Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

How to Shop Secondhand for Your Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

shop-secondhand-for-capsule-wardrobe-header.fw

Last week I was so excited to show off my Spring capsule wardrobe with you all. I got some questions and emails regarding the capsule wardrobe and one thing people wanted to know the most is how I was able to pull of my wardrobe secondhand. Today I wanted to share how I did manage to keep my capsule wardrobe 90% secondhand and how you can do the same with your wardrobe.

I have always loved to shop secondhand for clothing and the fun of that just has never ended for me. There is such a thrill in the hunt for the perfect item. When I was a girl we would visit a store in my great-grandma’s town that had barrels of clothing to dig through. I remember my mom shuddering and me clapping my hands with glee. I loved to hunt and who knew what treasure you could find at the bottom of a barrel? It could be something really exquisite and rare like J. CREW or BANANA REPUBLIC or ESPRIT or UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON. RARE, RARE, RARE. For a girl who couldn’t afford to upgrade her wardrobe, this possibility thrilled me.

When I was young though I was simply attracted to brand names that I could not afford and deals…oh, THE DEALS. What I ended up with were loads of items that didn’t look good, that didn’t work together, and things I didn’t REALLY love. If only you could have seen the label on the inside though…you might have been impressed.  As an adult, I have learned to be patient, to choose wisely, and to try to be flexible when piecing together a secondhand wardrobe.

The capsule wardrobe requires a well-edited closet, selecting pieces that work together and that can be worn many different ways to maximize your choices. You might think secondhand couldn’t work, but I will share my secret with you…consignment shopping online has transformed the impossible and multiple trips to shops into the possible.

Spring Wardrobe Classics

(source Kendi Everyday)

Start With a Really Good List

The capsule wardrobe relies a lot on wardrobe staples and I had none of these when I started.  Even though secondhand shopping is more affordable than purchasing the items retail, you still must keep your budget in mind. Make a list of items that are important to you to own this year and consider dividing your list into the different capsules. For me, items like a good pair of jeans, a crisp white collared shirt, a black skirt, a black pair of jeans, a jean shirt, and a good blazer were all wardrobe essentials. Consider this list and this list (pictured above) as a good starting point for building your wardrobe.

Build In a Few Trendy Pieces

Once you have covered the basics, you can start jotting down a few of your favorite trends this season that you would like to incorporate. I love this list of Spring trends that include adding a bit of floral, the mixing and matching of bright & bold, a nod to denim, a fresh summer scarf, and the addition of a good clutch.  Obviously, only embrace the trends that really work for you and for your lifestyle, otherwise, it ends up being a pointless task in incorporating these items if you will never wear them.

Always consider the trendy colors of the year to as a way to add a little bit of color to your capsule, while keeping it timeless with still embracing the basics.

Shop Around

There are lots of great online consignment shops out there, you just have to find the right one for you. I have had the best luck on Twice and on thredUP (both of those are affiliate links and will give you $10 towards your first purchase). Here is a list of all of the shops that I have found to do some online consignment shopping.  I have found that a lot of my happiness with a site and what they offer really relies upon their search tool since I like to shop with my list and not blindly hunt for items.

I would say after trying several different companies out for online consignment, my happiness has really been with Twice the most. I like that I have 30 days to try things on and make sure I really love it. I appreciate the convenience of being able to ship my returns without getting charged for shipping or restocking fees.  I feel like I have been able to make smarter decisions and am not keeping items just because I don’t want the expense or hassle of returning them.

Of course, consignment shopping can happen locally too and many consignment shops are on Facebook, sharing and posting some of the best offerings they have in their store. Consider following the shops you love and keeping your eyes peeled for smart purchases for your capsule.

How to Shop Secondhand for Your Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

(source Twice)

Start Shopping With Your List

Once you have a list of items that you really want, shopping for consignment online is a breeze. I begin typing in descriptions of the items I am after and let the hunting for them begin.

Start with your basics and type in the key phrases of what you are looking for.

“Black Skirt”

“Black Pants”

“Shirt Dress”

“Tunic”

Type in the patterns of fabric you are looking for- stripes, gingham, checks, herringbone, floral, chambray…. the possibilities are endless.

How to Shop Secondhand for Your Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Be a Brand Snob- You Can Afford To

I have become quite the brand snob with my clothing and the reason is simply because I am buying my clothes at a fraction of the cost that I used to. I don’t want to spend the money on a pair of socks from some of the brands that I have been shopping at in their stores, but I can have a whole outfit when I purchase it on consignment…and not feel one bit guilty.

I try not to be too trendy in my capsule wardrobe and so I look to brands that I know will wash well, will have longevity, and  won’t fall apart on me.

Sell It Back

Since you are keeping a well-edited closet with your fashion capsule, you will know right away what hasn’t gotten worn and won’t carry over to the next wardrobe. Consider making some money or credit for the clothes and sell them back to the retailers you purchased them from.  I have this handy resource list on how to make money organizing that closet.

