10/21/17

Charming Charlie Favorites + Free Shipping

2 comments |
Hey Friends! I just saw that Charming Charlie is having Free Shipping, no minimum through today so I wanted to hop on here and share a few of my favorites! Normally they have a $50 minimum for free shipping, and none of my favorites cost that much! So if you've ever wanted to try something without paying for shipping, this is the time!

1. Stone Pendant Necklace
Cardigan (c/o) | Cami | Necklace (c/o) | Shoes (On Sale) | Similar Jeans (Same Brand-On Sale) | Tory Burch Handbag (Sold Out, Shop Designer Leopard Handbags)

This necklace is from their Premium Collection so it's a little bit pricier than their usual items. It's also much nicer quality, and I've been reaching for it a lot since I got it:
More Outfit Details in previous posts: ONE (See Above) |  TWO | THREE

2. Silver Filigree Necklace
This silver filigree necklace is another favorite and on sale for only $8! Such a simple but pretty piece.
Tee | Cardigan | Jeans (40% Off) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Bracelet 

3. Tassel Necklace
My pictures don't really do justice to the white stone in the center of this necklace. It's much prettier in person with a a nice opalescent look to it. It's lightweight, easy to dress up or down, and only $15.
Cardigan | Cami | Jeans (40% off) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o)

4. Layered Medallion Necklace
This one does get a bit tangled with the two layers so it's not quite as much my favorite as the others, but it's a fun way to try the medallion trend at a low price!
Top | Jeans (On Sale) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Watch | Bracelet | 

Hope you get to snag something fun for yourself to take advantage of the free shipping and have a great Saturday!


10/20/17

Everyday Outfits 10/20/17

3 comments |
Welcome back to another Friday outfit recap! We had a crazy heat wave this week with temps in the upper 90s, so I didn't end up wearing a lot of outfits that seem worth sharing this time of year! But I did have a couple of appointments and errands that seemed better suited to pants and/or covered shoulders, so here's what I wore on those days. And naturally, after those appointments/errands I ditched the cardi and changed into shorts!

Outfit Recap:

1. Burgundy Cardigan, Lace Trim Cami:

Fit Notes: I'm wearing a Small in this cardigan (see another outfit with it here), and I think it runs true to size. It doesn't come in XS but if that's your normal size the Small should still work since it's not oversized. All other pieces in this outfit ran true to size.

2. Blush Cardigan, Black Cami

Fit Notes: All items ran true to size for me.

3. Plaid Shirt, Plum Bag:
Plaid Shirt | Jeans | Gray Boots | Necklace (Family Gift) | Earrings | Bracelet (c/o) | Bag Option 

Fit Notes: All pieces ran true to size, with the exception of these boots. I took a half-size down in these. Full post with this outfit (plus more shopping options for plaid shirts and plum bags) here.


Instagram View:
Here's the top view of these outfits with the angle I typically share on Instagram. I like to put these in here too when I can since they often give a better look at jewelry and bags.
 
1. Burgundy Cardigan, Lace Trim Cami:

2. Blush Cardigan, Black Cami

3. Plaid Shirt, Plum Bag:
Plaid Shirt | Jeans | Gray Boots | Necklace (Family Gift) | Earrings | Bracelet (c/o) | Bag Option 

This post is feeling awfully short after last week's recap with seven outfits, but we also had half-days of school this week for parent-teacher conferences, so I had about half as much time to put it together! I think normally I might feel guilty for having a "short" post, but thanks in part to all of your feedback and comments on Monday's post about finding balance, I'm a little more at peace with it! Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!


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10/18/17

Plaid and Plum + Link Up

14 comments |
Old Navy isn't one of my go-to stores for myself, but it is one of my favorite places to shop for my kids. Sometimes when I'm shopping for their clothes...I accidentally end up finding one or two things I wouldn't mind for myself. That was exactly the case with this white and black plaid shirt.

