Minimalism, Closet Edition

I love having things, but I loathe seeing them.  My work desk is spotless (I win neatest desk by a mile) and I am constantly re-arranging things in the house to make surfaces look neater and cleaner.  I can’t function if there is too much clutter and distraction.

This explains the issues I have with getting dressed for work.  On a whim, I asked my husband how long it takes for him to get dressed in the morning.  Two freaking minutes.  On a typical morning, I set aside 10-15 minutes for getting dressed, usually trying on multiple outfits or fiddling with combinations until it’s time to go.  Or past time to go.  Yes, I can be running ahead of schedule up until the point of getting dressed.  I can even make myself late trying to get dressed.

It shouldn’t be so hard.  My office has a business casual dress code.  We get to wear jeans every Friday and because of our floor to ceiling windows, it’s usually chilly and people wear fleeces or light jackets.  I rarely meet with clients on my own or even see clients, so it’s definitely not a formal work attire situation.  Everyone seems to value function over fashion, which is okay with me.  So why am I having so much trouble throwing something together?

It’s an over abundance of choice.  My closet was packed to the brim with choices, many of which I haven’t worn in years.  My closet began to spill over into the office closet.  Every day I strived to find something new to try out.  At one point, one of my co-workers asked if I had a new outfit every day.  That was a source of pride.  Who doesn’t love the attention and a great outfit at the same time?  But the pressure is grating.  I’m sick of wasting precious time in the a.m., too. This week I finally dug into some Pinterest research this past week on creating a work uniform.  The end goal is functional pieces that go together without much deliberation but still look polished.

So began the mass closet exodus of 2014.

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To start, I edited by color.  I focused on keeping blues, blacks, whites and grays.  Those colors go well together without much brain power.  Some people probably think it’s boring.  Maybe it is.  I wore combinations of those colors all week and it feels fine to me.  I kept a few pieces outside of this color range, but they had to be absolute favorite pieces that I’ve worn recently that fit well.

From there, I ditched the cheap brands (Forever 21, Charlotte Russe).  Just…no.  No one is forever 21.

The harder part that I’m struggling with is the sentimental clothes.  The bridesmaid dresses.  The skirt from a friend.  The clothes that I use as a way to measure my body.  Fat jeans, skinny jeans.  I still need to convince myself that fitting into the dress I wore at age 20 doesn’t matter if I’m never going to wear it again.  Neither does the cheap UW-Housing t-shirt that I wore when I worked for the UW.  I don’t need these things around.  It’s just so hard to get rid of them, though.

Here’s a poorly lit shot of the new and improved arrangement:

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I still want to cull the herd a bit more, but it’s a good start.  I plan on selling, giving away, and donating the clothes I took out.

Clothes mountain in the office:

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This morning, I got dressed in three minutes.  I’m wearing red heels, black dress pants, a white tank layered with a dark gray sweater.  I feel good and look profesh.  I didn’t change outfits at all this morning.  Bonus:  I even had time to do something with my hair.

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The Best Songs For Unrequited Love

I’ve spent a lot of my life loving people who didn’t love me back.  There’s nothing special or unusually tragic about this.  I’m just happy that part of my life is a closed chapter.

But it stays with you because it’s painful.  These are some of the songs that carried me through those days as well as some more recent songs that have the same message.

Shooter Jennings, “All of This Could’ve Been Yours

All of this would’ve been, all of this could’ve been yours…There is something so mournfully perfect about the way those lyrics are sung.  I love the open lyrics “I had a cure for your disease, but you threw it away”.

Fauxliage, “Let it Go

No, not that “Let it Go”.  The name of this band irritates me, but the song is pretty.  “I wonder if you wanted me like I wanted you” is a resonating lyric.

Robyn, “Dancing on My Own

This is the worst feeling when you figure out your crush has a significant other.  I distinctly remember being in that situation once and drinking a six-pack of grape Smirnoff to get over it.  Which, you know, I did, mainly because then I was feeling physically ill.

Radiohead, “Creep

The lyrics of this one are powerful.  There are a ton of good covers for this song, too.  “I want you to notice when I’m not around.”

Carolyn Dawn Johnson, “Complicated

This one tells the classic story of falling for a friend.  It was one of my first introductions into country music and her voice is lovely.

En Vogue, “Don’t Let Go

So fun to sing along with!  The girls from EV belt it out and they are pissed.  They won’t be satisfied until VOWS are taken.  (That escalated quickly…)

Rob Thomas, “This is How a Heart Breaks

Why you gotta make it so hard on me?  Good song for the gym, when you’re over your crying.

Of course, Taylor Swift (T Swizzle) has a lot of good unrequited love songs, and I’m sure I’ll think of a dozen more (better) songs after I publish this, but it’s a good start.  I occasionally make playlists according to feeling, and I’ve definitely had rotating unrequited love playlists.  I’ve been lucky enough to delete them since, but, oh, I’ve been there.

 

 

 

Food & Cats in Ecuador

Okay, finally getting around to my last Ecuador post.  It seems like we were there FOREVER AGO when it was only two weeks ago.

I saved the best for last.  Food and cats!  Without further ado:

Cuy (that’s guinea pig, folks):

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Verdict:  the skin was greasy and tasted like a thick, chewy bacon.  The meat tasted like a salty turkey.

Pulled taffy.  Very sweet and chewy.  Which reminds me to make a dentist appointment to get the filling that I’m pretty sure I broke on this fixed.

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The best pineapple lives in Pineapple City.

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Granadillas.  This is a fruit that you are supposed to crack open using your forehead.  I whacked it open on Kris’ knee instead.  The insides are seeds in gooey sacks that you are supposed to suck on and then swallow.  If you chew it, the seeds are bitter. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  The fruit was sweet but the texture and eating process was a little off-putting.  Supposedly, this is a very healthy fruit and will cure all your ailments.

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Trout head.  The fish eye is considered a delicacy.  Kris and I each tasted one and it pretty much tasted like what you would expect:  rubbery and fishy.

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Plate of homemade food that we had at the lunch at the groom’s house:

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Kris found a fun place to eat:

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Espumillas is an ice cream-like dessert.  It’s made from egg whites, sugar and guava.  It has the texture of whip cream.

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Wedding food!  All delicious.

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We definitely put on our adventurous eating pants for this trip and I’m so glad we did.

Now, as promised, here are several kitties we ran into.

Samuel (pronounced like sam-well).  I am a sucker for the pushed in faces, even though I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  Samuel lived at our hostel in Quito.

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Amazon kitty.  Very friendly.  Crying and begging for pets.

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Leprechaun Bar kitty.  Pretty chill.

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And some Panama City kitties.

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That’s all, folks!  A very fun trip with memories to last us a lifetime.