Footloose and Fancy Free

A very long time ago a six year old boy I babysat looked down at my pink flowery flip flops and asked “why are you always so fancy?” I still smile when I remember that exchange. I don’t consider myself fancy. A fancy girl wears heels everywhere. A fancy girl reapplies lipstick and maintains a French manicure. A fancy girl wouldn’t think of trying to pass off Lululemon as real clothes.

My un-fanciness was on full display this past week at the beach with my family. I blew out my hair exactly once and managed to go barefoot 80% of the week. My beach look consisted of two J.Crew bikinis, my Target MC Hammer pants and the Stella & Dot Havana pendant. To add interest I applied multiple Flash Tats to an assortment of body parts. One afternoon I layered the MC Hammer pants with a fringed black tank top, which prompted AJ to observe that my shirt looked like an octopus.  

A long span of my lifetime was spent fancy. I distinctly remember wearing a black and white Ann Taylor flair waste dress with pink pointy stilettos to the airport in 2004. On our honeymoon in 2009 I wore my sky high teal wedding Louboutins to dinner at an Italian restaurant located atop a steep cobblestone hill in Capri.  

Today, with two small children and fallen arches from walking up hills in heels, mine is an incredibly paired down aesthetic of accessorized basics. My first instinct is to correct well meaning friends when they describe me as fancy or, better worse yet, a “fashionista.”  What others perceive as the quality of my clothing is actually the quirkiness of my character. I am totally comfortable in quirky. Fancy hurts my feet.

A 35-piece wardrobe makes it that much easier to get quirked up on a Monday morning, even after vacation. I wear this Tart Collections dress on repeat but keep it fresh with accessories. I’m passing off tan lines and a monogrammed OBX tumbler as critical elements of my fresh off the beach look.

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); Tart Collections dress (2014); Hip to be Round belt (2014); J.Crew flip flops (2013); Kate Spade wedges in hand (2014); Loeffler Randal open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2007); OBX Monogram Shop tumbler (2015)

The Force

AJ is obsessed with his new Darth Vader costume. He’s assumed the iconic role with impressive conviction for someone who has never actually watched a Star Wars movie. He even has the breathing down. Unfettered by humidity, DV stoically guards the driveway, synthetic black cape absorbing August heat, plastic robotic mask askew on his little face. In lieu of a light saber (on backorder) he practices anti-Jedi moves switching mommy’s skinny yellow J.Crew belt at family members.

Costumes dictate the quality of your behavior – and your audience’s reaction. Whether you’re a lady lobbying for beads on Bourbon St., in line at the bank in an army uniform, the only guy at the meeting without a tie or swathed in custom Christian Siriano and electric teal Christian Louboutins on your cold, rainy wedding day – costumes can grant you power or take it away.

I can be am obsessive about my appearance. Having two children under 3 has loosened my (weekend) standards but believe me I am just as compulsive about casual. Every ensemble must fit just so, coordinate and be appropriately accessorized. Why? Because if it doesn’t I am uncomfortable ALL. DAY. LONG. I can’t concentrate. I tug and over think and seek out mirrors to scrutinize. When my outfit is sorted my mind space is clear. I am empowered to perform and the world responds accordingly.

We went to the mall last night for flip flops and Shake Shack. After lengthy negotiation it was settled that AJ could wear his cape and mask, and we would leave the body suit at home. Matt requested that AJ stay on my side as we strolled through Lord & Taylor so he didn’t have be associated with the crazy kid in the Halloween costume. I didn’t mind. The Darth Vader costume empowers my little guy to strut like a big guy. I get it. AJ, I am your mother.

The Dark Side has inspired this week’s outfit choices, too. When all else fails (and half of your 35 items are at the dry cleaner) bet on black. 

