A Place for Everything: Decluttering Your Papers

 Hello Readers!  So, this past weekend my husband Ryan and I finished up working on our office decluttering and began on our master closet focus of our declutter project of the year.  Wow!  What a difference it has made in our lives!  So far, we have gotten rid of so much excess stuff, and our paper collection is down to about ten percent of what it was before.  So, let me get into what we’ve kept and what we tossed.

First of all, I was always a stickler for keeping at least one year’s worth of old paper bills “just in case”.  I kept them in my really cute fabric filing cabinet from Thirty One Gifts, and I tried to stay on top of it.  From my former employment with a rental car company, I knew that there may come a time when my current and paid-in-full bills from my utility companies may come in handy as they would be useful in providing sufficient credit examples for renting a car with a debit card.  This is a necessary requirement in our area with rental car companies, and so I’ve always kept copies of my bills.  And then, something hit me a few weeks ago.

I was paying my bills online like I always do when I remembered that I could access all of my billing statements from the previous year in my online accounts.  I had known about this before, but I never thought much about it, partially because I didn’t have a printer at that time.  But this revelation hit me when I realized that our household has way too much stuff.  So that got me rethinking my process.

I mean, why am I hanging onto these useless documents when I can just as easily access them when I need them?  Especially now that I have a working printer again.

And so, the bills had to go.  In one afternoon, we overheated our document shredder twice just getting rid of the excess paperwork we had in our filing system.  Gone were the previous year’s utility bills.  Gone were the medical receipts and statements we kept from our son Sean’s birth, which had been kept for over a year in case of a discrepancy from our previous health insurance provider.  I realized that the excess papers just bogged me down.  While I would love to say that I was always on top of the stacks of mail, it didn’t always happen that way.

And after shredding the excess documents, getting rid of the filing system, and sticking to my virtual access, I felt like a huge weight had been taken from my shoulders.  For one thing, even though all that paper was organized in our filing cube, getting rid of it freed up some much needed space in our office area.  Secondly, it forced me to evaluate my system and decide on a new one.

After all, why should I keep the statements after I’ve paid the bill or the payment has been processed through our bank account?

And so, after careful consideration, we changed our system.  As mail is collected each day, we keep in the same location until the payments are made.  Luckily for us, we only receive one paper statement; our other bills, including my student loans, are all paperless at this time.  Once our payments are made, then I will shred the papers.  I figure that this will mean I will need to shred our excess papers just once a month.  Aside from our bills, we only receive roughly two or three credit card offers per month.  So, shredding our documents once a month is sufficient for our household.

As for the rest of the mail, our system is fairly easy.  We only keep the ads for the main store we visit each week.  I rarely even look at other stores’ ads.  I know that this may seem counterintuitive for some penny pinchers.  However, our favorite store has great deals every week, and our average spent at this store is close to what we would pay at a large superstore like Wal Mart or Target.

So, we don’t keep the other stores’ ads.  We also tend to toss junk mail as soon as it comes in our home.  I can’t believe how many “Current Resident” letters we get from cable providers, phone providers, and carpet cleaning companies!  And for our household these advertisements are obsolete.  And so we automatically toss these since our names are not listed on them.

Now, as for the documents we’ve kept, we’ve kept the most important documents only.  Our legal documents, like birth certificates, tax documents, insurance paperwork, banking accounts and financial statements, car titles, and anything that is necessary for legal purposes.  All of these documents were placed in our fire safe, as well as our photo albums and wedding mementos, sentimental papers, and baby book.

And we have not regretted this decluttering, nor have we seen a drawback to it.  If anything, it has actually motivated us to continue on this trend with our master closet and the rest of our home.  And we actually love our lack of paper clutter in our home.

So, I highly recommend that you also start shredding your old bills and unnecessary documents.  Ensure that any documents still on hand have been settled and are no longer needed, such as old medical paperwork that no longer matters or extremely old taxes that are more than ten years old.  Be sure to keep the most pertinent and legal information, but take the time to clear the excess paperwork from your house today.  It is definitely worth the space it leaves behind.

Until next time,

-BBM

Spotlight On: Bullet Journal

Hello Readers!  Well, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by my to do list.  For a long time, I didn’t keep track of my to do list on paper because I often will feel overwhelmed by it or by trying to perfect my list.  However, I am a planner, and I have been known to over plan well in advance of being in advance.  For example, I’m currently preparing for a possible long-term organization project with family members out of town, and I am already planning my weeks and schedule through mid June.

But before I get into my process, allow me to explain the history of the Bullet Journal.  If you haven’t learned about it before, the Bullet Journal (or BuJo) was developed by Ryder Carroll from New York as a means of organizing his schedule and his to-do list in a streamlined method that implemented bullet points.  Hence the name.  Since his invention of this method, it has evolved into an art form completely of its own.  It can be as elaborate or minimalistic as you please.  I prefer a mix myself.  I have pages with my writing or planning process, and then I’ll have pages of nothing but my schedule.  So, let’s get into my BuJo and how I got hooked.

Now, having a list of projects and tasks to do was rough on me.  I have tried tons of methods to keep track of my goals and my projects, but it’s difficult to get started on the daily tasks to reach my goals when I couldn’t see how to break it down.  And using products like the Passion Planner or the Crush It Planner don’t help me break down my goals.  I’m a literary person, and I prefer to work through my concerns or thoughts with words, and most of these products don’t allow me enough space to get it all on paper.

But the Bullet Journal does.  Because there is no “end” to my space, I can write as much as I want or work through my ideas to formulate a plan.  This gives me a means to break down my projects and ideas in a way that makes sense for me, and it helps me plan my daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists.  This really does help with my own schedule organization, and it helps me learn how I spend my time every day.

What was most important was learning how others utilize their own BuJos and being inspired by their methods.  I’ve tried a few of them myself, and I found some of my favorite pages and methods to really help me get through my to do list.  First, for me, I had to implement a Year-At-A-Glance section at the front of the BuJo.  This was key for me to have access to a yearly calendar as well as a space to write my monthly events and activities.  I use my space for the monthly events to keep track of birthdays, appointments (such as our son Sean’s check ups with his pediatrician that I have to schedule three months out), and my cleaning focus for that month.  Knowing what cleaning project I want to tackle each month, such as my wardrobe twice per year or my carpet shampooing and deep cleaning the upholstery once per year, helps me plan out my months later on.

