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4.30.2015

Shorty Dress + Heels (!!)

Dress: Target | Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Payless | Necklace: J. Crew [Top 10 item]

This dress is so comfortable - it's made out of a lightweight sweatshirt material, which means it's cozy and perfect.  I like that it's casual enough to wear on weekends but also acceptable to wear to work.  The only thing is that it totally shrunk up in the wash - bummer!  Thank goodness for thick leggings so I can still wear it to work, haha.  Also, these ankle boots are so, so comfortable, and I am shocked I haven't worn them more.  They have a little heel, which is pretty "out there" for me, but they're from the Comfort Plus line at Payless, which means they're totally wearable, even for a non-heels wearer.  I'd like to try to find another pair of shoes with a slight heel or wedge from this line that I can wear when I'm wanting a little extra height.  I love the chunky heel on this pair, but this pair comes in so many fun colors and prints (I love the leopard and the bright pink especially)!  Have any of you tried out any of these Comfort Plus heels from Payless?  Will I fall over if I attempt to wear these heels??

And for your viewing pleasure, here are a ton of outtakes from this photo sesh.  Kevin always snaps the most awkward photos of me!
Not ready at all.
I look like a toddler.
"I feel awkward - please stop taking my picture now."
 
I think Kevin needs to start walking outside before me.  Nearly every time we take pictures, there is at least one butt shot photo like this.

4.29.2015

One Year Later...

Dress + Leggings: Old Navy | Cardigan: TJ Maxx [Top 10 item] | Boots: Target | Necklace: From my mom

Whoops!  I forgot to press "publish" on this yesterday...I had my post typed up and then I pressed "save," without scheduling or publishing the post.  Doh!

So the outfit that I'm wearing here?  I've already worn it before with my black wedges - just over a year ago, actually.  I wore this outfit when I interviewed for my current job.  I loved the outfit so much that I decided to wear it again, now a year later.  It's crazy to think about how much can change over the course of a year.  This time last year, I was stressed out about finding a job and not having any idea about where life would take me.  I was looking for jobs all over Minnesota, but also in other states.  I wasn't sure if I was ready for a school counseling job.

Now, a year later, I'm in such a fantastic spot.  I am working a job that I adore.  Kevin and I are in the process of buying our first house.  Kevin has a full-time job that he loves.  We're going to become and aunt and uncle.  I feel confident and capable in the work that I do.  I'm happier in my life than I ever thought possible.  I'm secure in who I am as a person and as a professional.  I'm making friends.

I love being a reflective person - it's so cool to look back to where I've been and see the growth I've made over the course of a year.  It's a pretty great life.

And here's a super happy picture.  Kevin makes me laugh :)

4.27.2015

I hate coming up with titles.

Dress + Cardigan + Scarf [Top 10 item]: Old Navy | Flats: TOMS

Happy Monday!  I'm still battling this gross virus that knocked me out all last week - the cough and inability to taste or smell just won't go away!  Oh well.  At least I've been able to get dressed and participate in the world around me a little bit...and I'm really glad to be back at work, too!

I'm wearing this dress, which I'm fairly certain 90% of my blog friends have as well (I also have it in black, which you can see on the blog here).  If you don't have it yet in at least one color, I highly recommend you place an order...I can't sing its praises enough.  It's soft and stretchy and practically perfect in every way (like Mary Poppins).

This particular outfit is one that I've worn a couple of times already.  I first wore it back in March on the airplane ride home from Charlotte.  I always want to be comfortable on an airplane, but I also don't like to feel like a high school student wearing leggings and a sweatshirt, ha.  This dress feels like pajamas but looks pretty nice, and with the addition of a scarf and cardigan for extra warmth on the plane, I felt like a million bucks for my flight home.  A couple of weeks later, I wore this outfit again to work, and I loved it for that setting as well.  I'm going to try to not just wear this outfit (or a similar version of it) on repeat all spring and summer...that would make for one boring blog, haha.

We got caught taking photos...awkward!

4.24.2015

Four Things Friday | 11

Tank + Cardigan + Scarf [Top 10 item]: Old Navy | Pants + Flats: Kohls

During my winter capsule remix, my black bootcut pants didn't get a ton of wear, nor did I like most of the outfits I wore with them.  I have the same pair in gray (which, although the pair I'm wearing here looks black, these are actually dark gray, haha), and I decided to give them a shot for the spring with some flats.  I like the way they look with flats so much better, and I'm happy to say I've worn both my black pair and my gray pair several times since making this discovery.  Plus, they legitimately feel like yoga pants but are still work-appropriate.  WIN!

