Thursday, December 31, 2015


I figured I'd jump on the blog bandwagon and do a quick 2015 round up - all of my favorite things this year.  Like everyone, I can't believe it's the last day of the year.  2015 has been pretty huge for me - my first full year being a "grownup", a year with phenomenal travel, a lot of challenging work changes, some big stuff on the home front.  Here's to a great 2016.

Tallulah //  This will probably come as no surprise, but my girl tops the list of favorite things.  This was our first full year together, and it's been the most challenging and rewarding part of my life.  She's finally starting to settle down a little, which I'm grateful for, as her puppy-hood was long and hard.  I definitely bit off more than I could chew getting a dog, but it's been so worth it, and she's made me grow up and figure out my priorities a lot faster.

At Home Workouts // The way my schedule and life work, getting to the gym is nearly impossible.  In February, I started doing workouts on YouTube (this channel is my favorite) and it's honestly made such a difference.  I am a much better person if I spend some time getting sweaty frequently, and being able to do it at home limits my excuses.

Sorry not sorry I put a picture of you making out up, Mom and Dad
My Parents // This may seem like a weird favorite of mine, but my parents have had an incredible year.  Both of them have worked so hard for a long time, and it's such a privilege for me to see them reap their rewards. They moved into a new, beautiful home in July, took the family on a number of incredible vacations and have met financial goals I can't even imagine.  I'm always grateful for them, but this year, it's really been extra amazing.

Bean Boots // Backing away from the sentimentality, my Bean boots have been my most worn piece this year.  I chuck them on at least twice a week all year, and far more frequently in the winter.  I honestly wouldn't have gotten through last February - April without them, and I don't see the love affair ending any time soon.

Breakfast // Food is a constant favorite of mine, obviously, and trying to narrow down the things that really made my year was hard (this was a close second). In the end though, I ate the same breakfast for at least 80 percent of the year, so it won out.  Once a week, I make a batch of these beans, a pot of quick barley and 5 soft boiled eggs. Each morning, I put everything in a bowl with a handful of sautéed veggies and call it good. I'm full until lunch.

Travel // The last 2 years have been incredible for my passport and I.  This year, I spent a lot of time in planes and would not have it any other way.  I spent time in Baltimore, Ireland, England, Chicago, Provincetown, Chicago again and Miami.  The increase in work-related travel has been really exciting, if a little exhausting, and I'm hoping to do even more personal travel next year.

Tote Bags // To be honest, these have been a favorite for at least 10 years, but they'll remain forever.  I use a tote bag every day for work, and I can't live with out them this year. Currently, my Dagne Dover is the favorite, but the style of bag in general can't be beat.

Birchbox // When I first subscribed to Birchbox, it felt so frivolous I assumed it wouldn't last. This year, however, the days that those bright pink boxes arrived have easily been my best mail days. I've loved trying new products, and definitely found a few winners, but I think the box itself - getting a piece of pretty, girly, indulgent mail once a month lifts my spirits immediately.  Unwrapping what I got and trying it all out makes me happy enough to easily justify the 10 dollars a month. More info here, sign up here.

Overdrive //  Of everything on this list, Overdrive is probably the thing I used the most. It's an app that basically allows you to access the online volumes that your library owns.  I can honestly say that I would never have read as many books this year (66!) if I didn't have this app.  Once in a while, I load up my holds, then read everything as they come in on my ipad, or listen to audiobooks on my phone.  It's a priceless experience on a free app.

Skincare // This year, I feel like I figured out a routine that has really worked for me skin. While I'll probably love to experiment, my basic products have been incredible at keeping my skin happy, and I don't see myself switching them out any time soon.  I use this cleanser, this toner, this facial oil and this moisturizer

Monday, December 28, 2015

December Budget

Oh, hello, budget.  It's been a while.  Sorry that I blatantly ignored you all month. In case it passes your notice, everything I bought, minus the bow top, is gray or navy.  The Uniqlo jeans/pants etc immediately became my favorite things - so comfy, so easy to wear, and they mostly look like real pants, but without buttons. The bow back top was a hit over Christmas, but I think I'll get more wear out of it, and the Banana Republic dress has been on my wishlist for months and I scored it in the after-Christmas sale for 10% of the listed price. It's a Christmas miracle.
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1 // Uniqlo Jeans
2 // Uniqlo Navy Pants
3 // Uniqlo Long Sleeve
4 // J Crew Bow Back
5 .// LOFT Ruffle Sweater
6 // Banana Republic Dress

