Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekend Wardrobe Update

I'm officially 19 days into my Capsule Wardrobe and so far, so good!!! I really wish I could give you a photo run-down of everything that's in my closet, but... I don't have the skills, the time, the energy, or the patience. Sorry! Maybe next week. Or next month. Or next lifetime. Seriously, though, I am trying to work on that for the Spring Capsule (which will start March 1).  But... I *have* been a little better about taking pictures of my outfits this week! 

The past two weeks have had crazy weather. One week it was bitterly cold. Then this past week, we had very mild weather. Definitely makes it challenging to dress appropriately! One thing I've found that helps is that the sweaters I own are quite light. Most of them are comfortable enough to wear even in 55-60 degree weather. And, on the days when it is super cold, I can either wear a long-sleeve shirt underneath or add a vest or my handy dandy denim jacket on top.

Something surprising I have learned this week is that even 50 pieces in my wardrobe is too much. Seriously. I really thought I was pushing myself with only 50 items, but there are things in my current capsule I don't even think I will wear during the next six weeks. I am actually going to pull a few more things and put to the side to see how few items I can actually manage during the time frame. I might even shoot for 40 pieces in my spring capsule!

The key is having several pieces that are very versatile. It can, of course, get boring to wear the same outfits all the time. But that is the point of this capsule wardrobe - you may have a limited selection of pieces, but because your pieces "go" together, you can work and re-work them multiple ways so that you wear them differently every time. 

My last little point this week is about color... for so long, I have felt like I needed to have something in just about every color to have a diverse wardrobe. I even bought tops in colors I hated (like yellow) simply because I felt like I needed to have them to complete my wardrobe. But, what I have found is that there are colors I'm really more drawn to and who cares if I wear them a lot!? And, I'm learning to put new colors together so that more of my outfits can go together. Orchid and navy? Would've probably never really tried it had I not done this capsule wardrobe. One of my favorite outfits this past week was a simple orchid stretch turtleneck with my navy faux-leather vest. So simple! I've really felt stretched the past two weeks branching out of my comfort zone, but so far... I'm feeling great about this project!!!

Without further adieu, here are a few outfits from the past week. Sorry if you follow me on Instagram and have seen these already!

Above: This is what I wore last Saturday to run errands. When I go out on Saturday mornings, I usually have not fixed my hair and I don't wear makeup. So wearing something a little more pulled together helped me feel... well... pulled together. Also, this was so comfortable! I hate you can't see the detail of the shirt - it's actually a baby pink thermal tee with some gold glittery flecks in it. Really cute!

Maleah gets her own spot in this post! I'm trying to pull my Capsule Wardrobe project into Maleah-land. It's hard because baby clothes are so cute and usually I can find "justifiable" deals. But, I'm really going to try to reign in my spending on her spring wardrobe. One of my favorite websites for her is Southern Tots. I would explain it to you here, but they do a much better job! This little outfit was $19 plus $6 for the monogram. NOT BAD AT ALL! Especially considering the pants can be worn with multiple outfits and the top will most likely still fit her next year! (And yes I have already let my child wear a Valentine's Day outfit!)

Okay, back to awkward me. This outfit was one of my favorites this week. Again, iPhone photos aren't great for capturing detail. The tunic is a a teal sweater tunic that's very form-fitting. I LOVE wearing it! And, again, the denim jacket... it's my comfort item. Teal is definitely becoming one of my staple colors. A lot of blue tones do not look good on me, but teal... teal hits the spot!

Hi, it's the black & white striped tunic again! I mentioned on my IG that I really feel like different shoes (cognac leather booties) would make this outfit pop. I almost bought some during the fall, but I'd already purchased 2 new pairs of shoes (the boots you see in the top picture and my black leather booties) and decided to wait on another new pair. But, even though I feel like this outfit is a little lacking, it is still a favorite.  Also, Maleah is wearing an outfit made by a lady from Facebook - Sew Adorable. Look her up. The ENTIRE outfit was $25. You cannot beat that.

That's all for me tonight! 

Until next time...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe Day #1 & Stitch Fix #1

Yesterday was a REALLY exciting day! I kicked off my capsule wardrobe with my first outfit of 2015 (I stayed in my PJs all day on the 1st, so that didn't count as an outfit!) AND my very first Stitch Fix box arrived!