Shirt | Jeans | Boots | Necklace (Family Gift) | Earrings | Bracelet (c/o) | Bag Options Below

When I saw it I was immediately reminded of a similar plaid shirt by Rails that I've seen on numerous celebrities, like Kate Hudson. It's not an identical match but it's an an excellent budget-friendly option and $30 and it's so soft and comfortable! I'd say it's a light-to-medium weight material: not too summery-thin but also not a thick flannel. It ran true to size for me and runs fairly long so it stays tucked in easily, although it's not quite long enough to wear on its own with leggings

My boots are from Express, and I consistently order a half-size down in their shoes. These actually have a little more padding in the foot bed than their shoes usually do so I was pleasantly surprised by that!

Rails makes several other plaid print options and they're some of my favorites on the market. But if a brand name splurge isn't in the budget, there are several other prints at Old Navy in the exact style as the shirt I'm wearing above that could be styled the same was the designer options:
Top Row: Shop Rails Shirts
Bottom Row: Shop Old Navy Plaid Shirts

Last weekend I did a seasonal closet clean out, including bringing out some of my bigger fall bags like this plum studded option from Amazon a couple of years back:
Shirt | Jeans | Boots | Necklace (Family Gift) | Earrings | Bracelet (c/o) | 

Mine is sold out in this color (although still available in the tan version which I also own), but there are lots of great options from high to low end for this color of bag in similar styles:

1. Shop Michael Kors Bags (Larger Mercer Tote)
2. Aldo Bag $40
3. Shop Rebecca Minkoff Bags (Regan Satchel)
4. Amazon Bag $60 (I have this in Black and Blush and it's a favorite!)
5. Shop Milly Bags (Large Satchel) 
6. Amazon Bag $70

Before I go I just wanted to say thank you to the handful of you who already Liked my page over on Facebook! I had a page when I first started the blog but found it too much to manage so many social media accounts. I'm finally trying to get going again over there again because I have a few ideas for things I want to try to engage with you all a little more and I'm hoping Facebook will be the right platform for it. So if you're on Facebook and have a chance to like my page it would be greatly appreciated! And if you're a blogger, don't forget to link up below. See you on Friday!


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10/16/17

Olive Ruffle Hem Jacket + Monday Motivation

16 comments |
Well, I am not feeling ready for another Monday at all, but Mondays are a mandatory part of life so here we go again! I spent a good part of the weekend doing a seasonal closet sorting and managed to get my husband and kids to go through theirs, too. It wasn't anybody's favorite weekend activity and it doesn't have me feeling rested and ready to take on a new week, but it felt good to be productive. I'm sharing a little more about the struggle to stay on top of everything in my Monday Motivation series today, but first, let's talk clothes.


This outfit might look very familiar from this post...the only difference is I'm wearing jeans here instead of shorts. The pictures were actually from the same day, just taken at different times when I alternated shorts/pants as the weather fluctuated throughout the day.

Fit Notes: My jacket runs true-to-size with a roomy/boxy fit. My jeans are from Express earlier this year and I'm sorry to see they are already sold out. I'll keep an eye out for a re-stock, but in the meantime this pair looks fairly similar and reasonably priced. My bag looks to be sold out in my color, but the black (which I also own) is still available.

Monday Motivation: Balancing it all...or not
Lately I've been feeling like I am never going to be caught up on things around the house. Despite the fact that we did a good closet cleaning this weekend, staying on top of the other stuff like pictures (we take so many in this day and age with our smartphones always in hand, and blogging on top of that takes the picture load to a ridiculous level), files, mail, paperwork, and de-cluttering is exhausting if not impossible to keep up on all of it. It's the whole "shoveling snow in a snowstorm" feeling. I love a clean, organized space, but wow is it a time consuming and never-ending project!

I'm also finding that two of my New Year Goals/Values this year (posted here) tend to conflict with each other. It's tough to strike a balance between effective time management (including productivity) and building strong relationships. If I'm killing it on the domestic front and staying caught up on household chores, paperwork, picture sorting etc., it probably means I'm not spending much quality time with friends and family!

