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!

Rose Nude Nail Love 

“There are two things in this world you are always sure about,” lamented my mother once to an irrationally fickle, teenage Robin. “Austin Karber, and your fingernails.”

Now 25-years-old: I am Mrs. Karber, and I am still getting my nails done.

She’s a keen one, that Sandy.

Growing up, my mother also always told us: if someone notices your nails when they look good, that means they also notice when they look bad, and they just won’t say anything.

Mostly, she meant keep them clipped and clean. I don’t think she intended to spark my love affair with the nail salon, but let’s blame her for it.

A new nude pink came into my life this weekend, and I bought it for my own stash the very next day: OPI Dolce De Leche. (When I decide a polish is a favorite-favorite, I like to have it on hand to take into the salon myself + in case of emergency chipping, cue the distant echo of my mother’s ugly-hands forewarning ringing in my subconscious.)

It skews far more mauve in indoor/more dim lighting than in what these photos were shot, and it wasn’t the color I was intending to find on Saturday.

I don’t just walk into the salon all whimsy whim and just pick a color -that’s a level of living on the edge my life is not about. When I walk in, I’ve probably already spent an unreasonable amount of time determining what color I want to live with for the next 2-3 weeks. It’s a weighty decision.

Saturday, my mind was set on pink. Like, very pink. Hubba Bubba, practice law with Elle Woods kind of pink. Pink Pink. Someone handing me my coffee last week had something like this, and it stuck in my brain.

I picked a shade to fit the bill, and in a state of panic, questioned, “Will I feel this girly tomorrow? Will I feel this girly in an hour?” Then shade by shade -and likely to the great relief of my patient nail tech- I mosied down and settled on a more comfortably Robin shade of girly.

A not overly pink rose nude, completely opaque with two coats, and zero shimmer or sparkle: it’s a new nail staple color I anticipate wearing out this fall.

Gingham & Girlfriend Jeans 

Alternate Post Titles:
A day in the life of a girl who doesn’t have a handle on hair & humidity, yet.
How to feel like a recycled tablecloth in the very best way.
A Tale of Two Bargains

When I plucked it from the rack, this top felt edgy & trendy with a follow the yellow brick road flare that confounded me, yet drew me in.

I call this feeling: the gingham conundrum. Should I sprawl out and let a couple of starry-eyed honeymooners picnic on my back? Practice my hair-flip-cappuccino-sip under a tres chic cafe patio umbrella? Milk the goats? (Or maybe, just maybe, go to lunch wearing a perfectly adorable summer pattern like a perfectly normal girl with fewer gingham complexes?)

The SLEEVES gave me serious heart eye emojis, and bent my reservations to the practicality of the classic pattern in my own wardrobe. (Gingham = not crazy. Me = up for debate.)

I had lustfully tried on several tops in similar silhouettes on our trip to Italy this past spring, but deemed each a “non-critical” fashion emergency. This $14.99 version from the racks of TJ MAXX: emergency, declared. Three cheers for silencing a lingering non-buyers remorse, and four cheers for all the euros saved on pulling the trigger on this top, instead.

Denim has been an entirely separate scouting situation.
On another budget, I could have easily taken up the two-thousand mermaid-haired, deep-pocketed fashion influencers’ jeans suggestions during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to fill my fall fashion gaps. (The sale I could have shopped, maybe, had there been a sale on top of sale of some of those pretties. Equal parts yikes & drool.) 
 
The four-leaf clover I was hunting: destructed, medium wash, inexpensive without feeling inexpensive (feeling inexpensive, read: poor distress-placement and ultra-spandexy.)

I tried on ten. pairs. of jeans. between a few different sales happening over the weekend (Texas’s tax-free holiday), to no avail. I punctuated a separate errand entirely, and slipped into Old Navy for a quick once-over, not looking for denim, because I rarely do at Old Navy. Lo and behold: my four leaf denim clover, setting me back a whole seventeen bones (tax-free).
Adding one more pair of destructed jeans to my weekend/evening outfit rotation was a preemptive move to keep my favorites from becoming too ratty in the way distressing can with time and wear, and I think I’ll be happy I did.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom: aka only spending less than $35 between two happy pieces in one outfit.

