Friyay feels!

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Friyayyyyy!

This week was so exhausting! I’m teaching about prenatal development in class right now, and the kids are so interested, but it’s a LOT for them to learn. So I’ve created a ton of assignments/games/study guides for them to work with and try to remember all of the tiny details of every month of pregnancy. It’s my favorite unit to teach, but it takes a lot out of me!

Highlights of the week:

Last weekend, I catered another wedding brunch for a bridal party of one of my assistant principals! My friend Kelly helped me and we made so much food and set everything up on Saturday morning. It was a long weekend, but it’s so nice to be involved, and I love putting things together. Feeding people is just one of the things that brings me a lot of joy!

I got a gift card for my birthday to Amazon (I’ve become quite the online shopper), and I needed a pair of knee-high tan boots. I have knee-high black slouchy boots that I love and have worn season after season (like…this is my fourth year with these boots, I think). And then I have two pairs of tan booties. So I needed a pair of tan, taller boots for the fall. These came in clutch and I am loving them! Easy and comfortable for teaching, but can transition to my normal life, too. Don’t worry, I also balanced it out by ordering a pair of flat black booties since I only have tan…but now I’m REALLY done for this year!

I   l   o   v   e    a good mani/pedi, especially since I work on my feet all day and then walk miles at the pub on Wednesday nights. Last night was my night to treat yoself, so I went to Urban Chic. I’ve been going there on and off for a couple of years now, but now it’s so close to where I live that it’s my new regular spot! It’s always so relaxing, and they offer a lot of different services and color options. The staff is always so friendly, too! My nails are so good – the color is “Oxblood.”

I also got some new makeup this week:  I was looking to replace my forever favorite powder, and I stumbled across this foundation powder that my friend Kelly has. I’ve heard such great things about IT Cosmetics and have used their Bye Bye Undereye concealer. This is only my third day wearing the foundation powder, but I am really happy with how it looks, the coverage, and the illuminating look! My blush and bronzer sit really well on top of it, too. When I get a few extra dollars, I’ll still go get a new POREfection powder, but I’m really enjoying this for a more full-face look without having to use liquid foundation. A girl needs her options!

Finally, the students in my FCCLA club at school are selling bracelets for their big fundraiser this year through The Apparent Project. It’s so fun to see them get excited about a good cause. Each bracelet tells a story, and each sale sends money back to a mother or father in Haiti who is trying to provide for their family in some way. People say to me a lot that they don’t understand how I can “stand” to teach teenagers, but the truth is I love it! They are learning what’s really important to them in life, and they are finding bits and pieces of who they will become as adults. It is so rewarding to me. I have already bought a few of these bracelets for myself and for Christmas gifts this year!

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I’m getting secretly excited about starting my holiday shopping! (Or as the kids are saying these days, I’m “low key” excited. But I guess if I’m sharing it with you and the internet world then it can’t really be that low key, can it?). I love the satisfaction of planning for gifts, making my lists, and checking them off as they’re acquired (ahem…delivered to my door). Then I take a day and wrap everything up with the same wrapping theme, and it’s just so fun to give people I love things that I hope they will love! Who else are my gift givers out there?!

This weekend, I’m off to Charlotte for my sister’s second NPC Bikini Competition. She has been killllling it and I can’t wait to watch her rock it out!

What’s everyone doing for Halloween? Andrew and I are going to Whitney + Romain’s house for a little dinner party and s’mores by the fire pit!

Enjoy the weekend!

Fashion that gives back

The Flourish Market

the flourish market website

I have a great find that I want to share! I received a gift card to The Flourish Market a LONG time ago from my friend Cassie, and just never used it or was able to check out the store until recently. One lazy day recently I made my way over to stop in and see what The Flourish Market is all about. My co-worker at school loves it as well, and I have heard only great things.

My favorite part about the store is that every single piece you buy, whether it’s a candle, necklace, clutch, or clothing item, gives back in some way to people who need it across the globe. You can read more about their mission and story here. The store is incredibly cute, and the owner has such a friendly and passionate vibe that you feel as soon as you walk in. She told me that they get new shipments in every week, so the inventory is always fresh!

