On the Daily EXPRESS


Red Plaid Shirt for Now & Later

I know I've said over and over again that summer is my favorite, but I will admit this plaid shirt makes me a tiny bit excited for fall. That and the fact that the local consensus is that this summer has been San Diego's hottest ever. Considering I lived in Seattle before moving here, it's been at least decade since I had a really long, hot summer. If we have any more like this I might start changing my tune about summer! I do love it for the relaxed pace, but our Spring weather was far more enjoyable.
Express Plaid Shirt, Distressed Jean Shorts, Tory Burch Chelsea Crossbody Bag

Truthfully, for the better part of the day I wore this plaid shirt tied at the waist just to add some visual interest to my outfit since it was too hot to wear it like a normal shirt (in the same manner as I styled it with the dress below). But by the evening it was cool enough to wear it like this to a casual dinner at a beachy sports bar. I haven't owned a plaid this bold since the 90s, but I was drawn to this one and I especially loved the studded details on the pockets and collar. It's a little hard to see those details in these photos, but you can see them on the top-view photo I posted on Instagram.
Express Plaid Shirt, Distressed Jean Shorts, Tory Burch Chelsea Crossbody Bag

As I'm writing this, my plaid shirt is 40% off and sizes are starting to sell out. If you like this exact style, I wouldn't wait too long to order or your size may be gone. It's true to size (I'm wearing XS) and a comfortable, soft material. If your size is no longer available, here's a similar red plaid option fully stocked.

Aside from my top, my shorts and sandals are from Target a couple of years ago but fairly easy to duplicate with similar items as I've linked above. This Tory Burch Chelsea Crossbody holds my wallet, keys, phone and lipgloss, so I've ended up using it beyond just the date night bag I thought it would be. For budget medallion crossbody bag options try this one or this one.

Three Ways to Wear:
This plaid shirt will transition nicely from summer to fall. I put together a few ways to wear it now and later with basic pieces already in my wardrobe:
THREE: Plaid Shirt | Black Jeans | Ankle Boots (c/o) (Budget option w/ more sizes)

We did a little back to school shopping over the weekend and have some school orientation and registration activities to attend this week. I guess that's made it a little easier to think about fall fashion and start planning ahead despite the summer weather. Hope you all are having a good week and hope to see you back here for a new post on Friday!

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

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!


August Book Reviews 8/14/18

Welcome to my August Book Reviews! As usual I have a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and all reviews are free of any major spoilers. My nonfiction selections (plus one fiction book as I'll note below) were audiobooks via Audible, which does affect my experience with the book. With all that in mind, let's get on with the reviews!

All of It by Kim Holden (free on Kindle Unlimited)
Basic Plot: Veronica is a high school student who meets a new boy in school and their love story takes off. He seems too good to be true and he also seems to know more about her than possible.
My Verdict: Do Not Recommend. While this was a short and fairly easy read, it just didn't work for me. The plot might make it sound creepy but it's mostly a fluffy teenage love story with a too-perfect boyfriend and a dollop of tragedy. It reminded me a little bit of Twilight since it was clear there was Some Different Thing going on with Dimitri (the boyfriend), but that's not revealed until the very end. So of course, I had to finish it to find out The Thing. Ultimately I think the concept with The Thing had potential, but the execution wasn't very engaging and much of the book was told in passing, e.g. "we went to prom and then the next fall we went to college." I'm paraphrasing of course, but it's hard to care about characters or a story in that kind of narrative. Highlight next sentence for a spoiler if you're curious about The Thing: Dimitri is reincarnated and always remembers his past lifetimes. He always meets Veronica and they fall in love, but she doesn't remember their past lives together. That should save you from having to read the book to find out!

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
Basic Plot: Sheldon is an elderly man (a Jewish-American Korean War veteran...trust me, this is key) who moves to Norway with his grandaughter and her husband. He witnesses a crime against their neighbor and gets caught up in the middle of protecting the innocent.
My Verdict: Recommend if...you are in the mood for an action-adventure sort of novel. The character development and plot were both good in this, so props for that. But there were times when it was a page-turner and other times it rambled a bit with Sheldon's flashbacks and "visions." Sheldon was quirky and cantankerous, but the author really made me care about him and root for him (as well as some supporting characters), so for the most part I really did enjoy it and think it was well written. The ending was intense! I can't quite give it a carte blanche recommendation only because of the slower parts and because I have the feeling odds are that only 50% that my regular blog readers would enjoy this. Beartown might be a good litmus test...if you liked that, you'll probably be in the 50% that appreciate this book. If not...it's probably not for you.

