Saturday, November 4, 2017

Living Simply

I tend to be a do-er. Like I get an idea in my head, and then I try to go whole hog for it. I think I've always been that way. And I sometimes have a hard time looking at things objectively. This is where Charlie is so, so good for me. He has a way of looking at things differently. Like when I wanted to buy a pumping bag for work when I was breastfeeding Teddy. He just said, "Kristen. You just created a problem you didn't have so that you could buy this bag. It's not like you commute far. It's not like you have to bring a pump to and from work every day. What you're doing is working. Buy the bag if you want, but don't pretend its because it's going to make your life easier." He was right. I didn't need the bag. It would not have made life easier, except for perhaps it would have looked nice sitting on my desk.

So the last year as lead me from committing to simplifying my kids lives to minimalizing mine, to trying to reduce the amount of waste we create and plastic we use as a family. I've posted about this last one recently. I still think that we use a lot of plastic. Too much plastic. And in North Platte, though we do have recycling available to us, it's pretty limited (#1 and #2 plastic, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard). No glass, no #4 or #5 plastic. And when you go to the grocery store and try to buy yogurt or cottage cheese, it almost always comes in a #4 or #5 plastic container. And of course you can keep those and clean them out and use them again, but how many of those does a person need? And eventually they end up in a landfill, even if you use them until they can't be used anymore, right?

So I went back to making my own yogurt. I tried to make my own cottage cheese, which was delicious when fresh but not so much a few days later (won't do that again). And the last few times I went to the grocery store, I went to the deli counter instead of buying the deli meat in the plastic containers.

But, you know that scene from Zootopia where they're at the DMV and it is being run my sloths? That is the deli counter at every grocery store in North Platte. You can easily double your time at the grocery store by going to the deli counter. So I try to buy lots more than we need a freeze it, but it's still kind of a pain. With small kids time is important.

And last night, Charlie had had enough. He had to go to the grocery store yesterday, and I asked him to get pretzels in a plastic container that could be recycled and go to the deli counter. Which he did, but he was not that happy when he got home. Because the deli counter is infuriating, lol. And he said that me spending my free time making yogurt and standing at the deli counter does not make us happier, and it does not simplify our lives.

And I got to thinking about it, and he's right. I work full time, I try to be present for my kids, and I try to do stuff around the home that I like to do, like make my own bread or sew a baby bib for my baby. But I am not a housewife and we are not farmers. I don't have time to be making yogurt at all hours of the night, or concocting a way to make pretzels at home so we don't have to buy them in a plastic bag.

I use cloth diapers, I make our own bread, I usually make our own yogurt, sometimes I make baby wipes, I actually do recycle, I bring my own utensils, I bring my own coffee cup, I bring a cloth napkin to work.

It is enough. Do what you can. Then let it go. You can't do it all... That is the true lesson in simplifying your life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I posted. Probably a testament to how busy we've been with traveling and work and all of that good and fun stuff.

When Teddy was born, he wasn't home three days and Charlie said, "We're done. We're not having any more kids." I laughed at him and told him that this was not necessarily the time to make that kind of a decision. He argued that it was the perfect time. That when you're in the thick of the newborn phase was the perfect time to make that kind of a decision, because you know just exactly how bad it is. And in a way, he's right. After not that long, I was on board. Neither one of us are super fond of newborns. Those first six months really suck. Some women seem to love it, I am not one of them. I love my boys with all my heart, and they are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I really, really hate that newborn phase.

So we weren't having any more. I gave away all my baby stuff. I actually sold it at a garage sale, but we sold it for pretty cheap. Most of our bibs, my cheap clothes, some burp cloths, our bassinet. The bumbo chair. One of our bouncers.

Then Teddy turned a year old. I weaned him. It was sad for me. But I started to get this feeling like I wanted another baby. I brushed it off, figured it was just the hormones from weaning. But it's stuck around. If we were going to have another, I'd like to do it soon. For one, I'm not getting any younger, but for another, Max and Ted are so close in age. I don't want them to be a ton older than the next. Plus, let's just get the hard parts over with. Traveling with Max now is easy-peasy. Ted is getting easier. So let's not get to a comfortable place and then go backwards. Just keep on with the challenging times.

