On the Daily EXPRESS


Dressy Casual Holiday Style

Whenever I have reward dollars or gift cards to a favorite retailer, I can feel them burning a hole in my pocket. I have some friends who save them up or forget they exist altogether, but I can't say that happens to me! When I get an email about a reward I usually head straight to the retailer site to find a good way to put it to use. And that's how I ended up with this metallic moto jacket! I had a couple of Express rewards, and it didn't take long for me to browse around and decide this might be a fun piece for the holiday season. I certainly didn't need it, but I thought I could put it to good use anyway.

My pictures don't really do this jacket full justice because in person it has a metallic thread detail. It adds a nice subtle sparkle that I think makes it perfect for the holidays. I'm sure I'll wear it beyond the holidays for date night and other dressier events since doesn't have any distinctly holiday colors. It also has a lining, so although it's not a super warm coat, it's not a thin jacket either. One reviewer thought it ran big but I didn't find that to be the case. I'm wearing an XS, which is my normal size in Express jackets and it fits as I expected.

As for these LOFT zip detail pants, reviews on these all said they run small and order up one size. I followed that advice and ordered one size up (from what I normally wear at LOFT Express) since I'd rather have a little spare room than have them be uncomfortably snug. I think that was the right move since these are a stiffer material without a lot of stretch. Maybe I could have squeezed in to my normal size but I doubt I would enjoy wearing them much in that case! For what it's worth, I'm 5'4" and wearing the Regular Length on these. I will say I wouldn't mind if they were narrower in the ankle. With the way they're cut, I wasn't able to pair them with any ankle boots I tried. They ether have to be worn with shoes that expose the ankle or boots that come up over the hem. Or maybe sock booties that are fitted enough at the ankle to go under the pants? At any rate, just one of those things I didn't expect when ordering that I like to pass along to you all so you know what you're getting with any piece I recommend! And I do recommend these pants! They just require a little trial and error with shoe pairing.

This Rebecca Minkoff Bag is a great little crossbody size. It fits my small wallet + keys and has an exterior compartment for easy phone access. I got it during a recent Shopbop sale so it sold out quickly there, but it's still in stock at the RM site linked. If you want a killer deal on a Rebecca Minkoff bag (or Kate Spade or Tory Burch bag or any number of other brands!), Shopbop currently has 30% off all Sale items with code JOY18.
You can browse all the sale selections here or just the bags on sale here. I took a quick peek at the selections last night and saw plenty of bags that will be under $100 with the sale code!

Going back to my jacket, I had a couple of other ideas in mind for styling this piece for dressy-casual holiday events. I actually wore this exact outfit to two holiday gatherings last weekend (with different people)! But next time I want to switch it up and try option two or three depending on the event.
THREE: Jacket | Exact Dress in Black or Grey | Ankle Boots

The dress outfit is the most dressy of the three, but it's a knit/sweater dress material so it doesn't really feel that fancy. My color is a dark charcoal (sold out) but black, grey and more colors are still available. But the other two outfits are really just a t-shirt and jeans! It's the jacket and shoe choices that make it "dressy casual" to me - but still comfortable!

I don't have much more to say today since it's already been a busy week on the blog! If you missed Monday's post, I shared some updates on TV and movies I've enjoyed lately. And Tuesday was my monthly book reviews! Always one of my favorites in any given month! I also updated my menu bar up top (or the three horizontal bars under my blog name if you're on a mobile device) for convenient access to holiday content from gift ideas to outfits. So if you've got a little more time to kill, feel free to browse around any of those posts. Otherwise I'll see you back on Friday!

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Linking up with: The Blended Blog | Brooke

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December Book Reviews 12/11/18

Welcome to my December Book Reviews! As usual I have a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and all reviews are free of any major spoilers. My nonfiction selections were audiobooks via Audible, which does affect my experience with the book. In the last couple couple of months I've started listening to more fiction books on Audible, so if I'll note that as well within each review. (I signed up for the Audible Daily Deal email, which helps me read more audiobooks without spending a lot more.) With all that in mind, here are the books I read this month followed by my reviews!

