Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday was the end of the quarterly busyness at work, which is always such a relief!  I capped off work with a quick happy hour and then it was early to bed for me.  And when I say early, I mean like 8:30.  I was tired!!

Since I was out so early the night before, I was up bright and early on Saturday, which was great because I got my cleaning done and a walk in (the weather was so gorgeous!) all before some Panera and Starbucks for breakfast.  Not too bad of a way to start off the day!  We watched Pele (on DVD) in the afternoon - such a good movie!  If you aren't familiar (because I definitely wasn't), Pele was a football (soccer) star from Brazil.  He has an amazing story.  If you love a good heartwarming, sports story, this is definitely a movie you should watch!  I spent some time by the pool yesterday, made some popcorn for dinner and then had another relatively early night.  

I was up early again on Sunday, because I wanted to get the gym and grocery shopping in before heading to church.  It was in the low 60's when I was heading to the gym!!!  How crazy is that??  A bit of a tease, because it got into the 80's during the day, but I love a cool morning!  With those two things out of the way, I headed on over to church for my second Sunday.  I am happy to say, the second visit was just as good as the first!  I honestly was worried that it wouldn't be as good because I had some really high expectations, but it was another success.  Everyone is just really warm and welcoming, without being too much, if that makes sense.  I finally did my Nordstrom Sale returns.  I had quite a few, and was kind of embrassed at the amount I was returning.  I mean I did keep a whole bunch, but I over ordered, knowing some things wouldn't work, and I just felt like it was a lot.  But then I ran into a girl as I was leaving that had 5+ bags of items which looked to be returns, so I didn't feel as silly.  I was really craving chili last week, so I decided to give Mix & Match Mama's Beer Cheese Chili a try.  I actually made it to eat on Monday.  I feel like chili is one of those perfect make ahead meals, because the longer it all sits and melds together, the better.  And I know I will be happy when I come home and all I need to do for dinner is heat it up!  We headed to the movies to see Girls Trip.  I was super excited because all the commercials and trailers just cracked me up.  It did not disappoint - super funny, yet serious at times and overall very good.  Beware though, it is pretty raunchy, but if you don't mind that, then it's a definite win.  The rest of the evening entailed TV shows and relaxing before another work week.

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Biana.

Friday Favorites: TGIF!

Happy Friday!  So glad that we finally made it to the end of the week.  If you read my post yesterday, you can see from my confessions I was a bit of a mess this week.  To top it off, I forgot to set my alarm on Wednesday night, so my Thursday wake up call was non existent.  Luckily, when I did wake up I had plenty of time to get ready for work, but I missed out on my normal work out and just was all out of sorts.  Let's focus on the positives from this week, though!

1.  Have you heard of Amazon Households?  I don't know all the details for sure, but I do know that my mom added me to her household and since she is Amazon Prime member, I now get to experience all the benefits of being a Prime member, under my parents' membership.  It took two minutes to do (you just need an existing Amazon account) and done!  I am really excited, and I bet my mom is too, because I will no longer be bothering her with requests to purchase things for me! 

2.  Another handy tip, this time about getting packages via USPS.  A few of my Nordstrom Sale purchases came via USPS.  I always have the worst time with them, because odds are the package boxes are full in the mail box area, and then I am not home when they try to deliver and it ends up having to be redelivered.  That's no fun when you are really excited about a package!  However, I discovered that (much like UPS) you can specify where you want your delivery to go to prior to the first attempt.  All you have to do is click on the tracking number and there should be a 'delivery instructions' line you can click and specify where you want the package delivered (apartment office, front door, back door, ect.).  It does sound like this may not be available for all areas, but it's definitely worth checking out if you ever run into that problem yourself!  

3.  I mentioned my new found love of pesto already this week, but it is worth saying again.  I think I may do a post on all the ways I ate it this week, because I am obsessed.  It's just so light and refreshing!  I don't know what took me so long to try it!  

4.  Another thing I am obsessed with at the moment is veggie burgers!  I tried the Boca brand and really, really like it.  I have made them both on the stove top and in the microwave at work and I think they taste good either way.  I have had it plain with a side salad and then topped with some tomatoes, avocado and pesto (of course).  Again, good both ways.  I am not giving up my beloved beef burgers, but I feel like this is a good option to be a little healthier and switch things up.

