Friday, September 23, 2016

9/19-9/23 Outfit Roundup

Monday& Tuesday's outfits were exact duplicates of previous outfits so I didn't take new pictures :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/12-9/16 Outfit Roundup

 Last Monday-Friday outfits, some sans jacket so you can see the outfit.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Closet Update

I wanted to share with you what I’ve been doing with my closet lately. I was previously using those cheap white plastic hangers that are bulky, things slide off of, and to boot I have broken at least a dozen+ in the last year or so. I needed to start replacing them since I was running out, so instead I bought 50 new slim velvet hangers for myself to switch over to. I’ve been wanting these hangers for years but finally was able to justify purchasing them.

Now, I usually hang most of my wardrobe, so I had many more than just 50 hangers. I figured I’d buy another set of 20 and go from there at first, but then I was inspired by a video done by Jennifer Scott (from The DailyConnoisseur) of her closet, and the previous video of her choosing her 10-item wardrobe for the upcoming cool-weather ‘season’. She keeps all ‘out-of-season’ items in a bin in her closet (excepting formal wear and items that cannot be folded). I never used to rotate my wardrobe under the (mistaken) idea that I’d use more of my items if I had a wider selection. While it is true that many of my blouses are good for all-year round thanks to layering, it is also true that I have some items that really are only suited for a given season (cool weather or warm weather). These items hang there (or sit in a drawer) all year long but are only used for the few months of warm or cool weather. For example, things like my sandals, lightweight cropped trousers, shorts, tanks and tops that are not ideal of layering, and my lightweight eyelet jacket won't be used in the upcoming 6 months. I’ll see these items every day I open my closet, but they won’t get any wear and I’ll have to paw through them to find something I can wear.

So, after some thought, I’ve made the choice to ‘pack away’ all my items that are not going to work for the upcoming season rather than buy more hangers. They’re all very reachable, since I just decided to store them in a carry-on suitcase I store in my closet anyway. We’re still having unseasonable warm weather so I’m not against pulling out anything in the suitcase I want to use, and I’ve left out some items currently that will be packed away within another month. While I was doing this, I was re-hanging my clothing and throwing items I no longer want into another pile. I discarded a surprising amount for my small wardrobe, which I already purge a few times a year.  I found that I had enough hangers to hang tops I didn’t previously hang, such as my sweaters and wrap tops (cardigans and tanks are still folded). That drawer was over-full and now I am happy to see it in a much reduced state, and I can see ALL my options for tops in one spot. The drawer was often neglected and some tops in there were rarely worn because I forgot them.

My closet feels fresh and neat and clean, my drawers are not crammed any more, and I can easily see everything. I hope to get pictures soon and give you all a closet tour. I’m sure when I go to unpack my warm weather clothing again, I’ll be excited about them again rather than just staring at them all winter then feeling bored by them in the spring. Jennifer mentions that she feels this way when she goes to review her next season’s clothing for her ‘capsule’, and that it’s almost like having all new clothes. I hope I’ll have an update in the spring when I switch over, and I’m hoping it curbs that early spring shopping fever that hits me every year!

Do you rotate items in your closet? How often?

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Thrifting Tale

I wanted to post this while I work on my accountability posts. I’ve been very busy with life and have not had adequate time to work on them!

So, any of you that already know me (or my blog at least) know that I never (or extremely rarely) thrift shop. I think I last thrifted 4+ years ago. It just so happens that this past Saturday, while visiting a music & food truck fest, a friend and I walked past the cutest little boutique and popped in to check it out. Would you believe, it was a Goodwill boutique?! It was teeny but well laid out and lovely. We both checked out the available products thoroughly, tried a bunch of things on, and walked out with 5 things each.

I'll share what I bought first, before talking through the 'sin' I committed.

I bought a top for $6.99 and three scarves for $2.99, $2.99, and $1.99 each. I also purchased a shelf for $5 for my daughter's room and forgot to snap a pic, but easily found it via Google:

Now, lets talk about what I bought. Clothing wise, I rarely wear scarves (but also own very few) and I purchased 3! Now, hang on a minute. These scarves were truly inexpensive additions that I can afford to experiment with, and are colors I love. One is a huge teal blanket-like scarf that is thick and warm, one is a narrow, lightweight,  teal-white-gray scarf, and the last one is a 'regular' little floral print in an aqua green with a fringe. They're all very different for scarves, and are very different from what I already own. As for the top, I loved loved loved the print and the fit was pretty awesome as well. They fit my checklists, excepting perhaps the 'do you need it' part. At this point most additions to my wardrobe, except winter boots, are not true 'needs'. I also have an item limit to contend with, and I realized that my 26 items over a year didn't adequately take into account accessories. I was envisioning 26 clothing and shoe items, not also jewelry and scarves! I also really enjoyed thrifting and can say that I've worn 2 of my four items already (and more than 1x) and think I made really good decisions. Going forward, I'd like to thrift more as time allows. This creates a sticky situation with my item limit, but not my budget.

