I have consistently had the struggle to keep it all together. Not that keeping it all together is even really possible. There's this wonderful quote I recently heard saying something like "even the person who has all of their shit together is still standing in it". Nonetheless, keeping it together has always been something I strived for. This term, in short, pretty much means keeping up appearances, consistently. It also means having more days when you, your home, your car, habits, and routine look polished, well-oiled, and productive and less days when you look and live like a slob kabob. It's not so much for vanity's sake but I truly believe that once you routinely incorporate the steps it takes to "keep it together", (the same steps that also just so happen to result in a visibly pleasing outcome), you show up in life with your best foot forward...boldly and enthusiastically. That type of energy attracts all sorts of wonderful and then, the domino effect commences! Once you master one thing, you're more likely to be mindful of another, and since that feels so good, why not add a few other feel-good accomplishments to the pile?!
I am lucky enough to have a handful of fabulous friends. This group of people, like me, regularly discusses how they need to get back into their gym routine, or they need to get some color on their skin, or they need to make a habit of a spiritual practice: church, meditation, etc! We all have some pretty hectic schedules...especially compared to what it was like in high school. Living in the grown up world of consistent jobs, errands, bills, and priorities that keep the lights on and a roof over our heads takes up a majority of our adult day. While we can't walk away from those necessary priorities, or "adulting", we can make sure we still give ourselves the attention we deserve. Yes, life gets hectic but in the grand scheme of things, if you're too busy working your ass off, it's not that you can't afford to master self-care, but, really, you can't afford to not to master self-care. A chance to recoup and honor yourself with some daily love is as valuable as it gets. What is all of that hard work really for if you don't enjoy your everday? Time is precious, yes, but I think serving yourself a nice, hot slice of "you" time on the daily will not only have an impact on your happiness, but, also, your income! Those daily treats, in the long run, can make you even more productive because of that wonderful sense of clarity that comes with regulated cortisol (the stress hormone).
So, my idea. This year, I am going to debut a new blog series called 365 Days of Self-Care: How to Make 2016 Your Bitch. (I apologize if profanity offends anyone but the title made me laugh too hard not to use it.) This series will focus on the many forms of self-care that you can treat yourself with on the daily. I have gathered the consensus that many people have massive reservations about making resolutions because they don't want to set themselves up for failure. I get it. You've set these goals before and end up feeling defeated before the end of January. I've been there too. With this series, you're not setting yourself up for any realm of failure because you can incorporate one form of daily TLC that will take you very little time and will contribute to your bigger picture...you becoming even more awesome!
To be honest, I am looking forward to this as a form of accountability. I have mastered clean eating & listening to my body, I am in the ever-evolving process of honoring myself, and now, I would like to treat myself like I deserve to be treated via pampering, love, and FUN! So, please join me in this pursuit! Expect a lot of embarrassing videos, exciting tutorials, hopefully some pounds shed, stress melted, healthy habits adopted, and delicious recipes tasted! Can't wait!
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*photo cred TTFMag
In society today, it's really hard not to get wrapped up in things and, not just things, but STUFF. I grew up working retail. I wanted to get the experience needed in order to become a fashion stylist.
Working with beautiful merchandise on a daily basis is nothing to complain about. But, soon, you can slip into a repetitive mentality, thinking you need to acquire things that will "successfully represent” your A. status, if you've "made it" (or to portray that you have), B. Your availability to a potential suitor(s), C. Your fashion-savvy in the world of new and established designers, and/or D. Your mood. In that type of environment, you become the best salesperson in the world and, not only to your clients, but, mostly, to yourself. (As an example of how well I refined this art, I sold over one million dollars in clothing in less than a year.) Not to say being the best salesperson would make you dishonest, but practicing justifications becomes an art that you wholeheartedly start to believe.
I would joke with coworkers while holding close a gorgeous expensive bag, asking them if it made me look cooler and if it would make them want to be my friend more. Partially joking, but, also, touching on a deep realization that really, it wasn't so much about appreciating the art of fashion as it was having the power over people and their idea of you. While going to college in LA, I worked at a fabulous boutique on Robertson Blvd. I would scan through the racks, painting scenarios of the perfect place to wear each piece. Only, it wasn't a real opportunity I had coming up that would require the outfit, it was the outfit that would CREATE that ideal scenario. Almost like a scene from an ad, I would see me dressed to a “T", my friends, a lot of attractive guys, all sitting around a bonfire on the beach. As if, if I bought this item, that scenario would inevitably come into existence. Laughable and slightly embarrassing to admit out loud? Of course! But, deep down, don't we all imagine ourselves pulling up to brunch in the perfect car or how that room full of people will perceive your fancy status in that new amazing outfit?
