Simple Saturdays

 

The thing I love about weekends is having the time to do things that I generally don’t have during the week (or maybe I’d just prefer to be lazy when I get home from work).  I recently photocopied several recipes out of an issue of Weight Watchers magazine that a friend of mine had bought during the holidays.  Today was the perfect day to try this Tuna & White Bean Salad (sorry guys, no recipe link for this one).  I’ve already fallen off the wagon with my resolution to record what I eat so that I can become a bit more aware of my habits (see post here) but I’m determined to start over and keep trying.  Luckily, this also ties in with my resolution to experiment with new recipes and eat at home more often (see post here).  So, tonight I will be testing out yet another new recipe (well, more of a recreation of a local restaurant favorite) and enjoying some wine with a couple of the girls.  Hope you are all having a wonderful Saturday!

Resolution #3: Food Awareness

 

One of the things I really want to do this year is become a bit more mindful of the foods that I eat.  This is not the same as dieting and I will not be going on a diet in 2011.  For me, diets last about 2-3 weeks and then I’m right back to my old habits again.  A total waste of time.

This sort of ties into my 2nd resolution to dine at home most often so that I will feel like I have more control over what I’m eating.  At the start of the new year, I began keeping track of my food intake by writing everything down at the end of each day in a little notebook.  I have been including a rough calorie estimate as well but my goal is not to eat a particular amount of calories per day.  My goals are to become more aware of my eating patterns and to be able to hold myself accountable when my food intake gets a little out of control.   And by out of control, I mean eating everything in sight for several consecutive days.  It happens sometimes.  It happened alot in 2010.  I bought myself a couple pairs of ‘fat’ pants in the early part of the fall season and in the months since I’ve managed to fill them out quite nicely.  Wedding stress, family stress, work stress, 7 weeks of dining out due to business travel..I can think of alot of excuses for not taking care of myself as well as I should have been but after much arguing with the little voices in my head I have finally accepted full responsibility for my actions.

So, in 2011 I am going to pay a little more attention to my love/hate relationship with food.  I’m going to focus on my positive habits rather than my negative ones.  I’m going to eat what makes me feel good not just what tastes good.  I’m not going to convince myself not to eat something that’s not so good for me when I’m sure that my craving is legit (versus feeling like I want to eat something I shouldn’t out of sheer boredom or the simple fact that it’s available and therefore I must have it) and I’m not going to let the guilt get to me if I do eat something I know I probably shouldn’t.

Take that, ‘fat’ pants.  : )

Resolution #2: Cooking & Baking

 

I hate our kitchen.  Like, really hate it.  It’s about the size of a hole in the wall and we have about a square foot of counter space, literally.  There are so many things about our kitchen that makes cooking/baking a huge inconvenience.  Even so, I still love cooking, baking, trying new recipes, etc. but at the end of a long work day the thought of having to whip up something to eat for dinner in our hole-in-the-wall kitchen usually leaves me begging hubby to go out to eat instead.

We dined out wayyy too much in 2010.  It wasn’t good for our bank account or our waistlines.  As much as I hate our kitchen, cooking at home as often as possible has recently moved to the top of our priorities list.  I’m hoping it will help us save a little money as well as allowing us to have more control over what we’re eating so that we can be much healthier this year.  When I’m home regularly, this generally isn’t an issue for us but I travel quite a bit for my job and when I do my habit of dining out sometimes carries over to when I am back home.  Hubby doesn’t bother with cooking when I’m away and sometimes I’m only home for a couple of days before leaving again.  I’ve never thought it made much sense to shop for groceries in between trips when I’m traveling regularly (and by regularly I mean 4-5 days per week for 8 consecutive weeks).