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Basic Plot: A girl living in the backcountry tries to figure what happened to her missing, meth cook father. Her family's well being hinges on whether he's alive or dead.
My Verdict: Do Not Recommend. I just couldn't get into this. It gets amazing reviews but it just wasn't my cup of tea, and I guess that's all there is to it sometimes! I didn't even know it was made into a movie until I was searching up a link for the book and saw the DVD link, too. Huh. Maybe it would be better in film format? I listed to it on Audible and the narrator did a fine job, but I just couldn't click with the characters enough to invest.

The Retreat by Mark Edwards
Basic Plot: Lucas is a horror author who goes to a newly opened writer's retreat in the country to finish his latest novel. The owner of the retreat (Julia) has a tragic, unresolved past, and Lucas starts to feel like he's living in one of his own novels as seeks to help Julia find some answers.
My Verdict: Recommend for suspense/thriller fans. This was an Audible deal of the day that I likely wouldn't have chosen on my own, but I ended up enjoying it. As a litmus test, if you liked An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena, you'll probably enjoy this. The narrator was great and the story was entertaining and held my interest rather easily. By the end I did get a bit confused with some of the townspeople and their involvement in the tragedy. The major characters were easy to keep straight, but there were quite a few minor characters who had some ties to the mystery that were a little more confusing. But that is my only minor complaint about this book. Otherwise it was perfectly enjoyable for a bargain audiobook, and it's also free on Kindle Unlimited.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Basic Plot: Clementine and Erika are frenemies, and they were involved in An Incident at a barbecue at Erika's neighbor's house.
My Verdict: Okay-ish. I had low expectations for this book because I had not heard good things about it from Liane Moriarty fans. That was a good approach, because this book was kind of a mess. I still liked it okay, but for the first half of the book it's jumping all over the place between characters and time frames. You don't find out what The Incident is until halfway through the book, at which point minor characters start becoming more involved and having the story told from their perspective, too. Which makes it even more all over the place! By the end I liked the story and the character development and how everything fit together, but it felt like it took too long to get to the point, was chaotic in the process, and overall could have been more enjoyable if it were quite a bit shorter. Not my favorite Moriarty by any means but I still liked this better than The Last Anniversary.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper
Basic Plot: Corporate team-building/camping retreat goes awry. Five women go in but one doesn't come out, and as the police try to find her, many secrets are revealed.
My Verdict: Okay to Pretty Good. I'm kind of neutral on this one, I didn't love it or dislike it. It was interesting but not as suspenseful as I would have hoped. There were a lot of characters (the five women who went on the retreats, plus more of their co-workers and family members, plus the two main detectives working the case, etc.), and it took me over half the book to be able to remember who they were and understand any of their connections to each other. I listened to this an audiobook because it was on sale for less than half the price of the Kindle book! (I'd been watching the price on this for awhile waiting for it to come down since reviews were lukewarm.) I will say the narrator was pretty good, but I've noticed that a lot of narrators will use different voices for different characters and this one did not. That probably would have been helpful in a book like this since there were many conversations where I was lost as to who was saying what! All in all...enjoyable enough but not a "rush out and read it now" book. (Edited to add: I did read The Dry by the same author and enjoyed that quite a bit more. I don't know if I'd read a third by her unless a few trusted sources gave it really great reviews!)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Basic Plot: The town of Elizabeth, NJ (Judy Blume's hometown) experienced three catastrophic planes crashes within the space of two months between 1951-1952. The plane crash history is real, but the rest of the book is fiction (primarily a family drama/coming of age) inspired by the crashes.
My Verdict: It was okay. To sum up the first half of this book: TOO. MANY. CHARACTERS. As a general rule, if a book requires a chart to keep the characters straight (and this does have one in the intro), it's probably not going to be a favorite for me. I don't like disrupting my reading flow to go back and figure out the connection of this character. Especially when many times...it didn't matter! It took a long time for me to get into the main characters and their lives, but when I finally did, I did quite enjoy the book. And I liked how certain lives overlapped and came together. But it took too long to get there.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
Basic Plot: Self-admitted sociopath seeks a carefully plotted revenge on the manipulative ex-boyfriend of her best friend.
My Verdict: Recommend if you're okay with sinister! This book had the unique element of the main character being a sociopath...and being aware that she is sociopath! That perspective was fresh and thoroughly entertaining to me. Aside from that, the plot was entertaining, plausible enough for me, and moved along at a nice pace! I listened to this on Audible (it was free with Kindle Unlimited!) and the narrator was fantastic. A good litmus test book on this might be "The Girl Before" by J.P. Delaney. If you liked that, you'll probably enjoy this!

