Scheduling routine

neutrals

The remote for my camera is currently out of commission so I dragged up the workout mirror from the basement to take this outfit photo. I didn’t realize the mirror was so dirty until much later.

Lately I’ve been wearing jeans a lot, but today I felt like wearing a bunch of neutrals so I mentally put this outfit together in my head last night and I’m glad it worked out just as nicely in reality when I wore it today.  It’ll be much colder tomorrow and rainy all day so I’ll be back in jeans and a sweater and probably my Blundies.

Work is slowly getting better, but I’m still running myself ragged a few days out of the week. However, it came to light that technically certain management could care less about the extra work I’m doing to make sure stuff gets out and improve our delivery dates. Realizing this, plus the wave of people leaving due to said management has given me serious thoughts about dusting off my resume and looking elsewhere. While the immediate people I work with the most are really amazing and make working there much more tolerable, there’s only so much that can keep someone at a job when higher ups flat out don’t give a crap about the hard work being put into it.

My new planner has been keeping me on track much better than I thought. I scheduled out a routine, but realized some days I can’t do a certain activity. Instead of blowing it off like I normally would in the past, I’m now exchanging day activities so I keep the routine going and at a consistency that won’t allow me to give up. For instance, I’ve scheduled my workouts 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri). Since the weather is nice I’ve been running outside more. However, due to all the rain coming in tomorrow I exchanged my facial day for my workout day so I ran today and will use my NuFace device tomorrow. I think this is what I’ve been missing all along when it comes to keeping up my routines. I never tracked them before, but now that I do I’m seeing how I can compromise on days for things that aren’t possible instead of throwing my hands up in the air and couch-potato-ing it.

I’m also tapering off my anti-anxiety medication. I’ve been on it for over a year and while I tried to taper off with the last script I gave up. This time the doctor left a note with the pharmacist to say: this is the last one. Got it. I’m being forced to really do it this time. Granted, I got some not so good news from my mom last weekend, which put me in a severe panic and made me question going off the meds at all knowing what may happen in the next few months, but I’m going to keep steady with tapering off for now. I’ve also already scheduled out dosages in my planner for that as well. I can’t compromise on this because the medication is a beast and being consistent is key. Whenever I start another low dosage taper I get what Z calls “applesauce brain”. He also was on this medication a few years ago and had to taper off it, which he said was brutal. He constantly had headaches. I’ve had more headaches than usual, but the fogginess or sort of bleh, mushy feeling I get is worse, hence the term applesauce-brain.

Oddly coincidental

I’ve had to ask myself the big questions lately: With regards to the one seemingly necessary women’s accessory – the handbag – am I one of those fancy tote-carrying types or do I prefer to be as casual as possible?

For the past month I’ve been on the hunt for a new handbag. The only thing I knew was it had to be a crossbody style. I want to be hands-free. Would it be leather? Would it be waxed canvas? (I was thinking extreme weather conditions.) How many compartments would it need? What would I carry? Do I really even need to carry half the stuff I do or think I’ll need?

What really drove home the need to get something ASAP was two-fold: A) I’m starting another shopping ban on March 1st [more on that later] and, B) I got really sick and tired of carrying multiple bags around for the past two weeks.

The admin at work was out on medical leave so I had to double-time as  her job and my job. I was swamped at work with new projects and clients coming in among other things and got very irritated by carrying my large, heavy Dooney & Burke purse along with my insulated lunch bag and then my laptop bag. This past Monday I had a breakthrough and remembered I bought a backpack for myself for business trips. It’s a very casual canvas bag, but it worked well enough for the few trips I’ve taken it on and it helped me out a lot this week. I don’t take my laptop home every day so some days it felt funny to be lugging a backpack with just my notebooks and wallet, but it was still lighter than the large leather purse and I could put my lunch bag inside so in the end I was still only carrying one bag.

bags

So then I thought, but what about weekends and when I don’t want to lug everything around? Well, duh Jen – you always use your little Baggu crossbody bag. It’s lightweight and fits what I need for running a few errands.

It sorta hit me: I really don’t like fussing with fancy things and carrying around more than I have to. So I put the D&B purse in my closet with my old Coach purse (thinking about selling them now) and I’ve only been  using the backpack I bought from Amazon and my Baggu crossbody purse. I honestly DGAF how I look when dressed up and carrying a frumpy canvas bag instead of a fancy leather tote or designer handbag. Practicality always wins me over in the end. My “search” for a new bag ended with my using what I already had. Today I went to the craft store and bought some magnetic buttons and velcro since the pockets in both backpack and purse are loose and are sometimes difficult for me to get things in and out of them.  The velcro now keeps the larger pockets in the backpack shut and the magnetic buttons keep my cards put in the purse.

