Author Archive

Apron Full of Giveaways 10.21.14

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Linen half apron via Etsy

Source: Boheme Decor,  $30.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Sundays With Writers: The Martian by Andy Weir

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Sundays With Writers

This year one of my reading goals was to branch out into different genres than I typically reach for.

I blame you.

I want our Sundays With Writers to be a well-rounded selection of great books and authors and I want to challenge you to read something you might not normally pick up.  My first leap into science fiction this year was The Girl With All the Gifts and I wasn’t going to stop there. After reading about The Martian, I knew that this would be my next science fiction book for the year.  Can I be honest and say that after starting it, I started to wonder if my tiny brain could process all of this science?  This book, my friends, is heavy on the science in the science fiction. And it was geekily good. So geekily good, in fact, that this is the next book my husband wants to read.

Did I mention it is being adapted into a film starring Matt Damon?

I finished this amazing book and emailed Andy Weir to see if he might like to do an interview. He graciously agreed.

And then I wondered what in the world I could ask this genius that wouldn’t sound completely stupid?

Hello, anxiety attack.

I hope this interview does this great mind justice and I hope you will want to snag his book too. Let me tell you a little about it!

The Martian by Andy Weir

 

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This is a suspenseful survival story of an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars and what he must do to survive. Science geeks will love this story of survival from the astronaut, Mark, from his ingenious ideas of how to grow food for himself to how he keeps his limited equipment running to stay alive until he can be rescued. Loads of unexpected humor in his logs, even in the most challenging situations, and a character you want to root for. I really enjoyed this one immensely and can’t wait to see it on the big screen!

Grab your coffee and let’s settle in for a chat with Andy Weir about his debut novel The Martian!

Andy Weir

When your short story The Egg hit the front page of Reddit, you said that you were a little sad that The Martian wasn’t as popular as the short story you wrote in an evening. Now that The Martian is finally getting the attention it deserves are you finding this project to be more rewarding than you expected?

Oh definitely. That was before The Martian really took off. Since then, it’s become more well-known than The Egg. It’s been a very exciting ride.

Some of my favorite scenes in your book are when Watney discovers what fills his crewmates USB drives. I love that they brought disco music and fabulous shows like Three’s Company. What would you put on your USB drive to take with you to Mars?

Probably a bunch of 1980’s music. And I’d bring the entire archive of Doctor Who. You may not have noticed, but I’m a nerd.

 Any thoughts on commercial space flight? Any plans to purchase a ticket?

It feels like it’s just around the corner. The trick is getting the price down. Most people can’t pay $200,000 for a trip to space. But if that were brought down to $10,000 it would probably have millions of customers. As for myself, I’m afraid to fly in ordinary planes; I certainly wouldn’t be able to go to space.

Do you see us putting a man on Mars in your lifetime?

That’s a tough one to predict. With our modern technology, we can make extremely effective rovers. It makes people ask why we should risk human life. There are lots of solid reasons to send people instead of robots, but that fundamental concern, and the tremendous cost increases associated with manned spaceflight, will always be a factor. Considering we haven’t gone back to the moon yet, I’m honestly not sure if we’ll see anyone on Mars soon.

Which do you think is a more technical challenge- the first time we put a man on the moon or putting a man on Mars?

Putting a man on Mars is definitely the larger challenge. Even when you account for the technology level of the Apollo era compared to now. The Moon is just so much closer and easier to work with.

I know that not many of our readers have explored as much science fiction and that is why I wanted to share about your book. Do you have any other great suggestions for readers just jumping into the science fiction genre?

Yes, I recommend “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. It’s my favorite book of the decade so far, and it has excellent crossover appeal. You don’t have to be a “sci-fi person” to enjoy it.

Do you think you would survive if you were stranded on Mars?

I doubt it. It would require great bravery and fortitude, and exceptional strength of character. I’m just a normal guy.

John Young

If you could dine with one astronaut, living or dead, who would you invite to dinner?

John Young. He’s the consummate astronaut. He was on numerous spaceflights including Apollo 16, when he walked on the Moon. Fun fact: Apollo astronauts wore bio-monitoring equipment, so their heart rate was recorded throughout their missions. As you can imagine, during launch, their heart rates tended to spike. Usually to around 140 or 150 beats per minute. John Young’s heart rate never got above 70 during the Apollo 16 launch. Nerves of steel.

I understand that you started your computer programming career at the age of 15. What came first, your love of computers or your love for space?

