Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review - One More Thing


You probably know BJ Novak from playing Ryan on The Office (he also wrote and directed several episodes).  When I heard he had a book of short stories, I was interested, because he seems like a witty guy, and I like witty guys.  One More Thing definitely lived up to my expectations.  It was smart and funny and just really enjoyable.  Oh, and totally bizarre.  The first story is the other side of the story of the fabled race between the tortoise and the hare.  I read most of it out loud to John because I thought it was so hilarious.  He didn't object, so I think he thought it was funny, too.

I'm not normally drawn to short stories, but I really loved this book!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coral and Floral



I hadn't paired my current favorite skirt with coral yet, so I had to do it.  And you know I love mixing prints, so the stripes were also pretty much a given.  This was one of those outfits that probably just has too much going on for the average person, but I quite liked it.  And I am quite fondly looking back on those balmy fall days when I could get away with bare legs.  Don't worry, I'll run out of these type of outfit photos soon, and then I won't keep talking about it.

Cardigan: Gap (similar)
Tee: Gap (similar)
Skirt: Macy's (exact, Similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (optionoption)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Week



Well, it's Monday again and apparently Thanksgiving is this week.  How did that even happen?  I swear, every month is going by faster than the previous one.  Anyway...

Thanks to everyone who linked up for Blazer Week!  Remember, you can still join in until midnight tonight.  I think I'm going to skip December for theme weeks.  There's just so much going on with holiday stuff.

Jacket: JCF (exact)
Necklace: F21 (exactsimilar)
Sweater: Gap factory (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (this style in this color)
Shoes: Old Navy(optionoption)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blazer Week - Gray Stripes



When I did my remix post with this blazer, Brynn asked if I'd ever worn it with my green jeans.  Surprisingly, I had not!  Blazer Week was the perfect excuse.  And I loved it - except my typical tall girl problem of tops seeming too short and then my under-tank tops are an awkward little band across my middle.  I wish I had an off-white tank top that would be less conspicuous, but whatever.

Happy last day of Blazer Week!  Thanks to everyone who joined in and as always, special thanks to my co-host Danielle!   Remember you can still link up until Monday at midnight.

Blazer: Gap (similar)
Top: Loft Outlet (similar)
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Old Navy (similar without captoe)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blazer Week - Coral Stripes



Let's just jump from yesterday's most expensive blazer to today's cheapest.  This one set me back $7, and honestly, I probably should have left it, because I haven't worn it much in the year since I got it.  It was right around the time when it seemed like every blogger I knew was buying that coral blazer from Gap and I loved it!  But I wasn't going to spend that much, and then I saw this one and thought it was close enough.  But something about it being coral and striped just makes it harder to style.

Today is also the Third Thursday of the month, which means it's time to link up with Bri.  Her theme this month is Fall Footwear.  I'm pretty sure Nebraska has decided fall is SO LAST SEASON, and we are firmly in winter.  But I did wear this particular outfit when we were having lovely fall weather.  I know some girls jump at the first slightly cool day as an opportunity to break out the boots, but I cling to my non-boot footwear as long as I possibly can, because I know my boots will start to feel boring when I have to wear them on repeat for 4 months straight.  So I wore my gold flats, which you can't really see.  But it was fall, and I had footwear, so it counts, right?

Blazer Week continues below!  Link up your looks and be sure to check out the other links!

Blazer: Jones New York via TJ Maxx
Shirt: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Skirt: Gibson&Latimer (similarsimilar)
Shoes: Target (exact)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blazer Week - Tweedy




Next up is my most expensive and neglected blazer.  This one came with my "grown-up" suit that I bought in a panic in May and I've worn it exactly once since then.  Not cool, Andi.  I specifically bought a suit that I thought could work as separates, but I haven't followed my plan at all.  Blazer Week was a good excuse to wear this one.

Since it's my fanciest blazer, I wanted to dress it down with jeans.  Then I stole this entire outfit from my list of ideas to wear with my black moto jacket and paired it with my ladylike blazer instead.  I think it works.  It seemed like something a 30 year old should wear.  Which I apparently am now.

I also think these shoes work perfectly for Royal Blue day with Marisa and Heidi.

Link up with your blazer looks below!

