Dearly Noted

Category: Style

Winter 10×10 Challenge and My Word for 2017

After many eye-opening experiences in 2016 I decided that in 2017 I am fasting from shopping for clothing. This is a very personal decision (and kind of a big deal for this recovering fashion-blogger) that stems from my desire to understand more fully where clothing originates…down to the soil it’s grown in to the hands that weave it and construct each article. My sewing journey has taught me that making clothing isn’t as easy as you might believe and someone somewhere is working very hard to fill our closets.

This decision is one I believe was Spirit-led as was the word I envisioned for 2017…LESS. The latter half of 2016 was like this whirling revealing storm in my soul that brought me to this word, less. I needed to slow down and reprioritize what I was giving my energy to. I think having children does that to you…causes you to re-think your ‘norm’ and ask the harder deeper questions.

As I started to engage in a more ‘capsule’ lifestyle in 2016 I found several people who inspired me along the way…

The 10×10 Challenge was created by Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee (a blog I greatly enjoy reading). After following several rounds of her challenge, I decided it was time to jump into this micro-capsule as it seemed very fitting given my 2017 goal of not shopping. (To read more about the basics of the 10×10 Challenge start here.)

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Last week I wrapped up the challenge (which I shared on Instagram) and thought I’d share my thoughts on this small but meaningful practice…

  • Just like my thoughts on a capsule wardrobe, the 10×10 challenged allowed me the freedom to have less choice. I think we often believe that more choice equals more freedom but I am learning that isn’t always true. By staying within these 10 items I had less to wrap my mind around and consider. I put a little effort into planning my outfit the night before (a practice I already do) but that was about the extent of it. I found a lot of freedom during these 10 days.
  • While I was living in Haiti under extremely limited resources I met a very special person named Katie Day who taught me that creativity loves constraint (something she learned when studying graphic design). This notion impacted me greatly during a time that was quite difficult for me. It has always stuck in my mind but contintues to sink in more fully the more I live life. Allowing myself only 10 items to wear caused me to put together pieces in ways I never would have before. By putting constraint on my wardrobe I was forced to reimagine what seemed like the most basic of pieces.
  • Speaking of basics, doing this challenged has more fully reiterated to me the importance of quality basics in a closet. We are able to have much less when we invest in workhorse pieces that can live up to more wear. Now, I’m not in a place where I can overhaul my entire wardrobe with pricey quality clothing, but I’m exploring what I already own and taking note for future purchases (as well as ethical companies).
  • I recognize that I am very blessed and have never wanted for much. But doing a challenge like this, to live under a constraint where the world wasn’t at my fingertips…it really made me appreciate what I had and inspired me to take better care of my property. The cream knit sweater I included is one that had started to pile and had a few stray snags. Instead of giving it the heave-ho or allowing it to continue to collect dust, I decided to pull it out and take a few moments to snip off the fuzz along the front, under the arms, and down the sleeves. It was amazing how simply spending 5 minutes to care for this garment brought it back to life. Suddenly I was excited to wear it again and imagine all the layering opportunities it offered. I’m learning in all things, a little time and energy to care properly for what I own will prolong the life of said item.
  • The 10 days of this challenge had a different tone for me. I think part of it was being able to participate in something other people were doing…being part of something and connecting with others (search #winter10x10 on Instagram). What also stood out to me…less laundry. Because I needed each item in such frequency, there wasn’t time to launder every piece like I might normally do. I found myself smelling my clothes and looking them up and down to see if they could make it another day.  I would even scratch off the small piece of food my child flung onto my jeans and what would happen….good as new! Doing this challenge caused me to engage my senses and instead of just throwing my clothes into the laundry basket after 1 wear.  I slowed down, examined them, made a decision, and ultimately consumed less water (go environment!). I spent less time doing laundry which meant more time directed on other things that are more life-giving to me (like sewing…I actually got to sew this last week!).

