it was already 2am. We gabbed over yummy drinks about our experiences, as this beautiful soul performed a delicious jazzy rendition of Ducktales.

Why can’t my world be this everyday?

Brian of course detailed all the nudity he saw in a pithy fashion by only saying “boobies” and chuckling, where as Jen told of a torrid affair where was thrown up against a wall and necked by an actor. I apparently got a very PG-13 view of this world having only been dragged into an elaborate dressing room, poured a bloody cup of tea and cackled at.

After drinks, another fantastic band came on where the lead singer was so passionate about the music that he appeared to be showing us his vinegar strokes as he got into it. While I wanted to stay for the music, that face and the fatigue reiterated that it was already 3:30am and we needed to head home.

At the hotel we clean up and before bed I decide that the theme of the day was masks. I just happened to bring a set of moisturizing asian face masks just for the occasion! (Honestly, I’m often really random and do things like this all the time. I’m glad to have friends that humor me.) We tried to stifle the stupid laughs while taking selfies, none of which were flattering enough to post here.

For the skin all the geishas are talking about.

When we wake the same day we pack up our things and manage to squeeze in before heading to the airport:

It was so hot it was smoking, smoking delicious.
Urban Garden and Sculpture space
This kiss this kiss!

Once at the airport, United yet again has a surprise for us. 3 hour delay with no prior notification. This would have been easier if the terminal was the same one that housed the Shake Shack, but this was the older terminal where the most delicious option to be snacked on was McDonalds. We imagined what we could have done with the extra time in NYC if only United had let us know earlier of the delay. Our flight got in to SFO at 1:15am, by the time I got back home it was 2:30am. The rest of Monday was going to be “fun”.

It was almost too easy not to buy things and probably a better experience without it. As zombified as I still am today, I think I have a new love, aside from shopping, and his name is New York.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 24: Since we stayed out the night before till 3am, we took it easy Saturday morning and slept in. By 1pm our bellies were a rumbling, and on the menu for lunch? Mazemen from Yuji Ramen.

Mazemen is absolutely delicious.

Unbeknownst to us the restaurant is located in a Whole Foods Market, we wandered the streets a bit aimlessly until Jen’s friend let us know where it was. Emily raved about Yuji last year after being taken by her friend who lives in NYC.

Texted fellow old coworker Van meet up with us here and we gabbed about old times and New York living over warm noodles. Mazemen is a dry ramen noodle served with a bunch of toppings and some clear sauce. Brian and I split the bacon and egg mazemen with a perfectly sous vide egg, while ordering the mussel ramen for individual eats. While the portions were small, the flavors melded in savory perfection. This also left room for a secondary pastrami lunch just down the street at Katz’s Delicatessen.

Why have one lunc when you can have two?

The line process at Katz’s was a little chaotic, but worth doing. Jen agilely shimmy shook her way to the front of a line, dashing gracefully in front of an old lady that tried to edge her out of the way. Once we got to the front the chef sliced us 2 pieces of the most tender pastrami I’ve ever had. We took our sandwiches to go as we decided we might be able to have Katz’s sandwiches while petting cats at the pop-up Cat Cafe!

We walked another several blocks down to find this chaos going on:

Tons of people lined up to eat cats. Oh wait… that’s not it.

As much as we wanted to wait in a queue that was three ropes deep to pet cats, we decided instead to find a location to eat Katz (pun very much intended). Van helped steer us in the direction of Battery Park so that we could do 2 things.

  1. Brian could get t-bagged by the Charging Bull
Bagged and lovin’ it.

2. We could get a glimpse of the harbor, and the Statue of Liberty.

My eyes did this scene more justice.

Both of these views were great for eating pastrami along with the pickles and delicious cucumbers from Katz. Also viewable from the park was the building used as the facade for MIB headquarters. After demolishing the sandwiches, Van’s lovely wife Mariza finished work and met us in the park. She brought with her delicious macaroons from Bouchon to share. We immediately looked at each other with smiles in our eyes, and silently agreed that we were in love with her.

Walked along the water to spy the Freedom Tower in the distance. Since none of us had visited it before we went to go take a closer look.

Freedom is Beautiful

At the 911 Memorial it started to rain, and we decided a rainy day was the perfect time to spend in the Guggenheim. Departing from Van and Mariza we head uptown again, but upon arrival we realize everyone else had the exact same thought as the line stretched down the block.

Gave up on our Will Smith marathon and went back to the hotel to change for a night of fine dining at Salinas (squid ink vermicelli to die for) followed by the 11:45pm showing of Sleep No More.

It’s ridiculously easy to not shop here with so much to do, see and eat. I don’t even know why I thought it’d be hard.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 23: New York, New York. With a collective maybe 10 hours of sleep between the three of us we arrived at JFK around 6:30am. Grabbed a cab to get to Midtown where we would call the Grand Hyatt Hotel our home for the next few days. It took an hour to traverse the traffic into the city, and by the time we get to the hotel, our room isn’t available for early check in. Instead we take 30 minutes to freshen up in the restroom, drop off our luggage off with the bell hop and decide to explore Grand Central Station.

First stop? Apple Store, Grand Central naturally. The only open air Apple Store in existence the inner fangirl in me knew we had to make a stop and what a magical spectacle was had.

Apple Store, Grand Central — I love you.

Shortly after, we walked downstairs and look like crazy people while experimenting with the whispering gallery. At first we couldn’t get it to work, but some nice gentlemen from the Oyster Bar & Restaurant came out to help/laugh at and with us (I’m sure they experience this everyday and chuckle everytime).

Bellies rumbling, we just grabbed a quick bite of warm breakfast sandwiches at the food court below. By the time we finished it was roughly 9am and we set off in the direction of the Guggenheim. I have lusted after going here as it is designed by one of my favorite architects, Frank Llyod Wright, and ever since Will Smith ran up the circular floors while chasing an alien in the first movie of Men in Black series. I take a pause and decide that I wouldn’t mind being arrested for trying to recreate this scene. It would be worth it.

We arrive about 30 minutes too early for a visit, and decide instead to take a quick media and entertainment reference tour of Central Park.

Where Chuck and Blair Got Married

At the Bethesda Fountain Amy Adams broke into song and dance in Enchanted, also there was the Bethesda Terrace where Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl got married. We walked all about the park visiting the Alice in Wonderland statue before heading for to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). We seemed to be on a Will Smith tour as we ended up seeing and dangling our feet above the fountain where he was fishing in I Am Legend. Reached into my purse and pulled out 3 pennies for us to make an over the shoulder wish with, while I thought it would be a fun thing to do, I actually forgot to make a wish in my head.

There be fish in the Met at the Apocalypse

After the Met we we’re a bit too tired to make the Guggenheim as well, so we ended up going back to the hotel for a brief two hour nap. Last week I read a study where people that take naps often die from cardiovascular disease earlier than people who don’t. Being that I don’t sleep well in general, I think this study is a bunch of bullsh*t, if I need naps to help replenish lack of sleep I will take them.

After we woke up and got ready again. Where to next? Another Apple Store! Since we timed our trip to fall within the Tribeca Film Festival, the Apple Retail Stores have a series of events called Meet the Film Makers, it’s a shame that we don’t have this on the west coast. Nevertheless we arrived in time to see Gia Copolla, Emma Roberts, and Nat Wolff talk about their new film Palo Alto. Internally I was reflecting on how somewhat meta this was. We’re from the Bay Area in New York watching a film about the a city in the Bay Area.

Cast of Palo Alto @ Apple Store Soho

As long as we were in Soho, what’s the best thing you can do there? Go shopping. Oh the temptation. We made a pitstop at J.Crew Mens so Brian could try on this jacket and then we went peruse Topshop where I fell in love with this hat. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy this lovely.

Topshop, I love you and your accessories. Selfie Times!

Shortly after this we went off to dinner at Cafe Boulud on the Upper East Side. The other patrons were of the older variety and finely dressed except for the couple we sat next to. They might have been 24/25 and young love was in the air as evident by the gratuitous face palming that the girl attempted to do to the young man across the table from her. Brian and I attempted to recreate this tender moment which Jen caught on photo.

Face palming is the new I love you in NYC.

Definition:

face-palming — East Coast tradition of palming a potential love interest’s face like a basketball as a sign of affection.

The night ended with a brisk walk around Rockefeller Center and Time Square, whereby we met “I’m a Perv Elmo” who tried to reach around Jen for a boob grab, as Brian and I stood laughing on the side.

You think you know Elmo, but you really don’t know.

Soon after Jen kicked the Elmo and Animal to the curb we decided to head to a late night Sake Bar Hagi for some late night eats. While NYC has a lot of charm, so far this journey haven’t really been tempted to shop as I’ve been so distracted with experiences and non-stop laughs.

Dah, I sold something on eBay today, and I actually brought it in my suitcase. Tomorrow will need to find some place to mail it out.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 1

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 22: Woke up and finished off packing, which took up the normal hour of shopping. Deleted all shopping emails. It comes so easy now, that it’s almost a joke.

Work was pretty busy today, so I spent most of my time prepping for meetings and making sure to send out the notes. My projects are coming to a perfect storm right about now.

After work headed straight for Jen’s place. We had chosen to take the red eye to NYC, so we still had time for dinner at our normal pre-vacation soup dumplings from Shanghai Dumpling in Millbrae. As we get to the freeway exit we notice Off the Grid has a location in Millbrae now and immediately decide we want The Chairman’s wonderful pork belly buns. Goodbye sweet soup dumplings. To finish it off we decide we need ice cream desserts from Garden Creamery. I order the nutter butter peanut butter on a sugar cone and snarf it down with a quickness since it was a little chilly. Saw a couple dates going on where the women are wearing dresses pretending not to be cold, as I mind hug my warm fleece hoodie .

At the airport Jen and I get situated with our work computers in a swanky new area we haven’t seen at SFO.

Swanktify SFO

Brian then arrives commenting that he can always find us by our computer usage in public places. He’s trying to catch our same flight on standby with a discount ticket he got from his dad. All week we were slowly watching the standby tickets slowly depleat. The flight is full and there are 17 people on the wait list. Jen and I head onto the plane and bid Brian goodluck.

Brian texts me that he didn’t make it. Luckily Jen had already checked on the United app that he did make our flight and he’s sitting next to me. LIAR. End up watching Thor: The Dark World until I fall asleep midway.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 21: Slept early last night. Delete most emails without looking at them, except I see that ebay saved search alerts has found my white whale.

Ralph Lauren Larchmont Canvas Cross-Body Bag Circa 2011

The Ralph Lauren Larchmont Cross Body Bag was a love on first sight, but by the time I spied the it was late 2012 and it was already sold out at most retailers. If not for shop-stinance, I would have snapped this up right away. Instead I put a watch on this bag and will see if someone else picks it up before my time is up.

Today while talking to Cindy, she mentioned that she found her “addiction”. Her addiction was that she likes picking up new hobbies/selling items and has an incontrollable desire to do these things because she’s head over heels for it in that moment and that it’s annoying. Soon after she’s done obsessing over the hobby of the moment, she moves onto the next one.

