Talking to myself

I have mentioned before on here that I have problems with self-talk. It is something that I still struggle with. So I am going to turn this one over to you guys. What are some things you do to battle negative self talk? I think it was once mentioned that there was a negativity jar and whenever someone said something negative about themselves, they’d have to put money in the jar. I like that very much but the worst of my negativity takes place in my head where no one can call me out on it. I was also told that it might be healthy to write it down. Seeing it in black and white and being able to write out the counter point of view might help quell it. After all, in my head the negativity might be louder but on paper they are the same volume. Lastly, I was advised to try deep breathing exercises when the anxiety spiral begins. These seem like reasonable suggestions. What do you think? Have any others?

Avoiding temptation and distraction

I saw this article on saying “no” to distractions and temptations, yesterday on Google+. I read it, thought it was cool, and moved on to the millions of things I have to get done in a day. Towards the end of the day though, the article kept creeping into my brain.

The point of the article is the evidence two (really small) studies showing the power of using the phrase “I don’t” in the place of “I can’t” to resist temptations and distractions. It reminded me of the advice to use “I could” instead of “I should” in language. And really it reminded me our words have power, especially in regards to ourselves.

That being said, here are some things I will apply the  “I don’t” approach to:

I don’t rip my cuticles.

I don’t eat out more than once a week.

I don’t let K-Fat get to me.

I don’t skip making the bed.

I don’t stress about money.

I don’t hoard money while I have credit card balances.

I don’t call myself fat.

I don’t dress shabbily.

I don’t yell at my kids.

I don’t leave dishes in the sink.

I don’t give myself a hard time about a messy house.

I don’t stay up too late.

I don’t procrastinate.

What about you? Anything you “can’t” do now that you need to make something you “don’t” do? Do you think these word games work?

Better vs Easier

I’ve started writing this post twice already. Third time’s a charm…

While I was reading The Marriage Plot, I stumbled across this quote,

My life getting better, but it ain’t getting any easier.

And it sent something through me, something warm and soothing. I’ve since read it over a billion times. What drives me batty is what an obvious statement of fact it is. Better is rarely easier. That’s so obvious.

Except it’s not. Not to me at least. I guess in some situations it makes sense to me, especially with something like food. Better food is seldom easier. It is not the same to make a cake from scratch as it is from the box. Even if you really enjoy that sort of thing, even if you do it so often it doesn’t feel harder to you at all, objectively it is.

I guess what I have found interesting is that I never really explored that concept further. In life things, my mind equates better with easier. A better job makes life easier. A better salary makes bill paying easier. A better parenting style makes raising children easier. Better self-esteem makes finding the man of your dreams easier. A better crocheter has an easier time with projects.

Are we on the same wavelength yet? Do you see what I’m alluding to?

Here are some things in my life that are Better but certainly not getting Easier.

Finances

It doesn’t feel this way, but when I step back and look at things objectively (concrete numbers make that easier) it’s obvious I am in a better financial state than I have been in my life. Not one of my six credit lines is maxed out and four of the six have zero balances and have had so for ages. I have retirement savings with five digits. I’ve never in my life saved so much money. When I subtract the amount of my debts (student and credit) from my savings, I have a net worth of over $20k which is something that was impossible to wrap my head around just five years ago. I swear there was a time in my life I believed net worth was for old people. At least the green ones (net worth, not people).

My finances aren’t any easier though. Not by a long shot. I recently drained the last of my savings to fund the last couple of weeks of summer camp because I couldn’t arrange care for the kids that wasn’t imposing on a bunch of people. The last time I got a normal, timely, child support payment was in April. The last time I got a child support payment at all was in June. And of course I have not been compensated for any of the cost of summer camp. I haven’t requested a dime from my parents but right now, things are finally approaching the perilous point. You know, the one where you’re counting the days left to your paycheck and taking inventory of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry while anxiously glancing at the fuel needle. I’m surviving on a very tiny overdraft line of credit ING gives me for my checking account. The credit cards with empty balances are calling me a little louder every day.

Yeah, that point. That totally not easier point.

