Extending My Clothing Budget with Poshmark

My new favorite thing is Poshmark. I originally heard about it through another blogger Lindsey Kubly. It’s the perfect place to sell clothes you no longer wear and find things you want to buy for really good prices. Selling is so easy. The phone App makes it really simple and quick to post items. When they sell, you get an email with a prepaid mailing label and when the buyer accepts the shipment the money goes right into your Poshmark account.

Here are some of the items I’ve gotten so far this year:

ATHLETA LEGGINGS: $30

Spin twins!

 

GAP BLACK GIRLFRIEND JEANS: $20

 

JBRAND ARMY SHORTS: $8

 

MADEWELL EMBROIDERED TOP: $13

JCREW STRAW MARKET TOTE: $20

I got a few other things not pictured (a pair of like-new Gap capri leggings for $13, a pair of Madewell shoes for $60 and Lancome makeup set for $20) and I’ve been happy with everything I’ve bought. Some of my purchases were exact items I was searching for, like the above tote that I used to own and lost last year. So far to date I’ve sold a total of $275 worth of clothing. That’s money I either used to buy stuff on Poshmark or transferred into my bank account to cover things I bought that were outside of my clothing budget. Win-win! Try it out.

SHOP MY CLOSET https://poshmark.com/closet/leighfeather

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What I Got at the Nordstrom Sale

I love Nordstom… “à la distance.” There’s no store near me but since they offer free shipping both ways and were having a sale, I thought, why not order a bunch of stuff online? I won’t keep any of it, I’ll just try it on, from the comfort of my bedroom.

None of these items were impulse buys. They were carefully selected over months of pinning and researching and waiting. I’ve curbed my clothing purchases this year partly due to a new family budget and because I “don’t need another thing.”

Here’s what I got:

VINCE CAMUTO CARRAN PLATFORM SANDAL (IN HOT AND SPICY LEATHER)

I picked these sandals because I have been wanting a comfy slide forEVER. I love a platform and I love a shoe I can just slip on and off and honestly that’s what I’m going to pick all summer. I can only wear my two dollar Old Navy flip flops so much. I chose red (very unusual for me) because it compliments all the blue in my wardrobe, but these come in a few great colors/patterns. The straps are leather, the insole is leather (bonus) and they have espadrille-style soles. I love them! The only con is the straps have a manmade lining that smells like a pool raft. I had to get them as my best friend Joan told me to. VERDICT: KEEP

J. CREW EVIE BALLET FLAT (IN BLACK)

I don’t know why but I didn’t take a pic in these. These ballet flats are perfect in every way. They tick all the boxes. Classic. Black. Comfortable. Leather. Well constructed. No weird embellishments. And they were on sale! And yet, when I searched deep into my heart of hearts I knew…they just aren’t me. After years of searching for the perfect classic ballet flat I realized I don’t need a classic ballet flat. VERDICT: RETURN

HINGE JERSEY TANK (IN HEATHER STEEL)

One needs a gray tank top. If you haven’t gone hunting for one recently, there are so many versions. Many of them have some weird detail: twist front, twist back, tie front/back, lace, high-low hem, etc. I tried this very basic option and sized up from my usual medium to a large and you can see it’s a very unflatteringly skin-tight. Grrr. VERDICT: RETURN

BTW, I think I ought to change my name to “Heather Steel.”

MADEWELL HIGH RISE CUFFED DENIM SHORTS (IN GLEN OAKS)

I have been obsessed about finding a really good pair of jean shorts—more polished than the above pictured cut offs. It’s not easy, but nothing in life really is. Although these look pretty good to me now, I thought the size 30 I got was a little too big. I think a high rise short should be fitted not loose. I could have tried my usual 29 size but not sure I wanted a tight jean short? I really liked the stretch and the look but I couldn’t get comfortable with them being up high on the waist and on the thigh. Sad face. VERDICT: RETURN

TOP SHOP HIGH WAIST CIGARETTE TROUSERS

My favorite J. Crew Martie pants were starting to show their age and were quite tight on the booty (not in a good way) so I’ve been on the hunt for a new pair of cropped, tapered trousers that are stretchy and slimming. I’ve never owed anything from Top Shop (I know, “gasp”) and the price made me skeptical. I loved them the second I tried them on. I’ve been moving away from low rise pants and really love the rise on these. The fabric isn’t too thick. They’re machine wash/line dry and look great from the back. Yay. VERDICT: KEEP

AMOUR VERT FRANCOISE STRIPE TOP (IN MARINE STRIPE)

