Capsule wardrobes: dressing for perfection

Thirft Store Finds & Capsule Wardrobes

Less crap, airy closet, beautiful clothing, endless styling options.

If that sounds like living the dream, you’re not alone. Like many, I’m intrigued by the minimal closet / capsule wardrobe trend.

Scrolling through Pinterest the other night, I noticed another trend – every pin, every blog and every article promised tips or steps for a “perfect wardrobe”. It was then I realized, this is just another way to channel perfectionist tendencies.

Now, I’m genuinely interested in owning less, caring less about the things I do own and spending my money more thoughtfully. Those are all good things! But if I’m spending rare solo time with my husband face glued to phone, agonizing over potential purchases, and then having to find time away from the office to inevitably return half of it….it’s just not worth it.

But this realization isn’t going to make the desire go away overnight. Here’s how I’m channeling my capsule wardrobe inspiration into some real-life action:

  1. Clean out your closet, regularly. About every 2-3 months I cull through and find things that I just don’t wear as well as hidden gems. Going through everything on a consistent basis helps me keep better track of what I own to avoid unneeded shopping, rediscover items I love, disprove the “I’m not wearing it because it doesn’t fit right” notion, and learn from the things I remove. The more you do it, the faster you’ll become at it, too.
  1. Explore thrift stores. If I’m in the mood to shop and spend, I head to the thrift store. There I can poke around to my heart’s desire and keep the damage to my wallet at a serious minimum. I also love the sustainability factor, that I’m recycling clothing and not fueling consumerism (as much). Some of my favorite and most complimented items are thrift store finds, as is everything pictured here.
  1. Buy better clothes. When most people say this, they mean pay more for better quality items. This is not necessarily what I’m saying. When I was a kid, I heard somewhere that good makeup is when you don’t know it’s there. I feel the same way about clothes…now. I’ve learned that if I’m going to be constantly adjusting my outfit, changing how I move for fit’s sake or worried about damaging things, it’s not for me. Sometimes this means paying more for an awesome fit, or sometimes this means picking up a Forever21 item so I don’t have to stress about ruining or not 100% loving an “investment” piece.

Part of me is also considering one of those quarterly personal shopping by mail services. It could be nice to save all that mental space and time online researching to just have some items arrive at my door? I’m still skeptical about the effectiveness of someone else finding clothes I love and that fit well (I’m a little picky about…everything), but it might be worth a try eventually.

Agree, disagree or have more tips? Let me know!

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Prioritizing by stress level

Work Life Finding Tiffanys Oak Lawn Coffee Dallas

Work has been a lot of work lately. Lately as in, like the last year and a half.

While we are finally getting our act together in a lot of systematic ways (#startuplife), sometimes it seems that help will never come. My last painstaking hire was whisked away from me, like Wilson the volleyball floating away in the current of agency politics.

The real upside of all the insanity on my to do list is getting way better at prioritizing, voicing red flags and learning to accept my limits. And how I do all of these things involves lists, lots of lists.

Last week, I just couldn’t take any more “urgent, top priority” items. Randomly, I decided to order my to do list by stress level instead. I mean, if I’m not going to get everything done anyway, might as well be freaking out slightly less about the things left over?

It turned out to be loverly.

Finding Tiffanys Productivity Tip

To keep the list from getting too overwhelming, I broke my list into groups of three. Then I refused to even look at the next three until I had finished the first group. Apparently this a real deal productivity tip I stumbled into? I’ll take it. This also had the unintended effect of keeping me more focused and present during the work day.

There’s definitely a correlation between deadlines and stress level, so I didn’t completely throw those out the window, but I also found this helped weed out the “pop-up” tasks from the high impact ones. By the end of the week, I felt lighter, as well as proud of my productivity.

I highly recommend it!

Taking care of yourself

In yoga we follow the Namas and the Niyamas, things you should avoid and things you should observe, respectively. The first of the namas is “Ahimsa” meaning “non-harming” and it was the topic of discussion in my first class of 2016.

