This is (almost) 41?

Since I turned 40, it’s been a year of incredible change. I would say nothing went to plan but I’ve never really been a planner.

I’ve always been much more of a… “pantser”. Instead of following a carefully laid out path, I fly by the seat of my pants and see where it lands me. I mean, it landed me a business that I started with $50 and an email list. A husband who proposed to me on our second date. It also landed me in L.A., after one night of consideration. Throughout my 20s and 30s, flying seemed great. I trusted the seat of my pants to get me where I needed to go. And when I didn’t know where that was, I trusted it would at least be a fun ride. I was out for adventure and new horizons. I was a doer and didn’t care how exactly things got done. Plans just put a damper on all that.

It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started getting very well acquainted with what happens when one doesn’t plan. Like for instance, when I didn’t have any plaaans to pay the IRS for the business I started. Long story short, being a one-note ‘pantser’ at 20, at 30, finally left me exhausted and anxious at 40.

Earlier this year, even with every motivation I had to dedicate more time and thought to setting a plan of action and following through, I was drained to my core imagining putting new dreams to actual pen and paper. Figuring out all that how and what and when - an anxiety-inducing toe-dipping method to adventure, better experienced by just jumping right in. I mean, the laborious analysis you trudge through with dipping your toe. What if it’s too cold? What if you get spooked looking too far beneath the water? Will you end up even going on the adventure at all? Thinking too long about a new endeavor can turn it into a drag…I suppose it’s no mystery why I’ve employed a strictly pantser method my whole life. But at the same time, I’ve become all too familiar with ‘jumping right in’ into unknown waters and missing the faint outline of a shark. A little bit of planning can save your life. Or in my case, my 30s.

Going through the archives of the original Tiny Closet blog, I looked at posts I’d written on my 30th and 31st birthdays. So happy I was, just to be out of my 20s. Entering a new decade with an emerging new passion, and tired of waiting for the things that hadn’t yet come to me in my 20s, it’s clear I was yearning. And from memory, my ambition was fierce. The years leading to 40 were an exponential ascent to chaos. It’s like all those careless, exhilarating pants flights had racked up some kind of compound interest of consequences, to be paid in full - now. Turning 40 has been brutally humbling. Not because of my age but because of the events that unfolded with it so serendipitously. Humbled, weary, fed up, with 41 fast approaching, I might now finally be ready to consider a well thought out future. Where I keep my seat on the ground and take one step at a time.

While I’m still reinflating myself from the events of the year, I’ve actually been dying to share my life behind-the-scenes of The Tiny Closet after being shrouded in operations the past 8 years. I’ve felt a strong pull for a while to share my experiences to those who may benefit from it. My experiences, triumphs and hilarious failures of just being a 30-something, now 40-something year old woman entrepreneur could’ve been a great help to me, starting out (like how terribly you can run a business and still miraculously make money…or like when I scheduled a month off to get a hysterectomy, and went back to work a week later).

Anyway, so where did I leave off? Talking about self care in 2018… funny. I’m just a resilient gal, living her life one day at a time and taking copious field notes. Hope it helps.

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Self Care For Dummies

That's how I feel about it.
I think because it's always been very hard for me.  Self care, that is.  Before I met my husband, I was eating probably once a day.  With extra storage in the oven for my shoes and nothing but takeout in the fridge.  Eating was a distraction from my work and something I used to forget to do.
I also rarely took downtime.  Or vacations.  I was extremely strict with myself in establishing a career and believed the longer I worked in a day, the further I'd get.  I spent lavishly at bars and restaurants, worked tirelessly on my hair and makeup but those things certainly weren't self care.
 Now, nearly 10 years later, I just recently figured out the depths of caring for myself.

And almost none of it you have to buy.  But of course that's the first thing I wanted to do!  When you buy a yoga membership or an expensive face mask or a trip to a tropical resort, you feel like 

"there, I did something!  It's right there and proof that I am now taking control of my self care!"

But... if you're still eyeing your disappointment-of-a-waistline in the mirror during mountain pose, or cramming that $200 revitalizing mask in the back of your cabinet after one use, or drafting a work email in your head while laying out under palm trees then...
...that's not caring for yourself.
 I'm sure we've all done something like this before.  I mean I did all the above.  But the stuff that really makes a difference (and part of the reason I suppose I can call myself a minimalist) is the real self care.  The hard stuff. 

