Fresh from the Oven: Rosemary Bread

A while ago, my mom sent me a bread recipe in the mail. I've been meaning to try it, but finding the time to make bread isn't easy. It really cuts into my nap time. But today, I dragged my lazy butt off the couch and decided to give this Rosemary Bread a try. This recipe was given to her by a family friend, but I don't know where she got it, so I fear I can't give credit where it's due. But don't let that stop you from making it when you have the time to make bread. Homemade bread is something you just can't substitute, and this homemade bread has great rosemary flavor, airy texture, and a crisp, slightly chewy crust. It tastes great with a drizzle of olive oil, and, I imagine, with a smear of goat cheese.

Here's the recipe:

Rosemary Bread (It makes 2 loaves, but I halved the recipe. Don’t be stupid like me)

2 envelopes active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (not burn your skin hot but a little warmer than room temp)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
5 cups flour (I used bread flour)
1 tablespoon salt

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in a large bowl and stir. Let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes).

Add the chopped rosemary, 2 cups of flour and mix, and then add the salt and the remaining flour one cup at a time. You may not need all of the flour, so add it slowly.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead to form a soft dough. Put dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise until it triples in volume (1 ½ to 2 hours).

Shape dough into loaves (round or long) and let rise again for 40 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 25-30 minutes (recipe said 30-40 but mine was done after 25). The bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when tapped.

If you can stand it, let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. I didn’t last that long.

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Slow Down, You're Moving Too Fast

How, how did it get to be the end of July already? Could it really be that summer is nearing its end? I mean, I know that I was waxing poetic about fall's sweaters and tights, but in reality I'm not ready for the end of summer. Sure, I'd welcome a slight cool-down from the oven that is Kansas City. But if it means I have to say goodbye to summer, well, I'm just not ready to do that yet. I like my sporadic work schedule, and having time to cook and bake when I please, and sleeping in a few days a week. I better enjoy it while it lasts.

On another side note, I recently realized that this will be the first August in the twenty seven years of my existence that I will not be starting school of some sort.  That's right, I've been in school, whether it be kindergarten or grad school, almost my whole life! I'm sure I'll get the itch to return again soon (let's face it, I'm pretty much a nerd) but for now, I'm content with a school-free August for once in my life.  Well, it won't be entirely school free--I'll be in school, just as a substitute teacher, not as a student. 

So are you coming to any end-of-summer realizations? Or are you just thinking, calm down lady--July isn't even over yet! 

Blouse: Loft; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: thrifted, Clothes Mentor; necklace: Target; shoes: Gap

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Let the Rain Fall

Sorry for the crappy, indoor picture.  It went from being a bright, sunny day to dark and stormy in a matter of seconds.  Truth be told, I love it when that happens (even though it does interfere with my blog pictures).  Sudden weather changes--it's a Kansas specialty! 

Since I've only worn this (one-shoulder) dress once during the challenge, I decided to toss a t-shirt over it and wear it as a skirt. You can see the top part a little, but it's not bad.  It makes this dress a little more versatile, and gives me hope for fall.  Despite the warm temperatures, I can't help but think about how fall is just around the corner.  I can't wait to pair my summery skirts and dresses with tights and sweaters! 

Dress: Loft; t-shirt: Loft; necklace: Loft; shoes: Aldo

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Won't You Guide My Sleigh Tonight

Yes, I've still been taking pictures, cold-reddened nose or no.  I had to go to work yesterday, so I figured I may as well.  I'm not ready for a straight-on shot though; you would see that my nose matches the color of my flower and tank top.  An added accessory, if you will.  Today, I'm feeling a little better, but the nose is still red enough for Rudolf-references.  But again, I'm not going to dilly dally and prolong my shopping. Am I pathetic? Maybe a little. But seriously, this challenge hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be (maybe because I chose so many basics to wear).  It's not that I have difficulty coming up with new looks, it's that I miss the other options I have available to me in my closet.  And I don't want to keep those options waiting any longer! Oh, and also, I want to shop! Those blackjack winnings are burning a hole in my pocket!

