Express Sale Favorites + Friday Four

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Okay friends, the Express Memorial Day sale is on now so instead of my usual recap of three recent outfits, I'm sharing three ways I've worn three of my favorite recent Express purchases (on sale, of course!).  All of these pieces are the kind that can be worn multiple ways, and that's always my favorite so I feel like I'm really getting my money's worth. I won't recap my denim favorites for this sale since we're heading into summer, but nearly all of my jeans shown here are also from Express and 40% off during the sale. For reference, I'm 5'4" (and I take the Short length in jeans) if that helps you gauge how these items will fit on your frame.

1. Side Tie T-Shirts:
These t-shirts are only $12 for the solid colors, $15 for the striped version. They're nice and lightweight for Spring/Summer. They do run true to size, but I opted to go up one size for a little extra length. The smaller size was just a bit shorter in torso length and tighter in the arms/bust than this and I wanted a more relaxed look, but either size would have worked.
ONE: T-shirt (in Light Pink) | Similar Shorts | Similar Sandals | Necklace

2. Pink Blazer-Jacket
I just shared a full post with this blazer/jacket (a.k.a. "Girlfriend Knit Cover Up") on Wednesday, but I actually think my mirror selfies capture the color a little more accurately than the outdoor photos. I had a question about sizing on this on Wednesday's post because I guess one of the reviews said it runs big. I do think it has a relaxed/slightly oversized fit, so I could see how someone might interpret that as "runs big." I'm wearing an XS here, which is pretty normal sizing for me in Express jackets. It's roomy but it fits as I expected for this style.

3. Moto Jacket
This stone moto jacket is another piece I'm loving this Spring, and I'm sure I'll keep wearing it as an A/C protection layer through summer. It does run true to size with a slightly boxy fit. The fabric is very soft, comfortable and stretchy so considering it's a neutral, easy-to-match color, it's a winner on all counts for me. It does come with a belt (you can see it hanging in the first outfit) but I ended up removing that. It's not attached and didn't do anything for me except get caught in the car door, fall in the toilet, etc.

Please let me know if any of the links are broken or leading to the incorrect item. I tend to go a little cross-eyed when I'm attempting link up this many outfits!

This week's Friday Four is all about jewelry. I don't usually stick to one theme for all four items, but it just worked out that way this week. If you're looking to take advantage of Memorial Day sales to add some jewelry to your wardrobe, here are some of my favorite brands and pieces that have great deals this weekend.

Bottom Row: Earrings | Bracelet

1. Kendra Scott on Sale
The Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale is going on now through June 3, and the main thing that's tempting me is the Kendra Scott Jewelry. Select items are 60% off, which is honestly the best deal I have ever seen on Kendra Scott pieces aside from Final Sales. Both of these items do come in multiple colors, but I am especially drawn to that pretty turquoise of these earrings. This necklace has an adjustable slider so it can be worn as a short or long pendant, and I'm loving it as a sparkly date night option.
Earrings ($30) | Necklace ($32)

3. Favorite Necklace
Another favorite that's on sale for 40% off at J. Crew is this layered necklace. I separated mine into two necklaces (and added an extender for some extra length on the long portion) and I wear one of the two pieces all the time (as evidenced in several outfits above). It's really well made and hasn't tarnished despite wearing it several times a week for the last five months.

4. Favorite Bracelet
The only thing that would make this bracelet better is if it were stretchy and easy on/off instead of having a clasp. But I've gotten used to doing the clasp (i.e. faster at it) so now I don't really mind. Otherwise it's a great simple piece to complete an outfit and only $13 this weekend.

4. Favorite Earrings
I can't say I have just one favorite pair of earrings, but I do really love this pair. They're very lightweight and comfortable, and the beading gives them a mixed metal vibe which lets them coordinate with twice as many outfits. And they're only $15 this weekend with the promo code LONGWKND.

That does it for today's round up! Thanks for reading and enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!

