Squeezing in moments for yourself in the midst of motherhood

by Jessica Sliman


“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and PEOPLE® and Sunset®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #MeTimeMags http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

Motherhood kicked my butt for a while (as you can see from above, I still never brush my hair). Between the lack of sleep and the constant feedings and just being needed all day everyday, I couldn't keep my head above water. There was very little time for "me."

Today,  I no longer tackle diapers or schedule our day around naps or deal with tantrums (well, at least not regularly) and because of that, I finally feel like I'm able to breathe. If I could go back and do it again, I would have tried to find some balance earlier.

My girls are currently at an age where they spend a few hours at preschool during the week and when they're home, they spend a lot of time playing together. Some days those times are spent trying to get all the things done but more often, I try to fit in a bit of "me time."  It's critical to my well being (and my mood - just ask my husband!). 

I used to spend a lot of that time on my phone or scrolling through Facebook, streaming through news feeds and clicking on articles, diving  into the blackhole that is the internet. But I've learned that the endless media stream leaves me more frazzled than relaxed. I'm so much better off finding more deliberate and thoughtful activities during for "me time."

Here are some ways I incorporate self care into these quiet moments.

Flip through a favorite magazine.

If I'm not in the middle of a good book, I love flipping through magazines. I can spend five minutes looking at pictures or thirty minutes reading something more in depth - no pressure. Sunset® magazine is one of my favorites because it's full of beautiful pictures, tips for different places to visit out west and awesome recipes. Everything in it just speaks to me in some way. PEOPLE® magazine is one of my favorite places to get book recommendations. They're just what I need right now - engaging and fun without being silly or overly difficult. (I'm so excited to read Amy Poehler's new book, how about you?!?)

Ways to Find "Me Time" During Motherhood

As you can see, "me time" quickly turns into "us time" which is why sometimes I prefer magazines to books while the girls are home. Gracie loved flipping through and pointing out her favorite "princess dresses" on the celebrities in People.

Read a book.

I don't hesitate to pick up a book during the day - especially if I'm in the middle of something good. Before kids, I worked as a reading specialist and I think modeling a passion for books is one of the easiest ways to instill a love of reading in to children.

Make a cup of tea and light a candle.

I'm not a big tea drinker but I have a few special blends lying around for when I want to relax on a cool day. And the smell of a favorite candle instantly brightens the mood around here - especially in the winter when it gets dark in the early evening. Candles and tea - making everything brighter!

Meditate.

Finding a way to get ten minutes of stillness in my day is something I struggle with (I usually default to reading before meditating) but I always feel better when I fit it in. I use an app on my iPhone which leads me through about ten minutes of guided mediation. There is a lot of research on the health benefits of mediation!

Cook a new recipe (or just flip through my favorite cookbooks).

Sunset® magazine is one of my places to find new recipes. The recipes range for simple weeknight meals to more complicated holiday dishes and once again, the photos are beautiful. I made a lemon olive oil cake from PEOPLE® magazine a while back that was a total hit. Because I love food photography, I also enjoy flipping through cookbooks with pictures looking for styling and composition tips.

Me Time with magazines

Break out my real camera.

I'm always snapping pictures on my phone but I'm currently learning to use my real camera on manual mode. Because I have to be a bit more deliberate with my camera, I love spending a few minutes taking pictures of the girls or something I just cooked and then playing with editing features in Photoshop.

What are your favorite ways to recharge and relax during your day? Do you make the time for "me time" in your everyday?

If magazines are included in your "me time," both Sunset and People Magazine can be purchased at Vons - click the link to sign up for a the Just4U online portal for a coupon to save $1 on one (1) participating magazine through November 20th (while supplies last).

 


Capsule Wardrobe Update

by Jessica Sliman in , , ,


It's been almost a full month since I started out with this capsule wardrobe (follow the link to see what's included and pictures) so I thought I'd share a bit of update on how it's going.

First let's talk about the bottoms:

My dark skinny jeans and my navy pants have been my all stars. I wear them with t-shirts, loose sweaters, button ups, booties and flats. They're comfortable, I feel good in them, and they're so easy to pair up with the other items in my closet. The leggings have seen little action as it's just been too warm. Fall, where are you?

My slim boyfriend jeans are a favorite in theory (SO comfy) but I have to resign myself to the fact that I bought them in the wrong size. They're a bit big and the rise is too high for me to comfortably wear a belt. The other day, Donovan caught me wearing them with the waist rolled. I gave them to my mom and they fit her perfectly. It felt good to pass them on to someone I know would get them a lot of use out of them.

The dresses:

I've worn the striped dress quite a bit but the white one feels a bit summery to me. I love the blue and black tunic but I'm waiting for the weather to change and although I really love the green one, it's waiting to be ironed....and waiting....and waiting....

