style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
There are so many milestones associated with motherhood. The firsts and lasts keep coming for decades. The firsts are often poignant and easy to recognize. The first smile. The first time the baby sleeps through the night. The first steps. Sadly, some of the lasts are lost in the shuffle. We rarely recall the last time our child nurses or naps or sweetly mispronounces a word.
I think we'd all appreciate some warning that the 'last' is coming.
I wish I’d had some notice before I gave each of my children their last bath. I would have paid more attention. I would have been more careful to keep the shampoo out of their eyes. I would have slowed down. And then I'd have cherished snuggling them close in a warm towel.
I would have truly savored the very task that sometimes pushed me over the edge at the end of a long day.
For nearly two decades, I’ve been warned by the wise women a few strides ahead of me on the mothering trail.
They assured me it would go fast.
They cautioned me not to blink.
Trouble is, it’s impossible to keep our eyes wide open for very long. We have to blink.
You talk with the mother who's attending the spring concert at the elementary school. But your child is still toddling...so it doesn’t quite register.
You listen when another mom tells you about touring the middle school. But your child is in the spring concert at the elementary school...so it doesn’t quite register.
You hear moms sharing tales of their teenager’s prom, driver training, college applications and grad parties. Your child is in middle school...so it doesn’t quite register....
But you can sense that the years are speeding up and while you can almost imagine your baby in high school, you’re afraid to listen.
The firsts keep coming…
And so do the lasts.
Staying present helps. Pause and remember to focus on the Now. Breathe. Whatever stage you’re in...that’s where the magic happens. Don't miss it.
I’ve arrived at another big moment in motherhood. Another first.
Tonight, I become a new version of ‘that’ mom.
I'll be the mom whose child will be ‘home from college’ for the very first time.
Greta hasn’t been in our house since she left for Boston in late August.
(Crazy to think a journey around the world would have taken that long in the late 1800’s:-)
It’s time for her to come home to visit. We miss her.
Before midnight, she’ll be back in our house. And I’ll sleep better than I have in 80 days.
I'm about to join the ranks of the moms who have college kids home for Thanksgiving break.
In the thick of it, each stage seems to arrive slowly.
However, in hindsight...you become ‘that’ mom pretty darn fast. I’d urge you to pay attention when the moms ahead of you share their tales. But, I know you won’t hear their words. You can’t. You’re not ‘that’ mom yet.
I spoke with one of ‘those’ moms yesterday. My sister-in-law.
She's one of the moms who are still way ahead of me.
Her oldest will be thirty in February and that almost 30 year old baby is engaged to be married in September!
Logically, I believe I’ll be there one day...daughter turning thirty. Baby getting married. But I can’t see it clearly right now.
Currently, my focus is on hugging Greta when she comes home from college for the first time!
Stay present and soak up every single minute.
I've never been more excited about Thanksgiving.
I now fully grasp how it feels to want your children home for the holidays!
Just imagining what it will be like when all three of my kids are out of the house...and how incredible it will be to have them all home again even for a few sleeps...brings fast, hot tears.
If you have grown children who will be returning home this holiday, enjoy the time with your babies. I'm happy to be joining your club. I'm one of 'those' moms now.
Thanks for reading. I'm working on some exciting changes for The Together Act. I'll be sharing more over the next month. January is going to be really good!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
My first born child will graduate from high school tomorrow. It’s been a week of sometimes dizzying emotions. Long to-do lists, party preparations, the rapid firing of a dozen school year's worth of memories, out-of-town guests and the knowledge that our family is about to experience a wonderful (but profound) occasion. One that ultimately sets in motion a slew of enormous changes.
A few months ago, I vowed to do everything in my power to stay as present as possible during the weeks and days leading up to this grand occasion. I decided that I was going to soak it all in.
Well, I’m here.
It’s the eleventh hour.
T minus one sleep and it’s time for her to walk. Milestones can be tricky. Milestones that involve our kids, often take our breath away.
The past has a way of sharpening the edges. Making things that much more acute. Flooded with mental images of our ‘little kids', we often feel paralyzed. Trapped in our thoughts. Unable to move forward because the future seems scary...or completely inconceivable because she was just heading to Kindergarten five minutes ago!
Something happened to me earlier this week.
I felt a shift.
Without any decision or forethought, I felt myself surrender.
verb. abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.
I rarely use the word surrender. The last time I recall even considering the word ‘surrender’ was when my three children were small. I was smack in the middle of the full-on mothering years. Monotony was the norm. Repetitive tasks filled my days. I felt a bit resentful and overwhelmed.
I stumbled upon (or the Universe directed me to:-) a book titled Surrendering to Motherhood- Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul by Lois Krasnow.
This honest, 200 page read opened my eyes to the art of surrendering. Ms. Krasnow’s words hit home. I needed her message. It helped me yield to the demands of my busy life mothering three toddlers. In yielding, I discovered some contentment.
The act of surrendering is powerful. The relief that follows the ‘letting go’ is profound.
I’ve been overcome by an unexpected wave of peace this week. My heart and soul have decided to simply ride it out.
All the way.
Right through the heartstring-tugging sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, past the celebration of Greta’s exceptional K-12 career. . .and clear into next week when I’ll be that mom who can say, “My daughter just graduated from high school”.
The tsunami of emotions? I’m riding that out, too. Feeling all the feels.
In the past few days...I’ve quietly fallen apart talking with favorite Anthropologie clients and old neighbors. I’m sure if the deli counter guy asks ‘How’s it going this week?’, I’ll become a puddle. I'm very thankful for waterproof mascara.
But...and this surprises me a bit...it feels okay (even good) to feel it all.
I guess I always thought of surrender as a sign of weakness. I usually opt to dig in my heels and fight. Often I'm merely fighting myself by resisting what is. Holding on too long to an idea or a thought or a way of being.
I’m beginning to think that all the work I’ve done to be more present is actually paying off. I truly believe that this week’s unconscious surrendering is a beautiful byproduct of living more fully in the Now.
I didn’t choose to surrender, it just happened.
By yielding to all of the feelings, emotions and memories that accompany this big life event, I’m finding real joy.
I am incredibly proud of Greta.
I’m excited for the Now when her name is called and she walks to receive her high school diploma.
I will be 100% present.
Surrendered fully to the moment and the milestone.
Happy Weekend, folks. If you see a woman in the grocery store today who looks like she’s been testing her waterproof mascara, whisper a wish of surrender...she might be needing it.
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Thank you for following along.
P.S. I’ve been randomly listening to Pomp and Circumstance on my phone since before Greta’s sixth grade graduation. My hopes? That by the time she graduated from high school, I’d be immune to its triumphant sound and not fall apart during the first few measures. No such luck. It’s playing in my office as I type these words. Blubbering mess:-)
Deciding what you want and naming it is often considered the first step to success. I'm not so good at this. Setting personal intentions is tough for me. Before the yoga class is over, I've often lost sight of the intention I set during the first mountain pose.
Goal setting? My skills are poor. As I’ve mentioned, I’m still working to actually identify my goals on a regular basis so that I have something concrete to work towards. I've always been kind of soft in this area. I think my subconscious reasoning was that if I don't set a goal then I haven't really failed if I don't achieve it. The reality is that I'd have a much greater chance for success if I had an actual plan. A vision.
I see this now.
I'm intrigued by the current trend to pick a word at the start of the new year and then hold that word as a reminder and compass for the following 365 days. This practice makes some sense to me. I rather like the idea of having a word to guide my actions and decisions during a specific time period.
A touchstone of sorts.
I'm pretty good with challenges. Especially those having clear directions and manageable time parameters.
So, I’ve decided to dive in and try it.
Knowing my limits, I’m starting with one month.
I’m naming my intentions for the month of May.
I’ve chosen four words...
and yes, that might be too many, but I’m going all in!
The fifth month of 2017 is a big one for my family. Peter will turn 16. Greta will graduate from high school. We'll have two permitted drivers. Henry will finish his freshman year.
Lots of wonderful milestones to celebrate!
And lots of very busy days.
My four words for the month of May...
Memories- I’m expecting May to be filled with lots of emotions. I want to feel them all. The memories of my teenagers as little kids come to mind quickly now. I’m feeling all the feels of having my first child on the cusp of adulthood...with the other two right on her heels. I want to get a bit lost in the sweet memories of them as children. I want to cherish how far they’ve come.
And, I want to make wonderful memories as we celebrate the incredible ‘big kids’ they’ve are now. I plan to enjoy the time we'll spend with family and friends. Soaking in the joy and being present every possible minute.
Meditation- Intellectually, I’m an excellent meditator. In actuality, my practice is spotty. I’d like that to change. I’m committed to sitting on my cushion every day. Some days it might only be for two minutes, but I’ve learned that once I begin sitting...sitting regularly becomes much easier.
So, I’ll sit. No excuses. Just my butt on the cushion and my breath flowing.
Simple...right? Not so much, but I know that the benefits are worth the difficulty of trying to fit meditation into my days. My mind is noticeably calmer when I meditate regularly...and currently, I need that more than ever:-)
Manifesting- I think maybe it's the pending tuition payments, but I need an attitude adjustment. I’ve been stuck in a mindset of lack. I’ve spent too much time worrying about money and feeling like there’s never enough. I realize that I control what I think about...and I attract more of what I think about...it’s time to shift my thinking.
Abundance is everywhere....just take a peek outside. Countless leaves and flowers, and blades of grass. Plenty of air and sky and earth. I’ll be focusing on that and I will begin to attract exactly what I need.
Marriage- On May 18th, Matthew and I will celebrate 21 years of marriage. That’s a long time. I’m super proud of our happy marriage. We've worked hard over the past two decades to keep our love real and fresh and strong.
Matthew recently started a new job. He’s in charge of a cool new wine brand called St. Mayhem. His new role is challenging and exciting and time consuming. He's busy. Over the years, we've noticed that when one of us has a very full plate, our connection can sometimes suffer.
In May, I'll look for ways to improve our marriage and keep us steady even when life feels almost too full. Instead of being frustrated by Matthew's longer workdays and increased travel, I'll choose gratitude. I’m very thankful for his enormous contribution to our family...so I will work to welcome the mayhem.
Sometimes we both need to be reminded of what makes us so good together. Our anniversary month is the perfect time to reflect on our past and plan for our future.
Seems like I have my work cut out for me during the 31 days of May.
I like a challenge and I always work better with an outline...
Mmm, then maybe I should start setting goals and intentions more often, huh?
One step at a time.
What will you commit to for the month of May?
Will you pick a word or four? Which ones feel right to you?
I so enjoy reading your comments. You inspire me! I learn from your challenges and solutions. Thank you for sharing.
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Please help! Any tips for making it through your child’s high school graduation? I’ve been listening to Pomp and Circumstance for months trying to prepare myself and still can’t get through it without weeping:-)
Thanks for following along.
Photos by the amazing Teresa Nora Trobbe. You can find her at Fotos by T. She's also responsible for making me feel sexy.
If you have littles...
Believe what 'they' say. It all goes incredibly fast! One day you'll find yourself here.
Sitting on the far edge of your baby's childhood.
The days are long, but the years are indeed very short.