Next I created a yearly goals section.  I have a few goals for the year: reading goals, weight loss goals, money saving goals, and decluttering goals.  Having a space to keep track of my goals is crucial.  I also can easily refer to all of my goals to see if I have reached any mini-breaks or mini-rewards for my goals.  For example, I have implemented a few non-food related rewards into my weight loss chart built into it.  At the first mark of twenty pounds down, I have a mini reward to get a pedicure.  At the next twenty down, I have another mini reward for a facial.  And from there they go on.  I chose rewards that would be a “treat” for me and ones that I don’t always get due to our tight finances.

After these, I included a section for my monthly calendar and monthly projects list.  My calendar is a simple calendar with just the dates and any important information such as appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, and meetings.  My monthly projects includes the breakdown for the month for my goals or cleaning projects, including the monthly due dates and start dates.  This is all for reference so I can flip back and keep everything organized throughout the month.

Once I have this done, I start on my weekly sections.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to organize this, but I soon found my favorite method that helps with no just my to do list but also with planning out the week a little in advance.  I can’t remember which BuJo it was, but I saw one user who added in the weather forecast for each day of the week in their BuJo for easy access.  Now, most of my weeks are fairly simple to manage all week since I am a SAHM and I am home most days.  So, it is easy for me to prep for the entire week ahead of time by writing out my week on the weekend, leaving space each day for a couple of extra to-do tasks based on how the week goes, and just leave my BuJo open to my week during the week to cross off my tasks and add to as the days pass.

By having the forecast listed on each day, I can easily plan out my wardrobe for the week as well.  Now, I don’t separate out my outfits for the week ahead of time in an organized fashion, but I do hold off on wearing certain items during the week or dressing for my week as it happens.  For example, I knew last week that it would be fairly nice all week except for on Friday when we had some rain.  I had a meeting to attend that afternoon for a real estate project, and I knew I would want my favorite navy stripe Tommy Hilfiger sweater for that day, so I held off on wearing it—opting to wear my other sweaters all week—to have this one ready for Friday.  I also knew I wanted to wear my red wool pencil skirt and black v neck sweater on Sunday, so I made a mental note of that when creating my weekly schedule so that I would remember to keep these articles available all week.

And that’s how I utilize my BuJo for now.  Tell me, Readers, what pages do you use in your own BuJos?

Until next time,

-BBM

DIY: Art Therapy Book

Hello Readers!  By now, I’m sure you’re looking outside at the snow or rain-drenched world and wishing that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow last week.  I know I can get there at times, especially when I’ve already completed most of my Winter evening activities of reading or projects, or because I’ve grown weary from my Winter activities list and I’m looking for something new to do.

So if you’re like me, you are itching to find something to do to keep yourself occupied or to entertain your kids while still stuck indoors over the next few weeks.  And one of my favorite activities at these times is to work on my Art Therapy Book.  This is a great method to exercise your creativity, to let your kids have fun, and to use a lot of recyclables and art materials when you may have just scraps or bits and pieces.  Now, an Art Therapy Book is a Special Education concept that I learned about when I decided to take a few education classes post degree.  I had originally planned to go into education like my mother and my sister have done, but my plans changed when I learned I was going to be a mom.  And while I love being a SAHM, I still don’t regret my learning experiences.

Anyway, in Special Education, or “Sped” as it’s known in education circles, the implementation of the Art Therapy Book is used for emotional and mental concerns, and it’s a wonderful way to relieve frustrations or express yourself.  And while it is a Sped concept, this is definitely a mechanism or project that anyone can utilize to relieve any seasonal depression, anxiety, or stress.  So, here’s how it works.

First, you need a notebook.  It doesn’t have to be a special one, such as one that you would use for your Bullet Journaling.  It doesn’t even have to be a new one.  You can use your kids’ old school notebooks or composition books for this if you have one lying around.  I personally like composition books because they are a little sturdier and the lack the spiral ring in the center.  As a lefty, those metal spirals can be painful!  So, when you find your notebook, take some time to glue a couple of pages together at a time.  Take a bottle of Elmer’s glue or a glue stick, and glue two or three pages together at once.  Don’t glue all of the pages together in one lump.  The purpose behind this is to make your pages more sturdy and thick enough to handle such mediums as watercolors and markers without bleeding through and affecting your other pages.

After gluing your pages together into groups or two or three, let your notebook dry.  I will warn you that the gluing process takes a lot of time, so be patient.  The next day, you can begin working on your Art Therapy Book.  With this notebook, you can do whatever you want with regard to art.  You can use any medium you want.  I use a mixture of mediums in my art: Tempora paints (like the Crayola ones or the ones you find in art classrooms), Sharpies, Markers, Colored pencils, crayons, pens, glitter, puff paints, stickers.  I use it all, even in the same notebook.  One of my favorite supplies, however, are old magazines.

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a collection of old magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, and National Geographic.  I love the pictures, especially those with flowers or creative designs, but I hate the clutter of having these magazines just stacking up in my bookshelves.  So my Art Therapy Books are a great way to use these pictures to express what makes me happy, or calm, or relaxed.  And it uses up these old magazines at the same time.

Typically, I like to find the magazines that match the season I’m in, such as the December, January, and February ones, and I’ll flip through them to find my inspiration for my theme.  I like to stick to the seasons because I feel that each season has something that makes it special and redeeming.  Once I find my theme—such as “Snowflakes and Hearts” for Winter, or poinsettias and yuletides, etc.—then I begin cutting out those pictures and begin decorating my Art Therapy Book.  And I let my book guide me from there.

Each day or two, I’ll sit down and spend an hour on my Art Therapy Book, and I do some creative page or piece within its pages, depending on my mood.  I might decide to do a doodle or a stained glass page today.  Tomorrow I might start cutting out snowflakes from paper and glue them to the next page.  I will even use a small section to write a small note about the art or the theme’s meaning to me.  And those little hours spent creating art in my notebook often calms me down and makes me feel better about the world around me.

Now, this should be kept separate from your Bullet Journal.  The purpose of this Art Therapy Book is to create art, not to organize your life.  We all strive for a perfectly organized home and schedule, myself included.  This should be chaotic and childish.  This should be messy.  This should be your creative outlet in your life.  And I hope you will embrace it like I have in the past and like I still do today.

Until next time,

-BBM

Ideas for Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Hello Readers!  I hope your Superbowl party was a hit and that everyone had a good time this weekend.  We enjoyed attending my sister’s party, mostly to spend time catching up and seeing one another.  Our son Sean is fascinated with my sister’s split level staircase, and he spent the entire time going up and down the stairs, when he wasn’t showing us his nice hands with her Golden Lab and Golden Retriever!

