Lovely Simply

Style and Lifestyle in New England

The Process of Pruning

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If you follow me on pinterest you will probably have noticed that I’ve been pinning oversized, cozy sweaters like a fiend. Part of my goal for embracing winter this year is to dress appropriately for it. I love wearing dresses, and I used to just keep wearing them straight through the coldest months with tights and then wonder why I was freezing. The reality is…for folks like myself who get cold when it dips below sixty, the deep chill of New England winters requires some classic New England dressing. L. l. Bean exists for a reason guys. We really DO need to layer a turtleneck or flannel underneath our sweaters. Heck, we may layer a turtleneck AND a flannel and then stuff our wool socked feet into Duck Boots before facing the elements. Anyway. All that being said, I have been hard at work stocking up a good collection of chunky sweaters.

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And believe me, the bare ankles displayed in the above photo only transpired because of the freakish bout of fifty degree days we had after a string of sub-zero temps. Because, climate change. Which always makes me itch with nerves when its unseasonably warm,  but then I also am reveling in it and feeling guilty for reveling and vowing to swear off plastic. Its a lot of emotions all at once, folks. Back to sweaters.

I stocked up on five new ones that I am crazy about– the kind of sweaters that go with everything ( like this one)– and subsequently went through my drawers to get rid of as many old ones as I could. Because I had sweaters. They just weren’t wisely bought ones, for the most part. I used to shop a lot more, before Redmond, back when I worked six days a week and it was my way of having “me” time…Which, upon retrospect, was not the best way to “indulge” myself because it led to piles of clothing that I’d wear once or twice and then either give away or just forget about. Since Red’s arrival, its not that I don’t like style….I do like it. Very much. But it DOES have to serve a more practical purpose for me. bb77e4ac-f3c9-4d32-9c0c-93d2e47a0065

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I went through my wardrobe when we moved in October and donated/gave away bags of things that I didn’t need. A reminder that those impulse purchases of pre-baby life were not necessary. And this past weekend I pruned a bit deeper and a bit further. So, here are my new rules for my closet.

  1. Did I wear it last season? (in this case– last winter)
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Does it go with several different outfits? (I have been guilty of buying a skirt that goes great with that ONE top….and nothing else.)
  4. Is it comfortable and easy to wear? (obviously I have some non practical pieces for special occasions but I don’t need a full wardrobe of that stuff)
  5. Is it something that fits my style? (we all have those items that USED to be “so us” but sort of aren’t anymore….)
  6. How many times will I wear it in a season? (if its less than three times, it really isn’t worth keeping.)769163c6-fe3f-4c49-ac18-8563141fcdcf15749d1e-29dd-4a97-89d2-1f47f7154f93

If an item doesn’t meet that criteria, than its out. That being said, I have a pretty big collection of vintage clothing that I don’t plan on getting rid of because I want to be able to give them to my daughter if I ever have one. But otherwise, I’m working hard to maintain these rules for 2017.

As far as what I do with it all, I sometimes sell it at Buffalo Exchange or Consign Trilogy, but typically I either give it away or donate it. I love handing stuff down to my sister and friends because then I get to see my clothing being worn and loved by someone else. 078376e5-42e3-489c-88d9-6ceb639ff8d6-1

The sweaters that I’m wearing in this series of photos have been on repeat since I got them. With leggings, skirts, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, over dresses– the whole gambit. And the black bucket bag pictured is another new regular accessory. Its that perfect size where I can just reach my hand into it and fish around to quickly find whatever I need. Have I mentioned that I’m not very organized? Cause I’m not very organized. This style sells out pretty quick (its from Ms. Littles Bag) so jump on it if you love it.

I would love to hear your methods of keeping your closet pruned!

outfit 1 details: frayed jeans c/o  (on sale! and order a size up– the run small)/ long grey sweater– sold out but similar herebucket bag c/o/ adidas/ beanie, old similar here

outfit 2 details: camel coat c/o/ similar sweater/

 

 

The Matter of Weaning

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This is a bit late in coming. Redmond is almost a year and a half old, and he weaned about three months ago. But part of my goal for this year is to get back into more “lifestyle” type posts, and to be honest, although I love style and try to at least put myself together every day, the thing that really occupies most of my time is mothering. I have worked with children since I was thirteen years old. I have a lot of “theories” about raising them…but until you have your own, all of that is just ideas and words. The past few months have been so exciting for me because I can finally put into real practice some of my ideas.

