Valentine’s Gift Picks

I had a hot tea & happy pants weekend, with ample chicken soup for the soul & sinuses. And cuddles-a-plenty from my 12lb guard dog – quite the protector when Mom’s down for the count.

Our pre-Valentine’s weekend was probably less romantic than some (nose-blowing and mucus-coughing not the sexiest of looks), but it did give me time for plenty of Valentine’s eShopping and eWindow-Shopping -a hobby in which I could easily take home the gold.

I don’t know when it happened, but I think I’ve become a Valentine’s person. Could have something to do with being head over heels for my person + being chocolate obsessed + loving pretty jewelry and flowers and wine. Who could really know for sure?

If the conversation between you and your boo thang looks anything like this right now:
“What do you want?”
“I don’t know, anything.”
“Okay but what do you want?”
“Anything works, IDK.”

You can slide a little link into his DM’s of this post, and not so subtly request any or all of these things with confidence that I would love them. Because naturally, that’s what counts here, duh.

These aren’t exactly “Valentine’s Themed” – meaning they’d be wearable/usable year-round. Except the candy, which if you’re following my lead, will be consumed in-full by Saturday.
Gold Lipstick Stain Mug (also featured above! One of my faves.)
One of THE BEST candles, Diva scented.
All of the bath bombs and bubble bars from LUSH.
The prettiest dainty, everyday Necklace.
The SOFTEST pajamas, available in Tall, aka Robin-Sized (which I own in grey, aka Robin-Colored).
The best chocolate known to man (or me, at least.)
The perfume I test every time I step in an Anthropologie (Brand Tocca, Scent Colette).
FUN rosé gummies! Or Bourbon Bears, if that’s more your speed.
Happy Love Week, friends, find a reason to celebrate. Even if it’s loving yourself.

Spreading the Love: a unique Valentine’s gift idea + a timely giveaway!

The heart of Valentine’s Day lends itself to a celebration of true, undying love: that of chocolate, flowers, and of course, jewelry. 

I’ve partnered with JORD this year to showcase the most swoon-worthy timepiece of neutral-junky’s dreams. These unique, handmade wooden watches are crafted with trendy, minimalistic design with a high-end feel. If you’ve followed me for five minutes, you know I swoon for a good neutral, and have loved how easily the gorgeous zebra wood of the Frankie fell into my natural, everyday styling. From earth tones to pastels, it’s hard to imagine an outfit palette it wouldn’t style seamlessly into. Heart-eye emojis, galore.

Courtesy of JORD, I have a stylish and timely (ha!) giveaway on my hands!
One of you gems will be chosen on February 11, 2018 to receive a $100.00 gift code to the JORD website. Gifting for you or your boo, made a $100 easier. While only one friend will be getting the $100 off code, every single person who enters will receive a 10% off code.
Winner Winner, chocolate for dinner because Valentine’s season is upon us, after all.

With watches for women and men, and the option for an engraved watch, hopefully this opportunity helps alleviate any Valentine’s Gifting anxiety you may be starting to feel! Feel free to reach out with any questions (or recommendations! It was so hard to choose just one.)
While this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own! Good luck!


Wooden Wrist Watch

Teddy Coat Temps

Alternative Title: proceed with caution; prepare to be hugged. Often.

My Teddy Bear Coat: purchased in 2017 to feel the best kind of extra, worn in 2018 to feel on trend. And I ain’t even mad. Isn’t that the way it always works?

I remember swooning, then doubting because who needs to look like an oversized 4-year-old’s plaything, really? And answering myself before leaving the mall that day that I, indeed, do need to look like an oversized 4-year-old’s plaything. I really do.

While not being the most discreet, no-one-will-notice-me-wearing it piece in my closet, this teddy coat has gotten some lovin’ once I adopted it from the racks of The Gap last January. Including a good, long soak in an Italian rainstorm last year.

Temperatures in Dallas are rarely teddy-level low, so I take advantage every chance I get to wrap up in it. Once I saw the forecast smiled favorably on Ole Teddy, in it was stuffed into limited suitcase real estate. (Unforeseen bonus: it doubled superbly as wine-bottle cushioning for the trip home. Win.)

While mine has been sold out for eons, these are links few that catch my eye right now:

OneTwoThree

Shopping for outerwear well after the season is NOT uncommon for me. While I lose the luxury of shopping with sizes fully stocked + the allure of wearing immediately and often, my wallet (and husband, lol) thank me greatly.

