Friday, April 11, 2014

Start Me Up

The popularity of Project 333 has brought many new readers to my blog. I want to get back into blogging again, and bring something exciting and inspiring to my new visitors, but I'm just not sure exactly where to begin.
It feels awkward to jump back in after such a long absence from regular posting. I took an extended break from blogging mostly because my laptop broke and I waited a long time to get a replacement. Then I got a replacement and it turned out to have a faulty fan so I had to send it back to the company for repair. I finally have a functioning laptop again but after being so long without a computer I pretty much stopped using it and have been relying on my phone and tablet to go online. In fact I'm dictating this blog post on my tablet using the talk to type feature! Pretty crazy! I'm also not taking as many pictures as I was which was a central feature of my blog in the past. Now I'm completely out of the habit of regular posting and am trying to find a good way to get started again.
I know that one of the keys to being a successful blogger is writing regularly, either online or just a paper journal, so I plan to make that my first step. In the past I've gotten great feedback from friends, family and other readers about even simple things that I put out there that are inspiring or helpful or interesting, which gives me confidence to get back in the saddle again and also helps me keep in mind that it doesn't have to be complicated or perfect to be worthy of posting. I do believe that something that seems insignificant to me could be very significant to one of my readers. It's the same idea behind smiling, being kind, and saying hello to people that you meet out in the world because you never know how a seemingly small gesture may positively impact someone else's day.
So whether you're a regular reader or visiting Santa Cruz Stasi for the first time, I hope to soon provide you with some more regular posts to enjoy!
Best friends Tiki and Squash
Succulents in the garden

Friday, March 28, 2014

Project 333: Year 2 / Phase 2

Recently, I saw that Project 333 was featured in O Magazine.  Pretty exciting!  So even though I haven't blogged in a while, I was inspired to post an update on my Project 333 journey.

I have continued to follow my own "rules" for the project the same way I described them in January, with a few personal customizations.  My dates for Phase 2, for example, are March 1 through June 12, which is the last day of school and therefore the beginning of summer vacation and a different wardrobe! I also have little tweaks regarding accessories such as I don't count my sunglasses, and I allow myself to swap out jewelry on a monthly basis if I want to.  I also don't count tights or leggings which makes it easy to add variety to a "capsule wardrobe".

After doing Project 333 for over a year, I can definitely attest to the fact that you have to design the project to fit your life and style.  33 really isn't a magic number: it's the awareness that comes with living with less that makes limiting your wardrobe so powerful and strangely rewarding.

I've been living with my current 33 items since March and I think they will serve me well until mid-June.  I may need to swap my boots out for sandals, but so far it hasn't been warm or dry enough. Also, I've noticed that since I am no longer working an hour from home (where it is 10-20 degrees warmer each day) I don't need to vary my wardrobe as much from season to season.  Many of the items I have I can wear from January through mid-June, at least!  This is also partly because Santa Cruz has a mild climate and the summers here are actually pretty cool with a layer of fog for a large part of the day.

I'll go ahead and use the same system I've developed to code my list, since it helps to see that I actually haven't needed to buy much new clothing for quite some time.  I purchased only three new items this phase, and two were from thrift stores: I recently replaced a worn out white tee with a new one, and found a new-to-me dress and scarf at Goodwill.  I should be able to add photos this week, since most of these are already in my archive from past phases!

Items in bold on the list are ones that I kept in my wardrobe from the previous phase (December - February). An asterisk (*) indicates items that were purchased or that I plan to purchase during this phase, as opposed to taken from my off-season storage box.

