Travel Wardrobe Capsule (Winter edition)

Gone are the days of buying up every single trendy piece out there and instead focusing wardrobe capsules are becoming more popular! The concept is easy… invest in 15 pieces that can be paired together in many ways completing your wardrobe for an entire season.

This appeals to me because number one as a mom of 3 I find that money is much better spent investing into moments with my littles than on shopping trips for myself. Don’t get me wrong I love a great shopping day and I ADORE fashion, but at this stage in my life, I just can’t afford to drop $200 every week to get the latest and greatest pieces. Number two, I recently noticed that my closest was full of special occasion pieces leading me to believe that THOSE are the main pieces I tend to buy. I guess I’m a sucker for a great statement outfit! While these pieces are technically good longterm investments, I found that I was neglecting to buy the basic pieces I need on a daily basis! I would go to my closet to get dressed for a Saturday with the family searching for a comfortable, functional outfit and a sequined romper would be staring me in the face! I knew I had to make a change!

This year I was committed to trying a wardrobe capsule for each season starting with Spring (stay tuned for that post.) I plan on giving myself a budget and buying 15 pieces that can be mixed and matched in many ways! As a way to prep for those upcoming blog posts, I thought I would try my hand at a travel winter wardrobe capsule since we are traveling to London with the family in 4 short days!

A week long INTERNATIONAL trip with the family. Two adults, two kids (who are basically the size of adults), and I desperately only want to check 1 bag. PS: the only reason I am even considering checking a bag is because it is still winter and I know we need our big coats!

Just so y’all know, this is a BIG DEAL for me! It is taking a lot out of me to not throw in a random tank top just in case it soars to 80 degree temps, which is won’t, but for some reason I always convince myself it will! I’m sticking to this plan (I think….no I am, for sure, maybe…..)

Below are the 15 pieces that I am packing with me to take on our trip to London. I’ve linked similar pieces however the majority of the things I am taking I either already own or I picked up at my local TJ Maxx!

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BASIC LAYERING TOPS (3) –

Choose 3 basic long sleeve layering tops. Choose basic colors. I knew I could pair any one of these with the other items I was bringing and make could make numerous outfits. I picked mine up at TJ Maxx and you can find these anywhere… Target, Amazon, Walmart, you get the gist. I’m not gonna link them.

DRESS (1)  –

Comfortable, basic dress. I packed the most comfortable dress I own. It packs easy and doesn’t hold wrinkles and I looks great with ankle boots and tights. Other than a dinner out we won’t be doing anything else that requires me to wear a dress.

BOTTOMS (4) –

This one could be different depending on your style. I’m only taking 1 pair of jeans which are dark, skinny jeans from The Gap. I know I can dress these up or dress them down depending on what we are doing. I debated on bringing more jeans, but I’m a leggings girl and I knew with the amount of walking we would be doing I would be more comfortable in leggings. Plus leggings pack easier AND I can always layer a couple of them if I need to be warmer. This is where I added in patterns, however if like jeans more, I would suggest only packing two pairs of jeans and then adding in a couple more tops.

SWEATERS (3) –

Choose three sweaters in different styles. This was the hardest choice for me because I love sweaters especially long, warm cardigans. I could easily pack a different one for each day. If I budge on packing anything additional this is where it will be. My suggestion is pack ones that you love, don’t lose their shape after one wear, and you WANT to wear multiple days. I packed my favorite black wrap, a gray pullover with a cute detail in the back, and a long, cozy blush cardigan.

 

WARM COAT (1) –

Even though I am tempted to bring my favorite black dress coat because it is SO VERY LONDON, I know I just need one. I suggest packing the style you will wear most.  Here is the one linked in the photo.

SHOES (3) –

This will obviously be dependent upon where you are going. I packed a pair of slip on sneakers for traveling in, my tennis shoes for those longer walking day, and then one pair of black boots that I can wear with my dress or jeans.

What do you think of the wardrobe capsule idea?? Do you think it is something you would interested in incorporating??

