The resurrection of the “Perfect 10”

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I believed in the concept of a Perfect 10.

As with many things in my malleable life, it all started with a book. Jill Martin and Dana Ravich’s I Have Nothing to Wear! to be exact. It’s a stupidly simple book with a stupidly simple concept: quality over quantity. Calling it stupidly simple makes it sound like it’s easy, so let me explain—Martin and Ravich’s book is outlined like a 12-step program. Because clutter and “stuff” is an addiction. This. Shit’s. Hard.

But boy, is it beautiful. In short, we’re guided through the process of filtering through our closets, trashing, donating, or selling anything that isn’t a “perfect 10” on a scale of one to ten. That means no holes, no pilling, perfect fabric, flattering, and reflective of one’s personal style. In the end, it’s estimated that we get rid of 70 percent of our closet. And then instate a one-in-one-out rule, so it never gets cluttered again.

Think about it: If you were to remove all the clothes in your closet except the absolute best, you’d be left with your favorite pieces, each of which perfectly reflected your style and made you feel comfortable, beautiful, and in your element. If everything in one’s life is a perfect 10, doesn’t that bring the individual closer to being a perfect ten, herself?

I’d forgotten about this concept, or at least let it fall by the wayside over the past couple of years. But this past week, I went a little crazy. I actually bought the kindle version of their book, to look over and revitalize my passion for the concept, and then I went a little cray.

I would estimate that I eliminated about 50 percent of my closet, with plans to eliminate more (like sorority shirts) after I graduate. When something ended up in the “maybe” pile, I evaluated if I would wear it to work or not. If not, I let it go (I’m not 100 percent sure of the dress code at my work, but I’m erring on the conservative side).

What’s left are my favorite pieces and a clear indication of my “uniform”—tight bottoms (skinny jeans or leggings) and loose-fitting, flowy tops. In black, gray, tan, or blue (Side note: It’s actually ridiculous how much of my closet falls into one of those color categories. Baby girl is clearly a citymonger.). I am reminded that the items I invest in and care for—my leather jacket, leather boots (that I’ve re-soled twice), mink-collared coat, Longchamp purse, watch, Yurman ring, etc.—are those that I love most and which most accurately reflect my style.

I’m slowly trying to go through and de-clutter corners of my life not involving clothes: cleaning out my purse, organizing my class notes, fine-tuning my planner, filtering through Facebook friends, unsubscribing from junk email, canceling magazine subscriptions, going through kitchen gadgets, even clearing electronic clutter. I’m not sure I’ll ever necessarily be a minimalist, but I can choose to surround myself with quality and avoid the physical and mental clutter associated with anything other than Perfect 10.

Hopefully this obsessive de-cluttering with help ease the burden of my upcoming move, and help me to save money by avoiding unnecessary spending on anything weighing in at a 1.0 through 9.9 on my 10-point scale. I can save for the 10s. (Or for food, to avoid a recurrence of The Snickers and Peanut Butter Diet Fiasco of 2011.)

 

Slideshow: Boston’s Literary Icons, or My New Book Club: An Intro

5th-floor-003bI confess: I’m a bit of a book nerd. And with the purchase a couple years ago of my beloved kindle, I became a bit of a book juggler, as well, jumping from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love to Martin’s and Ravich’s I Have Nothing to Wear (which I’ve become re-obsessed with—more to come) to Marion Nestle’s What to Eat. Suffice to say I have some widespread interests.

Starting in January, Captain America and I are starting a two-man book club. I found a list on Pinterest of “100 Books That Will Make You More Interesting, More Attractive, and Sound Smart Even If You Aren’t (Yet).” An ambitious name. We’re using the list as inspiration. We will read, meet (over food, most likely), talk, cultivate our minds, and expand our reading experience.

Reading brings people together. So I was thrilled to learn that, if all goes as planned, Boston is soon to be home to the nation’s first literary district. I long ago espoused my fascination—dare I say love?—with/for Boston’s under-appreciated Athenaeum, and I’m thrilled to see its beauty touted in any way possible. Naturally, it’s included in this proposed district. Other landmarks include Boston Public Library, with its gorgeous courtyard; Copley Square, home of the annual Boston Book Festival; the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Garden; Beacon Hill, former home of many of Boston’s literary geniuses; and Washington Street.

I strolled through the city on my own little literary tour and caught some pictures of the featured landmarks. The next time you pass the Athenaeum’s distinct doors at 10 1/2 Beacon Street, be sure to step in for a look around (The first floor always features a free art exhibition).

Life in the Fast Lane

cheers

I wanted to wait a bit to let it all sink in, and because I didn’t want the information to work against any other potential offers, but ladies and gents… I. Am. Employed.

I’ve known for about a week and a half, but I received and subsequently accepted a temporary position at an international financial PR firm in Manhattan. Which, of course, also means I’m moving. Ch-ch-ch-changessss.

This company was my first choice from day one, and I’m so thrilled that it all worked out, albeit a week after my November goal. The whole process can truly be excruciatingly painful, but for the time being there’s a weight off my shoulders. I have every intention of turning this opportunity into a career, so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be working my butt off from day one. I’m not sure how everything else (money, apartment, etc.) will play out, but I’ve got to have a little faith, yes? Cheers!

Let’s Talk Feelings, or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of My Job Search

Fingers-crossed1Though I’ve talked about this whole job search process in vague terms, I haven’t really delved into the thick of it, mostly because there’s this massive QR code on my resume that leads to this site and I’m petrified that if I post something that’s misinterpreted, I’ll lose opportunities. But instead of positions, let’s talk feelings.

