On the Daily EXPRESS


Friday Favorites 11/15/19

Welcome to another round of Friday Favorites! This post is mostly a recap of my so-called favorite outfits for the the week. And by so-called favorite, I just mean they were the only ones decent enough to post here! Aside from that I haven't had many other blog-worthy favorites lately. Maybe that will change as we inch closer to the holidays, maybe not. Only time will tell, but for now I'll just get started with the outfits of the week!

Style Challenge Style
I recently started digging up old Style Challenge prompts on Pinterest to give me some inspiration for getting dressed every day. It really helps me to have one idea to get started on an outfit instead of staring at my closet and feeling overwhelmed. For November I picked this Neutral November Style Challenge because sounds right up my alley. This week's outfit prompts are taken directly from that list, but I don't necessarily follow the order of the prompts. I just pick one that jumps out at me on any given day!

Grey Tones:
Similar Jacket (Exact- my color sold out) | Tee | Jeans | Similar Necklace | Shoes (c/o) | Nail Polish

Well, I didn't go all out with grey tones...just one grey tone. But I'd say I kept in the spirit of Neutral November all the same. I am more likely to layer with my white or black tops than with grey...I think I just like the contrast those colors provide a little better. But I was happy with how this turned out since the jacket is a lighter neutral so it still have me enough contrast for my taste!

White Bottom/Black Top*:

I currently have zero interest in wearing white pants or a white skirt, *so I reversed this and made it white top, black bottom. This is yet another variation of my Foolproof Outfit Formula of Black/White/Blue...whether it's denim or chambray it all works out just about the same in the context of putting an outfit together.

Similar Cami | Similar Cardi, Similar Cardi | Similar Grey Jeans | Shoes | Similar Necklace 

These jeans are grey, despite the fact that they don't really photograph as such at this angle! They are also a little under-used just because I don't have that many shoes I like with them besides my black pumps. But I actually liked them with these mules, so I'm glad this prompt gave me the push to do this!

Just Because:

This didn't fit any theme but I was in a hurry to get dressed on Saturday morning and was happy enough with how this came together that I'm sharing it anyway. It looks like my exact utility shirt is down to just a few sizes (only Large and above), but I did find a similar top from Goodthreads, another Amazon Private Label I've had good luck with. It broke 90° again last weekend so this was as Fall as I could get!

Also Just Because:

Another off the list outfit, totally unrelated to the style challenge. I'm on a roll here! I just felt like wearing this jacket and that was all the inspo I needed to put together this outfit. My jacket is long gone from Amazon but similar styles abound depending on what type of pink jacket you want. A utility jacket like this one from Amazon (with Prime) or LOFT would work here, or this Pink Denim Jacket from H&M

Fall Nails:
My nails in all of the photos above are CND Vinylux Married to the Mauve, except in the outfit with the olive shirt they are OPI Infinite Shine Linger Over Coffee. They look virtually identical in photos depending on the lighting, but in person the former is more plummy (mauve, I guess!) and the latter is more brown.

Fitness Favorite
Cathe Core Max on eBay (under $10) or New ($20)

Every week for Friday Favorites I'm highlighting just one home workout that I love, and this week it's one of my very favorite core workouts, Cathe Friedrich Core Max. Now, I'll say up front that I'm a believer that abs are made in the kitchen, not to mention hugely influenced by genetics, but I still think having a strong core is important for overall fitness. So I don't make any promises that it will give you a six pack, but it will thoroughly and completely work your abdominal muscles and entire core region in an effective and challenging way. This DVD has three complete core workouts on it, and each one is 20 minutes long. It also has three additional Premix workouts on it, which are just different mixed-and-matched segments of the three main workouts. Those are 20-22 minutes in length. Honestly you're getting incredible bang for your buck with this one. You can find this used on eBay for under $10 or brand new on Cathe's site for $20 plus shipping. I love it because it's challenging with a great variety of moves, so you're not bored by doing a thousand crunches in a row.

Equipment Required: Stability Ball, Mat (optional depending on your workout surface), and Cathe uses an 8 lb. Medicine Ball but I am able substitute a 10 lb dumbbell in its place. You can see on the DVD cover how she's holding the med ball between her knees, and that can be tricky, impossible or just unsafe depending on the type of dumbbell you have. Part of the reason I use a 10 lb. instead of 8 like she uses is because my 10 lb. dumbbell has a thicker head and is easier to hold between my knees. But even if you don't have a med ball or dumbbell, you can still get a thoroughly challenging workout without it.

Other Favorites:
Just a few other favorites this week of some random real life stuff!

Feedback...Thank you all for your feedback and support on Monday's post where I vented about my technology frustrations and self-imposed blogging schedule. I know it's completely my own issue and the world doesn't skip a beat if I miss a post, but I'm hard-wired to aim for consistency! I'm definitely working on taking breaks when I need them, but it always helps to hear from others who can relate!

