Monthly Archives: May 2015

Little Lessons That Have Served Me

I am 26 years old which is a remarkably young age and an incredibly silly time to be telling anyone anything. But you weirdos seem to enjoy reading along and since we’re having such a good time doing life together, I thought I would share my best Fortune Cookie Advice. This article is one of my favorites, and I search for it and reference it constantly. Here is what I have learned about the world and what I might write in the card I’ll mail you on your birthday.


Being funny is the second fastest way to connect with someone. Being sincere is the first.

You won’t land your dream job at 22 after college graduation. It’s not that you don’t deserve it, it’s that you wouldn’t recognize it if you saw it then anyway.

You can do almost anything if you’re confident enough- like wearing shoes that don’t match the rest of your outfit or starting your own business.

If it doesn’t feel right, you won’t enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t feel right.

You have something someone else wants. You want something someone else has. This is the way of things. There’s no getting around it unless you live in a hole, in which case, someone else will be wishing they could live in a hole like you do.

Laughing at yourself is disarming. Laughing at someone else is the most efficient way to get shut out.

It’s okay to be a secretary, an assistant director, a landscape designer, and a grant writer all in 5-years. I can’t tell you where you might go from there, but I can tell you that it’s okay to have gone wherever you have been.

Things you should apologize for: making a tasteless joke, taking the cheap shot, breaking an unwritten rule (even if your relationship can weather it.)

Things you should not apologize for: leaving a job when it’s stopped being useful in your life (challenging, enjoyable, financially rewarding), saying “No”, changing your mind.

Your relationships will track in some interesting ways. If you’re both willing to stop short when headed down the wrong path, be appropriately bashful, and laugh about it later, you two will probably be okay.

Knowing the difference between a crisis and a transition is incredibly freeing. Losing your job, cancelling the contract on a new home, saying goodbye to good friends- these can all be profound disappointments but manageable when your family is safe.

Performing a kindness for another person is the currency of life. Casseroles are universally legal tender.

And lastly . . .

River City Rubber Works: Pee

Ode to a White Shirt

I’m wearing my white shirt again today. I wore it on Wednesday too. And I’ll probably wear it once this weekend. I’m becoming a lot like this woman. If you’re trying on minimalism, there’s a lot of power in a white shirt.

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White shirts go with everything. I don’t worry about my hair when I wear a white shirt. I don’t fuss with my makeup when I wear a white shirt. A good white shirt puts a polish on whatever it is about you that already shines.

However, an interesting thing happens when you combine the principles of a capsule wardrobe with the ideals of KonMari. This morning as I was dressing and thinking about how much I love my white shirt (which is this one, for reference) (yes, I know, it’s freaking steal) I said to myself, I’m a mess. I’m going to ruin this white shirt some day. And I love this particular one. I should stock up so I always have one on hand. Whoa partner.

Marie Kondo tells a story in her book about a woman who loved a shirt so much she bought two. She wore the first one to threads, but the second one sat untouched. It didn’t spark joy anymore.

This particular shirt fits me well and even more importantly, it fills my need for a white shirt right now. I love a sense of abundance as much as the next girl, but when we “stock up” we attempt to anticipate our future needs based on our current situation.

First of all, it seems unlikely that J.Crew is going to stop selling white button-down shirts. Should I be presented with a situation where I need a new one, there will certainly be one available to me for purchase. And don’t we all prefer the “new” anyway? Even if I kept my extra white shirts in plastic bags and tissue paper, they would become “old” just by virtue of being in my closet.

More importantly, I hope in six months (though let’s be honest, I’ll wreck this shirt well before then) that my needs have changed. I hope that my consciousness has continued to expand and that what serves me today will propel me to new experiences and that replicating just won’t do. Isn’t this the beauty of minimalism? That there is growth in maintenance?

In practicing minimalism, my hope is that my interior life reflects that same chicness as any exterior life. That I cultivate and invest in quality, not just in leather and denim and silk, but in my words, and my time, and my energy. It is so easy to slip into our standard patterns (I’ve already double booked myself since my last post on making time so old habits die hard), but a little intentionality goes a long way.
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How to Say No (Or rather, Why We Say Yes)

Can I see a show of hands from my Yes Gals? (Don’t worry, I won’t sign you up for anything!)

GIRLS. (And guys.) Is it just me or are we really seeing each other lately? We are speaking our truths and holding safe space for one another and good stuff is happening. (Tangentially, I love to write for the “me-too-moments”. Thanks for speaking up and saying “Me too!” It gives me so much joy.)

