Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Plastic Free July

So, it may be the second of August and I just heard about plastic free July, but it is what got me to thinking about this, and I thought I'd take a break from rambling on about my clothing choices...

We, as a species, use a LOT of plastic. Plastic that, unless it is recycled, will end up in a landfill and will be there for millennia because it effectively NEVER breaks down. And I think that there are about a million things that we can do on a daily basis that are not difficult, in order to decrease our plastic consumption.

I made the switch to <mostly> reusable grocery bags years ago. We are more lenient on that now, but we use the plastic grocery bags as garbage pail liners for the few disposable diapers we use. So we do at least repurpose them. I started washing out <most> of my ziplock bags and reusing them awhile ago, too. Because usually they are perfectly good after one use. When I pack my lunch I use a reusable Bee's Wrap sandwich wrap to pack my sandwich, and I almost always bring reusable containers with my food in it. I recycle what I can, which around here is only #1 and #2 plastic, and you know what? There is a LOT of #5 plastic that is used in food containers. I sadly have to put those in the garbage right now. I have carried my own water bottle around for a long time.

But still, the amount of plastic is staggering. Think about how many things we touch every day that were wrapped in plastic, are made of plastic, etc... Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, toys, toothbrushes, toothpaste... I could go on and on.

I recently I ran across a Instagram account called simplyzero_. It's a girl from Cincinnatti who is pledging to go "zero waste" over the next year. That means that she, quite literally, makes no trash to go to a landfill. It is not a new concept to me, but for some reason, her approach rang true for me and what I've been trying to do recently to simplify my life, minimize my impact, and leave the world as good a place as I can for my kids and grandkids.

There is no way I can totally get rid of all of my trash. It just is not going to happen. HOWEVER, it is not necessarily about the end goal, but rather about the process of being mindful in our waste. We have a tendency to flippantly just throw things in the garbage. And away it goes, never to be seen again. If we had to pile our trash up in our backyard, we'd be more mindful.

Our bread comes wrapped in plastic. When I make my own bread at home, you eliminate that plastic bag. Yogurt comes in a #5 plastic container. It takes about 10 minutes of work to make your own whole milk yogurt at home, which I used to do. I need to start doing that again.

So, a few things I learned from her. If you put a spork or a reusable multi-utensil in your purse, you don't need to use plastic utensils when you go out to eat. I learned about TerracCycle zero waste box. You have to pay for it, but you can literally recycle almost ANYTHING. I'm thinking of getting one for alkaline batteries, because with kids, we go through an insane number of those in all of their toys. And maybe one for those food pouches that we get.

I also learned about Plaine Products which are shampoo, conditioner and body wash that come in aluminum containers. You order one, then when it runs out, they send you another, and you send them the container back in a prepaid box. They clean the container and refill it for the next person. What a fantastic idea! I wish they made body lotion, too!

And, something I hadn't really thought of, toilet paper. And paper towels. They all come wrapped in plastic. Which can't be recycled.  Who Gives a Crap is a company that will send you toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues that are made from sustainable fibers, wrapped in paper, in a cardboard box that you can recycle. And then I don't have to fill my cart at the store up with Scott crappy toilet paper that is wrapped in plastic. Because that toilet paper is crappy anyways. Anyone who knows Charlie knows that we have a 5 year supply of toilet paper right now. BUT, eventually that will change. And I'd like to try to do something a little more sustainable when the time comes.

Lastly, I'm going to try to get more serious about bringing my own produce bags to the grocery store. I bought some cotton ones at one point, but I'm not a huge fan bc you can't see what is in them. So I may have to research some other options.

It's about the process. And being mindful. And maybe inconveniencing yourself a little bit for the betterment of the planet. Because we only have one. And we are quickly making a mess of it...

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Next step in Curated Closet - choose a color palette. I liked how she explained it. She said that it was more of a guideline. The colors in the palette should go together. This ensures that you can mix and match well. But you can also get clothes that are outside of the "palette" as long as they went with at least a few of the colors in your palette.

I've struggled with this concept before, because I hesitate to limit myself to certain colors. I like color, in general. And I like to try new colors. There are certain colors that I don't often buy - purple and yellow for example. But I have also had some items in these colors that I've really liked and worn a lot (I had a purple sweater I loved and I have yellow shorts right now).

So, without further ado, I will present to you my color palette:

She suggests three "main colors" two "neutral colors" and four "accent colors". I struggled at first because if you just took my main and neutral colors, it all seemed rather monochrome. But the fact of the matter is, those are the colors that I own the most of right now. So rather than try to convince myself otherwise, I figured I may as well embrace it as "this is who I am now" and that is OK. It may not be the same person I was 5 years ago. That is OK. It is funny to me sometimes how we often times see ourselves as we wish we were, or as we used to be, as opposed to how we are right now.

