How I Stopped Shopping

I used to have a problem with purses.

I still absolutely love them and imagine that I always will, but at my worst, I was acquiring a new purse every month, feeling overwhelmed and guilty, and when I wasn’t spending every minute checking the delivery status of my online order, I was researching my next purchase. Suffice it to say, it was a giant waste of time, energy and money and I’m going to share with you what helped me break that cycle. Maybe this information will help you and although this information is specific to purses, I’m hoping that it can apply to other types of over-consumption of material goods.

1. Identify the why behind the action

This was the most challenging but most crucial step to overcoming my shopping addiction and it is vital that you take the time necessary to uncover and understand your own why. I knew that every addiction had a psychological compulsion to it and if I wanted any chance of changing my behavior, I had to figure out why I felt compelled to continually be in the cycle of obsessing and acquiring purses.

For about a week I didn’t focus on changing my behavior, but instead simply checked in with my emotions before I was engaging in the behavior I wanted to remove and wrote it down in a journal with the date and time.

I found that for the overwhelming majority of the time my primary emotion prior to engaging in the cycle was boredom. And evidently I was bored a lot of the time and purse shopping was my automatic reaction to snapping me out of that uncomfortable state.

2. Make it hard

After I understood that this was an easy distraction that I was getting sucked into, I made it not so easy by blocking all of the sites that I was stalking on my phone and laptop, unsubscribing from marketing emails, unsubscribing and unfollowing people on social media who promoted the type of lifestyle I was trying to eschew, and removing apps such as eBay from my phone. This forced me to get up and find something else to do when boredom hit.

3. Yield temptation

Everyone has certain things they like and that’s what makes us different and interesting. I love purses and I’ve come to accept that. I wasn’t attempting to completely remove them from my life and come out of this a one bag lady. I simply needed to find a more satisfying and sane way to engage with them.

There’s a quote by Oscar Wilde from “The Picture of Dorian Grey” that applies directly to this step, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”


If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I am all about allowing oneself the pleasure of what delights you and curating a life of elegance and style. Resisting and denying are very uncomfortable and exhausting states of mind that can only lead to  buckling under the burden and ultimately engaging with what you’ve attempted to resist in a way that is unpleasant and vulgar.

This is why I’ve allowed myself any bag purchase (in cash!) once a year. For me it was important that I give myself full reign to consider any bag I wanted because once I started putting limitations, I could start to feel the temptation beginning to pull me into make a decision that I may later regret. I can’t tell you how many times I would fall in lust with a bag because it was “exclusive” according to someone, purchase it and then turn around and sell it in the space of a couple of months. Giving myself the time to consider my purchase and make the right decision for me and not what is trendy was going to allow me to enjoy my purchase with only joy and excitement.

It’s so freeing to be able to see a beautiful bag and not feel that twinge of temptation gnawing at me. I can feel that admiration and love and then simply let it go either because I know I can eventually have it if I really want it (once a year!) or because I know that just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s for me. Now, when I purchase a handbag the experience is completely rewarding and fulfilling in a way that hundreds of my previous purses never could be. I hope that if you are struggling with a similar issue that some of these tips will help you see yourself out of that.

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Purse Rehab: Balenciaga Work Bag

There’s very few things in the world I love more than purses.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a full obsession with them. Despite my insatiable love for them, I don’t love the prices that come from buying them at retail. It is always much more satisfying to have a designer purse without the designer price. Not only is it more economical, but purchasing pre-loved goods is also environmentally friendly since you’re essentially recycling existing products.

Some of the best deals to get are ones that require a little more patience and elbow grease. I’m going to share my most recent purse rehab with you today: a black Balenciaga Work bag. I’ll show you what the damage was, how I fixed it and a before and after comparison.

