December “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s the last day of December – and the last day of 2015, so it’s time for me to share my latest “grab bag” of useful links (see previous editions here).   Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the subjects of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m also sharing a few previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around (or may choose to revisit now).  Many of you have a long weekend for New Year’s Day, so it’s a perfect time to sit back with your favorite hot beverage or a glass of wine and enjoy some quiet time to learn, look within, and even laugh (I included a couple of funny articles this time around).

Crystal Pier sunset

Sunset at Crystal Pier in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego – December 6, 2015

As in all recent useful links editions, the photo above is one of mine.   I also periodically share my photos over on Instagram.  If you want to see my photos there, you can follow me at debbie_roes.  You can also check out my previous “photography interlude” blog posts.

As a reminder, I certainly do not expect you to click on all of the links in these posts.  Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.   You can always go back to this post later via my Archives page if desired.   While you’re on the site, you might also want to check out my Recovery Tips and Resources pages, as well as learn about my two books.  Also, if you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” I invite you to visit my Start Here page, which contains useful information about the blog, as well as links to some of my most compelling and helpful posts.  Okay, here are this month’s links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • The Need for Distraction” – Since willpower is a finite resource, our brains often need distractions from deep concentration. Unfortunately, in modern society, those distractions often take the form of shopping. This post from The Nife en L’Air looks at how our consumerist society exploits our need for distraction, as well as how we can find alternate distractions that better serve us.  Some great ideas are presented for how we can distract ourselves in pleasurable ways without going into debt or acquiring things we just don’t need.  The article closes with some suggestions for reducing our overall need for distraction, including sleeping more and single-tasking.
  • The Pros and Cons of Standardized Sizing” – I used to think that it would be so great if all brands sized their clothing the same way, as then I could just buy the same size everywhere without ever having to try anything on. But there is a lot more to this concept than we might think, as this excellent post from Already Pretty illustrates.  For three of the most common propositions put forth by the fashion industry for standardizing clothing sizing, both pros and cons are presented.   The blogger closes the article with some arguments in favor of keeping things the way they are despite the frustration we often experience with size inconsistency.
  • 30 Fascinating Facts about Fashion Psychology” – For those who didn’t know, I was a psychology major in college (I actually have a master’s degree in counseling psychology). So I was delighted to learn that there is such a thing as fashion psychology.  In this Huffington Post UK article, the author of a book on that topic shares some interesting (and often funny) facts that will make you stop and think again about what you wear tomorrow. Some of these facts are actually quite surprising, such as numbers 8, 9, 19, 20, and 25.

On Wardrobe Management

  • Take Charge of Your Closet: Less Shopping, More Style” – I’ve been a fan of the blog Wardrobe Oxygen for years, but I think this might be my favorite post to date.   It starts with a letter from a reader who is having difficulty styling two skirts that she recently bought.   This leads to a sort of “fashion intervention” to help us all take better charge of our closets through a few simple journaling exercises.  After journaling about both our most loved items and those that are almost right, we are walked through four steps for building a successful wardrobe.  I am going to do this exercise soon and blog about it.  Even though my closet is in pretty good shape now, I’m excited to see what comes of the process.
  • How to Maintain Your Wardrobe Throughout the Year” – Since we’re about to start a new year, I thought this would be a great time to share this very helpful wardrobe guide from Into Mind. A lot of useful concepts are explored, including retail, wardrobe, and maintenance cycles.   The author recommends doing both seasonal overhauls and “mini updates” in order to keep our wardrobes in good shape.   Definitions for all of these terms are provided, as well as tips for approaching each part of the process.
  • My Marriage Survived the KonMari Method of Tidying” – This post is included for some good comic relief. At this point, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about Marie Kondo and her “KonMari Method(I have written about how I used it with my books, CDs, and closet).   I am a big advocate of KonMari, but it can be taken too far, as this hilarious post from Scary Mommy  Although the writer was lucky to get through it with her marriage intact, the resulting article is definitely good for some laughs!

