100% USA Made Supima Cotton Sheets – Authenticity 50

Cheaper Means Cheaper

Been buying sheets on sales at department and other stores. They were cheaper but some smelled, some had pills after one wash (i.e. not going to last long), some only had weak elastic on the corners of the fitted sheets. And of course, none of those were made in the USA.

One side effect of my “Konmari Cleanup” is to simplify my life, including owning fewer quality things that last a long time. That also means, reduce waste and be green!

Authenticity 50, 100% “seed-to-stitch” Made in USA

US made products still means quality and safety.

When I found Authenticity 50, I couldn’t believe it.

  • California Supima cotton:Supima cotton produces stronger and softer fabric.
  • Georgia spun yarn
  • Carolinas woven fabric
  • Family-own factory hand sewn sheets
  • Georgia made elastics
  • Even the duvet cover’s corner ties and buttons are made in USA!
  • (more details)

Trying It Out

 authenticity 50 packageTo test them out, I got the A50 Duvet Set because I never use the flat sheet anyway. (They come with 100-night sleep trial.)

Minimal Yet Sufficient Packaging

The set came in a plastic bag inside a sturdy paper bag (good for recuse/recycle). And from the condition it arrived in, you don’t need more packaging than this. And it translates to reduced cost and less enviornmental impact.

360 Degree Elastic

I love that the elastic for the fitted shet is 360 degree, not just in the corners. The elastic is wider and thicker than the other ones I’ve had. You can feel the quality by holding it in your fist.

Using it, Loving it

Authenticity 50 fitted 360 degree elasticI’ve slept in them for a while now. The texture reminds me of the line-dried cloth. And there is no smell, too soft, too slippery issues.

I’ve also washed it a few times, still good as new, no pills. The 250 thread-count seems to mean more than the 300+ ones I had before.

I believe we are going to have a healthy long-term relationship.

Tips with Fitted Sheets

The fitted sheets made for 14″ pocket. But do remember to include the extra paddings you have on your mattress.

White Only!? Consider The Costs

Some reviewer wished for colored sheets but think of the extra cost and the problem of not being able to sell less popular colors. The founders want to provide quality sheets at reasonable prices, I totally support having only white sheets.

Besides, I found color sheets tend to take over the room. If you want color, decorate with colorful pillows or a small throw. It’s cheaper and easier to switch up your themes this way, too.

$15 Coupon with My Referral Link

Authenticity 50 couponTo help spread the words about Authenticity 50, use this $15 coupon link (and I get $15, too.)

Enjoy your new bedtime companion!

P. S. Want more USA made goods? See what else I actually use.

The First Time by Bernadette Pajer

Time travel + Jane Austin + mystery + history, seems an impossible combination but Pajer did it in The First Time.

My #1 Pick for 2016!

I couldn’t put down. I haven’t done that since the Harry Potter days. My urge to know what the main characters will do and if there will be a happily-ever-after overrode my biological needs. If I were a faster reader, I’d finish it in one shot.

Unlike many time travel tales, all the time-related rules/issues where intertwined with the story itself, not explained by breaking the flow of the story. (The other no-questions-left unanswered time-travel novels are Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis.)

I also like that there wasn’t any graphic scenes some romance novels have, it’s healthy to leave room for the imagination. Also, the ways Ivy and Harrison act and think (i.e. not jumping into bed the first chance they got) reinforces their backgrounds, eras, and personalities well.

Besides the romance, I learned some history of South Africa and what it would’ve been like in the early 1900s.

The story resolution was surprising and satisfying, no blazing time-travel story black holes.

If you like The First Time because of the science aspect, I also recommand her earlier works, Professor Bradshaw Mystery series. Bradshow is a professer of electrial engineering at the University of Washington in the early 1900s (when common folks didn’t know much about electricity). He investages many electricity related cases.

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 3)

Quiet on the outside

From this picture, you see mostly solid colors and no small clusters of stuff. This create the visual tidiness like folding with Konmari method.

  1. This Aqua metal 5-drawer cabinet was the seed of my vision. I’ve always wanted one, now I have a good reason. When I saw the actual color in The Container Store, sparks of joy flew. I’m still happy every time I see it!

    But I needed two to hold up the stereo and other things (unknown at this point), so I ordered one in yellow, a color I also like.

    I also joined their POP membership to save on possible future purchases.

  2. konmari-ed: shelves vision realizedAt the bottom I need something strong to support everything on top. After measuring, searching, and comparing, I ended up with BESTA shelving frame from IKEA.

