Monday, March 9, 2009

Classy.

Every once in awhile I'll go through a "I want to change" phase where I look at myself and my life and wish that I were better in certain areas. Sometimes this is a good thing because it inspires me to improve. But sometimes it's unhealthy because "better" in my mind isn't always actually better: sometimes it's just different. And often the "different" that I want to become isn't a realistic reality for me because it's just not who I am, and I'd do a lot better just being me rather than try to be something I'm not.

The current phase? I really want to be classy. I know you're probably thinking that I am ridiculous for desiring this since I am already so classy (especially if you've seen me wear my brown dress with my new pearls). So before everybody gets all up-in-arms about that and starts writing "stop hating on yourself" comments, let me explain that "classy" is just the word I picked to encompass the following:

· I want my house to be cleaner. It's hard to entirely eliminate clutter in a tiny one-bedroom apartment (there's just nowhere to put anything), but I want to have neater habits.

· I want to have a nicely decorated living space. Complication: I am truly one of those people who cannot "decorate" to save my life. I know what I like when I see it, but I can't "visualize" where things would fit (or if they would fit) in my house. So I go visit friends and look around in jealous admiration at their beautiful-trendy-chic rooms with wall hangings/valances/shower curtains they have made themselves but have no idea how to implement their ideas and style in my own space.

· I want to make some of my own stuff for my house. Complication: I am also one of those people who is not good at crafts. I have given up on scrapbooking as a lost cause and am at peace with that decision, but I want to make other stuff. Like, I want to learn how to quilt and sew (mostly simple) things (complication: no sewing machine and no "project" room; one bedroom apartment, remember?), make folksy seasonal/holiday decorations (which I do on occasion, with help, at church activities), and hang my own window treatments. The "not crafty" gene I inherited from my mother, but I really can't be angry about it because I did inherit her brain (well, a combo of hers and my dad's), and not to brag, but my parents are seriously geniuses. For reals. I, myself, am not a genius, but I did get a pretty smart brain. So I'm grateful. (And I am not, I repeat, not saying that people who are crafty are not smart. I am just saying that since I don't have both, if I had to pick between the two, I'd pick smart. So you crafty and smart people can all just put those threatening exacto knives and pinking shears back down now.)

· I want to take more pride in my appearance--sometimes I am down-right dowdy. I am blessed to have a husband who likes me better without makeup than with it and who is always very complimentary about the way I look, but I believe God is in the details and it really wouldn't kill me to change my earrings or get a pedicure every once in awhile.

So for the last week, my "classy" cravings have been to go to a flea market or Anthropologie (opposite ends of the spectrum, but equally vintage-y) to try and snag a cute dress or something fun for my apartment. I finally caved Saturday morning and went to Anthropologie, husband in tow (long story; I wasn't planning on bringing him), and we also hit up Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. Reality hit, fast, when I started looking at price tags. I've been in Anthro before (once) and knew what to expect, but it still came as a mild shock to see dresses 50% off that still cost $120 (or more). And one hundred and fifty bucks for jeans?? I rarely buy a pair for over thirty. Suffice it to say that I did not revamp my wardrobe. Instead, I focused on their fun home decor/kitchen items. Fell in love with the prettiest little "inside out" bowls you've ever seen, along with a darling butter dish (which we actually need). None of them match, and that's my favorite part about them (see first bullet below). I will post pictures once we get our new camera in the mail. I wasn't going to buy them because they were all a little pricey and because I'd really just wanted to go look. But Jay liked the butter dish, too, and he saw how much I loved those silly, precious little bowls, so he bought four of them for me, along with the butter dish. He is so good to me.

We also picked up a stoneware bread pan from Williams-Sonoma (picture later--it's so pretty) and while we were there I fell in love with this. I think I haven't been shopping in awhile, because I was falling in love a lot that day. I know it's random to covet an apron. I know I'm ridiculous. But I love the blue-on-ivory "airy pastoral design." It's just so... Classy. No, I did not buy it--the Anthropologie dishes were enough splurge for one day.

What I'm doing to achieve the dream:

· I decided to stop worrying so much about "themes" and "matching" when it comes to decorating my space: from now on, within reason, I'm going to get what I like and my theme will be "because I like it."

· I have a goal this week to finally get some pictures in the frames that have been leaning against my wall for the past 5 months and get said frames on the wall somewhere. Or at least pick out the pictures that will go in the frames and have them eventually photoshopped (not by me--oh, no--by the beautifully artistic and incredibly classy Katie).

· I am going to attempt to step out of the box a bit when it comes to my personal style, with decorating and also with my clothes. I am generally a very casual dresser (trademark: jeans, ratty t-shirt, 6-year-old flip flops) and too lazy to accessorize. But I want to be a little more vintage-y, a little more daring, a little more, well, classy. This does not mean that I am going to start wearing stilettos, but it does mean that I may try to branch out my shoe collection to include red pumps or something (since my shoe "collection" right now consists of running shoes (2), "dressy" platform sandals that I wear 4 days a week (2), flip flops (1), and a box full of other old or painful shoes I never wear).

· I'm going to be neater. I know I need to break that down into more specific goals for it to become a reality, so I will. Someday.

Although my focus the past week or so has been on material things (cough Anthropologie cough), here are my long-term goals for enduring classiness:

· I want a usually mostly clean, welcoming living space that feels like home; a place full of love and laughter and music and the Spirit of God. I never want to be afraid of letting children play in my house, though: messes = learning + fun

· Even if I end up hiring an interior decorator (which will probably be the case as I really am hopeless), I will find joy in filling my house with beautiful things

· I’m going to take care of my body by eating healthily and exercising regularly

· I’ll take care of my appearance by keeping on top of the little things and by buying myself some nice new clothes once in awhile, even when I’m busy with kids

· I will find joy in the daily activities of life with my family, including cooking, cleaning, and caring for children

4 comments:

  1. I sense a bit of nie ; )

    I think you are fabulous, it was totally love at first sight for me and you, but I feel the same way you do, a lot. But, I use school as my "excuse," sadly that will end May 17th.

    I LOVE Anthro, and keep checking out their sales. If you dig you WILL find stuff for cheap, and I go often and early. Also, Forever 21 has some similar looks to Anthro, but real cheap. F21- get there EARLY, before the middle school crowd shows up.

    I wish I was there and we could do crafts. Ebay is a good place to look for fun house stuff, and of course, estate and garage sales. Just say what my mom does, "is there any wiggle room in the price?" WORKS EVERY TIME!

    Love you.

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  2. I think a nice 46 inch lcd TV would be a good classy goal to add to the list.

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  3. I have the same problem with clutter that you do in keeping these little apts neat and clean. In vegas it was mostly Gracie's toys and things that made it hard and here in Wyoming it is an even smaller apt so I am not sure what we will do. Let's just both get houses and then if you like I will come and do your decor! I absolutely love it! And if I ever catch up on my own scrapbooking then I will charge you a minimal fee to do yours...lol we will both be old and gray by the time that happens!

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  4. Linds, I so hear you with all of this! Making and keeping an apt clean and homey feeling is so hard to do. My excuse is that an apt is not really MY home. I can't do whatever I want to it. Dress it up the way I'd like. ...even if I had my own home, I don't know what I'd do with it, though!
    The clothes thing is huge on my list of things I want to 'update'. As I sit here now, I am wearing a pair of jeans that I bought back in high school! Yikes! I'd love some nice bright red pumps and maybe a cute spring dress that is nice enough to wear to church, but, comfy and casual enough to wear anytime...sigh. Word of advice, do this before the kids. Icky stuff seems to come from everywhere!
    Love and miss you tons!

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