Tuesday, September 18, 2018

on my radar: September 2018!

September is one of my favorite months! I love the fresh start of the school year with all the promise for routines and well executed schedules, I love the crisp mornings and warm and sunny afternoons and most of all... I just LOVE seeing fall fashion start appearing at my favorite retailers. There are SO many gorgeous fall knits, gorgeous fall hues and cozy pieces making their way to my online shopping cart these days and I'm seriously into it.  September weather in the Midwest usually calls for layers - with very cool mornings and quite warm afternoons.  I love that it's the best of both worlds.

Here are a few fun things on my radar this month...

I absolutely LOVE this pink cable knit sweater - actually I'll just take one of each of all the cable knits - okay?! Any one else with me on this?

I had my mind set on a few fall hat so I snagged this one... it's cute and comfortable and even though I don't wear hats a lot, I am trying to wear them more! (I also love this one!)

Layering is KEY for fall and this gorgeous gold velvet tank is perfect on it's own or will be great under a blazer, denim jacket or leather jacket for cooler weather. Isn't this color so pretty?

This past summer I was obsessed with t-shirt dresses... I love that I can take that obsession into fall with this long sleeve t-shirt dress. Perfect on it's own or it would be fun with a cardigan layered over top as well.

How pretty is this cross body bag in this mauve-y color!?!? It would be a gorgeous piece to add to any fall wardrobe. 

Sneakers are my go-to "mom" shoes lately.  These leopard vans are SO cute, super budget friendly and so easy to throw on with any look to head out the door!

I love jeans with distressing and fun details but also sometimes a gal just wants a super simple pair of jeans in her closet. I love the vintage-y look to this wash.

I'm going to need this cable knit cardigan FOR SURE this fall. You?

My sweatshirt obsession continues with this floral sweatshirt - it's super budget friendly and would be fun with white jeans now... and distressed jeans with ankle boots later this fall.

Any one else just LOVING this "squad" tee? This would be super fun for family vacations, a girls trip or for a bachelorette party too!

Mules are like half sandal/half flats... and I can really endorse that! I love this pair of mules... they are budget friendly and available in LOTS of colors for fall, even a pink color I am loving.

Monday, September 17, 2018

my everyday style: white jeans for fall and a recent lightbulb moment!

I've worn white jeans straight from spring right into summer... and I don't want to quit anytime soon. I've found they add a fun freshness to fall duds like a trench coat, a sweater and/or neutrals that I love so much for fall. White jeans are here to stay for as long as I can possibly pull them off.  Through October maybe?!? How are you feeling about white jeans this late in the season? Into it?  I love them paired with this trench coat and a little sweater tank for cool fall mornings with warm fall afternoons - which is basically the best fall weather EVER.  I am loving it.

In other news, if you follow my antics on Instagram Stories you know I recently had a VI Peel, it's a chemical peel done at a local plastic surgeons office.  You can see the day by day results on my Instagram Stories Highlights. I saved it all there.  But it had me thinking this weekend while I am STILL peeling and super dry (and sick of it!) and it led to a major lightbulb moment.  It's cheesy and I've heard it a million times before but this weekend it just seemed to click more than before: it's more important what you do everyday versus what you do once in a while.  Chemical peels are expensive and pretty inconvenient (peeling skin in public isn't the most fun experience!) so they are obviously only to be done once in a while.  And I am happy with the results... but for the money and the inconvenience I think I would be just as better off sticking to my skincare routine more seriously everyday for good results (we all get a little lazy sometimes, right!?!).  It reminded me of the power of small daily habits that help us reach our goals.  Keeping my skin looking fresh and young is definitely a goal of mine as I age - but it's likely I have more control over it in small increments than going once or twice a year for a super inconvenient procedure.  You know?

Same goes with anything in life... the small things we do everyday have a better chance of adding up more significantly than the BIG things we do once in a while.  It's pretty cliche that people say that when you reach your 40s life has a new perspective and I definitely am feeling that lately... I'm all about simplifying, re-assessing where I am in life and moving forward with new intentions.  Wearing white jeans as much as possible and making my skin a top priority are two things on that list!