Tank top: Old Navy; dress: Loft; earrings: Charlotte Russe; flower pin: maybe Target?; sandals: Gap

T-shirt: Old Navy; shorts: Loft; necklace: from a boutique in Paris; sandals: Gap

Dedication Devotion

I usually think of summer as a happy, healthy time of year.  Typically, I fall victim to colds and other illnesses in winter, or at least when there's some sort of chill in the air.  But surprise! I have a cold.  Aaron asked me, "You still want to do pictures even though you're sick?" Yes folks, I'm that dedicated.  Or, I just don't want to have to wait any longer before I shop.  So please forgive the flat hair, the red nose, and the lack of enthusiasm.  Hopefully, this will be one of those "24 hour colds" (those exist, right?) and I'll be back to normal tomorrow.  Until then, my couch is calling my name. 

T-shirt: Old Navy; shorts: Gap; scarf: Loft; shoes: American Eagle; cold: not sure, but I'd like to return it

Band on the Run

Guess what I did last night? I saw Paul McCartney in concert!! This was my second time seeing him, and he just gets better and better! He put on a great show, singing some new songs, some Wings songs, and lots of Beatles songs. I went with my dad, my step-mom, and my little sis (a young, but still devoted Beatles fan). Concerts can be so surreal. For me, the reality sets in when the singer talks to the audience.  I realize, "hey, that's Paul McCartney, in the same room we are!" (Granted, it's a very big "room".) Crazy.  Since he's Sir Paul, after all (hey, that rhymed!), I decided to dress up just a little.  You know, in case he saw me.  

Cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; top: Loft; skirt: Loft; earrings: Loft; belt: from an old dress; shoes: Gap

Today wasn't as exciting.  No Paul.  Just groceries.  And laundry.  Real life resumes.

Blouse: Loft; shorts: Loft (wow, this was a very Loft-y weekend!); earrings: Target; shoes: NY & Co.

Sweet Summer Treat: Memphis Mud Pie

Two desserts in one week! I may fail the 30 for 30 challenge because I can't fit into my clothes.  Luckily I took this one over to a friend's for dinner so it wasn't in the house for me to just eat. Which I would have. Essentially, it's like a giant brownie with an Oreo cookie crust.  Oh yeah, and topped with vanilla whipped cream. I was watching "Down Home with the Neelys" (on the Food Network) a while ago and saw Gina make it (recipe here).  I didn't even take time to think about it, I just printed that one off to make ASAP.  It tastes great chilled with the whipped cream on top, but you could even forgo the cream and serve it warm, with ice cream.  Or, if you wanted to be healthy about it (or really just give the illusion of healthiness) you could cut up some strawberries to put on top.  Either way, yum! 

Let me just leave you with this, my favorite Jack Handy quote: "When you die, if you get a choice between regular heaven and pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It may be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmm boy!"

19 Kinda Snotty Actin Real Rude

I remember my best friend and I used to drive around listening to music and when this Nelly song ("Ride wit Me") came on we thought we were so cool.  Like, yeah, that's so us (we were 19 at the time).  We also bought these Bad Girl's Guide books and made it our mission to be "bad girls".  But not really. Like the baddest we got was me pretending to be Abby's mom and trying to call her out of school so we could go have lunch. That didn't quite work, and anyone who knows me knows why (I have the voice of a twelve year old.). Ah, good times.  Anyway, that'll be all the teenage anecdotes from me today. I had to reminisce though--my 30 for 30 teenage years, er, days, are nearly through.

Starting tomorrow, it will be my final ten looks! Can you believe I've made it this far? Although I've missed shopping for a while, today was the first day I actually started missing the other clothes in my closet. I actually thought about putting on some "non 30 for 30" clothes, just for a little while.  But then, I was afraid that I'd like them too much, and not want to finish the challenge.  And if that happened, I'd not only be letting myself down, but I'd also be letting you down.  (Cue dramatic music.) Okay, if I'm starting to sound loopy, it's just because I had to get up at 5 am today, and quite frankly, it's been a long time since I've seen 5 am.  

