California Roadtrip

April 16, 2015

Drew and I just got back from an amazing vacation! We spent just over 8 days taking a road trip across California!

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The map above gives you a good idea of our route. It isn’t completely accurate, because Google Maps would only let me put in 10 destinations and we went to several other places in the San Diego area. In general, this is where we went:

Friday, April 3 - Fly from New Orleans to San Diego, California. We got there around 6 p.m. and Drew’s brother, Wes, his wife, Trang, and their 8-month old baby girl, Aili, picked us up from the airport. We ate dinner at home with them and stayed with them in La Mesa, California.

Saturday, April 4 - We all had a lovely breakfast together, then Drew went to work with Wes at Societe Brewing, stopping along at a coffee shop along the way. Trang, Aili, and I got ready and went to North Park to walk around in some cute shops (loved Pigment). Later on, we picked up Drew and had a nice lunch. We had a nice afternoon walking around at Sunset Cliffs (one of my favorite spots in San Diego!) and then stopping by to eat some raw desserts at Peace Pies. We headed back home, prepped dinner, Drew and I took a walk around La Mesa, we visited with Wes once he got home from work, and ate dinner. After dinner and more visiting, Aili went to bed, Trang and I had a great time chatting about fabric design and our business dreams and Wes and Drew went out to check out Fall Brewing, Counsel Brewing, Toronado Bar, Hamilton’s Tavern, and a burrito shop for him to get a California burrito (with french fries in it).

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Sunday, April 5 - Drew and I took a nice morning walk around La Mesa while Aili took her morning nap. Then we got breakfast from a restaurant called The Mission and ate it at the Cabrillo National Monument, overlooking the ocean and San Diego. Then we visited Torrey Pines beach, Coronado Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing, AleSmith Brewing, and had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant before heading back home. Drew and I were exhausted from travel and the time change, so we fell asleep at 6 pm! We woke up later to visit some more before going to bed again.

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Monday, April 6 - We woke up and had brunch at The Cottage in La Jolla, then spent the morning hanging out at La Jolla Cove (another favorite spot in San Diego!). The weather was so nice, the water so beautiful, and there were some sea lions sunning right next to us on the beach! We walked around in some shops in La Jolla, had some awesome gelato, then left to drive around San Diego a bit more. We drove up to Carlsbad, California to check out Pizza Port Brewing and walked around there and went to the beach. We also went to Lost Abbey Brewing (can you tell that Drew and Wes are into craft beer!?) and then had tacos for dinner. We spent the rest of our last evening in San Diego visiting with Wes, Trang, and Aili — Drew and Wes sharing some great beers together, as always.

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Tuesday, April 7 - We had breakfast together one last time, before packing up our stuff to head to get our rental car. On the way, we stopped by a gluten-free bakery in Santee, California (my great-grandpa used to live in Santee). Drew and I headed up the coast, stopping in Laguna Beach, California to check out Kerry Cassill’s gorgeous block printed linens shop (beautiful area too!) and then we continued on, stopping to eat lunch at Joe’s Falafel in Los Angeles (probably a totally random place to go for our only stop in LA, but it was delicious!). We would have explored LA a bit more, but we had more ground to cover and we didn’t want to exhaust ourselves. We did see the Hollywood sign as we drove through. Then we headed up and into the mountains to the Ojai Valley. Gorgeous area with mountains and orange groves. We dropped our stuff off in the pretty little cabin we stayed in, then walked around for a bit, enjoying the scenery, visiting shops, and eating dinner in the little town.

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Wednesday, April 8 - We woke up, packed up our stuff, then headed into town for breakfast. The drive from Ojai to Yosemite was gorgeous. We drove through the mountains, seeing green hilly mountains, sharp stone ones, and dusty desert hills. We drove through the Santa Barbara pistachio farms, stopping to get a bag of pistachios to snack on from the Santa Barbara Pistachio Company. We also passed the Sunmaid Raisins vineyards. Then continued on, stopping in Fresno for food/groceries for our stay in Yosemite. We continued our drive into Yosemite where there was snow on the ground!! I had thought that we were going to drive though the Mariposa Grove on our way into Yosemite to see the giant sequoia trees, but I guess you had to go off the main road to see those (and I think the road might have been closed to there because of the snow). I’m a little bummed we didn’t get to see those, but I guess there is always next time!