This year, I’d like to limit our dining out to 2-3 meals per month.  I want to try at least a couple of new recipes each month.  I did quite a bit of cooking and baking when I was off from work during the holidays and experimented with several new recipes including this one for whole wheat banana bread (see photo above).  We also need to start planning our meals in advance so we’re not always stuck wondering what we should eat for dinner as we’re getting ready to leave work.  For the past few months I’ve gotten the daily what to do for dinner phone call from hubby during my last half hour at work.  Planning ahead will also make grocery shopping MUCH easier (and, hopefully, less frequent).

What are some of your favorite (healthy) recipes?

Closet Overhaul: Part 5, Accessories

 

Happy 2011, readers!  I’ve only got one more day off before returning back to work on Monday (no fun!) but I think I accomplished quite a bit during the last week and a half and made sure to spend A LOT of time relaxing as well.  2010 was such a great year for me and I am definitely looking forward to what 2011 will bring.

The last part of my closet overhaul is dedicated to accessories (shoes, bags, jewelry, belts, scarves, etc.)..my favorite!  I have a decent accessories collection as I tend to purchase these types of items most often.  I’m not going to take the time to go through everything that I currently own because this category is so broad but I have already recognized some areas for improvement.

Here is my accessories shopping list for 2011:

*nude pumps
*tall cognac boot
*tall rainboots
*basic black leather pumps
*basic brown leather pumps
*silver sandals or peep-toe pumps
*travel appropriate handbag
*chain strap shoulder bag
*brightly colored hobo or satchel
*wide black belt
*skinny animal print belt
*several bangle/stack bracelets
*statement necklace
*diamond stud earrings
*summer beach hat
*2-3 casual print scarves

Because of all of the fabulous after-Christmas sales, I was able to get a head start on this list and recently purchased these, these, and these.  The next thing I’ll need to do is prioritize my overall list of items to figure out what I should start looking for right away (ex. winter coat) and what I probably won’t need for several more months (ex. summer beach hat).  I’ve plugged the full list into the notes app on my iPod touch so that I’ll have it to reference while I’m out shopping.

I spent a little time browsing some of my favorite retailer’s websites today and started a ‘2011 Shopping List’ on Kaboodle, which you can view here.  This will allow me to save images and ideas for each category and will also serve as a guideline for the types of items I want to be looking for online and in-stores as I begin to cross things off of my list.

So, there you have it!  Resolution #1 for 2011!  I have others in mind as well and will be sharing those over the next week or two.  Here’s to another great year!!

Closet Overhaul: Part 4, Jackets & Outerwear

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s New Year’s Eve and another year has come and gone.  Hubby and I are taking it easy tonight and hanging out at home for a quiet evening with our puppy love (she is sitting in my lap as I type this).  For those of you that have plans for tonight, have fun and be safe!

The last category of my overhaul that involves actual clothing is jackets and outerwear.  I’m not jacket kind of girl and, weather depending, I’m perfectly happy wearing a sweater or a hoodie in place of proper outerwear.  What I’ve learned over the past few months as I’ve become more interested in style and fashion, however, is that the right jacket or coat can really pull an outfit together and complete a look.  With that in mind, here is my jackets and outerwear shopping list for 2011:

*classic trenchcoat (khaki or black)
*raincoat
*brightly colored winter coat (I’m thinking red)
*boyfriend blazer
*denim jacket

Not a very long list but pieces that I think will stay with me for a very long time if I take good care of them.  A great trench has been on my list for a long time and this is one piece in particular that I am prepared to spend a little bit of money on.  It can be worn during more than 1 season and is a necessity if I’m trying to achieve a more professional look in 2011.  I also think now is a great time to start searching for a winter coat.  Most stores have already begun previewing resort and spring collections so there’s a good chance I can find something nice on sale.  Since I live in Upstate NY, I still have many more days of winter weather left and will definitely get some use out of it this year.  The blazer and denim jacket will be a nice alternative to always wearing some type of cardigan over tops and dresses.