I Found You by Lisa Jewell
Basic Plot: Woman finds a man on the beach near her home who has lost his memory. Against her better judgment she brings him in to recover. Elsewhere, another woman's husband has gone MIA...
My Verdict: Recommend! This is my second book by Lisa Jewell (see my review for "Then She Was Gone" in November) and so far she's two for two in writing very enjoyable suspense novels. This one was told from three perspectives (the two women in the present and a third past perspective), and the past perspective was a little confusing and less interesting...at first. But as the stories weave together the suspense grows and you just can't put it down.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
This was an Audible 2-for-1 sale pick that I never would have chosen on my own. But it had great reviews, so I gave it a chance and really ended up liking it! It's the true story of a man who decided to abandon society and live on his own in the Maine woods for 27 years, possibly the most isolated existence in human history. He had to steal food and some supplies in order to survive, which is ultimately what lead to his capture and the end of his hermit days. I wasn't familiar with this story, but the author did a really great job of drawing me in to his story from the get-go. (The narrator was great, too.) He also did a lot of research on other famous hermits, the benefits of alone time in nature, and the psychology of someone who chooses this life, when solitary confinement is normally considered a punishment by other humans.

Schadenfreude by Tiffany Watt Smith
This book is a close examination of schadenfreude: "The pleasure derived by someone else's misfortunes." It's a relatively short audiobook (4 hours vs. the colossal 19 hour book that follows) and pretty entertaining throughout. It explains how this is something we all feel from time to time, no matter how much we wish we didn't and how it's one of our worst human traits. I didn't really find a deeper lesson in this one as much as I might have hoped, but for the length and entertainment factor it was a good read!

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Whoa, I didn't expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did. It legitimately made me laugh (the engagement story!) and cry (her dad....) in different parts. I recommend this to all women...I think you will be surprised how much your have in common with Michelle. Maybe that's just me, but going in I certainly did not think I had much in common with her at all...so that really caught me off guard. I also really came to admire her and especially her parents for how hard they've worked and what practical people they are. I was mainly fascinated by getting a chance to peek into her life in the White House, because that's such an unusual life that most of us never experience. And she delivered on that...and then some! She was also very candid about her relationship with Barack and didn't paint it as some rainbows and unicorns romance, which I also found refreshing. If you are someone who is concerned that you do not agree with her politics and therefore will not enjoy this book, I felt it was 10% politics, 90% about life, womanhood, motherhood, being a wife, etc. It's an inspiring book and I definitely recommend it!

Sisters First by Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager
After finishing "Becoming," I was thoroughly intrigued by White House Life and decided to try this next since it had great reviews. Plus I thought it would be interesting to see things from the kid's perspective, not to mention the opposite side of the political spectrum. It did not disappoint! Jenna and Barbara were in college when their dad became President, so they didn't live full time in the White House (making me hope that there will someday be a Sasha/Malia memoir), but they still had plenty of amusing and interesting experiences! Their sister relationship was very sweet and touching, as was their relationship with their extended family! I teared up quite a bit with this one too as they talked about some of the strong bonds they have and some of the very difficult times their family has experienced. But I also laughed a lot at their antics and practical jokes. If you are someone who doesn't agree with Bush family politics, I would say this is less than 5% politics, 95% growing up in a highly visible, political family where you born into it whether you liked it or not. I recommend this to anyone who might be curious about what it's like to grow up as First Daughters.

