November 2014 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

Since it’s almost the last day of the November (where did the time go?), it’s time for another installment of “useful links” on a variety of subjects.   A lot of my fellow bloggers are taking some time off this week, but since I enjoy having blog posts to read on holiday weekends, I figured some of you might feel the same way.  Plus, I know my useful links posts are both popular and appreciated.  Even those who have been extremely busy this week might want to take a few moments to relax and read some interesting and informative articles.

I hope all of my readers in the United States had a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday.  Mine was low-key but enjoyable.  My husband and I took his mom (who lives near us) out to a waterfront restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner.  The photo below was taken just before sunset with the San Diego skyline in the background.  Even though the temperature was in the low 80’s (apologies to my East Coast friends!), I tried my best to be festive with my outfit.   It’s kind of difficult to get into the holiday spirit in such summery weather, but I’m not exactly complaining…

Thanksgiving 2014

This post includes links to articles I think you’ll enjoy related to shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, and personal style.  As a special addition this month, I also offer a special section of holiday-themed links.  To avoid overwhelming you with too much information, I’ve omitted the “Recovering Shopaholic” posts from the archives this time, but that feature will be back next month.  In the meantime, you can always revisit my previous articles HERE (you can view posts by category, search by a keyword or phrase, or just peruse the list by date).

Yes, there are a lot of links in these posts, but I don’t expect you to click on all of them! Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.   You can always go back to this post later if desired.   Okay, here are the links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • Novelty and Variety” – This introspective post from MOderate Wardrobe looks at how we can find a balance between the push for new, new, new all the time and feeling satisfied with what we have. How can we have enough novelty in our wardrobes without too much consumption?
  • Size is Just a Label” – Many women tend to attribute meaning to the size they wear, but it’s really a very arbitrary number. Style expert Imogen Lamport wisely advises us to ignore the numbers on the labels, focus more on fit, and remember that we can be beautiful and stylish at any
  • How to Buy Less and Stop Overspending” – This post from Into Mind explores why we overspend and outlines four ways in which we can avoid impulse buys. It also includes a free printable quote to remind us of what really matters in terms of shopping.
  • We Buy An Obscene Amount of Clothes. Here’s What It’s Doing to Secondhand Stores” – This thought-provoking article from The Huffington Post looks at the impact that “fast fashion” is having on thrift stores.   The article is chock full of statistics, some of which may just blow your mind!

On Wardrobe Management

  • I Am Not a Minimalist” – I really love the weekly “Minimal Closet” series on Grechen’s Closet, and this post is no exception. We often feel the need to adopt certain labels in order to give ourselves a defined identity.  But in truth, we are many things and also none of them. We are just us and that’s okay!  This post kind of defies classification, but I include it here since it touches upon minimalism and capsule wardrobes.
  • The Point…” – Why count how many clothing items we own, create shopping plans, and take outfit photos? The point is to wear what we have and buy what we will wear.   An analogy is made to grocery shopping, which really makes things crystal clear.
  • The 80/20 Wardrobe Challenge” – Lisa from Shopping Brake recently completed her one-year “DH Closet Challenge,” so she decided to take on a new wardrobe experiment. You may have heard that most people only wear 20% of their clothes.  Well, Lisa is turning this figure on its side as she endeavors to wear 80% of her wardrobe on a regular basis in the coming months.
  • Should You Keep or Bin It?” – The language we use to describe a garment is often a good tip-off as to whether we should keep it or pass it on.   If something fits us but is referred to in negative terms, there is usually something wrong.   Simple but powerful advice!

