My curated closet

I feel like I probably spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my closet (or maybe not haha what's considered normal here?) but that could be in part because my bed is flush facing my closet and the doors are wonky which keeps them swinging open constantly (old house problems) so basically anytime I'm laying in bed I'm staring into my closet! I'm definitely an "out of sight out of mind" kind of person so maybe that isn't so bad after all. To quote style icon Sarah Jessica Parker "I like my money right where I can see it...hanging in my closet " ;) Not like I paid big bucks on my wardrobe being the thrifty gal that I am, but the time spent and sheer luck scoring so many great pieces over time is priceless! A great perk to being able to stare into my closet while laying in bed is the ability to pick out some outfits in my head (if I can't sleep!) and then trying it out the next day if I'm forgoing my usual jeans, tee, and hat routine ;) I've been swapping out my seasonal pieces on a quarterly basis for about a year and a half now and I've been really enjoying the results! Not only does it make my wardrobe less packed and easier to navigate but I can get excited about items all over again! And if I didn't really miss something while it was stored away? Put it in a bag to sell, gift or donate. Instead of brushing past my winter coats all summer long with slight annoyance they are a welcomed treasure once the seasons change. (And I need all the reasons to get excited about the cold that I can get!!) Living in an area with more distinguished seasons has changed me for the better I feel. I'm continually learning to "embrace the season I'm in" which obviously has a spiritual application as well. When it comes to that mindset with clothes I've been trying to embrace seasonal pieces more readily. Wearing my fun shorts and favorite sandals in the summertime instead of reaching for the favorite jeans and sneaks because it's only this warm once a year! But and there's a big butt here, (whoops I meant but) ONLY if I love it! Forcing myself to wear something because it was 1) expensive 2) is on trend 3) is a beautiful piece but not me is no longer as tempting to me. There just aren't enough days in the year to wear something so-so when I could be wearing one of my favorites! I'm learning how to choose quality over quantity and it feels so good. It's like my friend's Grandma used to say "Life is too short for squishy tomatoes" you catch my drift? 

The Curated Closet author Anuschka Rees explains "the sunk cost fallacy" as the personal guilt trip we've all put ourselves through after buying something expensive and wearing it out of a self imposed obligation. "It was expensive so I better keep it/wear it" Or even if you found a killer piece at a great deal, if its not "You" don't keep wearing it! (I've fallen prey to this many times but what can I say I'm admittedly a bit of a brand snob) 

Reading a book like The Curated Closet is such an excellent resource if you need help figuring out and fine tuning how you actually want to dress to get out of the rut of constantly buying random pieces or multiples of the same item without any idea how it will work with the rest of your clothes. And if you feel like your taste isn't lining up with your budget read my Ode to Thrifting post ( for some further inspiration, I promise dressing well doesn't have to be expensive! Personally reading this book helped me to realize that I can probably lay off buying any more T-shirts, jeans, or chambray button ups for a little while (I mean unless they are amazing!) and instead focus on buying other pieces to fill in the gaps for my wardrobe. With any kind of shopping its highly productive to have a list! Taking stock of what I own and what I would like to be wearing for the remainder of this season has me keeping my eyes peeled for more high waisted skirts and quality leggings to wear with some of my favorite tops. Over this spring and summer I gradually managed to get rid of almost all of my skirts because I wasn't liking the way they were fitting post baby, so that's given me ample opportunity to keep an eye out in my thrifting excursions for skirts that I really DO care for. One activity that AR recommended that I didn't actually complete was going on sort of a window shopping date for research. Trying on a variety of styles and brands to figure out what you feel actually looks best on YOU. (Its a great idea to bring a bestie and camera to document your experience for later reflection) I thought that was a great idea and I might still give it a shot, especially for items I might end up searching for online via PoshMark or ThredUp but the thought of trying on a bunch of beautiful clothes only to go home and think about them sounds a little like torture personally haha. 