Anyway, today I want to talk about Valentine’s Day and a couple of celebration ideas I have for you to share with your family, and especially with your kids.  Now, whether or not you agree with the history of the holiday or its origin, one thing is for certain: it’s a fun holiday for kids to enjoy.  Just like Halloween, Valentine’s Day can be made into a celebration that kids can enjoy just as much as adults.  So, let’s get started!

My first idea is the Heart Attack.  Literally, give your family a “heart attack”.  Here’s how it works: prior to Valentine’s Day (roughly a week before), spend some private time cutting up hearts from construction paper, computer paper, and what not.  I know you’re thinking that you don’t have that time, but I know I typically have at least an hour between the time our son Sean goes down for the night and when I go down for the night, and I typically spend that time watching Last Man Standing or a movie and scrolling through my social media because I want something to do with my hands.  So, instead, take that time to cut up hearts, or try doing it when the kids go down for a nap.  Then, on the big day, scatter the hearts all over the floors and the furnishings, tape them to the walls, and use them to decorate the house.  When your kids see it, they will be amazed!  Yes, it’s messy.  Yes, it takes time.  But the look on your kids’ faces will be worth it in the end.  If you include a fun trinket or gift in the center, it will make that gift ten times more special.

Next up, do a special breakfast.  Make heart shaped pancakes, or make them pink and red with food coloring, top them with strawberries and whipped cream.  Or, you can make red velvet ones. Or red velvet waffles.  The sky is the limit on this one.  Whatever you do, make their Valentine’s Day breakfast a great one.  My idea: red velvet pancakes cut into hearts, topped with whipped cream and strawberries and strawberry milk.  Something as fun and simple as this will really start the day off right.

Now, for lunch, I would suggest doing something special as well.  Hide little messages under their sandwiches or fruit.  Cut their sandwiches into hearts, cut their their fruit into hearts.  Send them with a small treat, such as a mini Hershey’s bar or a Kiss or two.  Make their lunch something extraordinary.  Still keep it healthy, with a great variety of fruits and vegetables as well as good sources of healthy fats and fiber, but do something with their lunch to make it special.  My own mom, for example, used to use cookie cutters to make special shapes for our sandwiches for various events, such as our birthdays, holidays, and special events in our schools and community.  For example, every January our hometown hosts a Cowboy Poetry event at which many western poets perform their works.  During that week, my sandwiches were always cut into fun western shapes like cowboy boots, cowboy hats, horses, and whatnot.  It made the week a special one for me.  And since then, she’s passed her extensive collection of cookie cutters on to me so I can do the same thing at a later point.  Anyway, you probably have a heart-shaped cookie cutter you can use for this as well.

Another thought is to do the cut outs even if your kids are at home with you.  I do this with Sean even now with his sandwiches, and I use my miniature cutters to make fun shapes for him.  Toddlers may not appreciate it right away, like Sean who doesn’t notice, but they will eventually see the shapes and enjoy the event.

Now, I also recommend making sugar heart cookies with your kids for the holiday.  Even Sean enjoys making cookies and cakes with us and with his family members.  They are fascinated with the process, and it’s a great way to bond with your kids.  Getting them involved will also teach them basic cooking skills that can help them later in life.  You can even set them down to decorate the cookies after they’ve cooled down.  Use a pink or red frosting, sprinkles, candies, and chocolate to decorate the cookies at the table.  Cover the table in a vinyl cloth or newspaper taped down with masking tape, put the kids in an apron or in their painting clothes, give them a spatula or kiddie knife, and let them go to town.  It’s a great way to enjoy the holiday, and your kids will love being able to make a mess while getting creative.  Keep in mind that they will probably eat more than they decorate, but they will love the experience and you can easily keep them occupied for an hour or so.

A final thought is to do a Valentine’s Day box.  Much like a Christmas box, this can be a great addition for a family night activity on Valentine’s Day.  I know that the event falls on a Tuesday, which may not be your typical family night, but make an exception for the holiday if you can.   Find a Rom-Com or Disney movie to watch, place it in a box with their favorite treats and popcorn, add in their favorite juice drinks or water, and wrap it in the paper you reserve for weddings and anniversaries.  And then let your kids open it after school, after their homework is completed, or after dinner.  And then spend the night as a family watching the movie and celebrating the holiday.  It’s a great way to pass the evening, and your kids will feel special that they get to do the extraordinary on an ordinary day.

I hope these ideas inspire you to make the holiday a hit in your family!

Until next time,

-BBM

In this week…

Hello Readers!  Wow!  Another week, and another month, gone already!  Where is the time going?  It has truly been busy in my little world this week!  Of course, last weekend my husband Ryan and I attended a painting class with bottomless mimosas to celebrate our anniversary.  My in-laws also watched our son Sean for us Friday night in order to give us a night off, which was great since we needed it!

On top of that, I’ve been busy with my 21 Day Fix Extreme Round 1.  Oh my goodness!  It’s been challenging yet rewarding for me!  My final weigh in will be on Monday, but I don’t think I will find a significant weight loss right now.  And I’m not banking on it.  However, I’m still proud of my success.  This isn’t my first time doing the 21 Day Fix challenge.  This is my third attempt.  However, this is the first time I’ve felt good about it.

My first two times came when I was looking for a “get skinny quick” gimmick.  I hate to say it, but I am embarrassed by my weight.  I see my wedding and engagement photos all the time, where I was skinny, and I feel bad about gaining weight.  I felt even worse about not losing any (but gaining, instead) after I had my son that I was depressed.  And then, at the end of last year I started thinking about my goals for 2016 and how I didn’t complete them at all.  I thought about how I wanted to lose weight, and about that time I had another 21 Day Fix post pop up on my Pinterest feed.  And my interest in it peaked again.  So, I started thinking about what went wrong in the past, and here’s what I learned:

