Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Healthy Balance


Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holidays are in full swing - next month, we are going to Oregon for 2 weeks & I couldn't be more excited about heading home.  We'll be staying at my parents' farmhouse in the country & enjoying all of my mom's incredible Christmas treats.  This time of year, there tends to be an abundance of snacks and desserts that we don't normally have lying around the house...but we all want to enjoy special meals with our families & friends. Several of you have asked how I stay healthy through the holiday season so I'm sharing my thoughts with you today & some of what I have to say might surprise you!

I already have a pretty limited list of foods I can eat as part of managing my Lupus, so to further restrict my diet would make me downright miserable.  Because of my eating-disordered past (read more here), what I know to be true about myself is that dieting, counting calories or tracking macros will only cause me to obsess over my meals...and I refuse to go back down that road.  I want to continue to view food as a way to nourish my body & promote healing, not as something to be feared & to deprive myself of in an effort to fit into a size I was never meant to be.  It's taken a long time for me to achieve balance in this area, but I am so much more at peace now that I have a healthy relationship with food.

My holiday eating philosophy is to allow myself to indulge in the things I want in moderation and balance out those treats with exercise.  When it comes to working out, it can be all too easy to make excuses because we're so much busier this time of year.  I find that I when I over-complicate it, I tend to give up altogether...so one of my goals for the next couple of months is to just KEEP. IT. SIMPLE.  It doesn't have to mean driving to the gym to attend a 90-minute class.  It can be as easy as throwing on some warm layers & heading out for a quick jog around the neighborhood or going on a family hike through the woods.  Anything that gets me moving & increases my heart rate counts!  We love being outdoors as much as possible, but once the temperatures start dropping, I become a lot less motivated to do that.  The key for me is having the right gear & being well-equipped to face the elements so it will be much more enjoyable.  









Fleece-lined leggings are a must because they keep all the heat in without restricting your movement.  What I like about these is they are a thicker knit so they smooth out any lumps & are really flattering (I also wear mine with longer sweaters, plaid tunics & boyfriend cardigans).  For the top half of my body, I have learned that the material closest to your skin should be a fabric that will wick moisture away.  NIKE's Dri-Fit shirts are my favorite for running because they're lightweight & have a looser fit.  On top of that, I like to layer a fleece vest for added warmth & top it all off with a hooded puffer jacket - this one is perfect because it isn't too bulky, but it still keeps me warm (more options to try here, here & here).  

I resisted the FitBit craze as long as I could but I finally caved when they came out with their Blaze Watch - it tracks steps, stair climbing, heart rate & sleep just like the original version but it also has some smart features - it will show incoming phone calls, text alerts & calendar reminders.  You can also control music playback from your phone with a mini-remote on the screen & the battery life is amazing - I can usually get mine to last 4 days on a single charge.  It comes in 3 different band colors & would be a great holiday gift for the fitness fanatic in your family (or for yourself)!

If I can encourage you in any way this holiday season, it would be to treat yourself well - turn on some music & bake together as a family, enjoy the foods & traditions you love and then spend some time getting fresh air & a little exercise.  Keeping all of these things in balance will ensure that you're getting the best of both worlds - which means you won't feel deprived and over-indulge.  And, whatever you do, please don't obsess over the number on that scale or stress if your jeans are a little bit tight at the end of month - life is too short & making the most of each moment, in my opinion, is far more important.






What I'm wearing:
Created in partnership with Kohl's

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Growing up, I always felt like stocking stuffers were somewhat of an afterthought and paled in comparison to the bigger presents that I couldn't wait to open.  But, when we started our family, I wanted to make a conscious effort to do my best & make even the smallest gifts feel thoughtful and special.  With a little bit of effort, I've discovered that it's completely possible to find items that fit that criteria without breaking your budget.  I've rounded up some of my top picks below for both him & her that would make great stocking stuffers this holiday season.




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Monday, November 28, 2016

Utility Stripes


I hope everyone had a relaxing & memorable Thanksgiving!  We hosted some of our closest friends for the day and it was my first time being in charge of the turkey...so I was relieved when everything turned out perfectly.  It was wonderful to spend time just enjoying my family & making new memories.  Things always get unbelievably hectic during the holiday season, so I'm truly grateful for those moments when we can take a break from the busyness and focus on what's really important.  