Reading this handbook I was able to decipher what exactly I want my style to be in this season, fine tuning the "story" I want my clothes to tell. My friend Kiersten asked me recently "if you could completely reconfigure your wardrobe what would you buy?" (We were window shopping at Anthropologie) Without skipping a beat I started describing statement pieces that I would love to wear with classic basics. Which caused me to realize, why not? I can always switch things up! Especially with how often I like to go thrifting, goodness. This book is so helpful in creating and narrowing down your "style file" that is your list of colors, silhouettes, outfit combinations that really help you feel like your best self. I can't recommend this book enough so if you are feeling a bit stuck when it comes to your personal style or shopping lately do yourself a favor and give it a read! 

Lastly in case you missed my Instagram post here are some brief thoughts on how I reorganized my ever so simple little closet.

I feel like this project falls into the category of tasks you spend more time thinking about doing than actually doing. As far as "transformations" go this was fairly simple (and only cost me about $10 and maybe 2 hours of work? Haha) After categorizing and colorizing my closet I bought three packs of matching hangers and made a "mood board" via Costco photo online with some inspiring images I saved from Pinterest  (I'm almost positive that is a copyright infringement but I figured it would be ok as long as I don't start printing the posters out for distribution, right? 😅) We had some cool old wooden crates that were left behind in the garage when we bought our house so I cleaned those up to house shoes and bottoms! It's satisfying to have a workable system in place that is fairly easy on the eyes as well. I know it won't remain immaculate but at least I've got a framework to maintain instead of the haphazard mess my closets have always been, so hooray for that!

I hope you've enjoyed this post! What might you like to read about next?

Cheers and happy styling! ❤️

e.l.f beauty review

Hello dears! So I first went down the e.l.f rabbit hole a few weeks ago when I decided to look for a new gold eyeshadow. I've been using a light champange color by Maybelline for about a year and I was wanting something still slightly neutral looking but bold enough to make my eyes pop a bit ;) I checked out e.l.f's website (btw e.l.f stands for eyes lips face) because going out for errands is a bit of a to-do these days and I know they've got some of the cheapest prices around! I signed up as a customer on their site (it's free, they just need your email) and I got a code for free shipping on my first order! (Instead of the standard $25 minimum purchase) I picked out $10 worth of product (because I'm trying to stick to a budget, ha) and I was fairly pleased with what I received! In the past I've used e.l.f on a couple occasions for example picking up a pair of false eyelashes at Target for a special event and even finding a couple items of theirs at the Dollar Tree that surprised me with their quality! (A fun hot pink blush and some grapefruit lip balm with a red tint that rocks!) I also like their merchandising, it doesn't feel chinsy to me for being such inexpensive makeup! 

Around Mother's Day I decided to place a $25 order (to get the free shipping) and to also get the free Rose Gold bundle (for spending the $25) which included one of my new favorite products, a highlighter! This is something I've never tried before and I am now a fan! So within these two orders I basically just replaced my whole makeup bag for $35 which is pretty awesome for this bargain loving gal. In the past I have typically preferred more natural products, mostly because my hubby worked at Whole Foods and I got a discount there! I used Mineral Fusion for several years and I do still enjoy their line as well but during this season of being on one income it's a lot more practical for me to find cheaper products that I still love, that way I have more disposable income to spend at the thrift store hahaha. (Seriously though) And seeing as how I don't wear a full face everyday I don't feel quite as concerned about the chemicals, at least for the time being ;) but I digress,

Here's what I picked up in my recent orders! 

^ Rose Gold Bundle + Peach Squad shadow

My favorite product from this entire haul was the highlighter that was in my Rose Gold gift set, here is an example that I found on Pinterest of how to use highlighter but I usually just stick to putting it on my cheeks.

Some additional thoughts on a few of the products listed above---

I am surprised by how much I like their foundation! I was kind of nervous to try it because I've got fairly acne prone skin and this ended up having some fragrance in it which made me even more nervous but so far I haven't had any problems and I like the color and coverage! I might try the acne fighting foundation next to see how it compares.

This particular concealer isn't doing much for me, wouldn't recommend. I might try a different blend to see if I like the color, consistency and coverage better. 

I've never used primer before so I bought some out of curiosity. It's so light and soft going on so I like the way it feels but I don't really see much a difference when using it in combination with my foundation. I don't really use a daily moisturizer (I know I should, wrinkles ugh) so at least this is giving my skin some extra hydration I guess!

I am not super savvy when it comes to doing my brows but I like the clear brow mascara to shape them just a little bit. 