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration!  I’m looking forward to lots more blogging in 2011!  : )

Closet Overhaul: Part 3, Tops (Basics, Blouses, & Sweaters)

 

I have to admit, tops are my #1 downfall when it comes to my wardrobe.  Yes, I have several hanging in my closet but only a few that I really love and so my first instinct when I’m looking for something to wear is to grab one of my basic cotton v-neck tees.  I have them in just about every color (green and yellow are the only ones I’m missing) but because these are the most common staple in my wardrobe I tend to repeat a slight variation of the same outfit nearly every day that I’m not working.  For work, my default is some kind of Plain Jane sweater/camisole combo and I wear this look often.  Boring!

This is going to be the most difficult part of my shopping list for 2011, I think.  I really need to take the time to try on many different types of tops and sweaters to get a sense for what really works well with my shape.  My goal is not to dress trendy but to find classic tops and sweaters that really make an outfit look pulled together, regardless of whether I’m dressing professionally or casual.

Here’s my shopping list for tops (which will likely be edited several times throughout the year):

*crisp, white, button-up
*inexpensive plain white tees
*neutral layering tanks/camis
*several pretty blouses (print, floral, ruffles, etc…it’s all fair game)
*classic, cashmere sweater
*basic boyfriend cardigan
*chunky cable-knit sweater
*long-sleeved chambray button-up?

If I only find one great top all year, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a lovely white button-up.  I just can’t go wrong with that.  The one thing I dislike about adding some nicer tops to my wardrobe is that many require dry cleaning which can be expensive so I’ll be paying very close attention to the care instructions that come with any top and sweater that I purchase.  I certainly don’t mind owning some dry-clean only items but I’d like to still have several that I can throw in with a regular load of wash.  The chambray top is a question mark for this list.  I like the style and how you can dress it up or dress it down.  I’ve also seen tons of style bloggers wearing chambray button-ups lately (see examples here, here, here, and here) but for whatever reason I’m really not sure if I can rock this look.

Did I forget any essentials??

 

Closet Overhaul: Part 2, Bottoms (Skirts, Pants, & Denim)

 

The next category on my list is skirts, pants, and denim.  Right now, I have 3 pairs of dress slacks, 2 pairs of chinos (I get to dress down slightly during the summer, yippee!), 3 pencil skirts, and 3 pairs of jeans.  I get by just fine with what I currently have, but I think adding a handful more pieces this year will help keep the laundry at a minimum and seriously increase the combination of outfits I will be able to put together.

Here’s my shopping list for bottoms in 2011:

*2 more pairs of work slacks
*basic, black pencil skirt
*professional pant/skirt suit
*medium wash bootcut jeans
*dark wash bootcut jeans
*dark wash skinny jeans
*black skinny jeans?

That last one is a question mark for now.  Not sure if I really need a pair of black skinnies if I can find a great pair in a darker wash.  I’d really love to focus on finding a few new pairs of jeans that make me look and feel fantastic.  About a year and a half ago I bought my first pair of designer jeans (Paige Premium Denim) on sale at a boutique in Burlington, VT.  Until that moment, I was never sold on what high quality denim can do for a girl but wow!  Looking in the mirror of that fitting room I was blown away with how well that pair of jeans fit my body.  It is my goal to find a couple of additional pairs this year (for under $100) as those quickly became my go-to jeans and have become pretty worn already.  Also a priority, is a black pant/skirt suit for work.  I’ve been needing this for a very long time but I’m only required to wear a suit probably 6-8 times per year and, to be honest, I just hate them.  I do have a pair of old slacks and a separate jacket that I purchased to wear with them when I first started interviewing for jobs after college but I think it’s time for me to suck it up and spend the money on a really nice, matching set.  Same reasoning as for the sheath dress from yesterday’s post.  I also could use a new black pencil skirt.  Even though I have one, I don’t love the fit anymore and think it’s time to find a replacement.

I always wonder how many pairs of work and casual pants other girls own, on average.  I have a feeling that the number of pairs of each that I own is much smaller than other girls my age.  How many pairs of slacks and jeans do you own and/or recommend??  Leave a comment and let me know!