Linking up with: JoLynne | ErikaAndreaNarci | CherylNina |  Rachael


Skincare Staples

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This week I'm sharing some random topics on Instagram for my #storiesonthedaily series, and sometimes it's just easier for me to type things up on a blog post and have the links, images, and explanations accessible here. Plus, since I don't have 100% overlap in Instagram/Blog audience, I try to share both places as much as possible. All that said, today I'm sharing a few of my skincare essentials. I have a pretty simple routine, but here are the products I use consistently.

L'Occitane Shower Oil: This one is a blogger favorite and I never believed the hype on it until I received some as a gift...and now there's no turning back. I really love how it moisturizes the skin and makes it feel silky smooth. I've also mentioned the more cost-effective refill packages for these on Amazon, but they are currently only available from third party sellers. So I'll be keeping an eye out for a re-stock on those!

Olay Total Effects Moisturizer + Sunscreen: This is my everyday facial moisturizer and sunscreen. It's lightweight, non-greasy and absorbs quickly. After trying so many moisturizers that felt greasy, made me break out, or didn't have sunscreen, I've been happy to find this and have used it exclusively for at least ten years.

Nexcare Acne Patch: If I could only keep one of these products and had to change everything else, it would be this! If you get the occasional zit, you absolutely must try these. They are the best at extracting all the gunk inside your pimple and flattening out the area ASAP.

Amara Organics Hyaluronic Acid: This product is fairly new to my skincare routine and I'm using it for the alleged anti-aging benefits of Hyaluronic Acid. I hope it's working...I've been using it for several months and I don't really think I look younger, but I don't look older either so....? All I can say for sure is that as far as the product itself goes, it's lightweight, absorbs quickly, and is non-greasy so I don't mind adding it to my routine with the hope that it will help combat aging in years to come.

Makeup Removing Wipes: Confession: I no longer using a separate facial cleanser. I use these wipes to remove my makeup (though I still need a stronger eye makeup remover for my eyes), then I rinse my face with cool water and dry with a clean washcloth. I've spent money on high and low end facial cleansers over the years and none of them seemed to make a difference, so I'm pretty content with this affordable routine.

Thai Crystal Deodorant Mist: I don't know if this falls in the skincare category exactly, but if you're looking for a safe, natural deodorant, this one is my favorite. I prefer the spray over the rock/crystal forms because it's just easier to apply. It dries quickly on me and seems to work quite well, so I do recommend this if you're looking to make the change from chemical anti-perspirants. (If you're unfamiliar with the concerns over regular anti-perspirants, this Time Magazine article is helpful.)

I'll be back tomorrow with a round-up of my top three recommendations of what to get during the Express sale plus my Friday Four: Jewelry Edition!


Pink Blazer + Summer Bucket List

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, summer feels like it's almost here and I can't wait! Granted, our weather lately has been typically "May Gray" lately so it doesn't exactly feel like summer. But that hasn't stopped me from making plans for things I want to do, see, and accomplish. I thought I'd share some of my summer bucket list items to motivate myself and maybe give you some ideas for your own list. But first, here's a recent outfit with my new favorite pink blazer/cardigan/jacket hybrid. I don't know the best name for it, but I do know that it's really comfortable and easy to dress up or down, so it's a winner on all counts in my book.
Pink Blazer | Black Tank | Similar Jeans | Sandals | Crossbody Bag | Necklace (Budget Option) | Earrings (Get 15% off your next order with code ONTHEDAILYX) | Bracelet

BLAZER/CARDIGAN/JACKET: This piece has the soft and stretchy comfort of a cardigan with the slightly dressier/structured look of a blazer. I first wore this piece in this post, and opted for just a slightly dressier heel this time since I was wearing this for Mother's Day Lunch. I felt like could justify any kind of shoe for the occasion. I also think this will work well with shorts and sandals on warmer days too. This also comes in another color (it's called gray but looks more tan to me) and if it goes on sale this weekend I'll definitely be grabbing it since these types of dressy/casual pieces are perfect for me.