I think my last post hit a few of you in the feels. I’m not surprised because high tide rises all ships and I’m in constant awe of the amazing folks around me. We’re an unstoppable group. But maybe it’s not what we are doing, but why we do it that’s left some of us with a long list of to-dos and a short list of joys.

You are speaking out to me and saying “My relationships are not benefiting from the way I spend my time.” (MINE EITHER).
You are saying, “I have goals I can’t get to because I’m too busy with residual commitments.” (ME TOO).
You are saying, “Why aren’t I spending more time drinking on my patio?” (I DON’T KNOW.)

I have been in countless meetings, pen in hand, eyes averted, repeating to myself “Do not sign up. Do not sign up. Do not sign up.” It works about 40% of the time. I wrote about making space back in February and candidly, I’ve been struggling with it for a long time. How can we learn to deal?

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I think it might pay us to ask ourselves, why do we say “yes” so often anyway?

I don’t presume to speak for us all, Yes Gals, but here are my sneaking suspicions:

1. We want to be liked. I prefer to be seen as a reliable, interesting, well-rounded woman. With clever ideas. And a delicious brownie recipe. Who always wears nice shoes. The more I commit to, the more opportunity I have to impress. If I impress you, then you’ll like me. Right?

I suspect my Yes Gals are often grown up Teacher’s Pets. The “people pleaser” gene is dominant in our DNA and approval translates to acceptance. I’m not accusing us of all being insecure, but we are probably all a little bit insecure.

2. We’re arrogant. Somehow, alongside our insecurities, lives our arrogance. Yes Gals are a proud tribe. Put quite simply, we live by the mantra that “If you want something done right, just put it down right now and let me handle it, please.” We love to be seen as altruistic and there’s no question that we are generous, affectionate, and passionate. But curiously enough, we’re also certain that we are unique in our abilities to conduct a business meeting, host a reception, or plan a fundraising campaign.

There’s something unnerving about the idea of letting someone else have the reins. When the “Is anyone available for this” call is put out, we simultaneously imagine how successful it will be under our direction and what a mess it could become if someone else speaks up first.

3. We ignore the dataWe’ve planned an awful lot of parties in our day, haven’t we Yes Gals? We’re good planners because we’re creative. Creative folks have the perfect birthday banner tucked away and an idea for a cake that is going to just blow the lid off. We dream in showers and perfectly executed meeting agendas and awards banquets. We spend less time evaluating the facts.

We forget that everything takes longer than we think it will. We forget that we’ve never decorated a 6-tiered cake before. We pretend that we are obligated to follow through on a task that we didn’t have to commit to in the first place. We ignore our husbands (and wives) saying, “Wait a minute… Didn’t you just LEAVE a committee? Why are you chairing a new one?!” Mercy.


Here’s who benefits from our whacked out priorities: No one. Not our committee members who can tell we silently resent every volunteer meeting we sit through. Not our spouses who would love to get in some couch time with us. Not our personal goals that gather dust as another season passes. Not our spirits that deserve more tender treatment. We are only robbing from ourselves.

I don’t presume to know the best way to say more No and less Yes. But I think we need to be honest with ourselves, Yes Gals: We get high off the praise, we’re addicted to the attention, and we crave the acceptance. It might come in a pretty wrapper, but in my case, the day planner has some dirty little secrets to tell.

I, for one, deserve better. And you, reader and friend, do too. And so do your communities (your partners, families, friends). I pledge to commit only to that which sparks joy and to follow through for the right reasons. Our generosity should not be born of guilt and our gifts should not be given from obligation.

Yes Gals- welcome to the year of Thanks for Thinking of Me, but No.

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The Ripple Effects of Minimalism

If you’ve committed to a capsule wardrobe, you might have done so with the subconscious (or conscious!) realization that your closet is hardly the only place in your home that’s been neglected by excessive materialism. After reading Marie Kondo’s book, I noticed that nearly every nook and cranny in my apartment was the resting place for something that I didn’t love, or find useful, or believe to be beautiful. (Which is a really pretty way of saying I have a bunch of CRAP.)

It’s suffocating.

Brett and I have committed to KonMari our entire apartment. We’ve taken a day off work in June to do a full court press. (BECAUSE WE’RE LIKE THAT). We’ve started in on Clothes and Books, and we’ll spend our long weekend addressing Papers, Komono, and Mementos.