Tradition...I'm planning a Blogger Holiday Dinner with Noelle next month! We have done this almost every year with a mix of different blogger friends who happen to be in town, so I'm calling it a tradition.  In a dream world we'd be getting together with this group of ladies every year just like we did last year, but here's a Flashback Friday of our last Holiday Dinner!

We will miss our non-local friends Charnele, Caryl, and Rachelle but we're making this an annual thing regardless of how many can make it! (By the way, Noelle has the best affordable cardigan styled two ways this week!)

Football...The longer we've lived away from Seattle (we moved here in 2013) the less closely I follow the Seahawks, but I still do keep up somewhat and had to watch their game with the 49ers on Monday night. What a game! This is old news by now but if you happened to watch the game, no matter who you were cheering for it was definitely a memorable one!

Finding...extra money in my Venmo account this week! Woo hoo! My sister-in-law sent me money for a group gift and I realized I had some other funds in there that I hadn't transferred to my bank account. I honestly cannot remember who paid me via Venmo or for what or when, but it's like the 2019 version of finding a $20 bill in your pocket! Ha!

That does it for me today! As usual I'm joining ErikaAndrea, and Narci for Friday Favorites, and on Monday I'll be back with a try-on session that Leopard Print Lovers won't want to miss!


Black Cami Day to Night

I got this cami to wear specifically for date night, but as I was getting dressed for date night and planning to take outfit pictures beforehand, I was thinking...you know, this outfit is only two pieces away from being a business casual look. A simple change of shoes and jacket would give this top and jeans a totally different vibe. While I generally don't do outfit changes in the car just for the purpose of taking blog photos anymore, I can handle a quick change of shoes and jacket to help illustrate my point here a little better, so here we go with a little day-to-night outfit change!
RIGHT: Jacket | Cami | Jeans | Boots (c/o)

Of course, the boots and moto jacket might work just as well for business casual wear depending on your job environment, but there's no doubt that a blazer gives an outfit a slightly more corporate look than a moto jacket. I didn't set out to make this post about my closet staples, but I do have quite a few in this post! My black blazer and jacket are both Express pieces I've had for years. I'm linking to a current Express Blazer above, and mine is older than this blog so I'm not even sure what the exact name of it was when I bought it. There may be some minor detail differences to the current version, but they're similar enough to give you the same look.

And on the topic of closet staples, let's talk about nude pumps! Mine are long gone from Macy's, but I plan to hang on to these until they fall apart. Hopefully that will take a decade or more since they aren't an everyday type of shoe for me! It took a lot of trial and error to find a "nude" that I liked on my coloring, but in the end it was worth it. One thing I'm finding repeatedly is that for classic wardrobe pieces, it really is worth the time, effort, and frustration involved in finding something that's Just Right. Over the years I've compromised a lot on "good enough for the price" options, and ultimately those just don't stand the test of time in my closet. I'm really trying to improve my patience in that regard.
Jacket | Cami | Jeans | Boots (c/o) | Necklace | Earrings | Crossbody (c/o)

Last but not least, this moto jacket. In the early years of my blog I spent a lot of time singing its praises, and I still do love it. But I can only sing so much on one topic before I lose my voice! Ha! I actually just ordered a replacement for this jacket because the faux leather on mine is peeling noticeably at the shoulders and on the back. It doesn't show in the front so I could get away with wearing it in these photos, but otherwise it's ready to retire once my replacement arrives. It lasted a good eight or nine years though, so I do feel like I got my money's worth out of it. And considering I re-ordered the exact same style again, I can definitely call this a closet staple!

So I took a bit of a detour from Day-to-Night Outfit Styling to talk about Closet Staples, but really those two things work hand in hand. Having a few key staples makes it that much easier to take any outfit from day to night!

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November 2019 Book Reviews


Welcome to my November 2019 Book Reviews! I don't have much to say by way of introduction here since it's book business as usual, so I'll let the reviews do the talking. Here's a look at my selections this month followed by my reviews.

Inside Out by Demi Moore
Basic Premise: The memoir of Demi Moore.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Recommend. First, this was narrated by Demi and she did a great job. I felt like I was her friend who was just talking on the phone with her (er...listening to her talk) and having a heart to heart with her. I found her life and experiences totally fascinating and this was the audio version of "unputdownable." It was really interesting to hear her explanation on some of the career choices she made and why there were times she felt treated unfairly by the press or public. She is pretty candid about what went on in her marriages, but I felt she was honest while still trying to be respectful and tactful about her ex-husbands as possible. I have a lot of respect for how she chose to raise her children. If you are familiar with Demi at all I think you'll enjoy this.