How to Shop Secondhand for Your Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

(source thredUP)

Add In Your Accessories & Shoes Secondhand Too

Not only is buying secondhand great for your wardrobe, but it can be great for shoes, purses, scarves, and belts to compliment your items.  If there is a trend like, “emerald green,” or “floral print,” consider adding these into your wardrobe with accessories instead of with your wardrobe basics. A quick browse on thredUP yields a million floral scarves and at a much better price than the retail stores. These smaller items are a great way to add something trendy without deciding which trends you think will actually stick in your capsule wardrobe.

How to Shop Secondhand for Your Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Last spring’s buttery Italian suede smoking slippers from J. Crew were available on Twice when I was putting together my capsule. Would I have spent $200 on these for myself? No way!  I can afford a little luxury when they are priced at $60, use my referral credit, and pay a mere $5. YES! This is a luxury that this cheap lady can indulge in. They are beautiful and worth all five dollars and MORE!

The same principle can be applied to that beautiful handbag you have been dreaming of.

This has always been my secret to good shopping…

You can have the beautiful things you always wanted with a little patience- someone is always editing their items and the chances are good that ONE THING you have been dreaming of will be yours one day.   

I waited a whole year for these shoes and it was worth the wait.

What are your tricks for shopping secondhand for your clothing? Feel free to leave them below!

 

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Spring Wardrobe Essentials with Vera Sweeney

Monday, March 16th, 2015

I’m so excited to have my amazing friend, Vera Sweeney, from Lady and the Blog sharing a fantastic list of Spring Wardrobe Essentials with all of us. I respect Vera and her work so very much and she has become one of my go-to resources for making the most of my wardrobe. Check out this great list she created for the m challenge and be sure to use our handy list of wardrobe printables while preparing for your new Spring look! xo

Spring Wardrobe Essentials

Spring is such a great time for fashion. There’s no more hiding. No more bundling. It’s all about embracing the warmer weather and showing off some skin. Because the beginning of the season can be so transitional, there are a few key pieces that every woman should own to ensure that she is ready for any weather that Mother Nature throws her way.

jean jacket

 

The Jean Jacket

I love a great jean jacket because not only can it keep you warm during cooler days, but it can also help you get more wear out of your summer dresses. If you pair a jean jacket with a summer dress and knee high cowboy boots, you suddenly have a seasonally appropriate look that can deconstruct into an entirely different feel.

When the weather gets warmer, remove the jacket and replace the boots with some fun flats. Easy!

The Daily Find: See by Chloe Pleated Dress

 

The Pleated Dress

If you listen to Fashion Week and trends, you know that pleats are coming back strong. Be sure to snag yourself a delicate looking pleated dress for this spring. Opt for a pale color and accessories with a bold clutch. Because we are going for a dainty look, don’t go heavy with jewelry when wearing this style. Instead, choose a simple necklace and skip the bangles.

Summer Scarf

 

The Summer Scarf

I love the summer scarf because it’s the perfect addition to any spring look. It’s the one accessory you can wear anywhere – anytime. And I’m not kidding! Wrap it around any look to add as an extra layer to complete your outfit. Then when it gets cold at night, simply unravel the piece and use it as a shawl. Perfection!

Floral Spring

 

Anything Floral

I know that sounds a bit vague… but it’s true. Spring is all about flowers, right? It makes sense that floral prints would be hot! Pick up pants, skirts, shirts, clutches or shoes. Whatever you like, really! Just don’t wear it all at once. ☺

Mint & Yellow

 

Mix and Match the Bright And Bold

When choosing color combinations for the spring, don’t be afraid to mix color and color. Have a little fun. It doesn’t have to be black mixed with a bright color. You can wear mint with yellow, or orange with blue. Yes! It’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and making an effort to be scene. If you need a little practice in this arena, start color combining with your accessories first.

Perfect Clutch

 

The Perfect Clutch

This is one of the most underrated accessories on the block. I live and die for a good clutch but not many women I know own one. Who wants to lug around a hobo or a tote to a restaurant when all you really need is your phone and lipstick? Purchase a sleek looking clutch and call it a day. Trust me! You will get a ton of use out of it! It will be your favorite purchase of the season. I love the red options I highlighted above, but if you really want to keep it simple, a beige clutch goes with everything.

What do you think of the options I selected for you? These spring wardrobe essentials will help kick start your style in the right gear.

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25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printable & Tools

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables and Tools

As I’ve been upping my fashion game over the past year by becoming intentional with my wardrobe and shopping – and embracing the capsule wardrobe concept – I’ve come across some amazing tools. These printables, guides, and tips have helped me whittle my once out-of-control closet into one that makes sense and helps me feel fashionable every day. So for our M Challenge Focus on Fashion, I thought it would make a great resource for us to bundle these together with even more of the best wardrobe planning printables and tools that are available.

