Tag: grow

That “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

Posted on March 15th, by Birdie in Awesome, Beauty Blogs, Bonne Vie Birdie, Fashion and Style. No Comments
Psychedelic - Img via GalaDarling

Psychedelic – Img via GalaDarling

I was flipping through titles at the book store the other day and something caught my eye.  In Entre Nous, the author Deborah Ollivier insists that French women have more “je ne sais quoi” than American women.

American women ask themselves, “How do I remake me/my wardrobe/my life…”

French women who possess that “je ne sais quoi“, ask themselves, “How do I make me/my wardrobe/my life more me?”

See what I did there?

Apparently, Parisian women are so much more intriguing and mysteriously seductive because they know who they are, without a doubt.  They work on building that character instead of pretending to be a different character.  They use that to their advantage, creating a world based around themselves; as a metaphor, “cultivating their inner garden”.   Let this strike a chord with you for a second.

Apparently, Parisian women continually work to refine themselves, not to change themselves, or to become something different like the rest of us spend so much time doing.  Ladies, don’t deny that sometimes we sit around, all starry-eyed, wishing we could be the next Mary-Kate, when instead we should be cultivating ourselves and refining our style to reflect exactly what it is that draws us to that image.

Know thyself.  Discover thyself.

These words ring out from every self-help and style book on the planet.  Yet we spend all our time and efforts trying to be different.  We try to be  unique, cool, interesting.  It’s cool to be special.  Individualism is the norm.  Maybe it’s not about trying to be a certain ideal of cool, but instead embracing that inner individual, that wonderful weird that we try to bury to be this and/or that.

Like the garden metaphor, the authors of Style Statement suggest we spend too much time “out there” (p45) – not working on what feels right, what feels like us, and what feels authentic.  We try too hard to be special, unique and ultimately cool.  We stray away from our “inner homes” wanting so badly to be more stylish, prettier, wanting to have more friends and be more of an influencer.  We invent these crutches to escape our inner home, confused by the mixed messages about who we are and who we should be.  When we’re confused about who we are, we latch onto ideals of beauty, weight, purchasing power that have nothing to do with, and little to no bearing on who we truly are, inside.

Style Statement’s authors simply say, “Style is an expression of personal truth – never without meaning” (p76).

I confess, I did pick up both books, because realizing I haven’t put that “je ne sais quoi” into words is like realizing I haven’t been serious about cultivating my inner-self.  I want to know how to make my life more “me”.  I don’t think I’ll learn it from a book per sé, but I feel like I’ll have an interesting perspective to start building my life, my way.

Today I’m spending a little bit of time meditating on that personal truth.  What is that overall theme that defines me, guides my life, draws me towards deco-inspired prints, futuristic shoes and crazy fur hats?  It’s not something that I’ve really thought of – even though I’ve spent time coming up with a style direction for the new year.  I’ve never stopped to think about the unifying “me-ness” of every thing I do, so I know exactly what part of me to cultivate.

Have any of you tried their method?  What did you think?

 

Self Invention

Posted on March 8th, by Birdie in Awesome, Birdie's Adventures, Bonne Vie Birdie. 1 Comment

After five long and often unpleasant years, I was laid off from the company I had been working for.  It wasn’t some enormous toil on the office to have me there – unless, of course, you count all the ways I refused to suck up to keep my job.  I had a job to do, I had laid out the groundwork for the new system and I had implemented things just as I was told.  Following the rules to such an extent didn’t win me fans, and eventually turned out not to be the best way to run the office (though I was doing what I’d been told).  The easiest way to appease the three people who were uncomfortable with  my work (and their own blunders) was to let me go.  And it just so happened that one person wanted her old job back – and I was in the way.

In a way I was shocked, but I definitely wasn’t sad.  I came in, did my work, and went home to the rest of my life.  If I’d thrown myself into it wholeheartedly, we should have written me off entirely.  In my eyes, I would have been a fool doing a fool’s job, instead of an uninterested but intelligent person doing what I had to to get by.   And that’s the thing – when you start working on something you actually care about, everything changes.  Necessity is the mother of self-invention.

