Top from Anthropologie, slacks by BCBG MaxAzria, leopard print heels (a must for my last day!!) by Kelly & Katie.
This project has taught me to just be.
I remember the day I hit, 'Publish' just one year ago with both excitement and fear as I instantaneously changed the railroad tracks of my near future right before my eyes. My first thought was, "Holy crap, what did I just get myself into." While on the flip side, I knew it was time for me to pull in the reigns on a part of my life that had quite honestly gotten out of hand. Yes, style and fashion are something I am absolutely passionate about - and there's nothing wrong with that - but yet it became a black hole. There was too much month at the end of my money because I had somehow justified unnecessary purchases - quite easily unfortunately...and I was prioritizing my own need to be on the edge of the latest trends rather than first meeting my basic needs. And if I really loved something but didn't have the cash I would think to myself, "I'll just put it on my credit card - I can pay it off next month."
It was time to practice self-discipline and God made the first move.
I can only give God credit for this blog idea taking off. I had heard of people doing 365 projects before and that was intriguing to me, but just thought they were all crazy people and was perplexed how anyone managed to find time to do something so entirely all-consuming. I honestly can't explain what came over me a year ago #Goddiditagain, and never thought I would join the category of "crazies" but never say never...My grandpa Lewis always said, "If you live long enough, you'll have to eat every word you ever said." Low and behold that day, one year ago, my heart began pumping quickly in my chest, and I impulsively decided to go down this unpredictable path, joining the "crazy" train. It was almost instantaneous, all happening within an hour - God knew once I publicly committed, there was no going back - so He gave me the nudge.
While on this journey, lessons were learned.
I have also learned about money. As I mentioned earlier, prior to this year, fiscal responsibility was unfortunately not a top priority. It was the side-effect of whatever I felt like doing that day or in that moment. I would take care of it later. The truth is, 'later' never went away. 'Later' was constantly tapping me on the shoulder via credit card bills and having to adjust my monthly budget on the daily. 'Later' kept ruining my life. And after one year of fiscal responsibility, 'later' has for the most part gone away (we won't talk about those dang student loans though...). I no longer have credit card debt, and I have made ample progress in building up a significant savings cushion as well. I won't bore you with numbers, but I will say, the more I save, the more energizing it becomes to try and save more, though it never hurts to leave a little room for fun...
If I were to choose one theme that stuck out for me above all else throughout my project, it would clearly have to be self-discipline. In the past, I have viewed self-discipline with negative eyes. I have looked at self-discipline as being trapped, restricted, missing out. I have looked at self-discipline as being controlled in an area/s where I would prefer not to be controlled. I started this project with self-discipline as my enemy, and I have ended this project with it as my friend - though it's still a work in progress! No matter who you are, there is an area of your life that you need to take control of, allowing transformation of your heart/mind/soul. Nobody is perfect and sometimes the fear of this reality forces a tight grip on something we think we can control. For me it was my wardrobe. Now that I have a handle on this area of my life, it's time for me to dig into other areas that need a little - or a lot - of construction. In the end, self-discipline actually allows freedom to ensue.
Will I buy clothes again? Yes. Will I be more strategic than I have been in the past? Of course. However, I have to give myself a little credit - I did have my moments of being strategic, picking my favorite of the three shiny new items and leaving the other not-as-amazing two items behind, telling myself I can only spend X amount of dollars, but for the most part, discipline was lacking and as I move forward from here, self-discipline as noted above, will be key. My goals moving forward will be:
- Avoid shopping when I'm bored.
- Identify needs versus wants.
- Establish a budget.
- Allow a few days to think on it before making the purchase.
People ask me if I'm specifically going to go on a wild shopping spree when I'm done with my blog. My answer? Not really. My reasoning? If I go on a wild shopping spree, it will defeat the purpose of saving money - one of the positive side-affects of my project. Instead, throughout the year I was able to tuck away little bits of cash here and there when I did side jobs - beyond what I was putting in my savings account - and was able to save up some cash for a few special items:
- A ring
- A black leather jacket
- Gray jeans
|Ken & Daughter Jewelers|
here!) and it will be something I wear until I'm 95 years old! Every time I look at this ring, it will channel courage and will remind me of leaning on God to achieve something I truly thought impossible.
