40 day fashion fast | closet breakdown + practical tips

40 days. 10 items of clothing. The Goal?  Less stuff.  More Jesus.
If you're completely lost as to what I'm talking about, start HERE then HERE
and that will catch you up to speed.


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closet breakdown | my 10 items

We're almost a week from the start of the Lenten season, which means it's time to give you a breakdown of the 10 items I picked to wear for this year's fashion fast.  I had a lot of interest last time I did a clothing fast, and I'm super excited about the feedback I've already gotten from those planning on joining me this year!  Regardless if you decide to join in, I thought it would be beneficial to go into more detail this time around in case you'd like to adopt a similar idea now, or bookmark it for a future Lent.  Let's get started!

01 | BLACK LINEN DRESS* 
02 | WHITE BLOUSE
03 | BLUE SKIRT* 
04 | CREAM CARDIGAN
05 | STRIPE SHIRT
06 | LEATHER JACKET | bought on my honeymoon in Italy
07 | BOYFRIEND JEANS | old from madewell, similar option, here
08 | GREY PULL OVER | old from madewell, similar option, here
09 | OLIVE CARDIGAN | old from old navy, similar option, here
10 | BLACK JEANS | madewell, bought secondhand, similar here

*denotes a garment that is nursing and pregnancy friendly

Remember that shoes, accessories, lounge clothes, and your winter coat aren't part of my 10 item list.  Stay tuned in the weeks to come because (hopefully) I'll be able to show you my favorite go-to outfits so that you can see how I interchange my 10 piece wardrobe.  Keep in mind that I am not a fashion blogger, nor do I have any claim to knowing anything about clothes -- this is a spiritual challenge first and foremost and should be approached as such.  But sharing outfits is girly fun so why not be joyful during our fasting?!


practical tips

01 | ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY | I think if you take on any type of personal challenge it helps to have a friend to do it with.  It's useful to text someone to bounce outfit ideas with or just to give you support when you're sick of wearing the same thing every day.  Detachment is hard!  If you have a support system at your fingertips, you're more likely to achieve your goal.  This time around, I started using the hashtag #40dayfashionfast on social media for those friends who want to join me.  It's a great way for us to share our outfits and reflections over the course of the Lenten season! 

02 | PLAN + PREPARE | You don't need to buy a whole new wardrobe in order to have the "perfect 10 items" to complete this challenge.  Everything on my list were already wardrobe staples in my closet.  I invite you to do the same!  Look at the things you already own to find your 10 items and then plan out a few "uniforms" in advance so you don't have to think about what goes with what.  I find this formulaic way of dressing helps take the guessing game out of "what do I wear today?".  If you'd like to learn more about fashion uniforms, check out my favorite conscious closet blog, Unfancy.  

03 | THINK COHESIVELY | when planning out your outfits, pick your pieces in colors that work well together.  You don't have to have a closet full of neutrals, but a few things in basic hues (white, grey, tan, black) will add versatility to your statement pieces.  I picked my two favorite colors -- blue and green -- as my stand out colors to wear with my neutrals.

04 | AVOID TEMPTATION | sign up for e-mail screening services such as Unroll Me so that you can avoid those pesky daily e-mails from your favorite stores.  If it's not in your inbox, you're less likely to browse the new arrivals and be tempted by the 30% sale promotions.  Freeing up your time online will help you be more productive with your precious free time -- like maybe reading a book, taking a walk outside, learning a new skill, seeking silence in prayer, or spending time with your family.  Sounds good to me!   

05 | KEEP CHRIST FIRST | Remember that fasting is meant to be hard.  It's hard because you're dying to yourself in an area that keeps you from advancing in holiness.  If it's not hard, then you probably need to rethink about what you're giving up for Lent.  It's not a secret that shopping has always been a personal struggle for me.  Materialism creeps in on my life time and time again, and it's easy to get caught in the trap whenever the newest "must have item" comes along.  When I fall, I try to renounce any inkling of discouragement. Instead, I remember to boldly accept my weakness and rely completely on Christ's strength and mercy. The entire purpose of Lent is to recognize that we can't go through this life without Him.  Trust in His gentleness and patience with our many faults and know that He'll help us detach from the things that prevent us from fully loving Him.

Detach yourself from the goods of this world. Love and practice poverty of spirit: be content with what is sufficient for leading a simple and temperate life.
— ST JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

the next chapter

I was getting all sentimental and looking through old photos from our honeymoon in Italy, just starring at these two kids for a long time -- I don't think either of us knew the grand adventure that awaited us just a week later when we packed up the U-Haul and drove across the country to start our newlywed life in Indianapolis.  

