Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One Bag to Rule Them All?

Hi there, Friend, and welcome back to WMAC! It’s so good to see you again. I’m on my second cup of awesome while our bubs rocks his homeschool work like the capable young boy that he is. Let me get our kettle going again so we can share another cup and the treasure of good company. 

I’d like to dive into one of my favorite facets of Simplify for a few, the joy of ‘capsule wardrobing’, specifically handbags. I’ve been enjoying a simplified wardrobe for a few years now, and more will be shared on this amazing concept during future visits. Today, I’m going to show you the result of a ‘bag-robe’ reset, the Whys behind it, and how one bag may have shifted my paradigm once again on the road to Simplify. 

Ever dabbled in the handbag realm? Used to (still do?) rock a fanny pack? Know the difference between hobo and envelope, crossbody and commuter? Can spot a premium label logo/design from a mile away? Need (or want) a separate cabinet or closet to display all that glorious foofoo? Yep, been there, done that, All of it.

My handbag journey began with usual fun silliness as a young girl, and then ultra-minimizing to a clip-on wallet I wore on my jeans belt loop throughout middle and high school. Early adulthood saw and embraced the siren of convenience and fun of hunting for high quality designer duds at discount stores; I’ve roamed the floors of the super high end boutiques while using credit into moderate oblivion, and enjoyed treasure spotting at antique stores for micro needlepoint and steel cut beadwork. Though I may never admit just how many electric bills I’ve paid at these places on that insatiable quest, I will tell you that retrospect on this part of my life reveals hard lessons learned at great cost. 

Within the past 2 years, I’ve enjoyed a complete handbag wardrobe reboot. Tired of the chaos leftover from those discount quests, the number and variety of my bags was, well, Chaos. A lot like my clothes before their simplifying, my bags illustrated remnants of past behaviors that just aren’t a part of who I am anymore. And as the journey to Simplify finds its way into every corner of our being, I recognized and seized the opportunity to create a clean slate, and build a small curation of only what I need and love most. Shedding old skin feels so good, making way for the new True. Now, only 2 of my older bags are left on local consignment, with considerable local donations completed, and a small collection of antique clutches remain (that I’m hoping to sell): I’ve taken successful action to create a blank canvas. Hooray! 

Which design(s) do I need and use the most? That answer has evolved over the years. Becoming centered during Simplify, I’ve acknowledged that I do not enjoy carrying a great deal of things with me all the time (never have). Using fellow blogger Un-Fancy’s capsule wardrobe worksheet has really helped clarify any details as I’ve defined my style, I cannot recommend her approach enough. I like to use a small, manstyle wallet when I want to be super simple; a medium-sized clutch for carrying hands-on (nites out and/or dressing up); a small bag on a crossbody strap when I want to carry hands-free (my everyday go-to); a larger catch-all for day trips or when I have to tote more around than usual; and a durable bag for cosmetics and toiletries for traveling. So, 5 styles total? That’s a much more focused approach than the aimless shiny-blinky scores of the past.

What do I love most in a bag? Neutral colors and super-soft, long-lasting leather tie at the top of the list. Fun hardware accents are a plus, but simple and classic design are the cat’s meWow for me. And I really dig a bag that goes with absolutely Everything, from jeans-and-tee to how-you-doin'. 

I also chose to simplify this part of my wardrobe because I want to keep this new-found, welcomed focus for a long time... like, for years, or forever.. seriously, not interested in doing this reinventing process on a perpetual loop as that defeats the purpose of simplifying. The finish line is the reward of being, uhm, finished. I decided to invest in one of my favorite accessory designers exclusively, the one and only Tom Ford. And I did it for well under the retail cost, scoring the majority via secondhand methods like EBay and Poshmark (that's right, I didn’t pay full price for any of them!). 

