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The Curated Closet

Working for a Living AKA how The Curated Closet came about

Working for a Living AKA how The Curated Closet came about

I dislike my work. Once upon a time, I tolerated it. But, as time goes by, and I know my illness has cut my life short by a yet to be known amount of time, I dislike it.
Hate it, even.

Some mornings I actually sit on the floor of the shower stall and cry because I just don't want to go into the office....

But, need to put food on the table. Or, I did. Things they are a'changing.

Even though it's difficult, and we're making some sacrifices, my husband told me to "do what I love, and stop doing what I hate".

January 1st, I opened a business I love. You're at it. The Curated Closet.

While I am willing to have my husband support my "needs", I am unwilling to have him support my "wants". Or take money out of our savings for my new venture, which may fail. I can't risk losing our savings like that.

So, for now, I have cut back my hated job considerably (to about 24 hours a week) and use those earnings to fund my new business...and pay for my "wants". Working on cutting those back too. 

The hope is, once my new biz is self supporting, I'll work that 24 hours a week or so in TCC, and drop my "real" job for good. For now, though, I am burning the candle at both ends...

I actually applied for disability about 4 years ago. It was denied. I had heard it is often denied on the first try, so I appealed, really thinking "of course it will be accepted!"

I went before a judge, and listened with amazement to her tell me "You're working now. Which demonstrates you are capable of working. But, I have assigned an (I forgot the technical name, but someone who can help me transition to another occupation) so that you can better take care of your illness with maybe a less stressful position".

Well, your honor, I am working, because I can't afford not to work while waiting the year plus it has taken for me to get to stand in front of you today....not because I am "capable" of it....SMH

The occupational whatever-she-was suggested that I would make a darn fine file clerk. I'm sure I would. While there's nothing wrong with being a file clerk, after spending 60k on my education, and gaining 20 years of experience, and clawing my way up the ladder, it seems like a tiny move backwards...and not all that supportive financially. Not to mention, I don't see Monster.com teeming with file clerk positions....LOL

So, I kept working. Ironically, I see the abuse of disability first hand on a monthly basis with some of my clients. It's pretty infuriating. 

I'm a CFO/Controller.
Who cut her hours substantially.
And opened an eCommerce designer clothing store.
And is currently weighing picking up retail space for it.

And, on this fine Saturday, I am working. At what I love - though right now, can't say I love it all that much...it looks partly sunny out there, and I'm in here on this blasted computer, editing and making descriptions and pricing and creating SKU's...  Harumph. I should be getting some Vitamin D!

One day, soon, I hope to be able to say "I own The Curated Closet. And, I love what I do."

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When it rains, it pours!

When it rains, it pours!

So, I'm trying to get my s*** together.

I busted my back. Literally. Try working your 9-5, and running an e-commerce clothing store with that going on. Dressing dress forms, undressing dress forms, opening boxes of new inventory...

My doctor first restricted how much weight I could lift to 5lbs. My back got worse, and not better. So, he dropped that limit to 1lb! 1 pound! My purse - hell - my shampoo weighs more than a pound! I did try to comply, but as most of you know, my husband lives in another city during the week. That means that I do all those fun household chores...bring in any Amazon Pantry or subscribe & save boxes that get delivered (yeah, there are quite a few of them), bring in mail, take out garbage, scoop cat litter, etc.

This week (it's only Wednesday) my back has felt a lot better. So I'm easing back into a full work load. I figure this week I'll keep catching up on paperwork and website work and the 6 or so webinars I have in my in-box. Then next week I'll start adding all that great inventory I've received. I've gotten some great wedding gowns in - among them a Cotin Sposa I'm in love with. Also received some great designer dresses for every occasion. Nanette Lepore, Catherine Malandrino, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Aidan Mattox, Sue Wong, BCBGeneration, French Connection, Guess, Laundry, Michael Kors and so many more! Sundresses, wear to work, and date night dresses abound. Most of you now know about my dress obsession. It's because it is so much easier to throw on a dress and an accessory or two, over than finding an outfit. Same goes for rompers and jumpsuits! I have a killer lace jumpsuit that I wear once a month from April-October. I'd wear it more, but eventually someone would notice. It's like your little black dress - perfect for every occasion. But a jumpsuit.