The only issue I have now is my wallet. I’ve been using a $5 large wallet I got from Nordstrom Rack a couple years ago. It’s fine for the backpack, but it’s too big for the Baggu purse. My usual routine is to take out my DL and a few cards for the weekends.  Xin’s many posts of mini wallets to the rescue! I’ve seen so many on her site I knew I’d probably find something decent through her links and I ended up getting the Albee leather zip card case by Italic. I almost went with the green because I’ve been on a green color kick, but decided to stay with a classic color and got the saffianno leather one in tan.

hobonichi techo

Today I got my Hobonichi Techo Weeks. I’ve already written down some work items in the monthly planner section and a few other things. The paper is actually as amazing as reviews says it is. Since I’ve always used an A5 size notebook, the slim size Techo will take some getting used to, but I’m already a fan of how the weeks are organized. Some days I don’t have any notes at all or only one or two lines, so instead of wasting a whole page doing a one-a-day style with my old A5 Moleskine, I can look at the whole week and notes at a glance across two slim pages.

planner toys

I bought a cover for it so I’d have a pen holder and indulged in some planner stickers and stencils.

When the planner arrived in the mail I was so happy to look through it but then so sad because I knew it was a spring starting planner (April). But wait, what? The first page of the weekly planner section begins with FEBRUARY 24th! Meaning I can start using it for this coming week! There’s a hundred memes about stars and planets aligning that would work for how I felt realizing this, but google search is failing me right now in images to exemplify that feeling for this post. It felt seriously eerie and dare I say like some black magic was a work that I’d get the planner today and it just so happens to start on the following Monday.

his hand-me-downs

Lastly, a blurry outfit photo from this week. Other than the shoes and necklace, my entire outfit is Z’s hand-me-downs.

When his become mine

his pant

Z admits he’s a hoarder. He’s not reality TV show bad, but there have been many times when we’ve been looking for something and come across items that he received as gifts or bought that are still in their original packaging and he goes, “Oh yeah….” We clash quite a bit on whether or not to purge things and he likes to spite me since he knows I prefer to streamline our belongings and use only what we absolutely need. Since he’s an auto-nerd he’s got tons of single-use gadgets and tools for his vehicles. My compromise is – as long as it’s organized and doesn’t look horribly cluttered it’s fine.

The one area where I can get him to give in and purge is clothing – barely. He does keep old jeans and old shoes for yard work, which is fine. I recently went through a purge and when he saw a bag of clothes I had I told him to go through his as well. He was surprisingly compliant about it and ended up with his own bag of clothes that was bigger than mine. Now he’s maintaining a steady weight all of his smaller clothes don’t fit him anymore. He put folded up piles on the bed and I filled the bag. As I did I thought about the size of the smaller clothes and tried on a couple pairs of pants. One was far too faded in the knees, but the above pant in the photo fit me really well. They are a little big, but I hemmed in the waist a little and they do sit comfortably on my hips. So I adopted his old pant. He also gave me a shrunken merino wool sweater I’d bought him many years ago. He really liked that sweater but it went though a warm wash (oops) and shrunk a bit so while it was too small for him, it fit me. It is a bit baggy on me but not anymore so than the above ACNE sweater in the photo, so I decided to keep his old sweater as well.

Oddly enough I’d been looking at brown pants so when I saw the color of his I knew I wouldn’t have to bother with searching anymore if they fit. Hand-me-downs for the win!

 

Cool weather formula

b&gbluejacketmonwed

I’ve fallen into a safe uniform formula for the cooler weather lately. A lightweight sweater and pant with a cardigan or wool jacket if I need a layer for going outside.

The photo with the beer is from today. It’s been Hell Week at work, which I knew was going to happen. Why? Because I’m going on vacation for two weeks, so OF COURSE I would get in ALL the customer POs for the last quarter push and Q120 demands. I leave work each day with a headache due to my eyes flitting from one screen to another, rapidly typing in PO items and then scurrying down to the other building for a conference call.

I’ve been trying to tidy up any and all loose ends before I leave. I don’t like dumping my work on others and by the same token I don’t want to be told nothing got done because I wasn’t there (which wouldn’t surprise me – it seems to be the status quo….). If I don’t sit on a project, it rarely  moves as quickly as it should, which always worries me. But this time, I’m done. After tomorrow I’m shutting off all notifications and not taking any calls. Z and I haven’t had a proper vacation in nearly 3 years. WE. NEED. THIS.

