7.31.2018

back to school favorites

Olivia will be starting Kindergarten in just over a month (how did that even happen??) and even though we are loving Summertime, with all the cool weather we've been having lately, it has me thinking about dressing our girls for my fav season ever, Fall. 

I shared about how we create a capsule wardrobe for our girls recently in a post here and have had lots of you asking me what pieces I'm adding for the upcoming season. I thought it would be so much fun to put together a few of my favorite looks, including the chambray jumpers I just cannot get enough of and a matching romper for Della. Long live polka dots and stripes.
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

If you've followed along for some time, you'll know I am always drawn toward classic, simple styles and timeless colors. I use this as my guide when buying everything -- and it allows me to mix and match the girls' outfits, carry them from season to season with layering, and add fun pops of color with accessories.

I've shared about our love for Tea Collection many times and they continue to release the most darling clothing. Compared to many other brands our girls wear, Tea clothes last and last and I'm able to pass them down from daughter to daughter. I am loving their newest collection -- especially the ruffle sleeve tops, which are available in 4 colors including my two favorites above (3, 8). They are perfect under Tea's new chambray jumper (5) which both Poppy and Olivia will be sporting this Fall and equally perfect on their own with jeans, layered with a sweater or jacket and even a vest. Of course Della needs to match her big sisters so I chose a coordinating striped romper for her (1). Now through Sunday August 5, get 20% off your Tea Collection purchase using code INSPIREDKIDS and Tea will also donate 5% of purchases to The Global Fund for Children.

Hands down the pants I get asked about most that Olivia wears are these striped culottes (7). They are so sweet for any age and on sale right now!!

Other favorites are the super dainty buttoned shirt (4), neutral jacket perfect for layering (6) and of course the sweetest handmade shoes (10) from one of our favorite shops, Adelisa & Co. Finally, I love shopping JCrew Factory because I almost always come across fun pieces at amazing prices, including this navy bell sleeve top (9) that is only $12 (!!!) -- perfect for the end of Summer and all throughout Fall.

Have anything that has caught your eye as you're looking ahead to Fall?? I'd love to see what pieces you're most excited to put your kids in! Hope you are having the best week!! XO

7.22.2018

capsule wardrobe 101

I share a lot about minimalism on my blog and am actually in the process of writing a book about minimalism + motherhood (a dream I've had for some time!!) and one of the keys to living minimally is learning to create what is called a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe refers to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangable items to maximize the number of outfits that can be created -- most often these are classic, timeless pieces (lots of neutrals) that can be layered and interchanged to work year round for every season based on how you style them. I do this for myself and our three girls and it has been a game changer in our spending, laundry, closet organization and of course, minimalism in general.


All the clothing we own for our three girls (5, 3 and 18 months) fits in a single 4-drawer dresser. This includes their pajamas. They each have one drawer of their own clothing and then we have one pajama drawer that all 3 of them share. Their rooms have large closets but we primarily keep them empty or hang up nicer dresses, photo shoot pieces, etc. 99% of their wardrobe is kept in their dresser and I love it. I can fold laundry in less than 5 minutes and have it all put away in less than 10. Mom win.

5 keys to creating a capsule wardrobe:

choose pieces that are neutral 75% of the time // This is how I shop for both myself and my girls. I love grays, whites and blacks or solid color pieces that I can layer a jacket over easily or tights under (black leggings or skinny jeans for me). Keep patterns simple and classic -- think stripes and polka dots, nothing too bold and bright. If you have girls, use fun brightly colored bows, bonnets and shoes to add a pop of color to an outfit. Neutral pieces will transition nicely no matter the season and never go 'out of style' like a very unique momentarily trendy piece.