The brush I bought is super soft and doesn't lose bristles easily like I've experienced with other cheaper brushes. I use it for dusting on a little of the finishing powder and blush.

The liquid molten eyeshadow that was also in the Rose Gold bundle is my new go-to for a quick bit of glam when it comes to neutral makeup (which is most days!) I like the consistency and how it goes on. 

The finishing powder works alright for setting my makeup but I think I'll try their high definition powder next to see how I like that! 

I like the mascara but it does come off easily on my brown bone while its still drying. I think I'll try a different formula of theirs to see if I like another one even more!

Here are three looks that I created with my new products: 

1.) Everyday natural

A little bit of foundation, blush, lipgloss and mascara go a long way. I'll swipe on a bit of each at the start of a typical day so I don't end up looking particularly haggard later on ;) I want my skin to breathe too so I'll either apply my foundation really light or even better just dot a little concealer under my eyes instead and call it good! Here I also added a little brown eyeliner but most days I just go without it to save time! Also if you are wondering what those bulky straps are about I've got Timmy in the baby carrier, haha. 

2.) Playful Weekend look

Not that colorful eye makeup has to be reserved for the weekend but if I'm going to put the extra effort and pizzaz into my makeup its probably because I'm heading out to do something fun! I used the gold eyeshadow from the Peach Squad duo palette, the midnight blue liquid eyeliner pen (careful when opening this one it gets on your hand easily!) and then some of the highlighter on my cheeks. I also tried this lipgloss in neutral (also from the Rose Gold bundle) and liked it. I usually pick color for lips or eyes, rarely both together. (Just personal preference) 

3.) Classic vibe

If I want to feel a little bit fancy or put together a colorful lip does the trick! Like I mentioned I usually pick color for lips or eyes so for this look I used the tan eyeshadow from the Tea for Two eyeshadow palette and then the matte lip pen in Hot Commodity which goes on really smoothly, I like it! I skipped eyeliner because I didn't want to look too overdone but a nice winged liner would be fun for this look as well.

In conclusion ;) Will I become an e.l.f user for life? I don't know, probably not but I am really enjoying their products for the time being! If I could go buck wild with my makeup budget I would probably buy all Benefit products, I love their line too!

Also I like following e.l.f on Instagram for some glam beauty inspo since I usually stick to the same old routine most days! They are constantly having sales and promotions which is a great reason to follow them on social media too. @thebeyoutybureau is another account that I recommend following since I am not an actual beauty blogger and this gal knows her craft! (Plus she is adorable) If you don't do Insta her blog site is: 

Have you used e.l.f before, if so what did you think? 

What are your favorite/must have beauty budget buys? 

Cheers and happy styling!

Birth Story and Postpartum Style

I wanted to wait to write my birth story until I was nearing the end of the initial 6 week postpartum period to share a little bit about that side of my experience as well. Timothy’s birth and first couple weeks of life were so full of peace and grace, my heart is flooded with gratitude as I reflect on this time! Now several weeks in, reality has set in a bit and things have gotten tougher, not unmanageable but I’m still daily adjusting to meeting the needs of two kids while trying to have more relaxed expectations on myself. ;) I am not a super tidy person by nature (my modus operandi is somewhat haphazard) but over the last few years I've grown a lot in that area, in this season though I'm trying to relax my newfound appreciation for an organized space, time with these sweet little gems is so much more valuable than stressing over trying to maintain a spotless house or an ambitious to do list.

So anyways first a little bit about Timothy's birth! 

I was becoming anxious the week before he was born (he was six days past his due date) as Keenan’s paternity leave was dwindling. His time off began on Timothy's due date, as Coralee was only three days past her due date we thought that meant baby would arrive “on time” or even early, whoops! However those six days prior to his arrival were filled with priceless quality family time and plenty of labor inducing techniques like walking, spicy food, you get the picture ;)

^40.5 weeks pregnant hoping dearly this was my last "maternity" picture, it was!

