Jun 26, 2017

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy with SOAK

Oh sweet summertime, I'm so happy you're here!  I'm loving your morning runs by the lake, midday Netflix binges and late-night s'more sessions.  What I'm not loving?  That sometimes oppressive heat that prevents me from wearing my beloved layers, tights and scarves!  Yep, like most bloggers, fall and winter are my favorite times of year to dress for.  I find it difficult to create interesting outfits when the temperatures soar!

But I'm here today with three ways to keep that summertime look cool and easy while still feeling put-together and stylish!

Fun little details: Whether you're grabbing a cute top or a summer dress, I look for pieces with fun little details like a print or an interesting texture.  These pieces hold their own so that you don't need to add lots of layers or heavy jewelry (which can sometimes feel stifling in the heat, am I right?!) to feel finished and polished.  I'm loving my new, breezy tank (purchased with my favorite Blended Bloggers while in Toronto) because of the adorable, tiny fruit print!

No-Heat Hairstyles: As much as I love my straightening iron waves, sometimes it is just too darn hot to be stuck under a heated styling tool!  Not to mention I usually want to hop out of the shower and head directly to an ice cream date or happy hour on the patio.  Cue quick and easy styles you can create while your hair is still wet!  My favorite is a pancaked dutch braid slicked back into a low bun.  It's a no muss no fuss style that still looks like you put in some effort!

Stylish Slides: Okay, so I'll admit that sometimes buckling sandals feels like too much work when I'm ready to be out enjoying the season.  Flip flops used to be my go-to shoe every summer but lately I've been wanting a more elevated look.  Slides are the perfect solution!  There are no buckles and they are definitely in-style this summer!

If you are looking for the ideal summer slide, please check-out SOAK Slide Sandals. They come in a variety of hues (in metallic, solid or color-blocked).  When they graciously offered to send me a pair to review, I chose a solid in Neon Papaya.  They provide the perfect pop-of-color to spice up any outfit!

These sandals feel incredibly high-quality and are easily wiped clean.  They also provide arch support and plenty of cushion -- so hard to find in cute, flat sandals!  If I haven't sold you on these shoes yet, they are recyclable, vegan and made in the USA!

So head on over and check-out all of the fun colors SOAK offers!  To sweeten the deal, SOAK is offering my readers 15% off their first order using the code WHIT15.  So go on, check them out and let me know which color you would choose!

(A note on sizing: they do not offer half sizes so I would recommend sizing-up if you are in-between.)

I would also love to know how you're staying put-together and cool this summer!  Make sure to comment below.
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Jun 23, 2017

Blogging Besties :: Pretty in Gold

The Blogging Besties series is the brain child of Alex @ The Cheerful Closet and Whitney @ Whitney à la Mode. In 2015, the series expanded to include yours truly @ My Closet Catalogue and Selah @ A Bibliophile's Style. It's based on the idea of "take one, pass it on," but we're passing on an element from another blogger's outfit. It's a fun challenge that inspires us to be creative!

Last week, Selah showed much courage in daring to wear a color that was challenging for her:

This week is brought to you by: “something olive, blush, gold, or just something that makes you want to sing I Feel Pretty”. And for your viewing pleasure, I give you: something gold that makes me want to sing.


The other day, my precocious tween thoughtfully mused that my new aesthetic was a cross "between a 70-year-old grandma and a 6-year-old girl". The 40+ something in me was rather taken aback by this comment. Should I take it as a compliment? An insult? A sign that my daughter is finally developing a sense of style independent of me? When I got over my mommy angst, I was disheartened to realize that it was immediately replaced by mid-life crisis angst. Have I truly gone over to the dark side of sartorial ineptitude? Did my foray into vintage fashion skew my aesthetic entirely? Am I in a fashion slump?! I suppose learning how to sew didn't help matters either. I confess that I chose simple silhouettes to match my seamstress skills, and the easiest things to make are dresses. Trapeze dresses, to be exact. No need to fuss over bust darts or waistline placement. No worries about buttons and buttonholes. Trapeze dresses became my go-to project. (Yes, I sewed the dress I'm wearing for this pictorial.) And yet, despite all the fun I was having finding retro fabric to match the retro 60s vibe, I may have crossed the line from cool into kitsch. I mean, take a look at those buttons, why doncha?


When I think about backing away from the vintage thing, though, I feel a stab of sadness. I like zany prints. I like exaggerated a-lines and fit-and-flare circle skirts. I like peplums and large lapels. I feel pretty wearing throwback pieces. So really, I should just continue doing what makes me happy. After all, I think I'm old enough to have earned the right. And, if anything else, I can always take pictures from far away and Photoshop the heck out of them.


