Marriage: A Message from the Trenches

I don’t have anything figured out just yet and while I do act like an expert, I am certainly not one. So this blog is my letter from the trenches of marriage, where I’m always learning- never an expert.

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But I can’t talk about the trenches of marriage, without talking about the trenches of rediscovering myself and growing up. Because marriage is made up of two people in their own trenches who are either digging toward each other or digging away from each other.

Right now, we’re both dirty and weary from the shovels and all the digging, but we’re digging toward each other.

First, an update from my own trench. Recently, I’ve …… come to rest. Relaxed. Let go. Eased up. Worried less. These attitude changes have made a HUGE difference in my life (consider my Type A perfectionist disposition). There are 3 things that have been the catalyst to my newfound peace (plus God- everything is plus God, and I’m not saying this lightly. I’m stating the facts. God.)

1. Anti-depressants. Anti-depressants have caused me to relax in a way that I could not have without them.

2. Kon Mari. I’ve already blogged extensively about the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but again this weekend I saw how wonderful it has made my life. We’ll call this abbreviated Kon Mari: House Renovations Edition. My husband “destroyed” two bedrooms in our house in the process of putting in new windows. For the first time ever– I was able to see the new windows part of that sentence before I saw the destroyed part. Because I knew the destroying- house part was temporary and was only going to take me a few minutes to clean up and I knew at the end I’d have new windows. There was no fighting or stress to be had between my husband and I. If you have known me more than say, 5-6 minutes then you know this is a true MIRACLE! This is because of Kon Mari. My house is in such a state of perfect order, that two destroyed bedrooms still only takes me a few minutes to normalize. And in the end, I have all new windows.

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3. Brene Brown. Besides reading Brene’s genius works, I’ve been attending a small group where we talk openly about our personal struggles. This safe place has become a place of healing for me as I walk through my past and present struggles.

So- that is one of the big things that has changed in my marriage: me. I’m not bragging, I’m stating facts. The fact is: I might just be growing up a little bit. Andy, though imperfect, has always been steady, loving and ready to serve. I have not always been so gracious in my dealings. Recently, after relating some story to my friend, she looked me in the eye and said this, “Celina! You are letting go!”. I hugged her and immediately turned to Andy for confirmation (he confirmed).

Here is a special chart I created to sum up the changes in my general disposition. As you can see, I have a long way to go, but I’ve also come a long way:

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Andy is digging his own trench. If he had a blog you could read about it. work-boots-gloves-shovel-dirty-rubble-red-clay

As a couple, we’re making positive changes. From the trenches of our marriage- here’s one: I mentioned earlier that when we went on vacation, Andy and I didn’t really do a good job connecting, but we did work it out in the end. We decided from the missed connections on vacation that we needed to be super intentional about connecting- even for just five minutes a day. (Look at us! Learning from failure and moving on with positive changes instead of wallowing!) In the busyness of day-to-day life: working, schedules, parenting- marriage is often the thing we are too tired to work on and it’s something we take for granted. We worry about the soccer schedule and not the emotional state of our mate and frankly a few days/weeks/months of living like that makes marriage feel like rooming with someone you used to love.

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In response to that,  Andy and I have been doing daily aBc Scans. aBc Scans are short, but they can be as long as we have time for, but basically after we get all the kids to bed, we sit down for at least 5 minutes and chat. From “how was your day?” to “how are you feeling?” we put it on the table. If we’ve hurt one another, we discuss that. aBc Scans begin and end with a hug. A hug communicates love and that we are on the same team. Sometimes, we discuss Baldwin Current Affairs (BCA) and sometimes we just sit together and talk about our day. Usually I relate a funny or mind-blowingly frustrating story from my trench of motherhood, and Andy shares from his trench of corporate America. What we are doing is something all of you emotionally healthy people probably already do, but we’re working hard on “healthy” and connecting emotionally is difficult. So together, we are wading the uncomfortable waters of true connection. We are listening, hugging and loving each other unconditionally. As painful as it can be, it’s not nearly as painful as us digging our trenches away from each other.

