Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Magic of it All

My week is ending on a very high note! But let me tell ya, getting through it was tough.
 *disclaimer* I bribed him with Playdoh because he did not want to go outside and take pictures at this point in his day.

I always strive to be a positive when it comes to social media. But, there are moments when you need to be brutally honest. And in those moments, you hope that people can nod their head and think, "OMG, I can so relate to that!" I know I do with many of the blogs I read.
For the most part, our household runs like a well oiled machine. For the past 12 years, there has been an unspoken agreement regarding what chores each of us take on. I take care of dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc..... Jon takes care of the yard, pool, vehicles, home maintenance, etc..... But by no means are we a gender specific couple. I have been known to hop on the John Deere and mow the grass. Jon is a much better cook than I am, and I don't mind turning the kitchen over to him. You get the idea.
That being said, there are periods of time when the tasks of one spouse outweigh those of the other. Especially when they are seasonal. Or, when your husband commutes 3 hours a day and you seem to be in charge of EVERYTHING.
Please remember, that I am hormonal.
Like I said before, my online personality would make it seem like I just breeze through my days, taking pictures of outfits and such. And, sometimes it is like that. The days are so busy, they blend into each other and you are so caught up in what needs to be done at that moment that you forget about the bigger things. Those stresses that are always looming in the back of your mind.
But, they are bound to surface from time to time. And that's what happened this week.
Our lives have been in this sort of limbo since this time last year, when Jon was first interviewing for a different job. Planning a move. But then a twist gets thrown in with my job. Now that is settled. Are we going forward with a move or not? With a baby on the way?
I don't think it has fully sunk in yet that I will be leaving the company I have been with for 10 years, so that is part of it. Along with increasing office life irritants that I try not to get too worked up about because in 5 months, none of it will matter anyway. Jon was later than usual this week, and it seems like toddlers and dogs can sense that. We are in the final stages of potty training, and Richard has been wearing real underwear all week which has caused extra laundry. The last detail I should add is that Jon is rebuilding the engine in his rally car. Anyone who has a husband with passionate hobbies knows that they can be consumed by them.  
One night in particular, both dogs rolled in something as soon as I got home. (Our wooded yard with bunnies, deer, raccoons, turkeys, etc... provide plenty of fun things for them to find). They both required a bath and while doing that, Richard filled his pants. Once I got that all cleaned up we settle down to dinner where Richard's requests were never ending. When I finally got him into bed, I collapsed on the couch. Jon got home and was fussing in the kitchen. He had no idea how my night had been yet. I thought, "If he starts yapping about his engine, I might clobber him."
What was he doing? He had stopped at the store and bought sparkling grape juice and was mixing fruit into it since I can't have my favorite summer drink : sangria. Upon handing me a glass of "fauxgria", he said that he booked me a prenatal massage on Saturday. I started crying. I told him about my day and he just comforted me. The next morning, he took Richard to daycare (dropoffs and pickups have mostly been on me with his commute).
So there you have it. That magic when you need it most. Just when you think your significant other has no idea what you have to deal with..... they do. I feel bad for thinking "all he has to do is go to work and back" and I often forget how stressful his job is and how I wouldn't want to drive so much every day! By no means am I complaining about parenting or marriage - because I truly love my life - but we all need to vent now and again. And I like to reread these stories later to remember and realize how lucky I am. Maybe someday I will share a story from 2011 when Jon was away on a business trip.... in a nutshell, Richard was a baby and was filling his pants so much - in his bouncy seat - that he and the bouncy seat needed a bath. While bathing him, one of the dogs tried to roll in the poopy laundry pile and then later, that same dog ate my pizza right off my plate when I wasn't looking. Two pieces of pizza and 2 breadsticks, gone in seconds! We love to laugh about that story now.
So much of my life for the past 3 years has revolved around poop. And I don't see it ended anytime soon.
So let's get to the good stuff! Friday morning was our ultrasound appointment, and I was very nostalgic remembering the same moment with my first pregnancy. It seems just like yesterday! I treasure these special moments that Jon and I share..... holding hands in the darkened room, the tears, the joy. Coming up with a special way to show Richard he was going to have a baby brother!
My massage is later today.
Tomorrow, we are going to look at houses again. I really hope our move is finally happening this time, because I know so many of these little problems will be solved when Jon is closer to work and we are settled.
We have a wonderful family vacation planned this week, with 4th of July plans to end it.
This summer feels like a second babymoon - we are doing so many fun things with Richard before the new baby comes. We've gone to the zoo 3 times, a Steam Train fair, sprint car races. And it seems like it is just beginning.
Oh, I hope this massage is good today. I'd better start getting ready..... uh, hang on, someone just informed me they pooped in their pants.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Peacock Nails

