July 25, 2016

Dress-ed for Summer

Dress-ed for Sumemr

I love a one-stop-shop outfit and dresses have that ease, especially in Summer! A dress can make you stylishly presentable in less than five minutes by simply throwing it on! These summer dresses ooze chic and simplicity. Outdoor barbecue? Done! Day at the beach? Done! Flea market shopping and coffee with a friend? Done and Done! Simply add a pair of easy-to-throw-on sandals with a go-to bag and your outfit is complete. You'll be out the door in minutes!

Which dress would you love to grab and go?

July 18, 2016

Grown-Up Shorts Capsule

Grown-Up Shorts Capsule

This capsule is full of grown-up shorts; the stylish kind. You'll not see any rips or super-short lengths here, but that doesn't mean it has to dull. These pieces are all classy and comfortable with a splash of fun! As we age, we often try to separate ourselves from those who are just coming of age. There is a stigma on trying to look "too young" as you swing into middle age and beyond. And while I believe you should wear whatever you feel great in; I personally wouldn't choose to wear the same outfits as my daughters. Getting older doesn't mean clothes have to be boring. Fun clothes can be classy AND adorable!

Allow me to explain what I love about each of them:

Yellow shorts: I can't help it, I LOVE yellow! In the summer it connects me to the sun and makes me feel brighter. The classic cut on these shorts make them versatile while the color makes them fun.

Bright Colored Pattern Shorts: I admit, I have a thing for patterns and for bright colors. I would probably stick out in France like a sore thumb. The cut of these shorts is simple which allows the fabric design to take the spotlight. It's a statement piece without being too busy.

White shorts: These may seem like a super basic choice, but you can't go wrong wearing white in the summer. Pairing any top with these shorts makes it feel fresh. And it doesn't hurt that white shorts go nicely with a new tan.

Draw-string Stripe shorts: Talk about comfort! There is nothing more comfy than drawstring shorts. It's almost like getting away with wearing pajamas out in public! The striped pattern take these shorts to a higher class, especially paired with the right top  and possibly a blazer. You could wear them to a meeting!

Embroidered shorts: Seriously IN LOVE! These shorts are classy without trying. And the artwork in the embroidery? Swoon! It's the perfect blend of art meets function. I could imagine wearing these almost everywhere. They seem dressy but wear comfortably.

Jean shorts: Everyone needs a good pair of jean shorts! They're timeless and go with EVERYTHING. Talk about versatility. But notice the absence of rips and holes. In my opinion, those are better kept for the young. You can still look stylishly sloppy without actually being sloppy.

Polka-dot shorts: I smile every time I look at these. There is something about polka-dots that make me feel playful. I think because they don't take themselves too seriously and it reminds me to lighten up! Plus, a pattern like this is basically neutral and easy to pair with many things.

Blue Lace shorts: These are definitely a bit dressier, but I can't help loving the ombre effect of white, turquoise and blue. It reminds me of oceans and gorgeous beaches. While I wouldn't wear these shorts everywhere, they would be a happy addition!

Flower shorts: I can't help but love a pattern like this! It's adorable and comfortable ~ two of my favorite characteristics. Not to mention I'm mad for daises! I love the trim; it adds surprise without taking away from the overall look. This also goes in my classy-and-not-pajamas-but-feels-like-it category.

What are you favorite pair of shorts?

July 11, 2016

Capsule Wardrobe Summer Skirts

Capsule Wardrobe Summer Skirts

Somewhere in the middle of summer, I start reaching for one of the coolest pieces in my closet ~ skirts. They feel dressier than shorts while still battling high temperature heat. They're fun to mix and match with unusual tops because almost anything goes. I selected all short skirts in this capsule because I'm short and they're my favorite kind; but also, in the middle of July heat, I don't want anything wrapped around my legs. My favorite skirt outfits are classy skirts paired with t-shirts. I like the juxtaposition.

What are your favorite top/skirt combinations?

July 4, 2016

Happy 4th Capsule

Happy 4th Capsule

Happy 4th of July to all my stateside friends! I hope you're spending the day in celebration with loved ones enjoying grilled food, popsicles, and fireworks!

May 23, 2016

One Piece Swimsuits

One Piece Swimsuits

One-piece swimsuits are making a comeback and no wonder, they offer more coverage and the styles are adorable! I think my favorite is the black and white checkered one.

What's your favorite?

May 16, 2016

Casual Summertime Capsule

Casual Summertime Capsule

Summertime brings lots of opportunities to be outdoors soaking up the sunshine. Whether it's a ballgame, beach, hiking trail or backyard barbecue, this capsule will be enough for all your casual summer outings.