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Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we still dig in opposite directions- or who am I kidding, I dig in the opposite direction, but we’ve come so far it doesn’t make sense to go another way when what we have is the very best of all.

 

XO,

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Christmas Traditions

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I love traditions, especially the holiday kind. I love being able to say, “every year we…”. My problem with traditions is when they don’t get accomplished. Yes, I just said accomplished as if having a tradition was a goal (sad face). Being a perfectionist of sorts, I just feel the need to have a perfect track record with traditions, but the thing is, we can’t “always” do anything and seasons change. When we didn’t have kids, we used to make a HUGE batch of cinnamon rolls and deliver them to all our friends on Christmas eve morning. We just don’t do that anymore. And some years, we try something new and we don’t love it or it just doesn’t stick for us. Almost every year, Andy and I have sent a photo greeting card to the 100+ people on our Christmas card list. Except not this year because some traditions just can’t be done every year. As my mom and I have expanded our business, November and December have gotten just a little bit crazier. So, this year, we never scheduled a photo shoot and while we tried to take our own pictures, they just didn’t turn out good and time just wasn’t on my side for ordering cards with our half-assed photos. So, maybe we’ll start a new tradition of a spring greeting or a mid-year update from the Baldwins, but while we do love sending Christmas cards, we’re just didn’t get to it this year and I am OK with that.

So here’s what we do now. In this season.

A Yearly Ornament. Pretty much since we have been married, Andy and I have collected an ornament to add to our tree (and the years we or missed, I collected later and labeled). I absolutely love doing this. Sometimes, the ornament reflects an experience we had, like the Santa on the beach ornament we got for the year we skipped Christmas and went to Mexico, and sometimes it’s just something fun. Now, of course, I do it for the kids, too. We love the search for the perfect ornament and this year as we simplify our gift-giving a bit, this will be the Christmas eve gift that everyone gets.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. We haven’t done this every year, but almost every year, we trek into the woods of Colorado and cut down our very own Charlie Brown tree. I found out clip-art-charlie-brown-christmas-tree-charliethis year that the program that sponsors this (you get a permit to do this, we’re not going rogue here into the woods with an axe) is actually called, “A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”. We didn’t do this the year Andy was in Congo to file paperwork- that year I surprised him on his return with a fully decorated tree when he came home and this year I can’t even go with the family to do this because I have to sling alpaca goods, but the kids are going anyway and I love that. For Andy and for the kids.

Christmas Eve Congolese Feast. This one I just started last year in an attempt to retain some kind of home country culture for my loves. Ok, let’s get real, this is the only thing I do to help retain “culture”.  Basically, I scour the internet for recipes and do my best to cook up a feast that any African would appreciate. I’d love for someday this to be a giant party with friends and family all enjoying this tradition alongside us! feast

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. As you all know by now, I love a good book and this is one of the best! Our good friends who share a love of books gave us this book as a gift for the kids and we’ve been using it ever since. I love the set apart time during the busyness to sit down with the kids and read this lovely book. The holiday season is BUSY, so admittedly, we don’t get to do this every night, but we do try and make it a priority.

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Gifts. I actually have a huge problem with gifts. That problem is the “never enough” problem. When I shop for Christmas gifts, I feel like I have to get everyone on my list “just one more thing”. I love gift giving and I really love giving Christmas gifts. But I feel like whatever I get for someone isn’t big enough or I didn’t spend enough or maybe that’s not what they wanted so I should get one more thing or…fill in the blank. And I really hate the “never enough” feeling, because gift giving should be fun, not stressful. One of my favorite people to buy for is my cousin Lisa. We have a long standing tradition of always exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts. Our agreement is unspoken, but every year we go out and buy one another a gift that says, “I am thinking of you, I know you, and I love you”.  The gifts we give are gifts that we want to give. We are thoughtful and expressive in our gift giving. This year I gave her a little sign that said, “You really can do anything” (because she can!). On the year I was training for a marathon, she gave me a huge bounty of running stuff. One year she made me a quilt and even now as it falls apart, it’s still one of my favorite possessions. In thinking about why I love gifting with Lisa, it’s actually the simplicity, thoughtfulness and low expectations of this exchange that make it awesome. But with my immediate family, the expectations are high, way too high, and so gift giving becomes a chore and a disappointment. In an attempt to move away from these high expectations, this year, we are trying something new. Everyone is getting something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. Every person in our immediate family gets only 4 gifts (plus the ornament). I don’t know if this will stick, but I think it’s a start for simplifying things and maybe it will help with the “never enough” problem, because who am I kidding, we have more than enough.

