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30x30 Recap and Reflections

It's done!  The 30x30 was a great experience.  I've been reading style blogs for so long that I have seen plenty of 30x30 challenges, and I loved being able to add myself into the mix of people who have undertaken the challenge.  Based on how other people have felt during their challenges, I thought I would eventually hate these 30 items by the end of the month.  Honestly, I could have kept going with these pieces.  I loved all of them and enjoyed mixing and matching them all month.

The chambray shirt, gray & white striped tank, white ruffled shirt, and purple tee were all worn 3 times.  I wore the black & white striped tee, coral tee, black top, floral blouse, and striped sweater each twice.  I wore the floral skirt and skinny jeans four times.  The striped skirt and each of the shorts (coral, black, and khaki) were all worn three times, and the black jeans were only worn twice.  Each dress was worn twice.  I wore the vest four times, the coral cardigan and denim jacket were worn three times, and the blazer was only worn twice.  My black flat sandals and pewter sandals were the MVPs, each getting worn seven times.  The nude sandals were worn five times, the nude flats and black wedges each worn four times, and the green flats were worn three times.

Favorites and least favorites
I loved outfits 6, 14, 21, and 23.  I also really liked the simplicity and charm of outfits 25 and 26.  My least favorite outfits were 8, 11, and 24.  Perhaps if I had left the vest unbuttoned in outfit 24, it would have worked better?  I'm not sure.

Lessons learned
I actually really liked my items for this challenge.  I had a few parameters when choosing my items that I needed to stick to.  First, for my work uniform, I needed to wear black or khaki bottoms on days that I worked, so I needed to include the black and khaki shorts as well as my black skinny jeans for some variety (before and after class, I changed into my work polos).  I also needed to take into consideration the temperature.  July gets super hot and humid in Minnesota, but I also spent most of my afternoons in a freezing cold classroom.  Layers and long pants were great for that.

As much as I love dresses, they weren't as versatile in the challenge as I had hoped they'd been.  I could have done some cool things with wearing dresses as tops or as skirts, but I didn't get around to it.  Perhaps next time I do this challenge, I won't get caught up in the "obvious" outfits and will try to stretch myself a little bit.  Also, while shorts are practical, I don't love how they look on me.  The coral shorts in particular look really awkward on my body...but they're super comfortable so I'll probably keep wearing them anyways.

Accessories are lifesavers!  Since a lot of my outfits were essentially a tee and shorts, throwing on a scarf, necklace, or belt really made the outfits more interesting (like outfit 16...which I didn't really like, but the scarf made it less boring).

I hope you all enjoyed following along with me and Inge as we took on our first 30x30 challenge!  Let me know what your favorite and least favorite outfits for the challenge were!  I'd love to hear your input!!


Thirty! + One Piece, Many Ways Linkup

Tee: Target Skirt: Target Sandals: Target Necklace: From my grandma

It's the 30th outfit!!!  I can't believe how fast the month went.  I'm still loving all my 30x30 pieces and could still make more outfits with them, but I am excited to spend some time with the rest of my clothes, too!

Today, Kev and I are just hanging out and spending time together, and we're going to play trivia again tonight.  One of my best friends from high school just moved to the small town we live in, and he's coming with us to trivia.  It is so much fun to have an old friend in the area to hang out with!

Audrey is also hosting a One Piece, Many Ways linkup on her blog today.  I decided to use this floral skirt as my remix piece, since I love it so much!  It is so colorful and versatile.  I would love to try a little pattern mixing with it one of these days as well, and perhaps pairing it with a blazer?  My coral blazer and navy blazer would look great!  I can't wait to try some cooler weather looks with this skirt, too!  Check out the post here and see the other bloggers who have linked up today!



Tee: Target Skirt: Old Navy Denim jacket: Levi's Necklace: Forever 21 Wedges: Payless

Only one more day of the 30x30, you guys!  Crazy!  I can't believe how fast the month went.  Today, I'm going to be running some errands (returning some of the things I bought that I really don't need, Target run for contact solution, my life is really exciting) and hanging out with Kevin.  His work contract starts again on Thursday, so we're trying to spend lots of time together before our school year begins again!