YSL image found at theerrantaesthete.com

YSL image found at theerrantaesthete.com

There is a quite the necessity in heading out into an unfamiliar world, armed only with the tools you’ve gained along the way.   What do I do with myself, where do I go and how do I maintain a lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to?  I spent a few moments asking myself that.  Well of course, I’ve applied for school, I have Deco Modiste, I have a little work here and there for Totally Blown Glassworks, and I have my own little side project,  making crafty stuff to sell on Etsy.

I asked myself this very question and quickly realized:  You do what you can with what you have with where you are – to paraphrase Bob Dylan.  I have things to do!  Places to go!  And a few maxims to keep in mind…

Be a little fearless and ready to embrace the moment.  Be aware of opportunities that spring into your lap.  These opportunities may take a moment to build, but are worth a lifetime in experience and possibility.   Fretting about what you’re going to do with your time from here on out is silly when it blinds you to all the stuff you could be doing that could become your day job.

Make yourself accessible and user-friendly.  Put yourself out there, carry your business cards (which I had from before my unemployment) and toot your own horn – but in a way that will make it easy for your potential project to come to you.

Redefine the concept of money so you feel comfortable making it.  Maybe you realize you don’t need to make a lot of money to be very happy.  Most millionaires are uncomfortable being seen as rich.  Maybe it’s the connotations that the word “rich” brings to mind, or maybe it’s the fact that the work that rakes in the dough doesn’t make them feel rich inside.  Whatever the case, toil away at something that moves you and you’ll feel rich.  Or toil away at something simple and enjoy the richness of your life outside your day job.

Desire less.  Yeah, fashion/lifestyle blogger says, “what!?”  But learning to cull your desires for *newnewnew* and waiting for *the best* to come around may save you money in the long run, right? Look for things that are versatile, buy only if it’s not something you have, and make sure it will stand up to the wear and tear of your every day life.

Find a way to be generous.  Give your time where you can and good things will come.  Maybe you find that definition of “rich” that you feel comfortable having.  Expend effort, give a hand here or there.  Maybe intern or volunteer (totally qualifies as being generous with your time) and you may find that real opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Got any more tips for me babes?  Cos I could use them!

 

Burnout: Fashion

Posted on March 2nd, by Birdie in Birdie's Adventures, Bonne Vie Birdie, Fashion and Style. 2 comments

Growing older and fashion burnout – I sometimes wonder if the two are related?  It’s a combination of work + lifestyle + body changes that happen as you age.  Recently, I’ve had a hard time finding anything I want to wear – either in shops or in my closet.  There’s so much drabness, or this color doesn’t go with that pattern.  Or it’s way out there – maybe not appropriate for work.  All the possibilities seem so exciting, but become very exhausting!

Uniform Project

Uniform project, photo found via Instant Stylist

My  hurdles: My current lifestyle is killing my creativity.  I get up at 4:30 or 5a to go to work and it takes an extra effort to shake off sleep and dress myself properly.  I’d set out an outfit at night, but I often forget because I’m working.  Even if I did set something out, generally by morning, I’m disinterested in what I’ve put together after looking out the window and realizing it’s dark-o-clock and pouring rain.  I default to maximum comfort, maximum warmth, very little effort.  It’s hard not to just slop on a hat, a pair of jeans and my coat – especially since all I want to do after work is go home, have dinner and go to bed.  The office is constantly 65 degrees and I end up just wearing my wool trench all day.  Why dress up underneath if I’m just going to cover it up?!

Meanwhile, the career market has gotten more serious as I grow older.  Since I’m not a student right now, I need to stay within the confines of dreary “business casual”.  Oh joy – gray slacks, sensible shoes and easy sweaters.  I doubt I could pull off harem pants at work – or could I?  At my office, I’d probably be made fun of (a sad fact – interesting style choices are often constantly questioned, or ridiculed).  I can imagine more serious workplaces frowning upon some of the current styles as business casual.

