Wednesday, February 05, 2014

#31daydress the final recap

One month. One dress.  A lot of fun!!

January zipped right along, and I can truly say that by the last week and a half or so, I didn't even notice I was wearing the same dress. (And, yes, I have coworkers who STILL didn't realize it, right up until the end!)

So, how did it go? What have I accomplished?

It was GREAT, and I had a lot of fun! I wore the dress every day but two (when I wore workout clothes and pajamas and called it good). I used scarves, sweaters, leggings, jeans, jackets, more scarves, hats, and... I never repeated an ensemble!!

I don't think I started the challenge with the intention of wearing a different outfit every day, but as it evolved, it became fun to mix and match differently. Overall, I used 4 pairs of pants, 9 long sleeve cardigans/blazers. 3 vests, 5 sweaters, 1 sweatshirt, 1 jacket, many shirts/blouses and multiple pairs of tights/leggings.  I wore a lot of scarves and my four pairs of boots were in heavy rotation. Truth be told, MANY of these outfits can (and will) be worn again, without the dress. 

I did not purchase anything new during the challenge (although I was gifted an awesome scarf during that time.) Surprisingly, I used a lot more of my wardrobe than I thought I would, including a few pieces that I haven't worn in a long time. Sadly, I did not fall back in love with some of them, so they will be included in my final donation of clothing.

Most importantly, I felt really good during the challenge.  Out of 29 pretty distinct outfits, I would say 25 of them made me feel like a confident fashonista.  And what did I learn?
  • My winter wardrobe has just about the right amount of pieces in it.  If I want to add any, I will make a conscious effort to cull an older piece to keep the balance
  • I love, love, love to accessorize, and it's pretty obvious that "the scarf" is my signature item
  • Identifying a signature item made it easier to create distinct looks than I thought it would be. 
  • I don't why women don't demand more pockets in fashion.  I know they can be bulky and awkward, but juggling a phone, keys, clipboard, a pen and a lip gloss is a major part of each workday for me, and I really missed having pockets
  • (I sorta miss sharing my daily wardrobe photos)
Overall, I felt both mindful and creative throughout the month, and so I declare the project a success! Will I do it again? (People are asking!) Yes, I think I might.  But I will certainly wait until a different season; Spring, perhaps - when I can explore an entirely different set of shoes and accessories.

Have you ever done something that has challenged your creativity like this? How did you feel during the process? And after? Please share!!

(What is the #31daydress challenge? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here. Week two? Click here. And three is here. And four. And, as always, you can follow me in IG @lelly28461))

Thursday, January 30, 2014

glass ceilings

frozen "glass" snow day experiment

whew! cold enough for you? here in coastal north carolina, we have finally succumbed to the polar vortex, i guess.  freezing rain, sleet, a few snow flakes and plummeting temperatures created a big mess around here tuesday night. as this is a very rare occurrence in these parts, i'm thankful the right calls were made regarding school and government closings, etc. ( i am particularly thankful that my family and friends in Atlanta are safe and warm today!)

so - and rightly so- just about everything around here in tiny town is shut down.  if they didn't close tuesday (schools and government offices), they closed wednesday (restaurants, doctors' offices, the gym). (wait, BoJangles across the street is open, but i heard they were out of chicken, so...) as of this moment, schools will also be closed tomorrow.  and this is the RIGHT thing to do.  ice is melting and reforming, and, i kid you not, there really IS only one way to get anywhere in tiny town.  when that road is in bad shape, well, you should really just stay put.

but we are open.  hotels don't close. (hotels hardly ever close). we are receiving and unloading new furniture.  we are housing emergency crews from the power plants. we are serving breakfast. and coffee.

it takes people to make all of the above happen. it takes people who have to navigate that slush-ice road at 11:00 at night, or at 4:00 in the morning. and sometimes it takes people to cover for other people. the people i work with are very reliable, and as a team, we can almost always seamlessly cover any absentees. the safety of my team and their family members is of the utmost importance.  but let's get real: when you have a business that doesn't close, when you have to provide services to guests who are already in the hotel, you have to staff it.  hotel employees truly are essential personnel. 

one of my  responsibilities is to make sure we are taking care of our guests and taking care of each other. i have managed this hotel for over ten years.  there is a part of my brain that is never able to shut off because the hotel is there, twenty-four/seven. one phone call can change the course of my day or night in a nano second.  i am always "on call."  freak ice storms in january (just like hurricanes in august) send that part of my brain into overdrive. 

