Dear Jean(s)

Jeans credit Kirsten Akens 2015

Dear Jean(s),


I've had to make some difficult decisions lately. I don't think you'll be surprised about where this is going, but I need to be clear for both our sakes.

This relationship we have — it's just not working anymore.

We've been together so long I can't even remember when we first met. Way before I started in with Project 333. (You had no idea what we'd be getting into, did you? Honestly, I didn't either.)

You and me — we weren't love at first sight, but more of a gradual coming-together over a few years. And then we were hot and heavy for quite a long time. Out for pizza on Friday nights. Country dancing weekly. Walking the pup. Heck, you traveled everywhere I did this year — which was quite a commitment. Those TSA folks can be a bit grabby.

Unfortunately, these last six months ... well, things have shifted.

I'd say it's not you, it's me, but actually I think it's both of us. We've gone different ways. The way you hang about, it's not as cute as it used to be. (In fact, it's not at all flattering.) To be honest, I'm concerned about you. You're just not holding up the same. And you seem to be a bit frayed around the edges.

I know I've changed too. I've been asking for more out of the ones I really care about. I've not hung you out to dry, but I have been turning on the heat and tossing you around a bit. I'm sorry if it's been more take than give on my part.

I'll always look fondly on our time together and I wish you the best. I know there's someone out there that will once again fit to you like a glove. And though there will never be another one just like you, I'm certain there's someone new out there for me too.

All my best,


My Project 333 transition month

Polka Dot Dress Credit Kirsten Akens 2015

It's September and I should be starting a new three-month cycle of Project 333 (thanks to the switcheroo of my timeline that I did earlier this year).

But instead, I've decided to take what I'm calling a transition month.

As I dug out my stored clothes for fall and winter, I pulled out lots of items that made me go, "Hmmm." I haven't worn many of these pieces in nine or more months and I honestly don't know if I want to wear them or not.

My body has been shifting — a blend of food-heavy press trips and irregular exercise.

My taste has been shifting — I'm becoming more and more aware of what I really like to put on my body every day.

And my life has been shifting — I picked up an ongoing freelance gig that requires me to have a few professional items, which because I'd gone to working from home and coffee shops two years ago, I'd basically eliminated from my closet.

With that, over the past week I pulled out every item I own and placed each in one of five piles:

1) To swap or donate (I've got a large bag so far)

2) To consign (Another large bag so far, and if my local shops don't want these pieces, they go immediately into pile number one)

3) To store (for a different season — three medium-size plastic bins for this use)

4) To for-sure-include in the next cycle

5) To test

It's pile number five that I'm playing with during the month of September.

I started by making sure everything up for consideration was washed and visible in my closet. This category includes about 60 items right now — and because we're still getting 80-degree days, but temps will drop fast come October/November, it ranges from tank tops to heavy sweaters. My goal during September is to wear each of those 60-some pieces at least once. From there, the item gets redistributed to one of the other four categories.

Just yesterday I donned a denim skirt and a striped flowy top, neither of which I had worn in quite some time. I liked the skirt. It went in the probably-include pile (I need to see how many other denim skirts I end up with first). I did not like how the top fit. It's going to my next swap.

This whole process brings home what becomes more and more clear to me each cycle in regard to a capsule closet or minimalist approach:

You need to make it work for you.

Earlier in my journey, the guidelines and structure of Project 333 were exactly what I needed to get started. Now, I blend Courtney's suggestions with my own, and feel no qualms about the integration. In fact, it's fun.

My goal this month is to get my closet down by about half. I do still use "33" as my guideline. (I've always been drawn to the number three so for some reason it feels right.) I also want to leave a few slots open to add a couple "business-y" items.

Courtney writes in a recent blog post that there are five essentials to a capsule wardrobe:

Peace     ::     Ease     ::     Love     ::     Clarity     ::     Space

Letting go of the mass of clothes I used to mess around with every day has been physically freeing. But perhaps even more so, it's been emotionally freeing. It's not for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, I encourage you to give Project 333, or some variation on it, a try.

Yoga, hiking and more with Aventura

Aventura Wrap and Leggings photo credit Kirsten Akens June 2015

I knew when I was asked to be an ambassador for Aventura that melding its responsibilities and Project 333 might be challenging.

One of the key duties of an ambassador is to accept free clothes and try them out (I know, rough gig). (One of the other duties is to share great discounts with my readers, so hang in there until the end and I'll explain how you can earn a 60-percent-off discount card.)

What I didn't know at the time was that ultimately the clothes I received from Aventura would become some of my favorites for teaching yoga, working out and adventuring — all categories that are not part of my 33 core items.

[Wipes brow and sighs with relief.]

Weekly, you'll find me at my home studio Root teaching restorative yoga in either the Floral Capri Legging or the Lily Capri Legging. I've worn a lot of leggings over the years and these are some of the best. Cute, but subtle prints — the Lily, in black, has tiny, tiny dots of black and grey; shirring at the ankle; a comfortable waistband. And a thick enough stretchy knit that those around you won't get an inappropriate peek at your underwear. They also wash well, necessary when you wear them a lot.

On top, you'll see me often donning either the Lantana Hoodie or the Kyle Wrap. The Kyle's sleeve ruching gives this piece a little fun flare, and the burnout fabric of the Lantana draws interest. Both are lightweight, good for layering over a tank.

I love scarves and the one I've been living in is the Marnie. Not only is it the perfect length for a once-around-the-neck wrap, but the blue-cream blend works as a neutral, particularly when wearing denim. And it's so soft that it's doubled as an eye covering for a handful of my students during yoga class. My Marnie has already traveled on three trips with me.

I can't end this post without a quick nod to the Keeva Skort. A little bit of Spandex added to recycled polyester gives this skort just the perfect amount of stretch for hiking. The mesh shorts beneath allow for jumping on a bike for a quick trip downtown. And the side pocket holds a cell phone without dragging the fabric.

If you'd like to try out some Aventura clothing for yourself, all you need to do is comment below and let me know what fun outings you have planned this summer that Aventura could help you enjoy. Thanks to the company, the first 10 individuals to leave me a note between now and July 1 will receive a code for 60-percent-off a one-time purchase of up to $250 in clothing and accessories.

Happy adventuring!