When I started working in the corporate world, I fell in love with Ann Taylor’s classic and elegant styles. Now, as a mother, I also appreciate that the styles are comfortable, well fitting and stylish. If you follow Ann Taylor, you know that they have great sales, including the current Friends of Ann event for 40% off your purchase (use code FRIENDS40). Today is the last day so get clicking! 🙂
I’m sharing my latest finds and my wish list here for you, and if you are in the Twin Cities area, come join me at the Ann Taylor Ridgedale Center pre-holiday shopping party for style, treats and fun! It is taking place Tuesday, November 13 from 5-7pm.
Early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is on and sizes are already selling out! The pre-sale started this morning for Nordstrom cardholders (if you don’t have a card – you can sign up any time for access to the sale! Non-cardholders have access to the sale on July 20 and it runs through August 5, when prices go back up.
The unique thing about this sale is it is not based on old items that the store is clearing out – it is all fall/winter items from the newest collections! I am super excited to head into the store to shop in person tomorrow morning and I have already made several purchases on-line. Below, I am sharing with you my top picks. Click each photo to take you to the Nordstrom website to purchase. I get credit when you shop through my links so I appreciate when you support my blog by using my links. Thanks lovelies!
Coats – If it’s long and ladylike, sign me up!
Shoes – Pretty boots and girly pumps!
Dresses and rompers – ladylike, floral, and of course pink!
Nine years ago, my now husband proposed to me on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at sunset. It was a beautiful moment at a beautiful restaurant called Sunset Monalisa. Since then we bought and renovated a 100 year old house, got a dog (a.k.a. my BFF, Henry), and were later blessed with two precious babies.
Back in those days we had the time and freedom to be more adventurous. On that first trip to Cabo we went with a group of friends, rented a car and found our way up to Cerritos beach in Todos Santos. We spent the day there surfing, swimming and making friends with the locals.
In contrast, this most recent trip was all about relaxation. Our resort, Casa Dorada was the perfect place for relaxing and the weather was glorious! We had a spacious suite with a kitchenette, living room and large bedroom with two balconies overlooking the pool and the ocean. Most of our time was spent at the pool or the beach and eating great food. The scene at the pool was low-key and relaxed (don’t get me wrong, we did go out dancing downtown one night too which was fun!). I also did a little shopping at Puerto Paraiso and Luxury Avenue when the sun got to be too much.
A highlight of the trip was heading back to Sunset Monalisa for dinner (insider tip: pay the extra fee for a premium seat out on the cliff for a fabulous view of the sunset). We sat almost in the same spot as the night we got engaged and it was fun to reminisce on the past nine years. Another favorite spot was The Office. It is a restaurant right on the beach with tables leading down into the sand. We loved to go there and grab a drink at the end of the day. We did take it up a notch one night and hit up a couple popular dancing spots like The Giggling Marlin and Cabo Wabo. I love to dance and my husband does not, so this was a special treat for me. 🙂
I brought way too many outfits and way too many swimsuits on this trip – I had to pay extra for my extra-heavy suitcase on the airplane. :'(
Growing up and becoming a mom means some days I’m in the mood for a swimsuit with a little more coverage. My favorites right now are from Kate Spade and Albion Fit. What I can say about both of them is that they are great quality, comfortable, modest, but most importantly they are totally fashionable (definitely not your average “mom” suits)! I highly recommend both of these brands. I also went the two piece route and my fave was a ruffly top from Nordstrom that I bought just before we left.
Overall, the trip was low-key and relaxing and I was happy to come home to my babies even though we returned home to frigid temperatures! Spring is finally here and I’m enjoying being outside here in Minnesota again!
For Christmas I received a generous gift card for Nordstrom. Some people think gift cards are an impersonal gift but for me, they are the best gift because I love to shop! Nordstrom has a selection of clothing from J.Crew which is perfect because I spotted the J.Crew ruffle v-neck sweater online in white and went in to the store to scope it out. I’m all about girly details! I was disappointed to find they didn’t have it in stock. However, I did find the same sweater in the prettiest shade of pink! It is soft, versatile and beyond adorable! Below are three ways I style the sweater.
This sweater is just so versatile. It also looks incredibly cute dressed up with a skirt and heels. I couldn’t resist working in this amazing faux fur leopard print jacket. I get compliments on it every time I wear it!
