Author: Leah

Keeping It Simple: Uniforms

from everlane, a favorite store. their 2014 fall/winter line just launched—don’t miss it.

Having a smaller wardrobe, I tend to wear the same things over and over. More or less a uniform, you could say. With two young children, it just accidentally evolved this way to make my life easier. Little thought input, maximum looking good/feeling good output.

Preston often talks about a “runaround uniform” and I love that idea. A go-to look for those days where you don’t necessarily need to look extremely professional but still presentable. A perfect solution especially for stay-at-home moms.

Another way to view this is “worst case scenario” dressing. Meaning, your go-to uniform will work no matter where you go (work, errands, appointments, park) and how you feel (exhausted, bloated, rushed). A big part of this is finding and choosing clothes that fit. Once you’ve landed on those core pieces that always feel right, just keep wearing them! Invest in a few pairs of the same perfect pants, the right tops and the amazingly comfortable shoes. No need to reinvent the wheel each morning.

Variety is not the key here. Sounds boring or strange? That’s okay. You won’t care because your mornings just got a heck of a lot easier. And no one else will care either—I promise.

Everyone’s uniform will look different and of course change from season to season. I don’t aspire to be extremely fashionable—just to feel comfortable and look good enough with the ultimate goal of keeping things simple.

Are your clothes making your mornings easier or more complicated? How could you simplify? More tips for decluttering clothes here and here.

Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em

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Part of pursuing a simpler life is recognizing when I’ve gotten in over my head. Even though I really try to avoid a jammed schedule, sometimes it is hard to say no to things—especially when those things are all fun.

We host an annual party that we look forward to all year. It includes around 60-70 people (many under the age of 4!) packed into our tiny house, and we still manage to have a blast. We were gearing up for this year’s party (invitations sent! supplies purchased!) when we realized it just wasn’t going to work. Multiple days of travel for both of us, work commitments, family commitments, birthdays, other parties and other fun things all coinciding within the same two weeks. What were we thinking?? Well, we weren’t.

One night, while still working at 11pm, I knew it was too much. Something had to give. We looked at everything, and canceling the party was the obvious solution. Major bummer. But our stress level went way down immediately.

Have you ever said no to something you really, really wanted to do? Hard, right? But it was a very valuable lesson for us: if something is a priority, make it a priority. Next year, we will.

A Tip for Avoiding Impulse Buys

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My 3 criteria for all purchases (needed, non-toxic and beautiful) are wonderful in theory, but sometimes they still aren’t enough to stave off an impulse buy. So then I ask myself another very important question:

Where am I going to store this?

If I cannot imagine where it will go or what I will get rid of to accommodate the new item, then I don’t buy it. Annie wrote about this a while ago, and called it “living within your spatial means.” Brilliant concept. And it really works. If I am unable or unwilling to make room for something new, I probably shouldn’t be buying it.

Usually this does the trick. More on keeping out the clutter here.

24 Hours With … Erin Boyle from Reading My Tea Leaves

If you are not already reading Erin Boyle’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, do click on over. You will be so glad you did. Erin is a freelance writer and former editor for Gardenista. Her aesthetic is beautiful, simple and approachable, and she shares the details of her daily life in a thoughtful and helpful way (her tiny living tips are my favorite). I was thrilled when Erin announced last year she was expecting a baby so that I could see her take on motherhood, and future posts did not disappoint. Lucky for us, Erin has agreed to share her 24 Hours with Simple Baby.

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Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I work inside the home, outside of the home, in cafés, libraries, and in other people’s offices in as many hours as I can wrangle.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? Right now we’re flying a bit by the seat of our pants in terms of childcare, relying on a combination of family, babysitting, and early morning/later evening work trades between me and my husband.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? Simple, harried, peaceful, respectively.  

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? We do a little bit of both. I really love the ritual of stopping by the grocery store or farmers’ market each day and letting the produce guide me, but we’re working on getting better about having staples planned (and in the house) so that on nights when we’re tired and don’t make it to the market, we’re not tempted to go out to eat instead.

What is the most challenging part of your day? The mid-afternoon on days when I don’t have childcare are tricky. Since I’m just making the shift from a full-time position back to freelance, it’s been a challenge for us to hire all of the help that we need, but we’re working on it!

What is the easiest part of your day? The morning. I wake up early, my husband makes us both coffee, and I log a few hours of work before he leaves for work.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? Working together with my husband. Every single thing is a team effort.

Does anything still stump you? Of course! There’s a new challenge every day. Thank goodness.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? By taking a long, slow walk.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? See #9!

Any other tips you’d like to share? Breathe more.

What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? We’re still in the very new baby stage, so the days are fairly predictable: early mornings, early evenings, and as much sleep and work as possible in between.

Toxin-Free in the Kitchen: Cups & Bottles

Plastic is a tricky one to avoid these days, but we do our best. If you are looking to make a transition away from plastic, an easy (and important) place to begin is with your drinkware—at home and away. Here is what we use:

[EDIT: Come check out my new web site Naturally Safe Home! And follow me on Instagram for more up-to-date tips and information! @NaturallySafeHome]


Adults: We use glass cups (1), ceramic mugs (2) and stainless steel travel thermoses (3) and cups (4).

Children & Babies: We transition from bottles (8) to regular glass (5) and stainless steel cups (4) as quickly as possible with toddlers, but there is still a time and a place for sippy cups (7) and thermoses (6).  If you don’t feel comfortable with your young child using glass (we’ve had very few breaks), stainless steel cups are the perfect solution. I don’t know why it isn’t more popular! For their glass cups, we just use a small version of our adult glasses and for the stainless steel cups, we all share the same ones. We’ve used Dr. Brown’s glass bottles for both babies, and we have never had a single chip or crack. Highly recommend!