Challenge Update: Week 24

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

Someone who loves me and knows me pulled a fast one on me this week. In my mailbox was a tiny little hand-delivered package (I was sure at first that it contained the keys I had lost the week before. Because…menopause brain. Keys. Lethal combination. I digress.) No writing, no stamps.

The package felt too light to be my keys.

I tore it open and discovered the absolutely adorable rainbow scarf you see doing rabbit ears in the photo at the top of this article. It is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen and it makes me so happy and I can only guess who might have done this, but I love you. And thank you. You made my week.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

So this little rainbow scarf joined the Pantheon of Legends this week.

Also, I discovered that another one of my summer go-to tops, a black lace number, had somehow escaped being on my CPW spreadsheet, although it was in my Inventory with a picture and everything.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Seriously. Three dresses, one skirt and its matching refashioned bolero made from a fourth dress is literally all I need. It makes my life insanely easy.

What is more, I adore all four of these dresses. Yes, they are loud. Yes they are way too colorful for Europe. But you know what? I am American. I cannot beat the colorfulness out of me. I am the lady who wears colorful dresses.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

I am thinking about ways to reclaim the power of Mise en Place for other areas of my life that are driving me batty. More to come on this.

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

Ha! Gotta love little boys. Especially little boys who know what they want.

Several years ago, my mother bought my family some Cavaliers swag. Each boy had a Cavs onesie, the indulgent husband got a cap and I got a winter hat.

Obviously, these boys have outgrown their onesies. But this did not stop my youngest scalawag from finding his in the box of souvenir items we keep for them, taking it out and insisting on wearing it.

Except: it was for size 6-9 months. He is four and a half. A few weeks ago, when he found it, he insisted on wearing it to school. Yes, to school. With the snaps unsnapped, of course. My four year old went to school wearing a onesie for a 6-9 month old.

The thing with this child (my mother is over there snickering to herself, saying “this is your comeuppance, my dear!) is that he knows what he wants to wear. He has an idea in his head and he will not let it go. He will not be changed out of whatever outfit he has decided to wear. Whatever accessory he has chosen is canon. Here is proof:

Well, after he wore a onesie for a 6-9 month old to school, I took it and secretly cut off at least the little snaps and the bottom part, thinking I could make it look like a t-shirt. It looked ridiculous, so I hid it, hoping that he would forget.

Who am I kidding? This kid has a disturbingly photographic memory and always picks the most uncomfortable moments to decide to remember something. In this case, it was about 10 minutes before we needed to leave for school.

He had a tantrum (a really good one. He impressed me with his tantruming skills about this.) So I cut up a t-shirt in my stash, panic-sewed an additional 3 inches to the bottom of the onesie without even changing the thread (yes, the thread is bright green.)

At least he’s happy

This child is why I left the house wearing rollers. But you know what? He’s happy.

So, here I am, saying: Mother, I know you panic sewed lace onto my swimming suits when I was little, I know that I stood over you tantruming while you did and I am sorry and I have gotten my comeuppance. Uncle!!!!!!!


So far so good. Our little summer challenge is chugging along. Pretty soon we will be up to six months of our Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge! Six months!!!

In Other News:

To practice speaking extemporaneously about the things near and dear to my heart, and in as I gear up for my podcast, I am going to be posting an “Ideal Life Reel” in both English and French each weekday this summer. A “reel” is a one minute (or less) video. Me, trying to be brief. Imagine that! (No really. Imagine that.)

Honestly, I had been keeping my work here on the blog a secret from most people I know because I knew I would get the same reproach: when are you going to do it in French? French people are weird sometimes–they’ll tell you they speak English, they’ll try to speak English with you, but then when you provide content in English they complain that it is in English. We call that “râler comme un français.” (to complain like the French.)

However, there are people in my life that I love very very much who don’t speak any English. I want to honor them, too. So this summer I am giving myself a challenge: Am I capable of speaking about my Ideal Life Exercises in French, too?

Join me on Instagram to follow along with the Idea Life Reels!!

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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