January 31, 2014

My Favorite Wardrobe Capsules

I've been a little crazed about wardrobe capsules lately and have found some really great ones on Pinterest. It's always fun to see what items others choose for their capsule. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

1. This black and white capsule is so fresh and adorable! I love the idea of a black and white capsule, but I'm also drawn to color so I'd have to have it somewhere ~ maybe in scarves.

2. This neutral travel capsule also caught my eye. I love the combinations of light and dark.

3. This work-a-day capsule is versatile and I would enjoy wearing all these outfits. They're pretty, yet comfortable.

4. This polished neutral capsule would be good for professional as well as traveling. It's got a fun blend of fabrics.

5. A French-inspired capsule is my latest obsession. It always looks so chic! And this set is especially thrilling because it's simplicity at it's finest: twelve pieces turned into twenty outfits.

What core items must you have in your closet?

January 29, 2014

Grateful or Greedy?

I find that the lack of gratefulness is at the basis of all my struggles: weight, housekeeping, mood, etc. It's all so connected. Because when I'm ungrateful, I'm greedy.

I've been stuck on the Less is More chant lately, probably because I feel like I'm drowning in stuff right now. We've inherited lots of items we didn't expect and although we've been picky with what we bring into our home, there is still so much stuff!

It's really hard for me to make room for it and I find myself wanting to escape, not a good plan when there's so much to do. Today I'll be hammering away at the piles around the house and at my drawers and cabinets. I'm going to be utterly ruthless on what I'm keeping. Even as I write that, I'm struck by how undeservedly privileged I am to even have these choices.

I take it for granted every day, even whine about it. When these are actually choices I've made, these "things". I could live with less. I could choose to be content with what I have. I could choose memories over stuff. But I keep bringing home things I supposedly need and forget how few of them I will actually use.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should change my word of the year to grateful. Because I keep discovering how the lack of it is at the basis of struggles like: weight, housekeeping, mood. It's all so connected. Because when I'm ungrateful, I'm greedy. My mind's all full of "I want, I want" and I think I deserve to ~ overeat, have stuff, and be grumpy.

But if I was walking in gratefulness those things wouldn't be a temptation. I wouldn't be focused on what I think I'm entitled to, I'd be too busy being grateful for what I already have. I'd be tasting each bite, instead of hoarding second helpings. I'd enjoy the things I use everyday and how they help me, instead of thinking how I need more stuff. I'd walk in an attitude of happy gratefulness, instead of sulking that things aren't going a different way.

Yeah, I think I might have to add a word this year.

What are you grateful for today?

January 24, 2014

5 Great Posts on Living Simply

The thought of living simply has ingrained itself in my mind lately. So I thought I might as well share some great articles I've read on the subject:

1. 18 Ways to Live Simple Now. I really enjoyed the ease of this article. It seems obvious when it's written down so plainly but it gave me several face-palm moments of, "I should've known this".

2. 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life. This one takes you step by step through many aspects of life and helps you evaluate it. My mind was buzzing with things to do after reading this one.

3. How to Live Simply. If you want a soothing, slow-paced idea of where to begin with simplifying your life, this is your post. I walked away feeling relaxed and encouraged.

4. How to Save Money and Smile More. I'm not quite ready to homestead, but these families make me want to!

5. How to Live Simply: The De-Junking Guide. I like the idea of being mindful while starting the journey of de-junking. It's good to know why we hang onto things and my reason is often the fear of "needing it someday".

Are you simplifying your life, or do you want to? I'd love to know what tips you've learned along the way!

January 22, 2014

Living Simply: Thoughts on Stuff

We've been cleaning out my mother-in-law's house. She passed away in October and we're getting the house ready to sell. I can officially say that I am weary of stuff. In the past few years I've watched my parents clean out my grandparent's house and all the work that went into that. After that, my parents began getting rid of lots of things to reduce their load. They didn't want us going through what they'd had to do for my grandparents.

I'm struck wondering why we buy so much stuff, hang onto it, clean on and around it, only to give it all away in the end or have someone go through it (an emotionally taxing experience, I might add).

I read somewhere that when Mother Theresa died she had one box of things. ONE. BOX.

I think I'm beginning to understand that a bit. I'm no where near living with only a box full of stuff, but I'd like to be closer than I am now. We've been taking clutter out of our house by the bag fulls to make way for things coming over from my MIL's house. But even the things we're bringing over, I'm being super picky about. I am finally getting the idea that memories are not things, things are not memories. I have photos, I have moments in my mind I will never forget. I'm not against having a few treasures, but I'm feeling less and less of a pull to hang on to things.

