On the Daily EXPRESS

10/14/19

Easy Ways to Wear Over the Knee Boots

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Last fall, I read an article stating that over the knee boots were on the way out and you shouldn't buy any. I chose to ignore that advice, and I expanded my collection of OTK boots! I admit there was a tiny thought in the back of my head that I might regret my choice when this fall rolled around, but now that I'm living in the future, I think it's safe to say this style is going to be sticking with us for at least another fall and winter, if not longer. If you're thinking about trying this style, go for it! Maybe don't buy five pairs, but get a reasonably priced pair and have fun with it! They are really easy to style with basics you probably already own. And to make my point, today I'm sharing a few ways I've worn mine.

Basic Tee/Sweater + Jeans: 

I bought this exact black pair last year and highly recommend them. They are still in stock this year, and the best news is that they are under $50! You really cannot beat the quality for this price. Mine are the 3 1/8" heel height, though they also have options for a 2" heel height on the same listing if that suits you better. They ran true to size for me. In the rest of the outfits below I'm wearing the Marc Fisher Lencon style boots in "Taupe." I've had those longer so I have a lot more photos with those, but since my color is sold out, I'm linking to the same $50 Amazon pair since they come in a Grey color that's pretty similar to this "taupe." If you really want this exact color from Marc Fisher you may be able to find it on eBay or Poshmark.

If you're wondering whether you have pieces in your wardrobe that will go with over the knee boots, chances are, you do! In the first two outfits above I'm just wearing a t-shirt and jeans. The scarves add a little visual interest, but the boots would work in the outfit just as well without a scarf. The boots dress up the basic jeans and tee a little bit in my opinion and give the outfit some extra oomph.

Long Cardigan + OTK Boots:

Another piece everyone probably owns that works well with over-the-knee boots is a cardigan. Pair them with jeans and layer it over the top of your choice: cami, tee, turtleneck...whatever works for you and your weather. Again I think the boots just make the outfit a little more interesting than if I wore flats or ankle boots with these.
Marled Cardigan + Purple T-Neck:

One thing I do like to watch is where the hem of my cardigan hits my thigh vs. where the boot hits my thigh. I personally like there to be a couple of inches of space between the top of my boots and the bottom of my cardigan. This one's cutting it close, but it's also hard to tell because the hem of my cardigan has a black trim that matches my jeans, so they run together a little.

Moto Jacket + OTK Boots:

I was a little shocked when going through my pictures that I don't have any front-view photos of a moto jacket + OTK boots outfit! This is my go-to cool weather date night combo, but when it starts getting dark early my evening outfits don't get photographed as much. I want to mention that my picture makes this jacket look more purple than it really is, but sadly this is the only decent picture I have with this combo for now. I think date night/evening is a great way to start with OTK boots since there's a bigger variety of "normal" date night outfits most places. Depending on where you live, this outfit could feel over the top for a mid week Target run, and still over the top for dinner at your favorite restaurant, but slightly less so! Ha! Most people where I live dress pretty casually all the time, so I've just gotten used to the, "Wow, you're so dressed up" comments. But by keeping most of the outfit elements casual (e.g. jeans and t-shirt for the base), I feel less excessively overdressed than if I wore this combo with say, a mini skirt instead! That would work if I were going downtown, but for Saturday night in the suburbs it's a little much here. If that's your style by all means go for it, but I'm just not quite as bold!

Judging by my archives, my OTK boot season is November through March, so I've got another month to go before I start wearing them in real life. But then five months to put them to good use! This post definitely made me excited to wear them again, and I hope it gave you some ideas for styling yours or deciding whether they're right for your closet!



10/11/19

Friday Favorites 10/11/19

9 comments |
Another week down and another round of favorites to share today! We had some fall preview weather early in the month, but this week it was back to being fairly warm most days. My brother in Spokane, Washington got snow this week! I couldn't believe it! I guess that means my outfits will look way out of season for some of you, but that's how it goes this time of year. Last week I was very motivated to get dressed every day. This week...not so much so I don't have many outfits to share. But the two pieces I'm highlighting really are new favorites so it's quality over quantity!