Moving on. To why I called this post "when it rains, it pours!" During the time I was down, my husband started the procedure to get teeth implants. His accident left him missing a few teeth. An IT exec at one of the largest financial institutes in the world, and he is missing his front teeth. 3 of them. He does have a "temporary", a retainer with false teeth, he can wear in public. But, he went for the first appointment for his implants, at which they had to use cow bone and his blood and other disgusting-ness added to his jaw so they can put the posts in at his next appointment. 9 stitches. In his gums. And wearing his "fake teeth" is too uncomfortable right now with the stitches! Trust me - it's hot!! LOL, Not.... The stitches come out July 6th. And then he can wear his fakes again. Phew.

We've both been on steroids for our issues. I gained 7lbs. Him? 1. Grrrr

I've got to get back into a routine. I've cut back my "real job" to 2.5 days a week. I currently run TCC from my home, but am looking at office space for 2 reasons: I will stay more on task if there isn't laundry to switch, dishwashers to empty, etc. and, having your company in your house you can ALWAYS find more work that needs to be done. My husband may leave me if I make him rewind a movie we're watching again because I'm multi-tasking. That is, watching a movie with him and working simultaneously...

I hope to really start interacting with peeps through this blog and other social media outlets. So please follow me on Instagram @curatedcloset_ and on Facebook @thecuratedcloset.net

Please feel free to hit me up with any questions you have. My girlfriend Joyce calls me her "favorite' app", as she asks me everything from "hose or no hose", "open toe OK for interview?", "what hotel do you like in XXX" and "what job hunting expenses can I write off?". I know just enough about a lot of things to either be helpful or a total detriment! Seriously, 20 years of managing all aspects of small businesses - you know, Mom & Pops where you have to do it all - gets you a pretty wide knowledge base. So, ask away! If I know it - I'll answer. If I don't....Google! :-D 

 

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What does your closet say about you?

What does your closet say about you?

Once upon a time, I wanted my closet to say "Jackie O - timeless and sophisticated".

Then I realized, that's not me.
Or, rather, that's only a part of me.
Sure, some items in my closet are timeless and sophisticated.
They're right next to my "slightly too youthful" sundresses.
By my "fall is for tunics and leggings" collection.
Close to my "trendy but pretty much disposable" looks.
Near my "hot little vixen" dresses.
Across from my "no BS, I'm a strong woman" biz clothes.

So, I guess my closet says either " your style is very eclectic" or "your style is very confused!"

I prefer to think of myself as "versatile".

What does your closet say about you?

(pic of the mister and I is from a "groovy" themed Bat Mitzvah)

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You know when you're pretty sure life just isn't going to cut you a break?

I'm there. At that place. The place where you think "I. Just. Can't."

Running my accounting firm during the day. Using all the funds I make from it to run this website at night. Managing a house on 33 acres. Alone, because my husband lives and works in another state Monday through Friday.

You know the place. You try to plan a getaway, either real or wished for, because you're pretty sure it's the only thing keeping you sane. Of course, that's not enough...  You walk into one clients office, where he emptied one of your Rubbermaid tubs of filing from years past  because he needed it. For the 6 little chicks now living in it. You get a few inches of snow, no big deal...until you get an inch of freezing rain on top of it. 

I did manage to plan a getaway. Just a long weekend really. 4 nights - but we arrie late, so only 4 days as well. Off the grid! We're heading to a beachfront cottage on a barrier island off the SW coast of Florida next Wednesday. No cars. No stores. No restaurants. No wi-fi, tho intermittent cell signal does exist. Only way to and from the island is by water taxi - which is $20 during the day...and a whopping $125 the night we get in late! We were going to water taxi to the mainland for diner one night...but adding an extra $125 to the dinner tab is a bit much. We did plan a bit - we're having a Terra's Kitchen box of 5 meals (3 dinners and 2 lunches) delivered to the realtor we used and it will be waiting for us. Terra's is the most expensive food delivery service, and I wouldn't usually use them...but the difference between them and the others? They prep all ingredients as well! So, literally, no cutting, dicing, washing...just follow instructions and make meal. I don't relish cooking on my vacation, but if it has to be done, that's how we'll do it! The easy way. We also paid a grocery delivery service to pick up our breakfast foods, snacks and drinks so they are also waiting on us.

I like luxurious vacations. Being waiting on. Dressing for dinner. This will be quite a change for me! Although, I am still dressing for dinner...dinner together is still dinner, t can still e a romantic, dress up occasion. Maybe more so. But, this "unplugged getaway" does have me nervous. So much going on...and I'm supposed to shut down and relax!

So, are you "there" too? Overwhelmed - or close to it?

And, how does an "unplugged" vacay sound to you...dreamy or a nightmare?

 

 

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Where Do I Start?!?

Where Do I Start?!?

A Blog.