They say you can't make a second first impression. From a very young age, I began to realize what it took to fit in and that your clothing had a huge impact on how "well" you could achieve that. After a period of heavy soul searching, I was able to put the pieces of my life puzzle together. I started understanding that why I had wanted to be a fashion stylist since age twelve had a lot to do with the way a styled outfit made people feel about themselves. I first started styling friends and family and, eventually, got to work with big names in Los Angeles. (You would think working with celebrities would be the ultimate, but it didn't take long for me to realize that the last thing most of those people needed was to feel any better about themselves.) What I didn't understand, until later, was that my love for styling didn't start with how it made other people feel good, it was how it made me feel good, accepted, and confident.
Recently, I hit a bit of a low point financially after taking a 6-month hiatus from working. I wasn't able to acquire the most current looks of the season and I truthfully felt pretty horrible about myself. I spent a lot of time with people who would make mention of certain luxuries and, somehow, I felt like I fell short like I was inadequate and somewhat of a failure because I looked as if I wasn't aware of what was on-point and didn't have the success that would accompany the financial means to "properly" arm myself. Did those people think that of me? I have no idea. Most of it was in my head and, not only did those feelings almost startle me, they forced me to dig deep. I didn't want to be defined by stuff.
I have never ever been a "label whore". I genuinely appreciate designers for their craft, not their names and used to make a point of it, seeking out alternatives to the more exposed labels. After clarifying my motives for wrongly demoting myself from a stylish and respectable twenty-something to a poor, disheveled old maid, I slowly began to fall in love with fashion, again, for the art of it. I also started to rediscover my passion for helping people invent and fine-tune their personal style and amplified self.
Style isn't materialistic and, although I am sure many people would disagree, style isn't even superficial if (and this is a big if) you have things in the right perspective. I have worked with people who have never given clothing much thought as if they didn't want to join the fashion sheep cult, not that I totally blame them these days. Just within the past 10 years, I feel like fashion has become something else. With the rise of bloggers, social media fame, and mega-celebrity, people see fashion in a whole new light which can be very daunting for some and, also, very misleading.
Most fashion bloggers aren't just selling a style, they're selling a lifestyle-- A life of leisure, lox, lattes, and Louboutins. Many of these individuals were born into a life of luxury or they've created such a following that they receive a majority of their looks (and lifestyle) for free from designers hoping to get some exposure-- faking it until they make it. I don't know about you, but, if Instagram is considered a modern art form, I want my art to imitate life vs. life imitating art. I am in no way dogging fashion and lifestyle bloggers out there! I have many friends who do it well, but, again, it's all about perspective.
While working for a fashion magazine in LA, I thought I had hit the epitome of where I wanted to be until I went to a fashion PR house to pull some clothes for a shoot. The girls who worked there acted as if they had the most important job in the entire world and had no time for social courtesies (or decencies). That's when I saw the cold side of fashion. This side wasn't bettering anyone, but shuffling them into a folder, categorized by social class which, really, made people feel poorly about themselves and no where near better!
You may have already been asking yourself this question as you read this article, but it's smart to start tapping into where you stand in the world of fashion and ask yourself, "what level of importance does fashion hold in my life?" Does your motivation to shop (on the appropriate amount of occasions) come from a healthy, light-hearted place? Most of us actually don't need much of anything in the way of clothes. Do you agree with this statement or do you struggle putting things that you really shouldn't buy back on the rack? There are the shopaholics and there are the I-will-break-out-in-hives-if-I-step-into-a-clothing-store-ics. Just because you take pride in your appearance, doesn't mean you're a sellout or a conformist or have a problem. We all need to honor ourselves and project ourselves in a way that's aligned with just how great we are and what we step out in each day is a pretty sound vehicle to get there. I have never tried to push someone out of their comfort zone unless it meant 1. they were still being true to themselves and 2. they felt good about the outcome; (and, frequently, I would need to nudge middle-aged women who didn't think they could pull off a look because they clearly had a distorted body image and I wanted to enlighten them).