There are a million reasons not to have another. How in the world will be get three kids into car seats in the car? Max will have to be in the back, and because he'll still be in the convertible car seat, someone will have to climb into the back to buckle him, because there is no way he'll be able to buckle himself. When we took Max to Tanya's, she charged us $100 a week for two days. Which seemed kinda steep, but whatever. When Ted came along, she doubled it to $200. I don't think I can justify $300. In a similar vein, Charlie is not at all sure he can handle three kids at home by himself. He's actually only home with them by himself for two full days a week - Monday and Thursday. But having three will definitely be a lot more difficult. Max will go to preschool, but that is only two days a week and only for a few hours. So it will actually probably be worse bc I'm sure preschool will interfere with nap time and he'll have to take all three kids out to leave Max at preschool for 2-3 hours and then go back and pick him up. We gave away a lot of our baby stuff already. Flying home to see people will be that much more expensive. Packing and getting to the airport and on the plane and to our destination will be that much more difficult.

But this is the thing. It's not that hard to climb into the back seat. And who knows, maybe Max will figure out how to buckle himself. We don't know that Tanya will charge us $300/wk. She may realize that's a tall order and that Max is getting easier and only go to $250. Or we can work around that. Max could go to daycare, he's old enough now and the social interaction may be good for him. Max and Ted actually play pretty well together, and there may be more Daniel Tiger watching than we'd like, but Charlie could make it work at home with 3. Lots of people do. We still have the basics of baby stuff. Our pack and play that we used for Max has an infant insert. I saved a good number of bibs and the nice burp cloths for myself. We lent one of our bouncers to our neighbors, we could ask for it back. I still have one bumbo seat. I kept all the nice clothes, and who knows, maybe it will be a girl and she'd need all new clothes anyways. Traveling would be more expensive. There is no getting around that. And more difficult while they're little. For sure.

We've talked about it. One day I feel like I'm on board, the next I'm not. Charlie seems like he could be convinced if I was really passionate about it, but I'm not.

I wonder if anyone ever truly feels their family is complete? Like, "Oh, OK. We've reached maximum capacity. We're good!" I dunno. What I do know, is that they are so, damn, cute. And funny. And their smile lights up your whole world. And watching them grow into toddlers and kids and little people is pretty incredible.

So who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. Even if we want to, there is no guarantee it will happen. Infertility strikes at crazy times for all sorts of people. For now I'm still on the fence. But they are pretty cute...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Another change in pace. I honestly just have to get this out somewhere, and here is as good a place as any since it's really only my family that ever reads this.

Teddy has weaned. Mom really wanted me to wean him before we went to Portugal, but I wasn't going to force it on him. After he turned a year old I quit pumping at work. And I quit feeding him overnight. So sometimes I was only feeding him twice a day. Sometimes more, but never more than maybe 3-4 times per day. I knew that my supply had dropped off pretty significantly.

Then earlier this week he got sick. And he was really congested. And last Friday morning he didn't really nurse. Not for very long. And Friday night he screamed when he tried to latch. It just happened so fast. Like Thursday was fine, normal. He was happy to nurse, grabbing at my boob and shoving it in his mouth.

I knew that my supply was dwindling. And I knew that he never really preferred the bottle or the boob (was always happy for milk in any form, from anyone). But for some reason I thought it would be slower. I was prepared. I was expecting him to nurse for shorter sessions for awhile or something like that, not just stop cold turkey.

Then on Sunday I noticed he had two fever blisters under his tongue. Which is probably why he was crying when he latched. My milk was drying up even faster, and I was so, so sad about it. Nursing Teddy has truly been one of the greatest joys of motherhood for me. It was something I wanted so bad and fought so hard to protect our nursing relationship. And was so proud of us for making it to a whole year.

Monday morning I felt like giving it a go again. He latched, and even though I had probably almost no milk left, he happily nursed for probably 10 minutes or more. And I just sat there. Trying to soak it in. To sear into my brain the image of his little face, blonde hair, playing with his hands and my shirt, in what had been his happy and safe place since the day he was born. And I just tried to enjoy it. To remember it. To be present to it.

And I offered Monday afternoon and Monday night, but he was done. Not even pretending to nurse. He'd rather have his sippy cup with milk now.

