Size Doesn’t Matter

Size Doesn't Matter

Shopping is one of my favorite activities most of the time. The only time it isn’t? When I’m worrying about money or about size. Now money, that’s not something I can always control. Actually I should be shopping less to control all those money worries. But size? Size is something I need to remember not to worry about because size really DOES NOT matter. What actually matters when you’re shopping is the three Fs: fit, feel, and future.

Wearing: Leather Lace

The 3Fs is something I unconsciously came up with when I realized that all clothing is not created equal. Each brand has a slightly different way of constructing their clothes, though they all adhere to general sizing. If you’re anything like me, you have figured out that what may be a size six here may be the same as a size eight in another type of clothing or brand or even a size four at a totally different store. How frustrating! What I decided was to give up the idea of size and focused on fit. Fit is all about how the clothing works on your body. Ignore the number on the label and ask yourself these questions:

* Is it hanging on my body in a way that makes me feel comfortable?

* Is there any tightness or pulling in places where I know I don’t want tightness or pulling?

* Is it the desired length? Not just as prescribed by the brand or magazines but according to what length is comfortable to you. Or can it be tailored to the right length? Do I want to/have time to tailor it to the right length?

* Does it have a classic fit? Meaning, is it a piece that will look good no matter where or when I wear it?

Like a Fall Afternoon

Fit is important but so is how a garment feels. I am a touchy feely shopper. I let my hands brush over the tops and I squeeze the squishy fabrics and knits between my fingers. I think feel is very important when you’re shopping. You want to be comfortable in your clothes and you also want to feel good about your clothes. To feel good about your clothes I think it literally needs to feel good. I also think that how a piece of clothing makes you feel is important too. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about looking and feeling good in your clothes is that you need to be 100 percent confident before you step out the door. It’s that much more important to try on a piece of clothing and think: does it make me feel confident? Sexy? Happy? Anything you buy should make you feel something powerful and positive.

Size Doesn't Matter

The final F and probably the most important when it comes to shopping and money is future. Sure, you can go shopping every season for a new wardrobe but who has the money for that? Anything that I buy has to have a future. I’m not saying that I only buy investment pieces; the shop ladies at Forever 21 would say different. But before I consider bringing a new item into my closet I think about it long term. First I question why I’m buying it: special occasion, work clothes, play clothes, because I saw it on someone else and thought it would be cute on me. All of those are valid reasons (to me) for buying something because I either really, really love it or it’s something I actually need like a pair of work pants. If it’s a case of really, really love it then I enforce the “Think About It” rule where I force myself to have some separation and if I can’t stop thinking about it then it’s meant to be. Then I have to think about how I’m going to wear it going forward. I make sure I can think of no less than three separate outfits that incorporate my new piece. The only exception is a fancy dress for a special occasion, though it’s rare that those dresses aren’t spread around for many fancy times to come. Finally I question whether what I want is too trendy to have a future. Some styles are meant for the moment and aren’t going to last forever. Sometimes it’s okay to buy those funky, fun pieces but ninety-nine percent of the time I’m going to go with the piece that will last a lifetime (or at least a couple of years).

The Black Ballerina

Now I’m not a perfect shopper by any means. Sometimes I end up with that plaid crop top that I’ll hopefully wear “some day”. Sometimes I end up with clothes are that are more comfortable than flattering. It does take practice. I’ll tell you though that when I really force myself to judge a piece of clothing and consider fit, feel, and the future then I end up having some truly fantastic pieces in my closet.

Monday Links to Love

A Snow Day in the Life

It’s a new month but it sure doesn’t feel like it; I have a ninety minute delay this morning because of snow and ice. Let’s hope March is doing the whole “in like a lion, out like a lamb” thing and soon the boots and coats will take their place in the back of my closet. Here’s to a new month and a new Monday!

* For anyone trying to get back into writing more: How to Write Well and Often

* Yes, yes, and yes: 5 reasons why you’re not seeing the health results you want

* A moving story about perseverance, education, and an amazing role model

* A tea happy hour at The Dandelion? Yes! Who’s with me, Philly people?

