A fresh slate. Full of opportunities. Often I hear people speaking unfavorably about new year resolutions, but my opinion is that there is never a bad time to want to try and improve yourself or your current situation. In January I tend to feel a renewed sense of productivity. I want to get back to working out regularly, I want to take better care of my health, I want to up my house-wife game and commit to schedule with house cleaning and laundry. Ok, I'm totally joking, there is absolutely NO WAY I would ever stick to a schedule for that mess, it would only lead to disappointment. However, there are some ways that I will extend my "fresh slate" into my house keeping. One of my favorite places to let go and totally revamp is my closet. I have a border-line addiction to clothes shopping and my walk-in is only so big. No matter how large your walk-in closet may be, it’s just not sustainable to continue adding new pieces without revamping it, cleaning it out, and making room from time to time. My method is a little bit mad-genius, and I tend to make a massive mess before I am through, but when I am finished it makes me so happy to see the freshly organized product!
Get Rid of What You Haven’t Worn in Years
My first tip when tackling a closet makeover is to get rid of the things you haven't worn in years. We’ve all heard it: the tip where people turn their hangers one way and if they are not turned the opposite direction (after wearing said item) by the end of the year, they get rid of the item. This is a bit much for me, most of the time I'm dressing in a hurry because I am late to everything, and I am sure that I would forget to turn them around. Also, I can remember if I've worn an item within the last year (or more), or not, so there's that. My suggestion is to go through each article of clothing and make your decision based on three things: if you have worn the article of clothing (or accessory) within the past year, if you can fit into the item(s), and if you see yourself wearing it in the future. Now, when you do this, you need to be really honest with yourself because its crazy easy to rationalize keeping something that in your heart of hearts you know you never wear again. In order to make this closet revamp really work for you, it takes being willing to let go of things. If you are a clothes or shoe hoarder, you may need to enlist a bestie to sit and chat with you while you go through the process, that way they are there to tell you that you aren't ever actually going to shorten that bridesmaid's dress and re-wear it.
Keep it Seasonal
Low on space? It can be important to rotate your clothes out to fit the season. If you rotate your wardrobe based on seasons you don't have to fit every single thing in one area of your closet. Use what you know about the weather in your area to make a best guess of when during the year to do this. If you're like me and live in Georgia and South Carolina, may the odds be ever in your favor. I would suggest packing the off-season clothes in Sterilite tubs, or under the bed storage boxes so that they're not too far from reach for those 75 degree December days. Keeping your closet seasonal saves space and it also makes it much easier to choose an outfit that is weather-appropriate when getting dressed. Just make sure you weed through everything before storing it, get rid of what you do not need first.
Easy Access To What You Love
Every person is going to be different, but I like to organize my closet using these categories:
~ Dresses and Rompers
~ Sleeveless and Short sleeve tops
~Long sleeve tops, sweaters, and outerwear
I am fortunate to have enough space in my closet that I do not currently have to swap out items as the seasons change. I do, however, have to swap out shoes. I truly would not consider myself overly into shoe shopping, but an inventory of my closet would tell a different tale. To solve this problem, I store my off-season shoes in clear shoe boxes, on the top shelf of my closet.
Add in Practical Solutions
Adding in practical solutions is very necessary when it comes to creating the perfect closet. The clear shoe boxes I mentioned are a great example of a practical solution. I chose clear so that I can see the item being stored- the thought here being that if I have my warm weather shoes stored, and plan a tropical get away- I can see the stored shoes, and grab exactly what I need with ease. At the same time, there are practical solutions that also look great and will help elevate the overall aesthetic of your closet. For example, wood hangers are awesome and look great, woven and/or wicker baskets are stylish, but also really help keep everything organized. I didn't want to waste money on wooden hangers that I could be spending on clothes, so I still went the plastic route. For the sake of appearances I chose all white, and the same style- little details like this, make a big difference when it comes to a beautiful closet. Similar to wood hangers, wicker baskets can be pricey- so I suggest checking out stores like Marshall's and TJ Maxx for good deals. Another alternative to wicker is woven plastic, which is what I did. The baskets I used are from Target and were completely budget friendly.
