August 2014 Clothing Budget

August 2014 Clothing Budget

August 2014 Clothing Budget
August 2014 Clothing Budget:
1.  Urban Expressions Courtney Clutch/Crossbody via eBay: $23.66
2.  Mikas Pond Lacey Wallet in Pink via Kate Spade: $85 (including shipping)
3.  Carlisle Street Stacy Polka Dot Wallet via Kate Spade Outlet: $45
4.  Navy Bow Earrings via Kate Spade Outlet: $16
5.  Jacquard Dot Popover via J. Crew Factory: $25 (flash sale + free shipping)
6.  J. Crew Linen City Mini Skirt via consignment store: $15.99 [worn here]
7.  Marled Crew Neck Sweater via Old Navy: $14 [worn here]
8.  Doubleweave Cotton Zip Jacket via Loft: $47 (including shipping)
9.  Striped Crossover Cutout Back Dress via Loft:  $18 [worn here]
10.  Sabine Pleated Maxi Skirt via Piperlime: $14.97 on clearance

Not pictured: Pink Climacool Long Sleeve athletic shirt via consignment store: $9.59

=$314.21
-$125 in income earned
=$189.21 for August

So I did a bit of damage this month.  Apparently the theme was accessories and black & white.

The Kate Spade pink wallet was something I had been wanting for a while…and when I saw it on a Kate Spade Surprise sale, I knew it was a good price (see my tips for getting Kate Spade on the cheap!)  Then, I was out shopping with my sister-in-law and we happened to stumble in to the outlet…and this smaller wallet happened to be on clearance.  I wanted a smaller wallet so I could carry it in clutches and small crossbody purses, so that was my justification.  The earrings were just too cute to pass up.  We both got a pair…twinsies!

Otherwise, I tried to be very purposeful with the actual clothing purchases.  I feel like everything is very versatile and will mix and match nicely with items I already have in my closet.

I originally got the Loft blazer in a gray/blue on clearance in the store but it didn’t go with a ton.  So when I saw it in white online at the same price, I grabbed it (but had to pay $8.95 in shipping- darn you Loft and your high shipping prices!)  I included the shipping costs in my budget which brought the $36 blazer to almost $50.  Also grabbed the crossover dress on clearance from Loft and found a gorgeous pleated maxi skirt from Piperlime on clearance from $70 for $14.97 AND free shipping- love it!

Luckily, I had some income earned to help offset the spending, which still put me under my $200 limit.  If I had kept anything from my Stitch Fix this month, I would have been over! (Oh, and I also got a few fun pieces from Kika and jeans from American Eagle via some partnerships, which is always lovely.)

How did you do this month?  What did you like from my purchases?  Do you count shipping costs in your clothing budget?

To view my past clothing budgets, click here.

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion | Franish

American Eagle Denim Experience #AEOStyle

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american eagle denim
black and white outfit
black denim, heathered sweater, statement necklace
american eagle jeans
I love summer (not so much this crazy humidity we are experiencing right now in Chicagoland), but is it bad that I am excited for fall?!  I can’t wait for boots, chunky scarves and pumpkin flavored everything.  And part of fall is transitioning my outfits for the cooler temps…which includes busting out my denim!

I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts (including my recent 20×45 clothing challenge), I love my American Eagle jeans.  Jean shopping is never fun, and when I find a brand I like that fits well, I stick with it!

So when I was ready for another pair, I headed to the American Eagle denim website.  There, you can choose from 14 different fits of jeans, 48 different sizes and 60 washes–all from the comfort of your own home. They have everything from hi-rise jeggings, straight leg, boyfriend style, and much more.

AEO jeans
So I navigated through and found my favorite fit: skinny.  Then I checked out the seven washes that were available in that cut.  Each wash had tons of photos- front and back, side, close-up, you name it.  They include the model’s name along with her height and size.  (In this case, it was 5’8” Courtney in a Size 2.)  Oh, and did I mention that all their denim is $29.99?!  LOVE it!

After looking over all the options, I decided to go with a pair of super stretch black skinny jeans.  The regular length fits me well and even if I find that the sizing may be a little off when I get it in the mail, American Eagle has free shipping AND free return shipping on all purchases.  (Sidenote:  I did order a second pair of skinny jeans but didn’t care for the wash when I saw it in person.  I filled out the exchange form and paid to ship them back, because exchanges aren’t free.  Then come to find out, I get an email saying that the item I wanted to exchange was no longer available and was being sent a refund in the form of a gift card.  So now I’m waiting for the gift card so I can place another order, wait some more, and get my second pair. Grumble grumble.  Too bad they couldn’t contact me when it was out of stock…and could have treated it as a return so I wouldn’t be out the shipping cost.  Whatevs!)

So anyways, I did receive the black skinny jeans in the mail and they were great. Since I already wear this cut, I knew they would fit well and the rise is just right for me.  Seriously, these jeans are so, so comfortable (love that super stretch!) Now if the humidity would subside, I could wear these more often!

