Sunday, January 31, 2016

Boot & Sweater Season

Hi guys! Sorry I haven't posted for a few days. We continue to fight off a family-wide cold here, and it uses up some of my creative energy. 

We're gearing up for a potential large snowfall. Thankfully, the kids and I don't have to drive much this week. Poor Jason is supposed to fly and we hope he won't get stuck at the airport or anything. 

Have you watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix? I'm only partway through, so don't tell me how it ends. :) I've recorded a couple of follow-up shows on the DVR, too, but I don't want to watch them until I finish the documentary. Are you into these true crime series, too? I loved Serial and Undisclosed, and I'm loving the second season of Serial so far. Did you know I have an unused law degree? True-life legal drama wakes up that part of my brain and makes me think maybe I'll someday pursue a legal career after all. 

And now for some outfits with my favorite winter clothes: boots! And sweaters! Hooray for winter! I read so many complaints about the cold and the snow, but I'm just enjoying each season as it comes. It's easier to do that when you don't have a miserable commute. Working from home rules!

Blue funnel-neck sweater, copper corduroy skirt, leggings, and camel Fryes. I really like these colors together. I like the repeating similar colors of my hair, skirt, and boots. 

Scatter-dyed tunic, leggings, and grey Fryes. And Violet in her Minions jammies! My outfit is so super comfy. I am loving wearing leggings this winter.

Flannel dress, leggings, and grey Fryes. This is a dress that I sewed by lengthening a sweatshirt pattern and using cotton flannel on the bias so it has a little stretch. I added a belt for the first time and I like this silhouette, too.

Blue sweatshirt, black jeans, and grey Fryes. I sewed this top using the same pattern I mentioned above. This one's made out of French terry and is super soft and comfy. 

Grey Everlane t-shirt, yellow cardigan, black jeans, and fringe boots. This shirt has loose sleeves, so they don't fit smoothly under the sweater's sleeves. If I push the sweater's sleeves up, I don't think you can tell, but this shirt would go better under a looser sweater. I'm still really loving the color combination of grey and yellow.

I hope you had a nice weekend and here's hoping for a healthy week to come!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Green Sweater, Boyfriend Jeans and Zipper Boots

What's up? I still have a cold, but today I felt well enough to do my workout, which was awesome. As long as I didn't lean over, my sinuses didn't kill me. No burpees today? Deal.

Green sweater, cuffed jeans and zipper boots. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

January Challenges

Hi all, how is January going for you? Last week got a little rough around here. Jason was out of the country for over a week, leaving the kids and me to fend for ourselves. We did well until the 7th night, when I ran out of patience. Also, we all started to feel a little sick and now we have colds. So we're tired and grumpy sometimes and we are so happy to have Jason back home! Still, I have heard, "No, mommy do it!" too many times, but at least he can help some. I'm so glad to have a partner in this parenting gig!

And here are some recent outfits, with my black jeans in heavy rotation:

Wine tee, yellow cardigan, black jeans, and grey Fryes. I love how this sweater brightens up the dark colors that I tend to wear in the winter.

Black and white tunic, black jeans, and Toms boots. 

Chambray shirt, grey cardigan, black jeans, striped socks, and oxfords. 

Navy sweatshirt tee, brown cardigan, jeans, and camel Fryes. I love wearing this oversized sweater, but when I see the photos, sometimes it just looks dumpy.  I don't know if I'll keep it in my closet after this winter is over. I know I always want a loose cardigan to throw on over outfits, but maybe it needs to come in more at the waist instead of being a grandpa sweater. 

re: the sandals I'm debating buying for our upcoming beach vacation, I have not bought them. I did get out all my sandals to see what I have that can survive getting wet. (I have leather sandals that I wouldn't want to wear to a pool or beach). I do have some really cheap ones that can get wet, but I'd love to feel a little bit more chic than $1.99 foamy plastic shoes. Yes, I want to be chic while probably carrying a toddler and a bunch of sunscreen and towels and sand toys and snacks. Doesn't that sound fancy to you? I'll think about it a little longer. Many times, waiting makes a shopping urge fade away.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Boots and Beaches

Hi everybody, I hope your week is going well. I've been stomping around in boots but thinking about ordering some new sandals! We are planning a beachy vacation - my first ever. I've been to the beach; I've dipped my toe in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. But I've never stayed at a resort and hung out on the beach while drinking a fruity drink, and I'm pretty excited to do it! This will be the first time we fly with our kids, and the first time they need their passports. It will be an undertaking, but I hope it will be well worth the effort. 