I’ve mentioned that it’s stressful, I’ve mentioned that it’s time-consuming. I should have mentioned that it’s expensive ($50 bus ride into New York city, $200 suit, getting rejected a week later… priceless). But it’s also exciting. All these icky feelings keep balling up in my stomach, simultaneously giving me butterflies and a stomach ache. And acne. Because somehow, after 21 years of decent skin, this whole flustercluck of emotional angst has decided to camp out on my t-zone. Thank you very much.

I was recently walking around, thinking (a dangerous combination for me) about how this whole interview process is like a string of first dates. The analogy isn’t out of left field, actually, because it later came up in an interview. So forgive the extended dating metaphor, but stick with me. I have a point. Much like dating, this whole process is an emotional journey, both good and bad.

The rejection: I received my first rejection a while ago, and opted not to post about it because it came from a great company that I highly respect. I don’t want to burn bridges. But I think it goes without saying that rejection is incredibly difficult. I don’t like it from a potential date, and I don’t like it from a potential employer. Perhaps they were right when they noted that the position wasn’t an ideal fit for me (and vice versa), but neither were my umpteen ex-boyfriends. Didn’t stop me from dating them.

 The hope: Nothing can describe the incredible hope and excitement that I come away with after I feel like I rocked an interview. In dating, I have sometimes (perhaps somewhat heartlessly) described dating as trying men on for size. I believe there was a sweater analogy in there. Dating is trying men on for size like sweaters.* But job hunting is, too. Walking around a newly renovated office, I can imagine this desk could be mine. I could be pouring coffee from that coffee pot. I could be getting drinks with my interviewer in three months. Whatever. The potential of each place (some more so than others) is incredible. Intoxicatingly sweet. And it’s what keeps me going when the rejection—or the threat of rejection—bogs me down.

Fingers crossed.

*No men or sweaters were harmed in the posting of this blog post.

Single Female Seeks Inspiration

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I also have the Seven Swords, my birthstone, and the feather bangles.

I recently splurged and bought this amazing new bracelet from Alex and Ani. Though their bangles are simple, they’re backed by inspiring sentiments and explanations (and one can thus find the perfect one for any given occasion). Plus, they’re so darn pretty. Though simple, I kept coming back to one that said “What is for you will not pass you.”

While I’m not crazy about the concept of fate, I do believe that my world has a general momentum towards the good. While I’ve had rough days, weeks, or whole semesters, there’s always some light at the end of the tunnel, some piece of bliss to hold onto, and I do kind of find comfort in the notion that what is for me (like the perfect job?) will not pass me.

On that note, I decided to pull together some other inspirational tidbits, inspired by my closest friends and family. I like jewelry because it moves with me, and every time I look at it I am reminded of the positive message. But these people and things are just as useful… I just can’t stick them in my pocket: Continue reading

Through the Looking Glass: Texture

It’s been a slow day. So I charged up my camera and tried out a couple of lenses and filters. I used a macro lens and it was so close to the subject (flowers) that I had to hold my breath to keep the camera from shaking too much.

Anyway, I actually realized that my mom collects all kinds of weird things. So I took pictures of all our little yard trinkets, and all the textures. Kind of fun.

 

Today’s Obsession: Tea

photo source: Favim.com

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been (a) ridiculously busy, and (b) sick with the Bubonic Plague. But I want to pause for a moment and talk about today’s obsession (been a while since I did that).

I freaking love tea. I love it hot, I love it cold, sweetened or unsweetened. It’s like the most incredible beverage ever… maybe even better than my dad’s home made foamaliscious lattes… Maybe.

I’ve long had an obsession with green tea. I like how it makes me feel refreshed and clean and healthy. And in the summer, I can rarely resist the temptation of a venti iced green tea lemonade.

But recently I’ve also started drinking Earl Grey in lieu of coffee. While I have my green tea plain, I spruce up my Earl Grey a touch: honey, milk, and maybe a touch of cinnamon for a little added spice.

Regardless, I just love love love tea, and the way it warms my heart and soul and sends my brain into a caffeine-induced frenzy. I love the sound that my tea kettle makes when it’s screaming for me from the stove. And there’s just something subtly romantic about a simple cup of tea. It’s one of those indulgent simple little pleasure that I just can’t get over.

Scones aren’t bad either. Obsessed.

My Dad, the Superhero

When I was younger, I use to pretend that I was a cat, and I’m meow all day and then cuddle my dad, who would pet my head and scratch my chin. He was the person I talked to about first kisses and crushes. He was my king, and I, his princess.

We’ve always had that kind of relationship, and though I no longer pretend to be a kitten, I’m still his princess. There are lines that we don’t cross in conversations, certain subjects we don’t discuss, secrets we don’t acknowledge… because I want to forever be Daddy’s little girl.

When I was growing up, I dragged him to shop for prom dresses, and we went to baseball games together. We got pedicures. We went on ski trips. We saw Jewel concerts and Cyrano de Bergerac and movies.

In my head, I viewed him as a superhero. I thought he was forgiving, because he had let go of his own father’s mistakes, and forgiven my mom for hers. I’d heard stories of his childhood, and he was always the “good kid:” Senior class president, athlete, private school kid, conscience for all his friends. He made fresh lattes and a hot breakfast almost every morning and listened to Jewel with me. Plus, he loved my mom.

I’ve since—you know—grown up (though not that much), and I know my dad is plagued by mortality just like the rest of his. His loved ones die, despite his efforts to “save” them. He breaks bones and grinds his teeth and can’t touch his toes. Sometimes his smoothies aren’t stellar (but I drink them anyway). And I steam my milk for lattes better than he does.

He’s no superhero, I have to confess. But that doesn’t take away from how spectacular he is, or the incredible bond we’re lucky enough to share. He inspires me to pursue things that make me happy, and his moral compass typically points north. He may not be a superhero, but he is my hero. An everyday hero. A cape wouldn’t look good on him, anyway.