Summer-Winter Wardrobing

I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me before, I’ve seen other people do it… Maybe I thought it was boring to not have two completely separate wardrobes for warm and cool weather? Maybe I thought you should only wear wool skirts in winter? Well, regardless of why I’ve fought the notion, I now think it’s genius! Especially since I’ve been on a mission to simplify my closet (perhaps we’ll talk more about that in January?).

So what’s the big deal, you ask? Only this: taking your summer dresses, and “winterizing” them with some simple accessories: tights, a sweater, a scarf, winter shoes/boots, etc. to make them more appropriate for chilly winter days. How have I not tried this before?

I’ve had so much fun playing around with the whole multi-seasonal outfit alteration idea lately, and I’m seeing my sundresses in a brand new light! Thought I’d share a recent outfit with you today:


So what about you? Do you wear the same dresses all year round with different seasonal touches, or do you have separate summer and winter wardrobes? 


Simplify – Day 5: Saying “No”

By this weekend, I want you to really feel like you have a good sense of what your personal boundaries are. Take some time today to think about what a full week looks like for you and your family (it will look different for everybody). And when you know that you’re at capacity – don’t be afraid to say a confident “No!”.

For us, this often happens in the form of dinner invitations, pleas for help, or spontaneous get-togethers. We intentionally try to leave some breathing room in our schedules so that we are able to say “yes” to many of these opportunities. But sometimes “no” is the best thing for our health, sanity, and protection of our Top 5. Remember we’re working on choosing best over good!

Why do we cringe at the word “no”? Perhaps we are worried about hurting other peoples feelings, or not wanting them to think badly of us, maybe we believe that if we say “no”, that they will eventually stop asking us to do things?

One of the ways we have found to combat all of these arguments is: when somebody asks us to do something that we know we need to say “no” to, instead of just saying “no” and leaving it at that, we counter with our own request. –

For example: “We’d love to come to dinner at your place on Wednesday, thanks so much for asking! But, we have such a full week, we think it is best for us to decline. However, we still really want to spend some time with you…are ya free next Monday to meet for dessert and coffee?”

Do you see how that takes the negativity out of a “no”? Of course this isn’t appropriate in every situation, but can sure help make the “no” easier to say in a spontaneous situation.

Task for today: Is there anything in your life that you think you need to say “no” to today? An opportunity for the school year? A dinner invitation? A guest blogging opportunity? A friendship? A job promotion? Work up your courage, and say that “no” confidently!

Saying “no” isn’t just a negative action. You’re saying “no” to one thing, so that you can say “yes” to something better! Remember the quote in THIS post?

Do you find it difficult to say no? Why or why not?

Posts in this series you may have missed:
Simplify – A Challenge
Day 1: The First Step
Day 2: Subtraction
Jenni Talks About Intentional Living
Day 3: Addition
Free! Downloadable reminder to simplify
Sheila Talks About Intentional Living
Day 4: YOU!
Twiggy Talks About Intentional Living


Did you enjoy this “Simplicity” series? Follow Vignettes so you never miss another post! You can find me on Facebook, Bloglovin’, and Twitter.

Simplify – Day 4: YOU!

As women, it seems we often strike the martyr’s pose, don’t we? We run ourselves completely ragged to keep 100 balls in the air and make our lives appear perfect to the world.

Is it possible to tick off 100 things on our to-do list each day? Sure!

It is also possible to survive on ramen noodles.

But is it possible to thrive on them?

We are each born with different capacity levels: different amounts of energy, different sleep requirements, different social capacities… We need to respect the capacities of those around us – even if we don’t understand them. But even more importantly, we must respect our own.

I have observed people around me (and even in the blog world) who are seemingly “super-human” – they accomplish 10x what I do in any given day, and stay up working into the wee hours of every morning. – And the mystery of it all? They are happy, fulfilled, content, always smiling.

If I lived the life they led, I would quickly shrivel up and die. – And comparing yourself to people like that can be so incredibly harmful. It can make you feel less-than, lazy, or selfish.

Part of simplifying your life, is making peace with how much you are capable of doing well, and ordering your life and priorities around that capacity.

