I spend lots of time with women in fitting rooms and closets. The intimacy of the setting allows for really great conversations. Often these conversations have nothing to do with style...instead they center around sharing ways to live a simple, joyful, healthy, incredible life.
Sometimes clients inquire about what's in my imaginary Little Black Book.
Asking questions like…
How do you tackle the dreaded upper arm jiggle?
What movie has stayed with you?
What book touched your soul more than any other?
Which apps do you really find fantastic?
Any favorite easy recipes?
I’m always thrilled when someone shares a tried & true tip with me.
I feel like a lucky insider when I learn of a ‘life hack’ that can improve the quality of my days.
This is a short list of my favorite things to share. Each of these seven items has made my life better. I am happy to open up my ‘little black book’ to you.
In no specific order…here are seven of my favorite things.
This is hands down the best online workout tool I have ever used. And it’s FREE! I discovered
these videos years ago and keep coming back. Recently, I was very bored with my home workouts. I decided to revisit this long-standing site. I am currently working my way through the HIIT Max Workouts. I am completely hooked! I truly look forward to spending time with the spunky, incredibly fit, British chick who sweats right along with me each workout.
Note: The BodyRock.TV website is very helpful for basic information about what they offer and for descriptions of what each workout includes. However, I feel that the videos are easier to find and watch on their YouTube channel…there you can even make a playlist so that you needn’t search for the videos you’d like to repeat. Warning: the older videos (not in the Hiit Max series) are fairly risqué as the photographer/boyfriend was once an adult filmmaker...rest assured, the new workouts are just as fierce without all of the 'exposure'.
Easy to modify...even with no equipment. Check it out! Prepare to for sore muscles!
I discovered this fantastic meditation app a few years ago. I was really tired of listening to guided meditations led by men and women with drippy, new-age voices. I found myself irritated by their overly soothing sound. Enter Andy Pudicomme. This Jude Law sound-alike brings meditation to real life. I could go on and on about the profound benefits of this easy to use, brilliantly organized, customizable app, but it's best you just try it out for yourself.
Headspace has changed my life!
You can give it a go for FREE! I now buy the a yearly subscription for about $75. Money well spent!
3. MyPlate - Livestrong
My husband began using this app several years ago to track the calories he consumes and burns.
I used it for a while and then fell off the wagon. I'm using it again and love the changes they’ve made. The FREE version is perfect for my needs.
Each day, you enter what you eat...and your physical activity. It’s super simple and it's a great way to maintain accountability.
4. No Knead Bread- Sullivan Street Bakery
This one may seem a bit out of left field, but please stay with me. I've always liked to bake…desserts. Truth be told, only three desserts...Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies and Chocolate Cake. I dabbled in the land of bread baking…but always failed. No patience. No place warm enough to let bread rise. And now I live at a high altitude. Doomed.
One visit from my dad and I'm a bread baker! He visited for five days in Februrary. He made bread every day while he was at our house. I’ve baked at least two loaves a week, every week, since March 1st. I don’t think we'll ever go back to store-bought bread.
Do yourself a favor and make a loaf. It is ridiculously simple. Click here for the recipe. And here for the original article from The New York Times.
Watch Mark Bittman's short video below. This one is a game-changer!
5. the gift of an ordinary day
This is one of those books that stays with me, always. Especially right now as my oldest child finishes 10th grade…when I’m certain she just finished 1st grade five minutes ago. Why does time seem to speed up as our children grow?
the gift of an ordinary day is a 'keep on your nightstand' kind of book. Re-reading a chapter or two helps me keep a bit of perspective. Ms. Kenison's words remind me to stay present and
hold onto the daily joys of motherhood...even when it's tough.
Below is a video of the author reading an excerpt. Have tissues. It’s so worth it.
6. The Intouchables
A beautiful, funny, poignant reminder of the blessings that surround us. I could watch this one over and over. A truly wonderful film. French with English subtitles, but please don’t let that keep you from watching it. I believe it's available on DVD through Netflix and also at most libraries.
I have happily learned the art of the power nap. I'm a better person for it. Practice makes perfect. Grab a nap when you can. The shorter the better... 12-15 minutes works best for me. Although, I never argue with a longer, rainy day snooze when my schedule allows:-)
I tried to keep this list simple...but now it seems like a lot of information. Please email me with any questions or post a comment. I will respond within 24 hours...if not sooner.
I'd love to know your thoughts! Hoping you love some of these things as much as I do.
Thanks for reading.
