Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!!!

It's unusual for me to post in the morning, but I have a rare day where I have some time to kill before volunteering at Richard's class Halloween party. I am sitting at my local coffee shop enjoying a bagel and mocha before the chaos of almost 100 first graders (4 classrooms in which the kids will be rotating through). I cannot even begin to tell you how much I daydream about sitting at a coffee shop and blogging.... this is certainly Mama's Halloween "treat"! OMG, and Chris Stapleton just came on - swoon!
This has maybe been the most fun Fall season we've had. We've enjoyed a lot of nice weather and did a lot of activities. I'm looking forward to the school party and trick-or-treating tonight. I have to admit I am always a little bummed when Halloween is over because it is my favorite holiday!
This outfit screams Fall to me.... I had to return something to The Loft and ended up coming home with this sweater and jeans. See, sometimes returns can be dangerous! I can't resist a good owl sweater, and for some reason I can't resist wide leg released hem jeans. Seriously, I don't know what is wrong with me. I think this will make 4 pairs now. These are probably my longest pair though - the others are more cropped - so I rationalized it that way. Also, when I put them on they were sooooooo comfy! I'm always a bit stumped with what cold weather footwear to pair with them. Summer is easy with some chunky/strappy sandals. Even if I follow inspiration I see online (mostly ankle boots, clogs, slides) I feel like it doesn't look the same on me. I guess I will keep experimenting. I don't totally hate these brown boots with them though.
Owl Sweater : Loft

Monday, October 30, 2017

Velvet Remix

Another remix today, once again before the weather turned. My evening has already been quite productive as I prepped dinner for tomorrow night since we'll be busy trick or treating, and I had to finish the dog's costume! Jon is out of town, and that calls for another type of routine. Easier meals, and when the kids are in bed I look forward to "me" time. Sitting in that "Dad" spot on the couch, watching whatever I want (like right now: Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party - who else loves that show?). Staying up later than normal. Blogging. Probably making bad food choices. So yeah, some of those unhealthy aspects there. But then again, being "healthy" enjoying yourself and being comfortable enough to just be.
Being a huge Sex and the City fan, I'll never forget the episode talking about Secret Single Behavior. When Aiden moved in with Carrie, she felt like there were certain things she could no longer do - like stand in the kitchen paging through Vogue while eating saltines with jelly on them. It's just simple stuff that makes you happy. Even though my hubby and I share absolutely everything, I've said it before that I need that alone time. And hey, it's not all lazy vegging either.... sometimes it's when I get my biggest bursts of motivation! Like tonight, and this time when I repainted a cabinet when he was overseas for a week!
Alright, better get some sleep!
Massini Velvet Tee : Meijer
Mossimo High Rise Crop Flares : Target
St. Johns Bay Utility Jacket : JC Penney
Layered Marbles Necklace : Anthropologie
Sandals : Payless

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Crochet Remix

Looking back on last weekend, the weather was so gorgeous! It was the last bit of nice weather and we took full advantage of it. I wanted to share this remix I wore for a trunk-or-treat event and then a school fundraiser last Saturday. The colors in this sweater are so "Fall" so I hope I can get past that and wear it during other seasons. I changed out the top (Puella Swing Tank : Anthropologie), jeans (American Eagle) and moccasins (Minnetonka : TJ Maxx).
In my last post I talked about routines and how nice they can feel. But on the flip side, I want to talk about some of my frustrations in getting too "comfortable". I need to make some changes to become healthier. I've put on some weight and we all know the older we get the harder it gets. I know what I need to do, I just have to do it! Hubby too. Over the past couple of years, I have even bought 2 programs : MuTu, which is specific to Moms and strengthening the muscles that get stretched out due to pregnancy. And 21 Day Fix. I've following the eating portions of these on and off, but just could not bring myself to do the workouts that came with them. You would think that if I spent money on something I would do it......
It's not even about size, it's about how I feel. I am starting to have more aches and pains that I never had before, and I am more tired. It's nice to take a nap on a Saturday, but what if I didn't feel like I needed to take one. I am a stress and comfort eater. I don't get enough sleep. The most important thing is to be healthy for my kids. But it is so hard to give up the little bit of free time I have to implement these changes. Meal prep, working out, going to bed earlier. Easier said than done! I guess I just have to take one day at a time and make small changes instead of something completely drastic.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Groundhog Day

