Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hello Again - Recent Purchases

 Sweater: Express (similar)
Tee: Express 
Necklace: Express
Pants: Old Navy (exact)
Belt: old
Boots: Tory Burch (exact)

I'm back! It was nice to take a little break. During winter I find it almost impossible to get pictures taken. The days are shorter and my kids have activities 6 out of 7 days. We're just so dang busy (but that is a good thing). As you can see, these are phone pictures but I wanted to share a few new things with you and not wait for sunlight and an available photographer. On the subject of available photographers, I use my family. Yes, I have friends that could help but they are also extremely busy. And yes, I could use a tripod but I live in a smallish town and people would notice  :-)

Express Marled sweater - I wanted this sweater earlier this fall and they never had my size. I walked into Express last week and there was one in my size on the clearance rack! Yay! I love it so much and it is so warm. I've worn it 4 times since last week. I am also wearing my new Tory Burch "Derby" riding boot. I was able to score these brand new and in the box from eBay for half the retail price. I've always wanted Tory boots but could never bring myself to pay full price.

Loft tunic - When I saw this on-line I wanted it because of the color and it's longer. Loft has always run big and I typically take an extra small.  The regular xs wasn't available so I ordered a petite xs. When it arrived, I took it out of the package and didn't even try it on. It looked like it would fit my 9 year old daughter. I returned and ordered the regular small which I am wearing here. Much better. It is actually tunic length. It is the Lou and Grey line which from what I've seen in reviews, runs a little smaller than the Loft sizes. Good to know for future.  

 Sweater: Loft (exact)
Pants: Old Navy (exact)
Boots: Tory Burch (exact)
Necklace: Loft (exact)

Banana Republic Mixed-Stitch High/Low Sweater - Have you noticed a theme here? I live in sweaters from December through March (at least!). Even though I don't mind winter, I don't like being cold and I love cute sweaters. Banana Republic killed it this year with their sweater collection. I wanted one of everything. And how about the boots?  I was looking for a thicker heeled tall brown boot but didn't want to spend too much as I know these won't get as much wear as a flat boot. I found these brand new Zara boots last week on eBay. Again, half off retail and in the box. I looooove them. They are even better in person and pretty comfy too.

Sweater: Banana Republic (exact)
Jeans: Old Navy (exact)
Necklace: super old
Boots: Zara (similar)

Banana Republic Mixed-Stitch Turtleneck Sweater - I actually have this sweater in two colors. This cobalt and pink strawberry. If it gets marked down more, I may get another color. If you don't have this sweater and have real winter, order this now. It comes in tons of colors and is so warm and comfy. And I finally found some gray jeans. The Old Navy Rockstar is getting better and better. I am wearing a distressed pair in the last outfit too. You can't beat the price and the fit works for my pear-ish shape really well.

Sweater: Banana Republic (exact)
Tank: Target
Jeans: Old Navy 
Necklace: old
Booties: old

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Black White Red

Jacket: Express (exact)
Shirt: Old Navy (similar)
Scarf: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: Express (exact)
Purse: Kate Spade Outlet (similar)
Sunglasses: Target 
Earrings: Loft (exact)
Shoes: Forever 21 (exact)

This is from last month when we had that spell of warm winter temperatures.  Our grass does not look like this any more. In fact, we have about 2 inches of snow on the ground and we're supposed to get more tonight. The kids are hoping for a snow day but we aren't supposed to get that much. 

Unfortunately, I can't wear sock-less shoes or my (minus the) leather jackets until spring. Now it's sweaters, boots, coats, and hats. I do have some new sweaters and boots which I'm excited about. That is the best part of winter (in my opinion).    

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Friday, January 8, 2016

My Recent Favorite Books

I have always loved reading and there is nothing like getting immersed in a book that you just can't put down. Over this past fall, I started reading a lot. Like a book every week. I'm to the point where I worry that I won't have a book to read when I finish my current one, so have been stockpiling. My mom, sister, and a good friend all enjoy reading as much as I do, so we exchange our favorites. I also order a lot from Amazon. When I do, I try to wait until the book is in paperback to save a few buck (mass market paperback is even cheaper). Note that I did go through a phase where I downloaded books to my iPad Kindle, but you can't share when you're done! I also joined Goodreads last fall. This has helped me to pare down my book choices. I only pick books that are at rated at least 3.5 or higher (out of 5). My goal for 2016 is to read at least 50 books. I'm already 3 down. I'm thinking of increasing it to 75...

