Monthly Archives: November 2017

My current favorite outfit

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Did anyone do any Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping? Honestly, I didn’t really. Although, I was tempted to buy one of everything at Old Navy because, let’s be honest, that’s really my current aesthetic.

Cardigan – Old Navy (similar) | Tee – Target (same in similar color) | Jeans – Old Navy (similar) | Booties – STEVEN (similar) | Scarf – J. Crew Factory (similar)

I wore this outfit on Black Friday when, yes, we went to the mall near my sister-in-law’s house where I did buy two gifts. But nothing for me!

However, I love this outfit so much that I wore it again to work this week. Hey, it’s all different people who are seeing me so they don’t need to know I pulled it out of my suitcase and put it back on.

I LOVE these tees from Target and own them in multiple colors. The booties always get compliments. The jeans are actually jeggings. The cardigan was perfect for a 50 degree day. And the scarf is warm but not too voluminous.

Basically, I love every piece of this outfit and want to wear it every day. Maybe I should have bought multiple of everything during the sales?

Celestial Themed [SIA Post]

Style Imitating Art

Do you put up any December holiday decorations in your house? I don’t always put up my Christmas tree, but since it looks like Jason and I will be home on Christmas Day this year I decided that mine needed to go up.

Annabelle came over yesterday to help me put up my pre-lit fake tree and decorate it with my themed ornaments. I’ve probably said it here before, but all of my ornaments are suns, moons or stars. I’ve been collecting them since I was in high school!

So, for this week’s Style Imitating Art pick, I went to the image site Pixabay and typed “celestial” to see what came up. I got lots of results but, in the end, I decided on this image:

Source

I liked that it had blue, purple, peach, and black as well as some texture. It also reminds me of a country summer night which, to be honest, I could go for right about now. I’m so not ready for winter! Even as I sit here watching a fake fire on my tv, listening to instrumental Christmas music, and looking at my tree.

If you want to participate in this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge all you need to do is create an outfit inspired by the artwork, take a picture of the outfit, and send the picture to me at looplooks@gmail.com by Tuesday, December 5th.

If all goes as planned, my outfit will include sequins! What will yours include?

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Getting Back and Giving Back

Shopping

A few weeks ago my friend (and side-gig boss) Kimberley invited me to attend a fundraiser for Back On My Feet. If you haven’t heard of them, Back On My Feet is an organization dedicated to helping the homeless, initially by creating running groups and training them to run races but also by providing job skills training and other tools for them to use.

Since BOMF is a running organization, the dress code for the event was cocktail party clothes and running shoes!

While I could have rented a dress from Rent the Runway, I went with my trust stand-by: a black silk halter dress from J. Crew that I bought on eBay 10 years ago, back when J. Crew had a wedding dress department.

And, yes, those are my real running shoes. They’re the ones I wore to run the Miami Marathon, even!

As for the event, it was a lot of fun. I’d never been to a fancy fundraiser like that before. There was even a silent auction AND a paddle auction.

In case you’re wondering, fancy dresses and running shoes is the BEST combination for a fancy event. I was SO comfortable.

If you want to be comfortable at your next event, I highly recommend this combination. AND, if you want, you can do some shopping for a similar combo on Shopbop and save money right now during their sale. And then you can donate the money to save to a charitable cause. Maybe even Back On My Feet. Come on! Let’s make cocktail attire and sneakers a thing!

Dress 1 | Dress 2 | Dress 3 

Sneakers 1 | Sneakers 2 | Sneakers 3 | Sneakers 4 

Begins: November 21st, 2017  7:30am EASTERN TIME

Ends: November 26th, 2017 11:59 PM PACIFIC TIME

Personally, I’m always a fan of halter dresses. I know many women aren’t in love with their arms, but I think halter dresses make everyone’s shoulders and arms look good. Even if you don’t have direct overhead lighting that makes every single muscle stand out.

 

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Weaving A New Scarf [SIA Post]

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Last week I managed exactly one blog post: announcing this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge. Why so little blogging? Well, I was on a work trip to Oakville, Ontario (just outside Toronto) and we worked hard and played hard. Thankfully, I was still able to get my life back on track somewhat this past weekend and managed to get some time in with friends.

That’s where we took this week’s outfit photo: at the entrance to a friend’s neighborhood. The things you see in the suburbs!

For my interpretation outfit, I went with tan and a navy blue accent scarf. I recently purchased this scarf at a local craft show. Not local to Chicago? No worries. You can find them on Etsy from Jaclyn Faye.

Actually, when I first saw this week’s art, I was tempted to wear my cobalt blue top that has a gold zipper. But, believe it or not, I wore that this time last year for an SIA challenge!

So, instead, I went for my tan sweater and my new scarf.

BB Dakota Sweater (similar) | Paige Jeans (same) | STEVEN booties (similar

This past weekend I also went shopping at the latest Moonfish pop-up, had lunch with friends, and finished watching Stranger Things 2.

