On the Daily EXPRESS

1/18/19

Equestrian Vibes + Friday Favorites

18 comments |
Have you ever taken pictures of yourself for one reason or another and when you looked back at them, you think, "How did I not notice that?" Whether it was the lettuce in your teeth or that your strapless dress sunk well below the Line of Decency, I'm sure it happens to everyone sooner or later. It happens quite a lot with blogging considering we probably take more pictures of ourselves than average, and that's exactly what happened to me with this outfit. I loved wearing it because it felt polished but still totally comfortable for a full day. But when I pulled the photos up on the computer, all I could see was that I looked like an equestrian, and that hadn't been my intent for the outfit at all!

(By the way, so much for my bragging on Wednesday about my sitting pose goal. I tried to do photos sitting on this bench and they were all awkward. Figures!)

I did get comments on this outfit such as "you look nice" (thanks husband!) and, "that's not a golf outfit." (At least 50% of the time when I take my kids to golf, someone has to say something about my inappropriate golf attire.) But after seeing the photos I was surprised no one made the equestrian comment! Regardless, I really love this jacket. It's the same weight, warmth and material as my shawl collar coat (seen in this post), but different styling with the shorter length and more open front/blazer styling. The best part is it's 60% off right now and under $50! It was Final Sale when I bought it (and still is), which always makes me a little nervous. But the reviews said it was true to size, so I went for it.

I'm wearing an XS Regular in this (it also comes in Tall) and I do agree that it's true to size. I re-read the reviews so I could address any concerns in my post, and some said it was "bulky." I don't find that to be the case at all, but if you're expecting a blazer, then sure...it's a lot thicker than that. It's officially called the Shawl Collar Coat, and as the name implies it's more of a coat weight than blazer. (By the way, coat vs. jacket? Where do we draw the line on that? I called it a jacket but I guess it's a coat.) A couple of reviews said it was too small in the arms, and I think that comes down to body type. It fits my arms just fine, but if you regularly run into things being too small in the arms and fitting everywhere else, I would probably not purchase this without trying on in person. Otherwise if that's not a common issue for you, you're safe to order your normal size!

As for fit on other pieces, everything else ran true to size too - no surprises! I do think my grey jeans stretch out a bit with wear, hence the bagging at the knees. The stretch make them pretty comfortable for everyday wear, but less photogenic if that's a concern for you!

If you're not sure what an equestrian typically wears, you can see what I'm talking about here. And for the record I've ridden a lot of horses but don't consider myself an equestrian by any means. My dad owned horses and mules for my entire childhood as a hobby, but riding wasn't a refined activity in our neck of the woods. More farm and foot hills, less fancy!
Time to join up with some blogger friends for Friday Favorites! If you like these random assortments of favorites, you can see who I'm linking up with at the end of this post to find more posts like this!

1. Winter Nails: Now that the holidays are over, I wanted to go back to a dark nail color with less red/burgundy. CND Dark Lava has been on my nails this week (it's what I'm wearing in today's post and Wednesday's post), and it's got a bit more purple in it. It looks almost black in some lighting! Strangely, I can't wear purple or black nail polish but this must have just enough red/berry in it to work for me.


2. Mystery Mail! Earlier this week I got the cutest surprise in the mail! This personalized tumbler and makeup pouch! The only trouble was, it didn't come with a gift card so I had no idea who sent it. I started going through my recent texts and texting all friends and family asking the kind gifter to come forward! Finally my friend Stacy let me know it was her! I was actually getting a bit paranoid that an unknown blog reader had sent these since the writing kind of matches my blog signature! Although you all know the city where I live, I'm pretty sure I haven't put my exact address on the internet, you know? At any rate, it was such a fun surprise, and I loved the idea so much I ordered something from the same Etsy shop for another friend's birthday coming up!

3. Un-Favorite Book of the Week: Last weekend I started Circe, which is so highly rated, but I could not get into it! I gave it 30%, and then I decided to go back and check some of the 3 star reviews on Amazon to see what they had to say. (I feel like they're possibly more unbiased?) Sure enough, they felt the way I did: good concept and writing but the story just doesn't grab you! Several also said the last 25% was painfully slow, which for me would mean over 50% of the book was slow, and that made the decision final. I usually finish books even when I'm not liking them, but this time I'm getting out before it's too late.

