Costa Rica travel picks

Happy Thursday 🙂 I’m getting excited for my trip to Costa Rica! I am planning to bring mostly things that I already own but I thought it would be okay to splurge on a few pieces that would make the trip feel extra special. All of the items are investments, especially the luggage, and I hope to use them beyond this trip in the coming months and years. I think they will neatly fit into my slowly developing capsule wardrobe.

  1. First, I splurged on this cute rolling suitcase in my favorite color, rose gold. The company, Calpak, has so many amazing options. I almost got this one but in the end I felt like the rose gold was more my style. Plus I didn’t care for the lining on the second one, which apparently makes a difference to me 🙂
  2. When I pack for any trip I like to be super organized, like Marie Kondo-level tidy. I am learning that giving in to my desire to have everything match and be packed precisely makes me happy, so why not just embrace it. With that in mind, I also purchased these packing cubes. I can’t tell you how my heart leaps with joy to think of how well coordinated and packed my luggage is going to be. Now I just have to plan the perfect travel outfit!
  3. In addition to the rolling suitcase and packing cubes, I purchased this backpack/laptop bag from Calpak. It fits on top of my rolling luggage which is very satisfying. I’m hoping it will make a great structured day pack for my trip, but I also plan to use it when I get home to carry my work laptop which I have been throwing in random tote bags that always slip off my shoulder 😦
  4. I immediately bookmarked this bathing suit after seeing it on the blog A Beautiful Mess. I am just in love with the retro 70s aesthetic and how softly feminine it is. I can’t wait till it comes in the mail. Unfortunately, I had it sent to my old work address! A good friend who still works there generously offered to intercept it, so fingers crossed.
  5. I will be hiking in the jungle on this trip, which requires long pants. I love being outdoors, but hate most outdoor gear/clothing. I just never feel put together. These leggings, though, are sleek and beautifully made. I am thinking of pairing them with a loosish crop top and all black sneakers for a put together look. The company, Outdoor Voices, is also sustainable and eco-conscious which makes me feel better about this purchase. I found the company via this great article on ethical workout gear.

How about you? How do you like to pack for a trip? Are you super-organized or do you throw everything in a bag and go?

xoxo Anna

 

Fitness update

Hi everyone. It’s been about a month since my first fitness post and I thought it was a good time for an update.

My fitness plan has changed in a few ways since this post in January. I noticed that I was working out and eating healthfully but I wasn’t losing weight so I switched things up a bit.

Eating

To begin with, I stopped getting Hungry Root deliveries. I enjoyed the food for a few weeks but found that it was starting to get repetitive and I didn’t feel like it was helping me lose weight, especially since I felt compelled to finish all the food before the next week. I also didn’t like the amount of waste generated by food delivery packaging especially in terms of the freezer bags, which are difficult to recycle. That is not specific to Hungry Root. I felt the same way with Blue Apron. In the end, I decided that I could do a better job selecting and preparing my own food and I have been happy with that decision. I have been loosely following the weekday/weekend plan outlined here with a few exceptions. The most notable is that I allow myself to drink alcohol during the week. Even though I haven’t been very precise about following the plan, I have noticed is that just having the guidelines in mind has had an impact. I don’t have much of a craving for sugar anymore. I also don’t consume nearly as much dairy, especially cheese, as I used to. I used to reach for cheese all the time as a snack or quick dinner. Now it is a sometimes food and I don’t even feel deprived. The same goes for white bread and rice.

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Lose It app interface

The one thing that has made the most difference is tracking everything I eat on the Lose It app. After I started to do this about two weeks ago, I noticed weight loss immediately. I’m not going to lie; I find it incredibly hard to track everything I eat. It’s not so much that I hate the tracking because the app is fun and easy to use. I just hate doing anything consistently, it makes me twitchy lol. It also requires that you be uncomfortably honest about your choices. Despite this, I am making the commitment to track for the next 3 months, starting today, no matter what I am eating or doing and see what happens. That takes me right up to my birthday, so it feels convenient. I also recently discovered the social aspect of Lose It and started posting on a group message board. I have never done this before and it felt great to get support and helpful tips from other users.

