The difficulties of a postpartum body | outfit

The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.comThe difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have already read a short snippet of how I’ve been lately. I wouldn’t say I am struggling, exactly, but I can definitely say I am not thriving. I’ve been stuck in a lack of desire to do anything – get dressed, clean, play, go out, whatever – and I am not sure if it’s end-of-winter blues, or postpartum depression, or other things that I will get to shortly.

Whatever it is, though, I have been realizing more and more how much I need quiet time, prayer, and God. I’ve never been very good at consistent bible reading, but I’ve found myself aching to read more and more these days. Which makes me so happy; I always wondered if somehow I was a bad Christian because I have never felt that life-changing moment that so many people profess; that “and then my love for God just blossomed and there were fireworks!” time of life… hasn’t gotten to me.

Much like my love for my husband never had the fireworks and stomach tingles and butterflies, I think my relationship with and love for God is a slow and steady thing, perhaps inconsistent on my part, but ever faithful on His. I have taken to placing my bible on top of my computer to remind myself what is most important in life.

The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com

But, I know that my current blahs also have to do with this postpartum body, and weight. I have always been a huge advocate for confidence at any size, whether you feel you want to lose or gain weight, whether you’re curvy or thin. Find a way to dress yourself so you feel good, and rock the body you’re in.

Yet, I find myself often glancing at the body I’m in right now, and feeling sad. With Asa, I lost the baby weight in 12 days, just breastfeeding and eating fairly healthy. But with Evie, I lost a few pounds and then gained a few pounds, and have stayed the same weight for six months. And it’s not a weight I am happy with. I am at the heaviest I have ever been (while not pregnant), and it gets to me. It gets to me when I see the belly that people have assumed was a pregnant one. It gets to me when my favorite skirts and dresses don’t fit. It gets to me when I grab a size up from my  normal jean size, and find that I need to go up again.

The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.comThe difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com

Even while knowing that sometimes, the weight hangs on until the baby is done breastfeeding, it gets to me. Even while I can still be confident and feel beautiful, it gets to me.

So I am currently in the second week of a Whole30, which has been an entirely new struggle in itself (it’s so much harder the second time around), and I am working on finding garments that fit, and packing away the ones that don’t.

The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.comThe difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com

For some people, it works to have a dress out that is the size they wish to be. It’s motivation, or encouragement, or whatever else it might do to help them stick to their goals. For me, that doesn’t work. I just get semi-depressed, and want to sink into my comfort foods while playing sad songs (okay, not really, but you get the idea. 😉 )

It’s so interesting to me how different this second postartum experience has been from my first. In one woman, you can have two vastly different outcomes. Which is why I am still surprised when people assume that all pregnancies and all bodies are alike. I always want to ask “Um, have you ever been pregnant? Were they all the same?” because… guys.

The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.comThe difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com The difficulties of a postpartum body | www.eccentricowl.com

Everything vintage and/or thrifted

Anyway! I hope I didn’t come off as too depressed, because really… I mean, yeah, I don’t like the weight I am at right now, and I haven’t had the motivation to do much this last week (except dive into lifestyle videos, which you should totally watch), but I am still fairly happy. Life is pretty good. My kids are cute. Y’know.

I hope you are all having a great start to your week!

ksig

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The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | Outfit

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

Yesterday, Skye posted about the different categories of vintage bloggers that usually pop up when reading blogs. There’s the Dabblers, who are usually all about “vintage with a modern twist”, the Retro-Pinups, whose closets are full of Bernie Dexter or Hell Bunny and who usually have tattoos and brightly colored victory-rolled hair, and the Devotees, who dress head-to-toe authentic vintage, down to the hat and gloves. As I read her post, I agreed with all the examples and categories, but we also chatted about how the list certainly isn’t exhaustive.