a few neutral staples in the girls' wardrobes:
polka dot & solid color ballet dresses (alice + ames)
army green peplum lightweight zip up jackets (old navy)
basic tees and long sleeve shirts in neutral colors (zara)
solid color peplum crews or hoodies (childhoods)
blue jeans (gap and old navy)
black leggings (cat & jack)
leather sandals in summertime and leather boots in fall/winter (adelisa & co)

a few neutral staples in my wardrobe:
white ripped jeans (1 pair)
denim ripped jeans (1 pair)
classic skinny dark blue jeans (1 pair)
black jeans or similar form fitting black pants (1 pair)
black leggings (of course)
white tanks & black tanks
black, white & cream bralettes
black peplum tee
basic white top with some lace and flutter sleeves
army green jacket (my fav here)
jean jacket (mine is from apricot lane boutique, one of my fav stores ever)
black romper (also apricot lane)

look for layers // When I am picking out clothing for Spring & Summertime, I make sure to select pieces I can easily layer in the Fall & Winter. For example, for the girls, ballet dresses in the Spring & Summer are perfect paired with cozy tights, boots and a sweater in the Fall. Add leggings or tights under rompers or one pieces for younger babes as the temps drop. And as you start simplifying, you'll really get to know (and always remember) exactly what you (and your kids) own -- you won't overbuy it, wondering if you need this or own something that color, etc. 

For myself, I love my green madewell jacket and my jean jacket for layering -- I throw them on over everything. When my favorite tops are white, black and grey, the green jacket is perfect. When I'm wearing something a bit more colorful (but still nothing bright...I love muted tones like mauve and olive), I'll wear my jean jacket because hello, denim looks good with everything

Whenever I buy something for myself or the girls I ask, "How can I layer this?" -- because I want to transition everything to the next season seamlessly. The goal of a capsule wardrobe is to not have to run out and buy 20 new things every time the season changes, but rather add in 4-6 new pieces per child (max) depending on what they need most for that season. 

only buy what you love // Since I started shopping and living this way, I noticed one of the best parts was that every single thing in my closet -- from jackets to tops to pants and shoes -- was my favorite thing. Something I loved. That I didn't want to take off. And that I wanted to wear every single day. If you have clothing in your closet that you don't love, why do you own it?? If you have pieces that don't make you feel beautiful or confident, get rid of them. When you start rebuying and rebuilding your capsule wardrobe, only buy what you LOVE. Don't settle for pieces that are 'okay' or 'look fine.' And do the same for your kids. If I don't love something (because obviously I'll be seeing it all the time on them not to mention washing and folding it regularly), I won't buy it.

less is more // I only own 3 pairs of jeans and they are the best fitting, most comfortable jeans ever. I love them and I want to be in them all the time so there is no need for more than 3. They fit well, look good and are neutral so I can pair them with everything. When you find pieces like that, they are the cornerstones of your capsule wardrobe and you won't be tempted to buy every pair of jeans you find or try on, because nothing will live up to the few you own and love. 

With my girls, the less I buy (despite how much darling girl clothing is out there), the happier we all are. Olivia and Penelope love picking out their clothes in the morning and it's always a simple, quick process for them to get dressed because they aren't overwhelmed with choices. Everything is 'their favorite dress' or 'their favorite shirt' so there is no complaining or arguing. This saves time and stress as a Mom. 

You may see cute pieces in stores or online (hello, small shops on instagram) but remind yourself that less is more. Limit yourself to just 4-6 new pieces per child per season (max) that fit the above criteria. And make sure those pieces fill in the gaps for what they actually need. If your daughter has tons of dresses, let the pieces you add in this Fall be sweaters or tights or a cute neutral jacket. Try not to buy another dress because you're aleady well stocked in that area. Or if you do, get rid of two that she owns and doesn't wear often. Look at what categories of clothing they have a lot of and what they need more of and let that guide your purchases. And for every one thing you bring in to your home, get rid of 2-3 things you no longer love, wear or need.

forget about the rules // I get asked by my friends who want to start a capsule wardrobe, 'how many shirts should I own?' or 'how many pairs of shoes are appropriate?' and it's honestly so hard to give you a number or to set strict rules in place. For me, 3 pairs of jeans is perfect. For some people, that may sound like way too few. 

The key to starting to minimize and create a capsule wardrobe is ending up with less than you owned when you started. Maybe your closet is overflowing or your kids' drawers are so full they can't be closed and you know its time to make a change. Cut what you own down by 1/3-1/2. Then see how well it works for you. Maybe you can continue reducing or maybe it feels like it's just right. If you cut your closet in half and still feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes or choices, continue reducing. It's a process of trial and error and the actual number of shirts or pairs of pants you end up with (or your kids end up with) will be a little different for everyone.

