the fear of being ordinary

For the past eighteen months or so, I have felt like the life I wanted was on the other side of a door, located across the Waiting room I was sitting in. I’ve had a revolving list of things that needed to happen before I could walk through the door, back into my life and feel like my happy self. My friends and family mostly knew that I was not content, but what they didn’t know was what to say or do to help. If they did have anything to say, it was usually one of a few Baptist favorites: “This is just a season”, or “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, or my favorite, “This too shall pass”. My husband was present for too-many-to-count heartfelt breakdowns where, by the end of each one, I was holding a soggy Kleenex and promising to try to start slowing down and finding ways to enjoy my life. I couldn’t tell anyone why I wasn’t happy or what would fix it, I just knew that I didn’t feel like myself. And no matter what hobby I tried, or what book I read, or how many times I committed to reading my Bible every morning, I would look up and find that I was still in the Waiting room, staring at the door.

Waiting to make one more friend, so that I could feel a sense of belonging in our town that still felt temporary. Waiting to find a new job that would be less stressful. Waiting to take a trip so I could feel adventure. Waiting for my kids to get older so they could be more independent and stop asking for things 1,000 times a day. Waiting for my house to be clean enough or cute enough to have people over. Just… waiting.

And then, yesterday, something found me while I was browsing Pinterest. I wish I could say I was deep in a quiet time talking to God himself, but that’s not always how it works. 

So, I was on Pinterest looking at interior decorating tips when I came across a pin about “hygge”. I’m not going to go into hygge, but if you don’t know what it is, then it’s worth Googling. Apparently, part of the hygge manifesto is gratitude. Not just “give thanks” gratitude, but “take it all in, this is as good as it might ever get” gratitude. 

That hit me like a Sam’s-sized jar of Nutella, dropped on my head.

You see, it had not actually ever occurred to me that the days I spend wishing away, waiting for a better tomorrow, might actually be the very best days I have on this Earth. We hear people says things about not taking life for granted and enjoying the little things, but it’s usually in the context of something terrible happening. Someone will say “Be grateful. You could wake up tomorrow and it could all be gone”. The problem is, we know that probably is not going to happen, so it does very little to put things into perspective. When I was in this slump, I knew my life wasn’t terrible – I just kept thinking it could and would be better after I got “x”. I know I’m not alone here. After all, wasn’t that man’s original sin? Eve had everything she could want and need, but as soon as the serpent held up the bright, juicy piece of fruit and told her she could be godlike with a bite, she was fangs deep in that apple. Adam too. It’s just so easy to fall for. Then, and now.

For one, we live in a constant state of comparison, thanks to social media. Just when we feel like our life is a tad boring and ordinary, Instagram is there to remind us that the 5′ 10″ blonde blogger we started following last week is currently in Santorini enjoying Mediterranean food and getting a tan. If you’re level headed enough to remind yourself that it’s not your full-time job to strike poses on the beach, you’ll still be reminded of your short-comings among your fellow common man. It’s unwritten that we’re all only sharing things we actually want the world to see, which means we’re all displaying the like-worthy highlight reel, not the real reel. I’m guilty of it, too. Still, it’s easy to forget when *every* picture, even from your closest friends, is of them enjoying an artistic latte, or a girls’ trip to a vineyard, or their perfectly clean kitchen in the middle of a Tuesday morning when you left three half-empty bowls of cereal on your counter before you ran out the door with your messy-haired kids, late to work for the second day this week. Yeah, the pictures posted by our friends can be pretty unnerving, and even crushing, if we aren’t careful about the comparison game.

Second, remember the blonde blogger in Santorini? She’s also in a $200 bathing suit that makes the one I ordered from Old Navy last week look like one of my Mom’s homemade gymnastics leotards (sorry, Mom). So, not only are we constantly reminded that we live unremarkable lives, but we’re being sold something in our weak moments of feeling less than. I realize this is a very cynical view, but as someone who has used retail therapy as a remedy for the uncomfortable feeling of being aware of my own ordinary-ness, and as someone who also ended up with hundreds of dollars of secret credit card debt at the end of one particular bender, I can attest to the drain of spending money to feel better about life. It’s an empty suck that leads to more empty sucking. I know this. I even tried bucking this with my own lean wardrobe and co-opted minimalism, but that wasn’t really as much about understanding that material things don’t make us happy as it was about spending hours looking at different white shirts, stressing that I might pick something I ended up hating or that didn’t last at least two years – all of course for the sake of living a simpler life.

So, just like you, I get that comparing myself to others is useless and that “more” is not the answer, either. Yet there I was, still waiting for that something. What exactly was the something that I thought might pull me out of the Waiting room? That’s just it. I didn’t know, but I spent plenty of time chasing somethings that showed promise. Work, a healthy lifestyle, learning Spanish (don’t laugh, I am muy serious – I also didn’t make it very far on that one); I’d been dabbling in all of them, figuring eventually I’d find that thing – that thing that made me/my life less boring. Then I wouldn’t have to face my greatest fear: the fear of being ordinary. To live an ordinary life, doing ordinary work that won’t change the world, taking regular family trips, living in an average looking home – this was my fear.

