What are you saying “No” to?


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series

I once read that every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. This simple concept makes perfect sense as the fact is that there are only so many hours in a day, and if we are spending those hours doing something, then by default we aren’t doing any of the many other things we could be doing with that time.

In my last blog post I challenged you (and myself) to declutter our physical space by keeping only the things that are useful or make us feel good and getting rid of the rest. This month I’m applying that idea to our time. For August our #indulgeU2016 goal is to declutter our schedule.

Action item: Every night for one week spend 5 minutes reviewing your day just before going to bed. Ask yourself these four questions of every activity that you engaged in during the course of that day:

  1. Was the activity useful?
  2. Did I enjoy the time I spent doing that activity?
  3. What did I say “no” to in order to take part in that activity?
  4. Am I ok with the trade-off in the long run?

The last two questions are what you should spend most of the 5 minutes reflecting upon. By saying “yes” to taking part in that activity what were you not doing? And, was it worth it? For example, on Saturdays while I’m at the boutique seeing to my clients, I’m saying “yes” to work I love doing but I’m saying “no” to spending that time with my husband and daughter. In the first year of running Underpinnings I stayed open on Saturdays until 6pm. That trade-off was not worth it for me as I was missing out on important bonding time with my daughter (then 2 years old).  Since then I’ve condensed Saturday hours so that when I close the boutique at 2pm the rest of the afternoon is free for family.  Do I miss out on some sales? Possibly. The balance however is important so that I can continue loving the work I do and giving my best to my clients.

Reviewing your day before bed can help identify the choices and trade-offs you have been making unconsciously, but the true benefit comes from running through these questions before committing to an activity or a course of action. Ask yourself:

  1. If I say “yes” to this, what will I be saying “no” to?
  2. Is it worth it?

You might be surprised at how many activities are filling your schedule that add no value, or worse, actually take away from the things that are your priorities in life. The beauty is that once you identify them you can begin to make some changes.

Declutter your way to joy


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series
​At some point during the past couple months my life started to move from being full (of work that I loved doing, activities that I wanted to do, people that I wanted to spend time with and time that I spent on personal development) to just being plain busy. I define busy as being occupied for a large part of every day on things that seem important at the time but looking back at it it’s hard to really identify why it was important or how the activity moved me forward personally or professionally. In speaking to other women it seems that “I don’t know where my days go” is a common complaint.

July and August tend to be slower times of the year generally speaking so I thought I would take these two months to declutter by making room both physically and in my schedule for the things that bring me joy. In July I decided to start off by decluttering my physical space, working  my way up to what I think will be the more difficult task in August – decluttering my schedule so that I can spend time on what’s truly important, As part of the Underpinnings #indulgeU2016 challenge, I’d like to invite you to declutter with me!

This month we’ll warm up by starting with our physical space. Take a good look at the places in your home that you spend the most time in – your bedroom (and closet!), living room and kitchen are three that easily come to mind. So here’s the deal, taking one physical space at a time dedicate about 3 hours to clear the area, evaluate the items and decide what stays and what goes. If it stays it has to be useful (in that you actually use it, not that you might use it…someday) or it has to be something that you love. The point of this exercise is to keep the things that inspire us and make us feel good but get rid of anything that triggers feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

 Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have room for this? Can the item be put away in an orderly manner so that when you walk into the room the space doesn’t feel crowded and overwhelming?
  2. Is this something I use regularly? If the last time you can remember using it was more than 6 months ago it’s a candidate to be tossed.
  3. Is it something I love? For an item of clothing (like maybe a bra) do you feel good when you put it on? Or is it uncomfortable or maybe just so dowdy that it makes you feel unattractive?
  4. How do I feel when I look at this item? Sometimes we have good intentions. The yoga mat and the dumbbells hanging out in a corner of the living room might inspire you to work out today…or they might lead to feelings of guilt if they’ve been sitting there, unused for some weeks/months. If that’s the case it’s time to find a new home for them, out of the way so that negative emotions of guilt (“I really should work out”) aren’t triggered but they’re available when you’re ready to make the commitment and take the steps to get back into a workout regimen.