Even though some of the items at The Flourish Market are beyond what I would normally pay for my clothes or accessories, I know that my purchases there go towards a fulfilling purpose. I was able to find a couple of pieces I loved, like this shirt with a faux front-tuck twist (so flattering and my new favorite wardrobe item!). I got it in the color Rosewood. I also got a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday party (some earrings that were made by a girl who will be the first in her family to go to college!).

my top! jeans are from express (on sale!) & necklace is a gift from whitney

I highly, highly recommend checking out this store or at least doing some online shopping if you can’t make it in person. Their site is super easy to use. I was in no way asked to write anything about this store, but I just really loved my visit and the whole meaning behind it and thought it should be shared – that’s how we make small changes that create big impacts, right?! I will definitely be hitting this place up when I need new clothes or accessories, and especially for gifts that have a meaning behind them! There is also a $30 and under category. You can’t beat that!

Happy shopping!

Back to life, back to reality

horseshoe bend, arizona 

I am back from Arizona! The trip was absolutely amazing, and I’ll write up a post about it soon – I have to sort through my hundreds (and hundreds) of pictures first! I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. We landed late Sunday night, and I had to wake up at 5am to teach! So I’ve also had to do laundry, unpack, get back in the swing of things with school, and try to catch up from the three hour time difference!

I have a super busy week ahead of me, like always! There is a lot of stuff going on at school this week, meetings after school, work on Wednesday at the pub, and I’m trying to get back on track with cooking meals and packing lunches since I was mostly gone last week and eating only salads indulging with my mom!

Fall is (pretty much, almost, basically) here! I am in the mood for a nice deep berry color like this for my next manicure, or if I’m feeling froggy, a nice dark blue (colors are “raisin’ the bar” and “less is norse – dark ice blue.” Is anyone else obsessed with color names like me? Someone has that job!) I love this lip paint in “Fomo” or “Manbun” for fall, and I can’t wait to start shopping for some tall boots to wear with leggings and cozy sweaters! Call me basic if you will, but it’s time for those cozy fall favorites. Some year-round favorites I’m hoping to re-stock soon include my Philosophy Amazing Grace lotion, my Benefit Hoola Bronzer, and my splurge mascara (I missed it when it was on sale for $10 and I am kicking myself!). I also do not need another bag – I repeat – I do not need another bag – but if I did, I’d get this one in gray! I mean, it’s not even really a bag, right? It’s a clutch…totally different?!

I hope everyone has a great week & makes it through to Friday the 13th without any spooky and strange happenings! 😉 Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It always feels like it comes faster each year!

The coziest Fall sweater

sweater, similar boots

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, because this sweater speaks for itself. I mentioned Tobi in my date night post from last week, and this is another gem I scooped up from them! It’s called the “cozy up lace up sweater” and my sister is already threatening promising to steal it all fall and winter long. (Luckily for me, she’s lost some weight during her fitness competition season so I don’t think it will fit her!)

bag from target, no surprise. similar 

The boots are my sister’s from Steve Madden. (I told you she’s a fashionista!) I definitely would wear a camisole under this sweater if I wanted to wear it to school, for OBVIOUS reasons. But otherwise, I’m loving the open back and the fact that the strap across the top keeps this bad boy from falling off! It’s so comfortable and hangs just right – and the color and material are nice, too!

These earrings are so pretty! I hardly ever wear big earrings – I’m a stud lover at heart (earrings, not men…I’ve already got one of those!). But dainty is my thing, and these earrings are just that! I love the jewel hanging from them and with hair down, they peek through juuust enough to pack a (delicate) punch.

I’m also dying to try this look in the fall and winter with some distressed jeans and tan booties. I’m all about the booties these days – a couple of years ago, I hated them and couldn’t even picture myself in them! Look at me now, all grown up. Get this perfect fall sweater in your closet ASAP! (Or as Michael Scott from The Office would say, as ASAP as possible).

