Small Treasures of 2022

A toast to another year of small treasures. Hear hear!

Favorite Ironic Day Trip (Dia Beacon)

Our intentions were un-ironic, but the trip took an unavoidable 180 when we entered the museum.

Favorite Relief (Christmas Tree in Forest Still Stands)

Three years ago, we happened upon a Christmas tree — a sole evergreen in an otherwise deciduous forest. We proclaimed it adopted, visited it monthly, and mourned its decline when some of its branches unexpectedly turned brown in 2021.

In 2020, Irvington, two towns over, was the furthest I could drive. As my courage grew, so did our road trips, thus we left our ailing tree behind.

We visited yesterday and were relieved to see her shaggy but thriving.

Favorite Side Hustle (Selling “Garbage”)

We call it “garbage” affectionately, but it’s not garbage at all.

And I’ve been chasing it for years — sifting through vintage and thrift stores (starting with 7A in the East Village in the late 90s) in search of small treasures.

When I heard ABC Carpet Outlet was closing in 2015, I picked one last stunning area rug (huge). In 2020, I painfully left it lying in the garbage room of my NYC apartment building when I moved to the country. I didn’t feel safe selling anything because of the virus. All of my carefully collected treasures from two decades, gone.

And then it rained. Hard. I returned to the building the next day to return a key, and there was a couple hauling away my beloved red library bookcase. I was over the moon.

That’s what I mean by “garbage.”

Selling discarded treasures on ebay has been delightful. I’d spend all day everyday doing it if I could. I also love the lingo of the trade: I’m going sourcing to replenish my inventory for my burgeoning business. Yeah!

Favorite FI Idea (Pay all Bills for the Year at Once)

This comes from Vincent Pugliese’s newsletter from just last week. An idea I hadn’t thought of — what if I paid all my bills for the year (cell phone, car insurance, etc.) before the new year even started?

Time value of money, you smirk?

The feeling of freedom, I answer.

Favorite Zazzle Design (Soo Rugged Tote)

My Soo Rugged tote bag is inspired by my long-term interest in things hanging from cars. And . . . I’m currently using the bag for when I go sourcing. Meta.

It’s big enough for all of your groceries and maybe a load or two of laundry.

Favorite Artist I Learned About (Jack Stuppin)

Turns out that my love for this painting was more than a whim. I still think about it today after seeing it for the first time last winter at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers (and writing about it here).

I decided I was ready to buy an art.

I located another Jack Stuppin on Artsy, which led me to the NYC gallery where it’s up for sale. With the confidence of a collector, I inquired about the piece, and when the price was provided, I sheepishly backed myself right out of the conversation (aka, I didn’t reply).

Maybe one day, if I sell enough “garbage.”

Favorite Thrift Store Find (Silver Rose Ring)

In its original box and less than $10. I polished it and can’t part with it. When (if?) I regain my sense of smell, I will pair it with Diptyque Eau Rose EDT, incidentally, my favorite fragrance of 2022.

Most Profitable Thrift Store Find (Vintage Sarah Rudin Signed Paperweight)

It was simply beginner’s luck — before I came to know of Dr. Lori and the “thrift with me” youtubers. I saw this piece was signed, so I took a chance. It sold for my asking price with only one relisting.

Favorite Silent Realization (Being Featured Twice in a Friend’s Photo Gallery Wall)

I had no words when I saw myself featured in not only one but two of the photos on a friend’s gallery wall when I entered her new house for the first time.

Favorite Town to Try Every Single Restaurant (Piermont, NY)

Piermont is to New York as the Volkswagen Beetle is to cars. Hatched from a different egg.

Maybe it’s the New Orleans architecture or the fact that you can walk halfway across the Hudson or the old train station with the telegram office, but Piermont is wonderfully unique.

And just as any sensible people would do having discovered a unique town — we created a challenge to eat in every single restaurant. We’ve tried:

Otto’s, Cornetta’s, Freelance Cafe, Piermont Creamery, Bunbury’s, and Tequila Y Sal Limon (but I couldn’t eat there — nothing was gluten free).

My favorite dish was the mussels at Freelance. But enjoying homemade ice cream with Fly Me to the Moon on the stereo and local News 12 on the TV in the creamery was for sure the best experience. (I love local television.)

Favorite Risk (Teaching on Outschool)

In June, I spent an entire weekend putting together my application and intro video for the online teaching platform, Outschool. Nothing like an intro video to make you want to abandon an application.

