Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorite Books of 2014

It's been a good year for reading!  I read 63 books this year, and 12 of them were 5-star ratings for me on Goodreads.  I think I'm getting better at picking books I will enjoy, and not just reading things that I think I should read.  In no particular order, these are my favorite books of the year:

  • The Rosie Project:  quite possibly my favorite book of the year.  So sweet.  So funny.  I'm impatiently waiting for the sequel, which should be available for me to pick up at the library any day now.  (my review here)
  • MaddAddam: the third book in this trilogy was my favorite, but you have to read the first and second ones first (which are also great).  I need to read more of Margaret Atwood's books! (my review here)
  • Orphan Train: I still can't believe this is based on real things that happened.  The history and the main characters were quite captivating.  (my review here)
  • The Storied Life of AJ Fikry:  this was recommended by a few people and they were right.  Books about people who love books are quite lovely.  (my review here)
  • Big Little Lies: so much drama, but written in a way that seemed believable and interesting instead of obnoxious.  (my review here)
  • The Lost Wife: beautifully written account of such a sad time.  I was shocked to read the author's note at the end that this was based on a true story. (my review here)
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Allie Brosh is just hilarious.  (my review here)
  • One More Thing: I'm not normally into short stories, but these were witty enough to win me over. (my review here)
  • The Eyre Affair: fun and nerdy, just what I like.  (my review here)
  • Ready Player One: the first book I read this year was an early favorite.  Another nerdy plot that was just fun to read!  (my review here)
  • Beautiful Ruins: somehow, I didn't write a blog post reviewing this book.  I read it back in June, and now I can't remember specifics about what I liked.  But I gave it 5 stars, so it makes the list!  
  • We are Called to Rise: sad but beautiful.  There was just enough closure that I wasn't mad at the end, but I still wanted a few more chapters to wrap things up.  (my review here)

What were your favorite books of the year?  Anything I should add to my ever-growing list?

Happy New Year's Eve!  Be safe tonight and have fun.  I'll probably skip posting tomorrow, and then be back at it for 2015.  (Seriously, how is it 2015?  We live in the future!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Week

Well, it's that awkward week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  I'm working this week, but not quite back into the normal swing of things.  Plus it's exactly ZERO degrees right now, so going outside is going to be an unpleasant experience.  (I'm writing this before I venture out to go to work).
We got back from New Mexico on Sunday evening, and I'm fairly exhausted.  Then I had 2 of my best friends over last night to hang out and catch up on life.  I'm thinking tonight should be quiet, and maybe I can rest up for NYE tomorrow.  I'm not sure if I'll even make it to midnight.  Hashtagpregnancyproblems.

I still need to write up my Christmas week recap at some point, and my favorite books of 2014.  Maybe I'll have time on Thursday, if I'm not sleeping all day.

Anyway, I hope you are all having a nice week (and that it's warmer wherever you live).  This outfit was from before Christmas, when it was cold out, but not zero.  I won't be out taking outdoor pictures today, for sure.

Sweater: Gap (similar)
Top: JCF
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Tights; Old Navy (similar)
Boots: Madden (exact)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Maternity Clothes

So now that my little big secret is out, I can share that I've done a little bit more shopping than my monthly budget posts have included.  The good news is that I've only spent my birthday money on maternity clothes, so far.  So none of this came out of my actual clothing budget.  I've tried to keep it to a minimum, but the following things caused me to spend all my birthday money, and then I got a few Christmas presents, as well:

  • I bought 2 Belly Bands right away.  These were amazing in the first few months, and I could still wear my pencil skirts and some of my normal jeans.  Now, I like wearing them under dresses for a little extra streamlining.  
  • At a certain point, none of my jeans fit very well, even with a belly band.  So I ordered a couple pairs of skinny jeans from Old Navy.  Then I found a bootcut option at Gap, and then my sister gave me a hand-me-down bootcut pair from her last pregnancy. Then I saw some black "treggings" at H&M on black Friday for $12, so I snagged them, too.  So hopefully those 5 pairs of jeans will get me through most of the winter! 
  • Tights!  Even though my regular tights still fit, they dig into my tummy in a not awesome way, so I've ordered quite a few pairs of maternity tights.  Old Navy is the winner for tights so far, but they don't have them available online very often, and don't have many color options, so I'm somewhat stuck.  H&M and Target are my other go-to places and I have mixed reviews on their maternity tights.  I think I'll need to buy a few more pairs of navy and gray.
  • Speaking of winter, everyone says it's the best time to be pregnant, because you avoid the hot summer misery.  This may be true, but it also means I needed to buy a coat that would actually button.  I took the plunge on this H&M option because it looks so pretty on the website.  It's pretty in person, too - but it happens to shed quite a bit.  White fur.  All over my new car with black interior.  But it's very cozy, so I'm glad I got it. And it's half price right now, so if you happen to need a maternity coat, there you go!  
  • Younker's was having an additional 40% off everything sale, so I checked out their maternity selection online.  There were a lot of dresses marked down to $20, and then an additional 40% was so tempting.  I got 3 dresses (here, here, here).  They are not for tall people, but I think they will work okay for a bit, and then I might just have to wear them more like tunics.  
  • Kohl's gift card!  I've had this for at least a year, but I rarely go into Kohl's, because there's not one conveniently located when I'm shopping.  I heard they had maternity stuff, so I went in and got a couple tops.  One is a black/white marled looking sweater.  The other is a cream ruffle/tiered tank.  I think both will be frequently worn in the coming months. 
  • Old Navy sweaters - Christmas gifts from my in-laws!  They got me this one and this one.
So there you have it - my maternity wardrobe in just a few bullet points.  I'm sure it will grow as I grow, but for now, I've been making use of my flowy dresses and elastic waist skirts.  And I'm trying to wear all my woven shirts while they still fit!  I'll probably have to break down and buy a maternity chambray before too long.  

Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers, even though this isn't really a budget post.  It's a "closet additions" post, so I think it counts.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Post-Christmas Day!

Happy day after Christmas!  I hope everyone had a great day.  If I had to guess, I bet I had a pretty good day.  But I'm writing this a few days early, because we are spending the week in New Mexico, so I don't really know!

I think this is the last time you'll see these jeans for awhile.  The belly band trick just isn't going to cut it anymore.  Hopefully I can fit into them again next fall/winter.  And hopefully red skinny jeans are still acceptable.  Wait, are red skinny jeans even still acceptable now?  I mean, I like them, so I guess I don't really care!

I'll be getting back home this weekend, so hopefully I will be able to share a Christmas week wrapup soon!

Cardigan: H&M (similar)
Top: Target (similar)
Necklace: F21 (similarsimilar)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Gap factory (similarsimilar)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

Well, happy Christmas Eve to you!  It seems like this year flew by, probably because every year feels that way.  But anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely day tomorrow!

Cardigan: Gap (similar)
Top: Gap (similarsimilar)
Skirt: Gap factory (similarsimilar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Some Random Thoughts

Confession: this is a maternity dress.  I've quickly learned that you can be tall, or you can be pregnant, but if you happen to be both, retailers are not interested in creating clothes for you to wear.  This dress seemed fine the first time I wore it.  And then this time, it felt waaaay too short.  So I think it will have to fall into tunic status and only work with jeans or leggings from now on.

Can we also talk about chocolate brown?  Is this no longer an acceptable color in fashion?  I bought these brown tights, and then got them home and realized that I don't know if I have anything to wear with them.  I added a brown cardigan to my wishlist a while ago, and haven't seen any options around.  It seems like camel/cognac/oatmeal are taking over right now.

Dress: Younker's (similar)
Cardigan: Limited (similar)
Belt: Urban Outfitters (similar)
Tights: Target (similar)
Boots: Rampage (similar)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dress as a Skirt

Oh, look!  It's my maroon dress pretending to be a skirt, and not paired with leopard print!  See, I can learn new tricks!  Honestly, I don't love this outfit, but it was sure comfortable!

