Floral Tie-Front Top with White Jeans

In May I decided to treat myself and try out Nordstrom's Trunk Club service, a clothing delivery service similar to Stitch Fix (see my review here). I ended up only keeping one item, this floral print tie-front top from Gibson. Fast forward a few months and I've rarely had a chance to wear it, as Kansas decided to skip over the month of spring completely.

It was in my closet staring at me over the weekend, begging to be worn. While I knew I'd be sweating when I ventured outside, I put it on for church on Sunday. Our sanctuary is notoriously cold, and I knew I would be thankful for the sleeves. Surrounded by women shivering in their sleeveless dresses, I found myself glad I'd decided to opt for more coverage.

Paired with white jeans and peep-toe sandals, this top works well for spring or (overly AC'd) summer. I also think this top will work well in the fall as well, with jeans and ankle boots. My feet start to sweat just thinking about that right now though.

Do you ever buy a piece you're super excited about, just to stow it away until weather cooperates, or you have the right occasion to wear it? 

Floral tie-front top: Gibson via Trunk Club | white jeans: Old Navy | peep-toe sandals: Universal Thread, Target

Family Vacation: Our Long Weekend in Dallas

Last month my family and I traveled to Dallas for a long weekend getaway. It's about an eight hour drive, which is a long time to be in the car with young kids, but still doable. We stopped to visit family on the way there to break up the trip, but the way back we did all in one long, long day.

I wish I had great ideas for entertaining children in the car for that length of time, but it was kind of a crap shoot keeping them happy. Two things did work well, however. Violet didn't care about this, but I put in an audiobook on CD for Jona, which, as I mentioned in my June Favorites post was Sideways Stories from Wayside School. He could have listened to that nonstop. The other thing we did was move their car seats right next to each other. On the way there, I found myself constantly turning around to hand Violet things she dropped (and therefore shouted about LOUDLY until I could grab them). On the way back, half of what she dropped ended up on Jona's lap and he could easily give it back to her. Plus I think they liked having each other nearby, especially since Violet is still rear-facing so this set-up makes it easier for them to see each other.

The car ride was only part (albeit the seemingly longest part) of our trip, so I'll move on to what we actually did in Dallas.

{where we stayed}

{testing out the hotel bed}

In My Library Tote: June Book Reviews and Recommendations

June was an excellent reading month for me. There wasn't a bad book in the bunch; in fact, there were several really good ones. The majority of this month's books came from Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide, and--for me at least--she truly does know how to pick 'em. Here are my June books.

{what I read in June}

Red White and Blue Summer Style for the Family

I took full advantage of the fact that Jona will still happily match Violet, and bought these coordinating red, white, and navy checkered outfits. The rest of the week he's all about the superhero or sports tee, but for church and other special occasions he knows that mom gets to pick. He started to complain about wearing this button up (the outrage!) until I told him Violet would be wearing the same pattern, and then he cooperated fully. Violet, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care much what she wears. She goes non-stop though, so getting her dressed is like wrestling a monkey.

I hadn't planned on taking blog photos of my casual look, but when I saw the kids together in their coordinating outfits, I had to make it happen. My look is less overtly patriotic--just navy and white, but still feels fun and summery. I picked up this top on a recent Target run and can't get enough of the cute sleeves. It's a little shorter than I'd prefer, but with higher-waist jeans or a skirt I like it.

If you have kids do you like dressing them alike or coordinating them with you? Did your parents do that to you as a child? 

On me: striped tee: Target | jeans: American Eagle | earrings: Nickel and Suede | gingham sneakers: Target
On the kids: all Old Navy

Currently: July

Happy July 4th to all, and happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I may not love the direction we're moving politically, and I may question the decision-making of our current administration, but I do feel very thankful to live where I do.

Since it's the first Wednesday of the month, I'm joining Anne and her co-host this month Shelly to share what I'm currently up to now that we've flipped the calendar to a new month.