4 days, 1 pant

blue shirtblack shirtcardigangreen sweatercasual friday

Wearing the same pant until Friday was surprisingly easy. I was reminded of my old uniforms where I wore a tee and jeans every day. Usually the same jeans with a different tee. Once again I’m questioning do I really need half the clothes I own? Probably not, but feeling the gut wrenching remorse of “why did I do that” after KonMari-ing my wardrobe once cautions me against purging in general. I now make a pile of clothes I no longer like or fit well and let them sit for a while. If I think of any item in that pile at all it means I’m not ready to let it go. I’ve had a pile sitting now for 4 months, glaring at it begrudgingly because it’s taking up space in my office, but knowing I need to have patience if this will truly tell me what I need.

Sweaters and cardigans creep into the wardrobe mix again. Do I need all of them? Again, probably not but I’m glad to have the options. Shockingly, I had a whole pile of clothes sitting and waiting for the ironing board for two weeks but I didn’t feel the pull to wear them. Not that they aren’t nice clothes, but maybe the task of ironing them wore me down so they stayed out of my mind.

Since Z is sick and working all weekend (4 events in one day, poor guy) I’m running errands and doing chores diligently. All of the ironing is done. The basement was thoroughly vacuumed. The bathrooms are scrubbed clean. I bought extra food items at the store he might like: soups and chewy cookies. He putters around the house in his PJs with his phone in his pocket, ready at a moment’s notice to answer it or immediately go to his laptop, which seems to come with him into every room.

Trying to eat less meat means making more stews or large-scale recipes. I found a NYT wild mushroom stew recipe, but can’t mimic it exactly. I don’t have the option of as many fresh mushrooms as the recipe calls for, but Whole Foods seems to carry enough of an array to make do. A large batch on the weekends for my weekday lunch portions over quinoa works best.

My newest challenge: do not snooze on weekdays so I have more time in the mornings to make coffee before work. I have lots of delicious coffee and teas, but they only get used on the weekends. I don’t like drinking the “mediocre” stuff at work. It feels like I’m cheating or degrading myself on the work days. That’s not how I should treat myself. Darker mornings and my notoriously lazy inner self will definitely make this one of the greatest challenges ever. Wish me luck.

Everything changes

beige

I’m on a light color and monochrome kick.

grey

A dress! This is the only dress I own right now. I just got it from Knock Knock Linen (after nearly two months). It’s heavy weight linen so it’s got a nice heft to it that makes me feel grounded and safe in it. The pockets are big and the length is flattering. I added a belt to cinch the waist since it would be rather triangular in look otherwise. I’ve worn it a lot lately and tend to wear a belt with it while I’m out and take it off when I’m at home lounging.

yuki distraction

This outfit was a case of: It looked better in my head than in person. The pant are new from Knock Knock and came at the same time as the dress. These are also heavy weight linen and have lots of functional pockets. If I was tall enough to leave the bottoms un-cuffed I would, but I opted out of shortening the length because I wanted to cuff them. They are very fuzzy and chunky due to the look of the raw style heavy linen, but are very comfortable.

I was picking up a camera lens cover I found on the other side of the room as Z took the photo. The culprit is standing next to me and the reason why I find little trinkets and things knocked about the room all the time.

The past two weeks – going on three – have been a blur. The week of Labor Day I was out of the office entirely on a trip to Vegas. It was incredibly hot so I stayed inside Casesar’s Palace where my room and the conference were the entire time. When I had down time I wandered the shops. I met a Saint Laurent sales rep who complimented me on my Yohji pant (from the suit I usually wear on business trips) and we got to talking about Japanese fashion. He was really nice, wished me well and said he was glad to meet a kindred Yohiji fan.

The following week I was busy in the office and had a day trip to Ohio. I was up and out the door at 6 am and returned at 9 pm. It was my first day trip like that and I felt a bit drained on Friday.

During the time of the conference a deal was made and our company was sold. I found out via an email from the CEO while waiting in the LAS airport for my flight home.  Ever since then our doors have been a revolving stream of reps from our new company. HR, benefits managers, CEO and upper management from the main and sub companies have all taken up residence in our conference rooms and main break room so all of our regularly scheduled meetings tend to be in small offices, the middle of hallways or areas of the shop floor that allow for people to congregate.  I had to fill out a new job application and file for new benefits. So far we’ve been told that there won’t be many employee changes, but we all know how that can change over time… I’m not worried about my position at all. I’ve been a one person department for quite a while and even though we’ve got another rep to help lighten the load there’s no need to trim anywhere in our department since we’ve already got well established connections with our customers. The big question is whether or not they will change our pay or not, which usually doesn’t happen, but isn’t entirely out of the reach of possibility.

