Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Pick me up at eight? And don't be late?

Weekend Plans

Weekend Plans

What are your plans for the weekend? My dear friend Hannah pinned the shirt above recently, and I'm hoping that she wears it this weekend to come play kickball! I'm throwing a kickball-picnic in the park birthday party for my husband. We'll be eating pressed sandwiches, opening little bags of chips, and saving room for salted caramel no bake cheesecakes in jars. (I'll bring my lactaid and make a few that are gluten free for my special diet guests and me!)

Eggplant Prosciutto Presto Pressed Sandwiches
Salted Caramel No Bake Cheesecake

What about you? I loved this article on tips for things to do when you're low on cash (or anytime!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Building the Ultimate T-shirt Collection

Building the Ultimate T-shirt Collection

Image via Mikaela Hamilton Photography
I know, I know, I've talked about "nicer t-shirts" before and even recommended some of the same places I'll talk about here. But...I'm a bit of a t-shirt hoarder. There! I said it. And (don't I sound like I have a problem?) I can't help it! I love them. Therefore, I've become a bit of an expert at finding the perfect tees. I don't tend to spend a lot on each one because I want more than one favorite one; I have far too many plain white v-necks and can't get enough of them still; and I love a good neon for the summer. Here are some of my favorite sources for the perfect t-shirt.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Happiness Project: June

My Happiness Project: June

I debated about whether to write about this here or not, but I've decided to put it out there. Have you ever read The Happiness Project:Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun? My husband read it on a vacation shortly after it first came out, and he handed it to me immediately. We loved it. Last week, in the Outer Banks, I picked up her second book on the topic, Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self Control and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life. Both are a fast read, but the second reminded me of how much I liked the first book-and, more so, how much I liked the small changes I made to my life after reading it!

So, I'm doing another happiness project! From now until December, I'll be focusing on a different topic each month, and I'd like to invite you to do the same. You could get a primer in the concept on her website if you don't have time to read the entire book. I'd love to hear what your project includes if you decide to play along with me!

Strawberry Lime Cucumber Mint Water via

Here's my plan:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I did on my summer vacation

What I did on my summer vacation

Lots of you saw my vacation pictures from our ten days in the Outer Banks and the Chapel Hill area already on Instagram, but I wanted to share a few sneak peeks with you here, too! I took many more than I shared on Instagram and will be posting about the fashion and the food (expect a Gluten Free Guide to Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham soon!) here later this week.

What I did on my summer vacation

What I did on my summer vacation

Lots of you saw my vacation pictures from our ten days in the Outer Banks and the Chapel Hill area already on Instagram, but I wanted to share a few sneak peeks with you here, too! I took many more than I shared on Instagram and will be posting about the fashion and the food (expect a Gluten Free Guide to Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham soon!) here later this week.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What to Wear to Meet Birth Mothers

What to Wear to Meet Birth Mothers

I'm at the beach distinctly not thinking about fertility appointments or the ups and downs of the adoption process, but I thought I'd continue to talk with you about it here. When we went to our first birth mother meeting, we were incredibly nervous. One thing that really stressed me out what was to wear. It seems like a silly thing in the grand scheme of what is actually going on, but I think I fixated on it for that very reason. Here's what I decided. 


Dress like you're going to spend the day babysitting a child the age of the child you want to adopt. I almost wrote "dress like yourself," but that's just obnoxious. At the time, I would have thought "well, who I am is not who I will be, exactly, when/if we do adopt. So which version of myself, huh?" Instead, imagine what you'd wear to spend the day with a child the age of the birth mother (or expectant mother, if you're hoping to adopt a newborn that's not born yet)'s child.

Why as though you're babysitting? Because that will up your style a little bit. If you imagine staying home with your child, it might look like PJs or yoga pants, or very casual jeans.

While an outfit like the one above might be very comfortable, it's not what I'd recommend for this situation. Instead, focus on an outfit that looks put together while also comfortable enough to show that you could get down on the floor with a child and not fret about your dryclean only, pure white outfit. Unless, of course, you're someone who always wears heels. In that case, be yourself.

Specifically, wear something comfortable that you won't be fidgeting with and that isn't revealing. 

She looks like this outfit is something she's worn many times (maybe minus the shoes?), which is the goal. Pick something you'll wear again. 