For the time being, I am not increasing my item limit. I won't rule it out though-- I may perhaps set a separate limit for accessories or for thrifting vs. store-bought in general, but we shall see. I thought long and hard over this week about this, and I think thirfting is exactly right for me. I want to spend less and have less of an environmental impact. My item limit was set to make me think things through and to not let myself buy a bunch of sale items just because the cost was low. I can still thrift and think my purchases through so I don't add to the general 'clutter'! I want all my items to be useful and used, and this will still be a target for me. But, to put things plainly, I have made it 6 days into month 2 and have purchased 7 items for my wardrobe so far, which leaves me with 19 items left I can purchase for the rest of the year according to my limit. I set my limit arbitrarily- low enough to be a challenge, frequent enough to not feel too repressed. I want to see where this leads and stick to my limit for now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wishlist & Shopping List Month 2

My Shopping List:

More replacement clothing hangers
Corner cabinet / TV & Microwave Stand(s)


Me: (only 2 items)

Layering Pieces & Tops
Raspberry Heels
Knee-high boots
Winter Boots
Dresses/Skirts work with tights

Francisca’s Birthday

My Wishlist:
These are all things that have caught my eye, most in the last month or longer:

Monday, September 12, 2016

1st Month Recap

Hello everyone!

I just made it through my first month of my 'Year of Intentional Shopping' (Aug 10th- Sep 10th). While I'm still preparing my accountability posts (which may take a little while thanks to all the budgets/accountability categories I set), I figured I'd give a little talk through my experience my first month.

Level of Difficulty

I’d rate this first month largely a success. I had a little shopping ‘snafu’ if you will, but it affects next month since the items have yet to arrive so I can determine if I’m keeping them or not. That episode helped me learn about myself and how I shop in reaction to wanting something I cannot have immediately and how I easily binge once I mentally give myself the ‘ok’ to shop. I did not have to ‘white knuckle’ through shopping less for frivolous items, though I did have to fight to be conscious consistently and remind myself on what I was buying and why. Thanks to my successes, I did buy some household items I normally would have not been able to purchase because I spent all my money on clothing, which is extremely satisfying.

What Did I Buy?

My purchases for my wardrobe were a black asymmetrical zip cardigan/sweater, which I truly love, and a beautiful mahogany-brown handbag to replace my old beat-up one, which I purchased in Germany. I bought my daughter two replacement pairs of boots (grey booties and cowgirl boots, which she grew out of and loves), a quilted jacket, and a lined hooded sweater.

For my ‘at-home’ purchases, I bought a beautiful set of 8 Bavarian heavyweight crystal drinking glasses and two condiment bowls (Nactmann) in Germany, and they were extremely inexpensive compared to the USA. I started replacing all of our hangers with the slim velvet ones I have been wanting (51 so far), and I purchased a new tablecloth and protector that I love. I also spent money on the ‘Uncluttered’ virtual course by Joshua Becker which I am participating in to help me declutter and keep my motivation on not adding to the clutter and shopping less and more carefully.

What Changed

After I came back from Germany, I put away my (lovely) set of super large green dinner plates and blue floral bowls (which are plastic but look ceramic), and switched over to my BEAUTIFUL set of smaller fancy ceramic dishes I only normally use for Christmas/Thanksgiving. All my aunts served all their meals on fine china, and I loved it. I was so impressed with the plates and smaller portion sizes, and my daughter didn’t break anything. I knew immediately that I needed to change. I now love how beautiful my table looks with the tablecloth & place mats (and they are under the clear plastic cover, which means I don’t need to worry about ruining it or constant washing) and my ‘fancy’ dishes every day. It really inspires me to cook more lovely meals- you know, not just a main dish but nice salads on the side, etc. Sunday breakfasts are really special now-- I make sure I make coffee/tea and use the teacups, and I use the bowls and put fruit in them on the side. I also love that the plates are so much smaller, leading to smaller and healthier meals for my family.