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Cod and Mediterranean salad with a Turkish spice blend

In general, my eating has been pretty simple lately. A lot of fresh and cooked veggies, some sort of egg dish for breakfast (either hardboiled or a vegetable omelette), and lean protein like chicken, fish or occasionally steak. I make it interesting by adding fun spices and sauces. It sounds boring, but I really enjoy it. My only complaint is that I sometimes get very hungry after dinner. I am going to try drinking more water and tea and having an afternoon snack with protein. I relax a little on the weekends. My favorite splurges are take out Chinese food and egg sandwiches. I plan on doing a post soon to share everything I eat in a week, so stay tuned.

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A galaxy of possibilities

Exercise

I have been running consistently 3 to 4 times a week for a few weeks now for about 30-40 minutes a workout. On weekdays, I go to the gym and on weekends, I run in my neighborhood. I would like to increase it to 5 times but I have been feeling fatigued so I am going to keep it to 4 for now and see if I can maintain that. I would also like to start doing yoga in the mornings using the Gaia app. I am obsessed with the idea of working out in the morning… that is until the alarm rings. I have a terrible time getting up even 30 minutes early to make it happen. So that is a work in progress 🙂

How about you? How are you doing with your 2018 fitness goals?

xoxo Anna

Thursday’s ethical style

Happy Thursday after Valentine’s Day! How did you celebrate (if at all)? I had drinks with a good friend, which was fun.

I know I said I would have an outfit post today, but the weather did not cooperate this weekend (read torrential rain) so I have the next best thing, a new ethical style post.

The star of this outfit is definitely the red coat. I am always drawn to statement coats but I think I am scared of them as well. They seem to make such a loud, well, statement 🙂 I’m sure one day, I will just go for it. I think that’s the attitude you have to take when rocking a statement anything 🙂 I like the way the cobalt blue bag and the bone colored jeans and top keep this outfit graphic and clean, and you can almost never go wrong with gold hoops and kitten heels.

  1. Coat, ASOS Eco-edit, here
  2. Gold hoops, Merewif Jewelry, here
  3. Navy pumps, Everlane, here
  4. Jeans, Everlane, here
  5. Bag, Everlane, here
  6. Top, Reformation, here

I recently read something about ethical fashion recently that got me thinking. It stated that it’s not enough to just switch to consuming ethically produced goods at the rate that we consume fast fashion. Instead we should also try to consume less in general and purchase second-hand whenever possible. I am in the process of thinking about a spring/summer capsule wardrobe and I have been inspired by this idea to try to source at least half (hopefully more) of my new items from thrift and consignment stores. It will definitely be an interesting challenge. This makes sense as well as I am in the process of losing weight and don’t want to make serious clothing investments right now or cycle through a lot of cheap items.

How about you? What is are your spring/summer fashion goals?

xoxo Anna

 

Six snaps

This is the career edition of six snaps 🙂 I took all of these photos in the neighborhood that I work in, between Madison Square Park and Union Square. I love working in this area. Not only do you have the two parks, but there are great shops and decent places to eat. And of course the Union Square Farmers Market is fantastic. I rarely buy anything there because it makes more sense to go to the farmers market around the corner from my house, but I enjoy seeing all the beautiful produce, flowers and baked goods being sold when I walk to and from the subway. I always do a lot of shopping at the holiday craft market though, and it has been convenient to have it so close to work.

I’ve been so focused on Union Square that I literally forgot that Madison Square Park is only a few blocks away. I headed there recently to see what it looks like in winter. Fewer leaves for sure, but still a line at Shake Shack (which you can see in the photo above). I can’t wait to eat lunch in both parks this coming spring and summer. I also plan to explore what is happening to the east. Irving seem like it might have some hidden gems.

