Friday, April 29, 2016

Capsule wardrobe - 1 year later

Because of my upcoming travel schedule, I went ahead and switched out my capsule wardrobe today. This will be my 5th capsule - making this the almost 1 year anniversary of my capsule wardrobe experiment. As I was sorting through the pieces, I started to reflect on the experiment.

I have no regrets. I tried this on a whim, starting from Project 33 and ending up with the Unfancy model of 37 items. I excluded outerwear and bags but included shoes. I used one purse for the first capsule year, and then switched in August to a similar purse and retired the 7 year old original purse to Goodwill - trading a Target $2.99 purse acquired in grad school for a sleek black leather The Sak acquired free from the back of my grandmother's closet because she loved The Sak but the purse was too young and hip for her. It was perfect for me; because it is the only bag (besides work) I carry, I do not include it in my capsule.

My first capsule was easy - it was summer. The capsule was biased towards shorts and T shirts, reflecting the life of an academic mostly writing from home or in the lab. The second capsule was hard. This one was biased towards work clothes and I really didn't know my style. I felt uncomfortable a lot of the time and really flashy.

Third capsule, how I loved thee! This was the best capsule yet. I was figuring out my style and I was really happy with everything in this capsule. I felt comfortable in my own skin and I felt well put together and professional. More importantly, I was able to identify and target some holes in my capsules. With the help of the Pocket Stylist, I actually purchased new pants and planned to get them tailored for the next capsule. I embraced my style - darker colors, tailored pants, cardigans.

My fourth capsule had issues. The beautiful pair of tailored pants is still in the bag to go out for tailoring, and while it was in the count, it was never worn. A sweater got ripped. A pair of dry clean only pants (one my favorites) ended up in the wash and came out at half size. Hems fell out of two other pants in early April and they joined the tailored pants in the repair bag. Another shirt got a perfect coffee ring on it that never came out. A heel snapped on a pair of shoes. I ended 7 items down - below even Project 33. I was so busy for most of April I spent the month in a panic about not having anything to wear because I never had time to do laundry.

So why stick with the capsule? Honestly, I loved the mental space it gave me. I knew I looked good in everything I wore, and I never had to think about shopping. When I accidentally found a piece I loved, I knew it. It literally changed how I felt about clothes and about my body. It gave me a huge boost of confidence in an otherwise chaotic and trying semester. It simplified my life - provided I remembered to do laundry.

Capsule 5 will be June, July, August. As I will be away for all of May, there was no point in including May in the rotation. It is a summer capsule for a person mostly working from home with maybe 1 day a week in the office. It is an easy capsule. And . . .maybe I will actually get all those items to the tailor over the summer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

On not writing . . .

The last day I wrote was Jan 2. I remember it clearly, logging in to see the “accepted, minor revisions,” email. I immediately opened the file, saw that the “minor revisions” would require approximately 3 sentences, and did them without ever sitting down.
And then? I stopped writing. Writing ground to a halt. I dismantled my kitchen cabinets instead and painted them. I fly to my parents to help with moving my elderly grandparents and spent a week buried in care work. I came home to cured cabinets, and fixed them up. Then I started teaching again, and no matter what Blackboard says, “course migration” is not easier than just redoing the course from scratch.
Which brings us to January 26. And I have not written in 3 weeks. I have a manuscript open. I just had a different one open. There is even a third. All three are in an advanced state of draft. All three could go out with some effort. And yet, all three are sitting idle.
I figured it out. I’m not writing not because I have hit a wall, or am in a rut. I’m not writing because the statistics on all the papers don’t feel right, don’t feel exacting enough, and I don’t trust them. And I can’t write if I don’t believe my stats or my results.
The solution then, is better stats. And part of that solution is admitting, open and honestly, that the appropriate stats for these analyses are above my pay grade. I’ve sent an email to the statistician I work with on my NSF grant and asked for an extra meeting (out of start-up, out of pocket, something needs to give). Hopefully, since all three papers have the same underlying dilemma, there will be one or two solutions that will work across all manuscripts and I can get my writing on again.
In the mean time, I went to writing group. Even though I had nothing to write, I went. I will write a blog post (or three) in the time, and at least get my head back in gear.
Writing: NOTHING. I need stats help.
Running: 7 new miles clocked in the last two days.
Kitchen: Nothing. No seriously, nothing.
January Cure: Tonight is landing strip night. Our landing strip has become the chaotic center of our household and needs major help. Our outbox overflows – I think we have 7 bags for goodwill.
Money: Paid off a small loan with money set aside for B’s state licensing fees, since work will pay for them now. Made more than $100 selling stuff on ebay, and have made good headway towards another Target giftcard from Swagbucks. We still have January’s $25 gift card (we spent the five and ten ones on cat products).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Moving Day, An Interlude

