Monthly Archives: January 2016

Setting the baseline [Fitness Friday]

Fitness

This shoppable photo was provided by Shopbop 

At work I belong to our company’s Toastmasters group. You’ve probably heard of Toastmasters but in case you haven’t, it’s an international organization with chapters all over the place. The goal is provide a safe environment to practice public speaking. When you start they give you a booklet of 10 different types of speeches and you work your way through it.

What in the world does this have to do with my new Fitness Friday theme?

The biggest thing I’ve learned over the past 18 months or so is that working out is just part of the equation. I mean, we all know the rule of thumb is to eat less and move more, right? But what if the answer is just to eat the “right” types of things while moving more? And what if that “moving more” doesn’t mean cardio?

So last week I did my speech that required “research.” I fully admit that I cheated and spoke about the way I’ve been eating for the past year and a half: counting macros.

If you’ve never heard the term “macros” before then, yes, it would require research to understand it. But basically it boils down to instead of just counting calories you count grams of carbs, protein and fat. I read the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and then actually paid Muscle for Life to figure out my initial macros and meal plan.

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In conjunction with following the strength workouts provided by the book I found that I lost fat but gained so much muscle. And, yes, it makes me look awesome.  But it also made me stronger, faster, and, I have to say, at age 36 I’m probably in the best shape of my life. Looking great is just icing on the cake.

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Woo hoo! Bathroom mirror selfie!

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I’ve written about it before but, seriously, I’m really enjoying seeing the results of combining how I eat with how I workout. Not only in how I look, but also in that my running times are faster without doing all the speedwork that got me injured several years ago. And, as I learned on New Year’s Eve, being strong has practical applications. Case in point: going to the store and walking the half mile home carrying 6 bottles of wine, a case of beer, ice cream and brownie mix.

So, on these Fitness Friday posts I’ll probably talk about the workouts and races I do, some recipes I make that “fit my macros”, and, of course, my favorite workout gear (when appropriate). And if there’s anything specific you want me to talk about, let me know!

Also, I’ll try not to share too many humblebrag photos. That’s why I have Instagram. Just kidding. Kind of.

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Matching your outfit to your bag

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I’ve never been one to change purses. I’ve also never been one to buy a purse for myself. In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of purses I’ve purchased. However, when I saw this Vince one during the last Shopbop sale it just called out to me.

So of course I put this outfit together with it.

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Bag – Vince (same in black) (similar color) | Shirt – J. Crew (similar) | Vest – Old Navy (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Boots – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Watch c/o JORD (same)

I was lucky enough to have some Shopbop credits to offset the cost of the bag, plus it was on crazy sale. It’s definitely an investment bag because of the classic shape and color, though, so I don’t mind that I spent more money on it than I usually spend on things.

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This outfit, however, is one I wore when we were in Carmel, Indiana in December for the Caribbean Christmas Half Marathon. Which I ran. On a 60 degree day. Yes, in December. Weird, right?

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Just a little bit different from the 5 mile race I posted about on Monday, right?

Anyway, I ran the race (which ended up being my fastest half marathon to date) and then we went to Bub’s Burgers, home of the 16 ounce Big Ugly burger. Which I ate. Which means I got my picture on the wall at Bub’s. So, if you’re ever in Carmel, Indiana go to Bub’s and see if you can find me.

I am a woman of many talents. Including putting together outfits that showcase my new purse.

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P.S. I’m thinking of doing “Fitness Fridays” here on the blog since fitness is also a big part of my life. I actually started blogging as a running & fitness blogger and I kind of miss it. Thoughts on adding that into the schedule here?

Best and Worst Purchases of 2015

Shopping

One of the great things about tracking your shopping and what you wear on a regular basis is that you get a pretty good idea of what you actually wore after you bought it.

To that end, here are what I consider to be my best and worst purchases of 2015.

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Tee (purchased in April) | Old Navy workout leggings (purchased in October) | Old Navy jeggings (purchased in November) | Polka dot sneakers (purchased in April)

The leggings and the tee may not have made the blog in outfits, but I wear them all the time. All the time. And I fully admit to having a mea culpa moment with jeggings. I poo-pooed them but, dang, they’re comfortable. Especially when you struggle finding jeans that fit your legs and your waist.