    To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about the white but the other two colors just shout blah. Once I put it in, it actually brightened things up just the right amount.

    By the way, a few weeks after I bought it, it went on sale. Being an IKEA Family member gave me a 90-day price protection. And I got $8 back from my IKEA store.

  3. While waiting form my metal cabinets, I kept visiting The Container Store just for fun. By accident, I wondered to the clearance rack, saw a bit of yellow that matched the cabinet peaking out of an discountinued item for $13.

    When I opened it, it was a metal storage cube I had considered but thought it was too expensive. Right then, another part of the vision puzzle fell into place.

    I bought it then ordered a white one to help support the shelving plank above it. FYI, the doors and inside shelves come separately!

  4. Free shelf covers! These are actually packaging lids for the 5-drawer metal cabinets. They are effective in hiding the “noisy” contents thought they don’t cover the whole opening. However, that’s what makes them easy to remove. I thought making something wider myself but none would look as nice.

I’ve this arrangment for 3 months now and haven’t changed a thing.

Party on the inside

konmari-ed organizing office suppliesFrom the pictures, you can see that I wanted color inside the drawers. This way I get the burst of color joy only when I open the drawers, as I prefer visual tranquility most of the time.

Looking inside drawer 2, you see the turquoise and white trays are lined. I used the color paper I have on hand to add vibrance and protection to the trays.

I also carry the idea to other drawers. Each drawer, according to its contents get a different treatment. Keep in mind that I also made my own insert when I did not like anything fitting on the market.

Function + form = spark of joy

konmari-ed organizing office suppliesWhat makes me smile other then all the colors in my drawers? Everything is where they should be.

Drawer 2 holds the most used items. I might have use drawer 1 but it doesn’t like to be opened all the way, even after I fixed the inside structure. And after months of using it, I realized drawer 2 is at the perfect height.

So, as you put your items in order, remember your sprak will go away if it’s a pain to use.

Do I have enough pens and pencils?

Once you are Konmari Clean, you can save money and avoid new clutter. As you see in my drawers that it’s obvious that I don’t ever need to buy more pen and pencil. And that’s the whole point of working by categories.

(Re)Locate with logic

Consider these with storage containers, cabinets, and individual items alike:

  • Keep these near where they were before? Is there another location that would be more efficient?
  • How often will you use it? Think ease of access.
  • Are these items where you might be looking if you don’t really remember exactly?

Officially Konmari Clean

One last thing, I do have a deal-with-it-later shelf but it’s obvious enough I won’t forget it and not prominent enough to bother me.

Oh, one more last thing, less stuff = easier to clean = clean more often.

I believe, as Marie promised, I don’t think I will ever clog up my space again.

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 2)

Visual tidiness = tranquility

What’s the point of all the KonMari work? Why fold and store clothing Konmari way? I first tried folding things my way then her way, the difference–much lower visual noise.

I was amazed how well visual tidiness brings tranquility to my life. I am more relaxed when I am in my room and in general. Then I applied the same principle to other categories.

Window shopping = energy to go on

Again, this started with my vision of a tidy built-in bookshelf. I didn’t know the exact items to buy but I know how they must work:

  • Must be able to hold heaver weight. The tiny stubs can’t hold much more than the shelf planks, not useful.
  • Must hold all I kept after Konmari sorting–mostly items from this bookshelf and the meditation corner (formally the clutter blackhole).
  • Must have colors that brings me joy.

konmari-ed shelving, storage visionIt was 5 months into the process, since I needed a break, I measured my shelf, armed with a tape measure, then visited various stores and web site for inspiration. Boy, that was fun and productive. Building this vision also pumped me up to finish the office supplies and smalls categories.

Then it was finally time to make my vision come true. (See the continuing post)

To Be KonMari Clean (Decoration: Vision Realized 1)

Vision that sparked action

If you read Marie’s first book, you know before you even sort a thing, you must envision the end result.

Mine was simple–have a meditation corner in my room, perhaps with a comfy chair. And if I have the desire and energy, I will put up my own oversized Zentangle art in turquoise blue, black, and white.

That vision powered me through to the end of the Konmari process. And trust me, this end vision is crucial to the process, even if the vision might change on the way, and the end result might be different.

Vision is not carved in stone

After 7 months of tidying up, I got my clean corner.

sprout toy boxesSorry, no before picture, all I cared at the time was getting rid of the corner clutter–dusty black metal shelves, an IKEA double hamper, and a bunch of this-might-com-in-handy-someday stuff. Trust me, no one needs to see that.

