Diary
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New Year’s Eve Thoughts 🥂🎩🎊

Greetings on this last day of 2019!

I was going to republish my How to Purge Your Closet post today, but I decided at the last minute to share some things that are on my mind. (That post has been recently updated, so if you are feeling the urge to purge, definitely give it a read!)

I wanted to write more of this at the end of yesterday’s post, but I ran out of time, and it was also getting mighty long. So consider this a mid-week Coffee Talk…

New Year's Eve Thoughts 🥂🎩🎊

New Year’s Eve Thoughts 🥂🎩🎊

From perusing my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I gather this has been a rough year for some, a victorious year for others, and for most of us, a little of both.

I’m definitely in the 3rd category. It’s been a good year mostly, although there were some disappointments. I’m still bummed about our canceled trip to Austin last spring, but hopefully our Paris trip in May will more than make up for that!

The kids all had a good first semester of school, and they’re all healthy and happy, which brings joy to this mama’s heart. David loves apartment living, Caroline has become quite the little home chef, and Becca has found her tribe in the marching band.

Paul has taken on some additional responsibilities at work, and he’s enjoying the new challenges, but it will require more travel. We’ll have to see how that plays out. Even though the kids are older, our home life always feels a little deflated when he’s away.

As for me, I’m struggling a bit with a funky hip issue, which is making it hard to stay motivated to exercise, and I’m also having a hard time keeping my weight in check. Hi, perimenopause!

I’ve been dabbling with intermittent fasting, and I’m hoping to hit it hard in the new year and see if that helps. I’ve been reading Delay, Don’t Deny, in case you’re interested.

Looking Ahead to 2020

I don’t make resolutions or choose a word, but my plans for 2020 include:

a trip to Paris with Paul to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary

I’ve never been to Europe, and I am SO looking forward to this trip!!! Praying that all goes well and nothing will derail our plans this time.

a kitchen update

I’m ready to start Phase Two of our home design projects, and the kitchen is next. We aren’t sure how much we want to do, but a new sink and counters, a tile backsplash, and appliances are definitely on the agenda.

I’m looking forward to the updates, but I kind of dread the process… especially if we decide to paint or replace the cabinets. We’re meeting with a designer next week to discuss.

a couple of blogging conferences

I’m not sure which ones yet, but I enjoyed the one I went to last month. It’s important to invest in my business in that way, and I need that time with other women in the industry to talk shop and compare notes and inspire each other.

a 6-day posting schedule

I’ve been posting 7 days a week for as long as I can remember. I like the pace, I enjoy the daily comments, and I usually have more than enough topics to fill all 7 days. But as my posts get longer and more time consuming to put together, I need to scale back just a bit.

I’m going to start taking Saturdays off and see how that goes. My weekly recap emails will still go out on Saturdays, there will just be no new blog post.

a subtle shift in the focus of the blog

I’m moving away from posting so many new outfits, and doing more try-on hauls, daily outfit roundups, and topics related to how to put outfits together.

There will always be outfit posts and new products cycling in and out of my closet that I’ll want to share with you, but this year I really want to focus on quality over quantity. That’s much more in sync with my own shopping habits and personal style aesthetic.

As we sit here on the brink of a new decade, I can’t help but wonder what the future will hold for the blogging industry. SO much has changed in the past 10 years, I can’t begin to imagine how things will look 10 years from now.

On the other hand, there is one thing that hasn’t changed: Content is still king.

No matter what new social media networks might crop up or how the algorithms change or how sophisticated websites get, content is king and authenticity rules. The cream will always rise to the top.

I’ve always believed that and operated under that philosophy, and it’s served me well so far.

So with all that said, once again, I want to thank you for being here. I know I said this yesterday, but it always bears repeating: I could not do what I do without you.

Sometimes the pace of this job can be overwhelming, but 95% of the time, I have to pinch myself to believe that I actually get to do this for a living.

Even my daughters, who see crazy amount of hours I put in some days and my angst over deadlines and negotiations and the occasional cranky commenter, tell me that I have a dream job. And I do. So thank you.

Whether you go out or stay in tonight, I hope you all have a fun and safe NYE celebration. Happy New Year! 🎊

Diary
93 Comments

YEAR IN REVIEW: HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2019

Happy Monday, friends! I cannot believe it, but it’s time to write my 2019 Year In Review.

This is where I highlight some of my best moments, favorite outfits, and popular blog posts from the past year.

After surviving 2018, a year that brought many changes for our family as well as my business, I felt like there wasn’t going to be much to say about 2019… but I found plenty!

I hope you enjoy looking back over 2019 with me…

YEAR IN REVIEW: HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2019

By the way, I recently rounded up my 20 Favorite Outfits from 2019, so I didn’t repeat those here. Be sure to check out that post, if you missed it!

JANUARY

January started off with a bang as far as my business goes, but I’m learning that’s the cycle of things. I guess people are all inside on their computers, so why not read blogs?

We moved into this house in the summer of 2018, and I spent most of that fall and last winter updating the house and making it our own. My most popular post last January was my Foyer/Living/Dining Room Reveal.

Trailing behind that were Purge Your Closet, an older post that I republished on New Year’s Day, and (shocker) a Try-On Haul!

My favorite post to research and write was my Fashion Sneaker Review.

Happily, I’m still loving my final choice — my white Veja Esplar kicks.

Also in January, I organized my basement storage area… it’s already a disaster again, but at least I have the framework in place. One of the tasks on my to-do list this week is to get my holiday stuff put away, and get all of those bins back on the shelves.

I also took a quick trip to Maine last January to visit my mom and grandfather. Mom and I stayed at the lake, which is gorgeous covered in ice.

FEBRUARY

In February, I traveled to Arizona for a work conference and worked with a local photographer while I was there to capture some spring outfit photos.

I also shared my Laundry Room Makeover and Master Bedroom Closet Reveal.

At that point, Phase One of our decorating projects were complete here at the new house, and we took a break from house-related projects for a while.

My most popular post of the month was How to Create An Interesting Outfit

and A Few of My Favorite Things was a close runner-up.

MARCH

March brought us 26 Days of Spring Fashion, and I think my favorite post that month was this spring jumpsuit outfit, mainly because it’s a different look for me. Plus, the lighting in this picture is really cool. (I was freezing, by the way!)

Paul turned 50, and I hosted a big party with friends here at the house. A friend took this picture for us before the party started.

Later in the month, the girls and I met my parents at Disney World… my dad looks miserable, but he really does smile!

It was fitting that my most popular post that month was What I Packed for my Disney Vacation.

Soon after that, I came down with a case of vertigo, which lasted over a month and caused us to cancel our trip to Austin, TX. Paul and I had been really excited about our couple’s getaway, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.

On the plus side, it gave us more time to spend with his sister and family, who had come down to stay with our kids.

APRIL

In April, we celebrated Easter with Paul’s parents.

I continued with testing for my vertigo — everything turned up negative, so I still have no answers for that.

We enjoyed watching the change of seasons for the first time in our new house, and it was fun to open our pool again after a long winter.

Two Try-On Hauls were among my post popular posts, and my 26 Days of Spring Fashion Recap was in the top 3 as well, but 3 Ways to Wear Cargo Pants is probably my favorite post from the month.

3 Ways to Wear Cargo Pants This Spring

MAY

How to Wear Cardigans Without Looking Frumpy was hugely popular in May, and it still continues to rank in my Top Three each month, thanks to Pinterest.

This Outfit Roundup and Try-On Haul, my Dos and Don’ts for Wearing Shorts, and my Summer Wardrobe Essentials were pretty much tied for 2nd place.

We didn’t travel anywhere in May, and I spent a lot of time reading and hanging out on the deck, enjoying our mild spring weather and the privacy of our backyard.

JUNE

June brought us 25 Days of Summer Fashion, and while Cyndi and I didn’t know it at the time, it would be our last seasonal style series of its kind… at least for the time being.

There was no drama, don’t worry, but all good things must come to an end. We decided that after three years, it was time to move on to something else. We’ll still be teaming up from time to time for other fun fashion ventures.

Also in June, we had our front walk and landscape replaced, which makes a much nicer backdrop for my outfit pictures!

The girls had their annual piano recital on Father’s Day weekend, and I love this picture of them with their dad.

Caroline and I saw Cats in Philly later in the month. It was my third time seeing it, but her first.

I’m one of those crazy people who loves it, and while it’s not her favorite, she’s really happy she got to see it.

cats

At the end of the month, I went to Maine for a family wedding. This picture of what I wore was one of my Best Nine from Instagram this year.

