My first experience with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was in July of 2015. I read Marie Kondo’s book and immediately began purging and tidying every corner of our home. Her methods, clearly defined and simple to employ, made complete sense to me. She was definitely speaking my language (even though she really wasn’t since she speaks Japanese and I speak English:-). I enjoyed the process and loved the results.
Last weekend, my family and I decorated our home for the holidays. My oldest is a senior in high school, so we are all acutely aware that this might be our final holiday season with all five of us living under the same roof. My children requested that we go ‘all out’ with the decorating. Which for us is still fairly tame but, I felt the desire to oblige and make this December a little more special than years past.
So, we adopted an elfin spirit.
We carefully hung lights on the tree in our front yard...something we very rarely do.
We picked out a beautiful Fraser Fir tree, we dragged out all of the boxes marked 'Christmas' and began to decorate the tree and our home.
Then something interesting happened.
We realized that we have lots of ornaments and holiday stuff that we don’t really like.
You're probably wondering...
Didn't she KonMari her Christmas stuff?
Yes, I did go through our holiday boxes during my initial KonMari event. I purged quite a bit and the pieces I kept sparked joy at the time.
Yet, as we unwrapped the trinkets and treasures from our collection, each of us realized that some of the items don’t actually feel like us anymore.
Our family has changed and our aesthetic has changed. And that’s okay. We realized that we'd like to make some changes so that our holiday style feels more authentic.
I've decided to approach this holiday season with the KonMari principles in mind. Keeping the joy factor at the forefront as I shop and decorate.
How to apply the KonMari Method to decorating and gift-giving:
1. Does it spark joy?
Ask this vital question of everything in your holiday boxes. Take the time to really listen to the response you feel when you hold each piece. Holiday items are usually sentimental and only make an appearance once a year. We tend to settle for what we have because it’s a busy season and we just want to cross the decorating off of the list. This can result in a house full of decorations that don’t spark joy.
2. Create a vision.
Decide what you want your holiday decorating vibe to be. If all of your decorations are rustic country and you really like mid-century modern, it’s time to re-evaluate. Create a Pinterest board or tear images out of magazines. Find the look that represents your ideal holiday home. This helps to reveal what’s missing from your current collection.
In doing this myself, I realized two things were missing from our home: the glow of candles and twinkly lights and a warm neutral color pallette. In my mind, the holidays are sparkly and warm but in our home, the only lights were on the tree. And our holiday decorations were very traditional with lots of red and green. Those pieces seemed out of place in our relatively modern, natural home.
3. Buy one or two items that you absolutely love!
Make sure you are over the moon for anything new. Don’t settle. You can begin to build an amazing collection slowly and deliberately. This year, I added this incredible tree. I smile every time I glance at it. And, a dear friend recently shared her love of these candles. They are so incredible! My birthday is in a few weeks and I’m hoping for one or two of these:-)
If necessary, wait until the after-season sales when you can grab great holiday pieces at incredible prices.
4. Give the people what they want.
Will they really love it? Ask for a list. Don’t give junk. Don’t get lured into buying a bunch of little gifts that are essentially junk. More is not better. One desired item of good quality is much better than several low quality items.
Consider life after the holidays. Will your gift stand the test of time...or will it be purged because it doesn’t spark joy?
Sometimes I think my kids would love to have this or that...but when I really ponder the item, I usually realize that it’s not really what they truly want or need...it's just more stuff to buy, wrap, open and then store in our home.
5. Stick to a list and a budget.
Make a list before you shop and adhere to the list. Remember, it’s the job of the retailers and marketers to make you want (and think you need) everything! You don’t. Tune it all out.
And...pay cash. Super tight budget? Give experiences and time together. Bake something simple. Write a letter or a poem. Print a special photo and pop it into a dollar store frame. You’ll love January with no credit card bills.
Note: I’ve done Christmas on the smallest imaginable budget. I sold things and returned things in order to buy a few gifts for my children. It was the first year I spent only cash. What a relief to face January without the dread of credit card statements. It was a loooong time coming, but Christmas is a cash-only holiday for us now. If you'd like more info on how to make this happen, please email me directly:-)
4. All wrapped up
I love to wrap gifts. I love beautiful papers and ribbons and bows. In the past, I’ve been known to hoard all things gift wrap, but I’ve changed my ways. And I feel so much lighter without bins of unused gift wrap and gift boxes waiting for ‘someday’. I do keep a small shower caddy stocked with scissors, a few ribbons, a roll of tape and some white tissue paper. I buy wrapping paper as I need it and I request boxes when I make a gift purchase.