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Thursday, April 9 – We woke up, ate breakfast in our room, then bundled up and headed to the Yosemite Valley Floor to start hiking and exploring. We visited the Yosemite Visitor’s Center, then hiked part of the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls (it was steep and slippery, so we didn’t hike it all). We packed snacks and our lunch, so we stopped on a rock along the trail to eat lunch while admiring the scenery. After that we relaxed for a few minutes by the river, then headed over to hike to Mirror Lake. That hike was much easier and less steep, but Mirror Lake was less impressive than I had imagined. We stopped back by the Vistor’s Center to see the Gift Shop and Yosemite Museum Exhibit before heading back to our car and then back to our room. It was an exhausting day of walking! We made dinner in our room and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching HGTV.

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Friday, April 10 - Drew and I both developed head colds when we started heading into the mountains on Wednesday, so by this point, neither of us were sleeping very well. I guess this day it came to our benefit, because by 6 a.m. I was wide awake and tired of laying in bed and not being able to sleep, so we got up super early (for us!) and packed up our stuff and headed out to make our way to San Francisco. It worked out well that we left early because we made it to San Francisco by lunchtime. We stopped downtown for lunch, walked around in some shops, and Drew checked out a bar with some local craft beers on tap. After that, we headed to the Ferry Marketplace to check out a gluten-free bakery and walk around the pier a bit. Then we drove down past the piers to get a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to check into our room. I took a brief nap, as my head didn’t feel good and I was exhausted from lack of sleep. Once I got up, I drank some tea, then we drove through Golden Gate Park, up to a beautiful look-out over the Golden Gate Bridge, then past the Painted Ladies, and on to a little seafood place for dinner. After dinner was ice cream and then a stop at the Palace of Fine Arts and then a drive through Chinatown.

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Saturday, April 11 - We got up and had breakfast at Radish in the Mission District. I had the gluten-free pancakes with freshly-squeezed orange juice and Drew had the biscuits and gravy with hashbrowns. Both were great! After breakfast, we headed North of San Francisco to Santa Rosa, California to go to Russian River Brewing, then Petaluma, California to check out Lagunitas Brewing. We then drove around through Napa and Sonoma, admiring the gorgeous lush hills and vineyards, eating dinner at The Red Grape in Sonoma, California. After that, we headed back towards San Francisco to the Berkeley/Oakland area to check out Faction Brewing (amazing sunset views of SF), head to IKEA, visit Rare Barrel Brewing, and lastly to Target to get cold medicine!

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Sunday, April 12 - Our flight back to New Orleans left at 6:15 a.m., so we had to get up at 3:00 a.m. to have time to put gas in the rental car, drop it off, get through the airport, etc. So that wasn’t fun! But we made it to our flights on time and got back into New Orleans around 3:00 p.m. (we had a stop over in Dallas). Let me tell you, flying with a head cold is no fun! I woke up that morning with a raw throat and no voice and the change in elevation/altitude hurt my ears so bad! It wasn’t until Monday that they finally popped and started feeling better (although not 100% for a few more days!). I could barely hear all day Sunday! But we were so happy to see our kitty again!

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Overall this was such an amazing trip! California is just so beautiful! We saw cities, small towns, beaches, mountains, valleys, deserts, rivers, streams, lakes, waterfalls, hills, orchards, nut groves, vineyards, bays, sunrises, sunsets, and so much in between all in the same week! Drew and I had been to both San Diego and San Francisco before (we got engaged in San Diego almost 5 years ago!) and flying is so convenient, but you just can’t see the same things you do when you drive across a state. Such a different experience! And really, for us, 16+ hours of driving across a week is no biggie. We are used to driving 20 hours (10 there, 10 back) from New Orleans to our hometown in Southern Illinois over long weekends, so this trip, with such beautiful things to see and the driving spread out over several days, was super enjoyable!

