1.25.2015

Thrifting and the capsule wardrobe

I’m definitely not as “adventurous” as I could be with my clothes. One part of my wardrobe that is evidence of this is my skirts. I just love the idea of wearing skirts, but then when I get dressed in the morning I grab pants instead. Recently, I have made a deal with myself, each week I will wear a skirt at least once, and a dress at least once. I have also found some incredibly comfy tights recently, and that is helping a lot

In putting together a capsule wardrobe, I have been forced to think of my clothes as outfits, instead of single items. This has truly been helpful for me. In the past, I would have so many "statement pieces", and no basics. I bought things for the print or the fabric, but didn't think about how I would actually wear them, or what I would wear them with.  

When I put together my fall wardrobe, I realized that I was lacking a simple, black skirt. I decided on a skater skirt, because I think they are pretty cute right now, and it works with my figure. They are easy to dress up or down, it's a really versatile item. It goes with practically everything!







Here's mine that I got at Banana Republic. For me, someone who tends to get most things second hand, it was a big purchase. But it was so worth it! For years I have been missing this crucial piece of just a simple black skirt.



My other skirt is a tweed pencil skirt. It doesn't look like much hanging here in this picture, but I'm going to try to post outfits, and this is a really cute skirt. Again, it goes with most things in my wardrobe, but this is very much a work piece. I would probably never wear this anywhere but work.


And finally, I have my interesting skirt. This is a secondhand skirt that is corduroy. It's a retro kind of burnt orange color, and it's about mid-length. It's a great winter skirt because it's pretty heavy. I found this at a hipster flea market last year and bought it along with some black cowboy boots. 

Which brings me to an important point. 
 
In each of my capsules so far, I've included what I'm calling "wardrobe misfires". In my mind, these are items of clothing that I love, but never wear. Rather than be overwhelmed with a bunch of them, I have just picked two or three to include in each capsule. For my fall capsule my misfires included a couple of funky dresses that I loved in theory but for some reason, never wore. One of them I actually started wearing, partly because I made myself, but also partly because having a small number of items in your closet makes these stand out items a little more fun. BUT, the other dress I realized I was just never going to wear, and I ended up taking it to a clothing swap. I was sad, because it was so cute, and I bought it new. But it was just this 50s style rockabilly dress that just isn't me. That's become a great part of this whole experience too, figuring out what I like to see on other people, versus what I like to see on myself!

I love vintage, and thrift stores. My style does tend to be pretty classic, but I like to throw in some funky bits and bobs to make it my own and I like to have at least one thing on that is unique. 

This capsule wardrobe has challenged me, it's easy at thrift stores to grab stuff willy-nilly since it's so cheap. Over the years I've end up with a lot of funky stuff, but not may basics to tie them together. You just can't wear head to toe vintage, or at least I can't anyway. But now I'm starting to see how to incorporate these items in. By including just one or two of these really funky pieces I can more easily come up with multiple outfits, and decide if I like them in real life, or just in theory.

These days if I do go to the thrift store (which I am really trying to limit) I ask myself, "if this was full price, would I buy it?" If the answer is no, and 9 times out of 10 it is, then I don't get it. Then I also challenge myself to come up with a few outfits with that item.

1.22.2015

Blouses and shirts and tops...oh my!

I wanted to post my complete set of button down shirts since yesterday came up a little short.
I love a good button-down. It looks professional. And I love to roll up my sleeves. You can pair it with a sweater for a preppie look, a vest for some academic style, or a blazer for maximum business.










(Pictures taken from Pinterest by the way)

So, it's a versatile piece. And versatility is the name of the game with capsules.

First up, I've got a standard white version from Banana Republic, which is awesome. Heavy linen, fitted, basically perfect.




I've got a polka dot version, for a little sass




And I've got a silkier, green one for some sophistication




Recently though, I've been really getting into printed tops. I've picked up a couple for the old capsule wardrobe at my very favorite thrift store.

A navy dot




And the most adorable little bird print evah




Check out the close-up




So cute!!!

And finally, a gorgeous Anthro find for my birthday. I love, love, love this shirt.




So those are my six snazzy mostly-for-work-but-sometimes-for-fun shirts!

1.20.2015

The Capsule Wardrobe concept

For a little while now this blog has been on hiatus, simply because I got a little blurry about what it was for. I wasn't really sure why chronicling my day-to-day activities was really necessary, or even interesting. In the past, the things that have brought the most people to my blog were when I was focusing on specific topics, such as crafting or cooking. One thing in my life I've been putting a lot of though into, and telling all my friends about is my capsule wardrobe. So I've decided to share that here.

