How To Do A Complete Closet Overhaul

As you know, I am here in Michigan, currently without a closet. As I packed up my life to make the cross country move, I took the opportunity to edit and refine my closet. In my 20's I would have described my style as mix between Zoey Deschanel and Carrie Bradshaw. I couldn't resist a quirky print and I often frequented my favorite vintage shops hunting for charming fit and flare dresses. I paired those with blazers and finished the look with a vintage belt and the most ridiculous platforms or stilettos you have ever seen. Now, not so much. These days I live in jeans, a tee with a blazer or a blouse and mules. My heels don't get much play and my vintage dresses were stuck in the back of the closet. It was time for an overhaul. 

Back in January one of my favorite bloggers/Instagrammers, Jen Pinkston of The Effortless Chic posted a closet overhaul series over on Instagram. I've read lots of closet makeover posts in my day, but Jen's philosophy stuck with me. You can read all about her method here, but I'll give you the cliff's notes version in this post. 

How to do a closet overhaul

Step 1. Separate your real life from your fantasy life. Be honest with yourself, when you're reviewing your closet, and you come across a pair of heels you hastily purchased after seeing them on your favorite blogger at a high fashion event, remember that her life isn't yours. You need clothes that work for you. 

Step 2. Journal your outfits for a week. Notice what kind of outfits you wear most and what kind you don't. If you live in lounge wear, might be time to consign the pencil skirts and invest in chic casual wear. 

Step 3. Make a mood board. I feel like most of the closet overhauls I read about start here, but I love that Jen's method started with you evaluating your actual life and how you wear clothes. This is my favorite step, but even if you're not as much of a mood board enthusiast as I am, this is a very important step, as these visuals will be your North Star as you're evaluating your clothes. 

Jen goes on to explain that this is hugely important - every time you go into a store or on a website, that store is trying to sell you on their brand vision. That's why when you go into Free People you suddenly feel like you could pull off the boho goddess look, but if it doesn't align with your vision of your style, put down the fringe vest!

Here is my style vision board, French "it" girl meets California casual for coffee in SOHO (you can come up with anything, and I mean anything that resonates with you). But what on Earth does that mean. For me, I am often attracted to all the best French girl style, the effortless chic jeans and blouse look isn't exactly what I gravitate toward in store, but it's what I like to wear and the balance of dressy and casual that fits my lifestyle. Because the denim and tee look is such an important part of my wardrobe, I had to register the California vibes that wear on the daily. I also love blazers and some more polished pieces bring in a little New York style. Here's what that looks like to me:

CLOSET-MAKE-OVER2.jpg

I would also take this a step further and create a color palette, this will ensure maximum mix and match versatility in your closet. Stay tuned for my palette in an upcoming post. 

Step 4. Purge! Ditch anything that doesn't fit, is worn out or damaged and doesn't fit your vision. 

  • pull anything out of season and store away or at least put aside for now
  • organize your closet by category - this way you can see if you have 6 blazers that you haven't worn in a year, or not one skirt that suits your stule
  • pull your three favorite outfits that fit your style vision, use them as your guide and as you go through your closet. If you're on the fence, ask yourself if each piece can mix and match with your outfits. 

Keep going until you have a closet full of clothes you love to wear. 

How to do a complete closet overhaul

Step 5. Begin to fill the holes in your wardrobe. Through your journaling or organizing you may have noticed some pieces you may be missing. In my recently closet I tossed all my tees with stretched necks or distorted hems, currently I'm shopping for more polished tees that look great layered under blazers or stand alone with jeans or a skirt. 

  • Consider a favorite piece, do you love the cut? would you benefit from having it in another color? or lighter or heavier weight fabric?
  • Does your work wardrobe need a refresh? Maybe a chic trouser that can be paired with several tops that already live in your closet. 
  • be mindful about your purchases, think about your ratio of the tops and bottoms you already own. Similarly, think about your shoe closet in the same way, do you need another pair of shoes that you might only wear to a wedding once every other year?

 

  • My favorite piece of Jen's advice: Will this piece make getting dressed much easier in the morning? Can you easily think of three different ways you would wear it and three different places you would wear it to?

The goal at the end of all this is to have a closet full of clothes that you love, that fit your style and that style together seamlessly. The goal is to be more intentional and less spontaneous. 

photos: 1 / 2 

Breuer Cesca Chairs

I took a little time off from blogging to pack up our house and move our lives across the country. We are now settled (sort-of) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, currently staying with my in-laws. I am back at the computer and naturally I am thinking about what's next, aka, stalking Zillow and designing every home I love in my mind, and sometimes even on photoshop. It's what's on the brain, so it's only natural that I would start with an interiors post.

