The Smart Tote Bag

Friday, August 4, 2017

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit

dagne dover charlie tote, neck scarf, red lob, work outfit
Skirt: Ann Taylor // Scarf: Banana Republic (first non-vintage scarf I've bought in a long time!) // Bag: Dagne Dover "Charlie" // Top: Banana Republic (similar) // Shoes: Zara (sold out)

Well, hey there!

Yep, it's been a while but I'm back. So much has gone on. I got my hair cut (about 5 inches of it to be exact), we have had a month-long stream of family in town that is continuing this weekend, and Athena is apparently all grown up and going to daycare now! I've also been spending lots of my extra time on two interior design projects for two clients for Jill of All Trades! BUSY!

But before I get you up-to-date on life lately, let's talk about this Dagne Dover bag.

It seems to have a personality of its own because everywhere I bring it, people constantly ask about it and then the floodgates of praise open up. The smart features that put this bag above every other tote I have ever owned are what make it such a game-changer!


  • It has a key leash so you don't have to dig when trying to open a door with something like, I don't know.... a 20 pound thrashy little human in your arms. 
  • There is a Neoprene cup holder so that your water bottle or thermos stay upright and don't spill all over in your bag. 
  • There are so many pockets, and guess what? They all have purposes! For example there are two side pockets but one is up high for your phone (i have a 7Plus and it fits!) so it doesn't sink into the abyss of all my stuff. 
  • There is a sturdy and padded zipper pocket that holds my big Macbook Pro and tucks it away. 
Somehow even with all my crap in there it manages to remain upright! It's seriously magic. And have you seen how gorgeous it is? The leather is so yummy and the rose gold hardware is unlike anything I own! So much attention to detail in this bag! You all need one, so click over here to Dagne Dover! It's going to be the best teacher bag for the upcoming school year!

Ok, so the hair cut. Seriously I was just sick of Athena pulling it, and the longer it was, the more fun it was to pull for her! So in an effort to balance out my regrowth that looks like tiny bangs on my hairline and in an effort to make the pain less prolonged, I cut it off! Well not me but my favorite redhead Kate at Lunatic Fringe on 11th!

The Lob has always been a favorite of mine but the fronts of my hair would never grow out long enough to achieve the long angle. My post-pregnancy hair was long but lackluster so the length was finally where I wanted it to make the lob actually work. I'm loving it! I forgot though, how short hair seems to grow faster and you need to get it cut more frequently so I'm already headed back next Thursday for my next trim!

On to my favorite topic, Athena!

Guys! I was so sad and worried that she would hate daycare and cry and scream. Andrew and I both took her the first day to prepare for a meltdown (her or me) but she just went straight for the "bar" as we like to call it, the toy and activity table where all the babies kind of congregate, and she never looked back. We were strangely disappointed but overall really proud of her. The first day they said she would have moments of freak-outs where she realized that she didn't know anyone, but then the next few days she was getting better and better. She hasn't cried at all when I drop her off and when I pick her up she gives her little signature wave to her teachers and she's cool to go. It's a million times easier than I thought it would be and I'm so glad. Right now she has been going for between 3-5 hours a day and thats working really well. She is all tuckered out when she gets home every day. I have been taking advantage of having much more time to dedicate to my clients and myself and can get some big things taken care of before I go back to teaching!

One of the most important things I'm doing is working out earlier in the day. It was getting really hard waking up with Athena at 6AM and then trying to find the energy to go work out at 7PM after she went to sleep. Now I get my workout in as soon as I drop her off and then I feel energized and productive with the rest of my day. I swear I'm not running home and napping, but maybe I should try that before school starts!

I'm LOVING my new Reformer Pilates studio, Core Body Pilates. It opened 6 months ago near my house and I had been wanting to try it, and now that I have, I'm sad I waited so long. Reformer Pilates is one of my absolute favorite workouts ever. Those things look like medieval torture devices but I think that once you get used to them they fun and the possibilities are endless with the moves you can do on them. Every class and teacher is different so my body doesn't get used to it! I am for sure going to do the unlimited month pass next and my goal is to take 6 am classes every day before school in the Fall.