Budgeting Bloggers: July

You guys, this was a really, really, really bad month.  Like really bad.  I'm ashamed and I really don't want to write this post.  I do want to be transparent though and process my spending.  Here is the damage:

Old Navy
Neon green sleeveless blouse: $10 - I don't love neon, but this bright green top really spoke to me!  It's so vibrant and comfortable and soft.  I love how it fits me and it goes with all my neutral cardigans, sweaters, blazers, etc.
Cobalt sleeveless blouse: $10 - I'm loving cobalt lately as well, so I picked up the same top in cobalt.
Light blue vintage tee: $7.50 - I bought this to replace an old blue tee that got stretched out, but I really don't wear many tees these days, so I'll likely return this.
Gray vintage tee: $7.50 - Same as the light blue tee above.  I'm not smitten with these tees yet so I'll probably return them.
Blue layering tank: $5 - I bought this to replace a navy camisole that is worn out and gross.
Green layering tank: $5 - I like the color of this, but I'm not sure I would wear it enough to keep it around.  Since I'm so over budget, this is likely going back with the vintage tees.
Navy floral blouse: $8 - I have way too many solid colored short-sleeved tops, and I've been looking for a cute floral printed top for ages.  I loved this one, and it fit me so well!
Purple button up: $10 - I'm really into button-ups these days, and this one fit me and didn't pull in the bust or stomach.  The light purple is springy and pretty, and I think it will be a great addition to my closet!
Coral tank: $5 - Yep, I'm still having a love affair with coral.  My coral tee has a hole in it, and I wanted to replace it with another coral top.  This one is so freaking cute and I can't wait to wear it when my 30x30 is done!
Blue polka dot sweater: $2 - I have the same one in pink polka dots and I absolutely love it.  It's thick without being bulky, but light enough to wear in the fall.  The price couldn't have been better, either!
Headbands: $10 - All of my previous headbands have been broken - literally all within a couple months of each other - and I love wearing headbands with my short hair!

Black lace top: $16 - I saw on Audrey and immediately fell in love, but after trying it one with my pants and skirts, I fear it is too short for me.  I will probably return this, and I'm really sad about it.
Navy and mint top: $8 - I have been stalking this top forever and was so excited to see it on sale!
Ivory tank: $15 - I have another top in this color and adore it, but it has shrunk and not worn well over many washings.  I love this top and how it's sheer at the top!  It's a little longer, too, which I really like.
Navy lace dress: $5 - Yes, I have a problem...I love lace dresses, and this one looks amazing on me.  It was an online return and was only $5!
Gold and cognac sandals: $8 - Most of my sandals are a few years old and I wear them all the time.  They're getting icky and worn so I decided to replace a pair with these sandals I've been seeing on bloggers all summer.  They are so darn cute and the price was great.

Swiss dot henley: $22 - I have been looking for a white popover for a while.  This one is kind of sheer, and I am a little bit on the fence (I love that it's collarless and the texture is awesome).  I'm going to try to make a few outfits with the things I have right now and see how it works out.  If I don't love it, I'll return it.
Navy blazer: $50 - I've had a navy blazer on my wishlist for AGES and I have finally found one!  It was the only one on the sale rack, in my size, and was nearly 50% off.  It is perfect for me!!
Polka dot jeans: $12 - I have heard great things about Gap jeans, but haven't had a pair since I was about 14 years old.  I gave these a shot and love how they fit me.  The polka dots are darling, too!  I can't wait for you to see them (I couldn't find a picture online).
Patterned crops: $12 - These pants look incredible on me.  I love the pattern.  I've been so on the fence about patterned pants forever, but these are amazing and I can't wait to wear them to my internship and work!

White skirt: $23 - This was my first time in LOFT.  They were having amazing sales this weekend and I have been looking for elastic waist skirts with pockets (they look the best on me).  This white one fits the bill, and my mom was so kind and offered to buy it for me.  Thanks Mom!!
Floral shorts: $9 - These didn't make it onto the collage (oops) but I absolutely love them.  Andi has them and I remembered how darling they were on her.  When I saw them on final sale at LOFT for $9, I had to get them!  I can't wait to wear these!!