1. silver hoops 
2. blue dangle earrings
3. turquoise and coral earrings
4. leopard print scarf
5. green scarf*
6. flower scarf

7. white short sleeve tee (recently replaced with a new one)*
8. grey short sleeve tee
9. coral short sleeve tee
10. green long sleeve tee
11. black tank

12. black jeans
13. blue jeans
14. tan wide-leg pants
15. tan cords

16. long black skirt
17. denim skirt

18. black dress
19. pink dress*
20. brown and white dress
21. denim dress

~Sweaters & Jackets~
22. grey loose sweater
23. denim crop jacket
24. coral crop sweater
25. blue cardigan
26. tan cardigan
27. black cardigan
28. tan wool long cardigan
29. black wool long cardigan

30. grey loafers 
31. black docs
32. cork mary janes
33. blue converse

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Inspiration Points

Motivational Wednesdays are back!  Today I've been thinking about the difficulty of being true to oneself.  Really knowing one's identity and feeling comfortable showing that true identity to the world can be, at best, challenging and for some people nearly impossible based on life circumstances.  I hope that each of you is able to let at least a little of your true, unique, incredible light shine every day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

52 of 2014 Week #1: Abstract

Last year, I participated in a photo project on flickr where the object was to take a theme based photo each week for a year.  I tried this in 2011, too.  The first year I made it through mid summer, until we had to move.  Last year I made it until September, wen a new school year and job disrupted my routine.  Hopefully I can weather the ups and downs of 2014 sturdily enough to complete this project for a whole year with a complete collection of 52 photographs.

For week one, which ended Sunday, the theme was "abstract".  I took several composed shots trying to get an image I liked:

but ended up going with a shot of the sunrise over Pleasure Point I took early in the week.  I like how each of the waves is oddly cut off, the position of the hills far apart on the horizon is disorienting, and the clouds and light create ribbons of color and texture.  The photograph becomes more about the picture these shapes evoke, rather than a literal capture of a sunrise.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Project 333: Year 2 / Phase 1

Hello readers! Happy New Year.  As I look back at 2013, one of the most read topics on this blog has been my participation in Project 333, an experiment in keeping and wearing items from a relatively minimal pool of clothing, shoes and accessories.  Here is more information about the project from founder Courtney Carver, and here are my posts on the subject.

The popularity of these posts leads me to believe that others are interested in reaping the benefits of a simplified wardrobe.  After almost a year doing Project 333, I have completely changed my relationship to clothing, shopping for clothes, and how I approach dressing everyday. It's hard to believe that I have lived since last February with just 33 items in my wardrobe, yet still had an appropriate and stylish outfit for every occasion.

This year, I plan to continue the project with some changes that I have made to suit my lifestyle, based on what I learned working through the phases of the project in 2013.  One thing I have certainly taken to heart is that the project is not an exercise in martyrdom; if you want to wear something that is not in your current wardrobe, or if you want to change or bend the rules midway through a phase to suit your personal needs, do it!  The point of the project is not to follow a set of arbitrary rules about what to wear, but instead to learn more about oneself and one's relationship to clothing and its purpose in one's life.

With that said, here's a review of the "rules" and of my personal modifications based on experience:

  • When: Every three months
    • I modified the dates to correspond more with local seasons and my job as a teacher.  Phase 1 starts December 1, Phase 2 on March 1, Phase 3 in early June, and phase 4 at the end of August.
    • After a year, I have been getting a bit bored with my accessories and decided to change my jewelry each month, instead of every three months.
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
    • For a time I expanded this number to 58 items in two categories: 33 “work worthy” items and 25 “weekend wear” items, but I'm no longer keeping track of "weekend wear" since summer vacation is over.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, socks and underwear, sleepwear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
    • I’m including my sunglasses in the same group as my watch, ring, and earrings I never take off.  I only have one, functional and stylish pair that I love and wear everywhere.
    • I’m changing the category of “in-home lounge wear” to “weekend wear” and limiting it to 25 items.
    • I’m not counting my rain jacket and rain pants.
    • I don't count tights, leggings, or base layers like undershirts.
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
    • I put my extra items in plastic storage bin under the bed.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
    • When the “work worthy” clothes in my wardrobe wear out, they will become “loungewear”
    • When I buy new clothes they should be “work worthy”
    • I would like all my new clothes should be as locally and ethically produced as possible, or secondhand, but also have to be conscious of my budget and being fiscally responsible.  Sometimes the best choice for me is to buy a shirt from Target.
And here's a list of my clothes for this phase, December 1, 2013 - February 28, 2014.  I wasn't really blogging during Phase 4 which for me was October - December 2013, so I'll just update from my last posted list.
Items in bold are ones that I kept in my wardrobe from the first phase (July - September). An asterisk (*) indicates items that were purchased or that I plan to purchase during this phase, as opposed to taken from my off-season storage box.  I still need to get 2 more items.  I'm looking to replace an open-knit sweater that I wore all year last year, through every season.  I'm not sure what I need for my other item.  I probably still need a belt!