Quick Picks
If you want a quick recommendation without the specifics of what I did/didn't like, here are the books from this month that I'd be most likely to recommend to friends and family in real life:
Fiction: The RetreatJane DoeI Found You
Nonfiction: All of them were good this month! I'd recommend any above that sounded interesting to you.

Current Reads + Up Next:
On the fiction front I just started Colleen Hoover's latest: Verity. I started it last night and didn't want to put it down! I also pre-ordered Lisa Jewell's next novel Watching You. It comes out December 26 so I'll be reading that ASAP. I'm currently listening to I Will Find You, which is interesting albeit gruesome in parts. I'm on a memoir kick because I've been having good luck with them lately, so I'm planning to read Hillbilly Elegy next since a friend recommend that one.

Can't wait to hear what you all read or what strikes your interest this month!

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Linking up with: Steph & Jana


Sequin Picks + Monday Memo

One thing I love about the holiday season is you can add some sequins to just about any outfit and get away with it, "because it's the holidays!" In styling clients for my day job I've learned that sequins are not universally loved, and that's perfectly fine. All the more for me! I love shopping for sequin pieces, from a full size statement pieces to just a dash of sparkle in your accessories. If you're looking for a designer piece to sparkle up your holiday wardrobe Shopbop has a great selection:
One: Shop Endless Rose Clothing (Sequin Fringe Skirt)
Two: Shop BB Dakota Clothing (All Night)
Three: Shop Cami NYC Tops (Racer Sequin Top)
Four: Shop Santi Bags (Sequin Clutch)
Five: Shop Eugenia Kim Accessories (Mallory Sequin Scrunchie)
Six: Shop Love Moschino Shoes (Sequin Snow Boots)

If I lived somewhere snowy, I think those sequin snow boots would be such a fun piece to wear! I could see pairing them with black leggings and a red parka for a warm but festive outfit.*

Of course I always like to balance out the high end pieces with low end options! I put together a few sequin pieces under $40 with Prime Shipping and really good reviews. Almost all of them come in multiple colors so if you see a style you like, click through for full product detail and color options before writing it off as not the right color!

Even if you're staying in for New Year's Eve there's no reason you can't be festive in a pair of sequin slippers! I've wanted a pair since my blogger Andrea debuted hers. This pair is under $20 and comes in five fun colors. I'm just struggling with which color to get! Do I want vibrant blue or pink or "subtle" gold or black sequins? Tough choices, friends! 

Here's the latest of what's going on in the blog world, real life, and a few other notes!

Movies: I usually save these updates for the end of the month update, but this month I don't feel like waiting! (Especially since the last week of December tends to be a bit quiet in blog-town)!) We recently watched the movie Searching (link goes to the film trailer) as a family and we all enjoyed it! It's so tough to find a movie we all enjoy. It was filmed in a very unique way and prompted some good family conversation. It's a great one for parents and tweens/teens to watch together, though if the four of us with our diverse tastes all enjoyed it probably most people would find it reasonably entertaining!

I also finally got to watch Crazy Rich Asians and that was fun too. I don't think I loved it as much as some people but I did enjoy it. I read the book in 2015 so my memory of the book wasn't fresh enough for me to be bothered by any book vs. movie discrepancies.

TV: My husband and I like having a show we can watch together but it's such a struggle to find something we both like! This weekend we started watching "Safe" on Netflix. I hadn't heard anything about it but I randomly chose it since it had Michael C. Hall (a.k.a. Dexter!). It only took two episodes to get hooked. Coincidentally it does have some parallels to the movie "Searching!"

Holiday Gift Ideas: While I'm not doing any new gift guides this year, plenty of the ideas from my past gift guides are still relevant! In case you need a few ideas, here are a few I've done:

Gift Ideas for Older Boys (7 through teenager)

On the Blog: For easy reference, I've also added a tab to my menu bar up top (or on a mobile device, tap the three horizontal bars under my blog name/header to bring up the menu bar) for Holidays. You can find all of the gift guides there, plus a link to any posts with Holiday Outfit ideas.

On the Blog this Week! Book reviews are coming up tomorrow, followed by an outfit post on Wednesday with the dressy-casual outfit I wore to two holiday parties last weekend. Then on Friday I'll share my everyday outfits and some favorites of the week. Hope to see you here!

