6/21/17

Summer Favorites and Modest Alternates Part 1

10 comments |
It's the first official day of summer, and the weather around here has been sure to leave no doubt about that! With the heat lately I've been wearing my usual summer staples of shorts, tank tops, and camis because I have a casual, stay-at-home mom lifestyle that allows me to do that. But in thinking of the majority of my friends and family members in real life, what I wear is only realistic for them on the weekend, or not at all if they prefer more conservative styles for various reasons. So today I wanted to try something new-ish and share some alternative options to pieces I've been loving lately. I specifically tried to choose more modest pieces that fully cover the shoulders and the cleavage, and they can be worn with a regular bra (no strapless!).  Oh, and they needed to be under $35 since I don't really like to pay more than that for tops myself!

These are some of my recent favorite tops, and as you can tell I've been trying a lot of the current trends in top styles this summer (e.g, cold shoulders, off-the-shoulder, and peplum details). I'm sharing three alternates below for each one of these. They either have a pretty similar look or are just an alternate item with a similar detail that could be styled the same way.

Blue Cold Shoulder Top:
Top: c/o SheIn | Necklace: Stella & Dot (Similar, Gift) | Shorts: Target (Similar) | Sandals: Target | Bag: Sole Society

Alternates:

One $15 | Two $27 | Three $22


Peplum Cami
Cami: Amazon | Necklace: CCO (Gift, Similar) | Jean Shorts: Old Navy (Similar) | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: Amazon | Ring: Kendra Scott "Daisy" | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks 

Alternates: 
One $35 | Two $10 | Three $18

One Shoulder Top:
Top: Abercrombie | Shorts: Target (Similar) | Shoes: Target | Bag: c/o Charming Charlie | Necklace: Pictures on Gold (Gift) | Ring: Stella & Dot

Alternates:
One $27 (with current sale price) | Two $20 | Three $27

* * *

Well this was definitely an eye-opening experience for me so I hope it was helpful to some of you! It ended up being more difficult than I expected to find similar pieces with more coverage than average given the current trends and season. On Friday I will share Part Two of this theme with three more pieces I'm loving this summer along with their "more coverage" counterparts so stay tuned! And for my blogger friends, don't forget to link-up below!


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6/19/17

Amazon Shopping Tips and Tricks

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A couple of years ago, I was heading out on a family vacation and realized I didn't have a good travel-sized bag to take with me. My handbags were small to medium size and wouldn't fit all of the extra things I like to carry with me on an airplane like a magazine, book, snacks, etc. I didn't have time to go driving around to multiple stores to see if I could find something I liked for a reasonable price. I already had an Amazon Prime account, but I had never shopped there for fashion-related items. At that point Prime seemed like my only option to get a bag in time without paying exorbitant expedited shipping rates. I ended up finding a bag I liked  (posted here), and that experience ended up being a game changer in my shopping habits. While shopping for that bag, I stumbled on a bunch of other cute, affordable bags and things, so I started a wishlist and made more purchases here and there. Nowadays I'm a very frequent Amazon shopper! In the past couple of years I have learned some effective strategies for digging and finding "the good stuff" on Amazon, so that's what I'm sharing with you today.

Shoes and Bags are my top two favorite departments when it comes to Amazon Fashion, so here's a look at some of my still-in-stock, most-loved picks:
All bags from Amazon, Shoes in Outfit Two and Three from Amazon. Full Details Below.

Outfit One:
Top: Abercrombie | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar) | Bag: Amazon | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

Outfit Two:
Jacket: Nordstrom (Similar) | Tee: Express (Similar) | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Amazon | Ring: Express (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott

Outfit Three:
Top: Charming Charlie | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot

My Strategies for Finding the Best Fashion Items on Amazon:

1. Take Your Time
While I was on a "deadline" with my initial Amazon quest for a specific bag and that worked out well, usually the items I end up sharing on the blog have been a few weeks in the making. That includes time to run numerous searches (more on that below), buy multiple possible options, compare them in person, then return the ones that don't make the final cut. Sometimes none make the cut in person and I have to go back to the drawing board altogether. Planning ahead and not being in a rush improves your chances of finding something great. Occasionally I get lucky on the first try, but the more time I have to search before I need to wear or share an item, the better chance I have to get something I love vs. something that does the job.