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2017 has already had its challenges and being a mother of such young children…nothing feels like it’s in my control (like.ever). But this #ayearofless is something I’m holding onto. Something that is oddly grounding to me. A journey that is just starting in my life and one I plan to examine fully. The lesson God continues to teach me over and over (especially in recent months)…less of this world and more of Him.
Filling my closet to the brim won’t satisfy.
A perfect capsule life won’t satisfy.
Paying off all of our debt won’t satisfy.
Finding our ‘dream home’ won’t satisfy.
A curated schedule for my children will inevitably fall apart and thus, not satisfy.

I have to HAVE TO keep clinging to my Savior even when my tendency is to cling to anything and everything else. By having less, I am more able to give my energy and presence of mind to what matters the very most…listening to my Father, obeying him, enjoying this life.

Cheers to 2017.

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Capsule Wardrobe: A Reflection

At the beginning of September I began a capsule wardrobe challenge for myself (read more on this post). I had no idea when I started this little project how much I would be changed.

A capsule wardrobe caused me to think more critically and strategically about the clothing in my wardrobe. Doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, right? But… something much bigger happened inside my heart.

As I began to realize how little clothing is actually required in life, it got me thinking about consumption. How much clothing am I consuming that isn’t really necessary? Where will all of these clothes land when I’m done with them? What other areas of my life am I hyper-consuming and haven’t given it a second thought?

Right after beginning the capsule I saw the documentary ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix (please watch tonight!!). This opened my eyes to the world of fast fashion that I had NO clue about. I didn’t know that the fashion industry is the number 2 polluter or that working conditions for big store factory suppliers are HORRID and the pay is nil. How have I lived on this earth for 27 years and not given a thought to who actually makes my clothing? Why am I able to get so much for so cheap? Someone is paying the cost at some point along the line.

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Because I have so many thoughts resulting from the capsule, I have decided to do subsequent blog posts to flesh out my learnings and give each topic the space it requires. It would be too much for this post (which is already getting long)! For now I will share specifically what I have learned about my closet and clothing from doing the capsule…

  • So much of my clothing doesn’t fit me well
    Since I was wearing pieces of clothing in greater rotation you could say I became much more familiar with said items. The fit. The feel. The texture. I was surprised to find how uncomfortable I was. I thought I had selected pieces I was SURE could go the distance… but I came up short on most!
    For example, one pair of pants, low-rise, quickly left the capsule. Why did I ever think low-rise pants were comfortable?! They are the worst I’ve decided. Mom jeans all the way…they stay up, tuck in my mama pooch, and don’t have to be fiddled with.
    Another example, I had included several jersey knit tops that were size medium…all of those are now gone. Even though my postpartum body is a bit bigger than before, my frame has stayed the same which is a size small. I found that all my size medium tops fit awkwardly in my shoulders and would stretch out by the end of the day. I was, again, SO uncomfortable. So I have learned, moving forward, when I do make a purchase to consider the fabric, and most likely go with a small.
  • Nature-based fabrics are the bomb
    Ok, who says ‘the bomb’ anymore? Well, I guess I do b/c I have learned that I enjoy clothing that isn’t made from synthetics (i.e. polyester, acrylic, etc). Plant fabrics such as linen and cotton as well as animal fabrics like wool, silk, leather (for shoes)…these are the ones that feel better against my skin and, when taken care of, will last a lifetime. Since the start of the capsule, I have been checking labels much more. Not to see the brand but to see the fabric make-up. I want to learn about what materials feel the best, fit the best, and last the longest.
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    (linen dresses via Pyne & Smith Clothiers)
  • I have TOO MUCH
    This is no surprise. What is surprising to me is how much lighter I feel by having less to choose from. I compare it to shopping at Aldi vs Walmart. Having less is less stressful! There is less to manage, wash, repair, sort through. Less is better. America…can we work toward this?
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  • Fast fashion is deceiving
    Fast fashion is just that…fast (we are talking about Forever21, H&M, Gap, and pretty much any store in the mall). This means items are made quickly with cheap fabrics, inventory is constantly turning over, and it’s all set up so you come in and make a decision FAST.
    But you know what happens with most of the items I’ve purchased from these types of stores…they leave my closet FAST. They get a few wears then they are out of style or falling apart b/c they are made so poorly. Then what happens…I have to return to said store to buy more! Yes…it’s fast in that I don’t have to take much time to go and get it, but ultimately it isn’t fast b/c I spend time later frustrated with poor quality and forced to go purchase something else. Fast fashion is fast on the front end, but frustrating and disappointing on the back end.
  • I need to  s l o w  d o w n
    This is the resounding gong that keeps ringing in my life currently…slow down. I will share about how this has trickled into all areas of my life in another post, but one area is fashion. I’m realizing that taking time to analyze my closet, identify items that could be helpful, researching ethical stores that carry such items, seeking quality fabrics…this slow process is better. It’s better for me, it’s better for the planet, it’s better for the worker sewing up the clothing…it’s better.
    Stores today are designed to make you feel like if you don’t buy it now, you will miss out. Get it NOW or you will forever miss out on this chance! Eek. This is a lot of pressure and most of us succumb to it! I am learning to take a step back. If I’m not able to take time to weigh the cost and benefit then come back to it at a later time…it’s probably not worth it. If the item is gone, well, I’m pretty sure life will move on. I must become a better steward of God’s money and not be pressured into impulse purchases.
    (One item I have purchased since the start of the capsule is a simple black turtle-neck from People Tree. It’s a great layering piece or can stand alone on its own. Such a simple and functional item has stood the test of time (think Audrey Hepburn…gosh…the cutest!)
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  • Nobody and no store can fulfill me
    This is my overall takeaway from the capsule. Y’all, having the perfect in-style wardrobe will not give you lasting satisfaction. The next time you are at Target and the clothing section is screaming your name, ask yourself why? Will buying this $25 poor-quality sweater make me more loved? More valued? Help me reach my life goals? So much of the time shopping is this temporary high we seek b/c life is hard and stressful and we feel like we ‘deserve’ something new. When you get to the heart of that, it’s that we are seeking approval and fulfillment from this world. Friends, true contentment comes only from one source…our Creator. Our Father.