Back when I used to work in an office I was always cold, so I love a professional layered look. This sweater looks adorable with with a blouse underneath and a blazer on top. I love it tucked in to a pencil skirt and paired with my favorite Tory Burch pumps.
Outfit details: Not including the sweater, everything in this outfit is old, but I linked some similar options. The blouse is from United Colors of Benetton and I have had it since high school! Talk about standing the test of time! It is cream with a small floral print all over. I found a couple similar options at Forever 21: this button-front shirt and this top. | The blazer was from Dry Goods and I found one almost identical at Modcloth.com. | The skirt was from J.Crew. It is wool with a cute zipper pocket detail. They don’t have it anymore, but they do have a couple options for pencil skirts in wool and cotton | I looked everywhere and as far as I can tell Tory Burch doesn’t make these stacked heels with the logo on top anymore, but these pumps are a similar shape and super cute.
There you have it. A girly, ruffly pink sweater that can be styled for almost any occasion!
I was a cross country runner for six years throughout high school. I was never super into it. Mostly it was just something to do since I was never very good at team sports like soccer or basketball. When I started college I got lazy stopped running and pretty much all other forms of exercise.
It was several years later when I picked up running again and I decided I needed to set a goal and go for it so I signed up for a half marathon. I set a time goal and found a training program online at trainingpeaks.com. It was HARD. There were countless workouts when I regretted signing up and wanted to quit.
The day of the race, I had to get up very early to get to the starting line (my sweet dad dropped me off – thanks Dad!) I didn’t have anyone running with me so even though I was surrounded by people, I felt all alone. It was still dark out, cold and raining. I questioned my sanity for signing up for this. When the gun went off, the rain had stopped and the sun was coming up over the lake. The sky was pink and there was steam rising from the water. The beauty was breathtaking. I felt strong. When I crossed the finish line I knew I had surpassed my time goal by several minutes and I felt proud. Really proud. And happy.
My husband met met at the finish line with our new baby puppy. Several years later, I ran another and he met me at the finish line with our son. After the birth of my daughter, I felt my body had been through the wringer so I wanted to train for and run another half marathon to prove to myself that I was still strong. The training was more difficult this time. With a baby and a preschooler, I didn’t have as much time to train properly. My finishing time, while respectable, was my slowest yet. I felt sick and drained by the end of the race (although you wouldn’t know it by my finish line photo to the right – I was just so happy to be done!) but I did it.
If there is one thing I have learned from all of this it is that you have to push past the tough stuff to get to the good stuff – to accomplish things, to be proud. I discovered the beauty of nature again in my early morning runs – the quiet, the sun rising, the birds and animals. What a wonderful way to start the day!
I am a firm believer in the saying “if you look good, you feel good.” In my first two races, I wore a skort from Athleta, because why not be a little girly? In the finishing photo above, I’m wearing some adorable running shorts I found on the clearance rack at Athleta in the prettiest shade of coral. I love Athleta so much because of the diversity of its styles. I’m covered for everything from running to hiking to travel to just being lazy. I have a GAP Visa card which I use for a lot of my shopping and earn points which I can use toward future purchases at all the GAP brands, including Athleta and I take full advantage.
I’ve linked my outfits from the photos above and a lot is on sale right now so check it out!
This post is not sponsored. I love Athleta. And as usual, the pup had to get in on the action. Did you know Athleta also sells shoes online? This photo is a favorite pair of Asics I bought last fall. My next purchase might just be these rose gold Metallic 2750 Sneakers by Superga!
I have been looking for over the knee boots for some time now. They just look so cute with skirts and dresses and are perfect for staying warm in the winter. The problem is that I have very slim calves, and there aren’t a lot of options out there that fit me. Rumor has it that Stuart Weitzman has some options for slim calves, but even on sale they are nearly $500, which is a bit over budget.
I knew I needed something custom so I called a cobbler nearby and they said they don’t do this type of work because it doesn’t ever turn out quite right, so I decided to take drastic measures and put my amateur sewing skills to work! I have never done anything like this before, so it was a total experiment. I found some adorable and comfortable faux suede boots at Target: the Women’s Journee Collection Maya Faux Suede Over the Knee Boots in Taupe Brown. At $47.99 they were not cost prohibitive. I thought if I could tailor them myself I might finally have some boots that fit.
