Saving Good Things

Do you save good things?

And by this, I mean do you consider some items so precious that you rarely use them, lest they get, well, used?

I do. And this is not a Good Thing.

Recently I realized that I hoard some of my nicest stuff, ostensibly protecting it from wear so that it will be (mostly) pristine when I want to use it. Which is often never.

This Prada bag is a great example.

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I bought this a couple of years ago with the idea that it’s a classic and an investment piece.

By “investment,” I also mean in my image and not in potential re-sale value.

This bag was supposed to say something about me: polished, luxe, sophisticated.

Of course I am often not any of those things, so it mostly continues to live in a box in my closet.

When I do take it out, it’s usually to go to a work event, like a conference, and then back the bag goes into its protective home.

I probably feel this way because I didn’t grow up with designer anything around our house and luxury items still sometimes feel irreplaceable if ruined despite consciously telling myself they’re Just Things.

To me, true decadence is having something nice and not really caring at all about it.

A former coworker used to sling around this giant Vuitton bag given to her by her boyfriend like it was a hobo’s bindle. She would carry (and spill) her lunch in it. Toss it in the corner of Labor and Delivery at our hospital. Drag it behind her. I couldn’t imagine ever being that carefree about something so spendy, but the more I think about it, maybe she had the right idea. It’s Just a Thing, and a practical one that’s meant to be used.

My weirdness for saving nice things also extends to travel.

I hate taking worn-out things on trips, so I practically have a whole separate wardrobe of things to wear on vacation.

There are swimsuit coverups and sandals that only see exotic beaches. Cashmere scarves and cardigans that are only meant for drafty airplane coverage. White tees that stay unworn so they can stay white. Delicate clutches for nights on the town. A Kate Spade wallet that I only use for foreign currency (!). You get the idea.

While it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get to my coworker’s carefree state of mind, I think acknowledging the problem is step one to solving it.

The tricky part is that I still am waiting for a personality transplant where I stop ruining everything I touch. Wish me luck.

What about you? Do you save your best stuff or use it with abandon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If It Makes You Happy

I’m doing the solo parenting thing this weekend.

Spouse is re-living his glory days with his college buddies, and from the picture he sent of his feet in front of a campfire (with a caption that Friday evening was fueled by 25 year-old Scotch and Nicaraguan cigars), it sounds like he’s having a blast.

Back at Fancy Pants Ranch, I invited my dear friends J. and B. over last night. We had a lot to catch up on and a few things to celebrate, so this happened:

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My Recycling Bin, which is going to be *quite* heavy to take outside

The three of us also had a blast, but I was feeling a bit rough this A.M.

Fortunately, both kids were also interested in sleeping late and spending the rainy morning as couch potatoes…

Which led me to spend two hours pursuing on of my more embarrassing hobbies: watching corny made-for-TV movies.

Since this was “Hallmark Channel” and not “Lifetime,” it was about two seemingly mismatched strangers falling in love despite obstacles (versus Lifetime’s Woman In Danger trope).

Here’s a screenshot of “Stranded in Paradise,” starring Vanessa Marcil and James Denton.

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Actual screenshot, as this is my TV

There was one part of the film that leapt out at me. Laid-back James (LBJ) is having a conversation with Uptight Vanessa’s (UV) character about Life With a Capital “L”, and it went something like this:

LBJ: The last I checked, you only get one Go Round here. I figured it’s a shame to just go through the motions or live somebody else’s dream. You gotta find your own.

UV: You know, just so you know, it’s not that easy to drop everything and change your whole entire life.

LBJ: I think you’re making it a little harder than it is. You just ask yourself: Am I happy?

And if not, is there something that might make me happy? It’s not selfish or narcissistic. It’s just honest. 

But you have to find it yourself.

Laid-back James, you had me at hello!

Lately I’ve had so many moments to contemplate this exact question, and it’s something I’m determined to figure out.

A few weeks ago at Rock Retreat Run (read about it here), I made this list of things I value:

  • Authenticity
  • Family
  • Friendships
  • Independence/autonomy
  • Laughter
  • Happiness

Fortunately, I think the script for my Hallmark Movie is still being written (and let’s just hope that the plot doesn’t go all Lifetime on me).

 

P.S. Spoiler alert: In the end, Uptight Vanessa and Laid-back James fell in love.

P.P.S. It is almost 1 PM and I still have not brushed my teeth. I know.

