Tag Archives: black


Games and Adventures

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Have you voted for your favorite outfit of October yet? 

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was full of adventure including a Game of Thrones themed party at a local bar, exploring an abandoned grain silo with a view of downtown, and working at one of the largest races in Chicago.

Which means that you get a few photos from the weekend and an older outfit photo that I originally shared on Instagram. So let’s start with what you’re probably here to see: the outfit photo.

IMG_0079Vest – Le Tote (same) | Turtleneck – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Shoes – Vince Camuto (similar) | Belt – Target (same)

I felt totally awesome and badass in this outfit and I can’t even explain why. The vest was slightly too big so I might request it again from Le Tote in a size smaller. But overall I really liked this outfit. Noting too fussy but it felt put together and comfortable. And, yes, I’m wearing open-toed shoes with a turtleneck. No, I can’t explain it.

What I can explain is my Game of Thrones party outfit!

nymeria-sand-snake-costumeI decided to go as one of the Sand Snakes…but only if I could find what I needed at Goodwill. I don’t historically have good luck at Goodwill but I decided to chance it. And I found everything I needed! I was in shock and super thrilled.

The dress was a J. Crew bridesmaid’s dress that I got for $7 and trimmed with brown duct tape and ribbon. The leggings were $6. The belt was $3 and the dog leash that I wore like a whip was $2. So, all of that for $18 plus the duct tape and ribbon at Michael’s Crafts and the boots I already owned. I didn’t win the costume contest but that’s okay. I had a great time putting my costume together!

That was Friday night. Saturday morning we got up early to go do some urban exploring. There are some abandoned grain silos in an industrial area of the city just southwest of downtown. They are apparently a haven for urban decay photographers so I joined my husband and some of his friends for an adventure.

IMG_0383 IMG_0437My husband hasn’t finished processing all of his photos yet so I just grabbed the two that I’m in to give you a taste. I also took a few with my iPhone that you should be able to see here. I’m looking forward to going back on a warmer day (and with more advanced notice) to shoot some outfit photos here. There are so many cool backgrounds!

Because you guys might be tired of just seeing the stuff around my apartment.


Wednesday, though, I’ve got a new location for you! More photos from Carmel, Indiana!






Not always black and white

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

It’s a good thing I have a backlog of photos to post. Why? Because my husband started a new job on Monday and I have a feeling that his new schedule and commute, combined with the slowly decreasing daylight hours, means outfit photos won’t happen nearly as often.

And, yes, for those of you keeping track, this is his third job since he graduated with his chemistry degree less than two years ago. The first one was not a good fit and the second one was a contract job with a corporate policy of A. not hiring people with “only” Bachelor’s degrees and B. not keeping contractors for more than a year.

This new job is at least contract-to-hire but, unfortunately, his commute is going to be horrid. Which is why we’re thinking of moving to the suburbs when our lease is up.

Which breaks my heart.


Blazer – The Limited (same) | Dress – Le Tote (same) | Shoes – J. Crew Factory (similar) |Necklace – gift (similar

There are lots of reasons that it makes sense to move to the ‘burbs. It’s easier for me to commute downtown than it is for Jason to commute out there.  We could get a place with a garage where Jason can work on his car and still save money for retirement (which needs to be happening at a much faster pace).  And I’m sure there are other benefits that I can’t think of right now. Relationships are about compromise, right?

Nicole at Cedar & Rush recently made a similar move and she blogged about how sometimes we have to “give up things we LIKE, to get the things we LOVE.”

Does moving to the ‘burbs get me closer to something I love? I honestly don’t know right now. But, hey, even 5 years ago I didn’t want to move into the actual city of Chicago! Life isn’t always so black and white, you know?



That time I tried leggings

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Speaking of leggings, did you win the iPhone case from the giveaway in my post about workout leggings?

So, a few years ago, I wanted some faux leather pants but I didn’t necessarily want leggings. But this particular pair has always been a little bit big. So, when I saw that Le Tote had some faux leather leggings available to try, I thought I’d go for it.

