18 September 2014

wedge boots, please.

j crew factory clare pullover   ·   talbots painterly skirt
merona kalama booties

you guys, i just need you to tell me whether or not i can pull of the wedge bootie look. i want to love these shoes and i'm always (seriously, always) tempted by the toms version until i remind myself i have this perfectly good dupe pair, but i still feel silly when i wear them. maybe it's finding the right outfit combo that they "go" with or maybe it's just wearing them regardless because i like them. i'm not sure. i guess fashion is all about wearing what you like with confidence and not wishing that your calves were slimmer or legs were tanner or what-ever... and i guess i think i achieved that. so... i guess i don't need your help after all!  heh... kidding.  what is the last thing you wore that you felt you just needed to confidently go for?

get the look:  exact sweater / similar skirt / similar booties

15 September 2014

last week's looks {sept 8-12}

here we are upon yet another brand new, fresh week.  do you think of mondays like that?  honestly, i wish i could say i did.  usually there's some task or issue left unresolved from friday that is weighing on my mind that i will have to address come monday, but i had a great weekend.  i went to our local renaissance festival on saturday, followed by a trip to minnnesota's largest candy store!  despite this claim, they didn't have the one candy i was looking for:  peach jolly ranchers!  they used to be sold in one of the mix bags, but i either haven't looked lately or can't find them anymore.  i guess i'll have to search on amazon.com or something for this favorite treat of mine.  i did come away with some cowtails that i haven't had for 13ish years, some fun flavored pop, and an authentic whoopie pie from maine!  what's your favorite rare candy treat?

here's what i wore last week.  you can tell from the different shade of green background that i took my pictures at all different times of the day.  whoops!

mondaypost here
tuesday: j crew peasant top {similar} / target diamond print scarf {exact} / old navy boyfriend skinny khakis {exact} / lauren conrad hadley flats {similar}
wednesday: sonoma sweater {similar} / target cluster necklace {exact} / old navy boyfriend skinny khakis {exact} / mossimo ona flats {exact}
thursday: thrifted coldwater creek floral blouse {similar} / thredupped axcess blazer {similar} / thrifted express slacks {similar} / merona booties {similar}
friday: old navy crochet lace tee {similar} / thrifted ruff hewn jacket {similar} / old navy sweetheart bootcut jeans {exact} / handmade scarf / puma sneakers

10 September 2014

polka dot initiation.

 j crew factory draped novelty top in polka dot {thrifted}
j crew factory pencil skirt in double-serge wool
chaps blazer {thrifted}  ·   cl laundry irresistible bol wedges

if it looks like i have a lot of j crew in my wardrobe it's honesty probably 90% thrifted. i'm always pleasantly surprised when i find j crew at the goodwill just because it's a high value brand whose normal asking price is way out of my budget but whose designs i really love, especially j crew factory these days.  i had some time to kill last week so i dropped off some donations at the goodwill and of course i had to browse around afterwards.  i put the 25% coupon they gave me when i donated to use right away on this blouse, making it $5.24. not too bad!  

anyway, if you've been a long-time reader of mine you may notice that i never wear polka dots.  it is probably blogger blasphemy of me to say this, but it's just not a pattern i gravitate toward.  however, for this price i was willing to let the goodwill initiate me into polka dots.  plus, the blouse fits all of the requirements of those i want to add to my closet these days - short sleeves and a looser drape.  i'm pretty satisfied with the purchase, and i'm even happier with myself that it's the only thing i walked out of the goodwill with!

thanks for visiting!

get the look:  similar short-sleeve or long-sleeve blouse / similar skirt / similar blazer / exact wedges / similar belt

08 September 2014

book review: the magicians

the magicians by lev grossman

i seem to be drawn to the whole "otherworldly" science fiction/fantasy theme of books featuring witches, magicians, vampires, and other beasts who have magical powers every once in a while.  i read so many coming of age or romantically-themed novels that i guess i feel the need to change course and sandwich in a book focused on an entirely different group of characters, even though this isn't my preferred genre.  i tried reading the all souls trilogy by deborah harkness but the plot in the second book just became too confusing and convoluted that i couldn't get through it, but i had more success with the magicians.  of course i didn't realize until i'd started reading that this book also starts out a 3-novel series and i'll have to keep reading, but this book impressed me enough that i'm sure i will finish out the series.