Until next time, California!

march

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING more thrown clay mugs and bowls in the ceramics class I’m taking with a friend of mine. I took a hand-building class in college and loved it, so I’m enjoying working on my wheel throwing techniques this time around. The pieces I made in March are much better than the ones I made in February!
COOKING homemade pork belly vermicelli bowls. So good (although we need to perfect our rice noodle game). GF Maple Pecan Pancakes and Bacon (recipe here) and homemade GF bread and strawberry jam (bread recipe here).
DRINKING a cup of hot water with a large spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil in the mornings. Also trying some new teas.
READING Simple Abundance in the mornings and I started Gift from the Sea.
WANTING to figure out a good, simple, natural hair and beauty routine. First I tried this co-wash hoping to use just one product for both shampoo and conditioner. But it left my hair too oily and product-y feeling. Now I’m using Dr. Bronners Castile Soap (unscented baby mild) with their Citrus Conditioning rinse. I like it, but don’t love it yet. I want to, but I’m still getting used to the way my hair feels now. It is less smooth and silky and more textured? It feels pretty string-y and has a lot of fly-aways. Hopefully there is just a transition period and it will get better!
PLAYING country music on the radio.
SEWING nothing, yet again! I have these gold cloth napkins from West Elm that I washed and seam-ripped, just waiting for me to sew into throw pillows for our living room. I ordered the pillow inserts last month to get them done, but then they sent me the wrong ones! I sent them back and now need to re-order more. This simple project has taken so long to accomplish!
CROCHETING an afghan that I started months and months ago…
WISHING Emma the best of luck as she embarks on a new job adventure! I’ll miss sharing an office with her though!

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ENJOYING walks from our house to Plum Street Snoballs (pictured above). Love this weather.
WAITING for our California trip!! Soooo close! So excited!
LIKING my new suitcase! My old suitcase was a gift from my Mamaw probably over 10 years ago. It has traveled with me to many places. All over the US and to Europe, but it has been getting pretty worn and I’ve been afraid for a while that the zipper might break, so it was time to upgrade before our trip.
WONDERING at this little dew drop. 
LOVING my much more simplified and organized closet! I gave away 5 trash bags full of clothes! Ones that were too big/too small, didn’t fit correctly, didn’t look good on me, were too worn, too uncomfortable, I never wore, or didn’t like. So freeing to get rid of things that take up space in your life! I also upgraded to all new nice, matching hangers! Love this article on finding your personal style.
HOPING to work even harder at living a simple, intentional life. These articles really stuck with me this month: minimalist approach to beauty, minimalism, a beginner’s guide, 9 ways to start living a simpler, more intentional life, 30 day minimalism challenge. I’ve also been on a simplifying mission lately. Trying to get rid of everything that doesn’t bring me joy. Taking my favorite quote about the home to heart, “Have nothing in your house that you know not to be useful or believe to be beautiful (William Morris).” I’ve heard great things about this book. Anyone read it?
MARVELING at 12,000 tulips. Here and here
NEEDING to eat some Chipotle this weekend! It has totally become a weekend tradition around here. 
SMELLING fresh lemongrass we bought from the Asian market for our homemade vermicelli bowls. 

