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Understated Classics’ #JCrewFirstLook

My office to the J.Crew Georgetown location is a 20 minute drive.  The event I was attending (hosted by my friends over at The Fashionably Broke) was at 6pm.  So if I left work at 5, let’s do the math… Somehow I managed to get lost, ended up in Dupont Circle, up Massachusetts Ave, and near the Embassy of Iraq- in NO WAY AT ALL CLOSE TO GEORGETOWN.   Seriously.

The entire adventure, I was thinking to myself “Why in the world am I going to a J.Crew event?  I am so not at all a poster child for J.Crew.”  As I am getting lost even further in thought and on the road, I began to cry, and panic.  At 6:10pm, the Mr. calls asking “Why haven’t you gotten there yet?”  I panicked, and was almost in tears.  Sweating (cause of course it was 90 million degrees out, the sun was beating on my car, and I was panicking.), I began to cry.  He then advised “Just take a selfie with Natalie when you get there so I know you are okay.”  Seriously, within 10 minutes, I managed to get myself to the Wisconsin Avenue mall parking garage.  Thankfully, my journey was so close to over.  So close, yet so far away.

Why J.Crew First Look?  We know that J.Crew is totally not my style.  I even went in with my Stitchfix #9 dress and denim jacket (faking it til I make it, UC in J.Crew style).  It was like she knew I was frazzled, Natalie and I immediately took a selfie and sent it to the Mr.  (Why?  Cause the Mr. and she used to work together, and we’re all friends). but we (Natalie and I) were really on a mission.

Follow me on Twitter, and you’d have seen that I was determined to get this jumpsuit. I’d been tweeting back and forth with Natalie/Erika, and asking for help to convince the Mr. that the jumpsuit is destiny.  And it was.  See for yourself.

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Seriously.  How did the Mr. not think it was a good idea to own one of these?  The linen cotton blend is amazing, the waistband is not too high, not too low, just right.  The pattern is very fun- totally not at all “Clare at J.Crew” and had I not told you it was from there, I feel as though I am not at all in a J. Crew piece.  Remember, I banned myself from shopping there due to overly preppy, patterned, expensive “so not my style” pieces.  And it only took one invite (and a box of coffee) from Natalie to convince me to try it again…

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How comfy?  Like pajamas. Like this should be illegal to wear out in public.  So easy to wear.  Not so easy to slip on and off- don’t plan on drinking a lot of water when wearing this.  I may nor may not have asked a random stranger in a rest stop restroom to help me start unzipping the zipper for me…not easy, but that’s a minor oversight.  Still, the suit is so comfy, so fun, and so easy, and although the print is super busy, actually, flattering.

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I was highly reluctant to try this jumpsuit trend.  But with a little help from my friends and a lot of coaxing the Mr., we are on the right track to stay trending and super amazingly awesome all summer long.  Be prepared, this outfit will more than likely repeat numerous times this summer…

What’s one summer trend you are reluctant to try?  Have you even considered trying it? 

Enjoy today.

live life in the front row

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linking up with:   Style Elixir  /  Walking In Memphis In High Heels  / I do deClaire  /  Mama And More /  The Pleated Poppy  /  Because Shanna Said So  /  Pump & Pushups  /  My Girlish Whims  /  Tucker Up  /  Book of Leisure  /  Cappuccino and Fashion  /  For the Love of Leopard  /  Sydney Fashion Hunter  / Classy Yet Trending  / Gracefully Made

 

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

A few weeks ago, I began the daunting tasks of going minimal.  Closet, junk drawer, kitchen, life.  No specific reason, just got caught up in clutter, felt suffocated, and needed to either take a long vacation away from all our junk, or get rid of everything.

Recently, a friend passed along his experience with the book:  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  He claimed that he had that “a-ha” moment where “I really don’t need all these books, those extra papers floating around, too much junk.”  The book helped him organize, streamline and keep his life clutter free.  And you can tell -total shift in confidence, attitude, perspective and overall, his energy levels were up, and he was ready to take on the world.

After his excitement and passion, I felt compelled to check it out myself.  The simple book cover was decieving.  I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but what you see is what you get.  Simple.  Plain.  Whole picture.  That’s the result too.  The book is plain and simple.  You walk away with a new perspective.  side note: the book was written and based of Japanese culture, however, many of the theories and practices are highly applicable to American culture.

