Friday Favorites

IMG_5114Don’t let this picture fool you, I took it when I was in Florida last week and it was cold there too! Fortunately, I think this cold snap is finally breaking (at least for a day or two). I don’t think my skin could get any more dry without shattering into a million pieces, and I won’t even get into the scaliness that has taken over all the delicate baby skin around here. Plus, being housebound pretty much all week has really taken it’s toll on all of us. So we’re really looking forward to a weekend with friends where we can get out a bit, and then gorge ourselves on unhealthy snacks Sunday evening. Hope your weekend is warm and delicious.

Love this little bit of vandalism that reminds us nobody’s perfect.

Local Kitchen did a great series this week on leftovers. I want to try every iteration.

A great post by Joy the Baker on sharing her trip to Uganda with us.

We’ll pretend this is healthy because there’s kale in it.

The cookbook of George II looks like something out of Game of Thrones.

I hate when this happens. Unless, I’m the one making it happen. Ahhh, I miss my clothes.

xo, S.

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Wardrobe Architect: Week 2

 

One of my favorite outfits 2009

One of my favorite outfits 2009

Week 2’s exercises help to match words and images to styles that make us feel most like ourselves. This was great because it gave me a chance to really identify the pieces of clothing that make me feel the most comfortable and confident. I like to think over the years I’ve managed to pare down my wardrobe to the pieces that really make me feel my best, but I know there’s still some clutter that can be cleared out, things that aren’t quite me and never make it out in public. It also gave me a chance to weed through the hundreds of images I’ve saved on Pinterest and refine them down to the looks that I keep gravitating towards  

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?

I feel confident, happy, and ready to have fun.

 When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

I always feel so self conscious, like I have to keep tugging on my clothes in the desperate hope that the fit will change. It really puts a damper on my whole mood and how I interact with others.

 Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I really like Cate Blanchett. She loves fashion, and isn’t afraid to take risks. She also always looks so poised. I don’t necessarily want to dress like her, but I want to dress in a way that allows me to exude the same grace and confidence. As for retro icons, I’ve always admired Katherine Hepburn. She also did her own thing, taking menswear and making it work for her. She was able to be simultaneously feminine and powerful.

 What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Boxy, slouchy, floral or liberty print, colorful. I find I like all these things, but I keep myself more streamlined and opt for darker colors or neutrals.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

dark, refined, casual, simple, refined, luxe, functional, cozy, versatile, shapely, beautiful, special, sartorial, international, timeless, classic

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

classic, refined, cozy, beautiful, luxe

I think things that are classic, but cozy. A pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, and a cozy wool cardigan. At the same time I like myself and my clothes to be beautiful with interesting details and made from luxe materials like wool or silk. I try to keep things natural, and to me that means luxe or luxurious. In other words, I have expensive tastes.

I made a Pinterest board for some looks that I think represent these words. You can view (and follow  me!) here.

The New Year

P1030785For me the New Year doesn’t really start until today which is my birthday. I find the holidays to be way to crazy to start thinking about the new year, and goals, and expectations, so I save January leading up to this day to really reflect on the past year and decide what my goals, ambitions, and hopes are for the new year. Last year I did a 31 before 30 list, which I thought I’d revisit today and see what kind of progress I made. Truthfully, my goal was really to get pregnant and have a healthy baby, but I didn’t write that one down. I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment, especially since when I made the list I was on the heels of a miscarriage.

So let’s revisit the list and I’ll tell you how it all went. Things in bold are ones that I either completed or came close to.

1) Sew a quilt for our bed: I started on this and was going at a good clip, but had to set it aside and haven’t gotten back to it yet.

2) Make the Beekeeper’s Quilt: I thought this would be a good knitting project for our cross country trip, until I realized I’d also need to haul along a bag of polyfil so shelved this

3) Knit Abotanicity: I realized this sweater just isn’t me so I scrapped it as well

4) Complete 365 Project: This is about halfway done. I took pictures pretty much everyday, but I need to finish sorting through them. You can see my progress here.

5) Get film developed: I have a box of undeveloped film. I sent all the medium format to Old School Photo Lab, but had a horrible customer service experience with them, so I’m looking for someplace else to develop the 35mm I have left.

6) Continue to knit through stash: Achieved! Most of the things I made this year came right out of my stash, which is thankfully waaaay smaller now.

7) Start rock climbing: This went out the window when I got pregnant, but I hope to start later this year.

8) Outstanding PRT: Another victim of pregnancy

9) Get down to 27″ waist: Ha! More like up to a 42″ waist

10) Write more: I was much more diligent about blogging and writing in my journal. It’s been a good exercise that I plan on continuing.

11) Read the Border Trilogy: Completed! I’ll tell you what I thought about it soon.

12) Sew a well fitting dress: alas, a pregnancy victim. Hopefully this year

13) Finish EXW: For those of you not in the know this was my Expeditionary Warfare Specialist qualification for the Navy, and I completed it back in June. It was a TON of work, and now I’m working towards a new pin.

