Monday, January 12, 2015

2015-Live Outside the Jar

I'm going to admit something that is just not acceptable in Blogland-I didn't have a word for 2014.
Nope.
 I wasn't torn between words, I never picked one at all.
I even led a night with my prayer group where we all created little desktop reminders of our word and I never selected one for myself.

I can't say that I have chosen one for 2015 either.
Maybe I will, but as of now I have no idea what word should define this year.

Enter the memory jars.
I saw a pin on Pinterest and decided 2015 was the year of the jar.
I am not always known for being the most positive person. 
In fact, sometimes it is easier to complain or moan about how life isn't fair.

I'm not doing that this year.

This year I will seek out the goodness of life.
The simple delights.
The blessings we enjoy.
The beauty of simplicity.
People who make life exciting.

And I don't want to do this alone.
Jars are headed to friends, family, and coworkers. 
The hope is that we can live with more positivity and more joy. 
And that at the end of the year we can open the jars and read the blessings, gifts, and treasures that defined the year.
So what's been added to the jar thus far?
-The freezing cold night that I rushed under the covers and found that my husband slipped heating pads on my side of the bed to keep me warm.
-We have enough funds to pay for my next semester of graduate school thanks to an unexpected gift.
Want to join in?
You can download these printable tags for your own personal jar of goodness.
CLICK HERE to download the tags.
I used boring old card stock and inked the edges, but you could find some pretty scrapbook paper to jazz them up. 
So print up some tags, grab a jar and start living with joy this year. 
Yes, it's a bit fluffy, but gratitude sure has a wonderful ring to it, yes?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday 1/7/15

So Christmas has come and gone (and so has summer...and fall). And I have a cute 2015 post with pictures to publish. So 2015 may start with a tiny pop over here on the blog.

This Christmas I received a real DSLR camera. My entire family and myself pooled our money together for it. Why? No, not to have better What I Wore Wednesday photos (although that will be a plus) but because I hope to capture some really cool life moments and not buy a cheap camera every other year when it breaks. I also would love to blog more and although that's a promise I am not ready to make, it is a goal I'm setting. 

But on to the point of today- two outfits!
#1: Post-Christmas gathering look
The blanket scarf craze -isn't it grand?
I kind of stopped looking for one and found this after Christmas at Sears in the Lands' End section. For 15 bucks I couldn't pass it up. And I hope it isn't overly-Christmasy because I plan to wear it all winter!

Tee: Lands' End (here)
Scarf: Lands' End (here)  
In real life it looks more muted like in my picture, it's not as vibrant as Lands' End shows it
Pants: Target Mossimo (last year)
Shoes: Ralph Lauren, Marshalls 

#2-a warmer winter day look
It was 60 degrees Sunday. Which is weird because it is winter (and today the wind chills are in the teens). However it meant I was able to throw on my puffer vest which is much easier to wear to church than a giant coat. Thus I loved this Sunday simple look.
Sweater: Tommy Hilfiger (last year)
Vest: Lands' End (here)
Jeans: Old Navy Rockstar crops from last year
Boots: Bandolino, last year
gorgeous hand-knit scarf unexpectedly received from Michele!!! 
Earrings: Kate Spade (outlet purchase)
Glasses: Tiffany

I love the sweaters and coats that get pulled out this time of year. They keep me all cozy and stuff.
I look forward to sharing more winter outfits with you!

Linking up over at the Pleated Poppy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday 8/20/14

Hard to believe summer is slipping by! 

These were some of my favorite, go to looks for the past few months. 

