Sunday, January 23, 2011


DAY 300

Hi! Here are my clothing stats for the the past two weeks:

Week One
-Items of clothing - 6 (good!)

Week Two
-Items of clothing - 6 (but...replaced black cardigan with long black sweater and white shirt with long black short sleeve floaty top with a satin band at the bottom)

-Confession - wore a dressy suit for four hours at the Athena Luncheon. I had forgotten about that event and even my "nice" jeans would not have been appropriate. Grr.

This limited clothing thing is a little more challenging than I thought it would be...choosing the right items is key! The black cardigan was not warm enough for day-to-day wear...I do not really even like that black cardigan and have in fact "released it with love" to the consignment pile...I LOVE the long black cowl neck sweater and the black floaty top so I feel good about the switch. I will not be starting the month over though...I still have 2.5 weeks to go until February 9. Even in this short time, I have been daydreaming about my bright pink cardigan, currently living in the back of the closet. I am sensing this experience is going to make me highly appreciative (more than usual) of a closet full of clothes. At the end of this month, I am going to go through everything leaving only the items I love.

If you decide to experiment with a Fashion Fast, my suggestions to you are:

1. Pick the right month - consider all out of the ordinary events and choose the clothing items that will work for everything - unless you want to allow some exceptions - you get to make the rules!

2. I know only 6 items seems extreme - I was going to do 10 but really wanted to get as close as possible to the NY Times experiment as possible. The trade off of variety for freedom from decision making has been very refreshing.

3. Pick comfortable items that you wear frequently anyway.

3. Select items that can all be worn together in any combination.

4. Neutral colors rule. I chose black - my fav color to wear - easy and unnoticeable for the most part...goes with everything.

5. Be open to combine and accessorize in new ways...the long sleeve black shirt will be worn under the short sleeve floaty thing under the jacket tomorrow - WITH A BELT. Yes, I am a Fashion Risk-Taker, I know. Sorry if that is too much detail!

Good luck! Let me know if you try any version of this - I would love to compare notes!

Must get some rest for my big day with a belted floaty top...Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


DAY 288

Woke up to a 53 degree house...I knew something was not quite right yesterday when it seemed so chilly in here! I only had to endure a few hours of cold until the furnace man fixed things right up for $337...argh. Had to buy a new ignitor - a ceramic and metal thingy the size of a large spool of thread. Until now, the word "ignitor" was not in my general vocabulary. Oh well! Grateful for the house and the means to keep it warm.

Went into public in a combo workout/pj situation (mail, bank, doc) to save the clean clothes for my trip. I will not make a habit of that. I am certain there are some rules about going "out there" and I want to be sure and adhere to basic societal standards...on the other hand, does it really matter what one wears? Clean - yes, it is best. Appropriate coverage - for sure yes. Age appropriate - mostly yes. In "style" (whatever that really means) - no.

I can remember my brother offering my Mom some unsolicited advice on the coolness factor of a white visor she was sporting at the time. Apparently not a big fan of visors (not that there's anything wrong with visors) he told her, "Once you're 50, you probably don't care what other people think about what you wear". Not even really a sideways compliment, but I think there is some truth and freedom in there! Thanks Bro!

Wear what you love - is my unsolicited advice...even if you have it in every color! All of us have a uniform of sorts - I kind of like that. What's your uniform? Besides the actual clothing what do you "wear" every day that give others a sense of who you are?

Hmmm - deep snowy evening ponderings - better wrap up before I start making up haiku...Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Inside

DAY 287

Hello! I decided to save my (6) clean clothes for the pending trip to avoid doing laundry and opted for the workout outfit today. Traded out for the painting clothes later on with hopes of getting some "Atmoshpheric Blue" onto the walls of my bedroom. Only got as far as finishing up the prep-taping. Maybe tomorrow.

These additional costume changes are somewhat beyond the whole Six Items Thing...well, I am the one making the rules after all. The whole point being to see what I really NEED to have in terms of a public wardrobe. You will make your own rules as well...if you decide to do this or a tweaked version of this challenge - please comment below! I would love to learn from you:) News flash: Just packed in 15 minutes - easy peasy (lemon squeezy)! A tiny little miracle, really.

The bones of my house are cold. She told me today as I added a little more clear tape to the edges of her plastic-dressed windows. My bones were cold today. I layered as much as I could - including a scarf. My office window faces North and my desk is as near to that natural light as possible. A creative little breeze comes out of the closet to my left if I do not close the "door" (aka curtain). I was in good company today as I just heard from Amy who wore her wool hat all day inside! I get it...comfort sacrifice - oh well! Pretty on the inside :)

This trip will be the first real test of the 6 items - will tell all - not sure if this would be easier in warmer months...I may try it again just in June for kicks! I sure know how to live it up! Easily amused...

Off to finish some handouts - Have a Nothing New Day and stay warm! Kristin

Sunday, January 9, 2011


DAY 286

Two of my 2011 goals have been reached - exercise 3x a week and bake my own bread...just need to keep the exercise habit for longer than one week, right? Bread turned out nicely - a little dense and something weird happened when I tried to get the loaf out of the pan. It took about 3 hours to make this bread - from prepping, mixing and punching to rising, checking and baking, it was my day's main activity! I appreciate bread.

My fashion fast has begun - although I am sporting my "workout costume" at the moment, in my mind, I am wearing my Green Bay Packer shirt! Packers will beat the Eagles today. Yes, they will.

This month's new habit will sure make packing easy - I have both plane and automobile travel. Things will hopefully be a little less stressful getting myself out on the less thing to decide/prepare.