And I know that I'm leaving for Portugal soon. And when I made the decision not to force him to wean, I prayed that things would work out as they were supposed to. And I have faith that they have. But I am still sad. So, so sad. And grateful. So very grateful. Grateful for the time I had with him, grateful that the Universe gave me that one last nursing session, and so very happy to be his Mom.

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!

Thursday, June 8, 2017


I've been getting discouraged recently. It's like I need a good weekend with nothing else to do but clean the house. It's like as soon as I get one spot done, another slips. I can't seem to keep on top of it. I feel like if I could just get everything in its place, then I could stay on top, but that is probably a pipe dream.

Garage sale is set for the weekend before the 4th of July. What doesn't sell will be given to charity. Hopefully that will be somewhat helpful for my countenance.

It's a work in progress. There is no such thing as perfection. I keep trying to remind myself of these things. It is a lifestyle change. There is no right or wrong. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wading Through

Slowly but surely we are getting through all of our stuff. I am amazed at the amount of stuff that is piling up in the spare bedroom. I've sold some stuff on eBay (ahem, several pairs of TOMS, ahem) but the rest of it is going to either be sold at our garage sale in June, or go to the Goodwill.

I wanted to share with you a few of the quotes I've run across when cleaning out things that have really resonated with me.

"When examined carefully, the fate that links us to the things we own is quite amazing. Take just one shirt, for example. Even if it was mass-produced in a factory, that particular shirt that you bought and brought home on that particular day is unique to you. The destiny that led us to each one of our possessions is just as precious and sacred as the destiny that connected us with the people in our lives. There is a reason why each one of your belongings came to you." Marie Kondo

"Everything you own wants to be of use to you. Even if you throw it away or burn it, it will only leave behind the energy of wanting to be of service. Freed from its physical form, it will move about your world as energy, letting other things know that you are a special person, and come back to you as the thing that will be of most use to who you are now, the thing that will bring you the most happiness." Marie Kondo

"Think of the life energy expended in the ownership of a single possession: planning for it, reading reviews about it, looking for the best deal on it, earning (or borrowing) the money to buy it, going to the store to purchase it, transporting it home, finding a place to put it, learning how to use it, cleaning it (or cleaning around it), maintaining it, buying extra parts for it, insuring it, protecting it, trying not to break it, fixing it when you do, and sometimes making payments on it even after you've disposed of it." Francine Jay, The Joy of Less

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." William Morris

"When we're old and gray, we won't wax poetic on the things we had - but rather on what we did in the spaces between them." Francine Jay

"In order to be a good Gatekeeper, you have to think of your house as sacred space, not storage space." Francine Jay

"We don't live in a vacuum - the consequences of our actions ripple throughout the world ... If we understood the impact of our lifestyles, perhaps we would live a little more lightly." Francine Jay

"We use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time." Francine Jay

"The urgent things - such as the demands at the office, the demands of other people, and even our own "inner compulsions" - typically trump the things which are important like regular dates with our spouse, personal solitude, exercise, or meditation." Joshua Pecker Simplify

"Simplifying your life can be more than just removing physical belongings. If minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that I most value, it is also about deciding what is most important in my life and removing the things that distract me from it. It is about removing the urgent for the sake of the important." Joshua Becker

So, just a few more nooks and crannies to go through. Then I will have handled everything that I own and decided what to keep. What sparks joy. I'm sure I didn't do a perfect job, but I did the best job I could do right now. Everything will have a place, and my next job is to keep everything in its place. And to prevent the re-accumulation of stuff.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Professional Work Wear

So, before I get into the meat of this. My Costa Rica 10x10 challenge went great. But it sort of felt like cheating bc the three days that I went to the OR I didn't wear anything other than my scrubs, lol. But, I did wear each piece and I didn't feel like I was lacking anything, so I'l take it for a win.

We recently decided to get matching embroidered scrubs for all the technicians in the office, and matching polo shirts for the front office staff. I got myself a pair of scrubs embroidered as well, but in a different color. I was toying around with the idea of just wearing embroidered scrubs to work every day. Some people do that. Ophthalmologists, as a general rule, are less likely to do this than other kinds of surgeons, but many people do this. I shied away from it because I was afraid it would look less professional. But, in my efforts to simplify things, a uniform that I wear to work would be very helpful. Not only would I not have to decide what to wear to work every day, but I also wouldn't have to worry about shopping for work clothes. Both are a plus in my book right now because I don't have time for either of those.