  1. Don’t plan for others.  Only plan for yourself.
    So, in each previous attempt, I would get bogged down trying to adapt my meals to fit Ryan’s likes and dislikes.  This was a disaster for me because Ryan hates chicken, and it’s one of the only real meats to eat.  Instead, I was eating pork and not doing very well.  This time, I put my foot down and told Ryan he was on his own.  I let him see my meal plan and pick what meals he wanted to eat from it.  I accounted for that, but as for the rest he was on his own.  And it worked out just fine.
  2. Stick to Basics.
    I wanted to try all of the recipes before, and I wanted to make this plan more intriguing so I wouldn’t feel bored with my meals that I got frustrated with all of my cooking.  I also didn’t care for some of the meals.  So, I went back to the basics: chicken, eggs, oatmeal, salads, etc.  There were no overnight oatmeal attempts.  There were no smoothies or shakes to “squeeze” in another veggie source.  I stuck to what I knew I liked and what I would eat.  And it worked.  I loved my meals.  I loved my snacks.  And, while a couple things had to be tweaked to fit into the diet (like a new creamer source via coconut milk for my morning coffee), I didn’t get bored with it.
  3. Simplify.
    This ties into the previous post.  Every time I’ve attempted to make a meal plan for the 21 Day Fix, I have tried to make it as non-boring as possible.  This time, I stuck to one breakfast the entire time (oatmeal with 1/2 banana, peanut butter, and a hard boiled egg), I’ve kept to the same basic lunch every day (typically a good salad with a protein of some kind), and I’ve kept to simple dinners.  I also kept the same meal plan all three weeks.  My lunches, snacks, and dinners were varied enough to keep it from getting too boring, and it simplified my grocery list since I already had it down and didn’t need to write a new one each week.
  4. Forgive yourself.
    Mistakes happen.  Bad days occur.  You will slip up, especially in the beginning.  I had a couple of cheats, mostly due to events like the painting class and a wardrobe meeting I attended.  I reminded myself to maintain control over what I consumed, but I also forgave myself for the cheat.  And trusting myself to maintain control in the face of temptation had a huge impact on my feelings about it.
  5. Remind yourself.
    When the workouts got tough and I was in pain, I reminded myself of why I was doing this.  When I weighed myself and saw that my weight hadn’t changed, I reminded myself that my weight hadn’t been gained overnight and would take time coming off.  When I woke up and didn’t see any change, I reminded myself to feel the change.  My muscles are sore because they’re getting worked again.  I’m sweaty after my workouts because I’m making a change.  I’m having to go to the restroom more frequently because I’ve increased my water intake to flush toxins from my system.  I remind myself that it may take a few rounds to see any weight loss, but at least I’ll feel better as I get there.
  6. Listen to Autumn.
    As annoying as she can be in those videos, what she says really does help.  Giving it all you’ve got, even if it’s only 40 seconds, is better than nothing.  Keep pushing or you won’t make any progress.  It all works if you try and you believe.
  7. Stick to what you like.
    Confession: I don’t do Shakeology.  It’s why I won’t be a coach.  I hate Shakeology.  I’m not even a fan of protein powders.  Before, I tried to do a protein powder with no luck.  I tried to do a green smoothie and I failed.  I hated them!  I felt like I was choking them down, and after a few days I started rummaging in the pantry for something else for snack time.  This time, I skipped the smoothies and powders.  I stuck to protein sources I like for snack time: cottage cheese, eggs, tuna, chicken, and turkey.  And as for veggies, I started doing a salad with 2 or more veggies for lunch.  I found that I love cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes for a snack!  I love Greek Yogurt Chicken salads with 2 cups of veggies, chicken and yogurt, some pumpkin seeds, and some avocado for lunch.  I love tuna and hot sauce!  Eggs, of course, are so filling!  And having meals I liked made it so much easier to stick to the plan.
  8. Try different water options.
    This is one that I learned during the previous rounds, but I learned more this round.  I toyed with different water bar recipes, and I found that I love basil in water!  It has such a crisp flavor!  I loved it with cucumber, too!  I also love plain sparkling water with a little lemon and lime added.  While I took advantage of my option to have a glass of milk in lieu of a yellow container 3 times a week, I did allow myself a small “treat” on my other 4 days of the week.  At dinner, if I had finished my water requirement, I got to have a bottle of sparkling water.  Adding lemon and lime, along with a glass and ice, I felt like I was cheating!  It was like having a soda on my diet.  Not everyone can do the sparkling water, but for me it was a great way to relax after a day of nothing but water and altered coffee.  In fact, I only had one cup of coffee a day before I started on my water requirements, so the sparkling water gave me a break from flat water.  And I had to have flavor in my water.  Be it citrus, or cucumbers, or basil, or ginger.  My water needed flavor so I didn’t feel water-logged.

All of this has helped me maintain my positivity and my progress through this round, and I’m excited to keep up the workouts after this week.  I’m also eager to start the next round in a couple of weeks.  If nothing else, the workouts will help get me to my goal weight of 135, and that’s what I’m working toward.  I didn’t get to where I am overnight, and I’m not going to get to where I want to be overnight.  But working on it every day and working out every day will help me get there a little more each day.

Now, I must say that I do have my goal of hitting 135 pounds.  This is my overall weight loss goal.  And while it may not happen in this year, I’m going to try for it.  To help me out, I have a reward at the end of a painting class of my choice, which my husband Ryan has agreed to.  I just love these classes!  And I’ve never been one for painting before.  But, to help me along, I have mini goals for myself.  For instance, when I get down by twenty pounds, I get to get a pedicure.  After twenty more pounds, I can get a manicure.  I chose these rewards because I know they will help me work harder.  If I know I only have to lose 20 pounds for the first reward, I’ll get there.  Especially for a pedicure!  I may change my mind and do a massage instead of a manicure, but I’m not sure yet.  For now, I’m keeping it as is.  It’s important for me to set realistic goals with rewards in place like this.  And for me, these luxuries are a real treat!  On our income, especially right now as Ryan gets into a new career after a low-paying one, I don’t get a pedicure every week, and I’ve only gotten one manicure since we got married two years ago.  So, these little mini rewards are a big deal to me.  And, best of all, they aren’t food-related, except for the painting class.

See, one of the painting studios in our area does a theme for every class.  Wednesday is Wine Night where bottles of wine are half off.  Fridays are $5 glass nights.  Saturday mornings are Bottomless Mimosas, Saturday nights are Sangria nights.  Sunday afternoons are Bloody (Mary) Sundays.  It’s fun to try a new painting and enjoy the theme, even if it is alcohol related.  But it’s the fun I didn’t have in college, and I love doing them.

And so, that’s been my focus this week.  Enjoy your weekend and enjoy your Superbowl parties!

Until next week,

-BBM

Tackle It! February’s Project

Hello Readers!  Whew!  What a month January turned out to be!  I had some great plans and projects, and I’m happy with my progress.  So, let’s do a quick recap.  My first project was my daily and weekly cleaning.  I’m happy to report that this project was a success!  Mind you, with my husband Ryan starting his new career this month, my schedule was thrown out the window and a new one took over.  But, it was the same one I had just on different days.  We have taken to it like a duck to water!

