Laters

silver boxesold ornamentssanta blobs

Yesterday we cleaned the house and put away most of the holiday decorations. I normally keep the tree up well past New Year’s but for some reason I wanted to have it all cleaned up early. This holiday season has been exhausting for me so I guess I’m ready to see it all end and have life be somewhat normal again.

snowmangarland

Today we are going to see The Shape of Water and then run some errands. This evening we are going to a friend’s house for a New Year’s party. In all honesty, I’d kinda rather stay home and play Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The hubs and I bought a Nintendo Switch on Boxing Day and have been playing together each night. It’s been the one relaxing thing I’ve done over the past two days. Playing video games may not sound too relaxing to some, but it’s a sign of normalcy for me. Now that we are done playing Hollow Knight, we can immerse ourselves into Zelda and it looks like it’ll take us a very long time to complete.

birdszhivago bird

I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions, but I do like having a few goals to work towards. Starting them on New Year’s sounds fitting.

  1. Be better at money. There are several “last minute not necessary but I’m going to buy them anyway” items because it’ll help me clear my head for starting off fresh tomorrow. I’m not actually bad at money at all right now, but there’s always room for improvement. I need to figure out where I’m wasting the most money and develop a better system for my discretionary spending.
  2. Be better at pull ups and exercising in general so I’ll be in better shape when I get this effing boot off. Even after scrubbing bathrooms, cleaning floors, de-pilling sweaters, and cleaning the kitchen yesterday I still forced myself to work out. I did pull ups and have fallen back behind in my reps again because I’ve not exercised in over a week.
  3. Hone in on my style more. This year I was very experimental and a lot of my spending most likely came from that. I think I’ve gone to extremes and now looking at some outfit photos, I think my style right now is some degree of weird schizophrenic. I wear both fitted clothes and those that make me look like colorful potato sacks. I don’t regret any purchases because it’s been a learning experience for me and I’ve been thinking of ways to work with what I have to make some items work better for me.

I’ve read many blogs about style this year and I’m starting to get a better idea of what I like and what I don’t. Sustainable fashion trended a lot this year and being more selective of fabric types and construction also made lots of waves in blogs.

Many blogs talk about the importance of fabric and how natural fibers are the best. Looking at a few work horse pieces in my wardrobe say otherwise. If an item is well made and if I take care of it properly, then does the fabric really matter? I don’t think so. My acrylic sweaters may pill more, my polyester shirts might get a few loose strings on them faster, but in general those are not make-or-break problems for me when it comes to my enjoying them. Yes, natural fibers are very nice and may last a little longer, but I do think a lot of what makes clothing last is how I take care of it. I’ve been ironing clothes more this year and paying attention to how often they are cleaned and how they are cleaned.

After reading about where clothing was made and how that makes a huge difference in it’s quality, I went to the mall and decided to test this. The only sort of “high end” store near me is Bloomingdale’s at the mall. I went there and looked at the more expensive clothing designers available. Some of the silk shirts were amazing and made me think my Everlane silk shirt was more Wal-mart quality in comparison. The heft and drape of the silk was incredible and even the stitching made Everlane and Grana look horrible. I think I confused a few SAs who constantly asked if I needed anything because I was taking clothes off the hangers and turning them inside out to look at the stitching and tugging a little at fabrics and checking tags. I was a bit skeptical about the quality because I know that a lot of big name shops have designer clothing that’s specifically made for them: Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, etc….. Although what I gleaned from it all was a mixed bag. For example, the brand Theory had lots of items that said “made especially for Bloomingdales” on them. All of those items were made in China. The few items that didn’t have that notice were made in USA. I checked the stitching and tried to gauge the general fabric quality of both and both were well made. Another brand, Hobbs of London, had almost every item made in China and some clothes were well made with good stitching and some not so much, but the pricing was generally even.

The only thing I managed to get from all of this experience and reading was that being a conscious fashion shopper is nigh impossible. Yes, shopping at stores that have transparent policies and who use sustainable fabrics is best, but the likelihood of finding the best of both worlds like that isn’t all that probable. And for the few places it is, it’s not very economical for most people. For me, the best I can do is be a hell of a lot more discerning with my clothing choices and decide: do I care about the fabric type? Only if it’s well made. Do I care about the quality? Hell yes, the better made an item is the better it will last [caveat] as long as I take care of it. Does expensive clothing equal better clothing? Generally, yes. However, that’s not a set in stone rule. Clothing that has better construction will last longer and it does take longer to make an item that way so the pricing should reflect that. I’d much rather make sure the person who made my clothes gets paid properly for doing the extra work to ensure it’s durability.

I’ve never really meant for this blog to cover such heavy topics in fashion, but in some ways it’s unavoidable. The more I delve into what clothes I like and why, I need to be better informed about them.

