Lovely Simply

Style and Lifestyle in New England

Tag: oversized sweater

Cropped Spirits

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I have been missing. Quiet on every front for a few weeks now. Maybe it’s been months. The days blend a little bit once we hit this point in the winter. I surrender my flag–always weary of the cold, but more so because of the never ending energy of a toddler, the weariness in my bones, my longing to let him (and myself) run ragged outside, barefoot and delighted. Those days will come. But by February I am always, always defeated by Winter. And March becomes the opposite of its name– not a brave, knee-up, piccolo playing, jaunty march to the finish, but a desperate crawl. Maybe an army craw to stay within the theme here, but a crawl nonetheless. I never beat winter. 5ea416b3-a511-4b8c-97ce-38abf0f54b5a-2

e96dbb20-b82d-4c61-a040-9d3b15695736-1In other news, and more important than the weather, I have been building a baby in my womb. He or she is still tiny right now. I am finishing the first trimester this week, but my body remembers vividly what to do, and my belly has expanded, pushing at the edges, regaining its old shape– the one that Redmond created. Which is why I wore these culotte jeans pretty much as soon as they arrived from NA-KD because….let’s be honest, they’re not fitting me anymore. I put them away after an afternoon outing with a promise to come back to them next year. In the spring. When I have two babies. What a wild thought. I have been eager to try the culotte denim trend and I liked it. I adore the idea of it for the warmer months with a loose Tshirt and flat sneakers. Maybe lace up sandals and a crop top. An iced coffee in hand, and a leisurely walk, pushing the stroller, through a little downtown somewhere. That sounds nice. I don’t ask for much. Sun on my shoulders would go a long way. 


I love this clothing brand–the things they carry are hip and on trend and not terribly expensive. And you can get 20% off with the code HANNAh2017 if you, like me, are in desperate need of a little pick me up. I don’t indulge in retail therapy with terrible frequency. But these days….I need a little.

Culotte jeans c/o Nakd

The Harder Days

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People talk a lot about how social media only presents one side of reality– the lovely side. I have written about that before, and about how I don’t really have a problem with it. Currently our world has some pretty devastatingly hideous aspects to it (and our country does too…) so we could all use a little bit of loveliness from time to time. That being said, as a mother, a woman, and just an all around human, I find growth not in perceived perfection but in joint struggle. If that makes sense. I’m Tired with a capital T lately. 023153b1-623d-4721-94b4-499b69d9d10f

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These photos were taken last weekend when I had a real outfit on (I do love this sweater with a passion) and had done my hair and was feeling pretty together. But in general, this week hasn’t been like that. I love being a mother. And I feel that I am pretty good at it…but sometimes I fail so spectacularly that it is almost comical. I think the biggest issue is that I am pretty tightly wound. Which is a little confusing because I consider myself a laid back person. I am not terribly particular. I don’t demand for things to be a certain way all the time. I am generally able to go with the flow. But at the same time I get really, really stressed really, really quickly. I admire women with multiple children that just sort of seem to let the crazy wash over them and smile or laugh our completely ignore it. I don’t know if that is an innate skill (in which case, I am lacking it) or something they have nurtured out of necessity (in which case, I have some serious nurturing to do) but I just don’t have it. Yet. ce0feec3-57c6-4bb9-94d7-18cbb4afcc0a

Part of my issue is that I have a fine tuned sense of guilt…which I am, of course, tempted to blame on MY mother who had her own fine tuned sense of guilt built through a tapestry of evangelical Christianity with just enough catholic sensibility to keep things interesting. But isn’t that always the go-to? To blame our mothers? And dear god, now I am a mother and I sure don’t want Redmond to start storing up his issues to blame on me in a few decades. No. Better to take the responsibility of it having been fashioned through life. My own life, through my own childhood and into this bizarre and terrifying world of adulthood. All of that to say, I expect myself to just succeed at an awful lot. At work, at marriage, at parenthood, at friendship. I expect to maintain a clean house. I expect myself to cook a really good, interesting, healthy meal every night. I expect myself to stay fit and never miss a workout. I expect myself to keep up this blog with some regularity. I expect myself to be dazzlingly successful at social media. I expect myself to be fully informed of everything going on in our country and world. The list just keeps going, and when one of the little spinning plates starts to wiggle, I am immediately convinced that ALL the plates are about to come crashing down and that it is my fault for being such a failure and such a big fat mess. I imagine this is familiar to most of us. I DON’T imagine that I am remotely unique in this. It’s basically what women put ourselves through and have put ourselves through for all of history. 25b996a1-6761-45df-abfa-ed489761ee16

