Category Archives: behind the blog

Everyday faves | Wrinkle releaser spray

This is the latest entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Posts in the series have included:

This month, I’m highlighting my love of wrinkle releaser spray! (That’s an odd sentence out of context. Maybe it’s still an odd sentence, even when in context. 😉 )

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, wrinkle releaser spray

Just like in last month’s post about Static Guard spray, I have at least two bottles of wrinkle releaser spray at hand at all times:  a full-size bottle and a travel-size bottle. The full-size bottle I keep upstairs, and the travel-size bottle I keep in my bin of travel toiletries, near the downstairs bathroom.

Also, it’s funny looking at the list of previous “Everyday faves,” and there’s are a couple of themes when you put together my love of stain sticks, static cling spray, and now wrinkle releaser spray. One, I love getting travel-sized stuff. Two, I must seem like a very messy, rumpled person. Or rather, I am trying to prevent looking like my naturally messy, rumpled self. 😉

Here’s how the spray works. First, you hang or lay flat an article of clothing that’s wrinkled. This is a cardigan of mine that’s been on the floor in the laundry basket for over a week, so it’s a good candidate for this demonstration. Next, spray the area that’s wrinkled — and not just a light misting or spritz, but a thorough spray over the wrinkled areas.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, wrinkle releaser spray

Then start smoothing out the wrinkled areas, stretching the fabric across and down. (I usually do this with both hands, but I had to use one hand this time to take pictures.) It really is best to do this step right away, instead of waiting a few minutes to let the spray “soak in” and then trying to smooth out wrinkles. You need to get to smoothing out the wrinkles immediately. Let the clothing item air dry for a few minutes after.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, wrinkle releaser spray

Does it work? Below is a side-by-side comparison, before and after using the wrinkle releaser spray on my wrinkled cardigan. There’s definitely a difference!

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, wrinkle releaser spray

I always take my wrinkle releaser spray with me while traveling, especially if it’s for work. No matter how well you pack, your clothes will have at least some wrinkles. So adding a travel-sized wrinkle release spray to your toiletries is super useful, and much easier and quicker to do than ironing. If you’re a longtime reader (thank you!), then you’ll know I loathe ironing. Loathe. So much so I’ve basically designed my lifestyle and wardrobe around avoiding ironing as much as possible. (This is also why I purchased a steamer, which I talk about here in this post.)

And I don’t have a set brand that I prefer for the wrinkle releaser spray. I just reuse the travel-sized Downy bottle and refill it with spray from the larger bottle of whatever wrinkler releaser brand I happen to have on hand. I have personally found no difference between using generic and brand-name wrinkle releaser sprays.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, wrinkle releaser spray

Do you use a wrinkler releaser spray or something similar? Please leave a comment and share!

Behind the blog: My work area at home

I recently featured what I usually wear when I’m at home, as well as a peek at our cozy living room. I also have a cozy little corner of my own, a desk and sewing area.

I wanted an area with lots of natural light, for projects and crafts. This area is off the top of the stairs on the top level, opposite our master bedroom, and it has two large windows side-by-side that provide for a sunlit and cheerful space.

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

My desk also serves as a craft and sewing table, as my portable sewing machine fits perfectly into the bottom left side. Sewing materials and supplies round out the drawers on the right.

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of my desk chair

Can you spot all the IKEA pieces in my little niche? 😉 The desk is from the Hemnes line (we also have side tables and a chest of drawers from the Hemnes collection). The rolling desk chair with its cheerful gingham fabric and bows down the back is also from IKEA, as well as the grey bendable lamp seen in a pic below, and the white storage bench to the left of the desk.

My “inspiration boards” are above the white bench (they’re from Michael’s), and we put up a couple of hooks on the window wall so I have a place to hang my sewing projects. I also hang up my next-day work outfits there.

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

Librarian for Life + Style | My inspiration boards in my work area at home

To the right of my desk you can spot a sliver of my new MiniBox organizer, featured in this earlier post. Its white beadboard siding goes with the other white pieces, and its wood top ties in with my wood rocking chair. I grew up with this rocking chair, which was my mom’s; she gave it to me when I first moved out on my own. It has a lot of sentimental value for me, of course, plus it has a classic, comfortable shape. The rocking chair was also featured in a post from a few years ago, in our house in Portland.

