Monday, January 17, 2011

City Adventures and the GAAD

Me, Jocelyn and Amy at the Cosmic Cafe in Dallas this past weekend.

A long time ago, in a land called Nacogdoches, while still in undergraduate, Nathan had a study buddy who ended up becoming one of our first - and closest - friends in town. Her name was Jocelyn and she was a biology major (like Nathan), an aspiring yogi (like me), and a lover of red wine (totally cinched the deal). After they finished their undergraduate careers, Jocelyn ran off to huge adventures and hasn't looked back since. She's worked in Alaska fishing for wild salmon and then racing dog sleds, spent time in Israel, and has been in Zambia for the last two years, volunteering with the Peace Corps. She just extended her contract and will be there another year, but was given a month off to come home and see her family for the first time since she joined. Nathan and I hadn't seen Jocelyn in nearly five years, so this weekend he, I, and Amy drove to Fort Worth to hang out and catch up before her return flight.


Jocelyn was flying in from Arizona on Saturday morning, so Friday Amy, Nathan and I stayed in a hotel in Dallas called Element. If you ever need a place to stay near the Dallas airport, I highly recommend Element! It was a "green" hotel, very affordable, with a really nice continental breakfast and all kinds of eco-friendly amenities. My two favorites were the half or full flush option on the toilet, and the priority parking for those with fuel efficient vehicles.


We got up early on Saturday and decided that we had time to go to a hot yoga class before picking up Jocelyn from the airport. This was my second hot yoga experience. The first time, I went to an actual Bikram studio. This time, the class borrowed a lot from Bikram, but it wasn't certified. I didn't mind. I really like hot yoga, but I don't think I'd want it make it my every day practice. I like the variety of my usual hatha classes.

Once we had Jocelyn, we went to lunch at the Cosmic Cafe, a cute hippie place near the airport. We hung out all afternoon and in the evening met up with some other friends and went restaurant hopping in downtown Fort Worth - drinks and appetizers at each place we visited. It was a cool way to see a variety of places, even if I was woefully under-dressed for most of them. City life!


I loved seeing Jocelyn, and I loved the break from my little town. Whenever I hear about a friend who has gone off to explore the world and experienced things of which I have only dreamed, I can't help but get jealous. I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision by moving from New York to East Texas six years ago, whether I should have held off on the Masters program and the serious relationship and the dogs until I'd gotten some of this wanderlust out of my system. But last night, after we'd returned from our weekend of fun, I had a delicious dinner in the oven, a loving partner a few feet from me, and two exhausted dogs at my feet, and I realized that my life is an adventure too. More subtle than battling rattlesnakes in a bathroom or racing across the frozen expanse of Alaska, but an adventure nonetheless.

The Great American Apparel Diet!

While in the big city, I was faced with my first temptation since pledging to take the Great American Apparel Diet. Basically, I've decided that in the year 2011, I will not purchase any new clothing. And I'm not the only one! If you click the link above, you'll see that hundreds of people have taken this pledge, and for just as many reasons. From the website:
Some of us are motivated to curb our carbon footprint while others are more motivated to curb spending. Some are sick and tired of consumption in general while others are concerned about consumption and the environment.
My reasons for abstaining from clothing purchases are very similar. First of all, I have everything I need. Period. There is no reason for me to cruise the sales rack of every department store and bring home things that I don't need and usually don't even wear. Second, working with what I have makes me more creative - I can't just buy a new dress when I have to go to a wedding. I'll have to remix something I already have. Third, I want to live more simply and save more money. Removing an entire category of expenses from my life will definitely help that. And fourth - as I'm sure you're all well aware at this point, I like a challenge. When I read about the GAAD diet on a friend's blog, I couldn't help myself!

That said, I do have a few planned exceptions to my year of no-buying. Under the rules of the challenge, I am able to buy undergarments (which I appreciate) and accessories (which will be fun, especially as I get bored of my clothes). I also anticipate needing to replace my running shoes at some point before 2012. I've been meaning to buy two pairs of work pants forever, but I'm picky about pants so I haven't found anything suitable yet. I will allow myself this (necessary) purchase. And lastly, I need a pair of running tights. Right now, I run in my yoga pants when it's cold which isn't ideal. I've been waiting for the Houston Marathon expo to get a pair, and I will go forward with that plan! But otherwise: nothing. Nada. Ziltch. I'm going to live simply, work with what I have, and save major money.

In Fort Worth, I kept my purchases to physical things - a yoga class, beer and food. I still spent a lot, but I feel like it was worth more. Have you taken the GAAD pledge, or something similar? I'm only two weeks into the challenge so I know it'll get harder as time goes on, and I can use any advice you have!

