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I Can Do Hard Things – You Can Too (Cents of Style Fashion Friday Story)

Cents of Style You Can Do Hard thingsI’m 22 weeks pregnant with baby number 4 (a girl!), and so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make 2017 the best year yet. One of those things I’ve been thinking about is where I’ve been. That’s why when Cents of Style  announced they were looking for Fashion Friday stories to accompany a deal on their Inspirational Graphic T-Shirts, I signed up. I chose to wear the “You Can Do Hard Things” shirt. I’m kind of surprised my regular jeans are still fitting me, usually at this point in a pregnancy, I have to saddle up with the saggy baggy maternity jeans brigade. This year is about reclaiming and rebuilding for me. That involves coming out of a sequence of years where I did a lot of hard things. 

In fact, I spent a lot of years doing hard things. It’s important to remember that I got through those hard things – and came out stronger for it. I graduated from high school early and started college in what would have been the spring semester of my junior year of high school. Then, like many 18 year old girls, who think they know everything, I was in a hurry to grow up. So, I got married. That didn’t last long. It wasn’t a good relationship, and I left – after a split lip for Christmas, a broken nose for Valentine’s day, and a heck of a lot of bruises between then and when I left 5 months later.  Not long after, I learned I was going to be a mom, and 3 months before my 21st birthday, there I was, starting a life with a small person – going it alone as single momma. Believe me, I did a lot of hard things in my 20s. I worked full time at one job while going to college full time as a philosophy major – and – I worked part time as a logic tutor. I honestly do not  know how I did it. 

I managed to get an award for being an active member of my community, take on a roll as treasurer of my honors society, Phi Sigma Tau, host open mic poetry nights at my workplace, and of course raise a kid. I graduated with my BA – with honors in the major – and applied to graduate school. Those were some tough years, but I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA

Philosophy, if you don’t know, is a traditionally male-dominated field. Being a woman in philosophy really is not for the weak. There’s still a lot of the “old boys” club mentality that goes on. So, when I got to my Master’s program, I really wasn’t surprised by the fact that I was one of four women entering to join two other women in the department. The rest of the 30-odd students were men. Even so, I rose up to the challenge the departmental makeup presented, and finished my degree in 2 years, with a 3.35 GPA

 When I joined my Ph.D. program, the stakes were even higher, even though there were more women in the department. On the home front, my very bright 8 year old was having a very rough time at his school, and I made the decision to pull him out and homeschool him – as a single parent in an intense Ph.D. program. I continued to do well in the program (3.8 overall GPA), but had another hard decision to make. I got in trouble for “working too much.” The graduate student union had a rule about working more than 30 hours – and I was working as a TA and an RA in another department. I was doing so because the stipend for being a TA was low, and I still had work study monies left over.  I was at risk for losing my TA-ship, which would have meant taking out more student loans to finish than I was comfortable with. On top of that, I was getting weary from the pressure to be at all departmental functions when it was difficult to afford a babysitter for all of them. Plus, I had a lot of pressure coming from back in California to hurry up and finish and go back to California. And, I was tired. So being tired, burned out, and worn down, I made a decision I still question from time to time. I left my Ph.D. program the semester before I was supposed to finish taking my comps.

After I left, it was 2008. The economy was flailing. I applied to over 200 jobs. Over 200. I had an MA degree and most of a Ph.D. Can you guess how many interviews I had? 

0. I had 0 interviews. The job market was that competitive. So, I looked at my kiddo and took a deep breath and made another hard decision: I decided to start my own writing and editing business. And the rest is history, sort of. I got into another nasty relationship that left me with PTSD. Then…I met my now husband, we added to our family, moved across the country, and added to our family some more.

And now…here I am, in the house we bought, and I’m working on reclaiming that fierce woman who did all that hard stuff – and more hard stuff I’m probably not even writing about here because, hello, this is a blog, not a book. “Reclaiming” is my word for 2017. “Reclaiming” because after you do a lot of hard stuff, you get tired. After 2 babies and with a 3rd pregnancy, it’s time to revamp my wardrobe, get new makeup, pay more attention to my hair – fix my piercings (my nose piercing closed!) and take steps to feel more fabulous. This momma of almost 4 is tired! SO…to do that, i’m still going to have to do some hard things – give birth, continue putting my businesses together and building, get our home organized, and keep going. 