[by the way, we are currently renovating all of our guestrooms, which is a beautiful and stressful tango of moving parts and contract laborers.  trucks full of furniture drive through the night and expect people to be here to unload them in the morning. painters want to get paid. carpet installers want to say crazy things like "we won't have enough carpet."]

i am exhausted.

i want to have a snow day. i want to stay home and drink hot chocolate and stay in pyjayzees.  i want to bundle up and slip and slide on the ice for an hour. i want to stay up late catching up on the DVR, knowing I can sleep in the next morning. i want to meet up with friends and watch our kids tumble down small hills on boogie-boards-turn-sleds. 

i want the same thing for jack.

jack and i have this routine. on most days that he doesn't have school, he spends the day with me at the hotel. this week, he helped unload trucks and hauled loads of recycled shipping boxes.  then he would slip away to "his room" tucked up on the third floor, with his book and the TV, and the thing that is still thrilling about having a key to unlock your very own room.  he hasn't complained. much.

but i feel like i've let him down.  i would give anything to be able to detach from the hotel for twenty four hours, to devote my time and attention to jack and the things that seem especially fun about snow days. 

i would give anything to not be the general manager of a hotel right now. it's taken an ice storm for me to clearly see the glass ceiling.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#31daydress Week 4 Recap

Week 4 is in the bag! The 31st is in plain sight!! I almost can't believe I am nearing the end of this wardrobe project. (Or am I?)   

I'm writing today's recap under a winter storm warning.  Yes, coastal North Carolina has finally succumbed to the Polar Vortex.  Or something. Schools and government offices are shut down in anticipation of some icy, snowy weather. But you know who's open? OH, YES. The hotel does not close.  In fact, we continue renovations in the face of your winter storm warning!! Take *that*, universe!

This past week included wearing the dress to Jack's first ever District Band auditions. That will be a post in and of itself, believe me. For now, here's a recap of the past week.

Favorite outfit of the week: Black long sleeve cardigan, skinny jeans, black slouchy boots and two - count  'em - TWO infinity scarves (red and pink worn together). 

Nuisance of the week: We didn't have heat in our house for a good portion of this past week. UGH. Waking up to a cold house is HARD, people. There were plenty of mornings that I wanted to throw on layers upon layers of running clothes and sweatshirts instead of the dress.  Instead, I dug deep and came up with some layers we haven't seen yet during this challenge (red puffy vest, anyone?) I am also very, very VERY thankful that living without heat for a few days was just a nuisance in my world, and not a way of life.

I am mindful of: I wear a lot of scarves.  Like, A. LOT. I obviously had a lot of scarves in my closet to begin this challenge, and I typically will wear a scarf at least once or twice a week.  I'm noticing that the scarf (or scarves) has become an even more prominent accessory for me.  Some others of you are noticing, as well.  Thank you to my good friend, Chris Riker, who gifted me with a lovely new scarf as part of a good mail package over the weekend!!

I've been asked if I will continue, or repeat, this wardrobe challenge.  While it's tempting (seriously), I think I'll wait until Spring before I consider doing another one.  Who knows??

(What is the #31daydress challenge? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here. Week two? Click here. And three is here. And, as always, you can follow me in IG @lelly28461))

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

#31daydress Week 3 Recap

Week 3 has passed, and I'm still going strong, with no repeat outfits. (In all fairness, I spent the weekend alternating between workout clothes and pajamas.  I felt a twinge of guilt, but it passed quickly.  It's not often that I can spend an entire weekend in comfy clothes, and it really only took a few moments for me to get over the fact that I wasn't wearing the dress.    

I manage a hotel in a market where "business casual" is the norm.  (Who are we kidding? I work in a market where "business khaki shorts and flip flops" are the norm.  Even in January!) We are currently in the throes of an 80 guest room renovation, which means I've been striving for more of a "business casual comfortable" style many days. I think there are coworkers who STILL don't realize I'm wearing the same dress every day! 

Favorite outfit of the week: Yellow striped tee, denim shirt, gray upcycled "scarf" (with matching flower pin!), black leggings, slouchy black boots

Nuisance of the week: Putting on tights.  I hate it.  I think all tights manufacturers should put tags in their tights so you know which is the front and which is the back.  I promise you, it DOES matter!

I am mindful of: Several people have stopped me or messaged me to compliment me on my outfits (thanks for following along on the adventure!) I know not everyone "gets" what I'm doing, but it's fun that people are noticing. It's giving me inspiration to get creative and finish out the month with no repeat outfits. It's really helping me get a clear picture of what I'm going to keep in my closet after January 31st, and what I will donate.  Stay tuned!

(What is the #31daydress challenge? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here. Week two? Click here.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#31DayDress Week 2 Recap

So, week 2 of the wardrobe project is complete! (What am I talking about? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here.)

