Monday, 26 March 2018

Part 1- Creating your Capsule Wardrobe

Part 1- Creating your Capsule

Hi friends,
I wanted to start this capsule wardrobe series with a few tips on how begin, as I truly find that once you've got a few key steps in place, its much easier to start and stick with this process.

Having a capsule wardrobe has made things so much easier for me in a variety of ways, especially being a mom. After I had my second baby, I found it was harder to find the time to get dressed in the morning and putting cute outfits together wasn't exactly something I did very well. I actually didn't own a sweatshirt before I had my first baby, but that certainly changed after he came along!

Not only has the capsule saved me from the typical, walk into your closet and stare at your wardrobe for 5 minutes thinking "I have nothing to wear" situation, but it has helped me financially and allowed me to work towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

Here are a few tips to help get you started on creating your capsule wardrobe.

1. Be invested in the process.

I truly feel that in order to develop a capsule wardrobe and to stick with it, you need to be invested in the process, be honest with yourself and stick with it. Its not always easy, sure there are days I would like to go shopping and pick up a bunch of cute pieces, but I know that's not what I'm working towards. You need to be prepared to drastically reduce what you have, commit to cutting back on shopping and focus on using what you have. (More details on that later).

2. Commit and Evaluate

Once you've committed to the process, you need to start by evaluating your wardrobe. Take inventory of what you have, get an idea of your style and the things you wear most. A great tip I was told when I started my capsule, was to look at your Pinterest account (if you have one) and see what kind of outfits/items you pin the most. This will give you an honest idea of your style (if you're unsure) and can help direct you in outfit planning, once you've developed your capsule, using what you currently have.

Start by working with 4 piles: Keep, Unsure, Donate and Toss.

I would suggest taking a general inventory first. Anything that is damaged, stained, doesn't fit well or you don't like wearing (itchy, uncomfortable, etc), put into a pile. You'll evaluate that stuff later.
Now, moving onto your other items. You need to be very honest with yourself and really think about what you want to keep for your capsule. I don't believe in keeping a certain number of items, because I think that puts too much pressure on the system, but I do think you need to focus on a minimal number of items. So if you have 10 pairs of jeans, really think about which ones are your favorites and that you often wear (likely you'll have a pair or 2 that you can get rid of).

Anything you love, obviously stays in the keep pile. Anything in this pile should fit you well, make you feel good and feel comfortable to wear. If you're even the slightest bit unsure of an item, put it in the unsure pile (you'll come back to that later). Now, here's where it gets tricky.

The donate pile should truly be things that you have honestly told yourself you don't wear. I know in the past when I've gone through my closet, I've kept things that I figured I *might* wear, but with a capsule, you need to be *SURE* you're going to wear it. If its a 'maybe' it goes into the unsure pile. If its truly unlikely you're going to wear it, donate it.

The toss pile is saved for items that are damaged, stained, etc. There are places that will take these items and recycle them, so refrain from throwing them out and look into some of these options (H&M offers a free service like this!)

3. Start slow

Now that you've started creating some piles, let them sit there for at least a week (if you can handle the disorganization!). You need time to review your choices and it helps you from regretting getting rid of something later.

Get rid of the toss pile first and the donate pile next. Now you're left with the keep and unsure piles. For the items in the unsure pile, you may want to take some of these items and just set them aside in your closet. See if you reach for them. If it is seasonally appropriate and you don't reach for the item in over 3 weeks, its likely ready to donate. If you're still unsure I would suggest using the storage box system.

Purchase a few small closet storage boxes and label them with "tops", "bottoms", "dresses/skirts", etc. Put the unsure items into the boxes and store them in your closet. If you should truly be keeping the item, you'll remember it and look for it. After a full season if you haven't used the item, its likely ready to donate. I find this "out of sight, out of mind" strategy works well, since with a capsule wardrobe you should be using and remembering what you have. Storing tons of items in boxes for "maybe someday I'll have a place to wear it" isn't really part of this process.

Eventually you can re-evaluate your keep pile again, but at this point you've hopefully reduced what you have and are on your way to a capsule wardrobe!