This shirt was the last to arrive and I was sure it would go right back. The day it arrived I had just gone to the Gap to look for shorts and got two long sleeve striped shirts that were beautiful and on sale. I didn’t need another striped shirt! When I took it out of the package I realized it was slinky and I read the fabric content and saw it was modal. I am not a fan of modal. I like a plain ol’ cotton. Then I tried it on and fell in love. I mean, I’ll let you know when I wash it… but, sigh, I had to keep it. It feels so good, drapes so good, looks so good. I’m in love. Green love. Amour Vert is one of those brands I keep hearing about for their sustainability. Read more at amourvert.com. VERDICT: KEEP

So, my just trying on/not buying plan clearly didn’t work very well. Damn you Nordstrom! Why are you so awesome?!

In other news, I have been cleaning out my closet consistently. I donate to friends and the local thrift store and I have sold quite a lot on POSHMARK. You can check out my closet here.

 

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Stitch Fix Try On #3

I thought it would be fun to see what I got from Stitch Fix recently. (I had forgot that I hadn’t turned the service off but just scheduled the shipments to be less frequent.) Here’s what was in my box:

OLIVE GREEN SHIRT

It would look better ironed. I loved the color and style, kind of a Anine Bing look, but I wasn’t sure it was really “me.”

WHITE JEANS

These jeans fit good, felt good. I liked that they had a high-ish waist, some distressing and the drop hem, but I didn’t like how thin they were. I have two pairs of white jeans that are good. Starting to feel so sad/conflicted. My stylist really gets me, almost too much!

WHITE SHIRT & NAVY SHORTS

At this point I dragged my daughter into the decision-making process. She’s so savvy. 🙂 The shirt is so soft. It’s meant to be crinkled, btw. Again, I had to be honest with myself that I wouldn’t wear it. I have four white button downs that are neglected as it is. The shorts fit perfectly, felt comfy and looked great (from the back too), but I thought they were a little too preppy. Also, I have other chino shorts.

SHORT SLEEVE SWEATSHIRT

This top has the cutest sort of pleated sleeves. Its a soft, luxurious cotton that drapes nicely. And I love navy so much.

So that’s the five pieces. I decided since I was spending the $20 styling fee anyway, I was definitely going to keep at least one item. (This is how I talked myself into buying things the last two times. They’re so smart.) And it was at this point that I looked at the prices. I was leaning toward the shorts. But I loved the navy top…which was $148! It’s Joie, a somewhat luxe brand that I’ve never owed before. Ahh, decisions.

So, the next day, I tried them all on again, this time with other clothes, following the enclosed style suggestions.

And there you have it. Hardest decision I’ve ever made. In the end I chose to only keep the navy top. And I’m wearing it right now.

If you want to try out Stitch Fix here’s a referral code:
https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/15669680?sod=w&som=c

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I’m So Done with Dieting

Are you tired of watching what you eat? Me too.

Recently I had a thought, what if I was my ideal weight? What would I eat if I didn’t need to lose a few pounds? The answer came surprisingly quick. I’d eat like a French woman. I’m sure that means different things to different people, but in my mind it was fresh, whole food that is delicious and satisfying with the occasional indulgence. I remembered the book I got from my mom, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I decided to finally read it. Author Mireille Guiliano recommends eating a variety of foods, mostly in season, in reasonable portions. Fresh food is preferred to processed and truly enjoying your meals is very important. This is the philosophy I’ve been craving all along. It’s not about depriving oneself or eating diet substitutes. Food is meant to be enjoyed!

Meanwhile, full of excitement and motivation, I finally worked up the courage to tackle a cookbook I received as a gift (in fact I has specifically asked for it): It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t generally use cookbooks because, Google. This book was worth it. It won me over with the fresh-faced photos of GP and the beautifully photographed meals. I remained very skeptical that it was “easy”. After I tackled the shopping for a bunch of ingredients, many of which I don’t ever buy, the assembly was simple. The first thing I tried was chicken tortilla soup. Not only was it easy, but my whole family liked it. Maybe loved it. My picky 9-year-old son ate a meal with multiple green things in it including zucchini. It was such a big hit. I made smoothie bowls, sheet pan chicken, etc.

Both of these books have changed my life. I learned that where I thought I hated cooking, I was just bored. I was constantly buying and cooking the same foods over and over and my tastebuds had lost all interest. In an effort to please my family, I had narrowed our cuisine down to so few things that they were bored too, and hesitant to try anything new. I also learned that the more I cooked, even complicated recipes, the more confident I became and the more fun I had. And of course the more healthy we eat, the more energy we have.