So whether you’re looking to build a wardrobe from scratch, whittle what you have into a capsule closet, or even get ideas for packing smartly for a trip, you’ll find some great tools here to help you! (note: please pin any photos below from the original source)

General Wardrobe Tips & Printables

Build a perfect wardrobe via Into-Mind

Source: Into Mind

 

How to build the perfect wardrobe: 10 basic principles @Into Mind

Building a Grown-Up Wardrobe :: purging, planning, and the perfect shopping list @AJ Wears Clothes

Building a Basic Wardrobe @Living on the Chic

How to Build a Wardrobe + Basic Wardrobe Checklist @ Jo-Lynne Shane

Infographic decision tree for wardrobe editing @Modern Eve

How to build your best spring wardrobe yet @Into Mind

 

101 fashion tips via StyleCaster

Source: StyleCaster

 

101 Fashion Tips and Tricks Every Girl Should Know @StyleCaster

My favorite source for fashion on a budget: Twice

My other favorite source for my fashion capsule on a budget: ThredUp

Which Fashion App Is Right for You? @Brit + Co

How to Maintain your Wardrobe throughout the Year @Into Mind

Essential Work Wardrobe with Printable Shopping List @tixeertne

 

Capsule/Minimalist Wardrobe Tips & Printables

Capsule planner via Unfancy

Source: Unfancy

 

Free Capsule Wardrobe Planner Tool @Unfancy

Project 333 Start Guide @Life Your Way

5 Things that do not Belong in Your Capsule Wardrobe @The Project 333

All Seasons Capsule Wardrobe Plan @The Lovely Laura Life

The 40 Hanger Closet- minimize your wardrobe for maximum style @Living Well Spending Less

 

Capsule guide via Inside Out Style

Source: Inside Out Style

 

How to create a wardrobe capsule: 12 garments = 72 outfits + printable guide @Inside Out Style

Rule of Three: add variety with this trick @Unfancy

The Bare Minimum 30 Piece Wardrobe @The Everyday Minimalist

Capsule Wardrobe Checklist @The Fitenessista

A 30-piece wardrobe with sample wardrobe pics, tips, and free printable shopping list @House for Five

 

Travel & Packing Tips & Printables

Travel fashion planner via Travel Fashion Girl

Source: Travel Fashion Girl

 

How to Plan your Travel Outfits: 5 Style Tools Show You How @Travel Fashion Girl

Packing Checklist and Outfit Planner @Pretty & Fresh

How to Plan a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Vacation @Lady Light Travel

 

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

Spring is knocking on our door in Indiana, I just know it, and today I’m sharing my 2015 Spring Fashion Capsule Wardrobe with you. I pushed this capsule out a few weeks after having a false start with my Winter wardrobe and then feeling that March would be better timing with a Spring wardrobe switch. I wore the last capsule almost four months and I was still finding new ways to wear things, even up until the final week. It is amazing what you can do when you are forced to really think about how to make the most of the items in your closet.

 I am really excited to share this new capsule wardrobe with you and am really proud that 90% of this wardrobe was purchased secondhand through Twice & Thredup. The rest of the items were smart investment piece purchases from our site sponsor Flourish Boutique and a t-shirt update from Old NavyMy big investment with this capsule was having a few pieces altered to fit me better. Jeans were shortened, waistlines were taken in, hems raised, and shoulders were adjusted on items that needed it.  I am really thrilled with how these items fit me and I know it will add to my happiness and longevity of the pieces I selected.

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colours.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. 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 been the best place to start for me.

Why This Capsule Will Be a Challenge

Weather changes are always a challenge in the Midwest. Today the high is 41 degrees which feels like summer after the negative temperatures, but I know the weather is just going to get warmer. I have weaved in sweaters in preparation and items that will transition well between the seasons. I will be attending my first conference in my capsule wardrobe and….we are going to ITALY in May, all in this wardrobe.  It is a lot to think about, but I love that Project 333 allows me switch out an item each month so as the months progress I picture some of these trousers turning into shorts and sweaters into tank tops. I’m hoping I am prepared for all of this with these pieces.

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

I am planning to show you how I am wearing these items on here as well as through my Instagram account so you can see how I am putting my outfits together with these pieces. Here is an example of what I will be doing in IG each week. I’m no stylist though, this is just how I am dressing throughout the week with my edited closet! I was modeling them, but THE STRESS.  I just don’t have time to do that, but I am happy to piece together a template on my floor for you! Ha!

Do You Count Accessories As Your 33 Items?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

This project was inspired by Project 333 & the Unfancy fashion capsule challenge, but I am making a few of my own rules for my own personal challenge.

33 Piece Wardrobe- The wardrobe can have 33 pieces  in it. This wardrobe does not include pajamas, workout gear, undergarments, or camisoles (something that is a necessity for me).  The capsule is made from items I already own, some purchased to be workhorses in my wardrobe (since I fail in this department greatly), and purchased second hand at Goodwill or through Twice. All of the items I am not wearing and still love are being tucked in storage for the next fashion capsule.  I have created a Fashion Capsule Pinterest Board to help inspire me with the pieces I am using.

Choose 3 More for Rotating- You may choose three additional items and put them aside in your closet. You may rotate these items in during the next three months, but three other items have to be rotated out. Consider donating those items.

No Shoe Shopping- I am not including my shoes for this challenge, but I am challenging myself to not buy any more shoes and use what I already have.

One Steal Per Month- Things and events come up and I am allowing myself one steal per month from items that I already own. I may find I don’t need this, but I think it might help with the shopping bug.

