So I haven’t posted something since May, and prior to that my posts were pretty sporadic and now with all the changes in social media and as my life has changed I feel it is time to say goodbye to the blog. Perhaps I will post sporadically but as of today I’m officially letting this blog sit. There’s a great record of things I’ve been into during the past 4 years. From weekly updates of LJ’s life in 2011, to scrapbooking and project life in 2013 to the capsule wardrobe experiment in 2014/2015. It’s been a fun ride. I love writing and having a place to share.
I originally began this blog as a place to share and document my growing girl with my far flung family. Now I do most of that sharing via facebook or my new favorite Instagram (I’m @lifeonlakeland) and if you still want to see what I’m reading or what my girls are doing I encourage you to follow me on Instagram. I’m posting there weekly. I love it. I love I can post on the go and from my phone.
So thank you to those of you who have read my blog through the years (waving to you Coowee & Aunt Traci) and to the new friends I’ve met through the blog (waving to you Anandi and Megan).
Onward & Upward!
My Spring Wardrobe season started in March and was intended to last until May; however since I’m beginning a new job in May I’ve begun switching out my clothes as in my new position I need less of a business casual look and a more professional one.
I based most of the clothes in this capsule off of what was in my Fall Capsule. However, I failed to take into account that the warmer season would be longer than the cold and reverse the mix of long sleeve vs. short sleeve tops. But then just as I was lamenting not having enough short sleeve/warm weather outfits the temp dropped and I was back to being cozy in my long sleeves.
The majority of the spring capsule was made up of what I already had in my closet. I was inspired by Anne to purchase a denim jacket and I really wanted a pair of green chinos (also inspired by Anne) but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so I haven’t purchased them yet and will probably wait until the fall clothing switch up to make that purchase.
The other new thing I purchased was a great dress for my job interview. And new shoes to match the dress.
My blue pixie pants got the most use this time around. I couldn’t figure out how to wear my polka dot skirt and it got loose after my whole30. But I love that it has pockets!
With my new position I’m really looking at creating a weekend capsule (that would be smaller 6-8 pieces) and then a professional work wardrobe. So this will be quite a switch for me. However, I’m glad I’ve been using the capsule wardrobe concept for the past 9 months because it means I can be more intentional as build a new professional work wardrobe.
What have you been wearing lately?
One of my favorite podcasts is “The Read Aloud Revival” who has a mission of creating a family culture around books. I’m already motivated to read to the girls, and this podcast gives me ideas for books to read and new ideas to try.
When there was an episode on audiobooks I realized it might solve a problem we’ve been having in the morning. I’ve been thinking more about screen time and trying to be more intentional with it and one bad habit we had was turning the TV on with breakfast and then it doesn’t go off for awhile and the girls are so in to the show they don’t eat or get dressed in a timely manner.
I knew taking away morning TV time would be a struggle and one day while listening to the podcast I realized I could replace our morning TV time with audiobooks. So I checked out several of the cds that come with actual books and one morning introduced this idea. I purposefully picked a few stories the girls were familiar with (such as Llama Llama and Clifford) to increase the engagement.
We’ve been doing this successfully now for a few months and I love that it builds their listening skills, and helps with preliteracy. Some of the CDs have the chime for when to turn the pages and the girls have figured out how to follow along with the books. I tried to do some older chapter books, but this didn’t work because they really like having the real book to match the story. At first, there were mornings they complained they didn’t want to listen because as Luci would say, “It’s boring” but now we’ve gotten to the point where they enjoy it. And if they don’t want to listen the don’t and we just talk.
I’ve bought a few of our favorites in the packs that come from our Scholastic Book order and I will check some out from the library as well. Our favorites are the Pete the Cat books and the Llama Llama books.
Audiobooks are a great way for parents who don’t enjoy reading aloud or struggle to have time to fit it in to their busy schedule to still “read aloud” to their children. I also can’t wait to use audiobooks when we go on road trips.
Do you listen to audiobooks with your children?