Fit Notes // Everything fits TTS for me. The Uniqlo leggings are seriously awesome - they look like real pants and have pockets, but they are SO comfortable.  The LOFT top is my favorite thing - super cute and easy to wear.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Traditions // Apricot Cookies

I am a little obsessive about family traditions, especially around the holidays.  Things need to be about the same, and I get a little crazy about doing the same things again and again and again. One of my favorite things is making apricot cookies with my grandmother.  The recipe is a state secret and deeply weird (the dough makes no sense, the filling is apricot and corn starch), but they are delishhhhhhh.  I brought my camera this year, here's what my afternoon looked like -

Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Review // The Good Girl, Fates and Furies, Modern Romance, Seveneves, Bull Mountain

One of the things I am most looking forward to with this break is reading. The last few weeks have been nuts, so I haven't gotten through as many books as I'd like to, but here are my favorites of the bunch -

The Good Girl // I don't typically like books like this - too dark, too twisty, too mind-bending.  But this book is beautifully written, with an incredible twist I did not see coming.  There were a few story lines that got a little old, and the characters felt a bit cookie-cutter, but the plot is amazing. Definitely worth a read.

Fates and Furies // This is one of those books I put on my list without ever finding out the plot. To be honest,  I'm not sure I ever found out the plot.  Unlike The Good Girl, this book is alllll character.  It basically follows a marriage in two parts - first the husband, then the wife.  I kept expecting some dramatic twist, which never came, but I loved the story anyway.

Modern Romance // Dude, this book surprised the heck out of me.  I thought it was a humor/witty/tinder horror story type of book, but it's actually a well-researched, anthropological look at how we date and what romance looks like now.  It's definitely not a scientific study, but it's darn interesting and really fun.

Seveneves // IT'S 700 PAGES. I could honestly stop the review right there, like that tells you a lot. Honestly, the plot could very easily have been made into a trilogy, which might have been better. Also, it's an incredibly exhaustive end-of-the-world space odyssey, complete with at least 250 pages of incredibly detailed accounts of how things work in space.  If that's your wheelhouse, this book is a dream. If you are part of the other 99.9 percent of the population, steer clear.

Bull Mountain // More dark and twisty. I should probably talk to someone about that...  Anywho - this is beautifully written, the characters are amazing, the story is unique and well-done (believable, interesting, moves quickly) and the twist was not what I expected. It's a fairly quick read and easy to digest.  I would absolutely recommend it and will read the rest of the author's work.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Week in Review

CHRISTMAS IS COMING! IT'S PRACTICALLY HERE! I'm sorry, I'm just really excited.  This week has been mind-numbingly boring - my students are gone, my boss is gone, and I've got almost no work.  Last night, the dog got sick, so I was up taking her out at least once an hour.  Santa can't come soon enough.

Links I Love

I am very grateful that Tallulah is nowhere near the top of this list

Love Actually is my favorite - I love this take on potential endings

Good lord, I am so glad that finals week is no longer a part of my life

Week in Pictures

I'm sorry, apparently only dog is photo worthy this week

Sale Roundup
LOFT // 40 percent off everything, plus 50 percent off some random stuff. I love this 2-in-1 top, these legging pants and this super chic dress

Ann Taylor // 50 percent off almost everything, including this gorgeous top, a sweater skirt and a sweet little crossbody that's a fab dupe for a much more expensive bag

J Crew // 40 percent off sale, plus 5% cashback on ebates.  Pixie pants and excursion vests are the lowest price I've seen, and I love, but definitely don't need, this tote bag

J Crew Factory // 50 percent off everything, plus extra 40 percent off sale. This tartan skirt is so sweet, the fox on this sweater is much cooler than me and I love this subtle sparkle

Old Navy // 40 percent off everything.  This plaid midi is a fun basic, I love this dress and these coated skinnies

