The Life Not My Own

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Peek in My Closet…and Spring Cleaning

I can’t believe I’m showing you these pictures but, hey, I’ll be real.  At least for today.  I’m definitely one of those people who wants people to think that my house is absolutely perfect all the time…even when it’s not. 

But anyway, I’ve been doing a little spring cleaning in preparation for Baby B’s arrival in a few months.  Now, I like things to be organized.  I get a rush from cleaning out things and making them neat.  Only problem is, in real life, the organized state doesn’t last long.  Hence, my closet.  Besides its cluttered state, I really needed to switch out winter and summer clothes, as well as get my maternity clothes a tad more organized. 

First, here’s my closet before.  Yes, I do have a whole walk-in closet to myself.  No, I don’t have a dresser, so all of my belongings have to fit in this closet.


As you can see, it really wasn’t that bad…except for the pile of clothes and shoes on the ground.  Step one was to organize those shoes.  I have a hanging shoe organizer, which is nice, so some of these just had to be put back into their place.

Believe it or not, I had gone through my shoes fairly recently, so I really do wear everything you see.  Until Wednesday, I also hadn’t bought any new shoes in a long time, so I was doing pretty good.  But, out with the old, in with the new, right?  There actually was one pair of shoes that I’ve agonized about for years.  I never wear them, although they’re nice and I could always wear them.  But, since I bought a new pair of shoes, I decided it was time to finally get rid of them.  Bye-bye, shoes!

Any shoes that don’t fit in the shoe thing (boots, tennis shoes, etc.), I just organize on the floor.  Once my shoes were ready to go (and the piles of everything else was thrown onto my bed), my closet was already starting to look better.

Next, I pulled out all of my winter clothes that I won’t be wearing for awhile.  I left a few light sweaters in, just in case, but I took out everything else.  Then I neatly folded them in my off-season box (I’d already pulled out most of my summer clothes a few weeks ago) to put on the top shelf.  If I decide to go to Antarctica this summer, I’ll know where to find them.  But, for now, my closet is a lot less cluttered with them out of the way.  If you don’t have room to store your off-season clothes, just hang them farthest from reach, or put them in a bottom drawer. 

Look how much empty space that gave me!

I did keep out all of my cardigans and cover-ups…they’re still useful right now!

Then I started to go through all of my summer blouses (which were already hanging up).  I like to hang them up by color.  It’s just a nit-picky thing of mine.  I will say that it makes things much easier to find and makes my closet look that much neater.

Don’t just hang your clothes up, though…analyze them.  For me, there were several shirts that were not long enough for my growing belly, so I decided to pack them away.  There were also a few shirts that I was holding onto for silly reasons.  I never wear them, but I have a hard time getting rid of them because there’s nothing wrong with them.  Find yourself in the same dilemma?  Ask yourself these questions:

1. Have I worn it in the past year?
2. Does it still fit?
3. Does it have sentimental value?

If you answered “no” to question one, chuck it (the exception would be formal dresses that you need on occasion).  It may be hard, but I promise you you won’t miss it.  Question two depends on your state in life.  For me, there’s lots of clothes I plan on wearing again…my preggo state just prevents me from this.  For a situation like this, pack it away.  If you’ll never honestly be that size again, get rid of it…it’s just baggage from the past. 

Finally, question three can be tricky too.  I have lots of shirts I’ve kept because they were souvenirs from trips or past activities.  I have one shirt in particular that I got in Paris.  It’s faded around the collar, so I literally haven’t worn it in years.  And yet, I’ve dragged it around everywhere I went because it was a “memory”.  Yesterday, though, I evaluated it honestly.  It benefits me nothing and, I realized, even has pit stains.  GROSS!  I have enough pictures and memories from that trip…I don’t need a stained shirt to remember it.  So, after years of “holding on” it went in the trash.  And you know what?  It felt good!

There’s a few things, however, I did choose to keep.  They’re still in good condition, and it would be fun to give them to my kids someday.  Just make sure you’re not holding on to useless baggage!    