I’ve also found myself in a sort of  body-awkward phase, moving out of my gangly 20′s into a now filled-out almost-30s.  I’ve been running with Mister and have grown quite the posterior.  It looks nice (I did just give my butt props… and proof that it’s not just my butt!) but some of my wardrobe just doesn’t fit now.  I hate that in-between stage where I know my body is changing but I don’t have the means to keep up with it.  In an uncomfortable twist of fate, many of my sweaters have shrunk in the body (improper washing! ARGH) or they seem too twee to wear around.

At times I know just what look I’m going for, but have no idea how to get there.  I want my wardrobe to look svelte and beautiful, while interesting and quirky.  I don’t want to look like a teen, trying too hard to be adult, but I want it to look fun!  My closet is filled with my past mistakes (you know; big and baggy, meets too-tiny minis) and I don’t understand some of the current fashions – for example, I wish people would get over harem pants, yet at the same time I kind of want a pair.

I realized the other day that the only time I’m dressing up is if we’re going out.  I don’t know what my day to day style is.  I set a style statement, but it’s escaped me considering my schedule and lifestyle right now.  So how do you work against this sartorial malaise?  I’ve created all these hurdles not to dress up so I feel the need to brainstorm ideas to overcome the hurdles… And they need to be ways I can break out of the rut without going broke!

Set out clothes for the morning: In my case, it means just wearing whatever I set out the night before – no grumbling allowed!  It also means checking the weather forecast when I’m trying to decide, and it means looking for maximum comfort that looks good.

Keep track of what works: Post it notes maybe? I’ve heard Polaroids work, but who has the cash to keep up with buying the film?!  Sheesh!  This seems like a great failsafe if I decide not to set anything out the night before.  Easy reference!

Create inspiration: I have magazine tears for this and that – a mood board would maybe help with inspiration, right?  I was gifted a copy of The Sartorialist (the book) for my birthday and what better inspiration to leave on my dresser.  Pick a page at random and use that for outfit inspiration for the day!

Change your lifestyle: Okay – this may be extreme in some cases, but I can imagine it’d work for people who don’t get up at the asscrack of dawn.  Maybe getting up an extra 15 minutes early would help a person wake up, so that they can make clearheaded style decisions.  Maybe scheduling time to do creative things during the day would help change my perspective of my work life right now?

Create a wardrobe challenge: Like those people who do the 30 for 30 challenges, or the little black dress thing – where you wear the same basic uniform, but style it differently each day.  It could turn out really well, building a mental portfolio of different styles, or I could end up just wearing the exact same thing every day, and liking it!  Mixing in color is also a good way to get out of a rut of gray-black-gray that I tend to adapt when I become bored of fashion.

I scoured the internet for pearls of wisdom and came up – for the most part – empty handed.  Got any tips for me that might help?

“So you might as well wear a crazy hat…”

Posted on February 28th, by Birdie in Awesome, Birdie's Adventures. 1 Comment

“We are all going to die at some point so you might as well wear a crazy hat, you assholes.”
-Auntie Marie at Agentlover.com

Girl has a point.

Your life is too short to do things like: Purchase a party dress that will never get any play because you don’t have somewhere to wear it; Keep that expensive eBay investment bag in a dust bag in your closet for fear of ruining it; not wear your grandmother’s engagement ring as your own for fear of losing it; Not wear those fancy Loubies you bought because they cost a pretty penny…

You see where I’m going with this?

Life is too short not to: Take a plunge to do something different, because your day job sucks all the life out of you; burn the candle at both ends every once in a while because you’re excited about the new projects you’re working on; sleep in late and waste a little bit of a day because you can; learn a new craft or skill that you’ve always wanted to, and now you have the time for it.