Once you’ve cleared the area and decided what stays and what goes it’s important to follow through. Don’t keep the giveaway or toss items around because it’s all too easy for them to creep back in and just become clutter again.  Even better, this month we’ll be collecting donations of gently used, clean clothing which will be distributed at a home for victims of domestic abuse, so you can declutter your closet knowing that the items will be put to good use!

I’d love to read in the comments which room you’ll be starting with, and what feelings you experienced as you decluttered. 

Change Your Story to Change Your Life


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series
May is traditionally a celebratory month for women, and more specifically mothers. In addition to celebrating this month, we’ve decided to focus on empowering – encouraging women (myself included!) to take a look at the beliefs we hold and the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.

According to Tony Robbins, a life and strategy coach to some of the world’s most influential people, “We all have stories—narratives we tell ourselves about why we can or cannot do or achieve something in our lives. Whether we believe we can or can’t, we’re usually right, because our expectation controls our focus, perceptions, and the way in which we feel and act…A disempowering story is one of the things that controls people and makes them stuck in their beliefs.”

This month as part of our #indulgeU2016 challenge we’re asking two things:

1. What is one story you’re telling yourself that is holding you back? In the Underpinnings dressing room it might be “I’m not [__________] enough to wear this”. In life it might be “I’m not smart enough to get that job” or “I won’t bother with a relationship because I’ll only get hurt”. Identifying that story (also referred to as a limiting belief) can be difficult because we may have repeated the thought to ourselves so often that it feels like fact, however if you look at your own life objectively or at someone who is doing something you admire it is very likely that you can find evidence to support a different, more empowering story. Which brings me to the second question,

2. How can you replace that limiting story with something more empowering that you can believe? In the dressing room it may be by becoming open to looking at yourself with new eyes. Have aspirations for a promotion? Identify the actions that others have taken and get to work – it may mean networking to make yourself more visible or it may mean beefing up your qualifications. Reframe what it means that you have had previous relationships which did not work out – instead of thinking that you will only get hurt, consider that you may now have a better sense of what’s important to you in a partner which will bode well for a future relationship.

The key to changing your life is changing your version of the story so that you are in control of the outcome, rather than being a victim of your history or circumstance. ​

Gratitude: What you focus on expands


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series
​This month our #indulgeU2016 focus is on ‪#‎gratitude…a shift towards acknowledging the many small blessings that already exist in our lives rather than focusing on what our lives lack. How is that indulgent? Research shows that our thoughts can actually trigger changes in our brain and in our body that can affect our mental and physical health. Studies also show that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, strengthens relationships, improves health, and reduces stress…I think we can all use some of those benefits in our lives!

It may be difficult to consciously make a transition into a more positive and appreciative mind-set. ​ ​The trouble with negative thinking is the beauty of positive thinking – both are habits formed over time until they become our default behaviour.  Being in a negative frame of mind, be it constantly finding fault, complaining or worrying, trains the brain to see more negativity while being in a positive frame of mind trains the brain to see the beauty in the current situation or opportunity and solutions when challenges arise.

Since positive thinking is a habit, how can we train ourselves to be more positive? At the beginning of this month I stuck a post it note on my bathroom mirror with just one word – Gratitude. It acts as a reminder when I’m getting ready to face the day to take some time to focus on a couple things that I’m really grateful for. When I’m getting ready for bed it acts as a reminder to focus on at least one thing that happened during the day that I can acknowledge with appreciation.  Sometimes its small things like light traffic when I left home later than planned and sometimes its bigger things such as opportunities to share Underpinnings’ message with a broader audience.  I have tried to implement gratitude practices before but I’ve had challenges with being consistent.  Doing it in this way that is structured, yet simple, allows it to fall in more easily with my daily routine has helped me be more consistent.

