Welcome to the blog...
This space is all about seeking
EXCITED CHILLS and creating a
simple, authentic, beautiful life.
I do hope you'll stay a while!
I discovered the power of self tanners way back in middle school. Those were the days of Sudden Tan...and Coppertone Quick Tan. Both promised a beautiful bronze, both delivered an interesting orange wash.
Regardless, I felt better with my artificial chestnut (orange) glow...somehow a bit exotic and healthier. I'd imagine myself just back from vacation in a tropical paradise...made easier after watching a very tan Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon.
Thankfully, self tanners have improved quite a bit since 1979. Today's options produce incredible, believable color. They're affordable and available in every drug store and grocery store.
I want to share my new favorite...
I've seen at least a dozen customers showing some beautifully browned skin lately. When asked, each person let me in on their simple secret....
Banana Boat's Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion- Deep Dark Color
This stuff is AMAZING! It turns even pale skin to the most natural-looking bronze. It's a bit dark, but can easily be mixed with regular lotion to dilute it a bit.
The smell is subtle and citrusy when it goes on...and is not at all bothersome to other people in the house (I'm refering to you, Victoria's Secret Self Tanner). The cream is brown so you can see where you've applied it, but it doesn't look like a bronzer on your skin. It dries fairly quickly. Best of all...as it tans there is none of the horrible
'self tanner' smell that usually accompanies a faux tan.
And it costs less than $9.00 a tube.
Summer Color comes in a spray version also. I've tried both. The spray gives the same great color and dries a bit faster, which is nice, but I prefer the lotion. Note: the spray comes out with great force! It is not a light mist...be ready to rub it in as you apply it.
I'm at the beach this week. Enjoying some much needed time away with my family.
And yes, I'm sporting my Summer Color tan!
I'd love to know if you have a favorite self tanner....
Thanks for reading.
We’ve all been to shopping parties. We attend them because we want to spend time with our friends and support the hostess. Often times, even if we don’t love what's being sold, we feel obligated to buy something.
There’s a better format for a shopping party…
A clothing swap.
While there are lots of ways to handle unwanted clothing and accessories after a closet cleanout, one of the most fun is to host a clothing swap!
The idea is simple. Inform your friends that they need to clean out their closets. Have them each contribute at least 12-15 items that they’re ready to purge. Set a time to get together and swap!
Here are the basics for hosting a successful swap:
1. Pick a date- Double check with your closest friends to be sure the date works for everyone. Swaps can be held at any time...during the day or in the evening. Make arrangements for your husband and kids to be out of the house during the party. This makes it much easier for guests to try on clothing without the risk of embarrassment.
2. Create a guest list- I suggest 8-12 people…but it can work with fewer (if each person has a good selection of items to donate) or more, provided you have enough room for all of the merchandise and guests.
Decide if you want to handle all food and drink yourself or if you’d like each guest to bring something. In my experience, women don’t eat much at swap parties.
Keep it simple. Serve a few great finger foods, or desserts with chilled sparkling water and wine or a special cocktail, if you’d like. Send out invitations…Evites are fine. There are loads of adorable graphics and ideas available on Pinterest or with a simple Google search.
It’s helpful to include several guests who are basically the same size…though shoes, handbags and accessories make it possible to swap regardless of body type.
3. Clean out your closet- If you haven't done this already...get to it! Pull out all of the items you NEVER wear…and won’t ever wear again. Make a pile of ‘tradeable’ pieces. Include accessories, handbags, shoes, etc. Your swap items might have been gifts you don't love, things that are just not your color, too tight or too big. They might be perfect for one of your friends! Make sure all clothing is in good condition, freshly laundered and ready to wear. Let your guests know that you'll be happy to donate any items that aren't chosen to a local charity.
4. Arranging the merchandise- Ideally, you want to create a boutique-like shopping environment in your home. Remember that well-presented items will look so pretty when your guests arrive…setting the mood for a really fun ‘shopping’ party.
Creating shopping areas – arrange the merchandise in a way that is thoughtful and easy to shop. For example; put all evening/formal clothing together…complete with bags and
shoes. All denim can be displayed together or mixed in with tops and sweaters. I like to arrange by season. In each section it helps to arrange by size…smallest to largest.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tags - Tagging all merchandise helps make shopping easier. Send tags in the invitation or arrange to drop them off with each guest. Provide a minimum of 15-20 per person.