{currently: july}

July Goals and June Wins

This year, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, I've been doing a Happiness Project, focusing on one important aspect of my life every month. Last month I focused on friendship, and July is all about money. The idea is that the months should build on one another and the habits formed in one month should continue into the next and so on. Each month I share my wins from the previous month, as well as goals that fit the theme of the current month.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

June Favorites

June has been such a fun month. It definitely felt like summer all month, so thank goodness for sprinklers and slip and slides. June also meant our summer vacation, a road trip to Dallas for a Texas Rangers game. I'll share more about our exploration of the city in an upcoming recap post. Here are a few favorites from the month of June.

Break Time

I wanted to let you know I'm taking a short blogging break, but I'll be back on Friday, June 29 to share my June favorites. See you then!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@shealennon) for more regular updates.

Have a great weekend!

Little Black Dress for a Summer Wedding

Does your summer include a lot of weddings? Several years ago it seemed like I had multiple weddings to attend each summer, but now it's trickled to about one per year. Since the last one I went to was during the winter, my closet was under-prepared for the recent summer wedding on my calendar.

Naturally, when I was shopping for wedding-guest apparel, I started with the shoes. Makes total sense, right? Target, who is having quite a shoe moment right now, had a 40% off shoe sale, and these bright orangey-red beauties I've had my eye on went straight into my cart (along with these fake Birks because I couldn't help myself).

I wanted a neutral dress so the shoes would stand out, so I found this little black dress (also on sale!) at Loft. I love the pretty sleeves, and I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it beyond the wedding. I added a colorful necklace, bright lips, and my signature earrings (which I forgot to put on for pictures, but luckily remembered before heading out the door).

I felt dressy enough, but also quite comfortable, which is essential for me at a wedding. Some people go for the love. Others go for the free food and booze (not going to lie, I like that part too). For me though, I am 100% there for the dancing. And these shoes are dance-floor READY let me tell you. In fewer years than I'd like to think, I will for sure be that middle-aged lady who is out there shaking her booty and being snickered at by "the young folks." I do not care. My days of going to clubs are long gone, but give me a wedding and a dance floor and I will party like my college-self, and love every minute of it.

What's your favorite thing about weddings?

Black dress: Loft | necklace: J. Crew Factory (similar) | shoes: Target

$10 at Target: Dollar Spot Haul

Do you like to write handwritten notes? I'd like to send more snail mail just for fun, but don't normally think to unless I have a purpose. I do try to send thank you notes though, and I noticed that my stash of cards was running a little low.

During my last Target run I thought I'd cruise the dollar section for a few more notes to add to my supply. While I was there I found a few more things I couldn't pass up.

In My Library Tote: May Picture Book Reviews and Recommendations

At my house, you can judge a successful library haul for Jona when library books beat out superhero books in the regular reading rotation. It used to be rare, but it's happening more and more. Could it be that the superheroes are losing their powers? Or am I getting better at picking good books? Or, is it just like most everything else Jona develops an interest in: the passion is strong for about a month and then he's ready to move on to the next thing. Except Legos. The Lego-love is still intense.

Anyway, here are the picture books we read in May.

{May picture books}

Colorful Striped Shorts

How do you feel about shorts? It seems like many people have strong opinions about shorts: when they should be worn, with what, and how long they "should" be. I don't love shorts, but where I live it gets too hot in the summer to not own at least a few pairs.

Since my shorts selection was lacking, I've been on the hunt for a new pair or two lately. I have my own opinions about shorts, especially on length, and it's hard to find a pair that isn't too short or too long. I went on a little shopping trip with my mom over the weekend, and stumbled on this pair at Loft. I wasn't sure about the colors in the pattern at first, but when I tried them on I loved them. And after looking at the colors more closely, I realized that I have a lot of those colors in my closet already: blush pink, dusty blue, yellow.

I wasted no time in giving them a spin. It was HOT this weekend, so they were perfect for a day of playing outside with the kids and running errands on Sunday.

In My Library Tote: May Book Recommendations and Reviews

In May, I worked on finishing up my Spring Reading Wishlist. With the exception of An American Marriage (which I finally picked up, after a super long holds queue) and Big Magic (reading now) I was able to complete it. May also meant that I started my summer reading list. As I've done for the last couple of summers, I used the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide to help me make my selection. The rest of the year, I compile my TBR from a variety of sources. But for summer, I trust in Anne Bogel. She hasn't yet let me down.