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WEARING clothes in my closet that I actually like. My usual uniform. Denim, flow-y 3/4-length tops, sometimes cardigans, scarves, flats (too hot for my fav leather boots lately!), my leather bag.
FOLLOWING along, watching the filming happening outside my office window for the new fall show Scream Queens. I saw Emma Roberts and also Nick Jonas in a bathrobe. New Orleans is always interesting.
NOTICING my Louisiana surroundings. This bayou and shrimp boats in southern Louisiana when we went to eat at Alzina Toups and these gorgeous trees and plantation ruins in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The photo above of me watercoloring was also on the grounds of Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville.
KNOWING my future self will thank me for all the hard work I put into so many things now.
THINKING about living small. I came across this blog this month and fell in love. Read her home and on living less posts.
BOOKMARKING this bag (in the caramel color). Isn’t it so pretty? I went to the store and looked at it and I wish the small straps were longer! I want straps I can put over my shoulder. I need a good leather tote though. I bought a new one from Forever 21 to work as a carry-on for our California trip. We’ll see how it works, but I would like to invest in one I love that will last a long time.
CELEBRATING the nice weather, our upcoming trip, Emma and my last days working together. 
OPENING lots of things this month to prep for our trip. My new suitcase and carry-on bag, along with a new make-up case and a small pouch for my essential oils. I also bought this little salt cellar, so handy!
LAUGHING at our sweet and funny little kitty. Or catten as I call her. Our baby is growing up. :(
FEELING joy at this little heart I found on the sidewalk (below). Also joy and inspiration at reading theeverygirl every day. Also trying to remember that everyone is feeling and going through different things, “everyone is fighting their own battle.”

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Past Life Right Now posts:  February 2015, January 2015, December 2014, November 2014, October 2014, September 2014, August 2014, July 2014, June 2014

Do Something Today

March 29, 2015

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I know that one of my goals for this year was to try and blog once a week and I haven’t been around here much this month.

I feel like all aspects of my life have been “full” lately. (I’m trying to avoid using the word “busy” because aren’t we always?) Working at my day job, coming home, cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, taking care of the cat. Trying to make time in the evenings and weekends to work on my surface pattern design portfolio, taking a ceramics class on Monday evenings, taking an online calligraphy course. Actively working to simplify my closet, my home, my routine. Taking moments to enjoy the nice weather and relish the life around me.

It’s not that I’m not doing, I’ve just been doing so much that I’ve been overwhelmed while simultaneously getting on to myself for not doing more. Not blogging more, not spending more time painting, not reading enough, not being as far along in my design portfolio as I’d like. Not even attempting anything that could remotely be construed as exercise in longer than I can remember. (unless walking from my house to get a snowball counts)

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Why do I do all this? Why do I push myself so hard? Try to do so much? Set so many personal goals? Try to expand myself in so many different creative directions? Why can’t I just be content working my day job and then coming home and watching TV or reading a book?

Well, I can be. But only for so long. I can’t quell the desire in me to create, to work at putting together a career that I love and enjoy and is fulfilling to all my creative passions. And the only way to get that done, to get to where I want to be, is to work at it. Because I know my future self will thank me for it. For taking the time now to work hard at paying off student loan debt so we can be financially free. For taking the time now to learn calligraphy to enhance my hand lettering for my design work. For taking the time now to learn new skills, to get better at surface pattern design, for building a portfolio, for perfecting my painting skills, for blogging about the process. For taking the time now to learn to live with less, to simplify.

What are you doing today that your future self will thank you for?

P.S. The quote above was hand-lettered by me in my own version of modern copperplate calligraphy. Getting better thanks to Melissa Esplin’s I Still Love Calligraphy course! The pattern is also part of a pattern I designed myself!

