Monthly Archives: April 2017

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What’s your big dream?

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

On Monday I took the day off to attend a LuLaRoe training with Annabelle, since I’ve become her right-hand-woman as she starts her own business. We’re even becoming a “brand” in her VIP group on Facebook due to our shenanigans during FB Live sales (join the group so you can experience it for yourself).

Anyway, while some of the training was kind of cheesy and some was downright weird, I fully admit that when we were asked to write down our big hairy dream, I was a bit stumped. But then Annabelle asked me what mine was…and I started crying.

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Top via LuLaRoe Annabelle Winters | same jeans | same boots | Necklace via Stella & Dot | Watch via Stella & Dot

All I’ve ever wanted was to work a job where I felt like I was wanted and needed. Like I wasn’t fighting against the tide. Like I wasn’t trying to change everyone’s mind all the time. Like I wasn’t begging people to want to work with me.

Weird that I’d want to start helping out with what is basically a retail sales gig, right?

But I love customer service. I love helping people. I love connecting people with the information, people, or items that will enrich their lives or help them out in some way. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s one of the reasons I went to library school.

Unfortunately, because I didn’t know it at the time, I went a completely different way with my career and ended up in positions where I was managing change. Where I was moving people’s cheese and trying to get them to like it. And it wears you down, you know?

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Do I want to be my own boss? I honestly don’t know if I have the hustle for that. One of my favorite jobs was actually processing criminal case files at the county courthouse because it was fun for me and didn’t require me to do any kind of change management. It just didn’t take as much time as they thought it would (or I’m just really, really efficient) so I was bored a lot. I hate being bored.

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I don’t know exactly what my big dream is. I don’t know exactly what I want to be when I grow up. I just know that I want to do something that helps other people without me having to tell them how much it will help them if they just stop resisting change. And maybe it includes some data entry. Because I weirdly like that.

In the meantime, I’ll help out Annabelle, cry occasionally, and try and figure it out.

What’s your big hairy dream? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Oh, and if you want, I’m hosting a shindig at my house in June where you can shop for these exact Stella & Dot pieces in person. If you want an invite, just leave a comment and I’ll send it to you!

 

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Going a Little Loco [SIA Post]

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Style Imitating Art

Last week I was invited to attend a launch party for Captain Morgan’s new Loconut coconut liquor at a trendy Hawaiian restaurant called Mahalo. We had an AMAZING weather day and we were able to party on the rooftop. In Chicago. In April. Yes, I was in love with the weather, the drinks, and the company. Jason came with me! But, no pictures of him. Instead, he played photographer.

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similar top | same jeans | similar shoes

I knew I wanted to wear something fun and colorful and figured this was also a good chance to wear my Style Imitating Art outfit for this week. The pattern of this top works perfectly with Jen’s SIA choice.

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I’ve actually worn this top with white bottoms before. At my previous job I wore it with white flared leg dress pants and strappy wedge sandals.

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Personally, I like this new outfit so much more. I guess I’ve embraced the casual life. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I wore my nude flats around the office. See? Casual life.

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Also, the launch party was super fun. Being a blogger and having an Instagram account in Chicago definitely has its perks. Like getting to enjoy a normally packed rooftop bar with free drinks on a random Tuesday night.

Speaking of Tuesday’s, don’t forget to visit Librarian for Life and Style on Tuesday to see the SIA round-up!

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Sky Yoga at 360 Chicago [Fitness Friday]

Fitness

Remember when I got to learn about this summer’s events at 360 Chicago? Well, after that party I got an invite to attend one of the Saturday morning yoga sessions on the 94th floor of the Hancock building.

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I fully admit that my morning did not start out very zen-like. I had Lyft issues and then it was clear when I arrived at the Hancock Observatory check-in that I would have to contend with tourists. Something to keep in mind: yoga starts at 9:30 AM. They tell you to get there at least 20 minutes beforehand, but I would recommend you get there right when the observatory opens at 9AM, if not earlier. Either that, or just bust your way to the front of the line like I did!

The views were worth it, though.

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We had a perfect weather day, which was quite a bit different from the last time I was there!

I’m not generally a yoga person, but after a hectic morning it was really nice to be forced to meditate and focus on my movements instead of all the other thoughts in my head.

Plus, we didn’t do too many sun salutations and we did my favorite pose: tree pose.

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Can you figure out which one is me? 

The instructor was lovely, the views were great, and the company was good too (I joined my friend Emily for the morning).

Post-yoga we walked over to Beatrix for brunch followed by doughnuts at Do-Rite. Overall, it was a wonderful morning in a part of the city where I don’t get to spend much time.

