I’m bringing sexy back

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life55 Comments

There is a moment in any given day—you know the one—it’s when you realize that it’s nearing the end of Day 2 with no shower and you shrug and say to yourself, “What’s the point? I smell just fine.”

You may or may not know this, but I don’t get out much. Oh sure, I go to the grocery store. I hit Costco once every few weeks. I drive my kids to and from school.

But between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., I’m a self-employed person who is trying to carve out as much earnable time as possible.

In other words, time spent fussing over how I look isn’t exactly time well spent.

Granted, I do carve out time every day for exercise. This has been a fairly non-negotiable daily task since January 1. Right now, that means treadmill time every day at 8:30 a.m. No, I’m not running at all. I’m just walking and getting as many steps in my day as possible.

Many days, I finish on the treadmill, make my breakfast smoothie (almond milk in place of the dairy) and it’s already time to sit down and wade through email and adjust my schedule for the day.

Why change out of the orange sweatshirt?

It isn’t until the time when I begin actually interacting with people later in the day that I realize, “OH, shit… I am in the same clothes from yesterday.”

Most of the time, still, I don’t really care.

I’m not exactly sure why this is. Maybe I can attribute it to doing what is actually needed. If a shower is truly needed, believe me, I’ll be the first in line.

But sometimes, work and laundry and meal planning and exercise take precedence.

I’m very fortunate to be able to make a living as a self-employed person. Not a day goes by when I’m not grateful for this experience; this set of circumstances.

True, there I things that I did and studied that have helped me to be able to do what I do. Having a degree in journalism and working as an editor in my younger years taught me how to write with clarity. Learning graphic design and computers on the job (in order to keep my job in the 1990s) opened up an entirely new world to me, one where study and application could actually translate to an entirely new career.

Add to that some really amazing mentors who taught me more about how to work with people than anything else, something that I believe is really the most critical component in any worker’s skill set.

But still, I am lucky.

Combine that with work I’m trying to do on myself so I can actually be a better all around human and it leaves very little time for style and fashion.

For right now, I’m good.

And it’s not like I wear the same orange sweatshirt every day.

I mean, I have two of them.


Cathy ZielskeI’m bringing sexy back

55 Comments on “I’m bringing sexy back”

  1. #1
    Janie Pearson

    Great post. Nice to know more about you and how you started in journalism. I would love to know how you got your training in graphic design. Were you mostly self-taught with some additional mentoring? I am so there with wanting to wear the same comfy clothes day after day since I’m at home a lot, too. Especially during a winter like this one. You have carved out a beautiful life and career for yourself. I agree…focus on health and fitness…showers and fashion can wait. Have a great day!

  2. #3
    Annette Davis

    I work from home, too. Replace the orange sweatshirt with a royal blue one and the smoothie with a pot of coffee and we’d be twins:)

  3. #4

    Hey Janie, I should do a post about how I got where I am. I’ve had a lot of emails over the years where people say: I want to do what you do. So much of what I do is luck and timing, truly. Thanks for the idea for a blog post! To not have too much suspense, I am completely self taught. I just learned to emulate, then my style emerged from that.

  4. #5
    Jacquie Desilets

    I took early retirement to raise three school age children. I have been known to go a day or two without brushing my hair. All hail the hair clip! And daily showering…way overrated. Priorities folks, priorities.

  5. #6
    Leslie M.

    I love the freedom of working from home and not answering to anyone but me! And I don’t care what I wear when I’m working. PJ’s, Sweats, are all great work clothes!!!

    Have a fun day!

  6. #7

    This is fabulous! I USED to be the gal that NEVER left the house unshowered, no make up…even to take our daughter to school! Then I learned something very poignant from her when she hit high school. She went to a private, all girls high school. No boys to impress. Uniform every single day. She went to bed with her white t-shirt and boxers and a messy bun in her hair, woke up the next day, pulled on her polo and skirt, put a few more bobby pins in the bun and left the house…no shower. no makeup. And I thought to myself, if she can do that, I can do that! Now, you may see me running all my errands with yesterdays hair, no make up and probably yesterday’s yoga pants as well! I can’t believe it took me reaching my mid forties to realize this freedom!! And, like you, I am the first in line for a needed shower and have no problem getting fancied up for a night out!!!