There are coutless options for tags...check Staples, Target, Dollar Tree or make your own. On each tag write the guest's name and ask them to write the size of the garment. Have guests attach a tag to each garment before dropping them off to you (either with string or a safety pin).
Request that all merchandise be delivered to your house at least 4 days before the party so that you can organize and arrange everything ahead of time. But be sure to have extra tags on hand at the event, as people might arrive with untagged pieces.
Rolling racks- It’s super easy and affordable to rent rolling racks.
Though, I have seen merchandise successfully placed without any racks...using mantels, staircases, bookshelves, hall closet, etc. The cost of renting a rolling rack is usually about $16 for three days. Check with your local party rental company. The racks are easy to set up and make the swap look a bit more professional.
Hangers- You can rent hangers, but I think it’s easiest if everyone brings most of their garments on hangers. Assure them that they can have them back after the party. Or you can buy a few bunches of plastic tubular hangers- they are inexpensive and keep things uniform.
Full-length mirror- It helps to have more than one full length mirror set up in the
main shopping area. Guests will want to see how they look in the pieces they are considering. It’s more fun if all of the guests can watch and comment on what people are trying on.
An open bathroom- bedroom or den for those who are way too modest to change in front of others.
Shopping Bags- Ask everyone to bring a few paper shopping bags to the party. Plan to collect several of your own, as some people might not have any.
On the evening of the event…turn on some upbeat music.
Light a few candles. Set out the refreshments...
and get ready to swap!
Some hosts impose more rules during the swap than others. I feel that fewer rules are better, especially if the guests are all friends. A more strict set of rules is sometimes necessary with larger groups of women who aren’t well acquainted, such as in schools, churches or neighborhoods. I have never seen friends fight over garments at an
Remind everyone that the merchandise is completely FREE! If they take something home and don't end up wearing it...no big deal. They can donate it or bring it to the next swap:-)
The idea is to have fun! Spend time with friends. And score a few great pieces without spending a dime.
I have hosted and attended many clothing swaps. If you'd like to host one, but need some additional info...just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd be happy to help you!
Thanks for reading.
It’s that time of year again…the temperature is rising (at least here in the US) and jeans are starting to feel hot and heavy. I’m always reluctant to put away my Emerson, but…
Women tell me every day that they “don’t wear shorts”. There seems to come a point in every woman’s life when she no longer feels comfortable or stylish in shorts.
Understood. I’m there. Shorts season for me, is definitely over.
At this stage in my life, I’m only willing to wear shorts in the safety of my own home, when working out or while gardening.
To be honest, I don’t really miss them very much. There are other pieces that I feel better wearing…my inspiration is always the timeless look of a European gal shopping
at her local farmer’s market.
I’m not sure when my fascination with this imaginary muse began. I believe it was in the mid-1980’s. I’d watched a few films featuring beautiful, tan women on vacation wearing sexy, summer clothing. The look was effortless and a bit rumpled. While I was still happily wearing shorts back then…the image stuck and remains my litmus test for warm weather style.
Here’s the question I ask myself when creating a daytime summer outfit…
Would I see this on the chic girl strolling through the farmers' market in a small French or Italian village?
If the answer is ‘yes’…it’s a go!
Carefree. Timeless. Sexy.
Ready to be transported? Grab your veggie basket...
Let’s look at some non-shorts options that will take you to that fabulous farmers' market in your mind…
Shorter Skirts- there are lots of choices when it comes to summer skirts. Shorter skirts can be worn just like you’d wear a pair of shorts…with a casual tee or tank and sandals or sneakers. Simple and pretty…without showing too much.
Longer Skirts- Below the knee or to the floor, these are an awesome choice if you want to show less leg. Even at the maxi length, these skirts can classify as casual, everyday wear…and allow better airflow than pants.
Dresses- same theory applies. Short or long, dresses are a one step way to look cool and put together when it’s hot. Fabrics such as lightweight knits and gauzy cottons let dresses look and feel less fancy.
Soft Linen or Cotton Pants- A great pair (or two) of fluid, wider-leg pants will make your summer wardrobe so much more versatile. Pick a basic pair that can take the place of your jeans or khakis. Soft and breathable, these will help you beat the heat!
Back to shorts…
If you feel you can still rock a great pair of shorts…by all means, go for it! The effortless farmers' market vibe certainly works with a pair of tasteful shorts. There are loads of amazing choices out there...here are a few tips for making shorts work.