I had a checkup the day before little man arrived and I asked the midwife to check my cervix to see if I was dilated at all (I was in desperate need of some hope!) Effaced to a 2 I thought that was better than nothing and she casually offered to do a “membrane sweep” “Sure!” I replied willing to try just about anything to get things going (I was about two days away from making myself a Castor oil cocktail, I am thankful I didn’t have to go that route!) Almost immediately after the sweep I began having contractions that became increasingly regular and more intense (unlike the random Braxton Hicks I was experiencing all week) The sweep (which I half laughed through because of how awkward and uncomfortable it was) occurred around 3:30pm, by about 10pm I was pretty sure this was finally the real deal so I called the midwife to give her a heads up. Labor slowly progressed through the night, I downloaded a contraction counting app to time how close together they were and watched the contractions steadily become closer and closer, trying to rest as much as I could in between! There was some back labor (ouch!) And around 2am I thought to myself, ok this is why some mamas get the epidural, duh! But because I had chosen to give birth at home that was not an option and onward my labor went! Keenan was a great support during this time which was basically me alternating between standing holding onto his shoulders or crouching in the fetal position on the couch as I got through the contractions. I definitely appreciated being able to labor in my own space and was so thankful that my daughter was spending the night with my mother in law because there was no way she would have slept through all that noise! At 3am we gave our midwife another ring (well Keenan did, I couldn’t even talk at this point!) and she arrived by about 4am. We had yet to set up the birth pool (I honestly wasn’t sure at what point we were supposed to haha) and after checking me she was quite surprised we hadn’t filled it up yet, it was already almost push time! The midwife and her assistant with the help of Keenan quickly filled it up with warm water (and kept it warm by boiling water on the stove) and getting in felt so nice, like a pleasant hot bath! I wish I would have filled it up sooner! I looove baths which is part of the reason I opted to try a water birth, I had heard it could help with natural pain management and could make things more comfortable which it did! After a bit more laboring in the tub, I began to push with the coaching of the midwife. Both kid’s push times were about 20 minutes but this time around having her coach me and tell me when to slow down drastically reduced my tearing, last time it was a second degree tear with stitches (so painful) but this go I only had a minor first degree tear that did not require stitches which I thought was pretty decent considering his size! (9.11 pounds) Anyhow 4:59am he arrived and with the help of the midwife Keenan “caught” him and placed him on my chest! The sense of peace and relief when you cross that finish line is unreal! I knew I still needed to birth the placenta so that was in the back of my mind but enjoying those first cuddles was pure bliss.

^ Timothy at about 12 hours old. (Thanks Adj for the pictures!)

Thankfully he took well to nursing and has been such a sweetie since day one. The baby carrier is a life saver for keeping him close and content and thanks to the help of my dear friend Katie coming to stay with me and sweet friends from church dropping off meals I was able to stay off my feet and rest a TON that first week. I’ve slowly been increasing my activity and feeling more and more like myself while getting to know this sweet little guy and trying to help my darling Coralee, who is 2 1/2 adjust as well. 

Here are a few basic items that have helped me greatly during the postpartum period:

I have been super happy with the nursing bras and tanks I bought from H&M! They are pretty much all I wear these days and they were a great price too.

MAMA brand from H&M both were a 2 pack for $29.99

As I had some minor abdominal separation with both of my pregnancies I knew I was going to want to wear a postpartum girdle this time! My sweet friend Vanessa had given me hers to use after I had Coralee and I was really inconsistent in using it. This time I've worn it almost 24-7 except for when hand washing/drying it and I feel like it has helped a ton with providing support for my weak core and shrinking my body back to size.  There are many great varieties on the market, this is the one that I have been using!

This is their Original Belly Bandit design (the one I wore) $49.95

Baby carriers! Oh my goodness, being able to snuggle my baby all day and keep up with my toddler and be somewhat productive is amazing. Here are the ones I've been using!

This is a great carrier to put on quickly for shorter periods! Sakura Bloom Ring Sling, classic $98

We've been using our Tula with our toddler for over 2 years now, it has definitely more than paid for itself! This exact design is no longer in stock but they are always coming out with adorable new patterns that you can check out here! Mine is the Standard Ergonomic Carrier and we are using the infant insert until little man is 15 lbs and has more head control!