I also got this top in the same shipment and had plans to wear them together. But when I put on the leggings, well, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t wear leggings as pants. So, I put on my slightly-too-large faux leather pants.


Top – Le Tote (same) | Pants – Vince Camuto (similar) | Vest – Target (similar) | Shoes – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same)

I don’t know if it’s because this top wasn’t quite long enough or if because I just felt underdressed for work wearing something as tight as what I wear to the gym or what exactly it was about the leggings, but I just felt uncomfortable. So, yes, I wore them around my apartment  while I finished getting ready for work and then changed at the last minute.

It’s funny; I can wear leggings at the gym or out to eat after a race or at a fitness event but I just can’t do it otherwise. Am I weird?



When it rains

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

My life has generally been going pretty well, you guys. I had a great summer, I kicked butt at the Chicago triathlon, and all seemed right with the world.

And then my driver’s license and all my credit and debit cards were stolen.  Jason had some car issues that meant we had to go to Indiana two weekends in a row (three if you count this upcoming weekend when I will not be going with). Chewie seems to have developed the hacking crud and we’re keeping our fingers crossed it’s not dog flu. In other words, all the shit hit the fan at the same time.

So, I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I go with a mindless outfit and revert to a basic color combination: red, white and black.


Shirt – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – Express (similar) | Shoes – MIA (similar) | Necklace – clothing swap (similar

IMG_9004Bad things come in threes, right? So here’s hoping that I’ve had my share of crap for the time being. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. I got my driver’s license replaced the same day it was stolen (thank goodness for having a passport). I got my credit cards shut down and reported before the thief could rack up too many charges and they’ve all since been replaced. Jason’s parents were nice enough to lend us a car and Chewie is young and healthy so I’m sure he’ll make a full recovery.

Still, it would be nice to end the summer on a high note and start to feel inspired to create outfits again. So, keep your fingers crossed the universe turns around and at least the rest of this week goes well. Mmmkay? Thanks.




Same Black Dress, Different Place

Casual Friday

Have you voted yet? If yes, thanks. If no, why not?

This past weekend Jason and I drove to visit his parents in their new home in Carmel, IN. I didn’t realize until after the fact that the last time we visited them I wore this same dress, albeit under completely different circumstances.

No more mountains in the background, for one. Carmel, Indiana is quite a bit different than Flagstaff, Arizona.

IMG_8938Dress – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Tretorn c/o Shopbop (same)

Other than Jason breaking our car to the point where we had to borrow one of his parents’ cars to drive home and now we have to go back this weekend so he can repair his car, I actually enjoyed my visit. Carmel has an adorable downtown that I hope to feature in future posts. It also has a great biking/running/walking trail that I explored two days in a row. One day while running and another day while biking. I borrowed my mother-in-law’s bike and rode over 20 miles on it. And stopped for Square Donuts.


I may have also boasted that I’m pretty sure I can eat the Big Ugly burger at Bub’s and now I think someone is going to hold me to that. Maybe I’ll run the half marathon there on December 12th. Pretty sure I can eat a one-pound burger after that.

Anyway, Carmel might not have the skiing that Flagstaff does, but I think I’ll find enough stuff to keep me busy. Other than visiting my in-laws, of course!


P.S. It was in the 90s while we were there and I hate wearing shorts in the car, so I went with this dress since it can be dressed up or down.  Also, I just noticed that my attempt to photoshop out the HORRIBLE bruises on my shins from deadlifting 215 pounds turns out kind of ridiculous in the last photo. See if you can tell….#humblebrag



The Great Sandal Hunt: Shopping with Splender


When I was packing for my work trip to Ontario, I tried to keep the number of shoes I was taking to a minimum. Sandals, flats, casual and, of course, my workout sneaks. I decided to wear the sandals on the plane because they went with my black maxi dress.

What I didn’t realize was that the elastic strap on my sandals is about to give way on one of the buckles! Also, unbuckling them to go through the security line at the airport and then putting them back on afterward was kind of annoying.

