There are some parts of aging that bug me more than others. I accept the wrinkles. I’m learning not to cringe when I see the super saggy skin hanging off my face. Honestly. Where does that come from? Gross. I’m doing my part to keep my body firm and strong...I'm trying to understand that crepey skin is a reality at my age.
However, I’m having a tough time letting go of beautifully polished fingernails.
I’ve loved manicures since childhood. My paternal grandmother was the queen of home manicures. She applied fresh polish to her nails weekly (a frosty pink shade by Revlon) and taught me the delicate art of using three simple strokes to coat each nail.
I did my own nails for years...once even in a high school English class:-) Occasionally, I’d splurge on a professional manicure. Enjoying the pampering and perfection of having someone highly skilled perform this task for me.
Then along came that incredible development called Gel or Shellac polish. The stuff wears like iron! And the best part? Your nails are bone dry when you leave the salon. No more dinging the polish as you reach for your keys or wallet. Genius!
I loved my first gel manicure.
It was a Mother's Day gift. A mother-daughter manicure at a cool salon in West Hollywood while on vacation.
The polish was shiny and flawless for three weeks! Cooking, cleaning, gardening...nothing could mess up my nails!
I was hooked...
until it was time to remove the polish.
I wasn’t prepared for the struggle of getting the dang gel off my nails. Ten foil-tipped fingers drenched in acetone for 20-30 minutes. Ugh!
After that first gel manicure my nails were a wreck. My fingertips cracked. My nails were extremely weak. They split and they broke. All of them. Repeatedly. It was painful and unattractive.
Eventually, I nursed my nails back to better health.
The memory dimmed and I was once again lured by the long-lasting wear and stunning shine of a gel manicure. And each time I was very sorry once the polish came off.
It seems that my fingernails can no longer tolerate nail polish remover. Specifically, the quantity and exposure time needed to remove the gel.
The reality is that my nails are a disaster for months after a gel manicure.
I’ve actually made Greta promise to talk me out of it if I ever mention having another gel manicure!
It bums me out. I love manicured nails. I’m envious of women who always have meticulously painted nails. Fun colors that reflect their mood and the season.
However, as with many other things, I’m coming to terms with this change in my life.
My season for manicures seems to be over. With the exception of possibly my children's weddings, I think I’m finished with glossy coats of nail polish. (Thankfully, my toes are tough, so pedicures are still happening:)
If someone invents something as wonderful as gel that doesn’t require harsh chemicals for removal...I’ll certainly reconsider!
Until then, I’m doing what I can to keep my hands and nails looking healthy.
My tips for embracing healthy, natural nails...
Great lotion- my favorite (discovered when my fingertips kept cracking) O’Keeffe’s. This stuff is amazing. It actually heals the cracks and soothes dry skin. And it helps strengthen my fingernails. I’ve used the tub and the tube. Both rock! Available at most grocery stores and Target.
Vitamin E Oil- I use one that brushes on by Sally Hansen. I’ve started to apply this stuff religiously. It’s the only thing that seems to moisturize my very dry nails. Great for my cuticles also!
Short and clean- I keep my fingernails relatively short and square. This helps prevent breaking. I’m also a stickler for keeping my nails clean. No polish means that everything under the tip of my nails is visible. Yuck. A nail brush is my friend:-)
Rubber gloves- They might seem old-school, but my yellow dish-washing gloves are the best! The best trick is to slather lotion on your hands and nails before you don the gloves. Then do the dishes...the hot water + the lotion = a spa moisture treatment for your hands. And clean dishes, too! Win. Win.
Have something that works for keeping your hands and nails looking great? Please share!
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Just so you know, I won't be posting next week (and possibly the week after)...my kids have Spring Break and since it's the last one with everyone in high school, I'll be spending time with them!
Also, I'm working on something that I hope will be super helpful to you. It's been a long time coming. I can't wait to share more...very soon:-)
Have an amazing weekend!
As part of my Simply 50 challenge, I decided that I desperately wanted to welcome more luxury into my everyday life. I felt that at 50, I should stop waiting for ‘someday’, quit settling and begin incorporating beautiful things into my world.
Thankfully, I have a few close friends who are quite skilled in this area.
Though younger and obviously wiser, these women are embracing life luxuriously.
I’ve always been hesitant to buy the best. I’m a frugal shopper, often to a fault. I sometimes don’t follow my own professional advice and end up with the lesser version because I wanted to save a few bucks.
Intellectually, I know this method isn’t the smartest, but I still let the voice in my head (which says there isn’t ever enough money and therefore I can’t afford it) call the shots.
I made a conscious decision to change that outlook last fall.