* The struggle is real: tips for waking up earlier

* I think I like this version of Uptown Funk with seniors even better than the Bruno Mars version

* Oh my goodness, read this if you want a good laugh: If you give a dude a kale chip…

* What an amazing thought: be grateful for your body

* Essential: how to dress like Olivia Palermo

* Sometimes I wish I lived alone because all the pink, all the prints, all the tiny little things (sorry, Nick)

Wearing: Mad for Plaid

Wearing: Mad for Plaid

Wearing: Mad for Plaid

Wearing: Mad for Plaid

Wearing: Mad for Plaid

scarf: aerie, shirt and socks: target, jeans: levi’s, boots: sporto via macy’s

A very real conversation that happens in our apartment daily: “Where’s my plaid shirt?” “Uh, you’re wearing it?” “No, the other plaid shirt!” I can’t help it if I’m mad for plaid and have at least four different plaid shirts. I also can’t help it if Nick doesn’t know the difference between a tartan and buffalo check. My poor, poor fiance. This combo of buffalo check and red plaid was perfect for Sunday errands last weekend. Of course the quickly melting snow meant waterproof boots and wouldn’t you know, my trusty Sporto snow boots are plaid too! Plaid might just be my favorite part of this never ending winter.

When will this bitter cold end?! Tomorrow is the last day of February and it still feels like January and I’m over it. In an attempt to not hate the winter so much, I’ve been hitting all of the sales and I must say they’re pretty good. This checked shirt was found in the clearance section of Target and, despite it being an extra large, it fits exactly like I like it: slightly roomy and long. I’ve been thinking up a post on my no-sizes shopping secrets because I’ve been finding some great pieces lately. This weekend I’ll be hitting the mall again but this time to find bridesmaid shoes! Gotta love those shopping trips for the wedding (and my closet too)!

My Favorite Essie Polishes for the Winter

My nails get pretty beat up in the winter from the dry skin to the hot water. Despite the wear and tear, I still like my nails to look pretty. For a long time I kept to safe peaches and pinks but have since branched out to more “edgy” dark colors. The only way I haven’t deviated from my normal nail polish routine is by choosing all Essie colors. Love my Essie polishes!

My Favorite Winter Nail Polishes

from left to right: chinchilly, after school boy blazer, penny talk, butler please, no place like chrome, wicked

Dark and moody, winter nail polishes have always had an air of cool sophistication to  me. I remember the first time I bought a dark polish. I was a sophomore in high school and saw a feature in Teen Vogue where the model was wearing black polish and she looked exactly like what I thought cool was supposed to be. That magazine fueled all my fashion (mis)adventures from wearing my dad’s ties to dragging my family off the beaten path in Tijuana, Mexico to buy cowboy boots. I miss buying my monthly copy of Teen Vogue.

In search of black nail polish, I walked from my house to the local shopping center. For some reason I never thought to look in the grocery store cosmetics aisle but instead went to this stationery, party goods store where I bought stickers for my notebooks when I was in third grade. Nevertheless it had the black polish I was looking for, in a bottle shaped like a skull. How edgy. I wore that black polish until my grandmother visited and her disapproving looks and comments about “dirty nails” made me take it off. Eventually it became more mainstream and I wore my black nails with pride. Then dark nail polishes became the thing thanks to blogs and the internet and here I am with a whole cabinet of them. Even if my grandma still doesn’t approve.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

from our trip to lisbon, portugal and tangier, morocco in 2010

A girl’s first and last best friend will always be her mother, at least in my opinion. Maybe that’s my opinion because for the past twenty-seven years I have had the best best friend a girl could ask for. My mom is the most outstanding woman I know; from opening her own business when I was just a baby to being the best non-paid wedding planner I could ask for. She has given me a love for reading, for languages, for food, for travel, for fashion. Without a doubt I know that I would not be the woman I am today without her love.

I recently asked Nick if he missed living at home. He said he was happy to be living with me and starting our life together. I am happy for that too but some days I miss living at home with my mom. She’s the best cook I’ve ever met, she’s a better listener than I’ll ever be, and I can’t say I don’t miss her closet. What I miss the most though is just getting to sit and talk with her every night. She taught me how to love someone with all my heart and I hope that someday I will be the kind of mother she’s been for me.

Happy birthday, Mom! For everything you’ve done for me and everything you continue to do, I will always be grateful. Here’s to another great year!

