Congratulations to Kelsey from pro tempore, the winner of the Pure Indian Foods ghee giveaway! She said that, if she were to win the giveaway, she would “ sub ghee for butter – so I’d basically be using it in everything.” That’s my kind of girl! Thank you to Sandeep from Pure Indian Foods for sponsoring the giveaway, and thanks to all who entered to win.
// march recap //
try out a free CrossFit intro class at my local box I actually completed this goal on March 2. My first CrossFit session was incredibly inspiring and exhilarating, and I think if I ever decide to commit to a membership I’ll finally be able to complete an unassisted pull-up and be the Beautiful Badass that I want to be. For now, I’m content to do my training at our free on-base gym with my husband, but I think I’ll soon be ready for bigger and badder challenges — ones that CrossFit will surely be and outlet for. rehab my gut with a sugar detox and plenty of probiotics The process certainly isn’t finished, but I’ve been trying my best to take care of my second brain by supplementing with probiotic capsules and foods, limiting sugar intake, trying to reduce stress and digestion. I didn’t do an official sugar detox, but my awareness definitely improved. read Daisy Miller by Henry James Check. I also read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, The Truth About Style by Stacy London, A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty by Carolyn J. Brown, The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D., and Sugarhouse by Matthew Batt. On to more books as per 2013 goal number 9.
run a local race << I was totally prepared to run a 5k one Saturday this month (I even did a little training!), but my sleep quality was so poor in the weeks following the daylight savings shift that I couldn’t bear the thought of getting up early to run a race when my bedtime was, on average, around 12:30. Long story short, no race for me.
* * * * *
// april goals //
get back into yoga — every few months I have to cycle back into this, one of my favorite activities. Once I become a regular again I always wonder why I took me so long to come back.
write every day — there’s lots in my head and in my heart that needs to get down on paper and not on a Word doc.
take care of my skin — a few crazy breakouts lately have left me in dire need for a Skintervention.
take a break from social media + blogs — including this one. I’m going to take the month off from blogging to do some thinking, writing, traveling and general fun-having. Sometimes you need to step away from the screen and step back into your own skin for a while. This is the case for me, and so if you need me I’ll be devoting April to all of the good things above and then some: finding my direction, focusing and reprioritizing. I hope you’ll stick around to see what emerges after my sabbatical. Wishing you lots of love in the meantime!
It’s the end of my first big operation revamp project — I have, I think, successfully turned my closet into something workable and inspiring. What was once a hodge-podge mix of old things, stained thrift store finds and nice but unusable pieces, is now more cohesive. More my style. More fitting to the way life moves right now.
I took my time with the big ticket items on my wish list and ended up finding exactly what I was looking for in some cases. With other items, I got lucky and scored a sale, which is in my opinion where the magic happens in a game like this one. Sometimes, I bit the bullet and paid full-price for something I knew I wanted or needed, and couldn’t “afford” to wait around for. In a few instances – like with a grey crewneck sweatshirt or that Zara moto jacket I referenced in part III – I had to return and wait for my refund to go through.
I did a lot of online shopping in proportion to in-person shopping, and so much of that worked well for me because I stuck with clothing lines where I was familiar with the sizing. There isn’t much by way of shopping where I’m located – although I love my local Marshalls and Dillards – so online shopping was an outlet for my frustration in not being able to find what I was looking for. But, in all things, patience and persistence proved their worth in the end.
A note about the volume of items: I did all of this over a period of two months, with some discretionary income Andrew and I set aside based on my freelance earnings. I’m grateful to have all that I have, including the luxury to buy clothes that help me to feel nice. I know this seems like a lot of stuff, but I’ve also done a lot of giving away and selling-off of old items to make room in my closet and budget.
jackets: (I broke my rule and found more jackets to love.)
one camel canvas moto jacket from Boden
one quilted jacket by Cremieux (super-sale at Dillards)
one tweed blazer with elbow patches and poppy lining by Cremieux (super-sale at Dillards)
one replacement grey v-neck tee from Target
two gingham shirts from Gap, blue and pink (30% online coupon)
one short-sleeved white blouse from Boden (on sale, and I’ve been eyeing it forever)
one embroidered peasant blouse by Lucky from Marshalls
one quality white tee from Marshalls
one replacement black tank from Marshalls
one silk tank from the 3191 beauty & use collection
one replacement gold swing sweater from Dillards (end-of-season sale)
one replacement black cardigan from Banana Republic (sale)
one red cardigan from Marshalls
one replacement cream open-knit cardigan from Eddie Bauer (coupon!)