The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent (free on Kindle Unlimited)
Basic Plot: Meredith is living that trophy wife life...until she goes missing. Her sister tries to find her and unravels a lot of secrets Meredith has been keeping. 
My Verdict: Recommend if...you're in the mood for a light, chic-lit-meets-suspense read. This was easy to get into and a quick read. The suspense wasn't dark or especially intense, but it held my interest from start to end wanting to see what happened to Meredith. To be honest, I could copy and paste this plot line (Person X goes missing and Person Y looks for them and discovers many secrets they've been hiding) into about a dozen novels I've read over the past year, so there wasn't anything especially original here. But it was fun and entertaining so no complaints especially since it was free!

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Basic Plot: A look at a couple struggling with infertility in a Then vs. Now Format. We see their life "Then"...when they were dating and falling in love, juxtaposed with a chapter of their life "Now," when infertility is putting a huge strain on their marriage.
My Verdict: Recommend! This was one I just couldn't put down. I will say, it's pretty sad and disheartening reading the "Now" chapters because of the marital tension. So don't go into this expecting a happy, fun love story. But just when you're really frustrated with the marriage (and I was especially frustrated with Quinn, the main character in the "now" portion), you get a peek at their happier times and you just cannot wait to see if and how they weather the storm.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Basic Plot: Four siblings see a fortune-teller who tells them each the date of their death. Then we look into each of the four sibling's lives one section at a time to see how this fortune affects them and whether it will hold true.
My Verdict: Recommend if...you like family sagas or books like The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. I didn't 100% love this, but I did think the concept was interesting and would give it about 3.5 stars. I don't usually recommend books unless I think they're 4+ stars, so this is on the border. At the beginning of each sibling's section, the pace of the book slowed down as the author sets us up their individual story. But it picks up a bit as we approach The Date, and usually by then I was more invested in their outcome. So if the concept appeals to you, give it a read but don't expect it to be the best book you've ever read.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Basic Plot: Samantha is a top London attorney who suddenly finds her life falling apart. She takes drastic measures to get by, doing some work for which she is entirely unqualified.
My Verdict: Recommend if...you like fun, cute, witty chick lit. If you've read any of Sophie Kinsella's books then you know exactly what to expect from this. It's an easy, upbeat read with plenty of humorous circumstances and lovable characters. I needed something to put a smile on my face after The Immortalists (that one was a little depressing), and this did the trick.

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
Basic Plot: Polly's dad picks her up from school one day, which sounds normal except that he's supposed to be in prison and she hardly knows him. There's a hit out on both of them so they experience life on the run together.
My Verdict: Do Not Recommend. This book was okay, and really not bad at all. I just don't think I'll recommend it to most people because I don't see it as being something most of my real life friends or family would enjoy. I wouldn't have picked it myself except that I was trying to find an audiobook that my family could listen to on a 4-hour round trip car ride. This sounded like it might entertain my boys, and it did somewhat except there was quite a lot of language so we didn't finish it as a family. It came up for me in a search for "teen books that adults would enjoy" or something like that, but I think it's best suited for 15/16 and up. For what it's worth, the audiobook narrator did a great job, and overall the book was entertaining enough. Just not something that I think any of my blog readers need to run out and read right now!

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
This was a good one! This book goes into great detail about "just how honest are you?" Of course, we all like to think of ourselves as honest people, but the author really made me question a lot of things and my overall definition of an "honest person." He has done dozens of behavioral studies testing people in different circumstances to see if they will lie or cheat and by how much. The segment on golf was entertaining and I made my husband and sons listen to that since they all play golf. There was also an segment about knockoff designer goods and how/whether they affect your behavior and integrity. That portion certainly made me think about my own opinions this matter. The line between "inspired" and "faux" can be thin, that's for sure. This is an easy one to recommend, and bonus points for the audiobook narrator who was very entertaining.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
This book was narrated by the author and he did an okay job, but coming on the heels of the previous book he didn't measure up to that bar. He also told a lot of corny jokes, which had me rolling my eyes and reduced my enjoyment of the content. That said, the substance of the book is worthwhile. This book goes over seven principles of happiness: specific things that we can control in our lives to choose a life of greater happiness. Because I've read other books on this topic, a lot of it was repeat information for me, however I enjoyed it anyway because the reminders help me stay in a more positive mindset. For me, happiness is not a destination...it's something that requires regular "practice" and books like this are are great help. Overall I would recommend it to others since it does have great points and solid research behind it even though it's not an all-time favorite in this genre.