5.  I received my final Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchase this weekend, and it was these navy blue polka dot PJ Salavage pajamas that have been everywhere.  I am so happy that I bought them, because my Target pair have seen better days and these totally live up to the hype.  I'm a big fan of the pattern and love the longer sleeve / short combo.  And they are so dang soft.  I will be honest - I thought that even on sale, they were pricey for pj's, but I get it now.  Again, they just totally live up to the hype. 

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.      

More Confessions

I went a long while without doing confessions, but shared some last month and have more for you today!  This post more or less came from me being clumsy and wanting to share in case you too have been a klutz so we can commiserate together.

Last Friday I went to publish some blog comments, and ended up hitting delete instead.  By total accident.  This isn't the first time it has happened to me either.  They really should make those buttons a little bit farther from each other.

Sunday morning I decided to get back on the smoothie train.  I store my Nutri Bullet stuff up in a cabinet above my sink with my regular glasses and wine glasses.  The smoothie cup I wanted was a little behind one of the wine glasses.  I was trying to get it out without having to move anything and reaching on my tip toes, and sure enough the wine glass tipped and shattered.  Into a million pieces, I swear.  I should have taken the time to move the glass, or even just gotten up on my step stool, but noooo.  On the upside, I now have a place for the wine glass I got at Cedar Lake Cellars.  Fun tip for anyone in the area - you get to keep your glass from your visit, then when you go back again, if you bring your glass you get a discount on your drink.  Also, if you turn your glass back in at the end of your visit, they will give you a new clean one for your trip home.  

I decided to be a klutz again on Tuesday morning.  I was going to do a workout DVD in the morning, so I slid my coffee table over.  As I was doing that, my cup of water somehow tipped over and got EVERYWHERE.  All over the table, my magazines, my tray, the floor...everywhere.  Mind you, I have moved this thing with the cup on it for months and months and months with no spills (ok maybe one other time, but it wasn't the whole cup like this!).  I can tell you, that did not help motivate me to get working out.  I did make it through, though.  Post workout, I am getting my breakfast together (another smoothie), and I wanted to make sure to add in some chia seeds since I know they are good for you.  Well...those got all over the place.  I tell you what - it was just not my morning.  On the positive side, all this stuff caused me to move a little slower in the morning, and I got in another quick little chat with the gentleman I see out walking when I am driving to work.  Come to find out he goes way back with the chairman of the board at the company where I work!  It never ceases to amaze me at how small of a world it is.

As much as I like decluttering and purging, I also can be a bit of a hoarder.  As I mentioned yesterday, I decide to wear a few shirts to work this week that had just been sitting in my closet.  They had made it through the last few closet clean outs, but I still didn't really wear them.  I told myself to wear them this week and then I can decide if I really do like them or not.  Yesterday, the shirt I wore, I really liked...in theory.  It's green and white striped, kind of blousey with a tie neck.  Sounds cute, but it just didn't lay right.  The back bottom band was stretchy and just kept riding up, making it look funny on me.  The whole day in my mind I was like no, it's cute, I can wear it with jeans on Fridays, bla bla bla, but finally I was just like no, it doesn't work, give it up.  If you are on the fence about an article of clothing, I suggest making yourself wear it right away to make your decision on keep or donate - I feel like it has really worked for me this week!

This is less of a confession and more of a rant / pet peeve.  At my office, people have a nasty habit of not refilling the paper in the printer/copies (at least the one I use).  I just feel like it's so inconsiderate.  I swear there were a few days where I had to refill it every single time I went to use it.  Just one of those things that bothers me.  It takes about a minute to refill.  That's all.  I know it's a silly thing and I obviously can do it myself, but I just think it's one of those common courtesy things.     

What kind of confession do you have to share?

Linking up with Danielle and Annie.

What's Up Wednesday: July 2017

I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...

Monday: Veggie burger, topped with tomatoes, pesto and avocado all mixed together
Tuesday:  Pesto Rigatoni 
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday:  TBD
Friday: TBD

Can you tell I didn't meal plan this week?  I am really trying to use what I have on hand, so meals are just coming together that day or night!

What I'm reminiscing about...nothing, really!  If anything fall - after this crazy hot weather we have been experiencing the past few weeks, I am ready for cooler temps...and the opportunity to wear some of my Nordstrom sale items!  

