I love blogging. I've been doing it as a hobby since 1999 and over the years I've met hundreds of fellow bloggers at various conferences, including TxSC (rest in peace, my little blog conference!).
But for the last couple years I've noticed that Instagram seems to be where the party is at.
A Christmas post from Indiana . . .
Even though we don't do Santa Claus (i.e. presents left under the tree from Santa on Christmas morning), we do take our kids to the mall every year to take a photo with the guy dressed as Santa.
This year's picture did not disappoint. I'm calling this work of art "Lucy Isn't Having It".
This year the kids were joined by their baby cousin Clover (purple shirt on Santa's lap- R), who is six months younger than Lucy (white shirt on Santa's lap- L). I'm not sure if Clover is frightened by the man dressed as Santa or if she's empathy crying for lil'Lu who is freaking her ever loving freak.
This picture joins an incredible line-up of Santa photos from years past [click photo to view larger on Instagram]:
Visiting mall Santa, at least for the next couple years, is going to remain one of my favorite family traditions.
Speaking of... if you meet a family (like mine) who isn't doing Santa, don't assume we're kill joys or that we think your family shouldn't do Santa. We do celebrate Christmas in other ways --big ways! fun ways!-- but we decided that the whole leaving presents from Santa and using him as a behavior modification tool just wasn't right for our family. We've told Jude that Santa Claus was real and that some families have a tradition of pretending to give gifts from Santa Claus. We've told him that some families like to pretend the mall Santa is real (kind of like characters at Disney World or in movies) and if he wants to pretend too, he can because using our imagination is fun. However, it was important to me that he knows that the presents our kids get on Christmas are presents from people who love them and know them and thoughtfully chose each and every gift and wrapped it just for them.
And because we mentioned it on our most recent podcast (returning soon, I swear!) and said we'd publish it on the blog, here are the want / need / wear / read gifts we got (or will get, belated) for our children this year:
- WANT | Jude told the mall Santa he wanted a nutcracker, and it's the only thing he's consistently asked for. So cute. Maybe this will be a yearly tradition.
- NEED | We haven't purchased this yet, but embarrassingly, Jude is still sleeping in his crib. I mean, the toddler rail is installed and he fits just fine, but it's time for us to re-do his room and get him into a big boy bed. He's been asking for a bunk bed, but we're unsure. We think a loft bed or a day bed may be a better choice. Pictured: Land of Nod Tall Order Loft Bed.
- WEAR | He used to wear his NASA cap all the time, but it got lost shortly after our move. I ordered a replacement.
- READ | Chris got him a Narnia box set for them to read together at night.
- WANT | She told the mall Santa she wanted a "new kazoo". She has a perfectly fine kazoo, but we'll indulge her. I love that she always asks things like this. For her birthday, the only thing she wanted was a pointed, cardboard birthday hat.
- NEED | She has outgrown her hand-me-down bike, so we've upgraded her to this and Lucy will get the hand-me-down bike. Do you know how hard it was to find a girly bike that didn't have cartoon characters on it and / or wasn't all pink and purple everything?
- WEAR | She has outgrown the fluffy winter hat she wore all last year. Because she loves leopard, I ordered a similar hat but in her favorite pattern.
- READ | Every time we go to the library, she checks out a bug book. Now she can have her own.
- WANT | Every time I ask her what she'd like for Christmas she says "Dah". "Dah" can mean "dog" or "doll" so I had to make a guess. This doll is good because she can practice buttons, snaps, and ties, which means she can be on her way to dressing herself... which means she's only a few steps away from dressing crazy like Caroline.
- NEED | We have second hand Tripp Trapp chairs for Jude and Caroline, and Lucy so desperately wants to sit in them at the table with us instead of being relegated to her high chair. Thankfully we scored one on Facebook from a local garage sale group last week!
- WEAR | Lucy is obsessed with wearing other people's boots. Sadly, Caroline's frog boots (originally Jude's, originally someone else's) bit the dust, so Lucy doesn't have rain boots in the pipeline for a hand-me-down. I'm eying these cuties since Lucy loves animals so much.