On Personal Style

On The Holiday Season

  • One Less Gift – A Holiday Gift Exemption Certificate” – Are you tired of holiday consumerism? Miss Minimalist came up with a beautiful and powerful solution for this problem, the “One Less Gift” certificate.   This certificate can be given to friends and family to convey the desire to share time and experiences together (lots of suggestions are given!) instead of exchanging gifts.
  • Tis the Season for More Joy & Less Clutter” – Clutter has a tendency to accumulate during the holiday season, but Courtney of Be More With Less offers twelve suggestions to minimize this phenomenon while also cultivating more joy in our lives.
  • Getting Rid of Gifts” – The Minimalists tend not to give physical gifts to people, but that doesn’t mean they are “Scrooges” during the holidays. They love to gift experiences to their loved ones and share some helpful suggestions for those who want to do the same.  They also give advice to those who worry about offending people when by not accepting gifts or letting go of previous gifts they’ve been given.
  • A Holiday Joy Challenge” – While the holidays are always presented as a joyous time of year, many people approach this season with a feeling of dread. Sandra of Always Well Within wants to help turn that around by means of her mini-guide to holiday joy.   If you want to eliminate at least one holiday “downe”r this year, follow Sandra’s four steps for creating your holiday joy plan.
  • 9 Things that Shopping Can Never Deliver” – Americans are expected to spend $616 billion dollars this holiday season! But no matter how much we shop and how many new things we buy, there are at least nine important feelings that can never be found in the accumulation of material possessions. This post really struck a chord with me and I’m sure it will for many of you, too.
  • The Minimal Closet: Gratitude” – I close out this links round-up with today’s post on Grechen’s Closet.  Grechen wisely realizes that the real key to happiness is gratitude.  The more we appreciate what we have, the less we want.  Many of us know this and it’s often written about, but Grechen is honest about the need to continually cultivate gratitude in our lives.


I hope you enjoyed this installment of useful links.  Feel free to comment on any of the topics from this post and/or share links to articles that you’ve enjoyed recently.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I’ll be back next week with my November accountability update and more posts related to wardrobe management, shopping, personal style, and other related topics.   If you have a suggestion for a future post, please share it in the comments section or contact me via email or social media.

35 thoughts on “November 2014 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. I’m happy you had such a pleasant Thanksgiving, Debbie. Enjoy the warm weather while you have it. I know it can even get cool in San Diego.

    Your link round-ups are always so rich! Thanks for including my post. Hope the rest of your holiday season is wonderful.

    • Yes, it CAN get cool here, Sandra, despite what most people think. I always enjoy and appreciate the unseasonably warm days we get here. I was very happy to go on a walk yesterday without a jacket. Of course, where you live, it’s even warmer 🙂

      I was very happy to include your post in this month’s link round-up. I hope some of my readers take on the joy project. I wish you are very happy holiday season, too!

  2. Happy Holiday! I’m humbled to see my blog in your links. Thanks. I will spend some time diving in to the others listed, as well. (I spy a few I’ve already read.) Great minds, and all. 😉 lol

    • Your blog posts are excellent, Mo, and I’m happy to share them! I like having new blogs to share, as I tend to link to the same bloggers often. Yes, there are a lot of great minds who think alike out there! I find myself nodding along to many posts and always have more I want to share than there is room for.

  3. Although this is not the subject of your blog, I must say that you look very lovely. The jacket is a great color and style on you. Your necklace is the perfect proportion. Best of all …. you look happy and relaxed and glowing!

    • Thank you so much, Susan. I always appreciate compliments 🙂 I’ve had both the jacket and necklace for years. I’d love to find another jacket like that and wish I’d picked up another color at the time. Of course, for every time I regret NOT buying multiples, there are at least a few times when I wish I hadn’t done so!

    • Thanks, Tonya! At least we’re all smiling 🙂 My mother-in-law was a model years ago in Paris, so she’s very photogenic. My husband and I didn’t do half-bad this time, either…

  4. Thanks for another carefully curated set of links – can’t wait to dig into them after I’ve crossed a few “must do’s” off my list for today. I want to echo previous posters and say that you look amazing in this photo! Not just the outfit, accessories, colors, hair, etc. – all of which look perfect and show just how beautiful you are. But also the glow that you have – you seem to radiate peace and contentment, and I hope that’s true for you this holiday. It’s warm here in Texas too, at least until Monday, when our high is supposed to be just above freezing. Getting dressed is a daily challenge, but getting easier thanks to all I have learned from you and your readers! Hope you get to relax and enjoy your weekend in ways that mean the most to you.