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

Librarian for Life + Style | My work area at home

Last, but not least, of course my cat Ibsen wanted to get in on the action! After all, with his grey-and-white coat, he fits right into the color scheme. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | My cat Ibsen in my work area at home

Did you enjoy this peek at my little work area at home? Do you have a “room of one’s own” as well? Please leave a comment and share!

What I wear at home

Just 3 more days to enter the JORD giveaway… click the graphic below or here to go to the link for the JORD giveaway entry form plus additional contest details.

Librarian for Life + Style | JORD giveaway graphic

Snow day casual

After I focused on purchasing at-home leisure wear during last month’s monthly budget post, I have been thinking about posting about what I normally wear at home. An unexpected snow day last week provided the perfect opportunity to do so! We took these pics in our living room, mid-morning while I was having my morning coffee (I got to sleep in!!!) and checking out style blogs for the day on my laptop (check out my Blog Love page for my daily style reads). And yep, that’s snow you’re seeing through the living room window!

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

When I’m at home on the weekends (or on snow days), this is pretty much my uniform, give or take a hoodie:  yoga pants, slipper socks (or just regular socks), fingerless gloves, and a basic tee, with my hair pinned back. No jewelry. No makeup. I like to be comfortable at all times — my personal style mantra, after all, is comfy + classic with a bit of quirk — but even more so at home. When I’m at home, comfort definitely reigns supreme and comes complete with a stretchy waistband. Keepin’ it real, y’all. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Of course, whenever we take pics inside our home, at least one of our cats is bound to want to be involved. (Also see here, here, and here, for starters.) This time around, it was Ibsen who decided to take center stage. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

Librarian for Life + Style | What I wear at home

I love our living room! It’s such a light-filled and friendly-feeling space. And the arabesque shapes on the rug and pillows that play off the cross-hatching on the windows? Not an accident… 😉

And of course, in a librarian’s home, you will find books! Behind me is the right side of the built-in bookcases on either side of our fireplace in the living room. On the top bookshelf behind me is a row of white lanterns from IKEA, which feature knickknacks and ephemera from our various travels. (You can also experience our travels here in a series of international travel flashback posts.) The rest of the shelf space is devoted to books; on this side of the fireplace are home to what I call our “practical books,” e.g. cookbooks and books on home design, home care and maintenance, medical care, and pet care. A few colorful boxes separate the different subcategories as well as hold odds and ends.

Can you tell I’m a librarian? 😉

And finally, a few fun closeups:

Librarian for Life + Style | Ibsen the cat on our living room rug

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of Ibsen the cat

Librarian for Life + Style | Fit for a Queen coffee cup

Did you enjoy seeing me at home, and what I usually wear when I’m lounging at home? Do you have a “uniform” that you wear when at home? Please leave a comment and share!


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What my mom taught me about shopping for clothes

I have been thinking about this post for a few months now, but it’s taken me awhile to flesh out my thoughts and actually write the post. My more introspective “behind the blog” posts take me the longest to think through and write, but they often turn out to be amongst my favorite posts.

The trigger incident for this post happened this past summer when I was with some friends and mentioned the no-clothes-shopping challenge, “Shop Free for 3,” that I participated in. It immediately sparked a conversational thread among my friends about why they dislike shopping — and actively avoid it if they can. So a ban on no clothes-shopping for a few months seemed totally normal to them, whereas for me, it was a challenge. (Although it IS easier to not shop once you get into the habit of not, you know, shopping.)

Shop graphic

“Shop” by Steve Snodgrass is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I totally get how shopping can turn into a traumatic experience, as it’s all wrapped up in body image and how stores so often limit the range of clothing sizes and discriminate or show bias against persons of different sizes. But then I started wondering about my monthly clothing budget posts, and how those posts could be viewed from a reader who doesn’t like shopping. Because here’s the thing:  I realized that I am a person who DOES enjoy shopping for clothes, and that’s the perspective I have when I write those posts. Are these posts totally unrelatable if you don’t like to shop? (I’m actually asking here. Please leave a comment and share your perspective!)