So far this week has been pretty calm. I am keeping up with my fitness routine, though I can’t say I have seen much in the way of visible results yet. I tend to like things to happen immediately and when they don’t I get frustrated. This means that the beginning of any plan, the time before you see results, is often very hard for me. But I am focusing on setting my weekly goals and following through with them so I can get used to keeping my promises to myself and establish habits. I am also focusing on the less obvious benefits of exercise such as decreased anxiety, improved mood and increased strength. I even decided to take a surf lesson when I go to Costa Rica which is definitely motivating me to stick with my fitness plan. I also just started using the Lose It app. I thought I should at least be tracking what I’m eating if I am going to put so much effort into exercising. So far I really like the interface.

In other news, I will be returning with a new outfit post next week. Stay tuned 🙂

Till then,

xoxo Anna

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Some suspicious Valentine’s Day teddy bears
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The original NYC food truck
pastries
Pretty pastries at Maison Kaiser
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This mirrored cat catches my eye every time I walk past it. Tacky, yes! But I still want it.
candles
A rainbow of candles and party supplies at Flying Tiger.

 

Costa Rica in March

I have been itching to travel again since last summer when I went to Phoenix for a month and then to St. Croix. I usually book my travel plans well in advance but I was recently inspired when a friend of mine jumped on an airplane to Puerto Rico last minute. I decided I wanted to go somewhere too! But where? I knew I wanted to go somewhere that I had never been, somewhere warm, and somewhere relatively close (ie, not Tahiti). I checked out places like Portugal, Dominica, Turks and Caicos and even Iceland (not warm), but eventually settled on Costa Rica because of the diversity of adventures it offers. So, I booked a trip for the end of March, not exactly last-minute but definitely spontaneous. March, through no planning on my part, happens to be a great time to visit the country weather-wise.

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What are my plans, you ask? I will be flying into San Jose and staying downtown at an Airbnb for a few days. I plan to check out the surrounding offerings like the Poas Volcano and Braulio Carillo National Park. After that I am making my way to Cahuita on the Caribbean coast where I will explore for a few days. I plan on visiting Cahuita National Park, doing some snorkeling and drinking cocktails on the beach. I have reservations at a hostel in Cahuita for a private room. I was thinking of renting a little house, but I think it will be nice to connect with other travelers.

I still have a lot of decisions to make. For example, I am not sure if I am going to rent a car or rely on public transportation. I am leaning toward public transport because I think it will be more relaxing. I also haven’t decided if I will take any smaller day tours on this trip or explore on my own. I do know I am looking forward to hiking, eating chocolate, hanging out on the beach and seeing all sorts of cool wildlife. Oh, and I am hoping to swim in a tropical waterfall at some point. It’s on my bucket list. I also can’t wait for all the fabulous photo opportunities 🙂

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I picked up a Lonely Planet guide book and I am going to do some planning leading up to the trip so I know what all my options are, then I will decide while I am there what I want to do day by day. I don’t know about you but I get overwhelmed by all the options available when you travel. So many decisions to make!

I think I will also brush up on my Spanish for this trip by using DuoLingo. I have used it before to practice my French and it is a great app.

How about you? Have you been to Costa Rica? What was your experience like? Any recommendations?

xoxo Anna

Hello again! and 2018 fitness routine

Hi everyone! After a couple months, I will be blogging regularly again. I think I was getting away from the things that I enjoyed about blogging (connecting with others, creating unique content) and focusing on things like metrics, likes and traffic. It began to feel like a chore. Moving forward, I will be taking a more relaxed approach. I will be posting once a week, on Thursdays. You can expect the same type of content including ethical fashion, travel, food, fitness and more, just slightly less frequently. I hope I will be able to spend more time on each post and boost the enjoyment factor for everyone.

To kick off this new blogging plan, I decided to share my current fitness plan, which is something I am currently focusing on.