Lastly-  item of note in this long, rambling post:

handbags

New handbag: top (showcased next to the most important item in the house – my lint roller) vs old handbag: bottom.

There’s nothing wrong with my old Coach bag. I still love it. My mom surprised me with the new bag from Dooney & Burke for Christmas. It’s not anywhere near the style of bag I’d choose for myself and the colors are not my cup of tea either. That being said, I’ve started using it and I really like it. The pocket placement inside the bag is awesome and I feel more organized than ever using it. I didn’t think I’d like the little hand grips because I’ve always been more a shoulder style fan, but I have found it easier to grab the little handles when necessary. At first, I was thinking I’d say “thanks, but no thanks” and have her return it, but now… it’s actually grown on me due to it’s practicality. I’m still not crazy about the color scheme, but maybe it’s exactly what I need to break up my black cycle lately. (My inner goth is harump-ing right now and saying: we’ll see how long THAT LASTS.)

I hope everyone has a happy and save New Year!

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

So I didn’t mean to go silent for two weeks, but I ended up being insanely busy. And when I wasn’t busy I was relishing in the few moments I had to do nothing. I did take outfit photos and looking at two weeks worth of them was really eye opening. I wear the same stuff over and over. I always knew that, but seeing it in photos really drove home the face that I don’t have a huge wardrobe at all. That’s not a bad thing. It’s simply an observation.

Mondays for the past 3 weeks. Latest photo taken today. I won’t bother writing what the items are that I wore because all of it has been worn before with one exception that I’ll get to in a bit:

Tuesdays:

Wednesdays: This is where I wear something NEW. Last Wednesday I wore a new pair of pants I got in the mail (second photo below). They are from Sacai Luck 2014 runway (I think) and fully lined solid wool beauties. Yes, the liner comes up to a funky drawstring above the waist button. It’s quirky and I like it and these pants are insanely warm and comfortable. I will be living in them this winter.

Thursdays: Oh look, both Thursdays I wore the Sacai Luck pants again. I meant it when I said I’d live in them.

Fridays:

I really do wear navy and black 90% of the time, don’t I?

Seeing these outfits like this makes me realize this blog might be pretty boring to look at for outfit photos since I tend to wear the same thing over and over.

In between these weeks have been two weekends. The first was an insane marathon of bathroom painting hell. The paint in our main bathroom was chipping and I tried sanding it off while I was unemployed, but just made a splotchy mess. It was going to take a LOT more work. I got maybe 25% of the walls cleared and then gave up. Since my relatives will be staying with us for the Christmas holiday we realized we really need to get that bathroom in shape. Saturday we scraped and sanded the rest of the walls. It took all day. The husband and I took shifts scraping and sanding while the other recovered from arms turning into jello. Sunday we sanded more (mostly to even out the spackling we’d done at 9 pm the night before) and then painted… and then cleaned. And finally at 7 pm Sunday night the bathroom was normal again and our arms had fallen off and we were exhausted and crying that we needed a weekend from our weekend. Monday I was a wreck. I didn’t bother doing my usual exercising again until Wednesday and even then my arms were screaming at me: why do you hate us! as I did chin ups.

But now at least the bathroom looks nice. Because the tile in there is awful 1950s salmon with black trim we kept the walls totally white. The grout is white in the tile so it looks somewhat decent that way. We also got a new shower head, light fixture and shower curtains. Everything is white except that awful tile and it looks nice and bright, but I feel like a vampire being blasted by the sun each morning when I get ready for work.

This past weekend I did nothing. Both days I spent lounging on the sofa playing games or catching up on anime. It snowed Saturday and neither the hubs nor I felt like doing anything and relished a well-earned break. We did get a Christmas tree last Friday night and decorated it Saturday while it snowed, but that was the extent of our sloth-like weekend of relaxation.

Getting ready

Tomorrow I start my new job. I’m already wishing I had more time unemployed.

I am happy to be doing something different and interested in what the work entails, but at the same time… it’s work. *sigh* Having bigger paychecks will be nice.

Speaking of… the husband just got a new job as well and his new salary is nearly double what he was making before. I’ve already been calling him Sugar Daddy.

I’m a little uncertain how dressy the new office is so I’m going to play it safe for now. Luckily, a lot of my nicer clothes are more autumn/winter heavy so that makes getting dressed fairly easy for me. The husband is a different story. He’s gained muscle weight and doesn’t fit a lot of his old dress clothes. I’d like to try and get him to wear better clothing, but I won’t push the issue too much. It’s him and his wardrobe and he can spend and do with it what he wants.

wool jacket

I forget when I wore this outfit, but it was some time last week. All blue. I also now live in this wool jacket from 45rpm I got on eBay. It’s perfect for this in-between weather where it’s cool in the mornings and comfortable to slightly warm during the day. I’ve got on my 45rpm long sleeve underneath, Grana jeans, Lems Nine2five shoes.