 When I was in grade school, I used to obsess about having long nails. Mine never were. I remember my friends and I using the Lee Press on Nails, which, never stayed on. Right after high school, I worked at a salon where I could get all of my services for free! So, I had artificial nail tips at that time. Now, I am content with my nails and I rarely EVER paint them or have a manicure. My toes on the other hand? Those HAVE to be done during sandal season!

A few years ago, I discovered nail wraps. The first company I saw come out with them was Avon and they were solid colors. I skeptically ordered them from a lady at work. And they were pretty great! No drying time and they lasted a really long time. Since then, more and more brands are coming out with them and of course I have gathered all of the peacock patterns I have found thus far. I should add that I have not been endorsed by any of these companies, and my opinions are my own.
From left to right, the imPRESS ones are actually like the old press on nails. I have not tried them yet. The Kiss ones I have tried, and even put one on my big toe and then painted all of my other toes white. Last are two color schemes from Jamberry, which you have to order from a consultant.
The other night I decided to go with the Jamberry ones in the blue tones. The difference with these, versus other ones I have tried, is they say to warm them up with a hair dryer first to help the adhesive. Here is what the wrap looks like when you first put it on.
I take my nail file and start filing where my nail ends to get rid of the excess material.
The Jamberry ones are so long (again, different from the other ones I have tried) that I think I will be able to get 2 uses out of one strip. They are rounded on both ends and that is probably how they were designed with that in mind.
That's it! Pretty easy. Sometimes, I put a clear coat over for extra protection, but it is not necessary. I wasn't in the mood for anything too fancy the other night, so I just went with putting them on all of my nails. It does get a little busy though, so like I mentioned with my toe example I might just put it on one nail (probably my ring finger) and then paint the others a coordinating color. You can even cut shapes out of them if you want to get really creative!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

World Giraffe Day

We're kind of in love with giraffes over here...... I've had my fill of new long necked items coming into my home this past week, as well as saw a ton of women's clothes at just 2 stores! So in honor of World Giraffe Day, I thought it appropriate to do a post.
Maybe it all started with the nursery? I don't know. Or maybe so many trips to the zoo? At any rate, giraffes are Richard's favorite animal and I have been won over as well. I wore 2 giraffe themed outfits last summer (here and here) and like I mentioned, have stumbled across even more pieces that might make their way into the mix. So far, only the tee below has been purchased, but I will list out my other finds in case you are interested.
White Reversible Tank - Motherhood Maternity
Cuffed Jeans - Motherhood Maternity
Since this is a non-maternity tee, I had to layer one of my maternity tanks underneath it to make it long enough. Kohl's also had this super cute option by Sonoma. And, I should mention that both options do not only have giraffe prints - there are other animals for both styles!

So that was Kohl's. The next stop I made yesterday was Macy's, and this is what I found there:
Alfani Sleeveless Top
I thought it was so odd that I found so many giraffe things in one day and just two stops! The universe was obviously telling me something.
Last Saturday, this fellow became part of our family. We are working on potty training here, and we told Richard that once he filled up his sticker chart, he could go pick out whatever he wanted at the toy store. He kept telling us he wanted a big giraffe, and he wasn't joking.

 Last, I thought I'd include some pictures from the zoo(s) from this summer. I usually post ones of us feeding the giraffes lettuce. The signs for the zoo around town have giraffes on them, so every time we see one Richard starts talking about them!
Statue at Binder Park Zoo
 Sculpture at Potter Park Zoo
 Carousel at Binder Park Zoo
Happy World Giraffe Day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tulle Tummy

