The Vintage Wren Confessions: One Reluctant Year of Green

ArynChristian Fiction2 Comments

Thanks to Celebrate Lit, I get to review The Vintage Wren, which is a young woman’s personal 52 Week Challenge to go “Green” for a year. I’m excited to share this one with you guys!

About The Vintage Wren

The Vintage Wren January Book Title: the Vintage Wren Volume 1

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian / Fiction / General / Romance

Release date: May 25, 2016 (still in progress)

The Vintage Wren is a serial novel released in several chapter episodes. Volume One contains the first four and a half episodes in one full-length novel.

Cassie Wren. Legal assistant. Convenience queen. Thrifter extraordinaire. If there was a “green police” she’d be a fugitive from eco-friendly justice.

But when a friend’s teasing feels like a challenge, Cassie accepts it. The result? One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days–of Green.

A 52 Week Challenge.

It seemed simple enough. Cut back on paper plates, plastic forks, and straws. Easy peasy. But when her competitive side wars against her desire for convenience, Cassie finds it’s not so easy to be “eco-friendly” and “Cassie-friendly.”


Shopping for Cassie’s annual New Year’s Eve party sparks an innocent comment that Cassie can’t forget. So, during their New Year’s Day goal planning session, Cassie’s friends tease her about her lack of eco-consciousness, and Cassie determines to change one new thing in favor of the planet every week. For a year. Even if it kills her.

She’s confident it will.

Cassie’s first month includes eradicating the extraneous paper, glass, plastic, and metal from her life. However, she finds that it’s not quite as easy as she thought. Paper and plastic cover everything manufactured or packaged–even water, produce, and restaurant food! Glass is great, but you can only have so many “reusable jars,” and metal reduction means her hair may end up a nightmare of uncontrollable frizzies!

She doesn’t even want to talk about her water reduction plans.

But it’s not all been bad. She’s saved a lot of money, has prospects for a new business, her impromptu blog is gaining traffic, and she even has a new boyfriend. Add to that, a few great friends who keep her going when things get rough, and the realization that there are only eleven months to go, and Cassie just might make it.

Now only if her car would cooperate and make it, too!

The Vintage Wren. A serial novel released in fifty-two episodes (for obvious reasons). Each month will be released separately as a full-length novel.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Chautona Havig - Author of the Vintage Wren

About the Author

The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

How Writing about Cassie’s Eco-Challenge Has Changed My Way of Living

I didn’t think it through—not really. I mean, how hard could it be? All I had to do is give Cassie my own reactions to things like giving up straws and having to use tote bags at the grocery store. I just needed 52 simple things she could change in her life—one new one for each episode.

Piece of cake.

I should have known better. I don’t do things halfway when I get into them. Yes, I’ve discovered that Cassie is more like me in some ways than I ever imagined. And as I’ve researched things for her to freak out about, I’ve done a bit of freaking out myself. Certain questions and thoughts won’t go away.

For instance, in 2017 1.26 BILLION dollars were spent on plush toys. Just plush toys. Stuffed animals. And I don’t know how many weren’t purchased. Those are just the ones that were. That’s… a LOT of stuffed toys. If each toy cost 20 dollars (and we all know most are half that or less these days), that’s 63 million of those toys purchased and brought home.

The effects of the Vintage Wren in one year.

Shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap bottles. Not sure why this one bothers me as much as it does. I think, actually, it’s the huge amount of water as much as it is all the plastic.

Look, we no longer have eight females in our house. But we do still have four there at all times—five on breaks. That’s a lot of shampoo bottles every year. A big portion of both laundry soap, shampoo, and conditioner is… water. We pay for a big bottle (lots of plastic and water) and to ship that to us—either because we had to have it shipped to a store for us to buy it or we had to have it shipped to our house.

I am paying extra for water that I could add myself at a fraction of the cost.

And the things go on and on. The lake that almost disappeared in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan because of how much water it takes to grow and process cotton.

See, the thing is, I’m not a green nut.

I don’t think it’s as easy to “destroy the planet” as we like to say. I do think, much like we do with our bodies and such, that we can reduce the quality of the world around us, however.

And while I’ll never jump on Cassie’s bandwagon—certainly not for life, I have made a few changes in how I do things. And as time goes on, I find myself making even more.

Like what, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Here are three small ways I’ve changed how we do things in our house.
  1. I started buying Dropps. They’re an automatically-shipped laundry pod. Each one is tiny—just a little smaller than the average “pod” and a whole lot cheaper. Also, there are no extra dyes or other things that are supposed to be bad for you and the planet.

I don’t really care about that. I just care that they work. And they do. And they’re cheaper than my Tide. ?

  1. I got a shampoo bar for my birthday. I thought it would be like washing with regular soap—especially after I started rinsing my hair! It freaked me out. One idea down the drain… I thought.