the magicians centers around a high school student named quentin who is lost, depressed, confused about his place in the world.  during what he thought was a standard visit to a college adviser to interview for a prestigious college, he finds himself completely turned around and instead he is taking an exam for entrance to a prestigious magical college called brakebills.  he didn't realize the extent to his powers until he began to study there, and this leads him to feel alive and full of purpose.

that feeling, however, is fleeting as the years at school progress and he again struggles to find the answer to what he wants for himself, how he can find happiness, and what the purpose of his magic is.  i won't really go into detailing the plot more than that but i will say that i enjoyed quentin's character.  i feel like i could empathize with his struggles that are universal, not just ones that people on the cusp of adulthood have to face with determining a career or choosing a college.  parts of the book were slower than others - there seemed to be a heavy chunk that simply detailed the lazy exploits of quentin and his friends who sat around drinking all day and night (i'm pretty far removed from my undergrad years but i understand there's probably still truth to this; however, it still felt like such a cliche that received far too much emphasis) and not enough description of the magic you assumed the students were learning, honing, practicing throughout their schooling... but the author did have to rather quickly guide the reader through the entirety of the college experience at brakebills to get to graduation and the adventure quentin and his friends were then faced with, which is when the book again began to pick up.

it's hard to post reviews for an entire series of books without revealing too many spoiler alerts, so that's why i wanted to go ahead and post this review before i read the following two books in the series, but i do plan to do so.  i'd love to hear if anyone has read this book or if you, too, are drawn to this particular genre.  it's new to me, but i definitely find it can keep my attention if i feel connected enough to the characters and/or their struggles, just like any other novel!

06 September 2014


gleeful peacock narwhal shirt   ·   j crew atelier jacket {thrifted}
old navy sweetheart boot-cut jeans   ·   merona emma flats

happy friday!  i don't know about you guys but i quite like four day workweeks. friday comes all that much faster!  today i'm wearing this fun graphic print t shirt i picked up in tulsa back in may where the designer, gleeful peacock, is based. i have many pieces of their jewelry (mentioned here & here) and couldn't pass up this quirky shirt. it felt more work appropriate layered under a blazer even though one may think that defeats the purpose of a graphic tee if you can't read the writing, but i didn't mind. i kind of liked just seeing the image of the narwhal peaking out. how do you like to wear your graphic tees?

have a great weekend1

get the look:  exact shirt / exact jeans / exact flats / similar jacket

03 September 2014


so i've never really done one of these posts before, but i love my pal anne over at in residence and just had to participate in her "currently..." theme post today!  plus, it's always nice when you have the skeleton of a post developed for you and you just have to fill in the blanks!

wearing // these favorite patterned pants of mine and a coordinating sweater and mary jane heels.

writing //  fictional stories.  have i ever mentioned that i love writing?  i've written stories for as long as i can remember, but in the past few years i feel as though i have actually thought of plotlines that actually turn into something and i love exploring and honing this hobby.  it makes me wonder why i never participate in nanowrimo, but maybe i will this year to really force me to develop one of the many ideas i have rough outlines for.

anticipating  // the zubaz night at the minnesota twins game in a week.  did you ever own a pair of zubaz pants?  i don't think i ever did, but i'm kind of beyond thrilled to receive this pair and don them at the game with a bunch of other crazy fans.

missing // the minnesota state fair.  fried pickles, cheese curds, corn dogs... even though it's kind of the same rodeo every year, i miss it already and wish i had another day to experience it all.

craving // reading "fangirl" by rainbow rowell... it just came up in my queue but wouldn't you know i am already in the middle of a book and have several others that are also ready for me to check out and read?  she pretty much can do no wrong and i am so eager to get lost in this book!

