Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Intro to Natalie's Capsule Wardrobe

I have become obsessed with the idea of minimalism: fewer, better things.

At the end of August I was putting away laundry and realized I had absolutely My closet was literally bursting at the seams. I had hangers on my closet door knobs and my bedroom door knobs. And then I was moving stuff to the closet in another bedroom and I became overwhelmed. In taking a step back and really looking at what was in my closet, I realized that I had way too much crap. There were a lot of things in my closet that I didn't love. What's the point of having something that is just okay?

So, I did a major clear-out. Inspired by Caroline, I went through and got rid of the stuff that I don't wear, don't like or that doesn't fit. Pretty simple, no? Then I started narrowing it down. What did I purchase only because it was on sale? Does it fit? What is versatile? What's the quality of it? And anything that had a negative response was thrown out. I kept out what I love and what's seasonally appropriate. Anything else was put into storage. So now I have a rotation of items that I love and get tons of use out of.

I haven't narrowed it down quite as much as I'd like to, but like anything else, it's a work in progress. The idea is to have 4 capsules that you rotate every season and only add a few new pieces each time around. You carry over from season to season those pieces that are seasonally appropriate and that you still love. You pull some from storage and then fill in the gaps with new pieces.

After going through my closet, I looked at the gaps that needed to be filled (i.e. a plain black blouse - I mean, how have I not had one of those?) and went shopping. And for the past 3 months (September - November) I've only worn those. Since I have a professional work environment and very casual home environment, I have more pieces than Caroline has in her capsule (she has 37, I have 40). Since my wardrobe requirements change from work to home so drastically, I felt it was necessary to have a few extras. Having done a trail capsule and done it successful, I'm sharing this time around!

I've started applying this minimalistic idea to my entire life. I've narrowed down the amount of beauty products I have (except for the Sephora Beauty Insider sale - hello 20% off!), I cleared out my bookshelf of the books I know I'll never read and have realized I'm much more content with what I have. I don't struggle in the morning to get ready, I'm not overwhelmed by crap, and I feel good with what I have. I've invested in quality pieces that I know will last and they're pieces that I love! No more buying things just because they're on sale or are "in" for the season. And this has helped me define my style. I've realized I really love monochromatic looks and I like sleek lines. I like soft fabrics (silk and cashmere), but I like throwing in edgy accessories like black leather booties and hard, metal jewelry.

This has also really helped with my budgeting! I'm spending less because I'm strategically planning out what I'm going to be wearing ahead of time, so I'm not running out thinking, Oh, I need a black cardigan, and come back with way more than I intended to buy in the first place. Granted, I'm spending a big chunk of money in a two week period, but if I break it down, I end up spending less that way, than if I did doing normal shopping every few weeks. And, I'm guaranteed to love everything that I buy. Again, no more buying because it's on sale or "in". 

So that's my introduction to my capsule wardrobe! If you stuck through this post, congratulations - I know it was a long one! I'll share with you my capsule for December - February next week and I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Have you tried the whole capsule wardrobe thing? How is it going for you? Do you have any tips to share? Leave a link below if you're blogging about yours! I'd love to see how everyone does their capsule

Monday, November 24, 2014

Natalie's Winter Skincare Essentials

Winter in Chicago is brutal. Wind, snow, -40 temps on a regular basis... All of that definitely takes a toll on my skin. I've started feeling the effects of winter already, so I've rounded up my favorite winter essentials:

L-R: Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment, Vaseline Lip Therapy, Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation and Clarisonic Mia
In the winter I switch out my cleanser from the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash to something a little less drying. I love Checks and Balances - it's a really great cleanser, but I find that it really strips all the oil from my face and leaves me feeling dry and tight. The Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser is one of my all-time favorites. I use this all year round, but use it exclusively in the winter. It gets rid of all the dirt and excess oil without leaving me feeling like I just took a vacuum to my pores.

I've been trying out the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, and I'm in love! I use this in the shower about once a week to get rid of any dry/flaky skin and to smooth everything out. It's ridiculously  pricey, but it works! A little goes a long way, so this small tube will last a while. Will I repurchase it? I'm not sure. I'm all for treating my skin well, but I'm pretty sure I can find an exfoliant that doesn't break the bank. Any suggestions?

