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Friday, June 29, 2012

Organize Your Fashion Jewelry

Day 181

That headline should read: Organize Your Fashion Jewelry, Just Not Like Me.
This sounds a lot like an infomercial. Does your jewelry look like this?
I thought I was being oh-so-clever by storing my (many) necklaces on decorative hooks in my bathroom where I accessorize. Clever, that is, until the sheer weight of the tangled madness nearly pulled the hooks from the wall! Not only are the items hard to see, they are hard to retrieve. 
It's nearly 6 months in to my challenge and I am just now organizing this part of my wardrobe. See? It's never too late. I'd given this mess thought and knew professional help was in order. So I headed over to Bed, Bath and Beyond armed with a 20% coupon and a plan. Find the organizing product that would help me get my jewelry in order. 

I was pretty excited to spot this little gem! A hanging unit with clear pockets to easily view my goods. And 37 pockets! Woo wee! Maybe I wouldn't have to get rid of much. It was $9.99 minus 20%.
I started off with my "gather and sort" method, a practice that has proven so valuable, I may patent it. It's always surprising to me to see what I actually have when I spread it out. These are just the necklaces and I didn't bother to count them but I did see 8 basic silver necklaces of the same general style.

I started with my favorite, go-to necklaces and returned them to the decorative hooks in the bathroom. I chose 8 as my favorites. Then I started filling these lovely little pockets. Operative word: LITTLE. I realized that the smallest pockets, which make up 3/4 of the unit, are intended for earrings. I don't even have pierced ears. I crammed what I could in the pockets and ripped three pockets to make room (note: they ripped really easily!). I'm pretty sure I did some damage to a few of the necklaces by compacting them. I know--I should have read the pocket dimensions listed on the package but I didn't.
After an hour, I have a ziplock bag filled with necklaces that I will hold on to for a few months, then donate. 
I did end with this:
I'm sure there's a better way but this will do for now.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Remember Anya from Project Runway?

Day 177

I was flipping through my latest issue of Coastal Living Magazine when this picture stopped me in my, well--stopped my mid-flip. Like a magnetic attraction or love at first sight, I was positively drawn to this dress. The style, the magnificent watercolor and the beautiful details made me gasp. Something about the model looked familiar. Oh! it's Anya from season 9 of my fav--Project Runway!
For anyone who missed season 9 of Project Runway, Anya is a pageant gal turned designer from the Caribbean. What she lacked in sewing skills she made up for in her interpretation of Caribbean inspiration. She remained true to her style and ultimately won the competition. This dress is from her first real collection.

Part of the fun of watching a reality television competition is "getting to know" the contestants. Over several weeks, stressful challenges and situations bring out the personalities of the players. Watching the scenarios unfold, we find favorites and love to loathe the villains. As with all my favorite reality television competitions (Survivor, American Idol, etc.) I sit rapt as the series draws to a close, hold my breath, and hope my favorite emerges victorious. (sometimes I think I should get a hobby) Anya was my favorite that season and I cheered her victory.

Winners of television competitions can fade into oblivion or skyrocket to fame. I'm not sure if Anya will have the fame of season 4 winner Christian Siriano but she's a gifted designer. I, of course, wanted to know the price of this dress (and if they would consider a 6 month hold) so I visited her website . I don't think the site is quite ready for shopping yet and this dress is not anywhere to be found--but I've bookmarked her site and will keep my eye on her upcoming collections.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

Day 174

When I write a blog post, I compose, read for errors, re-read once again and then press the orange "publish" button. Like many of you, that post is then sent to me via email. When I receive my post in an email, I open it, give it a once over and delete it from my mailbox.

When I opened yesterday's post about sundresses, I said to myself (out loud), "What the heck??" True, my daughter needed clothes for work and she made great choices. But why would I openly encourage everyone to rush out to the store to buy things you may or may not need? Perhaps I should have encouraged everyone, "If you have something fresh and summer-y in your closet, pull it out!" But no. I reverted to my typical "run to the store" response. Perhaps I want to shop vicariously through you.

