On the Daily EXPRESS

2/5/20

Red Cami + Pressing Pause

52 comments |
Last week I styled a red sweater in an outfit that I didn't end up loving, so this week I wanted to course-correct and style my red cami in my comfort zone: black on black! This is an easy top to take from day to night with just a couple of easy detail changes, so here's the 411 on my strategy for making that happen!

My favorite way to transition a look from day-to-night is by changing the "extremities" of the look. It's basically the "last on, first off approach." The last things I put on to complete an outfit are usually my jacket/cardigan and my shoes as I head out the door. Then they become the first things I change to go from day to night!

I do this because I really prefer not to start an outfit from scratch! It's too much work mentally and physically! Ha! When I keep my exact same top and pants on, it doesn't feel like I'm totally changing my entire outfit. For me personally, around the house I'd wear this outfit with a cardigan instead of a blazer, but I really liked the way this looked with a blazer and thought it would make a nice business casual outfit to share.

As for date night, in winter I'm all about the Over-the-Knee boots!

My black OTK boots have been my go-to for most of this year, but they didn't give any contrast to this look with black jeans, so I went with this grey-taupe instead. As far as sizing notes - my top is true to size (I'm wearing XS for a fitted, bodysuit type look). I'm wearing my regular size of jeans here but they are a little big at the waist and if I don't wear a belt, creep down a bit. It may be best to go one size down, especially if you're between sizes in jeans. My exact moto jacket is this one from Express, but it's been sold out since the holidays. They've been making it for years so I'll be shocked if they don't re-release it in the summer (you know...when stores are pushing people to buy fall clothes), but hey...they've discontinued other favorites so you never know!


And now it's time for a chat with you all because I have something that's been weighing on me for awhile that I'm ready to share now that I'm at peace with my decision. In the past year and half since I went back to work part-time, it's been a huge struggle to balance work, family, and blog. I've felt constantly overwhelmed and always falling behind in at least one of those areas. I kept pushing along and doing the best I could, but I couldn't ignore the constant nagging feeling that something probably needs to change in this situation. After going back and forth on the issue, I'm really feeling in my heart that yes, something needs to change and now is the time. I can't keep debating this forever - I need to make changes now and let the dust settle to see if it helps me find a healthier balance.

As I analyzed the things I'm struggling to balance, I applied the same perspective to my situation as I do to a closet clean out. When I'm looking at an item of clothing and debating whether to keep it in my closet, I consider whether it's something I would want to purchase today if I saw it in store. If not, it might be time to let it go. When I look at my work-family-blog situation the same way and consider whether these are something I'd add to my life right now, some answers were obvious and some were more complicated. The obvious one is that I'm keeping my family! But when I look at what blogging/the influencer industry is now and I ask myself, "is this something I'd want to start today?" I think the answer is no, I would not. I've changed a lot in the past six years and so has blogging, and  we're not very compatible anymore. And this is not a critique of anyone who wants to start a blog or continue to blog, because you and I are different people in different situations! I still think blogging is a fun, creative space with a great community! But there's no denying the fact that it's very time consuming, and in my life it crossed over into taking away too much time from my personal relationships once I also have a day job. For me, I think blogging was right for me for awhile and it helped me develop new skills and find some great friends. It even helped me get my job! But I only have so much time in a day and after scrambling for a year and a half to make everything work, I'm accepting that it's not working and I need to make a change.

So all of that is to say that I'm Pressing Pause on blogging. I'm not saying I'm stopping permanently because for all I know, I may miss blogging too much and come back in a month or a year. Or I may find after some time off that I really am ready to move on entirely. I simply can't know that until I get some space to reflect and some perspective that only comes from distance. What I do know is that I don't regret starting a blog, and I'm SO incredibly thankful for the friendships and support I've received here over the years! This was a difficult post to write and it made me a little teary-eyed and emotional. But I know it's the right step for me right now and I can't put it off any longer just because it's difficult and comes with some sadness. I hope you all can understand even if it is a disappointment for some. I genuinely wish you all the best, and hope that you can also find balance and contentment in your own life!