TOMS pink wedges: $40
TOMS navy wedges: $40
These were a deal on Zulily.  I have wanted a pair of these strappy wedges for so long, and while they are adorable, they are a little snug on my feet and I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of them.  The pink ones were definitely more comfortable, and I'm going to try to break them in a little bit (I think they'll stretch out a bit).  Since I can't return back to Zulily, I'm thinking about potentially selling them on eBay if they don't work out for me.  I'm super bummed that they aren't as perfect as what I was expecting.

Grand total: $317 (OMG OUCH)

With the things I'm planning to return, my updated total will be about $200, which is still super over budget.  I also have several huge Ikea bags full of clothes to sell or donate (yep, I said that last month too but with my busy schedule I wasn't able to fit it in).  I'm hoping that will offset some of my spending.  I'm also still using a "one in, one out" rule, in which I get rid of one item in my closet for every new item I add.  I'm getting low on pieces in my closet that I actually do want to get rid of, so that's going to help me slow down my spending too.  It feels good to have a wardrobe that I'm so happy with.

Despite the ridiculous amount of money I spent this month, I do feel pretty good about the things that I bought.  I'm genuinely excited about the pieces I'm keeping, and I can wear most, if not all, of the pieces to work and my internship.  Many of the things I have had on my wishlist forever, I just lucked out this month and was able to find and purchase so many of them at once.

All that being said, though, I'm not spending anything in August (at least).  I mean it this time.  I don't need anything right now, and I struggle with self-control (which is also why it's probably so hard for me to lose weight...).  Kevin and I would love to visit my dear friend Casey and her husband in South Carolina, and I could easily be saving my money for a plane ticket to see them.  I won't be working as many hours this upcoming school year, so my income will be cut in half as well.  I guess it's all about making choices...adulthood is so fun.

So, yep, that's my plan.  I'm pretty much mortified by my spending right now, and I'm ready to make a change.  I just need to stay we go.

I'm linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers.

Twenty-Seven & Twenty-Eight.

Dress: Old Navy Scarf: Old Navy Sandals: Target

 Dress: Target, thrifted new Vest: Old Navy Scarf: Old Navy Sandals: Target

So I mentioned that I was home again this weekend.  It was great to spend more time with my dad.  He continues to heal, and I am so grateful that he is alright and that we are able to have meaningful time together.  My parents have been mentoring a little boy, Denari, for several years now, and we went to go see Despicable Me 2 together on Saturday.  The movie was super cute (I love the minions!), and it was so much fun to see Denari again.  He's like a little brother to me and it has been awesome to see him grow over the years!

I also spent some time this weekend shopping, both by myself and with my mom.  I know I am wayyy over budget for July (AGAIN, what the heck?!) but I got some amazing things and I do not regret any of them so far.  I can't wait to wear my new pieces after the 30x30 is done!  I'll have my July budget post up tomorrow, I think.

I also am over at Animated Cardigan today, guest posting about my pups.  If you want to see some adorable pictures of them (including the picture that made me fall in love with Pippin), check out the post here!


Twenty-Six + Guest Post!!

Dress: Target, thrifted new Cardigan: TJ Maxx Flats: Payless Necklace: Made by my friend!

Happy Friday!  I came up to my parent's house today to hang out with my dad this weekend.  We had lunch with a very close family friend.  My mom did daycare for her and her sister when they were little, I nannied them when I was in college, and she is going off to college in a few short weeks.  It was great to see her again before she leaves.

This afternoon, my mom and I went shopping while my dad put in a little more time at work, and I got some cute headbands, a skirt, and a few other things while we were out.  There were tons of good deals today - I love finding something I love and then finding out that it's on a mega sale!

This evening, we're going to play games as a family.  Part of my dad's therapy is to play games that use your brain, so we'll be playing rounds of Scattergories, Set, Blokus, etc. to keep his brain active and try to recover some of the cognitive functioning that was damaged by his stroke.  What a fun prescription! :)

Also, I guest posted over on Bri's blog today while she is on an amazing Alaskan cruise.  Stop by, check out the post, and give Bri some love!