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
This book proposes that charisma is not something inborn, contrary to popular belief that people either have it or they don't. The author teaches that charisma is actually a set of specific, learned behaviors. Some people happen to learn them early in life and utilize them consistently, which is how they become known as being charismatic. Others can be taught the skills and improve their charisma. I found it a little ironic that the author/audiobook narrator had a rather uncharismatic voice (in my opinion). She sounded more like a meditation coach or yoga instructor, which didn't help pursuade me to believe in her findings. But overall, she had some interesting points and I gleaned some good ideas from the book that I'll be putting into practice in my own life. This book also had some discussion about apparel, brand names, and how they influence others perceptions and behavior around us, which again was of particular interest to me. If the overall topic sounds interesting to you, it's probably worth the read to glean a few practical ideas, but don't expect to be riveted the entire time. She wasn't always concise in making her points, and paired with the soothing voice tones it just didn't feel especially dynamic or charismatic.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Peterson
This book came recommended as a life-changer on par with You are a Badass. Since that's a solid favorite of mine, I had to read this. Unfortunately it was a mistake for me to link the books two in my mind because they're nothing alike and this one didn't measure up to Badass for me. This one is an opinion piece on the brutal scrutiny of women in the public eye. Sometimes I agreed with the author's opinions, other times...not so much. The "not so much" times kept me from loving this book, so it won't be one I recommend to everyone. I should also note I skipped the chapter on "too gross" because it started off...too gross and that's not my thing. I also skipped the chapter on Caitlyn Jenner because the person who recommended it to me didn't like it, so I couldn't imagine I would like it more than she did. That aside, the author goes into detail about the careers and criticism levied at women like Venus and Serena Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Madonna, Nikki Minaj, Roseanne Bar, and Kim Kardashian. I was impressed she made me sympathetic to Kim Kardashian. The chapter on Jennifer Weiner was my absolute favorite because it could alternately be titled, "In Defense of Chick Lit." And clearly, if you read my fiction reviews you know I enjoy chick lit!

Quick Picks
If you just want a quick recommendation without the specifics of what I did/didn't like in a given book, here are the ones from this month that I'd be most likely to recommend to friends and family in real life:
Fiction: All Your Perfects, The Undomestic Goddess
Nonfiction: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

Current Reads + Up Next:
I'm just over halfway through with Believe Me by J.P. Delaney (Fiction) and Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives - How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do (Nonfiction). I'm really enjoying both so far but didn't finish them in time for today's review so look for all of the details next month. I've already purchased Educated: A Memoir (by Tara Westover) and An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena (author of The Couple Next Door) so you can expect to see those in my reviews next month as well.

Usually Kristen and I try to pick a book to read together each month and we were going to pick something from the free Prime Reading options...but none of the August selections appealed to us so we decided to just skip it for this month. But we did both watch The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie (based on the book) on Netflix and really enjoyed that. Definitely worth checking out if you have Netflix!

That does it for this month! Thanks to the relaxed summer schedule and a few hours spent on an airplane I had time for a couple of extra books this month. Unfortunately with back to school upon us I don't think next month will have as many books, but that's okay. I'll enjoy it while I can!

Linking up with: Steph & Jana


Chambray Jacket Take 2

Well, I can tell that my mind is not on my outfits these days because this one is almost exactly the same as this one I wore just a couple of weeks ago! I usually try not to repeat too closely in such a short period of time, but c'est la vie. I'm focused on getting everyone ready for back to school and some other real-life commitments this week, so near-repeat outfits will have to do!

Since these are all repeat pieces I'll just give you a quick rundown on sizing. Everything ran true to size except the henley tank. I think it runs just a little small - I'm wearing a Small, which is normal for me in fitted tanks. However this feels a bit smaller than usual. I'd say going up one from your normal size is probably the best bet!

The extra daylight hours have come in very handy for blog picture taking purposes this summer, and it gave me one more thing to add to my list of "reasons to love summer!" I've only been doing outdoor blog pictures for just over a year now, and each season has brought some changes and challenges. One week we'll have a location that works great, and the next week the lighting there is completely different and we have to find something else. It's been an amusing ride and a unique adventure! It's also given me some new admiration for girls who go all out with scouting the right locations for their pictures, getting up at dawn to get the best lighting, etc. I can't say I'm quite as willing to bend my lifestyle around blogging, but I have to admit I'm a little bit proud of myself for making it through the year since two years ago I would have considered this impossible!

