The healing benefits of rose tea

Wild wild roses…

Wild wild roses…

It’s that time of the month again. Everyone and everything around you just seems so.. “blah”. If you’re anything like me, chances are (pre)menstrual syndrome can tear you down physically and emotionally. So I’ve listed my top natural remedy to fight it. It basically all comes down to wild rose.

1) At home spa

I usually lock myself up in the bathroom, putt on a hair mask, face mask. Then I make a natural sugar scrub with olive oil, sugar, and natural rose extract. When the bathroom is steamed up enough I give myself a good scrub especially around my painful underbelly area.

2) Rose tea

Rose tea is made from dried whole rose blossoms or petals. Rose tea contains high amounts of vitamin C, polyphenols, vitamin A, various minerals, nerol, geraniol, myrcene, quercetin and other antioxidants.

Next to relieving pain and regulate hormones Rose Tea is also excellent to reduce:

Moods swings caused by hormonal disbalance.
As Rose tea is extremely high in vitamin C it stimulates the production of white blood cells and functions as an antioxidant which also lowers the risk of getting chronic diseases.

Rose tea is a great help in stress relief, making it a Wonderfull beverage to finish your day with and enjoy a peaceful night of sleep.

Another benefit of rose tea is that it’s a great detoxifier for the body. Active ingredients help to improve liver function and increase urination while speeding the release of toxins from the body. It can also help with digestion and help rebalance the microflora in the intestines and relieve digestive issues like constipation, cramping, bloating or diarrhoea.

If you know some magical natural remedies for that time of the month, please share.

Why you should know your bare essentials budget, and it’s not what you think it is.

Hi,

In a previous post I’ve stated that knowing your bare essentials budget as a base to build your emergency fund, is bullshit.

I still stand with my pervious opinion. I think emergencies call for bigger budgets, aka your normal monthly budget plus a little cushion. I don’t like deprivation when you’re already in deprivation because of the occurring emergency. When an emergency occurs, you should be in the position to treat yourself, or maybe even get payed help ( aka therapy ) to get through whatever life threw at you. We all know soul crushing things can happen, divorce, death, getting layed off. We need to not have complementary soul crushing emergency fund months to get through this. We need a Ben and Jerry’s, cocktail drinking, talk for hours on the phone to your bestie emergency fund. So I’m keeping to this opinion, haha.

But there still are some good reasons you should know your bare essentials budget.

  • You should know how much you could save, like the absolute most, if you had to. This can be handy if you’re setting some goals for yourself, for instance, debt repayment, or setting up travel funds, or a wedding fund. It’s nice to know for how much time you’d have to strap your waist belt real tight to accomplish that goal.
  • You’re thinking of new careers or freelancing. In that case it’s also nice to know what you absolutely would need to live off. And again, set for instance a time that you’d have to lift off only that, until the money eventually comes in.
  • Striving for financial freedom. If you’d want to be financially free, then knowing your bare essentials budget would be an absolute must. Your bare essentials budget would be the number you’d have to come up with monthly for the rest of your life ( and more likely also some extras if you’d want to live a good life )to live financially free. If that number is for instance 1500 euro. That means you’d have to come up with 1500 euro in passive income at the least, to live financially free. Like I said, it’s all about what kind of lifestyle you prefer to live. But if you’d be okay to live on your bare essentials, ( aka no fancy clothes, no vacay, no extra’s etc etc ) plus an emergency fund, that would be it for you.
  • Knowing your bare essentials budget is also handy to reduce costs. Some might say a bare essentials budget can’t almost be altered but that’s not the case. If you are willing to change some things up, the chances are that you could save a lot of money by altering your bare essentials expenses. You could move to an area where rent is lower ( for instance, a lot of Northern Europeans retire in Portugal where the living expenses are lower, in the US there are states where your’d pay lower rent than in other states), or get a roommate, or sell your property. You could change cellphone providers or get a prepaid card, you could cancel subscriptions. You could sell your car and opt for public transport. Getting a roommate could save you 400 euro’s a year, so could getting rid of your car as the average car downpayment for instance in Belgium is 200 euro’s a month, + 350 euro’s tax ( a year ), + 1100 euro’s premium insurance( a year ) and then I didn’t even count the gas and the speeding fines ( I plead guilty every time, this is my dumbest way to spend my hard earned cash ). So it’ d probably save you more money to get rid of the car. Let me reframe that, haha. My car downpayment and all the rest is around that number. I hear a song in my head, it goes like this :” I had boyfriends, with cars, driving me around, like all of the time. Where they go? ” Kidding. You should be self sufficient as a woman at all times! It would have been a big hit though. Anyone knows a musician I could sell that song to?
  • There are so many ways to get your bare essentials number down. Personally, I find altering your food budget the trickiest, because I feel like food is such an essential to our lives. Not being able to buy what you really like to eat, is such a sacrifice towards your lifestyle. I feel like being on a strict food budget is such a deprivation to us as humans. I struggle with this thought so much, especially if you’re already cutting out a lot of extra’s from your budget. Food is such an elementary need, for anyone, and it should be accessible to everyone earth. I don’t like to think about it too much because I know that there are a lot of people and kids who just can’t afford what they’d like to eat, or any kind of food at all, budget or not. This thoughts really get me in a lesser mindset. But yes, your food budget is definitely a part of your bare essentials. It’s up to you to decide what you are willing to live with or live without. These are all very though decisions to make, especially because budgets, as wardrobes, as everything in life, change with how we change and our families change, over time.

A fun tool to help you build a great closet

A fun tool to help you build a GREAT CLOSET

When we get a little lost about our style and what to wear, it often has to do with how much thought we’ve put in to our assembling our ready to wear, everyday, closet.

A great way to plan out your closet is to look at your lifestyle and write down what you need in your closet in function of that lifestyle.

I’ve listed some questions below to map out your lifestyle and interests. This is only one little step in the process of building a great closet, but it’s an important one.

Here we go. Please remember that this is supposed to be fun. For those who feel a bit frustrated with what’s in their closet. Hang on, we’ve all been there!

Questionnaire to help you map out your life and lifestyle:

Lifestyle

Describe your character in detail.

