Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Haul: Purchased Secondhand

It's not often that I go shopping, and when I do I don't spend much at all. (Did you know the average American family spends $1,700 per year on clothes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics?) I'm not above receiving things secondhand, and it's rare that I purchase items brand-new. If I do, I make sure the piece I'm purchasing is timeless, durable, and I try to purchase it on sale. Don't get me wrong--I'm definitely not the perfect shopper. One example is there are things I could do to be more environmentally conscious when shopping. I typically don't buy used jeans because I can never seem to find a style and size that fits correctly. I haven't purchased a new pair of jeans since 2012, so my purchases are few and far between, but that's something I could work on.

Total: $9.00

Today I was feeling very ambitious. I stopped by the consignment shop to drop off a book and pair of snow boots. (I usually just donate to Goodwill unless I'm confident the item will sell.) My goal was to find something my daughter would like for Christmas. My favorite thing is finding an unused item being sold secondhand!

At the consignment shop, I picked out a Green Bay Packer cheerleading outfit for my unborn daughter, and for Audrey I picked out a caterpillar toy made by LeapFrog that teaches kids the alphabet. When I teach at the YMCA, Audrey loves playing with that caterpillar. Once I got to the checkout, the clerk told me that I had a $10 credit, so that was a great surprise. 

The $10 credit came from a violet Bumbo Floor Seat that was given to me. Audrey didn't like it very much, and I didn't anticipate using it for the next baby. When I went to sell it at the consignment shop, they told me that it had been recalled. I looked online and found that the company ships a seat belt for free to customers. The belt needed to be installed to fix the product. Once I did that, the consignment shop was able to take it, and the resell value was high. It was exciting! 

I went to Goodwill after that in search of new or gently used kids' stuff. I found a brand new backpack that Audrey needs (and will love) as well as a newborn onesie. I went to the checkout counter and learned it was student discount day, so I showed my Seminary ID and Goodwill Club Card, and the total came out to be $6.00. My only downfall on this trip is that I forgot about a 20% coupon I had at home. That would have been better than my student discount.

This past August, West Bend held a city-wide garage sale day. I was on a tight schedule, but I found a beautiful green Christmas dress and blue GAP jacket in a size Audrey didn't have. The jacket and dress were timeless and in great shape. I paid $3.00 for the lot.

It's strange to think about shopping being a hobby for someone who's trying to become minimalist. It's contradictory, and I understand that. I'll admit that I don't think I needed the items that I purchased, but I'm pleased with the way I shop and value material objects. Our home is cozy, so we don't have a lot of room for excess; however, I find joy in finding bargains for fun items, re-purposing things that are old, and swapping out used household items for other used household items. It might not be a minimalist mindset, but it's fun, nevertheless. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Welcoming Change and Finding Routines

I can't believe it's already the end of October. The warm weather, thanks to El NiƱo, has provided us with the illusion of a never-ending summer despite our Wisconsin leaves falling. Before we know it they will all be gone, and we'll be awaiting the arrival snow and winter. Autumn remains to be my favorite season, despite what lies ahead. Fall is a time of the year that symbolizes shedding the old and mundane of the summer. Spring is a time for rebirth, but with the way our society works (back to school and generally no more vacations) fall represents shedding one's old ways. We snuggle into winter with Advent and bid farewell during the Lenten season. In the spring we are again ready for something new, so we wait for the sun to warm our faces and bring forth new beginnings once more.

Throughout the month of September there were a lot of new things starting in my life, and the combination made it difficult for me to find balance. In the beginning of the month I attended a birth and started Seminary--both in the same week--and at the end of the month I went to Tennessee to visit my great-grandparents. Throughout the month of September I began teaching new classes, and my daughter, whose birthday is the 4th of September, was moved to a new classroom with a new teacher, new rules, and new friends. October is my favorite autumn month because it's always the time I settle into a routine. Thanks to October, I have finally been able to slow down and appreciate the beauty of this pregnancy, as well as start new routines.

My mother (center) with my niece (left) and daughter (right)
in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Having a routine is essential to being successful, it's healthy, and it can relieve stress. My husband and I decided that we would go grocery shopping every Thursday in preparation for the week. On Thursdays I plan each meal of the day for one week, taking our schedules into consideration, and using Pinterest or my cookbook. I remember to be realistic, so this time of year I make a lot of crock-pot meals.

My school and reading schedule has been harder to nail down. I'm taking two rigorous online courses, and I typically have about 500 pages of reading per week, not including responses and other projects. The kind of reading I'm doing isn't the kind I can skim through; I'm being challenged every day. While I love it, and while it is an escape, finding a reading schedule (and the peace and quiet to read) has proven to be difficult.

Nevertheless, the month of September has gone and passed. I welcome the end of October, the beginning of Advent, and brisk weather with open arms. I'm getting to know my unborn child and am ready to "hunker-down" (as a friend said) and appreciate this pregnancy from the warmth of my home.

Reflection: October 19, 2015

I wrote this reflection post last week in a group I'm a part of called "52 Weeks of Tranquility" with writer, activist, and do-gooder Kimberly Wilson. In my short reflection I shared how I was reminded to slow down by my rambunctious 2 year-old.



I went to Tennessee a couple weeks ago, and I brought my 2 year old daughter, Audrey, with me. We went to a flea market, and I was trying to hurry through so we could eat lunch and get to our other tasks for the day. Audrey wouldn't have any of it. She insisted we spend at least 20 minutes looking at the pigs. This was a gentle reminder for me to slow down, and in the end I liked that we spent more time than I planned for her to enjoy the animals.