I also swapped out the comfy chair idea with two Made In USA toy chests because:

  • A decent comfy chair is expensive
  • The chair is bulky and permanent
  • I wanted something modern with clean lines

Instead, I bought some yoga gears on sale to fulfill the vision of the meditation corner.

sprout toy chestOne of the toy chests you see here holds those gears, the other holds my backpack and cloth I’ve already worn but not ready to wash. Once I put the lids down, no loose items, no visual noise.

This works so much better for me than my original vision.

Tips on vision and decorating

  • Figure out the essence of your original vision. In my case, I just wanted my own quiet, uncluttered space.
  • Be flexible and creative. Would following your original idea really spark joy? If not, look around, get ideas, change it. To suit my needs, I often find myself using/buying things that have different original purposes.
  • Be okay to wait and buy what you need. Only after I knew what I need to make a new home for the items in each category, I start looking for their “home”, starting with what you already have. If that doesn’t spark any joy, then start searching to buy.
  • To save money, use the boxes and trays you are not using/recycling for organizing things that will be inside drawers or closets. The point is to have a clean visual environment.
  • Listen to your inner voice–“Yes, this definitely sparks my joy”

More on the Sprout toy chests

  • If you put it next to a wall, you can prop up the lid as if there were hinges.
  • I used a plastic container (and I managed to sneak turquoise blue in there) to separate my backpack from my clothing since it’s more dirty.
  • sprout toy box greenFor assembly, it’s easier to have 2 people and a rubber mallet (I folded corrugated cardboard into a thick stack and used that with a regular hammer). And if you are a perfectionist, a level would be great, too.
  • Once assemble correctly, they are very sturdy.
  • The toy box come in many colors.
  • Sprout uses safe and recycled material. 100% Made In USA, from design to manufacturing. They offer good variety of kid’s furniture.

Eco Drain, Septic Cleaner That Works: PlumbClear

mesh drain coverBeen bothered by the slow draining issue for our bathtub for a while.

We’ve always used an extra mesh catch (very cheap with varies sizes at Daiso stores, place it upside down for bathtubs.) to stop hair and junk from getting into the pipes but tiny things that got down there do accumulate.

Chemical, homemade, or eco ready-made?

During my research, I learned that some plumbers don’t like the chemical solutions because they create particles that are harmful to your septic tank.

plumbclearThen I read some homemade solutions but didn’t trust them because how varied and inconsistant they are. I wanted something that just works and not having to spend time testing all the formulas and run the risk of clogging up the pipes.

When I found this eco drain, septic cleaner, Plumb Clear, on Amazon.com, I didn’t believe it will work well like many eco-friendly products. Since the reviews were so positive and it’s made in USA, I bought it anyway.

Since I wasn’t expecting much, I didn’t video my experiment. And I trust you’d understand that I won’t wait for my pipe to clog up again to record that it works.

First try with AMAZING result

After reading the instructions, I used the [Septic Tank ratio]–2 scoops with 2 cups of warm water, waited 2-4 hours as asked. Then I accidentally spilled it into the tub, only some got into the drain. I didn’t want to leave any solution in the tub so I rinsed the tub right away.

At this point, I thought, it’s not going to work, I washed it away. That night when I took a shower, I was amazed how well it drained.

Second try with a toilet

For this slow draining toilet, I used the [Septic/Drains ratio]–2 scoops with 5 cups of water. I wanted to make sure the enzyme and friendly bacteria had a chance to eat the built-up in the outlet path of the toilet so I dump 1 cup of the solution into the toilet bowl without flushing for an hour.

When I finally flashed it, it drained so quickly. I was very happy!

Tricks and Tips

  • sportsBottleWhen you first open the container, you need to fish out the scoop and the plastic snake.
  • To help you mix the solution and apply with more precision:
    1. Find an old sports bottle similar to this (the point is to not spend any money while using something that’s just taking up space)
    2. Measure and draw the lines at 1 cup increments, this allows you adjust the mix to only the volume needed.
    3. IMPORTANT!!! Remember to also mark the bottle “NOT FOR DRINKING”.
  • Don’t wait too long to clean the pipes. According to the seller, Alson Enterprises, it works not as well for fully clogged pipe. The solution needs to come in contact with the organic built-up to digest the gunk in the pipes.
  • For the opening of the sink/tub drain, pull the stopper, pour in the solution (I used the more diluted ratio) until it overflows a little, let it sit for a while (I waited 15 minutes), then unstop it.

