It’s the first day of fall! Let’s have a fall themed podcast to celebrate, shall we?

In this episode, we talk about Maggie’s freshly launched BLOG, and all things fall – clothes, food, and office supplies!

Visit our podcast website, iTunes, or Stitcher to listen!

Show notes for this episode:

Alternate post titles: was that a burp? / are leggings pants? / in a flurry of pins – so basically, you have a lot to look forward to when you listen to the episode!

Who wants to join our group fall Pinterest board?? Email us at and I’ll send you an invite!

In light of Maggie’s blog launch, I wanted to prepare her with some  common food blog comments. THIS IS SO FUNNY.

We may not need back to school supplies anymore, but business ladies need office supplies, right?!? When Target looks like Ross, we’re in trouble.

My favorites:

Maggie’s favorites:

  • Notes app (anyone else need it to have lines?)
  • Coffee thermoses
  • portable file folders

Fall food is the best:

  • Maggie is all about squash, pumpkin, and game meat. Is delicata a type of squash? Google confirmed yes.
  • Try hollowing out a sugar pumpkin with caramelized red onions, gorgonzola and walnuts and bake it! You can also fill your hollowed pumpkin with this delicious soup recipe.
  • My fall staples are curried lentil soup and roasted vegetables.
  • Did you know about toasting spices?
  • Pumpkin granola, pumpkin smoothies and banana bread smoothies.

Fall outfits, also the best:

jacey smile at wardrobe

Picture by @jensane

  • ThredUP is an online consignment store, and a great option for paring down your closet for a capsule wardrobe, or anytime.
  • Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. Learn more about Stitch Fix in this blog post.
  • Shout out to Valerie (@hellovallarina) for telling me about Un-fancy, the website where I got all my info to build my capsule wardrobe.
  • If you feel overwhelmed by your closet or shopping, or like you overspend on clothes but still feel like you have nothing to wear, a capsule wardrobe might be for you!
  • Having fewer decisions is huge for me, which is why I love the capsule approach.

Pressing questions: Can you wear white after Labor Day? Are leggings pants? Is animal print a neutral?

If you’ve rated us in iTunes, thank you!! If you haven’t yet, head to iTunes and do it! It helps other friends find our podcast. 

Be sure to check out Maggie’s blog, The Spread!

Follow us on Instagram @aroundthetablepodcast @maggiemcdaris @thebalancedwife and use the hashtag #aroundthetable when you’re sharing hospitality, community, or food-related posts- we’d love to interact with you there!

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Capsule wardrobe: fall 2014

September 22, 2014 — 10 Comments


fall capsule wardrobe

This is not a style blog. I don’t keep up much with trends or fashion. So why share such a detailed post about my wardrobe?

What do leather booties and chambrays have to do with living intentionally, building a strong marriage, or anything else I regularly write about here?

More than you’d think.

**If you just want to see the pictures of my capsule, scroll down. All photography by @jensane.

When I read about the concept of a capsule wardrobe on the un-fancy website, I knew immediately that I would do it. The capsule wardrobe is about feeling good in what you wear, and it aligns perfectly with how I’m trying to live my life: using my resources well, paring down the unnecessary things in life that weigh me down and distract me from the real priorities.

I know that making fewer choices makes me happy, and that planning spending is key to getting out of debt and being wise with money. The capsule wardrobe is a the perfect application of these principles in my closet, where I’d been left frustrated and discouraged in the past.

The capsule wardrobe takes many of the ideas I wrote about in my intention ebook and extends them to your closet!

Here’s what the un-fancy website says about the why behind a capsule wardrobe:

To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear / less time spent shopping / less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams + helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.

Does that resonate with you like it did with me? I’m someone who works best within boundaries of my choosing. While feeling put together and comfortable in my clothes is important to me, I often feel overwhelmed by the clothes I have and even more overwhelmed when I shop for new things.

The capsule wardrobe wasn’t easy to compose, but it gave me the structure I needed. I love that I now have these versatile pieces that I can wear throughout the fall without getting bored, and that I’ll have the challenge (and blessing) of not spending any more money on clothes until the next season! Contentment has been a huge byproduct of our debt free journey, and the capsule is another place to continue learning that lesson.

tee shirts with planner1

What exactly is a capsule wardrobe?

From the website I used for my process: it’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.

Un-fancy  breaks it into 37 pieces: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes.

(It doesn’t include accessories, jewelry, workout gear, pajamas, underwear, socks.) She came to 37 by breaking it down into 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops, then the remaining 4 for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats.