Blazer: Le Suit (similar)
Scarf: H&M (similar)
Top: Gap (exact)
Jeans: Gap Factory (similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (similar, similar)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blazer Week - Black Blazer Blogiversary Remix




Just Another Smith turns 3 today!  I can't really believe it, but I supposed it must be true.  I've come a long way (I think) since that very first post.  I didn't realize this blogiversary would coincide with Blazer Week, but it gave me an idea to do an EPIC REMIX COLLAGE featuring my black blazers.  First up, my current one from H&M (which I'm wearing in the above pictures).  I bought this one back in April of 2013, and have definitely gotten my money's worth:

1/2/3/4/5/6
7/8/9/10/11/12
Prior to buying the H&M one, I got by with a Limited option that I'm pretty sure I bought at TJ Maxx for $10.  This was my makeshift suit for most of college and I know I wore it to every single job interview during my end of senior year panic.  It only made the blog 6 times (most frequently with my black/white blouse!), but I thought it deserved a little honorable mention.

13/14/15/16/17/18
In conclusion, if you don't have a classic black blazer, you should probably go ahead and get one!  If you are anything like me, your cost per wear will easily end up under $1.

Oh, and here's a bit of free advice: Outdoor pictures look better, but when the weather "feels like -2" it might be wiser to just stay inside!  Not that I took my own advice, obviously.  I took these pictures yesterday before going to work and just about froze.  What kind of person wears a sleeveless dress with a light blazer and tights when it's in the single digits?  A blogger, I guess.  I did immediately put a heavy coat on, so I'm not completely insane!

Remember to link up below!

Blazer: H&M (similar)
Dress: Younker's
Necklace: Old Navy (similar)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blazer Week - Pink or Sangria?



Happy Blazer Week!  I'm so excited to have Danielle as my co-host this month.  Be sure to check out her blog each day to see how she's styling her blazers this week.

I'm also a little bit sad because Marisa and Heidi are doing their Pantone-Inspired Color challenge this week and I usually love jumping in on that, but most of my blazer outfits don't really align with the colors!  I'm going to try to do what I can, but it might be a long shot!

I'm pretending this blazer applies to the Sangria color for today.  Normally, I'd think of sangria as a darker pinkish-red, but the Pantone example looks pretty pink, so I'll say this blazer counts, okay?

I met John for lunch on the day I wore this outfit.  When we sat down at our table, he exclaimed with horror "Are you wearing a VEST?" and I was like, "No, this is a blazer.  Vests don't have sleeves" but he meant under the blazer.  "No, this is just a blouse.  Vests aren't sewn shut in the front middle."  And I mean, what's the problem with vests anyway?

And I feel I must explain that these pictures are from a couple weeks ago.  We now have several inches of snow on the ground, and my weather app is telling me things like "Feels like -2," so I can't get away with just a blazer as my outerwear.  Good thing I pre-planned for this week!

Anyway, link up below!  

Blazer: Gap via consignment (optionoption)
Necklace: F21 (exactsimilar)
Top: Target
Skirt: Old Navy (similarsimilar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review - Edge of Eternity




Edge of Eternity is the final book in the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.  I really love historical fiction, and I really really loved The Pillars of the Earth (also by Follett), so I got invested in this trilogy.    

It's hard to rate a book like this, because I both loved and hated it in almost equal measure.  I almost didn't write a review, because I'm not sure how to write my objections without potentially getting some weird search results directed at my blog.  But I had to try.

Here's what I loved:  Follett does a great job of weaving stories though the historical narrative.  The main characters are all somewhat closely related to famous people or events that happened.  This book starts in the 60s and mostly ends in the 80s.  (The other books were set during WWI and WWII respectively).  I'm a little more familiar with this time period, so it was fun for me to kind of associate what was happening with what I know my parents were up to during that time.  Do you ever do that? Where you have a general knowledge that something happened in a certain year, and then you are like "Wait, my parents were seniors in high school when that happened!!!" Sometimes history seems so far removed, but when you relate it to people you know who lived through it, then it hits closer to home.  I've gone on a tangent now.  But the point is that I really loved the stories.  Follett can make up good stories.