- READ | I can't remember where I saw this book (maybe on Oh, Joy?) but I saw it today at Barnes & Noble and grabbed it for Lucy. I love how cute and simple it is.
It probably isn't at all helpful for me to publish our gift list with just one shopping day between now and Christmas, but maybe you'll be like me, braving the crowds tonight and tomorrow morning or giving a few belated gifts with only a moderate amount of shame.
Or maybe you can use this next year and check back in to see if we'll have a "Lucy Isn't Having It, Part Two" photo. Sound good?
A Thoughtful Closet post from Indiana . . .
There are two types of people in the world: 1- people who are good at giving advice, and 2- people who are not. But you've got to beware of people who are not good at giving advice because many of them are delusional and think they give good advice or many of them try to give advice anyway, so they masquerade as a good advice givers.
This surprises a lot of my friends when I tell them this, but when it comes to fashion, I am a person who does not give good advice. However I'm savvy enough to know this about myself and to not even try. This is why I'm not a stylist and why I'm uncomfortable when stores ask me to come in to style people for events. Some days I can barely dress myself.
That's why it's been a little befuddling that since I've been tackling my Thoughtful Closet experiment that a fair amount of people have contacted me to help them make their own capsule collection or pared down wardrobe. That is so flattering, y'all, but it's not at all within my realm of capabilities. In fact, this is me laughing at the thought of styling other people.
But because people have reached out to me about it, I know it's a real want that's out there. I just sort of winged it when I started and for sure have some mistakes that I'll share another time, but for next season / my spring experiement, I've been test driving Cladwell's new site (still in beta!) called Capsules. They're calling it "a destination that helps you create a simple, minimal wardrobe with only clothes you love." For $15 per season ($5 per month), they'll help you build your own capsule wardrobe based on your lifestyle, color preferences, and more. It's way more affordable than a personal stylist (my stylist friends charge $250 - $500 for this service), and I think it's really rad and easy to use.
If one of your new years resolutions is to start shopping more thoughtfully or to try a capsule wardrobe, may I suggest trying Capsules? As a bonus, the first 50 folks to sign up with my link can enjoy the service for $10 this season (instead of $15). It's a small price to pay to avoid bad fashion advice givers pretending to be good fashion advice givers, am I right?
A Thoughtful Closet post from Indiana . . .
I am so not a hat person. I used to think I was a hat person, but then one day I realized that I have no idea what to do with said hat once I enter a building. Or when I drive. Or when I eat. And it doesn't make sense to wear a hat just hanging at home, me and the kids... so the question begs to be asked: when does one wear a hat?
I'll tell you when one can wear a hat: when one is invited to a tea party. And that, my friends, is why I'm wearing this hat:
date: 10 Dec. 2015 | occasion: tea party with my Northside squad
CHRIS: For someone who claims not to be a hat person, you sure do have a lot of hats.
INDIANA: I don't have a lot of hats!
CHRIS: What are you talking about? You have that very hat in yellow and gray!
INDIANA: Oh. You're right. But I'm still not a hat person.
CHRIS: How do you figure?
INDIANA: I guess since I own more than one hat, I'm technically a hats person.
I'd like to show off my gray one again. Who has another tea party they can invite me to? It's the only place where I can wear a floppy hat in the winter without feeling completely ridiculous.
I've mentioned this on Instagram, and since then I've been trying to figure out how to write a post about it without making is a "feel alarmed or sorry for me" kind of post. So up front, don't be alarmed for me! Things are under control.
It's been quiet here and with the podcast because I've been working very hard this last month to get my health in check. Some background:
In 2008, after being misdiagnosed with Lupus in college, I finally got a handle on my health with a correct diagnosis of Hashimoto's Syndrome.
A post by Indiana . . .
I wrote late last night about my Thoughtful Closet experiment, so without further ado, here are the 30 items I've been wearing for the last 30 days. I still need to procure a white t-shirt, maxi skirt, coated leggings, and black loafers (those are the holes I've noticed in this first month), but I plan to get those this week. One month down, two to go! But who knows? Maybe I'll do this through January, too.