Handbags of My Dreams

Handbag Dreams

My first handbag was far from elegant. I was probably thirteen at the time and these kind of “womanly” things was just starting to be interesting to me. I wasn’t a tomboy by any means but I grew up with a mom who wasn’t pushing me to be anything I didn’t want to be. Being in an all-girls school also solidified my slow passage from being a girl to being a young woman who cared about things like handbags. But then one day I woke up and needed a handbag.

Having a mom who works in retail was always slightly annoying growing up until that one day I needed a handbag. For most of my childhood my mom owned her own women’s clothing boutique and then she closed it because owning your own business is no joke. She got back in the business of making ladies look fashionable by working for a high-end European women’s and children’s store at a high-end mall. It was high-end but not so high-end that it didn’t have a Gap. Which is where I went to shop for my first handbag.

I wish I could say that I picked something useful and beautiful like a classic leather, or even faux leather, tote. But I was thirteen. I picked a lavender canvas utility purse. I liked it because it had a lot of pockets and I remember that it had a really soft lining in stripes. It was not the plastic purses and lunchboxes of my childhood. This was a handbag that I could put “things” in, even though I had no idea what that would be.

That first handbag shopping experience paved the way for all the bags to come. From the large totes in college for my textbooks to the sturdy leather bag to carry my teaching portfolio, bags will always have a place in my history. These are my dream handbags, bags that may or may not grace my arm one day. Bags that one day will have story or two connected to them.

Monday Links to Love

A Snow Day in the Life

* You can always use some tips for a better morning

* Okay, tips aren’t working for you? Consider fixing your bed

* Beautifully written post about accepting your in-between state

* Travel is not so far out of reach with these eight things you can do right now

* And more: saving for your next trip

* If you need any inspiration to start your fitness journey, Madi’s your girl. Loved her latest post about what to expect when you try Crossfit for the first time (I’m slightly less intimidated now!)

* Some food for thought about being healthy and fitness: being thin didn’t make me happy

* Homemade face masks are my favorite

* Bringing the arts to school in the most awesome way possible 

* Simple things to do to make yourself a little happier and healthier each day

* “What looks effortless is actually labored”: The new retail future as seen by Warby Parker


Wearing: Snow Day Sweater Leggings

Wearing: Never Leaving the House Again

Wearing: Never Leaving the House Again

Wearing: Never Leaving the House Again

Wearing: Never Leaving the House Again

top: f21, knit leggings: aerie, shoes: minnetonka

Every snow day for me is an excuse to pull out my comfiest clothes, the clothes I would never leave the house in, and lounge around. Thankfully the last few weeks have meant a few snow days and I have been able to wear these sweater leggings non-stop. You heard me right: sweater leggings and they are just as fabulous as you can imagine. They are the perfect investment for these housebound cold weather days. Throw on a loose chambray top and I am never, ever leaving the house again.

As much as I love staying in and being comfortable, it’s time to get out. Subzero temperatures don’t exactly motivate me to pull an outfit together and get out but there comes a point where you’re on the verge of winter blues or spring motivation. Today I’m officially choosing spring motivation. This weekend I may be getting a pedicure for these poor pale feet and doing some online window shopping to put a spring in my step (and wardrobe). A dash of honeymoon planning will also do a heart good. But I’ll be doing it in my sweater leggings, thank you very much.

How to Beat Wedding Stress

How to Beat Wedding Stress

We are officially 5 months away from the big day! Since I last updated at the seven month mark, we’ve made some more progress. Nick and I decided to book the videographer after hearing from couple after couple say that it was either their favorite thing to have or biggest regret not having. We adjusted our transportation budget a bit to accommodate the video but we’ll probably be booking a trolley in the next week or so. I had my second meeting with the florist and picked out the exact flowers in each arrangement and bouquet. I wish I could say I have more floral knowledge but thankfully I have a fabulous florist who knows what she’s doing! We also figured out what the groomsmen are going to wear. Who knew there were so many variations of khaki?! Still on the list to be conquered: shoes for the bridesmaids and me, finding a make-up, and starting those DIYs.