I am speaking to everyone: introverts, extroverts, males, females, and this especially rings true for Highly Sensitive People. I have come across many articles about the vast array of endless options that can sometimes overwhelm a HSP. But, the truth is, a HSP may be the person who really should consider tapping into this kind of self-care. To all of my Highly Sensitive and/or Introverts: there is nothing wrong with finding yourself in a noisy social setting and being the reserved person in the room vs. the butterfly working the room. Playing "getting to know you" isn't fun for a lot of people and the silver lining is you may not have to say much in a group setting because your clothes say a lot for you! This could be the good news or the bad news, depending on your confidence level with your wardrobe. It's not about drinking the "cool"-aid. It's realizing the reality that making a first impression does have a lot to do with the clothes you wear. It may not be optimum but, statistically, it's the truth. (This little truth is a great example of "knowledge is power" and can be a valuable thing to consider before those important first impressions including a job interview, a big date, loan interview, etc.)
So, all of these jumbled thoughts and points narrowed down: self-expression means "the assertion of one's own personality". Many could get caught up in materialism by way of shopping with negative or unhealthy intention. Maybe it's because of poor body image, lack of confidence, or just feeling down on yourself altogether. Although clothes aren't the solution, they are the medium for one of the most present forms of self-expression.
Empower yourself. Take advantage of that first-impression society tidbit and start asking yourself, “What does my wardrobe say about me?" Do you feel as if your personal style reflects your personality accurately? I know some of you may be thinking, "write me a big enough check and I can correct that pretty quickly!" but the truth is, you can successfully exercise your self-expression on a VERY tight budget. Believe me, I have been there. Once you zero in on your personal style, you can find the right pieces anywhere, from Walmart to the Salvation Army. If zeroing in on your style seems like a large feat, this is when a fashion stylist comes into play.
If you have a family member or friend whose style you admire, ask him or her for some assistance. If you can manage it, professional stylists are very helpful to work with, especially when you're always on the go and you like the perks of coming home with everything already decided for you.
Just imagine waking up and getting dressed without the stress that's involved in figuring out what to wear. If you feel like your closet is pretty solid but you still feel like you have nothing to wear, this would be another opportune time to consider having a stylist take a look at how to revise your closet layout and put together different ensembles with your classic items you don't feel the need to part with.
Fashion can be very beneficial to your wellness or it can be detrimental. If you idolize it too much and put more emphasis on it that it deserves, you could be in an endless state of never having enough, always comparing and constantly striving for more stuff.
Having done all of this, I have come full circle. I have seen what happens when you put an unrealistic inflation on the role that fashion plays in your life. It shouldn't define you or your self-worth. It shouldn't be your idea of the material catalyst, elevating you to the socially acceptable status, because you're not enough on your own. On the flip side, I have also seen what a healthy dose of fashion-savvy can do. It can be a positive bump to your self-esteem, allow you to be creative and make the most of an outing, it can be that added edge you needed to get the sought-after job you've always wanted, and, the most important benefit, it can contribute to that inner confidence that radiates out of your pores!
Need the name of a good stylist? I would love to apply for the job!
As the trees start to lose their leaves, it is an almost poetic reminder to let go of things that are dead or no longer doing us a service anymore. This can pertain to a few things like habits and people, but, today, I am going to touch on STUFF.
We all have things, but what goes in the category "stuff" are the things that no longer serve a purpose in our home, other than taking up space. Many studies have been done that prove that by removing excess, our productivity levels go up. I'm not going to go into consumerism, but, by doing an annual home detox, it can have a hefty influence on shopping habits, saving you money, because, sometimes, the hardest things to get rid of are the things you never got use out of. Surveying those items will allow you to avoid the same pitfalls of buying items just in case you need them or for future events or projects you foresee maybe doing, but aren't on the immediate horizon.
1. Clothing. I'm starting with clothing because this is what many of my clients (and I) have had the biggest weakness with. Many specialists suggest applying the "if you haven't worn it in six months, get rid of it" rule, while weeding out your closet. I am a rarity because I don't agree. Just because you haven't worn something in six months doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth keeping. A clothing item's relevance can change from season to season. If you bought a pair of quality wide-leg jeans that fit you perfectly and the next year, you see that skinnies are what you're gravitating towards, it doesn't mean that next season wide-legs will still be out. In fact, they could be the very style that you are dying to wear. That's when you realize that if you had parted with them, you would have to go on the ultimate search to find that same type of pant and, alas, you get stuck in the consumerism trap. Keep quality classics. I am a firm believer that your closet should be a nice balanced mix of price points. Usually, that means you will have a combination of quality pieces and, as I call them, "one hit wonders". When it comes to purchasing a blazer, classic cut denim, tailored shirts, etc., go for the pieces that will practically pay for themselves with as much wear as you end up getting out of them. Buy items that will be worth the investment and once they start to look a little tattered, remind yourself that they had a nice life and (quickly) send them to retirement at your local charity drop-off.