I feel like my bump has been the same size this entire pregnancy! I remember feeling like that with Richard too, and then one day you just "pop" and are huge. I am about 17 weeks now and up until this point, depending on what I wear, it is still easy to hide the fact that I am expecting. Not that I want to - it's just how it is.
In other similarity comparisons, here I am wearing a tried and true outfit formula. When I have a funky pair of pants or skirt, I always pair it with simple closet staples. Basic top, some kind of jacket, and favorite shoes. Let that one statement piece stand out. I think an edgy black leather jacket would be better with this, but definitely too hot for summer!
While at the office today, my friend and I walked to the Starbucks across the street for a break. A lady waiting for a red light rolled down her window to yell "That's an awesome skirt!"
I am sure I have said it before, but living in the Midwest and in a "smallish" city, I do feel like I stick out a lot. I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago, about running into a lady at TJ Maxx in Milwaukee, WI who had this exact same skirt and exact same sandals on. My first thought was, "Is she a blog reader?" I stopped her to compliment her and found out she was not. It was so exciting though!
I tend to get a lot of comments at the zoo(s) too, when Jon is with me (and when he is my blog photographer). He always gives me a look, as we like to tease each other. The two outfits I posted yesterday were no exception. But honestly, I do not dress to seek compliments - I dress how I want to dress because it makes me happy. It was so heartwarming to have one of my very good friends confirm this during our last catch up session, where she also took some blog pics for me. She said that she knows me well enough to know that I am not looking for attention - that I dress the way that I do for my own creative outlet. The compliments are just an added bonus (which I appreciate, of course) but her comment was probably the best compliment of all!
Free People Tutti Frutti Tulle Skirt
Black Tank
Gap Jean Jacket - local consignment shop
Statement Necklace - TJ Maxx
Unlisted "Webpage" Wedges - Steinmart

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Monday, June 16, 2014


You've probably realized by now, that I spend a lot of time at Zoos. We've been getting a family membership to our zoo since we had Richard (gifted to us, or we bought - which pays for itself within 2 visits) and which also gets you discount admissions to other zoos (usually half off). Richard has been to the zoo 4 times already this season - twice to our local zoo (post from Mother's Day here), a visit with Grandma & Grandpa to the zoo in my hometown, and a visit to a nearby zoo for Father's Day yesterday. We enjoy it just as much as he does, so it is really fun for all of us.
It's a good thing I love whimsical animal prints, which makes dressing for the zoo fun. Plus, the backdrops can be adventurous and different from my usual outfit posts as well. This first set is from our non-Mother's Day visit to our local zoo. I liked the mix of zebra print + colorful ikat panels of this dress from Steinmart. I wore the rhinestone necklace that I painted with nail polish, and my favorite gladiator sandals.

Yesterday, for Father's Day, I wore my camel dress (see post here from a few years ago, which was taken in the same "Africa" location as the ones above). This dress works for maternity because of the pleats in front. For how long though, I am not sure as if you compare the 2 posts you can tell I am *ahem* a lot fuller on top.

 I enjoyed wearing my new Anthro necklace that I posted about a few days ago. A few updates from then...... Lenora Dame is made in the USA, which is something I always love supporting. Also, Anthro is currently having a 20% off jewelry promo and since I was within the 14 day price adjustment period, I was able to call the store I bought this at to get the adjustment! I know I have read from others that price adjustments or free shipping adjustments can be hit or miss. I hope I am not testing my luck here, but I will say that I have never been turned down for either. If you buy at a store, as long as you have your receipt # and call that exact store they will do the adjustment over the phone. If you ordered online, call customer service. The last 2 times I ordered, they started a free shipping promo a few days later. Both times I called and got my shipping refunded (I hate paying shipping, BTW). Last, if your store doesn't have something in stock they will order it for you and waive the shipping. It never hurts to ask - every dollar counts! And those are all reasons why I love shopping Anthropologie.
Okay, back to the zoo. The zoo in Lansing had soooo many peacocks! I don't recall them having this many when we went last year. I am not even exaggerating when I say that everywhere you looked, there was a peacock. The most I saw all together at once was 5! No one fanned their feathers for me, but it was still wonderful! Here I am trying to get a pic with one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Anthropologie Jewelry - Buy, Make, or Save?

I have really been admiring Anthropologie's jewelry lately. So today, I have three options for you. The first 2 necklaces are by Lenora Dame. While I do appreciate that Anthro is bringing us these pieces at a lower price than Ms. Dame's website ($78 and $88 versus $105), I do fear that I will eventually see these at TJ Maxx. I have seen so much Lenora Dame at TJ Maxx over the past year, with one of my finds being posted here. But anyway, on to the options!