Anyway, here's what I read in the busy month of May.

{what I read in may}

How to Dress Comfortably in the Summer

I aim to look stylish and put-together, yet I consider myself practical above all else. If I know I'm going to be cold, I'll bring a sweater. If I know I'll be doing a lot of walking or standing, I'll wear comfortable shoes. If an item of clothing is too fussy or too uncomfortable, I'll banish it to the donate pile (or at the very least to the back of my closet).

In the summer, when it's hot and sticky, the last thing I want is to be walking around in uncomfortable clothes. I live for casual tees and tops made of comfortable, breathable fabrics. I love this one I found at Old Navy recently because while it can be worn in an off-the-shoulder style, it doesn't have to. My lifestyle is better suited to on-the-shoulder tops, no pulling or adjusting required.

I also adore skirts and shorts in a lightweight material with an elastic waistband. When an item of clothing feels like pajamas but looks like workwear, it's a win-win. This skirt is from Loft last spring, but they have several options in a similar style this season as well (tropical version, pink floralblue floral border).

How do you dress comfortably in the summer? 

Blue off- or on-the-shoulder top: Old Navy | skirt: Loft (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | sandals: Target

Currently: June

Can summer be both laid-back and busy at the same time? That's how it's felt so far. Other than my work schedule and summer class deadlines, the timeline for most of our summer activities has been "whenever we feel like it". At the same time, we've already fit in a lot of activities and adventures, so summer feels plenty busy, without feeling rushed. So far, I like it, as long as I get quiet days regularly. I definitely need time to recharge.

I'm joining Anne and her co-host this month Sarah to share what I'm currently up to in June.

Summer Survey: TBB Asks

What's your summer like? My work schedule doesn't change during the summer; I keep the same hours and schedule year-round. Regardless, my mentality does make a shift this time of year; I feel more laid back and often relax our routines and schedules a bit. Especially since having kids, I try to embrace summer and make it feel special.

I'm joining The Blended Blog's TBB Asks questions that are all about summer today.

June Goals and May Wins

This year, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, I've been doing a Happiness Project, focusing on one important aspect of my life every month. Last month was all about home, while June's focus is friendship. The idea is that the months should build on one another and the habits formed in one month should continue into the next and so on. Each month I share my wins from the previous month, as well as goals that fit the theme of the current month.

May Favorites

May was a hot month cram-packed with things to do. Between preschool graduation, traveling to visit family, and lots more activities and events, the month went by very quickly. It pretty much felt like summer, weather-wise, all month, but it's hard to believe that summer is officially just about here. Here are some of my favorites from the month of May.

My favorite picture this month - look at that cute face! 

Updating a Dress with a Kimono

This navy blue knit dress is one of the oldest items in my closet and dates back to my early blogging, pre-kid days. Sometimes I'm tempted to put it in the donate pile because it's so old, but when I ask myself if I still like it, my answer is always yes.

It's soft and comfortable, easily styled for work and weekend, and the neutral navy color goes with everything. When I ordered this kimono (found from a great Wikibuy deal!) I decided that it would be the perfect thing to give this dress a fresh, dinner-date worthy feel. And that's exactly where I wore this over the weekend, on a kid-free dinner out with some friends. (Hooray for that!)

I've had a kimono on my wish list for an embarrassingly long amount of time, and I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally get one. I've seen them on a lot of bloggers, but it's been seeing all the ways that Mica styles her kimonos that finally made me decide that I must have one.

Do you hold on to your clothes for a long time or do you refresh your closet more frequently? I consider myself somewhere in between. There are some items, like this dress, that I do keep for a long time, but other things I keep for a season or two and then sell or donate. I do try to be conscious of waste and only purchase items that I know I'll get plenty of wear out of.

Dress: Loft | kimono: Olrain c/o Wikibuy | earrings: Nickel and Suede | necklace: Nordstrom | sandals: Target

Neutral Cardigans with Green for Spring: Mommy and Me Style

Does the season affect your mood? I've been feeling so much more happy and relaxed lately and I think it has a lot to do with the beautiful weather and longer days. I wouldn't consider myself an outdoorsy person (like, AT ALL). Yet the past few weeks I've been outside a lot and it's put me in a great mood, and I've noticed an increase in my energy. So maybe I'm more outdoorsy than I originally thought? Just please don't ask me to go camping.