Speaking of changing seasons, here's a look at three ways to wear this jacket from Spring to Summer to Fall:
TWO:  Chambray Jacket | Henley Tank (c/o) | Black Shorts | Sandals (c/o)

For today's memo I'm sharing a round-up of options for a shoe trend I am seeing everywhere lately! I do think they make a really great seasonal transition shoe for summer-to-fall weather, and I found some options from budget to mid-end that all have a very similar look!

ONE: Steven ($75) | TWO: Joe's ($100)
THREE: Steve Madden ($30) | FOUR: Amazon ($50)
FIVE: Sam Edelman ($77) | SIX: Madewell ($88)

Hope you all had a good weekend and I'll see you back here tomorrow with my August book reviews!

Linking up with: Rachelle | Lauren M.


Kimono Take 2 + Friday Four

This week the back-to-school business started kicking into gear around here. We're already signing up for volunteer hours, getting our registration schedule, and I had a meeting with my neighbor to plan a carpool schedule. 'Tis the season! This isn't exactly my favorite time of year, but kids need an education and all that so it just has to be done. At least both kids will be at one school this year so that will be a little easier to manage. I've been sticking to my summer basics for outfits lately and am determined not to dress up in fall outfits just for blogging purposes at least until September! Ha! Selfies and fitting room pics if I try anything new...maybe. But since I take pictures when I'm out and about in real life, I have to be wearing something practical for the 90°+ temps here.
Kimono (c/o) | Black Cami | Similar Jean Shorts | Wedge Sandals (c/o) | Necklace | Earrings | Charmed Stacks Bracelets (Get 10% off with code onthedailyx) | Tory Burch Chelsea (c/o) (Budget Option, Budget Option)

I shared another outfit with this kimono when I first got it back in June, and I was thinking I'd wear it a lot this summer but I just kept forgetting about it. I grabbed it again last weekend for my girls brunch and it was the perfect lightweight piece to make the outfit more interesting without making me too sweaty at our outdoor venue (we went to Charles + Dinorah at the Pearl Hotel). The kimono is a One Size piece that should fit XS- XL. For Plus Sizes, check out Macy's since they have a good selection of cute options. I wore the same Target earrings with this kimono last time too, but what can I say? I liked the combo and didn't want to reinvent the wheel.
Kimono (c/o) | Black Cami | Similar Jean Shorts | Wedge Sandals (c/o)  Necklace | Earrings | Charmed Stacks Bracelets (Get 10% off with code onthedailyx) | Tory Burch Chelsea (c/o) (Budget OptionBudget Option)

My shoes are true to size and my favorite summer wedges. I also have them in cognac, and between those two colors they go with everything in my summer wardrobe. I originally got this Tory Burch Chelsea bag to use for date night, but I've ended up using it for daytime too since it's such a good size and classic style. Tory Burch has become one of my go-to brands for handbags with more classic styling, but I also linked some great budget options for this bag under each outfit photo.

On Fridays I share four random things here just for fun! Here are my four today:

1. Medallion Flat Budget Options...Earlier this week I spotted a good budget lookalike for the very popular Tory Burch Minnie and Benton flats. I don't usually wear flats myself but wanted to share since budget options are a popular request here!
Left: Shop All Tory Burch Flats

2. Favorite Express Jacket on Sale...This week at Express, select jackets have been on sale for 40% off. I always stress when I write these posts in advance that the sale will be over when my post goes live, but in the event the sale is going strong, this jacket one of my current favorites and worth getting at 40% off. It's included in the sale and fully stocked in all sizes. Here are a few ways I've styled it:

If you're in the market for fall jackets, these two styles are also perfect (three color options shown for the second style) and included in the sale:

3. While we're talking Express sales...Their jeans are all 40% off! They ran a similar sale one year ago when I did a post with some of my favorite Express Jeans and almost all of those styles are still in stock and on sale. If you want to view some of my tried and true favorites check out this post. Also, women's tops are 50% off! That's a better sale than they'll have for Labor Day so it's worth browsing now if you need any tops. This basic tee is a favorite of mine for layering that I have in several colors and this side tie tee I've shared is under $15 (recent outfit with it here). I also recently added this City Shirt and this Plaid Shirt to my closet and love them but just haven't had a chance to share them on the blog yet!

