Sunday, April 23, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe

I blogged about our tiny closets before. Our bedroom closet is about the size of a postage stamp and shared between the two of us. It is the only true clothing closet in the house. All other closets have been converted to shelving storage. Anyway, about a month ago, I got the idea of re-booting my wardrobe. So, I started doing research on how to build a capsule wardrobe. Like anything else in the house, I wanted to know if I could do more with less.

I knew I was tired of having my half of the closet crammed with clothes when I know I didn't wear most of it. I knew I didn't want to spend a fortune on new clothes. I knew that I wanted to feel good in all the pieces I did have in my closet.

So, I began with the great cull. I removed everything from my closet and drawers and tossed it on the bed. And then I tried everything on. Some things I had only worn once, which made it hard for me to let it go. But, if I hadn't worn it in over a year, if I didn't feel totally comfortable in it (no 'it will fit if I just lose x amount of weight), if it had any holes or stains on had to go.

I ended up with two full trash bags and several hangers worth of clothes to donate. I would say I probably got rid of 90% of the clothes in my closet. All that space that was being wasted for all those years. The next step was to purchase new pieces that were versatile, classic, and not overly expensive. I'd say I spent just under $500 and purchased six tops, one dress, two pair of pants, a cargo vest, and five pair of shoes. These were added back to the few items I decided to keep.

Here are all the outfits I have put together in the last month using my much smaller wardrobe:

You can see all my #ootd on my instragram acct: justjinny
I haven't missed anything I decided to get rid of. Once I pulled everything out of my closet, I found that there were very few pieces that I truly loved or felt good wearing. Now that my clothes and shoes have been overhauled, the next thing I'll probably do is sort through my jewelry. A few more statement pieces in that area would open even more options for my new, yet smaller, wardrobe.

Shopping sources:

Flaunt Boutique

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time to change it up

So, yesterday I got a wild hair up my back side and decided to start changing things up in the kitchen. The cabinet that stores all our cups and glasses was ridiculously full. How on earth do two people accumulate so many beverage containers?!?! Do they multiply in the middle of the night? I think it was more the fact that we sometimes have a hard time letting things go. We think maybe we'll use it someday or it has a special occasion tied to it. But, with little homes its just not practical to hold on to things that serve no purpose. So after a quick cull, the cabinet looks much better and it actually opened up space on the top shelf where other things can be stored, if needed.

Notice the under-cabinet wine rack. Another great idea when you don't have a lot of counter space.

After that, I pulled down the thick yellow and orange checkered curtains that have been hanging over the kitchen sink for years and years. They went from the very top of the window to pretty much the very bottom. The muted yellow and orange, like many things we initially selected for our kitchen, just made things look dark and dingy. I was SICK of looking at them! And even though it left the window totally naked I didn't care. They were coming down..forever.

Look how much light comes in that window without the curtains blocking it! As much as I loved all the light, once the sun went down it left us feeling a little exposed. So I knew I wouldn't be able to leave it bare for very long. After I got off work today I thought I might run out and see if I could find a cheap pair of simple, sheer curtains that would still let the light in but give us our privacy at night. I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money but as I was looking at the window envisioning what exactly I wanted I was feeling doubtful I'd be able to find what I wanted at any local store.

And then inspiration hit...tea towels!

Never mind the paint sample. They are all over our house right now.
My mom bought these tea towels for me two Christmases ago (you can still find them here). And I really love them, but they are sort of wasted hanging on the doors down there. We don't use them to dry anything, they have been there strictly for decoration but without being at eye-level they are easily forgotten about.  I decided to elevate their status.

I whipped out my sewing machine and set it right on my kitchen counter. I measured how long I wanted the new curtains to be and then measured how much of an opening the old curtain had for the rod. That's all I really needed and in less than 20 minutes I had stitched two new curtain panels that would be exactly what I wanted.  Once my husband came home and moved the hardware down to were I wanted it I popped the rod back in place. And there you have it!