2. Make Lists
Let's say you're on the hunt for a new Pink Crossbody Bag. Start by searching that term on Amazon since it's the first that came to your mind. Make a Shopping List on your Amazon Account and save items to that folder that look somewhat like what you had in mind. They don't have to be exactly what you want. They might be too big or too small or not the right shade of pink or not even pink at all but exactly the bag you wish they made in pink but it's only in black! It just has to be close enough in some way to drop a hint to Amazon that you want a certain type of bag. Once you do that, they will start making suggestions for you. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think there are certain items on Amazon you can only find by their suggestion. They will not show up in a generic term search, but after I've browsed a similar item, new items I've never seen anywhere before even though I've searched for that option will start showing up on their suggested options.

After steps 2-4 below, you'll find several ways to bring up new items. I recommend saving anything that looks like your style to one of your lists. Even if you're not in the market for it right then, it seems to help Amazon understand your taste and provide better recommendations for you. I have several lists on my Amazon accounts with a few dozen items I'll probably never purchase. But they're placeholders and hints for Amazon, and sometimes I start my searching from those items if it's in the general category (e.g. bags, shoes, tops) of what I want to find.

2. Change Your Search Terms
This step is probably the most effective trick I've learned. Let's say you ran your initial search for a Pink Crossbody Bag and didn't find quite what you wanted. Start thinking of synonyms and related terms to change out for your next Amazon search. e.g. Blush Crossbody Bag, Light Pink Crossbody Bag, Dusty Rose Crossbody Bag, Pink Satchel, Pink Handbag, etc. If at first you don't succeed with your search, try, try again...with a slightly different term each time. What I consider to be a crossbody bag might simply be labeled a purse (or handbag/satchel/clutch etc.) by a Korean handbag company, so many options that might be what I actually wanted won't show up on my first search. And it's not just a language barrier. Amazon searches don't seem to get the gist of my searches so I have to work around that. If a company used the term "Pale Pink" and you searched "Light Pink," Amazon might not show you that option in your search. What I call "beige," another brand might call "khaki" or "nude" or "taupe." A "wrap front top" can be a "crossover top," and even "top" could be switched out for "blouse" or "shirt." Each minor change you make to your search terms will yield new results. The more alternate terms you can think of to swap in, the better chance you have of finding exactly what you want. (And now you can see how this leads back to Point One of how long all of this searching can take!)

4. Check Out Amazon's Suggestions
In my opinion this is the second most important trick. Going back to the Pink Crossbody example, let's say you've clicked on an "almost but not quite" bag that came up in your original search. Underneath the product details, Amazon will display multiple other products on scrolling widgets with labels like "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..." or "Sponsored Products Related to this Item." Along the same lines of what I said in Step Two, start clicking on any of the items displayed that look remotely like what you want. Even if they're the wrong size or color, click them if they appeal to you on any level. When I'm shopping for something on Amazon I end up with a dozen tabs open on my browser. As I go through them I decide whether they are worth saving to a list or not, but every Suggested Option that I click brings up some new Suggested Options that I haven't seen on any of my previous searches.

5. Click the Brand Name
Somewhere in all of that clicking and searching of pink, light pink, pale pink, blush, rose blush, soft blush and so on, let's say you found a bag you really liked but it's the wrong size. Click on the Brand Name of that bag. (It's hyperlinked in small text above the name of the product next to the photo.) Once again, doing this brings up options from that brand that didn't seem to show up in my other searches. And once again, clicking on any of those options will lead to other Suggested Items that you haven't seen before. I've founds several pieces this way, like my taupe shoes in Outfit Two.