To be clear, Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences. I generally disagree with the negative connotation of being passionate about anything, as an addiction. We all have things that we’re excited about, that we want to yell out to the world that we love, but is that despite adverse consequences? Not necessarily.

Much like I mention in an earlier post, shopping is hobby of mine that I am very much in love with. I enjoy the hunt, where my prey is something uniquely detailed and special, that magically fits within how I conceive my world to be. We all need something that gives us that thrill, infatuation, and feeling of love— we need it because it gives us something to be excited about.

Was watching this speech from Tavi Gevinson about a month ago from the Melbourne writers festival that fits in perfectly with this conversation. She speaks eloquently about fangirl-ing (or in Jessica speak ocding out) as a creative release. It makes you feel connected to the world, less alone, and you want to share this discovery with anyone and everyone. In the case of Cindy and I, our fangirl-ing doesn’t necessarily need to revolve around being a fan of people in particular, but rather can also apply to inanimate objects or activities.

Definition:

ocding out — repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations obsessions, or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something, generally driven by love.(I mean if people are going to turn excitement over hobbies into a negative connotation, I’m going to make OCD behaviors into a positive one).

What do you fangirl/ocd out about?

On other topics, the other day my bff coworker comes into my office and he mentions “Hey, I finally read your blog thing, it’s actually well-written.” I sit on the word actually and stew. I’ve actually heard this quite a bit since I’ve re-started blogging. This stems from the “well-known” fact that I am not well-read (whatever this definition really means, I’m not quite sure because I don’t read), and say such phrases as “managey-uppy” and “i am so cries”. Does the internal monologue that is constantly running in this perspective, which then is transcribed onto this journal entry count as being written? Maybe I’m just as decent at organizing my stream of consciousness to put to a page, as I am making efficient procedures around shopping. :D

I calm my slight annoyance with a laugh, and the thought that I often think of this work bff as my girl-friday, since I always have one in any group I’m in. This is usually the girl I bounce ideas off of, seek relationship advice from, rant to, have lunch with daily, trust completely, strategize with and talk about tv shows. Don’t worry, if you’re reading this I’m actually just kidding, there can be boy-fridays too.

Didn’t want to do dishes tonight, so instead of cooking went straight to KFC after work. Huzzah. On the way out of the driveway of the drive-thru I was blocked completely in by this bus. On a positive note, it happened to stop perfectly for a 3rds perspective photo.

Trifiecta of a bus
got in my way.

Now off to start packing. Am wondering how well I’ll do on vacation without being able to buy anything.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 20: I passed out on top of my computer last night mid-writing the Day 19 post. It was 9:30pm. I guess lack of sleep does catch up with you. I awoke to find Medium auto-save has done it’s job. A sleeping Jessica is very prolific, but prone to run on words and sentences.

Woke up at 5:30am and immediately began to finish the post, but midway through I’m exhausted again and wrap it up to go back to sleep. When I consult Joshua he mentions he needs to read Day 19 again since it was so complex. I re-read it to myself and realize, I’m not exactly sure what I was saying either. It might just be too complex for a completely conscious self to understand as well. After work I went back to rework some of it.

Later this morning I realize, it’s be 20 days of shop-stinance. Reaching the midpoint I’m actually feeling pretty good. Have been spending much more time catching up with friends, on eBay, lifting weights, and making sous vide noms via the Nomiku.

When I get home from work, I realize that eBay is doing their free insertion fee promotion again. Spend the night hulled up in my office looking at items while watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Rummaging through my Sanrio collection I re-find the below previous gem and instead being productive in listing items, I began a nighttime stroll down memory lane.

Gems are made from
binder paper, staples
and colored pencils.

Fun Fact: Mint condition Sanrio toys from 1985 to early 1990s are worth nearly 10x their original price on ebay when sold as vintage.

I had forgotten all about designing this passport, and I use the word “design” liberally. A young Jessica thought her most precious stuffed animals needed passports. This of course was decided just after I received my first passport, at the age of 6. Young JC also tried to match her passport by using serif fonts for the the main headlines. The staples I remember doing fairly clearly, trying to get close to the edge to appear seamless, while still being able to keep the book together. My dad used to have us help him staple tax returns in exchange for allowance whereby we learned that at minimum staples had to be perpendicular to the edge of the paper to connote an elevated business professionalism. Corner stapling was for lazy commoners.

Within the Kitty Passport was standard info of the passport holder:

Name: Middle Sized Kitty
Address: Our House in Alameda
Birthdate: 07/05/86
Photo: Hand drawn representation of Middle Sized Kitty
Signature: Written in cursive, different from the other font within.

Within the pages there were 3 “stamps” of where Middle Kitty had been each hand drawn in a stamp that looked like a kitty head silhouette. Kitty didn’t travel much, but she did manage to go to:

  • Hong Kong
  • Marine World

I’ve actually been trying to work on both ebaying and digitalizing all my paper content, so that I can keep the memory rather than the physical item. With this Passport, I just don’t have the heart to toss it, and I end up moving it to a memory box.

By the time I was 6 my parents had saved enough so that every so often we were able to have a couple toys. Each time I wanted a Hello Kitty. I had 3 main kittys. Big Kitty, Middle Sized Kitty, Little Kitty. Little Kitty was lost to a war with grandma and a trash can, and then was replaced by Tiny Kitty. Only Middle Kitty was deserving of a passport.

Middle Sized Kitty

She also was deserving of a handmade two piece red felt ensemble that a 6 year old me designed, as I felt like her yellow overalls didn’t do her regal justice. Everything carefully constructed from the pleating details, to the solid reinforcing stitch at the button holes and delicately feminine cap sleeves! My mom’s contribution to the outfit with the idea to reinforce the buttons and explained it’s practicality in clothing design. Items that were frequently changed needed to be reinforced, especially for a flimsy fabric like felt.

Middle traveled everywhere with me as a child, and is in a plethora of photos. However, much like the characters in Toy Story, for the past 10 years she sat on a shelf at my parents house collecting dust until about a month ago when my parents decided to convert my old room into my dad’s junk room. Am suddenly wondering if Middle needs more stamps in her passport, but am worried with how she’ll fair in the modern world. A mild panic seeps in at the thought losing her abroad… will think on it more, but this day is over, no shopping occured and I’m going to bed.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 19: I might have spent all last night binge watching the whole Season 1 of Orphan Black. Both my facebook feed had been and random commercials had been overrun with advertising for it.

TV Math: 10 eps x ~45 mins each = 450 minutes / 60 mins = 7.5 hours. Wow!

This morning I awake, and no sore throat, although still a runny nose. yay. Didn’t get to finish the season finale ep, because I passed out, so instead I swapped my normal shopping hour for watching more. It’s getting easier and easier to avoid emails as a temptation.

After I finished watching and getting ready for work, I suddenly remembered this morning that dulce de leche should be ready! I was already running a bit behind, so instead of getting a taste that would have to wait. Threw the still warm mason jars into an ice bath and then into the fridge, for a moment I was worried that the sudden change of temperture would cause the jars to crack, but I was in a hurry and did it anyway. No issues for the moment.

Work was the normal Monday busyness. At lunch I meet up with my personal trainer whereby I again rave about Orphan Black. I have then since raved to 10 people so I might as well do the pitch here as well.

Downtrodden rocker girl with no money to her name is on the run and at a train station when she sees a woman slip off her classic patent pumps, put down her purse and what looks like an impending suicide. Rocker chick (Sarah) runs up to the well-dressed woman to intervene, but when the the woman turns around, she realizes she’s facing her twin. Subsequently the lady jumps into the train and is killed, Sarah then decides to steal her bag and identity. Hijinks ensue.

They day goes by relatively quickly, since I had 6 meetings in the afternoon. For a brief moment I have distracted by a want of these:

Foodie Dice
Decide what to noms on via dice rolls.

How cute is this jar made out of a recycled wine bottle let alone the typography on the labels. This screams at me to take it home. But it can wait, after all the practicalily of the situation is that I won’t have those food items around to easily make meals with and then I’d have to go buy them.

Early in the day when I was lamenting to Joshua about the difficulty of writing a post each day when shopping becomes less and less of a temptation. In turn Joshua mentions that he has never fully understood why I have so many new with tags items. I’ve briefly touched on the topics before but I thought I’d summarize them more in detail here.

Three things help explain this:

  • The Game
  • Divergent
  • Visualization

Yes, I mean the pick up artist book The Game and then tv show based on the book. In the show the average joes learn how to create a caricature of themselves that interesting, fun, and non-threatening. Part of what they are wearing is their arsenal. In essence you dress for the person you’re trying to be.

I follow similar rules when picking out something to wear. I concentrate on a detail, whether it be a pleat, tapering, seam, cut, drape, or pattern, something of the item has caught my eye. The detail is not just a brand. Something about this one aspect of an item tells a story about who you are why you picked it, how it made you feel, and how this item helps move towards some aspiration of the person you’re trying to be/convey.

Four from Divergent says it best, “I don’t want to be just one thing. I want to be brave and selfless and intelligent and honest and kind.” In fashion, I don’t want to be just one thing for my personal style, I want to be classic, chic, whimsical, bohemian and avant garde, even though I generally lean towards a combo of chick and bohemian.

Between the first two things I’ve picked an item whereby I’m in love with an awesome detail, fits impeccably, but doesn’t necessarily mesh within my personal style. For example, I have this whimsical Betsey Johnson button up dress in black that features bolts on it. Yes bolts! Like the the kind in Frankenstein’s head. Whenever I try it on it fits perfectly and is flattering, but I just can’t think of an occasion whereby I need to be this person. As I’ve mentioned before, it also comes with beloved metadata on how it was chosen and why it’s special, therefore I didn’t send it back within the return window.

Finally, I a broad estimate is that I have over 1500 wearables. I lose things in my own closet via an incomplete visualization process. I tend to wear things in waves because they are on the top of the dome, and I suspect that other people do the same thing. Recall for me becomes easier when you have more recently worn something, or when you’ve received a compliment on an item.

Between the above three things, I haven’t committed to removing the tag. Removing the tag should only be done when you are ready to wear an item, otherwise you can return something or sell it for a higher price on ebay.

P.S. Upon arriving home I finally crack open the dulce de leche, whereby I eat 4 huge spoonfuls of it. The flavor is deliriously perfect.

Dulce de Leche

Bought: 0

Pinned: 7

Sold: 1

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 18: 6:37am woke up with a minor sore throat and runny nose, confirming a belief from walking in the wind yesterday that despite beautiful weather in San Francisco, you should not only always bring a coat, but wear one. My mistake was not paying attention to the later.

Was supposed to meet Brian and Jen for trip planning, but instead shoot them both a quick email, as I would rather get better than go out to plan, and end up being miserable on our trip. After the email, my mind shifts to thinking about the juice diet, I try to pump myself up with a brief rally cry “Ready for juice day! Are you ready?!?!” Instead I flip over and go back to sleep.