This has taken a lot of hemming and hawing on my part since I'm not a fashion blogger and never will be. Nor am I a great photographer. So, we'll see how actual outfit posts go! But the first step is to just post the capsule in it's entirety, and that I can do.
I've broken the items down by category.



First, t-shirts. I will say that when it comes to t-shirts I have a few duplicates. This is only for winter. I am in Kentucky and it gets darn cold here. Most of these t-shirts are layered under many things and are not seeing the light of day! So, in that case I've decided that they are mostly "undershirts", which don't really count.



Second, sweaters. I have a really hard time limiting sweaters. Did I mention it gets really cold here?! I will admit to maybe having a couple more than is pictured here. I need to weed out a few though. I'm finding that some of them I carried over from fall are just too light for winter.




Button-down or work shirts is the third category. I've actually swapped out that navy button down at the top for a more silky navy shirt, but that is probably only going to be noticeable to me.  Also, I will post them, but I've added two more colorful print shirts. My wardrobe needed a little color and cheer in this drab season.


Skirts and dresses. I have two dresses that can be very easily layered. One is a simple black t-shirt dress that is basically perfect for every single wardrobe. This is hands down one of my favorite pieces. I will of course be posting more about each of these, as well as discussing maybe why one worked or didn't work.



Finally, pants. I've got two pairs of black skinnies, one pair of navy skinnies, and one pair of gray. I'm switching out those crazy brown bell-bottoms for some mustard yellow cords though. In fact, I'm wearing them right now! They were a great addition too.

I realize that may sound like this isn't the complete collection, and it's not. I'm having a bit of trouble with winter. For some reason, fall was way easier. I'll be writing more about that in future posts for sure!

1.09.2015

Friday Book Review: The Magician's Land

Today's book is The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

One of the benefits of having a teaching job is that you get a substantial break over the holidays. This year, I wrote up a list of books that I wanted to try to get through over the break. As with every year, this list was substantial and mostly unrealistic. And, once I found out that Lev Grossman's new book was out, I promptly chucked all other books on my list to read it.

I have never been a reader of fantasy novels. I don't have much experience with them. And I generally don't have much desire to read them. But for some reason, the Magician series just captivates me. I think that it's partly due to the fact that the fantasy part, the magic, seems so realistic. In Grossman's books, a person can become a magician (a real magician) if they study very hard. And the study includes things like ancient languages, and physics. Grossman's magicians are scholars. They are clever, and hard-working. It's not a matter of being born with magical powers, although that is somewhat necessary, they mainly have to be very smart, and willing to work. So, first of all, if you love books about scholarship, and the world of the mind, and even academia, these books will appeal to you.

The second thing I love about his books are the characters. They are varied and compelling. Grossman will take the time to really delve into a character. And although the main character is male, he also has strong and interesting female characters. In fact, the female characters tend to outdo the male characters on levels of intelligence and toughness. They are certainly not tokens, like the female characters in so many books of this ilk.

But on to the story. The Magician's Land is the final book in the Magician's trilogy. The first book many have referred to as the adult version of Harry Potter, or Harry Potter goes to college. There is a bit of that, certainly. Our main character, Quentin Coldwater, gets the joy of being a student at a magician's college, and learns that there are magicians hiding out in the world. Being that he's in college, the characters engage in much more adult themed romps, sex, drugs, gambling, murder ect... However, there is a lot more to these books than just a grown up version of Harry Potter. Grossman has a tendency to really surprise the audience with curve balls.  His plot twists are unique, and at times wholly unexpected.

The third book finds Quentin living a sad life as a king who has been thrown out of his land. At the outset of the novel he is taking an Ocean's 11-type heist job with a rag-tag group of outcast magicians.  Through flashbacks we get to find out how he ended up in such a dark place. Throughout the series, Quentin is the perfect anti-hero. He's kind-of lazy, has questionable morals, can be whiny and spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. He eventually comes into himself though. It's subtle, but in this final book, you get the opportunity to see Quentin as an adult, and feeling comfortable in his own skin. He accepts his gifts.

