spring 10×10 wrap-up

hello may!!  how the heck did we get here so fast?  school is quickly winding down, and summer is a-comin’!

so, the 10×10.  i’m finally sharing my experience with the whole thing!

first, i was a little apprehensive because i thought being so restricted would be SUPER boring, but guess what?  I LOVED IT.  and i plan to do it again and again.  the simplicity of getting ready was amazing, and i found myself putting together outfits i never would have considered if not for this experiment.  i liked the challenge of making each outfit interesting, and i think the fact that you can mix in accessories makes it so easy and fun to do.

as a refresher, here was my line-up for the 10 days.  

two pants, one skirt, four tops, and three layering pieces.  i did give this some thought as i planned it and made sure i could come up with several outfits easily.  i think the mixing in of pattern and texture helped to keep things interesting.  it also helped that the weather cooperated almost completely, so i only had to add a sweater one of the days.  i was pretty compliant, although i would have broken the rules more had i needed to!  i was able to ‘mom’ in everything, and the only real annoyance was wearing the skirt on a windy day, but i made it work.  i did skip a day because i stayed in gym clothes, but guess what, i do that a few times a week, so the fact that it only happened once makes me want to pat myself on the back. ;)

these got me through a night out (top middle), a visit to beckett’s school (middle left), dinner out with the family (bottom middle), a brunch/easter egg hunt (bottom left), and a presentation i gave to a MOPS group (middle middle), and every little thing in-between.

– find these photos and more details of what i did each day via #cso10x10 on instagram –

so, here are a few questions i wanted to answer for myself as i reflect back on this.

was there anything that didn’t work?  i really felt good about my choices.  might have been beginners luck, but all the pieces just worked.  you might notice that i didn’t wear the blush bomber jacket at all.  i had 100% planned on it, but the weather was pretty warm that week, and the material just felt kind of hot, so i opted out. so, really i worked with just 9 pieces!  the only look i didn’t feel totally confident in was the blush tee/black skirt/denim vest.  i wore the tee tucked in, but it has a knot at the hem, which is great when untucked, but made it feel rather bulky.  no big deal, i just didn’t love the outfit.

what look was your favorite?  i felt the most ‘me’ in the olive pants/black & white tee (bottom right) and the unexpected favorite was the skirt/blue & white button up (bottom left).  not sure i would have put these outfits together looking at my entire closet, but when looking at limited options, i loved how these came together.  and the little knots to add more personality!

 

what did you learn?  working with a color palette that all flows together was key.  i really felt like every single piece could have worked with all the others, and i liked having the layering pieces to make things a little more interesting each day.

will you do this again? 100% yes!!  loved it, totally recommend it!

what would you do differently for the next 10×10? next time, i’ll work a dress in.  otherwise, i felt like i had plenty of options and was able to dress things up or down dependent on the days events.

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this experience really opened my eyes to how little i actually need, and i think it will affect how i shop and look at my closet from here on out.  it also helped me pack for our trip this past week.  we had limited space in our car, with the stroller and pack&play also coming along, so i wanted to get the kids and myself into one carry-on-sized suitcase.  i thought carefully as i packed for myself and each of the kids, included a few tops and bottoms for each of us that all went together, and it was no problem at all.

i didn’t photograph, well anything, very well, but here are a couple little peeks at what kinds of accessories i worked in.  for me, the fact that accessories can come and go as you please made this so easy and a fun challenge to make each outfit look different in subtle ways.


still pretty dang awkward with selfies – someone please give me a lesson

sources:

olive moto leggings (i purchsed at CW boutique)

denim (old gap, distressed myself) – similar

black skirt (old banana republic) – similar, more casual option

blush tee (random find at tj maxx) – similar, similar

black and white striped tee (old) (fit note: i sized up 2 sized so i could tie it)- similar, similar

cream lace top (old) – similar, similar

white and blue striped button-up (abercrombie, can no longer find this online) – similar

denim vest (old j. crew) – similar

blush bomber (old) – similar, similar

camo jacket

so, whaddya think!?!  are you up for doing a 10×10?  i’ll definitely let you know the next time i do it so you can play along too!