Then I read that silly little hygge pin. “Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.” Wow. To get right to the point, I don’t want to be laying on my deathbed with my boys by my side, talking to them about my life and saying, “I was always waiting for something better to happen… I missed the whole damn thing.” In a sense, that is how I feel about the last year and a half. I’ve spent so much time waiting for the extraordinary moments and new opportunities, that I’ve missed so many of the wonderfully ordinary ones. Don’t get me wrong, I am probably as ambitious as they come. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dreaming and hard work. But, when our ambition becomes horse blinders that keep us from seeing the bounty of blessing around us, we might have a problem.

So I had to ask myself yesterday, “If this is it, if this is all your life amounts to – living in this town, with your husband and your two boys, driving to work every day, having modest means – if this is as good as it gets, are you going to be okay?” I knew my answer immediately. It was yes. It I was actually absolutely yes. I’ve got a healthy family, enough to live comfortably, and people who love me. If this is as good as it gets, I will be fine. And if it is as good as it gets, and I spend my whole life waiting for it to be something else, I will have wasted it all. And if there are terrible hardships in my future, if there is illness and death and heartbreak and loss, then I will be able to look back and know the peace of not having squandered those beautiful, precious, ordinary days when all was well. However, if God has something better in store for me, and I live every day taking it all in with gratitude, then I will have lived a very full life. The way I see it, there is only one obvious choice.

I heard recently that perspective is the only thing that changes an outcome without altering a single fact. The glass isn’t half full, or half empty, it just is what it is, and what we make of that is up to us. “It is what it is”. I used to hate that saying because, quite honestly, it seemed to be lacking intellectualism – but I think I actually get it now. Yes, we have control of our lives to a certain extent. We make choices about who we marry, what town we will live in, and where we will work. But there are also some things we won’t be able to change, and if we let those things affect our happiness then we’re going to miss out on most of what life has to offer, whether extraordinary or not.

So I have decided to take it all in today. This is it. It’s my life. I get to either live it, in all of its ordinary and imperfect glory, or wish later on that I did. I’m leaving the Waiting room. I’m going to take it all in, the good and bad. I hope you’re doing the same.



edited: July 17, 2017 9:03 am CDT


summer 2016 capsule: wrap-up and looking forward to Fall

I can’t believe the school year has already started for us, as of yesterday! Our summer was full of traveling for work and play. While we had many great adventures, I’m actually looking forward to getting into more of a routine this Fall. I’ve recently had a lot of changes in both my personal and professional life (mostly good – thank goodness!), but one constant has been my use of a capsule wardrobe. I’m thankful that at least one element of my life has been simplified this year. Take a look at the 48 pieces that have gotten me through the summer and made getting dressed every day an easy process. I’ve linked identical items if available, although a lot of my clothing is old or purchased second-hand from thredUP! If you have no idea what I mean by capsule wardrobe, read more about it here.

2016 Summer Capsule: Tops

Row 1- sleeveless button up | muscle tee | pocket tee | split-neck tee | Row 2- graphic tee | boyfriend tee | striped tee | charcoal tank (mine is a racerback version) | Row 3- sleeveless chambray | oxford | white tie-front collared shirt | tunic (mine is sold-out in army green) | Row 4- over-sized pullover | cropped tee | sweatshirt | peplum blouse

Summer 2016: Bottoms

1. white pants | 2. distressed denim | 3. bootcut jeans | 4. joggers | 5. white shorts | 6. denim shorts (on sale!) | 7. scalloped shorts | 8. white skirt | 9. linen skirt (mine is the flame color)

Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: Dresses & Jackets

1. maxi dress | 2. shift dress | 3. hi low dress (love this!) | 4. striped midi dress | 5. denim dress | 6. blazer | 7. utility jacket | 8. lightweight cardigan (currently sold out but frequently re-stocks) | 9. denim jacket

Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: Shoes & Accessories

1. converse | 2. peep toe booties | 3. pointed flats | 4. flip flops | 5. gauze scarf | 6. fringe purse (mine is in lilac) | 7. panama hat | 8. black sandal | 9. printed scarf | 10. crossbody | 11. reversible tote | 12. espadrilles | 13. casual sandal

latest thoughts on the capsule experiment

One of the benefits of eliminating so many un-used pieces in my wardrobe was that I really got in tune with which type of clothing makes me feel good when I wear it. Well, I’m getting an even better sense of my personal style as this experiment progresses. To use the most simple style terms I can think of, I’d say my wardrobe is about 50 % basic staples, 25% classic style, and 25% trendy items. I’m overall happy with this balance, although in the future I might try to limit the number of trendy pieces I add. Sometimes it’d hard to tell if a trend is going to stick around and be a good investment. However, if you believe the piece fits YOU and you’re not just drawn to it BECAUSE it’s trendy, I think it’s still a good investment. For me, the fringe purse I bought for this summer was definitely a trend buy, but I really liked it the second I saw it. It’s a great size and one of my favorite colors. I can honestly say I’ll be rocking it next spring/summer whether “fringe” is on-trend or not.

