Outfit // Bright Menswear

Menswear-4 Menswear-3 Menswear-7 Menswear-10Menswear-2 Menswear-8 Menswear-5 Menswear-11 Old Navy Denim | Rachel Roy Heels via Hautelook (love these, similar) | Everlane V Tee | Menswear Coat (similar here/here) | French Connection Clutch (seen here, similar here/here)

Days off from work are occupied by errands, cleaning, and blogging (although not as frequently as I’d like) so I rarely, if ever, venture out of my pajamas or put effort into my hair and makeup (claiming I’m doing it for the greater good of my skin and hair when in reality it is pure laziness). However, it seems that lately we generally end up naturally having plans the nights I don’t work which forces me to put on actual clothes not adorned by road race advertisements or having one too many stains. This outfit seemed like the perfect compromise between pajamas and “real” clothes for a double date night out last weekend at my new favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant. The distressed jeans and simple tee are comfortable and laid back while the added bright clutch and pumps dress it up and make the look feel fun and feminine in contrast to the menswear inspired overcoat. What is your favorite way to dress up your tee and denim?

Menswear-12

What I Want // Stripes

Just like florals in spring, stripes are hardly a trend (thank goodness) and lately my shopping radar has been drawn to anything and everything adorned in stripes – including this blazer, this blouse, and these shoes – which is completely justified by the fact that stripes will never get old or go out of style. Worn as a neutral and paired with other prints (think: florals, polka dots, and even camo), these striped pieces below will keep your closet fun and functional. Are you planning on adding any more stripes to your wardrobe for spring and summer? In what form? I think the hat pictured below which comes in navy/white too would be perfect for sipping wine in Sonoma on our San Francisco trip next month. Might have to pick that one up…

stripeseditedone | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve | thirteen | fourteen

Happy Hump Day and a very special Happy Birthday to my bestie!

Outfit // Trend Trials

Turtleneck-3 Turtleneck-5 Turtleneck-4 Turtleneck-7 Turtleneck-6

Zara Slip Dress (similar) | H&M Turtleneck (only $3.50 in stores) | DKNY Tights | Target Booties | H&M Crossbody (similar) | Ray Ban Sunnies

Blazers, handbags, denim, and pumps are all worthy investment pieces for their timeless appeal and versatility. Turtlenecks and lace slip dresses? Not so much. Although items qualifying of investment status vary from person to person the underlying factor remains the same: wearablily from season to season year after year. The unsureness and self-conscious level associated with a turtleneck and a slip dress kept me from wanting to pay much so I was thrilled when I stumbled across a $19 slip dress from Zara and a $3.50 turtleneck from H&M! Who could have predicted I would pair them together? I love how the turtleneck downplays the potential sexiness of the slip dress and the lace hem of the dress keeps the look from being too dowdy. Plus this black and blue combination pairs perfectly with the dark, stormy Seattle weather we had a few weeks back and the consequential mood I was feeling at the time. What do you think of this combination? Do you consider turtlenecks an investment piece? I’m looking forward to styling both these pieces for warmer weather, any suggestions? Hope you had a great weekend! :)

Recipe // Creamy Tomato Pasta

TomatoPasta-1We eat a lot of meat. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, we eat it. There is no discrimination in this household. With my dislike of fish, seafood, and the majority of vegetarian meat substitutes we have been at a loss for ideas for meatless meals that will still taste delicious and keep us full throughout the night. That left us with mainly pasta heavy options (aka carb loading, aka weight gain inducing) like this one. Unlike our usual boring meatless spaghetti nights, this one-pan dish felt straight from the streets of Italy with the addition of tomatoes, spinach, and creamy flavors.

TomatoPasta-2Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta (via):

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb penne pasta
1/2 of a 9 ounce bag fresh spinach

(for step by step photos check out Budget Bytes here)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes). Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the Parmesan and whisk until melted in again. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Outfit // Blushed

Loft-4 Loft-1 Loft-6 Loft-2 Loft-3 Loft-5Loft Top (not online but in stores) | Gap Black Denim | BaubleBar (similar) | Zara Shopper and Coat

A great purchase is one where you (a) want to wear it immediately (b) can think of at least three ways to wear it (c) fall instantly in love. After trying on this blouse on my lunch break, I knew I had to add this feminine and unique top to my wardrobe. I mean it would just be wrong to pass up flirty peplum pleats, subtle button details, and a blush toned trifecta. Right?

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! J and I stuck to our guns and were super productive all weekend with days filled with potting plants, finishing scrapbooks, work, and running errands and nights spent leisurely dining with new friends and watching a couple of classic movies. Life is all about balance. What was your favorite part of your weekend? Have a happy Monday!