Now, I am already disappointed in myself because I'm totally breaking bending a rule on the first day. But, to be fair, I kinda forgot my Stitch Fix box was coming! I set it up to come every other month, so when I scheduled it I wasn't really paying attention to the date. I'll set it to come again next month (instead of in March) so that whatever I purchase can go to my spring wardrobe. So... now that I've made my excuses... here goes the recap...

**BUT WAIT... lemme just say this - 1) We are using an iPhone, here. No fancy camera or equipment. And I'm not a model, so sorry for the lack of Anthro-esque photos. 2) We have like zero blank walls with good lighting, so in addition to pics of me awkwardly posing in outfits, you get a mini house tour!**

Up first is my inaugural Winter Capsule Wardrobe of 2015 ensemble. Look, I'm not going to be posting outfits every day so don't get your leggings in a bunch, okay? But it's THE FIRST DAY. I'm required by Social Media Law to post. When I do post, I want to give you an idea of where my items came from as well as the price but I'm not linking to every store or giving you look-a-likes if something I own is out of stock. As they say, I ain't got time for that. I'm just trying to give a real world view into building a wardrobe on a grad-student's-wife-and-toddler-mom's budget. 

This outfit is fo sho going to be a favorite in the coming weeks. The tunic came from James & Alma in Florence. It was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law and was under $35. I love that it can be worn comfortably with leggings and flats or spruced up with tights and black booties! I have big plans for these here stripes! :) The leggings are my favorite ever - Lou & Grey from Ann Taylor Loft (usually $25, I got them 50% off - go me!). The belt is from Target ($17). And the shoes are Buddha black flats with a bow on the toe that you can't see because I'm wearing black socks because it was cold and rainy........ (shoes from Belk, 2012 - probably $50). 

I wore this outfit to CHOM with Maleah and it was so comfortable! The tunic is really stretchy and obviously leggings are like wearing pajamas! It was a really practical, cute outfit that you'll probably be seeing a lot more of. Ideally I would like a shoe that isn't black, but I don't have a ton of shoe options this go 'round... more on that in a later post.

Moving right along... let's talk STITCH FIX! Y'all. Two things real quick: 

1. Forgot it was coming so it was a total surprise!
2. EVERYTHING fit. THAT. NEVER. HAPPENS. I am short! I am petite! It is hard to find clothes that fit! But everything fit. It was amazing. The jeans were cut perfect for me... THAT NEVER HAPPENS! NEVER NEVER NEVER! Hope I got my point across!

Pieces 1 & 2: 

Ignore my hair... I napped on it before I took this picture. Also ignore the fact that I'm wearing the jeans. They were too comfy to take off:)

Oooooh, this navy & white dress (belt included) has me swooning! I am a sucker for polka dots. I love the fitted top and flouncy skirt too! This is something that could be worn a hundred ways. The material is very stretchy and comfortable - I could totally see myself wearing this while toting my kid around! It is really hard to find dresses that are made for moms to wear when they're actually with their kids, but this one hits the mark. It was the priciest item - $118 - but I thought that was very reasonable. I decided against keeping it because the pattern is too much of a repeat of what I already have in my wardrobe (hence the reason I love it... it is exactly what I would pick!). Oh! And, there is a gold zipper on the back that goes from the neck to the waist. So stinking cute. 

As for the necklace, I loved it! Me heart cranberry. :) But for $42, I just don't really need it. I want to wait to get some lighter colored jewelry for spring.

Pieces 3 & 4: 

What you see here is the perfect outfit for me. First, the top. It's actually a really lightweight knit material and feels like a super light, stretchy sweater. I love the heathered grey with the black stripe. Even though it seems very "me," I probably would not have tried this on at a store - it just seems too basic and I wasn't sure about the stripes on the arms. But, I'm glad I tried it on because I am keeping it {$48}! :) My style cards also showed this top being worn {tucked in} with a pencil skirt... WHICH I OWN. Boom, already have two outfits with one top.

And the jeans... THE JEANS. Y'all. They fit. Did I mention that never happens!? They fit perfectly. And they are SO COMFORTABLE! Almost as comfortable as leggings, which is really dangerous. I loved that they are faded black... apparently that is very "in" right now {at least that's what the young people tell me}. They run $88 - not bad for a good pair of jeans - but I just bought a pair of black jeans last month. I don't see me needing more than that right now!

