The longer I focus on using my stuff and turning my show ponies into work horses, the more I’m surprised that no category is safe from special items I want to save for later.
Stickers – this blog post was prompted when a page of stickers fell out of my journal this week. Simple, dollar store stickers, which I had used a few of, decided that was enough, and tucked the rest away for ‘later.’ You know how this goes, you forget about them, time passes, and you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Realizing this was a show pony, I changed the stickers to be kept with the ribbon, meaning whenever I open this notebook, I see the stickers and am reminded to use them. Since moving them, I have added stickers to 3 different entries. It’s easier to use something every day than once in a while.
Scrunchies – I love the scrunchie fad, and bought myself 2 new fun ones, yet kept reaching for my overstretched, beige workhorse. I put the beige one away and only gave myself the option of the new, nice scrunchies. It worked! I knew how far I’d come when my favourite workhorse scrunchy met its demise in a hospital laundry hamper (I forgot to pull it out of my scrub pocket). Realizing my mistake I immediately ordered the exact same one in a new colour, I know what I like and I used it right away!
Socks – for some reason I had a pair of white, wool socks that I was afraid to use because they were white. I couldn’t believe how ridiculous it was and decided psht, was time to roll them up and put them on. Now they are definitely showing their wear, but every winter I look forward to pulling them out and wearing them.
Workout Wear – I realized I was wearing my Lululemon tights for walks and lounging around the house and not for what they’re designed for – sweating. I decided this was ridiculous and immediately put them into rotation for my runs and biking to work. I loved feeling put together and suave in these tights. It’s so easy to protect our items from what they are designed to do. I was technically still wearing them, but I wasn’t enjoying them how they were designed to be enjoyed.
This pattern repeated recently when I thought ‘I should keep an eye out for a zip-up sweater I can bike to work in.’ Then I realized, I own a zip-up sweater but for some reason, I thought it was only OK to walk and not sweat in it. After I saw this pattern repeating itself, I immediately started biking to work in it. Show Ponies can be sneaky, we can have rules for when and where we are allowed to use them.
Match Sticks– I was given beautiful, long matchsticks by my mother-in-law. Immediately my brain wanted to make all sorts of rules about when I could use them. Such as when I had 5 candles to light and could use the entire match… when do I have 5 candles to light? I realized that was ridiculous and any time I wanted to light a candle was a good enough reason to use them.
I continue to be surprised that no category is too small to contain a show pony. Our brain makes up weird rules of when we’re allowed to use something and then we end up not using it. From stickers to socks to scrunchies, nothing is out of the reach of being a show pony.
Do you have any categories of show ponies that surprise you? How do you recognize them and how do you use them?
Life is made more beautiful by arts and crafts! It’s a way to get creative, use your brain in a new way, and make something beautiful. Last year I bought wool to make a beautiful crochet cardigan. Of course I procrastinated, forgot about it, and have made little progress. Today I am sharing some strategies I used to get my crochet hook back in action.
🧶Choose 1 project to focus on You know that craft project you have forgotten, not allowed yourself to start, not made time for, and are avoiding? Let me tweak your memory:
📐Watercolours for that landscape 📐Acrylic paint for that portrait 📐Fabric for that quilt 📐Stamp collection for those holiday cards 📐Cricut for those crafts 📐Yarn for that beautiful sweater 📐Calligraphy pens for that beautiful sign
It’s so easy to do a little of this, and a little of that, but if we have too many on the go we get overwhelmed and avoid all of them. Decide to decide and pick one project.
🧶Gather supplies Pull out everything you need for this craft, and no more. Put it all together, somewhere it’s easy to pull out and start. Perhaps you gather it in a bag or a basket or a bin. I keep my crochet hook and only one ball of yarn in a portable bag. It’s so easy to move around or pop in my bag for on-the-go. A huge part of squeezing in time for creativity is having the start and clean up be easy. As much as possible, simplify your supplies.
🧶Gather information Sometimes we sit down to start our project and realize we don’t have all that we need. Before you begin, ask yourself, what do I need to start?
✂️Google a technique? ✂️Find a pattern? ✂️Watch a youtube video? ✂️Call a friend? ✂️Order a book?
I needed to find the crochet pattern website and bookmark it. I also need to watch the youtube video to remind myself of the technique. Do whatever you need to do so that you can sit down and start.
