Friday, February 24, 2017

what I'm reading this month... february 2017


Last month I left off with Lilac Girls... sadly, I abandoned that book.  I just wasn't a fan of it and life is too short for books you don't love.  I always find it sooo incredibly hard to abandon a book but I'm getting better at it.  Why slog through a book you don't love it when there are so many really great books to love?

I always get TONS of questions on how I find so much time to read.  For me, reading is therapy and my escape... so if I am not finding time for it, I am likely a crazy person (or even crazier than I already am!).  So here are my tips for finding time to read...

1. Download the Kindle app (FREE!) on your phone or iPad and always keep a book on there (I download free kindle books from my library - see if your library has the same!).  It's surprising how much more reading I do when I can just pull up my Kindle and read a few pages in as many minutes as it takes me to scroll Facebook or Instagram. 
2. Visit the library regularly.  Our library is super close to our house so I often pop in there when I have 5 minutes to spare.  Keeping (FREE!) books in the house with due dates on when they have to go back always spurs me to read more.  It's like a personal due date.
3. Join a book club.  Knowing I have to have a book read by a certain date keeps me moving on it!
4. Mind racing at night? So is mine! I read to fall asleep.  No offense books, but sometimes you make me sleepy!  It's seriously the best way to drift off to sleep.  (unless the book is really good, then you may be up all night!)
5. Commit to a certain number of pages a day. I read an article where the author said she commits to one page a day (but usually goes much longer).  Then work your way up from 1.  20 pages is super do-able and will get you great progress on your book!
6. Read in the bath. Hey, you can't have your phone with you in there! If I am starting a book or at a slow point in a book, I hop in the bath with it! Besides my kids barging in on me 10 times there is nothing else to do in there but read!  It's great for getting past slow parts in books or starting a new book, which I always find challenging.
7. Read with your kids! There are so many great young adult and kids chapter books to read.  Read the same book at the same time and compare notes with your older kids. Or dive deep into a fun story with your littles as a read-aloud (let me know if you want suggestions on titles).  Reading with your kids is SO good for them!

This is what I read this month... I've been almost exclusively reading on my Kindle app. I find it so much easier and faster (for most books...) than the paper version.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance... I instantly was interested in this book when I saw it so when I randomly found it at the library I was pretty excited!  I found the first 1/3 and the last 1/3 to be the most interesting, and I really just scanned the middle.  As a parent of tween's it's important to me to raise kids that have perseverance and the ability to think outside the box.  The author had a lot of antidotes for building grit but less practical steps or guidelines to do so.  While I thought it was an interesting read, my review of the book would be "meh."

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter (kindle)... as I mentioned last month, Amazon Prime offers one free Kindle download each month from a select list of new releases through their Kindle First program.  I chose this title this month.  It's a short quick read very much in the same vein as Where'd You Go Bernadette? or I Don't Know How She Does It.  Work calamities, motherhood calamities and real estate calamities - all of which I could definitely relate to - strike for rich comedy throughout.  The middle gets a little strange, but I do love the ending.  There were quite a few laugh out loud moments for sure.

Rare Objects (kindle)... I loved this historical fiction that takes place in Depression-era Boston.  Two young ladies become friends in an unlikely setting and their lives are entwined for several years following.  This book has a healthy dose of friendship, the art of reinventing oneself, love, loss all against the back drop of an intriguing antique shop. I definitely recommend this one.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House... Don't worry, this is the most unpolitical book you will ever read about the keystone of our nations government: The White House. This was an endlessly fascinating look inside at the inner workings of our nations first household.  From the general upkeep to the home to the grand events and balls it has hosted to an inside look at the first families that have lived there, this book was a front row seat to all thing pertaining to The White House.  It was also a nice quick read.  The author made non-fiction a page turner like fiction.