Friday, 16 March 2018

Nursery Room Change Table Topper DIY

When we were designing the nursery, we decided that we wanted to get a dresser for the room rather than an actual change table. We went this route knowing that we'd likely want to keep the dresser in the room even after its no longer a nursery.

We chose the dresser pictured above because it was the perfect height and depth to act as a change table as well as function as a dresser. We could have just put a change pad on top and been done with it, but I really liked the look of a topper and felt it gave a more finished look to the room (as well as making the dresser feel more like an actual change table).

I scoured change table toppers online and the cheapest one I found was $150, so I decided to come up with some ideas on how we could create our own...for a lot less. We ended up coming up with a basic/easy design that's incredibly easy to DIY.

Here's how you can create your own change table topper:

1. Purchase a change pad. Before starting this project you want to make sure you have a change pad so that you can create your change table topper to fit. Most change pads are a standard size (32 x 16), but best to be sure.

2. Design your topper. I wanted a simple design and we determined that we didn't need a base on the topper- just the frame itself. I wanted the frame to be just a bit higher than the actual change pad as well.

3. We purchased 2 pieces of MDF trim that were 84" length and 4" high, from Home Depot. The actual change pad was just over 3" high, and I wanted the frame to be just a bit taller than the actual pad, which is why we chose 4". We calculated that we would make each long side 33" long and the short sides 17.5" deep. So when we added that up (33 x 2 and 17.5 x 2) we ended up with 101" plus a bit of extra for waste, so 2 pieces 84" long would work fine.

4. We cut the pieces to size on a 45 degree angle in order to make a nice smooth corner and this allowed the pieces to fit together nicely:

5. After the pieces were cut, we simply nailed them together (using small nails and a hammer, if you have a nail gun, even better), filled the nail holes with wood filler  and once dry, sanded and painted. We opted to paint the topper Simply White by Benjamin Moore (the white we've used in many other areas of our home) since it blended well with the colour of the dresser. If you were planning on staining your table topper, you would need to buy actual wood trim, rather than MDF, in order to be able to stain it.

6. Lastly, once it was dry, we added some rubber feet to the bottom of the topper so that it wouldn't slide around on the dresser.

That's it- 6 easy steps to create your own change table topper. Simple, easy and cost us less than $30.00.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Tips for travelling with kids (and saving your sanity)

We recently took a family vacation that required us to travel on a plane and let me tell you friends, I was pretty darn anxious about it!

We've actually never travelled with either of the boys anywhere longer than 3 days...and the furthest we've travelled with them is 2 hours away. So, this was kind of a big deal to go on a plane with both AND to be going somewhere for a full week! This was also hubs and I's first week long trip since our honeymoon, so we were all pretty pumped to say the least.

Pumped annnnnd super anxious about the idea of taking a 1.5 year old and a 4 year old on a plane. To be honest, I'm not the adventurous type. The boys actually won this vacation (remember my story about the littlest being the Boss Baby Contest winner?! Well, this trip was the prize!), otherwise we likely would have gone to a local beach and called it a day! So I pulled out all the stops when it came to preparing for this trip...and the plane.

Overall, we had an incredible time. This was our first vacation that didn't involve anyone getting super sick or ending up in a hospital so IMO, it really couldn't have gone better. We used a bunch of tricks to help with the plane ride and keep the kiddos entertained while we were there so here are my top tips of what worked best for us.

Plane Ride:
- Look into a "kids club" if your airline offers this service. Our airline automatically enrolled our oldest (4 years old) into the club and it got him free snacks (GIVE ME ALL THE SNACKS), and a bunch of other goodies for the plane ride.
*If you have the option to pre-select your seats (you need to call early enough), you may have the option to get a row with extra legroom. Ask for it, if they don't suggest it. Seriously, it made a big difference with 2 kids and a 1.5 year old who wanted to stand (and occasionally dance) on the plane.