For me, I always err on the side of less (3 pairs of jeans, 3 neutral jackets, 12 tops or less, 2 pairs of black leggings, etc) but that doesn't mean you can't have a little bit more than I do. 

Ultimately, let the current pieces you keep (from what you already own) and the new pieces you buy (to revamp or refresh or fill in gaps) as you get started be guided by the following questions:

Do I love this? 
(or does my child love wearing this?)

Does it fit me (or my child) well?
(I suggest trying everything on and seeing how you actually feel in it based on the fit)

Do I feel amazing in it? 
(or does my child enjoy wearing this?)

Would I go out to the store and buy this today?

Do I reach for this at least once every 2 weeks? 
(or do I put my child in this at least once every two weeks?)

Will I wear this (or will my kids wear this) in the next 2 months? 
(with the exception of winter jackets in summertime, shorts in winter, etc)

If the answers to any of the above questions are no, donate it or pass it along to a friend who will wear it and love it. The question 'would I go out to the store and buy this today?' is probably the most eye-opening for me. When I was creating my capsule wardrobe and laid out all my clothes and started asking myself that question, I was amazed that so many times the answer was no. I wondered why I bought it in the first place. And it has helped me to be much more selective with what I buy now -- for myself and my girls.

I hope this post was helpful and gives you a good starting point if you are wanting to minimize. If you would like me to share more on the topic of minimalism, creating a capsule wardrobe or anything else related, leave a comment on this post or send me a message @blessednestblog and let me know what you're looking to see and I'd love to put something together for you!! Thanks, as always, for reading!! XO

7.12.2018

our summer playlist

Hi friends!! Hope you are having the BEST summer ever so far! 

We have been busy spending our days outdoors, eating lots of popsicles (these are our fav!), playing in the sprinkler, park hopping and enjoying the endless sunshine. The girls are all so tan and every day I envy their dark olive skin (which they definitely got from Dustin). Della is a little blondie, which is so much fun to see since her big sisters are brunettes and between her tan skin + wispy blonde hair it has me hoping Summer never ends. Olivia did ask me the other day, "When will Fall be here?" and although it feels so far away now, Summer is going by so much faster than I realized so I thought I better get back to the blog before any more time passed!! It has been so refreshing & rewarding to really step back and focus on my girls but I still love coming back to this space to share and for all of you who are still reading & following along, I so appreciate it!!

Whether we are playing inside or out, cooking breakfast, cleaning the house or grilling in the backyard, we almost always have music on and I thought it would be fun to share our Summer Playlist if you are on the search for some new tunes!! I often share my fav songs in my instastories and get asked for playlists. They are always heavy on the country but usually have a good mix of sounds + moods and we always find a way to dance to them. Poppy usually wakes up from her nap and says, "Mama, can you put music on for me?" and we dance together in the kitchen. One of those things I never want to forget. Find last year's Summer Playlist here


What has been the best part of your Summer this far?? One by one we have been crossing things off our Summer bucket list but still have so much left we want to do, including a backyard campout, more farmer's markets, a movie in the park and the long awaited state fair. Summer always goes by just a little too fast, so I am all for soaking up the moments + memories and all the sunshine I can get :)

6.21.2018

minimal living 101

I've shared about minimalism over the past few years of blogging and how it's brought our family so much freedom and peace of mind. Since getting married in 2012 and then having Olivia in 2013, we have been pursuing minimalism as a couple and family and have been able to get rid of about 75% of our belongings over the last 5 years. I had the chance to speak on this topic to my MOPS group this past Spring and it sparked so many amazing conversations and got so many Moms thinking about it and wanting it for themselves, and because it's been so life changing for us, I thought it would be fun to do a post that offers a good overview of minimalism if you think it might benefit you & your family too! 


