Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Man, I miss blogging

Although my blog posts are few and far between these days, it's not for a lack of interest. I feel like I can't use baby as an excuse since there are so many mommy bloggers out there (how do y'all do it?!). But I can use baby, moving, dissertation, and teaching online courses all together as an excuse. I didn't mind the absence from the blogosphere really until fall weather hit. I didn't mind wearing my maternity tees because I absolutely love them (seriously- I already have a black one and a white one and am contemplating getting another one the next time I go shopping), but also because getting dressed in the summer was so easy. When I did go out, the weather was relatively mild so I was able to wear the same jeans, tee, and sandals, unless it was a special occasion. The last "special" occasion was in October when my parents came to visit and we went out to lunch and then the outlet mall. This was my outfit:

Tommy Hilfiger sweater (c/o Mom)  //  Apt. 9 jeans  //  Old Navy flats

It felt great looking somewhat put together, but now that it's too cold for bare feet and ankles, I need new options. First, I need to stop wearing my maternity jeans a pair of jeans that fit. Then, I need shoes. The non-flat, non-boot, but appropriate for cold weather shoe has been the greatest struggle for me. I have yet to find something that I like and that works for my closet. Recently my aunt-in-law gifted me these booties (in cognac), but I can't figure out what to do with my jeans: tuck them in? Roll them up? Let them sit on top of the boot? 

I also tried these shooties on recently, and at the time, I thought they could work. I tried them on, but I didn't love them and there were plenty in stock, so I passed for the moment. 

Then when I got home and looked at them again, I felt like they were so... what's the word.. not cute? I'm beginning to think that I'm going to have to accept unflattering shoe options if I don't want to wear boots all fall/winter long. 

Once I have jeans and shoes in place, the rest should be easy, but it's not. Somehow I have forgotten how to get dressed in my time off from blogging. So here I am, back at square one, trying to put myself together for those seldom but much needed occasions out of the house. This really is a journey in style.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Budget

graphic tees (pocket) (print*) : orig. $15 each, on sale $7.50
floral shorts: orig. $20, on sale $10
stripe joggers: orig. $25, on clearance $10
*see the actual one on Instagram

Earlier this month I went shopping for baby clothes, and after I realized I had spent way too much time in Gymboree debating between whether to get the 6-12 mo. or 12-18 mo. hoodie, I said screw it, got the smaller one because it's what he needs now, and went to Old Navy to shop for myself. Of course, by that time, baby had been awake for long enough where nap time was getting closer by the minute. I had just enough time to do a sweep of the clearance section and find a few things to try on (and buy, because who can honestly get any real thinking done when you know your tot's cries are saying "Mom, I'm tired. Mom, I want to take a nap. Mommmmm...." --- At least that's how my guilt complex interpreted his grunts and groans.)

Anyway, I went home with the epitome of my wardrobe these days: lounge wear and tees. But you know what? When you're a MWWFH (mom who works from home), lounge wear is an indication that you have overcome just one more obstacle in your day: getting out of your PJs. For me, new lounge wear means that I can go a day without wearing the same old (new) soccer shorts. And some days, that is what is keeping me sane. 

While these were all impulse purchases, I have already worn them all more than some things I bought years ago. Once I figure out a simple and efficient way to take selfies, get them in blogger, and put some words next to them, I'll show off my tees. Any advice for doing this would be much appreciated :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

back at it again

Hi there! I'm not even sure where to begin since so much has happened since the last time I posted. The most time occupying thing that happened is that we moved. While we were in the process of that, Baby Tater Tot learned how to roll over. About three days ago he learned how to army crawl and has been unstoppable since. Add two teeth, and you've got one mom with full overflowing hands. (Hands were full with grad school, online courses, and life in general. Moving with an infant only multiplied the load.)

What brings me back to the blog? Honestly, I miss it. I miss fashion. Even when I go to Target and walk by the women's section, I feel left out. What's worse is that I felt resentment towards others who had time to look put together, and even more resentment towards those who had the time and energy to blog. I stopped looking at blogs and didn't log into Instagram for what felt like a long time. After chatting about this in my mommy group, I realized that blogging wasn't just something I did in my spare time; it was part of my identity.

And so now that we're basically done moving (minus a handful of boxes that still need unpacking), and baby is getting on a somewhat regular nap schedule, I think I'll be able to throw a post together here and there. To all of the mothers out there who haven't missed a beat in the course of raising a newborn, I salute you. 

occasion: lunch date (in the midst of moving)

(gifts c/o Mom)

It was finally time to retire my favorite black maxi skirt . It was really starting to thin out and become see-through. Even my mom agreed so she bought me a new one. Although I loved that I scored mine for under $20, the quality of the new one far surpasses the old, so I'm looking forward to getting years of wear from it. After buying the skirt, my mom earned a rewards certificate, so we went to the store, and used it on the tee. There were so many great colors, but the turquoise was the only one in my size that wasn't black, white, or grey, and we all know I have enough of those colors in my closet. (This one in lilac was a close runner up; I'm still debating getting it because the tees are so soft and comfortable.)

