After so much time away, so much off time, it can be tough for a recovering perfectionist (more on this in another post ;-) to start again. And we’ve not only had ‘time off’... but months of unprecedented stress and unfathomable human suffering.
Months of a normal we can’t even recognize.
I’m not sure there's an easy, correct, acceptable way to re-enter the world after so much upheaval. It seems almost foolish to even try. (Especially when you toss in the fact that my business is anything but essential and new journal posts are not likely to save lives.)
As a result, I've been doing what I should have been doing all along but was too ignorant to see it.
I have been reading and listening. Watching and unlearning. Donating and calling. Having tough conversations with family and friends. Pausing to consider how my thoughts and actions have been contributing to the problem. Educating myself. Recognizing my privilege.
I am learning to become not only an ally but an anti-racism accomplice. I feel so much, and yet my feelings aren’t what matters. Black Lives Matter. I will never forget this simple, crucial fact.
I will amplify, center and elevate BIPOC whenever possible, for the rest of my life.
I’ve been waiting for the ‘right time’ to return to sharing tips and tricks about style + simplicity. I’m honestly not sure how to show up here with the right tone and the correct words.
I want you and all women to feel welcome and included when you arrive here. As a white woman sharing my thoughts on style + simplicity, I don't yet know how I’ll create content that’s diverse and equitable. I will remain authentic. I promise not to be performative with what I share.
I know you’ve likely been bombarded with all the things recently, so I’ll share only a few favorites. If you’d like more info on what that I’ve been reading, watching, and loving, just ask.
Amy Laurent Studio
Amy Laurent Studio- I'm blessed to call this lovely lady my friend. She's super talented and has the most amazing laugh. Amy creates and sells incredible art and has awesome personal style. Oh, and her home is beautiful. Go follow her on Instagram.
Nicole Cardoza - Anti-Racism Daily Sign up for her daily emails! They are consise, human and informative. Nicole provides no-nonsense definitions and effective action steps for becoming an Anti-Racist. I learn something valuable every day.
Thérèse Cator- Spiritual Leadership Coach Selfishly, I'm thrilled that Thérèse is a member of the NINE Community because I'll have the pleasure of meeting her in person at the next NINE Retreat. I found her #becominghumanseries on Instagram incredibly valuable.
Candace Read - She's a stylist and influencer based in Columbus, Ohio. I've been enjoying the rabbit hole of her beautiful blog. And her posts on Instagram.
Frères Branchiaux Candles- I just ordered their Lavender Crush candle, which was sold out for a bit. Can't wait for it to arrive!
Jacaranda Restaurant- Delicious West African cuisine at Rosetta Hall in Boulder. Chef/owner Modou Jaiteh is orignially from Gambia. Matthew and I recently grabbed some takeout for our standing Saturday Picnic Date. The Po Ghana Boy was incredible!
That's all for now. It feels good to be back. I hope you join me on this journey to becoming more aware, awake and compassionate.
I’d love to know what’s been resonating and helping you navigate this bizarre, scary, overdue reset to humanity! Please share in the comments... More style and simplicity coming up. Thanks for being here with me. Stay healthy and well. xo Kristen
This is the first Journal post on my new revamped website!
As you may already know, The Together Act (website) and Excited Chills (blog) have merged. I recently refreshed my brand + business. This Journal is now part of the new site. (See below for more details on how to navigate the Journal.)
First off, THANK YOU for being here.
I know you have a huge pool of online content to choose from these days and I'm honored that you're choosing to spend time with me.
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well during this bizarre, frightening, unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation.
I feel overwhelming gratitude for my family’s health and wellbeing. At the same time, my heart hurts for all the people who are truly suffering. With the future so unclear, I’ve been trying to simply embrace + enjoy this unexpected time with my big kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be at home right now. Though there are definite downsides, I see the silver lining, for sure.
Sheltering in place has provided an interesting pause in everyone’s normal. For me, that pause included not posting about style... because by mid-March, that topic began to feel unnecessary, irrelevant and even insensitive.
But I’ve missed writing.
I've missed having a fun place to put my attention. I've missed offering what I hope are helpful style + simplicity + mindset tips.
And I’m actually ready to think about clothing again.
Mid-March 2020. I think this was the last time I wore a real outfit!
This unprecedented Stay-At-Home phase has offered so many unusual opportunities to see things in a different light. My own thoughts and choices when it's time to get dressed each day have proven to be an interesting 'style study'.
Here’s what I’ve learned about my personal style during the past 8+ weeks...
I crave inspiration.
I miss seeing other women dressed in real clothes! I now realize how inspired I am by the women I work with both in closets + at Anthropologie.
I miss seeing beautiful clothing displays in stores. I'm not a huge shopper, yet I really enjoy the change of seasons as presented in an apparel retail environment. I miss the ever-changing Anthro displays.
I have been seeking some online inspiration. If this pandemic lasts much longer or I ever find myself in a SAH situation again, I'm definitely going to rethink my WFH style.
These two women seem to be doing quarantine-style right...
I've learned that I absolutely cannot (will not) work from home in uncomfortable clothes. As a general rule, I only buy clothing that is super comfortable. However, I'm discovering that my requirements for 'super comfortable' in my pre-COVID life are somewhat different than in my constantlowgradepanic, stayathome247 life.
In addition to basic comfort, I want a feeling of luxury. Soft, beautiful, cozy fabrics that make me feel nurtured. I want flattering, easy shapes that make me forget that I've been eating + drinking a bit more than normal. Think: comfort food. I currently crave comfort clothing.
Nothing tight, especially around the waist. TBH, I get a stomachache from any waistband that’s even a touch too snug. Is it just me?
Nothing itchy or scratchy. Or stiff or heavy.
Nothing fussy or flouncy. Who wants wet sleeves when washing dishes?
Too hot, too cold... just right.
Temperature control matters. Especially since we're all inside while the seasons change. At first I was dressing for winter, now spring, next summer. I've been relying on multiple layers to ensure that I can find that 'just right' temperature in every room of my home.
Scarves have been super helpful to take the chill off. And there's the added bonus of making me feel a tiny bit chic while I sit at my computer. I keep a scarf on the back of my chair to use casually drape around my neck as needed. C'est la vie.
I now realize that I’m perfectly comfortable wearing the same clothing for several days in a row (like until it's completely stretched out or I spill something on it;-). There's zero shame in being an outfit repeater. In fact, I find this actually makes my life easier by eliminating decision fatique when getting dressed in the morning. And it helps keep the laundry pile down.
My quarantine clothes are feeling a bit like I remember my maternity clothes feeling after two straight months of wearing the same few combos. I’m almost at the point of ‘if I never see these sweat pants again it will be too soon!’
I've realized that I don’t need much to feel comfortable and put together. Right now, the unworn clothing hanging in my closet seems excessive, almost frivolous. Shopping still feels unsafe. And what’s the hurry? I’m not sure when I’ll be going out again regularly + I already have plenty.
What I miss. (Strictly with regards to clothing. Obviously, I miss HUGS and restaurants!)
I miss blazers. Oh, I do miss blazers. I haven’t worn one in months because they don't fall into the comfort clothes category.
I miss my shoes! I've only worn slippers and sneakers for months. My shoes are lonely.
What I need. Nothing, honestly. But the first thing I’m buying when the mall reopens? New bras and panties! Staying at home for so long has made me aware of the sad state of my lingerie collection. I really do feel better on the days when I wear my prettier underwear. Time to uplevel my undergarments.
What’s helping you feel beautiful during these strange times?
What are you tired of wearing on repeat?
Please share! I love hearing what's happening in your world.
If you'd like to uplevel your stay-at-home style, I'm offering special online sessions to do just that! We'll work together to solve your wardrobe struggles and create new outfits using what you already own.
P.S. Vintage Blog Posts: You can still access past blog posts with the search bar above. Simply type the subject you’re curious about into the search bar and you’ll find a list of blog posts containing that subject. Click on the preview to be taken to the full post. Having trouble locating a vintage post, email me and I’ll help. email@example.com
It’s officially spring! But is your weather actually cooperating? At my house, it’s spring on the calendar only. Boulder probably won’t see its last snow until after Mother’s Day! Thankfully, 300+ days of sunshine sustains me when spring feels late.
Mother Nature can make it difficult for us to get dressed as the season changes. We’re completely bored with our winter (or summer if you’re in the southern hemisphere) clothes, but it’s not quite time to fully embrace the frocks of the new season.
I have the added issue (and blessing;-) of working at Anthropologie. That means I welcomed the fall and winter merchandise in late August… well before the air turned chilly. And our store is currently blooming with all things lightweight and floral, while the temperature outside is still below 40 degrees!
If you’re looking for ways to perk up your outfits before the new season is in full swing, read on…
How to breathe a little SPRING into your wardrobe:
Opt for springy fabrics, colors, and patterns. Personally, I believe that nothing shouts spring like navy blue and white stripes. Choose pastels or white denim (yes, you can!) Find fresh florals. Pick sweaters for warmth but in soft pale colors. Wear lightweight fabrics like cotton, even linen, with a chunky sweater or a cozy jacket.
Accept the fact that the temperature could likely change by 20-40 degrees during the day. Layer accordingly. Make sure each part of your outfit works together and that the foundation pieces work on their own. Ask yourself, 'Once I lose the jacket, scarf, sweater… does the look still work?' Think about the pieces that will stay on for the entire day… jewelry, shoes, belt, top, and bottom. Do they all coordinate to make a complete look?
The ¾ Length Sleeve. This 'cropped' sleeve is a sure sign of spring. It feels daring to bare your forearm after being bundled up for months. Consider adding a blouse, t-shirt or sweater with a 3/4 sleeve to wear on that first truly warm day! But I caution you... this can be a very precarious sleeve length for someone who wants to layer without having bunched-up sleeves. In my own wardrobe, I consider the ¾ length sleeve semi-useless except for about 10 days a year (usually in spring and fall) when I don’t want/need to layer. As a result, I’m very careful to not purchase too many tops with this sleeve because I know I won’t get enough use out of them.
Show more ankle.
If you’ve been covering up your ankles all winter with boots, socks, and long pants… it's time to start letting them peek out. Cuff or roll your pant hem. Crop your denim. Pick a shoe or bootie that's low enough to show a little skin.
Opt for more delicate pieces. Lighter colored stones, thinner chains, tortoiseshell, woven, turquoise. Think about warmer weather... what would you wear with a t-shirt or tank top? Wear that with a sweater now.
Add a little glow.
Grab a lotion that has a little shimmer or some self-tanner. Get a jump on exposing your skin by adding a bit of glow. I find this step makes the transition to bare arms and legs a little easier.
I'm curious, what season is it where you live? Once you're able to leave the house again, will your wardrobe be ready? If not, I'd love to help! To set up a Discovery Call simply comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are we friends on Instagram? Sharing spring style info there all week!
When most women hear ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ they picture a very limited number of garments resulting in a boring, restrictive wardrobe. They’re quick to list all the reasons why they could NEVER wear a wardrobe like that. Maybe you feel the same way, like you couldn’t possibly get dressed if your clothing options were intentionally limited.