The gift that made me cancel Birchbox 

My mother-in-law is the kind of woman who just gives you things. It’s fantastic.

(Note: I hate calling her my mother-in-law. Let’s call her my friend Michelle.She’s been my friend Michelle much longer.)

My friend Michelle is acutely in tune with her personal style and what fits her body type and image, and has a serious knack for spotting that in others. She can style a person or a coffee table to personal taste like no one’s business. And if she has something brand new or otherwise, and thinks it will look better on you, or look better on your mantel, it’s yours. Don’t argue. Go with it. You’re welcome.

This over-sized scarf/sarong situation: Michelle. Something a little more funky than I *may* have picked out on my own, I love, and have her to thank. My friend Michelle, plus also Fab Fun Fit.

I’ve been a Birchbox subscriber for something close to three years? Something like 36 boxes deep? And I’ve had this little probing inner conscience voice begging the question over the past several boxes: are you really that excited about these face cream samples? 

To which my physical, loud, and stubborn Robin voice replies monthly YES, YES OF COURSES I AM, WHY WOULDN’T I WANT MORE SAMPLES?! THE BOX UNDER MY SINK ISN’T NEARLY FULL ENOUGH OF SAMPLES. HAHAHA. SILLY CONSCIENCE, BE QUIET. 

I imagine someday I’ll reach the height of disposable income nonchalance where I don’t notice $10 coming out of my account every month. And maybe I won’t. (And maybe I wouldn’t want to?)

Right now, I notice, and then the voice pipes up: are we sure, Robin? Really? 

Then, Michelle gave me the low down about Fab Fit Fun.

I’d seen the same 20 celebrities + Bachelor-Franchise-Cast-Off-Almost-Celebrities as you probably have promoting the service, but never thought seriously about signing up (after all – I had my Birchox to be loyal to, right? Right?) Plus, FFF was a little pricier, albeit only 4 times a year.

The weight of a friend’s endorsement tends to carry more weight with me, and going through her summer box of full-size products (and being gifted this funky drapey piece) gave me serious pause to the value I was getting out of my Birchboxes.

Verdict: I just wasn’t excited anymore. As I unsubscribed, I checked the box “I’m all sampled out,” and realized it was true: too many samples. Not enough time. Or disposable income nonchalance to turn the samples into full size products.

I’d also been subscribing so long, I’d begun doubling up, and I didn’t need that.

I haven’t subscribed (yet!) to Fab Fit Fun, but I see it as a serious contender + worthy investment in entertainment and fun value.

In the meantime, I have an easy Sunday styling piece in this scarf/sarong/almost-poncho to itch my layering urge + not melt away these weeks it feels like we’re living on the surface of the sun in Dallas, TX.

How To Be A Wildflower + creative habits 

When Instagram was new (new to me new – #EarlyMajorityAdopter4Life, cozy right behind the curve), and sharing grainy, low quality screenshots of inspirational Pinterest quotes was the rage, I shared this snippet of wisdom with all of my 27 followers:


(#Creativity. Wow. What a hashtag. What an image. Those mighty juices were flowing, y’all.)

Unbeknownst to me, these two cents nestled their roots somewhere nice and deep in my long-term memory, and I’ve found fewer quotes pop in my head as often. Mr. Law’s words were supplemental to an idea drilled down by great mentors and professors through college, which in so many words, is that “one does not simply begin spewing creative genius.”

Sitting in a silent white room, with a blank white sheet of paper (physical or digital it may be), is the best way for that paper to stay blank. Or conversely, filled with so much nonsense, it was better off clean.

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum. Some of your best, creative, most award-winning thoughts may actually happen in the shower (take that, Nick), but I’m willing to bet this is part of your system of creative habit all along, whether you like to think of it that way or not.

Because I might sound like esteemed Creative Guru #1 right now, let’s back up: I don’t know how to unlock anyone’s creative genes so that they begin, actually, spewing creative genius. I also don’t think any guru who may attempt to someday stake this claim with you actually can, either. I don’t even know if creative genius is ever –per se– spewed.

