This isn’t the post I’d planned, but it’s the one you’re getting.

After Louise left Paris, Angie and I spent a fair amount of time on our long walks those last few days talking about what we were bringing home from the trip.  And by “bringing home,” we meant ideas, new points of view or reference – those sorts of intangibles that can extend the joy of a vacation forward (and onward) into the lives we lead regularly.  I talked, I think, mainly about my garden – which I’d pulled out right before the trip.  Don’t worry, ecstatic green-thumb neighbors came over at my listserv invitation and dug the shrubs and plants up and took them.  Now I’m left with mostly nothing out front and various ideas about how it might become more formal, more restrained.

I only bought one perfume as a token of the trip – from the Parfums de Nicolai store on the Rue Grenelle near the Bon Marche, and I recommend this as a must-do for anyone who wants to drink deep from the chalice of PdN.  I think Louise and Angela both made purchases, and the extremely knowledgeable and gracious sales associate (Rebecca? Deborah?) was a joy to spend an hour with.  Anyhow, I bought the last-ish bottle of their discontinued LE parfum d’ambience called Parfum de Fete, about which I know nothing except that it’s going to be reissued as part of their regular room spray collection, with a different name (perhaps to avoid being confused with Temps d’Une Fete).  On me – yes, of course I’m wearing it on my skin – it’s all warm pipe smoke and honey, drying down to honey honey honey, with a  spice-wood note like that of CdG Palisander bringing some good cheer along for the ride.   I also put on Odalisque in the shop as a joke; it seemed so very much not me with all of its muguet-soap top fading to a powdery floral, and (notes: LOTV, jasmine, iris).  Only fate laughs at me for the fool that I am, and I can’t stop thinking about the drydown, sweet candied jasmine with a hint of skank; it’s the only non-purchase I regret.  But that’s remedied easily enough online here in the U.S., and PdN makes those great small bottles.

But I won’t be buying Odalisque, not this week.  Because events collided oddly.  I wanted so much to hold on to that wonderful sense of peace and place I bring home from a vacation.  Time stepping out of my “normal” life is clearly part of maintaining my sanity.  But bit by bit it was slipping away, back into Angry Suburban Idiot Mom mode – plus there was Hecate with her intractable night-time cough; and my brief but nasty personal bout of what I think was food poisoning last weekend.  And the dog, our sub-standard poodle, Kai, who’s sick with something and the vet’s not sure and he’s 11 and … well, you never know.  I, who complain sometimes about that damn dog breathing my air, have been getting up every night with him, on my knees in front of him, holding a small bowl so he’ll drink some chicken broth.  I don’t know.  He seems a little better.  He kept some soup down today, but he’s weak.  Nobody’s getting enough sleep.  The Big Cheese is leaving for China on Thursday for an extended trip, and you know what?  I don’t have dog dies scheduled anywhere on my calendar, so he better not.  No freaking way.  No dying.

So then I pitched a fit – one of those crap-related fits about the creeping loads of crap that pile up all over the house, I hate disorder (yeah, which is why I had four kids, deep thinker that I am) – piles and drifts of clothes and plastic and toy parts and we did a purge and still.  It drifts in.  So I started this conversation on FaceBook and I’m bringing it on here and laying it down.  You don’t have to pick it up if you don’t want to, it’s my little experiment.  But if you want to play – starting today, Wednesday, for the next week you will limit your purchases to only the most basic necessities  — and no b.s.’ing yourself about what a “necessity” is. I’m talking simple food (no, you don’t need the $5 pint of kiwi-mango gelato), gas, stuff like that.  No mall runs, emergency lipstick, drunken eBay bids on Dioressence extrait at 1 a.m. – no Starbucks, people!   No movies!   You can go ahead and do things you’ve already bought tickets for, but no goodies at halftime (or intermission.)  No online shopping.  No no no. Ask yourself, when your eye/heart starts to drift: do I really need that?  And then back away.

Can I do this for a week?  Eh.  I’m not sure.  But I’m curious enough to try.  I need more possessions like I need a third eye.  So far I got through today with nothing more than taking Hecate (finally) to the pediatrician about the Nighttime Cough From Hell, which will abate eventually whether we do anything or not, our annual springtime allergy ritual.  Turned down therapeutic coffee at Sbux (sad face).  Stayed off eBay.  Worked.  Also I thought I’d up the ante by quitting drinking coffee altogether, I haven’t had any since the Saturday food poisoning episode.  I’ve had this massively irregular heartbeat recently, and I’m wondering if all the Sudafed/caffeine’s the culprit.  (Filed under: duh.) Let’s find out.  Sure, it’ll be miserable, but I’m like that – why not take away the coffee, decongestant, booze (yes, it’s true!) and retail therapy all at the same time? Maybe my head will cave in and life as I know it will be over, but I doubt it.

So.  Your turn at the microphone.  Are you going to join in, and check back with us next week on how your Week of Consumer Abstinence went?  Patty’s accepted my challenge, she’s playing as well, and we’ll blog on it!  Do you think I am an idiot?  A killjoy?  Do you have specific questions for us to debate (or possibly mock) regarding what constitutes a necessity in your world?   What’s your favorite Parfums de Nicolai scent, anyway?  Is Odalisque really All That?  What is wrong with me that after several attempts I have failed to fall in love properly with PdN Sacrebleu – some glitch in the planetary alignment?   Do you feel consumed by the desire to consume?  And PS – yeah, I know, I hardly invented this concept.  Oh!  I should mention that the straw that put the camel’s MasterCard on temporary lockdown was my sitting down last night, a quiet time-out in the living room post-snit, and reading an article in the Sunday NY Times about Annie Leonard and the (warning! anti-consumerist!) Story of Stuff.

  • Lucy says:

    Hang in there!
    I enthusiastically support your efforts to stop shopping for at least a little while… It’s evident from your remarks and other such clues that do have perfumes enough to last you into the next decade, so you will not be too deprived.
    In NYC we have Reverend Billy, who is the preacher of the Church of Stop Shopping (now renamed I see to the Church of Life After Shopping

    Performance artists in the form of a gospel choir backing up a charismatic preacher in a white suit and Elvis pomp, going around doing interventions at Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret, and various other points of crowd contact like Times Square. He hasn’t approached the high end yet, but I’m waiting for that. I recall seeing some young ladies one summer witness the dramatic performance and they were so horrified at the very idea of discouraging shopping they were muttering about calling the police, and they were absolutely serious. Actually he has been thrown into jail numerous times.

    Cheers to the doggie! They turn around and get better so suddenly sometimes with good care, so don’t despair!

  • pklagrange says:

    March: you have really hit on something. I think it’s a great idea. I’m going the “one day at a time” and am going to start with a day of necessities – see if I can make it through tomorrow without any other purchases! Thanks for a great idea.

    Good luck with your dog – we’ve been through your experience with two old dogs and we have another just entering old age. I’m thinking about you and hoping for the best (whatever that is for you).

  • tania says:

    I guess that sounded a bit mean. I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentional, really. I’m just a bit depressed I guess, and the subject hit a nerve.
    You know it’s bad when even choosing what perfume to wear holds no appeal! 😉

    • nozknoz says:

      tania, I for one appreciate your speaking up and putting things in perspective. It is a scary time, and I hope you will keep putting one foot in front of the other to get through this. %%-

      • tania says:

        Thanks, nozknoz. Yes, it’s scary. But that’s what I’m trying to do, get through it. I have bad times, but hey, what doesn’t kill you, etc… 😉

    • Musette says:


      More of us have ‘been there’ than you might imagine – just hang in there and stay as positive as you can. Perfume – especially the stuff you already have – can be a great mood elevator, if you let it! I had 4 horrid years and my leetle stash of ‘stuff’ (esp. Mitsouko) got me through some pretty rough patches. Not quite out of the woods yet but I see the light through the trees – and my ‘stuff’ is still giving me a little lift!

      xoxo >-)

      • tania says:

        Thanks Musette.

        These lovely answers to my post have made me feel better!

        Though I’ve been wearing my ‘stash’ less, I do still take comfort in having it. Especially the scents which help me sleep. And I will definitely try my favourites to lift my daytime mood – thanks for the suggestion! I swear, Mitsy is better than a gin and tonic, sometimes. And if I’m lucky enough to get interviewed for a job, I’ll choose something which makes me feel confident, like No. 19.

        Hmmm, maybe I could have a perfume clearout, too. Sell some of my less favoured pretties to boost my finances a tad. Now there’s a thought…:-)

    • mary says:

      Tania–I’ve been there too. Hang in there and take care.

      • tania says:

        Thanks Mary!
        I’m finding that people I talk to have often ‘been there’, and I take comfort in the fact that they survived intact.

        • mary says:

          Intact and stronger. Someone, I think maybe “Big Mama” Thornton, said something like “I been rich and I been poor, and honey, rich is better!” But I know for a fact poor didn’t kill me. And I have yet to experience rich. But it is very pleasant to enjoy a nice perfume, whether it’s a little sample given away or purchased for a few dollars, and to find a nice vintage bottle of something like Shalimar or L’Heure Bleu tucked in the back of an antique store. The hobby can get expensive, but I am realizing I have always enjoyed perfume because it is relatively low cost, luxurious, deeply pleasurable, portable. Allows me to feel a little rich, even when I’m resolving to start cooking dried beans more often . . . :)>-

  • tania says:

    I’m already doing it. I’ve been laid off, they paid me the govt. minimum severance, and the job market is scary bad right now.
    It might be amusing to play at ‘basic necessities only’ for a week, but trust me, it’s no frakking fun at all when you have no choice…. 🙁

  • nozknoz says:

    March, I just love that you put yourself out here and start these great conversations. ^:)^

    I also started experiencing scary heart palpitations a couple of years ago, and since then I have progressively cut out unhealthy stuff, really focused on exercise and avoided some of the stress at work, and I feel much better. I don’t really buy much now, but I do need to tackle my apartment, which is just FULL of stuff due to a life of travel, etc. So I’m drawing inspiration from this discussion to keep moving forward – thank you March, and to all commenters, as well!

    • nozknoz says:

      Forgot to mention that I have PdN Nicolai pour Homme, a great lavender perfume that I like to sleep with sometimes. I’ve sampled a few others but can’t make up my mind about them. Planning to try Vie de Chateau.

    • March says:

      This was a really fun conversation, wasn’t it? And it’s hard to get rid of travel stuff, I love kooky souvenirs from other countries… maybe the secret is just not to buy it in the first place … sigh.

      Vie de Chateau is lovely, sort of a grassy chypre if I’m remembering right.

