Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weeks 30 - 32: I'm still here!

Yes, I'm still here, and I'm still not shopping...I've just been a bit lazy from a blogging perspective these past few weeks (since Labor Day). The week of Labor Day was very laid back and involved work from home - so not all that much from a closet depletion standpoint. That Friday, I went to a spa in Cleveland with a co-worker to get pampered, and then came back to be "wifey" to my husband at his Psychology Department annual social. I churned through probably what I would consider my last "going out" black top and a balloon skirt that I've used mainly for Holiday events but felt it was appropriate for the occassion.

That Saturday and Sunday we went out to dinner with Mike and Lyn (who were visiting from Detroit) and hit up the annual arts festival in Bowling Green - which is something we look forward to every year. Mike and I purchased a console to put at the front of our house - which is why you see something covered in white styrofoam for some of the pictures.

The following week was a normal work week, complete with an overnight office visit in Detroit. That weekend, we headed into Peoria, IL to visit Mike's family. There was a German American festival going on, so we made a stop there, danced to traditional German music, and drank lots of beer. I managed to stub my toe on my way back into Mike's brothers' house and thought for all of Sunday that my toenail was coming off - so was psyching myself out and thinking how painful it would be to deal with my toe. You can imagine my relief when we got home, I removed the bandage, and saw that my toenail was perfectly fine. It's amazing how pain is mostly construed in the mind! While "injured," I kept thinking of how I'd be unable to wear my Christian Louboutins during my client meeting in Dallas (when I'd be in front of a group of well-dressed New Yorkers) and also not be able to wear them during my nights out in the city - thankfully, all with the toe was well by Monday evening!
Tuesday through Thursday was spent in Dallas for a client meeting. Ironically, the hotel at which the meeting was to take place was sold out, so the nearest hotel to this destination was the Westing at the Dallas Galleria. For those who aren't familiar with Dallas, it has just about as much shopping at New York City, and the Galleria is the largest mall in the Dallas area. My hotel was adjacent to a 4 story Saks, a 4 story Banana Republic, and I'm sure many many other wonderful stores that I would not even allow myself be cognizant of as I am still holding true to this challenge! The purpose of the meeting was to prepare for our presentation in Dubai (a trip that is becoming less daunting by the minute). On Wednesday and Thursday, I burned through another set of work attire - a couple button down blouses, pair of suit pants, and a skirt that was also part of a suit. Dressing for client functions such as this one is always a challenge as you never know if you can get away with a dress, separates, or need to wear a full on suit. Of course, I was the most business dressed person in the room - which is always a good thing - you never want to be dressed more casually than your client! I had all of Thursday evening to kill, so I ended up jumping on the treadmill - in hopes of de-bloating myself from eating all that food served up during the client meetings, ate a light dinner in the hotel restaurant, and then drove to the nearest movie theatre to catch Eat, Pray, Love - it's the best I could do to avoid the mall and pass time.

Friday morning was spent traveling from Dallas into New Jersey where Mike and our dear friend Soni came to pick me up from the EWR airport. We then hung out at Soni's wonderful apartment in Hoboken before getting dressed for a night out in the city. We headed to a trendy bar called Eo for a pre-dinner drink, and then headed to a restaurant in Little Italy (I think) called Travertine. Within 10 minute of being there (waiting at the bar to be seated), Mukund, Soni's husband, leaned over to us and said in a low voice "Jim Carrey has just entered the restaurant." We all, as best as we could, slowly turned our heads to see him sitting at the table, and marveled at how cool it is to be in NYC and be dining within 10 feet of a celebrity! Hardly anyone interrupted him, except for one idiot who planted him down in the booth next to Mr. Carrey and tried to strike up a conversation. We were sitting at a table right next to the street and were able to see the paparazzi and fan club representatives waiting outside to get his autograph or snap a pic. Being all too familiar with this, upon finishing his dinner, Jim got up, slipped through the kitchen, and out the back door. We ended our exciting evening eating some dessert, walking through a street fair taking place in Little Italy (where Mike was cheated out of $20 trying to win me a stuffed animal through a ball in the basket kind of game) and then catching a train back into Hoboken to arrive at Soni and Mukund's tired enough to hit the hay after a round of waters in their living room.