Visit American Eagle today and see how quick and easy it is to find your new favorite pair of denim!  And…if you post a photo of yourself in an AE product or any Aerie product with the hashtag #AEOStyle on Instagram or Twitter, your picture will appear on the AE website!

Have you tried AE jeans?  What do you think?  What’s your go-to denim brand?

Disclosure: I received an American Eagle gift card as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sheinside Blazer Review

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As part of my clothing budget last month, I ordered a White Boyfriend Ponte Rolled Sleeves Blazer from Sheinside, a China-based company that makes super cute and affordable clothes & accessories.  I was missing a lighter colored blazer in my wardrobe and felt that it would be a nice completer pieces to tons of outfits.  Plus, their blazers were only $29.50 so I had to try it…and they have free shipping on $30+ (I threw in these earrings to get the free shipping.)

I had seen the blazer on Audrey of Putting Me Together (she also has it in pink/coral) and on Lauren from Fizz and Frosting, plus a handful of other bloggers, so I gave it a try, and I promised I would do a Sheinside blazer review since some of you were asking for it.  So here goes…

I will say, since it is coming from China, it took a loooong time to get here.  Maybe 3-4 weeks?  So be prepared.  I ordered a medium since their size chart corresponded to my measurements.  It’s made of polyester and has a nice lining on the inside:

Sheinside Blazer- detail photos
Nice thing is- I can throw it in the washer and not have it dry cleaned (but make sure you keep it out of the dryer!)  However, I definitely have to iron it…the lapels need to be creased down with an iron every time, otherwise, it doesn’t lay flat.

Here is the blazer on me with some different views.  For under $30, it is a nice blazer that is professional enough for the office and casual enough for errands or drinks.

Sheinside blazer front back and side photos
In terms of sizing, I feel that it fits great everywhere except the shoulders.  I have broader shoulders and it is quite tight.  In fact, I’m not sure I could wear sleeves under the blazer.  For that reason, I would say that you should order a size up.

The faux pockets are a nice touch, and the rolled sleeves have a stitch in them to keep them rolled up, along with some nice piping detail at the edge.  The blazer does lay nicely even though it doesn’t have a button or closure but again, you’ll have to iron the lapel to make sure it creases and lays nicely.  Mine doesn’t close over my chest (but I don’t think it’s supposed to.  If it were bigger, it wouldn’t look as fitted but then again I’d get more room in the shoulder area.

Here is a more casual look with the blazer:

sheinside blazer- casual look
sheinside blazer- casual look
And another outfit that’s more “office appropriate”:

sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 2
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 3
sheinside blazer- boyfriend ponte 4 Shop the look:
Blazer- Sheinside (also comes in coral, light blue and black)
Earrings: Sheinside
Dress: Old Navy (2-3+ years ago?)
Heels: Target

Interested in giving the blazer (or anything else from Sheinside a try?)  Create an account using this link and get 20% off your order…and if five of you sign up, I will get 50% off a future order.  Win win!

Do you have this blazer from Sheinside?  Thoughts?  Where do you shop for blazers?

Linking up with:
Fizz & Frosting | On the Daily Express | More Pieces of Me | Fashionably Employed | Greater than Rubies | rhea, et cetera | Still Being Molly

The Michaela Faves Bag by Kika

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Kika is a California-based clothing company that makes eco-friendly clothes in the good ‘ol USA.  Their clothing is eco-friendly and made by women, for women, and is made from super comfortable material.  I’ve collaborated with them before when I showed how you can take this dress from cubicle to cocktails.  But today, I’m reviewing a new feature from Kika: the Kika Faves Bag!

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How does it work?  Kika offers two options for their Faves Bags: one priced at $79 and another at $149.  The Faves Bag is a surprise collection of Kika clothing.  You choose the first piece, and they choose the rest (you provide your preferences on fit, style and colors).  The $149 tote comes with 5-6 pieces total, the $79 tote comes with 2-3 pieces total.  I went with the first option and selected the Michaela tunic as my item of choice, along with leggings, a tank, a sweater and a dress—totaling over $350!

Michaela Faves Bag by Kika
I loved the Michaela tunic as soon as I saw it online—it’s even cuter in person! Perfect for fall to wear with leggings and boots.  And adding a belt really helped defined the waist.  I also got the black leggings, which were high quality and not see through like some other leggings out there!

Michaela tunic Kika
Next up was the Janis tank.  It has a draped cowl neckline and is made from that super comfy Tencel material.  I don’t wear a lot of brown so this was a nice addition.

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I also got the Gabby cocoon cardigan with ribbed shawl collar and sleeves.  Love the cobalt blue color, but I’m not crazy about the fit…very odd on me.  I think it’s because the sleeves are in the middle of the piece instead of at the top by the shoulders.  But it’s great for wearing around the house or curled up by the fire with a good book!

