Unseen

More photos from real life

Remember last autumn when I shared a series of unpublished photos I’d taken? I ended up really loving that post. It’s fun to offload iPhone pics and give you guys a glimpse into the things I see and snap as the weeks and months go by—kind of like my old Life Lately posts, but even more personal. I hope you enjoy the peek into real life, too! Here are a bunch of snaps from my phone and camera which up until now, had never made it to the blog or Insta: View more

Image Credits:

Images by Victoria McGinley

5 clothing items I’m not sure spark joy, and meh, I’m keeping them anyway

Plus one I finally gave up on, and two for which I need your opinion

Maybe it was the blank slate of a new year. Perhaps it was the dreary weather keeping us cooped inside. Or, blame that Marie Kondo Netflix show everyone pretended they loved.

But one day at the beginning of this year, I took visual inventory of the overstuffed bookshelves in my office, and wondered, “What the hell are all these books and do I care about any of them?”

Having never read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and barely making it through Episode 1 of the Netflix show, this was my “spark joy” equivalent.

I spent the subsequent afternoon sorting through and carting 50 books to our building “library,” a mishmash of weird, wonderful, and often outdated tomes piled just inside our parking garage (it’s like a free book bazaar that is kind of an eyesore, but everyone puts up with it because you occasionally find something great). And whaddya know—miracle of miracles! The bookshelves looked great! So fresh! So clean! My workplace productivity increased by 50000%!

The office clean out spurred a similar one for our hallway closet, previously a mess of folding chairs, Christmas ornaments, and an avalanche of those never-used nylon grocery sacks. My favorite discovery in that black hole was two fishing rods last used by Joe in 2007, on his first and last fishing trip to Lake Tahoe. We certainly sparked joy reminiscing about how his fishing buddy had spent 40 minutes readying the line, only for Joe to attempt his inaugural cast and tangle the entire thing so as to be unusable.

No one has offered to take him fishing since.

But while the whole Marie Kondo method—or its basics, at least—has worked in virtually every other space in our house, I’ve never attempted it with the clothing in my closet.

Why? Because I don’t trust it to keep me from doing something I’ll regret.

Like, what if the pursuit of joy had resulted in giving away the knee-length, wide-rib, tie-waist J.Crew sweater cardigan I’ve owned since—get this1999? Procured during the fall of my sophomore year of high school (let that sink in for a minute), it was my autumnal topper of choice when I’d run out the front door of my house and hop into my friend Kat’s puttering, beat up Chevy Blazer, inevitably off to the Gateway movie theater where after, I’d call my mom on a payphone to tell her we were going to T.G.I. Fridays.

Over the years, that cardigan landed atop a giveaway pile more than once. It languished in my closet during college; it almost didn’t make the move with us to New York in 2013. But I adored its thick, warm, chunky weave. So even when it was absurdly out of style, I could never let it go. Lo and behold, enough time passed, and long cardigans became a thing again. I bought a similar piece from Everlane a few years ago, and as much as I love it (the material is very soft), I reach for my vintage one more.

And so during a recent closet clean out—and to be clear, they do happen often—I made peace with my purging instincts, mentally tagging a few items I’ll never part with. They (mostly) do not bring me joy at present, they are taking up needed space, and I haven’t worn four of these items in YEARS. And yet, here they are, in all their never-gonna-give-you-up glory:

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Mood/Mantra

March

#mood

I mentioned briefly last week that March always kicks off a personal doldrums for me. I hoped this year might be different, but bleh, in the last couple of days, it’s set in full force. And it’s not just a lack of wind in my sails; a kind of sadness hits me each March, too. There’s no rhyme or reason why—of all the things in life that might possibly make me sad, none has anything to do with March—but here it is nonetheless.

Am I alone in my March blues? Just me? Is this all simply weather related? I’m curious, too—do you have a month of the year you dread?

So, while I float along in a windless March, my #mood this month is visually focused on the jarring, kinda lonely feeling March brings about. Just, you know, made pretty. But! If the last few years are any indication, give me six weeks and the March doldrums will be long gone.

#mantra

flow.

And, if you can’t skip a month, might as well flow right through it. This month, I want to focus on going easy on myself, and when things don’t seem to go (or feel) right, dive right under the wave and pop up on the other side.

Flow through and stay kind to yourself. April—then May!—will be here before we know it.

Swim fast,
towards wrecks already lost;
dive down beneath
and look!—
here, the chaos sown—
push past to the surface,
next the horizon;
where the new spring waits.