Alternate Realities

I have been awake since 5:45AM. Someone left the sunroof open in my car and it rained. There is a pimple the size of Manassas on my lip. The baby is congested and teething. It feels impossible to get anything cleaned or organized with a full time job and small children. Our refrigerator is very small. Daycare costs more than a mortgage in a normal town. I waste too much money on Starbucks. I am having a bad hair day. 

Or

Our new home has a playroom. It takes 14 minutes to get to my office from my driveway. I am paid to make Cibu hair products. People love Fresh Crunch pickles. It is nearly summertime. The bruises on my triceps are from extended side crow. I’ve been blessed with beautiful children, a very cute dog and an excellent cook for a husband. Everything is funny. The peonies are blooming. Life is full of creative opportunity.

Which of version of my story is more interesting? Which version of your story do you tell each day?

Today’s outfit is so much more put together than warranted for my level of fatigue. Why? Because last night I said eff it, let the baby cry a little in her crib and ruthlessly edited my summer capsule down to 33 items, exactly. More on that story later. 

Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J.Crew white button down shirt (2012); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); J.Crew #2 Pencil Skirt (2012); Brian Atwood nude peep toes (2008); Coach Legacy tassel cross body (2012); Fake ass Hermes cuff from Party City (2014)

Surprise Inside

My toddler can’t read so I don’t know how he found the “Surprise Egg” YouTube network. The premise is simple: Faceless adult hands crack apart plastic eggs to reveal tiny licensed treats. With great ceremony the anonymous fingers rip open a shiny foil parcel. A wee Minecraft horse tumbles out. Sometimes the creepy hands unearth a nutritious packet of Hello Kitty sugar candies or a Lego Spiderman Mini Figurine. How delightful! I think. Another adorable plastic nightmare to clog the corners my home. After each 3 - 5 minute video its  “Another one mommy, another one!” And I oblige because I like quiet.

Yesterday I received a promising e-blast from J.Crew. Considerate gal that she is, J.Crew wrote to remind me that SPRINGSALE earns 30% off all orders. Won’t you just take a peak? Oh OK. My eager fingers scan the responsive-for-mobile product pages and land on the surprise inside: Ribbed racer back tank top. Select Color. Gray, white and black, please? Only $29.50 each (plus 30% OFF!). A steal, a deal, a downright GIFT from the tank top goddess. Another one!  Another gray, white and black tank top to clog the corners of my closet.

Reason prevailed. It would be wrong to lead you astray, dear reader, on our journey to minimalist nirvana. I defied the tank tops’ sweet siren song and instead took this picture of her would-be sisters.

Outfit Details: Hermes horse bit scarf (2007); JCrew ruffle trench (2008); Rachel Pally striped tunic (2014) on top of BCBG Layering Tank Dress (2014); DKNY tights (2014); Nine West Heartset Wedge Knee High Boots (2014); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant (2014)

Switch Fix

Yesterday I was late to work. Again. I won’t bore you with details but its really hard to get out of my house in the morning. I zipped into my spot (in front of Potbelly’s), exited the car and trotted right down the parking lot. 

BING! Text Message. 9:25AM Lisa R.: Jenn you just walked by RC :30*, which started at 9AM.” 

*RC:30 is a monthly company wide meeting in PotBelly’s. Lisa R. is my boss 

Dammit! My head fumbled over excuses. As I was clearly called out - in front of most of the the company - I opted not to reply. So that’s how yesterday started. 

It doesn’t take much to derail a morning, does it? Can’t find matching shoes, no time to make lunch, toddler demands milkshake for breakfast, snarky barista adds WAY TOO MUCH half and half to a watery iced americano - it all adds up to a shitty mood. That’s no way to start a day. 

After wallowing in self pity over getting caught, my office sage Kristin reminded me that the key to happiness is perspective. I could choose to let my morning ruin my day or I could choose to make better choices tomorrow. So that’s what I did (Kristin is very convincing). Last night I went to yoga at 8, made my lunch before bed and pre-selected a smart little outfit from my edited closet. And then I was up, once an hour, all night, nursing the baby. 

However sleep deprived, I was prepared for the morning. I acknowledged my fatigue, strapped the baby and the toddler in their car seats and hit the Starbucks drive thru at 6:45AM. When we got back home I took a shower, pumped while finishing hair and make up, slipped into my smart little outfit, grabbed my lunch out of the fridge, promptly spilled 80% of the pumped milk and decided not to cry over it. 

Switched up my pictures, too. Natural morning light is a real mood lifter and my new photographer is super cute.

Oh! I got to work at 9:04AM.

Details: Hermes silk twill scarf; Chloe Havanna sunglasses; Gorjana spike earrings; floating citrine necklace (birthday gift from Matt, 2010); Gap chambray shirt; Gap red puffer vest

Details: Matt Bernson Wildfox anke bootie; Joes Jeans fatigue skinny cargo 

Details: Tassle pendant from boutique in Charleston SC; Loeffler Randall Industry Bag; engagement ring from Andrew Mitton Jewelers, Charlottesville, VA

New photographer and coordinating husband, Matt, wearing North Face Thermoball jacket and Washington Nationals visor

Signature Style

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Part of the appeal of Project 333 is the opportunity to save money. The goal is to edit your belongings down to a seasonal collection of coordinating items that play well together. Arguably, you save money because you are shopping your own closet and you save time because your choices are limited.  Leave it to me to spend money executing a minimalist lifestyle change. 

You see what happened was… the process of curating a three month wardrobe revealed gaps in the coordination matrix. There was no black and white striped t-shirt, no nude go-with-everything stacked healed sandal, no gray ruched mini skirt - obviously items necessary TO TIE IT ALL TOGETHER. Not to worry, gaping fashion holes were filled, online, while nursing at 4:14AM. World’s best shopping conditions. 

As soon as I tapped the order confirmation button the familiar nervous/guilty anticipation set in: In 3 - 5 business days all of my problems would be solved by J Crew. This very feeling is the dragon that I am attempting to shake. Even as I type this her fiery breath is whispering that I need just one more thing to complete the perfect spring capsule – black nude flats. A good quality pair by Loeffler Randall. But I haven’t pushed ADD TO BAG. Yet. 

Dragon lady is graciously quiet on the jewelry and scarf front. These signature items, mostly special gifts from Matt, didn’t require deliberation because they bring me joy. 

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Jewelry: From left, David Yurman, Tiffany & Co, Stella & Dot, Kendra Scott, Gorjana, model’s own

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 Hermes Scarfs: From bottom, Red Horse Bits 2007; Purple Love Birds 2009

Day 2 Outfit Credits

Top: Tart Collections (2014 Gilt.com)

Cardigan: JCrew (2010 stolen from sister Emily)

Pants: JCrew Minnie (2013)

Shoes: Christian Louboutin Simple 85s (2007)

Bag: Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014 gift from sister Emily)

Scarf: Posh Boutique, Charlottesville, VA (2010)

Jewelry: David Yurman (2006 - 2013)