How about you? What have you been up to recently?

Working Forward, Weaving Anew [SIA Post]

Style Imitating Art

Happy Monday, everyone!

This week’s Style Imitating Art choice by Jen is appropriate in so many ways. It’s titled “Working Forward, Weaving Anew” and it’s a recently painted mural in the historic Brewery District of Tacoma, Washington.

Designed by lead artists Esteban Camacho Steffensen and Jessilyn Brinkerhoff, it was painted this past summer, and it’s part of a new dedication by Tacoma in supporting local Native American voices in public art.

Here’s a description of the mural, as written in the Tacoma News Tribune article “New mural on Tacoma’s Seven Seas Brewery includes Native American artists, stories,” published online here at http://www.thenewstribune.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article151068302.html :

“It depicts a landscape where Native American people, weaving cedar baskets in the shadow of Mount Rainier, are intercepted by a logging saw and split lumber. The wood and cane weavings peel off into living, flowering branches, trailing across railway tracks in a palette of blue and gold.”

Jen chose this mural and took these pictures because her SIA turn nearly coincides with the upcoming American holiday of Thanksgiving, and she wanted to choose an artwork that honored Native Americans.

I find it particularity fitting for me as well because my brain is currently swirling with a new project at work.  I’ve been asking for this project for years and I finally got it! But, it’s going to be a lot of work at the start and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how to make everything happen. So, I will definitely be working forward and weaving anew!

If you’d like to weave this artwork into an outfit this week, don’t forget to take a picture and send it to librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com by  Tuesday, Nov. 21st, by 10 p.m. PST and she’ll include it in the round-up on her blog on the 22nd. 

A trip to Chicago’s Magic Parlour

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Every so often I get an email in my inbox with an event that A. fits my schedule and B. sounds really, really neat. The chance to attend a show at Chicago’s Magic Parlour was one of those. I’d never heard of this but apparently it’s been going on for six years at the Palmer House Hilton!

Magician Dennis Watkins performs an 80 minute show for a crowd of up to 44 people which, to me, makes it all the more impressive that he’s not only able to enthrall the audience with card tricks, slight of hand, and amazing mind reading skills, but he’s able to get tons of audience interaction and volunteers.

I got to participate in a card trick that even though we got to see it twice, I still don’t know how he did it! I’ll post a short video on Instagram but, basically, I wrote my name on a playing card, Dennis got into a giant balloon, and then when I threw the deck of cards at him he skewered my card with a knife, popping the balloon at the same time. Crazy!

And, yes, Jason came with me. Even though he is a hard-core skeptic he really, really enjoyed himself. Dennis pointed out that while he is the magician it’s really all of us in the audience that make the magic happen. Suspending your disbelief for 80 minutes reminds you of when you were a kid and you believed anything could happen.

similar dress | similar shoes

We started off the evening with drinks at Potter’s Lounge at the Palmer House.  If you weren’t able to get a drink at the bar beforehand, though, they had wine, beer, and soft drinks available at the show.

The dress code is “cocktail attire” so I took the opportunity to wear this dress that hasn’t seen much love. It’s a little too short, a little too low-cut, and a little too dressy for my regular everyday wear (although, I have made it work appropriate before).

Thankfully the cold spell Chicago’s been having took a break so that I didn’t freeze to death!

Overall, I highly HIGHLY recommend The Magic Parlour. Watching a magic show is an amazing form of entertainment. You know they’re tricking you but, dang, they do it with such panache. Jokes, banter, engagement: it all takes a skilled performer and Dennis certainly fits the bill!

I was able to attend for free thanks to this here blog and my membership in the Windy City Blogger Collective, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Jason will agree with me, unprompted, that it was a super fun evening! 

Not so black of a cat [SIA Post]

Casual Friday · Style Imitating Art

And we’re back to Monday! I had a busy but fun weekend. Hanging with my mom on Friday, attending a fundraising gala on Saturday, and visiting a craft show on Sunday.

Speaking of the craft show, it was being held at the Revolution Brewing tap room that is less than half a mile from my house. I thought this was a great opportunity to actually wear a sweater, a scarf, and a puffy vest so that I would be warm enough on the short walk there but not feel too warm or bulky when I was navigating the wares.

I paired gray, black and brown together as inspired by this week’s Style Imitating Art Choice, “Black Cat.”  It reminds a lot of another SIA challenge we did about this time last year where I also wore black jeans, this vest and these boots.

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

This vest is perfect for wearing to something like a craft show. The pockets are large enough that I can put my wallet, phone and keys in them and not have to worry about carrying a purse.

Speaking of the craft show, I was there with Annabelle and some other people scouting out vendors for the monthly vendor fairs they host at the storefront we’re calling Collage Collective! The next one is on November 12th and you get all at the details here.

 

Muscles and Meals Vol. 2

Fitness

Wow! You guys seemed to really enjoy my first Muscles and Meals post! Did any of you end up making any of the recipes yet? FYI, the spaghetti squash in the slow cooker? Not the best way to make it. Still edible, but I recommend just taking the time to roast it instead.