JULY

On July 1st, I turned 47. We had a small get-together at our house with good friends, and my daughter made me this gluten-free cake.

My Guide to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale was by far and away the most popular post of the month, followed by my #NSale Try-On Haul, my #NSale Preview, my #NSale Spend vs. Save post, my #NSale Favorites, and… well, you get the idea!!!

2019 Guide to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Also in July, my JLS Fashion Tribe was born! It’s the best thing to ever come from the #NSale.

And amidst all the #NSale madness, we took a summer vacation to Maine!

On our way home from Maine, we stopped in the Boston area for a few days, and I showed the kids my alma mater.

AUGUST

In August, my post on Cigarette Jeans was my most popular, followed closely by Fall Wardrobe Essentials.

I also started the hunt for what to wear to a black tie optional wedding, which we would be attending in October. Many of you enjoyed following the process and weighed in on my try-ons.

Try On Haul: Black Tie Optional Dresses for a Fall Wedding

That month, we moved David back to college and into his first apartment, and Becca started her second season of playing mallets in the middle school marching band.

David loves living off-campus in an apartment, but sadly, he opted not to take the spot he was offered in his college marching band this year.

I was (and still am) disappointed in that turn of events, but I keep reminding myself that it’s his life, not mine. (Parents have growing pains, too, yo!)

We went back to Massachusetts in the middle of the month to attend my cousin’s wedding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a family picture, but I have this one of Paul and me.

I had this dress altered to fit better, but after seeing pictures, I still don’t love it. Ah, well. You can’t win ’em all!

Soon after we got back, the girls started back to school. Becca is in 8th grade at our public middle school…

and Caroline attends 21st Century Cyber Charter School from the comfort of home. Savannah is her favorite (and only) classmate.

SEPTEMBER

In lieu of our daily fall fashion series in September, Cyndi and I teamed up for a weekly Now & Later style collab. It was well-received, but I know some of you miss the daily outfits.

Personally, it was a relief not to have the pressure of photographing so many outfits in such a short timeframe, but I tried to keep fall outfits the focus of my posts that month.

I started doing weekly Try-On Hauls in September, and since then, they consistently dominate my top three most popular posts almost every month.

My most popular post that month that was not a Try-On Haul was this Camo Tee: Now & Later.

And we finally saw Hamilton!!! (David was with us, but he opted to take the picture.)

Also in September, Caroline and I joined a local choral group, and I joined a Community Bible Study. Both have been really good experiences, and a way for us to get out of the house and meet new people. #workfromhomeproblems

OCTOBER

October was the same story, with three of my Try-On Hauls in the top spots for posts published that month, this one being most popular.

Fall 2019 Try On Haul: Everlane, LOFT, Nordstrom & Madewell // Fall Fashion for Women over 40

One of my favorite posts to put together in October was this Save, Spend, Splurge: Neutral Handbag Roundup.

I always find it curious that I get a lot of requests for these, but they rarely show up high in my stats for page views or for sales generated. Perhaps people prefer to shop for handbags in person, where they can try them out first.

And I have so many favorite outfits from that month, I can’t begin to list them all. I love dressing for fall!

October was also the month of my nephew’s wedding, where I wore this semi-formal look.

And we celebrated Becca’s 14th birthday.

She was super excited to get Sixers tickets for the following week.

David and I were there too, but the only good picture I got was of Paul and Becca. I think it’s so cool that they can bond over sports.

NOVEMBER

My most popular post in November that was not a Try-On Haul was my 15 Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

And I started rolling out holiday gift guides and festive outfit ideas.

Jo-Lynne Shane's 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

I think this look was my favorite one of all… pardon the mums.

Next year I need to remember to get my holiday decorations onto my front porch earlier in the season. At least the colors coordinate with my top!

I also attended a blogging conference in Nashville, where I got to hang out with these smart and stylish ladies.

David turned 20 in November, and we had a small celebration with a few of his good friends. He also got Sixers tickets, but we didn’t go with him to that game. He took friends instead.

We stayed in town for Thanksgiving this year, and we had dinner with some of my in-laws who live locally. Later that weekend, we went to a tree farm and cut down our live Christmas tree.

Yeah, that picture was a joke. It was hard finding a large enough tree, though. They were either huge or tiny, but we finally ended up with this one.

DECEMBER

December brought us more holiday gift guides and festive outfits. My Favorite Things was my most popular post, right behind this Try-On Haul.

We celebrated Caroline’s 17th birthday on Christmas Eve with our traditional sushi dinner out, and we came back home and had her presents by the tree.

She actually loves having a Christmas birthday, but we do try to keep the two events separate.

Our Christmas Day was a quiet one here at home, but we enjoyed a visit from my parents earlier in the month, and we celebrated with my in-laws this past weekend.

We also had a little mudroom makeover this past week. Some of you asked for before & after pictures, so here you go!

I’ve been able to move a lot of paper goods and cleaning supplies from the pantry and coat closets into this space, and there’s still room to spare, so I’m happy about that!

Those shelves and hooks will all fill up shortly, I’m sure. I’m still figuring out how to organize the cabinets — one side is all shelves, and the other has space for my upright vacuum cleaner. It’s so nice to get that out of the coat closet.

In Conclusion…

As I bring this Year in Review to a close, I’m very aware that this isn’t only the end of a year, but the end of a decade. The changes that have taken place in the world over the past decade are enormous.

Here are a few facts to ponder:

Ten years ago, Paul had a full head of brown hair, and we had a 4-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 10-year-old.

Ten years ago, the real food movement was just beginning to take hold, and the words paleo and keto were virtually unheard of.

Ten years ago, Uber and Netflix had yet to become household terms, working from home was barely a thing, and most people didn’t even know what a blog was.

Ten years ago, my outfit pictures looked like this, my blog header looked like this:

Ten years ago, there was no Instagram or Pinterest, much less Snapchat or Tiktok.

And let’s not even discuss politics…

There’s so much more I could come up with if I had time, but this post is already reaching epic proportions.

Looking Ahead to 2020 & State of the Blog Address

Let’s wrap this up! I’m happy to say, I’m not feeling as burnt out with the blog as I have in years past at this time, but there’s still some proverbial baggage that has been weighing me down, and I’m excited to get a fresh start with a new year.

A lot of changes have happened to fashion blogging over the past year or so. One of the biggest for me was bringing an end to the daily style series Cyndi and I’ve done together every season for the past three years.

I’ll admit, I floundered a bit when September rolled around without our usual 26 Days of Fall Fashion to prepare for, but it was also a relief not to have the pressure of shooting and posting so many outfits in such a short time-frame.

I’m also really excited not to have to shoot 27 spring outfits for March, which can be one of our coldest months of the year.

Try-On Hauls have become hugely popular this year — not just with me, but across the fashion blogging space. People seem to be tiring of the creative, aspirational photos and prefer a down-to-earth approach that is more relatable. I’m happy to oblige, and I’ve made them a weekly feature on the blog.

I’m also trying to post My Daily Looks on a semi-weekly basis.

There will still be plenty of professional photo shoots sprinkled in, but I’m not pressuring myself to do as many as I’ve done in years past.

I also really want to move away from promoting fast fashion, which really doesn’t align with my personal style or my convictions. That means focusing on brands and retailers that carry quality products, and styling them multiple ways to get a better cost per wear. I’ve been slowly making this shift over the past few months, and it feels really good.

I’m going to try to do more informational posts — fight the frump, outfit evolutions, how to wear current trends, multiple ways to wear our wardrobe basics, etc.

Those can take a long time to put together, so I’m also toying with cutting out a posting day from my schedule, now that the busyness of Q4 is over. I need to sit down with my calendar and see how that works out.

In more personal news, Paul and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in August, Becca will turn 15 in October, David will turn 21 in November, and Caroline will turn 18 in December.

Those are some big numbers, people!

I have mixed emotions about those milestones, but most of all, I am proud… Proud and thankful, because I know how blessed I am. They aren’t perfect, but they’re mine, and I adore them.

Paul and I are super excited about our anniversary trip to Paris this spring, and we need to start figuring out Caroline’s college plans as well.

It’s both exciting and terrifying to think that far ahead, so I’m just going to take it one week at a time.

As Cyndi said in a recent post, I don’t know what the future holds, but I know The One who holds the future. I hope you know Him too.

FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, THANK YOU!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your support this year and throughout all the years of this blogging escapade of mine.

Your comments, your questions, just for being here and reading to the end — it truly means so much. The support and encouragement you give back is what keeps this blog going, so THANK YOU.

