Monday, November 30, 2015

The End of My Fall Wardrobe

Hi everybody, today is the last day of November and the last day of my fall wardrobe. I'm going to keep a lot of the same clothes in my winter capsule, since I was happy with most of them. I think I only bought two new shirts (I'll tell you for sure tomorrow when I have the whole thing ready to share). I'm rotating in clothes that I already owned and had in the back of my closet. My warmest sweaters and fleece leggings are being welcomed back into my capsule wardrobe , and it is so nice to see my old favorites from years past. 

Are you getting out your winter clothes? 

Here are my last few fall outfits:

Grey tank top, yellow cardigan, flared jeans and grey Frye boots. As always, I love layering! I also love the combination of grey and yellow. 

White button-down shirt, black A-line skirt and grey Frye boots. I think I've said it before, but it bears repeating: this style of skirt is so forgiving if you eat a lot or are bloated. You can just wear it higher up on your waist to have more room, or lower on your hips if that's how it fits that day. It always accentuates the waist while allowing you to be comfortable. 

Green sweater, navy cords and grey Frye boots. I love longer shirts and sweaters right now! If I bend over to pick up a kid or a million toys, I never have to worry about my shirt riding up in back and showing off my underwear. 

I'm wearing boots a lot right now since it's cold and snowy here. I put some terry cloth insoles into these and they are now super comfortable. 

I'll see you tomorrow with my winter capsule!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Resisting Black Friday Impulse Shopping

Hi all, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, or just a nice Thursday, depending on where you live. I had a great day with my little family. It was cold and snowy all day, and we loved being warm and happy inside, cooking and eating together, and putting up our Christmas tree. 

Did you do any Black Friday shopping? Isn't it crazy how much the promise of a discount can make you want to buy more? I hate shopping in crowds, thanks to my 4-year stint working at a busy Walmart during college. I have no interest at all in getting up before dawn to fight for deals! But the online sales really test my resolve to buy less, and to shop thoughtfully. 

Audible had a bunch of books for less than $5 each, and I scrolled through the list. I definitely saw books I was interested in, but I remembered that I have several books in my Audible library, waiting for me to listen to them. Phew! I resisted that sale. I spent time scrolling through the Vans site, and saw some cute little shoes for my kids... but they outgrow their shoes so quickly right now, they don't need more than one pair of sneakers at a time. I didn't buy anything.

I looked at sale sewing patterns and fabric, but I know I have a large queue of projects and materials already in my house. I don't want to buy anything else until I've used up some of the things I already have.

So I resisted buying things that I don't need, but I wasted time on window shopping when I could have been hanging out with my family. I can do better.

One thing I've done is unsubscribe from most stores' emails. If I don't get the sale emails, I don't get the adrenaline rush that comes from feeling like it's now or never! I can calmly stick to my holiday shopping plans without wasting time looking through the sale pages. 

Next year, I think I will skip reading any blogs that tend to post sale information and links, unless I plan to buy new clothes at that time of year. It's so easy to get distracted and go off-plan when you are faced with temptation. So whenever we can, let's remove the temptation!

And now, a couple of outfits:

Red sweatshirt (I sewed it), corduroy skirt (I sewed it) and camel Frye boots. I love wearing stuff that I made myself, and I'm trying to improve my sewing skills, so hopefully you'll keep seeing better and better self-made clothes in my wardrobe.

Green tank, grey cardigan, denim skirt, and camel Frye boots. I love these boots! If you're on the fence about Fryes, try ordering a pair from Zappos. They have an awesome return policy so you can wear them inside for a year(!!) and as long as they still look new, you can return them for a full refund. So you'll have plenty of time to try them on, walk around your house, try them with different outfits, and make sure they're worth the money for you. 
My skirt is from Boden and if I could do it again, I think I'd buy one size smaller. I would love it more if it didn't flare out quite so far. But I still like it a lot. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wine Blouse, Black Jeans and Moccasins

It's the night before Thanksgiving. Are you ready? We have such a low-key day planned, I'm not stressing at all. Today I baked our pumpkin and apple pies. I dug up potatoes from the yard and washed them. Tomorrow we'll cook potatoes, stuffing, and vegetables. Jason will grill the steaks (or I'll broil them if the weather is bad, which is predicted to be the case). 

