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10 Simple Fall Capsule Wardrobe Outfits for Moms {Project 333} 2

I’m alive! In case you were wondering, I’m still here. Just been working on other things instead of the blog but I miss it dearly so I am determined to get this post done and out to the masses.

Because I know everyone has been dying for a Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe update since it’s been more than 3 months since my last Capsule Spring Wardrobe post.

I basically wore a lot of the same outfits through the summer, a few more t-shirts and shorts and, as you’ll see below, I’ve been using many of the same clothes for my Fall Wardrobe as well.

Simple wardrobe for a “Simple Mama“.

Preparing a Fall Wardrobe in the area we live is a little tricky, or maybe it’s like that everywhere? The temps have fallen into the 30’s and 40’s in the mornings, but we’ve still had some very warm afternoons (upper 70’s & 80’s).

I’ll start out wearing jeans, boots, and a sweater and jacket but by the end of the day I’ve shed the sweater, replaced the jeans with capris, and kicked off the boots for my slip-ons. (My flip-flops broke or I’d wear those all year long.)

So I have a bit of a modified “33” items for now. The ones hanging are part of the 33 but I left the capris and a few extra short-sleeved shirts out for those warmer days.

I went through my Fall clothes and threw a lot out since many of them were so worn out I don’t know why I still had them anymore.

I allowed myself 3 new shirts to replace those and I’ll have to go out and get a new heavier sweater for the winter soon. For now, I’ll just cozy up in my hoodie sweatshirt when I’m only lounging around.

Here are a few Fall Outfits I’ve put together with the Capsule items:

~ 1 ~

My favorite new shirt. I call it the “Downton Abbey Stay-at-Home Mom shirt”
On cooler days, I’ll pull a light sweater over it or even my new flannel shirt and I love the way the front lace shows through to dress up the flannel.

~ 2 ~

Speaking of the flannel, my 2nd new shirt, I love how versatile it is.

I can roll the sleeves up and get to work scraping food off the floor.

~3 ~

I can pull it over another shirt like the one below or a t-shirt.

~ 4 ~

Or I could time-warp back to the 90’s and get my #flannelgrunge on –

~ 5 ~

For something a little dressier, I picked this cream flow-top with a pretty lace top, sticking with the “Modern Downton Mom” look.

It’s easy to dress it up with a scarf and a sweater.

~ 6 ~

I can go dressy casual with jeans…

~ 7 ~

…or take it up a notch with black slacks and a black sweater.

~ 8 ~

Lest you think I spend my days reclining on the divan in my classy formal wear, I’ll confess I usually wear a t-shirt at home if I’m not going anywhere.

While I’m being honest, I should say I allowed myself 4 new tops because I got this t-shirt on major sale at Target –

It’s good for my more realistic stay-at-home-all-day-until-I-go-crazy-and-must-get-out days.

~ 9 ~ 

If I do have to run an errand or be in a social setting around sophisticated people who don’t scream at me and instead speak to me politely with full and clear sentences (usually), I just pull on a sweater and a scarf and you’d never know about the sweat spots from a hard day of cleaning and cooking.

~ 10 ~

Lastly, no wardrobe is complete without earings and a few necklaces. I’ve had pierced ears since I was a fresh baby so I always feel a little naked without something dangling from my ears. I went with browns and blues for my Fall accessories.

Well there you have it folks. Soon the colder temps will come in and stay for good and I’ll just snuggle up in my hoodie and hibernate.

What are you favorite Fall wardrobe items?

Fall Wardrobe, House Up-Keep, Reading/Watching {Journal}

Outside my Window: 

Sunny, clear blue sky, 81 degrees with a slight cool breeze. Apparently the weather didn’t get the memo that Fall began, I’m still waiting for the beautiful 70 degree days.


I’ve been getting my Fall Capsule Wardrobe ready for whenever the weather finally does get into the right season.I need to do the same for the kids’ clothes too.

A photo posted by Erika Marie (@onesimplemama) on

I’ve been wearing the same clothes for too long and I’m ready to put the shorts and t-shirts away and get out my jeans and cozy long-sleeved t’s instead. I even put on my ankle-boots the other morning to just try and force the weather to cooperate with me.

Until then, I’m using a transitional wardrobe that’s a mix of my past Spring/Summer clothes with a few Fall-ish clothes ready and waiting for those cooler days to blow in. Once I have the new capsule ready I’ll share that on a separate post.


