Monthly Archives: July 2016

Three times as nice

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

After basically a week straight of dresses I finally got a chance to re-wear (and take photos of) this top and necklace I’ve been loving from Le Tote. Also, these jeans that I showed in my June Shopping Summary.

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Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Top- Le Tote (same) | Jeans – 3×1 c/o Shopbop (same) | Shoes – DSW (similar)

I really enjoy when I get two items from Le Tote that go together perfectly. It makes getting dressed really easy when I’m not feeling creative.

I’m also debating whether or not to keep this top. It’s super comfortable and it reminds me of a top I bought years ago and wore to death. I used to have a lot of items in my closet this color but now I barely have any. Weird, right?

Anyway, I think I’ve worn this outfit three different times and each time I wore it with different shoes. Once I wore it with my Bucketfeet sneakers. One day I wore it with a different pair of sandals. And yesterday, when I got home, I paired it with my new flat sandals to go to a meeting.  I’ve also been wearing those over and over again. I’m even thinking I might get another pair. I don’t know why I held out for so long!

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SIA: Pearl Earrings

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Style Imitating Art

You would not believe the struggle it was to get photos of this outfit. Seriously. Hurdles I had to overcome included oppressive heat, thunderstorms that were so strong they destroyed a train stop near my apartment, and a husband (aka photographer) who was out of town with our “good” camera.

But, I persevered! Because it’s Style Imitating Art time!

If you need a refresher, this week we’re using The Girl with the Pearl Earring as our inspiration. And, yes, I am wearing pearl earrings.

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Dress – BCBG Outlet (similar) | Sandals – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Earrings – Stella & Dot via Poshmark (similar)

I bought this dress years and years ago. Seven years ago, actually, on a trip to Sonoma & Napa. Facebook reminded me just yesterday morning how long ago that trip was. It’s still one of my favorite vacations to date.

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Anyway, this weekend I was browsing the Tribeca boutique sidewalk sale and realized they had a ton of different dresses in this same blue color. So, if you’re in Chicago and need a blue dress, come on over to the West Loop! I didn’t need another blue dress but I admit I was tempted. Because, like I said last week, I crave dresses in the summer.

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Don’t forget to visit Salazar’s blog to see all the outfits inspired by this week’s SIA choice!

Fit and Flare

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

I think every summer I come to the same conclusion: I need more dresses. And more sandals. I just ordered these which are like the quintessential white-girl-in-Chicago sandals but, whatever.

Dresses, though, are tougher for me. I ordered this one that I mentioned in my June Shopping Summary and I actually think I’ll wear it on Friday this week. Friday is my company’s summer party on the rooftop deck of our building and it’s supposed to be ridiculously hot. And then later that evening I’m planning to meet Emily for dinner. Since I bought the dress to wear out and about when it’s hot I think it’s the perfect time to break it out of the closet.

In the mean time, here’s one of the other dresses I own that gets a workout in the summer.

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Dress – c/o eShakti (same) | Sandals – c/o Shopbop (same in other colors, similar) | Necklace – gift (same in different color) 

I think part of my issue stems from feeling like my dresses need to have different silhouettes. Like, how many fit-and-flare dresses can one have? Honestly, this is a silly thing to think. If that’s the style you like and feel comfortable in than that’s what you should buy! I tried a trapeze dress recently and Jason just shook his head. Apparently it wasn’t flattering.

I also own some sheath dresses but those are sometimes too formal or constricting or too clingy for my mood.

So, fit-and-flare dresses it is, I suppose.

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Cool in the Summer

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

Okay, okay, it might not be so cool today but, hey, I wore this outfit a while back when it was one of our cooler days. However, you will never hear me complain about how hot it is! I’ve grown to love the heat. Maybe it has something to do with not running as long of distances in the summer? I don’t know.

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Shirt – clothing swap (similar) | Necklace – clothing swap (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle (same) | Shoes – DSW (similar) | Watch – c/o JORD (same)

Or maybe it’s just that I’m not cool enough for my neighborhood anymore! Seriously, you guys. When I moved to Chicago’s West Loop the street about half a mile north of me was known as “Restaurant Row” but now it seems that the entire neighborhood is getting trendier by the minute! A new restaurant opens up every week it seems. We have two new boutique hotels going up. So many new condos and apartments that are already out of my price range. It’s crazy.

Oh, and McDonald’s is moving their headquarters to a few blocks from me. Not to mention Google has their building across the street from where we board Chewie.