Does all of that sound like you've just gone down the Rabbit Hole of Amazon? If so, then great! You're on the right track to finding good stuff! After two years of doing these Rabbit Hole searches, I feel like Amazon has gotten better at making suggestions for me. So while it does take a long time, it doesn't take as long as it did at first and the suggestions have gotten much better. Also, it probably goes without saying that none of this is really applicable if you already know the specific brand and item you want and just want to know if Amazon carries it. E.g. My Dolce Vita Sandals (pictured in Outfit Three above) were not hard to find because I knew the exact brand and style I wanted, it was just a matter of finding whether Amazon carried them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate Partner but I was not asked to write this post nor compensated for writing it by Amazon (or any other brand). This post was created in response to a reader request for information on how I find things on Amazon. I do receive shopping credits from Amazon through my affiliate partnership and any items purchased with those credits are always designated c/o (courtesy of) in my posts. Any items without that designation were purchased with my own money. And as always indicated by my sidebar disclaimer, I do use affiliate links on my site for products I discuss, so any purchase made after clicking through a link on my site may result in a commission for me from that sale. This does not add any cost to the consumer and is simply a way for retailers to thank bloggers for referring traffic to them. And to those of you who read my blog and choose to support me through your clicks, purchases, page views, and comments - thank you! I very much appreciate your support! You are literally (and I avoid using that word as much as possible!) the reason I am able to continue maintaining this blog!

* * *
I hope all of this was helpful and gave you some new ideas to try for shopping on Amazon! I decided to do this post today in place of my Monday Motivation because, well, I was motivated to respond to a reader request in a timely manner and this was the best time for me to do it!


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6/16/17

Outfit Recap 6/16/17

4 comments |
Well, we survived our first week of summer break! And by "we"...I mostly mean my kids survived! I have never seen them more physically exhausted at the end of the day than I have this week thanks to their surfing camp. It was challenging but they loved it. (If you're local or just planning a trip to San Diego and interested you can check out the camp here.) As for me, I am going to continue with the format of posting my Outfit Recap/Outfit Singles on Friday (v.s Saturday). Three posts per week is helping me survive the blog-life balance issues and I am all about that. That said, let's get to the point with a review of what I wore this past week for some warm days and long commutes to and from camp!

Outfit Recap:


Peach Tee, Jean Shorts:
Tee: Abercrombie | Shorts: Nordstrom Rack (Similar) | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Necklace: Express | Bag: Amazon|

While I do think this tee runs true to size, I opted to size up for a more relaxed fit. Ironically it's called the "Relaxed Tee" but I didn't find the fit very relaxed. Maybe they meant that it's good for relaxing? Regardless, it's very comfy, only $10 and comes in a bunch of other colors, including a striped version I ordered that I'll be sharing here soon.

White Denim Jacket, Black Striped Skirt:
Jacket: 6pm | Tank: Target | Skirt: Express | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Shoes: Sam Edelman |
Bag: c/o Amazon |

I gave the full scoop on this white denim jacket in this recent post, but it does run true to size and has some good stretch to make it comfortable and easy to move in. I also opted to size up in this striped mini skirt to make the length and fit a little less revealing.

White Eyelet Cami, Black Jeans:
Cami: BR | Shorts: J Crew Factory | Necklace: Pictures on Gold (gift) | Bag: c/o Amazon | Sandals: c/o Amazon | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

I wore the blue version of this eyelet cami earlier this week (see it here), but I loved it so much I had to get both colors. It does run true to size, as do each of the other pieces shown here.

White Eyelet Cami, Black Shorts:
Cami: BR | Shorts: J Crew Factory | Necklace: Pictures on Gold (gift) | Bag: c/o Amazon | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

This was a "half and half" day where I spent half the day in shorts and half the day in pants thanks to cool mornings and hot afternoons. I realize this outfit is 90% redundant to the previous version, but I try to share both options when I have them since I find my blog readers to be about half and half too! (Half need to wear pants for the majority their lifestyle, half relate to the more casual looks.)

