Friday Favorites

Cruising along the Potomac. #vscocam
Another whirlwind couple of weeks has just FLOWN by. We’re taking a break starting this month, regrouping as a family, taking a little road trip, and generally just doing our best to go outside and enjoy the weather before the oppressive humidity and crazy bugs start showing up. Oh spring, you are such a brief but lovely window. Hope you’re warming up and getting some much needed air wherever this weekend finds you.

This article is exactly why I’m not concerned about how long it will take to lose weight, but instead focused on adopting and keeping healthy habits for me and my family.

Rashida Jones has natural beauty down pat.

I want to visit Victoria Smith’s San Francisco.

Also, Paris!

Made a version of this pizza a couple days ago…perfection!

How utterly gorgeous are these embroidered portraits?

I haven’t had much opportunity to knit recently, but obviously I should. This is your brain on knitting.

Tintypes on found cans. So beautiful.

Mint and red is always a favorite.

Have a great weekend!

xo, S.

 

 

Wardrobe Architect: Week 9

This week the gals are all talking about creating capsule collection. For me, this translates to the foundation pieces that create the building blocks for the rest of my wardrobe. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know at this point that I love my basics. I like to keep my wardrobe concise and augment it with colorful accessories like scarves, jewelry, bags and shoes. When I worked in retail I was surrounded by clothes and I bought them all the time. I always had too much, and I always was wearing the same 3 skirts, 1 pair of jeans, and layered v-neck t shirts every day. Now that I’ve moved away from that life, and grown up a bit, I really see the value in investing in high quality, reliable basics. When it comes to things like jeans and t-shirts I strive to buy American made because you can really find great quality made by folks who are paid fairly and care about what they do. It’s easy to run to your big box retailer and buy 10 shirts for $5 a pop, but we all know they don’t last and if it only cost you $5, think about what it cost the person who made it…yikes. Ok, stepping down from the podium.

I really enjoyed this week’s exercise because it gave me some pause to think about what I want to buy and how I truly want my wardrobe and myself to look. My body is still going through a major transition, so I’m not likely to invest in too many pieces for at least another 5-6 months, but for now I think it’s important to dress the body I have, and still look and feel good about myself, even while going through this phase.

Truth be told, I hate summer (though, I’d like a break form the frigid cold!). We live in a terribly humid place and summer signals the return of flies in the house, ants in the kitchen, black widow spiders in the back yard, and that really special feeling of walking out of your house and getting smacked in the face with a really dirty sauna. Ugh. And since I’m a gal who likes to layer and is not a huge fan of shorts, this can be a challenging time for me. So, I kept things really easy. 3 silhouettes. Cropped leggings with loose and layered tanks, Slim fitting cropped jeans with a tomboy style plaid shirt and Vans, and a full skirt with a crisp white t-shirt and strappy sandals.

Summer

 

I also kept the color palette in with my favorite heather grey, black, and crisp white combo with red accents. I do so love red, but I can always trade it out for something else bold. I’d bring in color more with cotton scarves and a bold handbag.

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I mentioned a few weeks ago not being a fan of super loose or boxy clothes, but in this case I like things that will show my shape without feeling clingy. I also, tried to think about things I already have and like wearing for summer, like my lighter weight Vans, cropped leggings, and ribbed tanks. I’ll also be cycling through my old jeans as I fit into each smaller size. So now that just leaves me to buy some looser tanks (I really love this one), a short sleeve shirt, and a full denim skirt which I’m hoping to either find a nice vintage one or find some time to make one myself.

Spring

 

So there you have it, a nice little collection to build off of as the weather (hopefully) turns away from the polar vortex and (unfortunately) into the sweat vortex.

Walking Around: Satellite Beach, FL

Since my aunt departed so abruptly from our lives, mourning her has been a process that occurs in bits and pieces. Like early in the morning when the Cub is doing something quiet and I take a picture and then she’s not around to “like” it on Facebook. Tiny things, small moments, that I wish I could still share with her. When I was 12 she moved to Florida, a dream she had talked about as long as I could remember, finally realized. She lived in Satellite Beach on the space coast. A sleepy town that housed snow birds during the winter, but was also full of vibrant locals and lots of karaoke. Maybe not the most exciting place for me to visit, especially as I moved into my 20s, but still interesting and beautiful in its way. I always loved to take walks along the beach early in the mornings, or during the evenings, watching rockets take off from the Kennedy Space Center, and sitting by myself at dusk and watching the waves roll in and out. I was hoping I’d get to take one more stroll on the beach when I went down to say goodbye for the last time, but the weather was not cooperative. Instead, I managed to take in a few miles of the main road during sunset.

 
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Wardrobe Architect: Week 8

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Week 8 of Wardrobe Architect focuses on hair and makeup. Just like with my wardrobe, I like things to be streamlined and simple. Since I stay at home and have two babies, I know I could totally let my beauty routine fall to the wayside and no one would think less of me. However, I find that taking a little time to make myself feel good allows me to take better care of all the wild bears in this house.

