Fashion


Six Summer Favorites 2

It looks like the Five Favorites Blog link-up has once again vanished into the black hole of the internet and is floating around somewhere who knows where. It’s like grade school all over again; I finally get my act together to join the cool kids circle and they mysteriously vanish as soon as I start walking over.

Oh well, I’ll share SIX favorites anyway.

1. Sunscreen AND Bug Spray in ONE!

Do you ever wish you could find a sunscreen and a bug repellent all in one bottle? Well, if you wish it you will get it. (If someone else thought of it already.)
Last year, thanks to Facebook friends recommendations, I found the Avon Sunscreen Bug Repellent product. I use the lotion as my body lotion in the morning and carry an extra one in the car and use the Pump Spray when we are out and about and need a quick spray before we an adventure outside or swimming.  It looks like they also sell an aerosol spray can too. I got ours at a local Avon retail shop but it looks like I over-paid compared to the great Amazon prices!

2. High Waist Active Shorts

I think I shared how excited I was to find high-waist athletic capri and high-waist long legging pants but I’ve been on the look-out for some high-waist athletic shorts now that it’s much much warmer outside and in the gym. (It’s more like exercising in a sauna! Which I guess is one way to “sweat off the pounds”.)

I was super excited when I discovered Target had again heard my telepathic request and produced these High-Waist Performance Shorts.  Again, I bought two sizes smaller than I usually wear so I can use these under my looser athletic shorts more like a splint to support my bulging diastisis recti so my insides don’t spill out while I’m jump-jacking and burpee-ing. (haha.) It holds my tummy in very well but they do cut into my legs so I can’t wear them for too long before my legs turn into tingly jello…or maybe that’s from all the burpees?

3. Drawstring Cargo Shorts

I realize using the words “high-waist” and “drawstring” in succession immediately screams “MOM SHORTS!” but well…I am a mom and I need shorts that fit my mom body. 😉

A couple years ago, I discovered the amazingly comfortable yet still flattering capri cargo pants like these. They’ve worked out so well for casual wear to hiking in the mountains. Again, because I’m a wuss for heat, I kept my eye out the shorts cousins to the capri pants. I had to go to Kohl’s to get a replacement strap for my son’s watch so I took a detour through the women’s section and – tada! – drawstring cargo shorts!

I picked out one of the “Loyal Blue” since I am obsessively loyal to blue and one “Paperbag” because, apparently, it may be taboo to wear a paperbag over your head but when it comes to shorts it’s all the rage!

4. Simple Summer Capsule Wardrobe Plan

I realize I’ve neglected to post a Summer Capsule Wardrobe plan – yes I’m still riding that bandwagon.  It’s not all that exciting in that it usually consists of either a t-shirt and shorts, either one of my two church dresses or skirts, my gym clothes or swimsuit – because who has time to dry off and change after swimming with 4 kids in a public pool? (Really, anyone?)

In lieu of a whole post showing off my lame and lazy Summer Capsule Wardrobe plan, I’ll beg your pardon with a few less-than-flattering-but-hopefully-entertaining pics of me trying to get fit my whole self into a selfie  to show off the whole outfit.

Can’t go wrong with a striped shirt, “Royal Blue” shorts, and my 90’s nostalgic “Keds”. (I get my stripe cues from the best in mom fashion.)

Is this thing working?

And of course, one can never go wrong with a solid black shirt and “Paperbag” shorts.

And the hiking/running shoes to make me look more athletic and less lazy.  I think I see a mountain lion in the distance.  Oh wait, that’s just a bush.

Me trying to figure out if I’m taking the picture of not. I was.

Ahh, here we go. It finally worked.

5. Prescription Goggles

Earlier this summer a friend of mine opened the door to the idea of using prescription goggles, so I bought some for me and absolutely love being able to swim and see! My son has bad eyesight too and so I decided to get special prescription goggles for kids  for him also and he was overjoyed.  “Now I can see under water and people far away in the pool!”

We’ve had some challenges with getting him to enjoy swimming and these have been a huge help in getting him to enjoy getting in the pool without the inconvenience of having swimming with a bunch of blurry people all around you.