It has been nearly 6 months and I have to say again, I am so glad the challenge is for a year. I am pretty sure my old habits are going to go down fighting.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Still Time to Get Summer Sun Dresses!

Day 173

Still time to scoop up some summer sun dresses! My daughter, the working gal, just picked up this fresh look from Old Navy for just $23. She looks adorable in it and, more important, she feels sassy! Looks like clearance time has started to creep in (after all, fall fashions are in stores by July now) so get out there and sassy-up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Lipstick Test Drive

Day 171

Summer makeup is different than winter makeup. In winter, bundled in sweaters, I am more pale, dryer, and seem to have more to conceal. Fashions tend toward rich colors. Eyes are smokey. In summer, skin kissed by the sun, I look for makeup that is lighter, sheer and a little sparkly. 

My challenge dictates I can buy lipstick if I am replacing something or have no current match for what I need. I am embracing this as I love lipstick. I threw out several old lipsticks during my organization blitz and it left me with two paltry choices for summer. I set out to thoughtfully and carefully purchase lipstick (yay!!)

I am happy to report I found three choices that I really like, and I will share them with you. Facing the enormous choice at any lipstick display is daunting and chances of choosing one in an off color or funky texture is great. I always listen when someone test drives for me so I am returning the favor.

(left to right) Maybelline Colorsensational in #120 Red Sea Shimmer and #110 Caribbean Coral Luster,
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in #070, Cherry Tart
I read recently in More Magazine that wise women can (and should) continue to wear red lipstick but a sheer red is more forgiving. I was seeking just that, a summer sheer red lipstick. I stumbled up the Maybelline selections at Ulta on one of those special cosmetic seasonal displays featuring limited editions for Summer 2012. Like nail polish, I sometimes am swayed by the name of the color and these tropical names appealed to me. Both shades are lightweight, non sticky and have a bit of sparkle. There is a faint, pleasing scent and no flavor. For a sheer lipstick, I found it to be reasonably long-lasting and it didn't leave that tell-tale lipstick outline as it wore away. I actually bought the red first and liked it so much I returned for the coral shade. 

There has been an advertising blitz for the Revlon Lip Butter so I just had to give it a go as well. There are about 15 shades to choose from but I chose a slightly deeper sheer red, Cherry Tart. This definitely feels more like a lip balm, providing moisture but feel a little heavier and slicker. It looked darker on my lips that I would have thought. I didn't notice a scent and the wear is that of a balm or gloss. 

Naked Lips
Red Sea Shimmer
Caribbean Coral
Cherry Tart
Each were about $7 and are available at Ulta, drug stores and stores like Target. Note: The Maybelline shades are limited editions and I only found them on the seasonal displays. I went back to Ulta for a second tube of Red Sea Shimmer and it was sold out. If you are interested- don't wait! My sister tried mine and liked it so much, she tracked down a tube for herself and an extra for me. Smile!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Day 169

Parenting is an odyssey. We start out with helpless infants that depend on us for everything. It's exhausting as we put their needs before our own. Just as we grow comfortable in that role, we as parents have to stand back and allow them to take a first step, go off to preschool and discover just who they are. We become cheerleaders, standing at the sidelines applauding as they develop their own interests and talents. Somewhere along the way, seemingly without warning, we have to step away, let go and allow them become adults. Hardly seems fair after all we've invested.

I think that mothers get the spotlight in the parent-appreciation arena. You rarely hear a young athlete shouting "Hi, Dad!" Far fewer tattoos dedicated to dads. Father's Day just seems to have less pomp and circumstance. The role of a father is mired in its own complexities. In our family, the father is the hard rock to my motherly soft support. He is the strong word to my gentle encouragement. He is the invisible provider while I shower them with things.