The second one was the spirituality one.  Needless to say, this was a dud.  I barely find time to write posts anymore, let alone to do daily bible study!  Sadly, this is one that I have felt a need for in my life, and it’s the one that often doesn’t make the cut into my days.  I can say that we did start attending a new church, which may help me in my spiritual journey.  I have been searching for a new church and new congregation for a long time, mainly because my childhood religion is now filled with some awful memories that have affected my beliefs.  Still, we are enjoying our new church services, and I’m glad that Ryan’s new career means weekends off so we can attend church together.

My third project, decluttering my kitchen, was slightly successful.  I changed my focus from my kitchen to the dining room/office area first.  For me, it’s important to have a clean work space, and our office space was split into two sections.  I needed to condense it down and organize it in a way that seemed much more cohesive and clean.  Our bookcase was overflowing with books, many of which I knew we would never read, and we managed to weed out about one third of our books.  We donated them to our local library, and we are so excited to have a clean bookcase once again!

My final project, my capsule wardrobe, is still underway and is still successful.  I feel so confident in my clothes!  I get dressed every day, even if I’m only sitting around the house doing my housework.  It motivates me to be productive every day, and I’m really finding my way through it.

Now, I got a wild hair on my head shortly after the month began about trying the 21 Day Fix Extreme once again, and I started mid month on a new round of the program.  I won’t go into too much detail as I want to talk about it tomorrow, but I will say that it was more successful this time.

And that leads me to my focus for the month of February.  My first project is to continue on the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts.  I will finish with the portion control part of the program on Sunday, and afterward I will stay with the workouts.  I plan on only taking two weeks off of the portion control before jumping back onto another round of the 21 Day Fix Extreme on the 20th of the month.  My biggest issue with losing weight is the exercising part.  I already eat fairly healthy, even with a sweet tooth, but I suck at working out.  I don’t like to “feel the burn”, and I hate waking up in pain.  I already have some light chronic pain, especially with feet due to my high arches and my lower back due to a twisted pelvic joint.  So the last thing I want is more pain due to exercise.  But, I’m planning on sticking with it all of February.  To be honest, I think it might be successful; I’ve had fun with it so far, and I’ve surprised even myself this round.

My next project is the Master Closet.  I’m continuing my declutter project with this room for February and the first week of March.  I have a ton of clutter in my closet, and my shelves are full of my crafting goods.  My goal is to turn my closet shelves into my “dresser” storage with cute baskets and cubes so that I can clean out my dresser and get it out.  My dresser is part of a set that belongs in a little girl’s room, and it’s high time that I find a little girl to love it.  I may eventually buy another dresser.  But right now, my dresser is nothing more than a nuisance, and our son Sean loves to annoy me by opening the drawers and pulling my clothes out.  So, my ultimate goal is to move my clothes into the closet (where he hates to be) and have more space in our bedroom without a second dresser.

My third project is my reading list.  I had tried to start on a book about the history of Rome in January with no success.  I just couldn’t get into it right now!  So, I have tabled that book for now as I’m trying to find energy to read.  I have a new book on my list to read: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.  I have heard great reviews of this book, and I thought I would read it myself.  I’m also working on rereading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman with my husband Ryan.  So, these are my reading goals for the month.

Aside from that, I’m continuing my work on my capsule wardrobe.  I have a couple of pieces I want to get during the Winter apparel clearance sales, so I’ll be working on that.  I’m also going to begin fine-tuning my needs for my other gear: intimates, workout gear, socks & hosiery, bags, accessories, etc.  I know that while my wardrobe is almost set, my other gear is in desperate need of pruning and redoing.  I want to get an idea of what I need overall before my March projects come up since my Master Bedroom (and dresser) will be due then.

My final project of the month is to utilize my bullet journal.  I started the bullet journal in January as a test to see if it was useful.  And so far, I’ve liked the freedom of having everything in it.  However, I am having difficulties with my to-do list.  I can never find time to write it all down!  I always feel like I’m rushing to get to my bullet journal, but a lot of it is just trying to incorporate it into my already busy day.  It is getting a little easier, especially since I’m learning my way around it and around what I need to write down each day (I certainly don’t need to remind myself to do my daily cleaning every day!) and what can be left for my tracker.  It’s definitely a work in progress.

And that’s it for my February projects and goals:

  1. Continue the 21 Day Fix Extreme Workouts and start Round 2 on February 20th
  2. Declutter my Master Closet
  3. Read The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The 5 Love Languages
  4. Continue my Capsule Wardrobe project and work on other wear
  5. Work on Bullet Journal more

Until next time,

-BBM

Turning on Yourself: February focus

Hello Readers!  Happy February!  Today marks the first day of the month, and this is a great time to talk about February’s focus for us: your love affairs.

I know it sounds crazy, but even if you’re married you should still have an affair.  I don’t mean one outside of your marriage.  I mean with your partner.  It’s so important to your family and marriage that you and your spouse or significant other still have a love affair with one another.  After all, you have promised to love each other to the end.  The only way to keep that promise is to keep your love affair going until the end.

As much as we like to focus all of our attention on our kids and on our family, it’s important to remember how that family began and who the key people are.  While your children are important, your relationship with your spouse is the most important one of all.  After all, how can you be a family without the initial love affair that started it all?  So, we really need to take time to focus on that love affair and foster a healthy relationship with our spouse or significant other.

This may seem easy for me, but even for me it can be difficult.  With my husband Ryan working a full time plus job in a new career field at this time and our son Sean toddling around and getting into everything, I can assure you that even my focus strays from my love affair.  I’m often tired, cranky, sore from workouts, and the only thing I typically want when Sean goes to bed is a moment’s peace.  Even as I write this I have my attention split between Sean and my post, especially since he’s learned to climb and has become my little daredevil.

It’s not easy.  It’s hard.  It’s especially hard to juggle everything we have in our days: work, family, appointments, cooking, cleaning, and then there’s our workouts, social lives, marriage, and personal time.  It’s a lot to take in, even for a SAHM like me!  While my work is all about my household, I still have to find time to post every day, and I’m constantly researching and brainstorming ideas for my projects and posts.  I often feel like when I sit down to do my posts or research, Sean decides that’s when he’s going to act up the most.  And I often have to stop writing to remedy the situation with him, roll over the laundry, refill my infuser bottle with water, and take care of whatever else is there.  And then I have to remember what I was doing only to be interrupted again by Sean or the phone.  So I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with everything every day.

Still, my relationship with my husband-my “love affair”- needs to be an important part of my day and of my life.  And even I need a reminder of why I’m in my relationship, especially on the hard days of fights or arguments.  Yes, even I experience them.  So, this is really a month to focus more energy on why you’re together and on restoring your love affair.  I highly recommend taking a night off, completely, from being parents and be a couple again.  If possible, let your kids stay with a relative that lives nearby.  We’re lucky enough to have my sister, my in-laws, and various other relatives in our area, some of whom are willing–if not eager–to take our son Sean for a night.  In fact, we had my in-laws watch him overnight this weekend while we celebrated our anniversary.