4. Real Talk on Budgeting...Something I get asked surprisingly often in real life by people who follow my blog is, "How do you afford all those clothes?" I thought I would take a minute to discuss this here as well since Friday Four Item #4 is the place I reserve to communicate with my most loyal readers. I imagine most passers-by probably don't get this far in the post, so it feels like our safe place! I think the best answer to this question is, "I don't!" Please remember that I have been blogging for five years, and in that time I have built up some ongoing partnerships with brands that greatly supplement my wardrobe. I could not personally afford all of the things I have without those partnerships. That said, I also don't say I got them for "free" (as some people suppose), because I traded years of my life blogging consistently and creating content to attract and build a solid readership before I was ever able to get any partnerships were a good fit for me. And that's to say nothing of the the time and effort that goes into each post to present the sponsored items, which is almost always required when a brand is offering something to a blogger. So in fact, I haven't "afforded" many things I share here with my dollars, but I've "afforded" them via time and effort. Believe me, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities and partnerships I have! This is a saturated market with a lot of people willing to do what I do and then some for such opportunities. I'm also well aware that it's something of a luxury just to have the time it takes to maintain a blog in the first place. I'd be selfish not to acknowledge that since I know that's not a realistic option for everyone, so I do feel fortunate to do this at all no matter how small my blog is compared to some.

And it probably goes without saying: as with all things budgeting and finance...everyone's situation is unique. I earn less money than some people and more than others. I spend less on my car (it's older and paid off) and less on home decor (just not into it) than many I know...and therefore I justify a little more on clothes because they're my favorite! Ultimately finances are personal, but if you too have wondered the same thing please remember that most established bloggers in the fashion space are not going to have a standard-size wardrobe. Comparing your own wardrobe to a blogger's wardrobe is like comparing your gymnastic skills to an Olympic gymnast. A lot has happened behind the scenes to get to that stage, and you shouldn't expect yourself to be at the same level. Even fashion bloggers who focus on budget friendly items will have more of those items themselves than their budget-minded readers by virtue of putting themselves out there in the industry and having doors open as a result. We don't have to walk through every open door, but for people who love fashion and really commit to blogging, in time there are likely going to be some doors leading us to places we want to go.

With that said, thanks for choosing to spend some of your time here today! Your support is what makes it possible for me to continue blogging because it's just not fun as a solo venture with zero readers! And I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm planning to finish up the book I'm reading (Believe Me by J.P. Delaney) so I can include it in my reviews coming up on Tuesday!

Linking up with JoLynne | ErikaAndreaNarci | Andrea | The Blended Blog


Little White (Faux) Dress

All summer I have been seeing bloggers styling white on white outfits and thinking, "I need to try that." It's just such a vibrant, pretty look for summer! I was leaning towards getting a little white summer dress to wear and even put a few in my shopping cart...only to take them out later. I've tried white-on-white in the past and wasn't happy with the results, so I was pretty reluctant to make any purchases. But then I had an "a ha!" moment! I remembered that I have worn a faux LBD numerous times by pairing a black tank and black skirt, so why not try the same thing with my white skirt? Then I can try the trend without spending a dime. Perfect!

I got this white eyelet skirt earlier this summer and have worn it a few times with different colors of tops (e.g. a grey t-shirt in this post or my olive tank in this post). I noticed that a few reviewers thought this ran small and/or short. I'm 5'4" for reference, so naturally if you're taller than me it's going to look a lot shorter. On the product model it only comes to mid-thigh, but she looks to be at least 5'10" with really long legs. As for running small, I took my normal size, but since it doesn't have any stretch and is pretty fitted around the hips and lower abdomen, I think depending on how people carry their weight it might require sizing up. I have my tank tucked in to the skirt here but since it's all white...it still kind of blends together in the photos, but the top of skirt hits just below my belly button.

My tank is just a Target basic, and my exact denim jacket is sold out (Mavi "Samantha" from Nordstrom since they have been known to restock), but I did try on this $40 Old Navy version in store since I've been linking to it so often as a similar item, and I can tell you that it really is very similar to this. My jacket is slightly shorter/more cropped than the Old Navy version, but otherwise the fit and sizing are very similar.