Any other ideas? I'd love to hear your suggestions! Ok, back to the beach I go!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What to Wear To Fertility Appointments

What to Wear To Fertility Appointments

As we make choices about what to do next after losing the twins, I'm reminded of something that I thought a lot about when we did our first official round of fertility treatments: what do I wear? That might sound silly and frivolous given the weight and emotional intensity of every part of that experience, from testing to treatment and beyond. But, being comfortable and feeling like myself mattered a lot to me during that time; also, being intentional about what I wore helped me to feel empowered in a situation that can feel overwhelming.

Tank via

Here's what I found:
  • It helps to wear something special. 
  • It's wise to look for pieces of clothing that a woman might wear in her very early pregnancy, and
  • Skirts or dresses are better than pants for any procedures below the belt. 
Let's take this one by one, shall we?

It helps to wear something special.

This Gap dress would be perfect since it flows away from the body!
There were mornings going to the fertility clinic before work that I just did not feel like wearing anything special at all. Do not force yourself! But, it did help me to think about this as an incredibly special, and even romantic, time by taking the time to wear a special pair of earrings or a bright color (even lipstick!) instead of what I really wanted to wear (a maxi skirt or PJs) every day.

Above, you'll see a few necklaces that are important to me. I wore them every day during this time, and even on a weekend trip for an appointment I wore earrings-and a hat, which makes me feel just like myself. I really enjoyed the times when my husband came with me (to all longer appointments but not to early morning blood draws) and we set aside time to have breakfast or lunch after the appointment. Dressing up helped me feel like we were having a date, not just talking about egg quality, hence the big fun earrings. 

It's wise to look for pieces of clothing that a woman might wear in her very early pregnancy

A trapeze shirt won't cling or show any swelling.
Now, I am not, NOT, NOT recommending that you buy maternity clothes. I had one maxi dress that was maternity (it was the only cute one at Target at the time), and it depressed me to see the word "maternity" on it when we didn't actually get pregnant. Maybe you'd be fine with that (and of course I hope you do get pregnant the very first time!!), but don't risk it. What I mean is that you should, before you start IUI or IVF, pick out things from your closet or from a friend's closet or from a store that have forgiving waistbands.

Elastic waist and stylish? Do it.

My belly really got swollen from the injections, and it was just not comfortable to wear pants that were at all tight around my waist even a few weeks later. Instead, I wore skirts that sat higher up on my waist, pants with stretchy or tie waistbands, and shirts that did not cling to my stomach at all. I did not want anyone to think I was pregnant (and ask me, and I'd say no). I liked trapeze tops.

Skirts or dresses are better than pants for any procedures below the belt

For the actual internal and external ultrasounds and the procedures, I found that I liked wearing a skirt or dress best because it meant that I didn't have to completely undress from the waist down. I simply pulled it up over my hips. Psychologically, it felt warmer, less uncomfortable and exposed to do this rather than sitting there, sometimes for long periods of time, partially nude. Another key is to wear socks since you can often keep at least those on. The chair/table can be very chilly, and I felt I was more relaxed the warmer I was.

This Gap fold over skirt would be comfy and hide any swelling!
 My husband was very cute and actually bought me several pairs of fuzzy, happy socks. These ship fast and would be a great gift for anyone you know who is doing fertility treatments! As would cotton, dark colored undies. TMI? Sorry, but they would! 

Hope this helps anyone considering fertility treatments or her friends!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Favorite Fertility and Adoption Resources

Favorite Fertility and Adoption Resources 

In no particular order, here are some of the fertility and adoption resources that I have loved in the past three years. I do not think I would be where I am, physically and emotionally, without these books. Not paid to say so, just know that many of you are interested in the topic either for yourself or because a loved one is working hard to become a mom.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook
The Blender Girl
Restoring Fertility
Making Babies
The Infertility Cure
Health Journeys Guided Meditations for Fertility
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins
Heading Home with Your Newborn
Raising Twins: From Pregnancy to Preschool
Fully Fertile (I wrote a book review of it here)
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
The Whole Life Adoption Book
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Parents Knew
20 Things Adoptive Parents Need 
Everything by Byron Katie
So many blog posts, including this one on the joy of being an adoptive mom, this one on giving-and not giving-advice, this one on what to say (and not say) to friends dealing with fertility challenges, and this one, written by my best friend, about her son's blissful birth.  Also, this is a great list of adoption blogs.   

The cookbooks are fertility friendly and also husband/partner who doesn't cook often friendly. The twin materials are because we almost adopted twins, not because you might have twins if you do fertility treatments (though you might!). The adoption books are some of the best that we read. If you have resources you've enjoyed, feel free to email me or comment below, and I'll update the list! Oh-and, of course, I'm not a doctor, and I'm not giving medical advice. But you knew that.