I'm thankful for our laid-back version of Thanksgiving! It suits us very well to be cozy inside with our little family, while the weather outside might be frightful. I hope everyone who isn't staying home has safe travels! 

Wine blouse, black jeans and moccasins - perfect for staying inside. If I were going out in the cold, I'd wear boots instead! I always have cold feet and it makes my whole self shivery cold. That's why it's worth it for me to buy cute boots and warm socks (Smartwools are great). What about you?  Do you mind having cold feet or ankles? Are cute flats or heels worth being cold?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pre-Thanksgiving 2015

Hi all, how is your week going? Are you planning a Thanksgiving feast, if you are U.S. American? We have a tradition of eating good steaks instead of turkey, with the normal Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts. We'll be doing that again this year, and we're pretty excited about it. Traditions are great, and putting our own spin on them makes them even better. Do you have any uncommon holiday traditions?

Wine tank, yellow cardigan, black skirt and grey boots.

Ivory sweater, black jeans and Vans.

Desert t-shirt, plaid cardigan, boyfriend jeans and blue oxfords.

Green sweater, ivory cords and Vans.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wine Shirt, Copper Skirt and Ankle Boots

Hi guys! How's your Friday? We're having a cozy one at our house. This morning started out cool, but it got colder and colder all day long, and then it was windy and then it started snowing. We were so glad to get home after preschool, turn on the fireplace, and get warmed up. The cat has been firmly parked next to the fire all afternoon and evening, and we've stayed pretty close, too. It felt nice to be snuggled up inside and not have to go back out in the cold.

Good thing it's been such an enjoyable day, since it's been a LONG one. I went to bed earlier last night, thinking, "I'm going to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep tonight!" I fell asleep quickly and slept soundly until 5:16, when my little boy woke up (two hours early!). A minute later, my daughter was up, too. They never could fall back to sleep, so I wasn't allowed to sleep, either. It feels like some sort of lesson about trying to let go of control: even when I do what I can to reach my goal of getting enough sleep, sometimes it's just not going to happen. 

I'll be trying again tonight! I could definitely fall asleep right now, at 8:00, but I've got to get the kids in bed first. Then after they're asleep, I'll probably get my second wind and want to stay up too late! Oh well, I'll just do my best. 

Wine t-shirt, copper corduroy skirt and ankle boots. This is a skirt I made this fall, and I really like the color. I think it could go with any fall colors - and I just got the idea to try it out with green. I'll let you know how it works.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Denim Dress, Suede Leggings and Camel Boots

Denim shirtdress, faux suede leggings and camel boots. 

Hi guys, I'm still working on getting more sleep. My average this week is only 6 hours and 28 minutes, according to my Fitbit. That's pretty bad compared to my goal of 8 hours. Counterintuitively, I'm going to add the goal of meditating for at least 10 minutes a day. Generally, it's probably better to focus on one change at a time, establish that habit, and only then add a new goal. But meditating helps with so many things, including getting my mind to be quiet and let me fall asleep. I think these two goals might work together well. Okay, so I'm trying to sleep longer than 7 hours per night and meditate for 10 minutes every day. 

Are you working on any new habits, or will you wait until January 1st to make a change? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

T-Shirt, Grey Cardigan, Flared Jeans and Ankle Boots

Go Your Own Way t-shirt, grey cardigan, flared jeans and ankle boots. This is one of my uniforms. You know I love layering so I can easily adjust to the temperature. If I drink a cup of hot coffee, I probably don't need the sweater. If I'm going down to the cool basement, I will make sure I put it back on!

