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. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why Clutter Happens

tee: Old Navy, jacket: Kohl's, skirt: thrifted, shoes: Target

This post is part of a series detailing what I learned from reading Marie Kondo's book The Life-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...

This outfit is not the one I intended to wear on this particular day. I had on a royal blue long sleeve, thinking that I would just throw on my denim jacket on the way out the door for work because it was on the coat rack right by the door. Except it wasn’t there. So I figured it had to be in the hall closet then. Checked there and it was nowhere in sight, but this olive jacket was and since it’s another favorite of mine so I grabbed it. But then I didn’t like it with the royal blue so I ran upstairs and quickly just threw on a black t-shirt instead. And you know what? I really like this outfit and feel way more pulled together than I would expect for something I literally threw together on my way out the door. But there’s an easier, less stressful way to get there.

In her book, Marie Kondo describes clutter having two possible causes: too much effort being required to put things away or that it’s unclear where things belong. She even describes goes as far as coming home each day and taking 5 minutes to put everything back in its proper place before doing anything else. I’ll admit that this is one part that I scoffed a bit at and thought about how my first 5 minutes in the door at the end of the day involves being in charge of a baby who’s super active but also a tiny bit whiny and clingy by that point in the day because thankfully my husband is putting his focus on making dinner for us. My purse gets thrown on the couch and I change clothes as quickly as possible to avoid having to deal with a melt down because I don’t have my kid in my arms. Who has time to methodically put everything you used that day in its place, and where even is its place?!

But then this morning happened and I had the thought that just maybe the 5 minute effort the night before would’ve saved me the 10 minutes and stress from running around this morning and that just might be worth it!  What do you think, and what’s your process to avoid chaos in the morning?

Friday, October 9, 2015

De-cluttering - For Real This Time

tee: Cotton Basics; jeggings & sweater: Target, shoes: thrifted; necklace: The Jones Market

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a hoarder of things, especially clothes. Not to the point of being featured on one of those TLC shows or anything, but a friend/roommate did impose a ban on the purchasing of anymore hooded sweatshirts when we were in college. My day-to-day gear has changed dramatically so now it’s more a collection of too many skirts and sweaters rather than sweatshirts, but I haven’t lived with that friend in over 10 years and have been left up to my own willpower to clear out the closets. There was the great closet clean out of 2014 that happened when I was about 7 months pregnant when nesting and the need to organize everything kicked in.  I cleared a lot of clutter, but clearly my willpower needed some work.

My willpower got a bit of a pick me up recently when I one day realized that I just don’t enjoy shopping as much as I used to. Something about usually trying to do it with a baby who is not interested in it affecting the experience I think. :) A shopping trip alone used to be my time to clear my head, and having little sidekick with me most of the time prevented the trip from doing just that. It was an unhealthy habit and I’m happy to let it go.

My ah-ha moment came on our trip last month to San Francisco. I was in a store that I always love to visit when we’re out there and everything I picked up and liked I just couldn’t see the point in spending money on. My thoughts went something like this – “Those are super cute rings, and they’re only $18! But wait, I’ve really been wanting a ring with Jacob’s birthstone and if I finally found that then I’d wear that all the time instead.” “That’s a super cute black tee! $48 for a t-shirt though? Oh whatever, I wear a black tee practically every other day and I’ll get a ton of use out it. I should probably buy higher quality ones anyway.” By the way, totally bought that black shirt and it's pictured above. I'm trying not to feel bad about it. I’m a work in progress!

By this time I had seen references to Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up pop up around the internet and was a little intrigued. I picked it up and tore through it in one weekend. Some pieces of it felt a little hokey to me (touching my things to see if they sparked joy and thanking items for their service) but overall I was connecting with her ideas. Her methods include decluttering by category (such as clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and mementos) rather than by room and of course I decided to start with my clothes. I have some posts planned to talk in more detail about what parts of her methods I put to use, which few I ignored, and to update you along the way on my progress. For the next month or so I'll be sharing a post about the process and my progress on Mondays. Out of curiosity and maybe to shame myself a little, I’m keeping track of number of clothing items kept and gotten rid of. As I type this I’m not even halfway through my wardrobe and the numbers are shocking even me! Hopefully you’ll follow along and enjoy (update: I'm almost done!). I’d love the company and support!

Thursday, October 8, 2015



Here I am, finding myself feeling the need to apologize for dropping off the face of the earth once again and being hopeful that I can keep up with posting, as I've found that it really does serve as a creative outlet that helps me feel a little more balanced! I thought what better way to come back then to joining in the Currently link up with Anne and Jenna to share a little bit about what life has been like lately...

Eating: a new recipe!
Our team at work will use any excuse to have a potluck, so when a co-worker left recently we of course had a potluck in her honor. A potluck is even better with a theme, and since she’s from Jamaica we decided on a American/Jamaican fusion theme. I decided to make Jamaican Jerk Meatballs. I found this recipe from Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen (picture above is from her post b/c we ate the ones I made before I thought to snap a picture!) and because I’m the laziest person ever in the kitchen, I bought frozen meatballs and skipped right down to step 7 in the instructions, the optional serving idea that said to put everything in the crockpot. I don’t measure crockpot ingredients, so I just put in the Caribbean jerk marinade and chili sauce until I thought there was enough, then added a 10 oz jar of mango preserve because I couldn’t find pineapple and let it cook on high for 3 hours. And guess what? It was still delicious. :)

Exploring: Columbus
I've lived here for 13 years, moving here as a barely 18 year old starting my freshman year of college. It may sound funny saying I'm exploring a city I've lived in for so long but I segment my relationship with this city based on the different seasons of life. I had my favorite things to do and places to go as a college student at Ohio State (or The Ohio University if you're being a stickler), as a post-undergrad figuring out adulthood, as a partner and then wife, and now I'm trying to discover what new favorites we can include that provide enjoyment for a little one as well. Although it was a little north of the city, we checked out a local county fair this month and I loved showing Jacob the animals, something he's hardly had any exposure to due to his city dwelling non pet owning parents. :)

Wearing: running clothes!
I signed up for a half marathon that's happening mid-October and then blissfully ignored that fact for months. A month ago I finally got so scared that I finally had to find something that worked for my schedule. I've been managing one longer run on the weekends and then 2-3 runs on my lunch hour during the work week because it just won't happen at home. I'm hoping I can keep this up when work hits a busy time at the end of this month!

Admiring: the experience of motherhood
We are officially within a month of little man’s first birthday and I go between feeling amazed that’s it’s already been a year and thinking that the time has absolutely flown by to then feeling like I’ve been a mother forever and how is my baby only 11 months old? Being a mother has completely changed my life (as I think it does for just about everyone – ha!) and it’s really a fascinating thing when you stop and think about it.

Collecting: nothing
And trying to keep it that way! I've kind of hit a point of frustration about many things I own and don't need, with my biggest weakness being clothing (and with that also shoes, purses, scarves, etc). I read the magic of tidying by Marie Kondo and am really seeing the draw to simpler surroundings and am trying to make some changes.