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Outfit Ideas

9 days left of my favorite time of year, and planning is in full swing.  My family keeps it pretty low key during Christmas.  We spend Christmas Eve with my mom's family, eating a lot of shellfish for reasons that continue to confuse me, and Christmas Day is just the 4 of us in our pajamas.  Below are a few outfit ideas, no matter what kind of Christmas you're looking at.  I am so, so tempted by the onesie, especially as it has a star on the hood.  Enjoy!
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Bow Tee
Pixie Pants

Red Dress
Sequin Heels

Sequin Dress
Black Heels

Friday, December 11, 2015

Week in Review

I am thrilled to be back in the top half of the US after 4 days in Miami for a conference. The conference was great, but I went outside like 3 times in 5 days, so being home is wonderful.  My dog even pretended to be excited to see me. On to 3 days of duty, hosting a holiday open house for my students and getting ready for SANTAAAAAA.

Links I Love

This is what my brain looked like during my conference this week

I am not ashamed to admit I spent 90 minutes watching stranger's pregnancy announcements, and this one is definitely my favorite

I'm just going to leave this here, just in case anyone needs any a gift idea

Week in Pictures

miami 1 // miami 2
dog fight // christmas card // nutella crepes // snuggle me tally

Sale Roundup
J Crew Factory // 50 percent off, prices as marked. Extra 40 percent off clearance, including the Vail parka, a fun pencil skirt and this festive top

J Crew // 40 percent off select items, including this incredibly cozy robe, these funky pumps and this favorite vest

LOFT // 40 percent off everything. I love this subtle sparkle, this cozy chic sweater and the colors on this blouse are perfect

Madewell // 20 percent off everything, 30 percent off orders over 200 dollars.  These shoes are so shiny, this dress is so cute and these jeans are perfection

Old Navy // 30 percent off everything, 40 percent off 75 dollars or more, including velvet pants, a food-baby-friendly dress and super cute flats

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dagne Dover Tote Review

As a committed lover of all tote bags, my collection is far larger than reason would require. I have, as far as I know, never turned down the opportunity to buy a new tote bag and, in fact, frequently make them up.  I think it has something to do with my pathological need to be prepared for everything.  Until now, my tote bags have been black holes, containing every item I can jam in there with minimal organization, but this bag has helped me reform many of my overpacking/underorganized ways.  It has an incredibly thoughtful design, and I appreciate the insane level of detail that has gone into it.
Some specifics of my bag - I got the 15 inch laptop tote in Bleecker Blush.  I love the color - it's definitely not blush, more of a very dusty lilac. Not quite grey, not quite purple.  It's a gorgeous neutral that's a bit more unexpected. The quality is stunning - super sturdy, the leather is amazing, all the hardware is brushed gold/bronze.

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Why I Love It

Functional Organization //  As I mentioned in my Lo and Sons Pearl review, I love pockets that actually hold specific things.  The Dagne Dover has 3 pen/lipstick holders, a little pocket that perfectly fits my wallet with an additional outside pocket for a single card (usually my work credit card or a hotel key), a phone pocket right under my armpit (easiest access), a padded and closeable laptop sleeve with attached ipad sleeve, plus one more big pocket that I keep my Harry Potter coloring book in (ADULTING). Also THERE IS A WATER BOTTLE HOLDER.  I love it so much, and it's insulated, so it keeps condensation off everything else (works great for umbrellas too).  And finally, there's a key lanyard. SO FUNCTIONAL. SO ORGANIZED.

Thoughtful Materials // The bag is made out of coated canvas, so scratching or marking it are definitely less of a concern, and the whole thing is basically wipeable.  I appreciate that the entire bag is like this, not just the outside.  I am sure there will be a day when maple syrup or Karo or liquified lollipops or something else horrifying spills everywhere, and it'll be so easy to clean once I calm down.

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What, you don't carry a Harry Potter coloring book, crayons, colored pencils and an NFL game ticket around? Weirdo

Why I Don't 

It's Giant //  Like, enormous.  It fits my laptop with about 3 extra inches on the ends. The size means it's heavy, which would be a bigger deal if I was commuting more than an 8 minutes walk.  I carried it with me on this business trip, packed to the gills with who-knows-what.  It got uncomfortable by the end, admittedly.  Also, if you don't like to carry around enough stuff to live out a zombie apocalypse, this is not the bag for you. And we probably can't be friends.

