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!
When I’m asked a question often enough, I try to turn it into a post. I figure if lots of women are inquiring about a certain topic, maybe it ought to be explored. Today’s question is this…
What should I do with the clothes in my wardrobe that I've worn, but aren't really dirty?
In my opinion, this category of ‘not dirty enough to launder yet’ clothing is mostly limited to the pieces we hang out in or wear casually.
The bulk of the clothing that I wear for life outside of my home...to work, on dates, to events...is hung back up after I wear it unless it truly needs to be laundered.
If I wear a blouse for a few hours, I usually hang it back in the closet until the next time I wear it.
Here’s how I handle the pieces I’ve worn that aren’t yet ready for the wash...
All of my denim is folded in a wire basket on a shelf in my closet. After wearing, I give my jeans a shake, unroll the cuffs, empty the pockets, refold the jeans and put them neatly into the basket. Once my jeans start to feel a bit too stretched out and saggy or show any actual dirt, I toss them into the wash.
Same goes for chinos and washable pants.
Sweaters are refolded and returned to the sweater shelf.
Blazers are hung up and buttoned.
Cotton t-shirts are usually washed after every wear. Unless I’ve only had a top on for a short time. I prefer the freshness of a clean t-shirt when I’m getting dressed to go out.
If a garment becomes soiled or smelly, I wash or dry clean it immediately.
Then there’s the already-worn wardrobe grey area.
I believe what women are really wondering is this…
What should we do with the items of clothing we wear almost every day?
The hang-out-at-home clothes, kick-around jeans and shorts, sleepwear, etc?
Here's my solution...
I have a large fabric-lined wicker basket (similar to this one) in my closet that acts as a holding tank, of sorts. When I’m changing out of my ‘everyday’ clothes and they aren’t dirty yet...I loosely fold them and place them into the basket. This way I can grab them easily the next time I get dressed.
This basket holds...
The clothes I wear when I'm working from home.
The pieces I throw on to drive my kids to school.
The comfy stuff I change into when I arrive home after I’ve been out in ‘real clothes’ all day.
I’m more than happy to wear these items on repeat until they really need to be washed.
Other methods for storing your 'not quite dirty' clothing...
Use a designated hook in your closet to hang the ‘wear again tomorrow’ garments.
Dedicate one drawer to hold the items you'll wear several times before laundering.
With five people in my family, I try to do as little laundry as possible. (I still do multiple loads, 4 days a week) So, I definitely want to avoid washing things that aren’t really dirty. Plus, machine washing and drying takes a toll on fabric and I want my clothes to last.
For the record, I do wash the obvious stuff after every wear...socks, undies, workout clothes, swimwear, etc.
As for the semi-clean clothing, the ‘holding tank’ solution works for me.
What do you do with your ‘not ready for the laundry clothing’ between wears?
Please share! It's always helpful to hear new solutions to silly everyday issues.
Thanks for following along. Are you getting Weekly Updates? If not, you can sign up here:-)
Have a super week!
It’s official. We’re in a new season. In the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve just passed the longest day of the year. Summer has arrived. Depending on your circumstance, summer can mean three months of warm, lazy days and nights...or endless weeks of wrangling littles who are out of school.
Most moms with school-age children feel a bit of panic at the start of summer vacation. I’ve recently heard at least a dozen moms lament that having their kids home is really "kicking their butts"!
I get it.
As a mom of three, I’ve sometimes had a love/dislike (hate’s too strong a word for the season of sunshine:-) relationship with summer.
The dog days of this season can seem longer and hotter when the kids are home all day.
The end seems completely out of sight.
Until it isn’t.
I can see the end. At least I can glimpse it when my eyes aren’t full of tears.
This is my eighteenth summer as a mom.
The days of wondering what I’m going to do, plan, create, or invent to help keep my three children entertained are long gone.
If I find myself counting the minutes until nap-time, it will be for my own nap.
It’s highly possible that I’ll see less of my children in the coming weeks than I do during the school year.
But the absolute, knock-the-wind-out-of-me kicker...is that this year, at the end of these sun-drenched nine weeks... it will be time to pack up my oldest and send her off to college.
I’m no longer the mom who’s dreading summer because of how exhausting it is to have small children at home...all day...when you’ve grown accustomed to having a few hours to yourself.
I’ve crossed over to the other side of parenting.
The side where my kids are busy doing their own thing...and my first born's childhood is wrapping up.
And while almost all of me is completely good with it, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the sometimes crushing sadness I feel at this milestone.
I know this is exactly what should be happening now. I’ve worked really hard for 18 years to arrive at this point, but it sure changes how I feel about summer break.
I’ve always loved summer.
Sunshine and warm temperatures are the foundation of my happy place.
