I found out about this professional photo event through a blog friend who used to do some modeling. For only $60 we got hair, make-up, and two hours with two different photographers in a really neat venue. I’m still waiting on the photos from the other photographer, but I couldn’t wait to show you these.
Because, I mean, if you want to have some fun for Valentine’s Day what’s better than a sexy red dress?
Stay tuned as I intersperse more professional photos over the next few weeks and tell you more about the event.
I am wearing a necklace, but it’s tiny and delicate so you can’t see it in the photos. And of course I didn’t think to take a close-up.
Also, Chewie did not join me for the party, however. He’s not a party kind of dog.
Oh, and in case you’re curious, it’s really difficult to get a good photo of your back when you’re trying not to freeze while taking pictures with an impatient husband and a dog who would rather be playing at the park. This is the best we could manage.
Anyway, the dress got lots of compliments as did my hair. I got it re-dyed right before the party so it looked fresh and curled. I can’t curl my own hair (seriously, I am the worst) which is why it looks the same in most photos: either totally straight or kind of curly in its natural state.
All of my holiday parties are finally done – except, of course, for the family gatherings I have coming up at the end of the week. But I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting all gussied up for those.
I hope you enjoyed all my holiday outfit posts. I totally didn’t plan to have three of them but, hey, I think it worked out well!
I also hope you have a great holiday or, if you don’t celebrate this week, that you enjoy your week!
When it comes time to vote for my favorite outfit of December, I think it’s going to be this one. This dress. The scarf. The boots. The fun boot cuffs. The hat that gets me compliments all the time. Put them all together and I’m in love.
Hat – Some boutique in Sausalito (similar) | Scarf – Le Tote (same) | Dress – Le Tote (same) | Boot cuffs – Amazon (same) | Boots – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same)
I actually wore this outfit the day I posted it on Instagram. I don’t always recreate outfits I post there but I loved this one too much not to. Good thing I ended up wearing it while I was home for Thanksgiving because the scarf alone got a family friend to sign up for Le Tote (and got her $25 off her first month using code ERIN25. Just had to throw that in there!)
This scarf is SO SOFT. I just wanted to pet it all day. I also recently got the burgundy one from Le Tote and am looking forward to wearing it soon, too.
I don’t know what it is about this outfit that I love so much. Maybe that everything fits perfectly? Seriously, the first time I wore this dress I debated whether or not I was going to keep it but you all weighed in and said I had to because it fit like a dream. You were right, by the way. I always feel like a million bucks when I wear it.
And paired with my favorite boots and a scarf that makes me feel like I have a puppy with me all day long? Yeah. I think this outfit is a winner.
By the way, these photos were taken in the park by my parents’ house. There are all kinds of fun sculptures there!
As I’ve mentioned previously, I have this weird thing with leggings. But, this is why I love Le Tote. One of you lovely readers mentioned I should try a tunic or a dress that seemed just a tad too short and see if I could make leggings work that way. Good call! Because one day last week I just wanted to be comfy. Thankfully I had added this tunic/dress to my Le Tote closet and it was perfect.
I really liked this outfit….except my leggings were too big! I never thought I’d need to buy leggings, though, and Old Navy doesn’t have these exact ones any more. I’ve heard good things about the Zella leggings from Nordstrom, though, so I might have to check those out.
Also, I think I might re-wear this exact same outfit for Thanksgiving before I send back my Tote. Leggings plus tunic seem like the perfect combination for eating and lounging, am I right?
I’ve recently noticed quite a few Chicago bloggers getting awesome partnership deals, finding amazing photographers to take their photos all over the city, even appearing on ads around town.
Scarf – gift (similar) | Shirt – Express (same) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Shoes – Steven c/o Shopbop (similar)
I am not one of those bloggers. My photographer is my husband. I don’t hustle and pitch to brands. I can barely manage to get photos once a week. If you ever needed any proof of that, this post is it. As I previously mentioned, my husband started a job that means we both leave the house before the sun is up and we both get home after the sun sets. Weekends have been full of exciting things which means no outfit photo shoots then, either.
Which is why today we are resorting to photos I took in the bathroom at work. Yep.
I don’t lead a glamorous blogger lifestyle and, you know, for as much as I envy some of those bloggers who have amazing photos and amazing brand partnerships I know that they worked really hard for those and they treat their blog like a part-time job.
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?
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.
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
I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like I’m bragging or like I’m vain or, I don’t know, like there’s something wrong with me. Because I’m not writing it for any of those reasons. I’m writing it because I’m proud and I want to share something that’s been working for me.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Wait. This is a style blog. Why are you talking about working out?? Don’t you have a fitness blog for that?”
But here’s the thing: working out can change your body. And when your body changes it changes what you wear.
For example, take these three dresses.
Which are all from Le Tote, by the way. Which I love because it lets me try things I wouldn’t think I could wear…until now. Try it yourself for 50% off with code ERIN25. Sales pitch over.
