Rebuilding Your Wardrobe: Starting From Nothing

**Rebuilding Your Wardrobe is a series of posts where I discuss all the things I’ve learned while rebuilding my own wardrobe. ————————————————————————————————————-

Every time I find a hole in a t shirt, have a stain that refuses to be removed or realize that a pair of shoes are scuffed past the point of repair I think of this phrase:

Clothes are disposable.

I’m actually quoting my mom here.  This is a phrase she loved to use when I was growing up and as a mom to three girls I can only imagine the number of times she disposed of our clothes.  I feel like I clean out the boys’ closets every other week.

This is what makes the whole “rebuilding your wardrobe” thing a never-ending process.  Clothes don’t last a lifetime.  I’m lucky if a t shirt lasts more than one season.

Recently I came across this article- The Master Cleanse by Annette Tapert

Annette asks many fashion designers and experts what pieces they would choose when starting a wardrobe from nothing.

Some said to use it as an opportunity to reinvent your fashion perspective, but most listed some key staples that would see you through- a white button up shirt, jeans, pencil skirt, blazer, etc.

This is my take on the question:x

Tagged: Fall Goals

One of my very favorite bloggers, Kate, of Nautical by Nature tagged me to list 5 of my goals for Fall!

Last night I sat down to write out my to-do list for the week and realized I should have no issue coming up with five things to share with y’all.

5 Fall Goals:

1. Identify the remaining gaps in my wardrobe. I feel like I keep buying pieces that I need, but then I don’t seem to have everything to put an entire outfit together. I know I need to review Nina Garcia’s book, The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own. There will definitely be a blog post about that!

2. Really figure out a good schedule for working out and be better about not eating whatever I want. As Mr. says, we are coming up on “the season.” The time of year where it is all candy and food all the time- Halloween rolls into Thanksgiving and then Christmas and it seems like all you are doing for 3 months is eating. I know I will indulge, but I need to be diligent about working out to counteract that.

3. Pick out pictures for wall frames. On Thanksgiving day we will have been in our house for 2 years and we have a very sad number of pictures on the walls.

4.Control the clutter and think about new things coming into the house. I did a good job this weekend packing up some things for Goodwill and consignment stores.

and lastly

5. Balance. My friend Melissa did an amazing post about balancing the SAHM life and blogging. Definitely going to work on this. Would probably help if I could find a few extra hours a day.

Now to tag 5 bloggers…I hope y’all will share 5 Fall goals!

Copacetic in Carolina
Perfectly Imperfect
All About Olivia
Preppy Southern Princess
Southern Living Preppy Style

and if I didn’t tag you feel free to share some of your goals in the comments!

1000 Followers Giveaway! (Hint: Stuff You Probably Want!)

hen I started blogging I knew that I wanted to do a giveaway of some of my favorite things when I reached 1000 followers.

And 15 months later here we are!

Giveaway Collage
ONE lucky reader will receive-

September 2013 Vogue- You know we wait all year for this issue!

$10 Target Gift Card- New earrings, maybe? (Not responsible for what you spend over $10)

Essie Nail Polish in Merino Cool- Fun color for fall

Lilly Pulitzer Cocktail Napkins- A happy hour essential

Bert’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm- My favorite lip product

Keeping the entries easy, peasy on this one: just leave a comment.  I’ll close entries next Monday, Aug 20 at 8pm EST.

**This giveaway is sponsored by no other than Mr. Banker.**

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend…and start thinking about outfits you can put together for W2WW link ups!  I know I’ll be playing around in my closet!

Yes or No?

I consider myself a “yes” person. Mostly because I hate disappointing anyone. And when I do say no, I tend to feel all kinds of guilt. I’m really trying to work on this and do what is right for me & my family.

While this time of year is jam packed with fun events and activities that I’d love to say yes to, I’ve had to listen to my gut and not overload my schedule. I was planning to go to our Women’s Ministry’s annual cookie swap last night, but I just had to skip it. I’m so sleep deprived that Mr. and I have been snippy at each other. I have eaten so much junk food that I’m rundown. I just had a gut feeling that I didn’t need to spend several hours yesterday baking cookies and then staying out late. And frankly, I’m kind of over socializing. How awful is that…and soooo unlike me?

I was really thankful that I went to bed early when I heard BB screaming at 3am. He had *TMI* made a nasty diaper deposit. Fun times. So we chilled on the couch for an hour and then happily went back to bed- halleluiah!

I was glad I listened to my gut.

It seems like I’ve been saying no more than ever lately. Not accepting a leadership position in Junior League. Not signing up for any more swaps that I know I don’t have time for. Not feeling bad when I hit “mark all as read” in my Google Reader.

