Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Spicing up my small wardrobe with a new accessory.

I'm no fashion blogger, but I do love a good bang for my buck, and practical way to look more dressed up without going all out in a tight pencil skirt and stiletto heels. While lately I've preferred more dainty jewelry, and have been sticking to my pared down collection of essentials - my uniform wearing has been the impetus for me to consider again the "statement necklace". Over the past couple of weeks in wearing my uniform almost daily, I've felt the need for something to make it look more put together and dressed up at work. I'm not wearing my standard chambray button up and black skinnies today in this pic because I had to do a presentation and look more formal (hence the blue dress from my capsule wardrobe). I don't feel that my style is "preppy", and I've always tried to avoid wearing pearls for this reason....however, I think wearing a cluster pearl necklace is a cooler way to do this ultimate biz-caz essential. The bigger the better, when it comes to pearl necklaces. Apparently, the bigger your pearl necklace, the closer you are to heaven?

This particular necklace is one I got from Target. I bought it in store, but found it listed online here for $30. I saw some similar necklaces like this at Target for less, but this one seemed more substantial and well-made than the cheaper alternatives. I also have looked at more expensive necklaces like this from Stella & Dot and J Crew, but for's not necessarily about buying the best quailty I can afford, but it's more about how much money do I want tied up in this fashion jewelry, and how durable and visually effective does this seem as compared to its competitors? I went with the low end of cost, but not the lowest end, as I didn't want something that I knew would break after a few wears. Consciously having less clothing makes me more aware and careful with my purchases, and most of the time, research and weighing my options gives me the best value and personal satisfaction when I invest in an addition, even if it's a small one like this gigantic pearl necklace.

We'll see how this holds up, but I'm really enjoying wearing this at work. If you get bored with your small collection of clothing, and feel like you need to change something, I think adding a different accessory is a good way to that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What I'm packing in a carry on size: 10 days in Alaska and Vancouver

I'm preparing to embark on a 10 day journey to Vancouver and Alaska! Traveling light is one of my favorite ways to enjoy minimalism. While everyone else at the airport/hotel/train struggles with schlepping their gigantic multitudes of luggage, I can rest assured that I have enough, and it's not distracting from my enjoyment of the traveling process. I also now have Eagle Creek Packing Cubes, which supposedly revolutionize your packing life, so I look forward to giving those a go. I've watched quite a few entertaining YouTube videos on how people use these packing cubes to stay organized while traveling.

Here is a quick graphic of the essentials for my trip (not including socks, bras, electronics, and toiletries). I'll follow with a list below. Keep in mind that this is travel for pleasure, not business. The weather is supposed to be mild and sunny, but could get cold/windy/rainy. I plan to work out almost every day.

10 Day Alaska/Vancouver Packing List
For daily wear:
5 light wash chambray button up shirts
3 pairs of pants (skinny blue jeans, skinny black jeans, and skinny black trousers)
1 pair of black ankle boots
1 scarf
1 little black dress (for formal night and fancier dinners)
3 pieces of outerwear layering (lululemon base layer [not pictured - forgot!], mint colored fuzzy North Face mid layer, and black trench coat top layer)

For working out:
2 workout tank tops (one technical material, one cotton)
2 workout pants (one flared, one legging)
1 pair of running shoes

1 set of PJs
4 bras
10 undies
7 socks
(Also - Contemplating bringing a grey lounge-wear set, which could serve as a second pair of pjs)

So, you're probably asking yourself this question: What gives? I do re-wear pants a few times, unless they get something really dirty or spilled on them. I re-wear shirts once. I'll only wear the dress for two evenings, so that's okay to go twice without washing. I re-wear workout clothes quite a bit, and could give the tank tops a quick hand wash as needed. I also wear my pjs for several days before they need a wash. However, I have access to a laundry facility if I need it, but I think I have it planned so I don't absolutely have to use it. Good personal hygiene is key to making this work, and showering is IMPORTANT. I promise I don't stink, but please tell me if I do ;)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Clear bins for a streamlined fridge/ Another day in the uniform.