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); BCBG cuff earrings (2015); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace, (2014); BCBG black asymmetrical tunic (2014); J.Crew Minnie pants (2012); Tahari blue peep toe flats (2012); Marc by Marc Jacobs Metrooptic cross body (2015); Lanvin tassle keychain (2014)

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); 14K gold hoop earrings (Mother’s Day gift, 2015); ASOS black dress (2014); Miguel Ases necklace (2012); Renvy sandals via Gilt.com (2014); Loeffler Randall open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2009); Stella & Dot bangle (2013); David Yurman classic cable bracelet (2006)

U Can’t Touch This

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Yesterday I emerged from the shower to find my husband watching the babies an episode of In Living Color. The iconic Fly Girls nailed the Running Man to Calloway’s 1989 hit “I Wanna Be Rich.” Instantly I am in 7th grade, feeling all the Fly Girl feelings. These middle school style muses embodied 1990: Hair, dance moves, attitude. A pitch perfect blend of hip-hop and cheerleading in Merry Go Round crop tops. 

The throwback theme followed me to Tysons Corner Center where I encountered the Vans window display: Two mannequins in tie-waist flannels and high waist jeans posed under the directive: “Bring Back the 90’s!” I snapped a snarky picture to share with my Facebook friends. Subtext: “Silly children.” Translation: “We are old.”

The generation gap happens slowly. First Michael Jackson dies. Then one day you glance through Glamour magazine and find that you can’t relate to a damn article about Tinder hook up etiquette or what to wear to a boozy brunch. And then the Vans store packages your teenage wardrobe as “ironic vintage.”

It’s unsettling to realize that you are no longer the target audience. I remember the day I came home from the mall with a pair of pink peace sign earrings. My dad was all “do you even get the significance?” He was thinking Woodstock and I was channeling NKOTB.

Today’s outfit proves that fashion is truly cyclical as it just occurred to me that I’m wearing Hammer pants. Can’t touch this. 

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Outfit details:  Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Stella & Dot Havana pendant necklace (2015); Pave disk necklace (2014); J.Crew embroidered cuff 92015); Gilt.com Firth tank top (2012); Target Mossimo “Hammer” pants (2015); Sergio Rossi flat sandals (2015);  Loeffler Randall open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2014)

What Happened in Vegas

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Vegas has a shelf life of 48 hours. On Thursday night the iconic city is sinfully charming. Hundred foot digital screens light up the Strip as the crowds swell beneath. A deafening EDM anthem repeats while the Ding! Ding! Ding! of a million slot machines reinforce the promise of winnings and revelry. The party has started! Let’s play.

Like the punishing glare of sunrise after late night at Drai’s, if you stay beyond Sunday afternoon, everything painful about Las Vegas compounds. Second hand smoke, dehydration and black jack losses, for example. Depart on Tuesday and you are lucky to get out with your life (or your wife).

I had delusions of leaving the adult playground with an authentic Hermes Collier De Chien cuff, purchased with winnings from an epic run of split eights after the dealer busted when I doubling down on a five and a six. Well that didn’t happen in Vegas so the cuff stayed.

Outfit wise, however, I was a winner. Three days of work mixed with two days of play requires the ultimate capsule collection, which I meticulously purchased* over the past month. My fashion formula was black, white and watermelon separates connected by a new Marc by Marc Jacobs multi-print cross body, new Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals and two of my favorite Hermes scarves. 

Back in VA, today’s outfit features three of my most beloved accessories. Hey, what’s a few grand to realize what I have at home is priceless?

Top outfit details: Hermes scarf as head wrap (2013); Joie silk jumper (2015); Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals (2015); Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Optical Stripe Crossbody via South Moon Under (2015); Gorjana Nina layered lariat necklace (2015)   

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Outfit details: Tart top (2015); J.Crew pencil skirt (2015); Hermes maxi twilly as belt (2014); Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals (2015); knock off Hermes Cuff via Party City (2014)

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Outfit details: South Moon Under high low tee shirt (2012); Banana Republic ruched skirt (2015);  Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Optical Stripe Crossbody via South Moon Under (2015); Loeffler Randall sandals (2011). On AJ: Polo t-shirt; Baby Gap shorts, Nike Lebron James kicks. On Ashby: Baby Gap onsie and pants. On Custis: new Pet Smart collar thanks to Sylvia Mapp

*Newly purchased apparel has been rotated into my 35 piece capsule wardrobe, replacing less popular selections.

