This salad single-handedly cured my lifelong belief that canned tuna requires mayonnaise to be edible. The beans mellow the tuna, and the fresh lemon juice (a must!) brightens all the flavors. On fast days, we serve it on fresh spinach or in lettuce wraps; or, if we’re feeling particularly decadent, on a 100-calorie whole-grain sandwich bun. Read more…
Recently, my husband stopped me on my way out to ask if I had anything on the calendar for the following weekend; I said no. By the time I returned, he’d booked flights to visit his father in Hawaii. With only a few days’ notice and a single carry-on bag, I had no idea what to pack.
After Googling “what to wear to the beach Hawaii” and not finding what I wanted – barely there cutoff shorts and teeny bikinis don’t really work for me – I started from scratch. Though “beachwear” was a given, early spring weather in Honolulu can be unpredictable. Plus, whatever I packed for the beach would also have to work for lunch, sightseeing, shopping and anywhere else my photographer husband might want to stop along the way.
I decided to stick with a basic palette of black, white and gray — a strong trend for spring (though when is it ever not appropriate?) and I already own a lot of it — punched up with some chambray, coral (it is Hawaii, after all), and a few gold accessories.
After a week of living with my newly edited closet, I realized something: my clothes were much better organized, but I still had nothing to wear.
I’d stand there hoping for some sort of revelation; when none came, I’d put on the same jeans and shirt I’d worn the previous day.
It was frustrating. Sure, I’d gone shopping before and come home empty handed, but it seemed ridiculous that this was happening at home — hadn’t I already hand-picked all this stuff?
I knew I needed to shop my closet, but I didn’t know how.
So I decided to use some of the time I was saving by not shopping to figure out how to actually wear the clothes I already owned — and discovered two easy tricks.
The first order of business after deciding not to buy anything new for a year was making peace with my closet. Over the years I had read books, saved articles, attended — and even taught — classes on organization, but somehow never managed to extend what I learned to my wardrobe.
Every so often I’d tidy everything up and attempt to organize it, but after a few weeks the chaos would return.
Part of the problem was too much stuff — hangers crammed so tightly and stacks of sweaters piled so high that it was impossible to see what I had — but mostly it was laziness. Since I basically wore the same 10 things every week, my ‘uniform’ of jeans and some type of knit shirt languished on the closet floor until I felt enough mercy — or shame — to wash them.
But realizing that I would have to rely solely on the contents of my closet for everything I would wear over the next year was the wake-up call I needed: time to start practicing what I’d preached.
Where to begin? With a little motivation. Closet organization is not rocket science, and there are a bajillion resources out there — books, magazines, blogs, talk show segments — to help.
All basically come down to some form of three basic principles: Sort, Edit & Organize. Read more…
Back when I started this blog, I wrote about how my experiment with not buying anything new for more than a year greatly influenced the desire to edit my life in other ways.
Although it’s now been several years since my self-imposed moratorium ended, that experience continues to influence how, when and why I shop, and what I shop for.
This is not intended to be a condemnation of shopping, nor a judgment on what others choose to do. Rather, it’s something I tried that had a profound, lasting, positive effect on me, and I share it with the hope that it might help someone else.
So here goes…
Why I did it.