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Linking up with: Rachelle


Everyday Outfits 12/7/18

Happy Friday Friends! I picked up my first few holiday gifts (okay, gift cards if we're being literal) this week and we have two casual holiday gatherings this weekend, so the holiday hustle is starting to feel very real! Here's a look at what I wore this week and a few notes about how pieces fit, etc.

ONE: Similar Cardigan [Budget Option] | Cami | Jeans (c/o) | Leopard Belt (c/o) | Boots | Necklace 
THREE: Turtleneck (c/o) | Leggings | Boots

ONE: My cardigan is from Abercrombie last year (sold out), but it's cashmere and so soft, hence the reason I linked to another cashmere option along with the budget option. My leopard belt runs true to size if not a tad big and takes about one week to arrive (shipping from the U.K.). My cami also runs true to size if not slightly big, so if you're between sizes, go with the smaller size. I wore this outfit to a casual get together at a friend's house last weekend. It wasn't holiday themed and it was early on a Friday evening, so most people were coming straight from work. I was going for polished casual without being overdone, and ultimately I felt comfortable with what I wore. I could have worn a cute moto jacket instead of the cardigan to dress it up just a little more, but I didn't mind being extra cozy.

TWO: I wore this to my girl's brunch last weekend, and all of these pieces are easy-peazy in terms of fit! Everything ran true to size. My cardigan color is the Burgundy option.

THREE: My everyday outfits aren't complete lately without a work-from-home leggings outfit! I shared this sweater in this post with black jeans and leopard boots, but at my height (5'4") it's also long enough to wear on its own with leggings so I gave it a more comfy spin this time. I got these black scrunch boots on Black Friday, and they're still only $25! I have not shopped at Payless shoes in years but for the price I couldn't resist trying these. They're true to size and surprisingly comfortable! I thought the pointed toe helped dress up the overall look a bit. Since they were one penny away from free shipping, I bought these comfort pads for $2 to avoid the shipping costs. It's funny, right after I got these, I was at my girl's brunch and my girlfriend was telling me about this Payless prank. They opened a luxury boutique in L.A. under a different name and got people to pay up to $640 for their shoes! If you want a giggle at people paying exorbitant prices for Payless shoes it's a fun prank to watch.

Time for a few Friday Favorites! This week the theme for my favorites is SALES. There are some good ones worth sharing!

1. Fun News! You can now shop The Shopbop Boutique on Amazon!

To me, the exciting thing about this is that if you give or receive an Amazon Gift Card, you can now use it toward that designer bag or splurge pair of boots you've been eyeing at Shopbop! This opens up all kinds of gifting options!

2. AMAZON Fashion Day of Deals: After you checkout the Shopbop Boutique on Amazon, head over to their Fashion Day of Deals!! This a one-day sale only! There are a few categories with amazing sales. Please note that you MUST select the item, size and/or color to see the promotional pricing! It won't be displayed on the landing pages I'm linking to below:

J. Crew Mercantile - 50% off Select Items: There are some great looking coats, sweaters and more!

Women's Dresses and Tops Under $50: Several Pattyboutik pieces, which has been consistently great quality for me!

30% off Select Shoes and Handbags: Shoe options for the whole family from top brands!

More Fashion Sales on their 12 Days of Deals Page! From Kendall + Kylie pieces to mens and womens basics. 

3. MORE SALES: Just in case you haven't heard...
Express is having storewide 40% off
LOFT is having storewide 50% off
Ann Taylor is having storewide 50% off! They have really gorgeous coats, lots of great workwear and a big variety of sizes from Petite to Tall. 

That's all for today! I'll be back for another post on Monday, then book review day is coming up on Tuesday! Hope to see you back here next week!

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Linking up with: JoLynne | Erika, Andrea, Narci | The Blended Blog


Sweater Vest + Currently

This year I've been trying to venture out of my comfort zone and try some new pieces rather than just buying multiples of my favorite things. In some cases it's worked out well and I've found new styles and pieces I really like. In other cases...not so much. Vests are one of the new-to-me pieces I've tried this year and so far it's hit or miss. I have a black cargo/military vest I've worn a couple of times that I'm just not completely loving on myself (see it here). But this shawl-collar sweater vest is another story!