After much deliberating I decided I want to keep these capsules to four a year and 12 weeks each, thus instead of wearing this stuff through March I am going to create a spring capsule for March, April & May. One thing that tipped my decision was getting the average weather temps for each month. The Spring temps are similar to fall in that it is the most variable – going from an average of 50 to 70. The same thing happened in the fall (except in reverse) so I was able to use both my fall wardrobe for inspiration plus what I’ve been wearing lately when the temps have creeped up.
So here’s one last look at a few outfits I’ve worn and then how the winter capsule wrapped up.
There’s those red pants with black and white stripes, and the day I dressed my little daughter has a mini me in red pants and polka dot sweatshirt and finally a full shot with my heart sweater that I loved but had a hard time matching with things.
I’m only buying a few things to complete the spring capsule – a pair of green chinos (totally inspired by Anne) and two new pairs of flats. Mostly I’ll reuse everything in my closet. I might get a denim jean jacket if I can find a shade I like.
Here’s the stats for how the winter capsule fared:
Most worn items: jeans (which actually surprised me), red pants, and mustard sweater, white dress shirt (which layered under everything), and blue flannel shirt
Least worn items: shine shirt and black lined dress pants
Favorite outfit: My gray sweater, blue flannel shirt and blue pixie pants. It feels cozy and warm and is comfortable. I wore it six times this capsule.
Least favorite outfit: I don’t really have one. I made a lot of outfits – some I only wore once (and maybe where the same top with a different pair of pants or different shirt underneath). My stylebook shows 49 outfits in this capsule.
Tweaks: My white dress shirt actually got stained the second time I wore it and the next time I was at Kohl’s I found an identical one on clearance (total fluke) so I actually have two, one I wear with tucked in and one I wear hanging out as a layering piece.
Closet rescues: my red sweater and red long sleeve tshirt have been around for awhile but got new life in this capsule.
Biggest surprise: the blue flannel shirt. I was unsure about it at first, but I wore it a ton.
Biggest mistake: I thought I needed a graphic t-shirt as a layering piece as I was surprised how much I wore one and made it work in the fall capsule. However, it was just too cold to want to layer with a t-shirt. Next year I might get a long sleeve shirt instead of short sleeve.
- A true mix and max wardrobe gives you lots of options. I can make almost 50 outfits with what’s in my closet – that’s amazing to me – especially since I used to feel like I’m wearing the same six outfits over and over. I feel like this was my best capsule in terms of options and I’m hitting my groove with my style and what pieces are classic.
- A pop of color goes a long way I used red as an accent color and it really brightened up this wardrobe. Next winter I might add one more color pop as all the gray and white was a little dreary at times.
- I don’t need a lot of shoes in the winter – I had more shoes than I normally wear in my fall capsule, but for winter I pared back to just four pairs – two boots, one pair of booties and one pair of black dress shoes. With snow and icky weather I didn’t need that many. I’m looking forward to spring when I can jazz up outfits with my cute flats again.
I currently have created 37 outfits with my winter capsule. I still haven’t worn my dress. The month I added a few more outfits to the mix, including one that I felt was more springy, and it was a good reminder at how well some of these pieces will transition to the spring capsule.
Now that I’ve been using the Stylebook App regularly to track what I’m wearing I have a real sense of the data and what I gravitate towards. Also, I really try to mix it up and seeing what I’ve worn helps push me to wear something different (like every Sunday at church instead of the same 3 things!). After 10 weeks of data, I’m amazed that my most worn item each month tends to be my jeans. I also have data from the 2 months of my fall capsule, which means I’m now really seeing what pieces get worn a lot (and that might need an upgrade). My red pants continue to have been a good investment with 17 days of wear. The most I’ve repeated an outfit is five times.
So here’s what I’ve been wearing lately:
LEFT: I had this grey shirt in my capsule that I hadn’t worn so I challenged myself in January to figure out a way to make it work. I came up with this fun outfit, which is great since the temps have been in the 40s so I don’t need all the layers of December!
MIDDLE: Here is the spring-y outfit I alluded to in my introduction. I love the blue and yellow together and the brown boots color shows up as more red in this photo but they are brown.
RIGHT: This is one of my most worn outfits. I’ve worn it 5 days and it makes me feel cozy.