How would your best friend describe you?

What characteristics would you like to own?

What interests you? Do you have enough time to pursue those interests?

How much do you travel?

How much do you dine out a week?

Which cuisine do you prefer?

How do you relax?

Describe your average week (regular activities: work- social-transportation- sports-regular)

Did you go through a major change in your life recently? (moving, break-up, pregnancy…)

Will something major be happening in your life soon (job interview, date, work presentation, business trip, wedding, have kinds, move….)

Do you prefer a night in or out?

Are you a town or country person?

Work

Do you love your job?

What do you love about it?

If you don’t like your job, why don’t you.. What would you change, what would you like to do?

What’s keeping you from that?

What’s stopping you?

How much do you travel for work?

Where do you go?

Do you dine out for work?

Is there a dress code at work?

Do you stand out between colleagues? In a positive or negative way?

Do you get remarks about how you dress?

Do you feel good in the clothes you wear to work?

What would you change?

What’s stopping you?

Clothing and style

What did you like to wear as a kid and why?

What did you hate to wear?

What was your favourite colour, is it still your favourite?

Describe your uniform aka what you wear the most? = This is an important one, as you can take your uniform and build different styles and options around it.

Describe your daily look?

How do you feel in that? How much do you wear that look?

Which clothing item makes you feel pretty? Why?

Do you wear this a lot?

If you don’t wear it a lot, why is that?

Choose your style icon.

Look at your own wardrobe. Does it reflect that style?

If so, are you wearing these pieces enough?

Why are / aren’t you?

Shopping habits

Do you like to shop?

How much do you shop?

Does anyone in the process of shopping influence you?

Where do you shop? ( shopping street, online…)

Which brands do you buy and why?

How many items in you closet don’t you wear?

How many do you wear?

What are your favourite pieces?

Do you wear them a lot?

What are your least favourite pieces?

Do you wear them sometimes?

Dream closet

If you would like to change anything in your closet, what would it be?

Describe your ideal situation towards your appearance?

What would your dream closet look like?

What are your wardrobe staples?

Describe your style in 10 words -5 words-3words-1 word

What is the biggest hit in your closet?

Who is your favourite pin-up?

Who is your favourite fashion role model?

If you don’t have time and your going out what is your go to dress?

When you had a fire what is the one thing out of your closet you would salvage? ( If you don’t wear this often, you should try to make it work with several outfits.

How do you pick an outfit?

If you could raid anyone’s closet, who’s would it be?


What changes in your style depending on the different places you’re going to?

Interests

What is your favorite book? Why?

What is your favorite film? Why?

Which music genres do you like the most? Why?

What artists do you like (any art form)? Why do you like them? Is their something about their character, style or appearance that stands out?

Who are the women you admire? Why do you admire them in their a) appearance b) style c) beauty d) intellect e) career f) other things you admire in them?

How do those women make you feel?

Not the easiest questions to work with but definitely a good start!

Love love,

Maureen

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Flashback to the making of my first capsule wardrobe. What I have learned since then and what I would do differently…

Hi guys,

It’s no secret that keeping your wardrobe organised and updated, is a huge money saver. Especially for women. We are ( generally, I’m speaking for myself ) more sensitive to clothing, looks, and are easily tricked by marketing, addressing insecurities we might have.

And organised clothing system means that in this field, you can easily separate wants from needs. I’m not saying it is easy haha. But it’s nice to have an overview and at least recognise what you really need, and what you really want.

Last week, I finally pulled my capsule wardrobe for summer together. I started capsule wardrobing almost five years ago. I wasn’t doing it to manage my money better at that time. I was selling vintage on a weekly basis at markets as a side hustle, and I desperately was in need of a good system to keep my own clothes organised and not want to keep every other dress I was going to sell, for myself. At the time, I was trying to make only one capsule that was going to last me the whole year ( by mostly layering techniques). But I gave up on that. The weather in Belgium changes so frequently that it’s hard not to make 4 seasonal capsules. I think the most reasonable solution is one capsule or one wardrobe, and a rack with clothes to add or pull out for instance really heavy and really light clothes , or 2 capsules. One for spring and summer and one for fall and winter. I currently have chosen the last option.

If you manage to have one compact closet with items that work for many occasions and many temperatures, I would love to find out how that works! In the mean time. Culling my wardrobe last week and keeping only essentials and great pieces ( will blog about this at a later time to show you how it looks like – if I manage to refresh my photoshop skills haha) made me think about the first capsule wardrobe I made 5 years ago. So I managed to find the post that was on one of my previous blogs.

First of all, it really baffles me, how much my style has changed and how little of these pieces I still own out of that capsule . And this was only five years ago! Mission NOT completed! Because a capsule wardrobe is supposed to be a bit more sustainable. Speaking of sustainable. As I said, I was very much in to vintage. I’ve always been. I’ve been sourcing vintage since I was 19 years old while studying in Ghent. People that knew me then, and are all reading this. I see you nodding ( like, yeah, you where the weird one…with the crazy clothes) . Vintage was not in trend at that time ( 20 years ago!). So I don’t know how many times I regretted not starting a shop then.

I had heaps of vintage clothes, but I think the fact that, when I bought vintage, that I might one day sell my item, kinda held me back from only using vintage. It sounds insane, but back then when I was selling vintage on a regular basis, I knew when I bought new, I wouldn’t have to think about it going to the shop or feeling guilty to keep it to myself when I should have been selling it really. Selling things you secretly really love so much, gave me so much headache. I think it’s better to sell something you aren’t too attached to. Vintage is different, because it’s one of a kind, so if you sell it, the chances of ever getting or finding it back, are close to zero. Only for that reason, I find that a lot of vintage sellers underprice their items.

Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time. But If I had the chance, I’d definitely buy more sustainable brands. These days it’s “easy “to find sustainable alternatives. Although you’ve still gotta do some research and putt some effort in it. But five years ago, sustainable brands were a bit more upcoming. I don’t recall bloggers wearing sustainable that much, or adds on Facebook or instagram by sustainable clothing brands.

While I review this old blogpost I will highlight my current thoughts on this process in pink.

