August/September Stitch Fix Reveal

A couple weeks ago (this is belated but whatever), I got my August/September Stitch Fix box in the mail. I wasn’t quite sure what to ask for – I’ve kind of been loving the cold shoulder trend and wanted to be a little, dare I say, adventurous in what I asked for?

Alas, this fix? Did not pass go. This is the second or third 0/5 I’ve gotten. I usually get a 1/5 (even if I love most things, usually if I love the style but the fit is off, I’ll consider it a win) so a 0/5 is a BFD for me. There were a couple of pieces that I did LIKE but already had something too similar in my closet for me to spend the money on them. So i guess not a TOTAL loss but….I was underwhelmed, to say the least.

I typically ask for business casual wear, pieces that can translate for office or weekend. This? Not quite it.

Kaileigh Rosella Cold Shoulder top $46

stitch fix cold shoulder top

I did NOT love this. This was a total miss. Tie sleeves don’t do anything for me, nor are they… a big win for the office in my book.

Verdict: Return

August Mist Shyann Cold Shoulder Top –  $46

This was an even bigger miss. The roll tab sleeves were awkward, the look that they styled it with was just… terrible (window pane top with window pane pants?! Whuuutt???). I just… nope.

Verdict: Return.

TK Angiana Woven Back Sleeveless Pullover – $58

Okay, so I really liked this one. I did. BUT, the fit wasn’t quite right and it was really pricey for what it was and I have at LEAST one near-identical top so I couldn’t justify it. Womp womp. So close.

Verdict: Return

Colette Chavez Pop Color Cuff Knit Top – $48

Ufff. I wanted to love this. I did. The pink was super cute and a nice pop to an otherwise basic top. Buuutttt, I’m not going to pay nearly $50 for a top that looks like one I already have that I paid $15 for from Target that’s going on it’s 2nd or 3rd season (unusual for Target basics!).

Verdict: Return 

MIA Casey Leather Peep Toe Booties – $99

Okay, so I did ask for a peep-toe bootie. These were REALLY cute. BUT. I didn’t LOVE them which for $100? It better be real shoe love. Also, these were more brown, I was looking for cognac/tan or black instead of a dark brown. M’eh.

Verdict: Return (wamp wamp)

So there you have it. 0/5.

I do love getting Stitch Fix boxes. I do. I think I need to check out my Pinterest boards, and really think about what I want to ask for. If you’re interested in trying out Stitch Fix, I do recommend trying it once. At the very least, I love getting the style cards and I always get new ideas on how to style pieces in my wardrobe in ways I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

 

FTC Disclosure: All opinions are always 200% my own. Links may be referral links for credit or compensation. Thanks for supporting my blog! 

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10 Beauty Products I Can’t Live without

In the recent years, largely since I went back to work after baby, I started to care a little more about my looks. Not so much in comparison to many others, but more in a how can I make myself put together without spending a lot of time on it care. Not to mention, I’m in my mid-thirties now and surely I won’t look like I’m in my mid-20’s forever (or so I’ve been told) so I gotta keep myself looking pretty.

So I’ve found – over a lot of trial and error, my can’t-live-without’s. As little man has grown, my time to make myself pretty has diminished. Greatly. So I’ve simplified my get ready for work routine. I’m not alone though, I bet every working mom – any mom really – would say the same. There’s never any time. There’s beauty in a simplified routine (pun mostly intended) and I’m so glad I’ve found a routine that works for me.

I typically have 45 minutes to an hour to get dressed, get little man dressed, get myself dressed and made up and get out the door (hopefully with a packed lunch and breakfast). There is rarely a day when I don’t at least have mascara on – even on weekends.

I should also add, that I don’t spend tons on my appearance – as I’ve discovered through trial and error and reading reviews – you really don’t have to.  Most of my favorites are purchased at Ulta or Target because that’s where I can afford and I’m not about to drop $50 on mascara or $60 on overpriced lipstick.

So here are my ten products that I use/can’t live without.