And one last thing: this video cracks me up every time. Surprising how many people say things like this, even before you adopt! It's good to keep a sense of humor. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

HauteKnitNorthShore Etsy Review

HauteKnitNorthShore Etsy Store Review

Looseknit skinny scarf
It was the net-like look of this skinny scarf that got me interested in the artists behind HauteKnitNorthShore on Etsy. Then I dug deeper and spotted one necklace after another that I wanted to wear. Specifically, wear to the beach!

Bamboo cord with Moonstone
I can just picture this gorgeous necklace out in the garden where you wouldn't have to worry about getting it dirty or breaking it. I love how wearable they all are!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Anthropologie Look for Less

Anthropologie Look for Less

I love, love, love Anthropologie's clothing...and housewares...and perfume. However, I own only a handful of their pieces because they can be so expensive! I did receive a giftcard from a dear friend after I styled his home, and that was incredible. Normally, though, I try to re-create the Anthro look on a slightly more modest budget. Here's how I do it.

1. Liban Shawl Dress, Anthropologie, $118.
2. Love Wrap Front Skater Dress (in navy), Asos, $60.97.
3. Amina necklace, Lou Lou Boutique, $18.00. Anthropologie's necklace was $78, no longer available.

If you have a favorite look you'd like help re-creating, please email me or comment below. Research is one of my strong suits!

Love this Asos dress? Cup of Jo has a discount code for you to use until Sunday on any Asos purchase!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Outfit Inspiration from Old Navy

Spring Outfit Inspiration from Old Navy

I love a good Old Navy bargain, especially at the change of season. I'm never 100% committed to what I'll want to be wearing when the weather first changes, and so I don't usually want to spend a lot of money on things that I might not want to wear by July. I often think of Old Navy as a standby for simple pieces that will last a season.

But, guys? This season Old Navy has some downright inspirational styling for spring and early summer, too! And some cute poses for a Facebook profile or Instagram pic!

Stay Warm in the Spring Chill-or Cover Up in the Summer Sun


What I love above is that they've chosen to cover something up (3/4 length sleeves, knee length dress, camo jacket, denim vest) and reveal something (wrists and ankles, shoulders and feet, arms and ankles, legs and wrists) in the same outfit. It's grown up spring style done well. Of course, you know I love a straw fedora, too.

Pack Easily for a Weekend Trip to the Beach

Below are four outfits that would be perfect for a weekend trip: the red skirt for an evening out (worn directly from work if need be), the ripped jeans and stripes for the farmer's market in the morning, the jean skirt for a glass of wine at a restaurant on the coast, and the shorts for brunch and a few last hours at the beach on Sunday. You could easily do this with two pairs of shoes since the ripped jean sneakers would love to be friends with those jean shorts.  Throw in a swimsuit and the perfect sleeping slip and you are set! Quick tip: buy a more expensive bikini top that offers the right amount of support (hard to find in a cheap one) and an inexpensive bottom that's from the same color family or matches one of the colors in a patterned top.

Keep it Simple

For summer, is there anything better than a sweet maxi dress that you can wear from sun up to sundown? Not in my book! I love a denim top for summer, too, since you can take a dress and turn it into what looks like a skirt and top-or wear it tied over cropped pants on a cooler day.

I'd also wear all of these to one special beach rainy day spot: the outlets! It makes it so much easier to try things on when all you have to do is slip off a dress or remove a top or bottom to try something on.

Old Navy's not a sponsor. Not getting paid. Just liked it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Virtual Client Session, Incredible Etsy Store, and an Exclusive Discount for You

Virtual Client Session, Incredible Etsy Store, and an Exclusive Discount for You

Recently I had the absolute joy of helping to celebrate a 50th birthday- via a virtual FaceTime session! Natalie's daughter-in-law, Jenni, emailed me to book a surprise session for Natalie. Then, the morning of the session, she was presented with a gift card saying "Personal Styling Session. Your Closet. 10AM." The next three hours were a blur as the two daughters-in-law helped me to raid Natalie's closet and pick out versatile, fun, gorgeous outfits for their incredible mother-in-law. Here's what Jenni had to say about it (isn't she the sweetest?):

For my mother-in-law Natalie's 50th birthday this year I knew I had to do something a little more special and out of the ordinary.  She has always wanted to have a stylist or personal shopper help her pick out clothes - she really hates shopping.  So after I read Miss Mustard Seed's review on Ella, and saw that she would do online consultations, I knew it would be perfect!