Sometimes I feel bad for not taking advantage of all these new places but, hey, I’m not making “new” money so I guess I’ll just have to continue to be warm and not cool.

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SIA: Girl with a Pearl Earring

Style Imitating Art

This week we’ve got a classic for our style imitating art inspiration! Salazar chose Vermeer’s iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

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Salazar is currently traveling through Europe and she got to see this painting in person at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

This painting is striking because of its simplicity. I’m interested to see how everyone chooses to interpret it. Don’t forget to send your pictures to 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com by Sunday, July 24th so she can post her round-up on Monday before she leaves for her trip to Iceland!

Three easy ways to give back to your community

About Me

I think some of my favorite comments I get from you guys are when you tell me I inspired you to try something. Whether it’s a new restaurant, a new pattern, a new silhouette, or a new store, I love it all. So today I’m hoping I can inspire you try something else: giving back to your community. Yeah, yeah, I know, what does this have to do with my blog? Well, as you guys probably know, I like to volunteer. I’ve done dog shelters and food banks and races. And, yes, I donate money to causes, too. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering over the years so I though it would be fun to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve learned.

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Such as don’t forget the bug spray if you’re going to be standing in the woods directing runners.

Or, if you want, you can skip to the bottom to find out about the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company Band Together Campaign that is donating $2 million dollars to support organizations that tackle health, home and hunger.

But, if you want, here are my tips for giving back to your community.

1. Choose something you can do even if none of your friends are interested in doing it with you. While it’s usually more fun to do things with friends, sometimes it can be difficult to get a group together. Don’t let doing something on your own hold you back!

Besides, if you’re doing something like volunteering at a water station at a race you’ll find you’re never really alone.

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2. Remember that it’s not all glitz and glamour. Sure, walking puppies is fun, but animal shelters also need people to wash dog dishes, fold clean blankets, and organize all the food and toy donations. Food depositories need people to look at expiration dates and check for mold. Remember that even if you’re not out there on the front lines you’re still giving back.

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The layers I wore to the dog shelter this winter. Because you never know what you’ll be doing.

One of the best times I had was at a food depository sorting and stacking bread into crates while checking for mold. It was like a giant game of Tetris!

3. If you can’t give time, give money. While, yes, many organizations need volunteer hours they also need funds. Right now I’m not really in a spot to volunteer at all the dog shelters, but I can donate my money. Buy tickets to fundraisers and party it up while giving back!

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And speaking of money, remember that $2 million donation that Jewelers Mutual is making? Well, you can help decide how that record-making donation gets dispersed. Just go to their Band Together page to vote for your charity of choice: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America or Food Banks Canada. The charity that gets the most votes by the end of July will get $1 million! Second place gets $700,000 and third place gets $300,00.

In addition, each time you vote you will be entered for a chance to win weekly jewelry prizes from STACKED New York. Each week, one voter will receive a set of 3 stacking bands ($450 retail value). Plus you can vote daily to increase your chances of winning! So, let’s band together and give back to the community at large!

Do you volunteer? What’s been your favorite experience? 

Band Together - Hands In

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

SIA: Independence Outfit Round-Up

Style Imitating Art

Time for the round-up of outfits you all were inspired to create using this week’s SIA artwork.

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First up we have Jen, who is in the process of moving! She had put together a capsule wardrobe and it’s awesome that she was able to create such a fun outfit out of the pieces she hadn’t packed yet.

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Next up we have our other SIA co-host, Salazar, She’s traveling and managed to get a photo in front of the sea! Since the official name of this week’s art is “My Sea, My Sister, My Tears” the ocean photo is quite appropriate.

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This week’s art also seems to inspired plaid! Chris went for blue on blue and, as his photographer stated, also has steely blue eyes to match. I’ll say!

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Kezzie says that she was a bit disorganized this week but I think she was subconsciously prompted to put this outfit together since it works perfectly for this week’s art!

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Leslie snuck some selfies of her and her husband in their complementary blue outfits. Don’t they look like they’re having fun?

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Finally, we have my outfit.

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This week was a parade of blue but in so many different patterns. I love it! Thank you all for participating and stay tuned for next week’s choice.

SIA: The Art of Independence

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Style Imitating Art

A few weeks ago I had a gift card to redeem at lululemon but it was only redeemable at one in the suburbs. So, we decided to make it a date night and head over to Oak Brook mall so I could shop and we could eat dinner.

