Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Look

dress: Old Navy, scarf: Kroger, tight & boots: Target

I’ve loved seeing everyone’s posts showing their holiday looks and kind of wish I had something planned that called for something a little bit fancy because I would jump on the chance to wear something with a little bit of sparkle or some lace. But our families always have really relaxed holiday gatherings and this is even a really relaxed time period in regard to the dress code at work for these last few weeks before our winter break starts (I work in higher education and am very lucky that we get about a week and a half off work each year during the holidays!).  

That being said, here’s my version of a holiday look! Green tights and plaid feel festive to me, and this look is one that shows some effort was made but can still be casual enough that I don’t feel overdressed if I find myself surrounded by others in jeans. Extra little bonus is that this blanket scarf literally feels like a blanket so I’m totally prepared to curl up and take a little post-Christmas lunch nap. ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Canadian Tuxedo Day

shirt: Old Navy, vest: Clothes Mentor, jeans: Discount Fashion Warehouse (Express brand), shoes: Target

I work with a really fun group of people, which I think makes a world of difference to how your work week can go. A few weeks ago we decided to deem a certain Friday "Canadian Tuxedo Day" and put together our denim on denim looks. The day was meant to be entertaining, but we were still at work and had the potential to meet with students so some level of professionalism had to be kept. 

While I love denim, I knew I wanted to break it up a little so the fur vest was perfect. I really wanted to pair booties with this look, but to be hones my black pair I was going to wear have a heel to them and I just wasn't feeling it. My favorite pair of flats was an easy back up to with instead. 

Have you styled a "Canadian Tuxedo" before? Share your ways with me please! :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015


tee: Discount Fashion Warehouse (Victoria's Secret brand), cardigan: Old Navy, necklace: The Jones Market, pants: Discount Fashion Warehouse (The Limited brand), shoes: Target

Black on black has pretty consistently been my go to neutral look for the past year, but when I saw Shea's outfit pairing lighter neutrals, I completely agreed with her that the look was really fresh so I knew I had to try something similar. If there's a color I like more than black, it's gray so a pair of gray jeans and this favorite leopard print cardigan felt like the perfect match!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


shirt: Discount Fashion Warehouse, jacket: Kohl's, pants & shoes: Target
I'm not an over the top cat lover, although I always had one growing up and wouldn't mind talking my husband into letting us get one someday. For now I'll just continue to be the girl who tries to get the barn cats at my in-law's house to let me pet them. :) But what I am a lover of is a $6 shirt with cats all over it! I just couldn't say no.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


EST. 2015
Another round of Currently with Anne and Jenna!

You all a happy holiday season! Thanksgiving weekend with family really put me in the mood for the holidays. The other night I came home from work to my husband feeding our son dinner while Christmas music played in the background. Just try to wipe the smile off my face after that, I dare you. :)

How good I have it. Our health insurance plan has this program where you can complete different activities to earn gift cards. I'm doing one where you're supposed to think of something you're thankful for each day and while I admit I joined purely to work toward a gift card, it's been a really good practice to get into. A few recent examples include when we hit a rough patch and it felt like my kid wasn't capable of sleeping without me I told myself I'm thankful that my child is comforted by my presence, and being thankful I don't know what it's like to lose a parent after working with one of my students who recently lost a parent unexpectedly. 

Presents for Jacob! But one for his birthday last month, not Christmas ones because that would assume I am on my game for the holidays and that just never happens. 

Cupcakes for a birthday party we had for Jacob while we were home for Thanksgiving. My husband actually wanted to help me make them and my mother in law made her delicious homemade buttercream frosting for them. Both big stress relievers!