P.S. On a related note, although this will be my last week co-hosting Style on the Daily with the lovely and sweet Amy Ann, she does plan to continue hosting a link-up each week so I hope you'll continue to join her and link up via her blog.



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 Thank you so much to all of my blogger friends for linking, commenting, and making this such a fun community!

1/31/20

Friday Favorites 1/31/20

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Well, we made it to the end of January! I know a lot of people say this month feels extremely long, but for me, the first week was the only one that dragged for.ev.er. The rest of the month has just moved along at a normal pace and I'm not mad about that. We also had some spring preview weather this week, and I think that extra few degrees helped brighten up some moods here as well. I stayed motivated get dressed in something other than athleisure and put on some of my "use it or lose it" wardrobe pieces that I needed to wear rather than store indefinitely in my closet.

Everyday Outfits:

Camo Cardigan + Grey Jeans

This camo cardigan is from Express last year and was featured in one of my most popular posts of 2019. I'm still not sure what made that post better than average, but I do know I hadn't worn this cardigan yet since our fall/winter arrived so I needed to use it or lose it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've been wearing these grey jeans at least once a week! I've generally said they run true to size, but now that I've worn them quite a few times, I'm starting to think I might order a size down because there's extra space in the waist that makes them fall a bit throughout the day. I have these jeans in two other colors (Black and Indigo) and don't have that problem, but these seem a bit stretchier. They don't bag out and look bad, but if I don't have a belt on I'm constantly hitching them up. So...a little frustrating to have to buy another pair of the same exact jeans, but I really love them and want to have them fit correctly.

Beige Tank + Denim Jacket

This beige tank was kind of an impulse purchase at White House Black Market, and it's on mega-sale right now. The material is super comfy and the reviews are what sold me on it. Plus, I thought "it's neutral! It will go with anything!" I'm finding that didn't quite play out as I planned! So far I'm finding almost any outfit where I use it, I could have worn a white, black or grey top that I already own just as easily. So I have a tiny bit of buyer's remorse, even though I do think it's a really great piece in terms of quality and comfortable material.  It's called a "cozy tank" and and it definitely lives up to the name! I'm wearing the smaller of my two normal sizes and it's still roomy/relaxed. 

Since I mentioned "use it or lose it" in the intro, this denim jacket is one of those items. I have two denim jackets: a lighter wash and this medium wash. For some reason I reach for the lighter one so much more often, to the point that I've wondered whether I really need this one too. But then I have an outfit like this where I just don't think the lighter wash would have worked as well since it wouldn't have provided much contrast to the top. Also, BTW both of my jackets are by Mavi - the same brand as the similar option I linked above. I'm also wearing the Amazon Essentials Pull-on jeggings I shared in Monday's post! These are also super comfy and a great "looks like pants but feels like leggings" option. These are the "Grey Wash" but they do look almost black from this POV. Here's a close-up pic of the jeans from Monday's post. I think this angle gives a more accurate sense of the color. These are also true to size.

Grey Jacket + V Neck Tunic Tee:

Black, white and grey are always a favorite color combo for me! This jacket is lighter weight so it's a great option for Spring (or San Diego Pre-Spring). This Tee is perfect for pairing with leggings since it's super long. It's true to size but on the small side. Size up if you want fitted but not tight, get your normal size if you want very fitted/tight.

Front View:
RIGHTJacket  | Tee | Leggings | Boots


That's it for outfits this week, so I'm joining up with ErikaAndrea, and Narci for Friday Favorites!

1. Nails of the WeekI've had shimmery/metallic nails for the past couple of months and was ready to shift into a matte territory. I went with OPI's Yes My Condor Can-do! from their Peru collection as my own little way of paying homage to my sister who is currently living in Peru!

For reference, I'm wearing this in all outfit photos above. OPI classifies this as a purple, and I agree that it has some purple/plum tones. But it's a rich, dark, warmer toned shade...not to be confused with Barney the dinosaur purple. 

