So, I finally get the itch to write a little something to all of you wonderful folks who tune in now and again and I actually forgot my web address.  I’m a little horrified, but mainly I’m thinking it’s the perfect example for how I’m trying to live my life this summer.

You’ve heard me talk about “growing your garden” before, planting your interests, desires and hobbies.  Well, I’m working on tending my garden this summer.  A few rows were left forgotten, the weeds took over and everything is dead.  That, in a nutshell, is a metaphor for my efforts on waste reduction,  living minimally,  and living with heart.  I’ve done more shopping than reducing, I’ve made purchases based on fear “what if” type stuff or fantasy life stuff, aka Pintrest worthy life, and with each of these steps it’s been harder and harder to hear my own voice…’s getting drowned out by the media I’m surrounding myself with.

Enter these fellas who I stumbled upon.  The Minimalists are currently touring with their latest book “Everything That Remains”.  I LOVE the title.  A nugget I’ve begun reciting is “Organizing is often well planned hoarding”.  Yup, that one smacked me right in the face after 2 weekends spent “organizing”.  The Minimalists’ site is composed mainly of short essays, most revolve around very similar topics.  This repetition annoys some, I’m not among the annoyed.  I like hearing the same message 20 different ways, I need to hear the same message 20 different ways.   I’m not sure most of us realize how often we’re forced to absorb messages, if you open a computer, watch a TV show, pick up a magazine, drive down a road, walk into a store, go see a movie.   The majority of the time we did not go looking for these messages, images and temptations – they are just THERE, EVERYWHERE.  So if someone can fill my head with the stuff I want to think about, the more the better as far as I’m concerned.

Here are a few more experts that are helping me get my garden back in shape.

The master of lists – Leo.

The waste reduction goddess – Bea.

A great reminder to enjoy life’s journey and be happy.

These rules for a 2 1/2 year old would arguably work well for anyone wanting to tone down impulse buying.

Happy Gardening.

P.S. this one is unrelated but I have always wondered about the do’s and don’ts of working out in underwear.



Making good

Awhile ago, I wrote about the “100 things” guy and mentioned I’d be doing an inventory of my own.  Well, I’ve slacked and now I’m thinking of building a closet so guess what?  I took an inventory of my clothes!  No use creating a space to store things unless I know exactly what I need to store, right?

closet 1

1 of my 2 (very small) closets

I am terrified of your judgements, as I have FAR MORE than I dreamed, I have 8 sets of PJs for example.  But, before I further reduce my clothes, I thought I should take stock, as embarrassing as my 8 sets of PJs are, not knowing about it is worse in my mind.  The awesomeness of doing this exercise is in touching and looking at everything you’ve purchased to put on your body.  It’s easy to see what you are really wearing.  My favorite shirt that is threadbare from so much ware sitting next to the two others I bought as “replacements” but I never actually wear.  Also, to remind myself that I can do with FAR LESS, I’ve included a clothes inventory from Bea**, of Zero Waste Home, following my own list*.  To write down and categorize all of these clothing items has been SO helpful in so many ways, I am excited and scared to move on to the other parts of our home.  Alright, drum roll please……here’s my list:

17 Dresses – 2 formal, 9 dinner appropriate, 5 summer day dresses, 1 winter day dress

8 Skirts – 5 summer, 3 winter

3 Shorts

15 Hanging tops – 5 fancy, 10 daily button-downs

7 Jackets – 2 blazers, 2 workout, denim, rain jacket, cape

6 Coats – 2 Fancy, Pea coat, work coat, shell, trench

5 Cardigans

8 Thick sweaters

4 Light sweaters

13 Tees

6 Tank tops

11 Leggings/workout bottoms

13 Workout tops

8 PJs – 2 nightgowns, 3 winter top/bottom, 3 summer top/bottom

30 Shoes – 4 sneakers, 10 flats/boots, 9 heels, 6 sandals, 1 slippers

* My list is still incomplete, should take note of: bathing suits, intimates (bras, undies, tights, slips), socks, purses, hats….do I include the clothes I constantly borrow from my husband?

