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19 summer athleisure must haves

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summer athleisure must have

Athleisure is still all the rage – thank goodness. And thanks to all the brands that are still catering to lazy girls like me (though I prefer to call it “practical” – if I wear my workout clothes all day, I’m cutting down on laundry!) If you’re looking to change up your wardrobe for summer, check out some of my favorite go-to pieces.

Mesh Panel Capris: I love mesh panels, especially for summer runs to prevent any swampiness. These plus size ones are cute too, with a fun print and pocket for a key.

Ripped Leggings: These don’t come in my size, but that isn’t stopping me from wanting to channel my inner Brie Mode. They don’t actually look like they’re all that practical, but they’d be cute for Sunday Funday!

C9 High Waisted Legging: These leggings are my everyday go-to must haves. I have four pairs, and it still doesn’t seem like enough. They’ve held up well over a year and a half, but they do tend to pick up any lint in their vicinity, so they’re not the best for someone with pets (or someone who forgets to check pant pockets before doing laundry.)

Lucy Capri Leggings: Lucy gear can be pricey, but I find it to be worth it. I had a pair of their perfect leggings for more than three years before they started to stretch and pill (and even then it was probably due to my weight gain.) They’re worth the investment, especially now that they’ve started a plus size line as well!

Criss Cross Racerback Bra: I love sports bras, and I especially love strappy, cute ones. This one would be super cute under an open back shirt, and the multiple straps can help with distributing any front heavy weight if you know what I mean.

Back Cut Out Bra: Another sports bra with fancy detailing, this one looks like it has less support but would be comfortable for lounging around the house or under a casual dress for brunch.

Criss Cross Strappy Bra: The bank on this one is still fun and creative, but it provides more support than the other two options. Perfect for HIIT workouts or long runs and still looking fab afterward.

Pizza Crop Top: Sometimes you just need a reminder of what all this working out is for. Times like that I would love to be rocking a pizza shirt – eyes on the prize. Beloved Shirts has a ton of other print tops if pizza isn’t your thing (but honestly, isn’t pizza everyone’s thing?)

Marika Dry-Knit Shirt: I’ve had a Marika shirt from TJ Maxx since 2012 or so, and it’s still in good shape. If you’re looking for something long-lasting, this is the brand for you. They dry really fast, and the ruching in the shirt isn’t uncomfortable or chafe-y at all.

adidas aeroknit Shirt: The color of this breathable shirt, plus the open armholes (to show off your cute bras) make this a winner for me. Tank tops are made for summer – sun’s out, guns out!

Goldsheep Tank: I think everyone has one of those “when I lose this much weight, I’ll let myself buy this” goal shirts. All my hours spent watching Total Divas have led me to Goldsheep Clothing, an overpriced line with lifestyle shirts and activewear leggings.

Short Stop Long Sleeve: I love to throw on a long-sleeved shirt when I leave the gym, even in the summer. This one from lululemon is cropped with a mesh panel in the back for maximum breathability while still keeping you covered up.

No Bull Women’s Trainers: I will always champion heading to your local running store to get properly fitted for shoes, but I got a pair of these No Bull shoes and I don’t regret it for a second. They’re definitely pricey, but with my documented love for buffalo plaid, I had to get them. They’re perfect for strength training workouts and very true to size.

Nike Flyknits: Really cute shoes… that I can’t wear. If these work on your feet, I’m super jealous. They’re stylish whether you’re at the gym or just hanging out.

Sun Bum sunscreen: I’m a SPF-holic, and won’t leave the house without a quick spray of sunscreen on. Sun Bum is my favorite – the spray goes on evenly and it’s pretty sweat-resistant. Don’t forget to spray the top of your head (you can thank me later when you aren’t battling the red part.) Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer is my go-to for my face.

YurBuds Wireless Headphones: When I upgraded to the iPhone 7, it meant my large collection of YurBuds could no longer easily plug in. Since my ears are a weird size, regular ear buds don’t usually fit well, so the hooks these headphones offer make them ideal. I had tried a lower cost option, but they were really uncomfortable and didn’t stick. Now that I’ve converted to wireless, it’s been so convenient – I don’t have to worry about accidentally yanking them out of my ears when moving my phone!

Quay Sunglasses: Oversized glasses are my jam, but it’s hard to find sporty-ish sunnies that fit the bill. These ones from Quay are great and I love that tortoiseshell print. I have two pairs from Quay already, so I can definitely say that they’re worth the $50!

Water Bottle: Gotta stay hydrated during the hot summer months, and I love these kinds of water bottles. The storage compartment holds your ID or credit card and a house key, so you don’t have to carry anything extra around!

Gym Bag: I will live out of a gym bag, so I need something as functional (and big) as it is fashionable. This one from Vera Bradley has a large zippered opening, plus outside compartments to easily tuck things into.