Last year at this time I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing them. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t feel comfortable in a wrap dress at all. I felt like they clung, showed every bump I had (or imagined I had) and just weren’t flattering. Never mind a body-skimming knit dress that could possibly enhance a bulge or two.
Now, I know, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that I’ve always looked just fine. But, when you’re in your own body and wearing your clothes every day you can tell when something is off. In fact, I noticed it with my red and green pants.
When I replaced my original red pants I had to go up a size. Actually, I had to go up two sizes. And I almost replaced these green pants that I’ve had since 2012 because they had gotten too tight in the waist. I haven’t been a couch potato in years, but clearly whatever I was doing (running all the time) wasn’t doing enough.
But last fall I met a woman in my office who had an enviable physique. I asked her what her secret was and she told it was the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. So, I bought it. And it became my bible. How to eat, how to workout, what to lift at the gym. I even got a personal trainer that I meet with once a week.
And it paid off. I lost 10+ pounds, I’ve got almost visible abs for the first time in my life. I’ve got muscle definition in my arms that sometimes you guys even comment on. I can deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight. And I’m even a faster runner! I don’t follow TLS as religiously anymore (I mean, I do have to train for triathlons and try amazing drinks) but I still workout 4-6 days a week, mostly doing strength training.
Journal Menu lets you choose what type of workouts you want to track and customizes the pages in your journal to match
So, believe it or not, I’ve actually had to re-buy those red pants TWICE, getting them in smaller sizes each time (thank goodness The Limited still sold them!) and now the green pants are a tad bit loose. Actually, a lot of my clothes are too loose. Most of my pencil skirts are too big at this point. Thankfully I rarely have to wear them. But, I have expanded my dress options because now I feel much more comfortable in knit dresses!
I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and, I have to say, I’m thrilled that my wardrobe options have expanded! I never thought I could wear a wrap dress but, look, here I am rocking one.
I promise I’m not being compensated to tell you about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and while I received the Journal Menu for free I’m not getting paid anything additional to include it in my life. I just really think it’s awesome that yes, you can make a significant change to your body if you really want it.
If you want to know more, just ask. I know that talking about weight and body shape and what you look like isn’t necessarily “polite” conversation, but it’s such a huge part of my life right now and has had such a big impact on even my wardrobe that I felt weird not sharing.
Now, excuse me, I’m off to find some more dresses that make me feel like a million bucks.
As you saw on Monday, I received some Alterre shoes to try out. Why are these shoes special? Because you get two pairs of shoes in one. The bottom of the shoes stays the same and you can change up the look by swapping out the ankle straps.
This is the peg that holds on the straps.
You pop the straps off and on using the provided holes. They also have metal discs that tell you if that strap goes on the left or right shoe.
Ta da! You can see one strap attached and the other color strap just above for comparison.
I wore the navy ankle straps with a navy and white wrap dress from Le Tote.
Dress – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Shoes – c/o Alterre (same)
Initially, I thought I was going to like the navy and grey combo the best but, as it turns out, I enjoy both sets of shoes equally! I like that one is very classic while the other has a bit of trendiness to it. Both ankle straps were quite comfy as well.
Overall, I enjoyed the versatility of these sandals. The only downside in my eyes is that you have to keep track of “shoe accessories”!
And, in the interest of full disclosure, they do cost $180 for the starter kit. But, if you think about it, you’re basically paying $90 per pair of shoes. That may still seem steep but they are made of quality leather and 5% of the profits go to Restore NYC whose goal is to end sex trafficking in New York.
Of course, I did get my pair gratis but I wasn’t asked (or paid!) to blog about them. I just think it’s a neat concept that others might enjoy knowing about.
For my most recent Le Tote order I swapped out a few items for some casual dresses. I chose this blue and white one because it reminded me of a polka dot blue and white dress I used to have and consigned because it got too tight on my hips (and now I’m sad I got rid of it because I bet it would fit again).
Dress – Le Tote (same) | Cardigan – The Limited (same) | Sandals – TJ Maxx (similar)
Use code ERIN25 to get your first month of Le Tote for 50% off!
Unfortunately, while this dress showed off my shoulders (and, unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture without the cardigan), it billowed out strangely in the waist making me look, well, pregnant. Even Jason mentioned that it needed a belt or something. I tried to compensate by wearing the cardigan completely buttoned up but, in the end, it just wasn’t working for me.
I thought about putting this outfit together and posting it as my “Fourth of July” outfit but, as I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t actually wear anything other than workout capris all weekend. But I did wear this outfit to work on Monday.
And, I do have an interesting story to share about the year I wore the blue and white polka dot dress for Fourth of July. It was our first or second summer in Chicago and I’d convinced Jason to donate enough money to the local public radio station to get us tickets to watch the fireworks from their terrace on Navy Pier. That was when I learned you DO NOT go to Navy Pier to watch the fireworks. After walking miles in heels and getting there late and being underwhelmed, we almost got run over by fighting teenagers in one of the public transit tunnels on our way home. Let’s just say that ever since then I’ve been perfectly happy to stay home on the Fourth. At least now we can see fireworks from our balcony!