Archive for March 2013

The power of the wardrobe plan

Recently a local upscale boutique had a going out of business sale with 80% off their prices. I bought the following:
- Black boyfriend blazer
- Pink silk shirt dress
- White denim shorts
- Green skinny belt

My purchases totaled $119.00, but I saved $483.00.

If I didn't have my wardrobe plan then how could I be sure that I was getting a good deal? It's only a good deal if it's something you needed, otherwise it's more stuff, filler and clutter in your closet.

Your wardrobe plan doesn't have to be rigid rules regarding dos and don'ts of shopping, but it's more of a guide and clothing template of your closet. Having a plan in place creates opportunities for the right purchases in the right style and the right color for you. Each item I purchased was listed in my own wardrobe plan down to the exact color.

How to construct your plan:
1. Take some time to browse in your closet. I like to think of it as window shopping. Stop and admire the lovely things that you own and wear.

2. Do you have the items you need for weddings, baby showers, date nights...?

3. Check to see if you are duplicating items or wearing too much of one color. For example, do you have 5 pairs of black pants in your closet? If so, don't add another pair to the list. Does everything in your closet fall in the neutral color category (white, cream, beige, taupe, brown, navy & black)? Then make sure that the items you add to your plan are colorful and will flatter your skin tone.

4. Check for variations of pattern and texture. Are all your blouses solids? If so, make sure to add some patterns or stripes to your plan.

5. Be aware of the things that you don't need. Humans are creatures of habit. Our shopping patterns are just that: patterns. We tend to buy the same things over and over. That's why having a wardrobe plan is so helpful. It breaks us out of that rut so that we don't end up with a wardrobe of cream blouses when cream isn't even your color!

6. Assess your needs & write them down = wardrobe plan

It's that simple. Thinking ahead will allow you take advantage of bargain prices without regrets.

Decide ahead of time your needs and wants making allowances when needed and avoid the stress of impulse purchases for the event that you knew was coming.

Know your colors

There's a little gem of a book out there called, "Color Me Beautiful" by Carole Jackson. I think it's been forgotten and was buried in a time capsule back in the 80s (remember when we used to do this in elementary school?). I'm here to resurrect this book and let you know how life changing it really is.

For years, I have had a love affair with cream. However, when I would take a picture in a cream top, I always looked so washed out. I assumed that I didn't have on the right lipstick, needed a tan or maybe I needed to go more blond (which is probably always the case). The truth, I discovered, is that I'm a Winter and cream is not in my color palette. Light bulb moment! So I did what any normal person would do: I grieved. It was time for me to consign or donate all the cream things in my closet. As much as I loved the color, it wasn't worth wearing it and looking or feeling frumpy. Since I can't wear cream, I choose to decorate and accessorize with it instead. It's a way to incorporate one of my favorite colors without sabotaging my personal appearance. :)

There are 4 color seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Winter and Summer are cool color palettes. Spring and Autumn are warm color palettes. This means if you have cool colored skin there are blue tones to it and not honey or golden tones. An easy way to tell which tone you are is to examine which metals look best on you. If silver looks best, then you are probably a Winter or Summer. If gold looks best - Spring or Autumn.

One of the first things I do when working with a client is to determine her colors. Before we can edit her existing wardrobe we need to pull the items that go against her natural coloring and keep only those that are flattering for her skin tone. This step may be done gradually in keeping with your budget.

If you want to determine your color palette, order this book; it has a sheet of colors for each season that you can tear out and carry with you when shopping. Here's a tip: use the sheet as a guide and you can generally go a shade darker or lighter than the color on your chart if you wish.

Here's my disclaimer: I don't agree with anything else that she writes in the book about make-up or dressing, only the color palettes.

I'm giving away a copy of this book. If you want to enter to win, please share this post on facebook or any other type of social media and comment back here to tell me that you did it and where you shared it. The giveaway will close at 5 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Becoming a minimalist - part 3

On my journey to becoming a minimalist, I need to credit several authors with pointing me in the right direction. This list of books and blogs steered me into my current routine of minimal living. As I've said before, minimalism looks differently for everybody. One person may open my cabinets and say, "she has too much stuff." While several of you would gasp if you saw the inside of my closet; it's extremely bare. But we all have to start somewhere, so here is my list of resources that I have found most helpful and are the ones that I refer back to often.

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Simplify by Joshua Becker
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

The Minimalist Mom
Miss Minimalist
Becoming Minimalist
Simple Mom
Zero Waste Home
Small Notebook

Since I've written about minimal living at home, let's look at ways to incorporate it into our personal care routines.

Here are some of my favorites:
- Utilize a capsule wardrobe
- Know your palette of colors and shop from them only
- Use the 5-minute face for your make-up
- Cull your make-up kit

In my next post, I will highlight the importance of knowing your colors. Stay tuned for this life-changing treat and a book giveaway!