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Rounding out the bag was the Pearl dress.  Kirstyn, my stylist, was right when she said it looked like a potato sack on its own.  But when you add a belt, it’s perfect!  The length is great- I don’t have many dresses that hit past the knee.  And the color is perfect for fall/winter.

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The “Michaela Faves Bag” is now available at Kika, so you too can have this tunic plus four to five more pieces picked by the stylists specially for you for only $149! Just add the Michaela Faves Bag to your cart and as you check out, specify in “comment section” about what type of pieces you’re looking for, although I didn’t provide any feedback for my Faves Bag.  So fill out the comments section so your stylist can pick the perfect pieces just for you!

Michaela Faves Bag by Kika

Which look is your favorite?

Disclosure: I received a Kika Faves Bag in exchange for a blog review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Head and Shoulders Part of Our Family Sweepstakes

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Oh, hair. It has taken me several attempts and various products to get it looking acceptable and “styled.”  My hair is super fine and is quite dry at the ends and oily at the roots.  But on bad hair days, my hair reminds me of a horses’ tail with the dry, frizzy ends…and if I don’t wash it every day, it gets really oily and stringy-looking.  And having oily hair and scalp is a factor that can trigger dandruff.

But I have always turned to Head and Shoulders…it clears up dandruff and restores my scalp’s healthy balance.  And now, Head & Shoulders offers a whole line of shampoos and conditioners with amazing scents that do more than just guarantee a flake free scalp. I recently got a chance to try out the Smooth and Silky frizz control duo from their fresh scent technology collection.

head and shoulders smooth & silky
They smell amazing and really keep my hair feeling moisturized and nourished from root to tip.  It was so smooth, I didn’t resort to using my pricey spray-in “instant healthy hair treatment,” which I was stoked about!  After blow drying and using my rotating styling brush, you can see my hair is looking healthy, full of body, and sans frizz or dandruff.  Score!

black and white striped dress, cargo vest
black and white striped dress, cargo vest
close up: black and white striped dress, cargo vest
I might not normally want to talk about dandruff, but it’s an issue for so many people (read: 50% of the population!)  that it seems silly to be embarrassed about, especially since Sophia Vergara has recently partnered with Head and Shoulders and revealed that she and her entire family have been loyal users of the brand for the last 20 years. I think all us ladies dream about having Sophia’s gorgeous locks, and it’s nice to know she doesn’t just wake up with it – she’s got help from Head and Shoulders (and a fabulous stylist, let’s be honest).

sofia vergara family
And better yet- if you would like a chance to meet Sofia Vergara and be #PartOfOurFamily, now is your chance! The Head and Shoulders Part of Our Family Sweepstakes is for a three day trip for you and your bestie to attend a Sofia Vergara Head & Shoulders photo shoot in either LA or NYC. (Get the full details here.)

To enter, simply follow @HeadShoulders on Twitter and post a photo of your gorgeous, flake-free hair, tagging #PartOfOurFamily #sweeps and @HeadShoulders, and be sure to do it by September 1st!  Good luck!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Third Thursday Threads: Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress 2 ways

Everyone knows how versatile a little black dress can be.  In fact, I chose it as one of my items in my 20×45 remix challenge (and much to my surprise, was also featured on DivineCaroline.com!)  But today, in honor of Bri’s Third Thursday Threads, I wore my LBD in a different way.  I also picked up a striped black dress that I adore and wanted to include in today’s post too.  Double whammy!

statement necklace, jean jacket, black dress, leopard heels
Shop the look:  Necklace (JCF) | Jean Jacket (Old Navy) | Dress (BR Outlet): option, option, option, option | Leopard heels (Target): option

I added a jean jacket and leopard pumps along with a statement necklace to wear to the office for my intern’s last day.  There were a reception with dinner/drinks after work and I wanted to be comfortable after work but also put together for during the day.

And the second LBD look features a striped crossover cutout back dress that I picked up from the Loft on clearance for under $20 bucks!  Such a fun summer dress…and I can always layer over it if I don’t want to show as much skin and transition the dress to spring or fall.  (Tara of Mix and Match Fashion also picked up this dress and styled it here.)  FYI- the dress does run large.  The medium was really large and the back was drooping, so I went with a small.

loft striped crossover cutout dress
back of loft striped crossover cutout dress
Shop the look: Dress (Loft) | Heels (Target)

So there you have it!  Two great LBDs to take me through all the seasons!

Little Black Dress 2 Ways
And for easy reference, here is the graphic on the ways I styled my LBD from the 20×45 remix!

how to style a LBD Follow me!
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Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion | Work Clothes, I Suppose

Bra Facts 101 by Aerie #AerieReal

Aerie Bra Facts 101 #aeriereal

Let’s face it– bras are the most functional part of a woman’s wardrobe.  Forget the cute leopard print blouse, the gingham button up, your favorite cotton tee or that strapless LBD—without a good bra, none of these pieces would be complete without the proper bra.