Try not to miss too much by tending to the stuff that doesn't matter:-)
As part of my Simply 50 challenge, I decided that I desperately wanted to welcome more luxury into my everyday life. I felt that at 50, I should stop waiting for ‘someday’, quit settling and begin incorporating beautiful things into my world.
Thankfully, I have a few close friends who are quite skilled in this area.
Though younger and obviously wiser, these women are embracing life luxuriously.
I’ve always been hesitant to buy the best. I’m a frugal shopper, often to a fault. I sometimes don’t follow my own professional advice and end up with the lesser version because I wanted to save a few bucks.
Intellectually, I know this method isn’t the smartest, but I still let the voice in my head (which says there isn’t ever enough money and therefore I can’t afford it) call the shots.
I made a conscious decision to change that outlook last fall.
I’m happy to report that I’ve added a little luxury and it feels incredible. Now, I realize that my idea of luxury might be very different from yours. Please know that while none of the items below were bank-breakers, I had to step out of my financial comfort zone to purchase each of them.
I’m worth it.
Here’s what I’ve added and why…
Pottery Barn Flickering Flameless Wax Pillar Candle-
A dear friend...truly an old-soul who oozes calm and warmth and wisdom….shared her love of these candles.
At first, I was scared of the price...the smallest and least expensive is $50. I hadn’t yet seem them in person, only on a video clip shared by my friend.
I had to admit, they had an amazing glow!
Then I ventured into Pottery Barn to take a look for myself. Honestly, I was mesmerized by the realistic flame. It flickers and dances and truly looks like a lit candle.
I decided to put one on my Christmas list. Figuring my husband and children would be happy to indulge my new desire for more luxury. Note: My husband has this idea down and has been patiently waiting for me to come around.
I received one for Christmas. I smile every single evening when it comes on (did I mention that these candles operate on timers?!). I couldn’t love this simple pillar candle more.
They are much, much better in your home in the evening than they appear online or even in the brightly lit store.
Full disclosure: in an effort to save money, I purchased a few other types of flameless candles. Bad plan. The other options pale in comparison.
The PB candle is superior in every way. Well worth the extra cash, even if you only buy one at a time and build your collection slowly. Because, let’s be honest...most folks can't afford to drop $250-$300 on 5 or 6 pillar candles in the name of luxury?
Next up on the luxury list…
Crate and Barrel Lino II Linen Sheets-
I’ve wanted a set of 100% linen sheets for years. I love the feel of linen. This timeless fabric brings to mind an era long past and at the same time, feels extremely modern. And expensive.
Yet, I reserved linen sheets as a luxury...for later.
Someday, I’d sleep on linen sheets.
A few months ago, when discussing everyday luxury with a friend, she mentioned that for her, such luxury came in the form of linen sheets. She spoke of them with such affection and enthusiasm.
I decided, maybe it was time for linen sheets.
I mentioned this to my husband. Luckily, he is a firm believer in living with luxury (not over-extended, credit-card debt causing luxury, but investing in quality whenever possible)....he said “I want linen sheets for Christmas”.
Over the next several weeks, he repeated this desire. Assuring me that a set of linen sheets was all he wanted for Christmas.
I took him at his word and began to search for our perfect starter set:-)
Crate and Barrel came through with the most beautiful creamy-white linen sheets (and now they’re on sale). We’ve been sleeping on since December 26th. They are truly divine!
Our bedroom has often been the most overlooked room in the house. I always wanted it to feel like a retreat, like a boutique hotel room. It finally does.
Rumpled and soft and sexy
And finally...a grown-up sound machine.
L'ectro Fan Sound Machine-
Everyone in my house sleeps with a sound machine. Before moving from our old house last February, my husband and I tossed ours. It was an inexpensive version that I purchased from Amazon and it had a very annoying repeat loop in every sound. It was just enough to keep us awake...waiting for the catch where the sound started over again.
At the new house we opted for a $20 box fan positioned in the corner of our bedroom. We turned the fan to face the wall during the cooler months and slept soundly to its whir.
Then I performed a mini-makeover on our master bedroom in January...prompted by the linen sheets:-) and I decided it was time to upgrade the sound machine and get rid of the box fan (after all, we have a ceiling fan to move the air).
Again, I searched Amazon. I was sure I could find a sound machine for $20 or so.
I found several, but they all played lots of other sounds besides white noise...I didn’t want crickets or rain or ocean waves...
I wanted the sound of a box fan without having to look at the ugly thing.
Enter ‘LectroFan. This little device is a game-changer. It’s small and mighty. Unlike the models that play nursery rhymes while projecting dancing sea creatures onto the ceiling (yes, one of my kids still has this one), the ‘LectroFan’s modern design is sleek and suitable for an adult room.
I hesitated (as I always do) to spend $50 on a somewhat unnecessary luxury.
But...then I read that in addition to looking great and having only fan and white noise options (20 total)...this fan works on an algorithm that prevents it from ever repeating! The sound is authentic and soothing. Sold.
Solid and well-made
Small and simple
Matthew has mentioned several times in the past month that he really likes it. Winning.
Are there upgrades to everyday items you’d like to try, but don’t because they seem like a huge splurge?
What’s your favorite luxury item?
How do you incorporate luxury into your everyday living?
I always enjoy your thoughts on the topics I explore here. Please share!
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I decided it’s time for a little self check-up. A mid-winter assessment of how well I’ve been doing with mindfulness...and by doing it here, I become much more accountable.
Eckhart Tolle has been getting to me. I read The Power of Now in October and then promptly read A New Earth.
Once I finished with the ‘research’ phase, I eagerly set my sights on mastering the art of staying present.
I fully realize this is not a skill to be mastered, but actually something of a lifelong practice. Thankfully, the human condition allows us to continue learning and growing (even as we stumble and fall) on the way to becoming more awake and conscious.
Here’s a review of my Now’ness.
First off, please know I’m no guru. I certainly don’t have all (or really even any) of the answers...but I’m seeking.
And I promise to always share what I’m learning along the way.
The methods I’m using to find the present moment are simple. I rely on the common practices of those who’ve been doing this way longer than me. Thankfully, they’ve made it pretty easy to begin.
Whenever I tune into the present moment, I have a strong sense of returning.
I instantly realize that I’m back - as in, I become conscious of the fact that I was lost in thought and become aware of the voice I hear in my head -
I then pay attention to my breath. Sometimes counting each inhale and exhale and sometimes just feeling the air coming in and going out. I become centered.
Feeling pretty Zen. I think ‘Wow, this is awesome!’
And then, 4 hours pass before I become aware that I’ve been completely consumed by thoughts again:-)
My mind took over and I was just along for the ride.
In theory, staying present is a simple practice. Yet, the degree of difficulty is astonishing! I am constantly blown away by how incredibly hard it is to stay present for more than a few seconds!
A few seconds!
On any given day, how is it possible that my mind can’t be still for more than a few seconds at a time?!?!
Here’s what I’m noticing as I work to stay present…
1. This is hard.
I spend a huge part of each day in complete oblivion. Every day there are surprisingly (and embarrassingly) large chunks of time when I’m totally ‘gone’. My mind is in total control and I’m not aware in the slightest.
Until, I am aware.
All of a sudden, I’m back. Feeling my breath. Observing my thoughts. Present.
2. Less stress.
The more often I operate in the Now, the easier life becomes.
When I’m present and aware, the big scary worries seem manageable and the nagging thoughts dissolve away completely. It’s as if the bright light of awareness eliminates most of the shadowy-stresses.
The problems don’t consume me. The constant worry stops. Little things stay little.
3. More joy.
It’s almost silly how much happier I am when I stay more present. I hear myself laughing freely. I notice the good stuff.
I feel more like my authentic self when I'm present. I guess this is kind of the whole point, huh?
4. More clarity.
I recognize my resistance.
This might be the biggest ‘aha’ for me.
Oh, boy do I see this with more clearly lately. It’s as if the things I resist are lit up in flashing neon!
When I’m having an issue or problem, it always comes back to me resisting what is. I want the present moment to be different. As obvious as this may seem, once I recognize that I’m resisting, I’m able to step back and decide to stop. I can choose to let go. What freedom!
See? It’s simple, but certainly not easy. Or without constant effort...at least in the beginning.
I’m hoping that with practice this whole Now thing becomes the new normal.
Are you aware of the voice in your head?
Do you have an internal roommate who never stops talking?
How do you find and hold onto the present moment in the fullness of everyday life?
I'd love to hear what works for you and what you struggle with regarding staying present. Comment below or email me at email@example.com
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While I partially agree with the popular notion that Valentine’s Day is a holiday designed to sell cards, flowers and chocolates...I do smile at all of the pink and red hearts on display in February. I am a true romantic. I’m fine with pulling out the stops on February 14th, if that’s your thing, but I do believe that a great romantic relationship should be nurtured and celebrated all year long.
Since I’m feeling all the feels of this sappy season...this post is about love:-)
My daughter and her boyfriend are celebrating their one year anniversary today. She’s a high school senior and he’s a (far away) college freshman. Their relationship is nothing like my relationships at that age. They have an emotional maturity that I lacked until I was almost thirty.
Sure, they face some typical young love struggles and the distance is difficult for both of them, but they've stayed together for 365 days.
At any age, I think that’s pretty cool.
My in-laws are rounding the corner to 50 years of marriage. At only 68 years old, they’ve essentially been married since they were kids. They’ve raised four children and have eleven grandchildren and they actually still like each other. They have staying power.
Today, Matthew and I have been married for 7,573 days.
I’m often asked to share our secret. How have we managed to keep our marriage so solid for so many years?
I guess I can think of a few things that have worked for us, but there’s one that we both believe has been some serious glue.
What's Second Dinner?
Quiet. Meaningful. Alone time.
Matthew and I eat dinner at 9:30 every night.
Our teenage children eat around 6:30 with us fully in the mix, but not really eating with them.
We often have a small taste of what they’re having, but it’s definitely not a meal...it’s more of a snack.
We all talk and share the news of the day, but Matthew and I have our dinner alone, later.
Second dinner always includes candles and wine.
Our big kids sometimes filter through the dining room while we're eating. We chat briefly and they head off to bed.
How did we get here? Sort of by accident...
When Matthew and I began living together, we worked in a restaurant. I planned events and he managed the restaurant. My role was to get the party started and then quietly exit once things were smoothly underway. Matthew was there until the end. Locking up and heading home, often after midnight.
Back then, I’d eat something small when I got home and then wait up for Matthew so I could eat dinner with him. This continued until we had our first baby.
Then, Matthew took a day job so he could be home in the evenings. We’d put Greta down and then we’d eat dinner.
As our family grew, I think we assumed that we’d begin having traditional family dinners once our kids were a little older.
That never really happened.
Well, for a few reasons….
When Greta was three and a half, Henry was born (he's our third:-). Dinnertime with two toddlers and an infant was challenging.
As the kids got older, even relatively peaceful dinners were chaotic.
Mayhem. Lots of food to cut up. Mouths to wipe. Meltdowns to manage. We were teaching manners and setting ground rules, but Matthew and I needed time to be adults. I missed having time with him.
And, then there's the wine problem.