Highlight Reel

This week’s fashion themes were flat sandals, pendant necklaces and the ole pocket book elbow hook. Out of all of my blogged outfits so far, these looks feel the most like like “me.” Can you tell me why?

Outfit details: Hermes Maxi Twilly as head wrap (2014); Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); ASOS dress (2014); Stella & Dot Havana convertible pendant necklace; Sergio Rossi gold sandals (2015); Loeffler Randal Industry bag (2014)

Outfit details: Foster Grant aviator sunglasses (2015); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace (2014); Helmut Lang twisted back tank (2014); Hermes scarf as belt (2007); Banana Republic skirt (2015); Loeffler Randal Industry bag (2014); Loeffler Randal gladiator sandals (2009)

Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Target/Mossimo red tank top (2014); J.Crew cardigan (2010); DVF skirt (2012); Manolo Blahnik gladiator sandals, originally yellow (2007); dyed black (2009)

Throwing Shade

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I don’t get out much but when I do I lose my sunglasses. Two Saturdays ago we celebrated a friend’s birthday and I left my Chloe Havana’s on his rooftop deck. Why my expensive sunglasses were on the deck and not my face is commensurate to the amount of wine I consumed before taking them off.  

Sunday morning dawned, brilliantly sunny, and my first instinct was to gather the kids for a Neiman Marcus field trip to replace the lost glasses. Reason my pounding headache prevailed and we got pancakes instead. After breakfast, we hit up Rite Aid for $13 Foster Grant aviators to hold me over until I could retrieve my perfectly good (did I mention expensive?) Italian pair.

This Saturday we visited a dear friend’s home to shower her baby-to-be. Kisses and love and a few Pinots later I left behind the Foster Grants. This friend knows me well. When she called to say her husband found them she casually mentioned she was confused by my sunglasses selection. “I told him those can’t belong to Jenn; all of her sunglasses are Prada or something.”  I explained the irony and we both had a laugh. Some behavior never changes but, I am proud to report, some behavior can.  

Today’s outfit is topped with my retrieved Chloe Havanas. I wear them all the time because are nice glasses, with polarized lenses and a good weight. The Foster Grant pair looked fine but they were cheaply made, with a flimsy frame and loose lenses that popped out the first time AJ threw them down the stairs. Today’s lesson: Invest in quality sunglasses. Also if you want a pair for free, invite me over for wine.

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Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Tart Collections dress (2015); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); Amethyst pendant (2015); Gold hoops, Mothers Day gift from Matt (2015); Kate Spade gold wedge sandals (2014); Coach Legacy purple cross body as clutch (2012)

Calculating D.I.N.K

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  1. Monthly payment on matching “His and Her” 2015 Range Rover SuperChargeds
  2. 18K white gold Cartier Love bracelet set with 2 diamonds
  3. One pair Christian Louboutin “So Kate Booty” in Python 
  4. Two nights, mid week, standard room, The St. Regis Aspen Resort, Aspen, CO
  5. 89 J.Crew perfect fit tank tops
  6. Saturday night coursed dinner for 10 at the Inn at Little Washington (excludes tip, taxes and gratuity)
  7. Four Hermes 36 x 36 silk twill scarfs
  8. Twenty-five year supply of Cibu Sticky Rice Pomade (111 tubs) 
  9. Mortgage payment, 4BR, 5BT, 3860 SF new construction in Dallas, TX
  10. 129 bottles of Mumms 

or

One month of daycare for my two children, Falls Church, VA

Good thing I paired down my wardrobe. 

Today’s outfit was an “Ish I woke up at 8:15AM!” fashion moment. Still managed to get out the door relatively on time because it’s pretty easy to pull it together when you only have three dozen-ish items in your closet. 