    • I hope you were able to get your “must dos” done, TexasAggieMom, and have had a chance to peruse some of the links. Thank you for your compliments on my appearance and demeanor. I did feel pretty happy that day and in the outfit. I always like when we have unseasonably warm days and low 80’s on Thanksgiving wasn’t half bad! It’s gotten cooler here since, but I don’t think we’ll get down to as cold as what you mentioned. We are supposed to get rain, though, which is very badly needed here. Yes, this is the most difficult time of year in terms of figuring out what to wear. I have to look at the weather forecast and temperature pretty much daily at this point. I hope you had a great weekend, too!

  5. Hi Debbie!

    I’ve been traveling and missed many of my favorite daily reads, including yours. It’s fun to start catching up.

    The last post asked for ideas about gift-giving: one was your query about nieces and nephews; another was about how to give to those who “have everything.” I worked many Black Fridays in a bookstore in my youth and have some ideas.

    In both cases, my suggestion is to spend *most* of the time allotted to gifts thinking hard about the recipient, not about the gift. Don’t browse the stores; instead, walk yourself mentally through their day. Be as specific as possible. Maybe one of the kids plays guitar and would love some new strings, picks, or a kapo. Maybe the friend who has everything loves to cook and would find a basketful of exotic mushrooms a great gift. People who “have everything” can really appreciate a gift that doesn’t cost much but is the absolute best of its kind that connects to something they do– e.g., Blackwing pencils to do the crosswords. And if all else fails, have a nice picture taken of yourself–with family, pets, etc–put it in a frame and give one to everybody with a personal note.

    What people really want is to know that their friends and loved ones *notice* their little quirks and foibles and preferences. Anything that says “gee, you really get me” is always a winner!

    • These are some really great suggestions, Amy. Thank you so much! I think that part of the problem with the kids for me is that I hardly know them. I only see them maybe twice per year and it’s hard to get a sense of what they like and how they spend their days. I’m not sure how to reconcile this, as it’s unlikely I will start seeing them more regularly. Even my mom, who lives near them, isn’t sure what to buy for them and is doing small gifts and gift cards. Perhaps I will follow suit. I love your ideas for the friends who have everything, as there are a lot of people out there like that. I’m probably one of those people, in fact! I know I would very much appreciate a small but meaningful gift that showed me that the given really “gets” me.

      • Not sure how old these kids are, but in my experience, those old enough to read love getting their very own subscription to a magazine. Not only does it keep on giving throughout the year, but with so many publications out there for kids these days, you can encourage their interests. I used to get the kid version of National Geographic for my niece and nephew, and have also gotten him an origami magazine as he grew interested in that art form as an early teen. I know there are kid versions of many sporting magazines – surely there’s something that might suit them. I do try to steer clear of the “tween” fashion mags, (basically “Cosmo for Kids” and “17 for Tweens” type of stuff) because I think young girls get too many mixed messages about their sexuality already. Perhaps your sister can clue you into their current passions – music? dance? soccer? If they are artsy, try an assortment of colored pencils, real art paper, oil pastels, etc. or perhaps art lessons. My girls went through spells (late elementary school, I think?) where they loved office supplies. I would buy all sorts of color coordinated thing to stock their desks – colored paper clips, cool notebooks, and all sorts of NCR forms so they could play “office.” I’m also a huge fan of books for kids – real books, not Kindle versions. Jigsaw puzzles also help fill the time if your sister can spare the space for them to work on them. Hope some of these old standbys I’ve used for years can inspire you to think of something they’ll enjoy. It’s so hard when you’re not around kids very often!

      • What great ideas – thank you so much! I did give my nephew a subscription to National Geographic for kids a few years ago. I could do something like that again. He’s 11 and my niece is 5. My mom has more ideas for my niece than for my nephew. I will ask my brother (their father), but he’s not always so forthcoming with ideas. But I would imagine some of your ideas would work really well. I appreciate your help. Not having kids myself, I can be a bit clueless about what they like!

