The Closet Countdown

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #8

20130825-094429.jpgIt’s been 55 days since I started The Closet Countdown. That feels like a long time. It’s taught me more than I ever expected it would. Though I do “miss” a few items still, I don’t regret my decision to do this. What I learn about myself by reducing my options is a beautiful thing.

Each week, a little light of truth makes its way into my mind. And it’s through a wardrobe experiment. Wow. I’m surrounded by unexpected teachers…

The discipline of being committed to a weekly update post has been wonderful. Each week, I learn a little more about blogging, WordPress, and uploading media files. I’m also learning to relax a little behind the camera. I still notice things that make me cringe a little. And I still have a lot to learn about photography. But I’m having so much fun that I don’t mind as much as I did when I first started.

Plus, there are fabulous people out there who read last week’s update and took the time to leave a sweet comment. Encouraging words are like sunshine for my soul. Because of them, I give myself permission to grow and shine. If you left a comment last week, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my small but overflowing heart.

Now if you would please, dear reader, follow me through my weekly wardrobe recap…

We begin with random bits of weekly wardrobe trivia.

  • My Lily dress was the star. Again. I’ve heard that they can be a little difficult to find online. Next summer, they will be easier to purchase, I think/hope. Most of my Merrell links go to Zappos.com because that is my favorite place to shop. They do have the Lily there but are out of stock in some of their sizes.
  • My friend owns a music school in town and I spent a few days painting and cleaning the exterior in preparation for the upcoming school year. That is why you will see lots of pics of my beloved overalls and my over-sized plaid shirt. 🙂
  • My overalls are almost twenty years old. I somehow fancied myself as a budding gardener (sure wish I knew about my brown thumb at the time…) and decided that I needed some good work overalls. Even back then, I felt I had to dress the part. I had no idea they would last so long or be so useful in the years to come.
  • For fun, I added links to the items I could find online. Academy Sports is my favorite for inexpensive athletic clothing but it’s best to go to the store itself because I could not find my v neck sleeveless top or my leggings. (“BCG” is Academy’s in house brand. )
  • The link attached to my Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running shoes is for the newer version of this shoe. I have the original Arcs. When I bought mine a year ago, they did not have these fun colors.

20130825-093918.jpgSunday

Morning Run: BCG Black V Neck Sleeveless Top, BCG Black Leggings, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes

Morning: BCG Black V Neck Sleeveless Top, A. Byer Black Handkerchief Style Skirt (thrift store find), Merrell Black Barefoot Wonderglove (mary jane style) Shoes.

Evening: Same as morning but added a scarf and changed shoes to my Merrell Luxe Strap Sandals (and I actually did something with my crazy hair).

Comments: I did housework and prepared for the week ahead and then we had a birthday to celebrate (not mine). I wanted to show how easy it is to dress up a simple ensemble. So I added the scarf and shoes and ba blam! Instant party attire. 🙂

20130825-093929.jpgMonday

Morning: Ann Taylor Grey Boat Neck Cotton Top, Danskin Black Basic Skort, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals (discontinued style 😦 )

Evening: Neiman Marcus Plaid Big Shirt (thrift store find), BCG Black Leggings, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals, (later, I put on my rubber boots)

Comments: I love my over-sized plaid top. Until this little experiment, I had no idea how much I liked it. Thrift store find. It’s a vintage Neiman Marcus men’s shirt. I’m pretty sure I bought for some arts and crafts project to do with kiddos.

20130825-093942.jpgTuesday

Morning: Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress, Sarong, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

Afternoon: Neiman Marcus Plaid Big Shirt (thrift store find), BCG Black Leggings, (Lily dress underneath)

Evening: Dickies Overalls, Mossimo Grey V Neck Short Sleeved Top (thrift store find), Brown Flip Flops

Comments: I had an appointment in Austin in the morning and went straight to the music school to help paint. It was certainly a lesson in being a better planner when it comes to work projects. I hated trying to be careful with white paint and black leggings. And I decided that my plaid shirt was cute. (Can’t get paint on a cute shirt.) So I went to my house, grabbed my overalls, and then I went to my stashed boxes of clothes and grabbed a work shirt. Work went much faster (and I was a happier worker) when I didn’t have to worry about my clothes.

