Christmas is for giving!

iStock_000014394121XSmallOur family don’t tend to go crazy when it comes to ‘gift giving’ over Christmas.  We had decided a long time ago that we didn’t really need presents once all the kids in the family grew up. So for the last 10 years or so, we’ve celebrated Christmas by spending it with family; eating, drinking and being merry.  We also partake in the annual ‘Secret Santa’ gift giving tradition.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, each person picks a random name and buys a present for that ONE person only.  We also set a limit however I will admit, we all normally exceed the limit a little bit. Normally, each person would also make a ‘gift lift’ suggestion to assist ‘Santa’ and also ensure the purchase of gifts that ‘nobody would ever use’ are avoided.  We’re all about saving them dollars and limiting consumption.

Anyway this year, I was really stumped for gift ideas. I didn’t/don’t really need anything.  Do we ever? However, I didn’t want to leave a blank ‘gift list’, essentially making my Santa’s job even harder. So I found myself in a bit of a conundrum?! What to do?

Thankfully…with the growing awareness of fairtrade, conscious living, ethical, eco-sustainable brands etc etc (buzz words I am sure many of you have heard of late) there were a selection of great products out there that are not only cool and practical however also give back to worthy causes. So, in the spirit of giving, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite brands for Christmas and even future gifts:

 

1. Clothe you Neighbour – Clothe Your Neighbor as Yourself is a nonprofit brand that lets you decide how 100% of the profit is given based on the cause you care about.  Check out their really funky clothes and accessories. I have my eye on the jumper and messenger bag.

2. Days of August –  Sustainable designed accessories and jewellery.  Their colour wheel necklaces are to die….

3. Sea Shepherd – The classic Sea Shepherd merch that is not only cool…totally worthy of the cause! I am saving for the one piece swimmers 🙂

4. Sseko Designs – Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams.  Their loafers are a must have.

5. Frank Stationery – For you stationery lovers out there – Frank Stationery: Socially conscious stationery.

6. Sackcloth & Ashes – Homewares – S&A vision – We are a company that sells high-quality blankets in the United States. With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter.

 

Another go-to resource that may come in handy is the ‘Give Generation’ twitter and site that provides a comprehensive list of some of the best, newest and lushest brands available that will surely satisfy your socially conscious + lifestyle needs.

Happy shopping!!

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Help me reduce my slavery footprint…

As I mentioned in a recent post ‘Reducing my slavery footprint, one clothing item at a time’…being that my clothing purchases had left the biggest impact regarding my slavery footprint, I am attempting to reduce my slavery footprint by selling some of the clothes I have amassed over the years.

So here is how you can help!! If you need clothes, than please check out my ebay shop to see if I have something you could use.  I’d be recycling my clothes on to you, and I’d be donating the funds I receive to slaveryfootprint.org.  It’s a win-win for all.

You get clothes, I reduce my slavery footprint (and more closet space) and slaveryfootprint.org get donations to assist them in their goal to create a free world.

I have a wide selection of clothes that I will be listing over the next few months so pop over to my eBay store: yostar81 and check out the bargains.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/261250752519?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

I have gorgeous vintage numbers like this up for grabs, work wear, surf wear, casual…the lot.

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Authentic 1950’s Vintage Floral Dress…on sale now!!

I’m having a BBQ, BYO….everything!

I was invited to a friends BBQ the other week.  I hadn’t seen this friend in a long time and I was quite excited at the idea of catching up.  Then I read the invite.  

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This invite has been modified to protect….well…to protect myself :/

The good old BYO rule! So I am going to put it out there and ask the question…what is the ruling on this? What are acceptable BYO standards?

Now I normally would expect to bring maybe a side and or drinks, however the invite called for BYO sides, meat, drinks and chair?

Look…I’m no party planner or event coordinator even, however… I would have thought that if you are inviting people over to your house for a get together, you would be providing merely more than just the…location?  Am I wrong people? Am I the only one who shares this sentiment? 

I was stumped.  However, being that I haven’t seen this person in a long time and despite my complaints…I am considering going along and brining with me…my pantry, fridge and furniture.

However, I would just like to add that when I put on a party…I put on a party…BBQ, dinner party, picnic…whatever…just BYO…yourself and we are GOOD!

End of rant!

 

Reducing my slavery footprint…one clothing item at a time!

Recently there was a news report on ‘The Project’ @theprojecttv regarding slavery in the world and it directed consumers to a website, http://slaveryfootprint.org/, where you could actually view your own ‘slavery footprint’. It was an eye opener to see how my lifestyle and living inadvertently supports and fuels the slavery trade around the world. Living a relatively moderate life I believed…after all I don’t even own an ipad, laptop and the other horde of gadgets that my generation have acquired…my ‘slavery footprint’ would be minimal.

Of course, I had a sneaking suspicion that my biggest impact would in fact be my love for shopping and the purchasing of brands that may not necessarily take a conscious effort to source and manufacture their products, free from slavery.