I have a friend who said to me, recently, “You need to go out and do things for you.  You don’t want to wake up one day and find out it’s too late.”  He’s so incredibly right.  The beauty of life is that you only have so much time to make it yours, and your time is never wasted, but sometimes it could be better spent.

I’m not saying you should be the grasshopper and not the ant (all play and no work has consequences), I’m just saying, make time to prioritize your business.  Carve out a day in your planner to make sure the things you need to do/experience/make get done.  And if you can’t do that thing right now, start writing out the plan to get to where you need to be.  The first step is the hardest.  Always.

Be kooky, be weird.  Take chances, understand your risks.  Create, create, create!  Create love, create magic, create a space where you can be awesome.  Rock out, work it.  Be you.

 

Emotional fallout

Posted on February 23rd, by Birdie in Beauty Blogs, Birdie Loves, Birdie's Adventures. 2 comments

You know the feeling.  You’re rehashing.  You’re reliving.  You’re thinking of all the ways you could have handled it better, but you’re left with the way it actually happened.  The actual course of events depicted something other than the real-you, or the you-you-want-to-be.  How does a girl get over feeling bad about the way x, y or z event played out?

Memory Lane by Violet on Flickr

Memory Lane by Violet on Flickr

Those things happened – but they are no longer reality.  Remind yourself of that, as often as you need to.   Remind yourself that you can start from scratch, and you will move forward.   Look yourself in the eye and say “It happened, it’s over, and it isn’t my now.  I’m moving forward”   Guilt and despair are both little angry voices inside your head that belittle you and keep you down.    Guilting yourself won’t make it better;  guilt won’t make the hurt go away, it won’t make anyone forgive you.  It won’t make you a better person.  You know, deep down, you did the best you could with what you had, and what you were dealing with.

I know just saying it won’t make it any easier, but you have the power to realize the past is like a dream.  It’s something that happened in some other alternate universe.  Time helps.   And so does knowing every day is a do-over. That past thing doesn’t make you who you are, but it points you to where you need to/want to be.  Think about the situation – not as an actor, but as an observer – like you’re watching it on tv or reading it in a book.  When you’re ready to be done with the weirdness, close the book.  You can feel empathy for the characters, but mentally remove yourself from the scenario, taking with you the ultimate lesson.

Quarantining those old memories - is in a sense, like closing a book –  it frees you from all the emotions attached to each memory so that you can move forward into new situations and adventures.   Waiting for external closure means missing out on better opportunities.  Realizing the closure you’ve had since is key to turning that final page in the book of your memory.

If it’s absolution you’re looking for, every new day is absolution.  It’s your chance to do everything and do it right.  The universe doesn’t remember what happened – only people remember and chances are their view is skewed in their own personal way.  They forget the way it was, they remember things that happened differently.  Take two deep breaths, and hold your head high.  You’re the best person you can be, and that’s pretty damn good!  Those other people will think what they will  - always.  And the beauty of that scenario is that when you don’t give a damn, you feel a lot more peaceful.

Remember that you have time on your side.  You have the power to cultivate new experiences.  You have a whole span of time in front of you and with that, you can choose to wallow in the stuff that has happened, or you can choose to make new, amazing things happen.   Now that you’ve finished that chapter, you’re ready to move forward.

Got anything to add for those out there in readerland?  Leave it in the comments!

 

7′s and 11′s

Posted on February 15th, by Birdie in Awesome, Birdie's Adventures, Fashion and Style. 1 Comment

Mister and I were talking about our recent trip to Vegas and about some of the tics and funny things you notice when you’re playing table games. Craps, for example, is totally a fool’s game, a poor investment, a waste of money and time, but there’s a bigger lesson to be had at a Craps table than any money won or lost. The things you learn there are inadvertently applicable to life in some way.

Rolling Dice by Catherine Jamieson

Image by CatherineJamieson on Flickr

For example…

Making friends is easy. What do you a have in common with a table full of strangers, other than the fact that you’ve all got your chips on the pass line? Absolutely nothing – but that’s the great part. You only need to have that one thing in common (and sometimes maybe not even that if the goofball next to you is playing against the table) to strike up a conversation where you’ll realize how much more that set of strangers has to offer. All it takes is a common scenario – everybody against the man – to create a bond within a group.