Handles Aren't Perfect //  I wish that the handles were about 3 inches longer and a little thinner.  When packed fully (not distended, just full), I can't quite keep both handles on my shoulder without holding them.  And the bag sits right under my arm no matter what, while I'd prefer to stick it behind my shoulder occasionally.

January 2018 Update

I ended up selling the bag after using it for about 2 years.  To be honest, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, and if I was regularly hauling around a lot of things, it still would have been perfect.  Eventually, however, I found it to be too big for my everyday use.  I was thrilled with the resale value it had on Poshmark, so overall, a fabulous investment!

Please don't pay full price - there are periodic sales, and the lowest I've seen is 25% off.  They also have a bunch of different bags and colors - buy them here.  Other beloved tote options include the Longchamp bag (buy here, reviewed here) and the Madewell transport tote (buy here, reviewed here)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Books of 2015

According to Goodreads, I've gotten through 61 books this year.  Which is a little insane, but I did read two yesterday, soooo.  Trying to narrow down my favorites was nearly impossible, so I focused more on books that were a little more under the radar - don't worry, All the Light We Cannot See and The Girl on the Train and all of them were great.

Oregon Trail // Admittedly, this is a book only some people will love.  I appreciate that an exhaustive retelling of two dudes time on the Oregon Trail is appealing to a smaller subset. But guys, it's so good. It's informative and engaging and smart and not boring. I read it at a music festival and ignored several food opportunities to keep reading.

It Was Me All Along // I've been reading Andie Mitchell's blog on and off for many years and adore her writing.  Reading her book felt like I was sitting at her kitchen table, eating pound cake and drinking tea and hearing stories.  She's a talented writer who makes her journey-to-health informative without being preachy and inspiring without the inclusion of any obnoxious idioms.

All the Old Knives // This book took me by surprise - I'm not even sure how it ended up in my Overdrive queue, but I'm glad it did.  It's a very quick read, but fully immersive. The book basically tells the story of a single dinner, but not really.  I loved it and couldn't put it down.

Furiously Happy // The Bloggess aka Jenny Lawson, is a blog I've loved for a long time.  She's a hilarious writer who's honesty keeps me coming back again and again. Just like her first book, Furiously Happy is funny and quick and easy to read and funny and funny and funny.  I love that this one also focuses on mental health. She makes it relatable and, though I don't struggle with most of what she has, I felt empathetic and understanding.  Also, it's wicked flipping funny.

Ember in the Ashes // TBH, I read this book yesterday.  But in my defense, I started it on a plane and was so engrossed I read it walking through the airport, waiting to board, walking down the jetway and on the next flight too.  And then it ended and I had no idea where I was or what year it was.  It might be a YA book, but it's phenomenal. Perfect for anyone who loves Hunger Games/Harry Potter/Percy Jackson etc.

The Painter // The whole premise of this book is kind of weird - a dude saves a horse from an abusive owner and then all of a sudden all of this murder/hiding/craziness happens. It escalates real quickly. It's also almost painfully well written, like I needed to take breaks to process how good it was.  The characters are perfect, the plot is quick and exciting. And the writing, oh the writing.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Week in Review

Happy Friday!  This week has been such a whirlwind.  I leave for Miami on Sunday for a conference, but am heading back to my parents tonight for a birthday dinner and then Christmas tree acquisition.  SO FESTIVE.

Links I Love
If only I had known that this service existed prior to last week

This feels accurate many weeks

Fixer Upper is my favorite HGTV show, and someone accurately captured my thoughts every week

I didn't understand why half of these gadgets exist, but if you're looking for a kitchen gift for the person who has everything, this list might help

Sale Roundup
J Crew Factory // 40 to 60 percent off everything, plus an extra 40 on sale.  This tee shirt is the most festive, with a close second being this sweater, and it's a full on party if you pair it with this skirt

J Crew // 25 percent off 100 dollars or more, 30 percent off 150. I used the sale + birthday money to order this shirt in red and this gorgeous skirt

Old Navy // 25 percent off your order, plus you can use your super cash. I adore my chambray shirtdress and this one has pockets, the pattern on this shirt is lovely and I already love this dress

LOFT // 50 percent off select clothing, including this dress, perfect for a cozy Christmas, this basic-but-interesting top and a lovely skirt

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

23 Things and 23 Years

It's my birthday!!  I have successfully not died for a full 23 years, so that's nice.  In honor of my advanced age, I thought I'd list out 23 things I've figured out so far.