School is going well still for the most part. I’d say this has been our least stressful year – so far. It’s still stressful but in comparison I think I’m handling it better. Probably because I’m realizing more and more that there is only so much I can control, the rest is up to the teachers and the school and each unique and independent child.

I can remind them and guide them and offer help as needed but when it’s time to get things done, only they (each kid) can be the one to actually do it. Or maybe I’m just getting older and lazier.

In the Kitchen:

I’ve honestly been just kind of winging it. Sometimes this means we have frozen food from the freezer or something plain like sandwiches.

Last week I made a few “real” meals like some carnitas tacos with chuck roast meat and corn tortillas, some chili soup for the first day of Fall, and then I came up with these home-made pizza bagel bites!

Homemade pizza bagels! #recipeexperimenting

A photo posted by Erika Marie (@onesimplemama) on


Whewie, we’ve been doing a lot of work on the house lately. And when I say we I actually mean my awesome husband. It started with redoing some siding, then the painting of the new siding, and then he decided to some some touch-up work on a window, and then another window…heck we might as well re-caulk and re-paint the trim around all the windows (that need it). And while he’s at it, better fix the shed and clubhouse doors and windows…and repaint it…

I’m trying to talk him into letting me put new shutters up like these. What do you think?

Yesterday I spent all day trimming the bushes. With an electric trimmer. I don’t think my hands and arms will ever stop shaking.

Today seems like a good day to trade out the Summer deco in the house for the cozy Autumn ones I have…if I can find them.

Thinking About:

Many things. The Pope, his visit, all the politicizing of it, what his real message is, why people are simultaneously obsessed with the Pope and despise the Church, Catholic Social Doctrine, what real evangelization is, how I can really live my life for Christ and help others truly encounter Him, you know stuff like that. 😉


The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for my re-certification as an instructor with the Family of Americas Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning. So I’ve spent most all my reading time studying about cervical mucus, hormones, and when and where to use brown, yellow, red, white, or baby stickers. 🙂

Aside from that I’m slowly getting through:

Encountering Truth: Meeting God in the Everyday

Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag: On-the-Go Devotions


What a Girl Needs From Her Mom

and I’ve had this on one of my reading tables for a while too –

By Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation

I think between all those and my continuing NFP training I’ll be good on books for a while.


I kind of fell away from keeping good track of what we’ve been watching. Here are a few I remember we’ve watched in the last few months.

The Princess Diaries

This was a daughter movie night with our 11-year old daughter. I think it was a little older for her on some parts but it was fun re-watching it with her.  I think we’ll hold off on the second one for a little bit though. 

The Princess Bride

We also watched this recently with our daughter – it was so fun! It’s definitely as good – if not even better – than the first time I watched years ago. She really enjoyed it and it was fun to share that with her. I think we’ll definitely re-watch it together as a family some day.


My husband has been wanting to watch Hook with the kids for a while so we finally did. Overall, everyone really enjoyed it. I have to say I wasn’t as happy with some of the language used but it wasn’t terrible either.


Ok this one was a bit odd and definitely not great for as far as solid morality goes but…at the same time it really did end up showcasing some real-life lessons that ended up surprising us.


My husband and I picked this just to see if it was any good and I think we both can say we “liked it”. It wasn’t wonderful but it wasn’t terrible either. I think I’m more fascinated with the fact that it was made over 12 years following the same characters over that time. Because of this, we were able to stay connected with each character as they grew and developed.

Again, not great morality, but it wasn’t really supposed to teach anything about what’s good/bad. It was more like being a silent observer of a boy and how his life changed over 12 years and how this affected him and some of the people around him. I’d recommend it.

Well that’s all for now folks. Hopefully I’ll be back here soon.

Spring Wardrobe – Boring Conservative Mom Style 2

Well now that the threat of a tornado whipping in and destroying our house and all our possessions has passed from or area for this time (yay!), I can move on to more important matters.

Like what I’m wearing this Spring! (Since I know at least one person whose camped out in front of her computer just waiting for me to divulge what’s in my closet this Spring.)

In January, I joined Courtney Carver’s Project 333, picking out 33 items of clothing to wear for 3 months. I enjoyed it so much, it was pretty a no brainer to continue for another 3 months. Although, this time around I’ll have to make a few adjustments as the summer temps rise.