White Tie Sleeve Blouse, Jeans:
Top: c/o SheIn | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Bag: Sole Society | Shoes: Amazon | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

This top is One Size which is a little risky, but I really don't have any short sleeve blouses, and I liked the fact that I wouldn't need to fuss with tucking it in since it has a crossover front. I also thought the tie detail on the shoulder was fun. It is a bit wide (which you can't tell with my arms down at my side like this) but I think it's just meant to be oversized/relaxed fit that way. It's also hard to tell from the photo with the white background but it does also go long in the back. (So...it's like a mullet top I guess? Short in the front, long in the back!)

* * *
It's Father's Day this weekend and I'm sure mine is going to be a little extra-emotional since it's my first without my dad (he passed away back in November). But I still have much to be grateful for, particularly the fact that my own children have a great father (a.k.a. my husband)! We have some fun activities planned with friends that I'm hoping will be a good distraction from the more difficult feelings of grief and loss. If you're in the same boat where Father's Day isn't exactly the happiest holiday for you for one reason or another, you'll be in my thoughts this weekend and I hope you can turn yours into Sunday Funday full of good distractions too!



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6/14/17

Lace Date Night Top + Linkup

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One of my favorite things about summer is the social energy in the air.  People are (understandably) a lot more willing to get out of their houses and meet up when the weather is pleasant! Summer is also practically the only season where I don't have to layer on a jacket or coat for the entire evening, so it feels like an added bonus that my night-out/date night pieces actually get to be seen! With this lace peplum top I think it can be dressed up or down, but since I had an opportunity to wear it dressed up for my husband's birthday dinner last weekend, I took it!

Top: c/o Tobi | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Kendra Scott (Gift) | Shoes: Target | Bag: Express | Bracelet: Stella & Dot (Similar)

The pretty detail on this top from Tobi caught my eye instantly, but it also comes in a gorgeous blush shade so I had a hard time choosing between the two colors! I opted for white just because I thought it would have more contrast against my skin, which I like in general but pay more attention to as a result of blogging and wanting my readers to be able to see the details! It runs true to size, and it does have a zipper up the back to make it easier to get on and off. The code TN50 currently makes this top under $30!

Front View:
Top: c/o Tobi | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Kendra Scott (Gift) | Shoes: Target | Bag: Express | Bracelet: Stella & Dot (Similar)

Tobi currently has free shipping on orders of $50, so in case you need another option to hit that free shipping threshold here are all three of my Tobi pieces. I will link to the exact item below along with my original post about each piece with further details on fit and so on, but in general I found the sizing and quality to be very comparable to Express.

 Lace Top | Striped Dress (Original post here) | Cold-Shoulder Top (Original post here)

Hope you are all having a good week so far and I'll see you back with another post on Friday!


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6/12/17

Blue Eyelet Cami + Being Assertive

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It's the first full week that the kids are out of school here and I feel like I've entered an alternate universe! Mine are signed up for some fun day camps throughout the summer (like surf camp this week!) to prevent their boredom and protect my sanity, but it's going to be a nice change of pace from the regular school year schedule. Speaking of a change of pace, every since Express stopped making my favorite cami (the Barcelona Cami), I've been trying out camis from different brands and so far, Banana Republic is taking the solid lead as my new favorite. I've had really good luck with the fit, quality and pricing (since their 40% off sales are so frequent), including this blue eyelet cami.

Cami: Banana Republic | Shoes: Target | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: c/o Amazon | Ring: "Daisy" c/o Kendra Scott  | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

This cami ran true-to-size for me and has a nice amount of stretch to make it easy to get on and off. It doesn't have a side zipper like the other cami they make that I love (see I how I wore it in navy here and champagne here) but it doesn't really need it because the material on this is different (softer and stretchier). I love where the neckline hits and that it doesn't gape open at all when I move around or bend forward. I also love the curved hemline so I don't have to fuss with tucking it in. 