For Alex’s turn next week, I challenge her to the following: zany prints, wedge heels, or a comfortable silhouette. Vive le vendredi!

:: Just the facts, ma’am :: Dress – made by moi Wedges – eBay
:: Scream it from the top of your lungs :: Bloom by The Paper Kites
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Jun 21, 2017

Spring Bucket List Update (And My New Summer Bucket List)

As of today, summer is officially in full swing!  Around the world, people are celebrating the solstice and I'm enjoying my first week of freedom from school.  What a perfect day to take a look back at my Spring Bucket List to see what I accomplished!

1.  Buy fresh flowers for my apartment.  Okay, so I didn't actually buy fresh flowers but I updated the faux bouquet that brightens my desk.  That totally counts, right?!

2.  Watch a Lansing Lugnuts (the local baseball team) game.  Check!  A bunch of teachers from the high school where I work enjoyed a Friday night at the ballpark complete with spring weather, beer and hot dogs (of course)!

3.  Drink a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on a patio.  Technically this is beer, but again, who is paying attention to the details?!  In any case, the patio at The Peanut Barrel is my favorite place to have an outdoor beverage.

4.  Go on a weekend getaway.  This really handsome guy and I went to Traverse City, Michigan and the surrounding areas for my birthday weekend.  He ran a marathon and we sampled lots of delicious wine.  It was the perfect weekend!

5.  Read a book in the courtyard of my apartment complex.  I actually enjoyed a book outside on three separate occasions this spring.  It might just be the best way to relax.

6.  Try a meal ingredients delivery service.  We cooked three awesome meals from Blue Apron and will definitely be trying some more.  The one pictured is a Smoked Trout Salad with Asparagus!

7.  Find a new hiking destination for #ourmonthlyhike with my best friend, Nicole.  We tried a couple new hiking trails this spring, Woldumar Nature Center being my new favorite!

8.  Purge my closet of clothes I no longer love.  Nope, I did not accomplish this one.  I've been weeding things out here and there but I didn't do the the full closet purge that I intended.

9.  Buy a pair of fun sneakers for the warmer weather.  Yes!  I'm loving my new Adidas sneakers (and twinning with my boyfriend).

10.  Experiment with a more advanced yoga class.  I twisted this one a little bit, too.  So I didn't actually try another yoga class but I did take up running again and feel great about my progress.  I'd say that's an even swap!

Nine out of ten ain't bad, huh?!  Plus I really enjoyed checking these items off my list and the enjoyment each activity brought to my life.  Now I'm excited to tackle my Summer Bucket List:

1.  Run a 5k.
2.  Go camping.
3.  Take a boat ride.
4.  Try a new grill recipe.
5.  Spend a day at the beach.
6.  Get a pedicure.
7.  Try a new hiking trail (a repeat from my Spring List but you can never explore too many trails!)
8.  Buy fresh fruit at a farmer's market.
9.  Watch a sunset.
10.  Explore a new-to-me city.

If you have a bucket list you would like to share, please link-up with us below!  And a big thank you to Leslie for organizing our bucket list posts!

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Jun 16, 2017

Blogging Besties: Comfort Zone

The Blogging Besties series is the brain child of Alex @ The Cheerful Closet and Whitney @ Whitney à la Mode. In 2015 the series expanded to include Maricel @ My Closet Catelogue and me, Selah @ A Bibliophile's Style. It's based on the idea of "take one, pass it on," but we're passing on an element from another blogger's outfit. It's a fun challenge that inspires us to be creative!

Last week, Whitney wowed in a pencil skirt:

The prompts she gave me were "stretchy, form-fitting, teal, or outside of your comfort!".
Whitney's post got me thinking about my fashion comfort zone and how it has evolved over the years. I remember being leery of blush / peach, thinking that it would wash my fair coloring out. It was Whitney who inspired me to give blush a chance, with this post. So, this peachy blush is something that was once outside of my comfort zone, but now makes me feel oh-so-pretty.


Maricel, next week show us something olive, blush, gold, or just something that makes you want to sing "I Feel Pretty".
Previous Editions of Blogging Besties
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The Blended Blog Loves: School's Out!

