Recent Hits and Misses

Over Thanksgiving weekend I made several Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases and promised to follow up with what worked and what didn't. I was honestly hoping that a lot pieces wouldn't work out so it would make my decisions easier and bring my budget back in check. That's more or less how it went down, so here's a breakdown on the pieces with my thoughts on the items.

 Nordstrom (Currently Sold Out)| Nordstrom Rack Suede | Rack Draped Jacket 

Other Items Displayed Above:
Tee: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Shoes: Nordstrom | Necklace: Express (Similar) |

Returned: I returned Jacket One and Two. Initially I liked jacket one, but once I got jacket three I thought that was a little more flattering and a better choice than #1. Jacket Two was just cheap and awful in person. Thin, papery fabric, itchy seams, and flimsy all over. It's draped for the photo but in reality I couldn't walk two steps and have it stay that way.

Kept (for now): Jacket Three was my favorite of these and I don't have any complaints about it. I say I'm keeping it "for now" because I haven't worn it yet and I'm still thinking about whether I want to hold out for a jacket with a lighter shade of grey like I originally wanted (if I can find one!). If it had the color of Jacket One with this fit it would be perfect.

Sweaters:  Olive | Stripes | Pink
All Items Displayed Above:
ONE: Sweater: Express | Jeans: Express | Booties: Express
TWO: Sweater: Express | Jeans: Express | Booties: Old Navy
THREE: Sweater: Express | Cami: Target | Jeans: Express | Booties: Express

Returned: All three sweaters. Here's a little explanation on why I returned each one:

1. Sweater One (Olive) was just too cropped for my liking. I don't want to worry that my stomach will show when I lift my arms. It will also show my bra straps (or cami straps if I wore one to keep my stomach covered) at the shoulder and I just didn't want all that fuss.

2. Sweater Two (stripes) was too skin tight. Reviews said it runs small and they aren't exaggerating. I'm wearing a size XS in the Olive and Pink sweater, but I sized up to a Small for the striped sweater and it's still way too tight for my liking.

3. Sweater Three: This was cute and really comfy, but just looking at the pictures I didn't feel like it was the most flattering on me. I've also seen this on quite a few bloggers lately and each of them have a bit more trendy style than I do, so I just felt like this just wasn't quite "me." 


All Items Displayed Above:
ONE: Sweater: Macy's | Jeans: Express | Boots: Amazon | Necklace: Amazon
TWOSweater: Macy'sJeans: ExpressBoots: Amazon | Necklace: Amazon
THREE: Tee: Macy's | Jeans: Express | Boots: Express | Necklace: Express

Returned: Sweater One and Two. Sweater is an overstatement with these tops...they're really more like scratchy t-shirts. I really like how they look in the pictures, but the quality was lower than items I've purchased at Target so that was quite disappointing. They ran a bit small (I think they look okay in these pictures but they were very snug under the arms) and I would have been tempted to size up and try again since I liked the overall look, but the fact that they were so thin and uncomfortable was a deal breaker. I will probably avoid buying anything from this particular line again (Maison Jules) based on this experience.

Kept: Just a basic, fitted-but-not-tight striped top for layering with jackets, etc. It was only $10 during the sales so it was worth keeping. This is from the same line as the sweaters, so maybe I won't write it off entirely but proceed with caution and purchase only when I can get something at Target pricing.

Kendra Scott Stella Dot Favorites

Returned: The Kendra Scott Station Necklace (center necklace on the mannequin). The gold on this "gold" station necklace was very pale and washed out. I've had this happen quite a few times with Kendra pieces and it's always a disappointment. I am sure I can find a similar style of necklace for even less than the sale price of this that will have a true gold color, so this wasn't worth keeping.

Kept (for now): I kept and loved everything else. My only hesitation is with the pendant necklace (far left). I've tried it on with a couple of outfits and it didn't really complete the look the way I wanted. I will give it a few more tries before I think about returning because I really do like the look and style. But just like with the station necklace (or any Kendra piece really), for the price it really needs to be exactly what I want and functional with my wardrobe.