I will also mention the sustainable brands that I would buy now instead ( no affiliate links ). And mostly these brands, because ethically made and made out of quality materials, do charge you a bit more for their product. So this also forces you to be thoughtful of what your really need, or want …I mean, playing with different styles is nice, if it’s in your budget. Either way, it forces you to put more thought into what you wear.

The environmental impact of the clothing industry is huge, there is no question, but it’s also about finding a balance in your life, to put thought into what you buy, but not to the extreme that you’d get headaches about that.

Overall, I think buying second hand, thrifting, vintage buying and buying sustainable is a very good and doable combo. Whereas a decade back, it was very hard to find ethically made jeans. I think Nudie jeans was the first at that time. Businesses have made a lot easier for the consumer to find ethically made and to have a choice range within that section since then.

Thus, back to the capsule I made years ago…

There are definitely some things in here, and a lot of high street brands, I wouldn’t ever buy again. Like really trendy pieces, for instance the pants with the embroidered flowers. Although, this item is still alive. I know where it is. It’s in France, my universal dump place for all my unworn, lesser loved stuff. I gave it to my mum, hoping she will wear it. I keep it there hoping I will wear it there when I’m on vacation, which I don’t, and years later we donate it to a neighbour there ( that probably also donates it…). Not a good solution. It’s better to buy second hand, vintage and ecological clothes you actually will wear for a long long time.

This process requires a lot of thought and insight in one self. Hence all these posts on capsule wardrobing that will probably help you out a lot. Even if you are not capsule wardrobing, this process does help you understand you better, who you are, what you stand for, what you’d like to wear, how’d you like to be seen by the world. And thus helps you to make the right sustainable choices. They who say that dressing is not important and a vain activity, I have to say, you are wrong. Dressing is a cultural thing, an economical thing, an historical thing a political thing and the first thing people judge you by when you walk into a room. So no matter what you try to achieve or what you would like to stand for, dressing will always play a huge part in life and in society. If you are interested in capsule wardrobing… I have written many posts on how to capsule wardrobe and the different stages on how to achieve a great capsule. It’s a lot of work- It’s not just culling your wardrobe, because dressing is entangled with, your function in society, how you spend your time, emotions , sentiment… It has many many layers. If you are willing to do the work and are interested. I will post them soon on the blog.

Yatayatayata… Lett’s get on with it, shall we?

Lett’s flashback like we’re MartyMc Fly!

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I’ve made my first real capsule, here’s how it went…

Whoa guys, this first capsule was so much harder than I thought, and so much work. ( Especially all this photoshopping and picture taking for one blogpost!( haha) Although and this is a tip, It really pays off to have an inventory of pics in you in different outfits on your phone or laptop in case you have to rush to get dressed or don’t know what to wear. So it was worth it! I’d do it again in a heartbeat! )I’ll explain myself further later. So, let’s break this capsule down first…

tops 12
tops 13
tops 14

So these are my tops

As you can see, below the item I’ve written the first two letters of the season that the item is appropriate for. I’ve ended up with 21 tops. This is mainly because I wasn’t strict enough about the capsule thing. Yes, and I also pulled out a few items a clown only would wear, like the striped long sleeve with the bright red dots, and that Minnie shirt by Eleven Paris, is something I still have, but also don’t wear. I wouldn’t buy this again( especially because it’s Topshop. I can’t believe I wasted money on Topshop). So I would definitely go for a bit toned down items. Although my summer capsule now is very me and is not plain, boring or monochrome at all!…. I know it’s not a numbers game. I’m mainly using capsule wardrobing to put more thought into my closet and to free myself from items I don’t wear. I also don’t feel like the above is me, neither is this a cohesive set of clothes.

But the problem is this, Belgium has some shifting weather ( Nothing changed here, oh yeah, It got a bit warmer over all – aka not positive for all climate change and issues )you guys.  We go from mornings when it’s 3 degrees to 20 degrees at noon. It’s tricky, come spring and we all thinks things are going to be just superb and hot for the rest of the month, then surprisingly temperatures drop close to zero and there’s the rain and storm and cold winds.This spring top section has cashmere sweaters in it as well as light weight t-shirts which I find kind of insane. Yes it is. This is like Belgium the whole way through. The politics and the temperature of this country is definitely reflected in your wardrobe. But I can’t figure out a good solution to this problem. I still can’t. If you live in a country where the weather shifts and you have found a solution, please share your thoughts on this in the comments.

Maybe I should keep the items that aren’t for spring out of my capsule but close by on a rack?  Not a bad idea, I think I ended up doing that at that time.

How do you guys deal with the temperature shift?  Actually the only sane thing is… make 2 capules, one for fall and winter and one for spring and summer. It’s the only solution.

Then there is always the problem of layering. By layering, most items can pretty much cover all seasons. What about those items?  Layering is great but you can’t layer over everything. Some fabrics are for summer or winter only. layering can be great when using summer items for spring or fall items for winter …

And what about items that are actually for winter and fall but are trendy and can also cover all seasons, like my two checkered flanel shirts that I’ve put away because I was a bit tired of wearing them all fall and winter?  Yeah, keep your checkered flannels in storage in summer, only Kardashians wear them over a tank top in the Californian sun …You’ll get tired of your winter stuff although if you really are set out to keep a very small minimal closet that works for all seasons, this will work. But I am curious if people with only one small wardrobe don’t ever get tired of wearing the same thing. If this speaks to you, please comment below.

If you want to make the most out of your clothes, isn’t it easier to just keep them in your closet?  Yes! definitely! Keep them in your closet, or a second closet stored, ironed and on a hanger, save yourself all this work from pulling them out of boxes or from under your bed or vacuum storage. I don’t know this” idiot “that started doing this on YouTube or saying this in blogpost. It’s clear that over the years, I have done way too much ironing and folding and arranging, haha. I just want things to be easily organised now.