Love

I’m in a stronger, healthier relationship now. We have similar values and on similar life paths. We’ve had similar challenges in the past. It feels more like a team than anything I’ve been in before. He may not be my husband, but he treats me the way I always imagined my husband would treat me. But it’s not Easier. This Summer with his daughter here, I family went up to a size six. And managing the change in dynamics the presence of his daughter brought was challenging at times. Don’t get me wrong, the girl is great– she’s sweet and helpful but she craves her Dad’s attention (understandably) and I had to adjust to that without disappearing into the background at the same time.

And no matter how much we have in common, managing a family is still hard work. We’re still figuring out how to distribute work to each other and to the kids while making sure to communicate gratitude constantly.

Future Outlook

When I take the fact I’m back in school and combine it with the fact I was able to keep my job, I know I’m in a Better place than I was even two years ago as to propel myself forward to achieving more of my goals. It is certainly not Easier nor does it look likely to become so even though so many people feel compelled to promise me it will. No, school does not get Easier. And work does not get Easier. As I master something, I move on to the next thing instead of stagnating. There is always another step to take, another achievement to unlock.

Of course, I do believe there is a moment when Better and Easier do merge into one. I think that is the ultimate Achievement Unlocked and is represented by that peak on the happiness chart researchers keep finding.

What about you? Are things in your life better AND easier? Better but not easier? Easier but not better? Or neither better nor easier?

P.S. I’m still sick and dealing with this crap sinus infection. So I apologize if I got rambly in places. My powers of editing are vastly diminished in this state.

Beauty Boxes Woo Hoo

Last week, I got two delicious deliveries– one I expected, the other a surprise.

I got my introductory penny box from Julep Maven for one. I’ve already started using the pedicure cream but haven’t had a chance to do my nails in the new gorgeous colors.

The colors are so pretty and perfect for summer time sandal wear. I can’t wait to try them out, I have a feeling they’d go stunning layered together. And hello, I paid ONE CENT!

And then, there was a really cool, big, awesome surprise from The Spanish Professor. She’d left me a comment that she wanted to treat me to a box and I told her she twisted my arm with the Hispanic guilt thing. So I took her up on her offer not sure what I’d be getting or when. Well, I got a very hot pink box delivered to my doorstep the other day and it was packed with goodies.

This my friends is the New Beauty Test Tube. What a neat concept! This beauty box is actually a beauty tube filled with products for you to try and it is delivered quarterly instead of monthly. Each box includes the new edition of New Beauty magazine which is thick and humongous, as well as a smaller magazine telling you about all of the products you received.

The box included:

Mally Evercolor Eyeshadow Stick

Neostrata Exfoliating Wash

Moroccan Oil Frizz Control

Olay Regenerist Sample

Ybf Eyeliner

Memoire Liquide Creme

Memoire Perfume Sample

Skinceuticals CF Feuric and Physical Fusion Defense Samples

Perlier and Elariia Body Creme

Dr. Brandy Bb Cream with Flexitone Sample

$85 in coupons for Spalook.com

What an impressive box. A lot of it was full-sized samples and pretty high-end brands as well. If you’re thinking about it for yourself, it’s about $30 but it’s only delivered about 4 times a year. I really liked all of the variety in it and I was very impressed with the number of full-size products in it.

It felt like a majorly girly Christmas in June for me and I am so grateful to you Spanish Prof for the present. You have no idea what a bad day I was having and to walk in and see this hot pink box of FUN on my table was an easy smile getter so thank you.

I had a really nice weekend. I heard from my kids a lot and they are having an amazing time in New York with their grandparents. Today, they leave to Chicago. I have been crocheting like a beast trying to get this wrap done for the wedding I’m in on Sunday. And I got to hit up a Marlins game on Sunday courtesy of my uncle. I put up lots of silly photos on Instagram. If you’re on there, follow me and let me know you found me!

Stuff like this shows up on there… Happy Monday!

 

REALLY good Julep deal & Shopping Spree Total

For everyone curious to know how much I spent at my 12 item Express shopping spree…

$244.80

That means on average, I spent $20.40 per item. I don’t think that’s pretty shabby considering the kinds of clothes I got. And now I’ll just wear them until death does us part.

Speaking of deals, I’ve got a good one for you. Julep is offering the introductory box for their Maven Subscription program for one penny and that comes with free shipping. This month’s intro box comes with two polishes and a pedicure cream.