But when it came to breastfeeding, I knew basically nothing. I wrote about my journey a bit last year, but I just remember so vividly spending hours on the internet trying to find something that would encourage me while I was crying over the fact that I was using a nipple shield and that it hurt and that Redmond took an age to finish nursing when he was little.

So first off. We used the nipple shield until we weaned. I had PLENTY of milk (it took me two months to stop producing) and Red got all that he needed. So. If you can’t get your baby off the nipple shield or just don’t want to undergo the trauma of screaming baby while you attempt to shove your boob into babies mouth without the shield, just stop worrying about it. I spent so much time being afraid that people would judge me or think that I “wasn’t doing it right” because of the shield but…you know what? Who cares.

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Anyways. On to the actual topic of this post. I was terrified to wean. I was scared it would turn my happy baby into a terror. I had visions of Redmond pulling at my clothes, trying to wrench my boobs out, and me feeling like a milk machine but also like a mean mama. I wanted to wean when he was ready…but I also wanted to wean when I was ready. I had planned on going longer with Red, but I started wanting to begin trying for another baby and my body wasn’t able to nurse and return to a normal cycle. This is different for everyone…but even when we were only nursing for five minutes a day, I wasn’t getting a period and I figured the only way to get back to normal would be weaning. In November, we had a wedding to go to, and I wanted Redmond to be able  to go to sleep without nursing first so he wouldn’t give his grandparents a hard time while they babysat. I was really dragging my heels, but one night I just didn’t nurse him. He had eaten a big dinner, we had read some books, he snuggled my shoulder, I gave him his sippy cup of water, and laid him down. And he didn’t cry. He just went to sleep. And slept his usual twelve hours. And just like that, we were done. He never asked for it again. He never even hinted that he was interested. Now, maybe Redmond just didn’t care about nursing. Or maybe his intense love for solid food just swayed him away. But since he started on solids at around six months, I nudged Redmond towards being a pretty scheduled eater. We always nursed in the same spot (on the daybed in his room) and nowhere else. Because of that, when we were out and about or in any other room ofthe house he never tried to nurse. And for me, that was important. I loved breastfeeding, but I also liked maintaining my independence. I dropped his nursing sessions slowly– for a long time we were doing three a day– once when he woke up,  before his nap, and  before bed. I gently weaned him off of those first two over a matter of months and stuck with the final nurse until he was almost fifteen months old. And that was that. I didn’t replace the nurses with bottles– he never took them well — I just gave him little snacks or meals. img_3345

I really worried that when we were done nursing, I would desperately miss that snuggle time with Red. But now he actually cuddles me…he loves sitting on my lap for stories. He loves lying in bed with me. Before I lay him down for bed at night, I whisper a prayer into his ear while I hold him, and he nuzzles his head into my neck and it is such a sweet closeness that somehow means more to me…because he is cuddling me for me. Which feels so special. I still miss the essence of breastfeeding– knowing that I am building and nourishing a child–but it makes me look forward to a second infant that much more. And that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say I think. I would LOVE to answer any questions if you’re a new mom just starting out nursing. It was a hard journey for me but so deeply worth it. And I’d love to hear about your journeys as well! And I’m going to stop saying journey. Ok. Happy almost weekend!