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Basic Plot: Sometimes one choice we make seems like a small choice at the time, but can ultimately lead our life on a completely different path. This book explores what might have happened if the main character made a different choice on one night of her life.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Recommend. This concept was very fun and had a "choose your own adventure" feel. Except that as readers aren't doing the choosing, but you do get to see how one life can play out in a different way depending on a simple choice. It reminded me of the movie Sliding Doors, so if you enjoyed that you'll probably enjoy this. The writing style was very engaging, the characters were developed nicely so I really have no complaints. It was entertaining and I was eager to see how it would be "resolved." Also...side note for anyone who has read this as well as Katherine Center's "How to Walk Away." There were some parallel story elements that seemed a little too similar for my taste. This came out in 2015, that one in 2018. Anyone else notice this? Just me?

Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Basic Premise: In January 2015, Brock Turner sexually assaulted a woman on the Stanford campus. His trial made headlines and his victim's privacy was protected. She was referred to as Emily Doe, but now she's coming forward with her true identity and sharing her side of the story.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Powerful. I cannot review this like a regular book, because after reading Chanel's memoir, I think she's been judged and rated enough. "Rating" the book feels like rating her life and her traumatic experience, and I'm not up for that. If you choose to read the book, know the context and decide if you're ready to tackle this. It was very emotional at times and gave me a more full (and upsetting) understanding of what it's like to be The Victim in a highly public case and yet at all times feel like YOU are the one on trial and having your life picked apart. It is a long book (15 hours) as Chanel is very detailed in her experiences and the impact this crime had on her life. The last couple of hours in the book also contain her thoughts on some other highly public cases (e.g. Bill Cosby). Chanel narrates the memoir herself, which I thought was the right choice for this memoir.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
Basic Plot: A detective investigates a cold case and suspects it may have some correlation to a current case his department is handling.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Enjoyed. A little side note here, but how is it that I had never heard the term "Police Procedural" for a book genre until I started listening to book podcasts this year? I guess I was living under a rock, but regardless, this is the epitome of a police procedural. The pacing is a bit slow, but apparently that parallels real life police investigations. (I have no idea since I only know about police work from TV and movies!) I liked this well enough, but I didn't love it since it left me with some un-answered questions about some characters. (e.g. where did Maude get her money? What's Emma's story? There were hints dropped but not resolution.) I think I need a break from this genre for a bit in favor of faster pacing or easier reads to keep my interest right now.

An American Sickness by Elisabeth Rosenthal
Basic Premise: Ever wondered how the American healthcare system became so convoluted? Or ever paid a co-pay for a prescription medication and wondered how the drug company can get away with charging your insurance so much money? This book explains it all from top to bottom.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Informative. This is not an exciting or entertaining book by any means, so I only recommend it if this a topic you want to understand better. The author does a really great job of breaking down the American healthcare system piece by piece and explaining how we got to now, why things are the way they are, and what you can possibly do about it. I learned a lot and I'm glad I read it because it did give me a much better understanding of a complex topic. I still only understood some points at a high level, but that's an improvement over where I was before!

The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata
Basic Plot: Elena (Lenny) is an MMA Gym Owner who is surprised when a man from her past re-enters her life after she spent a year trying to get in contact with him to no avail.
Read Via: Kindle (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: Cute Enough. I enjoyed this okay, but not nearly as much as some of Zapata's other books like Kulti and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. The main reason being that I just didn't feel as much chemistry and tension between the main characters as in her other books. Both of the books I just mentioned revolved around main characters who were professional athletes, and this book did as well, although in this book the sports aspect was just a side note and not as much a part of the plot. I think I complained in Kulti that there was too much detail about their soccer training, and in this book the pendulum swung the other way and I was actually a bit disappointed that there wasn't more detail! Ha! Sorry, I guess I'm tough to please on this front. I think because I started with Wall of Winnipeg and that had the sports-to-romance balance just right for me, it set the bar high. I liked this okay but won't say anyone should rush out and get it. But if you have Kindle Unlimited it's enjoyable enough.

