Challenge Update: Week 10

The Backlash

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

One word for you: ouch.

I started this week having to run to the store for a few items and finding myself face to face with that luscious kelly green pashmina that I fell in love with at the end of January. This was unthinkably painful for two reasons. One: before I left for the store, I actually had a thought which went something like this:

“What if I see the scarf? What if it’s still on sale? If it’s on sale, wasn’t it meant to be? I mean, I have been thinking about it almost every day since I saw it the first time. I’ve been such a good girl. I haven’t bought anything.

I almost had myself convinced that Buy Nothing in 2021 meant that I could, maybe, just maybe, buy a luscious kelly green scarf.

Two: once I got the store, the scarf was still there. And it was just as beautiful as I remembered it. I touched it. I did not try swishing it around my neck. That would have been a death-blow to my resolution.

My determination won out, but not by much. When I got home, I messaged my sister to whine about the scarf and she told me about a book I needed to read, “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” which I immediately downloaded and felt like the author had been holding a tape-recorder to my thoughts.

I ended this week having to go to the store to buy new school slippers for both of my boys, whose teachers both let me know that their school slippers were getting too small. So I ended up at a shoe store in a dying mall.

A dying mall still contains just enough temptation to make me miserable.

Ugh. I hated myself, the thoughts of wanting. The dissatisfaction. My soul ached with a need for something new.

Something I did buy this week was a roll of navy blue grosgrain ribbon and a darning mushroom. I made these purchases via Amazon on Sunday, prior to the coveting-fest of Monday, so I can say with a measure of conviction that this was not simply to make my heart hurt less.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

I found this navy shirtdress in a garment bag with my husband’s one and only suit. I have no idea where or when I bought that dress, but I am in love with it and would wear it every day of my life if I could. Maybe I will. I will become the “Woman who Wears the Navy Blue Shirtdress”.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Navy blue shirtdress, anyone?

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

Weather this week has been on again/off again, making mid-day costume changes necessary. But at least my mornings start off well!

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

This was Jeans Week. Three pairs. Try to keep them straight, okay?

Pair 1: I entirely refashioned another pair of jeans this week. This pair always had fit wonkily through the legs, but the waist and rear were chef’s kiss. Since I was not wearing them ever due to their fit problem, and I was riding high on my red jeans alteration success, I went for it. May I humbly say that I am a genius and have worn these jeans three days in a row and never want to take them off except to wear that navy blue shirtdress. Maybe I will wear them together.

My only regret is this:

It’s a small thing, but I am not pleased with the way the white pulls at the seam.

I will have to reinforce the seam. I thought I would do something fancier, but I really really love these just how they are, even with the pulling side seam.

Pair 2: I bought the navy blue ribbon for two other jeans-related projects. One is this one, which got its own missive a few days ago. I used it to repair a hideously poor hemming job I had done several years ago. Plus, it gives one more option for wearing these fave jeans: rolled up just an inch with heels, showing off the pretty navy ribbon.

Pair 3: I desperately needed to do what we call in French a “cache misère” (misery hider) on a pair of super cheap jeggings I bought last year. I bought them for 9€, wore them tons. They have a great color, a nice fit, but are missing a bit of stretch to them. (Not to mention the coupla pounds I added over the last year.) The side seam on those is split, like ugly split to beyond possibly being attractive or wearable.

So I unpicked the straight stitching on the inside of the outer seam, releasing about a quarter of an inch, up to where the serging line was. Then I covered the whole kit and caboodle with a navy grosgrain ribbon.

Here: take a good look at the result:

Love it? Don’t Love it? At least I have a pair of jeggings that fit.

In other repairing news: I visited two glasses shops this week: one to get a screw replaced on an ancient pair of sunglasses (by ancient I mean from the 1980s. I found them in my mother’s junk drawer two years ago and absconded with them.) They already had a safety pin holding them together when I found them, but it became urgent to replace it because little scalawag broke my other sunglasses. (“Scalawags!” said in my most Jon Stewart-esque Scooby-Doo villain voice.)

Me, being a dingbat in my mother’s 40 year old sunglasses and a silk scarf from when France won the World Cup in 1998.
Because Americans do championship t-shirts and baseball baps.
The French do silk scarves.

I promptly afterwards discovered that my regular glasses were broken just over the ear. No idea how I could have done that (except that I am constantly taking them off and putting them back on because I am 43 years old and resolutely opposed to getting progressive lenses.) I had to take them to the shop where I got those glasses. They replaced both arms, which is funny because now I have Frankenglasses: Prada frames with Ray-Ban arms. It’s quite fun.

In any case, both times I asked how much I owed and was told “nothing, it’s free.” So yay me. Free repairs mean I don’t have to buy new sunglasses or new glasses. And that is money well-not-spent.

Round up

There we have it. For all it’s ups and downs, I got three usable pairs of jeans, two pair of fixed glasses and a navy shirtdress out of the deal, for the measly price of ten yards of navy grosgrain ribbon and a darning mushroom. I feel like I won the lottery.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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