Clearing The Digital Clutter


One of my hopes for the New Year was to cut back on the digital clutter in my life.  Specifically I wanted to back up the photos on my phone but over the course of the month it became so much more.

So first I backed up all my photos.  It took me a good couple of weeks but I finally accomplished that goal.  From there I was left with screenshots of recipes, baby sleep tips, and whatever else I wanted to save and have as reference.  Instead of keeping them all on my phone I uploaded some of them to Pinterest and jotted down a few in my notebook.

I also put it on my calendar to back up my photos once a month so that I do not get so behind.  I am also trying to take less pictures in general and be more free to live in the moment.

I also am super behind on editing photos.  So when I have a moment to myself instead of tidying the house or something else that is never ending, I try to stop myself and sit down at the computer to edit.  Getting 10-20 minutes of time to edit is proving to be much more efficient than trying to carve out specific time for it.  This way I am slowing chipping away at it and walking away feeling much more productive than not getting to any of it at all.

Then after a conversation with a friend over the burdens of Facebook I went on an unfriending rampage and unfriended a bunch of people.  A blogging friend of mine recently shared that she cleans up her social media accounts based off of seasonal relationships and it encouraged me to do the same.

It freed me to not look at unfriending or unfollowing so personally.  Instead it helped me understand that some people are in my life for a season and that it is okay to move on when they are no longer regularly present.

I also went through groups I had joined (or people joined me in! so annoying!) and deleted them.

While physical clutter can get in the way of our livelihood at home, I am finding that digital clutter can be just as chaotic.  I hope to continue this type of digital cleansing on a more regular basis.

What about you?  Do you have any digital clutter in your life that could use some cleaning?

Backyard Patio Umbrellas


Ever since we moved into our home here in Virginia, I have kept a running list of little house projects or items I would like for our home.  It has been good for me to keep a list as it has helped me be patient with furnishing our home.  And then when we do get something accomplished or purchased it feels amazing to be able to check it off our list.  Plus I also believe it helps us to stay focused on the projects we value most versus what is right in front of us at the moment.


All this to say, while I believe the exterior of our home to be quite lovely, I really wanted something more for the back of our house.  Something to draw the eyes and be a bit more aesthetically pleasing.  The porch and landscaping were already doing so much for the typical tri-level back of the house but matching outdoor umbrellas were on my house wish list in hopes of pulling everything together.


While I love the look of outdoor umbrellas, I was always hesitant in the past to incorporate them in my outdoor decor.  Back in Sacramento I was so bad at taking care of outdoor furniture due to our fairly mild weather and use of backyard year around.  I often left stuff out too long that they ended up getting damaged in a major rain storm or intense heat wave.  Plus they always seemed so expensive, it never felt worth it. 


So I put it on our one day list for this house and left it at that.  The back of our house gets very hot in the summer so my mom also started mentioning how nice it would be to have umbrellas so we could actually sit out on the back porch in the summer.  


Then summer rolled around and I started seeing all these black and white striped outdoor umbrellas on blogs and in instagram photos.  But they were always so expensive.  And yet what once was an idea started becoming a want event though I couldn't rationalize spending that much money on umbrellas that I might ultimately leave out all winter and ruin!


So it was July by now and we happened to be in Walmart.  And we stumbled upon these beauties!  Black and white striped outdoor umbrellas!  And I could get two for less than the price of one! 


And I couldn't be happier.  They look amazing set up - great quality for the price.  And I have been so good about closing them when not in use and we took them down and brought them indoors to store over the winter.


 I will even open up the one on the porch just so I can see it open during the day from the kitchen.  And then routinely put it down come dinner time.  And even though it was near the end of summer that we finally purchased them, they still served us well for adding a little shade.


Everything is dead and bare right now so seeing these pictures again make me excited for how glorious and lush spring will be.  And we will get to enjoy these umbrellas for much longer this year!


I get asked about our white patio set a lot.  It is from Home Depot but unfortunately got discontinued.


The outdoor throw pillows I have collected over the years.  I believe they are all either from Target or from Pottery Barn (that one glorious time we were driving through Southern California and stumbled upon a Pottery Barn outlet!  I think we got outdoor pillows there for $8!).