My father-in-law and brother-in-law will be in this weekend so I'm looking forward to spending time with Athena and family all together.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Poppies + Vintage Scarf Tips

Monday, July 24, 2017

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style

orange scalloped romper, victoria beckham for target, vintage style
Romper: Victoria Beckham for Target (Sold out) // Scarf: Vintage (this one is my fav right now // Bag: Nordstrom Rack (love this similar one) // Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters // Sandals

On Athena: Romper: Gap (last season but this one is this years version)

This new bakery opened in our hood and I wasn't excited for the reason you may think. Sure some sweets are reason for excitement but they had this super cute mural painted out front! You all know I love a fun wall so I decided it was time to pull out this Victoria Beckham for Target romper so I could color coordinate with the poppy mural out in front of the bakery accordingly named Poppies!

I've had a lot of friends ask me about my vintage neck scarves so I'm going to share with you a few tips. I NEVER pay more than $7 for a vintage scarf! I find them at vintage stores in bins or clipped to clothing rack ends. I also find them at lots of outdoor flea markets. Usually they run me about $3! I try to keep the colors close to things I already own but I love bright ones like this one that offer a great pop of color. They are so simple to wear too, I swear! I think this is the part that people fear the most, they think they are doing it wrong. All I do is fold diagonally and then fold inwards from the top corner so that I'm left with a long strip with the tip tucked all the way inside. Tie it high around your neck, tie it loose, tip it to the side, tie it uneven so one end is longer than the other, all of these work for me! I swear they are way easier to pull off than you think! So stop envying the neck scarf people of the world and become one yourself! 




HUGE Decor Sale! Today Only!!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I was causally enjoying a lobster roll on my way back from Park city after my workout when I came across an exciting email. 40% off home decor at Target! Since I had just refreshed our master bedroom, some of the stuff I had my eye on is now SUPER cheap! Heck yeah!

I have an alarming number of these pieces already in our house, so you know I love them! Only about 7 hours left to this sale so buy now, return later! it's Target! they have a sweet 90 day return policy. You are welcome in advance.


EVERYTHING LINKED BELOW!! Scroll down!

 Our master update. Macrame pillow and blanket (ours is blue but looks dark gray) on sale now!



Fitting Room Diaries from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
What I wore to the sale: My fav, goes-with-everything white tee and my magic mom jeans you all know and love. And my pink Adidas.

I totally recommend wearing something similar to the sale or any time you plan on trying a bunch of clothes on. It's great to have a basic top and bottom so you always can make an outfit. Nothing worse than walking into the fitting room in a dress to try on a top when you have no pants! Avoid this awkward situation and plan ahead!

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
First up, this red Adidas sweatshirt. I'm wearing a Large and probably could have gone down a size. Its a roomy fit but the color and light material are great.
Sale price: $51.90 || After Sale: $70

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
I LOVED this scalloped neck and bottom sweater. It totally has a Kate Spade vibe to it without the Kate Spade price tag!  It comes in 7 different colors and I really wanted to try on the yellow, but my store didn't have it so I ordered it. I'm wearing a medium.
Sale Price: $39.90 || After Sale $59

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
This top is full of drama. The bow is nice and stiff but still soft and not scratchy so i think it would hold up very well. There is also a good amount of stretch in the top which helps because the back neck zipper required some very bendy arm movements.
Sale price: $49.90 || After Sale $79

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
This is just the perfect teacher shirt. Dressy and perfect for work and would look so cute tucked into a pencil skirt. It comes in this blue stipe and also black and white.
Sale Price: $45.90 After sale $65

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
This split back turtleneck by Free People is one I had tried on this past winter but didn't want to pay $70 for a sweatshirt. The sale price is way sweeter and the mint color is so cute! 
Sale Price $44.90 || After Sale: $68

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
I didn't really pay this sweater much mind when I tried it on, but after seeing it again when I watched back my IG story, I really liked it. It comes in White, Black and Navy. As much as I like it, I don't think it will work out well this fall for teaching. Have you ever tried to write on an Elmo camera with bell sleeves? If so, you probably have ink all over the ends of the sleeves!  However if you are just wearing this out and about, I say go for it because it's super cute!
Sale Price: $49.90 After sale: $79