SANDALS: These Target sandals are true to size and a great dupe of the Sam Edelman Yaro and Steve Madden Carrson sandal...at a fraction of the cost. The stacked heel makes them pretty comfortable, though I do like to add a ball of foot pad for extra comfort with any heel this high.

Pink Blazer | Black Tank | Similar Jeans | Sandals | Crossbody Bag | Necklace (Budget Option) | Earrings (Get 15% off your next order with code ONTHEDAILYX) | Bracelet

SIMILAR JEANS My exact jeans from Express are sold out, but I do have a few pairs in this exact style from Abercrombie and I find them comfortable and true to size. They also go on sale frequently: as I'm writing this they're priced at $35 and that's hard to beat at any retailer!

LEATHER EARRINGS: I'm wearing the 2"/$10 size of these leather earrings, and the shop owners were kind enough to offer an additional 15% your next purchase with code onthedailyx. They have lots other cute color and print options, like camo and leopard! I think a bright color option would be really fun for summer, I'm just having a hard time narrowing down which one! Also, if you haven't tried leather earrings before, they are light as a feather. I tend to forget that I'm wearing them altogether.

I've had so many ideas swirling around in my head for things I want to do this summer! Once the kids are out of school, our evenings are more relaxed since there's no homework. I could easily sit on the couch and read every night (and I might do that some nights!) but there are other things I want or need to do too, and sometimes putting it out there in list form helps me find the motivation to just do it!

1. DANCE. 
Prior to this school year, I took dance classes a couple of nights per week. But between the middle school homework load and my kids separate interests, there just wasn't time for it this year. Last Friday night I persuaded my husband to take a beginner salsa class (we're both beginners in this style) and I remembered how much I missed dancing! So I definitely want to take a few more classes this summer. If I can't continue during the school year that's okay, but there's no reason not to just enjoy it while I can!

This is so not as fun as the previous item, but I'm overdue for an eye exam and will put this off as long as possible if I don't give myself a deadline. I'm almost out of contacts so I know I have to do it before I run out! But in August things start getting crazy with back to school so I need to do this ASAP.

We live pretty close to the beach (25-30 minutes) and yet I'm embarrassed to say we hardly ever go. We went a lot when we first moved here (5 years ago), but have gone less and less each year. It's just such a hassle to load all of the supplies then do all of the unloading and clean up when we get home. It's hard to find the motivation anymore and we end up just going to the pool. But I know we have fun when we go and we've already bought all of the beach gear (see my beach gear favorites in this post), so we need to stop making excuses and make it happen a few times this summer.

It's easy to get in the habit of just posting M/W/F and doing the same old things here. But change is good and while I have a long list of changes I'd like to make on the blog, I'll settle for just trying a few of them this summer. From saying yes to some blogger events (I usually say no because they're on weeknights when I'm busy with my kids), to learning Photoshop Elements to testing out one or two new-to-me ideas here, summer feels like the right season to try some new and different things.

That's the short version of my personal list for this summer, but most of all my objective is to be open to new adventures and new connections! Do you all have anything on your bucket list for summer or fun plans in the works? I'd love to hear about them since I always find the best inspiration from those I know, whether it's virtually or in real life!

Linking up with:  The Blended Blog | Kelly, Anessa | Brooke

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Join us to share your Style on the Daily by linking up your latest fashion-related posts below! If you link up, we ask that you link back to your hosts Amy Ann and Gina and follow us on the social media platform of your choice. Thank you!


Cable Stitch Sweater + Memorandum

Today's post includes one of those, "I just got this item but it's almost sold out already" pieces that are a little frustrating for both bloggers and readers. I decided to post it anyway since it's a fairly classic piece and I was able to find similar options in other brands. Most bloggers will tell you that trying to only post in-stock items is a great way spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothing, so I can't let myself get caught in that mode of thinking about posting outfits. Plus there's always a chance the exact piece I'm wearing will be re-stocked at some point so if can't hurt to post anyway.