Year 2 Phase 1 Capsule Wardrobe (33 Things)
December 1, 2013 - February 28, 2014
1. purse
2. heart earrings
3. silver hoop earrings
4. brown dangle earrings
5. white shell flower neckalce
6. turquoise scarf
7. grey & black leopard scarf*
8. green ls tee*
9. navy 3/4 sleeve tee
10. coral ss tee
11. lt grey ss tee
12. white ss tee
13. tan cords
14. skinny black jeans*
15. skinny blue jeans
16. denim skirt
17. green dress
18. black cutout dress
19. grey peacock print dress*
20. brown fern dress*
~Sweaters and Jackets~
21. tan cotton cardigan
22. navy long cardigan
23. black cardigan*
24. cream cowl neck sweater
25. long tan wool sweater
26. long black wool sweater
27. wool coat
28. hooded zip jacket
29. TBD*
30. TBD*
31. brown boots
32. black boots
33. grey canvas loafers

I will try to post photos this weekend.  As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Day Hike

It has been gorgeous here in Santa Cruz, with sunny skies and temperatures near 70.  On Christmas Day, Jason and I went for a hike in Wilder Ranch.  Despite the fact that I've hiked here many times, we still took a wrong turn and ended up adding about 2 miles to our planned route, bringing the total to nearly 9 miles.  We did the west side of Engelsmans Loop, crossed over on the Wild Boar trail, went up Old Cabin and all the way around the Eucalyptus Loop (which was the extra part) before descending down Twin Oaks and finally the east side of the Wilder Ridge.  As Jason pointed out, this trail combo does feel like the uphill goes on forever, because it is a long slow climb and relatively quick descent.  The views however, especially on a clear day, are worth it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meet Squash

Meet out youngest cat, Squash.  He joined our family at the end of August.  He is the reason for my long absence from blogging.  In addition to being quite an energetic handful in general, he pried several of the keys off of my laptop, which was on its last legs anyway, which caused me to take an unplanned break from most non-work related computing activities.  I'm sure you will agree that his extreme cuteness makes up for everything he ever has or ever will do.  Because I'm sure we're in for more "adventures" as this little guy grows up.

9 weeks old
17 weeks old

Friday, August 23, 2013

I'm Still Here...

I apologize for not posting for over a week.  My new job is starting up and, we have a new little addition to our pet family that I can't wait to update on soon!  I should be back to a regular posting schedule in a few weeks.  As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week #32: In Motion

In 2013 I am participating in a weekly themed photo project on flickr. Here are my photos so far. The theme for 8/5 - 8/11 was "In Motion".

Last night, coming back across town from dinner with my parents, I knew I wanted to try and get a shot of the Boardwalk at night for my "in motion" shot. I took this one from the bluffs overlooking Seabright beach. It was much harder than I thought to get a good, long exposure shot of the lights on all the rides because I forgot my tripod and I was shooting at a significant distance, but this is the best of the bunch. I like how it has a kind of abstract quality to it and captures the motion the lights, the rides, and the riders.

To give you an idea of how far away I was from the Boardwalk, here's a long shot from the same session. Again, no tripod so not as sharp as I'd like:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Inspiration Points

This week I've been thinking about patience and perseverance.  I injured my foot and had to take a break from working out, which was really frustrating for me.  I had to take a step back and just accept the situation and wait until my foot was ready to run and Zumba again.  Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that the situation is not ideal but temporary, that you have been through worse things before, and that it is just a bump in the road on a much longer journey.