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
This cardigan is AMAZING and selling out FAST. It looks so expensive, is super soft and adds a fun touch to any outfit. I love that since the stripe is in all neutral colors, You can really throw this cardigan over anything. I think it would be so fun over a printed dress.
Sale Price: $56.90 || After sale: $85

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
So last year, Topshop offered a very similar cardigan to this one which I bought and love. The sizing on this one seems to be adjusted from last year's version. I own a 4 from last year and it's huge! this is a 4 as well and it fit just fine, but I like a looser fit with my cardigans so I'd go up. 
Sale Price$56.90 || SOLD OUT

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
Didn't have time to try this one on. Truth be told, I put my clothes back on before I saw it was there under a bunch of other stuff. The lace is so pretty on this one but lord knows I have nowhere to wear this to right now. But for just $38 bucks, if you have an event coming up, I'm sure it would be a hit!
Sale Price$38.90 || After sale: $59

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
A statement heel might be great for most girls, but as a teacher, I like to go with statement flats! Comfort is key and a fun pair of flats always get my students attention more than you would think. These silver sneakers are perfect for everyday and in my eyes, the silver is a neutral so they kind of go with everything from jeans to dresses!
Sale Price$ 66.90 || After sale: $99.95

Also let me note how flipping adorable those tiny ear crawler earrings are next to the shoes! They looks totally expensive, like a tiny constellation of stars on your ear. They come in silver, gold, and rose gold! The perfect everyday earring that packs a subtle punch.
Sale Price: $29.90 || Afte Sale $45

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
I saw this ruffle hem drop waist dress on two girls in the fitting room and thought it looked so cute on them. Looked kind of matronly on me but I think if you are shorter than me (5'9) if may look cute.
Sale Price$65.90 || After sale: $99

Nordstrom anniversary sale, 2017, NSALE
This top is adorable for summer. It's hard to tell but it has a small white pinstripe pattern on it and it has buttons down the back middle. Comes in 3 colors and I'm pretty sure this one is selling out fast! The price is too good to last!
Sale Price: $31.90 || After sale $49



Nordstrom Sale

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Alright, I know you've probably heard of the Nordstrom Sale but are you as excited as I am about it?
It's basically shopping Christmas in the summer! Every year you can walk in to Nordstrom stores when early access starts (TODAY!!) and see all the little sheer tents they have set up over the sale items all over the store. They do such a good job of teasing you with curiosity in the days prior to the sale with all those Fall deals tucked behind the curtain! The little sheer tents were up a few days ago when I was there and I was dying of anticipation!

So why is this sale better than any other sale? Well it covers literally thousands of items in Womens, mens, kids, baby and home & beauty exclusives! Hundreds of dollars of savings on new Fall items that will be marked down at insanely good prices and then marked back up to the original price August 7th!

I am looking around my office/closet right now and can see tons of stuff I've scored there in the past. Make-up and brush sets, My favorite candles in 3 packs, cute pillows, cozy pjs, and my favorite Black Adidas that sold out so fast last summer! Even a few items for Athena last year were scored at unheard of prices before she was even born! did I mention how excited I am to shop for her this time around!

Things will sell out FAST! I've been studying my dog-earred copy of the sale catalogue for weeks now. I even have an appointment all set up for noon Today to shop the early access sale in person. You can do so in store or online as well but you must be a card holder!

 Here is my short list that I have had my eye on for weeks now, and in my usual style, everything is under $70 because that's the way I roll. Affordable style for life! Be sure to follow me on Instastories to see everything in store, fitting room diaries and new discoveries along the way.