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Giving. Speaking of more than enough… Papa Wess Stafford of Compassion fame says this, “the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, it’s enough.” Because we have (way) more than enough, I love to give. My mom taught me to give and I love that legacy and want to leave the same one for my children. Growing up, even when we had less than lots of  (i.e. we were pretty poor) she always gave to those who had less. We love to give all year, but my favorite time to give is Christmas. Whether it’s shoe boxes, a giving tree, or a gift for our Compassion kids, we always find ways to give at Christmas.

So, along with the decorated house, Christmas music all December long, holiday movies, parties, baking and Starbucks runs for gingerbread lattes, these are our traditions. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

XO,

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Facebook Posts, Christmas Cards & Real Life

Recently, I posted this photo of my family on social media. It’s a fantastic photo capturing everyone in my family wearing Warby Parker glasses and perfect smiles. It was a super fun and quick moment during dinner clean up when I said, “Quick! everyone come here and put on some glasses!”. They all obeyed and this fun and funny moment was captured forever. This photo got 40+ likes on Instagram, 100+ likes on Facebook and 21 “beautiful family/great picture” type comments. It made me feel good to share this moment and get positive feedback on it — because it was a good moment.

IMG_2206Based on the fact that I seldom post on my personal Facebook or Instagram accounts, you might surmise that all of our moments are this happy and fun. This is obviously far from my reality. I don’t post pictures of me yelling at my kids or my look of complete frustration everyday from 4-6 PM. However, the lie social media would have us believe that everyone else is living a life filled with wonderful moments where either the whole family gathers around for a selfie or we all enjoy ourselves at the pumpkin patch or on an epic hike, at a baseball game, on a vacation or at an amazing party. But that’s not the truth, is it?

The truth is this: we all have wonderful moments and we all have shit. (We also have a bunch of stuff in between wonderful and shit, but I’m not going to talk about that today.)

I’ve recently become curious (thank you Brene Brown for giving me a kind word to use as I explore my feelings) about why perusing social media makes me feel sad, annoyed, self-righteous, angry and jealous. See, sometimes when I look at Facebook and I see my friends who I know intimately and love deeply posting their best moments, I feel something like sadness but with a bit of jealousy. Of course, I click the “like” button and of course, I DO like that they are having a wonderful moment. But I also know that they have shit and something in me feels sad that we’re all just sharing our best moments. It also makes me feel like our best moments are a lie because I know we all have shit. I hate that I feel that way. Of course our wonderful moments are wonderful whether or not we have shit. And don’t get me wrong, I feel strongly that social media is not the place to air our dirty laundry, list of complaints, and vague negativity. So, if that’s not what I’m after- what is the problem?

I think I’ve realized that the problem is that we’re sharing, tweeting, liking, posting and Instagramming the best parts of our lives and when I view this from the sidelines (my phone or computer), I end up feeling that someone else’s life is made up of only wonderful and my life has both wonderful and shit. I also think I feel these emotions because we’re only getting one side of the story- when what my heart really wants and was made for is to enjoy the beautiful moments with people I love and get down and dirty into their real lives. What I really want is to share the best and worst of who I am with those I love and who I know love me- no matter what.