The Dutch House
Basic Plot: A family saga that focuses on brother-sister siblings reflecting on their childhood home, parents, and more. It reads like a memoir of the younger brother, though it is fiction.
Read Via: Audible (Narrated by Tom Hanks!)
My Verdict: Enjoyed. This wasn't groundbreaking for me or especially gripping, and yet I enjoyed the sibling dynamic in this book a lot and did become invested in each of the main characters. It made me a little nostalgic for my childhood home. I think this will be one of those books where depending on where you are in life and your own family/sibling relationships will determine how much you enjoy it. I guess that's true of most books though - what we bring to it often determines how we experience it! I definitely enjoyed Tom Hanks as the narrator because it brought a familiarity to the story since his voice was familiar. I heard one podcaster say that he was a robotic narrator, and I totally disagree. I thought was a good storyteller and he didn't over-act, which rang true to the main character for me. I think a good litmus test for this is if you enjoy Lisa Jewell's character-driven (non-suspense) novels like The Making of Us, you might like this as well.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
Basic Plot: A new woman moves in to a quiet Florida neighborhood and stirs things up at Book Club. She hints at knowing secrets and the main character (Amy) becomes unnerved since she has a dark past.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Recommend! I haven't read a page-turner like this in quite awhile! Honestly, based on the cover art and the book club angle I was expecting something more PTA/Liane Moriarty and this is not that. It's darker, and if you enjoyed books like Jar of Hearts you'll probably enjoy this. I really loved the thoughtful writing style and how smart and cunning both of the main characters were. I really can't stand moronic main characters who overlook obvious red flags in their partners/acquaintances etc., and this was the opposite of that so it was just a satisfying read on so many levels!

Roommates Wanted by Lisa Jewell
Basic Plot: Toby owns a large house that he fills up with odds and ends roommates who have no other place to go. Their lives start to overlap in interesting ways when one person dies.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Enjoyed. This is classic old school Lisa Jewell - not the newer style of suspense books she's been writing. It's a slower paced, character-driven novel, and I enjoy these on Audible. I guess it makes me feel like I'm listening to a soap opera or something where you get to know the characters and are invested in what's going to happen to them next. This one started out a bit slow and it is a little confusing at first trying to work out what relevance one character has to the next. But it does come together in an enjoyable way before too long. If you want a page-turner, this is not it. But if you want enjoyable company throughout the day, this is nice and kind feel good-ish.

Loserthink by Scott Adams
Basic Premise: ALL of us have some mental bubbles in which we live, but we have a much easier times seeing other people's rather than our own. This book aims to help us pop our bubbles and avoid engaging negatively with others who we perceive as being in a bubble.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Enjoyed/Recommend-ish. First, I'll say I didn't realize Amazon categorized this book as Political Humor when I ordered it, or I never would have done so! I personally found this more along the lines of self-improvement, and it makes a nice follow-up to Gladwell's Talking To Strangers (reviewed last month), because they both spend considerable time trying to help us all understand that as humans, we're not great at interpreting other people's thoughts or true intentions, even though we all think we are. But in the case of this book, a lot of his examples are in the political realm, hence the categorization I suppose. I enjoyed this because I like Scott's writing style. I've read similar books in the past that I've found very helpful in my own self-reflection on this topic (e.g. Being Wrong, Adventures in the Margin of Error and Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me), so a lot of this didn't feel new to me. In fact I'd read all but one of Scott's recommendations for more reading on this topic! But he did have some new-to-me and interesting ideas for engaging in debates (political or otherwise) and keeping the discussion on track for civil discourse. This isn't one I would say I recommend to everyone, but I can see myself recommending it to some people on a case-by-case basis. Let your interest in this topic be your guide on whether you pick it up or not.

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:
Inside Out by Demi Moore
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

I'm on the fence about whether to add The Dutch House here. I liked it...but maybe I just liked Tom Hanks?? Not sure! I might need time to see how memorable this one is. And for my nonfiction selections, I liked all of them enough to recommend to certain people, but not across the board.

Current Reads + Up Next:
I'm currently reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, and so far it seems like an interesting marriage of her two typical styles. I just got to 60% and the suspense is building like crazy and making me want to Pause life to finish the book! I'm just starting Thinking Fast and Slow on Audible next since a family member (Hi, Heidi!) and Scott Adams recommended it.

And that's it for November! Can't wait to hear what you've all be reading or which books from this month you'll be adding to your list! As usual I'm joining Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books so head on over there for more recommendations!

Burgundy Sweater + Back to Basics

For the past few months I've been trying to make my Monday posts something other than, "here's an outfit." I have Wednesday posts for that, and besides, most of the time my outfits don't feel worthy of an entire blog post in and of themselves! But as I constantly juggle the work-family-blog balance in my life, sometimes, "here's an outfit" is all I can manage. So today I'm keeping it simple and back to basics in terms of both my outfit and the post!
Sweater (c/o) | Jeans | Boots (SimilarSimilar) | Necklace | Handbag (c/o) 

It's still plenty warm here in San Diego, but I decided to suck it up and be a little toasty in this outfit so I could post this sweater again before it sells out. I shared this in my October Amazon Try On session, and I have to apologize because I mistakenly gave some incorrect size info. I thought I ordered this in XS, but apparently not, and I didn't realize it until I was creating this post. So I'm actually wearing a Small in this sweater, which means it's still a relaxed fit but not quite as oversized as I thought. Hopefully I didn't cause a major hassle for anyone on that, but thank goodness for free returns with Prime! This sweater is by Daily Ritual, which made the Best category in my post of Best & Worst Amazon Sweater Brands.

