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12.30.2014

Winter Capsule 2015 | The Items

So I've decided to do another capsule wardrobe for the months of January, February, and March!  Here are the 40 items I've chosen to wear for the next three months:

Row 1 | Maroon studded tank: Old Navy | Black + white striped tee: Old Navy | Blue pintucked blouse: Old Navy | Chambray shirt: Old Navy
Row 2 | White tee: Target | White swiss dot popover: Gap | Gray + white striped tee: Old Navy | White + navy striped sweater: Old Navy
Row 3 | Black marled tunic: Old Navy | Leopard sweatshirt: Old Navy | Black + white polka top tee: Old Navy | Black turtleneck: Target

Row 1 | Vest: Old Navy | Denim jacket: Levi's | Maroon cardigan: Old Navy | Light pink cardigan: Old Navy
Row 2 | Tan boyfriend cardigan: Old Navy | Gray cardigan: Old Navy | Black cardigan: Old Navy
Row 1 | Maroon dress: Old Navy | Pink dress: Old Navy | Navy tunic: Gift
Row 2 | Black + white striped dress: Old Navy | Gray sweatshirt dress: Old Navy | Black marled dress: Target | Black fit & flare dress: Old Navy

Row 1 | Gray ponte pants: Simply Vera | Black bootcut pants: Daisy Fuentes | Denim skinny jeans: Lauren Conrad | Denim flares: Old Navy
Row 2 | Maroon jeans: Old Navy | Maroon leggings: Old Navy | Gray leggings: Old Navy | Black leggings: Old Navy

 Front Row | Black clogs: Sanita | Gray boots: Fergalicious | Multicolored boots: Mukluks, gift
Back Row | Brown short boots: Target | Brown suede boots: Bare Traps | Black boots: Target

You'll see that I decided to include shoes this time around (unlike my fall capsule), and I have also decided to wear these same items on the weekends as well as during the workweek (last time I only wore my items to work).  During my fall capsule, I regretted not including more prints/patterns, textures, or colors, so I made sure to include plenty of interesting pieces this time around.  I'm still relying heavily on neutrals (particularly in the black, gray, and white families), but I think between the colorful clothing items I've included plus the fun jewelry and scarves I have, I won't look too monochromatic over the next few months.  I've been playing around with different combinations, and I've already got 128 outfit ideas in my outfit planning spreadsheet that I would gladly wear (which is actually more than the number of days in January-March...).  I'm eager to get started with this capsule challenge starting January 1!

I'll be linking up with Jacquelyn and Anne throughout the next couple of months with other people doing capsule wardrobes.  Feel free to check out the others!

12.23.2014

Sassy Snakeprint

Dress: Old Navy | Tights: Target | Boots: Guess | Necklace: Gift

I've worn this dress a couple of times before, but this is the first time I'm photographing it for the blog!  Woo!  I really, REALLY like this dress - the print is sassy, the colors are versatile, and I love that it has sleeves.  I also just feel like it fits me so well, especially given that it doesn't have a defined waist like most of my other favorite dresses.  So far when I've worn this dress, I've kept it pretty neutral with brown and/or black accessories, which I did again this time.  I think it would be a fun dress to dress down with a denim jacket or my olive vest or jacket, or even add a colorful cardigan on top for some variety as well!

I'm going to be taking a little break over the next few days, as our holiday season is crazy busy (who's isn't though, really...).  We live an hour away from our families, but we're going to try to drive back and forth for our family gatherings this year.  It's so stressful to have to worry about bringing our dogs with us, sleep at one of our parents' houses, and hauling so much stuff for just a couple of days.  Plus, there's something so nice about sleeping in your own bed, you know??

For all of you who will be celebrating over the next couple of days, I hope you have safe travels, stay healthy, and enjoy time with your family and/or friends!  See you soon!

12.22.2014

Jeans for Work!

Blouse: J. Jill | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Boots: Guess | Necklace: Forever 21

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet birthday greetings from last week!  I wound up having a great birthday!  On my actual birthday, my coworkers had a sweet lunch celebration for me, with a delicious confetti cake, and they gave me a custom zip up with our counseling department logo on it - I'm part of the team now!! ;)  Kevin and I spent the evening eating brownies and chips + queso dip (two of my favorite foods), watching old episodes of Modern Family (one of my favorite shows), and playing Skip Bo and Pandemic (two of my favorite games).

This weekend was pretty wonderful as well.  My best friend Andria came down to our house for dinner and a night full of games (we taught her Pandemic and she taught us Settlers of Catan), which was a blast!  On Saturday, I spent the day with my grad school best friend, Megan.  We had a delicious brunch at Panera, followed by a day full of baking.  We made some adorable frosted sugar cookies and the most amazing peppermint Oreo balls!  And yesterday, I spent the day in the kitchen again, watching Netflix as I made chocolate-dipped pretzels for all 16 people in our office at work.  I'm pretty excited about how they turned out and I am handing them out to everyone today!

As for today's outfit, I can't seem to stop wearing these silky J. Jill blouses!  They're so comfortable and I love how they look with ponte pants and skinny jeans!  I have really enjoyed pairing this particular cream top with pastels, so my light pink bubble necklace was a great match (even if the necklace is all wonky in the picture).  I recently found out that we can wear jeans to work any day of the week (not just Fridays), so this was my first time wearing them on a different day of the week.  These dark wash jeans look polished, and the dressier top makes it look more work-appropriate, I think.  Get ready to see some more jeans on the blog, now that I know I can wear them more often!

The weather in Minnesota has been gray, wet, and dreary over the past several weeks, so I haven't been able to take any outfit photos for quite awhile - I'm hoping that over my winter break (I work today and tomorrow and then am off until January 5!), I'll be able to get caught up with outfit photos so I'll have some new things to post for you!  I also will be starting my winter capsule in January, so I'm eager to get that put together for you all as well.

Have a great Monday!

12.18.2014

27 + Bucket List

Guess what, everybody??


Yep, today's the day I turn 27...officially in my late 20s.  26 was a pretty good age for me.  I completed my graduate program and graduated with a 4.0, I landed my first school counseling job in a great district with incredible colleagues, I moved into a beautiful townhouse with Kevin and our sweet puppies, and I've finally had time for myself and to improve my health and personal happiness.