The few times I tried to include a glass of wine in the early family dinner mix...I wanted to go to bed before bath-time. Wine and toddlers didn’t work for me. A few sips and I was too tired handle the busy bedtime routine. I was often exhausted from the fullness of the every day...a glass of wine and I was useless.
But I love wine.
I quickly discovered that after everyone was safely tucked into their beds...I could light the candles and have a glass of wine with my husband. I gained a second dinner-second wind and was ready to connect with Matthew.
We could sit like grown ups and remember what we liked about each other. It was our time. And quickly became sacred.
With rare exception, we always eat a second dinner.
On vacation...it's out for an early, small meal then home for a second dinner alone. At the beach with the whole family (22+ people) we still make second dinner work.
This practice has strengthened and sustained our marriage.
We recognize this is an unusual arrangement. We've gotten some flack and resistance about our method over the years. But, we've stopped apologizing for it. We relish our time together every evening.
Twenty years in...this works for us.
Just to clarify....we do have a few family dinners every week with our kids. Traditional mealtimes where we all sit around the table and eat together...but Matthew and I eat light, knowing that we'll be back at the table together later...with candlelight and wine.
If you’d like to give second dinner a try...
Pick an evening next week to have dinner alone. At home. Keep it simple and make is special. Then, please share your thoughts!
Every happy couple has their own secret for success.
Need a Valentine’s Day gift?
I recently purchased Table Topics for Couples.
It's a Lucite box containing 135 cards. On each card is a question for couples. Matthew and I take turns sharing a question while we eat. The answers spark interesting conversations and offer a unique way to stay connected.
A great marriage does take some work, but if you want a great marriage...it’s worth the effort.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’m researching lots of fun and informative topics for upcoming posts.
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I’ve mentioned before, I'm what marketers consider a Late Majority Adopter. Or possibly even a Laggard (though that sounds dreadful). If I’m ever the first to try something new, it’s purely by accident. I don’t rush into purchases and I usually take a while to warm up to a product I’ve never tried before. I wait until there's conclusive evidence that the item is 'worth it' to me.
Today, I’d like to thank all of the Early Adopters out there.
Thank you for doing the dirty work and testing out the latest thing and the newest craze. Your efforts allow me to delay until I’m absolutely convinced that the purchase or experience is deserving of my time, money and energy. I never intended for others to do the research and testing for me, it just worked out this way.
I imagine that the Early Adopters are quite happy in their role. Eager to continue to be first. At least, I hope so.
Sometimes I dream about being one of them...
Brave enough to try the next big thing long before it becomes the next big thing.
For me, this concept actually reaches beyond the clothing and products in my life to experiences.
I’m thrilled that someone decided to climb to the peak of a 14 thousand foot mountain. And I’m super thankful that lots of someones after continued to make the trek...so that by the time I reached the summit of my first 14er last August, I was able to benefit from the wisdom of all those who went before me and shared their experience.
That hike, in a word...
I always listen carefully as the Early Adopters around me rave about a new item. I’m fascinated by their boldness and commitment to stepping outside of the box. Their bravery has led me to discover personal favorites that I certainly would have otherwise missed.
Currently, I’m grateful to the masses who’ve been wearing and loving Frye shoes for over 100 years.
I’ve heard about the incredible quality and comfort of this brand for years. I’ve also known of their high price tag and was never quite ready to take the leap.
After a recent, exhaustive, unsuccessful search for a pair of classic, menswear inspired shoes, I looked to Frye.
I stepped out of my own box and purchased a pair of Frye oxfords.
I finally see what all of the fuss is about.
Truth be told, here's the full story...
I purchased the shoes on Amazon (best selection and price...for basically everything). They were on sale a little, yet still expensive.
When they arrived, I tried them on.
My first thoughts...
Back into the box.
Embarrassingly, I kept them in the box in my closet for months. I was afraid to wear them for fear I wouldn’t like them as much as everyone else does. Worried that I’d be the exception to the “I love Frye shoes” rule.
And mostly concerned that they wouldn’t be comfortable enough to wear to work in retail during the busy holiday season.
So they sat.
Every so often, I’d take them out and try them on. Wanting to actually wear them, but not being ready.
It seems I’m not even an Early Adopter once an item is in my flipping house! Still waiting for the right time. Still not quite convinced. Ridiculous.
Finally, I figured I’d probably missed my chance to return them so I should just wear the dang shoes!
I was scheduled for a short shift at Anthropologie. I figured my feet could endure any shoes for 4 hours.
I took the plunge.
I wore my new (but months old:-) Frye oxfords.
Are you kidding me?!
These shoes are like slippers only with the most incredible support. Like a strong hug for your feet.
I’m sold. I’m a follower.
This will not be my only pair of Frye shoes. Is it too soon to start searching for a pair of perfect fall boots?
Have you been wanting to try a pair of Frye shoes?
If compared to you, I'm the Early Adopter, let me assure you that these shoes are the real deal.
(and please know that this is not an affiliate post. I'm not paid or compensated at all by Frye:-)
They're reminiscent of good old-fashioned, back-to-school shoes. The kind that remind your feet what structured shoes feel like after a summer in flip flops. The shoes that smell like polished leather and bring to mind new pencils. I love them!
My gratitude also extends to Converse wearers. I did the same foolish thing with flat-top Converse sneakers for far too long.
I resisted for years. I decided they couldn't be that comfortable and even if they were...my size 10 foot couldn't possibly wear that looong white shoe! Well, I’m now on my 5th or 6th pair. I’ll never go back:-)
So, my deepest thanks to all of you who take risks way up in front so that I can follow along...sometimes years later, and reap the benefits.
Okay, please share…
Which one are you?
Early Adopter or Late Majority Adopter?
Is there a category where you tend to take the most risks? Clothing, experiences, foods...
Just an FYI...
February is going to be a full month at our house. We'll be celebrating my husband's birthday, finishing up some scholarship stuff with Greta, spending family time working on our live list...and just hunkering down to get through this notoriously cold and snowy month.
I appreciate your patience with me if I miss a post or two in the coming weeks.
If you don't already receive Weekly Updates, you can sign up here!
Thank you for following along. Please email me with questions at email@example.com or comment below.
Happy February! Make it an amazing month!
If you missed the Wake-Up Your Wardrobe course back in November, enrollment is open for a limited time. Click on The Together Act Academy tab above for more information. This simple three-day online course is designed to help you discover your personal style so you can start loving and wearing your wardrobe!
And stay tuned...I'm going to be revisiting my Wear Everything I Own challenge very soon!
Sometimes the answer is right under your nose...or in this case, my feet. I've needed a place to write for quite a while. I was feeling frustrated and stuck without many options...and I wasn't seeking a solution. At the start of 2017, I realized that if I wanted to have a truly functional office space (more in the video), I was going to have to get creative.
I'm thrilled that my new writing nook is finished. I've been using it for about a week...and I love it!
Can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this sooner.
My office now occupies part of the unfinished storage space in our finished basement. I used mostly items that we already owned and as a result this space was very inexpensive and simple to create.
Here are a few 'before' photos.
Happy snow day helper:=)
It’s been a while since I posted a video. This one is a bit longer than usual.
I wanted to provide the backstory of why and how my writing nook came to be...and also give you a tour of the space.
I hope you enjoy...
A thousand thanks!
Last week, I asked a favor of my readers and included a survey in my post. The response to that little survey has been incredible! (You can still participate, if you'd like)
Thank you to everyone who took a few seconds to reply. The information collected will be extremely helpful to me as I work to create new content for posts, videos and courses.
Your responses were anonymous (unless, like my dear mom, you signed your comment:-) so I don’t know who wrote all of the sweet gems that appeared in my inbox.
However, I can tell you that I read every single comment, many of them aloud to my family. I was touched, humbled and inspired by your beautiful words.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I will do my very best to give you what you are looking for here. Please know that your kindness and encouragement means that world to me.
If you don't already receive Weekly Updates, here's the link to sign up!
Thank you so much for reading. Have an amazing day!
Happy New Year! 2017?! This one is a bit tough for me to grasp. My oldest child is a member of the Class of 2017. My mind is screaming, "We’re here already?!" "That’s not possible!" But, it’s a fact and so I’m going to use the ticking clock as a kick in the pants. I’ve decided this is the year I make some real headway in becoming the very best version of myself. It’s time to take a good hard look and refine my life.
I began this journey in earnest last October and I’m proud to say that I’ve made solid progress in many areas...however, there are things I haven’t tackled yet. It's time.
What better time than the start of a new year?
In the past, turning the calendar to January was usually a bit daunting for me. I always loved the lead up. I was filled with anticipation during the final days of December...
Anxiously waiting to meet the new year and the new me.
But then...the confetti settled and the balloons deflated and I felt a sense of disappointment and resignation that the next twelve months were not going to be much different than the last.
I’d fall into the same patterns and habits. Discouraged, I’d find myself making due until the following December when I was certain I’d make real changes.
This was not an effective system.
For decades, I was a notoriously dreadful goal setter. It took me a long time and the patient help of my awesome husband to finally realize the art and power of setting goals. Here's the full story.
I'm finally on-board with defining and declaring what I want and then devising a plan to make it happen. I’ve also become more gentle with myself regarding my expectations.
So, we're in it now. The first week of January is almost over.
Are you still on the fence about what you want this year?
Do you have a clear picture of where you’re heading and how to get there?
Well here are 5 steps to get you started...
I believe the most important thing we can do when we’re eager to change is to look back. Take a bit of time to examine the year that’s just passed.
This 50 question survey (from Anuschka Rees, writer and super cool girl with awesome minimalist style) arrived in my inbox just as I was beginning to feel the panic of January’s arrival. It's quick and easy. Eye-opening, for sure.
Consider what matters-
Who are you going to be this year? How does she look, act, live, feel? Pay attention to recurring themes and nagging feelings. My survey showed me that I don’t laugh enough. Sad, but true. This needs to change.
Spend time really deep diving into what works and what doesn't in your life. Doing the research and groundwork allows you to really take action and make changes.
I’ve long had trouble with taking the time to actually make a plan. Ridiculous as this sounds to me now, I honestly struggled with seeing the value in taking time to flesh out a real path forward. It seemed like a waste of precious hours.
For some crazy reason, I’d just hit the ground running, using a very fly by the seat of my pants approach.
Guess what? That approach is junk. It rarely produced any amazing results...and if it did, it was completely by accident. No way to live my one and only life!
Here’s another area where I’d fall incredibly short. As in, leave out this step entirely. For decades:-)
I’d create an amazing list of things that I wanted to do, change, handle...and then the list would sit. Until I neatly rewrote it again. And again. Never actually doing what was on the list.
Enter my scheduling god of a husband… “Kristen, you have to put the things that are on your list onto your calendar. They must be scheduled into your life in order for them to actually happen”. This isn’t a direct quote, but it’s basically what he said (repeatedly).
Well, I finally get it. I schedule and then complete what’s on my list! What a novel concept. Thanks again, babe.
This part comes down to being realistic. Pay strict attention to your time.
How long a task will take has often been the downfall of my careful scheduling.
Be honest with yourself about what you can fit into a day or a weekend. Schedule accordingly. It’s self-defeating to cram too much into your schedule and then not be able to complete any of it.