  • Robin says:

    Oh gracious. Long day, so very late to this conversation. And of course came here right after a little late night shopping at (necessities!!) and (books — are books stuff? because they’re necessities too). So now I guess I will go watch the story of stuff while I wait for my boxes to come…

    • March says:

      I love! I’m staying off there AND eBay or I will get myself in trouble… I buy books from ABE all the time, used, and I used to feel good about that, except now I hear I’m driving the bookstores out of business, so 🙁

  • mary says:

    OK March, game on! By coincidence, I’m in a similar place, thinking wise. I need to lose weight, clear clutter, save money, sleep better and calm down. So, I had been thinking I should ut out the white wine for a while (calories and sleep). Cut back on coffee(–if I have to give it up, that would not-be-pretty). I just scored my discounted bottles of Insolence and Jardin sur la Nil, so I am in fine fettle to swear off e-shopping for a while, and already got my summer bag and have plenty of shoes, so don’t need any of the that stuff. I’m on! Re allergies–I have found the neti pot very helpful, but will say no more– it isn’t everyone’s solution, just really helped with my allergy symptoms. Re Odalisque–oh yeah. It’s all that. My little sample is empty, but I keep sniffing it like Al Pacino in the final scene of Scarface. But, I do love Sacrebleu. De Nicolai is a genius. Take care–thanks for the inspiration top do what I know I need to do–:d

    • carter says:

      Oh, March knows her way (or should I say “nose?”) around a neti pot, dontcha March? As long as we’re purging here, why don’t you tell the folks about what you neti-purged last spring? =))

      • mary says:

        Uh oh–Neti pot humor! Oh well– the other day here the pollenm index was so high, we were getting just a little oxygen along with our pollen and dust motes. And you will pry my neti pot from my cold dead hand, thank you very much!>:d< March--I meant also to say, re the dog-- our family's pet bunny rabbit passed away one afternoon last fall, on a day when my spouse was out of town with his dad in the hospital. The bunny's crisis came right at the moment when my son was screaming hysterically, claiming such severe constipation he could not possibly go to his piano lesson. So March, I know how you feel-- pets do sometimes add--so much --to life. Bunny was 9. It was his time. I still miss him. His old hutch and bunny toys are some of the things I am going to get rid of this weekend. Life goes on. ~o) I hope poodle recovers his strength, but you will weather it, come what may. (%)

        • March says:

          Poodle is doing much better! And the less said about the details of neti pots, the better, as far as I’m concerned!

          And I’m glad you’ll be playing along! As you’ve just pointed out, you’re perfectly situated to do so! You’ve got a couple recent purchases to tide you over…

          • mary says:

            Just wanted to tell somebody– I went online and had put samples of Orange Star and was about to try to get a sample of Like This– when I remembered–oops–no shopping. OK. Enjopy what I have. I went to look over my growing collection of fragrances. I have 18 bottles on top of my dresser. Then, there are bottle in the drawer, and two baskets downstairs. Lots of little minis, like an old Femme, LeDix and Deneuve, which I haven’t even really tried. Until last summer– I owned two or three bottles at one time, max. OK, I can live without OS and LT for a while longer. I would like, however, to follow through on my promise to send Patty some of the Gardenia de Chanel form the big bottle I found in the antique store a couple months ago– will send you some too so that way you will have something fun on its way in the mail, without buying anything! Need shipping address, though– 🙂

  • cathleen56 says:

    I think you may find that cutting out drinking before bed will have a positive effect on that irregular heartbeat.

    I’m in — and this will be difficult for me because I’m going on a business trip starting next Monday, and that usually occasions a trip to a clothing store to pick up something new, either because things I already have are in the wash/at the cleaners, or I just wait till the last minute to put outfits together and really “need” something. Not this time! They’re just going to have to take me as I am in Arkansas!!!

    Thanks for the challenge — I’ll report back.

    • March says:

      It’ll have a positive effect on the heartbeat AND the impulse eBay shopping! 😉

      Ruh roh — elevated degree of difficulty! Report back on whether you ended up caving and buying some clothes! 😕

  • Mals86 says:

    Have many many things to say about the Stuff Diet and will come back and toss them atchall later.

    But briefly addressing the Sudafed – many years ago, pre-motherhood, I started having irregular heartbeats one spring. My doctor finally diagnosed it as being the interaction between Sudafed and caffeine, so I’m not surprised that’s hit you hard. I had just moved to this area, and was really struggling with allergies. Eighteen years later, I’m used to these particular allergens in the air in spring, and I suffer a lot less. Even though the area I lived in before I got married was only 50 miles away, there was a considerable difference in the pollen mix, and it takes time to build up immunities. Thank God for Sudafed, I still live on it in the springtime.

    • Mals86 says:

      Claritin does nuthin’ for me. I could go all Expensive Prescription (well, THESE days I can thanks to The CEO’s job), but why, when Sudafed works. Can’t take more than one pill at a time, though, or I feel awwwwful.

    • March says:

      I do think … not entirely sure, but … the caffeine reduction (I was drinking a LOT of coffee, I work at home) combined with no-Sudafed is helping the heart thing out. Today, oddly enough (maybe all the rain?) the allergies aren’t too bad.

  • donanicola says:

    Adding late bestest wishes to you, Hecate and the dog! When I realised my cat was very not well (a day from dying through undiagnosed diabetes)I spent a totally miserable and sleepless night so my sympathies on those feelings. I hope the Cheese comes home soon too for the support. I am bad at denying myself things be it food/wine/dark chocolate/cheese/coffee/tea/Nuit de Tubereuse, I just start wanting it all the more so I try to exercise restraint rather than outright denial. I also try to use everything I’ve got as a mark of respect for its origins I suppose. (There’s a great cookery book called Nose to Tail which deals with using all the animal’s carcasse once it’s been slaughtered for meat – same sort of idea). That might all sound like a cop out from joining you in your week’s abstinence and maybe it is but I thank you for making me think about it and put a half formed philosophy into words. Hm, PdN. I do love sacrebleu though I wear it about twice a year. Current favourite is Vie de Chateau – Diorella with tobacco and hay! Oh and that Parfum de fete is GORGeous. I got the lamp berger oil version – Miel and Frankinsense and it will make me insanely happy next winter. Good luck for your week, March!

    • donanicola says:

      oh and by the way, the cat recovered – she’s still diabetic but not ill anymore, bless her.

    • March says:

      So glad your cat recovered! And I didn’t even think about the Fete lamp oil, they probably had it…. they only had one or two bottles left, and I bought one. She did say it will become part of their line, which is great.

      Hey, I was *not* pressuring anyone to join up! I’ve really enjoyed the discussion on here about consumerism and consumption.

  • maidenbliss says:

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the classic bit called Stuff by George Carlin. It’s absolutely hilarious, one of the funniest routines I’ve ever seen and so in keeping with this post. It would be worth it for you to check it out, March, with all that’s going on in your home. Sounds like you would appreciate some humor-especially from someone who’s talking your talk! (RIP) Sending prayers for Hecate and Kai and you as well. I’ve been wearing Maharadjah and Sacre Bleu, layering them yesterday to tame the sweetness of Sacre-it’s a bit overwhelming, but very pretty.
    There is a growing subculture of people who’ve returned to a simpler way of life-I’m one of them. I believe Oprah did an article last year ? with interviews of several people. It was fascinating to realize that I had merged into a similar lifestyle: from everything I wanted to only what I really need. Living in a small town has made the transition much easier. I am still bringing things to Goodwill and will be for some time. Wine and coffee are necessities. :)>- No more B & N-hard habit to break, but I’m at the library every week. As to perfume purchasing I’m more disciplined than I once was. It seems like a chaotic time to pull back from your pleasures-you must like challenges much more than the average bear!:)>-

    • maidenbliss says: George Carlin “Stuff” =))=))=d>

    • Shelley says:

      Ah ha ha! I know this “stuff.” It’s some really good stuff, man. ;))

      I’m all for simpler living…though it kinda makes me chuckle when Oprah goads people in that direction…which house of hers do you suppose is simpler? Don’t get me wrong; I think she means well. See my own comments about life in tension. Maybe she needs Really Big Cables in the various directions, because her public life is So Darn Big.

      • maidenbliss says:

        Yes, O did an article featuring people who are back to the simple life-the pics, btw, were pretty cool. But I wasn’t fooled for a minute. Like O is going back to simple? Would you, if you had that much money? :d I wouldn’t know what to do with that kinda moola…or maybe I would. My altruism gene would kick in big time. With big bucks. As for GC–that clip says it all! =))

    • March says:

      It sounds like your down-sizing is working out really well for you. (Somehow I never did lose my connection with the library — in part because our branch is right down the street and in part because our county is huge, you can get almost anything you want through the intra-library loan system).

      And I do remember George Carlin’s Stuff! I hadn’t thought of that in ages…

  • Shelley says:

    Life in balance for me generally translates into life in tension. In a positive sense, like in “just a little more tension on the left guide wire and that will hold up there wonderfully.”

    Pulling from one direction: A love of William Morris’ credo, Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

    Pulling from another: For decades, I was the only person in my family to find joy and history and a nearly tangible connection to other people through objects, whether precious or ephemera. So I ended up being the family warehouse, because everybody else thought it was ALL junk–and while some of it was, there was no filtering before it came to me. And I didn’t say no, because I was afraid of what would get thrown away. Like correspondence between my grandparents during WWII, or a receipt from my great-grandfather’s service station/general store, or another great-grandmother’s wedding dress. And a hideous pin someone wore but I find fascinating. (“Beautiful” and “useful” are somewhat mutable concepts, it turns out.)

    Pulling from another: I love Zen-like clarity. And quiet places to land.

    And another: Nothing makes me happy like a room stuffed with books and tschotckes.

    So, between that, and the fluidity of life with children and pets and extended family in flux, “balance” is a process. Sometimes messy, sometimes visually calm. Rarely in every nook and cranny at once. Heck, rarely in 2/3 of the house at once. But I am always thinking about it. I started a BIG purge last fall, after a big life change, and it felt great. After many trips to Goodwill, I keep a box for good quality donations and give it away as soon as it is full.

    As for “extras”…I see the benefit of your detox plan. I totally love “what you came home with”…that’s the ticket, as my Papa used to say. Whatever you need to do to be sure there is clarity enough to find the sense of peace, to access the ideas, to review and enjoy the memories as tangible gifts…I say it’s worth it.

    Somebody up there…Tiara…brought up the other side of the equation, what it’s like for those who have no choice but to be constantly austere. Again, back to balance.

    BTW, I have a project going on. It is called “Spending Enough Time With Friends.” Because my out-of-control thing seemed to become losing touch with relaxing and enjoying good company. So far, so good. (And I use that as my justification for this rather lengthy response to your post. 🙂 >:d< )

    • March says:

      Hey there! Now we have power again (I have no idea what that was about, NOT part of my austerity plan!…)

      Oh, spending time with Friends! Did you and Musette hook up? I always feel better after I do that, we should all do that more often. Wouldn’t it be nice if our lives were structured so that that just happened, rather than having to plan it?

  • Sariah says:

    Good food for thought. I especially like the “Story of Bottled Water”. I declared myself a tap water girl years ago. We are so lucky here to have tap water that’s clean and reliable – we should be grateful for it and use it.

    Hope your doggy starts to feel better

    • March says:

      I was too cheap to buy bottled, so I felt like sort of smug when they came out with all that BPA stuff … I’m so old-school I don’t lug water everywhere. It’s like the kid-snack thing. What the hell, you can’t go two hours without eating?!? Nobody eats in my car.

