Friday, October 21

#FridayFinds: Skillshare, Kid's Cardigans, and Freshly

An Online Skillshare Class by Brit + Co
1. Skillshare Classes: There's thousands of classes to choose from, for everything from art classes to email marketing to Wordpress, and there's hundreds of free classes too! The next class I'm going to take is "DSLR Photography for Bloggers" by Brit + Co.

2. Kid 2 Kid: As far as I can tell, this is local to the Phoenix valley, but I'm sure this model exists elsewhere too. Kid 2 Kid is a consignment store for kids clothes, toys, and baby equipment. It's and affordable and ethical way of getting some awesome clothes. Some of my favorite clothes and shoes for Edison have come from here, including his navy blue moccasins. I've snagged Baby Gap sweaters for $5! Here's my latest haul, in preparation for a trip up north:

Boots: $6.99
Winter coat from Zara: $14.99
Baby Gap jacket: $5.99
Blue and green striped sweater: $4.99
Alpine sweater: $3.50
H&M gray cardigan: $4.99
White softsole shoes: $9.99
Converse: $4.50

I think I'm also going to try selling some of Edison's old or unworn stuff here, so I can get store credit!

3. Love, Lincoln: Another mama-made shop, they sell everyday clothes for babies, kids, and women. If you're not lucky enough to find a cute cardigan at your local consignement store, check out the cardigans they sell, in 48 colors!

4. Freshly: First of all, Blue Apron didn't work out for us. We were paying $60 for three meals a week, and there were no leftovers. But the biggest reason it wasn't working for us was the time it took to make the meals - each one took at least an hour, minimum, even though the time estimate was 30-40 minutes. The food was also kind of unusual. So, the main goal of saving time wasn't happening. After I cancelled, Brian sent me a link for Freshly. Not only does the food arrive in a box at your door, but it's already cooked. It just has to be warmed up in two minutes! It costs less for more meals. It sounds a little too good to be true. Anyone else have any experience with it? Let me know!

Wednesday, October 19

How My Fall Capsule Wardrobe is Simplifying My Life

In October of 2012, I decided to change my shopping habits. I'd learned that the fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and is also notorious for human trafficking and forced labor. 
Child workers, alongside exploited adults, can be subjected to violence and abuse such as forced overtime, as well as cramped and unhygienic surroundings, bad food, and very poor pay. The low cost of clothes on the high street means that less and less money goes to the people who actually make them. - Victoria and Albert Museum
For 31 days, I blogged every week day about the exploitative labor issues involved with "fast fashion." For those 31 days, I wore ten items of clothing, and auctioned off my other clothes to raise awareness and funds for a human trafficking rescue organization. After that month, I felt incredibly free. I'd realized that I used shopping as an emotional crutch to cover insecurity, and my goal going forward was to keep 100 items of clothing in my closet. 

Fast forward to 2016. 

This year I've found my closet and drawers jam packed, yet I feel like I'm constantly taking loads to Goodwill of clothes I don't want, and yet I still have nothing to wear. So, I set a New Years resolution to make a concerted effort to shop ethically again this year. 

Mainly, I've done that by just not buying more stuff. But so far, I've had two major slip ups: the first was a fancy wedding that I was stressed out about attending, and that led to buying way too many clothes, including a dress that didn't fit and I've actually never worn as a result. The second was getting our family pictures taken; I was stressed about the trip, and mainly about having a big party for Edison's birthday when I really just wanted to keep it small. That led to several costly shopping trips and a few meltdowns over trying to coordinate our outfits. In both situations, shopping was an emotional comfort and distraction (that didn't last) and I also didn't plan ahead enough to have the time to shop ethically, or the budget for it. 

But the truth is, even if you think you can't afford to shop ethically (because when people get paid a fair wage to make clothes or at least have better working conditions, they cost a lot more), or you don't think you have the time to shop ethically, you actually can still have an ethical wardrobe.
This pyramid from Into Mind explains it best. 

