Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to dress when you work from home

This past little while since I started my dream career of being a writer who works from my home office, I have been curating my at-home wardrobe.  When we moved here to Hawke’s Bay, it was the middle of winter and a lot colder than I was used to in Auckland.

To keep warm I wore thick leggings, a merino wool cowl neck jersey and at least one layer underneath.  Cozy merino socks and sheepskin books completed my look.  I wouldn’t often put makeup on, especially if I wasn’t going out, and I wouldn’t do much with my hair either.  There didn’t seem much point if no-one could see me, right?

Over the past six months I have been changing my thoughts on that, and now most days I put on a tiny amount of makeup such as foundation – because my skin is very pink and shiny by itself :) – blush and/or bronzer, lip colour and mascara.  I either brush bronzer on my eyelids or use a non-sparkly neutral eyeshadow.

Plus, perfume. Always!  Even when I don’t wear makeup the odd day, I always wear perfume.

I also keep my hair clean and do something with it each day.  It’s summer here at the moment and I’ve been letting my naturally wavy/curly hair air-dry.  We have low-humidity here so my hair looks pretty rather than frizzy, as it did when we lived in a high-humidity area.

I actually do see quite a few people I’ve realized, even if my car doesn’t leave the garage that day.  There’s the courier or rural post van, neighbours when I’m out walking, our friend who lives in the flat attached to our house and Teddy the poodle’s mum too when I take him for a walk.  Plus… my husband when he gets home from work!

I’ve started putting together my favourite easy looks for each season, and also making sure I have enough outfits to see me through until laundry day.  In the hot weather I have simple just-above-the-knee dresses in soft denim, which I wear with Birkenstocks or jandals (thongs/flip-flops) at home or wedge-heeled sandals going out.

For spring and autumn I like inexpensive cropped soft stretch jeans that feel more like leggings, paired with a pretty tee-shirt or shirt.  On my feet I’ll wear Converse or ballet flats going out, or Go Walks staying in.

In the winter I plan to wear my full-length comfy stretch skinny jeans with cozy jumpers and my sheepskin boots, changing to merino socks and ankle boots (flat or with a small heel) if I go out.  One thing that keeps me warm is having my neck covered, so I’ll either make sure my jersey has a cozy cowl neck (I don’t like to be strangled by polo necks) or I will loop a soft cotton or wool scarf around my neck.

It feels good to dress at home as if I was going out, as long as I choose comfort as well as style, and it’s a fun ongoing project.  I also love to find pretty and feminine colours to feel good in.  It’s easy to choose a black top and jeans, but yesterday when I wore a new tee-shirt - Kmart $10 :) – in a blush/coconut ice pink fine-slub cotton, I felt really good.  Plus I received two compliments!  When I saw myself in the mirror, the muted pink really lit up my face.  I wore it with grey-black skinny jeans and melon-orange wedge sandals to go out to do a few errands.

When I used to work full-time, I always felt better when I dressed for the day.  On days at home when I wore loungewear and no makeup or hairstyle, I may have gotten a lot achieved, but I felt like I hadn’t really participated fully in the day.  By making myself presentable, it was like I was stepping forward and claiming my spot in the world.

I know a lot of you are interested in what to wear at home, because it’s one of my all-time most popular posts on the blog.  I am always nosy to see what others wear at home too!  The ideal outfit would be pretty, comfortable, easy-care, inexpensive, elegant and chic.

What is your favourite at-home outfit?  Summer and winter please :)

Chloe and Daphne Update:

The new girls are doing SO well.  (Daphne is in our closet at the top of this post, and Chloe is taking a selfie above.)  They’ve been with us almost three weeks and are like my little shadows now.  Everywhere I go around the house I hear eight paw-steps following me, and if I even go to the letterbox it’s like I’ve been away a month when I come back in the front door.  Waking up early in the morning to let them outside I receive a royal welcome from both of them.  It’s lovely :)

They are S L O W L Y getting used to my husband… that will take more time.  He bribes them with dog treats sometimes.  I take my new girls for a walk down the road and they are so good at walking on a leash.  Jessica and Nina have put them in their place a few times but generally just ignore them.  Life is calm and I think we’ll all be just fine!