Outfit Details:
Trench Coat (similar or similar)

Friday, September 14, 2018

healthy living: 4 Easy Weeknight Meals!

It's a busy time of year with school back in session and practices and sporting events galore.  It's easy to make a last-minute decision to hit up a fast food restaurant for dinner when you are tired and hungry.  To help you ditch the drive-thru, here are 4 easy dinner ideas to keep your family happy and well-fed during this hectic time of year.  

Chicken Caesar Salad (above)

This meal requires zero preparation- simply run into the store and grab a salad kit, rotisserie chicken, and a hearty loaf of bread with butter (or olive oil) and you have a quick and easy meal!  Of course, you could just cook chicken breast on your own, but rotisserie chicken is a great option for the nights you just aren't up for cooking and washing pans. There are many varieties of chopped salad kits at the store to choose from if Caesar isn't your thing.  If you'd rather not have bread, have some fresh fruit on the side as a source of healthy carbohydrate. 

Chicken Meatballs with Rice and Vegetables (above)

Who says meatballs can only be paired with spaghetti?  Alfresco brand sells numerous flavors of pre-made chicken meatballs with a good quality ingredient list and they are very flavorful just by themselves.  I like to pair the meatballs with a fresh or frozen vegetable and rice.  Cook the rice in broth instead of water and add some fresh herbs (like parsley) in for a little extra flavor.  Simply heat up the meatballs in the microwave or on the stove before serving. This meal requires very little prep and takes between 15-35 minutes depending what type of rice you use.  If you are feeing motivated, of course you could make your own meatballs from scratch or just use frozen ones. 

Egg Roll in a Bowl (above)

This is such an easy and tasty low-carb and one-pan meal with the option to pair with rice if desired.  This recipe also makes quite a bit and I can confirm that the leftovers freeze well.   It's just like eating the inside of an eggroll without the wrapper. Simply do a quick google search for "egg roll bowl" and you will find many recipe options, but here is a general overview of how to make this: 

Step 1: Thinly slice some green cabbage and dice an onion.  If using whole carrots, julienne them (or take the easy way out and buy matchstick carrots).  Step 2: Brown the ground beef.  Step 3: Add the onions, carrots, and cabbage to the pan and cook down until tender.  Step 4: Stir in about 1/2 cup of beef broth and mix in some of the following flavors to taste: garlic, ground or fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and soy sauce/tamari (or coconut aminos).  Enjoy the egg roll bowl by itself or over rice with extra soy sauce for flavor if needed.

Fresh Tortellini and Pesto (above)

This meal is SO easy and takes less than 10 minutes to completion.  Most supermarkets have many varieties of fresh pasta in the cooler section and tortellini is usually a winner with kids and adults alike.  Simply boil a pot of water and cook the tortellini for 4-5 minutes (it really just needs to heat through).  While that's cooking, throw some frozen broccoli or cauliflower into the microwave.  Drain the pasta and mix in pesto (or other sauce) and the vegetables and enjoy! If you have big appetites in your family, consider serving a side salad with this because the portions in the fresh pasta containers aren't huge.  

Kelsey Stricklen, MS RD CLT is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in women's health and food sensitivities. She runs a primarily virtual private nutrition practice out of Grand Rapids, Michigan called Nutrition in the Mitten. You can check out her services and blog here.  Or find her on Instagram here. To view more meal ideas check out the Healthy Living tab under features on the top of this blog or click here!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

my top FOUR denim picks for fall!

It's no secret that I LOVE denim... when given the option I will choose it over all other pieces in my wardrobe. Denim for life, friends. I don't mind investing in my denim pieces even though that usually means owning less pairs.  In the end I really, really love each pair I invest in so I am okay with less of selection.  Today I thought I would round up my top four denim cuts and brands and fill you in on why I love them so much... your own new favorite pair of jeans might be right around the corner!