For reference, the origins of the Capsule Wardrobe...
“The term capsule wardrobe was coined by Susie Faux, owner of the West End, London boutique “Wardrobe”, in the 1970s to refer to a collection of essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion, and therefore could be worn for multiple seasons. The aim was to update this collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new items of clothing”
As we seek to simplify our lives, this type of wardrobe has been gaining popularity. When it comes to Capsule Wardrobes, there are countless websites, books, and blogs offering all the specifics on how, why and how many. The details vary, but most capsules contain between 10-60 garments. Usually, the 'ideal' number hovers around 40.
I think it’s important to remember that it’s not about the numbers. It’s about having enough clothing to feel confident when getting dressed for any situation, but not having radically more than you need or use.
You want to feel supported by your wardrobe, not overwhelmed.
Here's the shocker... you’re likely already wearing a Capsule Wardrobe. For well over a decade, statistics have shown that the average American woman wears 20% of her clothes, 80% of the time. That’s essentially a capsule wardrobe! Think about it, if you have 20 tops but you regularly wear only 4 or 5 of those tops... that's about 20% or a 'capsule' of tops.
The important thing to realize is that the capsule you’re currently wearing has likely been curated by default. It’s probably a capsule made up of clothing that requires the least amount of thought, is the easiest to slip on and/or the most accessible in your over-stuffed closet. Consider what you wear most often... I'm talking about the go-to outfits that you rely on over and over and over because they're easy. That's your capsule wardrobe.
The items in your capsule right now might not be your favorites, but you wear them on repeat because they’re relatively effortless.
But what if,every item in your ‘capsule’ was something you LOVED? The same number of go-to outfits, but you actually felt amazing every time you got dressed. Sounds dreamy, huh?
A capsule wardrobe is a small(ish) collection of really versatile pieces that you truly love to wear.
What matters when creating a capsule wardrobe?
A defined sense of style so that your wardrobe feels authentic.
Good quality pieces.
Coordinating colors and silhouettes.
You love all of the items.
Everything fits and flatters your body, today.
The pieces are all intentionally chosen because they support the life you actually live.
The contents work together and you have all the necessary components to build outfits.
Do you have a closet that’s packed with mediocre clothes that you don’t enjoy wearing?
What if instead, you opted for a sparsely populated closet containing only clothes you love? Wouldn’t that make it so much easier to get dressed and keep the space organized?
Apprehensive? Here’s how to start using the ‘act as if’ method…
Act as if you’re a woman who wears a capsule wardrobe by curating a pretendcapsule wardrobe. No permanent commitment, no shopping needed, no drastic measures.
Simply come up with a few rules of your own. How long will you be wearing your capsule? (I'd suggest at least 2-3 weeks to really get the feel for it.) What events and occasions will occur during that time? How many pieces feel like a good number for you?
Next, identify what counts as part of your capsule. Determine what will be included and omitted. For your first capsule experiment, it's easiest to only count actual clothing. This leaves more flexibility with regards to outerwear, accessories and shoes.
Start by picking 3 or 4 favorite pieces in your current wardrobe. Then expand your capsule by adding things that coordinate with those favorites. Ideally, most of the items in a capsule wardrobe will go together.
Once you’ve set aside your little collection, physically remove the rest of your wardrobe from your closet. Don't skip this step or it will be too tempting to wear things that aren't in your capsule. Box up the items that don’t make the cut and move them to another room. Don’t worry, this is only temporary. You’re creating space for the things you actually love wearing. Just try it and see what happens.
If you decide you like wearing a capsule wardrobe, keep in mind that you’ll probably want to create different capsules for different areas of your life. Consider cultivating mini-capsules for date night, sleep capsule,home capsule , fitness, etc.
I find that this topic tends to be a bit controversial with my clients and friends. I would LOVE to know your thoughts about wearing a capsule wardrobe. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
I'm big on really feeling the benefits that come from simplifying my life. I have little interest in decluttering and simplifying my life (or helping my clients do this work) if the efforts don't actually improve lives.
Sometimes all we need is ONE real benefit to shift our thinking. So, if you're still waiting for a good reason to simplify your wardrobe and your life, consider this... traveling becomes much, MUCH easier!
Here's how... Ideally, in the process of simplifying, you declutter, purge and cultivate a wardrobe that contains only pieces you truly love. Then it's much easier to stay organized because you have less stuff. And loving what you have and being organized makes packing a snap!
Wouldn't it be awesome if packing for a trip no longer stressed you out? What if you could be ready for 'wheels up' in no time? Sounds pretty great, huh? (Sharing lots of travel thoughts here.)
Here’s how simplifying your life (especifically your wardrobe) makes traveling easier! And more fun…
No Packing Overwhelm
Once you declutter your wardrobe, packing for a trip becomes so much easier! Your closet holds only pieces you love. All of your clothing fits and flatters your body, right now. Everything is organized so you can see what you have and quickly gather the pieces you want to take. Honestly, this is basically reason enough to finally declutter!
Know your favorites
As you begin to curate a life that includes only things that spark joy, you start to identify your favorites. Unapologetically. You no longer settle for almost-good-enough in any category, including travel supplies. It was only after I decluttered all the crappy, bean-bag and inflatable travel pillows that I finally purchased one that really sparks joy. (Sharing my favorite travel essentials tomorrow on Instagram.)
By creating a life full of ‘favorites’, you weed out the junk. You uplevel every aspect of your life because you no longer tolerate what doesn’t work for you. For instance, during my decluttering project, it became crystal clear that I never actually use the ‘samples’ (little packets of moisturizers, shampoos, creams, etc) that I’d been saving to use for travel. So, I tossed them ALL and now I only take the products I know I love! In between trips, I keep my travel-sized bottles topped off and ready to roll.
Simplifying affects travel shopping two ways... By becoming a better packer, you’ll actually have room to bring a few things home... if you want. And since you only surround yourself with what truly sparks joy, you don't bring home a ton of junk you don't really love or need. (add link to travel post)
Here’s what I will buy when traveling… I prefer to shop outdoor/street markets when traveling. I love to buy scarves, jewelry, shoes, unframed art, simple items that will remind me of the trip. My favorites collected over the years include a small hand-painted ceramic bowl from Mexico that we use for sea salt and scarves purchase from street vendors in Paris and Madrid.
I’m a rolling convert. I fought it for years but I now firmly believe rolled clothing takes up less space.
I also love packing cubes. They’re great for separating clothing into categories… workout clothes, sleep clothes + undergarments, tops, bottoms, whatever works best for you.
Take what you love. For years, I took my mediocre/okay clothes on vacation because I didn’t want to risk something happening to my favorite pieces. Now, I only own my favorite pieces so I happily pack what I love and wear those things with joy.
This might be one of the best perks of traveling post-decluttering! It’s SO easy to unpack because you didn’t have to trash your closet/bedroom before you left to find what you wanted to take. As part of simplifying and delcuttering, you create a place for everything. When you return from a trip, it's actually easy to unpack! Your suitcase, packing cubes, toiletries, clothing, and accessories can all be returned to their proper home.
Are we friends yet on Instagram? Hope so, because tomorrow I'll be sharing my favorite travel essentials!
Are you in the process of simplifying your life? What's one benefit that's surprised you?
Questions about creating a simple, authentic, beautiful life? Just ask.
Most of us don’t want to look fancy in our daily lives, we simply want to look put-together. And we want looking great to be effortless. The trouble is we often over-complicate things and end up with a look that feels contrived or just off.
What defines great style?
It’s almost elusive. You can likely recognize a beautifully-made dress or a well-cut blouse, but what makes a woman just look amazing? Nothing really stands out, but she has a certain something. Her style captivates and makes us wonder, how does she do that? We often can’t put our finger on why she looks so incredible. But there’s definitely something…
I’ve spent decades in fitting rooms and closets. Over the years, I’ve paid close attention to what makes a woman look amazing. I’ve studied stylish women in an effort to discover what they all have in common.
I’ve identified some specific elements that add up to ‘effortless chic’. These elements aren't super obvious. They're almost hidden behind the scenes, doing gentle work to capture our attention. However subtle, I believe these things are key if you want to create a wardrobe that allows you to look put-together with ease.
Five Hidden Components of Great Style:
#1 The Foundation
I believe the core elements of a fantastic wardrobe should be fairly simple. For the most part, effortless style is built on the basics. Cultivate a collection of pieces in shapes, colors, and styles that can be worn in multiple ways for many seasons. Usually, the women we notice for looking chic and put-together, are wearing a combination of well-made, understated garments.
#2 The Third Piece
This is the holy grail of great outfits. The cornerstone of amazing style. This component changes everything. Thoughtfully adding a ‘third piece’ is what elevates an outfit and takes it from okay to incredible! It can be a jacket or cardigan, a piece of jewelry, a scarf, a hat, or an amazing belt. It’s this third piece that pulls the ENTIRE look together.
#3 Fewer Better
Take this two ways… First, choose high-quality pieces. Some advise that you buy the ‘best version you can afford’. By investing in well-designed, well-constructed clothing, shoes, and accessories, you instantly up the odds that you’ll look amazing.
Second, ignore the urge to add one more thing. Consider the old advertising adage… K I S S - Keep It Simple, Sister. (actually, it’s Stupid, not Sister, but that’s sounds mean). When in doubt, don’t add another accessory, maybe even remove one. Less is often more when it comes to looking fabulous.
In order to have a wardrobe that works for you, it’s crucial that you choose clothing that feels authentic for YOU. Not what works for your best friend, or your daughter or the salesperson at your favorite store. Get clear on YOUR style and dress accordingly. Master this and having great style becomes much easier! Don’t settle. Commit to wearing only what lights YOU up!
#5 Confidence Once you start owning your style and rocking it, getting dressed is no longer stressful. Confidence in what you’re wearing is game-changing. This can require a bit of ‘act as if’ in the beginning, so start before you’re ready. Be brave. Just wear the outfit and see how it feels! (See #4. When you’re dressing authentically, you will automatically have more confidence.)
Ready to change things up? Do your own research. Start paying attention to women who have great style. See if you can identify one or more of these elements. Then experiment in your own life. Give it a try and see how quickly your style improves!
Questions about how to start creating your own amazing style? Just ask.
My amazing husband turned 50 this week! (Finally) Happy Birthday, Matthew! Welcome to the club! In honor of this wonderful milestone, I’m sharing my thoughts on the perceived challenges of age-appropriate dressing. For this conversation, aging = anything over 30. ;-)
Aging often seems to decrease our confidence when it comes to getting dressed. We begin to question the latest trends and feel overwhelmed when it’s time to shop. So we hang out in our (style) comfort zone… wearing what’s familiar but not necessarily current and we end up feeling blah and uninspired by our clothes.
Over the years I’ve identified some of the roadblocks women face when it comes to getting dressed as they age.
Roadblock #1 You’re afraid of looking like you’re trying too hard so you don’t try at all. You’re unsure of what works at this stage, so you stick with what’s worked in the past and end up looking dated and irrelevant. You know you could look better, but you hold back, not wanting to stand out. You're so concerned with not crossing the line, that you stay far behind it.