feb-15

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING some thrown clay cups/bowls/wonky looking pots in the ceramics class I’m taking with a friend of mine. I took a hand-building class in college and loved it, so I’m enjoying working on my wheel throwing techniques this time around.
COOKING White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, GF biscuits and GF sausage gravy, chicken tortilla soup, and these GF Nutella brownies (so good and so easy!).
DRINKING a cup of hot water with a large spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil in the mornings. I don’t really drink coffee or tea, so this is becoming a nice, healthy, morning ritual (thanks for the suggestion Blair!).
READING Simple Abundance every morning and this month I also read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. LOVED it!
WANTING to be able to make more time to read! I read so much during college (English was one of my majors) that for a little while after college I didn’t read much at all. That passion has come back full force lately and I just feel like reading all the time! I wish I didn’t have so many other things to do that I could just sit and read more often!
PLAYING Night Changes and Uptown Funk.
SEWING nothing, again! I have these gold cloth napkins from West Elm that I washed and seam-ripped, just waiting for me to sew into throw pillows for our living room. I ordered the pillow inserts this month to get them done, but then they sent me the wrong ones! I sent them back and now need to re-order more. This simple project has taken so long to accomplish!
CROCHETING a scarf that I started in December that I still need to finish…
WISHING for the weather to stay at a nice, consistent warm temperature. I’m tired of these dipping back into the cold days. 

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ENJOYING the lovely warm weather the Saturday before Mardi Gras. Blair, Drew, and I watched the day parades (Iris and Tucks) Uptown (photo above), and it almost made up for the less-than-stellar Muses experience we had the Thursday weeknight before.
WAITING excitedly for our trip to California we have planned this spring to visit Drew’s brother, his wife, and their baby girl! We have everything lined up and ready for our trip, we just can’t wait for it to get here!
LIKING Copperplate Calligraphy so far! I’ve been wanting to learn real calligraphy for a long time and it came in full speed this month! Last fall I joined the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association and this month’s meeting was on Copperplate Calligraphy. Then just a couple days later I started Melissa Esplin’s online I Still Love Calligraphy course. It was a Christmas present from Drew (I’ve wanted to take it since she started teaching it), and I’m so happy to finally have the time to dedicate to it!
WONDERING about efficiency, beauty, and creativity.
LOVING the things that I have discovered about myself and what I like over the last few years. Read all about my thoughts on clothing.
HOPING for a great March! I’m looking forward to completing my ceramics class and my calligraphy course, in addition to making patterns, blogging, reading, and prepping for our California trip!
MARVELING at the fact that two of my sisters made separate trips to visit me this month! Kelsey came for her birthday the first weekend of February and Blair came for Mardi Gras a couple weekends later. It is so rare that I get to spend time with them individually (very rare that it happens in New Orleans) and it was so nice!
NEEDING to get back into making patterns! I made so many in January that I got a little burned out. I took most of February off and now I’m ready to get back at it!
SMELLING the lovely smell of lemon essential oil as I put it in my honey water in the mornings. 

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WEARING leggings underneath my pants because I get cold so easily!
FOLLOWING along closely to the weather every morning. It is just so jumpy lately! It will be in the 40s/50s one day and then into the upper 70s the next! I never know what to wear or how warmly to dress!
NOTICING that my legs are finally starting to get better! I’ve had problems for a couple years with them being dry, itchy, and getting eczema patches. I finally got an appointment with a dermatologist here and she recommended I use Vanicream soap to wash my body (my dermatologist in IL also recommended the same for my face several years ago) and CeraVe SA cream for lotion. So far both are working really well. If you have dry, itchy skin, you might give either of those a try!
KNOWING how cute and sweet this little kitty is. Goodness, I love her so much.
THINKING about starting “Morning Pages.” Basically, it is the practice of writing 3 entire pages by hand every morning. They aren’t supposed to be good writing, mostly just “brain dumping.” The ritual is supposed to clear your head, free your mind of all the worries/distractions/emotions that are constantly bubbling to the surface, and help you focus. It is supposed to be life-changing. (more info here, here, here and here.) I’m just not sure that I can get up earlier every morning!
BOOKMARKING lots of amazing patterns!
CELEBRATING MARDI GRAS!!! Of course! (photos above)
OPENING this runner rug for our hallway. It was our Valentine’s day gift to each other. So romantic, I know. ;)
LAUGHING at this video
FEELING a little bit of joy at this little handpicked camellia flower given to me (and all the ladies) at our church supper one Wednesday by one of the old men of the church.