Here’s to a happy and healthy and productive 2020!

Diary
29 Comments

COFFEE TALK 12.29.19 ☕️

Well, good morning! It’s been quite the long, drawn-out holiday week here.

While Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were fairly quiet with just the 5 of us, we’ve had family in town this weekend, and yesterday we hosted a big family gathering for about 20. It was so much fun, and now I feel like the Christmas holiday is complete.

Of course, we still have New Year’s Eve to look forward to, and the kids are out of school for a few more days, but now that our final Christmas celebration is behind us, I feel like I can start to dismantle the holiday decorations and start putting my house back in order.

I’m not ready, to be honest. I love the Christmas season, and every year it seems to get shorter, but I’m also not one to let the holiday decorations linger. I like things clean and tidy and in order, so we’ll definitely start putting things away this afternoon.

We always start with the live tree in our family room because, well, it’s live! It was a little saggy to begin with, and it’s started dropping needles, so it’s time for it to go. And we’ll probably take down the live greenery in the foyer as well.

But I’ll leave the faux tree in the living room for a while. It’s so pretty in the dim light of dawn when I come downstairs in the morning, and the colors are neutral, so I feel like it looks more wintery than Christmassy. I think I’ll leave my lighted Snow Village in the foyer for a while as well.

When do you start taking down your holiday decor???

I love a fresh start, and I’m excited to get everything purged and organized for 2020, so that’s how I plan to spend the next few days.

Like most of us at this time of year, I find myself caught up in self-reflection and planning, re-thinking how I want things to look going forward, both here on the blog and in my personal life. I’m not much of a goal setter or list maker, but I do like to re-evaluate my priorities and set new boundaries at the end of each year.

I’ll be sharing more about my plans for the blog in my 2019 Year In Review, which I’m hoping to post this week sometime.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing on my household — getting things back in order, purging, cleaning, all that jazz. My closet is already done, so I feel like I’m a little ahead of the game.

I had another shelf put in when the closet installers were here working on our mudroom on Friday, so I took that opportunity to tackle that area. I was able to consolidate my jeans and pants to one side of the upper hanging space, and now I have a shelf on the other side for more folded items.

This is especially helpful in the fall/winter when I have so many sweaters. I won’t need that folding space in the spring/summer, so I may use it for hanging again, or store some of my shoe boxes that I normally move to the basement in the off-season.

Best of all, it gave me the impetus to get my closet cleaned out and reorganized.

Speaking of that basement storage area, it is a disaster. I am definitely going to need to spend some time down there this week, putting it back in order.

Any-who. That’s where my mind is these days! I’m sure I’m not alone.

I also want to take a moment to wish my Grampa in Maine a happy 103rd birthday! He doesn’t read my blog, so he’ll never see this, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot this morning. He’s a really special person in my life, and I wish I could be there.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday, and have a relaxing and blessed Sunday!

Fashion
93 Comments

Evolution of an Outfit: Winter Date Night

So here’s a new series I just came up with: Evolution of an Outfit.

You all seemed to like how I showed the various outfits I tried before landing on one to wear to the mall at the end of last week’s daily outfit roundup, so I thought I’d start sharing that process from time to time in a dedicated post.

We went out to dinner last weekend with a group of couples to celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday, and I wanted to wear something casual but also a little special.

Because it was the weekend before Christmas, I wanted to look festive, but I didn’t want to go overboard because it wasn’t a super dressy venue. And one final factor worth noting, it was friggin’ cold outside.

Sorry, Mom! (I’m 47 years old, and she still reprimands me when I say friggin’… haha!)

Normally I build my outfits around my top, but this time I started on the bottom. Because it was cold and I wanted to wear heels, I decided to wear black suede OTK boots over blue jeans.

I often wear black jeans when I go out in the winter, but I went with these medium wash blue jeans to tone down the high heeled boots, and because I like the contrast of black OTK boots on blue jeans.

After that was decided, it was just a matter of choosing a top and accessories.

I had picked up this metallic ribbed sweater with New Year’s Eve in mind, but it also seemed like a good choice for this event.

The metallic shimmer makes it festive, and the open neck is a little sexy for date night, but it’s still casual enough to work for the venue, and it’s a sweater so I’d be warm. It seemed to check all the boxes.

It also looks great with the statement earrings I wanted to wear. (Mine are from last year, but this pair in the crystal color is similar.)

This sweater had been my plan all along, so I threw it on with the jeans and boots and took a few pictures to see how it came together.

It’s okay, but it’s kind of predictable… and the sweater is a little long and bulky.

I questioned if it was too safe.

I tried the front tuck, which is how I styled it when I shared my NYE outfit last week, but front-tucking a sweater always seems so try-hard for real life.

And I think it looks weird from the side…

So I compared it to how it looks untucked from the side, but I don’t love it here either.

You can really see the extra volume from this angle, but then again, it doesn’t look like a bathroom accident either…

I decided to table this sweater and try a few other options before making a final decision.

This pink blouse was my backup plan. It’s been hanging in my closet with tags on for over a month, waiting for just this sort of occasion.

It’s a little dressier than what I typically wear, but I liked the idea of getting out of my sweater rut, and I felt like the jeans kept it casual enough for the venue.

I was a little worried about being cold, but I could wear a warm coat. I have that textured faux fur jacket from the #NSale that I was hoping to wear.

The thing was, once I had it all on together, I wasn’t loving it. While I like the neckline and the color, I’m not sure it’s very flattering.

Left untucked, it seems to add some visual weight on top. Even though it’s not necessarily too long for the overall proportions of the outfit, it just doesn’t have a lot of shape through the waist area.

You can really see what I mean in this front-on shot…

So I tried a front-tuck. This is better, except…

I hate the side view.

The front tuck already looks kind of doofus from the side, but it’s accentuated with this top because the back is already longer than the front. Once you tuck the front, it really looks weird.

Plus, the blouson sleeves seemed a bit much.

I went back and forth and took approximately 162 pictures from different angles, and I finally decided to bag it.

I almost just went back to the ivory sweater, but then I decided to give this leopard sweater a try first. I love leopard and red together, so I added this red bag to the mix.

The fit and proportions are on point, but it’s a lot of leopard. I really prefer this sweater with a black moto jacket on top — both to cover up some of the leopard, and also because this outfit seems to need a completer piece.

But it was too cold for a thin sweater and a leather jacket. I knew I needed a heavier coat, and I just couldn’t get excited about this outfit as-is.

Even if I switched to black jeans, which I would definitely prefer to the blue jeans with this sweater, I knew I’d want that leather jacket to complete the look.

At this point, I was pretty sure I was going back to the metallic ribbed sweater, but I wanted to try one more thing.

This cashmere ribbed scoop sweater had just arrived from Naadam. There’s no doubt that it’s far more luxurious than any of the other options, and the fitted style and scoop neck is more flattering in theory than any of my other options.

But when I tried it on after it arrived, it seemed too tight and low cut for my comfort level. I was actually planning to send it back.

Since nothing else was working out quite the way I’d hoped, I decided to give it another shot with the whole ensemble.

As I’m looking back through these pictures, I am kicking myself for not wearing this. In fact, I ended up wearing this sweater with jeans and pumps to dinner with my family on Christmas Eve.

But in that moment, it felt very tight, and my chest looked very large, and I just didn’t feel comfortable wearing it out with our friends to eat a big dinner.

So after all that, I went back to the original metallic ribbed sweater.

I know, I know… basically, I already showed you the final result in the first look. It’s sort of anticlimactic, isn’t it?

I almost re-wrote the post and waited to the end of this post to share those pictures, but then I decided, this is real life, and sometimes we end up wearing the first thing we tried on.

So yeah, this outfit evolution came full circle!

I have a feeling some of you are going to tell me I should have worn the pink blouse untucked, and maybe you’re right. It’s a more striking outfit.

Or the grey Naadam sweater is gorgeous and form-fitting, so a nice choice for a date night.

But while the outfit I ended up wearing is on the safer side, I felt comfortable and pretty and not at all self-conscious, as I might have in one of the other options, and there’s something to be said for that.

Plus, my faux fur coat was perfect with it.

SHOP THE LOOK:

I hope you liked this first evolution of an outfit post. You’ll have to let me know if you’d like me to do more of these.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

For the Pinners…

Evolution of an Outfit: Winter Date Night

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Fashion
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My Favorite Outfits from 2019

Good morning and happy Friday!

Although I have to say, it hardly feels like a Friday. It seems like it’s been one continuous weekend for as long as I can remember, anyone else???

