Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Skirt Week - Orange and Blue

Last time I wore this skirt, I realized I should have taken a close-up, so you can really see the pattern.  Lesson learned - I totally remembered this time.  Anyway, I wore this outfit to the Rainbow Rowell book signing, and then I remembered that I wore this cardigan to her last event.  Not that anyone would remember, but I thought it was weird.  

And other people probably thought it was weird that I was taking pictures in the parking lot.  But I'm getting more and more used to the awkward stares.      

Link up below!  And remember to check out the other links!  And it's Tuesday, so you should also link up with Laura for Confident Twosday

Cardigan: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Top: Gap (similar)
Skirt: Gap Factory
Shoes: Old Navy (optionoption)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Skirt Week - Leopard

Happy Skirt Week!  I'll be honest, after sharing some feelings last week, I'm excited to have an excuse to talk mostly about clothes this week.  And skirts are one of my favorite categories!  

I have apparently been neglecting this skirt all summer long. I have no idea how that happened, because it's one of my favorites.  But it does work year-round, so I was probably giving my summer-specific skirts more attention.

As you can tell by my tank top, I'm desperately holding on to summer for as long as possible.  We had a bit of a cold front in early September, but this weekend was back up into the 70's, so I'm hoping winter won't show up for another month at least!

Link up with your skirt looks after the jump!

Top: Loft (similar)
Necklace: F21 (similarsimilar)
Belt: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar, similar)
Sandals: Target (similar)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blogger Bloopers

When Fran announced the Blogger Blooper Link-Up, I was 100% on-board.  Because if we can't laugh at ourselves and each other, what's the point of fashion blogging at all?  I only looked at the last few months, and I have a lot of embarrassing photos to choose from, so I made a few collages.

My best pictures are definitely when John is available to play photographer.  Mostly because my smiles are better, and he can take a lot more pictures in a few minutes, so I have more to choose from.  Plus, he can see what he's doing, so of course it's better than my tripod/timer set up.  However, this also results in the most outtakes, because I don't know when he's clicking the button, so I'm frequently in mid-pose-change, or my eyes are closed, and I make ridiculous faces when he's around.

These tend to come in batches, like we get off track and neither of us realizes it.  So I generally have a few from each outfit that are just weird.

There are also times where I'm just not looking at the camera.  I know this is like fashion blogger 101 - it's so mysterious to be looking down or to the side coyly.  Except not.

Once nice thing is that he can tell me if something looks funny.  Well, if he notices.  But you might think he'd stop snapping pics while I fix the issue.  You'd be wrong.  So we have great shots of me fixing makeup lines and flattening down my hair.

To be fair, I do have trouble by myself sometimes.  I rely on my tripod and timer, which works great most of the time.  But lately, my tripod has gotten a little bit wobbly, so sometimes it shifts after I set it up.  And my pictures are headless.  Like this:

Other times, I move at the exact moment the camera clicks, or forget to take my work name badge off.  Or it's just really sunny.  Either way, there are some bad pictures in the mix.

So there you have it. My blog photo outtakes from the past few months.  I had a lot of fun putting this together!  And I'm posting early, because I'll be busy doing Skirt Week all next week.  The good news is that you have time to put your bloopers together and link up on the 23rd!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall Favorites - Denim Jacket

First of all, thanks so much for all the sweet comments on my post from yesterday.  I actually woke up at about 4am and thought I should stop the post from going live, because it just made me nervous!  I have no idea why it seemed like such a big deal.  Anyway, I'm so glad I've got that out there now. And we can move on to more fun topics!  

Like Third Thursday Threads with Bri!  I'll be honest, I am not one of the "HOORAY IT'S FALL!!!!" types of girls.  I don't even like pumpkin flavored anything.  While I love actual fall weather, it's only leading to the depths of winter, which I would like to avoid as long as possible.  So you won't see me reaching for boots the first time the temperature is below 65.  My boots will get plenty of attention almost every day from November-March,  For now, my fall strategy is trying to wear my summery items as long as possible.  One of my trusty tricks is the denim jacket.  It's a heavy-enough layer to get me through the cool mornings, and it looks good with most of my skirts and dresses.  Everyone wins.  Except boots.  They have to wait.    