Don't ask me why I like this vest style so much more than the other one because I don't think there's any logic to it! What I can tell you is that it's soft, comfortable, and runs slightly large. I'm wearing an XS in this and it's plenty roomy. As far as styling this piece, I did wrap the belt pieces around my back before bringing them around to the front to tie it. You might notice that the model has it tied in a bow and still has a lot more fabric hanging down on the belt. When I tried tying it in the front, the extra fabric on the sides bunched forward and didn't give a smooth line. There's probably some bunching in the back due to tying it this way, but I wasn't overly concerned about that.
Sweater Vest  (c/o) | T-Shirt | Similar Jeans | Boots | Similar Bag | Necklace | Earrings | Ponytail Extension | Nail Polish

My t-shirt and boots are both true to size as well, making this outfit breakdown about as easy as it gets! No sizing tricks or surprises. I just got these Target Scrunch Boots and you just cannot beat them for the $40 price! I've tried lots of budget-friendly shoes from other places and the quality is often not that great. A lot of bloggers have the taupe version of these and I really love those too, but I couldn't justify that color since I already have a very similar pair from last year that's holding up well.
Since I didn't have too much to say about today's outfit, it's a good thing it's the first Wednesday of the month so I can join Anne for her "Currently" link up. Today we're are sharing what we're currently gifting, baking, singing, mailing, and decorating!

Gifting...in a very simplified manner this year. With close friends the gift plan is intentional quality time (if possible). Most everyone else will be getting gift cards! I know it's not creative but it's practical and functional, and I'm good with that. We also do gift cards for my kid's private music teachers and fitness coaches that they work with closely. My siblings and I usually go in on a travel gift card for my mom since that's the most useful for her. And my kids have been advised to hurry up and give me a wishlist if they want to see any presents under the tree! I'm hoping to tackle their stuff this weekend.

Baking...my family's favorite Molasses Sandwich Cookies. I love to bake but in order to cut down on my family's sugar consumption I try to limit baking to holidays and special occasions. This season definitely calls for a batch of these cookies!

Singing...All of the songs from Wicked, but with the words changed up to suit the situation. e.g. if I need my kids to hurry up and get dressed for the day, the song "Loathing" becomes "Clothing." (If you're familiar with the tune, my lyrics end up something like: "Clothing. Time to go put on your Clothing!) This is a longstanding family tradition and as much as my kids roll their eyes at it, I still love the challenge of trying to make them laugh with my rhyming skills!

Mailing...Returns from my Black Friday purchases. I only ordered items with Free Shipping...and most of them with free returns. But it's worth it to me to pay the occasional return shipping fee in order to avoid the mall this time of year. My sanity is worth eight dollars! What I'm not mailing this year is holiday cards. After sharing about this last Wednesday a few of you helped convince me this is not mandatory and I can let it go. It's just too much this year!

Decorating...is not my forté. It's kind of embarrassing how terrible I am at this for holidays and with home decor in general. I have a feeling when my kids are grown they'll be the types to go ALL OUT because they grew up so "deprived" in this area. I'm self-motivated when it comes to a lot of things, but with this...I just lack the decorating gene. #trueconfession

And that's the latest from here! See you all back on Friday!

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Linking up with: Anne | Brooke

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Dressing Up for the Holidays

The holiday season started a little early for me this year with all of my dressy events taking place in November. I used Rent the Runway for both of my events since I wanted a specific type of dress for each one that I'll likely never need to wear again. Up first, what will likely be one of my favorite days this entire year was taking my family to see Wicked at the San Diego Civic Theater. One of the unwritten traditions for this show is for fans to wear green. This is my third time seeing the show and I would definitely consider myself a fan, so I wanted an emerald green dress for the occasion!