c08e209c-820b-4074-ae00-ffce1d3a208d The problem, the real problem, with all of this is that when I am feeling those jabs of stress and failure (Which in the winter months is always a bit more present) my patience gets hit first. Suddenly the fact that my poor stuffy nosed toddler won’t eat his food like he usually does becomes an absolutely astronomical issue. It becomes the  new reality. It becomes, not just a temporary thing to sail through quietly and with a gentle understanding that Redmond doesn’t realize he should eat, that he only knows he doesn’t feel well and food isn’t good because he can’t taste anything with his stuffed nose. Instead, it is an affront to me. “What is wrong with you? You love cauliflower. Why don’t you eat anymore?” And as I’m saying it, I’m telling myself to be quiet. Leave him alone. But, of course I don’t listen to myself. Why would I?

When I am rushing to get out of the house in time, and Redmond won’t brush his teeth, I feel this frustration just welling up inside me. If the dog brushes against my legs depositing fur all over me, it is World War III. Because I can’t just let it slide. I can’t just give his teeth a quick brush and be done with it. It has to be thorough. I have to win. As if Redmond is busy keeping a score card like I apparently am with a check list reading”Redmond, 4. Mom, 6. I’m getting close.” I can’t just brush the dog fur off and keep going. I suddenly blame it on her like she PURPOSEFULLY SHED A LITTLE EXTRA just to spite me.

Some weeks, I feel like I am away from Redmond a lot. I am not a full time stay at home mom, and having grown up with one, I think I expect to be both. A working mother who is also somehow simultaneously a full time stay at home mom. Last night after Redmond went to bed, I was just hit heavily with all of my shortcomings, all of my failures (see that guilt there?) throughout the week. The moments where I had raised my voice. The times when I had felt that choking frustration rushing to my head. The times when I had scolded him for tiny things, for things that didn’t really matter. And for all the hours I had been away from him…leaving him (I imagined) only with the memories of my displeasure in him. “Does he know that I love him?” I asked my husband. A stupid question. Of course he knows that I love him. I tell him a thousand times a day. I tell him with words, with kisses, with smiles, with hugs, with my absolute infatuation of him, my precious little son. They call it “mom guilt” but I am more inclined to call it “woman guilt.” Something that has been groomed throughout the centuries and leaves us feeling like most of the world is resting on our shoulders. And you know what? Maybe it would be better if the world WERE resting on our shoulders. But, as it stands, it is not. As it stands, my son loves me. Even if I do lose my temper sometimes, even if I can be impatient, and testy, and short with him. I realized today while I walked with him on my back and our dog on her leash, that so often, HE is not the problem. And for that matter she (the dog) is not either. I am the problem. And not in a  I am a problem, I’m such a mess, blah blah self hatred kind of way. No, I am the problem in that all I need to do in most of these situations is breathe. Get outside. Realize it’s not that important. Its my outlook, in those moments, that is the issue. Easier said than done. Easy to write this while he sleeps, deeply, a really long nap for his second day in a row. Harder to implement later perhaps if he doesn’t eat his dinner, and I am hit with worry about his skinny little body and, good lord Redmond you are not built in a manner that allows you to go a week barely eating! Get it together! But. If I write it out, sometimes (often) it serves as a reminder. I always tell my little students that writing things down helps to cement the learning, and it does. For me at least, it does.

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sweater c/o Hope Ave Boutique// jeans c/o Wild Blue Denim//Reds Moccasins c/o Sweet n’ Swag

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/