Definitely my love of space. I grew up with it. I can’t remember any time when I wasn’t interested in space travel.

I am trying to build a passion for science in my children. Do you have any suggestions for how to foster that passion in them whether it’s books, places to visit, or shows/movie recommendations?

First, find their passion. Whatever it is. Art? Music? Fast Cars? Doesn’t matter. Then show them how science makes those things possible. Because in the modern era, everything is a science. If they like art, show them the science of computer modeling. If they like Music, show them how musical instruments are made with modern machinery and precision. If they like cars, well you get the idea.

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time.

You can connect with Andy Weir on GoodReads or on Facebook! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!
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Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Some people lean towards the spooky decorating for Halloween. This girl leans towards a more classic look from dressing up my front door for the season to the small nod to autumn through our home decor. I have loved our knitted leaf centerpiece so much that I thought it would be fun to add some knitted pumpkins to the mix this year. Since Walmart challenged me to take on a Halloween craft, I thought it would be the perfect time to try something new. Not only are these a knitted stuffed item (something new for me), but they are also felted.

Before you run away, I was SO scared of felting that I have thought about felting for years and never tried it. Seriously, folks, could NOT be easier.

This project is super fast to create and will get lots of love in your home as a fun addition to a bookcase, a cute centerpiece for a Halloween party, or could even make a place card holder for the Thanksgiving table.

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Supplies List

4- US Size 11 double pointed needles (I prefer bamboo for their gripping ability in this project)

4- US Size 6 double pointed needles

Natural Fiber Yarn (any color) that will shrink (Walmart offers this inexpensive option for wool)

Poly-fill Stuffing (something like this)

Free Miniature Felted Pumpkin Pattern FOR FREE HERE

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Skills Needed to Tackle This Project

You need to be able to knit in the round- This is much easier than knitting a hat and can teach you how to increase and decrease your stitches.  If you have never knitted in the round before, check out this picture tutorial that I created to help you navigate the tricky terrain of 4 needles.  You will need to be able to knit both the body and the stem in the round. I actually find the stem to be more difficult due to its size.

You need to be able to i-cord- The first time I i-corded, I was like…”That’s it?” Seriously, it sounds complex, but it is just moving your stitches back and forth on a double-pointed needle. This is a fantastic video tutorial if you are trying to get the hang of it.

You need to be able to felt- Again, this one was a new one for me, but the pattern I shared offers some great tips for felting. I will note below how I did this in my front-loader.

 

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Words from a First-Time Felter

As you can see, wool shrinks up beautifully. I wanted to still have a little bit of stitching showing, but you can continue to shrink your piece if you want it to be completely smooth. For these pumpkins, I knitted them loosely (advice given by my wise knitting pal, Deb) so that the stitches would shrink well. For my front-loader, I placed these in the washing machine with two pairs of my jeans to help create agitation and friction on the yarn. I used the Whitest White cycle (which is the hottest cycle on my machine) and let the machine decide the level of water.  For detergent, I just used a small amount of Woolite (or you can use Eucalan Woolwash). To replicate this, I just ran the cycle for ten minutes and then hit cancel.  I then ran a spin & drain cycle just for a few minutes to get rid of the excess water and then stuffed my pumpkins while they were still damp.

You can read more about felting in the pattern above.

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

 

Miniature Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Aren’t they adorable? Feel free to friend me on Ravelry and visit the Knitting section of our site for more cute yarn-lovin’ projects!

 

Looking for more great Halloween ideas? Check out my Knitted Princess Leia Hat, fun ideas for DIY Halloween Costumes, paint up some Chalkboard Pumpkin People, make pumpkins out of duct tape, throw some pumpkin chili in your slow cooker on Halloween night, and whip up some glow-in-the-dark JELL-O for dessert!  Happiest of Halloweens, friends!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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It’s the 3 Little Things: How You Doin’, My People, & an Ice Cream Fix

Friday, October 17th, 2014

It's the Three Little Things

Happy Friday, friends. It was one of those weeks that I am just thankful we got through it. Each day was overflowing with commitments and activities. It was one of those, “I can’t believe I did all of that,” kind of weeks. I’m ready to collapse on my couch and have a me day this weekend. Let’s see if I can get my kids to go along with that. Ahem. Without further adieu, here is my happy fix!