For the trendier, more elaborate items, try your best to find less expensive alternatives. Those are the pieces that lose their thunder after one season or a few nights out with the same crowd. You will feel much less of a sting parting with them when you realize that look has run its course or it's starting to fall apart only after a few wears. Another pro to this technique is, if you really reason with yourself and admit you'll only wear it a handful of times, you can decide to part with it sooner. This increases your chances of getting a little money back for it at a consignment or resale shop and will then reduce the amount of work you'll have to do during your annual purge. Poshmark is also a new favorite resource of mine. It's a super simple app where you can immediately shoot and post the items you want to part with. The thing I do suggest is creating a personal deadline for the item to sell. If you pass the deadline, find an alternative to get it gone! (Sign up with code GRDRE to save $5!)
So, while weeding through your closet, I have devised a little mental routine. If you land on an item you're unsure of, figure out if it lies in the category of:
Quality + trendy: part with it if it's been a year since you've worn it.
Quality + classic: part with it only if you can really never see yourself wanting to wear it again and you haven't worn it in over a year.
Cheaper + trendy: part with it if you even pause for a second on it while sifting.
Cheaper + classic: part with it if it's showing its quality or if you haven't worn it in a year.
Another great tip is if you're at odds with letting something go, ask yourself, "what would I wear this to?" Once you answer, ask "if I were going to _____, would this be the piece I would want to wear over everything else in my closet?" If the answer is no, let it go.
These rules also pertain to accessories and jewelry.
For the sentimental pieces, keep no more than five of them. It sounds harsh, but, really, that item doesn't hold special power, it's the memory attached to it that's special. Take a picture of it so that you can get that warm feeling when you see it again and find a better home for it.
2. Crafts and office supplies - You don't want abandoned projects staring back at you. Not only will you maybe feel a small sense of failure because you never completed it, you will also feel that pressure of getting back to it so that you're not out the money you spent on it. Do yourself a favor, donate or sell it and utilize that energy towards something you WILL happily complete and succeed in. As far as office supplies goes, if it's dated paperwork, shred it and recycle it. If you have 50 pens, donate at least 35 of them. If you have a lifetime supply of stationary or notepads, you don't have to toss even half of it but try to narrow it down. I used to buy those "just in case" greeting cards in case of a birthday emergency of some sort. I recently went through my pile and more than half of them weren't something I would give to anyone anymore. Case in point, buy as you go.
3. Old magazines and books - Outdated decor or fashion books: part with. Those styles may come back around again, but, usually, they will incorporate updated classics. Books that were a gift and you don't feel like diving into probably aren't worth keeping. The sentiment is wonderful and I don't think this is for every book, but if the content of the book is of no real interest to you and it isn't something that even touched you when you received it, it's okay to let it go. A book that you have already read doesn't need to be on your shelf unless you know for a fact you'll read it again. If anything, give it to a friend if it was a book you enjoyed that much.
Up until recently, I was all about keeping magazines. I used to keep every fashion magazine that came into my grasp. Then, I narrowed it down to just keeping special ones and all of my Allures from 1999-2014. Then, I narrowed down my Allures. I finally settled on tearing out the special pages in all of my picked over publications and began putting them in a portfolio for stored inspiration. Another great option is taking a picture of the page or scanning it and adding it to something like Evernote, Google Drive, or Pinterest. I am pretty old school so I like tactile things, making the portfolio a nice compromise for me. It took me a good few years to get this down because they were (clearly) hard to part with for some reason. I do sound a little crazy but I HAD to add method to my madness.
If this process is difficult for you-- make it work. Add little incentives like if you weed through x, you will go get a pedicure. An even bigger incentive: imagine these items being put to good use again by someone who truly needs or wants them; anything that will spark the urge to let go of unnecessary build up in, what is supposed to be, your sacred space. Now, take a deep breath and release!
Need a little push? Try this challenge!