What's your favorite summer activity?

May 11, 2016

Extraordinary Ordinary Moments

Taxiing my son to a friend's house, the sky caught my attention. Rain clouds scalloped the horizon. A startling shade of blue rolled across it like water. It reminded me of my eldest daughter's eyes ~ eyes that stop people in their tracks when she looks at them. She has power in those eyes, she sees what others don't.

The phone dings and I glance down to see a text from my youngest daughter. She's alerting me that she's leaving babysitting and headed home. I can picture her hair pulled to the top of her head with gorgeous ringlets falling around her temple. She texts dutifully to keep me from worrying. I'm fully aware she did not inherit her responsible, organized ways from me, which makes me admire her more.

My son sits beside me with his knees skimming the dashboard even with the seat pushed back. I have a hard time not talking to him like he's eight instead of fifteen. It's agony to keep myself from reminding him again about drinking enough water or applying sunscreen. We sit in silence as he chooses songs from his phone to fill the car. It doesn't escape my notice he's choosing songs he knows I like. A small thing, but it sends ripples of love my way and I'm reminded he's not eight.

Simple moments. 

Nothing special or exciting about them. But they offer up something sacred ~ a connection. Each moment strung together into a lifetime of moments. Each person in the world having moments just like this. An overwhelming rush of oneness slides through me and my eyes get watery. It's a tender reminder that ordinary moments are the moments. They are not to be overlooked or forgotten. They are extraordinary

Embrace your ordinary moments today.

March 29, 2016

Loving Lately: March Madness

  • Anchor's Aweigh (it's spelled that way I promise) with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra dancing and singing to make us swoon.
  • Spring weather with tulips all around.
  • Periscope app ~ love having conversations with people around the world and getting to sit under the teachings of some of the greats! If you'd like to join me on Periscope, my username is @CatherineDenton.
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Car resurrection ~ the mechanic came to our house because he remembered one thing he needed to try and now my car is RUNNING again!
  • OU being in the final four, simply because I'm an Oklahoman.

March 26, 2016

Snapchat Roundup: Route 66

For Spring Break we took a road trip highlighting interesting spots along Route 66. My husband loves planning this stuff and is crazy-good at finding deals and out-of-the-way treasures. We spray-painted cars at Cadillac Ranch, drooled through endless art galleries in Santa Fe, locked ourselves in an old timey one-cell jail, stuffed ourselves at Lucille's and The Big Texas Steakhouse, marveled at a mysterious staircase that baffles architects, photographed gorgeous snow-capped mountains and rested in fun places along the way like the Blue Swallow ~ cutest hotel I've ever seen!

It was a much needed get-away and a fun adventure, but I'm happy to be back home now!

What have you been up to this week?

If you'd like to follow me on snapchat, you can find me @dentoncatherine! 

Hope you have a great Saturday!

March 24, 2016

The 10X Rule

"Does anyone benefit when you can't get your art sold or that great book published or that great idea that will improve everything across?"

Let's talk about The 10X Rule. WOW, this book, oh my word! Grant Cardone kicked me right off my booty into action! I don't know if I've had any book jolt me so completely. I've had lots of books inspire me, encourage me, motivate me and lead me; but The 10X Rule literally got me off my chair.

If you feel stuck or like there is nothing you can do to change your situation then please read this book! Ten to one you will change your tune. This is not a feel good book. He minces no words; he tells it like it is TO YOUR FACE!

"One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation and responsibility." 

One of the things that impacted me the most about this book was how he showed that not pursuing success is unethical. I strive to be an ethical person so this hit me square in the face. He said, "I even suggest that failing to insist upon abundant amounts of success is somewhat unethical. To the degree that electing to do our personal best each and every day is ethical, then failing to do so is a violation of ethics." 

That woke me up and had me leaning forward in my chair. 

"Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons why more people don't create it for themselves-- and why most people don't even get close to living up to their full potential."

I'll be honest, I never looked at success as being necessary or even my duty. That may sound crazy to some of you but I have been seriously entrenched in the "maybe it'll happen" or "I'm fine without it" camp. I didn't understand the enourmous action that comes behind success. I feel like I've just woken from a dream into a reality where there is no room for excuses, blaming or victim mentality and only time for massive action!  I'll leave you with one last quote:

"If you don't consider it your duty to live up to your potential, then you simply won't."

March 23, 2016

Same Outfit Every Day?

