Posts tagged with dailyinspiration:
I wrote a post last year about the similarities between J.Crew’s clothing and items available from Old Navy and Gap. This spring, J.Crew has some very cute new stuff, but you can get items that are nearly identical from other stores at a much lower price point.
Original: J.Crew Merino Mesh-Sleeve Sweater in Colorblock, $79.50
- Gap Waffle Knit Baseball T, $8.97
- Forever 21 Striped Baseball Tee, $9.80
- Gap Drapey Baseball T, $18.86
Original: J.Crew Carrie Cami in Stripe, $98
- ASOS Swing Cami Top, $30.11
Original: J.Crew Silk Eyelet Bib Top, $148
- Old Navy Embroidered Tunic, $25
- Skies Are Blue Popover, $79
- Forever 21 Embroidered Peasant Top, $22.80
Original: J.Crew Stretch Reid Crop Jean, $115
Original: J.Crew Collection Rylan Blazer, $325
- ZARA Linen Blazer, $89.90
Original: J.Crew Side-Slit Tunic, $45
- H&M Oversized Top, $12.95
Last year I did a Spring Closet Makeover post and followed that up with a post about how to wear your entire closet. In addition to my spring cleanout last year, I did one pre-fall/winter and I just tackled my closet again yesterday. After several hours of sorting and re-sorting, I ended up with five large trash bags full of things to donate. It felt so good. I used to go through my closet and end up with maybe one small bag, choosing instead to hoard things or keep them JUST IN CASE. But I’ve gotten more ruthless and I like it. I really like it.
I’m doing a Part II to last year’s post because I feel like I’m finally following my own advice. I did okay during last year’s cleanouts—I was finally able to part with a lot of things I was keeping around for sentimental reasons—but yesterday’s sort-and-toss was the first time I really edited with intention and desire. I wanted those things gone. It wasn’t a painful extraction and it didn’t feel like I was having to part with old friends. It was GIRL BYE.
So, here are a few more tips to put into context how I changed this process from one I dreaded and avoided to one that I approach with glee and anticipation. Clean all the things!
- Make it a habit. Seasonal cleanouts are easiest for me. By the time spring rolls around, I’m pretty sick of winter clothes anyway. This makes it easier for me to toss a sweater I haven’t worn in the past six months because SERIOUSLY HOW MUCH LONGER DO I HAVE TO WEAR SWEATERS IN GENERAL. I’ve been doing twice yearly cleanouts now (one right before spring, one right before fall/winter) and that seems to work great for me. Some people like to do the one in, one out thing: Buy something, donate something. That’s too much fuss for me but I like the idea. Anyway, now that I’ve gotten into the habit of regular cleanouts, I really look forward to them.
- Forget the money. I used to hold on to stuff that I spent $$ on but I’ve learned that money should be my last consideration if I want to do a really effective cleaning effort. Besides, most items I donate are ones that I bought because money was barely a consideration at the time of purchase. They were usually on sale or a good deal (or inexpensive and trendy). They were something I had to have until I didn’t. It’s disingenuous to worry about the money at the point at which said item is simply languishing, sitting. Someone else could be wearing that and they might love it. The transaction is done. Time to let it go.
- Keeping sentimental items can be okay. But keeping sentimental items that don’t fit is not okay. What does that pair of jeans from 6 years ago that won’t go over my hips remind me of? Nothing useful except that I used to have narrower hips. (-_____-) Getting rid of maternity items or nursing clothes/bras has been hard for me, but I realized that I could keep a few things—like my favorite robe or one nursing tank—and let the rest go without feeling guilty or sad. They don’t fit. Why keep them? This rule is tough when it comes to shoes too. I had several pairs of shoes that I loved but either didn’t fit quite right or weren’t comfortable. I would have kept them a few years ago but not now. I don’t care how much I love a pair of shoes. If they eat my feet, they’re gone.
- I want my closet to feel like a boutique and not a ROSS. Price point is not a factor when I say that. It’s JUST about presentation. If everything is crammed together with no thought or pattern or meaning, it’s just chaos all around. There MIGHT be a gem somewhere in the clutter, but who has time for that? Who has the energy for that? If things are spaced out, everything becomes valuable. I trust that what’s left is something that I have worn, do wear and feel comfortable in.
- Some closet organization advice sucks balls (maybe including this post), so do what works for you. I’ve read so many articles that say to organize by color or by function (work dresses here, sundresses there) but that does not—DOES NOT—work for me. Organize by color. OKAY. Half the closet is black. I cannot find a damn thing. Organize by function. SURE. Most of my clothes are casual now. Almost everything is the SAME FUNCTION. Either of these organization styles (or a combo of both) might work great for you, but I prefer to organize things straight down the line. Jeans, cardigans, maxi dresses, jackets, blouses. The casual jackets and activewear jackets are in the same area. Horrors! But at least I KNOW where all the damn jackets are. Tshirts and casual shirts get their own space. Hoodies another. The exception to this general labeling is that some of my activewear/slug stuff/leggings are organized separately: long leggings, cropped leggings, tanks, long-sleeved tops, etc.