No Shopping For Clothing- I will wear the clothes I have selected and not shop for three months and only shop two weeks prior to the next capsule for items for the next season if needed. This is going to require a lot of discipline for me and I am planning to unsubscribe to shopping newsletters and avoid the shops as much as possible.

This month’s Project 333 Wardrobe is listed below. The ones with an asterisk are carrying over from my last capsule. To me, these are the best pieces to buy since they are making a reappearance!

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

1. Kelly Green Cardigan (Gap)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

* 2. Not Afraid of the Dark Denim Jacket (Flourish Boutique)

* 3. Utility Vest With Faux Leather Details  (Groopdealz)

4. Navy & White Striped Blazer (J. Crew)-  Purchased secondhand from Twice

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

 

*5. Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Gray- (Old Navy)

*6. Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in White- (Old Navy)

7. Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Dark Gray- (Old Navy)

8. Polka-Dotted Sleeveless Silk Blouse (J. Crew)-  Purchased secondhand from Twice

9. Striped Navy & Cream T-shirt (J. Crew)- Purchased secondhand from Thredup

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

* 10.  Scarlet Swing Skirt (Anthropologie)

11. Palm Tree Skirt (Anthropologie)-  Purchased secondhand from Twice

* 12. Black A-Line Skirt (Gap)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

* 13. Black Pleated Maxi Skirt (Flourish Boutique)

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

14. Black Shirt Dress (White House Black Market)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

15. Chambray Shirt Dress (Anthropologie)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

16. Navy Jersey Tunic (J. Crew)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

17. Black & White Patterned Tunic (White House Black Market)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

18. Out of the Woods Floral Tunic- Flourish Boutique

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

19. Denim Jean Shirt (Express)- Purchased secondhand from Thredup

20. Black & White Boat Neck Striped Shirt (Banana Republic)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

*21. Blue Striped Top (White House Black Market)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

22. Black & White Sweater (White House Black Market)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

23. Navy Open Knit Sweater (White House Black Market)- – Purchased secondhand from Twice

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

24. White Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (Ann Taylor Loft)-  Purchased secondhand from Twice

* 25. Mossimo Short Sleeve Coral Shirt (Target)

26. Comfy in Crochet- Flourish Boutique

27. Western Adventure Tunic- Flourish Boutique

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

28. Black A-Line Dress (J. Crew)- Purchased secondhand from Thredup

29. Red Halter A-Line Dress (Banana Republic)- Purchased secondhand from Twice

30. Gray Striped Green Dress (Target)

Spring 2015 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe Project from MomAdvice.com

* 31. Matilda Jane Willow Tree Rider Pants (purchase from Amanda Petit, Matilda Jane Independent Trunk Keeper)

*32.  Dark Wash Skinny 7 Jeans-  Flourish Boutique

33. Black Skinny Pants (Ann Taylor Loft)

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Current Coupons for Old Navy (I am a big fan of their jeans and basic t-shirts)

Current Coupons for Target (their wardrobe is on the smart minimalist side this season- yay!)

Current Coupons for Gap (blazers, chambray shirts, collared shirts, jeans- oh my!)

Get $10 for your first Twice purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Use web code WEB25 for 25% off your purchase at Flourish Boutique (this is our site sponsor and where I get the majority of my clothing). You can also catch a sale daily on the Flourish Boutique Facebook Page)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Here are some tips for creating the perfect capsule wardrobe and feel free to browse my fall & winter capsule selections while you are gathering ideas for your own capsule! Follow me on IG for fresh outfit ideas each week! xo

 

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

 

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m challenge: What’s in Your Closet? 6 Wardrobe Essentials

Monday, March 9th, 2015

As part of our March m challenge: Focus on Fashion, I’ve asked a number of fabulous fashion bloggers to share their wisdom with us, and I’m so happy that Jo-Lynne Shane is letting us peek into her closet today, sharing with us the six most important wardrobe pieces every woman should have in her closet! We have been friends for many years and I have always appreciated her smart sense of style that she is so generous to share with us all. I hope you enjoy peeking at her closet today! xo

Six Wardrobe Essentials

As a professional blogger and mom of three, I spend most of my days working from home and running the kids around, but I also attend enough events that I need to have a complete wardrobe so I’m not frantically shopping when I get a last minute opportunity. The trick is to find a few key pieces that you love. Then you can work out from there. Here are 6 pieces every mom needs in her closet.

1. Great Fitting Jeans

I don’t think a modern woman should be without a pair of good fitting jeans. This is an item for which I recommend making in investment if it is at all in your budget. Even if you’re on a tight budget, if you’re patient you can find great designer jeans at off-price stores such as Marshalls and T.J. Maxx or even at your local consignment store. A great pair of jeans is appropriate for {almost} any occasion. You can dress them up or down. I wrote a post on How To Find the Perfect Jeans if this is something that challenges you. If you can only have one pair, go for a dark wash in a straight leg style. That is the most versatile and the most universally flattering. I also feel that having a pair of skinny jeans that you can tuck into boots is essential, but that depends on your shoe wardrobe and the climate where you live.