Would you be willing to wear the same outfit every day?

Some of the most forward thinkers of our time have done it and are doing it; President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Alice Gregory, and Matilda Kahl. They've taken one stressful decision out of the their morning routine by wearing the same outfit every day. They do this to keep from wasting precious decision-making energy on items that don't matter and save their best thinking for ones that do.

I have long loved this idea and have partially adopted it by creating a "uniform" of clothes so to speak. Jeans, top, cardigan, flats. That's my uniform almost daily. But it's still not as extreme as wearing the same outfit every day because currently mine changes a little each time through pattern/color of tops; color of jeans; and type of shoe.

At the beginning of the year I toyed with reducing my 20+ wardrobe down to ten and seeing if I could do a year with ten pieces. The prospect excited me because the thrill of reducing gives me a freedom high. Yet each time I try to reduce my wardrobe to ten, I struggle with choosing the pieces. 

So if successful women like Alice, and Matilda, are wearing the same thing every day; I'm tempted to do the same. Taking even those last few decisions away and adopting a uniform of exactly one outfit every day.

It would be simple, chic and comfortable and I'd never have to decide again. 

The minimalist side of me jumps at the chance, but the artist side of me hesitates. Then I read somewhere about an artist who felt she could focus her creative energy on her art much easier when she wasn't exerting creativity in her clothes. That quieted my inner protest and has ignited a fire of curiosity. Would it increase creativity?

Wearing the same thing every day seems more simple to me than going the route of ten items. Less constricting if you will, which I know sounds completely opposite.

I'm thinking of trying it as an experiment, maybe a year, to see how it would feel to wear the same outfit in all seasons. And if I love it, then I'd be set. If I hated it, then I'd be done. I'd like to do a 365 project and take a photo every day to document the process and share how I'm feeling.

What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing that? Or do you think I'm crazy?

March 22, 2016

Loving Lately

  • How my husband can entice our kids to help push a dead car down the road and make it fun.

  • Meghan Trainer's new song, "No!" (Sorry, I just do!) as well as the soulful one from Francis called, "Don't Worry About Me" which makes me cry every time.

  • When family trips make us laugh till we can't breath and also reveal stuff for us to work through.

  • How beautiful solitude can be. (Have I mentioned how much I love quiet?)

  • Big salads created in bulk so something yummy waits in the fridge.

  • Spellbinding books that I'm only a fourth of the way into.

  • Remembering once again that I am responsible for creating the life I want.

What are you loving lately?

March 21, 2016

Coral Jeans ~ 5 Ways

Coral jeans are my favorite! They add a flair of color and yet act as a neutral. They're perfect for Fall but also fun for Spring when everything is thawing and flowers start to bloom. Coral jeans are versatile and playful all rolled into one.

Do you have a favorite pair of colored jeans or do you prefer neutrals?

March 11, 2016

Depriving Yourself ~ Emotional Eating

I've been viewing healthy people as deprived.

I know that sounds crazy but this realization hit me one morning. The thought flitted across my mind absently as I put on make-up and I grabbed it out of the flow. 

"What is this? Healthy people are deprived? Why do I think that?" 

These are the answers that came back to me as I pushed in: They are depriving themselves of sweets and fun. They starve themselves just to be thin; they endure pain just to have muscles. 

I stood there shocked. This is how I've seen it?! This is how I view healthy people? And I've assumed I'm not deprived because I can eat whatever I want and don't put myself through pain? (The craziness did not escape my notice) The truth came tumbling after.


I am deprived of hiking without huffing; I'm deprived of intimacy because I feel self-conscious about my body; I am deprived of wearing cute clothes because nothing fits; I am deprived of swimming and feeling confident in a swimsuit. I am the one who is deprived of energy; of vibrant, hydrated skin; of a sexy body. I am deprived of all these things.

The only thing I'm not deprived of is eating sweets, fast food, and junk. 

I've equated the fun, happy parts of life with food and the unhappy parts with health. But couldn't I have fun with health? Could it be that giving up junk, would offer so much more?

I could be fit and healthy to help others. I could wear the clothes I love because I love them and not because they hide my belly. I could feel freer to exercise and dance and run and swim and play! I could feel empowered to do things I'm afraid to pursue.

I no longer want to chase something that's costing me so much. 

Bad habits are hard to change and I know it will literally be a moment by moment choice; but I want to change it. So I've put cards up all over my house and in my purse to help me fight temptation. 

If you struggle with me, if you've bought into a wrong perspective, or if you're fighting to overcome your issues on food and emotional eating; I hope this post encourages you.