But no, after the second or third use, it still felt weird while wet, but it dried beautifully, and I didn’t need to use additional conditioner. It’s in the bar or something. I even tried the old way again to compare after-shower tangles. Identical.

  1. Dryer balls. Those felted wool balls really do work! A wonderful reader of mine sent me some, and it made my day! My youngest daughter and I are now trying to work with felted sweaters to try to turn them into dryer balls—or maybe even into sheets! (although, I think the balls bouncing around also kind of pound the clothes into submission or something. “Sheets” might not work, but I’m tempted to try it!

Look, you’ll never find me standing in front of a case in a mini-mart, freaking out because I want a Coke and can’t justify it. That’s not going to happen. But if I can choose a reasonable alternative to what I already do, well… it’s time to consider that.

There you have it. Three ways my life has changed since writing Cassie’s crazy story.

Woman smiling, the Vintage Wren book review

The Vintage Wren, A Libraryan’s View

The display of Friendship is a big part of what I enjoy about this book. These young adults are impressive.
  • Their friendship is genuine and human.
  • They hurt each other and fight for each other.
  • Support and encourage one another.
  • Talk about everything and nothing
Cassie is an extreme person. She does not do things by half measures. If it’s throwing a party, or decorating for a church event, she goes all out (and knows which couple from church needs to not sit near a certain destination decoration, so they won’t be reminded of a past argument).
Sometimes it’s saying exactly what she thinks. And then giving a sincere apology for losing her temper, or being late for work (again). Honestly, her faith (fictional as it may be, is one of the most inspiring aspects, and it’s so minimal, that non-Christians shouldn’t have a problem.
If it’s taking a half-joke and making a full-on life change for a 52 Week Challenge, she’ll do it. The convenience queen becomes the Eco-queen for a year. Some question her sanity. I see “… Do everything wholeheartedly…”
Her 52 weeks challenge impressed me for several reasons. It Wasn’t Easy, because it was counter to her natural choices. The goal was a heart issue as much as an Outward “impact” oriented challenge. The Convenience factor is as important to her achieving her goal as the Eco-Friendly impact.
Cassie’s blog is hysterical, documenting her successes and failures. I wish it was really on the web, but Chautona just doesn’t have the time, if we want more books, which we most definitely do!!!!!
And I do not want to spoil anything, so I really can’t tell you about Joel, or the Antique business, her Boss, or…

Ways the Vintage Wren has Affected Me

  1. Reducing Paper. I’ve used less parchment paper in my baking (even in my Sunbutter Rice Crispy Treats) while yelling at Cassie.
  2. Using my Slow-cooker more often
  3. Making my own wherever I can (though honestly I was already on this track, and starting to waver) or at least using the most natural alternatives possible.
  4. Apologies when I mess up. Even /especially with my Littles. Instead of making excuses, I’m trying to do better at admitting I was wrong and asking forgiveness.
  5. Putting more effort into the friendships that I have. Trying to be more helpful, supportive, and honest. Investing in the present and future, instead of completely retreating into my books and my household.
  6. Trying to be more invested and involved. Not just watching, but intentionally engaging with those around me. As an introvert, these last two are HARD!
  7. Watching my email account anxiously on Wednesdays (see below)
I would recommend this book to teens and adults who like a challenge, who enjoy seeing connections between “random events” and God, who want to grow their friendships, like to laugh, and/or are into Eco-friendly choices.

Get The Vintage Wren for Free

I’ve had so much fun with reading the Vintage Wren!
I happen to be on Chautona’s email list, where she releases “A Day in Cassie’s life” (approximately 1 chapter of the book) once a week or so-typically on Wednesday, For FREE!
Being able to go back to the beginning, and read all of The Vintage Wren, January in a couple of days was so nice. Then, conveniently, The Vintage Wren, February was on sale (read FREE) so I had to grab it and read through it also.
The Vintage Wren, March should be released soon, and I will have to pick it up as well because there was some sort of glitch while in Newborn Sleep Deprivation mode, so I missed the first 10 days of March, and did not notice!

A 52 Week Challenge to go with the Vintage Wren

Traditions are pretty awesome. They help us mark time, make memories that last, and bring us together.
There are the traditions you grew up with, like
  • A special food on Christmas Eve (Mexican, in my family!)
  • Read Aloud books
  • Watching Wheel of Fortune
  • Going for a walk after dinner, etc
 And then the ones you created as you became an adult:
  • Maybe a new favorite food
  • A particular vacation destination
  • Mission Trips
  • Random acts of kindness
Cassie and her friends have several traditions, from her Epic parties to girls night out, to their annual goal-setting event.
The goal setting event has been inspiring to me, as it came when I was just starting to figure out how to set goals myself with a Big Picture Perspective.

2 Comments on “The Vintage Wren Confessions: One Reluctant Year of Green”

  1. I have been loving this series, too! My solution to baking paper, which I use mostly with sourdough bread? Reuse each piece many times. Eventually they become charred and a fire hazard, but it’s amazing how many times most can be reused.

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