The shoes are mine... Madden Girl black booties

Piece 5: 

There are two pieces of outerwear I love dearly in this world: Vests and all things quilted. So hellllloooooo amazing quilted-faux-leather-navy-blue vest!!!! Blake says I did back flips when I it. Not true, but if I could do back flips, I would have!!! I have been craving something with a leather look but haven't found anything I really liked... until Stitch Fix sent me this vest!!! I love the quilted pattern and gold zipper details. The sides have fabric panels that add just a little bit of "I'm not a biker chick". I was hesitant to keep this, but at the insistence of my husband (seriously, he talked me into it), I am keeping it. It's $78 - well worth it for something I did imaginary back flips for! 

So... I mentioned above that I'm bending one of my rules. I said I was not going to buy anymore clothes to add to my winter wardrobe. But I really forgot about my Stitch Fix box coming and I assumed my first box wouldn't have anything I liked anyway. So, no, I am not going to add to my wardrobe. I'm just going to switch out some items. I actually have a top and a vest that were in my plans that I'm going to switch out with these new pieces.

Both pieces I'm "retiring" have been around a while and I was going to let go of them anyway at the end of this season (the poor vest is getting strange stains I can't even identify!). So, I'll just do it sooner! I am going to keep the top in my transition box (for those "heftier" seasons of life) and the vest I will keep in an outerwear capsule for vacations and in case of the 48 hours Alabama might actually have snow (it's a really warm vest!). 

In my next post, I will outline in more detail what I have in this season's capsule. I would love to give you a photo gallery of everything that's in it, but... LIFE y'all. You'll just have to see it as it comes!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Revisiting Resolutions

It's just not me to skip out on the New Year's resolution deal. So much of my goal-oriented nature thrives on putting my hopes and dreams on paper. So I would be kidding if I said 2015 doesn't need any resolutions!!!

Let me see how 2014's resolutions played out.

1. Fold, hang, and put away laundry IMMEDIATELY after the clothes are finished drying! (Or do my best!) Basically... no more piles and piles of clean clothes that are folded and laid out but still sitting around because I'm too lazy to put them away.

Hahahahahahahahahaha ha ha ha. That was a good joke. {Needless to say, that did not happen.}

2. Spend money on things that MATTER and on things that LAST. 

This is a resolution I am still working on. I know it sounds silly, but part of growing older means you have to start buying things for long-term. Like... furniture, bedding, cars, 403b's and 529 plans. We are learning how to manage our money (and on a grad student's income, no less!) so that we make wise choices with what we have. I am a not-so-secret accountant wannabe so I'm always evaluating our budget and looking for ways to get the most value out of our dollar. {Such. A. Nerd.}

3. Take back my mornings! Having a baby means a lot of sleepless nights which means a lot of sleeping 'til the last minute. Now that Maleah is consistent with her sleep, I want to take back my mornings. Get up when I'm "supposed" to, do my quiet time, start to get ready... do what I can before she wakes so I can spend a little time with her before work!

Now this is something I have had great success with!!! While it doesn't happen every morning, I have been able to get up and have some "me" time before everyone else wakes up. {I'm doing it right now, as a matter of fact!} I'll have to write another day about how becoming a wife & mother change your "spiritual life". I have learned a lot about God's grace in this area since becoming a mom!

4. ENJOY SUMMER! The past few summers have not be terribly enjoyable for me. 2011 was spent rebuilding a house. 2012 was spent pregnant and sick. 2013 was spent with a baby too little to endure the Alabama heat. I hope this year we can spend more time outside, at the pool, enjoying nature with our girl!

We did enjoy summer! We spent a lot of evenings in the back yard, went to the beach in June and September, went on lots of walks, went to the park. It was so nice to be able to play during the summer!

5. Read more! I want to really get back to reading for fun! Magazines, novels, kid's books... read, read, read!

I have read a lot this year! Just not any books for adults... haha! But, just like reclaiming my mornings, I realize this is just a season and that while I really enjoy reading for pleasure, it's just not a priority to me right now. Right now, the only time I really have to read books is just before bedtime. Reading at night makes me sleepy, so I can barely finish a few pages which means it takes me forever to finish a book. So I have just decided not to burden myself with it! I have, however, been reading PLENTY of books with Maleah which I think is way more important!!! We read at least two books before she goes to bed. It is my absolute favorite time of day!

So... what resolutions do I have for 2015? I'm going to be very specific this year!

1. Pay off our car.

We are in the final stretch of paying off my Corolla and I'm hoping we can pay it off by April or May!!!

2. Create a capsule wardrobe for each season. 

This is a project I am really looking forward to!!! As I gear up to turn 30, I'm learning how to dress my "adult" self and it's  harder than I thought! I'm learning what styles I really like, how to stretch my budget but still invest in long-lasting pieces, and how to make a few pieces work for several outfits. I'm really excited about getting started with this!