Because my skin does get so dry, I've been loving the GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment. I used this last week when I started to get red, dry patches along my jaw line. I used this in the evening and left it on for maybe 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Then, before bed, I applied a small amount to the really dry areas and they were perfect by morning! I bought this mini size as part of the Sephora Favorites Beauty Unmasked set that came with a handful of different masks. I love trying out the minis before deciding if they're worth purchasing the full size. This one is definitely worth checking out if you get dry, flaky or even red skin. It's very soothing!

We can't forget the lips now can we? Mr. appreciates that I use this, and I kinda like it too! The Vaseline Lip Therapy is one of my favorite lip treatments. I use this in the morning and evening. I put this on right after I get out of the shower in the morning so that it has time to soak in while I'm doing my makeup and hair. Then, when I'm ready to put on my lipstick, this is a really great base for sheering out any lipsticks that might be too pigmented on their own. In the evening, I apply a heavier coat so that my lips are nice and soft in the morning. The tub isn't the most hygienic way to apply this, but I love it nonetheless.

Now that we've talked about how dry my skin gets during the winter, let's talk about how oily it is during the rest of the year. I had been using a gel-based moisturizer/hydrater for eons, and decided to switch it up after thinking that maybe it was my moisturizer that was making my skin so oily. Turns out, I was right. The Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation is the best moisturizer that I've tried in a long time. I use this at night and in the morning, and it sits really well under my makeup, which is always a plus!

About once a month I'll pull out my Clarisonic Mia with the Delicate brush head. I use this with the Aveeno foaming cleanser and follow up with a generous amount of the Sheer Transformation. This is great for smoothing my skin, a deep cleanse and it perks up my skin!

I hope this was helpful! I rely on these products so much during the winter and so far, they haven't failed me. What do you use in the winter to keep your skin healthy and hydrated?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Skirt

As Thanksgiving creeps closer, I am reminded more and more that the holidays are coming and more and more that I still need to find the perfect midi skirt for all of the holiday festivities that are about to start beating down my door. Holiday is stress kicking into full gear. Ya know?

I have been obsessing over tulle lately and feel that this would make for the perfect look for the Nutcracker ballet and or a Christmas tea or two. Here are a few skirts I am currently debating on. Which one do you guys like? Help!

Nordstrom - Bailey 44 Shadow Waltz Skirt

Nordstrom ASTR Metallic Crinkle Midi

Akira - Festive Rose Skirt

Akira - Gracia Hi Low Shine Skirt


Monday, November 17, 2014

What I Wore: It's Cold Outside

It's cold in Chicago. And it's only mid-November. Ran out for a Peppermint Mocha on this Sunday morning and put on my new Rails plaid and new Dolce Vita riding boots, along with a cozy scarf, mittens and a little YSL.

Here's what I wore:

Top: Rails; Coat: Joie, Leggings: Akira Chicago; Boots: Dolce Vita.

Scarf: Nordstrom BP; Gloves: H&M; Bag: YSL.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I Wore: Black & Brown

Oh. Hello there! Long time no see!

Work has quieted down now until the end of the year so I can start to get back into a blogging schedule. 

I bought these Sam Edelman boots in August and I love them! I had been searching for a pair of brown/cognac boots for a while and these started screaming my name at Nordstrom. 

I've been pairing them with everything and anything. And surprisingly it all works! I never would have paired black and brown together. To me that's like blue and black. But both of those combos are growing on me. And I love how effortless it is. 

On another note, I think it might be time for a haircut!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What I Wore: My Favorite Dress Ever

Throwback Thursday-ing it to about two weeks ago when I wore my favorite dress for a sushi date with my man. DVF Zarita dresses are so classic and so chic and a staple every girl should have in their wardrobe.

Here's how I wore mine:

Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg; Shoes: Louboutin; Bag: Louis Vuitton.

Love this lace zipper back.

A little bling with my orchid.

The goods.