20130825-093958.jpgWednesday

Morning Run: BCG Black V Neck Sleeveless Top, BCG Black Leggings, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes

Most of the day: Dickies Overalls, Mossimo Grey V Neck Short Sleeved Top (thrift store find), Brown Flip Flops

Evening: Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress, Beaded Elastic Belt, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

Comments: After a long day of painting, we went out to celebrate our hard work with Mexican food and margaritas. I experimented by adding the belt to the Lily and while I like it as a possible option in a pinch, it’s not my favorite variation. I like the style. I just don’t consider it very flattering with the empire waistline in place.

20130825-094042.jpgThursday

Morning: BCG Black Tank Top, Danskin Black Basic Skort, Grey Hoodie, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes

Afternoon Run: BCG Brown V Neck Sleeveless Top, BCG Black Leggings, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes

Evening: Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress, Merrell Luxe Strap Sandals.

Comments: Spent the morning catching up on stuff after painting for three days. I love to do housework in my running shoes. Makes me feel all athletic.Then we went to open mic night in the evening. You can read here about why my smile is so weak in the picture.

20130825-094100.jpgFriday

All Day: BCG Black Tank Top, Travelsmith Black Voyager Knit Pants, Sarong (tied into a top, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

Comments: I bought the Travelsmith pants in set with a top and a matching sweater. It’s a super light, wrinkle-free material. I kept them for The Closet Countdown as versatile lounge pants. I mainly sleep in them. But they sure came in handy as pants as I had to deal with another hangover allergies after a fun/inspiring night out with my man.

Saturday

All Day: Basic Black Short Sleeved Shirt, Travelsmith Black Voyager Knit Pants, Merrell Black Barefoot Wonderglove (mary jane style) Shoes.

Comments: none.

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This is my bonus picture for Nancy at My Year of Sweat. It’s my Coconut Sarong Tie Thingy. Up close and personal. 🙂

It’s a long update. I know. I’m working on brevity. But that too, is part of the learning process.

Thank you, fellow traveler, for joining me on this path. I always appreciate the company (and the comments!). Cheers to you, wherever you are!

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #7

20130818-102655.jpgAlmost 50 days since The Closet Countdown began. About half way there…

The Closet Countdown experiment continues to teach me new things about myself. I wouldn’t say I love it at this point. I do miss a few items. But I’m not experiencing strange twitches. Just learning more about what I need from a wardrobe. Part of my goal in this project was to create some extra time to focus on my goals and what’s in my heart. Well…know what I found in my heart? Clothes! Go figure…

Here, for your reading pleasure are the blah blah blahs. 🙂

To Keep or Not to Keep TopI have a top that I’ve only worn once since I decided to keep it for The Closet Countdown. It’s so cute. To me, it is super cute. But it’s kind of a pain. It’s cotton. I do love cotton but I do not like to iron it. Sometimes, I can just hang dry cotton items and they are fine. But not this top. It looks pretty wrinkled. So I have to ask myself if I’m going to stick to my “Hell Yeah” way of life when it comes to my closet. How much of a Hell Yeah do I need something to be for me to keep it? How hard core am I going to be about it?

So here we meet again, minimalism. I have to think about what I want. I have to think about how much time I’m willing to invest in an item if I’m going to keep it. I have to decide if all the feel good I get from the compliments are worth the ironing. Damn.

Black Shoe SwapI swapped out a pair of shoes this week because I went out on Monday night. My practical, comfy, (kinda boring) black heels from my corporate job days were just not working with my favorite little black dress. The ones I kept are not as comfortable (my plan is to upgrade them soon) but I think they are rockin. And a little bit sexy if I do say so myself. 😛

Taking pictures of what I wore every day reminds me of when I kept a food journal while I tried to lose twenty pounds. I did not enjoy the process. It is a tedious project to take on. Have you tried to do it? Ugh.

As usual, the things I’ve decided I don’t like become my best teachers.