So, anyways, after sorting my shirts I carefully analyzed my camisoles, pants, and skirts in the same way.  For now, anything I was packing away or getting rid of I threw on my bed…to be sorted later.  Be sure to pull out any unused or no longer used hangers.  Also, make sure that you leave a hanger for anything you're wearing or is in the wash!

Yes, just being real here!

I also sorted through all of my undergarments.  Anything that had holes, stains, or no longer fit I tossed.  A few things I packed away…again because they don’t work in my current pregnant state.  Because I don’t have a dresser, I use shoe boxes to organize my undergarments.  Socks and stockings go in one, underwear and slips in the other.  All of my bathing suits I conveniently keep in a wet bag.

Then I tackled the box of “miscellany”. 

This contained all of my work shirts, workout outfits, winter socks, and leggings.  I first pulled everything out and sorted it.  All of my winter socks were packed away.  Then I sorted the rest into piles of paint clothes, tshirts, and workout clothes.  A few shirts that I never wear I did get rid of, but for the most part everything just needed to be organized.  This is how it looked after:

Nice, huh?  The things I use the least I put on the bottom and the things I use the most I put on top.  No brainer there!

I next sorted everything onto by bed into neat piles (which included my skirts and pants, which I had yet to put back).  This helps so you can visualize how much space you need for everything.

This is also the time to sort everything into piles to pack away, trash, donate, or consign.  I’ve never really consigned anything before, but I had a few things that are nice and just don’t work for me anymore, so I may try that.  Anything still wearable I usually donate, and anything that’s stained, ripped, or faded I trash. 

Next I hung up my skirts.  I packed away one that won’t work for my pregnant self, and got rid of a few.  I have a lot of skirts from my past life.  The few frumpy ones (from thinking that’s what homeschool boys liked), I got rid of.  There are a few I use for teaching, which I kept.  No, after August I won’t be teaching anymore, but for the time being I’m still subbing.  Finally, I have some nicer black skirts I used to wear from my orchestra-dork days.  They were perfect for playing the violin, but not good for much else.  I keep them, though, because, sadly, they’re very appropriate for funerals.

I like to hang two skirts on the same hanger, to save space.  Also, be sure to hang heavier skirts on heavy-duty hangers so they don’t sag!

Haha…I didn’t realize when I took the picture that you could see me!  Like my new maternity shorts, by the way?

Next was pants.  I really don’t have too many of these, so they were easy.  Except for my slacks (which I always hang up), I usually fold them.  But, since I had space and extra hangers, I hung my jeans up too.

My capris and shorts I folded on the shelf.  Also, I pulled out a few things that needed to be hemmed, but left a hanger or for them.

As you can see from the picture above, I keep all of my pajamas and lingerie in a tote bag on the floor.  This keeps them organized and saves space!

Finally, I made a few extra changes, since I had the space.  I moved my summer dresses around a bit.  Look how nice everything looks!

I had an extra tote bag after cleaning everything out, so everything else I needed to pack away I put in that.  They fit great!

Belts I just hang on a nail, and my hats and smaller purses I keep on my nifty little corner unit.
IMG_0944                 IMG_0945
And there you have it, my nice, organized closet!

How does your closet look?  When’s the last time your organized it?

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Friday, March 30, 2012

18 More Weeks to Go!

I realized yesterday that our baby boy is really taking over my life.  I’ve completely forgotten about the riding boots I coveted all winter, and instead am obsessed with finding diaper deals and picking out baby things.  Here’s our growing wall of diapers…plus some books and other items for Baby Baker:

Crazy, I know.  And, yes, you just might be able to see trainers in there.  I know that’s way down the road, but they were on sale!  Thankfully I do have a whole walk-in closet in Baby’s room to put this stuff in…it’s just not carpeted yet.  For now, it’s just getting stacked higher-and-higher. 

As I mentioned, Tuesday night my husband was nice enough to drive me up to the Rhea Lana’s consignment sale in Mountain Home.  I had heard good things about these sales, and was really excited.  In particular, I wanted to see if they had any play pens, swings, bouncers, or larger toys.  We couldn’t believe how pricey these things were in the stores!

So, anyway, we were able to go to the Expectant Mom’s presale.  I’m glad we did, because the big items were almost gone after we’d been there about 20 min.  No joke!   