I recently spent some time with a friend and she shared with me that in our time apart she had spent some time on this blog. This particular friend has a very rich and full life and she is a contented person. She loves her life, herself and her family. Her husband works super hard, is home every night for dinner and because of his hard work they own an amazing house and take wonderful vacations- both alone and with their kids. In short, this friend has a lot, everything- some might say. Yet she told me that one day she was reading my blog and she broke down in tears comparing my life of my blog about retreats and vacations with friends to her own life. It was a vulnerable and shocking moment. And the truth is, it made me feel really, really bad. It made me feel bad that perhaps I am (like most) only portraying the best parts of my life when what I really want is for you to know that my struggles run deep. It made me feel bad that someone else felt sad about their life when compared to mine when what I really want for you to know that when I compare my life to yours, I come up short, too. And it made me feel bad about keeping this blog because there is only give here- me giving you my life and polished version of blog-worthy events- and no take, I don’t get any of you. I just get to put all this out there and you just sit there and read. And it made me really, really sad because the reason we started this blog was to start a neighborhood. I want to be clear that I know making me feel bad was absolutely not my friend’s intention and I really appreciated her candor with me, but it got me thinking more and more about these feelings I have regarding social media.

What I want to say is this: I have wonderful moments and I have shit. You have wonderful moments and you have shit. When I see your wonderful moments, I compare them with my shit and that isn’t fair to me or you.  I love being celebrated when I have a Facebook moment, but I also want to be known. I want to celebrate with you when you are having a Facebook moment, but I also want to know you. I know my capacity isn’t large enough for the 500-some people I am “friends” with on Facebook, so what’s the right answer?

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Christmas Card 2015 Behind the smiles was a really GRUMPY mom who ordered everyone around all morning and acted like a real jerk. Merry Christmas! Isn’t life wonderful?!!! Please also notice my neighbors RV! Road trip anyone?!?

I think I’ve decided that answer is that we can share our best with the world. We can smile and say, “Doing great!” to 95% of the people we know. We can send wonderful Christmas cards and post beautiful and fun moments on social media, but we just need to know that everyone- and I mean everyone- has wonderful and shit. We can share and celebrate the best parts of each others lives on social media, but we need a safe place in real life with real people to be real. A place to share the shit and be loved even if our life 98% of the time is nothing like the Christmas card and Instagram photos. And we need to know that almost everyone just shares one side with the whole world and what we need is a small, intimate and safe circle to share about the fights with your spouse, the thoughts and feelings we have from 4-6 PM and the truth behind every wonderful photo. I think I’ve decided that what I need is more real life moments and talks with real people to balance out all the wonderful moments I “like” on Facebook.

What do you guys think? I’d love to know your thoughts on this as I’m still wrestling!

XO,

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the power of a fresh start

Fresh starts, clean slates, new beginnings and do overs: these are powerful things. Whether it’s a move, a break up, a brand new morning, or a vow renewal. We all need a cleansing Fresh Start sometimes.

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I’m at the starting over place. The need for starting over has been a few months in the making- the slippery slope of poor choices: eating whatever I wanted, smoking too much and generally not taking care of myself. I’ve tried a few times to start over by quitting smoking and making better choices with food and every time I’ve ended up right where I began: full of self loathing and making the same shitty choices. I’ll be honest, it’s been a pretty disappointing time, but not disappointing enough for me to quit starting over. The thing about this disappointing time is that I determined that one of my Fresh Starts was eventually going to stick. So I didn’t quit trying and I gave every attempt at a Fresh Start all I had.

So, I started over. Again.

Last week I quit smoking cigarettes (I can hear the angels singing the hallelujah chorus. Never mind, that’s just the sound of my mom not nagging me) which was the first thing I needed to do in order to get to the true Fresh Start. And a few days ago, I started (for the 10th time) a Whole30. I’ve only actually completed only one Whole30, even though I’ve started 10 of them, but I started my second (11th?) Whole30.