I linked my exact Target boots even though this color is sold out. They're still great boots and worth getting in another color if it suits your closet needs. The first Similar Option will take you to a Walmart pair that I've seen on other bloggers that look very similar to mine and are very affordable! Unfortunately they're also selling out in a lot of sizes, so the second Similar Option has more sizes, but they are a bit more expensive. These jeans are definitely one of my all time favorites from Express. They're just a great classic pair of non-distressed jeans but with a little bit of visual interest in the rinse. True to size for me and I take the Short length at 5'4".

Well I haven't done a Monday Memo in ages, but it just hasn't made sense to tack one on to a post with an entirely different theme of something like, "twelve ways to wear black pants." But since today's post is short and sweet, let's catch up a little on what's going on with the blog and in real life:

On the Blog This Week: Tomorrow is book review day! I've read some good books I'm excited to share, so stop by tomorrow if you need a recommendation. On Wednesday I'll share a day-to-night look and Friday will be my usual everyday outfits and Friday Favorites.

Aside from this week's schedule, with the holidays coming up my calendar is filling up, mostly with events and concerts related to my kids. While I love those things, it also tends to stress me out a little about my work-family-blog balance. I'm going to try to give myself grace here and miss posts here and there on the blog if I need to. I mainly put pressure on myself to keep a consistent M/W/F schedule because I just like consistency! But I hope you'll understand if I need to miss some posts here and there going forward. I am thinking I will just skip Monday posts if needed. Wednesday and Friday might seem like random days to stay consistent, but they make the most sense for my blog community engagement, and that's a big part of what makes blogging enjoyable for me!

In Real Life: Well this is sort of related to the "on the blog," but, a couple of weeks ago my computer died and I had to replace it. We had an old one on hand (normal for us since my husband works in technology...maybe not normal for other people? I'm not sure), so that's been working fine for me...except when it comes to photo editing! I re-installed my software (Lightroom) and everything looks different so I'm feeling very lost. I was overdue for a software update, and I'd been avoiding it for this exact reason! With any software it seems when I install an update there are some new things that give me a struggle. So if my pictures look different for the next little while until I figure things out...that's why. I always edited them the same basic way, and now I'm re-learning how to do that. It's been a frustrating process for me and I honestly wanted to throw in the towel entirely. Thanks to Rachelle for talking me down from the ledge this weekend! I'm trying to work through it, but ugh. Just when I think I've got something figured out, life throws me a curve ball!

On a more positive note, today is Veteran's Day so the kids will be out of school and I'll be reaching out to my favorite veteran (Older Brother #3 of 5) in appreciation for his service. The rest of the week is looking pretty ordinary, but I think this is the calm before the holiday storm. The next few weeks are filling up so I'll try to enjoy this week for what it is and and brace myself for what's next!

I hope your week gets off to a good start and see you back tomorrow for Book Reviews!


Friday Favorites 11/8/19

Happy Friday friends! I don't know about you all, but the end of Daylight Saving Time this week did a number on my body clock. I usually read for about an hour at night before bedtime, but this week I couldn't keep my eyes open at all. SoCal is also continuing to hold on to summer temps, so it's all just making me feel generally disoriented about what day/time/year it is. I think that's factoring in to my motivation (or lack thereof) to get dressed since nothing really seems right for the weather and season. I only have a few outfits to share today, and that's just how it goes sometimes!

Style Challenge Style:
Last month I started digging up old Style Challenge prompts on Pinterest to give me some motivation and inspiration for getting dressed every day. It really helped me to just have one idea to get started on an outfit instead of staring at my closet and feeling overwhelmed. I decided to keep it up for November, and I picked this Neutral November Style Challenge because sounds right up my alley. This week's outfit prompts are taken directly from that list, but I don't necessarily follow the order of the prompts. I just pick one that jumps out at me on any given day!

Casual Style:

Well, Casual Style was a pretty broad prompt but I wanted something comfortable enough for working from home yet nice enough that I didn't have to change at all to go in public for errands and activities with the kids. I settled on this utility shirt + leggings combo. This shirt is such a nice, soft material. It's true to size and easily long enough for me to wear with leggings. I would gladly own this in all of the colors, but I'm trying not to be that person anymore! It's still tough though when I find something I love that works well for my lifestyle!

Tan/Nude Shoes:

Yep...still having shorts weather here! Honestly I think our temps for the past month are rivaling Florida and Phoenix! Tan/nude shoes are pretty much a year round favorite for me, and even though I could probably have worn sandals with this I went for ankle boots just to make it "Fall."