4. Favorite San Diego Blogger Friend: On a more positive note, I'm seeing my favorite San Diego blogger Noelle this weekend! That will most definitely be the highlight among the usual weekend errands and activities! Hope you all have fun plans too!

5. The Science of a Meaningful Life. My friend Kristi knows I'm all into the science of happiness and studies along those lines, so she recently sent me this article on The Top Ten Insights from the "Science of a Meaningful Life" in 2018. It's a lengthy read, but well worth it in my opinion! If you have a few extra minutes of down time this weekend and need some motivational, thought-provoking content this is a good one.

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!


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Linking up with: JoLynne | Erika, Andrea, Narci | The Blended Blog

1/16/19

Tunic Sweater + Cable Stitch Picks

36 comments |
I've been really inspired lately in reading some New Year goal posts from fellow bloggers, and it's made me wish I had been a little more ambitious or organized with mine this year. I half-jokingly mentioned I want to work on switching up my standard outfit poses for the blog, so woo hoo! Here I am with a sitting pose! First (and only) goal of 2019 accomplished! But really, now that I've achieved this "goal," objectively I'm thinking that it doesn't show the shape of the clothes any better. You do get a better look at the shoes, but these are a few years old (from Lucky Brand) and out of stock, so they probably weren't the best choice for a closer look piece!

The key piece I really wanted to share today is this tunic sweater, and it doesn't look like much of a tunic from a seated position, does it? So here's another look from a regular old standing position:

This tunic sweater comes in two sizes - Small/Medium and Large/X-Large. I'm wearing the Small/Medium, and it's roomy and plenty long! I suppose it runs true to size, but because of the dual-size options and oversized fit in general it's not easy to make direct comparisons to other brands. I'm 5'4" for reference, and it's definitely long enough to wear with leggings. It's also longer in the back, so even if you're a few inches taller than me this should still be a good option for you. The sweater material itself is nice and soft, but it's not a super warm piece. It's a very open knit texture, so it definitely requires a layer underneath for coverage and warmth. I was torn between this color and the light grey because I really do love both, but I already have a poncho sweater in grey, and this piece has a fairly similar look overall to that. The only negative thing I can say about this sweater is that it doesn't work that well under a coat. I grabbed a coat to throw on this outfit the other night to run my kids out to music lessons, and the sleeves were all bunched up inside somewhere around my biceps. Just something to keep in mind depending on when and where you might want to wear this.

This sweater is from the Cable Stitch line at Amazon, which is one of their their Prime Exclusive Brands. (You can see my first piece and favorite striped sweater from Cable Stitch in this post.) Their prices generally run in the $40-$75 range, so they aren't bargain basement pricing, but in my opinion their quality is nicer than the cheaper sweater options on Amazon, so you're getting what you pay for.

Daily Ritual still holds the title of My Personal Favorite Amazon Exclusive Brand. You just can't beat their quality for the price! But Cable Stitch has a much bigger selection of sweaters for reasonable prices and overall the line gets great reviews. I'm really happy with the selections I've made so far, and I do want to try a couple of other styles for Winter and early Spring. I put together a few browsing options below, and they all come in multiple color so don't let the color stop you if you see a style you like!
One | Two ($30) | Three
Four | Five ($30) | Six

Option One is called the "Cozy V-Neck," and the reviews say it really is cozy! That plus the classic styling moves it to the top of my wishlist. I think the button details on Option Four are really cute. I don't have anything in that color so I'm not sure how it would look on me, but I would like to try it! I'm 95% certain the Marigold color on Option Six won't flatter me, but I do think it's a gorgeous shade and a trending color right now!

Option Two and Option Five are only $30! If you want to try the line at lower price point those would be a good place to start. I also love that Option Five looks long enough to wear with leggings.

Are you done shopping for Winter sweaters or are you still stocking up for the season? Our Fall and "Winter" arrive late so I always feel like the last one on the sweater bus, but I'm glad we at least get a chance to enjoy them for awhile! 


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Linking up with: The Blended Blog | Brooke




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1/14/19

Pinterest Inspired Outfits

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I don't know about you all but I go in phases of being excited to get dressed and put outfits together, and then the pendulum swings the other way and suddenly getting an outfit together feels like a chore. I'll just stare into my closet and nothing jumps out at me. I've been feeling the "chore" way lately so I forced myself to hop on Pinterest and get some ideas for repeating pieces I already own. Here are a few recent outfits that came as a result of my browsing, along with what changes I made to make it work for me!