For me, Outschool was “start a business lite.” It was a way to not do marketing (you fork over 30% of your earnings to the company for that), test my curriculum and workshops, and do it all without start-up costs.

Outschool is mostly geared toward younger students, so my college essay workshops might not be a perfect fit going forward. But if you teach elementary or middle school and want to make some side funds, the platform might work for you. Be in touch if you’d like assistance with the application process!

Favorite “Operation” (Having Only Lawn Chairs in the Trunk)

There used to be nothing. Then the lawn chairs. Then the beach gear. Then the extra bags of cat litter. Then the boxes of shoes (“inventory” — see above). All of a sudden there were things in the trunk.

If I put it on the Operation board, it’s happening. In October, we became people who have only lawn chairs in the trunk.

Favorite State Park Find (Silver Sands, CT)

I thought it was a hidden gem. It’s not.

It’s a gem, but it’s not hidden.

We discovered Silver Sands, a state park with a beach, on the weekend of July 4th. Barely a soul.

It follows, of course, that we purchased an inordinate amount of gear (tent, inflatable pillows, sunblock, etc.) and returned with our gear to a packed beach where onlookers giggled as our tent flapped and flopped in the wind and nearly flew away as we fought to set it up. After 15 minutes we went home and became people with things in the trunk.

Favorite Thing to Notice on a Long-Term Basis (Things Hanging from Cars)

Even after my post has been long been posted, I continue to squeal with joy when I see a new contraption hanging from a vehicle. These sightings never failed to disappoint in 2022.

I did, however, switch lanes when I spotted this set-up.

Favorite Uncomfortable Moment(s) (Attending the Geocachers’ Party)

So that one time, when I was geocaching, and I was about to get the cache, I spotted it, and all of a sudden . . .

I should’ve just left it at accomplishing the NYS challenge.

Favorite Thing I Almost Did (Buy a 100-Year-Old Norwich Townhouse)

I walked in; I wanted it. Holes, scratches, crumbling sheetrock and all. And the price was right.

It had been more than 30 years since I made the drive up Route 17 to Norwich, stopping at Roscoe Diner along the way. The nostalgia of returning to the region where my mom grew up clouded my thoughts and made me starry-eyed. I thought the sensible thing to do was wait until I was no longer under the influence. But I don’t think it was.

I didn’t do it, but I wish I did.

A pessimist at heart (but with a twinge of perspective), I’ll end on a regret. The regrets are the best lessons.

Here’s to leading with your heart in 2023. Happy New Year to all. May some small things abound!

What’s your favorite small treasure of 2022? Biggest regret?

Say some things.

If you enjoyed this post on small treasures, have a look at this one, this one, and this one.

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  1. I have so much to say. Where to begin. I don’t know why, but the story about the tree made me fuzzy. Like the tree is an old friend who is just there when you need it. I have things like this in my life where I feel full emotions over, and would be devastated if they were to go away. Like a tree.

    I have always daydreamed of the eBay side hustle. I do sell some items on there from time to time, usually clothing I have stopped wearing, but there are only certain brands I know I can sell. It’s a hard game, but the dopamine I get from selling something is so great. I did realize selling Starbucks mugs was not a good move because the cost of shipping and the fee left me making just a couple bucks and it wasn’t worth it. LOL

    The lawn chairs in the trunk made me laugh. I am one who likes limited items anywhere around me. My room, others rooms, my car…but my trunk has become like a mini storage. I have my bike rack, two lawn chairs (LOL), and some items for the beach as well. Plus of course jumper cables. It has become difficult to get more stuff into the area, but I don’t have anywhere else to put things. So for now, my trunk will be the one space I have that is a bit more cluttered. I can close the door though, so that helps.

    As for the regrettable house, I hope you can one day buy a house that makes you realize why you chose not to buy that one. Or maybe someone will surprise you and buy it for you.

    1. We were so nervous to see the state of the tree. What a relief.

      The dopamine from the sale is definitely my favorite of all of my healthy addictions — even better than geocaching. Today we thought we struck gold with a Norman Rockwell plate. I ran through the store to find my husband to tell him, and then when we searched on ebay, we saw there were a ton of them for sale for about $5. 🙂 It’s the thrill of the chase.

      And that’s good that you can at least close the trunk! There’s something!

      I regret the house. It would have been a huge project, and it may not have rented. Probably a money pit. But so much fun.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Happy happy new year!

Say some things.