Sweater: H&M (british version!)
Necklace: F21 (similarsimilar)
Dress as a skirt:Loft Outlet (option,option)
Tights: Target
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review - We Are Called to Rise

I get a lot of book recommendations from my friend Ginny.  She's one of those people that I've just known forever, and she has really excellent taste in books. Plus she reads a lot, so she's a pretty great filter for my list!  Even if something is already on my to-read list, a positive review from her will push it to the top.  That's how I ended up reading We Are Called to Rise, because the first line of her review demanded that I read it ASAP!

The chapters move between 4 different main characters (I think just 4, right?) and their stories start to intertwine.  It's a sad story, but there are moments of hope and goodness, and even some humor.

It was a quick read for me, but mostly because I was so invested in the characters and I had to know what was going to happen.  I do wish there was more closure at the end, because I just needed to know how everything turned out long-term.  But with books that leave the ending somewhat open, I like to just assume the best possible outcome.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Polka Dot Punk Rock

My nieces are getting older, and getting more and more opinions, especially about fashion.  Over Thanksgiving, one of the 10 year olds had some objections to my holey jeans.  I think her exact words were "Aunt Andi, you might want to lay off the punk rocker vibe now that you're going to be a mother."  She was shocked when I told her these are actually jeans specifically designed for pregnant women.  The next day, I wore normal jeans, and she approved.

For this outfit, I think the excessively preppy polka dots on top really help balance the rock and roll vibe of my maternity jeans.  It's all about balance, folks!

Cardigan: Target
Top: JCF  (exact)
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Old Navy (similar without captoe)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Favorite Outfits of the Year

At the end of last year, I did a 2013 Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame for my outfits.   Since Bri announced that Third Thursday Threads would be favorite outfit or outfits of 2014, I figured I should go ahead and pull this together!  The only problem is that what if my best outfit of the year happens in the next 2 weeks???  These are the risks I am willing to take.

This year, I decided to pull my favorite outfit from each month.  And what can we see from these favorites?  Well, I apparently wore pink better in the first 4 months of the year, and then either stopped wearing it, or stopped wearing it well.  I've been wearing more neutral outfits in the second half of the year.  I'm still happiest in skirts and dresses.  And I'm completely biased towards picking outside photos.  I find it hard to believe that none of my indoor outfits were any good, but they just don't look as good in pictures.

I can't even begin to pick a #1 outfit of the year.  So a top 12 will have to suffice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Some Kind of Superhero

Do I look like a cartoon superhero in this outfit?  Because this is what my husband accused me of.  He couldn't think of which cartoon superhero it might be, but maybe something patriotic?  Like maybe a more-clothed version of Wonder Woman?  We may never know.

In addition to the big news that I shared yesterday, you'll notice in today's pictures that I chopped several inches off of my hair!  You may have actually noticed that my hair was shorter in the HFEyewear post, but this is my first official outfit post with short hair.  What happened was I meant to trim about 2 inches off.  But I accidentally cut more like 6.  Oops.  But I actually like it quite a bit, so it all worked out!  Except, I'm still not sure if the one side is a bit longer than the other, or if it just isn't quite as curled.  I'll have to keep an eye on that!

Cardigan: Old Navy (similar)
Top: JCF (exact)
Skirt: Old Navy (similarsimilar)
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just a Little News

This might be one of my favorite casual fall/winter outfits.  It's just easy but I still felt stylish!  And normally I wouldn't post a picture with my belly protruding, but I'm making an exception, since there's a baby growing in there.

Wait... What?

You read that right.  I'm pregnant!  Exactly halfway done, actually.  As you might guess, John and I are pretty excited about the whole thing.  Baby Smith is supposed to arrive in early May, which seems really far away, but then also really close, because I have so many things to accomplish before then.