This Grey Sweater + Plaid Scarf Pin (shown below) was the starting point for my outfit above. I originally planned to wear brown or cognac riding boots more like the option shown, but the problem was I didn't have a scarf with similar colors to the plaid option in the collage. I wanted to wear my Stella & Dot Scarf with this sweater, and I just thought the colors all came together better with black jeans and the taupe-ish grey boots. I'd like to try this again with pieces closer to those shown in the pin, but I'd have to buy a new scarf to make that happen since none of mine are that color family.

Next, this Black and Camel Outfit Pin reminded me to re-wear my camel shawl (last seen here). While I do love the coat and dress combo, it was dressier than I needed for my weekday activities so I opted for a more casual look with jeans. I really can't get enough of this color combo this winter and still do want to get a camel coat! But for indoor wear this shawl made more sense to complete the look.

Finally, this Utility Jacket Outfit Pin reminded me to get my utility jacket outfit out again. My exact option is sold out from Express but this one from Old Navy would work well in its place. I'm not big on wearing sneakers unless I really have to for functional purposes, so I opted for some grey ankle boots instead. I usually gravitate to a black or white tee with this jacket, and I do think I would like this outfit a teeny bit better with a lighter wash grey. But for working with what I had, I liked it well enough!

Aside from giving me outfit ideas, another thing I like about browsing Pinterest is it helps me see gaps in my wardrobe. I'll often find what I call "one away" outfits. Like in the outfit with the grey sweater and plaid scarf, I'm one piece away from having an all new outfit since I already have a similar sweater, jeans, and boots. I've also mentioned here a few times that I'm on the hunt for a camel coat, and that's partly due to reviewing outfits I've pinned and realizing I have a lot of outfits pinned with a camel coat, yet I don't have one in my closet! 

Do you have any Pinterest outfits you're itching to re-create? Or do you mainly use it for other things, like recipes and home decor? Fashion has always been my favorite category on Pinterest but I do go on kicks with other categories time to time, like recipes or blogging tips. Let me know what you're loving on Pinterest lately...if anything!

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Linking up with: Rachelle

1/11/19

Purple Turtleneck + Friday Favorites

18 comments |
Last week I made a comment that calling a top a funnel neck vs. a turtleneck was splitting hairs, and my friend Kellyann responded that she did really notice a difference: for her, funnel necks don't feel quite as restrictive around the neck. That reminded me that I needed to wear this turtleneck again for comparison purposes. And you know what? She's right! This turtleneck is definitely tighter around the neck and not as comfortable that way as my funnel neck tops. So while I wish that it were a funnel neck, I do love the color on this one and the hi-low crossover front detail that my funnel necks don't have.
Without a zoomed in shot of my stomach area (I'll let you go ahead and examine the stock photo for that!) it's hard to see the crossover front detail. But I think that's also because the fabric is fairly dark too, so that details don't show up that well in photos or real life - it just looks like my shirt is tucked in the front. But whether you can see it well or not, it's a convenient detail since you don't have to get "the tuck" right. Pattyboutik items always runs a bit small in my experience, so I recommend ordering one size up. I'm wearing a Small here and it's very fitted. I'm sure I could have worn a Medium, too. 
So now that I just said this line generally runs small, I have to go and contradict myself with this hooded cardigan, one of the few pieces that runs true to size! I'm wearing XS in this and it runs the same as an XS from Express. There are so few pieces from this line that even come in XS that I wonder if they've changed their sizing with newer pieces? Or maybe this is an older piece? I have no way of knowing, but either way it's a nice little cardigan. I read through the reviews to see if there was anything else I should mention and two things popped out. First, I totally agree with the comments that it's a nice medium weight. It's neither lightweight nor heavy. I've worn it in the spring (posted here) with a tank and leggings, and for cooler weather now I opted for long sleeves/more coverage underneath it. The second point a few reviewers made is that it's somewhat scratchy, and I basically agree. It's not my softest sweater, but it didn't bother me to wear it with a tank and I didn't even notice any itchiness at all while wearing it with a turtleneck. So even though I can't rave about it being the softest sweater ever, if you plan on wearing it layered over another piece it's really not itchy unless you are super sensitive.

And last but not least, my jeans and boots are true to size!

I'm joining up with some blog friends for Friday Favorites today so here are few of mine!