I also purchased this Glitter Clutch:

I am keeping this although I haven't had a chance to use it and it's currently 30% off if you have your eyes on it. So far my desire to attend holiday parties exceeds my need for glittery holiday attire this season. But I'm 100% prepared if that changes! I also don't plan to limit using this just to the holiday season, so yeah...keeping it!

* * *
So there you have it! Not exactly my most successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday in terms of finding great new items at great prices. Hope you all had better luck than I did!

Linking up with:


Holiday Red-y

For the next two weeks I'm teaming up with a group of my favorite bloggers to share some holiday style inspiration. This week, the five of us are talking all about how we style red. I joke a lot about how I only wear read for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and the 4th of July because I do tend to think of it as a bold and festive color. In and of itself I love the color red, but it's one I find challenging to style (more on that in this this post).

The easiest way for me to work red into my wardrobe is with a handbag, so I'm pretty sure the #1 red piece I'll be using this holiday season is my little red crossbody bag from Express. I just wore it with this exact outfit to a the opening party of a local photography studio recently:
Sweater: Express | Bralette: Express (Similar) | Necklace: Express (Similar) | Skirt: Express (Similar) | Boots: Amazon | Bracelet: Express (Exact style, my color sold out) | Red Crossbody: Express (Similar)

Shop the Look:

My exact bag is a couple of years old but there are plenty of current options available. All of the bags below are from Amazon and under $30, which is perfect when you don't want to break the bank to give your outfit a holiday look. Option One is most similar in size and shape to mine, although if I were to get a new one this year I'd probably go with two or three for a little more space.

Holiday Red-y Handbags
Top Row: One | Two | Three 
Bottom Row: Four | Five

I tend to have more casual vs. formal gatherings during the holidays, and I can easily take most of the outfit pieces above and put them to work in an outfit that has a slightly more casual feel:

Sweater: Express | Bralette: Express (Similar) | Jeans: ExpressNecklace: Express (Similar) |Bracelet: Express (Exact style, my color sold out) | Red Crossbody: Express (Similar) | Shoes: Amazon

Shop the Look:

Last but not least, I wanted to show an outfit with the red bag and some of my closet staples. If you've followed me for awhile you know the white Barcelona Cami is my number one Closet Staples. I wasn't entirely sold on grey jeans as a staple when I first bought them (read about the top three ways to style them here), but they definitely are one for me now! And pretty much every wardrobe "must have" list includes a black blazer! I rarely agree with those lists 100% but the black blazer is one piece I won't dispute.
Blazer: Express | Cami: Express | Jeans: Express | Bracelet: Express (Similar)| Red Crossbody: Express (Similar) | Shoes: Amazon | Necklace: Amazon

Shop the Look:

Admittedly, none of my looks scream HOLIDAYS, but that's what suits me because I'm not really the most festive person anyway! I like just a touch of festive so I don't have to purchase a lot of pieces that only work one month of the year and then store them the other eleven months.  I talked about faking Fall style for my warm climate here, and I guess I do the same thing with faking festive style. I guess I'll have to start using #FakingFestive on Instagram!

Here's the front view of each of these outfits:

To see how each of the ladies in this collaboration are styling red this holiday season, stop by their blogs using the links below this image or to make your way through each blog in the series head Pinksole next!

Linking up with:


What's New December

Every month I like to do a little catching up on all of the products, music, books, movies, etc. that I'm enjoying that don't usually find their way into regular outfit posts. So today I'm joining "What's New With You" to share just that!

What I'm reading:
November was an emotional month and I was in the mood for easy, emotional, girly reads. I also traveled to/from my Dad's funeral which gave me a lot of time to read on the airplane, so I got through way more than my average two books this month!