But when I look back over the past 18 summers, I recall lots of stuff I resisted…
smearing sunscreen on squirmy, sweaty little bodies,
too many errands with tired, crabby toddlers,
a bathtub 'swim' to cool them off when they looked like they might have heat stroke,
wiping sticky hands after a melty, messy Popsicle.
And sadly, I’m certain I said, "No" too often.
I’m more present now than I was back then. I pay attention better...possibly because my 'mom tasks' are fewer. We all have more time and more energy at this stage of the game.
But, August is coming fast. I can feel it waiting just up ahead.
My plan is to settle in. I’m going to soak up this summer. I’ll deep dive into all the feels of having Greta prepare for her next chapter.
And I'll begin preparing myself for mine.
After a bit of soul-searching, I've decided there are some things I could change to help make this summer more enjoyable and ultimately more memorable.
I’m committed to the following simple tweaks to bring added presence and joy to this fleeting season...
Really listen. Put down my phone and ignore my computer when my kids want my attention. Yes, I should already be doing this...but sometimes I don’t. This one simple shift and the season already feels better.
Eye contact. They deserve this. Always. Morning, noon and night, I love the sight of these people. They matter. Hopefully, this gesture helps to remind them of that important fact.
Hug more. I think sometimes I shy away from hugging my kids because their teenage bodies feel so big against mine. Their little kid selves are almost undetectable now that they’re tall and strong and capable...and some days that's crazy painful for me. Get over it, Kristen. Hugs those kids!
Laugh often. Have fun together time each week. Within the fullness of everyone's schedule, sometimes we forget to laugh. I’ve never been the ‘fun mom’, and while I can’t go back, I can bring more fun and silliness into Now.
Keep it fresh. I vow to do one new thing every week. Last week it was as simple as buying two boxes of packaged, frozen treats. Ice cream sandwiches and Dilly bars. So simple. My kids lit up with delight. This week, Greta and I took our first High Fitness class together!
Stay present. Aim for less internal and external freaking out about the future. Now is Now...all three of my kids are home this summer. I’m going to be here too.
Skin care. I'll apply sunscreen happily when asked. This will be my job for only a few more summers. I'm certain I'll actually miss it. Luckily, there are still some areas it’s easier for mom to reach...my pleasure.
Read and nap. This one's just for me. Self-care:-) I’m settling in to this new habit quite nicely. A few pages of a good book followed by 20 minutes of shut eye and I’m a new girl!
Be the driver. Willingly and with a smile. I have no licensed teenage drivers at my house. I’m okay with that. Two have permits and we’re quickly rounding the corner to a time when I won’t need to drive them anywhere.
Soak up the sun and all the rest of it.
Be here Now.
Do you find summer stressful or relaxing?
How do you stay present to enjoy the season?
Thanks for reading. I hope you're summer is off to an amazing start!
Weekly Updates to your inbox...sign up right here.
My apologies for the video glitch. I'm re-posting this with a video that actually works.
As I unpacked my summer clothes a few weeks ago, I realized that I desperately needed a few fresh tops. My old favorites were starting to look a little sad. One of the beautiful things about tops for warmer weather is that they’re usually made from wonderful lightweight fabrics. The downside of those dreamy, delicate fabrics is that they don’t hold up to lots of wear and washing. Realistically, you might only get one solid season from a top before it starts to lose it's luster.
I wanted several new tees and tanks, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money. Determined to find some deals, I enlisted the help of a shopping partner...in this case it was my son Peter:-) and we hit the mall.
It was a bonus day in the world of top shopping!
I actually found too many styles I really loved. In the end, I narrowed my choices down to the eight best!
If you’d like to know where I buy my go-to, wear everywhere, affordable tees and tanks…
and see which ones made the cut and came home with me…
Check out the video below!
Where do you buy your favorite tops?
I'd love to know...please comment below.
Thanks for being here:-) I hope you're enjoying the season!
Still not getting Weekly Updates? Sign up right here!
A successful shopping trip usually results in some amazing new purchases. You head home with a bag full of treasures you can’t wait to wear or use. But what happens when you revisit those items and realize that maybe you don’t love them all as much as you originally thought? Or later you've found your groove with a new garment and discover it’s not holding up very well?
Enter the flip (not so fun) side of shopping...
Returns styles vary. I’ve worked with customers who tend to return most everything they purchase and I’ve also worked with women who don’t ever return an item, even if it’s still hanging in their closet months later with the tags on.
Seems the topic of returning is a bit taboo. Women rarely share their views on the subject. However, when I'm not wearing my Anthropologie hat, I am often asked for some honest guidance about how to best return an item.
I’m happy to offer my two cents on the fine art of returning.
My hope is that this information will make you a better shopper and a better returner:-)
First off. Let me assure you that I'm something of a master at returning things.
I'm going to share two personal tales of extreme returns...if you'd rather skip right to the tips, just jump below the next photo:-)
The absent vacuum.