I had no idea that I changed outfits so often. I’m pretty sure I do it to avoid doing laundry every day. I live in Texas and a summer morning run ends in sweat. Though I’m a pretty “natural”, “rugged” gal, I don’t groove on spending my day in perspiration permeated apparel (like that one?). Workout clothes sometimes stay on for some housework but they don’t make it the whole day. Plus, I don’t know about anyone else out there but I don’t like to spend my day in a sports bra.

When the weather gets cooler, I can see myself wearing my clothes throughout the day. One of the main reasons I’m doing this whole experiment is to help me refine my adventure closet. I want what I own to take me through my day without any changes. Oh, and I want to feel good in what I wear and feel like I look good too. Not easy. Well, it’s easy if I just choose to wear yoga pants and an big t shirt (like I used to). But that’s the easy way out.

For the record, this project really stretches me on a personal level. With every picture, I’m aware of my wild woman hair, my belief that I’m not photogenic, my lack of photography basics, and that I have no idea how to pose for so many pictures (my current favorite is obviously the one leg behind the other and the hand(s) on hip look). I only kept six pairs of shoes – two of which are athletic – so I wear my sandals all the time.

I feel vulnerable as I put myself out there. I will feel it until I click “publish”. Then I will feel dread. Then I will feel awesome. Because I did something that took a little more courage than I thought I had. Next week, I promise to focus more on the positive. I’m just grooving on this honesty/transparency thing so I had to report what is going on inside as well as outside. (Thank you for your patience as I wade through my own, emotional crap.)

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Lake Day: Swim suit with sarong cover up, White cotton top
Zither Music Birthday Jam: Black tank top, Pink Cameleon Convertible Skirt/Dress, Brown sandals

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update 7 Monday

Housework: Lily dress, Leggings, Merrell Barefoot Mary Jane Shoes
Out with friends in Austin: Little Black Dress, Black high heels

Notes for Monday: 1. I added the little coconut sarong tie to my Lily Dress to make it easier to get housework done. 2. I’ve had that little black dress for nine years.

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Black Lily Dress

Note for Tuesday: No pictures of me today. Puffy eyes due to hangover allergies.

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update 7 Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday: Brown v neck tank, flowy black skirt, leggings, sandals
Thursday: Black tank, leggings, blue over dress, sandals

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update 7 Friday

Yard Work: Brown v-neck tank top, Overalls, Sandals/Black rubber work boots (not pictured)
Brunch: Emery Dress
Dinner (out and about): Emery Dress. Again!

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update 7 Saturday

Morning Chill Out: White cotton top, Pink shorts, brown sandals
Evening out: Emery Dress with coconut heart accent, Merrell shoes

Note for Saturday: Wasn’t planning on going out but had some friends invited me to hear them play at a local bar. Grabbed my previously worn (but not dirty) Emery dress to catch the show.

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #6

20130811-073629.jpgForty-one days since The Closet Countdown began. Wow.

Here is what I think my updates have been reduced to:
Blah. Blah. Blah. I wore my Lily dress. Again. Blah. Blah. Blah. Here’s some more pictures.

Doing this experiment has certainly highlighted my love for my Merrell dresses. I mean, I knew I liked them but I had no idea. I also had no idea one could wear a dress so much and not get sick of it or have people say “Um…do you wear that dress all the time?” Perhaps it is the accessories I choose. Or maybe because I think it’s so darn cute, I feel cute in it and my confidence overshadows the monotony of the dress. Or maybe my friends are nice enough to keep their thoughts to themselves. No matter.

I wore my Emery dress for a birthday dinner on Wednesday and the black Lily dress to shop and lunch on Saturday. I wear my pink and black Lily dresses throughout the week too. It’s so easy to throw one on and be “instantly” dressed. If I need to do an activity like jump on the trampoline (oh, I mean if I want to join my five-year-old friends and transform into a super hero and battle the aliens who are trying to take over the world). I just put on a pair of leggings, cinch the bottom hem with my coconut tie thingy (note to self: must look up what those are called), and I’m good to battle the forces of evil.