Black Booties:

I had to cheat a little bit on this one with black mules instead of booties since it just felt too warm to wear fully covered shoes. Plus this style of shoe looks better with this length of pants. Speaking of my pants, I've noticed my Camo Jeans Outfit Ideas post from 2017 has been on the top of my "most popular" posts on my side bar lately, so it must be thanks to the season and possibly some new visitors from Pinterest. Welcome! I still can't wear these pants myself without getting some kind of wisecrack from my family about being unable to see me due to my camouflage! So if you're contemplating a pair of camo jeans or camo anything, fair warning: there will be no end to the jokes if you live with jokesters like I do!

Pedicure Favorite:
Last month I experimented with some new fall manicure colors (I recapped the colors I tried here) and this month I was in the mood for a new pedicure color. I wanted something fall-ish but not too dark. I got pretty lucky on the first try this time. CND Tinted Love is a nice plummy-berry shade. Not too dark, not too bright! You can see it on my toes above with the camo jeans.

By the way, my nails in all outfit photos this week were CND Linger Over Coffee. I linked it with the first photo but thought I'd mention it again here in cased anyone wondered and missed that!

Fitness Favorite:

(eBay link above goes to overall listing for this since the exact options available will vary. Please note the listing also shows Power Yoga for Happiness 2, which is also a good workout but not the one I'm reviewing today!)

Every week for Friday Favorites I'm highlighting just one workout that I love, and this week it's my all time favorite yoga workout, Power Yoga for Happiness. The DVD has multiple selections, so depending on how much time you have, you can choose to workout anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes. I've never actually done the full 1:20 workout but I have done everything from 30-60 minutes and enjoyed all of them. It's all the same workout, but some segments will be included/excluded depending on which time/workout you select. Anyone from beginner to advanced level can do this, and for each pose one of the background exercisers will be demonstrating the different positions for beginner, intermediate or advanced. I've even had my kids try this! I can't say they enjoyed it per se (ha!) but they're definitely yoga beginners and they made it through. For true yoga beginners it does get a little confusing your first time through when you're upside down in a pose and trying to understand the next movement he's explaining without being able to see the TV, but after just a couple of times through it gets much easier to follow.

I just love this because it's a perfect balance of deep stretching but still being challenged and actually working out. The flow is nice, and it gets into your hips and glutes so well. Especially if you choose the "Magically Hips" workout! If you spend a lot of your day sitting like I do (at the computer, in the car, waiting for kids at lessons etc.), this is a great way to stretch out those muscles that don't get reached in an ordinary stretch routine. I stretch every day, but even when I do this I'm reminded how many muscles I am not routinely reaching deep in the hips. Eoin has some quirky sayings and analogies in this workout, which at first were a little odd to me, but they've grown on me over time and now they make me smile, so between that and the deep stretching it really does contribute to my happiness when I do this workout.

Equipment Required: Yoga Mat. I guess that's optional depending on the surface on which you're doing your workout, but even though I work out on carpet, I still like having mat with some stickiness for yoga.

Well, I guess that's it for today! I couldn't think of any other favorites to share today, probably because I used up all of the "things I'm excited to share" in Wednesday's Currently post. That plus the fact that Book Review day is coming up on Tuesday encompasses all my favorites! So I'll just wrap it up for today and see you back next week!

Linking up with ErikaAndrea, and Narci for Friday Favorites


Classic Shirtdress + Currently

Today's outfit is a repeat item from my Amazon Try-On Session last month, and I was excited to wear this shirtdress out and about in the real world instead of just for  a try-on session and selfies at home. I love having a wardrobe base of classic pieces, and this dress certainly fits the bill for that!
 Dress (c/o) | Boots (c/o) [Budget]  | Similar Bag | Earrings

I honestly can't think of one negative thing to say about this dress. I guess the only possible concern would be if you're much taller than me (I'm 5'4") it might be too short. As much as I wouldn't mind being taller with longer legs, I know tall ladies do have more challenges with finding pieces that fit right, so I guess I just have to look at the bright side of being average height. The material on this is nice and soft, which is great no matter your height! Ha! It didn't seem to wrinkle much throughout the day, but that also might be because it's black so that helps conceal any wrinkles. It's true to size and comes in four other colors: olive green and three different shades of blue.
Dress (c/o) | Boots (c/o) [Budget]  | Similar Bag | Earrings

Speaking of olive green, this dress is very similar to the olive utility shirtdress I shared back in August. They're both by Daily Ritual but they have some minor differences in their details. First of all, today's dress has long sleeves with no roll-tab option. It comes in five colors, vs. just three color choices for the utility shirtdress. And finally this dress just has the one flat pocket on the bust, and the utility dress has flap pockets on both sides of the bust. Other than that, the material feels just about the same to me, as does the fit. You can't really go wrong with either one - your choice will just depend on if you have a color or detail preference that one offers vs. another.

