James Olon

By Design

Spent the morning at my local coffee spot, headphones on writing. I really wish I was able to do that a little more often. It’s hard to make that time. It’s hard to make time for anything that isn’t family related I’ve put all my eggs in that basket. I haven’t so much as been out of the house for anything on my own in nearly a year. I don’t really have any friends anymore. Not like I used to. Not like a friend I can call up and go do something with. That’s by my own design though, I can barely hold family stuff together without any distractions. I feel like I don’t really deserve to have any friends. Most of my old friends were just my drinking buddies. My get into trouble buddies. It’s really hard to make friends as a grown ass man. At this age/point in life most people are done trying to make any friends.

Selfish at Best

I’ve been trying my best to listen to an album start to finish before I go to sleep at night, instead of watching a tv show or movie. And by watch I mean have on in the background while I use my phone to read news or catch up on the rest of the internets. I’m finding that it really winds me down to pick a mellow album and just kinda space out in my headphones. I haven’t really been to interested in any show or movie in recent months. Mostly due to the fact that I just don’t have the time to commit to them. I’m good with that though, I want to use my free time wisely. I want to use that time for things I’m passionate about, music, reading, editing photos, and other things that don’t involve the kids. I know that’s selfish but I think its good to have personal time.

Minimalist Me

Around this time last year I started getting into minimalism. I was wondering around YouTube and I came across a video about a male minimalist wardrobe. It really spoke to me so I started looking into more. A lot of the info I found was geared more toward the higher end of products. That just wasn’t going to be doable for me. I set out to achieve a budget friendly minimalist wardrobe and I’d like to share my guide with you.

The first step was going through all of my clothes and seeing what/if anything could be used. I started with T shirts, having worked at a screen printing shop for a few years I have acquired hundreds of shirts. Most of which were just sitting in a box. What I was looking for was natural color solids. I only had a few, but that was a good thing. Next up was bottoms. Again neutral solids. I had some thankfully. Finally was shoes. Full disclosure I am a shoe whore. I have at least 60 pair if not more, I’m afraid to actually count them. I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of them all so I worked out a rotation that I’ll explain later.

Ok, all the clothes I don’t need have been bagged up and are ready for donation and I’ve limited my self to just one small dresser and a few hangers. Here’s what I have.

T Shirts- 2 solid black 2 grey 1 white 1 navy 1 maroon

7 shirts for 7 days of the week. The grey and black are fruit of the loom and were around $15 from my local target. The white, navy and maroon are also from target and are the Goodfellow brand. They were bought on sale for less than $10 each. I picked the colors because they basically will go with everything bottom wise.

Pants. It’s really hard for me to find pants that I feel like fit me well. I had A few Goodfellow chinos thatI liked the fit of so I went with them to start. I also found some selvage dark wash denim from target and a light wash pair from old navy. Honestly I’m not crazy about either pair but they were cheap and what I call place holders for until I find the “perfect” pair. I only wear denim in the winter so it wasn’t too big of a deal.

Pants- Grey Chinos Black Chinos Navy Chinos Dark Denim Light Denim

Unfortunately I live in gathering south and it gets crazy hot and humid in the summer here. So short are a must. A few years ago I set out to find the best shorts for me. What I found was Hurley dry fit shorts. They are basically swim shorts with no liner and a button, pockets and zipper. They are light weight and much cooler than regular shorts.

Shorts- Khaki Maroon And a pair of proper swim trunks

Shoes. This has been the most painful part. And the most expensive. It took me some time but I think I have it sorted. In the winter I only wear boots. I have a desert boot and a Service Boot. For the summer I narrowed it down to just a few pairs, blue vans, Chaco Sandals, and a pair of rainbow flip flops that I’ve had for 10 years.

Since I started doing this I’ve honestly felt much better, not having to decide on what I’m going to wear is one less thing for me to have to deal with. My thoughts and energy can be used for more important things. I really think everyone should at least try it, pick out enough clothes for a week put them into a duffel bag or a suit case and live out of it for that week. I think you’ll find it very enjoyable.

Photo Bug

recently got the photography bug. Now I’ve always had a camera of some sort around, besides whatever phone I have. I’ve had an older DSLR for 8 years and have used it from time to time, I’ve also had a point and shoot laying around. I’ve decided to make it a point to take ant least one with me anytime I’m out of the house and to take pictures on it instead of my phone. I have an idea for a series of photos that I one day hope to share.