Remember, a smile can get you everywhere. That kid at the end of the table will try to roll just a little bit better if you flash him your best grin. A smile will bring out the better side in people – and scientific research suggests that a smile will bring out the better side in you, too.

Show up ready to play. If you show up, cynical about winning or losing or learning or any of that, you’re going to kill the table, and quick. Your self-doubt is apparent. It’s a catch-22, but you’d be amazed at how quick a game can go downhill if you’re a “negative Nancy”. Loosen up. I know you doubt that you’re going to win, I know that you think you’re never going to learn to play, and if you fake it a little, you’ll be pleasanty surprised when you “make it” on a hot roll.

Part of faking it is playing along a little. You’ll find a lot of superstition at a gaming table. Some superstitions are actually what keep people on the board. There are people who have a dice-rolling wind-up or those who like to blow on the dice before throwing them. Some people have a very specific way of stacking their chips to optimize their luck. Cheer them on while they’re doing their thing, and be open to cultivating your own idiosyncrasies.  They will roll better if you’re enthusiastic.

Fake it til you make it, and you may find yourself having a lot more fun. Let’s face it, I know you don’t really think saying “seven” is going to reflect the outcome of a roll of the dice, but saying it in a crowd of people who are also playing along is going to make you look like a jackass. It’s part of that faking-it thing. Nobody needs to hear that each roll is independent of the others, making their little rituals useless. They’re having more fun because they have something to believe in.

And on that note, each roll of the dice is independent of all the others. I know, I told you nobody wants to hear it said, but it’s a good lesson to take away from the table. The world is not conspiring against you (save for maybe the casinos and that one jackass who keeps playing the don’t pass line) and nobody is truly out to get you. Everything is an independent system with it’s own independent variables that make it unique. Just because you crap out the first time doesn’t mean you’re going to continue to crap out til you’re bankrupt.

Trust your inner voice.  I’ve seen people lose boatloads of money trying to play games strategically.  Though, there’s something to be said for knowing what the dealer is supposed to do in blackjack, the decks are stacked in the house’s favor.  The same is true in craps.  There’s really only so much you can do to hang onto your hard earned dough (because the point of gambling is to spend all your money on frivolous entertainment, yes?).  More often than not, people who trust their gut instinct end up with the rewards.  If a table doesn’t feel right to you (read: everybody looks like they’re not having any fun), don’t play.  If you wanna bet the field cos the player just rolled a five, go with it.  Just trust yourself.  I’ve seen people use strategy over intuition and they often lose.

The bad news isn’t always bad. 7′s are good on the first roll, but bad when you’re trying to hit a number. Boxcars (double 6′s) are terrible first rolls unless you’re playing the field. And if you crap out, you’re giving it to the next guy who’s got a good chance of having the best roll of his life! There’s always another way of looking at a crap situation (hurr hurr!) – you just have to find the right spin.

Last, know when to fold ‘em. Kenny Rogers had that one right – though I think he was a little off on when to count your money (I mark mine so I don’t leave with less than I had when I started).  When you’re up, take your original money, put it in your pocket and leave it there.  Know what you have and what you’re prepared to lose. Never chase your fortune; that elusive Lady Luck knows how to stay just out of reach. Just do what you know and what you’re comfortable with; maybe try a new thing here or there, but don’t bet the rest of your bank on boxcars hoping to hit it before the roller strikes out.

Have fun, keep an exit-plan handy, and what you don’t know, you’ll learn by just doing it.

 

(PS, Mr says this post is totally a “Cooney” – the kid who’d think nothing of deriving life-lessons from Craps.  Hahahahahah)

Style Statement: Atomic Nouveau

Posted on January 4th, by Birdie in Awesome, Beauty Blogs, Bonne Vie Birdie, Fashion and Style. 2 comments

Who is Atomic Nouveau?