I'm trying to manage my expectations, but I continue to daydream of reading a book on the beach while sipping some pineapple-rummy concoction with an umbrella in it. In case you don't have small kids, the truth is that you can't trust them near the water without near-constant supervision. So, there will be no book-reading unless Jason explicitly agrees to be on kid-watching duty for a while. It could happen! I'm sure I will bring a book or two - or my kindle with several unread books available. 

I'm trying not to break my New Year's goal of being super thrifty, but I keep thinking of vacation clothes that I "need." I will be unpacking all my summer clothes until I find casual dresses and something to wear over my swimsuit on the way to the beach or pool. Yes, I could wear anything at all, but I'd love to wear something that makes sense and feels right. I'm sure I have something that will work. 

I'm still working on resisting some new waterproof sandals. Do you ever have an earworm that's an item of clothing instead of a song? How do you get rid of it? Probably meditation, but I haven't been doing that. 

I'll tell you if I succeed in resisting or if I succumb to the lure of new shoes. In the meantime, here are a couple of outfits:

Green sweater, skinny jeans, and grey Frye boots. 

Polka dot top, boyfriend jeans, and camel Fryes. These boots are a bit slippery on the snow, but every time I see them, I want to put them on. They're so handsome.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wine Blouse, Jeans and Toms Boots

Hi guys, so last night I only got about 7 hours of sleep and I could totally feel the difference compared to a few nights of 8+ hours. No wonder I felt so badly when I was regularly getting less than 7 hours a night! I'm hoping for an early bedtime tonight.

I added a sparkly bracelet to this outfit to balance out the super-casual boots. Do you think it worked? I don't. They're just too laid-back for this top or bracelet. I actually don't think they're attractive boots at all, but they are so warm and comfortable, I want to keep wearing them. They're made by Toms but are definitely in the Uggs family tree, and I think that brandname is pretty accurate. Buuut, I still like them.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sleep and Dinner Parties

Hi friends, how was your weekend? I've slept over 8 hours a night for three nights in a row now! It's mostly thanks to the kids sleeping in late in the mornings, but it's a little bit due to me getting to bed earlier. I'm going to try to keep the streak going. I feel so much better when I get enough sleep. Tomorrow we have to get up for school, so I'd better get to bed on time.

And here are some recent outfits:

Grey cardigan, flared jeans and camel Fryes. My sweater's a bit rumpled, which isn't all that rare.

Breton striped tee, jeans, and camel boots. 

Flannel shirt, flared jeans, and fringe boots. I'm still loving this shirt from Tradlands. 

I hope your week is off to a good start! We got to have friends over to play and eat dinner, which was a great treat. I want to do that more often this year. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Green Sneakers & Granola

Hi guys! I hope your week went well. I'm enjoying simplifying my meals and will keep working on implementing my plan. The best part so far has been breakfast. I made some delicious granola and have been eating it with almond milk every morning. It's fast, which is key when you have little guys to feed. It's also healthy by my standards, and the nuts and seeds give me energy, and it tastes great and is satisfying. I am nowhere near tired of it, so I'll probably make a new batch when this one runs low. 

Here's my recipe:
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 Tsps butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together. Spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir. Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes more, until the oats are lightly toasted. Cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container. 

And now here are a couple outfits with my green Roos sneakers. They add a little more fun than plain black ones (though I love those, too!).

Blue sweatshirt tee, jeans, and Roos.

Ivory turtleneck sweater, flared jeans, and green Roos.