We snagged this Pack ‘N Play for $32.  No scratches, tears, or stains, and all the parts were there.  There was one that was a bit cuter (chocolate brown and green…our nursery colors), but this one was in better shape.  So…we decided that this one was cute enough.

In the end, although there were lots of swings and bouncers, we decided to wait on them.  There was one swing that caught my eye (again, chocolate brown and green), but another preggo lady snagged it right before I could.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be!  Although, I will admit, a competitive side was coming out in me I’ve never seen. (Me?  Competitive?).  Suffice it to say, I was glad to be one of the only pregnant ladies with a husband in tow…a very tall husband who wasn’t afraid to reach in and snag a few things. hah!

There were also a lot of nice car seats and strollers, but we passed on those.  Those are one of the few things I really want to buy new, as we’ll be using them awhile (and my baby’s safety is the concern!).  Also, we have some family members who will probably want to get those for us.

We weren’t planning on spending too much on clothes, just because we know we’ll be getting a ton as gifts and hand-me-downs.  But, of course, we couldn’t help ourselves.  This is what we got:

Cute little overalls!  What little boy doesn’t need those?

For Fall and Winter…

Cute little outfit.  I discovered when I got this home that these are actually two different brands.  They go good together, though! 

Baby’s first flannel.  I don’t know why I like this so much…I guess because it’s outdoorsy. :)

And for the two grandpas.  Not sure exactly which one this relates to.  It’s more Andy’s dad’s style, but he has yet to decide on what he’ll “go by” (this is his first grandbaby!).  My dad is already “Grandpa” to my little nieces, so if all else fails this will be his. :)

Isn’t this set of onesies adorable for a baby boy? 

These will definitely be used a lot…:)

Andy has a pair of shoes just like this, so we’re already envisioning cute pictures.  And guess what?  These are real Converse…and I snagged them for $3.  There’s a little stain on one of the laces, but not bad other than that!

And last-but-not-least, something we just couldn’t pass up…

I also got two maternity tops, but I’ll spare you those pictures.

Most of the clothes and shoes were all $3-$5, except for the three-piece dress outfit, which was $10.  I think I got some awesome deals, don’t you?  This consignment sale is definitely something worth going back to…they had a lot of really nice stuff! 

The next morning I drove down to Conway and Little Rock to look at maternity clothes.  For the first time in my life, this was more of a “hunting” trip instead of a shopping trip.  Within the course of a few hours, I hit Yours Truly consignment store (the most awesome consignment store ever), Old Navy, Target, and Motherhood Maternity.  I spent more than I was planning, but I think it was worth it.  I ended up getting two nice blouses, a t-shirt, a tank-top, a cute dress, nice long jeans, and longer denim shorts.  Oh, and a pair of shoes.  No, I wasn’t planning on buying shoes, but they were at the consignment store and they basically just jumped out at me.  I think they were meant to be mine, don’t you?  hehe!

I was going to take pictures of all the clothes I bought, but I decided you’ll probably see them eventually in my pictures.  So, I’ll wait and surprise you.  Anyway, I’m pretty much set for now.  I haven’t done that much shopping in a long time, but it was much needed…especially with my ever expanding belly.

I feel like I’m getting bigger by the day and my belly button has really started to poke out.  And guess what?  I feel great!  I don’t feel particularly tired (although I do sleep more at night…maybe that helps).  Yes, my hunger has been outrageous the past few weeks, but that’s normal.  My lower back hurts on some days but other than that I don’t feel particularly achy.  I don’t have heartburn or terrible digestion issues.  For the most part, I find that the better I eat and the more I push myself to work out (especially pregnancy exercises and back-strengthening exercises), the better I feel.  Maybe this will change, but right now I’m really loving this part of pregnancy.  Little Baby Baker (okay, he has a name…we’re just waiting a bit to share it), is kicking me harder and more frequently every day.  Just 18 more weeks and my little man will be in my arms! 


But, for now…he’s close to my heart.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Consignment Sales and Maternity Stores

The last few days have been something of a whirlwind.  Tuesday night I went to a Rhea Lana's consignment sale, my sweet husband in tow.  We got a lot of neat things and deals!  Then, yesterday, I ended up having a day free so I drove down to Conway and Little Rock to do some much needed maternity clothes shopping.  I spent more than I was planning, but I got a lot of great outfits.