Friends

Friends Is Coming to Netflix

There is no greater show on television than Friends.  I will delete any comments that challenges this statement.  When I read that the entire series is coming to Netflix in January I was all like, “How you doin’?” Since we got rid of our cable, some of those shows that are on television all the time don’t make it to our home so I couldn’t be more thrilled. I had considered asking for the DVD set for Christmas, but now I am just going to hold out and watch a marathon of Friends anytime I want to through my Netflix membership. Between that, my new Gilmore Girls addiction, and diving into Season 2 of The Following, I am one happy little television addict.

Just in case you missed it, HBO is finally letting us stream their shows too without a subscription to their channel later this year.  This is a big year, TV addicts, a big year, indeed!

Feel free to reminisce and cry like I did. Best. Show. Ever.

Family Photo 2014

My People

We attended my nephew’s thirteenth birthday party (say it ain’t so!) and my people looked so good and unknowingly coordinated that I grabbed a patio table, a big stack of library books, and my camera to set up a sad little tripod in the backyard that yielded one of the best pictures of our family that we have taken in a long time.  If you haven’t had a family picture in a long time, hire someone to capture your beautiful family or read your camera manual and get the scoop on how to set up that timer on the back of it and make a sad little tripod for yourself so that you can have a family picture too.  I can’t wait to print this one out.

Pumpkin Patch Corn Maze

Pumpkin Patch Apple Cider Doughnuts

I took my people to the pumpkin patch and the weather was just perfect for it.  Since every step counts now that I have a Fitbit Flex (wait until you see what I have for you next week with that!), we took the really long corn maze with the kids and then immediately consumed all the calories we burned right back into our bodies with piping-hot apple cider doughnuts.  It was one of those days that I wonder how many more we will have like that with the four of us together. They are getting so big so very fast that I had a couple of teary-eyed moments while we were there as I saw they were too big for certain things and reminiscing on what captured their little hearts in the years before that held no interest this year.

 

Pumpkin Patch

You guys have seen this boy grow up and I just want to stand eye-to-eye to him and say-

“JUST STOP IT. This is not acceptable.”

I treasured our day at the pumpkin patch even more this year than I realized I would.  I love my people and I love these precious, precious moments with them.

Extra Dessert Delights Gum

Gum That Tastes Like Ice Cream

What more can I tell you? I buy a package weekly.  This Extra Dessert Delights in Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is, seriously,  the best gum ever invented.

 

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Did you read what I am learning from this project? You must!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

sweater dress + petticoat slip + tights + boots + statement necklace

Anthropologie Gray Print Dress (purchased second hand on Twice)/ Lace Slip Extender (owned- Flourish Boutique)/  Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/ Black Tights (owned- Target)/Necklace (owned- Charming Charlie)/ Black Boots (6PM- Naturalizer)/ Glasses (Coastal)

owl sweater + tunic + leggings + boot socks + camel boots

STEAL OF THE MONTH!!  Wool Gray Owl Sweater (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/  The Essential Leggings in Black (owned-Flourish Boutique)/ Gray Boot Socks  (owned-Flourish Boutique)/ Camel Sorel Boots (so very vintage and loved- Sorel)

utility vest + statement necklace + black tunic + black leggings + booties

Went out that evening- same exact stuff as the owl sweater, just a quick switch-up! Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/  The Essential Leggings in Black (owned-Flourish Boutique)/ Utility Vest (owned- Groopdealz)/Old Navy Booties (owned- Old Navy)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Easy 4-Row Snowflake Scarf

Seven Easy Scarves & Cowls to Knit This Fall

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Freebie Friday October 17, 2014

Friday, October 17th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice you have the opportunity to score 9 green living products (like Mrs. Meyers hand soap!) for just over $20 with our exclusive code! Click here to get the details. Mary Carver is sharing some great tips for planning kid’s parties and I’m catching you up to date on my fashion capsule project and what I’ve learned so far. Oh, and you do not want to miss the Sundays With Writers interview I did with Anthony Doerr, author of All The Light We Cannot See (and recent National Book Award finalist- yeah!). On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Our regular feature,  Amy’s Notebook, is of course filled with lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways for a chance to score more freebies!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink

Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: October 18 - 24
18th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Bunny Reading Pointer, 11 am – 3 pm
18th - Toys R Us: Join in on the Bricktober Build Activity and make a Lego Bat Signal, 12 – 2 pm
18th & 19th - Michael’s: Create a Duck Tape Halloween Shirt, 1 – 4 pm
21st - Barnes and Noble: Storytime and Activities with Horton and and the Kwuggerbug
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3 Benefits of Household Subscription Services + Free $10 Credit for ePantry

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

3 Benefits of Household Subscription Services + Free $10 Credit for ePantry

I consider myself to be pretty forward-thinking when it comes to online shopping and embracing the time-saving it offers for my family.  I really, really, really hate shopping in stores and prefer to spend my time wisely price-checking and window shopping online instead of in stores. Today I wanted to share with you about a new subscription-based service I discovered for our household needs called ePantry and my experience using their services. They gave me a $30 credit to try out their services and I wanted to offer an exclusive to our readers to also try the services too.  I learned about this service from one of my favorite money-savers, Crystal from  Money Saving Mom, and I knew if she recommended it, I had to try it for myself.