If you would have asked me at the start of this in September, I never would have dreamt my life would be so changed by doing a simple capsule challenge. But I am changed. And I’m so glad.

No matter how full your closet is, no matter your age, no matter your income bracket…you can make a change too. Would you consider taking some time to ponder these things? To do your research and understand who you are impacting? To check your heart and ask yourself the deeper harder questions? Would you send me a message and chat about this? I’m bursting at the seams with thoughts and would love to connect with others who are on this learning journey too.

That’s it for now. More posts to come b/c my mind is so full of thoughts I want to share.
Love to you all!

Star

Capsule Wardrobe: The Why & The Plan

For the last year I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Most of you probably know what this is…a wardrobe of around 37 higher quality items that are worn with more frequency. The thought is that each piece is selected with intention so it can be worn in heavier rotation, mixing and matching with several other pieces in the wardrobe. Instead of having a closet full of rarely-worn clothing that may be cheap and ill-fitting, you have only items that express your style, fit like a glove, are of higher quality material, and are your natural ‘go-to’s’.

Why is a capsule wardrobe appealing?

There are several reasons for me:

  • Quick & easy! What really propelled me forward to actually try a capsule was having a 2nd kiddo. With just one baby to care fore, I managed to plan out outfits and get myself ready each morning. With a toddler and a newborn…it’s just a game changer! What I need in the morning is something quick and easy that requires little to no thought but still looks put together. So the idea of having just a few items in my closet that all mix well together, I can essentially grab-and-go!
  • Identifies personal style. Many of you know I am a recovering fashion blogger. 😉 When I was in my prime of fashion blogging I was always on the hunt for something new, whether it was thrifted or not, to add flare and style to my wardrobe. Often times this resulted in quick impulse purchases that left my personal style all over the map! I guess you could say I didn’t really have a personal style, I would try anything, wear any color, go with any trend, etc.
    As I get older I’m much more interested in building a wardrobe that reflects who I am (as I learn more about who I am) and functions well with my lifestyle as a mostly stay-at-home mom.
  • Budget friendly. Instead of making impulse purchases on a whim (and usually regretting them), a capsule forces you to stay within boundaries. With each new season, I can identify what items I might be lacking for my next capsule, and save up to purchase higher quality versions. It requires a bit of research and patience, but honestly I’m excited about that part. It seems hard to spend several hundred dollars on 1 pair of shoes, but if you will be wearing them daily and for several seasons, they will quickly show their value. The thrifter in me might struggle with this part, but I’ve been having a mind/heart shift with all of this lately. Which brings me to…
  • Appeals to my faith. As I started to read the blog Un-Fancy (check her out!), I was resonating with so much of Caroline’s journey to a capsule wardrobe. She doesn’t come at it from the context of a Christian faith (I have no idea where she stands), but I feel that the idea of consuming less and appreciating what we have really lines up with my values as a Christ follower. Like Caroline, I have realized that I use shopping as a way to deal with stress or feel better about myself. Like a little high that will fill today’s hole. Instead, I need to be running to my heavenly Father when I’m struggling or stressed…not to TJMaxx!
    Additionally, as a seamstress I’m beginning to realize how complicated it is to sew clothing! This leads me to ask, who is making the clothing I wear? How much are they getting paid? If I’m paying so little for this Forever 21 shirt, who is getting the short end of the stick?