14) Take the Bear outside: Both DB and I have worked hard to get the Bear running around in the fresh air.

15) Paint Porcelain: I wanted to spruce up some cups and bowls, but never quite got to it.

16) Roast Coffee: We’ve been wanting to try roasting at home, but after lots of consideration, it may be more trouble than it’s worth.

17) Record music with DB: Not yet, but we have made strides in getting our home studio set up and we just bought a new guitar.

18) Learn intarsia: I’m working on an intarsia project right now, and it’s a way easier technique than I previously thought.

19) Learn Japanese short rows: Haven’t gotten to this yet, but the intarsia project calls for short rows so I’ll try them when I get to that part.

20) Learn to make macarons: Nope, not yet.

21) Make map quilt: I have this kit from Haptic Labs, but I haven’t started yet.

22) Visit a National Park: We visited 6! You can read about the here, here, here, here, and here.

23) Buy more American made clothes: I didn’t buy a ton of clothes this year, but I did buy American made, and discovered lots of new to me brands like Pickwick and Weller who make, hands down, my new favorite tees.

24) Develop a better workout routine: I did really well with this until we moved and then my workouts became more sporadic. I’m back on the horse now though.

25) Start an indoor herb garden: We started an outdoor one instead.

26) Build something: While I meant this to be more like something out of wood and screws and nails, we put together enough IKEA furniture that I think I can cross this one off.

27) Become a more diverse canner: I definitely did a better job at stocking our larder this year and trying new things. I talk about it here.

28) Make paste from scratch: I made gnocchi. We recently discovered that our Kitchenaid is not in the mood to support attachments like our pasta roller, otherwise we’d be make noodles for days.

29) Embroider more: Total fail. I didn’t embroider a single thing last year.

30) Make more home products: I made hand soap, laundry detergent, lip scrub, and DB just made some wood butter. 

So overall, not bad. However, I’ve got my hands way too full to think about doing it again this year. At times I felt a little overwhelmed by the list, or that it was keeping me from doing other things. When taking on a project like this, you really can’t expect to finish everything, life always gets in the way. For my 31st year, I’m keeping things simple. I’ll be happy to spend time in my kitchen and get my kids to eat their vegetables.

 

Wardrobe Architect: Week 1

Sunday best circa 1987

Sunday best circa 1987

I’ve heard a lot of chatter in the new year about wanting to simplify, to pare down consumerism, be mindful, make fewer more meaningful purchases. I totally support these sentiments, but it seemed like there was a lot of musing and not much of a plan, so when I saw the Coletterie was launching the Wardrobe Architect project, I really liked the approach of reflecting on our wardrobes and figuring out how to make them function best for our lives. As someone who has spent the last 3 years in various states of pregnancy and post partum, I’ve become really disconnected from my clothes. Most days I’m running around the house in leggings, a hoodie, and wool socks. It’s all about function as I work to get back in shape, but as I get there I’m using this as a tool to help me figure out and redefine my personal style in a way that works best for my new body and life as both a mother and a sailor.

Week one entailed a worksheet. Below are the questions and my answers.

History: How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?

I think the first wave of grunge in the early 90s was the first time I really started to embrace style and cultivating a style that was all my own. I had a lot of plaid flannel, plaid baby doll dresses, and getting a pair of Dr Martens for my 13th birthday was a big deal. I still have big love for plaid  and combat boots.

Philosophy: How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?

I like to keep things simple, and go for quality over quantity.

 Culture: How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?

When I look at the women in my family, I see a group of ladies who take pride in their appearance and are always put together. From my grandmother getting her hair done every Wednesday (at 92, she still does this) to my mother who always takes the time to put together an outfit, I learned that it’s good to take a little extra time to invest in yourself.

How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other communities you’re involved in?

In high school I became involved in the hardcore/punk scene. This translated into a lot of rolled up jeans, band t-shirts, hoodies, and Saucony sneakers. While I don’t necessarily dress this way anymore, the yearly advent of hoodie season (aka fall) always holds a special place in my heart.

Now that I’m in the military, I find myself influenced by the utilitarian nature of our uniforms, and more and more I find myself gravitating towards wearing a sort of uniform outside of work. It helps keep one aspect of a busy and unpredictable life under control.

Activity: How do your day to day activities influence your choices?

With a newborn and a 2 year old I dress for function more than anything. Most days I can be found in leggings, wool socks, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt or wool sweater. These clothes allow me to move freely, run after the kids, and exercise during the spare moments when they are sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Location: Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?

We move every few years, in addition to being sent to different parts of the country for training throughout the year. As a result, I need to maintain a wardrobe that can easily translate to a number of different climates while also not allowing my wardrobe to become too large and cumbersome to pack up. I’ve always liked layering so there’s a lot of basics. I use these as building blocks to showcase my accessories which are smaller and easier to transport.

Body: In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?

Overall, I’m happy with the shape of my body. Since I just had a baby, I’m working hard to get myself back in shape, so right now most of my wardrobe is sitting neglected in my closet. I can’t say I’m particularly comfortable in much of anything right now. My body seems like a foreign landscape and I am working on getting it back to place where I can feel comfortable and dress for myself again (as opposed to dressing almost solely to work with my kids).

