Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Dressember 6th

I am not a "fashion blogger" or a "style blogger" or even a "'what-I-wore' blogger," so posting a picture of my outfits every day has me feeling like a bit of a fake. Even though this is actually what I wore and it's for a good cause.

Dressember 5th (Back)
Dressember 7th

I'm sure there was a time when I felt comfortable in front of a camera, but I don't remember it. I was probably a baby at the time. (One of the things that's so awesome about babies is that they are completely unselfconscious, and seem to feel pretty positive about themselves all of the time. I think that's why it's so much fun to look at pictures of them: they're totally relaxed and free around cameras.) Now, when a camera comes out, I'm suddenly intensely aware that I have a body, and that it is wrong. I don't know how to stand or hold my head, and what are these arms doing here?

Dressember 8th
Dressember 10th

It's a little easier when Rob is behind the camera cracking jokes. I can forget for half a second there's a camera there and smile without thinking about what my smile looks like (or if I'm doing it right). 

Dressember 9th
Dressember 9th

But the easiest posture happens when I have Westley or Ivy with me. I tend to look at them instead of the camera. (There are pictures of all the parents with their children posted on the wall at Ivy's toddler group. Last week was the first time I noticed that I am the only mother not looking at the camera. I'm looking at Ivy.) When I focus on my children and appreciate their beauty, I stop trying to pose.

Dressember 8th
Dressember 10th (PM)

When I'm on my own, I feel like I'll be the first girl to be eliminated from the America's Next Top Model of Life. Looking at my kids instead of making eye contact with the camera is my way of being photographed without being photographed.

Dressember 11th

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Three Rules for Thrifting

After Westley was born, I didn't feel like spending a lot of money on a postpartum wardrobe that (I hoped) wouldn't fit very long. I bought a few pairs of inexpensive jeans, and hit up thrift stores to fill in the gaps. I thought I was being frugal and practical by shopping resale, but I ended up with a new favorite pass-time.

I never really enjoyed clothes shopping until I started buying most of my clothes at thrift stores. I don't know whether it's the "treasure hunt" experience, or the fact that I invariably end up trying on things I don't consider fitting my "style" and loving them—but thrifting made me fall in love with fashion. Eclectic, second-hand fashion.

Dressember 3rd

Dressember 3rd

Sweater dress: Thrifted
Tights: Target
Leggings (under tights): American Apparel
Boots: Kalso Earth

There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of guides to thrift shopping out there. Some of these lists are huge, covering basics like "know your size" and "wash everything—twice!" as well as more "advanced" thrift tips: "Wear the equivalent of a 'catsuit' while thrifting so that you can try on clothing in the aisle without having to wait in line for a fitting room."

I tend to follow just three rules while thrifting:

Rule 1: If it feels wrong, it is wrong.

If something pulls, pinches, digs in, gaps, itches, or otherwise feels "off" when I try it on (Rule 0: Try everything on, always), I immediately put it in the "No" pile. It doesn't matter how much I think I love it. That funky waistband is not going to feel any better after I get it home. If nothing catches my attention immediately, I'll move around in the garment a little and ask myself if it's still comfortable, or if I feel like I have adjust it constantly.

Rule 2: No size or style prejudice.

Knowing your size and aesthetic helps, but I find that thrift stores are a good place to branch out. I usually wear a Medium, but I look at Smalls through X-Larges when thrift shopping. Why? Sometimes things get put away in the wrong section. Sometimes items don't have their original sizing tags anymore, so they're filed based on someone's estimate. And sometimes you'll find an item where the size doesn't matter too much, like a cardigan or a wrap dress.

Dressember 4th

Dressember 4th

Dress: Thrifted
Tank top: Thrifted
Leggings: American Apparel
Boots: Kalso Earth (again)

As for style, I have decided I'm better off not having one. Like having a strict "type" of person you'll consider dating, being wedded to a particular style-idea can mean you miss out on the awesome (kind, funny, well-read!) article right in front of you. I find this is especially true when I hear myself say, "I love this, but I would never wear it." Why not, exactly?

Acceptable answers include: "It's 'dry clean only' and I have two young children" and "I can't wear a bra with it."

Rule 3: Remember: Someone got rid of this for a reason.

Really. It's possible that the former owner put this thing in the "Donate" pile because she just got sick of the sight of it. (I do that all the time.) But sometimes I'll discover a stain I didn't see at first, or notice that a zipper doesn't quite close all the way. If there are no errant threads just waiting to turn into holes, or lingering funky smells, I'll revisit Rule 1 for one more "comfort check" before I check out.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Let's Dressember!

I first learned about Dressember when Autumn mentioned it on Facebook. I guessed from the name that it was a wear-a-dress-every-day-in-December style challenge. But I was excited to discover that Dressember also aims to raise funds for International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that brings work to bring rescue to victims of slavery and sexual exploitation.

I know everyone is asking for your money right now ('tis the season) and it's hard to decide where to donate when there are so many worthy causes. But consider this: as little as $30 can provide a sex trafficking survivor with an aftercare package. That's less than a dollar a day to give a woman tangible care and comfort.

Visit for more information about Dressember, including "the rules."

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Dressember 1st

Dressember 1st
Dress: I.N.C., from a million years ago
Scarf: Hand-me-down
Winter (!) leggings: American Apparel
Boots: Kalso Earth, gift from Mom

(Rob told me to pose like this. I have no idea...)

Dressember 2nd

Dressember 2nd
Dress: Mexx, thrifted (I haul this one out for every style challenge, apparently)
Cardigan: Thrifted
Tights: Target
Boots: Kalso Earth

I kind of wish the dress were a little shorter, so you could see the wonderful mustardy mustardness of the mustard yellow tights.

Oh, mustard yellow...I love you best of all.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

As Clever As Clever


At 4:58 this morning, Westley turned six. It seemed about right. He feels six to me. Doesn't he look about six?

In some ways, Westley seems much more grown-up than six, and I probably expect too much of him because of it. Six is still so very little in the grand scheme of things, but his imagination is just so huge. I can't really believe he's only been on the planet for six years. Some of the stuff he says blows my mind:

"There are some things women can't do."

"Dude, women can do anything except be grandfathers or daddies."

"Women can't turn into swans."

Sixth Birthday

I don't know where the idea that Westley would open his presents at the dining table first thing in the morning came from, but he's done so on his birthdays (and half-birthdays) since we moved into this house. Four years later, it's practically tradition.

Because his birthday overlaps with Thanksgiving weekend this year, we scheduled his party for next weekend. We spent the morning at the park. Ivy wasn't so sure about sliding in the wet weather, but Westley took the towels I'd brought to the top of the play structure to use "like a toboggan. A towel-boggan!"

Park Morning
Park Morning

He also taught me a dance "from Mexico" that he learned at school. It may have been the Macarena.

Dance Lesson

We've also created the unintentional tradition of buying our Christmas tree on or around Westley's birthday. He was more than a little excited to see the Fruit Market transformed into an evergreen forest.


(He was even more excited when we took our tree—tied to the roof of our car—through the drive thru at Starbucks. For some reason, he found this beyond hilarious. He ordered a green tea latte. He drinks green tea lattes these days. I don't even know what to say about that.)

We had our share of frustrations today: games that were tougher than expected, toys that took too long to set up and then didn't work as promised once they were, a little sister demanding constant parental attention. There were even some tears. But it ended with a tiny chocolate cake all to himself (he even got to put the candles in) and full-blown silliness.
Now we are six indeed.