If you need a reminder that you too can do hard things, or you’d like to check out the various other inspirational graphic tees available at Cents of Style, click here (affiliate link). The tee-shirt is so super soft and comfy – and fit over my pregnant belly just fine.

Inspirational Graphic T-Shirts for 50% OFF + FREE SHIPPING w/code INSPIRE17

*I was provided with the t-shirt by Cents of Style in exchange for writing my story.

Back to School Tour: First Day of Preschool Edition (And Giveaway)


Wining WifeIs it already that time? Little Miss is beginning preschool (at home). I can’t believe how quickly they grow up. Tiger Boy has started his senior year of high school at the local public school, and we spent a good part of the summer talking about college options, and ended the summer with a couple of college visits. It doesn’t seem like it was so long ago that he was learning his alphabet and looking forward to attending preschool himself. 

Continue reading

Pool Side Beach Party Tour


Do you see this extraordinarily cute little guy here? He wants to help me type up my post tonight. 

2016-06-06 07.32.04-1

He also thinks that momma should hold him 24/7, and that playing with his vast collection of toys is not nearly as exciting as sitting on my lap and pounding keys. Why am I telling you this at the start of a blog tour post? 

Am I a person filled with excuses? Nope, not so much. But sometimes, the little people in my life have different plans for how my nights go. And this little love? He thinks that I should be his personal seat. Because obviously if I’m staring at something else, it must be interesting. So, when I signed up for the LuLu & Celeste Sprouting Jube Jube Pool Side Beach Party Tour, I felt ambitious. I was going to sew all the things for the whole family. Because, I mean, we all need swimwear for our invisible pool. Plus! Fun! Sew all the things! Never mind that I’m gearing up for the launch of my Smashed Metatoes™ line of kids’ clothes on July 16, or the other obligations I’ve had lately (I still need to head out to get photographs for the baseball outfit I made. I swear, those are coming!) I was going to sew all the things.

(Be sure to read all the way to the end. There is a Rafflecopter giveaway and there are coupon codes! Today’s prizes are:

  • $15 US gift certificate to Gracious Threads
  • 1 pattern of choice* from Handmaiden’s Cottage
  • Four Season’s Cardigan pattern from EYMM

Then, I realized that was insane. I took a deep breath, and I thought “Okay, I already have two swimsuits I love that I made that are not getting use. None of my kids swim. Besides, let’s pretend for a minute that I could go to a pool side beach party with just my husband. What else would I wear to a pool side beach party?” The answer came to me: a sexy fun tank dress that can go on OVER my super cute swimsuits. (All from Peekaboo Patterns: Bahama Mama Blouson Top, Bahama Mama Colorblock Tankini Top, and Bahama Mama Boy Shorts, Affiliate links)

So cute, right? 

2016-06-05 09.40.06And if I’m going to a swim party, you better believe I don’t want to have to keep track of too many clothes. So, I’d totally wear a tank dress. Still cute, fun, fabulous. I used the Essential Tank Pattern from Patterns for Pirates (affiliate link). The pattern has several different lengths and hems you can choose from. I chose to do the dress length version with the racerback arms. I paired the dress with a couple of my favorite handmade beaded necklaces that I’ve had forever and an elastic belt I found at a thrift store a little while back.  

I feel like it puts me in top form for a good backyard pool party! All I need is a glass of rosé wine and some delicious canapés (and maybe a pool?), and I’m good to go and get my pool party on! 

Here are some more photos of my fun dress! 

Be sure to scroll down further for coupons and the Rafflecopter giveaway for today’s leg of the tour!

