White jeans are tricky.

white pants outfit

White jeans are something that I have wanted for years (seriously) but have never been able to pull the trigger on for reasons I’m unsure of.

I think a big part of me is afraid that they’re very “suburban SAHM-ish”, which is a style I’m afraid of slipping into before my time. This fear is exacerbated by the fact that I work (mostly) from home and we do live well into the suburbs.

But I told myself that I would find a pair of white jeans for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe and give them a go this year. After a few missteps – white jeans are hard to buy online – I found the pair below. They came pre-holed, but I’m okay with it because they are ever so slightly more edgy. (In my mind I’m sure. But that’s what matters!)

You know what else is hard? Taking pictures of clothing that you’re wearing! I’m not being self-effacing here; fashion blogging is not my forte. But when I saw that Bri was having a linkup surrounding white jeans I knew that I wanted to join in and get a few more ideas of how to wear these pants.  I can’t wait to see how everyone else has styled them!

teal shoes

 

Sweater: H&M (current); Jeans: Old Navy; Shoes: Nine West (old) ; Photo Quality: Further proof of fashion blogger inadequacy :)

Blood moons, brunch and backyard chores: Easter 2015

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Easter is my favorite, and I love, love the fact that we were blessed with such excellent weather for all of the Easter 2015 weekend.  As usual we spent the holiday weekend with my parents in their newish home.

We all made it to the house by about 7:30 on Friday afternoon and had a small meal of white fish and water then.  (Good Friday is both meat-free and a fasting day for adult Catholics.)  My dad had had a long day and went to bed after dinner was cleaned up.  We then decided it would be fun to teach my mother how to play beer pong.  It was all about the mechanics.  We weren’t drinking; we had water in the cups and were drinking tea…it was the squarest game ever, but also so much fun.  My mother was hilariously excellent (are you sure you never played before?!) even if she did walk up to the table like she was bowling every single time.  Great memories!  And now her friends cannot tease her about how she doesn’t know how to play!

Did you catch the blood moon (early) Saturday morning?  Even though the reports were saying that there wouldn’t be much to see in Chicago we got up for the blood moon anyway and watched it for 30 minutes or so.  The reports were right – there was very little to see, and to add insult to injury there was a cloud covering the moon at the very moment we were at “peak moon.”

After that it was all about doing yard chores around the house.  Most of the landscaping and outdoor furniture is leftover from the previous homeowners and some of it is in rough condition.  We got to work re-screening the porch (truth: this was mostly a boy job), power washing concrete and iron furniture, pulling up weeds and mostly-dead shrubs and adding new mulch to the beds.  Plenty of work remains for us next time, but we really enjoyed spending the day out in the nice weather and helping to fix up my parents’ house.

While we were slaving outside my parents were making homemade pizzas for an Easter feast.  As always the margherita pizza was the favorite.  So simple, but so delicious.  Others included a taco pizza, sausage and onion and an I-don’-t-know-ask-the-boys-but-I-think-they-put-Cholula-on-it that the boys devoured on their own.

Because the college kids had a decently long drive back to campus we went to early mass on Sunday morning and came home to an easy brunch.  Fresh fruit, scones (made the night before), bacon (because, boys), quiche and toast and spreads.  It was decreed that we will do something similar from now on: big dinner on Saturday evening; smaller, lighter brunch on Easter morning.

After brunch we exchanged Easter baskets (candy and socks; the usual) and then took turns heading home. My mom took several pictures of her kids in dressy clothes but other than that the weekend was under-documented.  Must fix that next time!

A kiss to send us off

Any other Incubus fans out there? :) Totally underrated band in my opinion.

But this post isn’t about music. No, it’s about crossing another line item off of the “adulting” bucket list. My very grown-up self had her first solo travel for work!

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I had been on exactly one trip for work before last week and it was with my entire office so it felt more like a field trip. This time it was just me. Alone on the plane, in the hotel and in my rental car. It felt nothing like traveling for fun because I was out of town for about 36 hours total.  Oh, and I brought dress up clothes.

The flight from Chicago to Denver is just about two hours, and because I am the worst at sleeping on planes I brought along one of my favorite books to reread.  I knew that it would keep me company for the duration of the flight.  Do you ever reread favorite books?  It’s one of my go-to ways of calming down in stressful or uncomfortable times.  On Beauty and A Thousand Acres have kept me company on long-haul flights, before job interviews and during stressful periods of graduate school.  (So, basically all of grad school.)