Keep in mind that a capsule is just for a season, so summer sandals aren’t included in a fall wardrobe, for example.

The key differences between a capsule wardrobe and what most of us have already:

  • you carefully curate the capsule so that you LOVE everything in it
  • it’s versatile so you can make a bunch of outfits from a limited number of things
  • it’s budget friendly because once the capsule is built, you don’t shop until the next season

Step one: pare down

I live in an old apartment building with really small closets, so I was shocked at how many items I had when I counted. I immediately filled a ThredUp bag to the brim with items in good shape that I no longer like or wear. (Read more about ThredUP here.)

Bonus: if you send your stuff to ThredUp, they’ll pay you or give you credit for the items they accept. And it’s super convenient – they send you a postage-paid clean out bag and you simply fill it up and hand it to your mail carrier. Cleaning out my closet with ThredUp helped offset the cost of anything new I bought.

A few things ready to send to ThredUP

A few things ready to send to ThredUP

Step two: work through capsule wardrobe planner

I downloaded the wardrobe planner from Un-fancy and worked through it:

Lifestyle – half casual, one quarter business casual, and one quarter going out or to an event. (I took into account holidays. conferences and special events this fall.)

Words associated with my ideal style – classic, elegant, comfortable, polished, effortless, neutral, pops of color

Brands - J. Crew outlet, Nordstrom sale, Stitch Fix

Colorsmajor: navy and blues, maroon, denim, grey, black // minor: red, mustard, floral, camel // accents: pinks, greens

Go to pieces – skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, ankle boots, leather boots, cardigans, midi skirt, plaid button down, denim chambray, navy vest

Shopping list – Before I started shopping, I made a Pinterest board and spent a lot of time online deciding what types of items I wanted to buy. I bought more new things for this season than I have for any one season in several years. A decent number of my fall clothes were wearing out or several years old, so they didn’t make it past the purge.

We will also make our last DEBT payment this month, so there was a little extra in the budget for me to put towards clothes. My ThredUp payout, Stitch Fix credit, and shopping sales during two different months helped me offset some of my new clothing costs.

Keep in mind, the idea ISN’T to buy 37 new things for every capsule. Most of my items are things I already had and loved.

My shopping list: white Converse // camel blazer // striped flare dress // Halogen top // midi skirt // vest // Oxford booties // red leather flats // black skinnies // grey crochet top // polka dot Artist tee // plaid pullover // stripe skirt

Step three: assemble the capsule

Here’s where it gets fun! I’ll share these by category:

long sleeves1

long sleeves from left: artist tee (J. Crew outlet) // plaid pullover (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // floral sweatshirt (Target last year) // Harlowe plaid button up (Stitch Fix last year) // denim Chambray (Nordstrom Juniors sale) // Halogen shirt (Nordstrom sale) // blue polyester shirt (Nordstrom BP from two years ago) // green plaid (Nordstrom BP two years ago)

If you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, I’ve blogged about them here and here.

tee shirts1

short sleeves clockwise from top left: White House Black Market top (consignment store two years ago) // Madewell tee (J. Crew outlet last year) // coral cuff striped shirt (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // cotton long sleeve tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // lace bottom henley (Nordstrom BP last year) // Lucky geometric tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // Cosette Crochet Detail Knit Shirt (most recent Stitch Fix) // red cap sleeve tee (Nordstrom BP from college)

necklaces: not included in 37 items, but both are from Stella and Dot.


outerwear from left: J. Crew cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // navy vest (J. Crew outlet) // Banana Republic elbow patch cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // camel blazer (Nordstrom juniors sale)

scarves: not included in 37 items, but both scarves are from J. Crew outlet – left is from last year, right is new.


dresses from left: tunic (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale last year) // capsleeve sheath dress (Stitch Fix last year) // striped flare dress (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale)

accessories from left: bracelet (J. Crew outlet last year), necklace (Stella and Dot), necklace (Nordstrom juniors sale), scarf (Target sale)


bottoms clockwise from left: grey midi skirt -similar (Nordstrom juniors sale) // black skinny jeans (latest Stitch Fix) // J. Brand skinny jeans (Anthropologie) // Citizens of Humanity boot cut jeans (consignment store two years ago) // striped cotton skirt (H&M)

feet with shoes1
clockwise from bottom left: classic white Converse (Nordstrom) // Oxford booties (Steve Madden) // houndstooth flats (Gap outlet last year) // grey suede strappy flats (Shoemint last year) // brown leather boots (Steve Madden last year) // red leather flats (Target) // lattice brown leather flats (Shoemint last year)

one more shoe shot for a different angle: 


I really enjoyed making my first capsule wardrobe! We started playing with outfit combinations, but this post is so long that I’m going to save those pictures for future posts. Series, anyone?

xo Jacey

004 around the table

In this episode, we talk about what we’ve been reading and watching lately, the heart and message behind Around the Table, airplane travel, and cooking for one!