In November I was feeling some December Daily (a documenting project started by the ever talented Ali Edwards) envy and casting about for a holiday project. I didn’t want the commitment of a daily project, although I pondered doing it anyway. The only time I’ve done December Daily was in 2012 when I incorporated it into my Project Life album. But it just didn’t feel right and I was probably lusting over the kit more than the idea of actually doing the project. However, I got an email from Nettio Designs about a project she had done and was turning into a class. Well I’m a class junkie and the more I looked at images of her past projects the more excited I was. So I jumped on the Holiday Faves band wagon and committed to only using my existing stash of Christmas supplies (spoiler: I have a TON). I’m so happy with the resulting album that documents our holiday season.
This is the title page using free word art from the aforementioned Ali Edwards, a free printable from Cathy Zielske and an image from the Holiday Faves kit. My album used an existing SNAP album I had on hand (conveniently in green) and is a hybrid album with a few light embellishments mixed with digital pages. I honestly thought I’d do more physical embellishing but I’m a simple girl at heart and after Christmas I just wanted this to be done.
Here’s the first spread – Holiday Fave #1: Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army
Here’s the Second Spread: Holiday Fave #2: Seeing Santa. Another page from the templates and then I slipped in the photos of the girls into a divided page protector – easy peasy lemon squeezy!
For the third spread I wanted to focus on the movies we watch during the holiday season. Lynette offers great ideas for what to include your album – I originally intended to include more things, but I wanted to finish by Dec. 31 (which I did!) so I kept it simple.
The fourth spread is Holiday Fave #3: our bookish Advent tradition. I used a few photos taken on various nights and told the story of this tradition. Basically, I wrap up 24 books and we open one each night at bedtime. The girls are starting to get into it and I alternated who opened and thus the type of books (touchy feel for A, and more picture books for L).
The next spread was another Holiday Fave! And was about Christmas cards. I love receiving cards and I have started hanging them on our hall closet door so we can see them during the season. I also trimmed and inserted our own holiday card. The four pockets behind the card I filled with images and words cut from holiday cards we received.
The next spread focused on Holiday Fave #5: Packages. Since we live far away from my family sending and having packages delivered is a normal part of our holiday and one I’ve grown to enjoy.
Holiday Fave #6 occupies the next spread and is about the preschool program. A new fave of mine is seeing all the children perform!
Holiday Fave #7 is next and this was L’s first year participating in our church program. So I had to include that!
Holiday Fave #8 is all about the lights. I love to drive around and look at houses with lights (although they seem to be dwindling) and we also attended the local festival of lights, which is a really cool drive through display. Since I wasn’t sure if we’d attend the Festival, I had taken photos of our light drives, and since I was running out of faves (10 is what is recommended) I combined the two.
The nice thing about this album is I could’ve stopped at Holiday Fave #8 and then just included some pages of our celebrations and called it done – because it’s just called “Holiday Faves” not “Holiday Top 10” and Lynnette stressed that we didn’t have to use all 10 and we could include a mix of faves – including favorite recipes, music and movies. However I had a few things I wanted to include, but more than two. And that’s when I came up with Faves 9 & 10 – Old Traditions and New Traditions. It worked out well since I didn’t have a lot of pictures for one thing on its own but combined they turned into full spreads. So Holiday Fave #9 is Old Traditions and talks about new pjs on Christmas Eve, attending church and watching the Polar Express.
Holiday Fave #10 is new traditions and talks about some new things I’m hoping become a regular part of our holiday season including having the girls go to the dollar store to pick out gifts for each other and baking a birthday cake for Jesus.
After the faves I have a spread for Christmas Eve activities, and a spread for Christmas Day photos.
I did some light embellishing using some cute stuff from Freckled Fawn and cards from the Merry & Bright Project Life Mini Kit.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to do for the last page, but I had taken this photo of Luci asleep on Christmas Day so I decided to add some text to it and use it for the last page, along with some more simply embellished cards.
So that’s my complete album! I want to go back and do one for 2013 now and I plan to do it again in December.
How do you document your holidays?
