A big thanks to the team at JORD Wood Watches for the wrist upgrade, and for sponsoring this post.
Halloween has come and gone,and the holiday season is officially here – according to retailers and advertisers. As a prequel to the holiday prep that is soon to come here on the blog and elsewhere, today I’m taking a moment to talk about the best gift we can give to each other, all year long: the gift of time.
You see, sometimes I get so focused on task lists, places to go, and whatever Google calendar says I need to get done, that I forget to slow down and savor the moments. Yes, even my #366 project, designed to help me stay in the moment, turns into a chore at times.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, my husband and I took the family to our favorite pumpkin patch. The weather was miserable, the ground was super muddy, and the place was crowded. I found myself rushing the kids through our traditions: running through the maze, picking out the perfect pumpkin, and of course, the requisite photos. When we got back to the car with our finds, I felt guilty. In my selfish effort to get past my own discomforts and cross the task off my checklist, I’d rushed everyone through the motions. I declared a do-over.
This year is our 12 year wedding anniversary. In those 12 years we’ve lived in two homes, had three kids and shared hundreds of laughs, tears and memories.
Looking for last-minute Halloween costume ideas? Here are 5 inexpensive DIY Halloween costumes you can shop your closet for – no sewing or glue guns required! Or, follow the links to shop these looks for yourself!
Back To School Capsule Wardrobe for Girls for $100
Earlier this week I posted my BTS capsule wardrobe for boys, and now I’m sharing my Back to school wardrobe for girls. It’s amazing what great pieces you can afford when you plan ahead and really envision how they will all work together to create multiple outfits. Here, I’ve put together 10 key pieces that work together create 10+ outfits, head to toe, for just around $100.*
Every year I try my best to create an inexpensive capsule wardrobe for back to school on a budget – which for me is $150 or less. I’m sharing what I’ve pulled together for my big boy this year in the hopes that it will inspire you to shop some stylish looks for your little big(ish) guy, for less.
What is it about freezing temps and sunsets by 6:00 p.m. that make me want to load on the layers and hibernate all winter? Whatever it is, I’m doing it in style this year. I’m loving these cold weather comforts from Forever 21 lately, how about you?
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This year I tried hard to shop the kids’ closets for Halloween, but I still wanted them to feel extra special. What kid doesn’t want to dress up and transform into someone completely different on Halloween (and any other day, for that matter)?
This year I was able to create Eve’s Garden Butterfly Fairy costume for just $3, using items in her closet and three Dollar Store accessories!
From her closet and dress up bin, we assembled this from a tutu, a little lace tank, a flower accessory and her floral halo/crown. Then, I picked up a pair of fairy / butterfly wings and some paper butterflies from the Dollar Store. Not shown here: I picked up a butterfly wand glow stick from the Dollar Store for her to carry for fun and safety while trick-or-treating. Don’t have everything you see here? Shop the look:
Planning our annual family photos is always a feat in coordination, especially when we’re trying to do it on a budget. Here’s what I came up with for this year’s photos, using many items we already had on hand…with just a few purchases. 🙂
Like this look for your family? Shop the look here:
The temperature is dropping here in the Midwest and it’s time to begin thinking of adding to the fall wardrobe. I’m absolutely loving what I’m seeing this season: glam accents like faux fur and leather, studs and spikes, sleek silhouettes and soft textures. I especially love the affordable finds I’m seeing at Forever 21 this season. Check out a few of my favorites here:
*Please read the affiliate disclaimer on the right sidebar. Thank you for your support!
Looking for a last-minute Halloween costume, on a budget? Shop your closet and go as Liz Lemon of 30 Rock! Who cares that the show ended two years ago? Tina Fey is always in style. Plus, there are cheese puffs involved.
This one came a little naturally to me – I often get comments that I remind people of Tina Fey when I wear my glasses. Having spent half my life in corporate, I pretty much already have all the makings of a Liz Lemon wardrobe (for better or worse), but you can shop the look below.
Pink Poodle Costume, Inspired by Pottery Barn Kids
My baby girl absolutely loves puppies, so the idea to dress her as a puppy for Halloween this year was a no brainer. However, I quickly realized that there are very few options out there for “girly” puppies, which for Belle is also a prerequisite. I found this adorable costume by Pottery Barn Kids, but I just couldn’t justify the price – especially since I already had most of the outfit at home: a pink tee, tights, tulle tutu pettiskirt and ballet slippers.
Source: Pottery Barn Kids
So with this adorable inspiration in mind, I concepted a DIY version of this pink poodle Halloween costume.
I went to my local JoAnn’s, which happened to be having amazing sales due to a move in location, so I bought 1/4 yard of curly white fur fabric for around $2.