Image via: Colleen Hoover

Enter Colleen Hoover, who is my go-to for exactly that type of book. I stared the month with November 9 zipped through it and finished it before November 9. Then I read It Ends With UsConfess, and Ugly Love. I liked all of them but my favorites were November 9  and It Ends With Us.

I'm currently reading: The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
available on Amazon

Yep, that's the Twilight author back at it. I was struggling to get into it and follow along because there are a lot of vague references to people I don't understand. But around 10% the narrative changed into something I could follow more clearly. Now I'm at 13% and intrigued, so we'll see how the rest of it goes!

What I'm listening to:
I use Google Play Music/Google All Access (that's the family share plan we use) and I've been enjoying the station "Pop Before it Breaks." I've found some good new artists and tunes thanks to that station. I'm also loving the Hamilton Soundtrack. I've been listening to it with my kids (with some editing for language and content) and it's been kind of a fun way for us to learn more about American History and the American Revolution. After we hear certain song lines we'll Google the character/event to learn more or check for accuracy.

What I'm Watching:
Now that Dancing with the Stars is over, I'm not really watching any TV shows. On Thanksgiving we were pretty bored after eating and ended up watching a marathon of The Carbonaro Effect. It was entertaining and a good family-friendly option.

What I'm Eating:
Carylee mentioned how much she loved this jerky from Lorissa's kitchen a few months ago on her Snapchat so naturally I had to try it. It's so good! It's softer than most jerky and this flavor is a nice balance of sweet and spicy. I haven't tried any of the other flavors because it's not exactly cheap and I'm afraid to mess with a good thing!
Available at Target

What Else is New:
I shared these on my Instagram story this month but in case you missed it, I am really loving my new mouse pad. I was originally planning to get something basic, but I stumbled on the cat on the unicorn option below and the rest is history. I ended up letting my kids choose new options too and they got the other two on the top row.  There were quite a few ridiculous options so it was kind of hard to choose. I can easily see some of the other options making good holiday gifts for people I know who share a quirky sense of humor.
Mouse Pad Humor
Top Row: One | Two | Three
Bottom Row: Four | Five | Six

Top Outfits of the November:
Every month I review my top four most-liked outfits of the month so I can see what people like from me as a blogger (or not!) and how well that aligns with what I like. So here are my November top four:

Tee: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o Fossil | Nails: Essie Model Clicks | Necklace: LOFT (Similar) | Ring: Rebecca Minkoff (Gift)

Jacket: Nordstrom | Cami: Express (Current Version) | Jeans: ExpressNecklace: Kendra Scott | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks | Bag: Amazon | Booties: Amazon

Jacket: Express | Tank: Target (Similar) | Jeans: Express | Choker: Amazon | Bag: Danielle Nicole (Similar) | Shoes: Amazon | Nails: Essie Model Clicks

Top: Express (Similar, Same Print with Lace Front) | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Sole Society | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Watch: Fossil | Bag: Amazon | Ring: Nordstrom | Nails: Essie Model Clicks

Front View:
Individual front view outfits here

So that's what's going on around here this month! In other "what's new" news, my Black Friday orders are rolling in and I am gradually trying things on and making some decisions about what to keep vs. return. I may not have a typical Friday post up tomorrow since I want to get all that taken care of ASAP. I'll try to post some reviews and updates here if there are any surprises that might be helpful to others. Thanks for reading!

Linking up with:


Outfit Recap: 11/29/16

After all the craziness of Black Friday/Cyber Monday I'm in the mood to keep it simple here today.  As usual I'm joining Lindsey for "What I Wore Wednesday" so here's a quick recap of outfits I've worn recently.