The brown plastic outdoor box has proven very helpful and easy on the eyes over the years.  We have this large one in the back and a small one on our front porch for storing gardening tools and toys.  And in the winter we also store some of our pillows in there.  Both were purchased at Sam's Club in California and can usually be found yearly in the spring or summer (I believe also at Costco).


An otherwise very boring back of the house now has a bit of character and style with a few pieces of furniture and thoughtful landscaping.


About a month ago we decided we wanted to roast marshmallows on our old gas fire pit.  So we switched out the back patio table for the fire pit and have been enjoying sitting out in the cold by the fire every once in awhile.  


And here is that view of the umbrella from our kitchen I mentioned earlier.  It is totally okay to open up an outdoor umbrella just so you can see it through the window (or any other extra effort to make your surroundings beautiful - even if it is just for your own enjoyment!).


Well, that was probably the longest post ever about a pair of outdoor umbrellas.  But proof that they make a big statement without much work!

What I Have Been Wearing This Past Year


When it comes to dressing myself, this past year has been a creative challenge.  Living with four real seasons, a bitter cold winter, and a new mom body, I have been determined to find an updated wardrobe that is both comfortable and stylish.

I've learned continual wardrobe maintenance to be essential -

1. To let go of things I don't like or that don't fit right.  I no longer want clothes that I am not wearing to clutter up my closet and mind.

2. To try out current trends and find pieces that work for my body type.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone and have been pleasantly surprised to find things I wouldn't normally think would look good on me. 

Living out in the country has limited my access to stores I like.  Plus trying on clothes with a child is not very fun (cue the snacks).  But having clothes that I feel good in makes a big difference in how I feel.  So taking the time and energy to do it is important.

I prefer to try clothes on so I don't do very much online shopping.  And based off of where we live I am mostly shopping at TJ-Maxx, Gap (that is an hour away!), and Victoria's Secret (for lounge wear and leggings).

*A note about nursing:
So after typing this all out I realized that a good portion of this past year was spent nursing.  It was hard for me to find nursing clothes that I liked so I wore a lot of dresses that were stretchy enough to pull down and used a nursing cover.  Eventually our son was on a pretty reliable feeding routine that I could know if I would be nursing in public or if I was able to nurse in the car.  This allowed me to wear what I wanted and not worry so much about pulling up my entire dress in public!  While I am an advocate for modestly nursing in public I also feel strongly about wearing things I feel good in!  This was my way of finding a balance.

With all that being said, here are a few styles I have added to my wardrobe this past year!

// LIGHT LAYERS //


Adapting to the weather in Virginia has brought it's challenges.  Mostly I did not know how to dress for a cold climate.  And yet even on the coldest days, wrangling a child to get out of the house often left me sweating.  So light layers have been my go to.  I now know that no matter what I am wearing, I just need to also bring a coat.


I've become all about scarves, vests, leggings under dresses, and socks or leg warmers with boots.


I also ordered this brown leather wrap strap (from Etsy) for my Fitbit that works well with dressier looks.


// LEG WARMERS AS PANTS //


Okay, so I realize leg warmers don't replace pants.  But on days that aren't completely freezing, leg warmers actually do quite a bit.  I really don't like wearing pants and don't always want to wear leggings under a dress.  So leg warmers it is.  I find it incredibly fun and stylish with a little room to breathe!


// OVERALLS //


I jumped on the overalls bandwagon and there is no turning back.  I bought these super comfortable and slouchy pair from Gap.  It is taking me back to my junior high days and I love it.


8th grade Ashley would totally approve!!! :D


// TRYING NEW THINGS //


Shift and boxy style dresses have been in style for a little while now and while they aren't looks I would normally gravitate towards, I have learned to embrace it.  I find that breaking it up with a scarf, necklace, or even side braid/pony helps break it up.  Plus they are insanely comfortable.


I have had these Ugg boots for probably about ten years and they are getting worn a lot more lately.  The fur on the bottom has been worn down for a couple of years now and I just found out that they sell fur inserts!  For $20 these babies make my decade old boots feel brand new!  Someone also suggested buying these for rain boots!  So smart.  Game changer people. 


Working on finding a few more tops to wear with shorts and my occasional jean sighting.


And since we technically live in the south now it seemed like a good southern thing to get myself some Lilly Pulitzer.  While I would love to pull off their bright and colorful resort wear, I decided this straw purse seemed a bit more like me.

So that is what I have been wearing (and at least documenting over on Instagram) over the past year! 

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