  1. Practice self care // This looks a little different for everyone, but I am a significantly better human when I get alone time, have makeup on and get to bed early
  2. Read as much as you can
  3. Say yes // To everything, in moderation
  4. Get outside
  5. Be that girl // Whatever you see as the ideal - the girl who always has a clean, welcoming home, that's always down for a party, that knows everything about baseball - work to be that girl
  6. Splurge on experiences
  7. Be effusively, sloppily, wildly grateful // Say thank you, smile, acknowledge hard work anywhere you see it.  It makes such an impact and is so easy.
  8. Always carry a Tide pen
  9. Eat good food // Healthy, not healthy, whatever - eat what makes you feel good
  10. Invest in the basics // Jeans, classic sweaters, coats, boots - stuff you'll wear for decades, pay for it to last
  11. Travel everywhere and anywhere
  12. Exercise as often as possible // Whether it's a walk, 15 crunches or some slow yoga, get moving
  13. Protect yourself // This goes along with self care, but it's so important to put your needs as high on the list as possible. Figure out what's required and do your best to make it happen
  14. How to feed people // Basically, how to make a handful of crowd-pleasing recipes that I can always whip up
  15. Treat your possessions well
  16. Be nice, not right // I most definitely am not good at this yet, but I'm trying
  17. Ask for the help you need 
  18. Drink lots of water
  19. Wear the right shoes // Right can go in a lot of directions, as I firmly believe that sparkly heels are appropriate, even if it's snowing.
  20. Budget for your real life // When I first started budgeting, I put tons of limits on how much I could spend.  Because it was unrealistic, I never adhered to it and totally ignored the budget.  Now that my budget is more in line with my standard spending and financial goals, I actually stick to it.
  21. Pack a sweater and sunscreen
  22. Mom's right // Every, damn, time.
  23. You are so, so young // Lols at 15 year old me who thought that, by 23, I would definitely have it all figured out. I'm not even close and absolutely loving it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Budget

Welp, that escalated quickly. As of Friday, I had only bought the J Crew flannel. But then Black Friday and errands and poor impulse control happened.  Oh well. The good news is that I finally found a few things I've really wanted - black jeans, gray skirt, navy vest, and everything was on major sale.

1 // Old Navy Vest - 21 dollars
2 // Gap Jeans - 18 dollars
3 // J Crew Factory Socks - 6 dollars
4 // Gap Jacket - 30 dollars
5 // Old Navy Sweater - 15 dollars
6 // Old Navy Skirt - 18 dollars
7 // J Crew Factory Flannel - 23 dollars

Notes - Everything runs true to size for me.  The flannel is definitely oversized, and nothing like the sweatshirt J Crew thinks it is - the material is warm but not jacket weight. The Gap jeans are the legging fit and I'm obsessed with them - so soft and cozy and they fit great.

Linking up with Fran

Friday, November 27, 2015

Week in Review

This week has flown by and been such a great break from the normal routine.  It's always fun to get my family together, and this is the first time we've been able to since the beginning of the summer. #BLESSED.

Links I Love
This high school went full on High School Musical and I love it

These were my contribution to Thanksgiving - super simple to make and got rave reviews

And for this week's gratuitous funny buzzfeed article - funny tweets about family

Week in Pictures
thankful // just observing
fry snack // Boston // perched
gettin sauced // so snuggled

Sale Roundup

Ann Taylor // 50 percent off everything - sequined pants! sparkly heels! gorgeous top!

LOFT // 40 percent off everything - I've had these in my cart for a while, hear great things about these and love this

Old Navy // Everything's on sale, markdowns vary. Ebates has 10 percent cashback, so make sure you do that. Love the rose gold sneaks, navy vest and fair isle sweater dresss

J Crew // Up to 40 percent off everything, plus 10 percent cashback on Ebates.  Loving these wool/cashmere blend sweaters, the fleece excursion vest and my favorite pixie pants

J Crew Factory // 50 percent off everything, plus free shipping over 50 dollars, plus 9 percent cashback.  I love this teal top, this sweet blazer and the Christmas jammies

Nordstrom // Extra 25 percent off select merchandise, including Paige Verdugo jeans, Halogen cashmere and a Rebecca Minkoff tote

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blush and Olive

In an ode to my forgetting to put up a Sunday Style, we're going to pretend that Wednesday Style is just as alliterative and go with it.  Also, these shirts from Target are my favorite things ever and perfect for Turkey Day - pretty, soft, loose and long enough to cover your bum in the leggings you'll inevitably be wearing. Happy Thanksgiving!