My glasses get worn much more often. My prescription changed, so I felt it was time for new frames and I love them! Very comfortable to wear and who can dislike Tiffany blue every day?
Top: Jcrew
Jacket: Gap, spring 2014
Skirt: Jcrew Factory, old
Shoes: Clarks

I love nautical themed looks, I really do. 
This belt was a summer purchase and went with so many outfits this summer. I don't usually shop at White House Black Market, but their belts on clearance are worth it every time. Plus, this dress needed waist definition, so the belt pulled everything together.
Dress: Marshalls
Cardigan: Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Bandolino
Belt: White House Black Market
Necklace: Barbara Bixby chain w/ Judith Ripka enhancer (QVC)

And then came the hair chop!
It was quite spontaneous. I was a little weepy in the car on the way home, but now my love the cropped hair again. I have moments when I miss the longer hair, but I always knew I'd go back to a shorter 'do. It's just more me right now.

This was a basic outfit for me all summer-cropped colored pants and a tee with a bold necklace (the short hair has reminded me to girl it up and pull out some of my old statement necklaces again).
 Tee: Target
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Lands' End
Necklace: Anthropologie

And a maxi dress.
My secret is to buy them in the juniors section at TJMaxx or Marshalls (they seem to be shorter). This one was worn to the beach, barbecues and parties. I've paired it with a jean jacket many many times.
Dress: TJ Maxx
Shoes: Lands' End
Gold hoop earrings
Banana Republic necklace

What have been your go-to looks for the summer?

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the Bag

I am a bag person, have been for years. When I was 16 my cousin took me to Coach and gave me free-range to buy any bag I wanted. I still have that logo hobo clip bag 15 years later (I can't seem to part with it). 

Usually I buy a bag, carry it for a few weeks and it gets stashed in the pile of misfit bags in my closet. Either the pockets don't work right or it doesn't fit my iPad, or some other silly thing that keeps me from adoring that bad I needed to have. Every year or so I purge the bags and donate them to Dress for Success or to the convent for the sisters who teach at my college. It's gratifying to give them away to new homes, but after completing Financial Peace University, I know I can't spend that money just to give the bags away.

Flash forward to this spring. I went to the local outlets not knowing what I would buy and stumbled upon this beauty.


I worried it was too big, that the color was too bold and that it would get dirty all the time.

I was wrong on all three counts.

This bag has been carried every.single.day since I bought it in April. To work, to NYC, shopping, to the beach. And everywhere I go (seriously, every day) someone compliments the bag. I've decided that if I had a dollar for every compliment, I could have purchased the bag. 

I love everything about the bag. Of course, the Tiffany blue color was the main reason I splurged. And the adorable multi stripe lining makes it fun. And the leather. Ahhhh, sumptuous.  I'm usually a pebbled leather person, but saffiano leather is now my new favorite. No scratches, no discoloration, and a neat pattern.  Plus, this bag doesn't get dirty which was also a concern. Just brush it with a baby wipe and it's back to new. It fits my pocket requirements, too. I need a zip compartment for my wallet and I like my phone to be on the outside and I like my iPad to fit comfortably. 
Good on all counts.

 Here's what was in the bag before I cleaned it out:

Too many lip glosses (I pared this down to three-a pink gloss, clear gloss and lipstick)
Tide to Go pen
Nail file
bandages
Altoids
Bug spray
my Mozart pill box (it keeps Motrin, Benadryl, Asprin and Zyrtec)
 2 Purells (why???)
Random receipts
A reusable bag
my inhaler
glass cleaner
lotion 
powder
too many pens (I kept a ballpoint and gel)
the yellow envelope holds coupons
yes, I carry a checkbook!
my Pleated Poppy mini case holds the many store cards we all carry
And my student ID-I'm starting graduate school in the fall!!
Aren't these really the essentials?
Phone
Sunnies
Wallet
Charger
Nametags

 Here it is empty:
 And all loaded up:
Here it is in action in NYC:
bag: Kate Spade Newbury Lane Briar tote
Currently the outlet is selling it in black. It seems to pop up on eBay in other colors. 

What bag have you loved carrying this summer?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday 6/4/14

The past couple of weeks were a mix of low key and lots of patterns and even included some of my favorite oldie pieces.

If I lived in Manhattan I could be a real fashion blogger who has a photographer and stages shots on adorable streets with perfect backgrounds. So when we were in Battery Park this weekend, I got to pretend.

