Book Review: The Year of Less

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The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

Rating: ★★★★☆

This book convinced me to stop buying sh*t. That in and of itself is an accomplishment. Really. If you don’t believe me, you should see my amazon account … Yikes.

Anyways, I really enjoyed this book. One, I *love* memoirs that are narrated by the author. It just feel that authors know exactly where to put the emphasis and it just works. Ya know? I’m a big fan.

Since lockdown, I’ve been doing a lot more chores. Normally, during the school year, I barely have time to sleep, so my parents are pretty lax about my not doing chores. In lockdown, my parents have tasked me with doing the dishes most nights after dinner considering my school basically gave up on remote learning. I used to HATE doing the dishes, but oddly enough, now, I kinda like it when I’m listening to a good audiobook. Sometimes I also listen to more narrative based podcasts like Lore or This American Life. So far, I’ve listened to Make Trouble by Cecile Richards, The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, and now Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Anyways, this book actually made me kinda look forward to doing the dishes. Crazy! I know, but let that show as a testament to how good this book is.

Anyway, moving on from my tangent, I just found this book to have some, dare I say, profound insights. One of my favorite ideas Flanders talks about is asking yourself “Am I buying this for the person I am or the person I want to be?” After listening to this, I didn’t think much of it, but now I realize – this is such an important idea. I can’t tell you how many shirts, pens, and books I’ve bought thinking to myself “this is what ideal me would wear/use/read”. Like do I really want to read Pride and Prejudice? No, not really.

Here’s a tidbit of information from The Year of Less I want to share with you all: a shopping ban is more like a browsing ban. Think about all the notifications you receive from your favorite stores. I get an email at least twice a week from LL Bean. I almost always scroll through it, imagining myself as a savvy outdoors-woman. It made me all the more inclined to purchase whatever they were advertising. The solution: stop browsing, stop window shopping (IRL and online), unsubscribe, and unfollow.

Cait totally convinced me to try a shopping ban. I’ll be writing more about that here. She also encouraged me to start decluttering. I will be headed off to college in the fall of 2021, so I want to gradually start decluttering to avoid the massive pain of rapid decluttering.

Lastly, Cait really made me think critically about myself and my finances. Like I said earlier, I’m about to go to college. That means for the most part, I’m going to be responsible for my own finances. My parents have agreed to give me a small monthly stipend for expenses when I’m away, but I still have to be a fiscally responsible *gasp* adult. Because of this honestly scary revelation, I have started tracking all of my purchases whether I spend my own money on it or not. I’m planning to do another post about this. Ultimately, my goal is to be more conscious and mindful about what I’m spending and why.

“The ban uncovered the truth, which was that when you decide to want less, you can buy less and, ultimately, need less money.”

– Cait Flanders, The Year of Less

Honestly, everyone needs to read this book. I think “seeing” someone else do it helps you feel like you can do it – you can want less, buy less, and save more.

I’m beginning a 3 month long shopping ban. I’m hoping to extend it to 12 months, but I’m starting small!

Wish me luck!

Sincerely,

Marie

the year of less

In Shower Self Care

The world has been on a self-care craze lately.  Bath bombs, rose water, and masks are like the new silly bandz. Rightfully so, the world is super stressful nowadays which is only compounded by the constant connection we all have with one another through the internet. Theoretically, I was all for self-care. Online, I praised my friends for making time for the self and treating themselves. However, I didn’t do the same: I ate plenty (and still do) junk food, slacked off my skincare, and generally did not make myself a priority. I used to think girls spending time on themselves is a waste and that their time could be spent better by doing literally anything else. Now, I’m still not one for makeup, but a little material self-care is definitely something I’m trying to do more.

A couple of nights ago, my mom and I got into an argument. Instead of it dissolving into a screaming match as it so often does, I excused myself and took a shower. Standing in the shower, I realized I should use this time to pamper myself. Here’s a quick list of the products I used plus some products I wish I owned. 

self cae

rose water | face mask| body brush | shampoo & conditioner | face scrub | exfoliation set  | body wash 


Exfoliation Set (similar)

 This includes a pumice, exfoliation gloves, and facial sponges. (Mine has a pumice, a exfoliation glove, and a body brush).

Facial Scrub: St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub

This scrub just feels really nice. I’m a big fan. Also, it’s smell is clean and relaxing without being overpowering.

Rose Water: PearlEssence Rose Water (with Witch Hazel)

I love this stuff! I use it basically every day. Toner is such a great thing to hand on-hand. It’s just refreshing, and makes your face feel clean. 

Body Wash: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

This is a great body wash. I also really like the bar soap version (what I currently use). Bar soap is also far better for the environment than the plastic bottles that traditional body wash comes in. 

Shampoo & Conditioner: Pantene Pro-V

I don’t really think this shampoo and conditioner is really anything special. However, it gets the job done and well. It’s not too harsh and smells good. I wouldn’t call it super moisturizing, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s stripping my hair of its oils. 


I took out a small set of bathing supplies I had bought at TJ Maxx for $3. I exfoliated my skin, did a face scrub, and washed my hair – all in the shower! After my self-care shower, I felt so much better and was able to resolve the conflict with my mom right after. Now, I barely remember what we were arguing about in the first place!

Seriously, self-care is so important. Caring for yourself is the first step to caring for other people. I encourage you, to take an extra ten minutes to do a face scrub or exfoliate in the shower. It’s so nice to feel fresh and new after a long day.

Take a shower! You’ll feel better afterwards!

Sincerely,

Marie