Taking outfit pictures is a funny thing sometimes. When I put this outfit on, I wasn't loving it on myself. I just didn't feel comfortable in all white and I really can't pinpoint why. But since I had agreed to the collaboration, I wanted to follow through. So I went ahead and took the pictures in this outfit...but then changed back into my olive tank for real life. But when I pulled up the pictures to edit and post...I actually didn't mind the white on white! Maybe it just takes some getting used to, but I was glad I was able to try it without buying anything new.

Summer White Collaboration:
Usually I share a few more ways to wear one of the pieces in my post, but since all of these are repeats, I thought it would be a good time to share some all-white inspo from other bloggers!
Image via Pinterest

I've teamed up with a group of ladies who are sharing their white-on-white looks today, so I hope you'll take a minute to stop by some of their blogs and check them out!

Thanks for stopping by today! I'm keeping it short and sweet today and will see you back here on Friday for a little more fashion plus my Friday Four! I found another great dupe this week that I'll be sharing, so if you're a fan of those make sure to stop by and check it out!

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

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!


Summer Comfort

After confessing on Friday that I'm not feeling very creative in terms of summer fashion, I thought I could at least mix it up today by sharing something a little more along the athleisure lines instead of my everyday casual. I've been wearing outfits like this when I go out for walks in the evening or even just around the house when I don't have to be anywhere right away. I just need to look nice enough to answer the door, and I'm sure the UPS man has seen much worse than this!
T-Shirt (c/o) | Sports Bra | Shorts | Similar Watch (Same Brand) | Shoes (c/o) | Similar Hat

This t-shirt is really lightweight and has a bit of an oversized fit. It's somewhat sheer, but since I'm wearing a black sports bra under it you can get a sense for just how see through it is. When I wear it as a regular tee, I just wear a nude bra and I don't feel like it's too see through for that, but your preference may vary. It runs Small-XL and I took a Small. It fits about like I would expect a Small to fit so I think it's true to size. It reminds me quite a bit of the Madewell Whisper Tee that I also love, but this one is a bit longer in the torso. It did shrink a bit after I washed and dried it, so it's not long enough for leggings anymore, but it still works better for a side tie like I've done here than the Madewell tee. 
T-Shirt (c/o) | Sports Bra | Shorts | Similar Watch (Same Brand) | Shoes (c/o) | Similar Hat

And for what it's worth, in reality no, I don't go out for walks with my Fishtail Braid Hair Extension! But it looks cuter in pics than my normal hair so what can I say? Vanity won over reality on this one.

These New Balance shoes are awesome, however they are actually my mom's shoes now! I followed the recommendations to go a half size up in these, but after wearing them a couple of times and taking them on my trip to Oregon, I finally accepted they were just a bit too big and I need to re-order my regular size. Since they were used I couldn't return them, but while I was with my family in Oregon we played "Cinderella" so to speak and my mom was the lucky one who was the best fit. So even though I'm annoyed at myself for making that mistake, I was happy to know they were going to a good home! And for what it's worth my mom thought they were ultra-comfy too and wore them for her travels home.

My fleece shorts are selling out in a few sizes (I went one size up for a relaxed and comfortable fit), but I'd also check your local Target since I've seen a lot these in stock locally (near the athletic wear section). But if that's not an option for you, I rounded up a few more Splurge and Save fleece shorts since everyone needs a pair!
One: Shop Monrow Shorts (Colorblock) | Two: Shop PE Nation Apparel (Starting Whistle)
Three: Shop AMO Shorts (Shorty Shorts) | Four: Amazon Fleece Shorts (Prime Shipping)
Five: H&M Shorts

Here's some chit chat and light reading to start off your week!

1. Malcolm Gladwell Book Recommendations...Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors so I was very interested to see this list of 12 Compelling Books he recommends. The only one I've read from his list is Freakonomics and I definitely enjoyed that, so I'll be adding a few more of his suggestions to my list.

2. Speaking of Books...My next round of book reviews will be up on Tuesday, August 14. It's always the second Tuesday of the month, but it feels later than usual this month since the first day of the month was a Wednesday.

3. The Price of Fame...This article was pretty interesting regarding the actual cost of being a celebrity. I think most of us muggles are pretty quick to judge celebrities when they get into financial trouble, and I'm sure sometimes they do overspend (like all of us!). But I can also understand how quickly something like the need for a full time security guard for your personal safety would take a toll on your budget.

4. Fanny Packs are a Festival Staple...This article explains how Fanny Packs are all the rage at music festivals. Personally I don't attend music festivals, but I do love my belt bags when I travel. It's nice to know that younger and more hip people than myself are on board with one of my favorite, practical trends!

