Aaron and I were out of town almost the entire month of July. We were all over the place — San Francisco, Napa, Nicaragua (although that one was just Aaron and his guy pals), and various spots in our home state of Texas. We had a blast!
But then, after our travels, we came home to a massive plumbing leak that’s going to result in us having to rip out our bathroom that we only finished renovating a few months ago.
When our stuff starts breaking down, it’s no fun. But I also think it’s a good opportunity to step back and remember exactly that — things break down.
So often, even still, I get caught up on shiny new things. I fall for that old illusion that says, “If you buy this thing, you’ll be happier — you’ll be more of the person you want to be.”
But when things break down, it shatters that illusion.
It reminds me that new things don’t magically turn me into the person I want to be — only action can do that.
It reminds me that my energy is better spent loving the people in my life, challenging myself to try new things, and being fully present to my life right now, exactly as it is.
If you’re in a similar situation with your stuff, we can commiserate for a second. Maybe have some wine.
Then, we’ll get up, fix it, and toast that glass of wine to an August that’s about refocusing on what really matters in life. Who’s with me?
• • •
If you liked today’s outfit, you can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using these affiliate links:
01 / Jeans by Seven (made in USA — also on sale) | same jeans in lighter wash (made in USA — also on sale) | similar in a lighter wash for under $60
02 / Stripe tank (old) | similar
04 / Bag by Meyolo (made responsibly + my sis-in-law owns this shop!)
05 / Necklace (old) | similar by Madewell
Couldn’t agree more.. Cheers to that!
You have a wonderful outlook on life. Thank you so much for blogging. you inspire me to be a better person.
Christine, oh my gosh, that is just such a nice thing to say! Hugs :) xo, Caroline
Oof, I’m so sorry. :( We are in a similar spot in that the roof that we wanted to replace a couple of years down the road has bit the dust, with some leaky spots to prove it. As much as I’d rather use that money for something else, at least we have (and can repair) a roof over our heads. I hope the plumbing issue gets sorted quickly, but I did really love the two posts in one week! Sending good thoughts your way. <3
Oh Jackie! That is the worst! But yup, just like you said — you have a roof over your heads, so it’s also a good time to count your blessings. Sorry that happened! Sending good thoughts right back to you! xo, Caroline
I’m so sorry, you have to rip out your entire bathroom, Caroline. I hate it when new things break.
Thanks Carol. It’s the pits! xo, Caroline
Tanya E says
Oh poor you with the plumbing leak! How frustrating. I hope it’s not too hard to sort out. I like your attitude, though. I have been browsing sales for summer things, but I can’t really get any enthusiasm or find anything I really love. Instead, we have been having some family days on the beach while the weather is good!
I love your flares btw. Great minds, I am in flares today too, mine were cheapish from Next (uk) a couple of years ago, but fit really well and are going strong for a 70s summer feel.
Tanya, a beach day sounds better than you can imagine right now! Enjoy :) xo, Caroline
Great perspective! Great reminder. Thank you!
Wonderful post! But, it will make my question sound a bit superficial, sorry! Can you tell us where the leather chair is from? We’re on the hunt for the perfect one.
I can relate to this. When I first travelled to meet my boyfriend’s family, I started planning my packing list weeks in advance and tried quizzing him on what I should bring. I’ve realized that when I’m put in a stressful situation, I focus on what I’ll wear because it’s something I can control.
I’ll probably always be an outfit planner, but recognizing why I do it has helped me address what really makes me anxious.
Wow you put in to words a feeling I get too, but have never pinpointed it! *mind. blown* Thank you. I will be more mindful now when I become frustrated picking an outfit for a stressful event.
Amy, thanks for sharing! I think more of us do that than we probably realize. xo, Caroline
I love your outfit and sorry about your plumbing leak! We were in a similar situation. On the 4th of July our well went dry and all of July we had no running water. It was hard, on top of that I’m pregnant, so it was super stressful. As of yesterday, we had water trucked in, so I feel so thankful to have running water now! While it was hard the blessing was we didn’t have to pay rent and that money was able to be saved to spend on our new baby :)
Felicia, oh my goodness!! Water is leaking in one place and drying up in the other! I’m so sorry that happened, and so glad you got your running water back! Especially since you have the wee one to take care of soon. :) xo, Caroline
Learning to appreciate maintaining my old house. Sometimes you save up for a desired improvement and then end up having to spend that money on a necessary repair. Not quite the same thrill as spending your money on some new exciting thing, and can kind of feel like you spent a bunch of money to be exactly where you started. Yet, that is real life and so I am trying to embrace it and be grateful for every last broken thing I am fortunate enough to have in my house.