Moving on to this week!

Sunday

I spent time thinking about going for a run, but it didn’t end up happening. To be honest, I’m just not feeling the cardio right about now. I know going for a run is good for me (and the dog) but, eh. So, instead, I finished the last two episodes of “The Five” (which is on Netflix, is one season long and is SO GOOD) and started watching “Mind Hunter”. I also went to the farmer’s market and the regular grocery store so I could get the ingredients to make Pumpkin Chili!

I used this recipe but I A. didn’t put it in the slow cooker and B. added garlic. I just cooked it on the stovetop for about an hour. It makes enough for an army, though, so be warned. Thankfully, I was able to give some of it to Annabelle and her husband who both gave it a big thumbs up.

Monday

You’ll probably start to notice a pattern with my workouts. Mondays are almost always deadlift day.

  • 5×3 Sumo deadlifts
  • 3×12 Band Pull-Aparts and Banded Clams
  • 5×15 Hip Extensions
  • 5×15 Goblet Squats
  • 4×20 Straight leg raise
  • 4×15 Stability ball “stir the pot”

For dinner, we had burgers! Specifically chicken burgers. I think I got this chicken avocado burger recipe from my friend Anne (shout-out if you’re reading!) and it’s become a staple when I want a burger. Something about warmed up avocado just makes my mouth water. I typically add some chipotle cheese and some salsa as my toppers. Sometimes a grilled onion and a tomato as well. Add a roasted veggie as a side dish and you’re good to go!

Tuesday

Another Tuesday, another taco day. And, yes, we stuck to the same old, same old. Ground turkey tacos and roasted green beans. Look, I don’t like to mess with simple. Although, if you’re in the mood for steak tacos, I highly recommend these.

The workout consisted of regular bench presses, incline bench presses, incline plank rows, and some other stuff I’m forgetting.

Wednesday

I totally could have skipped my workout on Wednesday. I mean, I did last week when I had to work through lunch. I had to work through lunch again this week but instead of skipping my Wednesday cardio session I ducked out of work about 50 minutes early and went to the gym. 30 minutes of HIIT on a spin bike later I headed home.

Once at home we made Garlic Pork with Ginger Kale Rice for dinner. This recipe is actually really simple to make and tastes great. I used instant brown rice so that I didn’t have to wait for 40 minutes while it cooked. I also use ginger paste instead of dealing with peeling actual ginger.

Thursday

I had a super busy day at work so I tried to squeeze in my workout in under an hour. HAHAHAHAH. I had to skip the last two sets of exercises and even then I ended up at my lunch meeting still sweating.

  • 5×5 Squats
  • 1×20 Squats (lighter weight)
  • 5x forward sled drag
  • 5×10 Overhead kettlebell swing
  • 2×10 kettlebell step-ups
  • 2×12 paused kettelbell Romanian deadlifts

For dinner, I was planning to make Hummus Crusted Chicken but instead ended up ordering sushi for dinner while at Annabelle’s Sip & Shop. So, I froze the chicken breasts and will end up using them next week. Probably to make Hummus Crusted Chicken!

Friday

Overhead press day! My personal trainer asked me once what my least favorite exercise is. At the time I told her renegade rows. But, honestly, I think it’s overhead presses. Progress is just so slow!

  • 6×2 Barbell Overhead Press
  • 6×12 External Rotation
  • 4x max 1.5 chin-ups
  • 4x drop set cable machine face pulls
  • 4×6 Bear Complex
  • 4×20 Rope Slams

On the plus side, my mom is in town, so, as I write this, the plan is to hang out at her condo and drink wine and make pork lettuce wraps for dinner. Need a good lettuce wrap recipe? I recommend this one.

Saturday

I’m out AGAIN on Saturday! This time for the Back on My Feet fundraising gala thanks to my work with the F3 Half Marathon. Dress code? Fancy dress with sneakers. And the amazing clutch that Annabelle bought me.

 

 

Be a unicorn

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I think the official saying is that you should always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then be a unicorn. But that’s kind of unwieldy for a blog post title, right? So, “be a unicorn” it is.img_9501.jpg

Being a unicorn is great when you’ve had a long day, your hair is a mess, and your make-up has worn off. Just put on your unicorn face and you’re good to go! It may be after Halloween but that’s okay. The unicorn “Donnie Darko” look is good all year round.

img_9506.jpg

similar cardigan | similar top | same jeans | similar booties | same unicorn head

I mean, what else livens up an outfit full of neutral colors than a rainbow-maned unicorn head? Of course you need one of these in your life. It’s exactly what that saying is talking about. Be yourself. Wear those neutral colors. But every so often, don’t forget to be a unicorn.

img_9490.jpg

This post may or may not have been brought to by wine. But it was definitely brought to you by a previous Sip & Shop event. You should join us at the next one so you too can be a unicorn!