I’m happy to report that I’ve added a little luxury and it feels incredible. Now, I realize that my idea of luxury might be very different from yours. Please know that while none of the items below were bank-breakers, I had to step out of my financial comfort zone to purchase each of them.
I’m worth it.
Here’s what I’ve added and why…
Pottery Barn Flickering Flameless Wax Pillar Candle-
A dear friend...truly an old-soul who oozes calm and warmth and wisdom….shared her love of these candles.
At first, I was scared of the price...the smallest and least expensive is $50. I hadn’t yet seem them in person, only on a video clip shared by my friend.
I had to admit, they had an amazing glow!
Then I ventured into Pottery Barn to take a look for myself. Honestly, I was mesmerized by the realistic flame. It flickers and dances and truly looks like a lit candle.
I decided to put one on my Christmas list. Figuring my husband and children would be happy to indulge my new desire for more luxury. Note: My husband has this idea down and has been patiently waiting for me to come around.
I received one for Christmas. I smile every single evening when it comes on (did I mention that these candles operate on timers?!). I couldn’t love this simple pillar candle more.
They are much, much better in your home in the evening than they appear online or even in the brightly lit store.
Full disclosure: in an effort to save money, I purchased a few other types of flameless candles. Bad plan. The other options pale in comparison.
The PB candle is superior in every way. Well worth the extra cash, even if you only buy one at a time and build your collection slowly. Because, let’s be honest...most folks can't afford to drop $250-$300 on 5 or 6 pillar candles in the name of luxury?
Next up on the luxury list…
Crate and Barrel Lino II Linen Sheets-
I’ve wanted a set of 100% linen sheets for years. I love the feel of linen. This timeless fabric brings to mind an era long past and at the same time, feels extremely modern. And expensive.
Yet, I reserved linen sheets as a luxury...for later.
Someday, I’d sleep on linen sheets.
A few months ago, when discussing everyday luxury with a friend, she mentioned that for her, such luxury came in the form of linen sheets. She spoke of them with such affection and enthusiasm.
I decided, maybe it was time for linen sheets.
I mentioned this to my husband. Luckily, he is a firm believer in living with luxury (not over-extended, credit-card debt causing luxury, but investing in quality whenever possible)....he said “I want linen sheets for Christmas”.
Over the next several weeks, he repeated this desire. Assuring me that a set of linen sheets was all he wanted for Christmas.
I took him at his word and began to search for our perfect starter set:-)
Crate and Barrel came through with the most beautiful creamy-white linen sheets (and now they’re on sale). We’ve been sleeping on since December 26th. They are truly divine!
Our bedroom has often been the most overlooked room in the house. I always wanted it to feel like a retreat, like a boutique hotel room. It finally does.
Rumpled and soft and sexy
And finally...a grown-up sound machine.
L'ectro Fan Sound Machine-
Everyone in my house sleeps with a sound machine. Before moving from our old house last February, my husband and I tossed ours. It was an inexpensive version that I purchased from Amazon and it had a very annoying repeat loop in every sound. It was just enough to keep us awake...waiting for the catch where the sound started over again.
At the new house we opted for a $20 box fan positioned in the corner of our bedroom. We turned the fan to face the wall during the cooler months and slept soundly to its whir.
Then I performed a mini-makeover on our master bedroom in January...prompted by the linen sheets:-) and I decided it was time to upgrade the sound machine and get rid of the box fan (after all, we have a ceiling fan to move the air).
Again, I searched Amazon. I was sure I could find a sound machine for $20 or so.
I found several, but they all played lots of other sounds besides white noise...I didn’t want crickets or rain or ocean waves...
I wanted the sound of a box fan without having to look at the ugly thing.
Enter ‘LectroFan. This little device is a game-changer. It’s small and mighty. Unlike the models that play nursery rhymes while projecting dancing sea creatures onto the ceiling (yes, one of my kids still has this one), the ‘LectroFan’s modern design is sleek and suitable for an adult room.
I hesitated (as I always do) to spend $50 on a somewhat unnecessary luxury.
But...then I read that in addition to looking great and having only fan and white noise options (20 total)...this fan works on an algorithm that prevents it from ever repeating! The sound is authentic and soothing. Sold.
Solid and well-made
Small and simple
Matthew has mentioned several times in the past month that he really likes it. Winning.
Are there upgrades to everyday items you’d like to try, but don’t because they seem like a huge splurge?
What’s your favorite luxury item?
How do you incorporate luxury into your everyday living?
I always enjoy your thoughts on the topics I explore here. Please share!
Thanks for following along. Questions? Just ask...email me at email@example.com or comment below.
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I'm motivated by the image above. When I look at the photo I feel inspired, calm and refreshed. This beautifully limited collection makes me want to build outfits! I long to feel that way about my own wardrobe,
Blegh! I’m having some issues with my clothes. Lately, when I look inside my closet, I’m bored with the contents. I’m not inspired by what I see.
