Monday, September 27, 2010

Bringing back the 90s, one loafer at a time

We had a blast over at YLF last week, gabbing about the 90s, and the resurgence of 90s trends. My most beloved 90s items were low, chunky-heeled loafers with square toes. And although I've ditched most of my black-rutting clothing items from that era, I never parted with the loafers. So, with Angie's blessing, I challenged myself to try them in an outfit, before the weather gets too cold -- an extension of the Shop Your Closet, closet orphan challenge.

These chestnut-colored loafers are from a former fab label, Patrick Cox Wannabe.

And these black, pilgrim-esque loafers from Gucci are the ones I chose to wear today:

A girlfriend and I were obsessed with Gucci loafers at the time. I saved for months and months to buy these. And I still have them, 15 years later. Another testament to quality over quantity (note to self!).

On another note, thought I'd do a "what I wore" for a wedding we went to yesterday. This Marc Jacobs dress was a sale purchase last winter, and I paired it with opaque tights, and in the spirit of the 90s, platform pumps with square toes (yes they are vintage 90s). Not sure if I love how opaque I am from the knees down, and would love to hear what you think. These shoes are from the heyday of Joan and David, when they had a very luxe line. Again, pricey at the time, and again - worth saving.

Detail of neckline:

It's an interesting experience to go vintage shopping in your own closet! Another benefit of age, LOL. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Closet Orphan Challenge

Kristen over at issued a challenge this week to SYCers. The challenge? Pull one orphaned item of clothing from the back of your closet each day, and wear it in a new way.

My first instinct was to duck my head or look distractedly out the window. No, no, tempting as that was, I instead raised my hand and volunteered.

Here's my first attempt. The closet orphan du jour is the wine-colored blouse. It's got puffy sleeves and a ruffled placket and banded waist. I bought it two years ago, wore it quite a bit, and then ... well, let's just say I'm not sure if I wore it at all last fall. Usually I wore it with bootcut jeans and a black moto jacket. Today, I tried to breathe new life into the blouse by pairing it with olive green skinny cargoes, bronze Me Too wedges, and a black moto vest. Not sure what I thought. It is a pretty dark outfit ... a denim vest would have been fab too. I tried it with my Hinge denim vest, but that vest was too light and summery looking.

And now, a bonus What I Wore, to teach Sunday School to 15 little kids who looked up at me expectantly and called me "Mrs. T."! Dress by Max Studio, Mary Jane pumps from Clarks. I LOVE this dress with capital

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Wore: Weekend Edition

Confession: without new items to perk me up, I've gotten really lazy in the style department. So I did another "what I wore" this weekend to keep me on the straight and narrow. I am really loving the combination of grey and yellow, which has been around for a couple of years now.

JCrew cashmere shawl collar cardi, JCrew ruffled tank, JCrew grey and gold and pearl necklace, David Kahn skinnies (well, two seasons ago they were skinnies ... now they are merely straight legs in comparison with how skinny skinnies have become!), Clarks grey Mary Jane pumps with brown trim, mustard handbag, Club Monaco.

Then, I added a scarf - because it was only 65 degrees!

Yesterday, my husband I and were working on the budget (we got some software especially for this torturous purpose), and while the good news was that I spent nothing on clothes this month, the bad news is that I more than made up for it in home furnishings. Ugh! And I still need a rug for the master bedroom ... and for the living room ... and there's that sofa we don't have ... it never ends!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fashion Friday - and a Room Redecorating Project

Hi Everyone!
Here's what I'm wearing today. It's an outfit I posted on YLF two years ago, with a white ruffled shirt and a lightweight wool cowlneck over it - both from Club Monaco. Add a pair of David Kahn bootcuts and a LAMB handbag and I'm good to go. Neutral? Yes. The only color is cobalt, on the handbag. I've been in a neutral mood lately!

In other news, I've completed the Guest Room Project, which took on epic proportions as I moved my husband's home office into my (ahem, our) office space on the main floor. It's a small bedroom, and it was trying to be both a guest room and a home office - a room serving two purposes never works! Lesson learned.

Room before, as it was being disassembled:

Room after:

MUCH more girly and romantic than any other room in our house! Is this is what happens when you live with three males?

Have a good weekend, everyone. SYC Week 8 starts Monday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My New Normal

It's been 43 days on Shop Your Closet, and I've made the shift. There's supposedly some period of time - is it three weeks, is it four days? - to create a new habit. Well, my old habit went out the door pretty quickly and my new habit became reality faster than I thought possible. Shopping was such a habit! Just the fact of always looking for something. Only in retrospect do I realize how time-consuming it was. When SYC ends, this is a lesson I will not forget.

