Wear Your Praise Wednesday {...my closet makeover...}

I'm certain, when I review this past year, that I will look back on "The Great Purge of 2015" as one of the best things I ever did for myself and for my business.  

(...and I'm not done yet.  But funerals and vacation and life have taken over, as I knew they would when I first decided to purge our "stuff".  So, because I knew that ordinary life would fight against my goal, I made my intentions as firm as possible.  The result?  I got a lot more accomplished than I expected, but less than I wanted to, if that makes sense.  Which means....I succeeded.  Because all big plans turn out that way:  you split the difference between perfection and reality.

 I made a plan, and I stuck with it no matter what...within reason.  Reason says you attend funerals, and you don't forgo vacation plans with your Preacher, just to stay home and keep throwing stuff out.)

One of the areas - trust me, just one - that got purged was my walk-in closet.  And, true to the nature of purging, once I got rid of all the superfluous, and was left with this blissfully clean slate, I was then able to make over the whole space - adding back only those things that support my goals and who I am.

Yeah.  Clothes and spaces can do that.  

Clothes and spaces can absolutely help you crystallize your best intentions, and get clear on where your next glory is.  (We are all going from glory, TO glory.  Because I live in the truth of that, I am always walking the balance-beam of learning from the glory I am presently in, while finding out what my next level of glory is to be.)

I told my besties (which, by the way, I hate that word...and by the way, my besties will always and forever be my church ladies - "Shout out to my Harvest gals!") that I wanted to sell tickets and give tours of my closet.  And so, it is with great, obnoxious enthusiasm that I present you with just one of the results of "The Great Purge of 2015"...my new inspiration closet:

I truly wish I had "before" pictures.

First and most important point:  I went to a modified capsule wardrobe...

...meaning, I took every stitch of every piece of clothing I own, and pared it down to right around 50 seasonal items...including Tshirts and tanks (which are folded and tucked away in drawers).

What this means is, when I began this purge back in late summer, I chose around 50 clothing items to be in my spring/summer capsule.  (Some capsule wardrobe-ers go with 20-something, some go with 30-something.)  Every jacket, every vest, every T-shirt, every pair of jeans, every-everything counts.

I found that it helped me immensely to just go with an arbitrary number, and force myself to pare down to it.  To keep giving away or tossing clothing until I reached under 50 items, I had to go through my shirts, pants, dresses, etc. not once, not twice, but multiple times....and make hard choices.  Do I like this shirt or this shirt best?  Do these pants fit better than these?

Here is what had to go:  whatever wasn't my favorite and best fitting and most reflective of who I really am, right now this moment - which is an artist-entrepreneur...who occasionally has to dress beautifully for art shows and the random hot date.  Other than those occasions, and weddings and funerals, my wardrobe gets to be this casual, semi-bohemian mix of what I like best.

(This week or next, I will have to pull out all my fall/winter clothing, and go through the exact same process...pare it all down to my 50 or so pieces.  It won't be easy, but now that I know how transformational it is to actually have fewer but better choices...I will gladly do it.)

I added back a tiny slipper chair, on clearance at Target.  It was actually meant to be a little girl's chair.  A tiny-tot-chair.  But I've had a couple of months, now, to use it for putting on my shoes, for putting on tights (yes, our weather actually got chilly enough to do that for one, and only one night recently), and for prayer.  And I am in love with the idea of having a tiny chair in one's closet.

If you can at all fit one in your closet....do it.

I added a small sheepskin rug.  Clearanced at my local Ross for under $10.

I added a watercolor sign that spoke to my heart.

I took all my earrings out of the plastic ice trays they were in (!!) and purchased two $7 velvet compartment trays from Hobby Lobby (using my coupon).

...the tiny "Paris" tin was a gift from a dear prayer-partner friend, who just so happens to know that I dream of going to Paris, while not actually wanting to go to Paris.  Travel isn't my thing...but beautiful places are still fun to dream about.  She filled that tin with images of Paris...

...and, of course, no closet is complete without a few of the pebbles you have written on, over the years.

Last, but totally not least, I added a...

...gold-and-crystal chandelier.

Oh my dear, sweet heavenly goodness.  It was a complete splurge.

And so worth it.

When this most intimate of spaces was complete, I shut the door (said door finally has a full length mirror on it.  I had to choose between all my shoes, keeping only those that are the "hardest workers", giving away the rest - so I could ditch the behind-the-door ugly shoe rack, and replace it with a full length mirror):

...I shut this door, sat down on the tiny-tot chair...

...and cried my eyes out.

See, this closet was built just for me, way back in 2004.  We renovated our house, and I got the walk-in-closet I had always wanted.

And it took me over ten years to make it special.

And all total, I know it didn't cost me $200 to create something that will bless me every single morning and night for many years to come.  It took me ten years to decide I was worth the investment.

People.  I told you.  Self-care is not my superpower.  And that might be the understatement of 2015.

I immediately texted my daughters (don't judge...it's the new millennium, and its how everyone rolls) and admonished them, "Do as your mother says, don't do as she does.  Self care matters."

And now...as we leave my closet (where I now want to live)...the first thing you see is my inspiration wall - which is an instigator and has been a huge part of every level of glory I have hit in the last 3 years:

Wearing your praise matters.  When you are well put together, and the effort to be well put together no longer takes a ton of time, or too many decisions (we all only have so much mental bandwidth) - we are more likely to say "YES" to things that matter.