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:

Becoming an aunt | Our niece is due August 1, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  I can't wait to snuggle her and spoil the crap out of her.  I'll be her only auntie (although she'll have 5 uncles!!), which makes me feel pretty special, haha.  Plus, where we are hoping we're moving will be only about a half an hour from their house - woo!  I already want to buy her all kinds of cute things, and Kevin and I talk frequently about what experiences we want to share with her as she grows.  So exciting!

Buying a house | We are closer every day to purchasing the house we've been looking for!  Kevin and I are so excited to take the plunge and make the biggest investment ever.  There is so much thought and stress that goes into purchasing your first home, but we're more excited than anything.  The house we have found is different from what we picture ourselves in, but we absolutely love it and can see us living there for years and years to come.  Stay tuned for more updates in the process! :D

Get involved in animal rescue | Nearly two years ago, Kevin and I fostered the cutest little puppy...and then we wound up adopting her.  What can I say, Roo completes our little family!  However, I'm still incredibly passionate about animal rescue, and saving and finding forever homes for dogs is one of the biggest things I feel drawn to doing in my life.  One of the things I'm so excited about moving back to the Twin Cities is having the opportunity to get plugged back into the vibrant animal rescue community.  Safe Hands Animal Rescue is the organization through which we fostered and adopted Rooney, and I wholeheartedly support everything that they do and stand for.  I can't wait to spend my weekends welcoming dogs and puppies into their new foster homes, assisting with meet and greets and adoptions, and even fostering our own dogs again!

Continuing to build friendships | I have always struggled with friendships (I wrote about it here almost exactly two years ago), but little by little, I think I'm starting to figure it out.  Yesterday, I shared a little bit about my coworkers and what fantastic people they are.  I think it is so cool how most of these women are not only colleagues, but best friends as well.  Although they're 20 years older than me (and often joke that they could be my mom) and have been friends for years, they have welcomed me into their group so warmly.  I haven't felt this included with a group of women in...oh gosh, I don't even know how long.  Despite being in very different stages in life, I do feel like I have so much in common with so many of them (and let's be real - I've always gotten along better with people much older than me anyway!!).  We all work with young people and understand how draining it can be to work in a helping role like this.  We all value the relationship between strong, independent women.  We all enjoy giving and being a part of our community.  We all love to have fun and laugh!  It's really the most wonderful feeling.  I am eager to see how my relationship with my colleagues develops over time - and I'm eager to see what kinds of relationships will blossom when Kevin and I move back to the Twin Cities where many of our college friends currently live!

What are you all looking forward to this year??

4.23.2015

Spring Inspirations | Gold

So sorry for the lack of blogging this week!  I've had an eventful several days!  I left work a little early with several of my coworkers on Friday so we could drive up to a casino in northern Minnesota to an Air Supply concert.  One of my coworkers is getting married in May, so it was a bachelorette party.  We stayed overnight and had a fantastic evening enjoying snacks and beverages, playing Songburst (I was the youngest one there by 20 years but still was able to identify almost all of the lyrics - what can I say?  I'm an old soul!!), and laughing until the wee hours of the morning.  Even though I'm significantly younger than all of these women, I can't tell you how much I love them all.  They're so much fun and I get along with them all swimmingly.  We headed back to our town early the next morning, and I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Kevin.  On Sunday, we went mini-golfing with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend, which was a blast.  On Monday night, Kevin and I went house hunting again and I'm pretty sure we found The One.  Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly for us!  I have been home sick with some awful virus the past two days (although I've felt sick since Saturday) - terrible sore throat, fever, coughing, wheezing, headache, congestion, plugged ears...yuck!  I hate missing work, and we have so much going on right now, but I really have needed the time to rest.  It's been pretty miserable.

Okay...enough of that...onto the outfit!!
Top + Leggings: J. Jill | Sandals: Target [Top 10 item] | Necklace: Forever 21

After years and years of being a strictly-silver-jewelry-wearer, I have finally started to really embrace gold as well.  For me, silver used to be the typical go-to for jewelry, but this spring, gold is the color that I can't get enough of.  I love how it looks with all neutral colors (hello, 95% of my closet...), and I think it also looks striking against reds, pinks, and blues as well (hello, the other 5% of my closet...).  This outfit features two gold pieces that I am really enjoying wearing so far this spring: my gold beaded necklace (whoops, you can't see it all that well) and my gold sparkly sandals.  The necklace has pastel pink, blue-gray, and gold beads, and I love how it looks against this cream tunic (another spring-time favorite).  These sandals are my absolute favorites because they're not only comfortable, but they go with everything and the sparkles add a little glitz to any outfit.
It was actually just really windy, but the pose and my hair make it look like I was doing some dramatic hair flip, haha.