1. Burgundy Dress
This fall I focused on building my dress collection since that's one area where I was lacking. This LOFT dress is my final dress purchase for the season:

I spotted this when it was a "Preview" item back in August when I first started dress hunting. It seemed like it took forever to on sale, but it finally did. It's great for warm climate fall weather since the color says fall but the style says, "I don't want to be sweaty." And it must be noted: yes, it has pockets! It's also true to size, so no thankfully no hassle there. I wore it twice this week, first to an orthodontist appointment for my oldest and then to a daytime school concert. I'm just loving dresses this year since it's so nice to just wear casual clothes all day at home, then quickly throw something on and be the door in no time. I guess it just feels like a nice balance of effort put into outfit vs. time spent in public, if that makes sense. I don't want to spend 20 minutes figuring out an outfit for a one hour outing!

2. Short Sleeve Shirt
Another new-to-me favorite style this fall is the short sleeve button down shirt.

This top is only $28 now, true to size with somewhat of a boxy fit. It's a bit wider than the berry-colored version I shared from Express last week, but I still wore the same size (XS) in both. This one is nice because it's intended to be tied at the front, so those front segments are longer and easier to tie. I like that the colors on this aren't distinctly tied to one particular season since in my climate, a lot of seasons require similar clothing.

3. Tory Burch Shoes
My Tory Burch Miller sandals have been summer favorites for two years running, but this year I am really loving Tory Burch Fall/Winter styles!
One: Gigi Leo Flats | Two: Kira Pumps |  Three: Kira Boots 
Four: Cap Toe Ballet Flats | Five: Jessa Loafers 

I don't know if I never noticed TB shoes as much until I got the Miller sandals or if they're just upping their game with other shoes now, but I'm really liking these styles and will be curious to see if other brands come out with inspired versions of these. Option Two is currently on my wishlist. The stacked heel height looks reasonable and the nude color would be really versatile. Once we start having pants weather on a consistent basis I am tempted to try those! 

4. Re-stocked Target Boots
Looking for a more-budget friendly shoe favorite? These Target boots have been re-stocked in all three colors!
T-Shirt (c/o) | Similar Vest Option, Exact Sweater Vest (in Olive or Burgundy) | Similar Jeans | Boots | Stella & Dot Earrings + Necklace | Rebecca Minkoff Bag

Mine are the Cognac color, but they also come in Taupe and Black. I find I use all three of those colors with different outfits, so if you're missing any one of them in your shoe wardrobe this would be a good way to try it without spending a lot. I also wouldn't wait too long if you're interested in this style. Once they sell out, Target doesn't seem to re-stock their shoes until the beginning of the following season.

5. Fall Nails
I'm on a quest this month to find a great new nail color for fall. This week I tried Linger Over Coffee:

Last week I switched to darker nails for fall, but the first color I tried was a bit darker than I wanted right now. This week's color was a little closer to the mark, but isn't it funny how much darker the polish looks on my nails vs. in the bottle! It's so hard to find just the right shade! Here's a comparison of Last Week (CND Arrowhead) vs. This Week (OPI Linger Over Coffee).

To my eyes (especially in person) in person Arrowhead is a darker brown with plum tones whereas Linger Over Coffee is an earthier brown with some hints of red and mauve tones. I'd still like to find something that's the same color as the bottle on the right, so if you've tried something similar in a long wear formula, let me know!

6. Fitness Favorites 
I'm finishing off my Friday Favorites with a favorite workout of the week! To check out any of my past fitness posts start here for reference. This week's favorite is Amy Bento All Cardio Hi-Low Knockout:

At the beginning of the year, I shared my current fitness routine, and back then, I was doing a 30-minute walk three times per week. Over the summer, sometimes it was just too hot and I didn't feel like going out for a walk, so I started doing some of my cardio DVDs again. I forgot how much I liked some of them! This one by Amy Bento is a favorite floor cardio workout. It has four dance-y cardio segments with short kickboxing intervals in between. For  me, the time just flies and it's fun! The music is also a part of what makes it so fun. The workout is from 2009, and she uses familiar songs/artists from that time. These days home workouts have to use custom-made music because of the crackdown on music licensing rights. And honestly it's just not as fun and motivating for me as familiar music. For the record, I totally agree musical artists getting compensated for the use of their work so I do understand. But I still miss hearing it in home workouts all the same.

Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent. As far as the workout itself, Amy has fun moves in this and she does a great job cueing and breaking it down into easy-to-learn segment. That said, if you consider yourself to be someone who has two left feet or just don't like having to think about the steps much at all, skip this because it's still not what I'd consider beginner level choreography - it's intermediate to advanced for a home workouts. Otherwise if you want to feel like you're dancing to fun music and not working out, give it a try!

Equipment Used: None! All you need is the DVD and some floor space.