SWEATER: This sweater is from Cable Stitch, which is one of Amazon's own brands, exclusively for Prime Members. As part of the Amazon Fashion associate program, I occasionally get to try a complimentary item from their new lines, but I don't have to share the items on the blog unless I like them. In the case of this sweater (which I chose out of several available options from the brand - I didn't have to try this exact item, just to be clear) I did like it enough to share it, but I think some other bloggers probably did too, hence the limited inventory! At any rate, while I've been adding quite a few stripes to my wardrobe lately, I didn't have an easy pullover with a relaxed fit like this. It's a nice medium weight sweater...perfect for slightly cooler Spring days. I could also see wearing this to a casual BBQ for Memorial Day or 4th of July when it cools down at night. It runs true to size with a relaxed, boxy fit. The boxy fit was a gamble for me since that can often be very unflattering, but in this case I liked it. It's not itchy at all, though it's also not super soft. Just...normal in terms of comfort. I have no complaints about it and think it's a great, classic piece at a reasonable price, so hopefully they'll re-stock more sizes.

Here are a few similar options from other brands. The LOFT option has been a blogger favorite and also has limited sizing but still at least one more size option than my version:
 H&M | 6pm | LOFT

JEANS: These are true to size and one of my longtime favorites from Express. In fact, this is my second pair of these since the stitching on my first pair wore out after a couple of years. They're true to size (I'm 5'4" and prefer the Short length) with a nice amount of stretch.

SHOES: These are also true to size and fairly comfortable once you get used to the feeling of walking on platform wedges. It took me a few times wearing them to get used to them, but it was worth it for how tall they make me feel! That's a rarity in my life.

I've been thinking I need to do a little something like my Friday Four...but on a Monday. ("Like Taco Tuesday...but on a Friday!" Any LEGO movie fans?) So today I'm putting the random in Memorandum with some of fashion and lifestyle chit chat today.

1. Memorial Day Weekend

Next Monday is Memorial Day! It seems like it's a little earlier than usual this year. We have no special plans yet but hopefully we can change that. I also expect all of the retail stores will have incredible sales. I do have a couple of items on my wishlist at Express so I'm waiting to see sale pricing on those before I buy. I also enjoyed Rachelle's post recently about redefining her blog focus and learning to be more disciplined in her purchases and ignore all the sales, so I'm hoping to follow her advice this weekend and not go crazy buying all the things just because they are on sale.

2. Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and my friend Noelle has a great series on this topic. I loved her post on Ten things she learned in therapy. They're all so simple and true, yet somehow things we constantly forget and need to remind ourselves.

3. Stella & Dot Style Club
I've been a big fan of Stella & Dot Jewelry for years and have considered becoming a rep at least a hundred times! In fact, my earrings from today's post are from Stella & Dot. I was excited to see they started a loyalty program this month! $29 per year allows you to earn points on your orders toward free products, plus there's a free gift with sign up and some private sales. I was really excited that the $29 included free shipping and was about to sign right up...until I saw that it was only on orders of $100 or more. That's more than I usually spend at once there, so I'm not sure it will be worth it. But I will consider it next time I have a few items on my wishlist. Right now I'm loving the Roman Chandelier earrings.

And now thanks to this section I can quote Office Space even more than ever and say, "Did you get the memo?" Hope you all had a great weekend are ready to tackle this week!

Linking up with: Rachelle | Carylee | Laura


Everyday Outfits + Friday Four 5/18/18

Welcome to another Friday post with a little mix of recent outfits and random chit chat. I have to say these are my favorite type of posts these days...to read on other blogs and to create myself. I know it's better for SEO purposes and what not to have a lot of specific "how to" type posts, and I do like doing those too. But I find it's more enjoyable to blog in a more casual, conversational format most of the time, so that's what we'll do today!

