Winter 10×10 Challenge

I decided, while I impatiently wait for the weather to warm up a smidgen so I can start my 1 dress 30 days challenge, I would do a 10×10 fashion challenge. The blogs StyleBee and Un-Fancy are hosting a 10 items x 10 days fashion challenge. The idea is to pick ten items from your closet – shirt, pants, sweater, boots, etc – and wear those ten items for ten days. You can mix and match among those ten pieces as much as you want (and things like accessories {scarves, jewelry, etc} don’t count towards the ten items.) I did one once before with mixed results. I ended up forgetting about an event that required nicer clothes and the weather did not go according to plan.

Joining in this #winter10x10 was a last minute decision (I decided about 2:30 on Monday to start the next day), and of course Thursday and Friday are predicted for snow in London. It is currently raining, but one thing I have learned from living in London for the last year and half, you never wait for the weather to get better.

Because it won’t!

Here are my picks for my Winter 10×10 Challenge:


1. Vegan leather leggings from Abercrombie & Fitch (old); 2. Rag & Bone ‘The Dre’  jeans; 3. Boden Statement Sweatshirt; 4. J Crew Gingham Boy Shirt; 5. J Crew Perfect Shirt (old); 6. St James striped shirt (thrifted); 7. White Stuff Basket Cardigan; 8. Black dress (old)


9. Bass Beverly Boot; 10. Sonoma boots (old)

Those are my ten items. I did intend to use a blue long sleeve shirt instead of the striped shirt, but then I remembered I wore it yesterday, so it’s as yet unwashed. My process for picking my items was to sit on the couch with a notebook and pencil (while watching The White Queen) and go from my memory. Most people would stand in front of their closets and pick their items, but when I’ve done this in the past it only seemed to make things harder for me to pick. As it was I had lots of erasing and changing of items. I was originally going to include  this dress instead of my black one. It seemed maybe limiting somehow, though now I think on it, I’m not sure how it’s limiting. Maybe it’s that I’ve had it for over a year and have only worn it a few times. I like it, it’s kind of retro 70’s funky, but I just never wear it for some reason. Even though it has pockets, and a dress with pockets is like the holy grail of dresses.

Every dress should have pockets.

Just saying.

One other item I was hoping to include was this shawl from People Tree that I ordered. But it still hasn’t arrived yet {sob}.

I did decide to go ahead and allow myself a substitution if needed of my black trainers. There’s potential snow forecast later in the week, and with my foot acting up with the cold weather, and the fact that I walk two miles a day getting my kids back and forth to the bus stop (plus wherever else I go in a day), I needed the ability to have a shoe my feet love.


The point of this challenge isn’t about hard and fast rules, it’s about creating a look maybe you’ve never thought about before. Mixing and matching and forcing yourself to get creative.

I am going to try to share daily pictures of outfits on my Instagram. I will attempt to get pictures with my ‘real’ camera (despite the wonderful London lighting), but my battery is close to dying and The Husband has taken the voltage converter I need for my German plug camera with him to the US (too complicated to try to even explain).

If you want to participate I highly recommend swinging over to Un-Fancy and StyleBee where they’ve listed all the details and the hashtags to use for social media. I believe Style This Life is also participating, so be sure to check there too!

As I end this post, I’m wondering if anyone has used the Cladwell app for building a capsule wardrobe? When I first heard of it I thought it was silly to pay for something I could just do myself. But then I read the description again today, a nd I’m thinking maybe for the $15 for 3 months, it might be a really great tool. I’d love to hear thoughts if you’ve used it, or just what you think. Anyone else want to join the #Winter10x10?


My favorite things

I think I did a favorites list once, and I’m pretty sure it had one thing; chocolate. Since everyone is doing favorites lists, I thought, why not? So here are my favorite things from the last year or so across any category.

Movie: The Martian


Matt Damon. What else is there to say? Seriously though, this is such a good movie. I could not convince the Husband to go to the theater with me when it came out (and I think it actually came in 2015) but as soon as it was available digitally, we owned it. I watched it countless times since, and last night at the Boy’s request, we watched it again for movie night. There’s just something wonderful about a man being left behind on a planet and trying to survive. Maybe it’s a metaphor for me trying to survive the epically martian land of England? Who knows.

