Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

My blog seems to have a new feature that I didn't know about, which is that when I post to Polyvore, it posts to my blog as well.  I guess that's a good thing, since I don't have a way to take pictures of my outfits (no partner willing to take pictures of me, alas, and my roommate doesn't get along well with electronic gear, and I don't have one of those do-hickeys that allow you to take photos of yourself).

I've been thinking about the direction of this blog.  At the moment it's kind of an eclectic mix of topics:  my wardrobe; books I've read about fashion, style and beauty; things concerning the home like wardrobe organization, and recycling; skin care and body care; and designers.

I'm kind of a random, fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants kind of person, but really, that approach hasn't worked for me for some time, and I'm finding I need more focus in my life.  Strangely enough, you would think with being disabled and having a lot of time on my hands, I would be more likely to take a relaxed approach to life, but I'm finding too much time on one's hands is not a good thing, at least not in my case. My mom used to say when I was little:  "A bored Edie is an unhappy Edie," and that remains true today.  (I think all mothers have cause to make this observation of their children at one time or another.)  What that means for the blog, is that I'm thinking of devoting certain days, or times of the month or year, to certain topics, and hopefully that will be timely and relevant for you, my readers.  Another thing that interests me is that sometimes links to websites that I find valuable and important, which my readership may also find helpful, cross my path in the course of my Internet activities, and I'd like to publish these links in the blog, but I don't want to do it in a random, haphazard way.

I've never been an "Outfit of the Day" type of blogger, primarily because of the afore-mentioned limitations, but also because so many people do it, and they do it so well.  And the blogosphere has just exploded with women who are plus-size, modeling outfits and detailing where they got them and what products they used for their skincare and makeup.  I've seen these blogs, and these women are doing a fantastic job, and I personally don't feel like I have anything to add to that, mostly because I'm a very plain, basic and simple dresser, and also because, truthfully I don't like the way I look in photographs.  I really don't feel like I have anything to add to that particular conversation in the blogosphere.  Maybe someday that will change, who knows?  But for now, that's not a direction I plan on taking.

I'd also like to focus on more topics, such as finances and budgeting.  That is something with which I have been struggling, and it has taken up a lot of my time lately.  I wouldn't say by any means that I am an expert in the field, but if experience is a teacher, I should have a Ph.D. in how NOT to spend your money by now!  I've looked for support groups for my particular issue (compulsive spending), but as I suspected would be the case, they tend to be in wealthier areas (Park Slope, Brooklyn; Upper West Side of Manhattan) and as I also suspected, the field is rife with people looking to make a fast buck off those of us who are gullible and in desperate need of an answer to our overspending problem.  So naturally, the thing to do would be to get us to spend more money on a solution, right?  But, of course, ma petite chou-chou!  Naturellement!  Some of these people may indeed be experts, and may provide help to countless people in need of a solution.  But it just seems to me that there should be a Spenders Anonymous group, as there are Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous groups.  And it shouldn't require people to spend money who are probably already financially hurting, just as the other Anonymous groups are run for free.