BTW: DINK means Double Income No Kids

Outfit details: Rite Aid Foster Grant aviator shades due to lost Chloe Havana (2015); LouLou scarf (2014); Tart Collections dress (2014); Kate Spade wedge sandals (2014); Stella & Dot Waverly Petite cross body bag; David Yurman Classic cable bracelet (2006); Stella & Dot Coral Cay earrings

Orange Crush

They say that an attraction to the color orange is an indicator of creativity. This makes sense because orange is also the color of the sacral chakra, which governs creativity. I must be creative - or maybe just influenced by the UVa fans in my family - because paired with navy blue, this summertime hue is popping up all over me. 


Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); J.Crew cashmere cardigan (2012); Tart Collections dress (2014); Stella & Dot Havana pendant necklace (2015); Stella & Dot Waverly Petite crossbody bag (2015); Kate Spade gold wedge sandals (2014)

Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Peter Som for Bergdorf Goodman linen top (2008); Diane Von Furstenburg skirt (2007); Brian Atwood nude peeptoe pumps (2008);  Stella & Dot Waverly Petite crossbody bag (2015)

Head Case

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This weekend I unearthed hundreds of vintage pictures. You know the kind we used to take on a camera that housed a film roll, which you then removed and dropped off at CVS to develop and pick up one week later? I scanned through these relics pictures contemplating two decades of fashion choices. From Gangsta Chic to Raver 1.0, Miss Steeple Chase to Bebe Goes to Vegas, mine was a vast and varied trend trajectory.

I have always prided myself on possessing a definitive personal style but my fashion moments seemed disconnected.  Unnerved, I looked closer, willing a pattern to emerge. And there it was, right on top of my head. Be it a bucket hat or a bandanna, beret or backwards visor, the only thing more prevalent than the one arm on hip pose was my enthusiasm for headwear.  

Why the obsession with headdress? I pondered this. Does it convey status? Nobility? Class distinction? Nope. Simply put, I find the head the perfect place to put an accessory. Makes you look. Plus a jaunty hat has an attitude that just resonates with me.

Twenty years later, only the quality of my scarf selection has changed. I’ve upgraded the bedazzled JLo-era bandanna for a collection of Hermes twill but the attitude remains. As they say, you can take the girl out of Norfolk but you can’t take the Naughty out of the girl.

Today’s outfit reflects my 2015 style – a settled, comfortable and colorful aesthetic, accented by a baby. Of course I had to throw on a gypsy wrap for good measure.

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Outfit details: Hermes scarf as headband (2008); Girls Day Out raw amethyst pendant, Charlottesville Farm Market (2015); J.Crew cardigan (2014); Tart Collections top (2014); J.Crew #2 Pencil Skirt (2012); Renvy by Gilt.com sandals (2014). On Ashby: Baby Gap onsie and bubble shorts

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Raver 1.0 in fairy wings, candy necklaces and a glitter crown, 1997

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Sporty spice goes to beach week in a Ralph Lauren bucket hat, 1997

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Naughty by Norfolk in a classic gangsta bandanna and Tommy zip neck, 1999

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Miss Bebe in a beret, 2001

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Steeplechase vibes at Gold Cup, 2006

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Etsy rosettes and a Cibu pin at Washington Life’s Young & the Guest List Party, 2009

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)

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)

1 Dress, 4 Ways

Four doses of Friday fashion featuring the American Apparel Le Sac dress. 

Yes, I did this in my office and yes, my co-workers think I’m kooky. 

Note that each dress variation also features a slightly different hair style. Kudos to Cibu Ka Pow Dry Shampoo for putting the FUN in multi-functional hair.
Eh oh!

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Outfit details: American Apparel Le Sac dress (2014); Loeffler Randall sandals (2012); David Yurman cable classics hoops and bangles (2006 - 2013)

Cibu Ka Pow Dry Shampoo is available exclusively in Bubbles Hair Salons, Salon Cielo & Spa, select Hair Cuttery locations and online at cibuinternational.com

D.I.Y Not?