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Whether or not you’re into yoga, I still recommend you try this out. It’s every Saturday from now until September and costs $25, which includes general admission to the observation deck for as long as you want (normally $10.25 for Chicago residents or $20.50 for non-residents). You do need to bring your own mat and I hope they work out the timing for arrivals of regular guests and yoga class attendees, but it’s still worth it on a beautiful Chicago day.

Note: I was not asked or paid to write about this, but I was given a complimentary entry to 360 Sky Yoga. 

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The closet clean-out that only kind of happened

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

I first saw a pair of leopard print sneakers on Shopbop a few years ago but I didn’t buy them when they had my size. I debated purchasing them on eBay, but never pulled the trigger. Then I saw these and knew it was a sign.

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same shoes | same jeans | same watch | similar shirt | same tank 

Yes, I know, this makes three pairs of leopard or cheetah print shoes that I own (sneakers, wedges, and flats). I recently took my leopard print heels to a clothing swap, though, so at least I don’t have four pairs!

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I recently read an amazing post on Style by Joules on how she got rid of a huge chunk of her wardrobe and paired it down to essentials. It’s very motivating, albeit a bit scary, to see how just her shoe collection diminished!

I got rid of a bunch of stuff when we moved but there are still things I can’t seem to part with. Like my navy J. Crew blazer. I longed for that thing but now I rarely wear blazers. Still, I am loathe to move it out of my closet. Even if my uniform most days is skinny jeans with a top like this or with a tank or tee and a cardigan. Because, yeah, this outfit is very similar to one I wore a few years ago…but that one had a blazer!

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Heels, though, I’m slowly donating. Some have ended up in Annabelle’s LuLaRoe boutique so if you’re trying on a dress you can see how it looks with heels (if you’re a size 7.5 or 8, anyway). Some have just gone to clothing swaps and ended up in thrift shops. Some I can’t get rid of just yet, though. Like these pink puppies.

Speaking of getting rid of things, these particular jeans I have on this photo gave up in the waistband (they’re actually jeggings and the elastic gave out), so I just bought them again. I’m not a fan of Old Navy’s “sculpt” jeggings, but their regular ones are some of my favorite things to wear.

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I’m also in love with these tanks from Target and will buy them in every color given the chance. Although, honestly, I should just buy 10 of the gray one and move on. I would wear it every day if I could.

Sigh. I should really just realize that all those fancy business clothes in my closet are just taking up space. Anyone need a blazer or two?

P.S. Did you win the Chicago swag giveaway? Go check!

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Meet some art at The Met [SIA Post]

Style Imitating Art

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway from some fun Chicago swag! 

Time for this week’s Style Imitating Art choice! Plus, if you stay tuned, you can see some of MY new art. And, yes, I hinted about it in a previous SIA post.

Anyway, first up is Jen’s choice for this week. It’s a striking patchwork wrapping cloth from Korea, called a “jogakbo,” that was made by an unidentified artist, ca. 1950–80.

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This particular piece is part of the collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met recently released almost 400,000 images of their collection into public domain, And they didn’t just release older artwork images — they’ve got newer stuff, too! For example, this fabric.

Here’s how the Richmond Art Center describes jogakbo:

Bojagi, Korean wrapping cloths, are used to wrap, cover, or carry things in daily life from precious ritual objects to everyday clothes, household goods, and food. Jogakbo refers to a colorful patchwork bojagi that is strikingly contemporary and was historically made with remnants of fabrics from leftover cloths.

I’m looking forward to putting together an outfit inspired by this piece. It’s a chance to break out of the rut I’ve been in with the  neutrals and wear some of the brighter stuff I have in my closet. Or, you know, just stick to beige and black.  We’ll see!

Don’t forget that if you want to participate, just snap a photo of an outfit you wore inspired by this piece and email it to librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com by next Monday, April 24th.

And, finally, as promised, here’s my new artwork:

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Yep! I went and got my tattoo for Chewie. It’s my fifth tattoo and, yes, it still hurt in certain spots but, weirdly, it was the outline that hurt more than filling it in. Anyway, I’m happy I got it done and I think it turned out perfectly.

 

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What I wore to party in the clouds [Giveaway]

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

On the last Thursday in March, I was invited to attend the launch of the newest event series at 360 Chicago, also know as the observation deck at the top of the John Hancock building.

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Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side unless you’ve ever wondered what it looks like from inside a cloud.

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However, that just meant that my outfit was all the more stunning since it didn’t have to compete with views of Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyline.