    This is a shift I’m slowly starting to take in a lot more areas of my life. I am craving quality and honesty not only in my wardrobe, but in the items purchased for my home, and even in my relationships! As I start my capsule wardrobe this first round, I’m using clothing I already own which does include pieces from fast fashion stores. But my goal is to be increasingly aware of the purchases I’m making and honor the Lord in that way.

So where do you start with all of this?

Caroline’s blog has a handy capsule planner that I utilized, in part, to help me take a step back and think through my life and identify what kind of style I wanted to have.

Time:
To start, I simply thought through how I spend most of my time. I went through each day of the week and came up with percentages that would help me narrow down the clothing I would need for each activity.

57% of my time is spent on the go with the babies. I need to be comfortable, able to move easily, and wearing something that I won’t mind getting spit up on (thank you, Wally!).
14% of my time I’m doing something where I want to look just a smidg more cute and put together. This could be going to Bible study or out with friends.
29% of my time I need to be a little more dressed up. I work one day in an office and we go to church on Sundays where I enjoy dressing up a bit more. Neither of these places require anything too fancy, but something a step up from my mommy moments would be nice.

Words:
Next, I thought through words that I want to identify myself and my ‘vibe’, if you will. I came up with:

Comfortable, Natural, Feminine, Effortless, & Classic

Colors:
I think this step is huge. In order to curate a wardrobe that speaks to your personal style, I think you have to stay within a color category. It might sound boring, but I find that I’m always drawn to certain bloggers and instagrammers that have a very consistent color scheme. To figure this part out I simply looked in my closet and saw what I had already been drawn to the most, the colors that naturally appealed to me and that I felt comfortable in. For me they are:

Major Colors (2): Blacks/Greys & Indigo Hues (denim, chambray, navys)
Minor Colors (1): Whites/Creams
Accents (3): Blush Pinks/Berry, Earthy Greens, Cognac Browns

What are my final selections?

A true capsule wardrobe has 37 pieces not including accessories or lounge clothing. For this round I am allowing myself 40 pieces b/c Kansas has a wide range of temperatures in the Fall. If all goes well, I will wear only these items in rotation for 3 months, Sept-Nov!

TOPS(1-16), JACKETS (17-20), BOTTOMS(21-28), SHOES (29-37), EXTRAS (38-40):

  1. Grey & white striped tank
  2. Blue & white striped tank
  3. Navy blue plaid high-low button up
  4. Blush pink t-shirt
  5. Heather black t-shirt
  6. Plain white v-neck t-shirt
  7. Burnt mauve 3/4 sleeve top
  8. Oatmeal long sleeve flowy top
  9. Tan & white striped thicker boxy top
  10. Blush pink & white striped side-split top
  11. Jersey knit berry colored flowy top
  12. Short-sleeved denim flowy top
  13. Navy blue jersey knit 3/4 sleeve
  14. Thin striped blue button-up
  15. Hunter green dressy blouse
  16. Mustard boxy top (made by me!)
  17. Denim jacket
  18. Black leather jacket
  19. Green military jacket
  20. Light khaki trench jacket
  21. Grey distressed high-waisted skinnies
  22. Black high-waisted skinnies
  23. Denim high-waisted skinnies
  24. Boyfriend jeans
  25. Army green skinnies
  26. Black leggings
  27. Dark gray a-line skirt
  28. Chambray skirt
  29. Cognac brown crisscross sandals
  30. Black Birkenstocks
  31. Cognac brown ballerina flats
  32. Tan strappy leather booties
  33. Leopard flats
  34. Open-toe cognac brown heel
  35. White Converse
  36. Cognac brown ankle boots
  37. Black chelsea combat boots
  38. Brown open sweater
  39. Burnt orange open sweater
  40. Denim vest