To Be KonMari Clean (Reorganizing & Spark Joy)

Cherish the empty spaces

After donating, recycling, and throwing away the rest of what I no longer need or love, I was surprised that I actually have shelves and drawers left empty. And I have to remind myself that empty spaces are the best medicine for my sanity.

Now I’ve lived with my KonMari-ed room, I am proud to not pile things up again. One empty shelf is now the holding place for things to be give away, either going to friends or for donation.

Reclaiming the joy of paper crafting

kvissle IKEAFor my desk, I have two metal boxes from IKEA, holding the most used items. The boxes come with cork lids but bits of cork fall out all the time. So, I decided to make lids my way:

  1. Instead of having to remove the lid, the new lid act as a hinged cover. It’s much easier to open and shut.
  2. paperBoxLidsNo more holes in the lids for dust to get in the boxes.
  3. Have my own design: I wanted white cover but found the contrast too sharp for my desk. I added a stripe of real cherry wood veneer. (By Arc Crafts on Amazon.com.)
  4. This process also helped me reduce my specialty paper collections. My collections are my sentimental items. I figured the more I used now, the less volume (i.e. pain) I would have parting with them.
  5. paperBoxInsertI had great fun making and designing the lids, therapeutic while productive, exactly how I roll.
  6. Since white dirties easily, I also made inserts to line the boxes. See the bright yellow poking out from the bottom of the black insert? Sparks joy everytime I raise the cover.

Repurposing & make it yours

You may not be a paper nut like me but try repurposing what you do collect. Marie did suggest to use what you have on hand to save money as you reorganize your items. You can’t buy read-made items to fit your every need anyway, why not make them your own?

Books I Read in 2016

Keeping up with a record of what I read each year, here I go with a new ongoing list for 2016. The count may be even less than last year but I really need to complete my cleaning process.

  1. Crosstalk by Connie Willis
    [ At first it read like too much “texting” but as I read on, I saw the effect was intentional and carried a lot of hints. I did skip at many places near the end, didn’t need the repeated info. Love how Willis is able to fuse the mystic with technology in the plot. Her last books were about WWII and time travel, loved it! ]
  2. Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Kopp Sisters Series 2) by Amy Stewart
    [ Now Constance Amelie Kopps works as a police person, the story tells the struggle of breaking into the male only career. Miss Kopps still manages to solve the case! ]
  3. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Book 8) by Alan Bradley
    [ Flavia came home from Canada, learned that her father was in the hospital. She began to ventur out to London and we also continue to see her grow with age and events in her life. ]
  4. Nemesis by Catherine Coulter
    [ Her 19th FBI thriller, my first of hers. Love the relationship between all characters. This one invovles two cases the main FBI married couple has to work on their own, though they helped each other as well. Might try another one of her books. ]
  5. Deep Dark (Tracers Series 10) by Laura Griffin
    [ This murder mystery invovles the police, white and black head hackers. The romantic relationship plays a major role. Good choice for a romance reader who also wants read a serious mystery. ]
  6. Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters Series 1) by Amy Stewart
    [ A historic fiction, centered on Constance Amelie Kopp, a real person, who with a sherif’s help fought the local silk company boss. ]
  7. The First Time: A Time Travel Romance (The Sunflower Series 1) by Bernadette Pajer #1 Pick!
    [ Amazing flawless time travel romance! I couldn’t put it down, read my review. ]
  8. Cinderella Six Feet Under (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 2) by Maia Chance
    [ This was as fun to read as 1 and 3. Along the way, you grow to know the charaters and develop feelings about them as you would a real person. ]
  9. Snow White Red-Handed (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 1) by Maia Chance
    [ I read the 3rd book first, found this one just as fun, it kept me guessing. It’s interesting to see how Maia weaved the Snow White story into the mystery. ]
  10. Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna (A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery 3) by Maia Chance
    [ Picked this up from the “interesting read” section at the libaray and it was interesting. Though I haven’t read the first 2 books, the story still works. An important element is based on a fairy tale abut it’s a mystery not a fantasy. Fast paced, no boring parts, good read. ]
  11. The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo
    [ I’m usually not one for general fiction but the fast paced and interesting details brought me along to the end. ]
  12. The Forgotten Soldier (Pike Logan Thriller) by Brad Taylor
  13. Gasa-Gasa Girl (Book 2 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
  14. Summer of the Big Bachi (Book 1 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
  15. Snakeskin Shamisen (Book 3 of Mas Arai Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
    [ Hirahara is amazing, the hero in her story can be 20 something like Ellie Rush or a 70 something gardener, Mas Arai. I enjoyed the mystery while learning some history about Okinawa. ]
  16. Seven Threadly Sins (A Threadville Mystery) by Janet Bolin
    [ I think my taste may have changed. Though the story moves in a good pace, I wanted something different, something with more dimensions. Naomi Hirahara might have spoiled cozy mystery for me… ]
  17. Grave on Grand Avenue (Book 2 of Officer Ellie Rush Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
    [ Though Ellie is 20 something, I did not feel like an old lady when I read this. Hirahara did a great job writing as a young person and still keep older people on track. ]
  18. Murder on Bamboo Lane (Book 1 of Officer Ellie Rush Mystery) by Naomi Hirahara
    [ My first book from her. Love the fast pace progress, Asian immurgrant culture/conflicts, interesting plot. ]
  19. The Plague of Thieves Affair (Book 4 of Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery) by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
    [ The wife and husband team of mystery writers have done it again. The reason I love reading Marcia Muller is because her series don’t turn boring. This time the detectives work their own cases. I did solve the simplist one quickly but enjoyed the crime solving process all the same. ]
  20. Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott
    [ Mainstream book is usually not my thing but Super Librarian Nancy Pearl suggested it, so I read it. Harriet’s own narrative was the most intriguing and the thread of the book. It calls on you to look beyond your own percecptions of people in your life. There are always more behind the other person, why each one turned out and acted in certain ways. ]
  21. The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
    [ Once again the English in this fantasy is a hard to understand for me (English is my 2nd language.) So though many said this was a funny book, my struggle only allowed me to enjoy the darker side of the plot. I do like the surprising turns of events and how he uses words (when I can understand them) ]
  22. City of Stairs (The Divine Cities) by Robert Jackson Bennett
    [ Recommended by Super Librarian Nancy Pearl. I usually don’t like fantasy but this one focuses more on human mind and spirituality. Choose to read deeper into it like the main character Shara would looking closer at the reality-miracle confused city. ]