The Damage

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Good leather but could use some conditioning and a fresh dye

 

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All 4 corners had the black rubbed off from normal wear
Resin was rubbed off from both handles
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More resin removed

 

The Materials

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Tarrago Black Leather Dye was used to touch up the corners and to dye the entire bag

I followed the instructions on the box and dyed the corners and the entire bag black. The good thing about repairing a black bag is that the dye is very easy to match. I dyed the bag in the evening and let it sit overnight to make sure it dried. The dye was not overly messy — it seemed to dry within a few minutes of the application, but I left it just to be safe.

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Fiebing’s Black Edge Kote was used to repair the resin

While the bag was drying from the dye I started touching up the handles. Again I followed the instructions on the box and let this dry overnight as well. This was probably the most time-consuming part of the process. The consistency is between glue and water so it would set into the crack where the leather met in the handle and I would have to apply more coats on top of it. I used a thin paintbrush to apply the Edge Kote and I lost count of how many coats I applied to get the right thickness, maybe 20 or so coats.

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Leather Honey was used to condition the leather as a final step

The next day once the Edge Kote and dye were dry I finished the job by applying Leather Honey to the entire bag. It really made a difference in the condition of the leather. It because much more supple and brought richness and depth to the color of the bag. I used a foam brush to apply the thick conditioner. Unlike others I’ve used that are very watery, this conditioner is truly the consistency of honey. Despite the thickness of the conditioner, my bag soaked it right up within a few minutes so I applied three coats all over and let it dry overnight.

The Final Product

The picture on the left is the after and the right is before. The pictures don’t show it very well, but the leather is more supple and moisturized and the color is richer and more pigmented.

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A larger after picture

Below is a picture that shows the difference better; I did not condition or dye the leather patch that is inside of the front pocket. Compared to the rest of the bag, the leather patch looks drier and faded.

The Edge Kote completely replaced the missing resin. Now the handles are properly protected from any further damage.

The dye worked perfectly on the corners.

The leather tassels often become bent and scraggly with time. I simply conditioned the tassels with the Leather Honey, let them dry overnight and then ironed them straight on the medium setting while protecting them between a hand towel. Worked like a charm!

And that’s it! I paid $275 on this pre-loved Balenciaga and invested about $25 into the leather dye, conditioner and Edge Kote to bring it back to great condition once again. For $300 I found myself a beautiful designer purse, saving a bundle and helping the environment by reusing what was already there. I hope this helped you see how these products work and maybe will encourage you to purchase a purse that you think is far too damaged but just simply needs a little repairing.

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Why You Can’t Keep Resolutions

My plans for New Year’s Eve evening include a chilled bottle of Martinelli’s Apple Cider, deliciously warm and buttery popcorn and some much needed relaxation and pampering in the form of watching one of my favorite movies, “French Kiss” with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. It’s an oldie, but it never fails to get me in a good mood.
To be perfectly honest, this evening has never held any special appeal to me. I’m not one for crowds or loud cheering, so partying it up is out of the question, I need my beauty sleep so staying up late is a no, and I never wait until a new year to invite change into my life. All of this talk about New Year resolutions bore me to tears as well. Who actually gets excited about losing weight?
And yet, I admit that there is some special reflecting that happens this time of the year. I love the feel and experience of a new planner and a new year asks us to intentionally and deeply think about what we’ve done and what’s to come. But too often I see people create and rush into goals that aren’t truly exciting and enlivening to their souls and inevitably by the time we get to mid-January those goals are abandoned.
This year I challenge you to breathe some love and elegance into your resolutions…
Instead of saving more money and paying off debt, why don’t you commit to finding ways to savor quality and implement a higher standard of allowing only what you truly value into your life?
Instead of finally losing those pesky 10 pounds, why don’t you fall deeply in love with yourself by enjoying only the best foods that would be fit for a queen?
Instead of quitting drinking and smoking, let’s learn to appreciate the amazing things that our body does for us everyday and show our gratitude by making healthful choices everyday.
It’s clear which version of these goals will give you the energy to be inspired to make a lasting change in your life. As long as you approach your resolutions from a space of love and belief you’ll be led — not pushed or dragged — into whatever person you want to be.
I wish you health and happiness in this new year!
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