I’ve overall purchased far less than in the last several months. While I did make purchases this month, they were fewer in quantity, less expensive, and all really good, satisfying purchases. A lot of my previous purchases were like being thirsty and eating ice cream- at first it feels good, but you’re thirsty again right after. I didn’t make any more pointless purchases-- in particular I haven’t added anything unnecessary to my daughter’s already full wardrobe just because it was ‘cute’, and I haven’t bought anything that I have any doubts on its longevity or usefulness.

I also have made some great strides in reducing my browsing, which has really paid off both literally and figuratively. I don’t think constantly about shopping like I once did. I still think that it occupies too much space in my thoughts, but I’m well on my way I think to putting it in its rightful place.

What I Need to Work on

My desire to acquire is not where I wish it was yet. I’ve had to hold back on urges quite a bit, both on the immediate desire to purchase things and on determining that if something I wanted to purchase was the right ‘thing’ to buy for me and my family. Basically I had to learn a bit more self-control.

I had a huge desire to purchase all new dishes when I came back from Germany. I remembered my ‘fancy’ set that I was gifted by my realtor, but I didn’t think they were ‘exactly’ what I wanted. But, I held off on purchasing (mostly because I couldn’t immediately find what I was picturing) and pulled them out to test drive my idea. Well, now I know that I don’t really need to buy additional dishes and they look just lovely, even though I didn’t think the color would go perfectly with the tablecloth (dark grey & silver scrolled rims, the rest is white). I’d like an alternate set that also goes with my current set for when I need more for guests (which will be rare, as my set serves 8). But, it’s a low priority! As for my old dishes- I want to resell them. They’re still lovely but they are much too big for what I want.

I also experienced a similar thing with purchasing my tablecloth. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and was literally at the cash register with a ‘nice’ clearance one and placemats when I realized it really wasn’t what I truly wanted. I told the cashier I had a change of heart and left without them! When I went back the next week, low and behold a new arrival- the ‘perfect’ tablecloth I had imagined when I thought about getting a tablecloth for the fall (I have a nice red one for Christmas, and no others). Obviously it paid off to wait! I bought new place mats too, but it ended up I preferred my old ones once I had them home and on the table so I will be returning them. Again, I chalk it up to a good learning experience.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Shopping Snafu

I was doing really well with my year of intentional purchases and buying fewer things. Then, I had a little shopping snafu.

I went shopping for groceries Sunday with just myself and my daughter. I browsed for the first time in a long time and bought the velvet slim hangers I've been wanting (on my shopping list!). I almost walked away with a tablecloth and place mats, but refrained as I wasn't 100% sure they were what I wanted and I was working hard to be very conscious about my purchases. I also purchased replacement boots for my daughter, who has grown out of many of her footwear as we found this past week. In all, I thought I did really great!

The next day, Labor Day, my husband and I went impromptu shopping after visiting a water park. At first, we stopped at this plaza just to get ice cream, but the lovely stores surrounding the plaza were too tempting. He went to a sporting goods, and I went into TJ Maxx for the first time in my life (and discovered it was just like Marshalls). I got a jacket for my daughter (it was super lovely and while is a bit big now, can be used now and for spring. I did review all her things the previous Saturday so I did have a good idea of what she needed) and one for my niece (Birthday gift). I fell in love with a cabinet, but did not get it as I wasn't sure how I would use it or where. I then also stopped at Kohls and got a top for my niece to round out her birthday gifts.

But... I found that, for me, shopping just begets more shopping. Feeling unsatisfied (probably because I didn't get that cabinet, and I've been really wanting a dresser as well), I went online browsing when I got home and found 7 expensive tops that I really liked, on sale. They were from a brand I normally cannot afford, and I own one top that I absolutely adore from said line.  Just before ordering, I remembered that I'm supposed to be shopping intentionally. I remembered my questionnaire and what this experiment was about. I narrowed my choices down to just 3, found my $50 off coupon, and still ordered. I told myself that they'll go right back if I don't love them and they don't fit all my checkboxes. But, I still over-shopped. I didn't do as much damage as my normal binges, but I ordered 3 pricey (despite being discounted) summer tops when I'm transitioning into fall. Three tops that, if I keep, mean I have only 21 items left for the next year that I can buy (and only 20 if the boots I ordered weeks ago finally come in and I love them). And while I'm fessing up, the next day on my lunch break, I was browsing furniture and dishware. Shopping begets more shopping!

So, the game plan is of course to be very critical with these tops when they arrive and only keep them if they're really steller and meet all my criteria. I also am working to stop the browsing, NOW. I cannot want/purchase things I don't see. So far, so good- I've browsed minimally since.

