Glam on A Dime: Fashion Forward into Spring!

With Daylight savings approaching in a few hours, I’m reminded to FASHION FORWARD as well! This is the time of year I start to pack up my fall/winter clothes and re-introduce my spring/summer clothes!  As I take inventory of my closet his spring, I plan to find a few wardrobe updates to freshen up what I currently have. While it is indeed fun to update the seasonal wardrobe, money is usually the biggest factor. I’ve learned LOTS of ways to stay fashion forward without spending un-necessary dollars! There have even been times when I was able to new spring clothes without spending any money at all!!! If this interests you, read on!

10 Ways to be Glam on a Dime this spring:

1. Have a PLAN.
Sift through your closet at the beginning of the season and pull the things you don’t LOVE. What are the holes in your closet? Do you have 10 dressy tops but not even 1 pair of dress pants? Come up with a list of items you need and know what you have. What is on your list for this season? Is there anything you can stretch to wear another season? Keep what you love and toss what you don’t. Simple.

2. KNOW YOUR STUFF.
Knowing what you’re looking for before you hit the racks will help eliminate unnecessary purchases. Do your best not to buy impulsively and think about what you already have. Maybe you have a few terrific dresses you never wear because you just don’t have a place to wear them…could one of those be used instead of making a new purchase? Look for items that you can wear for many occasions. Find out what your best colors are and think about what you really enjoy wearing. Before making any purchase for your wardrobe, ask yourself the question: 1. What do I currently have in my wardrobe? 2. Do I wear what is in my wardrobe? Find out what you need, what you want, what you have and what you can live without. If you know what you have it will be so much easier to add to your wardrobe.

3. KNOW YOUR UNIFORMS.
Plan ahead for events that you know you need a special outfit for…weddings, family photos…etc. When you plan ahead, chances are you’ll have a little time to scour some clearance racks, ask friends to borrow or find one of a kind pieces at thrift stores or consignment shops. Find outfits that you can mix and match and wear for multiple occasions simply by styling them differently. If you have questions about what to wear, see my #9 tip on Pinterest below!

4. INVEST in good, quality basic pieces.
This doesn’t mean spend a LOT. If you’re like me and you’re a little (LOT) thrifty, chances are you wear your clothes and shoes until they can’t be worn any more! I have learned that for items like shoes, purses and outerwear, that it is more cost-effective in the long run to purchase items that are quality made. Shop garage sales, thrift stores and clearance racks during the off season at the outlet malls and look for quality pieces that will last over the years. There have been many occasions when I’ve run across fantastic quality pieces at a thrift store simply because I knew what to look for and was able to snag a staple piece for a super deal!!

5. Be true to yourself.
Don’t just wear something because it is trendy. Many women (myself included) see something on a friend and assume that it is going to be right for us as well. This is not always the case. Wear an item because it is awesome on you and you feel amazing in it! Find out what your best colors are, what fabrics and fits are most flattering and stick with what works for you. There may be things in your closet you LOVED 5 hair styles ago, but are just not representative of your current style. If you have items in your closet that are not your color or that you love but never wear because they never quite “feel right” that is more than likely an indicator that they are not you. If it is stained or beyond repair, either find a re-use for it or toss it out.

6. Accessorize.
Can’t afford a new outfit this spring? Not to worry! Try a new scarf, belt, colorful tank top or statement necklace to change up your staple wardrobe or find pieces you already have to change up your current looks. You’d be amazed at what a little piece of costume jewelry can do to spruce up an old outfit! This is my FAVORITE way to change my wardrobe. Another trick is to take an old tarnished piece of costume jewelry that you already have and paint it with a pretty opaque shade of nail polish or even metallic polish! I have several pieces of silver costume jewelry that I have painted with silver nail polish and they look brand new for practically nothing! And if you know how to do some simple sewing, consider taking the old buttons off of an outdated blouse or cardigan and putting more modern ones on…sometimes a little button goes a long way to bring something old back to life!