🧶Start with 15 minutes When I look at my finished craft projects, I know that the secret was making the most of 15-minute chunks. We often look at our art projects and think “I need 3 hours, uninterrupted,” but we all know it’s hard to set aside that much time.
What if, instead, we did 15 minutes every day and set up our crafts to be easy to start and easy to clean up? When I committed to 15 minutes everyday, and slowly saw the progress.
🧶Permission to Begin Sometimes the biggest thing stopping us from our crafts is the fear of beginning. Our materials sit there perfect, untouched, with so much potential, and making the first move can feel overwhelming.
🎨The first cut of the fabric 🎨Colouring on the first page 🎨Opening the paint set 🎨Unrolling the yarn 🎨Glueing the first scrapbook 🎨Dirtying the first stamp.
It seems scary, so we avoid it. Do you know what’s scarier? Never actually using these items out of fear of making mistakes. Having them gather dust, wait for the perfect day, never be enjoyed. All it takes is permission. Permission to make mistakes, get messy, open, use, and enjoy your craft supplies.
Imagine it gone, spilt, dried up, ripped, dirty, or your children got into it. Now, imagine in 3 years’ time you are donating it, for someone else to use and enjoy, because you held yourself back from doing just that. You’ll be asking ‘why did I wait?’ Arts and crafts are about the process, not perfection so please give yourself permission to begin.
🧶Look for areas to squeeze in more crafting When I started crocheting I pictured myself at home, in front of my fire, for hours at a time. Sure, that happened sometimes, but what helped me get into the habit was finding little times in my day when I could add crocheting.
🖍️The break room – I started crocheting on my breaks during nursing shifts and it was SUCH a great conversation starter. People get so curious and I learned about tons of closet knitters and crocheters among my coworkers
🖍️The borderline -One time I was stuck in the borderline for HOURS and I decided to crochet as I slowly crawled forward. Having something to do made the time pass much faster.
🖍️Road trips -I was headed four hours away for a ski trip and decided to pack my crochet. Wouldn’t you know I got a whole section of my blanket done in the backseat?
🖍️Just 15 minutes -I had a habit of coming home from work and immediately crashing on the couch with my laptop. I decided to challenge myself to do 10 min of crocheting and then I could veg. I often enjoyed the slow, calm, and meditative repetitive motions and found I crocheted far past 10 minutes.
🖍️A deadline-I have crocheted many items for babies in my life and having the deadline of their birth has helped me SO much in prioritizing it. If you need a little motivation, decide to give your creation as a gift.
Creativity through arts and crafts brings so much joy to our lives. Arts and crafts are one of those categories that people have a million excuses for why they aren’t enjoying their crafts, but no strategies for how to use them.
What strategy can you start using today? How can you move one step closer to finishing your project?
A few years ago, I never wore my jewelry and thought my digital watch counted as jewelry. I did not wear jewelry on a regular basis and was deeply intimidated by much of the jewelry I did have. There is something about jewelry that appeals to us, it’s beautiful, it’s enchanting, it makes us feel elevated. Jewelry is not meant to sit in a box, it’s meant to be worn and enjoyed. Fast forward to today and I wear a watch, ring, earrings and necklace every single day and all of my jewelry regularly makes it out of my closet. Let’s talk about strategies and methods for actually wearing your jewelry instead of just admiring it.
💎DECIDE You have to decide to be someone who wears her jewelry. You choose your intention and decide everything will be coming out of the box and is an option for wearing. If you aren’t sure, your brain will convince you that today isn’t a good idea and next time would be better. Get really clear that you want to wear your jewelry.
💎EASY TO ACCESS Where is your jewelry? Tucked at the back of your cupboard, or out on your dresser? The placement of your jewelry and how easy it is to access is key to the ease of wearing it. Move it somewhere you can easily see it everyday. While you’re finding a new place to display your jewelry, take a moment to organize it. When we see a mess we want to avoid a mess. Ensure your necklaces are hanging straight, your earrings are in their pairs and your bracelets are not twisted up in knots.
💎WEAR YOUR FAVOURITES If you are not in the habit of wearing jewelry every day, begin by only displaying the ones you LOVE. These are your workhorses, they are easy and you feel confident throwing them on. You don’t have to overthink it, just remember to wear it. If you keep your fancy show ponies mixed in you will become overwhelmed. In the beginning, we only want to show our brain what is actually an option for the everyday. Go ahead and store those show ponies out of sight.
