Cleaning & Transitioning My Closet | Fall/Winter 2017

There are a few things that I’m very passionate about, most of them related to cooking and home organization.  At the top of those categories would be CLEAN AND ORGANIZED CLOSETS!!  I love walking into my closet seeing everything hung properly on matching hangers and knowing that each item fits, is clean and ready to wear.

I’ve been on this closet kick for about the last 10 years and try to coordinate my purges with the seasons.  This last year and a half really messed with my system though.  I mean, one cross-country move, pregnancy, another temporary cross-country move, postpartum followed by more weight loss.  Listen sister, your closet would be a disaster too!

Case in point!  (this is such an embarrassing before picture…)

I waited until the weather started to transition here in Birmingham and finally this week tackled this much-needed project.  It took me a few solid hours of work but by the end of the day it was sparkling and I was feeling very pleased with myself.

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Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years:

  • Start by taking everything out of your closet/drawers and doing a deep clean.  You’re already in there, might as well do it right!  Vacuum, dust, etc.
  • Now start sorting!  I like to have a several Rubbermaid totes and label them “Give Away” “Sell on Poshmark” “Summer Clothes”.  I also grab a trash bag for ratty items and a laundry basket in case I come across something that needs to be washed.
  • This time I added a new tote with sizes that are “too big for me currently/maternity”.  I wore the same size for years and have some great designer pieces that I couldn’t part with, so I folded and put them away in case I need them at a later date.  On a horrifying note: I used to be so hard on my mom for having so many different sizes/ ill-fitting clothes in her closet, until I had a baby, then I realized that your body can fluctuate very much very fast.  It all made sense.  So yeah, I called her and apologized for being mean and we had a good laugh.
  • Try things on as you go along.  And don’t be afraid to get rid of stuff.  If you don’t really like it or never wear it, just sell it or give it away, you’ll be happy you did!
  • Get matching hangers!  Seriously.  If you can afford the pretty wooden ones or the skinny velvet hangers, do it!  I just buy the cheap-o black ones from Target.  It’ll add a uniform look to your closet.  And besides, I hate those annoying wire ones from the dry cleaners…
  • Take a break at some point, I like to step away when I’m about 75% done.  Get a coffee or diet coke and clear your head before coming back, it’ll help you push through the final bit.
  • All of this applies to dresser drawers as well, we just happen to have a walk in closet that we’re able maximize with no issues and I love being able to see everything at a glance.

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Here’s the after!  All ready for Fall/Winter!  This is my entire wardrobe.  The fabric totes on the top shelf have workout gear/clutches/undies/pajamas.  Scarves are in the pink box under the Hunter boots and my coats are hung on Josh’s side of the closet.  The faux movie poster was a “paper” anniversary gift from Josh, he is so creative and it makes me laugh every day!

I have lofty goals of someday doing a 10-Item Wardrobe (I love Jennifer at The Daily Connoisseur, we should truly be friends in real life…)  but it scares me a little, so in the mean time I just keep narrowing it down, upgrading my most-worn items to better quality brands and working on being content.

My husband’s got it though!  His co-workers love to tease him about his “uniform”, but here’s the thing, I’ve never met someone who moves as fast as Josh Walsh!  He found a look that works for him and sticks with it.  Levi’s 515 jeans that I buy over and over from Nordstrom Rack, gingham button-downs (his favorite brand is Vineyard Vines, they run great sales several times a year and I usually buy them as gifts for him) and then Sperry’s or wingtips depending on his workload that day.  He has a few more dressier items, but the film business is pretty casual so he likes to say he’s found a happy medium in his uniform.

Send me any or all of your organizing questions, I’d love to help!  And please send me your tips on organizing baby clothes, that one has me stumped right now!

P.s.  I’m sorry for the terrible photos, our closet has no natural light and everything looks so harsh.

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Five Things | 9/21/17

I should just go ahead and call this “grocery store edition”.  Haha!  But isn’t that the point?  To share fun, easy to find, things that make life a little brighter?  I think so.

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ONE  |  Pecksniff’s Rose & Peony Linen Spray

Doing laundry is something that I’m not so great at it.  My mom loves laundry, I hate it.  Although I’m pretty domestic, and always did my own at home, keeping up with the wash was a learning curve after I got married.  I’ve learned a few tricks along the way, and one of my favorite things is this linen spray from Home Goods.  I use it to fluff my sheets and pillows before I make the bed every morning, to de-wrinkle a blouse (spritz and pop in the dryer for a few minutes) and I use it when ironing.  I bought the Rose & Peony today, but usually just buy what smells yummy to me.