What doestrying too hard actually look like?Usually, it's TOO MUCH of something. Too short, too tight, too trendy, too matchy, too distressed, too sparkly, too revealing…
The flip side is not trying hard enough. Giving up. Hiding. Playing small. No effort, no plan. But every woman you know wears yoga pants all the time. So what? How do YOU want to show up in the world? You have one life. Why not show up looking and feeling fabulous?! Maybe you'll raise the bar for those other women. ;-)
Roadblock #2 You’re old enough to feel like you should have this figured out. It seems ridiculous that something as simple as getting dressed could be a struggle. You’re smart and savvy and a little embarrassed that you still don’t have a wardrobe you love. So you ignore the issue and continue wearing what once worked… only you know it’s no longer really working.
It’s okay to ask for help! You don’t need to have this all figured out. Find someone who can help you break out of your style rut and get current! A trusted salesperson, your daughter, an honest (stylish) friend, a style coach…
Roadblock #3 You have a bunch of limiting beliefs about style.We’ve all collected these since childhood… and most of them can be tossed aside! We have some bizzare ideas of what's not acceptable to wear past a certain age. Here are a few I hear often... I'm too old for white jeans, bare shoulders, bohemian dresses or tops, and distressed denim is for 20-somethings... All NONSENSE!
When you try something on and feel yourself question whether or not it’s age-appropriate, pay close attention to where the idea is coming from. Is that notion lingering from a past experience? If so, maybe dip your toe into the world of boho dresses or ripped denim…
Roadblock #4 You don’t know your style. First, you must identify how you want to look, then you can begin to cultivate a wardrobe you love wearing! How do you want to present yourself to the world today? It’s not too late. Reinvention is a good thing. Spend time exploring your ideal style. Then decide who you want to be at this stage of your life and begin creating a wardrobe for her!
Roadblock #5 You lack inspiration. Maybe you're following the wrong style crowd. Until recently, the media wanted us to believe that we’d missed our chance to be beautiful, sexy, stylish, fabulous. Now there are examples of stylish women in every decade of life. Go find them!
Seek out older women who are rocking a look you love. Follow them on social media. Hang up their photo as a reminder that it's okay to show up! Ask yourself, what would she wear?
Like with most things in life, there’s a sweet spot. Seek that space where your clothing expresses you in a way that’s beautiful, authentic... and age-appropriate.
The bottom line is this… Looking great in your clothing comes down to confidence.
Aging is a privilege! We should dress as such.
I'd love to know your thoughts on getting dressed at any age. Thanks for being here. Have a super week! xo Kristen
After spending decades in fitting rooms and closets, I've discovered that there are basially two types of women when it comes to shoes.
1. TOO MANY- Women who buy ALL the shoes. A different pair for every outfit. Having too many shoes is more expensive and more time-consuming when shopping and getting dressed. And requires more effort for storing and maintaining.
2. NOT ENOUGH- Women who avoid buying shoes. ‘Can I get away with owning just two pairs of shoes?' Too few shoes… means you never feel like you have what you need to really feel put-together. You're always wishing you had the right shoes and you're caught unprepared for some events.
(I tend to be a more of a 2;-)
So what's just right when it comes to shoes? This will be different for everyone. There is no exact formula or correct answer for how many pairs of shoes a woman should own. I believe you should own enough shoes that you feel prepared for almost any occasion, but not overwhelmed when deciding which pair to slip on.
While both schools of thought can be problematic, I believe that having too few shoes makes it difficult to look and feel great in your clothes. So, I'm sharing my tips for building an awesome shoe wardrobe...
Define your style and your needs. Determine what's missing from your shoe wardrobe. Consider where you get stuck when getting dressed. Always missing a cute pair of sneakers? Need a simple bootie to wear with dresses? What styles do you love or want to try? Decide this before you shop!
Comfort first. I truly believe we should only buy what’s comfortable from the first step. Personally, I don’t buy shoes that require a break-in period. I want comfort from the start. This makes shoe shopping easier. I simply don’t buy shoes that aren’t comfortable in the store. Period. Try this, your feet will thank you.
Authentic only. It's okay to ignore the trends. For example, I don't like the way mules look or feel on my feet. So, despite the fact that they're modern and current (and stylish on other women), I don't own a single pair. Only buy shoes that are truly authentic for YOU or they'll never make it out of the box.
Brands on repeat. Get to know which brands fit your feet and your style. Who makes the shoes that you've loved in the past? Start your shopping with that brand. Expand to find a few go-to brands that will consistently work for you. This narrows down your choices which simplifies shopping.
Make friends with shoe polish. With few exceptions (like beat-up moto boots:-), unpolished shoes look crummy. This was a pet peeve of my dad's and it's become one of mine. Polish your shoes! Do it as needed (or about once a month). After you get the hang of it, polishing shoes is meditative and the shine is super rewarding! Most leather shoes look brand new after a quick polish! Don’t skip this step. Scuffed shoes are an instant outfit downer.
Repair. Yes, most towns still have cobblers. The soles of my favorite Frye oxfords were wearing out. $75 later, they looked like new! Actually, better than new because they had the rich patina that comes with age. A local cobbler will polish your boots, make sheepskin liners, replace heels, etc. And the smell of the shop is so worth it!
Know when to let go. When your shoes are past their prime, people notice. Be honest with yourself about when it’s time to retire a favorite pair. I know it’s hard to let them go, but since the Universe abhors a vacuum... expect new favorites to appear once you release the old ones. You're worth shoes that look good!
Keep in mind, the right shoes really can make the outfit. Gettting dressed becomes more effortless when you have a shoe wardrobe that works for you.
Thanks for being here. Please let me know if you have any questions... happy to help you find shoes you love!
I realize that Valentine’s Day is a somewhat foolish holiday, yet I’m a sucker for an occasion that embraces a paper heart doily and celebrates all things LOVE! ;-) Lately, I've been thinking a lot about feeling loved and feeling beautiful, and how the two overlap. When I feel loved, I feel more beautiful. And when I make an effort to see myself as beautiful, I see everything with more love.
So, I’m sharing four ways LOVE can help you look and feel more beautiful!
Fall in love! What is it about falling in love that makes you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world? Instant makeover. There's the glow of a full heart and the sparkle of a genuine smile! Your eyes twinkle. You blush easily. You feel 16 again! This week, tap into the radiance of being in love! Spice up an existing relationship, have coffee with a new friend, say YES to a first date! Or simply watch your favorite romantic movie. Find a way to experience the rush of young love regardless of your age and allow yourself to feel beautiful in the process!
Wear what you love! Peek in your closet… how much of what’s in there do you truly LOVE? Does your wardrobe light you up? I once read that our clothing should feel like the most amazingkiss. Do your clothes feel like an amazing kiss? Chances are you have at least one piece that makes you feel incredible, amazing and beautiful. Wear that piece this week! In fact, wear it on repeat! And promise me that from now on, you’ll only buy clothes that make you feel beautiful!
Love yourself! We tend to adore other people more than we adore ourselves. Sad, huh? Shouldn’t we be our own biggest fan? Recently, I was critical (almost mean) after seeing myself on video. Why is that so painful sometimes? The voice in my head was harsh, unkind and ugly. Then I remembered that I choose my thoughts and feelings. I decided to 'see' myself differently... with more kindness and more love. I decided that the fastest way to be beautiful is to feel beautiful. Bask in your own exquisite beauty!
Treat yourself to something you love! I know you can't buy love, but treating yourself to something you love is a form of self-care. Spluge on yourself with fresh flowers, a scented candle, your favorite coffee drink or essential oil... whatever makes you feel loved and beautiful! I recently purchased makeup from Maskcara Beauty. Have you tried it? There’s a learning curve for sure, but I think I’m going to love it... and feel more beautiful using makeup that works for my skin. (I'll share more once I get the hang of it!)
Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day. No matter how you’re celebrating… be sure to spend time appreciating how BEAUTIFUL you are and cultivating a feeling of LOVE! What we focus on multiplies and couldn’t we all use more LOVE?
Thanks for being here. I always welcome your thoughts! xo Kristen
I consider myself lucky because my ‘office’ is often a closet, fitting room or shoe aisle! ;-) It’s an honor to help women create a wardrobe they love wearing. Each phase of the process thrills me. The style-defining, the decluttering, the editing, the shopping, and the outfit creating. My 'job' is to empower a client to define how she wants to show up in the world and then help her cultivate a wardrobe that supports her vision!
I love what I do!
Last week, I had the pure pleasure of spending time in Arizona with three amazing clients. Each woman had a slightly different need, but all of them wanted guidance in creating a wardrobe that they actuallywant to wear. A wardrobe that feels authentic and comfortable, and also supports the life they live daily.
We had so much fun!
I want to share some takeaways from our style and simplicity sessions. (Beyond the obvious takeaways... that Arizona in January is dreamy! And that palm trees feed my soul.)
Common wardrobe hurdles…
Hangers Prior to working with me, my clients often tell me that they don’t have enough hangers (or closet space;-) They’ve maxed out their space and don’t have a single hanger to spare. Just like not buying bins to organize your clutter, please don’t buy more hangers in an attempt to organize your clothes. Purge and edit first! You’ll be surprised how many hangers appear when you keep only the clothes that you love. 117 comes to mind. ;-)
Shoes “What shoes do I wear with this?” “I like my outfit until it’s time to put on shoes!” “I never feel like I have the right footwear to finish the look” “I’ll only wear comfortable shoes so my shoes are frumpy”
Many great outfits seem to fall apart at the shoes. If this feels familiar, I urge you to make shoes a priority! Commit to finding two or three pairs of current, stylish (comfortable) shoes that you absolutely love! Pick shoes that go with basically everything you own. You can’t go wrong with good quality, classic shapes in neutral colors. (I’ve recently discovered that the shoe struggle is real! So, I’ll be doing a deeper dive into the whole shoe situation soon!)
Authentic (Life) Style Yes, it’s possible to dress authentically in every area of your life. Yet, with a variety of events and activities, it often seems easiest to default to yoga pants even when you’d rather wear ‘real clothes’. The reality is that feeling great in different situations usually requires different clothing. Work, kids’ sports, workouts, school events, date night, brunch with friends, the list goes on. You might be crushing the date night wardrobe but struggle to look put together at soccer. Maybe you’ve mastered business-casual but have nothing fun to wear for lunch with friends. I get it, you want to look and feel like YOU for every occasion!
What to do? Define your personal style based on what feels authentic for you in each activity. Decide who you want to be at work, on a date, at school pick-up… a great wardrobe supports your entire life. (That doesn’t mean you need a lot of clothes, it simply means you need clothes that work for the life you live... so stop buying date tops if what you're missing is comfy sideline clothes) The idea is to create a few small capsules within your wardrobe.
Shopping Mindset Most of my clients tell me that they HATE to shop. I believe that’s part of the problem. There’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy at play when we declare we hate something and then do it and end up hating it… thus confirming our thoughts and feelings. You're manifesting the experience you don't want before you even begin!