Here's a side-by-side look at both of these:
LEFTDress (c/o) Boots (c/o) [Budget]  | Similar Bag | Earrings

You know, in looking at these together the black one looks a bit dressier to me, but that's hard to say if it's the way I have it styled with boots or if the utility dress just has a slightly more casual vibe because of the pockets or the color? I guess I might need to try wearing the olive dress with boots next to give it a more level comparison! 

That does it for the outfit details today, but it's the first Wednesday of the month which I'm joining Anne to share a few more things for her "Currently" link up. She provides the creative prompts for this, and today's participants are sharing what we're currently picking, preparing, trying, feeling, and following.

Picking...a leopard cardigan. I have two types of cardigans on my wishlist this fall: colorblock and leopard. I shared my colorblock cardigan considerations on Friday, and here are a few leopard cardigans under review:
 ONE - $98 |  TWO - $36 | THREE - $20 |  FOUR - $26

I did have a leopard cardigan from Amazon once before, but it didn't last long my closet it because it was just too oversized and I wasn't impressed with the quality. (It's this one if you're curious.) After I prepped this collage, I saw that Lisa tried on Option Two from my collage above and found that it was also way more oversized than the photo, so I don't think that one's going to make the cut for me either. I would say my options are dwindling, but for every option I eliminate, I find a new one somewhere else! I also just found this leopard cardigan at J Crew Factory (not pictured above) and I think it might be my new leading contender. It was on sale for $48 when I wrote this but now it's up to $82, so I'm definitely watching it for a better sale price.

Preparing...Friday's post little by little throughout the week. I can usually get through my Monday/Wednesday post on the weekend, then I chip away at Friday's post a few mornings/nights per week. Plus, lately it involves sharing what I wore during the week, so I can't really do that until I actually wear the clothes!

Trying...to decide what to read next! I just finished Never Have I Ever (on Kindle) and it's the most unputdownable thing I've read in awhile, so it's been tough to choose a follow up book. I actually tried three samples last night on my Kindle and couldn't get into any of them so it's back to square one again tonight. Book Reviews are coming up on Tuesday, November 12 so I'll be sharing mine and looking out for some new options to add to my list.

Feeling...Appreciative for the blogging community! Thanks everyone who gave so much good feedback and insight on the meditation struggles last week! I loved hearing from all of you! I started using another app my husband gets through his work and am doing okay with that since the sessions are very, very short! I also appreciate those who take the time to let me know when I have a broken/incorrect link. I had one on Monday and I was so glad Elibelle let me know!

Following...my sister-in-law's idea to have a Root Beer tasting party for my boys. I heard about this when she did it for my nephew's birthday and I thought it sounded like something that would be fun for my own boys and their friends. I Googled for more details and ended up on this blog with a pre-made rating sheet. I gave them each some Chex Mix too for a palette cleanser in between, of course!

I had the best luck finding lots of different brands of Root Beer at BevMo, and they ended up sampling seven different flavors!
We didn't have a clear winner with our group - each boy ended up with a different favorite but they had a lot of fun in the process. Sorry for the dark photos here - we did this in the evening and photos were an after thought!

Well, that's it for this month's edition of Currently! See you back on Friday for some favorites!

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Amazon Favorites: Jewelry

A few weeks back, I shared some of my Best and Worst Sweater Brands on Amazon, and while putting that post together, I realized some of my fashion favorites across all categories (not just sweaters) could merit a post of their own. So I'm starting a series to highlight some of my tried and true Amazon favorites. Hopefully this will help you find some new favorites too! Today I'm starting with jewelry. These pieces are all under $20, and some of the brands have pieces inspired by popular brands, but they aren't exact dupes of the original styles, so you don't have to feel like you're wearing questionable fake designer items.
LEFT: Top  (c/o) | Skirt (c/o) Sandals | Handbag (c/o)Necklace | Earrings
RIGHT: Blouse (c/o) Jeans (c/o) Boots (c/o) [Budget] | Bag (c/o) | Similar Necklace | Earrings

Lately earrings have been my favorite jewelry type to buy on Amazon, just because lately I tend to change those up more frequently than my other types of jewelry. I don't wear bracelets as much these days, especially during the winter with long sleeves. And I haven't had the best luck with budget-friendly necklaces on Amazon. The chains tend to be flimsy and lower quality than I like, but I do have one favorite necklace in the mix today.