This is a new cut/brand to me that I purchased during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Since then these jeans have been a great addition to my wardrobe. They are classic with an ankle cut (since I'm on the short side: 5'4) with the perfect amount of distressing and a comfortable mid- to high-rise.  I find this mid- to high-rise cut the most flattering to wear and while sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable these jeans manage to pull it off perfectly with a little bit of stretch.  You can pair them with ankle boots, sneakers, flats... you name it for fall! This pair runs true to size. I'm wearing a 26 here. (shop more AG jeans here!)

Blank NYC "Mom Jeans" 
This is another pair I purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  This is definitely more of a "trendy" cut and if you aren't into it, I totally get that! I have to be in the right "mood" to wear them too (wink, wink).  Mom Jeans are usually defined as a high waist, little to no stretch and more of a straight leg.  Unfortunately this exact pair is sold out but this pair and this pair are very similar. (shop more BlankNYC jeans here)

I've been a huge fan of Madewell denim for many years.  They are a great price for the quality you get and they always have fun and trendy cuts and details. I absolutely LOVE this stretchy distressed pair.  I've found with Madewell that the 10" high rise is TOO high for me. I find the 9" rise to be both flattering and comfortable (and you can still sit down and eat, wink, wink!). Also, if you are petite or tall they carry extended sizes on their website. I find they run true to size, I'm wearing a 26 here. (shop more Madewell jeans here!)

I've saved the BEST for last... this is by far my FAVORITE cut of jean EVER. I own several pairs in this cut and love every single pair. They are SO flattering and crazy comfortable.  Since I'm on the short side they are all usually too long for me.  Here I cut the hem myself for the raw-hem look. You can also find them in "crop" length in some washes.  You literally CAN NOT go wrong with these jeans. I love them so much! There are lots of colors and finishes to choose from here. I find they always run true to size. I'm wearing a 26 here. (shop more Citizens of Humanity jeans here!)

What is your favorite cut/brand of jeans? I would love to know! Have you ever tried these I featured here?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

my everyday style: is investing in "designer" worth it? (Chloe Marcie Review)

One of the questions I get ALL the time here on the blog or on social media is questions regarding my Chloe Marcie bag. I'm always getting asked for links if I accidentally leave it out, I'm always getting asked about "is it worth it?" and about how the bag has fared since I got it.  Today I thought I would talk a little bit about whether spending money on "designer" pieces is worth it, my thoughts on the Chloe Marcie bag and how I approach BIG purchases like this one.

What is considered "designer" clothing?
I have to first off say that I'm not a "pro" when it comes to designer duds... and really, how the heck do you even define "designer" these days? Are $200 jeans designer? Are only certain name brands designer? Does a price tag or price range define designer?  For my own purposes, I'm going to define "designer" as a piece of high end clothing or a high-end accessory by a high-end brand name where  the price tag give you pause.  That's not SUPER specific, but for me I would honestly say that is how I define it.  I think we all have our own thresholds but for instance I would spend $50 - $100 on jeans without TOO much thought.  But when I go to buy $200 jeans you better believe I plan it out and give it plenty of thought.  Same with handbags... I'm good in the under $300 range to invest maybe three to four times a year.  But when a bag is listed at over $2000 you better believe I will think LONG and hard about that one. 

Chloe Marcie Review - do I love it enough to spend on it?
When it came time to buy the Chloe Marcie I just KNEW I loved it. I had stalked it on other bloggers and had visited and tried it on in the store in real life, so I knew 1000% that I loved it and wanted it.  I couldn't stop obsessing about it and showing it to my husband and hypothesizing about what color to get for months.  Finally my husband put me out of my misery and surprised me with it over 2 1/2 years ago to celebrate a private moment in our lives.  Since then I have LOVED it.  It is surprisingly durable (a friend spilled red wine on it and it easily wiped off!) and shows no wear or tear on the leather or hardware, over the two plus years I have owned it I don't believe it looks a day older than the first day I carried it and I find it to be the "just right" size for my phone, wallet, a few toiletries (lip gloss, etc), keys, Pure Barre socks (never leave home without them) and my Kindle.  It truly has been an AMAZING investment.  I love that this bag seems to never go out of "style" and while it was so difficult to choose a color, I still adore the grey and feel like it matches easily with outfits. 