But, I don't have time right now to share everything with you.  Look for some updates tomorrow!

PS: It's almost Friday.  Wahoo!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wedding Pictures, Part II

So, with our 2nd anniversary right around the corner, I decided it was definitely time to finish sharing our wedding photos with you. (Click here for part I!) Also, with everyone pinning ideas to Pinterest, I’ve been thinking about all the work we put into our own wedding.  To see part I, click here.  All of these pictures were taken my the amazingly talented Jacob Chinn.  If you’re in Arizona and need a photographer, I’d highly recommend him!

Once our windy wedding ceremony was over, it was time for the party!  Well, sort of.  We took most of the group photos outside while our guests had a few appetizers on the patio…fruit and crackers mostly.  Unfortunately, I never got to try any of that because, guess what…I was busy!

Anyway, my mom, sisters, and I put a ton of work into our reception.  We didn’t have a ton of money to work with, but we definitely had lots of time.  Unfortunately, that meant that we kept thinking of more things to add! 

So, anyway, the cake.  I had seen this really neat cake in a magazine with fake pearl strands going around it…kind of loose and carefree.  I loved it!  Thankfully, we were able to find this really talented cake decorator (at a grocery store of all places) who made my own design for a very reasonable price.  I could go on-and-on about how we designed it and what we picked (down to the shimmery coloring on the “pearls”, but you probably wouldn’t be interested.  Here it is…
The cake stand was one we got a great deal on online.  My mom decided it was a good investment, since I was the first of four daughters to get married.
I never did find a cake topper I liked, so we ended up using my parents.  It was a neat way to incorporate something from my parent’s wedding into our own!
Just in case you’re wondering, the cake was a delicious chocolate with chocolate ganache filling and marshmallow fondant frosting. 
The pearls from the cake ended up turning into somewhat of a theme.  We found rolls of fake mini pearls for a pretty inexpensive amount at the craft store, and these ended up everywhere (you can see them scattered around the cake table).  For each table, we had a white table cloth with a chocolate-colored runner down the middle.  Mixed in were golden candles (from the Christmas clearance aisle), gold bells (also Christmas leftovers), small tealights, mirrors, and more pearls (loosely scattered).  We also made place cards and menu cards for each place setting (which we designed and had printed inexpensively at a printers).  Finally, my sisters and I had spent hours wrapping pink and brown m&ms (clearance after Valentine’s day) in tulle circles with brown ribbons.  These made wonderful favors!  Overkill, maybe, but it ended up looking great! 
My parents also invested in white banquet chair covers that they got for a great deal online (again, thinking they could use them later).  My mom spent hours and hours altering them, though, because they didn’t quite fit the chairs at our location.  We used brown sashes on them to tie everything together.
We also were able to collect wedding pictures from several generations on both sides of our families.  These made a very neat display on the piano.
The reception itself was wonderful.  We had a nice, buffet luncheon that ended up tasting delicious!  Since our theme was somewhat vintage and classy, we played all old standards during the reception.  My sisters and I had made our own playlists, and we were able to borrow our churches sound equipment to play it on.  A few of our church friends even played the music and announced everything for free!
We found time to squeeze in our first dance (to the tune of “Too Young” :) )…
…and a father-daughter dance (“Unforgettable”).
We even did a mother-son dance, which Andy actually surprised his mother with, knowing she’d never have agreed to it otherwise.  They danced to “Watercolor Ponies”, which was always a very special song for his mom and her boys.
The toasts were all very special as well.
As was the cutting of the cake (no, we didn’t smash it on each other!).
The bouquet toss…
And the garter…
And finally it was time to leave!
But wait, we still had some group shots to do!
Andy’s cousins were the flower girls (my mom made these dresses, btw), and their little brother was the ring bearer.  Andy actually made this wagon for them to pull their brother in, but it didn’t end up working.  Made for cute pictures though!
We also got to take some pictures out in the woods!
Be sure to check out the crossing sign!