At the end of last year I read advanced copies of several books that were releasing in January. Here are five I’m most excited about:
1. The Magician’s Life by Greer McCallister – This was an engaging historical thriller. Known as “The Amazing Arden” she is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. But one night in Iowa she uses a fire ax instead of saw, and later her husband is discovered dead underneath the stage. I loved Arden’s character and the juxtaposition of the present day (1905) in the police station and the flashbacks to hear her story. The thriller part was exciting until the end and I liked the redemptive ending.This was also a Library Reads pick.
2. A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison
This is a literary thriller. When a photograph arrives in Annie Black’s mailbox it recalls a time in her 20s when she lived in London and flaunted the rules. In this engaging literary thriller, the narrator alternates between her past when she was living in London and her present. She addresses her story to her son, and this keeps the tension high as we know something has happened to him but it is all revealed slowly like the layers of an onion. An interesting look at marriage, relationships and the impact of our past on our present.
3. Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos
From the publisher’s description: “Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter.” However, as we discover in the opening pages, the daughter wasn’t actually murdered. Now 18, Melanie Denison comes out of hiding to return to Silver Bay and she if she can discover the truth. I loved this thriller – which shocked me with an ending I didn’t see coming. Apparently the theme of January is flashbacks, as this is another novel told both in present day and flashbacks leading up to the crime.
4. The Same Sky by Amanda Ward Eyre – This book alternates between 40 year old Alice and 13 year old Carla’s stories, and discovering how they will intersect keeps the reader reading. This was a though provoking novel about immigration, motherhood, and family. I loved the ending.
5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Throw together a missing person, an unreliable narrator in Rachel, who rides the train past the missing person’s house and you’ve got a twisty-turny thriller and a great debut. The ending is intense and excellent. This was also a Library Reads pick.
So here we are 13 days into the new year – with lots of posts on how to set goals and get started. But while a lot of those posts encourage you to set goals – what do you do after you set them? How do you help yourself be successful?
Here are my three tips for reaching your goals:
1. Put them where you see them. I used to write out my monthly goals at the beginning of my daily planner but unless I flipped to that page every day I didn’t see them except when I was doing my weekly review. So now I incorporate the action steps for my monthly goals write into my daily plan. One of my goals for January is to read my bible every day. Not only do I have my bible right on my nightstand so I can read it when I get up, I also add to my daily to-do list – read bible. That way when I’m reviewing the list I will remember my goal. I also created a vision board this year so images representing what I’m working toward are visible and something I see every day.
2. Figure out the when/how. Another goal I have is to run a 5K this year. Specifically there’s one I plan to run in March. So what am I doing now to prepare? Well I’m planning to run three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Similarly with my goal of reading the bible daily in 2015 it’s helpful to have a when to make the item more actionable. So my when for reading is first thing when I get up.
3.Create an accountability method. My third method for success is to have an accountability system. Do you have a friend you can check in with? Do you simply want to use a tracking tool for accountability? Last year I used a simple chart with boxes for the things I wanted to do each month. But this year I’m using this awesome printable from Elise Blaha Cripe to track my big goals.
What secrets to you have to reach your goals?
Linking up to Anne In Residence and Just Jacq today to share my winter capsule. I’ve actually been working with this wardrobe for 7 weeks now since the weather turned chilly in mid-November. I had planned to make this capsule December – March but with the weather changes I’m flexible. I’m loving using my Stylebook to track everything although I still do my planning for my capsule on paper. I went over some of this in my last post about the capsule, but here’s a full look at how it finished out.
I carried over less from my fall capsule than originally intended and I changed up the number of items as well. I went with 9 bottoms, 17 tops (I’m doing a ton of layering), 2 dresses, 4 shoes (seriously with the icky weather having multiple pairs of cute things does me no good and I needed more tops); and 4 cardigans.
5 pants carried over from fall and I bought 2 new pairs of pixie pants (I LOVE THEM), skinny track pants to replace my yoga pants and update my casual weekend look, and my Talbots lined dress pants that I scored at Goodwill.