Skincare: Moisturizer | Night Mask | Cleanser

I don’t have a huge routine when it comes to skincare – I use moisturizer every day (Boots Botanical Moisturizer  (with SPF 15) ) once or twice a week I use this  Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Night Mask at night which leaves my skin with a healthy glow when I wake up. Of course I have my cleanser and once in a blue moon (aka when I remember) toner. I love the Yes to Grapefruit cleanser which I use every day.

Make up

Primer | Bronzer | Eye Liner | Eye Shadow | Mascara | Mascara Primer

My makeup routine can be done in less than ten minutes. I prime with this ELF primer (the price point is so right), use Benefit Dallas bronzer for a nice glow, (Benefit pressed foundation with a little blush in the winter months), Sophie Kashuk eye liner, eye shadow and then mascara primer and mascara. I love the Falsies mascara by Maybelline which took me a while to find (trial and error folks) but now it’s my go to. I never used mascara primer before I got a sample of it in a Target Beauty box a few months ago now I can’t live without it.

favorite make up

Hair

Heat Protectant | Dry Shampoo

I recently got my hair highlighted for the first time in over five years. Thanks to my stylist, I use this purple shampoo (how did I never know of this?!) and I started (shame on me) using the amazing CHI Heat Protectant – if you use a straightener or curling iron and aren’t using this, shame on you.

Finally, since I don’t wash my hair every day, I couldn’t live without dry shampoo – I used to use Not My Mother’s brand which was good… but then I read something about Batiste and gave it a try and it is so much better. I use this on days typically when I don’t workout (otherwise I will give my hair a good wash) but if I showered and then went to spin class, I won’t still shampoo again, so I’ll shower cap it up and use this.

best hair products

 

Voila! My must have products – that I love and use every day. 

What are your must haves? What’s worth the money and what’s not?

beauty products

This post may contain affiliate links. 

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Race Recap: Annapolis 10 Miler

A while ago, a friend of mine in my MRTT group convinced a bunch of us to run the Annapolis 10 miler. I had previously boycotted this race because I was pissed about it being canceled a few years ago (thanks, Hurricane Irene).

Thankfully, unlike previous years it was a. not a monsoon, and b. not a million degrees.

Expo

I hit up the expo first thing – we got fun MRTT tank tops that I had to pick up. The expo was a decent sized – all outdoors at the Naval Academy Stadium. The “swag” was a pretty bad ass bottle opener and a hat. On point Annapolis Striders!

We enjoyed an afternoon at a brewery (carbo-loading!) in Dundalk with hubs and little man – we played some cornhole and sipped on a sampler. On our way home, we picked up my favorite pre-race dinner of sushi and laid low for most of the night.

Of course, right before bed, I realized I hadn’t found my hand held water bottle and had a rage blackout since I bought it specifically for the A10. Needless to say, I did not find it and went to bed angry. Whoops.

Race day

Alarm went off at 5:25, snoozed, got out of bed at 5:35, rushed to get ready, grab a mini bagel and run out the door. Made it to Annapolis, hit traffic right before the stadium (damn you Rowe Blvd!!!) but still made it to the Blue Angel jet with less than 5 minutes before the scheduled MRTT photo. That’s what I call winning.

MRTT AACOMD

The weather was really, really perfect. We started opposite way of Zooma which was different BUT convenient given we had prime spots to hit up the quickly shortening lines for the port-a-pots as the start time got closer.

A group of us started the race together but got split up less than a mile in when one of our group members sprained an ankle on a pothole. Stupid Annapolis roads 🙁

Alas, three of us kept going running 4 – 1 intervals. I’m going to reiterate that the weather was beyond perfect for August in Annapolis. The hills, didn’t seem as bad as everyone made them out to be, and despite the run through some quieter neighborhoods on the Severn/Arnold side of the Severn River, the crowds were friendly and encouraging.

My knees, which have been acting up lately and that I’ve been getting some PT on, weren’t terrible until Mile 8 and that horrible downhill on 450 approaching the Naval Academy bridge.

