Sleep Training 101

Recently I had the bright idea to bribe my toddler for sleep. If he stays in his own bed all night long he earns a new Lego set in the morning. I am proud to report that seven days and seven Lego starter sets later, this mommy feels quite refreshed. The arrangement is what corporate types call a WIN/WIN – except in the ways that it isn’t.

For instance, AJ now wakes at 6:02AM, on the dot, every morning. With rooster-like clockwork, he bounds into our room and bellows “I slept my own bed mommy, where’s my Lego set.”  Immediately after directing him to his prize he returns and demands that I build it. Have you ever tried to assemble Rockit the Mixle at 6:05 in the morning? I don’t know about you but my dexterity doesn’t peak until 9. 

Last Thursday I capriciously mentioned to AJ that I stopped by the Lego store. As the words left my mouth I recognized my first mistake. “Lemme see! Lemme see! Lemme see!” he repeated. I resisted, futiley, and finally let him peek inside the yellow bag. Mistake #2. “Give it to me!” he demanded. Slightly panicked, I realized my toddler negotiations were unravelling, quick. I had entered into a “mutually advantageous” agreement with a 3 year old who lacked impulse control and any concept of delayed gratification. Standing my ground, I calmly explained the difference between earning and demanding. This teaching moment earned me two bruised shins and a 45 minute meltdown. 

This morning, after watching Matt struggle to assemble Batwing, I reclaimed our power and declared that there would be no more Lego sleep prizes. To which AJ replied “OK, mommy. Tomorrow I want Iron Man.”  Fair enough.

Unlike pre-dawn City Bulldozer builds, today’s outfit was very easy to put together. Favorite skirt, Hermes scarf, reclaimed cashmere shell – 3 of 33 pieces – all within easy reach.

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew summer cashmere shell (2007); J. Crew navy eyelet skirt (2012); Hermes scarf as belt (2014); DVF color block wedge (2014)

Selfie Schtik

As Cibu Brand Manager, I’ve created a lot of 259 hair styling tutorials. Cibu Do of the Day, a web series in which I attempted a new hair style every work day for three months, was a viral sensation in 2009. Cibu gained tremendous social traction and generated e-commerce income to boot. Alas, I was before my time. Priorities shifted and like many grassroots business endeavors, my focus was redirected towards more profitable projects. People always asked about those videos, though. The simple answer is that it takes a boatload of billable hours to film, edit, post, promote and moderate social content. Add salon expansion, repackaging, rebranding and two babies to the mix and ain’t nobody got time for that.

A CFO once told me that social media had a dubious ROI, at best. He was wrong. In 2015, social content is currency. And since Cibu is generating a lot of well-deserved media attention it’s clear that I need to dust off the bathroom mirror and make fresh Cibu vids to support the cause.

Mise en place! My equipment needed upgrading. Daunted by the task, I was certain new technology and hours of self teaching were required. Amazon was like, um no – here’s an iPhone tripod. Then Amazon sold me a selfie stick because that’s what everyone else who bought the tripod was buying.

So stay tuned for the return of self generated Cibu social content. With my reduced wardrobe, I’ve surely added enough time to my morning to film hair tutorials!

Today’s outfit is pretty simple. Get used to this dress; you will see it often. Versatile, comfortable and easy to dress up or down, it’s the perfect summer accessory to a selfie stick.

Someone say “selfie stick!”

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses; Asos black dress, 2014; Pave disk necklace, anniversary gift from Matt, 2014; Assorted random layering necklaces, origins unknown; Loeffler Randall Industry Bag, 2014; Manolo Blahnik gladiator sandals, originally purchased in yellow, 2007, dyed black in 2013

 Classic Cibu17, for your viewing enjoyment

Showing My Stripes

image

I love stripes. At least that’s the story my outfits are telling. Truth is, my propensity towards stripe selection is almost entirely subconscious. There is a Benton stripe dress on my mental summer shopping list and damned if I’m not wearing one right now. Didn’t even connect the dots. 

Last night we moved next door. Our new tenants don’t arrive until June and we’ve had the keys to the new place since late February. Schlepping a few items ten feet across the lawn has been a nightly ritual for several weeks. Yesterday was the final haul - beds and the like. Easy peasy, right? Not quite. 

The thing about having two homes right next to each other and no sense of urgency to vacate/occupy either is that you just kind of leave a pile of non-essentials behind. Apparently disorganized non essentials make me very anxious. Overwhelmed. Snappy. Impatient. Okay, I was SUCH a bitch last night. After six weeks of closet reduction, space clearing, almost daily yoga and meditation - was it all just a delusion of mindfulness? 