Lastly my dear friend Kayla just sent me one of her Solly Baby Wraps in the mail last week and oh my gosh I'm in love! I want one in every color, it's amazing! I've always veered away from this style of carrier because I was afraid it would be too complicated to use but it's not at all, I got the hang of it after watching their YouTube tutorial and practicing putting him in a couple times. It's so soft and not too stretchy (which was a problem I had with a similar wrap I owned in the past) Definitely recommend. (This is a photo from their site, this color Tigerlily is now on my wish list!)

After having my first child one detail I was blindsided by was what to wear after delivery! I had spent so much time figuring out what to wear while still pregnant and getting everything ready for sweet baby (rightly so) but it didn't dawn on me that my pre-pregnancy clothes weren't going to fit once I waltzed (or waddled lol) out of the hospital. This time thankfully with some experience I sorted through my closet and drawers a couple weeks before to try and make postpartum dressing as easy as I could!

I am a denim addict and am one of those sick weirdos that likes to wear jeans even when I am relaxing at home. My pre-preggo jeans are still not fitting comfortably so I am thankful that I still have 2-3 pairs of non-maternity jeans (I really don't care for the elastic waistlines of maternity pants) that fit me in the last month of pregnancy and fit comfortably for the time being.

V-neck shirts for nursing! This was the biggest adjustment for me clothing wise after my first baby, I had to considering nursing accessibility with each outfit! Part of me mourned that I wouldn't be wearing anything crewneck for a while (so dramatic I know) but these days if I rock a crew tee I just wear an undershirt so I don't feel like I'm stripping if I lift my shirt up to nurse, haha. I also appreciate having button up tops on hand for nursing as well. Anything I wear I just accept that it will be tagged in spit up within a few hours because it will be, ha.

Self care in little ways here and there have gone a long way for me. Getting dressed and going out solo occasionally helps me to feel like a "normal person" in this rewarding but demanding time. My favorite weekend outings include coffee and the park with the fam and hitting the secondhand stores by myself for an hour or two. 

What postpartum tips would you recommend? Please share in the comments!

Happy Styling :)

Thrifting: An Ode and How To Guide

Hello my fashionable friends! I wanted to write up a helpful "How To" thrift guide because I've gotten the impression over the years that the majority of people feel overwhelmed when it comes to "the hunt" and rather not try! (Which I totally get!) But before I do I felt it appropriate to write a little introduction or ode to my love of thrifting because it is really on that level! (Haha)

Much to my surprise I didn't set foot in a thrift store until my sophomore year in high school while hanging out with my new gal pals from a bible study I had just joined. I grew up bargain hunting at Ross and have been shopping at Target since I can remember (thanks Aunt Cindy!) but for whatever reason shopping second hand wasn't a part of my family culture growing up. Well needless to say after that first shopping trip I was hooked! I even remember what I purchased; a white pair of Roller Derby skates and a turquoise sweatshirt which I cut into an 80's style oversized neck, off the shoulder piece and wore excessively that year. I think maybe it's the thrill of the find or seeing how far $5 can get you but thrifting has been a hobby of mine ever since.

Flash forward twelve-ish years (agh that makes me feel old!) and I think with fondness of all the second hand treasures I've scored over the years and given away too! (Because otherwise I would be a hoarder and it has come to that several times before doing a healthy purge every so often)

I love to thrift because of the versatility it affords my wardrobe. I can be very hard on my clothes so buying something lightly used (sometimes even still new with tags!) at a fraction of the price always makes me feel better because I never know how long I will be able to keep it looking nice if I am being completely honest haha.

Ok now that we've covered that ;) the second and main objective of this post is to give you a simple plan of attack when it comes to shopping those resale racks to hopefully give you a boost of confidence in trying it for yourself and creating your dream wardrobe on a modest budget.

1) The Goodwill Bargain Bins.