Now that I'm just three years away from being 30, I decided I wanted to put together a bucket list of 30 things I want to do before I'm 30 years old.  I'm hoping to document the list and my progress towards these goals on my blog.
  1. Get at least one more tattoo.
  2. Donate my hair.
  3. Lose more weight...and maintain the loss.
  4. Pay off all credit cards.
  5. Buy a house.
  6. Foster at least 5 dogs.
  7. Complete a 5K race.
  8. Teach myself more Spanish.
  9. Play in a community band.
  10. Participate in a community theater production.
  11. Sew a quilt.
  12. Try one new recipe every month.
  13. Plan two out-of-town girls' weekends: one with my cousins, and one with my girlfriends.
  14. Write at least two letters a year to someone who has positively influenced me.
  15. Learn how to play my guitar.
  16. Spend a day at the Minnesota State Capitol to advocate for the school counseling profession.
  17. Dye my hair pink or purple.
  18. Read at least 12 books every year.
  19. Paint something for our house.
  20. Make yoga a part of my daily routine.
  21. Travel to either Hawaii or Europe with Kevin.
  22. Buy a new wedding ring.
  23. Take our parents out for dinner.
  24. Find an organization to volunteer with regularly.
  25. Redecorate our bedroom with a clear vision/design.
  26. Host a family gathering at our house.
  27. Talk with a friend on the phone every other week.
  28. Participate in one multicultural event every season.
  29. Send birthday cards to our friends and family members.
  30. Keep a gratitude journal.
So...there you have it!  These are the things I really want to accomplish during the last three years of my 20s.  I feel so excited about the things on my list, and I am eager to share my progress with y'all.

Have any of you done a bucket list of sorts?  Would you want to do any of these things?

12.17.2014

Fit and Flare

Dress: Old Navy | Tights: Kohls | Boots: Target | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry

The lighting in this photo is really ethereal - makes me feel like some spiritual figure, haha.  My mom bought me this beautiful jacquard fit and flare dress (dang it, I forgot to take a detail shot so you can see a closeup of the texture in the dress), and I finally wore it!  Because I love black and purple together, I paired this dress with my purple fleece-lined tights and my purple pendant necklace.  Not a terrible look, eh?  I've said it a million times, but these fit and flare dresses seem to have been made for my body, I think.  I just feel beautiful in them!

12.16.2014

Rejuvenated

Blouse: J. Jill | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Boots: Guess | Scarf: Gift

Thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts after my post last week.  The last week was quite rough at school, as we lost one of our seniors.  I spent much of Wednesday with the student's five best friends, and it was simultaneously heartbreaking and wonderful.  Seeing these girls band together to support one another was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time.

I wound up taking the weekend to care for myself and rejuvenate after a tough week.  I spent most of my weekend in the Twin Cities with my family.  We ate dinner at The Freehouse (where my brother works - the food is deeeelicious!), saw the Christmas display on the 8th floor of Macy's in downtown Minneapolis, went to an ugly sweater party at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house, and enjoyed a fantastic holiday concert by The Blenders.  I also celebrated my birthday with my family on Sunday night, as my birthday is on Thursday!  It was a great weekend...just what I needed to feel better.

I wore this outfit on Saturday, and I loved it.  I feel like my style has gotten quite a bit more simple and streamlined lately - it feels great!  I could easily wear an outfit like this, a tunic + leggings, or a dress every single day and not feel tired of it :)

Also, the winner of my Patent Artwork giveaway is Maria!  Congratulations, lady!!  I'll be getting in touch with you ASAP so you can order your print!

12.11.2014

Yesterday was one of the hardest days I've had in a long, long time.  I experienced my first major crisis at work that has left me feeling sad, scared,  broken hearted, and both physically and emotionally exhausted.

Back in graduate school, our professors and textbooks reiterated the importance of self-care ad nauseam, and now that I've had to deal with my first major crisis, I completely understand why they focused so much on self-care.  I'm going to take a note from my professors and textbooks and step away from the blog for the rest of the week.  I need to take lots of time to recharge every night so that I'm strong at school for our students and teachers as we experience the loss of one of our kids.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight - life is so precious and such a gift.

12.10.2014

Bullet Points

Tank: Old Navy | Jacket: Levi's | Pants: Kohls | Clogs: Sanita | Necklace: Forever 21
  • I wore this outfit yesterday, and a few other women in the office were also wearing their denim jackets...we all looked like we coordinated our outfits, ha!
  • I love the combination of light pink (my tank) and charcoal gray (my pants).
  • Why don't more people wear clogs like these?  They're so comfortable!
  • Blog friends are wonderful.
  • Today is the last day of my Patent Artwork giveaway - don't forget to enter!  I'll be announcing/choosing the winner by the end of the week!

12.09.2014

Snooki + A Blooper

Dress: Target, thrifted | Tights: Target | Boots: Guess

I just adore this dress, you guys.  The leopard print is so much fun (even if I do feel slightly Snooki-ish in it), and I love this silhouette on me, and the combination of black and brown just makes me happy.  Because the dress itself is so loud and busy, I really kept the rest of the outfit very simple, with just a pair of black tights, cognac boots, and black earrings.  I felt like a million bucks in this outfit, and it's another outfit I certainly will be repeating!

Also, I wanted to include this ridiculous blooper.  I got a little tripod and remote for my iPhone (because yes, I'm still taking my blog photos with my iPhone), and I was getting it all set up to take photos (because, yes, I'm still taking a week's worth of outfit photos at a time).  This was the first time I had used the remote, and I was trying to figure out the 5-second timer situation so that my remote wouldn't show in the photos.  Well, clearly, I hadn't quite figured out the timer, since I accidentally took this photo.  Normally, I delete any bloopers/unflattering photos immediately, but this one cracked me up and I knew I wanted to share with y'all.  I can tell I was super focused and trying to get it all set up - my tongue was sticking out of my mouth, hahaha!

I have no shame.

I'll be linking up with Laura today!

Also, don't forget that the last day of my Patent Artwork giveaway is tomorrow!  Click here to enter!

12.08.2014

Weekend Recap + The Only Outfit I Ever Want to Wear

Tunic dress: From my parents | Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Bare Traps | Scarf: Gift

I hope you all had a great weekend!  I spent most of my weekend hoping and praying that I don't catch the nasty influenza virus that's been spreading like wildfire through my school.  About 15% of our students were gone on Friday due to the illness, and it makes people utterly miserable for days on end.  YUCK.  We spent a lot of time on Friday sanitizing everything in our office...  I went to my coworker's house on Friday after school for a little happy hour with a handful of other school people, and wound up staying until like 9:00.  We had a blast laughing, enjoying beverages and snacks, and playing games.  It's so much fun to have coworkers who have become such dear friends.