Bronwyn, perfect way to look at it. I’m sure we’ll laugh about it someday! Maybe. ;) Until then, we’ll try to be grateful for all that we have. :) xo, Caroline
Ah, so so true. I’m on a total shopping ban this month (no house stuff, clothes, makeup, eating out, etc.) and it’s forcing me to be happy and content with what I already have, and not depend on things to make me happy. It’s important when things like this happen to take a step back so we don’t get all wrapped up in it. You always have the best way of wording these types of things, and it’s why I always come back to your blog!
Aw, thank you for saying that Stacy. Bad stuff happens to all of us, but it’s how we handle it that shows us what we’re made of. And also shows us that those material things can’t make us happy. Good luck on the shopping freeze! :) xo, Caroline
Excellent post! You make such an important point. I do love the outfit too!
Preach it, sister! Basement flood 8 months ago. All repairs finally done 2 weeks ago. Better than it was before and movin on:)
Faith, oh man! Love the attitude — fix it and forget it! :) xo, Caroline
I’ve been battling this same feeling lately. My mind tricks me into thinking that if I purchase new home decor or if I have her outfit or that purse I’ll be closer to the vision of who I wan to be. And it’s funny because I come to this realization after every impulse purchase, yet I still find that I need to remind myself of this with each new purchase. Any tips on how to fight that feeling in the moment of purchasing?
But you’re completely right, it’s not the things that help us get closer to that vision or that ideal state, it’s our mentality, it’s investing in others and it’s working on our internal contentment.
Love this post! Great reminder that we can’t find satisfaction in material items.
Kendall, thank you for your thoughtful comment. It’s so silly how we trick ourselves time and time again to think that more/better things will make us feel like happier people. So many of us can relate to that feeling.
I think there are a few ways to avoid those feelings while shopping…
I think it’s important to shop with a plan. Try to carefully think about your purchases beforehand, specifically to avoid those impulse items that we tend to regret. I would also recommend you cut back on reading magazines, and maybe even blogs + instagram accounts that could be triggering feelings that you are not good enough. I know no blogger intends to make anyone feel that way, but sometimes it does shine a light on our insecurities when their lives seem so amazing on a phone screen. And lastly, take a little time every day to be grateful for who you are and what you have. And when you go through days where you made mistakes or have those feelings of doubt, (they happen to the best of us) just let them live in the past.
I certainly don’t have all the answers and I’m not perfect, but these little tricks help me feel more content. xo, Caroline
Love these tips – and your blog in general. Thanks, Caroline!
You may have already done this, but check to see if your insurance will cover the damage. I sympathize, as we woke up two days ago to a hissing sound in the wall and water spewing into the basement. You don’t fully appreciate plumbers until you really need one. It must be the week for plumbing problems. Thanks for your good attitude and thereby helping all of us with ours!
Oh Judith! Sorry to hear that. We will look into the insurance. Thanks for the suggestion. Hope your situation gets worked out soon! xo, Caroline
You do have a great attitude! I’ve been suffering with one of the seven deadly sins lately….envy. When I read your post that little tug of envy raised it’s ugly head again. I so wish I could travel and get away for almost a month. Maybe it’s just August and me missing my mom – today (would have been their 60th wedding anniversary), her birthday on 8/9, and her passing unexpectedly last year on 8/20. August is just not a great month this year. I also need to curb my shopping when I feel like this because nothing bought replaces someone lost. Good luck with your bath ;c)
Hi Janet, I’m so sorry this month triggers so many sad emotions for you, and I’m sorry about your loss. So terrible to lose your mother, especially unexpectedly. I wish you could travel for a month too — and maybe you will some day! Hope you find some joy and comfort in the small things during this difficult time. xo, Caroline
Thank you for your kind words ;c)
OBSESSED with the back of that tank! Of course, it’s old and cannot be purchased! Ha ha.
Awe thanks too bad Caroline! But like you said sometimes things like that have to happen to remind us what’s really important in life. Thanks for sharing!