[note: products linked below are actual products that I own]
4. STRIPED SHIRT / H&M Conscious (eco minded, purchased summer 2015)
5. BLACK SILK BLOUSE / H&M Conscious (eco minded, purchased fall 2015)
6. CHAMBRAY SHIRT / H&M Conscious (eco minded, purchased summer 2015)
7. GINGHAM SHIRT / Merona (purchased spring 2014)
8. BLACK TURTLENECK / Express (purchased winter 2008)
11. GRAY SPLIT HEM SWEATER / TOMS for Target (give-back, purchased winter 2014)
12. EMBELLISHED SWEATER / Topshop via Nordstrom (purchased fall 2014)
13. OVERSIZED TURTLENECK / H&M (purchased winter 2013)
14. LEOPARD CARDIGAN / MinkPink via Shopbop (purchased winter 2009)
16. UTILITY VEST / PJK x Manrepeller c/o Neiman Marcus (spring 2013)
19. COATED LEGGINGS / wish list: Spanx (still need!)
20. FANCY PANTS / Dillards (purchased winter 2014)
24. MAXI SKIRT / wish list: looking at Poshmark for secondhand (still need!)
27. LEATHER SKIRT / Nordstrom Rack (made in the USA, purchased spring 2014)
30. BLACK HEELS / DSW (winter 2013)
A post from Indiana . . .
A few people have commented and contacted me about my #thoughtfulcloset self-imposed challenge that I've mentioned a bit on IG. I am hesitant to call it a capsule collection or a minimalistic wardrobe, because I don't know if what I'm doing falls squarely into either of those things.
Honestly, it's not that planned out nor is it that rigid. I've simply pared down my closet, including my shoes, to 30 items total, and I'm making myself wear only those 30 items for 90 days. I don't have plans to rotate my 30 items out for 30 entirely new items at the end of the challenge, and I don't plan to turn my wardrobe into a monochromatic thing of even fewer items eventually. This was just a drastic measure I had to take after the millionth time of cleaning out my closet and wondering how in the world I had amassed so much stuff-- stuff I liked but didn't wear regularly.
Although getting my wardrobe down to 30 in-season items could certainly be considered a "capsule collection", I'm calling it a thoughtful closet because it's pared down practically (and not by any set of "rules") and I've very carefully considered each of these items and I've tried to make sure they've fit into my "Shop With Heart" shopping philosophy. For almost all of the items, if the item is less than a year old, it's second hand or it's manufactured by a company who has put into practice a give-back model, humane working conditions, and / or eco-friendly materials. If the item is more than a year old, it's something I've worn season to season and isn't just a "trend" to me.
I did this for me-- not for the sake of my blog or Instragam. And since I'm already 30 days done, I can honestly say that this is really working for me. At first it was weird to have such an empty closet bar, now it's not at all weird... except how much more often I have to do laundry.
I wasn't initially planning to blog this at all, but I weirdly miss having a style blog. It's not at all lost on me that I quit doing a fashion blog when I got jaded and overwhelmed with the way that the world of style blogging evolved ("fauxtoshoots", the endless "must have's" shopping lists, relentless trend chasing, and the never ending pursuit of "increasing my influence"), and now that I've made a clean break and rebranded my blog, I want to have a style blog again.
In complete transparency, it's a slippery slope for me. For instance, a while back I announced that I was going to start a thoughtful gift giving blog, but last week, after putting six months into it behind the scenes, I decided to not move forward with it. Again-- since it was a SHOPPING blog, my queued up content was very consumeristic, although the brands were brands that were doing good. I couldn't figure out how to helm a shopping blog without making those "GO BUY ALL THESE AMAZING THINGS IMMEDIATELY" posts all the time. Before it even launched, it already wore me out. Do I really want to make people feel like they need to go buy all the things all the time? No. No!
So that's where I sit now when I think about doing outfit posts again. How can someone do a personal style blog when A- she isn't showcasing groundbreaking style, and B- she is uncomfortable promoting "BUY ALL THESE THINGS" posts all the time? and C- she just really wants to have a space on the web where she can be funny and maybe show you what she's wearing but not brush her hair if she doesn't want to.
All that to say: I'm going to try to blog a little bit about my Thoughtful Closet experiment, but I'm actually far more interested in how other people are shopping thoughtfully. More on that later...