Book: Impossible to just pick one given my love of all things BOOOK! but here are two four I’ve read that I keep revisiting: {if you need more check out my GoodReads page}

Philipa Gregory, I fell in love with Three Sisters, Three Queens (the first of hers I read), and then proceeded to speed through her Cousins War series. I’ve hit a slow down with the Tudor Series, but I think I just needed a break from the pace I was reading them.


Black Boy by Richard Wright, I have never been able to let this book from my mind. There’s just something sad, and moving, and wonderful in it. It is partly non-fiction and partly fiction (there’s academic debate about it being memoir and embellished). You decide.

Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. I am a lover of all tings Scottish because of my family ancestry, and I’ve read a few books on Mary but this was my favorite.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I loved her take on living for a year in the land of hygge. Especially how she refers to her husband as Lego Man.

The Rival Queens, Nancy Goldstone. This is about the trials of Catherine de Medici and her daughter Marguerite of Valois. Absolutely fascinating, and horrifying what things went on in the 15th century! I became fascinated by Catherine de Medici after watching Reign (yes that soapy not exactly historically correct teen drama), but her real life was very interesting. It also led me to be very interested in this Netflix original:

TV: Medici: Masters of Florence. You will pretty much find almost every character has been on a show you’ve either seen or heard of (Rob Stark from Game of Thrones AND Walter Frey as in laws??) It has a fabulous cast (Dustin Hoffman and et al), and the story is very worthy of binge watching. The drama, the backstabbing (literally), the time period. I can never get enough of these shows from another time. (It also led me to read The Medici by Paul Strathern – Loving It.)

Mini-Series: I couldn’t pick just one, so here are two:

The White Queen from Starz (based on 3 books from Philippa Gregory’s Cousins War series. Really, Really hoping that season two rumors are true, since this originally ran in 2013.)


Victoria from ITV. It tells the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign from when she was crowned at 18 to the birth of her first child. Highly entertaining and my 10 year old also loves watching it. I believe there will be a season two.

I fell in love with this beauty product so much that the Husband is even schlepping to Nordstrom today while he’s in Seattle for work to get me some more (he’s awesome!). I hate it when products I love aren’t available in the UK:

Kate Sommerville Age Arrest Serum. I’ve gone two months without it since I ran out, and yes, it definitely improves my skin and I love the silky texture and the way my skin feels when I use it. Even though it’s $95….If you know an alternative that is just as good, for cheaper, please tell me!

MV Organics Rose range: everything. The moisturizer, cleanser, and the rose boost oil. (I have the Skin Tonic as well, but the jury’s still out on that one). Let’s just not even talk about the price, please. The cleanser is reasonable comparative to other similar brands but the moisturizer, {heart attack} on the 70ml price –> £77. I finally paid for it after schlepping out repeatedly for the 15 ml size at £25 a jar. Normally, I’d say NUTS to pay that much (even though I’ve bought pricier things…Sunday Riley, Sisley and May Lindstrom spring to mind…) but this is the first product that might actually be toning back the rosacea. And I’ve been consistent in using it every day, twice a day for a few months. I think we might be getting somewhere. I’m sure it’s probably not available in the US because {story of my life}.

Speaking of not available, I have with this clothing company – Hackwith Design House. All ethically made, gorgeous things, that are pricey! but with the companies ethics, and sticking to being on sale, I can live with it. They DO ship to London, for $20, and then VAT and duties are paid on top of clothing cost + shipping. So one dress I love, the Desiree (among many others), would be $158 + 20% duties + £8 post office ‘fee’ = way too much money. It makes me VERY sad but that has been the luck. So many ethical outstanding clothing companies {Brass Clothing, Everlane, Jan-N-June, ArmedAngels, Uniform, Zady, Need Supply Co, Gather & See, esby, and on that will/won’t ship/or charge in Euros} but the price of buying something is astronomical by the time I pay to get it out of Duty Jail. 5 more months and The Husband will just have to deal with a little wallet pinching. For a fantastic list (and website in general!) see Anuschka Rees. She also has a book The Curated Closet which I am impatiently waiting to be available to the UK.

