Remodel the kitchen or embrace what you have with gratitude and work for social justice instead? The choice should be easy, but it’s not. I admire the man in this article and his family so much, especially now that I pay two mortgages and consider daily how to remodel this new home in the Northwoods. Maybe I should buy a hammer instead of surf Apartmentherapy. How to use that hammer without succumbing to DIY culture is a whole different question, though.  

Give me gratitude or give me debt: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

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Dear Fiat Poop Mobile Manufacturers: Thank you for making me a fun car to drive. Please enroll in a technical communication class. Your manual sucks. The Fiat Pop glared a warning light, a yellow triangle with an exclamation point and no clear indication of what it meant. The manual said GENERIC WARNING LIGHT, to which I replied with a generic WTF? On an entirely separate page in the manual is a list of problems about which I had been generically warned. On the list was something about a broken oil pressure sensor. Skary!!!!1! Not a good thing for a new car under 4k miles. OrRead More →

k-cup

A new romantic relationship has brought with it a Brady Bunch-style merger of household objects into my life. Since my partner makes more money than me, each new item triggers my underlying class-passing anxiety.  Financial planners are full of advice about how to handle money when couples earn disparate salaries, but they don’t say anything about handling preferences in sheets, candle holders, or coffee makers. I could joyfully give away my battered, low-rent belongings and welcome the bounty of bridal-registry quality treasures in my life, but that tiny cash register noise that totals up the cost of replacing everything when the relationship fizzles is overwhelmingRead More →

homemade lip gloss

A couple of Christmases ago I decided to skip shopping, save money on presents, and make things instead. Plus, rejecting commercialized Christmas is always good. Homemade presents are more meaningful and contribute less to landfills and capitalists’ pockets. Ironically, I ended up spending lots of money; buying presents would have been cheaper. The supplies came from hobby shops with right-wing agendas and whole food grocery stores with dubious health insurance politics. I purchased obscure things like bees wax, shae butter, lavender essential oil, and rose petals. Still, I had fun sharing tea and hot chocolate with several women friends while we expressed our creativity onRead More →

“Make it Do” is better than recycling, International Buy Nothing Day, and homemade Christmas presents all put together. Our daily infrastructure makes it so hard to recycle. It’s better not to buy in the first place. The Baton Rouge Recycling Office has an excellent link to the Center for a New American Dream. The Center promotes anti-consumption, with loads of resources about cutting down on trash. The actual link about “reducing junk mail” is buried on the site. Someone at the Recycling Office is very clever. The Center’s clear anti-capitalism message will turn folks away and their junk mail will continue to clog Baton Rouge’sRead More →

This week I received many Facebook messages urging me to tell my friends “where I like it” in my Facebook status. I’ve seen my friends post such mysterious statuses as “I like it on the chandelier” and “I like it on my car seat.” This morning I posted, “I like mine without pinkwashing.” Many people didn’t understand my status or why the meme makes me so angry. I have two simple answers: 1. I hate pinkwashing. 2. This is nothing but Facebook slactivism. Put differently, I do not believe that if I post an “I like it…” status on Facebook, I have done something significantRead More →

I got to thinking about Sweet Honey in the Rock the other day when I was donating my clothing, and I wrote about the politics of second-hand clothing. In learning about what actually happens to donated clothes, I was left with a sick feeling about my own consumption, and how easily I succumb to buying things. I regularly feel guilty about going to Wal-Mart despite full awareness of why shopping there is so utterly wrong. I haven’t reflected on this problem the way I used to in women’s studies classes — the hopeless, “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” feeling you get when your consciousnessRead More →

Cleaning I’m making good progress on my 40 days/40 steps program for cleaning up my office. For a while, I was on a roll, and so I extended the program to include my bedroom and the rest of the house. In actuality, then, it is more than 40 days and 40 steps. But that’s what I’m calling it and I’m sticking to it! Today, I cleaned out several drawers (which allows me to cross off several steps on the list). I found five pairs of Christmas socks, which I couldn’t wear over Christmas since they disappeared. I was excited. This might sound mundane, but itRead More →

I must have wanted simple abundance in my life, otherwise why buy this book, Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ben Breathnach. The Oprah Book Club sticker on the cover was not a selling point. Simple Abundance is a “daybook” diary/journal that teaches readers to “simplify” their lives through consumption. The message is so ironic. On one page, Breathnach tells readers to discard all their glossy women’s magazines because they make us feel bad about ourselves and then on the next, in the very idiom of those glossies, she tells us to go shopping in order to discover our “authentic” selves. For instance, here is a representative

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