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2021, The Year That I Tried Something New

Around the middle of 2020 I realized something. I realized that I was mindlessly buying things. Products were showing up in my Insta feed, and I'd click and buy them. I saw something online that I thought was pretty, and bought it, never really taking a moment to think of the bigger picture, it was just an acquire and triumph kind of mentality.

It then hit me what a hypocritical thing it was that I was doing; building a business based on second hand style and rescuing diamonds-in-the-rough in an effort to lower my environmental impact, but then buying anything that caught my fancy with zero thought about what the item was, where it was made, and by whom. That realization set my intention for 2021: Buy nothing new for a year. Not just your buy nothing new January. Buy nothing new for twelve months. I gave myself two allowances, one was undergarments, the other was I could only buy from a small business, BUT if I brought one in, I had to take one out. That's it. No new clothes, linens, paper products, kitchenwares, makeup, shoes,.. no-thing. If I wanted it, it HAD to be previously owned, or I was to do without and see if I actually needed it.

So here we are, on the last day of 2021 and I'm feeling pretty chuffed that I was able to do it. I had a lot of internal conversations with myself, and a fair amount of struggle at times. We live in an "I want" culture, and it's really easy to give in and get things that are constantly within your reach, never thinking about the financial impact, the environmental impact, or the effect of sheer accumulation of junk and objects in our lives and on our mental health. Whenever I would find myself coveting something that I saw in my feed or online (or in an actual brick and mortar store- what?!?), the first question I would ask myself was: Do I need it? The next was: Why do I want this? Third: Will it make my life better if I own it? If the answer was no to either questions one or three, I was done. Question two's answer usually took some time to come up with an answer, and if the answer was something like, because it's cool, or because it's pretty.. well, that then led back to question one or three, and the item stayed right where it was.

The truth of the matter is that I actually prefer living with things that have had a life previously. That's not to say that I don't love a shiny new item just as much as the next person, but I generally feel better about the world if I've rescued something from ending up in a landfill rather than buying something that'll end up in the trash before too long. This last year has also given me a chance to examine items that are currently in my house and weed out items that are no longer of any use (accumulated junk) to me that can be donated and examine things that have gotten shabby or are in need of repair that just needed a little TLC to get back to their former selves.

Attached are photos of everything that came into Villa Milagro in 2021. Two pieces (the eco printed tunic and fingerless gloves) came from the amazing hands of Adhesif Clothing. I have been a huge fan of her work since meeting her a decade ago; Adhesif has had a zero waste business model from the get-go. If you're a believer in slow living and sustainable style, please go check out Adhesif here: . Also in this grouping is a pair of handmade Sea of Cortez mabe pearl studs from Kojima Pearl ( There are very few remaining pearls on my pearl wish list, but a Sea of Cortez pearl was on that list. When I saw these mabe studs (studs=mask friendly earrings.. practicality can still be beautiful!) and read the description - that they were made by their jeweler on his catamaran, I was IN. Helloooo, dream job! I have worn and enjoyed them plenty of times throughout the year, and imagine I will for years to come. Next is a double graduated strand of Carol Brodie malachite beads that I scooped up from the HSN outlet when I was on the other coast for a quick visit. This is a classic and timeless piece that I will probably restring into two separate strands so they can be worn separately or together (they are HEAVY as a double strand! Whoo!), and I know they'll be a wardrobe staple for life. Last, is a silicone ice cube tray that I can make fancy ice cubes in. I did not ask myself the 3 qualifying questions, and have yet to use it. I did not need it, it does not make my life better in any way, so shame on me. I will keep it as a reminder of exactly why I embarked on this journey to begin with.

So what's next for 2022? It's a two part plan. Part 1 is based on what I've learned in 2021: I have started making a list of things that will be coming into the house. It is very restrained, and the items and quantities will be specific and well thought out. I'll continue to buy as often as possible from small businesses and from friends in an effort to support people, not corporations. I will continue to be mindful in my consumption - Do I need it? Will it improve my life measurably? Why do I want it? Part 2 is going to be tougher than this challenge was: I will not be treasure hunting. Holy cow, I can't believe I'm even *thinking* about this, let alone doing it! Here's the thing though; I have SO much that I need to list and show, it's been a little overwhelming just looking at all of it. I have taken the last week off in an effort to get a system together and get organized (uh, yeah... that didn't really happen, but it was started at least). There are fabulous frocks, brilliant baubles, really rockin' vintage bags, awesome objects d'art, darling dishes, just SO many treasures to bring the world, I want to focus on them before brining anything else into the fray!

I want to take a minute to thank every single person who's read this far. That's a lot of words, sorry. What do you think? How are you going to try to make a change in the new year? Do you take small steps or go big? Or do you just sit it out and not go for resolutions? Whatever you choose to do, do it with all you've got, be the best and kindest version of yourself, and please please please- try to give yourself and others a break. We're all doing the best that we can and we're all in this together.

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I just bought the green refurbished Julia during first from you and it’s fabulous! Would love to send you an identif the first in the black for refurbishing. Do you do that?

Nov 30, 2022
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Oh my gosh, I am JUST seeing this message!! Yes, send me an email, I'd love to see if I can help!

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