      • Joe says:

        You made me laugh. I reuse the same disposable water bottle at work for six months before I get a new one to refill from the cooler. I have a friend who always jokes with me about the water thing like the kid-snack thing: what the HELL is the problem with people who can’t attend a half-hour meeting (much less a two-hour one) without a drink of water!!! It did NOT used to be like this.

        • CynthiaW says:

          It is kind of funny – but one of the things that I found when I started changing my diet is that many times what feels like hunger is actually dehydration. If you’re going to drink the requisite 64 ounces of fluid per day (more if you exercise) you’re going to have to drink pretty steadily. Plus, being dehydrated makes you feel tired too. I’m not as militant about it as some people, but I do carry water/Diet Coke/Fuze with me almost everywhere at work.

    • March says:

      PS dog is definitely better <:-p

  • Disteza says:

    Firstly: so sorry to hear that life is swinging back hard after such a nice vacation. You have my sympathies.
    Limiting purchases to basic necessities happens in our house once a month–it’s called mortgage week! I’d love to join in, but this is a bad week as we’re taking off Friday to attend the Ft. Frederick market fair (the largest colonial shin-dig in the USA), specifically to stock up on some stuff, most of which will probably end up being tax-deductible business expenses. Ah, the perks of being a paid historical demonstrator! Alas, if you had announced this sooner, perhaps I might have had a chance at that vintage Narcisse Noir on eBay!

    I’m probably the only other person who wasn’t particularly fond of PdN, I’ve tried a couple, and they were consistently too sweet on me. There is definitely cohesion between the various fumes in that line, so I can see how you’d be tempted to buy more than one if they worked for you.

    • March says:

      I know, I know … next time (!) I’ll announce further ahead. 😉 It all came up on an =:) whim…

      The PdNs can get that baby-aspirin candy thing going on at the top. I happen to like it a lot, and it’s not hellaciously sweet on me, but I can truly see how people might have that problem.

      Have fun at the market fair!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    The priest (and others)at our church lived on food stamps for a month and lived to tell about it. Hmmph. What was that about? He’s now going on a two month sabbatical. I’ve run marathons, given up caffeine and actually went on a diet once but not of these was sustainable as a long-term practice; well, I also gave up nicotine permanently, but you know what I mean. Once the novelty wears off, you go home. I love luxuries and one of my lessons to learn/remember is that they are just that,luxuries–not a fix, not therapy, etc. Less successful some days than others. I hope once your experiment is over, you will rejoice in going back to some things and also in not going back to others. AND I am delighted that you have a sub-standard poodle.

    • March says:

      I think … I think what I am aiming for is a more mindful consumerism. I am not opposed to stuff. God knows. But, for instance, I wonder whether I might be happier with one $300 scarf than 10 $30 ones, you know? We all have our weaknesses. I am all about the bargain — whether I really want the thing or not. But when I think of some of the things I *really* love — they were (for me) high-end splurges. My Stuart Weitzman purse, which wasn’t even that high-end for a bag, but was for me … I’ve gotten extraordinary joy from carrying that thing. So: instead of five pairs of Payless crap sandals, how about one decent pair?

      You’re right. I’m not gray-water tree-hugger. But I could throw a lot less money away on trivialities.

      • carter says:

        That is my philosophy persaktly. I am being serious, for once. It was a lifestyle imposed upon me when I moved to NYC due to the extremely limited space we have here, but it was my mother’s way of doing things and once I was forced to adopt it myself I really took to it quite easily. I went from owning well over 200 pairs of shoes when I lived in DC down to about 20 now, including sandals and running shoes.

        I only keep what I love. If I fall out of love, I immediately sell it or donate it. I throw away makeup that I don’t regularly use. I do hoard perfumes, but basically only three: vintage Jolie Madame extrait, vintage Bandit extrait, and vintage Apres l’Ondee extrait. I can live with that. @};-

        • March says:

          I think (for normal people!) those space limitations come in handy, because at some point you go, well, I don’t want to live in a warren. So I’m only going to have THIS MUCH stuff. (unless you rent a storage unit.) Your approach sounds perfect. And I just got rid of a TON of makeup — I actually wear and enjoy it more if I have less of it, who can pick through all that?

          • carter says:

            I really have my mother to thank; I think that the move just forced me to tap into something that was already there for a very long time. She lived in Japan when my father was in Korea during the war, and it had a profound influence on her. She had always been about quality over quantity, but that time in Japan not only enforced that principle but expanded it to include the concept of simplicity as the hallmark of elegance and beauty. Also a

            deep respect for nature and the ways in which we incorporate it into our lives, whether through art, or fabrics, or beautiful papers and natural woods.

            I don’t think that the Japan of today is the same as it was before WWII; in it’s obsession with all things American, it has lost so much of what made it so culturally unique and special.

          • carter says:

            Just wanted to add that perhaps this is the very reason why the closing of Takashimya feels so much like a knife through the heart. I am in serious mourning.

  • Patty says:

    Oh, yikes, so many things. Hope the doggies is okay. I can’t even think about my pets dying. I sometimes hate them so much, especially when the cats push my Balenciaga bag onto the floor so the bulldog can get ahold of it and start chewing (caught them on first attempt and about had a heart attack, but bags are fine).

    I’m a one-woman economic stimulation machine, and I like it. Not because I like things, but I like finding things that sound interesting or useful. I give tons of stuff away, including my time, and I feel almost no guilt about it.

    But there is an emotional component of consumerism that I want to spend some time with, and the only way to get there is to stop shopping for a while, get your arms around it and see what that is.

    Not giving up wine/coffee/champagne. But I’m not buying any for the next week either! I’m cooking black beans and rice now, just no-frills cooking as well (this is easy because I love black beans, rice and some spicy sausage, yum!).

    I think I’ll put a lot more miles on the treadmill and bike this next week. And can you take too many yoga classes a day?

    • Musette says:


      Yoga is good.

      Bulldog + Balenciaga is 😮

      Glad it’s okay.

      xo >-)

    • carter says:

      Dash ate a very intricate black-and-white suede Prada flat (just the one, dear) and I swear I was about to put him up for adoption, but a genius shoemaker here in town reconstructed the thing almost from scratch and saved not only the shoe, but the little turd’s neck.x(#:-s

      • Musette says:

        Been there. With my Airedale. And a gorgeous, yet-to-be-worn yellow bootie (back when I could rock something like that).

        I’m surprised you didn’t hear the scream in NY. This was back in ’85. Are you sure you didn’t hear it?

        Then-boyfriend threw the pup in his crate, locked it…and then stood in front of it! to keep me from pulling that devil out and beating him senseless.

        xoxo >-)

    • March says:

      Dog is MUCH better tonight. Fingers crossed. And OMG on the Balenciaga bag!!! I’d want to kill him myself!!! Glad the bag was okay.

      I’m looking forward to your report, as I know you enjoy your shopping 😉 And yes, you’re right, I think it’s nice to step back and consider the reasoning behind our behaviors.

      Your dinner sounds delicious! I made a less-than-stellar risotto, but we ate it. 🙂

  • dleep says:

    Best wishes for your little poochie and Hecate. You are a better person than I. I was trying to do no buy and called this year my year of living frugally. Well that didn’t work out too well. As for giving up coffee and wine, I just couldn’t do it. A nice steaming hot fresh cup of coffee is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Good luck to you and I will love reading about your progress.

    • March says:

      I should definitely have left coffee out of the post — not suggesting that for anyone else, i just said I was giving it up because I wonder if it’s giving me the wonky heartbeat! And Hecate and pooch are both better tonight!

  • Angela says:

    I’ve got to hand it to you, March, you’re sure not the type to fall apart. Your life goes crazy, and you respond with a “battening down” regime. I guess one of the good parts of life when it isn’t going smoothly is that it really makes a person see what matters.

    The day after I got home from Paris, I set out a couple of boxes and started filling them with things to go to Goodwill. I’d carried home the fresh perspective I’d gained from looking at so much, and I wanted to know that everything in my house was useful (and used regularly) and/or beautiful. I really had the same urge to pare down that it sounds like you’re feeling!

    Starbucks, ebay, and take out aren’t my big temptation–thrift stores are. (How many etched crystal champagne glasses does a girl need, anyway?) I’ll give them up this week in solidarity. Plus, I want to know that for everything that comes in my house, at least one thing goes out.

    • Angela, it’s interesting that both you and March have had a post-Paris paring-down reaction — March on a no-buy, you giving away things. I wonder why that is?

      • March says:

        I can only speak for myself — A and I did talk about paring things down and keeping what we love. Anyway, I’ve noticed before that when I come back from an orderly environment I’ve controlled (hotel room, apartment bedroom) with other adults to the chaos of my house with kids (and without me there supervising) the almost instantaneous reaction is: we need to get rid of some of this stuff! Not too shocking when I think about it. But Angie will have her own reasons.

    • March says:

      Yes, I remember our conversation about useful and beautiful. @};- While I have more storage, I’ve been slowly purging the things that are likely to spend the next 20 years in boxes … who needs that? And I’m trying to use more of the interesting plates etc I already have instead of the stand-bys.

      Yes, that’s my personality. I tend to pull it all tighter when things get rough, at least in the short term. And I’m going to blather on below to Denyse.

      • Musette says:

        You know what makes me want to purge? All the HGTV shows like House Hunters – especially when it’s here (v. HH International). Nearly every one of those shows has major storage issues – there are families of 4, looking at 3500sf homes, and THERE IS NOT ENOUGH STORAGE!

        Which, after my 😮 causes me to look around and wonder….

        …like my handbag ‘room’ 😕

        xoxoo >-)

        • March says:

          And that right there is too much crap.

          The McMansions around here, which are huge, fascinate me because their 2-car garages (which you can see from the street) are full to the rafters with stuff.

  • Style Spy says:

    I’ve done the No-Buy, from a combination of financial necessity and infuriation at the constant bombardment of buybuybuy. It was a lot easier to stick to when I held in my mind the idea that I was saying a big fat %$&# you to various corporate beings who were trying to control my life. And then it got easier because it’s just easier. So thanks for the reminder, I’m going to re-commit.

    I have a sample order of Nicolais on the way, she’s been on my radar a lot lately & I feel it’s time to make the acquaintance of the house.

    As for Hecate’s cough — I cannot recommend highly enough OTC Mucinex. I LIVE on this stuff during my allergy season (fall) and it really helps with the post-nasal drip & coughing. It’s not an antihistamine, so no bad-speed reaction. I also swear by acupuncture & a regimen of Chinese herbs, but that’s not something everyone is into, I know.

    • March says:

      Oh, let me know how the PdNs work out!!! There’s a theme there, so it will either be love or it … won’t. 🙂

      We’ve been doing the Mucinex, but it only gets her about three hours through the night. Last night we did the albuterol inhaler and (fingers crossed) it worked like a charm. Not something I want to do regularly, but short term it seems promising. Post-nasal drip is SO AWFUL. Which is how I wound up hooked on Sudafed. 🙂

  • Great post and sorry for your troubles (I sincerely hope everyone recovers in full swiftly!)