Catching Up! (Outfits 20-25!)

Whew, I have finally finished my first year of graduate school and completed my graduate assistantship!  It's an incredible feeling...the year has flown by, and I have learned so much.  I am really excited to see what this upcoming year brings.  I'll be taking 9 credits each semester, interning 25-30 hours each week, and working as a research assistant 10 hours each week in addition to writing my thesis.  I'm going to be one busy lady, but I'm excited about what is to come.

Now that I'm done with work and school for the next month or so, I'm looking forward to getting caught up on blogging.  This post has all of my outfits from the past six we go!

Sweater: Old Navy Shorts: Tommy Hilfiger Sandals: Target Necklace: Gift

I wore this outfit last Saturday.  I spent the morning at my parent's house watching their dogs while my mom was at the hospital with my dad.  I also got a hair cut (after this picture was taken...see below!).  In the afternoon, Kevin came up to Minneapolis and we visited my dad together.  That evening, Kevin and I went to a wedding (I wore a non-30x30 dress...), where we had a fantastic time.  It was a beautiful ceremony for our friends Lindsey and Jeff, and they had their reception at the gorgeous public library in downtown Minneapolis.  Coolest venue ever.  The wedding was a great distraction from worrying about my dad!

Shirt: Target Vest: Old Navy Jeans: Old Navy Sandals: Target Necklace: Gift

On Sunday, I had quite the busy day.  I sang with the worship team at my family's church, had lunch with my parents (Dad got discharged from the hospital a day early!!), spent time with my best friend Andria (we hadn't seen each other since MARCH), and went to a little bonfire at my aunt and uncle's with my parents.  It was such a great day.

 Blouse: Target, thrifted new Shorts: Tommy Hilfiger Sandals: Target

Monday was a long day, full of work and class.  It was the last session of new student orientation, and I decided to stay on campus with my staff and hang out with them while they led 200+ new students through activities.  We played dodgeball, sang karaoke, and laughed a lot.  The student leaders I work with are such great people!

Shirt: Old Navy Skirt: Target Shoes: Target, thrifted new Necklace: Target

Tuesday was my last day of class!  We are officially second-year school counseling students - ah!!  So exciting :)  I also had my banquet to celebrate the end of the orientation season for work.  We went out for dinner, enjoyed a fun end-of-the-year video with pictures and video clips of our staff's shenanigans all summer, and took lots of pictures together.

Tank, vest, shorts, and sandals: Old Navy (omg.) Belt: The Limited

Wednesday was my very last day of work.  I cleaned out my office, turned in my keys, and said my goodbyes to my supervisor and colleagues.  It is a very bittersweet feeling to be done.  Luckily, I'll still be on campus two days a week, so I'll be able to pop in and say hello to the staff!  In the evening, Kevin and I watched a Harry Potter movie to relax and spend time together with the dogs.

 Dress: Target Shoes: Old Navy Scarf: Gift

Today is my first day of freedom for a while!  I have absolutely nothing on my schedule and am getting caught up with housework, blogging, etc.  I love days like this :)  I'm going to be home again this weekend to spend more time with my dad, and can't wait!  It's times like this that I can't wait to be up in the Twin Cities, but I'm glad I live only an hour away so I can get home easily.

I hope you all have had a great week - I look forward to catch up reading blogs and seeing what people are up to.  I also want to thank all of you for your comments, emails, and texts regarding the whole situation with my dad.  It all means so much to me.  Thank you!!



Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my dad.  He had a stroke on Thursday night.  He is one extremely lucky guy...most people who experience this kind of stroke become paralyzed and have significant cognitive impairments.  My dad is able to walk (although he is a little wobbly) and has only suffered slight cognitive impairments.  He still has his sharp, wicked sense of humor, can still play piano (he is SO GOOD), knows who everyone is, etc.  He'll definitely have some limitations in his new life, but we are all just so grateful he is alive and doing as well as he is!  He still looks exactly like my dad :)  I was home all weekend (through yesterday) to visit, help out at home, etc.  I am happy to report that he is comfortably at home, trying his best to recover and heal even more.