Then there’s the items that aren’t for the appropriate season per se, but they make a cute top on a jeans on a skirt when you have a party or an evening date ?  Yeah – Also a good idea is to have your main capsule but have also a special occasions, and homeward- sport wear capsule … Or, what I’ve been thinking of doing: creating a capsule with year round pieces but having a rack where I keep my super warm clothes ( like heavy knits, but the last winters were too hot so I just layered , so… and my extreme light clothes ( like a little romper for summer for instance ) and my home / sport wear and occasions. Something like that seems also very manageable.

And is there ever a LBD that covers summer & winter? Because yes ,it’s black but the material can be thicker or lighter which makes it appropriate for that season. I’m thinking only a black lace dress can go from spring to fall and anything in between. Or a silk one . But it’s actually not a bad idea, as said, to make an occasional capsule collection. Especially if you have regular date nights or have to go on business meetings regularly.

What about those longsleeves? I needed to invest in them. Every year I buy black cheap ones from h &m and they are washed out and grey, and by the end of winter ( since I’ve worn them since fall ) no longer fun to wear. So I’ve invested in longsleeves from the French brand American Vintage. Not necessarily cheap, but so worth it quality wise and they a have a great outlet shop online. I’m not convinced by their quality anymore, since I don’t own them anymore and have invested in long sleeve body’s for winter. They stay in place, especially if you’e sporting or riding a bike, you don’t have a crack of skin that is uncovered suddenly somewhere. Now I would definitely choose the brand WORON OR ORGANIC BASICS for long sleeves or soft underwear.

From left to right.

Michael Kors cashmere short sleeve turtleneck . old.

Polkadot and khaki button down from H en M. old.

H en M see through long sleeve. NEW.

Vila black knitted tee. Old

Striped polkadot sweater TOPSHOP. NEW.

See Through Flower blouse TOPSHOP. NEW.

Ruffled sweater TOPSHOP. NEW.

Cut out black top TOPSHOP. NEW.

Then the next section : Everything from American Vintage ( NEW) except the striped Minnie Mouse T-shirt : Eleven Paris.  old.

Cashmere striped turtleneck. Old

Embroidered blouse ZARA. NEW.

Grey turtleneck COS. Old.

Lace top H&M. NEW.

Right now, I for sure would not buy TOPSHOP or ZARA or I don’t know. I would definitely keep it simple and buy an all-time favourite of mine which is EVERLANE. They sell very simple styles that last a lifetime and the quality is great.

Which brings us to the outer layers

outerwearkopie
outer layers 1kopiekopie

Here we have an American Vintage cardigan in coffee. That’s the official name of the color, which is partly the reason why I bought it online, It doesn’t take that much sometimes apparently. The only problem is, I bought it online and although I like it and it said that it was for spring, it’s thicker than I thought. The material is more itchy too. I decided to keep it for the first month of spring keeping in mind that it will go perfectly in my next winter capsule since I was lacking cardigans there.

The grey cardigan is also new, I have to confess there was a lack of cardigans throughout my whole wardrobe. And it still is. I think cardigans are great layering pieces that can be used in all seasons. So the trick is to get the right style in a great material ( for instance cashmere if you can afford this …) and in a thickness that can be used for all seasons, when layering up or down.

But then I’ve included this blazer that I couldn’t part with. Everyone and anyone told me ” Really? Are you donating this? It’s such a staple piece and it’s in such great shape.  I have had it for years, since I was in college. It wasn’t expensive, but there was nothing wrong with it. Then after trying to wear it again this weekend I finally figured out why it wasn’t working. It was too classic. It wasn’t oversized, there was nothing special a bit off about it, and I didn’t like the material. I sold that blazer eventually. I think, if a piece is not working, if for some reason you are not wearing it. If you still aren’t wearing it after consciously trying to integrate it with your day to day wardrobe, you have to sell or donate. You’re never going to get your money back. It’s just sitting there doing nothing.

I realized I felt much happier in my grey vintage eighties oversized blazer. I do need to find other less cheap looking buttons for it though, but that’s it. At the end. I sold the grey one too. Because guess what. Altering clothes is only good if you are really honestly going to putt the time and effort in. I didn’t wear the grey because the cheap white buttons, and I didn’t take the time or invested the money ( beautiful buttons are not cheap) to get it altered. You should only buy things you are completely 100 pct happy with.

So I’m not going to stress about finding a black one. I’m sure I’m fine without it and the grey will be perfect to mix and match. And if a perfect oversized edgy blazer comes my way, who knows.

Then the handmade oversized cardigans. Does anyone wear these under their coat in winter? And if yes, how?  Still a problem, I use these sort of cardigans mainly indoors when I feel chilly.... It’s also not right, and this is a mistake many make, to shift our outerwear to homeward because something doesn’t work. It’s leaves you with a huge pile of homeward you’re actually not content with. So it’s also better to donate or sell, in that case. Because I feel like I’m suffocating each time. So instead I’m wearing them as a coat early in the morning when going to work. I’ve noticed them being too warm though at noon and early evening. We’ll see. I’m not sure if they don’t itch, I’m fussy about this. This means they are only early spring and late fall appropriate, but then on the upside, I will never have to wash them. Itchy clothes, also a big mistake. I didn’t wear it even with something layered under.

The adidas vest is an odd one, but not really. I like funky and colorful things ,but how do you integrate them in a capsule that has items that are supposed to go with everything?  Currently I’m also thinking of selling these, I feel like I outgrew them.

First, the two cardigans

*Coffee: American Vintage

*Grey: SuperDry

Vest: Vila

Pink and white oversized cardigan: Handmade

Black blazer: Vila

Grey blazer: Vintage

Jacket: adidas supergirl jacket

outer layers 2kopie

Coat-ish things.

Leather jacket : Not sure if it’s really my style, the sleeves are to long. It’s a bomber style and it hits at a weird place at my waste. But it was expensive, we’ll see. I think I’d get more wear out of a biker style leather jacket. I got the sleeves tailored, because I wear and like the jacket and it’s leather. It’s wasn’t expensive though, I got it at the time at an outlet.

Jean jacket : It’s too small. Can’t close it. I just kept it there so that I could find a replacement and work with it in the meanwhile. I sold it in the end

Does anyone do this? Wait until we find something beter? I mean our budget’s aren’t unlimited right?  Yes. It’s better to move slowly and make small changes that last. Or, sell things and with that budget buy a few new items. Or do a no buy year until you know what you’d like to change in your wardrobe.