What I'm loving...pesto!  I bought some at the store this weekend to make a caprese salad and now I want it on EVERYTHING!  I am seriously obsessed.

What I've been up to...looking back, it seems like another busy month.  The month started off with an unexpected trip to Fulton, MO and some pool time.  This it was VACATION!  I know I say this all the time, but Michigan is just my favorite place and I love being able to see my family.  It was even more extra special because my cousin (who lives in Arizona) surprised us all by coming!  I celebrated a friend's birthday the following weekend, which turned into a full day and was a ton of fun.  The day consisted of a winery stop, trampoline park and hibachi grill.  This past weekend was another fun one - I met up with my best friend for lunch (it had been too long!) and then attended a new church, which I absolutely loved!  I am not sure what this final weekend of July will bring, but I am ready.  In between all the fun, work has been on the busier side (although seemingly less busy than normal for a quarter-end).  

What I'm dreading...nothing really!

What I'm working on...the never ending organizing cycle.  I cleaned out my closet a bit, but still feel like I just have so much stuff, and I know I don't wear enough of it.  I also have a few drawers that could use another go through, and I feel like my kitchen counter tops could use a little refresh as well.  I don't have a ton of space in my apartment, so it's important to keep things uncluttered, but unfortunately, I have a lot of stuff and like a lot of my stuff, so it's just finding how to store / organize things the best.  I think I have made some good progress, but you would think I would have figured it all out in the last 3.5 years!

What I'm excited about...nothing really!  I hope that doesn't sound bad - I am not unexcited (is that a word?) about things, just nothing is jumping out at me while I am doing this post!

What I'm watching...Shooter just came back on and I am so excited about that!!!  Also, Real Housewives of OC is back.  I am curious t
o see what all goes on this season.  Oh, and Shahs of Sunset - Reza just cracks me up (and I love Adam), not to mention MJ and Tommy moving into the same condo building as her mom...oh my goodness.  I can't imagine!  

What I'm reading...right now I am reading China Rich Girlfriend.  I enjoyed the first book, Crazy Rich Asians, but this one took me a bit to get into it.  I feel like it's kind of hard to keep all the people straight!

What I'm listening to...same as last month - country!

What I'm wearing...this questions should be what I wish I were wearing, because that would be all of my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases!  I am so ready for fall weather / clothing.  I feel like I have been in a bit of a clothing rut lately, so this week I have been doing something a little different.  I cleaned out part of my closet not too long ago and I kept out 4 shirts that have just been sitting in my closet and decided to wear them this week.  Just to help me switch it up a bit.  This way, too, I can figure out if they are really something I want to keep or not.

What I'm doing this weekend...no plans - the weather is supposed to more bearable / nice this weekend, so I am hoping to get out and enjoy it!

What I'm looking forward to next month...my nephew turns 2!!!  I am excited to celebrate him and see my family again.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite thing about summer...I have to tell you - summer isn't really my favorite season.  Summer just isn't the same when you work year-round.  Not to mention, it is often hot, hot, hot and humid.  That being said, I do love vacationing at the beach with my family, and days at the pool.  Lighter meals are always great, too, when you can really enjoy all the fresh produce of the season.  No surprise there - some of my favorite things any time of the year include family and food, so why should summer be much different?! 

Show & Tell Tuesday: Favorite Apps

Time for another Show & Tell Tuesday!  This Tuesday's topic is favorite apps.  I honestly didn't think I had too many to share, but as I was typing this out, I feel like I could have even included some more!

1.  Instagram (you can follow me here).  By far my favorite app and favorite form of social media.  I especially love it since stories were added!

2.  Sudoku.  If I am not on instagram, but on my phone, this is usually what I am doing.  I loved doing paper sudoku puzzles, and then I was introduced to this app and I cannot stop.  I actually don't even like doing the paper ones anymore - I tried over vacation and it was so much harder than normal since I was so used to how it is on my phone.  I showed my grandma the app and she said she wanted to get a smartphone just to be able to have the app on it!  And this is a lady that has a pay as you go phone and no computer!  If that isn't a great endorsement, I don't know what is!

3.  Pinterest (you can follow me here).  Another favorite - perfect for recipe ideas, workouts, style inspiration, home decor, holidays...really the list goes on and on!  I do have to say, though, that I tend to see the same pins over and over again it seems.  Does anyone know a way to more 'curate' what comes up on their Pinterest page, without searching for a specific topic?

