What I'm wearing:
It's been a cold, rainy winter for SoCal, so I've been reaching for all of my warmest clothes and repeatedly wearing my two pairs of older boots that I don't mind using in the rain. I miss having more shoe choices so I'll be glad when the weather clears up again, but here's another cold, rainy day outfit I wore earlier this week:
Similar) | Tee: Target | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Boots: Target (Similar) | Kendra Scott Necklaces: Top, Bottom (Gifts) | Bag: Amazon | Ring: Stella & Dot
Both of these necklaces (more on them below) have an adjustable slider, so they can both be worn as a choker or a bit longer, as shown with the bottom necklace above (and it still had room to extend even longer than I'm wearing it). Since several of my original pieces are sold out I don't have any helpful notes on fit, fabric, etc. for the items I linked above, but I did my best to find similar-looking options at a comparable price to mine.
Shop the Look:
What I'm loving:
I am still loving the choker trend, and back in October I posted my dream choker set from Kendra Scott. Well, between Christmas and my birthday last weekend, my (thoughtful, generous, and sneaky!) friends Carylee, Rachelle, Noelle, and Kristi have spoiled me with the two of the gorgeous necklaces in this trio set. I already own one similar to the bottom necklace displayed, but so far I've preferred just to layer two as shown in my outfit above. (Just to clarify, my set is gold because while I love the look of the Rose Gold set below, it just doesn't show up as well on me.)
What I'm dreading:
The second half of the school year is a bit stressful in terms of my volunteering commitments, so I'm worried about managing some of those tasks. On top of that, we have our first Middle School information meeting this week! My oldest starts Middle School next year and I am dreading having my kids at two different schools with different schedules, expectations, etc. Millions of parents have done it before me so I'm sure I will manage, but I'm pretty sure the current arrangement (two kids, one school) is easier!
What I'm working on:
Staying positive. I like to be around positive people who are happy and kind, so I'm working on being that way myself so others don't mind being around me. It really doesn't come naturally to me, but I do feel like it gets easier with practice.
I'm also working on changing the bad phone habits I shared here. As I'm writing this, I've completed one day of Operation Don't Let My Phone Make Me Late and it was a success. I'm hoping my new habits will get easier over time.
What I'm excited about:
Reading! Being back into books after an unintended hiatus (due to age and stage of kids, starting a blog and what not) has just made me a more content person. I am happier when I choose books over TV or spending too much time on the Internet. I love connecting with others who read the same books and sharing recommendations, etc. I can't explain why it makes me happy, I just know it does.
What I'm reading:
Speaking of books, here are the books I read since my update last month.
The Sound of Rain
(Taken from my original review here, along with five other page-turners)
Basic plot: A police detective is unsettled by a kidnapping/murder case that was "solved" by her department, but she doesn't agree with their findings.
What I liked: I might be biased because this takes place in my old neighborhood (e.g. the kidnapping took place at Factoria Target in Bellevue, WA where I used to shop) so there were a lot of local nuances that connected with me. Aside from that, the case was very intriguing and kept me guessing until the end. I've made a mental note that I need to read more by this author because I'd never heard of him prior to this book (the book came up on Amazon under "other people also bought..."), and so far I like his style.
What I didn't like: The ending got a little confusing. (I can't say more than that without spoiling but I'd definitely love to chat with anyone else who reads this!)
Basic Plot: A scientist gets a chance at an alternate life path.
What I liked: The beginning was really intense, and overall it was a thought-provoking book.
What I didn't: The second half dragged a bit for me. I didn't need quite so many details on all of the doors. (This makes no sense if you haven't read the book and shouldn't spoil anything, but if you have read it then hopefully you know what I mean...)
All is Not Forgotten
Basic Plot: A teenage rape victim is given a drug to make her forget the rape, and the law of unintended consequences comes into play.
