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The Closet Countdown: The Morning After

It’s over. My one hundred day adventure in minimalist-style clothing ended yesterday. I’m relieved and a bit overwhelmed. I doubt I will repeat The Closet Countdown any time soon. But I grew. I feel it. I see it in the pictures I posted.

I have my “lessons learned” post in the works but in the meantime, I thought I’d go ahead and post a few initial reactions while they are still very fresh in my mind.

Last night, I pulled down my two bins of “unchosen” clothing. First thing this morning, I opened them. Right after feeling joy at seeing some of my loved items, my heart sagged a bit. There were literally piles of clothes around me that needed to be sorted.

I felt buried.

So I put on the dress I’d missed the most: my Merrell Emery in Manganese Ikat. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. I felt like the color was “wrong” or the fit felt “off”. The dress was fine. I was just in a strange funk.

I thought about how I felt the last weekend of The Closet Countdown. Brave. Bold. Creative. Beautiful even. Immediately my posture changed. My face brightened. So I decided to wear the dress for the day and take a few pics (see for yourself at the end of this post ;)).

Flattering clothes – fit, color, style, hem length, etc. – matters very much. But the real style is inside. The moment we choose to see ourselves as someone worth looking at, we become more attractive. Our confidence and freedom from fear of what others think makes our smile brighter, our posture straighter. When I feel beautiful, the world around me is more beautiful. Brighter. And I feel connected to that beauty because I have found a tiny grain of it in myself.

That’s how I decided to feel this morning when I put on my “other” Merrell Emery Dress. That’s how I hope to feel every morning. 🙂

If you are reading this, know that you are beautiful. Maybe your hair isn’t “perfect”. Maybe your shape won’t ever be in a magazine. Maybe you’ve had a few bad days in a row that kept you from smiling. But inside you is beauty. You carry it with you wherever you go. I know because today I walked out into the world and I felt it. It’s all around us. Inside us. We just have to have the courage to show it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I’m honored to share your company here on My Simplicity Quest.

Shine On,

G

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The Closet Countdown: DAY 100!!!

This is it. The final day of The Closet Countdown. Wow. Lessons learned will be posted soon. So strange how such a “silly” experiment has taught me so much. There are beautiful lessons all around us. We only have to look for them to see how many.

My heart fills with gratitude when I think of all the encouragement I’ve received along the way. Even just the “likes” on days when I thought my outfit was lame or my writing was lame (or both) really lifted my spirits. Thank you to everyone who stopped by along my one hundred day journey. I appreciate it more than I can say.

For the last day, I almost went with my Merrell Lily. But I decided against it because I will probably wear it again soon – regardless of all my new options. It is a tried and true favorite. I went with my super versatile Cameleon Rosy Pink Convertible Skirt/Dress/Poncho instead. There is more to the story on this interesting piece but that is for a different day and a post. Gotta keep it brief (right Nancy? 😉 ).

Day 100 Tuesday, October 8

  • BCG Black Cami
  • Long Black Leggings (forgot the brand)
  • Cameleon Pink Convertible Thing (worn as a poncho in the cooler morning and then as a skirt in the warm afternoon)
  • Merrell Black Barefoot Mary Jane Shoes

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Today is a light three mile run day for my half marathon training. When I started this, I didn’t know I would “get back into running” so I didn’t choose my running skirt or my leggings with a pocket that fits my phone. Looking forward to little things that that for sure…

Afternoon Run

  • BCG Black Sleeveless Top
  • BCG Black Legging Capris
  • inov8 RocLite268 shoes (with socks)

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Thank you again for stopping by. I wish you joy and eyes to see the lessons all around you. I encourage you to challenge yourself in some small way. Start with your closet like I did or with something else. Give yourself some boundaries. Dance inside them. Learn. Grow. Shine…

Cheers,
G

 

The Closet Countdown: Day 98 of 100 (So close…)

Two more days. Just two more days and The Closet Countdown will be over. Yesterday’s post is evidence that I’ve decided to ignore my insecurities and play a little with combinations I haven’t tried before. This little experiment has definitely helped me get more comfortable in front of a camera. Though the poses feel so redundant… 😉

Another one outfit day. Just me and my Merrell Emery…and a big black leather Gap brand belt that I scored at a thrift store in Austin for pennies.

Day 98 Sunday, October 6

  • Merrell Black Emery Dress
  • Gap Black Wide Leather Belt
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals

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Thank you for stopping by and bearing with me as I face the final days of this strange yet very rewarding experiment. I’m grateful for your time as always.

Cheers,
G

Weekend Photo Challenge (and Day 97 of The Closet Countdown!)

It’s a combo post, folks! I celebrate the 97th day of The Closet Countdown (a 100 day long, self-imposed experiment in clothing minimalism) by participating in Esther’s Weekly Weekend Photo Challenge. She is a doll. A sweet, fun mommy who happens to be drop dead gorgeous. Please go to her website to learn more about this fun challenge. (Thank you, Eszter for inviting me to join!)

This week’s challenge: Love Those Outfits

After living with only 55 Items of clothing, you’d think I’d love the outfits less. Not true. While I do miss some articles, I’ve learned to love some of my chosen pieces even more. It is a good feeling to have a favorite dress (my Merrell Lily of course!) snuggle up even closer to your heart.