As I suspect is the case with many of you, my relationship with fitness is complicated and spotty at best. When I was a child my parents made a point to encourage exercise in the form of hiking, biking and swimming. Every week my mother would take us to a local pool and we would swim laps. We earned stars for every week that we went and when we had enough stars we bought a VCR 🙂 I spent hours riding my bike and walking around with friends. I went to nature camp and we hiked almost every day. In high school, I played tennis and joined the winter track team. In college, I continued working out with my roommates, which helped me to maintain my weight. It seemed so much easier then to find the time and energy to exercise. Somehow it was a natural part of my everyday life. Unfortunately, during my senior year of college, I experienced pretty severe depression and anxiety. I stopped working out and began to eat things like pizza with blue cheese dressing on the regular. This, combined with the fact that I was now taking anti-depressants, many of which are known to promote weight gain, resulted in a significant increase in weight beginning in college and continuing after graduation. I have battled my weight ever since, losing and gaining significant amounts over the past 20 years. It all seemed to go in cycles. I would exercise and diet for a period of time and often have success, only to lose confidence because of a difficult life event and turn back to eating for comfort. I have to say, just writing this makes me feel tired thinking about the emotional and physical ups and downs.

But looking back is also helping me to move forward. I have learned a great deal about what works for me in the long-term and what doesn’t. For example, I have learned that setting oversized goals at the outset of a fitness program leads to burn out or disappointment, which, not surprisingly, leads to quitting entirely. For example, I have run two half-marathons but immediately after 3 months of tough training I would give up running entirely for months. I have learned that exercising consistently is very hard for me, but that it is important for my emotional and physical well-being. I have learned that eating to manage my emotions benefits no one, least of all me. Much better to be honest about my feelings and eat to sustain my energy.

treadmill

So this is my plan moving forward:

Set realistic weekly fitness goals and slowly build up intensity and frequency of workouts

I have found I prefer a simple workout routine. It cannot include a lot of equipment or complicated moves or be annoying in any way. I recently found this great mini workout on one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes & Cashmere. It is simple to follow and all you need is one dumbbell. I can do it at home or at the gym without too much thought. I still like running, so I am using a mix of running and walking as my cardio. As I gain confidence, I may try some fitness classes (thinking kickboxing or trampoline!), but for now I am keeping it super simple and focusing on just making it to each workout.

I think, for me, the hardest thing about exercising consistently is the negative self-talk I engage in surrounding working out. It ranges from “What you think you’re so great now because you work out!? Who do you think you are!?” (super nice and productive, I know) to “You are never going to keep doing this!” (also very reassuring). It helps just to share these thoughts because they seem so mean and counterproductive when you say them out loud. I think there is power in voicing these things and then letting them go. Also, I feel like some of you might relate.

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Follow a modified interpretation of the Weekday/Weekend plan created by Emma and Elsie at A Beautiful Mess

The basic idea behind this program is that you don’t consume dairy, white rice or flour, alcohol or added sugar during the week, but you’re free to indulge on weekends. You also must eat a variety of wholesome foods. I have done it for a little over a week now and I like the way I feel. I bought the cookbook and am looking forward trying some of the recipes. This eating plan is primarily plant-based, but I enjoy meat, so I am including some lean protein, like chicken, as well. Still, I am excited to try a lot of new plant-based dishes as well. I’m not militant about the weekday guidelines in that I will occasionally have a drink with a friend after work or eat something with a small amount of sugar in it, which I think is reasonable if I am eating on plan 90% of the time.

To jump start the healthy eating portion of my fitness plan, I signed up for Hungry Root food deliveries once a week. They deliver vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients and side dishes which can be combined into healthy dishes. My first week was last week and I enjoyed the food. There is minimal prep time and everything was tasty and satisfying. I ordered the 3-meal plan and I found I was able to make and finish everything within a week.

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So that’s my plan. As you can see, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the blogosphere! I think that’s one way to add a social element to working out and eating well that feels positive. I will be keeping myself honest by posting updates here regularly.

In general, I am also thinking about ways to deal with stress and emotions differently. I’m already taking a ceramics class at this studio in Williamsburg and I am enjoying it a lot. I didn’t know I would like wheel throwing so much! I’m thinking some form of journaling might be nice, as well as working on being present and focused for all of my daily activities.