Today I’m rounding up my favorite outfits from 2019. These are all looks from the past year that I’m really proud of or enjoyed wearing a lot.

I set out to choose my 10 favorite outfits, and I ended up with 20. Believe it or not, I could probably have come up with 30!

In years past, I don’t think I could have come up with 30 outfits that I truly loved, which shows how much I’ve honed in on my personal style and what works best for my body type over the past year.

At 47, it’s about time, wouldn’t you say? I wish I’d had this information in my 20s and 30s!

That’s one of the benefits of being a fashion blogger and having all of these pictures — I see things I never notice just looking at myself in the mirror. (You can take daily outfit pictures too, of course. In fact, I highly recommend it.)

So, with that lengthy preamble, let’s get this party started!

My Favorite Outfits from 2019

I’ll provide a ShopStyle link below each picture to what I’m wearing. Of course, some of the statement pieces are sold out now and hard to replicate, but I’ll do my best!

#1. This first outfit harkens back to last February. I did a post on 9 ways to wear white fashion sneakers, and this was one of them. I was tempted to include three of those outfits in this post, but I forced myself to pick just one. I think this is the main thing I’ve gotten better at this year — learning how to put closet basics together in a bunch of different ways.

I love the multiple juxtapositions in this look — the edgy leather jacket with the sporty sneakers, and the luxe cashmere scarf with the distressed jeans — but I’m bummed that this scarf sold out in the grey. I found a similar one, it’s just wider.

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing VEJA Esplar with AG Raw Hem The Legging Ankle Jeans, black Bernardo leather moto jacket, and Everlane cashmere scarf

OUTFIT DETAILS

#2. This next outfit is a quintessential Jo-Lynne Date Night Outfit Formula — fun top with jeans, heels, and leather jacket. I wore this in Arizona at the Rakuten conference I attended last February.

As an aside, I just found these jeans, which sold out after the #NSale, back in stock in all sizes, AND ON SALE! I looove them. So comfortable, great fit, great wash, and a really cool tattered hems.  🙌🏼

OUTFIT DETAILS

#3. The next picture is from said trip to Arizona. I love the combination of colors for spring, and those shoes were amazing. Mine were suede, but they have them now in a really cool snake print.

Unfortunately, I didn’t wear them much here at home. They always seemed a little much for where I was going. Maybe next spring…

OUTFIT DETAILS

#4. I wore this next outfit in so many variations last spring and summer, it was hard to pick just one for this post. These pants were on constant repeat from April thru October, and I can’t wait to break them out again next spring. And happy day, they just went 50% off!!! (I recommend sizing down; I went with the 28.)

I also love this graphic tee from Boden. It’s a little more of an elevated graphic tee, and it looks great with so many pants and shorts. This design sold out, but they have a bunch of others, and it’s on a really good sale right now. Prices vary.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#5. I had to include this next look, as basic as it is, because it’s pretty much my summertime uniform. This tank is super soft and great worn alone or layered under cardigans and denim jackets. I also have the solid grey.

And I know the tattered shorts aren’t everyone’s cuppa tea, but I mostly just wear them hanging out at home. I just like how the texture keeps them laidback and unfussy, plus these are so comfy.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#6. I wore this to a family wedding in May. I love the fit of this dress and the loose floral pattern, and of course the shoes… 😍 (By the way, my nail polish was white, not blue, as it may appear in the photo.)

OUTFIT DETAILS

#7. I only wore this outfit once, but I love the color combo, and the way it all came together. Even though the midi skirt isn’t my typical silhouette, the structured denim jacket keeps it in my lane.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#8. I wore this outfit out to lunch with Paul for my birthday in July. This LOFT blouse was super popular last summer, and I got a lot of wear out of it.

This look goes to show how one budget-friendly statement piece can make an outfit. If you have your season’s wardrobe essentials, you can easily finish off the look with some of your favorite closet basics.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#9. I love this dress — definitely my favorite dress purchase of last summer. I wore it a ton, usually to church. The design and fit is so flattering.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#10. This is another LOFT floral blouse that was popular last summer, and I wore it well into fall in a lot of different outfits. This one is my favorite because the grey jeans and denim jacket are kind of an unexpected combo, but they both work really well with the blouse. And the shield sandals dress up the look and give it a bit of an edge.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#11. This next look was my attempt to style crop flare jeans (or maybe they’re more of a crop straight.) This look is really edgy and fun, but it’s a little much for my day to day existence.

I still wanted to include it anyway because I really like it, and I think it’s a good example of how to make this crop straight trend work.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#12. And this was my token flare jeans outfit for the season, haha!

This camo sweater is one of my favorite fall purchases, and it was just restocked! It’s on the thinner side, so I haven’t worn it as much lately, although I did wear it to lunch on Christmas Eve under a leather jacket when the weather was mild. I also want to try it under my black puffer vest.

OUTFIT DETAILS

I also wanted to include the above outfit because Alison gave me a really cool Christmas gift that used that picture as the muse… Alison is my photographer, and a friend of hers did this artsy sketch from that photo that she took of me last fall, and she framed it and gave it to me for Christmas.

Isn’t that so fun? I put it on my desk.

#13. I couldn’t do this post without including what I wore to a black tie optional wedding last fall.

As y’all know, I worked hard on this outfit — finding the right dress, and then the accessories I wanted to pull it all together. I absolutely love how it turned out.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#14. If there’s a theme in my favorite outfits, it’s definitely a fitted jacket… I had to work really hard to narrow down my favorites from all the outfits I wore with a denim or leather jacket.

This camel cashmere sweater with the denim jacket and black jeans has an upscale casual vibe that I love, and then the shoes really complete the look.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#15. This sweater actually appears twice in this roundup because it’s so good, especially for the price point. It was the first item I went for when I got to the store on the #NSale preview day. I had seen it in the catalog and fell in love with the relaxed styling and huge ribbed cuffs. It’s also suuuuper soft.

I really like this oatmeal color paired with white jeans and taupe boots for a monochromatic look.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#16. I also had to narrow down the various looks I created with this graphic tee — there were so many! I chose this one because it’s the one I’m most proud of. It’s a little out of my norm, with the long cardigan, and I even added a belt!

Plus the Chelsea boots are new to me as well. I think they look better with a straighter jean, but I didn’t have quite the right thing, so I cuffed these skinnies.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#17. I loved almost every outfit I wore with this stripe cardigan in fall hues, and I’m loving the winter one too.

I chose this look because I like the way the combination of warm and cool neutrals from the sweater is echoed in the jeans and shoe pairing.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#18. Of course I had to pick an outfit with this vest, since I wear it about once a week! Unfortunately it’s gone now, but any burgundy vest would do, although I really love this layered look.

I usually wear it over a grey or black sweater with blue jeans, or grey or black. I try to mix it up each time I wear it. Also, the snake print booties add texture and pattern to the rest of the solids in this look.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#19. I’ve worn this next outfit quite a bit since I got the sweater from Trunk Club last month. For some reason, I always end up wearing it with grey jeans and black boots, although I think I wore it once with light wash blue jeans. It just looks so good with the grey.

And let’s give a shout-out to the grey jeans while we’re at it. I am such a blue denim girl at heart, but grey jeans have really given them a run for their money in my wardrobe this fall! The grey seems to go with just about everything, and it gives my outfits a casual but edgy vibe.

OUTFIT DETAILS

#20. This final look is one I threw it together at the last minute to visit with friends last week, and I love it. It’s super simple, but the color combination is so nice.

This cowl neck sweater and booties were both #NSale purchases that have served me well this fall and winter, and the jeans are my current go-to AG Farrahs. I have them in 2 denim washes as well as a black pair. So good.

I almost didn’t buy these boots. I waited until almost the end of the #NSale to take the plunge, but I’m so glad I did. I have them in tortilla suede, and they go so well with the light neutrals I’m gravitating to these days. I’m tempted to order one of the snakeskin prints, now that they’re on sale again… definitely take a look if you’re in the market for a pair.

OUTFIT DETAILS

And that’s a wrap!

This was a fun walk down memory lane… I hope you liked it. I have some more recaps coming over the next week. ‘Tis the season!

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Best After-Christmas Sales & What to Buy w/ Your Holiday Gift Cards

Greetings, friends! I hope you all had a joyous and peaceful Christmas celebration with some of your favorite people.

Whether you’re back to work today or enjoying this Boxing Day with more food and fun, be sure to take a moment to peruse this post because there are some pretty spectacular after-Christmas sales going on today.