  7. #8

    Thank you for sharing this–I was starting to feel really bad for not showering every day and wearing the same yoga pants and sweatshirt for 3 days straight. Then swapping it out for a nearly identical set in a slightly different color.

    I also used to NEVER leave the house without full makeup and hair and a cute outfit. Not even to run a kid to school. But now…well, I just wonder why I bothered with all that for so many years! Especially since moving up here to the Great White North where the icy wind makes my eyes tear up immediately upon walking outside and any makeup I might have put on is washed away or smeared. No wonder northern chicks where less makeup than southern chicks!

  8. #10
    Sandra d Lomas

    I love your writing. I feel like your sitting across from me and we’re having a nice chat. I too have a “uniform” for my days at home. I have several pair of black yoga pants ants a few favorite sweatshirts. I know it looks like it to some that I must not shower every day. Gotta keep them guessing. LoL

  9. #12
    madeline St onge

    LOL love this post Cathy, I am with you, not self employed but retired, there are days I only go out to walk the dog or get the mail so why shower every day, I say the same thing 😉
    Hope you have a great day today

  10. #13

    This is SO true. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Ha! And you can’t forget that a lot of your success stems from your authenticity and voice as a writer. 😉 I really pick up on it because that’s what I’ve been committed to discovering as a writer and blogger this year! ^_^

  11. #16

    Shawn, I can so relate! Its just been in my 40s too where I started going everywhere without makeup, or showering, or even looking presentable. I too like to put make up on for special occasions, and maybe I do look a little more put together when I do, but maybe its something about hitting your 40s where you start to realize: HEY! The clock is ticking and time can be spent better on other things. : )

  12. #20

    I can relate – I too live in MN and I did not leave the house Sat or Sun or take a shower – just sat and looked out the window

  13. #22

    that’s true…I’m 57 and had exactly the same way of life when I was 45..and it works perfectly and that’s great ! thanks for sharing your experience of non compulsory shower-make-up-dress etc.

  14. #23
    Kristi K.

    Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

    Next week I will be moving my office to home. I’ve worked at an office for all of my career… over 20 years! I’m a little giddy with excitement. I already have my favorite home outfit planned – gray sweatshirt and yoga pants. BUT I will shower everyday. My skin gets itchy if I don’t. I just wish that the lease ran out of my office sooner so I didn’t have to commute through this brutal Midwest winter. Sigh…

    Part of me wishes that I was able to do this a few years ago when my kids were younger. But let’s be realistic – I couldn’t do this unless they were semi independent, and my teenagers are, thank goodness.

    I didn’t know that you are a self-taught designer. So am I. My first job out of college was being an editorial assistant who “helped out” in graphics because I wasn’t afraid of computers. My editor would say that my stories were fine, then rave about my page layouts. After finding out that graphic designers earned more than reporters, I switched gears without a second thought. Glad to find out that I’m not the only one with a similar skillset.

    By the way, you look pretty damn fabulous in that orange sweatshirt. It’s a keeper.

  15. #25
    Melissa O.

    LOL! Posts like this are the reason I keep on reading them. Not afraid to be totally honest & real. It also reminds me of me. LOL!

    I would LOVE to work from home, but the part of my brain that’s supposed to figure out ways to accomplish this & still pay the bills isn’t nearly as developed as my crafty side.

  16. #28

    I worked for 32 years in a corporate office where, FINALLY, dress jeans were allowed on Casual Friday. My job got outsourced, I got offered a VIRTUAL job by the company outsourcing us so working from home ! Need I say more? I laughed at your last comment..you have two orange sweatshirts. My chosen item of clothing….just ordered an identical one from Amazon ….the first is getting a bit ‘tattered’ so need to have a spare item for days I feel like getting ‘dressed up’. ha ha.

  17. #29
    Tammy B

    You’re awesome Cathy! My 16 year old son will stay in his pj’s and robe all weekend if there are no plans. If I didn’t have to leave my house to work out, I may do the same! Somedays it’s just comforting to not worry about wardrobe choice. Really wishing my go-to sweatpants were clean right now!!

