Sunday, November 30, 2014

how to fake your way to being a "cute mom". (sponsored by

outfit details: 
dress: c/o
cardigan: target
 moccasins: minnetonka (purchased used)
glasses: zenni optical

every so often someone will make a comment about how im such a "cute mom". now, i try my best to take this as a compliment, but if were being honest here, this is usually said in a condescending tone, as if to say "oh victoria, thats so cute that you have all that extra time and money to invest in looking nice all the time, you must have such an easy life to have everything together like that", to which i say: BAHAHAHAHAAAAA. 


i do not have an easy life. i do not have ANYTHING even remotely together. i do not have time for shopping. i do not have money for shopping. and unless it is a very, very special occasion, i do not have the energy to spend more than three minutes a day caring about what i look like. 

im just really good at faking like im a cute mom. and today im going to share a few tips on how you can do it too. (also, im sorry for laughing at you, that probably wasnt very nice of me). 

1. find some comfy dresses. dresses are for SO MUCH MORE than just dressing up. most of the time, if im home doing chores/out running a billion errands, im wearing a dress. why? because the right dress (like this super soft organic cotton shift from feels like pajamas, but looks like you tried. all with the added bonus of being a whole outfit in one and not having to wear pants. 

2. cardigans and moccasins. cardigans are basically the same thing as sweatshirts. moccasins are basically the same thing as slippers. however, in both cases, one option says "why yes, i am handling things today" and the other says "i have lost all control over my life". and i dont know about you, but for me clothing has a profound psychological effect, and dressing like the former even when i feel like the latter actually helps.

3. less is more. you know all those clothes in your closet that dont fit/dont match anything/make you feel unattractive that (dont lie) are totally in your closet? just get rid of them. you cant ever look frumpy if you dont let yourself have the option of looking frumpy. thats logic. 

4. limit your color palette. generally speaking, i can pull any top and any bottom out of my closet and they will at least sort of coordinate. why? because if you were to look inside my closet, you'd see that (almost) everything is black, white, or grey, with the occasional pop of pink, red, and orange. sure this may sound boring, but do you have any idea how fast i can get dressed in the morning?

5. perfect the two-minute makeup routine. yes, most days i leave the house i wear makeup. no, this does not take any time at all. i wear my makeup the exact same way every day (blush, eyeshadow, winged liner, and mascara) and can get it done in about a minute and a half. i also have a teeny tiny makeup bag with just those things in my bathroom separate from the rest of my makeup so that i never have to waste time looking for things. i promise that if you can boil your makeup routine down to just the essentials, youll be able to go from sleepy to done up before anyone realizes you closed the bathroom door. 

6. memorize some lightning fast hairstyles. some women are blessed with hair that just naturally looks great all the time. i am not one of those women. thankfully, the internet has a LOT of resources for almost zero-effort hairstyles. i mean, we all know about topknots and ponytails, but what about a messy fishtail, rope braid, or scarf roll? honestly, until a few months ago, i had no idea there were so many easy thinks you can do with your hair to look like you tried. (my new favorite thing is this thing where i dont wash or brush my hair and pin up the front part and pretend like im fancy). 

7. most importantly, just own it. look, even if i did have the time/energy for beachy waves and cuffed white jeans or perfectly coordinating a necklace and hat with my top, that would look ridiculous. because thats not me and i cant pull that off. the #1 secret to being a "cute mom"? confidence. whatever your "look" is, as long as you own it, nobody will know that you cant do the normal "cute mom" things. 

so now that ive spilled all my secrets, steal them and go be cute. nobody has to know that youre not actually a "cute mom" cute mom...