Top // Exact
Pants // Similar
Shoes // Exact

Friday, November 20, 2015

Week in Review

Friday, Friday, gonna get down on Fridayyy. Sorry, I'm delirious. Break starts tomorrow morning and I'm headed back to the homestead for a long overdue vacation.  Yeehaw.

Links I Love
Gronk is my favorite, ever (sort of NSFW, tbh).

I love you Mom, but Trader Joe's is my favorite thing about coming home.  This list is excellent inspiration.

I want to go to there (Inca Trail is top priority)

HP can never be matched, but I am interested in these recommendations 

Who ever has the job of coming up with videos like this, I would love to be you

Week in Pictures

new shark baby // breakfast pizza
alien invasion // eff you DLS
pretty sky // missed the bed

Sale Roundup
Old Navy // 30 percent off everything, 40 percent if you spend 100 dollars.  I love these Sam Edelman knockoffs, this lovely button down and this gorgeous midi skirt

J Crew Factory // 35 percent off the gift guide (here).  This popover is so festive, I love this winter update and love this for NYE

J Crew // 30-40 percent off the gift guide (here).  Excursion vests are on sale, as are cocoon coats and these awesome pajamas

LOFT // 25 dollars off sweaters, skirts and dresses, plus 50 percent off sale.  This parka is a steal, this dress would be so cute with boots and this sweater is perfect for getting cozy

Target // Buy one, get one 50 percent off clothing for the whole family.  I remain obsessed with these tees, this dress is super flattering and I want a baby girl so she can wear this

Madewell // 20 percent off select stuff. This twist on a blazer is very cool, this tee is so elegant and I love these simple studs

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hunter Original vs Hunter Tour

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I've owned a pair of Hunter boots consistently for over 4 years, and I don't imagine myself breaking that pattern for a long time.  The boots are durable (for the most part) and invaluable in a number of situations we frequently face in New England.  During an average week, I wear them at least once, for things like dog walking, commuting, getting through high snow etc.  My first pair of Hunters were the Originals, and once those died, I invested in Tours. I figured I'd do a comparison, as there are some pretty important differences.

Comfort // To be completely honest, encasing your lower legs in rubber is not the most comfortable of options.  The Tours do have a distinct advantage in that they don't weigh 12 pounds each.  The Originals are much thicker rubber, which makes them, in my opinion, much more uncomfortable.  As long as I don't get too hot, I can wear the Tours all day, which I could never do with the Originals.  Honestly, my legs would get tired of lifting the giant boots up by about noon.  Tours for the win.

Look // The big downside to the thinner rubber of the Tours is that they sort of wrinkle on my legs. They don't fall down or anything, but they are certainly more pliable. Again, I find this a fair compromise for the comfort, but they definitely can look a little more sloppy.  Also, the Tours come in a much more limited array of colors, so if you're really dying for pink boots, the Tours aren't for you.  I found both to look the same in terms of tightness on my leg.  I was concerned about getting the Tours on, but found the shaft plenty wide.

Longevity // I owned Originals for 3 years without any problem, even with frequent use and non-optimal care.  The Tours, on the other hand, died a pretty dramatic death after only 8 months.  Luckily, Zappos was great about exchanging them for a new pair.  I'm hoping that those specific boots were the issue, not Tours in general, but if this pair develops holes along the edges, as the last one did, I'll absolutely switch back to Originals.

Specs // The Originals have a shaft height of 16 inches, while the Tours are 1/2 an inch shorter.  The Tours also have an inch wider calf circumference (16 vs 15 inches). The Originals weigh 2 pounds, 2 ounces and the Tours are 1 pound, 8 ounces, but I promise, you can feel that difference.

You can buy Originals here and Tours here

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review // Furiously Happy, So, Anyway, Sapiens, Why Not Me

Mooooooorreeeeee books, lalalalalala. I've been in a bit of a reading slump recently, which I'm hoping to rectify over Thanksgiving break, but in the meantime, here's what I've gotten through recently!