For accessories I’m utilizing 2 scarves, 1 braided leather belt, 1 white leather backpack(diaper bag), and very minimal jewelry. Easy for my mommy lifestyle!

Final thoughts?

Given that I just had a baby 2 months ago, I’m allowing myself the freedom to switch out items (particularly pants) if my body changes during this 3 month time. For me it’s not as much about sticking hard-fast to the rules as much as challenging myself to live with less.

I’m really excited to try this out and thankful for my sweet friend, Krista, who is doing it with me! The whole idea of consuming less and living more is just so appealing to me. Less stuff to manage and more time to give to those I love!

(I’ll be sharing pics and updates to come! I start on September 1st, this Thursday!)

Dressing a Post-Partum Body

After my last style post on pregnancy fashion, I thought it’d be fun to do a follow up post on postpartum style and how to flatter your figure after you’ve had a baby (hello 4th trimester). I had my baby a little over 2 weeks ago and am in that fun stage of trying to dress my ever-changing figure!

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If you’ve ever had a baby you know the postpartum season can be tricky. Just like pregnancy, you don’t want to go buy a whole new wardrobe b/c you know your body will be continually changing for quite some time. But, you probably still want to look stylish and also wear clothing that is functional for nursing, carrying a newborn, and chasing other children around (hello comfort!).

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Here are a few ideas for dressing after baby:

  • Find the right shape:
    If you’ve just cranked out a baby, chances are your tummy will be a bit poochy for a while. This is nothing to be ashamed of, I mean, you just grew and birthed a human for crying out loud. But if you don’t want to accentuate your midsection, here are the types of tops to keep in mind:
    Boxy
    as pictured, boxier tops help hide a bulging tummy as well as provide lots of room for movement as well as ease for nursing. Win!
    Peplum
    pictured below, peplum style shirts flow away from the body at just the right place. I opted for a top that fit more loosely all around as apposed to a fit-n-flare style.
    Babydoll
    not pictured, but I’ve been keeping my babydoll-style tops in heavy rotation these days. This style is typically more fitted around the shoulders than flares out right above the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt.

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  • Keep fabric in mind:
    Fabrics that carry a little more weight tend to stay put and not cling to the body. Although it’s tempting, if you are trying to flatter your postpartum figure jersey knits aren’t the best option. These types of material will hug and cling to each curve and crease. Look for tops that hold their own shape.

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  • Consider a girdle: There are a myriad of postpartum girdles out there ranging in price. I opted for one from Walmart that was $10. I don’t wear it every day but it’s nice to have. And they are actually proven to help your uterus shrink back down and offer support after all that bodily change. Win!

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  • Organize your closet:
    It can be a little depressing to see an entire closet of clothes that don’t fit, but try not to let that get you down. I suggest creating a space in your closet for the clothes that fit you now. You could even pack away the clothing you know won’t be fitting you for a while if you find yourself discouraged every time you look at your closet.
    As you start loosing baby weight, remember to keep evaluating your closet, slowly you will be able to add more items that fit and hopefully it feels like a success each time!

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  • Stay positive and creative:
    Like pregnancy, I think it can be easy to just ‘give up’ during these seasons of constant bodily change. But, for me, keeping a positive spirit and challenging myself to stay creative with my wardrobe (and in other areas!), I found this season a fun chance to think outside the box and utilize what I own in new ways.