4.  Pandora.  I use this one when I use my company's gym.  This may be a bit high maintenance, but the gym I belong to has the built in TVs on a lot of their cardio machines, which I just love.  It really helps pass the time.  Unfortunately, where I work doesn't have that.  There are a few TVs but there is no way to link up to them, and they don't have closed captioning, so if you don't have anything to listen to, you are basically stuck with what they are playing throughout the gym, which isn't always the best workout music.  I just have the free option, but I feel like making sure you click thumbs up on the songs you like really helps to ensure you get music you like (at least most of the time).

5.  WhatsApp.  This is a great app that allows you to talk to anyone, pretty much anywhere.  It uses the internet and comes in super handy if you want to be in touch with someone that is traveling internationally.  There is text messaging, voice call, video call - all of that.  Super handy.

6.  Flixster.  If you are a movie fan like me, then you need this app.  It takes into account your location, and then provides you with all the theaters within the area.  You can then click on each to see movie schedules.  It's SO handy.  Not only do you see the schedules, but you can see the critics and viewers ratings.  When you click on the movie, you can see a summary of the movie, and even watch the trailer.  If you scroll down a bit more,  you can also see some of the actual reviews.  I believe you can purchase tickets using this app, or be directed to a place to buy tickets, but I have never personally used that feature.  

7.  Cartwheel.  We all love Target, and the Cartwheel app allows you to save even more money.  You can accumulate points, which then lead to perks, such as $10 off a book, or clothing.  You can also get discounts, like $1 off a product - they act as coupons.  Even if you don't want to use that part of the app, you can just purchase your items, then scan your receipt into the app and gain points that way.  I think the best way to see this is to make your list beforehand, then try to look up to see if any items have discounts offered on them...all before you head into the store.  That way you aren't standing in the aisle after you have everything, looking for deals...not that I have any experience doing this.  Also, there is a scan option, where you can just scan items to see if there are any deals.  No matter if you just use the app to gain perks, or if you use it for the discount offers, too, it's definitely a must have for any Target goer, in my opinion!

8.  OpenTable.  This app is so perfect when making reservations.  It's easy to book them and easy to cancel.  You are able to see reviews on a specific restaurant, as well as click to go to their website to check it out.  There is an option to let it use your location, which is really nice for those times when you are some place you aren't really familiar with and are looking for a place to eat.

9.  Clock.  This is not an exciting app at all, but it's so useful!  It's my alarm, my timer and my stopwatch.  Not only do I use it to wake up, I set times throughout the day if I need to remember something specifically.  The timer is perfect for when I am cooking and need multiple times, or I need a longer time.  I also use it for odd ball things, like when I use a face mask, or if I want to give myself X amount of time to relax and then I need to clean...things like that.  The stopwatch is great for working out, I have often used it for planks.  Again, nothing fancy, but oh so handy!

10.  Notes.  Another app that just comes on your phone - nothing fancy, just a way to make lists and notes!  I keep my reading list on here, that way when I am reading book reviews on blog posts, or hear about something from a friend or on TV, I can just add it to my list.  I almost always have my phone with me, so it's easy to pull it up and search for things at the library.  I also keep a running Christmas / wish list in this app.  If you are like me, come time to make my Christmas list, I go blank and forget allll the things I thought about wanting throughout the year for Christmas.  I can refer back to this and make my list accordingly.  Same goes for my birthday.  I actually did this for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, too - that way I made sure I didn't forget anything that I very specifically wanted.  I also use this to keep gift idea lists for others.  That way if someone said something in passing, I can make note of it and then refer back to later.  It's pretty inconspicuous, too, because we are unfortunately on our phones way too much.

What is your favorite app?  

...and 2016 Show & Tell Tuesday posts below.

Linking up with Andrea, Lindsay and Whitney.

Weekend Recap: I Found My Church!

Happy Monday!  As always, I could use just one more day - it never fails.

Friday night was a wild one, filled with a stop at the library, cleaning and reading.  Getting crazy!