💎MAKE IT PART OF YOUR ROUTINE I go to my jewelry box every day. I put on earrings just like I put on underwear, it feels weird if I don’t. That’s just good ol’ muscle memory
💎PLAY There are no rules! Play, experiment, try things on at home and have a night pairing different jewelry with the same outfit. It’s fun and you’ll learn so much! I love to notice what jewelry I’m drawn to on others and then go home and recreate it. Through this method, I have learned some of my favourite silhouettes: a high-necked top with a bold necklace or a collared shirt with a necklace peaking out. My favs 🙂
💎BE BOLD You know that beautiful necklace that takes your breath away or those earrings that remind you of that special day? Why not be bold and wear them today? No matter what anyone says, there is no jewelry police. I have 2 jewelry show ponies, items that I struggle to wear on a regular basis, for these 2 items I use special design and determination:
💎DESIGN Ensure that you design your outfit around this show pony. You are choosing all the other items based on this choice. Otherwise, you will put on a neckline that doesn’t go with this necklace and end up keeping the top and leaving the show pony behind. When I chose to wear my necklace I chose my entire outfit based on it. I knew I needed a high-necked top and only tried on those options.
💎DETERMINATION Your brain may scream, yell, and throw up fears, and doubts, your job is to stay determined to make it out of the house. No matter what excuses it throws out there, remind yourself ‘I am determined to use and enjoy ALL my things.’
When it whispers:
💭This is too much!
💭What if it gets damaged?
💭It’s too expensive
💭It’s too old
💭It’s too new
💭It’s a family heirloom
💭It’s too shiny
💭It’s too bold
Remember, you are determined to USE and ENJOY all of your belongings, including your best jewelry ✨
What jewelry items do you struggle to wear? What helps you put them on and wear them out of the house?
In 2023 I wanted to get into the habit of washing my face. Thus, I bought myself a new face cleanser and serum. In the store, I was looking forward to a whole new me – a person who never goes to bed without washing her face and uses this brand new, shfancy skincare product.
Fast forward 3 weeks, the shfancy skincare product was tucked away in my sock drawer with the receipt (don’t ask why this is where I kept it) and I still hadn’t started my new skincare routine. It hit me: I was intimidated by this product and was letting it melt in the closet! I have been using and enjoying my stuff long enough to know how to get this serum out of the closet and into rotation. Skincare was this week’s focus of the #choosetouse challenge, follow along on my Instagram for more inspiration!
Decide to decide I could tell that I was stuck in analysis paralysis. I wanted a skincare routine that worked and made my skin look and feel better, but I was afraid of having bought the wrong product. I realized if I used this product and it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to return it. Thus, it was loitering in my sock drawer waiting for me to decide. I realized what was happening and decided to get real with myself. I connected with what I had felt when I bought it in the store. I thought back to standing in the skincare aisle and remembered:
I wanted to be someone who had a skincare routine
I wanted to be someone who took care of her skin
I wanted my skin to look and feel good.
Acknowledging these wants was really helpful. I didn’t buy this product on a whim, I was trying to fulfill a longing. Next, I acknowledged that finding the right product takes trial and error. I gave myself permission to get it wrong, make mistakes, and learn. Now that I felt confident in using and enjoying the product I had to make it a part of my daily life.
I built a routine Where was this new product going to fit into my life? I decided I would wash my face every night before bed. Now, often I get to the point where I want to be in bed so badly that I brush my teeth as fast as possible and get straight into bed. To make room for this routine I focused on how I would feel after and what kind of person I want to be.
I decided washing my face makes me feel like I really care for myself. It’s an extra step that feels lavish and lovely. When I was dragging my tail about my nightly routine I thought of how I would feel after I used it and it really helped me want to wash my face.
I also reminded myself ‘I am the kind of person who washes her face.’ Telling myself this new identity really helped me follow through. For years I’ve had this low-level fear that I’m not taking care of my skin (I wasn’t) and I wanted that to go away. Washing my face helps me become closer to who I want to be.
I made it easy I set myself up to be successful by having my environment help me. I put my face wash right next to my toothbrush. I had my towel nearby and I added it to the beginning of my routine. Washing my face became a seamless part of my nightly routine.
I used it every day This is a HUGE part of using and enjoying your things. If you have certain rules or circumstances for when you can use your things, your brain will come up with ALL the reasons why you shouldn’t use it today. However, if you use and enjoy an item every day, you use zero brain power. I decided this serum would be used and enjoyed every day.