I hope you check out one or both of these books, and try cooking something new. Or buying something new. I find that I don’t put things on the grocery list anymore just because we ran out of it. I plan out a few new meals, a few old standards and make my list from that. I think our food bill has gone down. I use more leftovers and I waste less food. (I’m probably the last person on the planet to figure this out.)

Oh, and I’ve lost a few pounds…

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Living in England

 

Alright, so I’ve recently noticed just how far down the rabbit hole I’ve gone. It’s to the point that I am pretty much ‘living’ in the UK.

Over the last few months I’ve been reading two books written in a language I struggle to understand: English. All of the British slang and references made them hard to follow at times. While reading these books, I started watching a lot of British TV shows. Soon I was so completely immersed in the culture I forgot that I live in America. I suppose it’s partly my distant connection—both my grandfathers were born in the United Kingdom. So, it’s not surprising that I’ve always wanted to visit.

 

It started with:

BOOKS

Night of the Animals, by Bill Broun—this is Animal Farm meets 12 Monkeys. Broun is American but has lived in England and some of the language is so English it hurt my brain. But seriously, I really enjoyed this book and found it extra fascinating because I actually know the author.

The Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell—I love Scandinavian culture, so this account of a British transplant dealing with the culture shock of moving to Denmark was a two-fer. A completely separate tangent, but this led to me watching the fabulous series Hjørdis and then Rita on Netflix.

 

And moved on to:

SHOWS

ON NETFLIX

The Crown—I loved this show so much. I want to go back and watch it all over again. Queen Elizabeth’s life when she was young. Claire Foy is so watchable. God, this is the best show since, ever.

Sherlock—Benedict Cumberbatch. I think that’s all I have to say. So amazing.

The Great British Baking Show—my kids got me watching this. They binge watched it to the point that they now critique everything I cook, with British accents.

Broadchurch—I was addicted to this crime drama. Although I didn’t love the dark, violent subject, the characters… they made me want to be there.

ON AMAZON

The Durrells in Corfu—My FAVORITE SHOW which I’m still watching. It’s set in the 30s about an English family who moves to Greece.

Poldark—sex in the 1700’s.

 

Combined with:

BLOGS

Fashion Me Now — I’ve been following Lucy WIlliams’ fashion and travel blog for a while. Listening to her is so strangely hypnotizing. I can’t believe I watched this entire video where she just talks about some stuff she bought.

The Frugality Blog —Alex Stedman, though on maternity leave now, has such adorable and accessible posts that I became hooked right away.

Juliet Kinsman—one of my most interesting British friends, a luxury travel expert.

 

If you’re looking to travel virtually to the UK or pretend you’re more British than you are, I hope you check out some of these lovely escapes.

Posted in Stories, Travel, What I'm Reading, What's New | 2 Comments

Fur Guilt

I’ve been pondering this topic for a while: What do you do with a fur coat that you don’t feel good about wearing? I’d been wanting a leopard coat forever—faux leopard, obviously. I’ve pinned lots of options:

 

Then, one day I was talking to my mom and she said she had a vintage fur coat I could have. It was “ocelot”. I pretended to know what that was and then promptly Googled it. I’ll save you a click and tell you: “The ocelot is a wild cat native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central, and South America. Its population is estimated to comprise more than 40,000 mature individuals and is considered stable. Its fur was once regarded as particularly valuable, but legal trade of its fur ceased decades ago.”

My mom said she’d send me the coat, she didn’t wear it and probably wouldn’t need it in California. When it arrived, I quickly opened up the box, took out the massive garment, and tried it on. I knew immediately. I would never wear it … Not as clothes. Not in public. Now what? I hung it in the closet and put off making a decision about it.

Recently, I decided I needed to find it a new home.

I’ve never been really definitive about my feelings on real fur. I feel pretty awful about that statement. It’s as if I don’t want to offend anyone. But the longer I think about it, I can never condone wearing real fur. I can’t even be okay with wearing a fur that was made a really long time ago.

You can’t sell illegal fur. I didn’t want to just take it to the thrift store. After a little research I found a few options: donate it to a museum, to a place that helps the homeless like PETA’s fur campaign or to a place that helps animals like Cuddle Coats.

I contacted Cuddle Coats and arranged to send it off.

I haven’t told my mom.

I thought more about finding a faux fur. They look so cool. But, now I don’t know. Do they?