13508942_10153521284070764_4316845697838118897_nModkid (use the code POOLSIDE2016 for 25% of at checkout until July 2nd)

Sew Happily Ever After with the code Poolside16 get 50% off the Nana tote in thier Etsy shop until July 4th (

Also Jennuine Design (one of the prize sponsors) is having an unrelated sale on selected patterns until June 30th. 40% off with code SATYASEASON

Phat Quarters Free US shipping on orders of $25 or more with code SUMMER25

BLAVERRY 15% off with code INDEPENDENCE2016  until July 10th

5 Out 4 Patterns  FIREWORKS2016 for 20% off your purchase now (6/27/2016) through Monday, July 4th, 2016. (Coupon cannot be used on PowerNet fabric)

Filles à Maman JULYONETOFIVE for 25% off everything including bundles, the coupon is valid from july 1st ending July 5th midnight EDT

Gracious Threads 40% off all patterns with code canadaday2016 Good from July 1st to 8th

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Okay! Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!
Today’s prizes are:

  • $15 US gift certificate to Gracious Threads
  • 1 pattern of choice* from Handmaiden’s Cottage
  • Four Season’s Cardigan pattern from EYMM
  • *Excludes bundles
  • Open Internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wear to Where Blog Tour Spring 2016: Baseball Game – PART I

13267892_10103408594825749_4565655765334352388_nSo, I really, really want to share with you what I made for the Wear to Where Blog Tour Spring 2016 edition! I’m super proud of myself, because my jeans skirt has turned out awesome. Like really awesome. As in I was worried about whether it would fit, whether I could pull off sewing with denim, and whether I could sew a zipper fly that looked good. Well, there was no reason to worry. It came out great, and was made of the dark fabric that you can see over to the right, behind the tank top. 

Courtesy of Kake-TV news, Abeline, KS

Courtesy of Kake-TV news, Abeline, KS

BUT, after I got my brilliant outfit made (and made a second one to boot, because come on, we’re a baseball household), the weather in Kansas decided to do THIS every time my husband was home to take pictures! (See the photo to the left). Now, mind you, the tornado wasn’t here in Wichita, but we’ve had lots of severe thunderstorms in our area over the past few days, including today. Considering I’m not interested in becoming a piece of lightning toast, I decided to stay inside. Since we’re still under a severe thunderstorm warning, it’s looking like I’m going to have to wait to have photos done tomorrow morning…before more storms come in.

Courtesy of Kake-TV, near Scott City, KS

Courtesy of Kake-TV, near Scott City, KS

So, yes. No beautiful pictures of my work for you. BUT, I’ve made a second outfit as well. I’ll be taking some fun photos…in fact, I’ll be mixing and matching the two outfits for “sports bar afterparty as well.” Seriously.  I really want to share. I’ve got this great denim skirt (Style Arc’s Sally Skirt), tank top, and shirt to share, and now a second skirt and second shirt to share. I’d love to photograph the pieces to share, but I’m afraid that flash photography will not do the pieces justice. I’ve tried. I will leave you with the above teaser, and the promise that I will have the photos and the write-up of the pieces tomorrow. 

In_varsity_uniformMeanwhile, I’ve got to talk my teenager into letting me use his baseball bat, cap, and mitt for pictures. I think that it can be arranged ! (There he is in his varsity uniform)

(And don’t worry, we’re safe, just soaked.)

While you’re waiting to see my photos, please check out the posts from the other very talented ladies on the tour. Jess at Gracious Threads has made a tailgating outfit that I envy. I mean, seriously, her shorts are AWESOME. The detail on them though!  And the jacket in scuba knit is also very well done!


Peekaboo Patterns Blouson Top (Bahama Mama Swimwear)

2016-05-11 18.44.49While not part of my capsule wardrobe, this swimsuit is a great addition to my clothing collection. Not only is the top a great swimsuit top, but it also will be a nice top for the summer.  When I had the opportunity to test Peekaboo Patterns’ latest addition to their Bahama Mama collection, I jumped at it. I found the fabric at Hancock Fabrics’ closing sale, so it was waiting and ready to go.  Continue reading

The Capsule Wardrobe in a Week-ish Challenge

Back in February, before we moved, while I was packing, Becca DuVal of Free Notion proposed a challenge: Create a capsule wardrobe in a week. I thought this was a brilliant idea, but because my fabric needed to be going into, rather than coming out of, boxes, I had to put off participation. That didn’t stop me from thinking about how I would put together a “wardrobe Sudoku,” though. (In fact, I created a few of these).

