7QT: I thought yesterday was Friday
This has been the longest day of the longest week of the year 2016, says I, typing from behind the flailing T-Rex limbs of a teething (omg! 3 molars in 24 hours) and feverish Luke, perched unhappily on my lap. All 4 kids have been sick at some point this week and Dave was traveling the first half of it, so I’m done. There is a shiny bottle of silver anejo tequila perched atop the fridge and I’m eyeing up 5pm EST for kickoff. And linking up with Kelly.
So where was I?
1. For starters, this piece by my talented colleague Kevin Jones is fantastic. And provides a lot of meat in response to the (somewhat mystifying) question “what exactly was your beef with Obama all these years?” that my post-election post generated.
And that’s enough politics for the rest of the year, dontcha think? Oh, and totally not related to politics, but I’m going on week 3 of not checking Facebook comments or messages and it.is.awesome. Sorry that it makes me a little less accessible, but it’s so worth it for my family. (Feel free to email me anytime.)
2. Sometimes I rediscover/discover for the first time some music/artist that I’d previously overlooked or sort of assumed I knew about. Lately I’m jamming to my dad’s jams, and find myself listing to a Beatles/Fleetwood Mac station on Pandora. I’m listening to random Bruce Springsteen tracks on Youtube right now. (Which my younger siblings mock me for, bc apparently one does not use Youtube for listing to music, but Spotify. But I’m a tired old dog and setting up yet another account for something just makes me feel…tired-er.) Why not give this one a spin and kick off your weekend right?
3. I need new clothes, and it’s getting to a kind of desperate point, now that we’ve had our first snow. I’ve been pregnant and nursing for most of past 6 years, so now to be neither and to be down 21 official THM pounds means that nothing fits and that I don’t have a super strong sense of “style.” I’ve become accustomed to slinking into the fitting room at Old Navy with an armful of stuff from the clearance rack that is actually only there to begin with because it’s hideous, and then slinking back out again, defeated, when the hideous clothes looked hideous on. Where would you start if you were literally going to build an entire cold-weather wardrobe from scratch for not a ton of money? I’m thinking I should go to Loft or JCrew since I liked to shop there when I was single and thinner (oh, and working a full time job with no kids so $$$$), but I’m not sure they’re cool anymore. I know Anthropologie and Madewell are where the cool kids shop, but I’m not that skinny yet, and I’ll probably never be that rich.
Any Black Friday deals I should be peeping?
4. I am loving “the Crown.” I don’t love her husband. I have almost no love left in my heart for “Poldark,” at all. And “This is Us” is kinda take it or leave it. It found it super compelling the first couple episodes, but not so much now. What should I be watching while I fold laundry tonight?
5. I’m hosting a virtual Arbonne party Tuesday night so that I can buy myself some gluten free makeup at a great price. I’m not a huge fan of going to parties that sell you stuff, but I am a huge fan of Arbonne (and of my best friend Elizabeth, who sells it), and of sitting in my pajamas on my couch during said party, and so I’ll take the opportunity to get their stuff for a steal. Click the link to join the party: https://zoom.us/j/414329173. (Starts 7:30 pm MT/9:30 EST on Tuesday, November 22)
6. I’m planning to write up another summary of what I’ve been learning in CatholicPsych Institute’s “Catholic Mindfulness” course for next Monday. As a little teaser, I’ll just tell you that while Dave was traveling I didn’t into actual tears at any point during the hard times, which maybe sounds pathetic (and is not the point of the classes, for the record) but! generally I don’t do well solo parenting for multiple bedtimes in a row with 4 children. Plus, everyone woke up sick at some point in the week. But I was fine. I was tired and frustrated, of course, but I wasn’t like GIVE ME ALL THE WINE IN THE HOUSE I AM SO OVERWHELMED GET BACK IN BED every night.
Which was nice. This stuff really works, and it’s more effective than any of the many self help/pop psych books I’ve read over the years. I think Kelly, who is also taking the course, wrote a reflection along those lines a couple weeks back. That this was going to be sufficient in place of reading all the organizing/self care/de-stressing books, going forward.