How do you get it? Easy peasy.

Step One: GO HERE

Step Two: Take the fun and frivolous Style Quiz, enter you email to find out your Style Personality, and see the box they’d send you. You can also go ahead and check out the boxes of the other styles and if you like one of those better, you can grab that one instead. In my case, it pegged me as an American Beauty but I was all about the Bombshell. So I added Bombshell to my cart and removed American Beauty.

Step Three: Sign up and check out.

When you’re done, you are now a part of the Julep Maven Subscription Program. And honestly? It’s a pretty good one. The way it works is like this.

On the 20th of every month they send you an email showing you your next box. By default they show you the style of the intro box you ended up with. If you love it, you do nothing. They charge your credit card on file $19.99 and send you your box.

If you don’t LOVE it,  you can log in and see the other styles. They even link you to a post on their blog that shows the colors for each box on nails. Next month includes a lip gloss and they took pictures of a girl wearing each color too. I really appreciate this because I feel like it’s full-disclosure and they’re not trying to pull a fast one.

So once you’ve checked out the other styles you can:

1. Choose a different style to send your way. This style will be your default next month.

2. Choose any of the styles and send it to a friend or family member as a gift. I love this for birthdays or other special occasions.

3. Skip the month. That’s right, you don’t have to buy the box every month. You don’t like it, you don’t have a friend who deserves it, or you’re just plain broke that month, you skip.

Of course you can always cancel the subscription and stay happy with your one cent intro box but if you like treating yourself now and then, I think it’s worth keeping it. Occasionally, they throw in a free polish. They also offer subscribers a chance to get mystery boxes– $60 or more worth of products for $19.99. I mentioned I had purchased one of these boxes and I received it the other day.

My Pretty Julep June Mystery Box Packaging

My Julep June Mystery Box Contents

My Mystery Box came with:

Julep Elixir Organic Oil, $24

Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, $32

Glow on Age Defying Hand Brightener, $32

Megan, $14

Brooke, $14

And a free Julep.com nail file. Retail value of my $19.99 box? $116.

Not too bad huh?

Honestly, at first I was sort of blank about it. I really didn’t know what to make of the box because three of the six items were totally alien to me. But now that I’ve had it a few days and have been using the products, I’m really happy with it. One of the things I’ve been discovering through my De-Frumpiness Project is how luxurious some really small little things can feel.

Do I feel completely fancy washing my hands with a glycolic hand scrub and then rubbing in an age defying hand brightener? Why yes, yes I do. And by the way, the hand brightener feels and smells so nice. Is there something slightly decadent about dropping oil into my hands from a glass bottle with a glass dropper? Um, yeah. Definitely. For me at least.

You have to understand, I’m the girl that recently rediscovered how yummy it is to apply good facial moisturizer ok?

I don’t have a complicated beauty regimen. I’m not even really sure that I have an actual regimen. But yes I am definitely enjoying the couple of minutes every day where I indulge in myself. My nails are chipped? Time to change the manicure! It’s summer, so I absolutely can’t leave without my facial moisturizer with SPF. Floss! Scrub my hands. Nourish my cuticles! Go into fitting rooms!

Slowing down. I’m actually slowing down. These little things are little pauses. Little only for me and only about me pauses. And they’re nice.

 

 

Note From Home

I’m doing something I just don’t do much– blogging from home. It’s just shy of 10:30 on a Tuesday night. Tuesdays are just haggard days for me. And with school being out and summer camp being in, any semblance I had of a routine is just wrecked. And I’m sitting here wasted (not in an alcoholic sense). I’m looking around and I’m seeing the symptoms of life getting messy again– the piles are coming back.

Over there, on the love seat, two laundry baskets piled on top of each other and next to them a pile of my socks. On the sofa next to it there are about five or six piles of washed and folded laundry. On my desk there are no less than five piles that are slowly but surely creeping towards each other in anticipation of a sexy pile orgy. The dinner table has many tiny little piles cropping up– piles of napkins and papers and place mats and things. I can peer into the kitchen from here and see the piles in the sink and on the counters.