2. & 3. Layering Tees and Tanks

It is essential to have a few basic tees and tanks to layer under cardigans, denim jackets, or blazers. You can also wear them under a pullover sweater that is a bit too short to add interest and also to help balance out your proportions.

4. Denim Jacket or ​Structured ​Blazer

Depending on your lifestyle, a denim jacket or fitted blazer is a great piece to have. (I like to have both.) You can throw it on over a dress, or layer it over a t-shirt and wear it with jeans or pants.

​5. Versatile Dress

It may be a LBD (little black dress) or something in a pretty print, but most women need at least one go-to dress. Again, something that can be dressed up or down depending on occasion is ideal. You can change up your look with accessories and make several outfits out of one basic dress.

6. Nude Pumps

You can wear nude pumps with jeans, pants, or dresses. Every woman should have a pair. They go with everything. Of course you will need other shoes in your wardrobe, but this is one pair that every woman should own.

 

What would you add to this list?

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Spring Trends: Bring Gray Into Your Wardrobe

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Note: As part of our March m challenge: Focus on Fashion, I’ve asked a number of fabulous fashion bloggers to share their wisdom with us, and I’m so happy that Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends.com agreed to come on board to share a spring trend with us, all about incorporating gray into our wardrobes!  Nicole is one of the savviest and most fashionable ladies I know. I can’t wait to show you some of her ideas today! 

Spring Gray Trend_Nicole Feliciano

Gray might not be the color you think of for spring, but I’m smitten. Why? It’s a subtle way to lighten up from the black, charcoal and navy hues of winter. For spring, I’m craving a soft dove gray–a kinder gentler gray that works with many complexions and lots of stuff you already own.

For this outfit, I paired my favorite boyfriend jeans with a few new treats.  The boyfriends jean trend isn’t going anywhere–we all love them too much. For spring, I’ll be wearing this old pair from LOFT with lots of spring fashion looks on top. What I’m basing this look off of something I saw in an ASOS ad. I’ve been looking to add a few gray things to my closet and here’s what I came up with–sneaks, a sweater and a bag.
The bag was the first find was this doctor bag from from Nat & Matt. It’s big enough to get all my mom-gear tucked inside without looking like luggage.
The fisherman sweater is a smart style move. It works with my spring looks AND it can still work with my winter layers. Sadly, I think there are more days ahead where I’ll need a coat and sweater. At least I’ll have a few cute new layers.
Nicole Feliciano_Gray for Spring

And finally the shoes. Oh, how I love my shoes. Sneakers used to not qualify as serious fashion in my book, but now, sneakers are the new high heel. Not only are they fabulous to look at, the Ash python sneakers are perfect for my mom-on-the-go life where I walk miles and miles around the city.

 

For more mom-friendly fashion trends from Nicole, be sure to visit Momtrends.com and follow on Instagram @momtrends

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Get Fit on a Small Budget: My Fitness Confession

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Get Fit on a Small Budget

I have to admit that I am doing a few things that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with today. I am sharing with you a very vulnerable place in my heart, I am exposing a time in my life that I wasn’t the most proud of, I am sharing one picture (of many) of a person that I don’t really recognize, and I am telling you that I am trying to be different…knowing that saying it out loud is the hardest part.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

In my college years, after numerous indecisions about what I wanted to do with my life, I settled on a career path in Food & Nutrition. While learning about the formula for calories, flunking my cooking class twice, and taking courses on exercise and physiology, I became a blimped out version of my former self. I ate out almost every single day, stopped exercising, partied hard, and lived a sedentary life. My hair suddenly became greasy, my face was shiny all of the time, I had chronic stomach problems, exercise-induced asthma, chronic back pain, high cholesterol, and I need to nap because I was constantly tired. Freshman 15 would have been mild compared to the Freshman 35 that I put on. It was such a gradual process that I don’t think I even realized what was happening.

So gradual, in fact, that I found it strange when I overheard a guy friend say that I had a pretty face and would be cute if I could just lose some weight.

I was that girl now.

I bring this up because I know that sometimes it can be hard to relate to someone if you don’t see the struggle, the work, and the decisions that are made daily to accomplish their current body, and the daily commitment that is made after you have reached your personal goals for fitness or weight loss.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

In my thirties, I am in better shape than I ever was in my teen or college years. My skin is great, I no longer take any medications, I have no chronic health conditions, I am at a healthy weight for my body, and I am proud to show my kids that physical fitness is an essential part of my day.  When a ten minute workout would have winded me before, I can now run on my treadmill miles at a time.

Each day that I put in my exercise time, I remind myself that I am running and exercising against a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, low bone density, stomach problems.

I am running towards quality time with the people I love.

How is fitness and frugality related? Well, frankly, it is simple… the more fit you are, the less you pay in medication and doctor visits. Fitness doesn’t require a big investment at all, but it is an investment that will pay off for years and years down the road.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

Connect your workouts with your passions

Working out used to be a real struggle for me. Each day working out was a hurdle for me. It was something that I felt compelled to fight against my weight and health problems, but it never was enjoyable or something I looked forward to. All of this changed with a Groupon that I snagged for a local dance fitness studio. Some of my best childhood memories were dancing on a stage and discovering that there were dance classes for adults has reignited my passion for working out.  My biggest struggle now isn’t if I have to go the gym, but when should I LEAVE from the gym.