I'll admit it...I’m in a style rut.
It’s a bit like the ‘shoemaker’s children having no shoes’. I’m aware of the irony that as a personal stylist, I should have an amazing wardrobe!
The truth is that I have some really great pieces. The problem is that I also have a lot of not so great pieces.
There’s too much mediocre and not enough fabulous!
This reality came to a head recently when a box arrived from Mr. Porter.
My husband has needed some new clothes for a while. He decided it was time to make it happen. For the record, Matthew has excellent taste. He’s a very smart shopper. He’s tall and lean (aka everything fits him). He shops almost exclusively online.
So, he spent one afternoon with his laptop, scanning the virtual world of men’s fashion. His go-to site is Mr. Porter (brother of the more expensive women's site, Net-A-Porte). He has consistent good luck with finding fantastic pieces at really good prices.
He shared a few pics with me and asked my opinion about a couple of items...then he placed an order.
Three days later, a box arrived...meticulously filled with black tissue packets, Matthew’s new wardrobe is here! Just. Like. That.
I was thrilled for him...what personal shopper wife doesn’t want her husband to look stylish and find super deals? However, I was also a little miffed.
Shopping truly is easier for men!
I became determined to find a way to mimic Matthew’s simple shopping style and make it work for me. Time to hunt instead of gather.
Here's my full closet confession...
So, there you have it...
This Personal Stylist needs to follow her own advice.
And I'm going to do just that...
I've scheduled some time to dig in and purge the unworn, unloved items from my closet. I'll be sure to document the task so I can share the project with you.
Then, I'll move onto the research phase and create a plan for my new (or probably just slightly modified) look.
I promise to keep you posted as I do the work needed to refresh my wardrobe.
And you know what? If I'm very still...I can hear the Capsule Wardrobe calling:-) Wonder how long I'm going to keep ignoring it.
How are you feeling about your wardrobe? Is it ready for the change of season?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Questions? Just ask.
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Thank you for reading.
You're in for a treat! We have ourselves a guest blogger. For the first time, I've invited a talented and delightful online friend to contribute to my blog. Please allow me to introduce Tenaya Plowman Kolar, founder and CEO of TPK Feng Shui.
Tenaya and I met online last summer when she invited me to be part of her event, the Simplify Your Life Summit. We formed a quick bond and have been growing our online relationship ever since. I'm hoping one day we actually get to meet in person:-)
Pour your favorite beverage and settle in for a new voice, fresh wisdom and valuable insight...
How to simplify your closet & revolutionize your style
Now, I don’t know about you, but it took me a LONG time to find my own personal style. In fact, it took me so long, that I thought I was born without some sort of “style gene.”
Turns out… I just had way too much clothing in my closet.
Allow me to elaborate.
I am a Feng Shui & Design consultant. I help people create inspiring, rejuvenating spaces to live and work.
For 15 years I’ve studied Feng Shui (plus Interior Design, Space Planning, Architectural Drafting, Color and Space Psychology). At it’s core, Feng Shui is an ancient tradition that allows energy to flow into your space so that opportunity can come into your life. You can pinpoint an area of life where you struggle and shift your space in order to transform your life.
There are 3 ways your spaces can affect you:
This last piece has a greater influence on your life than most people care to realize.
Clutter--the stuff that doesn’t have a home, the stuff you don’t love or have the capacity to appreciate--can clog energy like nothing else.
Having studied Feng Shui my entire adult life, I was well aware of this fact and thought my own personal space was relatively pared down. After all, I had been organizing and culling for over a decade.
At that point in my career, two things happened,
First, I began consulting full time and I found that the majority of my clients--though they had beautiful homes full of treasures from around the world--had to deal with the elephant in the room (CLUTTER) before they could see transformation in their spaces and lives.
Thing is, a lot of folks want that quick cure (place a crystal over the toilet to draw up your abundance, place your desk in command to be more productive in your work). And those things will have some impact, but not the life-changing, eye-opening, ease-inspiring transformation that I wanted for my clients… without first opening up space and clearing stagnation.
Deal with your clutter and the ancient wisdom of Feng Shui comes to life. It becomes easy to change your space, to change your life.
The second thing that happened: a friend introduced me to Marie Kondo’s book: the life-changing magic of tidying up. And man-o-man was that life changing. Her directives to surround yourself with only those things that make you happy, and to listen to your joy to determine what to keep, are incredibly powerful.
I had been studying organization and purging techniques for years, and yet there I was, still frustrated at the amount I had to pick up after my family, spending more time than I wanted to dealing with my stuff (organizing it, fixing it, cleaning it, finding a home for it, getting rid of it, etc).