Kevin and I also went to a holiday concert with his family yesterday.  The music was awesome; it was very Celtic-inspired, had three wonderful female vocalists, a great guitar artist, some drums, a bass guitar, and a woman who played all kinds of wonderful Irish and Scottish instruments.  If I could be in a music group, it would definitely be one like this, maybe with a little jazz or bluegrass/folk music sprinkled in.

As for today's outfit...get ready to see tons like it.  I have four of these tunic dresses and a few other tunics similar to it that are so cozy.  I've been wearing them to work with different colored leggings, boots, and scarves, and they couldn't be cozier.

12.05.2014

Same Same

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Kohls | Boots: Target | Scarf: Gift

So...this outfit is extremely reminiscent of this one that I wore during my capsule challenge...and to be honest, this outfit easily could have been worn during the capsule as well, as both the top and pants were two of my items.  In fact, it's the same shirt and pants (in different colors, because I have a problem with buying multiples), and the exact same boots and scarf as the other outfit.  However, I think this outfit fits the criteria of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Don't forget that I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog!  Click on over to enter a print from Patent Artwork!

12.04.2014

Receptionist Chic?

Shirt: Lucky, thrifted | Cardigan: Old Navy | Pants: Kohls | Shoes: Sanita

Say hello to my new dark red cardigan!  You'll be seeing this baby a lot, because I totally love it.  My mom was a peach and bought me three new cardigans from Old Navy a couple of weeks ago, and I am smitten.  They're so soft and cozy!

This outfit is super simple, but I had my first evaluation with my principal the day I wore it and I wanted to keep it pretty understated.  You know how some outfits are described as "librarian chic" or "sexy secretary?"  Well, this outfit for me reminds me of something I've seen a lot of health care receptionists wear...and I kind of really like it (I think it's all in the clogs).  Is "receptionist chic" a thing?  I'm going to make it a thing, because seriously, this outfit was so comfortable and I want to dress like this all the time.  These pants, as I mentioned in my budget post, feel like yoga pants but look like dress pants, and I'm all about the layers.  I even wore my special cladagh necklace (sorry for no detail shot...I'm the worst at remembering those) that I got from my family's Irish exchange student back in the late 90s.

12.03.2014

Currently...

Sweater / Jeans: Old Navy | Boots: Bare Traps | Scarf: Target

Making | Kevin and I have been trying new recipes lately: cheesy potatoes for Thanksgiving, a vegetable soup for cold days, and apple scones for a decadent weekend breakfast.  I am trying hard to gain more confidence in the kitchen, and it's much more fun to make food with a buddy than it is to go at it alone.  So far, everything we've tried has been delicious!

Listening | I admit that I'm one of those crazy folks who loves listening to Christmas music.  Lately, I can't get enough of the Pentatonix Christmas albums (my two favorite songs are this one and this one), Harry Connick Jr. (this one was a favorite of mine when I was a kid), or The Blenders (they're a wonderful Midwestern a cappella group who puts on the greatest Christmas concert every winter - we're going in a couple weeks and I can't wait!  One of my favorite songs that they perform is this one).

Wrapping | On my mom's side of the family, everyone brings a gift that fits a certain theme, and then we play the dice game to decide who gets what gift.  We've done themes such as "DVDs," "Red," and "Homemade," but this year's gift has to start with the gift-giver's first initial (so my gift would have to start with the letter "B").  I have my gift all picked out and ready to go, but I won't say what it is yet since some of my family reads my blog ;)

Watching | So, Kevin and I love watching Netflix together.  I am usually pretty "talked out" at the end of the day, and Kevin is wrapping up his Master's degree and enjoys the downtime to get his mind off schoolwork, so watching TV shows together on Netflix is one of our favorite ways to relax.  We've breezed through several TV series so far over the past 6 years (Parks and Rec, The Office, Portlandia, Derek, Orange Is the New Black, LOST, An Idiot Abroad, How I Met Your Mother, The New Girl), and we're now on That 70's Show.  It's Kevin's all-time favorite TV show (and he's watched the complete series multiple times on his own), but I hadn't ever really watched it.  It's SO FUNNY (this clip kills us both every time).  I also usually have my own TV show that I watch before I go to bed on my phone while Kevin is finishing homework.  I recently started watching Parenthood, and I'm almost done with season 2 now.  Another great show!

Anticipating | I am so excited for winter break.  I know I just had a 5 day weekend for Thanksgiving, but I'm already looking forward to the time off to spend with my cousin and her new baby, see some of my grad school friends who also will be on winter break, paint a lot, watch more Netflix (haha), and hang out with both my family and Kevin's.

[Did you see that I am hosting a giveaway for a print from Patent Artwork?  Click here to enter!!]

I'm going to be linking up with Anne for this month's installment of "Currently."

12.02.2014

Band Nerd (and a giveaway!)

I've shared before that I love music and I've been making music for my whole life, whether it's singing, playing the piano, or any of the wind instruments I've either studied or dabbled in.

Where I grew up, you had to be in 5th grade in order to join band.  I had been taking piano lessons since kindergarten, and I was a pretty good musician already.  I debated long and hard about what instrument I was going to play in 5th grade: flute or clarinet?  Ultimately, I decided to play the clarinet.  I got my clarinet the summer before 5th grade, and attended a summer workshop to help me learn how to put the instrument together, clean it, and make a sound.  On the day I got my clarinet, they also gave us the music book we'd be using in band all of 5th grade.  I was so excited when I got home from the workshop that I sat in my bedroom for the rest of the day and taught myself how to play...and I wound up playing through the entire book.  Because I picked it up so quickly, I became bored in band shortly.  My 5th grade BFF, Sammy, played the flute in band, and every so often, we would go home from school with each other on band days, and we'd trade instruments and teach each other how to play it.  Learning the flute after school was just the challenge I needed.

In 6th grade, I still loved playing the clarinet, but I really wanted to play the flute more as well, and getting to play Sammy's flute once a month or so just wasn't enough.  My parents bought me a used flute for my birthday that year, which was one of the best gifts ever.  I got a few lessons after school with my elementary band teacher, and I was lucky enough that I got to play both flute and clarinet in band during junior high.