So, I was already going to get myself another pair. So I'm going to try it out and see what I think. I'm hoping I'll like it and I'll go that way. Asking around to other female colleagues, some say they don't like it bc they get confused with nurses. Others said that after they started to wear scrubs fewer people asked them how many surgeries they had done or if they were actually going to be the ones doing the surgery. So, we'll see...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Costa Rica 10x10 Challenge

Two posts in as many days, how about that?

As is the case with many frustrations, I woke up this morning with a sunnier outlook. Several of my favorite capsule wardrobe/minimalist bloggers have begun to occasionally do something called a 10x10 challenge. Basically you are challenged to wear only 10 articles of clothing for 10 days. You pick the articles ahead of time, then see what kind of fun you can have. PJs, underwear, jewelry, and workout wear are not included.

I've never joined in because I find it hard to mix my work and weekend clothes into 10 items I can realistically use/wear.

BUT, we're leaving for Costa Rica tomorrow. I decided to try a 10x10 challenge while we're gone. I think we're only technically gone for 8 days, but that's OK. It's a 10x8 challenge for me I guess ;-)

So, below you will see my 10 items that I'm bringing to Costa Rica with me:

Tops: chambray shirt, white tank, and my black Evolve top from Encircled.
Bottoms: printed shorts, bermuda jean shorts, navy linen pants, white skinny jeans
Dress: My JAG chambray dress from D. Diff
Shoes: TOMS wedges and black Birkenstocks

I did not include: my bathing suit, a cover up, a pair of PJs, a pair of scrubs, and my OR shoes in this count. But I think it looks pretty good! All the pieces mix and match well for the most part and it should cover most of my bases.

I figure the most important thing is for me to bring a bathing suit and my scrubs. So if I feel like I have nothing to wear other times, who cares. And with the average high about 95*F and low around 77*F, I don't have to worry too much about variations in climate.

I'm excited to see how it goes. If I get a chance I'll take some pictures of the different outfits I make and we'll see how it goes!

Friday, April 14, 2017


So, I am in need of new trousers for work. The ones I have are too big now, and I need something that fits, is going to be versatile and last a long time. I asked for some from Trunk Club, and as much as I usually like what they send, they struck out. Everything they sent in this category seemed to be flimsy, the one pair of trousers I did like weren't even lined, the fabric seemed thin, and they cost $120. I was not about to do that.

So I'm scouring the internet trying to find some trousers. I'd love to find something that was lined and looked really tailored and was made responsibly. So I'm looking, I'm looking. Over an hour later I am not happy with what I've found. I finally order two pair from Banana Republic and hope they fit and aren't too flimsy, as even BR quality has seemed to fade recently.

These bloggers that write about capsule wardrobes and whatnot are helpful in a way. They can give you good ideas and suggest places where you can find ethically produced clothes. But they don't go to work per se. Most of them are professional bloggers. They don't seem to have to look professional. And all the stores they send me to have models that look like they just rolled out of bed with clothes hanging off of them. The clothes never look like that on the bloggers, but the model looks like a heroin addict, so its hard for me to picture what it will look like on me.

And I am OK paying some extra money for responsibly made clothing. But I am not quite to the place of paying $395 for a pair of canvas sailor pants. I'm not saying its not worth it. If you wore those sailor pants every summer for the next 18 years like I did my linen pants, then they would be worth every penny. But it is so hard to tell if the pants are going to be those pants, or if you'll think they're going to be those pants and then you hardly wear them for one reason or another.

And this is the thing. I DON'T HAVE TIME TO SPEND HOURS ONLINE LOOKING FOR PANTS. I just don't. I could have spent that time doing about a million other things and ended up in the same place, with more stuff done.

If all I had to do all day was search the internet for clothes, I'm sure I'd have a closet full of responsibly made clothing that goes together and didn't cost me an arm and a leg and looks fabulous. But as it is I have a closet full of clothing that I sorta kinda like and I'm trying to figure out how it all fits me and my lifestyle and my motherhood (dry cleaning is not currently my friend).