We had a rare day this weekend that was cooler (still FAR from cold, thank goodness) and I needed a cardigan for both outdoors and indoors. This gray Loft cardigan from ThredUp has been my go-to lately, since it goes with just about everything. Violet's cardigan is also a ThredUp find, from Baby Gap, and I love how soft and lightweight the fabric is.

Unfortunately we had a bit of a photo fail for today's post. Aaron didn't realize at first the ISO needed to be adjusted and the photos were too bright, and by the time he did the camera battery died. Trying to get photos with Violet is hard enough, so I wasn't about to try the whole production again after the battery charged, so we're labeling these photos "artistic" and just going with it. Live and learn.

$10 at Target: Inexpensive Home Spruce-Up

Since learning about the $10 at Target linkup, hosted by Becky of byBMG and several other lovely bloggers, I have loved the idea of giving myself a bit of "fun money" to spend there on whatever catches my eye. However, by nature I am a terrible decision maker and am paralyzed by too much choice. Give me $10 and ALL of Target and I'll wander the aisles for hours, picking things up and setting them down until people (specifically, my family) start to question my sanity.

To make this little challenge work for me I try to stick with a theme every month, and this year I've been letting my Happiness Project be my guide. Since this month I'm focusing on my home, I accepted the challenge of finding a couple of things to spruce up my house for just $10.

Well. Target is a budget shopper's paradise, but it is not easy to find home decor for less than ten bucks! Not one to be easily defeated though (I'm a stubborn Taurus), I did manage to find a couple of things to refresh my house while sticking with the $10 budget.

My Bookish Life: Reading Habits Survey

I've seen this fun survey for bookworms floating around on a few different blogs (here and here), and since I'm a lover of both books and surveys, of course I had to join in. Here are my thoughts on books and reading habits.

Photo from Unsplash

Spring Trunk Club Review

One of the things on my 35 at 35 list was to try Trunk Club, which is Nordrom's answer to a style subscription box. I'd heard of it before, but it was seeing the review on Whitney's blog that made me take the plunge and give it a try.

Despite Nordstrom's prices typically being above my budget, what sold me was the sheer number of things they send. My trunk had 12 items in it. 12! That is more than double what you get from a similar service like Stitch Fix. You pay a $25 non-refundable deposit, which goes toward anything you decide to keep. I don't have to tell you that I'm typically a bargain-hunting budget-conscious shopper, but I treated this shopping experience as a little birthday treat. Plus, I knew from the outset that I would only buy one or two items. Keep reading for a full review and to see what I kept.

Knotted Chambray with a Striped Midi Skirt

I must have complained a little too much about the cold weather, because after about a week of spring weather, we've skipped straight to summer. I'm happy to finally be able to put away my boots, but I miss layers.

This is what I wore to church and brunch for Mother's Day yesterday, and I had planned to wear a different top and a jean jacket. However, we're not even in the cool mornings stage right now, it's just plain hot. So sleeveless chambray shirt it was. It turns out, I really like the combination, and I felt cool and comfy all day (although I did bring a cardigan to wear indoors).

Sleeveless chambray: Who What Wear, Target (similar) | striped midi skirt: J. Crew Factory | earrings: Nickel and Suede | necklace: Jane | bag: Amelie Galanti c/o Wikibuy | sandals: Target (similar)

In My Library Tote: April Picture Book Reviews and Recommendations

This post is a round-up of picture books I read with Jona last month, but in the spirit of entertainment, I had to share the TV show that he's been into lately. It's not a cartoon and it's (surprisingly) not superhero-related; instead, it's a show called Chasing Monsters, about a guy who travels all over to catch giant, often dangerous, fish. I think Aaron watched it once when Jona was around, and since then he's been hooked. (See what I did there?)