May 3, 2017

monthly roundup no. 1

Posted in Living by

link roundup

IT’S ALMOST SUMMER! We’ve had a few summery days here in Chicago, and the early sunrises are helping with my mood and my energy levels. Thank goodness. I really needed this drive to come back and get me motivated to get things back on track – I’m always squirreling away resources to help get organized, work on personal development, or whatever else. I’m a big fan of Pocket to do that, an app that lets you tuck away articles to read for later. Even though I’m a super fan, I don’t always excel at going back and revisiting things I’ve packed away. At the end of the month I’m going through my Pocket to empty it out, and I’m sharing the highlights with you in this new series (along with other useful things I find around the web!)

27 Ways To Stress Less: This is another roundup post, so it’s a bit of a cheat. But it pulls out the best quotes from different posts about managing stress and anxiety, which makes it perfect for those times you really need to chiiiiilllllll.

I’m Not Good With Money Anymore and I’m OK With That: I’ve long loved The Billfold – I used to spend hours in my Virginia office poring over each post. The relatable and cool tone of the website resonated with me a lot more than any personal finance blog ever did, and I’ve continued to read it over the years. When this post popped up a few days ago, it was almost like a relief. For a long time, I was Very Careful with my money. I was smart about how I spent it, how I saved it, and even helped friends make smart budgets and debt payoff plans. Over the last year, I’ve been much less smart about my own finances. It has really worn me down, but this post makes me feel like that will be okay.

How to Realistically Cut Back on Technology: Since I not only blog but also have a fully online job, I constantly feel like I’m staring at a screen. I’m trying a couple different techniques to combat that, like deleting time-sucking apps and making weekly trips to the library.

What to Tell Yourself When You Feel Behind in Life: There seems to be a trend in my favorite articles this month – most of them revolve around reducing stress or relaxing! I think I’m hitting that sort of midlife crisis. Being surrounded by people getting married, buying houses and having babies (even if those aren’t things I thought I’d want) is getting to me a bit – or maybe it’s the incessant HGTV I’ve been watching. Either way, I’ve been feeling “behind,” so sometimes I need the reminder that I’m really doing alright.

27 Stylish Bathing Suits You Can Get on Amazon: Good ol’ Buzzfeed. This post got me. I’m a sucker for bathing suits (I really hate clothes, I guess) and I’ve been working to reduce the number of suits I have around… but I ended up buying this bad boy. All banana leaf everything. (I’m tempted by the one-pieces too. JUST PUT ME ON A BEACH!)

Natalya on Making Their Way to the Ring with Lillian Garcia: So I’m kind of a closet WWE fan. I watched when I was little, then during a pretty severe depressive episode last year I would put it on for some background noise. That evolved into a Total Divas binge when I felt better and now here I am, a year later, with a few live events under my belt and more knowledge of wrestling than I ever intended to have. Podcasts as background noise is one of my favorite work soundtracks, and Nattie is one of my favorite wrestlers. This is a great interview, and she talks about her eating disorder and how working out helped her overcome it.

Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout + Tips for Self-Care: Carmen has become one of my favorite bloggers, and this post was super timely. I love her focus on helping bloggers be successful, but after a few months of working really hard on two blogs – burnout hit me. During my scheduled blogging time, I was finding it really tough to hammer out even one sentence I was proud of.

Hope you have a great weekend planned! I’ll be soaking up the Chicago sun and working on some special mailing list opt-ins (think actionable worksheets and eBooks!), so be sure to sign up to get them as soon as they go live. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter too – I’d love to check out your weekends!

April 28, 2017

how to save money on reading

Posted in Living by

Yesterday was national reading day! After a few years of not reading very much at all, I’ve been voracious for the past few months. I read almost everything – chick lit, YA, short story collections, memoirs, true crime (of course.) As much as I would love to go out and purchase physical copies of everything, I don’t have that kind of spare cash. I’ve found a bunch of ways to feed my desire at a much lower cost other than the traditional library trips. There are a lot of ways to read a lot for free, or at least for a very low cost!

Library: Okay, I know I said ways other than going to the library, but they’ve really advanced with technology. You can drive over to the library to pick up your “to read” list, but you can often check out digital books online as well. Chicago Public Library partners with Overdrive, which allows you to check out eBooks for your tablet or Kindle. My favorite is that they also have eBooks you can read from your computer as well! I know there’s nothing like snuggling in bed with a physical book, but sometimes when you’re tired of reading all the bad news out there it helps to just pop open a new tab and go to a different place.

A lot of libraries also have partnerships with Hoopla, which I’ve spoken about plenty in the past. Hoopla features eBooks, audiobooks, music and TV and movies in their app. I discovered my favorite book and author on Hoopla, listening just because I liked the cover! This app alone let me hit my Goodreads book goal for 2016 because I would listen on my long drives from Nashville to Michigan to Chicago.