I was flattered when Courtney dubbed me as “The Downton Abbey” style of how to do Project 333 but it really cracked me up when Drew Barrymore said, after purging her closet, that she felt like she had become “some conservative, boring woman — but not even in a cool, J.Crew way.” I wonder if she peeked at what I wore as a reference?

As much as I’d love to spend my days lounging in formal wear, my life as a mom of 4 is much too active. The only time I get to wear a dress is for about one hour a week on Sundays – which I relish!

So when picking out my wardrobe, I keep clothes that are comfortable enough that I can sit and read a book on the bathroom floor while waiting for the two-year-old to do his thing, chase after an independent five-year-old who moves to the beat of his own drum, go on a random bike ride or shoot some hoops with my older two. Every now and then I get out of house and get to hang out with people who know how to communicate with multisyllabic vocabularies and so I reserve a few nicer clothes for those times so I can feel like a big girl.

So here’s a taste of my Spring Wardrobe – Boring Conservative Mom Style

The Three Shades of Mom. I was trying do the “mom look” in the last one.

The tops in my closet:

These colors make me happy when I walk in the closet.

Don’t forget the bottoms:

I’m so excited to get to wear dresses and a skirt again! And those capri pants from Kohls with the elastic waistband are so comfy!

I allowed myself to buy 2 new shirts since some of my clothes from last year were either damaged/stained or just didn’t fit right anymore. I scored some great sales and, because of my commitment to Project 333, I stuck to my budget and even spent less than I planned.

After oogling this Maurices shirt, I finally went out and tried it on fell in “love” immediately. It’s pretty, flowy, covers in the right places without making it look like a maternity tent shirt, and is very versatile as you can see below. I can wear it with jeans, capris, or even my skirt.

I also found this pretty trellis-top shirt in one of my favorite colors and a light spring scarf that goes well with it and a couple other shirts I already have. I usually don’t wear scarves once it gets warmer but this one is light enough and ads that extra little flair to take the “boring” out of mom. 😉

For shoes, I picked out some new running/walking shoes, a couple of dressier sandals, and flip-flops – because life’s just easier with flip flops. I picked out a few pairs of earrings and necklaces to go with all the possible outfits and voila, my Spring wardrobe is complete!

In the transition time between switching from the winter to the spring wardrobe my closet became cluttered and overwhelmed again and it made me feel dizzy and confused. Now that my new Spring Capsule is complete and my closet cleared up again, I love walking into my closet and being able to actually see all my clothes.

Wardrobe Envy & Looking Beyond our Outsides 2

One more post from my 7 Long Takes. (The one about Spring Wardrobe and Body Image was #6 I just forgot to say that.)

7. Wardrobe Envy

“Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius” from the manuscript The Consolation of Philosophy attributed to the Coëtivy Master, about 1460–70

Speaking of clothes – again – I also wanted to expand on something I mentioned in my Wardrobe Capsule Update.

At the beginning of this wardrobe challenge, it helped me see that I had become incredibly self-conscious of not only what was wearing but what others were wearing, internally comparing or imagining myself in their clothes.

Do you ever do this? Come on, you know you do. I check women out all the time.

Not in that way.

But I check out what they are wearing. I wouldn’t call myself a fashion-conscious person but I do at least pay attention to what others wear, especially those who are much trendier and hipper. (Is it even cool to use the word, “hip”, anymore?) Even though I’d prefer to think of myself as non-conformist who dances to the beat of her own drum, I still want to dress like “everyone else”. Even the hipsters aren’t really “hipsters” anymore.

Yet, as I’ve mentioned, participating in the Project 333 and simplifying my wardrobe has helped me focus less on what I look like in my clothes but it’s also helped me stop thinking as much about what others wear and comparing myself to them.

People, especially women, have been comparing themselves to each other since the beginning of the female race. I’m sure there are all sorts of fascinating “survival of the fittest” and anthropological explanations for this. Aside from those reasons, or because of those reasons, over time a dark and dangerous poison infiltrated our lives, corrupting minds and destroying relationships.

It’s name? Envy. 

Comparison by itself is not always bad. She has a blue shirt on. I have a white shirt on. Actually that’s more like a contrast. I have jeans on, she has jeans on. Comparison 101.

But envy. Oi. That’s a killer.