I recently discovered Aerie when I blogged about their “Real You is Sexy” campaign.  I also blogged about their bra fitting guide after testing out several styles.  I own several bras from Aerie now and love their fit, colors and styles…plus their prices are amazing!   And now, Aerie is at it again for the ladies with a series of helpful infographics, including Bra Facts 101  below.

Aerie Bra Facts 101
Anything surprise you in this Bra Facts 101 infographic?  I personally didn’t realize that the lifespan of a bra is only 6-9 months.  WOW.  Admittedly, I have some bras in my possession that are considered to be “antiques” by that timeframe!  I think I hang onto them because they are comfortable (meaning the band and straps are stretched after years of wear.)  Definitely some helpful tips to consider when it comes time to go bra shopping again!

I love that Aerie has produced this helpful resource for all the ladies. They are a brand that is not only offering a great product, but also tools (like their Bra Fitting Guide) and ideologies (The Real You is Sexy campaign) that are helping to redefine what it means to be sexy and find bras that are functional and fit properly.

Check out the full infographic of tips of Aerie’s tips here on Aerie’s blog, including 9 Bras Every Girl Needs and Troubleshooting Your Bra Fit.  Such great resources!

Did any of these facts surprise you?  Which infographic did you like best?

And remember—if you post a photo of yourself in an Aerie product (or just a product) with the hashtag #aeriereal on Instagram or Twitter, your picture will appear on the Aerie website!  Get to shootin’!

Disclosure: The is a sponsored post brought to you by Aerie via Quality Blue.  I received an Aerie gift card as part of my relationship with the Quality Blue Community.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Q&A with Rachel Cahayla-Wynne, Pure Barre Studio Manager

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Ever wonder what it takes to be a Pure Barre studio manager?  This month, I interviewed Rachel Cahayla-Wynne, the Pure Barre studio manager in Deerfield, IL.  She has been my instructor in several classes and her bubbly personality and eagle eye for great Pure Barre form is the best and makes for a wonderful class!

Learn more about Rachel, her dancing background and her daily routine below…

Pure Barre- Q&A with studio manager Rachel Cahayla-Wynne
What was your background prior to becoming a Pure Barre Studio Manager?

Prior to becoming the manager of Pure Barre Deerfield I danced professionally for over 10 years, most recently with the Louisville Ballet.

rachel ballet
When did you discover Pure Barre and what did you think of it?

I first discovered Pure Barre when I was moving to Chicago and was looking for teaching positions.  I came across an ad for Pure Barre teachers and then discovered that there was a studio in Louisville where I was still living.  I went the next morning to try class.  I thought because I was a professional ballet dancer the class would be a breeze, I was wrong! I loved how challenging it was and how I felt the next day!

How would you describe your workout style/routine?

My workout routine is a big combination of cross training at the gym (elliptical, swimming, core strengthening), ballet classes, some running, and of course Pure Barre!

How did you become a Pure Barre studio manager in Deerfield?

Susanna Johnson owns 7 Pure Barre studios in the area including the Evanston location where I first started to teach.  Deerfield was the last to open and when they started looking for managers for the studio I interviewed and luckily received the position!  [Getting the studio up and running] was a lot of work but a great experience!

pure barre deerfield grand opening
Describe a typical day in the life of Rachel, a Pure Barre Studio Manager!

There is really no typical day! The best I can describe is waking up at 3:45 am (I used to have to leave at 4:30 to teach in Evanston and just never broke the habit!). I then do a bit of work (my staff is used to getting early emails from me!) and take my dog Laila out for a walk.  After I head either to the studio to teach the 6 am class or go to the gym first. Once at the studio I spend most of my day teaching, educating people on Pure Barre, working on how to get the studio more involved in the community, meeting and greeting our amazing clients, taking class myself and lastly all other daily tasks that go into running the studio!  I do sneak out during the day to take ballet class a few times a week as well (sssh!) and then I usually try to be home by 7 so I have some time with my husband before I call it a night!

rachel- deerfield family days
What are some of your current specials/rates going on now (or in the future?)

We have many different packages and promotions that target a lot of different people such as our Baby Bounce Back and Bride to Be Special- both 3 months unlimited for $375, Student and Teacher Discounts which include 10 classes for $100 and of course our New Client Special- 30 days unlimited for $100.  For those who do not fit into any of those categories, we also offer some month to month contracts, the best one being our 12 month contract that is just $175 a month for unlimited classes!

What do you love most about Pure Barre?

First off, I love the workout, but besides that I love the community that we have! I think it is very unique for a fitness studio to have such a family feel.  I love getting to know each and every person that walks through our door and then witness them fall in love with Pure Barre and become a part of our family!

reachel teaching 100th class for a student
What would you say to those considering a class, especially those unfamiliar with Pure Barre?