Project Juice Diet

Finally when I do get going, I decide to do some organizing and hang all clean laundry I’ve been leaving in a laundry basket, while catching up on tv.

Parenthood — Read on buzzfeed an interview with Erika Christiansen whereby I learn a new word: anachronism — a person or a thing that seems to belong to the past and not to fit in the present.

Arrow — While the story is finally getting good this season really need more scenes of bar pullups.

Glee — This season is really boring, may give up next season.

Mad Men — Wow Neve Campbell comeback!

Started getting hungry at 10:30, so went to have my first juice. Decided as long as I’m in the kitchen I might as well make Nomiku dulce de leche. As I’m sipping on my first Project Juice of the cleanse, I go into the pantry and pull out the condensed milk I was certain I had, to see of the two cans I have, one expired in 2008, and the next one in 2009. Decided to open them anyway to take a look. I mean the milk has been sealed in cans, what could go wrong?

Just as I break the seal with my can opener, a tan brown goo escapes can gasping for air. If you know anything about canned condensed milk, you know it should never be that color. I definitively decide that expiration dates do mean something in cans as well.

Instead of having my plans ruined, I will bundle up my sickypoo self in a huge hoodie and thick sweatpants and walk over to the Smart & Final, which is just a short walk across the street. For a moment I considered having Google Shopping Express deliver it to my door, so I can stay home warm and indoors as planned, but honestly it’s just across a street. I can’t justify having a delivery person for that and the gas it will take them.

I will make you dulce de leche, even if I have to cross a street! After all, this was after all my weekend goal. (I consider all foods ok by shop-stiance as long as I’m not hoarding).

While wandering around Smart & Final looking for condensed milk, not sure if it was a juice diet delirium, but I realize that this would be my first stop in a zombie apocalypse. Endless large aisles are filled with dried and canned goods as well a bit of fresh perishables. Besides, I feel like most people would try hitting up a Costco, whereas Smart & Final is small, easy to get in and out, and not as well known. Being a decent shot with a shotgun, handgun and bow and arrow gives me additional zombie courage. Now all I need is a leather vest with wings embroidered on the back, and then maybe a motorcycle. Walking Dead you better watch out!

On the way back I decide I might as well pick up my mail. Lug a huge stack of magazines and flyers. Woooo tax refunds, awesome. End up depositing the checks via the Chase mobile app, as I refuse to go out of the house again. Now that I’m settled in for the day at home, I put the condensed milk into the Nomiku regulated water bath.

Soon my precious.
You will be mine.

Now it’s time to go through the mail.

  • Redbook Subscription I got for free — nada.
  • Better Homes and Gardens — This catches my eye:
Artifact Uprising
Wood Clipboard Calendar

Clipboard calendars! I’m not sure what people actually do with calendars like this, other than keep as a piece of art when digital calendars exist and are kept via smartphones. Drop into the Artifact Uprising website and see this:

Love. Will do this for sure after my 40 days are up. Look how beautiful this looks. Sometimes all you need is a beautifully crafted image to sell a product and a hope, that this lives up to the image.

Make it to 4pm and am on the 4th bottle of juice when the fatigue and lack of food headache sets in, ok I really need to eat something. Whip out from the fridge cured meats, and from the freezer a selection of cheese to thaw for later, go to the cabinet and get some table crackers. Ok yeah, I’m completely commited to ruining this juice fast.

Once I’m full, I’m working on my blog, while chatting with Brian about things to pack for our trip. He then links me to this pink sweater he wants to buy on J.Crew. Pink? Really? Our conversation goes as the following:

Brian: Dude I have $440 worth of stuff in my cart right now.
Brian: I need a new blazer and it’s in there right now, those things are expensive.
Me: What do you need it for?
Brian: Just for nights out, I only have one. I’m going to bring it to NYC, but I want a heather gray one.
Me: How do you decide what you need when shopping? Curious of a boy’s perspective.
Brian: I like business casual, I can’t complete it without a nice blazer. I need to match my jackets to my shoes.
Me: So you have gray shoes?
Brian: Brown/Dark brown. Normally gray would work nice with brown shoes.
Me: And dark brown won’t go with black?
Brian: Not really. Well you have a belt too, so the shoes have to match.
Me: And that’s purely for looks not to hold up your pants. And then plaid and gingham go with everything then.
Brian: Sadly that’s in my cart too.

I guess I hadn’t really ever thought about how men’s outfits are put together, I just know how to appreciate the details when I see them. Brian is probably one of the more fashionable straight men I know, his combinations are always very neat, preppy, and clean. Luckily shopping for men’s clothing doesn’t tempt me in the least, and I only favor J.Crew once in a while. If you’re reading this Bri, don’t get a bigger head than you already have or I’ll have to kick you starting on Thursday. :D

Hoping by tomorrow morning I will have delicious dulce de leche to talk about. Yarg, and I probably should start packing soon so that I don’t forget anything. Was easy to avoid things today by keeping busy on the blog and catching up on shows and Joshua was right, I should only do one type of fast at a time.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 17: During last night’s group dinner at Tamarine, I was sitting on the other side of Patricia’s boyfriend Alex. Our conversation goes something like the following:

Alex: Hey, I really love this shop-stinance thing you’ve got going. It’s really cool.
Me: Oh really? I didn’t think you’d be into it.
Alex: Of course I’m into a movement whereby my girlfriend spend less money and less time shopping. I’ve been telling this one to get on the bandwagon [points at Patricia].
Patricia: Hey! I haven’t been spending any money except via giftcards I already have. I did this to give her support the day she started shop-stinance.
Alex: Even better, girls can extend shop-stinance to like 100 days, then like a year, and then forever! Then you know, they can have more time to do housework, like take out the trash and do laundry and stuff. [jokes, but looks off into the distance longingly]
Me: I swear Patricia said you’re better at all those things than she is…

Conversation drifted soon after, as our minds were overtaken by the appearance of perfectly cooked sea bass and black cod that arrived at our table.

Perfectly cooked Sea Bass Nomsness.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought of shop-stinance as a “movement” that I needed to evangelize to other women, much less one that boyfriends and husbands would greatly appreciate having it turn into a regular “thing” of sisterhood and solidarity. To me it’s just something I thought I’d do to taper down my acquisitions whilst I try to get rid of more items.

For a brief moment I fantasize that I am a real life Katniss Everdeen. Here she was trying to survive within the cruel and unfair rules of The Hunger Games, whilst outsiders view her as a symbol of hope for the oppressed. My thoughts immediately spin off from this, and transfer to imagining myself as J.Law, happily tripping while wearing borrowed priceless baubles with a couture dress on The Academy Awards red carpet.

I digress. I did partially envision this process to be similar to a foodie starting a juice cleanse. When you spend all your time thinking, obsessing, and planning your next meal, what happens when it’s already planned out for you?— Like Alex alluded to, you have all this free time. I have spent these past 17 days trying to figure out what other things I like to do and what else makes me happy. In that respect, I would encourage other people (not only women) who equally enjoy retail therapy to give shop-stinance a try.

This morning I’m feeling sluggish and still a little tired, but need to head up to the city to meet Helen for brunch. Must soak up as much Helen time as possible while her husband Scott is on a business trip. Pick out an outfit from the closet, snap a quick #selfiesaturday and am off for an afternoon in San Francisco.

We arrive at a beautiful and relatively new (4 months young) Russian Hill restaurant by the name of Verbena. High ceilings, rustic like wooden tables, earthen stoneware and an exposed brick wall. Yes, this place was made for me. I end up ordering poached eggs with braised lamb ragout, over a bed of chard, hominy and pickled tomatoes (nomilicious), while Hel ordered the sourdough pancakes (also great). To drink I ordered the Emerald Remedy #2: Gin, Pimm’s Chartreuse, celery and lemon. It tasted like a refreshing lighter version of the bloody mary.

Verbena: poached eggs with braised lamb ragout, over a bed of chard, hominy and pickled tomatoes

Post lunch without being able to window shop the area, what did we decide to do? MOAR eating! We walked by this juice cleanse shop and I had the crazy idea that tomorrow while I’m waiting for my dulce de leche to become silky smooth, I will subject myself to a juice cleanse to help kickstart getting into better shape. In my mind, this made a whole lot of sense at the time, but now I’m not so certain. Nevertheless I am already committed.

After getting the juice, we decided to… go to a bakery! On the way to the bakery, I spot a garage sale, and halfway through my exclamation of “Let’s go!” Hel and I look at each other and realize at the same time that I can’t mosey over there. We then ended up staying on the far side of the street and I snapped this photo with a great yearning to jaywalk. Ugh, I want to pick through your wares and look for things to ebay or antique roadshow!

Missed Connections

Helen has been raving about B Patisserie where she wanted me to try a kouign amann. Also after my friend Ted had mentioned pain au chocolat the other week, I had been on a quest to find one that is deserving of it’s name, have had 2 so far in the past week that didn’t pass muster. Ended up ordering a pear and raspberry kouign amann and a banana chocolate croissant which we take back to Helen’s house and devour over tea and skim magazines. The croissant was delicious, but wasn’t a pain au chocolat, so I really couldn’t make a good comparision.

This is like the gran-pappy of the cronut. Flakey crispy and soft goodness.

Have successfully substituted weekend shopping rituals for having a food baby and catching up with Hel today. Feeling way overfull , but will even that out tomorrow with the juice cleanse. Already suspect the coming day will be a long and agro adventure, since I will a combination of hangry and shop-stinance.

Definitions:

  • Food baby: When you’ve eaten so much your belly is bulging like you’re pregnant.
  • Hungry + Angry = Hangry

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0

P.S. Since the Great Tupperware Debate of 2014 ended up in a tie, I decided to wait till I’m done with shop-stinance to purchase the dreamy Ikea tupperware.


Day 16: Tried sleeping earlier last night, but ended up chatting with Bobby after he saw the Sailormoon Super S brooch that I posed on Day 12. Earlier in the day discovered via Patricia that this item from my childhood was extremely rare, and sprinted to ebay to see that the previously $50 toy is now worth $599. I may or may not have stupid laughed to myself all afternoon, while my officemate gave me inquisitive looks every so often.

Once we finish talking at 12:15am I took a Rainbow Light Magnesium Calcium+ suppliment that my trainer mentioned enhances the quality of sleep. Honestly this week, I’ll try anything to feel more well rested.

Imagine an epic snow capped mountain range and at the base there is an modern styled wooden deck that stretches far off into the horizon. There are cabins placed sparingly about with pointy roofs, but their design is sleek with clean lines. I’m walking with a friend who I know well in this place but for which I have no equivalent in the waking world. He has something to show me behind the houses.

We stroll behind the buildings towards the hills. He laughs and gestures me to sing in the direction of the peaks. I don’t hold back and instinctively I pick “I will always love you,” by Whitney Houston. Soon after I begin singing, I notice the sound reverberating through the mountains layering on a chorus of beautiful sound. My friend smiles knowingly at me. I wake up feeling completely confident and happy. Let me tell you, vitamins and Whitney Houston songs are necessities of a purchasable variety.

