Monday 13 October 2014

life after unbuying: fall must haves

Being that I am a (hopefully) reformed shopping addict, I am very strict with myself when it comes to buying new things. That means every item is really scrutinized and absolutely MUST be worth it! 

I wore one new thing every day this week (how liberating!) and here are the firsts of my fall must haves:






Happy Thanksgiving and happy fall shopping!


Sunday 5 October 2014

first haul: back at the rack

So it took me a couple weeks, but I finally went shopping. I was in LA for work last month and found myself back at a familiar place. Nordstrom Rack Beverly Centre. The place that some might say expedited my downward spiral into consumer gluttony.

With a handful of saved up cash, I hit the racks. I've gotten picky over the last twelve months, and now truly understand the value of good quality and classic pieces that can be worn often and remixed easily.

Breaking my dry spell was not exciting. At all. It's hard to put in such an effort to stop something; an action, a feeling; and then reintroduce yourself to it. As soon as I walked out, bags in tow, I was overwhelmed with guilt. So I went and ate my face off at Katsuya. Who am I kidding, I would have done that anyway.

More seriously, I realize that learning how to shop again in a healthy way will take time. I know I will find my balance. The place where I feel the freedom of being in control alongside the desire to want and permission to have.  In the meantime, I am the proud (and remorseful) owner of seventeen new additions to my closet. 

Of the above, I have only de-tagged and worn one item, despite going on week three since my shopping haul. As I noted earlier this year in my blog, I buy and hoard. The more special the item, the longer it will take me to wear. Think Gollum and the Ring.

Wanting to try and break this habit and allow myself to enjoy my new pieces, while at the same time answering the question that so many of you have been asking me ("what have you bought!?"), I plan to wear one new item every day this week. Though I feel anxious just thinking of this, you can expect another post next weekend showcasing some of my new fall must haves!

Until then,


Sunday 24 August 2014


Yesterday was my birthday, and the last day of my unbuying year. On birthday mornings it has become a ritual to get some solo time outside; to run and worship and begin my year off right. Feeding my mind, body and spirit, I reflect upon the last year and all of the blessings in my life.

For obvious reasons, this last year has been unlike any other. Cutting out a massive activity that meant so many things to me: enjoyment, creativity, fulfillment, identity, obsession, stress, distraction, weakness. Letting go of shopping was never something I thought I could do, but I did, and it changed me.

I found better things to want. The want to do more for others, the want to explore, the want to be grateful, the want to focus on the now and make the most of it. I learnt that I can feel content without the constant high of "new". But mostly, I witnessed how quickly time passes.

Three hundred and sixty five days I held up my end of the deal. In return, I found peace. It is incredibly exhilarating to realize that you are stronger than your desires, and I think that is where the freedom comes from.

She's got the last day happies!

Free. That is the word I have used most in this past year to express to people how this life change with a time limit has felt. Now that time is up, I mostly feel nervous. I liked the comfort of my abstinence, the safety of my rules. Having reached my goal, my new aim is to find balance. Reintroducing myself into consumer society while maintaining control and somehow, holding onto freedom.

Not wanting to set myself up for failure, my rule for the year ahead is that I must save up in advance for any fashion or home decor items I want to buy. This concept wasn't an issue when I was thirteen, mowing lawns so I could buy a Club Monaco sweatshirt, but somehow I grew up into an "I'll pay it off later" person. The debt actually becoming a secondary evil to the constant want.

There are a handful of items on my radar that I've wanted as time has been passing— new Ray Bans, black patent stilettos, leather moto jacket, new runners, to name a few — but I'm in no rush. See? I'm new now. But I didn't get this way alone. I owe a lot of thanks to so many of you who have supported me and believed in me during my year. THANK YOU!

Encouragement is one of the most powerful things; put it on your shopping list!

Sarah xo

Unbuyer's Tip #16: Decide what you want to change, and get busy changing it every day. Do not be intimidated by time. Stand firm, stay focused, and one day you will open your eyes and be where you hoped you could be.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

the dry run

Guess what.  I hit a new "stage" in my unbuying this month.  A very uncool stage.  I have become painfully bored of my closet.  

I mostly find myself wishing it all just disappeared and that I could start fresh.  Wondering why Stacy and Clinton couldn't just throw it all out for me and hand me a credit card.  Where is this new emotion coming from?  Have I found my threshold for not having something new to wear?  Or is the excitement and energy of summer arriving just making me all wanty and dissatisfied?

I shouldn't overreact too much.  I'm still having some fun outfitting myself.

                     Spring 2014 outfits from my closet                     

On account of my boredom, I made a surprising choice while at the mall recently with my mom.  Upon walking through spring/summer 2014 collections, I decided that maybe I've become set enough in my non-shopping ways to handle trying something on without freaking out.  

