Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day 2 Ways

Valentine's Day 2 Ways

Marni dress
1,795 CAD -

Topshop black leather boots
150 CAD -

Melissa black flat
125 CAD -

Paula Cademartori leather handbag
2,225 CAD -

Vince leather purse
575 CAD -

Diamond jewelry
175 CAD -

Eddie Borgo earrings
140 CAD -

Vivienne Westwood stud earrings
130 CAD -

Topshop stackable ring
20 CAD -

Miu miu sunglasses
395 CAD -

Marc Jacobs tech accessory
82 CAD -

Skinnydip tech accessory
39 CAD -

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fashion In The Face Of Frugality

So I have stopped my excessive spending, great! I have also stopped buying what I like to call "throw away pieces" (clothing or accessories that either fall apart in a short period of time, go out of style, or you stop liking), fantastic! Now where does this leave me in terms of my current fashion situation?

After cleaning out my closet a bit, I am now better able to put together outfits and I wear pretty much everything I have. My everyday basics are skinny jeans, a top (tank top, t-shirt, blouse) and a cardigan or sweater. Staying at home with my two kids does sometimes make me miss the days of working in an office and dressing up everyday, mostly because I have worn holes in the knees of all of my jeans from crawling around on the floor and I usually have some sort of food, paint or glue stuck to me by day's end.

As you may well know, I love the "fashion switch" (the beginning of spring/summer and then the beginning of fall/winter) so much so that I used to get my credit/debit card all revved up for the occasion; so the thought of not buying anything at all for another 10 months makes me die a little inside. Here are a few ways that I plan to look good for spring while still staying loyal to my cause:

1. Attitude Of Gratitude: I am trying to focus on the love and appreciation for the things I already have. This is the benefit of clearing out the stuff you no longer value, it emphasizes why the items that you chose to keep are special. There's something to be said for well worn items, like a well loved teddy bear, it may be a bit rough around the edges but that's why it's your favourite!

2. Live Vicariously Through Others: I love being able to sit out on a patio and people watch, especially when the weather gets nice, usually I use it as inspiration for my own wardrobe choices but now I want to try to just appreciate great street style through osmosis. This one might be tricky because for me, if I see that someone has something nice, it usually makes me want to go out and buy something new. So this one may require a bit more will power but I plan to use it as motivation so hopefully it will be more of a help than a hindrance.

3. Remix Your Closet: I'm going to really push myself to get a bit crazy with my existing wardrobe, mixing colours, mixing patterns, adding accessories, going to bold places that no Fashion.Mama.Aquarius has ever gone before, you get the point. Just try to wear things in a different way, that are not necessarily in your comfort zone.

4. Borrow, Thrift, Replace: If I do start to get antsy for something new, I'll try asking my sister or bff if they have anything they aren't wearing these days that I can borrow, it may just quell that need to spend and it's free! If you really need to "go shopping" because for some of us it is therapeutic, go to your local thrift or consignment shop and search for that perfect item but make sure it's quality, it has a purpose in your wardrobe and you can see yourself wearing it for a long time. Lastly replacing items, at least in my No Spend Rules, is allowed. You will need to have your own criteria for this but make sure it's actually a need, not just another impulse buy and it should also meet the quality, purpose and longevity rules mentioned previously.

5. What Would Audrey Do? Audrey Hepburn was so fabulous that she looked good in everything and anything so just use her as inspiration for your own personal fashion excellence. If you feel good about what you wear, it doesn't matter if it's new or old, people will only see how happy you are.

There you go! I'll keep y'all updated on how I actually go with this part of my challenge but I think mentally preparing and knowing my triggers is the key to success.



Friday, February 5, 2016

Minimalism & A Good Old Shopping Ban (Updated)

Like many people out there these days, I too have stumbled upon the minimalism movement and, true to my band-wagon jumping nature, I'm on it.

Further to my New Year's update, I am one month into #frugal2016 and so far I have done surprisingly well. I've completely unsubscribed to all my favorite websites in an effort to deter myself from continually filling up online shopping carts with stuff that I don't really need. I have created a budget on paper and I am tracking my spending through the Mint app on my phone, which is not completely balanced but it's a start! I am on a one year long "No Spend" which is scary but I am starting to feel like it's totally achievable.

There are many ways to complete a no spend challenge, you basically write your own guidelines or you can follow ones that were created by someone else (see this article from Blonde on a Budget for ideas) If you want to write your own rules here are some ideas:

1. Decide how long you want to stop spending for: This would apply to non-essentials because obviously you will need to pay bills and buy food. I have decided to do this for a whole year but if you are accustomed to spending all the time it may be best to take it one day at a time and aim for a week then a month then two months and so on.

2. Write down what would fall under the essentials and non-essentials; for example no takeout coffee but you can buy beans to make it at home, no new skincare or makeup until you run out of that item, no new clothing unless something completely rips apart and you need another one, or if you spend a lot on takeout dinners and lunches then make it a rule that you must always bring your lunch.

3. Allow some flexibility or rewards for good behavior: Being too strict with yourself (unless you are in serious debt or unemployed) may cause you to feel too deprived that you end up in a binge-shopping situation. You could allow yourself a treat coffee from Starbucks maybe once a week/month, or promise yourself a new item if you can make it to the end of your challenge.