I have now successfully used this shfancy serum for 2 weeks and I’m really happy about it. I love using and enjoying everything in my home, I don’t want anything to be off-limits or have rules around it and I want that for you too.
Do you have any skincare products you struggle to use?
Happy new year! I love a fresh start and this year I wanted to try something new, introducing the weekly Choose to Use Challenge. Perhaps this is the year you vowed to light all your candles and wear all the clothes, douse yourself in fancy perfume, scribble in special notebooks, finally use those craft supplies, experiment with makeup, drink loose-leaf tea, luxuriate in bubble baths, enjoy the face masks, drink the scotch (insert anything else you forbid yourself from using). Now, having an intention is one thing, but making it a practice is another and that’s where I come in.
I believe wholeheartedly in using and enjoying what you have and not waiting for ‘someday when.’ Enjoying my beautiful and precious items has become a practice for me and one that brings me joy every day. I want to help you adopt this practice. Every week in 2023 I will select a category and challenge you to use something in that category you don’t usually allow yourself to use. This could be anything from lighting a candle you’ve never lit, wearing earrings out of the house, to opening the bottle of something special you’ve been saving. The goal is to push you out of your comfort zone in a safe and supportive way. Sometimes all you need is a prompt or support, or the reassurance you will be OK and no it’s not a waste to enjoy fancy stuff on a weeknight.
Here’s how it’s going to work:
Every week I will post the category here and on Instagram.I will post regularly on Instagram throughout the week about what I’m using and so can you, using #choosetouse. My hope is that by seeing other people using their precious items and fancy stuff you will be encouraged to use your own.
Remember, the point of using the good stuff is to enjoy your life more fully. We want to enjoy our life as we’re living it, not someday when.
If you’re asking can I use more than one? Yes, of course! However, sometimes when we try to use ALL the things, we end up using NONE of the things. Start with one thing, and then grow. What if this week doesn’t work for me? If you want to use something fancy or special and it’s not the category of the week, that is totally fine! This is a practice of enjoying, not strict rules. Get ready for a year of enjoying, loving, delighting, celebrating, and using your things.
Without further ado, the first category is A GIFT FROM THE HOLIDAYS.
We’re starting with something broad, something for everyone and it can be anything that you received over the holidays. From family, a coworker, a friend, a child, or anyone. If you were given it in the month of December, it’s fair game. To jog your memory:
A foot scrub
A new piece of clothing
A new book
A baking kit
Anything that you received over the holidays, it’s time to really unwrap it and use it this week.
This challenge is starting with a gift because often we are given things that are nicer than what we would normally buy for ourselves. Thinking a gift is precious or fancy makes us less likely to use it. Also, research has shown that the longer you wait to use something, the more special your brain thinks it is, and the less likely you are to use it in the future. Thus, the holidays were recent and we need to use our stuff before our brain convinces us we need a special occasion to use it. Follow along on Instagram use #choosetouse as I reveal some of the gifts I received over the holidays.
Here is a common pattern most of us struggle with: We receive, or buy, or inherit, or are gifted, something We pause and put off using it because…
It’s a treat
It’s hard to replace
It’s hand made
We were taught not to waste (insert any reason)
We comfort ourselves by giving ourselves rules.
I will use it when…
Save it for…
Try it when…
Use only a little bit in moderation
Or pick a special occasion we will give ourselves permission to use it.
All of this comes from convincing ourselves we need a good reason to enjoy it or believing we need to meet a certain standard before we enjoy it.
What if we flipped this thinking on its head?
We have LOADS of rules for using things because we think these rules will make using this item better, more enjoyable, and increase the pleasure. However, what I have learned is the act of DECIDING to use something takes away the enjoyment. I believe that if we give ourselves permission to use something EVERYDAY we will actually enjoy it more, even if it results in it being used up, finished, or destroyed earlier than if we had saved it. At this point, you’re begging for some examples and I have just the thing for you. 😉
Let’s start with an item that society approves of wearing everyday: the engagement ring. My engagement ring is the most beautiful, most expensive, most precious item I own and I wear it every single day. I am convinced a large part of the enjoyment comes from not having to decide when it’s appropriate to wear it or wondering if I’m overdoing it. I wear it, enjoy it, and use it, every single day. No excuses, requirements, or decisions are needed. Now, what if it were not approved by society to wear your engagement ring everyday? When would you wear it? Every Sunday? For nice events? On your anniversary?
