Please see previous posts for #s 1-15
16. Spoil someone. (check) This was rather vague, and had no plan attached. What I ended up doing was going out of my way to make a friend’s day when I was in CO. She was so happy when I did a few little things for her, that I realized that often it’s not about the extravagant things, but just the little things. So I have tried this year to take on more of a generous attitude. So when I meet a friend for coffee, I treat. When we go out to dinner, I treat. If I see something that reminds me of someone, I take a picture, or, better yet, pick it up for them. If I have a few minutes, I go play with a couple wild little boys so my sister can breathe for a second. The end result? Lots of smiling and gratitude that I thought of them. I’m not bragging – I’m actually realizing that I could do SO MUCH MORE than I do now. So this, for me, although it was vague and simple in nature, has really begun to shape my attitude about blessing and serving other people, rather than being so selfish with my time, energy, and finances. The trick is to balance: take care of everyone else, and take care of me. As much as I want to buy everyone I know and love a really yummy dinner, I might have to declare bankruptcy afterwards. As much as I want to always play with my nieces and nephews for my sisters and brother, they wear me out too! I’m sure this is the kind of thing that we struggle with for all of our lives, but as I keep working at it, I keep finding that those little things can really make someone’s day. And from a purely self-serving perspective, it’s really awesome when someone returns that surprise-favor. But from a slightly more self-less perspective? It’s even more awesome when my tired sister, for example, says, “thank you so much for playing, reading, and entertaining the kids for five minutes. And thank you for folding those three pieces of laundry.” And I, puzzled, say, “really? I was only here for six minutes, and look at all the rest of the laundry…” But she is truly thankful, and that touches my heart.
17. eHarmony. (check) Biggest waste of time and money. Ever. Ugh. Ok, hear me out. eHarmony in and of itself isn’t bad. I know of people who are very happy with their spouse that they met on eHarmony. But I also know it isn’t for everyone. And it was a TOTAL waste of my time. I did it for a full three months, because I wanted to give it a fair chance and not make a decision after a week. Honestly, though, my opinion never changed. I’m not going to waste space on my 30 at 30 recap list explaining that, but feel free to ask – I’m not embarrassed or anything to tell why it wasn’t right for me. This just isn’t the time or place – too much positive going on to ruin that vibe!
18. Buy a dress. (check) I actually ended up with 5, and since moving home I’ve dug out another one. I also built up my skirt collection. And, get this: I’m actually wearing them! Especially the LBD. I love having a comfy go-to dress that I can dress up or dress down. I have posted pictures in the past, when I wore a dress every day for a week, so I don’t need to post them again here… I will, however, share with you my latest styling effort with the LBD. It was just fun!
black dress, worn as a skirt, and lots of fun accessories.
19. refresh my wardobe. (check) (Although, this may be an unending process which is going to take lots of patience.) First, I gave a TON of stuff to the Goodwill in CO before I moved home. Then, when I got home, I went through a lot of stuff again, and I have a few boxes to take and drop off at the local Salvation Army. Then, I started pushing myself to shop differently. I have tended to buy the same exact things, just in different colors, for years now. So I look almost the same. Every. Single. Day. I decided that, rather than take this down the path labeled “Buy A New Wardrobe”, I’d take it down the path labeled “Shop Smart”.
What does this really mean? Several things. First, I spend more time browsing thrift stores, to look for great bargains. Second, I’ve learned to put things back that I’m not really totally sure of. That is good, for the most part, and only occasionally do I regret that decision. I used to buy with the opposite attitude, and then had a lot of brand new items that I got at a discount price but never wore. The result? Too much money spent on unworn things. Third, I really spend time thinking through how many options I have for wearing something. For example: How many colors can I partner with this item? Can I layer it? Can I not layer it? Can I dress it up? Can I dress it down? Does it look like everything else I own? Do I have accessories that will match it? Fourth, I am learning to accessorize. I’ve always worn jewelry, but I’m learning how to go bolder with the jewelry, wear more scarves, wear belts for decoration not just to hold my pants up, and wear shoes that are not just the basic black flats. I am finding different heights of heels, and different styles altogether. I thrifted some bright yellow (name brand!) heels, and I found a great bargain on some red pointy low-heel shoes and a pair of navy floral heels. One word: Love.
The other thing I’ve done a lot with in this area is reading blogs. I mentioned earlier in my 30 Things recap that I follow a lot of blogs these days. What I didn’t mention is that the majority of them are fashion related. I don’t honestly care if I totally match the latest runway looks, or if I’m up to speed with what’s going on in NYC (or, better yet, London). What I do try to glean is the inspiration and the confidence to do new things with what I already have. I’m learning to be a better Mixer & Matcher, and I’m learning how to pull different accessories out to change a look. This leads me to my next item to check off the list…
20. 30 for 30. (check – in progress) Not my list of 30 things, but rather a clothing challenge. There is a fabulous fashion blogger who started a challenge several years ago when she realized that in order to maintain her love for fashion blogging she was just buying a lot of clothes, and that wasn’t helpful. In short, you pick 30 items out of your closet (not including gym wear, pjs, accessories, and coats, but including shoes!) and those are the only clothes you can wear for 30 days. (Not the I-just-got-home-and-I-want-to-veg-out clothes, but really just the I-am-headed-out-the-door-for-the-day clothes.) You mix and match and don’t wear the same outfit twice. And finally, you don’t buy new clothes at all. I paid $4 to invest in her 10 page pdf, which sounds ridiculous, but it was a life saver. It explained the rules, provided structure, worksheets, and lots of tips. And this has been a really interesting month! It has really pushed me! I’m not done yet, but I am putting my pictures up on flickr as I go along. If you’re interested in seeing how I’ve mixed and matched, and my comments for each outfit, let me know and I’ll send you a link. Ok, so this sounds super corny if you don’t read fashion blogs and realize that this has taking the fashion & style blog by storm. Why would I bother with this? Well, I can’t find the exact quote, but I thought it was Kendi (the originator of 30 for 30) who said something like, “I guarantee you could wear the same outfit all week, but no one will notice if you change out how you wear it and how you accessorize.” I was in the opposite position. I could wear different clothes every day, and I looked the same, because my wardrobe was full of staple items that all fit the same silhouette.
Ok, why clothes? Well, first, I’m a girl, I’m allowed to like clothes. Second, not everything on my list had to be life-changing, right? And third, I work in a professional position, but I LOOOOOVE jeans. So I have to figure out a way to bring the world of comfort and the world of business attire into the same world. Without spending tons of money. Hence, 30 for 30. Let me know if you want the flickr link.