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Reds blanket: c/o Audreys Bear

Maine Style

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In typical New England style, we went straight from warm to cold in the matter of HOURS. I tell you. Hours. The day we took these photos, we were in Freeport, Maine, and it was so warm and sunny that I felt actually overheated in this fantastically nubby sweater from  Metisu. And then, by evening, I was bundled and shivering in a heavy coat. And that, my friends, is what we call Weather Whiplash. I mean…it is mildly appropriate for the Christmas spirit that we are all embracing now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (though I’m still noshing on pie). But can I just say….bundling up an almost 1.5 year old in ALL THE LAYERS so that we can get ourselves outside on days that it is NOT raining isn’t what I’d call a grand old time. When a brand makes boots that don’t make toddlers fall over and gloves that they can’t feel, let me know because I will be ALL UP IN THAT. Until then I will just record my voice saying “leave your hat on. Don’t take your mittens off. You need to wear pants. Keep your shoes on. Leave your hat alone. STOP CHEWING YOUR MITTENS OFF. You MUST wear pants. Go get your shoe. STOP TAKING YOUR SOCKS OFF THERE IS FROST ON THE GROUND.” I will play it on repeat every time we step foot into the great outdoors to save myself some effort.

While Redmond is exploring nudist colonies within driving distance that he can join, I am layering up within an inch of my life. Because, baby it’s COLD outside, and just going to get colder. I lose ALL interest in style as soon as the temperatures start plummeting because fleece leggings, fuzzy socks, no make up, and a giant sweater are literally the only thing I have time and energy for. It’s actually a problem, and if I am honest, I am a complete sham of a “style and lifestyle blogger” because my style and lifestyle is typically a level of shambles that my mother would be horrified by. I am usually washing dishes. I am always in leggings. There is always a mist of dog fur around me. Sort of like having my own wind machine but, you know, its dog fur. Floating. Attaching itself to me. Never budging.

 What I’m saying is, a week ago I got dressed. And I have been making a concerted effort to only fill my closet with sweaters because its the ONLY thing I wear. I actually looked at a long sleeved shirt the other day and laughed because who wears just a long sleeved shirt? My skin is as thin as a paper dolls and my blood is like a lizards. All the heat given to me for the past two winters from either pregnancy or breastfeeding (I swear breastfeeding made me SO warm) is gone, gone, gone. ARE YOU EXCITED BY THIS CONVERSATION? I know. I’m done talking about the weather and its subsequent effect on me.

Anyway. The sweater I’m wearing here is very cute, very warm, and I’ve worn in thrice this week. The jeans are cooler than I am, and god knows I need some edge from time to time. Also, the burgundy lip that I’m wearing here is my winter favorite for those rare, unicorn days where I put on makeup. I’ll obviously link everything below. And now I’m going to do everyone a favor and wrap this post up. We’ve all had enough of me I think. Happy Sunday. Bye.

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SweaterJeans c/o Metisu (order a size up for the jeans)

Clutch and lip color (I’m wearing the b. Memorable shade) c/o Lilah beauty
Bracelet And Watch c/o The Peach Box

Oh Hey There

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The nice thing about having a blog that only a handful of people read is that I can take off for a month or so and no one really notices. I like that freedom. It has truly been A MONTH of incredible changes and challenges. We bought our first home. We moved into that first home. Redmond is a competent walker, runner, and climber. Soccer season ended. And all of the sudden, the holidays are upon us. That in itself is completely crazy to me, but I am giddy with excitement. Our new home has a charming, cozy, old fashioned feel to it and I am so excited to get the Christmas tree, and hang the garland, and put a wreath on our front door. Gifts will be modest this year (we did, after all, gift ourselves with a house) and I hope to fill our time with more experiences than possessions. It is a mind set that I am seeking to change for myself– I have always loved wrapping gifts, and having a pile of things under the tree for everyone to open. img_0214

But in reality, what I remember after the fact isn’t what I got or what I gave to someone else– its the hikes through snowy woods, the gatherings with friends, the feast that I make on Christmas night, the traditional eggnog sticky buns that we eat before we open gifts– those are the things that matter. The memories that are made.img_0209

For the past few holiday seasons, I’ve been longing for a tulle skirt like this. Its surprisingly versatile– I plan to pair it with a green plaid shirt and pearls, a white turtleneck and flats, the list goes on. It is such a party within itself, it doesn’t need all that much more to make a statement. And I have always wanted to be a ballerina. This skirt from C’est Ca New York has the level of fluff that my heart desires– no extra petticoat needed. Because, yes, in case you were wondering, I own three petticoats. img_0208

