Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving and Our Ohio Travels

You might say I was really excited to be home for Thanksgiving. :-)
The above picture is the first photograph taken with our NEW Nikon CoolPix P610 digital camera. Horray! It was an amazing early Christmas gift from my mom. (Please excuse the alarming photograph: I had just woken up!). Shout out to Mark and Courtney for the best tee shirt!

We got to meet Miura, the most beautiful daughter of my dear friend, Amanda. 
Lululemon Headband here. There isn't a better headband for working out than the Fly Away Tamer. It has a little strip of stickiness so it won't slide around (even in downward facing dog!). However, the sticky strip doesn't pull out your hair like other headbands I've worn. 

Okay, I had to throw this one in because he just looks so great with a baby! Hehehe

 Next on the Boardman docket was helping implement stages 1-3 of Jimmy's proposal to Megan scheme.  Megan and Jimmy have been to of my closest friends since we were in elementary school. We helped coerce Megan to go to our elementary school playground so she could meet Jimmy there, where he would propose! (I said we needed her to snap a Christmas picture of my family! Haha! It worked like a charm).
I love this yellow ruffle top from Loft. Here is the top in a beautiful pink; the yellow is sold out, but this pink color is fabulous! 
This maroon/Pinot Noir Julie pant (old) from Loft is my favorite fall/winter pair of pants. It was unseasonably warm in Youngstown over Thanksgiving, so I was able to wear the crops with more open pumps. The best part of these skinny crops, though, is you can wear them tucked into your riding boots all winter. Here is an alternative pair: from J. Crew Factory. The color is so on trend right now and can easily be paired with various colors on top! 
My BCBGeneration studded pumps are so comfortable and remind me of the Valentino studded pumps (for a serious fraction of the price).  

Celebrating our bestie, Megan, getting engaged!
Amanda, Megan, Jamie and me
Jamie's shirt (similar here) is one I own, too! We both purchased it last year from The Limited. However, the Loft option is just as adorable! 

Thursday was Thanksgiving. 

I love this Loft striped and sequined shirt from a few seasons ago. I have paired it with jeans, black pants (for work), black skirts and colored pants. It is such a workhorse in my closet! Unfortunately, it is several years old. But, here is a great alternative (below). 

This shirt from J. Crew Factory is $31 currently, and it has gold sequins down the side! How fabulous! You could pair it with khakis or tailored black pants for work, and wear it with similar pieces as my above striped top. 

Cooper needed some turkey, too! ha ha ha

 I just smile when I see Coop! With my sister, the mom-to-be!

I can't get over this red lip color from Stila. I've blogged about it before, but this is it in Fiery. I am not exaggerating when I say it lasts ALL DAY. I looked for a lip stain for my wedding (apparently stains are not as popular these days), but this was the best bet (in Amalfi for the wedding). 
My glasses are Kate Spade. Here they are online, but I bought mine from the awesome Amy at Third Street Eye Care (if you're ever in Geneva, you MUST stop by for new specs!). 
I have to say, my bestie Mandy totally motivated these spectacles. I came with her to find her new pair last summer. I did not realize I bought the exact same ones this past fall! Even more reason for people to think we are twinnies! :-)

Our 10 year high school reunion was Friday evening. It was so fun! We danced and had a blast catching up with old friends!  It was so nice to chat with pals from all over the country. A special shout out to Jamie Spickler who made my whole weekend by telling me she loved the blog! <3

Above: me, Amanda (new mama!), Megan (newly engaged!), Jamie and Lauren
Friends for decades! 

You know you're best friends when 5 of you show up in practically the same black, lace dress.
Mine is old Lilly Pulitzer, but here are five other styles of fabulous lace LBDs (all for under $150).
1. B.B. Dakota from Bloomies: here.
2. J. Crew Factory short sleeved: here
3. Adrianna Papell from Nordies: here. (Very similar to Jamie's!).
4. B.B. Dakota from Nordies: here. (Just bought this in red for my friend's wedding in December!).
5. Asos long sleeved: here.

We had so much fun catching up with Alyssa and Danielle! 

She's engaged! Sooooo happy for Jimmy and Megan! 

Thanksgiving part 2 commenced on Saturday with the Hancock side of my family. It was SO awesome to be able to be with my dad's side on our way back to Illinois. My cousin Neil and Caitlin (far right) just got engaged and will be getting married in October!
My burnt-sienna colored peplum top is a bit older from Loft, but here is a great alternative, that is on BIG TIME SALE today! This is another fabulous peplum option from Loft. Pair it with your favorite skinny jeans and a plaid scarf, and you have a simple, quick and stylish outfit! 
Pair all peplum tops with fitted skinny jeans or tailored pants to offset the flowy-ness of the peplum. 
My gold sparkly Tory Burch flats are about 4 years old, but I just found these stunners at Talbots! 50% any full priced item today! 