The light fixture will be replaced, eventually.
 The tea towels ended up being a perfect solution. We still get light coming in, but it will still give us the privacy we need once it gets dark in the evenings. I actually feel like this is a much better use for the towels rather than just hanging on the lower cabinet doors. And it also doesn't hurt that this cost me zero dollars.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

17 for 2017

I'm not real big on resolutions. I feel like making resolutions can put a lot of pressure on people or set unrealistic expectations. AND let's not get into the fact that most of the time New Year resolutions revolve around losing weight. I hate it. I really kind of hate it. lol. I just think it's dumb that we are made to feel that we have to start the year off with being miserable or unhappy...thus needing the resolution (you know, so we can all be thin and happy...because that's the way life works...<insert eyeroll>)

As much as I dislike resolutions, I do think it's a good idea to reflect on the coming year and what you want to try and accomplish in that year. How do you want your year to go? What do you hope to do more of this year? Less of? All I know is when I ask myself these questions I'm not thinking 'You know, I really hope this year I eat more salad' or 'This is the year I will lose those 10 lbs....again' OR 'I am going to work out every single day and restrict my diet until I can fit into size XX'. No...just no.

So, here are my goals (resolutions..whatEV) for 2017:

1. Be authentic. I'm always striving to get closer to my most authentic self. I want to laugh more (and louder..who cares who hears), I want to sass more (these usually means just letting go of my filter, people are surprised when I let the chain off the gate from my brain to my mouth), I want to set boundaries if I need to..and have people respect those boundaries. It's an always evolving process.

2.  Go on more dates. An instragram friend recently posted something about a good marriage being something you make...and keep making. I couldn't agree more. There is a lot to be said about staying in, especially for us (shout out, introverts). But, I think it's important to make the effort to get out of the house and away from chores and the pets (or kids, in other people's case), away from the pile of bills and the computers, TV's, and gaming consoles.

3. Support local/small business. In our little west Texas town, we have a thriving community of small local business's. I want to make a more pointed effort in supporting our local business.

4. Read. I use to be an avid reader, but it's been a long time since I've sat down and read a book. Which is sad. I think this year I want to try and branch out and read something other than romance. The thing is, I need a happy ending (which is one reason why I have leaned so heavily on the romance genre), so it's hard to branch out. I don't like reading sad shit, especially if it ends sad.

5. Go outside. I don't care if it's a park or just the back patio. If the weather permits, I want to try and be out in it.

6. Simplify. Life gets stressful when you let a lot of noise come into play. I don't want to get distracted by things that are not important. I don't want to weigh myself down worrying about things that are not important. I want to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose in my life. I want to let go of relationships that do not help me be my most authentic self.

7. Invest. I want to invest in things and people that will help me grow my happiness, security, and health. This means investing time in myself, in the relationships that I want to strengthen, in my hobbies. It means investing money into our love cottage and in our future.

8. Save. I put this down, but I'm still thinking about what it means exactly. Money is the first thing that comes to mind, and although that is part of it, I want it to be about more than money.

9. Donate. I want to help my community and the causes that are close to my heart. So, I want to donate time where I can, or money when I can, or stuff (see #6).

10. Meditate. This sounds real "woo-woo", but I don't really plan to start any serious meditation practice. For me, this is more about getting still, getting quiet, slowing down and just breathing. I might try to incorporate "internet free" days into my week.

11. Host. We have set up our back patio to be a great place to host people, but we rarely have guests over (introverts...remember). I want to try and change that this year. I want to step out of the comfort zone and have people over to enjoy our love cottage.

12. Invite. I want to make more effort inviting people out. To lunch. To dinner. To happy hour. For a movie.

13. Get some culture. I want to see more plays, see more art, hear more live music. Maybe #12 and #13 can work together here.

14. Create. I want to create just for the joy of creating. As much as I enjoy sewing and cross stitch, and even writing, my heart is really with photography. My camera has been neglected. And recently I took it out for some test shots and it's not acting right (it's several years old now). So, it might be time to invest (see #7) in a new camera.

15. Explore. I want to learn. If I'm drawn to something, I want to dive into it and learn what I can. I want to go to new places. I want to meet new people. I want to say 'yeah, let's do that'.

16. Listen to more music. I don't listen to the radio much, but I recently downloaded the Spotify app and I have the I Heart Radio app. I want to listen to more music, while I'm cooking or cleaning or working or whatever. I sent out a SOS on my Facebook page, asking for music recommendations and boy did my friends deliver! I have a ton of artists to check out now (while I've been writing this post, I've been listening to Lady Gaga and Logic).

