In 30 Days My Closet Will Kick Your Closet’s Butt (and a giveaway)

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A new book was recently suggested to me for review. I love new books and I love reviews, but I’ve got to be honest when I say I wasn’t so sure about this one. The book is titled The 30-Day Ultimate Closet Guide, which is pretty self-explanatory. I am definitely a lover of organization, especially when it comes to my clothes and accessories, but my closet is already super organized. Every article is separated by color and silhouette, my shoes have their own designated spots and I throw out pieces regularly. How helpful could this book be to me? Before saying, “no thanks”,  I decided to check out the website and the YouTube introduction video. Two minutes later, the author, Brittany Witkin, had me hooked.

Here’s what sold me:

After the 30 days, you will be able to grab, go and look your best without having to think about it. My closet may be organized, but I still spend hours dwelling over what to wear. I would LOVE to not have to think about it because I don’t actually have hours to dwell, which means I usually wear the same tank top, workout shorts and flip-flops 3 times a week…or 5 days a week…

This is where you begin to upgrade your look. I really really want to believe that I’m on top of the latest fashions and that I’m a hot cool trendy Mom. (Although, typing that sentence made me feel the exact opposite.) Anyways, I’m pretty hip, but I can admit that since having Luna, my style has been centered around whether it’s breastfeeding friendly and cheap enough that I don’t care if it’s covered in spit-up. You may find this hard to believe, but baby-friendly doesn’t equal chic and sexy.

It’s 30 days. There are lists, calendars and print-outs. It’s basically a big challenge and something I can add to my planner. Need I say more?

There’s a style-guide and fail-proof online and in-store shopping lists. In case you don’t understand, this mean I get to shop. I get to shop for things that I know will look good on me. SOLD.

There’s also talk of coffee, snacks, wine and friends. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

After instantly downloading the book and reading the first couple of chapters I sent my first “partner-in-crime closet invitation”. (i.e. I told Husband he had to do it with me.) We share a closet so the entire project may be somewhat wasted if only half the closet gets organized. Lucky for me, Husband likes getting rid of crap just as much as I do so it wasn’t to hard to convince him. Also, he is always brutally honest with me when it comes to fashion. I trust his opinion when I say “does this look good on me?”

The included 30-day calendar is flexible and allows you to choose the best time for you to do the most time-consuming steps. Since we have Luna and lots of plans (including a trip to NYC) this month, we’ve decided to do as many steps as we can when we have the time. Our goal is still to be in done in 30 days, or sooner. I originally planned to write one big review at the end of the process, but after completing most of the steps for week 1 today I knew I had too much to share already.

Poor baby Luna was stuck in the midst of mess all day today...good thing she's easily entertained.
Poor baby Luna was stuck in the midst of mess all day today…good thing she’s easily entertained.

Week 1 focuses on cleaning out all the clutter. I am 100% in to this challenge/project/guide so I am following Brittany’s rules to the T (well…mostly). She says to throw out anything you haven’t worn in 6 months, that isn’t seasonal or your wedding dress. So I did, except I did bend the rules a little. Since I have been either breastfeeding or pregnant for the last year in a half I allowed myself to keep some things that I absolutely am 100% positive I will wear, but just have not been able to yet (thanks a lot Luna).

Brittany suggests keeping snacks on hand in order stay fueled. Done.
Brittany suggests keeping snacks on hand in order stay fueled. Done.

Husband and I began with 4 labeled garbage bags (trash, sell, giveaway, gross hangers) and ended with ELEVEN full trash bags. ELEVEN. And, we literally cleaned out our closets 6 months ago and got ride of 4 full trash bags. It’s disgusting how much junk we have stored for no good reason. I already feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my closet’s shoulders. Our drawers and closet looks so clean! Also, kind of empty… I have to admit I’m a little scared! Even though, it’s a little scary to throw out so much so quickly, it’s also exhilarating. I no longer have to dig through shirts I know I’m never actually going to wear. Plus, I am really looking forward to the next few weeks.

I took lots of photos, but I want to save some for the "before and after" photos at the end of the month!
I took lots of photos, but I want to save some for the “before and after” photos at the end of the month!