2. Birthday Fun
Last week was my birthday and my friends and family totally spoiled me. My sister sent these fun goodies (not the one in Peru- she might have a hard time finding these there!), and I'm enjoying sampling a few new-to-me sweet treats!

Caryl and Rachelle also spoiled me with an Express Gift Card, and I knew right away what I planned to do with it! Their classic trench in Black had been calling my name every since Noelle posted it.

I do have this in the pink version that they released last year - and they do have a similar Blush color out right now.

And I absolutely love the pink version, but one thing I've noticed with it is that I do need to plan my outfit around it. Sometimes that works out great, other times it starts raining mid-day and I want a more neutral option that goes with whatever I'm already wearing. Anne had a fun post about this too with her term "Coat-fit." At any rate, I didn't think I could justify the black one too but with a birthday gift card yes I could! Haha. This jacket is actually 40% off this weekend and totally deserving of all the five star reviews it gets in my opinion!

3. Fitness Favorite
Instead of sharing a workout this week, I'm sharing an article by my favorite fitness guru, Cathe Friedrich. This article explains the research behind why weight training will make you burn more calories than you think (and more than a cardio workout of similar duration and intensity). In my early 20s I was a cardio queen, but I never saw the results I wanted. In my late 20s I started shifting my emphasis to weight training and I've never looked back! Obviously everyone is different and some just may not enjoy weight training as much as I do, but it's definitely worth a try if you aren't happy with your current routine or results. 

I'll wrap it up here for today and wish you all a great weekend! I'm looking forward to the Super Bowl and hopefully crossing a few tasks and errands off my to-do list. I am going to take Monday off from Blogging to keep up with some family and personal commitments this weekend but I will be back here on Wednesday. See you then!

1/29/20

Red Sweater + January Update

17 comments |
With Valentine season upon us, I really wanted to wear this red sweater again. Not to mention I've been drawn to red pieces more than usual this year, so I want to get a little more comfortable styling and wearing this color. My go-to combo for wearing a red top is to pair it with black pants and a black jacket, just like I did two years ago in a Valentine's collab with some of my favorite blogger friends. But I wanted to switch it up this time, which resulted in one heck of a try-on session with different combinations of jackets, jeans, and shoes. I settled on this combo with dark wash denim and a light grey jacket, but that's just the thing. It felt like I settled rather than loved it!

Don't get me wrong - I really like all of the pieces here individually and by no means was I remotely embarrassed to be seen in this outfit in public. It was perfectly fine for my casual Saturday activities. But I still felt like the outfit was missing something. I think I would have liked this better with a stronger print, texture, or pattern somewhere in the outfit - preferably in the jacket. But none that I have on hand worked with the casual vibe of the outfit. At some point I just decided to leave well enough alone with this combo and get out the door. Ultimately this outfit is mentally filed under "work in progress." Not every outfit will be my favorite, but hopefully next time I wear this sweater I can take what I learned from this outfit pairing and improve it a little bit!

Now that I've hashed out my mediocre feelings on this outfit, let me give you a rundown on the fit for the individual pieces. Even though I don't plan on pairing these pieces together this way again, these are all pieces I'd still recommend! For starters, the sweater runs on the more tight/fitted side. I vary between XS and Small in tops and like the Small better in this. I'm wearing the Deep Red color here, though it does come in a lot of colors. It's a lighter weight sweater so it works well for layering. The Daily Ritual jeans are also true to size, but note that if you get the Short Length, they are cut more like Petite sizing, so they're shorter everywhere, not just the inseam. At 5'4" those didn't fit me right so I'm wearing the Regular length here, but I tucked them under for a faux hem job. I'm wearing the Indigo Blue Overdyed color and it's a very dark blue. They can look black sometimes in photographs depending on the lighting, but in person they are a super dark blue. And finally my exact BB Dakota jacket is sold out now, but they come out with this same style of jacket every year with some slight variation. This current option is almost identical, and in general their jackets always run true to size for me.

That's it for "What I'm Wearing," so here are the rest of the What's Up Wednesday prompts I'm answering this month!