I'll leave you with what my cards say:

Stop depriving yourself of a full life!

Are you, like me, depriving yourself?

March 9, 2016

One Morning Ritual Can Change the World

Coffee is one of my unnecessary necessities!

I'm an avid coffee drinker. I love the smell, the taste, the way it partners with breakfast and sweets. I wake up to one cup in the morning and sometimes a few more throughout the day. I loooove coffee!

Recently I was shocked to find out my coffee purchases might be hurting families across the globe who don't get fair wages for their hard work. (Don't worry, I'm NOT going to suggest you go without coffee; please keep reading!) The coffee companies in America have continued to receive a hefty profit for their goods as the coffee boom of the 90's continues. But unfortunately, coffee farmers are not seeing that profit. Instead, their profits have significantly dropped


I know, it doesn't make sense. Unfortunately the big coffee companies are pocketing the money and keeping coffee farmers in poverty. Coffee growers are often locked into a contract by their government, so they can't just escape the struggle. Because of the lack of profit, they can't afford to send their children to school (it costs in other countries), they've gone hungry and had little to wear. Out of desperation to survive, they sometimes resort to growing drugs or traveling as illegal immigrants to other countries to find work and keep their families alive.

After reading and researching this topic, I found one simple thing I could do to help.

I can make certain the coffee I buy gives fair wages to farmers by looking for a "Fair Trade Certified" emblem on the products. Below is a photo of the symbol:

Make sure it's all three words because any marketing strategy can slap "fair trade" on their products. Simply choosing to buy fair trade coffee might not seem like much, but I suppose if we all insisted on fair wages, it would add up to something huge. From now on, my family will only buy Fair Trade Certified coffee. While I know it's a small action, I'd like to think we are changing the world one family at a time.

Will you join me? 

Let's help others by making sure they get paid fairly for their work! You can find fair trade certified coffee now in most grocery stores and at places like Target. But if your grocery store doesn't offer it, please request it! Grocery stores are always interested in what their consumers are buying and the higher the need the more we help! If all else fails, you can buy it online.

If you'd like to read more, here is a guide to buying ethical coffee.

March 7, 2016

Visual Interest Tops

The most versatile tops can work well with others or go alone.

I love a top that adds interest under a jacket or cardigan but also has the ability to stand alone. The best tops for this are muted ones with eye-appealing textural fabric or fascinating cuts. Understated simple elements add pizzazz to every outfit without taking the spotlight off it's subject ~ YOU!

Which one of these tops would fit seamlessly in your closet?

March 2, 2016

Five March Goals

Remember when I set monthly goals? 

I thought it'd be fun to try it again for March! I like setting goals that help me move forward as well as fun goals to add a little spice to my life and help me "stop and smell the roses".

Here are my five March goals:

1. Write something every day.

2. Decide what I actually use in my kitchen and get rid of the rest!

3. Learn a new yoga pose.

4. Read When Breath Becomes Air and The Art of Memoir.

5. Try something new or go on an adventure!

What would you like to do this month?

February 24, 2016

3 Ways to Determine Your Priority

Determining our priority can be difficult.

Most of us try to juggle many responsibilities in a day and urgency usually gets first place. We may not always know what our top priority is because we're so busy stomping out fires from urgent needs.

Here are three ways I've found to determine what my top priority is in any given season of life:

1. What is most valuable to me?
I heard Chalene Johnson once ask, "What would you be devastated without if it was gone tomorrow?" Career? Relationship?  Family? Faith? Finances? Pet?

Determine what this is and you will have the key to setting boundaries and deciding what you let into your life. Your priority may change, or it may be one constant value in your life. Whatever it is, keep this in the forefront of your mind with each decision you make.

When my kids were smaller and needing me more often, I had to make the decision to cut some activities from my days so I could spend time with them. My kids are older now and not in need of being physically cared for like they once were; so my season has changed. I'm needed now for emotional support more than physical so that changes my priorities. Since my kids are not home in the daytime, I can teach and pursue other interests. But in the evening, I make it a priority to be home for talking and/or engagement. Building relationship with them is very important to me.

2. What are you skilled at or enjoy doing?
This is where your gifts come in. What do you naturally gravitate to? What do other people tell you you're good at? Take notice, get real close to what you do and why.

