Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the bigger picture

i was going to write that i've gotten derailed from this project, but that's actually not quite right. i have still been reading and thinking about style and personal brand, but i've also found myself drawn out into the bigger picture.

the purpose of the last 12 weeks has been to focus on specific, detailed aspects of my life to try and get myself back on track. and it's been working. i'm taking better care of myself. i've identified my core values and what i need in terms of my physical environment. i've reorganized my living space and my priorities. i've even taken some first steps toward changes i've wanted to make for a long time with regards to work and "good works." now it's time for (to quote elvis) "a little less conversation, a lot more action."

to that end i applied to and was accepted into a graduate program focused on just that.

We do not believe that being educated consists of "knowing things." Rather, we believe that it consists of being able to think about the "things" that you know. And involves being challenged, being confronted with other viewpoints, and being able to articulate your own changing understandings.

As people become aware of the magnitude of dilemmas and issues in the world they inhabit, they often express the desire and need to go beyond studying these problems; they want to know what they can do about them. This program is a response to that question. We emphasize the interrelationship between three themes: economic/social justice issues, ecological issues, and the personal and political dimensions of change.

i cannot wait to get started.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

style notes from the ether

the internet is a veritable smorgasbord of style and brand insights today.

mother earth news has a fun discussion of whether letting hair grow naturally long is a viable answer to the age old question "cut it myself or spend bank on a salon?" (i, for one, have adopted a middle ground, choosing to keep my high-priced salon but only getting it done two or three times a year; i also stick with my natural color which saves money, time and exposure to seriously toxic chemicals.)

and then there was this interesting piece in the daily flylady newsletter about style from regular contributor missus smarty pants talking about wardrobe choices and style. i especially love her intro where she compared dressing well to eating a well-balanced diet: if you don't have the right basics in your pantry, you can't cook a healthy meal. read about it or listen onine.

while i was surfing her site, i also found a nice little article on the whys and hows of closet purging. definitely a good place to start. i'm hoping to do some of that soon myself. my closet is so packed with clothes ranging in size from zero to nine that i can hardly get dressed in the morning.

and while we're on the subject, i want to get back to flylady for just a moment. personal style is about more than just how you look. your style gets reflected in your choice of car, your interior decor, and so much more. and while i absolutely love the way my apartment is decorated, i don't so much love what the piles of papers and laundry say about me. if you're the same way, give flylady a fly-by. i have to say, it really works.

Monday, June 14, 2010

link love: 8 steps to creating a brand persona

this morning facebook served up this lovely, topic-related link from new media guru brian solis. it's simple, clear, timely and definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

week eleven: personal style

okay, i've been wallowing around in weighty topics for a while now. i think it's time to lighten things up. but maybe just a little. because let's face it, as fun as personal style can be, how you look, dress, act and communicate has a huge impact on how other people see you. and sure, it's easy enough to say "i don't care what other people think," but when it comes right down to it, these other people can make your life either a lot easier or a lot harder. but beyond that, i have always believed that it's really important to somehow express what's on the inside on the outside. it's one thing to be judged for who you are, and another thing entirely to be judged for who they mistakenly believe you to be. sure, you can't control other people's perceptions, but you can take a firmer hand in what you're projecting. and what's the first step to that? to find out what it is.

so, for the next two weeks i plan to...
- assess the current state of my style: wardrobe, appearance, written communication, verbal communication, non-verbal communication, actions, work styles
- figure out what impressions these styles give others (when in doubt, ask)
- fix it

but first, (or at least in tandem) it's important to decide how you want to be perceived. that way you have something to measure against.

as robin fisher roffer put it in her book make a name for yourself, "if you don't brand yourself, someone else will." which is fine if you like what they see. if not, it's time to make some changes. and while you're at it, it doesn't hurt to simplify your life a little...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

one more quick note on homes

this morning i found out that the second offer on the house was for more than i can afford, so this is not my house after all. i'm a little disappointed but not as much as i expected. i believe there are two reasons for this:

1. reorganizing my current living space has made it much more livable
2. as i wrote about yesterday, home is not a building, it's a feeling, and i am learning to disassociate that feeling from "place" and instead carry it inside of me

this does not mean i will stop looking. i do believe my house is still out there and we will find each other. i am in no real hurry, and i need to trust the universe.

so there we are -- closure for the two weeks focused on home as sanctuary. time to move on to the next topic and let the universe work its magic in the background.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the meaning of home

my apartment is clean, well, mostly, and completely rearranged. the dining alcove now holds my red chenille couch, my grandparents' coffee table and a shiny new imac. and in the living room, my books, my sewing machine, my desk and if it works, soon, my small dining room table and chairs. the tv is still here, but not for long. yes, i am getting in my dying media hours while i can. i will be donating the tv and dvd player to goodwill as soon as i can find someone to help me move them. the whole place feels more open and more suited to the life i want to be living. but that's not what i wanted to write about.

over the weekend i went back to look at the house. it's not a perfect house but it feels like the right house. it feels like my house.

i talked to the realtor for a long time. he told me about the house. he told me about the neighborhood. he told me about the history of the town. he told me about the fog festival and that the nearby cafe barbecues every summer weekend. and then he told me that the real yard for the house was two houses down and across the street -- the beach.

after i left i walked those two houses down to the ocean, out onto the pier between fisherman, then down the beach. people were flying kites, and having picnics. they said hello and met my eye as i walked by. it was like living in a small town. the kind where everybody knows your name. it felt like home.

a house is just a building. it's what you find inside -- the house, the neighborhood, the town -- that matters.

send me good thoughts. they decide on my offer tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

floods wash the world clean

as i probably mentioned i had hoped to spend the long memorial day weekend getting my literal house in order -- cleaning, sorting, reorganizing, etc. unfortunately, due to the great water-heater flood, not only did i not get anything done (i spent the entire weekend staying with my parents), i actually lost major ground. items from the flood zone now rest willy-nilly throughout the drier areas of my apartment. and while furniture is mostly back in the right rooms, it still stands well clear of walls that need restorative patching and painting.

this has left me feeling extremely demoralized. as in week one where i got sick as soon as i turned my attention to health, having my home dismantled felt like a huge blow to my desired progress. but for some reason, today that feeling changed. i suddenly saw it as an opportunity, not just to make the current layout work, but to completely rethink how i use my space. should the dining room remain an office? maybe. or maybe it should become a craft room. or maybe even a dining room. the possibilities are endless. okay, maybe not endless, but you see where i'm going here.

meanwhile the house hunt continues. i've found a place i really like but am waffling. partly because it stretches my price (a lot) and partly because i fear commitment to another home -- the work, the cost, the permanence. which is silly, because the permanence is actually what i am longing for. at any rate, the plan is to see it one more time and make a decision. i don't want to lose another house because i waited too long.