“big” purchases

I recently heard a great idea for deciding on big purchases. It’s called the 72-hour rule. Choose a dollar figure that is big enough to make you pause – it might be $25 or $500 or anything in-between, depending on your budget. For me, the number is around $75 right now. If an item is over $75, I try to wait 72 hours after seeing the item before I purchase it, if possible. It gives me a chance to consider if the purchase is really worth it, and even gives me time to see if there is a better or more affordable alternative. I’m also creating a monthly budget with an allotment for clothing (and every other spending category). I’ve even experimented with the envelope method, where I physically take set money aside (in an envelope, a jar, or wherever – just keep it separate from other money) for clothing purchases. It helps me plan for shopping trips because the money is actually there and I won’t accidentally over-spend or have spent the money on something else. These two processes, along with the capsule wardrobe, keep me from over-spending on clothing while still allowing for some bigger purchases.

transitioning to fall — and getting REAL with y’all

I’m looking forward to Fall and everything that comes with it! Football games, cooler weather, the beginning of the holiday season – it makes me feel like a kid again. I haven’t done a whole lot of wardrobe planning for Fall, though. I plan on carrying over a large part of my summer wardrobe and I also have some great pieces I bought for my very first capsule wardrobe that I will get to pull out of storage. I’m approaching this next capsule in a very laid-back manner. If the point of a smaller wardrobe is to simplify things, I don’t want to jeopardize that benefit by over-planning and going out and buying a bunch of “must haves”. Instead, I just plan to incorporate cool weather pieces as the weather begins to change, and then fill in the small gaps with some sensible purchases. I have to say, I feel a little bit better about this whole process every time I say “no” to buying something. In fact, Friday I went to TJ Maxx and tried on some GREAT pieces at fantastic prices but didn’t buy a piece of clothing You know what? I felt pretty happy about it. Truthfully, nothing I tried on was something I really needed, because I already had other suitable alternatives. I won’t pretend I’m always that self-controlled, but this one little shopping trip reminded me what’s at the heart of this experiment for me. I have a previous history of being tempted by materialism. Ready for things to get real? I’ve struggled before with credit card debt and a major stress-shopping habit. Like, thousands of dollars in purchases I made impulsively when I couldn’t afford them. This might seem “normal” to others, but I know as a Christian that this kind of behavior is destructive for me. It leads to regret and shame, and it also means I’m not being a good steward of the gifts God has entrusted me with. I’m not going to get ALL preachy on you, but just hear me out. I have come to realize than when I am disciplined in one area of my life, like my finances, it expands to other areas. Putting my wardrobe on a diet has forced me to be more intentional with my money and be more disciplined overall. It also reminds me to be thankful for what I do have instead of always looking to add more. And how perfect is that reminder as we head into Fall? I’m calling this next season the Season of Gratitude – so stay tuned for more on that 😉

Bye for now,


spring capsule

There are many things I can say about this capsule, but I’ll let the clothes speak for themselves first. A ton of my clothing is thrifted, so I’ve linked and shown similar styles when needed. My spring wardrobe includes: 19 tops, 10 bottoms, 3 dresses, 4 jackets, 6 pairs of shoes, 3 purses, 2 scarves, and a hat. All of the outfits I share are made up of these 48 items! Remember – I own other items I do not count in my 48 (#notinmy48: pajamas, workout clothes, out-of-season clothing in storage).

img-set (1)
dressy (row 1): cream silk top | white band collar blouse | sleeveless lace blouse (similar shown) | navy sleeveless blouse | gray drape blouse | black peplum top | floral blouse
semi-casual (row 2): open front cardigan (mine is the dark gray version) | sleeveless button up | sleeveless chambray | oxford | pink tunic tank  | coral pullover sweater
casual (row 3): muscle tee split-neck tee | graphic tee | boyfriend tee | striped tee | black tunic (similar)
spring bottoms
pencil skirt | kahki trouser | bootcut jean | black skinnies | white skinnies | army pant | dark skinnies (similar)| “boyfriend jeans” (similar) | distressed shorts | linen skirt
 Spring 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: Dresses & Jackets
 dresses: pencil dress (mine) | sleeveless shift dress (similar) | striped midi dress (mine)
jackets: blazer (mine is Theory via thredUP, but I love this one, too!) | moto jacket (similar) | utility jacket | denim jacket


Spring 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: Shoes & Accessories

shoes: converse | peep booties | d’orsay flats | flip flops | yoga sandal | trainers
accessories: pink scarf | magenta tote | panama hat (one of my favorite purchases!) | blue scarf (similar) | gray tote | reversible tote (love this!!)


thoughts so far

I decided to add some dressier items after I experienced my winter capsule being way too casual. I’m wearing some of the dressy pieces (like these booties or the shift dress) even more than I thought I would, so I’m glad I followed my gut!

Also, I know from experience that neutral colors make it easier to mix-and-match to create many looks with just a few items, but a monochromatic wardrobe gets boring for me, personally. To keep things FUNctional, I added some “near neutral” color (like navy), and decided on splashes of coral pink, since that color tends to compliment my skin tone. I found this great Pin for building color into your wardrobe white still keeping things cohesive and versatile (hint: three or four neutrals + two “near” neutrals + two statement colors). If you aren’t sure how to begin, check it out!


I haven’t been able to spend time on the blog lately (without sacrificing time from my job or family), but I still plan on sharing outfits here from time to time. If you want to see more frequent updates, PLEASE come follow along on Instagram. I’ll be showing how I build outfits and mix up some unexpected combinations with these 48 pieces!


Until next time,





friday faves: skin care

To mix things up, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite health, beauty, household, or fashion favorites on Fridays! So let’s kick off Friday Faves with something I’ve been extra passionate about lately: skin care.

When I was young, I always lived by the “I burn but then I get tan RIGHT after” method of achieving a summery glow. In fact, two years ago on a trip to Florida, I got so sunburned the first day that I could hardly shower. My whole face started peeling by the time we headed back from the trip. My back was shedding so much that I bought a long sleeve t-shirt at an airport gift shop to keep my skin from getting all over the airline seats. My husband was appalled by the snake skin. Not mention disgusted (though he hid it well). I wish I could go back and pour an ice bucket of water on myself for being so dumb and reckless with my skin.

