8/16/17

Burgundy Top Outfit Ideas

11 comments |
There's no denying that summer is starting to wind down, even though we technically have another month to go. Around here the days haven't been quite as hot as they were in July, and I've even seen a few leaves showing some hints of different colors. I'm also starting to bring some hints of fall color into my wardrobe, like this burgundy cold shoulder top that works easily for summer with jean shorts, and can also transition to fall with in a few different ways that I'll share below.

Top: c/o Romwe | Shorts: Nordstrom Rack (Similar, More Sizes) | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks [Get 10% off with code: onthedailyx]

This top is $9 and comes in sizes Small-XL. It also comes in black if that color suits your tastes a little better. I'm wearing a Small here and I do think it runs true to size. The bottom had more of a swingy, flowy fit than I expected based on how it looked on the model, but I still ended up liking it because it's so soft, stretchy, and comfortable. I wore it with a front tuck with my shorts so it didn't hide them entirely, but I liked it better untucked with jeans (see below).

I am also really loving this ring handle bag! It's just the right size for me, but if you like a little bigger or smaller, there are several other bigger and smaller options in the product listing, as well as a bunch of other color options. (And all of them are $35 or less!)

I also ordered this small crossbody designer dupe, but ended up returning it because it was just too small for my everyday stuff. However if you're in the market for something small for just your phone, lipstick and keys, this is under $30, really cute, and also comes in black and white.


Front View:
Top: c/o Romwe | Shorts: Nordstrom Rack (Similar, More Sizes) | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks [Get 10% off with code: onthedailyx]

I also tested out my plan for wearing this in the fall by trying it on with some different pants, shoes and bags to make for easy reference in the future. I really wanted to wear my leopard wedge pumps in outfit two but I can't seem to find them. I really hope I didn't donate them during Spring cleaning!

Left:
Top: c/o Romwe | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o Amazon

Middle
Top: c/o RomweJeans: Express | Shoes: Sam Edelman (Similar) | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bag: c/o Amazon

Right:
Top: c/o RomweJeans: Express | Shoes: Lucky Brand (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra ScottBag: Amazon

I rounded up a few different styles and price points of tops in this color family since I felt like going the extra mile today!
1. Shop Cami NYC Tops (The Racer Shown)
2. Shop Free People Tops (Laguna Thermal Shown)
3. Express Top
4. Abercrombie Top
5. Budget Swing Cami $11
6. Budget Bell Sleeve Top $20

I ordered #5 for myself after putting this post together since I think it will be great for layering with jackets, cardigans, or just by itself for the next month or so!

That's all from me today. If you have a blog I hope you'll link up your latest style post below and I'll see you back on Friday!


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The Blended Blog | JillCarrie
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8/14/17

Favorite Jeans Under $50

14 comments |
I haven't done a round-up of my favorite Express jeans in quite awhile, and now seems like the right time to do it since I have a couple of new favorites to share and they're all currently 40% off. My favorites are all under $50 right now, so it's a great time to stock up for fall.  All of the jeans I'm wearing below ran true to size for me. I'm 5'4" and always prefer the Short Length.

Let's start with my two newest favorites:
Jeans: Express | Top: Abercrombie (True to Size) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks [Get 10% off with code: onthedailyx]

Top: c/o Romwe  (Wearing size Small) | Necklace: c/o Charming Charlie | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o Amazon | Bracelets: c/o Charmed Stacks [Get 10% off with code: onthedailyx]

Here's the front view of the two outfits above, along with several of my other favorite jeans that I've had for quite some time! They are definite closet staples and again, they all ran true to size for me. In the interest of time I am only linking current outfit pieces but I'll list the original brand or retailer in case you'd like to check their current selections for something similar.
 Jeans: One | Two | Three
LEFT:
Jeans: Express | Top: Abercrombie (True to Size) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks [Get 10% off with code: onthedailyx]

MIDDLE:
Top: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: c/o Charming Charlie |

RIGHT:
Cardigan: Gap | Jeans: Express | Cami: Express | Necklace: J Crew | Bag: Danielle Nicole

Jeans: One | Two | Three
LEFT:
Cardigan: Target | Top: Banana Republic | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Target | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Kendra Scott

MIDDLE:
Top: Charming Charlie | Jeans: Express | Shoes: c/o Amazon | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Stella & Dot