But, when I think on why I felt dissatisfied and wanted to continue shopping, I realized I really want to replace my dressers with a really nice one (hopefully the one that matches my bed). I was redirecting my focus on other things and buying things I can get right now, which doesn't make me want the more expensive purchase any less and leaves me continually dissatisfied. I think I go with buying the easier things more often because I don't have to really wait to purchase- they're less expensive and all I have to do is click a button.

I've been musing over this interesting discovery since then. I didn't know that I sometimes binge on clothing because I'm dissatisfied with something completely unrelated, such as frustration with my furniture. I also didn't realize that giving myself permission to shop often leads to more and more shopping.  Knowing is the first step though, so going forward I can try to help myself.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

8/29-9/3 Outfit Roundup

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday selfie. Monday I didn't get a picture of what I was wearing (white pants and a cobalt top), Wednesday I was traveling, and Sunday I wore exactly what I wore on Saturday hehe. Sorry no outfit for Saturday, just a selfie. I'm trying very hard to remember among all the other things I do to get pictures, and on weekends it's near impossible since I don't have a mirror in an area that's well enough lit to get a picture on my ipod.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Style and Focus

I’ve noticed that when I don’t focus too much on what I’m wearing and wear things I truly like, I enjoy myself and what I’m doing more. When I compare myself to other people that I think look better than me or more stylish than me, then I start wanting to buy, buy, buy and feel inadequate.

I know deep down that the textiles I drape my physical body in are not as important as the focus and attention that I have given them. It’s easy to lie to myself and make it into a bigger deal than it really is. While it is true that what you wear can give you confidence, and also can create the positive or negative impressions on other people around us- it is also true that what we wear matters much less to other people than what they wear themselves. And when we move into deeper and more meaningful things (that I should spend more time on), what we wear or how we look means nothing at all. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for ourselves or our appearances, but it does mean that we should not focus so much energy and resources (including financial) on something that doesn’t really and truly add to our quality of life. The more discontented I am, the more I buy, and the more focus I put on it the more I feel like I don’t measure up to my ‘pie in the sky’ ideal.

I will never be the prettiest or most fashionable woman in the room. And it doesn’t matter that I won’t be! What matters is that I am comfortable in my own skin, and when it comes to style I should dress in a way that makes me feel confident but not put so much focus or ask so much of clothing. Clothing won’t make me happy. Clothing alone won’t get me a promotion, friends, or make me feel anything more than what I already feel on my own because I already dress well and appropriately.

When I think about style, I think about my shortcomings. I want, in the back of my mind, every outfit to be the best, every stitch of clothing I own to be the height of my personal style. But I know that I’m setting myself up for failure and over-shopping and feeling ‘less than’ with this kind of thinking. What I own is great already, and while it’s not perfect I have improved greatly and already feel great about my style. I don’t need to continue to make this such a main focus, especially when I have so many other things in my life that could benefit from my time, focus, and finances.

My focus lately has shifted, and it has been mostly positive.  I still occasionally compare myself to others and feel that empty, less-than feeling that drives me to want to go shopping. I still enjoy clothing and style, I still have things I would like to buy- but the drive to buy is diminishing again. I've almost completely stopped browsing- in fact, it's been a few weeks since I have even looked at online stores- and I'm not 'white-knuckling it' either. Now, I've been through this cycle before- I'll stop browsing, stop wanting for about a month and then suddenly everything I see is attractive again and I go on a major binge. It'll start with a thing or two, since it's been so long since I've shopped and I've earned it. But then I buy more, and more, and more until it's out of control because I can't stop buying everything I want.

So, how do I stop the seemingly inevitable binge? I know after the several other cycles I’ve been through that this is typically the calm before the storm. Well, I think success lies back with my earlier discussion on focus. I made a ‘public’ commitment to myself to make this coming year a year of INTENTIONAL purchases, and have set item limits and budgets as the maximum ‘goal’ if you will for me to meet. I intend to continue blogging about my thoughts and experiences at least twice a week (more if I have more to say like I have lately), and of course post my monthly tracking posts to keep me from hiding reality from myself. I also intend to direct my focus not on what I’m ‘deprived’ of, but more on what I want out of life and the other parts of my life, trivial and otherwise, that have been neglected in favor of over-shopping for clothing.

I was once debt free and powerfully confident in my decisions and early successes- I intend to be there again soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Vacation Share Part III

Places we visited Tuesday 8/30/16

Stiftskirche in Altötting

This is death, every time he spins (1 second counter) someone dies.

Bruder Konrad Kirche in Altötting

St Magdalena Kirche

Basilika St Anna in Altötting

Gnadenkapelle in Altötting

Places we visited Wednesday 08/31/16

Wednesday was the trip home!