I am more likely to say "YES" to a mentoring breakfast, when I know my clothes are ready for me to jump into.

I am more likely to say "YES" to eating out with Tim at someplace besides O'Charley's, when I can take one look inside a beautiful space, and choose something a little more special to wear...and it is pressed and waiting for me.

Simple issues of self care and self respect.

And I hope you are better at all of these things than I am.  I'm still a work in progress, but I'm happy to share my reality with you.  Thanks for listening.

Is your most intimate of spaces - your closet - a special space?  Even if all you have is a tiny closet (that is all I had for almost 20 years) you can scale down and pare back and make it special.

How are you at self care?

Wear Your Praise Wednesday {#rockyourreaders...a collaboration with Readers.com}

I told y'all that #wearyourpraise is a thing.

You see, friends, I've been...contacted.  Yes.  That's it.  I've been contacted.  I received an email asking me if I was interested in an affiliate post, in exchange for product.

Wouldn't you know it, my very-very first really true affiliate post is with (drumroll...)


Stop laughing, because you are about to be jealous.

Given, this wasn't totally out of the blue.  I heart Readers.com, and that's never been a secret.  I have declared my bifocal reader love to the world, in several earlier posts.  But I had to buy the bifocals first. So you can imagine my excitement, in getting a few pair to enjoy at no charge...

...if I'd just blog about them.

This is big, y'all.

I really truly wear my bifocal readers every day of my life.  Why bifocal readers?  Two reasons:

1.  Glasses are a fashion statement all by themselves.  This makes me feel lucky to need readers.  People who don't need eyeglasses are wearing fake glasses.  And if you do need glasses, and you are wearing contacts...well...you and I can't be friends.

Just kidding.  But seriously, consider wearing glasses like any other fashion accessory - and get more than one pair.  A girl needs several pairs, to match her outfit or her mood.

And hey...if this article by THE Sartorialist can't convince you to get on the glasses train...I can't help you.

I told you you'd be jealous.  Wearing glasses is a beautiful thing.

Reason number 2 I wear bifocal readers every day:  Back before I discovered bifocal readers, I was continually losing my regular readers.  My only recourse was either go bifocal, or buy a chain to attach my readers to, and hang them around my neck.

Um.  Ain't gonna happen.

Because, even though I am a granny, I can't wear my readers on a chain like a granny.  Because I want my grandkids to be able to wear shirts like this:

And if I wear my readers on a chain, that can't happen.

I'm excited to share a few styles of readers with you, and chat just a little bit about glasses in general.

First up, is the Ivy League bifocal

...I wear these when I'm feeling intellectual.  Which is every day, almost.

Next, are my all-time favorites, the Elwood bifocal, with a tortoise frame:

No lie, I feel pretty in these specs and this dress.  And that's what "wear your praise Wednesday" is about.  Here's another mood:

Next, when you are in a fun-loving state of mind:

(I wore these with my orange T-shirt this past Saturday...thinking it would be good luck for my team, the Tennessee Volunteers.  Alas.)

I requested these specifically.  I wanted them, because white-rimmed eyeglasses are trending hard right now, as evidenced by my new friend, the adorable Gabi Blair of Design Mom:

(My home was featured on her informative, award winning design blog this past year!)

Diverting just a minute to sunglasses, I also love these:

The "Iris" bifocal sunglasses.  I refuse to wear any other bifocal sunglasses for now.  These win.  Hands down....er...hands up...and peace out.

Last but not least, when I want my glasses to be cute, but understated, I go with these "Indiana" bifocals:

Once in awhile, I may be in an every-day-ish, understated sort of mood, but don't be fooled.  My glasses may be understated, but my heart still wants to wear its praise and live loudly.

(For more on how #wearyourpraise Wednesday got started, click here)

I'm excited to be able to offer my friends and readers (ar, ar...no pun intended) a 20% discount on any pair of readers on Readers.com's  website.  The coupon code is "sheila".

Have fun looking!  If you order something cute, please send me a picture of you in your readers...or share it to Instagram with the hashtag #rockyourreaders and #sheilaatchleydesigns.  I'd love to see you rocking your readers, and perhaps even share your picture here on the blog!

Wear Your Praise Wednesday {...too busy to shoot myself...}

Hiiiiiiii there, girlfriends (and the occasional guy!)...

...around here there has been an unexpected and entirely tragic funeral in our church family, an impending overnight guest,  a big-time video shoot with the beautiful Elisa Trentham of Sherwood Media for my part as an "extra" in Jeanne Oliver's new online course "Art of Home || Modern Simple Living".

(You can sign up here )

And so, I've been too busy to shoot myself.

But never fear, I won't leave you hanging.  I have two fabulous links to two fashion articles, both looking ahead into the fall season.

Top 15 Fall Trends - by the team over at StitchFix

(Which, by the way, I did keep a pair of jeans that came with my "fix" this month.  I had two credits, and that brought the price down to irresistible proportions.  Will share soon!)

And Fashion Rules You Should Resolve to Break - I chose this one, because it explodes the myth of "no white after Labor Day".

Finally, I was in Target today to pick up some beach essentials (South Carolina here we come!) and happened upon this:

(That's not me up there.)

Anyhoo, it struck me that this, surely was a Beach Essential.

So I snagged it on sale.

That is me up there.

In my closet, where I now live.  Thuggin' for the iphone camera.  Making time - just for you - to shoot myself.  See the tags??

The.  Things.  I.  Do.  For.  You.