Congratulating, forgiving, listening, letting go, feeling - that's the real stuff.  They're not events or things to own.  They're everyday life-changers.  I mean a face mask and a trip to a day spa can only take you so far.  

As a student of self love/care, I only now realize it's the meat-and-potatos of life!  You're feeding yourself and it miraculously makes you full.  I think because it attracts other wonderful gifts, like self awareness and self possession.  And because it's so filling, I find I have very little room for other "stuff" actually.  Even though I have a looooong way to go, after much practice, I enjoy that it has an awesome side effect of streamlining ones life, yielding only what serves and blocking out the mess.

I chose these photos for this particular post because mornings are when I feel most open to self care.  It is a time when I feel the softest and yet the most determined to kick butt.  Mornings are nature's makeover!

What's your favorite time of day?
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Another Daily

I've been focusing more on my capsule than ever.  My wish list for seasonal treats, has been minimized to accessories only.  Special things to go with my everyday style.
Goodness, there is so much fashion all around us!  It's incredibly inspiring.  And then crippling in a way, from overwhelm.
And especially after big sales like this past Memorial Day weekend, it's tempting for even a seasoned minimalist like myself to buy things just because they're fun and financially within my grasp.

But I must stay true... to what is true and meaningful.  And I truly love having only what I absolutely love and need.  For everyday!  
This kind of lifestyle often means rarely springing for sales, as well as watching the daily plethora of promotions I get hit with every morning come and go.  And I enjoy it.  I've grown well-accustomed to browsing and feasting on eye-candy.  And then being done with it.  My Tiny gem of a closet is a product of that.  And for the record, I never considered it a "capsule" until the word became popular and I found that it best described my wardrobe.  But really, it's just...my closet.

Anyway, I've grown an allegiance to what you could call a minimalist lifestyle partly due to the type of person I am, and also because of my daily routine.

These photos show me on one of the shoots I directed during the week for my clothing line.  Since I do roughly the same things every single day - and many times, I do the same things at even the same time everyday, I am a creature of habit, so my collection of clothing definitely reflects that.  

Everything in my life, from my closet to my head to my heart has a place, and I get better everyday at cutting out the rest.  I want to make as little decisions as possible on the daily stuff and have more room for making the big juicy interesting decisions that take more time and energy so...
I guess this has made me a minimalist.  

This piece, a fabulous deep-v tunic is part of my daily look.  Like all the time, ha.  It's also part of The Capsule line where all of the items are available year-round...  Because I wear them year-round.  
We all have items in our closet that are go-tos all year long.  I think a closet is better if it has that quality.
 Because maybe you have a pretty routine day-to-day yourself and isn't it so nice to be able to grab a fabulous outfit everyday that always works for you, and always makes you feel fabulous?  I think it is anyway.  So here's another daily look for ya.  I don't change them much but I do love indulging in making them look even better.

Do you love your daily wear?
Thank you for visiting and reading!  See you next week for another capsule look :)

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It has been so dark and gray in L.A. lately.  A perfect backdrop to my routine reflection and contemplation.  Blah.

Right about now in the year, I'm pausing.  It'll be my birthday in a couple days and like clockwork, I am turning contemplative and yearning for change.  Or just a bright sunny day, as it's the time of Gray May.  But being from sunny Southern Cal, I have my pick of the sunny days so I'll stop complaining. 

I'm needing new vibes is all.  New surroundings to engage myself!  
It's odd because I don't really crave that in my wardrobe.  Different outfits everyday.  New colors, new looks - Nah, you can keep it.  I guess that's why a 28-piece capsule works so well for me.  This ensemble is part of that of course.  And I get a kick out of wearing each piece daily because I know I'll always look and feel great in them.  I am confident in my wardrobe and enthusiastic in evolving it.

But around this time of year, I don't feel so confident.
My birthday always finds me assessing my journey so far in life, trying to congratulate myself on my work without glaring too hard at the many things I procrastinated on.  But mostly, every birthday, I find myself still waiting for something. 

Does this happen to you?  Do you ever feel like you're waiting?
Maybe I'm waiting on that mythical moment where I can put up my feet and relax because I'm finally here!  Hey there, adulthood!  Hey there, life, I'm here and I'm crushing it!  I really want to say that.  