This dress is fantastic! I love Lands' End, I really do. And I love them more because they make petite maxi dresses that don't drag and don't make me look short. I did wear Jockey Slip Shorts underneath and I was grateful for that when I stepped over a subway grate and was exposed to all of Liberty Street. So, lesson learned, I'll be stitching up the wrap portion of the dress.

It was quite comfortable, though and I can't stop raving about it. We'll see how it washes up this week.
Dress: Lands' End (I know, I couldn't believe it either)
Jacket: Ralph Lauren, thrifted and purchased 2 years ago
Shoes: Born
Bag: Kate Spade

And yes, I did the whole "look unassumingly put together and stare off into the distance thing". 
I've been loving this bag all season (I bought it in mid-March and haven't stopped carrying it).
It has zipped outside compartments and a wide open center. Maybe I'll do a what's in my bag post because I couldn't believe how much fits in here.

Ah, back to reality.
I love this shirt. I've worn it every week. Super cheap from Target, but it is so versatile. Love it. The skirt is pretty old now and I wore it often with bright pieces a few years ago. I thought this would be a good way to wear it without looking too flashy. The jacket gets lots of compliments...only a few people know it's thrifted.
Top: Target
Jacket: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Skirt: Jcrew Factory
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Necklace that you can't really see: Tiffany's initial charm
Earrings: TJ Maxx
Glasses: Tiffany's. Yes, Tiffany's makes glasses, who knew. Plus they were on sale. The person helping me select my glasses asked if I would ever wear this color. Um, yes. That decision was confirmed when he saw my bag and phone, both in bright shades of teal. 

And another typical day.
Some days we wear our promotional cardigans with our logo on it, so this is one of those days. Truthfully, it's actually a nice cardigan. It has seams and is actually fitted, so as promo items go, I'd pick this one.
Top: Target
Skirt: Van Heusen
Shoes: Cole Haan via TJ Maxx


I'm linking up:
pleated poppy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday 5/21/14

Here are some outfits from the past month. 

#1
Ah, this jacket. It's a favorite of mine for a few years now. The pattern is wonderful (and I even have a gorgeous Kate Spade in the same print) and it adds a little fun to a professional day.
Jacket: Jcrew (2012)
Top: Target (2012)
Pants: Jones NY from Marshalls
Shoes: Easy Spirit 
Necklace and Earrings: Swarovski 

 #2
I think I considered this a slightly casual outfit. It was a quiet, rainy Friday, so I don't think I wanted to get all dressy. 
Top: Thrifted
Cardigan: Banana Republic Outlet (might still be available)
Pants: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Shoes: Easy Spirit

#3 
This is what I wore for Mother's Day. Talk about comfortable! It's from Lands' End, which has become a favorite brand of mine over the past year because their fabrics seem to last a while and they offer many petite options in stores (this short gal loves that).
Dress: Lands' End
Tank: Jcrew
Jacket: Ralph Lauren, thrifted
Shoes: Easy Spirit
Jewelry: Swarovski

#4
Spring is here!!
Every year or so TJ Maxx seems to get a shipment of Talbots clothes. I practically squealed when I found this lined skirt for 15 bucks! Love the color, love the tweediness, love again, that it's lined. I think I'll get this hemmed an inch or so, but I am so happy with this purchase. The jacket was also a recent purchase, as I've needed a light colored one for a while. At $30, it was a steal (also lined, also nice quality). The shirt is a Brooks Brothers splurge from last year and I'm still in love with it.
Shirt: Brooks Brothers
Jacket: Banana Republic Factory
Skirt: Talbots
Shoes: Aerosoles

#5
I wore a black jacket with this to a conference for work. The hair has been cut and brightened (I didn't realize how much I needed that blonde infusion) and I was gifted some nice new blush. This was me heading out to celebrate my brother's last birthday in his 20s and my husband and I felt very old as we left before 10 pm.
Top: Target 
Pants: Van Heusen
Jacket: Ralph Lauren, thrifted
Shoes: Franco Sarto, Nordstrom Rack

Linking up!
pleated poppy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday 4/16/14

Hi there!

