Sunday, July 19, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe Attempt = Organized Closet

Sometimes getting ready for work, or going out takes more time that it should. Who really needs to put on three or four different outfits only to leave the house in the first thing you put on and late for a meeting or date. Winning the battle with this exercise is exactly why the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe appeals to me. However, it is not as easy to start as I thought it would be.

I was introduced to "capsule wardrobes" though instagram and found this write up by The Every Girl a helpful introduction. Basically you cut your clothes down to only things you LOVE - and by cut - really cut down, around 40 total pieces including shoes. From there you get creative with the combinations and accessories; only go shopping, or switch out your items every season and only buy things you really know you will wear or "have to have".

Seems simple enough, but it is a big jump. This past Saturday I took everything out of my closet...well everything except my shoes. Those I am not ready to cut down. While making piles on the bed the sorting switched from color coding to seasons. Easy way to start and it felt as if I was accomplishing something in the process. From there I shifted to work, casual and going out clothes. More to limit my number of items for the seasons.

My total number...Six. This is the number of items that are no longer in my closet. Not much success in limiting my number of pieces. I like having choices and I really was not ready to go shopping to fill in the holes created by limited the number of items for the summer season.  I am not giving up on creating a capsule wardrobe, just lengthening out the process. Here is what I learned from the experience.

  1. I will need three capsules - work, casual and cocktail/party.
  2. Having your closet organized by season and work vs. non-work makes finding clothes much easier. 
  3. Even though I have plenty of clothes, I will need to shop to maintain a capsule style closet. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring is Here

Birds are signing, plants are blooming, pollen is everywhere and my task list has grown. I am not sure how spring cleaning became a thing, but I find my self compelled to do a deep cleaning of the house, organize my piles and get outside. Maybe it is because after the holiday rush and packed calendars from October - January, we take a break from certain activities and just bum around inside until the weather becomes nice. Then it is weekend BBQ's, festivals and beach time.

This spring I have started attacking my list with the outdoor items. First raking up the last bit of leaves - 14 bags later, there are still some last minute fall leaves on the ground. I think they will be ok until the weeds are under control.

Next, moving bushes that no longer look like lush full bushes to the back of the yard. Toward the end of summer and through winter, they turned into sticks with leaves on the end. These bushes were replaced with some cute dwarf holly, vibrant green with many tiny leaves. The bushes are small now, but I have a feeling they will be beautiful by the holidays.

Then herbs and a few pepper plants were added to the empty planters. Look forward to enjoying those through the end of summer. And finally, a nice hydrangea for the front door. There is still lawn work to do, but that will be ongoing.

Spring Flowers
Now to the inside, but first a bike ride.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Not only is this word fun to say...hamantaschen...but they are fun to make and share.

Two weeks ago, I was scrolling through instagram and came across Amy's photo of Manischewitz Hamantaschen. The purple color, triangle shape and name caught my attention and I had to find out more. What exactly are Hamantaschen? How many flavors are there and how do you make them?

It turns out that Hamantaschen are pretty flexible. The cookie, folded just so, into a triangle to hold just the right amount of filling. Flavors range from traditional poppy seed to those inspired by popular alcoholic beverages. For my first attempt I chose to make poppy seed, cherry, Nutella and the flavor that started it all, Manischewitz Hamantaschen.

Through my searching and first round of making Hamataschen, I found a couple of common tips and suggestions to be helpful and accurate. The dough must cool at least an hour, but better overnight. Cut the circles to about three inches - the result is a very nice sized treat easy to handle. (If you do not have a 3 inch circle cutter, check your drinking glasses. It's what I used). Only fill with a teaspoon of filling - adding more filling is hard to resist, but important when it comes to folding.  Tori Avey provides some very helpful tips and a nice folding guide in her How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen post.

Her Buttery Hamantaschen batter recipe was the base of the Poppy Seed, Nutella and Cherry Hamataschen and her poppy seed filling recipe. Because I wanted to try many varieties, I only made half a batch of the poppy seed filling. For the Nutella and Cherry fillings, I took a short cut and scooped teaspoons from the Nutella and Cherry spread jars - Easy.

Finally my taste taster requested a raspberry Nutella version. The four of this version were gone before they were completely cooled.

Raspberry Nutella Hamantaschen

For those counting, I used the word Hamantaschen ten times in this post - it is still a fun word.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Something Pink

In preparation for Valentine's Day, I went searching my recipe stack for something colorful, sweet and new to make.  Often I find myself using a holiday as a reason to try a new recipe; this time, Sweet Soft Cherry Bread With Cherry-Almond Glaze by Averie Cooks stood out from the stack. Not only was this bread sweet, moist and slightly crumbly the color was fabulous. The wonderfully pink shade produced from the maraschino juice was pleasant surprise and will serve for other "pink" occasions: Breast Cancer Awareness Bake Sales, Mother's Day brunch, or even a Baby Shower. Seriously love the color. 

Photo - Sweet Cherry Almond Bread

This bread did not last long. In fact, I saved the required cherry juice in order to make the glaze, per the recipe, but it was gone before I had the opportunity to make it. A piece fresh out of the oven, after cooling of course, a slice for dessert, one for breakfast, another one here, another one there... and gone. There was even a moment, where a slice was lightly toasted with butter and topped with a healthy spoonful of vanilla ice cream. Perhaps this was breakfast, or maybe dessert, but that does not really matter.  The cherry juice for glaze is still in the frig, perhaps that will be reason enough to get more cherries and make this again before another occasion pops up. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

At Least Two Posts a Month

Where have the past few months gone? I remember preparing for the holidays, them briefly stopping by and now it is February.

Before starting this blog, I wanted to make sure I had sufficient time to dedicate to posting - well life is happening and my time has been scattered. This has resulted in my absence.

Moving forward, it is going to be my goal to post at least twice a month here. This number seems small, only 24 posts...well 20 posts, for 2015, but its manageable. Who know's, I might even surpass this goal.

As a side note - I am more active on instagram feel free to follow @slightlyfocused.