I think it’s imperative to go into a shopping experience with a positive attitude and a wide-open mind. Prior to leaving your house, imagine that the trip is going to be wildly successful! Believe it. Before I shop, I give myself a pep talk... ‘In addition to the perfect parking spot, I’m going to easily find everything I’m looking for at just the right price!’ Try it! I bet you’ll be surprised by how the Universe shows up to support you!
It’s not your body, it’s the clothes So many of my clients are waiting. Waiting to create a wardrobe they love until they have a body they love. Here’s the truth… women look incredible in clothes that spark joy for them. The fact is that each of us has our own unique shape and size, and we come to life in clothing we truly love! Commit to only buying and wearing clothes that make you feel unstoppable! When you feel beautiful, powerful, dazzling… that’s what the world sees! It’s foolproof.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if there's a topic you'd like me to cover. I'd also love to know if this resonates. Share your thoughts!
It’s been over two weeks since I started my FREEDOM from clutter project. I’m proud to report that I have shown up every single day, taking action to move the needle towards a clutter-free life. I purged and edited even when I didn’t feel like it, at all! I ignored my usual tendency to do ‘just enough’ but not actually finish the job.
I made piles.
So many piles.
And then I made decisions about the contents of the piles. Truth be told, I'm still handling those piles, but that's okay. I'm getting it done!
And I can finally see the light. I can feel that something has shifted. I've cleared space in my home and in my mind. I no longer have the nagging feeling that if I could just get a handle on the clutter, I’d be more productive and happier. I feel lighter than I’ve felt in years, maybe decades. I have less stuff!
During this project, I've learned a whole lot about myself and my abilities. I see more clearly how I tend to sabotage my efforts. As a result, I quickly developed some workarounds to keep me on track. If you dream of creating FREEDOM from clutter, don’t wait any longer.
I promise that the benefits start as soon as you do. Sharing six truths I've learned while decluttering...
Lack versus Abundance. So often, we equate having lots of stuff with being abundant. I struggled with this for years. In a period of financial struggle, it felt necessary/safe to hold on to all the things. I now realize that keeping stuff we aren't using or don't love, does not create abundance. It creates overwhelm. That thinking simply perpetuates feelings of lack. "If I let this go, I won't have enough". "This stuff is worth money so I have to keep it". Abundance is a mindset.
Containers and bins. Breaking up with containers was tough for me. Stylish, practical, free... doesn't matter, I love a good storage vessel. But… I’ve learned that I love white space even more. Do the deep work of purging first, then if you truly need them, buy a few great containers.
Saving the good stuff. If you’re saving something for a special occasion or the perfect opportunity… today’s the day! Life is a special occasion! You’re worth the good china, luxury bath soap, and fancy tea. Start living that way.
But, what if? "What if I need it someday?" When exactly is someday? How long is too long to hang on to stuff we’re not using? Be honest with yourself. How likely is it that you’ll ever use the stuff you’re putting in the ‘what if’ category. Let it go. Chances are if you need it in the future, you’ll be able to buy or borrow the item again.
Pretend you’re moving. Ahh, the perfect catalyst for a major purge! Declutter like a move is in your near future. As you edit, truly consider, would this item earn a place in your new home? Would you want to pay to move it? Keep only what you'd be happy to pack and unpack.
What's your story? My neatly orgainzed clutter was holding me back personally and professionally. Yet, I tried to tell myself that it didn’t really matter. That I could handle the stuff in the future. That it really wasn’t that bad. (And likely it wasn’t that bad to someone else) But I couldn’t stop thinking about the stuff! I wanted it gone. What story are you telling yourself that's keeping you from handling your clutter? Identify your story.
While I’m not finished yet, the freedom I already feel is fuel for my decluttering fire! This is my year. The clutter-free life I’ve been fantasizing about is finally within reach.
Are you craving FREEDOM from clutter? What’s holding you back?
I'm happy to share any part of my decluttering/purging/editing/donating/selling process. Just ask! It's not always been pretty, but I'm getting somewhere!!
I'm starting the New Year by coming clean. An 'improvement' project has been on my mind for ages, but except for complaining and wishing it was handled, I haven't really taken any action towards accomplishing it. I hope that sharing the details here will keep me accountable and maybe even inspire you to tackle a task you've been avoiding...
I teach women to declutter their lives, usually starting with their wardrobes. I guide my clients through a process that allows them to create the life they want, largely because they learn to let go of what no longer serves them. Together, we spend time excavating the simple, authentic, beautiful life that exists beneath the excess stuff.
When I finish helping a client transform her wardrobe, space, and mindset and it’s high fives all around. I absolutely LOVE what I do!
But lately, I’ve been feeling envious of my clients. My life isn’t as simple, authentic and beautiful as I’d like it to be. Sure I've toyed with the idea of minimalism and extreme decluttering, but I haven't made it happen.
I want to simplify my life enough so that I move can beyond OVERWHELM and into a place of FREEDOM.
Until now, I accepted that on the surface, my life is actually quite free of clutter. But... I’m not where I want to be. I can do better.
The mental clutter/noise? I’m committed to busting through that on a daily basis! I’m doing the slow, repetitive work of catching my negative thoughts, and then changing them so that I can create a different reality. I've made progress and that feels amazing!
But… then there’s the actual clutter. The excess stuff in my home that prevents me from feeling the freedom I know is available to me. I want that freedom in 2020!
For a while I’ve been actively trying to ignore the clutter. I’ve wondered if the problem is really with my thoughts and not with the stuff. I know that my thoughts create my reality… so if I think the stuff is the problem, then it is. If I think the clutter is bugging me, then it does.
Since I tend to over-research and over-analyze, I’ve carefully considered whether dealing with the ‘clutter’ would simply be a procrastination tactic. As I’m really skilled at the art of procrastination… “If I spend time decluttering all the things, then I won’t have to do the real work I’m avoiding.” :-)
But I believe the truth is this… I have a genetic/cultural/learned default system that makes it almost impossible for me to work in a mess (even if I can’t actually see the mess because it’s been carefully organized in coordinating bins;-). I want everything tidy and orderly before I start working. I find it difficult to be creative when the clutter looms. As a result, I'm stressing about clutter when I could be crushing important goals! I’m finished trying to beat back or change my ‘I need to handle the stuff’ thoughts. I’ve decided begin the decade with a solid decluttering project of my own. I'm done waiting.
My best clutter-free life starts NOW!
The two photos above are #officegoals and this is the current state of my workspace.
I am fully aware that many areas of my home are orderly and organized and high-functioning. Those aren’t the areas I’m referring to here.
I’m talking about the stuff that’s not visible to guests or in my Instagram images. The unworn clothing that hangs in my closet, the piles that have taken root in random places, the contents of boxes waiting to be used someday...
There's a lot of carefully organized clutter that resides in my house but isn’t enhancing my life in any way. This stuff overwhelms me whenever I see it or even think about it. I've reached the tipping point. I'm taking deliberate action. This full-disclosure is a little embarassing for me since purging and organizing are part of my job. I'm a Style & Simplicity Coach, for goodness sake! I should have this handled already.
If you'd like to join me, here's how I'm going to create FREEDOM from the stuff...
The Plan: Treat myself like a client. How do I help a client sort through the mental and physical clutter that’s holding her back?
Find Clarity: Determine what areas of my home are causing anxiety. What are the actual problem areas? How would I feel if these areas were clutter-free? What would change for me if I handled those black holes and hot spots?
Determine what actually needs to happen to transform those spaces
Break down the big jobs into manageable tasks
Decide approximately how long each task will take
Schedule the tasks for this month
Commit to doing the work
Stay motivated by imagining how amazing it will feel to finally have the clutter gone!
Find inspiration/pick a mentor- Who's space looks and feels like my dream?
Ask what would ________ do? (I've been known to say this out loud;-) In my case, it’s "What would Jackie do?"
(Note: Jackie is a special human and a very dear friend. She's super inspiring. She's also that friend, the one with the uber-cool house. Jackie has cultivated a home that feels like freedom. It's a space where I'd love to sip coffee every morning or where I'd gladly house-sit for the rest of the year.)
Who’s your Jackie? How would she handle your clutter?
Here are my tips for a Clutter Revolution:
Ma’am, step away from the bins. Don’t buy a single container until you’ve completed a heavy purge!! (I shared my thoughts in a YouTube video) It’s tempting to buy all the pretty bins. The displays are everywhere right now. Retailers know how you feel in January. You want order after a season of chaos. What’s easier than dumping all that stuff into a fancy box? I get it, but don’t do it. Purge first. Then, if there are things you truly need to store and organize… go grab some cool bins.
Be ruthless when purging. An abundance mentality starts here. Saving things for ‘someday’ is often the same as saying “I'm worried that I won’t be able to acquire this again so I have to hold onto it forever”. I’ve done extensive work on my previous lack mentality. I know that I create more abundance when I’m willing to let go of the things that aren’t serving me, instead of holding onto them 'just in case’. I love the idea of keeping only what you find to be useful, beautiful or both.
Be patient and be kind. Accept the fact that it will likely get worse before it gets better. That’s okay. The clutter didn’t appear overnight and it won’t disappear that fast either. Settle in and do it right… or you’ll likely be looking at similar clutter in a few months. And, give yourself grace. Don't beat yourself up for dragging your feet on delcuttering or for the piles of unnecessary stuff you've accumulated over the years. When you know better, you can do better. (I'm repeating this step to myself:-)
Celebrate the wins! Find a way to reward yourself after you’ve finished decluttering, or even along the way. This is helpful when you feel like giving up. But, your reward shouldn’t be buying more stuff! Instead, take a long walk with a friend, or go on a lunch date with your husband. Treat yourself to a manicure after hauling a load to consignment, or plan a party to show off your newly decluttered home!
I'm excited to begin! I show up daily on Instagram. Follow me on IG for behind-the-scenes updates to my FREEDOM project!
If this resonates with you, please share! I'd love to know that I'm not alone as I head into 2020 seeking freedom from my stuff. :-) Thanks for being here.
Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!
It seems that the clothing racks and tables at Costco are more tempting this time of year. Maybe it's that we're all a little busier in December and we love the idea of 'one-stop-shopping'. Whatever the reason, I've had several women ask what I think about buying clothes from Costco. So, I'm sharing my thoughts.
The short answer is this... I think it's fine to buy clothes at Costco.
BUT... Only if you apply the same rules that you'd use when shopping at a stylish boutique.
Do you love it? Can you wear it with at least three things you already own? Is it flattering? Is it comfortable? Is it well made? Is it within your budget? Would you buy it at a higher price?
If you can answer YES to the questions above... go for it!
I spend a lot of time in closets and very often when my clients and I are doing a wardrobe edit, there are a few Costco finds that have never been worn. My client will then admit that she bought the item(s) because it seemed like such a great deal, but once she got it home the piece wasn't as great as she thought. And since no one wants to wait in the sometimes lengthy return line at Costco, the unworn garments just collect dust and guilt in the closet. If you sense that might be the fate of the Costco garment you're considering, please put it back on the table and head to the baguette aisle. :-)
Full disclosure: I do currently own one piece of clothing from Costco. You can see it in the video below...