Delete all the old things

A few days I go I decided to delete all my tweets. Well, my first thought was to just nuke twitter all together because it’s such a time waste, but I do enjoy it. My patience for short form posts has become quite small. I still think its a decent place to find out what’s going on. I just don’t see it has much more at this moment. I’ve said in the past the twitter is a bit like shouting in a over crowded room, Norbert someone hears you maybe they don’t. It may have something to do with valuing my time a bit more. I don’t want to waste the day shouting in that room. I’d much rather take my thoughts and time and produce something that’s more meaning full to me and if no one reads it then that’s fine with me.

I also recently deleted facebook from my phone, again its just such a time waster for me. I kept messenger because I do have a small business to run and promote. I still check it a few times a day but its. A necessary evil. Instagram is still installed but tucked away in a folder on my second screen. Circling back to twitter, I think its honestly kind of foolish to keep tweets from 10+ years ago. I’m not 26 anymore and I don’t think like a 26 year old any more.

A Day In The Life

I’ve tried a few times today to write a “Day in the life” post, and I’ve failed at every attempt. Then it just hit me, write about today. This way its fresh and accurate. So what follows is as close to a typical “Day in the life” that I think I could ever manage.


I really wish I could tell you that I get up this early because I’m the most productive person in the world, but we have a new puppy and she is up and ready to go the second the sun comes up. So I get out of bed and take her out and feed her. I’m really quiet so I don’t wake up the entire household. After that I try to lay back down, I check twitter, instagram, all that jazz but no email, I’m only doing that on my computer.


By this time I’m full blown awake so I get up and make coffee and turn on CNN and sit at my desk. I check email and check in on my Nerd Chat (Telegram) and see what they are up to, the people in that chat are all over the world so there’s always something going on.


At this point my youngest is up and having some cereal and hanging out with me. My middle child has art camp at 9 this week so I woke her up and got her ready for that. I made some cinnamon rolls. She told me she wasn’t hungry. After that I get dressed and get the two of them in the car, I leave my oldest sleeping and I drop her off at her camp.


Back at home now I get started on my daily stuff. Today is laundry so I get that going. I set my youngest up with some Netflix and I try to sneak in some XBOX with my cousin. On this morning it all actually goes as planned, we play a few games of Apex. When my youngest summons me I call it a day and her and I play with the puppy. My wife has been working overnighters she got home a little bit after noon.


Wife comes home and makes some lunch while I finish folding and putting away laundry. Her and I catch up and hang out for a bit then I have to leave to do pick up from camp.


On the way home we stop for a coffee and a glass bottle orange soda. It’s a great time. She tells me all about her camp and she’s just smiling ear to ear. She loves to paint and make art. After we get home she chills out and I’m back at my desk writing this.


This is the lull in the day. The kids are bored, its hot out, friend are nowhere to be found. This is my least favorite part of the day. On this day we end up watching a movie and having some snacks. That helps get us through that rough part of the day.


Now its time to start dinner, tonight is Brinner. My wife makes the pancakes and I fry bacon and scramble eggs. Its one of the only times of the day where her and I can talk with out the kids bothering us. Tonight we actually eat together at the dinner table, during the summer that’s a rare event. We talk about or day and the girls take turns being silly. This is my favorite part of the day.


Shower time for me, it’s the only part of the day where I can be just alone. I listen to music while I shower. I like to air dry lately so after I shower I just sit on the edge of the tub in my towel and scroll through twitter or apple news.


It’s now bed time for our youngest. I still co-sleep with her and I know, I know but she’s the baby and nobody puts baby in a corner or her own bed. We read a book and then she rolls over and goes to sleep. I really enjoy it to be honest. She’s so still and peaceful its really nice.


Now I’m up and the big girls, my wife and I hang out for a bit. Tonight we get the kids to bugger off and we get to watch one of our shows. The Handmaids Tale, we are slowly working our way through the newest season. There’s something comforting about being able to sit and watch something with someone and not have to talk or anything like that. No phones no distractions.


Now I’m completely knackerd. I take the dogs out one last time and start to get ready for bed. Tonight I take my laptop to bed to finish this up. Some nights I catch up on my podcasts and scroll through reddit until I get tired.


Lights out. 6am will come early.