On Style

  • How to Break Out of a Style Rut” – Last year, I found myself deep in the midst of a style rut. While I managed to gradually break myself out of it by means of my outfit journal and virtual styling sessions with Bridgette Raes, this great article from You Look Fab is also very helpful.  It begins with some questions to help you explore what you want in terms of your style.  Then it moves into a series of concrete tips that will help you move out of your rut into a style that resonates for you and makes you happy.
  • Trying on Pants: How to Avoid Throwing a Pantrum” – I really hate shopping for pants and I know I’m not alone in this point of view.  In fact, stylist Bridgette Raes came up with a term for the phenomenon that often happens with her clients when they shop for pants, a “pantrum.”  But the good news is that a pantrum can be avoided by means of the six excellent tips that Bridgette outlines. I love the last one, “It’s not you; it’s the pants.”
  • How to Find Your Ideal Skirt or Dress Hem Length” – Do you ever put on a dress or skirt and feel like something is just “off” about it? I know I do, and that something is often the length.  But the interesting thing is that our heel height can make a big difference in terms of whether a hemline is flattering or not.  In this post from Inside Out Style, an actual mathematical formula is provided to help you figure out what your ideal hem length is. The best thing about this article is that lots of photos are included to illustrate the key points.

On Other Topics

  • How to Lighten Your Heavy Heart” –I have been dealing with a lot of emotional issues lately and I definitely feel that I have a heavy heart. So it was helpful for me to revisit this November post from Be More with Less.  Included are five suggestions for easing the burden, at least one of which is likely to resonate for you.   The first tip includes writing and I’m planning to get back into journaling soon, as it was helpful for me in the past.
  • Habit Relapse: What to Do if You Fall from Your Diet or Good Habits” – The holidays are a time of year when many of us tend to “fall off the wagon” from some of our healthy habits.   And the New Year is a common time to try to adopt better life practices.  This article from Zen Habits includes seven useful tips to help you get back on track if you’ve relapsed from healthy eating, exercise, or other positive habits in your life.
  • Are You a Taker? How to Tell if You Take Too Much and What to Do About It” – It’s really difficult to have a fully equitable relationship in terms of give and take, but some relationships are far too unbalanced in this regard. We have all dealt with friends, partners, and relatives who have drained us, but what if we are the takers?   This post from Yes and Yes offers some insights and powerful questions to help you determine if you’re asking too much from the people in your life.

From the Archives

Each month, I share a few early “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that I think you might enjoy reading (you can see all of my posts on the Archives page).  The articles below were published in either November or December 2014. If you resonate with what I have written, I’d love to get your thoughts.   I wish I could leave comments open on all of my previous posts, but due to spam issues I’ve had to close things out after two weeks. Please feel free to share any comments you have about the archived articles in the comments section of this post instead.

  • The End of Year UN-Bucket List” – After reading about another blogger who did this, I decided to write an “un-bucket list” last year. This was basically a list of the things that went well for me in 2014, as well as my accomplishments. This was much more satisfying than looking at the goals and projects I didn’t get done over the course of the year. I recently did something similar for 2015 when I reviewed my theme for the year.
  • We Don’t Have to Try So Hard” – This just may be one of the most raw and honest posts I’ve ever written. Inspired by a Colby Caillet song sung on “The Voice,” I wrote about my lifelong insecurity and obsession with my appearance, as well as the lengths to which I’ve gone to fit in and belong.   I shared the impact this has had on me and pondered what it could be like if things were different.   I’m pleased to say that although I still have a long way to go in terms of trying so hard, I’ve made some good progress over the past year. I feel I will continue to move forward in the coming year and gradually become more and more free with myself and in my life.
  • Who Are You Dressing For?” – In this post, I wrote about the tendency that many of us have to dress more for other people than for ourselves. I shared my personal examples of dressing to go to the mall and for an online audience and I analyzed my over-concern about the opinions of others.  This is another very open and honest post, the type that is often very popular with readers. I realize after re-reading this post and the previous one that I need to recapture the openness that used to characterize this blog.   Not only do readers like it, but it helps with my recovery process as well.  I backed off a bit after receiving a string of negative comments, but I’m not going to let a few haters stifle my voice for an extended period of time!