We came to agree that there really should be a fourth category — the Thrifters. Those of us who enjoy vintage, who were introduced to vintage through thrift shopping, and who wear it often, but who use modern pieces and thrift most of our things out of necessity. Budgetary, location, or otherwise. I think I fall most into this category.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

I absolutely love presenting a look that is truly authentic. I love wearing head-to-toe vintage. But, I also love creating a look that mimics a vintage aesthetic without actually having to hold true. I mix modern and vintage out of necessity — I can’t afford boutique vintage, I have kids who are in the messy hands stage, I need breastfeeding-friendly and pregnancy-friendly clothes — and out of a joy for fashion — I love to mix patterns and colors in ways that likely would not have been done in my preferred vintage era, but that still evokes that era in spirit — and I love the thrill of a good thrifted find.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

This outfit is very much an example of that fourth category. Everything was bought from a thrift store, garage sale, or sale rack. The skirt, scarf, and brooch are true vintage, while the shoes and cardigan merely evoke a vintage feel. But none of it is from the 40’s or 50’s, which is the era I most identify with sartorially. Herein also lies a larger reason for why I have never become a retro pinup or a vintage devotee, even though I adore both aesthetics: I don’t like feeling trapped into one super-specific persona or era.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

If I were to restrict myself to one or the other, I would have been less likely to purchase this glorious skirt, which is a 1980’s concoction of pure heaven, because when I feel like being historically accurate, I am prone to going full-on accurate. Like, I will only wear period-inaccurate shoes because it’s impossible to find 50’s shoes that fit me. And really, if I were retro-pinup I probably would spend less time thrifting and more time on Modcloth.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

But I do find myself curating my style more and more towards an aesthetic that is part pinup, part vintage, and part practical mom. I’ll take the victory rolls and the pinup curls along with the vintage garments that evoke the 50’s, and leave anything that needs dry-cleaning… and no easily-smudged red lips for me, thanks. (Although, I do have to try some Colourpop lippies, because Noelle says they are absolutely the best and totally kid-proof.)

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

This is the first time in all my years of fashion blogging that I have felt myself settling more and more into a particular style, and I really love it. While I will probably still foray into occasional hippie-land, I’m comfortable here in the “she looks 50’s but she’s not” land.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.com

Cardigan, Target | shoes, garage-sale | skirt, brooch, belt, and headscarf, thrifted | earrings, grandma’s.

Are you a vintage-lover? Which category do you find yourself falling into most? Or should there be another one?

On a side note, I found this skirt and had every intention to sell it until I tried it on and got a closer look at the amazing print. It has pears, apricots, cherries, and strawberries on it as well as the flowers, and the colors are just too perfect! There is a skirt of similar colors in my shop now, though, if you love this look and must have it. 😉

I really need to quit trying on the vintage I find to sell. I end up keeping too much.

Happy Wednesday!

ksig

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Mom on the Go | Outfit

Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com  Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com12

Generally, when you search for mom-on-the-go style, a circle skirt is probably not on the list of items to wear. Yet, that’s exactly what I reach for first. The fullness makes it an easy item to move around in, lift, sit, run, whatever you need to do with kids. It also hides any random stains that might be made through the day (hello, ketchup), and can be easily styled with a tee and flats to make it a stylish outfit that is comfortable, practical, and retro.

The fabric of this skirt is moisture-wicking, too, which makes it even better for a mom outfit.

Today was the first time I’ve ever taken both kids with me to run errands. We went to McDonald’s for lunch, then to the pediatrician for Asa’s 2 year checkup and shots, and then to the store for some diapers and a few groceries. So I needed an outfit that was easy, but I also wanted to look put-together.

Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.comMom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com

For some reason, I toss this shirt in my Goodwill pile every time I clean out my closet. The fabric is thin, and the shirt tends to ride up on my hips, so I always have second thoughts about keeping it. But then I rescue it, because it is soft, has long sleeves, and can be nursed in.  And the color is gorgeous. As you probably know, I love bright colors, and while blue is not usually my go-to color, I realized today that I have a headscarf in the exact color of this shirt, and these flats are basically in the same color family. They don’t match, but they go.