Thanks for being here. Please let me know if you have any questions. And I'd love to know if you have any amazing pieces from Costco.
I’m feeling a bit rusty as I sit to write this post. In my recent absence from this space, I’ve been growing and grieving and exploring what’s next. Since we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. this week, I first want to express my gratitude for your support of The Together Act over the years. The fact that you show up here to read my words means so much to me. I’m forever grateful.
Lately, I’ve been digging deep in search of the best way to serve my clients, blog readers, Instagram followers and YouTube subscribers. While I am clear on my very minor role in the world of online accounts, I take my responsibility to share valuable content quite seriously.
In an effort to streamline and simplify, I’m making some changes to the way I show up online. For instance, I’ve committed to sharing style and simplicity tips on Instagram and I’m enjoying the real-time interaction with a like-minded community. I’ve also begun posting more consistently on YouTube. All that to say, this blog has been on the back burner. (I'm guessing you've noticed;-)
Moving forward I'll be sharing the same content across the board… blog, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. If you prefer to follow me in only one place, I’d suggest Instagram. I post to IG daily and do my best to ‘serve’ there by sharing valuable content relating to style and simplicity.
And...once a week, I’ll create a concise blog post to share what I feel is the most important content from my Instagram feed.
I’d love for you to stick around as this space evolves. However, if Style and Simplicity isn’t what you need right now, please feel free to unsubscribe below. I get it, there’s so much content out there that we have to pick favorites. No hard feelings. Come back anytime.
I’m including my most recent YouTube videos below so that you can catch up on what’s I’ve been sharing.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and requests for future content topics.
I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you for being here. Change is good.
Last Saturday was my toughest public speaking engagement to date. I delivered the eulogy at my father’s Celebration of Life. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to find the strength to stand and speak as a way of honoring my amazing dad. I’ve heard some writers comment that they are merely the vehicle through which the words come forth. My dad's eulogy came to me that way. It was the first time I’ve truly had the experience of whole sentences originating somewhere other than my conscious mind. The words simply flowed through me. Thanks for the help, Dad.
Celebration of Life for Peter Albert Klomp, Junior Saturday, August 24, 2019 Madison, New Hampshire "I want to start by sharing that whenever I was upset as a kid, my dad would reach into his pocket and offer me his hankie. I always thought it was the grossest thing ever. Today, I'm comforted by this hankie I found in his drawer.
Peter Klomp was a naturally gifted teacher and a compassionate coach. He believed in bringing out the best in his students and his players. While I never had the pleasure of sitting in his classroom or being on his team, I learned more lessons from him than I can possibly count.
My most vivid memories of time spent with my dad include playing catch in our front yard and going to the hardware store to secure supplies for a home repair project. As a side note- it was easy to want to tag along on those Berwyn Hardware runs because they always included a gumball. To this day, hardware stores and gumball machines always make me smile.
Now that he’s gone, I find myself reflecting on the practical skills that my father imparted on me and I realize that they are much more than simple how-to’s, they are metaphors containing invaluable real-life wisdom. Well, all except for teaching me how to hang a spoon on my nose… I’m still not sure of the bigger message there.
My dad’s favorite number was five. So I’d like to share five of my favorite Pete lessons…
We always had a wood burning fireplace when I was growing up. My father taught me how to build a fire. One of the main takeaways from this lesson… patience. There’s nothing quite like attempting to build a roaring fire to remind you of the importance of patience.
Pete also taught me that oxygen is essential to a flame. I learned to use a bellow to breathe new life into fading embers. Right now, as I navigate grief, I find comfort in the warmth and light that fire provides and I remind myself to inhale deeply and allow oxygen to revive me.
Before I was allowed to get my driver’s license, I had to be able to drive a stick shift and change a flat tire. Stick shift, I understood. One of our cars was manual drive. But changing a tire seems excessive, none of my friends had to do that. However, I now realize the life lesson found in this skill. By teaching me to change a tire, my dad empowered me to never be stranded. I’m confident that with the proper tools, I can do seemingly impossible things, like lift a car.
This skill also showed me the value of being helpful to others. I vividly remember rescuing several friends who were stranded with a flat. Most of all, I see that even when I feel deflated, it’s possible to keep moving forward.
Pete Klomp loved baseball. He taught me to swing a bat. Initially, I was terrified of the fast pitch coming toward me. But this skill showed me what it feels like to be brave. I learned to lean in and commit to the swing, even when I’m scared. I also grew to recognize my own power after making contact and sending the ball soaring.
Dead car battery? No problem. My dad taught me how to jump start a car. This lesson reminds me to embrace both the positive and the negative. To remember that in life, connection matters. And that I’ll likely run better if I take a little time to recharge.
My dad taught me to catch a pop fly. This activity came with a great reward. After dinner we’d join the lightening bugs and crickets outside in the front yard. Repeatedly, my dad would toss the ball high into the air. I’d ready my glove, eyes to the sky waiting for the catch. Over and over and over again.
As I began to grow tired of this drill, he’d deliver his perfectly timed motivation. He’d launch the ball and shout, “This one’s for a chocolate milkshake!” If I caught it, he was good for his word, we hopped in the car and headed off to Dairy Queen. If I dropped the ball, he’d throw it again, giving me another shot.
Through his example, I learned to keep my promises and to give second chances. After countless hours of pop fly practice, I also realized the importance of keeping my eye on what matters, be it the ball or the goal or the dream... to always keep a hand (or well-oiled glove) open and ready to receive.
And above all, to look up. Or as my dad would say, 'Chin up… corners up'."
He was a good man and an exceptional dad. I'm expecting to miss him for the rest of my life. If you've suffered this type of loss, my heart goes out to you.
Thanks for being here. I'll return to posting about style and simplicity this fall...
Happy July! This is one of my favorite months because I welcomed my first child into the world in July. That hot, sticky July was TWENTY years ago! WOW! In hindsight, the time spent raising children really does pass in a blink.
Happy 20th Birthday, sweet Greta!
If you're reading this post and it's not summer at your house, simply file this info away for when the temperatures climb in your neck of the woods. If you're currently in the middle of a hot summer, read on...
In closets and in fitting rooms, I'm often asked, "What can I wear to look put together when it's hot? Oh, and I don't wear shorts anymore."
No shorts, no problem. To be honest, it's been decades since I wore shorts as part of an 'outfit'. I just don't find them all that stylish and I believe there are lots of more flattering options.
My philosophy year-round is that simple = chic. With that in mind, I believe looking sharp when it's sweltering is a matter of 'less is more'.
I pulled a few pieces from my own closet to give you some ideas of what to include in your summer wardrobe.
As you can see, I currently have a thing for Old Navy tops and lightweight sweaters. :-) While they do sell plenty of unflattering, poorly-made garments... I find that with careful shopping, you can find pieces that truly deliver on quality, style and price.
Great pieces for your summer wardrobe: Soft, comfortable tanks and t-shirts Linen blouses (wrinkles are cool!) Loose, airy pants and skirts Simple, flowy dresses Lightweight cotton or linen sweaters for layering
Thanks for your patience! My YouTube skills are a little rusty these days (actually, they always have been;-) but I do have more videos in the works. I hope you'll stay tuned... Please let me know if there are any topics you'd like me to cover.
Questions? Drop them in below or email me, email@example.com.
Cheers to an amazing summer! Stay cool. xo Kristen
Of my three children, he’s often the most like me. Note the painful joy as he eats a pizza! Yet, unlike me, he’s calm, even-tempered and rarely flustered. He’s proudly named after his maternal grandfather. He’s a first-born son and a middle child. Today, I find myself reminiscing and reflecting as he turns eighteen. Thanks for indulging me.
Peter has been dropping truth bombs since he was a child.
Three of my most favorite Peter Tales follow…
The Phantom Horse It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Matthew has gone to pick up the turkey at Whole Foods. The kids and I are home getting the house ready. We’re hosting.
It’s misty and foggy outside. I’m getting dressed in my bathroom. As I come out into the family room, Peter announces that he just saw a horse in our front yard. He’s four years old.
Okay, sure. Whatever you say.
I ask a few questions, showing my interest in his tall tale. He carefully explains what transpired while I was in the bathroom.
The horse is brown and really big. It ran that way, right past the front window!
Wow, a real horse. That’s very interesting.
I look outside, I definitely don’t see a horse.
Moments later, he mentions that the horse is now out back. I play along, asking questions. The dark, dreary day adds to the mystery of this invisible horse. I look again. No horse.
Seconds later, as I stand in the kitchen, I watch a really big brown horse run right past our front windows. I gasp and go to the door. The horse is in a frenzied, full-blown gallop around our house. My mouth hangs open. My horse-crazed daughter runs to her room to grab a bridle, certain she can tame this lovely, wild creature.
Peter is squealing with joy and a hint of ‘I told you so’ delight.
The story ends with a neighbor coaxing the horse into their barn. Turns out something had spooked the animal causing it to jump the fence and enjoy a tour of our neighborhood.
You’d think this experience would have been enough to make me take Peter’s word for anything… but no. It took a couple more truth bombs for me to get there.
The Tomato Plague Something was eating my gorgeous tomato plants. The leaves were being destroyed. The plant was dying. I was convinced it was some sort of Tomato Plague. I was puzzled by this development as I'd always been able to grow tomatoes easily. Then I spied a large, (big as my index finger) lumpy, bright green worm on the back of a leaf. Young Peter took one look and was quick to chime in…
That’s a Tomato Hornworm.
Huh? A what?
Yeah, I’m positive it's a Tomato Hornworm! I read about them in that nature book Grandma Karen gave us. It’s in my room. I’ll go get it.
He reappeared a few minutes later with the nature book. His dirty fingers tucked securely inside, carefully marking the correct spot. Sure enough… a two-page spread on the Tomato Hornworm.
Peter read from the book, educating me on this unusual looking bug as if he'd spent years researching it's existence. It was identical to the intriguing creature that was devouring my tomato plants. The same creature that I’d never heard of in my entire life!
The Hydrangea Warts Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. They remind me of the simple joys of summer. Early one spring, I noticed that the hydrangea bush behind our house had warts. More specifically, several of its thick branches had grey-brown nodules on them. They matched the color and texture of the trunk almost exactly. They were about the size of a bouncy ball. The plant appeared infected.. or at least warty.
In passing, I mention the lumps to Peter. I shared my concern that the plant might be dying and that I might have to endure a hydrangea-free summer. He chimed in immediately…
It’s okay, Mom. Those are just Praying Mantis nests. They won’t hurt the plant.
Say what?! Who is this kid, I wonder to myself. Where did all of his random knowledge come from? Does he research odd subjects in his free time? What's in that special 'nature book'?
Thankfully, Google was on the scene by now. We do a quick search. Sure enough, we find evidence that the knobby lumps on my plant are indeed Praying Mantis nests!
Side note… I have always been unusually intrigued by the Praying Mantis. So this discovery left me positively giddy!