Big Sigh For My Life, October 2015 Edition

A few funny things are going on lately. I mean weird, not ha-ha.

Seriously, what’s in the water?

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First of all, I’ve been struggling with a nagging running injury. More on that later this week, but it’s really becoming a drag. I’m rightfully worried about the half marathon I have coming up in a few weeks and the full marathon I’m training for in January.

Work-wise, I owe everybody something. Argh! I agreed to give several talks and am woefully behind on getting the presentations ready. This does not feel good.

Speaking of work, there’s really a yin and yang going on. I don’t like to talk too specifically about my job, but I found out last week that I have an exciting and unexpected trip to a very exotic location on the horizon, which is awesome.

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Hint

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I immediately got a brutal rejection for a paper that I submitted to a journal detailing a research project that I’ve been working on for over a year. The rejection email was cringe-worthy. Crying would be a legitimate response.

And my shoes fell apart.

After 8+ years as my trusty OR clogs, my worn Danskos quite literally rotted away. I guess they’d seen one too many liquid spills and splashes of all sorts of nastiness.

This turn of events was unpleasant, but I used my new Amazon Prime membership to score this rainbow pair within a cool 48 hours.

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New shoes – love!

Last work-related item: We conveniently have meetings Every Single Day during the time that most people would, say, go out for lunch or procure something lunch-y to eat, so brown-bagging it is pretty necessary lest there be no sustenance at all.

Due to my propensity to rip, spill and otherwise ruin things (see rotten shoes above), I go through a lot of lunch totes, some cooler than others.

I recently purchased one for MGM (8) at the start of the school year, which I thought he would love based on his TV viewing habits.

Instead, he deemed it too baby-ish (although an R2D2 lunchbox apparently is the height of third grade chic), which is why I am a now 42-year-old accomplished physician carrying my sandwich and apple to work in this:

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Big sigh for my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Arc of a Stitch Fix Relationship

Dear Stitch Fix:

We’ve had our good times.

We’ve had our bad times.

But can we make this relationship work?

Doubtfully yours,

Fancy

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So, I’ve noticed a pattern in many Stitch Fix relationships, and mine is no exception.

  • Stage 1: Infatuation. After flirting with the idea, you order your first Fix. And when it arrives, it’s love at first sight. Your stylist *gets* you! You adore some of the pieces and convince yourself that the others are taking you out of your comfort zone in the best possible way. You keep the whole box, delighting in the buy-it-all 25% discount.
  • Stage 2: Understanding phase. You still get each other but tiny little flaws start to become apparent. You overlook the ill-fitting skirt for the keep-it-all discount.
  • Stage 3: Doubts. You receive yet another flowy printed sleeveless top. Which you absolutely don’t need.
  • Stage 4: Arguments and make-ups. WHY DID THEY SEND SKINNY JEANS WHEN YOU’VE EXPLICITLY MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES THAT YOU LOOK TERRIBLE IN SKINNY JEANS? The whole Fix is sent back. You bitterly stew over the lost styling fee. But then the most perfect lightweight sweater arrives in your next Fix and you’re back hoping that the relationship can be saved…
  • Stage 5: Decision time. Should you stay or should you go? 

I’m definitely in Stage 5. My friend P. recently divorced Stitch Fix, and believe me, I’m almost ready to figuratively lawyer up, too.

I’m also wondering if Stitch Fix jumped the shark, meaning that they’ve peaked and are heading downhill.

Did they get too big, too fast? For my last three Fixes I’ve had different stylists, leading me to wonder if they either have a lot of new, inexperienced stylists or major employee turnover.

I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend in other bloggers where they seem to be ordering Fixes solely to review them and then repeatedly send everything back, despite trying on all the clothes in multiple elaborately staged blog photos. Without naming names, I saw one blogger who purchased exactly one item over the course of nine months. Not cool, people. 

So what’s a girl to do? I can’t decide, but a notice from Stitch Fix tells me that Fix #9 is on its way.

We’ll see what happens.

This Disney Character…

A couple of weeks ago, Trixie started asking us to play a game called “This Disney Character.”

The game is simple: one person gives clues to the identity of a Disney character and the others guess. The person who gets it right does the clues for the next round.

Sample: This Disney Character is a snowman who loves summer.

Please don’t make me answer that one for you.

However, last week the game took a dark turn.

As I’ve mentioned before, Trixie is not the up-and-at-’em type in the morning.

She’s more like a mid-90s Courtney Love forced to meet a parole officer in the A.M.

