creative motherhood: sarah

This entry in the Creative Motherhood series is really special for me. Sarah Dobbs is someone that I started following on Instagram maybe two years ago (?) or more. I don't remember how we connected, but I immediately loved her aesthetic, her approach to living mindfully, and her supportiveness of other moms trying to fit work in around being really available as a mother. We had many conversations over Instagram about these topics, but imagine my surprise when she revealed that she was moving to St. Louis, my adopted hometown! Turns out she's originally from here, but I still think of her as a New Yorker, mostly cause she's just so freaking cool. Since Sarah moved back to the Midwest, we've actually been hanging out in person and she's just as down to earth and thoughtful IRL as she is online. Oh yeah, and she just happens to live in one of the most envy-inducing midcentury houses in town. Enjoy her interview.   --Dacy

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Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your children have grown.

Hello, I’m Sarah Dobbs, a woman with a deeply rooted passion in design and I have been creating my entire life. I’m married to Kyle (nearly a decade) and together we are raising two boys; Grey, 6 and Hollis, 4. We recently moved out of the NYC area to a midcentury modern fixer-upper in the Midwest. I'm the founder of a lifestyle company the Home Capsule, where I specialize in professional organization. Having children was the catalyst for my line of work. I became interested in helping myself and other moms build lives that gave them the balance they desired. I do this by crafting ways to organize lives and homes, merging design with function. Time = happiness and having your life in order helps! I started small when my kids were babies, each year doing a little more to build the brand and expand my expertise and services.

Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?

Having kids actually reignited the creativity within me. I try to weave feelings of being creative in our daily lives. From kids toys, art, rearranging their room, packing lunches, and helping them find a personal style.  It’s super fun, I’m happy with the amount of work I have but I’m interested in learning some new skills, like photography and woodworking!

creative motherhood blog series

Q.  Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?

Absolutely! I completely walked away from my career for a solid 4 years. I see peers in my field who are now VPs, etc. I was a workaholic in the most competitive city in American and success for me was being at the top of my field. My definition of success has changed and the financial ramifications will affect us for the rest of our lives, but I wouldn’t make a different decision if given the chance.  The experience I've had with my boys is priceless.

Q. What kind of a “village” or help do you have around you?

I didn’t have a true village until the boys were 2 and 4. I had 2 women in particular show up for me in such a big way that I’ve made it my personal mission to do everything I can to help other mothers.

Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?

For a couple years they blurred and I hit a wall. My kids have been on tons of sourcing trips and showrooms. Now I structure my time where I have working hours and hours with my kids. School affords me the opportunity to work this way.

creative motherhood series

Q. What’s a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?

Each day of the week I have a list of specifics. This is the first year the boys have both been in school full time. I have alerts in my phone that keep me on task the entire day. I put my phone away from 4-8 (after school to bed) and will pick it up again to finish up some tasks before my bed time.

Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you’re in the middle of mothering?

I tell the kids ! They are excellent critics AND they ask a million questions. Which is great because it gets you thinking about your idea even more. I also think adulthood is mystic and mysterious to kids so anytime you ask, “can i tell you about this cool thing I just thought of?” They are on the edge of their chairs with interest.

Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?

Don’t do all the things. OWN your particular situation and be proud of whatever decisions you make. Life is a learning curve. Take risks, see what happens, make adjustments and know you are you're own worst critic. So lighten up on yourself.

Thanks so much, Sarah! I love the idea of putting your phone away from 4-8, and of telling your kids about your work ideas - helps to show them that mom is a multi-dimensional person. Follow Sarah on Instagram here and find her website here

photo credits: Heather Moore

Find the other posts in the Creative Motherhood series here

normalize outfit repeating

normalize outfit repeating

When I work with clients or give talks, I talk a lot about the concept of repeating outfits, but I haven’t blogged about it too much (well, except for here, here, and here).

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new clients about why they need help is that they feel like they’re always wearing the same few outfits. To which I usually respond, why is that a problem? Where did we come up with this idea that we have to always be wearing something different? For every event, every work day, every school dropoff? From the impression I get from other cultures, this is mostly an American construct, which makes sense - we’re indoctrinated to think we need new stuff all the time, so we definitely need new and different outfits all the time.

mindful closet: normalize outfit repeats

I feel like this is one of the easier perspective shifts we can do which results in a vastly easier time getting dressed.

It’s simple. If you have an outfit you like, rewear it often and DGAF about who notices.