We get a lot of people who are nervous to try their first class and I always emphasize to them that our classes are made for all ages and all different fitness levels.  Our instructors are trained to modify each exercise to either make it more challenging or less depending on the specific circumstances of each client (injury, pregnancy, etc.).   I want all new clients to know that our class is verbally-driven, so they should really listen to the cues from their instructor. If they have any questions or feel lost during class they should definitely call their instructor over or speak with them after class.  Pure Barre is a completely different workout then what most are used to so of course there is going to be a slight learning curve.  Typically after 3 classes you should really start to understand the technique but we emphasize that you be open with us and ask us questions.  We are here to help and guide you and want you to get the most out of our class that you can!

Thank you so much Rachel for your answers!

Learn more about Pure Barre Deerfield and check out the latest happenings on their Facebook page!

Check out my other Pure Barre posts:
- 5 Tips for Pure Barre Newbies
- 5 Ways Pure Barre Helps Runners
- What to Wear to Pure Barre Class

Disclosure: Pure Barre Deerfield provides me with classes in exchange for blog promotion.  All opinions are my own.  I write about it because I love this workout, my local studio and the instructors!  All photos courtesy of Rachel and/or Pure Barre Deerfield.

Stitch Fix Review #3 [August 2014]

stitch fix review- august 2014- what to keep

It’s time for another Stitch Fix review!  This time around, I was a bit more specific with my requests for my Stitch Fix stylist.  I pinned several Stitch Fix items on my board, and also requested plain, bright color tops, a pair of classic skinny jeans and a more neutral maxi skirt than the one in my second fix.

stitch fix review- my fix
The note from my stylist said that not everything was available (meaning, none of the items on my Pinterest board- total bummer), but she did deliver on the neutral maxi skirt, skinny jeans and a couple bright color plain tops.

So let’s jump into and see exactly what I got for this fix!

Stitch Fix Review 3- August 2014
First up:
Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn ($48)

I do love the color of this top and the fact that you can wear the sleeves long or roll them up and secure them to make 3/4 sleeves, but the material is very clingy and shows everything—you can see what I mean with the shot of the back of it.

Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn
back- Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn

close up Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top by 41 Hawthorn, stitch fix

Next up:
Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde ($58)

This is a great fall color but I’m just not a fan of dolman sleeve tops.  I already have broad shoulders and don’t want to emphasize them!  Plus, the top was a little too sheer for me (especially for a sweater) and not worth the $58 price tag—even if I applied my $20 styling fee as the credit towards it.

stitch fix Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde

stitch fix Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top by Laila Jayde  close up

Also in the photos above is the third item:
Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black ($88)

These jeans were very nice- had a bit of stretch to them and were classic with no embellishments, which I like.  The wash was a tad dark for my liking but I did consider keeping these, despite the price tag (finding jeans is a tough task!)
stitch fix Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black

stitch fix Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jean by Just Black, close up

And also featured in these photos is the one accessory in my fix:
Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits ($48)

This necklace was included by my stylist because it was similar to this one on my Pinterest board.  Very pretty and the colors worked well with the two tops in my fix but there is no way I’m going to pay $48 for a necklace!  (However, if I was going to keep everything in my fix and get 20% off, then I would consider it!)  Although I think it was pricier because it was made by or proceeds went to help women in Africa so at least there is a social cause behind the high price tag!

Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits, stitch fix
Lynx Layered Beaded Necklace by 31 Bits, stitch fix

And rounding out the fix:
Mallory Mixed Stripe Maxi Skirt by Gilli ($68)

I had asked for more neutral colors in a maxi skirt, and my stylist delivered.  However, I just wasn’t a fan of the stripes going in every direction and the front panel.  As my husband said, “it looks like they ran out of fabric in the middle and sewed in that piece!”  Needless to say, I’m not keeping this one—I was hoping for a neutral black & white maxi skirt with subtle stripes like this one, but oh well!

stitch fix Mallory Mixed Stripe Maxi Skirt by Gilli
So there you have it!  In full transparency, I don’t think I will be keeping anything from this fix but I’m hoping the next fix will be a home run!  I pinned several more items and have really asked for just items I’ve pinned so I’ll be sure I love them!

What do you think of this fix?  Anything I should have kept?

Stitch Fix Review August 2014- what to keep
And if you want to sign up for try out Stitch Fix, I would recommend trying it out for at least one fix!  It’s just $20 for your fix and the $20 will be applied as a credit towards anything you keep.

Sign up here <—please note, this is my affiliate link.

Read my other reviews:
Stitch Fix #1
Stitch Fix #2

Linking up with: Style Elixir | Lauren Elizabeth | Midwest Style Bloggers

What I Ate Wednesday: Zucchini Edition

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Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a zucchini kick.  I blame it on my parents, who have a huge garden and have been giving us tons of fresh vegetables- including zucchini.  That said, I wanted to share a few recipes I’ve whipped up lately featuring it!