I kept the attitude positive – the Naval Academy bridge at mile 8.5 is rough. But I kept us motivated with my countdown. The last half mile is around the stadium and up the final hill past the Blue Angel at the Naval Academy stadium – for anyone who has run Marine Corps marathon before, the uphill at the end of EVERY race is like a toned down version of the last .2 miles running up to Iwo Jima.

Annapolis 10 mile run

I finished strong – please excuse the incredibly awkward fuel belt/race belt. Note to self – one or the other. My time was 2 minutes slower than the CB10 miler back in April BUT, this was hillier, and I trained slightly better. I felt stronger at the very least whereas with Cherry Blossom I hit a big ole wall around mile 7. The intervals certainly helped me keep my knees and feet in decent shape. Though there were a couple of times I definitely walked when I didn’t need to necessarily (that picture I took on main street… 😉 ) but I had fun and really, unless you’re running for the big bucks…having fun and not getting hurt is all that matters.

Chip Time: 2:03:22
AG: 148/165 (solid BOTP!!! No shame!!!)

In 2018, I’m gunning for that sub 2 hour time!

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Currently | September

How is it September already?! I say that every month but I’m serious – I feel like it was just barely June. Alas, the first Wednesday of the month means it’s time for the Currently Link up with Anne and Lowanda, her co-host for September!

september currently

Celebrating | 8 years! Hubs and I have our 8 year wedding anniversary next week and what a journey it’s been! Currently, we don’t REALLY have any plans, money is a bit tight for us as Hubs continues his post-MBA job search, so we may just do a small day trip as a family this weekend (pending Little Man’s stomach bug we’ve been fighting since Monday) and then later this month enjoy a date night when they have parents night out at daycare ($25 for four hours?! Absolutely!!).

Watching | The Bold Type. It’s a bit cheesy and I don’t think I’m the target audience but I’m a sucker for shows like that (makes sense that Devil Wears Prada is one of my all time favorite movies.) and given that Cosmo was my reading material of choice back in my 20’s, this is like living a previous dream in television format. Seriously worth a watch.

Welcoming | Fall. It was fall like weather this past weekend in CT and I am SO ready for all of the pumpkin-y, apple-y things. And boots, scarves and cozy sweaters (aka the ADORABLE tops I picked up during the Nordstrom sale.)

Preparing | for the INBOUND conference in Boston later this month. Travel and hotel booked. It happens the week of my next Body Back Transformation session so at least it’s week 1 and not week 5. I’ll be fitting in workouts, a run, and limiting my booze in take although that’s sometimes inevitable at events like this. The most fun part of prep? Prepping my conference wardrobe. September in Boston is my favorite time of year!

Photographing | Nothing lately – I’ve been in a bit of a slump but I want to get back into it – I’ve been trying to be more regular on Instagram, but alas, one day is great and then I don’t post again for two more days. Whoops?

Join the Currently link up with Anne on the first Wednesday of every month! 

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Fit4Mom Body Back Transformation Recap: Lessons & Before/After

Friends, I’m at the end of my first Body Back transformation journey. A journey it’s been and a journey it will continue to be. I already signed up for the September session and I’ll be kicking butt with these women at least two nights per week going forward because I just feel so flipping awesome thanks to this program.

You are stronger than you think.

Handstand pushups? Sure thing. Rocky punch sit ups? No problem. Three rounds of 1-minute planks and 45-second side planks? I got this. Twenty-pound bicep curls? Easy peasy! My body is stronger than I ever gave it credit for and when you stop to think about it, you can do anything for a minute. One of my coaches said something the last week of class that really resonated as we went into our assessment – “The workouts didn’t change. You got stronger.” 

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

When I don’t meal plan, I fail my body and myself. I slip backward into bad habits. By not planning, or setting yourself up for success, you’re more likely to “fail.” That being said…

There is no fail. It’s a journey.