    There is a kind of spiritual elegance in abstinence from consumerism. The never-ending hunt for material things always somehow strikes me as a need to fill personal voids or old traumata, which is not exactly how I could personally want my possessions to “ring”! Having said that I prefer to invest more in worthy, quality purchases than flimsy instant gratification things. It IS also a cultural thing, speaking as a European. We were never seeing hundreds of aquisitions with a positive eye: it seemed a bit suspect and superficial as in “nouveau riche”.

    In perfumery terms, before the recent years’ craziness of hoarding for fear of major reformulations, my collection was a paradigm of restraint (even though I’m averse to throwing out things): scents I prized, which I genuinely loved, things that had sentimental value. Nothing else! Now stuff is overflowing the cupboards and wardrobes because some day they might be horribly disfigured like an old Hollywood star who has been under the knife too many times…How sad is that? 😕

    I haven’t splurged on things too much recently as I am reaching an overboiling point. Plus testing so much stuff reaffirms there’s no need to. So that’s easy. Coffee and wine are indulgences and not necessities for me at least, so I want to keep them as is. ~o)

    What’s really necessary, you ask: Health (you knnew that) and the freedom to lead one’s life the way one chooses. Neither is particularly easy. [-(

    • March says:

      Hey! Are you back? How was your trip? Lovely, I hope!

      I do think there’s a European/US dichotomy in there, as we are endlessly hounded with messages of consumerism. And the nouveau riche thing makes me smile — I am reminded that for the truly (old family) rich, nothing’s more vulgar than, say, buying your silver or china — because of course one would have inherited it!

      I’ve slowed down my bottle purchases considerably, as having so many makes me very uncomfortable … i have an uneasy relationship with collections of things. I do want to spend more time this year enjoying the beautiful scents I have rather than constantly on the prowl for the next Big Thing. And yes: health and freedom are undervalued until one finds them compromised. /:)

    • carter says:

      I would also venture to add that it is a distinctly Japanese point of view. Simple, elegant, beautiful, seasonal, precious.

  • Nava says:

    Thank God I made that massive Shoppers Drug Mart run before you declared war on ancillary spending. The bad thing about Shoppers is that they have one of those points loyalty programs, and there’s $75 in my account burning a hole in my pocket. I will attempt to join you in this, but I make no promises; it’s tax season in this house and the living is not easy right now. Retail therapy sometimes works better than anti-anxiety meds. :d

    Hang in there, March. 😡

  • bloody frida says:

    “No ….., drunken eBay bids on Dioressence extrait at 1 a.m….” this is priceless!!

    I’m definitely joining you for this week (but I’ll still be drinking home-brewed coffee)

    • March says:

      Yes, that’s me, the drunken eBaying. Sad but true.

      And the coffee is fine!!! I’m so sorry I mentioned the coffee. I am definitely pro-coffee. Just giving it up myself because I’m wondering if it’s the root of my irregular heartbeat.

      • bloody frida says:

        actually for me is the drunken blogger and FB postings!

        I get that irregular heartbeat too sometimes – my doc says its part of the ‘change’ I’m going through. Sigh.

        • CynthiaW says:

          Ooh… that actually makes me feel better. I’ve cut down on caffeine, but I have noticed the racing heart beat while on the elliptical and was worried that I might have something wrong with me. Not that I’m thrilled about “the Change”, but that’s better than heart disease – and I would be thrilled if it was over, actually.

  • Cheryl says:

    You can do it! (no stuff) But give up coffee? (not sure — WOW). There’s a reverse therapy as powerful as stuffgetting: Stuff getting rid of. A simple joy in throwing away some micro-object just for the purely evil reason I don’t want to pick it up off the carpet ever again. And think about where it should go. (Kids usually get a warning). The walk to the garbage can is serene and powerful. I figure we can get rid of 30% of our load without any one really noticing. And sitting outside for 20 minutes at this time of year is nice. Beautiful fresh air.

    • March says:

      Yep. Sneaking it ALL out to the trash while they’re at school, because they save everything — down to the popsicle sticks. I’ve gotten rid of bags and bags of clothing and toys and nobody’s noticed so far!

  • CynthiaW says:

    I’m so glad – I love Austin. If I could pick up and move easily, I’d love to live in that area.

    • CynthiaW says:

      Oops – I don’t know why this ended up here instead of up above, but it can be deleted since it makes no sense here.

      • March says:

        But I kind of like it here …. :d/

        • March says:

          and that’s the wrong emoticon! :-w

        • CynthiaW says:

          It doesn’t seem quite so random down here now that we’ve been talking about moving and clearing out houses. I’d love to live in an apartment/condo again – in theory. Of course, then I remember all the problems we had with our horrible downstairs neighbor who liked to blast heavy metal at 3 a.m. – so, obviously, it would have to be much higher-class than the place we lived in when we first got married. And, we can’t move until we don’t have a big dog anymore. Of course, I’ll never talk the CEO into living in a condo or apartment again – where would he put his beloved grill and pit smoker?

  • Olfacta says:

    After my parents died, and I had to clean out an enormous basement and upper floor with lots of closets crammed with crap, I swore I’d never live in a house with a basement, and that if our smallish house ever got too full of stuff to fit more, out the stuff would go. And I’ve pretty well kept to it. Right now I’m sorting through and getting rid of 15 years worth of tax backup, both mine and my parents, to be shredded. Taking clothing to the goodwill. Getting rid of cookbooks I’ve never used. Etc. I’d say our “Stuff Footprint” is pretty small, as we don’t have manically-consuming children, and I hate to shop. Of course there’s perfume, but that’s mostly decants and someone else’s castaways (fleabay). The DH is a little more difficult, especially as regards clothing that hasn’t fit him in 15 years (and never will again) but he’s improving. When I make my exit, I’d like to leave as little as possible behind.

    But coffee? Nev-ah. One in the morning and sometimes one after lunch; gets me going and gives me a few minutes of peace while I drink it.

    • March says:

      I’m lucky that our neighborhood has Iron Mountain or whatever they’re called drive through here a couple times a year with a shredder, which was an impetus for the Cheese to go through our AND his deceased parents’ papers and finally chuck a mountain of stuff.

      The coffee I should have left off my list — that was for me, not a general order! :)>-

  • kathleen says:

    Hear hear! I am in. We’ve just sold my mom’s house, and we’ll be going to NY to clear out 40 yrs of crap. Every cell in my body shrieks at the thought of this. An example of “stuff accumulation”, that will certainly aid in my not wanting to buy anything. The one thing, that every parent can do for their children, and I will say this loud, is, “THROW STUFF AWAY!”

    • March says:

      We cleared out the Cheese’s parents’ two houses — one in Florida and one here — and it was emotional work. My sister in law and I did most of it (less emotional/more practical for us) and it was weird and strange and sad and funny, pawing through all of that stuff, deciding what to chuck.

      • Musette says:

        I did that when my mom passed and I remember my 😮 at the mountains of neatly packed tax stuff from 1957! (and on…. – she passed in 1985).

        And the weirdest were the neatly packed plastic snap-top bags – but the bottoms weren’t sealed 😕

        And the boxes of neatly washed, wrapped Mrs Butterworth bottles…

        ……I think I went home and threw out half my household after that!

        xo >-)

        • March says:

          Oh my. Mrs. Butterworth bottles? Yes, every house must have something like that. And I’d have come home and chucked everything too!

    • Francesca says:

      My mother thoughtfully did that after my father died. He had an entire drawer filled with check stubs dating back to 1942! So when she passed away, all I had to do was pack up her fancy cup and saucer collection, give the furniture to the neighbors and that was it. Thanks, Mom! 😡

    • CynthiaW says:

      My mom adopted this strategy after having to clean out my grandmother’s apartment. She is distinctly anti-collection and anti-stuff now – I just need to get there myself. We have a relatively modest house and when I started thinking about buying a bigger one to have room for all our crap, I knew that I had to do something to get things under control. I don’t know that I’ll ever hit my mom’s standard – nothing new comes in until something old goes out, but I have to try. If nothing else, I want to be able to retire someday and I can’t do that if I keep buying stuff I don’t need.

      • March says:

        My dad’s house is chockablock full of stuff none of his kids will want, and it’s not even that big a house! Part of me toys with the idea of (when our kids reach adulthood) allowing them to go ahead and inherit all our crap, then downsizing to an apt. But then they can’t come back and stay with the grandkids (?) which makes me sad… but I’d love an apt again. The Cheese and I loved our 750sq.ft. condo in the city.

  • DinaC says:

    Great post, March. I’ll try not to write a book in response! I feel like I have so much to say…

    First, sorry about the sick kiddo and even sicker dog. Sheesh. Why do these heavy loads have to hit us all at once?! And the Cheese going away, too. I’d be waving the white flag of surrender. I’m very allergic to cats and dogs, in spite of my affection for them, so we’re a no pet family. My DD has given me many, many guilt trips about this, so we finally broke down and let her get a hermit crab last month. It’s still living…so far.

    I’ve seen that video, The Story of Stuff. It’s powerful, but there was one element in it which I disagreed with based on my own personal experience. We *don’t* throw tons of stuff away. We hand-down all of our kids’ clothing to younger cousins, give our old things to charities, etc., and give used electronics, TVs, old computer monitors to teens setting up their first apartments. The author makes it sound like we Americans just dump all of our used and outdated belongings in a landfill. Plus, I’ve still got clothing from twenty and thirty years ago that I wear. Not a lot, but a few classic pieces that are timeless and well made.

    I’m not too much of an impulse shopper, but I do notice that if I am going to be tempted, whether it’s something small like a candy bar or big like a full bottle of perfume, it’s more likely to happen during PMS week. That’s the week of the month when I crave shopping and retail therapy. But even then I won’t let myself buy something unless I totally love it and can afford it.

    I find clutter overwhelming, too. I’m a neatnic by nature, but papers and books are the things that rage out of control in my areas. My kids are pack rats when it comes to all kinds of things: papers, art projects, junky happy meal toys, and out-and-out trash like candy wrappers, etc. littering their rooms. Hello! Use the trash can please! That’s why you have one! Ugh!

    As for caffeine and wine, I don’t indulge very much in either because of my migraines and the meds I take for them. I’m a tea drinker, and I enjoy decaf green tea — or green tea on the days when I feel like death warmed over. Alcohol is a special-occasion only kind of thing for me. I suggest weaning yourself off gradually to avoid caffeine-withdrawal headaches.

    So far, I’ve only sampled Odalisque from PdN. Your blog made me want to try it again, and since I hadn’t applied anything yet this morning, that’s what I put on. Loving it. So very beautiful. I can’t really identify specific notes in this one. I just know that I really enjoy the blend. It smells like luxury to me.

    I think I can handle your challenge. I’d like to try it. Thanks for letting me blather on! :”>

    • March says:

      Annie Leonard is way more hardcore than I’ll ever be in her lifestyle, and your criticisms are valid. And as someone who spends a lot of time giving and receiving hand-me-downs and recycling that way, there’s one solid example. But I figure anyone who can even get the “average” American, whoever that is, to spend five minutes thinking about his/her relationship to stuff, is doing something good.