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And finally, remember you are so much more than what you wear. We are children of God, we have purpose and talent, we can love and create and embrace and smile. Even if you don’t feel quite yourself in your postpartum season try to embrace today. Embrace the woman you are in this moment in time. You are a child of God, His design, and He adores you!

{As a gift to my followers I am offering 15% off one item at Penelope & Olive using the code STARLEE. That is where I ordered both of my tops in this post and I LOVE them! All items at Penelope & Olive are $40 or less which is so great when you live on a budget like me!}

Much love,
Star

Frugal & Functional: My Best Maternity Fashion Tips & Where to Shop

IMG_3349As I draw near to the end of my 2nd pregnancy, I thought it would be fun to share my best tips for getting through pregnancy when it comes to fashion. Some women feel their most beautiful when pregnant, others feel like a giant balloon, but either way, you gotta dress yourself! And if you are like me, you don’t have a lot of extra money to go buy a whole new wardrobe to accommodate this short, beautiful season. So, here are my tips for a functional and frugal maternity wardrobe…

  1. Stick with the basics.
    For the first few months of pregnancy, you can probably get by wearing your normal clothes, but as you progress you will definitely need a few things. I would recommend investing in a few pieces:
    -2 pairs of maternity jeans
    -5-6 basic maternity t-shirts (short or long sleeved depending on the season you are pregnant)
    -1-2 comfy dress options (I have 2 jersey-knit throw-on casual dresses)
    -1 nicer maternity dress (think for church or special occasion).
    It may not sound like much, but these are the basics of what I have used particularly through this 2nd pregnancy as I have realized I can make do with much less.
    If you are working away from the home and have to look more professional, this list may look different. I work 1 day/week in a professional office setting and I usually pair a dress with leggings and some flats to create a comfortable yet dressier look.IMG_2632
  2. Utilize cardigans, sweaters, or kimonos.
    With baby #2 I have been pregnant through mostly colder months and my go-to combo has been a long sleeve fitted maternity shirt under my open cardigans and sweaters. These are cardigans I already owned and simply paired them over my maternity shirts. If you are pregnant in the summer but still want a little more coverage, I would recommend buying 1-2 cute light-weight kimono style open tops.
  3. Let your accessories take the stage.
    With such few maternity pieces in my wardrobe, it’s easy to feel like I’m wearing the same old boring outfit over and over. But I’ve had a lot of fun challenging myself to wear some neglected accessories that pair well with basics. Do you have a statement necklace you like but that has been gathering dust? Pull that baby out! Do you, like me, have way too many scarves that never get worn? Put those in rotation! Try a fun hat, a funky earring, or stacking some bracelets in a new way. These things shake up an outfit and take away from the fact that you wear that simple black tank dress every week (guilty).IMG_2900
  4. Borrow from friends.
    Do you have a close friend who is a similar size and not pregnant right now? Ask them if they have a few pieces they would share with you. I was lucky enough to have a friend who just had her 4th and last baby and she passed down several wonderful pieces to me that I wore a lot over the winter. This is a frugal method to get some maternity clothes, and since it it such a short season of life, why not share the love! Then, when you are done with your season of growing babies, you can pass on your clothes too! Cool!
  5. See what you already own that will work throughout your pregnancy.
    You might be surprised to find that you have more pregnancy-friendly clothing than you realized. Flowy shirts are wonderful for accommodating the bump. I have worn my elastic high-waist skirts with a  tied up t-shirt through both pregnancies (these are easy to find at thrift stores!). Pull out any empire waist dresses; these can be easily worn with leggings as your belly grows and your dresses get shorter.IMG_3239
  6. Don’t forget about undergarments. 🙂
    Until I had Flora I didn’t realize just how much various parts of my body would change…not just my belly. Once of my 2 saving graces have been my seamless panties from Victoria’s Secret. They are the stretchy kind that have no seam around the legs or waist which accommodates growth in the bum area without cutting off circulation. My other secret weapon is my bra extender! As baby grows and takes up more space in your body, all your organs shift around and get pushed up. This means your rib cage widens and your bra size will change quite a bit. From my last pregnancy I had purchased 2 new bras, but this time around they just weren’t wide enough. For about $7 I ordered a 3 pack of bra extenders from Amazon that simply clip to your bra hook, and voila! No need to buy more bras (which can be dang pricey!).
  7. My favorite places to shop.
    So where do you find these few, but important pieces? This is where I have gone…
    -For inexpensive basic tops, shop at Ross! They have a small maternity section where I have found short and long-sleeve simple tops. They aren’t the most amazing quality, but for $3-5 a shirt, you can’t complain!
    -Check out Old Navy, online and in store. Both of my jersey-knit comfy dresses are from there. They also have great sales.
    -On Cyber Monday I ordered a pair of nice skinny jeans from Motherhood Maternity for $20 and they have been great. I don’t adore most of what Motherhood sells, but for a basic like jeans, it’s hard to go wrong.
    -Check Target for jeans, tops, and dresses. While there prices aren’t always amazing on maternity, the selection is usually pretty cute.
    -For a fancy dress, look at ASOS online. Be warned…it’s all super cute and not necessarily budget friendly.IMG_2985

