Commercial Break: Spring Dreams

I may be taking a bit of a break from the 30 for 30 while in Hawaii, but I'm still holding true to the no-shopping rule. But that doesn't mean I can't think about shopping, right? In addition to shopping, I also can't stop thinking about spring. I could not be more ready for its arrival! So I put together a little spring shopping wishlist, so that when I can shop, I'll be ready. As if I'm ever not ready to shop. (Just click on each image for product information.)

1. Floral button-up shirt (This one is from Revolve Clothing, but honestly I just saw an adorable one at Target.)

2. Striped blazer. I know, they're everywhere, but I just can't help myself.

3. Light wash trouser jeans. I need a new color in my denim wardrobe, and this style couldn't be more flattering.

4. Sandals with a wooden platform. If I could have this pair right now, I'd be a happy girl.

5. White jeans or cords in a skinny, go-with-everything, dress-me-up-or-dress-me-down fit. (I apologize for the excessive hyphening.)

6. A bright bow-bedecked (there I go again) belt. This one from Gap fits the bill nicely.

7. A striped cardigan. I know, I seem to have a problem.

8. An orange cardigan. Orange is one if the "it" colors for spring, and I think a cardigan would be a lovely way to introduce it to my wardrobe.

9. Finally, some cropped, relaxed fit trousers. Amazingly, this pair from Loft is exactly what I had in mind. And hopefully, they'll go on sale right about the time when I can buy them!

What's on your spring wish list?
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Hey Nineteen

Look mom, no jeans! I took a little break from my denim faithfuls today (er, make that Tuesday) and actually wore a skirt. My legs were a little chilly, but I really needed to bust out of my jeans rut. I was inspired by one of my favorite new blogs, BiblioMOMia, and her black sash look. I loved what she had on so much that I wanted to recreate it myself. Only my goose-bump clad legs were calling out for socks and boots. If you're needing some inspiration for your 30 for 30 (or just in general) I'd suggest you head over to her blog. She comes up with creative outfits, and she creates formulas (which she calls MOM-ulas--too cute!) so that you can create different versions of the look yourself. What a great idea!

Speaking of great ideas, the reason that I'm posting a little less often than usual is that my husband and I are on vacation... in Hawaii! I've been dying to gush about it, but the reason we're here is to visit my mom (who lives here--the lucky lady!) and surprise her for her birthday! And since she's such a sweetheart and reads my blog, I couldn't very well mention it before now could I? But thanks to the art of post-scheduling, by the time this post is live we will already be there! So don't think I'm ignoring you--I'll get caught up on reading and commenting when we're back next week. Meanwhile, I'll be soaking up the sun and celebrating like crazy! 

Gray sweater: Loft; black floral print skirt: Forever 21; black sash: from an old dress; dotted tights: Target; gray over-the-knee socks: Target; black riding boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

Song: Hey Nineteen by Steely Dan
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Eighteen Years Have Come and Gone

It's official. The schlump of the 30 for 30 has set in. I look at my shirts and cardigans and think, "Haven't I worn this about a million times already?". And I already whined about my measly jeans selection. Although you guys really made me feel better about that, so thanks! In trying to be safe and ensure countless combinations, I chose lots of neutrals (with the exception of my bold mustard colored skirt). I can create numerous remixes, but many are missing a key element: color! So my goal for my last third of this challenge is to use accessories to add color to my sea of neutrals, so I don't spend my last twelve days in drabville. Because I've been there before, and it ain't pretty.

This particular outfit was headed that way, but I rescued it with a sparkly bronze belt. It's a little difficult to see the sparkle in the photos, but believe me, it's there. So tell me, how do you liven up pieces you're getting bored with? And if you're doing the 30 for 30, what are you trying to focus on for the last part of the challenge? 

(I liked the photo above because of my shadow. Doesn't it look cool? It's the little things sometimes... )

Plaid shirt: Gap; tan cardigan: Loft; dark wash flare leg jeans: Gap; bronze sparkly belt: Loft; brown oxfords: Target

Song: Don't Forget to Remember Me by Carrie Underwood
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Strawberry Wine and Seventeen

I'd like to take a moment to tell you all about the book I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying. It's The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The story is narrated by two very different, yet similar characters (and can I tell you how much I love stories with multiple narrators?). Paloma is a twelve-year-old genius, who lives with her parents in an upscale Parisian hotel. Instead of flaunting her intelligence, she hides behind it, only letting her true self shine through in what she writes. With a calm and matter-of-fact attitude, she decides that on her thirteenth birthday she will commit suicide, because she does not want to lead the same meaningless life as that of the adults she knows. 