      The kids/pack rat thing — ugh. I mean, I have to sneak everything out in black plastic bags. They save EVERYTHING. And then (in terms of toys/flotsam) it makes me sad/frustrated that, for instance, in the last week I got rid of something like eight black trash bags of their stuff — old toys, mostly — and they didn’t even notice! I mean, that’s how much stuff they have. It’s ridiculous.

      Odalisque I was sure was going to be a LOTV/powder train wreck on me, and isn’t it lovely?

      So. Sign on and check in next week. :)>-

      • DinaC says:

        About once per quarter, we’ll clean my daughter’s bedroom kind of like the show “Clean Sweep” and purge out all the junk. It’s amazing how much trash we cart out. 8-|

  • Marsi says:

    March, chez moi we call the no-spending gig “triple secret probation,” and we’re hardcore on it now. We’re a family of three (13-year-old son is our only child), and each of us has, literally, a $160 monthly allowance. It’s for movies, meals not cooked at home, snacks, Sbux visits with friends, and other non-essentials. We’ve been on triple secret probation for a month now, and we all talk about how much it’s changed the way we think about money and what we want versus need. It’s taught my son how to budget and think ahead to the end of the month. It’s taught me that all of those “little” purchases of $5 here, $10 there, really do add up to a lot. (And it’s taught my husband nothing because he came up with the whole caper!) And what I’ve observed is … I’m no worse for the wear. I plan my purchases, rule out a lot of them for their sheer excess, and end up buying very little. And … I’m fine. Better than fine, actually, because now I never feel guilty for spending money that I shouldn’t.

    Everything that I now have is what I once coveted, feverishly. When I’m not obsessing about some other thing I think I want, I realize that all of that obsessive energy instead is directed to what I already have. And I love it more!

    • Silviafunkly says:

      I love your “triple secret probation” scheme, very egalitarian. And directing my obsessive energy towards existing stuff is going to be my target from now on. Thanks Guru ! ^:)^

    • March says:

      Wow. I think a budget would work great for us. I wonder if I could get everyone (i.e., the Cheese) onboard? That would be a whole new thing for us. And yes — I’d like to spend more time coveting the beautiful things I already have.

  • Daseined says:

    I’ve never been much of one for retail therapy (raised by hippies) but there have definitely been a number of purchases of specialty foods/beverages/wines that have fallen under the Consolatory Consumerism category. I am currently on an exceptionally minimal consumerist diet due to an immobilizing surgery so I’d be cheating to say i had accepted your challenge as opposed to merely being housebound (and a poor student) but I will be playing along.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to come home to all that, especially with the added bonuses (boni?) of an absent husband/partner and sick beloved pet. After a trip to Paris last summer (which had its own complications) I found myself not four days back at work before I was eyein’ the cans of WhupAss in the cooler (someone started a fire in the WALK IN FRIDGE? And this is my problem why?!?) so you have all my wishes for
    tranquility in the upcoming days and weeks. Whatever you can do to take unnecessary “stuff” out is likely to help. I look forward to reading about it in any case. :)>-

    • March says:

      Hey, you can be housebound and still play along — after all, you could be shopping online all day!

      And it sounds like you had some of the same emotions I did. I’ve opened up a couple cans of WhupAss myself. 🙂

    • Musette says:

      Fire + Walk-in Fridge? 😮

      By its very nature, that is almost an oxymoron! (or whatever it is when two things shouldn’t be able to exist in the same sentence, as in ” I started a fire in the freezer” or “the icecream was rock-hard when I took it out of the 400o oven”.


      I’d have beaten them stupid, then asked them how they managed it!

      xoxo >-)

  • Melissa says:

    My first thought was “you must be kidding”, but the more I think about this, the easier I think that it will be. My house is relatively uncluttered, unless you count work materials. I tend to do most of my spending on fragrance and these days, I have been splitting bottles, or buying small decants, bringing the cost down to more manageable amounts. This will be the area of difficulty for me.

    Clothes and shoes are usually planned shopping trips. I don’t deprive myself, but I don’t shop to manage my feelings. Impulse buys usually fall in the cosmetics category and I can resist.
    Starbucks isn’t a regular haunt.

    So, we’ll see how I do. I have a couple of perfume buys (partial bottles etc) in the works that I need to finalize. But, can I really resist starting others if I find a “great deal”?

    As for the PdNs, Temps d’une Fête is my favorite. I tried to love Odalisque, but the LotV makes me step back from it. My relationship with it is ambivalent.

    • March says:

      LOTV scares the crap out of me, so why I don’t hate Odalisque I don’t know. But I don’t. And I think Tems d’une Fete seems to be a front runner along with Sacrebleu.

      Your approach to consumer goods seems pretty disciplined.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Hope your dog recovers, poor sausage.

    I switched off my consumption in the past 10 days to compensate for my Paris bill (ouch). And I’ll need to continue for way over a week, I am afraid.

    So far so good, I haven’t suffered, brought my lunch in from home and no after work shop detours. The Guerlain shop lady did call me to say that Attrape-Coeur was now available so I had to cave it for that since I had committed (in my mind part of the Paris expenditure anyway) and sponsored someone for a charity run, but that was it. I even went on a spend-free sniffage, happy to score a few samples.

    Off to read “Story of stuff”.

    I don’t really drink coffee, but wine for me is a necessity and if I quit it would pretty much signify the end of my social life and of my sanity. So I will join you but probably won’t be as hard core, since for me it will be a marathon and not a sprint.

    And I need that Nuit de Tuberouse at some point.

    • March says:

      Dog is DEFINITELY better, knock wood. Honestly, two days ago I feared for his life.

      Okay, I will give you a pass on the A-C 🙂 which falls into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

      And as I said upstairs somewhere, for me, the wine is a gateway drug to aimless eBay purchases late at night. 🙂 So it’s a necessary control issue.

      That tubey was gorgeous. Maybe I’ll blog on that next.

  • Musette says:

    I’m stunned. I read this, mentally ran through my purchases and found that 😮 – with the exception of a couple of splits/decants already on their way, I have bought little lately in the way of nonessentials. Of course, I am one who has 7 sets of china and 2 chests full of antique linens, etc and enough books to restock our little library here in town – but none of it is being used (no space and Waiting for Renovation). That is bad juju enough – I don’t need to bring even more stuff in here.

    Plus, being broke for several years (and PISSED OFF ABOUT IT :-w in case y’all didn’t know 😉 really put the hurt on my lavish spending – and like Carter and others on here, I just no longer have the energy; how many more Mulberrys and Murrays do I need?

    I’m also with Carter and Denyse – you might want to NOT give up both – and def not at the same time. It isn’t a great idea to go cold turkey on caffeine and wine is good for you, in moderation. Why not ‘moderate’ and have a glass from your existing cellar? I could not buy another bottle of wine for the next year, drink a bottle every night, and not run out. You might not be at that stage but I’ll bet you could have a glass or two a night and not have to go to the store for more.

    My boys and I are praying for lovely Kai. You keep on taking the wonderful care of him that you always do – just remember what I said about his needs v. yours and make sure that you are putting him first, in whatever choices you need to make regarding his health and comfort.

    I still struggle with PdN but find Odalisque to be the most wearable in terms of not sniffing my arm every couple of minutes, going ‘dang. what IS that note munking up an otherwise perfect scent’?

    xoxo >-)

    • March says:

      Eeeeeeeeeeeee, I should have left the coffee and booze off my list! The coffee’s really about trying to source my irregular heartbeat, and the wine leads to late night loss of control on eBay. :d Just sayin.’

      Kai Kai is DEFINITELY doing better today, thank Dog. I’ve been feeding him (homemade!) chicken stew with rice, nothing too good for that baby. And he finally went down/up the steps without looking like he was going to collapse. We’ve added a second antibiotic.

      Mm, yes. How many more sets of china and handbags does one need? 😕

      • Musette says:


        I think I, along with a whole buncho others, misunderstood.

        Coffee Cut-out: check. Though I’m plumping for the Sudafed as the cause of heartrace/strokey feeling. BUt that’s just me. Sudafed and its ilk has nearly taken me out more than a couple of times, before I wised up and dumped it.

        Wine and the eeeB: check. Since wine = |-) for me, I don’t suffer from that but I can see how it could become an issue.

        Kailicious! < :-p xoxo >-)

        • Musette says:

          uh…. that was meant to be


        • March says:

          Well, more than one person on here has now said coffee + Sudafed = trouble, and considering how much of both I’ve been swilling for the past few weeks … it does seem better the past couple days, for sure.

  • Leslie says:

    Consumption. Huh. I have a smallish house (by local standards, at any rate) and the battle against disorder is endless. The topic of stuff has been on my mind lately as I’m working on my son’s room (paint, purge, new dressers, etc.). I’ve been trying to buy the “right” items to contain his stuff, and it’s been oddly difficult. Evidently, I’m too cheap to pay $25 for decorated cardboard boxes. At any rate, I need to pursue this project of buying stuff in order to contain and organize other stuff. (I know, it appears to be a logic fail.)

    It’s an interesting exercise to try to keep purchases down to the ‘need’ level. I’m working in baby steps with the consumption issue. It’s taking me a while to modify my mind-set.

    Favorite PdN: Vie de Chateau by default; it’s the the only one I’ve tried.

    • March says:

      Yes!!! Buying the $$$ containers to hold their stuff? Boxes to hold more crap? Yes, a certain amount of that is necessary, but at some point I think: this crap has got to go. When we exceed our current IKEA boxes and baskets I start to purge. What breaks my heart is all the bits of toys I throw out — the air darts separated from the long-lost stomp-rocket. Doll clothes. Endless, endless bits of plastic crap — and we don’t even go to McDonald’s, it’s not those toys!! I have no idea.

      I want to not give them a birthday party (more stuff). Trying to decide if I’m terrible.

      • Leslie says:

        No, you aren’t terrible at all. I completely understand the inclination. Whether you can get *away* with it is another matter. 😉 I’m trying to think what kind of alternate parties I’ve heard about…there was one where everyone brought a gift (tagged girl or boy if necessary) and everyone received a package. Party accomplished, a gift for everyone, no serious pile of loot to contend with. Win!

        • March says:

          Oh! I kind of like that idea. Or I keep it a family party, which is what they’ve always had except for one year … the idea of 10 (x 2) new presents here, or more, makes me :-&

  • Ann N. says:

    Oops – as for the fave PdN, I’ve only tried the Vanille Tonka (hangs head in shame) and despite it sounding lovely, the lime in there was just too big a deal-breaker for me. But I am mightily resisting the urge to go sampling again …

  • Ann N. says:

    Oh March, so sorry you’re having to experience the week(s) from hell. I’ll be sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Just take it one day (or even one hour) at a time, if you can.
    I don’t drink coffee much at all and alcohol rarely, if ever, but retail therapy is my downfall. I indulge in perfume sampling and eBay way too much, so your challenge was a good heads-up and reminder that I don’t need any more and should enjoy what I already have.
    Thanks and hang in there!

    • March says:

      The staying off eBay has been my number-one challenge — I’m on the computer on and off all day on days like today, and it’s hard to resist!

      And the kids and the dog are better (fingers crossed!)