That's it for this week's favorites! I missed Flashback Friday this week since my only outfits besides what you saw above were comfy shorts and t-shirts that no one needs to see again. I did actually choose a past outfit to re-create, but then I didn't have a reason to wear it anywhere! Hopefully I'll be back on track next week. Can't wait to see what everyone else has on their favorites list this week!


Joining ErikaAndrea, and Narci for Friday Favorites

10/9/19

Plaid Jackets for Fall

17 comments |
This outfit seems like night and day from what I shared last Wednesday with short sleeves and shorts! Believe it or not we had a couple of cool days earlier this month and I did not waste any time putting my new plaid jacket into an outfit. I previewed this jacket in my September Amazon Try-On Session but didn't think I'd get to wear it until November! Mind you, it's back up into the 80s as I'm writing this post so I may not be repeating this piece any time soon, but I was happy to have even one chance to wear it in real life.

I wanted this jacket to be the main focal point of this outfit so I kept everything else simple with one of my favorite Foolproof Outfit Formulas: Black Top + Black Bottom with any outer layer. I shared ten ways to wear this combination in this post, and in another year or so I'll probably have ten more outfits to share since I really love the simplicity of this combo and wear it often! (Update: If you don't see your size available in this jacket on Amazon, you can try this year's version. It's very similar, and BB Dakota also has very fast shipping with free returns.)

When I shared this in my try-on session, I styled it with a white tee, blue jeans, and boots, and eventually I'd like to wear this combo in real life, too! I'll share the top view here one more time just to give you one more outfit idea for this piece and keep them all in one place:

This jacket is from BB Dakota  - one of my top two favorite brands for outfit making jackets. (Express is the other brand, in case you're wondering!)  If this red and black plaid combination isn't your thing or you don't like cropped jackets, they have quite a few other print and color out right now. These styles are all available on Shopbop, so you can use your Amazon Prime account for Free 2-Day Shipping and Free Returns.
Shop: BB Dakota on Shopbop 
One: Check This Out | Two: Plaid News Jacket | Three: Belted Blazer | Four: Belted Plaid Coat

By the way, what happened with the titles of the last two items. Did they run out of creative names? They start out punny with "Check This Out" and "Plaid News," and just move on to the accurate-but-not-clever "Belted Blazer" and "Belted Plaid Coat?" I just thought that was funny, but I'm sure I couldn't come up with that many creative names either!

As far as my exact jacket, it's true to size, which has been my experience with all of the BB Dakota jackets I've tried! I'm wearing an XS here, which is the same size as I wear in jackets from Express.

I have been seeing a ton of plaid jackets and coats this season in every color, style, and price point! Red and black plaid is definitely popular, and I'm also seeing a lot of brown tones...something I don't have much of in my wardrobe but I wouldn't mind trying. Especially if it's a brown/black combo since that seems like it would work well with what I already own. But if you don't have a plaid jacket and are thinking of adding one to your wishlist, here are eight more options!
One: Shop Cupcakes & Cashmere (Cher Jacket) $178
Two: Shop Palermo (Lioness Blazer) $89
Three: Shop ASTR the Label (Greta Blazer) - $168
Four: Shop Amanda Uprichard (Winters Blazer) - $290
Five: Amazon $58
Six: LOFT $150
Seven: Express $168
Eight: Ann Taylor $269

Let me know where you stand on plaid jackets this season! Do you already have a favorite you'll be repeating? Are you thinking of adding a new one to your closet? Virtual shopping with friends can be pretty fun so I always love to hear what's on everyone else's wishlist! Thanks for stopping by today and I'll see you back on Friday for some favorites!





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10/8/19

October 2019 Book Reviews

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Welcome to my October 2019 Book Reviews! This month I got back into nonfiction a little after a hiatus. Also, I read a few shorter "Kindle Singles" so it looks like I read more than I felt like I did. The combined total reading time of the last three books in the graphic below would be about the length of any one of the other books. Not that anyone's asking for an explanation, but there it is! Here's a look at my selections this month followed by my reviews.


Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
Basic Plot: Napoleon's girlfriend disappeared on the same night that his twin brother was killed in a suspicious accident in High School. Fifteen years later her fingerprints are found at another crime scene and Napoleon goes looking for answers.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Enjoyed. The basic plot was interesting enough to keep me going through this book, along with the fast paced, engaging writing style. I will say the main character was kind of a cocky d-bag, and that wasn't my favorite. He wasn't a terrible person overall, but I like someone to root for, and I didn't quite have that with this book. I guess I was just rooting for the truth to come out in the end, which it did so I was satisfied enough. All things considered it was an entertaining, easy read so I don't regret the selection.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Basic Premise: Humans are terrible at reading and understanding other humans.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Recommend. As usual, Gladwell has a unique way of presenting information we thought we understood, then turning it on its head by giving us another way to look at the facts. He focuses primarily on high profile, familiar with from the news: Jerry Sandusky, Amanda Knox, Larry Nassar and Bernie Madoff to name a few. If you need a trigger warning for books: consider yourself warned. There was more detail than I ever knew (or wanted to know) about some of the sexual abuse cases. It was difficult to hear at times, but presented with a clear purpose, not just to be salacious (in my opinion). One of the critiques I saw in several Amazon reviews was that Gladwell offers a problem but no real solution. I think that's valid, but to me, the point is to get people to acknowledge the problem and start the discussion. It's not something one person can solve on its own. I do recommend it but prepare yourself to be frustrated in parts. e.g. I was bothered by the way Gladwell presented the Brock Turner case...it didn't quite line up with my understanding of the story. And maybe I would have felt the same about other cases if I were more familiar with them, but all in all it was still good food for thought.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Basic Plot: A woman goes to Ireland after the death of her beloved (Irish) grandfather to explore her family roots. She gets much more of an adventure than she bargained for on this trip, traveling to Ireland in a different time altogether.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: Enjoyed. Truthfully, I don't expect much from "free" books at this point but this one was actually pretty good! It was a bit slow getting started and I almost quit, but I just did not want to go to the trouble of finding a new "free" book so I kept listening. Well, that and the fact that I did enjoy the narrator. Once it got going I had no trouble finishing it. The story reminded me very much of a PG (sometimes PG-13) version of Outlander, except in Ireland instead of Scotland, of course. It did get a little heavy/boring with the history details from time to time, but there was enough character and story development included to hold my interest to the end. I hesitated to "spoil" the time travel element in the intro but it does happen early in the book (first 10% at least) and it's central to the plot, so I decided to keep it. Plus, some reviewers said there were "magic" elements, which is essentially true as far as time travel, but beyond that element it's not a magical/fantasy story.

Ten Drugs by Thomas Hager
Basic Premise: This book is a history lesson of how we got to now as it relates to the ten drugs that had the biggest impact on humanity.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Recommend (if the subject interest you). Is this a fast-paced thriller? Absolutely not. But I learned a lot, and that's exactly what I wanted going into it. The narrator was enjoyable and the author did a really great job of presenting the information in an "entertaining" way 90% of the time. This is nonfiction, of course, but even though it's history, it's not as dry as a standard history book. It's also not quite as conversational as something by Malcolm Gladwell, for comparison. I'd place it somewhere in between those two. All in all a solid read, and it sparked my interest to read and learn more on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. If anyone has recommendations for something written for the average person (i.e. not a medical industry professional) send them my way!

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Basic Plot: Kailyn is an attorney whose work puts her into an uncomfortable situation with her former college nemesis slash former actor and teen heartthrob.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Cute Cute. If you're in a reading funk, this would be a great book to break out of it. It's a fun, easy read. Sure it's kind of predictable, but that's what I expect out of this genre. The characters didn't annoy me and the plot kept moving at a good pace so I'd say yes, recommend if you want something light and fluffy.

Hello Darkness by Sandra Brown
Basic Plot: A popular radio host gets a disturbing call about a possible crime being committed. Police investigate whether it's real.
Read Via: Kindle (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: It was Okay. I believe this is one of Brown's earlier books and it shows. She's definitely grown as a writer. This was cheesy in parts and introduced new characters kind of late in the book, which I generally dislike. Especially when there were already plenty of characters from the get-go. If you have KU and want something reasonably entertaining, this is not bad. Otherwise I'd say skip it.

The Magpies by Mark Edwards
Basic Plot: A young couple moves to a new flat in London thinking they'll befriend their new neighbors, but things quickly go south.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: It was Okay. I enjoyed The Retreat by this same author, but didn't like this one quite as much. The suspense wasn't very strong, and a lot of the story was just going through the day-to-day life of the couple. I like the writing style of the author, and that was what got me through the book. When it finished I was bit disappointed with the resolution. It wasn't a cliffhanger, but I wasn't satisfied, either. For a free KU audiobook it's fine but I wouldn't recommend it otherwise.

