s

Dear Mushka,

Capsule Wardrobe: How & Why I do It

Capsule Wardrobe: How & Why I do It

Why:

I don't drink alcohol, in part, because addiction runs viciously through my veins. For years, I fought a sugar addiction and just when I thought I had it mastered (face palm) God showed me a new one: Add to cart, add to cart, add to cart. An addiction to new, to the anticipation of something fun in the mail, to fleeting sparkle this world has to offer.

And so one April I gave up buying clothes for the month. It sounded easy, but proved to be embarrassingly hard, and left me changed. I've been trying out this "capsule wardrobe" idea for the last year, not to limit the amount of clothes I have in my closet, but to limit the amount of impulse buys I purchase for a quick burst of joy.

It's been challenging and rewarding and really really sweet. God is so ready to step in with his deep fulfillment as soon as we leave room, y'all.

What I do:

1. As we're exiting a season, the first thing I do is go through my clothes to remove anything I didn't wear or don't see myself wearing again. Pilling sweaters, jeans I couldn't sit in (because please), cute jackets I never once put on, etc. I also make a mental note of what worked and didn't work this season. Stretchy jeans and warm tops were a win, cardigans without buttons actually got in my way. I'll remember this for next year. Check.

2. Then I look at my clothes for the upcoming season. Are there items I know I won't wear? (Donate). What gaps do I realistically have?

We seem to have a tendency to buy clothes for an imaginary life. For example: "I'll wear this at Spring weddings or out walking on the beach!” Which is great if you actually have weddings to go to this Spring or plan to be walking out on the beach frequently. But for me, I may attend one wedding? And we have a total of 7 beach days planned this year. So one appropriate outfit will do it :)

3. With my actual clothing gaps, I make a list and set out to find those items within a week or two. My goal with a capsule wardrobe isn't to have this tiny little closet where only 31 pieces are allowed; it's to cut myself off from freely purchasing whenever the urge strikes. 

So March 1-15 I can grab what I need for Spring. And then, unless something vital rips over the next few months, no more clothing purchases. Which is so freeing! I don't need to glance at Target's new pieces, I don't need to pursue fashion bloggers Instagram accounts, which constantly beckon me to buy more.

I. Am. Fine. 

My Seasons: 

Spring- March through May. I focus on tees, loose bottoms (linen pants are a favorite of mine), dresses, and warm weather shoes. 

Summer- June through August. I focus on tanks, shorts, and bathing suits.  

Fall- September through November. I focus on long sleeved tops, jeans, and cold weather shoes. 

Winter- December through February. I focus on sweaters, outerwear, and things like leggings.

Where I shop:

I get 99% of my clothes from one of two places.

The first is ThredUP. I love ThredUP for a few reasons (not sponsored, by the way). 

I value ethical shopping, but I have a hard time finding companies within my price range or style. So an alternative way for me to ethically shop is to buy secondhand. I used to shop at Goodwill, but this isn’t practical with two little ones and honestly, it was getting harder for me to find pieces I really loved there.

But on ThredUp I can search specific brands I know I love, and then narrow down by item type, color, size, price, etc. It makes the search really easy! "Madewell chambray tank." Check! 

Prices are usually a good deal, though occasionally I’ll think “I could definitely get this item for less money at the store on a big sale.” But then, of course, it wouldn't be secondhand :)

I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it to keep pieces I don’t love so when my products come, I try them on with a critical eye. If it isn’t a 100% fit, back it goes. They now have a $2 restocking fee per item, but that’s worth it for me not to have an item hanging in my closet I’m not ever going to enjoy wearing. Just this month I ordered 6 things and returned 2 because they weren't perfect. 

Overall, it's a great experience. I definitely recommend at least browsing if you haven't before! 

Pro tip: If you like an item, add it to your cart ASAP and then decide if you want to buy. Items can stay in your cart for 24 hours before someone else has a chance to snag it! 

·

The second place I shop is an online clothing boutique called August Cloth.

I originally began shopping from August Cloth because my friend, Crystal, started the company. And I'm always going to support my friends :) But I quickly saw the value of buying from a clothing boutique vs a big box store.

For one, the clothes are beautifully hand picked by one girl. If I like the first five things she releases, I'm probably going to like it all because the same eye is approving of and offering the items. It’s like a specially curated closet to choose from!

She's a real life mom of three (almost four!), business owner, wife, church goer etc. Her life looks like mine in many ways so we’re looking for the same type of clothes. Easy, modest, versatile, comfortable, cute. I don't have to sift through a lot to find a winner... I love almost everything. 

Additionally, the clothes are just a higher quality than what I was grabbing from Target or Old Navy. Their detailing is just a little extra, the materials are luxurious, and the fit is more flattering. People always comment when I wear a top from August Cloth. "That sweater is adorable, where is it from?" Because the products are noticeably special. And if I'm not going to be shopping all year long, I want my buys to feel like wins. 

Bonus: Everything comes packaged in a way that makes me feel special. The whole experience feels like a treat and I love knowing my purchases are supporting a family running this Kingdom race as hard as they can! 

· 

Okay, one more extra place I shop... Dear Mushka. Ha! But truly, I only choose and design tees for the shop that I actually want to wear. I always make an extra for myself; they layer well and point me back to Jesus. 

Want to hear me talk more about this? Follow along on Instastories where I'll show you my Spring picks! 

Five Quotes I Find Myself Thinking on Weekly

Five Quotes I Find Myself Thinking on Weekly

1. I refuse to let my public passion exceed my private devotion. --Unknown

I heard Francis Chan say this, quoting someone else, and it immediately struck my heart. As a Christian business owner who frequently talks about Christ, spiritual disciplines, and my faith online it's something I have to be extra aware of. I never want to put on a passionate outward display while hosting a careless, hypocritical heart. As Jesus said: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27)

2. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. --Annie Dillard

This quote circles my mind as I decide how to live my days intentionally, focusing on God's Kingdom instead of my own. Our time can slip away from us if we aren't careful; I don't want to get to the end of my life and wonder why I never gave sacrificially, talked about Christ with others, loved my neighbors fiercely, etc. 

Isaiah 32:8 says that nobel people (children of God!) make nobel plans and stand firm in those plans. I want to plan my days so that they work together towards a nobel, Kingdom-cultivating life. 

3. We won't be distracted by comparison if we're captivated by purpose --Bob Goff

God used this quote to remove my insecurities as I launched Dear Mushka and navigated the messy world of social media. Matthew 28:19 says that my purpose is to make disciples. Isaiah 43:6-7 says that I am made to glorify God. I can echo Paul (in Philippians 1:20) in asking that my whole life's purpose be to magnify Jesus Christ. 

And so when the Holy Spirit reminds my soul of its purpose (again and again) the comparison floats away. 

4.Think of eternity...and live backwards from that. --Ann Voskamp 

Or as Johnathan Edwards said: "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!" 

When I set my eyes and mind on things above, not on earthy things (Colossians 3:2), I'm able to live eternity focused. I'm more generous; it's God's money, anyway. I'm more bold; my life is a quick breeze. I'm more hopeful; Jesus is preparing a place for me! Eternity first, this world second.

5. How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure... I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. --Stuart Townend 

How Deep the Father's Love for Us has been a favorite hymn of mine since I was a little girl. When I am at my lowest, its because I've forgotten how loved I am by the triune God; it's because I've focused on my wretchedness instead of on His great mercy & grace. Praise God for His love, let it be the only thing I boast in. 

MY MORNING PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

MY MORNING PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

Not to be dramatic, but this protein smoothie changed my life. 

(Okay, a little dramatic.)

But truly-- learning the importance of protein, fiber, and greens in the morning... and learning to remove the carbohydrates that immediately turn to sugar... has allowed me to feel full & satisfied until lunch time everyday. 

I drink this whether I feel hungry early in the morning or not, because I know I'll otherwise eat the first thing I see when I'm starving by ten. (And the chances of that thing being healthy are 0%).

It takes two minutes to make, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it really does keep me full until lunch. 

CHECK!

Here's how I make mine, but feel free to substitute as you wish.

Ingredients:

· I scoop protein powder (I love the taste of this one-- not protein powder-y at all)

· I scoop collagen powder (I truly see a different in my joints when I use this. Crazy!)

· 1-2 scoops BP fit powder (you could also use another form of nut butter)

· a tbsp(ish) ground flax powder (the fiber helps break everything down in your body)

· half an avocado (makes it creamy and adds a good fat)

· handful of spinach (I keep mine in the freezer so it never goes bad)

· a banana 

· handful of ice (alternatively, you could freeze your bananas)

· 1-2 cups almond milk (alternatively you could use coffee/cold brew!)

To Make: 

· Add everything to your blender and mix! 

Note: We've had this blender for five years and love it. Our jar broke once and they replaced it, no questions asked. It's a little more pricey, but it's made a 1-2 smoothies for our family every morning without problem. We've gotten our money's worth! 

Enjoy!

KATIE: 30 ON MY 30TH

KATIE: 30 ON MY 30TH

C.S. Lewis said "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." And so, a few silly facts about myself so you can know that the girl behind this brand is just as flawed & ridiculous as you. I'm so glad we're friends. xx 

  1. My full name is Katie Evelyn Lewis. My parents found the name Katie in Gone with the Wind [Katie Scarlett O'Hara], and I secretly loved how common the name was because it meant I never stood out. Ha! Quiet introvert over here. But saying I was "Katie D. ...yep with a K and an ie" my whole school career got a little old, I admit. 
  2. But also, I always wished my name was Taylor. If we have a girl, she'll probably end up with a "boy" name because I still think they're the cutest. 
  3. And you should also know that I've never actually seen Gone with the Wind. Isn't it like four hours long? #nope
  4. Speaking of... I would be 100% okay without a TV. Except during the Summer Olympics because hello, gymnastics. But as it stands, we have one, and Robert and I watch a show together every evening-- right now it's The Great British Baking Show! If you haven't watched it, you must. The happiest cooking competition. And their adorable accents!
  5. I'd rather read in the evenings, and usually sneak away to do so while Robert watches a little of something else. According to Goodreads, I've read 23 books this year which is maybe a little low but alas, time is limited and motherhood. 
  6. I have lived in the same city basically my whole life. I "went away" to college-- 30 minutes down the road-- and came back after marriage because no where else seemed as wonderful and it always felt silly to move away just to move away?
  7. BUT. If I could live anywhere else in the country, I'd choose New York City. Robert would never, but the history & culture is so rich. I'm a little obsessed.
  8. If I hadn't studied Psychology in school, I would have studied graphic design and marketing. Ah, how those skills would be helpful now! But at the time, I had no clue Dear Mushka would be a thing and how the brain works is incredibly fascinating. Of course, I graduated, did the math, and realized I'd be ready to have kids by the time I finished my masters + doctorate so that was enough of that. [Side note, anyone else wish they'd had better counseling to help figure this stage of life out? I was way too young to be making life decisions!]
  9. Instead, I graduated, got married, and worked at a doctor's office until I called Robert one day and told him I'd quit, I was going to start an Etsy shop. Perhaps a different approach would have been better? Ha! But he was so supportive, and somehow I just knew it was the right next step. Clearly :)
  10. My mom was my best friend until her death in 2010. I haven't told her story on a public platform in a long time, but one day I will. Suffice it to say, mental illness is scary & I constantly praise God for healing her sweet body in Heaven. Until we meet again, my dear Mama. xx
  11. I have omphalophobia, the fear of bellybuttons. Not my own, so much, but watching other people touch theirs gives me the serious creeps and makes me want to gag. WHY? I acknowledge that it's so dumb, but I can't help it! Also, three year olds touch their belly buttons a lot FYI. 
  12. I cannot spell to save my life. I never remember which letters are doubled in words like accommodate and recommend and embarrass. You know I had to spellcheck those just now. 
  13. But pet peeve: the phrase "I could care less". It's couldn't! Could doesn't even make sense. [But don't worry, chewing with your mouth open or smacking your gum doesn't bother me one bit.]
  14. I scoffed at people who said running could be fun until I actually set out to run three miles at a time a few years ago. I couldn't even run .25 a mile without stopping at first, but now I run 3-4 miles a few times a week. And it's fun! What in the world. I just signed up for my first 1/2 marathon!
  15. My biggest regret is not speaking up in a "world religions" class I took in college. People had Christianity all wrong, seeing it as a religion of laws instead of love, and I sat back and watched them walk away with the wrong impression because I was too nervous to speak in front of 50 classmates or whatever. I think, in part, it is fuel for my fire as I store scripture deep in my mind-- I want it to be there when I need it again! 
  16. I cannot think of one living celebrity whose autograph or photo I would like to have. But you better believe I'm calling dibs on time with women like Elisabeth Elliot & Corrie ten Boom in Heaven!
  17. Okay, but I did talk to Taylor Swift for a second once here in Nashville. And Daniel Radcliffe [Harry Potter] said "Hi" to me after his Broadway play performance in NY one year. He's very little!
  18. If I'm feeling completely uninspired, I usually declutter a space in our home. So when it's time to plan a new Dear Mushka line, watch out junk drawer and closet! Something about tossing out the old and making visual space helps open up my mind? 
  19. If I had 12 hours to myself, I'd probably go for a long run. Actually dry my hair. Get lost in the Word instead of anticipating my boys' wakeup time. Walk the streets of Downtown Franklin freely, going in every store. Get a massage. Take a nap. Pray & worship aloud. Eat all of a meal without sharing with little hands ;) 
  20. Speaking of food, tacos for life. Or fajitas. Or nachos. I don't discriminate. Plus some chips & guac. And ice cream with chunks of cookie dough for dessert!
  21. My most repeated Bible verses: "You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." [Isaiah 26:3] and "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." [Psalm 16:11]
  22. The quote that has most helped me in my life: "We won't be distracted by comparison if we're captivated with purpose." -Bob Goff. The Lord really used those words to settle my heart into what HE had called me to do and I was immediately able to set aside extra pressures from the world.
  23. My favorite season is, without a doubt, Summer. I love how nonchalant it is, with its lazy mornings and easy meals and firefly catching evenings. I love everything about it. Except the mosquitos, I suppose. It's good for my control-loving heart. 
  24. My favorite piece of clothing is an old denim button down shirt from Old Navy. It's not fancy and actually, the sleeves are too short. But it's just the right weight and color, and every time I try on a replacement something just isn't right.
  25. Second place: My Birkenstocks. I've had them a few years now and will buy the exact same pair when they bite the dust. So comfortable and not tooo ugly, I say. 
  26. This book on the Enneagram is my go-to marriage gift because it was so incredibly helpful for me and Robert. Nine over here! 
  27. Lord willing, I have 5-6 more decades of life to live; I'm dedicating my 30s to the discipleship of women God has placed in my life. This Fall, I'm leading my first group and can't wait to teach on prayer, how to read the bible, etc. Gosh, sometimes I'm in awe that God uses us to point others to Him. 
  28. One time in a rain storm, my car spun across four lanes of traffic on the interstate, straight to the median on the other side. Miraculously [truly] I didn't get hit and was able to just merge back onto the road. And then I saw a car burst into flames while it was in motion! So anyway, I don't love driving and will never offer to drive for someone else. But I'll pay for your gas and buy you car candies! 
  29. I cannot whistle. I cannot do the splits [please, as if]. I cannot dance. I cannot sing. I cannot raise one eyebrow. I cannot tie a cherry stem with my tongue. How do people do all of these things?! 
  30.  Whoops, I made it to the end without mentioning our kids. We have two boys, 3 & 1, both adopted. And the truth is, motherhood is exhausting right now. I have no earthly idea how to parent siblings who bicker and take toys and hit! But of course, in our weakness He is strong & I feel closer than ever to the Lord as I [constantly] call on Him for wisdom. One day at a time, yes? I remember fighting with my siblings, we made it out alright. Ish. 

And now you. What are we twinsies on? xx