- Undergarments matter. I don’t care how nice the rest of the closet looks: If my bras are losing their elasticity and shape or don’t fit correctly, I get LEVEL 10 annoyed. My most recent problem was that any and all bras I wore from 2010-2013-ish no longer fit. I had mercifully kept a few randoms around from my college days (sentimentality hoarding at its worst) and they fit. I wore these until I could get my hands on some new ones. My go-to spot for bras/underwear is Aerie because the quality is good, the fit is outstanding and the prices are best of all. Recent bra picks included this one ($20, so comfy), this one ($20, love the longline style) and this one ($35, another longline option). These Aerie seamless thongs (4 for $26.50) are the best, full-stop, for wearing with leggings. They’re so damn comfortable. I know you don’t believe me, but just try them. You’ll see.
- Don’t overlook accessories. The last few cleanouts I’ve forgotten to go through my scarves and tights and hats/gloves/socks and such. Yesterday I made a special note to finally go through that stuff properly and whoooooo boy. Lots of it had to go.
- The best part of a really quality cleaning job is seeing what spaces need to be filled. Based on what I kept and set aside for donation yesterday, I can see that I’m good on shorts and tees/casual tanks for summer, but I want to get a few more neutral casual dresses—shorter ones and maxi dresses. I used to buy a lot of print dresses for the warmer months (stupid), so I’ll focus on finding some great black and white ones this year.
Good luck and happy donating!
P.S. Would love to hear your tips for closet organization. ?
The only thing I hope you resolve to do this year is to find something that makes you happy and do that thing. Do it every day or as often as you can. Do it because it’s fun and relaxing and a little bit selfish and not because you feel you must do it out of a sense of obligation or competition.
Is it cooking? Painting? Working out? Crafting? Writing in a journal? Do something that fulfills you entirely.
Whatever thing you do shouldn’t feel like a resolution because resolutions feel like work. For me, reading for 10 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour before I go to bed doesn’t feel like a resolution. That feels like breathing or eating. It feeds my soul and gives me life. When I make the time (and I should make more time for this), playing music feels like home. I feel such a deep sense of satisfaction and contentment in that place of just reading notes across a page, over and over and over. There are few other things I am capable of or obligated to do that bring me such deep-rooted joy.
If you were sitting alone in an empty room for several hours, what things would you like to bring with you to occupy that time? You can’t shop in the empty room. You can’t care for other people in the empty room. You can’t wash the dishes or do the laundry there either. So what would you take? What could you do there that would be so fulfilling that the hours would fall away and you would emerge, hardly believing that the time is up?
I know what I would bring. Do you? This year, I hope you discover what it is and you do it. Do it as much as you can. You’ve earned it.
*Worst, yes, but also the easiest method ever, promise!
If you’ve done the Lo Bosworth curl tutorial recently, you have probably realized that while it works, it is only effective if your hair is thick and holds a curl well. Large barrel curling irons are great, but you lose the curl fast (unless your hair is thick and holds a curl well).
THAT’S WHY FLAT IRONS ARE AMAZING
I know it’s intimidating and it looks like fucking ninja moves in the YouTube tutorials. That’s why I am writing this post. I am so confident in my super easy method that I will not only NOT give you video, but I shall illustrate the steps using crudely drawn toddler-like figures.
A few reminders before we get started:
- Your hair should be as smooth and product-free as possible. Clean hair works best.
- Keep a comb handy to brush through sections before you curl them. The smoother the hair, the better the curl.
- Don’t try and curl sections that are too large. A good rule of thumb to follow is to grab a section of hair about half the width of your flat iron. I actually don’t know if this is a rule of thumb, but it is something I do and THIS IS MY TUTORIAL SO SAY WE ALL
- This might take you a while the first time, but don’t get discouraged. I can do my hair in 5-10 minutes—whether it’s 5 or 10 is dependent on how much I care about my appearance that day.
- Finger-brush through your curls once they’ve had a chance to cool. There is a time and a place for tightly coiled, sectioned nonsense, but I’m not a fan. You want this curl to look natural, bouncy and effortless; this curl should NOT look like you’ve painstakingly curled half-inch sections of hair all around your head. (Which it absolutely will unless you finger-brush or use a widetooth comb once you’re done.)
- If you have bangs, FOR GODSSAKE DON’T CURL THEM DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
- Here is a good example of this tutorial in action. Here are some second day, slept-on flat iron curls.
Okay, let’s get this done. Left side first.
