Dress That Mama Challenge, Day 1: Vintage & Modern Pattern-Mixing

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Oh, boy — I think this is going to be a fun month for Dress That Mama fans! I’ve recently had some extra interest in the fashion side of things here on the blog — a few more emails than usual requesting more outfit posts, so I decided it would be fun to challenge myself and post an outfit 5 days a week for a month (that’s 20 outfits posts in one month!) instead of just once a week, in addition to all regular posts.

Three years ago, I wrote about the simple wardrobe and buying more thoughtfully. Re-reading that post made me realize a couple of things: that yes, I am still thoughtful and purposeful about buying my clothes, but no, my closet is not exactly simple. It’s not the trendy “capsule wardrobe” of basics that can be interchanged. It’s jam packed full of things I love: dresses, skirts, vintage tops, and nice shoes. I went through a period of time where I purged an item for each item I brought in, but then… I just brought more items in. Blame it on a love of fashion, or a generous husband, or a bit of extra money coming in that was able to be put towards new items I’d had my eye on, but somewhere along the way, I just started collecting without purging. And to some extent, I’m okay with this. Beautiful clothes make me feel really happy; I love mixing things up and expressing myself through what I wear every day.

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Dress (under skirt): Vintage

Skirt: Ace & Jig

Shoes: Rachel Comey Dekalb Clogs

Necklace: Erin Consodine

But I have what I need now. And so, I am going on a month-long (at least!) buying freeze on new (and new-to-me) clothing. While I do this, I will dig deeply into the recesses of my closet to rediscover what I have and love. I will post an new outfit every day at noon (except weekends) so that I am forced to get creative with what I have. I hope you enjoy it!

Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.   — Virginia Woolf

(Circus) Weekend Shenanigans

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We got the last bit of circus out of us (for awhile, at least) with the culmination shows for Oliver, Emil, and Milo on Saturday and Sunday. It was bittersweet, having to say goodbye to some amazing teachers who’ve known the boys for two years, helping them learn and grow, and also just being awesome role models for these guys. Our kids aren’t stopping circus classes; the teachers are just young and transient and on to other things — things in New York, not St. Louis! We will really miss them!DSC_0177DSC_0187

Aside from the sad good-byes, the boys did really well in their acts. Emil suffered a bit of stage fright right before his act, but pulled it together and hammed it up as usual, as “Clown Vader,” of course. Oliver did an amazing hula-hoop act, which I recorded, only to find afterwards that I had not actually recorded. NUTS! He did so well, so impressed with that guy!DSC_0185DSC_0075DSC_0078

Practicing before the show

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We’ll miss you, Claire!

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Milo also did really well on Sunday during his show. He’s the youngest, smallest one in his class and he just really holds his own. So proud of all of my boys!

P.s. — Check back later this afternoon for a bonus Dress That Mama post — I’m stepping it up for the next month…

Blue Rubber Bands

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For our ninth wedding anniversary, I picked up nine gifts and hid them around the house for Andrew to find. One of them was a blue rubber band ball I found while browsing Anthropologie. I saw it and immediately knew it would make Andrew laugh; for the entirety of our relationship, he has carried his license, cards, and cash in a doubled-over rubber band instead of a wallet. I saw the ball and thought, a hundred wallets! 

Upon buying the gift, I stood grinning while I handed the store clerk a few dollars. Is this all for you? she asked. And I felt compelled to tell her my story, even though I rarely chat up strangers. As soon as I told her about my quirky husband’s wallet habit, her eyes teared up. OH! she said, completely choked up, My father used to do that! It takes a certain kind of man to carry his things inside of a rubber band. I miss him so much!

And then there we were, two complete strangers with tears in our eyes — all because of a simple story and a reminder of something sweet about people we both loved: about someone I was still able to love, and about someone she was missing, about two strangers now connected. I think we can reach people with our stories and openness. I was so touched by our interaction, I think it will stay with me whenever I see Andrew pull out his blue rubber band wallet.

Have a lovely weekend.

Cooking Class!

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Last week my dear, sweet friend Jamie treated me to a cooking class just when I needed a break the most (day 6 of Andrew being out of town and a very busy circus week). It was so refreshing to do something with her where we could talk, laugh, and discuss motherhood candidly. I enjoyed it so much, we vowed to do it again and maybe make it a tradition in our friendship.

This cooking class was focused on Indian food, a cuisine we both love, but needed a few tips to take it to the next level. The chef had so many tricks up his sleeve, including a tip on how to peel ginger root with a spoon (genius!) and the difference between tempering and toasting spices, and the strangely difficult task of leaving the onions the hell alone when caramelizing them. Also, I was reminded of the importance of sharp knives… they provided us with Wüsthof knives and they made all the difference in prep work.
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We rolled out our own naan and made cashew cookies and a lamb dish that was amazing. The rest of the class worked on other dishes and at the end we all shared. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and felt so refreshed after spending time with my friend.
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Thank you, Jamie, for this special night! I am so lucky to have a friend like you, dear!