In the next 21 days or so, I will be learning how to put together new outfits from what I already own, learn what looks best on my body type and hopefully purchase some new pieces that will tie the new look, new me and new closet all together! Yay me! I’ll be keeping you updated throughout the process.

I highly encourage you to check out Brittany’s site, TheStyleShaker.com and her book that was just released on Amazon. If you try the guide, please let me know how it works for you. Stay tuned!

ALSO….this is completely off topic, but I don’t really have a post that is on this topic so whatevs. There’s this really cool phone, the OnePlus One, it’s a 64GB unlocked cell phone. It works on any GSM network. It’s crazy fancy, supposed to be the best phone available, water resistant, ridiculous camera, big screen, yada yada yada, BUT it’s an invite only phone. So, even if you want to buy one you can’t unless someone sends you an invite. (Spolier alert: I have some!) The phone costs $350, but there’s no contract, so that’s cool. Anyways, I have six OnePlus One invites. Here’s the deal: If you want one of these invites then do the following:

1. Follow me on my blog.

2. Follow my Facebook or Instagram.

3. And comment below! Why do you want the OnePlus One? What kind of phone do you have now? What’s your favorite animal? I don’t really care, just leave a comment!

I’ll randomly select 6 winners in three days Wednesday, October 1st. Good luck people!

Cheers!

 

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My Panic Monster

When I first started Positively Panicked, Husband’s loving Aunt sent me a book. I received Life With The Panic Monster, written by Evelyn Barkley Stewart, in the mail with no note attached, and was not quite sure what to think. I had never read a book about panicking and was afraid that reading about someone else’s fear would just create more of my own. I read the introduction, my heart racing the whole time, and then quickly put it back on the bookshelf, right between Brad Paisley’s autobiography and F U Penguin.

I didn’t want to learn about someone else’s worries. I didn’t want to hear about how hard and terrifying life became for this author. I was afraid to discover that she never recovered, never healed, and never lived a “normal” life. So, I didn’t. I left the book to collect dust and bond with my other lonely, abandoned books…until a couple weeks ago.

I probably “forgot” to mention on here that I have been taking Lexapro for the last month. As you know, I am only just now getting my health insurance through work, so you may be wondering how I scored some anti-anxiety medication. Well, it’s simple really:  I just forced Zoey to go to a doctor in Costa Rica, tell them she needed it, get a prescription, and I’d pay for it, (a whopping $20 BTW). It was almost as easy as getting anti-anxiety medicine in Albania. Except there I just walked into a pharmacy and asked for it, and it only cost $12.

Before, I get a bunch of phone calls and emails telling me how irresponsible and stupid this plan was, let me say I KNOW. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. Please try to understand that I was having a panic attack almost every night in Costa Rica, and I was far too panicky to go to the doctor myself. I was absolutely 100% sure that if I went to the doctor myself, I would be informed that I was dying or having a heart attack and I would have to immediately be sent to a hospital to receive treatment, which would definitely ruin everyone’s Costa Rican vacation/my Honeymoon.

I realize that this is completely illogical, and that if I was actually dying, going to the doctor’s office would be a better choice than not going, but when you suffer from panic attacks your mind cannot separate what’s logical from what’s completely crazy. So, Zoey, being the best most wonderful sister-in-law there is, did me a HUGE favor, and I was actually able to enjoy the last few days of our trip. Not only that, but I’ve been able to take the medication the rest of the summer.

My goal was to stretch it out until my insurance kicked in and I was able to make a doctor’s appointment, get a psychologist recommendation, and a legit prescription. Unfortunately, the pills did not last me that long, and although I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack since Costa Rica, I am starting to get anxious about upcoming doctor appointments. I have been trying to remain as calm and logical as possible to prepare my mind and body, and recently I came across the Panic Monster book again. I skimmed it a little more, and decided it might be worth a chance.

That night, I went to bed earlier than normal so I could start to read the book alone, while Husband played video games and watched Jimmy Fallon in the next room.

I was crying before I finished the first chapter, and finished the entire book in the next 2 hours. I continued crying for probably another hour. I cannot really explain the reason behind the tears…sometimes I was crying because I was afraid, other times I was crying for the girl telling her story, and often I was crying because I didn’t feel so alone anymore. Each little anecdote struck a chord with me; it was as if I was reading my own thoughts and experiences, re-living some tough and cruel moments.