one black everyday dress from White House Black Market (sale)
one denim shirtdress from Old Navy (*more about this in a bit)
one cream lace dress from Dillards (end-of-season sale)
classic white Converse
leopard flats by Calvin Klein Jeans (Zappos)
two pair leather wedge sandals, in black and brown (going-out-of-business sale)
I’m pretty proud of myself. I successfully stuck to my list, for the most part, and found many of the items I was looking for. I even found an incredible investment bag that the birthday fairies decided to give to me as an early birthday present. (I am ever-so-grateful.) I still have my eye out for the perfect pair of jeans (who doesn’t?), and I’d like to nail down some quality leather flats in black and brown eventually. I decided to stick with the denim jacket I already had, and I whittled down my v-neck tee collection to a more respectable amount although you may have noticed that I allowed one grey tee back in to replace my much-loved former top. I even did a mini-revamp on my unmentionables, taking inventory of bras and replacing old undies with crisp, bright new ones. Out of everything, that small detail felt the best.
Search though I did, it was difficult to find cute, easy tops to wear for all seasons. Most of what’s popular now is strangely proportioned or made from some sort of plastic-derived material. I’d rather have something that lasts beyond the next wash cycle, which brings me to my point about my Old Navy purchase (*). I don’t mind Old Navy – they have cutesy things and low prices and fun advertising. But I think the quality of their product is sub-par, and I would prefer to spend my money where it will make more of a difference. On a day trip to a nearby town that actually has an Old Navy store, I bought a black-and-white gingham button-up and the denim shirtdress I referenced above. In only one or two washes, the gingham shirt that I had purchased in a half-size too big had already shrunk in strange ways across my chest and along the length of my torso. The shirtdress shrunk in length, too, which was particularly sad because I’d already worn it several times and found it to be about as versatile as a piece of clothing can get. I don’t necessarily regret these purchases because they filled a need for a time, but I sure do wish Old Navy had higher quality products. And if anyone can point out a cute chambray shirtdress that won’t shrink in the wash, I’d be much obliged.
That aside, I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished. Now that I have clothes that I like, that fit me and my life, and that I’m proud of, I’d trying to do my best to actually wear them. I love this article that my mom sent my way — why have we decided that it takes too much time and effort to really get dressed?
So my next challenge is to do my best to turn these new pieces into much-loved, well-worn classics that I’ll be looking to replace, piece-by-piece in the next couple of years. Until then, I will keep paring down those items that are less than inspiring, and enjoy what I have that looks and feels good.
Thank you for following along and for offering so much support and encouragement along the way.
Even though where I am feels a little more like summer than spring, and even though much of the U.S. looks more like winter, I can’t help but prepare le sacre du printemps. Once March hits I’m all about the blooms and bulbs, heavy cleaning inside and more time outside in the sun. I like to work a little harder on my skincare regimin to prep for tank top-and-sunhat season ahead, and my willpower becomes totally useless against any plants begging to come home with me at the grocery store.
(See potted mint above and hyacinth, below.)
One Saturday, when it started to truly feel like the warmth was going to stick, we took a little extra time to spruce up our front porch with solar lanterns and a few plants for al fresco dinners and parties. We have a little bistro table with two tiny chairs, and so a pair of thrifted camp stools helps to add a little extra seating. I even switched out the wintery fronds in our grapevine wreath for the front door in favor of more cheery fabric-scrap pompoms.
Most of my sweaters are on their way into storage, and to welcome the sunny days ahead I’ve started sewing a little sleeveless top out of an old pillowcase I bought at the thrift shop. It has the cheeriest, most darling floral print and I can’t wait to wear those box pleats out with shorts and sandals.
And, in keeping with a little spring tradition of mine, a little white hyacinth is blooming inside on our kitchen table. Hyacinths are such a harbinger of spring, with their timid peeking from the soil and the sweet perfume they send out with colors plum, blush and ivory.
Keeping it in the kitchen, or on a free spot on the counter where a weak beam of light happens to land, feels a little like being home again. Seeing hyacinths bloom in my mother’s flower beds always meant that winter was over, that a new season of rebirth and renewal was coming, that it was time to slough off the dead skin of winter a leap, naked and new, into the morning.
A most astonishing thing –
Seventy years have I lived;
(Hurrah for the flowers of Spring,
For Spring is here again.)
-W.B. Yeats, “Imitated from the Japanese”