I was one of those kids in high school who spent as much time as possible as I could in the band room.  My band teacher, Mrs. Berggren, was one of the most incredible people in my life, and I got to play in three musical ensembles on the flute (which by that time had become my "primary" instrument), clarinet, and piccolo (which I picked up in 8th grade).  As a junior in high school, I also was the teacher's assistant for the 9th grade band, so I got to lead warmups, sectionals, and even direct a couple of songs for the 9th grade band.  On top of it all, I played the flute at my church and whenever I possibly could at home.  It was not uncommon for me to play for 5-6 hours at a time on the weekends.  I know.  Total nerd alert.

The flute, for me, though, was such a passion.  I felt proud to have been self-taught and quite talented.  I loved teaching myself challenging pieces and playing in small group ensembles whenever I could.  One of the hardest things for me living in a small town right now is that there aren't any opportunities for me to play in a community band, and I miss making music with a group.  I still play my flute often in my free time, but there's something about playing in a large group of musicians that is entirely exhilarating.

Now that you know the depth and extent of my love of the flute and band in general, it should be no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to review a print from Patent Artwork that I chose the flute print!

Why yes, that is a little figurine of a girl playing the flute.  And two of mine and Kevin's engagement photos from 5 years ago!
Patent Artwork is a really cool company that creates art prints based on the original patents of products that we all use, know, and love.  A lot of research goes into the prints, from researching the patent and finding photographs of the original product.  Patent Artwork creates prints in all kinds of categories, ranging from inventions to sports to music to plants, and everything in between!  The prints are visually interesting, affordable (with prints starting at $25), and beautifully put together.  I loved reading the history of how the flute came to be...with as nerdy as I am about the instrument, I was shocked at how little I actually knew about the origins of the flute!  For instance, I learned that William Haynes, who patented this version of the flute, had a company in Boston that made his original flutes...and the company still manufactures them today!


Patent Artwork is a fantastic company that I highly recommend to you all as you do your holiday shopping!  We all have those people who are hard to shop for, right?  Perhaps you have a car fanatic in your family?  Try out this print!  What about your friend who is a teacher?  Perhaps this print would work out!  I also really like this bicycle print.

Are you liking what you're seeing?  Patent Artwork has graciously offered to giveaway one of their prints to one of my readers, so you have the opportunity to win one of these prints yourself!  You can earn one entry for each of the following things:

  • Visit Patent Artwork and leave a comment letting me know which print you'd select if you won.
  • Visit Patent Artwork's Facebook page, give it a "like," and let me know in a comment that you did so!
  • Let me know in a comment how you follow my blog.
  • Follow me on Twitter and let me know in a comment what your Twitter handle is.
  • Follow me on Instagram and let me know in a comment what your Instagram name is.
The giveaway will run through next Wednesday, December 10!  Good luck! :)

12.01.2014

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Dress: Old Navy | Jacket: Levi's | Leggings / Boots: Target

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate!  I literally found out at lunch on Tuesday that I didn't have to work on the next day (I thought it was an in-service day for staff, but I was wrong, ha!)...so I wound up having an unexpected 5-day weekend!  Woo!  We got tons of snow all day on Wednesday, so it was actually a great day off, hanging out with Kevin and our puppies. 

On Thanksgiving, we spent the day in the Twin Cities with my mom's family.  It was great to spend time with my aunt and all be able to laugh and have fun together before she begins her chemo treatments.  My cousin also had a baby two weeks ago, so I loved getting baby snuggles in...even though he peed through his diaper all over me, ha!  He's lucky he's such a cutie! ;)

The next day, Kevin and I met his family at a tree farm in Northfield, MN (one of the cutest little towns in Minnesota) and helped them pick out a Christmas tree.  We all ate lunch together and spent the afternoon watching Bridesmaids (that movie still cracks me up!!) and playing cards.  Afterwards, Kevin and I went to Northeast Minneapolis to celebrate my brother's girlfriend's birthday - another fun evening with family!

Saturday and yesterday were pretty lazy days...we watched The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and then on a whim decided to go see Mockingjay: Part One.  I really liked it, although it was super intense and kind of stressful to watch at times!  With all of the shit going on in Ferguson, MO, watching some of the scenes in these movies really hit close to home.  Some of the social commentary in The Hunger Games series so closely parallels what's been going on in Missouri (and around the country as a whole, for that matter), which led to lots of discussion between Kevin and I all weekend.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you hit any good deals on Black Friday?

11.28.2014

Capsule Reflections

As I mentioned earlier this week, I have been reflecting a lot about my capsule wardrobe and am eager to share my thoughts about the whole experience.

Three months ago, I felt really good about all the items that I chose for my capsule.  I thought I had a great mix of items that would be appropriate for the weather, that had a good amount of mix-and-match potential, and that I would not get tired of wearing to work for the next three months.  By and large, I did feel as though my items went well together.  However, as I spoke about in a recent post, by the end of the challenge, I felt pretty bored by my items.  I still had lots of combinations that would work that I hadn't worn yet, but since most of my 39 pieces were not only neutrals but also really quite plain, I struggled with wearing visually interesting outfits.

Here are some quick stats:
  • Items worn most frequently | Gray ponte pants (worn 8 times), black ponte pants (worn 7 times), camel cardigan (worn 5 times)
  • Items worn least frequently | Camel tank, cream tee, camel/white striped tee (each worn ZERO times...)
  • Favorite outfit formulas | Dress + cardigan + boots or ponte pants + tunic/longer top + scarf/necklace.
Honestly, the whole experience taught me a lot.  Just like my previous remix challenges (see here and here), I still noticed that it was pretty easy to get dressed while doing my capsule wardrobe.  Having a limited number of items makes planning outfits so much more simple!  It did get harder towards the end, since I was getting tired of having to add any kind of excitement to my outfits with accessories such as a scarf or bold piece of jewelry.  I also think it's kind of funny that I had given myself permission to add in 11 more pieces for a grand total of 50 items in my capsule, but I didn't even get around to wearing all of my 39 items!  Crazy.

If I were to do the capsule again (and I'm kind of thinking about it...), I may consider adding in shoes this time, and I also might decide to include weekend outfits (although I'm less sure about the latter).  Having "free range" of my closet during the weekends was one way to keep me motivated and excited about the capsule process, so I'm not 100% sure I want to take that away from myself!  Plus, the weekends are when I do a lot of outfit repeating...so...haha.  I'll likely take the month of December to figure out what items I'd want to include in a capsule, what my guidelines will be, how many pieces I'd like to include, etc., and then I'll report back with my final decision.