VaNessa Thompson says
i’m right there with you sister! two years ago, i went through a dark patch and it all started when my apartment flooded. who knew plumbing can spark an inner-revolution.
Vanessa! Ugh, it stinks! Sorry you had to deal with that too. xo, Caroline
Seeing this was perfect timing. All day I’ve been trying to contact people about how to clean up the leak in our bathroom that soaked carpet in our bedroom. Came home late last night from being out of town to find things smelling like mildew. Let’s hope we can both get our houses cleaned up, keep stress in check, and remember what’s important.
Amelia, yes! I’ll be cheering you on from over here in Texas! xo, Caroline
Yikes. I work in architecture (and for a residential GC) so will offer a few words from what I have learned. Depending on the cause of the leak and the nature of the work that was done and your homeowners insurance, between your insurance and the contractors warranty you hopefully have some recompense. It doesn’t make the hassle and heartache go away but it does make the money part easier. Best wishes with all this!
Julie, thank you so so much for the tips and the encouragement. We will look into it for sure! xo, Caroline
I love this. I’m often so caught up with the latest fashion designs, those ceramics crockeries and what everybody has and this is such a grounding post.
Keep it up!
Amanda Adams says
Yes, God can only fill that void. Everything else will disappoint. I’m sorry about your leak:/ Just as a precaution, look for mold issues after leak problems. We have had some devastating mold issues and so I hope you can look for it and remediate it if necessary.
Amanda, thank you for that reminder. We will definitely keep that on our to-do list. xo, Caroline
kim domingue says
Life is so much easier once you accept the fact that nothing’s perfect and stuff breaks and that’s just the way life rolls.
Kim, I couldn’t have said it better! xo, Caroline
One of the best posts ever! Thank you Caroline!
Vitrie maulani says
i really love this post and it was well spoken.however, that jeans is on point.
Marie Therese says
So sorry about the plumbing problem! I hate when things like this happen, but then, you just realize what’s important and somehow the frenzies go away. :)
Have you been following The Freckled Fox? I feel like I have a whole new perspective on life every time I read her blog. It just rips my heart right out of my chest and helps me realise how fortunate I am…not to mention giving my husband lots of extra hugs these days!
Whitney, it’s stories like hers that really do give you a different perspective on life. Great reminder of what really matters! xo, Caroline
I do agree with you from the bottom of France.
And I use this first comment from me, to tell you how much I love your blog and all the ideas you share with us : about living our life peacefully.
Thanks for your beautiful soul
This top is so beautiful !
What a great reminder! You always have wonderful insights to share. And you make me rethink flare jeans…it’s the important things, and the not-so-important things. :)
Love that you turned a negative thing into a positive thing! Especially with being in the blogging world, it’s easy to get caught up in all the glitz, glam, stats, and constantly being glued to your phone. It’s important to refocus on what truly matters in life. I feel so much more filled when I spend time with my friends and family than when I am obsessing over how many likes I got on IG or how many views I got on my blog.
Andrea, speaking so much truth right there! :) xo, Caroline
I really, really loved this post. So important to remember that stuff is not what is important, people and experiences are.
Cheers to that! And I love your tank top. Good luck with the remodel/fixing of your bathroom!
Thank you Elizabeth!! :) xo, Caroline
Lisa Lucier says
My sister and I have a little saying that “stuff happens to your stuff.” I also try and remember something I read somewhere that said “to own is to maintain.”
Abby | Lace & Lilacs says
I love this. Thank you. <3
This post makes me think of one of my favorite sayings
. ” I can afford more food than I can carry”
Which is what I noticed once when I was a “poor”student and I always remind myself when it seems like I have financial woes.
I can still afford more food than I can carry. I’m fine. And I’m lucky.
consulenza d immagine says
They perfectly matches your body shapes.
I really love denim and I’m used to wear it very often.
Thanks a lot for the inspiration.
Thanks for this great post. I totally agree with you, I usually weigh my burdens more than the things that matter in life. Your post made me realize this. This may be cliche but I do value life experience and the people I love over material goods. It also made me realize that no matter how hard (or how easy) life is, to never forget that life is all about learning, we just have to go with the flow and hope for the best.
I have my water heater (?) broken this morning and I was really upset about it. I mean, I can’t take a shower and not even brush my teeth! I was really angry.
And then I see this old via my rrs feed exactly today. Thanks. I feel like I’m relieved somehow and more optimistic. Thank you :)