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?

January 25, 2016


In the midst of winter storms on the East coast, I thought it'd be fun to browse a coat-astic set of winter coats. I have a pea coat that I've had for a looooong time, and seeing all the coats on snow-filled periscopes has given me coat-buying fever. 

I think my favorites in this set are the two on the far right top and bottom. Although how I would keep a beige coat clean with all my coffee spills, I don't know. I LOVE the red one but it's just not my style. It's the kind of coat I'd rave about on someone else but never wear myself.

Which one is your favorite?

January 20, 2016

Why We Stuff Our Closets

Why do we stuff our closets? 

Our closets are bursting with clothes but we continue to seemingly have a need for more. While we could survive on very few clothing items, a need urges us on. Is it the need to be stylish? Or powerful? Or "win" by finding the greatest deals? 

Clothes seem like a solvent for feeling happy, lonely, or sad.

You've heard of emotional eating? I call this emotional stuffing. It's attempting to meet a need that can't really be met by clothes, but for the moment we attempt to.

It's the same for me when I want unhealthy food. On the outside it seems like a simple longing for chocolate. But when I'm wanting unhealthy things, it's usually about more than the food. It can be my way of celebrating, pushing back pain or loneliness or staving off boredom. I've often thought of sugary goodies as a treat/reward for doing something hard, or a comfort through struggles. I've viewed it like I'm getting a secret surprise, when in reality, I'm sabotaging my own health goals. If I zoom in close, I can recognize that the food is not meeting my need. Instead I can remind myself that a "treat" would be going swimsuit shopping without dreading it, or hiking with my family without slowing everyone down.

When I turn to food for comfort, celebration, or entertainment, I am wanting it to meet a need that food can't meet. The same is true for clothes or shoes. Yes, those things are nice; but they won't give you happiness, comfort or purpose in the long run.

When we begin to meet our needs in real ways, we won't need large wardrobes to care for ourselves. 

So next time you're tempted stuff your closet (or your face), ask yourself why. Why in this moment do you want that? What is it that is triggering your actions? Is there pain you're trying to avoid? Are you wanting to do something meaningful? Get to the bottom of your why and meet the need in a real way instead of stuffing your face OR your closet!

Do you struggle with emotional shopping, eating or other things?

January 18, 2016

Sweater Weather Set

In the middle of freezing weather and snow-filled days, all I want is to live in sweaters. This set is of cozy sweaters and casual outfits will have you ready for any chilly morning!

January 13, 2016

Mom, Take Back Your Mornings!

Mornings are the most difficult time of day to keep simple. Everyone is rushing, there are breakfasts to be eaten, bags to pack and places to go. But it's important to give everyone a happy head start ~ including you!

Here are some ways to take back your mornings and enjoy them!

1. Help your children choose their clothes the night before. 
Allow them be to be part of the process and work to come to a mutual conclusion. The nice thing about doing this is that if there is going to be a battle, it won't be right before you're walking out the door! You might want to start early in the evening to keep from delaying bedtime, since sleep is also a key factor to having a great morning.

2. Create a capsule wardrobe for them.
Basically this is simply choosing a set of clothes that are easy to mix. Do the colors go together? Does the material or style work well with other items? You may not be able to do this 100% but I would recommend trying. This way, no matter what shirt they pull out, it will go with any of the bottoms.

Of course you will want to be okay with what is going into their set in the first place so there won't be clothing you're opposed to. Having said that though, be sure to embrace your children's unique style; clothing is a fun way to express yourself and children are geniuses at this. If your favorite colors are earthy and your daughter loves brights, give a little and let her express her artistic side. Children are simply little people with their own preferences and tastes. It's best to honor that and work together towards an agreeable end.

3. Put special clothes out of sight.
Store clothes elsewhere that your children always want to wear but either can't be worn except special occasions, or are only for the weekends. Not seeing the temptation can help with struggle.