To me, this is going to be more like chatting. Or a diary. I'm going to try and keep it fashion related. But it won't always be. Because there's more to me than that. There's more to all of us. 

I guess I'll tell you how I got here. In a nutshell, a tough year made me realize just how much I would rather do something else - like this - over my "real" job. And, I took the leap and started this site just a few months ago, after things "settled down". And I pray it takes off and lets me continue to  phase out my "real job" and ramp this up. 2 months of working days and then working on this site and inventory and taking photos in the evenings and weekends. And phew, launched on Jan 1st as I wanted. Have a good bit to still put on the site, including wedding gowns, but, I launched. Baby steps to my new, happier, more fulfilling life. That's the short story. And you may want to stop there. Unless you like drama...then you'll like the long story. Because it's pretty dramatic.

In high school, I was into fashion design. Entered contests in magazines, took summer classes in the city, looked forward to being a broke artist sharing a NYC loft with other like-minded artists. 

The trouble with that? I enjoy living a nice lifestyle. Mom and Dad had always provided me a nice life. We weren't rich, but I guess we were well off. We lived in a desirable 'burb of NYC. I had designer jeans. We went to museums and broadway shows and ate at Kam-Bo Rice Shop in Chinatown every other Sunday.  And Mom and Dad, who were paying for college, made sure when I started college that I understood they would not be paying for any extras in college (gas, car insurance, McDs at midnight), nor would they be paying for my loft in NYC while I was awaiting my big break after graduating. So, while I still took design classes, I changed my major to finance. For no good reason...other than it was stable, and I was good at it. That was 25 years ago now...

Fast Forward: 

2016 was a bombshell year. 

December of 2015, I was on chemo. I have Multiple Myeloma. I've been on and off chemo a good while. We were buying a house, and were stunned when 2 weeks before closing, our mortgage was denied. My husband is a contractor. A well paid contractor. But, what was not an issue on our mortgages 10 years ago...apparently is now.  We had to hustle to rent a house. Found a small ranch on a large property (my husband loves property...and we're on 32 acres of it), and hoped we could swing around and purchase it in a couple years. My husband had started a 1 year contract with a Fortune 500 company only 15 miles from home. A welcome respite after a decade of traveling weekly. We could have dinner together...well, if he didn't constantly work late. So, while the house issue was a bummer, it wasn't earth shattering, and we ended up somewhere we liked better, but don't own.  And while chemo surely wasn't fun, it also wasn't debilitating. I was able to continue working PT, about 30 hours a week. So, I guess things were going as smooth as can be expected in life...you know, a couple upsetting bumps, but more good than bad.

Then, the first week of December, my husband left work late, went with a co-worker for a drink (pissing me off), swung into the pharmacy for me (smoothing things over the tiniest bit), and then hit a deer and totaled his car. He was fine. 

3 days later, he had called and told me to eat dinner without him, he was working late. I was pissed. 2 months into this contract, and all those dinners I had hoped to eat together weren't happening. I'll slip in here that we are pretty much newlyweds. It's complicated. Life is complicated, isn't it? We've known each other 30 years. Have dated on and off roughly 15 of them. And finally married 2 years ago. But, we're both used to our space. Neither of us ever had children. We're both also pretty independent. Marriage isn't easy in the best of circumstances...so, older and independent has led us over some bumps. Hills. Mountains.

So, I'm pissed. And, 7:30 comes and goes. I start calling and texting. No response. 9pm I decide to drive to his office. On the drive, I get the call. This is St Mary's Trauma Center, are you Dante's wife? Dante hit a deer. In our truck. The truck rolled several times. He is in the trauma center and I need to get there. I arrived at the ER knowing nothing...and was ushered into a "quiet room". My cell battery was almost dead, and the computer in the Quiet Room wasn't working. I used the last of my phone's battery to jot down phone numbers. As my phone went dead, I called a friend to ask her to get on the internet and look up numbers for me...and I made calls. I didn't know what to say. So, I told his brother and his best friend what I knew, and to pass it on. I'm sitting in a Quiet Room. Dante is in the trauma center and they're "working on him". They will have a doctor talk to me as soon as they can. I think he's alive...but, I'm not sure. Finally a doctor comes in. He's alive. He'll have a long road to recovery ahead. Massive head injury, gashed his face open from scalp, across forehead, over the bridge of his nose, and ripping his left eyelid off - hundreds of stitches and staples, and we won't know the extent of any issues for a while. Broke 11 ribs. Collapsed lung. Chest tube. Shattered leg. And, of course a bunch of bruises, sprains, strains and such that seemed pretty insignificant in comparison.

