Author Archives: Erin @ Loop Looks

About Erin @ Loop Looks

A Chicago Loop Girl Goes To Work

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Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K [Fitness Friday]

Fitness

As you probably know, I’ve spent the last 8 weeks training for a personal record in a 5K race. Specifically, I wanted to break the 23 minute mark. I would have been happy with a 22:59. My PR is 23:24 which I hit in April with no 5K specific training, just HIIT, some long runs, and lifting weights.

I had my eye on the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K because it’s known as a fast and flat course. Basically, perfect for PRs.

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Sadly, to cut to the chase, I did not PR at the race last Saturday and I didn’t break 23 minutes.

I honestly don’t know what happened. Was it my training? Did I not do enough fast runs? Did I not hit the right times on the interval and tempo runs I did? Did I do too much strength lifting and not enough power and conditioning lifting? Was it too humid? Was I too stressed out?

I do know that when my friend Annabelle ran alongside me towards the finish line, yelling encouragement at me, all I could say was, “I don’t know if I can do this.” And then I burst into tears.

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Was it hormones? Was it not enough confidence building runs? Was it that I’ve gained some weight since April?

I cried when I finished. Several other runners asked if I was okay and gave me encouragement. But it still sucks to fail at a goal, you know?

Was I so upset because I’d told everyone about my goal and then I didn’t achieve it? Did I feel like I was letting everyone down?

Running is so funny. You can train and do everything you think is right and you can still not hit your goals on race day and you might never know why.

I’ve never trained specifically for a 5K PR before. I have to say, though, it’s really discouraging to do the training and see basically no tangible results. Jason kept saying that maybe I would have done worse if I hadn’t done the training (I finished in an official 23:44, by the way), but I’ll never know.

I’m debating doing another 5K race this fall. I just don’t know if I have it in me right now to set a goal time. I will say, I had much more fun earlier this year when I was just running with no time goals in mind and being pleasantly surprised when I PRed.

So, I have some things to think about. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy lifting and doing whatever cardio I want. At least until marathon training starts!

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  • Monday 9/19 – Leg strength workout (easy & light)
  • Tuesday 9/20 – 3 mile run and upper body strength workout
  • Wednesday 9/21 – 30 minute tempo run (treadmill)
  • Thursday 9/22 – Leg strength workout (easy & light)
  • Friday 9/23 – Upper body strength workout
  • Saturday 9/24 – 5K race (with .8 mile warm-up)
  • Sunday 9/25 – Rest
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RIP Light Chambray Popover

Shopping

On Friday I went to the gym on my lunch break. I was wearing my light chambray popover top I bought 4 years ago from Old Navy. I crossed my arms over my chest in order to take my top off over my head when RIIIIIIP!

I’d hulked out of my shirt. Again. A huge hole ripped in the back of the shirt just below my left shoulder blade and it got bigger every time I moved my arm.

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A few times this shirt was featured on the blog.

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Sadly, because this shirt is four years old, I have a feeling it’s going to be difficult to replace. I already checked Old Navy and J. Crew Factory, two spots where I’d seen light chambray popovers in the past. Alas, no luck. Plus, this one is unique because it has a v-neck but no “stand-up” collar. So, it’s not really a mandarin collar, either.

I searched my trusty ShopStyle and found a few that MIGHT be a replacement.


Now I just have to decide which one to try. Because I’m probably not going to stop lifting weights any time soon. So shirts are just going to have to get replaced when my lats explode out of the back.
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SIA: Strike a POSE

Style Imitating Art

I recently finished reading a book called Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. While it’s mostly a detective story, it’s also a little surreal. Part of that is because it takes place in Detroit and is partially about the art scene renaissance happening there.

So, for this week’s Style Imitating Art choice I chose some Detroit street art created by an artist called POSE. POSE also happens to be based in Chicago and even collaborated on a mural about a mile from my apartment as well as creating one near my old office.

This one, though, is called “Brummel” and is described as, “a clever wonderland where a real and imagined city alley merge into one.” Since Broken Monsters is largely about a world where real and imagined merge into one, I thought this mural was even more appropriate.

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Click here to see the full piece. More images here.

This is the kind of art that I love. Colorful, abstract, and not taking itself too seriously. I’m not the type of person to hang something like this in my apartment but I love seeing it out on the street.

I hope that my choice this time inspires you to come up with your own colorful and whimsical outfit. Or, perhaps, explore the street art in your own town. Do you have a favorite local piece?

Remember, just snap a photo of an inspired outfit and send it to me at looplooks@gmail.com by the end of the day on Monday, October 3rd.