I was right! To supportmy living and lifestyle, I had 60 slaves working for me. My biggest impact were the clothing purchases I had amassed over the years. It was an interesting little exercise for me at first however, as I started delving in deeper and researched the devastating affects of slave labour via consumer demand and also the companies that support it, I felt more than a little sick to my stomach to think I that something that brought me happiness and personal satisfaction was at the cost of another human beings happiness.

My slavery footprint! I have ?? slaves working for me.

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There are so many opinions out there that certain companies are in fact doing good by giving these communities/people jobs, even if it is well below standard living/employment conditions. Secondly, that these companies are only delivering goods and services, fuelled by a consumer demand.

After reading that opinion, it’s hard for me to not believe and feel the opinion of my own, that companies are just blatantly justifying their part in the slave labour through consumer needs and maintain their inability to make a change through a ‘this is the way it is’ mentality.

However, I too as a consumer, is taking part in justifying my spending habits and not taking action.

Now that I know my part, I am making a conscious effort to reverse my actions and reduce my slavery footprint. How? Well, being that clothing is my biggest contributor in having slaves work for me, the first step is to stop buying clothes that directly or indirectly, support slave labour.

This was a very big decision for me but an easy one. To be honest, most of the brands I buy are all manufactured within countries rife with slave labour. The next step, I have decided to start selling the clothing items from non slave free brands, either via eBay, gumtree or direct to friends. With all the funds I make from selling these clothes, I am going to donate to the slaveryfootrprint.org.

This is just a small step to freeing my conscious but most importantly freeing modern day slaves from slave labour. I am not wanting to point the finger at brands that may still use modern day slaves to manufacture their goods. However, I do hope, like myself, the awareness will cause these brands to take action and hopefully one day, I’ll buy those brands again when they are ‘slavery free’.

We can all do our part to make a difference. Take action today.

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Keep an eye out on ebay for items I will be listing soon.

Ebay ID: yostar81

Donation Goal to Slaveryfootprint.org

One Shopping Addiction with a side of denial thank you!

Hello my name is Yolanda and its been 7 days since my last purchase.

Okay, one thing I want to point out is that unlike other addictions like alcoholism where it’s not necessary to purchase or consume alcohol…shopaholism, you do actually need to purchase clothes from time to time.

Now I’m not saying this to justify purchasing a new Oroton bag or anything, no? But, from time to time, I might need to buy a new pair of jeans, or runners or bras and undies…it’s an essential. But where I have to draw the line now is the cost and at times the volume (I have been known to purchase the same item multiple times…in order to have all the released colors). So instead of buying a $270 pair of Sass n Bide jeans…I have to opt for perhaps a…deep breath…Jeans West alternative.

So back to my post…I have a shopping addiction and it took me many years to admit it. Truth is…deep down, I always knew I had a problem…but it’s not until you actually admit it out aloud that you can take action.

Denial. The dictionary defines it as, ‘A refusal to accept or believe something, such as a doctrine or belief.’

Now I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how I could have ever possibly believed this was normal and denied having a problem.

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I don’t have a wardrobe…I have a Garage!

Look at that? Who in their right mind could deny there is a problem there?

In fact…if a shopping addiction wasn’t the problem, well then me being insane for actually believing this was normal is the possible problem or the fact I could rival any contestant from ‘the biggest hoarder’ show…is another problem. I swear…there’s probably a cat under all those clothes and shoes.

So yes, it took me years to come to terms and finally get a handle on my problem. But bit by bit and day by day things are getting better. Hopefully, if you out there have a problem just like me, you won’t have to go to the length of taking over your garage, whilst your new Toyota Corolla remains parked in your driveway braving the elements, just so your ‘clothes’ can have a home.

Cheers.

How to spot an addict? ;)

I love shopping.

There’s no secret there. However, what some people (well probably, a lot of people) don’t know about me, is that I have mastered techniques in order to hide and disguise my love for shopping.  I am sure my friends and family have a fair idea of the lengths I go to, to acquire whatever item I’ve been dreaming about in my fashion obsessed mind.  However, over the years, I picked up some little tactics to bamboozle and down right lie to my friends and family of my true shopping intentions.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot someone who may have a slight shopping problem.  If only it were as simple as looking at someone similar to that of Isla Fisher’s character in “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. …it’s not.   Even more true, it’s unlikely that your friends and family would even contemplate that one of their loved ones, would go to such lengths to hide a real problem.  addict

In saying that,  I am sharing these tricks for two reasons, 1) to absolve myself from being dishonest to my loved ones (I’m sorry, I hope you still love me ;)) and 2) in hope to help others out there in spotting a potential shopaholic and help them on their way to a healthier relationship with shopping and a healthier bank balance too 😐

Yolanda’s Shopping Addiction Tricks

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Scuffed Shoes = Old Shoes

1) To date, I own 150 pairs of shoes, give or take.  So I am sure you can understand how difficult it was for me to justify the need for another new pair of shoes.  Solution? No worries…One trick I regularly did was buy a new pair of shoes and prior to my first wear, I would ensure to rub the soles of my shoes on concrete, gravel or dirt.  Anything that would basically leave some scuff marks on the base of the shoe.  To note: I would ONLY scuff the soles slightly.  I would never go so far as to scuff the actual finish or leather of the shoe because well…that would just be silly :/ and I probably would have cried.  So, when I was questioned, “Are they new shoes?” I would respond, “No! See, the soles are scuffed and used.”