It’s been a very soggy spring here in Boulder. The weather has been dreary, grey and dreadful
for weeks. The forecast is for more of the same.
I can’t stop thinking about trench coats.
This is unusual for me. I'd given up on trench coats forever. Or so I thought.
I have never owned this iconic piece of outerwear. I have tried. I’ve wanted to include this
style staple in my closet...but it just hasn't worked.
It’s one of those items that I love on other people. I see a woman rocking a classic trench coat and I am envious. I want that look. Then I put one on…and see something completely different.
I don’t see chic…I see frumpy and beige and boring.
I am ready to reconsider. I am ready to revisit the trench coat for my own wardrobe.
The trench coat was developed for British officers during World War I to help protect them from the elements in the ‘trenches’ on the front line. Thus, the name:-)
Both Burberry and Aquascutum lay claim to its origin. Regardless of which company was first;
the trench coat was embraced by some of history’s most elegant women.
Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Françoise Hardy, Bridgitte Bardot, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis all helped this utilitarian garment earn its permanent place on most fashion
“must have” lists.
The "I love it on other women" dilemma is not limited to trench coats. I often help clients who are looking for a specific, basic item. Usually, this garment is something they're seeing other
women wearing well.
These pieces aren’t usually trendy, but instead, true classics that for some reason have been
included in the client's, "But, I can't wear that" monologue.
Here are a few examples from my own life. Maybe you have some of your own.
Black or grey jeans- Chic women wear these two colors of denim all year long, yet they are
intimidating for some, including me. I feel super comfortable (and like myself) in any shade of
blue denim...but in my mind, black and grey jeans are reserved for urban, sexy, edgier women.
Ridiculous, I know. I'm still working on this one...
White Blouse- Same issue. Every list of great basics includes it, but many women don’t feel
beautiful in a crisp white blouse. I felt this way for years.
Super short hair + angular features + white blouse = too masculine. Until I found the right white blouse. I now own one that feels like me. Just the right mix of tailored and soft.
Tall brown boots- It took me forever to actually buy a pair. I knew I wanted a some, but couldn't find what I considered to be the perfect pair for me. I kept searching. Way too long. Missing several boot seasons...looking longingly at tall brown boots on everyone else. I let my need for perfection (and my fear of looking too equestrian) keep me from having a great pair of boots.
Until, I stopped looking for the perfection. I started looking for a pair that was good enough.
I bought a pair. I've now had them for years. I love wearing them.
Back to Trench Coats...
What am I waiting for?
A classic trench worn with stripes and denim or black...is fantastic!
It's official. I've begun my hunt for a fabulous trench coat! It won't be the $1,795 Burberry
original pictured above, but it will be a classic and I will wear it!
I almost hope it keeps raining...
What piece do you wish you could wear, but don't? Maybe it's time to become one of those women who wear that piece so well.
Pick one item that you always love on other women. Now go find a version that works for you! Good Luck!
Questions about something you feel you just can't wear? Post a comment or send me an email- email@example.com I'd love to help you take the first step.
Thanks for reading.
On May 18, Matthew and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage. I'm straying a little from the topic of style this post...I hope you'll forgive me.
We have a really great marriage. I consider myself very blessed by our rock solid union. I still pinch myself sometimes to see if I'm dreaming.
Over the years, many people have asked me, "What's the secret to a strong and happy marriage?"
I can only answer from my own experience. Here is my take based on my relationship with Matthew...
1. We truly like each other. I didn't realize the importance of this piece when I first met Matthew. Ridiculous, I know. I now realize that liking your spouse is as important as being in love. We simply enjoy each other's company.
2. We forgive fully and often. When there's an issue between us, we don't hold grudges.
We carry no baggage in this partnership.
3. We make time for each other. We have always made sure that there is 'us' time built into our busy lives. For example: since our children were born, we have chosen to eat Adult Dinner after we put our kids to bed. We eat something small with them...and then have a full dinner alone.
By candlelight. Every night. I believe that this one practice has had the biggest impact on the strength of our marriage. This time together is very closely guarded. It has certainly raised a few eyebrows from friends and family members over the years...but it works for us.
4. We recognize when the other needs a break. When one of us is completely overwhelmed, the other takes over. We jokingly call it the 'take charge routine'. It's obvious when one of us needs to escape the craziness- for a workout or a nap or a shower or just a few minutes to recharge. Thankfully, we don't usually need to escape at the same time.
5. We have similar parenting styles. We seem to come to the parenting table with the same basic ideas. When our thoughts differ, we're good at hearing each other out and finding a compromise.