Riveted Lit: If you’re a YA fan, Riveted Lit is awesome. Every week, they put up free full-length books you can read on your computer or mobile device, and the selections change every Monday. They have a variety of genres within the YA space so whether you’re looking for a light read or something dystopian, chances are good they’ll have something for you this week. They also post extended excerpts of their upcoming releases and host giveaways as well.

Simon and Schuster: Along with other publishers, Simon and Schuster offers a free eBook when you sign up for their mailing list, which brings me to…

Glose: This is the service that Simon and Schuster use to fulfill their free eBook offer. It’s compatible with desktop and mobile devices, and offers an app for Apple and Android. In addition to the paid books you can purchase on the platform, they also have a library of free books (mostly classics) accessible in their library.

Noisetrade: Started as a way for musicians to connect with their fans, they recently expanded to offer audiobooks and eBooks in exchange for email addresses. There are a ton of books in a lot of different genres by both new and established authors.

Enter Giveaways: At some point in the last month, I entered a giveaway from Riveted Lit. By entering it, I agreed to recieve newsletters from all of the authors involved in the giveaway. All of them that I’ve recieved emails from have sent at least one free eBook – though none of them have been my speed, if you’re open to reading anything, this could be a way to stockpile fast! Amazon also has a giveaways section – they have products there, but also a ton of books for both e-readers and physical copies.

Goodreads: There are a couple of ways to save on Goodreads – the first is their Deals section, where they post discounted book prices and email you when something on your “to read” list is a match. They also have a Giveaways section – they’ll email you when something you’re interested is listed here, too, but you can also page through and enter to win anything you might be interested in. I’ve actually won two books here!

Scribd: I used to be a super avid user of Scribd, but their model has changed a bit. They used to offer a lot more books and audiobooks per month for their subscription fee, but now you can check out three books and one audiobook per month. They offer a lot of books that aren’t on Hoopla yet, and if your library card doesn’t get you in to Overdrive, it can be a great way to access digital books.

Subscription Boxes: If you can’t sacrifice the feel of a physical book in your hands and struggle with finding the best thing to read next, there are tons of subscription services out there that will deliver books to your doorstep every month. Uppercase Box is geared toward young/new adult books, and Quarterly offers two options based on the type of books you’re interested in. These are just a few – a quick Google search can turn up even more!

Amazon: There are a couple different ways to save on books on Amazon, and it’s not just the significant discounts most of their books carry. Their Kindle Unlimited program lets you borrow books, read magazines, and stream audiobooks from the Kindle app for $10/month. Prime also offers a similar program (even including audiobooks now), if you’re a member ($100 annually.) There are also plenty of free eBooks in the Kindle Store as well!

OpenLibrary: An online lending library, OpenLibrary has a wide range of books that can be read as PDF or ePub files. Focusing mostly on classic titles, they do have some recent, more modern books available as well.

Used Bookstore: I love having copies of my favorite books, so I’ll always try to hunt them down in used bookstores. It’s also a great way to roam around and find new books that could be your next favorite!

Do you like reading? How do you prefer to read?

April 24, 2017

new year, new city, new home: living room style

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It was a long time coming, but Dani and I finally found a place in Chicago and moved to our new city (full time) at the beginning of the year! When I moved out of Nashville, I got rid of alllll my living room furniture, including my much beloved couch. As a result, we’re refurnishing the living room too, but it’s a bit awkwardly shaped without much room for a cozy couch like that anymore. Here’s my wishlist for what I would love to put in my dream living room!

Sofa: I had this guy in Nashville and I think it’s a little too bulky for our narrow living room, but I miss it desperately. It was long enough for my 5’11” frame to comfortably stretch out onto, super comfy, and hid stains really well. The microfiber fabric felt really great too. I miss this couch a lot.

Rug: Today we learned how to measure a room to pick out the correct rug size! I really like the different shades of blue and purple in this rug – it would look great against our gray walls.

Read more…

January 21, 2017

new year, new city, new home: bedroom style

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It was a long time coming, but Dani and I finally found a place in Chicago and moved to our new city (full time) at the beginning of the year. One of the most fun parts of moving has always been decorating my bedroom – since I got rid of almost all my furniture when I left Nashville, I had to start totally from scratch. In bed I like really cool colors – black, white, and grey. The walls in my bedroom are grey, so I’m trying to bring in more white through my bedding, furniture, and accents. Through the miracle of Amazon and sites like Wayfair (and my much-suffering friends who got recruited to help after I had surgery) I’m refurnishing and sticking to my budget. Here’s my vision board for some clean bedroom design if you’re looking for inspiration!

Bed: I’ve always had this vision in my head of wanting a tufted grey headboard and siderails, but it’s been pretty elusive to find anything close to my vision under $1000 (apparently I have expensive taste.) After endless hours of browsing Amazon for something I liked, I saw this one and pounced. One of the wings did come without the pre-drilled holes, so I called the company and they’re supposed to be sending out the replacement part. Once that’s on, I’m going to feel like the fanciest princess in my bed.

Read more…

January 12, 2017