I am starting here because this is hands down the cheapest place to shop! ALSO the sketchiest. I am going to try and be 100% real with you so you aren't completely affronted if you try and visit one. Ok let's start with the positives: They price their merchandise out by weight! Typically around $1.50 a pound and this is why I love to shop here. I've found some real gems and because of their light weight I've at times paid pennies to a dollar for these pieces. That is exhilarating to me! Now onto some of the cons, because you can't have a rose without the thorns ;) Everything here is tossed into giant rolling bins, they are like troughs for clothes ;) They've got shoes, books, clothes and then miscellaneous (which is a whole lotta of everything else) sorted into different bins. It is definitely worth a gander in my opinion, at least once to see if you care for the experience! It has also been an amazing place for us to get books, it varies location to location but typically they are under a dollar and I constantly find vintage books for decor if not for reading. (Also kids books are only .25 cents!) One last bit of advice when it comes to shopping here, the customers are a varied as the merchandise. What I mean is some folks can be VERY territorial, for example depending on the location, when a new bin is rolled out it can get fiesty, a lot of flea market and re-sale venders shop here because of the crazy low prices so they are very particular about finding those deals. I am not very competitive at all and rarely do I get in the middle of that craziness and I still manage to find great pieces so no worries about that! With all thrifting some days you win some days you lose, going somewhat frequently and only buying what you love is a good way to get the best collection!

^ My thrifting haul from my most recent trip to "the bins". I spent $11 and about one hour shopping and got all of this cute stuff including Coach flats, Joe's jeans and cute vintage baby clothes! 

2) Buy Sell Trades.

If you know me personally you would know that I've spent the majority of my adult life working fashion retail! Crossroads was my first job right out of high school and thanks to a serendipitous series of events I ended up working for some of my favorite people for several years at FreeStyle Clothing Exchange in Sacramento, CA. These days I am working part time at Fringe and Fray, a local Buy Sell Trade boutique in Spokane and I love it! I guess resale is just in my blood at this point and I can't escape it ;) So what is a Buy Sell Trade? You can trade in your stylish and lightly worn clothes and receive a fraction of the selling price in cash or store credit. I highly prefer shopping Buy Sell Trade over consignment because 1.) The merchandise seems to have a higher turn over rate, keeping the store and selection continually fresh! 2.) You can use store credit!! I almost never get cash when I sell clothes because the store credit value is typically higher and can go towards (drumroll)...more clothes! If you don't live in an area with one of these mentioned stores I also reccomend Buffalo Exchange or Plato's Closet but the customer service and quality can vary location to location. My favorite Plato's Closet is in Reno, the staff there was the sweetest!!

^Here are some pictures from the Buy Sell Trade I work at in Spokane, WA. Fringe and Fray! We carry lightly worn designer pieces from stores like Anthropologie and Nordstrom for a small fraction of what you pay for pieces like these new, it's pretty amazing! :)

3) Poshmark App

I started to use this site at the beginning of this year and so far have had a positive experience. I like to use Poshmark when I am looking for something particular. I don't use it to just aimlessly shop because sellers are looking to get top dollar for their items (which I get because I have sold on here as well!) so the bargains aren't as amazing in my cheap skate opinion. That said they are still less than retail and it's been a great way to find what I am looking for! For example last spring I purchased a barely used pair of Saltwaters sandals for $25 which have been a staple in my wardrobe this summer! Or this bundle of Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters headbands for $15!

If you do decide to join/check out PoshMark use my referral code (JUAMC) to receive $5 credit off your first purchase and I will get $5 credit as well, woohoo! My username is @Karinathebean :)

And of course what is left are conventional thrift stores, most of them donation run to support charities and organizations (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Hospice, etc) and others for profit. (Like Eco Thrift or Thift Town) These are my least favorite way to thrift because they usually have general pricing that has nothing to do with the brand or quality of the items so yes you can absolutely score amazing pieces (Like the time I found a current Anthro skirt, new with tags at the Roseville Goodwill) for like 5.99 but if it's just a cute basic piece from Target that price isn't very impressive to me so I suggest the above options to optimize your thrifting experience. But of course that is just my opinion and it works for most people so hey, to each their own! ;) And a side note, shop on bank holidays, most thrift stores will have 50% off sales or at least some significant discounts!

A technique that usually works well for me in any kind of thrifting scenario is a quick scan of the racks (or bins) for colors and/or prints that catch your eye. I will usually start there because rarely, if ever, do I have the time or patience to examine each item. I am big on textures too, maybe the print or color wasn't eyecatching but if it feels soft like cashmere or silk I'm suddenly interested! (I found my friend Kiersten a great sweater recently this way) So do your thing and have fun popping those tags, because why not when it's only .99 cents! ;)

Happy hunting and let me know if you find any killer treasures in the coming weeks! XOXO

^ This outfit is entirely from Goodwill sans the tights, those are Gap!