Cozy Chenille Cardi Crush

2017 has truly been the year people have partied – from runway to street wear- like it was 1999. In the resurgence of all things Nirvana, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and will-they-won’t-they-Ross-and-Rachel, I believe to my bones the most wearable trend has been chenille.

The squishiest of knitted things, it’s the hug of a fabric that you’ll want to curl up in with a glass of wine at the end of a day, or throw on with jeans to #brunch, or over slacks to the office. I would gladly wear any of my personal chenille sweaters for any of these functions. It’s the least “trendy” of the 90’s trends, in my humble opinion, in the very best way.

Like, if you want to be kind of hip-happenin, but you feel like a choker + tattered mom jeans topped with a scrunchie might get a little side-eye from grandma at dinner next weekend, think chenille. Cozy, polished, trendy perfection.

If you’ve followed my fashion opinions for any length of time, you know versatility is the name of the wardrobing game in my book. And this fabric is just doing it for me this year.

(That scowl? Probably checking the scores to see my chances at a $700 cash fantasy football pool slipping away. Oh the highs and lows of sports.)

The featured boyfriend cardi is a Nordstrock Rack, Blan Noir clearance steal. 

Honorable mention for your shopping pleasure: I own this baby from Loft (duh) in coal grey, and it wears like a fluffy, fitted cloud. Recommended. And 50% off today, 12/18.

Home (décor!) for the holidays 


I don’t have a living memory where I wasn’t obsessed with Christmas decorations.

I do have the living memory of giving my favorite vintage, ceramic reindeer in my mom’s bathroom a White Christmas a la my brother’s baby powder + the well-earned punishment that followed said blizzard. 

It made them look awesome. (Agree to disagree, Mom.)

The familiar lights and characters of the holiday season have always filled me with so much joy. Pulling down the stockings, toy trains, and familiar trinkets from their dusty attic furlough was always one of the best days of the year. So far, adulthood hasn’t much squelched the childlike wonder I feel from a good nativity snow globe. 

I know this isn’t unique, which is half the fun! I know so many friends who feel this way, and I love that about this time of year. I’ve had so many conversations about decorating homes over the weeks proceeding Thanksgiving in preparation for the season, and I’ve come to one conclusion: when it isn’t on Mama’s dime, and it’s your mantel to figure out how to fill, it becomes a little daunting. There are so many Santas to choose from in the world. So. Many. Santas. And Santa can hold a hefty price tag. 

I’ve been thinking through my conversations, and wanted to share a few of our conclusions + my personal opinions to hopefully alleviate any anxiety you too may feel on decorating for the holidays! (Because Christmas is too fun to be ruined by anxiety.)


TIP #1 Do you like it? Then, it’s perfect. That’s my biggest tip, therefore tip numero uno. Who the heck cares what the Internet says? If it’s your style, it’ll show. And it’ll be cozy for you. And it will be perfect. 

(Thinking that’s kinda hot garbo, Robin, I came for real tips? Yeah okay, here’s a few more.)


TIP #2 Pick a theme. The hottest thing right now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is a white Christmas situation with extremely muted cremes, whites, golds, and silvers (ahh five-year-old-Robin, ahead of her time.) And it’s beautiful. But it isn’t actually very me. I decided I wanted warmer, more traditional colors and pieces, with maybe a little glitter here and there. So when I was shopping and planning, I knew to steer clear of the white-washed décor aisles, despite how lovely and chic it truly is! Because it doesn’t match my vibe. 

What I’ve gleaned from watching my own mother-in-law, mom, and sister decorate year after year (and stalking every influencer who shared every styled coffee table because #addicted) is that themes matter. Whether it’s White Christmas, Rustic Christmas, Traditional Christmas, Beach Santas Rockin’ Board Shorts On Boogie Boards Christmas, narrowing down what your’e looking for makes the glittering, overstuffed and overflowing holiday aisles at Home Goods less daunting. 

TIP #3 Have patience, oh twenty-something on a shoestring budget. Odds are, your mother didn’t fill her home with Christmas Glee in one fell swoop of a Hobby Lobby excursion the year she got married, and it’s okay if you don’t, either.

Holiday cards inscribed,”This year, your Christmas Gift is looking at my coffee table. Kisses! Enjoy!” will likely not fly too well with the fam. Or your landlady regarding rent. If it isn’t in your budget, it’s okay. Rest easy in that. It’s really, actually, truly okay.