My kids are so blessed to have their father. Sometimes I am not sure they appreciate it yet, but they will. They will understand that he will unconditionally love and support them all their days. They have a father whose love runs so deep yet he will take on the tougher role and allow me to nurture. A father who strives to teach by example. A father who picks them up when they fall, says "you can do it, I believe in you," and sends them on their way. A father who is missing his own father this Father's Day. It's a tough and often under-celebrated  role.

Parenting is hard and I am grateful to have my husband, Joe, on the odyssey with me. We share the highest highs imaginable and support each others through the lows that only your children can bring on. I couldn't imagine this odyssey with anyone else. Happy Father's Day, Joe!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pedicure: Pro vs. Home

Day 168

The decision to NOT buy clothes for a year is my focus but along the way I am becoming less impulsive, more thoughtful. I am more careful about what I spend, what I eat, how I treat myself and how I spend my time. Early on in the challenge I decided that pedicures are a luxury and I should learn to do a good home version. An initial investment of the approximate cost of a salon pedi provides the basics: foot soak, files, a Pedi-Egg and foot cream. I already had a basic collection of nail polish and since I rarely stray from my signature colors, I will use what I have until gone (or gloppy). Recalling the steps a professional takes, I can get through the initial phases. I gather a large towel, soaking tub and a refreshment and start soaking. About 1/3 of the way into a professional pedi, I tend to slip into a state calm. Half way through, I am enjoying deep relaxation. Near the end--drooling. Therefore, I really have no idea what a pro does after the initial phase, I only know it feels good.

The biggest challenge of a home pedi is contortion. I can't seem to twist myself into a position that allows for the work at hand. I prop a foot, use a pillow, hoist my leg on the bathroom counter, rig a stack of magazines or get dizzy trying to hang my head upside down to get in the perfect position. Not relaxing, this procedure does not induce drooling. 

With practice, I can do a passable, or what I thought was passable pedi at home. From January through June I have enjoyed only one professional pedi in preparation for a formal event. It had been a few months. The first warm days of summer sporting flip-flops reveal that, even with my at-home attempts, my feet are looking pretty bad. So, for my birthday I request a pro pedi. 

When I arrive at the salon, it is like visiting a long lost friend. "Come in!" they welcome. "What can we do for you?" I gaze at the kaleidoscope of polish colors, a dizzying rainbow mine for the choosing. I am guided to that comfy chair, settle in and grab the chair massage remote. Like a line from favorite book, I can pick my setting from memory.
I spent the rest of my birthday stealing glances at my lovely, professional groomed, OPI Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It painted digits. I will revert to the home pedi but every now and then, you just need a professional. And lucky for me, I received 2 mani-pedi gift certificates for my birthday so I won't have to wait several months to "go-pro!"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm a Doll! Birthday Gift Dilemmas

Day 166
I'm a Doll! Birthday Gift Dilemmas 

Friends and family feel sorry for me and have attempted to gift me clothes, shoes and accessories. This is a grey area in the rules and for now, they all reside in a bag until I feel the time is right to use them. So what do you gift a gal that can't have new clothes?

You make her into a paper doll that can wear any and all fashions, and look darn good doing it! This was a gift from my very thoughtful friend, Jody:

A play on my blog title, I can now safely Try Try Clothes! Sadly, that's not my body (or favorite photo) but I wasted no time getting down to business. First, I put me in a tropical setting. Then, I took time trying on each of the gifted outfits that were printed, tabbed and ready for my "beach runway"! 

I had no idea I could rock a strapless jumpsuit, but I looked awesome! And although my doll legs look a bit wooden, I also looked fab in these shorts. And check me out in this dress! I'll bet I get a dinner date invite from my husband looking this good.

Jody said there are accessories on the way ... YAY!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thanks a lot, Jennifer Lopez. The Kohl's Collection

Day 164
Thanks a lot, Jennifer Lopez.

I had to return some of the extra items my husband picked for my son at Kohl's. "Just walk in, return and walk out." I said. But no ... like a siren's song,  I was drawn to the women's department to see what I was missing out on. All I have to say is, thanks a lot Jennifer Lopez. Thanks for nothing.