Fast forward two years and I have been trying ever since to get the brown spots off of my face that accumulated during that senseless week in Florida. I finally learned I’m not a teenager that can just “burn but then get tan RIGHT after” anymore, at least not without immediate and even serious consequences (like skin cancer, Hello.)

So it was this experience that led me to start taking a closer look at how I take care of my skin and what I put on my body, especially my face. I have a lot of respect for my skin now, and I want to honor it by taking care of it as best I can.

So, here is how I treat my skin now, though it is somewhat evolving…

Makeup remover: Burts Bees facial wipes. I used to only use makeup wipes when I traveled, but now I use them at the end of every day to remove makeup. I follow with a cleanser and feel like my skin is actually clean and not like I just rubbed all my makeup around. I never and I mean never go to bed with my makeup on. Not since college anyway…

Cleanser:  For Christmas I got this Erno Laszlo facial bar and I love how clean it makes my skin feel! The routine is a bit long, but it really cleans my face well without feeling dry and tight.


Exfoliate: I used this Apricot Scrub for a long time when I needed a good, deep clean (2 or 3 times a week) and I always loved how soft and smooth my skin felt afterwards. Then last year Dillard’s had Clarisonics on sale and I happened to have some gift cards from my birthday, so I finally “splurged” and bought it! It’s convenient and I love the way it deep-cleans my skin, so I’m glad to have it. I use the Sonic Radiance wash that came with it.

Toner: Ok, I’ve never really been much of a toner girl. I didn’t really see the point before. But I read recently that this step is important because it balances skin tone, reduces redness, and removes any dead cells left on you face after washing. Doesn’t sounds like I step to skip! I use this rose water. It’s gentle, smells great, and it’s inexpensive.

SPFI used to think that having makeup with SPF was enough, but since I’ve started taking protecting my skin a little more seriously, I’ve experimented with my facial sunscreens. Honestly, I haven’t found one I really love that is easy to wear under makeup. Does anyone have great recommendations? I am thinking of trying this one, because I’ve heard great things. If it’s a no-makeup day or if I’m at a baseball game or the beach, I use minimum SPF 50, like this one. I like baby safe sunscreen so I can share with the kiddos!


MoisturizerMoisturizer is another step I skipped for years, because I thought it made my skin oily and would make me break out. But you probably know (like me) by now that dry skin is just as prone to breakouts because your face produces oils to moisturize itself, and often over-compensates. I’ve tried probably 10 or 15 difference moisturizers over the past 5 years, and this one is my favorite. I use it day and night and it never makes me break out. Bonus: it has like six ingredients and you can pronounce every single one. I even use it as a lip balm.


Night serum: This is a new addition for me. I finally got tired of seeing the under-eye Mom bags every morning, so I did some research. No surprise, getting more sleep is crucial. There is no miracle serum if you are constantly shorting yourself in the sleep department. I get up pretty early, so going to bed earlier is my only option. I try to be in bed before 10. This serum here is mighty tool to help in the renewal process while you sleep. I can see results right away when I wake up! I mean BRIGHT eyed and BUSHY tailed. Wow. Though for now, I still look beat and tired again by the end of the day. We’ll see if that gets better over time.


“Facial”: I got a sample of this REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time facial after I bought some cosmetics from Nordstrom, and I was impressed. You put it on at night and it starts tingling right away. You don’t rinse it off, you sleep with it on (it’s like a serum, not a mask). My skin looked absolutely radiant after one use. I bought a full-size and now use 2-3 times a week (I would use it more, but I try to follow the directions)!

Hydration: Just like sleep, plenty of water is essential to your skin health and appearance. I try to keep a bottle by me all day long, and keep track of my water intake in my daily planner. Consider buying a cute bottle to motivate you to carry water with you everywhere! I use this one (it’s glass, which I prefer because it does not absorb odors and I sometimes put essential oils in my water).

Tanning: If I absolutely need a little color, I apply L’Oreal Sublime gel or use the towelettes. I’ve tried a lot of self-tanners and these definitely smell the least and give the most even color.

So here is a quick example of my morning and evening routine so you can see how I use these products:

Morning: If I’ve worked out that morning, I wash my face with the Erno Laszlo bar. If not, I just splash with cold water several times and blot dry. Then I apply the rose water with a cotton ball in upward strokes. Once dry, I put on the Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic. Lastly, sunscreen. I go ahead and do some other items in my morning routine, like make breakfast or pack lunches before I apply makeup. Takes less than 5 minutes.

Evening: I take off makeup using the Burts Bees facial wipes. Again, if I worked out that day (up to three times a week), I will use my Clarisonic to exfoliate my face while I shower; if I’m not exfoliating, I’ll use the Erno Laszlo bar again. After my shower, I apply the rose water again (using cotton ball in upward strokes). Once dry, I apply Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery serum. A little goes a long way, so I put 2-3 drops on the back of my hand and with the tip of a finger, dab under my eyes, on my forehead, and on my cheeks. If I’m using the Ren Wake Wonderful facial, I put it on it after the serum. After the facial I apply Mama Medicine’s moisturizer again. Done! Takes up to 10 minutes.

You can see my nighttime routine is definitely longer than my daytime. Our bodies (especially our skin!) repairs itself while we sleep, so many products (serums, moisturizers, night creams) work their best on bare skin while you catch Zzzzs.