Sweater: LOFT (Similar) | Faux Leather Leggings: Express | Tank: Target (Maternity for length) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Shoes: Express (Similar) | Bag: Amazon (Exact style, studded option sold out)

Shop the Look:

Tee: Express (Current) | Jeans: Express | Booties: Amazon | Bag: Amazon (Exact color sold out)| Watch: Fossil | Short Necklace: Jewelry | Long Necklace: Stella & Dot | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift)

Shop the Look:


Jacket: Maurice's (Similar) | Tank: Target (Maternity for length) | Leggings: Express | Necklace: Express (Similar) | Boots: Amazon (my color sold out, Similar Color/Style) | Bag: Amazon

Shop the Look:


Grey Sweater: Express (Similar) | Black Cami: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Express | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Watch: Fossil | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks | Ring: Stella & Dot (Gift) | Bag: Amazon

Shop the Look:

Front View:
Individual Front View Outfits found here.

Well, that's about as basic as it gets but that's all I have today! I do want to say a quick thank you to all the bloggers that joined our Black Friday Link-Up and congrats to Natasha who won the Nordstrom Gift Card Prize! Tomorrow I'll be joining Kristen and Gretchen for "What's New With You" to chat about some of the non-outfit stuff I've been into like books, movies, music, etc. so be sure to check back tomorrow if you're into that sort of thing!

Linking up with:


Cyber Monday: Staples and Purchases

Is it just me or were the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales this year bigger and better than ever? I admittedly spent more than I planned because the deals were impossible pass up. But I'm also pretty sure that a lot of things I ordered won't work out and I'm better off deciding what to keep vs. return once I try it all in person. I shared my Express Sale purchases in this post and today I wanted to share some of my personal favorites and purchases from other retailers before the prices go back up.

Nordstrom & Kendra Scott Staples on Sale:

Kendra Scott currently has 20% off the entire site through today with the code SALE20, and Nordstrom is price matching! So pick your favorite retailer and happy shopping on some pieces that don't go on sale very often. My two favorite necklaces that I own in multiple colors are the Rayne necklace (shown below with the grey tee) and the Elisa pendant (the shorter necklace shown with the burgundy tee). On top of that, this t-shirt from Nordstrom is also on sale at Nordstrom (under $17) through today! I have it in grey, white and burgundy and just ordered Blush and Black thanks to the sale.
Tee: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express (50% off today) | Necklace: Nordstrom  | Watch: Fossil | Hat: Forever 21 (Similar) | Watch: Fossil | Shoes: Amazon

Here's another outfit with the V Neck Tee and Elisa Pendant:
Tee: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Short Necklace: Nordstrom (My exact color sold out, closest option in my opinion is Brown Pearl) | Long Necklace: Express | Watch: c/o Fossil | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: Tory Burch (Option)

It's really hard to choose a color for these, especially if it's your first purchase, so for what it's worth, my very most-used Elisa pendant is the Platinum Druzy. The mixed metal look really makes it go with everything. After glancing through my Instagram feed, my most-used Rayne necklace is Maroon Jade followed by Magenta.

Here's the front view for these outfits plus two more outfits featuring these closet staples:

Outfits One & Two: Details directly above this image

Outfit Three
Tee: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Forever 21 (Similar) | Bag: Tory Burch (Option) | Short Necklace: Nordstrom "Magenta" | Long Necklace: Express

Outfit Four:
Grey Sweater: Express | Cami: Express | Necklace: Nordstrom (Maroon Jade) | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Express (Similar)

Jewelry Purchases
Kendra Scott and Stella & Dot are a couple of my jewelry favorites and they both had really great sales for Black Friday. Kendra's runs through today but I'm not sure yet if the Stella & Dot pieces will still be on sale today. Regardless, I particularly wanted to add some mixed metal necklaces and earrings to my jewelry collection (I talked about my accessorizing strategies and reasons for loving mixed metals in this post) along with some classic looking styles:

Kendra Scott Stella Dot Favorites

Clothing Purchases
As mentioned above, you can find my full list of Express purchases here and try-ons of the pieces that already arrived (ShopRunner shipping for the win!) here. I was on a mission to get a light grey moto jacket during the sales, and I ordered three candidates. I don't intend to keep all three of them but I do need to compare them in person to decide. The jackets from Nordstrom Rack (the first two below) aren't on sale but are reasonably priced (under $70), and the Nordstrom option is still on sale through today.