What is it exactly that you love about that thing? I found that meeting with friends one-on-one is my favorite way to connect. I don't really like parties or getting together with large groups. When I prodded myself to understand why, I realized it's because I love talking intimately and really connecting on a deeper level. But that rarely happens with a large group. In a large group there is much more small talk and catching up for fun and while I enjoy that for awhile, as an introvert, it's exhausting. Just understanding this about myself helps me choose which activities I'll be involved in. Less parties, more one-on-ones.

3. What are you obsessed with or learning?
Think about what you're learning right now. Think about why you're learning it. Is it just for enjoyment? Then it might reveal a passion you have. Is it to solve a problem? Is it because you love learning? Evaluating what you're learning right now and why you're learning it, will help you determine that priority. If you're pursuing something or wanting to pursue something, it should be a priority for you.

You may find one common thread answering all three questions or you may have different answers for each one.

If you have three different answers, is there a way to combine them? If not, try to evaluate which one should take the lead and continue to pursue that first. Work on the other two each day as well, even if it's just fifteen minutes.

I'll give you an example in my own life.

My answers are: family, connecting one-on-one and painting/writing.

Since these are my priorities, I try to be available to my husband and kids as much as possible and really listen to them (looking in the eyes, putting my phone away, stopping what I'm doing). I'm also pursuing friendships one-on-one in coffee shops but also on Periscope (a live-streaming app). Since I have more free time in the day, I've been pursuing my long-time passions of writing and painting on the days I'm not substitute teaching at my kids' school.

These things work together for me because of the time they happen during the day. When I'm pursuing my passions and Periscoping, my husband and kids are in school, at work, studying or otherwise occupied. When they're home, I'm enjoying them.

These three categories satiate my need for community and learning.

What are your priorities are in this season?

February 17, 2016

Simplify Your Blog with Features

Features simplify your blogging routine.

I first heard about features almost four years ago from Elsie Larson's course, Blog Life. The features idea connected with me and I incorporated a system for this blog. 

I designate a certain type of post for each day. I usually post M, W, F. On Monday, I post about capsule wardrobes or outfits ideas. Wednesday, I post tips and Fridays are dedicated to personal growth.

A feature is something that has a form but is ever changing.

It's like a column in magazines ~ always there but ever-changing. Features can be a list: outfit of the day, favorite ________ (things, books, blog posts, movies). Or they can be roundups of: posts, recipes, instagram photos. These are examples of features that have form but can be changed weekly and present themselves as a fresh new article.

Recurring features help you know what you need. You'll know what photographs, links and research to do. 

Your features need to be a topic you LOVE!

Otherwise it will get tedious and boring. I absolutely love creating outfits and sets of clothes each week. It gives me a burst of creative pursuit and I get to work with new clothes without spending money! It hones my skill of helping others with their wardrobes because I practice with new sets.

My other features are a bit more loose. Giving tips leaves it open enough for me to not feel trapped but formulated enough that I can pull a post together fairly easy. Under the umbrella of TIPS, I have shared how to create a capsule wardrobe, meaningful gift ideas and now blogging help. 

I tend to be a how-to junkie, so sharing what I'm learning along the way reinforces what I'm doing. It's a joy for me to share tips with others. This comes naturally in life so it makes sense that this would spill over into my blog posts. 

Make a feature out of something you share naturally in life!

The last feature I share on Fridays, is more about personal growth. This began because I love sharing my process with others and being held accountable. A community full of honest seeking people is important to me. I realized that to build community with others, you have to be vulnerable and open. I wanted a place to share my deeper thoughts, personal growth and what I'm struggling with. I wanted a space for us to grow together; a place for others to gather around because they're struggling too or have encouragement to give. So I created this feature to publish right before the weekend ~ a relaxing conversation over coffee or wine.

Your features should reflect what is valuable to you.

Not everyone has features for every time they post; some people prefer the spontaneity of writing miscellaneous articles. You can choose to have one feature or many; they can even revolve. I've seen blogs that have features for the first of the month or every other Friday.

Use this tool to reduce the stress of trying to pull a post out of thin air.

What features have you seen and really enjoyed? What features would you like to create if you had/have a blog?

February 12, 2016

Alternatives to Emotional Eating

I shared last week about my struggle with emotional eating (here) and have for the last few weeks been more intentional about noticing when I'm running to food for emotional reasons versus hunger.

I've made a commitment to take five minutes before running to food to ask myself, "What are you really hungering for right now?" 

It has been illuminating. Doing this has revealed that I tend to turn to food most often in the evening when everyone is home and we're all active or chatting or watching a show. I think it feels like the work day has ended and it's time for relaxation and that, to me, has included food. I find myself wanting to munch. Asking myself why, has helped me dig into what's going on inside my mind that's leading me down this path. The themes that continue to pop up are: feeling unproductive, feeling nervous/unsure, and celebrating.