Happy LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, my lovely friends!  To celebrate, I'm posting at The Blended Blog today and am featuring some of my favorite posts of the week that have me excited for summertime!  So pop-on over and share an iced coffee with me!
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Jun 9, 2017

Blogging Besties: Pencil Skirt

Blogging Besties is a weekly series featuring Whitney of Whitney à la mode, Alex of The Cheerful Closet, Maricel of ::My Closet Catelogue:: and Selah of A Bibliophile's Style.  Each week, one of the bloggers will choose one component from the previous week's outfit to pass on in a brand new look.  This "take one, pass it on" challenge is an inspiration to stretch your closet and your imagination!

Have you ever noticed that Alex is the queen of pencil skirts?!  She rocks them fearlessly all.the.time!

So when she gave me "pencil skirt" as one of my prompts for this week, I knew I had to go for it.  You see, I tend to shy away from pencil skirts because I often feel self-conscious about the way they fit my (curvy) lower body.

But I've had one just sitting in my closet since last fall, waiting to be worn.  This Cassie skirt is one of the first LuLaRoe pieces I purchased because I loved the print.  When I received it in the mail, though, I totally chickened-out on wearing it.  And then it was buried underneath other skirts...until now!

And you know what?!  I felt great in this outfit!  The stretchy skirt is super comfortable even though it's form-fitting and I still love the print and the pop-of-teal!  So thank you, Alex, for making me step outside my comfort zone!  That's the point of Blogging Besties, after all!

Selah, my dear, for next week you can choose from: stretchy, form-fitting, teal, or outside of your comfort!
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Jun 7, 2017

Currently: June

planning: lots and lots of trips for the summer!  From camping in the Mitten State to Belgium and a road trip along the East Coast (including my beloved Alexandria, VA), I'm looking forward to lots of summertime adventures!

wishing: it were the last day of school.  Only eight more to go...not that anyone is counting...

learning: about literacy instruction.  To make the end of the school year a bit more of a struggle than usual, I'm taking a graduate-level class about literacy in order to renew my certification.  It's an intensive, six-week course and it's almost over!  Thank goodness because I'm really planning to enjoy my summer. (photo credit)

browsing: all the LipSense.  Thank you, Sarah, for my most recent make-up obsession!  You can find a great review of the product as well as the photo I used above here.

going: to oh so many places in Michigan.  After a lovely weekend spent in the Traverse City area for my birthday, I'm excited to plan a few more Michigan getaways this summer including a trip to my hometown with a certain special someone.

Linking-up with Anne and Erin!
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Jun 5, 2017

My Weight Loss Journey with Nutrisystem

I'm sharing personal story over at The Blended Blog today for our Tasty Tuesday link-up!  You see, in the past year, I've lost 15 pounds using the Nutrisystem plan.  Curious about how the plan worked for me?  Head over to TBB to read my review and to learn a few of my tips and tricks for success!
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Jun 2, 2017

Blogging Besties: Floral

Blogging Besties is a weekly series featuring Whitney of Whitney à la mode, Alex of The Cheerful Closet, Maricel of ::My Closet Catalogue:: and Selah of A Bibliophile’s Style. Each week, one of the bloggers will choose one component from the previous week’s outfit to pass on in a brand new look. This “take one, pass it on” challenge is an inspiration to stretch your closet and your imagination!

Last week, Maricel looked positively radiant in her floral dress! I love the colors in the pattern--they remind me of tutti frutti.

She inspired me to style this floral tank in a new way with peach and a pencil skirt! I usually wear this tank with darker colors pulled from the pattern, but I love how the peach looks with it for spring! 

Don't mind the furry photobomber--Rosie is still a little nervous around the tripod and doesn't like to be too far away from me when I bring it out!

Tank: Plato's Closet (similarsimilarsimilar)
Cardigan: LOFT (similarsimilarsimilar)
Skirt: Target (similarsimilarsimilar)
Flats: Target (similarsimilarsimilar)
Necklace: Forever XXI (similarsimilarsimilar)

Next week, Whitney can choose from the following elements: pencil skirts, ballet flats, peach, or a new color combination! 
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May 31, 2017

Travel Capsule: Springtime in Europe- Outfits Six and Seven

Well we've made it to the final installment of my European travel capsule!  In case you missed it, I took ten items of clothing with me on a trip through Italy, Switzerland and France in April and loved every outfit I created.

For our very last day in Paris, I brought out the striped dress from day one in Venice!  I made it a little more sporty this time with a pair of Converse instead of loafers and my utility jacket instead of the floral scarf.

And last but not least, a travel outfit!  Although I have to admit, I wore this on the way to Europe, not on the way home.  These pictures were taken after an eight-hour flight to Amsterdam so please excuse the wrinkles and the groggy expression.