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Five Things Friday

About Me

Hooray Friday! The post I was hoping to write for today didn’t happen (see “thing” number one below) so instead I’m just going with five random things.

Thing 1: I was hoping to have a post for you about Aquamermaid but, unfortunately, the class I was scheduled to attend was canceled and I’m still waiting to reschedule. In the meantime, you can read more about it over at Windy City Wardrobe, Sincerely, Jennie, or Erin’s Inside Job.

Thing 2: I was invited to attend an event called “Artistry in Motion” being put on by lululemon but, honestly, I wasn’t sure what it was all about other than showing off lululemon’s latest offerings. Since I wasn’t planning to purchase anything I passed on the event. But then I had major FOMO when I read that several of my blogger buddies went. You’ll just have to read Susie’s blog to find out more. Also, I’m bummed I couldn’t make the SHAPE magazine event she talks about. Darn me having a regular 8-5 job!

Thing 3: We took Chewie to another patio last night. Actually, we took him to Cone which is dog-friendly so we were actually able to take him into the shop while ordering. Then we sat on the patio and ate our ice cream. Cone is one of the first patios we ever took him to when he was a puppy and he was way too anxious to stay in one place. Last night he laid down on his own and was really well behaved!

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I took this picture at Nellcote, but you get the idea

Thing 4: When I ran the Super Sunny 5K we all got packages of sunflower seeds. I planted mine in some pots on my balcony. Not all of them survived the summer but several of them managed and are now blooming!

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Thing 5: My goal 5K is tomorrow!! I had anxiety dreams about it last night. This is why I try not to have time goals for races. Although, speaking of race goals, I just signed up for the Miami Marathon. Yep. A full marathon. I haven’t run a full since 2013. But, Live Grit has put together a compelling race, training and travel package AND you can get $75 off the package if you use the code MIAMIRUN (good until 9/25/16). I’m really looking forward to training with my Live Grit crew this winter.

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  • Monday 9/12 – Leg strength workout
  • Tuesday 9/13 – Upper body strength and 3 mile run
  • Wednesday 9/14 – 8×400 run with warm-up and cool-down
  • Thursday 9/15 – Leg strength workout
  • Friday 9/16 – Upper body strength workout
  • Saturday 9/17 – 7 mile run
  • Sunday 9/18 – Rest
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Lace and Bows

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

When I first put this top on when it came from Le Tote I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I originally had it on with my gray jeans but it was just “eh”.

Now, though, I think it might be my gray jeans that are “eh” because once I put the top on with dark denim I liked it much better!

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Top – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Shoes – J. Crew Factory (similar)

It’s cut kind of like a sweatshirt so it’s a tad bit boxy. Maybe not the most figure flattering, but, again, that’s why I like Le Tote. I can try stuff and send it back. I did indeed wear this outfit to work. And when I did I also discovered that these shoes are cracking at the edges. Actually, several pairs of my shoes are doing that. Ugh! Time to Shoe Drop, I guess!

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When taking these pictures I was on the hunt for somewhere NOT windy. Thankfully we found this little hidden area on the campus across the street from our apartment building. It also allowed me to act goofy.

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Sometimes my favorite photos are when I’m doing something silly.

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SIA: Le Chien Noir

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Style Imitating Art

Remember last week when I said that this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge was going to feature Chewie? Well, I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison from 8 month old Chewie to almost 3 year old Chewie.

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Clearly he’s all ears and legs. I could get him to make the same face as the cat in this week’s art, though.

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I went with black and tan with a little pop of red in my accessories. And in Chewie’s collar, of course.

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I wore this outfit to lunch at a nearby restaurant that was donating proceeds to One Tail at a Time. Chewie came with us, too, and behaved himself quite well! A couple sitting across from us even commented on how well behaved he was. Hahah, don’t we have them all fooled?

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Dress – Eva Franco (similar skirt) | Shoes – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Hat – vendor at a neighborhood festival (similar) | similar black bracelet | similar red bracelet

Don’t forget to visit Jen’s blog to see how the other SIA participants interpreted this week’s art choice!

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August Shopping Summary

Shopping

I didn’t do my usual shopping summary post earlier this month because mainly, other than keeping this top from Le Tote and getting these sandals courtesy of Shopbop, I spent all my money in August on workout clothes.

And, yes, I spent money. Look, Old Navy had a 50% off sale on activewear and when you workout 6 days a week you get tired of wearing the same things over and over again. So, I bought some new stuff.

I also got an awesome new pair of Nikes from the Nike Decathlon event.

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These are now my go-to lifting shoes. They don’t have enough support for me for running, but otherwise they’re awesome.