You can see a cute little one-minute video of Chloe and Daphne playing here.


PS.  It’s the last few days to enroll in my course ‘Create your dream life as a successful author’ and receive the earlybird special price.  Read more details here if you’d love to join me and dozens of other lovely ladies for a fun and motivating six weeks and learn how I write and publish my books - I share everything.

Find out more here!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Two new family members!

Last week was a big one for our household.  These two little cuties moved in with us.

Near the end of last year I talked with my husband about adopting a senior rescue dog, and I started having saved searches on TradeMe (our version of eBay) sent to me of dogs in our area.  Early last week I received an email notification from our local SPCA that they had two little Brussels Griffons, rescued along with six others from a neglectful breeder.  They were paired off and sent to different SPCAs.

I don't know much about them, but Daphne on the left is four, and Chloe on the right is two.  They have been with a foster mum for six months, being socialised and getting healthier.  They are still very nervous and it will take a long while for them to get to trust us (particularly my husband, perhaps the breeder was male), but I have time.

I'm sure they were just left in cages and bred over and over.  'Used and abused' were the SPCA lady's words.

But in less than a week they have changed a lot, so imagine what they will be like in a month, six months or a year.  They are SUCH sweethearts, and already Daphne has gained a lot of confidence.  She sneaks in under my desk and prevents me from doing my writing...

How could you resist a face like that???

I feel so grateful that I came across these two needing a home, when I am here most of the time and we have plenty of space for them.  Not that they need much, they are about the same size as our cats, who, by the way have been total superstars about the new girls coming to live with them.  They tend to ignore them and only seem mildly interested to see small dogs roaming the house.

My husband spent Saturday building a run for them, because even though we live on four acres, there are a lot of places for small, nervous dogs to hide, and I don't want to lose them.  He said to me 'I'm not a builder', but did an amazing job of the run, and it's huge too.  I just hope they can't jump too high! They are on long leashes when out there at the moment, just in case...

View from the dog-run :)  There is plenty of shelter on the other side too.

I feel a bit bad about having pure-breed dogs, as I've always been pro-rescue, but these little guys really needed a good and loving home, where they can have the time to come out of their shells.  A quiet and stable home with a stay-at-home-pet-mum swung it for me I think.

Napping outside in the covered area off their run

So, when I asked the Universe last year to send me a senior dog who needed a home, the Universe delivered :)  They're not quite as old as I imagined, and there are two of them, but obviously we all needed to meet each other.

I'd love you to tell me about your pets in the comments:  type, names, ages, everything!  And if you have a funny story, all the better.  For me, I think the funniest thing at the moment is Daphne exploring the house.  Chloe is much more reserved so still hides away in corners, but you'll be sitting on the sofa and see a little head pop around the corner, then dash off - it's Daphne.  She'll gradually get closer at closer - out and back, out and back.  And once she even hopped up onto my lap.  So cute.

If you have any knowledge, advice or tips on Griffon dogs, I'd love to hear it too!


PS. I am excited to let you know that the second round of my ‘Create your dream life as a successful author’ e-Course will be commencing on Monday 26th February.  Ever since I shared the first version of my e-Course in October/November last year, I have had a steady stream of ladies contacting me to see when it would be running again.

There are loads of details hereincluding super-special earlybird pricing.

I also offer a free email list focused on writer encouragement where you can learn about all the ways you can become a writer, no experience required!  You can join this list here and start receiving information and inspiration here.

I share how I created my own income working at home writing my books (and how you can too). For the first eighteen months I was doing this while still in a full-time job.

If you have always wanted to write a book but thought:

I don't have enough time

I don't know how to do it

It sounds expensive to do

No-one will think my writing is any good

My writing is not perfect enough to publish

Then you will want to join my free writer’s encouragement list!