Dad and me right after he got discharged from the hospital - I love this guy.
I have still been doing the 30x30 and have been taking pictures.  However, I haven't had the chance to put a post together yet detailing the outfits.  I'm hoping to get that done by Thursday - I'm wrapping up my summer class and my graduate assistantship, and once those two are done, I'll have much more free time!  Hang tight...I'll be back regularly very soon!!



Tee: Old Navy Pants: NY&C Sandals: Target Necklace: Eclectic Wendy

My apologies for a late post and a boring outfit today.  I got a phone call from my uncle at midnight...which is never a good sign.  My dad had had bleeding in his brain and was in the ICU at the hospital.  Not the news I was wanting to hear.  My dad is my hero and one of my most important people...and hearing that news was utterly terrifying.  He's a generally healthy guy, and pretty young, and I just wasn't prepared to hear it.  He'll be staying in the hospital for monitoring until Monday, but the doctors are pleased with his progress and condition right now.  I'm going home for the weekend to spend time with him, so I may or may not be blogging my outfits this weekend.  I'll try to take outfit shots but obviously, my dad is my priority for the time being.  Any positive and healing thoughts you want to send our way would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you!!



Tank/Blazer/Shorts: Old Navy Sandals: Target Necklace: Forever 21

It's yet another scorching day in Minnesota.  I really love this outfit because it couldn't be more comfortable, but it still looks nice.  It balances the stark difference in temperature between the balmy outdoors and the heavily air-conditioned office and classroom I spend my days in.  I'm in desperate need of a haircut again (it has gotten sooo shaggy and gross!) so I've been pinning my bangs back a ton and wearing headbands to keep the unruly pieces out of my face.  I'm debating about what I should do with my hair...get a pixie cut like I've been wanting for so long, cut it back to where it was the last time I cut my hair (2 months ago - AH!), or grow it out slightly so the back is a little longer than it is now but still shorter than the front and sides...CHOICES!  I am thinking I'll probably just get it trimmed and shaped for now so I don't look all overgrown and nasty, but I'm not sure what my "end goal" is for now.  Oh well, it's just hair :)

Linking up with Bri for Third Thursday Threads!



Top: Old Navy Shorts: Old Navy Shoes: Target, thrifted new Necklace: Gift

I need to get some sun.  My legs are the same color as my light khaki shorts... [I do, however, think they look nice in these shorts.  Positive self-talk - woo!!]

I've always struggled getting dressed in the summer, since I love wearing layers, and hot temperatures are just not conducive to layering.  I'm not the best accessorizer either, so my outfits tend to err on the simple side.  I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing...but I just really don't want to be boring, you know?  I think I need to spend some time on Pinterest looking for some good summer outfit inspiration.  Or, if you guys have any favorite outfits or suggestions, include them in the comments!  I'm always open for feedback or suggestions :)



Tee: Target Shorts: Old Navy Scarf: Gift Sandals: Target

I can't believe I am already halfway done with the 30x30 challenge!  It really has gone fast, and I haven't felt stifled by the small amount of clothing in my closet right now (I moved all my non-30x30 items to our guest room so I wouldn't get tempted).  I think as of now, I've worn each of my items at least once.  I have plenty more outfits dreamed up for my items, too, so I'm feeling good about this second half!

Today's outfit is super boring and comfortable because a) it's hot outside and b) I went to bed last night with a horrible headache, slept about 3 hours, and woke up with an even worse headache.  I'm pretty sure it was a migraine, which is dumb.  I came home from work this morning, drank a ton of water, had some ibuprofen, took a nap, and when I woke up, I was feeling quite a bit better.  I still feel lightheaded when I bend over to pick something up or put my shoes on, but the pain behind my eyes and the sensitivity to light has pretty much gone away.  Here's hoping it stays subsided - we're going to trivia tonight and I want to play! :)



Sweater: Old Navy Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: Gift

Confession: I love freezie pops.  The kind with the liquid sugar in the plastic tube that cuts the sides of your mouth if you don't cut the top off right, you know?  I know they're intended for kids, but they're so dang delicious.  I pretty much have one after dinner every night, because I love them that much.  It's the perfect way to get a little sweet treat (I also have a wicked sweet tooth.)  We just recently got a multipack of freezie pops that has piña colada flavored freezie pops.  OMG, they're amazing.  I recommend you all go out and find piña colada freezie pops now.