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When I was back in Philly a couple weeks ago, I stopped by to see my hairdresser and get a bit of a trim. Basically, it was just getting the dead ends off and reestablishing some bangs (which are already growing out and being sideswept). Before I walked in there I was teetering between getting a big chop or just a little trim, and about a month later I’m still thinking  about it. Hair is a tough one for me. For work it helps to have it long so I can easily pull it back in a bun. With two tiny one and little time to shower or style, longer hair makes sense. See also, grabby hands. I like having short hair, but you can’t get away with leaving it messy. On the other hand, since there isn’t as much of it, it really doesn’t take too long to style. And then again, it’s a pain to deal with at the gym, always flopping around and what not. So for now, it’ll stay long and simple. I think what I don’t like is that it’s at an in-between length right now. Kind of just past my shoulder when it should either be up around my chin or or a few inches past my shoulders. Another issue: I’ve been going grey since I was 14, so the texture of my hair is changing. It’s still soft and fine, there’s still a lot of it, but it behaves differently so I’m still trying to figure it all out. Still, in spite of all this consternation I do like my hair. In fact, I love the color, I’m just still trying to find which style suits it and me best. Most days I just wash, fix my bangs, and go, but if I have more time I do have a routine. I recently got a fancy Drybar blowdryer and it came with the brush so I use those in with Bumble and Bumble’s Blow Dry and maybe a bit of volumizing mousse. Then I’ll run the curling or flat iron through the ends depending on what I’m going for (usually big), and a quick spray with Bumble and Bumble’s Dryspun Finish. Pretty simple. I would like to use more natural products and a find a good shampoo. My hair…a work in progress. (Side note: I love love love my Mason Pearson hairbrush. Expensive, but 100% worth the investment. I’ve had mine for years!)

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For makeup I like to keep things really simple and natural, and as you can see, I love everything by Tarte. Since I’m in a big wear glasses everyday phase it’s important to me to have a bit of under eye concealer and mascara on my upper lashes. I also like a bold lip, which is a new thing that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by. I hate having a lot of bathroom clutter so keeping my makeup simple is key. I always make sure to stay on top of expiration periods, and replace everything once or twice a year to avoid bacteria. While I don’t wear a lot of perfume right now, my favorite scents are Stella McCartney and Diptyque L’ombre Dans Leau.

I’ve updated my Pinterest board with some natural makeup looks, as well as tips for wearing makeup with glasses that I’ve found helpful along the way.

Wardrobe Architect: Week 7

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Week 7 of Wardrobe Architect focuses on prints. You can probably guess that of all prints, plaid is my favorite. Most of the shirts and a couple of skirts and dresses in my closet are plaid. In the past I’ve even had plaid shoes. Why such a love affair? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my mid-nineties grunge days, or summers of Girl Scout camp. I like plaids because they tend to combine the colors that comprise the foundation of my wardrobe (like greys and navies), with colors that I like to wear but not go overboard on (like mint and red). The neutrals tempers the bolder colors and provide a lot of visual interest with the pattern.  I also like how versatile plaids can be, rich, cozy, and wooly for winter, as well as light and breezy for spring and summer. I just can’t get enough plaid, period.

When it comes to prints that I wear, I go for the geometric and stay away from abstracts, florals, and whimsy. Interspersed with the plaid shirts you’ll find some polka dots, pinstripes, and a some herringbone tweed. If you open my t-shirt drawer it’s stripes on stripes. But then you go check out my craft closet and realize that what I’m wearing, isn’t necessarily what I’m buying. I have quite a few prints lingering in there that I bought with the intention of making shirts or skirts out of, only to get them home and realize they’re mostly a little too whimsical for me. I’m definitely going to be more mindful with my fabric purchases this year, just like I have become with my yarn stash. For a while I kept buying pink yarn, even though I hardly ever wear pink (it’s not really my color).

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I’ve updated my Wardrobe Architect board over on Pinterest with some of my favorite prints. In the process I fell down the rabbit hole over on Spoonflower. So many great stripes! I’m really inspired to start making my wardrobe as I get my body back into shape. How do you feel about prints? Are you plaid and stripe crazy like me, or maybe a little more floral and fanciful?

Hope you had a great weekend.

xo, S.

Friday Favorites

Music time

This has been the most frustrating week of my year so far. It seems like almost nothing has gone smoothly or come easily. In fact, I nearly lost this post as soon as I finished writing it. So much stress, for so little result. I’m hoping I can just shake it all off over the weekend, or maybe I should beware the ides of March? Either way, I’m so grateful that I have these awesome little dudes to brighten up my day. Also an awesome husband and my mom here helping me get through this time of transition. I know I’m in for many more hiccups, but I have a great family and just thinking about them like this makes me feel a little lighter.