That’s a concept my mom (hi, mom!) has a hard time with. While I am okay with colors that aren’t super matching, but are generally complimentary to each other, my mom loves to match everything with everything. A few weeks ago she texted me a selfie wearing jewelry that didn’t match, and told me that it was very hard for her to not change out the necklace with something that matched her earrings. I told her I was so proud. And also laughing.

Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com

Style wise, my mom and I are vastly different, yet somehow the same; I am super girly and always have been, while she grew up a tomboy. She loves paisley and tie-dye, I prefer polka-dots and gingham. I like to mix patterns and colors, she likes to match. She rarely wears makeup, I wear it almost every day.

But, before I was married and while I still lived with my parents, somehow we always inadvertently chose the same color schemes almost every day. Often, she’ll exclaim “I wore something like that in highschool!” and I dearly wish that the one or two items she’s saved from her highschool days would fit me (but she was shorter and thinner than I am, so alas!)

Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com

Shirt, Target | Skirt, self-made | shoes, belt, brooch, and headscarf, thrifted | earrings, gift.

It’s interesting to me to see what I’ve inherited from my parents as I get older. I am social and talkative like my dad, yet introverted and need my own space like my mom. I have my dad’s lips, but my mom’s face. I bottle up my emotions like my dad (hi, dad), but also crave open communication like my mom.

And style? Well, I think I am most like my dad’s mom, who, at my age, wore the same types of skirts and easygoing but elegant outfits. Mom on the Go | www.eccentricowl.com

Grandma Helen on the left; my mom in 7th grade, my dad in his teens.

What did you gain from your parents? Or your grandparents? Funny enough, I am not blood related to my grandma — my dad was adopted. But I was born on her birthday, and I have always wanted to be like her. I hope one day I can be the woman of faith, kindness, and humor that she was!

Happy Wednesday!

ksig

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Me Before You | Book Review + Inspired Outfit

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.comMe Before You | www.eccentricowl.com Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

It’s only fitting that I start off this month’s book reviews with a romance. And if you want a romance that will throw you into conflict and probably break your heart, then Me Before You is something you should read.

The synopsis (via the back of the book):

“Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living and exceedingly ordinary life — steady boyfriend, close family — who has hardly been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life — big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel — and he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy — but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.”

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

I shouldn’t have been skeptical of this book, because Sara Lily has an excellent record so far and this is the last of the novels she mailed me, but I was. I’m always a bit wary of romance novels, because I write them and I hate reading a novel that I end up thinking “I could have done better.” (Not that I think I am better, but that I go through the novel thinking “why didn’t they do this instead?” or “that sentence should be rewritten” and etc. I have an editorial mind when reading.)

I needn’t have been so afraid to be disappointed, though!

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

Louisa Clark is the girl who is left behind and sitting in the shadow of those around her — her sister Katrina, who is considered the “smart” one, her boyfriend Patrick who is obsessed with training and fitness — and has no aspirations in her life. She likes her quiet little existence and boring little village, and doesn’t want to leave it. But when her job at the cafe where she’s worked for years is suddenly taken away, she is forced to find a new vocation. Not only for herself as income, but as the one in her family who can support them all. She is pressured to take a job caring for Will by her sister, who needs someone to pay school fees and who reminds her that her newly-unemployed parents desperately need someone to take the worry off their minds about money.

After the first day, she hates her job. Will hates her, she is bored out of her mind, and she doesn’t think she can take six months of caring for a man who sits staring out the window and has no desire to do anything outside of his home.

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

But then one day, she decides not to put up with his crap. And then, after overhearing a private conversation between Will’s mother and sister, she realizes that she has been hired for a very specific purpose, and she only has six months to fulfill that purpose.

So, she sets out to make the next six months the best Will has had since his accident, to show him that even being wheelchair bound he can have a wonderful life, and to convince him that it’s worth living even when he needs someone to do every single thing for him.

