"Pumpkin Spice" — introduced in 2003 by Starbucks as a limited-run, seasonal latte flavor — has expanded far beyond even food & drink to a completely pervasive, mostly-loved, theme of North American, autumnal culture. To celebrate "National Pumpkin Spice Day", I wanted to reflect on: Why is this flavor/smell/experience so popular?! And, what can we learn about ourselves as shoppers and consumers from the mighty impact of the PSL?
I have long embraced & advocated for seeking out products with longevity & versatility. Buy once, buy to last, don’t be tricked by trends or fast consumption. This is not an innovative concept and I am far from a trailblazer of minimalism! Blogs, Tiktokers, & courses abound on capsule wardrobes & all manner of conscious shopping.
I’ve just finished reading the marvelous book Unreasonable Hospitality, by restauranteur and hospitality enthusiast, Will Guidara. The book is part foodie memoir, part management/business manual, and fully inspiring to creativity & connection. One of the concepts that he discusses is “The Rule of 95/5”: Manage 95 percent of your business down to the penny; spend the last 5 percent “foolishly”.
If you buy something in a store, there is a cost to get there: in time and in gas (or other transportation expenses). If you purchased something to be delivered, there are costs there, too — hidden costs, perhaps, but costs (to somebody) nonetheless. When we think about it all too much, it can get our heads spinning. What is the “true cost” of every dollar I spend, every item I buy?
When I travelled to Bangladesh in January 2020, most of my time was in Dhaka — the capital city and home office location for our production partner, Basha. For two days of the trip, however, I planned to travel to another production centre in another, smaller city. During this time, a Friends of Basha manager and I would visit the local Salvation Army office and go with the leader to “tour” the brothel across the street.
In late February/March, we sent out a survey, and SO many of you were gracious with your time to respond! Since it was anonymous, and I can’t respond to anything personally, here are some “show notes” from the survey... a sort of “greatest hits” of the comments that came up which I can share now and respond to.
Life is expensive! Statistics in both USA & Canada show that food-at-home prices increased from December 2021 to December 2022 by 11-12% — the fastest pace of increase in 40 years. Energy, shelter, transportation, and durable goods have all also significantly increased in price.We’ve always advocated around here for thoughtful shopping, the power of purchasing, and being aware of how we spend our money. Do my purchases reflect my values? Is this the way I want to actually spend my money? etc. In this moment of inflation and maybe financial strain, I want to revisit a runaway category of spending and how we might (if desired) reign it all in.
One of the joys of my life has been reading books aloud to my kids. It can be tricky to find good books for kids, and specifically good books to read aloud, and even more specifically: good books to read aloud to boys. Here is a list of books that we have enjoyed reading together over many years, between his ages of 6 and 9.