To help myself deal with these emotions, I compiled a list of options. 

When I ask myself what I'm hungering for and it's not food, then I look at this list to see what connects with what I'm actually needing.

Here's the list:
Take a bath
Do yoga
Coffee with a friend
Deep talk with a loved one
Clean out
Family outing
Call a friend
Play ukulele
Sit outdoors with a book
Work outside
Listen to a podcast
Serve someone
Write a note
Go on a date with my husband
Listen to my favorite songs
Grocery shop (I hate this but it feels productive)
Walk dog
Learn something new
Take a meal to a sick or elderly friend
Go to a class or take an online course
Coffee shop
Used bookstore
Barnes and Noble

I only share this list to encourage those who are struggling through something similar. May it inspire you to make your own list. 

Your needs and wants could be very different than mine, so go with what feeds you. 

This list has saved me many moments when I couldn't think exactly WHAT I needed but knew I wasn't physically hungry. Connecting with something on the page, helps me deal with my emotions in the best way and stay away from eating mindlessly.

Do you have any other ideas for me? What would be at the top of your list?

February 10, 2016

Your Most Versatile Shoe

You know those shoes you grab again and again? 
The ones you wear everywhere? The ones you love to pieces and hope no one's noticing how often you wear them? Yeah, those are your most versatile shoes.

Versatile shoes are the ones that aren't snobby about which clothes they go out with. 
They're friends with almost every piece in your closet. They're fairly comfortable and broken in. They accentuate your best features. And you love them!

The ankle boots (in photo above) happen to be my versatile shoes. They can be grabbed to go with almost every outfit in my closet ~ jeans and tee, go! Top and skirt, go! Casual dress, go! Sweater and pants, go!

The importance of a versatile shoe is that, like any of your closet favorites, they give a peak into your style. They show what you love wearing and what clothes you feel your best self in. 

They reveal your wardrobe values.

If you love heels, then you may value looking professional or high style. If you love tennis shoes, you may value agility and the ability to be active. What are your favorite shoes telling about you? What do you value? 

Once you understand the reason behind your favorite shoes, take another look at your wardrobe. Does it reflect those values all the way through? Are there some pieces that don't fit? Those you can part with.

Stick with what you love, it tells the truth about you!

I love my ankle boots because they come off professional, go with everything but most of all they are comfortable. Comfort is one of my wardrobe values! If it hurts, it's out. It took me a long time to find ankle boots that worked for me, but when I did, I snatched them up!

Once you know what your wardrobe values are, it makes cleaning out the closet easy. It also makes replacing clothes simple. You'll know what kind of clothes you're looking for. Your most versatile shoes are a clue to get you started.

What is your most versatile shoe?

February 8, 2016

Lady in Red

With Valentine's day around the corner, I thought it'd be fun to show a variety of red dresses for date night on the town. If you remember, I'm a bit partial to a red dress. Unfortunately I don't own one right now, but it brought back great memories! In this set, I added some low-key dresses along with more flirty ones, since I prefer less ruffle. 

My three favorites are: the boatneck shift dress on the top right corner, nautical wrap dress (2nd to right, bottom) or the schoolish one, (2nd to left, top).

When it comes to dresses are you more vintage, flirty or low-key? Which dress would you choose for a night out? 

February 5, 2016

Emotional Eating and Me

I'm a food pusher.

I didn't realize it until watching Stephanie Bryant's scope one day. She referred to her mom as a food pusher.  I felt hit in the heart. It struck a cord with me ~ I'm obsessed with food. I push it towards anyone around me but especially my family. So much so, my kids asked me if I was hungry as a kid because I seem so focused on their eating or having something with them to eat at all times. (For the record, I was never hungry as a kid) But somewhere along the way I put an importance on food that doesn't belong there.

So I've been keeping a journal of all the moments I want to eat that are not related to fueling my body but are attached to some emotion. I'm doing this as an experiment. I'm not judging myself or putting limits; just observing. I'm sitting back like an amused observer and watching what my subject does.

She's weird, my subject. (Yes, I'm talking in third person)

I've notice that I can be super determined as long as it's within a time limit. Like the time I fasted forty days on water, or the time I gave up sugar for two months, or the two times I did Whole 30. I shine when there's a time limit. But when the time is up, I settle back into familiar bad habits. I turn again to using food like a bad relationship. I let it comfort, entertain, and relax me.