I've started to plot out my winter wardrobe, and I keep gravitating toward what I'm used to: around 40 pieces of clothing. I'm interested in trying a smaller wardrobe + t-shirts, shoes, and accessories, but it's more difficult than I expected to figure out what I would include. I'm going to keep working on it and see what happens. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grey Shirt, Red Skirt and Clogs

Grey shirt from Everlane, red skirt, and clogs. I did some alternating color blocking here and I think it looks good. I like that the tights are a little darker grey than the shirt, and the clogs are a little darker red than the skirt. It seems nicely weighted that way.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Find Motivation for Getting Organized

Hi guys! After a summer of letting our house get a little messier and less organized, I've been feeling a strong need to pull it back together. Last week, I sorted all the kids' toys and put them away properly. I donated and threw away the less-played with toys, old Happy Meal prizes, and various other detritus. It was a great start. 

Of course we prefer it when our house is clean and everything is put away, but with small children it is tough to keep that up every day. I don't always have the energy + motivation combination to clean up completely after the kids are asleep. Sometimes all the toys get thrown into the same bin. Catalogs and kids' artwork get stacked up, to be sorted later. Gradually, things become messier and it seems harder and harder to get everything back in order. 

So how do you find the motivation to tackle a mess of toys, mail, and whatever else got set aside, to be dealt with later? The best motivation for cleaning up the main living areas is inviting friends over! Now that it's getting cold out, we want to have more indoor playdates. Some little kids get into everything they can reach, so it's nice to be organized before they come over. Otherwise, I might have to guard certain areas of the house or tell the kids a list of things they can't get into. I'd much rather talk to the other mom and let the kids play!

Next month we'll host a birthday party for our daughter, so we'll have quite a few people in the house. Also, in December we often have a cookie party and host a brunch. We definitely don't want to be embarrassed about our messy house or worried about kids getting into stuff during parties! We want to enjoy our guests and have fun. Stuff shouldn't hold us back from enjoying the good things.    

If you don't have kids to invite over, maybe you have a snoopy friend or family member to use as motivation. You know they'll look in your closets, so you can't hide all your junk in there. Better put it all away for real. And unlike with kid guests, you'll have to clean up high, too. Snoopy adults can reach the top drawers and see on top of the dresser. 

Sometimes having a deadline is great, since it gets you moving toward your goal instead of just thinking about getting organized or writing tasks on a to-do list. You can create a deadline for yourself. This time of year, playdates and parties give me a great reason to clean up, organize, and feel like our house is ready for company - and nicer for us. 

And some outfits:

Green striped tunic from Boden, leggings, and ankle boots.
This time I added a belt to this tunic, and I think the outfit made my legs look super long!

White button-down shirt, navy sweater, corduroy skirt (homemade), and Frye boots.
This look is pretty preppy for me, and it almost feels like a schoolgirl costume. But it was fun to try out a different look. It's also cool to see how many different styles can be made using the same small wardrobe. 

Ivory sweater, denim skirt, leggings, and ankle boots. Leggings are such a nice layering option as it's getting colder. I'm wondering where I put my fleece-lined leggings from last winter. I will be wanting them soon. 

Are you thinking about your winter wardrobe yet? I am considering trying something different this winter; maybe only choosing 20 pieces but then I can add whatever shoes I need, t-shirts for layering, and accessories. I think I would also leave an exception for party clothes (though I'd use mostly or all things that I already have). It might be fun to try a different way of using a capsule wardrobe. I have a couple more weeks to decide. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday, Fall 2015

I missed an outfit last time, so I have two to share:

Wine tank, grey cardigan, black jeans and Vans. 

The snowwoman outfit. Ivory sweater, ivory cords and tan oxfords. I think it looks a lot more normal when I'm not in front of a white background, which is most of the time. What do you think about wearing off-white in the winter? 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do It for Future You

Hi all, I'm still trying to get to bed earlier, and still running into obstacles. Last night I stayed up late to sort through toys and find things to add to our donation boxes - a charity truck came this morning to pick them up. Tonight I might stay up late working at my seasonal editing job. One of those things could have been done ahead of time (I set up the donation pick-up a couple weeks ago). The other, I can only do when the kids are otherwise occupied, and I don't have any control over when work is available. So, I'm not going to feel any sense of failure about staying up late to work - there isn't any other good option in that situation. But I really should have gotten the donations gathered up ahead of time so I didn't have to stay up late to do it. 