This particular Fresh Start is actually about returning to the place where I felt the best about myself in the past couple of years and the best I’ve felt about myself is during and immediately after my (only) Whole30 in March 2013. Whole30 was so powerful for me because I had to have a set apart time where I could not use food (sweets especially) as a coping mechanism. I’ve come to the place where I realize all the sneaky things that I use to cope with my emotions- instead of actually coping with my emotions. Food and cigarettes are two of those things, so starting over this time looked like me not using either of those things to manage my emotions.60533f0be108d985df849bc4608fb4c3

I humbly start again believing with everything in me that the power of a Fresh Start is that there’s new power every single time I try. Whether I’ve failed at 2000 Whole30’s or I’ve quit smoking 790 times, there’s new power every. single.time. And today, I’ll take the power of that and use it to get through today. I’ll keep believing in myself even when my history doesn’t reflect perfection. I’ll keep trying to succeed even when I fall flat. 59194_full

For my birthday, my BFF got me an item almost everything from my wishlist. My favorite gift from her though, was this giving key. The word she chose was “BELIEVE” and her amazing card explained why (which I have kept in the spirit of keeping only things that bring me joy). Anyway, one line of the card said, “and believing that you will win whatever battle you are currently facing”.  I wear that key almost everyday as a reminder that I need to believe in myself and keep trying.

RSFinal3D640X640-1640My Fresh Start has brought lovely things already. I’m reading my new best friend Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong (how, seriously HOW did I live without Brene?) and in it she mentions Paulo Coelho who says in his book The Alchemist, “when you are on your path, the universe will conspire to help you.” In the mail on the day I started my Whole30 we received our  favorite Whole30 snack from my friend Pam. And I just smiled and thought to myself, “I’m on my path. Fresh Start and all. I’m on my path.”

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Part 1

Well, Neighbors, Amanda is busy teaching rich and famous people how to love and train their children, so I’ll fill the blog this week with a fun series about magic! Ok, not magic exactly, but something like it.

Welcome to a three-part series on a book that has totally and completely changed my life. As you know, I love to read. I read a lot of books and many of them change my life in one way or another. But this book. This book has totally and completely changed the way I live revolutionized my entire life. I’m not being dramatic here, either. This book is actually magic.

22318578A few weeks ago, I wrote a note to myself in my journal/to do list/book of ideas that it was time for me to go through my many boxes of mementos. I knew that it was time to sort through my photos, my journals, the photos I salvaged from my dad’s house after he died and the many unnecessary letters, keepsakes and nick-nacks I have kept for years. A week after I wrote that note on my to-do list, this book became available to me at the library (I had requested it earlier). I’m a bit of a bandwagoner and although I’d read nothing about this book, I’d seen it many places and heard that it was good (that’s really all it takes for me to read a book…).

I read the book through in three days, closed the cover, started again and immediately ordered a copy for myself from Amazon. It had so much of an impact and I didn’t want to let it go until I’d seen the magic for myself. I’ve said to people since I read it, “It’s so good, it’s cultish.” As in, it’s totally black and white and you either do it or you don’t. Drink the Koolaid or don’t. Tidy up or don’t. Go to Jonestown or don’t.

Anyway, in Part 1, I am going to give you the very basics of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also called Kon Mari method). You can read this information anywhere on the web (or read the book yourself, which I obviously recommend) but since I will be sharing the personal impact, I want you to have the basics of Kon Mari right here in black and white.

Here are Marie Kondo’s tips for tidying up:

  • Keep only the things that bring you joy
    • “Take each item in one hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
  • Decide what to keep, not what to get rid ofSlide81
  • Sort by category, not by room
    • “When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish.” i.e. paper clips, pencils, crayons….
  • Finish discarding first
    • “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding”
    • “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
  • This is a one and done procedure; no more daily/weekly tidying
    • “If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset.”
    • “People can’t change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.”
  • File, don’t pile things
    • “When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the bottom are used less and less frequently.”

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  • Storage is a booby trap
    • “Store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space”
  • The last category you should sort through is mementos
    • “By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past“.Slide10

As you can tell by the last bullet point, this book is obviously a timely gift. I knew I needed to process my past as part of my journey, and since the magic has entered my life, I will soon be doing just that.

Regarding my own house… In Part 2, I will tell you what I have completed in the 14 days since I read this book. However, I will not show you photos of my old space. I was so eager to do this, I literally took no photos. I kept thinking I should take a “before” picture since I knew I would be blogging about this. But I never did, I was so excited to just get to it (by category of course!). If you want to see before and after photos, the internet is full of them. Just Google it or search Pinterest. There is no shortage of information or images on this topic.