7. Remember the LATTE RULE.
Don’t spend more than you would on a foo-foo latte drink to purchase a super trendy piece of clothing. Say whaaaat??? Yep–That is my rule. Has the style been around for awhile or is it something that is going to go out by the next season? I have found some high quality, VERY cute, trendy pieces for less than $10 at name brand stores simply because I’ve waited to shop the clearance racks. If something is ultra trendy, I will ask myself a few questions: . Does this look good on ME? Just because something is a trend doesn’t mean that it will be flattering to my shape or coloring. Do I NEEEEEEEED it? Just beacuse a $3 shirt fits and looks good doesn’t mean you NEEEEEEED it. Do you have an occasion to wear it for? If you don’t wear it again, what would you do with the item?

8. SELL, GIVE, TRADE.
When you clean out your wardrobe at the end of each season, take a look at EVERY item in your closet and ask yourself or a friend if it STILL looks good on you. Is it in good condition? Are there visible stains or discolorations to the fabric? Any buttons missing or areas that need to be sewn? How does it fit? What can you give away? What is in great shape that could go to a consignment shop? I have a friend who also LOVES clothes, but we have an agreement that if we are going to give an item away, we ask the other one if they would like first dibs. This is wonderful to have a friend who wears the same size and has a great sense of style! Many of my “toss” items are her new wardrobe staples, and vice versa! Sell-what items have you got in your closet that you could sell for some extra cash for. There are several 2nd hand retail shops that will purchase your clothing from you. I often have a garage sale in the spring and in the fall and find that I make some good money on clothing I would’ve otherwise just had hanging in my closet. I also find that there are online garage sale pages on facebook dedicated to helping people sell their items. I have made hundreds doing this in just a short amount of time, and that way I don’t have to have much of a budget for newer items! I have been able to make money on many of my “latte” priced trendy pieces, and internally smile as the buyer purchases the gently used quality item for a fraction of what I paid for it NEW! Have a SWAP party with your friends and bring purses, shoes, or clothing that you don’t wear anymore and make exchanges with one another! Have a garage sale! Use money earned from your sales to put towards some new up-to date duds!

9. Get on PINTEREST!
Learn how to rock what you’ve got with Pinterest! Have a blazer you love but don’t know how to wear it? What to know how to wear a trendy necklace you got for Christmas? There are more than likely great ideas that will spark your memory of what you already have and how you can wear it! For example, I have a basic denim dress that I got for a super deal and thanks to Pinterest now have at least 15 different ways I can wear one dress! Love that!

10. BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!!!!
Chances are, you have items that you certainly could wear for another season. If you love it, the fit is right and it is in good condition, there is no need to toss it. Don’t keep something because you “might” wear it in a few years! Sell it, trade it or give it away! Or find a re-purpose for it! Old sweaters can make really cute scarves or mittens! I’ve used RIT dyes to change the colors of my favorite items that just were not my best color and was so happy with the end result and was able to keep the item that was a perfect fit, but the wrong color. Wear what you have and be thankful for what you have. You may not like what is in your closet at times, but always remember to be thankful to God for His provision! Cute and fashionable clothes are NOT a necessity but a blessing. In our country we have an abundance that we are blessed with. If you have more than one pair of shoes, consider yourself rich! There are many parts of the world that don’t have the luxuries we do here. I never want to take for granted all that I’ve been blessed with! Maybe you have an abundance and know of someone who doesn’t have much….bag it up and give her the option to sort through it to see if she could use pieces that you don’t need. You’ll be blessed by the opportunity to give and she will be blessed to receive!

That’s my glam on a dime tips for the day! Set your clocks ahead and be fashion forward this spring!!!
Ginger ❤

Unpacking the Heart: Toll on the Soul

Welcome to Unpacked Heart.
Over the past few years, there has been a stirring in me to write. I went through a time when I would sit down at the computer or with my journal and chirpety-chirp went the crickets. Was it writers block? Words have always come easy for me and for a span of several years, I would sit down to write and…chirp. My heart was clogged. It was packed to the brim with details, trying to keep up with the wild schedule we were keeping in an unusually busy season of transition.