The Christmas tree. Last year we had hardwood floors installed throughout our entire downstairs and it was scheduled to take place about a week before Christmas. Due to some not following of instructions by me (which I maintain that I do not feel bad about - my level of function mentality was severely comprised by having a not even 2 month old baby) it was delayed until after Christmas, so we really didn't get to decorate like my husband likes to. To make up for it this year, we put the tree up the weekend before Thanksgiving. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Faux Fur Scarf

tee: H&M, sweater/pants/shoes: Target, bracelet: thrifted

I’m not one to spend a significant amount of money on any one item. Chances are good that I scored a deal on most things in my closet, whether it be from a discount or thrift store, or just a good old fashioned Target deal like so many of us love to find. :) When an item is one that I deem a little bit on the trendier side and I’m unsure how much use it’ll get, the chances are even higher that it was snagged at a bargain price. This faux fur infinity scarf is the perfect example of that. There’s not even a brand name on it, I just found it for only $5 at my favorite local discount store – Discount Fashion Warehouse. In the sea of oversized scarves I see online and in my closet, it’s nice to have an alternative style option at hand when I feel like switching it up a bit. I swear my style is becoming more and more subdued these days (and that’s ok!) and the scarf felt like the statement piece that would draw attention to the outfit, so I rounded it out with some of my favorite neutrals and went on with my day! 

Linking up with Tucker Up...

Monday, November 30, 2015


top: Sam's Club, blazer & pants: Target, boots: Kohl's, scarf: Discount Fashion Warehouse

Happy Monday! Monday’s are typically a bit of a drag, but I’m coming off the weekend thankful that we had the opportunity to spend quality time with both sides of our family, and after some rough nights of Jacob sleeping poorly while we were gone and constant whining this morning, I’m also feeling thankful for daycare and my full time job. ;) But don’t worry, I have a hunch that feeling will disappear the moment I walk in the door after work and he rushes my way because he’s excited to see me after us being separated for 10 hours today.

Keeping it simple today, and sharing this look from about a month ago when the fall leaves were in full effect and we were having the perfect fall weather. This outfit was great for a Saturday morning short presentation I did to a class of students new to the university I work for. It being a weekend, I was confident I could’ve gone casual and still felt that I was dressed appropriately, but this look was just as comfortable as jeans and a top would’ve been. Skinny pants, booties, and an oversized scarf to feel a little bit stylish and trendy, and a blazer to up the professional factor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

iPhone Photography - What I've Learned

I’ve always found photography to be a fascinating thing, but without the access to a DSLR camera or the patience to learn how to use it, iPhone photography is about as fancy as I get. Plus my phone is always near me, making it much handier than the camera. Thankfully technology has come a long way, and relying on your phone to take pictures doesn’t mean you’re doomed to low quality photos, especially when you consider all the photo editing apps available to help. When I look at the near 3,800 photos in the camera roll on my phone (yes, I think this is a ridiculous number and no I don’t care. Ha!) I also realize that my favorites are almost always the candid shots.

For me this developed out of necessity because I have a very stubborn husband who most often will not pose for a picture, so if I've been forced just to snap whatever I can get. But over time I've come to appreciate these more. I'd rather look back on pictures and remember how goofy my husband and son were being with each other on Easter Sunday, capture my husband and son having their own little moment and be reminded of exactly what I was feeling at that point in time. To me, that captures the moment and the feelings that went with it more than our posed smiles. (Although don't get me wrong, I'd like my fair share of those pictures too please!)

So for fun, today I’m sharing some of my favorite iPhone pictures and the apps that helped me edit them! (I checked, and it looks like all these apps are available for Android phones too)

bump picture

App Needed: Camera+ ($2.99) or Afterlight ($0.99)

We didn’t take the time or spend the money on maternity photos, but I don’t feel cheated of that experience when I take a look at this picture. I found the link to this tutorial by White House Black Shutters on one of those What To Expect When You’re Expecting discussion boards that I would read from time to time for entertainment. If you read her post, I used her original instructions with the Camera+ app because I already had the app downloaded, but she’s since updated it to include instructions using Afterlight, another app I use regularly.

kyle race water

App Needed: VSCO Cam (free)
Instructions: G3 filter

My husband did a full triathlon (2.4 mile swim, then 112 mile bike, then 26.2 mile run) when I was almost 8 months pregnant and I couldn't help but capture this look of him testing the water temperature the day before the race, focused and deep in thought. Taking an off center photo makes it even more candid.


App Needed: Afterlight ($0.99)
Instructions: In filters, go to original category, select Ash, then adjust the brightness until you get the look you like.

Sometimes I take a picture and then I look at it and my attention is immediately drawn to background. In the original of this picture, you could tell that the blanket on the couch is orange, the wall in the kitchen is teal, and you could see all the clutter on the kitchen counter – these are the things I felt my attention being drawn to rather than to my husband and my son. For me, turning a picture into black and white makes the background noise fade away, drawing my attention back to what it should be focused on.