4. Make it a team effort! This no spend may be more challenging if you are doing with your boyfriend or husband but  you know what they say; misery loves company. If you are one of those people who like to look on the bright side, it may be worth having someone to motivate you and keep you honest while you endure this form of anti-retail torture.

5. Don't quit if you slip up! Keep going, I've noticed that part of this process is realizing what triggers your urges for impulsive spending and being aware of these thoughts makes it easier to avoid giving into them. So be kind to yourself if you have a moment of weakness.

6. Lastly focus on what matters, the good people in your life, without them life is pretty empty. Also focus on financial freedom, being debt-free gives you the power to spend on really awesome things like trips, home improvement and investing.

So how does minimalism play into my no spending? Well I really think they go hand in hand. I think it's the minimalist mindset and approach to living with less (and that the less you end up with is stuff you use, value, love and appreciate) that allows you to stop the mindless spending behaviors.

While I have struggled with the urges to spend (particularly online) I have done pretty well and I am proud of my progress thus far. I am also starting to delve a bit deeper into the "why" of my shopping addiction, when I have a thought, I recognize it and analyze it, then I occupy myself with cleaning, You Tube videos (on how to save, how to stop spending, how to live a minimalist life, how to invest and capsule wardrobes). One of my favourite new channels is Sugar Mamma tv! I spend time with my stuff, decide if I love it enough to keep it and if not, I get rid of it. I've also discovered podcasts such as Mo Money Mo Houses and Budgets and Cents which have been helping me to distract myself from shopping and get motivated to invest my money.

I've finally come to the place in my life where I realize that more stuff is not necessarily better, that the clutter is making me have serious anxiety because my house is constantly messy (two kids do not help with this) and the spending is making us broke. We are very close to be consumer debt-free and I realize that I want financial freedom more than I want the mini rush that shopping gives me.

I have gradually been going through my house and stripping it of all the stuff that I have been holding on to, simply because I felt bad getting rid of it. I will use that guilt that I feel, having paid money for something that I didn't truly love, to motivate me to avoid making impulse purchases in the future. Also to avoid buying things that are not good quality, after all I can't afford to buy cheap! With the way the economy is going, I think having money in the bank and in my purse, is much more savvy than 10 designer handbags waiting in my closet for their turn, or a pair of heels that may get worn twice a year.

I hope that other people are inspired to try this if only just for a month, You Tube has so many videos on this subject or you can google minimalism, 30 day challenge, no spend challenge, etc.

Until next time!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How To Rediscover Your Fashion Identity In Motherhood

Well I'm not going to lie to you, I'll tell it like it is. When you take the journey to becoming a mother you can lose a little bit of your identity along the way. You gain way more than you lose though don't get me wrong, but there are moments along the way when you wonder where you lost your identity.

This can apply to anything really; hobbies, diet, career, social life, and fashion. When you're a new mom you (I generalize because this is not everyone, some people always look fabulous, even when they have a small infant baby) sometimes don't shower, you wear a lot of "workout" clothing, you don't have tons of time for makeup and hair (though if your baby is sleeping often you may have time but just don't give a damn because you're too tired to care). So by the time you get into a routine with your baby and perhaps back to your pre-baby weight, you realize that your fashion mojo is already long gone. What can you do? Are you doomed to wear nothing but oversized shirts and black leggings forever? Of course not, see my tips below for re-defining your style after baby(ies).

1. Don't automatically run out and buy a whole new wardrobe. If you have clothes that no longer fit post-partum don't ditch them just yet, it can take awhile to get back to where you were, particularly if you're breastfeeding (you may be even smaller than you were pre-pregnancy) this should normalize eventually but keep in mind it differs for every woman. I made the mistake of buying new clothing in the first year and some was to big after a few months of breastfeeding then some was way too small once I had gone back to my normal weight. Don't waste your money if you can avoid it, instead you may want to put aside the stuff that doesn't fit for up to a year, then if they still don't fit go ahead and sell or donate, then enjoy shoppping for your new curves!

2. Add new accessories to comfortable basics. It's not realistic to get all dressed up in a fashion forward outfit to play with your kids or to go to a play date (babies and kids are messy.... I am almost certainly rocking a stain e'ry day) but that doesn't mean you can't still look nice while being comfortable. No one wants to wear the mom uniform but jeans or leggings and a nice shirt or sweater is an easy, comfortable outfit that can be enhanced using accessories. Add a new scarf, sunglasses, shoes or boots, a bag and jewellery (if you don't mind that it may get broken or slobbered on) to basic outfits to make them appear more on trend and put together.

3. If you've been out of the style game for awhile and are feeling stuck, look to the style setters for inspiration; this can be looking through street style photos from bloggers, celebrities or straight from the runway but don't feel like you have to copy their look exactly (mega expensive) or follow every trend there is but rather use them as a jumping off point to creating your own unique style. Take risks with your fashion, put things together that you wouldn't normally, follow your instincts.

4. At then end of the day they are just clothes and time spent with your family is usually a mothers primary focus but it's more about how you feel as a person. If you are happy in sweats and a ponytail then that's great, if you feel good about having full makeup and wearing a dress and heels (working mamas holla!) then by all means go for it.

My fashion journey for the last three years has been like an evolution, I have gained confidence that I never had before and although my body has changed in ways that I may not be thrilled with I have learned to love it. I hope you can find an even better sense of style in motherhood!



Friday, January 22, 2016