I returned a vacuum cleaner, without actually having the vacuum cleaner with me.
We purchased a vacuum cleaner from Sears. It came with a one-year warranty. We used it for six months and it stopped working. I grabbed the receipt and the vacuum and headed to Sears.
They took it in for repairs. I was told I’d receive a call in a week or two when the machine was fixed. I waited. I called. And waited.
Around the beginning of week four, I called again. I was informed that the vacuum wasn’t fixed yet. That afternoon, I went into the store.
I told the salesperson that I’d like to return the vacuum. She looked at me like I was nuts since I didn’t have the vacuum with me...remember, Sears had it in their repair department.
These were desperate times...Greta’s first birthday was the following week. We were hosting a family party. I needed a working vacuum.
After lots of explaining and demanding...I successfully returned the absent vacuum and purchased a new one. Problem solved.
The empty paint can.
In this instance, I was very noticeably pregnant, which I believe helped my case:-) I purchased a gallon of interior latex paint from Lowes. I don’t recall the brand, but it was “guaranteed to cover any paint color in only one coat”. I had them tint the base a beautiful soft yellow. The perfect newborn color.
I proceeded to paint the room. I was painting over a pale lavender.
The new paint didn’t cover well. At all.
One coat coverage? Baloney.
I painted the entire room. I used every drop of paint in hopes that it would miraculously cover well once it was fully dry. No luck.
I grabbed the receipt and the empty can and waddled back to Lowes.
I requested a refund. The man assured me that the can was empty. I agreed and told him the paint was on the wall. Further explaining that I’d purchased the correct quantity for the room size and the coverage was terrible.
Again, after much discussion and demanding, I was refunded my money and purchased a second can of paint to finish the job.
Here’s what I tell my clients regarding returns:
The very first and most important rule of returning is this...
Only buy what you absolutely love!
The chances of needing to return something are much greater if you don’t love it to begin with. So, if you’re on the fence in the fitting room...don’t buy it! Don’t expect the garment to miraculously improve once you take it home, chance are it won’t.
1. What's the policy?
Know the store’s return policy before you buy. There are loads of different return policies out there. Learn what’s acceptable in your favorite shops.
Anthroplogie? Best return policy in the business!
Forever 21? 21 days to receive store credit only. Jewelry cannot be returned.
So, be certain you can live with your options before you head to the register. And keep in mind, if store credit is your only choice, a store credit at that you’ll later use to purchase something you truly love (or on a gift for someone else)...is far better than an itchy sweater, tags on, in your closet until it goes to Goodwill.
2. Do the work.
Be willing to actually return any item that you aren’t wearing. Don’t waste money by leaving things hanging in your closet when they could be returned for a refund. Errands suck, but schedule and do them in a timely manner.
Two reasons for this...stores appreciate being able to put the merchandise back on the sales floor while it's still full price. If you hold on to an item for ages, chances are it's on sale when you finally return it...thus the store loses money because you took your time with the return. Also, most retailers have a return grace period after which you'll only receive store credit or possibly not be able to return the item at all.
3. Proper information.
Make it easy on the store (and ultimately, yourself). Sign up for a store’s loyalty program. Today’s technology makes it possible for retailers to retain a record of your purchases, allowing them to access your receipt information when you need to make a return.
Back up plan...
I strongly believe you should also keep your receipt. Mistakes happen. The data is only as good as the system or the human entering it. Most often an email receipt is an option at checkout. This prevents you from having to store a paper copy, but provides you with added security.
If at all possible, plan to do your returns when the store is a bit slow. Like when the doors first open in the morning, dinnertime...not Saturday afternoon! The return process will be smoother and more pleasant for everyone if you try to handle it when the store isn't too busy.
For the best results, merchandise should be unworn with the original tags still attached. Sometimes this isn’t possible. But aim for this, as it simplifies the entire transaction.
5. Don't push it.
It's best not to abuse your right to return. As you may have heard, most retailers do in fact flag chronic returners. Customers who return lots of merchandise and do it often can be viewed as a security risk.
I’m a firm believer in returning merchandise that doesn’t perform well.
If a garment falls apart after being laundered according to the garment care tag, I’d return it.
Zipper breaks after normal wear? Take it back.
Excess shrinkage? Return it.
Retailers need to know if their merchandise isn’t satisfying the customer. If faulty items aren’t returned, they can't know that their product has disappointed their shoppers.
Shopping takes time, energy and money. By choosing well initially, you’ll be able to avoid most returns. This frees up your time for more fun...which is awesome!
If you're like me, having a bag full of stuff to return riding around in your car fills you with dread! So gather up the merchandise and the receipts and get it done!
One more thing...
What about gifts you can’t or won’t use?
