Tuesday, 24 December 2013

better to borrow than receive

I have just hit the four month mark.  And somehow have gotten this far without whining here on the blog about my home decor withdrawal.  Well here it goes!

Thus far it may appear as though my larger passion is fashion, but that would be misleading.  Decor and how I keep my home is just as important, and sometimes more!  I have a pinch of obsessive personality disorder, and keeping things tidy, in place, and pleasing to the eye is a necessity for me to be able to relax and enjoy my time at home.  I love expressing myself in how I decorate, and until this challenge began, I was changing furniture pieces and accent items in the condo almost as often as I was buying new shoes.  I kid you not when I say that the folks at Home Sense likely believe I had a fatal accident in late August...

Fast forward to winter and I'm already on my second seasonal overhaul.  Fall was pretty basic with bringing more warm colours, throw blankets, and candles out, but Christmas is a much bigger deal!  Not being able to add new items was tough, especially since I feel a lot of my tastes have changed in the last year.  To fill in some of the gaps, I reached out to my Mom (who I can likely blame for my obsession with interior design and decorating) to ask if I could come borrow some items she wouldn't be using around the house.  

After my little "shopping trip" to the parent's place I came back with a few vintage glass baubles, a lace table runner for my hutch, a gold serving tray, and a few other country Christmas gems.  

With our home all decked for the season, I put my feet up, pour a glass of red, and listen to some crooners sing Christmas. 

May your holidays be bright!

Unbuyer's Tip #8: Be resourceful, borrow when necessary!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

two shades of grey

It's the last week of November and I have just passed my three month mark.  Time is either passing very quickly, or slower than can be handled, depending on how optimistic I am when you ask.  

I get asked a lot of things.  Most recently I was asked how my "month of no shopping" went.  Ha!  Wouldn't that have been lovely!  Those who know me well ask how I'm handling the lack of new things, and those who know me better ask if I've cheated yet.

Have I cheated?  Turns out things aren't quite as black and white as I thought, and this past weekend I found myself pushing the boundaries. 

I knew this time of year would be difficult because it calls for shopping.  November is a birthday heavy month for friends and family and of course Christmas can't come without ribbons or tags, without packages boxes or bags!  I've been very purposeful on my outings, but to my detriment, I am cursed with a wandering eye.

As my sister and I were out looking for a birthday gift for our brother, a flash of geometric velvet caught my eye.  Velvet.  The classiest and most classic of Christmas party dress fabrics.  I knew I'd gone too far when I walked closer to inspect...  "Erin, I need this!  I really need it!" the pleading began.  

I decided at the beginning of this process that I am not a charity case.  I will not beg or barter to get things that I want.  But with only four short weeks until Christmas, was it an impossibility to ask for this as my Christmas gift... and to get it early?

Grey area number one— I asked for the dress, and I got it early.

Next, my attention was grabbed by a smack of berry colour.  This time my want was paired with practical necessity.  Since getting my laptop almost a year ago I have been on the lookout for a case that I don't hate.  Dangerous but true, when I'm on the go I just throw my laptop in my handbag or suitcase without a thought towards its preservation.  Upon seeing a case that could pass as a clutch, I knew it was the one we (my laptop and I) had been waiting for. 

Grey area number two— I bought the case.

These two new items have been weighing on my conscience.  Though neither technically break my unbuying commitment, I may have gone too far and am left feeling guilty.  

Help me decide by placing your vote in my comments below!  Should I stop fretting, or keep regretting?!

Unbuyer's Tip #7: Don't give in to your peripheral vision, always look up!

Friday, 8 November 2013

the three r's

During the past few weeks I have started settling into an understanding of what not having new clothes truly means.  I've been challenged to accept my closet for what it is, and in doing so have finally seen myself becoming more creative and resourceful.  Here are a few of the ways I have remixed, reused and recycled my way through October.

I've been having tons of fun pairing items in new ways to get the feeling of new clothes!  I'm aware that some of my attempts may have as much fashion sense as a pile of laundry, but I tend to believe that true head turning style comes from pushing the boundaries.