I'm linking up with Anne and Shea for Your Spring Style :)

4.17.2015

Four Things Friday | 10

Dress: Old Navy [Top 10 item] | Jacket: Levi's | Shoes: Payless

Oh, hey!  It's my Easter outfit!  I knew I wanted to wear my bright pink dress on Easter (also, because it was the most Easter-appropriate item in my Top 10 Remix outfits).  I dressed it down with my floral sneakers and denim jacket, which was perfect for my family's casual Easter celebration.

After having skipped Four Things Friday last week, I am eager to return to to it this week.  The prompt for today?  Four TV shows that I watch/love.  Kevin and I don't have TV (only Netflix), so I don't watch anything current.  I'm perpetually at least a season behind on everything, which can sometimes be a little annoying (it can be tricky to avoid spoilers, so I'm glad I'm not one of those people who gets too upset about spoilers).  However, the fact that we only pay $8 a month for TV is pretty great, so it's not too terrible.  So...most of the shows I'm listing here are either completely done, or I'm not caught up to the most recent season.

The Walking Dead | After Kevin and I finished watching Parks and Recreation, we decided to dive into something a little more serious.  Most people believe that The Walking Dead is just a TV show about zombies, but I argue that it's a TV show about humanity, and there happen to be zombies in it.  For me, the zombies are mostly an obstacle that prevent the characters from accomplishing what they need/want to accomplish.  I know I've talked about this plenty of times before, but I absolutely love well-developed characters (which is why I prefer TV shows to movies, because there's more time to see characters develop), and The Walking Dead is full of character development!

Will & Grace | This is my all-time favorite television show.  I've been hooked on it since I was in high school, and I've watched the series so many times!  This is my favorite episode (literally, I've watched this one over 20 times - watch from 15:15 to 16:04 for my very favorite part), and I also really love from 18:55-19:44 of this episode.  I don't think I've mentioned this before on my blog, but when I was in high school, three of my very best friends were gay.  The relationship I had with one of these guys, in particular, was very Will-and-Grace-like...we did everything together for several years - he was even my prom date, and we went to college together.  Whenever I watch Will & Grace, I think about that relationship and how wonderful my friendship with my real-life Will was :)

Orange is the New Black | I'm absolutely smitten with this show.  Again, I absolutely love the characters in this show.  It has shed some excellent light into the prison system in America, as well as different real-life issues of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration, drug use, social class, etc.  I can't think of another show that I've watched that makes me think, laugh, and cry as much as OITNB does.  It's powerful and entertaining, and I love everything about it.  Plus, I have a big girl crush on both Natasha Lyonne and Laura Prepon - they're such fantastic actresses!!

Sex and the City | Ahhh, Sex and the City.  Another classic TV show that I can go back and re-watch countless times and never, ever get sick of.  I love how this show depicted female friendships and relationships, and it made it okay for women to talk about and experience sex and relationships with men.  In a world that glorifies masculine sexuality and shames feminine sexuality, I think Sex and the City did a nice job of opening up that dialogue, and was pretty progressive.  Don't get me wrong, the show certainly isn't perfect, but I really love it anyway.  It is highly entertaining and I love how strong and independent each of the women is!  Fun fact: I was so obsessed with this show in college that my roommates threw me a surprise Sex and the City-themed 21st birthday party, in which each of us dressed as one of the main characters, and we went out to eat in downtown Minneapolis.  It was so fun and ridiculous!  Here are a couple of pictures from that evening, for your entertainment.  (And yes, I was Samantha.)

Miranda, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte

My face tells you how I feel about how I look with long, platinum blonde hair, haha!