I simply cut large rectangle strips, tall enough to fold over once (for bulk), and wide enough to fit around her wrists and ankles.
I made a simple template for the ears.
Poodle ears template made on the reverse side of curly fur fabric.
I cut them out and also backed them with white craft felt I had on hand, using adhesive spray, for a little structure. I then took a large square of the fabric and tucked all the corners until they met in the middle, forming a little ball. I filled that ball with a few of my fur fabric scraps for a little bulk. I affixed the ears to the sides of a headband we had on hand by tying grosgrain ribbon around it and fastening it into a bow. Using a needle and thread, I tacked the ball closed, and then threaded it to the headband. I then fastened a pink grosgrain hair bow to the front. Now, you could totally do this without sewing. You could just staple the fabric to form the ball, and hot glue it to the top of the headband. The only reason I sewed it was because I knew this headband would get lots of dress up play use, before and after Halloween.
Next, I found a novelty dress up tail at JoAnn’s (for $0.66!). I fashioned a fur ball in the same way as the top of the headband, and tacked it to the end of the tail with a needle and thread. Again, I was tempted just to tie a grosgrain ribbon around this tightly to affix it to the tail, because I can be that lazy, but I stitched it knowing that it would get use after Halloween and would hold up better this way.
Thanks for reading my pink poodle costume tutorial! I hope you like this copycat chic costume.
I think it would be super easy to make this a lamb, or even a kitty costume, just by replacing the poodle headband with some cute cat ears or lamb ears and adjusting the face paint. What do you think of my pink poodle Halloween costume?
For many, it feels like school just got out for the summer. But in our neck of the woods, summer is already more than half over! Every year I scour summer sales to help build our back to school wardrobe on a budget. I try to find a variety of mix and match pieces to maximize our budget in style. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Our Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker gets used all. summer. long. We’ve tried and love nearly all the recipes that come with it, and also use it to whip up a few of our own exclusive homemade recipes, as well. Buy it along with the extra freezer bowl at Williams-Sonoma now for just $56 with the 20% discount!
While you’re at it, pick up one of these adorable functional Tovolo Ice Cream containers (that is, if you ever plan on having leftovers!).
On the topic of frozen treats, we’re big fans of these Sunsella Mighty Pops silicone popsicle molds. I like that I can make a healthy frozen smoothie that the kids can have in the car on the way to school or to pack in their lunch box. In the summers, we love to make popsicles and other frozen treats. One of our recent favorites is a refreshing Strawberries and Cream Lemonade Pops recipe that can be found here.
RMS Living Luminizer. This is the holy grail of fresh dewy luminizing makeup – perfect for your summer makeup routine.My skin is dry, and I find that when I stay hydrated and moisturized and use this product my skin looks its best. Just apply a small amount on your cheekbones, brow bones and temples.
Old Navy distressed RockStar denim. These are part of my summer uniform lately. They are the perfect blend of lightweight, stretchy denim that look great with a casual tee or dressed up for GNO – and the price can’t be beat. Remember to size up 1-2 sizes with these!
Last but not least is the Rosy Outlook Planner. No matter how advanced technology is, I still need a paper planner to map out my lists, meetings and reminders. Once I saw this planner I was smitten. It’s only July, but I’ve already pulled the trigger on this 2016 planner laced with inspirational messages, cute stickers and the week by week layout I prefer.
Thanks for stopping by to see what I’m loving lately!
I was browsing Anthropologie recently and fell in love with this Striped Heart Tank by Sundry:
So. cute. But the price tag is not so cute. $70 for a cotton tank? No thanks! But it kept popping up in my Facebook feed, willing me to buy it.
That’s when I decided to try to make it myself, but finding a plain white tank was a lot harder than I expected. I ended up just getting a Faded Glory tank from Wal-Mart on a recent grocery trip. It was the first white tank I found without a pocket, and at $3.96, the price was right!
I whipped up an 8″ x8″ template in Photoshop:
I then loaded the pattern into my Silhouette software. My usual method is to use clear contact paper in my Silhouette to make a template because you can get a giant roll for less than $5. Then I use a Tulip soft fabric paint, making sure to insert cardboard into the shirt first to prevent bleeding to the other side. The best part of this application method is that it’s incredibly inexpensive and long lasting.
This time, however, I happened to have some leftover heat transfer vinyl from a project last year. I ran my design through the Silhouette, removed the excess vinyl, and ironed it on.
Next, I added a bit of contrast stitching along the bottom hemline to give it a more expensive, custom look.