My City Streets

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

peninsula hotel new york, norsdtom leith dress, blush dress, city outfit, how to wear a neck scarf, Adidas superstars pink

peninsula hotel new york, norsdtom leith dress, blush dress, city outfit, how to wear a neck scarf, Adidas superstars pink

peninsula hotel new york, norsdtom leith dress, blush dress, city outfit, how to wear a neck scarf, Adidas superstars pink

peninsula hotel new york, norsdtom leith dress, blush dress, city outfit, how to wear a neck scarf, Adidas superstars pink

peninsula hotel new york, norsdtom leith dress, blush dress, city outfit, how to wear a neck scarf, Adidas superstars pink
Shoes: Pink Adidas Superstars (these copper ones are dreamy too!!) // Dress: Leith via Nordstrom but sold out (this one is VERY similar and comes in 8 colors!) // Scarf: Banana Republic // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAB Tote (love this little white one thats on sale!)


I didn't really realize I missed this til I was looking through these pictures from our recent girls trip to New York...

Let me explain.

We went to the Peninsula Hotel for afternoon tea which was divine, especially after a super chaotic day and a half of trying to squeeze in as much as we possibly could into such a short trip.

Before tea, my friend Ashley and I stepped out to shoot these pictures. The street was darkened, covered in long dramatic shadows from the buildings surrounding us, even though it was bright and sunny out.

I realized as I looked back at this moment how much I miss the shadowed streets of city living. The way you can get lost in a pocket of a street and pretty much hide in broad daylight. You get lost in a sea of people passing by, all trying to go their own way, not giving any mind to you.

I know, that sounds a little dark. I admit when I first left Chicago, it was nice to have people meet your eye and say hello when crossing their paths while walking in Salt Lake or even on a hike in the mountains.

I've always really enjoyed living in dark spaces. It's funny because most people want natural light and windows but I always loved my shotgun-style apartment in the heart of downtown Chicago. I even covered the front window with a giant wardrobe. It was like I could go home and hide in my apartment. If you want to see, here's a feature post full of photos of my apartment before we moved. I lived right in the loop back in Chicago and loved to take walks at night through the financial district, Millennium Park and by the Sears Tower. It was such a cool feeling to be in places that are so alive in the daytime, but feel like a ghost town at night. Probably not the safest hobby, but I am still here to tell the tale! It was my own little relationship with my city and I could decide how to enjoy it. It's almost as if you claim each spot as your own when you are alone in it. When you have your own moment with a busy spot, you form a relationship and memory with it even though it's just a spot on the concrete.

I loved that you could leave your apartment wearing whatever you wanted. Every time you step out the door you can be a new person. Run to the drug store in your PJs, or wearing a cute dress to meet friends. I'll never forget the strange and exciting feeling of walking onto Halsted, my old street in Chicago, in my wedding dress. What surreal moments you can create on busy city streets!

So maybe I'm not like everyone else who's chasing the sunlight, but I love that hidden feeling you can get in big cities. Strange how in the places that are the most over populated, you can feel the most hidden and small.

So now that I've shared my weird little mole-person ways with you, Anyone else feel like this? What is your relationship with your city or did you even realize you had one?



Our Little Firecracker Turns 8 Months!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

mommy and me fourth of july outfits, romper,shein embroidered top, madewell winifred drop hem jeans

mommy and me fourth of july outfits, romper,shein embroidered top, madewell winifred drop hem jeans

mommy and me fourth of july outfits, romper,shein embroidered top, madewell winifred drop hem jeans

mommy and me fourth of july outfits, romper,shein embroidered top, madewell winifred drop hem jeans


mommy and me fourth of july outfits, romper,shein embroidered top, madewell winifred drop hem jeans
Jeans // Top (only $21) // Athena's Romper: Gap last year but this star print one is this year's version // Athena's shoes

Happy fourth of July! It also just so happens this is the day that my Athena Boo turns 8 months old too. As you can tell from the pictures she is beyond thrilled to be taking pictures with her mama...

I decided today would be a pretty great day to give you all an update on this crazy baby!

1. We are pretty sure we are about a million more times fond of her than she is of us. She is not a snuggly baby and we joke that she is only lukewarm on her own parents.  Even though she's an independent lady, this does not stop us from giving her a million kisses a day! Her personality ought to be interesting to see how it plays out in daycare. 