My Saturday was a good one.  I had a very product morning, completing a few of my July goals, and then headed to meet a friend for lunch.  We hadn't seen each other in way too long, so it was great to catch up.  We tried out Firebirds, getting a bunch of apps to share.  I love when we go out to eat together, because we enjoy eating the same way.  By that I mean we both really like trying different things and sharing.  With two of the dishes, they had this tortilla slaw with a mango chutney.  SO GOOD.  I need to figure out how to make it myself.  I think it would be great with some pulled pork or chicken, or on top some grilled chicken.  When I dropped her off, I got to see her little one, who is just so dang cute.  He's a happy little guy and does not stop smiling.  I don't feel like I did a ton when I got home, but I was pretty productive in the morning, which totally made relaxing warranted.  I did try out my new Clarisonic (part of the Nordstrom sale), though, which I am pretty sure I am going to love!  It felt really good!  Almost soothing in a way!  My skin is on the sensitive side, though, so I plan to only do it every other day, just to be on the safe side.

I was up early on Sunday to head to the gym, before getting ready for church.  If you remember, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to find a church.  Well, I am pretty sure I found mine!  I know it was only the first visit, but everyone was just so nice and welcoming.  It was a Methodist church, which is what I grew up in, and while it was a bit more contemporary than what I was used to, it still had some of those traditional elements that I grew up with.  The sermon was really great, and it wasn't even the main pastor.  It was kind of funny, because I went in just thinking I would sit in the back, kind of slip in and slip out, but that was not the case at all.  I was introduced to all these lovely ladies, invited to sit with one couple, and even went out to lunch with one of the ladies after church!  It was one of those things where she asked and it was so nice, I just felt I could not say no.  I am so glad I just went for it, because we ended up sitting there talking for about 2 hours!  I am really excited to go back next week.  Hopefully I will feel this same excitement after a second visit!  I ran to the grocery store, then did normal Sunday chores.  I am a big fan of the Shahs of Sunset and the very first season was on all day, so I got sucked in the old episodes while I did things around the apartment.  I was hoping to make it to the pool one day this weekend, but both were so very hot, it just seemed miserable to be out, even in the water.  My boss gave me some tomatoes from his garden on Friday, so I made a caprese pesto salad!  I just used store bought pesto, but it was delicious!  I didn't knock off everyone on my to do list (typical) but all in all it was a great weekend!       

Linking up with Biana.

Friday Favorites

Hey all!  Happy Friday!  This week seemed like a long one - so glad the weekend is here!

1.  This was a favorite last week, but it is still a favorite this week - the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I received my purchases this week, and while I had some misses, I also kept a lot of good stuff!  I shared my haul yesterday - both what I am keeping and what I will be returning!  Fall / winter are my favorite seasons to dress for, and I am already ready for some of that cooler weather so I can wear some new things!  The fact that it has been in the 100's this week hasn't help with that, either!

2.  My work schedule is very unpredictable these days - some days are late, some days I leave early, and some days just feel long.  When things get like this, it's so easy not to want to make dinner, so when I was at the store earlier this week, I picked up a Stouffer's lasagna in the frozen section.  My mom made these occasionally while growing up, and I really loved them.  Not only do I think it's really yummy, it's so easy to just pop in the oven and have a good meal without all the prep work (especially the prep work that normally comes with lasagna).  They have a really big size and a smaller size that has 5 portions, which is the one I picked up.  Leftovers make perfect lunches or dinners!  It's not something I think about getting very often, but that may change seeing as how it was so easy.  The only downfall is they take a good amount of time to cook - 75 minutes all together, so you just need to be aware of that.  Anyways, it was a favorite of mine this week and I wanted to share!

3.  I have been listening to podcasts lately at work, specifically Off the Vine with Kristin Bristowe.  I didn't watch her season of The Bachelorette, but I do follow her on instagram and enjoy her Insta stories.  I was looking for something to listen to at work that was not music, and I gave this a try.  She is pretty funny, and at an hour each, the episodes help to pass the time quickly!  The best one I have listened to lately was the episode with Erin Treloar.  They speak about body image and social media - it's really interesting to hear some of the statistics they share!  If you are a podcast person, I would definitely give hers a listen.  If you have any podcasts you love, please share in the comments below! 

