Watcha Wearin’? A Velvet Penny Raglan, of course!

Happy 2017 everyone! Today I’m popping in as part of Tibeca’s Watcha Wearin’ January blog tour with a new make and maybe some style inspiration for the new year.  I’ll be participating every Friday this month, showing off how I wear some of my handmades in my day-to-day life.

Watcha Wearin' January

Today I’m showing off the new Penny Raglan that I made last month.  While my love for the Penny Raglan has already been documented, I haven’t pulled out the pattern since summer.  But I had leftovers from N’s velvet Christmas dress and wanted to make something for me, so when my eyes landed on my Penny pattern, I knew it was a match made in heaven!

Creative Counselor: Velvet Penny Raglan

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Creative-Counselor: FASTer Way to Fat Loss Results

My FASTer Way to Fat Loss Experience

This is a lot of posting over the last few days (after a couple of months off!), but I wanted to get this particular post done and out there before the holidays, just in case anyone is looking to jump-start new year’s resolutions in 2017 🙂

**This post contains affiliate links.  I would not include an affiliate link if I didn’t really like this program.  But if you keep reading, I think you’ll see that my results certainly justify my enthusiasm!**

As most of you know, I didn’t do a lot of sewing in November and December this year.  So what was I doing instead?  Well, in addition to sleeping, reading and catching up on TV shows with the hubs, I was also really focused on getting myself back in shape and trying to lean down and lose some of the 20 pounds I’d packed on over the last 2 years.

I’ve tried lots of different workout programs since having kids, many of which really are good programs, but I didn’t have any real results with any of them.  Until now!

Guys, I am so excited that I finally found the program that works for me!  After seeing a random Instagram post from a fashion blogger I follow, I clicked through and found Amanda Tress’ FASTer Way to Fat Loss program (affiliate link).

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Butterfly Twists v. Tieks: The Comparison

When I first started researching Tieks, among the mountains of glowing reviews, there were a few people who were less than happy with their Tieks.  That didn’t surprise me at all — if a product is reviewed a lot, I would expect some people not to love them.  Many of those non-Tiek-lovers recommended a brand called Butterfly Twists as a more comfortable and much less expensive alternative.

Now I am on record as loving my Tieks, and I stick by that completely uncompensated opinion.  But I also wanted to try out the Butterfly Twists to see if they really were a comparable alternative.

(You can find my Tieks reviews here and here).

What to do but order a pair?  Butterfly Twist flats range in price from £30 to £60.  I went with a basic pair that is apparently out of stock, though this one is pretty comparable to what I got.  In addition to ballet flats, BT also has wellies and trainers, which range from £40 to £75.

Creative Counselor: Butterfly Twists

I’ve actually had these shoes for a while and have had quite a bit of time to wear both them and my Tieks and see how they compare.

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The Runway Skirt

Oh, it was so warm when I took these photos!  As I’m sitting here in my frigid office looking at the even more frigid parking lot, I am, as is my habit in the wintertime, pining away for summer.

But back to the matter at hand!  I pre-tested the Runway Skirt for Audrey of Skirt Fixation and Savvy Patterns, and I am just now getting around to showing off my skirt!

Creative Counselor: Runway Skirt

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Finding Balance

aka: “How my wardrobe went from 90% handmade to 25% handmade in a month and why I don’t care.”

aka: “How I’m trying to rein in my slightly obsessive tendencies and live a more balanced life.”

aka: “Why you’re not likely to see lots of Facebook activity from me in the near future.”

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, and inevitably, some of you have started to notice.

So what have I been doing the last couple of months?  Well, traveling a lot, of course, but thankfully I’m done with that for a while (I will get photos from my Spain trip up … eventually).  It’s been many years since I had to travel a lot for work and I’m not eager to return to that lifestyle.  I guess I’m a homebody at heart.

Apart from the traveling, I’ve been catching up on 9 months of sleep, reading, and watching Gilmore Girls for the fourth time in preparation for the new season releasing next week.  On a side note, is anyone else as excited to go back to Stars Hollow as I am??