Take focused action-
Here’s the tricky part. Once it’s on your schedule, you have to actually do it.
Laser focus gets things done. Another productivity truth I failed to realize for decades. Not proud.
I'm there. I see the results of concentrated attention and forward motion.
Take care not to get sidetracked or distracted. Stick to one task at a time and finish it!
Keep growing and changing-
If I'm honest, I like things to be once and done. If I could go to the grocery store one time for the entire year, I’d do it! I like things crossed off the list. Done.
I strongly resisted the constant shifting that was required as my children grew from babies to toddlers to elementary school age to teens. As soon as I’d have their spaces and systems just right...they would change and their needs would too.
It took me many years to settle into the reality of constant change.
Nothing stays the same. And neither should we.
Seek out something new. Learn something. Do things a different way. Break free of old ways that no longer serve you.
As I move deeper into January 2017, I have a few things topping my list of stuff that I want to tweak.
Here’s a peek…
A writing space. As I type, I’ve enlisted the help of my boys (who have a snow day today!) to basically empty and reorganize our basement storage area so that I can create a writing nook. Yes, they're thrilled:-)
I’ve realized that in order to do my online Together Act work properly, I need a quiet space. This has been an issue for a while, but I wasn’t doing anything to fix the problem. Today, I am.
Wardrobe changes. I have a great wardrobe. Working at Anthropologie has done wonders for the basics and the specialty pieces in my closet.
However, I still have items that I rarely wear. I have several pieces that don’t feel authentic to me anymore. It’s time for some changes. I want less stuff! I want a smaller wardrobe that works for my lifestyle. I know what needs to be done. It’s time to do it.
2017 Live List. Link. This practice is new to our family...remember, I never set goals before. Our first Live List was really successful and we’re all ready for another one. I love that this simple activity brings my family together and sets our sights on some common goals.
My wish is for loads of quality time with my children and husband this year. That clock is ticking…
Show up on Instagram. I’ve been kind of stingy. I'm not contributing to the relationship. Instagram is definitely my favorite social media site. I try to limit my consumption...but sometimes I get lost in those little squares.
However, I've been taking far more than I give. So, I’d like to start regularly sharing more of my own life in my feed. I’ve been asked to offer outfit of the day photos, more styling info and ideas for simple organizing. I’m ready. I want to give back to the community that I enjoy so much.
What are you ready to change?
I'd love to know. Comment below.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a year of accepting inevitable changes and implementing a few of your own. Thank you so much for reading.
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P.S. A little info about the orchid pictured above. When we moved last February, our new next door neighbors gave us a beautiful orchid plant. Its blooms were gorgeous.
As they faded, I considered throwing the plant away. I don't usually have great luck with helping green things thrive. But, I decided to keep it around as long as it still looked like it was alive. It sits in a sunny (but chilly) window and I water it occasionally. I basically ignored it for months. A while ago, I noticed new shoots growing and hooked one into the clips...since that seemed like the right thing to do;-)
Today, this bud began to open. Mid-snowstorm. I'm inspired and reminded that great things can happen if we show even a little care and patience.
Okay, so last week I shared my thoughts on wearing what you already own for this year’s holiday parties. I also mentioned that if you truly have absolutely nothing hanging in your that’s party worthy...I’d give you some suggestions on what to buy to get you through this festive season.
Alright, let's do this so you can find the perfect piece and head out to those soirées in style!
I believe there are two ways to handle shopping for a special occasion outfit.
1. Invest in something fabulous that you will love wearing for many years.
Little black dress. Statement heels. Incredible cashmere sweater.
2. Find a piece or two that won’t break the bank to carry you through.
Sparkly top. Velvet blouse. Fancy skirt.
I’m fine with both options. Sometimes it comes down to budget and sometimes it’s all about what you find when you’re shopping.
I usually end up spying a snazzy piece at a super price (I’m a really good shopper:-) so I don’t need to invest heavily in special occasion stuff. Plus, my lifestyle doesn’t require much formal clothing...so a few ‘wow’ items are plenty to see me through the season of sparkle.
If you choose to go with a high-quality, investment piece, here are some guidelines:
Buy classic shapes.
Black and ivory are always smart colors choices.
Insist on comfort.
Make sure it sparks real joy!
Here’s my personal holiday outfitting story...
I have three sparkly, fun garments in my closet.
A shimmery pewter/gold tank that I’ve had for three years and continue to wear every holiday season. I love it. It brings me joy. It could be considered an investment piece because I’m still wearing it several years after purchase, but since it was under $20, it was hardly an ‘investment’.
The other two items, I purchased in the last six weeks, each for under $20. They are...a pale pink, sparkly t-shirt and a black tulle skirt with gold glitter. The skirt I’m guessing I’ll wear for several years. The pink t-shirt? Honestly, it's scratchy. Not sure how many times I'll really wear it. I fell for the shape and color...not such a good shopper after all:-)
All three pieces coordinate with almost everything in my closet...from denim to camo cargo pants to navy or black blazers.
Best of all, they feel like me.
They're similar to my regular clothes, but with some dazzle.
A little bit goes a long way.
This top is similar to my shimmery tank. It's from Urban Outfitters, but tops like this are available in lots of stores right now.
Here's my black tulle glitter skirt.
I freaked my kids out a bit when I purchased this skirt, It's from the girl's department in Target. I bought a large. Fits like a women's size 4. I wore it to work at Anthropologie on Black Friday with a red plaid flannel shirt, pearls and booties...can't wait to wear it again:-)
Last minute party invitation? No time to really shop?
It's not too late.
There's still time for you to score something amazing to wear to that upcoming holiday gathering!
So, make a beeline for your nearest store. From Target & H&M to Forever 21 & J. Crew...there's a 'wow' piece waiting for you.
Don't over think it.
Go basic, but elevated.
Seek out a silhouette that you already love and then pick the fancy version.
If you sparkle isn't your thing...opt for velvet. I haven’t purchased a velvet piece yet this season. I’d really like to add one to my wardrobe. This luxurious fabric is super on-trend right now so there are lots of choices at every price point. I really like this one...
I hope this helps you find the perfect holiday piece...so that you can ultimately build an amazing outfit! Don't stress. Take a deep breath and remember, it's about enjoying time spent with family and friends.
I'm going to spend the final week before Christmas helping lots of customers at Anthropologie in Boulder;-) and celebrating a birthday. Then I plan to recharge with my husband and kids before the start of 2017! I'll be back in January with new content and course options....covering topics like decluttering, wardrobe building, living simply, staying present and finding joy.
Don't miss a single post.
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Thank you so much for reading.
Wishing you the very happiest of holidays.
P.S. Off topic...my husband has been in the wine business for decades.
I'm often asked to share his favorites. So, I'm considering a quick post prior to 12/31 to share Matthew's picks for sparkling wines...let me know if there's any interest. Thanks!
December means parties. Invitations are rolling in for holiday events. The mere thought of having to get ‘dressed up’ often starts an unfortunate chain of events that goes something like this...
Look in closet.
Panic over not having anything to wear.
Pop into a store with only 15 minutes and no plan.
Buy a few pieces that might work.
Back home, become overwhelmed with options or lack thereof.
Change outfits at least ten times before leaving for the event wearing items you already owned before the panicked shopping trip.
Annoying errands to return the impulse party outfit purchases.
There is a better way.
Unless it's a super formal affair, you probably have a few appropriate, stylish holiday outfits hanging in your very own closet...right now.
Let's find them.
Five ways to make your jeans or black pants work for this year’s holiday parties.
1. The base.
Pick your darkest, straightest/skinniest, best-fitting jeans. Or your most flattering black pants. These can be slim cigarette style, classic trouser shape or wide-leg, fluid pants. The idea is to use what you have.
2. The specifics.
Consider the event. Is is inside? Outside? Are you usually warm or cold at winter parties. Will you be standing? Sitting for a long dinner? Comfort is key, start there. The better you feel, the better you'll look!
3. Select your favorite piece.
Maybe it’s a luxurious cashmere sweater. Or a sparkly scarf that brings out your eyes. Or a killer pair of heels. Or a dynamite statement necklace. Use this piece to begin building an amazing holiday ensemble.
4. Consider your comfort zone...and then step outside.
Now’s the time to mix it up. If you usually wear structured pieces, pull out that slinky blouse you never wear because it’s too sheer. If you’re in a turtleneck everyday, reach for that deep v-neck sweater in the back of your closet.
5. Play dress-up.
Gather your options. Music, optional. Start trying things on. Make outfits and swap pieces until you smile big when you look in the mirror. You’ll know when you find the outfit. It should be a bit daring, but still feel like you...only gussied up in honor of the season!
Want some ideas?
Remember, it's all in the details.
Dark skinny jeans with a pale cashmere sweater...that just might slip off your shoulder, sparkly earrings, a red lip and booties.
Black trousers, silk or lace camisole, velvet or satin blazer and a simple shoe...heel or flat.
Dark jeans, white blouse, sexy heels and a great necklace.
Black pants, sleek fitting t-shirt or simple sweater and a fabulous, shimmery scarf.
A sliver of shoulder is sexy at any age.
Basic black with shiny red accents is always on trend.
A little sparkle can go a long way.
Use the WOW factor to your advantage.
In my experience, a woman almost always has something fantastic in her current wardrobe that she can wear to a holiday party.
Racing out to buy something new often backfires because you don't have a real plan.
You grab something that’s on sale but not amazing.
You pick something elaborate that you’ll never wear again.
Or you head home empty-handed having wasted precious time and energy. (You could have been taking a bubble bath or a nap:-)
Keep this in mind...
Simplicity is elegant. And real point of any soirée is to spend time with your friends and loved ones.
This season, start with what you have.
You just might surprise yourself.
If you really, really can’t find anything in your closet to wear…sit tight.
Next week, I’ll share what to buy when you have absolutely no other choice but to shop for a holiday outfit!
Weekly updates...sign up here!
Wishing you a slow and happy December. Spend time doing something you love...this crazy season is over in a blink. Don't miss it.
Thank you for reading. Comments or questions? Yes, please! firstname.lastname@example.org
Have wonderful week.
My first experience with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was in July of 2015. I read Marie Kondo’s book and immediately began purging and tidying every corner of our home. Her methods, clearly defined and simple to employ, made complete sense to me. She was definitely speaking my language (even though she really wasn’t since she speaks Japanese and I speak English:-). I enjoyed the process and loved the results.
Last weekend, my family and I decorated our home for the holidays. My oldest is a senior in high school, so we are all acutely aware that this might be our final holiday season with all five of us living under the same roof. My children requested that we go ‘all out’ with the decorating. Which for us is still fairly tame but, I felt the desire to oblige and make this December a little more special than years past.
So, we adopted an elfin spirit.
We carefully hung lights on the tree in our front yard...something we very rarely do.
We picked out a beautiful Fraser Fir tree, we dragged out all of the boxes marked 'Christmas' and began to decorate the tree and our home.
Then something interesting happened.
We realized that we have lots of ornaments and holiday stuff that we don’t really like.
You're probably wondering...
Didn't she KonMari her Christmas stuff?
Yes, I did go through our holiday boxes during my initial KonMari event. I purged quite a bit and the pieces I kept sparked joy at the time.
