Beauty with age

rusted light fixtureIt’s rusting.

Is rust beautiful? Some think so. Others think it needs to be sanded off, painted with primer and given a protective coat. For our bathroom light fixture, we could go one of three ways — leave it as it is, replace it or fix it. The lazy option won out — for the time being.

Another thing about this light fixture’s rust is that it causes the fixture to no longer look new — and it’s not perfect anymore.

The desire for perfection varies from person to person. As people mature, they realize that all battles can’t be won, so they must choose which battles to fight. One must decide whether each fight for perfection is worth spending the energy, time and/or money to win.

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They do the same thing

Tutima watch dialI love expensive watches. But I would never buy one.

One warm fall day I was driving north on a major street in suburban Denver. At every stop light, my $3,000 Toyota arrived slightly before the $100,000 Porsche in the lane next to me. Both drivers were accomplishing the same thing — going from Littleton to Denver.

A $2,000 Tutima watch tells time maybe just slightly more accurately than a $30 Timex. Its intricate detail is beautiful to behold. The owner knows that he supported a craftsman in Germany rather than a factory worker in China. If the owner breaks it, his tears will last much longer than those of someone who breaks their Timex.

But the Tutima owner is buying exclusivity. He may be the only kid on his block with that model. He knows that his wrist is holding a reflection of high human achievement.

How long does the pleasure of buying an expensive watch last? For some, a long time. For those with many, probably a short time.

I do grant a peer-review aspect to the equation. If a real estate agent is trying to sell a $2,000,000 house, she may not want to be seen wearing a $35 watch. With a Patek Philippe on her wrist, the message is, “I’m in your league.”

Which watch will you buy?

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Artisan lip balm and whiskey

Burt's BeesBurt’s Bees was sold to Clorox. Small distilleries may be selling you whiskey that was mostly made in a giant factory.

You already know that all is not as it seems. But we are susceptible to good marketing.

The Denver Post reported on September 28th that many craft distilleries are using whiskey that is made in giant factories.  It may be a little disappointing to someone who spends $65 for a bottle of “hand-crafted spirits” to find out that they have bought something made in a massive factory.

People with chapped lips wanting something better than Chapstick have turned to Burt’s Bees for a long time. They have (and do) buy that brand because of its more natural ingredients and the company’s environmental responsibility. But did you know that Burt’s Bees was bought by Clorox in 2007? That’s probably not surprising to you. But we still like the idea that our purchase will be healthier and more responsible than something we buy from a big corporate global manufacturer. We also like the idea that our product is made in a small facility by local humans, rather than on some anonymous assembly line.

The only way to truly buy local and artisan may be to visit the factory to see how they make what you want to buy. And be prepared to pay double (or more) than what the national brand might cost.

Healthy and responsible is not cheap.

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