The usual outfit photos may start up again next week now that I’ll be working and force myself into a regular routine again.

 

The time in between

Over the past month my birthday has come and gone, as has my second wedding anniversary to the husband. It’s been a mixed bag of fun, stressful, and strange lately.

The good: I have a new job. I start in a week, so I get another week of blissful nothingness on my calendar. No phone screenings, no interviews, no obsessively checking job listings anymore.

interview
Interview outfit: sweater and pants – Everlane. Shoes – Chinese Laundry. These are the only heeled shoes I have and I wore them at my wedding and any other formal event I need them for.

The bad (but not really bad): A month after I was laid off my husband’s company went *poof* and ended.  Basically, someone died or is near death and the family took control of the assets, said “hell no” to the company and now 40+ people lost their jobs, my husband included.

Married. Mortgage. Unemployed. That was our status for a solid 3 weeks together. Then I got a job offer and now the husband has two companies tripping over themselves to hire him, so we’re waiting to see what the offers are. Depending on what happens this week, we both might start our new jobs on the same day, which I find rather funny.

We’ve had great weather for being unemployed. It’s been like a little vacation, or what retirement would be like, but without the stress. The husband said he’d have to find more hobbies because he’s been going stir-crazy. We’ve gone hiking at parks, visited a zoo, had brunch in the middle of the week when it’s quiet and not too crowded and done things we’ve been wanting to do but never had the time for before.

I’ve also spent a ridiculous amount of time playing a new 3DS game the hubs gave me for my birthday. I get very OCD and this game sucked me in. I don’t even want to think about what the hour count would be (if there was one) for my sitting on the sofa playing this game, but I’m sure I’d be somewhat ashamed of it (or not because it’s just silly fun).

birthday
Lavender colored roses for my birthday. I’m not a fan of red roses. I prefer purple, orange or white. I’ve been lounging a lot on that sofa lately.

We’ve worked on indoor and outdoor projects – mostly spearheaded by me since I see this time as an opportunity to do work we normally would put off. We worked in the yard and I’ve devised a plan for dealing with the huge flower bed that serves as a weed pit right now in the backyard. I transplanted some ground cover ivy from a patch behind the garage. The idea is to let it spread throughout the flower bed area and crowd out the weeds. I also painted the powder room a medium grey and now I want to repaint the whole house in that color because it looks so cozy. We’ll be repainting the upstairs bathroom this week because it really needs it.

Some of our friends know we’re unemployed now and it’s been funny hearing their reactions. “Knew that racket couldn’t last forever… ” in reference to my ridiculous non-job where I was laid off. “What the hell, guys!” – regarding both of us being unemployed, “How did you manage that!” “You’re doing it all wrong. You need to spend more time doing nothing and then look for a job when you absolutely have to.” Most people found it incredible how I was paid so long for doing next to nothing. I know I had it easy too. It was literally a 3 year paid vacation. Now that I’ve got a real job lined up I’m hoping I’m up for the challenge and ready to get my brain functioning again. The hubs has been getting verbal jabs from all over. He’s never been unemployed since he was 14. This is a first for him and our friends keep telling him to take more time off.

The weather is supposed to get cold and rainy this week, so this mini vacation may come to a welcome ending point. Being cooped up in the house together without too much to do might drive us both insane. I’ll be fine, on the sofa playing my game. The problem is he’ll have cabin fever and then constantly come interrupt my game play because he needs attention – so both of us will end up annoyed.

anniversary
Checking out a new park on our anniversary. Shirt – Everlane. Pants – Brass Clothing. Shoes – Lems Nine2five.

I went to Ren Faire and mostly took photos of animals

acrobatacrobat2

This acrobat was really good. She looked like she was sporting quite the sunburn by the end of the day though, poor thing.

barn owl
Barn Owl – I really want to watch Labyrinth now.

 

blacksmith
Blacksmith giving a demonstration. 
coatimundi
Coatimundi – the husband now wants one. Apparently you can own them, but you have to have a license and only licensed people can pet them.
costumes
Sweaty people in period costumes.
fallow deer
Fallow deer

goat

goat2
I like this goofy one.
hornedowl
Horned owl is not amused.
leather vest
My teenage self squeed at this. 
meat
Happy husband eating huge leg of meat.
parade1
Opening parade – not sure who these people are. Townspeople? 
parade2
King Arthur’s court people.
parade3
Saxons
play
Play about King Arthur’s court and challenging the Saxons, which led to a series of games being played for the rest of the afternoon.

scottish cattlesheep

trebuchet
Trebuchet for throwing fruit and large vegetables at king of the Saxons.