RIGHT:
Jacket: c/o SheIn | Tank: Target | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks

Jeans: One | Two | Three

LEFT:
Jacket: Target | Tee: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Lucky Brand | Bag: Tory Burch

MIDDLE:
Sweater: Abercrombie | Tee: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o Amazon | Necklace: Kendra Scott

RIGHT:
Jacket: c/o Amazon | Jeans: Express | Tee: Gap | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: Amazon | Shoes: c/o Amazon

I opted not to share my Monday Motivation thoughts today because it didn't really fit with the content of the sale and jeans round-up! Sorry to miss it two weeks in a row, but that's just the way it goes sometimes and hopefully next week I'll get back into it. It's our last full week of summer vacation here though, and to be honest my main motivation is just soaking it up and enjoying every last minute of the reduced-stress schedule before it's back to homework, projects, meetings with teachers, paperwork, volunteering and all of that stuff that piles up so quickly! It's been a great summer and I'm sad to see it end but content with feeling like we made the most of it!


Linking up with:
Monday: Rachelle | Carylee | Heather & Johanna  | Laura | Karen | ErikaAshley, | JoLynne 

8/12/17

Saturday Shopping:Brand Name vs Budget Buys

6 comments |
When I'm shopping for items for my own closet or similar items for blog posts, I often come across designer dupe items. Sometimes I get them for myself, and other times if it's in the budget I'll go for the brand name version because I want the higher quality. In either case, I find a lot more fun pieces than I can reasonably fit in my closet or afford! I don't always find the time to share them in my regular posting schedule so today I thought I'd share some weekend shopping inspiration and let you decide which items are worth the save or the splurge for yourself!

Handbags:

1. Shop Tory Burch Handbags -"Parker" Pink Quartz
2. Top Handle Budget Bag - $40
3. Shop Kara Handbags - Ring Pouch
4. Black Ring Budget Bag - $25
5. Shop Rebecca Minkoff Bags - "Small Love"
6. Pink Crossbody Budget Bag - $35

Clothing:
1. Shop MDS Stripes Brand - Silk Cotton Ruffle Top
2. Budget White Top w/ Black Trim $12
3. Shop Embroidered Jackets - Lonnie
4. Embroidered Budget Jacket $25
5. Shop Style Mafia - Locka

Jewelry:
1. Shop Kenneth Jay Lane - 3 Tier Ball Drop Earring
2. Budget Ball Drop Earrings - $11
3. Shop Oscar de la Renta Earrings - Classic Short Tassel Clip
4. Budget Earrings $22
5. Shop Kenneth Jay Lane - Double Band Ring Shown
6. Budget Pearl Ring - $7
7. Shop Shashi Earrings - Mia
8. Budget Earrings -$8

Shades & Shoes:

1. Shop Victoria Beckham Sunglasses - Kitten
2. Shop Budget Sunglasses - $10
3. Shop Alexander Wang Sandals - Abby
4. Budget Pearl Studded Sandals - $32

Thanks for so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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8/11/17

Cannon Beach + Astoria Oregon Travel Recap

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Last week I spent about five days on the Oregon Coast. I was primarily in Cannon Beach but we did drive up to Astoria for a day for some fun activities. The whole trip was planned as a family reunion for my husband's family (many of them live in the Portland area so Cannon Beach is just an easy 2 hour drive for them). We had a group of about 30 people ages 4 months to 76 years so it was a challenge to find activities that would suit everyone. Here's the breakdown of what we did, where we ate, what I packed, and all of the highlights of the trip!

Cannon Beach is filled with cute shops and beautiful flowers

DAY ONE:
This was mostly a travel day for us since we had to fly to Portland then drive the two hours to the coast. We also stopped at a Target near the airport in Portland to do a little grocery shopping for the week. Cannon Beach has lots of restaurants (although no chain restaurants or fast food at all) but only one small market for groceries, and we knew from past experience that it was a bit pricey with limited selection. Since we were staying at a place with a kitchen and planned to eat several meals at "home," we bought pantry items at Target and picked up perishables later at the local market.

Our family of four stayed at The Waves, and so did several other family members. It's a very convenient beachfront location in walking distance to all of the shops and restaurants in Cannon Beach. It has beautiful ocean views (depending on the room you get, of course), and clean, nice rooms. Some family members had rooms that were not as newly renovated and up-to-date as others, so if you want to stay there you may want to inquire about that to be sure you get something that suits your taste.
Looking up at The Waves from the beach

A couple of families who came to the reunion opted to rent a house through VRBO. They didn't mind being further from town so they could have a bigger space to share. They ended up loving the property they rented so that's another option for accommodations depending on your preferences.