01 September 2014

one in, one out: july & aug 2014

for each clothing, shoe, and accessory purchase i make this year, i am donating/selling/recycling a comparable item in an effort to better manage my closet.  check out my "one in, one out" tag for more of these monthly posts!

so, amidst my blogging slump i didn't get my july one in, one out post published yet i had it all written and ready to go.  so, in an effort to keep up with this process throughout the year, i'm including both july and august's one in, one out posts here.  i won't blame you if you don't read it in its entirety since it's pretty wordy!

most of my purchases from july were from the goodwill - my mom was in town and we made the rounds to all of the goodwills in the area, and i actually had quite a bit of thrifting success.  even better, my local stores have been giving away 25% off coupons with a donation, so i had a coupon to use on all of my purchases since wouldn't you know i could never seem to find anything the right colored tag that was on sale!

my biggest splurge in july was $30 worth of jewelry from a coworker.  he makes necklaces and bracelets out of beads and rolled up cereal boxes.  at first i wasn't sure if it was my style and i felt a little pressured to buy something when it he was showcasing it for a bunch of us, but i liked the idea of supporting this creative hobby of his, especially since his proceeds go to an orphanage in another country he and his wife support. sorry i don't have a picture of the jewelry but i'll point it out when i wear one of the pieces in a future post!

{what came in}

*world market navy stud earrings 3.40 4.99
world market gray pearl stud earrings 3.40 4.99
*world market coral dangle earrings 3.40 4.99
*seychelles wedges (thredup/17.49) 2.18
j crew factory paisley scarf  (thredup/6.49) 2.18
*br factory emerald blouse (thredup/7.49) 2.18
*simply vera wang red blouse (thredup/9.49) 2.17
*daisy fuentes floral blouse (thredup/9.49) 2.17
merona brown tweed skirt (thredup/8.49) 2.17 24.99
j crew factory embroidered peasant top - navy 10.92 69.50
j crew factory lightweight printed scarf - linen fuchsia 3.56 39.50
j crew factory buttoned peasant top - gray 19.65 75
*handmade yellow stone necklace 20.00 20
*handmade green stone bracelet 10.00 10
merona lace top - yellow (gw) 5.24 19.99
gilligan & o'malley pajama pants - gray (new-gw) 2.24 12.99
merona 3/4 sleeve striped/floral print tee (new-gw) 3.74 12.99
j crew purple floral skirt (nwt - gw) 11.24 110
*cabi jordan almond pencil skirt - mint green (gw) 3.74
*merona tweed pencil skirt - rose (gw) 2.24
*apt 9 magenta/purple floral tunic (gw) 3.74
merona orange print v-neck cardigan (new-gw) 3.74 22.99
merona cocoon cardigan - orange (new-gw) 3.74 22.99
mossimo square scarf - floral print (new-gw) 1.49 16.99
*ann taylor loft chambray slacks (gw) 5.24
j crew buffalo check boy shirt (gw) 5.24
*j crew navy swing blazer (gw) 6.74


*not pictured

{what went out}

so, i've passed the halfway mark in the year of this one in, one out challenge and i admit that it's getting a little more difficult finding a comparable item to get rid of for each that i purchase.  i eliminated a lot of clothes from my closet last month that didn't coincide with one in, one out, so my decisions were harder to make this month since my pool of clothes i feel "so-so" about isn't as large.  hopefully this will lead me to make wiser clothing purchases in months to come but i definitely still spend based on my immediate attraction toward an item.

i also purchased three scarves this month, but i've found i really like to bring some visual interest to my outfits with this accessory... but i don't have any scarves i really want to get rid of so that's why you see the two purses above that i'm getting rid of instead of two scarves.  i feel i have to personally decide what an appropriate number of scarves is to own and not go beyond that figure once i reach it.  that's the tricky part though, isn't it?  deciding how many pairs of shoes, pairs of earrings, pairs of pants is "enough."  i'm really not sure that there is a magic equation to determine that answer for myself or anyone, so i'm just going to play it by ear!

unlike last month, i didn't do any thrifting this month!  instead i reverted back to shopping online, making purchases at gap/old navy, maidenform, and j crew factory.  i also made some purchases at our state fair: two necklaces, a t-shirt, and a hat - wouldn't you know it was so sunny and the hat i thought i put in my purse went missing.  i have no idea what happened to it!  i was so cranky with the sun in my face that the $13 hat was money well spent even though i definitely do not need any more baseball hats.  target also had an awesome cartwheel for 25% off shoes, clothing, jewelry, scarves, belts, socks, etc and since it worked on clearance items, i ended up getting a clearance necklace and scarf both for less than $4.  are you cartwheeling yet?  i absolutely love the savings i get from it!