I should probably also mention that I have very little to wear. I’m in an awkward place where clothes are too big, in disrepair, or in the case of one pair of pants, just tight enough to where I don’t quite fit back in them. So, clothes are in order. I’ve made a lot of fun things, and I should do some basics sewing soon, but I also would benefit from ready-to go outfits. Enter the wardrobe Sudoku.

Each row across, column down, and diagonal set makes an outfit. By setting up a wardrobe plan this way, it helps me to be absolutely sure that everything I make in this challenge will be interchangeable. That’s a pretty neat perk. I hopped on Polyvore, and I started with “casual.” I’m in desperate need of things i can wear when we head out of the house. I’ve also put together ideas for a workout wardrobe, a business casual wardrobe (for when I need to meet with clients), and a super casual wardrobe – for toddler and infant wrangling and working from home. It’s pretty sad that the t-shirt I’m wearing right now is barely held together by threads…but one might expect that to be the case when a shirt is nearly 25 years old.

All of that said, here’s my casual plan. I also put together a “spring/summer” casual plan, which I’ll share in a moment.


Soduko Capsule - 1


It looks pretty cool, right? Here’s an example of how the pieces might work together:
Capsule Wardrobe Outfits 1-4


Capsule Wardrobe Outfits 5-8


You get the idea. So the plan, then, isn’t to buy all these pieces, but instead, to use what I have in my and available to me to make the wardrobe. While the original challenge was to make a wardrobe in a week, I’m realistic. I have two small people who need a lot of love and attention right now, and my completion schedule is pretty dependent on their moods. However, I want to try to get this done soon. Here are the patterns I plan to use (starting at the top left):
The check wrap style shirt: Originally, I was thinking I’d use McCall’s 6991 for this, but it looks like there may be a new pattern coming out soon that looks much more like the French Connection shirt. I have to check my stash for fabric, but I’m pretty sure I have a similar check fabric in my stash.
French Connection t shirt
The button-front skirt also presents an interesting challenge. I actually have a vintage pattern in my stash, Simplicity 9822, that looks like this skirt. However, I need to grade that pattern up since it’s a vintage size 8, and I’m so not even a modern size 8. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to that project. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s just that with limited time, I’d rather spend my time doing other things that are more conducive to a finished result. Thus, I’m thinking I’ll use McCall’s 7392 for the job. I have some green fine-wale corduroy for it.
 For the cardigan, I have some burgundy sweater knit in my stash, and I have some red sweater knit. I will most likely use the Patterns for Pirates’ Grandpa Cardi (affiliate link) for it. If I can find some really awesome skull sweater knit, I will use that instead…because skulls. If not, I’ll be on the lookout, because I must make a sweater using skull sweater knit fabric at some point!
Moving down to the next row, I will bead a necklace to match the one in the squares. Then, we come to the jeans. For those, I plan on using the Winter Wear Designs Real Deal Jeans pattern.  I have some denim fabric ready and waiting for me to use it to make some pants. I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about making jeans!
Then, we have a classic raglan shirt. I’m going to use the Patterns for Pirates’ Slim Fit Raglan (affiliate link) pattern for that.  That should be a quick and easy sew. 
Going down a row, to the cowl infinity scarf, I’m planning to crochet that based upon a pattern in the book, Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women’s Heart Health (affiliate link). I first have to figure out where I hid that book from myself, and the red yarn, after our move. But that will be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to doing that while we watch Gilmore Girls before bed.
Rag & Bone palm tree print topNext is this gorgeous tank top. To replicate this, I’m going to pull some black silky fabric from my stash and use SisBoom’s Tortola Tank top. I’m actually planning to make a couple of these in other colors as well. I think the tank will make some good summer wear. Plus, it’s a pretty easy pattern to make. 
For the pencil skirt, I’ll use some black knit and Love Notions’ Sybil Illusion Skirt (affiliate link) pattern. I also will make a gray version of this skirt as well as a red version. I think though instead of a pencil skirt for the gray version, I’ll do an A-line skirt. I’ve already got the pencil skirt cut out. 
Speaking of Love Notions, I’m using the Sabrina Slims Pants pattern for the red pants. I found some great red stretchy fabric that’s nice and thick for pants at Hancocks’ closing sale. 
The striped bateau top will be made from black and white fabric in my stash and Tessuti’s Brigette pattern. I’ve got this pattern printed off, and almost ready to go.