Continuing down this reflective path, I started thinking about WHY I actually like shopping for clothes, or at least the experience of shopping, and what in my life has contributed to that attitude. And I’ve been returning to that path off and on over the past few months. And I believe it all goes back to my mom and what she taught me about shopping for clothes.

Shopping as a social experience

The main reason I think I enjoy shopping is because I see it as an experience, one that is social. This stems back to my childhood. I didn’t grow up shopping a lot; rather, shopping was infrequent and therefore a treat. My mom and I would go shopping together once a year, before school started, to get my school clothes for the year. If I grew a lot that year, then a mid-year shopping trip was in order. When I transitioned into high school, Texas — or at least the county I grew up in — started doing “no sales tax” weekends in August, which also facilitated this kind of shopping. So shopping was a special event to look forward to.

And because my mom and I were together, it was a social experience, and an enjoyable one. My mom and I were very close back then, and I am grateful that we continue to be very close today. I had a personal champion with me, someone I knew who loved and supported me. And my mom was honest about whether or not she liked something. That combination — an honest opinion coming from someone who I knew loved me 100% — reinforced for me that if something didn’t fit or look right, that it wasn’t about me as a person, it was about the clothes. In a way, that then served as positive body reinforcement, something vital to establish at a young age, in my opinion.

And that kind of honesty is still something I seek as I now primarily go shopping for clothes with my husband! Shopping, therefore, is STILL a social experience for me. I do not like to go clothes shopping alone, because I am used to — and prefer! — someone there with me, not only as support, but also to provide honest opinions and reactions to clothing I try on.

Try things on

That’s another point:  my mom was insistent that I try. things. on. That was part of the deal. How could you know if something fit if you didn’t try it on?! And take several sizes with you to the dressing room, just in case you’ve grown a size or two. Again, that message:  if something doesn’t fit, it’s the clothes, not you! And if something doesn’t fit, move on to the next thing.

Librarian for Life + Style | Dressing room pics from Kohl's shopping trip

Trying things on while clothes shopping

Have a plan

My mom and I would usually do all our clothes shopping for the year on a single day or over a weekend, so that meant we had to have a plan and maximize our time shopping. So we went to stores that would:

  1. most likely have my size
  2. have a lot of options and sizes
  3. fit my style and age range, and
  4. if possible, also have sales and/or coupons.

We also had to be efficient while at the store, so I got used to the idea of both of us scanning the store first for possibles, choosing items in multiple sizes, and then trying on as many things as possible at one time in the dressing room. This is still how I operate while shopping. My mom taught me that method, and I use it even today. And I continue to prefer brick-and-mortar shopping over online shopping, because I still feel the need to try clothes on.

Shopping was not without its frustrations, of course, then or now. I still get tired trying on clothes — I do reach a threshold of “I cannot try on one more item!” — and I have been known to get cranky if I really like something that my shopping partner does not. But looking back over those shopping excursions with my mom, I still remember them above all as enjoyable experiences. (I have no idea if my mom remembers them as enjoyable, hah!) And I’m grateful that my mom — whether she realized it or not — instilled within me body-positive lessons and a positive outlook about shopping for clothes.

Summing up

Upon reflection, here is a summary of those lessons that I learned, from my personal perspective:

  • Shopping for clothes is a social experience, so bring a buddy with you if at all possible.
  • Be honest with yourself and seek out and expect honest opinions from others who go shopping with you.
  • Shopping is a means to an end, so have a goal in mind when you go shopping. Do not go shopping for the sake of shopping.
  • Try everything on and focus on fit.
  • If possible, take multiple sizes of an item with you to the dressing room.
  • If something doesn’t fit, don’t take it personally. It’s NOT YOU, it’s the clothing.