We learn that Praying Mantis typically hatch around the 24th of May (which was less than a month away). And that there are between 100 and 200 babies in each nest! So we wait. And then... magic.
We check the nest regularly. Right on time, we're lucky enough to witness fully formed, teeny tiny, perfect Praying Mantis babies as they march out of the nest and down the branches and leaves of the bush. A full blown miracle! Nature at its finest. WOW!
Over the years, Peter has continued to amaze me with the randomness of the things he knows. I’ve grown to count on Peter to know things. Strange, uncommon things. I value his insight and input and I’m regularly in awe of the vastness of his personal database.
Today he turns 18.
As this is the second time a child of mine has turned eighteen, I’m slightly more prepared for the emotional fallout. This threshold between childhood and adulthood is tough on moms. Though I know my parenting doesn’t end with this milestone birthday, it still stings.
I hope I’ve taught Peter ‘all the things’. And actually, in looking back, I realize he’s likely taught me just as much.
Happy Birthday to you, Peter Cain. You continue to dazzle me with the things you know and more importantly, with the person you are.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the merry, merry month of May. Keep your eye out for Praying Mantis babies... I'll be back in June. xo Kristen
I can’t imagine any work more important than the work we do on ourselves. I didn’t always feel this way. For me, the idea of bettering myself first sprouted in my thirties and started growing like a weed around the time I turned 40. Almost overnight, my appetite for information on how to evolve and become my best self was voracious. Without giving it much conscious thought… I was on a quest.
I researched and read. I listened and learned. I Googled. And then I Googled some more.
Yet, the radical change I hungered for wasn’t happening.
Mainly, because I didn’t take much action. I was deliberately accumulating facts and gaining knowledge, and that felt good… but I certainly wasn’t stretching past my comfort zone. I wasn’t doing the things that would actually promote change. And I certainly wasn’t sharing my dream of transformation with anyone. I didn’t have a community committed to helping me elevate to the next level.
Instead, I privately hunkered down in the land of ‘data collection’. I was actively studying others who were living their best lives and hoping that alone would somehow transform mine.
Silly me. Clearly, that didn’t work. What did work? Read on…
I received lots of questions regarding what on earth I was doing in the photo above (that photo originally appeared in my last blog post). Understandably. The image captured me looking wild, passionate and alive! Completely overcome. 100% engaged. Far out of my comfort zone! The photo was taken during a process at BOLD Advanced Leadership. BOLD is a personal growth boot-camp of sorts that I attended in January. BOLD is a fast-paced, intense experience that rockets your leadership skills into a whole new stratosphere! BOLD helps you own your role as a leader. It's safe to say that you'll blow your own mind:-) and come away with skills that will instantly up-level your professional life and your personal life.
Back to the picture... I won’t share the details of the exercise (in case you decide to go to BOLD yourself) but I will say that I was celebrating a big win.
An imagined win. A yet-to-actually-occur-in-real-time win, but boy could I feel it!
Looking at that photo reminds me what it feels like to live my best life. To up-level to a place where I barely recognize myself. To be ALL IN!
A bit of back story... About 18 months ago, I finally pushed beyond the research phase and began to take super real, deliberate action. I stepped cautiously into the world of immersive personal development. I learned the game-changing element of having a tribe.
I went to a retreat.
I’ve now attended three ‘retreats’. The growth that came from those combined 13 days has been epic. Far exceeding all the growth that occurred during my decades of solo research and development.
I showed up and spent time on myself. As a result, I’ve been able to give something incredible to my family, friends, coworkers, clients… the gift of me finally becoming my best self.
I can imagine what you might be thinking…
‘Kristen, there is no way I could ever step away from my family or job for a week’
‘That sounds nice, but I can’t afford it’
‘It’s selfish to attend a retreat’
‘I’d be so scared of what others there would think about me’
‘Retreat? Don’t you mean cult?’
I get it. I remember thinking all of those thoughts.
Mostly, it seemed super indulgent to even consider attending a retreat. It felt lofty to even write ‘Attend a women’s retreat’ on my Live List.
Yet, I wrote it.
And then, I silently hoped that the right opportunity would appear when I was ready…. years later, when I finally had my act together;-)
Again, silly me. The whole idea is to begin before you’re ready!
Looking back, it’s hard to remember the girl I was before I attended my first retreat.
Are you curious about a retreat or some other cool experience that would give you a nudge and quite possibly rock your world for the best?
Here are five things to keep in mind...
1. Pay attention to the pull. The right retreat or growth experience will find you. When it does, the tug might feel (extremely) uncomfortable. Feel that. Allow it to settle in.
Every fiber of your being might want to go, and yet you’ll resist. (For me, it became painful to even think about NINE because I couldn’t imagine how I could actually make it work yet, I knew I had to go.) Recognize that this could be THE thing you’ve been waiting for. Dig in. Do the research. Listen to your gut. You’ll know…
2. Ignore your limiting beliefs. If you’re like me, there will be immediate back-talk from your brilliant mind when you begin to consider attending something outside of your comfort zone. Totally normal. Let your mind do its thing. And then take a breath and let go of all the reasons why you ‘can’t’. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
It certainly wasn’t feasible for me to attend NINE Retreat in September, 2017. Greta was just starting her freshman year of college. Financially, it was the worst possible timing. We truly couldn’t ‘afford’ for me to go. But I stayed open and I believed that it would unfold perfectly. I let go of my limiting beliefs and trusted the Universe. The stars aligned and the amazing women who founded NINE helped me see that I could make it work. And… the next two retreat experiences became possible ONLY because I bravely stepped past my limiting beliefs. If you’d like info about the 'how to make it happen' part, I’m happy to share. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Commit. How badly do you want it? Are you sick and tired enough? Are you ready to leap and start living your best life? Then find the event, retreat, conference, etc. that you believe will launch you and commit to it. Stop at nothing to make sure you secure your spot in the front row. No wimping out. No excuses. Do you want to up-level your life or not? ALL IN! 4. Don't get stuck. Don't become lost in the researching or the retreating. Know when to stop researching. I understand this tendency. Remember, I’m all about the research phase. I existed comfortably in this stage for a little too long. Don’t get stuck there. Gather the info. Attend your thing or things and then get on with transforming your life so that you can live it! In other words, don’t keep searching when it’s really time to take action. Along the same lines, the goal is not to make 'attending retreats' your life's work. If retreat hopping becomes your new comfort zone, you’re wasting time and money.
5. Embrace the group. There is powerful energy in a group of humans who are seeking the same thing. Spending time with like-minded people helps us shift because we’re all working towards a common goal. In intense, immersive situations, strangers quickly form bonds. A team mentality emerges. Suddenly, you have an incredible support system. They know your weaknesses and your strengths. They celebrate your wins and hold you accountable. Most importantly, they have your back as you begin to test the waters of your best life! When you find even a tiny tribe that feeds your soul, keep them close. Nurture the new relationships. Elevate each other.
Your ‘best life’ is waiting. Find what stretches you and lean in!
I'll gladly share more about NINE Retreat and BOLD - Advanced Leadership. These are top-notch organizations. Both are founded by badass women who have a passion for personal development and are highly skilled at bringing out the very best in everyone who attends. The internal shifts and take-aways are game-changing for your relationships, business/professional life and personal growth. Want more info? Comment below or email me at email@example.com
Have you ever attended a retreat or conference that changed your life? Tell me more...
Happy March! Still a little rusty, but it's good to be back.
Full disclosure: This is not an affiliate post of any kind. I am not compensated for promoting NINE or BOLD. I simply wanted to share my thoughts. Since attending my first NINE Retreat I've become part of the NINE team. I am honored to be the Assistant Director of The NINE Collective.
As we turn the page on a fresh month, I’m finally ready for 2019 to begin! I realize that I’m a month late to this party, but New Year’s Day comes way too fast for this girl most years and then I’m left trying to catch my breath for the next 30 days! Or worse, for the next 11 months!!
I grew tired of feeling like I was already running behind... right out of the gate.
So, in the name of authenticity and acceptance… I’ve decided that I’m totally good with my new year starting on February 1st.
It works for me. January is a free trial month. I tested it out and now, I’m ALL IN.
Ahhh. It’s been a while. My fingers fight to find the flow as they move across my keyboard. But I'm committed to showing up fully so despite the cobwebs and uncertainty, I'm here. We both deserve that.
If you’re new to The Together Act… Welcome! I’m thrilled that you’re here. If you arrived by way of my YouTube channel and the KonMari Method of tidying, I think we’ll be fast friends;-)
If you’ve been around a while and were wondering if I’d ever return to this space, I have. I’ve missed the connection I feel here! Thank you for your patience while I took a step back and spent time deliberately choosing which elements of my life feel ‘simple, authentic and beautiful’.
In the searching and seeking, there were some surprises. I let go of a few things I'd been hanging on to for far too long. And I found a renewed interest in things I was sure I'd finished with forever. All that to prove... that you just never know what's ahead.
In addition to lots of clearing out and pondering, I've had some incredibly cool experiences since September. I promise to share more in my next post!
Thank you for holding space for me over the past four months.
Today, I just wanted to say 'Cheers' to the start (albeit a month late) of a new year!
So here we are. What’s next?
I’ll be posting monthly for now. I plan to keep a running list of all the rad things I want to share... similar to what my mother does between our phone calls:-) I’ll round them up and post the juicy details here, once a month. Likely on the first or second Friday.
The content will vary, but I’ll stay mainly my wheelhouse of style and simplicity… with a dose of mindset decluttering tossed in because it’s so game-changing and utterly fascinating to me.
How does that sound? I can’t wait to begin!
Until next time, you can find me on Instagram... where I'll now be showing up daily in order to avoid the embarrassment of dancing on Instagram Live. Long story... more later.
Want to be sure you don’t miss the monthly post?
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Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Have a list of topics you’d like me to cover? Just say the word! ! I’m happy to do the R&D for subjects you’re curious about. I love to do research and I love to find answers!
I hope January was wonderful for you and that you’re primed and ready for February! After all, it is the official start of 2019! ;-)
Happy New New Year! Thanks for being here. It feels good to be back. xo Kristen
Ahhhh. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this space. I'm a little rusty. Happy Autumn! Today, I'm sharing where I've been and offering some insight about what's ahead…
I recently returned from NINE Retreat in Montana. This is the second time I’ve experienced the magic of NINE. As it happens in this safe and supported environment, I began to feel the internal shifts and changes almost immediately.
My eyes and heart are now further opened to the limitless potential tucked inside each of us.
Watching the light begin to emerge from myself and other women is truly life-changing. I’m not an extreme sports or adventure junkie, but I think I could become a transformation junkie!
Here’s where I’ve been… I spent August soaking up time with my family and preparing to drop Greta off in Boston for her sophomore year of college. (A note regarding college drop-off… I can assure you that round two of leaving your child alone in another city still sucks, but it sucks less this year. The ache is there, but the pain is not as visceral. It feels like we’ll all survive this time around. Thank goodness!)
I also spent time sitting with the reality that Matthew and I are in the home stretch of parenting children. The boys are both high school upperclassmen… Peter is a senior and Henry is a junior. It takes my breath away to even type the words. Time can certainly feel like a thief.
