Put it in Plain Sight


Welcome to the Show Pony Summer Series! This summer we are taking our show ponies, those special items we save for ‘someday when,’ and learning how to use them. I will be offering tips and tricks for how to break the cycle of saving and start using.

One of the presents I received from a dear friend for my birthday was a beautiful, lovely-smelling, kitchen cleaning spray. It is nicer than anything I would buy for myself (remember the Turkish Towel? I see a theme happening) and I loved it. I knew I wouldn’t hold myself back from using it and put it under my sink with all my other cleaning supplies. Well, 6 months after my birthday I was pulling something out of my cleaning storage and realized I had barely used this cleaning spray. It had turned into a show pony without my trying! 

In reflecting on why I hadn’t used this spray I realized the thing holding me back was not an excuse, but a lack of awareness. Since I was not in the habit of using a spray to wipe down my counters, and the spray was out of sight, I never used it. This brings me to Method #1 Keep it in Plain Sight.

I moved my special spray onto the counter and made the intention to use it every time I wiped down the counters. Well, wouldn’t you know it, this changed everything! I now use my spray all the time and love it! It wasn’t a lack of wanting to use it, but a lack of thinking to use it. Putting this item in plain site helped me to think of it and enjoy it. 

I have a caveat with this method. It may be tempting to put ALL the things out. However, I recommend working on one show pony at a time. Once you are successful in establishing a new habit of using something, you can move another item out into view. If you pull out too many items to choose from, your brain will get overwhelmed and you’ll go back to what you always use. Trust me, I know from experience!

What special items do you want to use, but forget you have?

Do you have fancy cleaning supplies, bath supplies or makeup, hiding out of sight?

What will you put out in plain sight? I’d love to know how it works for you!

Getting Curious: How to turn your show pony into a workhorse

Belongings, intentional living, show pony summer series

This is the beginning of my Show Pony Summer Series! Over the summer I will be sharing all kinds of tips and tricks for how to turn your show ponies into workhorses.

Today we are getting curious, not with Jonathan Van Ness (I wish), but with our show ponies. We will be solving some of the mysteries around why we can’t seem to bring ourselves to use these items. At this point you have walked around your home with the 3 horsemen of your closet in mind: the workhorse, the show pony, and the out to pasture. 

Show ponies are the items that are too nice, too expensive, too sentimental, too old, too new, too fancy, too (insert any excuse you have to not use these items). These items often have tags on, are in their original packaging, have dust on them, but you love them dearly.

To begin, picture one of your show ponies, it’s important you pick only one item to get the most out of this exercise. Try to use the same item for all of these questions. I will use the example of an item I struggle to use: my beautiful, white, Turkish towel (pictured above).


What is your item’s origin story? It doesn’t have to be worthy of a superhero, but how did this item come into your life? I’m serious, picture it! When did you and this item first meet?

  • Was it at the sale rack?
  • Was it a gift?
  • Did you save for it?
  • Was it hard earned?
  • Did it used to belong to someone?

My Turkish towel was a beautiful gift from my friend Wendy at my wedding shower. I loved it immediately and my first thought was ‘I’ve always wanted a Turkish towel but never bought one for myself.’ It was beautiful, soft, and exactly what I had always wanted. So why have I never used it? Read on!


Our belongings aren’t just items, they send big messages. Messages about: who we are, the status we are striving for, how we want to present ourselves to the world, how much money we make, how little money we make. All of these messages are wrapped up in the item you are struggling to wear. 

My Turkish towel sends the message ‘you are not good enough.’  You see, I had wanted a Turkish towel for a long time, but it seemed too nice. I already had towels, I didn’t need a special one, so I envied my friends with beautiful Turkish towels, but never bought one for myself. When I ended up owning one the message didn’t change. Everytime I went to use it I would hear ‘you are not good enough for this.’

The goal of this question is to unpack the message this item is sending you. Usually, the message can be boiled down to ‘you are not enough.’ Not fancy enough, skinny enough, cool enough, good enough, wise enough, rich enough or worthy to use this item. Read on for how we will combat these messages.


When you think about using this item, what is the fear that comes up?

Some fears include:

  • What will people think? The fear of other people’s opinion
  • What if I wreck it? The fear of loss
  • What if I waste it? The fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • What if I don’t like it? The fear of disappointment

The fear I hear when I go to use my Turkish towel is ‘what if I wreck it?’ It’s white, I would be using it at the beach, it will most likely get dirty and the idea of washing it is intimidating. So where does it stay? Safe from sand and sun and fun, in the closet. Knowing the fear is a really helpful way to realize what you are fighting against.