47905998TWO  |  Dr. Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Oil

I’m a huge fan of the Dr. Teal’s epsom bath and body wash and spotted this in Target yesterday.  It’s a great lavender scent and my skin feels so good right now.  Last night I put the little monkey to bed early and took a super long shower and had time to massage this in, do a face mask and apply a coat of sunless tanner.

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THREE  |  Pimento Cheese

Seriously though!  This has become one of our Costco shopping staples.  I love this Pimento Cheese spread!  I’ve started keeping it on hand because we use it on everything!  Okay, not everything, but its great for a last-minute cheese platter, a late night snack and an easy lunch with toasted gluten-free bread.  It’s even made with Wisconsin cheddar, so there’s that.

FOUR  | Roasted Broccoli

I couldn’t find an appetizing broccoli picture, and didn’t have time or daylight enough to shoot my own.  Sorry!  I was texting my sister-in-law the “recipe” last night and realized I had broccoli in my fridge too.  Toss broccoli with olive oil and seasonings (salt & pepper, garlic salt, lemon pepper, whatever you like), roast at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (until toasty), remove from oven and zest one lemon over the top, then squeeze the lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.  It’s the best darn broccoli you’ll ever eat!

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FIVE  | Merona Tee Shirt

This shirt is on sale at your local Targets for $2.40.  Nice neckline, the hem dips in the back and pretty colors too.  You’re welcome!

That’s all I have today, have a lovely Thursday evening.

| Thoughts on a Monday Morning |

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Photo by Alexandru STAVRICĂ on Unsplash

Hey!

I’m sitting up in bed, crisp white sheets, fluffy duvet and lots of pillows with my sweet baby snuggled up next to me.  He’s currently asleep and my coffee is currently hot..  We shall see how long this lasts!

Most of Josh’s family lives in Florida so for the past 10 days or so we’ve had brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews coming into town as Irma refugees.  His parents stayed with us for a week, I wish our apartment had room for more, but we did what we could and really enjoyed having them stay with us.  Hugo especially loved the oodles of attention and I was happy to be busy while Josh was gone traveling most of the time.

September is a jam-packed month for us, especially Josh.  I’m a little jealous of his schedule right now.  Last week in LA included the Sony Lot, lunch with MY dad (who was out in OC for work) at my favorite restaurant, tickets to a little show called HAMILTON! and much more.  Haha!  With a movie coming out in only 10 days, it’s a sprint to the end and I’m doing all I can to support my guy and enjoy our short weekends together.

One of the great perks of having grandparents in town was having babysitters for friday night!  I know most of you take advantage of free childcare, but we’re so far away from both side of the family that it is actually very rare for us.  Thankfully, Hugo is a happy, extroverted baby and we’re able to bring him most places with us, but there is nothing like getting out sans-baby for a few hours!

We love our Birmingham, and my favorite neighborhood is Mountain Brook.  It’s a gorgeous community, built 60+ years ago high on the hills that overlook the city.  The streets are narrow and lined with gorgeous cottages and mature trees and the city center is called English Village.  Josh and I really hope to stay in Birmingham for a long, long time and someday I have dreams of us ending up in a home there.  Josh always teases me about it, but its the best zip code in the state and basically Perfectville, USA, so I’m sold!

Anyway, we left our (still) teething baby with Mum & Pop Pops and headed to Mountain Brook.  We were both burnt out from the week and went the simple date route.  Dinner at Brick and Tin, which is a lovely little cafe that is open late on Fridays, the food is amazing (don’t miss out of their Classic Salad, its incredible!) then we took an after-dinner stroll through the streets and ended up at the Grand Bohemian for dessert and coffee.  They have this gorgeous rooftop bar complete with Astroturf and funky furniture, and it’s wonderful for sunset or people watching!

And this was a very boring blog post today, short story long, we enjoyed our weekend and now it’s back to work.  My baby just woke up, all smiles in his Sheriff Woody pajamas, fluffy blonde hair and raspy morning voice, being a mom is the best!  I should plan my week out while there’s still coffee in the french press.  It looks like the weather will be warm again, last week was downright chilly!  I’m excited to start reading The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore, tackle a few creative projects, and clean out my fridge.

Wishing you a productive Monday!

GOALS | september 2017

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

So, how did I do?

