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a few things

May 5, 2011

A few things I’ve been thinking about or doing lately:

  • I’ve simplified my wardrobe significantly. I’m trying to wear/buy only neutrals: black, gray, navy, white, plus a few things in the muted brown/green/blue/eggplant family (these colors all look good on me and are easy to wear). I’ve kept a few bright tops which I still like: a red summer blouse, some teal items (I like teal), a vivid violet t-shirt. But other than that (excepting yardwork or workout clothes, which I don’t wear out and about), it’s all neutrals or soft earthy tones. The reason for this change is that one day I realized I was just excruciatingly tired of trying to put outfits together daily, and usually failing miserably, and feeling frumpy and just “off.” It would be easier if I just didn’t care, but I do care; I like clothes and fashion. I have been SO much happier with this. I’ve been paring down my wardrobe over the past 2-3 years anyway, so there wasn’t much to go through, but now I’m down to just what I like and actually wear, in colors that all pretty much go together interchangeably (with a few exceptions), and a few standout pieces that I couldn’t bear to part with for whatever reason. I’m actually interested in getting dressed again in the morning, and I know I look (relatively) put-together with minimal effort.
  • I’ve been keeping track of every cent I spend, writing down not just the receipts, but the actual items I purchase. This has been very interesting. I’ve learned that we are currently spending a ton on cat food, which is totally fine — Katie is eating so much right now and she can have whatever she wants. I mostly wanted to find out what we actually spend on groceries every month. From previous estimates it appeared we were spending the shocking amount of $600 per month on groceries, which just didn’t seem right AT ALL. So I wanted to know how much of that was cat food and other items, and how much was actually groceries. My adjusted estimate is now around $350/month (including what I eat for lunch at work, plus work snacks), which seems more likely. I’d like to get that down further, but the fact is that it’s expensive to buy food out here. I miss my Berkeley Bowl! Oh well. The rest is cat food, bottled water (our water is TERRIBLE; we are researching our filter options, etc.), or other daily items purchased at the grocery store or Costco (toiletries, etc.). So I feel better about that. I also was able to figure out how much I’m spending on putting the garden together, which will be helpful in figuring out what to budget next year. It will be much cheaper next year since I won’t have to put together the raised beds, unless we want to put in a couple more, which we may want to do. But at least I’ll know how much it costs. So, that’s been interesting. I plan on keeping track of the spending for another month or two, just to get a really good picture of what goes where.
  • I’m considering an e-reader. I actually don’t really want one, but I’m very curious about them and feel like they could be a nice thing to have to tuck into my purse for travel, doctor’s waiting rooms, etc. But honestly I’ve gotten along this far with paper books just fine, so I’m not sure of the advantages. So I’m just kicking the tires, so to speak. I’m deeply ambivalent about them. I am really enjoying listening to audiobooks on my iTouch, and I have a few e-books on there for emergency situations (I have Stanza on the iTouch, it works great), so I’m not unfamiliar with alternatively-delivered books. Terri has an iPad and I’ve looked at books on its reader, which is fun. But do I really need or even want another gadget? Not really. But I still am very curious. Thoughts? I almost think I’ll just wait another few years to see what develops — I can see how it will be very useful in the future as more media is adapted to the readers. But just for books — I like real books just fine, and I don’t travel enough to consider carrying around a few books a huge burden, and I drive my commute (as opposed to riding on a bus or train). So. I don’t know.
  • I’ve decided to take a two-week vacation this summer. I’ve taken one-week vacations before and by the time the week is up, I feel relaxed enough to actually start enjoying having time off, only to have to go back to work right then. So this time, I thought, I need a real summer vacation. So the first two weeks of July is free time! The county fair will be happening then (we are going to enter a few things: Terri a photo, and me perhaps something baked), and we might take a little local overnight trip depending on how Terri’s feeling and so on, and my dad has a track meet in Sacramento at the tag end of the vacation time so he’ll be here for a few days. It should be good. I’m going to think of some things to do that feel like real vacation. It’s Summer Camp At Home (the best kind).
I have so many things to do, I get overwhelmed. But they are all things I want to do. Like: take care of the yard, finish art projects, do a couple sewing things, make some things in the kitchen (like marmalade before all the oranges are gone), paint the bathroom, etc. etc. Plenty of things I *have* to do as well. Oh, and I have to rest, too. How does anyone do all this stuff? I mean really.
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14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 3:33 pm

    Back when I lived in my college dorm, I’d hang my clothes by outfit: Monday top with Monday bottom, Tuesday top with Tuesday bottom, etc. That way, every morning I’d look somewhat pulled together, or at least my clothes don’t blatantly mismatch and I’d save on closet space with fewer clothes hanging.