Since Fridays have become pretty intensive yard work days, I continue to pat myself on the back for keeping the overalls. I wear them with a tank top and at the end of the day, my arms are a nice, golden brown. My legs are still pretty pale. Oh. Well! The dogs certainly don’t care. 🙂

I supplemented my jacket and top with a hoodie and a sports bra.

There are a few items I haven’t worn as often as I thought I would. A black skirt I thought I loved and a blue dress.

See? Blah. Blah. Blah. Lily Dress. 🙂

Thanks for sharing this space on my road to minimalism. Hope you don’t mind that I wear the same few dresses. Over and over again! Cheers dear reader! 20130811-073642.jpg20130811-073652.jpg

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #4

20130728-101007.jpgIt’s been four weeks since I started The Closet Countdown and the honeymoon phase is pretty much over. I still remain positive about trying it. Determined to see it through. A strange mix of optimism and stubbornness, I know. It’s working for me so far.

I miss t-shirts. I kept one of my man’s white v-neck Hanes shirts to sleep in or wear with shorts if I needed to. Love it. But I wish I had a few more. The tops I kept are versatile – I can wear most of them to work, work out, or go out. They are even comfy enough for just hanging out around the house. But I miss some of my girlie, fitted, soft cotton t-shirts. I may not get rid of t-shirts when this is over.

I also miss some of my other summer dresses. If you’ve read any of my previous updates, you know that my Lily Dress makes me very happy and is a GREAT summer dress. It’s everything I need in easy going clothing. But this week, I missed my vintage cotton dress. It’s a beautiful hassle: cotton fabric requires ironing, extra under clothing, and special washing instructions. But I still love it.

20130728-101048.jpgI think a big part of minimalism is discovering what you really need and what you don’t want to live without. There are things that hold us back and there are things that lift us up. I find joy in figuring out how that applies to each item in my closet – and my life.

On a different – and less whiny – note, I did not wear my Lily dress out this week (gasp. shock. suprise!). I did wear it to play outside with kiddos but for a change of pace, I went with another great travel gem: the Merrell Emery dress. Dinner at a friend’s house on Wednesday and then out and about to brunch and a movie on the weekend. I even slept in it because I was behind on laundry (and I don’t have any extra t-shirts). The fabric is so soft. I changed the look of the dress by adding a little thing I use to help keep my sarong in place. Not sure what it’s called but it’s made of coconut shell and has two holes. Changed the look of the dress and I loved it.

20130728-101106.jpg  20130728-101801.jpg

I found another shirt I do not love. I want to love it. I really do. But it’s not a Hell Yeah. So I had to let it go. I’m down to 53 items now. Might have to go grab a couple of t-shirts to supplement. 🙂

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, commenting, and encouraging. It helps keep me going. Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #3

20130721-165933.jpgTwenty-one days of The Closet Countdown and I’m still doing okay. Still learning a lot. It’s how I roll.

Last week I did a little bit of walking/running and I already know I miss my athletic leggings with the nifty little pocket in the waistband. I did keep leggings but I chose a versatile style that could be used for athletics or regular apparel. No pockets. I’ll be fine…I guess. My teal skort has pockets but my black one doesn’t. Only two athletic items with pockets might get to be a little bit inconvenient.

While I’m on the subject of inconvenient, washing clothes in the shower is not working for me. I like to make showering as efficient as possible. I do not enjoy the extra time it takes to squish, rinse, roll in a towel, then hang my clothes. Lighter items like underclothes and tank tops aren’t bad but it becomes impractical when it comes to larger items like leggings and dresses. So I use the washing machine a little more frequently. I love being outside and that means sweat in the summer. I refuse to stay indoors more so I can keep my clothes cleaner longer. I have my priorities.

I continue to search for the “flow” of minimalism. Just enough simplicity to give me more freedom to focus on what matters most without creating superfluous work. I’m getting there. Slowly.

Though I do try to wear other dresses, I keep coming back to the Lily. I wore the black one twice this week. The first time was to an open mic night event at a coffee shop. I paired it with my favorite sarong as a long vest (as seen in my Mini Minimalism Experiment: Three Days One Dress).

On Saturday, I really tried to wear something different to an outdoor concert. I did that girlie thing where I tried on about five different outfits before admitting I just really wanted to wear my Lily. I was going see a band that played a combination of Motown and funk. Had to go classic little black dress.