My girlfriends know me for having a dress collection of uncalled for quantity.  Now living in a mostly west-coast-casual city, weddings and Christmas parties are the most glammed up opportunities that typically come my way.  With each classy event, I have added a new classy outfit, and re-wearing the same dress has never been an option.  As it turns out, I was actually thrilled to wear one of my single appearance favourites to a friend's wedding in Vancouver. 

Every Halloween I look forward to stretching my creative abilities and aim to come up with the best representation of a character that is not me.  On October 31st I take pride in the level of thought that has gone into my costume— after all, costume contests are won or lost in the details.  This year was particularly painful for me as I wasn't able to buy any accessories or clothing items to make up the perfect persona.  I was lucky to have a friend pitch an idea that was both witty and could be made of household goods!

Top Row: 2013 Costume - Bad News
Bottom Row L to R: 2009 Kat Von D, 2010 Chola, 2011 Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art

Unbuyer's Tip #6: Get creative with what you have in your closet— don't be afraid to experiment!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

the big four and what I know now

It's been a few weeks and though a lot has happened, even more hasn't.  Allow me to explain...

As stated in my first post I had been awaiting a shopping trip this fall with my friend visiting from London, where the solitary clause of my shopping cleanse would take effect— I was allowed to buy four items!

In my eagerness, I headed to Vancouver a day before my girlfriend's flight was to land.  Without shopping as my focus, and accompanied by my best buddy from the city, I got to experience a bunch of firsts.  I visited English Bay and North Van.  I checked out a farmer's market and had brunch at an amazing little place in Lonsdale.  

As the day came to an end I rushed to the airport, just in time to see my friend walk through International arrivals.  We had been anticipating this visit for months, and our two weeks back together was just beginning.  What better way to start it off than with one of our favourite pastimes— shopping!

After a good night's rest we started out, and over the hours ahead I experienced much pain of choice.  I picked up a lot of things, tried on less, and after some deliberation only committed to the things I loved the most.  

I activated my super human self control and walked out with four items as promised.  What was more fulfilling was the fifteen to twenty that I didn't walk out with.  

Check out my spoils!

tank dress  |  tall suede boot  |  leather leggings  |  motorcycle boot

Once back in Kelowna the shopping continued.  My girlfriend fell in love with Winners and we spent a few afternoons popping in to check out the new arrivals.  My family was kind enough to buy me giftcards for my birthday and I had been hoarding them.  After adding a few additional fabulous finds to my fall wardrobe, I started feeling some anxiety about how these experiences might take their toll on my current 30 days clean record.

To be honest, what I started with willpower ended up becoming too difficult to handle.  Having reached my shopping spree quota and with no limit left on my cards, I re-entered the unbuying realm once again for the remaining 11 months.  And I was glad.

In hindsight I wouldn't have allowed myself a clause.  Or maybe I would have started my challenge after my wonderful September visit with a best friend had come to an end.

One thing I know for sure is that I will be requesting no giftcards this Christmas!

Unbuyer's Tip #5:  In the early stages of overcoming your addiction, keep yourself out of temptation's way.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

rock 'n' blog

I went to a rock show last weekend and I was tempted.  In my younger single years it would have been the lead singer, or maybe the bassist...but it was all merch this time.  

There are two trends that I'm loving right now due to the versatility and comfort level— as well as the great opportunity to express your personal taste in music or animals.  That's right!  I'm crazy about band t-shirts and animal faces!  Here are some great examples of how to style these trends.

Now imagine seeing these two trends legitimately combined.  Mind blown.  Cue uncontrollable desire, so strong it masquerades as need.  Australian band, Airbourne, hit the fashion nail on the head when they had their latest album-cover-turned-t-shirt designed.  

One thousand ways to wear Black Dog Barking flashed before my eyes, and the situation carried out as follows.

Me: "Ryan I need that t-shirt.  I reeeally need it!"
Ryan: "Blog about it."

Unbuyer's Tip #4: Prepare for unexpected temptation by finding a healthy replacement and focusing on that. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

small town USA success story

Last weekend I jumped on the back of my boyfriend's bike for a three day riding trip through Washington and Idaho.  Typically, the first thing I do when I find out I'm going on a road trip or vacation of any kind, is start researching where I'm going to shop!