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wine Blouse, Flared Jeans and Fringe Boots

Hi guys, today I was thinking about how I used to have so much more self-discipline. I'd decide to do something and then I'd just do it. Now I research and make plans, and get started and then... get distracted or give up and veer off course. So I'm going to try to make life really simple in a couple ways. 

I'm going to simplify my diet for a while. I'll just choose a couple breakfasts and eat one or the other every day. Then I'll have my green smoothie (spinach, banana, and frozen berries). I'll have a couple choices for lunch, and a few options for dinner. Whenever I get tired of something, I'll just replace that option with a different recipe. 

I'm also going to simplify my workouts by planning to follow the Cathe ICE DVD rotation. If I don't feel up to that day's scheduled workout, or if I run out of time, I'll have a short default option planned. I've been sort of stuck on doing the next workout in the rotation: Bootcamp. Often those workouts have a lot of jumping and up + down movements, like burpees. I haven't been feeling 100% this week, so I didn't want to do any burpees, so I skipped working out. Dumb. Just do something easier, but still do something! (Today I did a workout that was all about lying on the floor and burning the legs and glutes to a crisp - even though it hurt, it still felt nice to lie down!)

I'm not going to read anything about food or exercise (subjects I love studying) for a while. I'm just going to stick with my plans. I'll try to simplify those two areas of my life, like I have my wardrobe. Too many options can make it difficult to do anything, and I think limiting my options will make it easier to just follow my plans. No second-guessing, no distractions. It's a capsule menu for food and a capsule menu for workouts. Of course I'll let you know how I do. 

Today's outfit is simple, but not boring. The loose blouse has a great drape and a nice burgundy color. It shows some neck and wrists, breaking up the dark colors a bit. The flared jeans make an interesting silhouette. It's easy, but good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Skinny Jeans, Wide Leg Pants, Tucked and Cuffed

Hi guys! I have a few outfits to share today, all with different styles of pants or ways to wear them. Right now, there are so many fashionable styles of jeans and pants - different lengths, widths, and shapes. I love it! It's fun to play around with different widths of cuffs and showing off ankles or patterned socks. You can make so many different silhouettes but still just wear jeans and a simple top. 

White button-down, grey cardigan, black skinny jeans and oxfords. I like how these striped socks look with black jeans and oxfords. I originally wanted a pair of oxfords that were darker brown, but this pair was extremely comfortable and the darker ones were very stiff. I decided to change the very light colored laces to darker, maroon ones to make them feel a little more appropriate for the darker clothes I like to wear in fall and winter. 

Black tank, aztec sweater, wide leg pinstriped pants, and oxfords. Here, I think the tan shoes make this mostly-black outfit less boring. 

Flannel shirt, boyfriend jeans tucked into Toms boots. This outfit makes me feel cozy yet lumberjacky. I'm ready to be warm and lazy inside or go out and do wintry yardwork. If you want to buy an American-made shirt from Tradlands, you can use my discount link to save $25 (and I'll get some store credit - thanks!). 

Blue sweater, boyfriend jeans, and Roos sneakers. Here I cuffed my jeans to show off my cute socks. 

What about you? Do you stick with one style of pants or play with all of the options?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Goals Check-In, Socks with Clogs, and a PJ Shirt

Hi guys! How are your New Year's resolutions/goals/plans going? I'm doing okay with mine. I'll go through my list quickly to see what needs more attention:

1. Decluttering. I haven't done much yet. As I put away our Christmas decorations, I'm getting rid of stuff that I don't like, so I won't have to look at it again next year. There were some cheap ornaments that I bought a few years ago and don't really like. Those are now gone. We had FOUR strands of lights that would only light up halfway this year. Replacing bulbs did not solve the problem, so I threw them away. I think those were about 10 years old, and maybe that's how long they last. I'm also trying to keep only a few things that the kids made, but that one's tough. 