This photo was taken in real time at night with an iPhone, so quality is what it is, but despite the lack of lighting you can still get a pretty good idea of how the dress looks. I would never have thought to get a green dress for any other event, but it was so fun to wear this! It definitely makes me want to choose more colorful options for future events instead of always going with basic black. I was among the more dressed up people at the theater (lots of people were very casual), but I didn't care. It was a special event for me and I wanted to dress up for it!

If you're considering renting this exact dress, it does run really small. With Rent the Runway you get a free backup size with every rental, so I ordered my normal Express size plus one size larger, and I could just barely fit into the bigger size. I should have ordered two sizes up! But I made do since I really wanted to wear green and I have nothing else in green that would have been nice enough for this event.

I also ordered these eight dollar earrings to wear for the night and loved them too:
These earrings come in nine other colors! I don't usually go matchy-matchy with my dress and jewelry but it was fun for this occasion. They're really lightweight and a fun, affordable and sparkly option for special events.

Speaking of sparkly, one thing I was wishing I had this season was a pair of sparkly shoes! I have these Target Sandals in black and nude and they've served me well for almost every dress I've worn before, but for the next dress I rented that I'll share below, I was not crazy about how they looked. It was too late for me to remedy the shoe situation so I made do, but I'm already browsing for a metallic or sparkly option to have on hand. I don't think the glitter boots would have worked with my dresses, but I do think they would be really fun to style with a New Year's Eve outfit!
Splurge: Kate Spade Shoes (Stan) | Michael Kors Pumps (Dorothy) | Tory Burch Shoes (Ellie)

I really could have used the Tory Burch shoes with the next dress I rented. I wore this to a "Black Tie Optional" hospital fundraiser and people definitely went all out for this one so I wasn't overdressed at all. The lighting was just too dark for a decent photo at this event, so I put the dress back on for mirror selfies before returning it the day after. I tried several different shoe options for this and wasn't thrilled with any of them but went with nude because I ran out of time to keep changing!

I didn't feel like the stacked heel of my previous sandals worked well with this dress, so I grabbed an older pair of Target heels (in black and nude) very similar to the option linked above. But still...I wasn't thrilled with the way either of them looked. Since the dress was long and mostly covered my feet, I tried not to let it bother me. Speaking of this dress, unlike the other one it did run true to size. I had to "hem" the bottom with Hollywood Fashion tape because even with heels, it was going to drag on the ground and I was a afraid of tripping on it. All in all I loved the dress but next time I have a fancy event I need to be prepared with some fancier shoes!

Despite all my fancy events likely being done for the holiday season (New Year's Eve plans are TBD), there are plenty of other events on the calendar this month. I'll try to stick to my M/W/F blog schedule as usual but I'm just going to keep it simple here and not pressure myself into doing more than time reasonably permits. There are a lot of blogger networks that encourage you to be "on" 24/7 this time of year for peak earnings, but I'm aiming for peak balance and enjoyment!

That said, I'll be back here on Wednesday with an outfit post plus what I'm currently gifting, baking, singing, mailing, and decorating! Hope you'll stop by and say hi!

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One Day Amazon Fashion Sale

Happy Saturday! I'm dropping in for a quick Saturday post for a one-day sale that I just have to share! For today only, (Saturday 12/1/18) Amazon is having up to 50% off select items from its Prime Exclusive brands. You can go to this page to browse all of the sale items. My personal favorite line from Amazon is their Daily Ritual line. The pieces are all affordable (even when they're not on sale) and really comfortable! All of the pieces below are from Daily Ritual, have great reviews and are marked down for today only!
ONE: Open Front Cardigan: $27.30 - Regular $39 | Five Colors
TWO: Tunic Tee: $14.25 - Regular $19 | Six Colors
THREE: Turtleneck Tunic: $23.80 - Regular $34 | Five Colors
FOUR: Side-Tie Sweatshirt: $21 - Regular $28 | Twelve Colors
FIVE: Wrap Front Cardigan: $27.30 - Regular $39 | Five Colors

There are so many more pieces from Daily Ritual and other Amazon brands included in the sale so if you have some free time to browse today, check out all the sale pieces here! Have a great weekend!