After checking in to our room we got settled, did our grocery shopping at the market, and then it was time for our first campfire of the week!
Photo taken of our actual group via my nephew's drone camera

We had a campfire every night (for four nights) of the reunion and it was a great way to gather and visit, and enjoy the weather, scenery etc. Different families at the reunion were in charge of campfire each night so we took turns bringing the firewood, treats (S'mores mostly!), and planning games and activities. Every night was a little different so that kept it interesting. It also gets very chilly at night there! You'll see my campfire outfit below, and even with that I needed to sit very close to the fire to stay warm!

DAY TWO:
We kicked off day two with a hike at Ecola State Park

That was the view from the parking lot before we took off on the trail, and there were plenty more amazing views along the way!  We hiked the Clatsop Loop Trail:

I picked this trail because Oregon Hikers said it was "Easy" and "Family Friendly." Most of our group did not think it was especially easy! I think it depends on your hiking experience and fitness level. What was nice is that most of the trail was wide and clear (as you can see in the photo above), so there wasn't a lot of tricky, careful footing required. However you are hiking up hill for 1.5 hours, and that was a workout. Our youngest hiker was six years old and he did get tired and need quite a few breaks. But it was very doable for him so I agree with the family-friendly rating. All that said, we really did love the hike and I would absolutely recommend it to others and do it again myself if I have the chance. The views and scenery all throughout were beautiful, and the trees provided great sun protection so we didn't get hot or sunburned.

Several people in our group were not up for the hike, and many of them opted to go Crabbing at Kelly's Marina:
Kelly's Marina is about 30 minutes south of Cannon Beach. I did the hike so I didn't experience this, but the group who did it loved it. They went out in little boats to catch crabs, although you can also opt for fishing. Whatever they caught they brought back and ate for lunch! Next time I go to the Oregon Coast I think it would be fun to try this based on their experience.

Post-hike we ate lunch at Tom's Fish & Chips, then headed down to the beach to play.

We were there on the hottest days of the year so far (upper 80s for the first two days, then it cooled down to the 70s), and even still the water was pretty chilly! But the kids still had a blast playing in the sand and splashing in the waves.

At night it was campfire time again, and some of the group played frisbee and beach volleyball until it finally got too dark to play. At this time of year it didn't get too dark until 9 PM or so, which gave everyone plenty of play time.
Another aerial shot of the group playing volleyball and gathering at the campfire


DAY THREE:
For our third day we headed 30 minutes north of Cannon Beach to Astoria, Oregon. This Red Tricycle Article convinced me to head north and helped me plan all of our activities that day. We started off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
Image via TripAdvisor

The Columbia River Maritime Museum gets great reviews on TripAdvisor and while I don't think it was anyone's very favorite activity of the entire trip, it was enjoyable and educational. I do think it's worth the time and money if you happen to be in the area, and especially if you enjoy learning the history and culture of that area. They had lots of kid-friendly, interactive exhibits too so the kids (who were ages 8+ for this activity) didn't get bored or antsy.  There were other more static exhibits with a of reading required for those who wanted to learn as much as possible. The Yosegaki Hinomaru exhibit was very memorable for me and very touching!

After the museum we walked a few blocks to T. Paul's Urban Cafe and it was excellent! Very cute decor and delicious food. Right across the street from our lunch spot was A Gypsy's Whimsy Herbal Apochecary shop. They had signs inside asking you not to take pictures, so I didn't want to disrespect that, but it was so cool and quirky. I wouldn't take children under 8 in there though since there are so many breakable items.

Our last stop in Astoria was the Astoria Column, and this was one of my favorites of the trip.

See that door at the bottom of the column? You can enter there and climb a winding staircase all the way to the platform at the top. It really didn't look like much from a distance (or even driving up to it), but once you climb to the top and stand out on the platform the views are spectacular.

We talked about driving by the Goonies house (from the movie) after the Column, but some of the locals heard us discussing it and recommended that we not do it since the people who live there apparently get annoyed. I was one of the only ones who cared about seeing it, so that made the final decision easy.