Outfit Recap:

Stone Moto Jacket, Black Tee:

JACKET: My jacket runs true to size with a somewhat relaxed, boxy fit. As I'm writing this it's currently 30% off, but TBD if that promo runs through the weekend. If not, there's an excellent chance everything at Express will be on sale for Memorial Day Weekend so it might be worth waiting until then to check. I first wore this jacket with shorts here

JEANS: These are true to size, although they don't have a lot of stretch so if you're between sizes, go up a size. I know the distressed/ripped knees look different on me than on the model, but the extra threading displayed on the knees didn't last beyond the first wear. That's fine for me but just one of those things worth noting before you purchase.

BLACK TEE: I'm so glad to see Express re-released this t-shirt! It's now called the One Eleven Slim Tee, but if you go back to the older reviews you can see they call it by the original name - the Skimming Tee. I love these t-shirts because they're just the right balance of fitted/relaxed and I can wear it untucked like this. They also don't have any pockets on the bust area - just a nice clean front. The fabric is nice and soft with a good amount of stretch and it runs true to size. (I'm wearing XS

SHOES: My shoes are also by Dolce Vita (and true to size for what it's worth) but sold out in this exact color. Similar option is from the same brand, slightly different color but would work with the same outfit.

Navy Stripe Tee, White Jeans:
Tee | White Jeans | Shoes | Charmed Stacks Bracelets (get 10% off your order with code onthedailyx)

SIDE TIE TEE: These t-shirts do run true to size, but one size up for me had noticeably more length in the torso (and just a bit more room in the body) and I decided I liked that better for this.

WHITE JEANS: These are TTS and I take the short length at 5'4". The ankles on these have never been my favorite (they seem to go a little wide before getting narrower) and I'm really tempted to try Old Navy's Rockstar jeans in white on a good sale. I've heard lots of great things about them and even at full price they're only $35.

SHOES: These run TTS and are really quite comfortable! I was skeptical but the reviews convinced me and I'm glad I took their word for it!

Grey Tunic, Leggings:
Grey Tunic (c/o) | Tank | French Terry Leggings (c/o) | Tory Burch Miller Sandals (c/o) (Less expensive similar options: One, Two, Three)

GREY TUNIC: The product description for this calls it a "Thin Sweater," and I just want to point out that the emphasis is on thin. I'm calling it a tunic because I don't think it really classifies as a sweater. It's thinner than a t-shirt. I wore this to a hair appointment because I didn't want to get sweaty under that heavy cape, but I liked that it did cover my arms and it's also longer in the back than the front (sorry, my pic doesn't really capture that) so it worked well with leggings. Later that same day I ended up wearing it over workout clothes (which...look an awful lot like what I'm wearing here) to my adult tumbling class, and it was also nice as a to/from workout cover up piece. I'm wearing a Small in this and I'd say it runs TTS.

WHITE TANK: Yes, I still love these maternity tanks for wearing with leggings (and all kinds of other outfits). They're extra long and a nice thick, stretchy material.

LEGGINGS: For under $20 you probably cannot find a more comfortable pair of leggings! These are true to size and I really have no complaints about them.

MILLER SANDALS: I took my normal size in these and linked up several more affordable options as well since I know these are a major splurge. This Sam Edelman version is new and while they aren't under $50 (what I usually consider "budget friendly"), they're still less than half the price of Millers with a very similar look and lots of great color options.

1. Sister, Sister

On Mother's Day, my sister Denae sent me a pic of her outfit of the day...inspired by my Instagram outfit!
My outfit: Cardigan (Similar with more sizes) | Tank | Earrings | Similar Shorts | Tory Burch Bag (c/o Shopbop) (Budget Handbag Option) | Sandals (c/o) (Sam Edelman Version)

One of the best feelings in blogging is when someone buys something you recommend...and they actually like it! I also wanted to share her outfit here as another styling option for anyone else who bought this cardigan. I know many women don't like to wear shorts or may need a dressier styling option for this piece. Denae wore this to church on Mother's Day, and I think her navy maxi skirt makes a great substitute for shorts in that situation. And if any of you all wear something inspired by one of my posts I'd love to see it so send me an email or tag me on Instagram!

