7.24.2016

3rd Annual Shopping Experiment

Last week I went on day 2 of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale's Early Access to put together this post with the intention of sharing it with you as soon as possible, but then life happened.  So I'm going to keep this as short as possible because things are selling out!

If you've been a reader for a while, skip this paragraph, you already know what this is.  If not, Nordstrom has a sale unlike any other where they discount brand new arrivals beginning in July and then prices go up August 8th.  I like to take advantage of it for my growing babies with their back to school clothes.  To have fun with it, I have them each pick out an outfit without help from me, I call this a Shopping Experiment.  I love comparing their picks and my picks and I love seeing their personal style emerge. Fashion is fun!

So let's dive in and get right to it.


This is Beau's head-to-toe pick for himself.  I asked him to pick out a "first day of school outfit".  I love it all!  These shoes are covered in  glow-in-the-dark sharks, these pants were about the color for him and the Star Wars hoodie is unbelievably soft!



This is my head-to-toe pick for him.  I like to see him in a polo shirt and I thought he'd appreciate a little alligator on it.  The pants have an elastic waist because I know that's the only kind of pants he likes to wear and the high top converse sneakers are slip on, there's hidden elastic inside the shoe!



This is Lilly's head-to-to pick for herself.  She LOVES dresses like this, the more pattern and movement the better!  I'm into the shoes she selected for the durability.  Would you agree that shoes made of PVC are indestructible?!  Bonus, they have a fruity smell!



When she put this on I melted, she loved it, too!  This is my selection for her.  The top is colorful and lightweight, the jeggings are... do they make a pair in my size?  and the boots versatile and adorable!



We were both drawn to this cute cardigan.  Her school temperature fluctuates, so she always wants a sweater in her backpack in case she needs it.



I'm squeezing in a few extra outfits for her because we were having so much fun together.  We were inspired by this super soft reversible faux shearling vest.  And I went for the jeggings again in black this time because they're the best I've come across in fit, style and feel for her.  She went for the emoji tee (it's sold out, I'll let you know when it's back in stock). And we tied it all together with these great boots again, versatile/smart purchase!




When she tried this on I thought, NO! She might as well be in jr. high!  She looks so grown up!  Then at the same time I though how beautiful she is and how excited I am for our future together.  I felt sad, anxious, adoring and excited all at once.  Crazy how clothes can transform into feelings!  Anyway, this is a good time to buy these expensive workout clothes on sale!



This is another extra!  They wanted to pick out an outfit for each other.  Can you tell by the light up shoes? ;)


Lilly picked this outfit for her brother.  About the T-Shirt she said, "It's the story of my life!"  We live on a street with all boys and she feels our extended family doesn't have enough girls. Ha!  The jeans she selected for Beau have an elastic waist, thumbs up! And the shoes are again, slip on!



This is Beau's outfit for his sister.  He called the dress and shoes "rainbow" and he knew Lilly would like it because the outfit was like one.





I don't know what my conclusion is about the experiment this year.  I do know this:  "What is good taste?  Your taste."  Maybe my conclusion is, I'm letting go and stressing to them that fashion is fun.  I don't want them trying to please me or anyone else via their clothes!  I did my best to get them clothes they liked even if I didn't like them because it's all SUBJECTIVE and I just want them to feel good! Tell it to your neighbor!

PS- Yes, shopping with them took a lot of patience.  I made sure I was well rested and my tummy was full. ;)  So no need to take your kids to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, just shop my post for these kid approved deals.  And thank you in advance!

5.18.2016

#TITYNBUILDSAHOUSE + Invitation


It's been a while since I've been on this blog because we've started to build a house!  I hope you are on Instagram or Facebook and I hope you are enjoying the progress/process I'm sharing there!


In short, we demolished our existing house (we'd been living there since 2008) and moved into a rental right next door while we build on our lot.  


Our builder is Horace Homes (this is how we met) and our architect is Travis Mattingly with Architectural Solutions, Inc..  I could go on and on about how pleased I am with both of them but I'm trying to write fast and the purpose of this post is to share the plans!


We met with Travis for the first time about a year ago.  He came up with 4 schematic plans based on our needs, wants and ideas for our lot.  It was hard to decide but we picked our favorite and began the process of developing it into our final plans.