This season, only buy what you’ll use. In the KonMari Method, there's no storing what you might need ‘someday’. Start fresh each year.
I wish you a slow moving, joy-filled, wonderful month. Consider what matters most to you and schedule everything else around that:-)
I’m making an effort to spend more time with my family this season. I realize that next year will feel very different with my daughter away at university.
It’s incredibly true...
The days are long, but the years are fast.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be devoting time to creating new content for the blog, YouTube channel and The Together Act Academy. I’m very excited for the new year! I have some fun fresh ideas that I can't wait to share with you.
Something on your mind?
If you have a question, there's a good chance that someone else is wondering the same thing also.
So, ask away!
Topics you'd like me to explore? Please email me at email@example.com or comment below. I'd love to include your ideas in future posts.
Finally, thank you for being here. I am humbled and honored that you allow me into your inbox each week.
Take time to really be present this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving. This American tradition is one of my favorites. An entire day devoted to giving thanks. What a simply beautiful concept.
I’ve worked retail for many years and have always enjoyed having Thanksgiving Day as the calm before the storm of holiday shopping truly begins. Slow and peaceful, I love this special day reserved for presence and gratitude.
Since I'm currently a bit obsessed with all things Eckhart Tolle, I'm going to take today to continue reading The New Earth and focus on the Now.
Regardless of your heritage or nationality, I hope today finds you thankful.
Take this opportunity to pause before the start of the crazy season ahead.
Remember what really matters to you and vow to make plenty of time for that...now and in the coming weeks.
Thank you for being here. This community feeds my soul. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for reading my words.
What are you most thankful for today?
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I've been receiving lots of requests to re-open Wake-Up Your Wardrobe. Seems many of you weren't ready in September...but you are now.
Some women tell me they want a crash-course, wardrobe wake-up call before the holidays! (it can be done:-)
Others have asked about giving the course as a gift.
So, The Together Act Academy is having a Black Friday Sale!
Check your inbox tomorrow for details....
If you’ve left your house, collected your mail or turned on your television recently, you’ve probably seen it. It’s been happening for the past few weeks. Gradually at first. Now it’s full-blown. In countries where Christmas is celebrated, retailers are all decked out in their holiday finery. It’s about to become 'the most beautiful time of the year'...and for many, the most stressful and frenzied.
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was the line in the sand. Holiday decorating did not begin prior to that famous fourth Thursday in November. The following day, known affectionately as Black Friday (because it was always the day that put a retailer’s financial books back into the black) was first beginning of the holiday madness.
It seems that the holiday hubbub hits earlier every year. Stores begin stocking holiday merchandise in October...or even September. Halloween goods now share the floor with Christmas gifts and decorations.
I’ve worked retail my entire life. I’m quite comfortable being surrounded by ornaments and garland at work, long before I even consider unboxing those items at home.
I love the holiday season and all of its splendor...but I don’t love the imposed urgency that all of the holiday marketing creates within me.
For many years, I bought into the entire holiday frenzy.
I was strongly influenced and overwhelmed by the advertisements and displays.
I always felt I was behind the holiday eight ball...in my planning, my shopping, my decorating, my wrapping…
I allowed the outside ‘pressure’ to make me feel like I wasn’t living up to my holiday potential.
Then something happened...
A few years ago, our family’s financial situation took a sudden, dark turn in early November. We found ourselves in a new and very scary place just as the holiday marketing madness started.
I had no choice but to take a step back.
I knew I would not be ‘buying’ into the holiday purchasing frenzy that year. I simply couldn’t afford it.
Lots of deep breaths and hot tears later, I realized something simple yet profound…
It is the marketer’s job to make me feel the Christmas crazies! They benefit (mightily) from inducing a purchasing panic in shoppers as the season approaches.
There’s a human psychology at play that I’d been missing for years. The role of the retailers and advertisers is to make us truly believe that we need it all!
We must shop earlier and later.
We must buy sooner and more.
We must decorate until we don’t even recognize our own homes.