My goal every year is to add a few pieces, then calm down and enjoy them + the pieces I bought last year. There will always be places I feel like I can do better, but I try and remind myself I don’t have to. There’s always next year, and there’s always post-Christmas sales.

Still have an appetite bigger than your budget? Crafting is totally on the table. Here are some trees I did a couple years ago that were too fun, and way more in-budget that year than a set of sparkly bottle brush trees would have been. And people still got presents, and rent was paid, and I lived.

I also promised myself I wouldn’t beat you over the head with a toothy “Jesus is the reason for the season!” virtual grin, but y’all. Actually. Jesus is the reason for the season. And I’m a sucker for a rhyme. 

There is nothing wrong with a beautiful tree, but becoming consumed with picking or affording the perfect garland is a sure-fire way to snatch that Christmas joy right from your heart. 
So,

TIP #4 Don’t forget to celebrate our Savior coming to Earth for us. That is literally, actually, the point. It’s kind of a big deal, and if you profess Christ as your savior and believe that Christmas is the day we commemorate Him becoming flesh to eventually die for our sins, don’t fret the tinsel. Keep your heart turned to Christ, and hug your family. And just bask in the glow the season, because it’s far too short not to. 

Comfy Leather Legging Look 


I cautiously dipped my rebel toe into the leather legging trend a couple Falls ago with a front-panel-leather, back-panel-ponte situation just to feel it out (and like commit but not commit), and I determined it required infinitely fewer cool points to pull off than I had anticipated. (Ever adventurous, I am.)

So, this year, I took the full Rebel-Sandy dive with Cat Woman expectations resembling the eloquence of a Ross Geller reality, probably, but the verdict’s in and I love these things.

I feel tres chic and muy trendy + kind of like I’m wearing pajamas because at the end of the day they’re leggings. And didn’t Ross Geller teach us all that comfort + functionality is of supreme importance, after all? Ponte lining let’s you hold the baby powder, and if you aren’t tracking with this reference, stop reading right now because it’s more important that you swap over to Netflix instead. (Friends, S5EP11. Good for laughs. You’re welcome.)

Ultimately, this is the short story of a girl experiencing the fitting room magic of finding the perfect pant and inexplicably leaving them behind, having the opposite of buyer’s remorse, going back to purchase only to find -DUN DUN- her size sold out.

And rejoicing and purchasing without batting a mascaraed eyelash the moment they restocked.

The End. (Ever the storyteller, I also am.)

Every girl and her mother and her dog and cousin and her style assistant and her hair dresser own either the Spanx or the Commando high-waist, hold-ya-in and look awesome leather legging this year, it seems. And color me influenced – I’ve been unabashedly green with envy. My front panel pants weren’t cutting it anymore, and to be honest, were maybe an inch to short in the inseam all along anyway or maybe I shrunk them. I needed a back panel. I needed a longer inseam. I needed to be held-in-and-looking-awesome in 2017. But not for $100. 

Enter Loft. Almost always. 

Affordable with a flash sale which is bound to happen always (like today!) + far exceeding the quality of poorer budget-options I had given a go (here’s lookin’ at you, BP at Nordstrom, tsk tsk), these have quenched my thirst for cool, so I had to share because they’re half off right now. 


Plus! Contrary to popular beliefs, leather pants don’t have to be party pants. Dressed down with some mules and a tunic, totally daytime. (Praise-Hand-Emojis-Forever)

Leggings

Sweater 

Fall Footwear Favorite: the mule

There’s a post from 2015 in my elephant graveyard of rambling drafts that never saw the light of published infamy titled The Shoe I Didn’t Want to Love: the mule. (TL;DR Update: still in love. Less alone. Not unique. Don’t care.)

Because in 2017, the conversation has totally shifted from “trust me, you’re gonna love these, too, when you get over the fact you saw your mom wear them in 1994” to “hey everyone, look at my cute mules.” Because in 2017, it’s more generally agreed upon that mules are, in fact, cute. God bless the fashion influencer who brought back the 90’s, am I right? 

(Open backed with a closed toe, mule in regards to footwear is actually derived from a French root and not a la Oregon Trail. Fun Fact for your Thursday.)

This pair, G. H. Bass & Co. from DSW (also available at Nordstrom!), have easily slipped into first place this Fall in my neutral footwear rotation. Where versatility meets comfort, these bad boys are thriving in my wardrobe from dresses to every leg opening of denim I put them up against.