18 comments:

  1. Ha! This is awesome. Thanks for the advice. I follow it and I will never let anyone know where it came from! ;)

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  2. Wonderful!! Brooks shorts, shoes, tops, hats, jackets...all A+ stuff. The tights just aren't as good as the Sugoi. I clearly love the brand, but I'm not going to push something hardcore if I don't think it's the best. Sugoi has the upper hand on tights.

    BTW...I'm currently in the process of making a Blogger blog. I've been on LiveJournal since 2004, but LJ is much more exclusive than Blogger. Trying to go a little more public with things. I may hit you up for some advice soon if that's okay. You are clearly a master blogger.

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  3. I have an LJ also, but I don't use it at all except to read a few friends who are still over there. I really love Blogger - it's so easy to use and it's become really customizable over the last year or two. I'm actually planning to move my blog to Wordpress in the next few months, only because I'm trying to grow my blog (and maybe turn it into a part time job?) and for that sort of thing, Wordpress is the "industry standard." But I'm afraid of Wordpress and really comfortable with Blogger, so we'll see how long it actually takes me to make the switch.

    But yes! Ask me any questions you have. I've been on Blogger for years and like to think I know my way around the place pretty well. :)

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  4. Good for you for taking on the challenge! I'm really impressed.

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  5. The hotel sounds so cool!

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  6. I don't think I could take the GAAD pledge at this point in my life, but it's definitely something I could see myself doing in a few years - I don't see my sense of style changing other than maybe small subtle changes in the next couple of years, but half the clothes I own are from when I was a teenager, and thus are not exactly things I actually want to put on my body, haha. When I've had the chance to fill my wardrobe with clothes that are actually befitting a 22 year old then I'm all for it! (Though knowing me I might start off with something slightly less ambitious - six months, perhaps?)

    Meanwhile - holy crap! (pun!) Half and full flush toilets aren't something you guys have on ALL OF YOUR TOILETS?! For Australians, we generally have two buttons on all our home and public toilets and it's been that way - well, I don't know how long, but since before I was born. One flush option toilets are a LOT less common. I'm really experiencing a bit of culture shock reading that! Fascinating.

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  7. Janie, you are blowing my mind here! I have lived in America my whole life, and used the toilet for almost as long, and I have never seen a half/full flush toilet until this weekend! America is so behind on some things (pun intended? Maybe?).

    As for GAAD, I would never have been able to do it a few years ago. After college, rebuilding my wardrobe for the "real world" took a lot of time and patience. I feel like I have enough things now that I can look presentable most days. And since I don't plan on making any major career changes for a while (unless the right MFA program comes along) this feels like a stable enough year to give GAAD a try.

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  8. normal life is a subtle adventure... i like it.

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  9. Half/full flush toilets are the norm in most of the Western European countries I've visited as well. They make so much sense, I don't get why we don't use them here.

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  10. Ooh, that's good. I should have just said it like that! Also, this would make an excellent bumper sticker!

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  11. Hi Chrissy! I'm totally joining you. I've been thinking about doing this pledge for some time and for the same reasons as you. I feel like I have so many clothes, but rarely wear a lot of them. I just need to reorganize and get creative!

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  12. Are you moving to wordpress.org? I'm on wordpress.com and trying to decide if I want to stay {templates/widgets are limited....but it is FREE} or move to wordpress.org. I'm confused about the entire process of getting a host, redirecting the old blog, etc. though.

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  13. Yay Sarah! Ashley from www.neverhomemaker.com just signed up too!

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  14. I want to move to wordpress.org - basically, I want my own website, but I have no idea how to go about doing it, how much it costs, etc. I need to do the research, but it's hard to find time. I know the information is out there, though. If (I should say WHEN) I decide to make the move, I'm sure I'll blog about the process. At the very least, my inevitable mistakes might help someone else!

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  15. You were completely in my neck of the woods when that last pic was taken. Some of my running routes are around that area of 7th street and I love hanging out down there. The big question is - did you stop by Sweet Sammies? It's not vegan but it is a yummy ice cream place as long as you're ok with dairy. :)

    I'll have to wave if I ever see that great coat of yours around town!!

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  16. How funny! We did not stop for ice-cream, but we more than made up for it in other things! I was really impressed with that area - so many things to look at and do! I had a really good time. :)

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  17. I really don't purchase new clothes all that often because for so long I've been a poor grad student. Once or twice a year, I go through my entire closet and get rid of anyting I haven't worn in the past 12 months. This helps me see what I need (usually work clothes) and what I don't (t-shirts). I then try to only purchase the things I need and be mindful of what I've donated that I no longer wear (i.e. I don't replace it because I didn't need it).

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  18. You're so sensible! If I had a system like this, I think I'd be better off. Right now, I am good about weeding my closet, bad about loading it with Target clearance items that are destined to be never worn and... weeded. Hopefully I can break that habit for good this year!

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