Don’t Forget About Your Jewelry Box
Last but not least, don’t forget about your jewelry box! Every so often, you need to go through your jewelry box and sort through what you are wearing regularly vs. what you are not. This prevents your fine jewelry from tarnishing, and your unworn costume jewelry from taking up space you may need for other items. If for any reason some of your items are tarnished, most reputable jewelers will fix it for you, free of charge as long as you originally purchased the item from them. For example, I know that James Avery does this. If you are going to have to spend money in order to fix or clean your jewelry and you don't think that you will wear the item again, you might want to consider getting rid of it to clean out your jewelry box and/or make space for new items. Chapes-JPL is a great place in Buckhead to sell jewelry in Atlanta, GA. They are the nations premier jewelry lender, offering collateral loans on valuables such as diamonds, watches, gold, handbags, and more. They'll also by the valuables outright, as well. They say: “Looking to sell your jewelry? We know you have plenty of options. You could either sell it yourself online or take it to a typical pawnshop, gold buyer, or jewelry store. Selling it online has its drawbacks, You have to photograph it, list it, wait for a buyer, ship it, wait for payment and lastly hope that the item doesn’t get returned. If you want cash for your jewelry immediately, we can help. Why visit Chapes-JPL with your gold, diamonds, jewelry and Rolex watches? First, with over 38 years appraising and buying jewelry, our offers are fair and honest. Secondly, we will buy gold and jewelry in any condition. From brand new engagement rings to broken clasps and scrap earrings, we will make you an offer. And lastly, privacy, when you go to a typical pawnshop, gold buyer or jewelry store you are discussing your business in their public showroom. At Chapes-JPL all appraisals and offers are conducted within our private offices and all discussions are confidential.”
Costume jewelry is typically not worth the hassle of trying to sell, so what I do when I am going through my jewelry and accessories is to make 3 piles. One is "keep", one is "sell", and the other is "Taylor". Taylor is my oldest niece and I love being able to bring her bags full of jewelry that I haven't worn in a while. I know that she'll put them to good use, and if any of it is too "grown up" for her, then her mom will happily take them off of her hands! If you don't have a niece to bestow items upon try your church's youth group, or donate them to a women's charity. To store my jewelry I use acrylic storage boxes that I purchased a Home Goods- I think most people use them for make-up storage, but I love them for my jewelry.
So that's it, y'all! That is my closet makeover, and suggestions. Do yourself a favor and beat Spring cleaning to the punch!
If you've been following me for any amount of time then you know that I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness. #Breakthestigma is a huge passion of mine. As women I feel like we are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to have "it" all together. We set ourselves up in a way that can only end in feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. The bar of "having it all together" is NOT attainable. This is not my opinion, it is a promise, a fact. There is not a woman alive who has it all together, every single one of us struggles in our own way. For most of us, we silently suffer under the weight of our self-criticism. Ladies, let's stop this shit! Let's acknowledge our limitations, set realistic goals, and talk about the fact that some days (or weeks, or months, or years) we are a big hot mess. We feel depressed, we feel anxious, and we feel defeated. If we all say these things out loud that unreachable bar will hopefully begin to taunt us a little less. We will be able to hear our sisters, peers, and role models voicing the same thoughts and feelings that we deal with. To me #breakthestigma is about recognizing that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to my mental health. It is recognizing the astounding data that tells us that over 23% of women worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder, and over 10% of women in the United States (estimated to be 300 million people worldwide) suffer from depression. In my opinion one of the biggest goals of #breakthestigma is realizing that I am, we are NOT alone.
I was blessed to meet @drradishabrown during a cooking class at Paleo Numyums last year. Even just speaking with her briefly I could tell that she was a woman's woman. She's the kind of person that champions all females and wants nothing more than to see all of them succeeding at life. When we message she addresses me as "Sis" not babe, girl, or lady (which are my usual go-tos when I'm addressing someone on social media). This may seem trivial, but I think it speaks volumes to who she is and what it is that she is trying to do. I can tell this about her, and honestly I barely know her.
Radisha has helped me to remember that as women we are sisters. As a Christian I believe we are Sisters in Christ, we all are children of a loving God. Even if you're not a believer, though, I'm sure you can ascribe to the idea that we are Sisters in life. If we can buy into this idea, really truly and deeply- y'all, I think that we can improve the quality of life for women everywhere. Let's lift each other up, and support each other. Let's celebrate each other's victories, and hold out a hand to pull each other up when we see someone knocked down.
As your Sister I want you to know that you must invest in yourself. Investing in yourself doesn't mean spending loads of money on massages and Mani/pedis for self-care (although l am completely about that life). What I mean specifically is to check-in with yourself often and find out what it is you need to feel better or feel your best. From there commit to giving that to yourself. Here are some examples.
Example 1: Are your physical limitations and struggles bringing you down? Commit to eating better, or working out. Commit to making and keeping an appointment with a doctor who can help you. Commit to what you need in your individual situation.