That sums up some of my personal experiences shopping for clothes, and why, overall, I have always been able to view clothes-shopping as a positive thing. To be clear, I am NOT giving personal advice on how to shop — just relating how I view it, and why. And I’m not saying that I’ve always had body-positive thoughts; believe me, I’ve gone through my share of angst-ridden teen years. And I wrote in this post, entitled “Growing pains,” about how growing five inches in one summer stunted my body image for years. But reflecting back, I truly believe that my early shopping experiences with my mom laid a body-positive foundation when it comes to shopping, a foundation I was able to find my way back to as an adult. I am now a woman who generally does enjoy shopping for clothes — as well as the end result! — but I realize that it is not the case for everyone.

Also, perhaps reading this post will also help provide context to regular readers (as always, thank you!) for my monthly shopping posts, and why I get excited at scoring a good deal… or why I tend to focus on shopping goals, like when I shopped for maxidresses, for black jeans, and for cognac wedges.

Librarian for Life + Style | Maxidress shopping

Last but not least

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank you, Mom, for not only what you taught me about clothes-shopping and a positive body image, but also for a million other things, including reading and supporting this style blog of mine. I know you read this blog every day — and more importantly, you let me know that you enjoy reading this blog every day! — and I truly appreciate it, and you.

Mental hugs, with love. ♥

Librarian for Life + Style | Me and my mom, 2013

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Everyday faves: A look inside my medicine cabinet

When I posted a reader poll a couple of weeks ago to ask whether I should continue the “Everyday faves” series I had begun in the fall, the majority response voted “Yes, please!” Thank you to everyone who voted in the poll — I really appreciate your feedback.

So I will continue the series, and I thought the idea of a peek inside my medicine cabinet fit the theme of the “Everyday faves” series. After all, I do use my medicine cabinet every day! It’s also a fun kind of post in the vein of posts like my “What’s in my bag?” post.

Librarian for Life + Style | A look inside my medicine cabinet

When we moved into our new home in Tacoma this past summer, I knew we had to something about the storage situation — or lack thereof — in the ground floor bathroom. (We also have a half-bath upstairs.) So after unpacking, I immediately started scouting out medicine cabinets, ones that were wide and deep (at least 3 inches deep) in order to hold a lot of the little things that accumulate in a bathroom.

We picked out this Pegasus medicine cabinet, which measures 20 wide x 26 inches high by almost 3.5 inches deep. There are also different width options for this same style, at 15 inches wide and 24 inches wide. Additionally, there’s a lovely oval version of this same design — which we seriously considered — but the interior cabinet is much smaller due to needing to fit behind the oval shape of the mirror.

Here’s the outside of our bathroom cabinet mirror, which is beveled and has a nice frame in oil-rubbed bronze. (Sam and I are partial to oil-rubbed bronze, which also goes well with the style of our older home.) We put the cabinet up ourselves, which was not that easy — but worth it!

Librarian for Life + Style | A look inside my medicine cabinet

And here’s the inside! Things are organized more by height — a necessity of the configuration of the glass shelves — rather than by function, but it’s still relatively neat and tidy. Most of my stuff is on the right side of the cabinet, which fits our usual pattern. I’m right-handed, while Sam is left-handed. So to keep things consistent, my stuff is almost always on the right, like with towels, toothbrushes, clothes in our shared closet, etc.

Almost all of my makeup fits in this medicine cabinet, everything except my pretty cup of lip stains, seen here. Most of my everyday hair products, including the R+Co dry shampoo paste I wrote about in an earlier Everyday faves post, fit into the cabinet, as well.

Librarian for Life + Style | A look inside my medicine cabinet

Those clear plastic caddies also make all the difference in keeping things tidy. I found the bottom caddy, the one with the oil-rubbed bronze base, at Target — which is also where I found our water cup! (Here’s a similar bronze-and-plastic bathroom caddy from the same brand.)

And, best of all, there’s a mirror on the inside of the cabinet door, seen below, which really comes in handy. (The back and sides of the cabinet are also mirrored.) And the photo below makes our medicine cabinet look twice as big! 🙂 In the reflection, you can see where I store my hair dryer and flat iron, also seen in this post about my everyday hair care routine.

Librarian for Life + Style | A look inside my medicine cabinet

So there you have it, a look inside our medicine cabinet, something I am grateful for every single day. Do you also have a medicine cabinet? How do you store your bathroom necessities? Please leave a comment and share!

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