Hilary Silver also did an amazing scope on emotional eating and she said something that broke me wide open:

When you turn to food, you damage relationships. 

Instead of turning to the ones who love you, you're turning to food. Food is not a person. Food cannot heal. I left that scope feeling a little teary. I don't want to be withholding relationship from real people!

These are my thoughts today. I'm writing them here so if someone else finds themselves face down in a pile of mashed potatoes or chocolate, they can watch my journey.

I'm hoping I can get to the point of overcoming this. I want to let food do what it was intended to do ~ fuel my body. I want to stop using it to meet my emotional needs. I need to stop. I don't want to damage the relationships around me.

I'm very good at saying, "It's not soooo bad" and dismissing it. 

But the first step to overcoming is admitting there is a problem.

So here it is. I'm admitting it. Just me being honest with you and hoping I won't make cinnamon toast that I'm so desperately craving right now ~ especially feeling vulnerable sitting here in front of you admitting my problem.

Food has always been a constant for me. It's been there for me. I know that sounds so silly to say, but I'm just writing what I know is true. Thinking about giving it up for entertainment, comfort and relaxation feels scary and quite honestly I'm grieving. It's like saying good bye to an old friend who wasn't really a friend but who is familiar-enough-you-want-to-keep-around kind of friend. And it's a death of sorts to say goodbye.

So for now, I'm watching, digging, writing and noticing when I struggle and why. I'm hoping I can uncover the reason or reasons that I'm so driven to use food to fill a deeper hunger. 

My plan is to take five minutes when I'm feeling "hungry" to evaluate if it's true hunger or if I'm wanting to eat for another reason. 

If it's true hunger, I'll fill my body with good foods. If it's emotional longing, then I'll fill myself with what I'm actually needing instead of food.

Stay tuned.

This topic will be continued . . . 

February 3, 2016

5 Meaningful Gifts for Your Loved Ones

We often think about gifts of love as big gestures with an even bigger price tag; but most meaningful gifts are those from the heart. 

Think about the epic scene of John Cusack holding the boom box in the movie, Say Anything, it's the gesture itself that pulls our heartstrings.

Here are 5 Meaningful Gifts you can give your loved ones:

1. Texts of admiration.
I once sent a friend forty texts of everything I loved about her throughout her fortieth birthday. I'd pre-written all my messages in a notebook so I could just enjoy delivering them throughout the day. A showering of love, so to speak. She told me later that it gave her so much to look forward to and brightened her day!

2. Art (painting, song, comic book, flower arrangement, quilt, poem). 
You may have hidden talents that no one sees but those closest to you. Don't leave them hidden. Use your gifts to create a special work of art for the ones you love. Include things in your gift that interests your friend or loved one. No matter what kind of art you create, it can be personalized to let them know how much they mean to you.

3. Scrapbook
A scrapbook can be made with ready-made materials you have on hand OR with creative materials. You can create a front and back cover from cereal boxes or any hard objects. Use various materials for the middle "pages" (foil, post-its, fabric, scraps of paper, notebook paper ~ get creative). Place photos you have on hand or print some paper ones. If you don't have photos, you could draw "photos" or even stick people sketches with subtitles at the bottom to tell your stories. Write short messages throughout the scrapbook of memories or sweet thoughts about your loved one.

4. Re-create a Special Moment
Like the girls in Parent Trap, use what you have to re-create a special moment from the past that you and your loved one shared. Maybe cook a meal and/or decorate the room. Leave them clues about what moment it was or notes on how special that moment was to you.

5. Love Letter
Simply write a beautiful love letter. Tell the person one reason why they are special to you and how they've impacted your life. It doesn't have to be decorative, your words will mean enough. But if you want to get fancy, you could study word-lettering or calligraphy to create your message with a flourish.

It doesn't have to be hard to let someone know how much you care about them, and it certainly doesn't need a big price tag.

We don't have to clutter our homes with more stuff, we can give experiences and tender expressions to make our appreciation known. So whether you're gifting a spouse, sibling, child or friend, remember, it's the actual thought that counts!

Which one of these would be fun for YOU to receive?

February 1, 2016

Hot to Cold Weather Capsule

Our weather has been flipping so quickly that in the morning it can be spring-like and in the evening like the dead of winter. So I thought it'd be fun to show outfits that go from hot to cold. Layers are always important when the weather won't make up it's mind. Let these outfits inspire you through the wishy-washy weather season.

What's your favorite go-to layer?

January 29, 2016

Do You Struggle to ASK?

Do you struggle to ask?