I'll let Aaron influence Jona's screen-time experience, as long as I get free-reign over his reading life for now. (Because dear Lord, what would he be reading under Aaron's guidance? Sports Illustrated Golf?) Without further ado, here are our picture book picks for April.

{picture books we read in April}

All About Entertainment: TBB Asks

I'm a couple days late to the party, but I wanted to join The Blended Blog ladies' TBB Asks for this month's questions, which are all about entertainment. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well--answer in the comments or join the linkup here!

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

In My Library Tote: April Book Reviews and Recommendations

Do you participate in reading challenges? I've been doing Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2018 Reading Challenge so far this year, and I also created a little Spring Reading Wishlist to check off a few books I've been meaning to read this season. While I would read regardless of such challenges, it's nice to have a little direction so I don't get lost in my endless to-be-read list. Here are my April reads, many of which come from these little challenges.

{what I read in april}

May Goals and April Wins

This year, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, I've been doing a Happiness Project, focusing on one important aspect of my life every month. Last month my goals centered around parenting, while May's focus is home. The idea is that the months should build on one another and the habits formed in one month should continue into the next and so on. Each month I share my wins from the previous month, as well as goals that fit the theme of the current month.

Photo by Irene van der Poel on Unsplash

Currently: May

While I wasn't in a hurry to leave my favorite month behind, I'm looking forward to what's in store for May. Boys golf season winding down means that Aaron will be home more (and I won't be outnumbered during the dinnertime crankies). I'm also starting my online library science class this month: Resources and Services for Early Learners. Finally, Jona has his preschool graduation this month, and although it's a little silly how much of a "thing" they make it, it's exciting (and bittersweet) to think that in the fall he will be starting a brand new stage of school-age life.

That's what I'm looking forward to, but as always I want to share the things we've been up to lately. I'm joining Anne and Carrie today to talk about all the things I'm currently up to.

{currently: may}

April Favorites

Well, it may have started out feeling more like January than April, but my favorite month of the year sure ended on a beautiful note. The past week or so has been gorgeous, and I'm hoping that May will bring even more sunny spring weather. Here are my favorites from the month.

Violet Lennon at 18 Months

I love that my birthday month is Violet's half birthday month. My sweet, sassy little lady turned 18 months old this month, so I thought it was time for an update.

{Violet at 18 Months}

35 at 35: A Year's Worth of Fun

I can almost hear Aaron's eyes roll when I start a sentence with, "So I heard on a podcast..." It's pretty clear that I'm a podcast junkie and I get way to much inspiration these days channeled through my earbuds. But if you're also a podcast-lover, I'm sure we're in the same boat. It's no surprise then that today's post was inspired by a long-time favorite, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

At the beginning of the year, Gretchen and Elizabeth shared their 18 in 2018 lists: 18 things they want to accomplish in the year 2018. On another episode they shared an idea for celebrating a milestone birthday: create a list of things you want to do in that year so you can look forward to it.

Today I turn 35. It's not really a milestone, but it feels a bit like one to me. I haven't been dreading it, but I do like the idea of making a list to make the year feel more joyful and less "oh boy I'm getting old." Inspired by the podcast, I created a list of 35 things I'd love to do in my 35th year. This isn't a to-do list and it doesn't include things that I feel like I should do. Instead, it's a fun list. I'm only including things that I truly want to do and that would bring more joy to my life. Things that, if I do them, will make me happy, and if I don't, I won't feel any guilt about.

{35 at 35: my want-to-do list}

Photo by Wout Vanacker on Unsplash

Camo Jacket and Tie-Sleeved Stripe Shirt: Updated Classics for Spring

My style hasn't changed too much over the years; I still love classic pieces and am very devoted to my denim. Lately I've been looking for ways to freshen up my wardrobe without straying from the style I love. 

One way I've done this is by swapping out my old, worn out olive cargo jacket for this fun camo print one. The color and print are still neutral so it goes with pretty much everything, but it's different enough that it makes every outfit feel new. 

I feel the same way about this striped top. It's a classic piece and I already have a few striped tops that I wear a ton. This one was a great closet freshener-upper because of the cute tie-sleeve detail. 

Has your style changed a lot over the years or are you, like me, looking for ways to update the things you still love? 

