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.

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!

 

Of Peach Pie and a Last Will & Testament

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Yesterday I baked a fresh peach pie.

And Josh wrote up our will.

Our siblings refer to us as Grandpa & Grandma.  They’re not wrong.

For the record we are 26 & 28 respectively.  We fancy ourselves a responsible, organized couple and I’d figured we’d do all the will-related stuff whenever we take our first big trip sans-Little Hugo, but no, the other night Josh was at the kitchen table typing away and was like “Hey babe! I just finished our will, do you want to look this over?”

I was more than a little tickled.  Not only is he cute and funny, he’s smart too.  My natural tendency is always to procrastinate (due to analysis paralysis) but Josh is a “man of action” as he always reminds me.  And maybe a little paranoid, did I ever tell you about how after he proposed and we were walking back to the car, literally the first thing he said to me was “Don’t worry, your ring is insured!”.  I love him.

Anyway, it’s the height of summer and fresh produce and stone fruits and Georgia peaches and I was in the mood to bake a pie.  Since pie should be shared and the will required some witnesses,  we invited the brother and sister-in-law over after dinner.  Then I contemplated wearing a classic black dress for the whole deal, it seemed appropriate.  Just kidding!

Back to the pie…

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I always use the queen, Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee dough.  It requires digging out your food processor, but worth it.  I used Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour and it came out tender and flaky, I was so pleased that I mentioned it over breakfast (I’m sorry I have a problem, I think about food.  A lot.) and Josh was like “What? That was gluten-free?”.  Yes.

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For the filling, I mixed up Martha’s fruit pie chart with a few modifications.  I went with the lighter sugar amount since the peaches were at peak, I’d forgotten lemons at the grocery and found a lime in the fridge, so there ya go (sorry) and I prefer cinnamon to ginger so I added a generous sprinkle of that.  I omitted the extra butter pats since the crust has two sticks and brushed the top with a little half-and half and sugar for texture.  I baked for 10 minutes at 400 and then 50 minutes at 375.

Don’t forget the golden rule of pastry, “Work cold, bake hot!”

Yall, it was so good!

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Now there’s half a pie in my fridge, taunting me.  Darn it, it belongs with my morning coffee, but I’m holding out for later and it’s time for my Friday deep clean of the apartment anyway.  So, back to that responsible and organized adult thing…

GOALS | august 2017

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I’ve always loved being able to share goals on my blog.  It seems to be a clean, organized place to list them and then fun to come back and share the details in a longer post.  Here are a few things on my calendar this month.

  1.  Find two, new, go-to recipes (low-carb preferred).  If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have been non-inspiring in the meal planning department.  This week I literally made oatmeal for dinner one night.  And ordered in pizza the next.  I’m so sorry.  Couldn’t be sorrier.  I’m know there have been some serious marks against my “homemaker of the year award” application.
  2. Host my sweet friend Amy for a long weekend here in Birmingham!  Amy and I met on a Jane Austen tour in London almost 8 years ago, we were fast friends and although we don’t see each other often, she’s one of those rare people that you can pick back up where you left off.  Plus, she’s a gifted designer and I love talking high-fashion and trend pet-peeves with.  I can’t wait to see her!
  3. Plan the perfect summer picnic for my boys!  Complete with tasty sandwiches, lemonade and ants.
  4. Find and hang art in Hugo’s nursery.  I can’t decide if I want photos, or traditional art or if I should do a gallery (I already have a gallery wall in my living room and don’t want to overdo it…)
  5. See Ellie Holcomb in concert!  I missed an concert of hers earlier this year, and although Josh is not a concert going kinda guy, he was down for this one (I, on the other hand, LOVE live music and would watch almost any band perform).  She is so very talented and her latest, “Red Sea Road”, is really really good.  She’s coming to Birmingham in a few weeks and I’m we have the evening open!

What are your August goals?