Fourteen + Welcome!

Top: Target Skirt: Target Cardigan: TJMaxx Flats: Payless Necklace: Gift

Welcome to my new blog name and address!  I know the change seems kind of abrupt, but I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, and finally figured out how to make the switch!  From here on out, my blog is called brynnash - my long-time username that I'm quite attached to.  It comes from my first name, Brynn, and my middle name, Ashley.

Please add this site address to whatever reader you use, and feel free to follow me on Google Friend Connect here as well, if you'd like.  If my blog is listed on your blog roll or anything, if you'd kindly make the change from "The Original Brynn" to "brynnash," that would be great!  And if you see anything funky with the layout, let me know.  (I know my header is really huge right now - I'm working on resizing it!)

The last time I wore my nude flats, Rooney decided they looked like a good chew toy.  I was so bummed, and immediately went online to reorder another pair.  They arrived just this week, so I'm  really happy to be wearing them again.  I was down a pair of shoes in my 30x30!  Yikes!

Thank you!  Happy Sunday!



Shirt: Target, thrifted new Jeans: Old Navy Shoes: Target, thrifted new Necklace: Gift

I had a completely different outfit planned for today, but we got close to 5 inches of rain last night, cooling down everything and turning our heavily air-conditioned apartment into a near ice box.  Since I'm hanging around home working on homework today, I decided to dress a little more warmly than the shorts and tank top I was originally planning on wearing.

I mentioned that my family was coming over last night to see Spamalot with Kevin and me, and it was SO good.  Seriously, if you haven't seen that show and enjoy British humor, it is fantastic.  It was a great way to kick off our weekend!



 Dress: Target Jacket: Levi's Sandals: Target Necklace: Forever 21

I'm pretty sure my camera is dying a slow, obnoxious death.  On the one hand, it's fine, because it's a crappy camera and I have had it for almost 6 years.  On the other hand, I'm bummed camera?!  Oy.  Luckily, I found a self-timer app for my iPhone, and I wound up taking today's pictures on my phone!  Believe it or not, it's easier for me to take a details shot (like the one above) with my phone than with my camera!  I thought it was really slick to take photos today, so I'm going to try this out for a while.  I'll play with the settings a little bit and editing, etc., but so far, I am a fan.

Tonight, my parents and brother are driving down to our place for dinner and to see our university's production of Spamalot!  I'm so excited - I love musical theater, and Spamalot is so hilarious!  Kevin and my mom haven't seen it before, and I can't wait to get their read on the show.  Plus, our university's theater department is awesome.  They do more shows in a school year than any other school in the country!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Who's doing something exciting?



Shirt: Old Navy Shorts: Old Navy Sandals: Target Necklace: Made by my friend!

Oops, sorry for yet another janky photo.  I took this after a day full of work and class, so my pants are wrinkled, my hair looks pretty bad, and I'm sporting some super cute bags under my eyes.  I wanted to make sure I got a post up for the 30x30, though!

Have you guys heard of this app called Helium Booth?  Maybe I'm super late to the party, but my friend Megan just showed it to me and I'm absolutely hooked.  Basically, the app takes videos, and it makes you sound like you've inhaled a ton of helium (mouse mode) or it lowers your voice in an opposite way (bear mode).  I can't stop taking these videos and sending them to my friends and family or just laughing until I cry.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Me singing "No Scrubs"

My brother singing "Blue Moon"

My response to a video my cousin sent me - my ridiculous giggle!

And...since I'm 6 years old at heart, a story I told Kevin involving farts.



Shirt: Old Navy Skirt: Old Navy Sandals: Payless Necklace: Forever 21

Oof, sorry about the crappy iPhone photo and cheesy grin, you guys!  My regular camera was being super funky today and not letting me upload any photos, so you're stuck with the old iPhone...