The Dollhouse (kindle)... I got this recommendation from Grace (her book reviews are awesome!) and it didn't disappoint.  To be honest this is one of my favorite formulas for a book.  Part modern day story line, part historical fiction.  This story weaves together the lives of two women living in the Barbazon building in NYC both now and in the 1950s.  It also has a few good twists and turns to the story line which is also a literary weakness for me. I love the story lines that go back and forth in time, it always seems to make for a quick read.  And this is what I would call 'smart' chick lit. 

Currently reading.... The Perfume Collector (by the same author as Rare Objects)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

my everyday style: graphic tee addiction!

I've had a graphic tee addiction for a while now.  They are just so dang easy to throw on and layer for any season.  You name it: fall, winter, spring or summer... I'm sporting a graphic tee either layered up or on it's own.  Just a few weeks ago I paired a darling graphic tee with a cardigan.  And here today I paired another graphic tee with a leather jacket, another easy and favorite pairing.  Graphic tees are perfect with blazers, vests, on their own, with cardigans and like I wore it here, with a leather jacket.  Plus, they are a perfect way to show a little extra personality in your outfit.  I love the saying on this one.  'oui mais non' means 'yes but no' in French.  Basically that is how I feel about life some days.  Sure, but well, maybe not.  Haha! You know those days?  It's like this t-shirt knows my inner most thoughts.   That's creepy, and awesome!

Below I linked to all sorts of fun graphic tees that may read your mind too.  You never know...









Outfit Details:
Graphic Tee (similar)
Leather Jacket (similar splurge, similar save)
Leopard Flats (similar)

Shop my outfit...


Shop fun graphic tops...


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

my everyday style: spring shadows!

I've always wondered what it would feel like to have a mild winter with regular sunny days.  We just don't get that type of weather here in Michigan on the regular.  But for the past week or so we have had the most amazing mild winter days.  I am basically in weather heaven (aka what most of the nation calls "spring").  Leaving the house in just a sweater on a February day is usually unheard of. But lately it's the norm. And I have to say, I'm really digging it.  A lot of people in Michigan are die-hard winter fans, me... not so much.

If you still have a slice of winter (mild or no) left in your neck of the woods I highly suggest snagging this sweater.  It's so soft and lightweight, so it doesn't feel super wintry. It's fast become a new favorite... I wore it twice last weekend alone.  That is how I know a piece is going to work in my closet. When I never want to stop wearing it, it's a keeper.









Outfit Details:


Monday, February 20, 2017

my everyday style: the chambray blazer!

I fell head over heels for this chambray blazer a few years ago and since J.Crew keeps re-issuing it every spring, I don't think I am the only one who loves it so much! This year's version has ruffles (OMG!).  I get a ton of wear out of this blazer... it's perfect over tanks, tees, lightweight sweaters, etc, etc. and once the first sign of spring pops - this baby comes out of my closet. I'm probably sounding like a broken record at this point.... but if it is spring or fall, you will likely find me in a blazer.  It's the perfect transitional layering piece.

Can we talk about how sweet this bow sleeve top is?! Adorable!  Bow sleeves, bell sleeves... it's all about the fun sleeve this spring.  And let me tell you... I am buying into this trend 100%.  It's a great way to add a little personality to a look, while still being highly "wearable".  Have you tried this trend yet?








Outfit Details:
Blazer (here or here)
Bow Sleeve Top (here or here)
Heels - on sale!


Friday, February 17, 2017

President's Day Sales!

Happy President's Day weekend friends! I am SO ready for a little 3 day weekend action, how about you!??! Plus the weather is supposed to be just gorgeous in my neck of the woods this weekend.  So it's a double dose of long weekend AND a spring-like weekend together.  I'm pretty much giddy with excitement!

I've rounded up my favorite President's Day weekend sales for you here today!  A few of these were total "add to cart" moments for me, and I'm sure you will feel the same way.  I tried to choose items that are, yes marked down from winter, but that would be great for spring as well.  Because really no one wants to be buying winter boots and coats right now, me included!

