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Friday, October 28

#FridayFinds: Storytime


Photo books, notebooks, Happily Ever After, and knights and dragons - this week's finds have a theme!

1. Chat Books and Prints: I've listed these in my Friday Finds before, but did you see the hilarious commercial they came out with recently? I think all mom's can appreciate it! #ScrapbookingMutiny.



In addition to the books, which really do take 30 seconds to set up and arrive like mini Christmas presents each month, I also get five prints with each book for an extra $2. I never remember to print photos, so this works perfectly for me. When I get the notification that a book is going to go to print soon, I go into the app and select which photos I'd like to get as prints also. Super easy!

Want to try it out? You can get your first chat book FREE using my code: QN4VP2V6

2. Rifle Paper Co. Notebooks: I could no sooner chose a favorite Rifle Paper Co. notebook than I could a favorite star in the heavens, so I'm really excited about this three pack of mini notebooks! These are destined to be prayer journals, but in the meantime, they also make great desk decor.

3. Happily Ever After Sign: I picked this up in Flagstaff, and my favorite store with a terrible name: P.J. ChilCottage. (Love you guys, your customer service is great and your store is full of all things beautiful, but someone really should re-think that). They had several great options, but this one is perfect for our office book shelf next to some family photos.




4. Storytime Socks: Aren't these too cute?! I bought Edison the pair of knight and dragon socks also at P.J's in Flagstaff, but you can buy them on Amazon! The ones I bought cost $12, but they are $8 on Amazon, although some of the other designs are far more expensive. 

Those are my finds for this week! Do you have any new discoveries to share?


This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Monday, October 24

10 Fall Bucket List Ideas


I used to be ambitious with my fall bucket lists, and my summer bucket lists for that matter. The last fall bucket list I could find had ten items on it, with little doodles illustrating the items. This year I focused on our top priorities: food, travel, and, you know ... overpriced pumpkins.

The memories are priceless, right?

1. Eat all the Pumpkin Things

Hooray for Trader Joe's! But I hear Aldi's has a great selection also. 



2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

The most popular pumpkin patch in our area costs $18 a person. So... we found a cheaper option that ended up being just as much fun for Edison, I'm sure, considering that his favorite things were the corn maze, seeing a tractor, and looking at all the pumpkins. 


3. Take a Day Trip to See Fall Foliage

Our #3 item started as a day trip to Sedona, but we ended up going past Sedona to Flagstaff, because more than anything, we wanted to feel cold. When the sun was setting, we rolled the windows down as we drove through the mountains, and shivered happily for as long as we could, before putting on sweaters. 

We went for a "hike," more of a walk, in Munds' Park to enjoy the orange and yellow oak and aspens.


4. Explore a New Place

Google "best small towns," "scenic drives," "best diners," "historic landmarks," in your state and see where it takes you! 

We'd been to Flagstaff before, but we discovered new places this trip. We had turkey ruben sandwiches and deviled eggs at Aspen Deli, and spent the afternoon going to shops downtown and watching trains. And we found this incredible mural on Orpheum Theater!


5. Organize Closets

I started with Edison's closet, and took a Saturday to sort through the pile of clothes Edison has outgrown that I'd been shoving into totes in his closet without any organization. I now have a trash bag full of stuff to donate, and one big tote full of all my favorite baby items, and one more tote full of clothes for Edison to grown into. 

Making a capsule wardrobe for yourself, or your kids, is another great way to spend a Saturday and organize your closet. 


6. Run a Turket Trot

The evenings are cooler, so after work I've been loading Edison into the stroller and taking Sirius along for a mile run. My goal is to run every night, but some nights Brian comes along and we'll go for a longer walk. Other nights, it just doesn't happen. Progress, not perfection. I'm just looking forward to that pumpkin pie at the end of the race!

7. Paint a Pumpkin

Easier and less messy than carving, plus, it's great for little ones to get involved! Check out 30 painted pumpkin ideas!


8. Bake a Dessert

There's so many fall recipes I've pinned, and never made. I think I should start with something simple. I'm thinking this three ingredient pumpkin bread might be a great choice, or these pumpkin oatmeal breakfast bars, or some pumpkin pie truffles.


9. Find the Best Apple Cider

Last year, we bought a jug of apple cider from a grocery store that will remain nameless, only to discover that it was indistinguishable from apple juice. This year, we tasted samples of cider at Trader Joe's before purchasing, and then we found a new brand of apple cider at our Fry's grocery store that's also pretty decent. We still haven't found any as good as the stuff made by the apple orchard in our hometown, so the search continues.

These Apple Cider Moscow Mules from Pretty Plain Jane's look stunning!


10. Start watching the Harry Potter Movies

This is our own family tradition - usually in October, we begin the series with little Harry in the Sorcerer's Stone, and by January, usually we're finishing with the Battle of Hogwarts. If you're not into Harry Potter, that's ok (I guess), but you can start a different series you like, like Anne of Green Gables, Gilmore Girls, Star Wars, etc. 

What's on your bucket list? Share your ideas below, or on social media!

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, similar
  • 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, similar
  • Black Cardigan, from Target probably
  • Teal Cardigan, from Target, definitely, similar
  • 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 Dress 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: 

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.

 

Benefits: 

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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