Fast forward several months and here's the rendering of what our house will mostly look like!  I say "mostly" because there are several things that will be different stylistically, for example there won't be any arches.  So the porch and garage will be straight across.  The brick will be slurried so you'll see less brick pattern and it will look kind of like painted brick.  The chimney is smaller and has only one flu at the top.  The front door and garage door design will be different as well.  AND we have a big tree in our front yard, hiding a lot of the chimney!
Oh how I love this floor plan.  This is the first floor.  Take a look!  I told Travis I like to be inside a house and see the outside of the house, I experience this at my sisters house and for some reason I like the feeling.  So he created a courtyard, my favorite part of the whole house!  Perfect for a ping pong table don't you think?!  Oh and I have to mention the Art Room, dream come true!
And the second floor!  I told Travis I wanted a window in every bathroom and also in the utility room and he made it work!  I also wanted closets located in bathrooms because I believe this will keep the rooms tidier and he made that work too!


I helped design the master bath and closet and it's been humbling because it's the space we're most concerned about things fitting. Ha!  In my former life before kids, I space planed work spaces in office buildings, residences are a little different. ;)  I hope you'll follow along on social media under the hashtag #titynbuildsahouse to see more things like this.


Before you go I'd like to invite you to join me next Tuesday at the Grand Opening Party of Alice and Olivia in Houston at River Oaks District.  The opening is honoring The Children's Fund and 20% of the evenings proceeds will benefit them!  Please see the invite above for more information and RSVP.  I hope to see you there!

1.01.2016

Start Here



Happy New Year!  I'm so excited to start Peter Walsh's #31Days2GetOrganized again!  If you're not sure what I'm talking about, read here: where I started and here: how I continued.  This will be my 4th set of 31 challenges which means I'm starting with my 94th challenge.  Can you believe I still have too much stuff and want to declutter more?!  I would love it if you started with me and the other thousands on his Facebook Page.  It's easier to let go of stuff and get a healthier home when you're doing it with people all over the country, at the same time!  Here's a look at the first challenge:



If you're in as much clutter debt as I was, your donation bin or area is going to need to be big if you want to do a garage sale at the end of the month.  If you just want to donate, I would suggest going to goodwill or similar every couple of days.


This is everything that left my house after my second set of 31 challenges.  This year I want to have even more leave my house so I'm going to buy 5 large boxes tomorrow.  We are going to be moving soon and most likely we'll be having a big garage sale and I don't want to be looking at pile like this for a whole month.


If you're reading this and thinking I wish... but...  Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. One person can make a big difference.  You might think you need your whole household on board to declutter and clean things up but you don't.  One person, little by little, can create a healthier home.  This is true with attitude and cleanliness.
2.  Don't worry about the WHY.  TODAY it doesn't matter why, how, who's fault it is that there's too much stuff.  No shaming yourself or anyone else is allowed!  TODAY you want it to change, that's all that matters. The WHY can be conquered when your mind is free and clear of the clutter around you.
3.  If you think "there's no use" because it's just going to get messy again... This might be the perfectionist in you leading to procrastination.  So this month, let go of that, DONE is better than perfect.
4.  Create a "no impulse buy" rule for shopping.  If you didn't go to the store for it, don't buy it.  For me, I try to make myself wait a week before I can go back to the store to buy something I saw.  Usually by then, I've stopped obsessing and I don't want it anymore.
5.  If you have a hard time letting go of things and you get emotionally attached, remember this:  "People are more important than things" and "people are not IN things." (I believe I just quoted my very good friend here.) Also, believe there will always be enough, give to those in need. Would you rather be generous or stingy?
6.  Go see the movie JOY and get inspired for your life!

I could go on forever and I will little by little this month on Instagram and Facebook.  Follow along or participate with the hashtag #31Days2GetOrganized.

12.08.2015

Not Your Typical Gift Guide

Last year we had the most stress-free Christmas when it came to gifts.  We gave the same thing to all the adults and the same thing to all of our nieces and nephews (depending on their age).  I was able to do this because I found something so great it would be coveted by all.  For example, we got all the adults a YETI rambler, I wanted everyone to experience the luxury of hot coffee for hours!  It was so easy because there was just 1 order for 15 cups and all the gift bags were the same size, less variables = less stress and more sleep. Ha!  My motivation though wasn't just about ease, it was also about smart spending and my new anti-clutter mindset.  So of course I wanted to do the same concept this year. Below are ideas I'm working on/trying to decide between... If you are in my family, stop reading after the kid ideas!