Abbi said it best in her article that she shared with us this week when she said, “Remember your childhood passion and transition it into your adult life.”

This simple switch really has been the key to my own fitness success this year. Groupons can be a great way to explore a new class or workout routine without making a large investment.  I have tried so many classes and gyms through their offerings and have had great success in adding variety in my workout routines without spending a lot of money.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

Eat healthier during the day

No matter how hard I was exercising, I was still eating whatever I wanted and not seeing the results that I was looking for.  As a mom it can be difficult to not give in and just eat whatever the kids are eating. My days were filled with macaroni, chicken nuggets, crackers, chips, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unfortunately, that was not filling me up and I would feel hungry throughout the day.

One thing I have found is that starting with a smart menu plan for the week really helps to keep me on track.  Due to some of my own health struggles,  this past year,  I switched to eating gluten-free and it has transformed my life and eating habits. It also requires a lot of thought and planning to execute a health menu plan for us all and keep our family on budget.  Each week I make a batch of slow cooked steel cut oatmeal for the morning,  I try to make a double batch of taco meat so that I can make taco bowls (brown rice, meat, tomatoes, & lettuce, with a little greek yogurt to top) for my lunches, I  keep salad and smoothie fixings in the fridge for quick meals, and always have lots of fruit on hand for snacking.

Double batching items or making a pot of something that can be enjoyed all week are the keys to my success. Where I used to deprive myself of foods to lose and maintain my weight, I now eat what I want, but in moderation.

Although I would love to do all my shopping at an inexpensive market in town, I have found that I can feed our family a lot more healthy food exploring a discount market like ALDI.  One of my favorite offerings from that store is their produce picks of the week that have been deeply discounted for the week. Now it isn’t an issue to splurge on lots of fresh fruits and veggies since the price fits right in my budget and I work to incorporate this weekly produce item in our cooking for the week to keep our grocery budget on track.

Be frugal, but make wise fitness investments

Workout gear can be pricey, but doesn’t need to be. This is the time of year when workout gear is deeply discounted and the best time to stock up thanks to those semi-annual sales. The shops know that many of us are making resolutions to get back in shape and they drop the prices on fitness equipment in anticipation of this.

I get a lot of my workout gear from the Danskin brand for Walmart because most of my key pieces are $15 or less. I also have found that if I want to get brand name workout gear I check sites like Twice or Thredup for the expensive gear I want, but at half the price. Many people I know have had great success purchasing coveted brands like Lululemon on eBay as well.  If you want quality pieces, you can find them through these secondhand retailers.

One investment that you shouldn’t skimp on though is a good pair of workout shoes.  While new tennis shoes were a big investment for me, they are an investment that has really paid off and allowed me to workout longer and not feel achy after my workouts. Different activities require different types of shoes and being properly fitted is key to preventing injuries.

Don’t be afraid to make an investment if it will improve your fitness experience and help your endurance levels with working out. My tennis shoes are just one example of something that had held me back from feeling my best, and something that has made a huge difference in my motivation to keep moving.

Switch up your routines

If you are hitting a plateau in your fitness routine, then it might be time to switch things up a bit. For many years I had been working out at home. I found a lot of variation in my routine compliments of the library and the DVD’s that they offered.  Now I have joined a gym, which I consider one of the wisest investments that I have made. Since I am frugal, I try to be there 4-5 days a week (at least) so that I can really get every dollar out of my monthly membership, bringing the class prices down to around $3 each.

Think about what you are spending your money on and see if it could be allocated to something healthier. Do you have a movie club membership or premium cable plan? What if you put that money towards a gym membership instead?  With my cable plan and my movie membership, I felt forced to sit in front of the boob tube. After canceling the movie membership, I have felt less dedicated to television time and more dedicated to the things that matter most to me.

Workout buddies can be a wonderful way to keep on track with your fitness too. Having a commitment to others or making social engagements with them after your workouts can be a great way to stay on track with your goals while building lasting friendships.

Turn off distractors

The hardest part of working out for me are all of the distractors that can pull me away from my goals. I make deals with myself where I am not allowed to login to Twitter, Facebook, or my email until my workout is complete. What distracts you from reaching your goals? Some distractors (our children, for example) are more difficult to reduce, but many are silly things that could be pushed aside until your workout is done. I decided to take this all a step further this year and stopped updating my personal Facebook page after discovering just how draining these distractions were to my energy levels and time.

Get Fit on a Small Budget

(my beautiful inspiration)

Get inspired

What inspires you? Is it a picture of your former self on your fridge, is it having an awesome workout buddy that you can check-in with, is it reading the victory stories of weight-loss from other bloggers? Is it your beautiful children?

Whatever it is, get inspired and try starting a new workout routine today.

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The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

This is a guest post by Abbi Pollyea for the m challenge series.

It is a new year, and with it comes an opportunity to start fresh and perhaps create some positive change in our lives. One of the most popular New Yearʼs Resolutions is the one that goes like this, “Iʼm going to get in the best shape of my life this year!”