Be sure they are the best length for your shape. Long enough to be tasteful and short enough to be really flattering on your thighs. If you’re unsure, shop with a trusted friend or your teenager (they are notoriously honest).
Pick a color that flatters and works with the tops you already own. Most denim washes, khaki shades and military greens are great on all skin types. Black and white can work, but often look harsh or too formal. Patterns can be tricky…solids will usually be more flattering and more wearable.
Pay attention to your skin. Use a self-tanner to even out your skin tone and hide imperfections. A liquid or gel bronzer with a bit of sparkle will help, too!
Watch the length of your shirt. Keep your top short enough so that people can see you’re wearing shorts…don’t make them wonder.
Wear them now, before it's too late…and wear them with confidence.
I'd love to know what you're wearing to stay cool this summer! Comments always welcome:-)
Thanks for reading.
I have nothing to wear!
I hear it all the time. Very often from women who have a closet (or closets) packed full of great clothes. A 2014 study showed that the average woman owns $500 worth
of unworn clothing! Let's find those unworn pieces and put them to work...
I have yet to see a woman who didn’t already have a solid wardrobe hanging in her closet. Usually, there are many pieces still sporting the price tags. After we remove
what really isn't working, what’s left is the beginning of a lovely, functional wardrobe.
Many of my clients struggle with a very simple problem.
Too many clothes!
They have entirely too many options and that leaves them paralyzed when trying to get dressed. Then…they reach for the same safe, simple, easy outfit over and over again. Boredom sets in. A rut forms. And they head back to the stores in search of more clothing.
Stop! Don't shop yet...
Let’s start in your closet… here are two painless ways I help my clients discover what to keep and what to toss. If you’re ready to try, pick one. Commit to at least a week…though a month is preferable (a whole season is even better) as it will provide a more complete study of what you are really wearing.
1. Turn the hangers
I do this experiment in my own closet and with clients. It’s ridiculously simple and you’ve probably heard about it before now. Turn all of the hangers in your closet so that the hook of the hanger faces you…backwards, if you will. (See the first photo above)
After you wear a garment, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the proper way…away from you. (See the second photo above)
This trick allows you to see what you actually wear. In our minds, we often think we utilize more of our wardrobes than we really do. I know you have good intentions of wearing all of the pieces hanging there… but are you truly putting them on?
2. Wear the unworn
This method begins with you locating the pieces in your closet that you are passing over on a regular basis.
You know, the clothing that you flip past every day because it’s just not the right day to wear it. That changes now.
Move those lonely pieces to one part of your closet or tag them somehow so you can find them easily.
For the next week or month or season…build those items into your outfits. Force yourself to utilize those benchwarmers. You will quickly learn something about each piece. Some pieces will make your outfits better. You'll wonder why you haven’t been wearing them. Others offer loud and clear reasons why they aren’t getting any play...
too tight, itchy, too short, the color washes you out, etc. And a select few will need a little attention before they can be considered keepers...possibly some tailoring or the purchase of a finishing/coordinating piece.
after you have given everything in your closet a fighting chance, it's time to remove what doesn't work! It's time to let go of the pieces you will never wear again. Try not to play the..."but I might wear this someday" game. It's a trap. You'll be right back where you started...with a closet full of clothing that you don't wear.
Divide up the items that won't be living in your closet anymore. Physically move them out of your closet so that you won't be tempted to reconsider.
Trash = stained, torn, really old and worn.
Donate/Give Away = still in decent shape, but not good enough to sell. Take these things to Goodwill or give them to someone in need.
Treasures = only for the truly treasured pieces; your grandfather's Irish knit sweater,
a t-shirt from a special concert or race...put these in a box and store the box anywhere but your closet.
Sell = Much of what comes out of my clients' closets can be sold. If you have one close, try Buffalo Exchange or your local consignment shop. Or...see below for two amazing online options that don't require you to leave your house!
This was the first online resale service I tried. It's super simple. I made $83 on my first bag of clothing sold.
I just filled my first bag. Haven't mailed it back yet. Huge bonus: thredup also buys baby and kids clothing!
Good luck with wearing your benchwarmers. I'd love to hear what you discover.
I know it's daunting to face a full closet that's
in serious need of a cleanse.
I know it can be overwhelming to try and
build an authentic wardrobe.
I promise to keep sharing methods that will make it all a bit easier. With that in mind, I'm working on a three-day style project. Stay tuned...
Thank you so much for reading.