Envy goes beyond comparison and contrast. It starts when I compare and contrast what I have or look like to someone else, and then I desire or even covet what she has. But that’s still not as bad as envy.

Envy happens when we compare, contrast, covet and then – wish the other person did not have it anymore and only I did.

Ouch. The truth hurts. (Thank goodness for the Sacrament of Confession!)

I’ve seen how comparison leads to desire which leads quickly and easily to envy. And what does this do to us? What does it to our friendships and personal interactions?

Kills them. Figuratively and, sadly many times, quite literally.

But if we only focus on what a person wears or looks like or does, we completely miss out on the actual person. We fail to see what’s under all the clothes and visage. We fail to see their joys, their aspirations…their sorrows and their struggles. We fail to see their hidden pains we may not even know are there by only looking at the outside.

I have a good friend who, for as long as I’ve known her, always looks good in her clothes. What’s more impressive is that she is a mother of “many” children. So when I met her as a younger and newer mother several years ago, she gave me hope and inspiration that, even as a “stay-at-home” mom, it’s still possible to dress nicely and keep some sort of semblance that I haven’t completely gone crazy or “let myself go” too much.

The other day, I was walking behind her as we brought our kids into school together. I noticed her smooth knee-high brown leather boots pulled over some super cute and trendy leggings with a long and elegant tunic and lacy sweater draped over her top half. Simple jewelry dangled from her neck and gorgeous gems adorned her ears.

A few years and a few more kids later since we first met and she still knows how to totally rock the “mom uniform”. However, something else about her has changed in the last couple years.

Her clothes hang loosely over her thinner body. Her eyes, a little sadder, like a soldier who’s been to the battle zone and back. Her face, the image of refined beauty. Her hair, now a short stubble. Yet, still as radiant and strong as ever – even more so.

Yes. Cancer. And chemotherapy-induced leukemia.

I know what she’s gone through. Well actually I really don’t have a clue what she’s been through. But I know at least the general details. I know her struggle; I know what’s going on underneath all those trendy and beautiful clothes.

And it humbles me. Profoundly.

It’s ok for me to admire her and her ability to look good and beautiful on the outside even with everything she’s fighting with on the inside. But what type of person would I be if I envied her and wished she didn’t have these nice things to wear and I did instead?

A sinner, for one. A horrible, terrible friend for another.

This friend of mine has taught me a great lesson about clothes and envy and many more important lessons as well. Without even knowing it, she’s forced me to remember to look at people for who they are, not for what they look like or wear.

There have been times I’ve avoided talking to someone because I was intimidated or even put off by their outside appearance. If only I would have looked beyond what I saw on the surface, and looked into their eyes, I might have seen something deeper…maybe I might have even seen someone. 

So I’ll end this post – and finally pay attention to my starving children – with a twist on a popular cliché,

Don’t judge people by their outsides; love them for their insides.


Spring Wardrobe and Body Image 9

The snow has melted, the highs are in the 60’s, the sun in shining and signs of Spring are here!

This season gets me all excited about spring cleaning and organizing, maybe some light gardening, and clothes. 

Yup, clothes, fashion, and wardbrobes – isn’t that what all women think about when Spring comes around? All the fashion magazines and mailers sure think so. I’m currently oogling these beauties:

I’m closing in on the end of my 3 months of 33 clothing items for the Project 333 Wardrobe Capsule project and I have mixed feelings about that.

On one hand, I feel like I’ve just now gotten into a comfortable groove with my wardrobe. It’s become so simple that I hardly even think about what I’m wearing or what I’m going to wear. It’s been nice not thinking so much about going shopping for new clothes and in some ways, it’s helped me focus less on what my clothes look like, and more on just being “me”.

Switch over to the other side of my circular-thinking mind, and you’ll hear another story.

Spring is here! That means new clothes! Get out the capris, the short-sleeved shirts, flip-flops and bright colors!

Even though I still have till the end of the month before my 33 days technically runs out, I’m going to go ahead an open up my capsule soon to see what I have in the way of Spring clothes. Then I’ll know what I really need to buy and what not. Plus, if the weather warms up faster than those 33 days, I don’t want to be stuck with only my winter clothes on a hot day.

I know I’ll need a few new shirts and as good as these shoes have been to me all these years, I think maybe it’s time to make room for some cleaner ones.

As exciting as the brighter, breezier Spring fashion is, there’s one part about transitioning to the Spring and Summer wardrobes that makes me recoil in a self-conscious embarrassed way and almost wish winter would last forever.

