A Styled Screen Tee

Between the years of like 2000-2004, laying out my outfits was basically as easy as pairing this t-shirt with those jeans, and polishing my nails to match the day’s ensemble. Repeat Monday-Friday. (Early signs of a little O to the C to the D? Just maybe.)

In those early, awkward middle school days, Aeropostale took far more babysitting dollars from my wallet than ought have been legal because their monkey-themed screen t-shirts were  t h e   c o o l e s t. Until a newsflash came down the pike from my best friend’s coolest older sister that… it wasn’t. (And just maybe, never had been. The horror.)

And without so much as blinking, I remember a new fashion commandment being chiseled into my frontal lobe: screen tee’s were out.  So for years -we are talking years- I banned screen-tees from my wardrobing choices. (Unless they had a band. Those could stay. Bands were always cool.)

I laugh now at how malleable I had been + how on trend a good, styled screen-tee has become in the last few years. Layered over dresses, under sharp blazers and soft cardigans, or tucked into high-waisted denim, it’s hard to ignore the graphic tee in 2018. They’re everywhere (sans the Aero monkeys, but I think that’s fine.)

On point with trendy budget options as always, I’ve been super in love with this little soft, metallic graphic tee from Old Navy. They have some of the SERIOUSLY cutest, versatile tees for CHEAP. They fit me true to size with a relaxed fit, but I size up sometimes for a loose fit/to knot the side for something different. I also like that they aren’t skintight like a lot of basic/inexpensive tee options tend to be.

I paired mine with one of the softest cardis in my closet, linked here. (Which happens to be a pretty dead-ringer match to my nails. Coincidence?)

Gingham & Girlfriend Jeans 

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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.

Autumn Indulgences: my 4 c’s

“I love fall.” –The thread uniting basic white girls across America the moment temperatures dip just low enough to bust out a blanket scarf and snap a story sipping pumpkin spiced anything logo’d with the green mermaid stamp of approval . Truth: I am not immune to this sentiment. There’s a reason it’s so wildly and mockably popular! Fall is terrific. To me, it’s the seasonal precursor to the most wonderful time of the year –a little taste of the best season to come, but everyone isn’t grumpy about being cold or sharing the road with shoppers and sludge, yet.

I also find it an easier season than ev.er. to convince myself I deserve/need/earned/can’t-live-without a serious number of guilty pleasures.

Coffee
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use some warming up…” -Starbucks run. Keep your pumpkin-spice, though, and I will drink all of the Chai Tea Lattes you have with a side of *one of everything* on the holiday menu, thanks.

The ole’ Karber coffee maker tends to start working double-time, too, with the changing of the leaves (in the interest of still keeping some of our money in the bank). IMG_9690

Ye true coffee geeks across America forgive me – I love me some local beans, too, but more often than not I’m brewing:

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You guessed it. Starbucks Medium House Blend + Bailey’s (non-alcoholic) Vanilla Creamer

Smooth. Easy. Available at Kroger. Typically on sale at Kroger. Makes my house smell like I’m lounging in a super fleek Starbucks, minus congregations of high-schoolers and SAHMs, plus I don’t have to wear real pants (admittingly a point less to do with the coffee bean concept, and more with at-home brew.)

Cardigans
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use some warming up…” -Sweater weather. Longline/Boyfriend/Duster/Maxi/Squishy-Blanket-Disguised-as-Sweaters cardigans have been my favorite of favorite fall obsessions.

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Although sweater-weather south of the Texas Panhandle (I’m realizing) is more of a state of mind than an actual thing, frigid office air conditioners have still bred plenty of necessity to humor this card-carrying cardigan hoarder. Plus (!), now that we’re nearly all the way to gosh-dang Thanksgiving, Mother Nature is *finally* beginning to see things my way around here, too.

A few that top my lust list (at a variety of price-points):

DusterCardis

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Candles
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), I could really use a million tiny fires around my apartment to warm up!” -Okay, obviously not. Fall candles just smell the coziest, and as temperatures dip, who doesn’t just want to feel cozy?

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I have -easily- two to ten candles lit on any given evening in our 900ish square feet of space (which is all about having scents that blend, as much as it is having a potential candle addiction). 2 for $24 Bath & Body sale? Yankee Candles from Home Goods? Anthro-anything? I don’t discriminate, although I naturally end up with an overflow of B&B candles 10:1.

Calories
“It’s a little chilly (maybe 70 degrees), better really start packing it on for hibernation!” –What I think my mind actually convinces my stomach needs to happen for the last three months of the year. (If only.)

From carrot cake in the break room, sharing meals with company passing through, Friendsgivings, practicing Pinterest recipes for the pending holidays, to snacking on friend’s practiced Pinterest recipes for the pending holidays, why is there more. food. everywhere. starting this time of year?