I had no idea what to expect, and it was a great surprise both for Natalie and I who got to sit in on the action (and learn a few things too!).  Ella got right to work, having her try on her favorite outfits and things she usually wears to work.  She changed up outfits in completely new ways that looked awesome! 

Ella was great at giving tips along the way about what to buy to add a little more to the outfits - just great staples to have in your closet.  Ella would be great working with anyone and any style, she was completely confident in her knowledge of fashion and at the same time super easy to talk to and work with.

We had a blast, it was a great 3 hours spent on a birthday!  Natalie has been wearing the new outfit combos and getting compliments on them!  She had a great time, we would both highly recommend Ella to anyone and everyone!
 As we chatted, I learned that Jenni is an artist. She makes the most beautiful painted and upholstered pieces of furniture, including custom orders! And tomorrow marks her one year anniversary of opening her shop. So she's offering my readers 15% off with the code STARTCLOSEIN until 5/16! Isn't that awesome?

I particularly love the colors that Jenni uses, and I can imagine a few of these pieces in my own home!

I think the piece above would be beautiful as a changing table in a nursery. Then again, we always seem to need more storage space in our guest bedrooms...

Those are just a few of my favorites, but there are too many to choose from on her site! So check her site out in the next few days and don't forget to use the code STARTCLOSEIN for our special discount.

And thanks, Jenni, for sending along this action shot of Natalie from behind the scenes that day! Instead of street style I'm going to coin the phrase "closet style" to describe these live-action shots!

Monday, May 12, 2014

How I Pack for A Week at the Beach

How I Pack for A Week at the Beach

Via Free People
At the end of the week, my husband and I are going to the beach with a big group of friends. I cannot wait! I haven't taken so many days off in a row since our honeymoon in October 2011. Also, I would live and die at the beach as anyone who knows me will tell you!

So, of course, I started packing on Sunday. The way I pack is pretty specific, and I thought it might be useful to you. Here's what I do: Pick a Theme, Create Hypothetical Outfits, and Edit.

I want YOU to wear a jumpsuit!

I want YOU to wear a jumpsuit!

That's right: you. You, whatever shape and size or age you are. I want you in a one piece something this summer. Why? I'll tell ya why! There are so many options this season for them; they're so incredibly comfortable; and you can find a great one at any price point. So whether it's a romper (shorts) or a jumpsuit (pants), just promise me that you'll at least try one. Bring in two sizes with you when you try it on because no one likes one that's too short in the rise, and just see if you like it!

You'll notice that most of my picks are very affordable; if this is a new trend for you, try something cheap and see if you like it. Trust me when I say that a jumpsuit is a chic way to stay cool this summer. Trust. 

The Vintage Nod

Via Forever21
One commenter on this dotted number wrote "I ordered this to wear when I go on vacation to the beach. I love it! I was worried because I am 5'10" and didn't know how long it would be, so I went up a size and it was PERFECT. I've always been skeptical of rompers, but paired with a sun hat, black sandals, and sunglasses- it will be perfect to wear on vacation!" Sounds good to me! When are we leaving?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Try This: Vintage Hair Ties

Try This: Vintage Hair Ties

Last summer, we threw a girls' weekend in advance of a major celebration for one of our best friends. The theme was vintage housewife, and yes, it was tongue-in-cheek. One of my favorite looks we all embraced was a cheeky, tied up hair accessory. Mine was from Urban Outfitters, and several of my friends made theirs. Would you wear one?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Let's dress up and go somewhere fun.

Summer Wedding Guide: Neutral Party Shoes Under $100

Neutral Party Shoes Under $100

I found so many shoes that I loved that I just couldn't fit them into another of this week's wedding posts. I know, I know, you're all terribly disappointed about a whole shoe post. Ha! Oh, and the icing on the cake? They're all neutrals so you can wear them with any of the outfits you have planned for the party (or even that you end up wearing after Plan A doesn't work out). Of course you can absolutely wear shoes in colors to a wedding, but I just found these all to be stunning-and versatile.

Pair with a maxi dress or A-line skirt.


Wear with a menswear-inspired look-or a very feminine skirt or dress.

MAke a pencil skirt more playful or to push a whimsical outfit over the top to fit the party's theme.

Match with cropped pants and dance the night away.

Looking for a hint of soft-serve-ice-cream-color? Try these mint beauties.