I'll start with these $12 bohemian hoops. I've shared them more times on the blog than any of the others today so that makes a good case for them being a favorite! They're pretty lightweight and I like that they stay facing front so you can see the full hoop and chandelier detail.
 Top (c/o) | Skirt (c/o) | Sandals | Handbag (c/o) | Necklace | Earrings

Mine are the "Rose Gold" option, and that was actually the reason I got them! I only had one pair of Rose Gold earrings so I was on the hunt for another option. But if Rose Gold is not your thing, they also come in regular gold, silver and more than a dozen other variations. I tend to reach for Rose Gold more in the fall than in other season, just because I think it complements the colors of the season really nicely! Even if you experience a summery fall like me, and are limited to wearing autumn colors in summer styles.

And here's a close-up of these earrings in a top view photo:

Next up is a more recent purchase, these $13 crystal dangle earrings. I just thought these were so pretty when I saw them. Initially I wasn't sure I'd wear these much in the fall since they seem more like Springtime colors, but I've found them pretty neutral and they do complement fall tones nicely. I could have easily worn them in the outfit above in place of the bohemian hoops.
Blouse (c/o) | Jeans (c/o) | Boots (c/o) [Budget] | Bag (c/o) | Similar Necklace | Earrings

And here's a closer look at these dangle earrings. These are also not heavy at all in my opinion. The stones are pretty translucent, and I think that sort of helps them look more neutral since it's not a bold color competing with your outfit.

And last but not least on the topic of earrings are these $12 Geometric Resin Earrings. These are also by Riah Fashion, the same brand as the Bohemian Hoops.
AE Top (Sold Out) | Similar Shorts | Necklace | Earrings | Similar Sandals | Handbag (c/o)

The colors I have in these earrings are both sold out now - sorry about that! But they do seem to come out with new colors every time I check this listing to link these earrings for a post! They currently have a marbled black color that looks really cool. These are the lightest weight of the three options I'm highlighting today, so if you're very sensitive to the weight of your earrings, these are the safest bet for you:

Even though this color is sold out, I'll show you the close-up so you can see the pretty subtle glitter detail in these. Both colors I have are like this up close, and the current options seem to be the same.

These are kind of similar to the Kendra Scott Marty style, but Kendra Scott earrings are definitely nicer quality. These are just plastic, which is what makes them affordable and lightweight. Kendra Scott uses nicer stones and metals, so you do get better quality for the higher price. It's no secret I'm a fan of her jewelry and don't mind splurging on it for more classic styles. But for a fun, affordable, seasonal earring these are a really great budget-friendly option!

I only have one necklace from Amazon that I've worn a lot and consider a favorite and it's this $14 silver pendant.

The one caveat I have with this necklace is that after a year of use, it started to tarnish. I have searched high and low for a better quality replacement with a similar look to no avail. All of the similar styles I find are gold, and I already have that! I didn't end up wearing this much over the summer, but if I want to reach for it again this season I may just replace it with a new one of the exact same style since it's only $14. This is actually an essential oils diffuser necklace, but I never use it for that purpose. I just wanted the simple silver coin medallion look in a longer pendant and this was all I could find! But I still wanted to include it in my Amazon Jewelry favorites since it definitely got plenty of use when it was in good shape.

My link bracelet above is also from Amazon, and I'll give it an honorable mention. The silver is sold out, but they still have it in gold and it's a piece that's held up well over time. I like that it's a stretch link style, so it's really easy to get on and of without fussing with any kind of hook or clasp. Though I'm not wearing bracelets as much these days, I've still held on to these because I think it's a pretty classic style and easy to throw on with my watch if I feel like really going the extra mile with accessories.

Here are a few more fun finds under $15 inspired my by more popular brands. These pieces are all from Riah Fashion, which is the same brand as my Bohemian Hoops and Geometric earrings above. I've had good luck with them so far so when I browse jewelry on Amazon, this is where I start!
ONE:  Glitter Studs $12 - Similar to Kate Spade Earrings
TWO: *Emerald Cuff $12  (Very Similar) - Similar to Victoria Emerson
THREECut Out Earrings $10  - Similar to Kendra Scott Sophee
FOURResin Earrings $12 - Similar to Kendra Scott Kensley
FIVECamo Earrings $8 - Similar to Nickle & Suede
SIX: Wrap Bracelet $10 - Similar to Victoria Emerson

*Sorry! I had the wrong link for this at first and now it looks like this exact piece is out of stock. It was listed as an option under the same listing as Item Six, but Emerald is sold out now. This Listing has a very similar green wrap bracelet for only $10 (check out the "Oval Natural Stone Green" selection). And This Seller has similar options at similar prices and hundreds of positive reviews so hopefully between those additional listing you can find one you love!

I haven't quite decided how often I'll be doing an Amazon Favorites post, but I'm thinking once a month might be good. I'll be curious to see how many months it takes me to run out of favorite brands or categories! But until then, I'll be back on Wednesday with a new favorite dress from Amazon (previewed in my October Try On Session) plus what I'm currently picking, preparing, trying, feeling, and following so I hope you'll stop by and say hi!