4.15.2015

$2 Tee

Tee: Target | Cardigan + Jeans: Old Navy | Shoes: TOMS [Top 10 item] | Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

First of all, Kevin wanted me to let you all know that he's sorry for looking like such a scrub in these outfit photos (see the reflection??).  When you're not the subject of the photos, you can wear a hoodie and athletic shorts ;)

Okay but seriously, let's talk about this outfit for a sec.  As I sorted through my closet a month or so ago, I realized that I had a grand total of FOUR short-sleeved tees, and two of them were plain white.  WHAT?!  Not acceptable for the spring and summer.  Although I'm still trying to hold strong to not shopping, I really can't get through an entire spring and summer with only four short-sleeved tees.  So...I made a pit stop in the clothing section at Target as I was shopping for toilet paper and Ben & Jerry's (don't judge me) and happened to find a huge shelf of tees for $2 apiece.  Obviously, I needed to pick some up, so I wound up buying five of them, for a total of $10.  I mean, they practically begged to be taken home, right?  This blue printed tee was one of the lucky shirts, and I really like it.  It's a little different from the other things in my closet, but because it's blue (one of the two non-neutral colors that I have in my closet anymore...), it fits right in.  I can already tell it will get worn a ton - with cuffed jeans and a cardigan as I did here, or with denim shorts and sandals as it gets warmer outside.

Also, this ridiculous picture was way too funny to not include.  Seriously, I can't stop laughing at it.  WHAT IS THAT FACE?!  Hahahahahahaha

4.14.2015

Spring Essentials | Breezy Dresses and Spring Colors

Dress + Scarf: Old Navy | Cardigan: TJ Maxx [Top 10 item] | Flats: TOMS
(Also, pardon my stray hair flying around - it was windy!!)

Sooooo squintyyyyy.

Bloopers abound when Kevin is my photographer.

As I've been poring through my closet over the past several weeks, I've been taking note of what items are missing in my wardrobe for the warmer months.  I did a massive closet clean out last summer and apparently basically all of my warm weather clothing was donated.  I realized that I had hardly anything for the spring and summer, so even though I'm still really not shopping much at all, I knew I needed some new things to get me through the spring and summer.  I had some rewards to use at Old Navy and was thrilled to find these awesome t-shirt dresses...and promptly picked up two of them: one in black, and one in gray.

I absolutely love easy t-shirt dresses like these because they are casual enough that I can wear them on their own with sneakers or sandals on the weekends, but I can also dress them up with a cardigan and flats for work, as I did here.  This was the first outfit I've worn sans tights this year as well, which always leaves me feeling super exposed and like my butt is showing all day, haha.

I also love wearing a good splash of color in the spring.  While I'm more drawn to maroon in the fall and winter, I can't get enough coral in the spring and summer.  I always love how coral pops against black, so this was an easy outfit for me to put together.  I added the leopard scarf for a little more  visual interest.  All in all, I loved this outfit and I will absolutely be wearing it again this spring!

I'll be linking up with Your Spring Style and Confident Twosdays today.

4.13.2015

Outfit Photos!!!

Shirt: Old Navy [Top 10 item] | Jeans: Lauren Conrad via Kohls | Shoes: TOMS | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry

Y'all, let's be real for a hot minute.  I haven't taken outfit photos in ages.  It's been too dark to take my photos in our entry way, as I did for most of the winter, but I've also had some troubles getting pictures taken outside as well.  This past weekend, Kevin and I had a photo session in which I had him photograph a handful of my recent outfits.  It felt great to actually get some pictures taken so I can share them with you all again.

In addition to taking outfit photos this weekend, I did a lot of reading (I finished reading Wicked and started the sequel, Son of a Witch) and Netflixing (I finished season 10 of Grey's Anatomy and began watching Once Upon a Time).  I commented on a ton of blogs, which felt great as well.  I'm still not caught up, but I'm certainly getting closer!  Oh!  And I cleaned and organized my closet, as you may have seen on my Instagram.  I did an updated closet inventory in the process - any interest in seeing where my closet stands nowadays?

Okay, on to the details of today's outfit.  I wore this right when I got back from my trip to Charlotte, and found it to be a great spring break outfit.  We were lucky enough to have some beautiful days over spring break, so cuffed jeans and my comfy black marled tunic fit the bill for a day of hanging out at home.  I still absolutely love these gray TOMS - they are lined with corduroy which keeps my tootsies warm :)  And I really want to add some more pendant-style necklaces to my collection.  This one gets quite a lot of wear these days, so I'm on the hunt for a couple more, preferably one that is all silver, cobalt blue, or pink.  I'm probably going to sit down and peruse the options at Forever 21 one of these days - they always have a great affordable jewelry selection!

Look at that super cute blinky face.  Insta-derp.

4.07.2015

Spring Transitions | Sweater Dresses!

On their blogs for the next month, Anne and Shea are hosting a linkup all about spring style.  Each week will have a different theme: spring transitions, spring essentials, spring inspirations, and spring celebrations.  Today, I'll share one of my favorite ways to transition some of my colder-weather pieces into the warmer weather of the spring.

