Day 31: Reflect

To me, some of the appeal of a vintage lifestyle is a bit of a slower pace. Life in the days of old was not necessarily easy, but it was simple. There was a sense of order. There was a rhythm of work and rest. And the rest was sweet, because the work was hard.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Just taking a little bit of time at the end of the day to think about what went well, what I would do differently and where I’m headed.

And this is what it comes down to:  I’m not living the life I want to. I’m too busy. Our family is way too busy.

Take this past week. My birthday was Wednesday, but we didn’t get around to eating the birthday cake I made until Friday afternoon – yikes! It was all fun stuff, but it was just way too much. And I have one of those fancy-schmancy new cell phones that’s still in the box because I can’t find one hour to set it up. (We had to upgrade as the only place I could get a signal in our house on my old phone was near the coffee maker – and even that was spotty!)

This week is lighter, but not by much.

I need to take some of my own advice and learn how to slow down. To say no. To do less…so I can enjoy the life I’ve been given more.

This month marks one year of blogging. I started this blog as a way to journal my attempts to simplify and prioritize. Ironically, my very first post was on being overwhelmed. One year later, it feels like I’m still in the same place.

Something has to change…so I’m going to take a break from blogging for a while.

I may be back from time to time if I have a fabulous new recipe or a thrifty decorating idea that is too good not to pass along. And I do have some things to share from a women’s retreat I attended. It was about rest and what the Bible has to say about it. It was really good, but I need to find the time to apply what I learned.

I’m even going to take a break from reading blogs as well. The question I’ve been pondering for some time is this, “Do I want to live my life, or do I want to blog about it?”

And that is a question only I can answer after lots of reflection.

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This is the last post in a month-long series entitled, “31 Days of Vintage Living in a Modern World.”

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 9:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Day 30: Do something you loved as a child

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Think back to when you were a kid. What did you like to do?

I read an article once that suggested a way to relax was to do something you loved as a child. For example, if you loved to ride your bike, the author suggested that you dust it off and take it out for a spin to relieve some stress. If you loved art, grab some colored pencils or paint and a blank canvas and get to work creating your own masterpiece.

For me, I loved to color and dance (my mother enrolled me in dance class at a young age; I vividly remember my first recital at age four).

I was inside a lot. My parents were always working:  my mother ran an adult foster care home out of our house and I almost never remember her sitting down. My papa worked in a factory an hour away, and then he helped her in the evening.

After a while I got really good at finding things to do to keep me busy. Coloring was a great solution. Maybe that’s why I love to paint today, although now my canvas is a beat up old piece of furniture!

So now that I’ve rambled a bit and given you some time to think, let’s go back to my original question.

What did you like to do as a kid?

Play at the park? roller skate? go on a swing? Maybe you could do that again sometime. If you don’t have children, could you spend some time with a niece or a nephew?

Sometimes being with a kid can make you feel like you were a kid again. And that can be a great way to escape, relax and have some fun.

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We’ll wrap up this month-long series tomorrow. If you missed a post, you can find them all here.

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 29: Make something with your hands

Sorry this post is up late today…it’s been a crazy busy week!

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Our hands are pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.

We can do so many things with them. We can write a note, push a child on a swing, prepare a meal, mend a teddy bear or encourage someone with our touch.

No matter what you choose to do today, make something with your hands. And then give thanks to God for the ability to do so.

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 28: Reach out to others

It seems like these days we don’t have a lot of time to reach out to others. We’re so busy trying to keep up with the needs of our own families that there just doesn’t seem to be much time left for developing friendships.

I know I’m guilty of that.

So…here are a few ideas on how to reach out to others:

  • Write a note of encouragement (a real handwritten note with that stuff called paper and a pen)
  • Bake (or buy) cookies and take them to someone in need
  • Grab a friend and go for a walk
  • Chat with a neighbor like you have all the time in the world
  • Call someone you haven’t talked to in a long while just to say “hi”
I’m sure there are many, many other ways but at least it’s a start. I’m going to pick one to do within the next few days. Won’t you join me?
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There are only a few days left in our series. Check out the rest of the posts here.
Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Day 27: Repair, not replace

Back in the day, there were basically two options when something you owned no longer worked:

  • fix it yourself
  • have someone else fix it

Notice that in both cases the item was repaired. Conventional wisdom of the day was not, “Toss it and buy another.”

Instead, you took good care of what you had and chose to repair, rather than replace, the item when needed.

Today, things aren’t really made to last any more and I think that is sad.

If the faucet was leaking, (usually the husband) would get out a wrench and make it stop.

If your shoes were looking shabby, you took them to a repair shop where they were polished and reheeled.

No matter what broke or no longer worked, it was fixed, whether it was a vacuum cleaner or a fence.

Both of my parents (grandparents) were born around the Great Depression. My papa was born in 1925 and my mom was born in 1932. Needless to say, they both knew how to make the most of what they had and didn’t throw anything that could possibly have another use away.

I’d like to bring just a little bit of that mentality back en vogue, wherever it makes sense.

Though sometimes when it gets really, really busy, I have to admit we use paper plates!

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Just four days left in our series, can you believe it?

