Clutching the Past

white-boho-dress-jenn-inspired

white-boho-dress-jenn-inspired

white-boho-dress-jenn-inspired

white-boho-dress-jenn-inspired

white-boho-dress-jenn-inspired

When I was a little girl, I was in awe of my mom’s closet. Her shoes, her handbags, her clothes. I loved everything. You’d find me practicing wearing her purses on my shoulder and wandering what it would be like to someday wear heels just like her. She had these black bow clip-ons for her high heels that when you flipped the plain, black bow over, rhinestones would appear. Those bows, to me, were pure magic.

As I got older, I’d still rummage through her things. I sadly could never wear her shoes, and let me tell you, the 70’s style heels she had were completely covet worthy.  Year after year, items would end up in our downstairs closet where most things we couldn’t part with but we might just need someday went to live. There was an unspoken rule that anything finding it’s way to the basement storage was pretty much fair game. That’s when I discovered a few of her old clutches. I don’t know personally, but I’d say having children probably diminishes the clutch game, needing those hands free to keep tabs on the little ones. They’d most likely been moved to the downstairs years before, memories of nights dancing and dinner dates stored away for another time and place. After a quick “Can I have these?”, they were carefully packed away for the trip back home with me. I felt like I had won the lottery.

Sure they’re worn a little, with minor discoloration. The other clutch, a tan straw bag with red and green accents, is unraveling a tiny bit. But there’s something about them I love more than any other handbag I own – the history. One even has an old receipt that’s just legible enough to make out what my mom and dad had for dinner one evening many moons ago. I keep it securely in the bag, smiling every time I tuck the clutch under my arm. Now, if I could only get my hands on some shiny, rhinestone bow clips…

 

Dress: H&M // Similar version here or here
Clutch: Vintage Mom // Similar version here
Heels: Carlos Santana // Similar version here

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Monday Musings: Open for Boozeness

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Happy Monday! Hopefully you stayed cool over the weekend, as it was a scorcher here in Virginia. I put the finishing touches on our “boozy” bar cart, turning a potting bench from World Market into the must have (in my mind) summer item. You can see more over on Bites, Barrels and Brews, the blog I write with my husband Cody, today!  Truth be told, it’s where I’ve been spending most of my time. But I miss you guys so, you’ve got me for today! I cannot take credit for this idea, and there’s a good chance you’ve seen it pop up on Pinterest from time to time. Credit goes where credit is due, and The Creativity Exchange gets it all for coming up with this amazing idea! We’re open for “boozeness” all day long, so stop by anytime!

If we’re not drinking, writing about drinking or building the ultimate outdoor drink machine, you’ll find us catching up on a few new (and old) shows. Have you all seen Younger yet? Since it’s on TV Land (yes, really!), there’s a good chance you’ve missed it. But I’m here to tell you, you need to add this adorable show into your summer viewing rotation. Liza is 40, newly divorced and struggling to enter the workforce again after raising her daughter as a stay-at-home mom for 18 years. In her frustration, she decides to apply for work as a 26-year old and lands a job as an assistant at a publishing company. Did I mention Hillary Duff becomes one of her younger besties, and she starts dating a 26 year old hottie? Major props to my co-worker Donna for recommending!

Our other new favorite, thanks to an unhealthy obsession with Tiffani Thiessan by both me and my husband, is White Collar on Netflix. We started watching Dinner at Tiffani’s (which is also adorable, btw), where Tiffani cooks for her friends, co-stars (think Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley) and other well known TV celebrities. I consider her a modern day Martha Stewart, and I love how every show kicks off with a cocktail! In one episode, she cooked for her White Collar castmates, and the intrigue into the show began. It follows the format of shows like NCIS or Bones where each episode is a case to solve with a longer running theme in the background throughout the season. Think con artist becomes FBI consultant. Also, it doesn’t hurt this con artist happens to be gorgeous!

In addition to some TV watching, I’m also catching up on…

Easy, Summer Reading: You’ll typically find me reading  a few books at a time during the year – both fiction and non-fiction. In the summer, though, I typically pick up easy, summer reads. The latest gem? Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave. It’s set in Sonoma Wine Country in California, and I highly recommend you enjoy it with a glass of California red or a chilled Rosé! If you don’t drink wine, you might be changing your mind after this read!

A Little, Light Shopping: OK, so….I’m not shopping. But I am taking my budget and making a list for next year. And just because I can’t shop right now doesn’t mean you have to stop too! First on my list? New bras and undergarments. After having a professional bra fitting last year, I learned I had been wearing the wrong size for…are you ready? 16 years! I was so embarrassed. How could I not know the right size? I was assured by the lady helping me that most women have no idea they are wearing the wrong size bras. I’m loving everything I come across at True&Co. Free shipping when you spend $75 (and we all know when it comes to bras, that’s not hard to meet!) and free and easy returns. I’m especially fond of the long line bras. Bra back fat be gone!

DC Area Events: There’s so much going on in the summertime around DC. You can find some sort of festival to make everyone happy, especially this coming weekend. Hit up the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival at the National Harbor on the 19th and 20th. If relaxation is more your thing, Down Dog Yoga will be holding a Summer Solstice Session with Athleta this coming Sunday, June 21st. Get your grub on at the Taste of Reston. Enjoy some wine and jazz in Old Town Manassas. Frolic in the garden and pick fresh lavender in Purcellville. See? So, so much to do and see!

What’s on tap for the rest of your summer?