Friday, April 21, 2017

fitting room snapshots: gap

One of the many challenges of being a new mommy is the lack of "me time". I can't just do things on a whim; every trip out of the house has to be well planned, generally revolving around when Baby Tater Tot has last eaten, and whether he has had enough wake time (or too much). Car trips tend to put him to sleep, but on the off-chance he wakes up, he is super cranky.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that I went to a mommy group, where Tater was able to nurse and nap, which meant that I had an hour or so to do whatever I wanted to do. One thing I really enjoyed doing pre-baby was trying on clothes. For me, most of the fun of shopping takes place in the fitting room.

I found myself in Gap, and took some snapshots of the things I tried on. 

Off the shoulder top: I knew before I tried on the off the shoulder top wasn't going to work out. I tend to avoid tops that require "fancy" bras, but I found myself gravitating toward it. Later I remembered it was because I had already been part of the off the shoulder trend when I was in high school (I had three I can remember off the top of my head). I have a friend who always since "If you were part of a trend the first time around, you're too old to do it again." Either way, I didn't like this top. Verdict: easy pass.

Split-neck top: I liked the style, but the fit was off. It was too tight in the armpit and too wide in the waist. There was a decent assortment of colors, though. I suppose it was a good thing it didn't work out otherwise I would have been in a hard spot choosing between several of them. Verdict: pass.

Neither top is available on line any longer. 

I liked the fit of the short sleeve blouse on the left, but didn't love it on me. Three different prints on one shirt is too much for me. I couldn't see myself wearing it, let alone wanting to wear it, so it was an easy pass. 

The same goes with the long sleeve blouse on the right. I liked the fit, but didn't love the print. Also, I thought it was buttoned at the top in such a way that it couldn't be unbuttoned (I couldn't find a hook), and so I assumed the top was meant to stay closed, as seen above. After a Google search, I realized that I was wrong. But the discovery wasn't enough to make me regret my decision.

Eyelet tee: I'm impressed with the assortment of white and flowy tops Gap has (on clearance!). I loved everything about this top except the length. After looking back on this picture, I am questioning whether it was really too short because it's so cute. Reviews online agree it is short. Too bad. Verdict: passed (sadly).

Striped cardigan: If you know me, you know I have a thing for stripes. It wasn't until I was trying this on that something felt oddly familiar. That white and grey striped cardigan of mine no longer fits and has seen better days. I think it might actually be in my donate pile right now (more on that in another post). Do I need another cardigan? Absolutely not. Would this be a good piece for a capsule wardrobe? Possibly, especially since I have a tendency to wear solid colored tops otherwise. Verdict: bought it, but my conscience is telling me to return it.

Crochet tank: I'm rarely tempted by 40% off promotions. I was sticking to the clearance rack until the sales associate told me there are other clearance items spread throughout the store. While I was looking for these other items, I came across this tank. It's hard to say whether I love the crochet detail or the crisp white more, but I'm pretty sure it's a winner. Verdict: this one came home with me. As did the same one in jungle green.

Sleeveless shirt: I loved the color of the shirt and the embroidery detail, but the shirt had a collar that made me feel like I was about to get my hair cut, and it was just way too wide at the bottom. When I got home to look at Gap's website, I saw that this shirt is styled tied-up at the bottom. Maybe that's why it's so wide? For there to be extra material to tie up? Verdict: easy pass.

Cold shoulder top: I wish I would have taken a close up of this top because I can't describe it, but I love it. I'm sure the cold shoulder trend is on its way out (if it hasn't left already), but I also don't think it's that dramatic of a statement anyway. My only complaints are that it is a smidge too short and that it is a smidge more see through than I would prefer. (If you look closely you can see my bra.. which fit just fit just fine while I was pregnant. I wish I wouldn't have listened to my mom friends that said your boobs do most of their growing while you are pregnant, because I must have gone up at least a cup size after my milk came in. Sorry if that's TMI.) Verdict: it came home with me but I'm not sure if the minor complaints are signs that it should go back.

Pleat tank: As you'll see below, I tried this tank on in two different colors. My size wasn't in stock, so I went up a size. It could have worked, but when the sales associate told me the same top was available online in my size and I could have it shipped to my house for free, I went with my size. It's fun and flirty, but if I'm really trying to build a capsule wardrobe, I'm not sure this top would make the cut. I'm not sure how I would style it other than on its own with jeans or paired with a cardigan. Verdict: it is currently in the mail, and I'm currently on the fence about it.

Pleat tank: The same comments apply as above. I noticed this color on my second trip around the store (I frequently take another spin around the store after my first fitting room session). They had my size in stock with this one. Verdict: I bought it, but will only keep one of the two (if any). While I gravitate more towards the white one, I should probably opt for the pink one instead.

Print tank: I picked this one off the rack for one odd reason. The last time I saw my realtor, she had a quasi-floral pink and purple tank with a coordinating cardigan over it, and I loved it, to the point that I put a quasi-floral print tank on my wishlist. I like the way this one fits, and I was pleasantly surprised that I could wear it on its own - typically I steer clear of any kind of spaghetti (or linguine) straps. Verdict: bought, most likely a keeper, but ultimately depends on what else I keep.