I think I agree.
7. After answering (24 days. 23 days. 3.5 weeks) over and over again to a very eager soon-to-be Tae Kwon Do student hankering after his class start date, I sat down and made a simple calendar for the fridge for the months of November and December. Then I let Joey fill in all the important dates and feast days (and of course, Tae Kwon Do class nights) in the little squares, and now the best moment of his day is marking a big fat x on the finished day’s square and pointing out upcoming feast days or family birthdays.
Yesterday he pointed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s square and asked me to tell him about her. And I literally joked that she was always excited for dinner, just like him. So. I guess I need to do some remedial studying up on the saints. Thankfully, his school, which yesterday sent him home wearing a bejeweled paper crown in anticipation of Christ the King this weekend, is nailing it in my stead.
Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, The Crown, and Old Navy clearance clothes, all in one post? #pleasebemybestie #nowpreferably
I tried to email you but the link didn’t work! I hope you are checking blog comments! I admire your fortitude re: Facebook. Send me some. Please.
Have you tried ThredUp? I’ve had good luck there when I have stuck with brands I know and like (Gap, J Crew). I’m pretty sure they have Loft, too. Shameless referral link that you totally don’t have to use: http://www.thredup.com/r/GAZ2V0
I find ThredUp really only worth it if you’re going to order enough for the free shipping, because I’m offended by paying shipping. I’ve had great luck with returns with them, too. It’s fun to get that package in the mail!
Always! And thanks, fixed the link, shouldn’t be problem any more.
Is it hard to pick stuff without trying it on? And can you send it back for free if you don’t keep it?
I was definitely going to recommend ThredUp. I just order a whole lot of stuff and then try it on and send back what doesn’t work. It is free to return if you choose to earn store credit instead of cash. I find that between (among?) me and my boys, I’ll use the credit sooner rather than later. I find the quality to be totally fine and I just go with top name brands that I used to buy new, back when I was working, no kids, and had all the Benjamins… you know. Don’t bother with low-end stuff, because you’re almost better off buying new or on sale for Old Navy, Target, etc.
I wish I could help you with fashion post-partum. I”m finally done having kids after 20+ years of pregnant or nursing, and I have no style. I go to the consignment store that has a penned off area for the kids to play (with a TV – and the nice owner puts “”Minions” on for my preschools – it’s an awesome place). I grab whatever’s on the dollar rack that looks like it might fit,and try on a few (before small boy climbs out or small girls starts throwing the toys of of the playarea…) . I wind up buying too much, give half away, and wear the rest a few times before I realize most of that doesn’t really suit me. (Polka dots are for preschools or young moms, not an experienced one for me. Pity – it was a lovely Liz Claiborne top.)
I hope you find your fashion groove!
J. Crew Factory!! Affordable and trendy but not TOO trendy. I got their City Coat for less than $100 and just saw a seemingly-identical version on regular J. Crew for $300+.
Do you like to shop consignment? Like Goodwill and the ARC? I know it takes a little bit more time to sort the good stuff from the bad but that is my bargain go-to when it comes to clothes shopping. Also, Ross and Kohl’s have some good stuff too. Oooh! And TJ Maxx! Ok, I am done with shopping suggestions…I would be really interested to hear more about this “Catholic Mindfulness” course. If I could do bedtime in my house without crying, it would be a miracle. And I only have TWO kiddos so far! Happy weekend!
Hey! I’ve just found you and I think you’re great. Really great. This line…
“I know Anthropologie and Madewell are where the cool kids shop, but I’m not that skinny yet, and I’ll probably never be that rich.”
SO MUCH YES. Also, I have been having major success with Poshmark, and also eBay for good & cheap Anthro stuff. Now if I could just figure out the skinny part…
The wardrobe thing is so frustrating. Pregnant/nursing or both for five years and I look at my wardrobe and think “how can I literally have just two shirts???” Will be checking the comments for suggestions!