Here we have the Starlight Mesa Necklace. Friendship bracelets have emerged again recently, and pairing them with polished pearls is just genius in my book. I brainstormed for quite a bit on how I could recreate this necklace myself. Even though I still have all of my floss from making bracelets when I was 10, I would not recall how to actually make them. Then, I thought of buying premade bracelets and gluing them onto the wood disk beads. Lastly, I thought of a skill I did know how to do - peyote stitch. I could make beaded beads in the aztec patterns (see example of peyote here). But, when looking at my stash of delica beads, I didn't have these bright colors. Plus, that would take FOREVER!!!! In the end, I decided to buy the necklace. It's one that you will want to purchase in person if possible so you can pick the best colors to your liking.
This is the Moonlight Mesa Necklace, the one I did decide to make myself as I already had all of the materials on hand. Here's a good example of another bohemian design I've made with these same supplies. I was glad that I could personalize this (the peacock fabric). For my focal piece, I glued 3 wood rings I had together so it would be thick enough to adhere the feather ribbon to. The large wood round beads I got at Joann's and I love that they have an iridescent coating on them. It gives them some character. The smaller, teal wood beads that complete the necklace are from Hobby Lobby.

These multi-strand bracelets are by Hipanema. Anthropologie has three options online - one for $108, one for $148, and one for $168. Leave it to TJ Maxx again..... I saw a Hipanema bracelet there for $39.99. But we can do better than that! Head on over to Target and decorate yourself for $9.99! Just like Anthro, Target has several color schemes and combos. I know that I am not much of a bracelet wearer (as much as I love bracelets) so even for $10 I did not buy for myself. But a fun find for sure!
I really think this post represents me so well. I am someone who loves to support designers/artists when I can afford it. I am also someone who loves the challenge of DIYing. And most importantly, I am someone who loves a great deal!
Buy, make, or save?
No need to choose - do all three!
I look forward to styling my 2 new necklaces in outfits to share soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Practical / Not Practical

It's no secret that I love beautiful clothes. But when buying, I do ask myself about the practicality of an item. Will I wear it to work? Will I wear it on the weekends? How many different ways can I style it? I usually have good answers to all of these questions before bringing it home.
But then sometimes, all reason goes out the window.
I love a good peplum top. But this one? This one is very....... floofy. The Anthro community loved this top when it came out, as did I. The botanical print is gorgeous, it is unique, and the fabric is very high quality. One reviewer compared it to a Dolce & Gabanna floral piece, and I would have to agree. (I have always admired D & G's flower prints.)
I did my usual try on so I know what size to buy when it hits sale. The designer is Cameo, based out of Australia. Now when it is not an in house Anthropologie brand, you can most likely comparison shop (great example here). And that is exactly what I did. I found that this print was used in a variety of pieces, including a blazer over at Anthro's sister site Urban Outfitters. Since it is sold out, I don't have a link but you can see the reference pic at the end of this post.
 I convinced myself that a blazer was more "practical" than the peplum top. Plus, the sale price was good.... it originally retailed for $247 marked down to $99 and then I had a 50% off promo code and free shipping. I ordered it for $50. It's arrival proved to be disappointing - it was a boxy fit (I should have known) and I realized that I am not much of a blazer wearer. I returned it.
I started looking at how other bloggers were styling the peplum top and realized I was in love with it. So I bought it (on sale) in Chicago a few weekends ago. This is probably the only time I will be wearing it until next Spring/Summer, since my little baby is pushing that short front ruffle almost to the point of it standing straight out (one of those "bucket list" pieces I have talked about)! But here are my outfit ideas with bottoms I already have on hand:
 black pencil skirt (as seen)
black pants
traditional blue jeans
green jeans
white pants
And speaking of this skirt..... I had been on the hunt for the perfect black pencil skirt. I wanted that retro/classic look - high waisted and below the knee. I knew this would be something I would need to try on and I am glad I found this one at Kohl's. The whole thing is stretchy, so it works for pregnancy too. It was the only piece out of my list of bottoms that worked with this top right now (the panels on maternity pants/jeans showed).