Now comes the part where we start fighting back! You have gotten curious about your item and it’s paying off, you are gathering a sense for why you aren’t using this item. My data is:It was a gift, I think it’s too good for me, I’m afraid of wrecking it.


Instead of fighting how it came into your life, honour that story.

  • If you bought it on sale, praise yourself for being such a fantastic bargain hunter.
  • If you worked hard and saved your pennies, praise yourself for being so determined, hard working, and focused.
  • If it used to belong to someone, thank that person for passing it on to you, think of them and your memories.

My Turkish towel was a lovely gift from a dear friend. When I intentionally think of this origin story I change the script from ‘this is a gift, I would never give myself permission to buy it for myself, so don’t ruin it.’ To a story of ‘this is a beautiful, thoughtful gift, from a dear friend who wants me to use it and enjoy it.’ See the difference and permission that gives? 

How can you honour your show pony’s origin story?


These messages are subliminal, they’re subtle, and we can quiet the message by keeping the item tucked away. However, that message is not gone, it’s always there waiting for you. To get rid of the message for good you need to write your own message. 

My message: I am good enough for my Turkish towel. No item gets to tell me what I can or cannot use. I am worthy of having and using nice things. 

It may feel silly or uncomfortable, but you know what’s sillier and more uncomfortable? Letting an item silently send you messages for years! Take back the message and take back your items!


You’ve heard the fear, loud and clear, now we get to do something about it. Figure out what the core fear is and give it the antidote

  • The fear of other people’s opinion – give yourself a mantra and repeat it over and over. 
  • The fear of loss- Remind yourself of all the items you have, all the items you have let go, and that the world is a safe place to use your stuff.
  • The fear of missing out – remind yourself that you are missing out on it 100% of the time you don’t use it.
  • The fear of disappointment – I guarantee the more you use your special items, the more you will enjoy them, and the easier this will get. 

When I go to grab my Turkish towel before heading out the door, my brain loves to remind me of all the terrible stains waiting for me at the beach. However, I remind myself, I can figure out how to wash this, a little dirt never hurts anyone, and it’s better to use it and wreck it, than never use it at all.

What action will you take against your fear?

I started writing this post thinking we could ask our show ponies some fun questions, but somehow I ended up talking about worthiness and fear. The more I think about this topic and the more I use my stuff I remember our stuff isn’t light or easy, but it’s important. Our belongings touch on big, heavy, serious, topics. That can be scary, and it can also be exciting and freeing.

I feel much better and more confident about using my Turkish towel this summer because I have seriously considered why I don’t use it. Now, when I hear the message of ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘what if you wreck it’ they are familiar. They have lost their scariness. They are simply my brain trying to keep me safe. I reassure myself by thinking I am worthy of using my towel and the world is a safe place to use my stuff.

I would LOVE to hear what show pony you thought of when asking these questions and how this has shifted your thinking.

Look out for more in the show pony summer series!

The 3 horsemen of your closet


Is your favourite thing to ponder why we never use our stuff? No? Just me?

One of the things I find helpful when reflecting on why I do or don’t use certain items is putting them into categories. So, I came up with the 3 horsemen of the closet: the work horse, the show pony, and out to pasture.

Your work horses are the items you always reach for. Anything from your go to work uniform to your everyday dishes, toiletries, jewelry, and food items. There is nothing special about them, but they do the job. You love them for how they meet your needs.

How to recognize these items: 

  • They are often in the laundry
  • They are often in the dishwasher
  • This is how people would describe your style
  • This is how you spend your time
  • This is what you wear, eat, use, and enjoy 
  • They are used and enjoyed regularly

My workhorses:

  • Blundstone boots
  • Birkenstock sandals
  • Bike panier
  • All of my purses (I only have 3)
  • Fossil watch
  • Yeti mug

You have more excuses for why you don’t use them than you do memories of using them. 

These are often items we are saving for ‘someday when’. Either a special occasion (Christmas dinner), a big milestone (10 year anniversary), an external accomplishment (making partner) or a personal accomplishment (losing 50 pounds). No matter what you’re waiting for, these items always seem to stay in the cupboard, on the shelf, in the garage and are not used.