If Santa didn’t bring you everything on your list, this is a great opportunity to round out your winter wardrobe or put those holiday gift cards to good use!

If you’re shopping to round out your winter wardrobe, don’t miss my list of Winter Wardrobe Essentials. It’s always good to have a list when shopping sales like this so you don’t get distracted by all. the. great. deals. and forget to shop for what you actually need.

I’m hoping to get that post updated later this week with current product links, but the recommendations are still relevant.

Best After-Christmas Sales & What to Buy w/ Your Holiday Gift Cards

As always, all retail links are affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

NORDSTROM // The Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale starts today and runs through January 2, 2019. Save up to 50% throughout the store.

FYI, these AG legging ankle jeans that were part of the #NSale sold out, but are back now and on sale again.

Halogen crew neck cashmere sweater // AG legging ankle jeans  // Rails leopard sweater // Rag & Bone Margot booties (at Saks) // PJ Salvage pajamas

Vince Camuto booties (mine are the tortilla suede, but I also like some of their snake print options)

Ralph Lauren Reefer coat // Vince Camuto smocked blouson sleeve blouse // Vince Camuto sparkle blouse (perfect for NYE!)

BP. Ombre Plaid Wrap // BP. girlfriend pajamas // BlankNYC moto jacket

Shop these and more:


BLOOMINGDALE’S // Save 30-50% off a large selection of regular price items, and take an extra 50% off clearance items labeled “EXTRA 50% OFF: DISCOUNT APPLIED IN BAG.”

The denim is really good here, and there are some great deals on cashmere and boots as well.

Paige Mayslie cargo pants // AG legging ankle jeans // Mother Looker ankle fray skinny jeans

C by Bloomingdale’s cashmere v-neck // Aqua cashmere turtleneck // Dolce Vita snake print booties // Aqua cashmere v-neck sweater

Shop these and more:

LOFT // 50% off + Free Shipping with code MOREPLEASE

I’ve never seen LOFT do a sale this big after Christmas — the Free Shipping is a huge bonus!

shimmer v-neck sweater // fringe poncho // ribbed open cardigan // checked scarf

reindeer sweater // corduroy skinny pants // turtleneck sweater

Shop these and more:

LORD & TAYLOR // Up to 75% off throughout the store.

puffer vest (TTS) // cashmere turtleneck (size up) // fur trim puffer // cashmere v-neck (size up) // Dolce Vita booties (TTS) // cozy v-neck (TTS)

dolman sweater // puffer coat // cashmink scarf // Fossil backpack

MADEWELL // Extra 30% off sale styles plus 20% off everything else!

EVERLANE // Choose What You Pay Winter Event, plus for the first time ever, The Farewell Collection!

This is their biggest Choose What You Pay yet — they added over 80 styles, featuring their premium cashmere, heeled boots, and much more. And for the first time ever, they’re launching a Final Sale section on their site — saying goodbye to some of their classics and offering them at half price!

cocoon coat // cashmere v-neck // rib cashmere v-neck

More Notable Sales:

ANN TAYLOR // 40% off full-price styles with code SHOP40 and an extra 60% off sale styles.

ANTHROPOLOGIE // Winter Tag Sale: Extra 40% off sale styles. (Last year they only did 30%, so this is a nice bonus.)

BANANA REPUBLIC // 40% off regular price styles, and extra 60% off sale styles, no code needed.

J.CREW // Save up to 65% off sale styles with code BIGSALE

KATE SPADE // Extra 40% off sale styles with code BIGGESTSALE

MACY’S // Up to 60% off with code JOY

TERVIS // 50% off select designs

TORY BURCH // 25% off sale styles with code EXTRA

WHITE HOUSE BLACK MARKET // 50% off sale styles

Don’t miss a post!

Subscribe to get email updates! In addition to my most recent blog posts, you’ll receive exclusive newsletter content like special sales, my newest favorite finds, and a peek behind the scenes — all delivered right to your inbox. PLUS you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card each month, so don’t miss it!

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

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Christmas Greetings!

Greetings and Merry Christmas! I couldn’t let the day go by without popping in to say hi and spread some Christmas cheer.

As usual, I’m up before the rest of my house, sitting here drinking coffee by the light of the Christmas tree. I still have to play Santa and get the kids’ stockings ready, but they won’t be up until at least 9AM.

Yesterday was a little nuts. I overslept, which is weird for me. And I totally meant to post, but I didn’t have anything prepared, so I had to start from scratch.

When my post was almost done, two of my son’s friends (who had been sleeping over) got up and came downstairs, so I went out to the kitchen to have coffee and chat with them.

The next thing I knew, I got a call from one of my girlfriends, asking me if I was ready to get picked up for lunch. I have a small group of close friends, and we usually do lunch on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts.

Well, I had totally forgotten about it, and I was still in my pajamas! I have never gotten ready so fast. I didn’t even brush my hair, but I did put on makeup and a cute outfit in record time.

After that, I went right over to the grocery store to get what I needed for today’s meals, and then the day was shot. So, no post yesterday! Sorry about that. I was excited about that post, too — I’m rounding up my favorite outfits from the year.

It’s way too much to digest on a day you should be spending with family and friends, so I decided to hold off for a few days, even if I have to double post one day later this week.

Last night was our Christmas Eve/Caroline’s 17th birthday celebration. We went out for sushi (our tradition) and then came back home to have her presents.

She opted NOT to have a cake this year… I don’t know how we’re related. She called me yesterday when I was at the grocery store and told me not to make one, she wasn’t in the mood. Oooookay!

So we just watched Elf, and a few Christmas episodes of The Office, and called it a night.

It was just the girls and me. Paul was feeling under the weather and went up to bed right after presents, and David wasn’t in the mood to watch Elf for the 55th time, so he retired to his room with his PS4.

I’m hoping Paul feels better today. It stinks to be sick on Christmas, but this happens to him more years than not. I think he lets down his guard because he’s not working, and his immune system decides to take a break as well.

We’re looking forward to a leisurely Christmas Day here at home. It’s just the 5 of us, so we’re going to take it easy.

Caroline made homemade cinnamon rolls that we’ll pop in the oven after the kids open their stockings, and I’m going to try making this breakfast casserole.

After breakfast, we’ll take our time opening presents, and then I have some appetizers to set out while we watch the Sixers game.

I’ll grill steaks for dinner tonight, and I’m trying another new recipe — Ina Garten’s spinach gratin. I also have mashed potatoes and an arugula salad, and Caroline made dinner rolls. So yeah, we will probably need to be rolled upstairs to bed after that!

I also wanted to share our family Christmas card with you. We used this picture from my nephew’s wedding, and I think they turned out pretty good. It’s not a perfectly posed professional shot, but I like how it captures us.

In all the hustle and bustle, I’m trying to take some quiet moments to soak in the season and focus on why we celebrate Christmas.

While it’s fun to open gifts and enjoy our families and good food and the comforts of home, my hope is in none of these things.

In the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 

Wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed Christmas Day!

Fall/Winter Fashion
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Shop Your Closet: Christmas Day Outfit Inspiration

Greetings, and hello Monday! I woke up this morning with nothing on my editorial calendar for today, so I decided to put together a post with some outfit ideas for Christmas Day… or really, whatever holiday celebrations you have going on this week.

I loved reading about all of your holiday plans yesterday. As I shared, our Christmas Day is pretty low-key. We just stay home, the five of us, and have a leisurely breakfast, open presents, then later on a homemade Christmas dinner. I’m not one to stay in my pajamas all day, but I’ll definitely be keeping it casual and comfortable.

Next weekend, I’ll be hosting a big family gathering, so I like to plan a festive outfit for that as well.

Some years, we’ve gone to Christmas dinner at my brother-in-law’s house, and I try to dress up a bit more for those kind of gatherings. And other years, we’ve gone out to eat for a fancy Christmas dinner with my family, which I think is really fun too. Of course, that requires a totally different dress code.

All that to say, I tried to come up with a variety of outfits at different levels of formality to cover all the bases. The idea here is to shop your closet, but of course I’ll provide shopping links where I can.

Christmas Day Outfit Ideas

#1. cozy sweater + jeans + ballet flats

Clearly, this outfit is from last fall, but this is probably what I’ll be wearing on Christmas Day… once I finally get out of my pajamas.

I love a chunky sweater and jeans for hanging out at home, and ballet flats are the perfect shoe for doing a lot of standing and cooking. Although, since we’re alone, I may just wear my slippers all day.

chunky turtleneck sweater // similar jeans // TB Minnie ballet flats

#2. Ivory Sweater + Black Jeans + Pumps

If your gathering is a little more dressed up, I love this outfit I wore to a holiday concert earlier this season.