Finally, for the chambray button down shirt, I’ll use some chambray fabric I have in my stash with the Hey June Cheyenne Pattern (affiliate link). I’m really excited about this one. I purchased the pattern back in December thinking I’d participate in a blog tour, and then it was time to have little guy. So I’ll finally get to sew this up.

I hope to have progress updates for you! I have a couple of things on my sewing agenda I must attend to first (a dress pattern test, and a couple other little things), but if I can get the tanks and pencil skirts done this week, I’ll be happy.

Have you tried to sew an entire wardrobe for yourself? How did that go? How did you plan it? Post your thoughts in the comments.  


Wear to Where? Fashion & Sewing Tour: Touring Your City

city touringSo there I was, hanging out on Facebook, when I saw this call for participants in an intriguing-sounding blog tour. The fabulous Katy McKinley of Wild & Wanderful and Angelica Ross of Gardening in High Heels came up with the idea to have a series of posts written by sewists and fashion bloggers dedicated to suggestions of outfits to wear to a variety of events and in a variety of situations. Naturally, I *had* to sign up for the tour – even if it meant I’d be modeling clothes a day before I hit 35 weeks pregnant.   Continue reading

Badgley Mischka Holiday Collection at Rent the Runway

*This is a sponsored post with affiliate links, however, all opinions in this post are my own.*

DSC_0357Anyone who has been paying attention to this blog for a little while knows that I have a “slight” Badgley Mischka obsession. I still want to make the James Bond type dress from last year’s Vogue winter and holiday release. I’m in love with that black and white dress with the cascade, the only thing that’s stopped me thus far is a baby bump. 🙂 You’ll also recall the fun I had last year on my birthday when my husband took me out for a lovely dinner and I dressed up in a LOVELY IGIGI dress and earrings by Slate and Willow.   Continue reading

Patterns for Pirates’ Grandpa Cardi & Cpt. Mack’s Cardis

Who doesn’t love a good cardigan? I know I’m a big fan, and I wear them a lot of the year. When Judy Hale at Patterns for Pirates did a tester call for a cardigan pattern for women and children, I was really excited and had to sign right up. I had some more of the houndstooth fabric left from when I made the Phresh Jeggings, and I figured it would make a great cardigan for my little gal – and – one for myself. This was an easy pattern to stitch up, and the fabric I worked with (from Hancock Fabrics) was amazing. I’ve found myself addicted to their knits, actually. They sew up really nice and feel great. Plus, I’ve found the customer service at our local Hancock Fabrics to be above and beyond what I’ve experienced in the past at fabric store chains. Continue reading

So Much Snark: McCall’s and Vogue Have Early Fall Collections Out

Oh boy, so I still have a LOT of unpacking to do before I can sew again. But we’re here; we’re in Wichita (just in time for some street flooding, which we avoided, but still! Hello Rain!), and mid-moving, McCall’s and Vogue came out with stuff for fall. I couldn’t let this release go without saying something, and you know, there’s a lot to say. I’m still waiting to see what Butterick comes out with. Needless to say, when there’s a sale at the fabric stores on patterns, there will be a few that I may pick up. Because you know, packing over 2000 paper patterns wasn’t enough work…or something.  Continue reading

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