2. Ryan Reynolds: The Unicorn
My favorite viral video this week was Ryan Reynolds dressed as a unicorn, singing a song from Annie on the Korean Show "King of Masked Singer." The concept of the show is a topic of discussion itself (not to mention the sound effects they use!), but if you haven't seen this video it's worth the time! The link on this page (reposted from Twitter) is my favorite because it gives English captions for the judges commentary, which is half the fun!

3. Likable people
I thought this article from Business Insider was interesting: Truly likable people all share the same trait — here are 9 ways to know if you're one of them. The article is highlighted some very similar points to a book I read last year (The Like Switch), so if you enjoy the article and want more depth on the topic, it's a good one to read.

4. Stories on the Daily Week 2
I had a lot of fun with my Instagram Story Challenge last week so I put together some topics for Week Two! Join me on any day that interests you, and if you want me to see your story and tag it back on my account, make sure to tag @onthedailyx when you share. Searching and using #storiesonthedaily isn't working quite as well as I hoped since some posts just don't show up for some reason I can't understand. Add it to the list of "The Mysteries of Instagram!"
I decided to take Saturday off this week since I don't have as much time to engage on Instagram Saturdays. No need to take the fun out of this by adding pressure!

That's all from here today - have a great Friday!

Linking up with:  JoLynne | ErikaAndreaNarci | CherylNina |  Rachael


Chambray Jacket + Link Up

One advantage I've found to the cloudy "May Gray" weather we've been having is that it makes it a lot easier to find places to take outfit photos for the blog. Not to say that I wish we had more clouds since I'm perfectly content with nonstop sunny weather. But now at least I can (ironically?) say there's a bright side to the gloom! At any rate, cloudy or not, this chambray-linen jacket is a perfect layer for the more moderate Spring days we've been having.

JACKET: This jacket is very soft, lightweight and breathable. By comparison, even though my denim jacket is also soft and stretchy, it's definitely a thicker fabric than this. This fabric is thinner and lighter. It is a linen blend so as expected, it does wrinkle with wear. I ironed mine before I put it on and as you can tell it doesn't stay that way for long. One thing I didn't think about before purchasing and wearing is that the sleeves have an elastic cuff. I do think that's a drawback since I'd prefer something I can roll/cuff to different lengths, but really that's my only minor complaint. It does run true to size and I'm wearing an XS here.

T-SHIRT: This t-shirt also runs true to size, although I should tell you that I have it tucked in the back (hidden under the jacket) so that it looks more fitted from the front. The natural fit of the shirt would be wider if left completely untucked. I usually front tuck these but I just didn't like those proportions with the jacket length and the white jeans when it was tucked in.

TAUPE SANDALS: These sandals are true to size, are very comfortable to walk in, and a crazy good bargain since most color/size options are under $20.

JEANS + NECKLACE: My jeans are true to size (I take the short length at 5'4") and my necklace is a custom Color Bar Creation. You can create the same exact silver/white color combo as well by selecting the Teo Necklace Style, Rhodium Metal, and Iridescent Druzy Stone.
Chambray Jacket | Black Tee | White Jeans | Taupe Sandals (c/o) | Tory Burch Satchel (c/o) (Budget Option) | Necklace | Earrings 

I've had lots of fun seeing pics of everyone's moms this week and I added plenty of new books to my "must read" list thanks to all the participants in my little Instagram Story Challenge #storiesonthedaily. There are no requirements, no minimum participation days, and no prizes for posting (hm....maybe I should change that to increase participation!), but I'd still love to have any of you join in and post with me on any of the remaining topics this week. Also, add this to the list of the mysteries of Instagram, but for me the hashtag is not showing up on searches. (Boo!) So if you participate and want me to tag your story in my end-of-day roundup of people that shared on topic, make sure to tag me in your Insta-story post!
I think I'll do it again next week since I have more ideas for daily topics, so stay tuned to Friday's post for next week's schedule!