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Dress – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same at Le Tote, same for sale) | Shoes – Loeffler Randall c/o Shopbop (similar

I wore this dress and it turned out to be the perfect outfit to go along with this week’s Style Imitating Art choice.

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Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, My Sea, My Sister, My Tears, 2011, glass beads sewn onto fabric

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The blues, the patterns, and the fact that my necklace is a bead work so well, right?

Also, I want to take a moment to talk about lululemon sports bras. This was the first time I’d ever actually tried anything on in that store and the sports bras were so….tiny! I don’t even have that big of a chest and yet I felt like I was going to accidentally flash myself in the dressing room.  Their stuff looks so cute on other people but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Any of you have thoughts?

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Five Goals for July

About Me

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It’s that time again to talk about what I want to accomplish this month. Actually, I’m pretty impressed that I’ve been keeping this up since February! Setting goals is weird for me in that I tend to get intimidated and not set them. But, small ones seem to be working.

In fact, I think I did pretty well on June’s goals in addition to all the other stuff I did. Let’s recap:

  1. Run a mile in under 7 minutes. –  Oh, you guys. I got SO CLOSE. So, so close. I did a free timed run at a local park but because it was free we had to defer to some construction equipment that blocked the path for a few seconds. My official time was 7:06 but my watch said 6:55 (it auto-paused during the path blockage). HOWEVER, my watch also measured the course at .96 instead of 1 mile. So, I KNOW I can do a sub-7:00 minute mile in the right conditions. Either way, I’m pretty sure 7:06 is a personal record.
  2. Have weekly date nights with my husband. – We decided that Thursdays were going to be our nights to turn off the tv after one episode of something and play a game or do something else. We stuck to it pretty well. We didn’t do anything too spectacular, but we did have a game night with friends one week and last week when I had to run an errand in the ‘burbs we took the opportunity to go out to dinner and then get ice cream in our old neighborhood (Brown Cow forever!) And one Thursday night we even accomplished goal #3! Which was…
  3. Go to Mario’s Italian Lemonade – We took Chewie and walked over to Mario’s one night after dinner. I admit, I wasn’t that impressed but maybe it’s because it wasn’t super hot outside. I hope to try again when they have peach because I’m told that’s the best flavor to get.
  4. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. –  I downloaded the iPhone app “Waterlogged” and started tracking how much water I drink a day. I discovered pretty quickly that I was already drinking almost a gallon of water every day….and that didn’t include any coffee, tea, or sports drinks. Well okay then! So, this goal ended up being super easy to accomplish. However, I noticed I drink less during the weekends so I need to get better about that.
  5. Go on either one bike ride or one swim with Live Grit– Well, I technically did a swim with them since I did the Esprit de She triathlon and there were a lot of other Live Grit people there. And I did do the first part of my ride to Joliet with them, too. So, I’d say mission accomplished here as well.

I also finished Pretty Girls (definitely recommended if you like mysteries and don’t mind some disturbing stuff) and plan to start In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume since I got invited to a book club for it at the end of the month.

Which brings me to July’s goals!

  1. Have lunch at 3 Greens Market and then show Jason my office at work.
  2. Do one open water swim.
  3. Get a boozy sno cone at Expat.
  4. Read In the Unlikely Event for book club
  5. Take Chewie to the dog beach

Do you have any goals for July?

June Shopping Summary

Shopping

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Jeans | Shoes | Dress

Once again it’s time to fess up about how I did with shopping and sticking to my only buying things with gift cards and store credit plan.

And you know what? I did it! The jeans were purchased with my Shopbop credit and the dress and shoes were bought with a gift card I got from doing surveys.

Actually, the shoes I bought were pink and on super clearance which is why I don’t have a picture of the exact pair.

The jeans were like the fourth pair I’ve ordered and I actually had to buy these in two sizes to try. I really, really dislike buying jeans. But these were the best I’ve tried on so far even though the waist still gaps a bit and, weirdly, the button is on the opposite side from all my pants. I suppose, though, that will be a nice workout for my brain!

The dress was kind of an impulse purchase when it was 95 degrees outside and I wanted something I could wear out to dinner. Funnily enough, I personally wouldn’t consider this dress work appropriate but I actually saw a girl in my office wearing it in the olive color with a denim jacket over it. I think I’ll stick to wearing it outside of work, though.