How to invest in designer
If you are thinking about investing in designer, definitely do your homework! Unless you have an unlimited budget you are going to want to choose a style that is timeless so that you will get the full value out of your investment.  You will also want to read all the reviews you can - not every review will be glowing, but listen carefully to what people like and don't like about a piece to see if it matches up with your expectations.  Next I highly recommend looking into the "gently used" market for the bag you are interested in for two reasons. 1) you may find a mint condition bag for a DEEP discount, after having carried this bag for two years and seeing how well it held up, I would TOTALLY buy one second hand if it were in great condition. 2) If you get buyers remorse or ever decide to sell the bag you have an idea of how much of your investment you can recuperate.  I personally love the selection at TheRealReal (the selection is always changing so check back all the time!), but there are tons of market places for second hand designer duds (read their reviews too!).

In the end, only you can make the decision of whether or not a "designer" piece will find a home in your wardrobe and ultimately, if it's in the budget for you.  It's 100% a personal decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.


Now that I've blabbed on and on about this bag... let's talk about the outfit, shall we!?!?  We actually had full-blown fall weather this past weekend and you better believe that I took FULL advantage. I wore layers and sweaters, we sipped apple cider and even turned the fireplace on in our new house for the first time. It was amazing! I didn't want to take this sweater off - and I can tell already that I will love wearing it all fall and winter. It's so soft and cozy, the perfect length with jeans or leggings and I am always a sucker for a turtleneck.  So it's easily got all the makings for a must-have for cooler temps.  It's available in quite a few colors and it runs big... so size down, I'm wearing an xs here. Paired with my favorite loafers and a casual pair of distressed denim it was the PERFECT fall outfit. 

Outfit Details:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

fall try on session!

Who's ready for some fall shopping!?!? It's definitely one of my favorite times of year to shop. I love stocking up on sweaters, layering pieces, boots, all of it! Here are some early fall try ons that I did recently... I tried to include all the sizing information and tips and tricks on what I loved to help you out in case you want to shop as well!

above: I love this cardigan sweater... so cozy and warm and thicker than a standard cardigan sweater. This piece runs quite large, so size down... I'm wearing an XXS here. I also fell head over heels for these jeans... shop them here!

above: How cute is this embroidered sweatshirt? It's perfect for casual Saturdays.  It would look adorable with army green pants or layered with a vest for cooler weather.

above: I LOVE this camo vest... it's so fun for layering this fall that I absolutely had to bring it home with me. It runs a little big... I'm wearing an XS here. The white boho henley I am wearing with it is super cute too - shop that here.

above: This time of year I will take anything and everything that is thermal knit. This thermal knit top with blouson sleeves is so soft and cozy!

above: I'm in love with this beige-grey-ish color for fall (it even matches my nails!) and this small cross-body bag is perfect for football games or running errands.

above: I loved this cross-front sweater so much you KNOW it came home with me! I am wearing a small here.

above: Fall is a great time to stock up on cardigans. I love this chunky knit cardigan in a classic cotton knit.  All the warmth, none of the itchy wool. Also, how cute is this "LOVE U" tee?

above: I am OBSESSED with this quilted pink bag for fall.... the double gold chain is just so beautiful. It's also available in a few other colors as well!

above: This super soft twist front top comes in about a million colors. I already own it grey and love it... this pink color was pretty irresistible too. I'm wearing an XS here.

above: Bucket bags are a huge trend this fall. How cute is this under $50 option? I'm showing the pink here, but it's available in lots of other colors too!

above and below: This turtleneck wrap top is SO soft, oh my goodness!  I couldn't figure out if you wear the cross in the front or the back, so I tried both and liked both! This is the PERFECT Saturday top and is available in quite a few colors too... I really love the black also.

Monday, September 10, 2018

my everyday style: what's your Starbucks order?