  18. #30

    I’m with you. I own four pair of yen same black pants and four work shirts. One pair of black shoes. I figure wearing this “uniform” is no different than the green scrubs I wore for 10 years at my hospital job. Not that I don’t appreciate cool fashion and lovely shoes. Project Runway? Those people are amazing. But it’s just not my thing in my day to day life. And if we happen to attend a funeral and wedding together……..well, it’ll be the same black dress. I call it my marry em bury em outfit. And after a lifetime of hearing people complain about dressing up or scrambling to find appropriate clothes, I’ve made it known that no one is to wear dress up clothes to my funeral. I want everyone comfortable and not grumpy. So they can be at their best to talk about how wonderful I was. Love your blog. Often makes me wish we were neighbors.

  19. #32

    This is so funny. I am working on the Organizational class by Wendy and Ali (although it ended a couple of weeks ago), and in the same clothes I wore yesterday. I thought to myself, well no one saw me but my husband (I didn’t even check the mail, so neighbors saw me), and I will change clothes before I see him. I have a class this afternoon at work, so a shower will be taken by 3pm (solves the husband problem also), and I am wearing my favorite sweatshirt. The sweatshirt problem only comes into play when I start doing math. I got it in my last year of nursing school, has some sentimental value. It has no stains or holes, but, oh my, I graduated in 1995! Yikes, if my math is correct, I think my sweatshirt is 19 years old, oh my!

  20. #35

    Casual Friday. Now theres a term. I remember when my last corporate job did that. Still no jeans allowed, mind you, but khakis. All hail the khakis.

  21. #36

    I just sent this to Gary and said, ” If this doesn’t make you laugh and think, ‘we have the best clients ever’ you’re fired.” We heart you.

  22. #38

    I have to shower. Maybe my sweat stinks more than other people’s does, but if I don’t shower after exercising, I feel like flies are dropping dead around me by the end of the day. 🙂
    That said, I am perfectly happy to put my comfy sweats or jammies back on after I de-stench myself. 🙂

  23. #39

    My husband knows……when it gets cold I hate to shower or bath. I live in Texas, so I meet my quota during the summer, but damn to get wet when it’s cold and miserable??? BTW, I love the orange sweaters…….have you replaced them or are those the originals??? If they are originals, where do you get them because they look great.

  24. #40
    Sue FitzGerald

    Hey, at least your not in your PJs because really that would be my choice of everyday wear 🙂

  25. #42
    Nikki D

    So true!!!I agree with Marisa G x

    Always good for making me realise how unimportant something’s really are – I am like this on the weekends ;-)Having to go to work makes me have to clean up my act – ha!

  26. #43

    If you lived in Australia you could plead environmental consciousness as an excuse for not showering. Droughts make that one possible! Gotta save water.

  27. #44

    Great post! I’m mostly a SAHM (practice dental hygiene 1day/week) and I’ve often felt underdressed when I run over to the school or a local errand. I wonder how much time some moms take every morning showering and doing their hair and pulling together a nice outfit. Thanks for the validation! 🙂

    As far as your self-taught design skills… after all these years of a photography hobby and using lightroom, I’m taking the plunge into Photoshop CC… I really want to learn the design skills and utilize your templates, etc…but I am at SQUARE ONE… do you recommend any tutorials in getting started? The ones I’ve seen talk as if I already have experience with PS….I don’t!

  28. #45
    Barb in AK

    LOL!! Cathy, you are on the road to a happy retirement 😉 Once I retired, it was gray sweatpants and tee shirts for me. I even wear the same socks three days in a row. I figure if I change my panties everyday, then everything else is “clean” 😉 I’ve been known to sleep in the same clothes on occasion.
    Hip-hip-hooray for Saturday night showers…… returning to childhood ways, when our well water was at a premium!! Now, this didn’t come easy to me at first, but once dh was retired, he has spent most of his days living in the same gym shorts and tee. During the winter, he roams the house (and has even been known to put the trash out) in his long johns. Why should I be expected to do anything more than that???

  29. #46

    Hmmm. Good question. Have you ever checked out Lynda.com? They are one of the top online education sites for Photoshop. I would start by browsing there!

  30. #51

    I have a pretty stressful job, not life or death stressful, but deadline stressful. I am going to have to read your blog posts more often. You crack me up!

  31. #53

    A bt off topic, but I’m reading the Diet Fix, and while he doesn’t have your awesome/snarky sense of humor, so many bells keep going off and make me think of all I have learned here from following your fitness journey. I’d love to hear your take on his perspective–his name is Yoni Freedhoff.

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