Heck, it’s an expensive piece of jewelry and it’s definitely safer in a box, but that’s not what society dictates and it’s not what we do. Other examples of society-approved daily-use items are:
These are all items we use everyday and don’t have to decide when it’s appropriate. If anything, we use them too much (but that’s a different story 🙃).
Now let’s cover items that society does not encourage us to use everyday starting with specialty food items.
This summer I had a coupon for expensive granola that I never allowed myself to buy. It was delicious and I knew after this package was gone I wouldn’t be buying it again at full price. I also knew that in the past when I had bought expensive food and portioned it out slowly it forced me to decide every time if it was a worthy time to have it, and overall it took away from the enjoyment. For this granola I made a deal with myself: I could have this granola everyday and take it everyday for lunch, until it was gone. Making that decision made it so that I could fully enjoy it.
No weighing the pros and cons of having it
No holding back
Everyday, until it was gone.
I know, this may sound crazy, “eat the granola, Gillian,” this is not a big deal. However, we do this ALL the time! We open something, decide there are rules for when we can enjoy it, and put ourselves through a decision vortex before enjoying it.
Last winter I bought a beautiful pea coat I had been eying for YEARS! (Seriously, I can’t even count how many women I stared at who were wearing this coat and pointed out how beautiful it was to anyone who would listen… I digress).
After having to borrow my husband’s pea coat for a special event I knew it was time, so I finally pulled the trigger and bought it. Now, this pea coat was expensive, I pride myself on buying most things second hand and this was way more than I usually spend. After searching for a while for this coat second hand in my colour and size I gave up and bought it new. Knowing that this coat would be labelled special just because of the price, I again made a rule for myself: you can wear this coat everyday, for any occasion.
Going to work
Going for a walk
There was no task too simple or too lowly that this stunning, cigar pea coat wasn’t worthy of.
What did this do? It allowed me to fully enjoy this coat. I didn’t get caught up in arguing with myself, instead I seized any moment or opportunity to wear it. Recently, temperatures have dropped and I pulled out this coat for the first time this season and all the feelings came back. I love this coat, I know I will wear the heck out of this coat this season.
Other examples of everyday items: My expensive face sunscreen. I found myself arguing ‘it’s cloudy, I won’t be outside much, I should save it.’ Nope, nada, not happening, wear it, use it, enjoy it. Daily wear, baby! My candles for my morning quiet time. I am allowed to light a candle everyday, no special requirements needed. My special long matches. I had made a stupid rule that I had to be lighting at least 3 candles to warrant using these fancy matches. How often was I lighting 3 candles? Never, so instead I use them everyday to light my morning candle.
Crystal drinking glasses for my gin and tonics. Every time I pour a drink this is what I reach for. Why? Because they make the experience so much better!
Now, this is a new way of using your stuff and I know it will come with lots of concerns and excuses.
By using my items everyday won’t I wear them out or waste them? Yes, by using these items everyday you will finish them and wear them out quicker than if you wore them or used them a few times a season. Here is how I like to think about this: let’s say my sunscreen has 100 applications. I can either use those in 3 months or 1 year, it’s still the same number of applications. Same goes for my coat, it has the same number of wears whether I wear it every day of winter for 4 years or over 10 years.
By using my items more I’m at higher risk to break them or ruin them. Yes, you definitely are! Everything would be safer kept in a secure box. However, this is not what these items were designed for! These items were designed to be used, enjoyed, and seen by the world.
Let me illustrate with a story. The other day I was putting away my engagement ring and dropped it. I could not see where it landed and ended up tearing apart my closet to find it. As I was looking for it the thought crossed my mind ‘If I never find this ring I will know I honoured it, enjoyed it, and loved it every single day.’ It was so comforting to me that I had used this item to its full potential. I eventually found it (it had landed in the rolled up sleeve of one of my dresses). This event reminded me that there are lots of opportunity for items to get lost, ruined, or wrecked, but that’s not what we need to focus on.
Won’t using these items everyday decrease the novelty and make them less special? This is when I bring up my engagement ring and pea coat. I wear these items so much and so often that they have become companions. I love them so much more than the items I wear every once in a while. It’s a new level of specialness, they are my companions, they are my prized possessions, they are more than novel, they are precious to me. You know what’s even better than novelty and special? Feeling like your favourite items are your companion.