I have to say that I’ve been lucky when it comes to the whole planning business. With a supportive family and an easygoing fiance, things have been fairly easy and calm. But a wedding is an event, a fairly big event, and with that comes stress with logistics, opinions, and decisions.

The biggest cause of stress for me so far has been people. Everyone so happily loves to declare, “it’s your big day!” and then proceed to push their ideas and limitations on you. When it comes to a wedding, everyone has an opinion about how it should be done. People also assume that you’re excited to have the whole world to your wedding. My favorite so far has been a friend of a friend exclaiming how excited she is for our wedding. She is not on the guest list. Whether you’re inviting five people or five hundred people, you’re going to have to deal with everything that comes along with that guest list and their opinions. How? By remembering what they said: it’s your day. Just because you see someone every Friday at happy hour does not mean you’re obligated to invite them to one of the biggest days in your life. Just because you asked her to be your bridesmaid does not mean she gets to decide what dress she wears. Do what you want and invite who you want. Now is the time to be Kate Moss on the catwalk and not care about what anyone thinks. Except for your loving groom, of course.

Besides all the random friends and acquaintances who might be stressing you out, I’ve found that stress can come close to home too. Nick and I are lucky to have the support of our families. They are giving us some money for the wedding so I believe that means that we should listen to some of their opinions and wishes. It can be frustrating when they don’t understand our vision or have an entirely different opinion on how things should be done. What I try to remember when I’m biting my tongue is that it’s all about love. My family loves me and cares about making our wedding day special. I’m not saying that you need to do what your parents say but be polite as you run in the opposite direction.

The last little bit of stress I’m facing right now is making decisions. Over and over you get told that your wedding day is such an important day and you only get to do it once. Because of that, I’ve caught myself stressing over and over every minor detail and whether it’s going to be okay. I haven’t been making it easy on myself. That is until I realized something this weekend when Nick and I attended a marriage preparation day at our church. This wedding day will be very small potatoes compared to the years of marriage to come. In the end the centerpieces will look perfect, the dessert bar will get put together, and a million other details will come together perfectly or perfect enough. The only decision I need to think about is the one I made over a year ago when I said yes to creating a new life and a new family with the love of my life.

Wedding stress is real but I’ve learned that as long as I keep it in check, this whole planning business is one crazy fun ride.

Any other tips for beating that wedding stress?

A (Snow) Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

A Snow Day in the Life

In honor of the snow that’s making it’s way from the Midwest through the great Northeast, I thought I’d share what a typical snow day is like for me. I can’t say they’re the most exciting days but I love snow days because they come with a built-in excuse to relax. You can’t go anywhere so you might as well brew a cup of tea and take it easy.

8:00// Started the day with a fresh brewed cup of tea in my favorite Anthropologie mug. Nick and I got the Keurig as an engagement gift and I was so happy when my favorite Earl Grey was available in a k-cup. Otherwise I use it for hot water because I’m lazy.

9:00// No snow day would be complete without a good crockpot meal. I threw some chicken breasts in so that I’d have shredded chicken for a yummy chili later.

10:00// While everyone else was outside digging out their cars, I decided to watch from the window. How beautiful is the world covered in fresh white snow?

11:00// Any day off is the perfect excuse to work on my blog. It’s nice to organize my space with my notebook and tea and really let the creative juices flow.

12:00// The perfect snow day lunch? Tomato soup, boom chicka pop popcorn, and the cutest mason jar glass.

1:00// Even though I spend most of a snow day relaxing, I have to throw a little work in there.

2:00// Blog photo shoot in progress! Coming soon to the blog…

3:00// I don’t think I can let a snow day go by without baking something. My brother got me a donut pan for Christmas so the snow day seemed like a perfect time to break it in.

4:00// Before cooking dinner, it was nice to have a little downtime to cozy up on the couch and read. I just recently finished Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. It was just as gripping as Gone Girl but you’ll have to wait for more when I write my monthly book report (something new I’m going to try each month!)

5:00// Nick is home and chili is simmering on the stove. If only you could smell how delicious this dish was!

6:00// Dinner time! I added the shredded chicken from the crockpot last minute and it really pumped up this dish. I’m all about those hearty meals on these cold winter days.

9:00// After spending some time with Nick watching tv and hanging out, it was time to get ready for bed. Love my green and white bathroom.