Ugh. Frustrating. I know it is a work in progress, but I'm frustrated right now.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Joy of Less

So, it's been awhile, but we have been busy.

I did keep track of my outfits, and I did take a few hours one afternoon in Palm Springs and went to Marshall's and tried on as many things as I could get my hands on. I'm still feeling a bit lost, but starting to feel like maybe things are coming together a bit. I've learned a few things about what looks good on me and what doesn't, and it is not necessarily what I thought it would be. For example, shorts. Really short shorts don't look great or age appropriate. Bermuda shorts that hit just below the knee cap looks OK. But the in between can be finicky. The shorts that hit mid-thigh probably look the best. The ones that stop just above my knee cap look awful. As bad as short shorts, really. I had no idea. And I realized that ankle pants look a lot better on me than capris. Like a lot better.

So I haven't really had time to go in an go through all the pictures I took or anything like that yet. I'm hoping to be able to do that this weekend.

In the meantime I'm reading a book called The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify. I like it a lot. I am just over halfway through, but she sort of takes a different approach to the KonMari method of decluttering. Marie Kondo wants you to gather all like things together and then go through them. This author tells you to go through your house, room by room, drawer by drawer, and dump it all out. Start Over. And decide which things get to stay. It is useful? Do I find it beautiful? Does it make my life easier? Marie Kondo has a method to her madness, but her method is overwhelming to me. I have to have a good block of time to do it. Whereas I can go through a drawer in a few minutes. We've been putting everything that we don't want to keep but don't want to throw away in one of the spare bedrooms. I'm hoping to get thorough enough stuff that we can have a garage sale this summer and get rid of it. What doesn't sell gets donated. And in the meantime, she talks about being a Gatekeeper. You have the right to say what does and does not make it into your house. The key is to stop in the influx while purging what you don't need. I've discovered that I have a lifetime supply of dental floss. Like actually a lifetime supply. I may never need to buy dental floss again.

And she talks about Modules. Putting like things together. So if you want batteries, they are all in the same plastic container. Or drawer. Or box. Or whatever you decide to put them in. All your sewing stuff is together etc... And she talks about keeping all flat surfaces clear. Clutter begets clutter. When you are done with something, you need to put it away. Which is a good idea, but occasionally falls apart when you live with a two year old ;-)

So, every chance I get I try to empty out another drawer or cupboard or box or whatever. When you have a big house with lots of storage it is really easy to get a lot of crap. You have to be a good Gatekeeper to keep the extra stuff OUT. That is not always easy...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My week in outfits...

So, my pictures of all my outfits for the past week. I have one more week to go before I have the two weeks for the Curated Closet's first exercise.

The only two outfits that really stick out to me are the "out to dinner" one in the first montage, because I was excited that I found a camisole to go underneath my white cable knit sweater that I liked, and that I liked how the boots looked. And the "Gothenburg clinic" one in the second montage, because again, I found a way to style the cable knit sweater that I really liked.

She also had us go through lots of pictures of different outfits online and see what kinds of things we like or are drawn to. Then look through them and make some observations. I did this last weekend while Charlie was gone. This is what my worksheet looked like:

Overall Vibe: sporty and comfortable at home, preppy and professional at work
Items: Skinny jeans, trousers, ankle pants, jeans. Chambray shirts, chunky sweaters, crew neck sweaters, sandals, sneakers, flats
Colors: Navy blue, denim, black, grey, camel, red, coral, stripes, blues in general
Silhouettes: Open cardigan, layers, skinny jeans with loose top/sweater, blazers, palazzo pants, puffy vests, chambray shirts
Materials: Cotton, wool, lace detailing, denim
Styling: layers, natural makeup, simple jewelry

A few observations - I actually  had a lot less color and statement jewelry than I thought I would have. I don't know if this is because my overall style is changing a bit, or because that is what I like on other people, but on me is a different story. I liked a lot of outfits that had a pop of color, but not necessarily a lot of color. Like coral shorts with an chambray shirt and brown sandals. I had a lot of palazzo pants in there, actually, which I also thought was interesting. But they fit and look similar to the linen pants that I've had since high school that I love and are unfortunately starting to wear out in the crotch.