Happy fall, y’all!

photos by  j parker photography

Date night dress, two ways

dress, necklace, similar sweater, booties, similar clutch

Andrew and I don’t always go out for fancy date nights; typically, we have dates at casual places for dinner or we just stay in and hang with the dogs and cook something at home. Time together is what’s most important to us! But we do love to go out to a nice dinner every once in a while so we still feel hip and get to see each other all dressed up! Tell me we’re not the only boring couple out there…?! But we recently did have a date night out and I wore this dress for the first time and loved it!

quay sunglasses

I’ll admit it, I do have a little bit of a “safe” style when it comes to clothes. You know my motto:  Classic with a twist! But I do like to throw in a good surprise twist here and there. This dress is perfect for that! I love the color and the fact that it isn’t too low cut or too short. It’s from Tobi, an online boutique for women. A lot of their clothes are a little more edgy or bold than what I would usually go for, but they have so many options that you can easily find some more basic items if you’re a more classic with a twist girl like me! I loved the way this dress fit, which is something I’m hugely picky about, and it also has a cute strappy T-strap back. My necklace and earrings were a gift from my dear friend Abbie for my birthday – everyone knows I’m obsessed with Elisabeth Ashlie.

My sister made me try the dress with her faux leather moto jacket and scarf from Swoon, one of our favorite boutiques! She is an expert stylist and definitely knows a thing or two about fashion. Even though it is still wayyy too hot here in NC for the jacket and scarf, it was great to know that I have a different way to style this dress as the weather gets more crisp!

looking for stuff on the ground like kylie jenner

For makeup, I went for a full face with my new favorite Bare Minerals BarePro liquid foundation, my favorite powder of all time, this Too Faced Natural Eyes eyeshadow palette, and always, my Stila stay all day liquid liner. I used two of my sister’s lipstick shades to get this one here – a nude and an electric purple. I loved this date night outfit (I went with the white sweater to beat the heat). As for Andrew? He says I always look pretty, but he likes me best in my soft clothes. He’s a keeper!

photos are of course by my talented and beautiful best friend at j parker photography

Workin’ on my fitness // Fitbit Alta HR

classic mirror selfie to show off the fitbit

I have mentioned wanting the Fitbit Alta HR a few times on here…and I finally ordered one a few weeks ago! I have been absolutely loving it. You can read all about it on the website and watch the introductory video, but I have found it to be so helpful with staying more active! I also love that it tracks my sleep and heart rate rather than just steps, because I don’t just step to get exercise! This way, it helps track my activity in general, and I can see if I’m in a resting, cardio, or fat burning state!

This is how the Fitbit tracks your steps – I love that I can quickly gauge how close I am to my goal. It also buzzes to send me messages throughout the day – like,”Feed me 250 steps,” or “10 minutes left in the hour, get moving!” It tracks activity per hour and tries to remind you to move if you haven’t.

The display is usually black, but if you tilt your wrist up to look at it like a watch, a digital watch will appear to tell you the time. If you tap the face, it switches through steps, heart rate, miles traveled, calories burned, minutes of activity, battery level, and silent alarms. I have an alarm set to vibrate and wake me up every  morning and I love it! It’s a little bit of added security.

You can also adjust your settings to let your Fitbit notify you when you get a text message! It vibrates and you can bring your wrist up to read the first sentence or so of the message. If that bothers you, it’s easy to turn off!


I also love that it is nice looking enough that I can wear it with my work clothes to teach in and still feel put together. I paid a little extra for the blush pink/gold combination because I usually wear yellow gold jewelry and blush pink is my newest obsession.

The app is super easy to use and syncs easily with your phone. The screenshot below is from my app yesterday morning and shows you how close you are to your step goal, your basic stats, and then underneath is a section for tracking your sleep, food and water intake, heart rate, weight loss, etc. If you click on the sleep tracker, it shows you a more in-depth look at how much percentage of your sleep hours were spent in restlessness, awake, in deep or light sleep, or in REM sleep. Obviously sleep is something I desperately need to work on! All that red kills me, and less than 6 hours of sleep that night! Do better than me!

Those are my thoughts on the Fitbit Alta HR! As I’m trying to move to a more active lifestyle, it helps me to get the reminders throughout the day and to actively see how much or how little I’m moving. With teaching, I’m walking around a ton during the day, and typically walking the dogs helps me get my 10,000 steps in easy by dinner time. Nights at the pub I get thousands more steps! My next goal is to get back to some tabata workouts and yoga and see how the Fitbit tracks those.

Let me know if you end up getting one, or what device/app you love for tracking your fitness!