    I bought a basic Amazon Kindle on February. It’s great for reading in bed (you don’t have to worry about knocking off without marking where you last read and it’s very light). I’m not too crazy about it, but it isn’t bad.

    • May 6, 2011 10:32 am

      Tracy (hi!)
      That’s a great idea. I may have to steal that, actaully.

      Kindle: hmm. I can see the appeal… but I am still unconvinced. I am not going to be purchasing books for it, so unless I figure out how to download from the library, it won’t be used nightly. Well, I’m still thinking. Thanks for the input!

  2. May 5, 2011 8:10 pm

    Well, heeeellllloooooo there!

    I have just caught up on all things missed. Whew!

    I’m so glad there was a happy ending with the pups.

    Loved the 4 things post.

    Your garden is making me swoon. I am so jealous.

    A two week vacation should be mandatory.

    I like your wardrobe solution. I am a fan of all those colors.

    I need more sleep. I am an owl. I fight my nature every freakin’ night. Tylenol PM often comes to the rescue.

    Missed you, lady!

    • May 6, 2011 10:32 am

      Hello! Welcome back! You were missed, much.
      The wardrobe solution is very happy-making.
      I hate going to bed early. HATE. But, I think I have to.

  3. Lara Starr permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:33 pm

    I love the wardrobe plan!

    • May 6, 2011 10:33 am

      I actually thought of you when putting it together; it seems like a very Lara way of doing it. 🙂

      • Lara Starr permalink
        May 6, 2011 9:17 pm

        You know me so well. I think my wardrobe ended up that way without me planning it – it’s Garanimals for Grownups!

  4. May 6, 2011 10:04 am

    Hey there….Good question — I can’t ever finish everything I want to. I had a mini-meltdown yesterday. I worked outside and then came inside and realized that sheets and towels needed washing, dinner needed to be made, bathrooms could use a good cleaning, etc. It struck me as completely overwhelming. No good answer — but I think every little thing you check off that list is a cause to celebrate. And as far as priorities go — make that marmelade! Have a good weekend, my friend.

    • May 6, 2011 10:34 am

      It’s too much! don’t even get me started on our bathrooms. With little sick kitty, many cleaning things are just not getting done since we don’t want to stress her out. I am putting on heavy, thick blinders.
      I might have to try that marmalade this weekend…

  5. May 8, 2011 5:49 am

    I’m very intrigued by your wardrobe slimming – plus since I know you like to do a lot of second-hand shopping, I thought of you when I read this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/08/fast-fashion-death-for-planet (It’s long but interesting; if you want the short and practical read, go to the last 4 paragraphs.) Any chance you could do a post on what your mix-and-match wardrobe consists of these days? I’d take any tips, especially since I’m thinking of trying to do another clearing.

    • May 8, 2011 9:53 am

      Yes, I’ll definitely do a post! That’s good idea. It’s been very therapeutic.

      • May 8, 2011 11:06 am

        I also belatedly realized that a post on the current state of your wardrobe might be labour-intensive with the photos, so I hope I haven’t added *even more* to your list of things to do…

  6. May 9, 2011 5:20 pm

    i simplified my wardrobe in the same way a few years back and ive never been happier!!

    i still except hand me downs not in the color scheme of course and i do reserve the right to buy the occassional fun brightly colored item from a thrift store, but when it comes to clothes bought at ‘real’ stores, i stick to my neutrals/greys/navy etc. its made things so much easier. plus, i feel less guilty when i spend a bit more on something than i usually would, because i know it will go with everything i have in my closet.

    • May 9, 2011 6:32 pm

      exactly. I figure thrift-finds, gifts, and the occasional special piece can be outside the norm, but otherwise, it’s all neutrals. Already my life is easier!

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