11.26.2014

Budgeting Bloggers: October + November

In my May budget post, I introduced my yearlong shopping freeze.  The purpose of my year off of shopping was not only to save money and tackle our student loan debt, but also to be happier with what I already own.  However, I also detailed some exceptions to my year of no shopping, and over the past two months, I purchased some things that fall into those exceptions.



Here's a summary of what I bought in October + November:
  • Black boots: Target, $30
  • Skinny jeans: Kohls, $25
  • Black bootcut pants: Kohls, $20
  • Gray bootcut pants: Kohls, $20
  • Maroon leggings: Old Navy, $10
  • Gray leggings: Old Navy, $10
  • Pink dress: Old Navy, $8
  • Gray dress: Old Navy, $4
  • Black clogs: DSW, $75

One of the things I allowed myself to purchase during this year of no shopping was a new pair of black boots.  I looked high and low for months for a pair of affordable, comfortable, casual-but-not-sloppy black boots, preferably a pair without a zipper.  After trying on about 10-15 different pairs at all different kinds of stores and price points, I finally found "the pair" back in mid-October: the Kamari boots from Target.  They're kind of a faded/distressed black, so they actually kind of look dark gray, but I love them so much and like that they're a little bit unique.

I also allowed myself to purchase some new clothes if I happened to be successful in weight loss.  Now that I've lost 10 lbs, none of the jeans that I had before fit me anymore, and I only had two pairs of pants to wear to work.  I recently went out and found a pair of Lauren Conrad skinny jeans that fit me like a dream.  They're perfect for tucking into boots, and they'll work perfectly with flats and sneakers in the spring as well.  I also found two pairs of Daisy Fuentes bootcut pants, in black and gray, to wear to work.  These pants are awesome because they look like dress pants, but they're ponte and the feel just like yoga pants.

I was also in need of some warmer layers to wear with dresses and skirts on account of the falling temperatures and my frigid office.  I found two pairs of thick leggings at Old Navy that are so cozy and warm.  I've worn them on weekends already with some tunics, and I can't wait to wear them during the weeks as well.  I also found a pink fit and flare dress and a gray sweatshirt dress (that I've been looking for for ages) at Old Navy on clearance.  They look amazing on my body and I will easily be able to wear them year round in both work and weekend outfits.

Finally, I bought a pair of Sanita clogs at DSW to wear with my non-skinny pants.  They may not be the epitome of fashion, but I think they're cute and incredibly comfortable - and they replace the Dansko clogs I won in a giveaway and that my puppy destroyed a year ago...dang it, Rooney!!).  Additionally, they're the only pair of shoes I have for the winter that aren't boots, and I can't bear the thought of wearing only boots for the next 6 months.  At $75, they were much more expensive than any pair of shoes I've bought in a long time, but I know they will get tons of wear and will last for a long time.  Side note: I'm counting them as an early birthday present to myself, as my birthday is in 3 weeks.

So...in the past two months, I have spent some money (a total of $202 for the past two months).  It's quite a bit more than I was anticipating, but I also knew that I needed some new things that fit me better and that were weather-appropriate.  Most of the things that I got fall into the exceptions I laid out for myself at the start of the year of no spending.  I also did another round of purging from my closet, and I have some things that I'm going to try and sell to make up for some of the things I bought over the past couple of months.

For now, however, I'm going to stick hard to my no-shopping rules and only purchase things with gift cards and rewards.  Many of the pieces I have right now will still fit me for a while, even as I continue to lose more weight (plus my mom is an awesome seamstress who has offered to help me resize my clothing as my body changes - thanks, Mom!!).

I'll be linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers!

11.25.2014

Final Capsule Wardrobe Linkup!

Sweater: Old Navy | Jacket: JCPenney | Pants: Kohls
Boots: Guess | Necklace: Hand-me-down from my mom

Honestly, there is not a whole lot to say about this outfit, other than the fact that it's yet another olive + black + brown outfit, haha.  Wearing the sweater underneath my jacket was a good move to keep me warm in my office, though!  (Also, I can't believe how long my hair is getting!  Grow, hair, grow!!  I can't wait for it to be a bob again!)

Tee / Shirt: Old Navy | Pants: Jessica Simpson | Boots: Target | Scarf: JCPenney

I wore this outfit awhile back, but didn't get photos of it until just recently.  It actually reminds me a lot of Danielle's trick-or-treating outfit!  I wore this on a casual Friday because none of my high school sweatshirts were clean.  I quite liked how the outfit turned out - laid back but still pretty polished.  These brown boots need to get worn more often - they're really comfortable and I think they're pretty cute as well.  [Also, I totally cheated on my capsule wardrobe with these jeans.  They are the only jeans I have that fit, so I wore them.  I hope the capsule wardrobe police don't come get me ;)]

Today is the last capsule link up with Anne and Jacquelyn...so here is the last chunk of my capsule outfits!



Good lord, that's a lot of me...

I'll be sharing some reflections on the capsule wardrobe experience in the next few days, so stay tuned! :)

11.24.2014

Keep Holding On

Cardigan / Tights: Target | Dress: Target, thrifted | Boots: Guess | Scarf: Old Navy

So, I've been wearing the same 37 pieces to work since September 1, and I have to say, I'm starting to get a little tired of my items.  I kind of made the mistake of choosing pieces with hardly any pattern or color, because I thought it would be more versatile that way.  And yes, the mix-and-match potential is pretty great, but I'm feeling bored of my choices.  There are only so many days in a row that you can throw on a scarf or fun necklace to add some excitement into your outfits, right?!

Well, even though this outfit is made up of only black and brown pieces, and the only bit of pattern is my leopard print scarf, I loved this outfit and how I felt in it.  All of the pieces fit me nicely, the colors are sharp, and I will never stop loving my leopard print scarf.  A perfect work outfit, no?

Dress / Cardigan: Old Navy | Tights / Boots: Target | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry

I really wish I had taken a closeup shot of my leopard print tights in this outfit, but I didn't even think about it - doh!.  [You can, however, see a more detailed photo of them here if you're interested.]  This is another outfit that really has benefitted from the addition of jewelry and a little pattern.

I've loved doing my capsule wardrobe and I've learned a ton from the whole process, but I am more than ready to be able to wear the rest of my clothing items to work once December arrives.  Until then, I'll just keep singing this song to myself [RIP Cory Monteith.]

11.23.2014

Two More...