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Valentines Day shirts + outfits for the Littles

As if we need a reason to dress our kiddos in shirts with messages of love, but thanks Valentines Day for providing us that reason!! I’ve actually had Hollis’s adorable little outfit for quite a while, but I thought it was perfect for Valentine’s Day! I’m still his top pick (next to suckers) and hope to be for quite awhile!

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Below are some of my favorite finds of unique tees to get your little one ready for LOVE DAY! I’ve also linked to some cute coordinates to make your shopping a bit easier!

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How do you plan on dressing your little ones for Valentine’s Day??

 

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Valentines Day Gift Guide for Her

I know a lot of y’all are thinking “Gosh, is it already FEBRUARY???”, but not me. February never sneaks up on me because it is my birthday month! Wanna know something else? My birthday is the 15th! The day after Valentines Day! I have told my husband from the day we got together that he is not allowed to combine the two and gift me one thing! I expect (and frankly think I deserve) two gifts! I mean if my birthday fell on any other day of the year I’d get separate presents, right??

Every single year for Valentines Day my husband gets me tulips which are my favorite flower. Even though I know to expect them, I still love waking up seeing them on the table in the morning. After 13 years of marriage it is still one of my favorite little traditions. This year, we will be in London for both Valentines Day and my birthday which I’m sure will make this week of my life extra special!

Below are 11 gifts that I think any lovely lady in your life would love, especially the one who stole your heart! (Ladies, forward on to your Man!)

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1. SCARF

Perfect little reversible scarf headed into spring!

2. COFFEE MUG

Who doesn’t want to feel gorgeous while sipping on some Joe??

3. SUEDE CLUTCH

Yes to blush, yes to clutch, yes to suede.

4. MIRROR DECAL

Can you just imagine waking up to this little memo each morning!

 

5. KATE SPADE HEART STUDS

At under $50 these little earrings are a no brainer!

6. ROSE GOLD KENDRA SCOTT NECKLACE 

The cutest boho feather pendant necklace! It’s on sale, so you better hurry!

7. SO LAYNE DESIGN EARRINGS

My girl Meghan does no wrong with her entire jewelry line!

8. SATIN SLEEP SHORTS

Cute and sassy…. just the way I like my pajamas!

9. YOUR & MINE WINE GLASSES

What better way to share of bottle of wine with the one you love than with monogrammed wine glasses!

10. VOLUSPA PROSECCO ROSE CANDLE

The best smelling candle you will ever own.

11. METAL WALL SIGN  

Who doesn’t love a great find from Joanna Gaines?? This super cute wall sign would make the perfect gift!

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How to get a Passport in as little as 9 Days

Getting passports is something our family has put off for far too long! Our previous travels have all been domestic except for a couple Disney Cruises, but thanks to current laws we were able to still use our birth certificates as proof of citizenship. But this year was different We found ourselves booking a last minute trip to London without a single passport in hand. Seriously, our trip was confirmed on January 18 and travel date was set for February 11. This is completely out of character for me.

A nervous wreck I took to Google and Pinterest to find everything I could on how to get a passport quickly! It was so disheartening to read  horror stories out there than success stories and very few were about needing passports quickly. Hopefully if you are reading this and planning an international trip for your family and still need passports I can provide you with a silver lining!


MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

We finalized the details of our trip on Thursday, January 18. I knew I still needed get passports, but all appointments for that Friday and Saturday were booked. I took the first available appointment on Monday, January 22. All  5 of us went up to the passport office, and the appointment went smoothly. We paid for the passports, expedited service, and overnight delivery. Even with all of this the passport clerk could only guarantee me delivery in 21 days. I was a bit freaked out as we were traveling in just 17 days, but the clerk assured me I would get them sooner. On Wednesday, January 24 I went online to check the status of the passports and found they were listed in the system as “PROCESSING” and had an estimated delivery date of February 14. This was my proof the passport applications had in fact been received, however I was surprised to see it said I had requested routine processing! Shocked and worried I called the passport office and was told ALL passports are initially accepted as routine processing and it takes a few days for them to be changed to expedited in the system. I’ll admit I was a bit scared since we had literally spent an additional $300 for expedited service, but I tried to remain calm. On Monday morning January 29, I logged back in to check the status of the passports. They had in fact been changed to expedited service however I was still being provided a delivery date of February 14. I may have a had a slight nervous breakdown at this moment and every possible thing that could go wrong was running through my head. I started googling “why passports get denied” and was second guessing if I filled out everything correctly. My husband (who is the calmest person in the world, thanks Marine Corps) told me to relax and everything would be fine. That same afternoon, I decided I needed to check the system again and to my GREAT SURPRISE I found that the passports were in the final stages of processing and was given a delivery date of February 1. (I may have cried!) But what was even better, was on January 30, the passports arrived by UPS on my front porch, only 9 short days after we applied!

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you are traveling within 2-4 weeks from the time you apply for your passport, you will need to be ready to pay for expedited service. An adult passport book with expedited service is $180 and a child’s is $160, In addition to these fees you will have to pay a $25 application fee (for each application) and the $15 passport photo fee (for each photo.) If you are really cutting it close, or if you are like me and need that extra security that your passport will arrive in time, go ahead and pay for overnight shipping! It was an additional $24.50.


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STEP BY STEP 

Step 1GATHER YOUR INFORMATION. For each person in your family. you will need their original birth certificate or proof of citizenship/ naturalization and social security numbers. If the person is over the age of 16 you will also need a photo ID. If you have ever had a passport before, even if it is expired, you will need to have that in hand as well. (If you don’t know where your old passport is, that is okay, I’ll cover that is step 2.) Additional information you will need is parent’s names, dates of birth, and places of birth for everyone applying (not just minors) and an emergency contact.

Step 2FILL OUT FORM DS-11. I used this website and was able to complete the application online and then download it to my computer to be printed. Fill it out in its entirety. Everything requested in required in order to be approved for a passport.

A couple of things to be noted:

When it requests MOTHER’S NAME, make sure you provide her name at birth.

If you have ever had a passport before and it is expired and you can not find it, you must still say that you had a passport at one time. Simply mark the box that says “LOST PASSPORT” and then next to that write “EXPIRED.” 

DO NOT SIGN THE FORM. 

Step 3MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT YOUR NEAREST PASSPORT OFFICE. I used this website to find a passport office closest to me. This site will also allow you to book an appointment online. Expect to spend at least 15 minutes per person in the office.

Step 4APPOINTMENT DAY/ PASSPORT PHOTOS – Everyone applying for passports will need to be present, even babies. When you arrive at your appointment make sure you have the following in your possession for each person you are applying for:

COMPLETED FORM DS-11 / ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE /  PHOTO ID (if over age of 16) / PERSONAL CHECK / PASSPORT PHOTO (see below)

I highly suggest you allow the kind clerks at the passport office to take your photos if you are on a time crunch. I am a DIY-er and a budget-er and at first had fully prepared to take our own photos. I then read online that passports can be denied simply because of a shadow on your photo, and I knew I couldn’t risk that.

The passport agent will review your filled in application, make sure it matches with the birth certificate and photo ID, and also make sure you didn’t miss any necessary information. Don’t be alarmed when she keeps your original birth certificates, they will be returned.  She will attach the photo taken, process the passport, and have you raise your right hand and swear the info you are providing is accurate. Once you write out your very hefty check you will be done! Start to finish time for our family of 5 was 1 hour.

Step 5FOLLOW UPThis website will allow you to check on the status of your passport. You will need to know the last name, date of birth, and last 4 digits of your social security numbers for each passport applied for. I suggest checking every couple of days as in my experience expedited passports seem to move through the system very quickly!


I hope this information was helpful to you and if you are in a time crunch maybe add a little bit of peace to a stressful situation!

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