Think of how much time and energy you’ll save. As with a lot of the concepts I espouse, this is something that works for some people and not for others. If you enjoy coming up with new combinations and trying new looks and get joy out of the time you spend doing it, great, go for it! This idea is for people who are sick of worrying about it. 

I promise you, other people will not notice. If they do, SO WHAT?? So they will notice that you have worn clothes you OWN more than once. Great! Maybe it’ll get them to shift their perspective too. We need to normalize this. I posted on Instagram and Facebook recently about Arianna Huffington’s efforts to normalize repeats, which is what made me realize I hadn’t really blogged about it. She says, "Men have a competitive advantage. They don't have to waste the kind of energy we waste." 

I had a good friend tell me recently that it was always easy to find me in a crowd because I’m always wearing some version of the same outfit and usually with the same necklace. I took that as a compliment!

Do you feel comfortable wearing the same thing often? Why or why not?

(photo: Celeste Boyer)

the top three stumbling blocks when letting go

the top three stumbling blocks when letting go

When I'm working with clients on cleaning out their closets, it's a funny situation. Everyone has been having internal conversations with themselves as to why they should keep things they don't use or wear. It's my job to talk them through them and help them see the light! I'll be doing the same thing in the Making Space course. Here are three of the top stumbling blocks I've encountered and how to talk yourself through them. 

mindful closet: how to let go of clothes

Stumbling block: It was a good deal

This is a stumbling block that I know intimately, because it was the one that most often did me in. Ultimately, this is a shopping habit that needs to be changed, but we’ll get to that another time. Right now, you need to think about whether this item is serving you. If it is not, it doesn’t matter if it was a great deal, even if it was free, it is still taking up valuable space without providing value to you. We are often proud of the story of how we found something and how much we saved, even if the item itself is not something we need. Go ahead and tell someone that story - and then let it go.

Stumbling block: I love it, but…

I refer to these items as having a ‘fatal flaw’. Basically, you love everything about it except that it has one thing that renders it unwearable for you. Maybe it’s a gorgeous top, but it’s sheer and you hate wearing an extra layer under it. Maybe it’s a dress with a print that you absolutely love, but the fabric is scratchy. Whatever the issue is, you’re not going to all of a sudden wake up one day and be able to ignore it. It won’t get worn, so you have to let it go. Acknowledge and learn from why you love it and apply that to your future purchases.

Stumbling block: It’s high quality/it was expensive

This is a similar stumbling block as the first one, but there is more guilt involved here. We feel guilt because we feel as though we’ve wasted money if we buy something expensive and then get rid of it. Unfortunately, that money is gone whether we keep the item or not. In business, this is called a sunk cost and should be considered irrelevant. It’s not as if we get our money back the longer we keep the thing. If we let it go, we may be able to get some of our money out of it by selling it, or we can make someone else’s day to get something so high quality.

I often use Marie Kondo's theories with my clients. Marie Kondo wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is a unique and revolutionary way of looking at organizing and decluttering. She writes that it’s often easier to let go of something if you thank it. While that sounds odd, what it means is that you thank the item for what it has taught you. If you bought something expensive and never wore it, what did it teach you? Maybe it taught you that you hate wearing pink. Maybe it taught you that you prefer to wear dresses more than skirts. Whatever it taught you, be grateful for that lesson, thank the item, and then let it go.

mindful closet: closet cleaning online course

There are four more stumbling blocks we'll cover in the Making Space course, including:

It was a gift
I might need it
I'll fit into it again one day
I loved it and wore it a lot, but not anymore


Do you identify with any of these hurdles to letting items go? If you want to hear more, join me on a Facebook live tomorrow, January 11th, at noon cst. 

To join the class, click below.

my baby is here!

my baby is here!

Nope, no human babies, just made an online course ;) 

Making Space is finally here! Seriously, creating this course has been WAY more work than I ever expected. I came up for the idea over the Christmas holidays last year, when I had a little creative space (i.e. grandparents were taking care of my kid). My original idea was for the course to launch in Spring 2017. I quickly realized that was unrealistic and moved it back to Fall 2017. I didn’t realize that that would still require a lot of “hustle” (my LEAST favorite word) over the summer, and so I chose a slower pace. That pace got us here, launching in Winter 2018. I’m really proud of the work I’ve put into this and I know that if it resonates with you, it’ll be really useful.

mindful closet: making space course

Here are all the details:

The course is four weeks long. Every Saturday, you’ll receive an email with the class for the week. In each class, there is a video to watch, workbook exercises to complete, and homework for you to do in your closet. There will also be a private Facebook group where I’ll be checking in on you and you can share about your progress with the other class members. Every Thursday, I’ll do a Facebook Live session in the private group to answer any specific questions that may have come up for you during the week’s work.