I wish I had some solutions or helpful hints to share here but unfortunately that's not the case today. Maybe this week I just needed to commiserate because I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to this in some way. I am motivated to keep trying and making what little progress I can rather than give up entirely, but I can't help wishing for a better solution and a point where I truly feel caught up. How do you all stay on top of things? Or how do you stay at peace when staying on top isn't an option anymore?  As always, I'm very much looking forward to your feedback on this one!

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10/13/17

Everyday Outfits 10/13/17

16 comments |
Hello and happy Friday! It's been another typical week here with the exception of Wednesday night. We attended a Cow by Bear dinner party, which I'd never heard of prior to the invitation. Basically a bear (i.e. a person in a bear costume) cooks dinner for a small group in a location that feels more like a private home than a restaurant. After the experience I still don't understand the purpose of the bear costume, but it was a fun evening and the food was delicious regardless! I didn't take pictures of what I wore to that because I was rushing out the door, but here are my everyday outfits from this week. Express is having a storewide 40% off sale again this weekend, so I've noted the pieces that are part of the promotion.

Outfit Recap:
All pieces run true-to-size unless otherwise noted.

Rust Cardigan, White Cami:
Cardigan (c/o) | Cami | Necklace (c/o) | Shoes (On Sale) | Similar Jeans (Same Brand-On Sale) | Tory Burch Handbag (Sold Out, Shop Designer Leopard Handbags)

Fit Notes: My rust cardigan is TTS. Normally I wear an XS in cardigans at Express but I'm wearing a Small in this since it doesn't come in XS. It's a little roomy but since it's not a piece that needs to be especially fitted I didn't mind the sizing. I ordered a half-size down in these taupe mules.

Olive Moto Jacket, White Tee:
Tee (c/o Shopbop) | Jeans (On Sale) | Bag (On Clearance) | Shoes | Jacket Options Below

My olive moto jacket above is from Nordstrom last year (sold out). I didn't find one that I thought was a perfect dupe so I opted to show you a few similar options at multiple price points that could easily be styled the same way:
One ($33) | Two ($45 - On Sale) | Three ($98) | Four ($198)

Striped Tee, Burgundy Cardigan:
Tee | Cardigan | Jeans (40% Off) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Bracelet 

Fit Notes: This burgundy cardigan is very comfortable and more of a sweatshirt material than a sweater material. It's very casual/borderline loungewear! It doesn't come in XS so I ordered a Small, and if fits like I would expect a Small to fit. The sleeves on this are actually too long for me and kind of wide at the wrists, but I loved the color and comfort so I just decided I'd keep it and either roll them or push them up a bit. With very casual pieces like this I am a little more forgiving of fit issues like this, especially when they make up for it in comfort. 

Black Cardi, Grey Lace Up Top:
Cardigan | Top (On Sale) | Shorts | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o)

Fit Notes: Everything including the shoes runs true to size so not much to add on this!

Burgundy Cami, Light Grey Cardigan:

Fit Notes: Everything ran true to size except for the shoes. I took a half-size down.

Camel Moto Jacket
Jacket (c/o SheIn) | Tee | Jeans | Shoes | Necklace (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Earrings | Bracelet (Full outfit post Here)

Fit Notes: This jacket runs small so thanks to the reviews I ordered one size up. I'm wearing a Small here. I'm also wearing a half-size down in these taupe booties.

Burgundy Ruffle Hem Top
Top | Jeans (On Sale) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Watch | Bracelet | 
(Full outfit post here)

Fit Notes: This top is only $14 and runs true to size. It's an amazing dupe of this one at a fraction of the cost. I also struggled a bit to get an accurate color representation on this top. The color name is burgundy, but it looks totally different in the mirror selfie vs. Instagram/outdoor (below) vs. the full outfit post. It's not a true burgundy to me...more of a brick-berry-red hybrid I guess.

Instagram View:
Here's the top view of these outfits with the angle I typically share on Instagram. I like to put these in here too when I can since they often give a better look at jewelry and bags.