17. Ask for help. Just like #16, I asked for help and I got it! I want to be brave enough to ask for help (even if it's music recommendations) from my family, friends, and peers. So, if you are reading this list...and you think you could help...I WANT your help. Help me get closer and closer to being my most happy and authentic self. And maybe I can help you too.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Finding Space in a Tiny Home

Has anyone been catching the Tiny House Hunters on HGTV? I watch mostly for the amusement factor. People go down their "must have" list and it's always a king size bed and a full-sized bath tub, or a walk in closet and a bathroom that isn't any where near the kitchen, oooorrrrr some space where I can get away from the other person I am sharing this tiny space with. And I can't help but giggle every time they use the phrase 'But its just so small'.

My love cottage isn't on the 'tiny home' spectrum in that sense. We aren't on wheels. We aren't sleeping in a loft that has no head space. We aren't having to pee in our toilet/shower combo area. But one thing we do have in common with the tiny homes is finding storage in every nook and cranny.  Every time they show a hidden cubbie, built into the floor or raised bed platform or wherever, I think how clever it is.  It's really helped me think in the same way as I look around my own home.

It's not like we haven't talked about remodeling. Of course, we have. But it's just not a feasible option for us. Instead, I started to search for space that was being wasted. I started to hunt down items and products that would fit in those spaces. One of the more obvious areas that usually goes wasted is under the beds. We store several of the husband's guitar cases under the guest bedroom. We have a few different plastic containers stored under our bed. One of them is a container with a drawer (similar item here). I don't even have to dig the container out from under the bed to access what is stored in it, I just open the drawer up. It's pretty handy.

In our love cottage, another area that made me a little crazy was in the kitchen. Our washing machine is in our kitchen. But the dryer is outside in the utility shed. For years, we have had the typical large plastic laundry baskets to slub our wet and dry clothes in and out of the house. But because of the layout we didn't have anywhere to put those baskets except on top of the washing machine when not in use. Although they weren't technically in the way while on the washing machine, they just took up a lot of visual room in my small galley kitchen. Basically, I was sick of looking at them! So, I did a quick google search and found collapsible laundry baskets. Now, they aren't the most inexpensive thing in the world. The traditional laundry baskets cost under $10, so the price tag was a little jarring. I put them on my Christmas list (but I would have bought them myself if I didn't get them under the tree) and my sweet mother gifted them to me. Now, I just tuck them away beside the refrigerator (another spot that was just wasted space before) and they are out of sight.

You never know what is out there until you start looking. Find an empty space in your home and start thinking about what you could put in that spot that would help create new storage opportunities.

Do you have any areas in your home that you have found a storage use for? Or a handy item that has helped you keep your home organized? I want to hear about it!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ready to Kiss 2016 Goodbye

Hey gang! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was slightly chaotic. But that seems par for the course this year. I really want to go into the new year with a calmer spirit. I'm trying my best to scratch off my 'to do' items or just get OK with things going undone. Because that's ok. All the things do not have to be done! I am trying to retrain my brain.

I'm ready to put a lid on this year. It hasn't all been bad, but it has been a wild, non-stop roller coaster. I am more than ready to step into the new year and settle down, to practice simple living and find some calm. With New Year's Eve coming up, I've been thinking about New Year's traditions.

I know a large group of wild women who believe wholeheartedly in burying money on New Year's Eve and digging it up the next morning. The idea is that you bury your poverty and then you uncover your wealth. I think there is some discussion about what you can then do with that money. I think the majority rule is that you cannot spend it, but you can donate it. {Y'all can keep me honest in the comments}

Many people go out for New Year's Eve. My husband and I did that for a handful of years. It can be a lot of fun to dress up all fancy and spend the evening out with friends.

But for the last couple of years, we have found that we enjoy spending New Year's Eve at home. Big surprise, right? I think we are so blessed to enjoy each other and our home so much that it is actually where we chose to be. So our tradition is to stay home and make nachos and drink margaritas.

What are your New Year's traditions? Do you go out and party it up? Or do you stay home and have a more intimate celebration? OR do you go to bed early?

Do you get up on New Year's day and go run a 5k? Or spend the day in your pajamas putting up Christmas decorations?

Does anyone have any special food or drink they make for the New Year's?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Let's Get Real

Hi, everyone! We are headed for the end of the year like a fright train. No matter the ups or the downs, life just keeps chugging along.