Renée is the other narrator, and she is the concierge of the hotel which houses Paloma and her family, among others. Her life is also a facade, in which she hides behind the image of a typical concierge. Physically, she fits this role, however, her hunger for knowledge and culture contradict it. She reads everything from philosophy to Russian literature, and devours film after film. All the while she makes every effort to appear simple and forgettable. 

I just got to the part where a new tenant arrives at the hotel, a Japanese gentleman, and he intuitively recognizes that neither Paloma nor Renée are who they claim to be. I can't wait to find out what happens next! 

I realize this has nothing to do with clothes, but sometimes a book is so good you just want to gush about it. Thank you for letting me do that! 

Ivory cardigan: Old Navy; navy tank (underneath): Old Navy; dark wash skinny jeans: Old Navy; orange and yellow necklace: Anthropologie; brown braid belt: Loft; tan suede wedges: Sam Edelman, Hemline Boutique

Song: Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter (Man this song makes me long for summer!)
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Sixteen Candles

One thing I've learned so far from this round of the 30 for 30: I should have included one more pair of jeans. After looking at the recap of my first fifteen looks, I see clearly that my two pairs of jeans are my most-repeated items. Simple math could have helped me figure that out. Typically, I wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays, and at least one other day of the week. So three out of seven days for thirty days means that I'm wearing jeans for at least twelve days total. So jeans should have made up about a third of my choices for bottoms, but they make up less than one fourth. So if you're tired of seeing the same two pairs of jeans over and over again, just blame my mathematical oversight.

If all of those fractions made your head spin, I apologize. But I'm married to a math teacher, so sometimes it rubs off on me a little. I just wish it would have rubbed off before I chose my clothes for the 30. 

Purple ruffle cardigan: Ann Taylor, thrifted; black and white print tank: Target; dark wash flare-leg jeans: Gap; necklace: Banana Republic Factory Store, gift; black belt: Gap; gray slingback pumps: Naturalizer

Song: Sixteen Candles by Roy Orbison (or the Crests... I'm not really sure.)
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I'm Fifteen for a Moment

Today's post is filled with illusions. You see, it's Sunday, but it feels like a Saturday because I have tomorrow off. I appear to be halfway through the 30 for 30, but in reality I'm further ahead. (I'm just behind on posting.) Finally, my pants and my blouse are really less wrinkled than they appear. I swear. Or at least they were when I put them on in the morning. What can I say, I'm a regular Houdini!

Ivory cardigan: Old Navy; navy dot blouse: Banana Republic Factory Store; gray cords: Loft; pearl earrings: Kohl's; red wedges: Merona, Target

Here's a recap of my first 15 looks. Forgive, if you will, the random text placements--I couldn't figure out how to make them go away without changing the original pictures. 

I hope you all had a lovely, magical weekend! 

Song: 100 Years by Five For Fighting
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I'm Just Mad About Fourteen

I enlisted my dad's help in thinking of number-related songs, and he came up with a really good one for fourteen. However, somehow we both completely forgot what the song was. Not that Mellow Yellow (also his suggestion) doesn't do the trick, but I know there was another that was even better. Lesson learned: when good ideas precede margaritas, write them down! 

Because I liked doing it so much last week, I'm going to participate in Katy of Modly Chic's Friend Friday. This week's theme is body image.

1. Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed? My body image has changed in a positive way since I started blogging. Several years ago, my daily dose of fashion came in the form of magazines, television and websites featuring runway models whose proportions are far from my own. Now, I get inspiration from beautiful bloggers of every shape and size. 
2. Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway? Of course! I have days when my skin isn't behaving, or my stomach is protruding more than it should. But I try not to dwell on those things, in hope that others won't dwell on them either. 
3. Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image? I think it will continue to improve. Getting to know other bloggers who make such a positive impact regarding body-image helps, as does focusing on what I like as opposed to what I don't. I'm trying to make healthier choices, not to make me look a certain way, but to make me feel better. I think this will also play a positive role. 
4. Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? Yes, my husband patiently takes my picture day after day. At first, I felt like a total idiot. And the pictures showed it--I looked about as awkward as I felt! But now I'm loosening up in front of the camera, and while I pretty much do the same poses again and again, I feel like I have a few decent pictures to choose from.  
5. What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart? That's a difficult question, because this is such a personal issue. I think it's important to remember that we're more than just a body. That sounds silly, but the more I think about other important things in my life (my relationships, my health, my mind, etc.) the less I focus on my physical imperfections. But I realize that sometimes that is easier said than done!
Thank you Katy for another great set of questions!

