Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Post-Holiday and Shopping Challenge Reflections


So...I tried using the Blogger app earlier to type the text and when I tried going back on the computer to edit, it all disappeared....oh the frustration! But anyway, I guess I'll try to remember what I was trying to say:  A very belated happiest of all holidays to everyone! For those of you who still read this blog, thank you for your support! It helps to know I'm not just writing to the computer screen. I do realize that my blog has slowly evolved into a family lifestyle blog with less fashion/outfit posts. However, that's the beauty in blogging - it evolves and grows with you, which is perfectly fine to me!

I cannot believe another year has just flown by. End of the year = End of my Shopping Challenge. I've been meaning to update you all on that, so sorry for the lag! But going on with my challenge, I did end up finishing without succumbing to the tempting after-Christmas sales. To say I did it all on my own would be an overstatement, for I would've caved in after the first week of my challenge. This was definitely an area I needed to surrender to the good Lord and to trust that he would give me the strength and supernatural self-control I would need to refrain from buying things I felt I "needed." What I needed was a lot of hand-holding and wake-up calls. A year without purchasing clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes, anything related to assembling an outfit was mighty challenging, but my closet feels the least neglected. My husband walked by and mentioned my closet still looked full (whatever). Yes, I was also blessed with gifts and hand-me-downs from family and friends: One friend handed down about 6 pairs of shoes to me! 

What I wish I had better prepared for, was the post-shopping challenge adjustment. Just as one does not begin to binge on copious amounts of fattening food right after a food fast, I probably should have eased back into re-learning the art of shopping. I found myself with a imaginary list of "needs," which were, let's face it: wants. Even though I did not spend extravagantly, I did feel a little guilty for not thoroughly thinking through my priorities and new habits I wanted to build. But what has been done is done, and I shall move forward...

A year of not contributing to my own closet has also led me to learn the art of giving, which is far more rewarding than buying for oneself. Not to say it comes naturally or easy, but it is certainly a test of my heart. It also caused me to reevaluate why I chose to purchase certain items - Were they purely because I loved the item aside from outside influences? This led me to ask myself some more difficult questions and learning to face the truth of my reality in all its ugliness. Some reflections on shopping I would like to share (this serves as a good reminder for myself)...


- The less we buy, the more we can give (simple math).

-  Fashion is a never-ending vicious cycle, but style truly remains (well said, Coco Chanel - restated by me)

- The world says live on more, but Jesus says live on less

-  What kind of message are we sending to the world through the way we dress?

-  Are we enabling others to be bound by slavery through the things we purchase? (I understand this is a hugely controversial topic with various opinions)

- Where do we draw the fine line between dressing for self-expression vs. being a slave to trends?


And some questions to ask when one chooses to shop...

-  Will this clothing item last beyond several washes and trends?

-  Do I REALLY need this (I think we all ask ourself this question over and over...)?

-  How many outfits can I wear this item with? More mileage = better bang for your buck


What I realized about my shopping habits:

I own one too many statement pieces and high high heels, neither which are practical. 

I tend to buy when things are on super clearance or at the thrift store, which don't necessarily equate to being a smart, savvy shopper.

I am a social shopper, and tend to let my natural inhibitions slide when a girl friend tells me I need to have it.

I am too old to be shopping at Forever 21 (nearly a decade past).


What I actually needed to purchase:

-  socks

-  undergarments

-  basics: plain tees & tanks

-  comfortable shoes for walking: i.e. sneakers, tennies

Now that I am a mom, my "style" has definitely evolved into being a creature of comfort. My typical daily attire consists of sweats, sweaters, leggings, jeggings and anything made of cotton. Gone are the days of running around all day in super high-heels...though I can't completely give up what I already own and have minimized wear to 1-2 days a week, preferably on weekends. My goal this year is to whittle down my closet to the items I wear the most in order to maximize on what I already own, and filling in the little gaps if needed. I am no minimalist, so my version would be a mix of basics and statement pieces, rather than bare-boned basics. Everyone has their own style, and can do what they deem best for their lifestyle. I have already cleared out one huge shopping bag's worth of clothing in the past month that could use a better home. My cousin let me in on The Lean Closet Movement, and it had me inspired.

I think there was more I wanted to say, but at the moment I am having Mommy-brain. I will continue with the reflections as they come...

In regards to the Christmas season, it literally felt like a tornado that came and left! It was full of many firsts for our little one: Disneyland, Las Vegas, Castle on the Green (for all of us!), I am now out of words and will let the pictures tell the story...

Okay I lied, I do want to mention that the Castle Green in Pasadena is worth paying a visit during the holidays. This old building from the late 1800s was once a hotel that has been converted into residential spaces- and I love old spaces, particularly ones with the word "castle" in them. I am a closet romantic and princess at heart. Participating residents were so kind as to decorate and open up their homes for viewing, all elaborately decorated with holiday charm and sparkle. I had been wanting to check the place out when I first laid eyes on it as a past Pasadena civilian. The Hubby took us as a surprise and it was a real treat! Scroll towards the end for those photos:



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