If you want to know what my house looked like before, I’ll tell you this, I have always been an organized person. I’ve always tried my best to have a neat and orderly space, to put things away. I loved baskets, boxes and other clever storage things. No one who came in my house would say it was cluttered or messy. I’ve always loved throwing things away and keeping things in their rightful places and I never kept what I felt was unnecessary.  I did all the stuff we all try our best to do to not live in total chaos. So, if you want to see my house before Kon-Mari, maybe just look around your own house. It’s probably about the same. If you are doing your best, but can’t seem to keep up, then that was me.

Until next time, when I reveal the magic!

The Power of “Yes”

Recently Andy and I did an activity that I found incredibly powerful. We sat face to face and we asked each other questions that the other person could only answer “yes” to. We asked things like, “Do you love me?” , “Do you think I’m beautiful?” , “Would you chose me again?” , “Will you stay with me forever?”, “Are you proud of me?”. We asked questions that we are always asking in our heads, but don’t always have the answer to in the midst of life’s stress. We sat face to face and said “YES!”. “Yes” to love and “Yes” to each other. It was an intimate experience that spoke deeply to my heart and has impacted my marriage even months later.

So yesterday, I did it again. I gave that powerful “YES!” a place in my life. I said “yes”. I said, “yes” to being loved. I said “yes” to being cared for. I let other people say “Yes! I love you”. “Yes! I will care for you!”, “Yes! You are a friend!”.

See, I like to think I’m pretty tough. I like to think I don’t need anyone. And I like to say, “no” because it makes me feel powerful. I can say “no” to you before you can ever say “no” to me = I’m in control.  I also tend to think that if someone helps me then I am “less than” so I say, “no thanks, I’ll be fine”. I never let anyone take care of me- I quickly shoot them down with a “no” thereby keeping my power intact.  Because of this, I don’t get to receive love and connection from those who love me most. I love to say “NO!” because “no” is also very powerful. But it’s really a different kind of power. It’s a power that says, “I have power over YOU.”, “No, you can’t love me”, “no, you can’t take care of me”. Just “no” and oh by the way, can you tell that I’m in control here?

Of course, I am simplifying ‘no’ and ‘yes’, but you get the point here. They powerful words.

Yesterday I made a series of choices that added up to a change in perspective. I didn’t even realize it until I sat down last night and looked back at my day. Yesterday, I joyfully received the gifts of love, friendship and care. I was horribly sick on Sunday night. I spent most of the night puking and woke up on Monday with a horrible migraine headache.

I directed the morning routine for Vaughn and Eloise from my bed. Literally, I told them what to do and then sent them to the driveway to wait for their ride. My kids asked if they could make their own breakfast and get themselves ready and I said, “Yes. Please.” [I humbly receive your care. Thank you and I’m sorry.]

I texted Amanda and asked her if she could take my kids to school. She said yes and offered to make dinner for my family. I said, “Yes. Please. That would be amazing!” [Thank you for taking care of me. You don’t have to do that, but I really need the help today and I am going to step out and let you do what you offered to do.]

I texted Julie to apologize for not filling her truck that I borrowed yesterday and to explain why. She asked if she could get me anything at the grocery store. “Yes. Please. My kids need milk. This morning they had dry cereal.” [Thank you for helping me even though you have a busy life and now you have to fill your own truck with gas.] Julie brought me milk AND home made zucchini bread.

I texted my mom with my sickness. “Can I take the baby this morning?” she asked. “Yes. And will you please bring me breakfast?” [Thank you for breakfast and for the break. I receive your care. I need it.]

I didn’t deserve for anyone to do all these things for me. But as I looked back at my day I realized a couple of things:

  1. All I need is a couple good friends. And I have them. And my mom. I always need my mom.
  2. Saying “yes” to being loved feels a lot better than saying “no” to being loved.
  3. Being cared for and realizing that I have true and lovely friends really is really an amazing and empowering feeling.