This leads me to a question for y’all…because I’m curious and sometimes just plain nosy. How many blogs do you regularly read? I checked and I have 167 blogs in my reader. I think that’s a lot and obviously too many to keep up with. I tend to just hit subscribe when I see a new blog with a post that I think speaks to me, but many times after a few weeks I realize that we don’t really connect.

So I’m going to work on saying no a little bit more often and with a little bit less guilt.

For any of you on the opposite side of the spectrum who have trouble saying yes, check out Imani’s post. I heard this on our local radio show…she is challenging herself to 30 days of yes.

Let me know if you are a Yes or No person! Maybe we can learn from each other!

Going Green

**This is a sponsored post.. me talking about stuff I’ve purchased. Again.**

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow so I had green on my mind, but more about being green environmentally than leprechauns and pinching.


Right now my sink area looks like a Mrs. Meyers display. A few weeks ago I grabbed this soap on a whim at Target. It smells amazing so I went back to see what other products were available. I was wanting to try a new counter top spray because I am constantly wiping up the fun messes that the boys make. The bleachy smell a lot of the sprays have was starting to bother me and I wanted a product that is more environmentally friendly. The Mrs. Meyers products are not tested on animals, for the most part are biodegradable and doesn’t contain any of these harsh chemicals- ammonia, chlorine, glycol solvents, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, artificial colorants, phosphates or petroleum distillates.

After reading this article I’ve made a few changes in some of the foods we buy. I’m now on the organic train for milk, apples and potatoes. These are some of the foods we eat most in our house and I couldn’t ignore the facts about the chemicals and pesticides any longer. I was also surprised by the fact that BPA is released in canned tomatoes, so now I buy the brand that is sold in a box if I need some for a recipe.

I can’t leave you without a lovely green goodie

I still haven’t been able to bite the bullet on a quality bag, but I have been wanting a new one badly. This one made it home with me from Francesca’s last week. Mr. Banker called it a grandma bag, but what does he know.

Cheers to a safe & happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Weighty Issues Continued…

So, I was pregnant again about a month after I hit my pre-Big Bear goal. Fun times ahead. I was hoping to gain a more “normal” amount of weight and ended up gaining about 35 pounds. I definitely tried to eat healthier (at the beginning) and was chasing a toddler around, which helped a lot!After Little Bear was born I was really motivated to try to get my body back, since he is going to be our last baby. Probably a month after LB was born I read Jackie Warner’s “This is Why You’re Fat” and started following that plan. I lost all my baby weight in about 2 months and was very happy! I continued to semi-follow the plan with weeks off here and there, oh, and the whole month of May for my birthday ;-) The plan is very much about “clean” eating and is very healthy, but not really easy to follow religiously when you love food as much as I do :-)

I was on the lookout for new plans to kick these last 10-12 pounds. I saw the Dukan Diet briefly on Dr. Oz a few weeks ago and then saw more talk on Twitter. I picked up the book at Costco on a semi-whim, but am really liking the plan! It is heavy on the proteins, but is very mathematical about what your goal weight should be, about how long it should take to lose, how long to do a “stabilization” diet and then you are free to eat WHATEVER you want aside from 1 day a week! 1 day a week…that’s what I’m talking about!

Yesterday was my first day on the Attack portion of the diet, that I’ll do for 4 days. Hopefully I’ll do periodical updates to try to stay accountable. Would love to know if anyone else is following the plan too!

Uuggggggghhhhhh, I did this thinking it’d be a good idea, but it made me kinda depressed. Oh well, for the sake of being real here’s a current pic and my “goal” pic….


Maybe if I had Jamaica in my current background it wouldn’t be so depressing!

Ah, Sugar Sugar

Well I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I’ve already shared a few diet plans with y’all. In typical Amy fashion I’m moving on to another, but this time it’s a real lifestyle change.

Lately I’ve been waking up tired, staying tired a good part of the day, having trouble remembering things, overwhelmed by things I should be getting done and just feeling crummy in general. I’m going to schedule a physical soon as part of my Before 30 list and get blood work done, but in the meantime I am going to be making some dietary and lifestyle changes.

Someone posted this Daily Mail article about Gwy*neth Paltrow endorsing a book, Revive: End Exhaustion And Feel Great Again, in her online newsletter Goop. Poor Gwynnie was getting a lot of hater comments, but I needed this information. I need to figure out why I’m “spent.” I read the first chapter of the book (which you can read on the author’s website) and decided to download my first e-book. I dove right in to see what I was getting myself into and the first step is cutting out excess sugars. Ouch.

