With the economic crisis in full swing and the New Year upon us, the timing couldn't be better to implement a new, more simplistic approach to life as we know it. As a result of the tightening of the proverbial belt, I believe this downswing will ultimately result in greener, more meaningful lives.
Here is a list of 10 trends that I believe will be more in focus throughout 2009:
1. Simplicity & Minimalism are in. Those of you who watched the Golden Globes on Sunday night saw a lot less bling than usual and a lot of low key colors on the red carpet. Many white, off white, and black dresses. Why? Because big, bright and flashy is totally tacky right now. ( And yes, I am aware that the dresses in the photo above are from previous Golden Globes, but the updated 2009 pics weren't available at press time.)
Do we all need 3 cars and 2 houses and more shoes and bags and clutter? Probably not. We may "want" it, but most of the time, we don't need it. These days, less is becoming more. Over consuming and over spending are outdated and those who are still mesmerized solely by material goods seem shallow, unhappy and out of touch.
2. Reduce Packaging, hence garbage. If you saw the movie Wall-E, you saw the future of this planet. Reusable water bottles, reusable tupperware containers, even reusing paper bags, ziploc bags, gift wrap, or jelly jars are becoming more commonplace. Buy the a large bag of SmartPuffs and send them to school in a reuseable container, not the individual baggie. Buy in bulk at superstores to save $$.
3. Vintage. A visit to my mother's house recently was like a shopping excursion blast from the past. I found an old Gucci clutch in great condition, which to me, is still considered tres chic. I found my mom's old double breasted mink coat which is shocking back in style! Major score! It looks great with jeans and slacks and is super warm. I also stumbled upon another old coat in black suede that is old but in great condition, fitted with a belt, calf length. It sports a faux shearling fur collar ( not cheap and tacky looking like some) and hem. Totally Carrie Bradshaw and I love it! The only problem is that I need to loose about 10 lbs to get into it, which brings me to....
4. Eat natural,unprocessed food. You don't have to be psychotic about your diet, just focus on natural ingredients, fruits and veggies, and fish and meats without antibiotics in them (if you must eat beef). Buy Applegate Farms cold cuts and hot dogs which have no nitrates in them (nitrosamine is a known carcinogen.) Try Smartpuffs and Cape Cod potato chips, which are all-natural, rather than the chemical laden alternative. There are solid, healthy options everywhere when it comes to food.
5. Compost! I really think that composting will get big this year. Whenever I go to throw away the coffee grinds, or the potato or carrot peels, and kitchen scraps, I cringe throwing them in the regular garbage! It really doesn't take a lot of effort to simply throw them away in a separate odor-sealing container until you take it to the compost heap. Plus come spring time, you have have some amazing nutrients to get that organic garden in your yard up and running, which is a nice segway to....
6. Eating Home Grown. In parts of this country and others, we are seeing a trend in which landowners are renting out small plots of land to city and apartment dwellers who want to naturally cultivate their own veggies. It's a new trend that gives 'eating local' a brand new meaning! Gardening is also very relaxing and a rewarding hobby to boot. Click here to learn more about Organic Gardening.
7. Smile, your alive! Even if things aren't perfect for you right now, give thanks for the blessings you have. Feel gratitude for your spouse, your parent(s), your kids, friends, home, etc. Banish negative thoughts and feelings from your brain when you catch them in there, and replace them with positive energy. Smile, enjoy the change in weather, the holidays decorations and lights in your neighborhood, a cozy fire, a good book, or a pleasant conversation. This basic premise will help you find inner peace and happiness more than those new stilettos that you can't really afford anyway, trust me. An awesome book that helps you get into this groove is The New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.
8. In-house Entertaining. Since there isn't much of a budget for going out to restaurants anymore (if you must, have lunch out instead), we have started to invite friends and family over more often for informal gatherings. In a way, these home parties are a celebration of the good things we have in our lives, amidst the muck of the economy. Kids are always welcome (to save on sitters) and everyone has an overall good time. Formal, informal, outdoor, potluck, Italian, Mexican, Trailer Trash, create your own special theme!
Another trend in this category is the theme house party. It's like a Tupperware party without the Tupperware. A ladies night with wine and a representative selling skin care or gifts for a holiday. A lingerie party before Valentine's Day. A support group for divorcee's or singles. You can even host a GO GREEN house parties- My SPECIALTY! In any event, it's really a great way to connect with old friends and to make new ones in a comfortable social setting, without breaking the bank.
One last item. Most communities offer a Calendar of Events in their local newspapers that feature free local events. Keep your eyes open and get active in the community.
9. Recycling. "Someone's junk is another man treasure." You have heard that one before. This conjures up images of an African woman cooking over a open fire using an old hubcap as a pot - which is really happening right now is some poor desolate part of the world. And when I say recycling, I'm not just talking about your plastic soda bottles and such, I'm talking about close to most anything you can throw out can be recycled in some way. Electronics, furniture, old clothing, towels, toys, and much more. Unraveling an old sweater and knitting a new pair of leg warmers with them. Old window screens can be scrap aluminum or metal. Selling your items, donating them for a tax deduction, giving it to the needy, earn points at Recycle Bank, go to garage sales, EBay, you name it; there is a use for this old stuff for sure.
10. Conserve energy. And I don't mean your own! Exercise helps to increase endorphins and your happiness too, so get off your ass. What I am talking about is turning off the lights, replacing the lightbulbs with CFLs. Open the dishwasher at the end of the cycle and let it air dry. Same with your laundry. Unplug all unused electrical items, turn off computers after use, conserve gas by planning your driving route ahead of time - even if gas is dirt cheap! Every little bit helps to not only save $$ but to reduce emissions.