What if I look too fancy? The reason I save my special item is because I don’t want to be considered too much. Oh girl I get it. ‘What will people think and am I too much?’ These are two of the biggest questions that hold us back. Listen, if I were to decide to wear my engagement ring based on what people would think it would never come out of the box. It’s shfancy, but guess what? I love it! Let them think what they want! My pea coat? Fancy as hell! It’s cigar coloured, my perfect colour, and it’s such a great shape. Guess what? I don’t care what people think, I love this coat! Let them think whatever they want, I love what I love and I love this coat!! A bonus of using something everyday is that the fanciness decreases but the specialness increases!
Are you saying I should use my good china everyday? Yes! So many people have reached out to me saying they suddenly realized they could use their good china everyday and they aren’t looking back. I honestly believe a large part of this enjoyment is because they don’t have to decide to use it. Breakfast, brunch, or Christmas dinner, enjoy that pattern!
How to get started Now, if this idea scares you and is so far from how you currently use your items, I’ve got you. Here is my recommended course of action. First, choose ONE item you think is special, the thing you monitor and use in moderation
Necklace, ring, bracelet, earrings
Lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen
Makeup (mascara, lipstick, blush)
Loose leaf tea
Second, think of this item as your signature. This is just what I wear, use, eat, drink or smell like now. This is what I’m known for. No reasons, no requirements, no rules, just pure enjoyment.
Third, binge it. Use it whenever, wherever. I at least recommend using it everyday for the first week. Take it in, enjoy it, savour it, revel in it. you are using your item as it was intended to be used. As it becomes your habit to enjoy it everyday, ask yourself ‘has my enjoyment increased or decreased?’ In the beginning, there will be some trepidation. What if I spill? What if I look too fancy? Let those ‘what ifs’ spin as you enjoy your item. Finally, as you become more comfortable using this item everyday, continue to think about other items that could become your default or signature. Remember, by removing the rules, requirements, and reasons we remove the biggest thing that decreases enjoyment: the decision to use something.
What do you use every day? What do you struggle to use everyday? What would help you enjoy something everyday?
I had decided to have a Dare to Wear Event. I had sent out invitations and issued the challenge- wear the dress you have nowhere else to wear. I figured out the how, and then followed up with something very important: I sent all my guests an FAQ that answered all of their excuses.
You see, when you invite someone to a Dare to Wear Event, you are inviting them to step outside of their comfort zone. There is a reason these dresses never leave the closet. There is a reason we make up excuses for why we can’t wear it. This is when you come alongside your guests and you tell them – “I see you, I understand your fear, and I will support you, let’s dare to wear!” Without further ado, the letter to my guests.
Hello Ladies! You received my invite and realized, this is no common event you’re attending, this event requires you to dare to wear! Perhaps your mind took off like a racehorse, running a thousand miles an hour thinking about all the items waiting in your closet, that you can’t wait to wear. Perhaps your mind went blank. What? Wear a fancy dress? Perhaps you started to think of all the reasons you couldn’t attend, all the reasons it’s better to keep that dress locked in the closet.
I get it, this event asks you to be daring. It asks you to step outside your comfort zone. I do not take lightly what I’m asking you to do. So, I thought I would help you with some common questions and a reminder: there is a room full of beautiful, courageous, daring women waiting to encourage you and accept you. This won’t be like that time in high school when you took a risk and heard the whispers. This will be different. Read on and get excited, we are going to have a wonderful time in our finest garb! 💃
What if I have nothing to wear? Are you sure? Nothing? There are no rules except you have to wear the dress you have nowhere else to wear. Seriously, look waaaaay at the back of your closet and see what you find.
What if I don’t have the courage to wear my fanciest dress out of the house? Courage isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. You may feel uncomfortable, but the beautiful thing is we will all be uncomfortable together, making it an exciting, encouraging, accepting space to be brave. To practice your courage. This is one of those times I can promise you, you will not be alone.
What if my outfit is over the top and too much? When we put on an outfit we often ask ‘am I too much?’ At this party it’s not possible to be too much. You won’t break any expectations or standards. You just come, in your best dress, with butterflies, discomfort, and all.
What if this is the first time I’m wearing this item? Even better! We buy items for the life we want and think there are requirements for wearing our stuff. This is that event. This is the life you’ve been waiting for. Just know that there is a room full of women waiting for you, encouraging you, and can’t wait to see this dress’ debut!