Furiously Happy // Ohhhhhhh, I loved this book.  I first tried to read it while proctoring the SAT, but that ended quickly when I started laughing out loud.  Jenny does a phenomenal job telling funny stories while also being informative about what it's like to live with mental illness.  She walks a very fine line beautifully and made me lose it multiple times.

So Anyway // Yet another funny one.  I grew up watching Monty Python and love John Cleese, so when Blogging for Books sent me this memoir, I was thrilled.  In terms of writing, I think this book fits pretty well with what I was expecting - it's rambly and sprawling, but fun and warm.  It surprised me to learn more about Cleese's upbringing and start in comedy - the process took a while and wasn't always pleasant.  The book isn't perfect, but it's definitely worth a read for Cleese fans.

Sapiens // As I've mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of nonfiction that goes really in depth into a particular topic. This book, which is a history of humankind, is anything but brief. I'm hard to bore with this type of thing, but there were a few sections that had me skipping ahead a little.  There's a fine line between informative and over-detailed and this book isn't always on the right side. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

Why Not Me // Mindy Kaling is the best.  Honestly, I am in the Mindy-can-do-no-wrong camp, so it should come as no surprise that I loved this book.  As opposed to Mindy's first book, which covered a lot about growing up and becoming who she is, Why Not Me is much more about her professional life and being an adult.  It read as more mature, self aware and reflective, which I absolutely loved.  She made me laugh out loud a few times and more than once made me really think.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Style // Blanket Scarf

Now that winter is starting to rear it's ugly head a bit more, scarves are becoming a daily necessity.  I have it easier with work in that we have a relatively casual dress code, which makes swathing my upper body in fuzzy fabric acceptable.  Thank heavens. This time around, I did a little pattern mixing and paired it with my favorite ever Target clearance find.

 Scarf // H&M (exact, so warm)
Top // Target (similar)
Pants // Old Navy (exact)
Shoes // Target (similar)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Week in Review

I have never been more glad to see the tail end of a week.  After a pretty hellacious weekend and very stressful work week, Saturday can't come soon enough.

Links I Love
Cards Against Humanity is at it again - I just ordered my holiday surprises

This advice is perfect

The only good thing about the GOP debate are the reactions

I just ordered this and can't wait to get my lumberjack chic on

Sale Roundup

Sephora // 20 percent off for VIBs storewide with code VIB20. I treated myself to a few things including this palette and this sampler, but I have and love this, this and this

J Crew // 25 percent off everything, 30 with a J Crew card.  The neck of this sweater is gorgeous, I love these socks with Bean Boots and think this tank is too fun

J Crew Factory // 40 to 60 percent off everything. I'm obsessed with these pajamas, these loafers and this dress, perfect for holiday parties

LOFT // 40 percent off everything, plus $25 rewards card for every $50 spent.  I love this structured midi, have been meaning to try these jeans and will take one of these in every color

Ann Taylor // 40 percent off here, too.  This sweater is intriguing, this vest is on trend and this skirt is perfect for NYE

Amazon // 20 percent off boots.  I just bought these, but if you're in the market for riding boots, these are gorgeous options and I love these rainboot alternatives

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cold-Weather Skin Routine

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Since the last time I did a skincare routine, every single product has changed, so it's probably time for an update.  Brief refresher - I have combination skin that gets very dry and dehydrated in the winter.  Also, now that I've reached the ripe age of almost-23, wrinkle-prevention and bounce-retention are top of my priority list. Caroline Hirons writes a brilliant skincare blog and I've basically copied all of her tips and worked them into my routine.  You'll notice that lots of my products are Paula's Choice.  I love the brand because they do quality, unfussy skincare with ingredients that really work


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Once I wake up, I quickly wash my face with PC Hydralight cleanser, which gently sloughs off the nastiness that I get on my face from the bottom of Tallulah's feet when she shoves them in my face in the middle of the night (#foreveralone).  I follow up with the incredible Pixi Glow Tonic, which has a mild acid in it to remove any dry spots and enough moisture to not throw things out of balance again. I finish up with the Dr Jart Ceramidin cream, which hydrates like absolutely no other.  Once that's all on, I start in with makeup. I've been using the Ceramidin Day Tint and absolutely love how hydrated and even my skin looks.