I think I’ll try to use that magical, powerful “YES!” a little more often.

Fashion with Amanda

This is funny to me. I am NOT into fashion really. But I think when you are a designer/creative you have an eye. I am a designer. So maybe thats why Celina thinks I know fashion? Anyways, things have been a bit heavy over here, so I haven’t been blogging. I needed something light. Celina came over and I was modeling my new booties for her, she said, “That’s it!” you need to start giving your fashion tips on the blog.

So here I go. Round one of Amanda’s fashion tips.

  1. Show off your assets. I don’t necessarily mean your boobs. (Those are NOT my assets (yet:), they could be yours, and that’s fine.) We all get caught up on what we DON’T like about our bodies. Who cares! Have you looked at pictures of you ten years ago? The other day this photo came up in my news feed. This is me less than two years after having a baby (yes- I said two years, not two months. I am a NORMAL person.) I looked so good!0013 But I thought I was fat! We do this to ourselves ladies?! Why?!  Did you know that we will feel this way in ten years? Show off what you love about yourself. The confidence will shine brighter than any outfit! (Celina has awesome legs, I am always telling her to shorten dresses, and wear shorts, her legs are gorgeous!)
  2. Do not underestimate the power of a good white t-shirt. I told  you I am not a fashion genius. I think that spending money on basics is totally okay. I buy expensive white t-shirts. I have a lot of them. I think the perfect soft, slouchy, v-neck t-shirt is the perfect go to. All you have to do is add a necklace, or some big earrings (not both!), and you’ve got an outfit. I don’t spend lot’s of money on the seasonal “it” items. Like aladdin pants, or high-rise jeans???? I spend money on t-shirts I love, and shoes, and jeans that are classic and JEWELRY. Then I go to the cheaper stores to “update” each season. Now- if you have children that are under the age of… ten, you can substitute the white tee for say a navy blue, grey, or black. Because we all know that these children walk around waiting to wipe their hands and mouths on our soft white tee’s. (If you have children under age three, I like to call this the “nasty shoulder period” of your life. You will always have nasty goobers on your shoulder, and you won’t even know it. It’s okay, we’ve all gone through these years, and we stand in solidarity with you- we do not judge crusty shoulders- do we ladies!) ALSO- in the winter, these T-shirts are still perfection, because now instead of a necklace, we pair them with SCARVES and earrings. Same effect. Wow, she can really pull that off! tumblr_inline_msdkk6qoKf1qz4rgp
  3. Cool necklaces are bomb. They make our t-shirt and jeans outfits look like we did something other than pull on a t-shirt and jeans outfit. I LOVE to make my own jewelry. If you don’t love to make pieces, buy from people who do! There are so many amazing pieces of unique jewelry out there. Buy on etsy, or from local artisans. You can get yourself some unique and fabulous go-to pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix gold and silver, wood and glass, the funkier the better in my opinion. Scarves are the necklace of the winter, buy some! You can get them so cheap and so cute! Pair them with a t-shirt in the winter. And some hoop earrings. The bigger the hoop, the skinnier you look. (I am totally kidding on that! The saying is actually something different…)
  4. Booties. This is my tip for this season. These are in. But if you haven’t noticed, all the models who show us these have legs that do not ever touch one another. Women, unless you are one of the few females on earth whose thighs do not touch, this trend could lead us toward a debacle of epic proportions. Here is my tip for you on your bootie quest. If your thighs touch: You must be careful. These booties can really shorten our legs and accentuate the touchy parts. So either 1. wear something that covers the touching portions. Or 2. buy booties like I got. This little cut down the front REALLY helps to visually lengthen our legs. We still feel sexy, we get a little lift, and we pair them with skinny jeans and still can feel skinny! (Don’t you think skinny jeans should actually be called “feel like a fatty jeans”??!!) Now if you are one of the women whose thighs do not touch, you can discontinue reading this blog… forever. ea67c576b560de94eb7246ea5fa6b9a5

Okay I don’t want to overwhelm you with my fashion prowess, so I will stop now. But don’t be afraid to add some tips of your own! We need each other ladies.