Every time I don't grab that cheap top on sale just for quick hit of dopamine, I'm hopefully helping to keep it out of the landfill and lowering the demand for cheap clothes. When I mend a piece of clothing instead of just throwing it away, and when I shop less, and buy higher quality, it is making a difference.

So this fall, I decided to do another closet cleanse to reset. Although, not as quite as drastic as Fashion for Freedom

I created a capsule wardrobe! Capsule wardrobes are often around 30-40 pieces of clothing, 37 seems to be a very popular number. The idea is that you choose pieces that can mix and match, and then you just wear those pieces for the set amount of time, and then rotate in new pieces for different seasons. Here's some links I found very helpful with planning my capsule:
  • How To Start a Capsule Wardrobe - written by a food blogger, her reasons were simple: saving time to focus on what she really loved. Includes a helpful printable guide. 
  • Free Printable Wardrobe Planner - UnFancy, the blog, is where the capsule wardrobe trend started. She has lots of great posts on it, and has been doing it for years. 
Here's all the clothes that I packed away:

I literally emptied half of my closet and didn't unpack almost my entire tote of winter stuff. I'm not getting rid of anything yet, I've just packed it away out of site for now, to be evaluated later. 

You'd think that after that time I wore 10 items of clothing for an entire month, 37 would seem like a piece of cake. But making the decisions of what stays and what got packed up was a harder than I expected. 
Here's my final fall wardrobe capsule:*
*I couldn't find photos for everything, so some items are similar but not exactly the ones I own.

16 Tops: 

  • Plumb Tee, from Loft
  • Grace and Coffee Tee, from Camplight Apparel
  • Black Tee, also from Loft
  • Black and White Striped Tee, from Old Navy
  • Navy Striped Tee, from a shop in Flagstaff
  • Black and White Polka Dot Blouse, from Stitch Fix
  • Navy Blouse, from Old Navy
  • Plaid Button Up, from Target
  • Teal Blouse, from Stitch Fix
  • Navy Blazer, from White House Black Market, thrifted
  • Chambray Button Up, from Old Navy
  • Navy Field Jacket, from Old Navy
  • Mustard Cardigan, from Target
  • Black Cardigan, from Target probably
  • Teal Cardigan, from Target, definitely
  • Gray "Take Me to the Sea" Sweater, from Old Navy

7 Bottoms: 

  • Skinny Jeans, from Target
  • Shorts, from Old Navy (because yes, even in October in Phoenix it's still shorts weather!)
  • Navy Chinos, from Old Navy
  • Black Pants, from Target
  • Black Leggings, from Stitch Fix
  • Black Pencil Skirt, from Loft
  • Black and White Polka Dot Skirt, from Old Navy

4 Dresses: 

  • Black Dress, not this exact one pictured, but similar, from Sears
  • Green Lace Dress, from Nordstrom Rack
  • Gray and Dress, not exactly this one, but similar, from Stitch Fix
  • Navy Dress, not exactly this one, but similar from Target

5 Shoes: 

  • Gray TOMs
  • Black Booties, also TOMs
  • Gold TOMs
  • Leopard Flats, from Target
  • Silver Flats, from Target

32 Items Total

Note that I did not include pajamas, work out clothes, underwear, or accessories in this. I'm still wearing all of those items, don't worry - I'm just not counting them toward my capsule. Some people do, but I don't want to not work out because of the excuse of having nothing to wear. So I've totally left those categories out. 

Now that I've lived with this capsule for over a month, there's a few changes I might make for winter: swapping out the green lace dress for a sweater dress, swapping out the pair of shorts for a pair of boots, and maybe adding a long sleeve tee.