Or maybe I'm waiting for that adventure of a lifetime.  The kind of epic adventure where I'm so in the moment, I forget time exists and I'm so hysterically caught up in life that I'm not worried about paying rent or if I fed the dog.  

Or maybe I'm waiting for the big game-changing break in my career where I feel like my hard work has truly paid off and I'm really making a difference. 
But those things have already happened in my life.  A few times actually.  Yet, I'm still waiting.

I really am happy to be turning 35.  Ok I just wrote that and realized I'm definitely not.  Fine, so I'm not that happy to be turning 35!  

But I'm not pursing my lips at the vanity of age.  It's the fact that I don't really know what I want out of life.  
Clearly, I'm waiting for something to come along though.

My clothing, my mastery of my personal style has helped me see who I am over the years.  I've focused so hard on the art of getting dressed, building and mastering a closet I love.  I think I need to focus on how to build and curate a life that I love.  

I read somewhere, "What would your 86 year old self tell you now?"  I think she'd tell me to take more breaks, spend more time with friends and be easier on myself.  I'll start with that.

Hope you enjoy the Memorial weekend and join me next Thursday for a new post!

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Style After Style: A Little Yellow Dress

Remember this little yellow knit dress?  I wore it at the crisp beginning of  Spring - probably the first yellow dress I've ever worn.   Designed for The Tiny Closet Shop, this midi dress was meant to be quite versatile and go with any foundational wardrobe.
Anyway, instead of a trench and white woven block heels, I decided to spice it up for the sake of restyling inspiration: a fun fresh white mud cloth open coat and black simple strap heeled sandals.
This particular ensemble isn't something I'd wear - it's not quite me but I couldn't help but take photos of it when I thought up the pairings.  It reminds me of something fun to wear on a girls trip or out to lunch.  And I do this a lot actually, these types of out-of-my-zone stylings.  The habit keeps my brain and ideas fresh and ready to experiment with anything.  Why is that helpful?

Well, for me personally, since I design clothing for other women, it keeps me thinking about all the different possibilities of styling and designing and not just sticking to my own comforts, which is limiting over time.   Experimentation, dress up sessions, are also helpful for finding one's own personal style.  Or igniting a spark of new ideas with an old wardrobe.

Take your clothes and just try on everything with everything else!  

You'd be surprised at all the fantastic outfits that can be put together when you come at styling from a different, unfamiliar angle.  That's what my Style After Style series is all about.
This is the last one (for now) of my Style After Style series.  I will probably start up a new one again in Fall or Winter.  I love taking seasonal pieces and crossing them over to other seasons.  So I hope you enjoyed these posts dedicated to restyling one's own wardrobe!

You can get this midi dress (The Hostess) in "limoncello" at The Tiny Closet Shop!  

And you can also join me again next Thursday for an all new look as I push willingly into... new Summer styles!
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Style After Style: Rugged Femininity

Obviously I've worn these rugged jeans a million and one times but I wanted to highlight these two instances, these two above ensembles to show the range of my favorite denims!
I never wear a cropped top with harem pants of any kind, especially with these drop-crotch jeans.  I always thought it looked terribly unflattering.  Buuuuut, I recently designed (what I think to be) a gorgeous top and, in its newest color: femme-y lavender, I decided to pair this cropped top with the most rugged, worn denim I could think of.
And whadya know, I quite liked how it turned out.  
Definitely not an outfit I would wear daily (I do not typically show tummy skin - not even at the beach, humph!) but for a party, or a couple drinks with friends in a crowded bar, this outfit will do nicely.  I feel like a lady, but rugged enough to not feel frou frou...  Because lavender is most certainly frou frou to me.  Pretty much any pastel is, in my opinion.  But shame on me because with styling and intuition, you can make anything look the way you want it to look, no matter how solidified its pre-existing reputation.
Anyway, this was another fun "Style After Style" feature.  And actually, this series is the nuts and bolts of The Tiny Closet!  This is what my lifestyle is all about.  Taking the clothing you have, honoring what you buy and really utilizing it for your daily style as artfully and thoughtfully as possible.

