Do you like to shop?

The female stereotype says women LOVE to shop. We’re the gatherers, not the hunters, and we shop for the sheer pleasure of it.

I’m not so sure.

More and more, I meet women who tell me they HATE to shop. And I theorize it’s because we are overwhelmed by the amount of choices, prices, and places that shopping involves.

After all, we might enjoy downtown boutiques, but our budget is Wal-mart and who wants to shop there?! (C’mon, be honest!).

The gap between the glossy magazines and real life seems to get wider and wider all the time, don’t you think? What majority of us can really dress ourselves or our homes (or our man, for that matter) like the pictures in the grocery check-out stand? Yet they can add a great deal to the pressure of the endless decision making (“Wait! I think someone told me lime green was the new black…”).

I don’t want to spend money anymore on what’s going to add clutter or work to my already full life. And shopping just for the heck of it isn’t great for the environment (gas to get there, excess packaging, the endless trinkets that have been “Made in China” and shipped here…etc.,etc.). I think more and more Americans, especially, are getting a clue about this.

HOWEVER…dressing ourselves and our homes does involve some investment of money and time. At Tea Party Girl, I encourage you to practice hospitality in your home…for yourself, family, or others. Some of us might do this well with our college futon and paper plates, but I’m guessing most of us grow out of this season and desire more beauty and a less disposable lifestyle in the long run.

This is why I encourage you to take the time to learn what you love. Knowing this will help you more and more say “no” to the plethora of ads, clothes, outlet stores, and garage sale finds that come across your path. Instead, when you learn what you love, you’ll buy for you: your home, your family, your entertaining, and your definition of beauty. Sooner or later, your personal style will start to come through.

So, understanding it’s a process, how do we learn what we love? Here’s a few ideas based on what’s worked for me over my journey. I hope you will add your ideas in a comment.

  1. Get your colors done. It works, it really does, if you find someone who knows what they’re doing. What looks good with your eyes, hair, and skin? Guess what? It can also work for table linens, paint colors, and flower choices.
  2. Ask a trusted friend or two. They probably notice before you do that you’re constantly picking up skirts with polka-dots or red shoes.
  3. Look at the magazines, but ONLY to make a collage of favorites, not for formulas. I’ve heard it often…do the rip test. Rip from magazines without thinking too hard the pictures you love. What themes do you see?
  4. Give yourself plenty of time to make a purchase. If I decide to invest in something, but I’m not sure I’ve found what I want, I will walk away. If I’m still thinking about said item over the next day or two, that’s usually a good sign it’s something I would really enjoy.
  5. Ask someone who knows you well how they would describe you to someone else. Learn your style this way. The reality is, no one ever calls me beautiful, but cute. I live in California and don’t enjoy antique shopping, so I’m more contemporary in style than traditional. But I live in the country…can never find what I like in mod IKEA. You get the idea.

If you’re being nudged to invest in beauty…for yourself or your home…enjoy the process of learning what you love. Remember, it’s good for the environment!

Where are you in the process of learning what you love?