I am going to bulletpoint what I think is most important that you know about minimalism and then give you some steps to get started! I also have all my favorite articles linked under my minimal living page to serve as resources. 

what minimalism is:
simplified living
being thoughtful about what we bring in to our home
removing distractions that keep us from knowling & fulfilling God's purpose for our lives
an appreciation of space
prioritization of the things that really matter
getting rid of what isn't necessary
less stress
a means to allow you to accomplish what you were created & called to do
finding satisfaction in what you do have and treasuring it all the more
practicing self-control and teaching it to your children
putting people above possessions
knowing exactly what you own and where everything is in your home
only having things in your home that bring you joy
a lifestyle
a mindset

what minimalism is not:
owning nothing and living without furniture in a home with bare walls
the same as organization (you can organize all you want and still have a house filled with stuff)
about never buying anything
about feeling deprived
getting rid of everything once and then letting it reaccumulate

what minimalism means for us:
a clean & clutter-free home (even with 3 kids)
financial freedom
living debt-free
raising our daughters to value people more than things
kids that don't mind cleaning up because it takes only a few minutes
seeing creativity, imagination & sharing amongst our daughters
open space to play
room to breathe
joy, freedom & peace of mind
more time to spend as a family
less time spent cleaning, organizing, maintaining, working for and paying for stuff

how to get started
first off, download the YouVersion bible app on your iphone (its free) and complete the 14-day devotional "the more of less: a guide to less stuff and more joy" -- this is a great introduction to what minimalism is and asks thought-provoking questions to help you understand why you want to pursue it and gives practical steps to take, all with a biblical foundation. You can even do it with friends -- or your husband! -- and there is a "talk it over" portion after each reading where you can share your thoughts. If I have a friend who asks me to help them minimize, this is the first "homework" I give them, and I do it with them so I can get an idea of why they want to start and what they most hope to get out of it. 

secondly, pick a place to start. I suggest mentally categorizing things in your home and picking one of them to begin with (for example, KIDS, CLOTHES, KITCHEN, GARAGE, BATHROOM etc). If you pick KIDS, break it in to easy to tackle sections: BOOKS, TOYS, CLOTHES, SHOES or by space: PLAYROOM, CLOSET, BASEMENT etc. This will make decluttering easier to accomplish and give you an area of focus instead of just feeling overwhelmed and like you need to get rid of everything you own all at once ;) 

Let's say you choose KIDS >> BOOKS. Go through all the children's books in your home, wherever they may be. Which books do your kids never reach for? Which books do you not actually enjoy reading to your kids? Which books are falling apart so much that you can barely read them? Depending on how many you own, try to get rid of at least 1/3-1/2 of your collection. Pass them along to friends whose kids might enjoy them, bring them to "Little Free Libraries" around your city or donate them. If you're still left with a good size collection, categorize them and put them in clear plastic bins with labels (for example, by season or by theme...winter books, nature books, summer books, animal books). Store all the labeled bins in an empty closet and pull one bin out per month, rotating through the bins one at a time. Include your kids in picking which bin to pull out and have them help you put the books on the shelves. You will be amazed at how much more your kids enjoy reading the "new" books and you will have bookshelves that are clutter-free and bookcases that aren't overfilled. Chances are, your kids won't even notice you got rid of half your collection and you'll love how much quicker they can be picked up and the new spark your kids will get from them. Reading will become more fun for both you and your children. 

Let's say you choose KITCHEN >> DISHES. Most everyone has cluttered kitchen cabinets with little to no space for anything, even to put clean dishes away. Because of minimalism, we are able to live with so much empty and open space in our cabinets and always know where each specific kind of dish is. This makes mealtime and emptying the dishwasher stress-free. Chances are, you have at least a dozen sippy cups, half of which are missing lids or straws or spill everytime you use them or are ones your kids don't even like, etc. Keep 1-2 sippy cups (per child) that are used daily and get rid of the rest. Same is true with kids plates and bowls. How many do your kids use in a full day? Keep only that many and then run the dishwasher at night and you'll have them for the next day. Go through your own dish sets -- do you have a mix of dishes from your wedding registry, random dishes you've picked up during Target clearance sales and then dishes that don't match anything else in your kitchen or dishes with chips or that are cracked and broken? Pick one style set for your family and get rid of everything else -- ask a friend if they could use them or contact ministries or organizations in your area. Our church works closely with several that are always needing extra dishes. Do the same with silverware. Does your kid actually need 12 plastic forks?? Probably not ;) You get what I'm saying. It sounds so funny but this is actually the reality of it: people own so much more than they even know and often, it is stuff that has accumulated over years and years without even realizing it. 