Then we have a blushed beige pink mid lenght trenchcoat ( bought that for a themed twenties party and re sold it.( Don’t buy occasional things, it’s not worth it…) and a long blue one. Notting to add there. I also have a vintage Burberry ( sold it ) that I love but still feel weird wearing to work because it instantly dresses you up. I should get over that.

Then the army jacket. Such a trendy piece. Need to customise this with some cool but cute patches. Oh yeah, a trend piece, I have another vintage one now… I’m still not sure about it 🙂 Might sell it. It’s not a classic style, essential piece.

Leather vest: Maison Scotch ( super old)

Jean jacket: Circle of Trust ( super old)

Blush trench : Mango ( old)

Blue trench: H en M ( old)

Army jacket: Vintage

dresseskopiekopie

There is work to do in this department.

From left to right.

A designer dress from Kaat Tilley ( super old) that I haven’t worn but it’s in my closet for 5 years. Oh my god, still haven’t worn this one. If I don’t wear this in the summer of 2020, I will sell it. I need to try to style this. It’s not hard, but I kinda always forgot about this and then the season was over. So I decided to give it a last go this season.

Black Topshop knot blouse dress: Perfect! Perfect! I couldn’t be happier with this black spring dress. And I know I have a silk black one from Pepe jeans for summer too, so the fact alone that I have this LBD covered for the next two seasons makes me happy. The black one from Pepe jeans in silk is still in my closet but the topshop one I sold. Because it it was very short. I had splits on the side. My mum commented on that while I was visiting them in France, and she was right. I didn’t feel completely comfortable sitting down and that short dress with the splits riding up.

Vintage see through butterfly dress: I love it, but I haven’t worn it? Why? This one also makes perfect as a blouse on a jean of skirt. SO WHY THE HELL NOT? Maybe it’s too fancy to wear to work and I didn’t have the chance to wear it out. Still have it, still haven’t worn it although it looks super nice on me… so strange …Even as a blouse tucked in a long black skirt, it would be nice.

Vintage striped dress that I haven’t worn and don’t now how I feel about. I wore it heaps but it got ruined because I was nonchalant with bleach while cleaning.

I do have a wide range of vintage summer dresses. For some reason they are much easier to find. I like poppy colors & designs. But in between dresses and winter dresses, nah not much. I find the styles less appealing. So where there’s a lack here, there will be an overload in summer. But it still doen’t fix my dress problem for the other season.

I’m curious to see if and what I will actually wear.

I still find it too cold for bare legs but too hot for panties, thats an obstacle. How do you guys fix this?  Still have no solution for that …

jump

Ah yes. The jumpsuits. Also a big gamble and here’s why.

Exhibit A has been in my closet forever. It’s a very thick wrangler vintage jean jumpsuit. You can only wear this alone, and that’s the tricky part, wearing it before the moment is over aka you only have the month in spring where it’s not too cold but not too hot and the same goes for fall. I just have to be able to catch the month that’s the end of summer and the beginning of fall. And wear it!

Exhibit B is a new one from Topshop that I got because a black topshop one wasn’t flattering me although I’ve tried it  in 2 different sizes and my boyfriend liked this one. I do too. But now I’m wondering how to style it because it’s definitely for spring and summer but meanwhile the fabric of this jumpsuit is so thick and I feel it’s  more of a fall and winter color. So I wrote this down for all seasons. I think It could pass if I style it with a cute button up or a jacket.

Exhibit C The dungarees from ONLY that I wore way too little.So let’s give them a go again this season.

The thing with jumpsuits is that you can only wear them a very brief moment in spring or fall, when it’s not too hot and not too cold. They’re super cute and stylish but you have to seize the moment and wear them when it’s time. I only own the long sleeve vintage jumpsuit and I do wear it yearly, so it can stay.

bottoms 3

My lord. My closet was low aka non existent on skirts, shorts, black leggings, black leather pants/ leggings. I don’t know why I hadn’t figured this out before.

I survived on low quality jeans that hit at the wrong spot at my waist for the longest time, but now it’s over. Hallelujah! No, then it wasn’t over. Now it’s over. I have 3 straight pairs of Kings of Indigo that I love love love, and wear and have worn the whole time.

I’m happy with all of these and I think I will take these with me from spring to summer to fall to winter. I’m only doubting if I will be able to style the vintage skirt in winter.

I’ve survived without black high waisted jeans, leggings, faux leather all these years. I know. But 5 years later. I find that I hardly wear the skirts. The beige daim one is sold, jeans.. I have 3 good kings of indigo jeans – one maison scotch jeans and one very old topshop boyfriend jeans that I love to wear, and that’s it. These jeans I wear the most, no matter how many skirts you’ll find in my closet. This is mostly due to the weather shifts and the fact that I’m cold easily and that you’ll see me wearing skirts and dresses the most in summer, without legging/ panties and winter, with panties. In spring and fall, I just don’t know how to deal with this. If you have some tips, please enlighten me 🙂

Leather black mini : Topshop

Suede mini: Vintage

Long skirt: Vintage

Cropped pants: Topshop

Leggings: Topshop

Jamie moto jeans: Topshop

Cropped torn pants: Zara

Baby blue jeans: H en M

Leather pants : Topshop

Shoes caps

From left to right: Kiomi, Vans, Adidas, Zign, Zign, Zign, Zign, Clarks, Clarks.

So finally, shoes! Luckily I’ve invested in these pairs last year and the year before. I love Clarks they are still the most comfortable and quality shoes I’ve worn so far. This year though I found they carried less trendy styles in their range so searched online for brands that had size 42 and were in the same price range. I found Zign and Kiomi. So far I’m happy to have found quality shoes that weren’t too expensive.