I have also fallen out of love with Poldark. I had high hopes with the beginning of season 2-things seemed to be moving along, I love the interplay between Ross and Demelza-but ugh. I haven’t even seen the most recent episodes, but if they involve what I *think* is coming, based on what other people are saying, I’m kind of done. So I’m re-watching the first season of the Doctor Who reboot, because I think it’s a much better use of my time 🙂
Clothing-wise: For many years of my young life, I also would just go into stores and get whatever was cheap (clearance!) and fit. Some of it was great, some was not that great. So, the past couple years I’ve really tried to nail down what kind of fashion I really like. For me, it’s the early 1960s (which still had some similar looks to the 1950s) and the late 1960s (hippies!). One of my friends looks to Kate Middleton for her fashion inspiration. You get the idea. I think it’s a lot easier to shop for clothes when you have a concrete vision/era/fashion icon in mind. I get a lot of my clothes from thrift stores (though I’m a bit of a minimalist, so I have very few items in my capsule wardrobes), and it is so much easier (and quicker) to do that when I have a very narrow idea of what I’m looking for! Besides thrift store shopping, I also recommend swap.com-my mom used it last year to buy clothes as presents for my sister and I, and it was great. Good quality clothes, name brands, extremely inexpensive, and according to her, it was really easy to return stuff that didn’t fit.
POLDARK viewers- season two is pretty good, though not as good as the first- BUT – read the books! I’m on book seven now, and they are good reads. What you’ve heard about “what’s coming” in Season 2 Poldark, it’s not that bad. It was overblown in the press- probably so that more people would tune in.
Yes, stalk j. Crew (and j. Crew factory) and loft and Ann Taylor right now, bookmark the things you like, and then wait for black Friday because there will be MAJOR sales. Nordstrom & Macy’s might be worthwhile as well, although there’s so *much* that I get overwhelmed and can’t choose… ModCloth might be a good option as well, their tunics are adorable and get good reviews and I’m betting you could formulate an entire cold weather mom wardrobe based on tunics + longer cardigans + skinnies.
I just heard some tips that if you login, fill your cart, and then log out… that sometimes they’ll send you an additional coupon to your inbox to encourage you to buy. Also– fill your cart and then ask for coupons on some of the sites’ “chat” feature. Sometimes they’ll give you another coupon code!
Here you go for easy reading on St. Elizabeth of Hungary (my beloved saint for my confirmation name). She was a mom, a secular Franciscan, a contemplative, a model of service to the poor and sick, and died before her 24th birthday…read about it here:
The way I keep myself clothed these days is through my church’s clothing exchange parties. They’re not anything formal just a bunch of moms. We all drop off cute but unwanted clothes at my friend’s house, she hangs them all up on clothing racks in her living room and we all come over to swap. (There are articles online about how to actually do this…to make sure it’s fair. We’ve gone by numbers before or done drawings for items that more than one person wants. There’s never been any drama because we’re all just there to have fun.) What’s awesome is that a lot of ladies are much much fancier than I am (AKA they don’t shop at Goodwill) so there are often all kinds of designer clothes that I could never ever afford that I get for free. I feel bad contributing my Old Navy duds, ha. It’s really fun to see each other for the couple weeks afterward at church. We point at each other and say “swap outfit?” It’s obviously a busy time of year but once things calm down I would really recommend it! It’s great fellowship and hello, free clothes! We have been doing them every six months or so when the seasons change and it’s a great way to freshen your closet without spending anything. We’re actually doing one tomorrow!
Jenny, you are too funny- “hideous clearance” very true, very true. And yet, we always fall for it and hope for the best and take them into the dressing rooms…
Maybe try Stitchfix? It has helped me add a few stylish pieces that I never would have found on my own. I highly recommend it!
I have fallen in love with Clothes Mentor! Everything is second hand but they are pretty picky about what they buy and everything is pretty reasonable from my experience. Pretty much the only place I shop now!
I second Clothes Mentor!
Yes! Our Clothes Mentor has personal shopping which is awesome. I unloaded the children for a couple of hours and ended up with something like 3-4 pairs of pants, several tops, and 3 cardigans for $100.
