Sunday, August 18, 2019

little baby reviews ft. Emma, Jane Eyre, Eight Cousins, At Your Request, Sense and Sensibility, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


by Jane Austen

Charlotte Brontë

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My MANY problems with thredUP and a couple of okay things

Things I don't like:

1. They almost NEVER know what the clothing they are selling is made of.  You DO NOT KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE ORDERED something from thredUP and it says it's made of cotton, but it comes in rayon, or polyester, or something completely different!  And they are most of the time INSANELY slow at getting my money back when I do a return, because it's not what I ordered.  I was looking for a cotton dress, not one that will break out my highly sensitive skin.  They always can NOT believe that they messed up, but this has happened around a dozen times or more to me.  Honestly, probably more, because I never looked to make sure it was made of the right thing before I was a sophomore in high school, and I had been getting clothing from them since I was in middle school.  I was a sophomore when I finally realized that non-natural materials were at part of my skin problems. [Mostly it was gluten, but my plastic clothing was not making things better.]

They sell knockoffs.  So, one day I found a sweater on thredUP, it was a really good deal and a really good brand (I thought).  First off, thredUP had said that the fabric details were not available, so I went on the brand's website and looked at what the sweater on there was made of.  I was completely fine with that, and so assuming that the tag had just been cut out, I bought the sweater.  When it arrived, it did not have the right tags.  Yes, the tag said that it was the right brand, but the label was wrong TM vs R inside an O, and made in China, when this brand only makes things in Peru.  As well as the one from thredUP being made of plastic, cheap plastic.  Yes, it had the tags, and the fabric details were TOTALLY available.  The REAL brand doesn't use plastic at all.  They do a special weave that means they can use 100% organic cotton.  This was not organic at all.  Nothing was QUITE right about it, because it was a knockoff.  Anyway, the brand that this knockoff was trying to be was Fair Indigo, so be careful when buying that.  And not once, but twice, I got another Fair Indigo knockoff from thredUP.  So, yeah, boycott thredUP, find someone who can tell the difference to work for you.

2. Greenwashing.  Oh, we are so eco-friendly!  We believe in second hand fashion, it's better for the earth to buy second hand!  BUT PLEASE BUY OUR CLOTHING LINE OF BRAND NEW, PROBABLY MADE IN SWEATSHOPS, NON BIODEGRADABLE AND PLASTIC, AND NON ORGANIC CLOTHING.

3. I sent in a box of my clothing following all the rules and guidelines, making sure that everything was nice, new and a brand that they took.  SUPER new clothing.  Not expecting to get much for any of it. But, yeah, wow.  They took almost nothing, and were all like "Yeah, the rest of it was just TOO bad, had to go to a clothing recycler."  And it's like really?  Because it had no holes, or stains, or pilling, or anything wrong with it.  I sent in things with tags still on them, and they didn't accept any of them.  The only items they did accept were Walmart clothing that was almost too old to be sent in.  LAME.

4. They sell things that have stains and pilling and sometimes holes.  They will let you know about it in the description, but IT'S crazy.  I do not go shopping for clothes that I will have to fix up.  Lame. Lame. Lame.

5. It's too expensive. I have never been to a thrift store that is near as expensive as them.  They sell things from Walmart for more than you can buy it at Walmart.  The price comparison is not always accurate.  If you really want to know what it would cost new, go on the website for the thing you are thinking about buying on thredUP, most of the time it's not a great deal.  I will say, sometimes it is.  But I honestly don't want to pay more than $8 for something that doesn't have tags on or look EXACTLY like new, because I can probably find something like it at my local thrift store for cheaper.

6.  All the clothes smell like they were drenched in Fabreeze, and take many washings to remove the smell.  This is the opposite of fun for someone who is sensitive to chemical scents.

Things that are okay:

1. I love that you can search by size and color and type of thing and material (not that it will necessarily be that material when you get it....).  This is how I am able to find organic cotton leggings with the tags on when I need them, or a dress for a wedding, or whatever, but it might be a knock off!

2. The people who don't have access to thrift stores, or good thrift stores, can buy second hand items online.  That's nice.  And it is the worlds largest online thrift store, so there are lots to choose from, but like slow fashion teaches, more is not always better.

3. It's classy for people who wouldn't go to thrift stores.  They can find delicious designer clothes with tags on for cheap, and save the planet by getting them second hand.