Some of the families stopped at Seaside, OR on the way back from Astoria for arcade games, bumper cars, etc., but we opted to just get back to the room and relax a bit before the nightly campfire.

DAY FOUR:
The whole group met up again at Ecola State Park for family photos by Jessica Landrum. She's based out of Astoria and drove down to meet us for pictures. She did a great job working with a large group and I would highly recommend her. After pictures we had lunch at Fultano's Pizza. I'm not a huge pizza fan in general so I thought it was fine, but the people in our group who ordered the "Meatza" pizza really loved it.

Next up was the Cannon Beach Escape Room. This was my first time going to an Escape Room and I didn't love it. It's a themed room (ours was a pirate theme) that you get locked in with a group and you have to search for clues all over the room and piece them together to get yourself out of there in one hour or you fail the mission.

Part of the problem was it made me feel claustrophobic to be locked in a small room with nine people with no air conditioning and no ventilation. (Eventually the manager did have to open a door to give us some air.) The kids enjoyed it though, so that was good. I also heard from other family members who have done Escape Rooms in other towns that this was a more "bare bones" version. I'd consider doing it again in another town and preferably with a smaller group. There were four adults and five children in our group and it was a little too chaotic trying to keep track of who found what and where and so forth, so we didn't escape and had to "Walk the Plank!" (i.e. get our picture taken with a sign that said, "I walked the plank!")

Since we could only do The Escape Room in groups of ten, after my group went I had a little time to meet up with one of my Instagram friends, Kristi, who lives in Oregon. We met up at Bella Espresso, which had delicious drinks and picturesque outdoor seating, like a lot of places in Cannon Beach!.

We had so much fun chatting about all things life and Instagram. I know a lot of my blogger friends have connected with Kristi on Instagram as well and I'm excited for them to hopefully get to meet her too because she is just such a positive, grounded person and so fun to be around. I really wish we lived closer!

After meeting up with Kristi it was time for dinner and our last campfire of the trip!

DAY FIVE:
Day five was all about packing up, saying good-bye, and heading home. I did have the best Blueberry Muffin I've had in ages (maybe ever?) at Insomnia Coffee and I'll definitely be getting another one if we go back!

What I Packed + Wore:
I stayed with my tried-and-true t-shirts and jeans travel style for this trip. The only exception was that I packed a "nicer" top for family picture day, which was conveniently the same day I met up with Kristi so I at least got to look more presentable than hiking/beach day! These are not shown in the order I wore them, rather my "nicer outfits" vs. outdoorsy/casual.
ONE: (Airport and travel)
Cardigan: Target | Tee: Abercrombie | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie (Similar)

TWO: (Family pictures)
Top: Abercrombie (Similar) | Jeans: Express | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn

THREE: (Touring Astoria)
Top: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Necklace: Kendra Scott

FOUR: (Hiking + Beach)
Top: Express (Similar) | Shorts: Adidas | Shoes: New Balance, More Sizes | Hat: Target

FIVE: (Extra t-shirt for campfire and shorts for warm afternoons)
Tee: Nordstrom | Shorts: Target | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn

SIX: (Campfire)
Jacket: Express (Similar) | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Shoes: New Balance, More Sizes | Bag: c//o SheIn

All in all it was a really great trip and there's not much I would change about it! If you need a break from the summer heat and like to be near the ocean and mountains all in one place, the Oregon Coast is the place to go!


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8/9/17

Embroidered Shorts + Link Up

11 comments |
This year I've made it a point to break out of my fashion comfort zone a little bit more. I guess I've been inspired by all the books I've been reading about changing your life and being your best self! That's not to say that I think trying different fashion styles makes me a better person! But it has made me less afraid to try new things in general and that's a good thing! I have always admired the embroidered shorts that my blogger friend Rachelle wears (see her recent outfit here), so I decided to try the trend for myself before summer ends!

Jacket: Nordstrom | Tank: Target | Shorts: c/o Romwe (Only $8) | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bag: c/o Amazon | Bracelets: Charmed Stacks [for 10% off use code: onthedailyx]

These Shorts are "One Size" only, but I'm going to say they should fit sizes 00-4. That said, they're tight in the waist. Even though it's an elastic waistband, it's a snug one so if you tend to carry your weight in the middle you might find it too tight. But they have plenty of room in the legs and booty so pear shapes in that size range should have plenty of room.