How to recognize these items:

  • They have dust on them
  • They have tags on
  • They are in their original packaging
  • These are items we often love deeply but don’t give ourselves permission to use
  • You try it on, but never leave the house in it

My show ponies:

  • Aritiza blazer
  • Embroidered dress
  • Yoga mat
  • Turkish towel
  • Red flats
  • Beaded necklace

I find the Out to Pasture items fall into 2 categories:

  1. They used to be your go to, but they’ve been overworked. They are tattered, faded, and showing their age. 
  2. They were never used. Either you bought them for your aspirational self or they were a mistake from the beginning. Either way, cut your losses and realize you do not use them, do not wish to use them, and have no plans to use them.

The Out to Pasture items are cluttering up your space, distracting from your workhorses and show ponies and overwhelming your decision making.

How to recognize these items:

  • They are at the back of your closet, bottom of your drawer, and the back of your cupboard
  • They have holes, stains, need to be repaired or past the expiry date
  • These items are never used and need to find a new home. 

My out to pasture

  • Water colours – I realized this is not my hobby of choice
  • Extra panier – I realized I prefer my workhorse panier than having the choice of two
  • Old running shoes – it was cluttering up my space and forcing me to choose everytime I went to put them on
  • Extra sunglasses – I have a quality pair of polarized sunglasses that has become my work horse only since I gave myself permission to let go of the extras.

The first step in beginning to use and enjoy your things is to recognize the categories. As you go about your day, interacting with your belongings, ask yourself ‘which category is this? Workhorse, show pony or out to pasture?

Soon I will cover the different strategies for each category, but first, happy hunting!

The Idea: what it is and what it is not


On average we use 20% of our belongings 80% of the time. That is unbelievable to me and I am fascinated with how we can start using more of our items. I believe this is possible when we begin to see ourselves as worthy to have and use our belongings. This idea can have lots of different interpretations, here, I outline what this idea is, what it is not.

What this idea IS:

A Mindset Shift
This idea begins with your thinking, you must first see yourself as someone worthy of having nice things and using nice things. Instead of saving items for another day when you do something to feel worthy enough to use them, you use these items now.

Identifying what you are saving
This idea starts with items and belongings that are gathering dust in our closets, but it goes much further than that. What are the belongings, items, goals, and ideas that you are saving for ‘someday when?’ It may start with lighting a candle, or cutting the tags off a shirt, but soon it could lead to running a marathon or applying for a new job. Once you start seeing yourself as worthy, and knowing that ‘someday when’ isn’t coming, you start to realize the bigger things you’ve been saving.

A sustainable lifestyle
As you use everything available to you it becomes a more sustainable way to shop, dress and live. You begin to use what you have and are not constantly looking for and buying more.

A practice in abundance
Scarcity is the mindset that makes us feel unworthy, less than, and constantly looking for the item that will make us feel content. This idea shows you that there is no item that can give you abundance and contentment, it comes from the action of using your things and enjoying your life.

What this idea is NOT

There is no lifestyle requirement or a specific number of belongings to follow this idea. You can have 3 special items, or 3 thousand, what’s important is that you give yourself permission to use your belongings (however many there may be).

This idea requires no purchases or orders. You are shopping your closet, rediscovering items you love and giving yourself permission to use your belongings. Put your credit cards and online shopping accounts aside. You do not need more belongings to confuse you, you need to figure out why you’re not wearing what you already own.

Some people argue that it’s wasteful to ruin a nice dress during everyday errands. I agree to a point, yes, sometimes we do need to make sure that our heels and dresses are in good condition when we go to a Christmas party, wedding, or birthday. However, this mentality has gotten out of hand. Why save 10 pretty dresses for occasions that happen 3 times a year? Why not wear those special items for an ordinary occasion and get that feeling every day of the year?

Judgement or a guilt trip
Sometimes when we are confronted with all the items and belongings we have been wasting for so long we can feel guilty or judged. That is not the point. Society, family, context and life have been telling you it’s better to save your best, and to keep buying things to make you feel better. These lessons have taught us to treat our houses as shrines for all our best items, but never actually use them. You were simply following the rules of life, until now. Please do not judge yourself, do not feel guilty, you are simply beginning from here, where you are. The only thing you can do is begin to question why you have been saving it and how you can make small changes to use your things.

To impress other people
You are not wearing your clothes or popping the champagne to impress other people or win a popularity contest. You are embracing all that you have been given because something happens when we stand in our power and say yes. This is not about other people, this is about awakening something inside of you that’s been hidden at the back of your closet. 