As I shared in my last wardrobe update, I still struggle with body image, even as a 30-some-old woman. Winter clothes, with all their bulky layers and long scarves, are really great for covering things up and hiding all my extra flab and rolls that I’d rather pretend aren’t there.

Spring and Summer clothes – not so much.

I was looking back at what I wore around this time last year and noticed I haven’t changed a whole lot.

I still feel like I look…fat.

Ug, I hate that word. I always correct my children about what fat really is and how it’s a good thing the body needs to function healthily. And when I’m able to think rationally, I generally try and avoid using that word in a descriptive manner.

I know I’m not really fat. It doesn’t make any grammatical sense to say that I am fat. How can I belarge molecule that is composed of three fatty acid molecules bonded to a glycerol molecule.?

I might have an extra concentrated amount of these large molecules in certain parts of my body, but that doesn’t mean I am fat itself.

Which brings me to a very important point I’ve been mulling over. 

I recently was at a retreat my daughter attended which focused on purity. A good friend of mine, who at one point in her life struggled with an eating disorder but now works as a clinical marriage and family therapist helping others, taught one of the lessons about body image and it was so fantastic. I’m sure she planted many important seeds in those young girls’ minds and I know I gulped up every word she spoke. I was especially impressed with what she said about “feeling fat”. To paraphrase, she said:

When someone says, ‘I am fat’, or ‘I feel fat’, what they are really doing is projecting something else going in on their life, that is stressing them or making them feel uncomfortable, back onto their bodies.

This was very interesting to me and I tucked it into the back of my mind to come back to. Since hearing that, I began to notice something.

Whenever things get to be stressful, overwhelming, or just plain annoying in my life, either with the kids or the house or just life in general, I usually head down a downward mental and emotional spiral starting with why I’m not a good mom or a good wife or why I’m a dumb and stupid failure. Then I move onto blaming someone for my woes – usually my poor innocent husband.

And then, after going through all those stages of the downward spiral, do you know what I usually conclude with? I glance at myself in the mirror or down toward my mid-section and let out my final grumbly conclusion that explains everything bad in my life:

And I’m fat. 

And then I’d binge on chocolate or another sugary treat.

The last time this happened, I realized that I was doing exactly what my friend had said! I was projecting my frustration or annoyance with something happening outside of me and I was reflecting it right back onto me. Specifically to my belly area. No wonder it looked fat to me, I was forcing myself to carry all my burdens and anxieties right there. I’ve noticed I only feel fat when life isn’t going my way.

So, since then, I’m trying to change my thinking and my self-talk. Whenever something overwhelming is going on, I’m trying to avoid projecting it back onto my body and instead voice my feelings for what they really are.

Instead of saying, I feel fat or I am fat, I can just say, I feel frustrated, or This is incredibly annoying to me right now! But that doesn’t mean I am fat.

This has helped, but there’s still only so much words and attitudes can do. The truth is that I still have a a lot of “leftover” from pregnancy. Part of my hanging tummy is caused by my abdominal diastisis, which I’ve been working to heal for a while. The other part might have to do with the fact that I’m still eating like if I were nursing a baby full-time because I still feel hungry like that – or maybe it’s just become a habit. And the last part might have to do with the fact that I really like food, especially ones with lots of yummy sugar.

And those are all things I need to constantly work at practicing self-control with and self-discipline to eat right, in healthy amounts, and to continue exercising as I can.

After the retreat ended, I asked my friend if she still struggles with body image and I shared with her my angst over my pregnant-like belly. She said,

There will always be parts of our bodies we like better than others, that doesn’t mean we have to hate our whole body. Instead, try to focus on the parts of your body you do like.

Like I said in my Wardrobe Update post, If I’m going to find any type of satisfaction with how I perceive my body, I have to change my perspective – not my wardrobe. 

So, as the warm Spring winds blow in and my wardrobe transitions to lighter, less-concealing (but still modest) outfits, I’m going to try and keep all the above perspective-guiders in mind for how my inside looks. And I’ll try to remember my own words to myself, My Postpartum (even 2 years later) body is not ugly. I am beautiful. 

For my outside, I’ll pick clothes that bring out the parts I do like about myself and don’t accentuate the parts I’m still working on, keeping in mind that there will always be parts of me that I’m still working on.

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