The fitness industry as a whole blows up in January. Gym memberships are up, fitness dvd sales are high, and fitness classes everywhere are full. As a fitness instructor, I love this special time of year as I get to meet many new potential clients and share in their enthusiastic energy. I attempt to encourage all new students with words of empowerment in the hopes that they will find passion in movement and fully commit to an exercise program. Unfortunately, however, January comes to an end and numbers in classes start to go down. By the end of February, many of the new people that I hoped I would get to know as regulars, have stop attending classes altogether.

New healthy habits are simply hard to permanently implement into our lives and it can be easy to fall back into old routines that are comfortable and not challenging. There needs to be a driving source of motivation that exists from within in order to fully commit to a fitness program. It is my intent to help you find this motivation and use it on a regular basis to help keep you moving!

I have created a simple formula that will help make your fitness resolutions attainable. The formula is as follows:

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

(A source of INSPIRATION) + (A type of MOVEMENT that you LOVE) + (A COMMITMENT to yourself) = A new found PASSION and COMMITMENT for fitness and health

For the initial part of this formula, (INSPIRATION), I am going to share a brief version of my journey into fitness. I am hoping that some of these words and themes will be relatable to those who have struggled with similar situations.

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

As a child, I was drawn to gymnastics and dance. I loved each sport with such passion and was a natural at both. Adolescence proved hard for me however, and my late teen years were extremely rocky. I gave up both beloved sports and without a passion to direct my energy, I floundered my way through high school, putting on weight and taking poor care of myself. Luckily, I made it through somewhat in tact, fell in love with a great,great man, had a baby, got married, and had another baby. This would bring us to 2004. So, from 1994-2004, I did not dance or do anything that I would have considered athletic.

I was now a mom of two beautiful boys, and felt happy at being a mom, but unfulfilled with my individual accomplishments. I felt sad that I would never be the dancer or gymnast that I aspired to be as a girl. I was twenty-six and pretty much felt that my dreams were over, which is a confining way to feel. One afternoon, I watched a movie called “Center Stage.” In this movie, there was a scene in which an adult jazz class took place. Something about it made me want to dance again so badly, that it made me cry. Later that day, I dried my tears, opened up the phone book, (it was 2004!) and looked up every single dance studio in South Bend, Indiana. I called them all until I found one that offered an adult Jazz class. I signed up, bought myself some jazz shoes and was more excited than I had been in a really long time.

The class was on a Monday night at 6pm, I showed up at 5:30 and waited while about fifteen other women came in. It was then that I got nervous and started to feel like I had no business being there. I actually went out to my car and almost went home, truly. But…..I didnʼt. I stayed, and danced, and after taking the six week class two times in a row, I was asked to be an instructor. This began a teaching career that expanded into Pilates, Yoga, and Barre. My job has helped keep me in shape, stay home with my kids, (two more came along in 2010 and 2012) as they grow, introduced me to the BEST people, and has never, ever, stopped inspiring me. Most importantly, however, the experience of attending that one dance class brought passion back into my life that had been lost in the years between childhood and adulthood.

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

I hope that story helped inspire you to look back at your own childhood, and think about the sport that brought out your greatest joy. Whatever activity that comes to your mind is going to help you with the second part of the formula, (MOVEMENT that you LOVE). This part of the formula is essential. Exercise shouldnʼt feel like a “have to”, it should feel like a “want to”. So… if you were a soccer player, find a local adult soccer league, if you loved gymnastics, try Pilates, if you loved riding bikes, try a Spin class. There are adult programs everywhere! Whatever movement or game that brought you joy and passion as a child, will still bring you the same feelings as an adult. There is something so magical about revisiting our childhood dreams in an adult setting, it is an opportunity to reconnect to our younger selves and say to our present self, “It is never too late to pursue your dreams!”

The final part of the formula is the hardest, (COMMITMENT to YOU). It is so hard to take care of ourselves and try to pursue our dreams when we are doing this around the clock for our families. In order to inspire and take care of others, however, we MUST commit to ourselves. I know I am a more patient and kind person after I have danced for an hour. We all need an outlet that is healthful and keeps us inspired. Know fully that you are worth the commitment.

Below are two pictures, the first is of me at age ten, happy as I could be on my balance beam. The second is of me last year at age 36, happy as I always am on my Pilates Reformer working on a dance move:

The Secret Formula to Get and Stay Fit

Remember your childhood passion and transition it into your adult life. I wish you a happy, healthy, and magical 2015.

 

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m challenge: Focus on Health

Monday, January 5th, 2015

the m challenge

Welcome to our first month of exploration in the m challenge series! I have so many wonderful posts for you this month as we explore our health and fitness goals for the new year. You can ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that my fitness routines and caring for my own health has been a big priority for me over the last few years. Part of it comes with the aging process and wanting to remain youthful as long as possible. The other reason is simply wanting to live a long and healthy life with my two children, hopefully bypassing some of the things my body might face if I didn’t take my health so seriously.

the m challenge: minimize

This month we will be getting some advice from a fitness instructor on her winning formula for getting and staying fit, I will be sharing a little bit about my own journey towards a healthier life, I will be asking a fitness instructor what items she recommends you keep in your gym bag, we will be getting expert advice from an ER doctor on the must-have items we should keep stocked in our First Aid kits, and I will be sharing an amazing reader testimonial from a woman who continually inspires me with her weight loss journey.