I walked into the practice with a sore elbow from an accident I had. The bruise was nasty and my elbow as still pretty sore, but I had planned on going to the class for a week and there was just no way I wasn’t getting into a handstand in my first class of 2016. A few painful downward facing dogs and handstands later, my elbow is now in worse shape then it was a few days ago (shocker).

This charming growing bruise and my instructor’s advice to be nicer to yourself, has brought me to the epiphany that is my new years resolution. It’s not to learn spanish, lose weight or learn the guitar (although sign me up for all of those, please). I really need to take better care of myself. When I’m sick I avoid the doctor, I’ve been working too much this past year and losing sight of the creative things I used to enjoy so much and time to spend with people I like. My resolution is simply to be kinder to myself. Spend my time doing the things that actually make me happy, with the people that make my life brighter and to listen to my body when it’s trying to tell me to slow down.

For this week that meant skipping yoga, making dinner for my boyfriend, a Fast Company subscription, much  needed wine and cheese dates for girl talk, leaving work at 7 PM and this blog post. Cheers to a kinder 2016.

If you didn’t change this year, would you still like yourself?

My penchant for self-improvement goes as far back as middle school, when I got it in my head that reading the whole dictionary would be a great way to enhance my vocabulary. I figured one page a day for a couple of years was all it took, so I dutifully sat on my floor and opened my dictionary every day – no one made me or probably even knew about it before now. And there I sat, a 12-year-old girl reading the dictionary for fun (I was obviously very cool).

Eventually I lost my place in the dictionary, but the combination of being an introspective, goal-oriented learner / dreamer means I’m constantly thinking and reading of things I want to do, learn or improve. The new year is usually no exception (see 2015, 2014)!

After a lot of life changes and challenges though, I spent the last year asking a lot of questions about myself – how I think and am made, what my skills and talents are, what my purpose and passion is, how all this looks professionally. While all this was incredibly helpful at the time (Clarity on Fire!), I now feel like I’m at a point where more self-analysis really isn’t going to get me anywhere new…except maybe a little crazy.

I was driving one day, listening to the Jess Lively Show as always, and out of nowhere, something inside me very clearly asked, “If you never changed again, would you be happy with yourself?” My initial response was resistance, with excuses like “well, if I never changed again literally, I’d eventually be a pretty bad wife and employee.” And “that’s ridiculous, life always changes so I couldn’t help but change with it at some point.” But this clear thought pushed back against the discomfort, until I had to admit that my answer right now was really, NO. I don’t really ever like myself right now, I like the future version.

So this year, instead of goals, I have a word: Acceptance.

I want to accept myself so I can just be me instead of obsessing about what the best version of me looks like. I want to accept myself so I can be confident in my worth personally and professionally, which I think will take care of the wife and employee bit. I want to accept situations I’m in, instead of feeling like I’m constantly fighting everything around me – myself, time, traffic, other people, my own expectations. So it feels like the world isn’t ending every time something doesn’t go perfectly, because it never will. 

And that’s it. No list of goals, no calendarized steps. Just being, accepting, appreciating.

Here’s to 2016!

prosecco celebration

What’s right, what’s not and what would Giuliana Rancic do?

giuliana rancic modern mom
Source: Modern Mom

So often we hear about the overnight success stories – a fluke discovery, a social post gone viral, a casual blog turned industry mogul, a first time audition turned major motion picture star.

Now, I don’t want to be famous, but I do want to make an impact in my sphere of influence. I do want to be recognized in my field as someone who does great work and inspires someone else to do the same.

Sometimes the constant striving and hard-to-see progress makes me wonder about the nots and the rights. If I’m not in the right place at the right time. If I don’t have the right skills or enough of them. If I’m not going in the right direction.

Enter Giuliana Rancic.