Journey it is. There’s no perfection here. That glass of beer with colleagues? No problem. The glass of wine with Junior League? Make sure to bring lunch and get your workout in. It’s a journey and it’s just beginning

Stronger together

The women that I worked out with inspire me so much. They push me and challenge me and lift me up when I don’t think I have one more rep in me. I am so grateful to have found this village and to get to spend the time with them each week that I do. 

All about that accountability

Having the accountability of showing up to class (hi. I paid for it!) and getting my food journal checked out every week forced me to hold myself to a higher standard. I was less likely to go to happy hour with colleagues (not that we go to happy hour often but I stopped altogether for the past 8 weeks, indulging only for special occasions like a dinner with my bestie or date night to a brewery with the hubs.) and also letting myself eat lunch out only once per week also kept me accountable. Not only did I save money on lunches brought from home, but I also developed healthier habits. 

It’s not just about the scale

Total loss is only about 3 and a half pounds. BUT the inches man. My clothes fit better. $hhh!!!!tttt,   I wore a black t-shirt dress that I would NEVER have worn 8 weeks ago. Total inches lost? 6.5”. With 2” coming off my hips (they don’t lie) and 1.5 off my waist. Clothes that once looked awkward are fitting better than they have in a couple of years. The scale only tells a partial story friends, consider how your clothes are fitting. 

Being healthy doesn’t have to be hard

I didn’t cut anything out of my diet. I ate MORE but I ate better. Your body needs fuel. Eff the shakes. Eff the “cleanses” – been there, tried that. Eating healthy, whole foods is just what my body needed and it’s working. Skipping meals won’t help, and I bet as soon as you’re done with that whole “intermittent fasting” trend, you’re going to just put the weight right back on. Healthy doesn’t have to be hard, nor does it have to be expensive. But you do have to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. 

Make it a family affair

Our family has transformed – not like that – but hubs and I are healthier together. He supports my journey. I am so grateful he’s taken the charge after work when I peace out after dinner to get a hot evening run in or jaunt off to my body back workouts. We’ve laughed together getting through the at home workouts in our basement after bedtime and recently, we started a 30 day push up challenge with my sister-in-law on the west coast. It’s absolutely become a family thing. 

My biggest accomplishments?

Increasing my push ups from 3 to 10. Increasing my squats from 39 to 62. Increasing my plank time from 1 minute and 14 seconds to 2 minutes and 7 seconds. Increasing my bicep curls from 23 to 30. I can solidly do 18 sit-ups – an increase from 5 at the start of this and my side plank (which I loathe) increased almost 30 seconds from 43 seconds to 1:09.

As for my body?

The photos show it all.
3.6 lbs down
6.5 inches lost

I still have a ways to go to get to my goal weight BUT I’m on the right track. Where as I was straddling the 160 line (aka too close to my weight at 39 weeks pregnant), I’m much closer to 155, my goal for next round is to get to 150 because I know the impact that those 5 lbs will have on my running, my strength and my overall level of health.

It’s a journey my friends, and my coaches – bless them – never fail to remind us of that through the ups, the downs and every hurdle in between.

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What I Wore: Weekend Casual

This weekend had some pretty amazing weather for an August in Maryland. The high seventies, zero humidity. Completely unlike Maryland weather for this time of year.

Friday night, I kicked off the weekend with a solid closet clean-out (see some of my listings on Poshmark with more to come!) and was super excited to come across an old black Lululemon racerback tank I had. Even working moms need to have casual attire and I’m a HUGE fan of athleisure (though you probably wouldn’t know it from my mostly office friendly outfit posts).

This outfit was super comfortable and perfect attire to hit up the Annapolis 10 miler expo, a nearby brewery and run some errands in Annapolis with the boys. As long as the weather is cooperating, this will probably be a weekend wardrobe regular (at least for the time being!).

black and white outfit

[Tank (old, similar, similar, similar) | Jeans | Sandals (similar) | Necklace]

summer casual outfit

Fun fact: I bought these pants pre-Body Back to replace an old pair that tore (damned chub rub rubbing holes through the thighs of my favorite pants) and now, they’re too loose in the waist by a solid couple of inches… Even after I dry them. *sigh*

Happy Wednesday my friends!!