Each month I will be sharing a book selection that you can read that goes along with our theme for the month. This month’s selection is WHEAT BELLY by William Davis (affiliate link). It is a book that I have been wanting to read and keep hearing about and I thought we could read it together.  I am not big on fad diet books and this might be a risky first choice, but I would love to chat with you about it!  I hope you can snag it from your local libraries and we can have a discussion on this at the end of the month!

 

Wheat Belly by William Davis

I really hope you are as excited as I am for this new series on the site. I can’t think of a better goal than a renewed commitment to your own personal health and fitness. See you tomorrow with our first post on getting and staying fit in this new year!

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How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I am madly in love with blanket scarves. My obsession started as all good obsessions do. It began on Pinterest. All of these fabulously fashionable women were rocking these gorgeous scarves, but they were out of my price range or lacked the fullness & beauty that was captured online. I decided I wanted to make some for my minimalist wardrobe because it would add so much. Did you know you can make a blanket scarf with no sewing skills required?

Let’s begin by taking a peek at the coveted $44 Zara scarf (that sells out in minutes, not kidding).  I want to zoom on in it so we can take a closer look.

Zara Blanket Scarf

Source: Style for the Seasons

The thing I want you to see is that the edges are frayed on their version too. Guess what? You can achieve that with a little flannel and pulling. The best part is that this version will cost you quite a bit less than $44. I am going to make a big stack of them to show you and then I am going to show you some fun ways to tie them.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

The first thing you will need to do is shop for your fabric which is so much fun. I went to a few shops to check out fabric and ended up finding it at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Head over here (a great coupon affiliate of mine!) and check to see if flannel fabrics are on sale. If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly. Don’t forget your coupons.

Head over the Fashion Flannel…at least that’s what they call it in Mishawaka (oh-la-la!). Select your favorite patterns,tell them the amount you need, have them tell you they don’t have that much on a bolt, go grab another one, try again… Be annoyed. Decide to do two sizes because you want you what you want, that’s why you brought it up there. Got it?

I am going to show you what a 2 yard scarf looks like and then I am going to show you what a 2.5 yard scarf looks like below. I love them both for different reasons and what you can do with them. The price (with no sales or coupons) is $8.99 per yard. That’s why it is great to see the two version (for cost-savings) and also really great to bring a coupon to save a bit on the fabric.

I wouldn’t recommend anything more than that or your scarf will choke you and you will die from scarf blanket suffocation. It will be all over the headlines. They will be laughing at you in those ridiculous segments on the radio where they try to shock you at the stupidity of Americans.  Your family will miss you. It would all be very tragic.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

1. Purchase 2-2.5 yards of flannel fabric (the flannel printing is on both sides).

2. Using the patterned flannel edge as a guide, trim the edges of each side of your scarf.

3. Grab the loose threads on the side and pull them down gently, fraying the edges of the scarf. Keep doing this until there are no loose threads and you have a beautifully frayed edge. Repeat on each side of the scarf. DONE!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This is what TWO YARDS of fabric looks like. You can see that it has a lot of fullness, but is not as long or as much to tie or knot around. Do you want to see how to tie it to look like this? Okay then.

How to Tie a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your Two Yard Blanket Scarf

1. Fold the scarf in half, lining the edges up evenly.

2. Make sure one end is shorter than the other and tuck it up over your shoulder.

3. Loop around once with the long end (or possibly twice depending on your neck size!).

4. Fluff and puff. Fluff and puff.

how-to-make-a-blanket-scarf-9

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here is the same size, just not puffed up so much. Seriously, cute stuff!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your 2.5 Yard Blanket Scarf

No need to reinvent the wheel…I just headed online to figure out a couple of fun ways to tie these longer blanket scarves. I tried this braided technique on Classy Sassy and really loved it. It is a little more complex than the one above, but it adds a beautiful detail to the styling.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This half-tied technique couldn’t be easier and was a cinch to pull together and added just the right amount of fullness to the neckline.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here are a few other blanket scarf techniques I am looking forward to trying!

This one is similar to the half-tied technique, but no tying, just tucking. I can do that!

This chunky scarf technique would work really well with a 2-yard scarf so you could let the ends hang.

The 2.5-yard one would look great as a poncho or even pulled together with a belt.

This poncho style leaves the scarf folded making a smaller poncho version.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I’m Petite & Want to Make a Smaller Version- What Can I Do?

I’m pretty petite, but I know big scarves aren’t for everyone!  Shave 6-7 inches off the width on a 2 yard version to make a more petite version of this scarf with a little less bulk or experiment with your own sizing by creating your own custom version. Just cut, try on, adjust. There are no wrong or right lengths- it is what fits YOU or your recipient best!

I hope you have a blast making these quick scarves for yourself or for holiday gift-giving. Check out this list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for the holiday season to inspire you even more! Happy crafting!

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