We spent Sunday decking our halls back at home in Illinois. 

No, I am not a giant. Yes, this tree is approximately 4 feet tall. LOL
Check out my Pure Barre gear in this post! 

Mike gave me this ornament last week when I had had a rough day. Yes, that is a newly married couple as a s'more! There is nothing I love more than S'MORES, and this ornament for our first Christmas couldn't have been more ideal. Mike found this at Von Maur in store, but here is a Baby's First Christmas s'more option found online. 

Decking Mike's drums with lights! Our new tradition :-)

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, love and cheerfulness.
How are you decorating your home for the holidays? The glittery trees and deer are my new obsession (thank you, Target!).


Monday, November 23, 2015

Travelling for the Holiday(s): What to Pack?

We are lucky enough to travel home over Thanksgiving to see my family in Youngstown, Ohio. My sister (and her baby bump), my brother-in-law, their dog, Cooper, my husband and I will be taking off (road trip!) for Ohio Tuesday after work.  When it comes to winter travel, packing is often the most arduous part, particularly if it's unseasonably cold (or warm!).

Above: Cooper on our road trip last Christmas.

In order to make packing for your trip a little easier, consider these hints:

First, decide what your main events will be, and choose the outfits for those.

For our Thanksgiving trip, I know on Wednesday I will be meeting my best friend's new baby, Miura. One of my favorite "dressier" sweatshirts is this J. Crew crewneck sweatshirt with the ruffle hem (below).  The best part is you can layer any color underneath the gray. J. Crew Factory just came out with a sequin hem crewneck sweatshirt (picture below) that is equally adorable (mine is last year's).

At my first dress fitting in February with Mandy, Beth and Anna!

We will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's on Thursday. I am going to incorporate some sparkle into my outfit because to me, when is a BAD time to wear sequins? ;-)

Above: at Penrose Brewery with my girls Mandy and Kelly. 
My shirt is old J.Crew Factory; however, you can find similar ones here and here

Friday is my 10-year high school class reunion. I will be wearing this black lace Lilly Pulitzer dress. (Below). Here is a great alternative (mine is a few years old).

Saturday we are celebrating Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family in Findlay, Ohio. I plan on wearing my new tartan scarf from The Initial Co. and styling it something like Courtney did on her website!
They are all sold out of this fabulous scarf at the Initial Co., but here it is on Tuckernuck's website! The best part of this tartan scarf is that I can wear it with so many different colors. 

Once you know the main components of your itinerary, you can pack with much more ease.

Also, pack shoes or boots that are multi-purpose; it's better if your shoes you bring can be worn dressy or casual.
Similar Tory Burch Reva Ballet Flats here.

After you've compiled the "main" events' clothing, decide if you'll be working out on your trip. If so, you'll need the appropriate shoes and work-out garb.

We are going to Pure Barre in Youngstown (taught by one of my former dance teachers!) on Wednesday, pre-Turkey.  I'll try to hit up my mom's Pilates Reformer a few times in the basement, too (the operative word being TRY-- hehe).  Similar capris: here. Tank top here! Sticky socks: found here.

Finally, think about your down time and what you'd like to wear during those hours. When I am home at my mom's, my best times are sat snuggling on the couch in comfy pajamas with a glass of wine in hand. I love my mom and step-dad's fireplace. To me, their fireplace indicates home, holidays and family (and the fact that my mom keeps her house at approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit-- haha!).

Furthermore, consider the drive or flight to your destination. On Tuesday, I will be leaving directly from work to scoop up the hubs and head down to Chicago to meet Anna and Shawn.  Typically, my travelling uniform is Lululemon Wunder Under pants and a Saint Mary's tee shirt.

Loving this adorable new SMC tee-- there's a sale on the Saint Mary's College bookstore site: $10 off any $50 purchase and $25 off $100! 

Don't forget your festive jammies!
There's a 50% sale going on currently on J. Crew Factory online. Time to stock up! 

These are my favorite buffalo plaid jammie pants from J. Crew Factory-- and they are on sale for $21!

And the best "short trip" bag I've ever owned is my Vera Bradley large duffel bag. It is the perfect size for 3-5 days and traveling by car.

Where are you headed this Thanksgiving? May your travels be safe and your Thanksgiving meal be filled with family and love.