  1. New Recipes.  Josh was traveling so much of the month that I ended up eating a lot of simple meals (granola, toast, pimento cheese & tomato sandwiches) or just going out for something quick.  However, I’ve had some success with a “two-week” meal plan and will blog about that soon!
  2. Host my friend Amy!  Yes!  We dropped her at the airport yesterday, it was a wonderful visit, she is one of the best people I know!
  3. Plan a picnic.  RAIN!  I had everything planned and the location was sentimental to us (where Josh first told me he loved me AND the place we found out we were having a baby boy!) and it RAINED.
  4. Hang art in Hugo’s room.  Yes!  I chose to use engineer sized prints and I  love the way it looks.  There are a few more finishing touches to his room, then I would love to do a tour.
  5. See Ellie Holcomb in concert.  No, several things came up that day and we were unable to go.

Goals for September

  1. Work out 2-3 times per week.  Josh and I have been trying go straight to the gym after work, but our consistency could be better.  Even if it’s just a walk with Hugo in the stroller, my goal is to get moving!
  2. Celebrate my 29th birthday!  I’m not a big birthday person, because I hate to be the center of attention, but Josh has a surprise planned and I’m pretty excited!  One thing I always do is pick out an over the top birthday cake recipe and bake it myself, strange, I know.  I love the excuse to make something amazing!
  3. Craft some embellished jeans!  Amy and I had lots of crafty conversations and we are both loving the embellished denim trend.  These pearl ones are so inspiring!
  4. Blog at least once a week.  Again, consistency!  But I love blogging when the little guy is down for a nap.
  5. Curate a fall/winter style guide.  My sizes have been all over the place this last year, and I’m needing to update my wardrobe with good fitting and simple pieces. Pinterest is the best for this!

What are your September goals?  Share, please!

Lilly After Party Sale!

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If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a Lilly girl.  Golly, I love this brand so much.  It’s bright and whimsical and preppy and as I was telling Josh last night “It’s impossible to have a bad day when wearing Lilly!” (That’s me wearing Lilly in the Cayman Islands on our honeymoon, see how happy and tan we were.)

Each print is unique and the company was started in the 1950s, which means, if you look hard enough, you’ll find VINTAGE stuff!  Not only do I love the modern prints and let’s be real, the modern fabric, but I’ve also collected some of the old patterns and love to find them at antique and thrift stores.

FullSizeRenderEvery year they host a sale that stays secret until a few days before it opens, the fans go crazy and the online “queue” is 100k people long.  Well, yesterday was the day!  I was a few minutes late, due to my little munchkinhead who requires lots o’ mama’s milk…  I logged in at 7:08 am (hot coffee thanks to my sweet husband) there were only 41,777 people in front of me.  Haha!  As it was, I had secured my spot on the wrong browser (darn you safari) and when I finally got in 2 hours later, I was having trouble adding things to my cart.

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Hoo and I needed to do some errands anyway so we stopped at our local store.  It’s worth it to go to a physical store if you have one since they’re all running the sale and they all have different inventory.  I was able to snag the Kelly pant in Lilac Verbena “Rock the Dock” (they were sold out online).  Bonus points for getting to use an old gift card I kept forgetting about!  I don’t usually wear purple, but the print has navy and white in it too and I feel like I could wear them into autumn with a silk blouse or a cozy sweater and flats.  Since I’d tried on these pants 3 different times but couldn’t justify the full price tag, I happily brought them home with me.

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It’s not too late to shop.  The sale ends tomorrow night and we’re talking 30-70% off regular prices.  They just added a bunch of new items today and since I have a little cash leftover in my “Lilly Sale Envelope” thanks to that gift card (Dave Ramsey jokes!) I may order a new top or the Jayne shorts.  The dresses are too short for me, as are their “Buttercup” shorts, but if you’re looking for something more modest, I love the Chipper shorts (a true bermuda length and the ones I’m wearing the first photo) and the Jayne is new this year with a 7” inseam and has great coverage.

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Did you buy anything at the After Party Sale this year?!?

Crafternoons | Painted Straw Bag

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Josh spent the last week traveling, it was a last-minute and very long trip and oh my was it a rough one!

Our little guy is in some kinda 7mo sleep-regression/teething/I-dont-know-what and has decided that 3am is a great time for a feeding frenzy.  I try my hardest to keep things positive when Josh is away, since there’s only so much he can do from LA and I love him too much to needlessly worry him.  But I’m a terrible liar and he is very intuitive and I had several meltdowns.  It rarely happens and I’m not proud of it, I’m still trying to navigate this whole “my husband travels a lot for work and I miss him like crazy” thing.