What Shop Your Closet has done for me so far (and I still have a LONG way to go to Dec. 31) is to free up huge amounts of time and energy. I made space in my life and have been amazed at what has stepped in! It's almost like these things were waiting outside the closet door, patiently, for me to clear out the clutter so they could come in and live with me. They are richer than any shopping experience. They are ideas for books I'm working on, job opportunities, amazing novels, home projects that are making our house feel wonderful, and friendships. So many wonderful things have rushed in to take shopping's place. My only regret is that shopping kept these gifts at bay for so long.

When SYC started, I imagined five months of constant struggle to avoid buying this item, or that. SYC hasn't been like that at all. I do miss shopping, and the fun of running around the mall with a friend, seeing what's new. But I don't miss buying. I haven't seen one piece that would make me leave SYC. I also haven't looked at shopping websites or gone into stores that might tempt me, and in this case, ignorance is definitely bliss. Maybe it's because, compared to others, I have much more in my closet already, and so many things that could be tempting would actually be duplicates.

SYC came at the right time in my life, when I was absolutely READY. It hasn't been a sacrifice - it's a gift.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What I Wore ... Labor Day Edition

Happy relaxing Monday morning to you all.

Before I pop over to check out the new, here's what I wore to go to the farmer's market on Saturday. There was a chill in the air, and the first honeycrisp apples from Michigan were in!

The skinny cargoes are from Banana Republic and are YEARS old. I mean, probably four or five years old. I've always loved them. The gods of fashion trends smiled at me this season by suddenly deeming them "in." I paired them with a grey long-sleeved t-shirt from Lands' End, a Levi's denim jacket, and the famous NAS scarf. You'll notice I am NOT carrying a matching lime-green LAMB handbag :) Actually I brought out an old Coach hobo that has brass rivets - just the right style to match my Frye harness boots.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Redirecting My Inner Two-Year-Old

One month into Shop Your Closet and I'm hitting a wall. My inner two-year-old has thrown herself on the floor and is kicking her legs in the air, screaming and red-faced with rage.

I need to redirect her so she doesn't draw all over the walls with a big black Sharpie.

On the flip side, the "nothing from a bag or box" eating shift (because it is NOT a diet) is working. Each day, usually in the afternoon, I find myself opening pantry and refrigerator doors and staring inside, itching for something, anything. That's when I ask myself "are you really hungry, or are you bored, or tired, or thirsty?" and listen to the answer. So far I have walked away. That moment is not easy.

The wonderful thing so far, about the eating, is how much room there is for actual meals, and for good food, when you aren't eating junk. It's so freeing. Yesterday, I made a batch of cookies from scratch and ate one guilt-free. Now, *that* was a moment.

Excuse me, now, while I go put my inner two-year-old in a time out. When her two minutes are done, maybe she can have a cookie.

Four. More. LONG. Months.

Last night was supposed to be the meeting of my writers' group, but at the last minute no one but me could make it. I'd been with my kids all day and even survived a four-year-old playdate at our house (although my house didn't survive quite as well. You should see the carnage of Batman action figures and fire trucks strewn everywhere). I'd been counting on getting out that night for a mental break. So I called a friend to go have a glass of wine. She couldn't go. She suggested, "Why don't you go to the mall? Oh wait. No. Don't go to the mall."

But I did - just to get out of the house. I wandered the home stores. Restoration Hardware. Anthropologie. Macy's and Bloomie's. I didn't even look at clothes. What's the point? But the whole experience was a downer. I haven't been to the mall since Aug. 1. I probably won't go again. Shopping as a fun, social experience, a way to get out and relax, is not part of my lifestyle right now. That's a tough revelation to have. First, it's a little scary to realize that shopping was that kind of outlet in the first place. And second, it's tough to know that the outlet is now gone.

Over at YLF, they're talking about AT Loft looking great this fall. No AT Loft for me :( It's only been one month, there are four left, and I have no idea how I'm going to make it.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Decluttering Your Diet

Turns out I'm not the first person to link diet and clutter. Check out the story below.

Control the Chaos
Article By: Peter Walsh

Closets overflowing? Kitchen cabinets bursting? Getting a handle on clutter is the key to living better — and losing more.

The connection between clutter and weight didn’t occur to me overnight. About five years ago I became the organizational expert on TLC’s Clean Sweep. The premise was simple: We had two days to help a family dig out from under their overwhelming clutter. As I helped families begin to organize their homes, I discovered an unexpected side effect. The link that I had long suspected but only dimly glimpsed became obvious through their experiences.

I was inundated with real examples of the impact that clutter has on all areas of one’s life — especially weight.