Camo jacket: Old Navy | striped tie-sleeve top: Old Navy | jeans: Gap via ThredUp (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | teething necklace: Mama and Little | blush sneakers: Universal Thread, Target

Spring Shopping Reviews: Old Navy, J. Crew Factory, and American Eagle

Last month I shared an online spring shopping haul, which kicked off a bit of a spring shopping extravaganza. As usual, I shopped sales and tried to only buy the things I needed (with a few exceptions, of course), and I'm pretty happy with what I got for my money.

Since my last review post got a pretty good response, I thought I'd share round two of my spring purchases, sub-par iPhone photos and all. (Please forgive my dirty mirror--yikes! and cluttered background. That ugly chair and ottoman is in my room from my pumping days and needs to go...) Here are a few recent spring purchases from Old Navy, J. Crew Factory, and American Eagle.

Floral for Spring: Mom and Toddler Girl Style

What do you do when you have a spring outfit post planned, but on the only day you're able to take pictures the HIGH is in the mid 30s? If you're a dedicated, badass blogger, I'm sure you put your game face on, go outside, and try not to look like you're in pain. If you're me though, you move all the toys to the other side of the living room, and power through an indoor photo-shoot with an uncooperative toddler. I'm keeping it real over here.

I haven't really jumped on board the off-the-shoulder trend because it just isn't practical for my life. However, I love the subtle cold-shoulder cut-outs on this pretty floral blouse, and I find it much more real-life-friendly. If the weather cooperates (and it better!) this is what I plan to wear to birthday brunch with my crew in a couple of weeks.

On my recent Old Navy haul I also picked up a few things for the kids, including this adorable bell-sleeve floral top for Violet. Full length bell sleeves and toddlers would be a disaster, but this three-quarter length works. She's no more covered in food than any other day.

What trends have you been trying lately? 

On Violet: yellow bell-sleeve top: Old Navy | jeggings: Cat and Jack, Target (similar) | hair bow: Target (similar) | silver bow moccasins: Amazon (similar)
On Me: floral top: Old Navy (navy version) | jeans: American Eagle | tassel earrings: Sugar Fix (similar) | sandals: Universal Thread, Target (similar)

$10 at Target, Kid Date Edition

I have a mom confession. I don't like to play. I dread when Jona asks me to play dinosaurs or cars, and my answer of "I'll sit by you and watch you play" is clearly never good enough. I try to suggest something else that we can do together, like reading stories or doing a puzzle, but lately he can't seem to get enough attention from Aaron or me. Therefore we've been trying to spend more one-on-one time with him, and that's been helping.

On Friday evening I had a few errands to run so I decided to make a night of it with Jona. Thankfully he is just as excited about a Target run as he is about building a race track for his cars. It helps that Target is right by our favorite ice cream place and it had been quite a while since we'd been there.

In My Library Tote: March Picture Book Reviews and Recommendations

I love finding new books to read with Jona each month. I get just as giddy bringing him a stack of books as I do cracking open a new one for me. One of my goals last month was to apply to re-enroll in the library science program I started before I had Jona, and I'm thrilled that I'll be starting classes again this summer. My first class is all about early learners and I can't wait! Initially I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in with the library program, but I think I'm going to get a concentration in Children and Youth Services. Anyway, I thought this post would be a fitting place for me to share that.

On to what Jona and I read in March. (Poor Violet will get incorporated into these posts eventually, but for her it was A LOT of Duck and Goose, Dr. Seuss ABC, and Dear Zoo.)

{picture books we read in march}

Neutral Classic Pieces with a Touch of Blush

Prior to last month, I hadn't been doing much regular shopping. I recently did a 6 month secondhand-only shopping challenge, but even before that I only bought a few things here and there. So last month when I was looking at my closet and anticipating the coming spring season (which I hear may actually get here soon...) I knew I needed to do a little updating.

More than anything else I wear pretty simple, classic styles, so things like jeans and versatile work-to-weekend tops were on my list. I've been on the hunt for white jeans for a while, so I was happy to find this affordable Old Navy pair. I also picked up this basic black peplum top when J. Crew Factory was having a buy one get one free top sale. I know I'll wear both of these pieces a ton.