What you see below is my entire handbag collection (until last week). A list follows with corresponding location that I acquired them:

Black small toiletry bag, Poshmark
Black wallet with strap, EBay
Brown small wallet, EBay
Gray fold over clutch, the RealReal
Taupe small clutch, EBay
Large brown hobo, EBay
Blush wallet with strap, Poshmark
Blush medium clutch, Poshmark
White large toiletry bag, Tom Ford online store 
White medium clutch, Tom Ford store - Dallas, TX

This carefully curated collection has exactly what I need, use and love the most. Yippee! Lovely neutrals? HYeyah! Super soft leather? All Day. Fun hardware accents? Tom Ford always delivers on the zips and snaps. Simple and classic designs? Absolutely. All of these treasures have a straightforward use with minimal frills and maximum function and form. I was able to acquire a lot of them with proceeds from consigning and selling during the overall wardrobe simplifying process too, even inviting a small variety of color, which is great for minimal debt impact. Yes, everything is just right...

So, what happened, you ask? What’s this mention of ‘one bag’ all about? 

I’m a blog-reader as well, enjoying Un-Fancy’s perspective on capsule wardrobing, as well as Be More with Less and No Sidebar; during the fall micro-capsule challenges, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of just One of each design (or even one bag to rule them all, if you’ll pardon my geek moment). I’ve also been opening oyster concepts like ‘slow’, ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ fashion, another topic we can savor more as our visits continue... What a radical notion for a reformed fashion junkie, one bag! Pshah! And then, thanks to my dear friend, Jodi, who also happens to own the chicest boutique in town (Element), I got a hands-on introduction to one of these oysters, a responsibly made line of leather goods called FashionABLE. One look at their designs, and my heart was reminded of the ultra-simple, could-care-less-about-labels core within. Even more so, the concept of making a direct and positive impact through where and how I invest rang like a gong in my ears. I’m a huge fan of putting our money where our mouths and hearts are. We are many things, one of these things is that we are who/what we support. For direct example, do I support the direction and agenda of the high-fashion world? No, I do not. That may be the path some choose, but it's not a part of who I am anymore. 

I decided to invest in the lovely, distressed burgundy wallet you see below, responsibly made by a wonderful company, from my dear friend at her own local business. Do you see the difference here?... I’ve been carrying this wallet exclusively for over a week now (even through a small trip to Gatlinburg last week), observing what I miss and what I don’t with each passing day as the curated Tom Ford baubles take a small break. One thing I’ve observed is a recurring theme: We can be Happy with less than we think. Will I end up saying Farewell to the TF capsule as a result of this experiment? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: I’ve experienced another fork in the road to Simplify, and taking the road less traveled is a wonderful thing. 

So, how about you? Have you defined your own style, one that brings you Joy and is true to who You are? What do you need and use the most to be successful through the day? How do you invest your money in what you choose to adorn yourself with? Are you making it count?

Want to reset your own bag collection? I'd love to hear about it! Simplify can be done on any budget and with any focal point that is true to you, the goal is to make it work for You. And great Joy can be found when choosing with clear Intentionality where and how we invest.

Today, I am grateful for the time you've chosen to invest here with me at WMAC. I’m so glad you’re a part of our story and look forward to many more cups of awesome shared with the best of Company: You. 



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Friday, September 29, 2017

The Why of WMAC

Well, hello there. Welcome back to WMAC, I'm so glad to see you again.

It just so happens I've put a fresh pot of awesome on to steep, your timing is perfect. Please make yourself comfortable, there are plenty of soft throws on our linen sectional to get cozy. 

How are you? How has this week progressed? Our week has had its share of highs and lows, duality seems rarely in short supply sometimes. How do we challenge the gray in a given week's skies? Be our own Happy, of course. I made a beautiful day yesterday with my bubs: after our homeschooling session, we enjoyed lunch at Cashew in Chattanooga. There he devoured specially made donuts for dessert, a rare treat for his sweet self. Afterwards, we took a small walk through Coolidge Park and enjoyed watching the movement of the water on the Tennessee River. Then we (yes, Both of us) had a carousel ride, and on the way home we savored some fresh-from-the-garden-delicious juice at the Local Juice Bar in Hixson. A couple geek shows for evening fun (Flight of the Butterflies and Life in the Arctic), and (a first for him) some shared cups of lemon chamomile tea from my all-time favorite Sipping Streams in Alaska, with a dollop of local raw honey for good measure, and all is well for bedtime. Really well. Maybe a day to remember forever...