As I was telling a friend today about my Nothing New endeavor, I was reminded of the privilege I have to be able to implement this interesting experience. Coupled with learning about the Ted Williams story this week - the homeless man from Columbus, OH with the Golden Voice - I know how blessed I am to have what I have. I never take for granted my access (social, physical, financial) health, time, education, support from family and friends, a home, a full frig, cats...Watching him be so grateful, gracious, faithful, insightful and kind, truly realigned my perspective. For that, I am grateful and so happy for Ted.

What do you have? What are your privileges? Your blessings? Your "bread"?

Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fashion Fast

DAY 285

As I was taking my Christmas tree down today, I was witness to the phenomenon of unusual (yet ongoing) eating habits of one of my cats, Curtis. He was taking pieces of tinsel and running to a corner, growling to scare off competitors (perhaps his older brother Buddy, or me I suppose) and being very secretive and mysterious. I had to chase and contain him to pull the tinsel out of his mouth. Minutes later, I would hear growling and realize he got another piece of tinsel (bright shiny object representing a mouse) and the process would start all over again. During all of this, Buddy kept his distance as "supervisor" and did not really get involved.

I finally got the tree out to the front porch where I will let it "transition" until March before it goes to live out in the backyard at "Compost Spa". Curtis went to find more mice (bright or shiny or crinkly or shrimp-flavored objects) and Buddy went to find a cozy spot on a bed somewhere upstairs.

So, I go to thinking about the put-away-tidy-up-return-to-normal feelings I always have in January and started thinking about how I was going to finish up the projects I started in December. I will finish re-organizing my office, complete the painting my bedroom and get back to work on world peace. I feel fairly ready for a new year...good to have most of my holiday decor down, rugs/curtains/floors washed, and the plastic up on the windows of my 1920's house. I have not had a Motivation Month since November, so I want to get that in place before too much January slips by. With 285 days of Nothing New so far, it is getting harder to think of new challenges.....I have settled on a clothing challenge - a "Fashion Fast" described in the NY Times Style Magazine on July 23, 2010 - details here:

People chose 6 items of clothing to wear for one month (excluding undergarments and shoes) and learned some really interesting things...I've been marinating in this idea for a week now so here is my list of 6 items to wear January 9-February 9:

1 Blazer (gray/black)
1 Pair of jeans (black dressy)
1 White dress shirt
1 Sweater dress(long black)
1 Long sleeve t-shirt(black)
1 V-neck sweater(black)

I am allowing pj's, one workout outfit and two winter coats (a dress coat and a super warm casual jacket - it is after all winter in Rochester). I am also am going to accessorize freely - scarves, clip-on flowers and jewelry. This is going to be hard! I am going to stick to these six items. For reals. Easier for me than others in some ways because I am either working at home by myself or traveling and seeing different people every day. More challenging perhaps for someone who is in a workplace with the same people everyday...the coolest thing the NY Times "Fashion Fast-inistas" had to share was that other people never really noticed or cared. OK then.

I will keep you posted on this...Going to start painting!

Happy New Year! Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Season of Giving

DAY 281

The Number One question I get regarding my Nothing New Year is about food - What is "new food?, Can you eat out?, How about fast food? Do you grow your own food? Do you eat locally? Are you vegetarian? I love these conversations because they really challenge me to match my behavior with my beliefs about food and eating. The best talks have been those around the "localvore" movement - the latest books, great speakers, gardening stories and promises to trade pesto for tomato sauce (or raspberry jam - I will trade for either!).

The Number Two question is about gift giving. My commitment this year was to give either second hand items, or use second had items to make gifts. I started out strong and well-intentioned. I had been buying use picture frames with the idea of framing some great photos I had taken on my trips - shamrocks in the forests of California, aspen trees in Aspen, and swimming star nephew at Junior Olympics in Florida. Great plan - then most of the frames did not really "go" with the photos, so I bought new frames. I also ended up framing (new) these cool square greeting cards (new) with quotes on them.

I decided that to the best of my abilities, I would make something so that even if I had to buy new materials, there would be some element of hand-made by Kristin Skarie. Given the fact that I started most of the gifting preparation process on Dec 10, this was my best effort. I also allowed the purchase of "consumables"or "experiences" as a present or to supplement the handmade gifts...
  • Lavender body oil and lavender sugar scrub stored in (new) glass jars and bottles.
  • Spicy walnuts in (new) bags
  • Cranberry-walnut chutney in (new) glass jars)
  • Peppermint bark and hot chocolate (new - Williams Sonoma - the best)
  • Candles in glass vases (new) with little green stones (had them) - super decorative if I may say so myself :)
  • Terry's Chocolate Oranges, Ghiradhelli Squares - so so good and favs all around
  • Book for Olivia (she is 3 and would not "get" the whole used/handmade thing)
  • Lincoln Logs to make a mini log cabin for JoeyO
I defaulted to gift cards for some friends - itunes, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks...somewhat consumable...there is a fine line between what's consumable and what's not. Finally, I went way outside the lines with these great (handmade by someone in New Zealand) wall tiles.

I am proud that I did not totally give in to materialism this giving season...the fact that I resisted getting the Obama Head Chia Pet for Sue says a lot about my discipline and tenacity. (Someone else gave her one so I at least I got to see what it looks like...) All told, I spent $321 on new things for 19 people...about $17 per person.

Now that the holidays are over - almost over as I have a few more deliveries to make - I will give myself a "C+" for sticking to my original plan. In the end I felt good about my endeavor and am making plans for 2011 to try again with the handmade things...hope you like walnuts!

Happy New Year - Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin