Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back On Track

After sharing my personal struggles with maintaining a good work/life balance (here), I decided to make some significant changes to my daily routine.  For the last few months, exercise & rest have been taking a backseat to my job responsibilities (simply out of fear that I wouldn't be able to get everything done).  But, at the beginning of April, I was determined to make it a priority for the sake of my own well-being.  Let me just preface this post with saying that I don't workout with the goal of losing weight - I am at peace with my body shape & size and have no desire to fall back into a pattern of restrictive eating & obsessive exercise to meet some unrealistic standard.  My sole purpose for working out is to release stress and tension & to improve my health.

My husband has been incredibly supportive of these new changes and wanted to join in this resolution with me. Since we both work from home, we have started making "workout dates" three times a week, where we head to the gym together to get our exercise in.  For me, it makes such a difference having someone to do it with - there are times where I don't feel like going, but he will encourage me (and vice versa).  Even if we only jog/walk a few miles, we always feel better afterwards.  I will admit that it was really hard at first - lots of sore muscles and fatigue.  But now that we've been doing it a while, I've noticed that I have more energy during the day and I sleep so much better at night. 

As I've mentioned before (here), I have to be careful with the intensity of my exercises so as not to overwork my body and trigger a Lupus flare.  So today I thought I would share a few of my favorite at-home DVD workouts that I would recommend to anyone, regardless of where you are in your fitness journey (no gym membership required!).  And I'm also including a few of my top clothing & shoe picks, because I personally am more motivated to exercise when I have cute gear to wear.  I'm always looking to switch up my routine so I don't get bored - I'd love to hear in the comments below about what workouts you enjoy, so please share!

Workout DVD's
1) Crunch Total Yoga - This is a good option for those just starting out.  Sara Ivanhoe (personal trainer to Jennifer Aniston) walks you through the poses in a way that makes it perfect for beginners or those not already familiar with yoga.
2) Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout - I bought this when I was trying to lose weight after my son was born and I was amazed by how quickly I saw results (she trains Gwyneth Paltrow).  I would say this is more intermediate to advanced - even if you're already in excellent shape, you will definitely feel the burn!
3) Winsor Pilates Maximum Burn Advanced Series - Nothing strengthens my core better than this workout.  All the movements are smooth & flowing, so it's great for those with joint problems or certain injuries.

Sports Bras
Did you know that Forever 21 has an entire activewear line?  I recently had a store credit and couldn't find anything else that I liked, so I ended up buying one of their sports bras on a whim...and now I'm hooked!  I love the strappy details & cool color blocking of these.

Compression Capris
Ever since discovering these Old Navy pants 2 years ago, I haven't bought anything else.  They have a flattering fit, they're comfortable + they hold their shape after multiple washes (also in tall, petite & plus).  Bonus: they're all on sale now!

Athletic Shoes
I don't mind paying a little more for shoes because it's important to have something that's supportive, comfortable and good quality.  I'm partial to NIKE because my husband worked in the running department for 7 years.  If you're not familiar with the fit, these tend to run a little narrow/small, so you might want to go up a half size to be safe.  I like to buy mine at Kohl's - though the brand is typically excluded from their coupons, you can still earn Kohl's cash to use later on other purchases.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MILLY for DesigNation

The MILLY for DesigNation Collection just launched last week at Kohl's - I was so excited to get my hands on a few of the pieces & I couldn't wait to share them with you!  The collection was inspired by the designer's recent vacation to the island of Capri, Italy - the styles are a mix of effortless, bold & feminine pieces.  Today I'm sharing with you 3 different spring outfits wearing my top picks from the collection - polished sophisticated, romantic date night and relaxed casual.

It was so hard to narrow down my favorites, but I fell in love with the intricate blue print of this matching set.  The top & skirt are so cute worn together (as shown here), but I decided to separate the two to show how you can get multiple looks out of them when paired with other items from your closet. I also couldn't resist this sheer striped midi skirt - it's even more stunning in person & is such a beautiful feminine piece!  All of the items in the MILLY for DesigNation Collection are currently 25% off (if you have a Kohl's card, be sure to use code SPRING30 to get an extra 30% off your purchase).

What I'm wearing:
c/o MILLY for DesigNation top (I'm wearing an XS), Similar shirt, Similar shorts, Similar clutch, Similar heels

What I'm wearing:
Similar top, c/o MILLY for DesigNation midi skirt (I'm wearing a Small; matching top here), 
Similar heelsSimilar clutch

What I'm wearing:
c/o MILLY for DesigNation t-shirt (I'm wearing an XS), c/o MILLY for DesigNation skirt (I'm wearing an XS), Similar jacket, Similar sandals, Similar hat, Similar tote

Thank you to Kohl's & ShopStyle for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Accessorize Me

We're transitioning into the warmer months, which is when most of us spend more time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather.  Whether you're just heading out for a day excursion or if you're planning a fun getaway, these are the 3 key accessories you'll need: a roomy straw tote (for carrying all your essentials), a chic woven hat (great for blocking your face from the bright rays, but don't forget your sunscreen too!) & a lightweight printed scarf (for layering on those breezy days & cool evenings).  Here are my favorite affordable options under $45:



Row 2:  J. Crew Gold Foil Leaf Scarf // J. Crew Indigo Patch Scarf // LOFT Dotted Line Scarf
J. Crew Printed Striped Pom-Pom Scarf

*use code SALETHERAPY to get 30% off all J. Crew totes & scarves; B1G1 50% off all Target totes; 
30% off your purchase at Gap w/ code SAVE


Monday, April 27, 2015

Go-Anywhere Shoes

I have a confession to make: I am not a flip-flop person.  Even in college when they were all the rage, I bucked the trend and wore sneakers instead.  The noise they make when walking, coupled with the fact that I'm not a fan of having that uncomfortable divider between my toes...even when we're headed to the pool or beach as a family, I just can't bring myself to wear them.  But, there's no denying that we all need a versatile go-anywhere shoe for summer that is both comfortable and durable in all kinds of conditions.  In the warmer months, we spend a lot of time down by the lake & at the beach and I've been needing a shoe that can handle the water, sand & mud without getting ruined.  

If you're not a lover of flip-flops, like me, or if you're looking for a slightly more polished footwear option for summer, then you will be excited to learn about Mox Shoes.  Their line of ballet flats is perfect for the active woman on-the-go.  These are lightweight, breathable & I love that I can just rinse them out and they're good as new.  Unlike other waterproof shoes, these have a good amount of support built-in, plus the cute woven design gives them a chic look that's perfect for transitioning from outdoor activities to dining al fresco.  You will honestly never put on a more comfortable flat because they mold to your foot the more you wear them!  

I purposely chose a neutral shade so they would go with everything, but I also love this coral pair (which my daughter is now begging me to buy her).  For those who are curious, I would say these run true to size (I recommend using this handy chart on their site as a guide).  I usually wear a 9 or 9.5 and I ordered the 41, which fit me perfectly.  Mox Shoes is graciously offering an exclusive discount for PPF readers - just use code PPFMOX to get 10% off your purchase now thru 5/31 (shipping is free for all US orders)!  

What I'm wearing:
Max Jeans Jacket (found at TJ Maxx; similar here or here), 
c/o American Eagle Top (last seen here; similar here or here), c/o Old Navy jeans (similar here or here), 
c/o Mox Shoes, c/o ShopLately necklaces (similar), c/o ShopLately earrings (similar)

Thank you to Mox Shoes for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weekly Top Ten

Though I've never shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue before, I recently discovered the Off 5th site and have been pleasantly surprised by all the affordable finds.  Similar to Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx, they have brand names like Joie, Rebecca Taylor, Equipment & more at prices that are pretty unbelievable.  I technically went over 10 items here...but there were so many great pieces that I had a hard time narrowing it down!  And they are currently offering free shipping on all orders using code FREESHIP.  Here are my top budget-friendly picks for spring:



Friday, April 24, 2015

Sporty Dress

If I'm being totally honest, this hasn't been the best week for me.  Nothing particularly bad has happened, but I've just felt a little down and have struggled to find my usual optimistic spirit.  After a few days of throwing a pity party, I decided it was time that I snapped out of it...and there's no greater mood-booster than a bright dress & bold lip! Nothing beats wearing a silhouette that makes you feel like a million bucks - for me, a fit & flare shape does the trick every time.  I love the flattering colorblocked details that give this a slightly sporty feel + I couldn't help but smile wearing this cheery persimmon hue.

What I'm wearing:
c/o Dorothy Perkins dress (I'm wearing a 4 Tall; also in regular), c/o LuLu*s heels (similar here or here), 
c/o ShopLately clutch (similar), c/o Kitsch earrings, c/o Capwell & Co. ring, Lips: Revlon Colorburst Coral


Thursday, April 23, 2015

20 Under $20

It's always interesting to me to see how sales fluctuate throughout any given season.  Some months, it takes hours of work to come up with 20 items that I deem worthy of sharing here...and then there are times (like today) where I find so many great options that I end up going overboard.  Since there happened to be an abundance of good deals going on this week, I decided to put together 6 looks featuring pieces that are all $20 or less - the top row is for those of you who are having summer-like weather already and and the bottom row is for those cooler spring days.

ONE:  Piperlime Collection Top (40% off w/ code SALEONSALE) // ASOS Collection Clutch
Warehouse Check Print Culottes // Forever 21 Faux Suede Slide Sandals (also in olive, taupe & blush)

FOUR:  Wells Grace Crochet Top (40% off w/ code SALEONSALE)// Mango Striped Scarf
Joe Fresh Straw Tote // Joe Fresh Shorts // Old Navy Lace-Up Sandals (30% off w/ code ENJOY)


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Minimal Neutrals

As I've slowly been converting my wardrobe over to spring & summer pieces, I'm realizing the almost complete lack of prints (save for stripes) in my closet.  I think much of the reason for this is that, as my style has evolved, I've found myself gravitating towards clean lines, solid neutrals and slightly minimalist styles.  A perfect example of this is all of the draped pieces I've been wearing a lot this season (seen here, here & here).  This sleeveless jacket is no exception - I love the sophisticated silhouette and that I can simply change out the belt to give it a whole new look.