Hopefully a few of these tips are helpful and you can learn from my experience and mistakes. 🙂 The season of pregnancy has really show me how little I can live with in my wardrobe and it’s kind of refreshing!

Blessings!

Star

*top image by Neal Dieker Photography

Golden Globes 2016: Best Dressed

While I never watch major award shows (no cable….rambunctious 1 year old), I always enjoy getting online the next day and seeing what all the gorgeous celebrities wore. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite dresses from the other night and what I like about each one. Most days I am dressed in my comfy and functional mommy clothes, so seeing all these stunning gowns just makes me happy. 🙂 I like to take a few moments and imagine what the designer was thinking and how they might have constructed the gown. It truly is an art form!

Amber Heard: Let’s start with my very favorite pick of the night…Amber Heard in Gucci. If I had to pick one dress I would have personally worn, it would have been this one. The delicate romantic flowers line her neck and follow a u-shape pattern down the back of her dress. I love the nude undertone with the sweet blush color and the dramatic train. All of this combined with her hair style and lip color just won me over. The waist line is also great, drawing the eye to her petite figure. So stunning!

Amber Heard

Alicia Vikander: Wearing Louis Vuitton, I thought Alicia Vikander just looked so simple and elegant. This dress has subtle complexities, like the way it fans out when she steps and the trim around the neck and arms, but it really lets her natural beauty shine. The vertical lines broken up by the belt create a visually pleasing line that make her look extra tall.

Alicia Vikander

Helen Mirren: For my ‘classiest’ pick, Hellen Mirren takes the cake in Badgley Mischka. Goodness those shear shoulders are so elegant and just a little sexy, but not too revealing…very fitting for her age. What really sells me is how she paired the dress with this necklace that perfectly mirrors and complements the neckline of her dress. She just looked perfectly classy and gorgeous.

Helen Mirren

Joanne Froggatt: This Downton Abbey favorite just nailed it on the head in this Lily James dress in my opinion. The color is really on-point for this year and the cut fits her petite frame really well. The way the fabric curves and bends the sheen to create its shape is so subtle and creative. And the way the bottom half flows is just so feminine and lady-like. Love this on her.

Joanne Froggatt

Kirsten Dunst: Usually I’m not a huge fan of dramatic plunging necklines, but I was intrigued by this Valentino dress that Kirsten Dunst wore. The black color keeps all the attention on the way the simple straps create all the shape. There is a hint of Egyptian ‘Cleopatra-esque’ draping, especially in the shoulders. I just appreciated the creative balance of interest and simplicity with this dress.

kirsten dunst

Malin Akerman: Just when you thought peplum had lived its day, Malin Akerman rocked this Reem Akra gown. The way the peplum flows on this gown is just fantastic. It is almost as if the fabric is floating in water like an elegant lacey sea creature. Haha. The simple sweetheart neckline really lets the midsection be the star of this dress. Love the fabric choice and how feminine she looks in this gown.

Malin Akerman

Jenna Dewan: I’m not typically drawn to anything super sparkly, BUT the genius of this Zuhair Murad dress is how the beading ripples away from the pocket, making it look like Jenna Dewan is causing a ripple in the water of her gorgeous gown. I just thought this was super creative and very inspired and well thought-out.