Dog items: Wagg Training Treats (there’s even a low-fat version which is hilarious) and Pill Pockets from Greenies. Both of these items have been lifesavers with Mocha for training/rewards, and for the unending medication rotation we seem to be on since we’ve been in London.

Those are some of the things I’ve fallen in love with this year. There are many other things  that I have loved this year, but if I listed all of them it would be more like a book than a list. What have you fallen in love with this year?

2017, oh let’s not start out like this

2017. I want us to be friends, good friends, really good friends. I want us to be the kind of friends you can call up at 2:30 in the morning because you had this epically scary spider dream, and no matter how hard you try, your spouse just keeps pretending he’s snoring.

that kind of friends

So far, 2017 and I are not off to a great start. It is cold here in London. Nothing new, seeing as it IS winter, but it’s become bitter cold this week. Or at least it feels bitter cold. The temperature says 34 this morning, but it feels…like an ache in the bones kind of cold (which thanks to my advancing age of 39, my knees and my Bad Foot are telling me daily that they hate the cold, with passion.) Since we just got back from Copenhagen on New Years Eve and it was even colder there, London should feel warmer. But, oh, how it does not.


Move to tropical climate is still on my number one list of things I want to accomplish in my lifetime {preferably soon}. Likelihood: zilch. A girl can dream.

I may have mentioned it before, and if you’ve ever glanced at my Instagram for more than 3 seconds, you’ll know our family has a mini-dachshund. She’s cute, she’s small, she’s a barking drama queen. She’s also sick.

Because the details of getting a urine sample from a dog are just TMI for anyone, suffice it that I managed to get one, and it’s been sent out to see what type of infection she has. It could be simple. And it could not be simple. Given her stomach issues that have been going on for over a year and her special diet, I have fears that it is not going to be simple. This little face deserves simple.


So keep your fingers crossed for this adorable nugget of crazy, please?

2017 and I were supposed to start of with a Great Fashion Project as well. I came across this video about 2 1/2 weeks ago from Gold Zipper (I can’t even remember how exactly). The concept is simple: to wear 1 dress for 30 days.

Depending on your point of view, it’s either brilliant, or a little out there. I gravitated toward brilliance. Here’s why:

I like this concept of ease in the morning. The same thing everyday that isn’t jeans (which is my normal ‘uniform’), and it forces you to be creative with accessories, shoes, etc. I think it could teach me more about the way I interact with my clothes, how people might see me and what direction I really want my closet to go in.

Last year I did try to do Project 333, capsule wardrobing. It didn’t go over super well; I made about 5-6 months (if I’m generous) and I slipped right back into my buying ways. {this month, I have been a very bad spender. something about this time of year just sets off a spree for me}

January 1, 2017, I put on my only weather (somewhat) appropriate black dress. And about a minute later I had marked it with deodorant. {anyone else have a deodorant issue? no matter what kind I use, how/when I put it on it’s like one giant Russian roulette wheel every morning} I took the dress off, did some silent screaming, and moved on to a quasi-plan b. I put on this outfit, what seems to be a cross between a schoolteacher and a librarian.


this is my ‘i feel stupid’ face. happens frequently.

I managed tights All. Day. with a dog, and children, and leaving the house. I hadn’t worn tights since a dinner party I went to back at the beginning of December and before that I’m not even sure when.

Point: I don’t often wear tights.

Day one. Not the raging success but I did manage to substitute an out-of-comfort-zone outfit. {skirt: Boden, old; white shirt: Jcrew; grey sweater vest: Jcrew; necklace & tights: Ann Taylor, old.}

Day two: it was Monday, we lazed around the house all day. NO tights were worn. Tuesday, it became cold, and I still hadn’t managed to wash the deodorant marked dress yet {things that happen when one load of washing – not drying – takes 2 hours plus and you’ve just come back from vacation}.

Day three: it is really freezing, though the dress was washed and hanging to dry.