That’s why we call yoga a practice,” whispers the tiny guru in my head. “For goodness sake you’re not enlightened yet! “

Thanks, tiny guru. Any chance you could apologize to Matt for me?

So yeah, last night, when I was confronted with my deep seeded need to be in control at all times, I showed my base nature. But unlike that bitchy tiger, I am pretty sure I can eventually change my stripes. Or at least stop buying more.

image
image
Top Outfit Details: Gap denim shirt (2015); Tart Collections striped dress (2014); Tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012); Chuck Taylor All-Stars (2006)
Bottom Outfit Details: Hermes scarf as head band (2013); Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew striped rolled sleeve tee shirt (2015); layered over J. Crew poppy silk cami (2015); Joe’s Jeans skinny fatigue pants (2010); Christian Louboutin Simple 85 pumps (2007); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Kendra Scott big ass cocktail ring (2013); David Yurman Classic cable bangle (2006); Nonexistent manicure

This girl cleaned out her closet, and what happened next was epic.

I spent last weekend peddling my fashion baggage all over Northern Virginia. It took three consignment stores (who does Current Boutique think she is, anyway?), one for-the-sisters pile and several trash bags earmarked Goodwill to shed my worn wears. So how does it feel? Simply put, it feels really good.

The creator of Project 333 suggests that clearing the physical and mental space previously occupied with shopping and storing purchases allows for richer, more meaningful experiences to enter your life. So far, its biggest impact on my life is the emotions I’ve left behind. You know that feeling when it’s 8:35 7:35 and you are frantically looking for a work outfit but you can’t even slide garments down the rack to select anything because your clothes are packed so tightly? I do not miss that feeling. Or the one when you try on a dress that you bought online for the fifteenth time and it still looks weird but it’s been over 30 days and now you can’t return it. Don’t miss that one, either.

Before I curtailed impulse shopping and minimized my wardrobe I routinely felt guilt, annoyance and disdain towards my closet. Now I feel proud, creative, savvy and mindful about pretty much everything. Three months ago I could produce any number of excuses to buy something new. Now I can’t find an excuse to buy anything at all! In fact, I missed the boat on these Loeffler Randal sandals and these J.Crew flats in gold, both planned purchases for my summer capsule, because I delayed the purchase and now they are sold out. On the bright side, I saved myself $568.

How’s this for a rich and meaningful experience? On Sunday night Matt and I attended the annual Blue Jeans Ball to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Impulsively, we bid $700 on a three night stay in Paris – and won! That opportunity was made possible by Project 333 – for once, an extra $700 was actually sitting in my bank account. Plus it was for a good cause. ‘Cause we’re going to Paris!

The round up of outfits in today’s post all share simple foundations highlighted by joyful pops of color. What a way to live.

Top Outfit Details: DVF wrap dress (2012); Joie military jacket (2014); Tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012); Loeffler Randal Tasmin ponyhair pumps (2014); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Stella & Dot Norah Chandelier earrings (2014); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J.Crew necklace (2013); LA Made dress via Stitch Fix (2015); Coach purple Legacy tassel cross body bag (2012); Loeffler Randal gold gladiator sandals (2009)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Stitch Fix top (2015); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); J.Crew Minnie pants (2013); Elie Tahari teal peep toe flats (2013) Coach Legacy purple tassel cross body bag

6 Capsule Wardrobe Staples

image
image

This infographic looks a lot better on Polyvore.  

Because the internet loves itself a random numbered list, here are my Project 333 Spring ‘15 Top 6 capsule wardrobe staples. Selected based on versatility, frequency of use, ability to anchor or connect an outfit and great fit, these items are best all around awesome.

  1. Gap Denim Shirt, 2015 - This shirt was my last mindless purchase of 2015 and it’s a winner. You can’t deny the cool factor of a denim shirt and I find myself reaching for it day after day. 
  2. Kiton Navy Blue Blazer, 2010 - So many good things to say about this jacket. Beyond classic styling and impeccable tailoring, the best thing about this Italian made blazer is that it’s valued north of $1000 but I scored it for free at the Greater Washington DC Clothing Swap.
  3. J.Crew Navy Blue Eyelet Skirt, 2012 - I could anchor 25 different outfits with this skirt. Navy blue is my favorite Spring neutral because you can pair it with virtually any color. Some fashionable people even wear navy blue with black. I do not. Reminds too much of St. Pius. 
  4. J. Crew Minnie Pants, 2013 - The perfect pant. The fit is on point and the angle at which they hit the ankle allows for easy styling with flats or heels. Classic and modern at once. J. Crew just gets it. 
  5. Halogen Nude Stacked Sandal Bootie, 2015 - Versatile, cheap and on trend. Marked down from $99 to $39 on Nordstromrack.com, these were a respectable purchase for Spring. Not that jazzed about the quality or construction (the leather is flimsy) but you get what you pay for with shoes. Which is why I usually pay a lot of money for shoes. Dammit.
  6. Hermes Eperon d'Or Remix Maxi Twilly Scarf, 2014 - My heart for an Hermes scarf! A signature accessory, this French beauty was a birthday gift from mon Mari. What makes her unique is her shape: she’s not a classic square but a long wide rectangle. Her vibrant color pallet and endless tie combinations earn her awesomeness status as my go-to outfit maker.