In July, I shared my truth. I told my story. I wrote a very personal post and then explored the vulnerability that followed.
Seems I’ve entered a new stage of life… one where coming clean feels better than hiding or pretending.
Authenticity is a driving force for me now and I welcome it.
Photo: Dana Grant Photography
Then, NINE. I spent a week in Montana with a group of remarkable women. Each on a courageous journey to find her voice and own her power.
My life is better because of these beautiful badasses!
This was my second time attending a NINE Retreat. Last year in Vermont, I was a student. This year, I had the profound honor of being both a student and a teacher. The class I taught on Style and Simplicity brought awareness to the fact that I have some new work to do.
Creating a life you love is a process and a practice.
I realize that there are additional changes I can make to further align me with my very best life.
Simplifying at home. I’ve decluttered. I know the trouble zones in our home. I’m tired to wishing areas would fix themselves:-) I’m committed to tweaking things so that our space feels simple, authentic and beautiful.
Strengthening my relationships. With my husband, family, friends. I want more laughter. I want to welcome the people I adore into my home. I’ve kept friends at a distance. I'm ready to feel deeply connected to other humans.
Challenging myself to ‘show up’ in new ways (whitewater rafting included;-)... I started this blog for two main reasons; to push myself to write regularly and to provide guidance to women wanting to create amazing lives… starting with their wardrobe. I still love both of those things, but I realize I want a more intimate connection with women and I crave a more interactive community.
I discovered this summer, after coaching women one-on-one and teaching at NINE, that I want to personally help more women transform their lives.
I genuinely love watching the sparkle return to a woman’s eyes as she realizes that she holds the power to change her life! (See, I am a Transformation Junkie!)
So… I’m asking big questions and allowing stillness while I wait for the answers. As I figure out the next steps, I’m planning to cut back on my blog posts. Right now, I don’t feel that I can deliver valuable content every single week… and I don’t want to waste your time.
I’m feeling the pull to explore new avenues, so I plan to...
Embrace Instagram. I’ve avoided this long enough. I love Instagram. My life is enriched by many of the women I follow daily. I’ve been waiting in the wings. Receiving lots, but sharing little. I’m going to play around with IG and see what feels authentic for me. Stay tuned. @togetheract... if you'd like to follow along.
Speak to groups. I come from a family of educators (My parent were both teachers and my sister is an English professor). I never wanted to teach in a traditional classroom, but I’m excited about helping women in a group setting. I love the energy of women encouraging and inspiring each other with their stories.
Coach. I’m opening up my schedule to include more coaching. I offer one-on-one and small group sessions, held virtually and in-person. These interactions feed my soul and allow me to connect in a meaningful way with women who are seeking strategies and tools to create a better life.
NINE Retreat. I’ve been asked to join the NINE team!!! I’ll be working with the owners (Rockstars Kym Ventola and Kimberly Goeman) to help create an outreach/follow-up program for the women who attend the retreats. In addition, I’ll be part of the new NINE Collective. The Collective will allow women who’ve never experienced NINE to join NINE alum in a local monthly group of like-minded women. So cool!!
I’m not yet sure what shape this blog space will take moving forward. I’m taking the time to really listen to my heart and do what feels best. As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m considering shorter posts that relate to a life that’s simple, authentic and beautiful. I’m also interested in creating a newsletter/journal/carefully curated sampling of the things ‘on my radar’. Maybe five things that feel worth sharing, sent monthly. Have a great idea for me? I’m open. Please share.
I have a touch of sadness that it’s almost October and I won’t be participating in the Write 31 Days challenge. I’ve enjoyed being a part of that community for the past 4 years. But I fully grasp that nothing is permanent. Everything changes. (My posts for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 challenges can be found below in The Simple Collective)
Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for your patience as I sort out what’s next.
Have magnificent fall. Whatever that thing is that you’ve been waiting to begin… start today!
Of all the things that I allow myself to become overwhelmed by… a messy house is high on the list. When my home feels like a tornado blew through, I find it difficult to focus on anything. Regardless of what I ‘should’ be doing, I become distracted by the mess and the piles and the unfinished jobs.
If I’m not intentional with choosing my thoughts, clutter will completely stress me out! Full disclosure: I have yet to find a way to live a clutter-free lifestyle 24/7. While in many ways this sounds like Utopia, it’s unrealistic to think that we can participate in full, fabulous lives and never experience a mess. How would we ever have a dinner party or a bake a cake?
Messes mean we’re living.
Even if everything we own has a proper home and is something that we love, want and regularly use… (which I believe is the ultimate goal with regards to our belongings) there are times when that ‘stuff’ clutters our space.
I’m part of a family of five and we’ve decluttered and purged to a place that feels pretty good when everything is properly put away:-) But there are lots of moving parts in our home on any given day.
Usually that ‘clutter’ is a result of one of the following…
1. Too little time. Despite our best efforts to slow down, sometimes we are frantically dashing off to the next thing. We leave the house in a rush without putting things away first. Ideally, we make time to straighten up before we leave the house. Coming home is much nicer that way!
2. No designated home. Clutter can be the result of random or newly acquired things that haven’t been assigned a specific place to live. If every ‘thing’ has a spot where it can easily be ‘put away’, then the item no longer contributes to the mess. Note: When organizing, make it easier to put something away than to take it out. This is a game-changer in controlling clutter.
3. Laziness. We all have moments when we just don’t feel like putting something away or finishing a task. Guilty! Some teenagers have these moments more than others:-) The result… stuff where it doesn’t belong! This is fine when it’s temporary. Not so fine when it amounts to layers of junk covering the flat surfaces in every room!
Luckily, there is a very simple and extraordinarily effective solution for the ‘bomb went off’ effect ….
Enter the Ten Minute Tidy.
If you’ve already done the work of decluttering and tidying, then this touch-up method never fails to restore order to your space. If not, start here.
Here's a Ten Minute Tidy How-To:
- Enlist help, if possible and/or desired. Sometimes I prefer to take on the TMT alone, with great tunes blasting or a podcast in my earbuds.
- Get ready. I usually grab a few empty laundry baskets. I use them to separate what needs to be returned to each floor in my house. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Go!
- Move swiftly to gather up everything that’s out of place. Return all the ‘stuff’ to its proper home.
Dirty, wet dish towels : laundry room Random papers: recycling, file, in-box Fifty-seven mugs and glasses: into the dishwasher (Please tell me this isn’t only in my house!) Messy bedroom : make the bed, clean off the nightstand, put away abandoned clothing The stuff of errands : put library books and items to be returned in your car Kitchen disaster : dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the counters, rinse the sink, put out a fresh towel.
- If you’re so inclined, reset the timer and go for another 10 minutes!
This method is genius because it demands quick, focused action and the results are immediate.
I’m always a better person after a Ten Minute Tidy. Ahhh. I might have to start one right now!!
Tell me... how do you restore order when your house is messy?
We're counting down to the start of another school year. Thanks for being here with me.
I’ve discovered that my most effective reset button is always within reach.
Shifting my mood, my energy and my mindset is often as simple as changing my location. I’m always amazed at how quickly I gain a bit of perspective once I opt outside. I am able to feel the shift begin with that first breath of fresh air.
The outdoor activity doesn’t have to be grand. It can be as simple and available as pausing to feel the rain drops on my skin while getting the mail or soak up the warmth of the sun while rounding up the trash cans.
How will you opt outside today?
Walk around the block. Sit on the deck with a book. Really notice a bird or a squirrel. Watch the clouds. Have dinner under the stars. Plop down in the shade. Hike with a friend.
Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu
I first read the quote above years ago when my children were small. Since then it has often served as a reminder for me to stop rushing and trust a more peaceful pace.
Nature has the power to slow us down and provide us with quick relief from the craziness of real life. Our planet has the ability to ground us. (I mean, gravity literally keeps us attached to the ground... how's that for a reminder? :-)
Whether it’s the majesty of a mountain range or a vast expansive ocean, ‘big nature’ helps us to remember our small place in the grand scheme of the Universe.
And miniature offerings of nature’s magic remind us of the wonder… ladybugs, spiders on their webs, the tiniest flower.
When was the last time you let yourself really embrace the "WOW' factor right outside your door?
I believe I live in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States of America. And while I’m still awestruck by the view as I walk to my car from Target or Home Depot, I sometimes forget to utilize the incredible gift that nature provides.
Being outside gives me the opportunity to step away from my mental and physical stuff and connect with something bigger. The Great Outdoors has the ability to empower and inspire us. To calm and soothe. To expand and recharge.
Let nature work it's magic on you.
Do you opt outside when life feels too busy to breathe?
I urge you to try it.
Put your toes in the sand or in the green grass. Find a favorite rock or leaf and hold it in your hand. Pick (or if needed buy) yourself some flowers. Enjoy the shade and give thanks to the tree that provides it. Find a dark sky and become overwhelmed by the stars!
For me, there’s no quicker way to put my problems in perspective than to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way!
Nature relaxes me and helps me move out of a lack mindset.
Everywhere I look, there’s abundance. Blades of grass on a lawn Leaves on a single tree Flowers in a meadow Raindrops or snowflakes Water in a lake
The coolest thing? All of the mind-blowing, centering energy of Planet Earth is available to us every minute of every day!
Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by Nature.
Wise words. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for being here. I'd love to know... How will you find your dose of nature's medicine today?
This is a BIG weekend for our family. July 22 is our Boulder anniversary. Five years. Looking back now, it’s almost impossible to recall the people we were ‘before Boulder’. I don’t think I’d recognize the family that stood inside our empty Pennsylvania home watching a jam-packed ABF truck drive down our driveway.
What a difference five years makes.
The five of us are forever changed (individually and as a unit) because we decided to take a risk and step outside our comfort zone. There are so many positives that came with relocating to a new state. The lens we view life through widened and shifted. Our perspectives grew. We learned that we are capable of adapting, even when things feel scary and uncertain.
We have grown and stretched and become more resilient than we ever imagined we could. We’ve each made incredible friends. And we learned that old friendships often deepen when tested by distance.
As a family, our bond is tighter than ever. Launching ourselves into an unfamiliar world caused us to lean in. We discovered that no matter what, we always have each other’s backs.
Colorado feeds our souls.
We love the dry air and the abundant sunshine. We feel at home here and often wonder why we waited so long to make the move.
I need to be completely honest. The past five years have not been all sunny hikes, kale smoothies and mountain views.
The past five years have been hard. Really, really hard.
Not quite four months after moving to Colorado, we faced a sudden and serious financial crisis. We were blindsided. We were just beginning to acclimate to our new life when things swiftly crumbled. The proverbial rug-pulling sent us toppling. We were left emotionally devastated and financially unstable.
The situation was intense and painful. Lots of hurt and betrayal for everyone involved.
Thankfully, in the midst of that initial mess, there were some reassuring highs.
We experienced humbling generosity from family and friends, our kids continued to thrive despite real challenges and intense household stress and we never once doubted that Colorado was 'home'. Matthew and I turned to each other. We hunkered down to weather the storm together. We emerged eager to rebuild.
