The Learner Observer

Be warned: this is a wordy post with little to no images.  YIKES!

This is the very first post in my second ever 31 Days Series Challenge!  Want to see them all?  Go right here.

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Remember a little while back when I wrote about keeping it real?  Well, it happened to be one of my favourite posts ever.  It seems that I’m pretty good at being opinionated, and after my husband suggested I write more like I talk, I think there has been a huge improvement (at least in my own opinion) in my writing because it’s more free, and more, well, me!!  It feels more authentic, and when Amy said to me at Blog Podium that I talk just like I write (or vice versa), it was like the coolest, bestest, most amazing compliment ever!  And it got me thinking… if I can keep it real in every aspect of my life, wouldn’t I live a better life?

Ok, so that’s pretty broad, and we’re talking about a 31 day series here, and this blog is somewhat based on DIY, decor and design, right?  So here’s what I’m thinking…

Start with the home.

I instantly thought of this quote:

education - Geoffrey Holder(source)

Sure, that quote is based on education in the academic sense, and as an educator I take it seriously.  But I thought of this quote in relation to our home, ourselves and the world.  Here’s my take:

education - thalita's version of geoffrey holder

And where do we keep most of “ourselves”?

Right here at home!

Our things are here.  Our family is here.  Our memories are made here.  Our most prized, most treasured possessions are here (and this was a difficult sentence for me to come up with because we don’t possess people, but in a way we belong to those we love in the same way they belong to us, because we hold each other’s hearts.  That’s a big thing to give and to be given.)

Where do we learn to take out first steps (a lesson in falling and getting back up again, and again, and again)?  Where do we learn to speak our first words (a lesson in learning to love your own voice and be proud of it)?  Where do we learn how to love (a lesson that never ends, that always gets better and bigger)?

Right here at home.

We learn a lot here.  We spend a lot of time here.  We invest so much here.  And, at least for me, it’s so easy to get caught up in just how it looks all the time.  It’s so easy to go out and pick up another throw pillow because “it’s going to look fab on the couch.”  It’s so easy to stop at IKEA on my way somewhere and pick up a new rug!

What the what!?!?!

She just said a new rug?  Again?

Yeah!  I did!  I did that, okay!?!?  And that’s why I need this challenge!

I want to keep it real and get to the heart of the home.  A home is not made by the stuff we put into it. It’s made by the memories we make in it, the people we live with, and how comfortable we feel in it.  When Sarah Richardson told us at Blog Podium that “If you’re not comfortable in your home, nobody else will be comfortable in your home.” I thought “YEAH!!!! THAT’s that I’ve been needing to hear!”  It’s not JUST about how pretty it is!

Last year my 31 Day Series was about making a house a home, and it basically consisted of bringing STUFF into our house.  We needed things, being newlyweds and all, and hey, you guys all KNOW how I love me some IKEA and Target and Home Sense and Anthro… and I’m gonna go ahead and stop now.  As if my rug story wasn’t enough.

This year, for 31 days, I’m going to challenge myself not only to focus on what happens in my home and with the people that are in it, but also I’m challenging myself in another way.  I’m going to invest in myself and my family – in our home.  Okay, here it is…

I haven’t even told my husband yet.  He’s going to be so happy.

I’m not going to buy anything for my house for the entire month of October.

Oh my gosh.  My heart just sank…

Did I really type out those words?

Oh crap.

I did.

I feel sick.

Can I just delete them and pretend this never happened?  Can I go back?


It’s not called a challenge for nothin’!  And with Christmas just around the corner, this is QUITE the challenge.


Yes, I am being a drama queen.

Oh, and groceries don’t count.  Just wanted to get that out there in case any of you thought I was going to take up hunting in my backyard (like that’s possible) or growing my own veggies (also not possible because of my black thumb and hi, I live in Canada! It’s October.  Enough said.).  No.  Groceries are allowed!  Just no IKEA, and Home Sense, and … you know the drift.

So, over 700 words later, I have finally gotten to the point.  This year’s 31 Day Series is

31 days 2013 button

I have a feeling I know where this is going, but I can’t be too sure.  I’m still going to show you stuff I love. STUFF is still going to be part of this blog.  It’s still going to be part of my house.  But at least for this one month, I want to focus on what’s already in it.  Including the stuff.  And maybe even getting rid of some of it?  Crazy eh?

Did any of this make sense?

If your answer to that is “NO“, then please just try to stick around this month and see how my experiment/challenge/torture month goes.  It promises to be at least mildly entertaining.

If your answer to it was “YES“, bless your heart.  I love you.  And thank you.

If you have any suggestions, maybe something you struggle with, maybe something you’ve done in your home that you might think is fitting for this theme over the next month, just let me know.  It’s not like I have all 31 posts planned!  HA!  Wouldn’t that have been brilliant?!?

Now, let’s do this thing!

1 day down…

signature 1



  1. Reply


    October 1, 2013

    Hi Thalita – Wow! A gal after my own heart! We do a no spend each month, except ours is during the summer, so this is exciting…can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve (; I’m joining the 31 Days Challenge too so I had to hop over and see what you were up to for day 1…so glad I did (; Can’t wait to come back for more upcoming posts this month!

    • Reply


      October 1, 2013

      Thanks Michelle! I am also LOVING your 31 day series already! So good!!! Oh and I understood what you meant the first time! haha!! I’ve never done this before and we’ve been in this house for a little over a year, so I really want to limit myself and see what I can learn. Looking forward to learning lots from you this month!