Do you have a gratitude practice? In the comments, tell us what you do to acknowledge the good things in your life or quiet the negative thoughts.  To be eligible to win a $100 Underpinnings gift certificate in April, head over to our Facebook page to share and comment on our #indulgeU2016 posts telling us what you do to focus on the positive, feel gratitude and perhaps most importantly, express gratitude.

Keep Indulging!

Self-Care for the Soul


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series

When was the last time you did something just for yourself? It could be anything from a luxurious spa treat or a relaxed, lazy weekend at home all by yourself. I ask because I know how much we women put the needs of others above our own. And as much as that is great and altruistic, I also know that it can drain us physically, emotionally, and mentally.

When we give everything and everyone else 100% and leave nothing much for ourselves, our energy and fulfillment dwindles. It’s harder to be there to support others when we’re barely keeping ourselves together

Self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant. Yes, going to a spa or having dinner with your girlfriends is a great way to indulge yourself once in a while, but there are also simple and inexpensive ways to treat yourself or make yourself a priority on an ongoing basis. Why not enjoy a long soak in the tub on a random weekday? Light some candles, get out those bath salts that Aunty gave you last Christmas, and once the children are in bed immerse yourself.

For me, self-care is a way of recharging, of connecting with myself and doing things that really make me happy. I can tell when it’s been neglected too…low energy and a lack of patience are a sure sign that I need a little “me” time!

Here are a few things that are in my regular self-care rotation:

  1. Lighting a scented candle while I work – it’s like being at a spa in the middle of the day.
  2. Sometimes when I order new stock I include something pretty for myself. Pretty (and comfortable!) lingerie makes me happy!
  3. Taking a yoga class to strengthen and energize my body and give my mind some much-needed quiet time.
  4. Curling up on my sofa with a romance novel and a steaming cup of chai tea (best when my hubby and daughter are out of the house having their bonding time!).
  5. I try to set aside time every day to just be still.  I’ve found that just 5 minutes in the morning before the rest of the house wakes up helps me to face the day with more calm and ease.

Your indulgent challenge:

This month, take a step back and focus on that one person who deserves your full attention: YOU.

To be eligible to win a $100 Underpinnings gift certificate in March, head over to our Facebook page to share and comment on our #indulgeU2016 posts telling us how you are going to take care of yourself this month

Keep Indulging!

Indulge in 2016…


This post was originally emailed to our UPlift community in Dec 2015. 
It’s the time of year when many of us make New Year’s Resolutions but around this time last year I tried something different: instead of making resolutions I set goals, things that I intended to accomplish both personally, and with Underpinnings during 2015. That worked out pretty well (see more on my goal setting process in this blog post) so I’ve decided to do it again this year, but this time I’m sharing my goal for Underpinnings with you as a cherished member of the Underpinnings community.

I’ve been listening all year long as clients step into the fitting room. Outside of the heartwarming smiles and dancing (yes, dancing!) I’ve seen when you’ve put on that bra that makes you feel like you can take over the world (yay!) I’ve also been privy to a lot of the negative self-talk and criticism about our bodies and ourselves that we women have all too often.

That’s why I’m declaring 2016 to be The Year of Self Indulgence!

Why Indulgence? Because my goal this year is to help you quiet those inner critics by encouraging you to do things that rejuvenate you (self-care – think spa day or a movie night with girlfriends) and revitalize you (healthy habits – think some sort of movement every day). Every month you’ll get the Indulgent goal for the month delivered to your inbox and I’ll be doing it right along with you. When you’re taking time to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally it will be easier to stop your inner critic and replace the thought with something more self-affirming.

And just in case a year of self-indulgence isn’t enough for you, every month Underpinnings will be giving away a $100 gift certificate to the person who throws herself most into that month’s activity (pretty undies = even more indulgence!)

Of course, we’ll continue doing what we do best – helping you find bras and other innerwear pieces that are comfortable, supportive and pretty…because life’s too short for boring!

I’d love to know YOUR big plans for 2016. In the comments below write back and tell me:

In 2016, I am totally committed to _______________ and I am SO excited about ________________

Here’s to an Indulgent 2016!