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The tools of the trade

2) Just got back from a major David Jones half price sale and don’t know how to justify all the purchases in your car?  Easy! One particular Christmas sale I had an allocated ‘Sale Budget’.  Of course, I couldn’t control myself and I had spent well in excess of my budget by triple the amount.  So what did I do…two words…’Sharpie Pen.’

That’s right.  I would actually go to the length of crossing out RRP or already reduced prices to further discount my purchase.  “Now it might look like a lot of shopping, but look at this….it was reduced from $80 down to $20. Bargain! And I still spent within my budget”. To note, I find a red sharpie has more bang and impact however black sharpie also work.

3) Funds.  So, some of you may be asking yourself, “How on earth did her partner not notice large sums of money being paid to ‘Tony Bianco Shoes’ and ‘Country Road Fashion’ on the bank statements.  Well, in the initial days this wasn’t an issue for me because I was in charge of managing our money and accounts.  So, nobody saw it.  However, in the later years when my partner cottoned on to my extreme shopping habits and demanded to see the bank statements (YIKES).

So after that,  I did one of two things: 1) If I knew I was going to the mall and, let’s face it, about to spend a lot of money, I would withdraw money and then pay for all my items in cash.  Then, when I would be short on money later during the week or month,  I would say to my partner that additional bills or items needed to be paid and that’s why we were short or 2) I started siphoning funds into a separate ‘savings fund’ aka ‘Fashion Fund’ that  I would make any purchases from. Sometimes, I would do a combination of both.

So as my shopping problem came to light bit by bit…I had to start getting even more trickier in disguising and hiding my purchases….

4) You just purchased clothes you definitely shouldn’t have, what do you do?  I ALWAYS ensured I had a gym bag or overnight bag in my car.  I regularly stayed over at my sisters’ house for the night or friends so it wasn’t uncommon for me to have overnight bags in my car. So, in this situation, my golden rule was…GET RID OF OR HIDE THE EVIDENCE.  I would take every item out of the branded shopping bags, remove tags and receipts.  I would hide the tags and receipts in my handbag somewhere (just in case I needed to return an item which was never) and then throw out all the shopping bags.  Next, I would stuff all my new purchases in my overnight or gym bag and no one would be the wiser.

bag
Diagram of how to ‘Hide the evidence’.

Of course, I would have to do this in stealth mode so,  in most occasions, I would shop on my own so I could conduct this exercise prior to driving home or I would pull into a carpark on the way home and ensure Mission: ”Destroy the evidence” was completed.

5) As my work responsibilities increased with my role, my shopping time decreased.  You would think this would limit my ability to shop right? Wrong.  Welcome to the world of online shopping.  Initially, this method of shopping was untapped for me however it soon became my main source of shopping.  Before I knew it, Gary the postman and I were on first parcelsname basis due to me purchasing all my items online and posted to work…friends and family, none the wiser.

6) Another trick that I started resorting to was leaving purchased items at friends’ houses.   If I did a particularly naughty shop, I would normally stop off at friends houses on the way home and carry in my bags and then slyly leave them at theirs and pick up at another time.  I had to start doing this because again, my partner realised my problem and actually started doing car searches, with good reason, to ensure I hadn’t spent any money.  (I am such a terrible person.)

7) “I bought it on eBay.” If I was wearing something new and was questioned, I always relied on trusty eBay. I was known to be a bit of an op-shopper and bargain hunter, so this trick worked for a little while.  “Can you believe it? I bought it on eBay for $12!!!!”   I tried this one for a little while until my partner and encouraged by family too…requested that I delete or suspend my eBay account.  So after that, I had to resort to other tricks.

7) Final Trick….outright lie.  This trick only worked in my initial shopping days however, if my partner asked me if I was wearing something new, I would reply, “This old thing…I’ve had this for years? I actually wore this to your cousins birthday remember?” (my partner had about 1000 cousins so he would never remember who or when I was talking about). Then I would carry on by saying, “You never pay attention to me…how could you not notice…you always forget things and I have to repeat myself….it’s sooooo frustrating.” Like I said, this only worked initially.  It actually did happen on one occasion where I wore something ancient and my partner asked if it was new…after that, I just went with it all the time. I have so many clothes, there would be no way to know what’s new or old.

And there you have it….the secrets, tricks, lies and down right appalling behaviour of someone who tries to hide their unhealthy love for fashion.  I am much better now and making amends in my quest for serenity and a smaller wardrobe.

I blog this partly in jest but also partly, in hope that I could shed some enlighten for someone out there…until next time…eat, shop (responsibly) & love.