They’re not very different — clutter and fat. I see it. I want it. I’ll have it. In our society, consumption is king.

We spend too much, we buy too much, and we eat too much. In the same way we surround ourselves with so much clutter, we overwhelm our bodies with caloric clutter. Almost all of us are carrying extra pounds that we just can’t seem to shake.

The stuff in our homes becomes too much to deal with, but we keep shopping. Similarly, the increasing weight of our bodies becomes more than we are able to handle, but we keep indulging.

So how do you stop the cycle? You need to recognize that your choices have consequences. Every time you pull out your credit card to buy another pair of shoes, you’re making a choice to add to your clutter. Every time you take a bite, you are choosing to bring that piece of food into your body and adding to your weight problem.

Keep this in mind: Every roll of fat on your body came from something you chose to put into your mouth. And every pound that slips away is the result of a decision you made. Before you take control, you need to understand emotional clutter and physical clutter (see the Decode Your Clutter box below). Most people have at least some of both, and it’s no easy task to get a handle on either. We have broken the task into two phases to show how to clear that clutter from your life. It sounds easy, but it takes forethought and commitment. Here’s how to get started:

Phase 1: Declutter your mind
If you acknowledge your emotional clutter (the unhealthy habits that lead you to overeat) and find ways to deal with it, the weight will fall away. But as soon as you let your emotions — be they depression, anger, or joy — make your eating decisions for you, the weight will creep on. Do some personal spring cleaning to break the habits that steer you in the wrong direction. Use this checklist to get started. Post it on your fridge or carry a copy in your purse.

1. Do a reality check: The fat didn’t appear overnight and won’t disappear overnight.

2. Imagine the life and body you want and hold that idea in your mind; refer to that mental image when you’re swayed by unhealthy foods.

3. Organize where, how, and what you eat—it’s the first step toward achieving your ideal body. Take time to plan out your meals.

4. Determine what your goal is for your body (to fit into your favorite pair of jeans or to be able to run a mile, for example). If a food doesn’t help in your efforts toward achieving that goal, don’t eat it.

5. Live in the present, not the past or the future. If you’re eating for emotional reasons, home in on why. Anger? Despair? Fear?

6. Make mindful eating a way of life. If you don’t, the fat will creep back on. Celebrate every meal; it will remind you of the great things a meal provides, beyond food.

Phase 2: Declutter your kitchen
An organized kitchen leads to less eating out, which in turn means better nutrition, less money spent on food, and more family together time. But a clutter-free kitchen goes far beyond cleaning cabinets. It has to do with how you shop and the decisions you make. Like the boxes of stuff filling your basement, clutter foods waste space. Take care that you’re not falling into these traps when stocking your kitchen:

The identity crisis trap
These are foods that you keep with the hope that you’ll magically turn into a person you’re not. You’ve got tins of cocoa powder, bags of semisweet chocolate chips, and bottles of vanilla extract in your pantry, but you never bake. Or a cupboard full of gourmet spices despite the fact that you’re a frozen-food junkie. I’m all for experimentation, but if you’re never going to canoe down the Rio Grande, there’s no point in storing that boat in your garage.

The hostess trap
You read somewhere that every good hostess has a few key items on hand for spontaneous entertaining. So you went out and bought a jar of olives, several boxes of crackers, and various other obscure pantry items. It felt good to know that if you ran into someone on the street, you could say, “Come on in for a glass of wine.” You were so organized and ready! Well, that was four years ago — and those party snacks are cluttering your cupboards.

The secret stash trap
Do you eat healthy meals but keep junk food in your pantry? “I don’t eat the potato chips — I just like knowing they’re there,” you might say. You rationalize that it makes you feel good to know that the pantry is stocked — on the off-chance that you will suffer a major craving and need a salty snack. But those chips are deceiving you. They’re there to be eaten. And they’ll call your name next time you’re disorganized and in search of an easy fix. Now there’s plenty of room to fill those cupboards with healthy staples. You’ll see — organization is the key to weight-loss success!

Decode Your Clutter
You have physical clutter if ...
Mail, clothes, and books pile up in your home. They can take on a life of their own, suffocating your healthy habits and weight-loss goals. For example, your
• kitchen table is covered with mail, so you don’t eat there

• counters are too messy for meal prep

• closet is full of clothes that don’t fit You have emotional clutter if ...
Your unhealthy eating habits are often tied to certain emotional triggers. For example, you eat because you want to
• reward yourself for an achievement, such as a promotion

• make yourself feel better after a tough day at work

• get instant gratification

*Excerpted from Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? By Peter Walsh. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc., New York

This article first appeared in the May/Jun 2008 issue of Weight Watchers Magazine.

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