I read the book in a matter of hours.  I was so impressed that nearly immediately upon turning the last page, I was putting theory into practice.  I went on a frenzy. I donated a bunch of clothes, got rid of all my old chapsticks, outdated receipts, useless papers, anything that was taking up room at the bottom of my purse, my workbag, things “I forgot I had this.”   Anything that hadn’t been touched, used, or seen in over 3 months, I tossed.  And it felt so good.

The key question when discarding was “Does this bring me joy?”  if the answer was no, then it’s time to move on. For me, this was an easy process.  However,I’m still working on many aspects of my apartment.  My closet was an easy task, but the rest is still difficult.  What defines joy?  The book does offer some solutions to answer that question, but really joy is a self-made definition.

My favorite excerpt of the entire book:

“Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.”  If you have tried this method even a little, you have realized by now that it is not that difficult to identify something that brings you joy.  The moment you touch it, you know the answer.  It is much more difficult to decide to discard something.  We come up with all kinds of reasons for not doing it, such as “I didn’t use this particular pot all year, but who knows I might need it sometime…” or “That necklace my boyfriend gave me, I really liked it at the time…” 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.

Powerful stuff, eh?  The book goes on to explain the power of discarding and surrounding yourself with the art of tidying.  Tidying?  Am I crazy?  Part of me says yes, but the more important take away from this was how your life can really change for the positive.  I’ve noticed that since the two weeks of reading this book, things have been flowing nicer.  Even if my 90 minute commute is the same, when I get home, home is now a sanctuary, a haven, a safe place, a place of comfort.  Home used to not feel that way- I was always was thinking of what I had to clean next.  Now, with the tidying complete, my chores are minimal and less stressful!

Seriously.  If you ever consider really going for a great Spring or Summer deep cleaning, read this book first.  Your life will be forever changed.  Trust me, trust in the process she outlines, and you will be amazed at just exactly what your future really can be.

Want the Sparknotes version?  The Today Show did a piece on the book.  Worth watching and reading.

 Enjoy today.

live life in the front row

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Spring BellaVoxBox

Spring BellaVoxBox

Today, let’s talk Springtime beauty.  A few weeks ago, I was sent a Bella VoxBox from the website “Influenster.”  A fun, testing service.  I was sent this lovely box of full size samples to try out, and rant/rave about.  Today’s post is a final roundup of all the ranting/raving all in one place.

The box was so pretty, I didn’t want to start testing the items right away I just wanted to take tons of pictures.  But that wasn’t the purpose of the box!

IMG_3552Fun box!  Just in time too, I was looking for a new mascara, and just ran out of lipstick, and, the sucker that I am, I always look for a new makeup brush.  After explaining to the Mr. just exactly how the VoxBox came by way, we began to dive into the box, looking into what exactly I was (or he was) testing out.  Keep in mind, I may be the lone author of this blog, but he claims it’s his blog too.  (New fun fact:  If I reach 1000 followers on Instagram, he claims he’ll set an @Mr_UC account.  You know you want to see this…)

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Stitchfix #9

StitchFix #9

I am the worst Stitchfix blogger.  For the sake of all StitchFix addicts like me, I will attempt to improve my blogging around the subject.  I promise.  #10 comes June 6

After all, I google all the items that are in my box before they arrive, and typically, blog posts are the ones who display the items.  Although, this box was different.  Either the stylist (not my usual Lizzy) did not understand my style, or sent items that are brand-spanking-new that I couldn’t seem to match up the items.

Let’s just say, I really struggled with this box.  I was disappointed Lizzy didn’t style me on this one.  And although I did suggest a festival-y, summer-y vibe, had it been Lizzy, we would have gone in a different direction.

But with a little convincing, and upcoming summer heat, I managed.  Seriously.  I love this dress.  I have the tan lines to prove it.  (I fell asleep on the beach in Ocean City last weekend with this dress on.  Oops!)

Photo details:  before coffee, before I had to run into Walgreens for emergency hairties, before breakfast, never a good idea to take pictures.  Especially on a windy day…

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The Mr. is super patient.  And honestly, I think he’s getting better at this photography thing.  Seriously, can we comment on that?  He gets super self-conscious of his skills.  I think he’s doing a fantastic job!