Hands-down the strangest part about the trip was eating alone. In a restaurant. With other people watching and judging. —> Probably not, but it felt like that in the moment.  And this was party my own fault.  I’m sure that if I had stayed in the hotel campus and eaten at a restaurant there I would have been around plenty of other solo diners.  But I wanted to get at least a little bit of local Denver flavor so I opted for a restaurant about 20 minutes from where I was staying.  The food was delicious and well worth it.  I’m not sure if green chile mac and cheese is a “Denver thing” but it should definitely be a somewhere thing because it was so, so good.

The work aspects of the trip were just fine.  I had a meeting that lasted three hours and we accomplished a lot.  Unsurprisingly I was both the youngest person in the room and the only woman.  There was only one awkward moment where the Old Guard (my nickname for groups of older men that I work with) forgot themselves and said something without thinking.  But I left town that afternoon with my marching orders and a very clear direction and timeline for my work so it was very satisfactory overall.  I like these guys, and I hope that I instilled confidence in my abilities in them.  I guess whether that happened remains to be seen.

I left Chicago on Sunday afternoon and returned late Monday night.  I was actually supposed to land earlier than I did, but I guess Chicago had weather while I was gone, and that messed up plane schedules.  Denver (or the little I saw of it) is a stunningly beautiful and seemingly really fun city.  Next time I head out that way (and there will be a next time) I am going to take a few days of vacation and bring Liam along.  Not only will he get to see a new-to-him city, but there will be no more solo dining for me.

Image from Google, because I had a total fail and didn't take a single picture of the city while I was there!

 

Currently: April 2015

Today I am linking up with Anne (in Residence) and Jenna of Dearest Love for their “Currently” link up.  It is facilitated group microblogging: they throw out a handful of prompts that everyone responds to with little updates that otherwise wouldn’t be deemed blog-worthy.

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Wearing: Short sleeves! In case you haven’t seen my recap, here is the clothing that I purchased in March. I can’t wait to wear that dress for Easter, and I’m really loving the tees from Loft.

Also, neutral nails. Because I don’t really wear makeup I like to keep my nails clean and polished for work. Most of my (five) colors are pretty dark, but I have finally found a pastel pink that isn’t streaky!  Zoya’s Scarlet (a totally misleading name…shouldn’t that be a red!?) is my new favorite and it’s cheaper online than I have ever seen it in store.

Sipping: nothing interesting. But it’s almost iced coffee season!

Wishlisting: Furniture. #Adulting? Our furniture is a total smorgashbord of pieces. Because we’ve lived in so many different kinds of apartments (shared, studio, 1-2bedroom) we haven’t put any money into furnishing our spaces. We bought a “real” bed (read: $$$) when we married because, obviously we’re going to have a bed in every place we live. But apart from that it has been second/third/mystery-hand pieces that were disposable.

We are now at a place in our lives where going back to anything smaller than a 1-bedroom would be difficult and I finally feel ready to pick out cohesive sitting room furniture. I like gray, white, navy and dark wood. Liam likes dark wood and Not Red so we are basically on the same page.

Writing: a gym schedule. My job used to have very predictable hours, but now that I have clients of my own in all four time zones that’s starting to change. As a result I have down time in my day when I didn’t before, and I am working longer into the night and have been finding it harder to keep up a gym schedule without a real plan. My goal is currently three weekday visits and one longer visit over the weekend. It’s very doable for me right now because I am working at home quite frequently and have scheduled “lunchtime” gym sessions when I don’t need to be available to clients. I took my lunch yesterday at 3:00pm because I spent most of the day on California time and that’s what worked in my schedule.

Exploring: my immediate area. While I always say on here that I live near Chicago, the truth is that Liam and I live on the very edge of the suburbs. It takes us about 1.5 hours to get downtown. We live as far out as we do because I predominately work from home and L works in one of the collar counties so there is no point in spending more money to have a longer commute.  For a long while I pretty much ignored our area, except for grocery shopping, and would always head into the city – or more exciting suburbs – for restaurants and nights on the town.  In an effort to fall in love with the exurbs, we have been trying to stay close to home and find good restaurants, biking and hiking trails, coffee shops and the like.  So far we’ve found an acceptable pizza delivery place and an excellent sushi restaurant.  I’m glad to say that we’re truthfully enjoying our time exploring and I think we will like living here a whole lot more this summer than last year.

Your turn to chime in!  What’s going on  with you this month?

Month in Review: March 2015

As with January and February, here is a summary of what we were up to on March 1.

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By 8:00 am my parents’ house was hopping, probably because one of the boys had the brilliant idea to make a Starbucks run.   All of the siblings and their +1’s had spent the night. My parents headed off to church while the kids sat around the kitchen table chatting and making fun of one another. Have I told you I love spending time with my family? More than anything! (I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here so we don’t seem like a degenerate bunch of siblings – normally when we’re together we’ll worship as a family. But our time was so crunched this weekend that the kids decided to wait and attend Sunday night mass after everyone had gone their separate ways. Sunday evening mass isn’t a thing my dad believes in, so there you go.)