Shirt / Cardigan: Old Navy | Pants: Kohls
Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: Forever 21

I...hate this outfit.  It is super plain, kind of unflattering (even more so in person than in the photo), and all-around just not that great.  However, it was warm, and with the cold temperatures we've been having lately, that's all I really care about.

Sweater: Old Navy | Pants: Kohls | Boots: Target
Scarf: Hand-me-down from my mom

This outfit I like infinitely better than the one above.  It was cozy and cute, and I love this scarf so much.  I can't believe this is the first (and only, as it turns out) time I've worn it during the entire three months I've been doing the capsule wardrobe!  It's been such a staple for me over the past year!  To be fair, until just in the last couple of weeks, we've had a really nice, warm fall.  It's only been very recently that we have gotten snow and are experiencing much colder temperatures that require wearing sweaters.

11.22.2014

Printed Cardigan + Zebra Print

In order to show as many of my capsule outfits as I can before the final capsule wardrobe link up with Anne and Jacquelyn next week, I am going to be posting two outfits each for the next three days.  Get ready for a whole lot of Brynn! ;)

Dress / Boots / Tights: Target | Cardigan: Talbot's, thrifted
Necklace (which you can't even see): Gift from my grandma

When I've been planning my work outfits, I've been keeping track of how many times I've worn certain items.  I noticed that I had only worn this cardigan once, which is kind of ridiculous, because it's super cute.  I have found it to be quite difficult to style, though, which is part of the reason why I decided to include it in my capsule.  I knew I wanted to get one more wear out of it as a part of the capsule, so I decided to pair it with my trusty black dress.  It isn't the most exciting outfit in the world, but I do really like how keeping the rest of the outfit black allows the cardigan to stand out.

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Kohls | Boots: Target | Scarf: Gift

I love these silky shirts (I have three, all of which are in the capsule), but they aren't super warm.  Because I needed a little extra warmth (and color/pattern) in my outfit, I decided to add this blue and black zebra print scarf.  I usually think that zebra print looks quite youthful (especially if it has color in it), but this scarf is made out of a thicker material and the subdued blue keeps it from looking too teeny-bopper, I think.  But maybe I'm just justifying things because I love this scarf so much, haha.  Can a nearly-27-year-old woman get away with a colorful zebra print scarf like this??

11.21.2014

Pantone Color Challenge: Cognac

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Old Navy | Boots: Guess | Scarf: JCPenney

A close-up of the pattern on my pants...and my cognac boots!

The last color for this round of the Pantone Color Challenge with Heidi and Marissa is cognac...one of my favorites and most often-worn colors!  I'm using the same trick from Wednesday here, where I wore my ankle pants with boots.  I actually haven't even worn these pants as ankle pants before, to be quite honest...I had put them on to wear one day right when school started, but they had gotten too snug.  They're the Pixie pants from Old Navy, but the material is different than my other pairs, and do not have nearly as much stretch.  I was so disappointed that they didn't fit, but I didn't want to get rid of them either, since I hadn't even worn them yet.  I'm so happy that I've lost a little bit of weight, because now these pants fit!  I really like the pattern on them, and I'm eager to wear them with all different colors in the future, too!

I'll be back next week with more of my capsule outfits!
literate &  stylish

11.20.2014

Blazer Week + Fall Footwear!

Dress: Target | Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted | Leggings: Old Navy
Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: Hand-me-down from my mom

I'm interrupting the Pantone Color Challenge to participate in Blazer Week with Andi and Danielle and the Third Thursday Threads link up over on Bri's blog!  The star of today's outfit is this awesome black and white marled dress that my mom recently bought for me at Target!  I absolutely love this dress and have worn it twice already!  I love the way the dress looks on me, and I can already tell that I'll be able to wear it in a ton of different ways (like, by trying every single one of my colorful cardigans with it...).  I kept the look pretty monochromatic today by adding my trusty gray blazer (the only blazer I ever wear anymore...).  The dress itself is flirty and fun, but the blazer gives it a little bit of polish that it otherwise would be missing.  Worn with my black leggings and edgy gray boots, I could easily see myself wearing this outfit to work as well.

11.19.2014

Pantone Color Challenge: Royal Blue

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Old Navy | Boots: Target | Scarf: Hand-me-down from my mom

So, in my capsule, I only included three pairs of long pants (and the jeans I included don't fit me anymore...so I've only been wearing two pairs of pants to work).  I have three pairs of ankle pants in my capsule, but it's now too cold to wear them to work (and with my office's temperature being as cold as it is, it was kind of too cold to wear them anyways, haha), which really means I've been functioning with only two pairs of pants.  I have one pair of skinny jeans that I didn't include in my capsule items that I've been wearing tons on the weekends (when I'm not wearing my leggings, let's just be real), but that's the only other pair of long pants that I even have.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some dresses and leggings, but some days, you just want to wear pants and a shirt, right?

I decided to try out wearing my ankle pants as long pants and just tuck them into boots, just to see if it would work and thus expand my selection of winter-appropriate pants.  I tried it out on a weekend so that in case it wasn't comfortable or didn't work, I wouldn't have to suffer (that's probably too dramatic a word for this situation...) all day long.  And you know what?  It worked, and I liked how it turned out!  I think wearing knee high socks over the pants would probably be a better idea for next time, since the pants did get slightly bunchy at the knees over the course of the day, but that's the only complaint!  I'm really glad that I tried it out, because now I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe, haha :)

And this outfit also features my blue silky blouse for the royal blue day of the Pantone Color Challenge with Heidi and Marissa.  This top has been a part of my capsule, but I have only worn it once or twice to work so far.  I thought styling it for a weekend outfit like this (although I'd totally wear this to work...) would be a fun way to mix it up.

If you haven't been following along with the other bloggers participating in the Pantone Color Challenge this week, click on the box below and check it out!  Lots of wonderful outfits!!
literate &  stylish

11.18.2014

Pantone Color Challenge: Cypress

Shirt / Vest: Old Navy | Jeans: Jessica Simpson | Scarf: Gift from my parents | Boots: Target

So, I've been blogging for nearly two years now, and I'm pretty proud to say that very rarely have I ever bought something solely because I saw that exact item on another blogger.  This top, however, is the exception.  I saw it featured on Audrey's blog back in September, and I bought it the very next day.  I saw in Audrey's post how versatile it could be - that I could wear it casually or dressed up for work, that I could wear it during warmer months on its own and during colder months with some layers, etc., and I was sold.  It's one of my favorite tops, and I've worn it several times on weekends already.  When December rolls around and I'll be done with my capsule, I am going to wear the heck out of it at work, too!!