When I was in law school, I saw an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" that had a great lesson in it. Yes, I just typed that. In it, the two guys thought about trying to decide who would get their shared apartment someday in the future when they wanted to live with girlfriends instead of each other. They decided to leave the decision to Future Ted and Future Marshall, and then when the future arrived, they ended up in a huge fight. The lesson is: take care of it now, so Future You doesn't have to deal with the problem. I started to do a little extra work for school every chance I got so Future Tonya would have it a little easier. And it worked! I appreciated my previous efforts a ton. I only spent a little extra time each day, or some days none, but it added up to make a noticeable improvement in my life at the end of the semester. I kept doing it for years, in various aspects of my life.

When I was pregnant and had babies, I was so sick and exhausted, the idea of doing extra was comical. But now my littlest baby is 2.5 years old and I can revive the habit and do a little extra work for Future Tonya again. I'm going to try to remember that every time I think, "I really should get ready for tomorrow now... but I want to just sit around for a little bit first." Just get it done now! Then I can relax without worrying about it. And tomorrow I'll be so happy that I'm already ahead of schedule. 

And I won't have to stay up late doing something that I could have done ahead of time. 

And now for some outfits:

Flannel dress and ankle boots. What!? I'm sewing pretty regularly this fall, and it's awesome! I made this dress last week and am excited to have a cozy flannel dress to wear this fall and winter. 

Striped t-shirt, black jeans and camel boots. I'm so glad I got used to mixing black and brown. How did it used to look so wrong?

Green sweater, flared jeans and ankle boots. Yep, I've worn this sweater with these jeans before and only changed up the boots. Some outfits are worth repeating.

Green and white striped tunic, skinny jeans and moccasins. Wearing a big t-shirt over stretchy jeans is pretty awesome. If this shirt had pockets, I might become one of those people who wear exactly the same outfit every day. Like, they have 7 identical shirts, 7 identical pants, and 1 pair of shoes and they just grab a clean set each day and never think about what to wear. Nah, I'd miss my shoes too much.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Moccasins x 2, Fall 2015

Hi all, I've got a couple of outfits wearing moccasins. I don't wear them with socks, so their days of wearability are numbered. I like them with skinny jeans and also with wider-leg pants. They're pretty versatile for casual outfits.

Striped tunic, skinny jeans and moccasins. 

Wine blouse, navy cords and moccasins.

And now my confession about trying to sleep more: I keep getting worse at it! I started trying to improve my sleep on Monday. Sunday was pretty typical for me lately. Here are my stats this week:
Sunday night: 6 hr 15 min  
Monday night: 7 hr 47 min
Tuesday night: 7 hr 37 min
Wednesday night: 7 hr 20 min

So, it hasn't been horribly worse each night, but still moving in the wrong direction. Tonight I'm up after midnight, which does not help my plan. But here's the thing: stuff comes up and you just have to roll with it. Then you get back on track as soon as you can. Tonight I stayed up late to work, and I may do that for the next couple nights, too. Then on Sunday night I'll try to be in bed by 10:00 and carry on from there. 

Sometimes I feel pretty all-or-nothing, and if I get off track with a goal I will totally give up. I'm trying to stop that! A little detour is fine and probably inevitable, and I have to just steer back on track the next night. That's the advice I'd give to a friend, and I have to accept it myself. 

Are you trying to make any positive changes in your life? What are you doing to accomplish them?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Red Sweatshirt, Boyfriend Jeans and Vans

Hi guys, last night I did okay on my attempt to get more sleep. My fitbit says I slept for 7 hours and 47 minutes - that's pretty great for me! I'd love to get at least 8 hours most nights, and that's the goal that I'm working toward. 