Focus on my wardrobe experiment has taken a temporary backseat to general house arrangement as we settle into our new digs next door. If this were last year I’d be off to the Crate and Barrel races by now, purchasing decorative items with unbridled abandonment. Outdoor pillows! Patio rug! Contemporary planters! Pops of freshly purchased color everywhere!

My first purchase for the original house was a set of 8” orange house numbers and a coordinating modern mailbox from New Zealand. I don’t think I ever disclosed how much those items actually cost. Let’s see, (4) numbers x $50 + (1) mailbox x $250 + $75 intl shipping = you do the math. A pocketful, yes. IMO money well spent because every time I pull into our driveway I’m impressed.

You can’t execute contemporary curb appeal for one house and leave the house next door all plain, right? Determined to use my creative resources and spend as little OOP as possible, AJ and I hit up Home Depot for a low budget solution.  We selected a set of house numbers similar in font style, about half the size and 10% of the cost of their orange neighbors. Color was delivered by way of (2) cans of teal spray paint at $3.65 each.

By Sunday evening we painted four house numbers, one mailbox, one plant stand and a really heavy filing cabinet left by the owner and re-purposed by me as an outdoor storage solution. Total: $31.80. The color is uneven, at best, and the carport now boasts the teal outline of a filing cabinet. Please don’t get me started on whether or not the house numbers are level because I am not drilling another damn hole, okay? Look, you get what you pay for and I paid for myself to spray paint.

As we admired our handiwork, AJ wondered aloud if the rust red indoor/outdoor rug matches the teal accents. I told him to act “as if” and everyone will assume we know something they don’t about the color wheel.

Outfit details: Tart dress, re-purposed maternity purchase (2014), J. Crew cardigan (2014), J.Crew flip flops (2015). On AJ: Gap Kids tee-shirt and shorts; Puma sneakers 

Spray can do!  But does teal match rust? Eh, sure. 

The pricey inspiration 

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

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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.

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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

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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
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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)

Let It Go

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Perhaps the omission was a gift from the universe, easing our family’s transition through a late winter cold snap: For several months my toddler forgot to sing the theme song from Frozen. In early April, however; The Frozen Song re-emerged as a thematic element in our collaborative bedtime story. In summary: AJ hosts an egg hunt and all of his cousins are invited (”All of them, Mommy!”). There is a custom Play Doh decorated surprise egg hidden for each cousin. Anna’s egg is wrapped in a tutu and when she opens it a real ballerina dances out (these are big eggs). Caroline’s egg is decorated as an egg and when she cracks it open, baby Ashby is trapped inside and AJ rescues her. Finally, Isabelle opens her egg, emblazoned with a glittering crown, and out jumps Princess Elsa, singing “Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go...” At this point he falls asleep softly singing the only words anyone really knows from that song.

Yesterday the nurse at the doctor’s office needed to confirm my last name. “Is it Mapp or Bressan?” After a very pregnant pause I responded “Bressan.” I have been married for nearly six years but man was it hard to let that one go. We cling to things, don’t we? Maiden names, college scrapbooks, dog eared copies of Judy Blume’s Blubber, a $175 silk Joie blouse that never actually looks good on - they all tell a story about who we are, or were. But where is the line between identity and junk?

That evening I enjoyed a glass of champagne with a chic friend to celebrate her newly acquired American citizenship. Thinking back on the last name conversation I asked if the ceremony sparked any sort of identity crisis. “Not at all,” she replied. “I retain both my Swiss and Italian passports.”  Leave it to Ada to be a triple citizen of the world. After a moment she added, “It was kind of hard for my Dad, though.”

Today’s outfit wasn’t quite as inspiring as the pink magnolia letting go of her petals in the background. Looking to the indigo top and flats to elevate grey base layers and an overcast spring morning. 

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Outfit details: Salvatore Ferragamo silk twill scarf (2009); J. Crew ruffle trench (2008); South Moon Under indigo hi low t-shirt (2012); Banana Republic ruched grey jersey skirt (2015); Steve Madden Kstudd indigo studded flats (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace (2014)