Sorry for the long, rambly, post... I'll understand completely if you just look at the picture.  Hope you have a good weekend! I'll try to get some sleep so I don't let this happen again. No promises though.

T-shirt: Old Navy; skirt: NY & Co; belt: Target; shoes: NY & Co.

Quick Dessert: Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

This seems to be the week of new inspiration! Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me remember where I came across it, but I found this great baking site: bakerella.  Whoever it was had just made these little sweet treats, and they looked so good I knew I had to go check out where they found the recipe.  

I was going to find a different recipe to make (Bakerella has so many!) but these looked too good to resist.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only are these little suckers as scrumptious as they look, but they're also insanely easy to make.  Brownie mix, eggs, oil, water, peanut butter cups and bam! you're done! (I used a mini muffin tin to make mine, not the foil cups the recipe called for by the way.) Looking for a last minute dessert to take to a party? Look no further, my friend. 

If You Want to Destroy My Sweater

Yes, it's over 90 degrees outside.  And yes, I'm wearing a sweater.  But I've found that I have to carry one around with me, because most places I step inside, I get blasted by the AC.  So I go from a sauna to a meat locker. Okay, I'll stop whining now. I'm hearing Kindergarten Cop telling me "Stop it. Stop whining." Okay, Detective John Kimble, will do.  On a more positive note, I've been enjoying a day off:  sleeping in, doing a little baking, and watching the Cooking Channel and the Food Network.  I'll show you what I made soon, I promise.  

Now, I think I may go crack open my book, then get a little shut-eye.  I love days off, don't you!

Cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; blouse: Loft; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; sandals: Jessica Simpson

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

I love it when I find a new blog to read! And lately, thanks to the Rosebud Network, Kendi's 30 for 30 Challenge, and my curiosity for other gals' blogrolls, my blog list has been growing exponentially.  Today, I was inspired by two new blogs that recently got my attention.  Firstly, the lovely Jen at A Little Bird Told Me introduced me to Wearing It Today, a fashion blog created by a Fashion editor of Red Magazine.  I was inspired by the simplicity of this look, and loved how she paired her glam bib necklace with an otherwise casual ensemble.  I don't know what I would do during the 30 for 30 challenge if accessories weren't freebies! My looks have been pretty simple, but the addition of belts, scarves, and jewelry have kept things interesting. (Well, interesting to me at least.  I suppose, though, if you're not interested you wouldn't be reading this.)

The second inspiration I had today was from Keiko Lynn, and I know she's a big name in the blog world, but for some reason I'm just now getting around to checking out her amazing style.  Not only is her style amazing, but her makeup skills are just as covetable.  I followed her tutorial for this fresh-faced look.  Despite not having half the amazing products she uses, I still love how it turned out.  I should have had Aaron do a face close-up, but a huge picture of just my face scares me a little!  Anyway, thank you fellow bloggers! You are a constant source of inspiration!

T-shirt: Old Navy; pants: Gap; necklace: Francesca's Boutique, gift; sandals: Gap

Dinner Last Night: Spaghetti with Cheesy Meatballs

Once again, I didn't get last night's dinner posted last night.  But better late than never, right? I made Rachael Ray's Spaghetti with Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs, from her Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine.  The spaghetti with tomato sauce is very simple: only a little garlic is added to the sauce.  But the love is in the meatballs.  They're seasoned with bread crumbs, egg, parmesan cheese, parsley, and more garlic.  They would be good if you stopped there.  But don't, because they get even better when you cut up fresh mozzarella into little cubes, then stuff the cubes of cheesy goodness into the meatballs.  When the meatballs cook, the cheese melts and gets all oooey and gooey (technical culinary terms).  The best part is how easy and fast this was to make! If you're looking to spruce up your go-to spaghetti dinner, you should give this recipe a try.

Oh yeah, do you remember Shasta? "Don't give me that so-so-soda..." Well, I saw some when I was at the grocery store the other day, and I had to pick up a few cans.  Which is awesome because, a. they sell it by the can, and b. it totally reminds me of when I was little, and I used to drink it (or Rocky Top, remember Rocky Top?) at my Aunt's pool.  The Black Cherry tastes just as good as I remember! 

