Friday, June 28, 2013

Capsule Wardrobe (Summer 2013)

Hint for boys: This is probably a post you'll want to skip!

cornflower blue t-shirt:

My Mom and I were talking on the phone the other day as I was cleaning the closet and working on this plan, and she said, "I don't get how all the tops and all the bottoms in a capsule can go together."  
So I thought I would create this post to give a visual example.

I have gotten a lot of inspiration from these websites:
Note: Into Mind is super well-organized and more extensive, but fascinating!
I went through the process she writes about on one of my rest days and found it helpful.  She talks about creating a concept, building a color palette, and a bunch of other interesting things.  It may be your cup of tea to think about those things or it may not!

Here's one for women over 40 who like COLOR! 
(Too many minimal wardrobes are boring neutrals - not me!)

And you can browse Pinterest for more ideas, too.

I've been reading up on capsules of various kinds, and I am experimenting with a more minimal direction in a few areas.

I am figuring out the wardrobe part, and now I'm going to be working on figuring out a capsule of beauty products (I think I'm mostly there already - I don't branch out much in skin care, make-up, or hair care products), a capsule of cleaning supplies and products, and a capsule of pantry items.  I think I'm pretty much there on those two fronts, too, but I would like to narrow it down in writing.
I'm sure many of you are much smarter than I am and you've already figured this out, 
but it's not natural for me!

So I cleaned our closet earlier this week and brought out the items that lend themselves easily to being in a capsule.  I practiced training my mind by telling myself I was packing for my annual trip to Minnesota to visit our families. And I will use these items as my base items for that upcoming trip.

I have a casual feminine style.  I like color.  I like comfortable, stretchy clothes, partially because I don't like tight things on my stomach (ouch!) and partially because I move around a lot (cleaning, cooking, playing on the floor with kids, running errands) and don't like to be hampered by clothing.
I wear a skirt pretty much every day, but I like to wear them in a low-key way.
I live in a VERY casual state in a VERY hot climate 
(right now my outside thermometer says 111.2, but my phone says it's 115 in Chandler right now!)
To make sure I am not too sloppy, I ask myself, "Would I feel comfortable conducting a training or meeting with a new client in this outfit?"  

 In order to keep myself from appearing too formal, I ask myself, "Would I feel comfortable in this outfit at the beach?"  
(Usually with a quick switch to flip-flops, my outfit would be beach-ready . . . not that there's a beach anywhere nearby. . . ).

If I say yes to both questions, I know that I have a good outfit!

So here are the basics of what I will take with me on our trip this year:


pink t-shirt:
black & white daisy-print roll-sleeve top: Dalia's from Marshalls

cornflower blue t-shirt:

gray t-shirt:

logan green t-shirt:

red t-shirt:


In the summer, most of the bottoms I wear are skirts (cotton and often flowy).  They allow for air to circulate (!) and are feminine at the same time.

muddy green tiered skirt: thrifted

yellow & white polka-dot skirt: Eileen Fisher (I think), from Marshalls

black & white striped skirt:

turquoise denim skirt: Jones New York (I think), Marshalls

denim pencil skirt:

black denim skirt: Gloria Vanderbilt from T.J. Maxx

skinny jeans: don't know brand, from T.J. Maxx, I think . . . maybe Ross.
I think these jeans were $7 or something ridiculously low like that!

skinny stripe boyfriend jeans: DKNY, from Macy's
brand new this month and I LOVE THESE JEANS!


The "third piece" or "finishing piece" is usually something that's not necessary to the outfit, but that adds functionality (such as a sweater in a cool restaurant) or spices things up a bit (such as a patterned overshirt or sweater).  I don't get to wear them much at home in Arizona in the summer because it's just too hot for layers!

floral chambray shirt: Forever 21

camel v-neck cardigan:
Are you noticing a theme about where I buy a lot of basics?  :)

gray cable-knit sweater:

navy & white striped sweater:


As you can see from the above items, most of the patterns and interest in this capsule are in the finishing pieces.  I am not a big accessorizer; I wear the same small range of dainty jewelry almost every day.  
I like simple outfits (I don't typically like scarves, complicated jewelry, or belts), so that works for me.  
I prefer interest in my outfits to come in the form of bright cheerful colors rather than crazy patterns.

I am a big believer in YELLOW and METALLIC shoes and bags.  They look good with everything and add a little extra interest!

yellow ballet flats - DSW

pewter flats with flower - AK Anne Klein iFlex from DSW

striped straw hat: found at Kohl's for $2! 

multi-colored faceted stone necklace: Fossil, saw on my friend Jihae,
found on eBay

necklace by J. Crew:
It's 45" long and I will wear it hanging down straight or maybe tied in a loose knot.
It will make a simple outfit more interesting
Also there's no/minimal metal, so it won't make me get an itchy rash! 