      • This may not fit in with the fun of shopping for gifts, but if they are old enough I would simply ask your niece and nephew what they would like. It may be iTunes, etc. Even if you know someone well they may have most everything and getting something they truly want is more rewarding than guessing.

      • Yes, it really can be that simple, right? I think it would probably work to ask my nephew, as he’s 11 and I can even text him. With my niece, it might be trickier, as she’s only 5. I can also text their mom (my ex-sister-in-law) and ask her for ideas, since my brother isn’t always very helpful. I definitely would want to get them something they will actually like!

  6. Thanks Debbie, for posting this information. I am going to click on a few of these links now while I have my few minutes of “down time” while my husband is with our two toddlers. You do look lovely in your photo & I’m glad your day was relaxing. Our Thanksgiving was uneventful, thank goodness, but tonight was my brother’s 31st birthday and I prepared a meal & cake from scratch. He left midway through the meal without telling anyone where he was going. We thought he had just stepped outside to make a call or something… and he disappeared, causing us all to stress, my husband to drive around looking for him, etc. He has severe mental illness. He is on his meds but even when he is… every holiday is a landmine. He finally reappeared; he refused to tell anyone what was wrong, only insisting he leave right now. It was sad and confusing, and my 3-year-old kept asking where he was and when he could sing Happy Birthday. I understand my brother is in pain, but his behavior also makes me angry. So I just came upstairs to eat a piece of homemade cake & try to take some deep breaths. What I really want to do right now is SHOP ONLINE. Instant distraction, temporary boost, forget all the current problems… But I know it will not help. So thanks, for listening. It’ll be 3 weeks on Tuesday without buying anything (except winter mittens for my kids), and I realize each day this hiatus is so important because I know 95% of the time I shop emotionally, and I still have not figured out how to shop normally. Here’s to a holiday season of more peace, even if the world/family/situations around us are stormy, finding a moment for our own inner peace. Take care everyone, and enjoy the rest of this long weekend.

    • Holidays spent dealing with severe mental illness are very very hard. Although we are strangers, I just wanted you to know that my heart goes out to you and your loved ones today.

      • Thank you, Amy. I really appreciate that. It is hard and I try to remember it’s helpful to take care of myself, and go to a support group for families with this same issue where we can all help each other. I think this blog definitely helps me feels supported in dealing with my shopping problem. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for your kind comment.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, C, and thank you to Amy for such a heartfelt response. I love how supportive everyone here is with each others. My heart goes out to you, C. The situation with your brother sounds very sad, difficult, and stressful. I’m sure that is all compounded by not knowing how to explain everything to your young children.

      I can definitely understand how you’d feel compelled to shop after what happened last night, but I applaud you for not giving in to that urge. You are doing SO well in terms of realizing your triggers and understanding that shopping won’t really solve anything. It really does just make us feel better for a very short time and then we often end up feeling worse afterwards. I’m still learning how to shop “normally,” too, and there are still a lot of ups and downs. But if we take it one day at a time and keep questioning our urges and emotions, we do improve bit by bit. We have to learn alternate coping strategies and that can be very difficult, but it is possible.

      I hope today was a better day for you. I wish you peace this holiday season, too.

      • Thank you Debbie, I appreciate your input. Today was a better day and I had fun getting dressed & “shopping my closet” with my 3-year-old son – he is in a big “mommy” phase 🙂 I really get a lot out of reading everyone’s comments on this blog, because my experience is that it’s hard to find people in-person who share the same issues with shopping. I attended a few Debtors Anonymous meetings back in the spring, and it was somewhat helpful, but I am not in debt, nor have I been, but I’m still a compulsive shopper. (Your financial accountings on this blog are admirable and definitely help me be honest with myself that I like to sweep certain purchases under the financial rug!) This blog and the comments help enlighten me as to why we shop especially when it’s emotionally-driven. I feel like I am going to do okay in December, despite the stress the holidays can bring, I think all the extra focus on shopping actually helps me confront my shopping issues more and work through them instead of just spending.