What I'm wearing:
c/o Dorothy Perkins vest (on sale + free shipping w/ code DPTREAT), H&M top
Paige Denim jeans (similar here or here), c/o JustFab heels (similar here or here), 
Zara belt (similar), Clare Vivier clutch (similar herehere or here), 
Mango necklace (similar), Bracelets: LOFT (similar) & J. Crew, Ray-Ban wayfarers


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mother's Day Wishes

Every year when May rolls around, I make a gift guide of pieces I'd love to receive for Mother's Day (it's my not-so-subtle way of helping my husband out).  These are usually items that I wouldn't normally buy for myself, which makes them perfect presents.  Of course, what I really look forward to more than anything on this holiday is getting handmade cards from my kids and spending the day making special memories with my family.  But, in addition to that, here are a few things I wouldn't mind opening:


Monday, April 20, 2015

Powder Blue

I've definitely been a sucker for all things pastel this season, so naturally I fell in love with these gorgeous powder blue trousers.  At first, I wasn't sure I would have enough pieces to wear with them, but I've been pleasantly surprised by their versatility.  In my book, any pants that feel as comfortable as pajamas + have pockets are a big win!  I've included some additional styling tips & ideas below - these concepts would work with any sort of pastel skinny jean, pant or skirt you already own.  *Note: Dorothy Perkins is graciously offering free shipping on all orders exclusively for PPF readers - just use code DPTREAT at checkout!

What I'm wearing:
Forever 21 top (similar here, here or here), c/o Dorothy Perkins trousers (on sale; also in pink), 
c/o Dorothy Perkins heels (last seen here; similar), J. Crew clutch, c/o BaubleBar earrings (similar here or here), c/o T+J Designs cuff (similar), Vintage ring (similar), Target sunglasses (similar here or here), 
Nails: Essie Bikini So Teeny

1) Try with a complimentary print (like florals or stripes).  When in doubt, a classic breton top goes with absolutely everything.

2) Pair with a darker tone in the same color family (navy with powder blue, marsala with soft pink or dark plum with lavender)

3) Contrast against another muted shade (blush is a safe bet because it works like a neutral when worn with other pastels)


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekly Top Ten

Most of you have already heard by now that Piperlime is closing its doors for good at the end of this month.  As sad as I was to hear the news, the good part for us is that they have marked down absolutely everything in their store & online, in an effort to clear their inventory.  It seemed only fitting to feature them this week as a final farewell - here are my favorite affordable styles from their site:


Friday, April 17, 2015

Jewelry Care & Storage

Over the years, I have taken great pride in building my jewelry collection.  Mine contains a mix of beloved family heirlooms, special vintage pieces & fun, affordable styles.  We've moved around quite a bit in the last few years and as my collection has grown, I've had to come up with creative solutions to keep my jewelry organized.  I personally love having some pieces out on display (it doubles as decoration!), but this type of storage isn't right for every piece. I recently learned that some metals, like sterling silver, can actually tarnish if exposed to the air for too long & should be kept in a closed container or jewelry case.  So today I'm sharing some affordable storage options + my top tips for taking care of your jewelry so it will last for years to come.

1) Storage
Keep your baubles in a cool, dry place - humidity, excessive heat & direct sunlight can damage certain metals and gemstones.  If you live in a very damp climate, place a small silica gel packet (from a new box of shoes) in your jewelry box to help absorb any excess moisture.  Pearls & opals are more delicate than other stones & can scratch easily, so be sure to separate them from your other pieces.

2) Travel
Invest in a jewelry storage case with small dividers (see #2 and 3 below) so you can keep your pieces protected & tangle-free while traveling.  Even once it's organized inside the case, I like to tuck mine between layers of folded clothing for extra safety.

4) Protect
Always wait to put your jewelry on after you've applied lotion, perfume & hairspray.  Make sure you remove before doing any house-cleaning or swimming (both bleach & chlorine can be harmful to metals).  Wipe down with a soft, nub-free 100% cotton cloth after wearing to remove any oils & residue before storing.

5) Cleaning & Care
Gold - soak in a solution of warm water & dishwashing detergent for up to 15 minutes; scrub with a soft toothbrush & gently dry with a smooth cloth
Diamonds & Platinum - soak in a solution of water & ammonia; rise & dry with a tissue
Pearls - wipe with a soft cloth that has been moistened with water; let dry overnight before storing again
Silver - clean in warm water; use a tarnish cleaner & polish cloth as needed
Gemstones - soak in a mixture of water & soap for 1 minute & wipe off 

Thank you to WalMart for kindly sponsoring this post.  All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.