Well, the truth is...we really don’t have to do any of that.
During that financially frightening time, I learned a lot.
I discovered that I can do the holidays my way. I don’t have to follow the masses or keep up with the Jones’.
Some years, Christmas is sparse and minimal and others it’s more plentiful. But it can always be abundant.
I now realize that I more fully enjoy the holiday season when I don't become caught up in all the trappings.
Want to experience a calmer, more authentic holiday season?
1. Schedule at least one date with a friend. It’s easy to say you're too busy during the weeks leading up to the holidays...but you control that busyness. Spend an hour or two with a friend who feeds your soul. It might be the best gift you receive all season.
2. Don’t accept every invitation. Just because someone wants you at their gathering doesn’t mean you have to go. Say a gracious ‘no’ to the invites that just don’t fit onto your calendar...or into your heart.
3. Choose the things you really love about the holidays and deep dive into those. For instance, I love to wrap presents. I now schedule and carefully guard the time I spend wrapping gifts. The act is soothing and peaceful for me. I don’t like Christmas cookies, so I stopped attending cookie exchanges and baking for the holidays. Two of my kids enjoy baking and have happily taken on the task of creating seasonal desserts.
4. Share the love. ‘Tis the season for giving. Find ways, big or small, that you can give back or pay it forward. Carry a pouch full of change to drop in the Salvation Army bucket. Feed a parking meter to keep a fellow shopper from getting a ticket. Donate your time. Buy a small gift for a giving tree. Then, pause and really enjoy how awesome it feels to spread good cheer.
5. Spend wisely. In an effort to cut expenses and reduce waste, I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards. Now I share our family’s photographic cheer through email or social media. Saves money and the planet. Works for me.
6. Buy what they want. I love to shop for gifts and in the past have gotten carried away. I now stick to a wish list. In an effort to keep our home free of clutter, I’m careful not to buy things that are cute or fun, but not really wanted or needed by the recipient. I don’t feel the urge to fill up the space under the tree with more stuff. We spent a long time purging and tidying...I definitely don’t want to do that again!
7. Get clever. If there's something you can create that makes a wonderful gift, do it. Just be sure you are enjoying the process and the ‘making’ isn’t making you crazy. Or give an experience...lunch with a friend after the holidays, a walk in the snow, a movie date.
8. Spend cash. I learned way too late how fabulous it feels to have a cash only holiday season. Go small. Stay intentional. There is something beautiful about a January free of credit card statements.
9. Decorate within your personal limits. I like a house that twinkles during the holidays. I love greenery. I rely on white lights and candles to create a festive glow and I always ask for a big pile of the discarded greens when we buy our Christmas tree. I use those pine clippings to craft a simple wreath for the front door and to line the mantel.
I don’t like to completely redecorate our home to make room for Christmas. So, I'm choosy about what I display. I've recently purged any holiday decor that didn’t spark joy. Now I enjoy a few amazing pieces that make me and my family really happy.
10. Take time to recharge. Whatever that looks like for you...make it happen. A bubble bath. A cup of tea in a cozy chair. A 30-minute break to read or nap. In this season that’s all about giving to others, be sure to give something to yourself.
I hope the start of this holiday season finds you calm and relaxed.
Don’t get lost in what doesn’t matter to you. Stay true to yourself and do the things that will truly bring you joy over the next six weeks.
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How do you stay chill throughout the frenzy?
What’s your best tip for finding peace during the holiday madness?
Please share what works for you!
Thanks so much for reading.
We are getting very close to 'the most wonderful time of the year'. Working in retail means that the holiday season arrives way ahead of schedule. Some years it seems to come too early, but this year, I'm ready! Our weather has been incredible. Still sunny and above 60 most days. Somehow that makes the darker afternoons and pending holiday madness easier for me to handle...and even embrace.
I’m overwhelmed by the incredible new merchandise arriving daily. If you aren’t aware, I am the Personal Stylist at Anthropologie in Boulder, Colorado. That's our window in the photo above. I'm thrilled to work for such a special retailer...especially in November and December.
Oh, the sparkle and shimmer of it all!
I wanted to share a few of my current favorites...please remember that anytime I post about a product, it’s because I truly love it! I'm not compensated for sharing and I'm not an affiliate for any retailer.