Skipped most personal emails this morning as I was feeling particular upbeat and wanted to get to work to catch up on projects. Did notice an ebay alert that another item has been bought that I need to ship out today.

In the afternoon I get a note that I have received a package. In my mind this is peculiar, as I know with absolute certainty that I have ordered nothing in the past 15 days. I chalk it up to my name doppleganger at work having ordered something and it’s probably been redirected to me again.

Discovered my name doppleganger near Halloween two years ago. I received a package which I hadn’t been expecting. Once back to my desk, I open it to see… nipple pasties!

First thought: What kind of sick joke is this to send someone this at work? Second thought: Maybe someone is trying to give hint that my bras are running a little ragged.

I then examined the the box more closely to see her last name is missing a U. Bingo. Go through the corporate directory to see it’s a new hire. Apologies name doppleganger of mine, ran through many scenarios whereby I would return these to you at work, but in my mind they all reek with embarrassing outcomes. I ended up leaving these in the mail area, imagining that they eventually got back to you somehow.

Today when I arrive at the admins desk and receive the item, I look at all the labels on the box to see it is indeed there is a U. Race back to my desk and open the package to see the below, with a “squeeeeeee” of uncontainable delight. Mason jars! With a blink, I give them a brief mind hug before running off to another meeting.

Gifted and not bought ;)

Two days before I saw the genius that is the below creation on the Nomiku Facebook page:

Do this right now!!!! Put condensed milk in the Nom bath at 85C, in 15 hours it will be the silkiest dulce de leche ever.
Sous Vide Dulce De Leche!!!! (Image courtesy of Nomiku)

Immediately send this over to Laurie, my resident sweet tooth and food expert. Our conversation went as the following:

Me: OMG can you see this?
Me: Making dulce de leche today with the Nomiku!
Laurie: Oooooh noms! I love dulce de leche.
Me: I need a jar thing like STAT lol.
Laurie: Those are cute mason jars too.
Laurie: I once did this microwave technique to make the dulce de leche.
Laurie: But it came out kinda dried, I bet Nomiku version is perfect.
Me: Shoot, I can’t make a mason jar. I’ll just need to use a baggie.

I need to do this right now! I need silky deliciousness in my life. I imagine putting the condensed milk in a Ziploc bag and using the Nomiku to sous vide it for 15 hours only to have an unattractive looking smooth delicious dessert that I can only eat by myself. Awkwardly, I would be laying on the couch watching tv while spooning it out of the bag and dribbling it into my mouth like a slob, while wearing a thin white wifebeater (because that’s what slobs look like in my mind). Effffffffffff! ADORABLE MASON JARS I NEED YOU! Eating dulce de leche out of a plastic bag doesn’t appeal to my visually appetizing eats aesthetic.

Thank you Laurie for always being able to read between the lines without having me explaining my manic thought process, and absolutely understanding that to complete a vision, sometimes you need the right tools. ❤

And thanks to Nomiku for giving me delicious things to obsess about while I’m on this shop-stinance. Will be making dulce de leche this weekend :D

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 1

Returned: 0

Gifted: 1


Day 15: Slept at 2am, but was up at my normal 7:30am timing. Fatigue makes me revert to normal morning rituals.

  • Checked the facebooks — nothing catches my eye, minus the new trailer for Orange is the New Black.
  • eBay — Holy crap! There is a special on selling clothes. Unlimited free insertion fees on any clothing items from April 17-26. I groggily go through and relist every item of clothing that had no buyers for before.

Was still tired after listing 20 things so I went back to sleep for 30 more minutes. By the time I get into work and log on, I have 4 friends ping me to tell me they have the same or similar fitting room processes. Yay for normalcy! Or else I just surround myself with equally OCD and manic people. Let’s go with normalcy. :D

Joshua explained this reassuringly:

Joshua: You need methods when shopping.
Joshua: Otherwise you are just a basic b*tch.
Joshua: And I am not friends with basic b*tches.

At work we have a meeting that digressed into a conversation about Puzzles and Dragons. People can’t figure out why the game is so fun, but I quickly blurt out:

“Puzzles and Dragons is like a hybrid of Pokemon and Candy Crush Saga!”

I say this thinking I work within a hip and culturally aware audience that would totally grok multiple Japanese-based pop-culture references, to be given 12 blank stares. I’m silent for the rest of that conversation and gaze at the PAD icon on my iPhone fondly. It’s ok guys, they don’t know what their missing. Fun fact: I have spent over $100 on In-App purchases for this game.

As I’m leaving the work parking lot, I am mesmerized by the sexy curves on a hot tomale much like the one below. Assuredly someone I know has purchased the beautiful new BMW428i.

OH HAI
LOVER!

Just as I am about to escape into a fantasy sequence, where I’m cornering down Highway 1 in this lovely beast with windows down and my ombre hair being caressed by a crisp coastal breeze… the coo of Jhené Aiko’s hook in The Worst chimes in on my thoughts (or my current car stereo, whatever):

And don’t take this personal
But you’re the worst
You know what you’ve done to me
And although it hurts I know
I just can’t keep runnin’ away
I don’t need you, I don’t need you, I don’t need you, I don’t need you
But I want you
I don’t mean to, I don’t mean to, I don’t mean to, I don’t mean to
But I love you

Oddly enough that felt impeccably well-timed and appropriate, snapping me out of the spell. Yeah 428i, you’re the worst wonderful thing I’ve seen so far today. *sigh*

Now that I’m at home I finally have time to sit down and sort through my email pile. Two words call out to me clearer than any others in the inbox: Shopbop Sale.

I skip on over, but instead of looking at sale items I see this:

Joie Marine C Blouse

Reading the description I’m convinced that the author of such prose should cook me dinner, because I’m devouring every delicious detail:

A soft floral pattern accentuates the feminine feel of an airy silk-chiffon Joie blouse. Pintucks flow into delicate pleats, and the banded neckline cuts a flattering V as it tapers into the button placket. Long blouson sleeves. Semi-sheer.

This find however really reminds me of the one that got away.

Joie Devitri Silk Blouse

Oh Devitri. Ours was a love that was never meant to be. But I pushed aside my feelings, thinking you wouldn’t feel the same way. (Let’s be honest, you’re kind of high maintenance and much pricer than I would have liked). Instead of committing, I spent my time investing in in cheaper look-alikes that could not compare to the real thing. As soon as Divitri was on sale, my size was gone in an instant. I still continue pining away for Divitri on the equivalent of “missed connections” in the shopping world known as eBay saved searches.

Regret makes the urge to buy something is incredibly strong today.

Must. Not. Give. In.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 5

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 14: Last night I set my alarm for 6:30am. I needed to get an early start on some work before a meeting I was facilitating. Rushed all morning and ended up being 5 minutes late to the meeting. No one said they were bothered by my tardiness, but I felt it. I was annoyed with myself. While normally late for personal functions, I try desperately to never be late for my meetings because it sets a bad precedent. All this scrambling prevented me entirely from looking at any personal mails before work.

Yvo is back from vacation and just started reading about my trials and tribulations with 40 days. For many years now she’s been once of my closest friends and confidants. Our chat today inspired this post. The conversation went as the following:

Yvo: I like reading about your non-shopping adventures.
Yvo: And am gaining into insight into just how much you online shop lol.
Me: Haha. People are like ‘Um, I had no idea. You’re crazy’.
Me: What are non-shopping adventures?
Yvo: Just how much you think through purchasing things lol.
Yvo: And how it sounds like if you buy this one thing your life will become amazing.
Me: Because it is. It’s like, I love you so much [insert purchasable noun here], every day is a stupid laugh.

Note: Reference day 10 for “stupid laugh” definition.

About 2 months ago at my local Nordstrom Rack I went to try on a handful of items in the fitting room. When I walk into the room, I noticed the addition of these two labels that accompany nice long hooks.

When I first saw this hook, I knew it was love.
It’s ok. I loved you at first sight too. Hope you’re cool with polygamy.

There was also either a 3rd and 4th unlabeled hook or a bar (I can’t remember specifically). When I saw these my mind did a happy dance. Someone in Nordstrom corporate has internalized what I do in a fitting room into a process and has optimized it for the upsell. Kudos to the anonymous genius at Nordies, you’re awesome.

My fitting room process is this:

  1. Carry as many items as you can manage to the fitting room.
  2. Sort items by desire levels in case they have a limit that you can bring into the room.
  3. Pick items to the limit number then take those in for a wave of trying on activities.
  4. When in the fitting room, put items on an initial hook.
  5. Try on items from initial hook, and decide how you feel and move item onto 3 other hooks based on Love, Not Sure, No. (Any retail store can’t put a negative purchase label on a hook because that wouldn’t help them meet their end goal of selling things.)
  6. Anything on the ”umm… not sure” pile gets a second attempt try on. (Things that land in the umm pile are usually out of price range for the day or because it’s not really my style, but still flattering.)
  7. Move items after second try onto either the “love” or “no” pile.
  8. Inspect “love” items for irregularities, snags, discoloration, etc.
  9. Repeat steps 2-8 depending on how many batches you ended up needing to do because of the limit.
  10. Carry out “love” pile on left arm and “no” pile on right arm to give back to the fitting room attendant.

Digression: Since I worked at Gap retail for a year when I was a teen, I do not leave the fitting room in a hot mess for the attendant to clean up. A customer service position is already difficult, I don’t need to make their job any harder.

During my chat with Yvo, her last statement reminded me of these hooks at Nordstrom Rack. It’s not that I believe an item will help make my life become amazing, or I need this thing to feel better about myself. As cliché as it sounds “love at first sight” is probably the best way to describe this feeling.

It’s a surge of emotions. A flutter. Kismet. An unexpected discovery. An aspiration of what it could be, or mean as part of my life. This feeling does make my life amazing. When I see it, the initial memory of acquisition rushes back and I’m reminded of the very first thought that was, “I love you so much. Won’t you come home with me?”

This love makes it difficult for me to let go of things, because I have relationships with my things. The item reminds me of:

  • The person I was.
  • How it fit in my life.
  • The thoughts of how happy I was the first time I laid eyes on it.
  • A history that becomes associated to that item through use and/or wear.

Letting my inner geek girl show: It’s not just a thing, but a container of emotional metadata that only I can see. More plainly, it’s a stupid laugh, time and time again.

I fall in love with things everyday. Is that really so bad?

Bought: 0

Pinned: o

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 13: Didn’t sleep that well again. For me insomnia is a common trend. Because of that I ended up sleeping in and skipping emails this morning and heading straight into work.

Most of the day was spent in meetings, but several strong and somewhat surprising opinions were mentioned to me in between breaks, as I sought advice from coworkers and friends over about The Great Tupperware Debate of 2014. At first, today’s post was going to be dedicated to the process of donate, purge, sell, and trash, but instead I wanted to digress from the normal topics as these comments helped kept me busy most of the day and definitely far away from shopping. I’ll categorize what was said into 3 buckets and leave out details of the who said what.

