Casual Friday

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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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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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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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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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The scarf of the pop-up you’re going to see

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

As I mentioned in a previous post, the latest Moonfish Pop-Up took place in Chicago recently. I went over there for a morning of mimosas and doughnuts and, of course, did a little shopping.

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LA Made Dress | LA Made Tank Top | KLD Signature Blouse | Necklace & Earrings c/o Moonfish

I didn’t take pictures of all the beautiful clothes, jewelry and purses because I was too busy shopping, sipping, and admiring the decor that is Sugar Fix Dental Loft. Seriously, who knew a dentist’s office could be so beautiful? Sarah at Moonfish does such an amazing job of finding spots to host her pop-up.

And, of course, I had to be the person who wore something from Moonfish to show my support: my favorite scarf.

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Scarf c/o Moonfish | similar cardigan | same jeans | same boots

Sarah gifted me this cardigan when I first met her last fall and it’s been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. Everyone at the pop-up was enamored with it. Personally, I was enamored with all the comfy, neutral items that were available for sale.

Believe it or not, I actually bought the navy dress and the polka dot top to replace items in my closet. So, it was almost a one in-one out situation. Almost.

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If you want to check out Moonfish yourself, the next pop-up will be in June in Edgewater. Make sure you sign up for the mailing list so you don’t miss out! In the mean time, I’ll be over here waiting for the weather to warm up so I can start wearing all of my new purchases.

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Lake Effect Snow

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I had a different post queued up for today…but then it snowed and I had to take advantage of it.

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spring snowstorm outfit

similar vest | similar sweatshirt | same jeans | same boots

Also, hooray for light after work! We shot these photos yesterday when I got home and let me just say, it was NOT sunny when I left for work. Nope. I made the 10 minute trek to the train in blizzarding snow wishing I had snowshoes. And then I watched from my office windows as it snowed sideways once I got to work.

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Thankfully, I can wear this outfit in my office and no one cares that I’m basically wearing a sweatshirt and snow boots all day. The last thing I want to do when the weather is acting up is dress up!

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Chewie loves playing in the snow and, now that we have a backyard, he’s all about running around, sticking his face in the snow, and acting like a total goofball. Man, he makes me laugh. It’s almost worth getting snow in March.

old navy puffer vest and funnel neck sweatshirt

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The outfit you need if you want to hang with my dog

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday

Actually, if you want to hang with my dog, well….so sorry. He likes me, my husband and the people at daycare (apparently). He’s not too keen on other people. Although, to be honest, sometimes I’m not, either. And on those days I wear this t-shirt.

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same tee | similar shirt | same jeans | same boots

And, yes, I wear this shirt to work. And on weekends. And, really, any time I can. It’s one of my favorites. It’s soft and comfy and just the right amount of slouch. Maybe too much slouch. Looking at these pictures I’m realizing that I should probably stop eating like I’m still marathon training.

Actually, you know what. Screw that. I’m working on some major gains in the gym and I need to fuel those muscles!

Let’s move on to something else. Like, these duck boots. I bought them a few months ago and they are perfect for the weather we’ve been having in Chicago. They’re more versatile than rain boots or snow boots. They’re waterproof but easier to wear with regular clothes. So, if you’re on the fence about duck boots and you live in Chicago, get off the fence and go get yourself a pair!

just want to hang with my dog tee

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Out of the Woods [SIA Post]

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Style Imitating Art

Not taking outfit photos for the past few months actually left me in a bit of an outfit rut. In fact, I struggled to come up with an outfit for this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge…even though I was the one who chose the art!

Georgia O'Keefe Pond in the Woods

Georgia O’Keeffe, Pond in the Woods

I had quite a few ideas, but I felt that many of them I’d either worn on the blog before or would just be me putting on something to take the photo and not something I would actually have a chance to wear any time soon.

For example, this dress would have been perfect…but I have no reason to wear it right now. I did decide while finally unpacking my jewelry that I wanted to wear my necklace with the green gemstone.

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So, I did. And I paired it with a cream-colored tank top, my burgundy cardigan, my newly DIY distressed black jeans (as in, I did it 20 minutes before I wore them), and my tan booties. I couldn’t figure out how to add purple or blue to this outfit, though. Plus, I’ve just been more of a fan of neutrals, lately. Or I’m wearing burgundy for Valentine’s Day. Either way!

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similar cardigan | similar jeans | same booties | similar necklace 

Also, welcome to our backyard which, right now, is basically a mud pit. We’ve asked our landlord for help in landscaping it so that the dog doesn’t track muddy paw prints all over the house if we don’t wipe off his paws every single time he comes in from outside.
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I’m still getting some great submissions from others who have been inspired to create an outfit based on this painting. And it’s not too late for you to submit yours! The round-up will be posted on Wednesday so send your pictures to looplooks@gmail.com to be featured!

november-outfits

Favorite Outfit of November

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

For the past few months Jason and I have been trying to have a date night of some kind each week. However, recently our date nights have consisted of viewing apartments, townhomes, or duplexes that have garage space where Jason can work on his car.

Yes, there’s a really good chance we’ll be moving out of Chicago’s West Loop. This makes me sad but I’m trying to look forward to a discovering a new neighborhood. Our plan is to stay in the city, though. Our lease isn’t up for several months, however, so I’m a bit stressed about what happens if we find a great spot but can’t find someone to take over our lease.

Speaking of which, anyone want to rent an awesome condo in the West Loop?? I’m not kidding.

Anyway, when we weren’t looking at places, I kept busy doing other things. Such as…

  • Attended the Illinois Science Council Cocktail Party
  • Took our second welding class
  • Watched Jason at his last car race of the year
  • Sat on a panel for a friend’s class (he’s an adjunct professor)
  • Started looking at new apartments/townhomes/duplexes
  • Had dinner at our neighbor’s while listening to actual vinyl records
  • Learned to swim like a mermaid (post coming soon!)
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with both our families
  • Finally made it to a Moonfish pop-up shop
  • Kept up with my marathon training and weight lifting

And, of course, wearing outfits. Below are this month’s choices for your voting pleasure. My favorite is probably the cold-shoulder top outfit. Although I’ve now worn the purple sweater outfit at least three times. So, that one wins for comfiest!

What’s your pick? Don’t forget to vote below!

november-outfits

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 

What was your favorite outfit of November?

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