Who Can Benefit From Household Subscription Services?

In my opinion, everyone. Here are 3 benefits that I have found, in general, with subscription based services and what they have offered my family.

Does Your Dish Detergent Cost $100?

Maybe it is because I have zero self-control, but I can’t make a quick run into Target for dish detergent and walk out with dish detergent. Inevitably, I end up filling my cart with a lot of random and unnecessary things that I don’t need and approach the cashier with a dazed and confused look on my face about what in the world I just brought up to check out. Don’t even get me started on that convenient Starbucks on the way out. Having household items shipped to my door saves me a lot of money that is spent on impulse purchases.

Do You Forget to Keep Items Stocked?

I am generally really good with keeping our pantry and fridge stocked with what we need thanks to my Grocery IQ app on my phone. When it comes to household items though, I am THE WORST. It is usually when some poor family member is on the last roll of toilet paper or when I am ready to finally tackle that mountain of laundry that I remember that I don’t have what we need to… ahem…get the job done.

With a household subscription service, they can figure out what you need and you can modify/adjust that list as needed.  Instead of running out of items, they can automatically ship it right to your door so that you don’t have to make that late night toilet paper run.

Do You Hate Hassling With Coupons?

I have admitted to you over and over again that I am no coupon clipper. I admire people that do this, but I just can’t make the time for deal-hunting with two busy kids and my work.  You do know though that I love to save our family money so that is why I shop for our groceries at Aldi, where coupon clipping just isn’t an issue, and I love shop offerings that are competitively priced that don’t require coupon clipping and I have found that ePantry offers lower prices than I was getting in my store, they have free shipping, and they save me from impulse purchases.

How Does ePantry Help?

According to their website, ePantry customers save 26% vs. their local grocery store. There are no service or maintenance fees and you’ll be charged only for the products you buy. Based on the information you provide, ePantry is able to predict how much and when you need each product. They do understand though that there are countless variables in life (vacation, house guests, an addition to the family, etc.), so we made it incredibly easy to make changes on your personal dashboard, or via their mobile app. A week before any shipment is scheduled to go out, they send you a reminder email and a text message for you to make any changes.

What I love the most about ePantry is there are no commitments or fees to use their services. The products are all focused on green living so I can be proud to use them in my home. They also will only charge you once items are shipped. You can cancel at any time, and if you don’t like a product, they will refund you.

3 Benefits of Household Subscription Services + Free $10 Credit for ePantry



Currently, ePantry is offering a MomAdvice exclusive offer which I am so excited to share with you. You can  get a free $10 credit to use on their site when you sign up to try their service + a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Cranberry Scented Hand Soap for the holidays (retail value $5.59) with every purchase.

ePantry-Review

Just for this first order, your order must be $30 or more (but that includes the $10 credit) so you can spend just $20 and get several natural home cleaners with my referral credit for a lot less than you would ever get in the grocery store.

Here is what I put in my cart as an example of how much you can save!

ePantry-Cart

Once you use my referral link you will see a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Cranberry Scented Hand Soap, a holiday exclusive,  with your purchase. You do not need to add this to your cart, as my link will automatically do that for you!

Here are a few of my favorites I chose (just as an example- choose whatever you like!). I have a Method Clementine Dish Soap, a Method Lavender All-Purpose Cleaner, 3 Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soaps, 1 Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Toilet Cleaner, 1 Mrs. Meyer’s Bathroom Cleaner, a 2 piece Reusable Kitchen Wipe Set, & 1 Mrs. Meyer’s Cranberry Hand Soap. Total cost just… $23.25

That is  NINE household products for just over $20 out of pocket, which works out to roughly $2.58 a piece. What a steal! 

Just as I stated above,  shipping is always free and for all future orders, there’s no  minimum amount to purchase.

I hope you enjoy the savings and convenience as much as I have and I am so excited to get to share this exclusive offer with you! This offer WILL EXPIRE on Tuesday (10/21/14) so I wouldn’t delay if you are considering trying this service. 