When I have a system in place, everything works. Things get done. Things aren’t forgotten, or lost. Can you believe I lost a $50 check? I got it in the mail for taking a phone survey and I am 99% sure I mistakenly grabbed it with the pile of mail to throw away. I don’t have the info for the company that did it so I can request they stop payment on it and issue another. Fifty bucks. Poof.

And yes, I’m frustrated with myself because this is a constant cycle I can’t seem to break. I get a groove and then I lose it within a matter of days and getting back into it is so difficult for me.

Why?

No, I’m asking you. Why?

I had a stupid mini pity party for myself after dinner. When I’m exhausted, I’m more vulnerable to them and the yucky voice of negativity. And I’m too tired to stop it so it just steamrolls right over my feeble protests.

No one appreciates you. You give and you give and you’re going to give until there’s nothing left and that’s the way it is because that’s how people are. And you’re stupid enough to keep giving in, to keep getting involved with people and their problems even though you know you’re going to give more than you can and there’s going to be zero reciprocation.

Stuff like that. Plain lies. And the tears. The fat, slow, silly tears and the crying that fills my nose with snot and makes everything taste like cardboard. Until the crying stops. I’m not a slow stopper. I sort of just do. I can’t force it to happen but when I’m ready to really stop, I just have to take a deep breath and usually that does it. Taking deep breaths when I’m not really ready to stop just makes me pause and then usually brings on bigger and louder and wetter cries than the ones before.

And now I’m here, typing out the pity party so at least it’s not in my brain bouncing around anymore. It’s here on the operating table under the white lights so I can poke around in it and see what I find. Mostly garbage but maybe there’s something useful in it all. You never know.

It’s not the piles that bother me. I feel like I need to clarify that. It’s not what they are that bothers me. It’s that they exist that bother me because it’s what they represent that eats at me. The piles are present when there are problems. When gremlins appear in the machine. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.

I know they’re there because I lost my groove. I know they’re there because routines are disturbed. I know they’re there because there are disturbances in the force. And that’s what bothers me.

I’m tired of disturbances in the force.

I’m tired of choppy seas. Even a light chop is just too much for my weather-beaten boat. It’s not that I’m in a sinking ship. I’m more in a really unsteady one with a few holes in it. And yes I can keep the holes under control and I can even get the ship in line and get some smooth sailing out of her for a bit. But inevitably something happens. A new tiny hole pops open, or an old one starts leaking again. A storm brews and tosses me around, pounding me with waves and winds. And during those things, the sailing is choppy and unsteady. Sometimes, I’m even pushed off-course. And then it’s double the work, double the time to get it fixed and steady again.

So I guess that’s what I’m dealing with right now. I don’t see any kind of storm brewing, but there are small leaks in the ship and I’ve got to get them under control. I’m just too exhausted to do it right now.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

Before anything else,

Thank you from the bottom of my mutant heart

Thank you so much for your words of support and sympathy and encouragement and confidence. I can’t explain how, but please know they are so so so helpful and I read each and every one more than once and I want to hug each and every one of you, I really do.

I’ve talked before about rhyming events– little things that pop up everywhere that shouldn’t be connected but they are. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of things about inner monologues, the way we treat ourselves, the lies we tell ourselves.

In January, I decided to take on a lie I’ve been telling myself since middle school– I’m not a math person. As I have grown older and more comfortable in my own skin and with my own brain, I’ve started to wonder if maybe I’m kind of a math person. Or at the very least, maybe I’m not really that bad at math. So I did the only logical thing I could think of and enrolled in Pre-Calculus I. Sure, it had been 13 years since I’d sat in a math class but whatever– if I was going to do this, I was going to freaking do this and all I had to do was pass.

Next Thursday is the last day of class and my final is on May 4. I’ve had three tests so far and my lowest grade was a 90 while my highest grade was a 100. I do the homework (most of it) and have done every single extra credit assignment. In other words, it looks like I have an A average. In Pre-Calculus. Not a math person? Um… about that…

This experience is rattling me– in good ways and in anxious ways. Because as exciting as it is to understand that there is this whole new world slowly opening itself up to me, it’s sort of frustrating to know I’m the one that slammed the damn thing shut in the first place.

And then, I can’t help but wonder– What else am I lying to myself about and why?