I’d done it before with Dukan and I did see results. But my intentions are different this time. Now that I feel more comfortable with my weight I’m focusing on my health. I want to eat things that are good for me and make me feel good. I don’t want to use “tricks” to help me lose a few pounds, just to gain them back again. I want to help the boys form good eating habits too. – Let’s get high on fructose

I started monitoring/restricting my intake last Friday and now it seems that sugar and it’s toxic qualities are being reported everywhere I turn. This 60 Minutes report led me to a 90 minute long You Tube video of a college lecture by Robert H. Lustig, MD. The nerd in me cannot deny these facts and now I know that all calories are not created equal. I can’t continue to feed the boys things full of high fructose corn syrup like their beloved Nutrigrain bars. And juice, even though I water it down I’d really love to eliminate it altogether.

This is a big undertaking for a sugar-holic like me, but I hope knowing the facts will help me enjoy sugar in moderation. For now I’m transferring my Coke Zero addiction to this LaCroix Sparkling Coconut Water. I’ll let y’all know when I find a suitable substitute for chocolate chip cookies.

Kentucky Style: A Guest Post by Nautical By Nature

Sweet and stylish Kate from Nautical By Nature is posting some inspiration outfits today for my Kentucky vacation! I have known Kate since way back when. She spends her days as super nanny to a toddler boy and is a new auntie to Baby Nautical! We’re connected by our love of preppy styles and understanding of little boy antics. She’s definitely at the top of The Bloggers I’d Love To Meet list!

I am so excited to be guest posting for Amy while she is on her vacation! She is a stylish (super) mom so I know she will look great wherever she goes. Here are some polyvore sets for inspiration. Amy will be spending an afternoon at Keeneland, watching the horse races, and going on tours of bourbon distilleries with her husband.
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At the races a cute dress and big hat are a given! I think mixing in gold accessories (shoes and bag) will complete the look. A monogrammed hat will set you apart from the crowd.

Afternoon at the Races
Afternoon at the Races by nauticalbynature
For the distillery tours I created three different looks. Most require closed toe shoes so I started with that. You’ll be doing a lot of walking so best to be safe and comfortable! Due to the heavy machinery (heating and cooling are both part of the process), temperatures will probably vary inside. I suggest dressing in layers just in case. I would layer a tank under the first shirt and then bring a light cardigan/sweater in my bag for outfits one and two. If it ends up being really hot on the day of the tour you could substitute shorts for pants. If it’s raining add your rain boots! I decided to include bigger bags/totes because you’ll want to have your camera, cardigan, and umbrella just in case.

distillery tours

distillery tours by nauticalbynature

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing trip, Amy!

Thanks again, Kate! I definitely kept your outfits in mind when I was packing!
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Guest Post: Big City Surprise

 Please enjoy today’s post from my Bestie! Come back next week for a recap of our big city adventure!

Hi, y’all.  Thanks for indulging me in this little guest post situation!  Sometimes I pretend like I want to be a for-reals writer in the far-fetched distant future, so I’m happy to expand my musings beyond my own little audience (in a highly controlled break from my nesty little comfort zone, mind you.  wink.). A smidgen about me — I’m not quite as fully southern charmed and preppy as Amy — I’m an odd mix of a dash of preppy girlie, a little bit gangsterific, a tad geeky, and a big ball of rosy-cheeked sarcasm and laughter.  I’m also edging toward the end of my 20s, and hoping to hold on to some foreverness myself.  Oh, and I’m a single mama to the cutest, sweetest, most devilishly advanced with workin’ my nerves, little 3 year old boy.