Hope you enjoyed this round and come visit me again next Thursday for an all new post! 
Aaaaand if you're curious, this top above is available to shop in The Tiny Closet!  It's a new fave and limited in the fabulous lavender hue you see.  So... shop it now while you can!
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Fresh Spring Tones

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to squeeze in a new blog post for you today.  My full time job has taken me completely away from the blog for a moment and I plan to return with a fresh new restyled look next Thursday.

I've been doing a few features for other brands recently and I thought I'd share one with you!

As you may already know, I absolutely love 2Rivers leather bags.  Their dedication to quality is definitely something to be admired, especially in the world of fashion accessories.  Their very simple, streamlined designs become beautiful statements, as they leave ample room to showcase the quality of the leather and how nicely the piece is put together.

When I was gifted a full size open tote, I knew I'd be carrying it everywhere!  
 From groceries to random errands picking up crafts and sewing notions, I've been taking this bag along as it carries everything -  aaaaand the straps are long enough that it can still be worn on my shoulder.  I can't stand my hands being occupied.
 I also love how neutral all of their bags can be.  While this Mombasa Tote does come in different colors, I love sticking with the natural leather.  The way it ages is gorgeous and it goes with my entire wardrobe.
Anyway, I really liked the outfit I put together with this bag.  The cocoa midi pants are actually available to shop now!  Simple and comfortable, this is the style I will be rocking all season long.

Check out The Mombasa Tote!  Great for weekend getaways, groceries and camping.  

...and get 15% off your purchase when you shop there using code: FR15.  

You can also shop my other favorite 2Rivers bag, The Kampala Purse, a smaller, more purse-like version of the Mombasa.  I love them both!

Thank you for visiting and as I try to catch up with my work, I'll be excited to get back into shooting another feature outfit for ya next week!
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Style After Style: The Patent Mule

These amazingly fabulous, stunning patent sky high mules aren't that well travelled yet but I've already managed to add them to all kinds of ensembles over the past year.

I'm not sure which look is my favorite so far - I love all the pairings I've done.  But I guess that's the product of a Tiny Closet you truly love.  Every look, every item tends to be your favorite!  Let me tell you, it is so wonderful always having something fabulous to wear.  And it has nothing to do with money.  Actually, now that I think about it, it may narrow down to two things:

Know what you like to see on yourself.
Buy only what you love.

But speaking of a dream closet that doesn't have anything to do with money...
These new chinos (yeesh, I never thought I'd say that word: chinos. Bleh.  I guess I have a dated association of that word with my high school days when Old Navy reigned supreme in suburbia) from J.Crew were a TOTAL SPONTANEOUS BUY.  Sorry for the obnoxious caps buuuut if you know The Tiny Closet "way", you know building a closet you love rarely relies on impulsive consumption.

But there's a slight difference between impulsive and spontaneous.  Impulsiveness is driven by emotion, which is probably why "impulse shopping" feels naughty. 

I'd been looking for a pair of fun pants that I couldn't sew myself.  Preferably of the polka-dot nature and baggy.  In pops a timely email from J. Crew announcing a ludicrous sale.  40% off sale items, double promotions, combining discount codes, yaddah, yaddah yah.  Amazing right?

I had no plans on buying anything that day or even browsing online.  I had actually sat down at my computer to check on a shipment number and 30 mins later, I'm pressing Buy Now on two items in my cart.  Impulsive?  Nah.  Spontaneous? Yes.  

And it was all according to plan.
Well, some type of plan... 
But that's the thing, when you know exactly what you want, when you randomly see it, a random purchase is not so out of the blue.  You'd been wanting it and simply waiting for it to come into your radar.
So these awesome pants were deeply discounted and now dearly loved by me.  Olive khakis, a Tiny Closet A/W17 top and a glossy heel.  I bought the pants 3 sizes too big for a slouchy, baggy S/S casual Friday feel.  

Simple, city stylings for a darker Spring look.
Black may not be the it-color for the season but the jumbo dots and the loose cropped top are a version of Spring I tend to play with better.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Style After Style and I'll be featuring anther next Thursday, same time, same place.  And if you haven't yet - check out my new Spring Capsule now on the blog!

Also, there's something very exciting going on in The Tiny Closet Shop right now.... but if you're subscribed, you already know.
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My Spring Capsule

This might just be my favorite seasonal capsule yet.  And I'm not even a "Spring" person.  