You might think traveling on the back of a motorcycle with very limited storage, through two horse towns in northwest USA, does not qualify as a potential shopping trip.  But trust me— every trip, is a shopping trip.

I love looking for hidden gems in the least expected places.  Antique or hand made jewelry, a trucker cap or printed scarf.  I have items like these from airports, gas stations, and road-side shops around the world.  If I was going somewhere, I was shopping!

With Coeur d'Alene Idaho as our destination, and the first new town since my "cleanse" began, I prepared myself to focus on other things.  This little lakeside city, much like home, had a great waterfront where we spent hours walking, swimming and sitting in the sun visiting with our friends.  I'm surprised how easy and relaxing it felt to let go and enjoy the destination and the company, instead of stressing over where I could get my fix.

Success to me used to be coming home with a few great finds, but this recent trip has shown me that I just might be able to do this.

Getting ready to go - Under Armour is the best 'under gear'

In love with my leathers - Alpinestars Stella Vika gear

The group ready to board the Inchelium Ferry across Lake Roosevelt WA
(me at far right)

Beauty sweeper

Fruitland WA - the only purchase was gas!

City Park Coeur d'Alene ID

Unbuyer's Tip #3: Focus on the sites, not the shops

Thursday, 29 August 2013

week one: relief & paranoia

It was the beginning of August when I decided I was going to take on this challenge— so that left me with three weeks of preparation, anticipation, and panic.  

In preparation I decided I should learn how to blog and get everything set up ready to go.  I didn't.  But I did sit down and work out a budget plan that will have me paying off my shopping debt within the year.

With anticipation I changed my mind almost daily on the parameters of my challenge and what I would and would not allow myself...at one point I was going to give myself a monthly allowance to keep shopping... I was trying to find loopholes wherever I could.  

And out of panic, I shopped.  A lot.


My first emotion when D-Day finally came, was relief.  I could finally stop.  I had given myself permission, and power, to stop.  Sound dramatic?  Yeah, it was.

Becoming comfortably acquainted with the "new me", I was not prepared for what happened next. 


For the last two fall seasons I have been deeply obsessed with finding the perfect pair of Sam Edelman black leather equestrian boots.  Minding my own business (and most of yours) on Facebook, the local shop and swap posting of a beautiful pair of Sam Edelmans appeared.  They were perfect condition, perfect price, and I knew someone was out to make me fail when I saw that they were also, MY SIZE! 

Who would do this to me?  Create an entire profile, persona, back story, to sabotage me?  This could not be coincidence.  And sweet mercy!  It could not be happening!  

I turned to my boyfriend immediately, "Ryan— I need these.  I actually need them.  I've been waiting so long..."  He assured me that I did not actually need them.  That I had to move on.  And I kind of did.  I didn't buy them, but mentally I haven't gotten over the loss.  I feel anxiety from being so close to crossing something off the consumer-lust list and not being able to. 

These boots have made week one tough.  The cosmos have it out for me, and now I'm starting to taste the reality of what I'm going to have to bear.

~ Sarah

Beautiful Patrice... You could have been mine!

Unbuyer's Tip #2: Talk about your temptations, it gives them less power.

Friday, 23 August 2013

my name is Sarah, and I'm a shopaholic

Today is my birthday.  And I’m going to do something big.

Inspired by the recent story of a friend who refrained from purchasing new clothes and accessories for an entire year, challenged to truly use the abundance of her closet, I begin my own year of “consumer abstinence”.

Easier said than done, I plan to stop purchasing all home decor, clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories for the next year (with the exception of allowing myself 4 new items during a previously booked shopping trip with my bestie this fall). I will be using this space to document my journey and to offer tips I learn along the way. But why am I doing this?

Fashion and interior decor are my creative outlet, my passion— but they are also my addiction. Over the next three hundred and sixty five days, I hope to purge myself of the unquenchable desire to have new and have more.  My goal is to find peace, and deeper ways to express my creativity.

Feeling the truth behind the quote “every possession is an anchor”, I cannot wait to become unbound!

~ Sarah

Unbuyer’s Tip #1: Be honest with yourself.

a small glimpse