These are just two examples, but I think the biggest mistake people make when starting to pursue minimalism is feeling like they need to purge their entire home in one day and they get so overwhelmed they don't even know where to start and then they don't start at all. Start small, with small spaces and small categories that you can tackle in an afternoon. Try to take on one of these every day, even if for only an hour while your kids nap or in the evening, put a movie on for them and ask your husband to watch it with them while you do some decluttering. Dustin continually says one of the things he appreciates most about me is my passion for minimalism -- it has impacted both him and myself, our marriage, our home and our family is such incredible ways. If your family understands the benefits it brings, chances are they are going to be supportive and willing to help you as you spend some time working through your home to minimize. 

third (and lastly), put a "one in, three out" rule in to place. This means, for every ONE thing you bring in to your home (with the exception of necessities like food, toilet paper, diapers, etc), take three things out of it. Did your child get a new toy? Have them select three toys they no longer play with (or if they're too little, pick them yourself) and pass them along to kids who will play with them. Buy new shoes for yourself? Go through your closet and pick out 3 pairs you haven't worn in years or that no longer fit you. Keeping this rule in place will help ensure that all the hard work you've done to minimize won't be erased in a few months. Being mindful of what you bring in your home -- and continuing to get rid of what you don't use/need regularly helps you to always be in a forward motion instead of minimizing for a month and then accumulating it all back the next. 

This post ended up being so much longer than I anticipated but I hope it gives you some practical ideas and a look in to the lifestyle we love so much. I'm so thankful God has given us the desire to pursue minimalism as a family and that even my girls are on board with it -- we all see and experience the benefits every day and I can't imagine living any other way! My dream is to write a book on the topic of minimalism for motherhood because of how life-changing it has been for me. As always, thanks for reading and following along. You'll be the first to know when it's released ;) 

6.15.2018

summer shoe favorites

Happy Friday!! Summer is here and we have been loving every minute of it! Between the beach, the splash pad, the park, picnics, popsicles, the sprinkler & all the sunshine, I wish Summer never had to end. I love not being on any sort of schedule, being able to have long slow breakfasts at home and spend all day outside with the girls. We only get 18 summers with each of our kids and I intend to treasure every moment of all of them -- even the hot sticky ones where my car is filled with sand and our laundry baskets are overflowing with towels & swimsuits and bedtime takes 2 hours because the sun is still shining...cause someday I'll look back and miss these days with my little girls and all the amazing + hilarious things they do and say.

To kick off the weekend, I thought it would be fun to share my top picks in Summertime shoes. Over the past few months I've completely revamped my wardrobe to be more minimal like my girls' is and I've been loving it. I've always kept my closet pretty minimal but I've moved toward a much more "capsule" wardrobe with staple pieces that can transition through all seasons (like this jacket that I throw on over everything). And through the process I got rid of all the shoes I wasn't ever wearing and picked out a handful of neutral pairs that are both stylish & comfortable (that I can also chase 3 kids in...) that I know I'll wear for many Summers to come. Shop my favorites below!

I've shared my love for Adelisa & Co's sandals for my girls but did you know they also make women's shoes?? Their Cruz sandals {one} are so gorgeous and pair well with everything. Plus with every purchase you're supporting the families in Nicaragua that make the shoes by hand. The craftsmanship is impeccable and the design is so timeless. Our favorite styles for our girls are these + these

My favorite pair to wear with distressed white jeans, the Crown Vintage Wedges {two} are the ones I most often put on for nights out with my girlfriends. They're also the shoes I brought on my trip to Nashville and walked all over the city in. They come in 3 colors, the cognac is definitely my fav. 

In Summers past I lived in Old Navy flip flops. While I still keep a pair on hand for when I'm in the backyard with the girls, I wanted to upgrade a bit and picked out a pair of White Mountain sandals {three} and Madden Girl sandals {five}. Super comfortable and perfect to dress up or down.

For something a bit fancier, I love these Franco Sarto sandals {four} in taupe. 