What are you must-have skin scare items? Any GREAT sunscreens out there that are light enough to wear under makeup and won’t clog my pores?

And what do you guys think about chemical peels? I have been wanting to try one but have trouble finding out if they are harmful – so many conflicting opinions and different ones!



in the middle



thumb_DSC_0878_1024photos by Carlyn Corbin
jacket: Gap | backpack: Matt & Nat | faux leather pants: H&M | shirt: Madewell | shoes: Nike | sunglasses: Ray Ban

I’m currently in-between my Winter and Spring/Summer capsule wardrobes. As I put something that is no longer in season away in storage, I pull something else out. I’ve also started shopping some of the items from my wish list. By the time I finish rolling out my Spring wardrobe, it will still contain only 48 items.

One item I was soooo excited to grab out of storage was my jean jacket. I know. I am such a 90s kid… but Y’ALL, it goes with everything. I’m not even sorry for the fact that I will be caught wearing it 2-3 days a week for next few months.

Also, can we call this outfit “The Cure For Yoga Pants: Part 2″? These H&M faux leather pants are a slightly more acceptable to wear in public than actual yoga pants because they’re thicker, they have a button and zipper, and they have visible seams. They are surprisingly warm and not all that breathable, though, so they will be going in storage while these black denims (only $25!) replace them for Spring.

How do you transition from Winter to Spring? A big shopping trip? Or a slow transition?



spring wish list

When I think of spring, I dream of sunny days and birds singing and flowers blooming. Of course, in reality, it’s more like noses running, wind blowing (and ruining an otherwise perfectly nice day), and tax season.

Still, I’m so excited to kiss winter goodbye and embrace warmer weather. My closet is getting a major overhaul as I pack up my sweaters, take my spring/summer wardrobe out of storage, and make my shopping list.

I asked myself a couple of questions to figure out what I wanted in my wardrobe this coming season. See if these four questions help you come up with your list:

  1. If I had no budget and no limit to number of items, what would I want to own in a spring/summer wardrobe?
    • Notice question 1 is NOT “what I want to buy”, it IS “what I want to own”. This means list everything, whether you would like to buy it or you already own it. Seeing your shopping list in the context of what you already own gives you a better vision of how your complete wardrobe will function. Even if you’re trying to keep your wardrobe minimal and know your budget does not allow you to buy all of the items you want to add, still list everything. Why? Because I think it will help you get a clear direction of your style. In winter I was so focused on purging that I didn’t take time (or set aside very much money) to purchase items I would like to have in my wardrobe. I think my style suffered as a result. Keep in mind that just because you would like to own something does not mean you will buy it right away. It is a wish list. The next steps help you decide what to buy.
  2. Of the items on my wardrobe list, which items do I already own or have something similar enough to?
    • Asking “what do I already have?” seems obvious enough, but taking it a step further and asking “do I have something similar enough?” is an even smarter way to approach your wardrobe planning. If you’re going to have a lean closet, you don’t want a lot of multiples. If you aren’t willing to part with an item you own, see if it matches up or overrides an item on your wish list. Thankfully, I already own a lot of items on my wardrobe list. Less to buy!
  3. Of the items I don’t already own, which are most needed?
    • This separates the needs from the wants. Or more accurately, priority items from the true wish list items. I have a new pair of skinny jeans on my shopping list because I wear denim almost every day. I also have a cocktail blouse on my list because I’m trying to add some dressier items to my wardrobe. Hopefully I get to buy both, but I will prioritize the jeans since I know they will get more use. If you’re an office professional, you might prioritize a new trouser pant in front of everything else. If you plan carefully and look for deals at consignment stores like this one, you might still have money left in your budget to get items in the wish list section after buying your priority items.
  4. Of the items most needed, which items am I willing to settle for a cheaper alternative, and which do I wish to focus on quality?
    • When I made my wish list, I kept brand in mind. Paige Denim are my absolute favorite jeans, but they are not cheap. Since the last pair I bought lasted over 5 years and I wore them at least twice a week, do I want to splurge on them again? Or would I rather buy a similar but much less expensive version like this one to leave room for other purchases? It’s totally up to you! If you’re looking at cheaper alternatives though, my personal philosophy is to use good judgement and don’t buy anything that I don’t think will last at least one year. Also, I think it’s smarter to be budget conscious on seasonal items that you’re only going to wear one or two seasons out of the year (like a sweater or a sundress) and not something that you’re going to wear all year long. A cheaper version of anything is almost always going to wear out faster with constant, continuous wear. Again, I can’t stress how much it is worth browsing a resale shop. You can get great brands for much cheaper than retail, so you don’t have to sacrifice the money or the brand you love.

TIP: If you are a visual person, start a Pinterest board like I did! Pin items you already own and items you want to add to your wardrobe. This is a way to check yourself and be sure you are staying true to your style and that the items you are choosing are versatile enough to work together with what you already own to make many outfits. I think it’s important to see the items you already own next to the items you want to buy to get a clear sense of your style and visualize how new items will add to your wardrobe.

Something else I’m doing different this time around? For the most part, I plan on wearing this entire wardrobe for not just one, but two seasons (Spring and Summer). I also plan on doing a challenge in spring and another this summer where I make 10 different outfits using just 10 items, and wear them over 10 days, like this one from Banana Republic.