This week’s featured outfits utilize half of the Top 6 - can you find them?

Top Outfit: Street style selfie on timer in a stairwell at Towson Town Center
Top Outfit Details: BCBG asymmetrical tunic, 2013; J.Crew Minnie pants, 2013; Butter teal heels, 2012; Chloe Havana sunglasses, 2014; Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant, 2014; Party City teal Hermes knockoff cuff, 2014; Fendi B-Mix breast pump tote, 2007
image
See what I mean about navy blue? Matches everything and not as graphically harsh as black.
Outfit Details: BCBG draped Dayton cardigan, 2013; No name navy pleated dress from TJ Maxx, 2011; Hermes Eperon d'Or Remix Maxi Twilly, 2014; Halogen booties, 2015; YSL Muse handbag, 2008; Chloe Havana sungleasses; Stella & Dot Norah chandelier earrings, 2014; Diamond disk pendant (2014) and floating citrin pendant (2010) gifts from Matt

Namaste What?

An integral element of a rich spiritual practice is intention. From yoga to meditation to chakra balancing - the first step is to make a dedication, offer it up to the universe and allow the energy of your practice to manifest it into reality. 

My intention for yesterday evening was to commune with nature and enjoy a sweet Spring evening with my children and husband. As soon as I got home I went into the backyard to admire the budding trees. So peaceful. Such prana. Moments later my family returned from a nature walk to 7-11. My toddler barreled into freshly cleaned house with sticky hands and a mouth full of Tic Tacs. Poor little Ashby wasn’t wearing socks. Matt nursed a Big Gulp and wanted to know why I always “look so angry.” Om. 

My intention this morning was to wear white jeans. Last night I laundered the selected pair and laid out several top options. Striped pocket tee, navy blue blazer, poppy red cami – all contenders. After several rounds of mixy-matchy it finally came together. Now I needed to bust a move. I was intent on a swift exit but AJ chased me across the decomposing pink magnolias intent that I hold him “like a baby.” BAM! Dirty feet meet white jeans. Om Shanti.

Thankfully, the #OOTD was saved by Matt, who knows how to dab out a dirt stain. Mindfulness guru that he is, I also earned a lecture about taking things too seriously.

I was intent on an authentic Hermes Collier De Chien Cuff bracelet but this knock off from Party City will have to do
They called him Soot Foot
Sending white light for a speedy recovery

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew striped roll sleeve tee shirt (2015); J Crew yellow skinny belt (2014); Seven for all Mankind white jeans (2013); Halogen nude booties (2015); Coach Legacy purple cross body (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014); Hermes inspired teal cuff from Party City (2014)

It’s Fashion Season

Spring is outfit season. April heralds death to tights and a glorious return to bare legs and open toed shoes. Granted, these newly appropriate outfit extenders do not come without great responsibility, namely pedicures and shaving, but all in, it’s worth it. 

But uh, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected, so I'ma let ‘em understand. I have worn all but five of my 33 items. (Go back and count them, I’ll wait.) The last ladies standing are: J. Crew navy blue eyelet skirt; no name navy blue pleated dress, Gap teal and navy blue wrap dress, DVF black and white wrap dress and a teal Max Studio sundress. All have been waiting for this warm weather week to reveal themselves. That and I haven’t purchased navy blue tights since eighth grade. 

One month in and a third of the way through the first season of my capsule wardrobe. It took a month to wear 33 items. Go figure. It’s easy to wear an outfit once, but it takes some creativity to rework the same outfit into something fresh and new for the upcoming 60 days. Now comes the mixy-matchy. Now I reveal my fashion chops. I am game! It is warm! 

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); YSL Muse handbag (2008); Kiton navy double breasted blazer (ultimate clothing swap find 2011); J. Crew vintage cotton v-neck t-shirt (I may have bought this in the past two weeks); J. Crew navy blue eyelet skirt (2012); Butter teal suede sandals (2012); Ases throat chakra pendant (2012); diamond pave disk necklace (anniversary gift from Matt, 2014); teal FitBit band to count the Spring in my steps