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App Needed: Fotograf ($1.99)
Instructions: Filter is Matt Dev 9, as simple as that.

To be fair, we started out trying to capture a posed picture but with college basketball on the tv behind the family member who took this picture and 5 month old babies not really understanding the concept of posing for a picture, it was pretty much a lost cause. This ended up being my favorite of the shots captured because it showed a moment where we’re truly being “us”.


App Needed: Afterlight ($0.99)
Instructions: In filters, go to original category, select Coal, then once again just adjust the brightness until you get the look you like.

Going for the candid shot means you’re not always going to have the opportunity to be in the perfect lighting for a photo. Turning a picture into a black and white shot also works great for saving a shot when the lighting is really bad. Like here – I was rocking Jacob and was all of a sudden struck by how long and beautiful those eye lashes look! We were in a dark room with the blinds closed and the picture quality was awful. But do you think I was going to try to move to better lighting and risk waking my kid up? Yeah right! :)

Any tips or other apps you've found that work for you? I'm always looking for more! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In My Bag

FullSizeRender (18)

How do we feel about these "what's in my bag" posts? Do we still like them? Because I've never done one and it sounded kind of fun. Plus my purse was looking uncharacteristically clean so I had to take advantage! So let's start with talking about the criteria for being a favorite bag of mine: big enough to fit everything I need but not so big it feels like a tote, outside pocket to place easy to grab items, inside pocket for the same reason, and zipper closure across the top. Something like a million bonus points added if it's thrifted for less than $10 like this beauty. 

FullSizeRender (21)

Now for the goods, what you'll typically find in my bag. Side note, this is pretty much the weekday version. For the weekend you can add an extra set of clothes for Jacob, Sophie the giraffe, and wipes.

- Blogging supplies - iPad to play on during my lunch hour and mother's room breaks, planner (with a few pieces of mail tucked inside), journal because I like to hand write blog post ideas, and my camera for catching pictures on my way to work. Also my favorite flair pens.

- Kid supplies - I knew we'd be running some errands with Jacob right after work sans diaper bag so a few diapers, hand sanitizer, and oyster crackers in case he needed a snack.

- Prescription sunglasses - quite possibly my favorite purchase ever. Wayfarer style (non-prescription, similar style, same brand) because I felt like it was a look that doesn't go out of style. Something like more than 4 years later I'm still wearing them, so hopefully I'm right.

- Work badge + keys (forgot to include my car keys)

- Spare set of headphones, freebies from a race we ran in Nashville.

- Target receipt - guess I forgot to include the gift receipt in that baby shower gift I bought. Whoops...

- Wallet - this Merona one (same wallet, different color) fits my preference for a fun color and zippered outside pocket for change.

- 31 gifts zipper pouch - because haven't most of us had a friend or co-worker who hosted a party? Or is that just me? Either way, I love these pouches.

FullSizeRender (19)

In case you're nosy like I am, what's in my zipper pouch too:

- Altoids - because I'm guessing nobody wants to meet with an Academic Advisor who has coffee breath. Just being real. :)

- Band-aid friction block - perfect if you find yourself wearing some uncomfortable shoes.

- Bobby pins and spin pins - and why do I not have hair ties in here too for hair emergencies? I guess one is usually on my wrist.

- Ava Anderson perfume in "Hope"

- Oil absorbing sheets - because my forehead gets a bit of shine to it.

- Band-aids - just in case!

- Wet n' Wild brand concealer - because I'm cheap.

- Lip balm and color - Baby Lips by Maybelline is my current favorite for fixing a case of dry lips and this Cover Girl lip color is just the right amount of color me, which means it's light enough coverage that you can feel confident putting it on without a mirror (mine is in the color Luv U). 

- Phone charger - my mom gave me this, but I'm pretty sure I don't even have all the parts with me to make it work.

*Not pictured = the empty Twix wrapper because I didn't think you wanted to see my trash, and my phone because I used it to take these pictures. :)

Linking up with The Fashion Canvas and Walking in Memphis in High Heels...