Yet, as we unwrapped the trinkets and treasures from our collection, each of us realized that some of the items don’t actually feel like us anymore.
Our family has changed and our aesthetic has changed. And that’s okay. We realized that we'd like to make some changes so that our holiday style feels more authentic.
I've decided to approach this holiday season with the KonMari principles in mind. Keeping the joy factor at the forefront as I shop and decorate.
How to apply the KonMari Method to decorating and gift-giving:
1. Does it spark joy?
Ask this vital question of everything in your holiday boxes. Take the time to really listen to the response you feel when you hold each piece. Holiday items are usually sentimental and only make an appearance once a year. We tend to settle for what we have because it’s a busy season and we just want to cross the decorating off of the list. This can result in a house full of decorations that don’t spark joy.
2. Create a vision.
Decide what you want your holiday decorating vibe to be. If all of your decorations are rustic country and you really like mid-century modern, it’s time to re-evaluate. Create a Pinterest board or tear images out of magazines. Find the look that represents your ideal holiday home. This helps to reveal what’s missing from your current collection.
In doing this myself, I realized two things were missing from our home: the glow of candles and twinkly lights and a warm neutral color pallette. In my mind, the holidays are sparkly and warm but in our home, the only lights were on the tree. And our holiday decorations were very traditional with lots of red and green. Those pieces seemed out of place in our relatively modern, natural home.
3. Buy one or two items that you absolutely love!
Make sure you are over the moon for anything new. Don’t settle. You can begin to build an amazing collection slowly and deliberately. This year, I added this incredible tree. I smile every time I glance at it. And, a dear friend recently shared her love of these candles. They are so incredible! My birthday is in a few weeks and I’m hoping for one or two of these:-)
If necessary, wait until the after-season sales when you can grab great holiday pieces at incredible prices.
4. Give the people what they want.
Will they really love it? Ask for a list. Don’t give junk. Don’t get lured into buying a bunch of little gifts that are essentially junk. More is not better. One desired item of good quality is much better than several low quality items.
Consider life after the holidays. Will your gift stand the test of time...or will it be purged because it doesn’t spark joy?
Sometimes I think my kids would love to have this or that...but when I really ponder the item, I usually realize that it’s not really what they truly want or need...it's just more stuff to buy, wrap, open and then store in our home.
5. Stick to a list and a budget.
Make a list before you shop and adhere to the list. Remember, it’s the job of the retailers and marketers to make you want (and think you need) everything! You don’t. Tune it all out.
And...pay cash. Super tight budget? Give experiences and time together. Bake something simple. Write a letter or a poem. Print a special photo and pop it into a dollar store frame. You’ll love January with no credit card bills.
Note: I’ve done Christmas on the smallest imaginable budget. I sold things and returned things in order to buy a few gifts for my children. It was the first year I spent only cash. What a relief to face January without the dread of credit card statements. It was a loooong time coming, but Christmas is a cash-only holiday for us now. If you'd like more info on how to make this happen, please email me directly:-)
4. All wrapped up
I love to wrap gifts. I love beautiful papers and ribbons and bows. In the past, I’ve been known to hoard all things gift wrap, but I’ve changed my ways. And I feel so much lighter without bins of unused gift wrap and gift boxes waiting for ‘someday’. I do keep a small shower caddy stocked with scissors, a few ribbons, a roll of tape and some white tissue paper. I buy wrapping paper as I need it and I request boxes when I make a gift purchase.
This season, only buy what you’ll use. In the KonMari Method, there's no storing what you might need ‘someday’. Start fresh each year.
I wish you a slow moving, joy-filled, wonderful month. Consider what matters most to you and schedule everything else around that:-)
I’m making an effort to spend more time with my family this season. I realize that next year will feel very different with my daughter away at university.
It’s incredibly true...
The days are long, but the years are fast.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be devoting time to creating new content for the blog, YouTube channel and The Together Act Academy. I’m very excited for the new year! I have some fun fresh ideas that I can't wait to share with you.
Something on your mind?
If you have a question, there's a good chance that someone else is wondering the same thing also.
So, ask away!
Topics you'd like me to explore? Please email me at email@example.com or comment below. I'd love to include your ideas in future posts.
Finally, thank you for being here. I am humbled and honored that you allow me into your inbox each week.
Take time to really be present this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving. This American tradition is one of my favorites. An entire day devoted to giving thanks. What a simply beautiful concept.
I’ve worked retail for many years and have always enjoyed having Thanksgiving Day as the calm before the storm of holiday shopping truly begins. Slow and peaceful, I love this special day reserved for presence and gratitude.
Since I'm currently a bit obsessed with all things Eckhart Tolle, I'm going to take today to continue reading The New Earth and focus on the Now.
Regardless of your heritage or nationality, I hope today finds you thankful.
Take this opportunity to pause before the start of the crazy season ahead.
Remember what really matters to you and vow to make plenty of time for that...now and in the coming weeks.
Thank you for being here. This community feeds my soul. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for reading my words.
What are you most thankful for today?
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I've been receiving lots of requests to re-open Wake-Up Your Wardrobe. Seems many of you weren't ready in September...but you are now.
Some women tell me they want a crash-course, wardrobe wake-up call before the holidays! (it can be done:-)
Others have asked about giving the course as a gift.
So, The Together Act Academy is having a Black Friday Sale!
Check your inbox tomorrow for details....
If you’ve left your house, collected your mail or turned on your television recently, you’ve probably seen it. It’s been happening for the past few weeks. Gradually at first. Now it’s full-blown. In countries where Christmas is celebrated, retailers are all decked out in their holiday finery. It’s about to become 'the most beautiful time of the year'...and for many, the most stressful and frenzied.
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was the line in the sand. Holiday decorating did not begin prior to that famous fourth Thursday in November. The following day, known affectionately as Black Friday (because it was always the day that put a retailer’s financial books back into the black) was first beginning of the holiday madness.
It seems that the holiday hubbub hits earlier every year. Stores begin stocking holiday merchandise in October...or even September. Halloween goods now share the floor with Christmas gifts and decorations.
I’ve worked retail my entire life. I’m quite comfortable being surrounded by ornaments and garland at work, long before I even consider unboxing those items at home.
I love the holiday season and all of its splendor...but I don’t love the imposed urgency that all of the holiday marketing creates within me.
For many years, I bought into the entire holiday frenzy.
I was strongly influenced and overwhelmed by the advertisements and displays.
I always felt I was behind the holiday eight ball...in my planning, my shopping, my decorating, my wrapping…
I allowed the outside ‘pressure’ to make me feel like I wasn’t living up to my holiday potential.
Then something happened...
A few years ago, our family’s financial situation took a sudden, dark turn in early November. We found ourselves in a new and very scary place just as the holiday marketing madness started.
I had no choice but to take a step back.
I knew I would not be ‘buying’ into the holiday purchasing frenzy that year. I simply couldn’t afford it.
Lots of deep breaths and hot tears later, I realized something simple yet profound…
It is the marketer’s job to make me feel the Christmas crazies! They benefit (mightily) from inducing a purchasing panic in shoppers as the season approaches.
There’s a human psychology at play that I’d been missing for years. The role of the retailers and advertisers is to make us truly believe that we need it all!
We must shop earlier and later.
We must buy sooner and more.
We must decorate until we don’t even recognize our own homes.
Well, the truth is...we really don’t have to do any of that.
During that financially frightening time, I learned a lot.
I discovered that I can do the holidays my way. I don’t have to follow the masses or keep up with the Jones’.
Some years, Christmas is sparse and minimal and others it’s more plentiful. But it can always be abundant.
I now realize that I more fully enjoy the holiday season when I don't become caught up in all the trappings.
Want to experience a calmer, more authentic holiday season?
1. Schedule at least one date with a friend. It’s easy to say you're too busy during the weeks leading up to the holidays...but you control that busyness. Spend an hour or two with a friend who feeds your soul. It might be the best gift you receive all season.
2. Don’t accept every invitation. Just because someone wants you at their gathering doesn’t mean you have to go. Say a gracious ‘no’ to the invites that just don’t fit onto your calendar...or into your heart.
3. Choose the things you really love about the holidays and deep dive into those. For instance, I love to wrap presents. I now schedule and carefully guard the time I spend wrapping gifts. The act is soothing and peaceful for me. I don’t like Christmas cookies, so I stopped attending cookie exchanges and baking for the holidays. Two of my kids enjoy baking and have happily taken on the task of creating seasonal desserts.
4. Share the love. ‘Tis the season for giving. Find ways, big or small, that you can give back or pay it forward. Carry a pouch full of change to drop in the Salvation Army bucket. Feed a parking meter to keep a fellow shopper from getting a ticket. Donate your time. Buy a small gift for a giving tree. Then, pause and really enjoy how awesome it feels to spread good cheer.
5. Spend wisely. In an effort to cut expenses and reduce waste, I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards. Now I share our family’s photographic cheer through email or social media. Saves money and the planet. Works for me.
6. Buy what they want. I love to shop for gifts and in the past have gotten carried away. I now stick to a wish list. In an effort to keep our home free of clutter, I’m careful not to buy things that are cute or fun, but not really wanted or needed by the recipient. I don’t feel the urge to fill up the space under the tree with more stuff. We spent a long time purging and tidying...I definitely don’t want to do that again!
7. Get clever. If there's something you can create that makes a wonderful gift, do it. Just be sure you are enjoying the process and the ‘making’ isn’t making you crazy. Or give an experience...lunch with a friend after the holidays, a walk in the snow, a movie date.
8. Spend cash. I learned way too late how fabulous it feels to have a cash only holiday season. Go small. Stay intentional. There is something beautiful about a January free of credit card statements.
9. Decorate within your personal limits. I like a house that twinkles during the holidays. I love greenery. I rely on white lights and candles to create a festive glow and I always ask for a big pile of the discarded greens when we buy our Christmas tree. I use those pine clippings to craft a simple wreath for the front door and to line the mantel.
I don’t like to completely redecorate our home to make room for Christmas. So, I'm choosy about what I display. I've recently purged any holiday decor that didn’t spark joy. Now I enjoy a few amazing pieces that make me and my family really happy.
10. Take time to recharge. Whatever that looks like for you...make it happen. A bubble bath. A cup of tea in a cozy chair. A 30-minute break to read or nap. In this season that’s all about giving to others, be sure to give something to yourself.
I hope the start of this holiday season finds you calm and relaxed.
Don’t get lost in what doesn’t matter to you. Stay true to yourself and do the things that will truly bring you joy over the next six weeks.
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We are getting very close to 'the most wonderful time of the year'. Working in retail means that the holiday season arrives way ahead of schedule. Some years it seems to come too early, but this year, I'm ready! Our weather has been incredible. Still sunny and above 60 most days. Somehow that makes the darker afternoons and pending holiday madness easier for me to handle...and even embrace.
I’m overwhelmed by the incredible new merchandise arriving daily. If you aren’t aware, I am the Personal Stylist at Anthropologie in Boulder, Colorado. That's our window in the photo above. I'm thrilled to work for such a special retailer...especially in November and December.
Oh, the sparkle and shimmer of it all!