  • Koki2 says:

    Dog – we lost our 7yo dog last month to cancer, much too young and we’re still in active grief. Love up your dog as often as you can while he’s still there, it’s good for him and good for you too.

    Stuff – Two years ago I quit my 6-figure corporate career here in DC to start a business off a table in my bedroom. Amazing how little I’ve missed the whole “stuff” thing. I’ll take time and sanity any day over stuff.

    • March says:

      Dog seems better today — we’ve added an additional antibiotic and he’s back to eating, which thrills me. He just walked up the front steps without looking at me in hatred, so we’re on the mend. 😡

      Oh. Your business sounds like a wonderful change.

    • Musette says:


      your baby’s up ‘there’, playing with all of mine (and all the rest – yes, ALL dogs go to heaven. It’s in the contract).

      It takes awhile to get over the active grief. Georgie has been gone since late October and there are still moments…

      ,…..but mostly, it’s just wonderful memories.

      xoxo >-)

      ps. what kind of biz did you start? I quit my 6-fig for a machine shop startup – have yet to find time OR sanity…. :-w

  • Nancy C. says:

    Maybe it’s a spring thing but I too have had the urge to push the reset button. Not to the point of giving up caffeine (oh the humanity!) but just not wanting to clutter up my life any more than it is. I feel for you about your dog. I got the opposite problem. A three month old Golden Retriever who is a massive ball of energy. It’s like having a toddler back in the house and believe me, those days have been long gone. #:-s

    PdN is turning out to be my favorite niche house. I’m loving LTdF and have got a bottle of VdC coming today (hopefully). Sacrebleu didn’t seem to do anything for me but Odalisque is definitely on the wish list. After this last batch comes, I’m taking a perfume buying break for the summer. I need to enjoy what I’ve got. 😡 But I’m sure I’ll be making a list for September!

    • March says:

      I should never have mentioned the caffeine. That’s a heart-palpitation issue for me, not an austerity measure. :)>-

      Enjoying what you’ve got seems like a mighty good plan to me.

  • Francesca says:

    Oh, gosh, March, I’m so sorry you have to deal with a sick child and a sick elderly dog and suburban mom burnout so soon after your lovely vacation. If ever.

    I am a big believer in retail therapy and I was treating myself like crazy, using my broken vertebrae as an excuse. But taxes and expensive house repairs and yardwork have put the kibosh on too much spending for now. I had already come to the conclusion that I have Too Much Stuff (if only the DH, with his literally thousands of books, CDs and LPs would feel the same way), so of late most of my RT consisted of makeup and skin care. But I’ve got a good stash of those, Sniffa is in the past, and I think I can get through a week with only what I need, not just what I want (and thank Goddess I bought those theater tickets to see John Douglas Thompson last week!:&#100;).

    I agree with everyone else on not going cold turkey on the coffee. OK, so you don’t need some fancy schmancy thing from Starbucks, but surely you have coffee at home. Wean yourself off caffeine by making it half decaf and gradually getting to full decaf. You don’t want the headache from hell on top of everything else.

    As far as the Nicolaïs, I LOVE Temps d’une Fête. I thought it was just OK when I first got my samp, but now I am crazy for it. I thought Sacrebleu was interesting, but basically just ok when I got that, too. Will have to dig through my samps drawer to get that out again and give it another shot.

    Sending you a big hug.

    • March says:

      Everyone loves Sacrebleu except you and me? 😕 I didn’t dislike it, for sure. But the earth didn’t move.

      Don’t sweat the coffee — yes, I drink it at home anyway (cheap TJ’s stuff) and I’ll caffeinate if I need to. I just wasn’t feeling the need, and I am curious whether it’s that and/or the sudafed that’s causing the heart-thumping.

      PS Kid and dog are better! Although now other kid (Enigma) is moping around the house with a bad case of ennui….

  • Elizabeth says:

    The topic of Too Much Stuff has been explored and experimented with at my house. My DH and I agree that we must do something to make a change. And it isn’t easy, but maybe not as painful as we think. Dear March, don’t think about it as what you are giving up but as what you will gain: better control of your household budget, more time to focus on things that matter (relationships, pets, sunshine, gardening, whatever). Thanks for the link to The Story of Stuff. XOX

    • March says:

      Oh, no worries — I am well past worrying about what I’m “giving up” and far into “who the hell left this gd (fill in the blank) on the floor in here?!?!?” Household nag blah blah. I lived for several years in an apt. in which I kept almost NOTHING (a couch, a bed, a stereo, a bedside table) and liked it that way, along with a wardrobe of nothing but black and white, which streamlined shopping for clothes.

      I’m not going there again, but this stuff here? This stuff is out of control.

  • Erin T says:

    Odalisque really is All That. That’s all I have to say.

    Oops, except, hang in there, Kai! Pictures of that dog have wormed their way into my heart. He has such personality in your pics. Eat your chicken broth, fella.

    • March says:

      FINE. I am pretty sure I’m ordering up a bottle when this little experiment is over. I think Lucky has a free ship coupon now, and the bottle’s only like $45. Free, right?

  • Louise says:

    Oh, dear-hugs for Hecate, and all you sleepless folks.

    And especially crossed fingers for Kai-you know how I love that dog.

    I’m mulling all this, Queen of Consumption that I am. I have yet to commit, but your challenge has sparked a good bit of evaluation.

    I’d put my shopping in the comfort/assuage category for me, and also the “I’ve worked damn hard all these years for this freedom” slot. That said, I have been working on scaling back-though you may have found my Paris Purchases excessive, they were in fact all planned, with the exception of a few blouses and a lipstick. I buy decants these days, and have re-evaluated the need for any more bottles-partly because nothing blows me away anymore. And-I am indeed “shopping my shelves” as far as spring clothes.

    Still, I think this suggested abstinence is important in really evaluating wants v. needs. And I’ve been looking at it more in the emotional realm-that is, what is a necessity v. a luxury, a need v. a want in our feelings and expectations of ourselves and loved ones? How do we meet one or the other? How do we deal with not getting a perceived need me? So, I’m swinging large on this.

    I am not today jumping on the project-but reporting in next week will be fascinating.

    Thanks, and hugs to the family 😡

    • Louise says:

      oh, fav PdN? I’d go with Vie de Chateau-though I wish I had the Eau Legere-all my PdNs are smelling “dense” and too sweet on me currently. I’ll spray with a very light hand today-perhaps Juste Une Reve?

    • March says:

      Kai Kai’s def. better this morning, although I’m heading back to the vet now, we may adjust the antibiotic, not sure. The trouble-walking thing is worrying me, but he’s clearly feeling better. I was so frightened I’d come downstairs yesterday and find him dead. 🙁

      I think if it were just me, I wouldn’t feel it so strongly. But living with this many people really forces the attention to the amount of consumables/waste.

  • Antje says:

    All the best for this week March!

    No kids or pets in my house, but man am I guilty of retail therapy in the health and beauty section. The only reason that my finances are still intact is that I got lucky with a good job and hate changing rooms (bright lights and mirrors all around are not a good combination for me). Hence my retail therapy is mostly restricted to perfume and cosmetics, less risk of getting depressed.

    So although space and money are not yet an issue, my guilt about my ever growing collection is. Best evidence: when my non-perfume friends ask me how many bottles I have or how much I have spent on perfume in 2009, I wince and deflect. And the honest truth is, although I would love to say that I buy perfumes for the fragrances’ sake only, purchases can get equally triggered by having a difficult day.

    Can’t fully commit to no eating/drinking out as I am pretty much only at home to sleep at the moment. However, I will try my best to stay of ebay and say goodbye to hazelnut lattes for a week.

    Feeling anxious already;)

    • March says:

      I think the what’s-your-number is huge for perfumistas. (Insert whistling guy.) I honestly have no idea, which is helped in part by the fact that much/most of my collection is tucked away in boxes in the closet, as I tend to rotate things. But I know I’m lying to myself — for instance I keep all the packaging boxes, so I have a couple of boxes “just with empty boxes,” but that’s not true. I know there are bottles of stuff in there I’ve never even opened. Perfume is my one thing like that, and that tension is always there.

      Heh, let me know how one week of no eBay and sbux works out!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Very interesting and thought-provoking post. I suppose my life is nothing like yours as I have no children or animals, and here in the UK although consumerism is rampant it is still nothing like the US.

    I am not giving up wine for anyone, sorry, and the coffee stays too, but I send you all my support to get through this latest phase.

    Interestingly, and I suppose along similar lines, just recently I have been clearing out my clothes and shoes (many either unworn or barely worn and all of very high quality) and giving them to charity (and we don’t get a tax deduction over here for that!) and it is a very good feeling. I suppose at heart, despite my love of clothes, I’ve always wanted one of those early 90s minimalist wardrobes with six perfect white shirts and six pairs of navy trousers, or whatever. How simple life would be!

    Oh, and I’m not giving up perfume. PdN has never really grabbed me though, which is a shame given her Guerlain connection. I always felt that I SHOULD love her stuff.

    • March says:

      So it sounds like you’re feeling the need to purge and streamline all on your own, and giving them to charity is a lovely thing to do. 😡 And, I should have written it differently, I’m not suggesting that ANYONE ELSE give up wine or caffeine! Wine tends to enable my, uh, late-night eBay splurges, so I’m killing two birds with one stone there.

      PdN has a definite theme, something candied/sweet top/vanillic. And as I said upstairs somewehre, I think it’s distinctive enough that you’re either loving it or no.

  • Joe says:

    I swear, I love the topics you come up with sometimes. Really. Thank you.

    I have a variation on your statement: “I need more possessions like I need a hole in the head.” And let me just say first off that I’m a dabbler in Buddhism, so the craving/aversion/acquisitiveness subject is frequently on my mind (and I get these Daily Dharma quotation thingies via email that make me reflect a little every day, and belong to several FB groups that pump out the babble to keep me mindful too).

    So. Yeah. I try. And it’s a journey, not a destination. Progress, not perfection. And all that hoo hah. But I loooooooove spending me some money and I have hardly a penny saved. But I also like to think that I’m not tied to my stuff. Hahaha. You know, I had to evacuate my apartment in Nov. ’08 and May ’09 because there were raging fires in the hills, though I don’t think this place was in any imminent danger… and I got together a bunch of stuff to stash at friends’ places, but whatever I gathered up was just a fraction of my “stuff.” And a few times I thought, “You know, if it all goes up in ashes, would that be the most terrible thing?” And really, it wouldn’t, though I’m sure I’d lose it a little at the thought of some things being gone forever. But there’s that “you can’t take it with you” truth standing there tapping its toe behind us all the time, right?

    So yeah, I’ll take your challenge. Except now I’m thinking I really want some take-out food tomorrow or Thursday night, dammit. Does this mean I can only eat what’s currently in my cupboards!? No garlic pork or steak burrito cravings? Hell, I’m broke until May 1 anyway, so this isn’t too hard. A bigger challenge would be to buy no new perfume (decants, samples, nada) for one month. It makes me have cold sweats, which means I probably need like hell to do it. Hmmmmm. Considering.