This particular sweater is lovely, but it can be any fine-gauge sweater that is a little dressier than the one above. Any color works, but I love ivory and black together. Just add black jeans or pants, and pumps.

I also think this look would be fun with a red pump or a plaid pump. I wish I had a pair. (Adding it to my shopping list…)

ribbed v-neck // black AG Farrah skinnies // similar pumps // necklace // earrings

#3. metallic sweater + jeans + pumps

While red and green are always festive choices, I like the idea of going with a different color. The metallic shimmer gives this sweater a holiday vibe, even though it’s pink. (It also comes in black.)

The jeans tone down the look, but the pumps add a nice juxtaposition, which helps keep the look interesting and modern. I also added blingy earrings.

Of course, if you’re going to be on your feet all day, you may want to bring some cute ballet flats to change into, or heck, bring your favorite slippers!

 metallic v-neck sweater // high rise jeggings // similar pumps // earrings // necklace

#4. blouse + black jeans or pants + pumps

This is more of a going-out-to-dinner outfit, for anyone who goes out to eat for Christmas. Or, you could definitely wear this to a friend’s house for dinner, if it’s the kind of gathering where people get more dressed up.

If you want something a little more festive, choose a blouse with some red or green in the print. I just usually stay away from a plain red blouse with black pants — it’s too expected.

v-neck blouse // black jeans // similar pumps // TB tote // Anna Beck necklace

#5. cardigan + graphic tee + jeans

If you’re going to visit friends or family and want to be cute and casual, this is an easy outfit formula you can recreate so many ways. I particularly like the colors in this graphic tee — it’s neutral, but it has that hint of red embroidery.

I believe a lot of you bought this tee, but if you don’t have it, you may have one that works. Just throw on a black or red cardigan (or camel… but I think black or red would be more Christmassy) and add jeans and booties, and you’re good to go!

Might I suggest the Splendid flight cardigan as a black option, or this one comes in hthr charcoal, and I found this red one that is actually available for Christmas delivery!

If you like something a little more festive, add a red scarf (with the black or camel cardigan, of course) or a pair of fun earrings.

graphic tee // exact cardigan (camel sold out, but I like the hthr charcoal with this too!) // camel cardigan option // red cardigan option // AG Farrah skinnies // booties // belt // pearl earrings

#6. black sweater + black jeans + black bejeweled flats

I love a monochromatic look for the holidays… or anytime, but it does have a festive flair.

This pearlized sweater has the perfect amount of bling to make it special for the holidays, but not over-the-top for casual gatherings. Here’s another cute option. And the jeweled bow flats are comfortable for wearing all day, but still holiday-appropriate.

pearlized sweater // black jeans // bow flats // pave drop earrings // pave stretch bracelets

Here’s another black on black monochromatic outfit I styled last year, but it can be easy replicated with any black tunic sweater, faux leather leggings, and booties.

cowl neck tunic options // faux leather leggings // similar booties

#7. fair isle sweater + jeans + boots

Any fair isle sweater will work for this look — this is perfect for super casual gatherings. And you can always swap the boots for slippers if you’re staying at home all day!

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing a fair isle sweater outfit with J.Crew Rollneck Sweater in Fair Isle

fair isle sweater // AG Farrah skinnies (option) // booties // pearls (option)

Also, consider a fair isle sweater you can pair with white jeans. I love this fresh and unexpected look for the holidays! This one is old, but maybe you have one that works, or I linked up some other options below.

How to Style a Fair Isle Sweater Outfit with White Jeans for Winter: Jo-Lynne Shane wearing LOFT Fairisle Turtleneck Sweater with Paige Verdugo Ankle Skinny Jeans and Jeffrey Campbell Vanhook Booties

fair isle sweater options here, here, here, here, and here // white jeans // taupe booties

#8. cozy cream sweater + blue jeans + taupe booties

Again, this outfit isn’t specifically a holiday look, but I do love the light neutrals right now, and I think they have a festive flair somehow.

If you want something with a little more holiday pizzazz, swap out this cozy sweater for the glittery one I wore out to dinner the other night. In fact, scroll down for that outfit…

cowl neck sweater // skinny jeans // booties // earrings // similar bag

#9. sparkly sweater + jeans + OTK boots

This is a little more of a dressed-up version of the one above. The sparkly sweater is a little more festive (it also comes in grey and red), and the OTK boots definitely dress up the look. I also added blingy earrings.

I’d wear this if I was going to a friend’s house for a Christmas celebration (or Christmas Eve dinner out…)

metallic sweater // AG Farrah skinnies // similar OTK boots here and here // similar earrings

#10. sweater dress + OTK boots

Another dressy look, for those who go out to dinner for Christmas, a sweater dress is always my go-to for winter dresses because it’s warm and stretchy. In fact, I wore a sweater dress yesterday.

This one is from last year because for some reason, I didn’t really think to look for a new one to share with you all this year. I’ve really been in a denim rut, haven’t I???

But if you have one in your closet that you like, this is a great opportunity to get some wear out of it!

similar sweater dress // similar OTK boots here and here // my favorite tights // similar necklace

#11. sparkly sweater + coated jeans + pumps or booties

I’m bummed I didn’t do more with my coated jeans this season, but I found this look from last year, and any metallic/shimmery sweater would work. Or even a regular casual sweater works, and you can always wear a dressy bootie if you don’t like pumps.

similar metallic sweater (there’s a red option) // similar coated jeans (size down) // similar pumps // similar earrings

#12. festive sweatshirt + jeans + cozy socks

Unfortunately this quilted hoodie sold out in the red, but it’s still available in evergreen… or perhaps you already scored one for yourself when it was in stock!

If not, any red or green sweatshirt/hoodie will do… or any holiday-themed graphic sweatshirt!

quilted hoodie // blue jeans // fuzzy socks

#13. cute pajamas

Let’s be real. Some of us will just stay in pajamas all day… or at the very least, for half the morning. No shame in that game, but I do recommend thinking about the pajamas you wear and pick some cute ones. After all, these pictures will be around to haunt you for years to come!

These BP. pajamas are now 40% off, and they are still available for Christmas delivery in some colors and sizes. And don’t forget, the Buy Online, Pickup In Store is always an option.

BP. girlfriend pajamas (40% off!) // butter socks // Kennebunk Bliss Plush Throw (25% off!)

And these PJ Salvage flannel pajamas are also 40% off. Both pairs are so, so cozy. Just very different styles.

 PJ Salvage flannel pajamas (40% off!!!)

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This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

Diary
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COFFEE TALK 12-22-19 ☕️

Greetings and salutations on this 2nd day of winter! I tell ya, I’m feeling it. As if right on cue, our weather has taken a turn for the cold, but the sun is shining, and it’s not raining, so I’ll take it!

My weekend has been a series of highs and lows. We went out with friends both of the last two evenings, and that was fun. And yesterday morning, Paul took the girls out Christmas shopping, so I was able to finish up all of my wrapping.

We decided to hold off with our cookie baking until later this week, so I took the opportunity to get a nap yesterday afternoon, making it both a productive and restful day.

But we found out on Friday that a friend (my age) passed away suddenly, so that has put a bit of a damper on things. We’ll be attending his service this afternoon.

Nothing like a dose of reality to remind you what’s really important during this season of frenzy.

Speaking of the holiday frenzy, I am feeling remarkably chill. I’m done shopping and wrapping, and I don’t do much holiday baking… I have Caroline for that!

Also, this is one of the few times my work actually slows down for a few days. I normally thrive on the pace of this industry, but it’s nice to get a reprieve right here at Christmastime.

Our celebration will be a quiet one. It’s just the 5 of us until the 26th, when we have family coming in from out of town to stay with us for a long weekend.

Christmas Eve is also Caroline’s 17th birthday, and we will keep our annual sushi tradition. We usually do takeout when we do sushi, but on her birthday, we like to go to the restaurant. Then we’ll come back home for cake and presents.

Christmas Day will be a quiet celebration here at home, which is how we like it. Caroline is making homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and she has several pies on her agenda as well as a few other goodies. I’m not even sure what all she’s making, but suffice it to say, I don’t have to do any baking.

You know, teenagers often get a bad rap, but I happen to think they’re pretty awesome.

We’re planning to grill steak for Christmas dinner again this year. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us when we spend Christmas here at home. I’m not interested in doing a big turkey dinner for 5, and steak is always a treat.