When I find something good, I want you to know about it.
Seems only fair:-)
Okay, here’s what I’m loving at Anthropologie...and this time I included an amazing item from Free People! (after all, they’re our sister-store)
I will definitely do another ‘faves’ post as the holiday season really gets underway...but for now these pieces top my list of must haves!
Decorative Tabletop Tree - small $34 /large $54
These trees arrived at our store yesterday. I knew I couldn't/shouldn't wait. I purchased the small one at the end of my shift. The branches are wire so you can arrange them as you like. It looks so real and so magical at the same time! These won't last long. I think this little tree is the perfect dose of holiday sparkle. I'm not sure where I'm going to display mine...but it'll be the highlight of the space. If you want one, don't delay too long. These will sell out!
Soft-Brushed Gingham Throw - $68 50"x70"
In my quest for bringing more luxury into my home, I've been paying more attention to textiles. I recently discovered this beauty. Wow! Incredibly soft and cozy...and well-priced. I'm considering a change in color scheme just so I can incorporate this throw into my home. A welcome gift for someone on your list. Or for you:-)
Winter Wonder Candle - $18 in Balsam and Cedar by Illume
Want to bring the smell of fir trees inside? This is your candle. Oh, my! This is the best one I've found for capturing that wonderful, icy cold pine fragrance. I haven't purchased this one yet. I'm trying to use up my fall scented candles first. I hope they burn fast...I'm ready for the next season of wax.
Boulangerie Jar Candle - $18 in Espresso
Staying with the candle category... I'm about to purchase my first espresso scented candle. I love coffee and the aroma of freshly ground or brewed coffee, but I've never burned this scent in my home. Well, that's about to change. Here's why...I recently had three different customers tell me that they burn this espresso candle and the cult favorite Capri Blue Volcano candle together! Apparently, the fragrances mingle and create a synergy of scents! As the Personal Stylist, I figure the least I can do is try it myself so I can better serve my customers;-)
Tied Camo Crops - $118 by Sanctuary
I recently purchased these pants. They are super comfortable and very flattering. The color is much more military green in person and they are not this cropped on a person who's 5'6''. My wardrobe needed these! I plan to keep wearing them right into winter with booties and maybe some cozy socks.
Glistened Skinny Scarf - $28
I just wore this scarf for the first time. I love it! So chic and simple. Great price. Perfect to spice up a simple top or sweater. Just the right amount of sparkle for the holidays and beyond.
Arctic Fox Sweater - $128 (this item is from Free People )
This sweater is crazy good! Several of my co-workers own it in more than one color. It's soft, slouchy and sexy in all the best ways. Awesome zipper detail in the back. I don't think the photos do it justice. I prefer the dark gray (black) or the pink...but all four shades are beautiful. The moss green is much prettier in person...and much greener).
I hope this list of my favorites brightened your day.
Remember, it's the job of the retail industry to try and work you into a holiday panic...don't fall for it!
Relax and enjoy the season. No need to feel frenzied. It's all good!
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Please share what you're loving in stores right now...
Thanks for reading.
Today’s post is bittersweet. I’m thrilled to be wrapping up the Write 31 Days challenge for the third year in a row, but I know I’ll miss the time dedicated to exploring words that are important to me. While I know that I've accomplished something, I also know that the real work is ahead of me. I’ve stirred up all sorts of internal stuff and the end of this challenge means it’s officially time to refine my life for the next decade.
I really enjoyed this year’s topic. Though I was unsure at the start, Simply 50 - refining life for the next decade was absolutely the right subject. I learned quite a bit about myself and what matters at this current place in my life.
As I look back over the past 30 posts, I can feel how powerful this project was for me. I hope it was for you, also. While I certainly would never presume that my words could change you, I fully believe that you can change you.
If you want something in your life to be different
...recognize that you have the power to change it.
Whatever it is...big or small...there is a way to refine your life for the better. We are never too old to learn something new or modify our methods.
On our kitchen counter we have a day-at-a-time Zen calendar. We’ve been enjoying these Zen calendars for about 12 years. Our home wouldn’t be complete without this small, square teacher facing us each day.
Most days this little calendar offers immense wisdom on its disposable pages. Today is no exception.
"I am afraid. Not of life, or death or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been."
That’s it. That’s exactly where I am.