It's just stuff.

I've been reading a lot on minimalism. It's comforting to see people living so simply, unafraid of having little. It seems easier to maintain. I feel myself slowly leaning into it. Simply reducing my wardrobe has helped so much. It's less mind stressing to get ready in the morning with so few options in my closet.

I read Kelly Oribine's minimalist manifesto, and felt she put so beautifully the joy of living minimalist. I want to be there. It's going to take awhile to reduce our stuff to where I want it to be, but I'm ready to take the plunge.

I'm ready to trade my stuff for living simply.

January 17, 2014

5 Etsy Sherlock Holmes Gifts

I can't help it, I'm obsessed. Oh Sherlock, you amazing genius. I've been browsing Etsy for the most perfect gifts for a fangirl like my~daughter *ahem*.

1.  Sherlock Holmes head, I mean...seriously. Why have one of those marble busts of Beethoven when you can have this?

2.  Sherlock quote necklace. How brilliant is this quote? Oh to have his observation skills.

3.  Baker Street keychain. Are you kidding me? Baker St.!!

4.  You're the Sherlock to my Watson bracelet. This is a much better BFF gift than those broken heart necklaces.

5.  Sherlock Birthday card. This would MAKE my birthday.

Are you watching Sherlock? If so, what's your favorite episode?

January 15, 2014

To Open Their Heart, Open Yours

Vulnerability is so strange. It has the capacity to break open barriers and tie hearts in the tightest union.

People don't usually venture to show their vulnerability until they feel safe. No one wants to chance revealing their heart and risk devastation.

But sometimes we need to risk it.

There is beauty in laying out our soul for another in a way that opens it up for them to share their soul. Not to get something from them, but because they're worth the risk.

When my kids reached adolescence I found myself pulling back. I felt the sting of seeing them notice my faults and lower their awe. They noticed with more adult eyes my bad motivations and inconsistencies. They weren't easily soothed or distracted. Their adolescent minds could discount and challenge me.

I began closing a door that should've stayed wide open.

As I closed my doors, my children closed to me. It wasn't until I began opening my heart again and reaching out, despite the risk of rejection, that they could trust me with their hearts. It taught me a huge lesson.

We should be willing to risk laying down our pride and fears for the sake of those we love. We often expect others to take the first step towards us, when true love requires sacrifice~ being the first to apologize, speak or touch.

It's amazing how those around us blossom when we reach out, open our hearts to them and take the risk to love in a way that's difficult for us and tender for them.

Do you find it difficult to open your heart? Are you in relationship with people who make it easy?

January 13, 2014

30 Outfits with 10 Pieces

Sometimes I surrender to my crazy.

Reading her blog and getting inspired by her photos of 30 outfits with 10 items, I sat down and worked out ~ on index cards with markers ~ what I could do with ten items. This concept is not new to me, but somehow my wardrobe continues to get new pieces and I have to reduce it again.

I've handwritten outfit combinations before but being a visual kind of gal, I decided to draw them out this time. A little tedious, yes, but so much fun for me. It pulled all the creativity I own into one helpful project. The irony of this is that I don't consider myself concerned with fashion but I love creating within boundaries and ten items is a tantalizing challenge. I like the idea of knowing I could live more simply with less stuff, but I also love variety; so seeing that I can have assortment of outfits with ten items helps me follow-through.

I taped all the outfits to my tiny closet door so that I will have a view of what to choose each day. I sorted them out so that the tops wouldn't be next to each other during week. If you're on the fence about whether my crazy has taken over, here's a little something else...

Yes, I also drew accessories and shoes I wanted to wear, to help me while drafting the outfits. I think this might be the start of a new career ~ letting people send me photos of ten items they own and I'll draft up thirty outfits. What do you think? I'm teasing, of course . . . unless you're interested. ;)

Do you like doing stuff like this, or would it drive you insane?

January 8, 2014

On Truth and Bravery

Writing often opens hidden doors for me.

I've been writing a lot lately. Something happens to me when I'm writing in an unfamiliar world; buried stuff begins to surface. I'm beginning to see a huge connection between loose writing and what I'm trying to make sense of in the real world. It opens wounds I didn't realize were there and reveals what I need to work on. Truth is beautiful and deadly.


