August 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s the last day of August, so it’s time for the latest installment of useful links (see previous editions here).  Included below are links to articles I hope 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). 

Lake Tahoe sunset

Perhaps the best sunset I’ve seen – Incline Beach, Lake Tahoe (September 2015)

This “grab bag” of useful links presents the perfect opportunity for you to sit back with your favorite beverage and enjoy some quiet time to read, learn, look within, and maybe even laugh a time or two.  As a reminder, I certainly don’t expect you to click on all of the links in these posts.  Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.

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August 2016 Wardrobe and Shopping Goals Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an update on my 2016 wardrobe and shopping goals. I used to do monthly accountability updates (you can see them all here), but after three-plus years of doing them, I simply got tired of the lengthy process of putting them together.  However, even though I wasn’t going to keep doing blog posts about the topic, I should have continued to keep track for myself.  As I shared in my last post, I neglected to track my purchases for over four months and that definitely impeded both my awareness and my progress.  Now I could beat myself up about this – and I certainly have, but that wouldn’t ultimately serve me well.  Instead what I need to do is determine where I am with my goals, recommit, and recalibrate if necessary.

The truth

It’s time to tell the truth about my 2016 wardrobe goals.

In today’s post, which will be a long one, I will review the following goal categories and my current status:

  • Budget
  • Item Limit
  • Frequency of Wear
  • What I Bought – Clothes, Shoes, Accessories
  • Goals for the Remainder of 2016

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Why Tracking Purchases is Important & How to Do It

Last weekend, I spent several hours updating my purchase list for the year. This task took such a long time because I hadn’t done it in over four months and had to hunt around a lot for the pertinent information.  Since I had put off the update for so long, it ended up being a much more surprising – and depressing – experience than it should have been.  This has highlighted the importance of updating the list regularly, at least once a month, in order to increase awareness and hopefully prevent myself from getting out of control with my purchases.

purchase tracking

Tracking your purchases can help you control your shopping. 

Even though I update QuickBooks (what my husband and I use for our accounting) every one to two weeks, I still have a tendency to keep myself “in the dark” in terms of what’s going on with my shopping. I may know the financial numbers and even be able to stick to a budget, as I’ve done for three plus years now, but I often lose sight of how many items I’m buying and how they are or aren’t working for my wardrobe and life.

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How I Found Closet Serenity (a.k.a. My Project 333 Experiment)

The following is a guest post from Sybil, a longtime reader of this blog.   After retiring at 60, Sybil transitioned to a self-employed consulting role, no longer going into an office every day.  That change opened her up to addressing her problem of over-shopping and she embarked on a Project 333 challenge – and she learned a lot! 

If you would like to be profiled in an upcoming installment of the “Stories of Recoveryseries (you can be anonymous if desired), please connect with me to share your thoughts.


Early in 2016, I decided to challenge myself with a modified Project 333 exercise – selecting 33 items of clothing and wearing only those pieces (accessories not included in count) for three months.  Those who know me well laughed at my plan.  I’m not exactly known for setting limits on myself.  But, remarkably, not only did I succeed, I reached a turning point in managing my wardrobe.  And, most surprising, the emotional payoff was significant.

Sybil's Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe

This was Sybil’s Project 333 capsule wardrobe earlier this year. 

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Photography Interlude: Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach

As I wrote in my last post, this past Monday was my fiftieth birthday.  Many people have parties to mark this momentous occasion, and I was lucky enough to enjoy such a celebration with some dear friends during my recent trip to Texas.  I will also celebrate with family in a few weeks when I travel to Lake Tahoe. But when it came down to the actual day, I opted to spend it in a low-key way with my wonderful husband.

We actually extended our celebration to two days in that we ate lunch at my favorite restaurant on the last day of my 40’s and saw the new Star Trek movie (fast fact – the TV series premiered in 1966 , the year I was born!).

last day of my forties

Enjoying lunch at my favorite restaurant on the last day of my forties.

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Hello 50! and August 2016 Balance Goal Update

As I write this, it’s just three days before my 50th birthday and this post will go live on the big day.  I can’t believe it’s almost here!  As it has gotten closer and I’ve had other things on my mind, I’ve become less stressed about moving into a new decade and more accepting of it.  As many people say, it’s only a number, plus it’s better than the alternative!

Birthday Reflections

It’s hard to think that I probably have less of my life in front of me than behind me and that perhaps my best days are in my past, but I’m trying to develop a more positive perspective on it.  I don’t know what the future holds and many people have told me that they are happier and even healthier in their later years.  Plus, as my husband says, on my 50th birthday I will be just one day older than the day before!  He loved turning 50 and it didn’t bother him at all, so maybe I need to follow his example.

I’ll share more thoughts about my birthday after it has passed, as well as what I want for myself in this new decade of my life.  But today I’d like to give you an update on how I’m doing with my theme for 2016, balance.   My last balance update was about two months ago, so I feel it’s time for another one, as these reviews help to keep my yearly theme top of mind (and hopefully remind you of your goals and where you are with them as well).  Rather than go through all of my balance goals one by one, I will instead share my wins from the past two months, as well as my challenges.

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Gray Hair Transition – Three Months and Counting…

It’s been two months since I last gave an update on how I’m doing with my gray hair transition, so I thought it’s high time that I chime in on how that project is going for me.   As a reminder and for those who are new to the blog, I colored my hair for the last time on April 20th.  I initially wrote about my issues with my hair back in May, at which time I had not yet made the commitment to transition to my natural color.  A price increase at my salon and a friend who had taken the plunge to go gray led me to consider my options and it wasn’t long before I put both feet firmly in the camp of baring my silver roots.

Gray hair transition

Gray hair can be beautiful!

The Decision

I decided to stop coloring my hair for several reasons.  For one, I was getting my roots touched up every four weeks and they really needed it after just two weeks. I was only happy with my hair color about half the time, and even then I didn’t love the way it looked.  It was expensive and time-consuming, plus I had become increasingly chemically sensitive and worried about the impact such frequent hair coloring was having on my health.  As time went on, there were more factors in favor of stopping the hair dyeing than there were on the side of continuing it.  It was primarily my vanity and sheer habit that were keeping it going for me.

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