I love it and hope you do too! Happy shopping!

*This post contains affiliate links! I promise to only link to things I love.

 

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Amy’s Notebook 10.15.14

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Hard Cider Pumpkin Float via Dine and Dish

Source: Dine and Dish

 

Hard cider ale and a pumpkin pie gelato float? Genius.

David Fincher’s thriller ‘Gone Girl’ as a solid case as to why nobody should ever get married.

14 absolutely free ways to improve your cooking.

5 unmissable, easy to implement tips on how to finally say no.

Pick the brains of intellectual giants – here is a list of 31 best TED talks that will transform your life.

These hipster costumes make me laugh.

DIY Halloween Glassware via Sugar and Cloth

Source: Sugar and Cloth

 

Use cute non-permanent DIY Halloween glassware decals for quick and easy budget friendly party decor on cups you already own.

How to keep your toddler busy for an entire hour with free items.

50 cultural icons on their favorite books.

Looking for a new mascara? Check out these new mascaras for fall.

73 answers from Reese Witherspoon- I love her more.

11 hard ciders that are better than beer.

Parenting as a Gen Xer in a world of iEverything.

Abundance Quote via Be More with Less

Source: Be More With Less

 

Redefining abundance.

A good list of the best shows to watch as a family.

8 things you haven’t tried to make using cauliflower as a substitute – or have you?

Do you hate Facebook, or do you hate your life?

Easy leather bracelet DIY – 3 different ways.

Ebola is more than a news story to me – such a perfect reminder.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Since I have reached the halfway point in my first fashion capsule, I thought it would be a great time to check in with you and share what I have learned so far in my journey with my capsule wardrobe. If you haven’t been following along, you can view my Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe and read more about the approach I decided to use on my first capsule.  Honestly, I was so nervous even saying out loud what I had planned to do and  planning my fashion capsule wardrobe consumed my every thought for a good month before I decided to take that plunge. Add in the hurdle of three seasons in a single capsule in the Midwest, ranging in temperatures from the thirties to almost one hundred. I had no idea if I could even pull this off.

Here is what I want to tell you and I hope you will listen closely.

This project has changed my life and my habits.

The first couple of weeks I sat firmly in an identity crisis.  What was I going to do with all this free time now that I wasn’t shopping?  There were no impulse purchases to be made, no special date night outfits to purchase to surprise my husband, no picking up a few things for myself before a business trip. I went to places with glorious shops and beautiful clothes and almost wanted to wear a blindfold through stores. I probably pouted.  It seemed like I was being subjected to people just waving their pretty outfits in my face and I couldn’t buy them.

It brought a level of awareness of my need to consume for no reason other than consumption. 

Whoa.

Feel free to read that line again. From the author of THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS

The shame.

I have a habit of spending money unnecessarily and this is helping me be aware of that. I had a closet overflowing and I will still buy. I have 37 of the most well-thought pieces and I still want to buy. This challenge has been eye-opening.

My next capsule begins on November 22nd and I would love to have you join in with me on this next one!  Since I feel like I have learned a lot in this one already, here is my advice to you if you are considering creating a fashion capsule of your own.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Invest in Foundation Garments

One thing I have  had trouble spending money on in the past is good foundation garments. What I have discovered in creating this capsule is that my most used pieces are the foundation pieces that I invested in to layer under my wardrobe pieces. I always relied upon inexpensive camisoles and cheap tank tops to set the foundation for my outfits which lead to constant tugging and pulling on straps, shifting straps to make things look nice,  bulk from added thickness from foundation pieces that didn’t fit properly under my clothing, and the pieces never covered my behind making it impossible to wear leggings confidently.  Three of my most used pieces were my Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique and shown above),  a Long Sleeve Seamless Layering Piece in Gray  (owned- Flourish Boutique), and a Seamless Tank in Burgundy (owned- Flourish Boutique).  I swear this isn’t just a plug for the boutique, these were really the pieces that I relied upon the most to add warmth to summer items and to keep things modest.