4.  If you have been reading awhile, you may have remember me mentioning this older gentleman I see most days on my way to work.  He lives in a neighborhood close by and always seems to be out for a walk when I head to work.  He used to walk earlier enough that I would see him when I was getting into my car so we would exchange pleasantries, but lately I just see him on the sidewalk and wave.  Yesterday when I was heading to work, he was rounding the corner into my apartment parking lot as I was stopped there to turn on the main road.  I rolled down my window and we had a nice little chat before heading our respective ways.  It just really brightened my morning!  I think that is something we all should make a conscious effort to do more - take the time to make a little small talk with others and always smile and say hi.  I know that is something I can definitely improve on myself and even though it is something so small, you never know who day it could brighten!      

5.  Erica over at Whimsical September has been doing a series called The Saturday Sit-Down.  Every Saturday, she shares a new blogger, and you get to know a little bit about them through her Q&A.  One thing I love about this series that Erica is doing, is the fact that she tailors each Q&A to that specific blogger.  This Saturday I will be featured in her series - I would absolutely love it if you would all stop by and check it out!  

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie. 

#NSale 2017 Haul

I got all my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items in last night, and wanted to share my purchases, both what worked and what is going back.  I have listed the item, then put the color I bought next to it (if there were multiple colors).  First for the fun stuff - what worked!

These shoes were by far my very favorite purchases of the sale.  I love them both so much.  I ordered my regular size and they fit like a glove.  I just really, really love the way they look on.  The heel gives height, but it's not too much and with both being the more stacked / block heel they are very comfortable.  If you are in the market for some new shoes, I would highly suggest either of these!

I have yet to use either of these, so I don't have any type of review to share, but they were both must-buys on my list.  I have wanted a Clarisonic for a few years now, and finally decided to get one.  I opted for the Mia Fit for the smaller size.  Also, the Kiehl's lotion is one that I have heard is really, really great on dry skin, which I definitely need when the weather starts to get cooler.  While the lotion is still expensive in my opinion, the bottle is large and I have heard lasts almost the whole year until the next sale.  If that is the case, you definitely get your moneys worth!

Caslon Knit Blazer (Burgundy Stem)
I ordered this on a whim, and am SO glad I did.  My original thought when I ordered this was that I could wear it to work on Fridays.  Lately I feel like I need to step up my 'casual Friday' game.  I thought this would be a good option since it is knit, so a little more casual, but still very pulled together.  Again, I am so glad I ordered this, because it is so cute on!!!  I feel like it's very flattering, giving the look of a cinched waist almost, while being so comfy.  It can be dressed up, too, so I plan on wearing it any day of the week.  Just a great piece!  For sizing, I did order one size down per the fit information on the website, and that worked perfectly for me.

Leith Easy Circle Cardigan (Gray Medium Charcoal Heather)
If I could buy this in all the colors, I totally would.  I wasn't sure what to expect, because I wasn't familiar with the brand, but it is so soft!!!  I chose the gray and it's a really pretty dark charcoal color.  I ordered in my regular size, and felt that it fit pretty true to size.  I feel like there is enough room that you can layer a long sleeve shirt under it, but not so much room that you would need to size down.  I also love that it has pockets!  Just so very comfy and cozy - I can't wait for it to cool down a bit so I can wear this!  I know there are a lot of cardigans out there, but if you had to only choose one, this one has my recommendation!

I lusted after this coat last year in tan, but by the time I decided I want to go ahead and get it, my size was out of stock.  I have been looking for a light gray coat for what seems like forever, and this one fit the bill.  Take note, though, that it is more of a gray and white pattern, rather than just solid gray (as the color says).  Still very pretty though.  It's a great, classic piece and one I know I will have forever.  For sizing, I went with my regular size.

I like to use the sale as an opportunity to build out my work wardrobe a bit, and always look for a new dress or two.  I was sold on this one because it was fit and flare, came in navy and had longer sleeves!  It's always so cold in the office, and this will keep me from having to add a jacket or cardigan, just to stay warm.  It's a nice thick material and I don't think the picture does the dress justice on how cute the little ruffle is at the bottom.  I found the dress to fit true to size.

PAIGE Hoxton High Waist Ankle Skinny Jeans 
These are a maybe.  Originally when I first tried them on, they seemed too small.  However, I tried them on again last night and they worked.  I like that they are higher waisted and the length is better than most jeans on me.  Still a bit longer than ankle length (I am 5'3"), but terrible.  I have to think on them!