      • I’m glad yesterday was a better day for you and I hope today was, too. Your son sounds so cute. How great that he wanted to help you with getting dressed. I know what you mean about having difficulty finding people to talk to in person about shopping issues. I don’t have that, either. That’s part of my reason for starting the blog, as I KNEW there were others out there who felt like I did, but I just never met any of them (or maybe I did and they didn’t open up).

        I have heard that Debtors Anonymous can be helpful, but I’m not currently in debt, either, and haven’t been for a long time (although I did have a lot of debt in the past). I’m glad that my accountability posts are helpful for you. I have another one coming up this week… That’s great that you feel confident about how you’ll do with shopping this month. I agree that the focus on shopping can help us to confront our issues. I wish you the best of luck and hope you’ll comment again to let us know how you’re doing. Don’t hesitate to ask for support if you need it!

  7. I absolutely love your Thanksgiving day outfit, Debbie! And thank you for the grab bag of links. I love having articles easily available to me so I can pick and choose 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Ry! I’m glad we had warm weather that day, as it’s cooled down quite a bit and is supposed to rain the next few days (which is good because we dearly need it here). Enjoy the articles! I always pick and choose with posts like this, too, as it can be too much otherwise. I never expect anyone to read them all, but of course, anyone who wants to is welcome to do so 🙂

  8. Interesting reading and links to other great stuff. The Huff Post article on the impact of fast fashion on thrift stores and landfills is chilling. I see the concept of “disposable fashion” in the way clothes are treated at many retailers. Once tried on and rejected, most clothing ends up on the floor of the the dressing room in a big puddle of clothes. I have been trying to work out why people (of all ages!!) are treating clothing that is not theirs in this way, and I guess I now know. The rejected clothes are already “disposed of” in the dressing room. Unfortunately, some clothing is also roughly treated at the sales rack — thrown over racks, dropped on the floor, etc.

    • Yes, it’s really sad, isn’t it, Dottie? I’m sure things are worse in some stores than others, but the disposable fashion idea is even seeping into the higher-end stores these days. I shopped at resale stores for years, as you know, but the quality has really taken a nose dive in recently years. Most of the items are fairly recent and very few of them look good at all. That’s probably a good thing for me, though, as I haven’t made the best choices. But I hate what it says about society and the sad state of affairs in the fashion and retail industries.

  9. Thank you as always for sharing all the great links! I’m glad that you liked the XO Jane article! I may have to step down as link queen though :). I haven’t seen any new articles to share. I’ll keep looking!

    • I have faith that you’ll chime in with some amazing links before too long, Leah 🙂 I always like what you have to share. Thanks for your compliment on the family photo. Things were a lot smaller this year for Thanksgiving and will be for Christmas, too. Last year, we had a group of 5 for dinner (my stepson and my husband’s aunt were in town, too), but we still had a good time with just the three of us.

  10. 80 degrees?! Lucky you! It’s rather chilly on the East coast. Happy belated Thanksgiving! I always enjoy your links thanks for taking the time to do the leg work for us. And a big thank you for mentioning me on your blog! I’m looking forward to this new challenge. I’ve always wondered about that ol’ 20% stigma for one’s wardrobe.

    • Well, it’s cooled down here now, too (but just to the 60’s). I was happy to have the warm on Thanksgiving, though, as I really wanted to wear a dress and am still not really equipped for wearing dresses in cooler weather (need to get those boots and tights). I was happy to include your post in my links list. I love your new challenge and will be eagerly awaiting your updates. I need to come up with a new challenge for myself, too. Hmmm…

  11. Debbie thanks as always for your generosity of time and energy in sharing these links.
    It’s such a lovely photo of you, your husband and mother-in-law. You all look so happy and you look absolutely beautiful. I particularly like that dress and jacket on you too.

    • You’re more than welcome, Megan. I’m glad you like the links. Thank you for your compliments on the photo and my outfit. I felt pretty good about what I was wearing that day and it was a good day overall.

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