I adore this tank and have gotten so many compliments on it. When Eve first saw it, she insisted on a matching tank (I found two great , inexpensive options here and here). I just shrunk the template slightly ( to about 5.25″ x 5.25″) and applied it using the same method. Again, in retrospect I probably would have gone bigger for this one, as well. For this top, I did more stitching to more closely replicate the inspiration top. Instead of using the sewing machine, I hand stitched the hemlines using flossing thread to get that perfectly imperfect look. think it’s even cuter in this mini size!
I hope you’re a fan of my copycat chic Striped Heart Tank. Thanks for stopping by!
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Recycle T-shrts to make an Adorable, comfy Disney princess dress
I’ve had this project stuck in my head for a long time, and when I scheduled a visit to my parents’ house this month I knew it was my opportunity to bring it to life. My mom is a professional quilter and a wonderful seamstress, and I knew I would need her to lead the way.
I’d seen the concept of a t-shirt Disney princess dress on Homemade by Jill, but little EClaire already had a Belle dress up costume and wanted something different. So, enlisting one of her favorite colors, I decided on a Sleeping Beauty dress and found this one by Crafter Hours.
I thought it would surely be a one day project, and it probably was for these sewing pros, but we managed to stretch it out over three days, working probably a total of 10 hours.
First, we started with two women’s tees and large knit nightgown. We used the Simplicity pattern 5695 for the bodice and sleeves. Since we were upcycling clothing, we were able to use the original seam as the casing for the elastic on the sleeves.
We used a 10″ circle to draw and then sew two lines to emulate a bodice piece, and then sewed a straight line down the middle.
We wanted a very full skirt, which is difficult to create using knits, but I like how ours turned out. Our skirt used the full width of the large nightgown, which was approximately 32″ across (double the width of our bodice) and 64″ of full width all the way around. She sewed a long straight stitch across the top and then gently pulled it all around to ruffle it. Then, we attached the ruffled piece to the bodice and sewed it together with a tight straight stitch.
To create a bustle effect, we measured all the way around the bottom of the skirt and marked 9″ high lines every 8″ around. I sewed two long straight stitch lines at every marked line, secured the top and bottom of those lines with pins, and then begin pulling the strings from the top to scrunch the fabric (I like this tutorial for gathering fabric). Then, when we had the fabric scrunched to the right length, we put stabilizing fabric underneath and sewed right over the fabric, in between the two stitched lines. I absolutely love this detail of the dress – it really made the whole thing come together!
My mother created the white accent pieces using this pattern and by sewing square pieces of white knit into triangles. Both accent pieces were tacked on, as she felt the thickness would be too much for the knit dress to handle long-term.
I love that she’ll be able to wear this any time she wants to feel like a princess, and it’s cool and comfortable enough for everyday wear. Best of all – she absolutely loves it!
I’m not sure if I would have the skill to pull this off on my own and have it look as nice as this dress does. Maybe I can enlist my mother to create a Snow White tee, or Rapunzel, Cinderella or Elsa dress down the road? I think I’ll wait for some time to pass before I ask…
Lately I’ve been trying to make an effort to be more physically active as a family. After all, the family that plays together stays together. Also, losing weight after three babies is no joke. I try to keep a bag packed at all time to grab those quick opportunities to get some gym time. In addition to packing a super simple diaper bag to drop off with the kids at the gym child care center, here are the must-haves I keep in my gym bag (clockwise, from top):
Beats by Dre and my iPhone with Kate Spade case: For listening to my favorite tunes – I love Pandora’s Hip Hop BBQ!
Baggu Classic Tote Bag in bright pink: It’s not your average gym bag, but I love the way this lightweight tote carries a ton, takes up very little space in those tiny gym lockers, and is easy to throw in the wash.
Contigo Autoseal Water Bottle – My absolute favorite water bottle! I have two, and am think about getting another since these are always in use. I love the way this bottle opens only at the touch of a button and seals when the button is released.
Under Armour Braided Headband – Since I usually go to a gym in the morning with unruly beadhead, I count on this headband for keeping me somewhat presentable (I use presentable very loosely).
Gym Shoes – These Nike tennis shoes are oldies but goodies. However, lately I’ve been restraining myself now from adding another pair of gym shoes to my collection.
Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor – I’ve had great luck with this monitor and like being able to monitor my heart rate for high intensity interval training.
That’s my gym bag in a nutshell. What do you carry in your gym bag?
Shop your closet for this free Halloween Costume idea – an old school bank robber. I love that this costume is totally cute and could be pulled together with items you probably already own, especially if you’re a mom. Or, keep reading to find out how you can shop this look.
Our annual family photos are coming up quickly in just a few weeks – and I have been putting off the decision of what to wear. I normally have a vision and this time…I just don’t. Which is your favorite wardrobe theme?