Now for the problems I should probably make bullets so I don't get too off-track:
  • The first book starts with several different families in several different countries.  As the first and second books progress, they all end up meeting, intermarrying, etc.  By the time we get to book 3, I kept getting freaked out because everyone is cousins with everyone else (and a lot of them don't necessarily know they are related, because of secret pregnancies, etc)!  
  • Just generally TMI all the time.  Follett seems to think the most important thing to know about each character is their level of experience with the opposite sex.  He would literally introduce a character like "so and so has had x number of girlfriends, kissed this many girls, slept with this many...."  Um, I don't care.  That doesn't need to be an integral part of the story, ok??  And the actual sex scenes are just ridiculous.  This does tend to be a problem in Follett books, but this one was way worse (probably because he was trying to focus on the free love era of the 1960s, but still, you can be a little more subtle).  
  • On the same topic, and this is a bit of a spoiler - be prepared for approximately 100% of the female characters to have unplanned pregnancies.  Again, this is one of Follett's favorite things to do.  Again, it annoys me to no end.  1 or 2 would be fine.  But when you have 7 in one book, that's just insane.
  • His political biases were way more obvious in this book.  Again, maybe because I am more familiar with this time period, but it was really distracting and annoying.  I'm sure history is full of examples of both liberal and conservative folks doing stupid things, but he chose to paint all the liberals as awesome and the one conservative character as a complete jerk who basically had to buy a wife from Russia because no woman would give him the time of day.  Really?   
  • It's a long book.  In a series of long books.  It seemed like he forgot to wrap up a few storylines.  Maybe he did this in the other books, but it didn't bother me because I knew there would be another one in the series?  I don't know.  But he seemed to forget to tell us what happened to some key characters that I really wanted to know about.
So anyway....  those are my thoughts.  I initially gave this 4 out of 5 stars just because I really did love the stories.  But I'm starting to re-think that.  There are a lot of negatives on my list that might drop the rating down to a 3.  

If you've read the other 2 books in the series, I'd say go ahead and read this one for closure.  If you haven't read the other 2, I wouldn't bother with this series.  There are plenty of better things to read.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The End of an Era


File this post under sentimental rambling...

Way back in the olden days when I was 17, my parents very generously bought me a car.  At the time, I don't think any of us would have expected me to drive it until I was 30, but these things happen.  I loved my car like only a teenager can - it was my freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted (you know, with my parent's permission).  Previously, I had to get permission and ask to borrow one of their cars, so this was a major improvement.
Summer of 2002 - the earliest Civic picture I could find
This car was by my side (or rather, surrounding me) as I finished high school, started a new adventure at a college where I didn't know anyone, moved to Indiana where I didn't know anyone, and drove back and forth across the Midwest more times than I can count.  If I'm being honest, I didn't trust other teenage drivers very much, so I always volunteered to drive everywhere, and I would never EVER let anyone else drive my car.  This means I drove my friends all over the place, too.
2006 - John took this picture about an hour before he asked me to be his girlfriend
When John and I became friends, he didn't have a car at school, so I drove us all over Lincoln to the various churches we visited, midnight IHOP runs, and many concerts within a 3 hour drive.  When we finally got our act together and started dating, he became the first friend I had ever let drive my car.  I remember some of my friends being like "Whoa, this is serious!" and yeah, it was.
2006- I took this picture of John on the way to New Mexico when we were dating
Shortly after the previous picture, John hit a tumbleweed, which became lodged in the front of my car! 
We drove to New Mexico for fall break that year, and I met his grandparents.  We drove to Indiana for Thanksgiving where he had the marriage talk with my dad.

Once I graduated and got a real job (way back in 2006), I figured I would get a new grown-up car soon.  But then I just didn't.  In 2010, John and I decided that we needed at least one nice dependable car for ourselves to drive on our many road trips.  He tried to be a gentleman and let me have the new car, but I wasn't ready to trade in the Civic, so John got the nice car, but he insisted that I drive it whenever the roads might be icy.

I always figured a day would come when I was forced to give up my beloved car.  Either I'd get into an accident where insurance would declare the car totaled, or the engine would just break beyond repair.  But it never happened.  So I just kept driving it.  Last summer, we decided it was finally time to trade-in, so we started looking at options and then a year later, still hadn't taken the plunge.  I was dragging my feet because I didn't want to let my Civic go.  This summer, we said we HAVE to get me a new car before winter, so we started seriously looking into it and I started trying to emotionally prepare.

Farewell, old friend!  
We finally did it this weekend.  And I knew I would be emotionally distraught, but it was so tough!  When the guy came back with the trade-in value I felt so defensive of my little car.  She's a great car!  She's worth way more than that!  You don't even know her!!!  (calm down, Andi - stop being crazy!).  Don't worry - I didn't actually say any of those things.  I just tried not to cry in front of the car salesmen (somewhat unsuccessfully).