I’ve watched her reality show and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to randomly land a fun, glamorous job talking about the entertainment industry and fashion on tv that happens to lead to meeting a successful, handsome husband that leads to having tons of resources and opportunities that make it easy and possible to start other successful, fun, interesting businesses?”

Of course, and thankfully, that’s just not the case. Giuliana recently did an interview with The Everygirl, where she talked about submitting her reel to E! at least 20 times before getting a shot. She had to face rejection and apply over and over again until finally one day, she got the call.

For all my wondering about what’s just right, I’ve never been so encouraged by being just plain wrong. Just because something is hard work and not happening right away doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. More people than you might think get where they are because they work hard and relentlessly.

So in case you need to hear it, and I know I do:

There’s still time. Keep working.

 

Source: Society 6 - Get it here from A+Y Paper Goods!
Source: Society 6 – Get it here from A+Y Paper Goods!

 

Top of mind

Free People Blog - How To Intensify Your Yoga

 

Do what you can. Do it well. Be nice to people. Leave the rest.

 

I’m all about mantras.

Ohms aren’t really my thing outside of a yoga class where at least three other people need to be chanting louder than me, but keeping a specific phrase in mind helps my incredibly forgetful self remember the important things. How forgetful? Literally I’ve looked at my gas light, said aloud I need to get gas as soon as I get back in the car, run in a store for maybe 5 minutes, get back in my car and keep on driving…until I run out of gas on the side of some road. This has happened more than once.

But right now I have a full tank of gas and those important things are battling work stress and career questions. Stress and questions that aren’t exactly helped by my often negative, perfectionist inner dialogue. Repeating this to myself every day last week helped me feel more relaxed, more forgiving of myself and more energetic to spread that positivity to other people. In other words, I was a lot more fun to be around (I hope).

And if that doesn’t work, I dare you to look up smile on Pinterest and not smile back.

Good intentions for 2015

About those New Year’s resolutions I promised…

Finding Tiffanys_2015 Resolutions_Sarah

The detailed list below might seem a bit ambitious, but every item really comes down to one (or more) of these three things: I want to get back to my healthy lifestyle values, invest in relationships and use my time wisely.

Last year was a whirlwind and mostly not a fun one. While some good things happened, every area of my life experienced upheaval – leaving me perpetually overwhelmed, exhausted and questioning everything. It seems the quarter-life crisis is real, and I’m feeling those mean reds.

But 2015 has me feeling hopeful. In 2014 it felt like I was constantly drowning, and recently I’ve felt like I’m mentally and emotionally starting to slowly rise to the surface. So without further ado, here’s some steps I’d like to take in the coming year (or at least the next 11 months):

Workout. I’ve missed my weekly yoga classes and the ability to run (or even taking the stairs) without dying. I’ve since been making a concerted effort to schedule in workouts, ideally hitting Flybarre, yoga and a run outside once a week.

Food. Tackle the elimination diet in February. Say no to spontaneous sugar – baking and event indulgences are A-OK…the morning commute pit-stop to eat an entire chocolate bar at Whole Foods, not so much. Stop wasting food. Host dinner parties.

People. Write (and remember to mail) a card to someone once a week. Stay in touch. Make plans.

God. Start with a morning devotional or Bible reading sesh. Commit to pursuing God more as a couple (and figuring out what that looks like).

Travel. Go to New Orleans, Marfa, Maine and Sweden. It’s all happening.

Creative. Blog again. Actually use our social networks. Take the A Beautiful Mess photography and editing class. Start (and finish) a Pinterest art project.

Time. Give meditation a try. Schedule and don’t cancel me-time. Allocate cushion time in my daily plans.

Work. Meet deadlines. Arrive and leave ‘on time’ (office hours are a gray area, so I need to set myself some). Plan ahead. Be nice and patient.

 

So there you go! How are your resolutions coming?