Week 1: Define your why, your style, and take inventory

Week 2: Editing

Week 3: Overcoming editing stumbling blocks

Week 4: Organizing what’s left and making a mindful plan going forward

That’s basically it. By the end of the four weeks, you should have a wardrobe filled with only things you wear and feel good in.


Do I need to have watched the class and done the work by the time of the Facebook Live discussion? You can follow along with the group and have the exercises done by the time we discuss them in the FB group, or you can go entirely at your own speed.

How much time do I need to devote to the class? It’s going to vary for everyone, but on average, you should be prepared to devote at least 2-3 hours a week to the work.

How is the program delivered? You’ll get an email each week with a link to the course website, where you’ll be able to watch the week’s videos and download the corelating worksheets.

How much does Making Space cost? The course will take you through the exact process I use with my one-on-one closet cleanse clients ($350 and up). You'll get the course for $197.

How many people will be in the class? I want to be able to communicate with every member of the class, so there will be a limited number of spots.  

Can guys take this class? Nope. For this class, we’re going to focus a lot on the messages we’ve gotten from others about what we as women should be wearing, so it wouldn't be appropriate.

Of course, let me know what other questions you have, I’d love to hear them!

So who should take Making Space?

I really intended this course to be for people who crave more simplicity in their wardrobes but have a hard time getting from the idea of it to actually putting it into practice. If you don’t know what to keep and what to get rid of, if you feel like you have too much but don’t know where to start, if you know your life would be easier without worrying about clothes but you still think you need options, this class is for you.

mindful closet: st. louis personal stylist

Here’s what a few other people who’ve gone through the process had to say about it.

It’s such a relief to have a more consolidated wardrobe, to know what pieces I need to focus on, and to know which pieces I should avoid. - Veronica

I have felt so much better about my clothes, and I continue to let go of pieces that don’t work for me anymore.  - Michelle

Eliminating clothes from my closet could have been tragically painful. Instead it seemed like the easiest decisions I had made in a long time. My closet has since undergone two additional revisions with Dacy and another on my own. She helped me find the freedom of owning less.  - Brooke

If you're ready to sign up, go for it below! If you have more questions, I'll be doing a Facebook live about the course on January 11th at noon cst, or just shoot me an email

(photos: Celeste Boyer)

thoughts on boundaries and fresh starts

thoughts on boundaries and fresh starts

Even though I am generally a cynical person, I can’t help but get invigorated and inspired by the fresh slate of a new year. I started thinking about what I wanted to do differently in 2018 about a month ago, and I’m hoping that by sharing some of my ideas, it’ll keep me accountable to them. Putting these ideas out there feels really vulnerable, even though I've gotten pretty personal on the blog before. I think it's because I'm afraid to admit that I have aspirations to do things better, in case I fail. But here goes! 

virtual personal stylist

My top goal for 2018 is to work on listening to my inner voice. I’ve realized lately that I depend heavily on external validation to  make choices. This could mean asking a bunch of people for advice, imagining what people might think of me if I made one choice or another, or constantly checking on social media to see if an idea I posted about has been validated by enough “likes”. None of this has anything to do with what I actually want or need. When pushed to express what I want, I am at a loss. I want to get in touch with that. 

In order to get in touch with my inner voice, I need time to work on it. I’m going to work on it by taking time to journal (Sarah K. Peck - if you're a woman, or a mom, or you work, you should follow Sarah - recommended this book) and meditate. That time needs to come from somewhere, so I’m going to do to draw more boundaries in my life to create it. 


I’m setting limits on checking email. No checking email before the work that needs to get done each day. I can check in after that work is done, but am going to limit my response times to twice a week. Not only that, but I’m going to have an auto-response on my email that lets people know I won’t be responding until one of those days. This feels super scary for a people-pleaser-fast-email-responder.   

I’m unsubscribing to as many emails as I can. Self-explanatory. Also, I love getting newsletters from my favorite online entrepreneurs, but I’m setting up an email filter so that they all go to one place and I can read them when I have time, and not when I should be making progress on work. 