So, my main colors - navy blue, denim or chambray, and charcoal gray. My neutral colors are white and black, and my accent colors - turquoise, salmon, red, and green.

I like it and I think it gives me some room to grow. It also encompasses what my wardrobe looks like right now for the most part.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Style Summary

So, somewhere along the road of cleaning out my entire house of things that didn't "spark joy" or that I didn't find to be "beautiful or useful" I sort of put my Curated Closet journey on hold. I went back to it a few weeks ago and have been working with it some, so thought I'd update on my progress.

One of the reasons that I put it on hold was that I had added several new pieces from Trunk Club. I had winnowed out a lot of stuff. I still felt unsettled. Like I loved some of my pieces, but I still felt things were lacking, but I didn't know what. So I decided to live with what I had for awhile, and then go from there.

From the beginning I've known that one of the hardest things is that, on a day-to-day basis, I don't wear very much. Scrubs to work (or occasionally I'll dress up), then when I get home it is all about comfort and functionality. Right now I'm wearing jean shorts, a white tank top, and Birkenstock sandals. I haven't showered since Friday. And I am totally OK with that.

But on Friday we went out for a friend's birthday party. I wore my white jeans, a gray tank top from D.Diff and my black and white Toms sandals. I may not wear something that nice for many, many weeks again. But when the time comes, I like to have something that I feel comfortable in, and that I feel good in. So, there needs to be a balance. And I need to be OK with owning some clothes that I won't wear very often. I just need to make sure the nicer clothes I do own work well with each other, and keep them to a few that you can mix and match and re-wear when the time comes.

So, I've gotten to the end of the first part of this book. The first part is all about helping you define your style. I scoured the internet, made Pinterest boards, saved images, tried on clothes. Then you sort of analyze. So, I'll share with you the last questions, and my responses to them.

What is the best name for your personal style?
Classic east coast prep meets sporty comfort with a hint of bohemian inspiration

In one or two sentences, what's the overall idea behind your style?
My personal style is based on clothes that are comfortable and functional, like sneakers, Toms, modest shorts/pants and knit tops in a neutral-heavy color palette with pops of color or bold patterns. It looks put together and classic, and is comfortable enough to chase my kids in.

What does a typical outfit look like for this style?
In the winter - a pair of skinny jeans and a sweater or chambray shirt with a pair of boots.
In the summer - modest shorts with a loose fitting top and Birkenstock sandals.
For work - ankle pants with boots or flats, modest top +/- cardigan sweater
Dressed up - a comfortable dress with wedge sandals

What does the style say about its wearer? What three character qualities does it convey?
I like to think it says that I like to look nice, but am more focused on experiences than trends. Classy, confident, fun.

What are the key pieces of this style?
Skinny jeans, ankle pants, mid-length shorts. Oversized sweaters, loose fitting t-shirts, chambray shirt. Toms, boots, Birkenstocks, flats.

What are the dominant colors?
Black, white, navy, gray. Pops of turquoise, salmon, red, sky blue. I've been trying to keep most pieces pretty neutral, then just have a few with pops of color that I really enjoy.

Which silhouettes, cuts and fits are part of this style?
Bottoms are skinny jeans, or wide leg (like linen pants). Shorts should hit mid thigh, or be bermuda length. Skirts should be maxi or pencil, not too short. Tops should be loose fitting (too tight makes me uncomfortable) and not too low cut or see through. Shoes are flat for the most part. A pop of color in a pair of fun shorts/pants or top makes me happy.

What type of materials and fabrics work well with this style?
Machine washable is a must right now. Cotton, wool, some polyester. Chunky knits. Things need to wear well and withstand the test of time.

What does the styling look like? Think accessories, specific styling techniques, and hair and make up.
I used to wear a lot of "statement" pieces for jewelry, but my kids just try to pull it off of me. I've been keeping it simple - pearl or silver stud earrings. Simple foundation, blush, mascara. Short hair that takes a few minutes to pull off and looks OK if I choose not to blow dry it. I've gotten away from necklaces, but look forward to wearing some turquoise jewelry again when my baby quits trying to rip it off.

So, while I still don't feel as though I'm 100% there, I think I have a better handle on what I want my clothes to convey, as well as what I feel comfortable and confident in.

Three weeks to garage sale time. I'm not sure how much stuff we'll actually sell, but I'm excited to sell what we can and donate the rest so that I can feel like we have that physical and metaphorical weight off our shoulders!