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spring 10×10

have you heard of a 10×10?  you take 10 pieces from your closet, and wear only those 10 for 10 days.  simple enough, right?  i’m going to take a crack at it starting tomorrow, with the 10×10 hosted by un-fancy and the style bee.  here are my pieces…

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2 pants, 1 skirt, 4 tops, and 3 layering pieces.  i think some people like to include shoes in the 10, but i’m not that hard core yet (ha!), so my 10 are all clothing, but i’ll limit my shoe use.  accessories (jewelry, scarves, etc) aren’t included in the 10, and since shoes are my very favorite accessory, i’m making this a little flexible to work for me.  also not included is activewear, sleepwear, and outerwear (with spring in the midwest, you never know what you’re gonna get!).  i’ll mix those in as usual to get to the gym and lounge around at home.

i’m also factoring in a few ‘special events’ – church and an egg hunt/brunch this sunday and a meeting next wednesday, so i threw the skirt in to make it all happen.  i might try to make it work in a more casual way too.  and that’s part of why i’m so intrigued with this.  it’ll force me to work with these pieces in ways i would not have done otherwise.  having limited choices forces creativity.  fun!

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i’ll try to keep to these shoe choices, but i make no promises.  IMG_1396

so, whaddya think!?!  want to try it with me?  it starts tomorrow, and technically runs through easter, but i’ve already got an easter get-up in mind, so i’ll go through saturday.  let me know if you decide to play along!

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the mama’s guide to swimwear

i’m gonna go out on a limb and say you probably won’t see me in a string bikini this summer.  i feel like those days are just over – for one, my body is totally different than when i could confidently rock it (not complaining, it’s grown three kids!) and with a toddler on my hip, there is bound to be a wardrobe malfunction.  so, i find i’m searching for swimwear with more coverage, but still looking current, fun, and dare i say it, sexy.  i’ve run across a few brands that are hitting it out of the park in this department, and it’s just not right to keep them to myself.

albion fit – ok, this company has got it going on for the mama of small children, in my humble opinion.  darling one-pieces, high-waisted bottoms, and crop-tops, which is my new favorite style.  it’s more covered up (less chance of the aforementioned wardrobe malfunction), and i can swim, go off the diving board, and throw my kids around without worrying about a boob popping out.  this one is on my wish list at the moment.  just go look at their website, you’ll want everything.  i don’t own anything by these guys (yet), but the quality is supposed to be great, you can be super active in them and look amazing in the process.  p.s.  they also have great active-wear!

one-piece w/ cut out ||  green and black one-piece || cross-back top || leaf bottoms  || stripe & floral one piece || floral peplum

kortni jeane – a small company with lots of high-waist bottoms and crop tops, among other things, in such fun styles and patterns.  she runs each fabric for a limited time, so if you see something you want, get it!  there was a cactus print last year that i loved but didn’t get, and i’m kicking myself for it.  i have a couple of her tops, and they’re great – they come with a little shelf for some support for the ‘ladies’ and light padding.  she also has a few mens‘ and even kids‘ styles!  chloe has little high waist bottoms and a peplum top that is about the cutest thing i ever saw.

racerback || scoop-back peplum || latter-back top

 

j. crew is not new, but their suits are such high quality.  i have a few that are several years old and they still look great.  i am in love with the off-shoulder number below, but it just won’t work for lugging around kids and being active with them in the pool.  i’ll have to save that style for an adults-only trip, of which there are none on the horizon.  dang.  the one shoulder look could work, though talk about a strange tan-line.  might be worth it.  if there’s one thing i would buy from j crew, it’s black bottoms. i have a pair of high-waisted ones that i’ll break out for their third summer this year, and a bikini brief that is more than 5 years old.  i tell ya, these hold up.  since the mixing and matching is the current trend, i can wear these with just about anything, creating infinite options.

off shoulder || blue cover up || one shoulder || white cover up || brief || high-waist

tori praver for target – check this line out for some inexpensive options, interesting cuts, and pretty prints.    loving that racerback and the gray one-piece!

racerback || high-neck (make sure you check out the back!) || gray one piece (also has a fun back!)|| floral one-piece || crop top w/ underwire

so, there ya have it.  a few fun options for the active lady who wants to stay cute and a little covered up this summer!  let me know in the comments if you know of any others i should check out!