If you don’t have family nearby, perhaps you can still find other means.  Maybe you can get an experienced babysitter or close friend to watch your kids overnight while you and your partner stay at a hotel one night.  Or you can see if your kids can stay overnight with friends if they are old enough for sleepovers.  Always make sure your kids are safe and that they are with an adult, but give them the opportunity to be away for a night.  And give yourself the time and space you need to focus on your relationship.  It can do wonders,  not only for your love affair but also for your parenting skills.

Another tip is to read a book together, especially one that focuses on marriage and relationships.  Years ago before we got married, Ryan and I started reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  While we stopped due to our busy schedules, I have it on our list of nightly duties to read this book together once again this month.  Best of all, this is a shorter book with a few chapters and should be easy for any couple to read together.  Taking a half hour each night to read and talk will improve your communication and your relationship.

My last bit of advice for this month is to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and your partner.  This is the toughest part.  We all have our own way of doing things, and it can sometimes be difficult to live with someone who does things differently or who thinks differently that you do.  Sometimes you can get so caught up in your thoughts and ideas or your plans that you forget that your partner can’t read your mind.  I know because I’ve sometimes exploded when I had a list of “Honey Do’s” and Ryan wasn’t reading my mind for the list.  We are, each of us, unique.  And our partners are unique from us.  Instead of getting mad over this, celebrate it and compliment them for what you like about them.  Maybe they’re great with your kids.  Maybe they do a great job at work.  Maybe they help out around the house.  Maybe they know how to make you laugh.  Try each day to compliment them and focus on their positive aspects instead of nagging them or seeing the negative.  You may find that all of the problems become obsolete, and your great love affair will be once more.

Above all, maintain the love that you have and celebrate it this month.

Until next time

-BBM

What to Buy this Month-February

Hello Readers!  Can you believe that we have already lived through one full month of 2017?  Whew!  Where did January go?  I hope that you have kept with your goals of this year, especially if it’s one about saving money!  If not, don’t fret!  Today is a great day to start, especially since you still have eleven months left to make the most of your goals!  I, especially, have been excited about the goals I started this year, and I’m happy to say that so far we are on track to do well for the rest of the year!

Anyway, I want to spend some time today telling you about some great ways to save money this month.  Who doesn’t love to save a bit on their purchases?  Let me tell you, there are some great deals coming up this month that you are sure to love, and some odd ones that can really save you time and money in the long run!  So, let’s get started.

First of all, your in season produce is going to be difficult to come by, especially if you’re all about the organics.  Broccoli and cauliflower are your only veggies in season right now, and pineapples and mangoes are your fruit choices.  So, this is a good month to rely on your root vegetables and year-round selections for produce.  Bananas, potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, beets, and even winter squash should be your go-to selections for the month as well as what’s in season.

Now, February is also a good month to get oatmeal and frozen breakfast foods as they are on sale this month.  So, if your kids are hooked on Eggos, February is the time to stock up and save some cash.  You can also find canned foods on sale, so you should stock up on a few of them as well.  I love shoestring beets, so February is when I like to buy canned beets and save some serious cash for the year!  In the first week of the month, too, you will find snack foods and favorite appetizers on sale for the Superbowl, and after Valentine’s Day candy will be for sale.  So, go ahead and indulge yourself with those Kisses you can’t resist!

After Valentine’s Day you will also find the holiday decor on sale.  If you’re frugal like me, you might even buy valentines for your kids and store them for next year.  Even though valentines are inexpensive, those savings can really add up over time!  Don’t plan on storing any candy, however, as they tend to not last.  Still, you can purchase a nice deluxe valentine set, replace any candy with bagged candy next year, and have a great valentine for next year.  Just keep in mind that favorite shows and characters change each year based on what’s come out and what’s on television.  I would choose a more classic or age-appropriate set, such as Hot Wheels or animals.

Now, February is a month for sales.  Not only do we have President’s Day sales the weekend of the 20th, we also will find a lot of Winter apparel on sale.  Coats, boots, mittens, hats, and Winter clothes will all be on sale this month as stores try to dump their Winter gear to prepare for the Spring fashions that will roll out in March.  I’m really excited about this because I have a few items for my Capsule Wardrobe that I need to purchase, and I can really score some great deals on those items.  I found that the stylish calf boots I bought this Fall weren’t as efficient in snow and on ice as I would have liked, and they were difficult to wear under jeans, which made them not so great this Winter.  So, those will be replaced with more effective boots, and I have already found a pair I love!  I also realized that my red wool peacoat isn’t the world’s best attire when playing in the snow with a little one, and I’ve spotted a 3-in-1 parka coat set that would be ideal.  So, those are on my watch list as prices begin to drop this month.

While your wardrobe may be set, your kids will definitely need coats for next year.  You can guess that your kids will grow by at least one size in the next year, so this is a great time to get their coats for next year.  You can save yourself some serious cash in the process.  And if they end up growing more than anticipated, you can always sell the coat to recover some costs next Fall.  Some people do hunt for those deals online, and they are willing to pay for a coat with tags still on it.

After Valentine’s Day, you will also find gift sets and perfume at very low prices.  If your scent is often pricey, like my Chanel can be, the week after Valentine’s Day may be a good time to stock up for the year.  Of course, you may just get lucky and have your spouse or significant other purchase that bottle of perfume for you for the holiday.  For the rest of us, we can often save ourselves some good money by waiting until after Valentine’s Day to get our bottle.  You can also find sporting goods on sale in February, especially those for Winter sports like skis and snowboards.  If you can, look into buying your goods this month and save on your gear for next Winter.

Finally, now is the time to save on air conditioners.  In fact, I would have your air conditioner serviced in February if you can.  It’s a slower time for HVAC companies, and you will find out if your system is due for a replacement before the hotter months come around.  It can save you a lot of hassle, stress, time, and money later on.  And your HVAC guy will thank you for it as he is probably eager for work right now and knows that it will be extremely busy when the temperatures rise.  So, take some time to get your system serviced now before it gets too busy to get someone in.

And, most of all, enjoy saving your money all month on these sales!