What I liked: It was suspenseful and overall an interesting plot. One of the Amazon reviewers said that Reese Witherspoon's production company bought rights to this so I will admit that made me want to read it before it becomes a movie.
What I didn't like: The narrator drove me nuts sometimes. One Amazon reviewer said that he's like a dinner guest that dominates the conversation and goes off on all these tangents so his story seems never-ending, and that's a perfect description of how I felt several times.
How to Party with an Infant
Basic Plot: A single San Francisco mom deals with trying to fit in among other mothers in her Moms Group.
What I liked: I think anyone who has been in a moms group will relate to the story. It also had a lot of funny fashion commentary, some of which I shared on Snapchat. (Including some stereotypes about people who shop at Express, which definitely had my eyeballs popping!)
What I didn't: For me, there was only one character that was very likeable in this story, and it wasn't the protagonist, so it was kind of hard to root for her. Also, sometimes it just seemed like it tried too hard to be funny.
Safe with Me
Basic Plot: A woman witnesses an accident and gets involved with trying to bring justice to the victim due to her own ulterior motives.
What I liked: Feeling like you are inside the mind of a slightly crazy person was really fascinating. The author did a great job of capturing her warped reasoning.
What I didn't: Like the previous book, the characters were rather unlikeable.
Station Eleven (Thanks to Carrie for recommending)
Basic Plot: When 99% of the world's population is wiped out by a new strain of the flu, life for the survivors is nothing like the life we know.
What I liked: The author did an incredible job of imagining and describing what the world would be like if this actually happened. The concept was creative and well-executed.
What I didn't: After reading so many suspense novels, the pace of this seemed a bit slow. I also didn't get the kind of resolution I wanted from the ending.
Behind Closed Doors
Basic Plot: A couple isn't as perfect as they seem to outsiders.
What I liked: I was satisfied with the ending.
What I didn't: I decided to ignore the negative reviews on Amazon before reading this because so many people on blogs and Instagram were talking about it, so I wanted my own opinion for better or worse. After reading the book and going back to the reviews, I am on board team Chaos Girl, who wrote, "It's a frightening state of affairs when a book THIS BAD gets over 500 five star reviews. WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE??" I also agree with others who said it's implausible on so many levels! It was irritating and sickening (in parts) but I had to know how it ended so I finished it anyway.
I'm currently reading The Perfect Neighbors (thanks to Tracy for the recommendation) and so far, so good!
What I'm listening to:
When I do my hair and makeup in the morning and when I fold laundry, I've taken up listening to Audiobooks of the self-improvement, positive thinking variety. My current selection is The Power of Habit and it's really interesting so far (I'm on Chapter Three).
What I'm doing this weekend:
The dance studio where I take classes does shows a few times a year and it's a lot of stress in preparation but a lot of fun in performance and bonding with friends. Noelle is also planning to come to the show and I can't wait to see her there! It's been too long since we've seen each other. Aside from that I have the typical mom duties of taking kids to and from activities, birthday parties and what not.
What I'm looking forward to next month:
The kids have Mid-Winter break in February and we are planning a Mini Road Trip (Staycation? It's an hour away...) to Dana Point and Catalina Island for a Zipline Tour and Whale Watching. My fingers and toes are crossed that it doesn't rain that week, because in my mind this is how my family will look doing the zip line tour and I think it looks pretty fun!
What else is new:
I've been working on a few little blog changes here and there. In addition to going back to the M/W/F schedule, I'm doing a weekend outfit recap with all of the outfits I wore that week, many of which never make it to the blog/Instagram. You can find that by heading to Categories at the top menu and selecting Outfit Singles (or see the first post here). I've also added a couple of other new Categories for some of my Express favorites/Closet Staples to make it easier to find info/outfit ideas on those. If there is a specific category you'd like to see up top, let me know and I'll try to make it happen!
Now we're all up to date for the month! I may have held back some info on one or two questions above just so I have something to share on Friday, so I'll see you back then with the scoop!