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 😉

 

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.

Button up with a twist

tied up shirts

1, 2, 3

Am I the only one who has a longing and love for the old tied-up 90s style shirts? I’m not trying to show my age, but I remember being a little girl and having a little lime green sweatshirt material shorts and t-shirt set from Upton’s department store. Does anyone even remember Upton’s?! Are they even around anymore?

Anyway, I think my grandmother got the outfit for me and I loved it. Wore. It. OUT. The best part about it was the little tie-off in the middle, right at my belly button. I felt so grown up, so chic, so sassy. The sassiest, lime green-wearing, photo-bombing 6-year-old you’d ever seen. With the token 90s girl bowl cut/mullet hybrid hairstyle…the straight across bangs that kind of faded down on the sides to a chin length bob. You know you know what I’m talking about.

Over the summer, I purchased a long, button up, sleeveless top from Target. It was way too hot to wear it with jeans, which I felt was the best choice if wearing it long, so I tied it up and wore it with a pair of casual shorts for daytime errands. If I wanted to dress it up, I wore it with a little stretchy black skirt I’ve had from H&M for years (like 8 years, actually…when it’s good, it’s good). The back of the shirt stays long when you tie it, so I just folded the back tail up under itself so there was a nice smooth line across the back. One shirt, two ways!

This is such a simple way to put a little twist on a classic outfit and change things up for your wardrobe. Take it from the office to happy hour or rock it on the weekends for a day out! For fall, layering with a long cardigan would be perfect.

If you don’t have a shirt that’s long enough, Forever 21 has a few really inexpensive options that are already tied up – you can try them out without breaking the bank! Target has a cute one on sale right now, too! Here’s another one from Banana Republic, on sale, and one on sale at J.Crew!

They say fashion always repeats itself, and I’ve been seeing shirts tied around waists, overalls, and chokers recently…seems like the 90s may not be done quite yet! I’m not sure I’ll jump on board with all of the trends, but I do love a good tied up shirt. Try it out and tell me you don’t feel even a little bit sassy!

Fall feels

Today is the first day of fall! The autumnal equinox. I always love the changing of seasons and I know I’m not alone in my belief that it’s a perfect chance to start new again.

I’m finally, finally beginning to feel the slightest baby breezes of fall. Temperatures are not 90 degrees and climbing, sweat doesn’t pour down my temples as soon as I step outside, and wearing jeans doesn’t sound like a cruel joke.

This is my favorite time of year, due to a lot of factors. My birthday is in September, along with a lot of people I love. School starts back, lovely fall colors start to appear in the leaves and in the clothing stores, fall food and drinks start creeping onto menus, and the color potential for lipsticks and nail polishes opens up to a whole new world. Finally, with fall comes the promise that holidays are near and time off is hopefully around the corner.

There’s just something about the crispness in the air of fall that makes it feel like things are possible, or that good things are coming. Last fall I had just begun my yoga teacher training, where I made so many dear friends and learned a lot about who I am and what I needed to leave behind. I started back teaching at the high school, started this blog, and met my main squeeze, Andrew. This fall, the eBook I co-wrote is launching, I started a yoga club at school for the kids, and I’ll be going on a week-long yoga and meditation retreat with my sister in Maya Tulum, Mexico. Not to mention, Andrew is moving to Raleigh so we’ll be in the same area!!! It’s feeling like a wonderful season.

So with all of this goodness, I needed a little celebration. And what better way to celebrate the coming of fall than to treat yoself? I got this perfect bag from Target not too long ago, and I am loving it so much. It has all the pockets and is big enough to hold all of my totally practical crazy ‘you may need this someday’ items.

img_4463

Color is cherry peony.

It holds my planner, yoga notebook for teaching, lotion, lint roller (corgis, remember?), several lipsticks at a time, and anything else I need it to. Going somewhere overnight? No problem – it’ll fit in the bag. Need to keep it light? No problem – the shape of the bag holds even if it’s not full. Perfect for be-bopping around town or taking on a flight. And the color!

img_4486

Best jeans ever, here (currently buy one pair, get one for $30). Shoes were on sale at Aldo in Aruba.

Whether fall is your favorite season or not, I hope that good things are coming for you. For my nerdy astrology buddies, the autumn equinox is when the sun enters Libra (my astrological sign). The equinox is supposed to bring equal night and day; however, this year, equal day and night won’t happen until September 25 with sunrise as 6:47 a.m. EDT and sunset at 6:47 p.m. My birthday! For someone who loves balance as much as me, this is a real treat this year.

We face a lot of seasons in our lives, but it’s always cleansing and important to leave some behind. With each new season, each new current moment in our lives, we have the choice to make the most of our lives, be better, try new things, and start fresh.

Happy fall!