(disclaimer: this post was sponsored by and they provided the dress free for review. all other content and opinions are my own. p.s. be sure to check out their holiday gift guide for gift ideas for the yoga-inclined on your list)

Friday, November 14, 2014

a frustrating season and a reminder that we need this.

outfit details: 

top: jc penney (very old)
shorts: vintage
shoes: elorie (purchased from gilt)
glasses: zenni optical

if i were to describe how life is going right now, id say were in a frustrating season. and i dont just mean that because im still wearing shorts and its freaking NOVEMBER, its just that (as ive mentioned before) its that were in this prolonged season of transition. there are just so many things changing and they just wont quit moving around. have i mentioned lately how much i hate change? even though i do realize that all of these changes are moving our family forward into the kind of life that we want to have, its still frustrating. 

so, so frustrating. here are a few of the things im struggling with: 

school. this semester im in three classes. i know that doesnt sound like a lot but theyre all COMPLETELY different and have completely separate supplies and commitments. all three classes are only one day a week, so theyre LONG. im gone a lot. way more than id like to be, and when i am home, i have homework to do, or maybe i just want to sleep. its thrown a huge wrench in our weekly routines and takes so much out of me that i often feel like i cant give my best to james and alice (my priority), and honestly, i just dont have any energy left for any other family and friends. i feel like im failing everybody right now. also, i finally sat down with a fall and spring schedule to figure out what order i need to take the rest of my classes in, and the way things are set up at my school (assuming nothing gets cancelled or messed up), i wont graduate until the spring of 2017. 

work. not working at joanns anymore has been a HUGE relief, and so far, jamberry has been even more of a blessing than i could have imagined. but im starting a whole new job from scratch. everything is a learning experience, and since my time and energy are severely limited, its nearly impossible for me to stay on top of running parties, booking more parties, promoting on social media, pursuing consultant leafs, managing my team (were 12 strong now!), ordering supplies, and all the other things that being a consultant entails (no, that was NOT an exhaustive list of things i do). because of this, my workload tends to flip-flop from tons of work to none and back the other way every couple of weeks. and the fact that I'm just not naturally great at being my own boss? not helping. 

my health. honestly, my health hasnt been particularly bad lately, its just that its never all that good. i acknowledge and take full responsibility for taking on WAY more than my frail body can realistically handle, but at the same time, i kind of need it to cooperate. 

jamess job. since this spring, james has been working a ton. i mean, his schedule is only just now slowing down for winter. but hes still gone a lot, and i dont usually have the help that i need/am used to having. also, a variety of (not having anything to do with us) circumstances have put him about six months behind where he should be in his apprenticeship program. meaning, we have at least another two years before he journeys out and we dont have to deal with school week anymore. were probably going to graduate around the same time at this rate. 

but through all of this, as frustrating and seemingly endless as it feels, we need this. all of it. i need to do well in school, not only because ivee dreamt of having my own independent label since i was a little girl, but also because when i graduate, ill be able to freelance as a designer or pattern maker. and i need that long-term flexibility if were going to homeschool (which we are). i need to be optimistic and persistent with jamberry because it IS suiting our needs for a second income right now, and not having to work outside of the home is whats made going back to school even possible. i need to be patient and have a good attitude about my health because well, we all know by now that thats not changing anytime soon. and all of us need to be patient with jamess job and learn to go with the flow, because, yes, eventually he will journey out, he will make that journeyman money, and those quarterly school letters will stop coming. 

but most of all, i have to remind myself to be thankful (ha, i didnt realize when i was planning this post that it would be so seasonally appropriate). i need to be thankful that i AM in school studying my passion and im able to work from home while i do it. i need to be thankful that even though my health sucks most of the time, at least i know how to deal with it. i need to be thankful that james not only has a job, but a job with excellent benefits and a career track that will be pretty great in a few years. 

i have to be thankful that as difficult and exhausting and frustrating as things are right now, they are nowhere near as crappy as they used to be. weve spent the last two years or so deciding what kind of life we wanted for our family, and planting the sets we needed to make that happen. and now those seeds have all been planted and were waist-deep in the hard work part. a lot of the time it sucks, but we need this. we have goals, we have dreams, and they arent going to happen without all the work that were doing now. 

so instead of begrudgingly tolerating long hours, stupid homework, and shorts in november, i will be thankful. because we need this. all of it. except maybe the shorts in november part but i suppose thats just what we get for living in los angeles. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

how to take an extended hiatus from blogging without losing all your blog friends.

