Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Budget

I was doing so good with my budget, and then ..... chateau parka. Damn you, J Crew, and your beautifully tailored classic pieces.  Ugh.  I'm bummed I went over budget, but know that, next winter, having an extra coat that looks a little bit nicer will be a blessing, and getting a wool coat for 125 bucks is pretty great....

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Old Navy Peplum Top // $14 (on sale for less now!)
Old Navy Tee // $7
Old Navy Tank // $15
J Crew Vest // $25 (sold out, similar linked)
J Crew Coat // $125

March Total // $186
Quarterly Total // $500 - $156 - $212 - $186 = $54 over budget (*crying eyes emoji*)

I do feel slightly better about all of it because I did get about $15 back with ebates

Fit notes // I bought the ON peplum top in a tall, which was the right call, as someone with a bigger chest. The extra length meant the peplum hits at my actual waist, which I love.  It does run a tiny bit big - I have a a couple of inches of extra fabric up top, despite the aforementioned bigger chest. The tee and tank both fit TTS, and the tee is actually opaque and with real short sleeves, a total bonus.  Despite most reviews saying the chateau parka runs large, I actually ordered a size up, to accommodate the now thrice mentioned boobs.

Coming up in the next quarter, I'm on the hunt for white jeans, a denim jacket and am considering pulling the trigger on a Brass dress for my brother's graduation in May.  I just ordered these pants and these wedges, we'll see if either work.

Linking up with Fran!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Graduation Outfit Ideas

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this, but it's coming up on graduation season.  My brother's graduation date is less than 8 weeks away, which (in my crazy brain) means I need to start thinking about what to wear.  I'm grateful to not be the center of attention this time around, but I do want to make sure I look nice.  In general, my rules for formal-ish occasions during the summer are breathable fabrics, limited accessories (I tend to pick more intricate dresses instead) and wedges. Below are some of my favorites!
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CeCe Skirt
Lush Top
Caslon Wedges

J Crew Dress
Dolce Vita Wedges

J Crew Factory Dress
Soludos Wedges

J Crew Factory Dress
Adriana Papell Wedges

Monday, March 21, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Kale Stew

I thought that we were officially out of stew weather, but I'm staring down a pretty snowy forcast, so I guess I'll let winter have her last hurrah and make more soup...  This one is a little more labor intensive - roasting AND cooking, but the end results are pretty awesome.

I apparently got distracted taking pictures and failed majorly. You'll just have to imagine how soup looks...

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2 pounds root vegetables - I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots
Head of garlic
1 onion
Big can of tomatoes - diced is easiest
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cans cannellini beans
1/2 small can tomato paste
1 bag kale
Red pepper
Parsley paste

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Toss the veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until, well, roasted...

In the meantime, saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until fragrant, then add the tomato paste

Add the tomatoes, broth, beans (with their juices) and spices (I added about a tablespoon of each, it's very much to your taste) and allow to boil briefly, then turn down to low

Working slowly, add the kale and let wilt in the broth

Once the vegetables are cooked, add them in and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes

From where I cook

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week in Review

My poor, neglected blog. Turns out, working 11+ hour days for a month straight and blogging don't go so well together. Luckily, spring break starts today and I get to only work 40 hours a week for the next 14 days. Wooohhoooo.  And also, the weather is perfect and I'm headed home for boiled dinner and Irish soda bread with most of my favorite people.  It's gonna be great.

Links I Love
I've never watched The Bachelor, but lovelovelove reading other people's snarky commentaries on it

Though I don't have kids to eat dinner with, the mental steps this author went through helped me identify a few easy changes in my life

And this video about eating dinner made me tear up a little

I love relatable, implentable (word?) tips for taking better photos

Every teenager I work with should be beat on the head with this article

Week in Pictures

60 degrees out means breaks during walks // 7:11 pm #iheartdaylightsavings
purty // snuggle game excessively strong

Sale Roundup
J Crew // 30 percent off select spring styles, 50 percent off final sale. I just ordered the gingham excursion vest for 30 dollars and I finally cracked an ordered the Chateau parka, for the lowest price I've ever seen it #winning #kinda

J Crew Factory // 60 percent off most stuff, prices as marked. I want this dress, this dress and this jacket

Old Navy // 30 percent off 75 dollars.  These shoes are very tempting, as is this bikini and this dress

LOFT // 25 dollars off dresses, skirts and cardigans, plus 40 percent off sale. I love this paisley top, this summery dress and this on-trend denim skirt

Friday, March 11, 2016

Week in Review

This week was a bit of a cluster, considering it started with a 13 hour flight and is ending with duty, but that's cool. I'm self medicating with pickle popcorn from Trader Joe's and Harry Potter audio books on repeat.