Today, I decided to wear it with my olive (or cypress, for today's Pantone Color Challenge with Heidi and Marissa) vest, my one pair of jeans, and my brown combat boots.  Instead of wearing a neutral necklace or going sans accessories, I decided to inject a little color into the outfit with my coral scarf.  I actually really like how this outfit looks, and I'm eager to wear it again.  [Side note: You may recall that I've been adamant about not being an outfit repeater before, but I'm slowly starting to warm up to the idea of re-wearing outfits.  I'm not sure why I've been such a stickler about it...if I like an outfit, why not wear it again??]
literate &  stylish

11.17.2014

Pantone Color Challenge: Sangria

Dress: Old Navy | Tights / Scarf: Target | Boots: Guess

It's the fourth installment of the Pantone Color Challenge, hosted by Heidi and Marissa!  I'm so excited to be joining in on the challenge again!  I'm sharing some of my recent non-work outfits, as many of these colors are not represented in my capsule challenge, haha.

The first color of the challenge is sangria, a lovely maroon/magenta color that I adore.  I'm wearing my maroon dress again, this time with my navy paisley scarf instead of the leopard scarf I wore with it last time.  I cannot get over how comfortable this dress is.  The fabric is a very smooth jersey...very stretchy and soft!  It tends to get a little static-y, however, so I think it's about time for me to pick up a slip (also, it's that time of year...sooo dry!).  I don't want anything too expensive, since it won't get tons of wear, and I can't decide if I want a full slip or a half slip...any recommendations of slips you like?

[Also, I did a little blog work this weekend, including a new header, navigation bar, about me section, and I added a little blog roll at the top!  Any feedback is much appreciated - thanks in advance!]

I'm linking up with Heidi and Marissa for the Pantone Color Challenge!
literate &  stylish

11.13.2014

Funny Email Addresses

Tank / Cardigan: Old Navy | Skirt / Tights: Target | Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: From my mom

Yesterday, we had a college and career day at my school.  28 colleges and 15 area businesses came to the school for students to talk with, and we had several breakout sessions for students to attend during the day with topics ranging from ACT test preparation to seeking out internships and mentorships.  I led breakout sessions all about scholarships - how to search for them, how to apply, how to stand out, etc.  It was the first time I've done any presentations for students at my new school, so it felt great to have face time with so many students.  I am guessing I probably talked to 200+ students over the course of the morning!

Because most students in the school haven't met me yet (I only have 400 kids in my alphabet chunk and have only had the chance to meet about a third of my assigned students at this point), it was important for me to make a good impression...so I tried to keep the presentation engaging and entertaining - well, as much as you can make scholarships exciting! ;)  I told them about the importance of applying for scholarships with a professional email address (like firstname.lastname@gmail.com), and told them about some of the email addresses I encountered while working in college admissions.  I worked in admissions for 6 years, so I came across a ton of "interesting" email addresses.  My coworkers and I kept this list of the weirdest email addresses people would put on their college applications so we could reference them for a good laugh once in a while.  I think my personal favorite/least favorite email address that I have seen on a college application was stankypoopies16@yahoo.com.  Hilarious, but highly inappropriate for a college or scholarship application.  Regardless, when I told this story during my presentation, I got some good laughs out of the kids, so I'll consider it a win :)

As for today's outfit, it's another gray and navy outfit (almost as ubiquitous as my cream and black outfits as of late!!).  I almost always seem to wear this skirt with navy and/or gray, because they just work together, right?  I also took a bit of a risk with my boots - they're my mid-calf gray boots, which I have always worn with skinny pants or jeans up until now.  I felt kind of badass when I wore them with this outfit - it gave the look a bit of an edge that I really liked.  Next time I wear these boots with a skirt or a dress, I'll try to get a better photo...it's hard to see them in this photo!

11.12.2014

Capsule Debut

Tee: Old Navy | Pants: Kohls | Jacket: JCPenney | Boots: Guess

It's crazy to me that this is the first time I've worn my black and white striped tee during the capsule wardrobe.  Every other time I've done a remix challenge, I have heavily relied on this tee, so the fact that I've gone nearly 3 months without wearing it is insane.  I do really like the way it debuted during my capsule wardrobe, though.  Black + olive + cognac is such a classic combination that I can't get enough of, and there's something so fall-like about it that feels great for this time of year (although we now have snow, so I guess I'm in winter mode until May...).  I typically wear this jacket open, but I decided to snap it today for a new look and to conserve heat.  My office is so, so cold, so anything I can do to stay warm is necessary.  The other day, I wore a sweater, scarf, and jacket in my office with a space heater on full blast, and I was still shivering and had blue fingers!  Any tips on how to stay warm in a freezing office??

11.11.2014

Cream + Black...again...

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Kohls | Flats: Payless | Necklace: From my mom

Surprise, surprise!  Yet another cream & black outfit!  I can't help myself, y'all.  I just love me some neutrals.  This top is so pretty and I love how it looks with skinny pants like this black ponte pair.  This necklace probably wasn't the greatest choice with the outfit, as it kept getting hidden by the neckline of the shirt, but I did like the shine and texture it added to the outfit as a whole.  I'd like to try wearing this top with a blazer at some point.  I feel like the flowiness of the top would look off with a cardigan, but under the structure of a blazer, I think it could work well.

Also, I want to thank you all for your sweet comments on yesterday's post about my aunt's breast cancer diagnosis.  It's kind of been an emotional time in our family, but as many of you pointed out, we do have an incredibly supportive family.  She'll be surrounded by lots of love (as will her husband and kiddos) through her journey.

11.10.2014

Blergh.

Tunic: J. Jill | Pants: Kohls | Flats: Old Navy | Scarf: From my mom

This scarf is so soft, and I love the blue + gray + tan leopard print, but it's super voluminous and thus, comically large at times.  However, I love how warm it keeps me with all the fabric, and in this case, it added just the perfect amount of extra interest to the outfit.

Do you ever have one of those weekends that kind of turn out to be an emotional roller coaster?  That was this weekend for me.  I got a call on Friday afternoon that my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I've been pretty close to my aunt for most of my life, and I'm really close with her two kids who are 16 and 13.  We're still learning more about her prognosis and treatment plan, but it really rattled me to hear the news on Friday.  I was able to see my aunt, uncle, and my 13-year-old cousin on Saturday night, when we all had dinner at my parents' house and played games - more Telestration, and tons of laughter, which we all needed a hefty dose of.