What I'm loving: If you haven't seen this social media 4-square comparison trend Dolly Parton Started and other celebs like Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Garner quickly jumped on, give yourself a laugh today and go check it out...after you're done reading here, of course It's so funny and spot on! Then make one of yourself and get your friends to do one of themselves so you can exchange - it's a guaranteed way to give your day a hilarious boost!

What I'm dreading: I have a dentist appointment today. I think that speaks for itself!

What I'm watching: Over the holiday break I got caught up on Big Little Lies Season 2. It was a short season but I enjoyed it - especially Meryl Streep's performance. I'm also trying to watch Mr. Robot with my husband, but half of the tech stuff goes over my head and he has to pause and explain. Eventually I also really want to watch Cheer because I've heard so much about it! And more than a few people have texted me to comment about the coach of the squad who always wears Portofino shirts from Express!

What I'm reading: Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan. I think someone on a podcast recommended this and it gets great reviews, but I'm just getting started so I don't have an opinion yet. Also, when I looked up the link for this book I noticed there's another book with the exact same title, so now I'm wondering which one the podcast meant and if I got the wrong one?

What I'm listening to: Lisa Jewell released a new book on audio last week as a personal birthday gift to me (Kidding - I wish!). It's called A Friend of the Family, and it's another of her oldie-gems that they're just now putting on audio. I'm enjoying to so far, as I usually do with her books!

What I'm doing this weekend: The Super Bowl is on Sunday so I'm planning to watch that. I'm not a huge fan of either team. But I do want to see the halftime show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez!

What I'm looking forward to next month: February is looking busy and fun! My 21st Anniversary is on the 12th, then later in the month my mom coming in town and my kids have a week off school. Finally my niece getting married on the 29th so I'll be traveling for that at the end of the month! I may end up taking a few days off here on the blog to keep up with everything in real life, but I'll keep you posted on when the time comes.

And that does it for this month! See you back on Friday!





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1/27/20

Amazon Try-On Session: Casual Style

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I'm back with another Amazon Try-On session today! Earlier this month I did a post with some workwear try-ons and found some great dresses and blazers. I thought I'd balance things out at the end of the month here with some more casual selections. Everything in today's post is also very affordable: $50 or less! In the interest of disclosure, all Amazon apparel in this post was provided to me by Amazon as part of their Fashion Influencer program for my review. All items from other brands were purchased by me. I'll start with the top view of each piece for close-up details and then I'll have a front view of all items at the end of the post for a better look at the fit from the normal, everyday POV. With that said, let's get on with the reviews!

 One: Striped Cape Sweater

Price: $22. I've seen a similar sweater on other bloggers from Chicwish for $46 and thought it was really cute, but I was even more pleased to see this one for only $22! It comes in four colors (Olive, Black, Grey, Rust) and is called an "oversize" sweater, so it's meant to be loose and cape-like as the name implies. I took a small, and while it is boxy, I was a bit disappointed with the length Actually, it it's about the same length on me as it is on the model, so I guess that's my fault for thinking it would be longer. I guess I thought oversized would include length, but in this case it only applies to the width of the top. On me, it hits at an unflattering spot, and because of the cut of the top and the slits on the side, you can't tuck it in. I pulled it down a little more than it falls naturally in the front view below just because it didn't look flattering at the natural spot, and I don't like to post terribly unflattering photos if I can help it. So for me, this is a no-go. That said, it's still a nice quality piece for the price. Everyone is built differently so it may be just the right fit for someone else, and at half the price of the Chicwish version plus free shipping and returns, I think it's worth trying this first if the style appeals to you.

Two: Tunic Sweatshirt with Pockets

Price: $20. This tunic length sweatshirt is definitely long enough for leggings! And bonus points- it has pockets! Anytime I'm wearing leggings I miss having pockets, so this solves that problem. This runs Small - XXL and I'm wearing a Small here. I think it's pretty true to size with a relaxed fit. It's a lightweight sweatshirt - not too heavy, and the material is nice and soft. It does come in a few other colors, so if you're worried about the white getting dirty, you do have other choices. This isn't really the most flattering thing on me since it's kind of shapeless, but since it's mainly for loungewear I don't mind if it's not my very best OOTD. I'm undecided if I will keep it just because I think I have enough sweatshirts right now. But for $20 I do recommend it if you need something like this!