I immediately began my ‘once in a lifetime decluttering event’--using the KonMari method--and it was astounding the way in which it unclogged the energetic pipes in my home (and in my body).
Over the next 6 months, I went from believing my belongings were relatively paired down, to happily releasing dozens of bags of possessions that weighed me down, that had made the experience in my home much less enjoyable.
The energy available to me expanded and a steady stream of new opportunities came into my life.
Turns out, when you surround yourself with what you love, your life mirrors this and you are able to focus on doing the things that make you happy with the people that you love.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the KonMari method, she walks you through a specific order of categories (easier to more difficult), so that you can practice listening to what brings you joy, before you get to the things that have real emotional attachments like Mementos and Photographs. That means that you begin with: clothing.
Now, I’ve told you, style and fashion were never my thing. I wore clothes, but they were utilitarian; I didn’t love them. I had a hard time picking out an outfit every morning. I was a Feng Shui & Design consultant, but felt like I didn’t fit into the Interior Design world because I didn’t have enough style.
Because I didn’t place much import on my clothing, I didn’t think I had that much of it.
Turns out, when I pulled all the tops out of my closet and laid them on my bed (the first step in the KonMari method), I had to take photographs to document the enormity of the pile.
How did I own so many tops?
In that first round of going through my clothing, I found it hard to “hear” my joy, difficult to determine what to keep based solely on a feeling. My rational mind was on overdrive telling me all of the reasons it was wasteful to get rid of the clothing that didn’t make me feel good.
It’s funny thinking back to that time, because now, listening to my joy in order to determine whether something stays or goes, is second nature.
And let me tell you, my home has never been easier to maintain, more full of joy.
What is important in my life has never been so clear and easy to focus on.
The energy that comes into my life has never been so plentiful.
At the time, it was a struggle to get through the process with clothing. There was a lot of grey area--items I wasn’t ready to release even though they probably didn’t bring me joy.
But when I was through, my closet was like an entirely different room. I say “room” because all of a sudden there was actual space amid the clothing. I could see what remained and loved that each piece brought me joy.
Within a month, I was inspired to go through the process with my clothing again. This time it took me an hour rather than the many it had taken me the first time through. What brought me joy was so much clearer.
With this new found space, one of the opportunities that came my way, was a 3-day Wake Up Your Wardrobe closet challenge with none other than Kristen Cain of The Together Act!
It was perfect timing. I had space in my closet and existing wardrobe to identify a) the items I loved and b) the holes that existed.
With that added foundation, all of a sudden, getting dressed every morning was fun. I found that I loved my clothing. I was beginning to identify my own personal style, rather than trying lots of different styles on for size.
Every day became an occasion, a perfect reason to wear something that made me feel great. Friends started to ask where I was going looking so put together.
Turns out, you don’t need an occasion to wear what you love.
Not only did I now LOVE my clothing and my new-found style, but I found a consignment shop in town that was FUN to shop at.
Enjoying the process of filling in the gaps in my wardrobe was a new experience for me. Rather than buying things because I kinda liked them, I buy things that I love and because I know I have the need for that particular item.
Having this new found style sense of style not only made every morning more enjoyable, but it allowed me to feel more confident, more authentically me. Spaciousness in my closet--where only the clothing I loved remained--unlocked doors into greater awareness and ease within myself and my body.
I never undertook decluttering my closet as a way to revolutionize my style and build my confidence, but now that I’ve incorporated the KonMari technique into the work I do, I can say it has that effect on MANY.
Not only do I love my clothing (and own much less of it), but the space that opened in my closet allowed me to think about that space in a whole new light.
My closet went from fully utilitarian, to a space that I delight in opening up, that is an expression of me. I hang the artwork inside that my husband doesn’t enjoy, but that I love. It is a place that makes me smile. A bonus room.
I always encourage clients to find a place in their home that is just for them. This doesn’t have to be a full room; it can be an altar on a shelf, a wall in the kitchen, or the closet where you keep your clothing.
What can you do in your closet that will make you smile every morning? Listen to that intuition and make a change today!
Huge thanks to Tenaya for contributing today's post. I always love learning from others who are striving to simplify their lives and find more joy in the everyday.
Interested in learning more about the work Tenaya does?
Check out her free 3-day email course “Take Command of Your Space” to invite calm peace & order into your busy life TODAY!
Tenaya is the founder and CEO of TPK Feng Shui and Design. She is a Feng Shui & Design Consultant as well as a wife, mom, entrepreneur and space guru. With a background and training in Feng Shui, Interior Design, Architectural Drafting, Space Planning, Color & the Psychology of Space, she delights in discovering the design that unlocks the potential in your home. Visit her at www.tpkfengshui.com.
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,