2. She also doesn't seem to give much thought to other babies. As I mentioned before, I take her to Little Gym classes so I can get her acclimated to other kids and adults. She's always the first to want to leave circle time and get to climbing! Now THAT is her jam! She always leaves the circle and goes to the parallel bars and waves at the people in the circle like "hey suckers, this is where the real fun is!" It's actually pretty funny. 

3. She is incredibly strong and determined. She can pretty much do any of the climbing tasks independently at Little Gym and anything that involves jumping or hanging! She's like a tiny body builder and she ain't got time to chit-chat with other babies! Once she learns a skill she is dead-set on learning the next! I am in shock of the things she can do and accomplish, daily.

4. She said "Mama" last Sunday and this weekend said "Papa" and it melts our hearts! When she talks it looks like she has a mouth full of marbles and it's adorable! She's very good at mimicking what we say or feeling our mouths and watches them move to practice making sounds.

5. She loves to talk with her grandpa on Facetime and does her signature wave to him through the phone all the time.

6. She can climb the entire staircase by herself, and really quickly too might I add! She started this at about 7 months and hasn't looked back. Don't worry, we are always right behind her.

7. She loves to make out with herself in the mirror or in her reflection of the dishwasher or stove and it cracks me up every single time!

8. She is not exactly a smiley baby as you can see in these pictures. Seriously, getting her to smile in a picture is pretty hard. But she is really silly and makes us laugh all day long. 

9. She appreciates her sleep and always sleeps a solid 12 hours at night. However the last week she has been trying to only take one nap a day and it is exhausting keeping up with her all day! She is just way too into living life!

10. She loves to watch her mama get ready. watching me brush my hair and then brush her hair is a morning ritual. She stares at me when I put on makeup and get dressed. This gives me hope that I have a future shopping buddy and spa partner on my hands.

I have the tendency to unintentionally dress us alike. It's happened on several occasions where I haven't noticed till strangers in public are like "Aww, how cute, you match!" Then I look down and realize we are both in stripes.

This outfit matching was intention and her outfit was one of the very few clothing items I bought before she was born. I remember seeing this little gingham Gap romper on lots of my friends kids last summer and loving it so much I just had to get it.

My top is only $21 and my jeans are MAGIC! Honestly, I am in love with these jeans. The pockets have flaps made in that attach all the way to the zipper and hold you in in all the right places. My girlfriend Briana told me about them 5 months ago after she had her baby and I'm not sure what took me so long to go try them on. Needless to say, we both think they are the perfect mom jeans and they smooth out that dreaded "mom pooch" like magic!  


Fourth of July Weekend Sales!

Friday, June 30, 2017


anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather, rebecca minkoff mini mab

anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather, rebecca minkoff mini mab

anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather, rebecca minkoff mini mab

anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather

anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather

anthropologie, plaid, gingham, linen shorts j. crew, summer outfit for hot weather, rebecca minkoff mini mab

Pretty sure this outfit needed to be posted right away because both my top and shorts are on MEGA sale! This cheery orange top from Anthropologie is feather light and perfect for those hot summer days. The flutter sleeve helps keep you cool and adds a bit of drama when a good gust of wind blows too. Get it here in orange or aqua for just $28! 

Also every thing in Anthropologie's sale section is an extra 30% off! I've had my eye on this top and this trench for so long so I was super excited to see that they are both way less than half their original price!

These linen elastic waist-band shorts from J. Crew are beyond comfortable. There are a bunch of colors on sale for just $15 bucks  right now!! Shop J. Crew's sale section with an extra 50% off sale items here with code SALETIME!

Other sales worth noting...

J. Crew Factory: 50% off everything and an extra 50% off sale clearance items with code FOURTHFUN! This tee is so flippin cute and only $19!

Ann Taylor:  50 % off everything! That includes sale too! Just snagged this dress in tall sizes for my back to school wardrobe collection!

ASOS: Shop more, save more event.  50$ off $200. 70$ off $250 and $100 off 350.

Nordstrom: Just added a ton of new sale pieces to their sale section!

Old Navy: Up to 60% off the entire store! I love getting their baby shoes for Athena since she grows out of them so fast...or looses them!


Photos by my Blogger boo Ashley