1. Trader Joe's Wintry Blend: This is my very favorite ground coffee, and I really wish that it weren't seasonal! I've been enjoying every cup this month, and if anyone knows of something similar that's available year-round, by all means please share!

2. Giveaway Winner: Congrats to my Newsletter Giveaway winner, Sue! I wish I had a better way to verify to everyone that I actually do pick a winner and send them their prize, but at least a handful of you by now can speak to the fact that people do win these! And if you're wondering how to sign up for my giveaways, they're exclusive to newsletter subscribers and very easy to enter. No loops, hoops, or multiple bloggers to follow. I'd love to have you sign up below and be ready for the next one!

3. Designer Dupe: It's been awhile since I shared any designer dupes or save vs. splurge options! But I recently saw this bag on Amazon that has very similar styling to the Givenchy Antigona so I thought I'd share. It's not the most budget friendly option since it's over $100, but that's still two thousand dollars less than the real deal if you want a similar look. It also doesn't have any fake logos or say "Givenchay" or anything like that. It comes in seven colors, but in my opinion it's kind of a shame that it doesn't come in black!

Well, the kids survived the first week back at school and I survived my first week back on my night job of "Evening Activities Chauffeur." I did get quite a bit of reading done during their lessons this week so that was nice! I'll be doing a lot more chauffeuring this weekend along with some blogging and show-watching. "Broadchurch" is our current show selection...we're on a British show kick lately! Hope you all have a great weekend lined up and I'll catch you back here on Monday!


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Linking up with: JoLynne | Erika, Andrea, Narci | The Blended Blog

1/9/19

Shawl Collar Coat

26 comments |
San Diego is known for having pretty nice winter weather, and I won't deny that we do! But when we first moved here, it was surprising how chilly it would get at night. Even if the high temps of the day are in the 70s, the lows will get down to the 30s and 40s. Yeah, I know that's "warmer" than the high temps in the Midwest and other places right now, but it's definitely coat weather if you plan to be outdoors at night! I can't justify a huge collection of winter coats, but when I saw this shawl collar coat from Ann Taylor I knew this would be the year my outwear got a bit of an update!

I previewed this coat back in December but really wanted to get outdoor photos of it to give a better look at it. It's soft, comfortable, easy to throw on and run out the door, and true to size. It gets triple bonus points on the sizing because it comes in Regular, Petite and Tall! I'm 5'4" and wearing the XS Regular here. I would say it runs true to size if not slightly roomy. I would still have room for a thicker sweater or something underneath this, though I doubt I'd want it any smaller either since I like to be able to move my arms! I do think it looks a bit more grey in person than it does in the stock photo, but it's a taupe grey so it's not an entirely misleading color photo.

If you're interested in this coat but having sticker shock at the price, I am certain it will go on sale again. It was 50% off when I bought it and I've seen it get marked down to that price numerous times since then. They're just like LOFT and Express with such frequent promotions that you should only pay full price in a fashion emergency! As far as the warmth goes, this is a perfect weight for our chilly nights (30s to 50s), but probably wouldn't cut it for much colder temps. Maybe it would work for 20s if you were really layered up underneath, but I can't speak from experience on that!

I really wanted the coat to be the focus here so I kept the rest of the outfit very simple, but for reference all other pieces I'm wearing a true to size.

 I don't have much else to add today since it already feels like it's been a full week of blogging! In case you missed it, I shared my fitness routine on Monday and my book reviews on Tuesday! I'll see you back here on Friday for another outfit post and some Friday favorites!


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1/8/19

January 2019 Book Reviews

40 comments |
Welcome to my January 2019 Book Reviews! I have a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and all reviews are free of any major spoilers. My nonfiction selections were audiobooks via Audible, which does affect my experience with the book. Some of my fiction books were also on Audible, so I'll note that as well within each review. (I signed up for the Audible Daily Deal email, which helps me read more audiobooks each month without spending a lot.) With all that in mind, here are the books I read this month followed by my reviews!

Fiction:
Verity. by Colleen Hoover
Basic Plot: Lowen is a writer who is asked to finish out a book series for another author (Verity Crawford) who has been in an accident and is unable to complete the work. Lowen finds out more about Verity and her husband than she ever intended.
My Verdict: WHOA. Couldn't Put it Down! But Proceed with Caution. If you want a train wreck that you can't look away from and are prepared for some graphic content of every kind, get this book. I hated this book at times, yet I could not put it down from page one. It was so twisted I couldn't believe what I was reading, but I had to know what would happen! Colleen Hoover never shies away from sexual content but this was by far her most...intense shall we say. Not for the prude or faint of heart. It definitely has upsetting content and yet the writing style and story is so engaging you can't stop!