Grey Moto Jacket Options

I haven't tried or even seen any of these in person yet so I can't offer any other helpful info on them. But I love seeing what other people order during the sales so I'm sharing my choices anyway for those who like to know. I'm also hoping fit and quality will make the decision easy for me when I get all three in my hands because I definitely cannot justify keeping all of them!

I also ordered several tops at Macy's (first three) and Nordstrom:
Black Friday 2016 purchases
Black/Buffalo Plaid Top  | Grey/Black/White | Striped Tee | Grey Sweater (sold out in most sizes)

I don't own any layered tops like the two I purchased but I love the concept so I'm hoping they work out for me since I'm not too familiar with the fit, sizing or quality of the brand.

That does it for me! I will be doing quite a lot of returns in the coming weeks and hopefully not too many purchases because my bank account needs a break. Hope you all had some shopping success over the holiday as well!

Linking up with:


50% Off Sale Extended: New Item Try-Ons

Happy Saturday everyone! I received a few of my Express Black Friday purchases yesterday and tried them all on so I wanted to quickly share some pics and reviews today since the big 50% off sale has been extended!

Here are the four tops I received:
1. Black Sweater | 2. Olive Sweater | 3. Blush Sweater  | 4. Slim Fit Portofino
(Details for each outfit below)

1. Black Fitted Sweater
Worn above with Express Bralette (Similar) & Mini Skirt (Similar), Target Tights, Booties from Amazon.

I have always loved the Mila Kunis outfit below (or at least since 2013 when I created that graphic!) and I have a couple of sequin mini skirts in my closet from years past, but I didn't have the right top to wear with them for this look. I wanted to have one on hand for parties and events in the next month and as a warmer layer under my jackets for casual looks. This sweater is true to size but definitely fitted and also requires a cami or bralette (as shown above) because it's a very deep V neck. The sweater is a keeper for me though because it's exactly what I wanted for this look.

Mila Kunis inspired sequin mini skirt outfit
(Items featured in this image are from Express in 2013)

Worn above with Express jeans and booties.

I loved this sweater after seeing it on Caryl, but I wasn't too sure about the length because on the model it's so cropped it doesn't even cover her waistband. It's longer on me than the model, but shorter on me than on Caryl, so I guess torso length is a big factor in the fit. Aside from that, it's really cute and comfortable in person but I haven't 100% decided if I'm comfortable with the shorter length or if it will make me self conscious lifting my arms, etc.

3Blush Sweater
Worn above with Express jeans and booties.

This is another new-to-me style. The v-neck is definitely much deeper on me than on the model and if I keep it, I'll have to wear a cami (as shown). The distressing on the sweater is subtle and not too sheer, so that doesn't bother me. It's very comfy and cozy, but quite oversized and a little bulky. Once again, I'm a little on the fence with this piece on myself, but overall if it's a style you like there aren't any real surprises with this except the deeper v-neck.

4. Slim Fit Portofino
Worn above with Express jeans and booties.

This is my first time trying the Slim Fit Portofino. (More outfits and details for the Original Fit version here). The fit on this was just okay for me. It's not drastically different than the original fit, but the slimmer fit made it tighter though the bust and restricted arm movement a little more, which I didn't really like. For this particular color (Thornberry) I didn't find the color representation to be totally accurate on the website either. It ended up being too similar to a color I already own, so this one is going back. For reference here are side-by-side photos of the stock image vs. real life, as well as side-by-sides of the Original Fit vs. Slim Fit.

Slim Fit (#1 and #3) vs. Original Fit (#2 and #4) untucked and front-tucked:
Slim Fit Portofino in Thornberry | Original Fit Portofino in Berry | Jeans | Booties

If you've been thinking about purchasing any of these items during the sale I hope that gives you a little more insight! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!