Thanks for reading today! See you back on Wednesday for another outfit post and a little collaboration I'm doing with a few blogger friends!

Linking up with: Rachelle | Lauren M. | Laura | Jennie | JoLynne | Andrea


Striped Tie Front Tee + Friday Four

I don't know how the weather is where you all live, but around here it can only be described as hot. Some days are a little muggy too, so I am still 100% dressing for summer every day. While I feel content with my summer wardrobe, I also feel a little uninspired when it comes to blogging because there are only so many variations of summer outfits I can share. But I'm also not ready (or willing) to play dress up in fall clothes in the heat for blog purposes, so hopefully I can find some other lifestyle and fashion-y things to chat about here as I put some of my summer favorites on repeat.

Although I did share the pink version of this t-shirt in this post, I guess I haven't given this blue-striped option a separate post until now. I've stuck to just these two color options, this does come in lots of other cute colors and various stripe options and you can browse them all here. I went a size up from my normal size in Express tops because I liked the extra length, but a couple of my friends have this as well and they took their normal size, so I don't think you necessarily need to size up. I'm 5'4" for reference, so depending on your height and torso length it may look different on you.

My sandals are also true to size, and they do occasionally give me some trouble with slipping off my feet when I walk, mainly depending on how "sticky" my feet are at the moment. But...they're cute and pretty affordable so as long as I'm not walking especially long distances it's alright. (e.g. I'd wear them to Target but not the mall! Ha!)

I didn't really buy this t-shirt expecting it to be a versatile piece in my wardrobe and I won't try to make a case for that. I just wanted a comfortable, cute top that was easy to throw on with basic jeans and shorts, and it certainly fits the bill for that. Regardless, here are a couple of other ways I've styled to help you decide if it's a fit for your wardrobe:
TWO: T-Shirt | Jeans | Sandals (c/o) 

On Fridays I share four random things just for fun and to mix things up a bit. Here are my four things for today:

1. New Earring Trend? I never did cave to the rattan/wicker basket trend that was sparked by the Cult Gaia Ark bag, but I just saw that they now have earrings in a similar style:

It's possible the earrings have been around awhile and I just never noticed them online, but regardless...I could possibly see myself trying this trend! These specific pairs look a little bigger on the model than I would normally choose so it would depend on how lightweight they are in person. I might be alone in this though since I got a few laughs when I posted about them on Instagram!

2. Look for Less...I shared some really cute designer-inspired jewelry in my Prime Finds post on Monday, but honestly I could do a post like this almost every day since I find so many cute pieces on Amazon. Here are a few more designer inspired options. Of course, they are more likely to tarnish quickly than the designer option so sometimes the splurge is worth it. Necklace #2 does not have Prime Shipping but the other two save options (shown with prices below) do have it.
One: Shop BaubleBar Accessories  (Amber Necklace) | TwoAmazon Necklace $6  
Three: Shop Gorjana Jewelry (Wilshire Necklace) | Four: Shop BaubleBar Accessories (Disc Hoop) 
Five: Amazon Tortoise Earrings ($10) | Six: Circle Necklace ($10) 

3. Code Names...Last week at our family reunion in Oregon, two siblings brought games for the group to play when we were hanging out together in the evening. Without discussing it in advance,  they both brought the same game! It's called Codenames and we all had a lot of fun with it. It's a bit like Password meets Battleship. If you're in the market for a new game on game night try it out!

4. Backpack Season...Unfortunately it's that time to start thinking about back to school supplies. For us that means a new backpack for each boy since their take a beating each school year. Last year they both had this Under Armour option and it was really durable and could hold quite a lot of stuff.  This year my oldest wanted to try Jansport so that's what we ordered. I'm pretty sure I carried a Jansport backpack when I was in high school!

Anyway, just a friendly reminder to start thinking about backpacks and school supplies so you have them all in time for the start of the school year! Sometimes we've waited too long and can't get the exact color option we want since the supplies are picked over.

I'm making it a Friday Five today because there is a jacket deal at Old Navy that's too good not to share. This jacket is only $21 at Old Navy with code MORE.
All three colors here

I have this in Bubble Gum Pink and Chambray Blue and it's a major favorite.

I tried the code on the two colors I already have and it didn't reduce the price on those two, but the three colors on sale right now are fantastic for fall!