Our marriage isn't perfect. It's real. And it's good.
We make each other better.
I'd like to share a story that's special to me. A story about an Anthropologie jacket.
My birthday is in December. I always made a visit to Anthroplogie during my birthday month. I would spend time trying on everything that I loved, knowing I might never actually buy most of the pieces. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
One year, I tried on navy blue boiled wool jacket with black taffeta trim by Sparrow.
This jacket was 'me' in a single garment.
My love of navy and black was already strongly intact and this piece was a perfect marriage of my colors.
I was in heaven in the fitting room in this jacket! I stayed there, in the jacket for a long time.
I didn't purchase the jacket that day. Didn't say a word about it to anyone. Just secretly loved it.
A week later on Christmas moring...
I opened gifts with Matthew and our three children. I unwrapped an Anthropologie box.
Inside was the navy and black jacket! I remember my eyes filling with tears as I stared at the jacket in disbelief. I gushed about how much I loved the jacket. I shared how I had worn the jacket for at least 15 minutes during my fantasy shopping trip.
I asked him how he knew...
He laughed softly and said something like, "How could I not, it looks just like you".
I will never forget that moment.
I felt like he really knew me...in a way that mattered.
I am excited to celebrate 19 years of marriage on Monday.
I love you, Matthew. Always.
Looking forward to the next 19 plus.
Thanks for reading.
Last Friday, I stepped out of my wardrobe comfort zone.
I didn't realize how far out I was stepping until I was getting dressed that morning.
Here's what happened...
At Anthropologie we sometimes kick off the coming weekend with Fashion Friday. These special Fridays have a 'theme' and the whole team dresses accordingly. It's a
way to inspire our customers and ourselves. Last Friday, the focus was dresses.
Now, if you've read even one or two of my previous posts, then you know that I am a certified 'jeans, striped top and blazer' kind of girl. I am most comfortable in some version of that classic 'uniform'.
It hasn't always been that way. I used to wear dresses and skirts. Often, actually.
I can't pinpoint when I began to choose pants over dresses (for ease, 'dresses' will include skirts for the rest of this post). I just stopped wanting to wear dresses.
As, I began to consider my outfit for Fashion Friday. I looked at the dresses hanging in my closet. I decided on an ivory lace treasure from Anthropologie. I loved this dress when
I purchased it in November, 2013.
Last Friday was the first time I have ever worn it!
While getting ready for work, I noticed that I was really struggling to stay commited to the dress. I had a running battle in my head. I am a 'rule follower', so I really wanted to show up in the suggested garb...but the urge to wear a pair of lovely, flowy linen pants was hard to ignore.
In the end...I decided to just leap.
I put on the dress and walked out the door.
I received the nicest compliments all day. Co-workers and customers commented on how great they thought I looked. How fresh and feminine. After each kind word, I found it hard not to explain and justify why I was wearing a dress. This was turning into a psychology study!
I had a really hard time wearing that dress and feeling like me. I felt like I was playing dress-up all day. I was thrilled to slip it off when I returned home. I never expected the simple act of wearing a dress to affect me so much.
Since Friday something interesting has happened...I keep thinking about dresses.
Specifically, about how I can incorporate a few dresses into my wardrobe.
Dresses that will feel authentic to me. Crazy, right?
Here's what I learned:
Though I was way out of my comfort zone, I survived. And as a bonus, the way I look at dress has changed. I realize now that the dresses in my wardrobe don't reflect my current style. They don't feel like me...so I never wear them. There's an easy fix...
find a dress or two that will fit into my existing wardrobe. A dress that feels like me.
Often the best way to shatter a limiting belief is to just leap through it.
It is possible to alter our usual 'uniform' and still be authentically ourselves.
We create our own story and image...so we can just as easily recreate them.
Want to try something new with your wardrobe? Dive in.
Here's an experiment:
Pick one self-imposed style rule that you live by and break it. Most of us have a
piece in our closet right now that we like, but don't wear because it just doesn't feel
Often this piece was purchased with good intentions and never worn (like my ivory lace dress). Keep in mind that while this item might not be exactly right, wearing it could change your thinking...and open your mind to new style possibilities.
Simple ways to shake things up in your own wardrobe:
If you always wear solids...pick a pattern.
If you only wear flats...step into a pair of heels.
If you never wear knits...try a t-shirt or sweater.
If you always wear small jewelry...rock a statement piece.
It's a small risk that might just lead to a new favorite look.
Let me know what you try and how it works...
Thanks for reading.
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,