I don't intend for this to turn into a pregnancy blog, but as my belly grows, it is going to be sort of hard to avoid mentioning it in my outfit posts.  I figured I should come clean before it got awkward.

Speaking of awkward, I've learned in the last couple months that John and I are the absolute worst at sharing the news.  It's basically like:  wait for an awkward silence in the conversation, blurt out "So...  I'm pregnant!" and then everyone is confused and doesn't know if I'm serious, because why didn't we say something right away??  

Oh, and it's Tuesday, so go link up with Laura!  I'll try to be confident with my ever-expanding belly.

Cardigan: JCF (similar)
Tee: Gap (similar)
Necklace: F21 (similarsimilar)
Jeans: Gap Factory  (similar)
Boots: Madden (exact)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Recap

This weekend was crazy but oh so fun! Friday evening was our Sunday School class Christmas party. These people are so fun!  Our amazing hostess spent probably way too much time creating a Christmas-themed Cranium-style game, and it was a blast.

Saturday evening, one of my other friends hosted a little cookie decorating party.  Again, so much fun to get together with some friends I hadn't seen in awhile!

On Sunday, John and I went to lunch with some close friends after church.  And then I was exhausted all afternoon, and tried to get a few things done.  I can't believe how soon Christmas will be here!  So much to accomplish before then.  And I have evening plans more often than not!

Anyway, it was a good weekend.  And here's to a good week before Christmas, as well!

Cardigan: Gap factory (similar)
Top: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Skirt: Gibson&Latimer (similarsimilar)
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Copycat Day


Sometimes, I just have mornings where I have no idea what to wear.  This usually happens when I am so fed up with how cold it is and all I want to do is wear a sweatshirt and stay in bed.  On these days, I turn to Pinterest for help.  And sometimes I find something that isn't exactly rocket science, but it is perfect.  Like this.  And then I know what to wear for the day.

In other news, did you know that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!?  In a completely unprecedented move, I'm done with my Christmas shopping.  It's pretty exciting.  But I ordered almost everything online and shipped it to the recipients, so I think I only get to wrap about 2 presents.  I love wrapping presents, so I'm a little bummed.  But hooray for being all done and mostly avoiding crazy shopping crowds!

Sweater: Gap (similar)
Top: F21 (similar)
Skirt: Gap (exact)
Tights: Target
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cowgirl, Take 2

Okay, this outfit is like 2 months old.  What???  I think I kept bumping it back because I wear this skirt too often.  Anyway, I promise I'm not 2 months behind every day.

Maybe wearing these boots with a dress but no tights just makes them seem like cowboy boots, but I totally felt like a cowgirl in this outfit.  Again.  Not in a bad way, just in a not quite myself way.  I think this outfit might look cuter in the spring or fall with my cognac wedges, instead of the boots.

Okay, now I really think this is the last of the green grass pictures until the spring.  I think.  

Shirt: JCF (exact)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Skirt: Macy's (exact)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review - The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair is a weird book, but I loved it.  I don't even know how to summarize this book without giving away all the fun bits.  Let's just say our main character is a literary detective, in an alternate reality involving time travel, literary terrorism, and even some vampires.

From the title, you might guess that Jane Eyre is important, and you'd be right.  I haven't actually read Jane Eyre, but I did see the movie a few years ago, so I knew enough to get by.

My main complaint was that I kept forgetting our narrator was a woman, because the voice just sounded like a guy.  And really, who am I to judge whether a voice is manly or womanly?  So just a minor gripe.

This is the first in a series of 7 so far.  I'll probably plan on picking up the sequels before too long.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Channeling Mindy

Basically, if I could steal any fictional character's wardrobe, it would have to be Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project.  She wears lots of bright colors and crazy patterns, so we are basically style soul-mates.  I'm probably pretty obnoxious when watching the show, because I'm always saying I want her outfit, or I have the same items to copy it.  John is not as invested in the wardrobe choices as I am.