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Click to check out June, July, AugustSeptemberOctoberNovember, and December of 2014. And here to check out January of 2015. 

On Clothing

February 23, 2015

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How many things do you have saved in the back of your closet for the one day that you “might” wear them? Have you ever noticed that you NEVER pick out those clothes to wear?

Last fall we did a deep clean of most of the rooms in our house. Our house is small and it feels so good to go through it and get rid of anything that isn’t meaningful, we don’t like, doesn’t serve a purpose, and doesn’t have a place. The one place that I didn’t take the time to thoroughly go through however, was my closet. It wasn’t a mess of epic proportions, but it was crowded with too many things that I didn’t wear, didn’t like, didn’t fit correctly, or never had a reason to wear.

I’ve been inspired lately to take a more minimal approach and really try to make sure my closet is only filled with pieces I love, want to wear, and ones that bring me confidence and joy. Sort-of my own take on the capsule wardrobe phenomenon. So that means clearing out clothing that I’ve outgrown, both in size and style, clothes that are worn out and have seen better days, and pieces that are leftover from my high school and college days that are too casual to wear to work (and I don’t find myself wearing on the weekends either).

Something that I’m really enjoying about myself as I get older, is my ability to better understand the things I really like. One of my greatest discoveries are the clothes that I’m comfortable in.

Here are some of the clothing guidelines I’ve discovered about myself:

  • No v-necks or anything else with a low neckline. I’m just too busty and I feel uncomfortable in shirts with low necklines, even if I wear a tank top underneath.
  • I look better in boatneck or scoopneck tops. Going along with the point above, I feel better and worry less about my appearance when I’m comfortable in a top with a higher neckline. I also think they look better on me in general because they take the focus away from my bust. I also just love the classic look of a boatneck top.
  • I can’t wear strapless tops or dresses. As I’ve said, I’m a busty woman who needs some major support up top. Strapless bras just don’t provide enough support for me and I’m constantly pulling up at the top of my dress and re-adjusting. For years I had this super uncomfortable backless, strapless bra (that looked more like a corset, complete with boning in the sides) that I used under my prom dresses. I have no desire to ever wear that again. I just wish I’d realized this one before my wedding (I’m so embarrassed at the top of my dress when I look back at my wedding pictures!).
  • I like clothes that are fitted, but not so tight they look too small. Again with the busty thing, if I wear clothes that are too loose, I just look fat, but I don’t like wearing clothes so tight that they look too small or are uncomfortable.
  • I like pieces that are versatile – business-casual enough for work, but casual enough for weekend wear. I can’t afford to have two closets, one for work and one for weekends, so I like to have pieces that I can dress up or dress down. Luckily I work somewhere where this works well for me.
  • Over the years I’ve realized there are certain colors I’m drawn to and that look better on me: black, white, grey, cream, taupe, pinks, teal/mint, plum/lavender, and gold, and ones that I should stay away from in clothing (for the most part): red, orange, yellow, and green.
  • I like simple tops and basic tees in neutral colors (solids or small scale patterns) that I can pair with a cardigan or sweater, colored/patterned scarves, plain jeans or colored skinny jeans, leather boots or flats, and simple gold jewelry. (that is pretty much my daily wardrobe).
  • Nothing too flashy, scratchy, uncomfortable, no falling off the shoulders or anything else that is annoying and distracting from whatever else I’m doing.
  • No high heels. I just don’t wear them and when I think I might want to, I put them on only to realize again how uncomfortable they are. Only flats or low wedge heels for me!
  • I really like tops with ¾ length sleeves. I get cold so easily that I feel most comfortable in those. I always bunch up the sleeves on long sleeve shirts past my wrist (because the sleeves at my hands get annoying) and I never wear short sleeve tops without a cardigan (because I get cold, and I don’t feel like it looks very professional for work).
  • I very rarely (like never) wear dresses or skirts. In the last year, I wore a dress to my grandpa’s funeral and when we went out to eat at a nice restaurant for Drew’s birthday. My legs get too cold, or they look too pale, or I feel like I need to be wearing uncomfortable high-heels to complete the look. It is fine if I have a couple dresses for special occasions, but I know when I go shopping, that spending money on them isn’t a good return on my investment.
  • I only wear neutral-colored shoes. I really do. I only wear shoes that are leather, black, nude, grey/silver, or gold. I don’t know how many pairs of pink flats or sandals I’ve bought just to realize that I never wear them. If I want to make a statement with a color I don’t want it to be on my feet.
  • Same with purses. I generally use the same purse for years (I am not the girl who wants to switch out purses to match each outfit), so I want it to go well with anything I put on, which means being a neutral color. I only buy high-quality (I want it to last!) and in a simple style that I really love. My current purse is a beautiful leather cross-body.
  • I never change my earrings. As pretty and appealing as colorful, dangly earrings can be, I’ve learned over time that I never wear them. I have sensitive ears and cheap earrings hurt my ears. So I stick with my diamond studs. I seriously haven’t changed my earrings since my wedding day almost three years ago (when I did wear dangly pearl earrings).

