She Found Style

an attempt to discover my sense of style in one year and learning more about myself than I ever imagined along the way

At the Finish Line

Some of the pictures you didn’t get to see!

I did it.

I committed to do something for an entire year and here we are at the end of 12 months.  The longest and shortest 12 months I’ve ever hard.  The last 11 months seemed to move at a snail’s pace but now that I’m at the end, I can’t believe a whole year has gone by.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it one last time: This blog could have been about anything – business, food, cloth diapers, bird watching.  The subject of style just happened to be something I was interested at the moment.  It was simply a vehicle that carried the real reason for this blog – personal growth, challenge, change, discomfort and victory!

Not only has my style improved, I now know that I can stick with anything I want to.  If I really want to change my eating habits, I can.  If I really want to change my lifestyle, I can.  If I really want to stick with a fitness plan, I can.  Not that any of these things are any easier but I know that I have the willpower and the discipline to go after things that I want.

So, this blog is ending today but I won’t be done writing.  I’ve started a new project called The Joybook.  You know those little moments that make you grin?  Those moments that fill you with so much happiness you think you’ll burst?  Those little hidden gems that really make you sparkle? I’ll be at The Joybook chronicling all of ‘em!  I’d love to have you join me.

Thanks for being a part of my style journey.  Your comments and encouragements helped spur me on.  Thank you!

Winter Preparation Begins

Yesterday I looked out the window and saw flocks of geese flying south.  Watching them leave made me feel sad.  Our brief summer is officially over.  The geese are outta here.  But I felt a little bit happy too.  The preparation for winter begins.  It’s time to think about what warm clothing I’ll need this year.

Last year my feet were always cold – I need a better, warmer pair of everyday shoes.  Last year I wanted to adopt the leggings/tunic look and never did – this year I’m going to.  Last year I got by with one beanie to keep my head warm – this year I’m going to start adding to my warm hat collection so I can have a great hat for every look.  This year I want a new warm coat – a colorful one that will cheer me up when the sun goes MIA for a few weeks.

This year long project is drawing to an end.  And I continue to reap the benefits of the work I’ve done for the last 12 months.  I’m excited and looking forward to gearing up my closet for a new season.  I’m thoughtfully shopping online and browsing the stores.  I’m taking notes and not freaking out.  It’s like a fun, strategic challenge I can finally enjoy.

The frustrations I felt a year ago are gone.  I’ve relaxed and let go.  I’ve learned enough about myself, what I like and what I need to be able to move in confidence.

Winter?  Go ahead and bring it!

Let me clarify things a bit…

I love honest people.  I love people that tell you, “Nope, you are wrong”.  I don’t hear it enough (and I’m certain it should be said more often to me) so when someone has the courage to tell me I’m wrong, I just want to hug them.  Well, I want to hug them after the initial shock of being told I’m wrong wears off.

Mike told me recently that he didn’t like my last few posts.  He didn’t feel they were accurate.  He felt like I communicated that nothing about me had changed.  Like my outward appearance is still the same as when I started and that just isn’t true.  As if my original goal of learning about style and applying it to my every day, failed.

As I went about making dinner I thought over what he said and I think he is right.  I made it sound like I didn’t learn anything about fashion and style.  That I had some inner growth and that was it.  Which is okay because inner growth is more important than looking good when you leave the house, right?

I wasn’t being completely honest.  And for a good reason (if I do say so myself).  What if I told you that I did learn how to dress better?  What if I wrote down how I’ve totally started accessorizing?  And I have a few more pairs of shoes to my name so now I can wear the appropriate shoes at any given time?  What if I told you I have more than one belt now?  What if I admitted that I feel so much better when I leave the house because I like the way I look and I didn’t agonize over it for hours?

And what if you took one look at me and said, “Really?  That look still needs work, my friend.”

So I subconsciously figured I’d beat you to the punch and just record that I didn’t really learn that much but my heart is in a better place, so there.

Silly, yes.  But true.

So let me clarify things a bit.  Yes, a lot of inner growth happened.  And I’m beyond grateful for the changes that have taken place inside.  But I’ve done a lot of outward changing too.  Nail polish, necklaces, hats, shoes, straight leg jeans, and jackets.  And. I. Love. It.

Watching myself relax when it comes to all things wardrobe related has kept me motivated to continue on this style education.  Having fun with clothing and feeling more confident has added an element to my day that I didn’t expect.  The preoccupation is no longer on myself, but has turned into an enjoyment of my life.

Learning about style didn’t make me a fashionista

When I started this project I thought as a result, I would become more trendy, more on top of current fashion.  I tested that out a bit but as far as I could get was obsessively following fashion blogs and magazines.  And after obsessively following these blogs, I’d end up in an emotional exhausted heap realizing that I just couldn’t keep up, nor did I really want to.  Since fashion sense doesn’t seem to come naturally and I don’t have the dollars to pay someone to drum it up for me, I could only chase after these things.  At the end all I manged was a lot of comparing myself to others.  That’s it.  I didn’t come close to mastering the arm party and didn’t end up with one pair of ultra-trendy shoes.  Boo.

Trying to be someone else is tiresome.  It took me awhile but I’m grateful I finally figured that one out.  It’s me or nothing, folks.

On a Side Note: What to do with that lone earring you are still holding onto

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Just stumbled across this fabulous idea for a new necklace.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, I’m not sure which) I don’t lose my earrings so I’m off to track down some lost earrings that can be used instead.

Learning about style didn’t make me any cooler

Spending the last 11 months learning about style has taught me a lot about myself.  But it also didn’t do a few things.  First up?  Blogging about style didn’t make me any cooler.