I still own shoes I hardly wear. I think I’m going to give them to my mum, if I think it’s her style. Also I would say to my younger self to buy fair trade shoes, like Veja, or shoes from Everlane, or handmade by small businesses. And less sneakers, which is still on trend and was then too. But off course , here again, it’s better to wear what you already own than to just buy new just because it’s fairly made. Out of the above I only wear 3 pairs. 2 are worn out by wearing them a lot. 1 I gave to my mum. 2 I never wear, so should give to my mum. And actually the 3 I still wear out of this bunch don’t fit my style that much anymore. Okay, In case you think this is just another justification for new purchases. It’s not. But I really have to put some thought into my shoes and really just donate what I haven’t been wearing for the past six or seven years guys…

I have a really active job so I need flat shoes but I don’t always want to wear sneakers. I’m actually not such a fan of the sporty look although I find they look real cool under skirts. It’s true, I had a very active job, and that changed completely last year. Which explains me buying and running around in sneakers and not using my heels or nice shoes. That’s where all the brainwork comes in. A capsule should be about what you will wear at your job, in your free time etc etc, so how you spend your time and acknowledging that, is super important. What would you do, as a frugal person, store the good nice office shoes until you get an opportunity to wear them, or donate?

I don’t think there will be a problem in this department. The only thing that’s weird is that I’ve kept the white boots and the brown ones mainly for spring and summer the whole time & now I want too look in to taking them the whole year through. To be continued.

caps

This wasn’t easy at all but the process does pay off even if you end up with a capsule that’s not perfect. You get to learn a lot about yourself, your wardrobe and style. Yes, and then again, these are all factors that can change. You can get into a new line of work, you can get more sporty than you where, which means your wardrobe will change. No matter how much effort you’ve put in to this. So take it lightly. Also who you were 5 years ago is not the same person who you are now. Besides fashion changing, the truth is that you change too. This is a natural process and clothes are a reflection of who we are or how we want to be perceived, so don’t take everything too serious.

I realise, you best only invest in items that are real classics. Because your style will change and your life.

Looking back at this post, that I can really give away more or sell more than I thought. Because, honestly, if I’m not even wearing certain items I’ve had for over 5 years, I’m not going to now. I guess if this is the case for me, then the chances are that you’ve also had items in your capsule that you never wore. What did you do with them? Did you try to wear them and make it work after all?

By the end of this post I came to realize it’s better to stock my longsleeves and itchy coffee winter cardigan for winter just aswel.

I must put more thought to adding vintage and colorful clothes since I love them so much. This being said, the overall vibe is that when I have gotten my four seasons down I will try to add more statement pieces to my 4 seasons. I’m trying to skip the color coding in my closet, we’ll see what we end up with.

There must be a capsule with items that can be worn on date and girlfriends night outs. I can keep these in my closet at all times even if they are not season appropriate. Yes, make a occasion wear capsule.

It’s handy to have a LBD in case of need so I will make sure all my seasons have one and I’ll try to search for one that can be worn all year through and add them to my going out capsule.

Maybe I have to eliminate the items that I’m not completely happy with, are too small etc. Maybe I have to try to make it without them instead of making them work until I find something to replace them with…. I’m not sure. In some cases it’s better to have something than nothing. Because if you have nothing, it means that you might buy something new before having the budget.

Layering pieces is a tricky one……

We aren’t there just yet but I had so much fun in the process…still so much to learn. I do think I’m going to be happy getting a closet down where I wear almost every item and that I appropriate for a multitude of activities and climate changes..

I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two over the years because my capsule is more to where I want it to be, but still I could be doing better.

Like I said, maybe it’s not bad to to a no spend year, make lists – thoughts on what I want & need, cull my wardrobe after the no spend year and replace. I feel like, since I’m turning 40 next year and I’ve grown as a human in lots of ways, that my closet should be a reflection of that.

I’d love to hear your opinion/ stories on capsule wardrobing.

Love, love

Maureen

Tips to keep your food budget in check.

I’ve tried many methods over the years and what I still struggle with the most is keeping my food budget. I’m a single women with no kids, so I’m guessing this must be even so much harder when you have toddlers that have specific tastes or adolecents that only like the branded products.

I’ve gone from meal planning and grocery lists to frustration and fuck it all! From foodboxes to freezing food. Doing all of this while buying on a very full stomach, as this is tip number one all the money guru’s love to share.

It’s still hard. It’s hard because you can’t just eliminate this category and it is hard because there is a lot of time going in to that meal planning and grocery list making, and time, well, as they say, is also money.

It is also hard because, unplanned things might come up. Like, as a women, our period. We might go a tiny bit crazy with a chocolate or potato chips craving, that wasn’t budgeted. Friends might come over, and you realise that the only beverages in the house are tapwater and tea, because you’ve set your food limit strict.

Or the sun might shine and friends will invite you to a BBQ where you’d bring something, or your roommates want to have a BBQ, and you’ve guessed it, It wasn’t in your budget.

Heck, I even went a period without budgeting my food just to live off of bread and water and all the rest I could find in the house, until my pay check arrived.

But as we all know. That’s no way to live. So I’m going to list a few alternatives to try below.

  1. Set a strict food budget. And by that, I mean a food budget that you need to keep to accomplish some of the saving goals you have in mind. I trust you’ve assigned every dollar somewhere. And you know what it takes to get to certain goals. But, also count a little wiggle money in there. Use a cushion within your food budget, like you would in the miscellaneous category, for unexpected things. This cushion can be as little as ten to twenty or to fifty euro’s, but it means that, if something would come up like the first sunny days of the year and the barbecues that go with it, you don’t have to punish yourself.
  2. Always keep cheap but healthy products stacked. It pays off to build a good pantry with essentials that you’d buy in bulk and keep fresh for long, but aren’t necessarily expensive. I’m thinking rice, canned beans, pasta, bread you have to pop in the oven, canned chickpeas, coconut oil, olive oil… All the things you can easily use to make a meal go further. Granted, eating more veggies is healthier, but it could be that if you are following a strict budget for a period in time, that you will have to cut back on these a while.
  3. Further on the veggies. Stack and buy the cheap ones weekly. Carrots, onion, kale… look at what is the least expensive and try to make meals with those.
  4. Always buy the vegetables and the fruit that is in season.
  5. Spices. It pays of to plant your own spices and freeze them in ice cubes for winter. Spices are essential if you want to add a bit of variation to your dishes. So you can easily buy big bags of dried spices for less and fill up the little jars in your spicerack.
  6. Go vegetarian once and a while or completely. You’d be surprised how much money this saves you.
  7. Eliminate the alcohol. It’s a non- essential, and will save you so much money if you cut it out when you’re a regular drinker.
  8. Freeze leftovers. Or batch cook and freeze.
  9. Use foodboxes. If you have a hard time managing your money this can really help because the amount you are spending is set, you don’t waste time meal prepping or planning or making grocery lists. You go to the store with way shorter grocery lists, so the chances of getting seduced by other stuff is smaller. If you buy a foodbox for 6 people at hello fresh for instance, that comes down to 4,50 euro a meal per person. Which is not that bad. Especially if you are single and freeze the other portions for later.
  10. The cash enveloppe system is hard to apply during corona times but I find that it is one of the best systems when it comes to keeping your budget at the grocery store. It really pays off to go in with only the money you intended to spend. Because guess what, you can’t spend it if you don’t have it with you and you are forced to look at the prices and get your calculator out, Or you can have some drama at the checkout ;). Bonus tip: go in with your calculator but round up the prices. You’ll even get cash back at the checkout. ( Which is always nice 😉 and you might even wanna hug the cashier )