I do love bright spring colors, but the color I've been buying more than anything else lately is blush pink. I snagged these blush mules (and a pair of blush sneakers...I have a problem) when Target was having a buy one get one 50% off sale on shoes. I love how the muted pink color acts almost like a neutral and goes with a wide range of colors.

What color are you addicted to wearing and buying right now? 

Denim jacket: Gap (similar) | black peplum tee: J. Crew Factory | white jeans: Old Navy | earrings:  Nickel and Suede | necklace: Jane 

In My Library Tote: March Book Reviews and Recommendations

Jona is starting to read, but I can't wait for the day when he's able to sit with a stack of books to read himself. Yesterday, a cold, drizzly day, thinking he was preoccupied with some toys while Violet napped, I snuggled up on the couch with a blanket, ready to dive into a new book. Along comes Jona with a million questions about my book, what it's about, if he could sit with me... I appeased him by reading a chapter in Matilda before I had some "quiet mommy reading time". I love my kids, but I'm a much better mom when I have my reading time. Here's what I read in March.

{what I read in march}

April Goals and March Wins

This year, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, I've been doing a Happiness Project, focusing on one important aspect of my life every month. Last month my goals centered around career, while April's focus is parenting. The idea is that the months should build on one another and the habits formed in one month should continue into the next and so on. Each month I share my wins from the previous month, as well as goals that fit the theme of the current month.

Currently: April

I was looking back through some archives and saw that I wrote my first "currently" post back in October of 2012. I didn't start writing them consistently until 2015, but it's fun to look back and see what was on my mind this time three years ago, two years ago, and last year

So, just as I've been doing for the past few years, I'm joining Anne and her co-host this month, Jessica, to talk about what I'm up to currently on this favorite of months. 

{currently: april}

Thoughts on Spring: TBB Asks

It feels kind of funny to be writing about spring when it was 30 degrees and sleeting yesterday, but that's spring in Kansas I guess. (By the way, I did wear my Easter dress, but it was with tights, over-the-knee boots, and a sweater on top. You do what you gotta do.)

I'm joining in with The Blended Blog where they're asking questions about spring today.

March Favorites

Despite the weather being mostly chilly and dreary this month, we managed to make it a good one. I got to go on a field trip with Jona's preschool to the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, I got a much-needed haircut, and I took a day off to spend with just Violet, among other things. Here are a few favorites for March.

Spring Shopping Reviews: Gap, Old Navy, and ThredUp

In the past several years, the content here has shifted from a focus on style with a few other topics thrown in here and there, to a little bit of everything with occasional style posts. While I would say that I shop quite a bit less than your average style blogger, I still do love clothes and sharing my personal style, even if it's not as often.

One type of post that I love to read that's common on style blogs is clothing reviews or try-on sessions. I don't know why, but I love these kinds of posts, even if I'm not in the market for anything the blogger is actually trying on. Therefore, when I happen to have a little haul of things I've been shopping for, I love to share my reviews with you in the same way.

Here are a few items I recently ordered online for spring from Gap, Old Navy, and (less helpful but still fun to share) ThredUp.

{Gap Finds}

Blush and Navy for Easter: Mommy and Me Style

We took Jona and Violet to an Easter egg hunt at our church over the weekend, and it was a lot of fun. Jona is excited about the Easter bunny and is all business when it comes to looking for eggs. Violet is at an age where she loves picking things up and putting them into containers (and then dumping everything out and starting again), so she loved "finding" eggs.

I'm glad we usually do our own Easter egg hunts indoors, because it seems like we never get good weather on Easter. Last year it snowed, and this year it's supposed to be chilly and rainy.

At our house, we the Easter bunny (of course) just hides eggs around one area of our house. I never thought about counting the eggs to make sure we got them all, and I remember growing up and finding random well-hidden eggs a day or two later. Last year, Aaron asked me how many Jona was supposed to find, and I had no idea. It's just funny how everyone does things a little differently. What's it like at your house (or when you were a child)? 