I didn't end up going out on Black Friday like I usually do, but I did some online shopping from home and bought a few Christmas presents + some things for myself.  I recently picked up this wool-blend vest (on sale now + free shipping) and I love the easy oversized shape - it's perfect for wearing on days when I don't need a heavy coat + it gives a cool modern vibe to casual basics like a striped tissue turtleneck & colored skinny jeans.

There are tons of great sales happening today for Cyber Monday!  Lands' End, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew Factory & GAP are offering 50% off - I just ordered these faux leather pants & this cable-knit sweater (recommend sizing up).  White House Black Market has 35% off your full-price purchase + free shipping with code 37099 & an extra 50% off sale styles with code 51734 - this blazer that you all loved from a couple weeks ago is seriously marked down! BaubleBar is offering 25% off 1 item with code SAVE25 or 35% off 2+ items with code SAVE35 (plus free shipping) and Lord & Taylor is offering an extra 25% off almost everything with code CYBER + free shipping on all orders - I bought this sweater last week & have pretty much been wearing it non-stop.  


What I'm wearing:
SWG Bag (similar here or here), Forever 21 Watch (similar), Madewell Ring
c/o Saressa Designs Earrings (25% off w/ code CYBER25), 
c/o Old Navy Sunglasses (similar), Nails: Essie Bordeaux

MY CYBER MONDAY PICKS


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Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Sales


I've rounded up a comprehensive list of the Black Friday Sales happening today so you can shop from the comfort of your own home without worrying about trying to find a parking spot or navigating through the massive crowds.  These are listed in alphabetical order and all you have to do is click on the name of the retailer to be taken to their site to shop!