I couldn't find any internet evidence of it, but this outfit is 97% stolen from Mindy.  She was wearing a navy cardigan instead of a v-neck, and I honestly don't remember her footwear, but the basic idea came from her.  I also love Mindy Kaling's book.  She just seems like a person I would actually want to be friends with.  And I don't want to be friends with very many celebrities, because most of them seem pretty terrible.

It's Tuesday, so go link up with Laura!

Sweater: Gap (similar)
Top: JCF (exact)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Wanted

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fancy Polar Bear

Once the temperatures dip below freezing, I think it's appropriate polar bear sweatshirt weather.  I decided to dress it up a bit with my black pencil skirt.  Because doesn't a black pencil skirt make everything look classy?  Well, maybe not everything.  But most things.

I hope you all had a nice weekend.  I unfortunately caught a cold at the end of last week, so I was mostly trying to rest and recover.  I even got a flu shot this year; why am I sick??

Sweatshirt: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Coat: Old Navy (similarsimilar, similar)
Chambray: JCF (exact)
Skirt: Gibson&Latimer (similarsimilar)
Tights: Target (exact)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book Review - The King's Curse

The King's Curse is the last novel in the Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory.  Or at least, they are saying it is the last one.  But I think they said that about the previous book, too.  So we will see.

Um, I don't really have strong opinions about this book.  I enjoyed it.  It's very similar to the rest of the books in this series, except I know more about Henry VIII than I did about the previous kings, so I knew things weren't going to end well for his various wives.

Two complaints which might be the same general idea.  Gregory kind of rehashes the theme over and over and over again.  Maybe readers aren't smart enough to remember that there is an alleged curse on the king, but I mean, that is the NAME OF THE BOOK.  So maybe we don't have to bring it up and explain it in it's entirety every 10 pages?

Same basic complaint about mentioning things that have happened in the past.  I don't mind a brief reminder of who someone is, but it was like every time a character appeared there would be a paragraph of who they are, what their relationship is to the main character, etc.  Yeah, there are a lot of folks named Henry, Mary, Edward, Elizabeth, etc - but give the readers some credit.  We can remember main plot points!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Friday

Note - these sunglasses were provided by HFEyewear for me to review.  All opinions are my own.  

A few weeks ago, I got a message from one of my friends from college.  He offered to send me a free pair of sunglasses from his company to review on the blog.  I'd been checking out HF Eyewear since he started it, so I was pretty excited about the opportunity!

The hardest part was picking the style.  My "play it safe" persona was leaning towards the Sole, because it looks the most like sunglasses I would buy anywhere.  But Andiamo was pretty cool, and it kind of has my name in it.  Or I mean, the red ones are gorgeous!  I finally asked my sister for advice, and she suggested I go with the bamboo-iest option.  Upon further thought, I agreed.  Arrivederci is the winner.

They arrived in a really cool bamboo case, which is important because I am not very responsible when it comes to sunglasses and I want to keep these safe!  Full disclosure - when I first tried them on, I thought "I am not cool enough to wear these!" but after a little pep talk and then wearing them around for the past week, I'm 100% on the bamboo glasses train.

Other than the fact that I love my new sunglasses, I think this company is pretty cool.  The HF stands for "happy Friday" which you can read more about here.  They also donate 10% of proceeds to protect panda habitats, so you can feel good about your purchase.  You can get sunglasses or prescription glasses (or I suppose just fake lenses, if you are into that).  I pretty much always wear contacts, but I'm super sensitive about sunlight, so I'm usually sporting shades even when it is cloudy outside.  People make fun of me, but it's important to shield your eyes against the sun, okay!  Even when it is freezing outside!

If you are looking for a fun gift idea for a friend or family member (or yourself), you can even get 15% with the promo code JUSTANOTHERDISCOUNT

And because I love you all, here's my serious, gazing into the nothingness picture. I wanted to show a side view. I know, I have a bright future as a sunglasses model.