The softest pants

I recently stopped in to Old Navy to look for some simple back to school outfits. That place can be really hit or miss for me, but I love that I can afford the clothes and they always tend to last well. I ended up grabbing these pants on a whim – they were so soft, and looked nice enough to wear to teach in while still feeling relaxed.

It may not seem like it, but this outfit is a little bit out of my comfort zone. I’m not a white tee kind of gal (as most of you know, you can generally find me wearing black, black, and….sometimes black). I love the loose pocket on this shirt, though, and it’s very soft. I also love the fact that it’s a v-neck and I don’t feel too exposed (I like to keep pretty covered up). Here’s where it’s from. I love so many things on their site!

I wrote about my shoes in this post, and I just love them. They are the perfect amount of bold for me without making me feel like I’m being someone else. And they only have a few sizes left, but they are on sale for TWENTY DOLLARS right now!!!

I’ve sent the link for the pants to a few friends and my sister, so I figured maybe some of you out there would like to know about them, too! Scoop up a pair or two – they really are so cozy. And guys…they’re elastic waist. I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP. Old Navy for the win!

photos by j parker photography 

 

Wants // back to school

I cannot believe that I start teacher work days THIS WEEK.

Yesterday I spent about 3 hours transferring from my last year school calendar to my new one for this year. I am so excited! Call me crazy, but I love the feeling of getting all my important dates into a new planner. This year I have some really exciting stuff coming up! My best friend is getting married (!!!) and I’m taking on some new classes and roles at school this year.

Speaking of getting back to school, there are some items I’m reallllly jonesin’ for in anticipation of a new school year. Clothes, accessories, and classroom/desk items, to be precise! Currently these things are all sitting in a cart somewhere online (it’s my classic move – I’m a pro at pretend online shopping without ever pulling the trigger). But a girl can still dream, can’t she?!

1. Fitbit Alta HR – to count all my steps while I teach all day, plus calculate calorie burn during workouts! My old Fitbit is the original and it is on its last leg. And perfect world, perfect hair day, I’d get the blush pink with rose gold plate (duh). I also love being able to track my sleep!

2. Perfect rose gold desk accessories – basic desk kit, with a pen/pencil cup, stapler, tape dispenser, and some cute binder clips. Because what use are binder clips if they’re not cute?! (Just kidding. Binder clips in any way, shape, or form are lifesavers to a teacher.)

3. Paper clip holder – because I use about 18 million paper clips a day. Also rose gold. Because, well, matching.

4. 3-drawer tiny stacking unit – for paper clips, push pins, erasers, whatever I want! Also…rose gold…because, well, matching!!! And you don’t have to mention to me that I already have a paper clip holder in my cart. This is my daydream, so let me have it and be impractical if I want to!

5. Marble gray desk pad – because I want to be like all the other trendy people and I’m in love with gray marble.

6.Steve Madden slides – in blush…I’m sensing a pattern here and feeling a little embarrassed. I like rose gold and blush pink, okay?! Who doesn’t?! These would be perfect for school and would transition to regular life, too (all my dreams coming true in one little slide).

7. Work pants – loving these slim pants, these fun polka dot pants, and these pixie ankle pants in the winter wine color.

8. Dresses – this one and this one. Easy to dress up or down!

9. These black wedges. Classic with a twist! Plus a teacher left a review that they’re great for being on your feet all day!

10. If I was going to splurge on a cute & trendy desk chair – this one, this one, this one! Maybe next year, after I win the lottery!

What’s on your back to school list? If “back to school” doesn’t really apply to you, what items do you just have to have for fall this year? I’m always dying to add something else to my pretend online shopping carts 😉

 

FriYAY feels!

Finally Friyay!

This week flew by. I was off Monday and Tuesday, and on Monday I worked for hours agonizing over my budget and how I can save and plan better next school year so I won’t need to have a summer job. Reality check. I also made a goal to really focus on being active this week, and I stuck to it! Small victories.