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Winter 10×10

The Pieces

The Outfits

My Thoughts

I decided to jump on the bandwagon this time around. I love reading blogs like stylebee.caun-fancy.comseasons-and-salt.com and stylethislife.com

I’d never done the 10×10 challenge and I guess I thought I wouldn’t get much out of it. It’s funny how different it is to do something in your head versus in reality. This is what I learned from doing it:

  1. A capsule wardrobe makes picking out an outfit lightning fast! In this case, I had 3 bottoms and 5 tops (and 2 pairs of shoes) and a goal to not repeat combinations.
  2. I really prefer jeans to skirts.
  3. It’s okay to wear only your favorite items—on repeat.
  4. I became more accepting of myself. I realized it’s okay to be really casual or not even wear makeup.
  5. I gave myself permission to be cozy and warm. Layered as needed.
  6. Wearing Birks with socks indoors is my new fave.
  7. I have clothes in my closet that I rarely wear that I really like!
  8. I DO NOT need more clothes.

That’s it. I really enjoyed participating in the challenge with amazing women all over the world. Check it out if you want more inspiration: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/winter10x10/

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January-ing

One of my goals this year is to write more posts. Like many bloggers, I do it for love, not money. It’s a creative outlet. It’s fun and makes me feel connected to others. In many ways it’s like journaling. It helps me see what I’ve accomplished and what I hope to in the future. It helps me to see what’s important and what isn’t and to let go of that.

It’s a funny thing. Such a private, introspective thing that is completely public. Some times I realize I’m shouting into the void, other times I remember that a few people are actually reading it, some people I actually know as well as a bunch of complete strangers. I wonder if I’m being too personal or not personal enough. I ask myself if I’m being too influenced by the blogs I read, not being original or true to myself. I’m probably I’m not alone in this.

So, when I wonder what I should write about I think I want it to be relatable and helpful. The kind of things I talk to my friends about. These days it seems like we’re all talking about surviving. It may look like we’re living the dream on Instagram, but the truth is we’re hanging on by a thread. The biggest challenge seems to be mental stamina. What with it being January in the northeastern part of the US, snow days, flu season, aging parents, unrealized dreams of greatness, the news, holiday weight gain, and all the rest, it’s a lot. And through it all, I am often reminded that many things are luxury problems. The challenge is to not get overwhelmed. Here are some of the ways I cope:

  1. Just do the next thing — When I can’t motivate, I just take the next action. It’s best if I do less thinking. I make lists and prioritize those things—does it have to get done today?
  2. Try to do some form of exercise most days — I’ll do walking, jogging (often on the treadmill), indoor cycling, yoga, or online workouts.
  3. Call women — I learned a long time ago to surround myself with a supportive group of women and it’s not unusual for us to call each other when we’re falling apart or to share good news (or a photo of something we want to buy but really don’t need). When I go too long between calls, or actual face-to-face time, it gets harder and harder to reach out and then I’m in real trouble.
  4. Read inspirational books — Right now I’m really enjoying The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I know “Hygge” is super trendy these days but all about making the most of winter right now. I’m also reading Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh as a sort of daily meditation which is amazing.
  5. Get out of the house — It’s a bad day when I don’t leave the house once. I work from home so I try to go somewhere else to workout, meet with a client or go have lunch with a friend. Otherwise I’ll have to think up a reason to go out like to get this rug from Target or all the way across town to take a roll of film to be developed only to learn that they mail it out.
  6. Do work — Being useful always helps. I am so grateful for all our clients and I love what I do. Being self-employed requires a good amount of self-motivation and it can be hard to get started. My business partner/handsome husband and I started having weekly staff meetings. It’s a good way to get organized and stay motivated—and positive. I wouldn’t describe these meetings as professional… but they do help the morale.
  7. Guilty pleasures — Because I’m a stay at home mom and work from home, I have a weird schedule. I often feel guilty that I can workout before work or take off during the work day. But there are things I have to do to maintain my creativity and my sanity. My to-do list includes things like: go to art museum, play the violin, take a nap, put outfits together, buy flowers, take down wallpaper, meditate, paint a painting, make granola, get eyebrows waxed. It may seem trivial or a waste of time to some, but I find it really helps my mental state.

So, I hope you are making it through this time of year and are being good to yourself. How do you stay positive through the winter?