I’m going to do the bulk of my shopping mid-March, but I’ve already “bought” a few items using store credits from some clothes I sold during my most recent purge. I’m in a transitional phase in my wardrobe where as I bring one Spring item in, I pack up or get rid of an item from my winter wardrobe.

What items are on your spring shopping list?

Follow my Pinterest board here to see my wish list and find ideas for yourself!

baby, it’s not so cold outside




pea coat: Kenneth Cole Reaction (old); similar/darker | sweater: SheInside | leggings: Victoria’s Secret | boots: Hunter Boots

Kamron and I got married (almost) two years ago on March 8th and it snowed ever so lightly the day of wedding. This year, we’re forecasting 70s on our anniversary. Go figure.

Earlier this week though, we did get one last wintery hoo-rah with cold drizzle and some light snow. It gave me an excuse to wear a sweater one last time before I packed them up until it’s time to plan to 2016 fall/winter wardrobe.

Is anyone sad to see winter go? Or is everyone ready to bring on the sunshine?




I’m always looking for ways to get the most out of my closet clean-outs. When it comes to selling clothes I’m ready to part with, I’ve done everything from post clothing on our local For Sale page on Facebook, had my own garage sale, and sold to several different resale shops. Of all of these methods, I like selling to resale shops best. For the time spent, I find you get a reasonable amount of money and it’s a LOT less work than the other options. If you haven’t sold to a resale shop before, here are some tips:

  • If you have any unworn items with the tags on, leave the tags on. Duh!
  • Wash any pre-worn clothing before you take it in. If an item appears dirty, the shop will probably pass due to “staining”, even if it is washable..
  • Shoes get a lot of money! Again, make sure they are clean before you take them in.
  • Brands that seem to be bought almost every time (as long as the clothes are in good condition): J. Crew, Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy, Anthropologie, Free People. Keep in mind that different shops buy different brands. I’ve sold to Buffalo Exchange (they buy off-beat and high end items, not really mall brands), Plato’s Closet (think Abercrombie, American Eagle, Hollister – mall brands; I once tried to sell a BCBG cocktail dress and they wouldn’t take it because it was “too fancy”), and most recently, an online clothing resale shop called thredUPSince thredUP is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a mailbox, I want to tell you about my experience with them!

How thredUP Works

You can visit their “How it Works Page” page for full details, but basically they send you a free clean out kit in the mail, which contains one large bag that can fit about as much clothing as one laundry basket. You fill the prepaid return bag and drop it off with the postman or at the post office. After thredUP receives your bag, they select the items they want to buy and you get immediately paid on most items.

Here are the Pros and Cons I’ve found selling to thredUP so far.


  1. You never have to leave your house. I live about an hour away from the nearest clothing resale shop. Having a “clean out kit” mailed to my house and then putting it on my front porch for the postman to pick up is so much easier than driving with loads of clothes to an actual store, carrying them in, waiting for the workers to go through them, etc.
  2. Free shipping. You pay $0 to have the clean out kit mailed to you and to send it back to thredUP. And I stuffed mine! My last mail-in was easily over 10 lbs.
  3. They buy kids clothes, too. Get a two-for-one and sell your little’s outgrown clothes at the same time as yours! Usually I have to go to two different resale shops for this.
  4. Take your money and run or buy great stuff. You can cash out to a PayPal account, donate your earnings to a charity, or trade your cash earned for like-new clothes. I’m talking AWESOME brands at a fraction of the cost of retail. Some are even brand new with tags on! I traded some clothing recently for a designer blazer that retails for over $400 new. I paid $30! And it came in great condition. I’ll share some tips below for finding treasure in their giant sea of stuff.
  5. Most importantly, I found the payout to be generous. For the eight items thredUP bought in the first bag I mail in, I’ve been paid $64.99 so far. I have one more item listed on consignment, meaning I won’t be paid until it sells, so I will earn another $33.00 if and when that item sells. That’s almost $100 on eight items! See my summary below.



  1. They are very picky. Review the list of desired brands before you send in clothing. thredUP is very picky about brands and the condition of clothing it buys. The good news here is that if you buy anything from them, you can rest assured you’re going to get an item in great condition.
  2. The processing time is slow. It took almost three weeks from the time I put my return bag in the mail until I was paid. It’s about a week for shipping and another 2 weeks for them to go through your bag and decide what to pay you. When I take clothing to an actual resale store, I usually finish up in 1-2 hours.
  3. You have to pay if you want unwanted items returned to you. Make sure and don’t send anything in you aren’t willing to part with, or willing to pay $12 to have it returned to you. If it’s in great condition and it’s a brand thredUP wants, they are probably going to buy it. But if they don’t and you don’t want them to donate it, you’ll have to pay to get it back.
  4. You don’t get paid upfront on your most expensive items. I sold a purse and a dress that got listed on consignment, meaning I wouldn’t be paid until the items sold (they do this for any item listed for over $60 resale). So far, the purse has sold and the dress is still for sale, so I’ve only been paid on the purse. Even though you may have to wait longer to get paid on these items, you get 50% of the sales price when they sell! So again, it’s a very generous payout. And you can control the price if you want to try to get more money or if you want to try to get your items sold faster.