Until next time,

-BBM

In this Month…February Events and Ideas

Hello Readers!  I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did.  While our anniversary isn’t until tomorrow, my husband Ryan and I celebrated this weekend by dropping our son Sean off at his grandparents’ home Friday night, having a night to ourselves, and attending a bottomless Mimosa painting class Saturday morning.  While I did cheat on my 21 Day Fix program again by having a mimosa (or three), we had a great time and enjoyed our celebration.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today.  Today I want to focus on the upcoming month of February and give you some ideas about what to do with your family for this month.  February is a wonderful time of the year!  It’s the last cold month of the Winter season, and it’s such a short month that so much can be done in its days.  It also holds a couple of fun holidays and it’s the last “playful” month before Lent begins.  It’s also the month that most people stray from their Resolutions, if they haven’t done so already!  Even though it’s still cold outside, let’s jump into a few of my favorite activities to do in the month of February.

To start with, I love going to museums and libraries in February.  Even though these are open year round, this is a great time to get in and learn something new.  Why not take your kids to story time at your local library?  Or, you can always go check out the latest exhibit at the museum.  This is a great way to get your kids excited about learning.  Best of all, some of these events are free.  Your local library, of course, is always free to the community.  And most museums now offer a “free” day in which admission is free or at a reduced cost.  For us, the second Saturday of every month is free.  So, while it’s still too cold to go outside for long periods of time, these free activities are a great way to occupy your kids and get them out of the house.

Now, as for the holidays, there are a ton of holidays in February, and not all of them are unknown.  Of course, we all know that the second day of the month is Groundhog Day.  This is a wonderful time to teach your kids about weather and the old tale of Groundhog Day.  Kids love it!  The Superbowl game is on the fifth day of the month.  Now, while you may not be a fan of the game or of the sport, this is still a good time to host or attend a party and socialize with friends and family.  I, personally, am not a huge fan of American football.  But my husband Ryan loves all sports, and my sister and her family are very much into football.  So, we often attend their Superbowl party to socialize and catch up on each other’s lives.  Believe it or not, but even my sister and I barely have a moment to call each other and catch up because she is a busy working mom.  So, even if you aren’t a fan of the sport, attending a Superbowl party can be great fun for all.

Of course, we can’t talk about February events without discussing the most popular of them all: Valentine’s Day.  Whether or not you believe that the holiday was created by greeting card companies, like my husband would love to believe, just know that its roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a ceremony centered on fertility that occurred on February 15th.  But, around 496, Pope Gelasius I declared that this pagan holiday would become a Christian feast on the 14th instead.  So, this holiday does have ancient roots that extend further back than greeting card companies.

Still, if you want to avoid the candy rush or influx of sweets for your kids, why not plan a special game or event for them to celebrate the day?  Maybe you can make them edible playdough to enjoy in the morning.  Or, you can do a scavenger/treasure hunt in which the “treasure” can be toys and trinkets.  You can even call it “St. Valentine’s treasure”.  You can a craft with red paper and hearts, or you can have them make cards for family members.  This is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with your kids, and it’s one of the few holidays in the coldest months that most people can enjoy.  Make the most of it!

Now, after Valentine’s Day we have President’s Day on the 20th.  If you have kids in school, they may have this day off.  Aside from the sales, this is a great day to teach your children about our nation’s history and its past leaders.  Maybe you can let them pick which president they would like to learn about and spend the day on Wikipedia learning about that president.  Although Wikipedia isn’t considered an academically credible source for collegiate essays or papers, it’s still a valid source to learn from.  And spending some time learning about our presidents can only help your children develop into brighter citizens of our country.  And you might be surprised to learn more about our presidents and their pasts as well.

At the end of the month we also have Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday on the same day, February 28th.  Now, Mardi Gras is about more than just beads and New Orleans.  Mardi Gras is big in New Orleans because it’s a celebration of the French landing in Lousiana in 1699.  However, this is due to its origin.  Mardi Gras was once known as Carnival in Europe and it is tied to Lent.  In ancient times, the Catholic church felt it would be easier to work with the pagan holidays than to completely abolish them, and so they incorporated the pagan traditions into the Catholic calendar by creating a day of debauchery and fun before Lent.  This came to be called by many names, but the common ones are Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, and Shrove Tuesday.  Now, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day because it’s the traditional feast day before Lent.  Historically, Anglo-Saxons would go to confession on the Tuesday before Lent to be “shriven” or washed of their sins.  Hence the name.

So while the day does have a dark and lecherous past, the last day of the month can be redeemed for your family.  First, explain the jist of Lent to your children–its purpose of sacrifice to represent the sacrifice given by Jesus–and ask them what they would be willing to give up, food wise, for Lent.  Then, plan a big celebration with those foods incorporated as a Shrove Tuesday meal.  Or, you can plan to do pancakes for breakfast that day as a nod to the Pancake Day celebration. Whatever you do, plan on doing something that sheds a different light on the holiday.

Finally, keep in mind that February is Black History Month and American Heart Month.  Regardless of your politics, African Americans have made some very big contributions to our national history, and it’s important to teach your children about some of them.  Why not research Martin Luther King, Jr., or Rosa Parks?  As dark as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was, you can still explain why it is such an important part of our history.  You can teach them about the Emancipation Proclamation, of the Underground Railroad, and of great historical figures like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, and the other abolitionists and leaders of the time.  Whatever you plan to do, however, I beg that you avoid politicizing it unless you absolutely know and understand the true politics of these movements.  We already have too much hate and resentment between the two major political parties in this country, and we really need to work together on educating our next generation on equality and comradeship for all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, politics, gender, or orientation.  It’s the only way to heal our nation’s pain and move forward.

Anyway, I will get off my soapbox and say that this month is one that should be celebrated and enjoyed by all!

Until next time,

-BBM

 

 

 

In this Week…

Hello Readers!  Wow!  What a week it’s been!  In fact, the last two weeks have been crazy in our household.  Last Monday on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, my husband Ryan started with his new company in a field he’s been trying to enter for quite some time: logistics.  Both he and I are nerds in that sense.  We both rocked at Tetris as kids, and we’re both excellent at literal coordination and logistics.  I am a complete klutz physically, but I do very well with coordinating schedules, organization, and figuring out the logistics of schedules.  And Ryan is very much the same.  In fact, we did logistics in our previous jobs where we met.  It was a major part of our days.  Anyway, he’s really excited and eager to excel in this career path, and I’m excited because it means so many opportunities are available to us.  Aside from the increase of our income once his training period is over, we also are enjoying a better schedule.  It is so nice to have him home at a decent hour instead of sometime around 9 or 10 at night!  And to have weekends and holidays free will be fantastic for our family and for our out of towners that visit from time to time.