I wanted almost everything I saw.  This being the issue that got me in this mess in the first place, and the reason why during the last ten months I have avoided the mall almost completely.  I tried on a dozen or so items and these were my thoughts:

  • Perk Alert!  When you aren't buying, price doesn't matter!
  • Curse you Rachel Roy, Kensie and Denim & Supply for having the most wear-worthy, gorgeously designed summer selections
  • I really don't miss the feeling of trying on a thousand things and being frustrated or depressed because only one or two things fit (almost) perfectly

Kensie French Terry Dress + Zip | Kensie Drapey French Terry Dress + Embellishments
Kensie Drapey French Terry Dress
          Rachel Roy Dreamcatcher Maxi | Denim & Supply Graphic Drapey T       
           Rachel Roy Flower Cross Tank Dress | Denim & Supply Call of the Wild T           

Overall my experiment of will power was good.  It allowed me to learn a few new things about myself and see how far I've come.  And it definitely didn't hurt that I had someone supportive there to help keep me on track! 

I came, I saw, I conquered.  
Sarah xo

Unbuyer's Tip #15: Keep your eyes open to the plights and plans of others and encourage them.  It is so very important.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

poppin' tags

Today was a mini-milestone day.  I used to be famous for having a closet full of lovely unworn clothing, tags still on.  When girlfriends came a-borrowing they stepped into a walk-in-closet boutique where they were often the first to wear one of my sitting pretty pieces.

I've never been the type to wear a just purchased item right away.  I savour them.  The newness.  A box of Nine Wests can sit at the end of my bed unopened for two weeks.  A never washed pair of AG jeans, still folded in the bag, for even longer.  Sometimes it could bring me just as much joy to know it was there, and new, than as if I were wearing it for all to see.  It hasn't always been about the outfit or the styling of it.  Sometimes the having of it was the best part.  I found that once the tag was off and the flashy new friend was in circulation, the love remained, but the rush was gone.

I've gone months and even years before wearing a new item or "beginning" a new hand bag.  The more I wanted it, the happier I am to have it, the longer it typically takes to cut the cord.  The one with the price tag attached.

Today, I wore the last truly new article in my closet.  I bought it in Los Angeles last June and loved it ever since.  Hanging white lace, just waiting.

Today, I was poppin' tag.

Sarah xo

Unbuyer's Tip #14: Take a moment to truly appreciate the luxuries you spend your money on.  If it was worth having, it's worth savouring.

Sunday 27 April 2014

moving up

As of April 1st we've been living in a new home, and as of April 23rd I'm four months from the end of my year.  It's scary how time flies and how new situations and new habits can feel normal in no time.

Less than a month in our new condo and it almost feels like we've been here all along.  That might partly be because we are still actually in the same condo building, we just moved up in the world.  From the fifth floor to the ninth.

When I found out we were moving I had some major anxiety over the redecorating fever that was to come.  How could I possibly set up a new home without new items— picked out perfectly for each room, each wall, each spacial inspiration!?  The daydreaming has begun and I'm making a list for September!
metallic throw pillows | brushed gold floor lamp | picture frame artwork
globe lamp | overexposed photography | 1960's teak dresser

leather butterfly chair | mid-century modern brass lamp | aztec rug | modern industrial cabinet

floor length track curtains | restored french provincial dresser

I feel inspired and can't wait to get going with the new decor come fall.  In the meantime, if you happen to be over, please know we are a work in progress!

Sarah xo

Unbuyer's Tip #13: When you can't do, dream!  Exercise your creativity by making virtual design boards.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

i heart ny

As alluded to in my previous post, I went on a trip to New York City last month.  The trip was somewhat spontaneous, so I had just enough time to freak out about not being able to shop, but not enough time to have factored in some sort of NYC Shopping clause into my year of unbuying.

Upon announcing we were going to New York, a few friends suggested that I not let the trip to the Big Apple go un-shopped, that there must be some sort of allowance for a trip like this.  Luckily, the friends we traveled with are very aware of my "addiction" and were a big support in not only encouraging other events while in the City, but also went un-shopped themselves!

I would love to lament about how hard it was not to shop and brag of how strong I was to stick to my goals, but to be honest, the temptation passed almost unnoticed.  This was my third, and so far best, trip to NYC and I truthfully didn't even care about shopping.  The City is so alive and enchanting that all I wanted to do was walk, see, take in and be a part of the bigger exhilarating thing.  I would live in NYC in a heartbeat, if it'd have me.  

I could spend hours writing about every amazing moment that took place during the four day trip, but instead, for the purpose of this blog, I will instead take moments to share in pictures some of what I wore while living a dream.

You'll notice the theme was warm coats and toques.  It was so cold, but hours of walking and ducking in for cocktails helped!  Next time we hang out feel free to ask for my stories of New York, just the thought leaves me smiling.

Sarah xo

P.S.— I passed my six month mark!

Unbuyer's Tip #12: Let the doubt that others have in you fuel your determination to succeed.