I mentioned my Fourth of July plans earlier this week, but it was such a great time! The food came out perfectly and it was so nice to just relax and kick back a little bit. We didn’t end up going to the baseball game, but it was nice just to stay home and be near the dogs and take it easy!

filet mignon, honey lime ginger grilled scallops (adapted from here), garlic rosemary sweet potatoes, and grilled balsamic brussel sprouts (andrew had brats and burgers like a true american)

I got my hair done last Saturday and I am loving it! It’s always nice to get a little refresher from Jamie at the Parlor. (I’ve been going to her for like 10 years, no joke).

My family is going on a beach vacation in August, which I am so excited about! I am looking at these and these. Also loving this coverup and this coverup that could also double as a cute summer dress!

Finally, I mentioned my best friend’s wedding in this post, and a couple of weeks ago we ordered our bridesmaid skirts and tops for the big day! I absolutely can’t wait to see how everything comes together. When I put on my outfit and imagined everything on the big day, it suddenly became really real to me that this is happening! I’ll be crying like a baby when Whitney walks down the aisle (what else is new?).

That’s all, folks! Happy Friyay!

 

Summer threads

Even though I’ll basically be living in my uniform for the pub this summer, I’ve been brainstorming new ways to wear some of my old favorites. I have always been intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe – you know, picking x number of items from your closet that you are allowed to wear, mix, & match for however long of a time period. I’ve seen it done successfully and creatively so many times.

But then I got to thinking…and I realized I basically live my life in a capsule wardrobe. I am constantly cleaning out my closet because I hate clutter and it makes me feel good to donate items to people who might need them. I only feel comfortable and confident in so many things, so I basically live in the same handful of items year-round, adding a cardigan or jacket here, or swapping shorts for jeans there – and always accessorizing differently. And when I find something that works, buddy, I stick with it until it gets holes in it or doesn’t fit anymore. I will generally buy a few new things each season, but I’m very picky about how things fit, so shopping for clothes can often be more exciting in theory than in reality.

I love to keep things classic and simple, and then add something that makes the outfit pop or sets it apart somehow. I have called my style “classic with a twist” for years, and that has kind of become my mantra for anything – hair, nails, makeup, clothes, decorating…if you keep it classic, it never goes out of style, and then your “twist” element is never too over the top. A bold lip, a fancy pair of shoes, a statement piece of jewelry. You get my drift. I don’t really do prints, and I DO wear a lot of neutrals…black, gray, cognac, black, more black…

I recently bought two pairs of shorts 50% off at Old Navy, one that doubles as shorts I can work at the pub in, and one just to have mixed in my wardrobe. Along with some old favorites from last summer, I have plenty to work with.

the link to these shorts from last summer no longer works, but these are almost identical

Here are a few outfits I’m into for this summer!

similar shorts linked above, sandals, similar tank, similar necklace

This outfit is so comfortable but still looks put together. The shirt is swingy and soft, and I love a good pocket. I’ve mentioned my love for drawstring waist shorts several times, so these should be no surprise. I’m still working on breaking these sandals in – I wish I would have sized up a half size. Hindsight’s 20/20, folks.

jeans, similar Toms wedges, similar tank

I love the way this blue necklace looks against the gray top (it’s from Elisabeth Ashlie last summer but no longer on the site). The jeans were on sale half off when I bought them, but I have gotten so much use out of them. They’re so stretchy and comfortable, cute worn down to the ankle or cuffed. Tops like this are great because they are so versatile. Most of my clothes also need to be able to transfer to the classroom, so this is one of those for me.

shorts, similar top, similar cardigan, similar shoes

This outfit is loose and breezy – the tank top is old from last year or even the year before (Old Navy), and has an open back split up the middle. I love it because you can still wear a regular bra with it, and it doesn’t open up too wide. Just a nice sliver so the breeze can blow through!

shorts, shoes, top (i wear it tied in a knot on the side or with a front tuck)

For me, these shoes are a bold move, so I really want to keep my outfit simple. A fun pop of color in the necklace and earrings, boyfriend shorts, and a loose black top does the trick and doesn’t make me feel like I’m trying to be someone else. (Speaking of boyfriends, check out that handsome fella in the picture frame!)

Also, can we talk about how we should be looking at Amazon now for clothes?! Maybe I’m late to that party, but I am finding some real steals and love the amount of reviews and real-life images I can use to make my decisions. Plus, Amazon is so great with returns and customer service. Win-win! Let me know what your great summer finds are!