Linking up with Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday 

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August Obsessions

Happy August friends! I took a break in July, but my monthly obsessions (aka top five things I’m loving at the moment) is back!

august obsessionsAugust Obsessions

1. Pacifica – Wake Up Beautiful Night Mask.  Okay, beauty products aren’t typically my thing but I grabbed this on a whim from Target one day and I’m obsessed. I use it a couple times per week after I shower (I shower at night). Don’t rinse, but leave it over night and wake up with smooth, glowy skin. Seriously. It’s my favorite.
2. Cottony workout tanks. I bought one from Fit4Mom (seen here) that I LOVE. I got this one from Old Navy recently for like $10 – I’m super jazzed. Also, love these ones from Under Armour and one similar to this Pima Cotton one from lululemon but for the budget friendly gals, check out this one (in multiple colors!) from Old Navy. I know you’re not supposed to wear cotton to work out, but these light weight cotton blend tops are super comfy to work out – especially for my Body Back workouts.
3. Bed Head – Dumb Blonde Purple Shampoo. So recently, I went blonde. I used to be blonde – somewhat naturally. But after I got pregnant, I stopped dying/highlighting my hair. Alas, I wanted a change and found the BEST stylist in Pasadena, and she recommended purple shampoo to keep my hair from getting brassy. Of all the times I’ve previously, highlighted my hair – no one ever recommended this and I’m really liking the way it’s protecting my hair color.
4. Swing dresses. Specifically this one from Old Navy. And of course, one of my favorites – the lularoe Carly dress. Super comfy. Dress up with block heels. Dress down with sandals for casual Friday. Give it a nice, long statement necklace and boom – dressed in like…five minutes. Easy peasy.
 
5. Cold Shoulder tops. I really, really tried to not love this trend. But I do. I have this dress from Amazon, a couple of cute tops from LOFT and I love them all. All of them. They’re flirty, easy to dress up and just… on point for the summer. Don’t judge (i know this trend has a lot of naysayers 😉 ).

What are you obsessed with this month? 

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Giving the Cold Shoulder

There are many trends when it comes to fashion that I kind of… raise my eyebrows at. Wide-legged pants. Off the shoulder tops (as much as I wish this worked, it’s simply not practical for me). Cropped anything (specifically cropped tops), midi skirts (I wish. I’m too petite), but there was one from this summer that kind of grew on me…

The cold shoulder top. AKA the less annoying sister of the Off the Shoulder top.

I was skeptical initially because some styles are just…over the top and impractical for those of us who need to support the ladies. But, once I tried them on, I really really liked the subtle flirtatiousness of the style. Granted, some are REALLY over the top and frilly, but LOFT, IMO has been killing it with the cold shoulder look this summer.

cold shoulder top

[top (similar) | white jeans | shoes (similar, similar) | sunnies | necklace]

loft cold shoulder top

Black and white is such a classic, classic look and one that I wear often – I loved this find from Loft. It’s great with a pair of shorts on the weekend OR a nice pair of pants for work. I spotted my HR director wearing white jeans dressed up – previously a “friday only” type of piece for me but I dressed these up last week and it worked perfectly for my business casual office.

Here are a few of my favorite cold shoulder tops lurking around the interwebs right now:

What about you? Have you tried the “cold shoulder” trend? What are some trends that you love (or love to hate?)? 

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#MDBlog Blogger Dinner Recap

Y’all, I’ve failed you as a blogger lately. Life is just busy, so busy I almost forgot to renew my hosting and my blog almost died a sad, anti-climactic bloggy death. Alas, I fixed it. I’m not done with you yet blogosphere. 

Earlier this week, I paid a stupid amount of money to GoDaddy to restore my blog from that anti-climactic death. My credit card had some fraud and I forgot to update the card. I saw the emails but omg. I failed my blog. Ish happens. You get it.