Three: Pattyboutik Wrap Sweater

Price $32. One of my more popular pins on Pinterest lately has been this outfit with a similar grey wrap sweater.  Of course, that sweater sold out rapidly, but I thought this one would make a really nice similar option so I wanted to try it. It's by Pattyboutik, one of my most-reliable brands for Amazon sweaters and this does not disappoint. I do think it runs a bit on the small size. I'm wearing an XS here and will want to exchange for a Small. One thing to note about this is that it has bishop sleeves. On me, the fitted part of the sleeve is verrrrrry long. I had to cuff the sleeves, but they're fitted in such a way you really can't even tell that they're cuffed. Bishop sleeves seem to be having a moment right now, and I haven't owned anything with them so I'm curious as to whether they'll bother me or not. I'm hoping not since they're at least fitted at the wrist so they won't fall in my way. At any rate, this sweater is a keeper and also comes in black. A cami/tank underneath is mandatory, though. Even though it's a wrap style it's very wide/open in the front. I don't mind that because I like the contrast with the grey/white, but it's worth noting if you don't want a cami-mandatory top.

Four: "The Drop" High Rise Jeans

Price: $50. For a few months now I've been linking to this brand of jeans as similar to some sold out options I own and wear, so I wanted to do my due diligence with an actual try-on to determine whether I should keep recommending them as a similar option. In a nutshell, yes! These are great jeans for $50 and come in multiple washes. I took a closer pic of just the jeans since that's the focus here - this pic is totally unedited/unfiltered so you can get an accurate idea of how the color looks IRL in natural light:

Now I have Good News and Bad News about these jeans. The Bad News is that I'm wearing the High Rise Ankle Length version of these jeans, and now this particular wash - the Weekender Blue Vintage Wash - is sold out in all sizes. Argh! But there is a lot of good news too. For one, the High Rise Ankle length (the exact style I'm wearing) is in stock in other colors. Beyond that, if you like this exact color, it's still available in High Rise Regular Length and in the Mid-Rise Regular  and Mid-Rise Ankle Length. These are true to size and I took my same size as Express Jeans. I thought the Ankle Length was great for me at 5'4", so I'll definitely stick with that length. Normally I wear mid-rise jeans, but one review on the mid-rise jeans said they were more like low rise, and I wanted to avoid that so I decided to try the high-rise just to be safe. For me, even though these are high rise they are only a tiny bit higher on my torso than my other Amazon denim favorite - the Daily Ritual Mid-Rise jeans. I think I am going to try the Mid Rise version of these to compare before I decide whether to keep these. Although I don't mind the high rise on these, I also wouldn't mind if they were just a tad lower. I have my t-shirt tucked in on the front view pic below so you can get a sense of the rise on me. They're definitely not ultra-high rise.

Five: Longline Fitted Tee

Price: $40. Okay, I know $40 is kind of a lot for a basic t-shirt, but this type of longer-but-fitted t-shirt is something I've wanted for awhile, and I haven't been able to find a good quality option with a v-neck for less anywhere else. This is the perfect t-shirt for pairing with leggings. It is very fitted, but I like that for a sleek line when I'm going to have a looser layer over top. I also found it true to size. I wear either XS or Small in tops and went with a Small in this so it wouldn't be too tight, and it fits just right. It's fitted but not ultra-tight. If you need a fitted layer for leggings or happen to be tall and can never find t-shirts shirts that are long enough - this is definitely worth a try.