Rust Cardigan, White Cami:
Cardigan (c/o) | Cami | Necklace (c/o) | Shoes (On Sale) | Similar Jeans (Same Brand-On Sale) | Tory Burch Handbag (Sold Out, Shop Designer Leopard Handbags)

Olive Moto Jacket, White Tee:
Tee (c/o Shopbop) | Jeans (On Sale) | Bag (On Clearance) | Shoes | Similar Necklace

Similar Jacket Options:
One ($33) | Two ($45 - On Sale) | Three ($98) | Four ($198)

Striped Tee, Burgundy Cardigan:
Tee | Cardigan | Jeans (40% Off) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Bracelet 

Black Cardi, Grey Lace Up Top:
Cardigan | Top (On Sale) | Shorts | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Bracelet

Burgundy Cami, Light Grey Cardigan:

Camel Moto Jacket:
Jacket (c/o SheIn) | Tee | Jeans | Shoes | Necklace (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Earrings | Bracelet | Similar Ring | (Full outfit post Here)

Burgundy Ruffle Hem Top
Top | Jeans (On Sale) | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Watch | Bracelet | 
(Full outfit post here)

Wow, that felt like a lot of outfits this week! I usually don't have seven outfits worth sharing in a week either because I didn't like them or I didn't like the pictures! Hopefully it gives you a lot of sale shopping inspo! I just got my Express order in from the Columbus Day sale and I already returned a few pieces that didn't work out. But there were a few I liked and although I doubt I'll be able to get them into a post over the weekend, I may try to share them on my Instagram story so follow along there for the scoop! Have a great weekend!

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Linking up with:
 ErikaAndreaNarci | JoLynne | CherylNina |  Rachael 

10/11/17

Camel Moto Jacket + Black on Black

15 comments |
One of my favorite no-brainer outfit combos is black-on-black with any kind of contrasting outer layer. I've done casual versions of this for travel (e.g my Utah trip with leggings and an oversized plaid shirt as my outer layer), and today I'm sharing a slightly-more-dressy-but-still-comfy version with a camel moto jacket, black tee, and black jeans.
Jacket (c/o SheIn) | Tee | Jeans | Shoes | Necklace (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Earrings | Bracelet

This jacket is very lightweight (perfect for California Fall weather), soft and comfortable. Reviewers advised that it ran small so I took their advice and ordered one size up. It's still fitted (which I wanted) but not tight so I'm glad I went a size up and would recommend doing the same. 
Jacket (c/o SheIn) | TeeNecklace (c/o) | Bracelet | Nails "Beyond the Pale Pink"

Charming Charlie was kind enough to send me a gift card this month and I used it to try this necklace from their Premium Collection. Normally their jewelry is under $25, so this price point is slightly higher ($39 for this exact necklace), but still lower than some of my other jewelry favorites like Kendra Scott and Stella & Dot, so I wanted to see for myself if it was worth a little extra since I really liked this piece and several other designs. My honest opinion is yes, this is definitely higher quality than their regular line and worth paying a little more. The chain is thicker, sturdier, and better quality material. They use semi-precious stones in this line (including this necklace) an those look a little nicer in person too. They do have frequent email and mailer coupons so it's worth keeping an eye out for those to bring the price down a little more. 

The stone in my necklace is beautiful in person but it blends in with black background of my t-shirt.  You can see it a little better in the stock photo (#3 below), along with some of my other favorites from this collection. 

1. Link Necklace | 2. Silver Pendant | 3. Gold Pendant | 4. Deco Ring | 5. Bangles 

Last but not least, I wanted to share a few Brand Name and Budget Friendly options for outer layers that would work well for Fall with the same black-on-black base layer. Not to mention they're just great neutral pieces so they could be styled plenty of other ways too!