Monday, November 23, 2015

At it Again

tee: Target, cardigan: Old Navy, necklacke: The Jones Market, skirt: gift, shoes: thrifted, 

Remember last week when I talked about adding a pattern being one of the ways I perk up an all black outfit? Well surprise, surprise - I'm at it again, just on the bottom half this  time. We experienced some really unseasonably warm weather recently with highs hitting 60 degrees for a few days so I used it as an opportunity to take the comfier than sweatpants maxi skirt out for one more spin this year. A note to all my fellow tall girls out there - this skirt gets bonus points for being the perfect length (and I'm 5'9"ish)! It was a gift from my mother-in-law for my birthday and I have no idea where she got it. I can't for the life of me find it online, but the brand name is Max Studio in case that's helpful. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Coziest Scarf

sweater & scarf: Old Navy, pant & shoes: Target

I'm so attached to this scarf that actual tears may be shed when it's time to get rid of it. It's my favorite color, but the material is so soft that wearing it makes me feel like I'm wrapped up in a cozy blanket.

Although I have no doubt I could make this piece more versatile, between the bold color and its large size, I typically the rest of my outfit pretty simply to avoid the look feeling a little overwhelming to me. Back jeggings, a classic vneck sweater, and a pair of coordinating pointy toed heels are perfect in my book.

Linking up for Third Thursday Threads...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Uniform

button up: Discount Fashion Warehouse (Express portofino shirt), sweater: Discount Fashion Warehouse, jeggings: Target, boots: Kohl's

Wearing all black has turned into something I rely on more and more, especially on days I don't have the energy or motivation to put much thought into an outfit. At this point we could definitely call it my uniform. As wonderful as it is, it can get a little boring, so it's nice to have some tactics for giving an all black outfit some visual interest. Here's a few I've found have worked for me:

An unexpected shoe  
My leopard print flats are my favorite for this, but really any shoe in a fun pop of color or with a pattern would do the trick. This time I decided to go for a cognac bootie to mix it up a bit.

Add a layer 
I think we all love layers, right? Here my layer added underneath gives the look a little more dimension to catch your eye. And don't forget the option of a top layer. I'm constantly reaching for my olive jacket or my denim jacket to finish off an all black look! 

A statement piece of jewelry 
A bold necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings would be a great addition. I personally shy away from larger earrings (I don't like the way they make my ears look and think they compete with my glasses too!), but picking up statement bracelets and necklaces as souvenirs has been my favorite way to commemorate a trip for years. They're not always bang friendly, so I'm looking forward to being able to start wearing them again!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jacob: 12 Months (!!!)

Untitled design
I'm still wrapping my head around it, but we have somehow already made it through the first year. I'm shocked and proud that I even made it through his birthday without shedding a single tear. :)

Nickname: Nuggie (from Nugget) and Buddy I think mostly.

Height/Weight: 30 inches tall and 24 pounds.

Things we can't live without: This month I'm having a hard time thinking of things we'd be miserable without. I suppose the most notable thing would be this car I found him. Completely random buy, but he loves pushing that thing all over the place and it's nice that it's small enough to throw in my purse if we head to a friends house or out of town for the weekend.

Things he likes: Climbing the stairs (with one of us directly behind him of course), his walker, and oyster crackers.

Things he dislikes: Being a good or even consistent eater, letting me out of his sight when I get home from work, not getting his way about something. 

Favorite characteristic: As I've said month after month, he's so laid back. But also that he's so easy to take out on errands. If we're moving, he's good and it's been a long time since we've experienced a melt down while we're out. But gone are the days of enjoying a meal or a beer out and about though because he does not have much interest in sitting still. 

Milestones: The milestone we've hit that I do not enjoy is the one where about once a week he melts down when I leave him at daycare. Let's just say he wasn't the only one crying when that happened for the first time. But fun milestones include pulling himself up and walking along anything and everything. In fact, I'm almost 2 weeks behind on writing this and today he took his first steps! And guess who missed it? Me! Naturally he chose to do it while I was in the shower.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The De-Cluttering Project: What I've Learned

a low quality photo, but look! everything except out of season shoes and a few out of season skirts and dresses fit in one closet! bonus points for even having enough space for a dump truck parking space too. ;)

This post is part of a series detailing what I learned from reading Marie Kondo's book TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and how I'm applying that to creating a simpler, more focused closet of clothing. Check out the "Marie Kondo Monday" tag to see all posts in this series...