Today, I'm talking about one of the vintage finds I added to my list, and actually already checked off (!), the Breuer Cesca chair. Marcel Breuer was a Hungarian born modernist architect and furniture designer. He invented the tubular steel bicycle handlebar-inspired furniture in the 1920's. The specific chair I'm looking at today is the Cesca chair, named after his adopted daughter, Francesca. The chair was named one of the 10 most important chairs of the 20th century. It comes both upholstered and caned and given the surge of wicker and natural furniture, I have been digging the caned version. It's no wonder, these chairs are everywhere I turn, looking fab at a dining table, completing an office desk, or casually styled in a breakfast nook. The modern metal with the natural caned seat and back are perfectly California cool.

I am happy to say I own four (currently somewhere in storage) for a mega steal on Craigslist for $80! I cannot wait to figure out exactly where they will live in our future home. 

Breuer Chair
Cane Chairs
Breuer Chairs
 photos:  1  /  2  /  3  /  4  

photos: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 


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Simple Spring Look

As we pack up to make the big move, I am forced to do a try capsule wardrobe for the next few months. If you've been following along on Instagram, you may already know I've been honing my look and editing accordingly. Since closet space will be very very limited until we get a space of our own, I can only bring the absolute essentials. However I will be meeting up with fellow creatives, for which this is the perfect outfit, I will be working from home, hello leggings, and I will be going on interviews, definitely need some heels. I've got a post coming up all about the look I'm going for and how I'm approaching narrowing it down to about 50 pieces (not including workout gear). For now, a spring look that will be on repeat all season long! 

All white for Spring
All white for Spring
All white for Spring

culottes: H&M / shirt: men's H&M (similar) / belt: Gucci / sunnies: Target / bag: Zara (similar) / shoes: M4DE


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We're Moving!!

I don't even know where to start with this post. I guess I'll start with the bomb, we are leaving our beautiful home outside New York City and moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan. New York, the city for 8 years and the Hudson Valley for the last four, have been my home. Friends, job, home, life it's all here. But our families are there. I am mourning the loss of my old life, but so excited about the future! 

New York City

I moved to New York City directly out of college. I didn't leave the door open to go anywhere else. I can still remember the morning I arrived. My parents drove me from Michigan, the car packed with only clothes, a computer and a few personal possessions. We stayed overnight in a hotel in Newark and the next morning they would leave 22 year old Lauren in the Financial District of Manhattan. A few days later I started an internship at The Sak, which later became my job. The job. The only job I had in my 12 years here.

At 22 I had visions of meeting, dating and marrying a guy in this city. Maybe he would be from Connecticut or maybe Florida and New York would make sense, this would be my home forever. I didn't think I would marry my best guy friend from college. Kyle moved from Chicago in 2010 to New York to be with me. Kyle took me on a scavenger hunt around the city that ended in a proposal.  We got married and lived together on the Upper East Side, until we decided we wanted the American dream and went north in search of a house.

Then Oliver came along. And we began to long to be closer to family. Every few months we would discuss moving "back home" to be closer, make things a little easier, people near by to help out if we were in a jam. I was always the one to shoot down the idea, citing the fashion industry and my love for New York City as my reasons we needed to stay. 

Then my dad died. Next week will be a year when I sat on his bed in the hospital room and told him we were thinking of moving back to Michigan, the first person I confessed to that this was a real possibility. His response was, "Why would you do that, Lauren? Your job is there. There's nothing here for you." The sting of not being present or helping as my dad went though his illness was definitely a deciding factor for me, to tip the scales in favor of moving back to the Midwest. Then it became a question of when. Do I have another baby first? Or do we settle there and then try? The truth is there is never a good time, so we decided to pull the trigger and put our house on the market. 

What will we do when we get there? We are moving in with Kyle's parents to transition us. I am staying on remotely with my job to finish up the season I'm working on and Kyle already works remotely so he will keep his job. I will be looking for a job in Grand Rapids, and my options are very open. There are a few fashion companies, I've been exploring interior design opportunities as well as event jobs. With extra hands to help out and a much shorter commute, I hope to devote more time to this space. I can't wait to share as I explore my new city, decorate a new home and settle into life as a Michigander once again. 

photo: Clare Mullins Photography

Family Vacation to Costa Rica

A few weeks back we took a magical family vacation to Costa Rica. Kyle and I had been there before, our first trip together, back in 2010. When deciding where to travel this year we knew we wanted to go somewhere warm and affordable. We considered other Central American Countries, Caribbean and Mexico. We had the best time our first trip to Costa Rica and found flights that were too good to pass up, so we booked! We choose Playa Hermosa mostly because the beach reviews on Trip Advisor, as well as the proximity to the airport (LIR). 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

We stayed at Club Condovac. It too was a great deal and lovely for the money and perfect for our needs. They had three pools, including a kiddie pool, a restaurant on the grounds, located right on the beach. Each room has a kitchen and they also have a little store with a small food section, souvieners, wine and beer. 