So, Mrs. Forever 29 (also known as my bestie since our college roomie days) and I are ready to pack up our southern pearls, hand the little ones off to daddies, and hit up the big glamorous New York City.  Even though the trip plans sort of sprung up out of the blue, relatively last minute (WHAT the what?!  total crazytimes considering the powers of our TypeA situations combined.), it’s actually very fitting.  The last time I visited the big city was also with Amy!  Young college girls, we scored some e-savers, jetted off to stay with Mr. Banker, her then-boyfriend (or maybe fiance?), in his oh-so-free ridiculously awesome right-in-the-middle-of-the-city studio.  It was ahhhh-mazing times.  We shopped.  We noshed.  We walked around and just experienced it.  And ever since, I’ve been clamoring to get back.
This year, I was lusting for an NYC trip so hard, I decided I would just go on my own, if the right deals popped up.  And then some circumstances came up that made Amy want to visit a friend who lives in Brooklyn.  I raised my hand as a very willing travel companion, and before you know it, these two crazy planners have figured out child care, frugal flight options, and how to share a google map on places to get our shop on.
This is where it gets spooky & weird, y’all.
With giddiness of anticipation tangible in my entire body, I headed out for some mundane shopping locally last weekend.  As an afterthought, I tucked into the TJ Maxx last minute, looking for some apparel items for an upcoming event – not related to the trip.  I score some clothing finds, then head to run the usual rounds through home furnishings to see if anything strikes my decor fancy.  Lo and behold… I turn a corner, glance at the framed prints along the back wall, and this small print catches my eye, and just speaks to me, and within a fraction of a second, I knew I had to have it.
I’m fairly particular about the style of art I like – which is probably why I have almost nothing other than framed photos hanging on my walls.  I’d say I prefer simple illustrations and prints though.  This particular one had the perfect silverleaf-ish frame (which is exactly the style I’m using in my bedroom table frames), and had a very simple black pen outline drawing of… wait for it…. hold on… nuh-uhhhhhhh…… the NYC skyline.  It was like it was just sitting there, meant for me.  My style, meaningful, and possibly a good luck charm for our upcoming trip?  I can’t even describe the perfection of the moment.
I snatched it up with a quickness.  As I walked to the front to get a cart, a lady zoned in on it, and got all aggressive with trying to figure out if she could score another one, or the one I snagged.  She tailed me for a while, scoured the art section, and gave me the inquisition on everything I knew about it.  Back off, store stalker!
You know what really speaks to how much I was instantly in love with the piece?  I didn’t even glance at the price tag until I was in line to buy it.  At a mere $25, it was a super fabulous find.  I hung it over my bed that same day, and have been smitten with it since.  It’s beautiful, it’s me, and it reminds me of a place I’ve loved visiting, and fun times that lie ahead.

Foodie Friday: Date Nights in the Dining Room


We rarely get out for official “date nights.” With no family nearby, we prefer to save up our funds and have one big blowout date about every 3 months. We’ll drive into Atlanta to a concert or show and hit one of the more upscale restaurants that is on our list to try. We went on one of those dates last weekend- we went to Hal’s and then the bar at the St. Regis. It was a great evening and a much needed break!

Someone got a little snap happy in the bathroom at the St. Regis. That’s what happens after 2 martinis and a glass of wine.

We are strangely getting another date this weekend because Mr. Banker’s sister is visiting (she planned her trip after we had already secured our babysitter for the weekend before..and heck, we probably deserve two nights out!) I’ll give details on that date next week :-)

Because we don’t go out that often, we like to have our own little “date nights” at home every few weeks. We will usually pick a new difficult “fancy” recipe to try and will eat in our dining room, which is rarely used (and the chairs are comfy-glad we got the padded back & seat chairs!) When we first started doing this we usually took turns with the cooking, but lately Mr. Banker has really taken the lead in the kitchen. **Ladies, do not underestimate a man that can cook!**

For our last date night we felt like real foodies, having put our own menu together from 2 different cookbooks! I know y’all are impressed.

We had Braised Beef Short Ribs on top of Roasted Autumn Vegetables. Yum.

Here are the recipes if you want to have your own little date night!

Braised Beef Short Ribs
John Besh from Esquire Eat Like a Man Cookbook

4 lb beef short ribs
coarse salt & ground black pepper
3 cups Zinfandel
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp minced garlic
leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (1/2 cup)
2 oz dried mushrooms preferably porcini (we used 1 oz and I thought it was plenty)

-generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Zinfandel, sugar, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic thyme, bay leaves and a pinch of salt

-pour the canola oil into a heavy pot or dutch oven (at least 5 quarts) and place over high heat. When the oil is hot, working in small batches, brown the meat. Turn each piece to brown on all sides before removing from the pot. When all the beef is browned and removed from the pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery, allowing the onion to cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Return the beef to the pot along with the wine mixture. Allow the wine mixture to come to a boil before reducing heat, skimming fat from the surface. After simmering for several minutes, and the mushrooms. Cover and simmer over very low heat until meat is for tender and nearly falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

-Once the beef has cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm. Turn up the heat and reduce the pot liquid until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables
from Williams-Sonoma Roasting (we swear by all of the WS cookbooks!)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cut into rounds
4 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced on the diagonal
4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into rounds 1/2 thick
3 tablespoons wildflower honey
salt & ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, grease a roasting pan just large enough to hold the vegetables comfortably. Arrange the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips in a prepared pan. Toss the vegetables with the remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter, then drizzle them with the honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, the lemon juice and raisins.

Roast the vegetables, turning twice, until tender, about 1 hour.

Using 2 large spoons, gently transfer the vegetables to a warmed platter. Serve hot.

**We are going to try this with pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes next time!

This was a great meal for the changing seasons and one we will definitely make again!

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