Around midday the college kids headed back to campus and we local siblings went our separate ways as well. L and I planned to get groceries on our way home but my good friend inquired about getting together for a late lunch so we did that instead. We spent several hours together just catching up and talking over plans for a possible summer trip that she and I have been scheming about. It was dark when we left the restaurant and I had to play secretary for L on our ride home because there was a flurry of activity around a group project while we were out.

I dropped Liam at home so he could get to work, went grocery shopping on my own and then came home and enjoyed the Downton Abbey Christmas Special. I am so sad Downton is over for the season!  (ETA – and I’m sad that Downton is ending forever after next season!  That news broke this past week :( )

Also really starting to hope that April 1st isn’t a Sunday because they’re quite boring around here.  I am almost tired of writing about them so you must surely be tired of reading about them! :)

States I slept in: IL, CO
I traveled for work for the first time this month.  More on that this week.  I so rarely travel alone that it was an odd experience.

Books I read: Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna. On Beauty (a reread). 6/35 for my goal for the year.  I don’t like getting “stuck” in a book but that’s where I am now.  See below.

Book I cannot finish: Kitchen Confidential. It’s rare that I give up on a book but I just can’t get through Bourdain’s writing. Anyone else feel that way?

TV shows: Watched a bit more Parenthood but I must admit that my interest is waning.  So is winter, which is when I watch most of my television anyway.

Snippets: Girl Scout cookies hit our area!  Still dealt with the accident a little bit.  L had a break from classes at the end of the month so we got to do things like go out to dinner and clean the house together.  Saw a relative lot of friends this month.  I feel like the winter hibernation is finally coming to a close!

March 2015 Shopping Summary

I’m linking up once again with Franish and the budgeting bloggers to show you what I’ve purchased this month.

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In my post last month  I mentioned wanting to find a dress for Easter as well as for spring itself. I spied this one at Old Navy (which looks startlingly like one from A.P.C. last spring) and had to have it. The boatneck! Sleeves! Tall sizes! It had to be perfect. The reviews were mixed but I decided to go ahead and order it because the tall sizes are online only. Well, it has arrived and the verdict is that it is for $25 I am a big fan of this dress.

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This next item was something bought in February but it didn’t arrive until March. I love it! Rings are my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear because I work at a computer and can always see them. I was initially looking for something on Baublebar, but their prices are so dang high that I thought I would go for etsy instead. With shipping this was $42.  I wear this almost every day and am trying to be careful about storing it in an airtight container to prevent  tarnishing.

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I also picked up the tee pictured above in teal/blue and beige with blue stripes from LOFT.  When I bought them the promotion was 2 for $30 and I think it might be even better than that now.  They’re  not going to last forever but I have noticed that LOFT’s basics seem to be a better value than the rest of their line.

$97 spent in March means that I have about $450 left for the year if I’m to stay within budget.  I tend to shop in spurts, and March meant the beginning of a new capsule so it is entirely likely that I won’t purchase anything in April.  I would still like to find a pair of white jeans though.

2015 Word of the Year

I realize that we’re already halfway through March (goodness!) and that everyone and her sister has already done this, but I wanted to share my word of the year for 2015.

The idea is something that I have been tossing around in my head since January, but couldn’t get myself to commit to until this past weekend. I picked a bit of an odd word – you’ll see – and I kept trying other words on to see if they would fit better. But then something happened this weekend to absolutely convince me that I had chosen the right word.

You know how people say that sermons and homilies really speak to them? How people will say that something they heard touched them and was exactly what they needed at that very moment. Yeah….that has never been me. I appreciate a good homily as much as the next person. A good argument well presented is one of my favorite things.

So imagine my surprise in typing out these next words: the homily at Sunday’s mass really convicted me. I now see that my chosen word is completely appropriate for this stage in my life. The priest used my word not once, but twice in his homily. And the message was exactly what I needed to hear at this very moment.

My word for this year is redoubled. Redoubled? Yes. Odd, right? It means to “make or become greater; more intense”. The homily itself was about Lent, and how we’re at the part of the season where our resolve is fading, our excitement over the changes that we are making in our lives is waning. This is the point at which we need to redouble our efforts so that we can live well during these last few weeks rather than slog along until Easter.

There are a few aspects of this stage in my life that aren’t all that great. There are projects that I’ve started and am stalling on because we’re in that stage where it is hard to see progress.

Do better. Work harder.

I need to redouble my efforts in a few areas of my life in order to see the progress that I am looking for. And last Sunday gave me even more motivation to do so.