You didn’t sleep soundly – have a mountain of housework to tackle, it’s your friend’s birthday, you haven’t published a blog post, on the docket are two community meetings and a hair appointment in the afternoon. You are also planning to have a date night with your hubby in the evening. – What do you do? *NOTE: Your husband and friend are listed on your Top 5. Your housework, meetings, hair, and blog, are not *

Opt. 1: Tackle everything on your to-do list like a madwoman and arrive at your date night utterly spent with nothing left to offer your husband but frazzled hair and a glazed over expression.

Opt. 2: You take 10 minutes to prioritize your housework, and dive into the essentials – leaving the non-essentials for another day. Call your friend on the way to a meeting to chat and wish her a very happy birthday. Skip out on the other meeting, opting to read the minutes online instead (consider cutting these meetings from your schedule permanently, because they often seem to take away time and energy from your Top 5). Post a short queued blog in lieu of the one you’d hoped to write from scratch today.  Reschedule your hair appointment knowing that you will be much more present, calm, and alert for your date night if you spend that hour soaking in the tub, shaving, and catching a power nap. Arrive at your date night feeling refreshed and ready to invest time in your husband.

Option 1 is what I think is expected of me by the world at large. Option 2 though, is the one that gives me peace and satisfaction when I choose it.

Remember, choosing your Top 5 over the other tasks in your life will always bring the greatest fulfillment. – And often, in order to care for your Top 5 well, you MUST care for yourself.

So, your task for today is to write down what nurtures your soul and keeps you running at top capacity. It could be getting a manicure once a week, or just sleeping a full 8 hours each night, maybe taking time out for spiritual nourishment and exercise more regularly… Whatever it is – take note. And make a point of adding it into your schedule.

Nurturing yourself, body and soul, is akin to putting fuel in your tank. It is what gives you the ability to serve others and complete your daily tasks well.

Additionally, in order to give our all everyday, we must find our personal boundaries, and operate within them. That alone will facilitate simplifying our lives.

Do you have a hard time making yourself a priority? Do you agree that by caring for yourself, you can better care for those around you?

Previously in the Simplify series:
Simplify – A Challenge
Day 1: The First Step
Day 2: Subtraction
Jenni Talks About Intentional Living
Day 3: Addition
Free! Downloadable reminder to simplify
Sheila Talks About Intentional Living

A Special Friday’s Foto Felicity!

Ability to Simplify from StudioJRU

The above print is brought to you by the very talented Jennifer from Studio JRU. She is offering it as a free download to help inspire us all in our journey toward simplifying our lives. Click on the image for a pdf file that you can then print and frame as a daily reminder! – I hope you’ll go check out the rest of her work HERE.

Thanks so much for the beautiful print Jennifer!


Simplify – Day 3: Addition

So now we have talked about pruning some of the excess out of our lives – and hopefully as a result of doing so, we will find ourselves with more empty spaces on our calenders. The reward? Slowly adding into our lives those things that feed and nurture our Top 5!

Today’s task: look back over your list of Top 5. Which of them feels the most emaciated right now? Place a star next to those items. Then start another list of potential things that would help feed the “starving” Top 5. This is a brainstorming session only – not making concrete commitments, so don’t stress over it!

For example:

Say you have a star next to “Family Time” on your list. Perhaps some things you might like to add into your days are: having sit down dinners together 4 nights a week. Or: family pizza and game night every Friday. Maybe: “Unplugged Saturday Evenings” where everyone must power off their phones/computers/ipads/video games/etc. for 3 hours and plan something interactive – like a picnic, or a concert at the park, or a bike ride. You get the picture. Plan to add things that feed your priorities so that they can begin to grow back into a place of healthy prominence in your life.

Everybody’s priorities will be different, just like our passions. And we must respect and encourage each other in their diversity, even if we don’t understand them. It’s always incredibly hurtful to hear people say things like:

“But why do you need to spend time with your husband on Wednesday? You don’t have kids, so you’re with each other everyday!”

“I don’t see why you can’t help me with this, you don’t work full time.”

“Why aren’t you involved in x, y, or z? Everybody else is!”

“What do you DO all day??”

I think this quote warrants a re-visit:
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’” ~ Stephen Covey

Don’t be afraid to live the life that you were created to live.

The mark you leave on this world has nothing to do with how busy (or not) your life is. But it has everything to do with how present you are in each moment, and how much you give to the tasks you choose to undertake.

More on that in Day 4!