Rarely is it the healthy stuff, either. It’s the good stuff. Nobody’s whipping up extra fruit salads or lettuce wraps –it’s the heavy, sugary, gluten-laden, glorious breads, cakes, pies, cookies and candies. This is such a fun time of year to bake for the same reason I burn through ten trillion candles – I love the coziness of baked goods.

I tried a new-to-me, easy recipe, and I feel like you need it in your life: Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread.

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It’s fairly heavy bread, with a heavenly balance of banana and cinnamon. Just trust me and follow the link for the road map to banana bread bliss.

Do you have any obsessions particular to fall, or have you read this not understanding a single word of my crazy? Comment below or with the talking bubble near the title!

Black Friday: don’t judge me + picks

Let’s call Black Friday what it is:  competitive shopping.

I’ve witnessed a steel, industrial door being ripped from Old Navy hinges for discounted sweaters, grown women screaming and slapping over Victoria’s Secret yoga leggings, vultures circling shopping carts waiting for owners to turn their backs for one second because Walmart ran out of $5 Tupperware and stealing from shopping baskets isn’t real stealing, right? (Wrong. If that is you, you are wrong.)

Those people –you can judge those people, but don’t totally give Black Friday a bad rap because of them. The aisles are mostly filled with hyper-competitive-shopping-enthusiasts like myself simply making memories with their families and scoring some awesome loot.

Black Friday is as much about the memories and stories for me as Thanksgiving. In the Mosier House, my siblings and I spent hours Thanksgiving morning with our dad and that 15-pound newspaper, meticulously sorting the fresh ads into piles:  the good stuff, the really good stuff, the not good stuff, and the maybe good stuff. (Do not mix the piles -I repeat- do not mix piles.)

Black Friday Strategy has been ingrained in my idea of the holidays forever. Although I won’t be with my parents this year (for the first time ever –cue flowing salty river), it’s not a tradition I plan to abandon.While Black Friday Dallas  is probably a far cry from Black Friday lilbitty Amarillo and any game plan I make is likely to be abandoned in terror, I should still make some picks and try, right?

In planning this post, I honestly thought I would have more picks. To be candid, there isn’t anything I’m like willing to knock people out of my way for this year. No “Gold Trophy” that I’ve seen and need, which is maybe a first. For this reason -reserving the right to change my mind, as any good woman would- I just may take a blind gamble and see what this is all about:

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They’ve peaked my interest. Ah! The allure of the unknown! Unfortunately, it’s working. Being in a new city for the first year, it might be time to shake up my regular stops. In the event I chicken out, these are a few places that are interesting me right now:

(Are these the best deals out there? Do I think all of you need to be shopping for these things, too? I hope not. That substantially limits my chances if all of you are gunning for my loot, too. These are just some fun Black Friday finds that interest me. If you want to know where to go for the statistically best deals, this interesting article. Also note I’m not in the market for any electronics this year, or my wish list would probably be substantially longer.)

Target:

Target, you fancy. I went to look up the digital ads last week and found this “Black Friday Map” tool -just thought you should know.

Target_Black_Friday_Picks
1. Ninja Master Prep Professional, $29 (I’ve been dying for a Ninja.) 2. Apparel, 40% off (Because Target clothes are sometimes incredibly great.) 3. Stretch Gloves with Touch Screen Compatibility, $3.50 BOGO free (I don’t own gloves. Who knew.) 4. Picture Frames, 50% off (You can always use a few picture frames, right?) 5. Saturday Only Deal BOGO free Holiday Wrap (Because it’s HOLIDAY WRAP.)  6. Elf on a Shelf Box (I definitely won’t be buying this one, but its so cute and I love them if you’re a mom do it.) 7. Electric Blanket, $19.99 (It’s a better alternative for my icebox of an office than the portable fire pit.)
Full Ad Here

Ulta:

Ulta_Black_Friday_Picks
1. bareMinerals Unbelievable Eyes Ulta exclusive kit, $10 (I love bareMinerals eye shadow.) 2Tarte Joy at Lash Lip & Lash Set, $19 (I’ve heard killer things about Tarte’s fibers as far as lash fibers go.) 3. Butter London Polish Duo, $15 (Great deal on great polishes, and I love coordinating colors for a little accent-nail pop.) 4. The Body Shop Products, 40% off (In love with the Tea Tree Oil line, extremely interested in the Peppermint.), 5. Hot Tools Rainbow Gold Tools, $34.99 (These are pretty versions of some awesome irons.) 6. Organix Hair Products, BOGO free (I use a lot of Organix on the regular.) 7. Philosophy 3-in-1 Shampoo/Shower Gel/Bubble Bath, $10 (Because I’m obsessed with all of the smells, and it makes a pretty good, sudsy bubble bath.)
Full Ad Here

Runner’s Up:

  • Old Navy 50% off the whole store honestly tempts me a whole lot.
  • Nordstrom’s 20% off select sale items sounds promising. The word “select” is my biggest hold up here though-how select are we talking?
  • World Market has a great ad -a whole lotta “BOGO free” on products from throw pillows, bath towels, holiday ornaments, jewelry, tea, and more. As I type this, I just might be convincing myself.