I do a lot of crafty projects while he’s away.  In the last few months I’ve sewed a dress, pillows, handbags, hung new curtains, painted bookshelves, hung pictures and super cleaned and re-organized our apartment.  Haha!  You’re probably thinking “Get a life Abbe!”.  I know, I know, it’s just that I have an infant and my options are limited, we get out of the house everyday (this is key to survival!) and I’m getting better about calling a friend to hang out with.  I do a lot of what I call “Crafternoons” and sometimes “Crafter-nights”, usually during naps.

I picked up this Target tote bag for $2 and was originally going to cover it with pompoms or something equally childish (I really love unexpected accessories!) as I was brainstorming on the Pinterest I kept seeing these fun painted straw bags.  Heres the link if you want to buy one for $195!  As my mom always says “my creative juices were flowing!” and I figured if I goofed the whole thing up, I would only be out a couple of dollars.  I will never not love a monogram so it called to me.

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A little inspiration, it even has my initials so I think it was a sign…

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And here’s my late night painting session, complete with empty Panera iced tea cup.  I taped it off with duct tape (turns out, it’s the perfect stripe width) and painted on a black acrylic paint and a light blue paint that was left over from Hugo’s bookshelf (matchy-matchy).  The monogram stencils were from Hobby Lobby.  Let it dry between stripes to avoid smudges and give it a good day of air-drying before wearing it out.  Done and done!

Tips: 

  • This is the easiest project and so fun to do with any old straw bag!  I do wish I’d picked one that was a tighter weave, it would have made the monogram and stripe sharper.
  • I used a foam brush for the stripes (to get into the grooves) and a small artists brush for the monogram and to add the “dots” between the letters.
  • You will want to slip a cardboard box into the bag to add stability while you paint.
  • For monogramming, it would be so cute with your sweethearts initials or an “A♥️ J” or a nickname or whatever.  I love creative personalization!

Here are some other fun Straw Bag DIY ideas!  PomPoms! A much more detailed version of mine Painted Stripe Bag  And a Spray Painted version!  I would love this in gold!

 

Five Things | 8/14/17

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ONE  |  Sriracha Documentary

This idea would be perfect for an at-home date night or a little get-together with friends (bonus points if you have a hot sauce themed menu!) This came up on a list I was reading the other week of food documentaries you should watch.  Available on Amazon Prime, Josh and I pulled it up and both loved it!  I’ve always been a Sriracha fan, but it was fun to see how it became a trend and what a high quality product it really is.  Sriracha Lime Popcorn would be the perfect thing for snacking while viewing!  (Photo from here – this also looks like a few good recipes.)

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TWO  |  Crushed Ice and Foam Cups

Survival of a Southern summer.  Considering that my AC has been out all weekend and is currently getting worked on, it was 86 degrees ALL NIGHT LONG, consider this my best advice for August in the deep south.  Last summer, when I was pregnant with HMW and barely functioning due to (what I am convinced was) undiagnosed Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I would eat cups and cups of crushed ice from Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-a and a myriad of other fine southern dining establishments.  The combination with the foam cup is like nothing else.  Perfection!  Someday I dream of having two ridiculously fancy upgrades in my kitchen, a pellet ice machine and a sparkling water tap.  Go ahead and judge me.  I’ll just be over here with my monogrammed foam cups!

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THREE  |  Dr. Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Lavender Bath

This combination bubble bath and shower gel is my current favorite.  With 24/7 caring for Little Hugo and frequent breastfeeding, I carry all of my stress in my shoulders causing muscle aches AND, every mom to ever come before me, I have a hard time winding down.  Josh is really sweet to make me chill out most nights and enjoy a bubble bath and actually read through a magazine.  I also use it every time I shower because I love the smell!

FOUR  |  NYX Butter Gloss

  1. I was on a brief hunt this summer for a popsicle-y lip stain color, but after several attempts I gave up.  My sister Brooke mentioned she’d bought these after a blogger recommendation so I got myself over to Target and bought the Vanilla Cream Pie (mauve pink) and Creme Brûlée (nude-ish pink).  They’re under $5 each and have a light glossy finish and soft color, no smudging!  Target has a buy one get one 50% off deal right now, so go ahead and get yourself a few different colors.  YES! MA’AM! THEY ARE THAT GOOD!

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FIVE  |  Wild Caught Fish Sandwich

I apologize in advance for posting such an unappetizing photo of this great product.  I bought a package of 12 burgers last time I was at Costco to try and have been so impressed.  They make such a delicious quick lunch or after-workout dinner.  You can grill, use a skillet or (I just discovered) pop them in the oven!  I’ve served them in a lettuce wrap with Sriracha mayo and as a healthy-ish “filet-o-fish” on a gluten free bun I also recommend topping them with a little slaw!