1- Zucchini Pizza Bites
My Mom made these as an appetizer and they were SO good!  Totally guilt free and satisfies your craving for pizza!

zucchini-pizza-bites by skinnytaste Source: Skinnytaste (how they are supposed to look)

Zucchini Pizza Bites, adapted from Skinnytaste
Ingredients:
-
4 slices large zucchini 1/4″ thick
-olive oil spray
-salt and pepper (or to reduce sodium and keep the flavor, use Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning)
-2 tbsp marinara sauce
-1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella (The bags of shredded cheese work best because they melt faster than the fresh stuff, so you won’t overcook the zucchini while you wait for the cheese to melt!)

Directions:
Cut zucchini about 1/4 inch thick. Spray both sides lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper (or Mrs. Dash). Broil or grill the zucchini for about 2 minute on each side. For additional flavor, stir in Mrs. Dash into your marinara sauce. Top zucchinis with sauce and cheese andbroilfor an additional minute or two. (Be careful not to burn cheese!)

How mine turned out.  (It’s not about how they look, it’s about how they taste, right?!)  SO delicious!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

2- Kung Pao Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
These noodles in the dish cut down the calories but still taste like noodles.  The bowl is filled with flavor- salty, sweet, sour and spicy!
Kung-Pao-Chicken-Zoodles by skinnytaste Source: Skinnytaste

The recipe can be found here.  NOTE: Besides the ingredients, you will need a spiralizer to cut the zucchini.  (Rookie mistake-  I only read the ingredient list and not the recipe beforehand- whoops.)  In any case, know that CVS/Walgreens carries those “As Seen on TV” Veggetti tools which did the trick for me :-)

This dish was incredibly delicious.  I also brought it for lunch the next day…you know it’s good then!

Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles

3- Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

This recipe from the Food Network looks so good.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I intend to! My boss mentioned that she tried this and it turned out great.  Can’t beat crispy chips without the carbs!

Zucchini-Parmesan-Crisps by food network
What summer fruits/vegetables have you been eating a lot of lately?

Any other recipes featuring zucchini that you swear by?

Chambray and Linen City Mini Skirt

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chambray and linen city mini skirt, j crew
closet up: chambray and linen city mini skirt, j crew
j crew chambray and linen city mini skirt Shop the look:
Skirt: J. Crew Linen City Mini skirt via consignment store (other colors on sale, factory version)
Shoes: Target
Chambray: J. Crew Factory (polka dot version, dark wash, light wash)

Happy Tuesday!  I’m still catching up from the whirlwind wedding weekend, but I can tell you that it was a blast!  (Click here to see a sneak peek of the photos from the photographer’s blog- she did a great job…and the Milwaukee lakefront was the perfect backdrop!)

In other news, here is an outfit I wore recently with a chambray shirt and “linen city mini skirt”—a bit on the casual side, but still put together.  I got this skirt at a local consignment store (where I sell all the clothes/accessories I no longer want) and stumbled upon this J.Crew skirt.  AND…it still had the tags on it!  It was originally priced at $79.50 I think, but I got it for just under $16 after a 20% off sale at the consignment store (oh, and I may have gotten a super cute moisture-wicking hot pink long sleeve top with thumb holes…like I said before, I can’t resist fun workout clothes!)

What were you up to this weekend?  Any good consignment store finds lately?

Geometric Print and Statement Necklace

black and white geometric print, statement necklace

black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklace
black and white geometric print, statement necklaceGeometric print black & white top: Target (no longer available–found on clearance)
Statement necklace: J.Crew Factory
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Target

Random thoughts:

1- I am still waiting for my SheInside blazer to arrive from my July budget.  Hurry up already!

2-  Today is my intern’s last day for the summer.  It’s going to be weird without her there (and subsequently more work for me to do once she leaves- booo!)  PS- I officially feel old- she never watched Saved by the Bell.  What?!

3- I plan to go to Pure Barre tonight and I’m so excited to get in a class this week.  It’s been busy!

4- My 20×45 summer remix went fantastically well for me.  And as icing on the cake, one of the pieces I included was my LBD.  Much to my surprise, it was picked up on DivineCaroline.com!

How to wear an LBD- DivineCaroline.com
5- I decided to skip my Fabletics order for this month.  There were a few things that caught my eye but I am trying to be mindful of spending, knowing that my StitchFix is coming next week and I gave some really specific feedback, so I may end up keeping items from the fix.  But then I hear news that Jillian Michaels is launching a line of workout clothing at K-Mart…and Wantable (which I love) will soon be following suit.  This may be a budget buster for a gal that has a fitness clothing obsession…

6-  I am a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding in Milwaukee, and my husband is officiating!  (He got ordained online.)  Looking forward to celebrating and all the fun festivities!  (Which reminds me- I have an awful racerback tan…I’ll have to resort to sunless tanner in just that area…this could be bad..)

What’s on your mind?  Any workout apparel junkies out there?  Plans this weekend?