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catered curriculum (and a discount code!)

y’all, spring break was kinda long.  it’s a little challenging having kids in totally different places – a 6 year old that wants to be on the go ALL THE TIME, and a baby that still needs a good nap every day, and a 4 year old that falls somewhere in the middle.  i realized how thankful i am for beckett to have school, getting all the stimulation he wants and needs while i can better give the littles the slower pace they need.  BUT, having b at this age does let me see where we’ll be when hudson is a little older – we can GO and DO and SEE and not be held down by the nap!  whaaaaaaaat!?!?!  honestly, i really don’t know what happens in the world between the hours of 1 and 4 these days.

so, i was very thankful i had a few tricks up my sleeve to entertain the kids while we were at home for hudson’s naps last week.  i met delta, one of the co-founders of catered curriculum, through a friend and she recently brought over a box for us to try.  i was strategically saving it for last week to fill some time at home and was glad i did.  catered curriculum is a subscription box company founded and operated by two former preschool teachers, and it shows.  everything is explained in perfect detail with step by step instructions, packaged according to the activity it goes along with, and most importantly, the kids loved it.

IMG_1204activity box c/o catered curriculum

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i did one of the simpler activities (math) with chloe that involved counting, matching, coloring, cutting and glueing…

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…and i did the magnet activity (science) with both kids, who loved it equally, and it occupied them for about 30 minutes.  that’s a long time for this crew!  they got to see which of the items were magnetic, make a chart to show their findings, and then paint with the magnet.  every single little thing you need is included.  i had to search for nothing!!

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all that, and we still have two more activities (reading/writing and art) to use another day – woo hoo!  now, for the best part – use discount code chasing20 for 20% off any subscription product.  happy learning!

 

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contentment and being present

i think the reason i’ve been quiet here is because i’ve been doing a lot of thinking – about contentment – when it comes to things – and being present – when it comes to people.

with regard to being present, honestly, i felt like i was looking at my phone too much.  to check instagram, e-mails, even the weather.  i just felt like it was always there, taunting me with its many capabilities.  so recently, i’ve tried really hard to walk away from it.  just park it on the counter unless there’s a picture i want to take or another legit purpose for its use.  i’m trying hard to limit the mindless scrolling because it just takes away from other things.

like this.IMG_1334

and this.IMG_1289

and this.IMG_1238

with regard to contentment, it seems like our society has almost promoted excess.  you won’t be happy until you have these shoes, this make-up, this couch.  i’ve been struggling with it for a while now, seeing it all over, but in my own life, trying to better love and appreciate the things i have.  i’ve been thinking hard about what i want to write about and the direction i want things to go here – to a level where i feel a little paralyzed.  but i’m just going to start laying it out there and see where this leads.

this is where my head’s at.  let’s talk about working with what we’ve got, or with less.  let’s talk about being content, about shopping our own closet or our own home to shake things up instead of feeling the need to go shopping for it all the time.  let’s talk about buying a few pieces each season and making them our workhorses.  no one needs a closet exploding with clothes, and you don’t need another blogger telling you to buy something new every day.  i don’t want to take that route, rather i’d like to teach myself, and anyone who might read, how to work with what we’ve got to keep things interesting, adding a few special things along the way.  we don’t need more to be happier.  in fact, lately, i’ve felt like eliminating things will make me happier.  and it has.  i’m hoping to go through my closet tomorrow to switch seasons, but also to get rid of pieces that are not being loved (i post things on poshmark if you’re interested), and to better organize what’s left.  i’ll try to take notes along the way and let you know what’s working for me!

so, how about you?  do you like the idea of less being more?  i really think it can be liberating!