I am so glad I did. When we got there it was raining. We set up our chairs to reserve our spot and hoped it would clear up soon. Eventually, the sun came back out and the rain clouds passed. Perfect weather for a summer evening concert. My chair, however, was soaked. I didn’t care because the Lily is made of a swimsuit-like material. I can’t say it was comfortable sitting in a damp chair but unlike a friend who came in white capris, I was fine. Especially since I love to dance. With the movement, the dress dried quickly. I seldom sat down entire night.

Next summer, I’ll buy a few more colors and wear the Lily to every event. It’s the perfect dress for travel and a life full of everyday adventures.

As always, thanks for joining me. I appreciate your time and I promise to keep you posted on my “progress”. Cheers!

P.S.

  • I’ve posted more pictures on The Closet Countdown Page.
  • The band we saw is Matchmaker Band from Austin, Texas. Excellent musicianship and super sweet crew. If you are ever in need of the best Motown/Funk band in Texas, please look them up here.

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The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #2

20130713-161950.jpgAnother week has gone by in the The Closet Countdown. I’m still having a blast. Perhaps the “newness” of it still hasn’t worn off. Or maybe I’m just the kind of person to likes to keep things fun. Maybe it’s both.

I’ve learned to appreciate my basic pieces more and more (which I think is a big part of what minimalism and simplicity are all about). I thought I would get tired of my wardrobe (and maybe I will eventually) but so far, I feel great about my decisions and the thought I put into choosing each piece.

I also have items I don’t even wear that I thought I would. So maybe the beautiful (and super smart) Courtney Carver and her Project 333 aren’t as crazy as I thought. 🙂 I LOVE learning that I can do things I thought I couldn’t. Might have to try Project 333 for my next experiment in minimalism…

I continue to wear often and love my Lily. This week, I wore the black one on a road trip to the Texas Hill Country and the pink one to an outdoor concert. Just can’t beat it. I refuse to apologize for sounding like a broken record in praise of this dress.

I’ve been adding pictures to The Closet Countdown page. So feel free to check them out!

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The Closet Countdown: Day 4

TCC Day 4This is the last of my daily updates for The Closet Countdown. Weekly will be better. Reading about my drinking habits and my clothing choices will get boring. I know because I think writing about them will be boring.

Here’s what you may assume about my daily clothing choices for the remainder of The Closet Countdown:

  • Morning run: Tank top and a sport skort or leggings.
  • Daily life: Different top with my skort or a different skirt with my top. Or a dress. Whatever.
  • Evening drink: Tequila. Life is good. I’m learning a lot about simplifying my life, living with less, and minimalism and truth and justice for all.

See? That might get boring. So I’ll switch to weekly updates with pictures after this post.

So…today I wore a black tank top and black leggings for the morning run. Switched to the ever-reliable Merrell Lily Dress for Independence Day activities (eating grilled food, playing a crazy-fun card game appropriately titled “Oh Hell”, drinking, and lighting things on fire). It was a fabulous day with dear friends and family. And yes, I drank tequila. Because it’s so American to celebrate our independence by consuming imported alcohol (I have a sarcasm streak that runs a mile wide).

As always, I extend a cheerful heart of gratitude to you dear reader. Thank you for your time and attention. Cheers!

Hope everyone who celebrated had a happy fourth! Here is a collage of some random pictures from our festivities. Recipe for my friend Ann’s fabulous (super easy) salsa recipe soon to come…

4jul13col

The Closet Countdown: Day 3

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Another great day. It happens. I like it that way. No slush tonight. Just tequila with fresh lime and ice. Simple. Someone should start a blog all about minimalism and beverages. I’d follow it. Maybe someday I’ll try 100 days of tequila. Just kidding. Well, kinda…

The Closet Countdown continues. Wore the pink tank top again and my teal sport skort (the one I washed in the shower last night and pictured above) for the morning run. Last time for the tank top. I promise. Mostly because I actually did some running this morning and though the cool weather lingers, I did perspire. I’m going to do a full load on Friday so it can wait. After the run, I kept the skort and added a black tank top.