Visit our podcast website, iTunes, or Stitcher to listen!

Show notes:

We aren’t the most up to speed on pop culture, and tend to rely on Knox and Jamie’s podcast, the Popcast to keep us up to date – but this episode, we’re talking about what we’ve read and watched lately!

Here's what you have to look forward to when you see The Hundred Foot Journey. You're welcome.

We are both fans of listening to audiobooks! Two of our recent favorites are Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist.

Maggie needs this T shirt:

if I die t shirt

Jacey tends to watch more dramas and lately she’s been into Sherlock , Mad Men and True Detective.

Did you know the creator of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, was a writer on the Sopranos and got his job there with his pilot Mad Men script, seven years before it was picked up by AMC? Do you care, or is that just Jacey?

Jacey’s recent reads: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

Our second segment was all about hospitality, community, and what “around the table” means to us. What we believe about life around the table is reflected beautifully in Bread and Wine:

“What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.” Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine

Jacey wrote a blog post about inviting people into the mess and one about changing some unhealthy ways she tends to look at food.

Our philosophy in a nutshell, as discussed in this episode:

  • We want people to leave our homes remembering how they feel, not how beautiful the table setting is.
  • Food brings us together.
  • Being perfect isn’t very inviting.

Maggie’s most amazing meal was Thanksgiving in Africa, because it wasn’t about the food. Jacey’s most memorable meal was at a restaurant for her third wedding anniversary.

We want to see you connecting around the table! We’ll check Instagram and Twitter for #aroundthetable. Follow us on Instagram: @aroundthetablepodcast @maggiemcdaris @thebalancedwife 

Maggie is on a long flight today. Say a prayer for her! She’s reading all the magazines.

Fun fact: Jacey brainstormed the name and tagline for this podcast on an airplane!

Is Benedict Cumberbatch good looking? Jon Hamm with or without beard? Do you feel pressure to make things pretty and perfect when you have people over? What significant experiences have you had around the table?

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Recent reads

September 15, 2014 — 7 Comments

Twitterature with Modern Mrs. Darcy

It’s been months since I joined in with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’ve been reading. I started some great books over the summer and would love to share them with you!

(I say started because I’ve only finished one in this list <insert grimacing emoji> for various reasons: we hit the ground running when we got back from vacation, and two of these books were due back at the library so I had to get back on the wait list!)

one plus one

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes: After reading Me Before You, I’m a Jojo Moyes fan for life. This new book delivers the touching, human moments I loved from Me Before You but without the heartbreak. Highly recommend!


11/22/63 by Stephen King: I’ve never read Stephen King, other than On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft because I’m not a fan of horror. 11/22/63 is more of mystery page turner. I haven’t finished yet but it’s entertaining storytelling.

notes from a blue bike

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider: I love how this book is organized into food, work, travel and parenting. Tsh’s slightly unconventional take on each is refreshing and inspiring.


Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg: This is the true story of a couple’s pizza restaurant opening in Seattle. As with any venture, opening their business is intertwined with their marriage, their friendships and life. I like Wizenberg’s writing style and enjoyed the glimpse into the harrowing world that is the restaurant industry.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown: This may be the most important book I read all year (when I get to the top of the hold list again so I can finish it)! In a culture that glorifies busy, doing less to make your maximum contribution requires discipline. This is a message I need to soak in.

This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!

13 years

I almost let today pass without posting anything. For one thing, it feels self centered to write about what crashed around me on 9/11/01, wholly unrelated to the attacks on our country.

At the last minute, I decided to write something not for my benefit, but in hopes that how I’ve handled the news I got that day will help someone reading.

While America mourned and grappled with the devastation, my six months in and out of doctor’s offices culminated in a visit to a new doctor, the one with an answer.*

I’ve told the story enough, and it’s not about me anymore. Instead of reliving the details of the diagnosis, today I’m sharing what I’ve learned in 13 years with a chronic illness:

Continue Reading…