I wanted to share a few of my current favorites...please remember that anytime I post about a product, it’s because I truly love it! I'm not compensated for sharing and I'm not an affiliate for any retailer.
When I find something good, I want you to know about it.
Seems only fair:-)
Okay, here’s what I’m loving at Anthropologie...and this time I included an amazing item from Free People! (after all, they’re our sister-store)
I will definitely do another ‘faves’ post as the holiday season really gets underway...but for now these pieces top my list of must haves!
Decorative Tabletop Tree - small $34 /large $54
These trees arrived at our store yesterday. I knew I couldn't/shouldn't wait. I purchased the small one at the end of my shift. The branches are wire so you can arrange them as you like. It looks so real and so magical at the same time! These won't last long. I think this little tree is the perfect dose of holiday sparkle. I'm not sure where I'm going to display mine...but it'll be the highlight of the space. If you want one, don't delay too long. These will sell out!
Soft-Brushed Gingham Throw - $68 50"x70"
In my quest for bringing more luxury into my home, I've been paying more attention to textiles. I recently discovered this beauty. Wow! Incredibly soft and cozy...and well-priced. I'm considering a change in color scheme just so I can incorporate this throw into my home. A welcome gift for someone on your list. Or for you:-)
Winter Wonder Candle - $18 in Balsam and Cedar by Illume
Want to bring the smell of fir trees inside? This is your candle. Oh, my! This is the best one I've found for capturing that wonderful, icy cold pine fragrance. I haven't purchased this one yet. I'm trying to use up my fall scented candles first. I hope they burn fast...I'm ready for the next season of wax.
Boulangerie Jar Candle - $18 in Espresso
Staying with the candle category... I'm about to purchase my first espresso scented candle. I love coffee and the aroma of freshly ground or brewed coffee, but I've never burned this scent in my home. Well, that's about to change. Here's why...I recently had three different customers tell me that they burn this espresso candle and the cult favorite Capri Blue Volcano candle together! Apparently, the fragrances mingle and create a synergy of scents! As the Personal Stylist, I figure the least I can do is try it myself so I can better serve my customers;-)
Tied Camo Crops - $118 by Sanctuary
I recently purchased these pants. They are super comfortable and very flattering. The color is much more military green in person and they are not this cropped on a person who's 5'6''. My wardrobe needed these! I plan to keep wearing them right into winter with booties and maybe some cozy socks.
Glistened Skinny Scarf - $28
I just wore this scarf for the first time. I love it! So chic and simple. Great price. Perfect to spice up a simple top or sweater. Just the right amount of sparkle for the holidays and beyond.
Arctic Fox Sweater - $128 (this item is from Free People )
This sweater is crazy good! Several of my co-workers own it in more than one color. It's soft, slouchy and sexy in all the best ways. Awesome zipper detail in the back. I don't think the photos do it justice. I prefer the dark gray (black) or the pink...but all four shades are beautiful. The moss green is much prettier in person...and much greener).
I hope this list of my favorites brightened your day.
Remember, it's the job of the retail industry to try and work you into a holiday panic...don't fall for it!
Relax and enjoy the season. No need to feel frenzied. It's all good!
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Let me just tell it like it is. It is a tough time to work at Anthropologie. As the summer shifts to fall, fabulous new merchandise appears by the truckload! Almost daily! Each time I walk into the store, I'm overwhelmed by the 'must have' list that begins appearing in my head!
Today, I'm sharing my newest favorites. These pieces are super good, but there are so many more. It was difficult to choose just a few. I picked sweaters since there's already a chill in the air where I live. I'm ready!
Hope you like...
Fairview Pullover - by Moth. $88 This yummy cotton sweater comes in grey and pink. Both colors are great. It is soft and thick and slouchy. The perfect transition piece before it's time for wool or all winter, if wool isn't your thing.
Belgravia Colorblock Cardigan - by Lili's Closet $88
I love this sweater! It looks great buttoned all the way up or open over a tee or blouse. Super soft with an awesome swing.
Delaney Pullover - by Moon River $98
This sweater is truly dreamy! It's acrylic and nylon, so no itching! It looks amazing on! We received it in camel, but online it's also available in cream and in black! It's good enough to own in more than one color. Don't wait on this one...it will definitely sell out!
Candlefish Ceramic Candle - $9 -$28
This is a new line of wax for Anthropologie. The company is based in South Carolina. The vessels are beautiful. Their candles are also available in small $9 metal tins. My favorite is the No. 9: marine notes; stone fruit, rose and moss, but they're all wonderful!
Hoping these finds helped you get psyched for fall!
What an awesome season for clothing. The fabrics are rich and the looks are layered. Oh, I can't wait to pull out my warmer clothes...and add a few new pieces to the mix!
Does your wardrobe needs a wake-up call?
There's still time to sign up for my new online course. It's available through The Together Act Academy on Teachable.
Wake Up Your Wardrobe will help you define your style and create fabulous outfits, using only what's already hanging in your closet!
That's right...no shopping required.
For more information...click here
Hurry, enrollment closes on September 20th!
And...there's still time to use the coupon code AWAKE50 for 50% off the course price.
This offer is only available to the first 100 students! We're getting close...
I hope you'll join us!
Happy almost fall:-)
It's a bittersweet time. Today marks the end of summer vacation in the United States. With the holiday weekend upon us (already), I'm feeling the urge to revisit how my summer began. In May, I learned (for the millionth time), how easy it is for me to become stuck in wanting things to go my way...and how much better my life is when I ease up and simply go with the flow.
In addition to looking back, I'm going to spend the next few days gearing up for a brand new season. There are some big things on the horizon for me professionally and personally. It's been a wonderful summer, but honestly, I'm eager for some change. I'm super excited for what's ahead...
Wishing you an awesome weekend!
Just for fun here's a glimpse of where my summer started and what I learned...
I love to travel! I sometimes become myopic with regards to how I see a vacation playing out. I conjure a certain (usually very detailed) vision of the entire trip from start to finish. Over the years, I've obviously learned that often trips (and other things) don't flow exactly as planned:-) but I still get stuck, wanting my own version to play out.
My husband and I went to Mexico in May to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It was an incredible trip. Relaxing, delicious and beautiful.
We didn't take the trip we'd originally envisioned, but the results were even better than we'd imagined.
We originally thought we’d opt for an adult, all-inclusive (airfare, too) resort in the Riviera Maya. We spent lots of time on TripAdvisor and other sites, researching and reading reviews.
We wanted/needed this trip to be affordable and romantic.
We wanted sunshine, good food and a whole lot of alone time.
I figured that an all-inclusive (which we have never done as a couple) would be the way to go...great deals, no grocery shopping, cooking or clean up...easy living.
We began our search for the perfect accommodations.
After much discussion and deliberation...Matthew and I agreed that we weren’t finding anything in our budget that really matched our style. We read tons of less than glowing reviews of all-inclusive resorts..."crazy loud music at the pool, tons of construction noise, mid-May is rainy season, too loud to nap, terrible food, super crowded, lots of hidden charges".
I was becoming a bit discouraged.
And, we kept seeing comments about the dreaded rainy season! We really wanted sunshine!
Matthew decided to check the weather in other parts of Mexico. The weather on the west coast seemed to be more stable in May. We moved our search to Los Cabos and beach towns on the west coast of Mexico.
Again, mixed reviews on the more affordable all-inclusives.
I was slipping into a pre-vacation funk, feeling like we might not be able to make it happen.
Then Matthew looked at airfare options from Denver to Mexico. Living in Colorado makes traveling to Mexico fairly easy. Lots of affordable, direct flights.
It was time to shift my thinking and consider some other options for accommodations. Not easy for me...
Enter the amazing world of renting a home away from home. We have done this many times, in many cities, but it took me a while to come around to this idea for our anniversary getaway.
A little time online and it was clear that we could find an awesome rental in Mexico for a great price.
In the end, we chose a small casita in Sayulita, Mexico. We found it on VRBO. It was perfect for our anniversary getaway!
We rented Casa Escondida for five nights. Check it out!
In case you'd like to stay there, here are some details of our experience...
The owner was a true delight to work with remotely. Every single detail was handled. There is a property manager available on-site when needed.
The owner offered the option of arranging transportation to and from the airport in Puerto Vallarta. This round-trip service included a stop at the Mega Supermarket outside of Puerto Vallarta where we could stock up on groceries and wine for our visit. Our driver, Javier met us at the airport. He drove us to the Mega and parked. Then kindly told us to take all the time we needed, he’d be waiting:-) There are small food markets in Sayulita, but not a real grocery store. This added service was very affordable and enhanced our stay.
Sayulita was wonderful!
What rainy season? Sunny and 85 degrees every day. Absolutely breathtaking!
That time of year, the town was lively, but not packed. The people were incredibly friendly. We always felt safe...even on the mile-long walk from town back to our house on pitch dark streets. This walk was delightful as it allowed us to walk off our dinner and then enjoy a swim and a nightcap at home:-)
Planning a trip? If you haven’t ever tried a rental, I urge you to go for it! Renting a home away from home can be incredible!
Here’s why I love renting homes on vacation:
Want to start looking for a great rental?
Check out these sites…
It's funny how I need to be presented with some lessons repeatedly before I finally 'GET IT'. I've lived long enough to know that things usually work out in the end. Yet, I still become strongly attached to 'my way'. Seems I could make it my life's work to master the art of letting go. Gracefully.
The struggle is real. I want situations to go the way I picture them. I'm often not good at letting things unfold at their own pace and in their own direction.
The thing is, when I finally, actually do let go...most times (if not, every single time) the result is far better than I could have imagined.
My mind wants to limit the outcome to only what I can see.
Silly mind...there is something far greater beyond the horizon.
My goal in the coming months is to let go more often.
To really loosen my grip on 'my way' and allow the Universe to show me the way.
I'd love to know how you manage the art of letting go.
Please share your tips for letting things happen without holding on too tightly. Just add your thoughts in the comments below:-)
I'm working on new projects for fall!
I'll be sharing some exciting news very soon!
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Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a super weekend! Don't forget to just let it unfold...
My clients and readers often ask me to share my favorite shopping finds. As a Personal Stylist with Anthropologie, I have an up close look at our new merchandise every week. I’ve decided to start sharing my absolute favorite pieces here. Each month, I’ll highlight what I’m loving at Anthropologie.
They originated in Philadelphia and I'm from the Philadelphia suburbs...so, I’ve been a huge fan of the Anthropologie brand since their very first store opened in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Just down the street from my house! This new store was destined to change the retail environment.
I vividly remember my first glimpse of this unique retailer. The physical store, the displays, the merchandise, the staff...all very different from anything else at the time. One step inside and I was transported to an exquisite, attainable fantasy life. All the bits and bobs...so beautifully curated and arranged. I never wanted to leave!
What a place.
Fast forward a whole lotta years...I now work for Anthropologie and the shine hasn’t worn off. The brand and it’s message still does it for me. I’m so happy to be able to share my favorite Anthro things with you!
Please note: I am not paid or compensated in any way for sharing my opinion. I’ll include links to make it easier for you, but my posts contain no affiliate marketing for Anthropologie. Instead, I simply love my job and the Anthro brand...and don’t want you to miss something awesome!