I’m going to look at my week each Sunday night (my husband and I already do this since we each have irregular schedules and need to know what’s going on with childcare) and plan a few blocks of time to work “on” my business (as opposed to when I work with clients, which is working “in” my business). I will then work hard to remind myself whenever I’m tempted to try and squeeze something in when I should be doing something else, that I have that time allotted, and I can wait until then. Basically, I shouldn't be working unless it's during one of those scheduled times. This is for my own mental clarity.

I’m going to start offering virtual styling, which will allow me to work with people outside of St. Louis and will save time and resources on travel. I love getting to know people intimately in person, so I haven’t pushed into this area much yet. However, I have done virtual styling sessions on request and have had success with them. 

For 2018, I also made a “To Don’t” list. I’ve decided to focus on doing in-person and virtual styling and delivering the Making Space course each season. Nothing else. That means that I won’t be doing store events, partnerships, or speaking gigs, unless someone wants to make me an offer I can’t refuse ;) 

mindful closet: virtual personal stylist


It’s hard to be constantly trying to come up with ideas for something to post on social media about. It really takes you out of the present. You’re constantly scanning to see what around you would make a great photo or caption. Even though it feels weird, I’m going to try and write most of my social media posts on one day of the week (this is pretty common practice for people who do social media for their businesses). Again, this will help me stay in the present while telling myself I have time allotted to planning posts. 

I’m going to try to resist the constant impulses to look something up on the internet. I’m going to keep a running list of things I “need” to look up in my bullet journal and on my nightstand. Often, you open your phone to look up something random, like the name of the actor who was in some random commercial, and 20 minutes later, you realized you got sucked into checking every other app on your phone. 

Basically, I want to stop mindless scrolling. I’m going to try to make an effort to catch myself doing this, especially on Facebook. I’ve found that other than a few groups that I’m in, Facebook offers very little value for my life. If I’m not participating in a meaningful discussion in one of my business or mom groups, I really don’t need to be there. My friends and mastermind group members Kourtney and Becky use the News Feed Eradicator for this, and I need it too. 

So, that's most of it. It feels like a lot, and I'll give myself a break if things don't go as planned, but I really think putting these habits into place can help me be more present in work and life. What are your New Year's resolutions? 

(photos: Celeste Boyer)

P.S. Luckily, one area of my life that doesn’t need much refinement is the process of getting dressed. Since I’ve reduced my wardrobe to only things I love and wear, I spend 2 minutes, max, getting dressed each day. If you want to get to that point too, sign up for the waiting list for the Making Space course - launching in ONE WEEK!! eeeep. 

creative motherhood: emily cretella

creative motherhood: emily cretella

So, in the online business world, there are these things called coffee chats. They're kindof my worst nightmare - I mean, who would willingly choose to talk on the phone, and not only that, but to someone you don't know?! However, my friend Becky set me up on a coffee chat with Emily, and it was so refreshing and validating to hear from another mom trying to build her work around her kids. Not only that, but she has a whole site devoted to this working mother thing. I knew I had to have her on the creative motherhood series. I love her positive outlook on the unlimited potential when you're working for yourself. Enjoy!  ---Dacy


Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your children have grown.

I’m Emily Cretella; I’m a mom to two fierce little ladies ages 7 and 5,  a copywriter and content marketing strategist, and founder of

When I first became a mom, I knew that “balance” between career and motherhood would be hard -- I mean, it’s all you hear about as soon as you become pregnant. But I didn’t understand that “balance” did not mean having all life priorities equal at all times. It took some time for me to realize that balance instead should mean feeling like life is in alignment -- and that working full-time as the Director of Strategy at a marketing agency was not going to allow that to happen for myself or my family.

I quit my job the morning after I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, and I’ve been working for myself ever since. I never thought entrepreneurship was an option -- it was so out of my comfort zone and frankly the future vision I had crafted for myself -- but it is the BEST decision I’ve ever made (after marrying my amazing husband, of course).

Today, I partner with super talented women writers to outsource some client work and help me run my copywriting business, which gives me room to run my passion project,, which is an online publication and community for women who are running their own businesses.

Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?

When you get paid to practice your craft, it can be difficult to continue practicing it for yourself. You get burnt out by your client work. I think that’s one of the reasons I felt drawn to the idea of creating MotherHustle. It allows me to write for ME, and to express a side of myself that I don’t get to through my paid client work.

Like all writers, I do have “Write A Novel” on my bucket list. I’ve started and stopped probably 100 stories during my adult life, and I would love to one day finish one. However, I also believe in the saying, “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” So far, I haven’t found a way. So one day, perhaps, it will be more important to me to make it a priority.