Condovac, Playa Hermosa
Costa Rica Family Vacation

If you haven't been to Costa Rica, you may not know that they are all about the excursions. They cater to the tourists that want to do all the country has to offer, beaches, rainforest, volcanos and more. Most hotels have on premise tour guides that schedule and even lead day trips to any of these areas. Obviously traveling with a 3 year old limits what we can do, so when I found a river boat tour that offered views of animals and very little walking, I signed us up. We took the 45 minute ride from our hotel to Palo Verde National Park. We hopped on a personal river boat and took a cruise with monkey, crocodile and lots of bird sightings. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

Most of our time was spent at the pool, the beach and enjoying the sunsets. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Condovac Hotel, Playa Hermosa

One of my absolute favorite parts of the trip was watching Oliver in the ocean. On the first day he decided that he was afraid of the waves. He refused to even dip his toe in the water. It took two days of sitting on the beach watching before he decided that he wanted to partake in the fun. I watched his little brain conquer his fear. At one point he repeated my affirmations to himself, "I got this," and ran into the water. Eventually he was so brave we had to hold him back. It was such a proud mommy moment and so fun to watch. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

The hotel had a photographer that walked around capturing amazing moments that you could purchase later. I thought this was such a brilliant idea and was happy to fork over $30 for ten darling paparazzi images. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

My review of the trip was mostly glowing. Our first trip to Costa Rica we stayed a little further south, also on the Pacific coast, in a town called Tamarindo. Club Condovac was a nicer place than we stayed last time, but Playa Hermosa was very sleepy. Obviously we weren't hitting the town traveling with Oliver and all, but we would have liked a few additional resturant options.

Giving a Day in Costa Rica

Last month, when we were in Costa Rica we decided we wanted to do something to give back. I found a great site called Give A Day Global. The concept is to give one day of your vacation to a community cause. We were lucky that one of the opportunities they list happened to be in the town we were staying. Kyle, Ollie and I visited the school in Playa Hermosa. Since Ollie was involved, I requested that they place us with the young kids. I prepared an art project for the kids and we carried a suitcase full of supplies to donate to the class. 

Give A Day Global.jpg

We were welcomed with open arms, by the principal and a representative from Give A Day Global. They told us that just 5 years ago the school had only 12 students, and now they teach 75 children! I think it's so ingenuitive that they use one of the most plentiful resources, tourists, to contribute to their growth. 

Give A Day Global.jpg

The children seemed genuinely excited to have us there. We were welcomed with a song and an introduction of all the students. Ronald, The Give A Day representative, helped with translation as we lead the students to make a rainbow. Oliver was defintely a little timid when we arrived, but he warmed up to his new friends as the visit went on. 

Give A Day Global
Give A Day Global
Give A Day Global

Our visit ended with big hugs for each of us. It was truly a wonderful experience. 

Give A Day Global

Ollie's Trolls 3rd Birthday

Last month we celebrated Ollie's 3rd birthday. I went a little crazy and turned our house into a Trolls wonderland. I didn't want to hit Party City and buy everything in the Poppy section, so I decided to get creative. Do you remember my mood board? I cut yards and yards and yards felt garlands and made my first ever balloon installation and even paper mached a cloud balloon. Anika Fatouros captured the wild party.  

Trolls Birthday Party

I set up a little picnic table for the kids with a paper mache Trolls hill centerpiece. 

Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party

I DIYed troll hair and I gathered goodies for the kiddos to decorate Trolls masks using the pattern I found here

Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party
Trolls Birthday Party

A big thank you to Meghan for making the cake. 

Trolls Birthday Party

Thank you also to Anika for the photos! 

Announcing Mother's Day Styled Sessions!!

I'm thrilled to be teaming up with my friend Anika once again, to offer styled Mother's Day sessions! Last year was such a hit that we are back again! I will be providing wardrobe and styling services, plus hair and make and refreshments. Scroll down to see some shots of the gorgeous moms from last year and get the details for this year's event. 

Mother's Day Sessions
Mother's Day Session
Mothers Day Session
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Mother's Day Session

All stunning photos by A. Fatouros Photography.