How do you feel about the ads this year? Anything you can’t wait to get your hands on? Comment below, maybe I missed something!

The Gap Clearance Center

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If I could only buy clothes from one company for the rest of my life, it would be Gap, Inc. -parent company of Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Piperlime. (See how tricky I am?  Technically I get 4 hypothetical stores out of the deal. Hypothetical win for me.)

It’s an obsession that began with my first part-time job as a sixteen-year-old Old Navy Sales Associate shopping-addict, using and abusing my cross-company employee discount and practically working 3 years in exchange for clothing. They created the perfect little brand-loyal monster out of me. (Win for Gap, Inc., but in real life.)

When my husband and I knew our days in Kentucky were officially numbered, I realized the one adventure I had yet to check off my “Living in Louisville” mental bucket list: shop the Gap Clearance Center.

Oh what is the Gap Clearance Center, you may ask? I had no idea, either, because it’s the only one in the world and I had just found out about it.

Yes, world. The whole world. We had been sharing a state, and I had yet to visit. It felt like brand betrayal.

Because Austin and I didn’t see ourselves back in the Bluegrass state anytime soon, I simply had to make time for a quick solo road trip. My last free weekend before the move, I made an hour and a half jaunt to Hebron, KY.

I stretched my legs, slung on my purse, and swung open the big, glass, industrial double doors not knowing quite what to expect, completely excited, and immediately completely overwhelmed.

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It’s not an outlet or factory store. Essentially, it’s a dumping ground for all products in the company that were damaged, made defective, overstock, or simply didn’t have any luck selling. There was a ton of stuff with absolutely no issues, mixed in with a ton of stuff with a lotta issues.

Think giant, Walmart-sized department store with the organization of a Good Will filled like the Island of Misfit Gap Garments. I had found my Mecca.

If you like your shopping experience to be neat, tidy, organized, and have everything you’re looking for presented in front of you sized, sorted, and handed to you through the fitting room door –this is not your place (and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is one trip ill-advised for the faint of heart or inexperienced shopper.) Items were organized by type (tanks, sweaters, pants, shoes), store, and generally size, but it was a true treasure hunt from there.

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insidestore(How to even begin to show everything? I have no idea. There was so much stuff. This is like maybe a third of the store.)

I have a rule of thumb when I shop  -I never use a cart. If I can’t carry it, I shouldn’t buy it, simple as that (you know, except for groceries.) That’s how I began this journey, and half an hour in I caved under the pressure of ten thousand tons of fabric & buttons. Shuffling my two little, overflowing arms to the carts, a knowing grin from a nearby sales associate told me I hadn’t been the first who thought I could tackle the store alone, and wouldn’t be the last. This was about to get serious.

It was essential to try on absolutely everything -hence the necessity of a cart. A pair of trousers could be labeled “6-Tall” and one leg in fits more like a “2-made for American Girl Dolls.” One arm of a sweater might be longer than the other, the buttons might be off, or the zipper may be busted. Practically everything was a gamble until you hit the fitting room.

They do have these nifty labels for seriously obvious damages like snags & stains to help not waste your time.

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They also had a sort of tag marker labeling system: “D” for damaged so you know to look out, a silver line for everything’s fine, and a mysterious red line that I have no idea what it meant. I mostly ignored the system and opted to try things on and investigate myself, instead. It seemed safer.

Four and a half hours & three massive trips to the fitting room later, I had to call it quits -and that’s truly how I felt. I wasn’t done, I just had to leave. It felt like clothes were constantly circulating from the fitting room to the floor, and I didn’t want to miss anything. It was so busy. I was so exhaustedtired of undressing and redressing and investigating, and thirsty as all get out. My lips were dry, my hair was flat, and my arms were sore -I felt like I was leaving the gym. (I should really visit the real gym more often.)

Worth it? Yes.

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I was more than thrilled with the gems I found -particularly a $78 Pim + Larkin sweater I had been in love with from Piperlime the previous winter I scored here for $19.

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And a pair of on-trend black Gap skinnies for $9.99.(My love of Gap denim probably accounts for half my loyalty to the brand.) And also a pair of wonderful smelling  black leather Steve Madden booties from Piperlime for $14.99 (swoon.)

If you happen to be a Gap-obsessed, shopping-lunatic like myself and land somehow in Northwestern Kentucky with some spare money & time, I highly (obviously) suggest at least a quick run through (if quick is actually even possible.)Something tells me this place is seriously, seriously hit or miss, and happen to be hit for me. I would say it’s worth the chance as maybe not a huge time-saver, but a massive money-saver.

gapcenter(Part of my loot! $3.99 tops, $5.99 sweaters, scarves, and a fabulously perfect Banana Republic LBD.)