Enjoy your long weekend!!!


top row: 
taupe satchel - I have this in black and love it!released hem ankle jeans (33% off!), white Free People thermal (40% off!), cut out lace up sandal (40% off!)

middle row: 
striped side tie tee (only $25!), brown cross-body bag (40% off!), faux leather moto jacket (only $60!), distressed boyfriend jeans (under $35!)

bottom row: 
enamel coated hoop earrings (only $6!), pink off-the-shoulder top (under $30!), ankle strap black sandal - I have these and love them! (40% off!), white cross-body bag with striped strap (only $20!)

More Presidents Day Sales...

Shop my top sale picks below...


4 easy family meal formulas!

Today I've got four super easy family dinner formulas for you!  These are meals that my family loves time and time again that don't break the bank and are on the passable-healthy side too.  Last week on my Instagram Stories I polled my readers about anything that might be missing from your blog experience here.  The response was overwhelming that you want more 'lifestyle' type posts here on the blog... more about my family, my life as a mom and behind the scenes stuff.  You love the fashion-y posts, but want to dig a little deeper.  And hey, I get that!  I've been blogging for over 8 years and really for almost that entire time it's been outfits and packing lists and awesome sales and clothes and fashion and clothes.  So I automatically just sit down and produce that content, often without thinking about it.  So it's going to take me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things! (if you have any specific requests... leave them in the comments!)