2. Take care of myself AND give good attention to the kids. I'm trying to turn off the tv and put down my phone and spend more time playing with the kids. It will have to be a gradual process since going cold turkey and completely turning off all screens makes us all crazy! It will be worth the effort, but may take a while.

3. Eat well. I'm doing well at eating more healthy foods and fewer unhealthy foods. I've been tracking my calories for a few days and it's amazing how easy it is to eat WAY too much! 

I'd gotten used to having a beer or two after the kids went to bed, which led to lots of snacking. I think I'm over the worst of it, but it was really hard to give up that nightly beer. For me, it's symbolic of finally being (mostly) off-duty when the kids are asleep. But I can wind down in better ways. I'm drinking tea or kombucha instead. Kombucha is especially effective at replacing beer since it has that yeasty taste and a little fizz. 

I'm trying to eat an apple as my nighttime snack, if I need one. When you know that all you're getting is an apple, it's easier to determine if you're really hungry or just want to eat for some other reason. 

4. Exercise enough. I'm following Cathe Friedrich's ICE DVDs level one rotation, but I've taken extra rest days. Sometimes I don't have the energy to work out (eating better should keep helping with that!) and sometimes it's just hard to get it done with the kids. If I'd get up early, I could exercise before the kids get up, and I wouldn't have that excuse! Anyway, as I'm doing each workout for the second or third time, I can already tell that I'm getting stronger and can use heavier weights. I love being able to see measurable progress! I also want to add in 10 minutes of stretchy yoga and/or meditation each day, but haven't been doing it yet.

5. Sleep more. I slept 8.5 hours last night, but before that I only got around 6 hours each night. 

6. Get up early. Nope.

7. Read 45 books. I'm reading a couple of paper books and one e-book, plus listening to an audio book. I haven't finished any yet this year.

8. Write a short story. Nope.

9. Write a poem. Nope.

10. Spend very little money. I'm doing that, but I haven't stopped thinking about how I want to spend my allowance next month. Breaking that habit of imaginary spending and wasting time looking at stuff online will be great! It's such a dumb use of my time and energy.

11. Use up what I have. I haven't made any particular progress on this front, but I also haven't bought unneeded duplicates, so this one's going okay.

How about you? Are you checking up on your goals yet?  

And a couple outfits:

Wine tank, brown cardigan, boyfriend jeans, socks and clogs. I'm trying out stripey socks with my clogs and I like it. I wondered if socks would make my feet slip around in these, but they don't. The socks are thin but much warmer than wearing no socks. Thick ones might stretch out the leather and I don't want that - I mostly wear these shoes in warmer weather without socks, so I want them to fit with bare feet. I think the stripes look cute with these shoes. So the socks and clogs experiment is a success!

Ivory sweater, black jeans and cozy Toms boots. This outfit's super cozy and comfy. Bodhi's wearing his favorite BB-8 pajama shirt and jersey-lined pants. :) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

$25 Off at Tradlands

Hi guys, 

I've been wanting a nice-fitting flannel shirt for a couple years and have bought a few cheap ones that didn't fit that well. I kept hearing about this women's shirt company called Tradlands. I like a lot of things about their company. Their shirts are:

  • Made in America
  • High quality and made to last
  • Made to fit women, but with a tomboy attitude
  • Prints and colors that I think I'll like forever

I'd love to start buying more high-quality, ethically made clothes, but since they tend to cost so much more, I'll probably only add one or two pieces each year. I think fast fashion creates a whole range of problems, from throw-away clothes ending up in landfills to the mistreatment of the people who make the clothes. It would be great to contribute less to that part of the fashion industry. 

I'm sure I'll still shop at Old Navy, Kohl's, etc.... I can't imagine how to afford sustainably, ethically made kids' clothes. But any change I can make in my shopping habits feels like a step in the right direction. 

Tradlands' American-made, high quality shirts are expensive, but they have a great return policy, so I knew I could return my shirt if I didn't love it. I'm weighing the price against the benefits of a well made, good-looking shirt that should last (and outlast trends) for years and years. 