On Friday afternoon, Mike revealed to me during our first glass of wine that my birthday gift this year was $400 in cash that I could spend on clothing - so as to stay true to this challenge (some of you may disagree) but still be able to buy a few things given that I'd be surrounded by amazing clothes all weekend. I also received a thank you gift of $100 from a co-worker of mine in Dallas, so I decided to add that to the mix and indulge in a mini-shopping spree. you can imagine, my head was swimming with ideas of what I wanted to buy with my "free cash." I had my mind set on a classic work dress - like a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap. Soni, Mukund, Mike and I all headed into the city again to meet up with Julie and Jason (Mike and I's hosts for Saturday night) in the Meat Packing district near Chelsea Market and had brunch. Then we walked through the market and then the ladies split off from the guys to do a little shopping - or to help me find my birthday purchase. Well, rather unfortunately, I did go to the DVF store and tried on multiple dresses, only to feel very dejected due to how tight and un-flattering I found the dresses. The week of eating high-sodium foods, and mindlessly eating the crazy spread of food during my business meetings certainly caught up with me and left me feeling a least a size larger than normal - and this became evident as I tried to shimmy in and out of the form-fitting dresses. To add greater injury to insult, all the dresses I was trying on were 2 sizes larger than what I would normally, perhaps it's been a good thing that I haven't been shopping - as I have been shielded from the fact that my waistline has grown and that I am no longer the size I used to be! Needless to say, I did not make a purchase Saturday and spent the rest of the day feeling very fat.
Saturday afternoon and evening were filled with good conversation with Julie and Jason, first over some wine, cheese, and crackers at their Upper West Side apartment, a stroll in Central Park, and then at dinner back again in Little Italy at a restaurant called Peasant. The very rustic and minimalist Italian food was terrific and very different from the swankier experience we had the night before - but as much like New York City dining as Travertine - sans Celebrity sighting. By the time we got back to J&J's apartment, we were all spent from the long day and called is a relatively early night.
Sunday began with an relaxing breakfast at J&J's with some awesome New York bagels, scrambled eggs, and great coffee. We then headed out and did another split off where the ladies shopped and the boys went to the Met to get in some art and culture. It was then that I finally started getting my body image back in a positive state and found a great jacket for $80, a red sheath dress and a black blazer, and a pair of earrings to take me right up to the $500 spending mark. Though not outrageously expensive, these items are what I deem to be classic and will (hopefully) get a great deal of use in the future. Yesterday was really my first chance to test out my reformed spending mentality as it's the first true shopping that I've done since February. Fortunately, I did find myself being much more selective and critical of the clothes that I tried on making sure that the items I was purchasing where not trendy, could be used in multiple contexts (business meeting, going out, casually) if paired with the right accessories and shoes, and were different enough from anything else in my wardrobe to justify adding. I feel like I did meet these criteria and am looking forward to being able to take these new clothes out for a spin during my Dubai trip. Hopefully, by then, I'll have truly gone through my entire wardrobe and will be able to pack favorites that make me feel good about myself again!
So, yes, I have had a brief stint of being back in the world of shopping, but can already tell that my crazy shopping-frenzy days are over. I must admit that there is a pang of guilt that I am feeling right now by giving in and allowing myself to spend $500 in the midst of this challenge. I'll let you decide whether this is cheating or is a reasonable concession so as to keep me going until next February - you decide!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 29: Still going...and going...and going

Week 29, Day 2: Work from home day - nothing to report

Week 29, Day 3: BR White tuxedo ruffle shirt, JCrew Black A-Line Skirt, Brass Plum sandals

Week 29, Day 4 (borrowed from Lyn!): BR print top, Old Navy black skirt
Week 29, Day 5: Old Navy black woven top, Old Navy cropped jeans

Week 29, Day 6: BR Black wrap shirt, Old Navy cropped jeans (yes, the same ones as earlier in the week!)

Week 29, Day 7: Urban Outfitters lavender crop sleeved top with tie in back, BR boyfriend jeans