Let me know how it goes. If you know of other tips in this area, I would love to find out!

Love love,

Maureen

Saving on your food budget

Despite the fact that many of us are going to the supermarket with a grocery list. We mostly still return with more stuff that we had planned on to.

This is because food is such an essential expense and basic need in order to survive. It’s impossible to, unlike other categories like clothing or entertainment, to eliminate or avoid this category completely.

Of course, everyone also knows that supermarkets have clever systems to make us buy more than we actually need.

Meat and fish, aka the more expensive products that many people need, are placed in the middle of the supermarket, in companionship of other equally expensive products. This is to make sure that you spend a lot of time in the middle section of the supermarket and making sure you have to walk by the majority of products you might not need.

If there are dim lights in your supermarket and music, that’s also a tactic to make you stick around longer.

The products that every one needs are to be found on eye level, as well as the pricier brands in that category. Lower in the racks you’ll be more likely to find the budget options.

The better smelling products like bread or fresh fruit are mostly placed at the entrance of the supermarket, cleverly designed to lure you in but also to make sure that your pace of walking trough the supermarket slows down.

This is exactly the reason so many supermarkets offer free snacks or tasty appetisers. It’s not only to make you buy the product they’re displaying. It’s also a clever way to make you slow down and look at all the other products that are offered in that spot.

Pre-cut veggies and meals are also something that can be found at eye sight. These products are much pricier than their uncut friends and will provide a bigger return for the shop owner.

The brandname of the shop will also be easily found at eyesight. After all, selling products in their own name will remain the most profitable for the shop itself.

Cookies, salt, sweets and cold beverages will be displayed again at the checkout, for you to have something to do, or to shop, while you wait in line.

So if you are like me, and still struggle to keep your food budget down…

Here are some good tips to keep your foodbudget, that can go a long way…

Love love,

Maureen

Why using your bare essentials budget as a guide for your emergency fund, is bullshit

If you think of it rationally. It is always good to know what you absolutely NEED in order to survive. That being a roof over your head, utilities paid and food. However I don’t see how this information, other than to make it easier for you to set up your budget, could help. And what I really don’t understand is, that a lot of influencers in the debt free community say that you should use this number to base your emergency fund upon.

This makes me angry, this information getting spread everywhere is mind-blowing. Either they have never gone through serious hardship, or they forgot about it, or I don’t know. I don’t want to offend anyone here though, because I’m sure the advice given comes from a real honest place to help others, Nevertheless…

According to many people in the debt free community your emergency fund should be your bare essentials budget times 3, or 6, or even 12, or however big or small of an emergency fund, you think is enough.

Let me say something here. As someone who has gone through many crisis, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, going through a heartbreaking, devastating crisis on a bare essentials budget, looks like pure horror to me.

I don’t want to go through job loss, losing friends or family, illness, divorce , break ups, etc on a bare essentials budget, and neither should you. Life is too precious. You should go through hard times on your regular budget, with and added little cushion to treat yourself. There should be room in your emergency budget to take a weekend with your best friends and talk about it, or drink cocktails while laughing and crying, there should be room for Ben and Jerry’s so to speak, or for a wellness day. Heck there should be even room to pay for therapy if you would need it. Anything else than all of the above is hurting yourself even more while being already in crisis. You wouldn’t want your best friend to suffer like this, so why would you have to.

Just some thoughts on this,

Love,

Maureen

Crazy idea. Why don’t you plant your own Tea garden.

Next to coffee, I also drink a lot of tea. Especially in the afternoon or the evening otherwise I would be like the Duracell rabbit with the drumroll, if you can still remember that commercial from the eighties. Long story short. So I decided to plant my own little tea garden this spring.

I am lucky to have a pretty big garden so I want to utilise my space well to provide to my needs, and the needs of my loved ones. Although the beauty of a Tea garden is that you don’t need a lot of space. Many herbs or flowers can be planted in containers on a terrace or patio, and a lot of these herbs and flowers can be found in the wild too. So it can be a fun thing to do when you’re out hiking in nature with friends or with kids to collect your own herbs and make a nice sweet tea to drink when you’re back home.

Here is a quick list of herbs and flowers you can plant to make your own fresh or dried tea at home. These herbs have many health benefits. Making your own tea, is just one option.

*Chamomile: reduces menstrual pain, lowers blood pressure, slows down osteoporosis, reduces inflammation, prevents cancer, helps relaxation, treats cold symptoms and helps with mild skin conditions.

*Mint: Rich in nutrients, may improve irritable bowel syndrome, helps with indigestion, can improve brain function, can decrease breastfeeding pain, improves cold symptoms, masks bad breath.

*Roses: Hydration and weight loss benefits, rich in antioxidants, may relieve menstrual pain.

*Elderberry: The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help tame inflammation, lessen stress, and help protect your heart. Some experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms.