As these mugs of awesome warm our hands, I'd like to take a few moments to answer a question on Why WMAC - what's the message, why the blog, and maybe a bit of origin explanation too. 

I grew up in the contiguous 48 (born in Tennessee and have lived in several states since then, including South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Alaska, with a most recent move back to my hometown), and like many I have yet to travel beyond our nation's borders, something I plan on changing when we can enjoy another traveling season. I am happy to declare having visited (even if briefly) well over 2 dozen additional states, and the hubs and I have a dream/goal of someday being the RVing type that explores parks, less-traveled highways, monuments, and all the special places in this amazing countryside. But that's another story... Living in so many places over the years, the desire to be lighter possession-wise when the next move occurred naturally evolved. But wanting to organize, wishing for a cleaner space, and thinking I could just compartmentalize and sort and donate and and on and on and on.. it wasn't enough. And, more importantly, it wasn't the Real thing. It wasn't, Simple. 

The concept of simplifying had been knocking around in my gray matter for years, but it did not gain its needed focus and follow-through until our move up north. We were honored to enjoy living in Alaska for over 3 years, traveling almost its entirety while there. It was here the hubs and I enjoyed what might be our best highs, and most certainly our worst lows. The geographical separation from what I was accustomed to, combined with the refining fire of life experience during these few years resulted in what I Needed to do: that divine clarity and focus that compelled me (and eventually the hubs too) to see this long-dreamed Simplify into our Reality. I'll share many more reflections on all these facets as we continue our time together.

The biggest Why is sitting next to me though: YOU. So many of you have seen facets of our journey and shared encouragement, support, asked questions, and even been inspired to create your own special Simplify. I've enjoyed some almost-but-not-quite blogs/pages that just haven't gotten the whole picture into proper view. I've been so moved by everyone that has shared that I want to broaden our message, deepen our story, and help all who cross WMAC's frequency through sharing our story of what has worked, what hasn't, where we've come from, where we are going, and so much of the road not taken in between these moments. YOU are the Why behind WMAC. So much Gratitude for You. 

What's the message? In short, it's an offering of fresh perspectives on minimalism, intentional home (and life) design, capsule wardrobing and reflections on a simplified life. We will get more into the length of it as our visits continue. 

It's so good to see you again here at WMAC, there's always a place at our table for you, and I am grateful for each visit that we share. 

Kind of digging the pause between our visits with a quote from Garrison Keillor, I'll add a smidge to the end:

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Have a wonderful weekend too, and see you soon.



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Saturday, September 23, 2017


Thanks for tuning into Here at WMAC, it's an honor to have you stop by. There's always a seat at our table for you, so make yourself at home, here's a warm cuppa awesome, and let's simmer in the goodness that is time spent together.

So, what exactly is WMAC? It is so many things to me. In short, it's a broadcast label I came up with for our home, with a nod to my all-time favorite radio show, Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion. I've been listening to PHC since discovering it when I was 12. Saying it had a profound effect on me would be an understatement. You see, I have a passion for language and communication, a dash of neurosis regarding grammar, and a deep-rooted Love for good storytelling. As our visits progress, you might notice that very little is kept 'in short', but don't worry, I'll keep the kettle warm as we enjoy sharing a good story with great company.

It is wonderful to see you here at WMAC. I am excited to share this journey with you and hope that you'll stay tuned as the story continues.

Garrison puts it best, so I'll give him the end quote for our intro:

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.



Join the story - Subscribe below for weekly/biweekly emails 
(mobile users - please visit 'full web version' page)

Questions - Reach out via email

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One Bag to Rule Them All?

Hi there, Friend, and welcome back to WMAC! It’s so good to see you again. I’m on my second cup of awesome while our bubs rocks his h...