Linking up with: The Blended Blog | Kelly, Anessa | Brooke | Dawn | JoLynne

Link Up Hosts:
Join us to share your Style on the Daily by linking up your latest fashion-related posts below! If you link up, we ask that you link back to your hosts Amy Ann and Gina and follow us on the social media platform of your choice. Thank you!


DIY Manicure Must Haves

While I do like getting salon pedicures every few months for some extra pampering, for the most part I do my tips and toes myself because it saves time and money. Over the last few years I've found some favorite products in the home nail care department that I purchase over and over again so today I'm sharing those staples.

Cuticle Remover: This is pretty self explanatory: after I remove old polish and am preparing to apply new color to my nails, I put a small drop of this on each nail bed and let it sit for a few seconds. Then I use the removal tool (bottom row) to push back my cuticles and completely clean any old polish completely off the nail bed. I also use this combo (cuticle remover + removal tool) in the shower if I'm preparing to do a pedicure. (I'm sure it would work great for a manicure that way too, but the timing for that doesn't usually work out for me.)

Base Coat: A base coat is my first step in painting my nails, and I usually give it about a minute to dry (with the assistance of a hair dryer to speed up this process) before going on to add my nail color. This Revlon Base Coat is actually discontinued, but it's my all time favorite. I still purchase it on eBay and will continue to do so until it's no longer available anywhere. At that point I'll go back to Creative Nail Design "Stickey"...or just ask around to see what my friends are loving in that category.

OPI Infinite Shine Beyond the Pale Pink and It's Pink P.M. After my base coat dries, I'll apply two coats of nail color, letting each one dry for about a minute in between. And once again, I prefer to use a hair dryer if possible to speed up that process. So far, OPI Infinite Shine has given me the longest lasting manicures of any products I've tried. My two favorite colors are very similar, with this one having slightly more white and "It's Pink PM" having slightly more pink (the latter is what I've been wearing in blog photos for the last month or so). And both of them are opaque in two coats (I hate when a color requires more than that to get the desired result). But they're both still in the pinkish whites/whitish pinks family, which I find the most flattering on my skin tone, easiest to match with any outfit, and least likely to show minor chips. I do think these colors can look completely different on people depending on their skintone, so it may require some trial and error to find the perfect neutral pink/white for you. I've had different favorites over the years, e.g. Sinful Colors Easy Going and OPI Let's Be Friends, but I've been using Infinite Shine exclusively for over a year since the lasting power is so much better for me.

Essie Polish: Flowerista: If I could only have one pedicure color, it would be this! I do switch to some darker shades for fingers and toes in the fall and winter and some brighter pedicure shades in the summer, but this is always a favorite. Occasionally I'll do a manicure with this, too, but mostly I stick to neutrals for those.

Removal Tool: I bought this when I was doing gel manicures at home since it was needed for removal, but once I stopped doing those I found I still liked using it for pushing back cuticles and removing any stubborn spots of polish from my fingers and toes. There are other cuticle pushers you can buy designed specifically for the task (like this), but this works well for me so I haven't seen a need to replace it.

Essie Speed Setter After I apply my base coat and two layers of nail color, I wait another minute (using the hair dryer on low power this time so I don't cause any of the polish to shift) and then apply one thick coat of this quick dry top coat. I can't even imagine trying to do my nails at home if not for quick dry top coats! They cuts the final drying time way down. Seche Vite is always a top rated top coat, but it causes "shrinkage" on my polish, meaning it pulls the color back from the tips of the nails so it looks like I'm in need of a slight touch-up even though I just painted my nails. I don't have that problem with Essie Speed Setter so it's replaces Seche Vite as my favorite.

