Monthly Archives: November 2013

wearing: weekend uniform

It’s 2013 and I’ve just now discovered the amazing-ness of podcasts. Wes always listens to them when we travel home, and suggested I might enjoy listening to them, too. My podcast playlist is limited in scope, with just two regulars: the Joy the Baker Podcast and Grace Bonney’s After the Jump. I love both for different reasons, but today’s post is all about  After the Jump.

I particularly love when After the Jump tackles the topic of work/life balance. This fall,  Grace and her fellow Design*Sponge extraordinaires sat down to discuss eliminating decision fatigue through the concept of uniforming.

I absolutely love this concept. More importantly, I’m happy to know that other people think about how to micromanage their life. The idea is this: Why not take the time to evaluate your basic, daily decisions and figure out a way to streamline them in order to free up as much time as possible for creative ventures?

You can listen to the podcast here, and read below how I’ve begun implementing the concept of uniforming in various levels of my life.

First, I made a list of all the little tiny decisions I make on a day-to-day. They included what to eat for breakfast/how to do my hair/what to pack for lunch/what to make for dinner/which of the dozen chores to tackle in the evening hour…the list really goes on and on.

Next, I identified the level of control I had in these decisions. For some, I had complete control (how to do my hair), and in others, less (what to make for dinner). This helped me determine which areas of my life I could refine without the input from others.

Finally, I made a plan  and developed some tools (read: fancy to-do lists) to help mitigate the decision fatigue that surround those daily decisions. So far, I’ve tackled meal planning, grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry folding, and most importantly…what to wear.

Enter the weekend uniform.

This was the first decision I decisioned away. The weekends around here typically involve a lot of homework, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Weekends past were spent in athletic wear, but because I’ve decided that I live my life more fully (and efficiently!) when I’m not wearing glorified pajamas, I now opt  for a casual alternative of an easy wear top in a neutral black/grey, skinny jeans, and leopard flats. As you can see, I tried to up the cool factor by straying from the equation and adding boots to my outfit. I love the boots and dress combo, but for me, they’re just too high-maintenance with jeans. So, flats it is. You live, you learn…

I even convinced Becca, who usually finds my micromanaging tendencies rather repugnant, to come up with her own weekend uniform. She leans towards more color, but  isn’t it crazy how well we coordinated? We have been walking out of the house in nearly identical outfits for years. I used to make Becca change. I was a mean sister sometimes!

Here’s our weekend uniform trifecta: no fuss top in black or grey for Catherine, bit-of-color for Becca + the $7.80 skinnies from F21 + leopard flats.

Radical/Springsteen/Skinnies/Leopards

I’m actually wearing the Radical top as I type. It has been dubbed my lucky NaNoWriMo t-shirt, so it’s getting a lot of wear, weekend or not. I write at night, sleep in it to muster up more lucky writing magic, and then write again in the morning. It seems to be working.

Of course, having a uniform doesn’t mean excluding variation in your wardrobe. I’ve been alternating between the three or four B&W/grey tops I own, but I always go for the same pair of jeans and shoes. My outfits druing the week follow a totally different formula. Ultimately, I’m just trying avoid spending my Saturday tearing my closet apart trying to decide if my purple jeans go with  my mustard cardigan.

Overall, I’ve already noticed a higher degree of motivation the better I protect my energies from  decision fatigue, and there’s more to come as I further strategize other areas of my life. Lord knows I can’t help but Word Process my  way into organizational solutions, so be on the look out for to-do-list forms, chore charts, and the like!

Do you struggle with decision fatigue? What area of your life would you consider uniforming?

xo, Cat

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the only way out is through

Hello!

I  am extremely happy  to report that I have finally earned my GED! The past two years have been so very, very stressful, but I am so pleased at what I accomplished. When I started this process, I found myself repeating the mantra the only way out is through. This served as a daily motivator for me to keep calm and carry on. I especially needed the reminder  when I discovered I had nearly passed with flying colors, but needed just a few more points in one section. I was bummed, to say the least.

I put off studying for so long because I was so afraid of not passing again and feeling like a total blockhead, but I finally bit the bullet and buckled down. I shuffled through the month of September with my nose in a book and a calculator attached to my hip. Oh, and donuts. There was a lot of donuts. And gosh darn it, it payed off and I can finally say that  I am done. 

Nowadays, you might see me dancing a merry jig in the grocery store because I’ll never again have to put anymore energy into eating a donut while I try and make sense out of geometry and coordinate planes. I celebrated with a lime/ginger beer concoction called a Moscow Mule (check out this recipe from Shutterbean.com)  and had nearly as good a time as my 21st birthday.

I am done and fully prepared to move on to greater things. Now that I’m over this bump in my Road To Everything, it’s time to apply to Beauty School. In the meantime, I’m flexing my writing skills with NaNoWriMo.

(I already have my nom de plume figured out.)

xo, Becca

25 before 26

It is that time of year again. Autumn makes me feel full of ambition. Can we combine “autumn” and “ambition” somehow? So when the first day of school rolls around and I look like a nutter with all of my to-do lists and new school supplies I can just throw some slang out and continue on? *tries desperately to combine autumn and ambition. fails.*

Just when the first-day-of-school buzz starts to wear off, my birthday rolls around, and then it’s New Years. All of these events either motivate me and/or make me think about the life I want to live. So, fall and winter can be a super inspirational for me, if I manage to harness that energy. So, another to-do list it is!

Here are 25 things I want to accomplish before I turn 26.

1. run a 10k
2. buy 3 pieces for my Pyrex collection
3. add another plant to the house
4. reach a healthy BMI
5. remake a vintage dress
6. create a more organized studio space
7. find a bed spread I don’t hate
8. do a photo-an-hour photo challenge
9. complete 2 months of Insanity
10. have a booth at a local craft fair
11. grow my hair long enough to jump on the ombre trend
12. make a Kagan cooperative learning resource hub
13. bake a tres leches cake
14. start recycling in our home
15. collaborate with another blog
16. find three go-to photo spots for any season
17. try project life
18. do my wedding scrapbook
19. learn (like, really learn) at least 1 sewing skill
20. add a staple piece to my wardrobe
21. learn macrame
22. make a set of coasters for the living room
23. create a cinderblock garden on the balcony
24. make curtains
25. blog at least 1x per month

weekending: NaNoWriMo

The weekend is here and today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month!

I first heard about NaNoWriMo while a sophomore in college and thought to myself “There is no way I could ever write a novel, let alone in 30 days!” Secretly though, I’ve always wanted to write a book and even more secretly secret…I think I might be good at it.

Aren’t those always the things were most reluctant to try? The things we might be good at?

Well. I’m still reluctant to fail, but I’m no longer reluctant make an attempt. Worst-case scenario, I spend a month typing until my fingers bleed and then laugh so hard at my poor use of adjectives that I pee a little. Or a lot. A lot is definitely worst-case.

And best-case? My novel is an interesting story with relatable characters and no glaring plot holes. Or a ridiculous piece of Chick Lit that keeps your eyebrow raised skeptically throughout. I like those too.

I started at midnight and went to sleep at 1AM with 730 words. Typing this now, it’s 9AM and chapter one is done, coming in at nearly 2100 words. I’m very pleased, but forcing myself to stop for the day. I have an outline and a schedule armed and ready  to get me through the next 48k.

If you would like to take a whack at your own manuscript, create an account here. The whole day is still ahead of you, and it’s definitely not too late to start!

Happy Friday, and Happy Writing!

xo, Catherine