Have you missed any of the “Simplify” Series? Get caught up here:

Jenni Talks About Intentional Living
Day 2: Subtraction
Day 1: The First Step

Simplify – A Challenge

Simplify – Day 2: Subtraction

So now that we all have our list of Top 5 Priorities, it’s time to take a look at what is currently filling our days. This may very well be the hardest step of our journey. It involves cutting away, pruning, if you will. But I promise: the freedom that will ensue will be worth any pain!

Today’s task is to list what you are currently involved in as an individual and as a family, and then list each item under one of your “Top 5”. If it doesn’t fit under any of your Top 5 categories, then I challenge you to consider axing it from your schedule.

This will most likely involve letting go of “good” things! We went through a process like this ourselves about a year ago (when our journey to simplicity really began), and it’s what we use as a measure to evaluate whether to add anything new into our lives. – Let me give you some examples:

Things I was involved in, and the Top 5 categories under which I could place them:

Teaching craft/stamping classes – none
Singing in the band at church – none
Chair of the hospitality committee – none
Trying to keep over a dozen peripheral friendships somewhat fed – none
Garden Club – none
Hobby blogging – none
Selling AVON – none
Taking dance lessons – My Husband (because we were currently taking ballroom together)
Small Group – God (small group was a place where people could talk and struggle through their faith -or lack thereof- together)
Going back to school for my license to become a fitness instructor – Personal Well-Being
Directing weddings – Growing My Businesses

So can you guess what stayed and what was pruned?  Basically, the only things I kept in my life were those that actually had a Top 5 heading. There were some business ventures in there that I knew I was not excited about pursuing. So although they had potential to grow, I didn’t have the motivation to put into growing them – so they were axed. With the exception of blogging of course- which I decided just this spring, that I wanted to begin pursuing as a business venture instead of merely a hobby. –

It was hard to let some of those fun things, those good things go. But you know what? They were slowly, but surely, sucking the life out of me. Every week, I would encounter several that became “just one more thing”. I wasn’t looking forward to them anymore. I was tired. I was loosing touch with my husband and with God and with my sanity. They were keeping me from having focused energy to spend on really nurturing my Top 5. They were frustrating in that, it was all I could do to barely maintain them – forget excelling at them. And I’m a firstborn…I like to strive to excel.

And you know what? Post-pruning, my life is a whole lot less full, but it is a whole lot more fulfilling! Now I feel that it’s possible to excel at those things I am involved in. Be completely present, give it my best shot… Because I am able to give so much more of myself to my Top 5, when my head hits the pillow at night – I feel satisfied, and at peace.

Does the thought of “pruning” some things from your life scare you? Excite you?

For more in this “Simplify” Series:

Day 1: The First Step
Simplify – A Challenge

Simplify – Day 1: The First Step

Are you ready girls? Our journey begins now! If you’re coming along for the ride, you may want to designate a small notebook or journal in which to record your thoughts. We’re going to be doing a fair amount of introspection along the way…and I know it really helps me to be able to record my musings with paper and pen.

Today your task is to take a few moments to make a list of the 5 things that are most important to you. Your 5 top priorities.

Here are mine:

+ Growing my relationship with God (always the challenge of living in His love and acceptance of me, and being able to let that flow through me toward others – learning to trust – learning to listen – and desperately trying to understand it all…)

+ My husband (caring for him well…keeping his practical and emotional needs met, and being able to disconnect from the projects I’m in the middle of to spend undivided time with him each evening)

+ My closest friends (only three…if friends are this high up on your priority list, there can’t be many…remember: “A friend to all, is a friend to none”)

+ Growing my new businesses (my exercise class clientele, and this here blog)

+ Personal well-being (stress management, proper sleep, healthy eating, exercise, etc.)

It doesn’t mean that there aren’t tons of other things on your/my priority list, but identifying the top 5 will help you remain focused. These are your “things which matter most”  that Fridays quote alluded to. This Top 5 List will be the measuring stick, or boundary line that will help you make wise decisions, say “no” to things that are good, but are still acting as enemies of the best, and then help you order your days accordingly.


One of the ways I’m challenging myself to simplify involves this blog. I plan to work on an overhaul of the design to reflect a more simplistic “open air” feeling – I also want to challenge myself to shorter daily posts. To learn to say more, but with fewer words. That oughta be interesting – (don’t side eye me Jenni…I know you are!)

So in keeping with that challenge, I shall end this post here, and let you all go to get working on your list. Feel free to share your top 5 in the comments if you like. We’re all in this together – one baby step at a time! 🙂