Things felt so out of sync last week that I never did take the time to continue the series of Mondays talking about my experience after reading Marie Kondo's book. We'll just call this series done after this post since a wrap up/lessons learned type of post was the last one planned anyway. So let's start that conversation with why I took on this de-cluttering project with my closet anyway - what did I hope to gain and did I gain it? This project started because I was feeling overwhelmed with life, with work, with being a parent, and mostly with stuff, and stuff felt like something I had the most control over. Pair that with some personal disgust toward how I've spent my hard earned money (since I already mentioned in a previous post that I work in a field that doesn't involve a large paycheck). That being said, I guess I was looking for some peace of mind and I thought simplifying would do that for me.

And did it work? Kind of. To really achieve the peace of mind I was looking for, I think I need to apply the same intensity level of clearing things out to items and spaces outside of just my closets. That's the whole point of Marie Kondo's book, I just felt like starting with my closet made the project feel manageable.

So even though my answer to the did it work question is kind of, I'm calling it a success. It was a great start that changed the way I think about personal belongings and the memories attached to them. For example, I finally was able to let go of that cute red dress that isn't even in style anymore that I wore for the first New Year's Eve I spent with my husband. Looking at it brought back really good memories from the beginning of our relationship, but I don't need that dress to bring those back - they're right there in my mind anytime I feel the need to get sentimental. That's a much healthier approach! Another win is that I have started to feel calmer, and I've become a lot more thoughtful and picky about the things I purchase.

But the work is not done! It's actually a little bit addicting and this de-cluttering project has left me motivated to extend it to other parts of the house. Marie Kondo's approach of gathering things by categories felt a lot more difficult to apply to everything else in my house, so I was really excited when I stumbled across a different fun way to approach the effort on Twitter. It's called the Minsgame and by the end of November I will have gotten rid of 465 more items. Sara, Anthony, Laura, and Heather are coordinating the effort and Sara's post does a great job of explaining the game, so if you're interested you should check it out! As I write this, I've already gotten rid of 231 more items (I'm working a little bit ahead). It makes it fun, and you should see how good my bathroom looks since that was the first location targeted for this game!

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Little Getaway

Jacob7edited Jacob family

We've been a little bit off our game around here. You'd think the whole week I took off of work last week would leave me feeling refreshed and ready to go, but nope! Not when there's first birthdays to be had, a nice little getaway to the Hocking Hills area, and a kiddo with a cold who forgets how wonderful sleep is. Not to mention that he now has an infection in both of his ears. Oy. 

But back to the fun part, the first birthday and our little trip. We knew we wanted to do something as our little family of 3 to celebrate the milestone, but wanted to keep it close. We decided that a little cabin in the Hocking Hills area for two nights would be perfect, and it really was great. The only problem was that I'm guessing between his cold, being in a strange place, and the fact that the only place to put the pack n play was in the bedroom right outside the bathroom door, Jacob did not sleep well at all. Which unfortunately means that we didn't sleep well either, especially me. 

So as we packed up the car first thing on our last morning I insisted on a family picture, despite not having washed my hair in 3 days, no make up on, and having an enormous cold sore on my lip. And I'm glad I did, because someday I may look back on that picture and forget about the exhaustion and frustration I was feeling at the time, and I know I'll remember just how lucky we were to have that time together.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


EST. 2015

Joining in on one of my favorite link ups again this month, Currently with Anne and Jenna!

I made a family favorite this month, apple/pear-sauce. My grandparents had apple trees and pear trees in their backyard and my grandpa would make applesauce with pears thrown in too. Sometimes when we end of up with an excessive amount of uneaten apples in our fridge I make it, and I was feeling a little nostalgic because while he's been gone for more of my life than he was alive for, October was his birthday month and it makes me miss him just a little bit more. No real recipe has ever existed for the apple/pear-sauce, so I just peeled and cut apples and pears until I was tired of doing it, then threw them in a crockpot with cinnamon sticks and some sugar until it was cooked down to the consistency I was looking for. 

A trip this week to Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio, although truthfully all the planning we did was to take the week off of work and book a cabin for a few of those days. I've been looking forward to no real agenda, just hanging out as a family of 3 and enjoying some time away from home to relax. 