She’s got unbridled enthusiasm for the next step.   She’s experienced the learning curve and now she’s ready to come forward, take charge, and live exactly as she pleases.  She’s distinctive and rejects limitations.  She’s independent, and footloose in a “New Century, New Universe” -way.  The times are a’changin’, and there’s a whole list of infinite possibilities available.  Why not sample them all?  She’s here for revolution; she’ll take the world by storm.

image via Whoisnoladarling.wordpress.com

She’s always ready for action in tailored good looks. A Parisian influence gives her that polished, precise, put together air, even when she’s not.  She’s able to be business as usual, while still tending her own needs, and she realizes the need for both introversion and extroversion as components of well balanced character.    It’s not just about how she styles herself – she’s put together in how she carries and conducts herself.  Manners are never second nature and she believes people work with the best intentions.  She’ll laugh at mistakes and kill them all with kindness.  The Modern Lady (or Gentleman) has been taught consideration for the world.  She’s educated, polite, and she’s able to think for herself.   She’s still a wild child at heart though, but she strives for simplicity and directness, and behaves well enough in public.  When she wants to be, she’s quite the charming mischief-maker. Her mischievous nature is always just right for her situation.

image from Cocokelley.blogspot.com

With her polished look, she’s still opulent in style as a reaction to the forced austerity felt in recent times.  There’s a hedonism in the way she dresses – dressing for herself solely.  She’s into sparkles, bangles, trinkets that clink, but she knows when to take one item off before leaving the house.  She’s aware that she’ll make an impression and she knows exactly what it should be.  She’s still a hedonist in the way she conducts herself – because she knows contentment and self respect are one in the same.

Marjorie Miller, Queen of the Night, Tatler, 1931

She’s ornamented, but polished; she’s expressive and intrigued by the esoteric.  She’s always romantic, and romantically inclined towards life.  Her look is eclectic and artistic, mixing soft organic nouveau style with dramatic sharp-lined modernism.  She is slightly abstract in a syncopated rhythm.  She digs pattern, and pairs it with flowing contrast.

She wears: wingtip boots, flowing fabrics, gold and silver, deconstructed-yet-tailored pieces, ridiculous shoes that still fit the occasion, excessive hats, flapper fringe, structure, lace, bold prints, jeweled colors,  anything but bodycon, black and white, furs (faux and vintage), feathers and flowers in her hair, her heart on her sleeve.

Want to get specific?  See the inspiration here: My Atomic Nouveau Mood Board.

Quick Change

Posted on December 29th, by Birdie in Awesome, Beauty Blogs, Bonne Vie Birdie, Fashion and Style. 2 comments

Let’s get personal for a minute…

I was looking through my Flickr and noting how I had played on my projected 2010 style direction.  I was pleased at how I’d presented myself through photo, even though I completely lost track of my anticipated direction.  I had a heavy series of outfit posts at the beginning of the year.  It gave me something to look at, to reference and document.  Also it helped me keep track of all the fun stuff I was doing at the time…

I think I lost a little bit of identity when I changed my haircolor though.  Looking back at these photos I missed the pop of My Little Pony Magic that my hair had.

outfit post, vintage jumpsuit, birthday party

outfit post, corduroy jumper, m641

And it was all really cute.  I felt good about the way I was styling myself.  Also, the skeleton in the top corner of that last pic is one of my favorite decor oddities in my house.

red head, gingervitis, new hair post

deco modiste, fashion show, long trousers, work wear post

I branched out and started wearing gold, which I’d previously shied away from.  I had mixed metallics, bird pendants, feathery hair and fun shoes.  I dressed it up.

black on black, sexy shoes, going out, outfit post

I felt vintage and modern at the same time.  Retro and futuristic.   I mastered pincurls.  I wore fun hats.  I bought opera gloves and carried vintage bags out of sheer frivolity.