It doesn’t matter where you get them, but really consider snagging seamless tanks, long sleeve tops, and even a layering piece like a seamless tunic dress to help you feel confident in your outfits and appearance. It has made me feel so much more confident to have these pieces in my capsule wardrobe.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Don’t Base Your Fashion Capsule Around Someone Else’s Style

The inspiration for this challenge came from Unfancy and I give her full credit for inspiring me to take the plunge into creating a fashion capsule. I adore her style and her outfits so much. I got a lot of inspiration for smart basics to put in my capsule wardrobe from her. That said, I am not her (isn’t that sad?!?!)  I am a mom  in her thirties of two kids, living in Indiana, who has a style that leans more towards retro than modern. If I based my capsule around her style, I would have felt a little like I was playing dress-up and probably a whole lot NOT like me.  You thought I had an identity crisis before.

My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule.  Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you.  When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in. I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces. That’s the best place to start.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

It’s Okay to Add Color & Pattern To Your Capsule

When I told my friends & family that I was embarking on this crazy fashion capsule journey, they told me that they just couldn’t picture me in all black and without pattern. What the what? No way! I love color and I love patterns and textures. I would never shy away from the things that make me… well, ME.  There are certainly those black & white basics weaved in, but I would never be happy in only black and white.  Even when wearing these black and white items, I find ways to weave in color in scarves, necklaces, shoes, belts, and purses.  You can’t hide this loudness. It is impossible.

Again, this is all about making your capsule work best for YOU not anyone else. You don’t have to have a colorless wardrobe unless you want to.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Alterations Are a Worthy Investment

I am very petite and my clothing never really fits me right. Shoulders need to be moved up, waists taken in, buttons shifted, and hemlines raised.  Alterations can be pricy, but I promise that you will enjoy your capsule wardrobe so much more if they fit you well.  If clothes right off the hanger fit you perfectly, I really envy you.  If they don’t, consider investing once a week into having one item altered and wearing your wardrobe that does fit until it can come out of alterations. Almost all of my wardrobe is carrying over to my next capsule because it fits me well and because I invested in alterations to help me look my best.  It is one investment worth making and will pay off for future capsules.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Invest Wisely By Buying Consignment Clothing

I am a bit of a brand snob, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money on my fashion capsule. I admit, that first one (unless you are a wise investor in basics), can be a little draining on the budget. After buying my basics, I couldn’t necessarily run over to J. Crew to pick up a few things or grab a beautiful sweater or dress from Anthropologie. I was already over budget.  I can, however, seek those items out second hand whether it is a local thrift store or through my favorite second hand online retailer  Twice. The items I selected were practically brand new and I am still getting the longevity out of them that I had hoped for.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

 

Read Those Care Tags & Exercise Caution When Caring For Them

The hardest lesson I have learned is to be more aware of care labels. Since I am living in these key pieces for three months, I should have bought only things that could be washed or would require a little line drying.

The first week of beginning my capsule, I went to a bridal shower, hopped in the car with my sister-in-law, jetted to Starbucks, spilled Starbucks all over my skirt (a signature piece, I might add!), tried to spot clean it, ended up washing it on delicate, took the skirt out and it was…

thisbig

Yup, dry clean only. I spent all day fluffing and separating the fabric and shaping it back into its former glory. I wore it to church the next day and felt like a slip was dragging behind me. I looked and sure enough the whole underlayer was hanging out an inch. I called my mother-in-law and declared a fashion emergency and she GRACIOUSLY let me bring my tiny skirt over to her house and hemmed it for me.

First lesson learned: check care label information before making minimalist wardrobe purchases.

The second lesson learned is that taking time to REALLY take care of your pieces will help with the longevity of those items. I have been line-drying almost everything and it still looks like new, whether it was from Target or from Anthropologie. If you REALLY take care of your stuff, you can help keep it looking good for future capsules!!

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Curb the Boredom With Styling

I get bored easily and perhaps it is this boredom that creates that desire in me to buy, buy, buy. I started my Fashion Capsule Pinterest board to help me rethink the items I already have and new ways that I can wear them. If you see a big surge in posts, I am hitting a boredom phase and need to try something new. I have learned new ways to roll my sleeves, new ideas for styling some of my basic key pieces, and discovered new ways to twist scarves.

As soon as that boredom hits, chase it away with a new style.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Stealing Helps

The cushion I had in my capsule is that I am allowed one steal from my existing wardrobe. Since I apparently am a shopaholic, I look forward to my steal so much each month. I have been saving it for the end of the month so that I have something to really look forward to. It’s nice to know that just when I am feeling a little tired of my pieces, I can raid my closet!