A Murder of Magpies and The Last of the Magpies
Basic Plot: Jamie tries to get on with his life but can't get over what happened in his London apartment back in "The Magpies."
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: Go ahead and finish the series if you read the first book. I'm putting my review for these two books together because they're both short stories (total listening time of roughly five hours combined) and a continuation of the first book. I listened to them back-to-back and they sort of run together in my mind, so I can't even review them separately anyway. Much like the first book, it wasn't an amazing read, but it kept me entertained enough that I was able to wait for my next batch of Audible credits instead of buying more by listening to these.

The Sisters by Dervla McTiernan
Basic Plot: A young, inexperienced Irish attorney (or barrister as they say) gets thrown on a murder case at the last minute with no background info and no help from her superiors. As she researches the case, she gets help from an unexpected source.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Audible Membership)
My Verdict: Enjoyed. My only real complaint with this book is that it was really short (3 hours - most novels are 6-12 hours), and I would have liked more character and story development. But for a short story it was well done and entertaining. I would definitely read another by this author, and apparently this is a prequel to another one of her books, so I may try that. Also, Audible is now offering two free Audible Original selections every month and this was one of mine for September. Otherwise I likely wouldn't have found it or used a whole book credit for it on my own.

Quick Picks:
For quick recommendation without the specifics of what I did/didn't like, here are the books from this month that I'm likely to recommend to friends and family in real life:
Don't Let Go 
*Talking to Strangers 
What the Wind Knows 
*Ten Drugs 
Meet Cute 
The Sisters 

This month was tough to narrow down. I don't think any of my fiction reads were amazing OMG must read! But I enjoyed all of those pretty well. The nonfiction books (*) actually stand out to me more than the fiction, though but I  know that's not everyone's cuppa!

Current Reads + Up Next:
I'm currently reading Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Kindle and enjoying it. I actually just finished Inside Out - Demi Moore's memoir last night but didn't have time to write the full review, update the graphic, etc. in time for this post. But I found it totally fascinating and will be reviewing and recommending it next month. Chanel Miller's memoir Know My Name is out now so I'm planning to start that today.

Can't wait to hear what you've all be reading or which books from this month you'll be adding to your list! As usual I'm joining Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books so head on over there if you need more recommendations!


10/7/19

Best & Worst Amazon Sweaters

12 comments |
Now that it's officially fall, sweater weather is arriving in parts of the country. Ours is mostly in the early morning and evening, but that's typical here in San Diego. If you're starting to do some sweater shopping for the season, today I'm sharing the best and worst of Amazon sweaters. Shopping for clothes on Amazon can be overwhelming, and I hope I can help point you in the right direction. As part of the Amazon Fashion Influencer program for the past three years, I've been able to try a lot of the different apparel brands. Believe it or not I don't love all of them! Here's my overview of the most notable brands I've tried plus my thoughts on whether they're worth the money, not worth it, or somewhere in between.

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring the sweaters I am reviewing in this post - for better or worse!

Pattyboutik

Pattyboutik sweaters are definitely some of the best bang-for-your-buck sweaters on Amazon. They're mostly in the $35-50 range so yes, they are a bit more than the $10 knockoff sweaters you can order that take 4-6 weeks arrive. But these are so much better quality and you really do get what you pay for in this case. Some of their styles are a bit dated in my opinion, but they also have some classic styles if you do some digging. The sweater above is one of my all time favorites that I've had for several years. It's more of a sweater coat, but such a great piece (with pockets!) that's held up really well.

If you're between sizes, I'd recommend ordering the larger of your two sizes in Pattyboutik sweaters. Their items are generally designed to be pretty fitted and they run just a bit smaller than other brands. I'm wearing a Small in both of these sweaters, and they fit similar to XS in sweaters from places like Express and LOFT.

Here's another Pattyboutik sweater I really like. This style isn't especially trendy right now with the military details, but I still love it and will wear it again this year.
Pattyboutik Military Sweater | Tee | Jeans | Similar Boots | Rebecca Minkoff Bag

Daily Ritual
Daily Ritual Sweater | Jeans | Similar Boots | Stella & Dot Scarf | Bag (c/o)

All in all, Daily Ritual is my very favorite brand on Amazon and also their best Private Label brand in my opinion. Their prices are very reasonable: most sweaters are under $40 and almost everything is very soft and cozy. And as a bonus, almost everything I've tried is true to size so it makes for a very easy shopping experience. One thing to note: anything that is a "Lightweight Sweater" from Daily Ritual (like the one below) is indeed going to be very lightweight and paper thin. These are a little thinner and more flimsy. In a way, it makes them seem a bit lower quality than other styles, but that's also the very thing that makes them nice for Spring or Early fall weather!