Staying with the theme of longevity, I would prefer to get a few very special items, rather than a lot of average items. Therefore, along with the ring, I am going to get a black leather jacket. I've always wanted a black leather jacket and to me it conveys, "strength," and "sass!" Hence why it's numero 2 on my list! This project has helped me to gain strength, confidence and even a little sass so what better to represent those qualities than a black leather jacket.
Lastly, gray jeans. Not that exciting I know, but this year I realized I have so many black pieces, that a legit pair of gray jeans - to replace my current mediocre ones - will compliment literally half my closet...I'm a sucker for black...AND I'll probably wear these jeans five days in a row just because I can now! #kiddingnotkidding
Beyond those three items, I will play it by ear based on my budget. I may get a few accessories like scarves and statement earrings, or maybe a strategic pair of shoes so I can mix up the clothes I already have without spending too much moolala. We'll see what tickles my fancy. So stay tuned for a follow-up post, capturing my post-project goodies :).
The final words.
I am changed. Because of this year of my life, I will never be the same. I am changed. I have gained strength, confidence, courage, drive, and a humble heart to let go of control of my passion, while at the same time viewing my passion through a different lens. I am changed. I was held accountable to something daily for an entire year. I am changed. I was pushed to become creative outside of my comfort zone. I am changed. I was left with myself and my thoughts to contemplate life and share that perspective through my voice as a writer. I am changed. I climbed to the top of this mountain. I am changed.
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
Until next time,
I could not have done this project without the support of a few key stakeholders in my life.
DJ ~ Thank you for being an advocate from the very beginning. Thank you for being my encourager and supporter, even though this was all-consuming and bled into your life as well. Thank you for being patient whenever I would have to play catch up for days on my blog and thank you for recognizing my passion for style and design and pushing me to seek my potential. I love you!
Mom ~ Thank you for teaching me how to sew. Thank you for showing me the ins and outs of the art and even passing along some of your treasured vintage pieces to live on in my closet! Thank you for supporting me on a journey I didn't expect to take and thank you for believing I could do it beyond a shadow of a doubt from the very beginning when I told you about it in the parking lot, moments after I hit 'Publish'. Thank you for your encouragement along the way, and being my ultimate advocate! I love you!
Ken & Daughter Jewelers ~ In choosing a ring, I couldn't think of anyone better to work with than Edie at Ken & Daughter Jewelers. I have worked with her before, and what I come back to every time in describing my jeweler experience and what I even hear others say as well, is that she is so intuitive and personal. She quickly gains a sense of my needs/wants for a piece of jewelry and I feel at home whenever I'm in her shop - never pressured. I say this with all sincerity that if you are ever in the market for jewelry or need jewelry repairs, go to Ken & Daughter Jewelers! It has most certainly been a blessing working with Edie and it will be a high-quality piece of jewelry that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can't thank her enough for helping make this moment so special!!
Mapel Boutique ~ Thank you for sharing my blog with your customers and encouraging me on this project that I know made all of your Mapel Fashionista hearts stop! Thank you for allowing me to set up a display in your boutique to share my excitement of completing my challenge. And thanks to Staci's generosity, you (Jennicouture Fashion readers) can use the coupon code 'Jennicouture' online or in store for a 30% discount on your next purchase! I wanted to pass a special treat on to all my supporters/readers and Staci was eager to partner with me. Thanks Staci! It's been so fun working with you and becoming friends with you throughout the last few years and I appreciate your willingness to collaborate on this special occasion!! Much love!
My Readers/Family/Friends ~ Last but not least (!!!), thank you family/friends/readers/followers for reading all or most of my blog posts! Thank you for putting up with all my Facebook posts that cluttered your news feed. Thank you for your encouragement when I really wasn't sure I was going to make it through the year. Thank you for sharing in my excitement both in the beginning and in the end of this crazy adventure. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable - allowing me to share a piece of my life and a piece of my passion with you on a daily basis. And thank you for being my accountability and support network through it all. It truly means a lot. Thank you!!