Front View: 

Shop the Look:



Monday Motivation: Being Assertive
Last week was the last week of school, and I was ready to end the year on a high note with parties and and celebrations all week. But then there was an "incident" at school on Monday while I happened to be on campus to help out with one of the events. I wanted to ignore the issue just to keep the peace and finish up the year. It wasn't a major problem and it would have been easy to just let it go with only three days left, and I'm sure it would be forgotten by next Fall. But I didn't feel good about that because it involved my child feeling he had been wronged by a teacher (part of which I witnessed thanks to being there that day), and he was very concerned about clearing up the issue for his own personal sanity. (I am trying to carefully respect the privacy of the parties involved, so I apologize for the vague explanation of the issue. It's not at all serious, otherwise I wouldn't think of letting it go or even discussing it here.)

When I was finished helping out, I went out to my car and called my husband to get his input on whether this issue was worth escalating. After he agreed that yes, it was, I took some deep breaths and went back in to ask for a meeting with the principal in hope of some resolution. Even as an adult, meeting with the principal is intimidating! I have a lot of respect for our school principal, and I don't want to be "that parent" who causes trouble for her or complains a lot, etc. I briefly explained my concerns as calmly as I could, and she was courteous and professional as always. By that night I had an email from the teacher involved explaining her side of the incident, and that helped clear the air because I knew the principal had explained my son's situation to her, and I also completely understood her choice of actions based on the information she had at the time. Then I talked with my son again to help him better understand her position so we can all move forward.

I recently shared about strengthening my risk-taking muscle, but last week's issue reminded me that my assertive muscle is can pretty weak too due to lack of exercise! I am just not in a lot of situations anymore where I need to speak up about something or confront someone. When the moment arises, doubts and discomfort step in. It is so much easier said than done to, "just talk to them about it!" I was glad that I spoke up this time, but there have been other times when I didn't and probably should have.

Being assertive is a valuable skill that I am motivated to cultivate not just for myself but as a parent.  I remember my mom intervening on my behalf in middle school when I wanted the teacher to move my seats to get me away from a boy who was relentlessly teasing me. I wasn't comfortable discussing it with the teacher so my mom made the call for me (which probably wasn't easy for her!) and I was extremely grateful for that. I want my kids to be able to count on me to step in when they need a little backup! After "the incident" last week I read a few articles to see what I could learn to be more prepared if and when I find myself in one of those situations again. This explanation of assertiveness from WikiHow accurately explains my objectives: "Being assertive falls right in the middle of being passive and being aggressive. If you're passive, you'll never get to vocalize your needs; if you're aggressive, you'll look like a big bully and will likely be misdirecting your frustrations. But if you're assertive, you'll be able to express your desires while respecting the needs of others, and you'll have a better chance of getting what you want and deserve."

So that's my something I'm personally motivated to work on right now...maintaining the assertive mindset! (In a polite, respectful manner, of course!) As always I love hearing from you all if have books, articles, tips or experiences that have helped you improve in this area!


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6/9/17

Outfit Recap 6/9/17

7 comments |
School is officially out for summer and I am feeling a huge sense of relief! The last two weeks were a whirlwind of activities, mixed with range of feelings from excitement, disbelief (how did the time pass so quickly?!) and even a little sadness with my oldest finishing up elementary school. But I that's just life and we keep taking it one day at a time. Here are a few outfits I wore this past week for doctor appointments, errand running, and the 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony...in that order!

Outfit Recap:

Navy Cami, Neutral Cardi:
Cami: Banana Republic | Cardi: TargetJeans: Express | Shoes: Target | Bag: Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift)

Pink Blouse, Jean Shorts:
Top: Gap (Exact in Black and White Only - Similar Option One and Two in Pink) | Shorts: Target (Similar) | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Stella & Dot (Similar, Gift) | Bag: c/o Fossil

Grey Blazer, White Tank:
Blazer: Express | Tank: Target | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Forever 21 (Similar) | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie (Similar) | Bracelet: Just Fab (Similar)

Nail colors in all pics:
Mani: OPI Let's Be Friends (Discontinued, Similar)
Pedi: Essie Flowerista

I have a few readers who prefer the front view individual photo version so if you fall in that category...here you go!