And that’s when I started thinking maybe January, in London, might *not* be the best time to give this experiment a try. Even though when I first thought “I’m so doing this!”, I immediately listed 15 different ways to change the look of the dress without even having to consult my closet. That made me feel very happy. I have started re-thinking this 1 dress 30 days challenge I’ve set for myself, and ordered a dress more weather appropriate instead of summer thin. I really did want to try to make it happen from what I already owned, this $12 dress I’ve had for over 8 years. I actually wore it to the dinner party I mentioned above.


friend, birthday person, me and the LBD

I’m definitely going to complete 1 dress, 30 days. Hopefully the temperature will kick up a bit. The best way to make the project a success is to give it a chance of success, i.e. not doing it in freezing cold temperatures. I am actually quite excited about doing this. Along with that I want to not buy anything wardrobe related {minus a second pair of black tights. only having one pair and a very cold house, means wearing them after washing the night before might not be possible. a second pair is always a good idea.} 

I’ve been bad with buying (as I said above). It is a cycle, of being down or bored, or a combination of both. It is the one thing I said in my last post I was going to stop, and I already bought four things. 1. 2. 3. 4. Granted, this is all from Christmas gift money, but still, it’s no excuse. And if there’s one thing I want to stop doing this year, it’s making excuses for purchases. I want to try to be more like these guys – The Minimalists. I can’t see us ever getting that extreme, especially since 3/4 of my family are bordering on hoarders (only the dog gets away clean as she can’t really throw out her possessions.) But it is a goal to down-size the stuff, which was what the point of a capsule wardrobe was supposed to be for me. In a lot of ways, I have done very well in reducing things I never wore. I just brought other things in again…

I’ve written up a list of BOOKS I plan to say adieu to. Yes, I did say books, and upon returning to Seattle and seeing the majority of my books again (and lots of the things we haven’t needed in two years), I think there will be a lot of clearing going on. If I didn’t need them for two years, I don’t need them now, will be my attitude. {I hope}

That’s the first week of 2017 (almost) finished. He’s to 51 more to go. How’s your New Year  going?

A Monday Wishlist

I can’t believe my kids go back to school in one week. In one week it’ll be me and the dog, hanging about! {well, technically, I won’t be home as I have a ticket to visit Clarence House for next Monday}. Time does indeed fly by.

This post is about the wishlist, the items I’d love to have added to my life. The first one I’ve searched for for well over a year, trying to find it second hand. I might just have to pay up for one. The Tweed Blazer:

I seem to only love it in a multi-colorway. The ones that are all one solid color like blue or green, just don’t seem to give me that -heck ya! – feeling. I am a preppy gal, and I’m not afraid to admit it. tweed blazer + trousers + penny loafers = my ideal fall outfit

So the next item is no surprise (though it’s surprising that I don’t actually own pair of loafers)

Totally in love. The.End. {I also love these, and these. And these.}

I find myself swaying towards the cliche ‘it’ bag – the saddle bag {though I suppose that was a spring/summer fad fad last fall. I tend to be behind when something is super trendy because I usually don’t like it until I’ve seen it ten thousand times.)

For obvious reasons – like 485 of them – I’m not buying a Chloe bag anytime soon; or even anytime far away.  This bag would not hold an umbrella – a prerequisite to living in London – and I doubt it would fit my wallet, and the other myriad of items I carry. But it is very nice. {similar & more affordable options here, here, and here.)

This next item is maybe a bit weird, but if I could find a place to store it until next year, I’d love this rug for my dining area:

Actually, the whole room. All of it. Please and thank you. {I actually do have two chairs in a similar color to the dining chairs that I thrifted awhile back.}

I’d also like to get rid of the sectional couch we bought a few years ago {which has not held up despite the price and ‘quality’ of the brand}. This one is rather ingenious and simple.


I’m also dreaming of going back here; swimming in the lagoon with the turtles, kayaking, listening to the waves…pure bliss.



Are you coveting anything beautiful for the coming season? Dreaming of any magical destinations?



OOTD’s, 10×10 Challenge

Have you noticed fall items have started hitting the store shelves, and catalogs full of colored leaf bliss have fallen through the mail slot. It’s here; fall shopping. I did really well immediately placing the latest Boden catalog straight into the recycling bin, but then the Chick needed fall clothes, and they have shorts on massive clearance {remember how I talked about my single pair of shorts and how this is potentially an issue?}, and one thing leads to another, and before you know it you’re staring at a webpage that is thanking you for your order.