BONUS TIP: Make a capsule wardrobe for yourself to simplify your morning even more! Own your unique style and let it reflect you!

What is your biggest challenge to having a calm, simple morning?

January 11, 2016

Earthy Casual Capsule Wardrobe

If you're an earthy colors, all-pants-all-the-time, comfy-casual sort of gal, then this capsule is for YOU! Full of easy to move in jeans, design leggings and a go-with-everything pair of pants, you'll be ready to go. AND I've put the outfits together for you ~ three weeks of outfit bliss!

I'll be honest, these are the kinds of outfits I frequent. Well maybe not the decorated leggings, mine are just black, but still. All comfort all the time! In fact comfortable is one of the three words I chose to help me pick clothes for my capsule wardrobe.

Right now it's cold and snowy here so all I'm thinking about is layers! Lots and lots of layers! This capsule is one that could easily be layered and then shed depending on the fluctuating weather (or in my case, changing inner temperatures).

If you would like help with your wardrobe, I will be offering consultations at the end of this month! I'll share more about that in the coming weeks. May your days be simple and full of purpose!

January 8, 2016

You Have Not Failed

We interrupt this program to bring you an important message: 

You have not failed.

Often at the beginning of the year, we feel so full of life and energized with goals but then, one misstep and we feel like we've failed.

I had a moment like that this week. I re-started my healthy eating plan on Monday and I was doing good, but on Tuesday night I found myself stuffing a handful of cookies in my mouth. Afterwards I felt like a complete failure.

But messing up is not a failure, it's part of the process.

I realized in the middle of my pity-party that being mad at myself and giving up after one mistake would be ridiculous. I didn't completely fail, I messed up. Failing would be giving up completely and never trying again.

When I think of failure I think of something that is completely done and can't be fixed. For example, if I'm fixing dinner and I completely burn the meal to the point that we can't eat it, that meal has failed to be edible. It's done, it's over.

But you're here. You clicked on this post and I'm guessing it's because you needed to hear that you haven't failed. Even if things have ended in your life or you've suffered big losses, you are still here ~ seeking, growing. You haven't given up on life or your dream, or that relationship or whatever it is you're pursuing.

You are here.

And that tells me that you're not ready to stop. You're moving forward. You may just need a little encouragement that you haven't failed. Most likely your problem is simply a misstep or a mistake ~ one that can be fixed. But even if it can't be fixed, you have a choice in this moment. 

You have a choice to move forward, to grow, to extend kindness to yourself and others.

And that is never a failure.

So please, be gentle with yourself and remember this: You have not failed, you're simply in the middle of your process.

Are you worried that you've failed? Please tell me in the comments below so I can encourage you. Are you embracing your process? I'd love to hear how! Let's hold each other up.

January 4, 2016

New Year Capsule Wardrobe

The beginning of the year is a great time to freshen your closet! Clear out all those clothes you don't love or wear; create a capsule (set of clothes) that are easily mixable and your mornings will be suddenly easier! With one set of clothes, you can create a month's worth of outfits (see above). The set today has only thirteen pieces of clothing and it produced four weeks of outfits! It's completely do-able, trust me. You'll love how light you feel when your closet is uncluttered and your outfits come together effortlessly.

Want to start your new year with a new closet?

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 

I've said it before but I love the start of a new year and the possibilities it brings!

I've been thinking about what I want to focus on this year and I definitely want more connection and more meaning. I want to keep one word at the forefront of my focus: authentic. That word has always been important to me, but feels even more so right now at this time in my life. I want my blog, my relationships, my passions to all be authentic. I want a life full of honesty and vulnerability.

So in light of that, I'm going to be adding more heartfelt posts and share intimately more often. I love getting to share about small wardrobes and simplifying belongings, but I want to add more depth here on the blog.

Thank you all for making 2015 such a great year with your kind connection. I look forward to knowing you more in the coming year!

Do you have a word or a focus for the year? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!