Here are a few of my outfits I love from the past 97 days. 🙂

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Please check out the other bloggers who are participating in The Weekend Photo Challenge:

Junette from http://mamassecret.blogspot.com/
Elle from http://an-ayla-a-day.com/
Tams from http://nakedbeautyblog.com/
Tisha from http://dailyeasyrecipes.wordpress.com/
Mary from http://contrarymom.wordpress.com/
Danielle from http://momseyeviewnyc.wordpress.com/
Katie from http://acuriouskatie.wordpress.com/
Fanni from http://theblackberryboys.wordpress.com/
Ginny from https://mysimplicityquest.wordpress.com/
Donna from http://thelondonmum.me/
Casey from http://veggiesandglitter.com/
Eszter from http://kukolina.wordpress.com

Last but not least, here is my outfit from today. My last Saturday of The Closet Countdown…

Day 97: Saturday, October 5

  • Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals
  • Black “Packable” Hat (Sun ‘n’ Sand Brand)

Thought I’d show you the front and back of this dress this time. I love the crisscross design. And the “hat” shot is for you, B!

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The Closet Countdown: Day 96 of 100 (Yea!)

The end is near. So near. Feels like Christmas is right around the corner. I’ve missed my other dresses and other “superfluous” clothing. The joys and challenges of The Closet Countdown are things I will treasure for a long time.

Yesterday I only wore two different outfits. And I’m still quite proud of my sassy little pose. 🙂

Today is just one outfit. It’s a casual farewell to my Summer wardrobe. I’m also celebrating the thirteenth birthday of one of my favorite young ladies on the planet (I included a picture of her below). Since my decision not to have kids, she has been like a daughter to me. I’m blessed beyond measure for someone who has so little…

Day 96 Friday, October 4

  • Ann Taylor Grey Boat Neck Top
  • OP Pinkish Coral Shorts
  • Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

20131004-134105.jpgHere is a previously posted pic of me and H:

20130721-173415.jpgThank you so much for stopping by and sharing my journey. My heart is warmed. I wish you many adventures!

Cheers,
G

The Closet Countdown: Day 95 of 100

As the final days of the The Closet Countdown slowly putter along, I find that I’m both excited and a teensy bit sad. I like challenge. But I also like it when the challenges are over and I get to reflect on lessons learned. Bittersweet. 🙂

Yesterday, I changed clothes three times and I posted pictures to prove it. Even included my running clothes for fun. 🙂 Besides a morning trip to the grocery store and perhaps a therapeutic run in the afternoon (it’s my Prozac), I plan on sticking to one, simple ensemble today.

Day 95 Thursday, October 3

  • Merrell Black Lily Wrap Dress (they don’t make it any more. sigh.)
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals (love the almost retro look of these shoes!)
Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera. :)

Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera. 🙂

Here is another image featuring the Lily Wrap Dress:

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As always, I’m glad you stopped by. Thank you.

Cheers,
G

PS Here’s a picture of my afternoon run outfit (before the run of course…)

  • BCG Brown V-Neck Top
  • BCG Black Leggings
  • Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arcs

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This is Snickers the Wonder Dog. 🙂

The Closet Countdown: 7 Days Left

The Closet Countdown is almost over. Only seven days remain. Wow. In honor of the fact that there are so few days to dress from the same 55 items (and to make up for my failure to post a current, weekly update), I’m going to post my outfit on a daily basis until the bitter/beautiful end. 🙂

This will also be a way for me to test my iPhone posting skills…

Wednesday, October 2
Morning (having dinner guests over later so this will change)
Plaid Cotton Big Shirt, Black Leggings, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals, Brown Leather Belt (a recent score from a friend’s giveaway pile!)

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Afternoon Run (about 4 pm)
Massimo Grey V-Neck Shirt, Black Leggings (yep, the ones from this morning), and my inov8 RocLite268 shoes (no socks).

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Casual Dinner With Friends
Merrell Black Emery Dress, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals, Snazzy “New” Brown Leather Belt.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. My little heart and my kooky closet are full of gratitude.

Cheers,
G

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #9

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The end of The Closet Countdown is a little over a month away. While I’m ready for it to be over, I’m also very grateful for what I’ve learned so far. Not just about minimalism or simplifying my life. But about me. About how I work and what I value.

The main thing I’m learning is to cut myself some slack. It’s okay that my overalls can only be worn for work and not to a variety of events (though I am quite proud that they can be worn for a variety of work projects – even in the summer). It’s okay that my wardrobe is basically black – because I’m getting better at using my accessories in creative ways. It’s okay that my closet might not ever be reduced to only 100 items (I miss having a drawer full of athletic socks). I didn’t think this way before this experiment…

Last week’s update was a bit of a marathon to read. It is what it is. This one will be much shorter. If you have any questions about any of my clothing choices, please ask in the comments below. 🙂

Just one note before I begin:

  • On Thursday, I wore my Merrell Mulberry Tiffin Cardigan and I could not find a link to add to it because they don’t make them anymore. I am a big Merrell fan but I’m getting a little frustrated that my favorites are so difficult to find. :((it’s available here in Lapis color only. Ugh.)

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Sunday (Day 56): Dickies Overalls, Mossimo Grey V Neck Short Sleeved Top (thrift store find), brown flip flops

Monday (Day 57):
All Day: Black Short Sleeved Shirt, Teal Skort, Merrell Black Barefoot Wonderglove (mary jane style) Shoes

Tuesday (Day 58):
Morning Run: Black Short Sleeved Shirt, Columbia Teal Skort, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes
Rest of the Day: Black Short Sleeved Shirt, BCG Black Leggings, Sarong Tied As Over Skirt, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals.

Wednesday (Day 59):
BCG Black Sleeveless Top, BCG Black Leggings, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

Thursday (Day 60):
Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress, Merrell Mulberry Tiffin Cardigan, Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

Friday (Day 61):
BCG Black V Neck Sleeveless Top, Dickies Overalls, Black Rubber Boots

Saturday (Day 62):
BCG Black Cami, BCG Black Leggings, Blue Overdress (Thrift Store Find), Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

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.

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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.

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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.