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell
Basic Plot: Betty cares for her aging step-grandmother Arlette. When Arlette passes away, Betty moves to London to learn more about Arlette's past as she comes of age herself.
My Verdict: Very Good but requires patience. This book seemed like a different genre than ay of the other books I've read by this author. I was expecting suspense/thriller/mystery, but this book was more character driven, and the pacing was a bit slower, especially in the beginning for me. That said, Jewell did an amazing job of building these characters stories, drawing me into their lives and ultimately getting me very invested in what would happen next. It wasn't a page-turner per se (especially not at first), but it was really well done. It reminds me a bit of Kristin Hannah's books like The Great Alone where you feel like you're really there and experiencing everything along with the characters. I did end up loving it, but it has to be approached with the mindset of immersing yourself over time, not expecting instant engagement and a fast pace. I listened to this on Audible and the narrator was phenomenal.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Basic Plot: Nine people go to a wellness retreat for a life changing experience...and they get one like they never expected.
My Verdict: It was Okay. I was a bit disappointed with this, to be honest. At times it was entertaining and funny. Other times it was just ludicrous. Liane Moriarty knows how to write really funny, quirky, amusing characters and she delivered on that with this. But overall, the plot went off the rails for me and there wasn't anything I loved about this book. I've read all of Moriarty's other books and this ranks in my bottom three for her.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Basic Plot: Stella is a math nerd with Asperger's who struggles in relationships and wants to improve her sex skills. She goes about this in a methodical way: Pretty Woman gender role reversal.
My Verdict: Fun chick lit! This was a cute, fun and easy read. The Asperger's factor gave the book something unique as did the gender role reversal. This was an Audible deal of the day so I listened to it on audiobook (i.e. it was cheaper than I've seen on Kindle) and while the narrator was good, I found I didn't especially enjoy her narration of the steamier scenes.  I think it was the character voice the narrator used for the male lead character. Hearing a woman trying to sound like a man for sexy-talk just wasn't sexy to me! I think I would have enjoyed the written format more,  (especially for those scenes) but I wasn't willing to pay that much more for it. And honestly I'm spending too much time critiquing the narrator when overall it was a really fun and entertaining book.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Basic Plot: Fashion exec asks her friend to pick up her son after school one day and never returns home. Did she leave on purpose or did something bad happen to her?
My Verdict: Didn't care for it. All of the characters in this book were completely unlikable. They were either idiots or a-holes, and it was irritating to read their narratives. I am shocked someone saw enough potential in this to make into a movie with Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, but the reviews for that are actually good (even from people who hated the book). I suppose I can see how the basic plot would be interesting or suspenseful if the characters weren't so insufferable, so I'd recommend skipping the book and going straight to the movie.

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
Basic Plot: The third wife of a man dies when she gets hit by a bus after a late night of drinking. It's unclear whether it was an "accident" or suicide and we follow a unique family saga in an attempt to discover the truth about her death.
My Verdict: Recommend! This was a solid mystery/suspense with a unique family dynamic at the heart of it. I listened on Audible and this was the first time I've "read" a Jewell book with a male narrator, and he did an excellent job. I think it worked well for me to hear it with a male voice since the main character was a male and there were a lot of male characters in the story. It wasn't my favorite by Jewell or the most unputdownable, but still entertaining and engaging for me throughout.

Nonfiction:
I Will Find You by Joe Kenda
Apparently Joe Kenda has a TV show (Homicide Hunter) but I had never even heard of it. This book came up as a top-rated Audible recommendation so I gave it a go. It was entertaining! An excellent memoir. I liked Kenda's dry, witty humor and matter-of-fact manner. You can certainly expect some graphic content in this as it relates to homicide, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. He shared interesting cases and personal stories, so if you're a true crime fan this is a good one to read.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Well...this is like Educated the Hillbilly Edition. But unfortunately I did not enjoy this one nearly as much as Educated (by Tara Westover). This read too much like a report rather than a memoir. Yes, there were some personal stories, but my favorite memoirs read almost like fiction with character development and engaging stories. This just felt dry. It had a handful of personal stories and those were the highlight. But there was so much explanatory text: quoting statistics and telling how things were vs. showing us through his experiences. I certainly admire the author for what he aaccomplished given his upbringing, but this wasn't my favorite read.