What if this item was for a special occasion like a wedding, a funeral, a graduation, or a Christmas party? That special occasion has come and gone and this dress remains. You get to choose, let the ridiculous rules stand in the way, or make your own rules and choose to wear this dress. Dare to Wear!
What if I need to buy something to make my outfit complete? Nope, nada, not happening! Your outfit should cost $0.We are shopping our closets, only! We are experimenting and trying and mixing and matching. We are not purchasing. Pair, play, practice, but don’t purchase!
What if my body has changed and NONE of my fancy clothes fit? Pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, breast feeding, surgery, illness. I get it, our bodies change. Here’s where we go into our closets with fresh eyes. What accessories do you have that you never seem to wear?
That scarf Those heels That costume jewelry Those dangly earrings That statement necklace Those tights That belt
This is not an exercise in suffering, but an exercise in freedom. Go in and put on something you haven’t given yourself permission to wear. Adorn your body with love and beautiful items, who says a statement necklace doesn’t go with leggings? Also, who says the dress has to fully do up and you can’t show a little cleave?
I can’t wait to see you, celebrate you and enjoy putting our excuses on hold, together!
Did I miss any excuses? What would you need to be answered to be able to dare to wear?
I recently hosted a Dare to Wear Event for my birthday. The premise of the event is simple: you issue a challenge to your guests to wear the dress they have nowhere else to wear. If this kind of event interests you, read on for the ground rules of how to host your very own Dare to Wear Event.
The Premise You’re hosting a party and the rule is you and your guests have to wear a dress you have nowhere else to wear. You know the one, no matter what the event, it never makes the cut and never comes out of your closet.
☑️ It’s too tight ☑️It’s too bright ☑️It’s too long ☑️It’s too short ☑️It’s too edgy ☑️It’s too tame ☑️It’s too expensive ☑️It’s too cheap ☑️It’s too hard to clean
Whatever the excuse, the excuses are up and you have to wear that dress to this event. Think wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, dress you bought for that weird wedding, dress you made yourself, dress you love but have no reason to wear. It’s that dresses time to shine!
The Purpose This is an event to practice using your best. If you want to stop at dresses that’s fine, but think of all the other things you never have a chance to wear. Think of the possibilities…
💎 Jewelry 🧣 Scarves 👠 Shoes 👛 Purses 💃 Belts 💅🏻 Nail polish 🧦 Socks 💄 Make up (looking at you lipstick) 💃 Hair accessories 👙 Lingerie
Beware of the Excuses Now, something happens when an idea like this comes along. It’s equal parts exciting and intimidating. It forces us out of our comfort zone, we start excited and then lose steam. The excuses start to brew and we begin to think, yes but….
Yes, but it has to be at a proper tea salon. Yes, but it has to have _______ number of guests. Yes, but I should do ______________ before. Yes, but my house has to be… Yes, but I have to lose weight first Yes, but….
I know these excuses from experience, as I fell into this trap myself. This Fall I knew I wanted to host a Dare to Wear Event, but I got stuck on the idea of having it at a tea salon for a reasonable price. After doing some research I realized that my dream of high tea for a bargain wasn’t going to happen and I stalled out. After a couple months I realized what I was doing, I was putting off doing this event perfectly instead of focusing on having this event and making it perfect. Once I realized this, I made some invites, sent them out, recruited my husband, and popped the bubbly. Dare to make it doable.
The Event The Dare to Wear Event can be anything! It can be a stand alone event or the theme for an already existing party.
🎂 Birthday party 🎄Christmas party 👯Bachelorette party 👰🏻 Bridal shower 🖇️ Office party 😎 Summer soiree
A Dare to Wear Event can happen on any occasion!
The Budget As the host of this event it should NOT cost a lot of money. The idea is to use what you have. Do not buy a lot of supplies for this event, look around your home or borrow from others to make this party happen. You have complete creative liberty with the food, the drink, the theme. I find high tea lends nicely, but anything will do!
The Decor This event does not have to be fancy. There are no rules on the food. If you want to keep with the theme of using your best, consider using:
🥂 Your good glassware – champagne flutes, coup glasses, whiskey tumblers 🍽️ Fine china 👉 Table cloth and cloth napkins 🫖Hosting dishes 🍽️Display dishes
Again, there are no rules, but if you’ve been waiting for the perfect event to pull out these items, you may just be having it!