I shared all of my sizing tips for shopping at places like Romwe and SheIn here, and I had to put a lot of them to use in determining if these would fit since they were "One Size" and didn't have any model or user photos. Thankfully they worked out because they really are a fun alternative to my usual jean shorts and chino shorts.

This Jacket runs true to size and is my favorite brand of denim jackets! (I also own a lighter version and a white version from this brand). I love the flattering cut, the stretch, and the not-heavy fabric. The front view photo below also gives a better look at some of the distressing on this jacket. You can also view my last outfit with it here. (Oops, I wore the same necklace with this jacket twice. So much for trying new things!)

Front View:
Jacket: Nordstrom | Tank: Target | Shorts: c/o Romwe ($8) | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Bag: c/o Amazon

Just a short and sweet outfit post today! If you need a good book to read this summer, I posted my my August Book Reviews yesterday and you can find them here. Other than that, if you're a blogger I hope you'll link up with us for our Wednesday "Style on the Daily" link-up and I'll see you back on Friday with another post!


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8/8/17

August Book Reviews 8/8/17

29 comments |
Welcome to my August Book Reviews! I had a lot of reading success this month, with only one book on this list that doesn't get a recommendation from me, so let's get on with the reviews!

August Books:

Fiction:

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
I chose this entirely because it was Reese Witherspoon's July Book Club selection and I thought it would be fun to read along with others and compare thoughts on the book. The story goes back and forth between a woman (Eve) who was a spy during World War I (roughly 1915-16) and another woman (Charlie) in the present day (1947 for this story) who is looking for a cousin she lost touch with during World War II. The two women cross paths in the present day as Charlie believes Eve could have information to help her find her cousin. Personally I was more interested in Eve's segments of the story (i.e. the flashback chapters with all of her experiences as a spy during World War I) than I was in Charlie's story. Judging by comments on Reese's post, I don't think I loved this book as much as others did. It was an enjoyable read, well written, etc., but just not one that will make my favorites list. One of my favorite parts of the book was the very end where the author shared the true stories that inspired her work and her characters. It's truly amazing what women did and went through "behind the scenes" in World War I!

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
This book was easy to get into and easy to follow. The plot moved along quickly and the character development was sufficient. In this story, a girl (Riley) goes back to her childhood home after the death of her father (her mother had already passed away many years earlier) to clean out the home in preparation to sell the house, settle his estate and so forth. In this process, she learns that her father and her family had some very well kept secrets and unsolved mysteries. One in particular relates to the suicide of her oldest sister, and Riley is determined to uncover all of the truth. My only complaint with this book is that one plot twist was pretty obvious early on due to some not-so-subtle hints, but it took Riley much longer to figure it out. I also wasn't entirely satisfied with the somewhat unresolved ending, but I can't say much more than that without spoiling it. Despite those critiques, it was still an enjoyable read so if the plot sounds interesting to you I would say go for it.

A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
This was a fun read! It kept me guessing and just when I thought it was going to be an obvious ending, I was in for a couple of twists and surprises! It takes place during World War I and opens with three estranged best friends who are reunited for an engagement party. At the party, one of their acquaintances dies in an accident, only the friends suspect that it was poison and not an accident. As they set out to examine the case, other people close to them also begin to die in suspicious ways that look accidental, and it becomes a race against time (in more ways than one) to find the killer. The plot and characters were all enjoyable, and there wasn't really anything I disliked about this. I will say the Amazon plot summary was a little misleading in that it made it sound like the plot revolved more around whether the deaths were caused by flu vs. poison, and in the story that wasn't the case. (Don't worry, that's not a spoiler.) The flu didn't really become a factor until much later in the book. So that's nothing against the book, but I did keep wondering for a good portion of the book if they were completely off in the summary or why they chose to mention that. Regardless, I still recommend this one for a fun historical fiction style whodunit. (And again, I really enjoyed the author's note at the end with her explanation of the elements in the story that were based on real people and places as well as how she became inspired to write this book.)

BTW, A Beautiful Poison was my free Amazon Prime Kindle First selection for July. If you have Amazon Prime and a Kindle you get a free preview book each month! I gave a better tutorial for this in my July recap, but for quick reference on how to get your book, from the Amazon homepage go to Accounts & Lists > Your Prime Membership (found on the right side of the list under Your Accounts) > Kindle Books.