*Milk Thistle: Supports liver and skin health, reduces cholesterol, helps weight loss, reduces insulin resistance, improves asthma symptoms, supports bone health, improves cognition and boosts the immune system.

*Lavender: Soothes the nervous system, eases headaches, improves sleep, heals minor wounds, alleviate menstrual cramps, nourishes skin, hydrates chapped lips, prevents colds, cures acne, minimises sunspots, relieves itchy skin, stimulates hair growth and reduces dandruff…

*Lemon balm: relieves stress, can help reduce anxiety, may boost cognitive function, can help ease insomnia and sleep disorders, can help treat cold sores, may help relieve indigestion, can help treat nausea. 

*Ginger: Eases the cold or the flu, can help with nausea, relieves pain, reducing inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, lowers cancer risks…

*Raspberry leaf: Pregnancy aid; well-known for its ability to stimulate labor and help ease childbirth, due to the effects is has on the uterine wall. Helps treat Cardiovascular Issues. Digestive aid, immune system booster, fertility aid, reduces inflammation, good for skin problems, helps with weightloss.

*Dandelion: Good for Digestion. “Dandelion tea can have many positive effects on your digestive system. Detoxifies the liver, acts as a diuretic, reduces water Weight, Powerhouse of Antioxidants, Fights Diabetes, Treats Urinary Tract Infection, Fights cancer…

*Echinacea: Fights the flu, helps to control blood sugar, Aids help healthy cell growth, reduces the risk of breast cancer, helps manage anxiety, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation…

*Strawberry Leaf:  Strawberry leaf herbal tea is useful for reducing haemorrhoids. Further, many believe that strawberry leaves can help an upset stomach as well as reduce nausea, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. Also, the strawberry leaves are rich in iron, which is beneficial for the blood.

*Thyme: Is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. If you feel a cold coming on, thyme can help get you back in good health. Another health benefit of thyme: It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese

*Hibiscus: Hibiscus tea has been known to prevent hypertension, lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, keep your liver healthy, help with menstrual cramps, help with depression, aid digestion and help with weight management. It’s rich in Vitamin C, contains minerals such as flavonoids and has laxative properties.

*Nettle : Stinging nettle leaf is a gentle diuretic, helping the body to process and flush away toxins. It flushes the kidneys and bladder to prevent and soothe urinary tract infections. Nettle tea is ideal for sodium induced water retention and high blood pressure.

*Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): Is often consumed for its health benefits. 4 Some people drink tea to boost mental alertness or prevent certain types of cancer. Bergamot oil may also be used topically (on the skin) to protect the body against lice, relieve psoriasis, and manage the appearance of vitiligo.

*Salvia Hot Lips aka sage: Enhances memory, positive effects on mood and cognitive performance, anti inflammatory, helps to reduce hot flashes, cough suppressing qualities

*Anise hysop: Use the leaves in a tea to stimulate the digestive system; it is a warming digestive aid, it is carminative (relieves flatulence) and eases diarrhoea. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it useful for relieving congestion, coughs and colds.

*Liquorice mint: Licorice root is used to soothe gastrointestinal problems. In cases of food poisoning, stomach ulcers, and heartburn, licorice root extract can speed the repair of stomach lining and restore balance. This is due to the anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid.

*Fennel: This tea may aid healthy digestion, and treat bloating, gas, or cramps, and may also act as a diuretic. According to herbalists, fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

There are many more plants that can be used in herbal teas. This is just a list to get you started. I recently planted different echinacea plants, Chamomile and different Hibiscus and Lavender. Will keep you updated on their growth process soon! So, if you like gardening and you like tea, this is definitely a magic combo. Lett me know if there are some herbs or flowers I forgot, along with their health benefits. Good luck!

Love love, Maureen

Extreme and crazy things I do to save money

Because every little bit counts and little bits can lead to great things, here is my list of ten extreme things I do to save money.

I use reusable make up pads to take off my make-up. When they are dirty, I just collect them in a separate tiny laundry bag and throw them in the washing machine with the rest of the dirty clothes.

I wanted to change my toiletpaper for cloths too, and throw them in a wet diaper bag until washing time, but I share my house with roommates aka also the toilets, and they did not agree lol.

I save money by using the Hello Fresh service for food. This works in a number of ways, but only if you order the family box of at least 3 and get creative. I will write a separate post on this

I use my leftover coffee grinds to make my own body scrub. Exfoliator is about the only beauty product I don’t buy in the store.

I sing in the shower, to one song only, when the song is done. I turn off the water.

I only use a black Aleppo soap bar in the shower. It’s natural, it looks good, and I like to rub my body with a very hard loofa and the soap so that I get the at home Turkish or Moroccan spa feeling.

I grow my own vegetables, with helps to bring my food budget down. In this category, I also reuse my organic food waste in a compost to be reused when the planting season restarts. Not only does it save me money on buying the compost from a garden center, it saves me money buying expensive garbage bags. ( In Flanders these bags cost 2 euro per bag ).

As mentioned before, I share my house with 2 roommates.

I don’t go to a fancy gym but follow YouTube workouts in my living room daily. This also eliminates the friction of going out side, changing, taking your vehicle to go somewhere. Other than that I go on dog walks twice a day.

I limit my car use to a minimum.

I don’t use a dryer for my clothes and sheets. I hang them outside. I try to limit washing but rather air clothes out or pray them with a self made lavender spray to freshen them up.

I do my own nails and hair.

Last but not least, I try to buy things that work for me instead of me working for them. I buy products that give you way more for your buck. For instance; I will buy a big freezer on sale because in the long run it will help me keep my food budget down. I buy led lightbulbs because it will keep my electricity bill down. I often buy second hand or vintage clothes. I’m a vintage seller so if ever I find myself not wearing a certain item, I will simply resell it. I will buy a Sodastream because I want to reduce plastic and save money on sparkling water. Or I will buy an eye palette on sale that is actually very worth it’s money because several colours are super high quality and various of them can also be used as an eyeliner, highlighter, contouring or setting powder. So you’re actually buying one simple product that you can use in more than 4 ways.

This is a part my crazy list, what are your money saving hacks ? I’d love to know and try them!

Love, Maureen

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