1. Shop Cupcakes & Cashmere (Dixie Jacket - 40% off) | 2. Shop BB Dakota (Henry Coat)
3. Budget Sweater Coat $33 | 4. Budget Camel Trench $46-52
5. Shop James Jeans Jackets (Classic Motorcycle Jacket) | 6. Budget Grey Sweater Coat $20-25

Thanks for reading and if you have a blog, we'd love to have you link up below for Style on the Daily!

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Photos for this post by: Noelle

Linking up with: The Blended Blog | Kelly, Anessa | Carrie | Jacqueline, Elle | Jennie
JoLynne | CherylNina |  Rachael



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10/10/17

October Book Reviews

25 comments |
Welcome to my October Book Reviews! As usual I had some hits and misses, some fiction and non-fiction, so here's what I read along with my thoughts on each book (minus spoilers)!

Fiction:

I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Suspense lovers you will want to check this one out! A woman observes some high school girls on a train acting "inappropriately" with some men they just met and debates whether to step in or mind her own business. She chooses the latter but regrets her decision the next day when she learns one of the girls on the train has gone missing. Family secrets begin to come to light among the remaining friends, their families and even the train-ride witness as police investigate the case and try to find the missing girl. I don't have any complaints on this book. It was an easy, entertaining read that held my interest well and kept me guessing until the end!

The Alibi by Sandra Brown
I read and loved Mean Streak by Sandra Brown (reviewed here) but this one and "Sting" (reviewed here) just fell flat for me and I could have stopped reading in the middle and not cared. In this book, two people meet and have a one night stand, but the woman disappears from the man's bed in the morning so he thinks he'll never see her again even though she is the most amazing woman he's ever met (yes, I'm rolling my eyes here). Shortly after, the man who is a lawyer by trade, discovers that the woman he slept with is now the lead suspect in a murder case he will have to prosecute. He's also effectively her alibi because they were together at approximately the same time the murder took place. I liked the idea of the plot, but the chemistry between the main characters just didn't work for me. Nor was I able to accept that this man was willing to throw caution to the wind and put his career at risk over a one night stand. I think this will be my last Sandra Brown...at least unless I get a recommendation from another reader I trust for a specific book.

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
Funny, I just realized that this book and the previous one have a couple of things in common. First, they are both the third book I've read by the author. Second, they both start off with a one-night stand between two people who just met. That's where the similarities end, though. In this romance, Charlotte and Adam are unable to reconnect after their one night stand due to a variety of misunderstandings, even though they both wanted to get to know each other better. Charlotte moves on to Seth, who seems almost too good to be true. I can't say much beyond that without spoiling too much of the plot, but some tragedy comes into play and complicates things for everyone. I picked this up because I wanted something easy to get into that I could zip through in a couple of days, and this delivered exactly that. It had fun references to contemporary pop culture (it came out in August 2017 and takes place in the current day). Part of the story also took place in San Diego so that was fun for me also. Since this is the second book I've read by Carlino with San Diego as part of the setting, I had to look up her bio to find out that she does in fact live here! I'll have to keep a look out to for a local book signing or something. Anyway, if you enjoy contemporary romantic fiction I do recommend this one.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
I have enjoyed all of Colleen Hoover's books that I've read (some more than others but that's to be expected!) so I was very much looking forward to Without Merit, which just came out on October 3. Ultimately I did enjoy this book, but for anyone familiar with this author I think it's worth knowing in advance that this one is different than her usual fare.  Colleen's books are usually heavy on the romance, whereas in this book Family Drama was the main course and romance was just a side dish. This is a story of a family with a lot of secrets, and a unique dynamic, not to mention unique names, such as Merit, the main character. Merit knows a lot of the secrets that her family members are keeping from each other and and it creates a lot of unhappiness for her, along with her ongoing frustration over their peculiar lifestyle arrangements (e.g. her mother lives in the basement of her house where she lives with her dad and current stepmom). Along the way, Merit makes a new friend who helps her start to see that her perspective is more narrow than she realized. For me, the character development was good and the whole quirky family was entertaining and engaging. I could easily see spinoff books happening for some of the other characters in this story. I don't think this will stand out as one of my favorites (and I suspect a lot of Colleen's fans might be disappointed in this one), but it was still a fun read, and if there were spinoff books I would read those too!