  1. I don’t help the impoverished people, and am selfish because I am not donating items to Goodwill/Salvation Army/Charity.
  2. I’m frivolous with time & money.
  3. That I have not considered the options when deciding to purchase.

Growing up in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents, at best you could say we were lower class. My mom started out working retail while my dad slaved at away at flea markets during the day peddling random wares and studying at night. They put my dad through grad school while working full time with two young children.

At school, I was robbed or threatened on a daily basis. Knowing this, my parents saved as much as they could to have us move three schools before 2nd grade, just so they could be certain that my brother and I were in a safe environment. Before I became a teenager, my mom suffered a disability and we became a single income family. We were those children who played with toys in stores and didn’t get to take much home, but we understood.

Flash to now. Every year I donate about 7 boxes of clothes or goods to Goodwill. During the holidays I go out and spend several hours picking out things I think kids would like for Toys for Tots. All children should have new toys they want on Christmas. Just like everyone else, there are causes I believe in, relate to, sympathize with and when I feel so moved, I participate whole-heartedly. I don’t expect or pressure friends to do or feel the same way about the causes I support.

I spend within my means, pay all my bills in full, own my own home, and have paid off my car. I am a good cook, clean my own place, can build things with powertools and do my own laundry. I am not helpless, nor a hoarder. My home is generally immaculate except the previously mentioned garage and office. I am also a bag lady that always takes cans to be recycled. It’s an activity my dad taught me when I was young as it was blasphemous to waste the CA redemption fee, during the special occasions when we could afford to have soda. We were taught the value of things, small or large. If this is the definition of frivolous, I should hope more people are frivolous.

If you’ve learned anything about me by reading the 40 day challenge, it should be that my world revolves around defining procedures. Everything is a thought, a detail, and a love. Every action is WAY more intricate and particular than it probably should be. I have always danced through most feasible options before coming to a conclusion.

People assume they know you and the best for you, from their perspective and experiences. It is the rare person, ie. the expert (I’ll say empath here again) who is willing to take the time to listen first, temper their own opinions from the equation, and tailor advice for you.

I’m not going to defend or explain my process for what I decide to sell, donate, or get rid of. That’s not what this article is about. This is about not shopping for 40 days and the question that was open for debate was about a Want vs a Need of the beautiful Ikea tupperware where questions can be asked, but ignorant accusations are not ok. There is a process that surrounds doing away with things that is detailed, generous and well-thought out, but I will say no more than that.

P.S. I didn’t want to forget that despite the negativity, three wonderful things also happened to me today that helped stay the course on this journey.

  1. Lisa felt so compelled to chat me about Shop-stinance and repost a link on her facebook wall. I returned the favor by gushing at her many times. Repeatedly. It got awkward.
  2. Renee said something brillantly simple to the effect of “People think some of the things you do are a waste of time, but you love it. They just don’t understand. ” Nailed it.
  3. Had dinner with Danielle (visiting from Paris) and Christina. It’s been nearly 9 years since we met and I’m so grateful to get to spend time with them on a yearly, sometimes bi-yearly basis.

Bought: 0

Pinned: o

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Gifted: 0


Day 12: Last night after coming home from dinner with the folks, I was yet again annoyed by how my office & garage is a mess. Items are left in piles for eBay or in crumpled old unlabeled bags. The problem I ran into last night as I was about to list more items for eBay, was that I hit my free insertion fee limit. Now they will charge me 30 cents per item this month whether or not I sell something. Oh hells to the no.

Instead of taking photos and listing items right away, I will move towards a cataloging model. Everything I’ve listed will go into a space with similar typed items, ie. all toys go together, clothing, beauty products, and home items. I don’t want to dust things off just to have them accumulate dust again or have my clothes wreak of exhaust fumes once I move them to the garage so I’ve decided I want to invest in some more tupperware. This is the solution to my needs.

Holy Grail
of Tupperwares

This is the SALMA from Ikea 12 gallon tupperware. I already have 2 containers, originally bought to store reycling in my garage, but have since repurposed them for storing items to ebay. My current 2 containers are completely full, and I want some more so that I can move items out of my office into my garage. I decide to think on this tomorrow if it’s a need or want.

In the morning emails today were easy to ignore. Deleted them all and headed in to the office. The day was relatively easy to get through as Mondays are my busy day at work. Was still reflecting on whether or not the cointainers count as a need vs want.

Since Joshua was on chat, I wanted to get his take and thus started The Great Ikea Tupperware Debate of 2014. Our conversation is the following:

Me: Ok the more I think about it the more I want to buy tupperware
Me: So that if I can’t buy clothes at least I can organized my house!
Me: alskjdalkdsjadslk thoughts
Joshua: Well that’s your problem! “The more I think about it”
Joshua: I mean not your problem but PART of the problem.
Joshua: It’s the addiction occupation.
Me: ? I don’t get it.
Joshua: You keep thinking about it and why you need something. In this case to buy something because you believe and know to be true that you NEED it for something else to be better. Whether that is yourself, or something around you. I mean this is more applicable to drugs & alcohol and other types of addictions but I guess in this case, you are addicted to shopping.
Me: But to organize something you need containers. You can’t just make piles like I have right now.
Joshua: Ok you are right on all counts but, you could wait. You could look at what you have and figure out if you have something already OR if you there are things you don’t actually need and can get rid of them.
Me. I could but that defeats the purpose of getting something done.
Me: Well that’s the problem. I won’t get rid of it because I want to sell it what I want to do is photograph everything and put them into bins in the garage and when they sell then I take them out of the bins right now I have piles on the floor in the garage.
Joshua: But then what will u do w/ the bins after?
Me: Well I’m never not going to have junk my parents have 10 more boxes filled with crap that I need to take.
Joshua: I think it’s realistic for you to not have junk in the future.

It our chat continues on, but I’ll stop here. After looking back at this conversation, I think the problem is several things.

  1. We’re talking past each other.
  2. We’re focused on two separate ideas. I’m looking to create a process around my eBay ecosystem that will make my living areas more functional and clean. I’m also looking for a long term solution for working around the limited amount of sales I can do per month whereby I still make forward process in terms of prepping things for listings. Joshua is intent on the shopping on non-necessities rule as a principle from his perspective where he doesn’t deem them necesary and that he thinks I’m an addict.
  3. I did say “want” early on, yes, but are there 1000000 other things I would rather buy that are more fun instead of this? Yes absolutely.
  4. This might be true in the far future, but not in the near term. “I think it’s realistic for you to not have junk in the future.” I have already moved items into piles for donation vs sale and took the last batch of donation items to Goodwill on Day 5. I absolutely refuse to give away things that I can sell at a premium as “vintage” or items that are new with tags or new in box. I am limited by the 50 items per month and there are over 1000 things I want to sell.
My childhood
in a perfectly
maintained box.

5. Personally the biggest benefit of the tupperware is not having to murder a spider on the item I’m selling that was new with tags and then spending an afternoon trying to clean that off before I send an item out. This may or may not *cough* have happened before. I hope none of my buyers read this…

A corner of my office, but the garage looks similar.

What do you think readers? Tupperwares want or need? Opinons welcome either here on the post itself or on any social media medium. I’ll wait till the end of the week for feedback, and based on survey results I will either buy or not buy said the aforementioned tupperwares this weekend.

Tupperware Debate Running Tally (I abstain from voting as I would be biased):

  • Want: 6
  • Need: 6

Bought: 0

Pinned: o

Sold: 0

Returned: 2

Gifted: 0


Day 11: Last night I took a break from retrofitting my blog to return items at Nordstrom rack (30 day return policy). I had not realized that on most days they stay open till 9:30pm. It was surprisingly swamped at 8:45pm. The outfit below transported me to a world where I would need something to wear to Coachella and take pictures by the ferris wheel.

Nochella Coachella
Rag + Bone
Bicycle Booty Shorts
Hot Pink Bracelet
Bella Dahl Chambray Shirt

It was easy to brush these feelings off with reality. I won’t be going to Coachella any time in the near future, and Sunday will be spent with friends and family. Meanwhile all the fashion bloggers and celebrities I follow from Instagram have posted up a maelstrom of images from the event.

After dinner, I thought it would be safe to spend most of my night working on the blog again when I get an email from Madewell. “20% off select shoes and purses”. It winks at me. UGH! OK. IF YOU MUST, I WILL VISIT.

I have been lusting after the d’orsay flat in spot dot that look amazing in person, not to mention that once you break Madewell shoes in, they are like second skin for my feet. Absolutely must check if they are on sale.

Madewell
the d’orsay flat
in spot dot

Luckily they were not on sale, but you know, as long as I’m here I might as well check out the Sale section right? RIGHT?!

Navigation of a sale section is a sacred ritual in itself. The most efficient way to peruse an online store in mass when “window shopping” is a combination of two features for me, “see all” and “browser tabbing”.

Here’s the process:

  1. Open link to sale section.
  2. View in grid mode, big enough to get a general idea of what the item looks like.
  3. If there is a “see all” button employ it. Otherwise change the view to as many items as they will allow.
  4. Scroll by hitting spacebar through each screen
  5. If you like something open it in a new window (command+click on a Mac)
  6. After the page is completed, go back to the individual tabs to read more details on the items and either add to cart or close the tab.

Utilizing browser tabs save page load time from going back and forth between the main sale landing page to each individual item. “See all” saves on needless additional clicks during pagination. E-commerce sites that don’t employ either of these I tend to visit less and I was CRUSHED when ideeli had an update where you could no longer easily open new tabs with the command+click control.

I hardly ever use search, unless I’m looking for something specific, nor do I filter for size first. Size filtering often takes out some items you could buy since sometimes you are between sizes for different brands. I employ the above techniques on most major online retailers that cater toward multiple category shopping experiences.

On Madewell I end up opening 32 tabs. Pin 13 items, and painstakingly tear myself away from the computer for a while. I breathe a sigh of relief as most of the items that would test my resolve are no longer available in my size.

Shortly after that I get sucked into emails I missed deleting from earlier. Do this same exact process as from Madewell on the William Sonoma site when I see these serving bowls on sale.

William Sonoma
Tilt Bowls

Unsubscribe from dwell studio emails. While they have cute stuff my home is already complete with furniture needs.

Just as I really finished emails and am getting ready for bed, I see on Instagram a video about the Alexander Wang + H&M collaboration. Prayed that it wouldn’t come out before 40 days is up. Thankfully they have a press release this morning. November 6th. I mark this date in my calendar.

Toss and turn most of the night away, in between bouts of consciousness I turn to the computer and the warmth of an online shopping break to help me relax. This is the first moment in this journey that it’s truly felt hard. Hadn’t realized how much I rely on online shopping for comfort when I can’t sleep.