I also have to admit that this polka dot tee (from LOFT outlet) was not listed in my Introduction post.  When I originally created the capsule, I had the scarf in the "extras" category and this t-shirt on the list.  But when I went to write that post, I totally forgot about it!

I actually think that I could have created more than seven outfits with these ten pieces (a few of them were only used once)!  But ultimately I only need seven outfits for this trip.  Which was your favorite?

And while you're here, link-up your latest fashion posts with The Blended Blog!

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May 26, 2017

Blogging Besties :: Parisian Inspired

Blogging Besties is a weekly series featuring Whitney of Whitney à la mode, Alex of Undergraduate Style, Maricel of ::My Closet Catalogue:: and Selah of A Bibliophile’s Style. Each week, one of the bloggers will choose one component from the previous week’s outfit to pass on in a brand new look. This “take one, pass it on” challenge is an inspiration to stretch your closet and your imagination!
  Last week, Selah was tres chic in teal.


This week is brought to you by: “tassels, green & blue, or something Parisian inspired". And for your viewing pleasure, I give you: something Parisian inspired.


 So my vintage obsession is still going strong, but as my decades start melding into each other (no more strong 40s-inspired outfits; RIP Agent Carter), the obsession has slowly morphed into just a general love of dresses. Dresses are simple. They're classy. And they're perfect for temperate So Cal climes, especially when the mercury rises as it has been these past few days. This particular frock is from the early 60s and is my take on "Parisian inspired" because that city always calls to mind bright flowers. I've only been once in my 20s, but my memories have since been influenced by a voracious reading of WWII tales, particularly ones set in the European arena, and all those novels - no matter how bleak - somehow manage to incorporate strong flower imagery. And this dress just screams floral.


 The color composition is so enticing; the hues stunningly vivid. You can see me a mile away. This dress wants to be looked at and admired, and the wearer feels all the more special and beloved and confident because of it. Much like a Parisian woman. Because the dress is such a statement piece, I've minimized the accessories, keeping with a neutral shoe that, by the way, is my new favorite piece of footwear because they're both sassy and comfy. I love them so much that I bought them in 2 colors and Aly has them in the other two. We highly recommend them; they're still available at Target (shameless but unsponsored plug).


 For Alex's turn next week, I challenge her to the following: floral, vivid hues or comfort clothing. Vive le vendredi!

:: Just the facts, ma’am :: Dress – eBay Sneakers – Mad Love Lennie via Target
:: Scream it from the top of your lungs :: Let's Kill Tonight by Panic! at the Disco
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May 25, 2017


I've had so much fun sharing my travel capsule (1, 2, 3) and trip experiences (Italy, Switzerland) with you over the last couple of weeks!  I still have one more wardrobe post coming to you on Wednesday, but today is the final installment of my Spring Break recap!

After a day in the mountains of charming Switzerland, my group of students, parents and teachers took the TGV (the fast train) into Paris.  As much as I loved my new experiences in Italy and Switzerland, my French teacher heart felt so happy to be heading "home!"  We arrived in time for a supermarket lunch and time at Notre Dame.  The trees were in bloom and the sun was shining making for a lovely afternoon!

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May 24, 2017

Travel Capsule: Springtime in Europe- Outfits Four and Five

Bonjour, mes amies!  I'm back today with the third installment of my Springtime in Europe Travel Capsule.  If you missed the first few posts, I traveled to Italy, Switzerland and France for Spring Break with only ten pieces of clothing!  Here you can find the list of items with outfit one as well as outfits two and three.

This is the outfit that I wore during our four-hour train ride from Switzerland to France.  We hopped off the train and jumped right into sight-seeing so I knew that I wanted to feel comfortable yet put-together.  I went for basic color blocking with a navy peplum, a mustard cardigan, some skinny jeans and bright flats.

The next day was spent wandering the streets of Paris, so of course I wanted to look chic while taking care of my feet.  These comfy loafers really took care of me throughout Europe!  Can you believe they are from Old Navy?!  They are totally walkable and have actually held out considering the price.  I've been wearing them non-stop since I got home, too!  The coral pair is sold out online but you can still buy them in a pretty off-white.  Old Navy is also carrying a slightly different pair of moccasins that are just as comfy!

Anyways, back to the outfit!  I can't get enough of florals lately so it was fun to have something pretty and spring-like to wear on vacation.  Add my trusty coral jacket and some skinnies and I'm all set!

And with that, we are almost to the end of the series.  Just one more post to go!  But while you're here, please link-up your fashion fashion posts lately below with The Blended Blog!

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