To Be KonMari Clean (Documents)

After a 3-month interruption, I am back on the KonMari Clean horse. Here are some updates and document cleanup tips.

Living with less

With less clothes, I noticed changes in behavior:

  • Live with alternatives instead of buying more (living with less is my new default mode)
  • Donated more items I kept during the clothing cleanup (became even more conscious of the “sparks” of my things)
  • Buy only what I needed (better able to resist the lure of a sale)

Document Cleanup

I have never been so thankful for the digital age. Though being an “old school” writer, I’ll never be without pen and paper, I love that I don’t have to keep a hardcopy of everything.

Writers, don’t live in the piles of your drafts! According to Pam Binder of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, you only need keep digital drafts and perhaps a hardcopy of the latest version.

Remember to shred your old drafts, just to be safe.

Sorting documents, what to keep?

Most of what I had were old statements and were almost all shredded after I read through these articles.

Shred your documents

Since I can recycle shredded paper with residential garbage collection and I have a cross-cut shredder (strip-cut is not as secured), I decided to shred as I sort. I tried to mix different types of documents when I shred, cautious or paranoid? Could be both, ha ha!

If you don’t have a shredder or you have a lot of confidential documents, look for free document shredding events in your area.

Learn the recycling rules

  • Can you recycle shredded paper?
  • How do they want it? Our collector asks us to put shredded paper into clear plastic bags. (I saved the dry cleaning protective covers from the “clothes on hanger” phase, tied the hanger ends and used it for hold the sheredded paper.)
  • Can photo paper be recycled with regular paper? In our area, you can recycle photos but only if they are shredded.

KonMori Methods, How to Fold w/ Marie

After I finished sorting through my clothes the KonMari way, I tried folding and storing her way and my way. In deed, her way is better because her way:

  • Ends up with a cleaner presentation (not showing folds and sort by colors are part of cutting down visual noise)
  • Keeps the spots for items removed (if you fold it right, it should stand on its own, which means when you take one item out, its place remains opened for restoring.)

How to fold the KonMari way

This video is in Japanese, but it’s by far the most instructional one I’ve found. Below, I’ve listed the important points in the video: (hopfully my translation is not too far off)

  • Smooth out your clothes, infuse your love and gratitude into the item.
  • First fold in half but keep the end unlayered, then fold in third so it’d stand up on its own.
  • When folding long sleeves, distritube the thickness before folding.
  • Note: in other videos, she mentioned that if it’s smaller you don’t have to fold it exactly the same way but never ball up your socks!