Tan cardigan: Loft; navy print blouse: Banana Republic Factory Store; navy wide-leg pants: Loft; gray slingback pumps: Naturalizer

Song: Mellow Yellow by Donovan

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Dinner Tonight: Crispy Chicken and Asparagus

Hallelujah, I cooked! Actually, the miracle isn't so much that I cooked, it's that a. I remembered to take pictures and b. the pictures were worth saving. Anyway, hooray! 

If you can't tell, breaded chicken cutlets are a favorite of mine and Aaron's. Though last night I decided to forgo the standard pasta side and make a healthy veggie instead. 

I adapted this recipe from Rachael Ray's Big Book of 10 (my current favorite cookbook). 

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Bacon-Cranberry Asparagus

1 bundle of fresh asparagus
vegetable oil for shallow frying
5 slices bacon, chopped
4 chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups bread crumbs
1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges
2 eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400. Trim the asparagus (trim where one asparagus naturally breaks in half), drizzle with vegetable oil (or olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your asparagus.

Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. 

Season the chicken cutlets with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, then dredge in the flour. Combine the bread crumbs with the lemon zest in a shallow dish. In a separate dish, beat the eggs and add a splash of water.

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken cutlet in the egg, then the breadcrumbs, then add to the hot skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. You may have to do more than one batch depending on the size of your skillet. 

While the cutlets finish cooking, combine the asparagus with the cranberries and the cooked bacon. 

Serve the chicken and asparagus with the lemon wedges.

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2, No 6, No 12, Baker's Dozen!

It's so strange to go from being a long-term substitute to being just a regular sub. Going to the same school every day and seeing the same kids, and getting to know them is so much better than seeing new faces each day and not having the chance to even learn their names. I didn't realize how used to my little routine I was getting! Now it's back to being a glorified babysitter. Two things I won't complain about though: having more time to read and no more papers to grade. 

This is one of those outfits I probably wouldn't have blogged about if not for the 30 for 30. It was from Tuesday, and I wasn't feeling all that spectacular. So if it looks like I just threw a bunch of clothes on, well, that's exactly what I did. But I'll be darned if I get any more behind on this thing than I already am. 

Chambray shirt: Old Navy; blue stripe tee: Old Navy; dark wash skinny jeans: Old Navy (hey, a trifecta of Old Navy!); purple paisley scarf (in support of the wildcat victory!): gift; black flats: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Lazy Sunday by Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell from SNL (By the way, have you seen this? If not, go here. Immediately.)

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Twelve O'Clock Rock

Can I tell you how happy I am I included this skirt in my 30 for 30? I was hesitant at first, because I tend to go bright on top more often than on bottom, and because I wasn't sure how remix-able (totally a word, right?) it would be. Well, I love the bright bottom, and it's totally remix-able as it turns out. 

Thanks for the birthday wishes for my mom yesterday--I'll tell her that people she doesn't even know wished her a happy birthday, and I'm sure that will put a smile on her face. 

You know what puts a smile on my face? Mexican food. And I'm going to go eat some with my dad, step-mom and little sis soon, so I'm going to sign off. Don't worry, I'll have a margarita for you. Hasta luego! (That's "see you later" right? My Spanish is a little rusty.)

Navy blue sweater: Gap; mustard pleat skirt: Gap; gold pendant necklace: Forever 21; navy pattern tights: Old Navy; brown oxfords: Target (I've been on a bit of an oxford kick lately, can you tell?)

Song: Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley 

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I'm Not Paralyzed but I Seem to be Struck by You

Today is my mom's birthday, so happy birthday mom, I love you! I talked to her the other day, and she was telling me how I told the whole school (where she volunteered at the time) her age on her fortieth birthday. Whoops! I guess I didn't realize at the time that the older we get, the less excited we are to admit our age. (Not that forty is old, by any means.) I know that now mom, sorry!

I cheated a little on today's (well, actually it was Sunday's--I'm a little behind) outfit. The tank I'm wearing underneath my cardigan isn't part of my 30. I was going to wear a black turtleneck instead, but shockingly it actually felt too warm! So what do you guys think--are you counting camisoles and tanks as part of your thirty, or are you giving yourselves some leeway when it comes to layering pieces? My theory is since I wouldn't wear it on it's own, and it's only peeking out a little under my belted sweater, it's allowed. Please, remixers, don't shun me! 

Teal cardigan: Loft Outlet; (taboo) black tank: Target; black floral print skirt: Forever 21; leaf necklace: Fenno Fashion; brown braid belt: Loft; black tights: Loft; brown oxfords: Target

Song: Paralyzer by Finger Eleven (It's getting harder and harder to think of songs to go with the numbers!)
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