Tonight I'm up too late, and I'm looking at my laptop, which I'm not supposed to do since the blue light of screens can interfere with falling asleep. I can still get 8 hours in if I go to sleep really soon, so I'll try to make that happen. 

This outfit has another homemade sweatshirt, boyfriend jeans, and Vans. I am loving sewing clothes that I want to wear a lot - it feels so much more useful and worth the effort if I'm going to wear something a lot. I have sewn fancier, fun dresses several times in the past, and I rarely wore them. It was fun to make them, BUT. Right now I feel like I want to use my precious hobby time on something that I can use a lot. I'm also thinking about what I want in my wardrobe and my closet, and I don't really want to add a lot of clothes that I won't wear. I'm sure I will sew fun dresses again, but for the moment, my focus has shifted to everyday wear.

Last fall and winter, I noticed that I didn't have a great sweatshirt that fit how I wanted. When I was thinking about my wardrobe for this fall, I knew I wanted at least one sweatshirt and some super-comfy pants. I have a pattern and fabric to make the pants. They might end up being only for lounging around the house, but I hope they will look nice enough to be casual pants that can be out in public. I'll let you know how they turn out. 

But now, I've got to read myself to sleep. I might finally finish the Maisie Dobbs novel I've been reading forever: A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear. The author's name sounds like this must be a romance novel*, but the books are historical fiction mysteries starring a female investigator in the 1930s. I think this is the 10th in the series, and I definitely recommend them. 

*Maisie does have a couple of romances, but the writing is decidedly un-racy. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trying (Again) to Get More Sleep

Hi guys! I've decided to try to work on getting more sleep - yes, again! I continue to stay up too late to try to have time to myself while the kids are sleeping. But I'm so tired that I don't make good use of the time. I think I'd be better off either just getting more sleep or getting up earlier and having time before the kids wake up.

Here's my strategy:

*Use Daylight Saving Time to my advantage. My body is ready for sleep an hour "earlier," so I'll just follow its lead. Also, I have to remember that my kids will be awake at their normal time, so I won't be getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning. I have to think about the early wake-up call and get to sleep!

*Make a nighttime routine. I always want to catch up on TV after the kids are in bed, but I need to turn it off an hour before trying to fall asleep. I'm better off reading an old-fashioned book than watching or reading any sort of screen. I love being able to read my kindle with the lights off if Jason is asleep! But I have read many times that looking at lit screens interferes with our ability to fall asleep, so I'm better off using my reading light and letting Jason make a pillow wall to block out the light. 

My routine will be: at 9:30, turn off the TV. 
Take out my contacts and wash my face. 
Make a cup of non-caffeinated tea. 
Drink it while making my to-do list for the next day, or writing in a journal. 
Get all the thoughts out of my head and onto paper so I don't have to think about anything or try to remember anything. 
Then brush my teeth, put on pajamas, and get into to bed to read. 
Turn off all the lights except my reading light on my nightstand. 
Between 10:30 and 11:00, turn off the light and go to sleep.

Do you have any tips for going to sleep earlier or more consistently at the same time? I'd love to hear them!

And here are some outfits:


Sweatshirt dress - I made this, so it's a free addition to my capsule wardrobe. I actually dyed the fabric myself and then extended the Grainline Linden sweatshirt pattern to make a dress. 
Suede leggings
Ankle boots
What could be more comfortable than leggings and a sweatshirt? (Notice I didn't include the boots because slippers or cozy socks could definitely be more comfortable, but probably not appropriate for leaving the house.)

Green button-down shirt
Black skinny jeans
Tan oxfords

I had some strong sunlight peeking in on this one. This shirt is super-soft, and not too warm yet cozy. The shoes are also extremely soft and comfortable immediately - no break-in needed. And I can't complain about stretchy jeans. As usual, comfort is a huge consideration for this stay-at-home-mom.

All right, I have to finish this and close my laptop because it's already 9:45 and I'm not supposed to be looking at screens anymore! Change can take time, and 15 minutes late isn't bad. Maybe tomorrow night I will get closer to my goal of 9:30.