 I got a $50 gift card from work for doing some weekend testing of a new system we have upgraded to. They did not have to do that, but I thought that was a nice surprise. It was to bed bath & beyond, so I went by there today to scope out what I wanted to get. There are all sorts of directions I could have gone (monogrammed hand towels, anyone?), but in the end, I decided to go with something that will make the mundanity of opening my fridge enjoyable - clear fridge/freezer bins! I got four bins, which came out to a little over $50 - one double divider bin, one medium bin, and two narrow bins. I organized and cleaned our fridge, and I'm really thrilled with how much nicer and more functional the fridge storage space is with these "sections" put in. We store big jugs of stuff like milk, tea, oj, etc. in the door shelves, and fruit/veggies/meat/cheese in the built in drawers. But, for all the random condiments, yogurts, small items, jars, etc., these bins are perfect. I could see myself getting more over time. There's a large space on the middle shelve dedicated to any extra larger items that may come into our fridge (like boxed up leftovers).

My #uniformoftheday look is more casual, 'cause it's the weekend, and my afternoon consisted of hanging out on the patio watching my kids play in the backyard. I unrolled the sleeves, because I wanted to protect my skin from the mosquitoes. So far I'm diggin the uniform for casual use. I think I need to make it look a bit more formal for work wear, so I have a big pearl statement necklace I'll be debuting this week at work. Also, getting my heels repaired will help as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Afternoon tea at my house. And thoughts on outrageous kid birthday parties.

I wanted to take a moment to share some pics of the mid-way point of prepping for afternoon tea! This ain't your proper English tea, but I did enough research to know that I had to serve cucumber sandwiches with the crust removed, thankyouverymuch.

My preschool aged daughter wanted a tea party for her birthday. We didn't think she was quite old enough to invite her friends from daycare, and frankly, I couldn't get it together enough in time to invite a bunch of friends over. We ended up doing this tea party with close family, and she loved it all the same. We don't have a tea party every day, so she was really able to enjoy the festivity. And, I always like to channel my ancestors and drink a nice cup of tea.

Where I live, it is becoming more customary to throw all out extravagant birthday parties for your kid each year. It's probably the same where you live, if you live in the 'burbs or major metropolitan areas. To each his own, but something inside me recoils at the thought of throwing a party where bounce houses, water play sets, petting zoos, pony rides, etc. are added to the mix. I know kids love it. I know it means you are effectively keeping up with the kardashians. I know I know I know. But, something about it, for my personally, feels very narcissistic. Maybe it's because throwing something huge like that would seem like a LOT of money to us right now. Maybe it's because I want my kids to stay grounded with their expectations of what mom and dad will splash out. I have no problem attending, or having my kids attend, extravagent birthdays. I don't have a problem with people who choose to celebrate this way.  But, it's not me. So I don't do it. My kids still have happiness in life, and they still get gifts and get to celebrate. I don't think I'm depriving my kids because I don't offer pony rides and hire princesses to entertain at their birthday time. It's just my style - #sorrynotsorry.

A day in my uniform: Weekend Shoe Repair (both DIY and professional)

Hi All.

Today, the variation on my uniform is black stretchy yoga pants, black lacy sandals, hair pulled back and papaya-colored lipgloss.

My task of the day? Exploring shoe repair. I took my pair of heels to a shoe hospital, where the heels are being replaced for only $10! And here, I thought my shoes were good for nothing anymore. Lesson learned - get the heels replaced instead of buying a new pair of shoes.

For the other pair of shoes I took in, it was advised that I DIY it, as there wasn't anything they could really do to revive the particular issue in shop that I couldn't do just as well at home. I appreciated their honesty. Instead of spending $15 for a re-sew and still no chip off repair, I went to hobby lobby and bought the necessary materials for a FULL REPAIR for less than $8.
Tear along heel

Super glue, craft paint, and a paint brush to fix busted shoe with chipped toe cap and ripped ankle.

I am really pleased with how they turned out - not 100% perfect, but still blended in to where it's not too noticeable, and still wearable. It's a really nice pair of shoes, and almost brand new. I was gutted that one trip would put them under, but now, I can touch them up with paint and super glue as needed!