At the start of my challenge I went to my favorite stores so that I was educated on trends in fashion. Then, hopefully, I could go home and recreate something similar to the fashions shown in the stores. That just made me sad, so I've mostly stayed out of stores for a while. 
But I had a return to do ...

Kohl's has several celeb designers and I can find a way to relate to most, but I love J.Lo (you can see her collection here). She makes it look so easy to be a mom, a celeb, sexy and not 20. Here are the items I would definitely try on if I could buy things:
Looks like my ideal summer or vacation wardrobe. I can only hope her collections continue to improve so I can indulge next year. And I think I'll just stay out of the stores.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Painful Milestone

Day 163
Another Painful Milestone

I realized pretty early in my challenge that my "compulsion" for shopping could easily be satisfied by shopping for clothes for my family (or anyone else for that matter) therefore I amended the challenge to the refrain of buying ALL clothes, shoes and accessories for a year. I thought it would be a good opportunity for my family to realize that fashion fairies don't mysteriously update their wardrobes.

My daughter got her first "real" job and I was left unable to supplement her wardrobe. She did a great job of creating stylish work ensembles. At the end of last week, my son was awarded a co-op position with an international corporation (thanks in large part to a good friend!) and was to report to his first "real job" today sporting the "business casual" look. 

Couple of problems: My son lost about 30 pounds during his freshman year at college. Barely any of his clothes fit anymore. He had a few nice outfits for high school sports "game days" but they were far too big.
The interview outfits were borrowed from my husband but his wardrobe can't support two working men.
And, my son already had a full time job so now he is juggling both jobs for a bit leaving no time for shopping.

Saturday morning at Kohl's: We have a 30% off coupon and there are special Saturday morning sales. I can not shop so my husband bravely volunteers for the job. The store is very crowded with Father's Day shoppers.

I give my husband a general outline of wardrobe needs, then pushed my grandson around the department perimeters in a stroller while my husband bobs and weaves through the aisles. "Two pairs of flat front khakis!" I shout. "Not the expensive ones!" I see his head pop up occasionally, then just a glimpse of him now and then. An eternity later, he hands me three pair (!) of flat front pants. Good. "4 polo shirts, basic colors--go!" It takes all the restraint I can muster to not grab the shirts I thought would be just right. Finally he chooses 4 and looks hopefully at me. Done yet? No.

"2 cotton oxford shirts. Go!" "What kind of shirts?" he asked. I tried to describe but he leaves bewildered and, another eternity later, brings 3 shirts of undefined style. 

This went on and on until an entire wardrobe was assembled. It was so incredibly painful to watch and not choose I became very crabby. I consoled myself with two sets of new dish towels (legal.). Husband was even crabbier.The only one of us still in a good mood was my grandson. 

The damage was steep, we earned $60 in Kohl's Cash (and those of you that shop at Kohl's know what that means!) The additional cost was a large Dairy Queen blizzard for the weary shopper.

This morning my son left for his first real job looking so business-y and handsome I thought I would cry. My husband did a great job with selection. I was so sad that I couldn't take part in the shopping frenzy but at the end of the day, it was all good. 
My son still thinks it's fashion fairies!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Parisian Coupon

Day 158
Parisian Coupon

I miss you, too Parisian.

This type of offer has been a fairly common occurrence in my mailbox   :(

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Golf Retirement Pending

Day 157
Golf Retirement Pending

Last Saturday I joined my husband in a golf tournament to benefit Vietnam Veterans. This was my first official outing this year (several evenings at the practice range, though) and I am trying to determine if I will stay in "golf retirement" or exit and rejoin the golfing masses.
It was a beautiful but super windy day Saturday and I was able to put together a reasonable golf outfit. Here's the greatest part: I was the prettiest and most fashionable girl in the entire tournament!