Just like that, a life that seemed to be going well, wasn't. He would be in the hospital a while. Then a rehab center. He had just become unemployed. He's a contractor - no STD or LTD or unemployment...none of that. I was the sole bread winner. And, primary caretaker. And, I was only working PT. I have no family, and his is very small - and not geographically close. We are new to the state, and the area, and don't have many friends, and no real support system. I seriously contemplated running away in those first days. How shitty of a wife would I be to run away?!? Yeah, it'd be pretty shitty. But, I thought about it. Several times...  It just seemed too much. 

The first morning he went for a surgery to put his leg back together. While he was in surgery, the eye surgeon showed and asked my permission to keep him under and  perform the eye surgery he needed right after the ortho was finished. Of course I said yes. Surgeries went well. The healing had begun. He was in the ICU for a couple weeks. I asked permission from my clients (I own my own biz...) if I could work remotely for a few weeks, so I could stick around ICU with him. It was granted. I worked from the hospital, ran in to offices to pick up/drop off stuff, ran to the house to take care of pets, grabbed clothes, ran back to hospital. That was my life. He eventually moved to a telemetry room. And, I was able to go home more, go to work more. Chemo - all but forgotten. Really, how was I supposed to get myself to and from and feel like shit with my husband n the ICU and only my income coming in? Just wasn't going to happen. My goal at that point was to get more sleep, and start looking for more work.

I got to the hospital after work one afternoon and a nurse cheerily greeted me with a "I hear he's going home with you today!". Wait, what??? Oh, no he isn't! I stood outside his room in near meltdown mode, demanding to see the social worker, who "kept missing me". The plan was: ICU, regular room, rehab. Not home! With me! He's 200lbs. And bedridden. And needs wound care. Shots to prevent blood clots. PT and OT. WT absolute F do you mean he's coming home with me? 

Turns out, because he was non weight bearing, and needed skilled nursing care, the rehabs wouldn't accept him. So, he goes home with me. That's the back up plan?!? Home with me?!? I'm no nurse! In fact, technically, I'm a cancer patient! I'm also not good with blood or bodily functions. I was surprised I was stomaching the eye thing - his goopy, bloody eye didn't close fully anymore. After they removed his chest tube, he coughed. It squirted out the hole it left in his side his side. I puked in the garbage can. I'm am no nurse!I was assured, all medical equipment would be delivered and set up in our home before he was released. And, within 12 hours, the nurses would call to set up a schedule. It was the day before Christmas, and the medical equipment company dropped everything off, and an ambulance brought him home where his own wheelchair awaited him. 

Nurse did call to set up a schedule. Then called out. It was the holidays, after all. I was again fantasizing about running away. I didn't realize nurses can just not show. It was a rough Christmas. Lots of painkillers. A few days later, his medical transport, to take him to a doctors appointment, called to cancel. I was forced to leave work early and get him and his wheelchair in my truck on my own. I was worn pretty thin by then. Nurses came and went, along with OT and PT. I no longer counted on anyone to help us. A few friends dropped by here and there. Some bearing soup. I had fallen into a pattern of leaving him coffee, OJ, bottled water, a yogurt, and hostess cupcakes and/or oreos when I got him settled on the couch at 6am before I left for work, and bringing home take out for dinner. I already disclosed, I'm not a good nurse! It was pretty bleak around our house. On the good side, nursing care cost us a lot less then anticipated. Now, if our health insurance would have just paid me for taking their place....

He walked on February 22nd. Life started to become easier. Walker, crutches, no more OT, only PT. I was working extra, and had taken on a client that turned out to be a nightmare. A nightmare of their own creation, and would not listen to anything. Kept saying "we can't be that bad, we've been operating like this for 20 years". Yeah, and flailing the past 5...because your shitty practices have caught up to you... And, it was a 70-75 minute drive each way.  

He was able to return to work in June. Unfortunately, it takes a bit to line up a contract and go through the background checks and such. Finally, July 25th he returned to a large company he'd done 2 other contracts with. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. I left the nightmare client. And started to ponder leaving more clients as we caught up financially. 

And that's how I got here. My husband said I should do what I want. He's working, I can work less, spend some of what's left of our decimated savings on starting this business, take a break. 

So, I am. Cut my hours. Took money out of savings. Started The Curated Closet. Officially. 

Oh, and that chemo thing? Never did get back. I went for all the scans and blood work in September so I could get back on. But, I realized, I just don't want to. At least, not yet. I'm just not ready for that hurdle. 

This is my time, to try and succeed at something on my terms.

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