Navy Cami, Neutral Cardi:
Cami: Banana Republic | Cardi: TargetJeans: Express | Shoes: Target | Bag: Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift)

Pink Blouse, Jean Shorts:
Top: Gap (Exact in Black and White Only - Similar Option One and Two in Pink) | Shorts: Target (Similar) | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Stella & Dot (Similar, Gift) | Bag: c/o Fossil

Grey Blazer, White Tank:
Blazer: Express | Tank: Target | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Forever 21 (Similar) | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie (Similar) | Bracelet: Just Fab (Similar)

That's it for this week! The kids are out of school today and I'm hoping the sun comes out soon enough for us to go to the pool to celebrate the start of Summer Break! I hope you have some fun weekend plans too!


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6/7/17

White Cold Shoulder Top + Linkup

14 comments |
This week I haven't had a lot of brain space to give to outfit planning since I'm using it all to help plan end-of-the-year classroom parties and finalize the summer activity schedule for the kids. It's the last week of school and while it's all fun and games for the kids, it's a different story for the moms! I'm finding that white tops of just about any variety are my go-to when I want no-brainer styling because they're just so simple to style. Grab any any color of jeans (I love black, grey, and blue with white tops) and almost any shoes and it's hard to go wrong.

Top: c/o Tobi (True to size) | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar) | Necklace: Gift (Similar) | Nails: OPI Let's Be Friends (Similar)

This top is my second piece in my Tobi collaboration (see my striped dress from Tobi here) and I am really pleased with the quality of the pieces for their price points (e.g. this top is currently $26). I think the quality is very comparable to Express pieces and the sizing has been the same for me as well. Shipping time was also very prompt for me, but I believe they shipped out of LA and I'm only two counties away, so your shipping time may vary!

My sleeve detail is blocking this bag a bit, but I do believe I stumbled upon another "Designer Look for Less" favorite here! My grey satchel is one of my most-used bags lately because it's such a great neutral (see it here), but I wanted a more casual option since structured bags can look more dressy. I wasn't even trying to find a "Designer Look For Less" item when I found this, I really just liked the look and style. But a lot of the reviewers mentioned it and gave it excellent reviews to boot, so I went for it and am really pleased with it!

My sandals are several years old but I reach for them year after year and am glad they have held up! Sometimes I have a hard time finding a decent dupe for these but right now there is a very similar pair at Nordstrom that's currently stocked in all sizes.

Front View:
Top: c/o Tobi (True to size) | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar) | Necklace: Gift (Similar) | Nails: OPI Let's Be Friends (Similar)

Just a simple outfit and a simple post for today! Hope you'll join Amy Ann and me for Style on the Daily by linking up your recent posts below!


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6/5/17

White Denim Jacket + Abstain vs. Moderate

11 comments |
It's the last week of school here and we are so excited for summer break! I'm hoping that summer weather will be joining us here to accompany summer break, but San Diego weather has mainly been living up to its "May Gray" and "June Gloom" reputation, so an extra jacket or cardigan layer is essential. I've been wanting a casual white jacket for awhile, but when I searched around, there were hardly any options aside from a white denim jacket. I wasn't too sure about that particular option at first, but Pinterest convinced me it was a solid option (assuming you don't mind dressing like a supermodel) as you'll see below!

Front View:
Jacket: 6pm | Tee: Express | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Stella & Dot (Gift, Similar) | Bracelet: Charmed Stacks | Shoes: Dolce Vita c/o Amazon | Bag: Sole Society

Outfit Notes:
Once I decided I was ready to take the plunge on a white denim jacket, I went straight to Mavi, because they made my light blue denim jacket (see it here), and the cut and fit of that one is perfect. It wasn't the most affordable option but it's been well worth the splurge. Sure enough, Mavi makes the same style of jacket in white, and it was $98 on both the Mavi site and at Macy's. I was thinking I could wait for a Macy's coupon code and get a decent deal, but then I stumbled across the exact jacket at 6pm for $65 with free shipping! The risk was that I would have to pay return shipping if it didn't work out (vs. free returns in-store to Macy's), but I was willing to take the risk for such significant savings. Luckily I didn't have to return it because it fit true to size and is just what I wanted. It's very soft and comfortable and has plenty of stretch for easy movement. If you're considering a white denim jacket I highly recommend this one!