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Almost four years ago we were pulling up into the driveway into our rental house.  It was the first time I had even been to Indianapolis!  A new city.  A new job.  No friends.  No family. A cat. And then, a few months later, we would find out about Pier's existence and forever be changed.  

I share all these memories with you because, as most of you know already, we are ending our time in the Midwest as Bradley wraps up his final months in residency.  I'm happy to finally share that he has signed a contract and we are officially moving to St. Francisville, Louisiana.  Population two thousand.  Yep, this city girl is moving out to the country!  And I can't wait to live out my Laura Ingalls dreams from childhood (I want lots of land to start homesteading of course ;)). 

Brad will be working for the newly renovated hospital in his own Internal Medicine/Family Medicine clinic.  He will have regular consistent hours, a four-day work week, and most of all, will be happy doing exactly what he wants to do.  It has been such a long (longgggg) road for him and to see his dreams come to life makes me very proud to be by his side.  We started dating his first year of medical school, so I've watched his medical career from the very beginning. It has been a privilege to watch my husband learn, grow, and tackle challenges with such courage and grace.  It wasn't easy.  There were many hidden sacrifices, but in his selflessness and humility, he never made a big deal about any of it.  He is a cheerful giver who is willing to go the extra mile to provide for his family and make my dreams come true, too.  

Anyway, I just thought I'd share an update here so you can know what we will be up to over the upcoming months.  He begins his job in August, but we will likely make the cross-country move at the end of June.  Over the Christmas holidays we rented a house directly next to the Catholic in town and can't wait to start making it a home.  Eventually, our plan is to purchase a few acres of land and build our forever home on it. But until then, I will be content living in our sweet little rental for as long as we need to make that happen.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support for our family.  We feel so loved and so blessed.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

 

life lately

THE OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER HIGHLIGHT REEL
(otherwise known as what you've been missing from my life over the past three months)
(also, they're mostly of Eulalie because Pier is a toddler tornado
and getting a photo of him is anything short of miraculous)

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1 | Eulalie had her first Christmas!  We had many Christmas music dance parties, decorated the Christmas tree, and had a quiet Christmas morning opening gifts from Santa.  It was a really sacred and sweet time for our family spending the last holiday in our little Indiana house.  I'll never forget the memories we made here, especially during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

2 | Lots of visitors came!  We had Brad's mom stay with us, then our good friends the Finney's drove in from Pennsylvania to celebrate Thanksgiving with us, and then my parents drove up the day after Christmas to spend a few days before ALL of us down to Louisiana to spend New Years week together.  

3 | We survived a huge string of illnesses -- two epic family stomach viruses, a double ear-infection for Pier, and Eulalie getting her shots//teething all within a few weeks of each other.  Crossing my fingers we're all well and I am determined NOT to catch the flu. Because that would be the end as we know it.

4 | Pier has been growing non-stop.  He goes to school twice a week, his favorite food is "pizza and chocolate", and he's been especially good at "sharing with you-wee" lately.  He helps me cook dinner every day and is the BEST at fetching diapers for the baby or putting away laundry.  It's the most entertaining age yet because he's getting so communicative and the things he says just make us laugh so hard.  He also loves to take his pants off.  That's two for you. 

5 | Eulalie turned 6 months old in January and I will work on a separate post to update telling you all about her newest tricks and developments. 

Ok that's all I got...the holiday months are so crazy, we didn't really do much except prepare for all the feasting, present-opening, and party-throwing that comes with the season.  Also, taking care of sick babies while you are sick completely wipes all your energy so we were in recovery mode during most of the final weeks of 2017.  It's a new year now so I am going to be better about posting things on this blog for you! Promise ;)!

4o day fashion fast | introducing a Lenten challenge

40 days. 10 items of clothing.  The Goal?  Less stuff.  More Jesus.

With the Lenten season approaching, I thought I would revisit the unconventional clothing fast I attempted two years ago (instead of giving up my beloved sweets for yet another year). You can read the spiritual "why" behind my clothing fast HERE -- Sparknotes version: I love pretty things.  I love pretty clothes, specifically.  I need to love Jesus more than that. 

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So here's the challenge: 40 days of wearing only 10 predetermined items in my closet.  Absolutely no unnecessary shopping (extra points if you have self control enough to forgo amazon prime + online browsing.).  There are no limits on my accessories, shoes, loungewear, and weather appropriate outerwear (because it will probably still be snowing in Indiana...). Other than that I must stick to wearing my 10 items and only those items. I started putting together my clothing picks and I'm excited to show you what's in my closet this time around!  


my fashion philosophy

So, what's changed since my last fashion fast attempt?  My style for one.  I think I am much more comfort conscious more than anything else.  Since having Pier, I've learned what works for me and what doesn't.  Motherhood fashion is a whole other beast that I'm still trying to navigate...but I think I've narrowed down my clothing criteria.  I tend to gravitate toward versatile items made of natural materials.  Fabric such as cotton, linen, and muslin keeps my body temperature regulated while also allowing me to breathe and move around freely to play with my kids.  Before this discovery I was an uncomfortable sweaty mama mess.  I've traded "trendy" for "what works for my lifestyle right now".  Heels, tight clothes, and buckets of makeup and hairspray will never be me nor will it fit into my day-to-day job as a mother to young children.  