I did not have to work or go to class this morning, so I was able to sleep in a little bit (8:00!  Woooo!) and work on some homework before hitting the gym.  Ten minutes into my workout, an episode of What Not to Wear came instead of spending the 30 minutes I intended to on the treadmill, I stayed on for the whole episode...I burned 700 calories, though, so that was awesome!  I just love What Not to Wear, and I'm so sad it's going off the air!  I really hope that TLC keeps playing it in syndication, because it's so entertaining.  I've learned a lot about how to dress my body through the show as well, and how to become more confident in my skin.  Plus, it's shows like this (and trashy reality TV) that make my workouts go super fast!!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who watches trashy reality TV on the treadmill...



Tee: Target Pants: NY&C Sandals: Target Scarf: Old Navy

You guys, I'm not sure what the deal is, but the mosquitos and gnats where we live are horrible right now.  Seriously, they are everywhere.  Every time I walk outside I get at least one bite, and I've inhaled so many and gotten so many stuck between my glasses and my eyeballs that I could scream.  They buzz in my ears incessantly.  This morning, walking to my car, I had one trapped in my hair.  ICK.  They even are coming inside - I kill at least one mosquito each day in our apartment, and there was one in my office at work today when I was trying to get things done.  A couple of nights ago, there was a mosquito in our bed...I only noticed it when I woke up with mosquito bites all over my toes.  At that point, they don't even itch anymore...they just hurt.

Is it just us, or are any of you experiencing a disgustingly high amount of mosquitos and gnats where you live right now?  I mean, we usually have a boatload of them (people in MN say that the mosquito is our state bird), but it is abnormally gross right now.



Tee: Target Skirt: Target Sandals: Target Necklace: Gift

Happy Monday!

Today is the first day of my last summer class, and I'm actually really excited about it.  My professor wrote the textbook that we're using, and he also happens to be my advisor and favorite professor, so it will be a great class!  I also start back up with working again after a lovely week off, and while I'm bummed that my break is up, I'm really excited to see the staff I work with again.  Supervising 18 college students is a challenge sometimes, but they make me laugh so much and I love watching them grow as leaders.

Today's outfit, believe it or not, is a little bit of a stretch for me.  This skirt has no purple in it, so to be wearing a purple tee with it feels weird!  I usually dress so literally and matchy.  Part of what I wanted to get out of this challenge, however, is pushing myself to dress outside of my comfort zone a little bit, and I'm taking little baby steps along the way.



Dress: Target, thrifted new Belt: The Limited Wedges: Payless

Another simple outfit for me!  It's super hot outside today and I wanted something that would keep me cool and comfortable.  We cleaned our apartment all morning so things are clean and tidy before my last summer class starts tomorrow, ran a few errands, and had a lunch date at Panera (Caesar salad = yum!).  It was a great Sunday!  I'm relaxing this afternoon watching Gilmore Girls while I get my school stuff organized, catch up on blogs, etc.

This week of vacation has been awesome - I'm back into the swing of things tomorrow!!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as well!



Tee: Old Navy Blazer: Old Navy Shorts: Old Navy Wedges: Payless Necklace: Gift

Some of my latest reflections: 

Ultimately, I am really happy with who I am.  I am a good person who does the right thing, cares for others, but also places a lot of importance on caring for myself.  I'm smart, friendly, and talented.  I have a compassionate heart, particularly for children and animals.

The way that I had always pictured my life is not really what I want anymore.  I want more from life - I want purpose and excitement and meaningful relationships.  I won't be content to just keep on going through the motions.

I want to start living more for me, and not somebody else.  My life is my life and as long as I keep on doing the right thing and treating others well, I am capable of making my own decisions.  I am lucky to have a partner who feels similarly.  We both make sacrifices so that each other can be happy as individuals and as a united couple.

I'm not 100% sure what is in the future for me, but I'm going to do my absolute best to make intentional decisions so I don't get bored with my safe, expected life.