As I write this, cupcakes because I waited until my usual bedtime to start making cupcakes for Jacob's birthday. :) (Update: I stayed up late to make them and then completely forgot them on the kitchen counter when we left the next morning!)

My body! I think it deserves it. Last October I was in the last month of pregnancy and weighed almost 60 pounds more than I do now. As we creeped closer to Jacob's first birthday it put me in a really reflective mood, feeling thankful that my body supported a healthy pregnancy, managed child birth (although medicated), and has allowed me to nurse for the past year. It's amazing what we're physically capable of, isn't it? 

My kid turning one, which happened yesterday! I feel like a lot of the first year has been spent in "survival mode" and I just can't believe we're at the end of it. I'm definitely feeling like we've found our groove and I can already tell this next stage is going to be so much fun!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Replacement Pieces

Long tan cardiganPointy-toed leopard print flatsTan t-shirtWhite jeansBlack jeggings (full length, not ankle)Tan jeggingsNude pointy-toed flats

This post is part of a series detailing what I learned from reading Marie Kondo's book TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and how I'm applying that to creating a simpler, more focused closet of clothing. Check out the "Marie Kondo Monday" tag to see all posts in this series...

Even though looking in the mirror each day should've been a clue, cleaning out a lot of the closet clutter showed me what types of items I've been preferring lately. Jeggings, t-shirts, and long cardigans have been pieces that are part of a look I'm quick to go to pretty often. Most of my jeggings come from Discount Fashion Warehouse, which is a local (at least I think it's only local!) discount store that always carries Express, Limited, and Victoria's Secret brands. My routine for the past couple of years now has been to buy a pair of black Express jeggings for $15 from that store and wear them until they were so stretched out that I needed a new pair, but it's a store that often requires patience and I hadn't been able to find a full length pair. 

So instead I headed to Target and apparently found all but one thing on my list of replacement pieces needed. To round out the other jeggings purchases in addition to the black pair, the white pair replaced the maternity pair I lived in last summer and loved the look of, and the khaki pair was to replace khaki pants that were too big and I didn't love the style of anymore (they were a boyfriend fit, but never fit quite the way I wanted them to). The long cardigan replaces an over-sized one I thrifted and is worn enough that I wouldn't wear it to work anymore. Admittedly I couldn't bring myself to get rid of that favorite though so it's one of the few pieces I kept but demoted to lounge wear. 

The v-neck t-shirt is in a color called oatmeal heather. I had the same t-shirt and I had worn it so much that it became an old grungy looking tee, so that one hit the trash and I bought the exact same one to replace it. There's so much stretch in this tee that I was still wearing my old one when I was probably 8 months pregnant, so if stretch is your thing then I highly recommend it!

The leopard print pointy-toed flats were such a lucky find that I'm convinced I must've been throwing out some really good karma into the world at that time. My previous pair were a little tight but still comfortable when I bought them, but my post-pregnancy feet were not having it. This pair was the only pair in the store and just happened to be in my size. I had even been wanting my replacement pair to have darker tones in them and this pair was perfect. These are currently the pair of shoes I wear most often during the work week - I had forgotten how much I love that print!

A pair of nude pointy-toed flats are the only item left on my list and I'm going to be picky. I still have my old pair (from Target, shocking!) but they're stretched out from being worn so often at the end of my pregnancy and they're looking a little worn. After splurging a bit I need to watch my spending, so I'm toying with the idea of asking for them for Christmas if I find a pair I like enough. If anybody has any feedback on a reasonably priced pair they've like, I'll take it!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pin to Present

pinned look linked here / my outfit: shirt: Old Navy, sweater: Kohl's, pants: Kohl's, shoes: Target

Black jeggings and leopard print flats are two of the items I have been most consistently reaching for in my closet, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn to this look and pinned it to my fall/winter style board on Pinterest. A tee of some kind has always my go-to pairing with an open and loose fitting cardigan like this one and I welcomed a way to switch it up by layering a button up shirt instead. This cozy cardigan was one of my favorite layering pieces towards the end of my pregnancy. I would throw on a fitted maternity tee and the cardigan was the perfect layer to take on and off throughout the day. A necessary function of my sweaters at that time, as pregnancy hormones and carrying all that extra weight left me feeling overheated often even on the chilliest fall days! It’s showing all the love it’s been giving and look a little worn, but I’m glad it was one of the smarter pregnancy purchases made that still has a very appropriate place in my current closet.