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade | Mix and Match Fashion

REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System Review

A gal needs her beauty rest, am I right?!  But a gal who is active also needs rejuvenating, restorative sleep.  You know, that awesome sleep where you barely move and the covers stay perfectly on top of you…when you wake up and say “Wow, I feel completely rested and ready to tackle the day!”  Yeah, THAT kind of sleep.  It’s hard to come by!  But to help you get more of those days, there’s the REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System by Protect-A-Bed.

The REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System is designed to help those who embrace an active, healthy lifestyle by providing a rejuvenating sleep environment. REM-Fit is a lifestyle, which stands for Rest, Energize and Motivate.

What are they all about?  Well, they are firm believers that exercise and rest are necessary for mental and physical balance, and are key components of a healthy lifestyle. And in order to help energize the body for the physical requirements of today’s active lifestyle, sleep is essential.  They know that a restful night’s sleep helps the body recover and motivates athletes to push their physical limits the next day.

So they created the REM-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System, which consists of pillows, bedding and pillow protection products.  I got the chance to try out the Adjustable Pillow, Smooth Mattress Protector and Smooth Pillow Protectors.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System
Their pillow protection products include Tencel, which aids in thermo-regulation, wicks away moisture, is hypoallergenic, has antibacterial properties and provides a soft, silky-smooth sleep zone for those with sensitive skin.  It has a long list of benefits…
R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System
The pillow is super squishy, but also pretty firm and heavy- which is how I like my pillows.  After a few days of sleep on it, I noticed that the stuffing would move a bit around my head, but overall, it still offered pretty nice support.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Pillow Covers
The pillow cover was great and helped regulate my body temperature and wick away moisture, which was great for nights when I took a shower before bed and had some wet hair which makes it hard to get asleep right away!

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Pillow Covers

The mattress cover was probably my favorite item in the bunch.  It has a “Miracle Membrane,” which sounds kind of odd, but it maintains mattress hygiene for more restful sleep.  It stops bacteria from growing, wicks away moisture and keeps you cool and comfortable when you sleep.  Sometimes I get really hot when I sleep so this thermo-regulating feature was amazing!

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System, Protect A Bed
You can see the shiny/waterproof material on the underside of the mattress cover, but the top of the cover is silky to the touch (even though we are just covering it up with a fitted sheet!)

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Mattress Pad
We put it over our mattress, which also has an added memory foam topper, and the cover fit perfectly.

R.E.M.-Fit Total Sleep Recovery System- Mattress Pad
All in all, I was pretty impressed with the REM Fit Total Sleep Recovery System.  I hope to have many more super restorative nights of sleep in my future so I’m ready to tackle the day!

How often do you get those “awesome” nights of sleep?

sleepSource

Disclosure: I received the R.E.M. Fit Rest Adjustable Pillow, REM-Fit Energize Smooth Mattress Protector and Smooth Pillow Protector to review via Fitfluential.  All opinions are my own.

Linking up with  Olives n’ Wine.

20 x 30 Summer Remix Challenge Recap

20 x 30 summer remix leopard print skirt

20 x 30 summer remix leopard print skirt

Happy Monday!  I can’t believe it, but this is the last post for the 20 x 30 summer remix challenge.  Except I don’t think I can refer to it as a 20 x 30 challenge.  Why?  Because all in all, including this set of 7 outfits above, that brought me to a grand total of 45 outfits!  I am still shocked that I was able to take 20 pieces of clothing and make 45 outfits.  A 20 x 45 challenge!  Just goes to show you how versatile your closet really is– you don’t need a lot to have a lot of options! I’ve become incredibly aware of how easy it is to remix my closet without having to head out to the store and shop.  Really exciting stuff for me!

If you recall, I decided to organize my remix by using anchor pieces to create new looks.  Week 1 featured my floral dress as the anchor piece and week 2 featured outfits centered around my pair of white denim jeans.  Week 3 featured my coral pencil skirt and little black dress and week 4 featured my cream pencil skirt and jeans.

This final week features outfits centered around my leopard print skirt. Below are larger shots of each outfit (note that shopping links can be found in my original “20 pieces” post here.)

Leopard print top, white button upA workweek chic look: white button up, leopard print skirt, navy heels

Leopard print top, maroon sheer blouseGreat workwear for the office on hot days: Maroon sheer blouse with white cami, leopard print skirt, nude heels

Leopard print top, navy v-neck teeA casual Friday look (if your office doesn’t allow jeans): Navy v-neck tee, leopard print skirt, nude peep toe wedges

Leopard print top, navy v-neck tee, mustard cardiganMustard cardigan, navy v-neck tee, leopard print skirt, nude heels

Leopard print skirt, white peplum top, navy heelsWhite peplum top, leopard print skirt, navy heels

Leopard print skirt, white peplum top, navy blazer, nude heelsAdding the blazer gives it a completely different look: navy blazer, white peplum top, leopard print skirt, nude heels

Leopard print skirt, white peplum top, cargo vest, nude heelsAnd layering with a cargo vest gives it a more casual (but still put together) look: cargo vest, white peplum top, leopard print skirt, nude heels

So, which look is your favorite?