Okay, that does it for me today! And forgive me for sounding like a flight attendant for a minute, but I know you all have a lot of choices in terms of what blogs to spend your time reading, so thank you for choosing mine! I really do appreciate your support and enjoy connecting with you!

Linking up with: JoLynne | ErikaAndreaNarci | Andrea | The Blended Blog


Summer Staple: Fedora + Currently

I've been reaching for my hats fairly often this summer for extra sun protection when I'm going to be outdoors for a long period of time, and it's reminded me why they are my favorite way to (not) do my hair. It makes me wonder why on earth don't I find more excuses to wear hats year round? It's so convenient to grab a hat and then not worry about what's going to happen with your hair vs. the weather for the rest of the day. Set it (on your head) and forget it! Finding a hat you like takes some trial and error but it's well worth it for the ongoing convenience it provides.

I've had my fedora from Target for a few years but they always carry similar options if you want to try something similar to mine without spending a fortune. I linked to the most similar current option above but you can view all of Target fedora options here.
Everything else I'm wearing here ran true to size, from the black cami to the cardigan, shorts, and sandals. I do have the cognac version of these sandals too because they were good enough to get in both colors. Between these two colors I feel like they can work with most of my summer wardrobe to give casual outfits just a slightly dressier touch. They're also really comfortable since the small platform under the toes makes the heel height feels almost like a flat. Plus I like the style - I think it's fairly classic and not likely to look dated any time soon.

One thing I like about my fedora vs. a baseball cap is that I find it works well with slightly dressier outfits. I usually wear my baseball cap with my most casual, athleisure-type outfits. I'll be sharing a few of those outfits in Friday's post (8/3/18), but here's a look back at a few ways I've worn my fedora this summer.
ONE:  Cardigan | Cami | Shorts | Sandals (c/o) | Necklace | Similar Fedora | Handbag (c/o) 
TWOTank | Skort | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Fedora | Sandals (c/o) | Bracelets |  Handbag (c/o)
On the first Wednesday of every month I love joining up with Anne for her "Currently" link-up. She provides the creative variety of topics, and the participants provide the answers! This month we're all sharing what we're currently following, ordering, pinning, watching, counting.

Following...the newlywed, newly royal life and times of Meghan Markle, a.k.a the Duchess of Sussex. I didn't even watch the royal wedding and wasn't especially interested in this romance, but I can't seem to go a week without seeing something in the news about her. I fully admit to falling to prey to the clickbait headlines about her supposed faux pas like attempting to hold her husband's hand or accidentally crossing her legs. I can't imagine that level of scrutiny and think it's amusing that such benign acts are making headlines!

Ordering...just one thing from the Nordstrom Sale. I told you all I'd let you know if I ended up getting anything, and I did finally decide to order this Rebecca Minkoff leopard crossbody bag 
While I intend for this to mostly be a date night bag, I am picky about function and making sure it fits my essentials easily, so until I actually have it in person I can't say if I'll keep it. But for me, this is something I can use immediately (vs. fall clothing) and have particular preferences about the brand so I figured I better at least try it while I can save $75 on the price!

Pinning...a lot of capsule wardrobe ideas. I'm not planning on doing a capsule wardrobe myself anytime soon, but they just appeal to me visually. Pins like thisthis, and this are good examples of what I enjoy. I also like to use them to help me find gaps in my wardrobe. e.g. if they feature a certain top in five outfits and I have similar items for all of the other pieces, I might start looking for that certain top to add to my closet and get five new outfits in return!

Watching...hat trends. Once fall hits, my fedora starts to feel a little too summery so I'm keeping an eye on hat trends for alternate options that could be styled in similar outfits as my fedora but with a more fall-ish vibe. I always like to browse Shopbop for top brands and trends first, then I'll browse other retailers for similar styles if I need something more budget-friendly. Here are four on-trend hat brands with styles that would be so cute for fall!

Counting...my blessings. I had a great time in Oregon last week with my extended family and it reminded me that I'm pretty fortunate in the family department. I usually get the post-vacation blues, because of course, who wouldn't want to go off on fun adventures with loved ones every day? But this time I'm staying positive by focusing on being grateful I even had the opportunity to take that trip and that things went pretty darn well! Most likely we'd all start to annoy each other if the trip lasted too long anyway...it's a pretty natural part of sibling relationships! Ha!

Thanks for reading today and I'll see you back on Friday!

Linking up with: The Blended Blog | KellyAnessa | Brooke | Dawn | Liz

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