Lately

So my plan so far to share some #NoNewvember inspiration each day this month has been a total failure!

Over the course of 4 weeks, we had 2 conferences in work. The more recent conference took place this past week in Toronto and myself and my coworker manned the entire thing. We were those ducks who look calm on the surface but are wildly paddling underneath, trying to smooth over the many issues that popped up and fill in the gaps where the venue failed. Without using any swears [because toddler], it was bananas. There were a few 14-hour days leading up to the conference, then there was the lesser-known demon of Having To Catch Up On A Week Of Missed Work Once You Return To Your Desk. Oh, not to mention I experienced my first barometric pressure headache that was so compounding it gave me a fever and I was on the couch for 3 days. Then Cora had a fever the moment I left for the conference and as soon as I returned from Toronto I dove into Paranoid Mother Mode, rushing her to the doctor since her fever kept coming back [and peaked at 40.5°C].

I’ve been so busy and tired and my poor #NoNewvember Challenge has totally fallen by the wayside. I had every intention of kicking ass this month and [hopefully] inspiring others to buy secondhand, but without sounding too cliche or corny, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

I have more mental energy this week so in a last attempt to add more #NoNewvember photos to my hashtag 😆

If they’re good enough for Emily Gilmore

Around ten years ago my mom got us a pair of really lovely wine glasses for Christmas [one of them is the large glass in the middle above]. Unfortunately, one broke shortly after that, but ever since I’ve really loved the shape of that one glass that survived.

A few months ago when I was in Value Village I spotted a few of the exact same style glasses. I was standing looking at them when a woman walked by and said, “Oh those aren’t crystal. I’ll show you how to tell if a pair of glasses are crystal …“, and she kindly showed me some tricks to find out if some glasses are better quality than others. She was trying to help find some hidden treasures, but I was left feeling embarrassed for wanting the less-than-fancy glasses so I didn’t buy them. Later I of course wished I had, so now every time I see that style of glasses, I buy them. Crystal or not.

I’ve only found two medium and three small sized glasses since, but I’m determined to collect as many as I can now. I mean, if those glasses are good enough for Emily Gilmore, they’re good enough for me. Collect whatever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To finish with a quote from Emily Gilmore, that’s complete and utter …

 “Bullshit!”

Emily Gilmore image via here.

Also featured – black dining room hutchdiy dust coversrepainted red rose

#NoNewvember Challenge!

I’m really excited today to finally share a challenge I’ve been thinking of creating / sharing / doing for years. Having a baby and then emigrating kept me busy the past few Novembers, but this year I can share my idea and challenge that I hope you will jump on board with this month; my #NoNewvember Challenge!

I’d like to think the hashtag is pretty self-explanatory, but for the sake of adding more sustenance to this blog post, I’ll explain in more detail and give all the positive reasons for choosing to join my #NoNewvember Challenge.

The challenge I’m setting is for the month of November; should you need to buy something for your home, for yourself or for someone close to you, I challenge you to try and source that thing secondhand vs. buying something brand new. This is essentially a newer version of my Nearly New Wood Challenge [please excuse the higgledy-piggledyness of the layout of that post] from a few years ago but come on, this one is punny and everyone seems to be on board for monthly challenges these days. I’ve got to try and keep up with what the kids are doing.

For me, the three absolute main selling points to try this challenge are …

1. THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
I try not to talk too much doom and gloom about the current environmental climate, but it’s something I think about every single day. Buying secondhand pieces vs. buying a brand new factory-made piece is kind of a no brainer for me. It’s become far too normal to mindlessly buy things we don’t need. Take charge and become more conscious of what you’re buying and what type of market you’re feeding. The environmental impact of creating new products is overwhelming. The fashion industry alone is one of the most harmful contributors to pollution and climate change. I don’t want to focus on the negative, but this is now our reality and this is one of the many ways I’m trying to proactively do something and do something positive. Everything you need is already made and living out there somewhere! Get creative about what you need and enjoy the challenge of finding that perfect secondhand thing! For me, the challenge and reward of finding something perfect secondhand is one of the best parts.

2. BUYING SECONDHAND WILL SAVE YOU MONEY
There is nothing that gives me more smug levels of joy than telling people how I got this amazing thing and for like $20. Like our dining room chandelier. That cost me just $10 and it’s more beautiful than a baby’s first smile. Buying secondhand will 99% of the time be cheaper than buying brand new items, and especially with Christmas just around the corner, who wouldn’t like a bit of extra cash? Hi, my name is Alex and I like not spending huge amounts of money. Who’s with me?

3. IT’S [FOR THE MOST PART] ONE OF A KIND
Yes, I know, technically there is going to be more than one of the secondhand thing you found because if it was made 30 years ago there for sure wasn’t just one made, but those things aren’t currently on shelves at over a thousand stores nationwide. I have found some of the most amazing things secondhand and for me, that is so exciting. And some times choosing to buy secondhand has meant they’ve been sturdier and better made than what you can buy brand new nowadays.

You can apply the #NoNewvember Challenge to so many things for you and your home. From couches to curtains and sweaters to scooters, you can source it all secondhand. For example, this summer I was in desperate need of shorts once it climbed above 40°C. I looked in main brand stores for a week or two and found nothing that would suit my shape or basic requirement to have a crotchal section in a pair of shorts. I went to our local Value Village and within 30 minutes I had found two pairs of secondhand shorts that I not only felt very comfortable in, but actually looked good in. That is no easy feat for me.

Another example is for Cora’s birthday a few weeks ago I took to Kijiji to find a present and found a secondhand wooden play kitchen which was not only a fraction of the price of buying a brand new one, but it was exactly what I was looking for, would not have been able to buy locally and would have spent a small fortune on shipping. I found the original toy wooden kitchen online and it retails for $450 brand new. Hell no, I would not have spent that much IRL. I spent a fraction of that [and of course, I will be sharing it soon!].

I could go on and give more examples, but basically my entire blog is kind of now based on secondhand stuff so feel free to keep scrolling and see all the things I’ve found secondhand over the years. I’m also hoping to share each day this month a photo per day of some of my favourite secondhand pieces I’ve found over the years that I love just as much as the day I found them (and use often). I’ll be sharing them on social media, and at the end of the month I’ll be sharing a blogpost with all the #NoNewvember finds that are shared and posted online!

So please share your favourite finds using #NoNewvember online and help spread the word about my new challenge!

p.s. Obviously, there are some things I can understand you would not buy secondhand; undergarments, dentures, pillow inserts, hygiene products, mattresses etc. There is a line that maybe shouldn’t be crossed, but that line is pretty far away and to be honest there aren’t many things on that list. Please use your own judgement.