20 x 30 summer remix leopard print skirt
Below is an image you can pin for reference.  I am SO pleased with the sheer number of outfits I came up with.  Granted, some are just taking a basic shell or top and adding a blazer, cardigan or vest over it– but it really creates a different look!  When I did this challenge, I wanted to be realistic and choose items I could wear to work so it would be a practical remix for me.  And I think I’ve got a ton of “corporate chic” outfits to choose from now!

The full 20 x 30 summer remix challenge recap/roundup of posts:
My 20 pieces
Week 1: featuring a floral dress as the anchor piece
Week 2: featuring white denim as the anchor piece
Week 3: featuring coral pencil skirt and little black dress as the anchor pieces
Week 4: featuring cream pencil skirts and jeans
Week 5 (this post): featuring leopard print skirt and recap of all 45 outfits!

Which look is your favorite from my 20 x 45 summer remix challenge? 
Have you done a remix before? Was it more casual or workwear items?  What did you learn?

PS- Did you know I have TWO giveaways going on now?  Both end Tuesday…check them out and enter here:
Fort2Base race entry giveaway
Little Black Dress makeup set by Jouer ($68 value!)

20 x 45 summer remix recap, 20x30 summer remix

Linking up with:
Fizz & Frosting | On the Daily Express | More Pieces of Me | Fashionably Employed | Greater than Rubies | rhea, et cetera | Still Being Molly

Workout in Style

sticky be socks, barre socks

This summer, my workout routine has been pretty…routine.  I typically aim to do 5 workouts a week, with 2-3 days being running, 1-2 days for Pure Barre classes, and another day is typically doing strength training at a group exercise class at work (i.e.- Muscle Scuplt or Tabata).  I’m not really doing any training for anything, besides my 2014 schedule of races.

I just discovered a free run club in the area and met up with a friend for their Tuesday speed workouts.  I couldn’t remember the last time I was on a track– brought back the good ‘ol days of soccer conditioning and two-a-day practices!
running speed track workoutTank: Fabletics | Capris: Old Navy (all kinds on sale now!)

Otherwise, I’ve been meeting up with friends for runs at local forest preserves, hosting some fun runs as a Fort2Base ambassador, and hitting the pavement around my neighborhood.

garmin running shot
(I always wear sunglasses when I run.  Not sports sunglasses.  Regular ones– I guess it’s my “thing.”  I just like protecting my eyes!  My favorite pair are my hot pink aviators…but I got a cute pair from Firmoo.com to try out…what do you think?!)
firmoo sunglassesI think they are too long on my face but the quality is quite nice and it came with a cleaning cloth and tiny screwdriver which I never seem to have on hand!

I have also been taking Pure Barre classes, which I really enjoy (and as a great compliment to running!)  It’s low impact but SUPER challenging, with strength/weights, plyometrics, yoga, ballet and pilates all rolled into one.  (Check out my posts about it here.)
lift tone burnCapris & Tank: Fabletics

IMG_20140701_185840Tank: Fabletics | Capris: Old Navy (all kinds on sale now!)

I don’t know about you, but I love rewarding myself with fun new workout clothes for extra motivation, and to get rid of some of the old, nasty t-shirts and tanks from college…and high school.  I like to workout in style..what can I say?!  That said, I’ve been LOVING my monthly purchases as a VIP Member in Fabletics.  (Read more about it here, including my past reviews!)  Their capris and leggings are such a fantastic quality, and they always have fun prints and colors.  Definitely comparable to those higher end workout brands, but much more affordable!  I have added several pieces to my workout collection, which is now a combination of Old Navy, Target and Fabletics.

Last month, I got the Vaasa Sports Bra and Cayman Top as part of my monthly clothing budget via Fabletics.  The top is so unique and breathable for running or barre class!  The sports bra is incredibly comfortable too and offers a fun cut different than my standard racerback bras.  It isn’t high support so not great for running, but great for most everything else!  If you want to sign up, you can get your first outfit (top + bottom) for just $25 with my referral link!
Fabletics- Cayman Top and Vaasa Sports BraTop/sports bra/capris via Fabletics, socks c/o Sticky Be Socks, shorts via Target (on clearance now!)

Besides finding fun and functional workout tops and bottoms, I also have added sticky socks to my closet- they are SO helpful to have during Pure Barre class so I don’t lose my grip and slip around during exercises. Recently, the folks at Sticky Be Socks sent me over this pair that says “Be Great.”  They have tons more colors and sayings too…check it out here.  I love how bright and fun these are!

sticky be socks, barre socks
What brands/styles do you wear for your workout routine?

PS- Did you know I have TWO giveaways going on now?  Both end Tuesday…check them out and enter here:
Fort2Base race entry giveaway
Little Black Dress makeup set by Jouer