Only four of my fall tops carried over and I’ve set up a basic uniform for winter which makes getting dressed easy. The uniform is basically collared shirt, sweater, pants. My collared shirts all mix with my sweaters so I can create an endless array of outfits. Also I can wear my collared shirts with cardigans for a polished office look too. I love how flexible this capsule is.
I went with just four pairs of shoes – my brown boots and basic black shoes carried over. My grey booties came out of hibernation and I found black boots that are twins to my brown ones.
I haven’t actually worn either of my dresses yet. I’m thinking they might be good as the weather warms up in March. Plus I haven’t had a “fancy” occasion yet. I’m not really a dress person.
My color palette and inspiration from my Pinterest board was red, grey, white, black and then I threw in Navy for a tad more color. The blue flannel shirt has been an awesome addition. It works with lots of sweaters as well as on its own and it’s cozy. It’s probably my favorite new top. Although I love most of my sweaters too – especially the grey polka dot.
So far I’ve made 31 outfits with this capsule and the most I’ve worn one look has been three times. I’ll be back at the end of January with a look at my outfits. I’m looking forward to mixing it up some more in January – yesterday I made a new outfit with some pieces I hadn’t worn yet and it was so exciting! I want to do more with the cardigans in January.
What does your winter uniform look like?
In the past few years I’ve sent a simple goal to read 100 books. This averages to about two a week and as I’ve navigated these first years of parenthood and other responsibilities I wasn’t sure what would happen to my reading habit. However, this year I blew my 100 books out of the water, reading the most since LJ was born.
So this year I decided to pick 10 categories of books and make it my goal to fulfill all the categories. Sort of like book bingo. Plus I have a super huge to-read list in goodreads and while I worked earlier in the year to clean it up it’s still at 230 titles and with yesterday’s best book link up still growing! And I want to be a little more structured/intentional in my reading in 2015.
I’m going to make a page for this 2015 reading goal so I can track actual titles there and I will post a check in every quarter.
So here are the 10 categories I plan to read this year:
1. 10 Presidential Biographies – In October I decided to fulfill a long time goal and start reading biographies of US Presidents (in order). I’m still slogging through “Washington” by Chernow -which is fascinating but very dense at 800 pages. If I make it to 10 I will be at President Polk.
2. 10 books from my to-read list that I added in 2009 or 2010. I started using Goodreads in 2008 and I still have books that I added in 2009 on my list. I have weeded some out that I’m no longer interested in but I would like to start making progress on this list. Which leads to category 3.
3. 10 books from my to-read list that I added in 2011 or 2012 – I only have 10 books left in the 2011 adds and I thought about making that its own category but I’m also very much someone who has to read the right book for what I’m in the mood for so I didn’t want to pigeon hole myself.
4. 10 books from my t0-read list that I added in 2013 or 2014 – again trying to clear off some of my backlist and it just so happened that these fit nicely into three slots.
5. 10 Nonfiction Books – I have a lot of nonfiction on my to-read list and I also really enjoy non-fiction so this should be easy.
6. 10 “First Reads” – one perk from being a librarian is access to advanced reading copies of books. I’ve read a lot of these this year and I participate the “Library Reads” program and vote for the best books. I want to share these more on the blog and also participate more.
7. 10 2015 Releases – this gives me wiggle room for new books that come out in 2015 that I want to read.
8. 10 Young Adult books – I used to read a lot of YA and I haven’t in recent years but they are so enjoyable so I want to get back to it.
9. 10 spiritual books – I have several of these on my to-read list and I’m interested in exploring this topic more in 2015.
10. Ten Specific Books – Some bloggers I know will set goals on the specific books they want to read. I was intrigued by this and don’t usually like to be too tied down – which is why I probably have such a HUGE to-read list. But I’ve decided to give it a whirl this year. So here are 10 books I intend to read in 2015:
1. All the Light We Cannot See
2. Station Eleven
3. We Were Liars
4. The Giver
5. The Accidental Creative
6. The Shoemaker’s Wife
7. Made to Stick
8. The Invisible Bridge
9. And the Dark and Sacred Night
10. Creativity Inc.
What are you planning to read in 2015?