Also, in case you haven’t heard it yet, I encourage you to listen to my appearance on the “Inner Effort” podcast a couple of months ago.  Since I often don’t like to hear myself talk, I put off listening to this podcast for a long time.  But when I recently played it, I was actually quite pleased with what I had to say and how I sounded!   It was nice to hear how much I’ve learned over the course of my journey and that I have a lot of useful tips to share with others who struggle with compulsive shopping and “closet chaos.”


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.  If you have questions for me or suggestions for future posts, please share them in the comments section or contact me directly via email or social media.

I’ll be back soon with my wrap-up posts for 2015, including my best and worst purchases of the year, an update on my wardrobe “benchwarmers” and “all-stars,” and the best of “Recovering Shopaholic” 2015 (see previous “best of” posts HERE and HERE).   Have a wonderful weekend and Happy New Year to you all!

10 thoughts on “December “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. Hi Debbie. I really enjoyed you unbucket list post & found it very illuminating. Its comforting to read the wise words of somebody so similar. (My family & close friends are all parents juggling careers) I’m 50 next year, childless by choice & retired early due to health issues. I have always struggled with perfectionism & continuously strive to justify my existence. If I’m not a mum I should have the perfect life, home, wardrobe! Throw in a little OCD to the mix & you have me battling one compulsion after another. My husband teases me about the number of personal development books in our kindle library & wishes I would just relax with some chick lit!

    • Wow, it sounds like you could be my doppelganger, Sharon! We really do have a lot in common, but I almost want to say, “I’m sorry” because I don’t wish the high-strung perfectionism and OCD on anyone! Maybe we should both agree to read at least one chick lit book this year 😉 Seriously, I wish you all the best in the coming year. If you need anyone to commiserate with, you know who to contact…

  2. Love the links posts. We must have similar blogs we follow, because I’d already read many of these. My favorite was the psychology of dressing. It was an interesting read snd something I had not seen elsewhere.

    • I’m glad you liked the links, Barb. Yes, we probably follow a lot of the same blogs. I try to throw in some more obscure stuff when I can because I suspect many of us have similar reading lists. Yes, I loved the bit on the psychology of dressing. I hope to find more stuff like that, as I find it all very fascinating.

  3. Thanks for the humorous KonMarie article. My husband and I had a good laugh. So far I have only used this method to organize my clothing but it did help. I refuse to fold my socks like she suggests. And I never remember to thank them! Thanks for sharing this.

    I also appreciated the article on having a heavy heart. Our son broke off his engagement to a young woman we love like our own daughter. It has been really hard for me. I feel so sad for him and her and myself. And there is nothing I can do to fix it. So it really encouraged me to read this lovely post.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. It means a lot to share struggles with someone who understands.

    • I appreciate your kind words, Anne. I’m glad that my openness about my journey has been able to help other people. That makes it all more worthwhile for sure.

      I won’t fold my socks like Marie Kondo suggests, either. I’m not too worried about offending them by the way that I fold 😉 I do like the bit about thanking our clothes (and other possessions” as we release them, though. I think this can help us to better internalize the lessons.

      I’m sorry to hear about your son’s broken engagement. That must be so hard for everyone concerned. There you thought you were gaining a daughter and now that’s not the case 😦 Yes, there are some things that we just can’t fix. I always struggle with that, too, so articles like the one from Be More with Less are helpful for me. I’m glad it was for you, too. I wish you and your family the best with healing from what I’m sure is a very big loss.

  4. Hi Debbie! I am glad I have found your blog! I am living with 333+ clothes now and plan to cope with this sheer amount in 2016: reuse, reduce, recycle! 🙂 I have already made three virtual “33 things” sets for summer, mid-season and winter and am going to try to stick to them. My wardrobe is very challenging!
    Happy New Year and greets from Switzerland!

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Maria! I’m glad you found my blog, too, and are finding it helpful. Good for you for doing Project 333! It was very helpful for me and I think you will feel the same way. Even if you need to modify things a bit to suit your needs, I think you will learn and grow a lot from the experience. I would love it if you write me back later to let me know how things are going for you.

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