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Undoctored photo

Last week the two of us were alone in the kitchen and the usual morning scramble to get out the door was in full swing.

I can’t even recall the precipitating incident, but all of sudden she snarled, “This Disney character is chubby, sweaty, stinky and is standing next to the sink!”

Ok, I *was* next to the sink, but really, the rest of that is not true.

(Is it? Sniff. My self esteem is destroyed by a six year old).

Once I recovered I was able to come back with one for her:

This Disney character is about to lose iPad privileges for the rest of her life.

It only took one guess.

P.S. Here’s another Disney game that is a lot of fun.

Cosmetics Edit – Old Friends

Yesterday I posted about my closet edit, creating a summer tee and tank capsule wardrobe.

Since I’ve been in a shop-my-own-closet mindset, I next turned my attention to my huge collection of beauty freebies and pilfered hotel toiletries.

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So, yeah, I never met a tiny shampoo that I didn’t like.

I’ve been steadily using up all of my stash, and in the process I re-discovered some old favorites.

Mini shower gels are probably my most-hoarded products, and this Red Flower Ocean Purifying Body Wash is fabulous but nearly unicorn-difficult to come by.

Fortunately, H20 Plus’ Sea Salt Body Wash is similar enough, and -score! – it’s copiously available on Disney Cruises, where I’ve managed to acquire a formidable stash.

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Lately I’ve also been loving this Revision Intellishade Matte SPF45 tinted moisturizer.

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I was lucky enough to recently get several small samples, and I’m hooked. Seriously, this stuff is great. The high SPF is a huge bonus, too. I’m halfway through my samples and torn between ordering a full-sized tube and keeping the samples for travel or just carrying on with the shop-my-closet program and using up the minis.

Two re-discovered (unexpired) lipsticks also are getting heavy rotation. The first is Dubai by Susan Posnick and the second is Blue Raspberry by Bobbi Brown. These are both perfect neutrals.

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The last re-discovered gem is this One Love Organics Neroli Body Serum.

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The citrus-y scent is nice for summer and the texture provides sheen.

Overall, shopping my closet has been a fun experiment and using-rather-than-losing-out feels satisfying.

 

 

 

Closet Edit – Summer Shirt Version

Lately I’ve been in one of my moods where I’m fed up with the excessive amounts of extraneous stuff we (ok, I’m mostly just referring to myself, so I) own.

This usually prompts some massive re-organization or sorting project, filling trash bags in disgust, along with a fervent vow to Keep It Simple going forward.

Last weekend I was sick of looking at my jumbled mess of t-shirts and tanks stuffed into the shelves of my closet, so I dumped them into a pile on the floor.

As I sorted the long sleeved, short sleeved, plain white, striped, and printed shirts into separate areas, I realized that I was still going to fall way short of having enough room to neatly stack them all.

I decided to try an experiment: pare down the stacks into the things I wore the most, creating a seasonal capsule wardrobe, a la the now-defunct but still excellent blog, Unfancy.

Here’s what made the cut:

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I kept out a few tanks (top shelf, left and middle piles) in blue, pink, pink striped, black (2), gray, and white (2). Upper right are two sweatshirts (an orange one from Sundry and a light green one from Athleta).

Bottom shelf has long sleeved shirts (left) in striped (I kept three, two from Splendid and one from Target), plus a Gap Perfect Fit 3/4 sleeve V neck in black and another Splendid long sleeve in white.

Middle pile is a short sleeved Splendid stripe tee (I really, really love Splendid), a white one with pink stars, plus neon pink and yellow short sleeves as well as a gray J. Crew V neck.

Final pile is a shirt I got from running a charity 5k race last month supporting the City of Joy, a Fabletics short sleeved hoodie and a Lululemon top I am embarrassed to say I have never worn (I forgot I bought it. Argh).

According to the principles of making a capsule wardrobe, I probably still kept out too much. (To be fair, there are also a few pieces that were in the laundry at the time I was sorting and I didn’t even bother to pack them away once they were clean).

But here’s the thing with casual shirts like this: they have a shelf life.

Even the nicest white tee starts to look ratty after a season or two.

Yet despite this knowledge, I have a hard time tossing anything out, including things that are way past their prime. (Sriracha-stained palm-tree print shirt, I’m looking at YOU).

So while I packed away everything else, I was still too chicken to toss it (yet). However, my big goal is to ruthlessly edit if I get to the end of the summer without feeling like I’m missing out.