Conscious

Let’s talk about conscious shopping.  Since clearing out my closet there are some gaps.  There were gaps before.  I just didn’t have any space for those items.  There are some key pieces that I really want to add to my wardrobe, that are just style workhorses.  A simple shirt dress, a striped shift dress, an adult sweatshirt, a white linen shirt, and a couple more button ups.

Often times when you read about capsule wardrobe creation it does involve shopping.  And I knew there would be things I wanted to shop for, but I am trying to be more conscious about not only quality of what I buy, but also where it is coming from.  At this moment in my life ethical fashion is of great interest to me, but baby steps because a lot of ethical clothing brands also are really really expensive. And I’m on a strict budget, and it’s only going to become more strict.

I’m going a little bit of a different route.  Instead of buying new, I am looking for these pieces from gently used sites, such as Poshmark, Thredup, Ebay.

Honest truth Thredup reminds me of my consignment store where there is so much to sift through that finding a gem can be tiring, although I do like that you can sort by brand, but I also have found that things can be kind of overpriced. I don’t consign with Thredup because I can’t make as much money from them. Thredup can be frustrating at times, if you really want to shop Thredup, use the filters and sort by brands that you know you like, this really helps narrow things.

Lately my go to has been Poshmark. I like Poshmark because you have a little more freedom with pricing, sometimes sellers offer discounts on bundles of items in their closet, or you can negotiate price, I often times negotiate bundle pricing too.  I follow other Poshers who have similar wardrobe tastes to mine as well, which I also like.  Poshmark also lets you narrow by your size, and brand.  Negatives about Poshmark, unless you are buying multiple items from the same seller the shipping can really add up.  It’s 6.95 flat rate on anything below 5lbs. So if you are buying from multiple sellers that really starts to multiply.  If you can find a closet you really like and bundle items this can help a lot.  Some Poshers are also willing to negotiate outside of Poshmark and will bill through Paypal and ship the items at a lower price to you. But the business model for Poshmark also gives you some buyer protection, so for me the shipping cost is worth it. The other negative, but really isn’t a negative just a bummer is that some sellers really price things too high, at least for used clothing in my opinion.  I’m not one to pay $39 for a used dress that does show signs of wear, I really can’t see myself spending more than $15 especially if the brand is more of a mid range priced brand to begin with.

eBay can be a good place to find quality used items as well, especially if you are looking for something really particular, like a skirt you saw in a magazine that is now sold out.  I have found very specific items for a good price on eBay.  I especially like it when a seller is offering Fast & Free shipping or has the option to make an offer.

So, although I have not put myself on a shopping freeze yet, I will be starting September 1 and lasting through to January 2018. After this time my shopping needs should be fulfilled by hitting up these sites for gently used items.

And more…

…cleaning. Yep you guessed it.  Y’all I am so ready for this baby to be here. How is it that November feels so far away right now.  I want to hold my little squish in my arms already.  Although this is no invitation for baby to come out early.  I just don’t know how we women are able to wait so long.

In the mean time I finally cleaned out the terrible terrible pantry/linen closet.  This built in is between our bathroom and kitchen so it sort of serves as a closet for both.  We store pantry items and toiletries and just everything in there.  I have been sort of looking forward to but also dreading the day I actually got around to cleaning it.  Well today was the day.  I went to JoAnn’s and picked up 4 wooden crates and set to work as soon as I got back from dropping my load off at consignment.

About 1 1/2 hours later that closet is organized, clean, and I am so so happy.  But I don’t know what to clean next.  My refrigerator needs a good deep clean, and all of my kitchen needs its annual clean up.

We have lived in this rental for a year now.  And I still enjoy it as much a the day we came here.  This rental doesn’t feel like a rental to me, it feels like home.  We are planting some tiny roots here.  This is where our baby will come home to, learn to crawl, take their first steps and say their first words.

Gah! I want it to be November!

What I Kept

So I told you all that my life has been undergoing a big change.  Not only because I’m pregnant but also because I’m pregnant.  Nesting, I have been doing it big time.  My latest and greatest was The Great Clothing Purge of 2017.  I got rid of a lot.  A large bit went to be donated.  And now I am sitting on a car load full of things to be consigned, but of course today the consignment shop is closed, and I went there anyway, oops!

On to what I’m really here to talk about today.  What I kept!  Because well I have to have clothes to wear, and obviously there are things that I own that I like.  So, this is about what I kept, and my plans.