Put a Smile on Your Face

Things that made me smile today:  my always-happy, tail wagging dog greeting me at the door; taking a few minutes to read before work; making spaghetti with meatballs for dinner; eating spaghetti with meatballs; shasta; Aaron put rubber pads on the back of my bookmark to keep it from sliding out of my book.  I was starting to get frustrated tonight, just about random little things, but I realize now that I have more things to smile about than be frustrated about.  I don't think about those things enough; it's so easy to dwell on the negative parts of my day, but thinking about the good is much more rewarding.  Sorry if this sounds trite; I just needed to remind myself to count my blessings! 

Speaking of blessings, I'm over halfway through the 30 for 30 now! I'm getting used to ignoring all the other clothes (and shoes) in my closet, and just picking from my 30 for 30 choices.  There are a couple pieces I haven't even worn yet, like my denim jacket.  Since the temperature hasn't dropped below 90 since I started the challenge, I certainly haven't needed a jacket.  Maybe I should swap it out for some shoes.  Can I do that? 

Tank: Old Navy; skirt: Gap; necklace: Dean Harris for Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Jessica Simpson, from Kathy's closet

Sorry, random dog shot. But she's so cute, I couldn't resist.  She's not very good at getting her picture taken though; I think she was distracted by a squirrel. 

We're Halfway There

It's official, I'm halfway through the 30 for 30 Challenge! The withdrawal from shopping has been tough (especially since I work at a clothing store!) but each day I feel myself growing stronger.  No, that's a lie.  Each day, I think about how much closer I am to going shopping, and what I'm going to buy when I do.   Also, I have a technicality question.  I won a giveaway at Calivintage for a gift certificate to Tiger Cult Vintage, and Etsy store.  Is it shopping if I spend the gift certificate? Or, is it like a present since it's not really spending money (not my money anyway)? I'm really excited about it, and of course I want to use it right away, but I've done such a good job with "the rules", and I don't want to fall off the wagon now. Thoughts?

Today, I decided to try the dress-as-skirt idea.  Since the dress-as-top look worked out so well, I figured this challenge would be the perfect time to try this other manipulation of a dress.  I just folded the top part of the dress under, tucked in my t-shirt, and covered the seam with a belt.  I like it--it looks like I'm wearing a skirt and a top, which was what I was going for. What do you think? How do you make your clothes more versatile? I'd love to know.

T-shirt: Old Navy; dress (as skirt): Loft; belt: from a Gap trench; sandals: Jessica Simpson, from Kathy's closet

In My Mind the Sun Shines All the Time

Every once in a while, Aaron and I get a little taste of what it would be like to have a kid.  This comes in the form of us taking care of my nine year old sister.    We love having her stay with us; it's never a dull moment, but it's exhausting! Friday night we took her to the Royal's game, which luckily provided entertainment with fireworks after the (losing) game.  Saturday, we had a movie-fest, which consisted of Alice in Wonderland (loved it!) and The Tooth Fairy (surprisingly better than I thought...for a kids movie).  What was your weekend like? 

Dress: Merona, Target; earrings: Target; scarf: Old Navy, gift; shoes: NY & Co.

Top: Gap; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; scarf (as headband): no idea, but probably Target; shoes: Gap

Consoled a Cup of Coffee, But it Didn't Wanna Talk

Happy Friday, friends! I got up early (well, Summer early: 7:30) to do some cleaning. That's not the most exciting way to start the weekend off, but once I got it done I was able to have a nice mid-morning break with some coffee and my book (which is very interesting so far).  What is your favorite morning activity?

I know it's already day 12 and I've worn this cardigan 3 times already, but I love it.  I love the stripes, the navy and white goes with everything, and the short-sleeves and light weight make it a perfect summer cardigan for the chilly, AC blasted indoors.  I've been meaning to pair it with this navy floral dress since I got it; I don't know what's taken me so long.  After seeing Kendi's cute floral and stripe combo I knew I needed to get on the ball and put the two together.  And it totally works, just like I thought it would.  