Untrue by Wednesday Martin
This book was very fascinating, and honestly not as scandalous as it sounds. It's very well researched, with an in-depth look at female sexuality and how it has been shaped by culture vs. biology. If you've read either Sapiens or Sex at Dawn, it's very similar in style to those except that it focuses entirely on females and female sexuality. If you are interested at all in anthropology this is an excellent book that will make you think, "How did I not know this?!" numerous times throughout. I really enjoyed it and recommend to those who think the topic sounds interesting.

Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely
This book was an amusing look at some of our irrational behavior around money and the mental gymnastics we use to justify our purchases or behaviors. I've also read Predictably Irrational by this same author, and this book was like "Predictably Irrational: The Money Edition." Overall the book was entertaining and enjoyable, but I wouldn't call it a must-read or a life changer. The author's writing style is witty and self-deprecating, and the narrator (the author does not narrate) does a great job. It's a good read but not great or a must-read for me.

Quick Picks
For quick recommendation without the specifics of what I did/didn't like, here are the books from this month that I'm likely to recommend to friends and family in real life:
Fiction: VerityBefore I Met YouThe Kiss QuotientThe Third Wife
Nonfiction: Untrue

Current Reads + Up Next:
I'm currently reading Watching You by Lisa Jewell (loving it so far!) and listening to The Good, The Bad, The Barbie on Audible (another daily deal book). I was late to the game in discovering Lisa Jewell, so yes, I'm making up for lost time here with her books in the past few months! So far there haven't been any I disliked!

In other book news, I have to tell you all I was burned twice with pre-orders this month. I pre-ordered Verity, only to find out that it was released for free on Kindle Unlimited. So I paid $13 for a book I could have read free with my Kindle Unlimited membership! Boo. I didn't realize this until it was too late to return or do anything about it. I also pre-ordered Watching You for $13, only to have it go on sale for $5 within a couple of weeks! This time, I hadn't even downloaded it to my Kindle (I keep my Kindle on Airplane mode to preserve power) so I tracked down the customer service number and was able to make enough of a fuss and "speak to a manager" to get the refund. UGH. That was a hassle. I don't think I'll pre-order any more books after this! I've never had that happen before, much less twice in one month!

At any rate, thanks for letting me vent about that. Can't wait to hear what you all read or what strikes your interest this month!

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Linking up with: Steph & Jana

1/7/19

My Current Fitness Routine

20 comments |
It's been awhile since I shared any fitness content here, and with the New Year motivation bug going around I thought I would give you all a little update on my fitness routine lately. It's been mostly the same routine for the last 13 years (since I had my first child), but I do make a few changes here and there when I learn something new or my body gives me hints that maybe it's time to make some adjustments. Also, truthfully I didn't feel like editing any new pictures today! So I dusted off some activewear photos from my archives (don't worry, I took these during summer!) and am giving them another spin with new context today.

First, just a few fit notes on some still-in-stock pieces I'm wearing. This camo tank is only $12 and true to size. For whatever reason the sizes are under two separate listing, so Small-Medium is here and L to XL here. It's standard stretchy activewear material, and there's not much else to say about it other than it's a fun piece for a great price!

My exact shorts are from Target last summer, and I think they might have been sleepwear? In that case, Target has this current option, though this similar style has the contrasting laces if you prefer that look. And I'm also wearing my Fishtail Braid extension, which I never actually for my work outs but I like how it looks in pictures, so that's that!

Now that it's colder I have to cover up a little more to go out on walks, so you might see me walking the suburban streets of San Diego in something more like this: 
Black Hoodie (c/o) | White Tank | Similar Leggings ($17- top rated) | Similar Hat | Black Sports Bra | Similar Shoes

My Core 10 hoodie and GAP tank are still in stock and both are true to size (I'm wearing XS in both). The hoodie is very form fitting when zipped all the way up, so if you don't want a bodycon look you might want to size up. This tank is my longtime staple. I have it in a few different colors and they've all held up very well over the years considering how often I wear them. I have seven workout tanks total for the seven days in a week (six of these GAP tanks plus the camo tank above) and that's enough for me. 