I hate crying. Do I really? I cry for so many things and I get mad when I do but why? Maybe I don’t hate crying. Crying can feel really good. Quite honestly, there are many times where I am craving a good wracking sob. So maybe what I hate is that I love to cry. But why? I get mad at my kids when they cry too and I honestly can’t explain it. Why? What’s the harm in crying? If I can’t explain it for myself, why am I projecting this onto the kids too? Why does it get me so angry?

I’m tough as nails. Not really. I’m actually pretty thin-skinned. I hate criticism. I hate feeling as if I’ve hurt anyone or let anyone done. I am freaking mushy you guys. I love hugs and kisses and silly signs of affection. I adore love songs– the good old ones that are full of this innocent sentimentality that just doesn’t exist in modern culture. Apparently I somehow equated being tough as nails with resiliency. Am I resilient? Oh heck yes. Tough? Um, no.

I’m not good at being a mom. Why does this even come into my brain? I’m not Perfect Mommy because that doesn’t exist. The fact is, I am constantly thinking about my children. I am constantly considering what is good for them and what can be better. I try and be in the moment as much as possible, keeping my expectations in line with what is reasonable for each child. I do things to put small smiles on their faces. I hurt when they hurt. I discipline them when they’ve done something wrong. I am a good mom because that’s what good moms do.

“I can’t take care of myself and my three kids.”

Sound familiar? This one’s fresh in my brain and the fact is– it’s just not true. Yes I can and yes I will. Do I have a plan in place? Not yet, not really. But the bottom line is that I don’t have any choice in the matter. We have to get through. We have to survive and we have to thrive and we have to do it together. We are the family unit when push comes to shove. More proof contrary to my popular belief that I’m not a good mom. Yes I am, because the fact is I have been the one who has done the majority of the providing and supporting of my children for years now. And the fact is I will continue to do so for many, many years until my death if I need to.

Confronting our inner lies is a weird experience. It’s especially confusing when we understand we are in fact dealing with something that is not true and yet we continue to cling to it, seeking supportive evidence. Some lies are easier to break than others. For me, the math one was surprisingly easy to break– at least temporarily. I still have moments of frustration when I don’t get a mathematical concept right away. I immediately begin to doubt myself but then again, I have something concrete to look at that shuts me up– my grades. Not all of life’s lies are that tangible.

I honestly don’t know that we can erase all inner lies from our inner lives. If we could, I would expect we would be Perfect and that doesn’t exist. But I do believe it’s important to wrestle with as many of them as possible because they really are problematic. And if we can’t eliminate, can we at least slow down the flow?

Honestly, think about it. How many times in an hour do we proclaim ourselves “stupid” or “an idiot” or just plain “dumb”? How many times do we “Duh” ourselves? And why? What the heck does it do for us? Does it make the mistake we made go away? Does it teach us a lesson? Does it help us move on?

No. It’s just an automatic response as ingrained in our social mannerisms as “How are you?”. And while it may seem harmless because it is automatic, that doesn’t fly and we know it. Some times, we are most dangerous on auto-pilot– to others and yes, to ourselves too.

I cannot tell you how many times I have completely berated myself about my looks. You probably have an idea considering my De-Frumpiness Project and as I move through the project, that is changing too and it’s also helping me confront that other lie– “I’m not pretty.” How many of us have some version of this? How many of us will concede something like, “Well I’m not hideous, I mean I’m kinda cute I think, but I’m not hot or anything.” I know I’m not alone on that one because I’ve heard the very thing out of the mouths of others– not just myself.

I think these are the lies that are the hardest, if not impossible to banish from our inner monologues– the subjective ones. Unfortunately most things in life are subjective. So why do I seem to default to the negative view on things regarding myself? How do we change that?

I don’t know, which is why I’m here. The only thing I can think of is raising awareness. If we are to become more aware of the thoughts that are swimming in our heads and begin to question their purpose, maybe we can make a dent in breaking them down. I like to think of them as cancer thoughts. They don’t really belong there but there they are and they can accumulate at remarkable speeds causing damage across several levels. And perhaps the self-examination process is the equivalent of a mental chemotherapy.

It is exhausting to self-examine isn’t it? It can even make you sick as you peel away at so many layers that have accumulated over time and that may even have thickened because we didn’t take care of ourselves very well emotionally.