As the years continue to move past...not a single second to be reclaimed...
I am scared of wasting time.
I truly believe my life matters. So does yours. We are here to contribute something great.
Most of us hold back, fearful of shining too bright. I've done this for years. Well, I've reached the point where my fear has shifted. I'm now afraid I won't shine bright enough.
This four-week journey has taught me many things. None more important than this… I want more. More of the things that truly matter.
More out of my life.
For the next nine years and beyond, my soul will be searching...committed to seeking joy and offering compassion. As I look back over the list of words that I selected for this challenge, I realize I have some work to do. Several aspects of my life have been neglected for far too long.
A few words stand out as the best place to start. These words cover a lot of ground and they'll be my launch pad for a decade of refining.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. It’s my sincere hope that you've found some truth in this month of words. I appreciate all of the comments you offered when a post really resonated. I love knowing that we are all in this together. The human journey is a shared one. The more we connect with one another, the more powerful and complete the experience.
I honestly welcome your thoughts about this year’s write 31 days.
What did you like? What do you wish I’d done differently?
Are there things you’re hoping to refine in your own life?
Moving forward, I'm open to what you’d like me to explore in future posts. I’m delighted when someone asks me to write about a specific subject. My desire is to create a community where we can feel comfortable learning from each other, growing and improving in the process.
I'll leave you with this...
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
That’s all for this year’s Write 31 Days. I’ll miss you all tomorrow morning.
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I’ve reached the end of the alphabet and almost the end of this year's Write 31 Days challenge. Tomorrow is the final day. It’s been an interesting month of digging deep and feeling all the feels. Today’s word is ZEAL - great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. This word was the ideal choice the letter Z.
I’ve often heard the saying, “How we do anything is how we do everything”.
Well, I want to live my life with zeal.
I want to feel a surge of energy for the big things and the little things.
I want to approach my days with excitement and a passion for making each day the best it can possibly be.
Challenges that seem too big to overcome and pitfalls that make it hard to stay positive are losing their power over me.
I am completely committed to the work of staying present and focused on the Now.
I believe that enthusiasm breeds more enthusiasm. If someone is super keen on something, that vibe is infectious. Others crave a taste of that powerful, positive energy and their zeal increases!
I’m going to print out a list of all of the words I chose to write about this month.
I plan to hang it where I can see it several times a day.
My hope is that the clear messages I’ve heard as I’ve written each post will begin to manifest in my life.
Here's the list, if you'd like it...
3. Be you
16. Meditation & Morning Pages
21. Refine, Rest, Right, Romance
27. Wisdom & Wonder
My sincere gratitude for your support as I’ve explored Simply 50 - refining life for the next decade. Thank you for reading.
See you tomorrow for the final Write 31 Days post.
After the challenge, my blog will resume its normally scheduled programming:-) That is to say, I’ll be posting once a week on style, wardrobes, simplicity, organizing, living in the present and creating a beautiful life!
I'd love to have you join me.
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If I have one mothering regret it’s that I didn’t say yes often enough. Looking back, it’s easy to see so many times when I could have said yes, but chose no. Yes was often the messier, louder, longer, more expensive, more exhausting option...but in the end, would that have been so bad? I don’t believe we should always say yes. I know there are times when no was the best response for everyone involved. But, I said it more often than necessary.
While I’ve missed a lot of opportunities when I could have said yes...it’s not too late to start flexing my yes muscles.
I have all three of my children at home for another 9+ months.
I plan to say yes more often.
I'm not proud of this...
With my children, I often have a terrible time saying yes joyfully. I find that I might say yes, but it’s uttered begrudgingly. It’s cluttered and colored by the huge to-do list in my head or the stress of something that has absolutely nothing to do with what they are asking me.
It’s clear to my children that I’m not happy about the yes I’m offering...so it negates that yes and makes them feel bad. As soon as I utter a miserable yes, I catch myself...but by then it’s already too late.
I am going to try to say a loving yes to many of the million little things I’m asked regularly. The rides to and from, last minute needs from the store, pleas for help in finding a lost article of clothing. I realize that I will dearly miss these opportunities to say yes when my children are grown.
Helping me to see the power of yes, is the adorable Kelly Jensen.