Cable Stitch

Okay, Cable Stitch is where my feelings start to get complicated! I have one sweater I absolutely love from this line (above). But I've also had a lot of problems with sizing being all over the place and colors not being accurately represented. This post from February is a really good example of the inconsistent color and sizing issues. The other issue I have with Cable Stitch is that their prices are higher than Daily Ritual or Pattyboutik: $50-75 for most pieces. Yet for the most part, I don't feel like the quality really merits that higher price point. I don't find them to be better quality than either of those brands. The main reason I keep trying their sweaters is because they do have more unique styles. Almost everything from Daily Ritual is very basic looking, which is great for the foundation of your wardrobe, but it's also nice to have a few unique pieces here and there!
Tunic Sweater | Jeans | Similar Boots | Earrings | Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody

This tunic sweater was a favorite from Cable Stitch last year, but after a few wears, the collar started to droop and sag and it just didn't look as cute. I was pretty sad about that, and for $60 I would prefer something to hold up a little better over time! Ultimately, my advice with this line is proceed with caution: there are some gems in there but also some frustration along the way. And that's when you're glad you have Prime Shipping with Free Returns...you might need it!

Lark & Ro 

Lark & Ro is specifically intended to be Amazon's workwear line, and for that reason I don't try all that many pieces from this line. I don't work in an office so most of their items just don't work for my lifestyle. That said, a few of their sweaters looked good for everyday non-office wear, but my experience with them has been lukewarm with one exception: cashmere. Their cashmere sweaters (like the one I'm wearing above) are very nice for the price! They're reasonably priced for cashmere, but definitely more than the standard knit sweaters from Daily Ritual or Pattyboutik.

On the "lukewarm" side, I've been underwhelmed with their regular non-cashmere sweaters. They were similar in price to Daily Ritual sweaters (sometimes a bit more), but they just weren't as soft and comfortable. I don't have any photo examples of the styles I've tried because I sent them all back! Again they weren't bad, but I just thought I could do better for the price. I'd still be open to trying sweaters from this line in the future if it was either cashmere or something that was a little bit unique. But for basic looking sweaters I'll just stick to Daily Ritual if I'm shopping on Amazon.

Fincati
Fincati Sweater | Jeans | Boots (c/o Shopbop) | Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody Bag

This brand is getting an Honorable Mention only because I love this sweater so much and have it in both colors. I can't categorically say this brand is reliable because this is the only piece I've tried. They don't have all that many other items available on Amazon, and their other items don't really appeal to me. But if you want a reasonably priced (under $50), super soft and cozy, (allegedly cashmere though I'm not sure what percent) chunky knit sweater, this one is fantastic. My sister ordered this after visiting me last year and seeing how soft it was in person and it gets her non-biased stamp of approval too!

Worst Brands
For me, any clothing that doesn't offer Prime Shipping with Free Returns is something to be avoided altogether. I have ordered some non-Prime items in the past that worked out really well, but I've also had more than a few bad experiences. In some cases, the return shipping cost as much as the item itself so I just ended up donating rather than returning, which was just a waste all around. With so many other retail options out there, if Prime isn't part of the deal I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. Basically my mantra is: if it's not Prime, it's not worth my time. (And I love a good rhyme!)

That about sums up my experience with Amazon sweater shopping. If you have a favorite Amazon sweater brand I haven't tried, let me know! There is one new (to me) Amazon Private Label brand I've noticed this year: Goodthreads. The sweaters have really great reviews so far and I'll be reviewing at least one of them in my October Amazon try on session so stay tuned for that later this month. Before you go, here's a quick recap of the post today in a Pinterest-Friendly graphic:

And I'll be back here tomorrow with Book Reviews so I hope you'll stop by if you need a good read!



10/4/19

Friday Favorites 10/4/19

11 comments |
For the last couple of Fridays I've done a Flashback Friday segment with a re-creation of a past outfit. This week it became a lifestyle! In doing "research" for Flashback Friday I've found plenty of ideas for repeating outfits or pieces I own that could easily be worn again to bring down the cost per wear, never mind the fact that zero people in real life would be like, "Hey, didn't you already wear something like that in September of 2018?" So this week I'm starting with Flashback Friday and linking to the previous post if you're interested.