high tea, ladies who lunch, easter party, dressed up

And then right about HERE, there was a hugenormous break.   I forgot about dressing and committed to 6am Work Madness, Wedding Planning, Puppy Wrangling.   I had a serious bout of the blues for a bit, there, and I lapsed into tees and jeans.  I was confused by our weather, and my daily schedule.  I felt like I wasn’t on point.  I also had that post-26-year body change to contend with, that was redefining the way I wore my wardrobe.   I was only dressing up for occasions.  Or if I needed to look cute for an after work happy-hour and even those were sparse.  I needed something serious – a big change.  I was going through one of those lifestyle lightbulb moments when you realize you’ve outgrown your current state.  It wasn’t just my style that had flopped, but something inside me wasn’t being fulfilled.  I needed catharsis.

bardot dress, deco modiste, seattle fashion tv party

When I resurfaced, I found myself in the cusp between cute, funky 20′s clothes and more modern, svelte upper 20′s early 30′s hotness.  I figure my style direction for 2011 will be that catharsis along with a well as a needed lifestyle change!  I’m excited to be working towards a more fitting and fun style statement, and I’m overjoyed to get back to the things that drive me.

 

Twelve Rules of Change

Posted on December 27th, by Birdie in Awesome, Birdie's Adventures. 6 comments

I think I found this list on Psychology Today and because I know we’re all looking at our Resolutions for next year, I felt it was appropriate to post today.  Do you want to change something about your life?  Is there a goal that eludes you?  Try this, and it just might stick!

  1. Break down your behavior into chunks – Look at the little pieces of your behavior, these small bites are what you’re going to tackle, one by one.   You might find that changing a behavior has a lot of implications.  Changing your name, you know, isn’t just going down to the County building and filling out some forms.  It’s changing your driver’s licence, changing the name on your bank account, changing the name on your light bill and your vehicle registration and your passport and, hell, even your college transcripts.  This will help you take baby steps to gradually work towards an end goal.  Logically sequence it out:  First things first you have to actually change the name, the next thing you need to do is hit the Department of Licensing, because your bank wants to see valid ID to change your name there.  You get the picture.
  2. Examine the consequences of not changing – Look, is this thing you want to change really bad for you?  How does it affect you?   Do your friends balk at taking you places because you curse like a sailor only to offend soccer moms and old ladies?  Without seeing the consequences of your action, changing the action loses relevance.
  3. Make your change slow but steady - Start with saying, “I’m going to do this one small additional thing, each month, to work towards my goal.”  Maybe it’s that you’re going to hit the gym every other Tuesday in January.  Then in February, you’re going to hit the gym every Tuesday.  Be consistent with how you add on those tasks you want to accomplish.   I hate to say its like training puppies, but the best way to teach your dog not to chew the plastic tabs off the end of your shoelaces, is to consistently keep them up and out of his way.  I learned that one the hard way, and now I have several pair of shoelaces to replace.
  4. Be realistic about what you truly can accomplish – You’re not going to go from tone deaf to American Idol overnight.  Setting unrealistic goals only discourages your progress.  Be kind to yourself and realistically set goals that you CAN achieve.
  5. Enjoy the act – relish in reinforcing change.  You know that thing about hitting the gym on Tuesdays?  Don’t complain.  Instead, be proud of yourself for going even when you feel like just sitting on the sofa with a pint of Chunky Monkey (You know, that’s MY favorite thing to do, too!) You also should enjoy the outcome – reap the reward of change.  So when you are hitting the gym every Tuesday, don’t feel bad for having that scoop of Chunky Monkey after dinner.  Also, relish in how great you feel after you go.  Oh, and definitely compliment yourself when you realize how great your derriere looks in those jeans. ;)
  6. Reward yourself (but not in a way that directly conflicts with the behavior you’re trying to change) – So say you have a shopping addiction that you want to break.  Don’t reward yourself for not shopping for a week by shopping with the girls on Friday.  That’s like taking one step forward and two steps backwards.  Reward yourself instead with a decadent bubble bath (and this is the part where you’re like, “Well SOMEONE has to buy bubble bars from LUSH!” and I’m like, “You’re ruining my narrative!  And you probably already have several LUSH bubble bars!”), or take yourself out to a nice meal.   Just don’t let THAT become your replacement habit.
  7. Simplify the thought process – You have some grand scheme where you buy a new gym outfit.  This is going to motivate you to get up at 5am, have a protein shake, and then go to the gym on Tuesday.  Then you’re going to come home and try to get ready to get to work on time.   OR! How about this simpler method?  You’re going to go to work and then hit the gym when you get home and are not rushed to do stuff.  Oh and is that cute gym outfit really necessary?  Really?
  8. Prepare for problems – In all honesty, you’re probably going to slip at some point because you’re human. Anticipate safety nets where you can.  Your shopping addiction got hold of you at the last Ruelala designer final sale, but you’re not going to be eating ramen for the next week, because you saved a little extra last month.  This also means, Keep Calm and Carry On.  Just because you slipped up a little doesn’t make you a bad person.  It also doesn’t give you free license to abandon your resolutions.
  9. Appreciate and be mindful about the journey.  Monitor your behavior.  Journal it out if you need to.  Make a blog post about it!  Enlist your friends to help – even if it’s just one of them to pat you on the back.  Know what you’re doing is going to better your lifestyle.  Believe!
  10. Remind yourself of your plan to change – constantly and consistently.  Yeah, consistent.  That word keeps popping up.  Buy yourself a pack of post-it notes and a pretty, sparkly sharpie and motivate thyself.  Tie a string around your finger so you don’t “accidentally forget” to do that thing you need to do to get the ball rolling.
  11. Control the environment - set the stage for success.  You know if you’re going to cut out sweets, you can’t have that roll of sugar cookie dough in your fridge.  Make those bad boys, have ONE, and then give the rest to your friends.  And then don’t buy any more, because if you do, you know you’re back at square one.
  12. Practice! And celebrate the small successes.  If you don’t, this won’t be any fun.