So, I have lots of problems with thredUP, which had made me boycott them for months at a time, and now forever.  They are quite honestly too much work.  I hate doing returns with them and hoping they have the right info on their website.  Customer service says their staff carefully inspects items so that they don't sell knockoffs, but apparently not everyone does that job well, which is SO LAME.  So, yeah, bye thredUP.  I'm not going back to you, as Tay Tay said "We are never, ever, ever getting back together."

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Summer Thrift Haul 2019 // Books, Clothing and More

So, it was a day, and I decided to try and go to a local thrift store, but it was closed.  So, I went to a different one.  Here is what I found. 
 To start off with a BOOM, I found, or should I say my Mother found, because she came with me and actually found this thing: 100% cotton, MADE IN THE USA (that is so rare for clothing these days!!!), Jean shorts, vintage, with the tags still on. Yeah!!!
 Here I am wearing them.
 Here I am wearing them in a cute less middle aged way.... sadly these fit well standing up, but before I bought them, I forgot to try sitting in them.  For me, sitting in them makes it feel like I am being cut in half... not recommended.  SIT IN YOUR JEANS BEFORE YOU BUY THEM.  Okay, that was a PSA.
 I also found this dress.  Yes, really it was me who found it this time.  For real.  And it has POCKETS!!!!  NOW I CAN TAKE OVER THE WORLD. *evil laugh*  Seriously, now I don't have to buy another purse, because I have pockets that I can keep things in.
 Fabulous color, also 100% cotton.  Not vintage, but vintage inspired.
 Now, on to the books.  I got an Emily Dickinson collection, which is rad, of course.  Villette, by Charlotte Brontë, because I love Jane Eyre (even with it's many problems) and so, I decided to try something else by the author.  Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, a collection by him as well, because he was a cool guy.
And now, onto mostly books I found for my Mother.  My Mother is collecting the Christy Miller series in the old covers, because she got the first three when they were originally published.  As you can see, I found many of them for her.  We got a nice copy of Ella Enchanted, because they are hard to find in good condition, so we always pick them up.  Ella Enchanted is a good gift book to have around. And of course a Janette Oke book, because Mom is collecting those as well.

Last, but not least, we found a zero waste microwave popcorn maker.  Yes.  That is awesome!!!  We bought the exact same one for more than $2.50 (the thrift store price), just a few months ago, and we LOVE it.  The popper takes a while to cool between batches, and you're not supposed to make another batch until it's cooled, so it will be nice to be able to make them one right after another.  We buy popcorn in bulk in a paper bag, and that's how this is zero waste.  It also saves money in the long run, because we are not buying all the bagged popcorn, which is also not as healthy, because it has lots of added things, which when you make popcorn yourself you don't add.

TTYL. Peace and Love!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Beverly Gray by Clair Blank mini book reviews

Beverly Gray's Surprise (Beverly Gray #25)

by Clair Blank

Good mystery for the whole family!  This was the very first Beverly Gray that I read, and it is still my fave, BUT it is the last in the series.  It is a very classic mystery, and when I read it for the first time, it kept me guessing, which is so fun and enjoyable, hopefully what everyone wants in a mystery.  10/10.  Just a group of friends getting into mystery-ness and having a great time.    

Beverly Gray's Secret (Beverly Gray #21)
Clair Blank
I enjoyed this book, but I do think the mystery could have been a little more fleshed out.  I solved the mystery really quickly.  I will tell you, I liked it a lot though.  Sidebar:  a character that is only in this book, that I know of, was my favorite!  Also, the books get better as they go on!

Clair Blank

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Plastic Free July in review 2019

So, I decided to take on the Plastic Free July Challenge.  Basically you try not to buy anything in plastic or anything that IS plastic.  This would be easier if I didn't have food allergies, but with that in mind and the fact that it was mostly going to be me and my mom taking on this challenge, we set out.

Our first plastic free grocery shopping went really well, only one thing in plastic for us, meat.  I had already said for meat, with where we live, we have to have it in plastic.  So, I make an exception for that.  Not that I will be eating it, because I'm back to mostly vegetarian living.  I am so much healthier when I am mostly veggie, and it's what is recommended for my blood type.  I was just acting like following the Blood Type A Diet didn't actually work for me... but, yeah, it might be real.

Another thing, we went to the Drive-In for a movie and got given a plastic bag.  LAME!  They were all like "it's for trash."  Like, Girl, I am trying to not have trash, because I want the future generations to have a Drive-In to go to that is not trash.  So, that happened (I didn't say any of that out loud, just in my head and took the bag), but also it was not something we tried to bring into our lives, it happened to us. And no one can do Plastic Free July perfectly (except the really intense hippies on the commune, that I wish I was), the important thing is to do our best not to bring unnecessary plastic into our lives so places stop having it and it stops killing the earth, and everything and everyone on it.