 

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Thoughts on the Year

I want to share with you some of the really good things I’ve experienced this year. It’s the 2nd to last day of the year and it’s lightly snowing here in PA. We’ve been on vacation this week at 110FRONT and it’s been so relaxing. As I was scrolling through my Bloglovin feed, I thought about my own neglected blog and what I could write about. I’ve always focussed on Fitness, Food and Fashion, because it’s honestly what I love. So, here’s what’s going on:

Fitness — I’ve been doing what I’ve always done: a random mix of whatever I can motivate myself to do and what works with the weather. A typical week includes Spin, Yoga and Jazzercise (which are the things I pay for.) I’ve been trying to curb my spending on “recreation” so after I pay the $35/month for Jazzercise and roughly $40/month for Spin, Yoga is an “extra.” I fill in the other days with free things like walking on the local rail trail or doing a workout on PopSugar. Same ol’, same ol’. Sometimes I make up my own workout. I put on a Pandora station like 80s hip hop or Florence and the Machine and just freestyle it. The only challenge I’ve had with working out is that my back has been…unpredictable… and sometimes I have to take a break from all exercise which is awful. I weigh myself daily and try to aim for a certain number on the scale. It records my weight to my fitbit app so I can see my progress — it’s a true obsession! I have to work hard on acceptance and moderation. I try to focus on being grateful for my overall health. And I have been working on my commitment to going to the chiropractor sooner rather than later. I track steps with my Apple Watch which I’ve had for over a year and I love it.

 

Food — Currently, I am eating everything. I don’t think Christmas is the time to be on a diet. However, making healthy choices is always in the back of my mind. I think that over the last 20 years I’ve made eating healthy a way of life. A typical day includes coffee with a little cream, breakfast: cereal with milk or eggs with baby spinach/kale and goats cheese and salsa, lunch: a sandwich made with leftover chicken, some kind of cheese, whole grain bread or salad with chicken or tuna, nuts, olives, tomatoes and homemade oil and vinegar dressing, dinner: veggie burgers with yam fries, pasta with tomato/pesto sauce or maybe tacos. I snack on almonds, cashews, cheese sticks, dark chocolate and lately: homemade cookies. Once a week we order Chinese food or pizza. I’m trying to quit diet coke, so I drink water or seltzer or green tea. I got Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Easy, which looks really pretty in my book case. I have good intentions to use it one day. I get really bored cooking every day, thinking up what to make, but the kids are helping more and more and my husband will cook if I ask, so it’s constantly evolving. Oh, and believe it or not, I cooked meals in a crockpot for the first time this year. Win!

 

Fashion — This year I continued to curate my closet, only adding what I really need and what feels like it’s truly “me.” I bought things and returned quite a few things and I worked hard to appreciate and celebrate my wardrobe favorites. New additions: Madewell brown suede bootsMadewell jeans, Target (A New Day) trench coat, Everlane cashmere crew sweater and J.Crew tissue turtleneck t-shirt in stripe. I donated clothes to charity, used ThredUp and discovered Poshmark (check out my sales!) I also tried out StichFix for the first time after I received a gift certificate from my family. I ought to mention, too, that cut back what I was spending on clothes this year. We redid our budget and decided to do away with the clothing allowance. It’s been good for me to scale back and be more selective with what I buy — and more honest and transparent in my marriage. I was surprised how much I didn’t feel deprived and how much less stressed I was. A big thank you to my friend Kim who inspired me in this area.

 

2017 — What a year! I got a Nikon FG film camera last Christmas and am still on my first roll. I went on an amazing trip to Omaha in April with a bunch of women I adore. I watched my kids play a lot of baseball, softball & football, as well as sing (in front of people!) and do gymnastics. We went to the shore in the summer and Washington, DC in the Spring and again in the Fall. We went camping for the very first time as a family. We finally finished renovating our main bathroom, which has spanned over 7 years. We went to the shore in September which is the best time of all. I turned 50 in October and had a series of quiet celebrations including brunch & shopping in NYC. I started playing the violin after my aunt gave me my grandfather’s violin. We shared a lot more dinners with our friends/kid’s friends and learned that it’s the best way to become better friends. We lost our beloved hamster Molly and adopted a beautiful cat named Noelle. I read many books including The Magnolia Story, Peace is Every Step, Love Wins, as well as these. Every thing I read this year was from the library or was a gift! Favorite shows I watched were: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Patriot, Red Oaks, Big Little Lies, The Great British Baking ShowThe Crown, Alias Grace, Ozark & This Is Us. That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year! Here’s to another great year of health & happiness!

 

Posted in Let's Get Fit, What's New | Leave a comment