Stepping back down off the soapbox, now.  That's one issue I'd like to address in the blog.  Another is health.  I'll be honest with all of you:  I have diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.  Ironically, I also have vitamin deficiencies.  I say it's ironic, because if you saw me, "malnutrition" would be the last thing to come to your mind, but apparently, this is a big problem in America:  People are suffering from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.  As much as 70% of the population has a Vitamin D deficiency.  However, at my last trip to the doctor for a physical, I got a mostly good report:  My HbA1c, the three-month marker test for glucose in the blood, was a 7.8, which is down from 12.8, the previous time I had it checked.  There was also some bad news:  I'm anemic, and I had malnutrition, which I'm remedying by taking a multivitamin, folic acid and Vitamin D.  Also, my blood glucose level was 160, which isn't ideal, but it's far lower than where it was a few years ago - hovering in the 200-350 range, which is dangerously high.  So along with trying to get my finances in order, I'll be trying to get healthier, too, which I hope will mean weight loss, but I have to be careful, a) because of the nutrition issue and b) because I occasionally kick it into overdrive and end up with an eating disorder, and proceed to starve myself, which is not good either.  That's what happened the last time I lost weight - I started out on Weight Watchers, and I was doing pretty good, but then I became severely depressed, lost all interest in everything, including food, and lost 40 lbs.  You'd think I would be happy, but I looked seriously terrible, and my clothes were all falling off me, and my health didn't improve either.  This time I'd like to do it right, with the help of a nutritionist, regular visits to the doctor (now that I have insurance, that should be easy!), and moderate exercise.  So I will probably be writing about that here, but probably more from the perspective of what works and what doesn't, rather than, "I lost 5 lbs., whoopie!"  Frankly, I think I'm too old for that.  And, fear not that I will abandon the ranks of my plus-size sisters:  I weighed 125 lbs. and took a size Medium when I was 25, but I only got that way through poor diet (pasta w/o sauce, Key Food ginger ale, and Oreos - very nutritious!), dancing three times a week, and horseback-riding, none of which is likely to happen this time around.  I do miss the dancing and the horseback-riding, though.  My goal is to be able to get around with ease once more, and improve my health.  I know certain friends and family members are going to read this and will be happy to remind me of these goals when I get off track.  To those people, I say:  Thank You!  Because I may not be too happy with what you're going to say in the future.

I'd also like to focus on home organization.  This is something I've also struggled with over the years.  FlyLady really has it all when it comes to home organization, and I suggest you check out her site.  I used to think Peter Walsh's books were tremendously helpful, but the last one I read I was not too impressed (I haven't finished it yet), but it seemed to be a couple of paragraphs he wrote, and the rest of the chapter would be devoted to repetitive checklists of things that you were supposed to do.  The two books I found most helpful from Peter Walsh were "It's All Too Much!" and the "It's All Too Much Workbook."  I have to say I really like his message, which is that having a lot of stuff is not the answer in life.  I've found that having greater control over one's finances and having a more organized home go hand-in-hand.  If you can find the stuff you need or want in your own home, you don't have to run out and buy more stuff.  If your paperwork is organized, and you can find what you're looking for, you're able to pay your bills on time, thus avoiding extra charges, file your receipts, keep track of your purchases and activities, find out what your expenses are, where your money is going, and get prepared for tax time without problems.  Audit?  BRING IT ON!!!  I'm ready!

Yes, I learned a lot from Peter Walsh, but I also learned from my Dad, who was always very organized and meticulous about his paperwork, bills, finances, insurance and important documents.  That man was always audit ready!

The same concept applies to your wardrobe, makeup and personal care products.  MissusSmartyPants is very helpful in this area.  Her point is that you can shop your own closet, and make outfits from things you already own, by coming up with different combinations of items.  Also, you should regularly go through your makeup and personal care products to check expiration dates and whether a good product has "gone bad" or deteriorated in quality over time.  Chuck the stuff that you're either not using or that has expired, so you have more room for the items you will use.  The same applies to your wardrobe:  Regularly cleaning out your wardrobe and getting rid of items you will not be using, don't fit or don't flatter you, or repairing items you still want to use, assures you that everything in your wardrobe has earned its place.  You can see what you have, and you can make more outfits with the clothes you own.  I highly recommend MissusSmartyPants's cyber-stylist services.  They're definitely worth the money you spend (about $40) for a year's subscription.  Check out her site and decide for yourself.  As always, I don't get anything for saying that - it's just that my experience has been positive, and I think it's worthwhile.  But decide for yourself.

So that's the agenda I've set for myself for the future:  A focus on finances and budget, health, and home organization, in addition to publishing helpful links, reviewing books about interior decorating, home organization, fashion, style and beauty and design, and just because I'm a random type of gal, the occasional wild card item, to keep you on your toes!

I hope you'll continue to read and enjoy my blog, and moreover, that it will serve a useful purpose in your life.