Clogged.
When I think of something that is needing to be un-packed, I think of something full that needs to be emptied. In the medical world, a clog in the heart is not to be ignored. My heart was truly clogged, packed to the fullest capacity and deeply craving to find normalcy and rest in the middle of this zany season we were in. While in the middle of day to day life, I didn’t necessarily notice how stressed I had become, but when I would sit down to have quiet time with the Lord or attempted to write, I began to recognize that my time, my focus, my passion even seemed to be a little clogged. While I could always find some sense of deep peace and rest in time with Jesus, life was anything but restful! Activities that were once so exciting began to lose their zest. I have always been a walker and love to be on the move, but during this season of constantly being on the go, I had lost my motivation…most nights falling into bed and reaching for the snooze the next day. Life in the fast lane can do that to a person.

Life in the Faster-Than-a-Speeding-Bullet Lane
The past 5 years of my life and family’s life have not just been lived in the fast lane, but more like the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet lane. In that short amount of times my husband and I met and got married, moved 4 times. Between my husband and I, we had 11 jobs (at various times!), and our son went to 4 different schools. I resigned from my dream job where I worked for 10 years and had many close friends there. My grandfather passed away which was a very painful time to watch him decline so quickly and unexpectedly. Several of our family members have moved out of state, and we miss them deeply. We have also made many new friends–who have also moved away and we have had to start fresh making new friends and trying to maintain old relationships from a distance. Our son with special needs also had to have several new weekly services added to his plate, and he also began a series of 8 hard-plaster casts on both feet to help him walk better. And to top it all off, we started a new pastorate at a church in a brand new community 90 miles from our friends and loved ones. Yes…life was FAST during this time.

The dust is finally beginning to settle after all the changes. We are becoming familiar with our new community and moved into a new home (again!). There are many items yet in storage, but we are pretty much all settled in and loving this new season! There is a lot inside of me that still needs to be unpacked–memories, stories, life lessons, and even a deeper look at the emotions that may have been brushed aside during the chaotic time of transition.

Facing Feelings
I had the opportunity for a few weeks to fill in for another staff member at my former job. On my 95 minute drive home, tears were streaming down my cheeks and I was hit with a wave of emotion I didn’t even know was packed deep inside. I spent that time thanking God for the ways that that “job” not only paid the bills, but it shaped who I am today. There are thousands of memories that I will hold in my heart, and being back on the old stomping grounds helped me to realize that I had been so very thankful for my decade in that Christ-centered environment and the hundreds of people who had touched my life in deeply profound ways. It was a place where I knew I was loved and valued and could bring all that God set inside of me to do and was free to do it there. What a gift. Even now, as I  am writing, the lump is visiting my throat and tears and welling up. Being confronted with this painful emotion reminds me that the soul must be unpacked on a regular basis. Over the years, I have been a pastoral counselor to many and a common responses are to self-medicate, to focus on the pain of others, to become bitter or angry, to minimize the pain or even to pretend the pain isn’t there. In the busy-ness of my recent life, it is so much easier to tell myself, “Its not that bad” or “I’m fine” when in reality, there may be deeper levels of grief to face that in the hustle and bustle of life, I told myself, “this doesn’t hurt. I need to move forward.” If someone had an arm chopped off, got hit by a car or punched in the gut, it would call for a response to the pain. But all too often, we tell ourselves that our pain doesn’t matter…not because we don’t feel it, but because we are too busy to deal with it. I hear quite often from others, and have said myself, “I don’t have the time to cry.” Tears are a gift from God! There is a science behind tears (google it!) that there are different types of tears. For example the tears we shed from cutting onions are just saline. But when we shed tears of sorrow or stress…there are toxins in the tears! God created us to detoxify our bodies and get the tears out!

