FriYAY feels!

FRIYAY!

Yesterday was our last school day of the week and I accidentally wore my Friyay shirt because I was that excited for the weekend. I didn’t even realize it until someone told me at school.

Is anyone else completely obsessed with the new Hearth & Hand with Magnolia collection? Target picked it up this week and I am   l  o  v  i  n  g   it. I’m dreaming of plaid placemats, chargers with ceramic plates, and allllll the holiday gift wrapping. So far I have exercised a smidgen of self control and have only bought a holiday scented candle. Here’s hoping!

On Tuesday, Andrew and I went on a hot date to celebrate our 2 year anniversary of meeting each other! My best friend Lindsay lives in Nashville and is kind of the epitome of cool. She works in the music industry and manages bands, so she put us on the list to see The War and Treaty and it was the most fun we have had in so long. Their show was EPIC and their talent and energy is amazing.

Last weekend, I got some serious half off deals from Old Navy and ordered a few things the rest of my new clothes until 2018. (I don’t know if you know this about me, but Old Navy texts me when they have deals because I am very important to them…) I also needed a new pair of jeans and have had the Madewell Roadtripper jeans on my list for months and months now. I finally pulled the trigger and I’ll keep it simple:  They. Are. Everything.

Ev. Ry.  Thing. Just read the reviews and when you’re ready to splurge, thank yourself in advance and click “Place Order.”

I’m working on a holiday gift guide to post next week (don’t quote me on that if it doesn’t happen). I’ve mentioned before that I love giving gifts, and Christmas has always just been such an exciting time for me. I try not to take it for granted or let it pass me by as I get older.

The last two days were super chilly and gray/drizzly in the Raleigh area, and last night I made my first chili of the season. I really loosely followed this recipe. So good! It was the perfect “Friday” fall night. Andrew and I stayed in, invited another teacher friend over for dinner, ate chili, watched a movie, and hung out with the dogs.

Last, but not least, Happy Veteran’s Day! We have today off from school, and while it’s always so nice to have a day off, it definitely does not go without notice. I’d think today was important anyway because we should always honor those who fight to protect our country, but my granddaddy fought in WWII and I miss him every single day. He was a true human treasure; he was the wisest man I’ve ever met and someone who was the backbone of my family. He never talked much about the war, understandably, but I know that anyone who serves our country in that way deserves huge respect and recognition.

Enjoy your 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

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!

Summer goals

source

Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s almost summer break for me!!! The kids are on ANOTHER LEVEL and the teachers are beyond ready, too…but before you start saying, “Oh, those lucky teachers, they get a whole summer off!,” remember that a summer off means a summer of ZERO PAY…so I am always hustlin’ side jobs through the summer. Last summer I juggled 3 different jobs, but this year I’ll just have one – I’ll be serving at Salem Street Pub where I’ve worked on and off for years. Their food is delicious and it’s a great relaxed atmosphere, good for dates, friends, or the whole family – and trivia every Wednesday night! Lots of local brews, flights, and outdoor pup-friendly seating! That’s my shameless plug.

To gear up for the summer, I made a big Target run recently with my last paycheck of the school year. I needed black shorts and some comfy shoes for working at the pub, and I settled on these and these – the shoes are so comfortable and you know I love anything with an elastic waist. These shorts are nice because the elastic is in the back, so the front still has the zipper and button to look a little more professional – and you can’t beat the length! It’s just right.

Between shifts at the pub, I’m hoping to have some down time to relax and lay by the pool. I mentioned my favorite summer items last year in this post, but this year I needed a new bathing suit that I felt okay in since I’m working on my health and fitness! There’s always that fine line with a one piece that isn’t basically a connected bikini vs. a suit that seems too much like a “mom” suit (no offense to any mom suit wearers…I’m just not even a mom yet!). I saw a really cute young mom at the pool on Memorial Day and she was wearing this bathing suit – it looked so great on her. I looked it up online right then, stalked the reviews on fit and look, waited till pay day, and raced to Target to try it on. I was really pleased with how it fit, even at this fluffy stage in my life. The high neck keeps me covered, but the cutouts keep it trendy, and the subtle ruching over the belly hides a lot without looking like it’s trying to. I’m really happy with it! I got black, because black is the new black, but I love the other colors too! I’ll be using this sunscreen all summer – I discovered it last year and don’t know what I’d do without it now. It goes on like real lotion, smells great, and doesn’t feel as greasy as other brands. I am super fair so I buy the SPF 30 and 70 and use both in different areas to keep protected.

Finally, in trying to get moving more this summer, I’m so excited that I’m living right by a lake with a nice walking trail behind my new apartment complex. I plan to do lots of walking, renting canoes, and taking Bruno and Oliver for walks as long as their short, stubby little legs can carry them. I’m still loving my Cloud shoes, and believe it or not, Wal-Mart has these amazing running/fitness shorts for about $8 a pair! I bought two and plan on getting more since leggings aren’t going to cut it in the Raleigh heat.

Somewhere in there I’ll fit in reading for fun, cooking, dinner dates with my boo and girlfriends, wedding planning with my BFF, waking up early to enjoy coffee on the porch before it gets blisteringly hot…maybe even a few beach day trips on the weekend!

Summer 2017, I think we’re going to be great friends.