I probably could have gone through all my 2015 outfits and found the items I wore the most often (and I might still do that) but in terms of items that I feel awesome in when I wear them, these four pieces are it. And my white blazer. I suppose I shouldn’t forget that! In fact, it’s probably my most worn item of 2015!

Now, moving on to the not-so-great items.

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J. Crew Factory Cardigan (purchased in February ) | BB Dakota vest (purchased in September)

I bought this cardigan because I wanted something that was more comfortable than wearing a gray blazer but would give a similar look to an outfit. Sadly, this cardigan is WAY too casual to serve that purpose. It’s thin and tends to cling instead of just hanging nice and straight. I’ve worn it to work in a few (unphotographed) outfits but always feel like I’m tugging or adjusting it. However, I do wear it around the house so I suppose it’s not a total loss.

The vest, though, I wore once (again, unphotographed) and decided it wasn’t what I wanted. I actually ended up replacing it with a more tailored one. The original one was, again, just too casual. It was unlined and actually had an almost-racerback. Weird. It also had a tie in the back that reminded me just a tad too much of how I dressed in high school. Anyway, I have it listed on Poshmark and, once spring is closer, if it hasn’t sold I’ll take to the consignment shop.

Overall, though, out of all the things I bought in 2015 to only have two that I regret? I think that means I made good purchasing decisions.

SIA: Sunrise at Sunset

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Style Imitating Art

This past weekend Jason and I went up to Lake Geneva so I could run a 5 mile race and party with Valerie and friends.

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I know this photo is out of focus, but I think it looks kind of artsy, right? Anyway, I ran a great race and then we danced for like four hours (the race started at 2:30 pm). When you’re in your mid-30s there aren’t a lot of chances to drink beer and dance, you know?

Sadly, I did not win the dance competition (although I know who did….) but I had a really fun time regardless.

Anyway, when we got home on Sunday afternoon I wanted to snap a quick photo of the outfit I’m wearing today as inspired by Jen’s Style Imitating Art pick. The painting she picked is called “Sunrise” but we grabbed these photos at sunset.

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Blazer – The Limited (same) | Top – French Connection (same) | Jeans – Old Navy (same) | Boots – Cole Haan (similar) | Necklace – gift (similar

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In my year-in-review of outfits, Jen commented that this top stuck out to her. I think it’s because it’s clearly the perfect thing in my closet to wear for this painting inspiration! However, I do tend to wear it in very similar ways every time.

Evidence? Here you go:

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P.S. Can we talk about my quads/hamstrings in that center photo? I mean, I know I’ve been working on them but, dang. I think it’s probably those that got me to my fastest 5 miles ever on Saturday. Seriously, guys, weight lifting has made me such a better runner it’s crazy.

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How do you fix a horrible, no good, very bad day?

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Wine. That’s how you fix it.

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Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (similar) | Flats – J Crew Factory (similar

Ah, if only I had my parents’ wine cellar. Yes, this is in their house. Yes, I am jealous.

It’s okay, though. I finally cashed in my gift from my parents from back in August when I completed the Chicago Sprint Triathlon. They let me go to Perman’s Wine and buy some bottles. If you live in Chicago and want a nice, local wine shop I highly recommend Perman’s! Even if you don’t drink wine but want something to give as a gift or take to a dinner party, they can pick out something awesome for you. They also have some unique beers, ciders, and spirits if those are more your thing.

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I went on New Year’s Eve to get some wine to take to our neighbors’ as well as to have in the house. It’s come in handy this week when so far I’ve had some pretty crappy days. Tuesday was just a couple crappy meetings with my department VP and Wednesday, well, let’s just say that as I sit at my kitchen island writing this I can’t find my phone.

Yes, my phone is MIA. I had it on my desk at work but when I left the office to go the gym it wasn’t in my bag. I went back to my office but it wasn’t on my desk. Of course, when I can’t find something I get panicky so I might have overlooked it. Fingers crossed it’s actually on my desk when I get there in the morning.

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Otherwise, it’s a new phone for me! Although, I honestly don’t know if the stuff on my phone is backed up. So there’s that.