Then we host our big Shane family Christmas party on the 29th, and that’s always a fun time. I think there will be 21 of us this year. We’re down 5 from last year, so it will seem like a small gathering for us, ha!

What do your holiday plans look like? I love hearing about how other people celebrate.

FYI, if you still have some shopping to do, there are a few retailers still promising Christmas Eve delivery!

Everlane is has free shipping for Christmas Eve delivery for certain zip codes, Nordstrom is offering free shipping for Christmas Eve delivery on select items until noon today, and you can get free overnight delivery at Neiman Marcus if you order by noon CT tomorrow, 12/23. Use code NMQUICK at checkout.

Oh, and I just got an email from J.Crew. Overnight holiday delivery is just $10 when you order by 11:59pm ET tonight, 12/22.

And of course, there’s always Amazon. I actually ordered a last minute gift last night on Amazon, and it is supposed to get here today. I will never cease to be amazed at how they do that.

Okay, I think that’s about it for me.

I hope you have a restful and very blessed Sunday!

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photos: Alison Cornell

Fashion
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Try-On Haul: Amazon, AG, & Paige

Greetings from Antarctica!

I kid… I am not in Antarctica this morning. However, it is 18° outside.

Fahrenheit.

I am not cut out for this, people.

I wanted to go for a run this morning, but that for sure ain’t happening. I draw the line at about 25°. It looks like I need to ask Santa for a treadmill…

ANYWHO. I have a few try-ons for you today. And guess what? They aren’t all sweaters!!!

I hope you were sitting down for that. I wouldn’t want you to injure yourself 3 days before Christmas.

I do have a few sweaters, though, because this is me, after all.

But let’s start with denim. (Because if I’m not ordering sweaters, I’m usually ordering denim.)

Try-On Haul: Denim

You know the drill, I’m 5’5″ and about 140# with a slightly hourglass shape. I typically wear small in tops and 28 or 29 in jeans… but usually 29 these days because, age. #nuffsaid

AG The Stevie High-Rise Skinny Ankle Jeans (size 29) // I ordered these jeans weeks ago, and they got backordered and just finally came in. Now that they’re here, I can’t remember exactly why I wanted to try them, but I think I was anticipating a straighter cut. I don’t love them, though. They just look like floods.

My problem with the straight crop jeans trend is I’m a little too short for most of them to look right. These say they have a 26″ inseam, so I thought they’d work for me, but these are most certainly not 26″, at least not in the size 29. Without measuring, I’m going to say they probably have a 27″ inseam, and yes, an inch does matter.

Look at how they fit the model — that looks right. But on me, they just look goofy. Of course, I didn’t try them with booties either… but I can tell they would be too long.

VERDICT: Going back!

PAIGE Hoxton Ankle Skinny Jeans in Crisp White (size 29) // Yes, I ordered white jeans in December. This is because I know I’m going to want a higher rise come spring, and these were on a really good sale. Plus my all-time favorite white jeans are Paige Verdugo, and these are basically the same except with a higher rise.

However, my Paige Verdugo have fake front pockets, and these have the real deal, and you can definitely see them through the denim.

I also ordered the size 30, because my Verdugos are a size 30…

PAIGE Hoxton Ankle Skinny Jeans in Crisp White (size 30) // These look a little better, but I dunno… those pockets are kind of deal breakers. I guess I could have a tailor fix them, and for this price, it’s probably worth it.

VERDICT: Undecided

Shopping for white jeans in December is sorta like shopping for sweaters at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July. I just can’t get excited about it. I’d almost rather return them than figure out a solution for the pocket situation.

AG The Farrah High Waist Raw Hem Ankle Skinny Jeans (size 29) // I also ordered the AG Farrah because these are on major sale, and I know I love the fit because I already have them in black and blue denim.

Unfortunately AG’s white denim, while super soft and comfy, is verrrry thin and just too see-through for my comfort level. I’ve tried them a few times before in the legging ankle style, and I always came to this conclusion, but I was hoping maybe the Farrah would be a different fabric. Nope!

VERDICT: Returning

Try-Ons: Goodthreads by Amazon

Goodthreads is a one of Amazon’s Private Label brands, but they’ve only been menswear until now.

They describe their new women’s line as “the perfect balance of feminine and tomboy style, rooted in denim and everything you wear with it – washed shirting, cozy sweaters, and perfectly broken-in t-shirts.”

It’s sort of a Madewell vibe, but at a much lower price point.

In the interest of full disclosure, these items were gifted to me by Amazon. I was allowed to pick 3 pieces from the Goodthreads collection to sample and share with you.

Goodthreads Women’s Boucle Shaker Stitch Balloon-Sleeve Sweater (size S) // This sweater is soft and stretchy, and the quality is pretty much on par with the price point. It’s not as long in person as it appears to be on the model, but perhaps I should have sized up to a medium.

This is the rust heather, and it’s definitely not this red in person. I think the lighting in my bedroom throws off the white balance and that’s why my mirror selfies don’t always reflect the right color.

Case in point, the sweater I’m wearing below is black, not blue.

Any-who. As far as my thoughts on the sweater. It’s just alright for me. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I don’t love it, but I can’t get excited about this one.

Goodthreads Women’s Mid-Gauge Stretch V-Neck Sweater (size S) // Now this sweater, I like a lot. I’ve already worn it, as I shared in yesterday’s post.

I was immediately drawn to the wide v-neck, although again, it looks different on the model. But I like it in person — it’s not low enough to have modesty issues, but it’s low enough to be flattering.

I appreciate that they didn’t skimp on length in the arms, and they also gave it good old fashioned on-shoulder seams and a straight hemline — so much more flattering on those of us with broad shoulders than a drop sleeve and high-low hem.

And I also really like the ribbing at the neckline, hem, and cuffs. This is not a warm sweater, so I can only wear it on milder winter days, but if you’re in a warmer climate, it’s a great option.

Goodthreads Women’s Sateen 5-Pocket Skinny (size 8) // These are very thin, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’re soft and comfortable, and the fit is really nice.

They come in tons of colors, and it says they have short, regular, and long lengths; but I don’t see how to order anything besides the regular.

I like these, and for the price, they’re great. I’d say they’re about on par with the LOFT sateen skinnies.

And that’s all I’ve got! I told you it was a short one today.

I actually have a couple more things that arrived in the mail yesterday that I could try for you, but I’m not photo-ready at the moment, so maybe I’ll add them later… or share them on my Insta story.

I hope you all enjoy your last weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah. It’s often a crazy one!

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Fall/Winter Fashion
42 Comments

My Daily Looks: What I Wore Lately Vol. 2

Happy Friday, my friends! Both the girls finish up school today, so Christmas Break has officially begun here in the Shane household. We are all feeling very festive and excited.

I’m sharing my daily looks from the past couple of weeks, but I will tell you up front, they are very boring. I’m just too cold and too busy to want to wear anything besides sweaters, jeans, and boots.

But you all seem to like these posts no matter how boring I think they are, so let’s get started!

My Daily Looks: What I Wore Lately

For size reference, I’m 5’5″ and about 140# with a slightly hourglass shape. I usually wear a 6 or 8 or a size small.

This first look was my attempt to wear something besides a pullover sweater. I pulled out this graphic tee from the fall and added a camel cardigan.

I like both a lot, but I just don’t find layering very comfortable for some reason, and I was chilly. I ended up changing into a cashmere turtleneck and my UGGs before going out to choir practice that night. I know, I’m hopeless…

It’s a good cardigan, though, if you need one, and a great price. I think it would be perfect for work wear.

graphic tee // cardigan // AG Farrah skinnies // booties // belt // pearl earrings (best price I’ve seen!)

I wore this next look to the mall one day, and as you can see, I took this picture in the dressing room. I love this fair isle sweater, and it has been restocked in most sizes!!! It’s 30% off with code SNOW.

fair isle turtleneck (30% off) // AG Farrah skinnies (15% off) // booties // similar tote

Also, J.Crew is offering overnight holiday delivery for just $10. This offer ends 12/22 at 11:59pm ET. 

Caroline and I are part of a community chorus, and this next picture is from our Christmas concert. We were told to wear black bottoms and a white, red, or green top. I actually don’t have a green or red top that I felt was dressy enough, so I wore this ivory sweater from Everlane.

I wish I’d been more dressed up or worn more festive jewelry. I tried to find the right combination, but nothing was working together quite right, so I resorted to some of my everyday favorites — Kendra Scott hoops and my Lagos pendant. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Hopefully the festive nail polish and heavy eye makeup made up for it, ha!

ribbed v-neck // black AG Farrah skinnies // similar pumps // necklace // earrings

By the way, Everlane is offering free express shipping through end of day today, for a 12/24 arrival. If you need a last minute gift for someone who is into sustainable fashion, this is the place to shop!