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LuLaRoe Kimono | same jeans (on sale!)| Zenzii earrings c/o Moonfish | same shoes

The lack of a view was sad, but there were snacks and wine, as well as beer samples for the latest Revolution Brewing beer. In fact, Revolution, a local Chicago brewer, is hosting Thursday Hoppy Hours at 360 Chicago from 5:30-8:30 PM starting now through the fall! If you’re a Chicago resident you can access 360 Chicago for only $10.25!

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Not into beer? That’s okay. 360 Chicago has other events as part of their Sky Series. These include:

  • Saturday Sky Yoga
  • Sunday Funday full of family friendly activities
  • Tripod Mondays
  • Tuesday Chicago Architecture Tours
  • Art Wednesdays

Details are available on their website.

I also have a fun little prize pack to give away! 360 Chicago generously gave us goody bags at the event and I thought some of my Chicago or beer lovers would be interested in what’s inside.

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You’ll get:

  • The reusable Revolution Brewing bag
  • A pair of 360 Chicago sunglasses
  • A Revolution Brewing keychain bottle opener
  • A Revolution Brewing Chicago-flag sticker
  • A Revolution Brewing Anti-Hero magnet
  • Four TILT! magnets
  • Four Revolution Brewing pins
  • A 360 Chicago mini-puzzle

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To win, visit the 360 Chicago Sky Series website and then just leave a comment here saying which 360 Chicago sounds most interesting to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll announce the winner on April 19th. And, yes, I will ship within the United States.

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P.S. If you want to own these jeans they are currently on sale on Shopbop!

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Dogs and Tattoos [SIA Post]

Casual Friday · Style Imitating Art

So many things to tell you about today! We’ve got dogs, and hair stylists, and tattoos and more.

First, though, is this week’s Style Imitating Art outfit.  In case you need a refresher, this week we’re doing a painting by a Japanese artist that features cats. And tattoos. It’s also black, white and red with a spot of blue. So, that’s what I wore.

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Top – KLD from Moonfish | Jeans – Principle Denim from Moonfish | Shoes – similar 

And, yes, I am wearing mostly items I purchased from Moonfish. I love that I can create an entire outfit when I go!

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Also, you may have noticed that my hair is super curly in these photos. Well, I visited Spoke &  Weal, an Aveda salon in Chicago, for a complimentary color session from stylist Noemi. She introduced me to some new hair products and did some crazy magic with my curls. It’s crazy! She also did some subtle balayage to add more of my natural highlights.

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She also told me that stylist Siobhan is the best at cutting curly hair. I didn’t get it cut this weekend but it almost feels like I did with the way my curls are behaving! Also, all of their appointments start with a neck and shoulder massage. Yes, please! I also got a hand massage while waiting for my color to process. I suppose that helps take part of the sting out of the two hours it takes to color my hair.

Other things I did this weekend? I took Chewie over to my friend Annabelle’s place. Chewie is not the best at going to new places or dealing with new people but he was actually amazing at Annabelle’s! It gives me hope that maybe one day he’ll be totally chill with new experiences.

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Oh, yeah, we also got our backyard partially landscaped this past weekend. No more mud! Hooray! Also, we now have a patio in addition to a deck. The perfect spot for taking some photos of my Spot tattoo. Jen suggested I highlight my tattoos that honor my animals since this week’s SIA was about tattoos and animals.

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My other two dog-related tattoos are on my back and I wasn’t planning to go shirtless on the internet. So, here’s my tattoo honoring the first dog Jason and I adopted: Spot. He was 10 or 11 when we adopted him and that was the name he came with so we didn’t change it. Although, have you ever actually met a dog named Spot?

Overall, it was a pretty amazing weekend. For both humans and dogs.

Oh, and don’t forget to visit Salazar’s blog tomorrow to see the round up of everyone’s SIA outfits for this week.

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Fitness Goodies Reviews [Fitness Friday]

Fitness

Now that marathon training is over and I’m back to focusing on weight lifting and the occasional cardio (and the occasional class at Fit36), I thought I’d treat myself to a few new fitness-related goodies.

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Cropped Leggings | Water Bottle

My thoughts on the leggings – These are definitely compression material! I ordered them in size small and I probably could have gone up to a medium. They are a nice fabric material, not shiny or slick. I’ve only worn them to the gym to lift weights and they stayed in place. I haven’t taken them running, yet, though.

My thoughts on the water bottle – Okay,  I love this thing. It has the same type of top as my Camelbak which means it doesn’t leak. It’s a few ounces smaller than my Camelbak (24 oz vs 25 oz) but I think the hilariously accurate saying is worth the one ounce size difference. This has now become my main water bottle at work and at the gym. And, no, I don’t get pizza after every workout. I usually eat a salad and a protein shake. But I wish it was pizza!

