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!

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.

Casual Friday 01

To some of you, “Casual Friday” may conjure images of one particularly campy season-five scene at Dunder Mifflin (da****, Meredith!).

 (I’ll spare the rest of the scene in the unfortunate event you haven’t seen The Office –in which case, quit reading now and go do that instead.)

To others, today is simply “praise Jesus, it’s jeans-and-go day.” I’m on both teams.

I’ve had an office job since I was 18, and while I genuinely enjoy an excuse to wear nicer clothes Monday-Thursday, sometimes it’s a relief to have one element of my work outfit preemptively chosen at least one day out of the week: Friday denim, basically always. (Simply novel, I know.)

Chillier seasons make it particularly easy to feel casual + not frumpy on Fridays. I love a denim and blazer combination, especially after throwing boots into the mix. It instantly makes me feel polished, even if I woke up 30 snooze-buttons late and spent a literal two minutes pulling an outfit  together.



 Do you have a Casual Friday throw-and-go favorite? Comment below or with the talking bubble near the title!