  2. Reply


    October 1, 2013

    Oh my goodness…apparently I’m not quite awake this morning (; What I meant to say was…”We do a no-spend month each year, except ours is during the summer.” Hopefully I’ll be more awake for the next post (;

  3. Reply


    October 1, 2013

    THALI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love love love love love this idea!!! I am so excited to follow your series. I’m blogging about being suffocated by stuff so your goal of not accumulating anything else (other than food, of course!) totally resonates with me. One month I challenged myself to only spend $200 on the non-necessities (I think that included groceries as well) and I definitely felt more connected with my home and the people in it. Happy 31 Days!

    • Reply


      October 1, 2013

      Oh my gosh I friggin’ love your face. This comment just made my whole day. Beginning to end.

      That sounds like an amazing challenge, by the way and rest assured this month is going to be difficult for me – writing for 31 days and spending nothing on home decor. Am I punishing myself for something?

      K time to go read your 31 Days post!

  4. Reply

    Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    October 1, 2013

    I actually have the opposite problem. I am so cheap that I don’t want to spend money on decorative or frivolous items (and yes, these are totally my labels and this is how I think about them in my mind). I know that I could do more to make my house more comfortable or functional or more homey, but I don’t want to spend the money! I’ll be interested to see some of your techniques for making your house feel like home for free (at least, I hope some of your posts this month will be about this). BTW, I love the graphic at the end… very pinnable.

    • Reply


      October 1, 2013

      I get how you can have the opposite feeling towards decorative things, but it’s definitely not a problem because you likely never have clutter! Right? I definitely want to focus on making the house more homey without spending anything. I’ll have a few posts on doing just that in different ways. Thanks for checking out the post, Julia!

  5. Reply


    October 1, 2013

    This one might be easy for me since I hate shopping. Can you believe it? I would easily pass this one. Now, if you ask me to buy something outside of necessities that would be a problem. I get totally stressed when I have to shop for clothes, even though I like to look nice, or home furnishings or decorations. Definitely will keep up to see how the challenge is going.

    • Reply


      October 1, 2013

      Hate shopping? Wow… you are one in a million! Thanks so much for popping in and following along!! Hopefully I don’t get too stressed out by my LACK of shopping this month! Haha just kidding!

  6. Reply

    Tracktion Studios

    October 1, 2013

    You’re the best wife I have ever had, and you have just made me the happiest man on Earth. Thank you. I love you.

    • Reply


      October 2, 2013

      My husband, ladies and gents. Professing his love when I promise to buy nothing more for the house. HAHA You’re such a little joker. I love you too.

  7. Reply


    October 2, 2013

    Aww, thanks for mentioning me! I’m all about keeping it real and you definitely do that which is what I love about you. I love this post and I totally agree with your points. Our homes don’t need anymore stuff :)

    My fiance and I went on something we like to call a ‘fiscal fast’ where we can’t spend ANYTHING for a month. No takeout, no buying lunches or coffee, no shopping, no nothing. It really helped me realize what things I don’t need to buy on a regular basis. Suprisingly, we did it and I even lost weight because I was eating nothing but home cooking! lol

    • Reply


      October 2, 2013

      Wow! Amy! You sure know how to make a girl feel awesome about herself.

      Also, that fiscal fast sounds like something everyone should experience!!! Amazing, and so awesome that you made it through the month.

  8. Reply

    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    October 4, 2013

    What you wrote about…like writing more like the way you talk…is something that I’m really passionate about! In fact, I spent so much of my energy as an English teacher working on helping students find their writer’s voice…and in theatre, for me, it’s empowering students to find where their own voice intersects with their character’s voice. It’s my thang!

    So, I feel I have it under authority to say that you, Thalita, write with strong voice. Even your emails…it’s like I can hear you on the other end. I remember when I saw the video on your About page, your voice and your mannerisms were no surprise to me because I always had a strong sense of who you are from your writing alone. And I think it’s what lured me in to your blog in the first place. (Oh, plus your super-helpfulness with offering to help offer WordPress migration tips!)

    Lovin’ this series idea. Lovin’ your realness. Lovin’ the idea of not making any new purchases this month (I need to try that sometime…I can definitely see it being such a valuable exercise). Lovin’ that correspondence between you and your hubby. (#cutestcoupleaward) Lovin’ you and your brave self!

    • Reply


      October 7, 2013

      That’s the nicest thing ever!!!! And you are a major authority on writing and having a voice because you’re kind of the queen of all that! Thanks for saying all of that, though. It’s up very very high on my list of “why I blog” and “what I want my blog to feel like” – because I love it and because I want it to be a complete representation of myself.

      Doesn’t that migration stuff feel like it was eons ago now? So weird to think about it! I’m super glad I sent that email though!

      Lovin’ you right back!

  9. Reply

    Emily @ Two Purple Couches

    October 8, 2013

    I agree with Lauren! I definitely think you have a strong voice, and though I’ve never gotten to have a real conversation with you, I feel like your posts are real conversations that we have :)
    Kudos to your 31 Days of keeping it real! I could probably use a challenge like this… but maybe I’ll see how you do first ;)

    • Reply


      October 8, 2013

      Thanks Emily!!! That’s the best compliment a blogger can get (at least this blogger!) :)

      Thanks for the encouragement! Octobers are stressful, but it’s a pretty awesome challenge. Hey, 2014 could be your year to give it a shot!

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