This morning I wake and need to get ready to meet Helen for lunch. I end up encountering the “I have nothing to wear” phenomenon and everything doesn’t seem to fit or feel right. Try on at least 8 different outfits before I settle on a plain white short sleeve blouse and Cotton On shorts paired with Michael Kors sandals and a Zara camel colored bag. I‘m still unsatisfied with my choice, but I need to leave before I’m late.

Lunch was a welcome distraction. We went to a relatively new restaurant in Los Altos called Forest on First. Not only does this place beautiful and has delicious food, it’s also kid friendly with a gigantic built in treehouse.

I’m a
Fancy Treehouse
Short and Stout

During lunch over a crab and baby fennel salad I boasted to Helen about my “trash is treasure” personal campaign to liquidate all my unneeded items on eBay, as well as my love for the ease of meal preparation using the Nomiku sous vide machine. These other hobbies help keep me grounded and not shopping.

Crab & Baby Fennel Salad
Super Noms Refreshing & Healthy

Helen talked mostly about updating her house to faux grass for easy maintenance and preparations for the future. This day was a far cry from our post-college days of going to concerts and eating fast food, but still comforting. Our time today was a gentle reminder that while times and priorities have changed, our friendship still remains the same. We strolled along the cute streets and shops where if not on these 40 days I would have probably bought something or somethings plural. *cry*

Things I saw while meandering boutiques the “somethings” I wanted to buy:

  • The below apothecary jars
  • A set of key covers, so I can distinguish between my keys.
  • 2 really pretty dresses
  • Some jewelry, I say some because I always buy jewelry when I’m boutique shopping, but hardly ever wear any.

I’m sure there were more at the time, but now that I’m safe at home I’m forgetting what some of those things were. Second thought is a good thing.

These apothecary jars would have come home with me if I hadn’t been on this challenge. T_T

After we parted I went to Nordstrom Rack yet again to return items. I was on the fence about returning a pair of shoes yesterday, but today I felt strongly that I should. Saw this that made me chuckle.

Regrets are one size
and always
heavily discounted.

Still feeling in a funk. Not sure if it’s just from lack of sleep. Or maybe I just really need to buy things!? Have decided to take a nap and see if that corrects these feelings.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 28

Sold: 0

Returned: 3

Gifted: 0


Day 10: 1/4 of the way through my 40 days. Huzzah! So far, throughout this journey, the only things I’ve seen purchased on my credit card amount to:

  • Gas for the car
  • Eyedrops
  • Food & drink
  • Power, water, home services
  • Plane tickets for an impromptu vacation with Jen and Brian to NYC.

Sidenote: I imagine anyone reading the above list in the style of Wes Anderson. After seeing Grand Budapest Hotel, all lists are read to myself in this fashion.

If it weren’t for the plane tickets I would be saving a lot of money thus far in the 40 days challenge.

After posting the article about experts in the morning yesterday, I swiftly deleted all temptation emails, then had a brief chat with Joshua about Day 9. Our conversation went as the following:

Him: Omg seriously, I love reading this. It’s so exciting.
Him: Don’t ever stop. It’s so fascinating.
Me: Lol.
Him: Seriously, there’s this sense of urgency when I read it.
Him: I’m seriously like AHHH NOOOO!!!
Him: And then I see your list of bought pinned sold etc.
Him: And I’m like “0" WHEW praise lord.
Me: Lolol. Aw crud forgot to update the photo.
Him: It’s ok! Also — Stay away from Patricia!! LOL
Me: Since she’s the one who temps me most. Hahaha.
Him: Yeah, dat ho!

On chat I can be a person of few words, where most of them are variants of “lol” as evidenced by the above. I chuckled about the above conversation all morning until I could tell Patricia about it. Her response?

Her: If I’m a ho, I’d want to be a tastemaker ho. Lol.

I love my friends. They always make me laugh, intentional or not. Now with this project they send me encouraging messages throughout the day, and stern warnings to ward me off the siren of shopping that is Patricia. :D

For lunch I met up with Emily (@thestylishgeek). We had been meaning to catch up over geekdom and eats for a while now. When she arrives, she quickly orders her food and sits down. Once she’s settled, she reached into her purse to plop down in front of me [un]possible cuts earrings.

She gave me wings.
[un]possible cuts earrings

She says something like “You can’t buy anything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be gifted things.”

Reached out for them slowly not wanting to show too much eagerness. And I only vaguely remembered what she said within the first 5 mins of receiving them, as an inner monologue had begun wondering if it was rude to rip them out of their backings and put them on immediately.

Mostly at lunch we gabbed over Vietnamnese food about eBay, blogging, and cosplay. Through that conversation Ems helped to reinvigorate interest in working on my personal website again. Shortly after we parted ways I went back to the car and took a moment in solitude to mind hug the earrings, followed up by a stupid laugh, before heading back to work.

Definitions:

  • Mind hug — A hug you give someone or something with only your mind.
  • Stupid laugh — A laugh that bursts out awkwardly, loud and honest when something happens that you’re extremely happy with.

Since it’s garbage hauling time in our neighborhood, as I mentioned in a previous post, I ended up seeing this next to this next to a beautiful field on my way to work in the morning.

Taylor Swift
Music Video Director
Here I Come

Stopped by on the way home to take this photo. I pass this field on a daily basis, but the combination of the field and an the old wretched upright piano called to me a desire to toss the piano into the field and direct a Taylor Swift music video. I have a lot more time to think about random musings like this, as I’m not glued to the computer looking for things to buy or in an indoors mall, window shopping. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

The rest of yesterday and this morning went by pretty smoothly. I deleted all emails without looking at them and spent almost all my time focused on updating my regular Wordpress blog to a new theme and retrofitting all the widgets. Am currently wearing the above mentioned earrings at home even though I don’t plan on going out today.

Special thanks to Ems & Patricia today. Ems you gave me wings. Literally and metaphorically. Patricia sorry for embarrassing you yesterday, you skanky tastemaker ho. Why you gotta be so experts at everything? I love you!

Bought: 0

Pinned: 0

Sold: 3

Returned: 0

Gifted: 1


Day 9: It’s the middle of the afternoon yesterday when Bobby sends me a link. More recently he’s been known to do this followed by a “Buy this” comment. Today’s message started with “your new car” and a link to a 2011 BMW 5 Series in a lovely blue metallic color. Our conversation was the following:

Me: That’s pretty, but I think it’s too big lol
Him: Thats what she said =)
Me: I’m going to stop talking to u soon
Him: hahahha
Me: u send me shopping links and corny jokes -___-”
Him: but you’re the queen of corny jokes
Him: this is not that much bigger than your 3 series i think
Him: it just looks bigger

My legacy love of my life e46 sedan (2005) currently measures ~176", where as the current model of the f10 sedan (2010-present) measures ~192". The devil is in the details. In this case it ‘looks’ bigger because it is bigger. I imagine myself in this new car trying to find parking on San Francisco streets, only to get frustrated, call friends to tell them I am giving up to go back home to the suburbs. The suburbs, land of abundant parking, where squeezing in between two driveways is not a necessity.

This conversation lead me to thinking about experts. I’m not sure if other people do this, but for every shopping activity I have a friend, or a couple of friends, that serve as my personal tastemakers. It is only these people that can really inspire purchases.

Becoming an empath (oops, expert) is simple. These people have inadvertently “sold” me on something. While exalting the details of their latest acquisition, comes an intricate story of both their thought process and the details of what got them hooked. At the end of their tale, I fully understand why this item should be coveted, even if it’s something I don’t desire.

For me, my experts are able to consistently internalize my requirements, point out the details, and combine that with their superior knowledge of the space. These tastemakers unfailingly return with suggestions I adore. They are the people who endulge me, as I send selfies from fitting rooms to help confirm or deny a hasty decision.

The Fitting Room Selfie:
It’s what’s for dinner.
Olivia Moon Raglan

These are my shopping experts:

Fashion— Patricia, Emily

Geekery— Regina, Patricia, Emily

Tech + Cars + Home Improvements— Henry, Sam, Nick

Fashion + Home Decor— Kumi, Patricia

eBay— Emily, Brian

Makeup — Patricia, YouTube (Yup, I learned how to do makeup a couple years ago via From Head to Toe on YouTube no less, not ashamed at all)

Later last night, I ended up playing/strategizing about Clash of Clans with coworkers. In their latest 6.56.1 update they have introduced Clan Wars. Am mesmerized by their tagline “Wage Epic Battles”, as anything that is epic will usually illicit a burning blaze of passion from within.

I desperately want to level up my base with In-App purchases to hold my own in this game. The will to win continues to test my commitment to non-necessity shopping. I fight my last free battle and decide to turn to the computer instead.

Via the facebooks I notice Instyle has an article on a new genius jean invention. Hello what? Instyle, you’ve figured out the word combination keys to my heart. I dash over there to read about Joe Jeans stain-resistant white denim. “Spotless,” they call them. Quickly, I imagine a television commercial with a tall lanky albino model, decked out in white going for a walk with a fleet of dalmatians whilst avoiding possible mishaps. A cheeky slogan plays at the end, something like “Spots can now be reserved for dogs.”

This morning I get a mailer that makes me cringe with anguish. Fab.com has a Friends and Family promotion of 20% off all purchases. I check the dates, but this ends far before my freedom of May 13th . I click over anyway to see 4 items calling to me from a previously abandoned shopping cart.

“Save us!” they wail.

Fab.com
Birthday Card 8 Pack
Fab.com
Heavy Words Are Thrown
Fab.com
Magic Trees Pillow Cover
Fab.com
Dawn Outdoor Pillow

I know I don’t need these things. I just want them, a lot. I have increased longing because they are temporarily discounted. And with a heavy heart I decide to leave them for a second time in cart exile and head into work.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 1

Sold: 0

Returned: 0

Received: 0


Day 8: Yesterday I received a package I ordered from H&M 2 weeks ago. I suppose the lingering orders that I’ve previously made helps make this process easier because well, I’m still getting new items. This linger will soon end as I get deeper and deeper into the 40 days. The void it will leave fills me with a bit of apprehension, but I brush that feeling away as I stroke my new striped tank top lovingly.

I had just plopped the package in plain view on my desk at work when two coworkers came by and give me an inquisitive look. “DID YOU ALREADY BREAK YOUR NO SHOPPING RULE?!?!?” I wrote it in caps because that’s how I felt like it sounded, but to be completely honest, it was casual and not judgey at all, followed by a laugh at the end.

Here I am justifying things I bought to the people who see me on a daily basis. Yeah, this is fun.

Thinking more about it however, it is kind of neat. I have secret police almost everywhere. A couple years ago I attempted to do this same project of no shopping for 40 days, after Natascha had explained that people that observe Lent give up something that they adore for 40 days. It was a challenge I ended up completing, and even made it to 41 days, since Lent ends on Easter day and all fun purchase stores are closed. But the fun in this attempt is that I’m doing it publicly which forces me to be honest with myself, if not other people.