Nonfiction: (*Audiobooks):

Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness by Ajahn Brahm (Audible Version)
The book is a collection of short stories and allegories designed to help the reader (slash listener) develop a more positive, "big picture" perspective on life.  Rachelle recommended this book and it's really very sweet. There are some stories that gave me peace and I find myself reflecting on a lot. A few I'm sure I've already forgotten, and I can see myself listening to the whole thing again in a couple of years. I'm also making my husband and kids start listening to it anytime we have a slightly longer car ride somewhere.  It's provided us with some laughs together and reminders that we all need, plus it's given us some good discussion topics after we listen to each story and discuss what we learned or how we felt about that particular lesson. I think most people would enjoy this and relate to the stories, regardless of spiritual or religious leanings.

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Generally I'm interested in social psychology, but this one was tough to get through. It read a lot like a textbook and didn't hold my interest 50% of the time. The book itself is about the moral judgments we make about other people, whether these are innate or learned, and it explains why "morality blinds and binds." (i.e. it blinds us to the flaws in our own beliefs, but also binds us to others who share our beliefs.) It also talks about the importance of those binds for the success of humanity, despite the blinding flaws. I was tempted to give up this book 2/3 of the way through but I'm glad I finished it because the last few chapters ended up being the most interesting to me, particularly the section about religion and the author's "hive switch" theory. It also had a quote about happiness that I especially liked, and I talked more in depth about that in this post. That particular quote also made me go on to read The Happiness Hypothesis by the same author since I wanted to dive deeper into that topic. I wouldn't recommend this one to most people unless you have a strong natural interest in new theories and studies about human psychology and morality.

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
This book is essentially the ultimate study and analysis of happiness. If you are up for deep-diving into the tested, studied and analyzed facts and theories of what really makes people happy, then this is the best and most thorough book I've read so far on this topic. This article about the Economics of Happiness quotes extensively from the book and serves as a good summary of the book, so if that interests you and makes you want to learn more, definitely get the book because it goes deeper into every topic. There are a few books I've read this year (especially by Malcolm Gladwell) that I know I want to read again every 1-2 years because I learned so much and it's impossible to retain everything, and this will be one of those books for me. Unfortunately I do have to say that the narrator for this was not my cup of tea. At all. Jonathan Haidt narrated the previous book himself, and I wish he'd done so for this one because the narrator's voice didn't do the topic justice. His tone was like a grandfatherly news anchor and it wasn't very engaging, especially compared to Jonathan's own narration, which was dynamic and more engaging. Kind of funny that I found the content of this book more interesting despite the drab narration, and the previous book a little boring despite the preferable narrator!

Millionaire Influencer by Yuli Ziv
This was another good recommendation by Rachelle. (By the way, she mainly posts her current reads and reviews in her weekly newsletter so sign up for that if you're interested in getting her recommendations.) This book is written for bloggers/Instagrammers etc. who have been at it awhile but haven't taken their platform(s) to the next level. (Sound familiar?) This book contained very practical advice and if anything, I wouldn't say it inspired me so much as gave me an extra dose of contentment with my current level of being a non-mega-blogger. Their trips and brand collaborations all look amazing and envy-worthy, but the way the author broke it down on a business level was a good reminder of the fact that nothing comes for free. She recommends making your blog/digital platform #1 priority for a full year (scaling back on other activities, your full-time job, family time etc. if necessary) along with several other specific steps if you want to go "next level." I know I prefer a more balanced lifestyle approach and more personal time/privacy than she advises, so after reading I'd say odds are not in my favor for becoming the next millionaire influencer.
*This is not available in audiobook format so I read the e-book version.