March Highlights + April Goals

dontsucceed

Where does the time seriously go? No. Seriously. It is April people. Reflecting on my monthly goals has not been as uplifting as I first envisioned, but I am determined that will all change this month. I absolutely refuse to put any of these goals on May’s goal list so consider all the eleven goals below done and this will be me come April 30th otherwise I’m just giving up and going shopping and you’ll find me drowned in a pile of new clothes (not the worst way to go). What is on your April to-dosies list? Who wants to help keep each other accountable?

successApril Goals:
1. Send in my teaching application for the State of Washington and study for the West-E
2. Clean out my closet and organize jewelry, sunglasses, and handbags
3. Attend hot yoga at least three times (redo from Feb AND March – getting ridiculous) (1/3)
4. Finish Australia and New Zealand and update 2014 scrapbook pages
5. Bake a second recipe from this book (first one here)
6. Get sweaty at least three times a week (San Fran trip in 50 days) (3/12)
7. Participate in #100DaysHappy Instagram project (0/30) follow along here
8. Invest in a cute pair of non-running tennis shoes (would love suggestions)
9. Send one just because care package (#38 from this list)
10. Blog post at least twelve times this month (4/12)
11. Record all birthdays and anniversaries for the month of April and May

20140331-234758.jpgMarch Highlights:
1. With my mama at the Grand Ole Opry for our family vacation in Nashville
2. You have a puppy in a bar? You better believe it! Love how dog friendly Seattle is
3. Traveling to new places is always amazing, but being home is always sweeter
4. The epitome of cool I long to be
5. Family race day in Nashville for St. Patrick’s Day (did I mention my bro won?)
6. I have a weak spot for pretty things on sale
7. This wolf lecture from National Geographic changed my outlook on wolves forever
8. A cinnamon roll the size of my head is my fave
9. Can’t stop thinking about this mint wallet on a chain from here

What I Want // Florals

Outfitting yourself in florals for spring is obviously not a revolutionary idea, however, this season they are gracing anything and everything from your feet to your head and everything in between. How will you wear your florals this year? In small (nails, belt, sunnies) or big doses?

florals2one | two | three | four | five | six
seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

PS check out this blush worthy trend here

Outfit // Swink Swag

SwinkSwag-4SwinkSwag-5 SwinkSwag-7 SwinkSwag-6 SwinkSwag-8 SwinkSwag-3GAP Dress (similar) | DKNY Tights | Zara Coat (similar here/here) | XXI Necklace (similar here) | Zara Shopper

A couple of weeks back I had the exciting opportunity to experience my first ever blow out at Swink Blow Dry and Style Bar and let’s just say I may be addicted. The same day I also happened to have an interview at work and the blow out from Lindsey at Swink eliminated the hassle of finding time to get ready while simultaneously attempting to prep for my interview. I simply sat back, reviewed my notes, and got pampered. Talk about stress free and convenient with a side of a confidence boost (a professional blowout gives you some serious swag).

If you are ever in the Seattle area, I highly recommend checking out Swink, Seattle’s first style bar that has been named a “Top 100 Salon in the US” by Elle Magazine and was featured in InStyle’s 2011 Beauty Book. Offering quick, affordable services from blowouts to makeup application to lash extensions to waxing Swink is your one stop beauty salon in Seattle.

A special thank you to Swink owners, Natalie and Jacquie, for inviting me to their salon and to Lindsey at the University Village location for an amazing blow out experience. Although the blow out was courtesy of Swink, all opinions expressed are my own.

Feelin’ the Blues

roadSometimes you’ve traveled so far in the wrong direction you can’t find your way.
Sometimes the confusion clouds any ability to think straight nonetheless creatively.
Sometimes the darkness just consumes your life.

The lack of recent blog posts is the result of my mind being constantly consumed by uncertainty – of the future, of the reason, of the end goal. To say I am finding myself and my desired purpose in life is an understatement. Traveling for eight months where I enjoyed every. single. moment. with my best friend laughing, learning, and exploring knocked my sense of reality on its ass. Is life really about working year round for those five precious days of vacation? Is life about working for ‘the man’ to make money for the pure purpose of buying things that I realistically don’t need and will never give me the fulfillment that a chance encounter with a stranger does? Is life about buying that house with the picket fence and having kids to fulfill the coveted American dream or is it about creating my own definition of a dream? What am I meant to do and be? The unanswered questions of our future haunt me daily. But at the end of the day these puzzling thoughts are the most difficult thing I struggle with and I am beyond grateful, appreciative, and joyous of the amazing life I live. We must focus on the positives and just live each day the fullest. Here’s to hoping a change of scenery and seasons will help me see, think, and feel more clearly. Thank you for your continued support and for reading my blog – it means the absolute world to me.

behappy