But the color palette I pulled together for this season really fit my personal style and did a good job of translating my mood for Spring.  I may not kick it with pastels or florals, but warm tans, crisp white, an understated blush statement (with lots of wheat hues) all together transition me nicely out of Winter.

My foundational capsule, Thee capsule, I wear all year round so it is always apart of my seasonal wardrobe.  But lets just focus on the Spring capsule for now: 
Texture is pretty important to me.  I don't wear a plethora of color or prints so I need to go deeper with coordination and focus on design and texture!  Super thick mud cloth, smooth rayon ponti knit, a lightweight linen and ribbed cotton knit.  No matter how I wear any of the above pieces with each other and with my base wardrobe, they will compliment everything quite nicely.
There is one item missing in this capsule during the shoot and that is this top here, which is presently being made into a pattern to be manufactured and released in the shop!  Very exciting.

All my Spring pieces are items you may've already previewed - but if not...

  • The blush V-neck dress is a new fave of mine this season and for Summer as well.  I have not yet featured it here on the blog but it too is available to shop and you can view it on me here.

  • My new gaucho pants are hands down my most favorite design.  These haven't been featured yet on the blog either but they'll be debuting in the shop very soon!  And you can view them in my Look Book.

  • The cropped ribbed top is a new piece scheduled to be released in the shop this month.  You can view it here.

So that is my lil collection for Spring!  

Now let's recap on my base wardrobe.  I pulled the various items below to be apart of my Spring capsule as they go best with the season and the specific collection.
Almost all of these items are available in the shop.  The Tiny Closet Shop really is a reflection of my personal style.  I shop for my clothing mainly from myself, ha!
This dark stormy top is long in back and cropped in front.  Featured in this blog post here, it goes with all my pants and jeans - all my bottoms!
This heather grey jersey dress is asymmetric and great for not just everyday activities but events as well.  No wonder I wear it all year long.  Originally featured here on the blog in a slightly different grey.  And you can shop it here at my shop!
This railroad denim dress has been in the shop for a few seasons now, first debuting for Fall.  But with mild, comfy California weather, I can wear this mama almost all year.  Anyway, you've never seen me in it - only my models in the shop.  But I'll be wearing it here on the blog this season.
I think this smoky asymmetric dress (identical to the grey knit one above) is drop dead gorgeous.  And I feel so luxurious in it!  I love it also because even though it feels and looks just like washed silk, it's semi-synthetic cupro (made from cotton) aaaaand no dry cleaning necessary!  Just pop it in the washer, tumble dry and go.  It's fancy without all the maintenance.  Plus it looks dynamite on.  You can take a look (and even shop it!) here at the shop
And I did want to include my new season shoes.  I will probably were mules for the rest of my life.  Why?  I have no idea!  I just really fancy them.  They're luxurious looking yet comfortable and I can wear them leisurely as well as for higher end events and occasions.  

The polka-dot chinos were a spontaneous purchase (gasp!!)  J. Crew has been having absolutely ludicrous sales so I finally jumped on it and bought 2 things.  These pants I'll be showing you on Thursday in my normal scheduled posting time.  They're so fun and easy.  And I got them two sizes too big because I wanted a really loose, baggy look.  You'll see em' in a couple days.  That reminds me, speaking of spontaneous/impulse purchases, there is indeed an art to it that I have been planning to share!  Impulse purchases are not only ok (yes, even if you're a minimalist) they're dare I say, necessary!  But more on that later...

I own two pairs of vintage Levi's: one pair is baggy and a bit torn up and the other pair, though I haven't shared them with you yet for some crazy reason, are tight, high waisted and make my butt look like a baby pumpkin.  Heyoh! 

But anyway...
Lots to share and still more to show and tell!  I'm looking forward to the continuation of this season.  I am also working on featuring my season capsules earlier than in the middle of the season itself.  Sorry about that.  But hopefully this Tiny tour of my Tiny Spring closet will inspire ideas for your own personal style and show you that just a few thoughtfully curated items you absolutely love each season can really make a fulfilling difference.  Quality over quantity isn't just efficient for my personal lifestyle, it's actually more cost effective!  You wear your clothes longer, you shop less, you waste less and you conserve energy on daily decision-making.  

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