Overall, I have really enjoyed selling to thredUP. I haven’t actually cashed out any of my money, because I’ve found great clothing on their site to trade for! If you’re looking to add to your wardrobe, here are my tips on finding some steals on thredUP:

  • First, obviously sign-up with my referral code. Hey! You get $10 to spend on your first purchase!
  • Look for a coupon code. They are usually running a 40% off your first order special.
  • Use their Personal Shops tab to pick your style and your sizes. That way, you can browse through items you know are going to fit you and be a brand you like. You can also apply filters to search the entire site.
  • Capture

    Select the Personal Shops tab to save a customized search for certain styles, brands, and sizes

    MOST IMPORTANT: When you find an item you like, look for items from the same seller. Chances are, their other clothing items are going to be a similar style, brand, and size. It’s like meeting someone whose style you really like and then invading their closet. To find items from the same seller, first click on an item you like. Scroll to the bottom of the item’s page and you will see a link that says More items from this seller. If you click on it, you will see the entire bag they sent in and all items that have been sold or items still available for sale! Pretty cool.

  • Bonus! You get free shipping on your order as long as it is worth at least $70. This was “before” I applied a coupon code, so I got free shipping when I only spent $30 out of my own pocket.

So there you have it! I’d love to hear from you if you buy or sell with thredUP! Are there any other great online resale shops out there? Let me know.

support a local business

If you are in the Lubbock area, you definitely want to check out a local resale shop called Culture Clothing – they buy a great a variety of clothing AND have very cute clothes you can buy at a steep discount compared to retail prices. Not to mention the store is stinking cute and next to one of my favorite coffee shops in Lubbock. Also, the owners are pretty amazing people. It is a true family operation.



is it spring yet?

When I started this project, I promised myself something: I am NOT going to be one of those people who does a “I’ve learned SOOOO much” reflection post like, two days after they started some life changing habit. “I’ll wait a year… at least!” (I told myself). But having already realized some missteps I’ve made, I can’t help but feel I need to come clean and talk about some things I would do differently if creating my current capsule over again.

So, let me be real here.

I’ve been living with my current capsule wardrobe (started as 48 pieces, more on that as I go) for about eight weeks. I’m a little more than halfway through the original “winter season” I had planned (January 1 – March 31), so change is only six weeks away – or sooner because this warm weather does not seem to be going away. Thank. Goodness.

Lesson #1 – Out with the old is worth the time and effort.

The best thing I’ve learned so far: I’ve learned that I do not miss ONE thing I sold or donated. I loosely used the KonMari method when getting rid of clothes I wasn’t wearing. Marie Kondo says you must hold every item in your hands when going through your possessions. You can’t just open a closet, look inside, and say “I think we’re good here! Looks like I like everything I see.”

So, you pick up something you own. Does it bring you joy? If so, you keep it. If not, you toss it (to sell or donate, or throw away if it’s in bad condition). It’s pretty simple. And you’re not going to accidentally get rid of something you really really like if you’re going through every item individually and asking yourself that key question each time. In fact, I have a difficult time even remembering the items I got rid of – If you don’t ever wear it or you do not love it, you will not miss it. The process might seem time consuming, and at first it is, but your judgement gets stronger as you go and you’re able to make decisions very quickly.

Also, I’ve added up what I made selling off the clothes I wasn’t wearing, and it’s well over $200. Definitely way less than what I paid for them, but more than they were really worth to me since I was not using them. And I also got to donate other great clothes I could not sell, and I know other people are enjoying them. Win!

Next week I’ll share my experience selling to an online thrift store and how it can make cleaning out WELL worth your time.

Lesson #2 – Make sure you have somethin’ fancy (enough).

I would say my winter capsule is 90% casual and 10% dressy. I thought this fit my life because I work from home. Also, I used to just wear gym clothes all day, so how many dressy tops could I really need? Well, more than zero — I’ve learned that. If I was going to re-do this capsule, I would have purchased at least two dressier tops. You can catch a glimpse of my very casual wardrobe (tops) in this post.

The silver lining here is that I’ve had to learn how to creatively make outfits dressier by layering or adding fun jewelry. I’ve never really made an effort before to style an outfit to make it look more interesting, so that part of “missing” certain items has been fun; but I’d like to add more items in the date night or formal/professional category throughout the next couple of seasons. Most of the clothes in my current wardrobe are items I already owned, so this was probably bound to happen by virtue of how I’ve dressed for the past year. Going forward, I plan to be very intentional about how I shop, so I am currently making a list of the items I think would fill out some of these gaps in my wardrobe and then I will prioritize those items when it’s time to shop again.

My advice here is that if you feel like you have a very one-dimensional wardrobe and want to either add more casual or dressier items, take it slow and use some inexpensive accessories to change the look of your outfits in the meantime. Going out on a spree and buying tons of clothing in one category will likely lead to buyers remorse (I’ve done this enough times to know), so it’s better to make an intentional list and look for specific items. For example, a blazer can make a whole closet of casual tops (even a white t-shirt) look more dressy, so start there instead of buying 10 dressy tops.

Lesson #3: Don’t do repeats. At least not in a capsule wardrobe.

You ever hear some people say “I loved it so much, I bought one in every color!”. I wouldn’t say I’m that kind of shopper, but I do understand why people shop that way. I definitely find a style of shirt I like and buy a lot in that category. I currently have a white v-neck tee, a white sleeveless tee, and a white satin v-neck blouse. They are all very versatile and great for layering, and the satin blouse can at least be easily dressed up. But, they are all so similar that I don’t really need them all. I do like them all, so I’m keeping them for now – but if you do this too many times over in your wardrobe, you might start getting that “All my outfits looks alike, I’ve worn this a million times, I have nothing to wear” attitude.