I’ve also finally gotten myself back into an exercise routine.  I somehow managed to put on 20 pounds over the last two years, and I had enough of it.  I’m all on board the self-love train, would never body shame myself or anyone else, and am of the “dress the body you have, not the body you wish you had” ilk.  But still, I think we all have a picture of ourselves in our head, and for quite a while now, my image in the mirror did not match the picture in my head.  On top of that, I wasn’t eating great, and felt sluggish and rundown all the time.

So I’ve started a 6-week bootcamp program that so far I LOOOOVE!  After less than two weeks, my stomach is flat again for the first time in at least a year, and I’ve lost about 1.5″ from my hips and about 1″ from my waist.  And I still have 4 weeks to go!  I’ll do a full-on review with before and after photos when it’s all done, but in the meantime, if anyone is interested, the link is here (affiliate link).

I must admit that I’ve also been recovering from election stress.  I fall within the 50% of the country that was shocked and somewhat devastated by the results of the US presidential election, so I’ve kind of been holing up and trying to figure out how to be positive and empathetic for the next four years.  It hasn’t always been easy.

But I am trying to channel the anger and frustration I feel into action.  My first action has been to reclaim the title of “feminist” for myself after seeing just how far we still have to go before women are treated equally.  I’ve recruited a group of friends with similar sentiments and we’re educating ourselves on modern feminism and feminist literature.  First up is the book How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (affiliate link).

And I have spent less than 20 minutes total at my sewing machines since the beginning of October.  And you know what, it’s felt really good!  I have a tendency to get a little obsessive about my hobbies, and this past year I’ve been particularly bad about it.  I’ve been spending multiple hours in front of my sewing machines almost every night, foregoing much-needed sleeping, exercise, and all the other hobbies that I also enjoy.

I am slowly starting to reacquaint with my sewing machines, and my hope is that I can be a little more balanced overall.  In that vein, I went out a got a whole bunch of RTW work clothes at the Columbus Day sales last month.  I was tired of not having work clothes that fit, and my irrational need to make all of them was a big part of the problem, and a big part of why I was chronically exhausted.  After a couple of shopping runs at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, my closet is nice and full, and the sewing pressure is off.  And so that’s how I went from a 90% handmade wardrobe to a 25% handmade wardrobe in a month!

I will start slowly repopulating my handmades, but I want to be more deliberate about it.  I’d like to focus more of my attention on items that take more time and detail like pants, button ups, and maybe a blazer.  That will mean turning out 2-3 items per month rather than 2-3 per week like I was doing.

Whew! That was a lot of words!  Well it does feel nice to be back in this space.  I will try to appear more often 🙂  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with just a few photos from my Spain trip!

Katie goes to Spain

Katie goes to Spain

Katie goes to Spain

Waxing poetic about cardigans

Creative Counselor: Cardigan round up

Believe it or not, I don’t actually like making cardigans.  If that’s the case, you may be wondering, why are you part of a blog tour about cardigans??  Valid question!

Even though I kind of detest making cardigans, I love wearing them, especially in the fall and winter, and because of that, I’ve found myself making quite a few over the years.  I’m hot and heavy into preparing for an upcoming trip, so I haven’t had the time (or motivation, let’s face it, it’s hard to get motivated to sew cardigans when it’s 90+ degrees out) to make any cardigans, so instead I’m rounding up a few of my favorites that I’ve made over the years. (Warning: it’s also a tour of Katie’s hairstyles over the last few years — wow, I look different in some of these photos!)

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Tieks Round 2 (and 3)

Creative Counselor: Tieks Round 2 and 3

It hasn’t been that long since I bought my first pair of Tieks and posted about my initial impressions (find that here).

Well since then, my mustard Tieks have fully broken in and become the shoes I reach for first.  I’ve worn them to work, running errands, to the park, even on the 2 1/4-mile round trip walk to and from my kids’ elementary school.  I’ve worn them wandering around town all day long, even to the point that J noticed, leading him to comment, “Wow, Mom, you must really love your new shoes.”

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Grainline Penny Raglan

***This post originally published on the Cali & Co blog***

If you’ve ever read my blog, it should be no surprise that I love loose, oversized garments, particularly those in bamboo jersey.  And this Penny Raglan (which I originally featured as a Cali & Co contributing blogger) is one of my all-time favorite flowy patterns.

Katie Lee: Penny Raglan

Photo Credit: Go Dream Photos

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