Conversation #111: 100 Day Stretch - week 2

Well, it is time for an update.  So far, I have done pretty well.  I will confess my purchases and then share my outfit for the day, but first a few of my random thoughts.  I know this is going to be hard for me, especially as Christmas sales start hitting my inbox, but I'm determined to have a healthy relationship with shopping once again, and this is my first baby step (not really the whole stretch, just starting it!)

I like what Misty said on the weekly link-up post today (go here to read and see other "stretchers").   She talked about the freedom in not feeling like she needs to keep up with a trend or run out and try to find something she saw online - I wanted to yell, "Amen, sista!"  That has been the biggest thing I have noticed this last week for me.  I think my head was even trying to will myself to want things, but I just couldn't find that much that I wanted.  Mostly, I think I am over the current offerings in stores so I hope I stay strong once new arrivals starting hitting the sale racks. 

I would have probably justified buying something small almost everyday before the stretch, and I got into this horrible habit of ordering anything I thought I might like and then having to return a lot if I didn't like it (I'm more of an online shopper even though I live in a huge shopping city).  However, now I am kind of having fun shopping my closet and switching up purses and belts to make things feel new again.  It would also help if the weather could actually get cooler here so I could start piling on the fall clothes!

Okay, so here is what did get purchased when I kind of strayed this last week and why: a watch - it is one I had been thinking about for a year and I found a great deal.  I also don't consider it jewelry, but I also am selling an older watch on ebay to pay for it (so at least it isn't money out of my pocket).  I also purchased a new red t-shirt for $7.  I realized that I gave away my only red t-shirt (it was too low cut, but I made do); red is one of my alma mater's colors, and we are in the middle of football season so I had to replace it.  Our next game is a "red out."  I wasn't thrilled to have to buy it, but it wasn't a frivolous buy at least.  Lastly, I did purchase a dress from Lands' End Canvas (LEC) on sale that I had eyed since last year.  However, I only did this because I had to return (see that cycle) some things I purchased before I started the stretch so I figured that money could go to the dress.   

Oops - I also forgot that I unintentionally bought a dress and t-shirt for $4 total (as in $2 a piece).  I had this dress and shirt in my shopping bag at LEC since a couple of weeks ago and they were still there marked down to $4 each.  I figured this was a fluke but I decided to proceed to checkout to see what would happen.  It let me check out (and I used a $4 credit I had) and now they are on their way to my house.  I really thought the store would email and say the order was cancelled, but I guess for $4 it can slide.  Who knows, they may not even fit.

Okay, that is my confessional for the week.  I'm feeling stronger though and realizing even further that I don't need anymore.  I am also still sticking to my rule of "one in, one out" with these few items coming in the mail.  If possible, I will try to resell so no extra money is being spent.  However, this next week and then the next however many are left until this is over will be void of even this shopping because I have used the money from the returns and no more fudging.  Like I said, baby steps.

After all of that talk, here is my outfit:
Outfit breakdown:
Tee: Lands' End, via Sear's, $3
Dress: Martin + Osa, via ebay, $17
Necklace: random store back home, $4
Shoes: Lands' End Canvas, $13
Belt: American Eagle Outfitters, $10

Sometimes I forget that you can layer under and not just over.  I decided under would help make this dress a little more work appropriate, but looking at this picture makes me think I was a little too casual for a Tuesday.  Oh well!  My work doesn't really care.  This is also the first time I have knotted a belt like this.  I like my belts to be long so I can wear them on my low-waist with jeans or higher-up to define a waist (my belt-hole puncher was seriously the best buy), but then a large portion of the belt hangs down when worn up high.  I tried the loopy knot thing, and I don't hate it.  Sometimes I think that things look weird on me, but then I realize it is just because it is different.  If I'm confident, then no one else will think it is weird!

One final question: do any of my fellow naturally curly haired girls out there have any favorite products?  I go through periods of loving something, and then I feel like it stops working and I get the lovely mess on my head that is my hair today (pardon it in the above picture).  I just feel like it looks so frizzy and gross, but I don't always know what to do with it (without spending a ridiculous amount of time on it).  I'm kind of looking forward to the dry winter months because I tend to get a long string of good hair days!


Conversation #110: Family Shape-Up

So you may remember that I started WeightWatchers a few months ago, and I have continued following my plan.  This summer has been a struggle for me, but I sit at 136 lbs right now.  My goal from the beginning was 132 so I’m going to see if I can get down to that now.  Even if I never do, I feel great and I’m enjoying seeing my body change and become more tone.  I have been working out almost every morning, and I plan to continue on that for the rest of my life if possible.  I feel like I’m finally making a lifestyle change.

Well, my mom started WeightWatchers a bit after me, and than my oldest sister followed.  My other sis hasn’t actually officially signed up yet, but over Labor Day weekend we decided that we were doing this together.  They need motivators and I needed extra motivation so helping them helps me.  Since I have been doing it longest, I’m motivating my sisters to workout and eat better (and more just helping my mom be accountable and give support because she has a pretty good thing going).