I have one more week of keeping track of my outfits. Then there are some questions to answer about that. The next step is to go to a big department store or mall and try on literally everything. And not buy one piece. The idea is to see what you like. What looks good on you. What outfit combinations you actually really like on you, and what silhouettes are flattering to you. She gives you a list of different styles to try out. 

Since North Platte has just a million different stores to shop at <ahem> yeah right <ahem>, I'm hoping to take an afternoon while we are in Palm Springs and go to the mall and do some of this. Charlie seemed supportive, especially when I told him that my job was to go and try a bunch of stuff on but that there was a strict rule to not buy anything, haha.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Curated Closet

So I finally got The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. I've been eyeing it since it came out a few months ago, but didn't really have a good excuse to get it. But as I've sort of been hitting a plateau with my wardrobe, I thought this might help me to push through. I've only read the first few chapters, but I am hopeful. One of the things I find so hard is that you see examples of all these "capsule wardrobes" on Pinterest and the internet. And that is all well and good. That works for that person. But in reality, that doesn't really work for me. The pins that tell you you need X number of shirts and Y number of pants, always fall short. The inevitably were made by someone who is not a physician by day and does not live in Nebraska where it can be 70* this week and below freezing the next.

And she addresses this early on in her book. She says that there are no short cuts. Creating a curated closet is about finding yourself. Finding your own personal style. Not what is in style right now, but what is your own personal style? What do you like to wear? What looks good on you? What colors do you like to wear? And this is a very personal thing. Which is why when you try to put on someone else's personally styled wardrobe it feels all wrong.

But it's not as easy as just pick out 5 shirts and 4 pairs of pants, either. Which is the hard part. It really isn't about the number of items. It is about having items that fit well, are made well, and that you love to wear. Because when you love your clothes and how you feel in them, getting dressed in the morning is easy.

The first few chapters are all about finding your own style. The first exercise she tells you to do is to take a picture of yourself in every outfit you wear for a week. Well, I'm two days in, but I figured here was as good a place as any to share what I've got so far.

Thursday morning I didn't have to work. So we got up and worked out, then we went to get Teddy a passport and grab a quick breakfast at the Espresso Shop.

I'm only a little bit embarrassed to say I wore my workout clothes out to do all of that. After I got home and showered, I changed into this sweater/sweatpant combo. This sweater is one of the ones I got after Christmas. It came and was a lot shorter than I was anticipating. Its' not a bad thing, but I feel like I bear my midrift more often than I'd like. So I may have to get rid of it, but that is so, so hard for me to do when I just bought it. And I like the color and the cable knit.

That afternoon I went to work, and I wore this:

You can't really see, but it's a blue cashmere sweater from Everlane (only $100) and floral ankle pants. I really like these pants, I got them at D.Diff after Max was born, but they are too big. I'm going to wash them again to see if the fit is any better, but if not, they'll probably have to go.

Then yesterday I got my newest Trunk Club. I'm still going through trying to decide on things, but one thing that was a for sure YES was this chambray shirt from J. Crew. It fits perfectly and it looks amazing on and I can't believe I've gone this long without a chambray shirt.

This was how I went to work this morning, and I loved this outfit. It looked great and was very comfortable. When I got home this afternoon I just switched out the pants and lost the blazer and was ready to take care of my boys.

I'm still sort of torn on the sneakers, but I'm leaning towards keeping them. I think they'll be pretty dang functional, they are comfortable, and they won't go out of style. I think I'll be able to wear them with many things. But they are sort of taking the place of my TOMS. Not that I don't have any TOMS anymore, because Lord knows I do, but they sort of serve the same function. Though they are a bit ore all weather than the TOMS. Just trying to decide if I want to keep the sneakers or if the TOMS I have already serve this purpose.

So, I probably won't post every outfit for the whole two weeks. Partly because no one wants to see that, but partly because I probably won't have time. But, I'm liking the book. After you take your pictures for two weeks you are supposed to really analyze what you wear and why. She emphasizes your life style. What kinds of clothes do you actually wear. This is a big one for me because there are lots of beautiful clothes that I'd like to have that I just won't have any place to wear them to here in Nebraska.

