Monday, June 30, 2014

$100 J.Crew Giveaway

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I am currently collaborating with Because of Jackie and a group of amazing bloggers in a $100 giveaway to J.Crew. If you haven't already entered this contest, I suggest you do so. You know, because it's 100 bucks... and to J.Crew! In honor of the gift card that will be given to one lucky reader, I compiled some of my current favorites. ...i.e. what I would buy if I could enter and win.

FYI, this contest goes until Wednesday and it IS open to international readers. Click the link below to enter. 
Good luck!

$100 J.Crew Rafflecopter Giveaway

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loopsway Style

I'm often drawn to certain colors when shopping. I love pastels, neutral colors, whites, and blacks. I suppose I like to keep things simple, and I prefer softer hues. When the owner of the fabulous online boutique, Loopsway, contacted me about collaborating with this blouse, I automatically had a preference for color. I figured that either the white or pale pink would look best on me. I was wrong. Once we took the photos, I discovered that my favorite was actually the vibrant cerulean blue. I surprised myself.

It's funny how that happens. I guess it just goes to show that I shouldn't be afraid to try new things when it comes to my look. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of wearing the same colors and styles. This is actually one bonus to my recent blogging ventures in fashion--it's forcing me outside my comfort zone, a fact that I'm having fun with.

This particular blouse actually comes in two other colors as well--black and a light olive green. I love how flowy it is without feeling shapeless. I also love the gold detail on the neckline--simple, pretty. Loopsway is an online boutique that specializes in spectacular jewelry at affordable prices. Recently, they have started branching out into clothing as well. With their cute styles and awesome prices, this is a shop worth following!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life Lately & Summer Style

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Last week was a busy one. In fact, the entire month of June has flown by in a hurry. Even though the recent solstice technically ushered in the new season, I can't help but feel like the beginning of July means that summer is halfway over (blame it on the years I spent in and teaching school I guess). I feel a sense of urgency to enjoy the warm weather to its fullest, especially because the thought of having an active little toddler in the cold weather months is a looming fear. Thus, I've been jam-packing my days with outdoor activities, trying to soak up every moment with baby girl. 

Additionally, I've been spending a lot of time orchestrating a day camp for all of the Cub Scouts in my ward. I was recently called to be the Cub Scout Master, and my first event was one of the biggest of the year. Preparation for the event had me mostly wading through all of the red tape... so. much. paperwork. Once I had crossed all the t's and dotted all of the i's, however, I was able to go to camp with the boys-- that was the fun part! Sam was kind enough to take the day off from work to watch Klair so that I could go. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the camp, and had fun experiencing it with them. I really do have a great group of scouts and leaders to work with. 

These things coupled with family, friends, and the typical demands of daily life have made it hard to accomplish everything on my to-do list. My house--particularly the laundry--has suffered. I know Sam has felt similarly. He has been so busy with work, music, and life... we've both felt stretched thin. Thus, we decided to spend the rest of our weekend (after camp) enjoying our little family. Saturday we spent a lovely, simple day at home playing with Klair. I love our down time together. Nothing makes me happier than those precious moments. That night Sam asked his (kind) parents to watch Klair, and we went out for a classic date--dinner and a movie. He took me to my favorite sushi restaurant. It took me 4 years, but I finally convinced Sam that sushi is awesome. Granted, he only gets the deep fried stuff, but he loves it--which is a huge accomplishment considering he was vehemently opposed to it when we first wed. I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to enjoy my favorite cuisine together. 

Next, we went to see the new X-Men movie. I'm a pretty big nerd, and anything comic book/sci fi/fantasy speaks to me. Sam also scheduled some time to take the photos above. I love that he has such a passion for photography. It really lends itself well to this whole blogging thing, and it's fun that our hobbies/interests align so nicely. Oh, and somehow we squeezed a trip to Target into our date night too (we always seem to find our way to that magical store) where we bought Klair some toys and a purse that I knew she "needed" as soon as I saw them. I'm kind of a sucker for that girl. 

Sunday we went to church, took a nap, attended our good friend's daughter's birthday party, and had dinner with my family. The weather was perfect, and the day was nothing short of wonderful. 

When I was younger, I used to measure the enjoyment of my time by how fast paced and exciting it was. As I've grown older, I have found that I enjoy the simple things most. Sam and I are alike in this regard. Don't get me wrong, I love an adventure as much as the next girl--but there is nowhere in the world that I would rather be than laying in our grass with my little family as Klair excitedly points out every bird that flies by. Or, watching my husband read a book for the ten thousandth time to our daughter--both possessing the same enthusiasm they had the first time they read it. It's these moments that most would deem ordinary, woven into the fabric of our story, that I'm drawn to. And, when all is said and done and we stand back to view the tapestry of our life in its entirety, I have a sneaking suspicion that these are the moments that will prove to be the most vibrant and beautiful. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summertime Sunnies Compliments of Warby Parker

I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Warby Parker on this post today. In case you haven't heard of this hip, trendy, and altruistic company, they sell high quality glasses and sunglasses (prescription and non-prescription). For every pair you buy, a pair is given to someone in need. And, they sell their products exclusively online. 

