Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Purge: clothing edition

Just when you thought we were winding down. We took Marie Kondo's advice and focused on one category: clothing. Don't worry mom's, we still have clothing, we aren't joining a nudist colony, and we are technically still clinically sane. BUT we did get rid of 20% of our closet.

Josey's purge: 24%
Brian's purge: 16%

Clothing is tough. Are you feeling like we have a lot of clothing - count yours, I dare ya.

How we did it:
  1. Do I wear this or have I worn it in a year?
  2. Does it fit? Am I delusional about how 'good' it fits me?
  3. Will I wear it ever? 
  4. Hey spouse, do you like how this looks on me?
  5. Do I need this?
That's it. Short and sweet. No room to shed tears... it's clothing. Brian was able to return items with tags still attached, and Josey sold to Plato's closet (again). Overall we got rid of 100 items and made $50. It took two excruciating days (tough decisions were made) and hopefully our items on consignment will bring in even more cash! 
Feeling courageous? We dare you to match our 20%. Comment below if you come close!

Need not,
Josey and Brian

P.S. This is just a start, without wasting perfectly good clothing, or being ridiculous, our first purge was fairly successful. Stay tuned for The Purge Part II.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charleston Shuffle

We've done it again! Vacation on a dime! (CONFESSION: It actually cost more than 1, but less than 20,000 dimes) Of course we cheated a bit, it's allowed -- we got free lodging. We know what your thinking: you guys are wankers. We know just how lucky we are and devout that sliver of time every morning between dawn and sunrise to meditate on our karmic fortunes.

Even with a place to stay, vacations can really just run away with your wallet. You end up spending lavish amounts of money on things you normally wouldn't buy, food you don't even like eating, and excursions you didn't even take pictures at because you were too busy complaining about the lines and the fact that your wallet was empty.

We avoided both spending all our money and being miserable about not doing anything, for fear of spending all our money. How? Easy. See our top four list of fun things to do in Charleston, South Carolina that cost nothing but your time and patience.
HINT: get a rental car through Costco - at a location away from the airport. We picked Alamo (they have a free shuttle to and from the airport) and paid less than $100 for the entire week - not to mention we could stop at Costco to fill it back up before returning at the end of the week - double whammo. CONFESSION: Even without a rental car you can still do most of these free things - remember good ol' public transportation?
  1.  Saturday FARMER'S MARKET at MARION SQUARE if your lucky there might be something like the Gay Pride Parade going on while your there - well not very likely as it just occurred and it most likely is an annual event.
  2.  FOLLY BEACH - if you walk allllll the way down the beach you'll be able to see the MORRIS ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE. Kind of on the way (but not really) is the ANGEL OAK TREE - well worth the diversion if you like trees. or nature. or living things. We like all of those things.
  3.  Personally-guided WALKING TOUR; you can read signs on the streets (reading is free), and learn about the Holy City. If you feel really adventurous try out your southern accent while reading the signs out loud. CONFESSION: I did this. 
  4.  SULLIVAN'S ISLAND AND ISLE OF PALMS: parking is tricky and seems a bit imposing but its the damn ocean, nobody owns the ocean. While at said 'unowned ocean' we saw: itty crabs, dolphins, and didn't get pooped on once by seagulls, not once.
Our top 5 things to do that do cost money:
  1. Middleton Place. AMAZING! This place is so breathtaking, it's hard not to get swept away to another time. I highly suggest visiting.
  2.  Palmetto Brewing Company. Take the trolley and then walk the rest of the way - visit when there's music for an extra rad experience. Not saying we're beer snobs, but they were the only beer we really liked in Charleston. Non-beer lovers - they sell 4 ounce flights and 8 ounce tasters, as well as the pint. Perfection.
  3. Patriot's Point. You'll need a few hours because this thing is massive. The USS Yorktown is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. DON'T pass it up. DO pace yourself and bring snacks. Fort Sumter also falls in this category, plus you take a ferry to get there (pssst. we saw dolphins while on the ferry ride. keep your eyes peeled.)
  4. You should be eating seafood and biscuits the whole time you are in Charleston. Great seafood suggestion: Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar, great biscuit suggestion: Callie's Hot Little Biscuit's (on King Street between Ann and Mary).
  5. Magnolia Gardens . If you do other gardens or plantations, do this one first; MUST check out the petting zoo!!
Follow these tips to spend less of your money:
  1. Go to the visitor center to buy your tickets. Bundle and save. Plus they know everything touristy there is to do in Charleston; you might say they're experts.
  2. Take the free trolley when it's to far to walk, and then walk. The trolley doesn't go everywhere in Charleston but it does make a wide enough loop to make walking everywhere totally feasible.
  3. Buy groceries and eat in. Not every meal has to be chef prepared - remember when you're at home and you use a stove - you can do that on vacation too. Or go to a bakery and buy donuts or something to have the next morning.
  4. Don't buy more groceries than you can eat. CONFESSION: You're allowed to go to the grocery store more than once while on vacation, especially if it saves you money (See photo above for our rationing techniques).
  5. Eat during happy hour. Drink during happy hour.
  6. Ask the locals where they like to go and only do things you can't do at home. While Brian and I were incredibly tempted to go to the aquarium (it was the shark shallows that tempted us so badly), the aquarium, no matter which state, is something a bit mundane. More exotic are the historical sites that Charleston has to offer. Compromise was made. Fort Sumter > Fingers to Fins with the Sharks. BUT we would encourage those of you with a bit bigger wallet to go touch the dang sharks, and then comment below how lame and uninteresting it was. please. please do this for us.
  7. A local told us very sternly, "Don't eat oysters in months not ending in 'R'". We went in August. No oysters for us. Heed the advice of locals - they live there, they know.
So that's it! We schooled Charleston with all the spareness and simplicity we could muster, and it was beautiful! Thank you to the kind patrons of the Holy City for enduring our coupon-cutting, 'no thanks we'll walk', 'when is your happy hour?' ways. And thank you Debra* for letting us stay at your house!