Now for my returns.  As you can see from the list above and below, I find over purchasing key here, because you never know what will or will not work!

I was excited about this skirt, but it just didn't fit right.  It was a little snug around the waist, but I think a size larger would be too big and long.

I ordered this in white and while it was cute, it was a bit see through.  I didn't want to have to wear a cami under, so to the return pile it went.

I found this dress to be a little tight through the shoulders, but even if it wasn't, I just don't think the coloring / pattern worked on me.  It was a bit blah.

This was a very nice sweater, but I didn't love it on me.  I thought the scallop edge would be so cute, but the neck line didn't really work for me.  The fabric was thicker, which was nice, because it felt more substantial, but I just wasn't crazy about it.

Another dress that was a little tight in the shoulder area.  I'm not sure if is just me, but I sometimes have troubles with structured shirts dresses that don't have much stretch to them.  They tend to pull a bit in the shoulders / back.  Such was the case with this dress.  I am hoping this comes back in stock, because I would love to try the larger size to see if it works, although my concern is then the sleeves might be a bit long, since those were the perfect length.  It was super cute, though!

Lush Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress (not online anymore)
Guys, I cannot express to you how absolutely terrible this dress looked on me.  You'd think I was wearing a sack - so bad!  I think it made me look twice my size.  While I love a dress with pockets, this is one I think should not have them.  They kind of wing out and make you look hippy, in addition to it just being a looser fitted dress.  I have seen it on others and thought it looked cute, so I think it is one you need to try on before you make a decision, but it was not for me.

BP. Plaid Cotton Blend Shirt (Blue Twilight Schy Plaid)
I actually really liked this shirt at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't think it was something I needed.  It's crazy soft and the blue plaid I ordered was so pretty, but it's so dang long.  Honestly, it looks like a dress (until you turn to the side where it goes up).  I think if you plan to wear it with leggings, rather than with jeans, it would be cute, but I was hoping to wear with jeans.  If I attempted the half tuck, the back part would be all the way over my bottom still, and then some.  And if I wanted to tuck it all in a bit, then I just think of alllll that fabric bunching.  I just felt this one was better returned to the store!

I've really enjoyed reading what others have found.  I'd love it if you would share your favorite purchase in the comments below!

Linking up with Annie.

Michigan 2017

I am really excited about this post, because I am writing it, I feel like I am getting to relive my Michigan trip a bit...and boy, was it a good time!

A little background - almost every year since I was little (and before I was even born, I think!), we have been taking family trips to Michigan with my mom's side of the family.  It's always the best time, although I definitely didn't appreciate it as much when I was younger (those darn teenage years!).  The trip looks a bit different these days, with people coming and going as schedules allow, but one thing that doesn't change is just how special it is!

To start off the trip, I drove to my parents', then hopped in their car to drive up to Michigan.  We have stayed in Union Pier, MI for the last 19-20 years, and while it is definitely becoming more developed, it still holds that little beach town charm.  There isn't much in town, so for meals and shopping, we head to New Buffalo, which is great in itself!  The traffic was pretty terrible this year (thanks, construction), but we finally made it and got to the house safely.  We did things a bit differently this year, by getting two cottages next door.  With my nephew, it just seemed like a good idea to have a separate space where he can rest and get in his naps, without us all being loud and disturbing him.  My family stayed in once house, while my grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins were in the other.  It worked out really well for us!  

The first afternoon / night we were there was pretty low key.  We got unpacked, checked out what had changed from years past and then got started on our puzzle.  My mom always gets us a new puzzle to put together on vacation.  Everyone does a little bit and it stays out the whole time, so whenever you have some free time or need something to do, you can search for a few pieces.  We had our signature 'first night' meal, which is breaded pork that my grandma makes.  Always SO good.  After dinner, we headed down to watch the sunset and were amazed at how small the beach was!  It was a chillier night, but any night on the beach watching the sunset is a good one.  We headed back up to the cottages and played cards (Blitz) before bed.