* * *

And that's it for my reviews this month! But I have a question for you all! Does anyone know what happened to the Amazon Prime Book Deals? In July I posted the steps for Prime Members to access their free pre-release book each month, but when I went to access my book for this month, I found that the menu options have changed and I can no longer find Kindle Books/Kindle First. I can only get to Prime Reading, and it's not the same. I can't find any news on the discontinuation of this benefit either, but I'm sad if it's gone so soon after I only recently discovered it! If any of you have found it elsewhere or know what happened to it I'd love to hear about it!


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10/9/17

Ruffle Trim Tops + Monday Motivation

21 comments |
One of my shopping objectives this year was to stop buying the items I like in every single color option. I did a post a couple of years back where I counted all of my Portofino Shirts and that was kind of a wake up call for me! Having more than a dozen of any one item felt excessive, and I've tried to learn from that and not make the same mistake again. That said, I haven't set an exact limit on multiples, but two colors is pretty reasonable, right? I liked the black version of this ruffle hem top so much (posted here) I decided to get the burgundy version as well. Luckily these are the only two colors so I can't even be tempted to buy more!

Top | Jeans | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Watch | Bracelet

The top runs true to size (I'm wearing an XS here) and it's a very low-fuss piece. No tucking in required, machine-wash friendly. I have avoided a lot of the trumpet sleeve, ruffle sleeve and bell sleeve tops that are trending right now because the ones I've owned in the past have been kind of impractical. They tend get to accidentally get dipped into food, the sink...you name it. With this length it's not a problem at all, and the best part is it's only $14 with free shipping! It's almost identical to this top from Nordstrom (shown in green below) but at a fraction of the cost.

If you're interested in this style of top but have a different color/print/retailer preference, I rounded up a little quasi-rainbow of alternates:
1. Shop English Factory Tops (Top with Ruffle Details)
2. Shop Cupcakes and Cashmere Tops (Katlyn Top)
3. Express (Currently 40% off )
4. Express 
5. Lark & Ro (2-Day Shipping
6. Nordstrom Top $49

Last week I also talked about the medallion necklace trend, and this is one of the pieces I ordered. I liked that it was smaller and I liked the layered look, but I will say after wearing it a full day, this version did tend to get tangled a lot. I might end up just removing the shorter layer since I had to adjust this a lot throughout the day and that gets annoying!
Top | Jeans | Shoes (c/o) | Bag (c/o) | Necklace (c/o) | Similar Watch | Bracelet

Monday Motivation: Parenting Goals and Progress
Most of the time I feel like I'm doing okay on the parenting front. Not the world's best but certainly not the worst. Then I have some weeks like last week that make me think I'm on the low end of "okay." I forgot to pick up my child at school one day (in my defense the schedule was unusual that day but still...it's on me to know these things), forgot to check some homework, lost my patience more than once, etc. I also read this article about nine things parents should do to raise successful kids and wouldn't you know I'm falling short there, too. I'm not a complete failure, but there's room for improvement in several categories (e.g. eating dinner as a family is essentially a holiday event at our house).

I'm not telling you all this to be a downer by any means. It's really the opposite. I think I can do a little better in some areas and I want push myself instead of settling. I started Monday Motivation to keep myself accountable in areas where I want to improve in life, and parenting is a big one for me so I didn't want to ignore it here. And if you're not a parent, I'm sure you can relate regardless because there are other important relationships in your life as a wife, sister, daughter or friend that may require a little evaluation and improvement from time-to-time too!

Incidentally, one of the nine things parents should do per this article is "make your kids do work." I don't know if they had "blog photography" in mind as work when they wrote that, but I'm going to go ahead and count it. This post and last week's both feature photography by my ten year old! It's tough to find time to get together consistently with my blogger friends, and an actual photographer would be too expensive. My husband's work schedule eliminates him from the running, so my kids got the job by default! Raising the next generation of Instagram Boyfriends was not one of my parenting goals, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up that way!

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Thanks for stopping by today! If you're planning to take advantage of some of the huge holiday sales going on right now, I rounded up some of my current favorites and my wishlist items in my weekend posts for both Express and Abercrombie. Lots of great stuff for Fall - I can't wait to get my orders in!

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