The Wisdom My favourite part of this event is gathering all the guests together and asking the story of their outfit. Where did they get it? Why did they decide to wear it? What holds them back from wearing it? Naturally a shared wisdom starts to flow from a room full of women daring to wear. It’s beautiful and you’ll realize all the excuses, reasons, rules, and expectations are made up, and thanks to your beautiful friends you feel encouraged and cared for. Dare to share!
The Photos This event will be one you want to remember so make sure there are pictures. Don’t go all out with a balloon arch, but keep it simple and make sure the dresses and laughs are documented.
Tag Me I love the confidence, joy, and freedom this event brings! If you decide to host your own Dare to Wear Event please tag me and use #daretowearevent
Will you host a Dare to Wear Event? What would you wear?
On Sunday I invited my nearest and dearest to celebrate my birthday and issued them a challenge that went like this:
You’ve been invited to a cordial affair: one with lace, and earrings, and dresses to wear! No ensemble’s too much; grab your most ornament clutch. On this day I give you a dare, don the dress you have nowhere to share.
They had to dare to wear!
Sunday brought bunting, bubbly, birthday cake, and a bunch of babes dressed in their best! Everyone accepted the challenge and took it to the next level. We had bridesmaid dresses, debut dresses, and a wedding dress.
I wore my wedding dress! I have felt for a long time, it is such a waste that our wedding dresses only get to be debuted once. I love my wedding dress, it is the most expensive dress I’ve ever owned, so why would I only wear it once and tuck it away forever? This party is about giving an event for all the dresses that have nowhere to be be worn.
My favourite part was when we sat and shared the story of our outfit. Why did we have it? When did we get it? Why do we struggle to wear it?
Heels, pea coats, velvet socks, choker necklaces, statement earrings, hair pieces, clutches too small for a phone, peplems, bridesmaid dresses, problematic patterns, where do I wear this?
And then the womanly wisdom was shared.
“I’d pair that with sneakers”
“Throw on a bomber jacket”
“That necklace is so versatile!”
“Oh, it’s definitely work-appropriate!”
“That pattern is perfect for…”
Multiple items were debuted at this party, and worn for the first time. Something magical was shared by many; the barrier had been removed. Now that it had been worn once, perhaps it could be worn again.
What would you wear if you were invited to a Dare to Wear party? What dress is hiding in your closet with nowhere to go?
All photos are thanks to my dear and talented friend Jen Newman📷@jennewmanphoto
First, on my bike ride home I saw two girls about four years old, taking their dog for a walk in their best party dresses. You know the dresses that look like a Disney princess? They were wearing their best, on a Tuesday, out for a walk.
The second scene was a little boy playing with his sword that lit up and made swooshing noises every time he swiped it. He was enthusiastically chopping the air in his front yard, as his dad called out from the porch “OK Samurai, time to wear a jacket.” Kids are allowed to play, to enjoy, to pretend. Why can’t we do the same?
These scenes reminded me that kids revel in their best, they love to use, enjoy, experience, and repeat their favourite things. They aren’t afraid of wasting or ruining or missing their favourites because they use them and enjoy them every chance they get.
Who hasn’t seen Spiderman weeks before Halloween? Who hasn’t seen a child show up in their superman costume everyday of kindergarten because they love it so much? The parents beg and bribe to convince them to wear something else, but it’s their favourite in this season and they’re wearing it.
When was the last time you got a rip in the knee of your pants? It’s been years since I’ve had a hole in my clothes, but when I was a kid you can be darn sure I wore out all of my clothes until they had holes. As I think back on my childhood I can think of multiple absolute favourite items that I wore to death.
Things we can learn from kids:
Wear it out! Love it, obsess over it, reach for it, let it be your favourite of the season and wear the heck out of it! I love that with kids you know exactly what they are obsessed with, what they love, and what’s their favourite.
Don’t follow the rules A party dress for a dog walk? Spiderman costume for the grocery store? Sounds perfect! The rules are fake anyways! Wear what you want, when you want!
Have a favourite Kids are obsessed with favourites. They like something and have to have it ALL the time. Why not try the same? Lean into having a favourite and give yourself permission to use it as often and as intensely as you want! We can learn so much from kids and how they aggressively use their favourite things.
What are your favourite things this season? What are you obsessed with right now? What would you wear if there were no rules?