Happy New Year!

Thrift Tales, one year later. I’m proud to say that this is the first of my blogs that I’ve kept up with. Now that it has been a year, I’m thrilled with the progress – blog progress (blogress), life progress, all of it.


This year I’m inspired by a strong sense of renewal in the new year. Six days in, I’m still focused on my resolutions and its starting to show! My resolutions are ordered based on my quest for a calm life: first, get organized. Second, tackle the vices. 2013 resolutions: 1) leave 2012’s clutter in 2012. 2) rid myself of life annoyances 3) increase my financial intelligence 4) get healthy.

Resolution 1: Leaving 2012 clutter in 2012!

In reflecting on the last year, I found myself particularly drawn to photos of my apartment post move-in. As I set up my space, I hadn’t acrued the clutter I now have. My apartment had free-space; bags and shoes and items fallen off my to-do list didn’t chocolate chip small corners, floor space or shelves.  And there were no, literal melted chocolate chips on my bed sheets. In short, nothing had yet been “wedged” anywhere. By the end of 2012, I could easily conjur an annoying nudge of failure by scanning my end tables, book shelves or butcher block shelves. To enjoy stress-free  me-time in the space that I pay for each month, and  to undistractedly entertain friends and family, I knew the shit-crap had to go.

Since the first, I’ve reorganized my home and school spaces. I’ve taken four bags and two large items to Salvation Army, and filled my recycle bin three times. I now have two more bags to donate, another full load of recyclables and some trash. At school, I emptied and filed two laundry baskets worth of papers and junk. I will NOT waste time in 2013 looking for things. And my home, in and of itself, will not contribute to my stress. Even a little bit.

ameture hoarder.

armature hoarder.

Resolution 2: Getting rid of life’s annoyances

I know this one’s a mouthful. It’s all in the name of self-preservation: I couldn’t bring myself to resolve to “stop being lazy.” Sometimes our challenges need a little reframing; why make yourself feel like a lazy bum if you don’t have to?

So far, I’m rocking this resolution. In addition to the work mentioned in resolution 1, I’ve tied up several loose ends that have been driving me bonkers. To date: cleaned out the fridge, e-mailed my landlord, cleared out my under-sink cabinet (note: I have never felt more like a hoarder. I found 15 empty glass jars waiting for a craft. With no craft in sight, I recycled them. They’re actually still in the bin. I might Miranda-cake-eat them right out of the trash.), recycled some 6-year old “Real Simples,” and cleaned out my closet nook. I’ve also kept up with the dishes…or am getting better at it. I’ve decluttered the kitchen, walls and all, and am working on the living room. I’m focused now on giving my apartment a certain look, working within what I already own or that which is available at a mega-bargain price.

Today, I’m embarking on a new organizational journey: converting my personal paperwork organizational system from hanging files to binders. In the past few months I’ve rekindled my high school and college relationship with binders. I used to start a semester with disheveled spiral bound notebooks and folders. By the end of the term, I’d have ripped it all to shreds and maintained a very organized binder. This year, I’m cutting to the chase. I’ll probably still never have a binder full of women, though, unless you could Martha Stewart and her recipes.

Last night, I poured through my stack of old magazines searching for anything I’d actually like to remember, or do. I tore out the articles (note: get an exacto knife),  and now have a hefty pile waiting to be filed. The skeleton magazines are neatly stacked in the recycling-overflow station. I’ve isolated some unused binders in my classroom-overflow station (oh, my poor living room), and will head out later to pick up the final supplies. My goal: one binder for finances, one for recipes/DIY projects and design inspiration. I’m thinking, offline Excel and Pinterest. I’ll definitely post pictures when those are finished. Spoiler alert: one will be in a trapper keeper.

To further clarify this resolution, let’s examine a couple of examples from the past year.

bathroom light blog

This is a prime example of when being a creative problem-solver can make you look lazy. I can’t e-mail my landlords now, an entire year after I first told them about the broken bathroom light and fan, and ask them to fix it. A clear I’ve-waited-too-long-to-look-normal situations. Repurposing this reading light has been the best and safest way to solve the problem, and since it’s inception, I’ve felt much safer about having guests to my home!


Second, this is super annoying. It’s a recurring problem now that our snow is finally starting to melt. Last night’s DIY almost ended in injury. Out of ice melt, I discovered that while hard packed snow might do the trick, covering an icy step with light fluffy snow will only make it a slippery mess. However, we did learn that table salt melts ice just as well as rock salt. SUCCESS! I’ll be hitting the hardware store today for winter supplies. Don’t you worry. And I’ll be ordering a phone-screen repair kit soon. And finishing the edges of my bedroom curtains.

Resolution 3: Increasing my financial intelligence

After a year of thrifting, now with a mostly re-stocked apartment, let’s just lay it all on the table: we are living in an expensive world and I am a material girl. I made it a year without cable television. The stakes are now raised, as Ashley doesn’t have it either! I haven’t actually found it much of a bother; it’s so easy to find inexpensive or free ways to view content online. In lieu of the morning news, I’m resolving to take daily advantage of my green-venture Boston Globe, on the Nook. This year, I’m sticking to a budget. Or at least trying my darndest. I’m currently researching supports on controlling spending. I did a great job in 2012 making thrifty purchases. This year, I’m vowing to make fewer purchases, all around.