1. It is seriously so easy to get dressed in the morning. This is a big reason capsule wardrobes are popular! With fewer options to choose from, and more room in my closet to see all of my options together, I can quickly pull together an outfit. This has saved me so much time in the morning, giving me more time to feed Edison breakfast, do the dishes before going to work, or try to beat the traffic to work. 
2. My morning routine is less stressful. Not only is it faster, it's less stressful because I know that all of the clothes in my capsule are things that A. I enjoy wearing, and B. fit me and look good on me. I have confidence when getting dressed that I'm not going to feel uncomfortable or on edge all day. Also, it makes for less decisions I have to make in a day. Instead of choosing between 60 options, depending on the laundry situation, my options are much more limited. When my days at work are primarily made up of decision making, starting the day with an easy choice conserves my energy for the rest of the day. 
3. I've never been tired of my outfits. In fact, there's still more combinations I haven't tried! I thought for sure it would feel like I was wearing the same things over and over, but by mixing up the shoes, or sweater, or jewelry, it's never felt stale. 
4. No one has noticed I was wearing the same things over again. People really aren't that observant, as it turns out! 
5. It's been great for our budget. When I decided to do a capsule wardrobe, my first thought was to go all out and buy all ethically made pieces to make up the capsule. Thanks to that pyramid above, I shopped my closet and found everything I needed I already had. I haven't spent any money on my clothing for a couple months now, and I'm anticipating not needing to buy anything over the winter months either. But I might get a pair of ethically made boots, just for fun :)

Have you ever attempted a capsule wardrobe? Would you ever try one? Ask any questions in the comments below!

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Monday, October 17

Life Lately: Boats to Pumpkins

After a jam packed September, we're savoring the slower days of October. 

Three of the four weekends in September, we were traveling or Brian was racing. He started with a open water swimming race in Canyon Lake. I dreaded waking up before the sunrise, but as it turned out, the little monkey decided to wake up at 3 am and not go back to sleep, so we were already up! The views were worth the early morning.

The weekend after that, Brian swam/biked/ran an Olympic distance triathalon!

 I shopped at the Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market that weekend, thanks to my sister-in-law's help keeping Edison occupied.

Then we took off for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brian had a business trip there, and since his parents were in the area, we took the whole family and make a weekend of it. We went to the art museum, boated around the lake and the river, and visited the public market. Edison loved the boat ... once he got over having to wear the life jacket.

We loved the city's mix of historic and new. The architecture was incredible. If you visit, I recommend a day at the Historic 3rd Ward, including a visit to the Public Market, a trip to the art museum, and breakfast at Collectivo.

And a boat. I highly recommend you make friends with someone who owns one, or marry into a family that has one. If it comes with in-laws who watch your baby for you for the night so you and your husband can spend the night on the boat all by yourselves, count yourself extremely fortunate! But I might have taken the only ones that fit that description :)

We agreed that even with the added challenge of flying with a toddler, it was one of the most fun family trips we've ever taken!

This month, we've just had little adventures, and lovely slow Saturdays.

One of our little adventures was getting a little pumpkin spice crazed, and shopping at Trader Joe's for the sole purpose of buying everything pumpkin flavored. We came home with pumpkin cereal, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin tea, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin spiced chai loaf. And some apple cider and frozen orange chicken for good measure. 

Because, Trader Joe's.

On our trip to Milwaukee, Edison learned the function of his backpack, and now he loves playing with it. I'm having visions of sending him off to school, and I'm so not ready for that yet! I'm glad I have a few more years!

And that brings us up to this weekend! Brian volunteered at the Half-Iron Man race, and we were a little glad that he wasn't doing it this year. We went to a pumpkin patch, and even though it was annoyingly hot, we had a great time walking through the corn maze, looking at the animals (especially the chickens, still Edison's favorite. How is he my son?) and picking out some pumpkins to take home. After that, we had dinner with friends we hadn't seen in forever and got to catch up a bit.

Here's the story of Edison's first meeting with a tractor. He sees the tractor...

Love at first sight. 

Yes, he waved good-bye to the tractor as it drove away. Our Iowa pride was at an all time high.

This week, Edison will turn 15 months! He's such a little chatterbox now, in the last couple months he added to "Mama" and "Dada" "Uh oh," "bye-bye," "Hi," "light," "dog," "all done," "up," "thank you," and most recently, "walk," since we started going on walks in the evenings.

He's also started holding our phones (or the TV remote) up to his ear and saying "Hewwooo?" and trying to carry on conversations with the TV. He loves waving to everyone, including passing cars on our walks, and of course, tractors.

And that's life lately! Thanks for following along on our little adventures!
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