Spoilers ahead, if you hadn’t already guessed his plans and I  might also give away the end of the book. You have been warned.

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

As she figures out things they can do and ways to make him see how wonderful life is, Lou realizes she’s falling in love with Will, and Will feels the same. But, because of his plans to end his life at Dignitas (a real place, I had no idea), he is reluctant to let Lou throw her life at him in this way and constantly encourages her to widen her horizons. Through the book, he doesn’t know that she knows his plans until the very end.

I was really conflicted about the whole Dignitas thing. A central theme in Louisa’s journey to figuring out how to convince Will to live was a few people (and Will himself) saying “but it’s not your choice to convince him to live; it’s his choice to live or die.” Assisted suicide was the last thing in Will’s life that could be 100% his own decision, and through the novel he is fighting to keep the right to choose to end his existence. And I was conflicted about that.

For the novel’s purpose, it was a really good conflict to have and I was actually really satisfied with the ending because it was realistic, and I am also a sucker for a romance that ends tragically. Will didn’t change his mind in those short six months, despite falling in love with Lou, and that’s pretty real. I doubt someone who was paralyzed and wanted to end life would really change their minds after years of mental torture and absolutely hating that they could no longer be the person they were before — especially since that person was active, rich, respected, had many friends, and lived a very big life.

But obviously I am conflicted about assisted suicide. Any suicide. I just have to put it out there; it makes me so sad that for some life is so utterly hopeless that Dignitas actually exists to help them end themselves. That is such a deep, dark place one has to be in to make that decision.

Me Before You | www.eccentricowl.com

Earrings (old) c/o Oasap | everything else, thrifted

So as a tragic romance novel, I loved Me Before You. It was sweet, considerate, thought-provoking, and just a really entertaining read. And my conflict about Dignitas totally does not negate the fact that I want to go see the film when it comes out! (Side note, I finished reading the book and only a few days later realized they made a movie. And I think they cast it really well!)

Last but not least, on a whole different note, you’ve probably noticed my new theme by now. And if you don’t follow me on Social Media (WHY NOT: Insta, Facebook, Twitter) then you wouldn’t know that Lyndsey designed it and she is brilliant! She offered me a blog makeover as a Secret Santa gift, and I could not be more thrilled with the results. The header is hand-painted by her, and she did such an awesome job of working off of my inspiration board and my tagline to create something that is 100% me, from the colors to the mushrooms to the owl to… just everything. It’s so good!

So, go tell her how amazing she is. Because she deserves all the praise!

Happy Monday!

ksig

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Landline | Book Review + Inspired Outfit

Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

Well, I didn’t do my 4 books this month, but I DID get three checked off my list! Landline  by Rainbow Rowell was, again, sent to me by Sara Lily (who is basically fueling my book list right now, ha!) and it has been my favorite so far.

But before I get into the review, of course, here is the synopsis (via the back of the book):

“Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply – but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?”Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

I have never read anything by Rainbow Rowell, and honestly… I didn’t think it would be my thing. The summary certainly sounds like something I would like, but the first few parts were a little bit shaky and I wasn’t convinced that the story would be carried out well. To be frank, I found the first chapter (or part…? The chapters are broken up into days, occasionally) to be boring and I wasn’t too interested in anyone. But for the sake of at least getting three books read in January, I soldiered on!

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

It begins with Georgie arriving home late again from work, and wandering through the house to find her husband,Neal, putting their girls to bed and letting one of them stay up a little late to watch cartoons. There is some background explanation, some reminiscing, and a little bit of setup as to how life goes in the house. It’s a very quiet, unassuming way to open a book, and almost too familiar to begin; I needed more to relate to the characters before I started out in a quiet night in their house.