It’s hard to step back and realize a lot of this damage is our own doing. The flip side, of course, is that just as we caused the majority of the damage, with a little assistance from others, we can repair the damage, with a little assistance from others. Or at least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.

Doubt is not something that is going to help me in any way during the next few months. As a matter of fact, doubt is not something that is going to help me at all in this lifetime.

But right now, I’m in a Critical state and I need to get myself in line with a positive attitude. I need to get rid of things that obscure my vision because I need to see as many options as possible. I need to summon up skills I have readily relied on my entire life and nourish new ones (or newly discovered ones).

The bottom line is, I really want that which is best for me, all of me. And I am really ready to work at that– to cut through all of my own tangled webs and get to the core of things, strengthen it, and move along.

In other words, I am ready to

 

Mutant Supermodel gets Hair-larious

You should know that just now I was at my standing desk dancing to M.I.A.’s Paper Planes (Diplo Street Mix) and because I’m behind my desk I had kicked off my heels and because I was dancing I tripped on them and because my chair was directly behind me I collapsed straight into it. That’s totally chuckle-worthy right?

It’s Friday. It’s Friday and I had such a horribly stressed out day yesterday that I am forcing myself to let go and relax and be silly and lite and total fluff. I’m not even going to be mysterious. I’ll just come right out and tell you that yesterday sucked because the people I work with in Office #2 filled me with complete panic about my job security. The university’s medical school has been adversely affected by the calamity that has beset our city’s one and only public hospital with which we are closely affiliated with. This is of course trickling up and per the rumor mill the administrative jobs are under close scrutiny. Some people insist that doesn’t include mine and some people insist it does include mine and yesterday I was with the second group and though I’m not proud to admit it, they totally got to me.

Now after having several hours away from that atmosphere I’m not so panicked anymore and am more in my original attitude towards the whole thing– I do think I am safe because the project I work for is very lucrative, I am the only admin that is fully funded by the project, and I do have something to do with the project’s profitability although how much those in charge would be willing to acknowledge that is not something I can really guess at. If the opposite is true and I am not protected by my project’s profitability, then it’s true– I am the most likely to go because of lots and lots of reasons. And even though that sort of makes me sad, it’s not really fazing me. It’s just a sign that something in my logic, something in my plans, isn’t right and I have to fix it and this is one way of correcting that.

But back to fluff and stuff right?

On Monday I asked you guys what to De-Frump next and 50% of the voters chose Hair. I’m actually kind of happy about that. My kids go on spring break now so I actually have a week of mornings with more time. I also got a haircut last month and have been enjoying playing with it.

So bring out the hair products and the accessories and put away the scrunchies and banana clips (none of us actually have those right? Ha. Ha.). Let’s figure out how to use these bobby pin things. Let’s look at some hair tutorial videos on YouTube. You can be edgy. You can be feminine. You can be pop. You can be rock. You can curl. You can straighten. You can poof. You can smooth.

If you’d like to play along this month, I’m going to encourage you to share photos. And I am going to give you LOTS of ways to do that ok? So if you do something with your hair you are happy with, send it my way via:

I know a lot of you are camera shy so I figure this might be fun because you can take lots of pictures of hair without showing your face. I know it sounds wrong, but trust me. Have fun with it this month, let’s go a little crazy. Send me photos of hair-related things that inspire you. Send me before and after photos. Send me links to hair tutorials. You know that fantasy that guys have of a bunch of girls at a slumber party doing each others hair in their underwear? Well it’s kind of like that except we’re all on the internet and I’m guessing most of us will be fully dressed but you totally don’t have to be if you don’t want to be.

I’ll kick it off by showing you the collage I put together and took with me to the hairdresser last month for my hair inspiration. That way you can see that before you see how my hairdresser actually did and how I’m wearing it.

Have fun!

What to De-Frump Next?

I have to admit, March was pretty fun for the De-Frumpiness Project. I discovered scarves in a really big way and now my eyes keep straying to the scarf section every time I walk into a store– especially at Target. Have you seen the scarves at Target? I bought my goddaughter a gorgeous sunny one for Easter. No, it’s not the one I wanted for myself (and did not get) but it was close! Notice these scarves aren’t the ones I could crochet or knit for myself so they are extra tempting.