I text them each morning at 6:30 to make sure they are up and exercising, and then we all keep in touch about what we did today and how it went.  We set weekly goals, and we are finalizing our long term goal and reward for reaching it (we are thinking about a girls’ trip).  Anyway, I will use my blog to track our journey.  Not sure which day each week, but I’m thinking maybe Sundays…we’ll see.

Anyone else working on making any lifestyle changes?


Conversation #109: What happened to college sports?

Photo from here.

This may not be of interest to many of my readers, but I am just getting sort of frustrated and tired of all the conference changes.  I thought sports were supposed to be about fun and competition, and who doesn't love a good rivalry.  Instead, it has become about the money.  Isn't that what always happens?

I'm also sad, because it seems that yet again, my lovely home state of Kansas is going to be kicked to the curb as always.  I know Kansas isn't as exciting as NYC, and no, we don't have any beaches, but I LOVE Kansas.  Unfortunately I don't get to live there anymore, but I will always be a Kansan, and I have tons of pride for my state.  It is full of hard working people, and maybe we just prefer a simpler, quieter pace of life.  I miss that living in a big city.  Plus, with the Internet and UPS, I have determined that I could shop anywhere, even in fashion lacking Kansas (we used to get stores later than other places).

I hate when I tell people I'm from Kansas and they either say, "I drove there once" or "I flew over it once."  The coasts have definitely made it flyover country for sure.  Seems that may happen again in college sports.  I live in Texas, and although I will always be a Kansan, I like Texas, too.  Texas is too big and too strong willed to let it be flyover country, and it also has far more people in it than Kansas.  I'm sorry to any University of Texas fans out there, but I sort of feel like they ruined the Big XII.  They are all about money, and they are huge so they have a very large alumni and fan base.  Kansas can't compete with that, and therefore we'll get kicked to the curb and put in the "leftovers" conference because we don't have the money or sheer number of people the southern schools have to support it monetarily like TX schools can. 

This is probably a little whiny, but it makes me so sad for my home state, and I wish I could do something to help.  I just hope the NCAA and colleges realize that we already have a pro-football league, and college sports used to be more fun when money wasn't the goal.  Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now.  So long Big XII - you will be missed.  I even remember when you were the Big VIII way back in the day!


Conversation #108: The 100 Day Stretch – Retail Detox

If you read my post yesterday, you know that I put myself on a shopping ban.  Well, I was also super behind on blog reading and just happened to read Misty’s post from last week talking about the 100 Day Stretch (see button on the side).  Yes you read that right – 100 Days.  Basically, it means that we are going 100 Days without shopping.  I kind of can’t believe I just said that, but as I said yesterday, it is much needed.  Sometimes I really think God works in the small things.  I need to do this detox, but I wasn’t sure I could do it alone.  Now I don’t have to thanks to Misty!

So how did this all start?  Well, I have always loved shopping, but online shopping was just becoming too much of a hobby.  Also, looking, or should I say hunting, for a good deal became almost a high for me I think.  Anywho, this really kicked into gear a few months ago when I lost weight and needed to replace some clothing.  Well, I got a little crazy and went a little overboard (as described yesterday while I started looking at all the new clothes I haven’t even worn in my closet).

So the last day I officially bought something was Saturday, September 17.  Therefore, day 100 is December 26th.  I’m not sure if I will let myself shop on the day after Christmas or wait one more day, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  For now, this is the start of this journey and we’ll see what happens.

My rules for myself:

I will not buy any clothes, shoes or jewelry.  I hope this stretch will encourage me to work on some of my sewing projects I have half started.  I will not be allowed to buy new patterns or fabric, but I will let myself buy a zipper or some other notion if I NEED one (as in really don’t have one at all) to finish a project.  I even have a wedding to attend in two weeks, but I will wear a dress I already have so as of now I’m not allowing myself any purchase but one: a midi skirt.  That is also only if I find one I love, and I really only plan to look at local thrift stores.  That is all.  The only other thing I have even contemplated buying that does not fall into an above category is a new, slimmer case for my nook, but I think I’ll try to get that on ebay (and only that) if I sell more items.

Okay, those are the rules.  Are you in?  If you want to join, go here and let Misty know!  Check back here each Monday to see how I’m doing.  Next Monday: the basic wardrobe list every woman needs (as seen in Real Simple, May 2011)


Conversation #107: Hello again

Hello lovely readers,

I didn't intend to take a blog break.  I was out of town for Labor Day weekend, and then work got crazy busy.  Anyway, things should be back to normal now and hopefully the fall won't prove to be as busy as spring.  However, I did join a book club, we have football games, and the husband and I are doing this marriage class group thing.  They are all good things though, and I feel like I'm getting more and more involved at church and with friends, and that is what matters in life, right?

