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

A New Accessory by Snug Studio: The Geometric Necklace

I’m adding to my accessories collection with this necklace made by SnugStudio.  I’ve been eyeballing it for awhile now and recently received it as a gift from Mike.  I love the simple geometric design.  Sadly, the chain broke the first day I wore this.  I don’t think it’s cut out for a mama’s life – always hustling and bustling.  But not to worry.  I pulled out my jewelry tools and repaired it.  And it’s back in rotation.  In fact, I’m already wondering which one I should pick up next

Another “Make it Work” Moment

I’ve been putting this post off for a week now because I haven’t been sure I can communicate my latest learnings without sounding a bit whiny.  Wish me luck.

The main truth I’ve learned in my style adventure is not about style at all.  It’s about finding places in my life where I am uncomfortable and moving through those things.  I’ve had a few situations, other than style, to do this in and each experience has been quite rewarding.  But I wasn’t necessarily looking for more discomfort to work through.  It may be rewarding and all that, but it’s never fun when I’m in it.  Blech.  It’s tiresome, obnoxious and hard work.

Recently, I had to give back something I love.  Something that defines me.  A creative outlet.  A tool that helps me express a serious passion of mine.  Now, this tool isn’t lost forever, but at the moment I don’t have the cash to by a new one. (I’m talking about a camera – don’t roll your eyes!).

I gave it back for all the right reasons.  After five years of borrowing this camera (aren’t mother-in-laws great?) she needed it back if she was ever going to break through some uncomfortable places of her own.  I didn’t have to return it, I could tell.  But I wasn’t going to be a part of someone’s excuses.

And now I’m left using the most hilarious, little joke of a camera.  It’s ridiculous.  It can’t be depended on.  And it hurts my ego.  I’m so embarrassed to be holding this piece of junk.  Oops… I’m getting whiny.

Once the camera was gone, I felt a little depressed for a few days.  Kinda freaked out.  How was I going to shoot my daughter’s first ballet performance?  How was I going to continue to update the motel’s website?  What about this blog?  Well, the blog dilemma was easy – I’d just quit. You can’t have a decent blog without decent images, right?

And then I realized, I was in another uncomfortable place that simply needed to be worked through.  Simple?  It doesn’t feel like it.  And yet I’m already anticipating what I might learn as a result of all this.  And feeling just a tiny bit excited about the possible outcome.  But only a tiny bit, mind you.  I’ve still got a bit to work through.

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. Woodrow Wilson

It’s Not Perfect and I Love It

One of the excuses I made waaaaay back at the beginning of my challenge as to why I shouldn’t learn about style was I didn’t want to turn into someone totally preoccupied with my looks.*  I didn’t want to put in the energy of trying to look perfect.  I feared that by learning about style, I would start worrying about hair, makeup, and clothing all the time.  Is my hair the right color?  Did I get my eye-liner on right?  Are these pants out of season?  Exhausting.  And a bit too perfect for my taste.

Today I looked down at my hands and laughed.  I managed to paint my nails a few days ago.  I must admit, I’ve come to enjoy adding a touch of personality by painting my nails (that’s a new one for me).  But real life gets in the way and my nails end up smudged and chipped and crazy. Talk about being not-perfect.

Now that I think about it, I realize I had nothing to worry about.  I didn’t stand a chance of getting in with the perfect crowd.

Thank goodness!  Because it’s being not-perfect that I’m learning to love.  It’s real.  It’s messy.  It’s honest and open and forgiving and generous and silly and chipped and smudged.   Not only is it right, I’m realizing it’s true style.

*By the way, I’ve since learned that having a sense of style and a preoccupation with looks have nothing to do with each other!

A Mother’s Initiation

You’ll notice with my outfit a brand new accessory that may (or may not) go well with my look.  A pink and purple rolled-paper, straw and bead necklace made by Miss Kaia in her kindergarten class.   My first piece of jewelry from one of my children.

To be completely honest, I never understood how adults could wear such tacky kid-made creations in public.  But when I opened my present on Mother’s Day, an overwhelming sense of love came over me and I wore my necklace with great pride.  I finally understood.  An official initiation into motherhood.

On a Side Note: Back to the 80′s Baby!

I couldn’t resist!  This is a journal of all my style attempts after all.

My sister recently moved and to celebrate her and her husband, we threw an 80′s Prom Night party in their honor.  Think we got it down?

 

Have You Heard of Warby Parker Yet?

1)Tenley  2)Finn  3)Monroe  4)Fillmore  5)Colton

I’ve been having some fun around here – free fun (fits perfectly within my budget, right?!).  Warby Parker fun.

The lenses in my current frames are so old that when I put them on I have to squint to see anything.  It’s time for a new pair of lenses and to mix things up, I think a new pair of frames are due as well.

Enter Warby Parker, the awesomest site ever. All frames are $95 AND if you have pretty normal vision, lenses are included in that price!  Wow.  Sadly, I need high-index lenses (when I’m not wearing glasses or contacts everyone and everything is reduced to moving blob status).  So I’ll have to pick up my lenses at Costco ($125).