Linking up with Anne today for Pin to Present…

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Flares: A Second Chance

sweater: Discount Fashion Warehouse (Express brand), jeans: Old Navy, shoes: Target

When I cleared the clutter out of my closet I came across all of my non-skinny jeans that I hadn't worn in a few years. I remembered really liking this Old Navy pair and thought they'd be worth keeping now that flared boot cut styles are having their moment again. My legs felt strangely free since they weren't wrapped up tight in skinny jeans and it was a welcome alternative that made the cut and will be staying in my closet!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Numbers

This post is part of a series detailing what I learned from reading Marie Kondo's book TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and how I'm applying that to creating a simpler, more focused closet of clothing. Check out the "Marie Kondo Monday" tag to see all posts in this series...

A few disclaimers before we get started in on those numbers:

- I will never have it together enough to have everything clean and actually put away all at once so it was a challenge to get these numbers. They may be a few off because of that and I'm just going to have to deal with that. 

- These numbers don't include loungewear, workout clothes, and sports team tees and hoodies because I view that as its own separate humongous challenge.

- I still have to finalize what I'm keeping and what I'm getting rid of in my out of season shoes. I did a quick mental count though after looking at the bin they're in and that quick count is at least accounted for in the numbers listed.

Ok, now that we're done with those details, phew! The main thought that goes through my head when I'm confronted with those numbers is that it makes me a little bit sick to my stomach. It's hard to believe that I had 576 items, and that's not even including purses, belts, and scarves. Yikes! I'm a bargain shopper through and through and even though I probably didn't pay full price for anything and many items were thrifted, that's a pretty large dollar amount, especially when compared with my Academic Advisor salary. I very much enjoy the work I do and think it's valuable, but advising as a profession has a pretty lousy salary attached to it unfortunately!

The total number of items kept still felt high to me and I'm sure Marie Kondo would've likely looked at me like I had 3 heads if she was looking at those numbers with me. But I'm still counting this as a win. I went from out of season clothes and shoes taking up space in 2 other closets in the spare bedrooms to a situation in which just out of season shoes need to be stored elsewhere, and then currently shorts and a handful of really summery dresses and skirts are in the spare closet. The book taught me to think a little more critically about what items feel good to me and are worth keeping, and clearing out the clutter revealed the types of pieces I rely on most and should focus on. Who really needs their favorite tank top from 2007 when you probably haven't worn it since that year, or 4 or 5 pairs of plain black dress pants when you can't remember the last time you wore a pair? For the record, I kept one pair just because I believe that one should always have a job interview ready outfit on hand!

I'm keeping the series going, and next Monday I'll write about my list of replacement pieces that were identified once a lot of that clutter was cleared out. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Talking Strategy

"non-denim pants" = dress pants, khakis, dressier jeggings, etc.

This post is part of a series detailing what I learned from reading Marie Kondo's book TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and how I'm applying that to creating a simpler, more focused closet of clothing. Check out the "Marie Kondo Monday" tag to see all posts in this series...

In her book, Marie Kondo describes the approach of targeting de-cluttering by category rather than by room as being more efficient and I do feel that she’s spot on with that idea. I have big ambitions to apply her tactics to other types of items in our house to get the full effect of de-cluttering; papers, d├ęcor, beauty products, our entire kitchen just to name a few, but clothing felt like the best place to start. There’s no arguing that I fell into the category of someone who has so much clothing that it needed to broken down into smaller categories to avoid feeling overwhelmed. With that in mind, I created the sub-categories detailed above. I have currently made it through each of those categories, but still have these to go: scarves and belts, purses, and jewelry. This project really is a work in progress! 

That’s a lot of categories, but it’s really the only way it felt manageable. Now Marie Kondo’s rules say to collect every item within that category from all around the house and put them in one place. You’re supposed to then go through these items with no distractions or music even, touching each of your items to see if it “sparked joy”. I made some adjustments to this because not to make excuses, but quiet distraction free time is incredibly hard to come by with a little one around.