At night, when I arrived home, I checked my mailbox which I do maybe twice a week because it’s a short distance from my house (yes I’m lazy, and who sends physical mail other than packages anyway?). Suddenly I’m very aware of how even snail mail can be a temptation.

The snails.
They are tempting!

In my mail predominately are fashion & home decor magazines, sprinkled with other fashion adverts from stores I’ve previously ordered online from. Because I am OCD, I have a process for organizing wants from physical mailers too.

  • Stack up magazines into a huge pile for when you have some dedicated time.
  • Organize magazines by title.
  • While reading, rip out pages of items you want.
  • Stack ripped out pages in another pile.
  • Bring stack of pages to computer to look up each item on their website.
  • Find additional info about the product and/or buy said item.
  • Items that I am on the fence about go to Pinterest to revisit at a later time.

Going through the CB2 catalog, I see the following three pillows that move me in ways I can’t really describe in words:

cb2 tryst 16" pillow
cb2 janey 23"x11" pillow
cb2 basis grey
18"x12" pillow

In each case I can already imagine where they would go in my house. First two would be in the office, last one would be in my black & white themed computer nook. Also for the first two I’ve seen them before on Instagram via fellow bay area-ian and creative director of Glitter Guide @taylorsterling. I don’t know how, but a while back I stumbled upon her Instagram and her lovely photo hues as well as perfect use of gold polka dots had me at hello. I love finding the items she posts about in the wild and seeing how she mixes items together. I end up pinning these beauties instead of purchasing. Another desire temporarily extinguished.

This morning emails weren’t really an issue. Instead of shopping during my normal hour, I deleted everything, then flopped around in bed and went back to sleep for an extra 30 mins.

Note to self: Maybe not shopping will help me be more rested.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 3

Sold: 2

Returned: 0

Received: 5


Day 7: I didn’t want to write this morning because I have been really tired for some reason. After a cheery encouraging message from Laurie, I decided to keep the morning trend of writing.

Buzzed through emails on my iPhone this morning from bed. I feel like it helps to get through it quicker on the phone because you can only see the message as text. Even so, ASOS still gets me with their subject line: “The 4 dresses you need now”.

I need to know what dresses I need now!

Opening the email on my iPhone I see these numbers:

Left: ASOS Asymmetric Body-Conscious Dress
Right: ASOS Textured Cut Out Midi Dress

Fashion Math: Modern Cuts + Asymmetry = A Wonderland.

I run through the email as quickly as I can and and pin several things.

Then to ebay again to see I’ve sold 4 items. Hooray! My junk room will soon be my fabulous arts and crafts room / office. Print packing slips and get the items ready to ship.

Lately, because of this project, I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection about why I’m a chronic shop-o-holic. During a recent spring cleaning expedition into my closets of Narnia (yes plural, I have 3 dedicated to clothing) as well as my drawers (there are 22 in my home that contain clothes) I realized I have a lot of duplicate items especially of the basics. So perhaps I just keep over buying because I don’t have a good visualization strategy. Visualization may be the key to everything! If I have a catalog of everything I own, I can easily mix and match items and create outfits without much effort and understand what I already have so that I don’t buy duplicates. If I find a mobile app for this, I can take this with me when I go out shopping to compare my in store wants with my current catalog.

With this same thought last year, I started an inventory of everything in my closet. (This was “like totally” inspired by the movie Clueless”)

The goals defined:

  1. It will keep me busy
  2. It will help me clear stuff out
  3. It will show me how many duplicate items I have

When looking for an app, I wanted something that had a really clean UI. After browsing the App Store I settle on the Closet+ app. The design is super simple and focuses mostly on the photos you take yourself.

Key features:

  • There is a calendar function for keeping track of when you wear each item to make sure you’re cycling through clothing on a daily basis
  • There is a cost per wear calculation per item, so you can justify those pricy things that you will wear all the time.
  • Allows for favoriting and pre-generating outfits to wear later.
  • Great configurable grid view via pinching and expanding

Not only that, I have a beautiful mannequin to take photos of my clothes on. I picked it up at a boutique’s going out of business sale. I had been lusting after their mannequins for a couple years before they went out of business since they were exactly my size.

The one negative is that the app doesn’t have an official iPad version. I simply have been using the 2x feature on device to have a nicer view of my closet collection.

The results ended up looking like this:

My Closet+

When I first started this project it did curtail spending habits for about a month since I didn’t want to do the work to photograph new items. Unfortunately, this trend came to an end as later on I could not keep up to date with the influx of items I was purchasing. However now that I’m working on this 40 day project, I’m thinking I need to get back to it. Visualization will help me in the long run to buy less in the future, and also be able to justify more expensive items that will be higher quality, last longer and be used more often.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 5

Sold: 4

Returned: 0

Received: 0


Day 6: Feeling sluggish this morning. Last night was warm and I kept tossing and turning. My left eye has been twitching for the past several days. Was this a side effect from giving up shopping cold turkey? Is that even possible?

Yesterday was my first day back at work after starting this endeavor. Being at work kept me busy most of the day, and the mind off such things as acquiring rare and tasteful items.

Pro shopping tip: Be friends with all your admins/delivery people/etc.

If you ship your purchases to work like I do (there is a package thief in my residential area, so this is mandatory) you will end up seeing your admins very frequently. They are almost akin to a caffeine addict’s regular barista. I see them often and have taken the time to know all of their names: Shelley, Michelle, Lynette, Alex, Katie, the list continues. Believe it or not you need them more than for just passing over the package, they also play the role of cheerleader for this secret pleasure. They help validate that you are indeed, not ordering too much and will help you open doors and also get a rolly cart when you have ordered too much to carry with two hands.

I received 4 boxes yesterday from orders I had placed 2 weeks ago. Post online purchase the process of tracking and waiting is as follows:

  • Verify that confirmation email has hit the email box
  • Check tracking info, even though I know this never works right away
  • Wait, wait, wait
  • Leave email in the inbox and keep checking tracking info until you see it’s in your area
  • Work sends an email when the package has arrived in the loading dock
  • Admin sends another email when the package has arrived at their desk
  • Find 5 mins to spare in the work day to run over and pick up packages
  • Go back to desk to move confirmation emails into the archive folder.

Email confirmations must not leave the archive folder until item has been acquired, this way I can be certain that no packages get lost in the fray.

Simple right?

The goods:

  • Goodnight Macaroon: 4 items: Gray + Plaid Sweater, White Zip Jacket, Gray Tunic Sweater, Black Collared White Blouse
Goodnight Macaroon
Heather Grey Side Slit Crewneck Red Plaid Sweater
  • YesStyle: Double Zip Gray and Black hoodie (I love this)
YesStyle Contrast-Trim Hoodie
  • Hautelook: Two pairs of Black Ankle Booties. Yes 2, because I couldn’t decide which one looked better online, but now that I get them, I think they both look awesome. Need to return one however, this debate will linger on until the weekend when I have time to return these to store.
  • Bluefly: 4 pairs of AG Jeans.

Post opening and trying on, there is the return process.

  • Whatever didn’t fit and was on final sale goes to ebay
  • Items I just didn’t like immediately go back into the box they came in and packed up with a return label and shipped out the next day.

This morning, didn’t feel much like shopping through the email methods. I think it’s the sluggishness, despite West Elm’s alliteration campaign of “Deep duvet discounts!” I can envision someone sitting at a table, composing this email for duvets, thinking how awesome it would be with that subject line. Whoever wrote this is akin to my own marketing heart. I also love alliteration, but I’m wondering, will it really help sell duvets?

Delete almost all emails this morning without clicking through, the only one that catches my eye is Baggu on Fab. Over on the Fab site I end up pinning one black simple weekender bag.

Bought: 0

Pinned: 1

Sold: 0

Returned: 2

Received: 7


Day 5: What? It’s only been 5 days? Time moves by slowly when you’re keeping track. This morning have decided to do a count down so that at least I have horizon is in sight. Final day will be May 12, and thus I can shop again on the 13th. Brief conversation with Stephen yesterday on the facebooks has also convinced me not to cheat with financing or other options.

This morning’s emails:

  • bluefly is doing 10-40% off all handbags, with some disclaimer of course. Spotted a Large Longchamp Le Pilage bag for ~ 100 that I would suggest to a friend to buy, but red just isn’t her color.
  • Tory Burch Sandals — Dear lover, I adore your ways please come home with me. This calls to a summer getaway in a tropical location where I sip on chilled fresh coconut water while walking along the beach in a white flowy top and floral shorts. An imaginary vacation I haven’t planned yet, but let’s be honest I would never wear these beauties in sand.
Tory Burch lucas
FLAT SANDAL

Didn’t end up looking at cars or tvs for the rest of yesterday, as I got caught up with errands and ebay.

  • Photographed last bag of clothes to sell for the moment and moved them out of the bedroom and into the office.
  • Packed up the 5 items I sold on Saturday to get them ready to ship for Monday.
  • Washed dishes
  • Started sorting the garage for more ebay-able items.
  • Donated a bunch of junk to my nearby Goodwill. Goodbye loud clicking PC keyboard. You served me well almost 10 years ago.
  • Spent an hour at the gym getting my walk on while watching a special on the Marvel Universe and how all the movies + Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie together. Then was completely brainwashed. I had previously had no urge at all to watch Thor: The Dark World, but now I want my universe knowledge to be complete, so added that to the queue of things to do. Which begs the question, does buying digital content count as buying something? I’m actually not sure where this lies. Maybe we could keep it to tangible items?
  • Grabbed gas from Costco
  • Listed 5 more items to eBay.

When coming home from errands I notice that it’s purge time in our neighborhood. Once a year you are able to put junk out on the curb and the city will take all your garbage away for free. A brief moment of value consciousness flashes in my head, free things are not purchased and therefore I can acquire such items!

Decided to walk down my street to see what treasures are to be found.

Urban Treasures

While colorful and made to look awesome by Instagram filters, maybe I was being a little too optimistic about this whole trash to treasure idea. Back to the drawing board.

Pretty mundane Sunday, and while usually mundane begs a shopping break, I was too busy ebaying and running around. Rounded the night by taking my parents to dinner, since my mom mentioned how rarely I do that, except when we do get to dinner my dad lists off every meal I’ve ever treated them to that my mom has since forgotten about. My dad is the best.

Ended the night by even more cleaning while catching up on Sunday night television, Revenge and Once Upon a Time were on, didn’t get a chance to finish Game of Thrones yet, but that will live on for tomorrow’s distractions.

It was a good day.


Day 4: Last night, I almost ended this whole thing.

On a whim I decided to google for a pair of rag & bone jeans that Patricia had suggested as the best pair of black skinnies ever. I find that they are on sale at Neiman Marcus from $187 to current price of $112.

Am suddenly riddled with consternation, and the imaginary devil sitting on my shoulder urges me to make the purchase. It never helps that I have always memorized at least one of my credit card numbers, so any online purchase is just a swift number pad away. “Who would know anyway?” Ugh. I would know and lying on this article would have defeated the purchase, I mean purpose. Instead of the buy, I ended up making myself to go sleep.

