February was an interesting long, short month…anyone else with me?!
Some of this month’s highlights:
- I read a book! (a goal of mine is to read one book a month)
- Completed a 40 Day Sugar Fast (SO good and highly recommend her books)
- Attended Bible Studies at church, and started a MOPS Collective series led by a friend of mine
- Got my hair cut!
- Went to: a children’s museum with family, a family company event and the kids’ Art Fair at school
- Hosted a clothing swap
- Had a real date night!
- Went into my office and met with coworkers for meetings and Happy Hour
- Was hit by an ice storm that knocked out our power for 3 days
- Kicked off Lent by starting a Contentment Challenge (more on that later)
As for clothing purchases, I did buy several things. In fact, I purchased six items to add to my closet, bringing my total to 7 of the 23 slots available for the year. It was a bit heavy this month, but I feel that I’ll be okay with my goal. (More on that later).
What did I add this month? Take a look…
Item #2 (Item #1 was purchased in January)
Vince quilted bomber jacket
I have always loved my Madewell cargo jacket. I love to layer and love the neutral olive color as a staple in my closet. But as of recently, I just wasn’t reaching for it. Instead, I found this option secondhand and LOVE it. The fit/style is a better one than the cargo jacket was, and I’ve already worn it so many times. It’s a perfect layering piece with basic tanks and tees, which I already have. That said, my Madewell jacket got listed on Poshmark. One item in, one item out!
Madewell billie ankle bootie (purchased secondhand)
I have been on the hunt for a cognac pair of boots and was researching a few different brands but ended up going with Madewell. I have a tote and crossbody cognac bag and love that the leathers all match. The heel is just enough but still comfortable and the quality is great. Got them for a great deal over retail and know they will be a true workhorse and go with a lot of things since I had given it a lot of thought to put on my wishlist.
Puff sleeve ruffle neck lace top via Gap (exact)
I admit–I wasn’t expecting to buy this until I saw @stylethislife feature it. To be fair, however, I did have a top like this on my wishlist. I just wasn’t expecting to purchase it this soon in the year. It’s such a beautiful top and is such a nice option for church, work, date night (I wore this outfit for it), or even for a baby shower I have coming up.
Black slip dress (exact)
I had gone through my dresses to prepare for a clothing swap and realized I needed an elevated basic black dress. I had a cotton one that is great for summer months, but not nice enough for “fancier” special occasions. This one fits like a dream and love the flowy feel of the fabric. And the price was right too! Comes in a ton of colors, but I knew black would be versatile. Plus, I can layer over it with sweaters or jackets or wear it alone.
Olive joggers (exact)
Yet another item on my wishlist that I was able to find early in the year and perfect timing for spring weather. In terms of bottoms, I basically have denim or black bottoms and wanted a little variety. I had tried a number of more athletic joggers last month and wasn’t wow’ed by any of the ones I tried until I happen to come across this pair. I love the gathered waist and belt that make it a bit dressier. So cute! (Do size down one or even two sizes if you try these, fyi. Both the small and XS fit me, and I’m normally a medium in bottoms.)
Pink crocheted sweater (exact)
While I was considering the lace cream top, I saw this pink crocheted sweater and LOVED the bright color. I had been craving something brighter for spring after taking inventory of my sweaters (all of which are neutral). The crochet look makes it much less of a heavy sweater and a great transitional piece. Love how it will work with the olive joggers, or over the black slip dress I got this month too! I allocated a slot in my 23 items for a “pop of color” and this one definitely fits the bill. I did size up to a large and am glad I did- fits perfect without being baggy.
So that’s is in February! I’m 7 items in towards my 23 item goal. At the end of the month, I did kick off Lent with a very meaningful challenge that fits perfectly with my goals and thoughts. It’s called the Contentment Challenge, created by Nancy Ray. You can listen to her podcast and learn more here.
What is the Contentment Challenge? In a nutshell, it is a commitment to giving up shopping for clothes, accessories, household decor, stuff, really anything excessive, for 3 months straight in order to focus your heart and your mind on the root of true contentment. It’s also a commitment to replace shopping with activities experiences and relationships— the things that really matter in your life.
I love how she describes it: “All in all, I wasn’t content in my life. Even though I had a happy marriage, a wonderful home, a business I love, money in the bank, my health, a wonderful church… even though I had (and still have) “it all,” there was this nagging, awful feeling inside me that said, “Nancy, you need this ________. You won’t be complete if you don’t have this __________.” (You can fill that blank with just about anything.)
When doing the challenge, I saved money, which I knew I would do. But what really surprised me is how much TIME I saved! By cutting out that unnecessary spending, I shopped for groceries at my grocery store (gasp!) and not Target. (It was closer to my house, faster, and cheaper!) I didn’t check my favorite online stores for deals during work hours. (Which I used to do. ALL the time.) And eventually, that immature voice of materialism became quieter and quieter. My focus shifted from my outward appearance (clothes, decor) to what I was accomplishing (my work), how I was feeling (healthy and energized from exercising) and how I was spending my time (date nights with Will, reading a good book, etc).
I had saved so much time and money! I had given clothing, stuff, and money away to those in need, which was so rewarding. I had cleaned out my house of even more stuff, making room to breathe again. And then… when I went inside a store, I wasn’t as slave to the sale, or the new merchandise that was shiny and cute. I could look at them and appreciate them without feeling a need for them, and keep on walking. I felt fulfilled, not depleted.”
How incredibly encouraging is that?!
(Part of the challenge in month one is to clear out your closet and donate or give to others. I mentioned earlier that I hosted a clothing swap and was able to pass on so many items to others, and donated a ton too. It feels like a weight to have all of the excess out, and have it be a blessing to others too!)
So that said, I plan to lean into this Challenge for the next three months. No clothes, accessories, decor, random Amazon purchases, etc. As I write this, I am almost two weeks in. At the end of May, I’ll be finished with the challenge and can’t wait to experience this journey. It will no doubt be challenging, but I look forward to the changes it will bring.
Read more: the #23in2023 challenge
Read: January purchases
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