The rebuilding process has been anything but smooth. It's basically been a roller coaster. Each high has been followed by another terrifying free fall. Every time we thought we were on the right track, we were derailed.
Most days it seems we’ve taken more steps backwards than forwards. It’s been exhausting.
FEAR, DISAPPOINTMENT, STRESS and SHAME have been my constant companions.
Thankfully, Matthew and I built our marriage on a sturdy foundation and we’ve remained pretty solid despite the never-ending (mainly financial) roadblocks.
But strain and tension eventually take their toll. We're feeling the erosion of our connection. We realize now that we spent way too many months subsisting on constant worry and daily pleasantries. We allowed the bad stuff to far outweigh the good.
We're openly communicating with the intent to clean up our mess and return to solid ground. We're committed to doing things in a whole new way moving forward and we're trying hard to be excited about it! (Aren't we, babe? ;-)
Please don’t get me wrong... we certainly have experienced moments of real joy over the past five years…
Our children’s many successes
Summiting a few 14ers
Celebrating 25 birthdays. (How can that be?)
Welcoming family and friends to Boulder
And we are incredibly grateful for a wealth of blessings…
Our good health
Food in our kitchen
A roof over our heads
A constant outpouring of love and support from family and friends
Living in a place we love
WHAT HAPPENED TO FUN?
In the midst of survival mode, we sacrificed the fun. We barely remembered how to be happy. We let fun all but completely disappear from our lives.
I’m much to blame for this development. I resisted affordable fun because it felt frivolous in the face of our financial mess.
Actually, even 'free fun' seemed off limits. Reserved for those who felt joyful, which most of the time… I definitely did not. I felt scared and anxious and worried. Fun didn’t fit in my life. I rarely smiled. I felt stuck and sad.
WHY AM I SHARING ALL OF THIS?
Because I spend my days helping women create and live their best lives. I teach them how to declutter their wardrobes, homes and minds. I love the work I do. And I’m damn good at it.
I believe in cultivating a life that is simple, authentic and beautiful. I wanted to open up here and share a bit more of my story. It's one more way I'm letting go of the past and moving ahead. Authentically.
I don’t want anyone to think that I have it all figured out. I don’t want this blog or my Instagram feed to make it seem like my act is always together. Because it definitely is not.
During the past five years my offerings here have changed. I’ve been asked why I rarely write posts about style and fashion anymore. I guess it’s clear now that I’ve needed to explore other topics to save my own soul and answer my own deep questions. My hope is that some of that searching and seeking has helped you, too.
I’ve learned so much since our family arrived in Boulder five years ago. I’ve excavated my fears and my desires. I’m in the early days of another fresh start... slowly learning to release the lack mentality that once cluttered my every thought. I'm facing old limiting beliefs and redefining my personal version of a simple, authentic and beautiful life.
Matthew and I have been clinging to the bottom rung of the ladder for far too long.
It’s time to start climbing.
Sharing this truth gives me the strength to grab the next rung. I don’t believe life is meant to be easy. But I do believe in being honest and humble. I've learned that by sharing our struggles along with our triumphs, we are all better for it.
If I’ve scared you off, I understand. It’s often easier to think others have it all figured out. I’m sorry for disappointing you. Thank you for the time you've spent here. I wish you the best and hope our paths cross again one day.
If you’re not planning to click ‘unsubscribe’, I thank you for staying. I promise to keep it real and to continue exploring topics that seem timely and important to all of us right now. Style included:-)
NOTE: Regarding blog posts, I ask for your patience. I'm going to play it by ear for the rest of the summer. I plan to enjoy time with my family and prepare the class I'll be teaching at NINE Retreat in September. I'll also be showing up more on Instagram... I'd love to have you follow along!
I'm looking forward to incorporating some fun into this special weekend. Five years feels huge now that we're clearing the path for an awesome future!
If you're struggling, please know that you are not alone. We all have some darkness that we carefully hide from others. Maybe it's time for you to reveal a bit of your truth to someone. Or to the entire internet:-)
Thanks for being here. If you have any questions for me, I'll gladly answer them. Comment below or for more privacy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve hit the home stretch. Given what the mothers who’ve gone before us tend to share, we might believe that teenagehood lasts forever. Today, I’m fully aware that it does not.
Greta turns 19 today. (Happy Birthday to my very favorite girl!)
The next trip around the sun will lead her to a new decade. That fast, Greta’s teenage years will be over.
The idea that she’s now hovering at the edge twenty… seems ridiculous! Thankfully, I still have 365 days to prepare myself for that milestone!
Is it possible to not blink for twelve whole months? I’m going to try.
Greta is a gift that I often feel I don’t deserve.
How did I get so lucky?(Mind you, I feel the same way about Peter and Henry:-)
Watching a human enter the world and then grow into adulthood is mesmerizing and mind-blowing (okay, except maybe for the hundreds of days when it’s just purely exhausting!)... but otherwise, WOW!
It’s one thing to witness yourself growing up. But it’s entirely different to be the spectator as your child moves through all the phases.
It’s the coolest thing ever to watch a tiny person morph into a full-fledged big person. Crazy wild!
I love this fresh space where motherhood tips into friendship. I'm embracing this new chapter, where I can truly become friends with my own children.
Obviously, I’m still the parent. And as such, there are times when I need to play the ‘mom’ card. But usually, I just have a VIP, front row seat to watch these incredible humans do their thing. And do it beautifully.
Today, I joyfully celebrate all the amazing versions of Greta I have witnessed over the past 19 years. And I'm filled with anticipation for what the next 19 years will bring!
Greta is wise and insightful. Patient and generous. Talented and humble.
She is exquisite, inside and out.
In the past, I've written a few posts about Greta. I’m sharing them below because today I’m allowing myself to brag. I hope you enjoy.
I'm loving how this summer feels compared to last. Greta turning 18 and leaving for college felt so huge. Almost insurmountable. I couldn't imagine the future, I could only feel the ache.
If you're in the tender space of your first child arriving at the edge of a milestone, I urge you to take a deep breath and settle in. The ride may indeed be bumpy, but you will make it safely to the other side:-)
In other news…
For the rest of the summer, I’ll be experimenting with my blog posts.
What does that mean?
I’m not exactly sure, but I know that I’m ready to change things up a bit.
I plan to use this slower season to dabble in some uncharted territory and maybe return to my stylist roots. Changes might include; 15-minute free writes, new topics, more style, more mindset work...
And during this time, I plan to actually ‘show up’ on social media more often!
So, if you find yourself on Instagram, I’d love to have you follow along. @togetheract
As I rework The Together Act blog content, I welcome any and all feedback. Your thoughts on what I’m posting will let me know what you’re loving and how I can best serve you in this space.
And, I’m currently preparing for my role as teacher at NINE retreat in Montana. I simply cannot wait to experience NINE again, this time as a student and a teacher!
Maybe you’d like to join us? Find out more, right here! It’s truly amazing!!
Thank you for being here. Have suggestions for what topics you'd like me to include moving forward? I'm ready... let me know!!
In the U.S. we’ve just passed Independence Day. We celebrated the Fourth of July with parades and picnics, Popsicles and fireworks. We’ve now entered ‘the sweet spot’. This is the beautiful stretch of summer when we finally let out a deep exhale and rejoice in the splendor of this long-awaited season.
For the next few weeks, we find ourselves in the pure prime of summertime!
I don’t know about you, but I always head into summer thinking that I’m going to accomplish GREAT THINGS with all of my ‘free’ time. I ambitiously contemplate the projects I will surely tackle in this school-free, slow-paced zone. I trick myself into thinking that more daylight will mean more productivity.
Yet summer after summer, I don’t seem to make much serious progress.
I usually lack a plan and thus fail to take any real action that could lead to being or doing or having all that’s on my list.
Instead, sometime in early August (since my kids go back to school on August 13th), I face reality and begin making new lists for all the things I’ll accomplish once they’re back in school!
Only September is then quickly followed by the ‘holiday season’ and so I throw in the towel and decide to wait until January!
Maybe like me, you’ve finally discovered that this genius method doesn’t work.
No real surprise there, huh? Doing the same thing and expecting different results… crazy, for sure!
Does your to-do list read like a broken record? Do you carefully rewrite desired tasks, personal changes, dreams, wants, wishes, etc... over and over, but never actually do or be or have any of them?
Then I have a proposition for you…
What if you spent the rest of July focusing on that ONE thing you keep saying you want to do or be or have?
Depending on when you’re reading this, that could be 26 whole days!
Does the big stuff seem too scary?
You could start small and focus on a seemingly insignificant (= easy) thing you keep saying you want to do, be or have.
We spend so much time making excuses for why we can’t be or do or have something we truly want.
We’re so sure that we don’t have what it takes.
We're sure that we don't have enough to make it happen.
What's in your blank?
Time Money Energy Resources Skills
What if we simply shut our mouths, ignored our discouraging minds and went for it?!
What could it hurt to swing for the bleachers?
What if we took the freaking leap and truly trusted that the net would appear?
Side note: If you’re a mom of littles you’re probably struggling just to make it through the month of July!
Your days are packed full of applying sunscreen to sweaty, squirmy bodies - wiping sticky fingers - trying to get kids to play outside when it’s 95 degrees in the shade - and cursing the longer daylight because it leads to later bedtimes!
I get it. I’ve been there!!
If this is merely the season of survival for you, accept that and rock it! Be ‘all in’ with your kids, because as my daughter turns 19 this summer… I see the speed of childhood more clearly now. Know that I’m rooting for you! And your turn for different, deliberate action will come:-)
For the rest of us, I’m tossing a few ideas out there… (these may or may not be some of my actual ideas:-)
Purchase a high-power blender Pay off some old debts Promote my business Learn to speak actual French Declutter my home a bit more Develop a regular yoga practice
What do you say? Are you in?
What ‘goal’ has been hanging around on your list (and in your mind) for far too long?
Can you even imagine what would happen if you made a commitment to spend a chunk of time EVERY DAY for the rest of July on accomplishing that goal?
What I’m proposing is flexible.
It’s simply a way to see what we’re truly capable of when we stop whining and get to work.
How much time you spend on your ‘be, do or have’ is up to you. It can be as little as 10-15 minutes each morning or as much as several hours every damn day.
Decide what’s realistic in your life and go from there.
Wondering what kind of impact you can make on improving your life in just 10 minutes a day?
I believe you can!
If you honestly don’t know where to even begin, my suggestion is to start meditating.
Daily meditation changes EVERYTHING.
Download the Headspace app onto you phone. The first 10 days are free. After that, if you don't want to upgrade to become a paid member, you can just repeat the first 10 days again until August and beyond.
Or you could... Be nicer to your kids Offer to help someone Get together with friends Organize your home Learn a new skill Read more books
What's possible if we simply commit to taking deliberate action?
Let’s find out…
I’ve already begun. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. It’s only 26 days. Join me?
As always, please comment below or email me with questions: email@example.com. It might take me a few days, but I answer every question personally and happily:-)
Thanks for being here! Have an amazing weekend. xo Kristen