Getting dressed

I have been ruminating on this post idea for a little while and I thought it would be fun and possibly helpful to share part of my thought process when it comes to getting dressed each day. Finding my style as a mom has been an interesting journey! (Isn't all of parenthood?) I felt like learning how to dress my big ol’ pregnancy belly and expanding *ahem* areas with Coralee was a bit of a fuss but the real struggle (and surprise!) was the postpartum wardrobe. I think I’ll go into greater length on that topic in a future tutorial post but suffice it to say it surprisingly hadn’t crossed my mind what I would wear after my daughter was born! It quickly became clear that my pre-baby clothes weren’t going to fit any time soon and I couldn’t stand wearing my maternity clothes any longer. I started to rock some loose tops and stretchy pants for comfort (because that first month was all about SURVIVAL) but after the storm settled and life got a bit “easier” I found myself in sort of a fashion rut. I didn’t want to live in lounge clothes but was kind of torn on what to wear in those days! Side note, if athleisure is your thing, that is awesome and I see no problem in wearing what you love!! But getting dressed has always been something I’ve enjoyed so learning how to be feel my best and still be practical enough for the demands of staying home and taking care of Coralee around the clock was a process. I tried to be super low key in my style but it just wasn’t me. I think where I am at now is a healthy middle ground, I’m not accessorized head to toe haha but I still feel like Karina! Now to the main point of my post; Something that I have learned in my two years of being a mama is that when I get dressed for the day, like actually dressed not just clean sweatpants (although those are good too!) my day goes so much better! Its not a magical formula or anything, I still need my coffee and time with Jesus to be a functional human being, but wearing something clean and stylish brings my attitude to a new level. (Ok maybe I am kind of obsessed with clothes and I need an excuse to wear them all but hey there are worse things, wink) I usually grab the first two things I see, a top and cardigan that might be placed near each other in my closet or a pair of jeans poking out of my drawers. I call it intuition (maybe it's just laziness) but nonetheless it works! A couple months ago I tried laying out my clothes the night before, I've since abandoned that practice but maybe I will pick it up again because that was kind of fun! Definitely a time saver if you have somewhere important to be the next day. I’ve also found that my jeans seem to stay cleaner than black yoga pants anyways! Maybe it’s my imagination but I swear it’s true! For days that I am at home I love wearing F21 jeans because they are comfy because of the stretch and so cheap so I’m not stressed about getting anything on them, the dark wash skinny pair for like $10 is my jam! When I was working as a personal stylist I found that even though I was doing the majority of my work from home I felt more confident in my work knowing I was taking my own advice ;) I think this experience helped to “give me the freedom” to dress cute even if Keenan and Coralee were the only ones to see me that day, and hey they are pretty special so why not! ;) I guess my ultimate aim in sharing all of this is to encourage you to try it, getting ready for the day even if you don’t necessarily have anywhere to be! If that sounds miserable I totally understand and you gotta do you. Its just that I’ve found treating every day as a “special occasion” in a sense has helped me overcome what could at times feel overly routine and mundane. On a somewhat related note something I started trying to do a couple months ago was to do my best to stop and soak in the lovely and good moments as a mom. Like really stop and enjoy that baby giggle or relish a few moments of quiet while she peacefully sleeps. I started doing this because I found myself extremely stressed when something would go wrong, like a middle of the night wakeup with teething pain or I don’t know something frustrating like a bowl full of food getting pushed onto the floor. I’m sure there are better examples but my point here was to try and remind myself of all the good in life so that when things stink maybe I will realize it’s not so bad!  I love reminding myself of this simple quote “A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life” because my emotional personality (ENFP) can get things out of focus quick. Ultimately the truth is that God is good no matter what so I like to keep short truths in mind to keep that in view. Anyhow back to the main point about getting dressed, a bonus to getting into this practice, when I get ready for the day I don’t have to worry about who I might see (haha) and if something unexpectedly comes up, like a fun invite to the park, I’m already ready to go! I try to get out of the house at least once a day whether its a walk or coffee run. Pre-mom Karina would have found this hilarious that I had to try to get out of the house but the struggle can be so real, and I only have one child at the moment! Anyhow I think that is enough rambling for now, I hope you enjoyed this lengthy and more personal post, happy dressing to all you fabulous friends!