Q.  Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?

I think it’s opened new goals for me. As I mentioned, before I became a mom I would have never been motivated to start my own business. I saw my career either becoming stagnant (I was already Director level at my agency, so I would have had to move on to another agency or corporate job to move up) or even more intense. Before, goals seemed like a stressful thing.

Today, it’s different. I take both financial and career goals more seriously now, because I DON’T see a limit to the possibilities. When you work for someone else, they set the possibilities for you. When you’re an entrepreneur, you craft whatever possibilities you can imagine.

creative motherhood: balancing work and motherhood

Q. What kind of a "village" or help do you have around you?

We are insanely lucky to have family close by … as in, 5 minutes away. My husband and I met in college, and when we went home for school break we realized that we had been living 5 minutes from each other our entire lives (just in separate towns). So after we graduated, we moved back to the area. His parents, my parents, one of his brother’s families and my sister’s family all live within 15 minutes of us.

I also have a wonderful group of mom friends in my physical life AND online. MotherHustle has a panel of writers who consistently contribute to the site and they are AWESOME. Their willingness to be raw and vulnerable in their essays has made the project what it is. That emotional support is critical.

Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?

Oh completely. I always say I’m building a family-focused business, so my kids and my family always come first. It is challenging, but there are a few things that make it work:

  1. Having a completely supportive husband who wants my business to succeed as much, if not more, than I do, and is willing to help make it happen

  2. Having my own office in our home, no kids allowed

  3. Only taking on right-fit clients who respect and understand my boundaries on time and availability

Q. What's a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?

My work schedule revolves around my kids’ schedules, which is actually a little easier now that they’re both in school. But as an example, I get up at 4:30 a.m. to work before they wake up, I work while they’re at school, and then (only if completely necessary!) I can finish up some stuff when they go to bed.

I’m definitely a morning person and cannot write anything good after noon, so I really hate working at night and try to avoid it. And I LOVE getting up in the dark and quiet, having a cup of coffee and writing something I’m proud of before anyone else get up.  

Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you're in the middle of mothering?

I send myself an email, or I add it to Asana, which helps keep me organized. It’s moments like those that remind me how lucky I am to have access to technology and to have an online business. I used to have random scraps of paper all over my house with snippets of ideas that would just get lost in the, well, #motherhustle.

Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?

Stop trying to do all the things. Because once you do all those things, there will be other things for you to do. Find ways to give some of the things to others to do, and keep only the things you WANT to be doing -- in business and in motherhood.

And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing; you can delegate over time. It’s taken me a long time to hand over control of certain client projects, or MotherHustle tasks, or even housekeeping, but now that those things are not on my list, I never want them back!

Thanks so much, Emily! What a great quote - "Because once you do all those things, there will be other things for you to do." Please follow Emily and MotherHustle on Instagram and Facebook! Find the rest of the Creative Motherhood series posts here

Images: Kristyn Miller

shopping mistakes

shopping mistakes

A time will never come when you will be the perfect shopper and have the perfect wardrobe. Believe me, I know. I’ve tried. Every year, I have to let go of some of the things I’ve acquired, tried, and had to admit don’t work for me.

Over time, my shopping mistakes have changed. When I first began simplifying, I cleared out a lot of mistakes. I was able to learn a lot from them. At that time, I was buying a lot of things because of price. Not because they were my style, not because I could use them, but because they were a good price for what they were. Something is marked down 75%? Of course I need it! A Banana Republic top for $5 at the thrift store? Yes, please! 

making space course

A few years later, I wrote this post, acknowledging that while I was better about resisting purchases based on price or trends, I was still making mistakes in the form of trying to push myself out of my style comfort zone or what was practical for my lifestyle.

Now the mistakes I’m making are because I feel that I need to have something to be credible or knowledgeable. I’m buying things because I want to support the businesses making them, even if they’re not useful for my life. I’m buying things so that I can walk around Manhattan and feel like I can compete. So that some other fashionista will be able to look at my coat or shoes and recognize it as a cult designer and they will know that I know about fashion. It’s taken me since the last post I wrote about shopping mistakes to realize that my confidence needs to come from my own sense of belonging, not something I’m wearing. I’m getting there. Making the space to let go of these mistakes teaches me something every time. If you never clear out the mistakes, you’ll keep making the same ones over and over.

In the Making Space online course, we’ll work through your reasons for buying things and why you’re holding onto them.