I spent most of the weekend at my in-laws' house, as well, which was really fun.  I am really close with Kevin's family, and love spending time with them.  Kevin was out of town at a conference for most of the weekend, so I hung out with his parents and two of his brothers and their significant others.  We played poker (I won every last chip on the table, muahahahaha), went to the dog park, cooked and ate lots of delicious food, and enjoyed lots of time around the kitchen table talking about anything and everything.

Yesterday evening, Kevin and I were both back home (with two utterly exhausted pups), and we spent our evening cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and having a dance party to the AWOLNATION Pandora station (no shame).  Before we went to bed, we watched an episode of Portlandia - oh my gosh, that show kills me.  I needed to gear myself up for this week at work - I'm having the "You will not graduate this year unless things change" conversation with kiddos all week...yuck.  Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news...

My goal for this week is to engage in plenty of self-care.  Lord knows I need it!  So, I'm fully intending on watching The Voice while painting my nails tonight, and catching up on blogs once again (how in the world I can never stay caught up is beyond me).

11.06.2014

Irish Souvenir

Shirt: Old Navy | Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted | Pants: Kohls | Boots: Target | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry | Earrings: Gift from my brother-in-law & sister-in-law

So, at the beginning of every remix or closet challenge that I do, I make a huge list of all kinds of different outfit ideas using those specific pieces (I've talked about this on the blog here before).  I don't usually plan for accessories in that master list, but instead tend to stick to just the clothing pieces.  This outfit idea started with the gray/white striped shirt + gray ponte pants base.  It was super boring as is (obviously), so I decided to add the gray blazer for a little extra dimension.  When it came to accessorizing, I first thought about adding my gray necklace or white necklace, but that just seemed too plain.  Instead, I decided to add my purple necklace from Simonson's Jewelry (my good family friends' booth at the Minnesota State Fair) and the pretty purple earrings that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law bought me from their trip to Ireland this summer.  I think they added just the spice this outfit needed!

Here's a close-up of the earrings from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  My brother-in-law specifically picked these out for me because he knew I liked purple so much.  I really did marry into the best family, I think - what 25-year-old guy knows just what to get his sister-in-law??  Haha.

11.05.2014

On Productivity

Top: J. Jill | Pants: Old Navy | Flats: Payless

Does anyone else feel like they just can't get much done these days?  Seriously, every single day for the past month or so, I've written myself a to do list, and I've literally probably done only 4-5 things on any of the lists over that time period.  What the heck has happened to my motivation to do anything?  The most frustrating part about it all is that I can't even really tell you what I have been doing with my time. It's the weirdest thing!  I have all these goals: write blog posts, catch up on emails, deep clean in our house, read a book, exercise, cook something new, finish a painting, etc.  But I can't seem to get anything done.  I wonder if I am having trouble adjusting to having nothing going on after work, as opposed to the last two years of grad school.  I was so busy and had so much going on at once that I had to manage my time really well in order to fit everything in.  Now, I get home at 4:00 at the latest, and I kind of just get home and dink around and play with the dogs until Kevin gets home.  Not that these things aren't great, but I just feel like I lost all productivity.  I've been working on getting back into a blogging routine, though, so perhaps things are looking up!! :)

11.04.2014

Weekend Recap

Tank / Flats: Old Navy | Jacket / Scarf: JCPenney | Pants: Kohls

This weekend...
  • Kevin and I finished watching Parks & Rec on Halloween night while we were waiting for trick-or-treaters (which we had ZERO of - boooo).  I love me some Leslie Knope, but I kind of didn't like the ending of the show very much.  But let's just be real, I rarely like the endings of TV shows.  Anyone else feel like that?
  • I visited my parents' house for the weekend so that Kevin could get homework done.  I wound up going out for dinner with my parents and my brother.  It's been a long time since the four of us were out together, and we had a great time laughing our butts off and being slightly obnoxious.
  • I got to see my BFF for the first time since August.  We snuggled on the couch and talked about life, and then we played Telestrations with my parents.  That game, by the way, is super fun.  It's like Telephone, but with drawing instead of whispering.
  • I went on a walk without a jacket.  I have a feeling that's the last time that's going to happen for quite awhile...as the "snow" word is in the forecast this upcoming week, I think.  Sigh, it's beginning.
I hope y'all had a great weekend as well!

10.31.2014

Pretty Dresses

Over the past couple of weekends, I've had things going on requiring me to dress up a little bit more than my usual weekend outfits of leggings and a sweatshirt.  I loved both of my outfits so much that I wanted to share them with you.  Without further ado, here are my pretty dresses:

Dress / Scarf: Old Navy | Tights / Boots: Target

I am so smitten with this dress, you guys.  The maroon color is rich and gorgeous, the ruched sides are so flattering, and it has long sleeves.  Could I ask for anything more in a dress?  I think not.  I was originally going to wear a pendant necklace with this outfit, but I chose to wear my leopard scarf instead.  It gives the outfit a little extra something, you know?

Dress: Cynthia Rowley | Tights: Target | Boots: Guess | Necklace: From my mom 

I'll admit that this outfit looks a little confused, with the pastel colors up top and the black and brown on the bottom, but I don't mind - I felt so good wearing this.  I've lost nearly 10 lbs now in the last several weeks, and I'm starting to feel it and see it when I look at photos of myself.  The day I wore this, I was feeling so confident and beautiful, so even if the colors on the bottom don't necessarily match the colors on the top, how I felt in the outfit is what I'm choosing to focus on :)  Plus, isn't this necklace so pretty? My mom ordered it online and when she got it in the mail, the colors were different than what she was expecting.  As someone who wears almost exclusively neutral colors and earth tones, this necklace wasn't going to get worn much had she kept it...and I am the lucky benefactor!  While I don't tend to wear a lot of color, I am a huge fan of mint and blush, so I know this necklace will get plenty of love in my hands :)
A little detail shot of the necklace.  And my differently-shaped eyes.

Also, happy Halloween!  Kevin and I aren't planning to do much - since this is the first time we've ever lived in a neighborhood, we're going to get some candy and cross our fingers that we get some trick-or-treaters to give it to!  If you have kids and Instagram, I'm going to be stalking all of your photos to see your kiddos' costumes :)  Have a safe and fun night!