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

Your Wardrobe Will Get Considerably Lighter

Did I mention I have rid myself of 37 items of clothing in honor of this new challenge? AND IT WAS EASY TO DO. When you buy things that make sense together, that fit well, that make you feel confident…you realize the heavy load of crap that is in your closet that just don’t do those things for you. I filled a bag this week of 37 pieces I do not need and I know there will be more. Since doing this, I feel more confident than ever. Things make sense and this wardrobe works for me. Goodbye stuff that does not make me look and feel good. I don’t need you anymore.

Creating the Perfect Fashion Capsule Wardrobe (That Will REALLY Work!)

I Still Haven’t Wore Everything

I am halfway into my capsule and I still have not wore everything in it. That is the truth. You still will fall into routines and habits with the comfy pieces and the things you love the most. I still have three items I have not worn and many that have only been worn once or twice. Like I said, who needs to shop with so much already at my disposal?

Fashion Capsule Challenge

Would you like to do a Fashion Capsule challenge with me? I will be revealing the next wardrobe very soon to inspire you for the Fall months. I post outfits weekly in my It’s the 3 Little Things and on Instagram. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you want to join in on the fun or if you are doing a similar challenge of your own!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 10.14.14

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

sheep apron

Source: Quince Pie,  $19.79

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Sundays With Writers: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Sundays With Writers

I can be the first to admit that sometimes the size of a book can be intimidating to me.  All the Light We Cannot See has been in my book stack several times this year, but at over five hundred pages, I just didn’t think I had the time to sit down and really dive in deep with a heavy book.  It had been recommended to me by some of my most respected fellow readers and I knew I would love it, but it being named our book club selection for the month was finally what pushed me to just sit down and read.

And read.

And read.

And please leave me alone, I AM READING THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD.

I could not flip the pages fast enough. What will happen to these beloved characters? How will my life go on when this book ends?

Most of all, why did I wait so long to read this?

I wish I could give this book ten stars on GoodReads. I was held captive by it and could not put it down. The storytelling is superb, the characters vividly created, and the words read like poetry. My heart was in my throat for much of it and I could not turn the pages quickly enough so I knew what would happen with Marie-Laure & Werner. I loved how their stories weaved together and how the author created such striking details that made you feel as though you were witnessing it all firsthand.

All the Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 

In this story, Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I can’t recommend this one enough- it will be, perhaps, in my top ten books ever read. I want you to set aside the size of it and just dive in like I did. 

I sent an email to Anthony, firmly believing that I would not get a response. At that time, he had been on the New York Times best seller list for twenty weeks. He certainly doesn’t need to do an interview with me to spread the word about his book.  I was shocked when I received the kindest response and so honored that Doerr would take time out of his busy schedule to answer his new #1 fan and her silly questions.

I hope you will love this interview and book as much as I love sharing about it. I already know this one is in my top ten for the year and, perhaps, forever.

Grab your coffee and let’s share a virtual cup with Anthony Doerr and his literary tour de force.

 

Anthony Doerr

I understand that this beautiful book took a decade for you to write which really speaks to your commitment to this novel. Tell me what it is like to devote ten years to a book like this and did you ever find yourself discouraged during the process of fleshing out this story? Did you ever dream that it would take that long to complete it?

Oh, I was crazy with doubt almost of the time. You invest so many months into a single project—shelves stuffed with WWII books, three separate trips to Europe, dozens of notebooks full of scribbled notes—and the terror that you won’t be able to pull it all together keeps you up at nights. I worried that if I abandoned the project I’d let down my wife, my kids, my editor, myself. And I never dreamed it would take so long—a quarter of my life!

At the heart of this story is the communication via radio that brings unlikely people together in beautiful ways. As an NPR junkie, I absolutely loved picturing Werner & his sister huddled beside the radio (as I may or may not do that myself while tuning in to my favorite shows) and others who were enchanted by radio broadcasting through this story. Why did you decide to explore radio and did you have to do a lot of research on the older models and how they worked in order to develop this plotline?

I adored radios as a boy and would often stay up late listening to baseball games under my covers while my parents thought I was sleeping. But that passion had waned a bit, until ten years ago, when I took a train from Princeton, New Jersey into New York City. I had just completed a novel and was searching around for a new idea, and had a notebook in my lap. The man in the seat in front of me was talking to someone on his cell phone about the sequel to The Matrix, I remember that very clearly, and as we approached Manhattan, and sixty feet of steel and concrete started flowing above the train, his call dropped.