Upon completing my first fashion fast, I've determined five simple rules for buying new clothes:

01 | Is it comfortable? 
02 | Is it functional and versatile? (Can I wear it when pregnant, nursing, and postpartum?)
03 | Do I feel like myself in it? I have to really love it if I'm going to keep it.
04 | Does it fit my style and aesthetic? 
05 | Is it ethical?

 ...which brings me to my next point...


ethical fashion

Another big change in my shopping is embracing the slow fashion movement (otherwise known as ethical fashion).  Over the past two years, I've gradually been exchanging my old store-bought clothes for those that are ethically made.  I'm not perfect at sticking to this, but it's a process that I hope I will get better at over time.  My friend Valerie has an entire series on her blog that details the heart of this movement and why she feels it's important to be a part of (see her whole list at the end of her post HERE). She's the one who educated me on the corruption in the fashion industry and the ethical fashion movement that formed as a result.  

Since learning more about it it's something I've felt the Lord calling me to pursue as well.  So far, the benefits of adopting a minimal, ethical wardrobe have been a blessing for someone like me who is so attached to the things of the world.  I donated or sold about 3/4 of my closet and what remains now are items that I wear non-stop.  The best part is that I actually enjoy wearing them non-stop!  I'm not sick of my clothes!  

My bad shopping habits are slowly changing for the better. The amount of "new items" in my closet has decreased significantly.  I don't randomly buy things.  If I do buy something, I think about it for a very, very long time.  If it's out of my price range, I save up for it, wait for a sale, or buy secondhand by patiently stalking e-bay, thredup, or poshmark.  And my absolute favorite part about buying ethically is that I get to virtually meet and interact with the person who makes my clothes. They are artisans, after all, which means you can feel the effort, care, and passion in the art that you're choosing to wear.  You can't say that about anything you buy in a fashion mall!

If I've peaked your interest, then you should watch THIS documentary on minimalism and THIS one on ethical fashion (both on Netflix!).  The ethical/minimalist fashion isn't part of the Lenten challenge, but I thought I would take this opportunity to continue my dialogue about it since it happened as a result of my first fashion fast. 


#40dayfashionfast

And if you decide to adopt this fast for your own Lenten penance, then let's do it together! Join me on social media under the hashtag #40dayfashionfast so we can encourage each other to look a little more like Christ by the end of it. I'll also be posting details on my 10 pieces, weekly outfits, and Lenten reflections here on the blog throughout the 40 day period. Until then, I invite you to pray if a forty day fashion fast is something you'd like to do with me. Honestly, I need all the help I can get ;). 

 

st. louis

Hi, ol' friend. It's good to be back. And I hope you had a restful, peaceful Advent and Christmas season.  There is so much to update you on, but let me first share with you our photos from a St. Louis trip back in October.  Yep, October. My computer has been collecting dust for the last few months and I've been re-teaching myself how to be present to my family by unplugging, un-blogging, and deleting social media (that's another post for another day).  

In October we went to St. Louis to meet up with our good Louisiana friends Greg and Rebecca Fontenot.  Brad and Greg met in med school and have been buds ever since...and the minute I met Rebecca I knew we would be lifelong friends.  They have two kids the exact ages and genders as ours (Peter and Elizabeth...see, they even have similar less-weird-versions of our names!)  And they are just about the kindest people you could ever meet.  Here's a recap of our trip: 

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I think my favorite memory from our few days in St. Louis was seeing the boys at the zoo. We had such a fun day! Pier went crazy over the polar bear and the hippos. Heck, I did too if I'm being honest.  If you've never seen a two year old see zoo animals the joy is contagious, let me tell you.  Some other stand out memories: attending mass at the basilica, visiting the science museum, and throwing the frisbee in Forrest Park.  Peter and Pier were really sweet playing together...they always had to hold hands or give each other hugs (there were also tantrums -- mostly Pier lol -- because of toys, but I don't like to dwell on that typical two year old behavior ;)).  We were there for only four days but Pier kept referring to Peter as "my best fwyan".  Heart melting.  

Traveling with kids is exhausting but always worth it.  Except that time we all caught a stomach virus from said Fontenot family the day we got back to Indiana and were basically dying for a week afterword.... I'll spare you the details on that one.