So how do I shop without plastic? Like everything comes in plastic!!!!

First off, reusable bags, not just for when checking out, but that is important, too.  Reusable produce bags for fruits and veggies!  BOOM.  I know it's wild and awesome to buy loose fruits and vegetables and put them in reusable bags, but it ROCKS.

Also, finding things in less packaging, and bulk, like the meat we bought from Sprouts in a 2 1/2 lb package, instead of the 1 lb package we sometimes buy.  Look for things packaged in something besides plastic, because sometimes it's just in cardboard, or paper, which can be composted.  For example, organic grape tomatoes at Aldi come in a cardboard basket which is all compostable, except the plastic seal on top.

Package Free Shop, an online, and in New York, zero waste shop is awesome, because they have many things that would normally come in plastic not in plastic!  I got an all natural deodorant in a glass jar from Package Free Shop; it is awesome and makes me smell like tea tree.  We also got some reusable ziploc bags that you can cook in, because they are made of silicone, and you can wash them in the dishwasher.

Another thing, we are not quite here all the time, but if we were it would save us tons of money:  cloth washable and reusable "paper" towels!  We do this part of the time, but would like to do it all the time.

Who Gives a Crap is a super cool, sustainable toilet paper brand.  They are highly reduced in plastic and doing Plastic Free July, too.  They just became even more sustainable. #sustainabilityrules They have options for bamboo, or recycled paper, toilet paper which comes wrapped in paper (not plastic! Yay!!!).  The toilet paper is also bleach free and no trees are harmed in the making of these products.  They also sell paper towels and tissues.

Of course reusable water bottles and straws, if you use them, are awesome.  I have had both for a while, and LOVE THEM.

So, yeah, I am so excited about Plastic Free July and I recommend anyone gives it a try!  It will be exciting to see if we save any money by shopping this way... I think we might, because of a lack of plastic free "junk food".  But who knows?!  Maybe all the fruit and vegetables will cost so much more and be so healthy that I get super powers and take over the world!!! *Evil laugh* You never know.......

Friday, July 19, 2019

No Spend on Clothes Update 2019

So, when I decided to do this no clothing buying year, I had NO CLUE how BADLY clothing is made.  Well, I had a little bit of an idea, but I didn't really know.  Like I had read about how badly fast fashion clothing was made, but I was kind of like, I haven't experienced that very much...  but I think I had but not realized it until I stopped buying clothing and I was allowed to only buy replacement clothes, or things I REALLY needed like a sweater for a funeral.  You get it.  And I didn't think I would have to buy any clothing until close to the end of the year.  I was like "once it's been like a year, probably a few pieces will need to become pjs, or remade into non clothing."  NOOO, instead I started to have clothes falling apart like a week in, then I had MORE CLOTHING FALL APART.  LIKE WHAT!?!?!  I wash my clothing on cold and I have only used the dyer a few times when it's just TOOOOO hard for the clothing to dry hanging up, and I use "air fluff" or "low" or a mix of both so as to not kill my clothing, yet somehow they die.  Well...  Also...  My cat did kill one of them, but I don't want to talk about that right now.

Now at half way through the year, I have even gotten a few new organic cotton clothes, which I have mixed feelings on, because on one hand the earth has more clothes than people can wear so it's MUCH more eco-friendly to only buy second hand, but on the other hand, I do want people to be able to grow organic cotton instead of GMO cotton and clothing jobs are incredibly important... it's tough, but I think doing a mix of both second hand and new fair trade things is a good way to take part right now.  I personally prefer second hand, because of the price and the unique style you can get there.  So, no, I still haven't broken my no clothes buying year, but it has not went as planned with me buying no clothes, because of my clothes falling apart and me needing clothes for a summer funeral.

Last year when I was tying to get things for possible events such as weddings and funerals and anything else that I might be going to, I didn't really get anything for a summer funeral.  I went to a funeral already in winter of this year.  I have options when it comes to cold weather funerals.  I am covered from things I got last year, and I guess I didn't expect to really be going to any weddings, or funerals this year.  By last fall I wasn't invited to any, but you don't really know about funerals in advance, which is why I always try to have something on hand that I can wear to a funeral.  Because when my grandfather died a few years ago I didn't have anything for as cold as the weather turned out to be.  It was EXTREMELY stressful to be buying funeral clothes on the day of the visitation.  Like yeah, my grandpa just died and I have nothing to wear to his funeral, and I am already in an emotional state and now I have to find clothes to wear in an hour!!!  Honestly clothing shopping can be extremely stressful already.  Not fun, and I never wanted to have to do that again.  So, I think it is important to keep a few things that you can wear for funerals and a few things you can wear to weddings in your wardrobe at all times, because you never know when someone is going to die, or elope.  Fact.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

I almost failed the Slow Fashion Season!