She also tells you to start looking for inspiration. Pinterest, style magazines, style blogs, etc... So that is what I'm going to go now before I go to bed. Inspiration :)

Saturday, February 18, 2017


One place that I constantly feel like we have too much, but at the same time would argue that it is OK, is books. Mostly books for our kids. Because, reading to them is so important. And a new book is always a good thing. But then we have so many books, we often keep many of them away, and only leave a selection out because it gets too overwhelming and then we just have books everywhere.

And I continue to try to spend less. Consume less. Take up less space in this world.

So I was going to buy Max some new books. Then I looked on ebay. Then we went to A to Z books here in North Platte. They have some new books, but it is mostly a store of second hand books. They have a cute little kids corner with a table and chairs. We bought several "new" books. Maybe next time we'll bring some of them that we don't use anymore. Then we went across the street to the library. There is a novel idea, lol. Instead of continually buying new books, why not introduce Max to the library?

To be fair, he was more interested in the computers at the library than the books. They are sort of set up in a way that is difficult for him to see them. But, we got out a book. And we also signed him up for the 1000 B4K program. Basically it encourages you to read 1,000 books to your child before they enter kindergarten. You can count a book more than once, in fact, you can count it as many times as you read it.

I have no doubt in my mind that he has already heard 1,000 books read to him. But this gives us an excuse to go to the library. He gets a sticker for every 100 books. And when we get to 1,000 he gets his picture taken and put up on the wall.

Sometimes it is the smallest things. Common sense. Go to the second hand book store or the library. You don't have to continue to buy new books. Books are good. He needs some at home that we own. He does not need 1,386 books.

On a side note. I read another article that was discussing the authors journey towards consuming less. It was honest and it was real and I really appreciated it. Because sometimes I feel like a hypocrite writing about spending less and consuming less when we get so many packages from Amazon every week. But it is baby steps. It is little things. It is sending back the black tote that I didn't need and getting books at the library and not buying stuff unless it fixes a problem that I have in my life right now. And getting rid of the stuff I don't need or use. Baby steps. There will be set backs. There will be hiccups. And if it is going to be a lifestyle change it is going to take a long time to get there. Baby steps.

Friday, February 10, 2017

On minimalism

Is that even a word? Minimalism? Did I just make that up? Anyways, my journey continues. It is a constant struggle for me not to buy, buy, buy. It's not big things. It's small things. "Oh, that will be nice!" "I've been wanting dry erase markers for awhile now..." "When I get back into _____, this will come in handy." Some things that I've acquired have been really helpful. Have made my life easier. Like the strawberry huller. I can't believe I lived for 33 years before owning one. It is awesome. Like my label maker - my pantry has never been more organized (Mom, you would be impressed). But other things... well, other things I can probably live without. I have tried to make a concerted effort NOT to buy so many things on Amazon.

Sometimes I wonder if I buy things partly because I am unhappy in a different place in my life. I don't mean that in a bad way, per se. I mean, no one's life is perfect. I would generally call myself a happy person, but there are some things lacking in my current life. Sleep for example. A social life. And though I know that is just part of my current season in life, sometimes it is hard.

So today I ran into this article from the blog, Be More with Less. It really rang true to me today. She talks about making baby steps towards simplifying your life so that you have more time for the really important stuff. She talks about taking 10 minutes a day to do self-care. 10 minutes. That does not seem like a lot, but I'll bet many of us don't spend that much time on self-care every day. Especially those of us who work full time and are parents as well. She talks about keeping a box to throw things in that you don't want/need. She talks about being uncomfortable, and that is OK. She talks about living now, not waiting for tomorrow.

And the place that I continue to work hard - my closet. I keep winnowing down. I kept feeling like I was missing something, though. And since there are no good places to shop in North Platte, I decided to sign up for TrunkClub. Mom has been touting the awesomeness of TrunkClub for awhile, so I thought I'd try it. Molly is my stylist, and I'm hoping that over the course of time we'll be able to work together well so that she can help me freshen up my wardrobe for each season while keeping things simple. I hate, hate, hate looking at my closet for minutes at a time in the morning wondering what I'm going to wear. Time wasted that could go towards other things, lol.

So my journey continues. It really is hard.