I’m a little behind, so I’ll be posting Week 2 in the next couple of days.

Hope you stay warm and have a great weekend.

xo, S.

Favorites

P1030737

First off, thanks for all the great support on my last post. I know a lot of folks who don’t normally read this blog stopped by, and myself and my family are so touched by your love, prayers, and encouraging words. It still doesn’t seem real, but we are coping and will continue to honor my aunt with our happy memories. This has been a tough week on top of a rough holiday season. There has been great sorrow, but also great joy, and I feel truly lucky to have such great family and friends to be here with me through the despair and to celebrate the happiness. I encourage everyone to take some time this weekend to hug and thank all those who support you in life. Now onto some lighter fare.

I really enjoyed Max’s take on mindfulness. I try to apply these principles when shopping for our home as well as myself.

This outfit is the luxe version of my everyday uniform.

We made this salad as a dinner side this week and it was awesome.

In love with these tee pee pillows from Purl. Definitely on my list of things to make.

I also really enjoyed this tutorial for geometric pillows. I’m thinking of making these to change up our couch pillows.

A great New York Times article on the textile industry in the US.

On Saying Goodbye

P1030770This was not the post I thought I’d be writing today. It’s actually probably the last thing I expected to be writing, but I also feel compelled to do it. I started working on this scarf about a week ago. I’ve been working on it with every spare minute I’ve had, including lots of times while balancing the Cub on my chest in order to free up my hands and knock off a couple rows. I went to bed last night thinking I would finish it off today, tuck the ends in and give it a light steam blocking so I could get it in the mail tomorrow or Saturday. It was a scarf for my aunt, who right before Christmas, received a diagnosis of lung cancer and the outlook was less than stellar. She started her first round of chemo about a week ago and I immediately raided my stash so I could make her something to keep her warm during the treatment and time in the hospital afterward. I had an uncle who passed away of the same disease several years ago and I always remember he said the chemo was very cold and he often wore scarves that I made for him to keep warm. I wanted to do the same. I wanted it to be like I was giving her a hug from far away.

family

So I was feeling pretty good when I went to bed knowing that hug would be on its way very soon. Instead, no sooner had I drifted off that I woke up to DB leaning over me and handing me the phone, “It’s your Dad,” he told me. My aunt passed away last night, suddenly, unexpectedly, so much so that in many ways it just doesn’t seem real. Didn’t I just talk to her? Didn’t she just “like” pictures of the boys on Faccebook? She couldn’t be gone already. It’s too soon. We didn’t get a chance to see her. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. As a family, I think we’re all in shock. As I tried to find sleep last night I just kept kicking myself for all the phone calls I never made and the visits I never took or wasn’t able to take. I felt so angry, and I still do, and I wanted someone to blame so I started blaming myself.

DSC_0090

But the more I thought about it, the more I started to think about all the time we did have together. My aunt had no children so she spoiled me and my brother, and has been spoiling the Bear in the same fashion. Going to her house was always a treat. She always had a pool to swim in and a ice cream in the freezer. She was always encouraging and supportive of any and everything that I did. She was a social butterfly who loved singing, dancing and entertaining. She loved to go shopping. She loved clothes and wore miniskirts even though she was in her 60s. She made the best stuffed peppers. She drove everyone crazy. When I try to think of a way to sum up her life, what I keep coming back to is that she liked to have fun. She was fun to be around. She enjoyed life, and as a result she will be loved, remembered, and missed by so many. I miss her. I can hardly believe she’s gone.

And now I’ve got this huge unfinished scarf that feels as big as the hole in my heart and I’m not sure what to do with it. I wonder if finishing it will help me say goodbye. But I think for now I need to take a step back, remember our happy times and hug my little ones a little closer today.

Friday Favorites

IMG_5012I’m actually surprised that I even know what day of the week it is! We’ve definitely been on a baby stay cation for the last week and a half and the days are all blending together even though our sleep schedules have gotten less crazy and we’re not quite so bleary eyed. Our house, on the other hand, is still is disarray, but it’s organized chaos. I keep reminding myself that it will get cleaned up and put away and organized, and that it will never be perfect and that that’s ok.

Since I finally have the opportunity to get my body back after a year of pregnancy, I’m really looking forward to rediscovering what my personal style is. I think this project will be a huge help in allowing me to pare down what I have a build a wardrobe that really reflects myself and my life.

I know I’ll be in need of a new spring jacked so even though I’m not sure that I’ll have time for this sew-a-long, I’m certainly going to try!

Brooklyn Tweed has released their Winter patterns and I’m definitely in love with this cardigan. I also love the stitch details of this sweater as well as the slouchiness.

I would like to read some of these books, and then wait until the movie is available on Netflix.

Once I get back to making my own almond milk, this will definitely be my breakfast du jour.

Elbow Patches! Totally need these for some of my knits.

Have a great weekend.

xo, S.