Before I go any further, I had someone ask about my new boots. They are the Smarty Riding Boot at Payless. These boots come with the option for an extended calf. I usually wear a 6.5 and I ordered the same size but with the extended calf. They are still on go and get yourself a pair right now!

I posted this on my Instagram (@justjinny - come find me) last night. It seemed to resonate with a lot of people. In this age of social media, it is really easy to walk around thinking everyone else has their shit together. How do people seem to always keep their house so perfectly tidy and decorated? How is it those kids always have on coordinating outfits and perfect hair-dos? Why does so-and-so always seem to be on vacation? It's like they all know the secret to life, but some how you missed the memo.

But there is no how-to manual for life. That photo of the perfectly set table is taken in front of the sink full of dirty dishes. And the photos of the kids was taken a split second before the baby threw up on her brother.  And so-and-so might be a jet-setter but their marriage is falling apart and they are swimming in debt.

It's all about perspective. And life is much too organic to be anything as mundane as cookie cutter.

All you really can do is try to live life as close to your authentic self as possible.  I follow a lady on Instagram that posted just today about how other people only share their highlight reel, and not their authentic "down and dirty" life. So she shared a photo of her inflamed stye in her eye. It ain't pretty, people. But that is her reality. It's so real, and I love that.

I just feel that if people weren't so afraid to share the shit parts of their life, we all might have less anxiety about how we are doing life. Instead of scrolling through social media comparing ourselves to everyone else, maybe we could actually make a true connection. If we were more willing to share our flaws, we would be able to better relate to other people's realness. We would be able to sigh with relief and say 'Oh, you too? I thought I was the only one!'

Because we are never the only ones!  We are all part of that club, the 'I have no clue what I'm doing' club. So, let's be authentic and real, let's admire those that seem to have it a little more together and encourage those that are trying to find their feet. Let's be honest and ask for advice, let's share all the tricks and tips.  Let's share the ugly and the pretty, the good and the bad. And let's support each other. We are all just clinging to this huge rock, hurtling through time and space, trying our damnedest to figure it all out.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Life with a small closet

Does anyone else have trouble finding knee-high boots that fit their calves? It can't be just me right? I'm a curvy girl. I have curves all over...even my calves. Usually the knee-high boots I try on never zip all the way up. Doesn't matter if I'm wearing jeans or leggings or tights. That zipper won't budge. So, when I find a pair that fits I wear them until they look ratchet.

This was the case with my brown knee-high boots. Love them. But I've had them for many, many years now and they had started to crack. And so the search was on for a new pair of knee-high boots that would zip all the way up. On a random trip into the mall (very random as I rarely go there) I stopped into Payless and found the perfect pair of knee-high boots.  They zipped right up with room left to spare. The downside was the price. Regular price was $59.99. It's not really a bad price but it's Christmas time and my money is going everywhere else but to me (Yes, I know I JUST told y'all that dollar bills are not the reason for the season! But do as I say, not as I do!!!). Needless to say, I left without the boots.

But I'm subscribed to the Payless email and eventually they were running a really great 50% off sale. It was too good to pass up. So not only did I buy a new brown pair, but I went ahead and got a black pair too.

Forget thigh gaps. Look at that gap between the boot and my knee! I can put my whole hand in there!! Unless you have thicker calves you probably have no idea why I am so giddy. That's ok, I love you anyway. So, I am totally thrilled with my purchase. I love them already...obvs. But here is my ever-present, on-going, problem. My closet. It's small. Like postage stamp sized small. And only half of it is mine.

I am touching both sides of the closet.
When something goes in the closet, usually something has to come out of the closet. This is life in the love cottage. You have to love your items enough to bring them in, for one, and then until they can't be loved anymore before letting them go. So, I did a fast and furious thinning of the shoe herd. I love my shoes but if I have only worn them a couple of times or not at all over the last year (or longer), I have to let them go.

You see those platform pumps?! I love those shoes. I look great in those shoes. But, I hardly ever wear them because they just aren't comfortable. And if I'm honest with myself, they aren't really my style (no matter how much I want them to be). I'm more of a wedge girl. A big box of shoes will go to donation and hopefully someone else will find them and love them until they can't be loved anymore.