I didn't take pictures of stuff like my swimming suit & cover-up, my flip-flops, my exercise clothes, and that sort of stuff, even though of course I will be taking those things along, too.

So now, the mixing!

I asked myself the question when considering an item:
Does this top/bottom go with almost every bottom/top in the capsule?

Let's use the red t-shirt as an example.
*Does the pink t-shirt work with the muddy green tiered skirt?  YES
*Does the pink t-shirt work with the yellow polka-dot skirt?  YES
(I know many of you would not wear these colors together, but I believe yellow goes great with everything!)
* Does the pink t-shirt work with the black & white striped skirt?  YES
. . . 
And at the end of the list, the only bottom that I wouldn't pair with the pink t-shirt is the turquoise skirt.
Any of the finishing pieces can be worn with ANY of the outfit options.
And any of the accessories except the hat (which has navy stripes, so I wouldn't pair them with an outfit that had black in it) can be worn with any of the outfit options.

So THAT is the idea behind a capsule wardrobe - almost everything works well with almost everything else!
Minimal fuss, minimal frustration trying to figure out a reasonably cute outfit whilst digging around in a messy suitcase.

Have any of you experimented with this sort of wardrobe planning?
What about beauty products or pantry items?

Those are next for me!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rice & Feta

Today my dinner was white rice with tons of lovely feta cheese melting into it
and applesauce with cinnamon.  

MMMMMMmmmmmm . . . very good.

I also found this jelly, that's made from blackberry JUICE rather than berry puree, which means it doesn't have the pulp, fiber, or seeds - yay!  Plus, it's tasty AND the jar is beautiful.  Wins all around!
I have been eating it on Schar white rice crackers.

Juvy came inside in the hottest hours of the afternoon today and slept on the back of the couch.
She got very comfy and started drooping off . . .

I had to kiss on her a bit because she looked so cuddly.

Two housekeeping items today:

1.  Make sure to keep your passwords for different accounts DIFFERENT.  For example, don't have the same password for multiple accounts.  I have been transitioning out of using the same, not-especially-strong password for a couple of different accounts, and late this afternoon I got an e-mail from Amazon, saying that my e-mail account information had been changed.  Eeek!  I didn't have the right password anymore, so I called and they asked all sorts of security questions and changed it and nothing had been purchased, but it put appropriate fear in my heart and I have spent a few hours going through the websites I visit regularly and changing passwords.  E-mail accounts, shopping, library, all of that.

Thankfully, Amazon was the only thing that was affected.  Yay!

If you don't already use something like, this, KeePass is a great (FREE!) program that stores all your passwords for you.  If you want, it will generate random passwords (they end up being strings of letters and numbers as long as you set them to be).  Then you can open that (just remembering ONE password instead of 1,000) and copy and paste your password for any particular site from there.  Greg showed me how to use it a few years ago and it's really great.

2.  I have changed the comments settings for this blog to "moderated".  This means that when you leave a comment, it will be e-mailed to me and I will need to SEE it and APPROVE it before it will be posted.
So please don't be surprised if you submit a comment and it says,
"Comment will be published after approval."

Hope your week goes GREAT!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bland But Surprisingly Filling

Because I would like to eat foods that are sort of healthy and tasty, as well as being low-residue, I have been struggling a bit.  I keep studying the lists I printed out to figure out ways to combine those foods that sound good, will look good, and are fairly good for me.

Lately has included a lot of things like these:

talapia (fish) with white rice and feta -
and in the upper left-hand corner, you can see Jell-O with some Cool Whip!

I really should have feta without the tomato and herb pieces in it (I am just using up this feta because it's too yummy to throw away and Greg won't eat it).
I found some healthier gel-like dessert (no actual gelatin, so I won't be eating dead horses) at Sprout's,
and I will be looking for a healthier version of whipped topping
or just making real whipped cream and not using much of it.

You won't see any vegetables on most of my plates because I am juicing the vegetables in order to get all the nutrients.  Most vegetables I am not supposed to eat at all, and I'm not supposed to eat any of them raw (at least for now).  Canned ones are probably the best bet because they are very soft.

Apparently cocoa power has tons of fiber, so I am eating white chocolate chips
as meal-ending snacks.  These are delightful!
Cocoa butter must not have much fiber, because these chips have
cocoa butter and 0% fiber.

I am also eating ground turkey burgers, ground chicken, and ground beef.  
The "ground" part seems to make meat sit better.

I also need to add that I find these foods very filling and soothing.  For the last few months especially, I have been feeling hungry most of the time.  Not growling stomach hungry, but just craving stuff and not really knowing what it was.  I track the calories of what I eat, so I wasn't eating more than I need, but I didn't really ever feel satisfied.  But when I have been eating a meal that is truly low-residue, I have been feeling satisfied, like I am getting what I need from the food.  That is exciting!

