Monday, December 28, 2015

What I Wore: GYPO Winter Challenge Week 2

Here is Week One.

The creator of GYPO (Get Your Pretty On) is offering a year long challenge ( four "challenges," one for each season) for a fixed price until the end of January. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy the package and continue with this approach to my wardrobe.

It is strange to change into pretty clothes after work--or, if I work late, change out of them to go to work. I have a lot of work to do over at my Mother's coming up, too, (posts on that, soon) and in my mind, I won't be able to wear "nice" clothes over there, either. But I could be wrong about that!

On to Week Two!

It was a strange one with Christmas plunked down in the middle.

I included the prices and places where I bought everything in Week One. Nothing new this week except the statement necklace.

Outfit of the day #8

I was supposed to wear my burgundy jeans, but I'd decided to exchange them for a smaller size, so I didn't wear the suggested outfit. I also worked a nine hour shift.

Outfit of the day #9

This looks so plain to me. I need either a necklace or a scarf.

Outfit of the day #10
I am supposed to be wearing the sweater dress (but I didn't buy it.) Instead, I subbed this favorite sweater from my closet.

Sorry for the blur.

Outfit of the day #11
Dressed to spend Christmas Eve at my nephew's eighth birthday party!

Burgundy jeans! I returned the old pair (for which I had paid full price, and got these on sale, $30.00 cheaper!)

Christmas Day.
Off script, but still pretty, I think.

Statement necklace: Pennington's $16.00

Those grey pants are beginning to bag out just a little too much.

Outfit of the day #12
(I am officially behind one day.)

 I am so sorry about that mirror. Every time I think I've got it cleaned--more pesky paint flecks show up!

Worn on Boxing Day for our second Christmas with my Mom and nephew.
I am supposed to be wearing plaid flats, but I couldn't find any. Besides, the flares are too long for flats! (They also need to be taken in at the waist.)

Worked a long day on Sunday and changed from work clothes straight into PJs.
Some days are just like that.

So, only five outfits this week.

PS: Kind, good advice welcomed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Difference between Decluttering and Tidying Up

(If you are a devotee of the Kon-Mari method, tidying up is decluttering in the sense I will make clear below. This is for everyone else.)

I came across something very strange in my inbox a while back.

It was so strange that I thought to write it down.

I think it captures a significant confusion. (I've been guilty of it too.)

The subject line was good. The subject line was engaging.

"Must Have Organization."

Yes, I must. I agreed. I opened the e-mail.

(By the by, one of the most disappointing magazines on the newstand I ever picked up was an organizing magazine. Instead of telling me how to organize, that is, how to work out what I need and how to store it and where, it was all about organizing products.)

And I was sort of expecting this e-mail to be like that magazine--and it was--but it also said this:

"storage to declutter every space."


say that again.

Storage. Yep, OK.  I know what storage is.

"to declutter every space."


What do they mean "to declutter every space?"
What do they mean by decluttering?

Surely they don't mean picking up the coat on the floor and hanging it up in the closet?

Or picking up the remote off the couch and putting it in that snazzy box on the coffee table you bought just for it--

No. I hope not. That's not decluttering. That's not organizing.

That's picking up.
That's putting things away.
That's tidying. (In the pre-Marie Kondo sense of tidying.)

And surely, they don't mean that you'll walk into your house with the mail in hand and sort it immediately --just because you now have a pretty mail sorter? Or that you'll take off your earrings and immediately hang them up on a cute jewellery tree?

Nope. Those are habits-- and habits need more than just containers for things.

Now, don't get me wrong. You have to have homes for things. If someone comes to visit for an extended period of time and doesn't have anywhere to put her knitting (say) except on the arm of your living room sofa and it bugs you-- then you need to find something she can put her knitting in.

But, decluttering, true and lasting decluttering needs only bags and boxes and hands and feet willing to trek it all out of the house.

If you are going to store it? You haven't decluttered it.

Linked to A Bowl Full of Lemons, January Projects.

Monday, December 21, 2015

What I Wore: GYPO Winter Challenge Week 1

Wardrobe Therapy.