skincare, paulas choice, skincare review, caroline hirons, cold weather skin, winter skincare, dry skin routine, sephora, origins, clinique, olay, toner, acid

This is admittedly a very princess-y skincare routine.  It's cool, I've got nothing better to do.  I start by removing my makeup with Clinique Take the Day Off balm.  This is the first cleansing balm I've used and I much prefer it to oils - less messy, easier to control and way easier to travel with.  Once I've removed that with a washcloth soaked in hot water, I was my face with the Hydralight again.  Before that dries completely, I use a cotton round to apply the PC Skin Balancing Toner, which does a brilliant job of taking off any last makeup and keeping my skin calm. Next is PC 2% BHA.  BHA is also known as salicylic acid, and this acid step helps with both acne and wrinkles.  It also helps remove dead skin, which prevents those yucky dry spots people often get in the winter. Once that dries a bit, I apply the Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Serum and Origins Night-a-min Cream.  Though a recent purchase, this lotion is a huge favorite - it keeps my skin balanced, hydrated and bright, all while smelling like orange sunshine.

As I did previously, masks still make their way into my routine occasionally, but I don't really treat them as part of my skincare routine.  What I do count as my routine, however, is drinking lots of water.  I notice a huge change in my skin if I don't drink 80+ ounces of water a day.  Overall, these products and enough water are all I need to keep everything hydrated and happy throughout the winter!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lust List // Christmas

My birthday is in early December, and I have a very hard time containing my Christmas spirit past November 1st, so my gift list usually arrives pretty early in the season.  I like to think it's helpful, but I'm pretty sure my mother's blood pressure increases a few notches immediately.  Oh well.

Perfume Sampler // To be honest, I only want this because it means 10 dollars off the bottle of Chloe I'll inevitably trade the certificate in for.  Just trying to save the fam some money

Lemon Tree // Weird, I know, but it's on my 101 in 1001 list and I have a lemon kitchen, sooooo

Cookbook // After my CSA experience, I want to get better about cooking vegetables more simply, but with more flavor.  And this is one of Orangette's favorites, so I'm sure it's flawless

Illustrated Harry Potter // This should surprise no one, especially after the excited melt-down over the Cursed Child tickets

Winter Coat // Last year, I got a winter coat at H&M during the Black Friday sale, and the 20 dollar investment served me well, but is in need of replacement.  This one ticks all the boxes - covers my bum, lots of pockets (with fuzzy lining!), giant hood, reasonable price.

Car Vacuum // As anyone in my family can tell you, my car is in a semi-permanent state of messy. In an attempt to rectify that, keeping a little vacuum for dog hair/sand/spilled snacks seems a good way to go.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Style // Gold

I first saw this blouse on Kendi, and she raved about it so much I immediately put it in my LOFT basket.  Once a good enough sale came up, I pulled the trigger and have been in love ever since.  As you can see, it's a completely sheer top.  I've worn it with black, white and nude tank tops underneath and had no issues.

Shirt // LOFT (practically free right now)
Scarf // Forever 21
Pants // J Crew
Boots // Frye

Friday, November 6, 2015

Week in Review

Dude, it's 70 degrees out. Like, break out the shorts and mojitos, summer has come back for one last fling.  Also, yesterday was a surprise day off courtesy of our head of school, so I'm still riding that high.  This weekend brings SAT proctoring and football and very little else. Bliss.

Links I Love

Emily McDowell does brilliant empathy cards, but I especially love the mugs

This Mattel ad makes me feel a lot better about Barbies, though I do wish they'd change the body proportions

This top is my new favorite thing in my closet

Week in Pictures

Dinner for the advisee // comfiest
day off bliss // end of the soccer season // eff day light savings
"dinner" party // gratuitous hiking shot

Sale Roundup

Old Navy // 40% off $100.  Perfect time to stock up on the perfect pea coat, cozy sweaters or my favorite flannels

Forever 21 // 50% off select fall favorites including this lovely layering piece, this classic-with-a-twist and these awesome earrings

J Crew Factory // 35% off everything.  These pants are so beautiful and I'd wear them with this and this

J Crew // 25% off select styles. This sweater is gorgeous, I wear this tee constantly and if I had anywhere to wear it, I'd buy this dress in a hot minute