Disclaimer: This is very First World Problems.  Laugh as needed.

So, I decided to take part in the "Slow Fashion Season" which is AWESOME.  Basically the point of it is to not buy new clothing for three months.  Totally doable, right?  Like yeah, of course!  What is encouraged is mending, thrifting, swapping and upcycling.  I love all of those things!  The more of them the better, especially for me who is *trying* to do a no clothing buying year!  And so I signed up.

And not even a week into it, this happened:  I shrunk my dress.  I own five dresses, FIVE!  I need all of them, probably.  But I decided to try and go without buying a new one, because it will be fine.  I can live with that, one less dress okay.  Well... the next day my black leggings died, as in they had to be made into rags bad (on the bright side I have organic cotton rags for my car now!)  And another pair of leggings was just worn out.  I needed new leggings.  So, I was like okay next time I go to Natural Grocers, I will buy a new pair of organic cotton, fair trade leggings... But then I remembered!  My Slow Fashion Season!  I shouldn't buy new, no matter how "eco-friendly" and fair trade they are!  And so I was like I don't know what to do.

My Mom was like "You need new leggings, just get them."  My Dad was like "How much do they cost? Here's money for them."  My family was very pro me getting the new, decently slow fashion leggings, because they love me.  They are the best.  But I was still like "I don't want to break my Slow Fashion Season!" But also here's the thing, it is SUPER hard to find leggings at the thrift store.  I have TRIED many times.

So, later that day, me and my Mom were talking and she was once again like "Get them, you need them. It's all good."  And I was like, "Yeah, I don't need to be perfect, it's fine.  I can just buy it, but it breaks my heart to not be doing the Slow Fashion Season, so maybe I will just wait until it's over, or I could try and get leggings somewhere besides Natural Grocers."  And my Mom was like "Where would you find leggings besides there? That would fit in your Slow Fashion Season?"  or something like that, I don't remember.  I just remember thinking of an online thrift store, that will not be named.  I have found two different pairs of leggings on there and one organic cotton pair!  So, me and the Mother went on there, and sure enough, guess what we found?  My FAVORITE brand of leggings (Satva, recently fair trade certified! Also, GOTS certified. I got my first pair of them second hand.)  They were in my size and I knew that they would fit, TAGS STILL ON and the exact color of the leggings that I lost (rest in peace) that day.  It was totally a God thing.  I could not believe it.  Tags on leggings (BRAND NEW) and even with shipping cost, less than buying that one pair of leggings from Natural Grocers.

Now I do not mind supporting Natural Grocers having organic cotton, and made in the USA, clothing at their stores.  I really want them to continue to have Maggie's Organics and other bands there.  That is why I buy socks from there, made in the USA baby! (The leggings are not made in the USA, neither are the Satva Leggings, the only organic cotton leggings made in the USA that I know of are from Groceries Apparel, and I have yet to try them.)

Also, note, I personally prefer to buy things that are not biodegradable from second hand places, because I really don't want more non biodegradable clothing made, it's SO bad for the earth.  But leggings are my JAM guys.  I have been wearing them all my life.  I don't know how to style an outfit without them!  So, it was amazing to find them second hand and with tags on!  Leggings are something that I am fine with getting second hand, especially with tags on.  Besides socks and underwear, leggings are the only thing that I really have to buy with plastic (spandex) in it.  Tee shirts don't need it, dresses don't need it, sweaters don't need it, skirts don't need it, and so on.  Not that I don't own all of those things with plastic (spandex) in them, I definitely do.  I am new to knowing about biodegradable clothing, but I have learned more about it since I bought them, and some of them are second hand, so I'm completely fine with that.  I would rather wear them and keep them out of the landfills as long as possible.

The point of this story is that if you are trying to do well by the earth and if you are a Christian like me, do well by the earth because God made the earth and made man to be good to it, then just know that you will be able to do.  Just try to think outside the box, and try second hand first, and after that fair trade and sustainable brands.  I believe that God will make a way for the people who want to to the right thing.  I'm so thankful for the fact that I didn't have to "fail" the Slow Fashion Season and that God made a way in the "wilderness," as He always does.  He really does care about our lives.