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inspiration…or the lack thereof

guys, i’m gonna be honest.  sometimes i have so many ideas and so much inspiration to run with, and sometimes i’m just, well, dry.  i guess this is one of those times, and that’s ok, although frustrating for me.  sometimes caffeine helps.  caffeine helps a lot of things. ;)  i really think it stems from having ZERO time during the day that is just mine.  i have tried to wake up early, and my kids wake up earlier.  i have tried staying up late, and i feel like trash the next day.  it’s a good problem to feel needed by someone ALL the time, but it’s straight-up exhausting too.  mamas, can i get an amen?  i do think regular exercise helps to get my wheels turning, and i’ve taken a few days off that, which is my own fault.  i’ve learned if i don’t get it done in the morning, it ain’t happenin’.  back on the wagon tomorrow.

so instead of original thoughts, i’ll leave you with a few random tidbits from the internets.

have you guys seen these chicks?  HILARIOUS.  tons of honest and funny little videos about motherhood.  i was laughing so hard watching their #momtruths.

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i’ve heard of sole society before, but i’d never perused their website.  GREAT STUFF.  women’s accessories, clothing, even kids shoes.

 – earringsclutchwedgeperforated bootiestop

 

i’m trying to work within a capsule-ish wardrobe for spring, and caroline is THE BEST to follow if you are interested in doing the same.  she writes in such a genuine way – the kind where you feel like you’re sitting right with her.  and the photography is beautiful.  it’s a great blog to read and inspiring me to do more with less.

so, tell me, how do you boost your creativity when you’re in a slump?

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spring shoe guide

y’all, i have been working on this in bits and pieces all week, and i am proud and relieved to present my spring shoe guide.  in my opinion, there are 4 stand-out shoe styles at the moment – the espadrille, spring bootie, lace-up open toed bootie (see my post on these here), and the sneaker.  there are so many fun twists on each that you’re sure to find one to match your style.  so, here ya go.  a spring shoe guide for the casual lady running all over town, working from home, schlepping kids in and out of school, and every little thing in between.

i’m liking the more ‘flatform’ look of the espadrille this season, where there’s a clear platform giving you lift, but the ‘incline’ isn’t all that high.  you’ve probably seen this marc fisher number EVERYWHERE.  i recently found a dupe here that’s pretty darn close at a third of the price.  here’s another cute crossover version by marc fisher, and yet another with a  lower platform. this guy has apparently cornered the market on the espadrille, and everyone and their brother is making copies like crazy.  here’s a target version that’s pretty similar to one of his. and another target one that’s super cute.  i’m still contemplating which one i would get the most use out of.  of course i’m drawn to the one with the highest lift (#shortgirlproblems), but i’m not sure how much i’d actually wear it.  thinking the lower one might work best for my every day life.  i think if you’re going to buy one shoe this spring, this is it.

 

booties just keep getting better.  more fun little details, different colors, the heel height is usually manageable, and i am loving the open-toe option for spring.  now is a great time to shop for booties – there are tons on sale since most stores are gearing up for spring.  but we still have lots of bootie weather left!  lucky us!  cut-outs (here’s another) and perforations (another here) seem to be BIG this season.  these say edgy cowboy to me, and i LOVE them – the notched out heel is great for walking too – i have a pair that have a similar heel.  i have never seen a strappy bootie, but hello fun little details –  options here and here.  i have seen these all over the place and have heard they are super comfy – love the d’orsay detail.  a pink bootie??  i say yes, and you’ll be surprised by how much these will look good with.

 

you just can’t beat a slip on sneaker, and there are TONS of options.  i found this one with a BOW, and it gave me heart palpitations.  this one is quilted, this one has faux fur poms, and there’s just something about the classic vans.  the adidas superstar will probably never go totally out of style, but it’s making a resurgence right now, and i think the ones with metallic stripes are great.  these from nike look like you could go straight from the gym to your next adventure.  and i’m always a little partial to new balance.  i’ve been wearing them for years.

