Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How to gain more confidence (it's easy when you know how!)

A few weeks ago I had a dog expert come around.  I think it was actually more about training me than training the dogs :)  I decided it would be good to ensure I was doing the right thing for our new rescue dogs given that they had come from a compromised situation (he told me he thought they weren't abused, just not socialised at all and handled the least amount possible).

One of the biggest pieces of advice I got from him was that I needed to expose them to new experiences in order for them to gain confidence and not be so scared of everything.  (You can read more about our little rescue-Griffons here.)  I had it completely around the wrong way: avoiding taking them anywhere and protecting them from the world until I felt they were able to handle new experiences. 

I can now see that this was never going to happen.  By taking them out for, say, a car ride and a walk in a park where they'd encounter adults and children, other dogs, car noises etc would scare them a little at the time, but done regularly they would get used to it and thus build their confidence.  It would be stretching their comfort zone a little at a time.

So far Daphne has been out to lunch (where she napped in the car since it’s not too hot here at the moment) and then for a walk along a beachfront path, another day to the auction house I go to for a viewing and to visit my Dad and his dog for lunch at home.  Chloe has also been to the actual auction on a separate day (the gavel made her jump a bit!) and for a beachfront walk with a friend and her two big but gentle dogs.

He also advised to take our dogs out on separate jaunts so that they'd not be so co-dependent on each other, plus they now sleep in separate crates at night (not our closet anymore...)  They have progressed a lot in their confidence lately, and I’m so glad I had Dogman come around (that’s his business name!)

This concept that I had backwards also made me think of us as humans: it would equally apply to all of our situations that we thought we had to wait for something.  Do small amounts of the scary thing and build your confidence levels that way.

Imagine you wanted to write a book.  Many ladies write to me that this is their secret desire but they’ll never do it because of (insert reason here).  Mostly it’s because of the fear of not being good enough or 'what will people say?'

But imagine if you took small steps anyway, just like Chloe and Daphne (although they don't really have a choice like we do).  Every day or every few days do something about it:  write 500 words, look at images online and imagine what your cover would look like if you ever published, research self-publishing etc.

By taking small steps that feel a bit scary (but not too scary), you’d expand on what you perceived your comfort zone to be.  It’s certainly worth thinking about, huh?

Here are two very happy little rescue-Griffons yesterday, running in our paddock (camouflaged by Autumn leaves).  Chloe on the left is completely off-leash, and Daphne on the right has her leash trailing.  It means I can grab her if she looks like she’s going to bolt, plus I think it makes her feel more secure.

This off-leash business has only happened in the past couple of weeks; before that I would have been too terrified to even try it, but Dogman gave me confidence and I also felt that the time was right to trust my girls.  So far so good and I know it will only get better.

I also realised last night that Daphne doesn’t bark at my husband when he gets home from work (which she was doing every night) if I clip her leash on just before he arrives.  Mostly this stops her barking in a scared way, but if she does I pick up the leash and she stops.  It’s like her security blanket.

What could your security blanket be for your big scary desire?  Often for me, it’s a soothing mantra.  In the case of writing a book, I’d say ‘I don’t need to publish it, I’m just writing for me’ and this totally calms my scared mind.

So far I am more than half-way through my newest book ‘Thirty More Chic Days’ – I have twenty out of the thirty chapters completed, and the other ten half-written.  Once I publish this post I’m diving right back into the book.  I’m so excited to have it finished as soon as possible after the editing.  Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to hear when it is available!

And, what small thing are you going to do today to stretch your comfort zone?  Please tell me.  I'd love to hear :)


PS.  If you have always thought about writing a book, I offer free writer’s encouragement where I send out emails with all my tips, resources and gentle - but pushy :) - motivation to inspire you to write.  Even published writers have written to me saying they’ve gotten a lot out of these free emails.  Talk about high validation; I was thrilled!

You can join up here: http://eepurl.com/c0kN39

PPS.  Just for fun, here's one last photo of Daphne playing with her toy raccoon.  She's got her legs out the back and sitting up on her elbows.  Sometimes when she's really playful she will pull herself along on her front paws dragging her back legs behind her.  Soooo cute and silly :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The deluxe closet

What do you think of when you read ‘deluxe closet’?  Can you picture furs, diamonds and designer bags and shoes?  If so, I guess we’re all different.  For me, a deluxe closet would be perfect pieces that are in my size and make me look amazing, no matter my weight.

There would be a moderate number of items, which all mix and match to make getting dressed a breeze.  Everything suits my lifestyle and what I get dressed for each day, and it’s easy-care too.

Denim forms the basis of my wardrobe, because I love it.  I have denim jeans as well as light-weight denim dresses for when it’s hot.  Who said you can’t wear denim year-round?

Having periodic clean-outs keeps my wardrobe feeling deluxe too.  I don’t throw that much away; gone are the days of my closet being like a merry-go-round where I bought a lot and donated a lot.  Now I take pleasure if buying only just enough and really appreciating what I have.  When something is worn out or tired looking, it goes to the rag bin.

If something becomes a bit snug on me I don’t get rid of it, instead looking up on it as a fun challenge to get back into.  Challenge probably isn’t the right word as that sounds a bit hard.

When I’m having a tidy up of my closet and come across something I haven’t worn in a while because it’s too small, I find myself motivated to fit it again.  I take outfit photos for the next season with pieces on the carpet, complete with shoes and accessories to encourage me because I know I will be wearing them then.

What also belongs in my deluxe closet is self-love.  I don’t beat myself up if something doesn’t look great on me.  I either declutter it if it’s the correct size but perhaps isn’t a flattering shape or colour, or put it away for next year if it’s a little snug.

Life really is too short and precious to stress, and did you know that stressing makes you put on weight?  It doesn’t seem fair does it!

If I was to articulate my ideal deluxe closet in a few words, those words would be:

Perfect, classic-with-a-twist pieces
Cappucino, camel, caramel
Black with tan
Navy and denim
Mid-dark tones
Simplicity of line
Sexy and elegant
Youthful and fresh
Curated capsule for that season
Fabric that feels good against my skin
Good quality, no matter the price point
Soft Summer colour palette
Silhouettes that suit my body shape (from trial and error)

I think what is wonderful is that each of our closets will be completely different, but we can all cultivate a deluxe closet, one that works for our lifestyle, fits within our budget (I spend such a tiny amount each season on clothes, it’s probably a disgrace!) and hopefully gives us pleasure instead of pain each day when we are getting dressed.

If there was one item I wouldn’t be without, apart from jeans it would be my small collection of summer dresses.  Nothing is easier or cooler to wear when it’s hot, and once you have found the shape that flatters you, you’re golden.  I usually buy two or three new dresses each year, and rotate them heavily throughout the hottest summer months.

I know for me that I can’t have a waist seam (I am busty and short-waisted with long legs and it makes my waist look even higher!), preferring a shift-type dress.  Finishing just above the knee feels like a good length too, which I usually wear with flats, going into wedge sandals if I want to feel a bit special.

Now it’s your turn:

What makes a wardrobe feel luxe to you?
And, what is your one clothing piece (such as my summer dress) that you cannot be without?

Please share, I’d love to know, and if it can help me get some good ideas for my wardrobe I’d be thrilled :)


PS.  Yes, that's a dog bed in the lower left corner of my closet photo.  Daphne and Chloe decided that little nook was theirs, so I had to clear a space for them to sleep there at night.  They love it!

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