See their women’s gift shop, and their men’s gift shop. They have conveniently divided up their gift ideas by price point.

This was just a lazy day at home in one of my favorite sweaters and cozy UGG boots… this was the day we did all the holiday baking with my parents.

sweater (sold out) // AG Farrah skinnies (15% off) // UGG boots // Lagos necklaceearrings

This next look is from church on a Sunday when I had nursery duty. I really like this alpaca turtleneck from J.Crew. And remember, J.Crew is offering overnight holiday delivery for just $10.

J.Crew turtleneck // black AG Farrah skinnies // Rag & Bone booties // Kendra Scott hoops

I think I wore this next outfit to the mall one day . . . I almost always wear a puffer vest to the mall because I can avoid schlepping around my coat.

This Halogen cashmere crewneck is on sale, and it’s very soft and pretty. It’s thinner than some of the more expensive cashmere sweaters I have, but I really like it for layering.

sweater // similar vest // AG skinnies // boots (sold out; similar) // Lagos earrings

I dug out this #NSale cashmere hoodie for running errands, but I was actually really cold! I guess because it has a looser fit and it’s thin? Anyway, I decided to set it aside for springtime.

It’s sold out, so I found a few similar styles that I linked below.

similar hoodie (budget option) // skinny jeans // boots // Lagos earrings

I wore this one night to take the girls to the mall. We always like to go on a weeknight during the Christmas season to see the decorations, and we usually do a little Christmas shopping too.

Also, my 11mm pearl earrings are as low as I’ve seen them. I snagged them when they were $400-ish a couple years ago, and I wear them several times a week. They’re really gorgeous, and now marked down to $345.

Bloomingdale’s has joined the ranks of retailers offering free holiday shipping — receive free standard shipping on online orders placed through 12/21/19 at 11:59PM ET.

Since we were going out at night and it was very cold, I went ahead and wore my coat.

I also ended up switching to a crossbody bag before leaving the house. I’m trying to downsize my bag when I can… I’m starting to get shoulder issues from carrying a heavy tote all the time. Aging . . . ain’t it grand?

J.Crew mockneck (30% off) // grey skinnies // Aquatalia booties (sold out) // quilted coat (old) // similar bag // pearl earrings (lowest price I’ve seen!)

Next up, what I wore to my ladies’ Bible study last Thursday. This leopard sweater is so unique and pretty, and it’s 45% off at Neiman’s and 40% off at Saks.

Rails leopard sweater (40-45 % off) // grey Frame skinnies // Rag & Bone boots // pearl earrings (faux option)

And this was another lazy day at home. I can’t believe these Mother Looker jeans finally went on sale. They’re usually excluded from every promo! I really love the fit and feel — suuuuper soft, and the light wash with one busted out knee is perfect for casual looks.

This sweater was another #NSale purchase that is long gone. It’s always kind of depressing to shop for sweaters in July, and I had a hard time getting into it this year, but I’m always glad I splurged when winter rolls around.

Both this and the navy hoodie above were Vince sweaters that I got for like 40% off. You can’t beat that!

sweater (sold out) // Mother skinnies // UGG boots // Lagos necklaceearrings

Speaking of favorite sweaters, this charcoal grey v-neck by Theory is my other favorite that I always fall back on when I just want to be cozy and comfortable. Because it’s thicker than most, even with the v-neck, I’m usually plenty warm. I also like layering it under a quilted vest for mall outings. I haven’t found anything quite like it this year, but this one might be comparable.

I wore this outfit to run errands on a Saturday (with a coat on top, of course!)

similar grey sweater (budget option) // skinny jeans // boots // Lagos necklaceearrings

That night, I changed into this outfit to go out for drinks with friends.

I love this cozy sweater, and it’s one of the few #NSale items that IS still available! In fact, they just brought it out in a bunch more colors. It’s TTS; I have the beige oatmeal light heather in a size small.

cowl neck sweater // skinny jeans // booties // earrings // similar bag

I wore this next outfit to church last Sunday. It was chilly, but I just wore my long The North Face puffer coat. It was nice to wear something besides a sweater!

v-neck blouse // black jeans // similar pumps // TB tote // earrings (old) // Anna Beck necklace

But it was back to my winter uniform the next day . . . this sweater is from Everlane, and it is beautiful. There are a few sizes left!

Remember, Everlane is offering free express shipping through end of day today.

I’m also really loving these booties, and the price is insanely good. They have a just-right 2″ heel and arch support — very good for those of you need to baby your feet.

Everlane turtleneck // AG skinnies // Dolce Vita booties // pearl earrings (faux option)

And this is pretty much the same outfit with different components. This sweaters is also Everlane, but it’s from last year. The one above has a similar cut.

Everlane turtleneck (old) // Mother skinnies // UGG boots // pearl earrings (faux option)

And then here’s my attempt to figure out what to wear to the mall on Wednesday…

I don’t usually spend this much time deciding what to wear to run mundane errands, but for some reason I wasn’t having much clarity, and I tried on a few options before settling on the final one — although I don’t think it was very flattering, and I’ll tell you why.

So this is what I started with. Cozy sweater plus quilted vest for warmth, and I wanted to wear my new Lucky Brand boots from DSW. They’re warm and also very comfortable for walking, and I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking.

But when I got it all on, I didn’t like the color of the boots with the rest of the outfit. The greys seemed off — not that I wanted them to match exactly, but I just wasn’t liking it.

So I decided to swap out the turtleneck/vest combo for this leopard sweater, and I like this look okay. The lighter grey in the boots is echoed in the top, and the black in the top ties in the black jeans… it’s cute, right? I’m not sure why I didn’t just throw on a coat and go…

But for some reason, I felt like the light boots and light top and black bottoms looked choppy, so I decided to switch into my black booties… much better!

Keeping it all black on the bottom is lengthening, and the booties have a little more of a heel, which helps too. I like the proportions of this outfit better, and it’s simpler, cleaner… and it lets the sweater shine.

But then I remembered other days wearing these booties to the mall… and while they’re very comfortable, they’re high, and after a while, it can be hard on my feet. I had a lot of walking to do, and I wanted to be comfortable.

I also really didn’t want to deal with a coat, so… I went back to the original outfit, but I chose these hiker boots so I’d be keeping the bottom all black for a more cohesive look.

The only thing I don’t care for is how white shearling kind of jumps out at you, but I told myself not to overthink it.

I was very comfortable for a long afternoon of shopping, but when I came home and looked at these pictures for this post, I decided that this outfit is not all that flattering.

The sleeves of the sweater have extra volume, and the turtleneck is chunky, and the vest is chunky, and overall, it’s bulky and makes me look bigger than I am.

Since the boots are also kind of bulky, it works okay, but I think next time I’ll just go with one of my more traditional turtleneck sweaters and keep this one for wearing alone (no vest).

The good news is, I was comfortable! My feet held up fine in these shoes, and even though the wind was cold when I was running from the car to the mall and kind of cut through the sleeves of this sweater, overall I was warm enough and glad I didn’t have to schlep a coat through the mall.

That’s probably all more than you care to know, but I also get comments about how I make it look easy or how everything looks good on me, and that’s just not true for anyone.

I’m just like everyone else, and some days I waste a lot of time figuring out my outfit for an event that really doesn’t matter.

J.Crew alpaca turtleneck (30% off) // similar vest // black AG Farrah skinnies // Marc Fisher hiker boots // Lagos earrings

And finally, what I wore yesterday… this sweater is an Amazon Fashion find.

It’s a new brand they just launched, called Goodthreads, and so far I’m really pleased with what I ordered. I’ll have more in my Try-On Haul tomorrow.

It’s hard to tell, but this is the black. It’s kind of a washed black, lighter than some, but that gives it a casual vibe that I like. I also like how they didn’t skimp on sleeve length, and it has a pretty ribbed pattern at the neckline and cuffs.

Also, it has traditional on-shoulder seams and a flattering v-neck!!! Both are hard to find these days.

Goodthreads v-neck sweater // Rag & Bone jeans // Tory Burch Minnie flats // Lagos necklaceearrings

And keeping it real . . . I wore my slippers with it most of the day.

And that’s a wrap! Told you it was boring… but I guess I know what I like.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some recent try-ons, and they’re not all sweaters!!!

Have a great weekend!

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This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!