My belief is this...if at all possible, you should return a gift that won’t/can’t be used. If you have a gift receipt, great. You'll likely receive a store credit in the amount of the original purchase price.
Often a retailer will permit returns without a receipt, if the items are unused. You'll be given store credit or exchange for the lowest selling price.
Not sure where it came from? Try to determine where the gift was purchased or find a retailer that carries the same merchandise, you can likely return it for at least a bit of store credit.
Explain to the salesperson that the gift simply doesn’t work for you and ask what options are available for returning or exchanging.
When we give a gift we should want the recipient to really enjoy the gift. I’d have no issue with a gift I’ve given being returned or exchanged for something the person would enjoy more:-)
And finally, be nice.
A little kindness goes a long way during the sometimes lengthy, difficult return process. Let's be honest, nice goes a long way always.
Want my Weekly Updates? Sign up here.
I'm sure you have your own return tales.
Tell me! I'd love to hear them.
Thanks for being here. Have a wonderful week.
June. One of the Northern Hemisphere’s most beautiful months. If you live here, you're likely psyched, as the joys of the season are just beginning. I love summer. Always have. I thrive on sunshine. I feel best in warm weather. I welcome the easier pace of no school for my kids. As a friend of mine wisely says, "Summer is when my inner girl comes out".
The trouble with summer is that it sometimes comes with big expectations. We often wait all year for this carefree month...anticipating all of the fun it will hold.
Big pressure. And like anything that comes with 'big expectations'...if we aren't careful, summer can end up letting us down
Social media can make summer a challenge.
Theodore Roosevelt was right...
Comparison is the thief of joy.
We scroll through Instagram and see hundreds of photos showing perfect summer days. Sparkling images of the ideal family outings. The stuff that our dreams are made of.
But, what if you have no plans for a spectacular summer getaway?
Or you return home and sink into a post-vacation funk?
Here are some ways to bring a little Summer Vacation into your life, even if you’re not leaving home.
I use the following 'hacks' to create a casual, laid-back summertime vibe when I'm staying put for the season...
Switch up your usual thirst quencher. My go-to? Sparkling water packed with ice and a splash of fruit-flavored Italian soda (think San Pellegrino) and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. With a straw. In a glass you love.
Want something portable? Try Spindrift.
2. Glow, girl.
We all know that the sun (in anything but small doses) is super damaging to our skin. Yet, who doesn’t feel better with a little color? Or a savage tan? Give your skin a tropical boost. No skin damage, just a healthy "I've been basking" glow. Here's my favorite.
3. Fresh Face.
Try some new makeup. Light and easy for the warmer weather. Less is more.
4. Transport yourself.
Read a book or watch a movie that takes you away. Live vicariously through a cast of amazing characters. Get lost in a story that fills you up.
A couple of my 'escape' favorites (certainly not award-winning films, but embarrassingly captivating:-)...Summer Lovers. Little Darlings and Monte Carlo. Prefer a good read? The Sun Also Rises.
5. New menu.
Change what you eat. Strawberries, peaches, watermelon, tomatoes, leafy greens...devour what’s fresh in your area. Wow your taste buds with a bounty of summer flavors.
6. Al Fresco.
Eat outside. Picnic or patio. Move the meal outdoors. Plug in a string of white lights and feel your mood improve. I love Cooking Light magazine for easy seasonal meals.
5. Be a tourist.
Plan a day date or a family outing that rocks. See your town through the eyes of a visitor. Pick something new...do something you've never done before. A Live List is a super way to keep stretching yourself and your family.
6. Light a candle.
I'm not sure who figured out how to make a candle smell like the beach, but I'm forever grateful. My first and still favorite is the 'sea salt' candle is from St. Eval Candle Company. I'm not sure if it's still available in the U.S. I bought mine at Terrain many years ago. Terrain now seems to carry this one instead. My bet is it's a great option, I just haven't tried it yet.
7. Clear out some clutter.
Use your slower days and looser schedule to get rid of stuff! Make a plan and declutter your life. The rewards are better than any vacation! Ever.
8. Be present.
Now is now. Be right where you are. Find beauty and give thanks for what is.
Remember, this isn’t about pretending to get away.
It’s more about being happy where you are.
Make today special whether you're in an exotic locale or your own backyard.
And feel free to snap a cool pic and post it on social media. Loving your life as it is...is 100% enviable:-)
How do you celebrate summer?
I'd really love to know...please share below.
Have a very happy June!
And for those of you with kids at home...
Remember, Eighteen Summers: It's all we get. Warning- don't click that link without a few tissues in hand. There really are only 18 summers before they head out. Believe me, I know. I’m here already.
I’m working on me this month. It’s time to put the finishing touches on some personal changes. A few that are long overdue.
Anything you’d like me to explore here this summer? Just comment below and I’ll work it in.
Have an amazing week. Thank you for your presence in my life. This community is such a blessing.