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So imagine this.  The same day.  My arms, and chest are LOBSTER RED.  (These pics were before I fell asleep on the beach while reading a book…)  I write this post a week later.  My skin is now peeling.  And I have the best, sharpest tanline on my shoulder.  I really had to be strategic in what tops I’ve been wearing the last week.  Give it another week, I’ll be back on regularly scheduled programming.

But first, this may have been my most “liked” picture on Instagram.  I think it was the artistic skill I have.  A new version of a selfie. For real.  Look at the skill.  And the pale skin.  Oh what it was like to enjoy non burning skin.  Seriously.  Any skin you see here?  All lobster red by dinner time.

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Lesson of today’s post:  WEAR SUNSCREEN.  All the time.  Even if it is foggy out.  Even if there are clouds.  Even if you don’t think you’ll be outside for that long.  Even if you lose yourself in a book you are reading outside – wear sunscreen.  You’ll avoid lobster skin, and eventual peeling.

Did I ever tell you?  I should have known?  I was a lifeguard and a swim instructor for YEARS, and I swore by sunscreen.  Why I forgot on this foggy day?  I don’t know…

May your Monday be sunny and bright.

Also, I hope you are wearing sunscreen.

 Enjoy today.

live life in the front row

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LINKING UP WITH:

Fashionably Employed  //  Still Being Molly  //  Fizz and Frosting  //  Pink Sole & Cha Cha the Fashion Genius  //  More Pieces of Me & On the Daily Express  //  A Touch of Tartan  //  Style Elixir  //  Myriad Musings  //   I do deClaire  //  InDuffinetly Me  // Ware is the Vodka

 

UC Adventure: Ocean City, MD

On Friday, I posted about how I was overtired and how the Mr. and I had an adventure planned.  Adventure we did.  Check out these Instagram pics.  Too much fun, not enough sunblock, and a ton of old bay seasoning.

…and a pirate.  Only I never got a picture with the pirate.  #fail

We had to stop after a 3.5 hour car ride.  My legs were getting so cramped up, I was panicking.  So the Mr. thought it would be wise to stop and get crabs.  After all, how can you be in Maryland and not get crabs?  Bring on the Old Bay!

False. I only won 14 tickets. #oceancity #oceancitymd #arcade #funcity #vacation

A photo posted by Clare (@understatedclassics) on

Sunset on the boardwalk was fantastic.  But what was not fun?  The crowded-ness.  We all know I panic quite easily in a large crowd.  As we neared the “fun” part of the boardwalk, there were increasingly more and more people.  Made me super nervous.  But oh well.  At least I attempted to have fun at the arcade.  Even if all I got was a Tootsie Roll and two Laffy Taffys (in flavors that I despise…)

From where I stand. #oceancity #vacation #weekend

A photo posted by Clare (@understatedclassics) on

It was so quiet on the beach in the morning.  Until the fraternity and sorority who was sharing our hotel, woke up and came out.  (Formal weekend).  Then it got a little noisy.  But then again, I am now considered old. I needed peace and quiet, not rowdy beach games.  Although, I would not be opposed to a fun game of beach KanJam…

Lil' afternoon taste. Really loving the nuckin' futs. #Ocbrewco #oceancity #afternoon #craftbrew

A photo posted by Clare (@understatedclassics) on

Happy 9th of May! (Provided by Ocean City, MD) #oceancitymd #oceancity #beach #fun #boardwalk

A photo posted by Clare (@understatedclassics) on

Too much fun, not enough time.  I wish I stayed a little longer.  But the fireworks by the Ferris Wheel were fun.  Too bad by the time we got on the Wheel, the fireworks were over.  We have terrible timing…

As much as a beach getaway is fantastic and rejuvenating, I still look for the next big weekend.  Is that bad?  Or is it my wanderlust in me?  What’s your next “big weekend” look like?  I’m searching for the next perfect spot.

Where do you head when you want to get away for the weekend?  Away to the woods or near a body of water?  Why?

I’m linking up with Ware is the Vodka today to relive the memories of the weekend and to look forward to this coming weekend!

 

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