Six: Pull-On Jeggings

Price: $20. I saved the best for last today! These pull-on jeggings have almost two thousand reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. I had to see what all the fuss is about, and I have to say I'm right there with those reviewers giving them at least 4.5 stars. I'm wearing the Grey Wash here, so as with the high rise blue jeans above here's a close-up, unedited look at the color of these:

I'm also wearing these in the photo with the Pattyboutik Wrap sweater, and they look straight black in that photo from a slight distance, but up-close they really are this nice washed black/charcoal grey. These are so comfortable. They are true to size and I'm wearing the Short Length. At 5'4" - this length is perfect for me since I don't have to cuff them at all to wear with ankle boots, and I also liked how they looked with pumps in the outfit with the wrap sweater. They are pull on style, but the waistband looks "real" - so no one can tell you're wearing comfy pants with an elastic waistband. I was still able to front-tuck my cami and it looked like normal jeans. These do not have side pockets (though they do have back pockets like normal jeans), so my deduction of a half-star on the rating of these would be due to lack of side pockets at the hip. But since most leggings don't have pockets and these are a true jean-legging hybrid, I can see why they only did faux front pocket. And truth be told it does make them nice and smooth in the front, so I suppose there are pros and cons to not having front pockets. At any rate, these are only $20 and come in a bunch of colors, lengths and sizes. I'm not crazy about the look of their blue denim, but I do love this Grey Wash and could see myself using the Black pair as well. All things considered, for twenty bucks I highly recommend these if looks-like-jeans-feels-like leggings appeals to you!

And last but not least, here's a look at the front view of these pieces:

Thanks for checking out my reviews today and I'll see you back here on Wednesday for my Monthly Update!



1/24/20

Friday Favorites 1/24/20

9 comments |
Welcome back to another round of Friday Favorites! As usual I'm starting with some recent outfits, and a little further down in the post I've got some other random favorites to share. It was a pretty decent week here. While a lot of people had Monday off for MLK day, I didn't have the day off, but I did take Tuesday off for my birthday! My friends and family spoiled me with love and some sweet and thoughtful gifts, then I headed to Kendra Scott to take advantage of my birthday discount. I'm planning to do a belated birthday brunch with my family this coming weekend so I'm looking forward to that too! With that said, here are a few outfits from this week:

Everyday Outfits:

Leopard Cami + Rust Jacket


I would have done my family birthday lunch last weekend, except I had plans to get together with my girlfriends for lunch! We used to do a monthly girls' brunch but life just got too hectic for us to keep that up consistently. So maybe it will only be an annual or semi-annual event now, but either way it was great to catch up with them...and have an excuse to get a little dressed up! My top and boots are true to size - everything else is similar

Neutral Jacket + Black Turtleneck

This jacket is from Cupcakes & Cashmere a few years back, and it was quite a challenge to find a similar style! I don't think the options I found are super similar, but they are neutral with a drape front detail and they would layer nicely over a black turtleneck just like this. This outfit is a perfect example of what I love about jackets: the base of the outfit is extremely simple (black turtleneck and blue jeans), but adding a jacket gives it a lot more personality and style. With such a simple base, almost any jacket would have worked as a topper for this. In fact, in my recent Cardigans vs. Jackets post I wore this exact outfit base with two different completer pieces!

Neutral Cardigan + White Top:
Cardigan (this color sold out, Save Option) | Similar Tank | Jeans (c/o) | Necklace

Last year I felt my brown tall boots didn't get used as much as my other boots, so I decided to be intentional about using them a little more this year. While I was on a roll with them I decided to go for three wears this week. I guess I primarily ended up mixing them in with other neutrals, but that's not too surprising since I mostly wear neutrals! I was surprised to see this color of the Barefoot Dreams cardigan is sold out everywhere I looked! I'll be curious to see if they re-stock it eventually. That said, I have this similar cardigan (in grey as seen here) and it's a great, affordable option for a neutral cardi with a nice shawl collar detail. Also, my jeans are exact here (True to Size) and I'm wearing the Indigo Blue overdyed color. If you need an affordable pair of solid, dark wash jeans these are a great option.

Front View:

In addition to wearing my brown boots three times this week, my girl's lunch outfit also brought me to three wears with my leopard cami! The first outfit is above, but I'll recap the two previous versions here along with a front view of all three.

Leopard Cami + Black Moto:

Leopard Cami + Black Cardigan:

Front View:


That's it for outfits this week, so now I'm joining ErikaAndrea, and Narci for some other Friday Favorites!