Perfect with ripped blue jeans, the Earth Origins wedge sandals {six} are so so comfortable, even on long walks or at the park. Crown Vintage also makes a very similar pair {here}.

Every Mama needs a classic sneaker for Summertime and I picked the Toms Del Rey pair {seven} out in the Wintertime and they sat in my closet for months as I dreamed of warm Summer days. Plus I just can't resist a good polka dot. 

Last but not least, a classy pair of black espadrilles {eight}. They round out the perfect Summer wardrobe and match everything.

Hope you all have the best weekend, celebrating the Dads in your life and soaking up the summer sun as a family. We are headed to a friends' house tonight for a pizza night and bonfire with the kids and then hoping to sneak away for a date night tomorrow before celebrating Dustin and my Dad on Sunday! XO

5.24.2018

celebrating summer with the baby jogger city mini gt

Happy Thursday!! We have been celebrating Olivia's 5th birthday all week and enjoying beautiful (and warm!) weather. Her party was on Sunday and we hosted over 50 of our friends & family which was so much fun. She chose Chipotle for her family birthday dinner (YES to not having to cook in this heat!) and then the only thing she requested was being able to go out for crunch cones with me just the two of us!! 


Even though May isn't quite over yet, it feels like Summer is officially here now that school is out. And when the temperatures rise high enough (after what felt like an extra long winter!!) we spend all day, every day outside. One of my favorite things to do with the girls is take walks during the day at a local nature reserve. It's less than 5 minutes from our house so we go there a lot. I pack a picnic lunch or we stop for breakfast smoothies in the cafe and then spend all day on the trails, exploring and enjoying the sunshine. The girls love collecting "treasures" they find along the way and we bring along our flower and tree guides for them too. All month long we have been taking along our new stroller, the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Anniversary Edition!! Baby Jogger is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the popular City Mini and City Mini GT strollers by releasing a special edition with some fun upgrades and added extras!

It has been so much fun having some new wheels as we welcome Summer and get outside with our girls!

Penelope is almost 3 now so we rarely need to bring a double stroller along because she wants to explore much more than ride. (Though, after she saw Della riding in our City Mini GT she did ask if she could have a turn). I love that with my girls at their current ages (5, almost 3 and 16 months), this is the perfect stroller for our family because all 3 of them fit comfortably in it but it's still lightweight and compact. We have an SUV with 3rd row seating so there is plenty of room in the back for it, but it also fits perfectly sitting on the floor in front of the passenger seat if I've got the back filled with other things (you know, the standard oversized beach bag and beach towels and coolers and blankets and so much sand...). Talk about a Mom win. And because it's travel-system compatible, you can use it from birth (with the beautiful bassinet) on up to age 5 and beyond. 


A few other features I love:
*Adjustable handlebar to accomodate whoever is pushing it comfortably

*All-terrain tires; these are perfect for going off the trails and exploring through the woods.

*One-handed fold; it even has a "fold here" strap that you pull, which is perfect for Dustin because he uses our strollers much less often and tends to forget how to collapse them ;) 

*Oversized canopy; the days spent outside on the trails get extra hot and when Della needs a break from the sunshine, I love that she is still safely covered while riding.

*Lay flat recline; when Adaline was a baby I kept her on quite a strict nap schedule with two naps a day at specific times. Now that she is 16 months, her naps are much more flexible and often when we're out and about. She can nap comfortably because the seat can be reclined to lay flat in seconds.

*Hand-operated brake; every stroller we've ever had uses a foot brake and I love being able to brake the stroller with one hand easily and quickly


If your family loves being outside as much as ours does, head on over to my instagram @blessednestblog because I'm GIVING ONE AWAY to one of you!! One follower will win a Baby Jogger City Mini GT Anniversary Edition stroller ($379.99 value) for all their Summer adventures!! Whether you're expecting your first baby or have older kids, this stroller is a Summer must-have! Giveaway runs Thursday May 24 through Monday May 28 and the winner will be randomly selected from the entries. Once selected, verified & announced on the original post, the winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize by sending me a DM @blessednestblog. If the prize is not claimed, a new winner will be drawn and announced. 

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