The short sleeved tops:

I live in the navy and gray v-necks. The black tee from Nectar is so loose and comfy and one of those pieces I'd brag that I scored for $10. Although it's made in the USA and I've followed the care guidelines exactly, it's getting little holes throughout the shirt. Not the best quality. A good lesson for the future in "scoring" a great deal on a t-shirt. I want something that lasts a long time - not something that will wind up in a landfill or as a rag.

The long sleeved tops:

Favorites include my chambray, the wine colored thermal and the striped linen t-shirt (even though it needs to be dry cleaned). I wear the flannel when it gets chilly at night or first thing in the morning and the rest haven't even been pulled out of my closet.

The sweaters:

Hardly been touched. I wore the slouchy cream one today with a camisole and skinny jeans BUT had to take it off by noon. It's just too warm here.

The outwear:

Untouched.

The shoes:

Favorites are the black booties and the sneakers but I have worn each and every pair since starting this in October. It's such an easy way to change up outfits.

At this point, I'd say I'm relying on less than 20 pieces on my regular rotation. I guarantee this will change a bit with the weather changes but it's making me really think through how much I need.

On a side note, I just finished reading Over-dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, and I feel very committed to finding more high quality, American made pieces for future capsules. It's a very interesting read on the side effects of fast fashion.

 


Find Your GO-TO Brands

by Jessica Sliman in ,


I have to tell you, it's hard to write on any one topic for 30 straight days. I'm still super excited about my capsule wardrobe though and I do have a number of other things I want to share before the end of the month.

First, we pared down our closets. Then I shared my capsule wardrobe and maybe you started building yours? (P.S. I would love to see it! If you have a capsule wardrobe can you share it in the comments? Either a link or just a synopsis of what it includes). Now let's talk about shopping! Yes, shopping! Having a capsule wardrobe isn't about NEVER shopping, it's about approaching shopping with a plan. It's about being mindful with purchases. It's about being rational rather than emotional.

Capsule wardrobe tip: Find your GO TO brands to help give you some direction when shopping.

First up: finding your brands. When you went through your closet, in addition to shapes and colors, I'll bet you discovered that certain brands work better for you than others. For instance, when I buy things from J.Crew or Madewell, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like what I'm get. I feel comfortable shopping online at those stores because the sizing is consistent for me. They tend to have great sales.

If you don't have go to brands, I implore you to discover some. Take an afternoon at the mall (or wherever you shop. Do you hate the mall as much as I do?) and try on clothes at some different stores. One of the best tips I ever received about shopping was all about doing research. Take an afternoon at Nordstrom. Figure out what high quality brands fit you and work well for your body and then shop the heck out of them second hand.

There are a ton of brands that just don't work for me...Zara, Banana Republic, Old Navy. I'm always between sizes. And outside of pajamas or t-shirts, I don't love the way stuff washes up from Target....even though I'm always tempted to buy stuff when I wander the store. (Capsule Wardrobe Tip 101: Stay out of Target). I love Anthropologie and will continue to shop there, but I know I've got to be super careful in there. The music + the displays + burning candles = impulse buy.

I'm also interested in developing new go to brands as I strive to find clothing items that are ethically produced.

What are your go to brands? Have you ever done research at the mall just trying stuff on? I'd love to hear about it.


What's Not Included in My Capsule Wardrobe

by Jessica Sliman


Accessories, workout clothes, pajamas, special occasion outfits and lingerie. I left all of this out of my fall capsule for a few reasons.

First, this is an exercise in mindfulness not minimalism. I want to be mindful when purchasing and mindful about the clothes in my closet. The easiest way to do this, and figure out my style, was for me to pare down. It's forcing me to be creative, to think about what I actually need and wear, and what I love. It isn't necessary for me to pare everything down to less than 40 pieces.

Rather than feeling restricted, I feel excited about learning. It's like kayaking down a river rather than being plopped down in the middle in the ocean - there's a definite direction. I don't know exactly what's at the end of the journey but I like knowing where I'm going.

There is no reason for me to get rid of beautiful, well fitting pieces just because I don't wear them everyday. Special occasion dresses have been narrowed down to those that fit and that make me feel good but I don't feel bad about having a space for them in my closet. Same goes for special occasion shoes.

Depending on the week, I may exercise four times. Or once.  I'm a bit up and down here. Rather than having an overflowing drawer of stuff, I've narrowed it down to three pairs of workout pants, three pairs of shorts, and a handful of tops. Along with my sneakers and sports bras, it fits into one small cubby in my closet. Done.

Same with pajamas and lingerie.

And if you're not ready to jump into a capsule wardrobe, maybe these categories are a good place to start. It's a lot less painful getting rid of excess pajamas, right?

And just so you know, I haven't touched my accessories or jewelry yet. I'm still figuring out how to pare these down. What I like and don't like and what is just plain excess.