Cameo Dahlia Peplum Top - Anthropologie
Gap Jean Jacket - Consignment Shop
Unlisted "Webpage" Wedges - Steinmart
Sunglasses - Zulily
Apt 9 Earrings - Kohl's
I just love how the peplum is longer in the back, and the ruffles it creates.
Here is a shot without a jacket so you can see the entire structure of the top. Goodbye for now pretty top - see you again when I am not pregnant!
Sorry it didn't work out between us, blazer.
Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Repeat Outfit Combo + Deal Sighting

I so enjoyed the simplistic comfort of the outfit in this post, that I decided to recreate it with similar/same pieces. Plus, I wanted to share this Free People look-a-like I just scored at TJ Maxx.
When you find styles that you love and/or are comfortable in, there is nothing wrong with buying a few of them. It will make getting dressed much easier. For these outfit combos, the basics are a pullover dress with an elastic waist and a long, flowy cardigan. From there, you can belt it or not, change out your shoes, and switch up your jewelry.
Floreat Castle Lake Dress - Anthropologie
American Age Maxi Cardi - TJ Maxx
Belt - Old Navy
Apt 9 Sunglasses - Kohl's
The Anthropologie dresses I used in both posts are eBay deals since I missed out on them when they were in stores. Both have fun prints that you really have to study - the one in my previous post has lovely flowers but when you look closer you can see an equestrian vibe (pretty horse heads and riding gear). Today's dress has a nautical theme with large ships, villages and fish (see close up below).
Okay, so let's talk about this cardigan. In my referenced post, the peach one I am wearing is by Free People and retails for $78. I was happy getting mine at Nordstrom Rack last year for $30. When I was at TJ Maxx the other day, I spotted this oatmeal colored one. It is EXACT to the Free People one. It's label is American Age - and it was $16.99! 
It is so perfect for chilly summer mornings, and air conditioned offices. It is a very thin material and super soft. There is so much you can do with it too. Dressy, casual, buttoned, unbuttoned, belted, not belted. You get the idea. It's a great layering piece. I would recommend it to anyone, especially at TJ Maxx's price! I mean, even if you just wear it around the house as a lounge piece - well worth it!

Did I mention that when the wind blows, it feels like a cape? Bonus! Seriously, go to TJ Maxx and get one!

Photos by Kristen.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I can't believe they're..... Crocs! And other tidbits........

Today I wore a really simple and comfy dress that I have worn many times before. I even wore the belt that came with it for even less decision making this morning. And a bright, statement necklace is so trendy with stripes.
But what I really want to talk about are my new Crocs that I got in Chicago. That's right - these cute black LEATHER wedges are in fact..... Crocs. My Mom had a pair the last time she visited and I was impressed. Much like my recent Target purchase, Crocs do not come in half sizes. Knowing that we had our trip to Chicago planned, I knew I could try on the 8 and 9 at the store on State Street (right at the entrance to my fav hotel, The Palmer House). Cuteness and comfort - sold!
Funny thing, is my Mom and I also have these crocs. A few years ago, it was the other way around. I had gotten mine for our trip to Belize (for beach and pool) and continue to use them for the same purpose along with quick trips outside. When my Mom saw mine, she then got some.
A.B. Studio Dress w/ Belt - Kohl's
M. Haskell Necklace - Macy's

Okay, other observations from today..... my hair will no longer hold a curl. I am blaming it on pregnancy because I have not changed anything in my hair routine. This did not happen when I was pregnant with Richard, but every pregnancy is different. Of course, I did notice a change in my hair AFTER he was born. I had a few of the "best" hair days of my life, followed by a little hair loss (this is common with the hormone fluctuation). But this curl thing is so weird to me. It happens as quick as I leave my house to when I walk into the office. And I don't think it has been that humid out yet. So, this is what my hair looks like after I attempt to curl it. Hmmmmm.
I am getting to that point where people who don't know me carefully ask, "Are you having a baby?". I think it is brave of people to ask this question when they don't know the answer nowadays.
I indulged in a delicious treat at the new froyo shop that opened downtown. When I saw them post on Facebook that they had maple syrup and bacon as toppings, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Talk about the ultimate pregnant lady treat! In conjunction with froyo, they also have a bakery, and it is so awesome to see some new business in Battle Creek. Especially since they are taking advantage of the character of the old buildings. I swoon for original hardwood floors.
Speaking of downtown, here is some newer artwork on one of the buildings.
That's all I got for today... thanks for stopping by!