1. Flashback Friday

Utility Jacket + Jean Shorts: I'm going in chronological order this week since my nail color changes mid-week! That's a separate topic below, but let's start with a fall staple - a utility jacket!

This jacket was a Maurice's find back in the Spring (posted HERE). It's sold out now but utility jackets are a fall staple, so finding a similar option is no problem. In the Spring I wore a similar combo with cognac sandals, and to make it more "fall" I wore cognac ankle boots. So far I am wearing these ankle boots (true to size) sans socks, because I don't have any no-show socks that are low enough to handle the side cut-out on these! Luckily it's been cool enough when I leave the house in the evening to handle the no-socks situation without my feet getting sweaty.

I've shared these $12 earrings a few times now and I'm still loving them. I've noticed my rose gold jewelry gets a lot more love during the fall. I think it just goes well with a lot of fall color palettes. These are a reasonable weight to me -  I don't like heavy earrings, and while they're not as lightweight as something like leather earrings, I don't have a problem wearing them for a few hours at a time.

Utility Shirt + Black Shorts: From utility jacket to utility shirt! I shared this shirt in my September Amazon Reviews reviews but styled it with leggings there to show the length.
Utility Shirt (c/o) | Shorts | Shoes, Similar w/ more Sizes | Necklace | Nail Polish

This is 100% long enough to wear with leggings, but in real life I wore it with shorts. This top has a bit of a relaxed fit, so if you're between sizes go with the smaller size. I wear XS or S in tops and the XS worked well for me with this style. This photo is made me decide I was ready to switch to a fall nail color. I tried to migrate from summer white to pinkish-white before going dark, but that lasted about three days before I was itching for something darker, which brings me to item #2 today!

2. Fall Nails
I wasn't ready for burgundy just yet, but I did want something not white or pinkish-white, so I snagged this color at CVS when I had a coupon for CND Vinylux on one of my 3-foot long receipts!

It's kind of an interesting brownish-plum shade. It reminds me a lot of a L'Oreal color that was my favorite in the 90s! BTW, I went down a Google rabbit hole trying to find the name of the exact shade I wore in the 90s to no avail. It's hard to get very far when all you have to go on is "L'Oreal 90s nail polish." And I was wearing it before the internet became a thing so it's not like people were documenting their #NOTD back then. Oh well. I was hoping that I wouldn't go straight from white to dark polish, and this is pretty dark so that didn't go as planned. But I like the color on my skin tone and so far it's not clashing with what I'm wearing, so I'm going with it for now.

For example, even with my red shirt it still seemed pretty "neutral":

And paired with neutrals it gives the outfit a nice fall touch if I do say so myself. Here are a couple of additional outfits from this week:
Similar CardiganSimilar Cardigan | Similar Cami | Similar Shorts | Geometric Earrings | Similar Shoes | Necklace

By the way, I really do not look this "tan" in real life! The time of day I take these photos and how sunny/cloudy it is on a given day determines how my skin looks. Believe me, I don't mind looking tan at all, but yeah. Lighting is everything as far as that goes.

P.S. The outfit above is also a Flashback Friday outfit. I wore a similar outfit HERE.

And one more neutral, everyday outfit with fall nails:

I angled my neck as best I could to get my earrings in the photo, but they still seem kind of camouflaged in the corner. So I'll just go ahead and give them their own spot as Friday Favorite #3! 

3. Fall Earrings
I bought this exact pair of $12 earrings in Magenta over the summer and loved them, so I was happy to see they added a "burgundy" option for fall!

Now I realize I'm not a Pantone color-naming expert, but to me these have a bit more brown/amber than what I expect from a typical "burgundy." But I didn't mind since I still liked the color, price and the fact that they're very lightweight. They're a fun way to incorporate fall into my outfits even though I'm dressing for warm weather.

4. Ann Taylor Coat Restock
This coat was a winter favorite for me last year, but depending on where you live it might be a great option for fall!

It sold out in most sizes around Black Friday last year but they've re-issued it this year, most likely because it was so popular! This year's version has a "herringbone" pattern up close that mine doesn't have, but it's still the same neutral taupe/grey shade (it also comes in black and navy windowpane). If you're interested in this I recommend sale stalking it - Ann Taylor does have regular sales so no need to pay full price. But if you live in a warm climate get it before it's actually cold enough to wear it or it might sell out again!