The author of this book wrote honestly and clearly about her life with panic, her “crazy” thoughts, her most challenging struggles, and her effort to live a “normal” life. When I finished reading it* I got online to find the Ms. Stewart and stalk her until we became best friends. I just kept thinking how great it would be to not only tell her how much her story meant to me, but to really get to know her. I wanted to hear more; I wanted to keep being reassured that I am not the only one suffering from panic.

*(The very first thing I did when closing the book was run in the next room and hug Husband with all my might and cry and cry into his shoulder. The book reminded me that I am not the only one suffering. Husband suffers with me, and I am so, so, so, so grateful that he not only puts up with me, but also does his best to help me, and love me more. I can’t imagine having panic attacks with a spouse who judged me or didn’t at least TRY to understand me. I know it’s not easy for him to live with me sometimes, and I just wanted to love him and squeeze him to remind him how much I appreciate his help.)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyway to contact her. Instead, I started brainstorming. I stayed up most of the night comparing my life to hers, making lists of my biggest fears, googling anxiety support groups in my neighborhood, and thinking about what I could share on my blog.

One of the most important, heart wrenching, and enlightening moments of the book for me is in the end. Evelyn resolves with the fact that she will always need medication; after years of therapy, support groups, different medicines, and practices, she can’t happily and calmly survive without it.

This is not a fact for everyone who struggles with panic. Often people panic for a brief period, and are able to heal and move on in life. I have a feeling I am not one of those lucky people. That sounds very negative, but I actually felt relieved when I read her outcome. I thought, “If she has to do it, then so can I”. After all, “We can do hard things!” right Glennon?

Overall, this book wasn’t scary. It didn’t send me into a downward spiral of nightmares about life-threatening illnesses. On the contrary, this book was exactly what I needed. It was confirmation that I am on the right path. I am no longer in denial, I am healing, and I am definitely open to getting help (medical and mental), which I previously was 100% against. Most importantly, it reminded me that I am far from being alone.

If anyone else is dealing with similar struggles, I highly suggest reading Evelyn’s story. I can even lend you my copy. It’s even beneficial to non-panicky people because it explains how to live with and help the ones you love who panic.

Much more to come…

Cheers!

FNO Part 2

After leaving Sak’s last night we were on a glamorous-fashion high. I was so excited to get to the next big event that I basically ran the 7 blocks up to Henri Bendel. Henri Bendel is another large department store on 5th Avenue. This store was scheduled to have Cirque Du Soleil performers entertaining throughout their store all night!

Before we even entered the doors we were greeted by a beautiful (and kind of creepy) lady in the store’s window. She had a microphone and could communicate with all the people passing by on the sidewalk as she gracefully moved side to side in the storefront. Once we entered the store, we were surround by Cirque performers dressed in outrageous costumes, handing out samples, walking from room to room, and some even performing on platforms 20 feet in the air.

We were able to pick up some free cocktails as we roamed from floor to floor, searching for more Cirque characters. Henri Bendel is always decked out with beautiful accessories, bright and colorful décor, and creative displays, so the Cirque demonstrations fit in perfectly.

After the mini-Cirque show we walked to the lovely Bergdorf Goodman’s. Bergdorf’s is celebrating its 111th Birthday. To celebrate they decked out the place in purple. There was a giant purple cake, purple party hats, purple shoes, purple banners, purple displays, and even purple light bulbs in their elegant chandeliers. There was also a new book being released on the third floor.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’ Goodmans is a companion book to an upcoming documentary, which goes by the same name and comes out in two weeks. The author, Sara James Mnookin, was selling copies and signing autographs on the third floor. I was intrigued by this book the second I heard the title, and the more I learned about it, the better it sounded. It’s a book full of humorous and fabulous anecdotes from famous shoppers, infamous customers, employees, and designers. The author interviewed hundreds of these “Bergdorf” people to put her story together.

While chatting with her I mentioned that this book is the first thing I have been able to afford at Bergdorfs. She signed my book For Hilarie, and all your BG memories! (The First of many purchases at BG!) …. I hope she’s right.