We talk a lot in the blogging world about "winterizing" a warmer weather clothing item...but you can certainly "springify" colder weather items as well!  I love sweater dresses and fleece dresses, and even though the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, I don't tuck them away right away.  I just switch up how I style these items!  I typically wear these kinds of dresses with tights, boots, and scarves in the winter to stay warm, but in the spring, I can wear those same items with leggings (full-length or cropped) or even with bare legs!  I swap the boots for flats and the scarf for a necklace, and I'm set to go.

I have documented such outfits on my blog before, as you can see in the two outfits below.
one | two

Wearing a 3/4 sleeve sweater dress (like the camel + black striped one I used to have) is a great happy medium - the shorter sleeves offset the heavier material, so you're still cozy in the cool mornings or when it's windy or rainy, but your wrists are free in case you get a little toasty.  I have worn this gray sequined sweater dress all year round for this exact reason!

These two outfits would also nicely transition a sweater dress into spring.
The ever-classy Pippa Middleton | Jules in Flats

How do you transition your winter pieces into the spring?


4.06.2015

Monthly Goals | April

You know, it's only like a week into April...might as well get my goals written down, right?! :)

Recap | March Goals
1. Create a blogging schedule for the month and stick to it | FAIL.  I mean, I thought about a blogging schedule and what I want to focus on, but I didn't actually write anything down or do anything about it.  I am actually going to carry this goal forward for the month of April, because I'm finally getting back into the swing of things with regards to my blog.

2. Make a trip to the library | I did not go to the library this month.  However, I realized I have a ton of books on our bookshelves at home that I haven't read, and I'd like to read (and then donate) several of them before we move sometime this spring/summer.  Instead of going to the library in our town, I decided to go to the library in our living room.  I finally finished reading Watership Down, and wound up reading two other books in March as well (The Reader and Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center).  I also am almost done reading Wicked right now, too!

3. Take Pippin and Rooney to the dog park | Ughhh, I so wanted to take the dogs to the dog park this month!  I'm so bummed I failed at this.  On the beautiful days we had in mid-March, I had lots of commitments after school and by the time I got home, I was exhausted so just played with the dogs in our living room instead.  And then when I finally had some more energy, it snowed a foot, the parks got all muddy, and then I went to Charlotte...so no park.  I'm a bad dog mommy.  We did wind up taking the dogs for a few long, long walks this month, though, so they weren't entirely cooped up! :)

4. Meet with the bank about buying a house | YES!  We did this!  We have all our finances in order to purchase a new home, which is very exciting (and terrifying)!  We actually put an offer on a house a couple of weeks ago, but we didn't get it (booo).  However, we're moving past that particular house and are house hunting again with our realtor tomorrow evening.  There are a few houses that we've looked at online that appear to be a great fit for us, so hopefully we'll love them just as much (or more!) when we see them in person.  I'm so excited to move back to the Twin Cities!

5. Begin 30 Days of Yoga | I did this goal as well!  I got into a great post-work routine before spring break hit.  I would come home from work, do a cardio YouTube video for about 20 minutes followed by a yoga video.  Then, I'd curl up in our recliner with a book and the dogs and read until the sun set.  Best. Routine. Ever.  I only got through Day 4 of the series, because I did a couple of the videos multiple times.  Now that I'm back to school after a week-long break, I'm going to try and get back into my routine (see below)!

April Goals
1. Create a blogging schedule for the month and stick to it - take two | As I mentioned above, I still really want to get into a good posting routine.  I have ideas for different posts and have found some linkups to join, but I need to write my ideas down in a more organized fashion.  Also, I've been struggling with taking outfit photos for my blog, so I'd like to work on being more intentional about taking photos most days as well.  [I have been posting some awkward body selfies on my Instagram account for the first couple days of the Top 10 Remix challenge...stay tuned for full outfit posts!]

2. Establish a post-work routine | Again, I mentioned above how much I enjoyed doing yoga as a part of my daily post-work routine.  Any time my schedule is altered, it usually takes me a long time to get back into a routine.  Instead of falling into my old trap of getting home from work and just dinking around on my computer each day, I want to make sure I get right back into a routine.  I'd like it to include some kind of physical activity, some housework, some reading, some blogging, and some time with the dogs and Kevin.

3. Work on de-cluttering the house | I found this article online and the clean freak in me got very excited.  I love organizing and simplifying, and I think that following this list will be so great!  If we start paring down our things now, we'll be all set to move when we finally find our house.  I'm especially eager to tackle the things I've been putting off, like getting rid of old/worn out clothes (both mine and Kevin's), going through our medicine cabinet and bathroom drawers, and organizing my digital files/photos/music library.