For those of you who are on Instagram but have somehow managed to miss this amazing lady, do yourself a favor and take a pause from reading this and go click follow on her IG account...@kellyejensen.
She’s the real deal.
Don't let her stunning appearance, adorable children, loving husband and incredible photos make you doubt her authenticity. I believe she truly lives what she shares in her squares.
Even now, in the homestretch of mothering, Kelly Jensen is changing the way I parent my children.
My children are narrowing in on adulthood, but I realize there's still time for me to adopt a yes attitude.
Enter...The Live List.
This simple concept is now taking the world of social media by storm.
Kelly Jensen has been creating a personal live list for 20 years. For the past several years, her family of 7 (that's right, she's the mother of five young children) has been committed to experiencing the benefits of a Live List.
To clarify, a Live List is a bit different than a Bucket List. A Bucket List is often considered a list of things you want to do before you die.
A Live List puts the focus on doing things- big and small -to enhance your life now.
The idea is to live your very best life by dreaming and stretching and growing through the items on your Live List.
Here’s the link to a short video of Kelly Jensen explaining the Live List.
Our first family Live List will be created this Sunday.
I mentioned the concept to my husband and children at last week’s family meeting. I think they are on-board. We'll each offer activities and ideas to be considered for the Cain Family Live List.
In addition, I plan to create my own personal live list and I'm hopeful that Matthew and I will create a couple's live list.
That's a lot of lists...but we have a lot of life to live!
A Live List is designed to encourage you to do things you love...and ultimately make life better...for yourself and for others.
The actions within the concept of the Live List...brainstorming, deciding, planning, anticipating and actually accomplishing...all work together to bring joy to the everyday.
I'm ready for more YES!
I promise to share more about our Live List after we begin.
I actually can't wait to implement this simple, yet brilliant plan! Thank you, Kelly Jensen.
How do you feel about saying yes?
Do you feel that you say it too often or not enough?
Thank you so much for following along. I’m going to be sad to see October end. This month of writing every day has been the best kind of challenge. I’m excited about what’s ahead….
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The X words are always the hardest. I gave this letter a lot of thought. I found some interesting X words, but none fit into my concept of Simply 50. Then, in a stroke of sheer brilliance...I remembered that X is the Roman numeral for ten:-) Problem solved. This is exactly the right ‘word’ for today.
Ten years = a decade. Perfect for a monthly writing challenge centered around refining life for the next decade.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I was really panicking at the thought of trying to refine so many things very quickly.
I was thinking I needed to make all of the changes immediately so I could have them all zipped up before I turn 51..in less than 60 days!
Thankfully, a dear friend stepped in and reminded me that this journey is about the ‘refining life for the next decade’.
If necessary, I can use all ten years to refine things!
Phew. That makes this undertaking much more bearable. My goal is to work at a steady pace and change what needs changing so I can live the benefit of those changes before my next big decade birthday.
Much like a haircut, once you decide you’re ready, you want it to happen immediately. I’m certain I'll enhance my patience practice in the coming months and years:-)
When this month of writing is over, I plan to take some time to map out the next decade. I’ve already begun to tweak the things that are easiest and most accessible.
Small, but notable changes...burning scented candles, listening to music, laughing more, reading The Power of Now and Vogue magazine...are making a delightful impact on my everyday happiness.
The next task is to set some real goals and fine tune the action steps so that they can be achieved in the coming decade.
My old self avoided goals.
My new self is actually excited about deciding what I want and declaring it. And then following through on the work so I actually reach those goals!
Ten years is a long time. I’d like to arrive at 60 feeling that I used the past decade very wisely and wrung every last drop of joy from each year.
It’s your turn...please share. I love hearing your thoughts.
How will you spend the next ten years?
How do you view coming next decade?
As always, thank you so much for reading. I can’t believe this month of writing is almost over. I’m already missing it...and also looking forward to what’s ahead!
When I’m not in the midst of a writing challenge, I share a new post about once a week. The topics vary, but usually follow these themes; personal style, building an awesome wardrobe, organization, minimalism, finding joy, simplicity and living in the present.
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Wisdom- At fifty, I finally feel like there are some things I know for sure. The ability to trust my own wisdom didn’t show up until recently. I’ve reached a place where I’m confident in the fact that I know some things. Five decades of life experience has provided me with a solid framework for making good choices and solving problems.