The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent
I read this book on my trip to Oregon last week and it was the perfect vacation read! It was fast-paced, easy to get into, easy plot to follow and interesting characters. It also provided some interesting food for thought on what people share on social media, since it's about a woman who tends to obsess over people and families she follows on "InstaFace."  When one of her favorite accounts de-activates their InstaFace account she goes to great lengths to get involved in their real life so she can find out what is going on with them. She's also in for some surprises about how their perfectly staged life isn't quite what it seems on social media. Thanks to Megan for recommending this one. It easily gets my recommendation as well.


Non-Fiction  (Audiobooks)

Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross
I loved Nirvana back when they were popular and had both of their major label albums (okay, my brother owned the albums and I would "borrow" them from him), but I never knew much about the band beyond their music. (Remember this was before the Internet was everywhere so unless you had a subscription to Tiger Beat, you only got what you saw on MTV!) I guess I was feeling nostalgic when I chose this, plus after living in Seattle for many years I became more interested in that music scene since I got a more personal feel for the culture there. This got started a little slow, and it was almost too detailed for me in the beginning of the book. (e.g. giving the exact street address of Kurt's first house, the specific salary his dad made in a particular year, etc.) But I will say it made me respect the amount of work the author put into his research even if it wasn't the most compelling information. As the book went on though, I was completely engrossed and found myself not wanting to turn it off when I was driving and had arrived somewhere and needed to go in! Kurt's life was really interesting, and it helped me finally understand how successful musicians could still be broke. (e.g. Kurt was living out of his car when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became popular.) One thing this book did not go into was the question of the nature of Kurt's death (suicide vs. murder). It presented his death as a suicide with no discussion at all of the many issues with that conclusion, which I think is an unfair and biased conclusion to Kurt's life story. But as far as how he told the story of Kurt's life (and not his death), it was really well done and informative. I would definitely recommend following this up with "Soaked in Bleach," the Netflix Documentary to get the other side of the story about his death.

To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
In this book, the author makes the case that no matter what kind of job you have, we are all in sales. Some part of our lives is involved in motivating others to action: whether you're a parent who needs to get your children to clean up their room, or an office worker who needs to persuade your boss to sign off on an expenditure. We all need the ability to motivate others to action, and some techniques are more effective than others for doing just that. While the overall concept of the book was interesting to me and I did glean some new ideas, I felt the author spent too much time in the book making his case that we are all in sales. I got the point in five minutes and wanted to move on to the motivational techniques and behaviors. When I finally did get to that part, nearly all of his techniques were things I had read in other books. So while it was a good reminder of some things, all in all this wasn't memorable or a favorite that I'll recommend as much to others. For reference, I've read (twice!) and highly recommend Influence (Daniel Pink refers to this book in "To Sell is Human" quite a bit) and The Like Switch. Those two covered covered the key points in this book and were more interesting to me.

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza
Science was always my worst subject in school, so the fact that I felt this book explained concepts such as quantum physics and neuroscience in a way that was simple enough for me to understand is noteworthy! Mind you, I don't understand them well enough to explain them to anyone else at this point or recap them clearly here, but they made sense while I was reading the book and I had a lot of "a ha!" moments where things about life and human nature just made more sense. If you want a clear understanding of how the brain works, how our brains and thoughts profoundly influence our lives, and why we fight against ourselves and find it so incredibly difficult to change our habits...this book is excellent. I will say he lost me a bit in the final third of the book. Meditation is a key concept of the book, and the author recommends a 40-50 minute daily meditation session. Ain't nobody got time for that! There were about 2.5 hours left in the audiobook when this came up, and I was tempted to not even finish it since the rest of the book was going to be about how to specifically perform that 40-50 minute session, which I already knew I wouldn't be doing. But I decided to keep it on as background noise, and I'm glad I did because there were still some positive-thinking concepts shared in that part of the book that were worth hearing and incorporating into my life, even if it's not during extended meditation. I do recommend this one if you are a believer in positive thinking or actively seeking to become your best self.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD
I have often heard the term "sociopath" thrown around in the media, especially in criminal cases like the Jodi Arias trial. But I never fully understood what it meant until I read this book. According to the author, one in twenty-five people are sociopaths, so there's no doubt that we all know someone who is a sociopath! This book was very enlightening and had some very good tips for identifying the sociopaths among us and dealing with them (I need to re-read that part!). Thanks to Rachelle for recommending this one. If you're into human psychology, this is a great read, and fairly quick, too, for what it's worth.