I bought those sandals back in April of 2012 and considering they were $21 from Old Navy, aren’t real leather, and I’ve worn them every summer since, I feel like they outperformed their initial construction! However, I’m at the point now where when items like this start to fall apart I want to replace them with real leather goods that will, hopefully, last just as long, if not longer.

So, I turned to the cash back shopping site Splender to help offset the cost of the sandal upgrade.


Dress – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Rocksbox | Sandals – Nordstrom (same)

Don’t forget to use code ERIN25 for 50% off your first month of Le Tote! Or code looplooksxoxo for a free month of Rocksbox.


Splender collates deals and coupons from over 800 online shopping sites, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Ann Taylor, and more. You can browse by store or by deal and when you find one you like you just click the Shop Now button. After that you shop normally and anything you buy at that store you earn cash back. At Nordstrom, for example, it’s currently 4%.

Which is why I ordered these lovely Seychelles sandals. They have a zipper in the back so if I have to take them off in a security line in the future I can just unzip and slide them off! IMG_2295

I also debated about ordering this Trouve pair but, sadly, they were out of my size.

I was also lusting after these Frye sandals which, in all actuality, are the closest in look to my original pair.  I found them in my size at Lord and Taylor which has a 6% cashback incentive via Splender but even with stacking the coupon codes and deals listed by Splender they were still more than I wanted to pay. I might regret that decision, though. And, if so, I’ll return the Seychelles ones and go back to Splender to buy the Fryes!

Splender is free to join and there are no ads, which is nice. You get your cash back via a commission that the store pays Splender. If you’re curious about how it all works, they have a fun YouTube video that explains it.

When I was searching for replacement sandals, I used Splender’s “Stores” function to filter all their stores by Shoes and Accessories and then scrolled through the alphabetical list until I a store caught my eye. The only thing I found a bit annoying was that sometimes they don’t have ALL the offers listed on the store’s listing on Splender. For example, when I clicked on Lord and Taylor it didn’t list that on that particular day they were having an extra 15% off sale on all full-priced items.  Also, the Free Shipping filter doesn’t filter out stores that only have free shipping if you spend a certain dollar amount.


In a perfect world, I’d like to also be able to search by item (i.e. black sandals) and find stores that sell that item instead of just browsing at every store in the list. But, hey, I suppose it’s similar to hunting for what you want in the mall, too!

Overall, I liked that I could browse so many stores in one place and that it’s basically no extra work for me to earn a little extra money just for doing what I like to do: shop!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

05_May_2015 - 9 of 10

Casual Bling

Casual Clothes · Casual Friday

Once again, it may seem silly to be wearing a sweater when it’s practically summer but I liked this outfit so I wanted to share it with you.

It’s an interesting combination of bling (thanks to Rocksbox) and casual (thanks to my sneakers from Shopbop).

05_May_2015 - 9 of 10

Necklace – via Rocksbox (you can still try it free for a month with code looplooksxoxo) | Sweater – J. Crew Factory (similar) | jeans – Henry & Belle via Stitch Fix (same) | Shoes – Tretorn c/o Shopbop (same)

05_May_2015 - 10 of 10

Most of the people in my office don’t wear a lot of jewelry so when I wear pieces like this I tend to get comments. Good comments, though. In fact, the day I wore this one I got a compliment on it. It’s fun when people compliment my Rocksbox pieces because I can tell them how much fun it is to try out new jewelry all the time.

05_May_2015 - 8 of 10


Thank goodness for outfits in a box

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I’m just going to lay it out there: life is kind of crazy right now. Between swim lessons and dealing with Chewie’s behavioral issues (more on that below) and keeping up my 4-5 days a week of strength training and Jason’s work schedule, well, I’m lucky if I get outfit photos taken at all.