Bea’s List

  • Seven Tops: Four basics, three “fashion”. In order: Black long sleeve scoop neck, black 3/4 sleeve boat-neck, black spaghetti tank, black loose tank, hot pink loose tank, grey sparkly tank, ruffle long one shoulder. Tip: Find shirts that are long enough, so they can also serve as mini-dresses in the summer.
  • Three Sweaters: *Hooded sweater (heavy weight), black V-neck (medium weight), striped boat neck (thin weight). Tip: Buy good quality that does not fuzz up.
  • Three Dresses: Black sheath, denim shirt dress, colorful dress. Tip: Dresses for a simple wardrobe are made of a material that is cross-seasonal; for example, tweed does not apply.
  • Occasional Dress: Green Awards/dress for my brother’s wedding (I am now ready to donate, sell or redesign this one). Tip: Buy an occasional (once every five years) dress used, and donate it back to the thrift store after the event.
  • Six Bottoms: Jeans, trousers, black leggings, fitted skirt, loose skirt, shorts. Tip: Stay away from khakis/khaki color, which do not work well with winter pieces.
  • Intimates: Seven undies, matching convertible bra, two pairs of medium socks, *two pairs of thick socks, footless tights, PJ’s, and a swimsuit. Tip: Find the perfect bra first, match undies second. PJ’s should be light enough for summer, warm enough for winter, and be decent enough to wear overnight at someone’s house.
  • Six Shoes: High heels, boots, medium heels, jazz flats, sandals, *slippers. Tip: Match the color with your purse(s).
  • One All-Purpose Purse: I used to have three purses, but found this one used on my last shopping spree… my computer fits in it, and it has a removable strap to turn it from messenger into clutch for occasions. It is black to match my shoes. Tip: Make a list of items to fit in the “new” purse, take your computer to the store if necessary.
  • Five Toppers: The family blazer (Max, Leo and I have all shared it), black cardigan, *leather jacket, *sporty waterproof jacket, and a *cozzy. Tip: Go for texture and don’t be afraid of color, if your purse matches your shoes.
  • Accessories: *Winter hat, summer hat, belt, jewelry (wedding ring, belly piercing, fashion piece), All purpose cover-up, sunglasses, and *gloves. Tip: Stick with a hardware/metal color that fits your complexion (gold/silver), and find accessories that carry your base color and have dual function, such as a necklace that can serve as a belt.

** More of Bea’s tips for maintaining your Zero Waste wardrobe.

Meet my new besties

Hint: Diane Von Furstenberg is one of them!

During relatively quiet afternoons, while my kids are doing their homework, I sit with them, on hand for questions and bribes encouragement, with my laptop and check through “my blog list”.  This week’s read through produced quite a gem, here’s my treasure hunt OR skip to the bottom link below the pic for the prize:

I started at Zero Waste Home – Bea where are you?  Moved on to You Are the River, not really into house stuff right now though.  So I visited Garance Dore for a smile and a laugh and met Amanda.  Inspired my some of the spring shows I saw on Garance but reminding myself it’s FALL that’s coming I checked-out Net-a-Porter where I saw Amanda again.  My interest peeked, I googled “Amanda de Cadenet The Conversation” and THAT is when I met my new besties.

The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet – Episode 4*

When I was a brand new mom with a brand new baby, I would have LOVED to look at something like this when I should have been “napping” like the baby.

*Episode 4 is the only one I’ve been able to see all the way through, but I’m hopeful for the other episodes.  This is more than just girl talk it’s girl SUPPORT and who doesn’t need more of that!  Feel free to skip over Miley Cyrus – I did.

Is fashion FUN?

image via Shopbop

In my opinion, it’s like everything – it depends on your perspective.  With the transition into fall, I seem to be having conversations everywhere about clothes and style.  There are the rules, thoughts about what’s in, worries about what’s out, statement pieces, basics, mom jeans, skinnies, flares, age appropriate or not…….it can all be like a giant sucker of all the fun.

What about self-expression?

What about feeling pretty?

What about wanting to look tough or comfy?

With online shopping we can all search through hundreds of images from dozens of different stores and they’ll all tell you what you should be wearing NOW.  Well, what if you don’t wanna or what if all the trends they are pushing right now feel ridiculous to you?!

I’ll focus on the moms out there because in my opinion having children come into your life can cause a pretty big change in style…..and about 1,000 other things.

Here’s what I know, it is important to define your style, below are a couple tips:

  • If anyone out there is really starting from square one this is a pretty timeless list for basics that work in every kind of closet for every age.

  • It helps to know the rules if only so you can choose to break them.  You need patience here because I’m not talking about White after Labor Day kind of rules (btw white jeans are fine all year round).  I have a loose/tight rule, if my bottoms are tight, my top is looser or vice versa.  I also have a quality over quantity rule, a closet stuffed with clothes doesn’t necessarily give you more options.  I have a three ways rule – my clothes work hard, they have to be versatile.
  • It helps to look at clothes that fit your style on “real” people.  This could be a movie character, a celebrity, your aunt, you get the point.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been one of my style inspiration peeps for years (I’m not saying how many) – I find her feminine/tough/functional mix highly practical for moi.
  • It helps to take pictures of yourself in the clothes you like best and the ones you receive compliments when wearing, these will be the building blocks from which change can happen.
  • Don’t forget the fun – wear non-matching socks under your boots if that helps support your wackiness, wear something that makes you feel good even if it’s unexpected.  Like Bea working barefoot in her red strapless dress.

image via Zero Waste Home

Here is a blog that has fun with mom style, the authors are also of pretty different style aesthetics, so there’s a bit of range:

Ain’t No Mom Jeans

image via Ain’t No Mom Jeans

These ladies are having fun with clothes and it’s really nice to see a few fall trends on someone who is NOT 6 feet tall, 95 lbs and 14 years old – ya feel me?

Happy fall, hope you are having fun!