Anyway, go check out HFeyewear!  You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, too.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Denim and Lace

I kind of felt like a poser in this outfit.  I really liked it, but it didn't feel like me for some reason.  Like I was pretending to be a cowgirl or something.  But I have wanted a lace dress forever, and navy seemed like a good color for it, so I am glad I got the dress.  I'll try a more "Andi" outfit next time I wear it.

DISCLAIMER: This was worn in mid-November, before the arctic temps arrived.  I'm getting closer to caught up, I promise!  Soon it will all be brown grass or snow in my pictures!

Dress: Younkers (similar)
Pearls: Gift (similarsimilar)
Jacket: JCF (exact)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Currently December

I'm starting to think these "currently" posts are just invented to make me feel bad about myself.  Do I even do anything?  Am I even a person???

making - um.  Nothing.  Should I be making something?  Like fancy DIY presents for everyone or some fabulous holiday dessert?  I guess I'm making excuses for not making anything else.  So that works.  

listening - I'm not quite in the mood for Christmas music yet, but I hope I get there soon.  And then I will be listening to the Christmas albums from Weezer and Relient K.  Any recommendations on newer Christmas music to check out?  

wrapping - I also haven't wrapped anything yet.  I've purchase just a couple Christmas presents, but most of the things I need to buy will be shipped directly to the recipients, so I don't need to wrap much this year.  

watching - Gilmore Girls!  I have been told for many many years that I should watch this show, because I apparently talk like Lorelei and Rory.  I hadn't ever seen an episode until it came out on Netflix and I've been watching a few here and there.  I like it.  I'm not sure I talk like them, but it's possible.  

anticipating - CHRISTMAS!!!  Despite my lazy answers to the above prompts, I am really excited for Christmas.  

What are you currently doing?  Link up with  In Residence and Dearest Love to share your answers!  

Cardigan: Gap Factory (similar)
Top; Gap (similarsimilar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similarsimilar)
Necklace: F21 (exactsimilar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap

This outfit has nothing to do with Thanksgiving week, but I managed to take almost zero pictures when I was visiting family, and I didn't want a pictureless post, so that's how it's going to be!

John and I drove out to Indy last Tuesday, and started getting anxious phone calls from the 10-year-old nieces as soon as they got out of school.  They were just slightly excited for us to arrive.  On Wednesday, they had to go to school again, so I went to meet them for lunch.  Then my other sister's family arrived Wednesday afternoon, and my brother's family arrived Thursday morning and the house was full!  We had an awesome week hanging out with everyone.  So much food.  So many board games.  Multiple laughter-induced tummy aches.  Not enough sleep.  Perhaps a few tears as we drove away.  I really wish my family lived closer!

Anyway, it was a really fun week and I'm very thankful for these crazy people that I get to call my family.

Oh, and it's Tuesday, so go link up with Laura!

Dress: Younkers (similar)
Cardigan: Gap (similar)
Belt: Limited (similar)
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Shopping

With Thanksgiving last week, I completely forgot about my Budgeting Bloggers post for November.  So here it is!  I barely bought anything in November.  I think this was the first time ever that I went to visit my family in Indiana and didn't go to the mall.  We were just having too much fun!  

H&M striped sweater: $10 (british version!)
Gap knit skirt: $10 (similar)

Total Spent: $20

This puts me in pretty good shape for 2014-to-date.  I have a decent overage rolling into December.  And I just took a big pile of stuff to the local consignment shop and then also ordered a bag to send things in to ThredUp, so I'm hoping to make a little money on the clothes I don't want anymore.  We shall see!

As always, I'm linking up with Fran!


Welcome to December!  I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  We spent a few days with my family in Indiana.  It's so fun when we can get together with them!

I feel like I should start putting a "date worn" disclaimer on all my posts, since I'm so far behind.  Just for the record, I wore this on October 22.  Way back when I was a twenty-something.

Cardigan: Limited (similar)
Dress: Limited (similarsimilar)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Scarf: H&M (similar)
Shoes: Target (flat version)