Not for everyone
I will not sit here and convince you. There is something about this idea that resonates with people, I’ve seen it over and over again. I know deep down that people need to be given permission to love and use their belongings and I am here to give you that permission. If you do not want permission, then keep going, revel in saving your things and keeping them pristine. If however, you are starting to think there is more to life than full closets and nothing to wear, then keep reading. I love this idea and want to shout it from the rooftops! You are worthy of having and using your things!

Is there anything I missed? What does this idea mean to you?!

Signs you have not found the Beautiful One Part IV


The more I focus on the idea of The Beautiful One, the more I see it being applied in my everyday life. The more awareness I have in going through my day, shopping and zeroing in on what brings me joy, the better I am at figuring out what my Beautiful One will be. Signs you have not found it:

If you are still searching

Lets say you need a new rain jacket and you purchase one based on price, practicality, other people’s opinions. Perhaps those are all reasons you choose a rain jacket, however if after the purchase you find yourself making excuses to go to MEC or outdoor stores to try on rain jackets, or you are noticing other people’s jackets when you are out and about, or perhaps you continue to look at online blogs/pinterest for ideas. This is a clue that you have missed something important in your choice. If you are still looking/comparing your new purchase to others, you have not found your Beautiful One

You thought it was the Beautiful One in the store

After six years of having the same bed spread I decided it was time for a change. I went to Ikea, stood in the overwhelming duvet section and let my heart choose. I was so proud of myself, I didn’t look at the price first, I didn’t ask the opinion of my sister, I let my heart choose a yellow and white bedspread. I brought it home, and for the first few weeks really liked it, but I did not feel ready to get rid of my six year old bed spread- a red flag that I had an inkling this new one was not the Beautiful One. After a few weeks I found I was once again looking at bedroom pictures online, and taking note of other people’s bed spread. I fought this for a while, reminding myself how much I loved it in the store. 

Then a clue came along, I was in the “as is” section of Ikea and bought a pillow case that was grey on one side and striped on the other. It didn’t match either of my current bed spreads, but I really liked it and took it home. I would hide it under my other pillows during the day and then use it to sleep on- dailly it would bring me joy. After a year of fighting it, and having two bed spreads that neither left me fully satisfied I decided to once again go back to Ikea. 

This time I was apprehensive, I had listened to my heart last time, but it had not led me to the Beautiful One. Instead of viewing it as a mistake I viewed it as a lesson. What had I learned? I learned that I don’t like cheerful, or bright bedding. I looked at the aspects of the bedding I had had for six years and realized grey and dull tones were what appealed to me. I also looked at the random pillow I had bought and asked myself what I liked about it. Once again, I stood in the overwhelming duvet section and let my heart choose. It chose the duvet set that matched my random pillow. I knew it was the right decision when I made my bed with my new set and immediately put both old bed sets into my donation bin. The Beautiful One had been found!

Have you bought something you thought was The Beautiful One only to discover it wasn’t? What did you do to correct this situation?

Does every category need a Beautiful One? Part III


Some people when hearing about the Beautiful One feel overwhelmed. Imagining only having one perfect item for every category in your house does sound exhausting! I’m here to tell you not every category needs a Beautiful One, but you need to figure out what those categories are!

In some areas I like to have variety, options and change. For instance, sunglasses are something I will never invest in. I find I lose them, break them or the styles change too often for me to invest in one specific pair. I find that after one to two summers I’m itching to play around with the styles available and want something new. Since I buy cheap sunglasses I’m ok with letting them go and buying a new pair. 

For me, I wear a watch everyday and I like the consistency of having just one to choose from. I could see this being an area people prefer having a variety. I only ever wear two rings, they are both high quality and both have a story to them. However, I know lots of people who buy cheap rings, wear them for a season and then find new ones. 

What is a category you enjoy having a variety of? What is one category you enjoy having a Beautiful One?

Which category needs a Beautiful One? Part II


I find that even though I believe in the Beautiful One I still fight myself on investing in one, because it often means a financial investment. These are some of the filters I have to put my decision through before I commit to an item:

How often do I use this item- if this is going to be a specialty item I do not feel the need to have A beautiful One. For example- a pair of high heels I wear three times a year for special occasions, versus a high quality pair of boots I will wear daily to keep out the rain.

What will I be using this for? If you’re deciding to buy a rain jacket there is a difference if you will be wearing it to dash in between shops or back and forth to your car on rainy days, versus, if you do a large amount of hiking or own a dog and are required to be out in the pouring rain with a chuck it  most days. Does investing in high quality make a difference in outcome? When it comes to a rain jacket sorta dry and dry are two very different things! 