- Bring new/exciting things for the plane. I literally went to the dollarstore and bought a ton of small things for the boys to read/do on the plane. A brilliant friend of mine suggested individually wrapping each one, and although I wasn't thrilled with having to individually wrap 15-20 little trinkets, it actually made a world of difference. Each toy became a "gift" and just the process of unwrapping took up extra time for C on the plane. I bought books, puzzles, a few cars/toys and some crafts. Don't forget to wrap stuff for the way there AND the way back. I saved the wrapped items for the way back, in my suitcase so they were a surprise for that flight. Also, the one thing that kept C the busiest was actually a kindergarten math workbook (I have NO clue where the math gene came from!?!).

- SNACKS. Honestly, pack a ton. Based on our flight times the boys were up at 2:00am on the way to the airport and the coffee shop at the airport didn't open early enough for our flight. The flight didn't arrive at our destination until 12:00 so missing breakfast AND lunch wasn't an option. I packed a bag of snacks for my carry-on, and made sure to pack a second bag for the trip home (along with the billion snacks I packed for while we were there).

- Backpacks. I bought each of the boys their own special backpack for the trip, so they were responsible for carrying around their toys/stuffies/entertainment. Lets be honest, I have no idea how parents can fit all of their kids belongings into those mini suitcases that kids carry (we used one large suitcase, shared for both boys), but the backpacks made them feel like they were still helping.

- Media. Ok so both hubs and I have been hesitant about the boys having a tablet (just our personal choice) until they are older, but a plane ride really makes you throw all your rules out the window. We actually went and bought a tablet specifically to bring on the trip, since we didn't have one, and to be very honest, we barely used it. I think since the boys aren't used to using one, they didn't realise what they were missing (plus the tablet died day 2 into the trip so that didn't help). We also brought a bunch of movies/tv shows for the hotel room, since when the youngest was napping we had the oldest take some quiet time. If you do bring a tablet, make sure you get one of those tablet holder things for kids (lifesaver). We also bought each kid a set of headphones. They actually just liked wearing them around...not actually plugged into anything.

All these things made the plan ride go surprisingly very well. Both of us were pretty nervous about it, but the boys were super well behaved and even received a really nice compliment from an older couple on the plane. Parenting WIN.

During the trip:
- Stroller. We debated on bringing a stroller and which one to bring, but in the end we brought our middle of the road stroller with us. Its a Peg Perego Book Plus, so its not big or heavy, folds up very easily and also fully reclines (KEY!) for when the little guy needed to nap. The littlest would sleep in it every evening while we took C to the "kids show" at 8:00pm.  Important tip- DONT FORGET YOUR STROLLER AT THE AIRPORT! We'd never travelled with a stroller before and the stress of being in a new country and dealing with 2 tired kids just totally distracted us from going to find the stroller. (Side note: it took 2 days and LOTS of front desk trips, but we did get it back).

- See if your hotel has a "baby club". The resort we stayed at was very family friendly and actually had a baby club, that stocked baby food, milk, snacks, etc. Although we really only benefitted from the snacks we actually took a jar of baby food and used the empty jar for C's keepsake/memory jar. He put some sand it in and a few shells to bring home. Which brings me to my next tip...

- Bring a jar or container for your kiddos to use as memory/treasure keepers. You know what also works really well for this? A small Pringles container. Airlines always seem to have Pringles as a snack option. Keep the empty container and you can store shells, or treasures the kids find in there easily and they wont be crushed in your luggage. Otherwise an empty baby food jar (or a sippy cup!) works really well for this too.

- Beach toys. If you are going somewhere warm don't forget to pack a few sand/pool toys. We brought a few dollarstore toys (they literally had none when I looked), but anything inflatable is your friend. We also brought a lifejacket and a set of water wings and used them daily. They sold these options at the resort, but you don't even want to know how much they were charging. I probably could have almost bought an actual alligator for the same price as the inflatable alligator toy at the resort.

- Food. Bring ALL THE SNACKS, sippy cups (and also travel mugs for mom and dad beverages), and then pack more. We ended up giving the kids little boxes of cereal for snacks we took from the breakfast buffet since we had to start rationing our snacks at literally day 4.

- Bring a small tupperware container filled with some laundry detergent...and like a billion outfits for the kids. Dirt literally jumps onto them. Enough said.

So there you go. Some of my top tips for travelling with the kiddos. Safe travels my friends!