Currently Reading:
If you want to read along with me this month, I'm currently reading The Lying Game by Ruth Ware and listening to Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. So far so good on both of these books, but I'll be sharing my final thoughts in my September reviews

As always, I'd love to hear if you have recommendations for books you think I would enjoy! Or if you've read any of these books I'd love to hear your thoughts on them!


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8/7/17

Lace Cami + Catching Up

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Today is my first day back from vacation and I have no doubt it's going to be one of those Mondays that give Monday a bad reputation! On the plus side, it's nice to be home again so I'll just stay focused on the positive and power through the post vacation to-do list. Just a simple outfit post for today as I get back into the swing of things here!

Sweater: Abercrombie (More sizes) | Top: Abercrombie | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Shorts: Target (Similar 50% off) | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o SheIn

I've worn the lace cami + cardigan combo in the past (e.g. here) and I've been seeing it pop up in my feed a lot lately which reminded me to wear it again with a different color scheme! This cami runs true to size and has adjustable straps which I really liked since it helped me get a better fit. It is very thin and lightweight, making the white version somewhat sheer. It does come in six other colors (like olive and burgundy which would be great for fall), so if you are worried about it being too sheer you may want to opt for some of the darker colors.

This cardigan also runs true to size, although it's the summer/lightweight version so sizes are limited at this point. They do have a newer version for fall that I checked out in store. The color looks identical to mine but just a slightly thicker fabric.

Front View:
Sweater: Abercrombie (More sizes) | Top: Abercrombie | Necklace: Stella & Dot | Shorts: Target (Similar 50% off) | Shoes: Amazon | Bag: c/o SheIn

Monday Motivation: Playing Catch Up
Once again, my motivational focus this week is on the lighter side. As much as I love setting long-term goals and trying to become my best self, sometimes all that just takes a backseat to staying on top of everyday life tasks. Tomorrow is my monthly Book Reviews post, so one of my main goals for today is tackling that post so it's ready to go tomorrow. (For past reviews go to Book Reviews under Categories at the Navigation bar up top!) Then I'll be finishing unpacking, catching up on laundry, and restocking the fridge ASAP. As for the rest of the week, I have to start prepping for back to school! We start in a couple of weeks and I need to get a few things ordered or lined up so my kids are ready to go.

So that's about as deep as it gets today! Let me know if you're interested in a trip recap from last week (we went to Cannon Beach, Oregon) and I can work on putting one together. I did a very simple recap when we went a couple of years ago (see it here), but we did a lot more activities this time, and several were new to us so if it sounds helpful for your future trip plans or just interesting in general let me know!

I hope your week gets off to a good start and I'll see you back here on Wednesday!


Linking up with:
Monday: Rachelle | CaryleeLaura | Karen

8/4/17

Three Ways to Wear a Gray Blazer

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One of the things I've wanted to do more often on the blog is sharing multiple ways to wear one piece. I refer back to these posts often when other bloggers do them, so hopefully you find them helpful as well when you have (or plan to get) the same or similar item! I purchased my gray blazer last Spring and found it to be a great piece for making basic jeans, tees, and tanks look a lot more dressed up and polished. My own blazer ran true to size for me and is still in stock in most sizes (including a petite version). While I don't really wear it in the heat of Summer, I do think it's a great staple for the other three seasons! Here are a few ways I've worn mine:


Outfit Details:
Most of my shoes and accessories are no longer available, and in the interest of time for this post I didn't try to find similar options. But I will list the original retailer or brand in case you want to peruse their site on your own for current pieces!

ONE:
Jacket: Express | Tank: Target | Jeans: Express | Necklace: LOFT | Shoes: Forever 21 | Bag: c/o Amazon | Watch: Fossil

TWO:
Jacket: Express | Peplum Cami: Amazon | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Vince Camuto | Necklace: Kendra Scott (Gift) | Bag: Danielle Nicole | Watch: Fossil

THREE:
Jacket: Express | Tank: Target | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Charming Charlie | Necklace: Forever 21| Bag: c/o Amazon | Watch: Fossil | Bracelet: JustFab

I also think this will work great with some of the richer greens and burgundies of Fall and Winter, so maybe I'll do Round Two of this post in another six months or so when I've had appropriate weather to wear it a few more times!


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