I promise to only share items that I own or wish to own...or pieces that consistently look amazing on the majority of my customers.
Here’s my short list of fab stuff!
Tamarosa Tank - One September
I recently purchased this tank. It runs true to size and is very comfortable. This one was an easy choice for me...the pattern isn’t too busy, the colors will transition nicely into fall, it contains navy blue and has a great shape for under my blazers. So far, I’ve worn it with ripped boyfriend jeans and linen pants. I love this tank! Oh, and the back in micro-pleated and a different pattern:-)
Uptown Pullover- Moth
I just bought this cool sweater in the blue shade. The website images do not do this sweater justice! It’s much sexier, hipper and more fabulous in person. I can’t wait for a chill in the air to start rocking this piece. It’s lightweight, soft and just plain yummy!
Pilcro Cropped Wide-Leg Chinos
I have not purchased these pants yet...but they are on my short list. I love Pilcro Chinos...and this new, more modern shape makes the classic chino a bit more stylish. I want the khaki color because it will go with every top in my closet! I plan to wear these right into fall!
Note: I think that these pants look better on girls who aren’t too tall. I’m 5’6” and the cropped length hits me a bit above the ankle. On the model, they are much shorter. I prefer them a bit longer. If you are tall, try the full-length wide-leg chinos available online.
Pilcro Wide-Leg Mid-Rise Cropped Jeans
I just bought these jeans! They are incredible. Really flattering. Super chic for fall with flats, heels and booties. I found them to run a bit small. I sized up one size. They have good stretch and are very comfortable. Pilcro continues to update and improve their denim. These are so good!
Cowled Sweater Tank- Angel of the North
If you’re ready for the first cozy sweater of the season...here it is! I haven’t purchased this one yet, mainly because I can’t decide on a color! Pale grey, light camel and ivory...all gorgeous! It runs just a touch big... a bit deep in the armholes. Such an amazing fall staple! This one will sell out.
Burnished Candle - Capri Blue
If you love the smell of Anthropologie, then you probably already know about our most popular wax scent...Volcano by Capri Blue. It’s available year-round in loads of different looks. This new vessel is beautiful! My mercury glass mini Volcano candle was at the end of it’s wick so I’ve been meaning to grab a new one. Thrilled I waited...these just came in. I already have mine lit!
That’s all for now. I can’t wait to see what’s new at Anthropologie next month! I promise to let you know…
It's not too late to join the Simplify Your Life Summit!
Here are the details... for this awesome online event! 2 interviews each day with folks who live simply and want to help you do it too!
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Have a favorite Anthro find? Share it below!
A favorite from somewhere else? Share it, too!
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I realize it’s August, but I’d like to share my recent patio makeover. You see, every year I struggle with putting the finishing touches on our outdoor space. Honestly, sometimes I have a hard time with the ‘starting touches’. Since we moved into this house in February, this patio space is new for us.
Part of the problem is the weather. When it’s cold and rainy or snowy into mid-May, it’s tough to feel psyched about the patio. Once the weather warms up, my family heads off on vacation.
So, I rationalize that it’s foolish to plant anything until we return since no one will be home to keep new plants alive. This is how I often end up in late July with an unfinished, unwelcoming outdoor space.
When I’m finally ready to get creative with my al fresco room, all of the summer stuff is on clearance and highly picked over. Leaving me feeling like I’ve missed my chance for a dream deck once again!
Not so fast….
This year, I decided I didn’t care if it was crazy late in the season and most of the good stuff was already gone from the stores...
I wanted to put together a hip, inviting, finished outdoor space for my family to enjoy until the snow starts falling. Hopefully, we still have some time before that happens:-)
My budget for this project was extremely small.
As in, free would be best!
I managed to scrape together about 100 bucks. I decided that would be my max investment this year.
I made a Pinterest board for inspiration.
I poked around at home to see what I had on hand.
Here’s what we already owned and were had our very dull deck:
4 plastic Adirondack chairs - Lowes
2 small side tables - Goodwill and Ikea
3 pillows - Marshall’s and Ikea
2 curtains and wire - Ikea
1 woven pouf- Target
1 small cotton rug - Ikea
These things we had, but weren’t using:
1 black plastic tray - Ikea
2 plastic terra cotta colored pots
1 black coffee table - Ikea
Often, when I have a project that requires some super shopping skills and serendipity...I will feel an actually pull or urge to go out and start looking on a particular day. When I listen to that calling, I always find exactly what I’m looking for...and at terrific prices.
So, when that feeling hit recently with regards to our patio, I knew not to ignore it.
After I finished work at Anthropologie, I headed to Salvation Army, Goodwill, Home Depot, HomeGoods and Target. The entire adventure took about 3 hours.
Here’s what I bought:
2 Asian mats ($3.49 each)
4 large pillows with velvet covers - from Ikea, like new ($3.99 each)
1 framed oil painting ($4.29)
2 oil paintings on canvas ($2.99 and $4.99)
2 ceramic vases ($3.29 each)
1 shell on a stand ($3.99)
Bonus: All of the above items were an additional 50% off at Salvation Army - total spend approx $23.00!
1 pre-planted succulent drop-in ($19.99)- the most expensive thing I bought, but so worth it!
3 full-sun annuals ($9.99/3)
1 bag of potting soil ($6.00)
2 battery operated pillar candles with a timer ($6.19 each)
1 strand of globe lights ($14.99) - really bright...love these lights!
Total spent… under $100!
Next, in the span of about two hours (with the help of my awesome boys) the space came together.
Swept the patio
Hung the lights with a staple gun
Duct taped the two mats together to make a ‘rug’
Tossed the cushions on the ground
Hung the three pieces of art
Planted the plants
Small investment for a big transformation.
Now, I actually want to spend time on our patio. It’s become a sanctuary for reading, dining or just chilling. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until next spring to create a welcoming space.
Are you on the fence about finishing a space? Do you have a very limited budget for making a change?
Be flexible- I originally wanted a very neutral space, but as I shopped everything I found was colorful. I altered my vision to make it work.
Rely on resale shops and clearance sales- You'll score amazing deals and the finds can be incredible. The prices are always a pleasant surprise. You know, one man’s trash...go pop some tags:-)
Use what you own- I often have my clients shop their closets for new wardrobe ideas. The same concept applies here. What pieces do you have that you could re-purpose for you new space?
I’d love to see what you’ve done for a space on a budget. Post photos on your Instagram account and add #togetheract so that I can find them!
Or send me an email with a photo of your finished space. I'm inspired by the amazing things others create with limited resources!
As a side note:
I’m super excited to share something that’s happening next week!
It’s an online summit...on SIMPLICITY!
The event begins on Monday, August 15 and will include 20+ interviews with ‘experts’ in different fields. I’m honored to be included! I'll be sharing tips on simple style. My interview will air the very first day! That's August 15th!
You can find out more and
grab your complimentary ticket right here!
I'll be there learning how to simplify my life just in time for back-to-school! Hope you'll join us!
Thanks for being here.
My summer makeup routine is fairly simple. I am not a ‘product’ person. I'm not often compelled to try every new ‘it’ item that hits the shelves. I’m slow to add a product to my line-up and when I do, it’s usually already a cult favorite. I’m certainly not an early adopter when it comes to cosmetics. As a result, this post might be old news to you. If so, please feel free to comment below with your favorites. I love to learn about what I'm missing!
If you're still with me and wondering what’s in my bag...
Check out my current faves!
1. Nars -The Multiple in Portofino or Orgasm
These blush sticks are incredible! This has been a constant in my bag for years! I’ve used several different shades, all are good. These two are my favorites! Blendable, long-lasting and so natural. Great for summer heat!
2. YSL- Touche Eclat highlighter (used as undereye concealer)
This product has a cult following, for sure. And with good reason. It brightens and lightens without being heavy. No creasing or caking. Again, this is a staple in my bag. I use shade 2.5...have the sales team help you pick your perfect color.
3. Laura Mercier- Caviar Eye Shadow Pencil - in Rosegold
I just tried this eye shadow for the first time on my recent trip to Mexico. It’s shimmery and glides on with ease. This stuff stays put forever...even without any lid prep product. All of the shades contain shimmer...they look very sparkly on the hand...much less so on the eyelid. I also tried Bobbi Brown’s version- Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick - thinking I wanted something more matte. In the end, I felt the shimmer of the Laura Mercier pencil was prettier on me...better for hiding lines and sagging:-)
4. L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara- in Black
I’ve always preferred mascaras from the drugstore. I feel there are many good quality, inexpensive brands available. Spending less on mascara allows me to spend more on my other cosmetics.
5. Stila- Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner
I’ve used this eyeliner for about a year. The color I wear is called Lionfish. It's dark brown with flecks of gold. I love it! It’s self-sharpening and stays put once it’s applied. Goes on in a clean line and can be worn as a liner or smudged for a softer look. Lots of incredible colors!
6. Laura Mercier- Tinted Moisturizer
This is another product I’ve been using for years! It’s the perfect consistency for sheer coverage. The shade I use is Blush. It contains sunscreen and doesn’t ever irritate my skin. When it’s really hot, I often I skip this product and just apply sunscreen before using the other products. Cleaner skin just seem to feel cooler.
I actually use all of these products year round, but they are especially great in the summer when warmer weather makes it more of a challenge to keep makeup on my face:-)
Don't miss a single summer update!
I know, I didn't mention a lip product. That's because I don't have one I really love right now. I'd welcome your suggestions. I like glosses and simple lipsticks...nothing that requires a mirror:-)
Please share what’s in your makeup bag!
Questions? Just ask email@example.com
I'm so glad you're following along. Huge thanks for being here!
Please bear with me today, I might still be in a post-vacation fog. Re-entry is hard. So hard after a wonderful, romantic getaway. However, I’m back at my desk and ready to start crossing some things off of my very long list. As usual, I’m tackling the fun stuff first. Here’s my review of the online shopping platform StyleWe and the dress they recently sent me to try out.
My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to Mexico. It was incredible! Warm sunshine, pure down-time... just what we needed. I couldn't wait to wear my new dress from StyleWe.
So...I rolled up my new StyleWe dress and tucked it into my suitcase.
I can honestly report that this little silk, floral dress was a pleasure to wear.
In my real life...not my fantasy-tropical-beach-life:-)...I rarely wear florals and hardly ever choose bright colors for my clothing. When I scrolled through the StyleWe site trying to choose a dress, this one by QinPei.er truly jumped out at me.
It seemed like a perfect choice for a romantic weekend at the beach. I actually chose three dresses and the lovely representative from StyleWe picked this one for me.
I love the soft, fluid ruffles. I love the sheer watercolor fabric. There’s something enchanting about this little dress.
I’m thrilled with my choice.
The dress traveled beautifully. No wrinkles. No static. It was just right for the breezy, tropical climate of Sayulita, Mexico.
I felt lovely wearing it on my dinner date with Matthew. The colors were perfect against the backdrop of blue skies, green palms and turquoise waters. Can you tell, I’m still in a vacation trance?
My overall thoughts on StyleWe:
I think StyleWe could be around for a quite a while. I'm thrilled with the idea of helping emerging designers get a solid start...and I think others will be, too.