Now, you might be wondering how this works. After all, eye wear isn't something to be taken lightly! The glasses or sunglasses that you wear are not only a fashion statement, but a representation of who you are and your personal style. How can you order glasses that you've never tried on with any confidence? A pair might appeal to your sense of style, yet look terrible once you actually try them on. As a practically blind person, I've spent my fair share of time trying on glasses that I thought were cute, only to find that they are definitely not so on me. On the other hand, there have been times when a pair that I wasn't so sure about ended up fitting my face shape and features quite nicely. It can be really hit or miss. 

Warby Parker has accounted for this in their online model. They have a virtual try-on program, and--my personal favorite--a home try-on program. In fact, the home try-on program is what I owe this post to. I went online, selected the sunglasses that I liked and wanted to try, and ordered them to take a test drive. They arrived within a couple of days in a neat little box, and I had 5 days to try them out. They provided return shipping and I simply sent them back at the end of my free trial. At that point, if you decide to buy any you can easily do so. Below are the results of the different sunglasses I tried on:  

And the winner? Number 5--Ellison in Whisky Tortoise. I had such a hard time choosing, I really liked all of the different styles. I do love this retro look, however, and I felt like these fit my face and personal style best.
What do you think? Which of their glasses would you choose?

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Sunnies | Blouse (similar here, here & here) | Skinny Jeans | Wedges | Bracelet | Watch 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

San Francisco | Style & a Recap

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As my last few posts have indicated, I recently traveled to San Francisco with my husband. What I failed to mention in the previous posts was all of our adventures during this trip, so this will be a recap of what took place over that splendid little holiday away. 

First, I arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday. I woke up ridiculously early for my flight, dropped Klair off with my in-laws (they were so kind to take her), and made my way to the airport. I actually only slept a total of about 2 hours the night before, yet I think I was running on excitement because I felt surprisingly awake and energized. My flight arrived at the Oakland airport where my first adventure began. Sam had planned for me to take a taxi to San Francisco, but when I found out how much it would cost and how long it would take... I opted to take the Bart (underground subway) instead. What I didn't take into account was how... rough of a city Oakland is. Or, at least the part that I was in. My overactive imagination has been exposed to too much 24 lately. I felt pretty vulnerable and kept my pepper spray close by. Haha!

Luckily I was able to navigate my way through the shuttles and subway to San Francisco without incident. The company that Sam works for was throwing a big product launch party the night I arrived at a venue called Dog Patch Studios. Sam was, in large part, overseeing this event and was busy setting up. When I got off the subway, I planned to take a taxi to the venue to meet him. What I didn't account for was how difficult it was to hail a taxi in that part of town. There were hardly any taxis that went by. Combine this with my lack of experience getting a cab and... well... it didn't go over too well for me. Time for plan B. I mapped my destination on my phone and it was only 2 miles away. 2 miles? No problem... or so I thought. San Francisco is a pretty hilly place... and I was pulling my rolling suitcase behind me. I'm sure I must have looked like a pretty ridiculous tourist as I trudged along. 

After about 20 minutes I decided to try and grab a bite to eat. The first place I found was a taco stand... that didn't accept cards. Next, a restaurant called "Chinese and Doughnuts." It sounded like a winning combo... no cards. Finally I found a sandwich shop that did take my debit card. Unfortunately for me, the sandwich shop was not gluten savvy (I didn't realize how hard it is to travel on a GF diet) so I settled for a diet coke. I rarely drink soda... especially the caffeinated kind, but the progression of the day seemed to demand it. I called Sam and told him of my attempt to walk to the venue, and he insisted that I either call a cab or wait until one of his coworkers was able to come pick me up. I tried being stubborn and finishing what I had started, but my tiredness won over and I gave in. I walked about another block where I found a little shopping center. I managed to find something gluten-free and waited for Sam's coworker/our good friend to come and get me in the company rental. 