Let's talk about routines today! Can we all agree that sometimes the day to day feels a bit...... boring? There are tasks that need to be done whether you want to do them or not (i.e. if I don't wash the boys lunchboxes, I won't have anything to pack their food in tomorrow). My morning starts with rolling out of bed and letting Biscuit out. Going into the kitchen with bleary eyes to pack the lunches/backpacks. Getting the boys ready and Carson goes with Jon to get dropped off. I set Richard up with breakfast and go take a shower. Help him get on the bus and then I am alone to finish getting ready. Can I just say, I love being in my house alone! To the point of it being a physical need sometimes. I am not doing anything fun or exciting, but just the quiet helps start the day better. On the mornings when we are out of routine - for instance if Jon works from home and I have to drop Carson off in the middle of the peak drop off time - I feel it. What can I say, I am old and set in my ways..... I am an introvert and I can now recognize what it is I need on a daily basis to be my best self. So off to school and work we go and then when we get home it's unpacking backpacks, dinner, wash dishes, bath, bedtime. After the kids are in bed we are either watching TV, or for me blogging or reading. There are a few shows we watch together but mostly Jon is in the typical "Dad" spot on the couch every night watching his shows. As mundane as this all sounds, there is such comfort in this life. I can't wait to get home from work, looking forward to a good dinner, tucking the kids in bed, curling up on the couch.
There are days though where I get the "I don't want to" attitude. Where I am so sick of packing lunches and so over washing dishes. Or else I feel like I should be doing something more productive with my free time. But then I feel guilty for complaining and remind myself how fortunate we are. I try to think of it as: we are lucky to have food to cook which results in dirty dishes. We are lucky to have clothes to wear which results in doing laundry. Recently, I came across a Mom who was re-wording her lists.... instead of thinking of things as "I have to......", replace have with "get" or "want". I get to return the library books. I want to clean the boys closets.
So what does all this have to do with this post? I've always loved showing how to re-wear pieces in different ways, but then I wonder if it's too boring. Meaning, a lot of people read fashion blogs to find something new and exciting they might want to go out and buy. But if I'm wearing a dress for the third time that sold out last Spring, is that frustrating? On the flip side, I want to show how to change the look of something even if it's as simple as what jacket or sweater to throw on over it. It's easier to change up a look with separates rather than a statement dress like this. Yes, I have a lot of clothes but that doesn't mean they are all "new" all the time. Also, it's sometimes the "little things" that help you get through the day to day: recreating an outfit, treating yourself to coffee, meeting a friend for lunch...... 
The first time I wore this dress, I went more neutral with the olive green jacket and brown belt/shoes. Then to pull out the blue flower I did a jean jacket. The last time I wore it before retiring it for the Winter was with black to fit the changing season. If I can wear a dress for 3 seasons, that's a winner in my book! This is probably my favorite dress purchase this year!
Main Piece:

Marigold Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress : Loft (maternity version still available)
Hei Hei Olive Jacket : Anthropologie buy/sell/trade board
Gap Jean Jacket : consignment shop
Black Sweater : Casual Corner
Brown & Black Belts : Target
Jessica Simpson Sunglasses : TJ Maxx
Brown Sandals : Payless
Black Ankle Strap Wedges : Rockport
Catherine Malandrino Heels : Zulily
Necklaces : made by me

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Feathers & Friends

 Before I start jabbering today, can I just say that Loft is killing it lately!?!?! I must say I am shopping there more the last few years than I ever have. Case in point: this peacock sweatshirt. I am not really a sweatshirt gal, but this dressed up version with special details like the feather patches and bell sleeves is right up my alley. It is super soft and comfy and perfect for throwing on for a coffee visit and errands.
I've been thinking lately a lot about friends, and how the older you get you really surround yourself or rely on just a handful of good friends. It's about quality, not quantity. When I moved to Battle Creek in 2003, I didn't know a soul. As I met people and grew relationships, my friends became like family. I'm glad that even after moving an hour away, we can still keep in touch with all of our busy schedules. Of course we have technology, but nothing compares to getting together in person to laugh, cry and everything in between. 
I'm also thrilled that I am making new friends in my new town too. I know that may sound really silly, but it's a known fact that it gets harder to make friends at this stage in life. Things are so crazy and free time is a precious commodity, so it's important to spend it with someone you can relate to. Old or new, my friends are very important to me and I couldn't get through life without them!!!
Mossimo High Rise Jeans : Target
"Caroline" Flats : Payless