If you haven't read the first two books in this series, you really must before reading this one. But if you have, then you know what to expect. Capers, sexy magic, talking animals, traveling between worlds, angsty queens, reluctant gods, and on and on. SO much happens in this book. Fillory is crumbling and the gang must work to save it. We get a return to Brakebills of course, and even a fun jaunt to Brakebills South.  Quentin finally finds out what his special power is, and it's not what you think. I must say, I'm pretty sad that this series is over, it was great!










11.19.2013

Couch to 5k Review - Week 4 take... 3?



Confession time!

I fell off the running wagon big time. I went for two weeks without doing anything. Basically, daylights savings time completely ruined everything. My schedule up until that point was to run when I got home from work, which I was doing well. But then the time change happened and it was pitch dark when I got home. Not going to lie, I'm not gonna run in the dark. I just don't feel safe, and I'm certain that I will trip over something and hurt myself! :)

So... the good news is that yesterday, I woke up early and went for a morning run. This was an absolutely HUGE hurtle for me, because I am far from a morning person, and it was COLD. And it was DAWN.  But I did it, and I'm really proud of myself!

I still need to figure out the whole what-do-I-wear-to-run-in-the-winter thing.  But honestly, yesterday I felt so freaking good. Exercising in the morning is totally where it's at. It just pumps you up for the day! I did learn though that I need to eat a little something before I go. All I had was half a cup of coffee, and I did not fare well. My energy flagged about halfway through.

Oh, and the other confession? I didn't use the app. I just decided to go out and run at my own pace. I alternated between walking and running for about 20 minutes, I have no idea how much I ran or how far. Cest la vie - I don't really care!

In other news - I've signed up for a challenge! It's by Jamie Mendell and It will start next week. It's a healthy living challenge to get you through the holidays, but as of yet, I don't know much else about it. I'm excited though!. I don't want to face January feeling terrible about the choices I made! You should sign up too - it's FREE!




11.06.2013

WIAW - getting healthy for fall

Is is Wednesday again already? I love that the theme this month is fall into good habits. I have been having a lot of fun lately getting back into cooking, and my newest habit is cooking things that will last a few days or through the week. On Sunday I've been roasting veggies, making big pots of soup, hardboiling eggs, or baking up some goodies for the week. It makes me feel comforted to know that my fridge is stocked with some healthy foods!






Here's something I did this weekend that was inspired by folks I've seen around the blogosphere. Rather than buying a bunch of single serve yogurts, that just create a lot of waste (and are filled with sugar) I bought one big container of plain yogurt and some frozen berries. Then I divided it all up into these adorable jars for the week. I got six of them. This has worked out so great!! My family for some reason has an aversion to eating yogurt out of the big tubs, but they love these!  I'm looking forward to coming up with different combos.


For a post workout treat this weekend I made a green smoothie, and topped it with some granola. I've never done that before either, but have seen other bloggers do it. So yummy!



With my prepped veggies, lunches have been super easy. Just make up a wrap with a bunch of good stuff. This one has hummus and roasted sweet potatoes, avocado and cucumbers. Maybe that sounds like a weird combination, but it was super tasty!!



Also over the weekend Skater Girl and I treated ourselves to a good old fashioned girls night. We got some takeout sushi, a movie and got in our PJs and relaxed. It was such a great night. I so love having a daughter that we can do these kinds of things! It's especially awesome to have a girl that loves sushi!!



Also, I have to say that I am just loving apples right now! They are so good, at the moment we are going through two bags a week. Can't get enough.

happy hump day everybody!

Do you prep food on the weekends?



10.30.2013

WIAW: comfort food for fall

It's getting cold here - and that means some time spent by the fire! We have a woodstove in our living room which becomes the favorite hangout spot for knitting, reading, and the favorite spot for all the pets!


This morning I snapped this photo of the leaves on my car... it's just cold and wet here right now which means one thing to me... comfort food!!



Definitely one of my biggest warming comfort foods right now is Pho, a Vietnamese soup that is soooo tasty and warms you right up. I swear I could eat this every single day!!




Another great comfort food? Chocolate of course!! This awesome pudding is made by throwing avocados, cocoa powder, maple syrup and cinnamon into a blender. It's ridiculously good, and fairly healthy. Good fats, and did I mention chocolate? mmmm...hmmm



Baked goods and coffee never hurt when the weather is less than perfect...







Another great thing about this time of year is it's pomegranate season!! I have an awesome recipe right here for pomegranate salad that is super tasty. My daughter and husband both fight over it every time I make it.




So that's it for the last WIAW of October!




Hope everyone enjoys themselves tomorrow! Happy Halloween!



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