I’m totally #1 offender of finding a shoe I love, and wearing them into an untimely, scuffed grave. Perforated suede + demi penny loafer details of a flat-lover’s dream, I foresee a similar seriously over worn, well-loved fate for these little loves. In approximately 6,000 wears. Because they feel like they’ll hold up a good couple of seasons. (All the heart-eye + prayer-hand emojis.)


Have you caught me drooling over an open-back, beige penny loafer? Yes. Am I going to pretend I’m not maybe the most boring human you’ve ever met? Not a chance. But! Every girl needs a good, neutral flat to pair with a bolder top, dress, or pant. This, I firmly believe. Beige (or camel) may not be taking any spotlights, but the detailing keeps them from being too basic while giving another piece in your outfit a chance to steal the show.



Food for thought + maybe just the reason you need to go shoe shopping.

Of Bookends and Duplex Additions


I’ve been going-on-37 for about as long as I can remember. Instead of one of those “youthful-inner-child” spirit animals that make you a hoot at parties, I got landed with an inner-old-lady who enjoys tea, and crochet, and classic literature who also sometimes makes me use phrases like “hoot at parties.”

This inner-old-self-phenomena made for a really strange kid. Young Robin was weird. I crocheted on the regular. I entered (and won once!) adult-level poetry contests.  My favorite book was (is) Gone with the Wind. I had a moderate-to-concerning obsession with TLC & HGTV interior design programs. I also  l o v e d  TV Land. One Saturday, my mom awoke to find me writing a research paper on Abraham Lincoln. On my own accord. For no reason at all except to compile all of the research I had been doing that week “for fun.” I think I was ten.

And on brand, one of my favorite places on the planet earth was Barnes and Noble. Near the greeting card section, B&N stocked home accessories, completely swooning my tiny old lady heart.

If you haven’t had enough Robin Fun Facts today, here’s your bonus: I have also been obsessed with monkeys since from birth. And during one thrilling B&N adventure, Little old-lady-hearted, monkey-obsessed, design-on-the-brain Robin discovered heavy, ridiculously overpriced brass monkey bookends in a glass case. The end. all. of cool bookends. Because bookends, duh, were really cool.

I begged  and begged my mother for them. And like a good, sane mother, who clearly thought she was witnessing a fleeting “I see it and want it and will forget about it in two days” pleading fit, said, “Your birthday is coming up. If you still want them this badly then, you can use your birthday money for them.” And we left, bookendless and broken hearted.

So for my ninth birthday, I used every last dollar I was gifted + every cent I saved doing chores for over a month to purchase heavy, overpriced brass monkey bookends.

 

In their shining place of decorative glory on my bedroom dresser, my best friend came over that day, took one look at them, and curtly informed me it looked like they were sitting on the toilet. In my bliss, I did not care.

And while my tastes have changed ever so slightly over 16 years, and my living room isn’t littered with stuffed monkeys and boy band posters, the bookends always find a home.


I haven’t much outgrown an appreciation for reading and physically bound books, either, at 25-going-on-37. I also married a bookworm-grad-student. Our storage runneth over.

I’m not much for whims, but on a recent Half Price Books excursion, I suggested we had to figure out our book situation. We had both agreed we really wanted a bookcase for ease of access + home aesthetics.

 

One Target Detour was all it took, and Austin spotted a piece that has really tied our duplex living space together. It’s felt like the missing piece we didn’t know the space was missing, and is one of my favorite additions to our new(ish) home. We don’t have the square footage to pull all of our books out and not suffocate, but it’s felt like a good start + freed up a box space in the closet + gave the monkeys a proper home.

 

I’ts technically console table that I can’t recommend higher for a functional pop of character in a small space.

The Poncho-Shawl: my autumn lifesaver


I love Dallas.

I love the shopping. I love the food. I love the people. (If you don’t love Dallas People, I 100% hear you, friend, but then I dare to challenge, you probably haven’t found the right people.) I love when Austin and I drive in from a weekend away, as soon as the skyline breaks the horizon, and one of us exclaims predictably, “It’s our city!” We say it every time. We love our city.

I fell in love with the idea of Dallas as a teenager: spending school trips in simple hotels, power-shopping through limited shopping mall excursions in packs of friends, experiencing thrilling vertigo from tilting my head up at a downtown high-rise between conference sessions. Coming from Amarillo, Dallas was the dreamiest of dreamy, and 100% #goals if hashtags had existed when I was fourteen.