I’m really surprised at how quickly September is flying by. The weather has also taken a drastic turn for cooler weather, but we are in the transition where one week is gloriously comfortable and the next is back to summer hot temps. My allergies have exploded and I spend more time moving about the office by sneeze-jet propulsion than walking.

Clothes without a job

contrastcool daylinenstripeswrinkled

As I was getting ready for work one day I thought: what if I didn’t have this job? How would I dress? If I didn’t have to work would I still have the same clothes in my closet? Would I have as many?

Considering people associate themselves with their lines of work or what they do, it made me curious to know how differently we would be sartorially if we didn’t have that work.

Some wardrobes are dictated by their work due to status and profession. Would a lawyer not have all the suits in their closet? (Xin, feel free to chime in.) Would doctors not have as many blazers or sweaters? Would a fast food worker who usually wears a tee and jeans wear more dresses or dress up in general knowing they wouldn’t risk getting grease or food stains on their clothes regularly? Once those questions are answered maybe even a bigger question can be answered: Would our wardrobes be as big as they are now?

To answer the top questions, I know I wouldn’t have half the clothes I do now due to my job. In fact, I’d go so far as to say 95% of the clothes I bought last year most likely would not have been purchased at all nor even thought of if I didn’t have my job. So I clearly wouldn’t have as many clothes as I do now. I know my wardrobe has ballooned greatly. However, I’m starting to realize it never needed to in the first place. My job isn’t nearly as strict on the business casual as I thought. It’s simply – clean and casual – period. All that being said, I don’t regret the journey my wardrobe has taken over the years. I’m becoming more comfortable with what truly works for me throughout all of this trial-and…. trial with outfits. But now, the “business casual” mantra is dethroned for my work. I wear jeans and nice looking tees more often. Today I wore a completely wrinkled linen shirt (last photo). One thing I have learned – nice shoes will make any casual outfit better.  Shoes sort of set a bar or a message saying, “sure I could’ve dressed nicer, but this is nice enough and it works”.

Ironically Z’s wardrobe hasn’t changed much from his job. He was wearing nicer clothes he already had – at first. But then he went back to his standard jeans and tee uniform. He did recently buy several new short sleeve button-down shirts that greatly surprised me. When I asked him why he bought them, he simply said he thought he should dress more like a grown up. His decision was more personally than professionally based. Granted, I don’t doubt his job had something to do with it since he’s traveling more often, but the fact that he thought about his fashion style at all and wanted to make a slight change was enough to have me pester him relentlessly for days about this decision (that’s how rare it is that he ever changes anything about himself).

 

Lots of linen

jeans againjeanspinkish

All three tops are made with linen to some degree. The first two are from Etsy shops with medium weight linen. The last one is a cotton/linen blend cardigan and light enough to wear on 80-something degree days without getting too warm. The first top (green) is my second item from Knock Knock Linen and it’s just as good as the first one. Their medium weight linen is super soft and comfortable. There was zero break-in period with that shirt as compared to the second photo with the short sleeve from Not Perfect Linen. It’s taken several washes now for that one to finally soften enough to be really comfortable.

I’ve bought several linen items this summer and most of it in medium or heavy weight so I can transition them better into a cooler weather wardrobe. I realized I’m not a huge fan of layering clothes, so clothes that can breathe and be a bit heavy work for me so I can wear them year round.

I’ve also been wearing my long Chimala jeans a lot more and getting used to the wide legs. Wearing a nicer shoe makes them look a bit better.