Monday, November 16, 2015

What to Wear to a Holiday Work Party

I have had a few friends ask me to write about appropriate attire for attending a work Christmas party.  Of course, depending on your line of work, the venue and time of day, the outfit will certainly differ. Here are some varying dressiness ideas for the work holiday party you'll be attending. Cheers!

A low-key, after-work-on-a-Friday bar/grille, bowling alley, casual restaurant venue:

A tartan dress is so fun for the season! Mine (below) is a few years old from Lands End Canvas, but here is an equally adorable alternative from Modcloth.

Pair it with a simple red cardigan, and you are ready to meet your coworkers for drinks at the local tavern!

I am always such a fan of the J. Crew Factory multi-strand pearl necklace, too. I think it completes the look! 

Final bonus piece to this look: red or green hunters! How cute would that be?  (Keep the Hunter Boots in mind for the other casual party looks, too). 

Another idea for a lower-key work party would be this J. Crew Factory casual flannel shirt dress.

Pair it with your Frye boots and a cozy pair of boot socks, and your holiday party look will be comfortable, fashionable and still work appropriate.

Above: my sweet bestie Mandy's home for our department Christmas party 2014

Last year, I went with a festive blazer and skinny black jeans to my own English department fiesta.

This keeps it dressy for the work day, but it transitions your outfit nicely into "after-work" mode. This Madison blazer from The Limited (below) is a great price point and comes in both green and red! Depending on your line of work, pair it with either a dark wash skinny jean or a black pant.

I also love this Lands' End pique blazer in red (below).

For last year's English department Christmas party, I went with a plain white tank top under my blazer. Depending on how cold it is, you might want to layer with a plaid popover or collared shirt.

A Friday night, bring-a-date type soiree, at a fancier venue:

I absolutely love this dress (above) from the J. Crew Factory store. I got the mine last year, but here is a great alternative with the same fun sparkle and stripes.

Another gorgeous option for a fancier holiday party would be this J. Crew lace cap-sleeved LBD.

It also comes in white, if you are daring (and tan enough! haha!) to rock the winter whites. In northern Illinois, I tend to opt for black over white during the winter months. But, if you are reading this somewhere sunny and warm (Kelly S!), you could totally wear this in white! 

Another fabulous option is this red lace dress from J. Crew Factory. I am heavy on the J. Crew and J. Crew Factory this post because they are doing such a fantastic job in the dress department for the season!

Dress this red lace number down with a camel cardigan and belt on top. Dress it up with fancy pumps and black tights!

A last option for the moderately-fancy work holiday party is this black lace scalloped dress (below) from Loft. I cannot get over how darling it is!
Your options are so endless with this dress. You could pair it with a fancy shoe (the BCBGeneration pumps, perhaps!) or a solid black patent pump. It's a beautiful dress, and the 3/4 sleeves make it practical and warm for our winter months. 

A Saturday evening gala: black tie-esque

This would be the perfect opportunity to utilize Rent the Runway!  Here are a few of my faves that would offer the right amount of elegance and class for a Saturday evening work function

The Kate Spade Mindy Dress is so much fun! It's modest yet glam; I am loving the green for the season!

This navy Perfect Era Dress by Kate Spade is another spectacular dress! You will wow your coworkers with your class and beauty in this stunner!

Both the green and navy Kate Spade dresses have the elegance and modesty necessary for a work function, but the added glitz around the neckline make these two so ideal for the holiday season!

This dress (below) has the most adorable back I have ever seen! I am a sucker for all things bow, and this dress takes the cake for the best bow (and back).  The Colorblock Bowback dress by Kate Spade, also from Rent the Runway, just screams holiday gala!

The front of this colorblock dress is very modest. Pair it with black tights and black pumps, and you will be the best dressed Belle of the ball!

Ann Taylor came out with this darling gold sequined sheath (below). The beauty of this piece is that you could easily wear it again for New Year's Eve festivities or maybe even a glitter themed bachelorette party! I am ALL about re-purposing dresses!

Finally, this Ann Taylor black fringe number is HOT! Disclaimer: I do not think it is too hot to wear around your boss (particularly with a classy black cardigan on top). Right now, Ann Taylor has 40% off! Can you imagine how great you'd look flitting around from coworker to coworker in this fringed beauty? Fringe is VERY on trend right now! The length is very appropriate for a work function, too!

Wherever your holiday work party takes you, remember what Oscar Wilde once said: you can never be overdressed or over educated.

One of my favorite pics from last year's English department Christmas party!