4. Watch a movie | I'm kind of a Netflix junkie, which means I've been neglecting all my old favorite movies.  I just picked up Into the Woods at Target the other day, and I'm dying to watch it.  I also forgot that I got Les Miserables for Christmas and I still haven't watched it either.  I may just have to have a movie musical day - what do you think?

5. Focus, focus, focus at work | With only 42 days with students remaining in the school year (!!), I'm feeling the time crunch.  I have so many projects to finish, students to touch base with and monitor, families to communicate with, and paperwork to fill out, and it's often overwhelming to figure out where to even start.  This month, I'm going to really prioritize the heavy things and use my time as effectively as possible.  Good thing I just stocked up on sticky notes and notepads so I can create copious amounts of to do lists!

Note: I totally had this post written earlier today and forgot to press "publish."  Whoops.

4.04.2015

Winter Capsule Showcase | 3 + Recap

Taking a vacation at the end of the month and not thinking ahead about blog posts can sometimes be freeing...but it also can mean that you have a lot of catching up to do upon your return.  The winter capsule I took part of over the past three months ended at the end of March, and I wanted to be sure to put together a recap and reflection post, complete with several collages of the outfits I wore over the past three months (I will never not be weirded out seeing so many pictures of me in one place).

Also, I'm totally borrowing the structure of this post from Anne, because I loved how she laid hers out...


Most worn items | Top: chambray shirt, leopard sweatshirt | Dress: navy tunic | Bottoms: skinny jeans, maroon leggings | Shoes: black boots (worn 22 times!), gray boots
Note: Most of my layers were worn the exact same amount, so I can't pick a most worn layer.

Least worn items | Top: black marled tunic | Layer: light pink cardigan, gray cardigan | Bottoms: black bootcut pants, black leggings | Shoes: multicolored boots
Note: Most of my dresses were worn the exact same amount, so I can't pick a least worn dress.

Favorite outfits | pink dress + black cardigan + patterned leggings + boots | gray dress + maroon cardigan + black tights + brown boots | chambray shirt + gray ponte pants + boots + gray scarf

Least favorite outfits | striped sweater + olive vest + gray leggings + boots | most outfits with the black bootcut pants

Cheats | I totally cheated towards the end of the capsule.  It warmed up quite a bit in March and I only included boots in my wardrobe.  I wound up wearing flats and sneakers a few days (although I never photographed those outfits).  Additionally, I did pull out my ankle pants and some other tops for the days that were in the 60s and 70s as well.

To donate | I'm getting rid of my striped sweater (it's just not that flattering on me at all), the gray striped tee (it shrunk - boooo), and the white swiss dot popover (which breaks my heart, but it has not held up well over time).  I also need to try and tailor my maroon jeans and gray ponte pants, as they're both too big for me and tend to slip off.  I really hope they can be taken in, because I love both pieces so much!

Biggest surprise | I am so happy I didn't get sick of my dresses - I was worried that I would regret having included 7 of them in my capsule, but I loved having them to switch up my looks!  Plus, I just really don't care for pants all that much (more on that below), so it was wonderful to have plenty of non-pants options.

Biggest mistake | The biggest mistake of this capsule was assuming that March was going to be as cold, wet, and snowy as the past two years and not including many options that were acceptable for warmer temps!

 Other capsule-related thoughts:

  • I really enjoyed dressing in a limited wardrobe for both the fall and the winter, but ultimately, I've decided that a capsule wardrobe isn't really for me.  I've done a great job of continuing to mix and match the items in my closet, but I don't like the feeling that I'm "neglecting" a huge chunk of what I have for a huge chunk of the year.
  • At the same time, though, I have loved that dressing in a capsule has really, really taught me that I don't need a ton of items in order to create diverse outfits for both work and weekend activities.  It also has been a great way for me to stay excited about my closet during this year of no shopping (only two months left, y'all!).
  • As I mentioned above, I feel most comfortable in dresses.  There's a reason that's the largest section of my closet - I love to wear them!  However, if I do wear pants, I feel most comfortable in skinny pants (especially ponte material) and slightly looser tops.  When I think about adding to my closet, dresses, skinny pants, and looser (but still structured) tops are what I think I'll be searching for most.
  • I do really like to dress in neutrals most of the time, but I'm so glad I included some more pops of color in this capsule.  And accessories really do make or break an outfit!  Going forward, I'm planning to focus on adding in colorful and patterned accessories to my closet to bring a little excitement to my mostly-neutral clothing items.  However, I have also realized that I love how I look in brighter pinks, deeper reds, and blues, so I may be looking for some more pieces in those colors to add to my closet down the road as well.