I made an investment in the starter set of Magna-Tiles a couple years ago and I'm so glad I did because they are used the most out of all our toys.  So when I saw this clear ICE set I knew my daughter would love to get creative with it.  My daughter is 8, she still plays with Magna-Tiles and is even asking for more ICE tiles this Christmas.  I think I'm getting this set of ICE tiles for all the young girls in our family.



For the boy's I want to get this newly found set of Magna-Tiles BLACK!  Think Star Wars and Batman's Batcave... they'll be able to imagine and create these tiles to be anything they want!




My runner up idea for the girls in our family is this set of The Princess in Black books. We recently picked up the first book in the series at a book fair and my daughter couldn't put it down.  She read it outside while her friends on the block were playing.  THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN EVER!  The recommended age for the books are 5-8. My daughter's teacher would probably say she needs to be reading on a more challenging level but I'm just happy she's enjoying it and begging for the second book.  The third book in the series comes out in February so if you're giving the set, your lucky girl will get a surprise in the future!




My runner up for the younger boys in our family is this Star Wars Epic Yarns book set by the brothers Jack and Holman Wang.  These books blow me away.  Each book has about 12 Star Wars scenes with artistically created figures made of felt.  Each scene is paired with a single sight word to tell the story.  I'd say these are great for age 3-5 or an early reader who is obsessed with all things Star Wars (that's my son). If you're into this, check out the behind the scenes video here: Wang.




For the women (or men) in my family, I'm thinking the S'well Bottle is perfect.  It looks like just another water bottle, oh but it's not! My neighbor told me about this one! ;)  It will keep your water cold for 24 hours!  I am LOVING mine!  It will also keep hot liquid hot.  So basically its a YETI that can't spill, you can throw it in your bag.  Perfect for water on your night stand, working out or in your car running errands.  They say the healthiest way to store water is in a stainless or glass container, you got it! The S'well Bottle comes in a variety of styles. These are my top 8, including a couple Mara Hoffman styles.


The other gift I am thinking about getting the ladies is a waist apron from Heirloomed Collection. So many pretty styles! And if you're on Instagram you've got to check out their beautiful posts. Also, they are having a 12 Days of Christmas promotion so I've been checking everyday for their aprons to go on sale!
For the guys in our family, we're getting them into the Dollar Shave Club.  This also comes recommended by a neighbor, seriously, TITYN!  He likes knowing every 4 weeks, 4 new razors will be in his mailbox.  And he likes their Shave Butter as well!  When you're gifting the DSC there's a choice of 3 months, 6 months or a year.


This is a gift idea for someone helping a kid buy a gift for a grown-up. I hope that's not too confusing.   We have this book, The Book With No Pictures, and my kids like to ask every grow-up who visits to read it to them.  If your family and friends are not offended by hearing or being forced to say "Boo Boo Butt" than this book is fun!


This is a gift for a Texan, a teacher, your neighbor, your friend.  I love this Texas Print Mug by Newton Supply Co.!  Black on black, gloss on matte and a big handle, what's not to love?!


Last but not least, I'm considering Memberships as gifts in lieu of all of the above.  Talk about clutter free!  I have found with our family Memberships to the Zoo, Art museum and science museum, we know more about the happenings and therefore we go.  There's incentive to see exhibits before they are open to the public. Because I'm getting emails and regular mail from them, the museums are not out of sight and out of mind, they are on the brain and we go!  I know that would happen for my family and friends as well.  Here are links to the Houston memberships:

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - Gift Membership comes with a glass!
Houston Zoo - Choose a membership level and you'll be prompted to select if it's a gift.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science - They're having a promotion for current members!


A photo posted by Rachel Cruze (@rachelcruze) on

I hope this post has helped you if you're stumped.  And before you go, I'd like to make a PSA - Don't let anyone or anything make you feel like you have to spend money you don't have. :) "Showing you care doesn't always mean spending money." - Rachel Cruze

PS - These are more ideas I didn't have time to write about:
Beth Macri - Hidden Message Jewelry
Tickets to JJ Watt's Charity Classic - Defense is in the 3rd base dugout
Lego Architecture Studio - To recreate The Connectivity project from the art museum at home.