Essie Gel Setter: And last but not least, a gel top coat! I wait a minimum of one hour after the quick dry top coat before applying this to my nails. Usually I paint my nails at night then add this coat first thing in the morning when I'm doing my coffee + computer time. It only takes a minute to apply and dries completely in less than five minutes. Prior to discovering this plus OPI Infinite Shine, my manicures would last 2-3 days max. Now they last about a week, which is amazing for me. I've tried a couple of other gel top coats (e.g. Sally Hansen, CND Vinylux) and neither of them lasted quite as long for me as this.

Nail Polish Tub: This removal tub comes in handy anytime I'm doing my nails and make a mistake on a single nail. It allows me to remove the polish on just one nail without ruining all the rest of my nails, which was always a problem before I discovered these. I remember seeing these tubs in the nail polish remover section for years before I ever tried one. I just didn't realize they had a different opening/function so I didn't know I needed it! I also use this during the week if I have just one or two fingers that are showing wear and need a redo (my pointer finger and middle finger are the most likely culprits here), but the rest of my nails are fine. Sometimes redoing 1-2 nails here and there throughout allows me to go a few extra days before I need another full manicure. 

We'll be talking nail care on my Instagram Story Challenge on Wednesday, but when I'm talking about this many products in detail, it's always easier for me to type it up on a computer and have a full blog post as an anchor point. And of course, I don't like to leave my blog-only readers out of any Instagram content that fits in here as well! So thanks for reading no matter which platform you prefer!

Linking up with: Laura | Erika | The Blended Blog | JoLynne


Denim Jacket with Purple Cami

For the better part of last week we had warm, sunny weather and I was wearing shorts and sandals every day. Then overnight it switched right back to cool and cloudy and dropped almost 20 degrees, so it was back to sweaters and layers again! So of course, when I get around to posting this outfit it's back to cooler temps here and I can't imagine wearing shorts, even though it made sense at the time. I wore this outfit to my girls brunch earlier this month, and as you can tell it was one of our warmer days. It was almost warm enough to go without the jacket, but in the shade or indoors in A/C I was glad I had it. And if you're not having shorts weather just yet, white jeans would work just as well as with this outfit in place of shorts.

JACKET: This is my very favorite denim jacket. It's really soft and comfortable with plenty of stretch. It runs true to size (I'm wearing XS) and is a cropped length that's not too cropped, but that may also depend on your torso length. It is a splurge piece, so if you're looking for a more budget-friendly option this one looks very similar with great reviews.

CAMI: These lace trim camis from Abercrombie have been on sale for under $20 for the better part of the month, so if they're not on sale when this post goes live, I'm sure they will be again soon. I vary between XS and Small in tops depending on the brand and fit of the top, and I took an XS in this. It does have adjustable straps so you raise the neckline higher or lower to your preference.

SHORTS: My white denim shorts are from Abercrombie from last year, and they do have a current option with a 2.5" inseam. That said, I think mine are about a 3" inseam, so this pair from Old Navy are more similar to mine.

SANDALS: These run true to size and are a great pair of sandals for dressy/casual wear. The heel is not too high so it's still comfortable, but they still gave the outfit a more dressy look than if I wore flat sandals. After my girls brunch I did end up switching these sandals out for my Tory Burch Miller Sandals to take my kids to golf lessons since those seemed more appropriate for that type of casual activity.

Just a short and sweet outfit post for today! I usually like to have something more than just an outfit in my posts but that didn't end up happening today. I've been spending a little more time than usual on Instagram content lately with my Instagram Story Challenge. Yesterday's mom theme was so much and I'm looking forward to adding lots of books to my "to be read" list with today's theme. If you want to see my answers to the following topics (and my Mother's Day pics should still be up this morning if you're catching this early), be sure to follow along on Instagram.

Linking up with: Rachelle | Carylee | JoLynne