All in all, I think that dabbling in a capsule wardrobe was an excellent experiment for me.  I learned a lot more about being creative with my clothing, styling the same pieces for casual and work-appropriate outfits, getting great use out of my accessories, and yes - I even learned that it's okay to repeat outfits sometimes!

I'm linking up with Anne and Jacquelyn and the other capsule wardrobe-ers :)

4.03.2015

Four Things Friday | 9

I can't believe it's Friday already!  I've enjoyed having the week off of work.  I've gotten to travel, hang out with Kevin, spend time with family, catch up on blog things, etc.  This weekend, I'll have a little more family time and then it's back to work!

For Four Things Friday today, I'll share with you four places I'd rather be right now:

Northern Ireland | In 1997, my family decided to host a girl from Northern Ireland through the Children's Program of Northern Ireland.  CPNI is an organization that "aims to develop respectful relationships between children of all traditions in Northern Ireland through cross-community activities in both their own communities" and through their five-week summer stay with host families in Minnesota.  The program was originally designed to help young children in Northern Ireland escape the violence in their communities by staying with host families in Minnesota for the summer.  The first child we hosted was 11-year-old Patricia Ann, who grew up in a very rough part of Belfast.  She was such a sweet girl...very quiet and polite, but she had a silly side that came out towards the end of her stay with our family.  The next summer, we hosted 10-year-old Tara.  Tara and I became very fast friends - she had a fantastic sense of humor and fit into our family perfectly.  We hosted her again the following summer, and then the summer after that, her mom and sister came to stay with our family for 2 weeks.  We have lost touch with Patricia Ann, but are still in regular contact with Tara and her family via Facebook.  I would love to visit Northern Ireland and see where Patricia Ann and Tara grew up, and to get to hang out with Tara and her sister now that we're all adults.

Tara's family lived in Newtownards - check out this gorgeous view from Scrabo Tower!!

Greece | I have had a longstanding desire to travel to Greece.  I've always been utterly fascinated with Greek mythology, ancient Greek culture, the Wonders of the World in Greece, etc.  I would love to see some of the more modern areas of Greece as well.  I want to travel to Athens and see the Parthenon and the Acropolis, Mount Lycabettus, and the Temple of Poseidon.  I want to see the beautiful beaches and architecture on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, and I want to try all kinds of Greek food.  I want to visit museums and archeological sites, see the ancient Greek theatres, and see what life is like for modern Greeks.

This iconic view of Santorini is one I absolutely want to experience for myself!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter | I'm a complete diehard Potterhead, and I am dying to get myself to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!  This probably sounds so ridiculous, but I have this feeling that if I were to go there, I'd probably wind up getting super emotional, haha.  Harry Potter is something that has been a huge part of my life for coming up on 20 years now, and to get to experience a bit of the universe of Harry Potter firsthand would be incredible.  I want to go to Hogsmeade and ride all the rides (The Dragon Challenge!!!), get a Quidditch jersey at Dervish and Banges, and get some wizarding sweets at Honeydukes.  I want to go to Diagon Alley and ride the Escape from Gringotts, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, and shop at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.  One of my best friends is also a Harry Potter nut, and we've talked before about traveling here together (and stopping at DisneyWorld while we're down in Florida, too, ha!).  It's gotta happen!!

If I saw this in person, I would probably just start weeping.

New Zealand | Now, if Harry Potter isn't up Kevin's alley, New Zealand definitely would be!  We've talked about traveling to New Zealand before...there is so much to see and do there!  We'd love to see where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed, go white water rafting, see the unique wildlife in New Zealand, go whale watching, see the mud pools and geysers of Rotorua, etc.  There are so many gorgeous places to see and thrilling things to do - it's a trip that we'd really like to take some day!

Hobbiton!!!

Where do you have the itch to travel??

4.02.2015

Top 10

As I neared the end of my spring capsule (reflections to come soon), I knew I didn't want to do another round of a capsule wardrobe.  However, I love having some kind of "guidelines" to help me get dressed, so I started thinking about what else I could do that might help me put together inspiring outfits but that wouldn't be as restricting as a 30x30 or a 3-month capsule wardrobe.  I tossed around the idea of focusing on wearing neglected items in my closet, or looking at a certain number of items in my closet and incorporating one of those things into my outfit each day for a period of time.  When I heard of Sarah's Top 10 Remix Challenge, it was right along the same lines as what I had been envisioning, and I knew I wanted to dive right in.