This morning I wake up, and look again since I’ve both pinned the item and left it open on a Safari tab. It calls to me, and I am just about to pull the trigger when… I notice it’s not the right pair of jeans. They are different. The ones Patricia sent are called Plush Legging Jeans, these are only The Legging Jeans, Blackout.

Crisis averted, mostly. Except in the “You may also like” recommendations section there is a plethora of AG Jeans on sale. I have been a fan of AG Jeans for the past 2 months after being obsessed for a weeks with the perfectly ripped jeans Olivia Palermo wore here:

The AG Adriano Goldschmied “The Legging Ankle in 18 Years Destroyed”

Was talking to another fashion cohort Emily [@thestylishgeek] about these jeans for a couple days (and their steep pricing) prior to seeing Instyle feature them in an article.

What I love about them aside from the color, is the placement of the rips are asymmetrical and also not torn all the way through. Wearing them feels most like wearing that perfect cotton tshirt you never want to throw away that has been aged to comforting perfection. They don’t offer this version of the jeans anymore, but I was able to acquire the 16 years destroyed jeans on eBay at a more affordable price.

Quickly scan through Neiman’s sale section for AG Jeans, and the only items that catch my eye are not available in my size. Nice! Shuffled through the rest of emails quickly today without anything catching my eye. I have a ton of errands to do today where sitting around shopping doesn’t seem like a practical activity.

Yesterday was also a day of thinking about loopholes. This article has stirred up many a conversation about— shopping no less. You tell people that you’re giving it up and then all they want to talk about with you are other things they also want to buy.

Brief chat with Faniel about the 4k Samsung tv I was lusting after, brought up the idea of loopholes. After all, deposits don’t count as purchases do they? Our conversation goes as the following:

Me: Deposits aren’t purchases right?
Him: You are serious
Me: :P
Him: I wouldn’t consider the deposit a purchase
Me: Somehow I might wrangle financing as not a purchase either so I can get around the rule.
Him: Well if you don’t have to make payments on it during the 40 days… that could be a valid argument ;)

I mean honestly, I haven’t “bought” anything fully unless it’s all paid off. Yea, sure let’s go with that. With that in mind, later today will be spent looking at tvs again and maybe a new car.

Yay for loopholes!


Day 3: 9:45am Still in bed. Quick glance at Facebook feed, no new temptations there. The rest of yesterday went super smooth and easy with the amount of non-shopping related activities. Made a sous vide lunch with my Nomiku of lamb chops served with avocados and blueberries on the side.

Met up my personal trainer Lisa at the gym for an hour, then took a nap before getting ready to head up to San Francisco for a birthday dinner at the beautiful and tasty new restaurant Trou Normand.

Upon checking in on Foursquare (I do this so that I can remember every place I’ve eaten), a friend asked if Trou Normand translated to Normand hole, and the implication of whether I was eating in someone’s hole for dinner. Fun fact: En français, the phrase “trou normand” translates into— a glass of spirits that you have in between courses to aid digestion.

I digress. After posting this yesterday I got a lot of questions like:

  • Why are you torturing yourself? Why don’t you just block these websites?
  • You shop every morning before work? How? What? Why?

Firstly, I don’t really think of it as torture, as I mentioned earlier it’s a personal challenge, probably to understand more about myself (I think?), but really why not?

I’m guessing at least it will save me some money in 40 days. I already do have more than what I need, and could get by with fewer purchases. I know how to block my browser from accessing the websites I frequent most, but why should I? I like looking at new things and keeping up with the joneses. Knowing about new things should be an entirely distinct thing, from buying them.

Secondly yes, I shop every morning. The process is the following.

  1. Scan facebook for anything interesting fashion related
  2. Then take a gander at personal email. Almost 95% of my personal emails are shopping related. I employ the zero-inbox process where I normally scan/process every email before deleting or filing. I recently read an article about how email marketing campaigns are on the decline, clearly I don’t fit the norm here.
  3. From email I’m lead on a shopping time warp of links to pretty things that make my eyes jump for joy. Normally I would just buy them, but for now I’ll try pinning them to Pinterest instead.

By the time I’m done with the process, it has been about an hour and I get out of bed and get ready to head into work.

Back to today, and time to go through emails.

  • Saks Fifth Avenue— Email dedicated to M Missoni, whose line is mostly too busy for my personal tastes. I feel like their bold patterns should be limited to making pillows and rugs. I’m sorry, but no one should ever look like a diseased purple python as seen below. Especially for $745.
M Missoni
One-Shoulder Python Dress
  • West Elm— They have a bedding sale event. No interest here.
  • Bluefly— 40% off. But their main promo image just isn’t that appealing.
  • Crate & Barrel— Easter Sale. Meh.
  • Fab— Furniture, albeit well designed, I am currently not of any need for more furniture, but I click through anyway because it’s pretty and then end up on the homepage where I spot umbrellas! And then become enamored with this lovely spotted creation. Wah I lub you, but I have no need for yet another umbrella.
Fab.com Blunt Mini Black

And then I revisit another one of my loves on the Fab site.

Fab.com
Jewelry Holder
Guns In Bell Jar

When I see this my mind is taken to a place of opulence and danger where jewelry dangles, twists and surrounds these two perfectly porcelin pistols and then hijinks ensue in a lady version of Scarface or The Godfather. Or you know, it could sit on my dresser, same diff.

  • ideeli— Scroll, scroll, see L*Space swimwear which I normally think is lovely. Took a gander, but nothing special today and I’m moving on from here.
  • hautelook— Nothing catches my eye. But generally I love ordering here because they have free returns to Nordstrom Rack instead of paying for return shipping.
  • William Sonoma— Grill pan on sale and there is a separate email for vitamixes. Meh. Overkill much on the emails Will?
  • Gilt— Nothing to feel guilty about.
  • Google Shopping Express— I can never find enough stuff I want to buy here. Today is no different.
  • Flor— Carpet tiles, yes I get emails for this. Previously bought some neat ones for the garage, every so often I take a gander to see if there is anything new here, but not today floory friends.

Ok day 3 I p0wned you. I felt almost no real temptation to buy things through the normal process. Yes, I found things cute, but generally nothing really sparked my interest. Maybe this won’t be so hard after all.


Day 2: 5:47am I’m awake. Look at the glow of notifications on my phone and I really hope it’s eBay notifications that more items have sold.

Nope. Just facebook alerts.

Now it’s time to check eBay to see what I have left. Check done. No new bids and no items of mine have ended auction. Time to look at the facebooks and turn off notifications for some of the stories that alerted me unnecessarily.

Quick scroll through my feed and then I spot this:

Nike x Liberty
Floral Collection

Egads. I need to take a look. They are pretty and give me happy thoughts. Jump over to the InStyle whereby I am then linked to the main Liberty London splash page for it.

Mental note: Take a look at this in 39 days and see if your mind still lusts after this.

Now it’s time to go through emails.

Zara— Yes! Notification that the sandals I ordered last week (totally ok by the 40 days of no shopping rule) have arrived at the store. Will go pick them up later today. Feminine, flirty, and chevrons. I just love you.

Zara FLAT LATTICE SANDAL

As long as I’m already here, I might as well look at other shoes right? Yeah! Luckily Zara clothes don’t fit me right at all or this website would be more compelling.

Then these beauties catch my eye. That Sea Green color. Perfection. I imagine myself wearing these with cropped skinny khakis near a boat or something. A boat? Yeah seriously, because it’s sea green obviously, even thought there are no such boats in my life.

Zara PRINTED LEATHER SLIP-ON WITH TRACK SOLE

Scrolling some more to find these:

Zara OPEN WORK LEATHER SNEAKER

Hello lover! Ever since I have started following @songofstyle I have wanted black and white sneakers. She has a flare of clean and modern in her urban trendy sneaker style that I adore. These definitely fit the bill.

All these things are on the list for visiting after 40 days. It’s 7am now. Ugh.

Quickly headed over to William Sonoma to check out All-Clad d5 pans from an email they sent. Then rapidly deleted the rest of my shopping emails trying not to eye their pretty and alluring photos. Suddenly coming to the realization that I *might* have more of an addiction to shopping that I thought, learned via composing this article and it’s only day 2.

Oy. ASOS just sent a 70% off email. Quick look here as well, scrolling has me tired, close window, crisis averted. Day off today, so I’m going back to bed.


Day 1: Resolve is great. Feeling good. Told Patricia about my endeavor, she’s cheerful as ever, and super supportive. While I haven’t bought anything yet, I have visited at least 5 fashion online stores today including:

  • All Saints — In my head, I believe I really want the perfect distressed, yet upscale and unique hoodie. Ever since Shailene Woodley wore one over her blouse as she was leaving the Jimmy Kimmel show, have I desired this comfort of my own. These two lovelies catch my eye.
Left: All Saints Alek Hoody
Right: All Saints Miller Hoody
  • Gilt— I get the emails every morning and as a Gilt Insider you get a certain amount of points for visiting the site each day. I actually didn’t check out fashion today, but there was an outdoor furniture event. I took a peek since my balcony is in dire need of furniture so I can make use of the space this coming summer.
  • eBay— Currently I have 55 items listed for sale, hence the visit. No impulse to buy anything here though. But I thought I’d list it, since it is a place that you can buy things.
  • bluefly— I want the most perfect pair of designer black ankle booties. I check this site daily for that and discounted Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. and Mini M.A.B. cross-body bags. Fun Fact: Did you know that M.A.B. stands for Morning After Bag?
  • H&M— Ugh, why after I just bought something last week do you give a 30% off all purchases promo code. I hate and love you so much.

Did all this and then went to look for a new living room tv at Best Buy. Really wanted a Panasonic plasma, but now that they are extinct, will have to settle for a 4k Samsung version. TV shopping doesn’t count as a non-essential right? Patricia only said I shouldn’t buy any unneeded fashion wants. Or that’s what I thought she said? :D


Day Zero: Challenge accepted!

This started out as a conversation between @patriciayee and myself about the joys of eBaying. The thrill I get from eBay is creating value out of things no longer being used, as well as getting rid of clutter. During this conversation Patricia rightly (or righteously) pointed out that I would have less clutter “that still has it’s original tags on” if I would just stop buying things I don’t need. Originally, I scoffed at the idea, but then decided that I needed a personal challenge of the moment. So in protest of adult overalls becoming a fashion trend again and in honor of @patriciayee’s birthday, I take a vow to not buy any non-essentials for the next 40 days.

Overalls should be for farmers, pregnant girls, and plumbers of the mushroom kingdom.

Things you need to know about me before knowing the difficulty of this challenge.

  1. Every morning I wake up at 7:30am and online shop for at least an hour before going to work.
  2. Pinterest is my bff.
  3. Essentials… I overbuy almost everything including essentials. Costco is another one of my bffs (I might be a bff whore). The rule thus ended up being, only buy what you absolutely need and not in bulk.

Here goes nothing, let’s see how well I do.

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