As I am in a big transition phase of my life right now it took some work trying to decide what was going to keep. But here is the list I went through in my head.

  • Do I like it?
  • Does it fit (or did it fit since I have outgrown a lot of my clothes because of my baby belly?)
  • Is it nursing friendly?
  • Is it mommy friendly?
  • Do I want it to fit again in the future?

To be honest, I kept some things that I just wasn’t ready to part with yet.  I don’t know if they will fit again after I have this baby.  But I can assess that later.  These items were special occasion dresses, and clothes that I wear to work (dress pants and some tops).

I also kept my pre-baby jeans.  I don’t know if these will fit again after baby, and I actually would prefer to be a size 2/4 over a size 0, but I will wait and see.

I kept my favorites of duplicates. I noted that I have quite a few items that look very similar.  I decided to just keep one of the items if there were duplicates or very similar to duplicate pieces.

I kept maternity clothes, of course.  These are what I am going to be wearing for the next 3 months, so of course I didn’t pitch those.  I am planning on adding a couple pairs of maternity leggings to this and some tunics for fall (the tunic tops I chose are non-maternity that will work with my bump, I just went one size up from my pre-baby size).

I kept staple items for all seasons.  Although I did note that I have some staple items that are worn out and need replaced, so I will plan on replacing those items once I know what size I will be post baby. For fall/winter I kept a couple sweaters, two of which will still work during my maternity phase (yay!).

I kept my favorite t-shirts, which you can find here (they are super soft, comfortable, and go with everything, from jeans to skirts, can be dressed up or down, and they are modest (no deep v, or undershirt needed).

I would like to work on uploading my closet to Stylebook so that I can more easily share outfits but also put together what I have.

Stay tuned.  I’m planning on sharing more about The Great Purge of 2017, and how I’m organizing my home to get ready for baby. Approximately 98 more days until we meet our little squish and there is so much to be done.

Oh and one more thing.  Reading Marie Kondo’s book when you are pregnant may not be the greatest or best idea.  I’m doing it, but maybe you shouldn’t.

I did it!

I have been debating for probably about a month, maybe a little more as to whether I should clean out my clothing bins before baby is here.  Before I have lost any pregnancy weight.  Before I know what is going to happen.  This was a really tough decision, and I’m still not quite sure it was the right one, but I did it anyway.

For many years I have really wanted to reduce what I own, this is not easy for me.  I love fashion. And I have a really hard time not buying fast fashion sometimes, even though I do think that I have a distinct style.  But I took a leap.  And hopefully it wasn’t just hormones driving the whole thing. But…

I had a closet full of clothes that I hadn’t even worn for some time before I was pregnant.  It was time for a change, whether I really like the idea or not. Which I do like the idea, because, well, nesting.

Here was my process, and I hope to keep blogging about how I am doing with this whole thing as well.

First off, I didn’t really do the thing where I threw everything on the bed.  I am 6 months pregnant, and bringing totes from my basement to my room just wasn’t going to work, plus I have already reduced items in my bedroom closet to things that fit me right now with my growing belly. So I checked my closet and drawers for things that may have been left behind that I know I haven’t worn or love and took those with me to the basement so I could set to work on the overflow wardrobe.

Next step, I pulled all of the bins with clothes that I put away at the beginning of spring, and the items in the hanging wardrobe out.  This is where I actually started my sorting.  I actually already had a running pile of items that needed to go to Goodwill or be consigned so I separated that box between those two categories and then set to work adding the additional YES and MAYBE piles.

I really thought this whole process was going to take a lot of time, but it actually didn’t.  I’ve set in my mind that I really would like my closet to be more cohesive, and so with that in mind all of those items that don’t fit me right now but may fit me again were a lot easier to sort through.  I could still look at it with the view of whether or not something was trendy and that’s why I had it or if I really do love the piece.  And actually as I’m sitting here writing about it, I may even be adding some pieces that were in my MAYBE pile to the give away pile.

This baby is coming in November, which means I probably am going to fit back into my winter clothes that I put away in the spring. This would be nice, but I’m also not counting on that either. I looked through everything I had put away and determined that a lot of it I really don’t love, and didn’t even wear last year, so it went into the giveaway.