Temps have been more moderate this past week, so there hasn't been as much need to layer, layer, layer. I've gotten a lot of compliments about my outfits at work.  Interestingly enough, I don't think that most people at work even know that I'm doing this challenge! Heh heh.  What received the most comments this week? Well, online, it was a toss up between the cream sweater and the pink cardigan.  In real life, it was those scarlet tights.  Go figure...

(On a side note, hopefully you've noticed the lighting in my photos has improved somewhat.  See it, right there? The difference between pic 2 and 3? Tricked you! Nothing is different AT ALL about the lighting. The only difference is the phone, and I promise you, the difference in the quality of the photos is noticeable!)

Favorite outfit of the week: Pink cardigan, black pencil skirt, black tights and tall black boots

Nuisance of the week: I don't seem to own casual shoes.  I have boots and heels, and then I have running shoes. This has created a challenge on weekends when I have been dressing way down (like, one-step-above-pyjayzees down.)

I am mindful of: I feel better when I am wearing a well put-together outfit, and I feel more confident when I wear heels.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget, you can also follow along on Instagram @lelly28461 (#31daydress).

Friday, January 10, 2014

hey, baby, what's your sign?

i feel like i know myself better in january.

maybe it's because i've just spent some quiet winter hours reviewing the past year: what worked, what didn't, who mattered the most, who hurt my feelings, etc.

or maybe it's because i then spent some hours dreaming & scheming about the new year: what do i want to accomplish, how do i want to feel, who do i want to spend time with, etc.

and after spending all those hours looking at vibrant mental film reels of WHAT I'VE DONE, HOW I FEEL, and WHAT'S NEXT... well, i'm starting to believe i've got myself figured out.  at least i think i do. this month, at least!

so who am i? i'm a fire girl. an archer (and, no, not in the Katniss way.) i mean, i'm a Sagitttarius: adventurous, with an abundance of creative fire and the need for excitement and different ways to widen my horizons. (so, huh.  maybe just a little bit in the Katniss way.)

i don't put too much stock in astrological signs, but with 44 years of life experience under my belt now, it's hard to deny the similarities between "The Sagittarius Woman" and "Eleanor." for example, sagittarius:
  • is enterprising and resourceful
  • always on the lookout for ways to fulfill her dreams
  • is adventurous
  • has an abundance of creative fire
  • has a need for excitement and to widen her horizons
  • works hard to achieve her goal and then looks for another one
  • loves to travel and has a difficult time staying still

oh, i recognize the stumbling blocks, as well.  for example, sagittarius:
  • struggles to balance reality with ideology
  • can be overconfident
  • lacks patience
  • does not possess the ability to adhere to the restraints of a budget (ouch!)
  • needs a great deal of personal freedom
  • is usually attracted to those she feels are in distress
yep, all the signs are there (pun intended.) 

seems like as good a time as any to launch into some new adventures!! and i've got the perfect one planned: i'm *finally* taking the leap and creating a space where i can use my creative fire in a new mentoring adventure. i hope you'll come along with me for support! you can start by checking out a new site - i'm brewing up some really awesome stuff, and i'd love to share it with you.

so, what's your sign? does it fit? tell me about it!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

#31daydress Week 1 Recap

The first seven days of my mindfulness wardrobe project have gone by quickly! I'm happy to say that I'm still having fun with it, and thought a weekly summary would be a great way to capture my thoughts. (Hope you're following along on Instagram @lelly28461!)

One of the first things I realized when I was planning this project was that January can be a challenging time to wear a dress. Yep, even here in coastal North Carolina, where our winter temps are usually in the 40s, we are experiencing some crazy fluctuations. This morning, it feels like 6 degrees. Forty-eight hours from now, it should be in the mid 50s. 

How do I create an outfit around a dress on those colder days? Layers. And lots of 'em. I am actually a big fan of layers, so this hasn't seemed like too big a challenge. On Sunday night, I flat out wore the dress over a pair of jeans (I really thought that would feel awkward), but it came together in a cute tunic-y way. At least, I hope it did, because I have a feeling I'll be rocking it again before the end of the month!

Favorite outfit of the week: black long sleeve cardigan, boyfriend jeans, black socks, black loafers, striped pink scarf. 

Nuisance of the week: My dress has no pockets, which is especially troublesome at work. This is typical of women's business casual attire, I'm afraid. 

I am mindful of: It's cold. Cold enough to delay school openings in our coastal community, which sparked an interesting outpouring of opinions across social media channels last night. It is challenging to create an outfit around the dress when I would rather bundle up in fleece and sweats. I'm thankful that  this challenge is a *choice* for me, and that fleece and sweats are readily available to me should the need arise. There are many, many people who don't have that option.