Cardigan: Loft, Clothes Mentor; dress: Forever 21; glasses (I really do need them to read): Ralph Lauren; pearls: my mom's; belt: Target; shoes: Jessica Simpson, from Kathy's closet

Dinner Tonight: Chicken for Two, Caprese for One

I seem to be on a chicken cutlet kick lately.  With a side of pasta and a salad, they're a perfect summer dinner.  I tried Rachael Ray's Sicilian Style Chicken Cutlets from her 365: No Repeats cookbook with orzo and a Caprese salad.  I dredged the cutlets (chicken breasts butterflied, then pounded into a quarter inch thickness) in bread crumbs seasoned with garlic, lemon zest, and parsley, then pan fried them in a tablespoon (or so) of olive oil.  It only takes a few minutes--the kitchen doesn't even get a chance to heat up!  Meanwhile, I cooked the orzo and seasoned it with Romano cheese and parsley.  For Aaron, the meal stopped here, but for me, I added a nice Caprese salad.

I made the salad with grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, parsley, and olive oil.  I never used to like tomatoes until I started eating grape tomatoes--they're sweet and full of flavor.  If you think you're not a tomato fan, try these little guys.  I have yet to convince Aaron, but he'll turn, I know he will.  

Stop in and Ask Miss Bell for Some of Her Sweet Tea

Today just feels like summer: it's scorching outside, I have the day off, and all I feel like doing is lounging around sipping lemonade (I don't really like tea but I couldn't think of any songs about lemonade).  Oh yeah and eating ice cream. But that's a given.  Aaron and I found this little mural by a random gas station, so I had to take pictures in front of it.  I'm pretty sure the people in the gas station thought I was nuts, or maybe they thought I was a tourist.  Anyway, isn't it cute? 

Technically, I already wore this outfit, after the wedding in Vegas.  But since I didn't take any pictures, it doesn't count.  So I'm re-wearing it, but with different shoes (crazy, I know).  

T-shirt: Old Navy; shorts: Loft; sunnies: thrifted, Clothes Mentor; watch: Issey Miyake, gift; belt: Loft; shoes: American Eagle

Bonjour Bonjour Comment ça Va?

Joyeux Jour de la Bastille! Today reminded me of France's national anthem, La Marseillaise, and how the awesome elementary French teacher I student taught with made up words to the tune to teach fifth graders.  I miss her, the kids and all the little songs! Today, I'm a third of the way through the 30 for 30 challenge, and I think things are only going to get more difficult.  My looks so far have been fairly simple, so I'm definitely going to have to get my creative juices flowing for my next twenty outfits.  

On a side note, if you're interested in a free sauna just come to Kansas City.  Step outside.  Sweat profusely.  There you go: sauna.  

On another side note, I just started the book Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George.  Anyone read it? It got mixed reviews on Visual Bookshelf.  I read and adored Memoirs of Cleopatra by George, so I thought this would be a sure bet.  I hope I'm right.  I get a workout just lugging it around with me, so I guess that's worth something, right? (Yes, I take a book with me nearly everywhere I go.  I'm a nerd.  You never know when you're going to be waiting with nothing to do!)

T-shirt: Old Navy; skirt: Loft; necklace: hand made by Aaron's Aunt Mary; belt: Forever 21; sandals: Gap

Golden Slumbers Fill Your Eyes

So it's Tuesday.  You'd think I'd be bright eyed and bushy tailed by now, but I can't seem to snap out of my slump.  I even got a grande-sized mocha at Starbucks this morning (normally I'm a tall girl; when I go to Starbucks that is).  All I can think about now is how after I finish this post, I'm going to take a nice, lazy afternoon nap.  So forgive me if this post is short; priorities, you know.  Since college, I've been a big fan of the nap.  They're most beneficial when they're short, but I love it when I've got a good couple of hours to devote to one.  (I may regret it later, when I'm trying to get a good night's sleep, but it's usually worth it.)  Forgive me, my mind is saying "Fashion blog--talk about the clothes!" but my eyelids are saying "Nap. Now."  Okay, eyelids, you win.  Quick question though--are you a napper or a non-napper?