Links I Love
I had never heard of switchel until last summer, but pretty quickly fell in love and am now very tempted by this recipe

There are about a million and one lists of natural wonders you should see in your lifetime, but I loved that this one is a little different (and very wanderlust inspiring)

The hotel I stayed at in Nigeria had the best hummus I have ever had, and I'm hoping this hack works the same magic

In my forever quest to stop ruining my eye makeup over onions, I tried and loved this trick

I'll just leave this here if you're feeling sad

Week in Pictures

Sale Roundup
Old Navy // 30 percent off everything, no code needed.  Hello, most adorable set ever, welcome to the party, crochet tank, thanks for coming, floral pants

J Crew // 25 percent off select styles, including the best gingham popover, a gorgeous floral dress and this fabulous bathing suit

J Crew Factory // 350 styles under 35 dollars, including my favorite denim shorts, a very cute drapey cardigan and the infamous pom pom tunic

LOFT // 40 percent off select styles, including this blouse in the perfect spring blue, this trippy/awesome skirt and a perfect-for-the-beach dress

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review // All the books ever....

This is a slightly insane book review, courtesy of 33 hours on a plane and a few sneaky pool hours while in Ghana and Nigeria for work. The trip was great, but I'm very glad to be home and back into my routine.

The Last Anniversary // I love Liane Moriarty and have reviewed her a couple of times before. Just like her other books, this one isn't exactly quality literature, but the plot is interesting and enjoyable, the characters are really fun to get to know better and the setting (always Australia) is just different enough.  This is pretty much my perfect vacation read - engaging and light, but it doesn't make you feel like your intelligence is slowly seeping away.

What If? // This book appeals to me significantly, but I doubt it's a general crowd pleaser.  Basically, people wrote in inane hypothetical questions (What does a mole of moles look like? If I were rising one foot per minute, when and how would I die?) and the author answered them scientifically.  I didn't actually read every single chapter of the book (some of the questions were wayyyy more nerdy than I had any interest in), but I loved the premise and genuinely enjoyed the author's tone/writing style.  I think this would be perfect for older kids with science interests.

Attachments // Rainbow Rowell is another of my favorite light-lit writers.  This is her first book, and I think my favorite of hers.  The story is told from two points of view - two women's emails to one another and the other is the man whose job is to monitor workplace emails and report violations.  All of the characters are interesting, if a little cookie cutter, and I really enjoyed learning more about their lives.  The ending was absolutely predictable, but I did still enjoy the book.

The Residence // Pegged as an insiders look at the White House, this is basically an ethnography of the White House private staff, pulled together from interviews with current and former employees. I had very high expectations for this book, and most were met.   My biggest gripe was that the author wasn't actually really putting out an objective view.  She was pretty clearly being very kind of the White House staffers and doing her best to make them all look good. On one hand, that's absolutely fine - they are great people who do a very impressive job; on the other hand, there isn't much shock value/interesting info divulged.  I definitely enjoyed learning more about how the White House functions, but the author is circuitous to the point of being repetitive and she spends a lot of time talking about how wonderful everyone is.  Recommend only if you're a White House/president nut.

American Housewife // A series of short stories that chronicles different American housewife stories, this wasn't at all what I was expecting, mostly because all of the housewives are utterly deranged. It only took me an hour or so to read, and was thoroughly enjoyable, so I definitely recommend it, but keep in mind - these ladies be cray.

The Forgetting Time // This book was pretty out of left field for me.  Uncharacteristically, I didn't read the summary before diving in, so was caught unawares by the premise - basically, reincarnation and what happens when people come back.  Beautifully written, I really enjoyed reading this story, even if I never could quite buy into the basic premise.  All three of the main characters were a bit under-written in my opinion,  and the focus was almost too singular (limited character development, maximum reincarnated people), but I did devour it in one sitting and definitely don't regret the time.  Certainly an interesting idea, even if I can't really get into it.

After You // Sequels are not a requirement, Jojo.  As much as I love the characters in this book and Jojo Moyes' writing style and story telling, this book felt like so much of a fame/money grab I couldn't get over it.  The story was about as cookie cutter as possible, there was next to no character development, and the "twist" was painfully cliche.  Honestly, I would have preferred to leave Louisa and Will and the rest as they were at the end of Me Before You...