As for what I bought from Old Navy, I’ve already worn all of it and love all of it.  old-navy-activewear

Strappy tank | Keyhole back tank | Sports bra | Crops

I’m aware that I bought nothing in color. Actually, I did buy a pink top but it was too small. I highly recommend sizing up a bit in the keyhole top and sizing down in the strappy tank.

Speaking of working out, my goal 5K is one week from tomorrow! Ahh!

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  • Monday 9/5 – Rest
  • Tuesday 9/6 – Upper body strength and 3 mile run
  • Wednesday 9/7 – 40 minute tempo run and length strength workout
  • Thursday 9/8 – Upper body strength workout
  • Friday 9/9 – Leg strength workout
  • Saturday 9/10 – 3 mile run
  • Sunday 9/11 – 7 mile run
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Sports bra to the rescue

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

A few summers ago I bought this maxi dress at Old Navy but it’s so low cut that I always had to wear a camisole underneath it. But then I read about Jen’s idea to wear a sport bra under tops and dresses instead and I thought, “hey, I need to do that.”

However, all my sports bras were too, well, sporty. Until now.

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Dress- Old Navy (similar) | Sports bra – c/o lululemon (same) | Sandals – Sole Society (similar)

When I attended the grand opening of CycleBar back in July I got a gift certificate for a free lululemon sports bra. Now, I fully admit I’d never tried on, let alone purchased, anything from lululemon. But, I wasn’t about to turn down a free bra!

So, off to the lululemon in Oak Brook I went. I originally had my eye on this one but it was too…short? I dunno. I felt like I was going to have some under spillage. And I’m not even that well endowed! Anyway, I ended trying on this one. Turns out, it works perfectly with my maxi dress!

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I’ve even surprised people by pointing out it’s a sports bra and not part of my dress! I’m now probably only going to wear this dress with this sports bra instead of the camisole I used to wear. Hooray for sports bras with fun backs! I’m really loving this trend.

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I said I’d never wear leggings

Casual Clothes · Shopping

Those of you that have been around this space for awhile know that I am very anti-leggings. They are not pants. I will not wear them to work. I feel weird wearing them unless I’m working out.

But then I got this pair from Moonfish and I might be changing my tune. At least regarding wearing them in public.

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Scarf – c/o Moonfish | Tee – Target (same) | Leggings – c/o Moonfish | Shoes – Dr. Scholl’s via Zappos (same

Moonfish is a pop-up shop that collaborates with small business in Chicago creating a mutually beneficial relationship. People come into shop the clothing and accessories curated by Moonfish’s mama, Sarah, and they get exposed to unique art galleries, furniture stores and more.

I met with Sarah a few weeks ago to chat about Moonfish. Her goal is to provide one stop shopping, especially for women who get overwhelmed with all the options in a regular store. She picks items that work well for just about any wardrobe, but focuses on comfortable, simple clothes that you can change up with accessories.

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The prices are in the $30-$70 range which is perfect for me! I believe both the leggings and the scarf I’m wearing are less than $50. The scarf is now my go-to at work when the office is chilly and the leggings? Well, let’s just say that they are substantial enough that I almost consider them pants. They’re really not THAT much different than my old Gap skinny pants  or my Old Navy jeggings when you think about it. Except these have a nice, wide waistband and a little bit of texture to them. And they’re nice and thick. Perfect for pairing with boots and scarves this winter!

Interested in getting your own scarf, leggings, or other items at Moonfish? Because Sarah focuses personal attention for each customer, you can book an appointment now on the website to visit the current pop-up shop located at KSI Art Gallery, 3414 Main Street, Skokie, Illinois.

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Can’t make it to this pop-up shop? Like the Moonfish page on Facebook or join the mailing list so you can be the first to know about the next one!

I was not compensated for this post other than with the gift of two scarves and a pair of leggings. All opinions are my own. 

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SIA: Le Chat Noir

Style Imitating Art

This week’s choice of art to imitate with an outfit is Le Chat Noir aka “The Black Cat.”

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Source

Jen chose this because she said that the tans, reds, blacks, and mustard colors felt very fall appropriate. Also because she’s a cat person and has it hanging in her house.

I, however, am a dog person*, so I’m pretty sure my interpretation is going to be Le Chien Noir and, will, of course, feature Chewie. The actual outfit is still up in the air, though. Stay tuned!

And, as always, if you want to participate just snap a photo of an outfit you wore inspired by this art and send it to librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com by next Monday evening, the 19th. She’ll post her round-up on the 20th.

*It should be said that I like cats just fine. I’m just horribly allergic to them.