“A hurried soul is not a deep soul.”
A wise pastor friend of ours said, “A hurried soul is not a deep soul.” While life in the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet lane can be adventurous, fun and exciting, it can also be stressful and if we are not careful that stress can take a toll on our soul! There is always something to think about, something to plan, something to do. Scientists have proven that the negative stress that comes in response to turbulent times (distress) and positive stress that comes along with circumstances one is excited about (eustress) have a very similar effect on the body. That being said, soul care is of utmost importance. Whether it is a challenging time of a funeral or a loss of a job or a joyful time of planning a wedding or a vacation, the soul needs to find a place of rest.

Soul Spa.
When I was single, date nights with Jesus were frequent. I loved to call these nights “soul spas!” A time when my soul would be refreshed. Whether it was a time to go and get my nails done, go for a walk or to lock myself in the bedroom with my journal and Bible, it was a discipline I really began to enjoy and have adapted into my life on a regular basis now. When we first got married, I told my husband that these “soul spa” times were a must! I’m so thankful for a husband who sees the importance of caring for his own soul and encourages me to do the same for mine. One winter night, I came home from work and was ready to get busy packing for a move (again!) and was also getting prepared to resign from my beloved job. He handed me an envelope when I got home and told me to go right back to my car. He kissed me goodbye and sent me on my way! The envelope had several other smaller envelopes inside of it and on each one was a designated time when I could open it. The first one read, “Go here first.” I opened it up and there was a gift card to Starbucks! He encouraged me to spend some time with Jesus while I enjoyed a delish drink! I spent time there for a little bit and when the time came to open the second envelope I found a slip waiting for me that he had made an appointment for me to get a massage! And after my massage, he blessed me with some cash to go and purchase a new outfit. What a guy! As wonderful as that night was, what stands out is not the massage, the coffee or the new outfit, but rather the love my husband has for me and the way he encourages my relationship with God to be nourished. Even more, the desire that Jesus has for me to come and find rest for my weary soul. Matthew 11:28-30 says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Time to Unpack.
I’m speaking to myself here, because I’m in a different season now. Life is still full and there are many things going on, but it is slower. I’m learning to unwind and take time for myself. I am taking time to write and to plan for things that are important to me. I am taking time to sit for as long as it takes so that all that has been packed inside can be pulled out.
There is a process that goes into packing. Depending on how organized a person is, the process can be quite tedious! It seems that no matter how much I prepare for a big move, there are always a few last minute items that are shoved into the box right before it is sealed and ready to put into the U-Haul. In a similar way, no matter how much I address my emotions as I’m going through life, there are often feelings that just get shoved inside my heart in the hustle and bustle of life to be unpacked later. As I sit in God’s presence, there are often hurts and feelings that come to the surface that I’ve either packed away or was just too busy to want to face them. Just like taking the time to unpack after a vacation or a big move, sometimes we have to take time to let God show us what is in our hearts so that we can be free to live the life that God has called each of us to live. We are called to be the light in this dark, stressful, adventurous, wonderful world that He created. There are stories and memories that are yet to be unpacked, burdens that I might not even realize I need to give to Jesus and light that He wants to shine through me. As I unpack my heart, my prayer is that you’ll find a lightened load for your own soul. That you’ll find peace in the midst of your busiest moments where you can sit at the feet of Jesus, unpacked heart wide open and ready to receive all He has for you.

Prayer for An Unpacked Heart
Heavenly Father, my soul’s delight,

help me sit still with you and help me travel light.
Lift the burdens from my soul,
Free me God and make me whole.

Unpack my heart from worry, shame and fear.
In this place of stillness, I know that you are near.
Unpack my heart from burdens, the shame that lies inside.
Free my from my sorrows, from the pain I try to hide.
Unpack my heart and fill me with strength from above
As together we unpack my heart and you fill me with your love.

Happy unpacking!
Ginger ❤