 

 

Minimalism is the New Black

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spring-maxi-jenn-inspired030515_5

spring-maxi-jenn-inspired030515_5

I have something pretty shocking to share with you all. You might not even believe me when I say it, but I promise you, it’s true. Up until the need to replace a summer dress that completely fell apart (I’ve been wearing this baby like, three times a week), I had not purchased an item of clothing since January! If I could make the screen do one of those cool shaking, can you really believe it things with pop art word bubbles, I would. I’ll admit, it makes blogging a bit tough. A lot of people read blogs like this for the sole purpose of seeing what’s new and scooping the new up as fast as possible. If anyone understands this concept, it’s me. During one of my more interesting moments in life, the UPS man was visiting our front porch with boxes on the daily. At one point, I thought I would have to add him to my Christmas card list and invite him over for dinner. I was filling a giant void of unfulfillment and unhappiness with things. Lots and lots of (pretty) things.

I’ll be one of the first people to admit that things make me happy. They do. A new, pretty dress. Lust-worthy heels. A brand new handbag to cart all my junk. It all brings me wonderful, temporary joy. The key here being temporary. Things also cause me endless bouts of anxiety, and I didn’t fully realize this until now. When I would find something I had to have, I would become obsessive. Should I buy it? Can I afford it? What if I can’t afford it? How can I afford it?  What can I sell so I can afford it? Is it still available? I have to check to make sure it’s still available! Oh look, a coupon code. It’s fate; I must buy! But do I really need it? Can I still afford it? Are your insides in knots right now after reading that? Because mine sure are. Do you know how much time in my life I’ve wasted scrolling through item after item while searching for the perfect coupon code so I could justify my purchases? That’s just a taste of my internal dialogue when I found something I couldn’t stop obsessing over and had to have. I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol…to anything really. So I can’t say that’s how an addict feels. But I sure felt addicted and owned by my need to acquire things. Sometimes it wasn’t even about the thing, it was about getting the thing, owning it, having it.

I’d love to tell you I had this great realization, that it hit me like a bolt of lightening. Unfortunately, that’s not how this all came about. It’s a very sad story actually, looking back on the events that led up to this moment. The biggest pain point of my relationship with my husband has always been my love of the almighty dollar and spending those dollars as fast and furious as I could. I can’t tell you how many fights have started over a box on the doorstep or a line item on the credit card that wasn’t in the budget. When we’d argue, I’d always think he was trying to take away something I loved. But he wasn’t, and it’s taken a long time for me to realize the bigger picture. Our solution to the fighting was to give me one lump sum of money to spend throughout the year. What I bought and how I managed it all was up to me. I seriously thought I won the fricking lottery guys. I was elated! He finally saw it my way! Money to spend, boxes to arrive, things to acquire! Spend, spend, spend! And spend I did. I spent every last dollar and then some in six months time. You want to take about disappointment and shame? I can talk about disappointment and shame. Can you see me out there doing my version of the walk of shame? Because I am…

That’s when I finally got it. I blew what some would consider a pretty obscene amount of money for clothes, shoes and makeup. I tore through that bitch. And at the end of the day, it brought me no happiness. Zilch. Nada. It only made me feel terrible.  Where as before I’d more than likely still try to buy stuff, rationalize why I needed it, I couldn’t. I can’t. I don’t want to. You have no idea how freeing it is to not be consumed by the thought of having to have something. It feels like my time has expanded exponentially. I’m much more present in the moment, where before I’d always have something on my mind that I wanted to purchase. I still see things that make my heart flutter. Spring and summer dresses are my drug of choice. For a while I limited the temptation, pairing down the blogs I personally visited while redirecting all of my “Hey, you! You need me! I’m on saaaaaale!” emails directly to the trash. I guess that was my form of therapy. Limit that which drives you crazy.

I haven’t had much of a craving to buy things as of late. Instead I’ve been taking a really good look at what I already own. While I have a lot of really nice things, I have also realized I have a huge wardrobe gap. I don’t own a lot of functional, practical items of clothing. Yeah, that ivory, wool sleeveless dress by Robert Rodriguez with the ruffled neckline is gorgeous, but it doesn’t really work for day to day. So I’ve found myself relying on yoga pants and t-shirts to fill that gap which isn’t exactly ideal. Look, I realize you don’t heal over night. I’ve made peace with myself if and when I screw up. It’s bound to happen. I just hope it doesn’t. I’ve started making a practical items list while doing a serious clean-up of my closet. I used to balk at the thought of a wardrobe “uniform”, but now I think I finally understand the appeal. The time and agony it saves when getting dressed is amazing! It doesn’t mean I have to stop being creative with my clothing. Believe me, you can be plenty creative with things you already own. What do you think I’ve been doing for the past 4 months?

Your take away is this, outfit posts are going to be a little bit different. I’ll do my best to find like items for you, but I can’t promise anything. And when my money replenishes (a current topic of discussion), it’s going to be more filling that void than filling the closet. Have you ever only purchased what you needed from Sephora vs. picking up something new to try? I did that last month, and I survived! No VIB Rouge for me this year, but that’s OK. At this point in my life I’d rather use that money towards a plane ticket, for an experience. I’m not judging you if you are a VIB Rouge or have a much larger clothing budget than I do. Not at all. I’m really going to miss my Rouge status. I wish money grew on trees. I mean, my original budget would be laughable to most bloggers out there. But if I blew what I thought was an obscene amount of money…the amount of money being spent for clothing is absolutely fucking insane. And I don’t want to do it anymore. For a very, very long time, this right here has been one of my biggest struggles. If you’re out there struggling with something, know it takes time to heal. Lots and lots of time. I could sit here and think back over the amounts of money I spent and wasted over the years, continuing to beat myself up. But what good would it do? That’s all in the past. And besides, minimalism is the new black, didn’t you know?

 

Dress: Target // Similar version here
Jacket: H&M // Similar version here
Sandals: Carlos Santana
Purse: Target // Similar version here

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