So there you have my most recent trip to Gap. I hadn't been in a long time, but I found a few winners. I love the flowy factor of most of these tops, especially since they hide my leftover baby belly. I clearly went home with more than I intended to, so now I need to narrow it down. Which ones do you think I should keep? Should I only keep the ones that would fit in a capsule wardrobe, or should I just get the ones that make me feel good?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

a new chapter: part one

Hello again! It has been a long time since I have posted. What have I been up to? Well, for starters, I had a baby! My little tater tot is just about the most perfect thing ever, so that's pretty awesome. Recovery from labor was not quite as awesome, and took far longer than anticipated. By the time I was starting to feel back to my normal self, I had fallen really behind with work, and so all of my waking hours went to taking care of baby or playing catch-up on my courses (and sometimes, both at the same time). 

What brings me back to the blog? Believe it or not, wearing leggings and nursing friendly tops for two months straight gets old. At first it was great to not have to worry about what I was wearing since I was stuck at home for so long, and on the rare occasion that I did go out, I could play the "new mom" card and not have to worry about my appearance. Fast forward to today, where I'm so sick of wearing leggings that I'd rather wear my maternity jeans that I have to pull up every two minutes. But I'm sick of that as well. And the "new mom" card only lasts so long.

Coatigan: The Limited //  Tank: Kohl's  //  Jeans: Target  //  Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's

"Kate, if you're so sick of leggings and maternity jeans, why don't you just go back to your pre-pregnancy clothes?" Ah, if only it were that simple. Currently none of my pre-maternity pants fit because my hips decided they needed to double in size (since they didn't already have enough of a presence). My feet grew, too. And on top of all of that (no pun intended), most of my shirts and blouses don't fit because of my milk cannons. 

So here I am, essentially starting a new wardrobe from scratch. I did the same when I was pregnant, and I am pretty satisfied with the decisions I made (September, October, November). I invested in a couple pairs of maternity jeans, and I wore them enough to get cost-per-wear far under $1. The same goes for basic tees and tanks. I'm hoping that the blog will help keep me on track and on budget while I'm in this transition period. 

If you have been in my shoes, I'd love to know your experience with getting dressed as a new mom. Was it all comfy clothes for you? How long did it take you to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes again? Do you have any advice? Please share in the comments!

Monday, January 30, 2017

39 weeks

Well, it's almost that time. But then again, that's the song I've been hearing for the past couple of weeks. (At my last two check-ups, the doctor and APRN have said, "I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see you next week." That made me antsy for a while. Now I'm convinced that they have jinxed me and I'll be late. I'm okay with holding off for a bit longer since my husband has a nasty cold - fingers crossed it doesn't make its way to me!) So these days I'm just trying to keep up with grading for my online courses, but the fatigue has made it a real challenge. 

At least I have somewhat of a predictable routine by now: sleep in, have breakfast, respond to emails, take a break by doing some kind of household cleaning until the heartburn strikes because I've bent over too many times, go back to grade but realize I'm hungry, and then have lunch and watch some TV. Before too much time passes, I'm ready to take a nap (clearly deserved at this point with all I have accomplished - ha ha). While my goal is to keep my naps under 45 minutes (because Google told me to), I end up groggy regardless of whether they're 30 or 60 minutes long. The best cure I know for nap grogginess is a snack, so it's off to the kitchen I go. ... The rest of the evening is far less predictable, but it's a combination of dinner, Hulu (unless the Bulls are playing), and trying to work up the motivation to drink my red raspberry leaf tea, eat dates, and do some stretching. 

"Try" seems to be a recurring theme here. I suspect after baby is born, I won't even bother to try. People keep telling me to relax as much as I can and enjoy the calm before the storm, but that just seems impossible when there's always something to do.

I honestly don't know how any pregnant blogger has managed to keep her blog going, especially in the third trimester. Kudos to those of you who have done so successfully. 

And because I feel like it's obligatory to have at least one photo in a blog post... 

[taken at 38.5 weeks]

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Happy (belated) New Year!

Hi there! I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season. I have been meaning to post, but developing a brand new online course and updating my other one have kept me unbelievably busy over the past month. After spending nearly all day every day for the past couple of weeks working on the courses, I began worrying that I would pop before I finished. 

Fortunately I'm here to say that I haven't popped, my little Tater Tot is growing (and feeling more like a bowling ball these days), and I finalized the courses. Hopefully I have constructed them in such a way that I'll have less work this semester, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

I have been doing a terrible job of taking pictures over break. My outfits lately consist of grey or black leggings, a black or white long sleeve tee, or a short sleeve tee. Add to that fuzzy boots or my new Nikes (which you've seen if you follow me on Instagram), and you can basically put together what my blog would have looked liked over the past month.  (Oh, and I got a hair cut - from a salon!)

So what's in the future for this blog? We'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I'll get another post in before baby arrives (I'm 37 weeks and counting).
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