(As you can see from all of my pictures that wearing a hat is my secret weapon because although I love getting dressed I don't really enjoy styling my thick mop of hair! I could work on that, wink)


Style Points

This post I wanted to focus on a few fun ways to add “style points” to your summer looks with little effort. Each tip didn’t really warrant its own post (even though they are kind of amazing ideas, wink) so I thought a concise list would do the trick! 

1.) Try the “roll and tuck” with the front of your t-shirt. This is a great tip to have handy if your top is somewhat shapeless or if you want to show off a great waist detail like a playful belt or cool zipper pockets. You can also knot the corner of your tee which to be completely honest I used to think was a little cheesy if you weren’t at the river or somewhere like that but I think if done right, it can add a lot to an otherwise simple ensemble! I tried it with a basic tee over a maxi dress last week and really liked the way it added dimension to my low key look. I will be trying that again! 

^ How I twist my tees before tucking just the front portion in behind the button on my pants/jeans. I think this technique works best with a higher rise. I tried it last week with a lower rise pair of jeans and wasn't feeling it at all. 

2.) I’ve heard this technique called “the J.Crew” approved way to roll sleeves and in my experience it looks and works way better than haphazardly pushing your sleeves up, which is what I’ve done for a number of years haha! Not only do your sleeves stay better in place but it looks neat and adds extra style points for sure! I have fairly long arms for being an average height so I’ve always rolled my sleeves to avoid them being awkwardly short. I’ve also heard other stylists advise to roll your sleeves regardless because it can give your outfit a better fitted, tailored look. Pull your sleeve cuff up past your elbow and then roll the cuffed edge (which should be at your elbow length at this point) up to your actual sleeve cuff. I've also become fond of doing the half tuck with the bottom of my button ups, Keenan thinks its dorky but I like it! ;)

3.) This leads me to my third tip, cuff your jeans! Seriously just do it, even if they aren’t too long but especially if they are! With the exception of a handsome flare or wide leg that is just gracing the ground above your wedges or heels jeans or pants that are too long just isn’t a good look on anyone. Cuffing even appropriate length jeans adds a custom look, making you look even more styled in my humble opinion, plus it shows off and highlights your shoes! In these pictures I've used both a slight cuff and wide cuff, play around with it and see what you prefer!

4.) In my second post ( I talked about the importance of adding a “third” piece and this is probably the easiest and most effective to add extra style points, by adding a third piece aka an accessory or lightweight layer to your look! For summer I’d advise a breathable hat and a kimono or a lightweight vest. I have been keeping an eye out for an olive cargo vest in my thrifting excursions! In the picture below I was feeling super simple so I added a denim vest which hasn't been getting a lot of use in my closet lately and this scarf because it's so breezy and the florals play off the striped tee nicely. 

^The jeans in these top two pictures are the J.Crew Matchstick cut which I LOVE and I think this particular pair works best with a wide cuff. Also when you can't think of how to pose apparently staring off into the distance will do the trick ;)

5.) Lastly, for instant polish try a bold lip color. (Or bright nail polish!) Not the most revolutionary idea but lets face it a list of five is better than four haha. Mac is hands down my favorite makeup brand for lipstick. So far I've tried the Matte and Cremesheen finishes and Matte has been my favorite because it stays put for the better half of the day! I've been feeling extra simple with my makeup this summer so after adding some foundation and mascara a bold lip adds a nice pop of color to my face and I feel put together in no time :)

^ Mac Silly. Coco Chanel once said, "If you are feeling sad, add more lipstick and attack." I think that is some solid advice ;) 

^My current selection of shades. Silly, Lady Danger and Hangup. I've been trying to decide on a pale, neutral everyday pink to add next! If anyone can suggest a shade you think I'll love fire away. :)

If you try any of these ideas in the next few weeks, please take a picture and tag me in it, I want to see your looks, Until next time! XOXO

 "Life is a party, dress like it" -Audrey Hepburn. 

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