I think last year, I avoided tights until late November.  I'm hoping I can do the same thing this year, but it's gotten cooler in September than normal, so I don't know what that means for the rest of fall.  

Ooh, and remember next week is SKIRT WEEK!  So you can link up with Inge and me with your fun skirts (and boring skirts, I guess).    

Jacket: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Shirt: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Skirt: Gibson&Latimer (similarsimilar)
Shoes: J.Crew Factory (exact)

Yikes, that's a lot of JCF!  Can you tell it's my new favorite place to shop?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On a Serious Note

Blogging is weird.  I write posts about 5x a week, but my writing tends to be pretty superficial.  I like clothes, and I like talking to people about why we wear the things we wear and how to style things in new and interesting ways (or just classics that always work).  Sometimes I talk about what I did that weekend, or the weather, but I don't go into a lot of details about my life.  I'm okay with having a blog that isn't super deep, but sometimes it feels like I'm not being 100% honest.

I definitely don't want or need to share every little thing that goes on in my life.  I tend to share the interesting or fun things, like going to musicals, traveling, or hanging out with friends.   And sometimes I will whine a little about having a cold, or my washing machine breaking, or falling down while taking outfit pictures.  But sometimes there are bigger things going on that I don't share.  I don't want to over-share, but I also don't want to give an unrealistic view of my life.  It's a hard balance, but I think I've erred on the side of under-sharing so far.

There's one big thing that I've almost mentioned several times, but I always stop myself.  I don't know why.  Well, I do know why - it's because I don't even like telling people about it IRL, so sharing on the blog seems even more intimidating.  But here goes...

In the summer of 2013, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I started noticing random joint pain early in the year, but like a typical 20-something, I didn't go to the doctor.  Instead, I self-diagnosed using WebMD and decided that I just had carpal tunnel.  So I got a wrist rest for work.  Shockingly, it didn't help.   

After a particularly painful week in June 2013 (terribly timed around my work conference in Orlando), I called my doctor and after several visits with several doctors, I was officially diagnosed.  But I really didn't like the specialist who diagnosed me, so I switched to a good one, who had an 8 week waiting list.  On and on, it seems like everything takes forever.  Around September, I finally had a doctor that I liked, and some idea of what was going on!  

The thing about RA is that they don't really know why it happens or how to cure it, so it's all about managing as well as possible.  For those of you who don't know what it is (which I didn't until I had to), basically my immune system is confused and attacking my joints.  So it's pretty painful.  But I also hate the medicine options that seem to all have long term side effects.  Like yeah, my knees hurt, but I also don't want to maybe go blind in 10 years.  So it's pretty frustrating.  But ultimately, I'm just trusting God and praying for wisdom in dealing with this issue.      

It's one of the reasons my goals were so fail-tastic last year, and why I haven't been doing goal updates this year.  It's also why I've been gaining weight.  The pain makes it difficult to do high-intensity exercise, and the meds make it difficult to lose weight.  And my emotions make it difficult to resist baked goods.  So it's kind of a trifecta of doom.  

The good thing is that I feel almost normal sometimes.  I also have a great doctor, and a wonderful support system (thanks husband, family and friends!).  These health issues also inspired my move to working part-time as of December.  This is another thing I haven't mentioned, because I didn't know how to explain it without giving the whole drawn-out story.  I'm still working 5 days a week, but just shorter hours.  It's really helped me prioritize exercise.  So I'm grateful for that option at my current job as well. 

So why am I even blogging about this?  You'd probably never know, other than the fact that I've been getting rid of uncomfortable shoes and stocking up on more comfy options.  Like I said, I've almost mentioned it a few times, and always talked myself out of it.  But I really appreciate other bloggers who share their struggles, so I figured I should stop being weird about it and just share mine.  I don't anticipate blogging about RA very often, but I just wanted to put it out there.  So now you know.