I already find myself gravitating toward the same few items. I’m bummed that my pink tank top is dirty. Mostly because I love the fit and the color. It’s a fun top to wear while running. Oh well, I’ll wear my black one tomorrow and I’m pretty sure it won’t diminish the joy I get from running. The teal skort is turning out to be quite the staple. I chose it because of its versatility. I can run it and then change the top and shoes and it’s almost a whole new outfit. Loving it so far.

I’ve known for a while but this experiment puts it under a magnifying glass: I’m weird about clothes. I can live with that. It’s the least of my weirdnesses.

In a few days, I’ll put up some pictures of individual items from the “chosen” collection so you can have a better idea of what combos I’m choosing.

That’s all for Day Three. I mean it every time I say thank you for stopping by. I mean it with my whole heart. Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Day 2

20130702-220937.jpgAs I reflect on the day, Slush in hand, I feel…peaceful, content, happy…

A rare cool front made a welcomed appearance in what is shaping up to be another brutal summer. Went for another walk/run. Spent a peaceful morning with my favorite man on the planet and a strong cup of coffee. I wore the same tank top from yesterday and thanks to the cool weather, I think it will make it another day. I ditched the leggings from yesterday and added an athletic skort for my slow run.

My black top (polyester/spandex blend) from yesterday went well with the skort and to prevent snags while doing various projects, I wore an old Starbucks apron. It’s a great, sturdy canvas and I choose it over my grandmother’s more delicate, pretty aprons almost every day. What a great way to preserve clothes.

On a podcast about minimalism, I heard a seasoned minimalist traveler say he would put his clothes on the shower floor to keep them fresh between washings. “Just stomp on them a bit while using soap/shampoo, give them a rinse, and hang them to dry.” I tried it about a year ago and found that my clothes did not dry very quickly. Earlier this year, I read a travel blog about how to hand wash. They said to roll the clothes in a towel and squish it. Then hang it to dry. That seemed to do the trick when I tried it and my clothes dried much faster. (please forgive me for not including links, I do not remember the sources at all)

So today, after a lot of hard work and sweat, I let my clothes take a shower with me. I’m trying to keep it simple so I just stomped, rinsed, rolled, and hung them to dry.

It’s only the second day of The Closet Countdown. The adventure in minimalism is still new and beautiful. I won’t promise that will post every day but I promise to try.

Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. May you find something useful for your journey.  Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Day 1

20130701-142756.jpgIt has begun. The Closet Countdown is on. Wow. Feels like I’m about to embark on a great journey. I have no idea if this will work. Just like all my experiments in minimalism – I don’t care. I crave simplicity. I love the adventure. I love the excitement of a new project. I love the perception that I am possibly freeing up some time and brain space in an otherwise cluttered life. I love learning new things about myself – positive and negative.

20130701-131748.jpgTo give myself a fresh start, I washed my clothes and wore some of the “unchosen” items around the house yesterday. Since I’ve been preparing for this for over a week, I didn’t sort anything. I just made sure I had everything on the list, snapped a pic, and then hung out with friends over some chips and a mean crock pot of queso. No “ickyness”. Just peace.

For my morning walk/run (the first since a 10K in April…) I wore leggings, and a tank top. When I got back to the house, I wasn’t really sweaty so I put my tank top aside to wear tomorrow. As I considered what to wear for the day, I found myself thinking about the week ahead because I don’t want to get something dirty that I might want to wear in a couple of days. I’m already becoming conservative in my choices. I won’t be able to put off doing laundry very often. Especially if I’m going to start running again. I kept the leggings, added a solid, black shirt, my sarong (pictured above draped over the closet rod to the right of my clothes), and some sandals. So far so good.

To continue my battle with perfectionism, I decided to make a chart by hand. Perhaps someday I’ll get on the machine (my computer) and make a prettier one. For today, I just wanted something to help me keep track of my choices and how long I’ve been doing it. I tacked it near my closet and I’ll cross off days as they go by.

20130701-144619.jpgThank you for stopping by. It fills my heart with joy that you read my words. Cheers to you and I’ll keep you posted!