Second or thirding the ThredUP recommendation! My closet was mostly target and old navy until I tried thred up. Basically target/ON prices on higher quality clothes. I always order at least $79 to get free shipping and then take my returns in store credit because I know I’ll be shopping again. I probably only keep 1/3 of what I order but still have found plenty of great things for good prices! I’m not too impressed with their kid clothes prices though. Probably because I don’t care much about quality there since my 3 year old is likely to stain or put holes in his clothes anyways!
I realllly want to watch The Crown but haven’t made time for it yet. But I’m still current on This is Us which I am enjoying. Heard so many good things about The Crown though!
I am done with Poldark too; I just can’t handle infidelity:)
You should try Boden.com. They are pricey, but so incredibly well-made, and if you hit the sales, they end up being worth it. I don’t do any special laundry procedures, just throw everything in together on warm, and if you hang your Boden to dry and then fluff, you are good to go! NB: Their pants run small, eek!
Ok, for clothes, this is sooo lame because I’m not even in my 30s!! yet but I always look at Lands End. Which is where my parents shopped when I was young and I am ashamed to admit it BUT after three kids, their jeans are awesome- they DO have fashionable cuts (slim or straight leg) and nice colored washes but they add in a NORMAL waist height (no butt crack showing!!), different leg lengths, stretch in the denim. Good quality and pricey– until you sign up for emails from them and get all their 40 or 50% off coupons.
Sometimes they have nice fashionable pieces of clothing too but you just have to have a good eye and wait for a discount.
I always shop off season in sales for my clothes online and store them for next season. I really like Boden which is timeless but it’s pricing makes it sale only stuff. I invest in cardigans or dress shirts from there and I only do cheapies for t shirts or tops.
Also, investing in really nice higher-end shoes lifts any outfit of cheaper clothes, makes you feel more put together and is wearable in pregnancy, nursing or not! Over the last year I’ve done that, throwing out all the old college cheap shoes I don’t even wear anymore, and now feel much better about my outfits. I just go neutral with my shoes so they can last for a long time. A good pair of jeans and great boots and you’ll feel better about whatever’s on top.
Good luck! I say Black Friday online will be your time!
These are shoe brands I like or are on my wish list- PONS, Minnetonka mocs, Born boots, Ugg boots (leather not the old huge style!), a good pair of retro sneakers: NB, Aasics, Nikes. A great pair of stylish comfort clogs- haven’t found those yet. Pricey but you will now wear them for years.
The clothes question- for me, clearance at Kohl’s and JCPenney works (granted you have to go through like a hundred bad clothes to find one good thing, but then it’s usually under $10.)
I always do well here, Jenny. They are always having great sales. http://www.nyandcompany.com/
I had the same problem about a year and a half ago with having NO decent clothes in my wardrobe (and it was so outdated that I didn’t even own a pair of skinny or straight leg jeans, or any boots) – yikes! Anyway, I made a list of the ‘essentials’ I had to buy, and then the ‘would be really good to haves’ and then the ‘would like to haves’ to prioritize and I started looking for the essentials first. I tried to buy good quality for the pieces I knew I’d wear a lot, not thrift or Old N or Target. Obviously, this week will have great sales, but after Christmas will have great sales too if you need to split up the cost.
I also found it helpful to follow a couple of fashion blogs for a while to even help CLUE me in to what was trendy. I like this one: http://mixmatchfashion.com/. Good luck!!!
I really love Gap’s clothes – they’re obviously pricier than Old Navy, but they have seriously good basics that are worth the investment. I can’t remember what their typical Black Friday deal is, but it should be *at least* 40% off everything, if not more. Their jeans stand up to multiple wears and washing like no other and they have tops/sweaters that last a really really long time. Most of their stuff is $60-70 regular price, but 40% off that makes it worth it. I also love ModCloth for unique tops and dresses, and they are sure to have something for Black Friday. Or Patagonia, if you’re in the market for a new winter coat…also pricy but such good quality.
Also, the Crown is fantastic. I want to read all the books about British royalty now. And maybe move to England.