One thing you gals always love is when I share on Instagram what I am making for dinner.  I treat dinner making much like getting dressed; I am very formulaic.  I like to have a few easy formulas to make dinner planning easy.  I have to say I used to cook all these elaborate home made meals every night.  With my kids getting older and their schedules getting busier and my husbands crazy travel schedule I have really simplified dinner.  If there protein and a veggie on the plate it's considered done and if I meal plan only four meals for a whole week, I am okay with that too. Cereal, the drive-thru or a family dinner out fills in the gaps.  I shop at Trader Joe's almost exclusively, so all these ingredients are from there. But if you don't have a TJ near you, you can easily improvise on some of the items below.

 ~~~

French Bread Pizzas
The is a SUPER easy family favorite!  Simply slice a baguette lengthwise in half and then spread pizza sauce, cheese and whatever other toppings you or your family loves on top and bake until the cheese is melted.  (About 15-20 minutes at 400F).  I love to serve this with steamed artichokes which is my kids favorites. Fill a wide pan with about an inch of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil.  Cut off the stem and the top 1" of the artichoke (and use scissors to cut off any sharp artichoke leaves) and then place the artichokes stem side UP in the boiling water and cover.  Let them steam for 20 minutes.  Then peel the leaves and dip them in garlic butter (2T butter, 1 garlic glove minced together and then melted) with a sprinkle of sea salt.  SO yummy!

Turkey Bolognese with Gnocchi and Peas
This meat sauce can be found in the frozen section of Trader Joes and is SO good.  Simply follow the package instructions for preparation of the gnocchi and sauce (substitute your favorite meat sauce if you don't live near a TJ) and then top with parmesan cheese.  These shelled peas from TJ are SO tasty and sweet, I love to add them to everything or just grab a handful for a healthy snack.  My kids like the peas on the side, but they would be great mixed into the already heated sauce too.

Tilapia and Roasted Broccoli
I keep these tilapia on hand in the freezer always! They are quite delicious and I'm not a big 'fish' person.  I like mine baked a little extra crispy and then enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon on top.  To roast the broccoli simply line a pan with parchment and preheat the oven to 425. Spread the broccoli on the pan and sprinkle with about 2T of olive oil and a little sea salt.  Then cook for 25 minutes.  They get all cartelized and yummy - so don't be afraid if they get a little brown on the edges. I like to dip it into this yogurt dip, but they are yummy on their own too!

Pulled Pork Sammies and Salad
This is another one that is on heavy rotation in our house.  Warm the pulled pork according to the instructions (it's already pre-cooked) and if you have an extra minute I suggest toasting the pretzel rolls in the broiler (yum!).  Then load the buns up with the pork and I suggest topping it with shredded pepper jack cheese for some spice.  I like to serve it with a simple bagged salad.  Our favorite is this broccoli/kale slaw but any bagged salad will do!

I hope you got some easy dinner inspiration... let me know what other fun posts you would like to see here on the blog. I would love to hear!



Thursday, February 16, 2017

my everyday style: blazer season!

For me there are two seasons for a blazer: fall (duh!) and spring. Blazers are the perfect transition piece for your wardrobe so they tend to get worn more during those transitional seasons. When our outfits are transitioning from warmer to colder weather or colder to warmer weather. The great thing about blazers is you can layer them with tanks and tees, or long sleeve blouses and light weight sweaters.  It's all fair game underneath.  So you can really customize any look for what your day and the weather calls for.   And in Michigan getting dressed each morning has more to do with the weather than anything else.

For mild winter days and early spring days I love to pull out a blazer in place of a heavy coat.  It just feels so much crisper and tailored to me. Since I am seriously itching for spring I layered this wool grey blazer with a pink tank and voila! It's the perfect late winter/early spring look.  You may have noticed these jeans popping up on the blog a lot lately... that's because I pretty much am not taking them off lately.  They are so soft, super stretchy and the distressing is just oh so perfect.  They are my latest denim obsession for sure!  You know I am a sucker for a season-less classic (or at least a three season piece) and these ankle boots that I got last fall have thus far gotten me through fall, winter and now early spring and they aren't slowing down.  They are insanely comfortable with the perfect little heel and are another piece I just can't stop wearing lately!








Outfit Details:
Blazer - limited sizes! (or here, or similar)
Pink Tank - only $20!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

on my radar... february 2017

Each month I love to pull together a little list of the things that have been catching my eye... here are some of the things on my radar for February...  the list is decidedly spring-like!



top row: 

Denim handbags are a thing!?!? Sign me up! IN LOVE with this one and it's darling little tassels.

This top is perfection. Chambray & gingham in holy matrimony. It would be fun with black jeans or a white denim skirt or even ordered a size up and thrown over a bathing suit for spring break. 

My obsession with oversized sunglasses continues.  These have serious Jackie O vibes and I'm loving it.

Like clockwork I start craving white jeans this time of year.  I have a few pairs that are getting old and need replacing.  I love the open hem on these.

bottom row: 

You know I had to snag this 'good life' tee.  This is another thing I can never seem to get enough of: graphic tees.  They are perfect for layering all spring with cardigans, blazers or leather jackets. 

I am obsessed with the loafer mule trend for spring.  I see wearing these with cropped jeans and sweaters now and with tank and jeans too!

Give me all the bow back sweaters from here on out. K? This one comes in this gorgeous blue or pink (swoon!) and looks like the perfect spring sweater.

I adore this simple canvas tote.  I have it in leather and that is super classic and easy to carry the canvas just takes it one step further to effortless-ness.  It's perfect for a big purse, running errands, or filling with books at the library.  

Shop all the pieces below by scrolling!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

my everyday style: happy valentines day!

Happy Valentines Day LOVERS!!!!

~~~

I've mentioned before, but this has got to be one of my all time favorite holidays!  All the pink and red, the cupcakes and cookies, the hearts, the hugs, everything.  I just love it!!!! To celebrate I will surprising my husband and kids with some sweet treats, a yummy dinner and then I am curling up with some wine and popcorn for a tv binge after the kids go to bed.  It's going to be amazing :)

I hope that you spend the day with the someone or someones you love and that you take some time to love yourself too.  Stop by the store and pick up some tulips or roses and chocolate for yourself and then run yourself an amazing bubble bath at night.  Splurge on your favorite coffee drink during your day or book a massage or nail appointment for yourself.  No matter how big or small take some time to pamper yourself today!  You deserve it. 

Any time I am in a festive mood I have been breaking out this tulle sleeved striped top .. unfortunately there are only a few sizes left. (super sad face) so I pulled together some other fun embellished striped tops below.  They are easy to wear and oh so fun!








Outfit Details
Tulle Sleeve Top (only a few sizes left!)


Shop this look....


Shop other fun embellished striped tops...



 

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