So yesterday (after I had a mini life meltdown), I started cleaning and organizing again.  You see, I deep cleaned my house about two weeks ago, but then I was either dealing with that time of the month or too busy to clean the last couple of weeks so it kind of overwhelmed me yesterday.  Mostly what overwhelmed me were these piles of unread magazines from the last two years and a stack of recipes I tore out from them.  I finally decided that I would only keep the recipes I truly thought I would make and like, and then threw all of the rest of it into the recycle bin.  I kept thinking that I would want to look at fashion ideas or home decor ideas, but they are over a year old and there will always be other ways to get that info.  So I decided it all had to go and it made me feel so much better!

When I went back to cleaning I started putting away folded clothes from the laundry.  It just hit me again how many clothes I have and that I still have a problem buying more, especially if they are a good deal.  I have refrained a couple of times lately, but I think I have bought more than I refrained.  I started selling some of my nicer older clothes on ebay, and all that did was get me back into my ebay buying.  I have gotten a couple of things, but I am definitely on a full on shopping ban again.  It is definitely needed.  I have so many clothes that I love right now that I do not need anymore.  There isn't anything else I want to get rid of right now, so shopping is over.  I think I just keep shopping for fall hoping that it will make it come sooner, but now I have plenty of new fall to winter items so I'm done.

Now I do have to admit that last week before realizing I needed to stop shopping again, I went to Target to look at the new Missoni items.  Most of all of the clothes were gone, but I did look at some shoes.  However, I ultimately put them back because they had awesome markdowns on a ton of clothes.  I got four dresses for $10-$12 each.  They are all nice and lined, and the best part is that two of them are a size 6.  I never thought I would wear that size again.  I need to get back to updating my blog on my healthy quest too because  a lot has happened there as well.

Okay, that is the update for now.  Look for more posts about a lot of random topics coming to you soon!

Here is my outfit today featuring a new Target dress:
Outfit Breakdown:
Dress: Target, $10
Cardigan: J.Crew, $20
Sandals: Lands' End Canvas, $13
Necklace: local store, $4


Conversation #106: Challenge - Sunday Shoes

So I skipped out on another day this week.  I didn't participate in wear something on your head.  I had a meeting yesterday and didn't think a scarf, hat, or flower pin was meeting appropriate.  I thought about a headband, but they kind of hurt with glasses.  Oh well.  I did participate in Sunday shoes yesterday instead!  I love how heels look, but I don't always like how they feel so I don't wear them too often.  I love the shoes I chose for this challenge, but if I had to be on my feet all day they would be a no go.

Outfit Breakdown
Tank: Coldwater Creek, $10
Sweater/Cardigan: Lands' End Canvas, gift
Jeans: Gap, $20
Shoes: Talbots, $30
Necklace: Forever 21, $5

So the first picture is how I normally look at work - wearing a sweater when it is 105 outside because it is FREEZING inside.  I also tried to take a couple of pics of my shoes since they were the reason for the outfit.  This outfit is pretty simple, but I like.  I also love my mustard sandals.  Hope y'all are having a great Labor Day weekend.  Don't forget to check out the other Sunday Shoes here.


Conversation #105: Challenge - Statement Jewelry

I have a confession - I skipped a challenge day this week.  Yesterday was supposed to be "take something from your mending pile, fix it and wear it."  I have said pile, but with getting ready for upcoming festivities this weekend, I just didn't get to mending anything.  Plus, I feel like whenever I sit down to sew, I owe my husband some hemmed pants first.  Anyway, all of that to get to today: statement jewelry.  Over the last couple of years, I have started collecting a lot of fun necklaces, but I had one in particular that recently made its way to my home but hadn't see the light of day yet.

Outfit breakdown
Top: Lands' End, $5
Skirt: J.Crew Outlet, $20
Sandals: J.Crew via ebay, $6
Necklace: Anthropologie, $10

I had loved this necklace in all colors for a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to even spend $30 on it (the first cut price at Anthro).  However, when I saw it hit $10 a couple of weeks ago, I jumped on it.  I love how it kind of becomes the shirt in a way.  I think it is truly the focal point and a statement so I was glad to have a great excuse to wear it.  I tried to keep the rest of the outfit simple, but I still had to have me some color in there.  I also had to be outside again to observe some more school traffic so I was trying to wear few clothes but still be work appropriate. 

My office is pretty much business casual, and I don't really know what that means for me, so I just wear what I want that is dressy.  I'm not wearing cocktail dresses or anything, but I work with either men (mostly over 40) or women (mostly over 55) so they don't really know fashion or care too much.  I work for local government, and I don't think it is generally known for being a creative workplace with fashion forward employees.  However, I decided I would rather push the envelope a little than wear my khaki trousers and blah shirt everyday (like I did for a while because I didn't care).

What is your work wardrobe like?