{oh right, I have none}

I thought I’d combine my loosely interpreted 10×10 Summer Challenge day 1 & 2 & 3 with some items on my fall wish list. After I decided I wanted to do the 10×10 Challenge I went to the closet armed with music, and pen and paper. I didn’t have too much trouble filling up my ten items, mostly of my new Everlane which I was very excited to wear and incorporate. But then as I hit item #8 I started to doubt myself. Should I include my pair of shorts, instead of two dresses for the couple of hotter days? I was having waffling issues. In the end I went with it.

Day 1:


sleepless shirtdress, Everlane; dipped mini-backpack, Everlane; sandals, Birkenstock


dress, Everlane; wedges, LifeStride ; bag, Longchamp

In a happy (but complicated) mistake, when I bought some things from Everlane back in June and had them sent to my parents for collecting in July, I was sent this dress. Which I wore to dinner at the lake and only upon arriving back home did I realize that it wasn’t actually the dress I had ordered. I had ordered this one, the button up short sleeve dress {which is now on the name your price sale, if you haven’t seen this on Everlane, it’s the closest they come to a sale. They give you three prices and you decide which one to pay}. After some back and forth – and I will say they were very nice about the mistake but ultimately failed to grasp the timing issue to get me the correct dress before I left to go back to London – I ended up just keeping the one above. And it’s fun, summery, and very comfortable. I’m looking forward to styling it with a long sleeve underneath or leggings.

The mini backpack is great and one of the new items I picked up. I wanted a backpack for when we do day trips to hold the obnoxious dslr, an umbrella, etc etc but without having to dive into big backpack territory ala my Jack Wolfskin backpack. It worked out very well here for shopping for back-to-school supplies, and made a nice change from my everyday Longchamp bag {which I’ve used almost daily for the last 7 months}. I did wear the Bireknstocks instead of the wedges simply because they are so comfortable but I think the wedges could make a nice dressier option.

Day 2 I actually didn’t grab a picture {bad blogger}, but I wore the Everlane tank dress I pictured here, minus the sweater. It was the weekend, we were all feeling the “I want to to do something but I don’t actually want to go anywhere” vibe. Sometimes I had weekends when that happens. I honestly have no recollection if I left the house or not.

Day 3:


texture tee, Everlane; cream texture tunic, Everlane; black jeans, Boden; flats, Dr Scholls (old); necklace, Nordstrom (old); Yasmin Tote, Need Supply

I wasn’t sure at first about the layers – because the tops are both fairly thick and it is kind of war in London – but they worked out very well together. One of my main goals is to learn layering. I see so many people doing unexpected layers – a shirt under a dress, a top over a long tank; for some reason it just never occurs to me to try it. So that’s one of my goals for this summer and beyond; layers! The jeans are a nice skinny jean without being so tight you can’t actually sit or move in them. The shoes are heading to the donate pile because even though I’ve had them for a long time, it’s time to own to the fact that they just don’t fit me right. Even with moleskin, I have the blisters to prove it today.

Originally the Chick and I planned to go the the National Portrait Gallery, so I chose this outfit for it’s color scheme and comfort (so crazy comfortable). But then we started going through her dresser and realized she needed new clothes, so we ended up at Westfield. If you don’t need a glass of something by the time you leave, you aren’t human. With The Boy at tech camp all day every day this week, the Girl and I are getting our gallery on. We hit up the V&A yesterday, National Portrait Gallery tomorrow, National Gallery Thursday and probably Kew Gardens on Friday if we can handle it.

I was going to add in some wish list items but this has already been a rather long post. If I make a wish list items post all by itself I can add even more drool worthy things like this and these. Do you have a fall wish list? What’s on it?

{can I just promise to never cut my hair like Robin Wright again? on her – awesome. on me – not so much. the growing out stage is killing me.}

Sidekick & OOTD

Hmm, quelle surprise, stripes. Again. I have a thing for stripes. One day I counted them all up in my closet out of curiosity but that was awhile ago, and I know I have more since then. This is sort of my Where’s Waldo look. (Anyone remember those books? I used to love them!)


shirt, J. Crew; flare wide leg jeans, Banana Republic; clogs, Lotta of Stockholm; necklace, LOFT (old); watch, Radley

My little SideKick, Chick, helped me with these pictures. She was my ‘focus holder’ while I was behind the camera as I learned in this post. I don’t think it quite worked, maybe because she’s a lot shorter than me?, but she enjoyed helping me a lot. She then proceeded to sweep the back patio. This girl loves to do things for you, all the time, you pretty much never have to ask. She’ll even empty the dishwasher twice in one day!