    Finally, PdN: The one I’ve been craving a bottle of (even the small one) for awhile now is Maharanih. Orangey goodness. I also really like Balkis because it’s so damn thick, rosy, jammy, and outrageous with that coffee note in there. And you bloggers have made me nuts by divulging that there is/was a Balkis Light — and I was itching to bribe you or Angie (with my nonexistent funds and firstborn child) to mule me a bottle of it from Paris if you caught sight of it. Ah well. All things are impermanent… especially perfume.

    • Joe says:

      Oh, and looking over Carter’s comment reminded me that I forgot something: GIVE UP CAFFEINE??? Aw hellllz naw! I’d need to check into a sanitorium for a week or more to get over the withdrawal symptoms or someone (not me) would end up maimed. I hand it to you for trying though. I’m all for the French style of moderation when it comes to that stuff. Alcohol, caffeine, and butterfat = things without which life is not worth living.

    • March says:

      Here, let me ruin your life further — unless I’m remembering wrong, they discontinued Balkis. It wasn’t in the store, I’m pretty sure I asked. And thus no Balkis Light either, which I really, really wanted, and hoped to buy a bottle of, but it doesn’t exist. (Why everyone wants these heavier and not lighter is beyond me.) I love Maharahih, and now I want that Odalisque….

      I think I can do this for a week, but a month seems completely untenable to me, which is interesting. When did I get so wedded to consumerism? For me it’s clearly soothing (although I tend to nickel and dime, like lipsticks.)

      Seriously, you guys are cracking me up with the coffee fears. I’ve already moved past the headache state — it’s kind of nice not to have to have the caffeine jolt…

      • Joe says:

        Pardon me. I have to break this ten-hour austerity experiment to rush off and buy a bottle of Balkis. See you later. Actually, I may wait until May… or I may just say hell with it and go sit on a cushion.

        • March says:

          Go buy it. Seriously. I don’t see it on their website, and I am 99% sure I asked Rebecca about Balkis Light and was told that they’re all gone.

      • Louise says:

        Hon, Balkis Regular is available at LS and BH-but no trace of the Legere…I’ll keep working on that one :)>-

        • March says:

          Lord, I’d love me some Balkis Light — I’m not misremembering, am I? Didn’t she say Balkis was d/c’d?

          • Louise says:

            I’m not sure…but it is still available online….but only for 3 more days :d/ Ha! There’s a test for you.
            However, your emissary could get it for you, since you are currently abstinent…8-|

          • Louise says:

            sorry, “it” is the regular Balkis.

          • Joe says:

            Yeah, I have my eye on Beautyhabit. I usually keep my eye on things until they disappear from the website. Then I cry and call myself stupid. It’s quite fun. :((

          • March says:

            Huh, that sounds so familiar … 😕

  • March, I really feel for you about your dog. I know what it’s like, sweetie…
    For Parfums de Nicolaï: the rue de Grenelle boutique SA is called Rebecca Veuillet-Gallot, and she *should* be knowledgeable, as she is the author of a perfume guide that’s had two print runs and is still available; she also worked at the Osmothèque. I cannot recommend visiting her more highly.

    As for your challenge: well, my dear, that already how I live most of the time. At some point, acquiring new stuff just ceased to appeal as much as it did, and certain lifestyle adjustments meant I couldn’t indulge any longer. My apartment is bursting at the seams with *things*.
    I think stopping the retail therapy can make people appreciate what they already own: if they don’t, maybe they can think about why those things aren’t bringing satisfaction. Or why more new things are needed to soothe the frustrations of daily life.
    Even just from the point of view of perfume: not getting new ones will give people the time to delve into the beauties of what they’ve got. Sorry to come off all moralistic about it!

    As for going cold turkey on coffee, I’m with Carter, I’m not sure it’s a good idea right now for you because of the withdrawal symptoms. With a sick kid and dog, you don’t want to go through that on top of everything else.

    • March says:

      Rebecca! Thanks. And I did mean to drag you into this — over here in the US there’s a lot of talking about “French women” who buy much fewer (but much nicer) things. I think you fall squarely into that spectrum, and with your interest in vintage clothing I’m sure you’ve got some beauties, like that coat.

      Anyway, I’m asking, as a gross generalization — do you think French women (would this include teenagers/young women?) buy fewer things of higher quality? Would it have to do with storage space, or is it more a cultural thing? Or is that all a bunch of hooey?

      I do feel it on the perfume base, which I’ve said before. I really want to enjoy some of the beauties I already own, not be endlessly hounding down new ones.

      • Catherine says:

        Based on my time in France, I’d say it’s true. There isn’t a lot of space–you’re right. No closets means there’s less space to just hide stuff. And while quality seems to be going down, down, down over the past years (in general, I mean), the French still try to buy the best they can afford. Plus, with those prices–things aren’t cheap, certainly not like in America–it’d be doubly difficult to fill an apartment to the brim! But heh–if French girls are eating McDonalds, maybe they’re loading up the shopping carts at H&M too.

        • March says:

          I stared at the kids a lot, thinking … the teens seem to run around mostly in the crap the kids here wear (crappy tees and jeans and sneaks, etc.) but even the young women look more “adult.” Their clothes look nicer. And nobody’s running around in the equivalent of tracksuits or sweats.

          • Yes, there is a cliché abroad about Frenh women buying fewer, but better-quality items. Like all clichés it’s got some truth to it. French women as a rule tend to be less inclined to follow trends, and so buy more classic pieces, the type of stuff you don’t get fed up with before the end of the season. And possibly, because there is more enjoyment of the sensual pleasures of life — a good meal, a good wine, conversation with friends, the general beauty of city centres — there is less need to fill your life up with consumable stuff that’s the equivalent of a fast-food fix. Nice, but you feel both stuffed and empty afterwards.
            Of course, now that all the Zaras and H&Ms have moved in along with the Starbucks, there’s more of a push to consume disposables, and possibly the younger girls feel it (I wouldn’t know, I don’t deal with teens).
            As Catherine says, there’s also the closets issue, but I think it’s really more a cultural matter: the French are innately conservative and perhaps less acquisitive, with a good solid bourgeois sense of placing your money wisely.

          • March says:

            Thanks, D — and I think your point is well taken regarding the “sensual pleasures” — I think we put more emphasis on tangible goods because we don’t take the time (in a general sense) for things like meals and conversations. I’ll be curious now that you’ve been invaded by Zara and H&M whether things change much, although as I mom I have to say thank God for them both while the girls are still growing. I have some things from Zara I like very much.

  • Eric says:

    Well, I’m a student, so I’m literally pinching every penny I can. I’m looking at little-to-no new perfume for quite awhile, despite my intense need for some Voyage d’Hermes for the summer. But I did give up Starbucks this month (one slip last Saturday but it was just a tall brew, which I paid for in change ;3) and it’s been really liberating. Those coffees really do build up after a time, even for someone who just gets boring ole black coffee.

    I do sympathize about your dog. I’m not a big dog person (I like them but their medicine is more expensive than MINE!) but when I was a lot younger, my dog was not likely to make it (my father fed him a bone that would not pass). It was terribly sad. He made it, fortunately. In a spot of coincidence, we lived in China at the time!

    I got a sample of Odalisque after I read so highly about it in The Guide and have to say, it’s not my favorite. It’s got this terrible oily, dark-green scent that just mucks everything up. It’s like industrial soap or something and it makes me sad.

    • March says:

      You know … some of the things I bought in college, when I had two nickels, were the most important and valued to me. It’s funny (or not) that when I have so much more money, I get much less pleasure from the individual things. Not to romanticize poor-ville, in which sometimes I had to choose between food and laundry, but it made “things” worth more to me.

      Odalisque is definitely soapy on me at the top, and just when I open my mouth to say YUCK, it goes all lovely.

  • CynthiaW says:

    I’m going to try it – I’ve been thinking about this very issue a lot lately. I think mostly because: a. my poor house is bursting at the seams with stuff that I don’t use or need and I don’t have places to put it all. and b. my fragrance expenditures are out-of-control and I don’t need anything else – truly, I probably can’t even wear all the stuff I have in time I have left on this earth.

    Not only that, but after traveling to downtown Houston yesterday for jury duty (I didn’t get picked), I realized (again, I’m slow) that I really have a great life – I have everything that I need material stuff-wise, great friends, a great husband, a great job, etc. etc. There is absolutely no reason for me to be stressed or angry – I’m not saying that I don’t have any problems, but compared to the vast majority of people in the world, they’re small potatoes.

    So, I’m going to join you in the quest to consume less – although I’ve been losing weight and all bets are off if all my pants start falling off again. I don’t need much, but I do need pants that can’t fit a whole other person in them with me. I’d live in yoga pants until I reached my goal weight, but they frown on that at school. I’m thinking that I can last at least a week with the clothes I have though – I can always wear a skirt.

    • Eric says:

      I knew I’d read someone else was from Houston awhile back but just could not remember who. So, greetings from down here in Sugar Land! 😀

      • CynthiaW says:

        I work in Sugar Land – which is probably what has started contributing to my feelings of wanting to stop over-consuming. Now, I realize that there are two parts to Sugar Land and the fact that I work in “new” Sugar Land is a contributing factor because I don’t think that the consumerism is the same in “old” Sugar Land. Kind of like the difference between the part of Katy that I live in and the new parts.

    • Silviafunkly says:

      Been meaning to thank you for your great Austin tips ! We had a fab time.

      • CynthiaW says:

        I’m so glad – I love Austin. If I could pick up and move easily, I’d love to live in that area.

    • Graham says:

      Would House of Pies on Kirby count as “necessity”???? I miss my H-Town. ’93/’94 Owls….

      • CynthiaW says:

        I’m just glad that I’m not closer to the House of Pies or I’d be as big as a house! Pie is awesome.

    • March says:

      We’ll do a report in next week. I’m thrilled to have more company! Congratulations on your weight loss, and FWIW if your pants are falling off I consider a new, flattering pair of pants in a smaller size a necessity. :)>-

  • Tiara says:

    To be honest, we pretty much live like this most of the time. Purchases are planned in advance and made only if cash is available to pay off the credit card when cash can’t be used (such as online purchases). We’re debt free except for the house and plan to stay that way.

    If you WANT to try this experiment that’s great, but hope you aren’t doing it because you feel guilty. I am familiar with “The Story of Stuff” and encourage you to take a look at the “other” side of the story. There is a series of critiques that offer an alternate view available on You Tube.

    The PdNs I’ve tried just haven’t worked for me. Worked my way through a number of samples and none of them wowed me enough to purchase more or even try others.

    And finally, I offer my sympathy for dealing with major allergies and a sick dog. And a husband out of town. Been there, done that, lived to tell but wouldn’t want to repeat.

    That saying “old age isn’t for sissies?” Well, neither is motherhood.

    • March says:

      Not guilty. More sad. And frustrated. I had this weird dream the other night where we moved in with my dad into my old house (he still lives there) and talk about LMAO. I mean, we never felt cramped in that house growing up. Now it would be like stuffing an elephant into a Mini Cooper. And as I’m the one who picks must of it up (because I’m the one it bothers…) and the endless throwing away/sorting of toys DOES make me feel guilty. It does. But I’m not going all radical gray-water. Just trying to get a feel for how much I’m contributing. How things might change.