For the most part I keep my workout clothes pretty simple, but every now and then I get the urge to get a new piece. Usually it's when I know I'll be working out around other people instead of on my own! For example I have a sister get-together coming up and we often do something fitness related. I always feel like the least stylish sister in those situations since they all have such cute workout gear! 
One and Two: Shop Tory Sport Apparel | Three: Target Leggings | FourBlanc Noir Jacket 

If money were no object I would be getting a couple of pieces from the Tory Sport collection, like option one and two above! But realistically I'm more likely to get something from Target, and I kind of thought those leggings had a similar vibe to the Tory collection. They'd also be great if you're a Denver Broncos, New York Knicks, or Boise State Fan! The Blanc Noir Jacket is a splurge that's been on my wishlist for awhile. I love the details and love that it's longer so I can throw it on over leggings for workouts or casual wear! (Update! I ordered and returned the Blanc Noir jacket. It didn't have any zippers or snaps to fasten it shut, so you can only wear it draped open as shown on the model. That doesn't really work for what I had in mind. I'm sure I could pay a tailor to add some snaps or something, but for the $150 price I really felt that should have been already included!) 

If you're a newer reader, you might have missed some of my previous fitness content. So I'll start here with my a snapshot of my current workout routine, then share a few links to some past content you might have missed. The key areas of emphasis for me in my routine are Muscle Strength, Flexibility, and Walking. A typical week's schedule looks like this:

Monday: Lower Body Weights
Tuesday: Upper Body Weights Split One (e.g. Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
Wednesday: Core Training and 30 minute walk or Yoga/Extended Stretch
Thursday: Upper Body Weights Split Two (e.g. Back and Biceps)
Friday: Lower Body Weights
Saturday: Core Training and 30 minute Walk
Sunday: Core Training and 30 minute walk

I do all of my weight training at home with DVDs, dumbbells, and a little bit of low tech, easy-to-store equipment (I'll link some reference posts below for more details on that). I also have a ten minute stretching and flexibility routine that I do at the end of my workout every day. The only exception is if I'm doing yoga or an extended stretch workout, then I don't really need to do additional stretching on top of that.

The addition of outdoor walking is the key change for me in the past two years. I used to do higher impact/higher intensity cardio routines (kickboxing, step aerobics, etc..  But after repeatedly reading about the benefits of walking, outdoors in particular (e.g. I found this article interesting as well as this one, but a quick Google search of "benefits of walking" will give you plenty of ideas), I really wanted to make more time for it. Swapping out my indoor cardio routine and adding walking in its place seemed like the best way to make that happen and I'm loving this change. For one thing: fresh air! I spend most of my days indoors and it just feels nice to get outside. Second, I love that I can "read" via audiobook while I'm walking. I'm always looking for ways to get in more reading time so this change helped make that possible.

The only other key change in the past couple of years that isn't really covered above is that I've made lower back strength and flexibility a bigger part of my routine. I just felt like I needed it to combat all the sitting and hunching over a computer that happens in my daily life. I do a bridge for 45 seconds every day as part of my end-of-workout stretching routine, and I try to incorporate some supermans or similar lower back work on my other core training days.

In case you've missed some of my past fitness content, here's are some reference links if you're interested in more details on any of these categories:

Favorite Weight Training DVDs: HERE

Favorite Cardio DVDs: HERE 

Favorite Yoga and Stretching DVDs: HERE

Complete List of Fitness Equipment I Own: HERE

Fitness Q&A Part One HERETopics include:
How I stay motivated to workout
How I fit my workouts into my schedule
How hard I push myself in my daily workouts
How heavy are the weights I lift
How I avoid bulking

Fitness Q&A Part Two HERETopics include:
How I got into my current routine of home workouts
What kind of outfits I wear to workout
How to adapt my home workout routine for the gym
Nutrition: How often I splurge vs. stay strict
Nutrition: What foods I gravitate towards

Some of my answers to the Q&A might be a little different now than what they were when I wrote those posts, but that's all part of the fitness journey! If you're getting started on a new fitness journey for 2019 I hope you can find a little motivation or some fresh ideas somewhere in there!
Here's the latest of what's going on in the blog world, real life, and a few other notes!

I don't have a Monday Memo for today since my fitness update is taking the place of that, but tomorrow is book review day, and then I will have a new outfit post up on Wednesday!