Dress: Target, thrifted new Denim jacket: Levi's Sandals: Old Navy

We're back from Kevin's folks' house, and we had such a great time!  Yesterday, we spent the afternoon in the pool, playing games, and watching all of our dogs play together in the big backyard.  We played a lot of badminton in the evening after a delicious grill out dinner and trip to the dog park, and then went to go see fireworks all together.  Today, we enjoyed more puppy playtime, a family walk with all the dogs (we love our dogs, can you tell??), and a movie.  It was so much fun, and we're back home now with two really, really sleepy pups :)



Tee: Target Shorts: Tommy Hilfiger Sandals: Old Navy Necklace: Forever 21

Happy Independence Day, to all of you who celebrate!  We are headed to Kevin's parent's house today for swimming, eating, and all-around merriment, and will be there through tomorrow, so I'll be "offline."  I will still be wearing my 30x30 items and I'll take a picture of my outfit, but I may not blog it until the weekend.  Time for celebration!!



Dress: Old Navy Vest: Old Navy Sandals: Old Navy Belt: Target Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

Today is Kevin's 26th birthday!!  We have a pretty low-key day planned, since Kevin isn't one for big birthday fanfares or anything.  All he wanted was to spend time together and get some ice cream, so that's what we're doing!

Yesterday, Fran had an interesting discussion on her blog about dressing for yourself vs. dressing for others (in particular your partner).  Almost 100% of the time, I dress for myself, but today, I dressed for Kevin.  He has said before that he loves seeing me in purple, and I know he about dies whenever I wear anything that shows off my legs, so I thought this purple dress was the perfect way to make him smile on his birthday.  He also tells me all the time that I don't need to wear makeup to look beautiful, so I went really simple today with just mascara.  I still feel like me and am dressing true to myself, but this outfit is one that he really likes, too :)



Tank: Old Navy Cardigan: TJ Maxx Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: Forever 21

Today's outfit is perfect for finishing my final paper, relaxing with my dogs, and going to play trivia at a local restaurant tonight.  I am soaking in all of this free time!

So I've written about my body struggles before...and things really haven't gotten easier for me.  I still feel uncomfortable in my body and although I've been trying hard to lose (or at least maintain) weight, I have gained 7-8 lbs since January, putting me at my highest weight ever.  GROSS.  I went to the doctor yesterday for a check up, and finally have a reason for this!  I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 2.5 years ago, and after about a year of tweaking, I had found a dosage of medication that put my thyroid levels back within a normal range.  Yesterday, though, my doctor told me that my levels had shot through the roof, which explains why I've been gaining weight, feeling depressed, and been much more tired than usual.  I'm starting a higher dosage of my medication today and hoping that it will make losing weight easier for me, and make me feel better in general.  Keeping my fingers crossed that things turn around for me soon!!



Chambray shirt: Old Navy Skirt: Old Navy Shoes: Target Belt: Target Necklace: Gift

It's here!  The 30x30 that Inge and I are taking on together is finally here!  I have been wanting to do this for a while, and it feels great to have a friend alongside me.  Be sure to check out Inge's blog as well to follow along with her.

I love this skirt, but I feel like pencil skirts are often not flattering on my body, which makes them hard to style sometimes.  My chambray shirt seemed to be a good fit, since it's a little looser and forgiving, but just the shirt and skirt together made me look a little boxy and plain.  I tried tucking in my shirt, but it was bunchy and looked weird.  Instead, I tried to define my waist a little more by adding a belt - it almost adds a peplum kind of silhouette...and I like it!  I have always loved the look of a skinny belt around the waist on other people, but I'm kind of squishy and feel like it emphasizes that.  However, I'm trying hard to step outside of my comfort zone and accept my body the way it is, so here you have it!

I hope you all had a great weekend!  I finished two summer classes on Friday, so I was able to relax and "play" guilt-free all weekend long!  It felt awesome.  I caught up on blogs, watched Monsters Inc and then went to the theater to see Monsters University, and had time to cook some food instead of just grabbing whatever was in my fridge.  This week is going to be awesome, with hardly any obligations.  I've needed this break for a while, and I'm super happy to be getting it!!