And I couldn't do all of this without outfit pictures, so I picked one of my favorite dresses (aren't they all my favorites?), in one of my end of summer outfits. 

Scarf: Calvin Klein (similar)
Dress: Limited (similar, similar)
Belt: Steve Madden (similar)
Sandals: Target (exactsimilar)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Confident Twosday

It's Tuesday, which means I'm linking up with Laura for her Confident Twosday party.  And this week is extra special, because she asked me to co-host!  Whoo!

I've been thinking about confidence, since that's the whole theme of the linkup.  I've never considered myself to be a super confident person, but I pretty regularly have people tell me I must be confident to wear whatever bright colors or crazy patterns.  That may be a back-handed compliment, but I'll take it.  The more I've thought about it, I guess I agree with them.  I don't walk around feeling super confident all the time, but I also don't spend very much time worrying about my flaws.

It seems like there's a trend recently towards celebrating different body types, and I think that's good.  What I don't like is that it sometimes swings too far, and we get into the "real women have curves" type comments.  So I would like to say that yeah, sometimes real women have curves, and sometimes real women have angles, and sometimes we are short or tall or medium, or whatever.  I don't buy into the "everyone is perfect" thing.  I'm more on the "everyone has their own set of flaws" side of things.  We've all got to work with what we've got.  So I probably need to lose a few (well, more than a few) pounds, but right now I'm a little bit fat.  And that's okay.  

And here's a SUPER HELPFUL definition of "self confidence" from Merriam Webster: confidence in oneself.  Wow, I never would have guessed that.  Isn't there supposed to be a rule that you can't use the word to define itself?  Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of defining things? 

Anyway, link up below!  And I'd love to hear your thoughts about confidence! 

Cardigan: H&M (similar)
Dress: Loft Outlet (option,option)
Belt: Steve Madden (similar)
Necklace: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Target (exact)

I do deClaire (Bloglovin) | Just Another Smith (Bloglovin) 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lessons Learned

There's a bit of a story around this skirt.  It starts back in May, when I had a last minute business trip and I didn't feel like any of my current options would be professional enough.  After a very stressful mall trip, I came home with 2 suits.  This one from Younkers that I ended up keeping, and one from New York & Company, which I immediately regretted and intended to return.  But then I was out of town a lot, and I'm rarely at the mall that has NY&Co.  I looked at the receipt, and it said "90 Day Hassle-Free Returns!" so I wasn't too worried about it.  Approximately 62 days after buying the suit, I finally made it into the store to return it.  Well, "hassle-free" really means "some hassle."  After 60 days, they won't refund your money, but just give you store credit.  If it was a store I normally shop at, this would be fine, but I never buy things at NY&co.  Honestly, I think I have 2 belts from there in my closet and that's all.  I asked to talk to the manager, because I hate it when companies have tricky policies like that.  Bad news - I was already talking to the manager.  Anyway, I was stuck with this stupid gift card.

So I figured it was partially my own fault, and I'd just deal with it.  I tried to sell it, but no one was interested.  Then I decided to go try and find something that I'd like.  I searched the store and tried on a lot of items.  This skirt and a couple shirts seemed okay.  But again, with the tricky policies.  They had huge signs up in the entire store about Buy One, Get One 50% off, with no indication that it only applied to pants.  So I got frustrated again and ended up only getting the skirts.  I will say that the workers in the store were very nice and I know they can't help it that the company has shady policies.

Anyway, then I was talking to my mother-in-law about the whole thing and she said she'd buy the rest of the giftcard from me.  So she is my hero.  And I doubt I'll be shopping in NY&Co ever again.  They are too tricky for me.

But hey, this skirt is fun!  And I've learned to return things ASAP, no matter what the receipt says!

Top: Loft outlet (similar)
Skirt: NY&Co (similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (optionoption)