How about you? How are you approaching fitness/health in 2018? If you have any tips for maintaining a consistent exercise/eating routine I would love to hear them.

xoxo Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Ethical Style

This week’s ethical style has an athleisure feel to it. I started with a cute sweatshirt with sequin detailing and added gold-striped leggings and shiny sneakers. Simple crystal studs and a gold ponytail holder complete the look.

I think the athleisure trend has a lot of cool elements, but I have yet to embrace it in my own wardrobe. I think I don’t feel athletic enough to wear it 🙂 But since I’m considering training for the Brooklyn Half Marathon I might be able to convince myself to embrace my inner sneaker queen. I have done this race twice and really enjoyed the training process even though it was brutal most of the time. And the self satisfaction I felt crossing the finish line was worth all the pain. I definitely feel like I need some sort of event to train for in order to reignite my exercise program which has been really lame for the past few months. Wish me luck!

How about you? How do you feel about the athleisure trend? How do you motivate yourself to stay active?

  1. Sweatshirt, Sundry, here
  2. Beanie, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  3. Leggings, Sundry, here
  4. Studs, Favor Jewelry, here
  5. Ponytail holder, Favor Jewelry, here
  6. Sneakers, Toms, here

xoxo Anna

 

Three looks from my capsule wardrobe

Hi everyone! Today, I thought I would share three looks from my fall/winter capsule wardrobe. I am still adjusting to my new, smaller clothing selection. I have been struggling with ways to combine items, especially in the mornings when I have to get dressed for work. Often, I am not pleased with the outfit I end up in. And I have noticed that if I don’t like my outfit, I tend to feel off for the entire day. It’s really such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in my mood. So, I feel like I have to take some time and really look at the items I have and figure out how to make outfits out of them that I feel good about. Today’s post is the beginning of that effort. Hope you like 🙂

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Dress, Everlane, here; Belt, H&M, similar here; Boots, Steve Madden, ethical alternatives here and here.

For this look I paired my Everlane sweatshirt dress with my all-time favorite belt from H&M. This dress is super comfortable. I sometimes wear it without the belt for a more relaxed look. I have enjoyed having several relaxed dresses I can throw on to run errands and still feel put together. These boots are also one of my favorite purchases. I got them at Steve Madden last fall. They are no longer available, but I’ve found some cute ethical alternatives.

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For look number two, I paired a blue polka-dot button down from Uniqlo with a thrifted denim midi and thrifted boots. I feel like this look has a vintage appeal. I have always loved the fashion and aesthetic of the 70s and I think I channeled that when putting together this outfit.

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Shirt, Uniqlo, ethical alternative here; Sunnies, drugstore (I think), ethical alternative here; Skirt, Calvin Klein, thrifted, ethical alternative here; Boots, Nine West, thrifted, ethical alternative here

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For my final look, I combined my favorite graphic tee with a black pencil skirt and my new fall jacket from Aritzia. I have never shopped at this store before but was impressed with their selection. I also liked there statements about corporate responsibility which you can read here. I added a red lip for more drama.

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Tee shirt, Sezane, here; Jacket, Wilfred from Aritzia, here; skirt, H&M last season, ethical alternative here; Boots, Steve Madden, ethical alternatives here and here; Lipstick, Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick, here

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You may have noticed that I wore the same jewelry with every outfit. The necklace is a simple gold charm that belonged to my grandmother. The emerald studs are from Catbird and were a gift for my last birthday. The crystal studs are from Shashi (here) I have been enjoying wearing jewelry that has meaning to me. I am also interested in growing my fine jewelry collection. There are so many new jewelry companies creating ethical and beautiful fine jewelry these days it’s hard to keep up with. I will keep you updated on what I find out.

How about you? Do you have ideas for what you will be wearing as the days cool down?

xoxo Anna

 

My take on a fall/winter capsule wardrobe

bedroom

Hi everyone! I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to share more about my capsule wardrobe choices, and that is what this post is about.