Can we take a minute and celebrate that I’ve been saving money and the earth, since MARCH, by not purchasing paper towels? Please, please, hold your disgust. I have a system for rag usage, and I have a lot of them that go straight from mess to hamper. I don’t cross contaminate my dish towels, hand towels and rags, and for extremely yucky messes I use sponges that get tossed, or paper napkins*. Saved myself about $100 bucks by cutting these out. I know they can be composted; however, there are few chances to actually limit one’s consumption of goods, packaging, transportation costs, etc., without  totally derailing your life.

*Don’t Paul Rudd, watch vs. cell phone, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” me on this. This is  THE ONLY  application in which paper napkins directly replace paper towels.

Resolution 4: Getting Healthy

2012 was delicious. I competitively ran 26.2 miles, across two half-marathons. I attempted to live without a gym membership, relying on outdoor activities, zumba (not real zumba. My zumba involves “Just Dance 2” or “Michael Jackson Just Dance” and my living room), and workout tapes. This year, I’ve joined a gym and now have a partner in crime for exercise classes. WE ARE HITTING A CLASS TOMORROW. Before work. No excuses.

I’m also starting the year clarified vegan eyes. Why? Well for many reasons, eating meat is gross. In addition, I find it much easier to stick to a healthy diet if it’s a challenge. I also enjoy celebrating I’m for once LUCKY that I don’t thrive on dairy products (for readers that don’t know, I all but loathe cheese). Primarily, though, I enjoy showing my patriotism by following the principles of the American diet without destroying my body. Whole, plant-based foods are a perfect venue for the “more is more” attitude that is American eating. I’m a good vegan; I focus on grains, beans and veggies, minimally processed. I rely sparingly on “accidentally vegan” foods. As such, I  can pretty much eat what I want, when I want, and in all types of quantities while following this diet. As an avid home-cook, I more than love the challenge of preparing vegan versions of rich, hearty meals and junk food. Mmm. I’m excited for my body to feel as healthy as it does when fed actual foods, while excommunicating the food-like products that have crept into my pantry over the last year. And, cooking for one, IT’S CHEAPER!

last craft project of 2012: impromptu kitchen chalk board on the fuse box.

last craft project of 2012: impromptu kitchen chalk board on the fuse box.

On the menu this week:

Breakfast: Sticky Banana Bread Quinoa Breakfast Bowl (you could SO do this with oatmeal. I need a change).

Lunches: Arugula and calteloupe salad (sans meat),  Veggie burger LT sammiches

Dinners: Butternut Squash Rancheros, some sort of pasta and veggie creation.

Snacks: Chex mix seasoned crispy chickpeas, salt and pepper popcorn (cook on stovetop, don’t add butter, just tons of salt and pepper. Low cal, and fresh cracked pepper adds a really need flavor. Enjoy!). It wouldn’t kill me to eat some carrot sticks and hummus, either.

Dessert: Accidentally vegan recipe, inspired by this method. I’ll be using peanut butter instead of the cream. And guess what – crescent rolls are accidentally vegan! I’m dreaming it’ll taste like a pop-tart.


an inspired vegan lunch.

an inspired vegan lunch.


the last carnivorous supper.

the last carnivorous supper.

The blog. This is where it all comes together. I’m looking forward to another year of purpose and focus.

The blog itself will undergo some changes in the new year, as a step towards completing resolution 2. While I love the look for all lowercase letters, I can’t be both a writing tutor and continue this racquet. I’m pledging to credit all images, including old posts. I’m also going to categorize each post. I’m committed – again, I will not spend waste time looking for things in 2013! Mostly, I’m going to post, post, POST!

For starters, here is where we’re, well…starting!

zenned out bedroom space.

zenned out bedroom space.

newly organized closet. more to come.

newly organized closet. more to come.

closet, cont'd.

closet, cont’d.

bedroom mirror.

bedroom mirror.

school overflow and recycling overflow. new owls!

school overflow and recycling overflow. new owls!

kitchen <3

kitchen ❤

mount grosstrash.

mount grosstrash.

clean kitchen, new collage boards on the walls.

clean kitchen, new collage boards on the walls.


Happy new year, happy reading!

2 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. 1. You are a brave woman to part with your glass jar hoard… I JUST CAN’T DO IT. I have slowly been letting go of my wine bottle hoard though, it’s progress.

    2. Kudos on the no paper towels! I’ve been trying super hard to only use them for animal related clean up (3 cats & a dog up in here)- but it’s hard, and sometimes annoying. I need a better system.

    3. Your kitchen chairs look seriously marvelous 🙂

    • 1) A few days after I got rid of them. my coworker asked if I had any for a science/craft project with my students. We just can’t win. I ended up buying the cheapest product in the grocery store that comes in a jar, emptying out the food and making tornadoes in jars that minutes before held sugar-free relish. Oh well!

      2) Thanks! I used to hate using paper-towels on carpet, but I hear ya, with animals, you NEED something disposable. Good luck! And I may or may not have an animal right now, as well 🙂

      3) Thank you! They were an emergency purchase, and there are 6 of them; the apartment has grown around them, for sure! You need to come see them in real life

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