Aside from that, I personally have been reaping the benefits of his new schedule since I started on my first round of 21 Day Fix Extreme for this year just last week.  I don’t want to tell too much about it as I will cover more of it next week when I am almost finished.  But I can say that this time around I have already been more successful than before. My first day, for example, was last Monday.  And while I had a severe migraine all day, mostly due to lack of sleep, I still did very well.  I even opted not to have one of my fruits!  I didn’t cheat.  I didn’t stray from my meal plan, except for once.  But I’ll explain that next week.

Instead, I really want to talk about my capsule wardrobe this week.  I’ve been trying to not give too much away about it, but I’ve been really excited and optimistic about it.  Last Tuesday, I attended a luncheon and presentation on the capsule wardrobe with my mother in law.  It was the one meal I cheated with on my 21 Day Fix so far, but I had planned on that happening.  Anyway, I was really excited about this presentation because it’s exactly what I’ve been doing with my own wardrobe.  Let me tell you about my experience with the capsule wardrobe.

I stumbled upon a pin about “Project 333” on Pinterest in late September, and I was instantly intrigued about it.  If you don’t know, Project 333 is a challenge to wear only 33 items for 3 months.  This doesn’t mean that you can only wear something once in three months; it means that for three months you are limited to only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months.  It’s a small time frame for the capsule wardrobe, and it’s what a lot of people seem drawn to.  I, personally, was intrigued by the idea of having a wardrobe that I loved and felt confident in.

At the time, you see, I was still in a state of depression.  While I still have my bouts of it right now, I suffered greatly from it in the Fall.  My late father and my paternal grandfather both passed away within a week of each other during my pregnancy, and that loss has haunted me as I was still in shock during my pregnancy.  I stayed in denial and pushed aside my grief because I was pregnant.  And when I finally started my own grieving process everyone else was beginning their closure.  So, it has been an uphill struggle for me to find peace and comfort when everyone else has moved on.

To add to that, I was extremely depressed about my weight.  In high school, I was very self conscious about the little pudge I had.  While people still comment that they never saw me as overweight, I was technically overweight.  But my rectangular frame meant that all of my pudginess was proportional.  And then, after high school, I suddenly lost the weight.  I was skinny until just after my wedding in January of 2015.  At that point, I was pregnant and I had quit working.  And while I was taking a few classes at the local college, I wasn’t on my feet as much as I had been at my previous job.  Before, I had typically walked five or six miles a day at work, which I tracked with a pedometer.  And then I wasn’t doing anything but sitting in classes and at home.  I also quit smoking shortly thereafter, and the oral fixation began in which I started eating to occupy my mind.  Overall, I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy.  And then I gained 20 more out of depression afterward.

Needless to say, this past Fall I was very unhappy with myself.  I barely got out of my pajamas unless I had to go somewhere.  And when I did venture outside, I stuck to about three outfits, even though I had a closet full of clothes.  So, when I saw the idea behind the capsule wardrobe, I was intrigued and eager to feel comfortable and confident in my wardrobe.  And I started planning.

My original idea for a wardrobe would’ve amounted to spending thousands of dollars right away, but window shopping online via Kohl’s (my go-to store that I have loved since I discovered it) gave me some insight into my own wardrobe needs.  I like classic looks, and I like comfortable pieces.  And while I do like my classics, I’m not a fan of straight black and white only.

So knowing my style and my fashion trends, I looked in my closet to figure out what I liked and what was working for me.  And inspiration struck when I came across a red wool skirt suit set that I had.  It was in my size and something I had received as a hand me down after gaining weight.  I had kept it because I loved it and thought that someday I would feel confident enough to wear it to an interview.  I loved it but I had never worn it because I had nowhere to wear it.  It was too nice for any old day, but it was useless in my closet.  And yet I was drawn to it because it was a classic pencil skirt set with a collarless blazer and big pearl buttons.  While it was a classic pencil skirt set, it was unique because of the color and the cut.  And suddenly, I started to see other pieces in my closet and drawers that were similar in design: pieces that I loved and pieces that were classic but unique.

And my wardrobe jumped out at me from there.  I immediately started tossing out pieces I hated or that no longer fit me.  I had kept all of my old prepregnancy clothes because I had naively believed I would bounce back to my old sizes.  And I still had my well worn and ill fitting pregnancy clothes that I was sick of seeing.  All of that was tossed out.  And almost immediately I realized a few key elements about my wardrobe:

  1. I had a lot of clothes that fit within my capsule wardrobe wants, although most of what I had was unique while still classic.
  2. I had a lot of black!

So, I broke the first rule of the capsule wardrobe and I purchased a couple items, mostly non-black shirts.  And while I have made a few purchases since October, I have spent a lot of time looking for what I need, evaluating each need, and determining if it’s truly necessary.  In all, I’ve only purchased five tops, one dress, two blouses,one cardigan, and one pair of slacks.  The rest is from my closet.  And I currently have 39 items, including shoes, for my entire wardrobe year round.  I have a list of ten purchases and four replacements that I want to get within the next year.  But, a lot of my purchases have been to replace what’s already too worn to wear or stained.  And the same goes for my wish list.  For example, this past week I realized that while I love my red wool pea coat, it isn’t practical for everyday use because it’s more dressy.  It was great for the holiday season, and it does well for right now.  But it’s difficult to wear it out to play in the snow.  So, I decided I want to get a Winter parka.  But then I realized I could get a 3-in-1 coat set with a down parka and a outer windbreaker shell that would also fulfill my “rain coat/windbreaker” need.  So, instead of buying two coats, we have plans to buy a 3-in-1 coat either in the Winter clearance sales in February/March or next Fall during the Fall/Winter coat sales.

Anyway, one thing I do love about doing the capsule wardrobe is that it has helped me become picky about what I buy and what I want.  I have a clear and concise idea of what holes are in my wardrobe, and I only shop for certain pieces in certain colors.  My color palette is:

MAIN COLORS:  RED, BLUE, BLACK
NEUTRALS:  BEIGE, WHITEACCENT COLORS:  PINK, BROWN, GREEN, LEOPARD/ANIMAL

And that’s my wardrobe.  I am still working on my year round capsule of 50 items only, but I may add a couple, depending on needs.  And I’m starting to focus on what I want to do with my other wardrobe needs–intimates, workout gear, pajamas, etc–and I think that wardrobe will also be limited to 50 items total.  After all, I do laundry so frequently that I have no excuse for seven work out outfits, and don’t get me started on my intimates and socks!

And so, there is still more for me to do with my wardrobe.  But I am ten times happier and more confident with it now.  I get excited about getting dressed each day, even if I’m home all day, and I love every piece I put on now.

Until next week,

-BBM