Days 4 and 5 for the Kitchen will be posted this weekend. I did not get the pictures transferred before I had to head out of town for a family situation. My 91 and 93 year old grandparents moved into assisted living on Tuesday, and my father had surgery today. My mother, who had her own hip replaced just 4 months ago, is a walking zombie and I'm pretty tired as well.

I'm averaging something like 18,000 steps a day and I have been skipping my workouts this week.

I honestly have no idea what is going on with the January Cure. I have cleaned and cleaned however.

From the awesome blog: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Writing: yeah. Some of that needs to happen and soon.

Miles: No change
Yoga: Maybe tomorrow. I do do my sun salutations every time I have to get up from the floor. Which is often.
Diet: Crap from the fridge deemed "not enough to move". 

Friday, January 8, 2016

The kitchen, Day 3

Today is day 3 for the kitchen project. Day 2 was a wash - I spent the day at work and nothing got done in the kitchen. However, today I hit the project hard and early, and got both coats of primer done!

For priming, I used Zinnser's Bulleye 1-2-3, as recommended on several home design blogs and how to guides. It went on pretty easily. This wave of the project probably took 3 hours for the first coat and 2 for the second coat. I did not sand between coats - that may have been a mistake.

For now, I am focusing only on the top cabinets. After the top cabinets are done, I will do the bottom cabinets - likely this weekend. The doors will be a longer term project.

January Cure update: My outbox runs over - I think we have 8 bags now.

Running update: no additional miles today. I was exhausted from 2 coats of primer and skipped the workout.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Kitchen - Day 1

Today I started the super crazy kitchen renovation. This will be my January Cure project, and is one of my big projects for the year. Here are the "before" pictures - taken during the clean-out process.

 The first day was spent getting the kitchen cleaned out and everything put away for the project to begin. I was making dinner while cleaning out the kitchen - hence the messy photos.

The kitchen at the end of Day 1 is shown below.The doors are off, the contact paper has been scraped out, everything has been degreased and then sanded. Day 2 will be the primer!

Other pressing updates: 6.46/842 miles.
Kitchen Cure moving right along.
Whole30 - traded for Body for Life

Monday, January 4, 2016

The January Cure & Kitchen Remodel, Day 1

Today is day 1 of the kitchen upgrade, and day 4 of the January Cure! I am behind on The Cure - tearing up the kitchen will do that. The floors are not done (this weekend? Next?). Today I made my project list for the house and it went like this:

Hallway: clean and scrub front and back of door
Clean stairs
Clean recycling corner
Fix loose screw

Living/Dining room
Do something about that rug.
New carpet
Clean out fireplace

Redo cabinets
Redo contact paper
Paint falls
Get containers to store dry goods in

Spray paint wicker chest
Close off that door
Organize husband's closet

Hang art
Fix the running toilet - actually going to do that one today
Touch up paint

Hang art
Hang 100 Nos

For my Jan project, I will be doing the kitchen cabinets, contact paper, and painting.

Post tonight on Day 1 - I need to go to Lowe's for now.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New year, new goals

I am gearing up for the new year, and once again willing to try blogging. I think the reality is I really want to blog - but life gets in the way. Life gets in the way a lot. But, with my tenure portfolio due in the fall, this really is my last year on the tenure track. So let's set some goals and work on accountability!

Goal 1: Run 842 miles, including a half marathon. Note - I am counting field miles hiked in this category.

Goal 2: I need 4-6 more papers to have an out of the park tenure case. So I need to write those by mid-summer and get them submitted. 

Goal 3: Get the lab SOP and protocols revised and up to date. This is HUGE!

Goal 4: Reduce our debt. We have a lot of student loan debt, and I'd like to make $12,000 in headway. This is situated against my unemployed husband, so I am the sole breadwinner, and the fact that my contract forbids a second job. 

Goal 5: KonMari my house and renovate my kitchen!

Goal 6: Blog here minimum 2x week (100 posts, ugh!) and there once a month. 

Let's do this!