Then Dallas became sort of “the middle ground” between Amarillo and College Station when Austin and I dated in college, give or take a 6 hour advantage in his favor. (Read: it was about the only middle ground between Amarillo and College Station with more people than cows.) We would sometimes break up our months of long-distance dating by meeting in Dallas. Roaming the city just the two of us, learning to the maneuver the highways +  squeezing in as much shopping and live music as we could, is when I think I actually fell in love with more than the idea of Dallas. I fell in love with the dream of a life with Austin Karber in Dallas, TX someday. I’m living that now, and I think that’s really cool.


This preamble is what I have been reminding myself of quite a lot lately. A lot. A lot a lot. Because let’s talk about what I most certainly did not fall in love with: the weather in Dallas.

I have been pitching some top shelf temper tantrums over the fact that Dallas just can’t quit summer, God bless my poor husband. I am a boots, and scarves, and snow sort of girl. A grumpiest-when-sweating sort of girl. A girl who should probably not live in Dallas, TX. I’ve been hearing from the more humidity-inclined, “If you hate it so much, why don’t you just move?!” But please see paragraphs 1-4, and realize I fully I understand I kinda gotta just get the heck over myself sometimes and work through my fashion/weather issues.



The fashion issue: layers are my favorite way of styling, and that can be really challenging in this climate.

One sunny, fake-fall day recently I had myself particularly worked up over the devastating high of 85, but got myself over my first-world fit with this poncho. Silliest of silly, I get it, but light-weight ponchos like this are a style lifesaver for me in this funky seasonal transition that just drags on.



It’s less of a “style-hack” probably than basic common sense, but longingly digging through the sweaters in my closet, I can usually appease my fall-fanatic brain and feel the same vibes out of a light poncho as a sweater. At least I get to layer. Over a light tank top. You know, because heat strokes.


This poncho is an oldie but a goodie that I’ve gotten miles on miles out of a la Loft I think last season, or the season before.


Tank is soft, a good length, came in good colors, and washed well. Thank you Old Navy for loving the longer-torso’d.

Office Outfitting 02: the utility blouse 

I promised a series on “Office Outfitting” once upon a time and got so far as week one before backburnering the idea for a year and a half and crushing oh so many hopes and dreams. Because I just know you all totally noticed, and totally care, and have been totally devastated.

I’ll take a solid F for promises broken, but I hope to win over your delicate good graces by introducing you to my most versatile work blouse this week. Say you’ll forgive me. And if you work in a professional environment, go invest in roughly one to seven of these blouses.

Refresher: as a workaholic-from-birth, dressing for the office often gives me less anxiety than not dressing for the office. Read: I’m a rules girl. A dress-code, please girl.

Also read: I’m acutely aware I’m really strange. I just like the feeling of put-togetherness, dress-code or not.

Professional collared work shirts are always tricky business, in my OCD book. A structured shirt is meant to -wait for it- have structure, and always presents a more positively polished front when ironed with maybe a little light starch. And who has time for that?

It’s tough to find one that will get to 5:00pm looking as presentable as 7:30am., not suffocate with its stiffness, not have funky darts down the front that make it look like the office is a little chilly if you catch my drift, and not gap unprofessionally.

Enter: the tab-sleeve utility blouse.

I have four of these in different colors, and as I live and breathe am wondering why I don’t own more. This is my holy grail business casual office blouse, and by-far gets the most use in my work wardrobe. If I’m running late, have a case of nothing-to-wear, or need a solid classic to pair with a trendier bottom -they’re my go-to. I also think they look darn-cute and put together with shorts outside the office.

Reminder #2: I’m not a sponsored post blogger. I’m just a Loft Enthusiast.

The Utility Blouse is a style Loft  almost always carries every season in varying colors and patterns.

Long sleeves if you want them, tab sleeve detailing if you don’t, back-yoke detailing and shirttail hem: it’s a truly versatile cut for tucking, layering, or wearing alone over skinnies. The best feature: the drapey, blousey, polyester fabric.

Essentially, take my laundry list of contentions with collared shirts and this fixes for them + gives you a similar vibe. It’s almost like I’m not the only girl with shirt issues or something, and Loft listened. It also looks like there’s a 40% off situation today (October 9). Run, don’t walk. And I hope when you try-on it doesn’t make me a liar, and fixes maybe one or two of your getting-ready woes, too.

P.S. I’ve been obsessed with this green suede skirt, on sale today, too!