 

 

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the bandana – 4 ways

i just bought the trolls soundtrack today, and chloe, hudson, and i have been listening to it on repeat for HOURS and having an all out dance party. i feel like they kinda made this soundtrack for the parents. there are some really fun songs with a good beat, and they don’t sound too ‘kiddie’.  is that a word?  i even cried during ‘true colors’ like a total sap – you guys, the harmonies!  and talking about being your SELF!  and JT professing his love for me princess poppy!  and i was dancing with chloe.  music, it gets me every time.  anyone else??  i’m probably crazy.  anyway, it’s good.

sooooo, what are you thinkin’ about the bandana trend, yay or nay?  i’m on board, and it’s a pretty versatile little piece to have in your closet.   they’re inexpensive, and they do lots of tricks!  like so…..

tie a knot in the middle, and tie the points behind your neck.  it’s a casual necklace.img_1143

try it as a bracelet.  wrap it around a few times and tie in a knot on top or bottom of your wrist.  i had to use my teeth, but i got it done!  img_1150

this look is great if you have a bandana on the bigger side (this one is roughly 2ft x 2ft).  fold one corner to another, so you have a triangle, then tie the two points, throw it over a t-shirt, and you’ve got yourself an outfit.  you could pile on the bracelets or go super-minimal like i did here – both look great.  img_1140

and lastly, if you like the look but just want to dip your toe in the water, tie one onto your bag and call it a day.  img_1159

check out one more way i styled a bandana here.  how do you like to wear yours??

there are some really cute ones out there…

1 // 2  // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

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a little marriage advice for the mamas (and papas) in the trenches

i am really no marriage expert, but i was texting with my cousin the other day (who just had her third baby in just over three years – bless you alicia!), and she asked how we keep our marriage in a good place.  it got me thinking…

i feel like anyone who has a newborn is ‘in the trenches’ – you are sleep deprived, trying to figure out a new family dynamic, and if you have other children, trying to help them adjust to life as a bigger family, and also sleep deprived.  did i mention sleep deprived??  it’s hard on the whole crew, and i feel like we have only recently emerged from those trenches.

now, i will be the first to tell you that our marriage is not perfect, but i truly believe that no one’s is.  it is a constant process of adapting (especially with small children) and bending and communication and compromise.  you’ll have to figure out what makes you and your spouse ‘tick’ and do it.  we’ve figured out that what helps us the most is having fun together (with or without kids)- typically an active kind of fun, but even just laughter is like medicine for us both.  it can be as simple as watching something funny together, going to a park with the kids (and acting like children ourselves), or something requiring a bit more effort like going to a trampoline park.  the other night we went with friends to a place here called up-down, which is a bar filled with arcade games from the 80s and 90s.  we had a blast.  it was just a few hours of kid-free fun, and we both felt renewed.  another favorite, when we don’t have a sitter, is to wear out the kids, put them to bed early, and order take-out sushi for a date night in.  it doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy or even out of your PJs every time, it’s just finding some time to be together and staying connected.

i’d love to know, what works for you??

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the aligning of the stars

on the way home from target this morning, both chloe and hudson fell asleep in the car, and i. successfully. transferred. BOTH. OF. THEM.  now if that isn’t the aligning of the stars, well, i don’t know what is.  so here i sit with my computer for a hot second sipping the last of my pumpkin spice latte.  yep, you heard that right.  my target still has a stash, but i’m not telling you which one i go to. ;)

so i thought i’d round up a few fun things i’m thinking about for spring.  even though it’s currently NOT warm, i’m dreaming about spring and thinking about thinner textiles, open-toed shoes, and copious amounts of sunshine.

—– i wrote all that a WEEK ago.  life happened – i got kinda sick, beckett had an early out day from school, the kids wanted to eat, blah, blah, blah.  just keeping it real here.  anyway, let’s talk spring.  here are a few things that are on my mind.—-

lace-up booties.  yes or no?  i give an emphatic YES.  they’ll go with jeans now and dresses as the weather warms up.

 

jeffrey campbell // jeffrey campbell (total dupe at target) // vince camuto //  vince camuto// another vince camuto (apparently this guy knows how to do a lace-up bootie)

how much is too much of a color?  i seriously can’t get enough blush and might just go overboard.

tee // lace-up tank // off-shoulder top // pullover // raglan tee // split neck blouse // lace cold shoulder

sugarfix for bauble bar at target – have you seen it yet?  some super cute stuff at a great price point.

 

beaded tassels // choker // ombre tassels // ear jackets // beaded hoop

what are you eyeing for spring??

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