It look me years of buying clothes and then never wearing them or feeling self-conscious about them before I got to these “rules.” Why wear something if it is constantly going to make you keep second guessing your appearance, make you feel self-conscious, or make you lack confidence? I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. I can’t spend my whole day focused on my feet hurting from the shoes that are cute but uncomfortable, or the sweater that is a pretty color but keeps falling off my shoulder showing my bra straps, or how cold my legs are because I’m wearing a dress. It is so nice to embrace who I am and what I’m comfortable in and ignore the “I could look good in this” or the “that looks great on her, maybe I should buy it too” mentality. Another great thing about knowing what I like and what looks good on me, is that when I spend money on something, I’m much more likely to buy something that I’m going to wear (and want to wear) rather than something that is going to get donated the next time I do a closet purge.

Things to consider when buying something: Are you buying this item because you really love it and want it to become a part of your everyday wear? Does it fill a need in your wardrobe? If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life would it be that one? Or are you just buying it because it was “okay” and on sale? Being on sale is one of the biggest culprits for me! But what is the point in spending any money (even if it wasn’t as much as it could have been) on something you don’t love? I love this quote, “Don’t buy anything on sale that you wouldn’t consider at full price.”

I also really love the way that Sherry from Young House Love thinks about her closet (from this classic post, oh how I miss YHL!). Her words, “Don’t water down your wardrobe. I like to look at it as an “overall closet average.” Say I have ten outfits I love love love in my closet. I’d call them all favorites and on a scale of 1-10 I’d score them all a ten. That makes my overall closet average a ten. Then say that I see a sweater I kind of like (let’s say I’d give it a seven). And it’s on sale, so it’s tempting. The way I completely resist grabbing that sweater – which I’m guaranteed to like less than everything else in my closet – is to think of my closet average. Right now my overall closet average is a ten. If I get that sweater and it’s a seven, it’ll bring my entire closet average down, and I can just picture myself choosing other things on my hanging bar over and over again since it wasn’t something that I love love loved from the start. That helps me hold out for things I really truly love and stops me from grabbing anything I probably won’t wear or appreciate as much.” (here is another great post from Sherry on closet clutter).

I want to feel comfortable and confident in all the clothes in my closet. So major purge happening now! Tell me, is this the way you look at your closet too? Have you figured out that list of what you love/don’t love on yourself? I have to say, knowing what I feel comfortable in is not only great for everyday, but when I go shopping I immediately know whether I’ll like something enough to even take the time to try it on or not. Knowing what I like saves me time and money in so many ways! This guide from The Everygirl is another great resource for closet cleaning (7 questions to ask yourself when cleaning out your closet).

P.S. There are many places where you can donate your clothes to make sure that they go to good use after you are done with them. Look for local homeless or women’s shelters in your area. Many churches have donation bins that go to those in need in your community.

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