I now possess the knowledge that life often has a way of taking you off the path you’ve chosen and redirecting you in an unknown, but often better, direction. It feels good to have stockpiled some useful wisdom at this stage in the game.
I work with lots of younger women. I’m aware that in certain circumstances they might view me as wise...in a wise old owl sort of way:-)
I have double their years under my belt and that makes me the expert by default. I recall viewing older women this way when I was in my 20s and 30s. It was clear that they held broad knowledge that came from the passing of years. I wanted to learn from them. I hope I'm able to share a little wisdom with those in the decades behind me.
Wonder- There are plenty of things I know. However, what interests me more right now is waking up my sense of wonder. In the busy years of mothering littles and furthering careers, I think it’s easy to lose sight of the magic of wonder.
Whether it’s wonder by way of being in awe of something or the actual act of being curious…I want more of both in my life.
I’m not exactly sure how to begin this search for more wonder, but I’ll start by piquing my curiosity regularly.
I plan to investigate and pursue things that fascinate me. Learning new things by staying curious. I’ll definitely be exploring my surroundings and my soul for ways to incorporate a stronger dose of wonder in the coming days.
Are you comfortable with your wisdom?
Do you regularly experience wonder?
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Lifetouch loves me. Though I never display them, I always purchase my children’s school pictures. Every year since that very first order form came home with my daughter Greta in Kindergarten, I’ve chosen a package and written a check. Like the other parents, I then waited two months for the photos to come home, cut them out and shared them with grandparents.
My three children are all in high school this year. I continue to add to their school photo collection. The yearly envelopes are tucked away in the basement. Every so often, we pull them out and line up the photos of each child chronologically.
I’m always moved to tears when we do this simple activity. I’m overwhelmed by the fleeting nature of childhood and by how much they’ve changed since that first school photo.
However, what I find most amazing is how much my high school kids resemble their Kindergarten selves. When looking backwards, it’s so obvious who they were destined to become.
The age progression laid out on my dining room table tells me that these teenagers have been emerging since before they were five years old.
The essence of who they are today was there in Kindergarten and it is perfectly visible in hindsight. It’s profound to experience the reversal of time in this way.
By looking back from the present we can see that who we are currently has always been inside of us…
All of this is to say…
I’ve been reading Vogue magazine for decades. I was introduced to this fashion bible in the beginning of high school.
I don’t remember much about my first Vogue magazine, but I remember being in awe. I loved the weight of it in my hands. I loved the way it looked and smelled. I was intrigued by the idea of using clothing and accessories to alter our mood and appearance. It felt important and adult.
In college, I studied Fashion Merchandising. Vogue became required reading. I devoured every issue...my absolute favorite was a copy of French Vogue purchased on my first trip to Paris.
I collaged my walls and doors with images cut from the ever-growing Vogue tower that stood proudly in my room.
At that time, when I imagined my dream job, it was editor of French Vogue.
I didn’t push myself very hard in the direction of that dream job. Instead, I made a series of choices that led me away from my love of fashion and style. Due to several different factors, I began to view the world of fashion as silly and unnecessary. Frivolous and not important.
I ignored the essence of who I am.
How does this connect to my pile of Lifetouch photos?
When I look at my children’s current school photos...I now see the souls of my teenagers in their Kindergarten faces. I see that they have become exactly who they were meant to be at this stage.
Decades ago, as I flipped through the pages of that very first Vogue magazine, I knew that fashion and style were a fundamental part of who I am.
At the core, I'm still the same as my own Kindergarten photo. Though I haven’t asked her, I’m quite certain that my mother can see in my childhood photos the woman I am today.
I no longer want to be the editor of Vogue Paris. I am thankful I chose a different path.
I am exactly where I belong.
In the past decade I’ve begun to listen to my heart again. I’ve returned to the world of fashion, but this time on my terms.
We all need to get dressed daily. I’ve realized that by helping women feel beautiful, authentic and empowered through their wardrobes, I am able to share my real passion for style in a valuable way.
My hope is that my children stay true to who they are and follow the path that feeds their souls.
I’m excited about continuing on my own journey and holding tight to what really matters to me.
I’m going to start with some me time and this month’s yet unopened issue of Vogue.
What about you hasn't changed since you were a child?
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,