5. Fitness Favorites 
I'm back to sharing some fitness content here with a favorite workout of the week! To check out any of my past fitness posts start here for reference. This week's favorite is Cathe ICE To the Mat

I got this workout a few years ago on a reader recommendation (thanks Margaret!) and it's perfect for days when I'm feeling tired or lethargic but still want to do some kind of workout. This entire workout (even the warm up) is done on the floor! Even though it doesn't require a lot of energy, you'll still feel it in the legs and glutes. It has a bonus ab workout that's also great.

Equipment Used: Mat (optional if you're on carpet), Stability Ball, Resistance Band (Option), Resistance Loop (Option).  Optional Equipment: Ankle Weights - Cathe does not use ankle weights but I use them on some exercises, otherwise it's just not challenging enough for me. Cathe also uses a Dumbbell on one exercise but only as a heel lift, so it has to be a type that doesn't have round ends or it will roll away. I find it easier just to use a Yoga Block, but you could easily substitute a low step or a household object to accomplish the same thing if you don't have a square-end dumbbell.

That's it for this week's favorites! Thanks for spending some time with me today and have a great weekend!

10/2/19

Short Sleeve Button Down + Currently

18 comments |
Today's post was quite a roller coaster in the making! I took these outfit photos two weeks ago, then as I was preparing the post over the weekend my top was coming up as sold out. I was debating whether to scrap this outfit entirely and reviewing options for other content to share. Then I started browsing similar options for this top, and voilĂ ! I found my exact top again! Express had moved it to the Clearance section of their site, which meant it wasn't coming up when I browsed their regular selection of tops! I really wish they wouldn't do that, but I guess it all worked out in the end.

After all that back and forth now we're back to Plan A - sharing this outfit! And I'm happy about that because I really do love this top. It's great for transition weather/warm climate fall weather! It's very lightweight, but the color keeps it from looking like summer. And I like that it's a little bit nicer than a t-shirt so I can dress it up for school meetings a doctor appointments if needed. Those are generally the main things on my agenda these days that require anything more than a t-shirt! Well...not that there's a dress code saying "no T-shirts" or my kids would never be allowed anywhere! But I just feel more comfortable when my attire is more in line with what the other adults are wearing!

Anyway, I wore this on the weekend so I didn't have to be dressed up just to run errands and take my son to flag football practice. This is the only short sleeve button down shirt I own, but when I went browsing for similar styles to share I realized this style is everywhere! Either they're trending right now or they've always been popular and I just never noticed. Or maybe they're a classic style that's having a trending-strong moment? Whichever it is, this is a really great top style for transition season, so here are some additional in-stock options:
ONE: Amazon Top $22  | TWO:  LOFT  | THREE: Shop Madewell (Striped Tie Front) 
FOURAmazon ($19) | FIVE: Shop DL1961 (Crystie St) | SIXEquipment (Short Sleeve Slim Signature Blouse)

I didn't set this up as a Splurge vs. Save graphic, but I do have options from high to low end. The lines get a little blurred when the Madewell top is more or less expensive than the LOFT top depending on the current sale! But the DL1961 option and Equipment option are definitely Splurge styles, so if that's not in the budget, check the additional colors on this Amazon Top (Option One) for a similar color and style.

It's the first Wednesday of the month so I'm joining Anne for her "Currently" link up. She provides the creative prompts for this, and today's participants are sharing what we're currently arranging, loving, embracing, purchasing, and sharing!

Arranging...and re-arranging my shoes in my closet every other day. My boys are kind enough to let me store some of my out-of-season shoes in their closets, but at this time of year that's a difficult distinction to make! I'm still wearing sandals a lot, but we did have some rain last weekend so I needed ankle boots. My shoes aren't feeling very organized at the moment.

Loving...my Instax camera for shoe organization, since we're on the subject. This is a re-share but since I've been re-organizing my shoes and adding some new options for fall this camera is getting a lot of use.

I store all my shoes in their boxes and this has been such a great investment for making it easier to find the pair I'm looking for.
Some of the boxes do have the name printed on them like this, but my brain just has an easier time processing an image!

Embracing...the school year routine and flow. It always takes me 4-6 weeks to get over the summer hangover and adapt to the school year schedule, but I'm finally there.

Purchasing...The Madewell top from my graphic above! These "additional shopping options" can be dangerous to create since I end up seeing a few new things I didn't know I needed!

Sharing...some recent outfits, a new nail color I'm trying, a re-stocked favorite coat, and a favorite "low energy day" workout coming up in Friday's post so I hope you'll stop by and check it out!





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