6pm.com15% off your entire order using code BLACKFRI + free shipping on all orders thru 11/29
American Eagle: 40% off almost everything in stores & online; all sweaters & flannels $25 thru Friday in stores & online; free limited edition fleece blanket when you spend $75 in stores only thru Friday (while supplies last); B1G1 free bras, real soft tees & coziest PJ pants + free shipping on the holiday collection
ALDO: 20% off new arrivals & all regular price styles using code FRIDAY; 50% off select styles in stores & online thru Sunday (prices as marked) + free shipping on all orders thru 11/29
Ann Taylor: 50% off everything in stores & online using code CELEBRATE + free shipping on orders of $175 or more
Anthropologie30% off everything in stores & online using code LETSGO
ASOS30% off everything using code THANKFUL30 + free standard shipping when you spend $40 or free expedited shipping when you spend over $140 with code EXPRESSUSA
Banana Republic: 50% off 5 regular-priced items using code BRFIVE (no exclusions) thru 11/26 online and thru 11/28 in stores + free shipping on orders of $50 or more
BaubleBar35% off everything using code VIP35 + free shipping & returns on all orders
BCBGeneration50% off your entire purchase + free shipping on all orders
BCBG Max Azria: 50% off your entire purchase + free shipping on all orders
Bloomingdale's: 15% off $100-199.99 or 20% off $200 or more (no code needed; discount taken at checkout); up to 50% off select items (prices as marked); extra 30% off select designer handbags, wallets & wristlets (no code needed; ends 11/28) + free shipping & returns on all orders
Bluefly: Up to 85% off sitewide; extra 20% off select styles + free shipping on all orders
BooHoo: 60% off everything using code FRIYAY60 + free shipping on orders over $50 with code 50FREE (ends at 6pm today)
Capwell & Co: 25% off your purchase using code BLACKFRIYAY + free shipping on orders of $49 or more
Charming Charlie: 40% off all jewelry; $10 off regular-priced handbags + free shipping on all orders
Club Monaco: 25% off $150+, 30% off $250+ or 35% off $400+ in stores & online using code THANKS + free shipping on orders of $150 or more using code FREESHIP
Dillard's: Extra 50% off permanently reduced merchandise (discount taken at checkout); 40% off select cold-weather accessories; 30% off select sunglasses; 40% off all Christmas decor; 20% off your beauty or fragrance purchase of $100 or more; 30% off select handbags (prices as marked)
Dorothy Perkins: Up to 50% off select styles (prices as marked) + free shipping on all orders using code DPTREAT
E.L.F.: 50% off your order when you spend $30 or more with code BLACKFRIDAY + free shipping on orders of $25 or more (some exclusions apply)
Express: 50% off everything + free shipping on all orders
Forever 21: Up to 70% off select styles online only + free shipping on all orders
Gap: 50% off everything in stores & online using code TGIF50 thru 11/26; earn $25 Gap Cash for every $50 you spend + free shipping on orders of $50+
H&M: 30% off your entire purchase + free shipping using code 2873
InPink30% off $30 using code PK30, 40% off $40 using code PK40 or get 50% off $50 using code PK50 + free shipping on orders over $49
JCPenney: Extra 35% off clearance-priced fine jewelry; 60% off Samsonite luggage; 25% off NIKE shoes & apparel; 60% off all boys, girls & guys' Arizona apparel; 60% off big & tall apparel; 30-50% off kids toys; 50-60% off women's boots; 60% off Liz Claiborne apparel + free shipping on orders over $49
J. Brand: 30% off all full-price styles using code BF2016 + free shipping on all orders
J. Crew: 40% off your purchase in stores & online using code HOLIDAY + free shipping on orders of $150+
J. Crew Factory: 50-60% off everything; take an extra 40% off clearance styles + free shipping on orders of $50+ using code HAPPYSALE
Joe Fresh: 30% off all apparel using code JFBIGWEEKEND + free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Kate Spade: 30% off your purchase using code THANKFUL + free shipping & returns on all orders
Kendra Scott: Extra 20% off everything using code SALE20 thru 11/28 + free ground shipping & free returns
Kohl's: Extra 15% off your purchase using code NOVSAVE15 (ends 11/25); get $15 Kohl's cash for every $50 you spend thru 11/26; 25% off select NIKE & Converse styles (ends 12/3) + free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Lands' End: 50% off all outerwear & 40% off everything else in stores & online using code SAVEBIG & pin# 9587 + free shipping on orders of $50+
Last Call Neiman Marcus: Extra 40-80% off everything (prices as marked) + free shipping on orders of $99 or more using code LCSHIP
Loehmann's: Extra 20% off clearance styles using code BLACKFRIDAY + free shipping on all orders
LOFT: 50% off everything in stores & online using code FRIYAY; earn $50 in LOFT cash for every $50 you spend + free shipping on orders over $125
Lord & Taylor: Extra 20% off regular & sale-priced items; extra 25% off sale & clearance fine jewelry using code THANKS; $20 off your online purchase of $160+ using code BONUS; up to 80% off select women's apparel & up to 65% off select men's & kids in stores & online (prices as marked) + free shipping on all orders
LuLu*sUp to 90% off select styles + free shipping on all orders today only 
Macy's: Extra 20% off your purchase using code THANKS; 60% off select women's coats; extra 25-50% off select clearance handbags; 60% off select family pajamas; 30-50% off select women's contemporary & designer apparel; 20% off select women's dresses; 40% off select women's shoes & boots; 70% off select clearance fine jewelry; 25% off select NIKE styles + free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Madewell: 25% off your entire purchase in stores & online thru Sunday using code THATSALE + free shipping on all orders
MANGO: 20% off everything using code BLACK + free shipping on orders of $49 or more
MIA Shoes: 30% off all full-priced styles using code THANKSMIA + free shipping on orders over $50
ModCloth20% off any order using code FRIDAY20; 30% off $100+ orders with code FRIDAY30 or get 40% off $200+ orders with code FRIDAY40 + free shipping on orders of $75+
NastyGal: Extra 30% off all markdowns & select Black Friday styles (discount taken at checkout) + free shipping on orders of $75 or more
New York & Company: Up to 75% off everything sitewide (prices as marked); extra 10% off your purchase using code 4734 + free shipping on all orders
Nordstrom: Extra 20% off select sale items now thru Sunday (prices as marked) + free shipping & returns on all orders
Nordstrom RackUp to 75% off select styles (prices as marked) + free shipping on all orders today only 
Oasis: 20% off everything today only using code FRIDAY20 
Old Navy: 50% off almost everything (no code needed; discount taken at checkout) + free shipping on orders of $25 or more with code ENJOY
Payless Shoes: Extra 20% off your online purchase using code ZZDEAL20; B1G1 free women's flurry mocs + free shipping on orders of $25 or more
RevolveUp to 65% off select styles (prices as marked) + free shipping & returns on all orders
River Island20% off select styles online only using code BFRIDAY16 (ends Monday at midnight)
Saks Off 5th: Up to 85% off select styles using code SAVEBIG; extra 50% off clearance styles using code OMGYES + free shipping on all orders using code SHIP4FREE
Shoe CarnivalB1G1 50% off + take an extra 10% off sitewide using code THANKS2U + free shipping on orders of $75 or more
ShopBop15% off orders of $200+; 20% off $500+ or 25% off $800+ using code GOBIG16 + free shipping on all orders (ends 11/28)
Shoptiques: Up to 90% off select styles (prices as marked) + free shipping & returns on all orders
Stella & Dot: Up to 50% off select styles (prices as marked; thru 11/27); earn $25 Dot Dollars for every $50 you spend
Steve Madden: 30% off your purchase + free shipping on all orders using code BACKINBLACK (some exclusions apply)
Talbots50% off one regular-priced item until noon today; 40% off your entire purchase all day long; 
Target: 30% off pajamas, select shoes & apparel for the whole family; B1G1 50% off select toys; up to 30% off select home items + free shipping & returns on all orders
The Limited70% off everything + free shipping until 2pm today in stores & online using code HOLIDAY
TJ Maxx: Free shipping on all orders
ULTA: $3.50 off your $15 purchase using code 405113 (some exclusions apply; ends 11/26); free 12-piece gift set with any online $50 purchase + free shipping on orders of $35 or more
Victoria's Secret: Free limited edition tote & mini bag with $75 Angel Card purchase using code ANGELTOTE75; 50% off bras, bralettes & sports bras (no code needed); free slippers with any most-loved PJ purchase using code SLIPPERS; $20 off your $125 purchase using code TAKE20; free $20 rewards card with a $75 purchase using code REWARD75 + free shipping on $50 using code SHIP50FREE
Vince Camuto: 40% off your purchase in stores & online using code BLACK40; 50% off select shoes & handbags today only using code STEAL50 
White House Black Market30% off your full-price purchase + free shipping using code 53194; extra 40% off markdowns using code 56650; free t-shirt with any $125 purchase (while supplies last)