First, I have to admit that I didn’t do a ton of research about what technically makes a capsule wardrobe a capsule wardrobe. Most of my knowledge comes from seeing what other bloggers are doing and being inspired. I feel like, as capsule wardrobes go, mine is pretty large, maybe even too large, but I think it is a good place to start. I’m sure that over time certain items will rise to the top of the clothing heap and others we get donated. I didn’t include shoes, jewelry or bags, but I could see doing that in the future. I like taking the process gradually. It somehow makes it less unnerving.

My process for creating my capsule wardrobe was somewhat “Marie Kondo” in that it was based on my gut reaction to any given item. First I stored away all my very summery clothes to get them out of the way. I plan to purge them come next spring/summer. I also stored away anything costumey or super fancy. I divided what remained into several categories: “I can’t even look at you anymore!,” “Meh,” “I love you but you don’t fit,” and “You’re a keeper.” I donated the first two categories, stored the third and what was left became my wardrobe for fall.

I didn’t purchase anything new for my capsule wardrobe, although I may purchase one more outerwear option (I have my eye on this coat). Everything I chose had to fit my body in the present moment.

So (insert drumroll)… here are my choices:

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shirtsbelts

I kept a total of 12 tees and tanks. For this category, I seemed to favor basic items and a few graphic tees.

It was interesting to notice during the purging process what my heart was gravitating towards. I seemed drawn to simple graphic patterns and textures, rich earthly solids, and the occasional pop of red or purple. This is especially obvious when you look at my long sleeve top selections below. This category is by far the largest, which I guess makes sense for a fall/winter wardrobe.

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I’m especially happy with my dress selections. 4 out of 5 of these are recent purchases from ethical clothing lines. I like their simple lines and subtle colors.

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I’m also pleased with my skirt selection. I chose a sequined mini (thrifted), a denim midi (thrifted), and a black pencil skirt (H&M, a few seasons ago). For pants, I went with 4 pairs of high-waisted jeans and 2 pairs of leggings.

I am least excited by my outerwear category. This has always been a tough area for me. I long for a structured, minimal coat collection but never seem to be able to make it happen. I don’t hate the things that I chose, I just don’t love them now that I am looking at them, so I guess this category needs some work.

Finally, I chose four scarves. There wasn’t any particular reasoning behind my scarf choices. In fact, I think I might narrow it down further to just 1 scarf, the red and white striped one.

I am very excited to see how these pieces come together into outfits. I will be sure to share some of my favorites on the blog!

So that’s it for my fall capsule wardrobe. How about you? Do you feel like you are ready for fall, fashion-wise? Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

skirts

jeans

jackets

scarves

xoxo Anna

Thursday’s Ethical Style

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle with finding outerwear that keeps you warm, looks stylish and works with multiple outfits. I think this herringbone coat from Amour Vert checks all those boxes. It’s so awesomely chic, I might add it to my fall capsule (sort of) wardrobe. I paired it with dark skinny jeans, a silk sleeveless button down, some fantastic low-heeled pumps and a tiny pearl necklace for a classy, sophisticated look that is appropriate for work and/or walking the city streets looking fabulous.

  1. Silk blouse, Everlane, here
  2. Skinny jeans, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  3. Herringbone jacket, Amour Vert, here
  4. Pearl necklace, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  5. Block-heel pumps, Amour Vert, here

On the subject of capsule wardrobes, I did a big purge this past weekend. I donated a fair amount of stuff and stored the rest. It was immensely satisfying and I feel so happy to be able to see most of my fall wardrobe on one clothing rack. My drawers are no longer overloaded and hard to close. I even organized my hangers 🙂 It just feels lighter. Without all the sartorial noise, I feel closer to defining my personal style and it is easier to see the types of items I may need to purchase to fill in gaps. I may add a few more pieces (like that jacket!), but I feel like I’ve got most of my bases covered. I will be sharing more about what I chose to keep in a later post, so stay tuned!

How about you? Do you struggle to find the right outerwear pieces for cooler months? Would you ever do a capsule wardrobe?

xoxo Anna