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) (sorry) there was a small group of women who went through their closets in an effort to purge all that was unflattering and to think deeply and long about their clothes and accessories. I was one of them. This is not that story.

Weight loss, Wait schloss.

My weight has been a nightmare ever since I decided to "do something" about it in 2011. (Did you know I have a weight loss blog? I do.) I'd lose forty pounds or so--and then stop exercising and start eating--and eat like I'd never eaten before. I got on the roller coaster--and every weight loss attempt resulted in a net gain about a year later.

I did well with some weight loss in 2014--so well, in fact, I treated myself to a mini summer wardrobe. Then, I started shopping for fall and everything fell apart. I started gaining weight, clothes became hard to find (and expensive!) and my weight was too unpredictable. So, I bought a few things and then gave up.

I am now the heaviest I have ever been. I may get heavier. (I hope not.)

Because: The Purge

After the big AT closet purge of my clothes this Fall, I was truly left with very little to wear. And I didn't want to buy just anything to fill in the gaps. I wanted a plan...a lovely little capsule wardrobe--and I really didn't want to figure it out myself, this time. Shopping for clothes is a horrible ordeal for me. So, I paid someone else to tell me what to buy!

GYPO (the most unfortunate acronym ever)

I signed up with Alison Lumbatis of Get Your Pretty On for the Winter 2015 Challenge, She sent me a shopping list--and 21 days of outfits plus three dressy outfits and two PJ options (Christmas, you know) assembled from the items on the list.

It's not personal in any way. She sends the same materials to everyone. Then, for a designated period of time, we wear our outfits. December 14th was the first official day. There are 1200 of us in a private facebook group--and we share photographs of ourselves in our outfits.

It's fun.

What I do, on days I work, is go to work in my work duds--and then I change when I get home.

1) The camera battery was acting up. I've since replaced it. Apologies for horrid blurry pictures.
2) I would dearly love a better place to take the selfies. I'm thinking about it.
3) I need a haircut.
4) I spent money with abandon. It's embarrassing. But it is also important to acknowledge that a functional wardrobe (especially in a plus size!) is not cheap.

So, without further ado, here are most of my outfits from Week One.
(I don't have every recommended piece).

What I Wore.

To the Christmas party where I work:

Jacket: Pennington's, $50.00
Sequined top: Pennington's, $50.00
Clutch: Value Village, $1.99
Ponte Knit Pants, Pennington's, last year.
Ankle Boots, Sam Edelman, The Bay, last year.
Oversized watch, Penningtons, $26.00
Chandelier Earrings, eons ago.

Outfit of the Day #1

Tunic Top (a substitution for a tunic sweater) Pennington's, last year.
Fur vest, Laura Plus, $99.99 (sale)
Burgundy jeans, Melissa McCarthy at Penningtons, $119.00
Runners, The Bay, last year
Tassell necklace, I've forgotten, last year.

Outfit of the Day #2 resulted in a top being donated.
No photo.

Outfit of the Day #3

I cleaned the house in this get up! I had to lower the thermostat on the furnace.

Fair Isle Sweater, Land's End, $75.61 (sale)
Flare Jeans, Old Navy, $23.47 (50% off) (That seems low. I think that's in American dollars).
Ankle Boots, see above.

Outfit of the Day, #4

Plaid Shirt: Land's End, $46.96
"Cable" knit sweater, Penningtons, $58.00
Black Ponte knit pants, see above.
Pearls, Christmas present from my husband, 1997

I am supposed to be wearing my "casual" winter boots, here, but they were snowy and wet.

Outfit of the Day #5
My least favourite outfit so far.
Someone suggested I substitute a cream coloured turtleneck.

Black Turtleneck, Penningtons,  last year
Fur Vest, as above
Burgundy jeans, as above
Black ankle boots, as above
coloured stones necklace, Sears, last year.

Outfit of the Day #6
I was supposed to wear the sequined top above with a cardigan and black jeans, but a) too much black, and 2) I spent the day at Mom's helping her organize her pantry and boxing things up for donation. Not really a sequinny sort of day.