1. Single Cup Coffee Maker
Okay, I'm probably the last person to get on the Keurig train, but I honestly haven't wanted to because I already like my Hamilton Beach Brewstation for coffee. It's programmable, I can make multiple cups at once, it doesn't have a carafe, etc. However, this winter my family and I have all been wanting different kinds of drinks to warm us up, from hot cocoa to tea to decaf coffee etc. I think I always associated these machines with coffee, but once I realized I could use it for tea and cocoa, I realized it might make sense for us. I decided to get a small, affordable "K Cup" machine to try for convenience, and it's been a great purchase.

It really is handy and low-fuss for making hot beverages. It's also very compact and doesn't take up much counter space at all. It only makes one cup at a time, but so far that's been just fine for us. I also feel like it does help reduce clutter. Yes, we still need a few different types of cups (this takes all standard "K-cups") for the drinks we want, but it's definitely not taking up as much space as having five different types of tea boxes on hand. I have the tea sampler set above and it's perfect since it has all of the tea flavors I like in a small size box. For $40 and with a small kitchen footprint, it's a new kitchen favorite this winter.

2. Fitness Favorite
If you're new here, I do all of my workouts at home with DVDs. (There's more detail on my full/current fitness routine in this post if you're interested.) Some weeks I do a workout that I really love and think others might too, so I highlight that in my Friday Favorites. This week is one of those weeks and I'm talking about Cathe Friedrich's Lower Body Blast

I love workouts that make me feel like I'm getting a lot of bang for my buck, and this is definitely one of those. The workout itself is about an hour long and it hits every single muscle group in your lower body. It also has some cardio moves alternated in with weight moves, so it really keeps my heart rate up and challenges me in every way. To top it off, it also has a Bonus Barre segment that really burns! You don't need a bar for that - a chair works just fine. The bonus segment takes the workout running time to over an hour, so I usually do that segment on a separate day from the rest of the workout. But that's to the point about getting a lot of bang for my buck. There's a lot of great content and more unique moves in this workout. My legs and glutes get thoroughly challenged, but it's not repetitive so I'm never bored.

Equipment Required: High Step (or step stool), dumbbells, a resistance band and sliding disc (or paper plate). Cathe uses a weighted barbell, but I don't have that so I substitute dumbbells instead.


3. Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

One of the Christmas gifts I got for my kids this year was their own debit card. At 12 and 14, they're ready to learn some money management and budgeting skills. Plus, they are often going to activities with friends and need to pay for their admission or snacks or whatever, and it can become a frantic last minute dash to see if we have enough cash for them to carry. After hearing about the Greenlight Debit Card we decided to give it a try. It's $5 per month, and so far we are all loving it! It's a prepaid card, so they can't spend beyond what I put in their account. It also has a phone app for parents and kids, so I can see where they spend money, how much they spent, etc. And they can use their app to keep track of their own balance, request money from me, and more, track chores, and plenty of other things. Since we've had it just under a month and haven't tried all the features yet, but so far we are really loving it. If you have older kids and this sounds useful to you, I definitely recommend giving it a try! This is not sponsored at all, but if you want to sign up using my referral link, we'll both get $10. And that's not a blogger thing, either. If you sign up, you'll also get a referral link you can share with your own friends and family if you end up liking it.

Thanks for checking out my favorites today! See you back on Monday with another Amazon Try on Session! Earlier this month I did a try-on session with some workwear pieces, but Monday's will be all casual wear to balance things out at the end of the month!