I also rediscovered jewelry but I’m sort of stumped on a better way to organize it that doesn’t put my jewelry at-risk for theft. After my whole collection of jewelry was swiped a few years ago, nicely stored in my red jewelry box I might add, I have struggled to find a system that works well for storing my jewelry in a safe way but also encourages me to use the jewelry. Right now all the fake stuff is strewn in a dresser drawer plus tucked into various trinket boxes on my dresser and even shoved into a tea tin in my bathroom. Not to mention all of the little pieces piling up besides the bathroom sink. All the good jewelry is hidden of course.

But now it’s April and I’m once again beginning the month with no idea where to go with April. SO what do YOU guys want to de-frump this month?

De-Frumpiness Project: Nailing February and Accessorizing March

De-Frumpiness Project

Regular readers might be aware I am doing a year-long De-Frumpiness Project in an effort to get myself out of the rut that my personal style somehow careened into at some point in my life. Each month, I focus on a different aspect of myself that could use some freshening up or just plain attention.

In February, I decided to pay some attention to my fingers and toes. The big thing was I wanted to break an awful habit I had of tearing my cuticles, sometimes to the point of bleeding. I also wanted to try and make sure nail polish was kept neat.

Well, I was able to do pretty well with avoiding the picking. I think one thing that helped was that I was moisturizing my hands way more often. As a matter of fact, the first time I picked at a cuticle was on Leap Day, when all the stress from my grandmother’s death made it harder to remember to moisturize. Suddenly I had hang nails and dry annoying cuticles.

Lesson learned.

The nail polish was a wash. First of all, I’d always mess up putting polish on at least one nail right away, so putting on color polish became something annoying to do, not fun.
Second of all, it seems nail polish is just not very compatible with my life. Polish would begin chipping almost immediately, within a day. The only type of polish that could endure the insane amount of things I do daily, was good old fashioned clear coat. So most of the times, that’s what I stuck with. Not as cheery or fun, but at least my nails looked cared for and that was what I wanted.

Lesson learned.

The only downside I found to the nail polish not working out the way I’d envisioned it was a complete lack of photos. I mean, how many fascinating ways are there to photograph naked nails? This picture featuring one of the Valentine’s Day cards we did is the only one I have that shows off my pretty and healthy nails.

So, now it’s March– way into March actually. And the project for March is born from the recent death of one my Abuelas. Why?

Abuela was a classic lady. There was not one pair of jeans in that house. There was not one t-shirt to be found. She just was not that kind of lady. She was always put together, polished, complete. As a result, one thing my grandmother had a lot of was accessories.

I can’t seem to get the hang of accessories. It’s not that I don’t feel comfortable wearing them, it’s just that 1) It never occurs to me to actually spend money on them and 2) It rarely occurs to me to put on the few I own. I’ve been in survival mode. That means I throw on pants, a bra, a top, socks and shoes, and please god don’t let me forget to put on deodorant today (but I keep some at work just in case).

The thing about figuring out your own style is paying attention to what catches your eye in a positive way. You will find common themes. For me, I found myself drawn to sleek but complete looks. I liked hair that was obviously given more thought than a hairband, but wasn’t overdone. I liked jewelry as thoughtful accents– not piled on but not left in a drawer either. And I noticed I liked little accents like a simple brooch or a pretty scarf or a cozy shawl.

I sported none of these, but my Abuela did. And upon cleaning out her house, I got a lot of it. A couple of pashminas and shawls, a few simple scarves, two lovely brooches, and fun jewelry that ranged from classic and subtle to statement pieces for day time to beautiful treasures better saved for special occasions.

So, here we are in March and I am accessorizing. I am forcing myself to contemplate something other than the bare essentials. I am forcing myself to think about what I am putting on, to consider what I look like. I must stop and reflect, and then actually take in the reflection the mirror truly offers.

Funny how we take this sort of thing for granted and how quickly it disappears if you let it. But that’s the whole point of this project, bring myself under consideration, paying attention to me. If you’d like to join me, let me know! I most easily track this sort of thing on Google+ and I can add you to my De-Frumpiness Circle on there if you let me know. With enough urging, I might even get off my lazy social media butt and encourage this project through Twitter. Is that of interest to anyone? What do you all prefer?