(sorry, battery dying.)

Cardigan, Addition-Elle, $80.00
Plaid Shirt, Land's End, $54.91 (sale)
Ponte knit pants, as above
Pearls, as above
Purple suede moccasins, Land's End, $31.04 (sale)

Outfit of the Day #7
I'm supposed to be wearing a sweater dress, but I opted not to purchase one.

Black turtleneck, as above
Grey Diamond knit sweater, Pennington's? last year
Black ponte knit trousers, as above
Purple mocs, as above

So far, it's been a fun thing to do--but it still kind of feels like playing dress up.

Linking this post to The Pleated Poppy, Pumps and Push Ups, and The Mummy Chronicles.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

From the Weekend: Mom's Pantry

The school my nephew attends gifted my mother with boxes and boxes of food and household supplies. (My mother is raising my nephew. He turns eight on Christmas eve.)

I went over on Saturday and cleaned out her pantry closet of old, expired cans (most dated 2013) and put in the new stuff. (One whole shelf is just soup!)

(Sorry the pics are so blurry. I think my camera battery is beginning to fritz.)

She is so happy.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Completely Non-Threatening, Unintimidating Christmas Home Tour*

Hey there.

It's Christmas.

I love peeking into people's houses when they are all lit up and the drapes aren't drawn yet.


I've lit the candles for you.
(It seems I went a bit overboard on the candles this year. Craving light and warmth, right now)

Let me shoo that puppy off the couch for you.

That's our beagle, Stomp. We got him for Christmas eight years ago, now.

He likes to pull the cushions down and nest.

I would say I'm not a big decorator for Christmas: but just look at this place!

I was going to keep it simple, but it got away on me.

It's overloaded.

Let's start with the faux fireplce. I'd love to have a fire, but it's really no big deal. I love our scholarly monk there.

ooh, just noticed that dust. Sorry about that.  I'll have to have a word with the maid.

The mirror on the mantle has been tucked away for over a year. I wanted to bring back a little sparkle--and bounce around what little light we have in the winter.

I made that sign a few years ago. 

My husband loves nutcrackers.

We have these amazing vintage wax decorations.

I picked up some gorgeous Christmas flowers from the grocery store.

I tried to get some poinsettas but I forgot them at work and someone bought them before I could get back to get them. After that, I didn't see any I liked at a price point I liked.

These ornaments are leftovers from decorating the tree. I put some hangers at the bottom of the bowl if you want to hang one up.

I wanted plaid pillows quite badly this Christmas--but I took a lesson from my fall pillow fiasco

I bought a set of napkins to make envelope pillow covers. But when I draped the napkins over the large pillows at each end, I felt overwhelmed. And I found that I really liked the navy with the grey--so I left it alone! Instead, I decided just to cover my center pillow. (I'll have a tutorial on that soon.) I love the little dash of plaid. 

I put the remnant in the tray on the coffee table.

My son made the gumball tree a couple of years ago for me.

The tree is a bit of a hodge podge. Very traditional with coloured lights, candy canes and a ribbon chain garland. My daughter and I made that, one year. 

My aunt Robin made the tree skirt many, many years ago.

On the other side of the room, above the TV, we have what my husband considers perhaps the most important symbol of Christmas. The creche.

Yep, you guessed it. My husband made the stable, oh, probably 17-18 years ago, now.


Let's move into the kitchen and have some hot chocolate.
How's that for a simple hot chocolate station?

The secret is adding the marshmallows and a jar of spoons! The hot chocolate mix is pretty much a winter staple.

The table is super simple with a bowl of fruit and some candles and plants. I have become rather fond of Mr. Owl.

That's paper narcissus waiting to erupt from that mound of moss back there.

Let's take it into the dining room.

I got that plaid tablecloth at Homesense for $10.

It's hella cold out there.

It was snowing on and off all day.

It's Christmas time.

*or your money back!

Linking to the Nester's #ItDoesn'tHaveToBePerfectToBeBeautiful Christmas Annual Tour of Homes.


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