We left BG’s and walked a few blocks over to Bloomingdales. By the time we arrived the celebrities and singers that had been performing were already gone. We roamed around anyways and found a super cool video game type thingy that allows you to dress yourself in clothes and accessories found at Bloomingdale’s.

Zoey tried it, and it was unbelievable how well it worked! She was able to choose any type of clothing, accessories to match, and virtually try everything on as she walked around and modeled on the giant TV screen. It was such a fun way to try on clothes, without actually having to try on clothes.

When we left Bloomingdales, we decided to walk back down 5th to take in a few more sights before the night ended. By 10pm most of the stores were closing, the celebrities were already boarding their private jets to their next glamorous destination, and stunned shoppers were tipsily walking out of stores with arms full of bags.

For years my second favorite holiday has been Black Friday, (my Birthday is first) but FNO is quickly working it’s way up the list. It’s at least in the top 5 now. Can’t wait to see what retailers have in store for the 5th annual celebration, only 363 days to go!

Cheers!

A Super Secret Special Place

Have you ever been to visit a new friend, a distant relative, or even a co-workers home and immediately felt at home yourself? You know, the type of warm home with big comfy couches, friendly words, loving photos scattering the walls, maybe an old cat rubbing against your leg, and the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen? Some places are just more inviting and welcoming than others, and when I find a place I feel comfortable, it’s a place I am sure I will be returning.

Recently, Zoey was searching for a used bookstore in our neighborhood and came across this video. Now, watch the video…seriously. It’s only 3 minutes and it is WORTH it. Promise.

Interested? I thought so.

Zoey looked up the owner of this secret bookstore, AKA Brazenhead Books.  Michael is the owner and he invited us over at basically anytime we desired. Apparently, he hosts little get-togethers, or salons, often that usually go into the wee hour of the morning. We decided to go visit his book store/residential apartment on a Saturday night at 10pm.

We buzzed his apartment/store and waited anxiously to be buzzed in and walk up a few flights of stairs to Brazenhead Books. The door looks just like the door of any other small residential home on the Upper East Side, much like my own, but when the door opened we were immediately transported to a crazy magical dusty crowded world of used and collectible books.

 

 

Michael greeted us with a hearty handshake, a warm smile, and an offer to make ourselves whatever drink we’d prefer. He had an assortment of liquors and wine on the edge of crowded table with a few empty glasses nearby. He smoked a pipe and was still in the middle of a casual conversation with two girls and older man who were obvious regulars. They sat around chatting about friends, birthdays, their families, and the lactose-free ice cream they were eating.

 

Michael invited us to look around as he poured himself a glass. Zoey, Husband, and myself, began roaming the stacks and piles of literally floor to ceiling books. Every square inch of this apartment is used to store books. In case you did NOT watch the video (shame on you!), I’ll summarize the history:

Michael grew up working in used books stores, loved books, and loved selling them. As an adult he had his own used bookstore, but it eventually became virtually impossible for this sort of store to survive in NYC. Michael’s book collection moved to his home, and continued to multiply. A few years ago, he got a new place and turned his old place into a secret bookstore for other book lovers to discover and enjoy. He does not care if you come to look, shop, or just visit over a cup of whiskey. His passion is keeping used bookstores and this type of environment alive in the city. You can find him via phonebook or Facebook.

I could have spent hours and hours searching through the endless supply of literature, which is kind of the point. In the middle of my hunting Michael began talking to us about himself and his store. I tried asking him about where he acquired his books, but learned more about his dogs (one is a rescued greyhound!). He was so honest and approachable. I felt like we’d been friends for years. I wish that I had that sort of charming personality that put strangers at ease and allowed them to see that I care about each one of them and their stories. Instantly, I understood why the other 3 guests would come back again and again to hangout with Michael.

 

Michael has managed to put his soul and personality into his business. He is a beacon to others who are full of passion and determined to live their dream. I am happy to have met him and thankful he welcomed us into his homey store. I may be slightly obsessed with my Nook these days, but I still love the way a new, or used, book feels in my hands.  I will definitely be making more trips to Brazenhead Books.

Cheers!