Sunday was the perfect beach day.  I headed out for a run first thing, and then after breakfast, headed down to the beach with my brother, sister in law and nephew.  The water was a bit cool, but once you got in it, it felt very refreshing!  Jack absolutely LOVED the water.  He would run in and out and in and out - it was so fun!  After a bit, he needed to dry off because it was a bit chilly, so we all moved to play in the sand.  I have to admit, it was fun having a little one around because I enjoyed playing with his sand toys, too!  My dad and I stayed down at the beach while everyone went back up for a bit.  The big surprise I mentioned on Friday came next.  My aunt, uncle and cousin were all coming this day, but we weren't sure what time.  Fun fact - those of us that are already at the house always bet on times and this year I won!  My brother came back down to the beach and told us they were here, but he left out one minor detail - my cousin from Arizona came in and surprised us!  So you can imagine how flabbergasted I was when I see her walking down the steps to the beach.  And you better believe my brother got a big splash of water in his face for not telling me, haha!  It's been a long time since all of us cousins have been together, so it was SO awesome.  I also had to give my other cousin some trouble, because I had emailed him the week before to see if Lisa was coming, and he totally ignored my email.  A little part of me thought maybe it was a surprise, but really he just started a new position not too long ago, so I thought the fact that he was probably very busy was more likely.  Anyways, it was just a great surprise.  Unfortunately, my dad had to head back that afternoon for work, so he left shortly after they arrived.  My brother finished the puzzle (already!!!) that afternoon, so I had to snap a picture before putting it away.  My mom has gotten us some really neat puzzles, a lot of which have all these small little pictures to make up the whole.  I always love those because they keep things interesting and can be a bit easier to put together.  That evening we went to one of our favorites, Redamak's (they put velveeta cheese on their burgers!) , for dinner and then Oink's for ice cream.  My very favorite ice cream flavor is Blue Moon and I cannot find it anywhere near here, so it's always such a special treat.  The night ended with more card games.

Unfortunately, we woke up to rain on Monday morning.  We decided it was the perfect day to head into town for some shopping, and the rain actually had stopped by then, so it made a little more enjoyable walking around.  New Buffalo has some really cute shops.  I went the touristy route and got a light weight New Buffalo sweatshirt.  The weather was a bit cloudy and spitting on and off, so my brother, sister in law and I headed to a distillery in Three Oaks called Journeyman Distillery.  They had been there before and really liked it.  There is a bar, tasting room and restaurant located in an old factory - just very cool.  We decided to share a bunch of apps, all of which were so delicious.  It was a great lunch and I picked up a few small bottles of their liquor to bring home with me.  Three Oaks was a super cute little town, too, one I think would be fun to walk around and explore, had we had more time.  Once we got back, my mom and I headed to the beach since the weather wasn't all that bad.  My aunt's family was down there, but we stayed in our regular clothes and just stayed for a little bit, then walked down the beach and back to the house.  Since I was leaving the next day, as were my cousins, we decided to do another dinner out at an old favorite, Clementine's, so we all got ready.  It's right on a dock area, so it was perfect to keep my nephew occupied with all the boats!  We had a bit of a snafu at dinner - the waiter ended up spilling wine and water all down my back, but luckily it was all light colored stuff so nothing stained.  I just had a wet back and bottom for a bit, haha.  Their onion rings are by far the very best thing there, and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  We headed back to New Buffalo for some more ice cream, which was delicious as always.  We had more rain on the way and during dinner, but luckily it cleared up for the sunset.  Just my aunt, cousin, mom and I went down, and while it wasn't super vibrant, the pinks and blues were so pretty.  We were basically the only ones on the beach, too, which made it even nicer!  It was funny, on the way there, we saw this one deer who was so close to the road - like literally you probably could have take a step or two and been right there with her.  She definitely surprised us a bit, but I imagine they are quite used to all the people there.  Another round of cards ended the night.

I had a rough time getting out of bed on Tuesday.  I thought maybe if I stayed in bed, then it would mean I didn't have to leave!  I ran, then basically got ready for the beach to go there as soon as we were done with breakfast.  My dad was kind enough to drive up to get me and take me back home that day.  My nephew had no interest in the little sandcastle I made the first day down at the beach, but he was loving smashing all the towers and stars my cousin and I made this day.  It was really fun!  I stayed at the beach as long as I could, just enjoy the water and time with family, then headed up, ate lunch and got ready to go.  

One fun thing to add.  The cottage my grandma and other family stayed at had these squirrel statues...they would mysteriously make their way all over the place and between the two houses.  You never knew where they would pop up!  Just kind of a fun little thing to do while we were all there.

Until next year...

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.