First I tried on the boots and pinched the back to get an idea of how much I needed to cut out. Then I turned them inside out and ripped off the strip reinforcing the back seam. I folded along the back seam and sewed a line down the back about an inch parallel to the existing seam to make the boots fit more closely to the leg. At the bottom, I merged my seam with the stopping point of the existing back seam to produce an even transition. Last, I cut off the excess fabric and reinforced the seam with a zig zag stitch on the edge of the hem.
You may notice in the last picture above that the presser foot has been removed. Well, that’s because I broke the needle on my machine. I used a heavy duty needle as needed for such thick fabric, but apparently it wasn’t heavy duty enough. Oops! The end result isn’t perfectly straight or pretty from the inside, but it looks great from the outside and you would never know the boots had been tailored by an amateur like me. And now I have a pair of awesome over the knee boots that fit me. If there is one thing that can ruin a look, it is clothes that don’t fit properly.
I learn something new from every project I do and it prepares me for the next. I think I need some more practice sewing heavy duty fabrics and this was a great start.
P.S. The pretty top and skirt are from Madewell, which is having 30% off in stores and online right now with the code LATEBIRD. You’re welcome. 😉
It is important to have a peaceful work space. For me, this means clean, uncluttered and pretty. I have a desk where I do my “real” job (aka the one that pays the bills) but I needed something else for my creative work. When my sister told me she was getting rid of this desk, I jumped on the opportunity to make something new out of it. You can see the before picture below.
This was no small undertaking. I had never refinished furniture before. I scoured Pinterest for tutorials, bought the chemicals and got to work. The stripping involved painting on toxic chemicals and then wiping/scraping all of it off. It smelled horrible and it was majorly messy. Once that part was done, I sanded the whole thing (see the lighter color version of the desk above). Then came the fun part! I decided to stain the top a warm brown color and paint the base of the desk off white, inspired by the Whitney Desk at Pottery Barn. It turned out better than I could have imagined and I’m glad I was brave enough to go for it.
A pretty desk needs a pretty chair, so I grabbed an old chair from our basement that had been handed down from my in-laws and got to work. I wasn’t interested in going through the work of refinishing again, so I went with chalk paint which supposedly you can paint over anything. I didn’t even sand the surface. It went on a little clumpy, but I sanded it in areas to give it a weathered look and it turned out pretty nice. The fabric on the seat was old and stained, so I ripped it off and re-covered it with some adorable fabric from Ballard Designs. Ballard is a go-to for home decor and they have so many awesome fabrics you can buy by the yard. I used the Dodie Beige, which is sort of a leopard polka dot print. I think it has kind of a Kate Spade vibe to it.
So now I have a lovely work space that cost very little to put together. I love it. This is where I sit to sew, create and dream!
My family went Christmas tree shopping this past weekend. I have wonderful memories of choosing a tree with my dad as a child. We always had a real tree, and even if it wasn’t perfect, it was perfect for us. The smell of fresh pine in the house is unbeatable. I have considered getting a faux tree in recent years (lasts forever, no mess!) but I wanted to share these memories with my little ones too.
We found a tree lot in the cutest little neighborhood near our home. It’s always an adventure going anywhere with two little ones. Add in a curious pup who who gets very excited out in public and there is never a dull moment. When he lifted his leg to pee on a Frasier Fur, we knew that was our tree and we got out of there quickly! When we got home, we lit a fire in the fireplace, put on some Christmas music and set up the tree. It isn’t the most coordinated tree in terms of decorations, but the kids love it. Especially my daughter! She is at an age when we can’t have any breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree or she will take them all down. These stages of life always bring new adventures and there is nothing more joyful than watching these two grow and become their own little people.
It has been quite warm out in recent weeks – almost too warm for a winter coat, but on occasion I have been known to choose style over function! I wore my favorite J.Crew Chateau Parka anyway. You have probably seen this coat before, as it is popular with fashion bloggers and other admirable women (Joanna Gaines!). I saw it a few years ago and couldn’t pass it up when it went on sale.
It really is the perfect winter coat. It is warm, comfortable and pretty. You can dress it up or down and the faux fur on the hood is easily removable. I get compliments every time I wear it. It tends to sell out in a lot of sizes, but luckily, J.Crew brings it back every year. Happy shopping!
p.s. This post is NOT sponsored! I just really love this coat!