The worst part (well, other than the bargaining part - why can't cars just cost what they cost?  like sweaters!) was that the new car wasn't ready, so I was all prepared to say goodbye to the Civic, and then we had to wait another day.  So I got to cry again when we signed the title over on Monday, and then I lost it again when we had to drive away and leave my trusty little red car behind in the car dealership's parking lot (she looked so lonely!).  I'm sure the car guys were rolling their eyes at me, but they don't know about all my feelings!!

One thing that made me laugh was cleaning everything out of the Civic.  I found the following items in the glove box, which I rarely opened:
  • 2 garage door openers of unknown origin (maybe to my parent's house, or their previous house, or the one before that?)  
  • Frequent buyer punch card from the Sno Cone stand in Wichita
  • One of those free mix CDs that recording studios would hand out after concerts.  
  • Phone charger of unknown origin.  It didn't look familiar.  So if you lost your phone charger in the last 10 years, I may have it.
  • Ping pong ball - we used to play at the rec center on campus, but their ping pong balls were always dented or smashed or missing, so we got our own to bring each time.  I kept it on the shelf in my dorm room, and apparently it has been living in my car ever since graduation.  
  • So many pens.  Where did they come from??
Anyway (longest post ever), while I'm very sad to say goodbye to my beloved old Civic, it was time.  And I'm very excited about my fancy new car (with things like a giant sunroof that actually opens and a CD player that might work all the time!).  Plus it will be way safer in the snow, which arrived approximately 8 hours after I took possession of my new vehicle.  And in 20 years when I have to trade this one in, I'll probably cry.


**Disclaimer: yes, I know being sad about a car is not a real problem.    



    




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maroon & Leopard (again)



Apparently this dress just demands to be worn with leopard print.  I guess I don't have as many ideas about how to wear maroon.  I will have to get more creative, I guess.

Also, winter has finally arrived in the midwest!  After being spoiled in October, the beautiful fall days are pretty much over.  It even snowed on Monday night (womp womp).  I'm about 2-3 weeks behind on outfit photos, but just know that in real life, bare legs are going to be a rare occurrence for the next several months!

Cardigan: J.Crew Factory (similar)
Scarf: H&M (similar)
Dress: Loft Outlet (option,option)
Belt: Steve Madden (similar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review - The Storied Life of AJ Fikry


Another favorite book for the year!  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry is really good.  It had been on my list, but then made it to the top, because it qualified for a category in the Winter Book Challenge I am doing.  We are supposed to read a "bookish" book - one that takes place in a library or bookstore or where books/reading play an important role in the book.  Check and check.  

AJ Fikry owns a bookstore on a little island off the coast of Massachusetts.  He's had a rough couple of years, and you just feel for the guy.  He's kind of grumpy, but rightfully so.  Then a series of events completely changes his life.  Since AJ loves books, there is plenty of discussion among the characters about books.  Each chapter actually begins with AJ's review of a book or short story.  I wish I had read more of the stories he reviews, because it would probably have been more meaningful to me.

Anyway, you can tell I'm struggling to say why this book was so great.  And so I'll share one of my favorite quotes from one of AJ's reviews:    

A question I've thought about a great deal is why it is so much easier to write about the things we dislike/hate/acknowledge to be flawed than the things we love. 

My thoughts exactly!  I find that every time I go to write a book review.  I'll usually say "I loved this book!  Here's what I didn't like..."  What is that?  Why is it so much easier to articulate the reasons we didn't like something than the reasons we do like it?  I don't know, but I loved that quote because I definitely have that problem and then I feel like a total pessimist.  

In conclusion - I loved this book.  I don't really know why.  My only complaint is that it was over too fast.  You should probably read it.  I finished it in about 3 days, so it's a quick one!    

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Favorite Dress



Meet my new favorite dress - at least for a little while.  This is the one I found at the Limited Outlet on my birthday weekend.  Pretty good present to myself, right!  Well, I thought so.  I wore it to work the very next day, because I was so excited about it.

Get ready to see this dress a lot in the next few months.  I'm imagining navy tights, gray or cognac boots, and pretty much every color of cardigan that I own.  Brace yourselves!

