Light Gray Cardigan + Managing Smartphone Time | On the Daily EXPRESS


Light Gray Cardigan + Managing Smartphone Time

Last Fall, I started to feel like I wore the cami + cardigan combo 4 days out of 5, so this winter I've been trying to switch up more, especially with simple pieces (e.g. my favorite cowl neck sweater here) that don't require as much coordination of layers. But as the saying goes, old habits die hard. And that's the just as much the case with my go-to outfit styling formulas as it is with my impulse to reach for my phone throughout the day. I'll be talking about the phone issue again in my Monday Motivation below, but first a few details about this outfit:

This cardigan is pretty warm and thick. More than I expected actually because from a color standpoint, I was thinking this would be great to pair with lighter colors going in to spring. If our spring is any warmer than our winter has been, this will be too warm. But if you're experiencing true winter weather it should be great for now and later. I'm wearing a Small (normal for me at SheIn) and I will say the sleeves are a bit shorter than I would prefer, and I thought it looked best with them pushed up like this. So if you need them long for warmth the length could potentially be an issue depending on your height/arm length. This cardigan from H&M looks very similar and would be a good option if you want something longer/prefer a retailer where you have the option to return in store.

My jeans are true to size, and that's it for still-in-stock pieces I'm wearing here that require any fit notes. My exact cami from Express is out of stock, so I linked to their new (ish) Downtown Cami. It's been around for a few months by a more generic, descriptive name (Satin V-Neck Cami or something like that), but now it's Official. I tried it in store and it's very similar to a Barcelona Cami but cut a bit deeper in the front and with a v-neck back instead of a racerback. They also dropped the reversible feature that the Barcelona had, which is fine by me since I rarely found them truly reversible. My shoes were also from Express but sold out, but this Macy's pair looks almost identical at a reasonable, under $50 price.

I've talked about these Secret Extensions a few times and while I like them, I don't love them. They're halo style, which is a lot more comfortable than clip-in extensions, but they shed a lot of hair when I detangle them. They're getting pretty thin even though I've had them less than six months and worn them maybe a dozen times. I don't think they'll last a full year, so just something to consider if you're interested in this style and calculating cost per wear into your purchase decision.

Monday Motivation: Managing Smartphone Time
In January I kicked off the 2018 edition of my Monday Motivation series (see the first post here) and outlined the four key areas I'm focusing on this year: Time Management, Relationships, Personal Growth, and Health & Fitness. Each week I go into a little more detail of what I'm working on in any of those specific areas, and this week I'm back to talking about Time Management.

One of my key objectives this year is reducing time on social media and on my phone in general. It is so easy to pick it up just to "check one thing" and suddenly poof! Fifteen minutes are gone and I've accomplished nothing. It's just a reflex for me to pick up my phone without even thinking about why I'm doing it or what else I should be doing right that minute.

The simple realization that I reach for my phone out of habit more often than necessity has helped me find ways to stop myself before I grab it, unlock it, and find time slipping away. I saw a snippet on Instagram stories (figures...even though I'm trying to spend less time there!) about two questions to ask yourself dozens (maybe hundreds!) of times per day before you reach for your phone. I apologize that I cannot properly credit the source because I don't remember which blogger shared it at which conference or  if she even named the speaker, but I just wanted to clarify that I didn't come up with these questions myself. However they're simple and effective, and I'm working to consistently ask myself these before I pick up my phone.

1. Why am I picking up my phone?
Let's say I hear my phone beep that I just got a text message. When I see it's from my husband, then sure, I know exactly why I'm justified in picking up my phone. I want to see what he wrote, whether it requires a time-sensitive reply, etc.  However if I just sat down to write a blog post, and I pick up my phone while my computer boots up...why? Was I was going to check Instagram before starting my post? What's so important there that it can't wait until I at least get a few segments of my post done before taking a break? When I ask myself why in that situation I realize there has never been a sale alert or outfit post or question on Instagram that was so urgent it couldn't wait a few hours. Asking myself this question over and over throughout the day has helped me resist the temptation to reach for my phone purely out of habit.

2. Is this the best use of my time right now?
As I noted above, sometimes there is a valid reason to be on my phone, but that often leads to staying on longer than necessary. I have to snap myself out of it with this follow up question when I'm already on my phone. Sometimes, the answer is sure, this is fine because there's nothing else I could actually accomplish right now (e.g. I'm waiting in line at Target so I might as well entertain myself). But many times the answer is no...I should be folding the laundry or if I have down time I should probably pick up my book instead since I know I'll ultimately find that more satisfying.

The questions are so simple and effective, and it's gradually getting easier to remember to ask them of myself over and over and over throughout the day. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in a given day and throughout life, and I know for sure that I need to keep my technology use limited if I'm going to make that happen. Let me know if you've tried any simple and effective strategies for balancing your time on and off your phone!

On a separate note, before I wrap up here today I just wanted to say a huge thank you to those of you who have already taken my reader feedback survey from Friday! Your comments have been very constructive and helpful, and some of you all are so sweet I wish I could give you a big hug! I am incorporating some of your suggestions ASAP (already started with this post!). I debated whether to do a follow up post on the survey, and I'm currently leaning towards yes so I can address some things that came up since I have no way to reply to you individually from the survey. But I'll leave the survey open for at least a week before I do that to give time for a few more responses to trickle in. Thanks again for your support and have a great week!

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  1. That bag is so pretty and I'm happy Express came out with a new cami. When I'm home I too struggle with picking up my phone all the time. It's such a bad habit. I cannot wait to hear about the survey, those are always so insightful.


    1. Thanks Rachelle! I loved the way you styled your red bag today! Too bad we didn't think to collab on this! Ha! And glad to know I'm not the only one who picks up my phone far too often!

  2. I need to be more aware of why I am using my phone too. I will pick it up to check the weather and then all the sudden I am on facebook or my email. I need to be more focused! I love the idea of asking yourself why you are using your phone each time you pick it up!

    1. It's so hard! There is often a good reason to pick it up, it's just that it's hard to stick to that task ONLY.

  3. A cami and cardigan is my go-to look as well this year! I think because it’s been chilly in the mornings but pretty warm in the afternoons so it’s nice to be able to lightly layer.

    I love your thoughts on phone usage. I mindlessly pick up my phone throughout the day, and 95% of the time I have no reason to! It’s actually really starting to annoy me so I’ll try your tips!

    1. LOL, exactly. This winter has been so warm I hardly even need a cardigan after 10 AM. (Well, until the sun goes down again!) And yes, I am mostly annoyed with myself and trying to find ways to improve, so I hope it helps you too!

  4. I am sooooooo guilty of picking up my phone and wasting precious time! I finally deleted a HUGE time wasting app on Saturday and although I miss it a little, I don’t miss the anxiety it gave me (Tinder)! Lol! I will have to start putting these questions into practice and report back!

    1. Your true confessions crack me up!! This is part of why I don't want's just one more thing that will end up taking way more time than I want, even if I say it's only for blogging purposes it's impossible to keep it completely under control.

  5. I love the pop of red from your bag! I can also relate to falling back on your go to outfit. If ain't broke... Thanks for sharing these questions. They are spot on. I think we all reach for our phones out of habit. I will have to try these questions to help myself disconnect more!

    Nicole to the Nines


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