Saturday, October 21, 2017


About a month ago, we said goodbye to our little Chihuahua Mocha. She just celebrated her 14th birthday in September. Jon and I got her after we were married for about a year. She was my first dog, and our first pet together. To say it's been hard is an understatement. This is my first time experiencing the loss of a pet. The loss of this sweet little creature who snuggled with you any time you sat down or laid down..... who was never away from us as our dogs go where we go (Mocha even flew to Florida with us once).
We got Mocha in 2003 and I had this purse made in 2006. Around that time, photos bags were really in and almost every store had artsy black & white bags with the pictures of a dog, cat, place or people. I was glad to discover Gina Alexander so that my bag would be more personal. I'm even more glad to see they are still in business after 11 years! Digital cameras were just coming out and we didn't have one yet, so yes, showing my age I actually shot an entire roll of film of my dog to ensure I got a good picture to use! I draped a velvet throw I had in a corner, and my little Mocha always sat so good for pictures (she got plenty of treats)! The necklace she is wearing I made for her too - the silver beads spell her name with multiple colors of Swarovski crystals making up the rest. 
The trim and straps of this tote are leather, and the material is a matte satin. Mocha is on both sides, but you can pay extra to do 2 different pictures. I can attest that after 11 years this bag still looks perfect! I was not a coffee drinker back then - we just liked the name Mocha - but I am an avid mocha drinker now! While taking these pictures, I accidentally spilled some of my Biggby down the side of my purse (the irony of mocha on Mocha) and I was heartbroken. Seriously, I am a mess daily. When I got home, I soaked a towel in cold water and carefully wiped the fabric. It completely came out! I was so happy! So that proves this bag is a quality investment.
I normally NEVER match my purse either - that is why I don't include them in my outfit posts. But, today I did. A simple outfit, remixing the sweater in this post, the jeans from this post, and the shoes from this post.
Massini Sweater : Meijer
Lauren Conrad Kick Crop Bootcut Jeans : Kohl's
Necklace : gift from Mom
Personalized Photo Bag : Gina Alexander
Miss you so much Mocha!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Peacock Pajamas

 So many major trends right now truly fall into the sleepwear department! Kimonos that look like robes and the return of the 90's slip dresses and slinky camisoles. This peacock "dress" is technically a nightgown! When I saw it, of course I thought it could be a dress and it's not the first time I've worn a nightgown as a dress (see post here).
As expected, it was super comfortable! Since it's a slip style, the styling options are endless (layer under it or layer over it). And as you can see from the links below, the slip, boots and sunglasses are all from Target.
Hei Hei Jacket : Anthropologie buy/sell/trade board
Merona Sunglasses : Target

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Shutterfly : Make My Book

Do you sense a theme going on here? How I am trying to find solutions to make life easier so I can enjoy more? I've raved about Blue Apron meals, love the new grocery delivery service Shipt, and now I want to tell you about "Make My Book" at Shutterfly.

I feel many people are in the same boat as me when it comes to getting overwhelmed by pictures. Now that we carry a camera with us (phones) we may even be taking pictures on a daily basis whereas before it was only for specific reasons. I used to be an avid scrap booker, even showcase some pages on here (years ago), but I can't tell you the last time I had the ambition to scrap. So now I am so far behind it feels like I would never be able to catch up. I have a closet full of supplies in the basement that are messy and just taking up space. Most people would see this as a hobby, a way to relax. But when something becomes so overwhelming it becomes the complete opposite. It seriously stresses me out as "one more thing to do" or that I am failing at. I used to get together with friends for scrap nights or even weekend retreats. Hauling and setting up all of my supplies was a job in itself. That just doesn't fit into my lifestyle right now.
When I was pregnant with Richard, I started get all kinds of offers from companies - one of them being Shutterfly. I started making little hardcover books with my free offers, but honestly making them online was almost as time consuming as physical scrapping. There are backgrounds and page layouts and embellishments and text, just like in real scrapping. I was pleased with the result but the time it took still stressed me out. Last year, I saw that Shutterfly started offing a "Make My Book" option. Anyone who uses these online photo sites might be familiar with them trying to offer you a book of the pictures you just uploaded - it is just thrown together. "Make My Book" is different in that you select the photos you want, you select the theme, etc... and someone will actually make your book as you would. It will be ready in a few days and there is no obligation to purchase it. If you do choose to purchase it, the fee is $9.99 on top of the price of the book. Once it is complete, you do have the option of going in and moving things around, adding or taking anything away, etc.... just as you would if you made it. My changes are very minimal when I use this service.