      Wow, no PdNs at all? Writing this post, I was thinking that to me they’re so unified as a brand that I could see someone hating all of them.

  • carter says:

    Why why why are you doing it all at once? Pick coffee OR wine to give up starting this week, not both. The caffeine withdrawal alone will give you a massive screaming headaches for at least a week, and do you really need to add that to the deprivation blues? Not to mention the ailing pet blues and the taking-care-of-the-whole-shebang-alone-without-the-Cheese blues? C’mon, March, be reasonable. Srsly.

    I’m going to give it a try, because if Patty can do it, well, I rest my case. But I say that only because I’m not all that consumed with consuming these days (although I most definitely was when I was younger — I just don’t have the energy to shop anymore) and because I’m pretty well stocked when it comes to stuff that would cause undo pain and suffering to live without, including tickets to the Met, thank you very much. I’ll live without wine during intermission — I’ll just be sure to hit the bottle hard before I leave the house — but because of my bum hip a taxi ride home is not a luxury I can live without. I DO take the bus to get to Lincoln Center, but I’ll be damned if I’m taking one home again after sitting on my aching heiney for three-plus hours.

    As for Sacrebleu, I don’t know what to tell you. Me, I lurve it to peeeces. Odalisque is my favorite PdN, but Sacrebleu is a close second, with Temps d’une Fete bringing up the pretty, pretty rear.

    • March says:

      See, this is what I love about you, Ms. Hen. Honestly, it’s been four days since I coffee’d. I couldn’t even bear the thought until this morning, so I think the headachy bit’s behind me. And since my choices are caffeine, Sudafed, thyroid meds, or something more serious, I thought I’d start investigating. 😕 I promise to start drinking if the need hits, which it probably will. Squirrel’s honor.

      But see, in your circumstances, a taxi is a need. I’m no hardass about that stuff. Wouldn’t want you to strain your groin again… 😉

      Okay, so Odalisque is your favorite, I lurve it too. Sacrebleu (reg and light) I keep fiddling with and … I just don’t know. 🙁

      • carter says:

        I have never been able to take Sudafed because of the heart-racing business. That right there could be the problem. Nowadays I use prescription-strength Nasalcrom because it does not enter the bloodstream, just works in the nasal passages. If things get bad I take Claritin, which is one of the very few antihistamines that doesn’t either knock me out or make me feel like I’m having a stroke.

        • carter says:

          And you can just leave my groin out of it, thenk you — the squirrels are watching!=:)

          • March says:

            The squirrels are watching your groin?

            Taking Zyrtec for me is like what I imagine a Quaalud to be like. Washed down with some Scotch.

            I’m trying to lay off the sudafed, but I’m more addicted to that than coffee. 🙁

            And I love those nasal sprays! And (knock wood) temporary use of an inhaler seems to have helped HEcate last night. And it’s raining today, which should lower the pollen counts.

          • carter says:

            Poor little Hecate, I’m glad to hear that something has helped a bit.

            As you are well aware, March, the squirrels are everywhere: to the left, to the right, and looking up my skirt.8-| [-x If they don’t knock it off pretty soon I’m going to have to have one fashioned from tin foil, because the hat alone just isn’t cutting it.<):)

          • March says:

            For a second there I was picturing a squirrel fashioned out of tin foil.

        • Joe says:

          Just chiming in on the allergy front. I could never cope with taking Sudafed regularly — there’s a reason meth-heads buy (steal?) that stuff in bulk for their labs.

          Claritin or Zyrtec on a daily basis, thankfully, work for me and prevent me from looking like I’ve been using cayenne eye drops. And yeah, those nasal sprays/Flonase/whatever are good too, but I’m lazy to get the doctor to represcribe.

          • March says:

            Sudafed: one step away from meth.

            And my doctor gives them to me, because we have no prescription drug coverage and she’s sorry for me. Welcome to America!

          • CynthiaW says:

            Sudafed is bad, bad, bad – I used to take it all the time, except that I couldn’t take it for more than three days in a row without it keeping me up all night. Then, last year, I ended up in the emergency room with a blood pressure of 170/90 and the E.R. doc said that it was all because of the Sudafed and that I could never take it again – now I stick to nasal spray or a decongestant made for people with high blood pressure (even though I don’t have high blood pressure – unless I take Sudafed).

          • zeezee says:

            I had to google this Sudafed you wot of (not marketed under that name round these parts), and :o… Step. Away. From. That. Stuff.

            Re: antihistamin, I swear by a brand I happened upon in London and which seems to be exclusive to the UK anyway: Piriton. Active ingredient is chlorphenamine. Works at least as well as Zyrtec or other presciption drugs for me and gives me an excuse to toddle off to London once every year to boot. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Hey! I heard that, missy.

      I have plenty of wine, drugs and coffee on hand, so my basic necessities are covered.

      I can’t count the number of times I’ve closed my Amazon window today and yesterday.

      But I can do this. I shop wily-nily anyway, an idea occurs to me – hey, don’t I need that cool-looking stemless champagne flute – and then I buy it, for no good reason. So it’s just shutting down the impulse for a while and trying not to jump out of my skin when I get antsy and going for a run instead.

      I’d do that this morning, but they’re doing my AC (scheduled before this, and I’d far rather have canceled this 6k job) so i can’t go running until they’re done upstairs and I get through my conf call at noon. I need to burn off some energy, which is all my shopping is.

      • March says:

        Hah! Amazon is your nemesis, and eBay is mine …. [-( Let’s see how a week of impulse control works out for us. I really did a lot of soul-searching at the grocery store, I think they think I’ve lost my mind.

        Definitely get that AC fixed! Although do you really need it there?

    • Shelley says:

      Joe chimed in about allergies. I, of course, shall bring up the libations.

      One word: flask.


  • violetnoir says:

    Girl, my hat’s off to you! I am so stressed out right now between work, the house, a family matter that just won’t stop rearing it’s ugly head, my darling husband giving his no-nothing nephew $700. to pay off a driving infraction, a back muscle that I pulled in yoga, taking time to visit the chiropractor for the pulled muscle when I really need to be at work…I’m seriously thinking of indulging in some fragrant retail therapy before the week closes.


  • ScentRed says:


    But next week – I’m in 🙂

  • ScentRed says:

    I’d like to join in, but I just don’t think I can do it. Hubby’s away on business leaving me with the 2 rugrats, a despondent dog and a house that’s in the middle of a minor but very messy reno (120 year old house, Day 5 of re-plastering walls, ’nuff said). I can barely do the single mom thing when everything else is going smoothly, but this week I have also have a contractor, a painter, a plaster guy, a floor guy, a window guy, an alarm installer, and a tree remover/hedge trimmer guy all coming to my house. In one week. And the truck’s making a weird knocking sound so i had to get a co-worker (did I mention my FT job?) to drive me to the garage and then back to my house to collect my other vehicle and re-install the car seats. Tomorrow the kids have gymnastics, Thursday is karate. Tomorrow I’ve scheduled one of those Angry Suburban Idiot Mom breakdowns. Soooooo, all bets are off. I’m doing what I can and trying to hold it all together until hubby’s back. I’ve already put in an online order to La Senza and hold out hope that there’s a cool split happening on the Google Group. OK, I’m done. Sorry. I guess I needed that.

    • March says:

      No, this doesn’t sound like the ideal week for you to join in (although you realize all THOSE hideous expenses don’t count against you, yes?) But your ASIM breakdown will probably include retail therapy, in which case — let me know what you bought! 🙂

      • ScentRed says:

        I did a pre-emptive shop last week whilst hyperventalating about the thought of the upcoming week. I bought a bottle of Tocca Bianca and told Hubby it was his gift to me for leaving me during this week of weeks. The first night I ordered 2 bras and 5 panties from La Senza b.c. my drying rack isn’t seeing daylight for a while with all the plaster dust and I really felt I needed a little extra lift 😉 The chances it will fit are slim, but hope springs eternal. That’s all for now. Ooops unless you count going to Shopper’s Drugmart for milk and coming out with $70 of Clarins face products (the toner with Iris, really is miraculous).

        That’s the damage so far. But I haven’t screamed at anyone in 2 whole days…

  • Catherine says:

    No online shopping! Where’s the laughing-my-ass-off button? =))

    Nope, I’ve got a purchase planned. A bag. Maybe a scarf. And *definitely* some lovely drinks after an Art & Philosophy Salon tomorrow. That said, my entire life can fit into a small U-haul. I’m 37 and can say that. Maybe I need a few extra drinks tomorrow night. 😕

    But it’s a great idea and experiment–go get ’em, March! We do live in a consumerist culture. A friend just got back from Paris, and we’ve been talking it about it for a week now, the difference between here and over there.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for finding the LMAO button for me Catherine. It was either that one or :o. Or maybe @-)

      • March says:

        I still can’t believe Patty said she’d do it! Although we’re haggling the details, like — pre-existing snipes on eBay don’t count. 🙂

    • March says:

      We DO have an LMAO button! I thought of that one too! Will probably get deployed a lot today.

      You sound like you have a personally reasonable and manageable amount of stuff. It’s a little different over here with the house and the kids … the amount of flotsam that floats through the front door astonishes me, and is not balanced by things leaving… not that I want to be contributing to the trash stream endlessly either. I’ve got to figure out how to protect the front door better. 😉

      • Catherine says:

        Well…. I did change my life radically this past year, so it was easy to throw out the old and slim down my possessions. In truth, though, I think long and hard before adding even a book to my belongings. And the bag is for my laptop–it’s time for something nicer–so I think of it as a “work” purchase.

        I’d give up if I had children. Accumulation would be the will of the gods.

        • March says:

          If I give up, though, we are buried under a sea of sludge. We’re going to have to come up with a plan.

          And …. okay, you’re “my” Catherine, yes? Of the red lips, Chicago, or both?

          • Catherine says:

            Yep, the red-lipped one. Oh, god, I still remember how that Tak SA lined my lips. So *big*. (And okay, okay, okay–I’ve got one vice. Too many red lipsticks now. Can’t stop. Bought another last week. So I’ll go this far with you: I promise not to buy another red lipstick for a week–for even the rest of the month. I tell you… what I do for the posse….)

          • carter says:

            Have you seen Femme by Chanel? Killah! Melissa wore it to Sniffa and I wanted to rip it right off of her lips. She took the tube out of her bag to show me the name and it was all I could do not to grab it and run.

            Not that you couldn’t live without it, of course…

          • Catherine says:

            Femme??? Uhhh…. hold on a moment…. need to check some unnamed website……….

          • March says:

            Stop it! Stop it, you!

            I have two of those (the new line?) Mademoiselle and D’Orage or something like that…

          • carter says:

            No, not even! This one is from the Rouge Allure line. But, um, I was wrong about the name; it’s not Femme, it’s Fatale :”> as in, fatale to one’s efforts not to buy stuff, har-har. Found it LAST WEEK for $15 on ebay :d

          • carter says:

            That was supposed to be Blushing Dude emoticon, which is embarrassing.

          • March says:

            I refuse to be tempted by your lipstick-red feminine wiles…. :*