So instead I would gather all the items in a sub-category and pile them on the bed in one of spare bedrooms at one time, then come back to the piles to go through them at a time I knew I typically felt most productive: either Jacob’s naptime, in the morning on the days I don’t work until 9am, or a few times at night once Jacob went to bed and I still had some energy. Sometimes I could get through a sub-category all in one shot, many times it took coming back to it several times. But I did it!

I felt very odd following her rule of touching every item to see if it “sparked joy”, but I tried my best and it was helpful. As I was doing this, I tried to keep in mind her explanation that the reason we can’t let something go is contributed to either an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. I get very emotionally attached to my clothing and it was hard to part with something that reminded me of a special time when I wore it. I also had a lot of “what if I want to wear this in 2 months” kind of thoughts, but had to accept that if it had been years since I had worn it, then what makes me think I would suddenly change my mind again over the next few months. So I felt a little cheesy, but I thanked my clothes for the memories they brought me, and threw them in the donate pile. :) If you’re interested/nosy like I am, next Monday I’ll be sharing the numbers so you can see just how many items I got rid of and how many stayed!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Working Momma

top, sweater, and jeans: Discount Fashion Warehouse, boots: Target

If there’s one type of item that I have a larger appreciation for since becoming a mom, it’s flats. I’ve always relied on them pretty heavily, but even more so lately. Ever try balancing getting a baby out to the car, then into daycare and situated for the day in heels? No thank you. On the rare days I do choose to wear heels I’ll wear a pair of flats or moccasins until I get to desk when I change into heels, but that’s just a lot of work and I’m lazy. :)

While I’ve always had tall flat boots in both tan, black, and brown, I realized that all of my booties had at least a small heel. Most were still easy enough to walk in, but I knew that true flat booties would give me a great option that I could rely on for both the work day and the weekend. Although I would’ve loved to check out this Dolce Vita pair or the Sam Edelman pair that I see all over the internet, my budget doesn’t support that type of investment right now. My timing was just right - I got lucky and found some clearance boots in June, paying about $15 for this brown pair pictured above at Target and about $15 for a black pair at Kohl’s. Although my pair from Target are not currently available in brown, they do still have them in black. I couldn’t find the exact pair I bought at Kohl’s, but this pair looks really similar in shape to the pair I bought with the more pointed toe. They’re available in black, but I’m really liking the Polo Tan color too! Although unfortunately they’re not as amazing of a price as I found early in the summer, but both are on sale at what I consider a pretty reasonable price point.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jacob: 11 Months

Untitled design
I'm sad that I didn't even get a 10 month update put together and posted, but here's a look at what looks like with our little 11 month old!

Nugget or Nug still for the most part.

Somewhere close to 29.5 inches (somewhere between 50th and 75th percentile) and weighs 23.8 pounds (I think closer to the 90th percentile).

Things we can't live without:
After spending a few weeks without a baby monitor while ours was sent away to be fixed, I'm going to say a baby monitor. It makes life so much easier! 

Things he likes: 
Anything that rolls across the floor as he pushes it which means cars, trucks, and any kind of ball is currently his favorite. He also loves standing up against the side of the tub while I get ready in the mornings, turning the cold water on and then playing in it with his hands. Thank goodness he hasn't figured out that there's a hot water tap too! Oyster crackers are his new favorite food since the love affair with puffs ended.

Things he dislikes:
He usually dislikes getting his diaper change, probably because that means he's forced to slow down for a few minutes. Diaper changes at home have turned into a tag team effort - one of us distracts him while the other gets the diaper change managed. He also dislikes going to sleep without nursing. In fact he won't do it when he's with me, probably because I never make him. Whoops...

Favorite characteristics:

My forever and ever favorite thing will be how laid back and easy going he is. He's also made a habit of looking very serious for the first 15 or 20 minutes of being somewhere new/meeting new people (I refer to it as baby RBF!) and I can't help but wonder if it's giving us a peek into what his personality will be like when he's older!  

He's pulling himself up on everything and will usually walk with you if you hold both of his hands to keep him steady and guide him. The sounds he makes sound like he could be trying to say words. So far we swear he tried to say his name and sometimes thank you, and he'll mimic us and say baby. He also started pointing  at things which for some reason I think is just about the cutest thing ever.