The website contains some really serious talent. There are hundreds of beautiful, sophisticated, elegant garments.
Price- The entire site is filled with well-priced, unique pieces. The dress I received costs $70 U.S. I feel this price is very fair for the fabric, quality and style of the dress.
Workmanship- The quality is quite good. My dress is nicely constructed. The outer fabric is 100% silk and the knit lining is 100% polyester. All seams are well-finished and straight.
Fit- I ordered a small. The sizing information for this designer seems very accurate. It appears that each designer chooses their own sizing. The specifics are clearly stated in the description of the garment.
Shipping- My dress was shipped overnight. It took about three days to receive it after a brief hold in U.S. customs. The StyleWe site states that customers might need to allow for production time as well as shipping/delivery time. It seems that some of the garments are actually made to order. Kind of cool...a custom-made dress:-)
Overall, I feel like StyleWe might be ahead of the curve. This type of website could very well be the next big thing. Their format allows new designers to have a platform from which to reach millions of customers...without the stress of actually starting their own business.
If you are needing a dress for a summer wedding, party or just to spice up your closet, I would highly suggest that you give StyleWe a try.
Be prepared to lose track of time while trolling this site. It might take you a while to find the one perfect choice…the site is loaded with awesome pieces!
Lots of stuff on the docket for the summer. It’s time for some soul-searching and transparent authenticity...I’m going to get very real:-)
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I’m now on Snapchat (togetheract), if you’re crazy enough to be there too...I’d love to share my daily story with you!
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I’m super excited about today’s post! This post is a few days early because I’m heading out of town and wanted to share this before I leave. I’ve been asked to review a product from a website that features a huge selection of women’s clothing. The company is StyleWe. You can find them at www.stylewe.com Their concept is simple and unique…”StyleWe is an online fashion shopping platform featuring independent fashion designers. Fashion at your fingertips!”
Honestly, I'm kind of blown away by this genius idea. StyleWe makes it possible for emerging young fashion designers to create and manufacture their own designs without having to actually start a design business. Want to know more... click here and read the about and our designers pages.
I made a short video to share the ‘unboxing’ of the package I received from StyleWe. I think I could get used to the thrill of unboxing these treasures:-)
The kind representative from StyleWe instructed me to select one dress priced under $90.
Who wouldn’t love to try out a free dress? I must admit it was extremely difficult to narrow my choice down to only one. I spent several evenings just scrolling through StyleWe’s vast selection and dropping dresses into my shopping cart!
In the end, I selected three dresses and asked the StyleWe representative to make the final choice. The dress she chose what the very first dress I loved when scrolling through their seemingly endless designs.
Here's the big reveal...
My husband and I are heading to Mexico to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! (I'm thrilled and blessed...we are still happily married after all these years:-)
I plan to wear this amazing dress while we're away. What better way to fall in love with a dress than on a romantic, tropical vacation?
I'll write my review when we return and post it as quickly as possible.
I recently joined the world of Snapchat! As a mom of three teenagers, I didn’t really have a choice:-)
I’ll be posting on Snapchat and Instagram while I’m away. If you’d like a sneak peek at my thoughts on the dress and our getaway...please follow along!
Thank you so much for reading and watching. This entire endeavor is only fun because you are here.
I was recently approached by hair and skin care company...Pura d'or. They asked if I'd be interested in using and reviewing a few of their hair care products. I loved what I read when doing my initial research on Pura d'or and decided to give it a go.
I posted the 'unboxing' video and promptly started using the three products I received; Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo, Healing Conditioner and Pure & Organic Argan Oil. After using these products for a little over a month, I feel I'm ready to share my honest opinion of each one.
As I explained in my 'unboxing' post, I suffered from hair loss for over two years. I don't imagine that losing your hair is easy on anyone, but for women...it's taboo and terrifying.
Our current culture often depicts beautiful women with beautiful, healthy, plentiful hair. Modern media messages often promote the idea that a woman's hair quality is directly linked to her beauty.
Not fair and certainly not true! However, I am fully aware that it can be extremely unsettling to experience hair loss.
Here are my thoughts on the Pura d'or products I've been using....
Here's a bit more information from the website...
When using the shampoo, the directions state to use it daily....lather and leave on for 2 minutes. This is where the magic happens! During this wait time, ingredients work to strengthen the hair and rejuvenate the hair follicles.
Pura d'or is available from the Pura d'or website (www.purador.com) and from several well-known retailers...Amazon, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Ulta, and more.
This is super exciting...
I've been invited to share a super discount with my viewers and readers!
If you're ready to try Pura d'or for yourself...
enjoy a 25% discount off your purchase from the
Pura d'or website.
At checkout enter the code: Kristen25
All purchases come with the Pura d'or 100% Money Back Guarantee! So you have nothing to lose... and you might just stop losing your hair.
I'm heading out of the country, but will be posting fun stuff from my travels. Follow along...@togetheract on Instagram and togetheract on Snapchat. Yes, I'm on Snapchat! Having three teenagers at home means I'm on Snapchat:-)
Thanks for being here. Questions? Just ask below or email me at email@example.com
I'm sure it'll be short-lived, but I rank as a pretty happening mom right now. I’ve just been asked to do my first product review on YouTube. Recently, I received an email from a representative at a company called PURA D'OR. He liked my channel and was reaching out to see if I'd be interested in trying a few products and then doing a video review. I’ve certainly watched my share of product reviews online…and my teenage children loved the idea of their mom entering the world of ‘unboxing’ videos and free sample products. So, I requested some additional information and decided, why not?
That brings me to today’s post.
I received a package in the mail from Pura D’or.
The company's philosophy is simple and sound...
"We believe in presenting our products in a manner consistent with three principles...
Read more here... Pura D'or
Note: I did not pay for these products and I am not being compensated in any way for the review that will follow.
I’m ready to find out what’s inside the box...
Let’s take a look.
Since the Pura D'or Shampoo I received to review is designed to help prevent hair loss, I want to share my own hair loss story.
In 2005, I personally began noticing a significant amount of hair loss during and after showering. At the time, my hair was shoulder length and the shedding was very obvious. I pulled what seemed like a fist-full of fallen strands off my hands every time I showered.
The situation was incredibly disturbing to me. The stress I felt was terrible.
Unsure of what was causing this sudden loss of hair, I sought the help of many doctors over a span of 24 months…dermatologists, hematologists, hair specialists, gynecologists and my family practitioner.
No one had an answer that I felt was satisfactory.
I was offered prescription blood pressure medicine shown off-label to grow ‘peach fuzz’ hair.
I was told, “I’ve never seen a woman your age go bald, so don’t worry”.
In short, I was dismissed. Repeatedly.
Eventually, I found the most amazing doctor, Dr. Anthony Bazzan who treats the body as a whole. He specializes in functional wellness. All human systems are carefully considered with regards to how they work together.
After a full round of tests the answer for me came down to…low Ferritin and low Vitamin D. At Dr. Bazzan's recommendation, I began taking iron and Vitamin D supplements.
I’m thrilled to report that while my hair is definitely thinner than it was when I was younger…I am no longer losing hair! My hair loss stopped once my iron and Vitamin D levels increased.
I wanted to include my experience in this post in case anyone reading is having similar issues. I'm certainly not a medical doctor, but from what I learned, there are many, many reasons that women can experience hair loss. And many of them are completely treatable and reversible.
If you are currently suffering from this taboo problem; keep researching and find a doctor who can help. Excessive hair loss is not normal. I completely understand how frightening this issue can be. I'm hoping you can find the real problem and correct it.
Back to Pura D'or...
I’m excited to share my first product review here! I'll start using these products today. Stay tuned for my thoughts in a few weeks.
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The calendar definitely says its spring, but where I live we recently received a wintery foot of snow. I continue to tell myself that it’s April! I know that sunny warm days are just ahead and that means bare legs. Showing off your legs after a long, cold winter isn’t usually a very exciting concept. The first mild days often serve as a harsh reminder that we’ve been comfortably hiding under tights and jeans for months. Fitting rooms are filled with women loving new spring clothes…but dreading the thought of uncovering their legs.
the bare leg issue becomes more daunting as we age.
Let’s face it, in most cases, younger legs look better.
The skin is tighter and more luminous. The muscle tone comes back quicker after just a few workouts. Fewer veins, lumps and spots.
However, even though your legs (and mine:-) maybe aren’t quite as effortlessly fabulous as they once were…we have some great options to improve the look of our legs!
Here are 5 ways to transition out of long pants with ease...
1. Self Tanner
Say it louder…SELF TANNER! This product is your friend. I promise. The days of orange, smelly lotions and sprays are over. Forget what you recall about Sudden Tan and Quick Tan…formulas have changed for the better!
Summer Color by Banana Boat - This stuff is amazing. Comes in a lotion and a spray. I prefer the lotion, but both work really well. $7 at Target
Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanner - Incredible product. Much higher price. $38 at Sephora. I'll stick with the drug store brand:-)
Shower first. Shave/exfoliate- even with just a washcloth. Apply self tanner – lotions go right on dry skin, the spray tends to work better on moisturized skin.
After just one application you’ll notice your legs look almost ready for daylight!
I’m sorry…I know, the word itself makes you cringe. I’m often asked if there are any options when it comes to nude hosiery. Good news...there is one brand of hose that will truly make your legs look amazing…and bare.
Donna Karan The Nudes
And...there is now a toe-less version to wear with sandals! What a concept!
I’ve been wearing this brand since 1997 when they were first introduced. At the time, I worked in Couture at Neiman Marcus and female employees were required to wear hosiery.
DK Nudes were so cutting edge and incredibly sheer that often women on the NM staff were accused of having bare legs when they were actually wearing these remarkable pantyhose.
They are that good. Expect to pay about $20/pair.
Take care of them and they will last. I honestly still have a few pairs from the late nineties. Still sparking joy when needed:-)
3. Hydrate and Shimmer
If you really don’t like self tanner. I suggest you try a body lotion with a hint of shimmer or some body oil that will provide a bit so shine.
This type of product makes skin look more youthful because it looks well hydrated. Get a bit of glow without actually changing your skin color. No commitment, just a smooth, youthful sheen.
Nivea Original Daily Moisture- My high school bestie always used this faithfully...she still has the most incredible skin!
Neutrogena Sesame Body Oil- There's a cult following for this product! Great smell and consistency...gorgeous skin follows. Target's Up & Up version is a pretty good copy for a great price.
Olay Quench Daily Lotion –Shimmer- Always good stuff from the folks at Olay. This lotion is a bit harder to find, but the extra shimmer is worth a look.
Heading outside for even a few brisk walks can make you feel more positive about your legs. Want bigger changes? Create a fitness routine that targets legs…and get started! I love Body Rock TV on YouTube. Free and effective! Your lower body will become more toned and you’ll feel better in the process. Win, win!
Let’s face it…maybe we should have liked our younger legs more when we had them:-) I certainly didn’t know how great my legs were back then...ahhh, hindsight.
At this stage, I feel the best option is to embrace the way it is now. Instead of stressing and complaining about my legs, I now choose to be very thankful for all that these ‘older’ legs can do.
Summer’s coming…with a few simple tweaks, you’ll be ready to share your pins with the world! Happily.
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