regular readers (if i have many left) already know about this, but in case you missed it, this summer was really weird. james worked out of town six days a week for a long time, and continued to work satudays (which is really unusual with his job) all the way up until after school started (he even worked a SUNDAY recently. this is COMPLETELY unheard of). because jamess hours have been super inconsistent for, well, out entire marriage, none of us is really used to not having james around all the thine (though i will admit that six months in a row of financial stability has been totes amazeballs). obviously with all this happening, plus me transitioning to working from home AND going to school three days a week, we have had, well, a prolonged season of transition. to be completely honest, were still figuring out how to make this work, but thats a topic for another day. 

long story short, with all this craziness going on, this here blog (and of course, the etsy shop) became terribly neglected. i used to post four (sometimes even five) times a week, every week, have new product in the shop most weeks, AND keep my editorial calendar a month ahead. but life happened and i lost my grip on blogging (and etsy-ing). 

being the defeatist quitter that i am (not being self-deprecating here, just being honest), i figured that if i couldnt keep my blog in tip-top shape id lose all my readers and i might as well give up. but surprisingly, i noticed after a few weeks that my blog wasnt going completely dead. yes my traffic was lower, and the percentage of probably-not-so-legitimate page views is maybe a bit more visible, BUT my daily traffic (even on days that i dont post) seems to be hovering around where it was maybe a year ago when i really started promoting myself. and when i do post, I'm still getting enough response (views, comments, etc.) that make it pretty obvious that not everyone has forgotten about me. 

which is really pretty awesome. but now that ive had some time to think about it. this wasnt really because of chance, or even that my blog friends are just way more awesome than others (though they are_ but also because of a few things that i did, that (knowingly or not) kept this little blog from going COMPLETELY dead during my absence. 

and since all the holiday craziness is coming up and I'm sure lots of you kind folks would like to take a breather, i thought id share some advice on how to keep things going (even when you arent blogging regularly:

1. stay active on social media. we all know by now that most of our personal connections are going to happen through social media rather than full blown blog content, right? well conveniently enough, it just so happens that staying active on social media (posting pictures, asking questions, sharing content you like) happens to take way less time and effort than writing full blog posts. during my break i spent some extra time developing my instagram, and you know what? its been great: i still got to keep up with my existing blog friends, i made some new ones, and it helped me find the inspiration to get writing again. 

2. pin all your posts on pinterest. i dont know about you, but quite a lot of my referring traffic comes from pinterest. and that wouldnt have happened if i hadnt pinned every. single. one. of my posts and images (whether i really thought they were all that pinnable or not) onto  the appropriate pinterest board. if youre not already doing this, start now. and when you have time, go back and do all your old posts. really. 

3. write reusable, perennial continent. a big reason my blog still has (a teeny tiny bit of) traffic even when im not posting is that the majority of my (recent) posts are (at least somewhat) perennial. and by that i mean, people still read them even weeks (or months) after i originally posted them, because what ive posted is still relevant and useful at any time. this is the main reason that ive shifted my content away from daily family life (which, while i do love writing it, doesnt have much of a shelf life when im not posting consistently) to more things like crafts, recipes, and tips. finding a good balance of timely and timeless posts seems to be the key here. 

4. write when you can. to be completely honest, the main reason i havent gotten to post much, is because im just simply not home much. and when i am home and have time to spend at the computer, i usually have jamberry or homework related things to handle. for a long time i was frustrated that i never had time to write posts, but then i started using early mornings and my breaks at school to write my posts in my notebook and make the graphics i need on my phone, so that way the only thing i need to do at the computer is type (and edit photos if necessary). the posts i write ahead of time dont always get published right away, but when i have a day with free computer time, i can bust out a post or three in no time at all. 

5. use your downtime wisely. not blogging consistently every week surprisingly meant that i had quite a bit more time to think about blogging: what i should write about, where i should go next, how i should change, etc., and instead of just sitting in my frustration about not having time to post, i used that time to brainstorm ideas, figure out my identity as a blogger, and i even booked a coaching call with kayli (which i highly recommend) to get a second (not-husband-cause-he-just-thinks-everything-is-great) opinion on where i should be headed. even though i didnt know when this break would end, i knew what to do when it did, which made it a lot easier to...

6. ease yourself back in. you know that perfectionist thing? well one side effect was that i kept telling myself i couldnt go back to blogging until AFTER i had an editorial calendar done for at LEAST a month and could go back to posting four times a week. and you know what? im not exactly in a position to do either of those things. so instead, im doing what i can, when i can, and slowly easing my way back into blogging. someday i may get back to my old pace, but if not, at least i didnt give up. 

