Tag Archives: fun

Ladies night: Clothing Swap

During college, my roommate and I would  shop each other’s closets to save money and try out a different look. (Let’s be honest – when Amanda borrowed from my closet, it was when she needed to dress as a librarian/7th grader and when I raided hers it was so I could go out on the weekend and maybe just maybe not be carded.)

So when I got invited to a clothing swap hosted by a few girlfriends this past weekend, I was super excited. At this point in the year, I’m tired of my winter clothes and re-evaluating what I want to keep for spring and summer. Clothing swaps are a great way to let go of nicer items you love but that aren’t working for you any more and that you’re too lazy to consign.

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image via Oh Happy Day {free printable invites}

The recipe for a clothing swap is pretty simple:

A home to host it in. (It’s preferable to send the spouse/kids out for the duration, so the entire main floor can serve as a giant dressing room.)

Hangers/tables/rolling clothes rack if you’re really fancy & a few full-length mirrors. We hung dresses in one room, folded up pants in another and piled tops on the kitchen table. I schlepped my cheap Target mirror down the street to pitch in.

Wine & snacks & a playlist. Not necessary, but ‘duh.’ A party atmosphere is way more fun for shopping.  Get goofy and sometimes you might accidentally try on someone’s real jeans that they’ve abandoned momentarily because they’re trying on another outfit.

Suitcases/hampers for bringing clothes, shoes and accessories to the swap and bringing your fabulous finds home. We didn’t have any fights break out over any of the pieces — you just toss an item you want into your hamper/suitcase to reserve it.

A “no fat talk” rule. Bodies change. Some of your friends are taller/thinner than you. This is not the time to get hung up on your insecurities. Celebrate the things that look great on each other and laugh off the fact that multiple people got stuck when trying on the same garment and needed to be extracted from it.

A donation plan. The hostess should plan to bring leftover items to Goodwill. We also had some work-appropriate outfits that are on their way to Dress for Success.

I’m amazed by how well everything worked out. It’s not like all of us wear the same size or are the same shape, but everyone went home with at least one killer “new” outfit. I have the perfect cardigan to complete this swap outfit, which I plan to wear on a trip to Boston next month!

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Personally, I scored huge when a friend walked through the door with this pair of brown leather size 7 Fossil boots she’d outgrown after having her son. My feet grew after pregnancy, too, and I’d just given some of my favorite boots to my nieces, so it was like boot karma.

It was also really fun to see another friend  rock a pair of corduroys I’d bought awhile back thinking I was going to grow three inches and lose 20 pounds. (What?!)

Also, for some reason, we all showed up in black tank tops and jeans, although there was no instruction to do this. All in all, a brilliant idea hosted lovingly by some cool lady friends. Try it!

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Filed under I love Des Moines, What I'm into

Playroom refresh + indoor toddler fun

We used some of our time off over the holidays to tackle our extra bedroom and convert it into a brighter space that works better for living with two kids in a 1.5-story, nearly 100-year-old home.

I didn’t think to snap “before” photos, so use your imagination. The guest room was formerly painted a dark indigo with a queen bed, chair and cedar chest taking up the majority of the space, and a Blues Brothers poster on the wall from Joe’s bachelor days. Here it is now:

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The art on the west wall is a piece by Joe’s Uncle Mike LaVelle that we received as a wedding gift. It gives me a happy, peaceful feeling and Eileen loves staring at it.

To turn the space into a playroom/guestroom, we painted the walls Prairie Sky by Behr and swapped out the queen for an IKEA Hemnes daybed that expands into a king for when we have company, and conveniently hides a traffic-jam full of plastic vehicles as well as bedding.

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(We donated our queen to the USCRI refugee resettlement program. Learn more about that here.) Joe updated the ceiling fan with more contemporary glass sconces and a coat of white spray paint. We added toy storage on either side of the bed, and brought in the easel and little desk and chair.

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On the east wall, we hung the chicken wire bulletin board Joe made for me awhile back. I think it’s perfect for tacking up birth announcements and kid art. And on the north wall, we hung the embroidered alphabet blanket my Aunt Mary Lee made for Eileen. Her stitching is so impressive!

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I unearthed and hung curtains I sewed for our upstairs that we had swapped out awhile ago, and the (slightly uneven thanks to an unfortunate trip in the dryer) sheers were already in the room. Now we’re just missing a rug and some throw pillows, which I’ll probably D.I.Y. later, maybe once I get my hands on some Roam collection fabric.

We’re definitely loving the extra room to snuggle and play.

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Speaking of, I’ve included a few of our favorite indoor activities lately after the jump…

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Filed under At home, Family Fun, House projects