James Franco is just too silly sometimes.

How gorgeous are these floral prints by Ashley Bailey?

While I don’t miss smoking, I do miss smoke break sometimes. (Now, I call them get up and walk purposefully but aimlessly around the building)

This meme sums up yesterday perfectly.

Who doesn’t love an Alton Brown food hack?

I finally picked up this cookbook. I don’t know why I slept on it so long. I love breakfast and it is A-MAZ-ING.

Have a wonderful and stress free weekend.

xo, s.

The Shape of Things

This is my before picture. Once a week I will post a progress picture until I get to an after picture.
Since I’ve been at it for a few weeks now, I thought I’d share my progress on getting back in shape. Getting back in shape after having two babies over the course of 3 years is hard work. In fact, I was only really starting to get back in shape from the Bear when I found out I was pregnant with the Cub. So while I was taking a few steps forward, I took one giant one back. Isn’t that always the way of things? BTW, the photos in this post were taken at the beginning (top), three weeks in (middle), and then another 2-3 weeks (bottom)
Weekly #gymselfie fitting comfortably in smaller size jeans, posture is better, butt is sitting higher
Anyway, getting back into shape can mean very different things to different people. For me, it means I want to build muscle, lose fat, get rid of the deflated balloon that has taken over my midsection, and fit into my old clothes (and finally buy some new ones). Getting back into shape is not me having a fight with the scale or starving myself or trying crazy diets. When I’m hungry, I eat, even if it’s at 9 PM. If I’m thirsty, I drink water. I don’t skip meals or food groups, but over the course of the last few years I have definitely changed my eating habits by eating less packaged and processed food by making most things at home and eating more vegetables. Still, I love butter and sugar, and turning them into cakes and cookies, just not all the time. I’m not trying to get a thigh gap. Frankly, I think I would feel really weird if my thighs didn’t touch, my body wasn’t built that way and I’m glad. Getting back into shape means that I go to the gym most days, and when I can’t go I work out at home and do my best to spend a good portion of the day on my feet and moving around.
For me, this is about being healthy. It’s not about hating my body and beating it into submission, which I think is how a lot of women feel when they think about weight loss. Oh but wait, I haven’t said anything about weight loss, I’ve said I want to build muscle and lose fat, and that I think is key. I am not concerned with the number on the scale as much as I am with the number on the tape measure when I put it around my waist every couple weeks. In this game of numbers, the scale is usually your worst enemy. In fact, in the 5 or 6 weeks that I’ve been exercising regularly, I’ve only lost a few pounds, but I’ve taken two inches off my waist, which is significant and far more motivating than saying I lost ten pounds, but still being super jiggly. If you look at the photos you can see that my midsection has come in and will continue to come in not because I’m running a marathon every day, but because I am approaching the deflated balloon with a two pronged attack: 1) carving out the muscles underneath while 2) whittling off the layers of fat on top.
In case you thought I'd quit. #motivationalgymselfie

What’s working:

Kettlebells! I love working with kettle bells because they challenge my whole body, improve my posture, and make me feel stronger each time I pick them up. I’ve been trying out this sequence for my upper body and am noticing improvement in just a few sessions. (Seriously, though, Nicole’s whole blog is awesome)

Pilates. Again, I like pilates because I can do them at home and they help me pull in my middle and stand up a little taller.

Cutting back on sugar. Between the end of my pregnancy and the holidays I acquired a big sugar addiction. This isn’t to say I was sitting around eating 5 or 6 cookies a day, but I definitely was helping myself to a little something sweet after lunch AND dinner. I decided for Lent I would give up dessert, and the first few days have been tough. I definitely feel that I need something sweet after meals, even though I totally don’t.

Paying attention to inches and not pounds or even calories. Like I said above, getting into shape is a total numbers game, so it’s important to focus on the right ones. I do weigh myself regularly, but it’s only part of the equation. Since muscle is more dense than fat, as I have built back muscle while losing fat the scale numbers haven’t budged much but the tape measure has. Also, as long as I’m making sure to eat well, I’m not sitting around calculating my day around every last calorie. This blog post does a great job of explaining how women have become calorie obsessed and why we really shouldn’t be.

What I want to start incorporating:

Running: I enjoy running, but I need to get a bit smaller before I can start back at it so as not to add undue stress to my knees.

The rowing machine: These are great for working the whole body, I just need to start making time for it when I go to the gym.

More strength training: Now that I feel myself getting stronger, the weight section of the gym is a lot less intimidating.

I know that this is a process, and it will take time. I know that there will be plateaus, and frustration, and times when I just can’t put in as much effort as I want to. But sharing my story here has been a big help. I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you. I’d also love to hear about your own fitness stories and what’s been working for you.

xo, S.