April 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s the last day – and the last post – of the month, so it’s time for me to share my latest “grab bag” of useful links (see previous editions here).   But before I do, I want to thank everyone who gave me such kind feedback on my last few posts related to the subject of hobbies.  I loved all of the wonderful suggestions I received for new interests, as well as the compassion you extended to me regarding my challenges of late.

In addition, I was very pleased that so many of you liked the photographs I shared in my last post.  It meant a lot to me that some of you complimented my eye for composition.  I feel like I’m on the right track with my new hobby and I’m sure my photos will only improve with time.  A few of you mentioned that you’d like me to share more of my photos in future posts, so I plan to do that periodically.   In fact, I took the photo below just yesterday at the La Jolla Cove!  It was a beautiful day here in San Diego, so it was nice to spend a bit of time at the beach capturing the landscape for my sick friend and all of you.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove swimmers and sunbathers – April 29, 2015

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Cultivating New Hobbies – My First One to Share

The last two posts have centered on the topic of hobbies. I started out with an emotional post about how shopping has been my only hobby for many years, how that didn’t fulfill me, and how I’d like to create more balance in my life by integrating some new interests.   I received so many wonderful suggestions from readers that I wrote a follow-up post listing a wide array of things to do besides shopping, broken down into meaningful categories.

Today, I’d like to share a new hobby that I’ve been exploring as of late.   I will tell you about my new interest, why I took it on, and how it’s been fulfilling for me.  I will also show you a few examples of what I’ve done with this new hobby thus far.

My New Hobby Is…

photography hobby

I’ve recently discovered the love of photography…

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Things to Do Besides Shopping – Cultivating New Hobbies and Pastimes

Before I dive into today’s topic, I want to thank all those who took the time to either comment on my last post or send me personal messages.  I appreciate all of the kind words and helpful suggestions I have received and I feel blessed to have such a compassionate and generous group of readers.   Due to the sheer volume of comments, I probably won’t be able to respond to each one individually, but please know that I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to write to me.  It truly means a lot to me that you care so much about me and my well-being.   I will respond to as many of you as I can in the coming days.

I would like to continue on the topic of hobbies and pastimes today.   I was originally going to share a new interest I’ve recently started to explore, but since I received so many wonderful ideas for new activities, I thought I’d share some of them here first.  I know that not everyone reads the comments on this blog, but so many great suggestions were offered to me that I’d like to pass them along. I know many of you also wrestle with ways to spend your time besides shopping, so perhaps some of the possibilities below will resonate with you.   I will share my new hobby in a post next week (and yes, it’s included on the list below).

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Is Shopping Your Only Hobby?

The other day, I saw something written on a forum that really made me think:

Seriously, it’s just clothes.  How empty must your life be if your only hobby is shopping?”

In fact, that quote didn’t just make me think – it actually made me cringe and almost cry.   It hit just a little too close to home for me.   I haven’t written about the “full life” issue for a while, so I think it’s high time for another one of my open, honest, and emotionally raw posts.  These posts aren’t easy for me to write, but they do help me explore important issues, and I also think they strike a chord with many readers.

Default Activity

Shopping hobby

Is shopping your default activity for all of your emotional states? 

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Lessons from My Outfit Journal – Maxi Dresses

I didn’t think I would post another “Lessons from my Outfit Journal” installment so soon, but here’s another one right away.   I wanted to do a second post this week, but I’ve been going through a lot of physical and emotional challenges as of late and I just didn’t have it in me to write about anything else today.   But these outfit journal posts are relatively easy to write and seem to be popular with readers, so here goes.

Outfit journal entries

What percentage of your outfits do you absolutely love?

A few people mentioned that they like that I’m highlighting themes in these posts, so I will stick to that approach.   Since spring is upon us and it’s getting warmer outside, I decided to take a look at some of my maxi-dress outfits from last summer and fall (we have warm autumns where I live).

As in my last post, I will share the outfits in the order of my preference, from least favorite to most favorite today (which won’t necessarily reflect my original ratings).   I will highlight where I wore the ensemble, how I felt about it, and what I’d change (if anything) in the future, as well as any follow-on thoughts I’ve had since the outfit journal entry was made.

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Lessons from My Outfit Journal – Slimmer-Fitting Jeans

I can’t believe it’s been close to two months since I shared the last post in my “Lessons from my Outfit Journal” series (see the two previous installments here and here).   I have been keeping my outfit journal since July 2014 (more on why and how here) and have been learning a great deal about my wardrobe and style preferences since that time.

Style journal

Keeping an outfit journal has really helped me improve my style.

One of the things I’ve learned recently is that I now prefer wearing slimmer styles of jeans over the wider-legged jeans that were my mainstay for years.   In today’s post, I share four looks that feature boyfriend style and straight-legged jeans.   While I’m not a fan of true skinny jeans for comfort reasons (I have varicose veins and a painful nerve condition), I have embraced these two new styles in addition to my boot-cut stand-bys.   I show the outfits from least to most favorite and share my outfit ratings, where I went, my thoughts about each look, and what I would change in the future (if anything).

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First Quarter 2015 Wardrobe Wrap-Up

I know I wrote in my last post that I would be sharing more “lessons from my outfit journal” this week, but I realized that I had more I wanted to say about my wardrobe and my “Love it, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI).   So the outfit photos and journal entries will have to wait until next week instead.

In today’s post, I’m going to reflect back on how my shopping and wardrobe management has progressed so far this year.  One quarter of the year is behind us, so this is a good time to pause and reflect on what is and isn’t working for us.  Having periodic check-ins with ourselves can help increase our self-awareness and enable us to build upon what we’ve learned and avoid making mistakes.

I’m going to share what I’ve purchased this year and what I’ve passed on, as well as how I feel about both of these groups of items.   I’m also going to spend a bit of time looking at my jewelry and accessories and what has yet to be worn in 2015.  It’s my hope that my reflections will help you make similar analyses with your own wardrobes so you can better achieve your wardrobe and shopping goals.

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