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We took these photos a few weeks ago before the frenzy of moving began. Now, the leaves are all off of the trees, and the weather has turned chilly. It feels appropriate for November, and I am happy to be cozy inside and bake muffins and cook stews. For now. I have a goal to enjoy this winter season. We have SO MUCH winter here in New Hampshire (and Maine. Because we live in New Hampshire now, but I still go running in Maine. Its confusing. Border living. Its like the wild west out here. I’m joking. Its NOTHING like the wild west.) and I am tired of just surviving through months of every year. I want to embrace all of it. So. I am going to come up with a list of things I plan to enjoy this year. I’ll check back in with it later. In the meantime, buy this one skirt for the holidays and wear it to every single party in a different way. And let me know how you style it!img_0210

tulle skirt c/o

long sleeve bodysuit, old, similar here

 

LBD of The Day

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The Little Black Dress is nothing new. Obviously. But this one is new to me, and I don’t have a single thing like it in my closet. I did have a moment when I opened the package where I was like…can I pull this off? Is it too cool for me? Because, I’m closing in on thirty and I worry that my “cool” is fading. If I ever had any “cool” in the first place. This dress is seriously cool. Like– it girl cool. And I am not an it girl, but I still freaking love it, and I have these fantasies of wearing it as the weather gets colder with tights and ankle boots to a fabulous sort of happy hour type place in Portsmouth or Kennebunkport. In my fantasy, Redmond is not necessarily throwing crayons across the table or pointing eagerly at my cocktail requesting a sip with his sweet, persistent “prease? prease? prease? prease?” I am, to be quite honest, sort of fiending for some grown up time. In November, a group of my dearest girl pals are coming to visit for a long weekend and I am so excited it feels like I could burst. You know what else this dress would be perfect for? Karaoke. Cause that is definitely happening when the four of us ladies are all reunited.

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Today, it is warm and humid. Redmond is still sleeping at 9:00. My nose is stuffed, and my eyes are tired, and I am thinking for the hundredth time that I want a vacation….somewhere quiet with my little family to just walk in the woods, drink hot cider, sleep into the late morning– you know. Nothing fancy. Just a recharge. Wouldn’t that be nice? But I am trying (trying, trying) to actively seize and enjoy every day in Redmond’s little life, because he is not so little anymore. And life is terribly short. And I am so very fortunate to have the life that I have. To remember this when I am tired, and feel that deep sense of being overwhelmed, makes all the difference.

 

dress c/o Dezzaladidas

That Seventies Thing

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As a teenager, I liked anything that was retro. I went through a long fifties stage, and I dabbled in a seventies phase as well– with bell bottoms, fringe, head scarves– you know, everything that keeps coming back into style. I guess they just really got it right back then, because I feel as if a little seventies flavor is always in style. This denim jumpsuit from Dezzal is basically a dream come true for me. Big huge bell bottom flares? Check. Lace up detail? Check. So freaking comfortable it feels like pajamas (apparently a must for me…)? Check. I wore it with a belt and clogs for a little added fanciness, but I am going to wear it today with lace up flats and unbelted to keep it a touch more casual. I also tried it on over a long sleeved turtleneck, and yeah, that’s going to be happening once the days are chillier.  img_9281

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img_9273These days, Redmond is walking all around. He gains more confidence every day, and I am at once achingly proud of him and terribly lonely for the little baby he once was. He is already moving into toddlerdom, and I feel like I’m not ready. I haven’t built up enough patience for the tantrums that are sure to mount. I haven’t gotten used to having a baby– I still feel excited and astounded sometimes when I remember I have this little human that was made inside of my body and he’s ours now. That novelty hasn’t worn off yet, and here he is climbing (and falling down) stairs, and going down the slide, and using words to communicate. And holding my hand and walking beside me. img_9271

 