Life is better with a sidekick! Contemplating the serious cloud coverage. bag, Need Supply

Can we take two second and talk about the bag? Totally bought an online shopping high, but it is huge. I can really fit a lot in there, and I don’t tend to travel light these days if I’m honest.


wallet, Hobo (very old, best wallet ever 10 years running); phone, cover from RedBubble; notebook & pen, Paperchase; white bag, RuMe, teal pouch, Kate Spade (old); Oyster card holder, c/o Liberty & Amazon; reusable grocery bag, Lulumon – best free bag ever

I’m contemplating a 10×10 challenge again like I did (sort of) back here. I’ve enjoyed seeing the latest 10×10 looks from these blogs – Seasons & Salt, Style This Life They are both creative and make it seem effortless. The next ten days in London range from 80 to 66 degrees and include mostly sunny days. We have tech camp for the Boy and Chick and I were planning to hit up museums. Might be worth the risk trying to find ten items that can fit those categories.


The photobombing dog/bodyguard. Mini-Doxie Mocha, terror of the west end. Our postman is actually scared of her which cracks me up. I guess when a dog jumps on the door making it bang (only because it’s the draftiest, worst fitting door in London) and lets out her bark, she is a bit intimidating. People usually laugh when I say she only weighs 12 pounds though. {to spare the inevitable lawsuit, the dog is promptly placed in the front room with the door closed whenever the door rings. she has never actually bitten anyone though, she’s just highly territorial and a serial barker. that’s life with a dachshund.}

Here’s to TGIF and my sweet SideKick.


Stripes: OOTD

I’m rather in love with this dress, in that dreamy sort of I could wear this everyday and not get tired of it kind of way. This is one of the pieces I picked up from my parents while on holiday, and it is easily the softest thing I own, and one of the most comfortable.

2016-08-03 20.04.57

*still working on picture focus and not cutting off my feet

The dress is from Everlane, cardigan from J. Crew (old), similar, clogs from Lotta of Stockholm, and necklace from White Stuff, bracelets from Joules (no longer available). This is one of those dresses that you can do a lot with. Since it’s a tank dress, you could wear it as is, with a belt, with a cardigan, with a jean jacket, with a v-neck sweater, with a regular sweater; it’s the kind of piece that has endless possibilities. It doesn’t have any side or back slits, which is a bit weird when walking because of the length – it makes your steps shorter and you need to hold it up going up stairs – and that’s my only complaint. It would be easy enough to add slits on your own if you have basic sewing skills though.

2016-08-03 20.09.34

These shoes are wonderful (once you get used to walking in them, it’s a bit weird walking on wood, kind of like wearing ski boots if that makes any sense). Since I wasn’t 100% sure about clogs and how my feet would like them, I bought a pair of seconds from Lotta, so they were about half price. I have to say I love them. I wore them quite a bit on holiday, and they go with everything. Dresses, flare jeans, shorts, skirts; everything. I’m definitely thinking about another pair somewhere down the line (after I clean out my shoes, and finally get rid of the multiple pairs I never wear. getting rid of clothes I don’t wear? no problem. shoes? very hard for some reason.) I love these, these and definitely these. So many choices!

I ran errands earlier in the day (replacing the clogs with my Treton tennis shoes), and adding this great Yasmin Tote from Need Supply. (I really was just goofing around when I took these pictures, waiting for Chick to finish emptying the dishwasher so I could make dinner, otherwise I would have managed a more complete look, and possibly even with other options. and speaking of options, how cute would these boots be with this outfit?) 

2016-08-03 20.07.19

You would never know I spent 4 days in the blazing sun, sitting on a lounger reading books based upon my pale white legs (even though I did wear sunscreen, I guess it really does work). And yes that is my dog – the brown splotch behind my legs – making her photobomb appearance.

What have you been wearing this summer that you want to bring into fall/winter/spring?

*there is plenty of bad going on in the world, and in London, and it does make me never want to leave my house again, so this post is my way of trying not to focus on all the bad and make it through the day