Need not,
Brian and Josey

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blog about blogs

Follow my blog with Bloglovin'
Sorry but this is just a must! If you like reading blogs (especially if you have a busy life) then check out Bloglovin' - they do the dirty work and tell you when new blog posts are up; plus it's super easy to search for new blogs.

Or don't follow my blog with Bloglovin', it is of no matter to me (CONFESSION: I would consider it an impertinence) (SECOND CONFESSION: I've been watching Pride & Prejudice all week on repeat... the disc is starting to skip)

Also for all of you European readers my apologies if the new information about cookies use is obnoxious. Google likes to track our every move, and we like to let them.

Now come back on Sunday for a real blog post, that is if you haven't gone into a romantically-inspired deeply and completely permeating swoon from Mr. Darcy's bewitching .gif!

Need not,

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hitting a Wall

Just because we are trying to be minimalists does not mean we are there yet. We aren't. we still have a lot of stuff - we think too much, our parents are concerned not enough. And even though we aren't there yet, we are feeling ourselves slow down in our pace of picking things that have got to go. Probably the hardest part: clothes. Here are some reminders for those of you trying to reduce along with us and feeling your motivation waning:
  1. Only keep the things that make you happy. Stop yourself from lying. You either are using something or not, it either makes you happy or you are literally torturing yourself in the place you call home.
  2. Only keep the things that are making you healthy. By this I am referring to the hoards of chemicals and lab-developed sugars that are hiding in your beauty products and foods. Make a commitment to yourself to put less importance on the things that are harming you and in doing so let them go!
  3. Sort by category. Try not to go room by room, especially since there are items in every room that belong to the same category.
  4. Don't let stuff in! Start saying no to things you don't need (or want), don't let your mother-in-law guilt you into taking things (this is true for both Brian and Josey, regardless they still love the moms).
Exhibit A
We have gotten rid of over 378 items. (CONFESSION: This is an estimate on the low side) And we are not discouraged yet. Not even close. In fact I feel so good when I open the fridge, pantry, closet, dresser, drawer/cabinet/door and see less! It makes me feel less anxious, less heavy, and all around less ridiculous!

Take for example the picture to your right, which we shall name exhibit A. Think you don't have a lot of things still lying around? Paper clips and push pins. We counted 540. That's five hundred and forty mother-loving' paper clips. On a daily basis we use 0 paper clips. Zero. What up with that? (I had to. See exhibit B.)

Exhibit B
While we won't be getting rid of any more big ticket items we are still committed to down sizing our 1 bedroom apartment to a manageable number of belongings (a number greater than 100 for the sake of worry-wart-moms everywhere.)

Need not,
Brian and Josey

P.S. we are getting rid of those paper clips. They count as 1 item.

P.P.S. Is Kenan Josey's long lost twin? Comment below!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Compost composure

Here it is: the end all, be all of compost blog posts!!

Mmmm, that sets expectations a bit too high.

Here's a compilation of how-to-composts and my thoughts on all this garbage.

The info graphic on the left came out during World War I, what are we stupid? We still haven't figured this whole food waste thing out? If you, like most Americans, completely fail at the 6 steps listed in the poster, don't fret. While we will be judging you, just as harshly as we judge ourselves, you can save yourself from a total ecological footprint meltdown.


Thought provoking. What comes to mind first: rotten banana peels, grass clippings, and gnats swarming over a moist, humid pile, shoved in the back of your yard - you use a 39 1/2 inch pole to stir it from afar; yet no matter how much you add to it it surprisingly does not take over your yard (unlike Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout).

SO not quite exactly an image of wonder, but close. Here are the best ways to have compost composure:

1. As explained in the poster above: save what will keep and eat what will spoil. If you were subservient readers and watched the Just Eat It documentary mentioned in the last post then you probably picked up on one really good strategy to eat food before it spoils. Have a separate container in the fridge for foods that need to be eaten immediately and eat them immediately. Also ignore expiration and best buy dates. But if you didn't watch the documentary you think we are crazy for giving the latter suggestion so we'll just wait to expand on that one until after you watch it.
2. Make a compost. We suggest not using plastic or metal - that stuff leaches into the soil. I still wouldn't use plastic even if it's "BPA free". I just wouldn't. But I would use heat-treated, water- and weather-resistant wood.
3. Contain it! My grandparents have an open, nose-irritating compost hidden craftily behind their shed where the fences intersect. Cool. But wouldn't it be even nicer if your compost pile wasn't an eye-sore or more importantly a nose-sore for everyone to see or smell? We really like these ones:

4. Maintain your compost. The more you mix it the faster you will have useable soil! Also add brown compostable items like leaves and shredded paper to your grass clippings, green yard waste and food waste. Till and wait, till and wait.
5. Don't disrespect your garbage pile! Meat, breads, milk products, oils and diapers = a recipe for pest attractant. Iffy about what is and isn't okay? Check out these Compost Instructions.
6. Reuse your soil! Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op has a great instructional on how to tell if your compost is ready. Hint: it's brown and smells like dirt. Spread it around, use it in your garden, revel in your ingenuity. Look at you, being all mother-nature-ey, you go Glen Coco.

Questions about composting or need more information? Feel free to check out the info graphic below or leave questions in the comment section! Just eat it, but if your honestly too full, just compost it.

Need not,
Josey and Brian