I often feel like I have this idea of myself, or what my style is, but my style doesn’t actually reflect that.  It is really hard to let go of things that you spent money on, or went into debt to get.  Guilt is involved for sure.  But I think the step is necessary.  Changing your view of how you buy, and letting go even if you feel like you shouldn’t.

Sometimes you need a clean slate, but not in such a way that you get rid of everything you own and buy all new.  We don’t have a $5000 shopping budget like in What Not to Wear.  This is a new mindset, one where you don’t just replace everything you just got rid of with new things. This doesn’t mean a shopping freeze either.  There may be some pieces that you do need to round out your wardrobe, that’s okay. But really think before you buy.  Be conscious of the new item’s staying power.

I’m hoping to stick to only purchasing new items from gently used sources.  Thredup or Poshmark. Or if it is a staple item, one that I want to keep for years and years than I may save money up to purchase an item of higher quality that will last for longer.

I have really enjoyed reading a lot of different blogs about capsule wardrobes. And I love those who embrace the idea that your closet can have some statement items, something with color, it doesn’t have to just be black, white, gray, and navy.  I love all of these colors, but in all practicality I love items that have color, or a print sometimes.  I like that I can keep some of those items, and rotate them through.

I also feel like sometimes people who have capsules are not working a job the way I work.  I have to dress professionally, I can be a little more casual, I don’t have to wear a suit or anything like that. But denim is right out.  For that reason denim is not really a huge part of my wardrobe.  I have been trying to keep a minimum number of these. And I may have a couple more pairs of dress pants than a capsule guru may recommend, but that’s because I can’t be sending things out to dry cleaning constantly.

For now, this is where I have progressed to, in the coming months I hope to photograph and track my outfits better.  Hopefully as I grow in this experience I can offer incite and help to those that want to simplify their closets too.

nesting

Everyone talks about nesting when you are pregnant.  People ask, “are you nesting yet?” I often really don’t know how to respond to that question.  I feel like I have been nesting all of my adult life.  I am constantly evaluating the things I have and the things I don’t need, and the things I don’t want but still seem to have.  When storage bins start to pile up in my basement I feel like I really need to purge.

But right now I have the special circumstance of a changing body.  Growing a baby has been so exciting and I am really embracing these changes, but I look at all the clothes that don’t fit right now and my organizer brain says, “you don’t need this stuff”.  But, hello! I would be crazy to just get rid of all my clothes that don’t fit right now.  I don’t know if I will fit into them again. However, I can’t help but also think this may be an opportunity to do something that I have really always wanted to do, and that is reduce my clothes to a capsule, or if not so much a capsule really only keeping the things that I really absolutely love. A lot of things in my wardrobe that I can’t wear now may also be out of style come next year when they fit again, so maybe my idea isn’t’ as crazy as I think.

I know that after baby bee is here my body may be really different.  Then again, it might not be (there is a history in my family of women bouncing back to their pre-baby bodies pretty quick). I also know my life will be really different. I may not want as many choices, I may not have the time for them.

More than anything I want to embrace simplicity.  I have been checking out a lot of Instagram feeds and blogs lately of families living in small spaces.  I can’t even imagine this but 5 people living in a 300 sq ft camper.  If I lived in that much space I certainly wouldn’t have room for as much stuff as I have.  What things would I get rid of? I would surely only keep the things that I love, right? I would really like to embrace that attitude, imagine that I’m moving into a living space about 1/4 the size of what I live in now, we have about 650 sq ft in our upstairs, but our basement doubles the space.

Has anyone else wanted to do something like this, or have you? I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, tricks, or suggestions.

Unplugging

I have wanted to write about this for a long time.  But, be it guilt, procrastination, or complete lack of motivation I feel like now is as good a time as ever.

I want to talk about technology, smart phones being the heavy offender here.  And maybe it isn’t just the smart phone itself but the access that it gives us to things like social media, the news, and every little thing our mind can think of to Google.

Let’s start with the mass amounts of information available on the internet. Being pregnant with my first baby, I’m going to be a first time parent, and obviously I can’t help but wonder about lots of things.  When I have a headache I might look up if it is something to be concerned about, my tailbone pain that I have been dealing with for the last three weeks is researched thoroughly, and whether or not it is safe or not for me to continue sleeping on my back after 20 weeks. It is easy to see how my mind can run away with all of the little things that I could worry about, and having information available to me can either cause me to worry less or worry more.  Often times it leads to me worrying more.  My husband tells me, “you read too much”.  What he means is that I allow my mind to become garbled in the information, I can no longer focus on simple things and tasks. It’s a reminder that parenting is in our blood, that worrying about every little detail will not help but could actually hurt me more.