When it comes to this item do I value how I/it look(s)? Using the rain jacket example some people do not care if they look like a giant green blob as long as they’re dry. Others care that a  rain jacket is slimming and fitting, others care that there are air vents. You need to know what your values are when it comes to appearance and buying this item. Often cheaper versions do not have as nice an aesthetic.

What do I notice about other people? Do you find you pay attention to people’s shoes? Their bags? Their cars? This is a tip about what you appreciate. I find that often the areas we notice in others is where we should invest our money and attention. 

An example of choosing a Beautiful One revealed itself when I noticed a friend’s new kettle. It’s a gorgeous, red, well known, expensive brand and really made a statement on the counter. When I asked her about it, she said she had consciously made the decision to invest in a more expensive kettle for three reasons: 

1. Tea is a high value to her and she drinks multiple cups a day. 

2. She, her mom and her sister all have the same kettle and it symbolizes that they are all connected even though they are miles apart. 

3. It matches her aesthetic and how she wants her kitchen to appear. 

Though a kettle’s only job is to boil water my friend had decided to invest in a Beautiful One for more money.  I already knew the filter she had put this decision through. Though I don’t need my kettle to be a Beautiful One, I know she daily makes tea, feels connected to her family and loves the aesthetic- that is worth the investment! 

Where you choose to invest in a Beautiful One totally depends on your values and your filter system. Ask yourself these questions the next time you’re thinking of investing. In what areas have you invested in a Beautiful One?

The Beautiful One Part I


Have you ever found a single item that meets all your needs for that category? I call this the Beautiful One

Let me explain. The beautiful one is when you buy an item whether it’s a watch, a journal, sunglasses, or a winter coat and it meets all your needs, all your requirements, it is beautiful, useful and above all, you. You purchase it and you call off the search. No longer do you look at window displays for that item, because when you pass displays instead of coveting what’s in the window these displays only serve to make you think fondly of your Beautiful One at home. 

Unfortunately, most people experience the opposite of the beautiful one. You are out shopping and you find something that meets your need and it’s 90% great and 10% not right, and you buy it anyway. This item meets the unmet need you were previously experiencing, but you still find yourself constantly on the lookout, unknowingly looking for the Beautiful One.  

My first Beautiful One was my car. When I was 22 years old I bought my first car, a 2008 Honda Fit. I grew to adore this car, it was fast, it was standard and it was mine. I lovingly named it “Gus Gus” after the mouse in Cinderella. Most of my friends took it as fact that Gill loved her car. One rainy, dark and poor visibility night Gus Gus and I got into an accident, sadly I walked away, he got written off and our love story came to an end. So what did I do? I bought a 2007 Honda Fit. When you find the beautiful one, and you know in your heart it’s the Beautiful One, you don’t try to remake it, you replace it.

My most recent Beautiful One is a Daniel Wellington, rose gold watch. I have adored Daniel Wellington watches ever since I bought a knock off version in SouthEast Asia. I would notice other people wear it, see it in online ads and always enjoyed the simplicity. When my knock off version bit the dust I took it as a sign I was to be satisfied with the watches I already had. Somehow I had come to own three watches, yet, none of them made me as happy as a Daniel Wellington. This is when you know you haven’t found the Beautiful One- when the search continues even though your need should technically be met. 

Two years later, I was scrolling Craigslist and found someone was selling the Daniel Wellington, rose gold watch I had always wanted. They were asking a price I originally thought was  preposterous for a watch, but then I realized it would be my Beautiful One. I had had three cheap watches, they were meeting my need, but not my desire. I had wanted this watch for two years so it wasn’t an impulse purchase, and I wear a watch everyday. Before I could overthink it, I contacted the person and purchased the watch. I could not believe how much joy it brought me, sure the first night I had doubts after spending the most money I had ever spent on a watch, but that day I bought more than a watch. 

I bought less decisions – before I had to choose between 3 watches to wear, I donated those three watches after purchasing my DW watch.

I bought simplicity- I had a watch that I knew went with everything, was the style I wanted, and required no decision

I bought joy- everytime I look down at my wrist it affirms my good decision and gives me a thrill that I have the wrist I have been pinning on pinterest for all this time

I bought The Beautiful One.

Do you have a beautiful one that you have purchased? 

Did you know when you were purchasing it that it was a beautiful one or did it become one over time?

Do you have in mind a beautiful one you have yet to purchase? What’s holding you back?