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, please know that it is possible for you, I promise.  Likely the only barrier is your own thoughts – What will people think? Is what I want to write any good?  We all know that those thoughts aren’t real, right?  Gosh, I am living proof that if I can self-publish my books, anyone can!!  It just takes a bit of guts, inspiration and someone to show you the way.  Please join me!

Those links again:
Writer’s encouragement list:
Details on the ‘Create your dream life as a successful author’ e-Course:

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 feminine steps to becoming a chic success

I love setting goals and achieving them, and creating a successful life for myself. But I’m not willing to give up my femininity for it.  I still want to enjoy my life at the same time and don’t believe that’s too much to ask!

The old-fashioned way of being successful was very masculine.  I love listening to Brian Tracy and I have received so much motivation from him since I first came across him in the early 1990s – thank you Brian :) – but I have come to realise that I don’t need to follow his way, or anyone else’s way apart from my own, to find success.

I love that we can all be inspired by others and take our favourite bits from each to create our own custom blueprint.

The surest way to end up living a live that you are absolutely in love with is to design it yourself and go after it with all you’ve got.  So, on that topic, may I share with you my favourite ways to be a chic success.

ONE. Decide what success looks like for you.  I used to feel bad that I never wanted to go to university, so I haven’t got a degree.  Now I see that it doesn’t matter for me, and I probably would have been miserable working as a white collar professional.  My ultimate values are peace, freedom and creativity.  Do they sound like they would be satisfied if I was, say, a lawyer?  Write down all the things that are important to you and see if you can pick out your top three to help you define success for YOU.

TWO.  Accept your current reality. Decide that where you are right now in life is exactly where you are meant to be.  There is no point looking back into the past and wishing things could have been different.  What a waste of mental and emotional energy.  Wouldn’t it feel much better to know that you are here, right now, because you are meant to be?  I think it does, and it feels like you can then go forward from a solid and grounded place.

THREE.  Take your top three values and ask yourself how you can bring them into your life.  For me with creativity, I desire the time to spend on my sewing, knitting and writing.  It means I have to set aside time for those pursuits and set up areas where I can do them.  I have my desk and computer, but I also make time to daydream with my notebook and pen (first thing in bed with hot tea is wonderful).

FOUR. Don’t be a victim of your own laziness.  As much I desire to be a chic success, it takes effort and sometimes I am not willing to expend that effort.  It doesn’t feel satisfying to be slothful though – sometimes yes, but not all the time.  It’s easier to major in the minor things, but success comes more when you do it the other way around. 

Generally I have a few items that I prioritise for my day, such as writing this blog post, writing a chapter, or starting a sewing project.  Then, at the end of the day I feel like I have achieved something and yes, I do feel proud of myself when I have completed something I said I would - it definitely gives you a welcome boost.

FIVE. Make fun the priority.  Another misconception about leading a successful life is that I thought I’d have to knuckle down and put aside fun things to get there.  I still have that belief etched in my mind, but I am slowly breaking it down and letting myself feel relaxed and joyful as I work towards my goals.  I know it’s all in my mind, so I am slowly changing my thoughts from leaden heaviness to that of a light balloon.


And that's it!  My favourite, fun, easy ways to feel like a chic success every day.  You might think that being this way you won’t get anything done, but I am here today, living proof that the opposite is true.  Everything I have achieved: writing and publishing my books, having a happy marriage, my husband and I deciding to change our entire lives and move to somewhere that feels more aligned with our internal landscape; these all came about as a result of following these five steps towards success.

From what I’ve read on others blogs and social media accounts, the old-fashioned way of success isn’t working for many of us.  We want more, but we also want less at the same time.  More fun, time, playfulness and yes we need to earn money for that, but we don’t need to give our life over until retirement to enjoy ourselves.  Less stress, less possessions, less busy-ness.

Please let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I’d love to hear from you:

Without thinking too much about it, what would be your top three values?

And, for bonus points, how could you incorporate one of them into your life right now, today?

Please share :)


You can find me here too:

Find 'How to be Chic in the Winter' here on Kindle or in paperback.
Find 'Thirty Slim Days' here on Kindle or in paperback.
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