This is not a sponsored post; I really love my shirt! I ordered this red buffalo plaid flannel and I've worn it for a while every day since it arrived. I'm 5' 10" and I ordered size Large. The sleeves are long enough for me, which is not always the case. After washing and drying it, the shirt did shrink a little bit. I was disappointed because I loved how it fit before washing. After washing, it was just a little shorter and the cuffs were a little tighter. I kept wearing it to see if I liked it enough to keep it, knowing I could still return it under their return policy. And I still loved it. The tighter cuffs are plenty loose enough for my wrists, they just don't slide on and off easily over my watch. 

What do you think? I'm still well within the 60 day return window, but I think I'll keep it. It's definitely shorter than it looks on the model, but I think it's long enough. If it's too long and you tuck it in, the extra fabric will bunch up and look weird, or it will blouse out too far. 

When I went to and typed in my email address, I received $15 off, but if you use my link, you'll save $25 and I'll get some store credit (thank you!). 

Let me know if you buy a shirt or have bought one before. I'd love to know what you think. 

My personal capsule rules say that if I add a piece of clothing, I remove something else. I'm going to remove my red skirt, which is actually a little tight right now, so I never want to wear it. I especially don't want to wear it with thick leggings, which I need for warmth in this cold weather. So the skirt will go into storage in the back of my closet and I'll be able to wear my new flannel shirt all the time!

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Missing Tunic

Hi guys, how is 2016 treating you so far? Today was a good day for my resolutions. I ate well, exercised, and played with the kids. I still have plenty of time to get to bed early, so I plan to get enough sleep tonight. 

Here are two outfits, each including something I made myself last year:

White t-shirt, yellow cardigan, corduroy skirt (homemade), and clogs. I definitely want to make a denim version of this skirt, too. There are so many things I'd like to make!

Splatter tunic (homemade), leggings, and grey Frye boots. I made this top in September, I think, and then I promptly misplaced it. I was so mad! I looked everywhere for it and finally found it late in December. It turns out, I had put it in my sewing area, folded up with another shirt that needs to be altered. This one still needs its sleeves hemmed, so it totally makes sense that I put it by my sewing machine. 

Unfortunately, I was in no rush to fix the shirt that was hiding this one, so I never looked at it to find this one. Since this is a jersey knit, it won't fray, so I could have been wearing it with unhemmed sleeves throughout the fall. It will look a little nicer when it's done, and the sleeves will be bracelet length instead of "are those sleeves too short on purpose?" length. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 Outfits and Goals

Wine tank top, brown cardigan, black jeans and camel boots.

Blue sweatshirt (homemade), flared jeans and Roos sneakers.

Green striped tunic, leggings and camel boots.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had fun celebrating and woke up feeling well on New Year's Day.  :) 

Did you make any resolutions or set any goals? I did.

1. Generally, I want to keep decluttering and make our home easy to clean. Less stuff makes it easier to put everything away. It's easier to get down to surfaces if they're not covered with stuff. I'm not looking for a spartan, empty white space. I like cozy, kitschy places. But I have plenty of stuff I can let go. 

2. I want to make a better balance between taking good care of my family AND taking good care of myself. I need to go to checkups with my doctors, exercise, and prepare healthy food. I need to have time to read and write. I need to be creative! I will try to incorporate the kids into as much of that as possible, but I also really need time to myself. I'll be trying to figure out how I can best go about getting all of that. 

I think each of my kids got two full years(!!) of my attention, and then last year I didn't feel like I had enough fun with them. I said so many times, "I'll play with you in a few minutes, when I'm done with this." This year I want to play more AND have more time for my stuff. 

And the rest, I wrote about in this post so I'll just list them:

3. Eat well

4. Exercise enough

5. Sleep more

6. Get up early

7. Read 45 books

8. Write a short story

9. Write a poem

10. Spend very little money

11. Use up what I have (don't just collect things and save them for later)

I'll be working on all of these, and I'm sure I won't do perfectly at anything, but I'll do my best. Did you set any goals for 2016?