The premise of the challenge is to select 10 items from your closet that are quintessentially you, and wear one of those items every day for the month of April.  Everything else in your closet is fair game, but you have to wear one of those 10 items in every outfit.  Pretty simple, but it provides that structure I was looking for :)

I set to work choosing my items.  I had no idea how hard it would be to find things in my closet that were definitive of my style.  I wanted to make sure I chose some items that were different from what I included in my recent capsule, and I didn't want to include any items that felt too obvious (like my chambray shirt, or a pair of dark wash skinny jeans).  The tricky part about it, though, is that those plainer items really do feel like my style.  I love basic items that I can dress up or down in all kinds of ways.  Ultimately, I did narrow down my list to include the following items:


I found it interesting that I had a much easier time choosing accessories and shoes that were definitively "me" than other clothing items.  I also thought it was interesting that almost everything I chose was neutral (with the exception of my pink dress and my coral cardigan).  I'm still very much in the process of figuring out what my style is - I'm getting much closer and have ideas of what I want it to be like...but just actually adding things to my closet that fit the style I have in mind is tricky right now (still holding pretty strong with my shopping freeze, too!).

I'm eager to see how the month goes with these clothing items.  I feel excited to create outfits with these favorite items and I'm ready to get my creative juices flowing again!

4.01.2015

Currently | April

Today, I'll be linking up with Anne and Jenna for the monthly Currently linkup.  Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are linking up to see what they're currently wearing, sipping, wishlisting, writing, and exploring.

Wearing | I am posting here my last two winter capsule outfits, as the capsule is officially done now (as of yesterday)!  I'll be sure to post my reflections on the second experience fairly soon.  

Tee + Cardigan: Old Navy | Pants: Simply Vera | Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: Forever 21

This simple outfit was great for work - these ponte pants couldn't be more comfortable!  I'm a little bummed, though, because they don't really fit me anymore!  I have to wear a belt with them, and even still, they get all baggy and saggy by the end of the day and practically fall off my hips.  I'll have to check next fall and see if there is a new version of them - they've been such a staple for me for the past two years!

Dress + Vest: Old Navy | Tights: Target | Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: J. Crew

I absolutely cannot get enough of this dress, either.  I am so glad it fits me now, because I can already tell it's going to get plenty of wear this spring and summer.  It's incredibly comfortable, and I like that I can style it in many different ways.  I like how it looks with my utility vest (I've worn it like this before but if it works, I'll just go with it!), and I'll probably continue to wear it like this over the next couple of weeks.

Sipping | Oh gosh, I'm so boring.  I basically drink water almost all the time - I try to drink about 100 oz a day to keep myself nice and hydrated!  It's crazy how much better I feel when I drink copious amounts of water.  However, now that it's getting warmer outside, the occasional iced chai tea or lemonade sounds pretty refreshing as well :)

Wishlisting | I've mentioned this several times now, but Kevin and I are planning to buy a house this spring.  We've been working with our realtor to find the perfect house for us to make our home.  I've spent lots of time in our real estate portal sorting potential houses into different categories, essentially creating a wishlist of houses!  There are a handful of houses in our list that we are dying to see in person, so we'll be getting together with our realtor soon for some showings.  Can't wait to find our new home in Minneapolis!

Writing | Blog posts, comments, and emails, galore!  I have been in such a funk with getting back on track with blogging, and I'm so behind on responding to blog comments (seriously, like I have blog posts from a month ago that I haven't responded to y'all yet for...so embarrassed!).  I have been reading all of the blogs in my reader on my phone but haven't had a moment to sit down and comment on them, and I feel quite awful about it.  I also am feeling like I'd like to make a couple of changes with my blog, but again, I really need to take some time to sit down and flesh out all my ideas.  As I've mentioned in several other blog posts before, bear with me as I get back on track with blogging - I'm feeling ready for a great spring!! :)

Exploring | I just got back last night from my trip to Charlotte, NC to visit my best friend Casey and her family.  It was such a wonderful trip!  I got to meet her 6-month-old son and play with him a ton - he's a busy boy with tons of energy!  He immediately liked me a lot, which warmed my heart :)  Casey and I had plenty of excellent conversations as we took the baby for walks around their neighborhood and local parks.  We shopped a little bit (and bought nothing!!), we ate delicious food (sooo much delicious food), watched some movies, and basically just hung out.  It was such a great start to my spring break, and I so loved exploring Charlotte with my best friend and her family again!