Since I paid all that bling, I’m committed to doing better. You see, this was all perfect timing for me to get a kick in the bloggy butt.

MD Blogger Dinner

I’ve been slightly active in an Instagram pod with some local Maryland bloggers. Earlier this week, we got together to have dinner at Alexandra’s Restaurant at the  Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City (beautiful by the way!) to talk blogging and make new friends.

turf valley ellicott city md

Because really, what else do you do when you’re around people who – full time or hobbyists – do the same thing as you do? We talked blogging and social media.

turf valley resort ellicott city md

In addition to the fantastic company, we had some delicious food – the meal was Mediterranean dips with pita, buffalo cauliflower with goat cheese and crab sliders. And of course, it would be a blogger event without some adorable swag bags. 

MD Blogger dinner

[Many thanks to Visit Howard County for the adorable swag bags!]

So many thanks to all the fantastic bloggers: Theresa (who set the shin dig up!), Fadra, Jess, Sara, Tanvi, Christy, Alicia, Fatima, Shelly, Pam & Terri, Liza, and Jennifer.

Re-Inspired

That all being said, I’m…inspired y’all and I want to do more with my little corner of the internet. I think I might finally be kicking this rut goodbye! 

If you remember, my blog, back in its heyday six, seven even eight years ago, help me take part in so many fantastic opportunities. I went to conferences. I worked with some pretty spectacular brands.  I tried, back in those good ole days to make as an influencer before influencers were really a thing. 

But friends, while this blog is never ever going to produce thousands of dollars in income or have a large email list, I do want to be more active on my facebook page (because I spend far too many hours on there anyhow), instagram more (because…outfit selfies) and I have some video blogging goals friends – thats right. I’m figuring out how to incorporate it but sometimes? Writing is just too much. I want to nurture my audience the way bloggers should. The blogger dinner reminded me just why I love marketing and social media and blogging to begin with – the community. It’s just a community that needs a little more nurturing.

[Disclosure: Though we did receive dinner and swag for freesies, all opinions of the businesses involved with our Blogger Dinner/meet up are my own] 

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August Must Have Box

I have been lusting over the must have boxes for a while. I like getting packages, I like getting fun mail and this? This was a fun surprise. I’m constantly seeing the Must Have boxes promoted so I’m so excited I received one and am able to review it for you all!

This month’s theme was Celebrate – a special box because the POPSUGAR Must Have box turns FIVE this month! Lisa Sugar and her team of editors have been curating their favorite items for five. freakin’. years. This month has some of Lisa’s favorite brand obsessions to celebrate – birthday style!

Additionally, in celebration of five fantastic years, POPSUGAR is running a different giveaway where each week a limited number of subscribers can be eligible to win products from brands like Kendra Scott, Tarte Cosmetics, and FIVE grand prize winners (!!!) that will win something from Cambridge Satchel Co and a 1 year subscription to Must Have. Yes, please.

So what was in the August  MUST HAVE box?

…All sorts of fun stuff! Check it out…

Meri Meri Gold glitter candles | Fringe Studio Free Spirit Journal (sponsored by Jeep!) | First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask | Dogeared Friendship bracelet with small open heart | Goodie Girl Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free!) | Shoptiques.com gift card | Pastel Cheers Lacquered Tray ]

Seriously – this stuff is so fun. The journal will definitely come in good use for me…

popsugar must have box

As will the Shoptiques gift card. Free money? Absolutely, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

shoptiques

While bracelets aren’t my favorite, this bracelet from Dogeared is so pretty and understated. I’m a big fan.

friendship bracelet

And little man has already tried snagging those cookies multiple times – I’m saving them for Wednesday when I’m done with this Body Back session.

gluten free cookies

Want to enjoy all these fun, celebratory goodies? Maybe you have a pal celebrating a birthday (subscription boxes make FANTASTIC gifts!)? You can get your celebratory Must Have box here – use code PARTY for $10 off! 

[Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary Must Have Box from POPSUGAR. All opinions here are my own. ]

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