Okay, I was the only girl. And I may have looked okay, but I stunk up the course bad!!! Whatever progress was achieved at the practice range vanished. Frustrated, I am left to contemplate my golf retirement. I decided to make a pro/con golf list:
Pro:                                                               Con:
Excellent scenery                                            Ugly shoes
I love golf ettiquette                                         I don't love golf outfits
My hair looks good when wind-tousled           You have to hit a 1.680" diameter ball with a long skinny club
Nice day spent with husband

Looks like I am leaning very slightly pro-golf. My husband thinks he can help me improve my game but there's nothing he can do about the clothes and shoes. We'll see ...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Memantine: Drug for Compulsive Shopping?

Day 156
Memantine: Drug for Compulsive Shopping?

A brief Sunday morning news segment on Good Morning America caught my ear. A drug that curbs compulsive shopping? I had heard that anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed for compulsive shoppers, but this drug is different. Memantine is generally prescribed for Alzheimer's patients. My first (very scattered) thought was: will it make you forget what you purchased? "The drug helps people with Alzheimer's disease think more clearly by reducing overactivity in the brain. But it also eases impulsivity, a trait tied to rash decisions and impractical purchases." Read the entire memantine article here.

I am not sure if I actually am a compulsive shopper. By definition, compulsive shopping means buying a bunch of stuff without regard to the consequences. I am sure I have bought things and felt really bad about it later so this may apply. Furthermore, the definition can include those who make "last minute, unnecessary purchases." This could include just about anyone in a grocery store line so I think we'll stick with the first part.

OK-- so I used to buy a lot of clothes and shoes without regard for my actual need, the true quality of the items and if I could really afford it. Hi, my name is Rebecca and I'm a compulsive shopper. My quest for a cure led me to this one year no-buy challenge, cold-turkey, if you will. I have been very successful thus far but at some point (January 1, 2013) I will have to buy clothes again and to be honest, I am not sure what will happen. Will one year off be enough to curb the compulsion? Will I fall back into my old routines? 

I am approaching the half-way point of this challenge and up until now, it has been mostly about dealing with not buying and being happy with what I have. At some point, I will start to think post-challenge and come up with some strategies to avoid being thrust back into the depths of compulsive buying. I highly encourange anyone struggling with a shopping compulsion to try this defined period of "time off". A month, 6 months, or like me, a year. But if all else fails, perhaps we can try memantine ...

Note: side effects for memantine include: extreme tiredness, dizziness, confusion, headache, sleeplessness, constipation, vomiting, pain, coughing and sometimes, hallucinations. A good sale can also bring on some of these same side effects.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Women's Golf Shoes: What Did We Do to Deserve This?

Day 153
Women's Golf Shoes: What Did We Do to Deserve This?

I came out of Golf Retirement for a single, required golf outing with my husband last summer. Upon entering Golf Retirement, I got rid of golf clothes and golf clubs. We scrambled to get me ready for the single event, throwing together an outfit, using my husband's second set of clubs and realizing that I had kept my golf shoes. And it turned out that I was better at golf than I remembered!

Tomorrow I will be joining my husband for a golf outing benefiting Vietnam Veterans. I am very happy to support this worthy cause and also happy because I have been practicing golf and my game is improved. I think I am officially Un-Retired, if you can be that.

This is a huge bummer because I can't get new golf outfits or, most importantly, new golf shoes. My shoes, while still intact, are ugly white things reminiscent of sneakers. Pretty common style. Pretty ugly. They really don't add anything to any decent golf outfit. I decided to see, just for the heck of it, what golf shoes I would buy if I could buy golf shoes (did that just sound like a tongue twister?). 

There are lots and lots of women golfers, but what in the world did we do to deserve this shoe selection?

Frankly, I am not disappointed that I can't buy new golf shoes. Most of them are hideous! Even from Zappos, shoe store extraordinaire! I will wear my ugly old shoes this year. Should be fine since I don't have real golf outfits. But for next year, I did find two pair that may be OK:
a little metallic bling wouldn't hurt, and I can always do a great lime shoe. Golf shoe designers: listen up! You can do better than this! You have until next spring. Call me.