7. dont compromise your content. it can be tempting to throw up a lame post or do something sponsored that you wouldnt normally do when you arent feeling inspired. i know, ive done it. but sometimes no post is better than something that doesnt fit (or worse, compromises your brand). sometimes something is better than nothing. but sometimes its not. 

8. most importantly, DONT APOLOGIZE. explain if you need to (especially, for instance, if the reason for your absence is relevant to the content of your post, like this one), but you DO NOT HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR NOT KEEPING UP YOUR SCHEDULE. im not even going to elaborate here, you just dont have to. 

so if youre currently taking a break, planning taking a break, or are coming back from an unintentional break (like i am) i hope that you find these tips helpful! cause what are blog friends for if we dont help each other out once in a while? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

accidental high-low dressing. an outfit post.

outfit details: 
jacket: free people
necklace: gift (similar)
dress: hand-me-down (handmade by a friend)
shoes: shoemint (old)
glasses: zenni optical

youre familiar with the term "high-low" dressing, right? its that thing where you pair really expensive things with really cheap things to make a unique outfit, like, an h&m top tucked into a chanel skirt or whatever. its like, a really popular thing to do. it can be fun, but with my wardrobe being in the sad, sorry state of needing new everything in recent years, my closet really didnt have much "high" to it. it was more like "low, lower, and lowest". 

but things have changed. ive gotten older and wiser and a prolonged lack of shopping money forced me to really examine my feelings about clothes. and through all of this, i learned a few things: 

1. my style really doesnt change much over time. lots of my old favorites, are still my favorites. and most of the more recent purchases i bought during my new mom identity crisis, i really really hate. 

2. i prefer a more minimal wardrobe. generally speaking, i dont typically wear that many different kind of outfits, and id rather only have things that mix and match with each other. both to save time getting ready in the morning and also to maximize my options for looking put together without always wearing the same thing. 

3. im the quality-over-quantity type. dont get me wrong, i do LOVE a bargain. but at the same time, theres a HUGE difference between something thats a great value, and something thats just cheap. and i dont know if its because of what ive learned through sewing, or if im just a snob, but i can definitely tell the difference. and maybe its just me, but id rather have one high quality shirt that will last for years than three cheap, disposable shirts. 

4. im just not that into shopping. despite the fact that i really love clothes and the visual stimulation and inspiration that comes from shopping (or sewing, or reading blogs, or people watching, or really anything for that matter), going to the mall (or thrift store, or target) to go buy clothes tends to do one of two things: either i get super stressed out and overwhelmed and cant make up my mind, or i end up impulsively buying things that really arent me because im out shopping and feel like i need to buy something. 

so even though now, thanks to jamberry and james working full-time again, i have disposable income for the first time in my entire adult life and i totally could go clothes shopping, just for fun. i havent. 

ive actually been working really hard to clean out my closet, this battle has been going on for several months and my "to get rid of" pile now reaches the ceiling. and since i (obviously, given the pile-to-the-ceiling) had WAY too many clothes to begin with, i really dont need anything. and the rare times i do shop, im looking for specific, high-quality pieces that can replace several of my old, worn out, or ill-fitting things. i usually know exactly what it is im looking for, and am just trying to find the right piece at the right price, rather than browsing to see what strikes my fancy. its not the most exciting place to be in wardrobe-wise, but its fun. 

and sometimes outfits like this one happen and its really really funny. see, every single piece of this outfit was free, except for the jacket. the dress was an old, old hand-me-down from my sister (handmade by one of our friends), the shoes i won in a blog giveaway, the pearls were a wedding present. 

but then theres the jacket. james took me out shopping for my birthday and we went to free people and he pointed out this jacket and i just HAD to have it: it was totally me, fit like a dream, was the right balance of warm-but-not-too-restrictive, and owning it would mean getting rid of like six old jackets and hoodies that i wasnt a huge fan of. but it was expensive. like, i want to barf expensive. but james insisted because it was my birthday and it was his treat. 

put the two parts together, and boom. high-low dressing. i guess this is a thing i do now.