But it picks up quickly after Neal leaves for Christmas at his mom’s house with their two girls, leaving Georgie behind to work on the TV deal she’s been waiting for her entire life. He’s mad, she’s uncertain and a bit selfish, and everything is up in the air.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.comLandline | www.eccentricowl.com

We follow Georgie through life, to work, where she is partner to her best friend, Seth, in working on the big TV deal they’ve been dreaming of forever.  Seth is quickly established as the pretty boy, the guy that Georgie met and somewhat categorized as her soul mate. In the early years of their friendship, she expected that she would just have to wait out his youthful and foolish years through the string of girls he dated/slept with, and someday they’d be a thing. It never happened.

I half expected something to happen between them as the story progressed, even though it’s increasingly obvious that Neal is Georgie’s soul mate through and through, and I was… well, happily surprised and also sort of right. I won’t spoil it for you, but… y’know. Read the book.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

As the story progresses, Georgie is reluctant to return to her cold, empty home so she instead starts to stay with her mom under the excuse that it’s closer to work. After Neal ignores all of her phonecalls, she gets frustrated with her always-dead iPhone (whose battery  no longer works, thus it has to be plugged in to be on) and resorts to using her old landline that still operates perfectly. And that’s when she gets a surprise. Somehow, by some twist of time, the landline calls Neal… before they were married. Right after she thought they broke up.

Georgie spends the next few days calling Neal over and over again, talking for hours on end, struggling at work, trying to figure out how to balance Seth and Neal — because both are semi-jealous of the other — and trying to figure out what she is supposed to do with this fortuitous magical phone. Because Neal-of-the-now is unhappy. He has never said it, but she knows he’s unhappy. They are living her life, in a place he’s not too fond of, doing all the things she dreamed of doing, and she’s been taking advantage of Neal’s nature to do what pleases her. So, she struggles to decide; is this magic phone meant to have her break it off with Neal before it started? To heal up the wounds she’s created? To somehow change their relationship for the better? As she works it over and talks to Neal, you can see her struggle, see how much she loves him, and also see how much he loves her.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

I was more and more enchanted by the simple problem and the deep love story as Rowell wrote about their past, how they met, how things went wrong, and how Georgie felt through it all. At the core, Landline is just a love story. A simple boy-meets-girl (or in this case, girl-stalks-boy-and-takes-over), couple-falls-in-love, and things-go-wrong story. But the way it’s written was absolutely captivating and I am not kidding you, I could not stop reading it. I started two days ago and finished most of it today.

Probably the highest compliment I could pay this book is that Landline is the type of book that makes me want to write.  And not because I want to do better (which can be the case a lot), but because I want to do to others what this book did to me. I love stories like this. Because at the heart, it’s not actually a romance; it’s the story of life. Real, messy, funny, heartbreaking, beautiful life.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

As for the outfit, the back of the book is the exact color of this skirt so obviously I had to wear it. I decided to cut out the lining that the skirt came with because it was all tight and bunchy and weird; thankfully I have a pink slip, which works perfectly! Once again, I never really would have thought to put all of these items together (maybe the belt and skirt) until I saw the book cover. I think reading 52 books this year might just be the catalyst to getting more creative with my wardrobe again!

I’ll be honest: this belt is actually just a bit too small — it belts, but doesn’t stay belted because my waist isn’t back to normal yet so it doesn’t have enough wrapping around to stay put. I may or may not have pinned it and made a hole in it. But… it was a 50 cent belt, so… oh well.

Landline | www.eccentricowl.com

Flower crown (old) c/o Choies | Tights and Tee, Target | Vintage brooch, skirt, and heels, thrifted

So now I am off to write, and then tomorrow I get to meet the very person who has sent me so many fantastic books! I am beyond thrilled, you guys! Sara Lily will be the third blogger I’ve met in person — first was Marlen, second Hilary — and I’m hoping that we can possibly do a little secret project I’ve had in the back of my mind for whenever I meet bloggers. You’ll only see what it is if I get it done with her and Hilary.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Happy (very late) Saturday!

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