Try this set of steps to get to that dream goal …  there are only 12.  That’s like, one step, each month.  Take as long as you need, or as little time as you want.  Go get ‘em, Tiger!  For me?  Maybe it should be blogging, eh?

Having a hard time thinking up good resolutions?  Go here and play with this: Resolution Generator

 

 

PSSSST! Bonne Vie has a Facebook page so you can keep updated on when I do (or do not) post.  Check it out!

 

Outfit: Effort. Less.

Posted on October 19th, by Birdie in Awesome, Bonne Vie Birdie, Fashion and Style. No Comments

I know some writers detest the word effortless (especially when paired with the word chic – please don’t make Wendy B. “Despenser” you!!), and I hate to say I love outfits that are effort-less.  But I’m not talking about a no-effort outfit because honestly, getting up at the hour I do requires quite the brain/will-power.  What I love are outfits that require much less effort than the norm.  I love those sleepy outfits that – when I get to work and catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, I say “Wow – did I do that?  Because what I’m wearing works really well.”

And I really didn’t expect that to be the case when I slapped on these funky Parisian breeches, found by Dana from Sustalux.  In fact, when I found them, I was like, “These are so silly I must put them on immediately!” And then they followed me home like some semi-friend who thinks he’s coming up for a nightcap, but is pr0bably mistaken.  They sat on a chair in my bedroom during my “trial run”, totally staring me down – “Whatcha gonna do?  What do you pair us with?”

Then one morning, I happened to snap them up out of sheer rushed-necessity, along with a loose-weave silk sweater from Banana Republic and a pair of trouser socks and somehow they magically became my favorite (and ONLY) Parisian pants.  Cus look at these buttons!  Seriously.

Parisian breeches, c/o Sustalux

effortless in Parisian breeches

effortless in Parisian breeches

I love it when no-plan comes together.