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Everyday Outfits + Friday Favorites 11/30/18

Happy Friday friends! We had this weird stuff falling from the sky here this week...oh, I think it's called rain! Seriously, it has been SO long since it rained here! I went for a walk one morning when it was a little drizzly just to feel the fresh, clean air. After living in Seattle for six years I never thought I'd miss rain, but it turns out I was wrong! It really can be refreshing. Anyway, weather notes aside, as usual I'm sharing a few everyday outfits with some info on how things fit and what I liked or didn't in each outfit.

ONE: Similar Plaid Shirt (Same Material) | Jeans (c/o) [Budget Option] | Ankle Boots
THREE:  Purple Turtleneck (c/o) | Black Vest (c/o) | Jeans | Belt | Similar Ankle Boots 

ONE: I shared three ways to wear this plaid shirt back in the summer and used one of my exact outfit options from that post, except that I didn't roll the sleeves this time. My shirt is from Express and the exact cut is sold out, but they used this same material to make this shirt with a slightly different fit. Sizes are limited on that option now too, so for more sizes in a similar red plaid shirt you could try this one or this one (from Express) or this this Old Navy shirt with a couple of red plaid options. My jeans c/o Mott & Bow are a bit of a splurge, but if you want something with a bit of extra suction power, these will give you that! I don't reach for them often just because they do make me feel like I'm wearing some kind of compression garment. Don't get me wrong - the fabric is comfortable enough but they're not my everyday jeans. I usually use these as my dressy black jeans, but I hadn't worn them in awhile so I grabbed them on this day anyway.

TWO: You know I love to wear leggings for max comfort on work from home days, but I often try to dress them up enough that I can wear them for casual errands, too. My exact jacket is a few years old from Nordstrom, but this similar jacket or this Similar Jacket could work just as well. I also like this Similar Cardigan Option for a more cozy version.

THREE: Okay, this is my second time wearing this vest, (see my first outfit with it here) and while I like it in theory...I feel like something is off when I'm wearing it. Like I'm missing something...maybe sleeves? I don't know, but after trying it twice I just don't think this vest is exactly me. There's nothing wrong with it at all in terms of the quality, fit etc. So if you like this style, I think this is a good choice at a reasonable price. I may give it one more try...or I may give it to an interested friend of family member. TBD! At any rate my turtleneck runs small but I do love the faux wrap front detail. It's great for not having to fuss with tucking in at all. As for my jeans, I am not sure whether the product images have been changed for my jeans or they have a new batch with a different rinse this year, but they have the exact product name as my jeans and I've been using the same link for years. I realize they look at lot darker on the Express website so I just wanted to clarify that.

On Fridays I usually share my Friday Four with four random tidbits, but today I didn't even have four! I think I'm blogged out from all of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Mayhem. I just wanted to keep it simple today so I'm going with the classic Friday Favorites.

1. New Holiday Tradition. I saw this idea for a treat basket for delivery drivers on social media last year and gave it a go. It was a success as far as I'm concerned, so this year I'm doing it again. Two years in a row makes it a tradition, right? I have to imagine these delivery drivers have a crazy workload this time of year, and I for one really appreciate their service so this is fun for me to do. Here's what I set out in our basket this year:

So far the Clif Bars are the most popular this year, and I remembered the same thing from last year! I guess they need more sustenance than candy (those almost never get taken). Last year I put mini water bottles in the basket and was surprised that those were not hit either. Anyway, this makes me hope that they'll think of our family more as "those nice people" rather than "those shopaholics!" Ha!

2. Going to the Dark Side. I finally switched my nail polish to a dark shade! Normally I do this in October but this year I just didn't feel like it. Then I saw CND Vinylux in Dark Lava on JoLynne and suddenly I was ready for a change! Here's how it looks on me with one of the outfits from this week:

The product photo makes it look more berry-red, and in person it's much more of a blackened plum-burgundy. It has some purple tones in there which are hard for me to pull off if they're too dominant, but there's enough red that it works! So far so good on the lasting power, too.

That's it for today, folks! Time to get going on a packed weekend. I hope you all have a great one!

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