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Merry & Bright



I typically gravitate towards neutrals & dark jewel-tones in the fall, but something about this time of year always makes me want to embrace festive fair isle prints & bright holiday reds.  Nothing gets me more excited than going to pick out our tree, baking cut-out cookies & decorating the house for Christmas.  This buffalo-check coat is the perfect topper for the season because it isn't too heavy, which means I can layer underneath without adding bulk. Old Navy has launched their Black Friday deals a few days early, which means you can get 50% off almost everything when you order online (no code needed!).  

I love mixing patterns with my layers in the winter - it's such a great way to add interest to your look.  The trick to combining more than two prints in one outfit is to make sure they have at least one color in common (in this case, it's black).  Then, balance out the rest of your outfit with neutral basics (I chose classic denim).  If you're not a fan of red, this coatigan is another great option to try - it looks so cozy!  Here are some more ways I'd remix these pieces:

* wear just the striped tee & plaid coat; swap out the blue denim for black jeans & add a faux fur snood
* layer the plaid coat over a fitted turtleneck with a short wool skirt & ankle boots and add a belt to cinch in your waist
* wear the plaid coat over a striped shift dress with tall boots








What I'm wearing:
c/o Old Navy Brushed Plaid Coat (wearing an XS; also in green plaid & solid gray), 
c/o Old Navy Jacquard Fringe Scarf (also in red,  yellow & navy fair isle), 
c/o Old Navy Striped V-Neck Tee (wearing a Small), c/o Old Navy Chambray Shirt
c/o Old Navy Rockstar Jeans, Similar Boots, Similar Hat, Lips: L'Oreal Eva's Red

MY OLD NAVY PICKS


Thank you to Old Navy for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gift Guide Under $50

In my immediate family, we have 6 birthdays in the month of December - combine that with buying Christmas presents for everyone & it makes for a very expensive month!  For that reason, we've all agreed to keep our spending limits to a minimum.  But, even if you're working with a limited budget, you can still find great gifts that will wow your friends & family.  I've rounded up a few affordable picks that look so luxe, they'll never know how much you spent.  After last week's guide, many of you asked for ideas for the men in your life, so I had my husband help me put together a collection of items that he felt would be universally appealing.


FOR HER


FOR HIM


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