Sorry for the lack of talk about fashion, clothes, and such.  

Blouse: Loft; jeans: Old Navy; scarf (as headband): Target; earrings: Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Jessica Simpson (from Kathy's closet)

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Back to Life, Back to Reality

Don't you hate returning to real life after a vacation? Even though I didn't have to go to work until 5:00 today, the day was still long.  Laundry and grocery shopping wait for no woman.  Actually, grocery shopping I like, it's laundry I could happily hire out.  If I could.  I won't get into that again.  

Like my neighbor's jet ski in the background? I thought that would be a nice touch.  Or, I didn't realize it was there until after I uploaded (is that the correct direction of loading?) my pictures.  Well, I'm going to get back to pretending to watch the home run derby with Aaron and friends.  Have a good Monday! Oh, and I totally forgot to mention that Keira from A Pretty Penny was my inspiration for today's look!

Cardigan: Loft, Clothes Mentor; camisole (again, doesn't count): Loft, Clothes Mentor; shorts: Gap; earrings: Target; necklace: Target; sandals: NY & Co.

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Hey, I Won an Award!

So the lovely Kimberly from Fab Finds Under $50 (one of my daily reads as you know) awarded me with a Stylish Blogger Award.  Considering I've never won any awards, I'm pretty stoked.  (Do people still use that word? I hope so.)  With the award, I'm supposed to reveal 5 fun facts about myself, then pass the award along to 5 other bloggers.  

So, here goes:

1. I am an ice cream fanatic.  I eat it at least three times a week, sometimes everyday.  And more often than I'd like to admit, I have ice cream instead of a normal meal.

2. I'm not sure if this is a fun fact, but I'm hoping others can identify with it.  I changed my major 5 times in college, started one grad school, culinary school, finished at a different grad school, all to end up still not knowing what I want to do with my life.

3. I come from a family of HUGE Beatles fans.  My middle name is Lennon.  I had a dog named Penny Lane, and my dog Ellie's name is short for Eleanor Rigby.  And I'm going to go see Paul McCartney in concert (for the 2nd time) this month! 

4. I'm really weird/anal about my planner.  I write using a specific color for each day, and I refuse to use an electronic version.  Sorry trees!

5. My friend Becky and I plan to start a cooking blog in which we cook food from every country in the world.  We've started the cooking part (Afghanistan and Albania so far) but not the blog part.  We're having a hard time coordinating our busy schedules, and picking a name! (Any suggestions?)

Okay, those are my facts, now for the bloggers I'm passing this award on to (hard to pick just 5!):

Kimberellie (love her fun style!)
Off of Broadway (always chic in vintage!)
A Pretty Penny (she makes shopping on a budget look good!)
Euphoric Agony (on a mission not to shop for a year--talk about master remixer!)
What Would a Nerd Wear (because I'm a nerd too)

Thanks Kimberly for the awesome award!

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Get Up and Shake the Glitter Off Your Clothes Now

So, I didn't mention that this wedding I was going to was in Vegas!! We just got back about an hour ago, so this post is going to be a quick one.  I'm beat. But, as I said, I did stick to the 30 for 30 and so I need to post my weekend outfits.  And, shockingly, I also stuck to the no shopping rule.  Can you believe it? I went to three different malls in Vegas and I didn't buy a single thing!! I'm so good.  I deserve a present when this 30 days is over.  Although technically, getting presents is not the same as shopping so if anyone wants to buy me one that would be great.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  

Anyway, the wedding was really nice, Vegas was awesome, and hanging out with family was a lot of fun.  To top it off, I won some money at the Black Jack table too! And after the 30 for 30 is done, you can probably guess what I'll do with that money.  Well, I hope your weekend was equally enjoyable! I'm off to conk out in my own, not hard as a rock, bed.  

Dress: Loft; earrings: Target; scarf: Loft; sandals: Gap

Dress: Loft; scarf: Loft; belt: Target; sandals: Gap

T-shirt: Loft; skirt: NY & Co; necklace: Target; shoes: Aldo 

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