But wait – the best part here?  Warby Parker will send you up to five of their frames to try on at home (for free).  You play around in them for five days and then send them back (free shipping too).

The frames were fantastic.  Durable, super-cool, unique from what you’ll find in your average frames store and budget-friendly!!

Now, the hard part!  Picking out my favorites.  I’m going to place another order soon to try on my favorite frames in all of their colors.  And then hopefully I’ll be able to choose.  I’m leaning towards the quirky but loveable Monroe frame.

Huge, giant thanks to the checker at Trader Joes for letting me in on his little style secret.

And an even bigger thanks to my little darling for helping me take my pictures today!

Style on a Real Life Budget

I’m here to share that one doesn’t have to put off style just because the bank account is challenged.  For the last eight months, I’ve been working with a realistic budget.  A $75/month budget.

At first I thought I would have to scrap the challenge with such an impossible budget.  Not to mention that such a teensy-tiny amount was discouraging.  But hey – I was determined to keep it real (and I had little choice anyway!).

First things first, I had to stop subscribing to certain style blogs.  Many bloggers seem to have an endless supply of cash to support their fashion hobby.  I couldn’t relate.  I could only compare (nasty habit).

At the beginning of my challenge I had a loooooong list of things I thought I absolutely had to have in order to make it work.  But since I couldn’t buy everything at once, I had to make do with what I had and be thoughtful about what I bought.  Not a bad thing really.

Since I don’t have the money, I’ve had to invest my time instead.  Looking for a good deal on clothing can take awhile especially when it’s done on eBay or at the Goodwill.

Pinterest has played a helpful hand in keeping me focused on what items I really need.  I collect my favorite looks and pay attention to the pieces I’m missing.  When I do shop, I know just what I am looking for and there is less chance I’ll blow my few dollars on more t-shirts (I just can’t stay away).

With practice, patience and effort, I have managed to supplement my wardrobe with items I need and that complement what I already have.  My budget means that I wear the clothes in my closet often.  It means that I buy items I really, really like.  It means that I watch my waste and make do with what I have.  All personal attributes that are important to me in other areas of my life.  And now I’m seeing it surface in my style.  Very cool.

What started as a major obstacle has become just as much a part of my personal growth.  And personal growth is what it’s all about.

He Said, She Said: Sven Goran Erikkson

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. – Sven Goran Erikkson

I’ve had fear stop me in many places in my life.  If I don’t think I’ll succeed, then I just won’t do it.  Fear of failing.  You know what’s funny about that?  If I don’t try something new, I fail.  If I do try something new, I might fail but there’s a very good chance that won’t.

Starting this style challenge has taught me so much more than how to pick out an outfit at the Gap.  So. Much. More.

I suppose I still fear new or hard things but I’m much more willing to try them out anyway.  And just based on the action of trying something new, I’ve succeeded already.

Isn’t that so cool?

What are you fearing right now?  What are you too scared to try, to admit, to want?

What’s Your Excuse?

I’ve got a great book I thumb through every now and then, Life is a Verb by Patti Digh.  It’s an encouraging book about living intentionally.  Last night I came across a chapter about excuses.  Excuses are what kept me from thinking about style for so long.  I won’t be able to figure it out.  Trying new looks will be embarrassing.  I don’t have enough money to buy the right things.  I think you get it, right?

Patti shares a story about going to a comics convention with her young daughter Emma. Towards the end of their visit, Emma finally gathered enough courage to show her portfolio to some of the artists.  At one point, Emma motioned to an illustration and said, “That’s not really a good one.”  To which the artist she was speaking with said, “If you don’t like something, take it out of your portfolio.  You don’t want to have anything in here that you need to make excuses for.  You want to be proud of everything you put in front of people.”

I join with Patti in asking myself, “What in my portfolio (house, life, brain, relationships, wardrobe) should I keep?  What should I sell? What should I toss?  What have I been trying desperately to hide? What do I consistently make excuses for?”

Excuses can infiltrate my life and become a habit hard to shake.  And that’s one reason I’ve been so grateful for this style challenge.  In this instance of my life, I’m confronting and overcoming my excuses. And I’m becoming proud of what I present to people.

The trick is not how much pain you feel but how much joy you feel.  Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses. -Erica Jong

No More Regrets, I’ve Got My Red Blazer

Back in November I picked up a vintage red blazer only to return it – I doubted that I was able to pull of such a bright color. Even though I liked the blazer, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear it.

Fast forward five months.  Looking through today’s images, I realized that I was wearing a red jacket.  Without even considering whether I could or not.  When I pulled it out of the closet it just seemed like a natural extension of who I am.

Well…almost.  Now that I think about it I may have had a hesitation or two when putting this red jacket on.  Is it too bright?  Are the buttons too large? BUT I put it on anyway.  I thought, “what the heck I’ll just give it a try.”

And that’s what matters.  The just going for it.  The disregard of whether I’m doing it “right” or not.

How’s that for a little style improvement?

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