 

To set or not to set…New Year’s resolutions

Target party banner for New Year's Eve decorations

I used to not be a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They seemed gimmicky and definitely not effective. Luckily, my “I-like-to-think-I’m-hipster” side had a solution for this and decided to start making goals instead. “Goals” seemed actionable and just sound smart. (And are essentially the exact same thing as resolutions, I know.)

But lately I’ve found myself referring to resolutions a lot. Talking with my husband about how we should really start to workout again… “Now I see why people always make these healthy New Year’s resolutions. Maybe ours should be, too.” Opening the fridge to find that all our holiday party and birthday leftovers have gone bad in the week we were away for Christmas… “Our New Year’s resolution should be to stop wasting food.”

It seems I’ve subconsciously come around to this whole resolution thing.

In setting resolutions (or goals), finding the balance between self-berating perfectionism and self-improving optimism is always a struggle. But I’ve realized, for me at least, the point isn’t necessarily to either complete everything or resign to failure. I just like the spirit of the thing – taking time to reflect, to think about what my priorities are and where I’m, and now, we are going.

So what are my resolutions for 2015? I’ll be thinking through that tomorrow and will hopefully write about it here. Procrastination strikes again.

Maybe I’ll resolve to procrastinate less, too?

Facebook year in review_finding tiffany's_sarah

A tradition-worthy holiday

I’m a big fan of holidays in general, mainly because I love a good tradition and tend to surround myself with people who feel the same. In college, every time our group of friends did something we liked, one of us would exclaim, “A tradition!” And so it would be. This led to weekly cafeteria group dinners, Thirsty Thursdays (non-alcoholic at first, because we were cool kids), One Tree Hill nights, potluck dinners, brunches, swinging (on actual swings, like I said, cool kids) and more.

So with all of the tradition-packed potential of Christmas Eve and Christmas, it’s no wonder that it’s one of my favorite holidays. My family traditions include chili, driving to see Christmas lights and cheese & crackers by the fire.

This year also brought what is hopefully not going to be a tradition – sickness. It’s day 6, and I’m still heavily medicated so I can’t promise any lucid or particularly inspiring thoughts.

I just wanted to take this moment to say Happy (late) Christmas!

Oh careers. you pestering thing, you.

When I graduated college I was never really sure what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to work hard, be creative, and love what I did everyday. I knew I wanted to be independent and have great clothes. I knew I wanted to have a dog to run with and a car that would work. But beside that, I was clueless. I don’t think I knew what options were out there for a Marketing major. And the truth is, 3 years later (omg how has it been three years?), I’m still figuring it out.

I find it frustrating, though. I like the idea of having a life plan. Something to think on and know where I wanted to go and then figuring out the steps to get there. I want that so badly. But I don’t.

Over a month ago I made a big career jump and left my agency job for in-house marketing. I worked at a tight knit agency that felt like home and was surrounded by people that felt like family. I left for a big corporate job with longer hours, a pay bump, more responsibility and the ability to work more on the things that I’ve so far enjoyed. I’m still deciding if it was a good choice.

Man, it’s hard. It’s hard navigating your career. It’s so hard to know if the steps you are making are the right ones to get somewhere where you’ll be happy. I feel like it’s easy if you’re someone who is just looking for a job to pay the bills and for vacations. You look at each new job opportunity at face value. Do you like the responsibilities, company and coworkers? Then you’re golden. But for those of us tortured by the importance of our career to our happiness, even what seems like a great job might not be the right step on our career paths. There’s fears of being pigeon holed, being stifled, missing out and whatever else keeps us up at night tossing and turning over career decisions.

All we want is to be making the right career steps to get us to a place that we want to be – even if we don’t know what that is yet.  I don’t have the answer for this yet. But all I can do is follow my gut, listen to my mentors and maybe try not putting so much pressure on my career (easier said that done). Change can be good (although I tend to try to avoid it). I’m happy with a lot of things about my new job and I miss a lot of things about my old job. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed this all works out in the end?