Based on additional thought, I have decided added two additional bullet points
 to my multi-point Crohn's strategy! 

7.  I will attempt to walk at least 30 minutes 3x per week 
(not necessarily outdoors power walking or anything).  

My goal is to be active somehow at least 30 minutes per DAY, and for that
 I will count running errands, doing laundry - anything that means I'm not sitting on my bum.

The 3x per week I would like to be outside and purposeful.

Sometimes when I am really tired, even walking seems like too much work, but it's the #1 recommended treatment for fatigue!  

I am going to make a bigger effort, especially when I AM tired, to treat walking like medicine.

8.  I will drink at least 1 fresh raw organic juice per day, consisting of mostly vegetables.

I don't think I need to explain this one!

As far as eating goes, I was brainstorming meals today for our annual trip to Minnesota, and it helped me feel more hopeful because there really are many options, but I didn't get very far because I fell asleep!

Very much like this fellow . . . 


And this beautiful girl . . . 

I have been saving up some extra-cute videos!

The kittens have been enjoying the shipping box that contained the juicer!

Fierce kitten!

Allistair needs to be CLOSE!

Stephen has found an innovative way to scratch on the scratching post!

Allistair doesn't really care where he sleeps when he has a fit of the sleepies . . . 

And he's a good, gentle brother most of the time.

Every so often (okay, every day!), the kittens do something unexpected!

Happy weekend!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Alpacas & Hummingbird

On my way to church this morning, I saw that the alpacas (baby llamas?  I can't tell the difference!) have been shaved for the summer!  THEY ARE AMAZINGLY CUTE!  I have always loved llamas (alpacas?) and I am happy to be able to watch these every week as I drive by.  Today I stopped to get some pictures and a little video for you!

Greg caught a picture and some video of one of the hummingbirds that nest in our backyard.
They like hanging out near the fountain and drink from it and bathe in it multiple times per day.

God did a great job with hummingbirds! 
And everything else!

It has been hottish (105-108) this week, but the cats have been happy.  
That is thanks to our new AIR CONDITIONER!!!
We got a 15 SEER Trane unit instead of our 17-year-old unit, and now there aren't hot spots throughout the house and I feel cool most of the time rather than feeling hot most of the time.  The a/c doesn't run continuously, either!  Hooray!

happy Baltazar

Cute little Bjarne

Juvy has been able to stay inside as long as she stays in one place and doesn't cause trouble.
That makes her happy.

Juvy again
Doesn't she look like a cuddly little bear with her cute pudgy tummy?

Allistair - silly kitten!

On the way to church I drive by lots of corn fields.
In Minnesota, they hope for corn that is "knee-high by the 4th of July".
Well . . . . lookee here!  

The corn here is as high as an elephant's eye, and soon it will be harvested and the fields will be planted for a second time (to be harvested in October, I think).  Crazy!  Corn is one of the "5 Cs" of Arizona.

As the weather heats up here and the foliage gets dry and brown, the dust starts kicking up.
The mountains get hazy and the quality of the light changes.  Everything seems a bit hazy and sleepy.
It's a cue to stay inside and take a nap rather than doing anything outdoorsy in the afternoons.

Hazy mountains to the south - the San Tan Mountains
(just over that mountain is San Tan Regional Mountain park)

Hazy mountains to the west
Past those mountains is California 

I have been feeding the birds often because the cats enjoy it!

The cats have also been enjoying (=destroying) the shipping box the juicer arrived in.
We have enjoyed the process because it's funny and because it occupies them so they aren't intent on destroying anything else!

 Enjoy the upcoming week!


All-righty, then . . . 

Only consuming liquids is much more difficult than I expected!

I did it for one and a half days (Friday and Saturday).  The whole time I felt headachy, hungry, grumpy, overly emotional, and angry.  That's one of the reasons I haven't posted in a while . . . I just was too growly and unreasonable.

I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself, I'm embarrassed to say.

I also felt confused and frustrated, because there isn't a lot of clear advice out there from people who have tried natural remedies for Crohn's Disease with success.
Many pieces of advice conflict.
I began to wonder if the annoyance was even worth the effort.

So last night I ate some toast with peanut butter and some barbeque potato chips.  And I didn't feel very well.  And today I am not feeling super, either.  I don't feel terrible, and I can function and everything, but I notice the symptoms that I notice when my digestive system is acting up.  I am starting to connect the dots about what "increased inflammation" is like for me personally (it differs for every person).
Don't worry; I won't go into details about that, but I am tracking them.

So I am devising a new, multi-point strategy!

 1.  I will drink 1-2 meals per day rather than eating solid food to allow my digestive system to rest.

2.  At least one of my meals each day will be a protein shake with added anti-inflammatory and gut-healing ingredients.
More details on this as I figure it out.