And he got angry! He started swearing, and rapping his phone with his knuckles, and after briefly worrying for my safety, I said to myself: What he’s forgetting, what we’re all forgetting, is that what he was just doing is a miracle. He’s using two little radios — a receiver and a transmitter — crammed into something no bigger than a deck of cards, to send and receive little packets of light between hundreds of radio towers, one after the next, miles apart, each connecting to the next at the speed of light, and he’s using this magic to have a conversation about Keanu Reeves.

Because we’re habitualized to it, we’ve stopped seeing the grandeur of this breathtaking act. So I decided to try to write something that would help me and my reader feel that power again, to feel the strangeness and sorcery of hearing the voice of a stranger, or a distant loved one, in our heads.

That very afternoon, ten years ago, I wrote a title into my notebook: All the Light We Cannot See—a reference to all the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (like radio waves) that are invisible. And that night, I started a piece of fiction in which a girl reads a story to a boy over the radio. I conceived of her as blind, and him as trapped in darkness, and the sound of her voice, carried by radio waves – light we cannot see — through walls, as his salvation.

 My heart ached for Werner so much especially his time in the Hitler Youth and what he must do to survive. Death, war, sadness, poverty…it is all there in this book, despite the hope that so much of your story brings in the end. I imagine that this was a very difficult time period in history to write about as an author. What scene was the hardest for you to write?

Yes, lots of the research for this novel was excruciating. The destruction of human beings during WWII, especially on the Eastern Front, occurred on a scale that is almost too large for the human brain to comprehend. So sometimes the source material would send me to dark places, and I’d have to take breaks by working on other projects.

As for scenes that were hard to write, there are many kinds of difficulty a writer faces: technical difficulty, emotional difficulty, syntactic difficulty. In terms of emotions, probably all the scenes involving Frederick were the most difficult, because he reminds me of one of my sons.

It is hard to say who my favorite character is because I found each one so endearing. The relationship between Marie-Laure and her father brought tears to my eyes though because it was so special. The books that he gives her for her birthday are so treasured and one in particular, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, turns out to be a very special one. Was this a childhood favorite of your own? What was it about this book that made you want to use it in such a unique way in your story?

Thank you, Amy. Yes, 20,000 Leagues was indeed a childhood favorite. The book is about wonder and technology, and it uses narrative to excite a reader’s interest in the natural world. This is so similar to the kind of projects I try to make with my own fiction, that – one day, when I started re-reading it — I decided Verne’s text might serve as an effective book-within-a-book.

The intricate puzzles that Marie-Laure’s father creates add so much beauty to your story. It made me wish I could find a puzzle for my kids to solve.  How did you come up with this concept?

A friend of our family’s once gave me a Japanese puzzle box as a present. It was a wooden cube that looked like an ornate, solid block of wood. No visible doors, no knobs, no handles, no buttons. But, as our family friend showed me, if you knew what side to push in on, then various panels would start to slide down, and by manipulating all the panels in clever ways, you could eventually slide open the top and discover a hidden compartment inside.

I played with that thing for hours, showing it off to friends, examining its construction, etc., then eventually put it on a shelf and forgot about it. A couple of decades later, working on this novel, the puzzle box came back to me, along with my fascination with it, and I decided to try writing a couple of scenes in which Marie-Laure’s father fashions puzzle boxes.

Which character do you identify the most with in your book?

I do my best to identify with all my characters, even the bad actors—I think that’s probably part of the job description for any novelist, isn’t it?

This novel has 187 chapters, but they are beautifully segmented and sectioned for the reader in small doses, which created a lot of suspense for me, as a reader, and kept me pushing through your story so I could find out what would happen in the next chapter. Why did you decide to structure your story this way?

Obviously, there are an infinity of ways to write a novel, but for me “plotting it out” has always sounded scary and programmatic. I have to compose, revise, and re-revise scenes just to understand what should happen in them.So my process involves a lot of trial and error. I write hundreds of paragraphs trying to figure out where the story is going, and I usually end up cutting most of them. I knew early on that I wanted the two narratives to feel like two almost parallel lines that inclined toward each other very gently.

The structure was a big mess for a long time. It probably had 250 or 300 chapters at some points. All I knew early on — and wanted a reader to intuit – was that Marie’s and Werner’s lives would intersect. But it took me a long time to figure out exactly how that would happen.

 If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

Oh, gosh, my answer to this question changes all the time, but a novel I’m absolutely in love with right now is Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It’s about family, siblinghood, memory, storytelling, and particularly about our society’s treatment of animals. It’s also structured in this beautiful, organic, perfect way—I hope a few of your readers will give it a look!

You can connect with Anthony Doerr on GoodReads or on Facebook! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

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