Example 2: Have you let your depression and anxiety go unmanaged for too long? Get your ass to the doctor. Take the meds. Find a therapist or counselor, because I swear to you that they are game changers. Whatever your role is in life- wife, mother, boss lady, friend-- you can not fill that role to the best of your ability if you aren't making your mental health a priority.
Example 3: Are you so overwhelmed with obligations and commitments that you can't remember the last time you relaxed and had fun? Start saying "No". If the thought of volunteering for the book fair at your child's school causes you to break out in hives, DON'T DO IT. If you want to start living a life outside of your Mom-mobile then tell your kiddo that a family break from extracurriculars is necessary. It might not seem like it at the time, but I promise that they will still love you.
Whatever it means to you- invest in yourself.
If you live in the CSRA, Georgia, or South Carolina and are interested in how you can invest in yourself I strongly encourage you to attend the Wellness Warrior event happening February 1st at Savannah Rapids in Augusta, Georgia. My sister, Dr. Radisha Brown's brain-child. It is a full-day event that will feature some amazing guest speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits. The day will help you check all of your boxes- mental, physical, nutritional, and spiritual wellness.
Dr. Rashida specializes in the link between your mental health and your physical and nutritional goals. She has invited Onnie Sanford (one of the coolest chicks I know), the owner of Paleo Num Yums to address healthy eating habits. Yogi goddess Bethany Smith will be there leading yoga. Skin expert, Stacy Washington has been invited to share her knowledge so your outside can be as fabulous as your inside. Cindy Foster will be sharing thoughts on mental health and mindfulness, and last but not least Minister Nikita Davis will be there to talk about the connection between spiritual health, and living a healthy life.
You deserve to to be taken care of, and the person who can do that best is you. Attending this event is a great place to start if you want help figuring out what it is you need and how you can go about making a plan to invest in yourself. Another thought I had was that if you are a leader in any way be it a boss, teacher, coach, or youth leader this would be an excellent opportunity for you. You'll be able to gain more insight into nurturing this essential part of the women you lead in order to help them find within themselves their best life.
If you take anything away from my message I hope it's that you are not alone. Wherever you are, whoever you are, I am here for you if you ever need me. Just reach out.
At the beginning of this month I had the great pleasure to attend the new Cirque du Soleil show, Ovo, on its opening night in Augusta, Georgia. Earlier that day I was also given the opportunity to go back stage and see up close all of the magic that goes into a Cirque show.
My oldest daughter was home sick, so it was just Claire Cooper and I backstage. First we were escorted to the costume room. Here we were not only able to see all of the costumes, but we also got to meet the lovely woman in charge of every costume you'll see during the show. In the picture below she is showing us the Dragonfly's wing that she was hand sewing. Look closely for another picture of that wing later in this post! (Hint:these wings are actually attached to his legs)
In the costume room we examined the Mosquito's giant clown-like shoes, and the flirty Lady Bug's costume. How do you think Claire Cooper looks in the Lady Bug's outfit? It was so interesting to learn that most of the performers do their own make up, there is an arsenal of professional supplies and products at their disposal, Cirque even has signature colors with MAC cosmetics!
After seeing the costume area we stood back stage for a few minutes watching the acrobats practice their routines. By far my favorite part about the behind-the-scenes experience was the extreme mix of cultures we encountered. In costumes we spoke to women with French and British accents, and while observing the performers heard a mix of what I'm sure was 5-10 other accents and languages including Russian and Chinese. My 5 year old had never been around a group of people this diverse before. I truly think that the melting pot of different cultures and personal backgrounds is one of the greatest attributes to the overall kaleidoscope-vibe of the show.
Next we were ushered into the empty arena to watch the aerial acts practice. During practice the performers wear safety wires- but it is free flying during the real show!
Our backstage experience was so incredible and it left Claire Cooper quite steamed that she wouldn't be attending the show that night. What can I say?? Sometimes Mom and Dad need a date night!
Ovo was actually the first show from Cirque du Soleil that I have even seen. (The hubby had seen them in Vegas) I could not imagine a more entertaining experience, and even though we chose not to bring the kiddos they would have absolutely loved it.
Ants, grasshoppers, spiders, scarabs, moths, and so much more can be seen during the show. I won't give away the adorable storyline but you can expect to witness a tale as old as time...boy meets girl, love, rejection, love again, and a really giant egg!
Ovo is likely traveling to a town near you soon! Check here for all of the upcoming tour dates. It is a can't-miss event!
Hey y'all! I'm Layne, a 30-something Southern Belle trying to navigate this craziness we call life. I'm a wife, mom of 2, and all around hot mess. I'm passionate about mental health, and love everything having to do with fashion. I'm living a super blessed life, and I love sharing it with you.