6. Haley Stewart’s Spring 2016 Spotify Playlist

Just to throw in an odd number, I’ll share my current favorite Spotify playlist. It’s actually Haley Stewart’s – from Carrots for Michaelmas – that I somehow came across. It’s got some new music I hadn’t heard before that just speaks to where I am right now and soothes my soul. I put it on in the car – when the kids are driving me bonkers – or in the kitchen as we wind down from a long day.

I especially like this one:

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise: Avett Brothers

And this one, I love the “dreamy” intro before the more upbeat refrain.

Past Lives: BORNS

What are some favorites of yours this summer?


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?


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.


When my name was Mentioned with @DrewBarrymore! {7 QUICK Takes} 2

I have 10 minutes to do a 7 Quick Takes post so this time they’ll really be “quick” unlike my last 7 Really Long Takes. Ready, Set….GO:

1. This really happened:

Why, yes, that is THE Drew Barrymore my name is mentioned along with!

It cracks me up that Courtney’s post dubs me as “The Downton Abbey” way of doing Project 333.

2. I’m not one of those people who remember actors/actresses names well. I can only remember a handful of the ones I like. Drew Barrymore has been one of my faves since The Wedding Singer I’m pretty sure the soundtrack was one of my first CD’s I ever owned. Besides, who couldn’t love Julia Gulia??

Best part of the MOVIE!! I’m going to have to watch it again just for this scene.

3. Or maybe I’ll just re-watch and listen to that scene over and over:

4. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I – the very, very, opposite of a trendy fashionista – would be mentioned in a fashion post along with such a well-known celebrity? It’s pure craziness. In fact, I wasn’t going to say anything about it but I had to share it to verify that I did indeed really see that – others can see it too right?

After reading Drew’s (yes, we’re on a first-name basis now) post, I love how real she sounds (because she is, in fact, a real person) and found it interesting that we’ve both gone through the same experience of dissatisfaction with our full closets and body image

And, then there are the “I don’t care” dressers, and then there is me: The “I care, but I struggle with my body” type, so I wear the same things over and over. I also like to shop to inspire myself, but then most of it ends up bloating my closet into a kaleidoscope of stuff I can’t seem to see through. If anyone ventured into my closet, they would say I have plenty of clothes. Yet, I wear the same jeans on the floor from yesterday along with my favorite soft, slouchy T-shirt. Winter is inevitably jeans and a sweater. Summer is hard because I don’t love short anything, so I struggle to stay covered and still look cool.

5. I laughed about how Drew felt after she put her closet on a “diet” and cleaned it out.

My closet seemed to be clean. But, no longer eclectic or wild enough. It actually seemed like I had no clothes. It got too sparse! I was sad. Had I gone too far? I was missing my old funky self and felt like I had become some conservative, boring woman — but not even in a cool, J.Crew way.

“some conservative, boring woman” – yeah that would be me. But I don’t shop at J.Crew, just Kohls, Old Navy, and sometimes I go up a notch and go into Maurices or even Dressbarn!

6. Ok, I’ve got a few more minutes and 2 more to go and ran out of things to talk about with Fashion and Drew Barrymore…oh! That reminds me. Did anyone else ever see Grey Gardens Drew was in?

Weirdest. Movie. Ever.

Well, next after Being John Malkovich

I think I picked Grey Gardens on a whim one night shortly after getting a free Netflix streaming trial when those first came out, thinking it might be a fun movie. Wow. I don’t even know how I was able to finish watching it. It was so strange, I just had to keep watching.

7. But one good thing came out of it. Whenever I start getting down on myself about how messy I think my house is, I think of Drew. And Grey Gardens. And worry no more:

Yes, they actually lived in this.

 

My Kitchen and Dining Area are IMMACULATE compared to this. And so is yours, I’m betting.

Why bother cleaning when you can look into a mirror all day? I wonder if this is one of her capsule wardrobe outfits?

Ok, I’ve pushed my snooze button 2 times so it was more like 20 minutes. It was the pictures. They always do me in. That’s all I have to say for today, see, I can be quick – sometimes. 😉

En-JOY your day!


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.

 

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