I had an old baseball tee and this Madewell top that looked pretty similar. The problem was, I kept picking up the same one that I liked best and the other was going unworn. Eventually, I just got tired of walking in to my closet and going: “Why did I keep this”? So, I decided not to. For this reason, I’ve already eliminated three items out of my 48 item wardrobe. So technically, I’m dressing with 45 items now. I have not bought anything to replace the items I let go, because it isn’t really keeping with the spirit of why I started the capsule wardrobe project: to find contentment. To learn to be happy with “enough”.

Lesson #4: It’s best to wait it out.

When you feel it’s time to buy something, it is a good idea to wait it out for a little while for a couple of reasons.

First, you want to be sure it’s an item that will really add to what you’ve got going. Shop from a place of “enough”. Don’t believe yourself when you start to say “I NEED this black jacket”, because you probably don’t. Maybe you really like it and it would get a lot of use, though. If you wait a while I find yourself thinking “A black jacket would really complete this outfit” again and again, then you can be confident that it’s time to look for a black jacket and you aren’t just buying to buy.

Second, it’s worth it to find the “perfect” one that is going to be well worth your money, however much you spend. If you’re an impatient shopper like me, you might grab the first cute black jacket you saw that fit well and consider it a successful shopping trip. But have you considered the quality? And are you sure you couldn’t have found a much better deal if you have looked around or bought a better brand second-hand? Due to the difficult lesson learned in #2 (not having enough dressier pieces), I’ve started a list of a few items I would like to change out/add next season. Normally, I would start buying as soon as I identified a “need”. But this time is different.

Here is where it gets a little tricky. This whole experiment is supposed to be fun. Not miserable. Do I really want to “make myself” keep wearing clothes that aren’t doing all that much for me? Well, no. Not really. Not at all, actually. It seems kind of silly to have hard-fast rules about what to buy, when to buy, what to wear.

But I also know myself. In the past, I really struggled with impulse buying. I would end up spending a lot of money on things I didn’t really love because I just “needed” something, it seemed like a really good deal, or I was just exhausted from a long shopping trip and felt like I couldn’t leave empty-handed without calling the whole day a waste of time. I’m still fighting off these impulses, but I know the pay-out will be worth it.

So instead of actually spending money, I’m currently making a shopping list and budget for Spring capsule wardrobe shopping – and I will share the list next week! And instead of waiting and transitioning to my Spring wardrobe April 1st as planned, I will probably slowly roll it out as I acquire items from my shopping list. Because at this rate it’s going to be 90 degrees outside and a third of my closet will be heavy sweaters!

wrap up:

If you’re thinking of trying out a capsule wardrobe, don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you! I don’t regret starting this project one bit. Even though I don’t love everything about my wardrobe right now, I can confidently say that I am enjoying it more than my previously crammed wardrobe of items I didn’t ever wear. I also feel like I have real direction for the next time I go shopping, something I would have never learned without a capsule wardrobe. So go for it!


top: H&M; similar sleeveless | gray denim: Old Navy (on sale right now!) | flats: Tory Burch | sunglasses: Ray Ban | backpack (using as diaper bag/purse): Matt & Nat

tops: winter 2016 capsule

I have a post planned later this week to share some of the ins and outs of my current capsule, but first I thought it would be a good idea to show what exactly is in my closet. A couple of weeks ago I shared the shoes in my winter capsule, and today I am sharing the tops. Most of these are items I owned prior to starting the capsule wardrobe project. The main themes here are casual and versatile, because that is what fits my work-at-home-Mom lifestyle.

winter 2016 capsule: tops

four lightweight tops (mostly for layering)

White v-neck tee: Old Navy | White sleeveless tee: Madewell | Sleeveless button up: from Bella Dahl; similar here | Silky v-neck blouse: similar from H&M

These tops have been my saving grace for the past week and will be heavily relied on this week as well. With temps reaching up past 80 degrees on certain days, lightweight layers are necessary for Texas winters!

four warm knits/sweaters

Chunky cream sweater: SheInside | Gray oversized/casual sweater: old from Victoria’s Secret; similar here | Embellished sweater: old from regional boutique; similar in the UK here | Green sweater: old from Banana Republic; similar here

Of course, the Texas Panhandle winter can be just a cold and frigid as it can be unpredictably warm, so I have four heavier knits that I go to on the more seasonally cold (and sometimes snowy!) days. These have not gotten much use this winter, which has been a bit of a disappointment since they take up approximately one-third of my tops. I’ll talk more about “lessons learned” when I do a wrap-up at the end of the season, but I can tell you right now that next winter I will only have one or maybe two of these in my wardrobe.

five darker layers (for either layering or to be worn alone)

3/4 length tee: Madewell (sold out); similar here | Chambray button-up: old from Nordstrom; similar here and here | Black v-neck: old from Banana Republic; similar here | Black long sleeve: old from Banana Republic; similar here | Red flannel: Madewell (on sale for $34.99!)


These 13 tops make up all of the tops in my current wardrobe. I will roll over or replace (if needed) probably all of the tops in the lightweight layers group. All of the warm knits will be taken out of my closet when spring rolls around (which is apparently right around the corner?!), and I will reevaluate them in the Fall. The chambray shirt is an all-year round shirt for me. So you can see that many items have their place in multiple seasonal wardrobes, especially when you get accustomed to layering.

Is there any top you consider an “all year long” staple piece? I want to hear what it is!