Jan
09

Back to Basics: Wardrobe Staples

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I've always had a philosophy that you should get your basics really cheap, then occasionally spend more on a really special outfit--like a dress for a wedding or a fabulous pair of shoes. But I've noticed that lately, I'm only wearing my cheap basics (something to do with becoming a new mom?) and I never actually look forward to getting dressed. So I'm thinking it's time that I upgraded my basics to ones that are still comfortable, casual, and easy to throw in the wash...but also make me feel good about myself. Because this Forever21 t-shirt + old jeans thing that I have going on right now? Is starting to make me feel like a real schlub. So I've been thinking about wardrobe staples that I want to invest in...the classic, essential pieces that I'll wear over and over again, year after year. Here are some items that are on my wish list.

Back to basics: wardrobe staples

Flattering LBD / Chunky knit hatOversized sweater / Canvas sneakers / Classic button-down / Dark skinny jeans / Polarized sunglasses / Strappy nude heelsStretchy black pants

It's definitely a shift in my mindset to realize it's okay to spend some money on the basics. And actually, they're probably the items I should be willing to spend more on. After all, basics are classic, won't go out of style, and are the ones I wear the most. Those special-occasion dresses, statement jewelry, and trendy shoes? They'll probably be out of style before I ever get my money's worth out of them.

I know building up a wardrobe is never actually done--obviously, I won't be wearing the same pair of sneakers for the rest of my life. But I'm hoping to collect a few more quality pieces this year that'll last me for awhile. After all, I'm creeping up on 30, so I should probably start shopping like an adult instead of a teenager!

What about you? What are your favorite wardrobe staples that you reach for time and again? And do you have a favorite place to shop for them?

Thanks to NIC + ZOE for partnering with me on this post.

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Jan
06

She Sheds: A Room of Your Own

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I love the trend of "she sheds."  They're basically the feminine version of a man cave...a personal space to call your own and retreat to. What they're used for can vary quite a bit: a creative studio, a hen hut, a grown-up playhouse, a gardening shed, a tiny cottage, or simply a sanctuary to hang out and enjoy a quiet moment. I got a chance to review the newly-released book She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite and was totally enchanted by these sweet backyard hideaways. They may be small in size, but they're big on style and charm!

She Sheds - the grown up version of a playhouse

The book takes us inside some beautiful she sheds all over the world and tells the story of why their owners created them and how they are used. It also shares some of those details you're probably curious to know, such as the location, size of shed, and cost to build it.

She Sheds: A Room of Your Own

She Sheds: the feminine version of a man cave

My favorite shed in the book is "La Casita"--a lovely Scandinavian style cottage in Dallas, Texas. The owner is Paige Morse, an interior designer & stylist. She originally wanted to renovate the shed in her backyard to use as a styling and photography studio. Along the way, she had the idea to turn it into a full blown tiny house complete with a small kitchen and bathroom. Now. it serves a dual purpose as a quiet space for her to work and an additional revenue stream--she put her own house on Airbnb, and simply moves into "La Casita" when it's rented out!

Beautifully designed tiny house

The inside is light, bright, and absolutely beautiful, with lots of stark white paint contrasted by deep black floors and appliances (a counter level fridge is just the right size for the corner kitchen).

La Casita

Scandinavian/boho style "she shed"

The sofa serves as a bed when Paige stays there, removing the need for a separate bedroom.

La Casita

Oh, and that gorgeous shell chandelier above? It's a DIY!

I'm super inspired by all the she sheds in this book, but especially "La Casita." I'd definitely love to do something like this in my own future backyard!

What would you use a she shed for?

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Jan
04

2017 Goals

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It's that time of year! One of my favorite New Year's "rituals" is reading my goals from the past year and seeing how my reality matched up, then setting goals for the next year. I also love chatting with Ben about our big combined goals and making plans for how to reach them. It's so helpful to talk through these kind of things with someone else...whether it's your husband, a friend, or even a blog. :) Honestly, that has been one of my favorite things about blogging throughout the years. It's like an online diary where I can record my hopes, dreams, and goals, and refer back to them in the future. And what's even better is when it's a conversation, not just one-sided. On that note, I would loooove it if some of you take the time to comment with your feedback, advice, and your own goals for 2017. It seems like these days, all the conversation is moving to social media, and that's cool too...but I kind of miss getting comments in response to my blog posts. Is traditional blogging dead? Oh well, at the very least, I'm posting this for my future self. Here we go, my top ten goals for the new year!

2017 Goals

1. Figure out where we want to live - The housing market in the Seattle area has exploooded over the past few years, and we feel like it's a bad time to be first-time buyers here. We could keep renting and see if prices drop...or we could move even further out, making Ben's commute super sucky...or we could get a house where the mortgage really stretches us. But none of those options are very appealing. We're both open to moving to a more affordable area, and the more we discuss it, the more we're actually excited about the idea. We'd like to raise our kids somewhere with a slower pace of life, less traffic, good schools, and the possiblity of owning some property. More affordable areas often check those boxes. So we've pretty much decided that we want to move...now we just need to decide where. We're looking for the right mix of cheap(er) housing, good jobs (at least one), people we know, beautiful nature, and things to do.

2. Buy a house - Obviously this goal is dependent on #1, but I'm hopeful that we can accomplish both in 2017. After all, housing prices are a big part of the reason why we'd be moving in the first place. If we go somewhere cheaper, we should have a lot more options within our price range which should make house hunting more fun and successful than our experience in 2016. Theoretically, anyways. Fingers crossed!