What I mean by that is, do you struggle to ask for what you need? What you want? For help? Or advice?

I do. I struggle big time. I'm working to improve this in my life but it's hard to reverse how we think about it.

According to Amanda Palmer in the book, The Art of Asking (photo above), asking can't be begging or manipulative. Asking has to feel like courtship ~ a give and take. An open-handed request and a willingness to hear the word "no". 

Asking takes guts and vulnerability. It's taking a chance that you could be rejected ~ which is why most of us would rather not ask. But the problem is that we forfeit good things in life, relationships, families, businesses, marriages, or personal growth when we refuse to ask.

While someone who is manipulative, desperate and controlling will feel burdensome when they ask for something; someone who comes with vulnerability, openness and respect for our answer does not. 

The risk of disappointment is the currency of asking. It's the price we pay to ASK. Answering is the open door of opportunity. It's a chance to give another human our time, our resources, our love. The transaction between the two is connection. 

I offer you the risk of asking and you give of yourself.

I think one of the reasons we're so smitten with marriage proposals is because it's one of the biggest ASKS there is. It's full vulnerability mode.

The problem with living a life of not asking, is that we steal from others the chance to help.

When my grandmother was in her last years, I helped my parents care for her. She was pretty silent in the end but she would sometimes speak up about a need. Maybe she was cold or hungry or needed to go to the bathroom. Her request gave me the opportunity to help her. Had I not known what she needed, I couldn't have helped her.

As human beings, we long to have a meaningful life; to be helpful; to make an impact. We want to give. We're wary of being taken advantage of, but we love giving when there is true need. How many non-profit organizations changing the world today would be able to do that if they didn't ask for help? None of them. How many businesses would've started up if they hadn't asked for help in the beginning? None.

We walk around feeling as though we'll be a burden if we ask; or that we'll look needy or desperate. We have preconceived notions that to be successful means never needing anything or anyone. 

If that's true, then we must have no need for connection. Because connection is give and take, an ask and receive. We all know instinctively that we need connection. So if we need connection, then asking is part of that. It's setting down our fears and asking for help. It's helping when we see someone in need. It's sharing our struggles and recognizing we all need each other.

We've become so independent that we've stopped being communal.

I think lack of community is a big part of why there is so much anxiety, depression and loneliness in the world today. We need each other. But we're not going to change this anti-asking culture until we learn to ASK. And the only way an environment of asking will grow is if we're honest in our replies. We MUST be honest with our replies. We must be as truthful with "no" as we are with "yes". If I can't trust you to be honest, then I'll fear asking anything of you.

We can't change this mindset overnight, but we can pursue a life of asking for what we need; and being truthful in our replies to others.

What do you find most difficult to ask for?

January 27, 2016

The Habit of Simplicity

I've been feeling the itch for a mass exodus of my stuff again. It's so easy to let piles rise and allow STUFF to creep back into our home. While I've managed to contain my closet, I'm still learning to tame the beast of the kitchen utensils, piles of mail, and miscellaneous cups (where do they come from??).

It's important to create a habit of clearing out. 

With my closet, nothing comes in without reassessing what I can get rid of. This keeps my closet at a fairly consistent number and makes me devoted to an item before I replace an oldie. In other words, I'm super picky.

It has to fit me, be comfortable and go with the other items in my closet. On top of all that, I have to love it. If the sound "meh" comes out of my mouth ~ the item is gone! With a small wardrobe, there is no room for mediocre; everything must be adored.

It's the same for every area of our life.

Whether it's relationships, items, or purpose, we have to be consistently clearing out and reevaluating the significance of what we allow in our lives. We are the curator of our future selves. We alone determine the forecast of who we allow to influence us, what price our things place on us, and how meaningful our lives will be.

I'm trying to form the habit of simplicity with my home right now, but I'm still letting the "meh" stuff in.  As Marie Kondo puts it, the "just because" stuff. We don't know why it's there, we don't particularly love it, but we keep it just because. We don't know what else to do with it so we stuff it in a junk drawer or in the back of a closet and try to ignore it. The problem is, it grows and weighs us down, It's not important but we let it eat at our time, our energy and our resources.

We must hang onto the most important and let go of the mediocre. 

Letting go of unnecessary items, negativity, and criticism, This is the habit of simplicity. Loosening our grasp on what we don't need so we can fully embrace what we do need. It's only after letting go and forming a habit of simplicity that we can bask in roomy closets, spend long afternoons with a dear friend and engage in meaningful pursuits.

Where would you like a better habit of simplicity?