I thought that I would share some of my recent favorites. Some of these books may have been published more than recently, but they are "new to me." I tend to lean more towards suspense/thrilller
  1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman:  There is something out there that once a person sees it, they commit unspeakable acts of violence and then suicide. No one knows what it is people are seeing or where it came from. This tells the story of Malorie by going back and forth between the time she hid out in a house with a handful of other survivors and when she takes her two young children downriver on a journey to possible safety (completely blindfolded!). This book was very suspenseful and fast moving. I just finished this one toady after starting it last night. It's a mix of suspense, science fiction, and a little bit of horror. It sounds weird, but trust me, it's good. Also, the author is from Michigan and gave a few shout-outs to the UP! 
  2. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm: This was another one that I read in a day. It tells the story of a group of childhood friends that try to pull of a robbery from a local museum and the consequences. It goes back and forth between their childhood and present day. You don't really know what happened until the very end. I also liked that part of the story is set in Paris.
  3. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand:  Hilderbrand has written many books and I have read only a handful, but this one is great. A mother, her two daughters, and her sister spend an isolated few weeks on an island off of Nantucket. It's told from the perspective of each woman and like all Hilderbrand books, there's drama and secrets that are revealed as the book goes on. My mom and sister both read this and also liked it.  
  4. Wreckage by Emily Bleeker: Lillian is in a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. She survives the wreck and makes it to a deserted island along with others from the crash but they aren't rescued for another 2 years. While on the island, she falls in love even though she has a husband back home. Lillian wants to finally tell her story to the world but will she tell the truth? I liked this one so much that I bought it for both my mom and mother in-law for Christmas.
  5. Me Before You and
  6. After You by JoJo Moyes: Both of these books are so good. Everyone I talk to really likes these books. Me Before You tells the story of a young woman, Lou, hired to be the companion to a recently paralyzed quadriplegic, Will. The second book follows Lou after that job. That's all I can really say as I don't want to reveal too much. I didn't think I would like these books as much as I did
  7. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter: This was one of those "if you read Gone Girl, you'll like this." It follows two sisters as they unwittingly find themselves solving the cold case murder of their sister from years ago. There are many twists and turns and the group involved in  her murder are into some pretty sick s**t.
  8. Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson:  I am always a sucker for the amnesia thriller and this one does not disappoint. Due to a violent attack Christine wakes up every morning and doesn't remember the last 20 years of her life. She doesn't know her husband or the life they've had together during this time. She works with a doctor to record each day in a diary and then read it every morning to help her possibly remember her attack and anything about her husband. Christine soon starts to realize that many things aren't as they seem. If you saw the movie with Nicole Kidman, you should still read this book. Of course, the book is better.
  9. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica: Heidi takes in a girl she sees on the street, Willow, and Willow's baby. Soon, it becomes apparent that Willow is lying about who she really is and may be dangerous but can Heidi just kick out this poor girl and her baby? And because I like a good guessing game, there are twists and turns. There were a few that I actually didn't see coming.
  10. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll: This was another one from "if you read Gone Girl, you'll like this."  I know this is on many "best of 2015" lists, but I had to include it. Ani is perfect is every way - her looks, job, apartment, fiancĂ© - but something happened to her many years ago that comes back to haunt her. Will she finally reveal the truth and possibly lose everything?
  11. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. Guess what? Another suspense guessing game. Riley spent her whole life thinking her sister died in an accident but finds out she's really alive. Can she find her and uncover the truth?
  12. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian: This one takes a little while to read, but it is worth it. It keeps you guessing up until the very end. It's set in 1981 and tells the story of a midwife in rural Vermont, Sybil. Sybil had to perform an emergency C-section one night and the mother dies. She's charged with murder. It's told from the perspective of Sybil's daughter and follows the trial.
I hope this list inspires. Let me know if you've read any of these and if you have any other suggestions.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Suede Wedge Boots - 2 Ways

Sweater: Old Navy (exact, different colors)
Jeans: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Necklace: Express (another cute longer option)
Boots: Sole Society (exact)
Scarf: Poshmark

Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: Loft (similar)
Sweater: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Scarf: Ann Taylor (similar)
Bracelet: eBay
Boots: Sole Society (exact)
My 2016 goals are a bit slow to start!  But I have a pretty good excuse as my computer wasn't cooperating this week. I do have an iPad, but I find very difficult to download and edit photos, write posts, and comment on other blogs on the iPad. Does anyone else have success with the iPad for these things?
At least I am meeting one goal for 2016 - here is a "# of ways to wear".  I am kind of cheating because I had a backlog of outfit photos and two sets included these suede wedge boots. Whatever works., right?

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Monday, January 4, 2016

New Balance | Back to the Grind

Coat: Forever 21 (similar) (exact)
Sweater: Old Navy (similar)
Scarf: Gap (similar)
Pants: Old Navy (exact)
Shoes: New Balance via DSW (similar)
Earrings: Loft (similar)

Winter has finally arrived. We had our first "sticking" snowfall today and are supposed to get more overnight. The kids are hoping for a snow day, but we are too far south below the Lake Erie snow belt to really be affected. And yes, that flaky white stuff in the pictures is snow.

I bought these New Balance retro sneakers a few months ago. I have worn them tons but they look best without socks. With the colder weather, I think I  may need to retire them because I don't love cold ankles. They are fun though.

As I type this, I am also trying to convince Laila that she needs to go to bed. It is so hard to argue with her since she's been up so late for the last two weeks. Ideally we should have gradually put the kids to bed a bit earlier each night over the last few days, but that's no fun. We've had sleepover friends each night since last Thursday. Oh well, it's all good.

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