3. Get smarter about how we spend money - Now that we're down to one full-time income, we're trying to get smarter about how we spend our money. We quit a few subscriptions that we didn't use enough to be worth it, started shopping at a less expensive grocery store that's a bit farther away (go WinCo), and have been making coffee at home. I'm also looking into a less expensive phone plan (anyone tried Google Fi, Republic, or Cricket?) and have been checking for coupon codes every time before I make an online purchase.

4. Continue traveling - This goal has been on my list the last two years, and I want to keep making it a priority. Ian can fly for free on our laps up to two years old, so I really want to take advantage of that while we can and squeeze in a few more big trips (maybe even an overseas one?). At the very least, we've promised my brother that we'll visit him in Illinois this year.

5. Lose weight - Yet another classic resolution that I've had on my list for years. Argh. Last year, I learned some healthier recipes, went on lots of walks, and started eating more veggies--but I also had a baby. I would really like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and ideally, my wedding weight) before I get pregnant again. It's tough though, because I'm still breastfeeding Ian and I don't want to lose my milk supply. Or maybe that's just my excuse and it's actually tough because I just want to eat sweets and be lazy in the house...haha.

6. Get out of the house every day - Speaking of being lazy, I'm a total introvert and a homebody, and I would probably be happy to just hang out at home for days on end. My tendency to stay home has gotten even worse with Ian, because it takes even more effort to get us both ready and out of the house. But I'm usually happier when I do manage to get out, whether it's going for a walk, getting together with a friend, doing errands, or just stepping outdoors for a bit. So I'm challenging myself to get outside every day this year. I know that might sound pathetically easy if you're a naturally energetic and outgoing person, but honestly this will be hard for me. I'm hoping it will end up helping with other goals though--help me to exercise more, help me remember to set up dates with friends, and help Ian experience lots of different environments and conversations.

7. Document daily life with our "big camera" - This was one of my mini-goals last year too--to take more pictures of our everyday life with the big camera instead of my phone. This is for two reasons: 1) so the photos will be better quality and 2) so I'm on my phone less. Sometimes I pull out my phone for a quick picture of Ian and fifteen minutes later, I'm still on it, checking Instagram or email or whatever. With the big camera, I feel like I'm more in the moment. Also, I'd really like to improve my photography this year and the first step to that is taking more photos.

8. De-clutter - It's starting to look like we're hoarders...we've definitely accumulated too much stuff for our little 1200 sq ft house. If we stay here, then we absolutely need to pare everything down. And if we move to a different place, I don't want to pack up a bunch of stuff that we'll just end up storing or getting rid of there. Might as well deal with it now so we have less to move!

9. Update this blog - I'm super excited about this goal, and the fact that I'm finally in a place where I can put a little more effort and focus into blogging. It's always been a side hustle for me, squeezing in DIY projects on weekends and writing posts in the evening after my "real job." I haven't put any significant effort into the behind the scenes stuff since 2012, when I started this blog...and everything has evolved a lot since then. There's a laundry list of things that I've been meaning to do: make my site mobile friendly, update my about page, put some work into my social media channels...I could go on. It's actually pretty embarrassing. So this year, I'm hoping to tackle that list and make this blog feel more professional. 

10. Less comparing, more community - I have a tendency to compare myself with other bloggers on Instagram, and I hate it. There's always something to covet, something to be jealous of, someone who seems to be doing life "better." I know social media is just the highlight reel of people's lives (and sometimes it's staged anyways--not real life)...but it's hard to keep perspective when you're scrolling through sooo many perfect photos. When I started blogging, part of what I liked was the community and connecting with like-minded people all over the world. There were a limited number of bloggers I followed, but I felt like I "knew" each one a little bit, and reading their blogs made me feel inspired and connected. Gradually, I've stopped reading and commenting on blogs as much, and instead have followed more and more people on Instagram. It's easier and quicker, but it's emptier and more superficial too. This year, I want to go back to engaging with people in a more meaningful way: actually reading their blog posts, getting to know them, and leaving comments, rather than quickly double tapping photo after photo. I'm hoping that will help me feel less jealousy and more camaraderie!

I have lots of other little goals and to-do's, but these are the ten that I really want to focus on this year. I'd love to hear what your resolutions are too! Cheers to a great 2017.

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Jan
03

Modern Farmhouse Style: Get the Look

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I thought it would be fun to do a little online shopping for pieces that fit the "modern farmhouse" aesthetic, inspired by the house I posted yesterday. I've been really gravitating towards this style lately--it's just the right mix. Of course, the best "farmhouse" pieces are genuine antiques that have a sense of history, so it's best to look locally for those: antique malls, thrift stores, estate sales, Craigslist, etc. But modern pieces are easier to score online. One of my new favorite sources for modern furniture and decor is InMod. They have a great selection of beautiful modern designs, at prices that are reasonably affordable. I've partnered with them on today's post to show you some of my favorites! Let's furnish the imaginary house of my dreams.

Modern farmhouse dining room

Dining room: farmhouse dining table / modern pendant phantom armchair / wine bottle candleholderfiberglass side chair / midcentury sideboard / gold bar cart

Modern farmhouse living room

Living room: fur pillow / linen sofa / arc floor lamp / trunk side table / tufted ottoman

Modern farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen: jute rugglass pendant / copper barstool / wire chair / tulip table

It was fun doing a little wishful shopping! InMod has sooo many beautiful options that would work for the "modern farmhouse" style. Definitely check them out, especially their Origins collection.

Thank you to InMod for partnering with me on this post!

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