I love to shop, especially during the holidays. Beauty and energy are everywhere! I did do some Black Friday shopping at the mall, but I found even more to love online for Cyber Monday. Many retailers even extend their cyber sales past Monday and have offers through the holiday season, but why not check some things off the list now? This post is not sponsored in any way – these are just some of my favorite finds, gifts for others or gifts for yourself! 🙂
I am a big fan of neutrals in fashion and home decor. I have been looking for a new work bag and coming up empty. There are some really nice options out there for really high prices and none that had all the features I wanted. I wanted something classy and structured with a zip top that could hold my laptop and had pockets for everything else I need when I travel for work. It also absolutely had to have a crossbody strap. Enter the Caroline Leather Bag from Mark and Graham for 25% off on Cyber Monday. They have the most darling bags and accessories and you can get most of it personalized. This bag is seriously gorgeous. It has all the features I wanted, plus I had my initials monogrammed on it for an extra special touch. I hope it is delivered before my trip next week!
As the title states, I love pink and I love girly details like ruffles. This Ruffled Crewneck from J.Crew was a must, and at 40% off, I could not pass it up. It is even prettier in person than in the picture!
How gorgeous is this Peony Wallpaper from AccentuWall on Etsy? I stumbled upon it at a 25% discount for Cyber Monday and I can not wait to apply it on the far wall in my home office. It is peel and stick, so hopefully pretty forgiving when I apply it to the wall. I have worked with peel and stick wallpaper before and it isn’t as easy as it seems, but it is worth the effort! I’ll document how it goes on a future post.
Now for some gifting ideas. These GAP Dreamwell Satin Pajamas will make a perfect gift for a girl friend. They were 50% off on Cyber Monday plus an extra 10% off for cardholders. I have a GAP card and used some of my points to purchase these for a steal.
Last but not least, another perfect gift idea. Paper Source is a go-to for all things pretty and crafty. I seriously wish I could just live in that store. They had an extended Cyber Monday sale that went into Tuesday and I found this lovely planner (that you can have customized!) was 30% off plus an extra 10% off. They also have matching journals, stationery, and many other customized gifts. The customization is the perfect personal touch and you can’t go wrong with pink!
I am so grateful for the Thanksgiving traditions my parents shared as I was growing up and I looked forward to celebrating Thanksgiving every year. My parents hosted as many as twenty people at our house for a home cooked turkey feast. I never realized until I became an adult how much work it was to prepare, manage and clean up, especially for my mom. I will forever be grateful to her and my dad for giving us such wonderful memories. After dinner, we would take a walk in the cold, dark night and come home to a cozy fire in the fireplace.
Now that I am an adult (!!!), I have my own family, and I am happy to start new traditions with my children. We are the new hosts of Thanksgiving dinner and every other year host either my family or my husband’s family. I am beyond grateful for my husband’s ability to cook an amazing turkey, complete with gravy and stuffing. This year a few of us took a walk before dinner. It was sunny and unseasonably warm. The quiet in the neighborhood was almost eerie, but breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun and the breeze always brings me peace.
I often have all kinds of creative ideas for decorating but don’t make the time for it. This year I decided to go for it and do a romantic Thanksgiving tablescape, much of it crafted from things around the house. My problem is I can’t often find quite the styles or colors I want, and often decor costs more than it needs to, so I just make it myself. I wanted white pumpkin place cards, but the stores didn’t have quite what I was looking for at the price point I wanted, so I purchased some yellow pumpkins, spray painted them white, added gold to the stem, and tied on a gold leaf and name cards which I printed out on brown paper and then cut into shapes. I think they turned out really pretty!
The Happy Thanksgiving banner was inspired by others I had seen in stores and on Pinterest, but they always cost too much ($15 for a paper sign? no thank you!) so I made my own. I cut out the flags from brown paper, drew the letters on with markers, added some tiny wooden clothespins which I embellished with gold glitter and voila! A lovely Thanksgiving banner.
The base for the middle of the table is just a picture frame from Home Goods with a piece of paper in it instead of a photo. And don’t underestimate the dollar store! Those white salad plates with gold trim were $1 each and add a perfect touch. You would never know.
Lastly, the flowers. I could not for the life of me find the color combinations I needed at the flower shop so some of the flowers are real, and some are fake. Oh, and note to self: don’t go to the craft shop the day before Thanksgiving expecting to actually find fall themed decor – all they had was Christmas stuff! Regardless, I think it turned out really pretty and I’m already looking forward to decorating for Christmas.