Jenna Dewan

Zendaya: Wearing Marchesa, Zendaya took a bit of a risk in this gown, but I think it payed off. It’s very unique and very dramatic, but what I really appreciate are how the layers fall on this gown. Each tier starts a bit lower than you would expect making the gown very eye catching. I thought it needed to be a few inches shorter, so not to drag, but the design and use of fabric on her tiny frame is very creative. It takes a certain body type to pull off this much fabric, but I thought Zendaya did it well.

Zendaya

 

What was your favorite gown of the night?

Birchbox Review: My top 3 product picks

Last Christmas I received a year’s subscription to Birchbox. Birchbox is a company that sends their subscribers samples of beauty related products in a cute little box each month. After a year of trying out new brands and products, I thought I would share my top 3 picks. Upon sampling new lip colors and a lot of new skin care products, really I can boil the best items (in my opinion) down to just 3 things. While I did enjoy the excitement of getting something fun in the mail each month, I was not blown over by the majority of what I received. To be honest, many of the samples have landed in my ‘travel sized’ storage box that I grab from when packing for a short trip. I tend to be a ‘stick to the basics’ girl when it comes to my beauty routine, but in an effort to get out of my ‘box’ (haha), Birchbox was a fun little experiment to experience new brands.

These 3 products are all ones I have purchased full-sized versions of b/c I fell in love. These are products I would have otherwise never known about!

  1. Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

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When it comes to my face, I am picky about what I use b/c I tend to have sensitive skin and hormone related break outs. A big part of my cleansing routine is exfoliating. I used to use my Clarisonic exclusively, but now I have switched to using this Vasanti Brighten Up in rotation with my Clarisonic. The Vasanti product is the best, non-mechanical, face exfoliant I have ever tried. It does not lather up, but has a pleasant cleansing smell and super tiny micro beads that exfoliate really well. There is something sort of therapeutic about using this stuff. My face always feels extra clean and smooth after each use. I start by washing off my makeup with my tried-and-true Cetaphil, then follow-up with the Vasanti. LOVE this product.

2. Amika Un.done Texture Spray

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As I style my hair I like to keep the products to a minimum. I have very fine but very thick hair and it really holds onto product. After a few days without washing, product can really build up and weigh it down  so I typically use hairspray the first day or two then nothing else. Once I tried this texture spray I was hooked! I quickly used up the little bottle they sent and ordered a full-sized one. I use this spray to lift my roots and give my hair a bit more ‘body’ on top. My hair can tend to get a bit ‘triangle’ in shape being heavy on the bottom, so I need help with lift at the roots. This stuff does the magic. I also feel like this product doesn’t leave my hair feeling stiff or dirty at all which I like a lot. If you struggle with keeping body in your hair throughout the day, I highly recommend this product.

3.W3ll People Expressionist Mascara

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Guys. I’m so lame when it comes to mascara. I have been using the same brand of Maybelline mascara since I was in middle school…you know the one with the pink bottle and green cap? After shelling out money on cheap and expensive mascaras that promise the world, I always came back to my staple. My lashes are very blonde and very long so it takes a very particular type of brush/consistency of mascara to work with my lashes. I hate clumps and I just want it to go on easily. When I saw a mascara sample in my Birchbox I sighed b/c I knew it would be another failed try. Boy, was I wrong! I am loving this W3ll People mascara. Something about the consistency of the liquid and the shape of the brush makes this stuff go on really smooth with no mess! This mascara creates a more subtle natural look to my eyelashes, which is what I generally prefer with my makeup anyways. So lately I’ve been using the W3ll People on a more daily basis, then my classic Maybelline when I want my lashes to look a little more full and intense.

 

I want to end this post by saying that I am in no way a beauty product expert. My method has always been to find what I like and just stick to it so my daily routine is as simple and quick as possible. For me to shell out more than $5 on a beauty product, I have to REALLY like it. All 3 of these items fall into that category for me. If you have been looking to try out anything similar to these products, I would recommend each of them!

Thanks for reading!

Star