I love picking out Easter clothes for the kids; it's fun to coordinate them (and let's face it, me too). I may have to add tights or boots to Violet's and my dresses, but I still think we'll look springy. I had another outfit in mind for me, but the skirt I ordered didn't end up working. I'm slightly obsessed with all things blush pink right now, so I used blush and navy as our main colors.

Day in the Life: A Day at the Office

Last month I shared a "day in the life" post which showed a photo an hour from a Friday that I worked from home, which I do twice a week. Since I'm focusing on work this month for my goals, I thought it would be fitting to share what a day at the office looks like for me.

I work as an executive assistant to a CEO and CFO of a wellness company. I schedule meetings, arrange travel, plan events such as board meetings, and manage various other projects that support the executive team. My bosses give me a lot of flexibility and I am thankful to be able to work from home two days a week and sometimes more when needed. However, I do hope to eventually finish my Masters in Library Science and get a job at a library. For this stage of my life with young kids though, this job has been a good fit.

Although my day to day varies quite a bit, here's a fairly average Wednesday from last week.

Moto Jacket with a Print Dress: Closet MVP Remix

I do plenty of outfit repeating, but I try to space out those repeats so I don't feel like I'm wearing the same thing all the time. However, I have seasons where I reach for particular items again and again, and while I may not be repeating entire outfits, I can't seem to get enough of a certain top, jacket, or dress.

Lately that has been the case for this faux suede moto jacket and also this striped Gap dress from ThredUp. It was about time that I put the two together.  I bought the jacket at H&M while I was pregnant with Violet, but I still love it and feel just a little bit cooler every time I wear it. On days that I don't have to wear my heavy coat, lately it's been a go-to jacket.

Recently I've also been wearing the heck out of this striped dress. I love that it has the fit and flare shape but isn't overly fitted. I like a dress that allows for a good-sized lunch! I paired my two go-to items together for church this weekend, and added tights and ankle boots since it was pretty chilly outside.

Since Violet has a little black knit moto jacket, I couldn't stop myself from putting her in a coordinating look. Instead of stripes, she's styling her windowpane plaid dress that she wore with lots of red for Christmas. And how cute are these little silver shoes? I found them on Amazon for her Valentine's Day present. (Do you like how that was really a present for me?)

What are your wardrobe go-tos lately?

{moto jacket with striped dress}

Faux suede moto jacket: H&M (similar) | striped dress: Gap via ThredUp (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | black ankle boots: Arizona via JCPenney (similar)

$10 at Target: Office Space Spruce-Up

If you work outside your home, do you decorate your work space? I've had the same job for almost four years now, and very little has changed in my office during that time. I'm not great when it comes to decorating at home, so at work, decorating falls to the very bottom of the priority list.

However, I was looking at the bookcase in my office, and thinking about how I could at least add a little personality there. In particular, one of the shelves has a framed quote that's been there since before I was there, and a floral print box that holds keys. Every time I look at that shelf, I cringe, because neither of those items is to my taste. Why have I left them there for so long?

Since I'm focusing on work this month, I decided to pick up a few things to spruce up my bookshelf a bit so that it's no longer (such) an eyesore.

Carrying the World in My Heart at Year of Gratitude

Hi everyone, happy Friday! I wanted to let you know that I'm over at The Year of Gratitude Blog today talking about "carrying the world in my heart" and the law of attraction. To read my post, just go here.

photo from Unsplash

In My Library Tote: February Preschool Book Reviews and Recommendations

I love Jona's excitement when I come home with a big stack of library books. (He's totally my kid, right?) However, that beloved stack has been getting some fierce competition these days. Thanks to his birthday, Christmas, and a preschool field trip, he's starting to build a collection of superhero books.

I'm not sure what started this superhero obsession, but he would read nothing but these if I let him. However, I do enforce a strict one superhero story per bedtime policy, to keep myself sane. I'm sure there are quality comics out there, but these stories targeted at little kids are cringe-worthy. Terrible puns. Over the top morals. The cheesiest plot-lines.

Anyway, I say this as full disclosure. Jona may have enjoyed the below books, but for him there's no comparison to his beloved superhero stories. Here are the (non-superhero) picture books that we read in February.

{february recommended picture books}