Simply by starting a capsule wardrobe and cleaning up our bookshelves, we are already enjoying the first benefits of minimalism. We have noticeably less laundry. (PRAISE BE UNTO HIM) Packing for a trip is simple. Getting dressed is easy. We’ve decided to sell our book collection and already pocketed $20! (Which we will add to our travel fund, a true source of joy for the Mosers). (Traveling. Not squirreling away money. No one LIKES saving money.)

Marie Kondo recommends handling each item in your home and accessing it individually. Track your reaction- does it spark joy? And don’t stop at your house.

That committee you are in- “Pick” it up, does it spark joy? That invitation to a weekend trip- when you examine it, how does it make you feel? Your cable subscription, your collection of old Cosmo magazines, your bookshelf full of dusty shot glasses- does it bring you joy to simply own them? Even if you never use them?

In a recent conversation with Brett, I stated- “I want to count my commitments on one hand.”

1. My personal life. (Brett, my friends, drinking on the patio, grilling hot dogs, helping plan my best friend’s wedding)
2. My work. (Which is a joy, a challenge, a pleasure.)
3. My education. (I’m going back to school in August!)
4. My service. (Which I’ve scaled back to include a committee in my young professionals group and a position on the Chamber of Commerce board.)
5. A rotating position for time delineated events. If I’m hosting a birthday party this month, then I’m sorry, I can’t help plan a community service event.

There’s a good chance this sounds silly to you. (Actually, for your sake, I hope it does.) But as a “yes” gal from way-back, it’s transformative for me to declare, My time is the most important. 

Call it a toast to selfishness, but if you need me this summer, I’ll be drinking on my patio, grilling hot dogs and planning my best friend’s wedding. I hope you’re making time to do exactly the things you want to do as well!

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My Spring 2015 Capsule

This capsule wardrobe is a real thing huh? I love hearing about your own journeys with this. I think a bunch of us are SO THERE. Spring is a season of growth. Ideas are percolating and we are establishing roots to weather the coming seasons. We are coming out of hibernation and when the sun beams into our windows,  we want the light to shine on the best of our homes, our relationships, and our intentions.

I haven’t been feeling very good lately. I’ve been really sensitive and quite emotional and to be candid, downright glum some days. The truth is, I’m a really happy person so I’m sitting with a lot of discomfort. My preference is to be cheerful and I struggle on days that are difficult to choose joy. These ideas about minimalism feel like a gift, however, because I see a path to reduce distraction and useless clutter. I see a path to recognizing that I am and that I have enough. I hope your journeys are taking you to the destination you need to reach as well. I recently finished “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (and shared it with Brett!) If, like me, you want to practice the principles of minimalism beyond the boundaries of your closet, I strongly recommend you give it a read.

As promised, this is my post about the spring capsule I carved out for myself from my closet. Admittedly, I think a LOT about that “type” of person I want to be, so the “style” dialogue was not as hard for me as I think it’s been for some of you. (Here’s a post about how to start that conversation.) I added a few pieces in and pulled a whole lot out- this is what’s left.

My capsule is 32 pieces: 18 tops, 10 bottoms, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets. (Here’s a post about what I decided to include and why.)

Tops: 5 button downs, 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 sweatshirts, 4 silky tops, and 4 tee shirts/tanks. 
FullSizeRenderBottoms: 1 grey maxi skirt, 2 pencil skirts, 1 midi skirt, 1 mini skirt, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black skinnies, 1 pair of black skimmers, and 1 pair of navy khakis. FullSizeRender-2Dresses: 1 maxi dress, 1 cotton shift dress

FullSizeRender-4Jackets: 1 denim jacket, 1 lightweight jacket FullSizeRender-3Extras*: 1 black purse, 1 brown purse, 1 dress clutch, 1 casual clutch, 4 scarves, 1 black belt, 1 brown belt
*(I didn’t include accessories in my overall capsule count, but I did reduce them pretty dramatically.)

FullSizeRender-5As you can see, it’s startlingly blue. And I hope, quite versatile. There are only a few pieces that I couldn’t wear to work (Slytherin sweatshirt, I’m looking at you) and only a few that I wouldn’t wear at home (those skimmers just scream business casual…)

The real work starts now- in being creative and joyful when dressing, deliberately choosing to love what I own, and saying no to clothes shopping until it’s time to build my summer capsule for July. Brett and I plan to implement the KonMari method to our entire apartment, so my focus in the coming weeks is discarding.

I hope you are staying encouraged and finding ways to implement practices that are meaningful to you. If you need a cheerleader- you know where to find me!

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