Well, fortunately for the past few months that I've been MIA in blog land I haven't been naked, just haven't had the time to take pictures (I can see the relief on all your faces).

The hair got a bit lighter this summer, but truthfully, it could use a recolor now. I'm trying to stretch it for a wedding we are attending in a few months. I darkened it a little for the fall, so you get to see all the color changes it's been through.

So, most importantly, what have I worn?

This Tommy Hilfiger top is one of my favorites. It's light and comfortable and the sash makes it fitted, too.
Top:Tommy Hilfiger
Jeans: Lucky via TJ Maxx
Shoes: Clarks

So moving on to the more boring, more recent me.
I bought these bright 'too tomato' red pants at Banana Republic for 10 bucks. Jean from Extra Petite always raves about the Sloan pants from BR and she's right, they're wonderful. 
Top: Express
Pants: Banana Republic
Shoes: Sam Edelman

I once again had a slightly embarrassing TV appearance so an extra dressy professional outfit was called for. This dress was very inexpensive (Target) and it's held up very well for the past two years. It's actually lined, too, a rarity for dresses and jackets lately. I'm looking to upgrade though. Maybe a Talbots sheath dress? It's so hit or miss at the Talbots by me though, so I'm guessing I'll end up with a Banana Republic dress, which is fine by me!
Jacket: Loft (so freaking old)
Dress: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer
Belt: White House Black Market
Scarf: Hermes Twilly

Yup, love the pants. I've found there are lots of ways to wear them and that they can be fun, too.
Sweater and shirt: Gap outlet
Pants: Banana Republic
Shoes: Born
Necklace: JCrew
  
If I'm honest, I think my style has gotten much more simple, perhaps classic and a little bit boring. Why? Because I have tried refining my wardrobe to be as professional as possible with a little bit of personality, but not too much. My boss said something that really made me think: my clothes shouldn't speak for me, I should speak for me. It wasn't a comment directed at me, but it made me pause and realize that I was getting a little overly colorful. Plus I'm over 30 now (gasp) and I like being a little more refined. It makes me feel a little more put together. 

My purchasing has changed too. Less thrifting (I just have less and less patience for it) and more calculated buys (slim fit pants, solid sweaters, nude heels). I hope to document some of my favorite spring buys here, maybe even review them. I know, I may become a real blogger again. Let's hope!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful 2013

Clearly the fall got away from me much too quickly! I will, however, squeeze out the last moments of November to share some thanks of the past year.

My health.
After several doctor recommendations, I now go to the gym 3-4 times per week. My blog friends, this is flipping HUGE! I've written many times that I needed/wanted to do this, but I finally started a gym regimen August 30th.
 I feel great and wish I started this sooner in my life. 
Fun moments with friends.
We are so blessed to have such a great group of friends who cheer us along this journey.

And thank the Lord for Facetime. Because we have had some wonderful chats with these folks too.
 My husband who stands by my side no matter what. Even if it means spending the night in a tux at a work event. My oh my does he clean up nice! 
And he's my favorite dance partner. 
This photo also reminds me how grateful I am for my job. I have strong mentors and have had some pretty cool opportunities this past year. This video was my mom's proudest moment of her life. 

 Family.

This was an easier year for my side of the family, but much more stressful for my husband's family. They have a major home renovation going on and they have been caring for my father in law's father who was very ill and passed away just before Thanksgiving. We have been challenged to turn to the Lord more and more and trusting in his sovereignty makes things easier for sure.  We are praying 2014 brings some calmness to their lives


And I'm so grateful for the friends I have met from blogging. This year several of you have supported me through some 'stuff' (health issues, food allergies, faith motivation).  I thank you for being in my life.