Near the end of my pregnancy I’d ask myself that. Where was my REAL FACE? I barely remembered what it looked like. The water weight, the weight-weight and the general all-over bloatedness of pregnancy turned my face into something that now, looking back at photos, seems hard to believe was real. When I was admitted to the hospital for the high fever, they pumped me full of fluids. We watched as an IV bag flowed into me, at Brandon’s count, every 30 minutes or so. This went on for over 30 hours before Isobel was born. I remember asking if anyone had a needle. Pop me like a balloon!
Above: 30 hours after being admitted. Immediately post-epidural. We both slept for two hours after this. Come to think of it—that was probably the last time I slept for a week. -_____-
My face changed quickly after Iz was born. The IV bloat and water weight went away fast. Those were replaced by dark circles that stuck around for nearly a year. I wore makeup occasionally (when I left the house, ha), but when I did, it was heavier than I’d worn it in a long time. I was compensating for a lot of insecurities and the best (and most immediate fix) was more makeup. But I ended up feeling like a fraud. My makeup was done, hair was done, but I was wearing clothes that barely fit me while pretending to be a *normal* person. I felt like I had huge neon signs pointing at my head reading SHE DOES NOT BELONG. SEND HER HOME TO HER YOGA PANTS AND BREAST PUMP. Worse, I would have agreed. I didn’t belong in the outside world anymore. I smelled of breastmilk and my body was doughy soft. I was yawning by 8 pm. By 9 pm, I was panicking. If I don’t go to bed RIGHT NOW, I am going to miss out on HOURS of sleep. I’d get myself so worked up about the sleep I was potentially losing, that by the time I got into bed, I couldn’t sleep anyway. Those first months were a bizarre time. The whole world seemed in flux and I wasn’t sure I would fit in it anymore without having a baby strapped to my chest.
In an attempt to control something, I cut my hair. I dyed my hair. I bought eye cream for the wrinkles I started seeing around my eyes. Staring at a naked face with my hair pulled back most of the time showed me things that mascara might have hid. The sleepless year and rapidly diminishing hormones took a toll on my skin. But each time I looked in the mirror, I would brush away the image. That’s not really me. The real me has her hair done. Has mascara on, AT LEAST. My real face doesn’t look this haggard, this wan.
I’d ask myself, “Is this what I really look like?” And I didn’t want to answer my own question. I hated myself for the sheer vanity of it all, but not enough to examine why it mattered so much to me that I not look anything like what I really look like.
A few months ago I saw Terra’s posts about her Bare Naked campaign and wanted to submit a photo. I tried to take one and was horrified. I’ve always loved the transformational power of makeup, hair, clothes. I find it fun and enjoyable, but somewhere my wires got crossed and these things did not become something to enhance. They became disguises. And that’s fine sometimes. Disguising yourself in powerful clothes can be good armor for an interview. Another example: buying the most flattering or fun workout clothes you can find can be a reason to get out of the door at the crack of dawn to go for a run. Clothes, hairstyles and makeup can be useful or practical or fun or any number of other things. But somewhere along the way I stopped thinking of them as extras. I really believed they were necessary.
Then, out of no where, I got lazy. (Slug!) I want to write that I had a big OMG EPIPHANY, but honestly, I just got really lazy this past year. When summer started, I was so hot and miserable that I let my hair air dry. I didn’t have the energy to wear any makeup (it would melt off anyway), so I wore mascara and tinted moisturizer…and that was usually it. Brandon and I went out for a movie one night. He was like, “wow, your makeup looks really good like that!” I only had mascara on, told him so and brushed it off. Pfft, no. You should see me when I REALLY TRY. This isn’t really what my face looks like.
But it IS. It is what my face looks like. I’ve been trying to cover it up and change it and after I had a baby, I tried even harder, but for what? I have to take all of it off at the end of the day. I put my hair up and I wipe off my makeup and then I’m staring at a face that I refuse to believe is actually real.
I am completely dumb.
I am learning to let go of this hyper-vigilant control a bit at a time. I still wax my eyebrows and use a Clarisonic and get pedicures and touch up my roots because VANITY. On the other hand, I sometimes don’t do my hair. I also wear makeup much less often and when I do wear it, I wear less of it.
I do catch myself looking in the mirror and still thinking, “It’s okay, you can fix this,” but I think that will get better over time. When I look at Isobel’s face when she’s sleeping, the thought of her ever wanting to “fix it” with makeup makes me want to vomit. So, I’m actively trying to change my internal dialogue about those things because it’s important. It’s important for my daughter and I only have one chance to get this right: To show her that some things matter and some things don’t.
My face is just a face. I look mad when I’m not smiling and I have a mole on my eyebrow that lots of people think is a piercing until they get up close to me. The wrinkles around my eyes are something I’ve noticed within the past year, but I think it’s because I’ve smiled more in the past two years than I ever did before. I should note that I have a little frown line that developed too. (Therein lies the truth of motherhood.) My eyes are blue (but Isobel’s are an even deeper shade.) The undereye circles are still there too: a little souvenir. When I smile, I can actually see the tops of my cheeks. This is what my face looks like.