Jacket: J.Crew Factory  (exact)
Dress: Limited Outlet (similar)
Belt: Madden (similar)
Shoes: Target (flat version)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Shrunk


Well, I'm pretty sure this dress is shorter than it used to be.  Probably because I ignore the "Dry Clean Only" care instructions and just wash it on delicate.  I mean, I don't put it in the dryer, so I'm surprised it shrunk, but these things happen.  Which is why I really shouldn't buy anything that says "Dry Clean" or "Hand Wash."  Or even "iron" if I'm being honest.

Do we think this dress would look okay with tights?  I'm worried the eyelets make it seem more summery and tights would look weird.  Maybe I'll have to try it and see.

Necklace: Old Navy (similar)
Cardigan: H&M (similar)
Dress: Daniel Cremieux (similar)
Belt: Steve Madden (similar)
Boots: Steve Madden (exact)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review - Big Little Lies

via goodreads

Big Little Lies is a ridiculous book!  I mean that in the best possible way.  It's definitely my favorite of the 3 Liane Moriarty novels I've read this year.    Where to even begin...

The story centers around an incident that takes place at an elementary school.  You learn about this in the first chapter, but you don't find out exactly what the incident is until much later.  The chapters focus on 3 of the moms in the Kindergarten class.  So the chapters go in chronological order leading up to the incident.  And then there are snippets of eyewitness testimony at the end of each chapter, as the police try to determine exactly what happens.

Everyone has their own set of secrets, and we learn bits and pieces as we go along.  I really liked how Moriarty didn't feel the need to spell everything out for the reader.  There were a few things that I think were supposed to be big surprises (the twin being the bully, Celeste's husband being Ziggy's dad), that were pretty obvious, but I did not expect the incident to be exactly what it was.

Anyway, great book! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Currently


It's time for the Currently link up with In Residence and Dearest Love!  Hopefully I do better than last time...

Reading: Since November is here, I'm starting on my Winter reading challenge books. I finished The Storied Life of AJ Fikry in about 2 days, so now I'm reading The Eyre Affair.

Wishlisting: Christmas is coming, and my birthday just passed!  So I'm trying to keep my wishlist updated, because people are always asking for present ideas.  My current big ticket wishlist items are a new seatbelt bag, some opal earrings, and perhaps a fitness tracker (but I can't decide on a Fitbit vs a Garmin Vivofit - any advice?).

Loving: well, this is embarrassing, but I'm loving my birthday present from John.  We are only about 8 years behind the times, but I've always wanted a Wii, so he surprised me with one this year.  I currently just have MarioKart and Just Dance, so what other games should I get?

Appreciating: my part-time schedule.  I hated the days in past winters when I would leave the house when it was dark and get home when it's dark.  At least with my reduced schedule, I have a better chance of seeing the sunshine.

Creating: well, as I type this, I'm trying to create some dinner.  New recipes are always a gamble for me, so hopefully it turns out like it is supposed to.

Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Shirt: J.Crew Factory (exact)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (optionoption)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gold Skirt Remix


I think it's time to say goodbye to this skirt.  It's been a good skirt and I've worn it a lot over the last 3 years, but the overlay is getting more snags in it, so I have to let it go.  But not without a remix collage first!  So without further ado, here are 23 ways I have worn this skirt in the last 3 years:
1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8
9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16
17/18/19/20/21/22/23
I remember when I bought this skirt in the summer of 2011, and thinking "how am I going to wear a gold skirt?" but I loved it and it was like $10, so I went for it.  I'm so glad I did, because I quickly learned that it's basically a neutral!  And I know I've worn it many other times, so I definitely got my money's worth.  I'm sad that it's finally going to the Goodwill pile, but it was a much-loved and frequently-worn skirt for a few years! 

And it's Tuesday, so I'm linking up with Laura for Confident Twosday!

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Unexpected Visitor



I wore this outfit to church a few Sundays ago.  After lunch, we ventured into the backyard to take pictures.  John was trying to get me to go over by the tree, but I was freaking out because there was an uninvited guest that had made the tree home: 

I'm guessing this cat belongs to one of our neighbors, because it looked a little too fat and fluffy to be a stray.  We went ahead and took pictures, but I was nervous the whole time that this cat would jump out and tackle me.  I really don't trust cats. 

Cardigan: Loft
Tank: Gap (similar)
Necklace: F21 (similarsimilar)
Skirt: Macy's (exact)
Shoes: Old Navy (optionoption)