But, how do I break the habit? Is it as simple as just not researching things? No, because it is a bad habit, and bad habits die hard. I wish that I had more self control.  That I could make myself not look at my phone or iPad when I want the answer to a question, but I can’t seem to do that. In an attempt to pull myself away from the madness that can overtake me I have moved my phone out of the bedroom. This is no easy task.  My phone is my alarm clock.  I have a traditional analog clock that has a beeping alarm function, but this clock does not have a snooze button, just an off. My hope is that not relying on the snooze will help me to get up and start my day better.  My phone will not be scrolled through when I awake in the morning.  I can actually read something else that is on a physical page, not my phone screen.

This is just one small step.  Although I don’t plan on deleting my social media accounts, I am going to make a concerted effort to spend less time on them.  And if I can’t do that, perhaps I will install one of those parental apps on my phone that keeps me from using those apps for more than 30 minutes total each day.

All of this with the purpose of simply being more present in the real life.  When our noses are dug into our phones we don’t notice the things around us.  We miss out on important conversations and opportunities to better ourselves. I would like to set an example for my child that time means something.

So, I’m going to set down my time wasters, my phone and iPad.  Maybe when I want to “read” something I will just pick up a book, and when I say that I mean one that is not chock full of “useless” information that will make me worry more.

Energy/Quinoa Salad Recipe

Since being pregnant my energy levels have been below sub par. No joke! I really envy those women who feel great during pregnancy, because I am definitely not one of those people.  My skin doesn’t glow, I have acne like I’m a teenager again.  I have developed rosacea (spelling) and some other skin issues.  I’m tired.  And I was nauseated for over 4 months.  But this second trimester is now starting to be a little better to me.  I still have moments, like when my husband drives like a wild banshee in our Jeep and the sport suspension makes me so motion sick I didn’t know I could be that sick.

I have started to be able to do things like keep my house clean, cook, and actually do the grocery shopping myself so that my husband doesn’t have to take me on the weekend, because giving him a list wouldn’t work (tried it, it doesn’t work).

For this week I have a list of things to get done.  I accomplished a lot of them yesterday.

  • Plant the cherry tomatoes
  • Clean the hard wood floors
  • Wash the shower curtain liner
  • Make a menu for the week
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Make granola bars
  • Make quinoa salad
  • Make dinner and a dessert
  • Sit down (I didn’t do this one, which is why my feet were killing me by the end of the day)

So I did get a lot done yesterday, although yesterday it did not feel like it.

I’ve been working really hard (well hard for a 18 week pregnant woman) to give my husband some more nutritious lunches, and myself as well.  Plus save us some money, thus making sure I stick to our dinner menu for the week. We got really off track when I was first pregnant because I was so sick that my husband was doing a lot of the cleaning and cooking, or if he wasn’t cooking we were eating out which is not something we normally do and wasn’t really good for our stomachs or our budget.  I am happy to say we are getting back on track now.

If you are looking for a healthy lunch item to pack for the week try this…(sorry I don’t have any pictures to share)

Quinoa Salad

Cook quinoa according to directions, if you buy bulk you can do this…

  • Bring 1 cup quinoa (rinsed) and 2 cups water to boil
  • Reduce heat to simmer and add 1 teaspoon salt (I don’t really measure this)
  • Cover with tight fitting lid.
  • Cook on low heat for 15 minutes
  • Turn off heat, and let cool to room temperature, or put in fridge to chill

After you have the quinoa done (my directions make 3 cups) chop up some of your favorite veggies, season with salt and pepper, mix together with a little olive oil or a little of your favorite dressing (vinaigrettes work best for this) and divide into containers for easy access when packing your lunch.

This week I did a caprese style… tomatoes, chopped basil, fresh mozeralla cubed, olive oil, and a little balsamic vinegar. Last week was red onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and lemon vinaigrette. Try whatever sounds good to you, I have also done tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, garlic, and black beans (or you could put edamame and corn in for something a little different).

Okay, enough of my energetic banter.  Have a great week everyone. The midwest is hot hot hot this week, so if you are in my area, stay cool with a tasty mojito (or mockjito in  my case).