Front View:

Shop the Look:


I knew that a white jacket would go with plenty of things in my closet, but I just wasn't sure if they were "in" anymore. Or are they a classic piece like a regular denim jacket? I couldn't decide for myself, so I was encouraged to find that models like Gigi Hadid and Kate Upton (below), who are always on-trend are currently wearing white denim jackets. Better yet they are outfits that can be fairly easily duplicated, so I may try one of these combos next time:

If you're on the fence about a white denim jacket I pinned a few more current outfit ideas to this Pinterest board. Most of them can be easily re-created with wardrobe basics, and this one inspired my own outfit above!

Monday Motivation: Abstain vs. Moderate
Last week, I had an fun full-circle moment. I just finished listening to the Audible version of Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. It's all about how different types of people respond and adapt differently to habit change attempts, and how to go about changing our habits (based on the type of person that we are) so we ultimately become "better than before." I'll review it more in my June book reviews, but there was a part of this book where she talked about Moderators vs. Abstainers (her blog also has a similar breakdown if you are interested in learning more) that's helping me with time management right now. Some people are better off taking a moderate approach (e.g. "I'm allowed to have one cupcake once a week), other people are better abstaining entirely (e.g. "I don't eat cupcakes at all because if I try to have one, I end up eating a dozen.)
Image + Book via Amazon

I was nodding my head in agreement with that segment of the book, but it was also ringing some blogger bells. I remembered reading a blog post along similar lines, and sure enough, Kristen had posted about this topic. Her post was inspired by this post, and (you guessed it) that post was inspired by the book Better than Before! VoilĂ ! Full Circle.

So getting back to the point, every Monday (almost!) I post a little bit here about my ongoing attempt to stay motivated to work on my self-improvement goals. Time management is a constant focus for me, and social media is one of the obstacles that slows me down.  Last week I mentioned needing to cut back on social media time (at least temporarily) to keep up with some real-life demands, and Instagram Stories were first thing on the chopping block. They are my most time consuming form of social media, and I knew I needed to set some limits. It's too easy to start watching one story and let the whole feed loop through. Plus, I don't know about you, but it bothers me aesthetically to have some of those little story circles at the top show "Full" while others are "Empty." I like them all to look the same!

The book reminded me about the moderator vs. abstainer characteristics, but I don't think I fall into one set category every time. I think both strategies work for me depending on the issue, and sometimes I have to try both to see what sticks. I am a good moderator at some things (e.g. if I tell myself I'm only going to have two cookies, I can stick to those two cookies). But with other things, I'm not good at moderating and it's just easier to abstain entirely. Ice cream falls in that category for me. It's easier for me to not taste it at all than it is to start eating and find a good place to stop, because I always seem to want one more bite!

It seems that Instagram Stories is my Ice Cream of social media. I decided to try abstaining from it last week, and while it was tempting to watch the stories of "just my close blog/IG friends" or "just that one blogger who seems like someone I would be friends with in real life," I didn't. I knew if I started I would get sucked into one or two more stories and then I'd want all the circles to be the same again, so I'd go through the whole feed. So I just didn't start. And you know, it felt really good. I felt back in control. Initially I had plenty of FOMO (what if they show a really cute outfit? What if they say something interesting and controversial!), but it subsided quickly as I filled my time with other things I actually needed to be doing or even just reading a book when I wanted to relax. I felt like I was using my time more wisely, and since I wasn't cut off from social media entirely, I was still able to get my social fix.

I'm not saying this is a change that everyone needs to make or even a permanent one for me. But it's one I needed to make at least temporarily to accommodate my real life commitments. So far it's working and I need to continue at least through this week!

If you've tried moderating or abstaining from social media or any other vices, I'd love to hear about your experience and what strategies worked for you...or didn't!


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