It's Monday morning and I'm dragging a little... that can only mean one thing: it's time for a Starbucks run! I'm a Starbucks gal through and through... nothing makes me happier than quick swinging through the Starbies drive-thru for a little pep-me-up.  The ironic thing is that I don't drink coffee. Ironic or just plain sad!?!? More like sad! I love coffee, especially the smell of it. But my body hates coffee... so I'm decaf or bean-free and really more like bean-free on most days.  It doesn't keep me from enjoying a delish Starbucks drink though.  So the question of the day is: What is your Starbucks order? Seriously! Dish in the comments... I want to know! :)

On low-carb days or if I'm going before I break my fast I go for an unsweetened Pineapple Black Iced Tea or the Passion Tango Iced Tea unsweetened. Both are SO delicious and thirst quenching, even with no sweetener.  But my "usual" order is always a Venti Berry Hibiscus Refresher. I am seriously addicted to those things.  This drink is reserved for regular macro days and within my eating window (you can find out more about how I carb-cycle or maintain intermittent fasting here!).  When I just can't say "no" to a coffee craving I go for a Decaf Almond Milk Latte either iced or warm - these are great for low carb days as well!

Now can we talk about this floral blouse? I am SO in love with it! I'm not usually big into florals but I couldn't resist this one.  It's absolutely perfect for warm fall days since it's nice and lightweight and as the weather cools I will for sure be pairing it with a cardigan, leather jacket or military style jacket.  When I snagged these mules this fall I knew I loved them but I was a little wary about if they were practical or not - since then, I've been wearing them non-stop. Unfortunately this exact pair is sold out - but this pair and this pair are quite similar!  So I'm pretty sure they pass the practical test. I've been loving both these jeans and this bag so far this fall as well.  Both are big winners in my book!

Outfit Details:
Mules (similar or similar)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

how to style camo for fall!

Camo print is back in a serious way for fall - this is a trend that likes to come and go but lately it seems to have some serious sticking power. Camo is a fun print that is SUPER easy to style for fall. I love it's relaxed vibe that is perfect for weekends or after hours... but it can easily be dressed up into fun and trendy outfits as well.  I've already snagged a few camo pieces for fall that I LOVE (this sweater, this bag and this vest!) and have already been wearing and using them whenever I can. I still have a pair of camo sneakers on my wishlist and this pair of joggers is seriously calling my name.

How are you feeling about the camo trend for fall? Is it a thumbs up or a thumbs down trend for you? I've got lots of cute camo pieces here and tips and tricks on how to style camo for fall as well!

1. vest 2. hooded sweatshirt 3. t-shirt (lots of other camo hues available!) 4. camo jogger pants (obsessed - under $50!) 5. t-shirt dress (on sale!) 6. backpack 7. slip on sneakers 8. sweater

how to style it: 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

my everyday style: for those HOT fall days!

We have had the hottest end to summer that I can remember... maybe that's my own selective memory, but I just don't remember temps in the high 80s all the way straight into September. Usually we get a few premature peeks at fall weather in August and September even if they are short lived. I've been in the mood for fall clothes in the worst way, but since most days we just aren't even close weather-wise I've been looking for pieces that FEEL like fall, but that are still suitable for these hot days we've been having.

So for all you ladies that live in the south that are always commenting that your fall doesn't start for a while yet... this outfit is for you!  Fall is the best and I feel for you gals that you don't get it until so late... it's definitely a perk of living in the midwest in my book. I LOVE that cool crisp air that arrives in September.  But come winter (January - April) the south has the better deal without all the terrible cold and snow!  I guess that's just the natural trade off!

This grey midi dress is PERFECT for those types of days... comfortable and casual and perfect for a warm day.  Add a denim jacket or cardigan for cool mornings or evenings and it will take you all the way through September (or longer if you live further south) without giving off too much of a "summer" vibe. While I'm "over" tanks and shorts I don't mind giving my favorite sandals a little more playing time until the weather cools.  I've worn this gold pair a TON this summer and since I'll be sad to pack them away until spring, I definitely need to squeeze in a few more wears.

Outfit Details:


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