Yes, because often when I'm faced with truth, a death has to happen to my old belief. If I always believed I was incapable of living a healthy life, then I must let that thought die and grab onto the new one that I can choose to live better. In the midst of being honest, I have to let go of what's not true. When a wrong belief surfaces and I tell the truth about it, death begins to happen. My old beliefs don't have the voice they once did and if I continue to tell the truth, soon my old beliefs fall silent in their graves.

It's not easy to tell the truth. It's difficult to face what we may have held as truth for a long time that we suddenly realize is a lie. Sometimes when this happens I want to sit down and quit. But when the truth turns on the light to the lies, it's extremely hard to go backwards and sometimes that makes me furious. Sitting on the side of the road feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere. It's just a tantrum. 

I've been prone to self-pity and inward tantrums throughout my life. In the past year I've worked catching myself in the midst of these tantrums and telling the truth. It's not easy to hear and sometimes I want to wrap myself in self-condemnation and poor-me's so I don't have to face the truth that I have a choice. The truth is I don't have to stay here on the side of the road. I can get up. I can face that fear, mistake or failure. What's going to happen when I do? What is the worst that can happen? That's the question I've started asking myself when I come to this crossroads. I sit there naming all that could happen ~ from the realistic to the ridiculous ~ and then, I tell the truth.

I can get up. I can take the first step and admit I'm wrong. I can do the thing I fear. I can move forward with shaking legs and trembling fingers.

Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the moving forward in spite of it.

Since we're talking about truth here, I'll be honest; I don't feel very brave. I'm the sort that would rather run than fight. But I've been standing lately, in spite of trembling on the spot. I'm learning what standing in the middle of fear feels like. It's terrifying. But it's also strengthening.

To accomplish what you need to, we must face our fear, forehead to forehead. Shaking, sweating and shivering; stand firm and tell the truth. The truth that yes you've failed. No, you're not who you want to be but you can change. Or maybe the truth that you have accomplished beautiful things and you're not a failure. Embrace that part of you that you've long held at a distance. Wrap your arms around it and pull it in close, choosing to make it part of your story.

Can you guess what word I've chosen for the year? In case it's not obvious, my word is brave. As cliche as that may be, it's what I need in my life. I'm aware now that my biggest fears will be realized; I will look stupid, be wrong, be misunderstood and unloved. But I will also grow, be right, be understood and loved.

Sometimes the bravest thing about living life is knowing we have the capacity to be terrified and brave; then telling the truth about it.

Have you wrestled with truth? Have you come forehead to forehead with fear?

January 6, 2014

{Not So} Ordinary Moments: Gifts and Time

Holidays have come and gone. Snow has visited once again and left us with a free snow day. I'm happy to have it. I'm never quite ready for the winter break to be over; there's always more reading, togetherness and relaxation to enjoy.

My sister painted adorable mugs for many in our family and this was one of them. I just loved how she did the paisley butterfly and these colors are some of my favorites. My parents gave me this bracelet bought from ladies across the world to help their living conditions ~ that made me extra happy about wearing it.

New Year's Eve, my sister came through town and we went out to breakfast alone. Even though we were together for Christmas, it's never as much talk time as we'd like. This gave us an after-the-chaos chat to fill my sister tank.

Now I'm off to enjoy my quiet snow day and hopefully take some pictures of my dog in the snow. I want to practice my photography so I can get better at capturing these extraordinary moments.

What does today hold for you?

January 3, 2014

Pinterest Picks: 5 Soup Recipes

1. Chicken Tortilla Soup by Lil' Luna.

2. Potato Rosemary Soup by Two Peas & Their Pod

3. Curried Lentil Soup by Anytime Fitness

4. Minestrone Soup by First Home Love Life.

5. Cheeseburger Soup by Chef This Up!

During these cold months, I love making a delicious pot of soup to warm up with. These recipes are on my list to make this month!

What's your favorite soup?

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Goals for 2014:

1.  Be present in the moment
2.  Capture one ordinary moment everyday.
3.  Write from the heart.
4.  Step out in boldness.
5.  Create routines that free me.

6.  Drink lots of water.
7.  Be grateful for every bite.
8.  Walk as often as possible.
9.  Go outdoors and savor nature.
10. Love well.

11. Let go of judgement and embrace grace.
12. Read great books.
13. Speak honestly.
14. Own wrongs quickly.
15. Be brave.

Happy New Year to those celebrating! Do you have any goals or dreams you'd like to share for the new year?