Anyway, as much as I’ve wanted to drink an entire bottle of wine several nights this week, I didn’t. I stuck to one or two glasses. But, if I have to deal with getting a new phone, well, I might drink an entire bottle. No regrets.

UPDATE: Phone has been located! But I might still drink a whole bottle of wine. Because that was stressful.

To boot or not to boot

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I’m still working through a backlog of photos so here’s an outfit I wore back in November. I originally wore it with the boots but decided halfway through the day I should have worn it with my silver flats. Something about the boots just felt too heavy too me.

So, here it is both ways. What do you think?

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Blazer – Forever 21 (similar) | Top – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – Henry & Belle (similar) | Boots – H by Hudson (same) | Flats – Sole Society (similar) (similar in more sizes)

Anyway, I don’t have a good segue for this, but lately I’ve been thinking about hustle. On Sunday I was sitting in the window of a local coffee shop with a friend talking about my strength training  and running and personal trainers. Sitting across the street from a place where I know several local bloggers spend a lot of time doing part of their hustle also made me think about how you only have one life.

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I’ve got a few things brewing in my head and one of them is the possibility of getting my personal training certification. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I don’t know yet what I’d do with it, but that’s what lead me to the idea of “the hustle”. You know, the one where you make your living doing what you love even if it means giving up the comfort of a desk and a cube.

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I’ll be 36 next week and I think I’m having some kind of midlife crisis. Maybe 2016 is the year I do something crazy. Maybe not. But what will it hurt if I start with getting a personal training certification? What do you think about that?

P.S. If you are looking for the most adorable flats then may I recommend these? Why? Because polar bears, that’s why. Maybe I needed these for this outfit instead.

Top 2015 Favorites

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Fluoxetine and abilify · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Now that 2015 is officially over I thought it would be fun to compare my favorite outfits of the year with your favorites outfits of the year using the results from my monthly polls. It was interesting to see when you agreed with me and when you had a different favorite. Believe it or not, you rarely agreed with me!

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In fact, the only times you agreed with me were February (which was actually a tie with the red dress), November and December!

Looking back over my favorites for the past year I’m trying to see a pattern in what I loved and what you loved. There are some repeats like my white jeans, my denim jacket, and colorful patterns and prints. But, honestly, I don’t see a theme or anything that would allow me to say “this is my style”.

And that’s okay. I don’t think you need to define your style. It’s okay to say you like something but not really know why. It’s also okay to make some sartorial mistakes. For example, looking at the collage of my 2015 favorites, I actually really dislike the one I picked for January when compared with all the other months.

When I started my current job with its more casual dress code I said I wasn’t going to become the person who wears jeans every day. Well, I wear jeans a lot. Some of that is because my dress pants are all currently too big and it seems silly to replace them. Some of that is because jeans are just fun (and easy) to wear! Especially when it’s cold and skirts or dresses are just asking for frozen lower extremities thanks to my commute.

So, in terms of style, I don’t think you’ll see a lot of differences in 2016. I am trying to cut down on my spending, though, so you might not see much in the way of new items. But I have a feeling you’ll be okay with that.

I also might start including some more non-style posts although I haven’t quite figured out what that would look like. More fitness related stuff? More life stuff? Is there something you’d want to see?

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with my nine most liked Instagram photos of 2015.  A different kind of favorites, if you will.

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Favorite Outfit of December

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Happy new year! We’re at that point where all the tv shows and blogs are doing countdowns of things that happened in 2015 and I’m still over here asking for you to vote on the best outfit for a single month.

No worries, though, if you’re a fan of “best of” lists and “year end” lists I’ll have one of those up soon. Provided, of course, you vote for your favorite outfit of December so I can include it. That’s how it works over here at Loop Looks.

Anyway, when I posted my faux fur scarf outfit I said it would be my favorite. Turns out, there was also another close contender. But, in the end, yes, I went with the original pick.

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My other favorites? All the pattern mixing in the outfit I wore to Bombobar and my sparkly holiday outfit. Opposite ends of the spectrum, eh?

So, tell me, what was your favorite from December?

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What is your favorite outfit of December?

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