Dialing down to what gets your creative whatever in gear is like finding face wash. The market is nice and overwhelmingly saturated with thousands of face washes and skincare product options, but what is there only one of? Your face. What does it take? Trial and error, and finding exactly which clean skin cocktail works for your face. Not her face, not his face, not Jenifer Aniston’s face -your face.

All I know is, my face really likes philosophy Purity cleanser, and surrounding myself with lovely, inspiring, colorful, life-giving tangible books when I need to jump-start my creative juices. A new favorite I picked up a couple of weeks ago: How To Be A Wildflower by Katie Daisy.

General theme: harnessing the magic of experiencing nature through the eyes of a child, about calming down and taking note of the little things around you, and branching out and doing naturey-type stuff on the regular. Kind of right up my alley -minus the whole experiencing serious nature stuff– but it’s as inspired as I’ve ever been to almost think about going camping since reading Wild.

Thumbing through pretty pages, but also reading particularly well-versed authors and various bloggers, is also part of keeping my mind in a creative place. I also try to write a little something every single day because it just makes my soul feel better.

I keep little notebooks and scratch paper within reach nearly always, and have very full iPhone notes. And a very active Spotify account, because, music.

When I’m out of practice jotting stuff out, reading, or taking time to look through photographs and illustrations of artists and artisans far more talented than myself, I feel it, and I feel sad and rusty.

There isn’t a magic switch to make the acne go away the morning of the big day with the big thing you wish you didn’t have acne for. It’s a bit of a commitment, that pesky standard hygiene thing. With diligence + removing your makeup nightly + using fresh Clarisonic brushes + whatever whatever -there’s a good chance you’ll yield good results.

And there isn’t a switch to make your brain creative. It truly does take habit.

Is it a sure fire way to wake up with the radiance of Chrissy Teigen and the glow of a thousand Kylighters? Heck-to the-no.

I could read How To Be a Wildflower thirty-eight times, cook all the things in all the coffee table cookbooks, write every thought I’ve had the last twelve hours, and all that comes out are stick figures and weak meme punchlines for words. And the pimple is there, right before prom. It happens.

It doesn’t work that way all of the time, but it works for me. Maintaining and trying to keep my mind in a creative space, and develop creative habits, is personally extremely valuable.

I try and stay away from the sad and rusty place, but if I get there, these are all things that help kick my brain back into a space it can start being inspired to make again (and are great preventative tools for me, to begin with.)

And I’m kind of with Monet -fresh flowers never hurt, either.

High Five for Friday(ish) 04

(belated! by 3 days! but who’s counting?)

With last week planted firmly in my rear view, I have no intentions of wanting to rewind and relive. It was that sort of week. But! It is these kinds of weeks, in my humblest little opinion, that are the most important to hunt for “sprinkles” -and not let a half baked HF4F post wither in the elephant graveyard of forgotten posts, however late it might be. Because also, I make the rules, and need an excuse to share my new sunnies with you.

Top 5 highlights of last week:

1. I work with some really amazing people, one friend particularly who noticed I was pretty radically “off” one day, and surprised me with this small planet of a cupcake and sweet card. Thanks for being a true gem, Cari, and getting me one heck of a sugar high.


2. The number one way I feel better after a long day is soaking in a fancy tub with a glass of fine wine and going for a fancy facial eating breakfast food. As fancy as I’d like to pretend I may be, my natural state of relieving anxiety is cleaning + eating pancakes.

Alex & I discovered a g.r.e.a.t. diner within walking distance from our duplex, and I was able to drown my sorrows in syrup a-plenty.

3-5. Walking for wine and shopping local with two of my favorite humans at the Bishop Arts Wine Walk.

I could have been having a particularly wonderful week, and this would have easily been the highest of highlights. I just love the community/neighborhood/culture down in this little corner of Dallas. (And anyone who will let me drink wine in their boutique.)

New sunnies? Artisan jewelry? Organic local handmade soap? win win win. Cheers.