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I don’t have the plethora of words that I usually have tonight. I just stuffed some broccoli, pasta, sausage, and tomato sauce into my face. It’s 9:00. I got home with Redmond a little late, and of course the dog had puked all over the floor. Which is what she does when she is annoyed . Toting Redmond, I cleaned up the vomit, let the dog out, fed her and the cat, nursed Redmond, and then finally got some food into my own belly. Better late than never. Nick is a coach and he has lots of evening games this time of the year. We miss him, but I am proud of how hard he works and how good he is at what he does. And I am proud of myself for managing…even though I only have one child (and a very large dog) to take care of– I still revel in the feeling of capability when the house is quiet, and the baby is sleeping, and things are sort of clean (because, lets be honest, them dishes ain’t getting washed tonight.) and I am rambling now. Far off the topic of a soft as butter jumpsuit and a pair of seventies style clogs. I’m going to turn it on in folks. img_9275

denim jumpsuit c/o Dezzal

clogs c/o Shop Amara (on sale for 25$!!)

Redmonds jumpsuit (on sale)

Redmonds shoes (on sale)

 

Jump. Jump. Jump.

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Oh, hey September! Look at you just creeping yourself on in. I feel two ways about the beginnings of this new month…On the one hand, I’m thrilled because it means we get to start our budget over and can do fun things again like meals out, and dessert nights, ect. But on the other hand, I’m sad because it means winter is closer, school is starting, and Redmond is a month older (stop growing already kid!). They keep saying its going to be a warm few months though (because, you know, climate change and we are all going to explode into a fiery mess and OH MY GOSH I AM NERVOUS BUT ALSO HAPPY BECAUSE ITS WARM BUT ALSO NERVOUS) so I think it’s all right. Plus, I had a hot almond milk hazelnut latte (please, extra hot, and in a mug, and extra foam, and blah blah blah…I’m kidding, I’m not that girl.) this morning on a wonderful date with Erica of Honey Bee boutique and I didn’t hate holding that nice steamy mug in my hands. And Redmond didn’t hate eating his entire croissant plus half of his little friends blueberry scone plus a granola bar plus grapes…Um. Anyway.

Deep purples remind me of Fall. But a one shoulder cut keeps summer going. A leopard print scarf sort of hints at cooler temperatures. But lace up sandals are all “let’s go to the farmers market and pick up some fresh tomatoes.” So what I’m saying is…this outfit from Back East Boutique is a glorious balance. img_8969 img_8976img_8977

I feel like I’ll be wearing a lot of jumpsuits over the next few months. There is something a little cooler about them than a regular bottom and top combo and they are just as easy as throwing on a dress. But, you know, edgier. And I’ve been feeling edgy. I’m creeping ever closer to my thirtieth birthday and it’s now or never. Well, I guess I could bust out the “Edge” at sixty too but I’d rather do it now.

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jumpsuit c/o (can be worn as one shoulder or off the shoulder)

sandals

bracelet c/o

 

Falling into Pink

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I have a lot of mixed feelings about Autumn. On the one hand, I love the return of hot beverages. I love being able to bake again without heating up the house. I love running in the morning with a slight chill in the air. But I am always, always, bothered by a bite of nostalgia. By a sense of sadness and longing that I can never fill. I think I actually figured out where these feelings come from– but that is all for another post. A slightly heavier post. And that post is not for today. Today, it is very hot. And it doesn’t at all feel like school is about to start.

Last Saturday, my sister and I (and Redmond) met for lunch and coffee. She was toddler free for the day, and although we had to wrangle Redmond away from devouring the entirety of that almond croissant up there, we had a generally grown up date. We strolled around her little town and ended the afternoon with mojitos for us and chocolate milk for Red at an outdoor restaurant. I wore this pink pleated dress which is currently on super sale for TEN DOLLARS. You guys….worth it. The quality is great, and its the perfect breezy, easy dress to say goodbye to summer in. img_8732

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The next week or so will be full of transitions. Back to school, back to work, new schedules– the whole nine yards so to speak. I am always anxious about change, but I am also ready for it in a lot of ways. There is a comfort in the rhythm that develops in these first few months. Once the initial craziness subsides. And god knows I like a schedule. I just always fear the change before it happens. There are exciting things on our horizon. And part of me is ready to embrace it with a whole heart, and part of me is wanting to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich.

You know what makes life better? Caramel lattes. And almond croissants. Pink pleated dresses. And time with my sister.

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dress c/o

hat, sold out

shoes, old

watch, c/o