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 8:51 am  Comments (1)  
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Day 24: Window shop

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Here is an idea for you…sometime this week go shopping – window shopping, that is.

If you are a buy-it-on-impulse type of shopper (like I tend to be), then avoid temptation altogether and don’t even take your wallet with you!

You can get all sorts of great ideas for clothes just by looking. You may even find new ways to wear your old favorites. And all for free.

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New here? Thanks for stopping by. You can view all the posts in this series here.

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Day 23: Use what you have

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When I was growing up, closets were small. We lived in a large home in a middle class neighborhood. It wasn’t large because we needed a ton of space, it was large because my mother (grandmother) ran an adult foster care home within our home. There was always a lot of drama and very little privacy, but I’ll save those stories for another post;)

The first house my husband and I bought was built in 1927. People back then didn’t have large closets. They didn’t need them because they didn’t have a lot of clothes.

And you know what? I’m convinced that having a small closet is the key to a great wardrobe.

Why? Because when you have a small closet, each item of clothing has to work otherwise it can’t stay. There simply isn’t any room for “someday I might wear this” or “when I lose those extra (cough) pounds…”.

If it doesn’t fit, isn’t my color or is just plain not in style anymore, I donate it.

When I was pregnant with twins, I had very few maternity clothes. Seriously. I had two skirts, three pairs of pants (including one pair of jeans), two dresses, a few tops and one sweater. I had even less as I started to grow out of my maternity clothes during the latter part of my pregnancy.

Wanna know something? I LOVED it.

I was careful to buy only things that could work with each other. All of the tops could go with all of the bottoms. For a different look, I would wear a plain sheath dress over a button down shirt and if I was cold, I’d put my sweater over that. I was able to make many different outfits from relatively few items and I had a lot of fun mixing and matching.

I would also add accessories to change the look or make it more interesting. A scarf, a big chunky necklace or some bold earrings and cute shoes could really change things up.

Having a small wardrobe forced me to be creative. Way more creative than when my closet was four times that size. I actually looked forward to getting dressed every morning.

So my point is this…you don’t have to have a lot of clothes in order to have a stylish wardrobe. But you do need to love and use what you do have.

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If you liked this post, I’ve written about how I never pay more than $5 for jeans, plus 11 tips to building a frugal wardrobe.

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 22: Fix or mend something

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Often times, I will look in my closet and think, “I have nothing to wear!”, when that is simply not true.

When that happens, my first thought is, “I need to go shopping”, which isn’t always in my budget. Instead, I’m forced to look around and see a number of things that need to be mended, cleaned or otherwise repaired, such as:

  • all of the “hand wash cold, line dry” items patiently waiting to be washed
  • shoes that need to be reheeled, polished or fixed
  • my favorite handbag (or suitcase as my husband calls it) with a strap that needs to be restitched
  • a blouse that needs to be mended, a sweater with small hole or my favorite khakis that are missing a button
  • a leather belt that needs a new hole to be made
  • items that need to be drycleaned (at home with Dryel or at the drycleaner)
  • simple alterations
  • and my least favorite chore of all, the dreaded ironing basket
I would virtually have a new wardrobe if I did all those things. And if I did just one or two on that list, I would have lots more options in my closet that would feel “new” again.
Making good use of the items you already have in your closet is a great way to fight the urge to shop for new clothes and to make the most of your current wardrobe.
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See all posts in this series, Vintage Living in a Modern World
Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 21: Put on a little lipstick

So far in this series, we’ve talked about getting started and what that looks like for our homes and our families. Now, I’d like to switch gears again and talk about style.

Your personal style should be just that – personal. Special and unique, just like you.

When I was a teenager, I used to spend a lot of time getting ready. Several outfit changes, a full set of makeup, a curling iron and LOTS Of Aqua-Net (do they still make that stuff anymore?) and then I was ready to step outside – even if I was only going to the gas station.

Now that I’m a wife, mom, teacher, employee, volunteer, friend, etc., etc., I don’t have as much time to spend on my looks.

Who am I kidding? At this stage of my life, I consider flossing and shaving to be beauty treatments!

Ahem.

But there is one thing that makes me feel put together, even when I’m not.

And that, my friends, is lipstick.


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Have you ever called your mother looking for some deeply profound wisdom for a seemingly insurmountable situation in your life and all she could come up with was, “Just put on a little lipstick and everything will be alright.”

Ah, mothers.

So that is my deeply profound advice for you today: just put on a little lipstick. 

You choose the shade (nude, pink, plum, red, toffee) and formula (gloss, long-lasting, creamy, sheer, shimmer), but pick one that makes you feel fabulous.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more tips on vintage style.

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New here? Check out the other posts in this series.

Published in: on October 21, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Day 20: Bring the outdoors in

I’ve always been drawn to textures, especially natural ones.

Having these things in my home just makes me happy.

Here are a few ways that you can decorate your home with nature:

Updated to add: open up the windows and let in some of the fresh crisp fall air. Breathe deeply.
Incorporating a little bit of nature into our homes makes them more interesting. And almost every idea above is either free or very inexpensive if you get creative and use what you already have.
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Can you believe we are more than halfway through our series? All of the other posts can be found here.
Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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