3.  The remainder of my meals will consist of low-residue, low-fiber foods.
Here and here are some good links describing this diet.
More details on this, too, as I figure it out.

4.  I will use supplements that have been shown in studies to be anti-inflammatory or helpful with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) or Crohn's Disease.

So far there are proven results for the following 
(though, of course, new studies often show conflicting results):

* Boswellia serrata extract h15 - an herb
From this study:
"CONCLUSIONS: The study confirms that therapy with H15 is not inferior to mesalazine. This can be interpreted as evidence for the efficacy of H15 according to the state of art in the treatment of active Crohn's disease with Boswellia serrata extract, since the efficacy of mesalazine for this indication has been approved by the health authorities. Considering both safety and efficacy of Boswellia serrata extract H15 it appears to be superior over mesalazine in terms of a benefit-risk-evaluation."

My translation: H15 is BETTER than the commonly-prescribed anti-inflammatory drug mesalazine because H15 works as least as well as the drug and has no side-effects."

* Cucurmin (found in turmeric!)
From this study:
"We conclude that curcumin, a naturally occurring food substance with no known human toxicity, holds promise as a novel therapy in IBD."

* Aloe Vera
From this study:
"CONCLUSION: Oral aloe vera taken for 4 weeks produced a clinical response more often than placebo; it also reduced the histological disease activity and appeared to be safe."

My translation: Aloe Vera helps improve symptoms and it is safe!

* Cannabis!
From this study:
"This is the first report of cannabis use in Crohn's disease in humans. The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery."


* Conjugated Linoleic Acid 
From this study:
"Researchers found that Crohn's patients who took supplementary CLA showed noticeable improvement. 'In our recent open label study of CLA as a supplement in study subjects with mild to moderate CD there was a marked improvement in disease activity and quality of life in 50% of the subjects. CLA was well tolerated by all of the study subjects.'"

This is an interesting site for scientific studies of natural treatments for all sorts of medical conditions.

5.  I will not push myself to do anything extreme.

Already, I have demonstrated to myself that the liquids-only thing will probably not be the best course of action for me personally, unless my condition gets a lot worse.

6.  I will not lose hope that I can make wise decisions with the help of God and my counselors (Greg, Dad, Mom, Cindy - thank you!)

My Wonderful Daddy

Let me tell you a little bit about my Dad, because he's the best one.

While I was growing up, he called me "Princess."
That, plus the way he continually takes care (physical and emotional) of my sweet Mom,
taught me that the right man would cherish me.

My wonderful husband does that very well.

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me the kind of man I wanted (even though I didn't know you were teaching that).

My Dad loves animals.
So do I - from birth, I think!
Especially cats!

My dad celebrates with me when I am happy.

My Dad is generous and he likes to give good gifts!  
He likes to make me (and other people) happy.

My Dad is not afraid to show affection.
He is masculine and strong, but not afraid to give his little girl Eskimo kisses.

My Dad always supports me during the important moments in my life.

My Dad always treats me as if I am smart and capable.
He (and my Mom) told me over and over that I could do ANYTHING I wanted.
But they want me to do what makes me happy.
Thank you, Dad, for helping cancel out FEAR and for making me more courageous. 

My Dad likes to spend time with me.
He likes me (and the rest of his family) so much that he takes us fun places.
Epcot in Florida

My Dad even liked spending time with me when I couldn't provide any scintillating conversation!
Thanks for teaching me that your LOVE for me doesn't depend on what I do or say. 

My Dad loves the water.

He taught me how to canoe (he MADE the amazing canoe in this picture!)
I love the silent, elegant canoe so much that I passed on the fun to Cindy. 

My Dad kept me safe.  
I grew up knowing I was protected by a hero.
And now my husband is the hero who protects me.

My Dad helps whenever he can!

My Dad appreciates the beautiful world God has made.
Even the desert, which at first seemed too brown and dusty to both of us.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching me that every environment has its own unique beauty.

My Dad likes to have fun! 

My Dad created the best environment for kids that I could imagine!

Swing sets, tree houses, sand box, orchard, tire swing, forest to run through (complete with secret hideaways!), cats (plus a rotating menagerie of other animals: ducks, chickens, pheasants, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, hermit crabs . . . ), go-cart, bicycles . . .
if I chose my own childhood, I don't think I would change anything.
I am the girl on the left (with the cat!)
My brother is the blondie next to me (upside-down)

My Dad likes to try new foods.
He also isn't afraid to get messy!

My Dad calls me, "Sunshine".
He is always happy to see me.

THANK YOU, Dad, for teaching me what a man should be.
You love God and you love your family.
I can't think of a better description of a meaningful life.

I love and respect you.

Also, happy FIRST FATHER'S DAY to my brother, Mark!

And for all you other Dads (and influential men), thank you for being THERE for your wives and your kids.
You make a HUGE difference.

Hopefully this video gives you a laugh!