3. Finish the requirements to maintain my teaching license

I only have one class to go to meet the requirements to renew my license! My certificate does not actually expire until 2016 so I will have to wait until then to actually submit the paperwork, but I will have the coursework out of the way which is great!

4. Take the GRE. 

AGH! I am not really looking forward to this. Since Blake will be graduating soon {hopefully}, I don't really know what's in the future for me. Depending on where we move, I may go to grad school at first instead of going back to work. Since your GRE score is good for 5 years, I thought this year would be a great time to study for it and take it so that I'll have it out of the way. 

5. Take more time to spend with family. 

A few months ago, I realized we hadn't even been to Muscle Shoals to visit Blake's family since Christmas 2013! We have seen them and spent plenty of time with them, but we haven't been up to visit. We also have not been to Ralph very often. There's lots of reasons why... exhaustion being pretty high on the list. But as we have spent time with our families since Thanksgiving, I realize that being with them actually helps me unwind and feel more refreshed! So we are going to make it a priority to visit our families more often!

Most importantly this year, I am choosing JOY. I have really let the realities of adult life wear me down this past year and I just can't do that anymore! I can't live by "what if's" - I need to live more by "why not!?". We just have this one life! This one chance to live, to minister to other people (something I would like to do more this year but it seems trite to make it a resolution), to make a difference in this world. And I can't do anything like that if I am living in fear of the unknown. 

Happy new year! Here's to a great 2015!!! (I'M GONNA BE THIRTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Taking the 2015 Bull by the Horns

If I can sum up 2014 in just a phrase, I would sum it up like this: "It. Was. Hard." 

Not unbearably hard... just unusually difficult. All year long was sort of like swimming in mud. We're moving, we're tired, we're doing something... but we aren't getting very far. And that's okay. We all have years like that. Years that just aren't. Years that just wear us out. 

So many crazy things happened in 2014 that half of the year, I felt like I had whiplash! But in the midst of all those crazy moments, I had my rock-solid husband, my beautiful baby girl, parents and in-laws who love us, and family and friends to cheer us up. I definitely don't want to sound all Debbie Downer about 2014... but it was just a difficult year and I'm glad it's over. 

So let's move on to 2015! 

The biggest realization I had in 2014 is that I have made most of my decisions in life based on fear. I don't take most decisions very lightly, especially now that I am a parent, and I end up going the safe route rather than being in the moment. I'm such a goal-oriented person that I am letting goals I can't even control rule my decisions today. In some ways, that's a good thing. {Like, it's a good thing we didn't buy that bedroom suite on a whim the other day when all we were looking for was some night stands...} It's good to think ahead and not be flippant when making big decisions. 

But, there's also a time and place to embrace today. To just say... you know what? Today I am going to enjoy what I have here and now. To throw the plan out the window and make memories without regret, to have so much fun you forget to take pictures, to take a risk and enjoy the feeling when you realize the risk was worth it. 

So that's my outlook for 2015 - I'm ready to face the year head on with a fresh new perspective. In 2014, I did not let the peace of Christ rule in my heart. But this year, my prayer is that His peace and joy will rule in my heart no matter what the year throws at me. 

Also, I'm going to be 30 this year!!! THIRTY! Like... three decades old! I am excited about entering a new decade, but I'm also honestly really sad about leaving my 20's. This has been a great decade filled with lots of huge life-changing moments. I won't get too into those because I have until August 18 to bore my blog readers with birthday posts. :) But, I think that big number looming out there is a reminder to me that this is IT! This is my life! It may not be playing out the way I thought it would at this current juncture, but my life is amazing! I have SO much to be thankful for! 

This year also has the potential to be a really big year for Blake. As all of you are aware, he's in graduate school. This year is the one we have been waiting for - the beginning of the end. This fall, Blake will be able to start applying for jobs and, Lord willing, he will graduate in the spring or summer of 2016. This exact time next year, he could be interviewing. Which will hopefully mean that he will begin a job in the fall of 2016. So when you ask me that dreaded question, "When will Blake be done?" My answer will now be "In about a year!!!" IN A YEAR, people!!! Of course, there is the chance we might not move until 2017 but that is okay. But we are that this year will open doors for Blake and usher him into the perfect first job for 2016. 

2015 definitely has the potential to be a great year. So I'm looking forward to see what lies ahead and I'm trusting God to give me the peace and joy to see His beauty in it all. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. - Colossians 3:15