Mar 28 2011

the affects of effects [day 306]

It starts when we’re born.  Accessories.  “My daddy is the best” and “My mom is better than your mom” on our shirts, iconic pacifiers, hair bows in more styles and colors than Baskin Robbins has flavors, complete ensembles of coordinated clothing, all in large quantities.  When did babies become fashion statements?  Aren’t they cute enough already?  I see a lot of people talking to parents with small babies and hearing more compliments about the clothing than the kid wearing them.

It continues through adolescence, expanding to toys and games.  I have boys (thank you God) that don’t care much about fashion and will probably need future therapy for their lack of stylish clothing options.  They do however have accessories.  They have Nintendo DS’s that have lots of games, a universal charger, a fancy light sabre stylus and headphones, all packed inside a custom case.  Society says, “You need more” and we respond by buying more.

Into adulthood now, and I’m not exempt from this.  I might not have a lot of fancy, trendy clothing but I do have some nice things in my house.  Most from eBay, craigslist and thrift stores, but nevertheless, lots of things.  Accessories.  I have decorative things that serve no purpose other than to sit there and look nice.  Now I’m an artist of sorts, so this is an important topic.  I love to create things, but with a purpose.  Much of my art is chaotic, but has meaning and purpose behind it.  The vase sitting on my shelf, not so much.  I’ve been sucked into the American vortex of more is better.  I created this photograph several years ago.  This has many meaning for many people, but I see it as how we become background fixtures in the sea of stuff we own.

Continue reading

Mar 17 2011

the one for one model [day 295]

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, was a keynote speaker this year at SXSW.  Not only was it incredible to hear his story, but just to hear the magnitude of positive change his company has created in the world.  Here’s the best part.  Blake made this statement at the end of his talk.

“From this day forward, TOMS is no longer a shoe company. It’s a one-for-one company.  Our next step is meeting those needs around the world.”

Yes, TOMS is now a one-for-one company.  In June, they’re launching their next product.  You buy one, somebody in need gets one.  It’s a for profit model, and an extremely successful one.  I have to say here that I would love to go out and buy a pair of TOMS shoes.  With my one year of no retail shopping, unfortunately that’s not an option.  If I buy them used, a person in need will not get a new pair of shoes, however, even in the secondary market, good can still be done.

  • If I get them at a thrift store, that money goes to charity.
  • If I wear them, I’m marketing TOMS and this one-for-one model.
  • If I buy them used, paying less than retail, I’ve saved money that I can donate to one of my favorite charities.

How else can we apply the 1-for-1 model?

I’ve been pondering this question for a few days now.  I don’t know how anyone can hear the TOMS story and not wonder how we can all be a part of it.  TOMS is obviously onto something here.  I have a few ideas of how this could be applied in other ways to benefit TOMorrow.   Continue reading

Jul 11 2010

the challenge: day 45 & 46 [how's it really going?]

So 45 days into this, and how’s it really going?  I think it’s going well.  Here’s a few situations and challenges I’ve run across over the past couple of weeks.

Superstores… :(

Even though I can buy groceries and toiletries in retail places, I’ve tried to avoid the superstores.  I grocery shop at Kroger, which is a chain, but there aren’t any grocery stores that are not chains.  I did recently go into Target for a few groceries and Walmart for a few toiletries.  This was not my first choice, but the person I was with chose those stores.  Again, I can go in, but I can only buy groceries or toiletries.  In both stores, I got what I needed and left.  I had no desire to look around or shop at either place.  The trip there did make me think though.  I need to find some non-chain retail places to buy groceries and toiletries.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Oooo, I want to buy a… nevermind.

There have been a few times where I have wanted to buy something.  Once it pops into my head, I quickly dismiss it, knowing I can’t, well, have chosen not to.  I want welding equipment really bad, some miscellaneous art supplies and a leaf blower.  I don’t need them and I’ll live without them.  I have to say, I have the welding equipment in the back of my mind though and have thought that might be a purchase I could make once my year is up.  It feels very wrong to be thinking that way, but if I wait, I sure won’t be anything close to an impulse buy, right?


I seem to appreciate the things I do have much more now.  I’m not quite sure how this happened or when, but I just feel more content.  I’m so blessed to have shelter, food and all of the things my kids and I need.  If we do want something new, we usually just forget about it and play with our old stuff.  I like this.

Services vs. stuff

I had someone tell me, “…so you’ll pay for services (referring to my lawn guy) but you won’t buy anything.”  Yes, that is true.  With a service, I’m not collecting more stuff and by using services, I’m helping keep people employed.  It’s like when my kids want something, I’d rather take them to a movie and spend the money there.  We’re doing something together and not accumulating more stuff.  I could take that money and buy them toys that will sit in the bottom of a toy bin after a week or spend it doing something as a family.

Overall, I’m glad I chose to this challenge.  :)