It was sooo nice to finally get to the venue and see my husband! He had already been in San Fran for a few days, and had been traveling a lot before that. I had missed him terribly. Our reunion was sweet but brief as there was so much to do to get ready for the launch party. I helped out where I could, and witnessed them transform the simple venue space into something spectacular. The stage, lighting, seating, food, drinks--all of it was planned and orchestrated by my talented husband. The executives of the company gave presentations on new products, followed by a performance by the American Authors. I had only heard their radio hits, which I liked, but seeing them live was an incredible experience. They were so lively and energetic, and the concert turned into a dance party. Plus, they were really down to earth guys. It was fun to hang out with the band before and after the show. 
After the launch event, we were invited to a party at a 20 million dollar home in the heart of San Francisco. Although we aren't big partiers Sam and I both love architecture and real estate. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to at least see the place. It was one of the most... the most interesting house I've ever been in. The couple who owned it were really kind and hospitable, they live such a unique lifestyle. The art work was a little... intense for my taste, and I'm pretty sure some of the women there didn't care that Sam was my husband and that we came together. Thus, after touring the property, it didn't take long for me to convince Sam to grab a really late dinner and head back to the hotel. We were both pretty exhausted at this point and I crashed in about .6 seconds of hitting the bed. 

The next day Sam had a few smaller events to manage. One was a breakfast with analysts in the hotel, but he was kind enough to let me sleep through it. The second was an event at the computer history museum in San Jose. Thus, we jumped in the company rented Suburban and made a quick little road trip out of it. Oh, and we found a tiny cafe in San Fran that served gluten-free crepes. They were heavenly. 

The next day we found ourselves without a work agenda, and we took advantage of it. We walked around the city, shopped, made our way through China town, grabbed some sushi, and basically enjoyed the sublime weather. That afternoon we traveled over the Golden Gate bridge to the Muir Woods and Stinson beach.

The photos shown above were taken during our drive out to Stinson Beach. The road out there was gorgeous, taking us both through lush mountain terrain and high above the ocean on steep, rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Despite it's beauty, the road is not for the faint of heart... or stomach, rather. It was such a windy road, I had my head between my knees at times. Sam kept getting mad at me because I would look out my window--not wanting to miss the views--only to make myself sick in doing so. It was hard to look away. Luckily, the stop in Stinson Beach was an enjoyable one. The town is tiny, nestled into the mountain, and overlooks the sea--it's a little gem. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at a local cafe with outdoor seating, and walked along the beach afterward.

Due to San Francisco's history, I decided to embrace the carnival/hippie inspired trends--a la headband, flowy floral skirt, and round Lennon-esque glasses. Furthermore, I couldn't help but throw in a peace sign, because I'm cheesy like that.

That night we saw a movie on the oversized iMax screen at the Metreon. The whole trip felt like one giant, extended date. Even our moments of down time were heavenly for the simple fact that it was the two of us. We both adore our baby girl to pieces, but it was nice to be able to focus so much time and energy on each other. I was able to briefly let go of my mom identity which, I think, is especially healthy... or at least it was for me. 

Saturday we let ourselves sleep in, and enjoy some unstructured down time before jumping on a plane to see our baby girl again. It was wonderful to get away, but amazing to come home to Klair. I love vacations that give you just the right amount of time away to make you grateful to come home. 

I mean, who wouldn't be happy to come home to this face? 
She's too cute in her Hello Kitty hat we bought in China Town. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

San Francisco Weekend Getaway | Part 2: (Unexpected) Cold Weather

While I was in San Francisco, a good friend and co-worker of my husband's informed me that Mark Twain once said:

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

Unfortunately, this was after I had arrived in the seaside city with a suit case full of summer attire. No jacket... not even a cardigan. Why would I need it? I was going to California, after all. He relayed this quote to me--this valuable information--while I was complaining about how chilly it was. It wasn't even nighttime yet.


Needless to say, I found myself in a predicament--particularly once the sun went down. The days were nice, but the nights were frigid, especially with wind chill. After one night of walking around town and freezing, I decided I needed to buy something to keep me warm. Despite my husband's suspicions, this was not a ploy to get a new jacket (although it would have been an ingenious one and I almost wish I had thought of it). We made a quick trip to the shopping district. Sam and I both grabbed hoodies for our forest adventure, and I also bought the blazer shown above to feel a bit dressier in. (Ultimately I ended up wearing them both to stay warm. It was that chilly. Who knew?)

I can't say I'm too sad about the turn of events, however... because I have been wanting a new blazer--even if it will be awhile before I can wear it back here in Utah. These photos were taken on a cliffside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Everything (except the one handsome photo of him that he let me take) was shot by my talented husband. He's getting pretty good with that camera of his, and we had fun capturing moments. I could have stayed there all day forever. Northern California is gorgeous! 

Also, I have to mention that I absolutely love my Michael Kors sandals. They were the comfiest sandals for walking as much as we did in and around San Francisco. I'm not usually one to splurge on shoes, but I think these are worth it.