Becoming a minimalist - part 2

In my last post, I mentioned how I have embraced minimalism. Let's discuss some practical ways that we can apply this philosophy to our homes.

1: Survey your home: your rooms, the living room, end tables, and artwork. Is there anything that you see that you don't absolutely love or that isn't useful? Bingo! You have immediately found a way to pair down your belongings. Tag the item for resale or for donation and move onto the next room.

2: Keep flat surfaces clear. Surfaces are magnets for stuff. Kitchen counter tops are one of the worst hot spots in the home. Everything gets dumped there in a pile. Make it a rule to clear all flat surfaces, keeping out only the things you use on a daily basis. For example, on my kitchen counter tops, I have a toaster, blender, and knife block (Update 1/1/14 - I don't have any of these items on my counters now). When I do make coffee, I use a French Press coffee maker and I keep it stored in the cabinet. Since I only use my stand mixer on occasion, I keep it stored in the bottom of my kitchen island.

In my home, we don't have picture frames on the end tables or anything on our nightstands. My exceptions are the baby monitor and alarm clock. I work to make room to fit any books that I'm reading into my nightstand so that at bedtime I put the book back in the drawer.

3: Buy and keep only your favorite books. Thanks to the Kindle and iPad, you can now download books saving bookshelf space and trees. But I'm kind of old school and I like to physically underline and dog ear my books. So before I make a book purchase, I try to locate it at the library. That way I can be sure it is something that I want to keep and re-read before I make the purchase.

4: Be vigilant about what enters your home. I don't keep every piece of artwork that my child makes at school. I sort through them each day. I file the ones I want to keep and I recycle the rest. I'm also sensitive to favor bags at birthday parties and giveaways at conferences or malls. When someone even offers me a piece of paper or something to take home, I will usually scan it and hand it back to them. I don't want the burden of bringing it home with me, taking it out of the car and then putting it in the recycle bin. I just say no thank you and move on. Here's another example, many times when I make a purchase of something small (make-up) that can fit into my purse, I tell the cashier that I don't need a bag. It's better for the environment but mostly it's one less thing for me to have to sort, store, or throw away.

What does minimalist living look like for you? I would love to hear your tips!

Becoming a minimalist - part 1

It was never my intent to become a minimalist. It wasn't something that I dreamed about as a little girl, "When I grow up I'm going to have a perfectly organized house with minimal furniture and just enough clothing to last me a week." Alas, that is me. It's been a journey for me and what started as enforced minimalism through sheer economic hard times has now turned into a quest for simple living. 

Six years ago, I moved to Jerusalem, Israel to be a missionary. Before I left my hometown, I sold or donated just about every item that I owned besides clothing - it was a true going out of business sale. Louis Vuitton handbags, Chanel sunglasses, Williams Sonoma kitchen gadgets, cutlery and dinnerware.... all that was left were 4 suitcases of clothing that I hauled across continents; if only I had known about the 10-item wardrobe back then. After I cleared house, I never felt so free. It was as if a burden that I had been carrying a long time had been released. The truth is it was a physical burden. All the furniture, clothing, and stuff had weighed me down. I felt so free from material things as I embarked on my new journey in life. I still remember that feeling to this day; it's a treasured memory for me.

William Morris said it best, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." This one quote has become the war cry of minimalists everywhere and it's honestly changing the landscape of materialistic America. It's now considered chic to downsize, and eliminate square footage and wardrobes. It almost feels like people are bragging about trading in their square feet for a minimal lifestyle and apartment to go with it. 

But what does all this minimalist jargon mean and how does it translate for the average American. I'm married now with kids and I have a house with some beautiful things in it. There is a balance to this way of living and I have what works for me. My experience has taught me that minimalism looks differently for each person. There is no clear cut definition, 10-step process, or even a meeting to attend to achieve the status and label of "Minimalist".  One only needs to follow the promptings of the heart and let Mr. Morris' quote be a guide. For we are only on this earth for a short time, let's not make it about cleaning, keeping, and storing our stuff. 

A Red Lip

Everyone needs a red lip in their make-up arsenal. My favorite is a lip gloss. It's current, modern and not easily overdone. A hard, matte red lip can be aging, but a red tint or gloss is fresh and youthful. My current favorite red is "Hot Mama" by Bare Essentials. It's a true red gloss that has blue overtones which look best on my fair, cool-colored skin.

If you are a "Winter" color palette like me, stick with true reds or blue-reds. If you have warm or golden overtones in your complexion, try an orange-red or even a bright coral for Spring.

When wearing a red lip, I keep my eye make up minimal - liner and mascara on upper eyelids only. I wear a tinted moisturizer, a little blush, and I always make sure that my brows are shaped and contoured.

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