I’ll admit it – I’m always on the lookout for ways to be a little more cool.  In fact, I’ve always had a mental list floating around in my mind about things that aren’t and things that are – cool.  I’ll keep the list private just in case my “not cool” things happen to be someone’s “cool” things.  You never know.

But I was really hoping I’d get a little cooler, more hip, more together by learning about style.  Nah – didn’t happen.  No one, not one person, came up to me over the course of this experiment to comment on my increasing cool-factor.

So I’m not the coolest girl on the block.  But I’ve come to realize that “cool” is what other people might label me as and I’d really rather be the one to define me.  I don’t want to work so hard to have someone else maybe or maybe not give me the thumbs up of approval.  Eh, too much effort there.  And more seriously, it’s not the way life should be lived.

So I didn’t become a super-hip-master but I’m starting to shake the need for that approval from others.  Not bad.

The Challenges Continue…

So here’s a tricky problem I’ve come up against.  I’ve been reading and following blogs for the last 10 months trying to learn from other writers’ experiences.  Surprisingly it’s been a whole lot less useful than I thought it would be.  I’ve found that for the most part instead of learning anything, I just end up with other people’s opinions as my own.  I compare myself to other people more.  I listen to myself less.  And I quickly forget about the great things that make me, me (because everyone else just seems so much more cooler!).

I’ve come to a point where I am exhausted of hearing other people talk about themselves.  I need a break from being told what to do and how to do it.  I deleted most of the blogs I was following.

And here’s the funny part.  I’m not just tired of everyone else,  I’m tired of listening to myself talk about myself too.  It kind of cracks me up.

Ah well – that has been the point of this blog.  To push myself past the hard bits.

So, the question is: How the heck do I write about myself now when the last thing I want to write about is myself? How’s that for a challenge?

Never give up. Never, never give up! We shall go on to the end. -Winston Churchill

The New T-Shirt or A Step Past Usual

I live for t-shirts and jeans.  No matter how much I try to change that (to become whatever it is I think is cooler) I still just want to wear my t-shirt and jeans.  I like the comfort I feel in a waistband with a little give and a cotton material that has been washed enough times it has reached the perfect level of softness.  Not to mention a t-shirt doesn’t need to be tucked in.  So there.

But I’m trying to take a step past the Usual to see what happens.  And that notsobig step has taken me to button up shirts.  A bit blousy, material that’s fast on it’s way to extreme softness and yet a bit of structure thanks to a few buttons and a collar.  I think I’ve found the perfect t-shirt replacement.

And should I mention that I’ve increased my shoe collection?  Something I used to think was ridiculous (pardon me, most of my lady friends, but having a ton of shoes never made sense to me).  Not only do I own more than one pair of shoes, I now own a handful of kicks that can act comfy like sneakers but bring a boost of fancy to my wardrobe.  Resulting in me feeling like I kinda sorta not really but a little bit got it together sometimes.  Ha.

A Lesson in What Makes Me ME

So.  I’ve been giving myself style lessons, right?  I’ve been experiencing an increase in confidence.  I’ve been feeling like a truer version of myself.  Sometimes I even think I’ve figured it all out.  Nonetheless, I received a funny little lesson the other day.

I headed into Portland for a haircut.  I threw on some clothes I felt good in and that felt like me.  See?  I’ve learned something.  I walked into the salon.  And just like that it was all over.  Turns out, just because I’ve learned a thing or two it doesn’t mean I’m Wonder Woman all of a sudden – impenetrable because of all my supposed confidence.  Nope.  Have no doubt, Insecurity is still alive and well.

The receptionist was beyond cool, beyond.  The stylist she was talking to was exoticbeautifulsexy and if that weren’t enough, she was friendly!  And me?  Plain, boring, sloppy, dull.  I had to chuckle as soon as I recognized my feelings of insecurity hadn’t gone away just because I was experiencing personal growth.  My feelings of doubt, incompetence, and overall lameness were still there.

Now, I keep mulling this story over and over trying to figure out what the happy ending is.  The wise lesson I’ve learned.  The cheerful spin on events.  But I can’t come up with a single one.  Nada.

The only thing I’ve realized is that my successes and my insecurities, my shining moments and my dark ones – they are all me.  I welcome the accomplishments and I learn to laugh when I screw things up.  I need each and every moment to really be myself.  And without them, I’m not much.  Every experience – good and bad – is required.

What I Learned About Style by Running a 10k

I ran my first 10k on Saturday.  It was awesome.  I was so incredibly proud of myself.  I couldn’t believe that I stuck with running long enough to fall in love with it.  Great weekend.

During Mile Two when I was still breathing normally and could think clearly, I couldn’t help but notice (and admire) all the different types of people.  Runners, walkers, tall, short, fat, skinny, curves and angles.  And not everything I saw was what I expected.  One speed-walking man shook his hips like a woman as he strode his way through mile two.  A woman running at top-speed, her body defined by very serious-looking muscle, was on her way to the finish line as I was just starting – way to go!  Another woman’s bottom wiggled and jiggled as she jogged down the course.  A young child made up of knobby knees and long legs ran along after his dad.  We were all different.

And yet the same.  Everyone on that course brought something to the race – a goal.  Some just wanted to encourage a friend running a race for the first time.  Others wanted to beat a past race time.  My friend conquered the physical pain she’s been dealing with by not giving up.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could rise to a challenge and stick with it long enough to complete something.  We brought our goals and offered them to each other.

And in these observations I felt such joy in the beauty of humankind.  We all have unique characteristics that we love or hate.  We all bring something and have it to offer.  And I’m realizing, it’s in the loving of who we are, the bringing of something to give, that we find our main source of style – the foundation piece that everything else rests on.

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