My closet, I mean...keeps going and going and going...even though for the past month's worth of posts I keep thinking that I'm going to finally exhaust my wardrobe. I still have at least a few weeks' worth of work clothes left to wear, which will likely stretch out to a couple of months as I rarely go into the office these days, and a drawer with one summer top left to wear, but tons of long sleeve shirts that will likely begin making appearances now that the weather is starting to cool down. I really did not think I could go this long without having to pull something out from the "off limits" closet of worn clothes, but gosh...I really do have too many clothes! I guess it doesn't really count when days that I'm working from home, I just re-wear the same things or don't get dressed at all, but still, I have at least worn different things for 60-70 days! As for the urge to continue shopping - not there! I have even been able to thumb through JCrew magazines, go online to BR or White House Black Market, and though the interest is there, the compulsion to whip out my credit card and click "Purchase" is not.
This past week, I spent a couple days in the office, one of which I wasn't intending to, but after realizing on Tuesday that my boss had called an important team meeting, couldn't rationalize taking the call from home. So...I borrowed Lyn's clothes and crashed and her and Mike's place that night. Amazing...aside from having to wear my undergarments for a second day (don't judge!), I pretty much got by with the contact solution and case in my car, the make-up bag in my purse, and Lyn's clothes.
Wednesday, aside from working in the office, was pretty uneventful.
Thursday, I got to spend the evening at home while Mike was at some political thing, so I just chilled and made dinner at home and caught up on some DVR episodes from the food network. This was good, as I was able to just enjoy ONE glass of wine and feel completely satiated by that - as blogging about my social events has begun to make me a bit self-conscious about my drinking habits.
Friday, Mike and I went to a wine tasting (okay, the aforementioned self-consciousness is obviously gone) and enjoyed some good samplings, then headed home to eat the dinner I had prepared before we headed out for the tasting. We enjoyed dinner on the patio and heard our neighbor, Cathy, outside with her dogs, so we invited her over to enjoy the awesome Fall-ish weather on our patio while we sipped another glass of wine. Our Friday evening ended early and Mike and I were able to just enjoy the quiets of our own home and provide support to our darling kitten, Peewee, as she recovered from her de-genderizing surgery.
Saturday, Mike and I headed up north to attend the Renaissance Festival that takes place 1 month out of the year in some BFE area in Michigan. We went with our friends Linnelle and Dennis, and had a jolly good time (spoken in my head with a British accent - I dunno, Renaissance-ese always reminds me of Old English and British accents). The weather was brisk, but hearing the rustling of the leaves from the heavily forested area made it enjoyable, though my toes were freezing from only wearing thong slippers. We spent a good 3-4 hours at the fair nibbling on things here and there - turkey legs (well, Dennis did, not really the rest of us), buying oils and incense and random things that will likely go un-used or end up at a garage sale, and walking around playing festival games like throw tomatoes at the Jester, or hew an ax at a wooden particle know - Robin Hood-esque games. The evening was more enjoyable than the fair itself (although, seeing some men in tight spandex and tunics was pretty laughable at times) as we hung out at Dennis and Linnelle's and helped break in their new patio (installed entirely by Dennis - oh, to have a handy-person around!) with a chiminea that they kept replenishing with firewood. A setting that paired nicely with the fall weather and a few bottles of good red wine, cheese, and dessert. We eased into Sunday, and I stayed up in Michigan for my get together with work buddies (HEL-NO club, yes - I belong to a lot of "girl power" clubs - I like my female bonding time - okay?).
This month's HEL-NO get together was at Kate's and involved crashing at her place in the early afternoon, sitting in her condo's hot tub, yes (sigh) drinking and eating, and then just chilling out playing our version of truth or dare and just having conversations highly doused in Estrogen. It was a blast to just let loose, feel like you could say anything to these ladies and they wouldn't judge, and just do really random shit - like back bends and yoga moves while Usher is playing in the background (which, when Usher plays while doing yoga moves, yoga quickly turns into some bad version of dancing with the stars were you are suddenly bouncing up and down while your stomach faces the air and your back is in the shape of a rainbow - not sure if this description is creating quite the visual I'm going for, but oh well). We ladies all got to bed relatively early and then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on Monday morning. I left a bit early to get home to go refrigerator shopping with the honey before rushing home to welcome our 4th Annual Jaeger Labor Day Run guests.
So, yes, Labor Day is celebrated in a *special* way at the Lin/Zickar household. We invite the usual suspects over (Jen & Mike, Maggie & Scott) and begin our festivities with a shot of Jaeger and a 1 or 2 mile run. We decided on the 2 miles yesterday - which is why my quads are talking to me today. The idea is to do your shot, throw it in the lawn, and take off running. What better way to reward the race winner than with a sampling of Absolut Vodka (see, I told you, I really don't care if anyone reading this thinks I am a Hedonist). After the race, we cool down with a couple cold beers (or wine, for me), grill out, and cope with the fact that after we eat and socialize, reality is going to come back to bite us and we must deal with the fact that tomorrow is school, work, or whatever. I had the worst case of the Sunday blues yesterday that carried into lunch time today...but luckily after I get through the first 1/2 day, I'm usually ready to face the rest of the work week - which will be a short one for me as I'm taking Friday off to get pampered at a spa day with one of my co-workers (a really thoughtful salesperson that I work with that is treating me to the day after helping her make her sales goal).
One last update before I sign off (can't remember if I mentioned it or not)...I'm going to DUBAI in October. I capitalize the word not out of anticipation, but out of DREAD. My client, who shall remain nameless but is famous for Brittney Spears ads, has asked - no REQUIRED - that I travel out to Dubai for a 1-day presentation to their Global Sales Capability Council. Nice - 4 days of flying for 1 freakin' day of work. To make matters worst, I will be the only person from my company there as they are unwilling to fly anyone else out there...and the client is (in case you haven't picked up on my tone) - DEMANDING. So, here I will be, all alone, in a completely different country - one that does not embrace American travelers - let alone female American travelers, for 24 hours of work. To make matters worse, Dubai is supposedly a hot bed of couture shopping and ridiculous luxury - so - great...I can't even shop! Oh well, I'm hoping that I can somehow convince my client that they do not need me for this meeting and can hold their own, but we shall see. I really Really REALLY don't want to go!