{what came in}

item purchased $ paid original
gap straight piped pants - navy 21.59 59.95
old navy striped hooded pullover 12.75 24.94
gap 1969 real straight jeans 16.78 69.95
j crew factory eyelet peasant top - rose (26.24) ppal 79.50
j crew factory colorblock baseball tee (22.13) ppal 39.50
*bra ppal 38
*bra ppal 34
*bra ppal 38
*shapewear ppal 6.94
*underwear 6.17 6.50
*underwear 9 10.94
old navy tie-front sleeveless shirt - white 8.38 22.94
*i like you "likers gonna like" t-shirt 13.33 20
*simonson's jewelry bead cluster necklace 8 8
*simonson's jewerly mint green bead necklace 6 6
the current "great music lives here" baseball hat 13.50 15
target three flower cluster gold/white necklace 3.88 16.99
merona navy diamond printed scarf 3.19 14.99
all pro 7 pack athletic socks 7.84 11
MN twins dozier deck t-shirt (free with tix) 0 0


*not pictured

{what went out}

you'll also have to take my word for it that i did get rid of an appropriate number of old bras, underwear, and socks!

looking ahead to the rest of the year, i'd like to focus on spending less.  i know this is such a cliche statement for someone to make who enjoys fashion and shopping as one of her main hobbies, but it just has not been enjoyable lately.  i mean, half the purchases i made this month were underwear and socks - a necessity, sure, but how fun is that?!  i have so many clothes in my closet that don't fit right, and two pairs of jeans i ordered from old navy this month in the exact style & size of jeans i already own didn't fit.  sure, it may not be me... it may be the way those particular jeans were manufactured, but it's frustrating when clothes don't fit properly and feeds into the discouragement i already have about my weight.  so, i'm making the choice of not thrifting and if i do get lured into any online purchases (like using that gapcash & old navy supercash that will be eligible to redeem soon...), i'll try to purchase items i know i need (ex: short sleeved blouses) and in a style that will work for me regardless of how my weight fluctuates in either direction ("forgiving" tops and looser arm sleeves seems to be what i need right now).

thanks for visiting!  linking up again with fran.

27 August 2014

chunky necklace.


loft scalloped ruffle sweater   ·   merona doubleweave skirt
fioni carissa flats   ·   simonson's jewelry necklace

i had a really fun time at the minnesota state fair monday and i have plans to go back again next weekend  before it wraps up. one dose of fried pickles just isn't enough for me!  i also may need to stop by my favorite jewelry vendor again and grab a other necklace or two. i bought the necklace i'm wearing today from them (i couldn't resist the colorful chunky beads that will be fun to build outfits around) but there were a couple others i had my eye on. last year i bought this necklace and this one. i always enjoy supporting local merchants and this jewelry vendor has become one of my favorite ones to check out at our state fair.  thanks for visiting!

get the look:  similar sweater / exact skirt / similar flats / similar necklace

26 August 2014

book review: one + one

one + one by jojo moyes

i'm back with another review of a jojo moyes book, this time of her newest novel one + one.  i was excited, yet apprehensive to read another one of her books based on the reaction i had after reading me before you {find that review here}.  i am happy to say this one left with me with nearly as much emotion -  minus the tears.

ed is a software developer, and in in a series of poor choices he finds himself in the middle of a legal dispute for insider trading at his own company.  jess is a single mother of a quirky daughter who excels at math and a misunderstood, bullied step-son.  jess can barely make ends meet for her family from housecleaning jobs and bar-tending at the local pub.  when ed and jess's lives intersect, they find they both may be able to help one another fit together the pieces of their broken lives to create something entirely new and amazing.

i loved the characters in this book.  i felt like i really understood jess's struggles, the personalities of her kids, and how well-intentioned ed was.  i think this was accomplished as the author chose to alternate the focus of a different character each chapter.  i've noticed more novels i read use this form of storytelling, but i found jojo moyes did it in a unique way by keeping the third person voice throughout the novel while still alternating the spotlight to each character.  and even though you assume the primary focus of the book is on the adult characters, the book would have gone nowhere without the addition of the two younger ones.

have you read any of jojo moyes' novels?  i'm off to add more to my reading queue!