I’ve been reading the Swedish Death Cleaning book and I’m almost done with it. It’s a short read and basically boils down to common sense and not much else. I like the idea of death cleaning to make the process easier for those who have to take care of everything after I’m gone. However, the book itself I haven’t found all that instructional. In fact, I’ve found it a bit boring and have been more or less skimming sections of it. It’s like a series of old granny stories and the lesson at the end is to clean up after yourself or keep in mind everyone else. The author’s memory lane type stories become a bit tedious to read through after a while, despite them being very short in general. She also seems to contradict herself where in one chapter she’ll say to give something up irregardless of how loved the item was because no one no longer wants it and then in another chapter saying she kept something because she thought someday one of her grandchildren will need it, etc…. There are not clear and absolute directions like in Marie Kondo’s book. It sort of meanders to doing whatever you can to reduce one’s clutter, whenever you can… if you want…. I kinda wish the book had been more extreme. The only part in it that was clearly for shits and giggles and gasps (that made me eye-roll) was about very personal items. She mentions that if grandpa had a panty fetish and grandma had too many dildos, try to cut those down before one leaves the earth so as not to put the rest of the family/friends in shock after death. Otherwise Magnassun’s general rule of decluttering was very similar to Kondo’s: if no one likes it and it’s not worth trying to make others take it then get rid of it. The only real thoughtful idea I’ve gotten from the book so far is to contact charities and estate sales people who can value the belongings and sell them.

If something else jumps out at me in the last couple chapters I have then I’ll mention it, but otherwise the book has been a bit of a snoozer. It’s not very long and yet I’ve only had the patience to read a little bit at a time.

Death cleaning

linenshoesyuki bomb

The last photo is of my new Chimala jeans. I got some longer length ones I thought would be good for cooler weather. However, I wasn’t expecting them to be so wide-legged. I can’t return them (final sale) but I’m wavering between getting them hemmed in tighter to a straight-leg cut and getting the length hemmed up a bit. They look very large leg ’90s style, which isn’t bad, but just not what I was expecting from the photos I saw online. I do like them in general and Z said I looked cute today right off the bat – before noticing and asking if the jeans were new.

Has anyone heard of Swedish Death Cleaning? I heard the term a couple months ago, but recently it popped up again while I was browsing online. There is a book about it on Amazon and it’s about preparing yourself and your loved ones for when you die by culling your belongings so that they don’t have to go through the pain of doing it after you are gone. In essence, when you die and those around you go through your belongings, what is it you leave behind that tells them about who you were or how you want to be remembered? Like the Marie Kondo book, the Death Cleaning book by Margareta Mangusson apparently gives explicit directions from everything to general belongings (clothes, books, knick knacks) to cataloging passwords and important documents your family may need to know. I’ve not read it yet, but I have to admit, the general idea sounds appealing. I thought it was morbid at first, but in a way, I get it. What are the lasting things to be remembered by and even so far as how organized you are as a person to make the grieving process as painless as possible for those around you? Since I lost my dad almost a year ago, this idea has really been sticking with me for a while. I may get the book and see if I can glean a bit more from just the generalities I’ve found online.

Days with no meaning

tuckrainy daytuesday?catsnope

The last photo shows my mood of this week: NOPE. It’s been insanity at work. Days are blurring together as nothing but work and deadlines and projects seem to crowd my view. We just hired someone to help me, but the extra time it takes to get her up to speed is only doubling the time it takes me to get stuff done. I know it shouldn’t be a hindrance and she’s aware of it, but I still feel like I’ve got an anchor attached to my leg, slowing me down. The Florida vacation from the beginning of the month feels like a distant memory from many years ago instead of 3 weeks. I’m ready for another break and summer time is our slow season.

The second to last photo is of a new linen shirt I got from Noisy Forest on Etsy. I like the style of it, but the fabric is a bit disappointing. The listing said medium weight linen and it feels no different than a Uniqlo linen shirt, which is lightweight. I bought it as an option for wearing for formal/business events, but it can also be casual if I don’t iron it as shown above. I am keeping it, but as a general note, I wouldn’t buy from them again. The shirt is the most lightweight of all medium weight linens I’ve gotten from Etsy.

I really need to take my shoes in to the local cobbler for fixing. My Frye shoes should be resoled and my Jil Sander shoes are coming apart where the rubber sole is glued to the leather upper.

I’ve been buying several items lately – gearing up for what I hope to be a several years long project. I’m planning to do another shopping ban, but not really calling it a ban. I don’t like the idea of putting a ban on myself or what I can do, so I’m calling it a project with a goal: see how long I can go without buying any clothes or shoes. It’s not just for one year, but for as many years as possible. I guess it’s a challenge, which I find more appealing than a ban, which has negative connotations. I’m not one of those people who can live off 20 items for a year, mostly because the seasonal changes here make that impossible. So I’m filling in the gaps now so to speak. I still have a few things to get, but the list is small. Much smaller than I thought it would be. I may even start the challenge before the end of this year. I find starting events during the New Year a bit anti-climactic and nerve-wracking because I’m usually a mess on NYD – not from being hung over, but from never fully preparing myself for that day since so many other things happen around the holidays in general.