Casual Friday

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Kimono Regret

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

There are a few things in my life that I regret not doing. One is buying an amazing blue and black pony print cowboy hat. Another is not taking a job in an archive in southern Illinois. And one is not keeping this kimono from Le Tote.

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same kimono | same tank top | same jeans | same shoes

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I mean, I COULD have them re-send this to me in my next Tote, but I put Le Tote on hold every few months to try and save some money. Right now I’m “on hold” and it seems silly to pay the $49 to have them send me a tote just to pay more money to buy this. Right?

Also, I fully admit that I could buy a kimono from Belle on the Roe (I mean, I actually already have).

Regardless, there have been several times in the past few weeks where I’ve wanted to reach for this kimono only to remember I already sent it back to Le Tote. What to do??

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The Flower Seller Outfit [SIA Post]

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday

Is there a blogger out there whose attention to detail you admire? For me, that’s Jen at Librarian for Life and Style. Not only does she kill it with the accessories and details for the weekly Style Imitating Art challenges, but she also looks for the perfect backdrop. Well, for this week’s challenge I KNEW I had the perfect backdrop. A flower seller right in our neighborhood!

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Actually, I saw an even more perfect stall at our local farmer’s market the weekend before but when I went this week they weren’t there. Sad face! So, I made do with the one I found.

Interestingly, this was my second time going to our local farmer’s market and while many of the vendors were the same, they were in different spots! I suppose that’s a good marketing strategy since you have to wander the whole place to find the one you want. And you never know what else you’ll see along the way.

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Like seeing other dogs. So many other dogs. Chewie really wanted to sniff all of them. 

Also, I know I just wore this top on the blog but, let’s be honest, I wear it like twice a week now. It’s just so comfy! And the colors of the top and jeans, along with my silver sandals, just matched so perfectly with the art for this week.

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Oh, these are my newest Principle Denim jeans and I love them just as much as my other pair. I cannot wait for the next Moonfish pop-up!! I’m not kidding when I say that my entire outfit (minus the shoes) is from Moonfish. Top, jeans, bralette and necklace. I’m definitely a convert.

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Don’t forget that you still have time to send in your own outfit inspired by this week’s art choice!  See the full post here with all the details.

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What to wear to host brunch at your house

Casual Friday · Shopping

Well, okay, I not only wore this outfit to host brunch, but I also wore it wine tasting in Healdsburg, CA. And that’s where we took these pictures. But, I did wear it this past Saturday, too! Awesome outfits totally deserve to be worn more than once.

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On Saturday I made brunch for several of my friends and had Julie, a Stella & Dot stylist over to show off her wares. When I packed for California I only took two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. One of the necklaces (the one pictured in these photos) and one of the pairs of earrings were from Stella & Dot. Specifically, the Rebel pendant and the Pave Triangle Ear Jacket. I wore both multiple times and, since the earrings are actually several pairs in one, I was able to mix and match them depending on how fancy I wanted to be.

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I love supporting women who have their own hustle (and getting hostess perks aren’t bad either!). Actually, if you’re looking for some super versatile jewelry, I’d love it you used my link! You can also get my amazing leopard print watch, which I also wore a ton in California.

Speaking of women who have their own hustle, both my top and my bralette are from Moonfish, another women-owned business. I think I’ve mentioned before that Sarah at Moonfish is amazing at picking out items for me to try on that I would never think to try myself. Case in point, both the top and the bralette are items I would have not picked out to try on.

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I now want to wear this outfit every day! I even wore the top and bralette with my black Principle Denim jeans (also from Moonfish) to dinner on Sunday and again to work on Monday. I might have a problem.

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Deck Party Time

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

When we moved from an 8th floor apartment in the hottest neighborhood in the city to a two floor apartment in a house in a neighborhood no one has heard of, I admit I was a little heartbroken.

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But, of course, we moved in January and nothing is fun in the winter in Chicago. However, as spring and summer approach, I’ve been enjoying our back deck and making plans for making our yard and outdoor spaces into a true extension of the house.

I ordered two of these chairs from Target (in teal, not white, though) and plan to get a rug, some ottomans, and some cafe lights for our back deck. Combine that with the two tables we already have that I’m planning to spray paint and we’re going to have an awesome little outdoor room!

By the way, all the outdoor stuff at Target is on sale until Sunday!

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similar cardigan | similar top | similar jeans | same shoes | similar necklace 

I’ve also got plans to plant some more flowers in the flower beds and in the pots I brought over from our previous apartment balcony.

And if you want to enjoy my outdoor space with me, I’m having a get together on Saturday, June 24th! 

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Yes, I will have a Stella & Dot stylist there, but it’s really just an excuse to finally have people over to our house! Consider it a girls-only housewarming party with no pressure to shop. If you want to come, let me know and I send you the info via email!

I don’t usually have parties because I feel like a loser when no one comes. So, uh, help me feel like less of a loser? I promise to be a good hostess AND you’ll get to sit in my awesome new chairs.

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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.