I really need to find someone who can shoot photos at like 5PM near my office. Any takers?

le-tote-cardigan-and-dress-1Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Dress – Le Tote (same) | Tights – c/o Hanes | Booties – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Necklace – local boutique (similar) | Earrings – c/o Rocksbox (use code looplooksxoxo for a free month!)

le-tote-cardigan-and-dress-3Of course, it doesn’t help that apparently Chicago is having one of the coldest March months in history.

Putting together an outfit is not necessarily at the top of my to-do list which is why I’m glad that Le Tote sent both this dress and this cardigan in the same box and that these Rocksbox earrings worked perfectly with the finish on the cardigan’s zippers. The dress itself was a bit annoying because the lighter colored lining kept peeking out (as seen in the top photo) and it was a tad shorter than I expected, but the cardigan was a winner. Expect I’m not paying $64 for it! Maybe if those were real leather accents….


Anyway, Chewie. As adorable as he is and for as much as he loves Jason and me, he is not a fan of other people. So much so that we had to take him to a behaviorist and get him on some anti-anxiety meds. Like mother, like (furry) son, I guess. Which means that we’ll be doing some more training work with him as well. We also tied a yellow ribbon to his new harness and are working on teaching him to go to safe spot in our apartment. Good thing he’s cute.



Pinstripes and Herringbone

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Last week I had the opportunity to have dinner, drinks, and a bocce ball lesson at the newly opened Pinstripes in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. It’s an interesting concept that I describe as more of a restaurant with a bowling (and bocce) alley instead of a just a bowling alley that serves food. The food was quite tasty (goat cheese and chicken pasta, anyone? Italian Jambalaya risotto?) and the drinks were great! If you have any port sitting around I suggest you pour it into a glass and add some ginger ale. It will be amazing. Or you could go to Pinstripes and have the Ruby & Ginger or the Limoncello martini. Both were incredibly tasty.

pinstripes1 pinstripes2



Unfortunately, the event was so popular that Maggie and I didn’t get a chance to play bocce ball. So, Jason and I are going back for a date night! Oh, also, Pinstripes was nice enough to give us all wristbands that get us a free glass of wine on all future visits!

But, really, you guys aren’t hear to read about restaurants. You’re here to see what I wore. Right? So, here it is.

herringbone-vest-pink-sweater-1Vest – Groopdealz nka Eleventh Avenue (similar) | Sweater – J. Crew Factory (similar) | Pants – Vince Camuto via Macy’s (similar) | Boots – Express (similar) | Necklace & Earrings – c/o Rocksbox (use code looplooksxoxo for a free month!*)

rocksbox-jewelryOnce again, the jewelry is from Rocksbox and, once again, I was tempted to keep both pieces! But, I sent them back because part of the fun of doing a “rental” service like this is trying new things.

herringbone-vest-pink-sweater-2This outfit was perfect because I felt a bit dressed up but not overly so. Also, last Thursday was one of the last super cold days we’ve had recently but I knew I’d probably get warm at the event. A light sweater with a heavier vest was perfect. And, of course, bling. Because, as we know, bling makes everything better.

herringbone-vest-pink-sweater-3You know, some people save their outtakes. I just share ’em with you as them come.

*expires in 30 days


This is real life

Casual Clothes

Chicago finally thawed out this weekend so now it’s rain boots and slightly lighter jackets. Before all the snow melted, though, it was definitely still heavy duty winter boots season. Especially when you take the dog to the dog park.

gray-sweater-black-scarf-2Sweater – Old Navy (similar) | Scarf – gift (similar) | Jeans – Express (similar) | Boots – Sorel (similar) | Belt – Old Navy (similar)

This outfit may not be the most interesting, the most put-together, or the most fashion forward. In fact, it’s kind of frumpy and schlubby. However, it IS functional. I had on a long-sleeved top underneath the sweater and leggings under my jeans and BAM I’m perfectly comfy to stand outside while my dog plays.

And, to be honest, I really liked this outfit. Sure, I could have worn jeans and a hoodie, but I’m actually more uncomfortable when I dress like that. So, sweater and scarf it is.



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