1/22/20

Sweater Coat x 3 Ways

14 comments |
Earlier this month I did some closet sorting and came up with a list of favorite winter pieces I need to wear again ASAP. We don't really have Fall weather and our Winters aren't that long or that cold, so there's a short window of opportunity to wear my warmest, coziest pieces. I try not to own too many of those in general, but I still need some because I hate to be cold. This "Sweatercoat Cardigan" as it's called is one of those warmer pieces that made the list! I've had it for a few years and end up taking outfit photos with it every year, so that's made it possible to share three ways to wear it today!
MIDDLE: Cardigan (c/o)| Berry Cami | Grey Jeans | Belt | Boots (c/o) | Necklace
RIGHT: Cardigan (c/o) | Tank | Leggings | Similar Boots | Necklace

I'm sharing these a little out of order from the graphic above, but I liked how it looked best with the berry-colored top in the middle so that's the way I kept it! But I'll share the outfit details below starting with the most recent way I wore it, with this berry cami and grey jeans:

I've been a fan of these LOFT lace trim cami  for awhile, and I've posted the black and white version in many outfits here. They're a comfortable knit so they work well for casual outfits, but the lace trim just gives it a little extra something and makes it a tiny bit dressier, but not too dressy. This "Sweet Boysenberry" color is a newer release, and I thought it would be flattering and fun to mix in with my neutrals. So far so good! I'm really trying not to collect too many multiples of one item, but this is such a great layering option for my lifestyle that I couldn't resist this color. 

I've also talked about these Daily Ritual jeans a few times, but for a quick refresher, they're true to size but they do stretch a little with wear. So if you're between sizes, go with your smaller size. Or of you just want them more snug! The Short length options are not just shorter in the inseam, but shorter in the torso as well. At 5'4" those didn't work out for me even though I did like the length, so I ended up taking the Regular length. I love the fading on these! I'm going to make it a point to wear and photograph them a few more times in the near future so I can do a post with multiple ways to wear them. They are really great jeans for under $40!

Next up is this brown & black outfit combo. I really love brown + black combinations but rarely remember to do them! And honestly, this was never something I did on my own prior to the Pinterest era. Growing up, mixing brown and black was just asking for the self-appointed fashion police to walk by you and make a siren sound, alerting everyone to your mismatched outfit crime.

Since this post is primarily about this sweater coat/cardigan, I guess I better touch on the sizing! It runs Small-XL and I'm wearing a Small here. It's true to size for this line, although this line usually runs just a bit smaller than Express, LOFT etc. That said, I probably wouldn't size up unless you are really concerned about it being too tight. This is from Pattyboutik, another familiar brand for my regular readers and one of my overall favorite brands for Amazon sweaters! It's very warm, nicely made and holding up well over the years!

And last but not least, the first way I wore this sweater - just over two years ago! You know, while I don't mind looking at this outfit, I don't think I'd wear it like this again today. I tend to save my over-the-knee boots for dressier outfits these days, so I just can't see pairing them with leggings and a cardigan right now. But the boots were new at the time so I wore them with everything! Haha! 

If I were to wear this again now, I'd probably trade the boots for ankle boots, or else I'd change the leggings for black jeans. It's kind of funny how tastes and preferences shift over time, isn't it? I've noticed this about myself so much more since I started blogging. In part it's because I write things out here so they stick to my memory better, but of course, it's also due to the visual records!

On a separate note, I had a blast reading your comments last week on Cardigans vs. Jackets! That was such a fun discussion! For the past month or so I've been trying to bring an extra layering option with me when I take outfit photos, provided it makes sense for the outfit. It helps me get a bit of extra content for you/make my outfits applicable to a few more people without adding a lot of extra time to commitment, so it seems like a win-win. Plus, in some ways it's almost easier because I don't have to struggle with a decision of, "Which way do I want to complete this outfit? Cardigan or jacket?" I just do both! So on top of having three ways to wear this Sweatercoat Cardigan, I have a bonus Cardigan vs. Jacket comparison for you:

Just one little change of the layer and the outfit takes on a different tone. It's a little dressier and probably a little edgier. With this particular jacket (still available), it really feels like a sweatshirt on the inside so it's actually just as comfortable as the sweatercoat, though not quite as warm.

Truth be told, I think this last outfit is my very favorite of the bunch today! But that's not surprising since I usually do prefer jackets to cardigans. I guess I saved the best for last, even though this has nothing to do with three ways to wear the sweatercoat cardigan! But I also wasn't going to put this outfit in an entirely separate post since there was only one detail of difference, so I had to find a way to work it in here somehow!





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