$10 bucks for something that would take me hours and hours to do..... yes please! Pictured here are 4 of the recent books I have gotten. It is easy to group by holiday, vacation, school year and then I'll probably plan to do some random books of the leftover pictures. Since Carson is still using diapers/pull up, I have Pampers codes that earn me free books so then I am only paying the fee and shipping. Other tips I can share is that the books are often on sale (40% - 50% off) or they offer unlimited pages (each books has a standard number of pages and if you go over you pay per page). So you'll want to watch for those promos! A few weekends ago we were going through all of my 12 x 12 scrapbooks. They were so cumbersome and I was disappointed to see some of the archival supplies I used were not holding up. I love the scrapbooks I have, but going forward these 8 x 8 Shutterfly books are it for me! I plan to clean out my supplies, keep a few things, and sell/donate the rest. The mental and physical burden of "stuff" will be so uplifting!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Worth It

I've loved Free People's "Fable" Dress for years! Every time I happen to see it on someone, I fall in love with it again. But since the Fable style is one that Free People carries all the time (they just change the colors) I figured I'd always have a chance to buy it. Also, because it is a signature brand piece, it never goes on sale, which was a factor in never being able to hit that "add to cart" button.
Out of all the colors, my favorite was always the black and white. Earlier this year, I came across a couple of knock-offs. I purchased them and they sucked. Luckily the consignment shop I work with took them and they sold quickly. Then, the real deal black/white combo was sold out! When I saw one on eBay for a good price, I finally pulled the trigger and I couldn't be happier! (The black/white is now back in stock on the Free People site.)
This is definitely one of those times when it is worth it to splurge on the real deal. The fabric and quality is wonderful, it is super comfortable, flattering, and I know I will wear this for years! I've seen many bloggers wear this while pregnant, and since the top has hook and eye closure I've heard it is nursing friendly (you will see I am wearing a black tank under it for modesty.)
So there's my advice : I've tried the look-a-likes.... you won't regret investing in this one!

Embroidered Fable Dress : Free People (I got mine via eBay)
Seychelles Sandals : Anthropologie

Monday, October 9, 2017

Velvet Invasion

When velvet started coming back a few years ago, my 90's girl heart couldn't have been happier. But now, I feel like every store I walk into is covered in velvet! I guess it's good there is so much to choose from, but when it comes to wanting to join in on the biggest trends it can also be very overwhelming! The majority of what I am seeing lately is velvet, embroidery, and statement sleeves (whether it be ruffles, off the shoulder, cut outs). How do you know you are getting the best piece? What if you walk into another store and like something better? With my busy life, I am trying my best to be selective - not only to avoid a return errand but also to cut down on how much closet cleaning I tend to do. 
I've said it before, and I'll say it again : Meijer is on their game! They hired Stacey London (of What Not To Wear fame) to design their Massini line earlier this year. This cute tee was only $24.99, and believe me, some of the same velvet tops can be near the $100 and over range at places like Anthropologie, Madewell, and J. Crew. It comes in a few colors, but of course I choose teal!
Since our Fall has been unseasonably warm, it was nice to be able to wear velvet and still stay cool with this tee. I tend to lean toward crushed velvet too as it is more forgiving and easy to care for. Traditional velvet shows marks (from sitting, arm creases, etc....) and spots so much more.
Massini Velvet Tee : Meijer
High Rise Black Jeans : American Eagle
Black Flats : Payless
Peacock Necklace : gift from Jon