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1/4/19

Military Sweater + Friday Favorites

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With my kids/photographers home from school for the holiday this week, I was able to get a few extra outfit photos on any given day that we were out and about and I was dressed for public life. So today is just a regular single outfit post instead of a weekly selfie round-up. I'm sure I'll be back to those soon since school starts up again in a few days! But I have been considering changing the way I share outfit selfies on Fridays, so this is a nice way to give me some time to mull on that. If you have strong opinions on that topic feel free to share in the comments or send me an email! I've tried various things over the years and I guess I just get the itch to make a change now and then!
Zip Up Sweater (c/o) | T-Shirt | Jeans | Boots | Handbag (c/o Shopbop) | Earrings

This sweater is another Pattyboutik option could easily go in with my stay-warm sweaters post. This line does run a bit small and I'm wearing a Small here. You may want to order up a size from what you order in sweaters at Express if you don't want it too tight. I was worried that the mock neck would be itchy on my neck, but it didn't bother me since I left it slightly unzipped. I think it would irritate me if I zipped it all the way up, but I don't plan on trying that to find out for certain! The material is pretty soft and not itchy...but it's still a sweater around your neck so it can only be so comfortable! 
Zip Up Sweater (c/o) | T-Shirt | Jeans | Boots | Handbag (c/o Shopbop) | Earrings

I wore these over-the-knee boots a lot last year, but I only recently got around to putting my "winter" boots into my bedroom closet and wearing these again. Both of my sons have to share a little bit of closet space with their parents since we don't have a huge closet in our bedroom. Thankfully they don't seem to mind right now since they are more interested in collecting video games and Nerf guns than clothes right now. But we're just getting started in the teenage years so who knows how long it will be before they complain! Anyway these boots are true to size and comfy for plenty of walking with a reasonable block-heel. They are the "taupe" color even though this taupe has a lot of grey in it!

The t-shirt I'm wearing under the sweater is a Daily Ritual staple. I have it in all three colors: Black, Navy and Grey. I just wish they would make it in white! I love the neckline and hem of this. I will say I probably don't need black and navy. The navy is so dark it's almost black. I can hardly tell it's navy unless I'm in direct sunlight. I've noticed this a few times with Daily Ritual products, so even though I'm wearing neither black nor navy here, I guess it doesn't hurt to pass it along!

I think that covers all the outfit details, so let's go on to a few favorites!

1. Crossbody Favorites: Every couple of years my bag preference seems to change a bit with my lifestyle. Right now I am all about the crossbody! I have moved a lot of my essentials into the center console of my car (gum, spare lipstick, etc.) so I mainly just carry my wallet, keys and phone now. For me, my favorite, most-used crossbody bags are a nude, black and red option! I've been carrying burgundy a lot lately (as shown above) because it's new, but I've noticed that red gets more use year after year!
ONE: Shop: Tory Burch Bags
THREE: Shop: Kate Spade Bags

My favorite splurge bags are from these three brands, and right now there are a lots of designer bags on sale at Shopbop. Go here to view all sale bags and use code HELLO2019 for an additional 25% off sale items!

Another way to save at Shopbop is to join their Rewards Program! You get a special discount for your birthday month! My birthday is in January and I was pretty excited to see that coupon code come into my inbox! Looks like I will be doing some shopping there to "save" money! (#girllogic right?)

2. Posing 101. One of my favorite things this week was reading the comments on Monday's post! I was relieved to hear I'm not the only one who thinks that posing for pictures is so much harder than it looks! I think one of my blog goals for 2019 is going to be to work on a new pose. I've noticed a lot of people doing more sitting poses lately and have dabbled in that, so maybe I'll give it another go. Some people set blog goals to get 100K followers or $100K in brand deals, I aim to get comfortable sitting in pictures! It's all progress, right?

3. Newsletter Giveaway: This note is for my favorite newsletter subscribers! I announced a giveaway in my last newsletter but I forgot to tell you when it ends! I'm going to have it run for one week, then I'll contact the winner and announce it here next Friday! I have also switched my newsletter from a Monthly publication to a "Whenever I Have Time" thing for 2019. It might be quarterly, bi-monthly, semi-monthly, semi-annual...we'll see. So if you've thought about subscribing but didn't want a lot of extra email, I assure you it's not a lot. If you are subscribed, thank you for being part of that community! I have loved getting to know more of you that way so I definitely want to continue, just at a slower pace

That sums it up for this week! I really don't know what my plans are for the weekend but I'm looking forward to it all the same and I hope you are too!


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