And here are a two other fun things I’ve gotten for to try for free lately.

Click Protein Powder

As I mentioned, I have a protein shake after every weight lifting workout and I swear it keeps me from being sore the next day (well, AS sore, at least. We’ll see how I feel after these 100 squats my trainer had me do on Thursday). When I had the opportunity to try Click Active protein powder via Fitfluential I didn’t want to pass up the chance.

I’ve only recently gotten into coffee (like, in the last three years) and I still rarely drink more than one cup a day. But I’ve been using this stuff after workouts and I really like the way it tastes!

Yes, it has caffeine in it in the form of real espresso (see ingredients here). Yes, it tastes like mocha. No, it does not taste like the fake sugar that I hate.

I also like that it has whey and casein in it. I’ve read that casein is slower to digest helping you feel full longer.

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I’m not personally a fan of “meal replacement shakes”, which is why I like that this is marketed as a recovery tool. I do think it makes a difference! And, since I workout at lunch, it’s nice to have a little energy boost to keep me awake afterward.

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I received this free from Influenster and, well, it’s water. With some magnesium sulfate and potassium bicarbonate (aka electrolytes). In a pretty bottle.

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Yes, these are the Express leggings

I honestly haven’t tried this yet. But it does make for a pretty photo! Each bottle has different art on it. This one is by MOMO. They sell this brand at my gym and I noticed my trainer re-uses one of the bottles for her pre-workout drink.

And that’s it! Have you had any fun fitness finds lately? Do you like this style of post? Should I just be quiet now?

I received the Click protein powder and the LIFEWTR for free for testing and review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own. #InspirationDrops #2017 #contest

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That photo that makes you cringe

Casual Friday

Dannie at Stile Foto Cibo recently wrote a post about what happens when you see “that” photo. You know, the one that makes you cringe? The one you can’t seem to laugh off. Yeah, I had one of those photos recently. And I’m going to share the outfit that caused it. Because, I don’t want to seem like I’m perfect or I have it all together. I’m a real person!

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I’ve written in the past about my workouts, my weight lifting, and even how I tracked all my fat, carbs and protein “macros” to get a six pack, crazy arm muscles, and still lose 10 pounds. But, I kind of quit doing that about a year ago. Partially because I wasn’t eating enough for my activity level or I had lost too much body fat. Either way, my body was giving me signs that I needed to back off.

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similar sweater | similar hat | similar scarf | same jeans | same boots | same socks

And then I started marathon training last October and definitely didn’t track what I ate. However, I also haven’t gotten on a scale in months. I’ve gained body fat, for sure. But I know I’ve gained some muscle and I’m definitely stronger! I finally broke my long-standing PR of a 100 pound bench press (managed 105 pounds!), can do six unassisted pull-ups, am able to do 5 reps of 65 pounds on my overhead press, and I ran a marathon time I never expected to be able to do.

So, even if I am not as lean as I was almost two years ago, it’s really okay. These quads and glutes are allowing me to do some awesome stuff. Having a six-pack is not necessarily sustainable long term for me. And sometimes you just gotta drink some wine, eat a burger and finish up with ice cream, you know?

Plus, as I was cleaning up in the locker room post-workout on Monday, another woman said to me, “So, I notice you every day at the gym and you look amazing. I’ve tried to figure out your routine. What’s your secret?” We are our own worst critics sometimes, aren’t we?

P.S. I created a “Shop My Closet” page that allows you to get some sneak peeks of upcoming outfit posts and see product details for them in advance!

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Cats and Tattoos [SIA Post]

Style Imitating Art

You probably all know I’m a dog person. If Chewie’s occasional cameos didn’t give that way already, I mean. In fact, I have three tattoos dedicated to our three previous dogs. But, this week’s Style Imitating Art pick by co-host Salazar is about cats. Tattooed cats.

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The official title of this artwork is  “Monmon Cats” (Tattooed Cats) by California-based Japanese artist Kazuaki Horitomo.

I appreciate that Salazar choose another painting with black, red, and white as the primary colors since I have a lot of that in my wardrobe. In fact, I think I’ll take this opportunity to showcase a new top I bought from Moonfish!

If you want to showcase an item in your closet, just snap a picture of an outfit you created as inspired by this painting and email it to 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com by Monday, April 10th so it can be featured on her blog. Selfies and flat-lays are also welcome!

As a side note, the studio where I got my last two tattoos is doing another event where proceeds benefit a local dog rescue. I got my three dog-related tattoos after my pups passed away, but in this case I might make an exception and go get the one I need for Chewie during the event. What do you think?