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The Listening List: The Audiobooks and Podcasts of My 2016

December 30, 2016

When I finished graduate school in 2012, I realized that I hadn’t read anything for the joy of reading in about 4-5 years. Yikes, school reading had taken over my life. I wanted to start reading more, but I was reading so much every day as part of my job that I found myself falling asleep every time I cracked open a book. Enter Audible to the rescue. I signed up for a monthly subscription ($14 a month for 1 book token), and I started reading during my commutes to work. At first I kept it to the car, but now I listen to audiobooks while I cook, clean, and sit in bed playing the “Mexican Train” game on my phone before falling asleep. I started in 2013 with 11 titles in my Audible library. Now I have 95!  I’ve spent some serious time getting back into books, and I love it. I still won’t crack open a book, but I will definitely press play, and I’ve even added podcasts to my weekly listening.

Below is a list of all the books I read through Audible during 2016 (with the exception of some I started but never finished). I also included three podcasts that I listened to throughout the year. If you click on the image, a gallery will appear with some notes about each piece, so if you want to hear my thoughts on each, just click through the gallery below.

What books and/or podcasts have you enjoyed this year that I should add to my list?

Any thoughts about the ones I’ve included?

OOTD: All Cozied Up

December 21, 2016

This morning I laid in bed with the covers up to my chin, cuddled with Lola, and argued back and forth with myself about whether or not I’d venture out to Charlotte to visit my office. I had left some books there that I wanted to re-read while I planned for the next semester, and offices would close the next day until January. But it was cold. My phone let me know that it was only 29*F, and I tried to think of a million excuses to push it to tomorrow, but all I could come to were a million consequences from putting things off for one more day. The only reason I pried myself out of the bed was the thought that I could wear my new booties from Lane Bryant. Yes. Yes. That shallow of a reason. I wanted to wear booties. Welcome to my life.

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This outfit started with the booties. I typically only wear black shoes. I don’t know why (oh, right, I’m boring). But these low ankle booties intrigued me from the moment I saw them. I liked the buckle, the low heel, and the color, and when I got them they were comfortable (and still a bit stiff). It was a win! But I didn’t know how to wear them. I’m so, so used to black boots. I asked my friends Rachel and Jen, and they immediately said with jeans rolled up. Well I don’t follow directions well, but I still wore them with extra-short jeggings, and I went with a cream colored sweater that I hadn’t worn out yet, also from Lane Bryant.

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With the outfit itself having a calm color palette and intricate texture, I wanted warmer accessories and make up, so I reached for this bordeaux deep purple/red Aldo bag and Pixi lipstick in Rose Naturelle

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I also added brown and gold floral earrings that gave just a little shine to the look.

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By the way – update on the cold – it ended up warming to above 60*F by mid-afternoon. I was cozied up and worried I would regret it, but these short sleeves saved me. Thanks, North Carolina weather. I made it to my office and grabbed my books. I even stopped for a delicious coffee and creme brulee before heading back home. Getting out of bed ended up being totally worth it, so thanks LB booties for motivating me forward.

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Sweater: Lane Bryant (similar), Jeggings: Torrid, Booties: Lane Bryant, Handbag: Aldo, Earrings: Forever21

OOTD(s): Mad Dash to End of Semester

December 20, 2016

Hey everyone! It’s been awhile since I posted last. After Thanksgiving, we had just a few weeks to end the semester. I was indeed wearing clothes during this time, and if you follow me on instagram, then you probably saw some of my lovely bathroom selfies of outfits. It’s come to that sad point in the year when the bathroom at my workplace has better lighting than I can get at home, but when it’s dark before I even arrive home after work, taking outfit pictures is just impossible. But have no fear! I managed to put a few outfits together as I and my students made a mad dash to the end of the semester.

During those whirlwind weeks of meeting with students, grading, giving feedback, etc., I found that wearing pants/jeans seemed like a punishment in and of itself. Luckily, leggings + tunic/dress is a back up uniform I can call to at any moment, and I wore various versions of this over and over again.

First up was this overcast-gray zippered tunic from Evansblack jeggings from Torrid, and old booties from Evans. I’ve always loved the length of Evans’ tunics, and I used to shop with Evans a lot (and even collaborated with them back in the day), but they seem to offer less tunics or at least less tunic styles that I like then they did back in the day. That said, this was a goodie, and I love the small zipper details. This is a warm tunic. Do not let the shorter sleeves fool you. The material keeps in the heat, which is good on a cold day but bad in a heated office. You’ve been warned — choose where you wear this carefully! I didn’t do much to it since I hurried out the door, but there are lots of different options with scarves, jewelry, and jackets in kicking it up a notch.

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In the search for all my different options to wear with leggings, I unearthed this dress from, I believe, SimplyBe, that I probably bought back in 2012 or 2013. This is one of those dresses that I planned to wear many times and then never actually did. For some reason whatever was holding me back before didn’t stop me now. This dress has fluffy sleeves, feather print, and a matching belt. Again, the outfit is a bit no-fuss since I was heading into work, but a leather jacket or playing around with belts could also make this more interesting if I wear it again in the future.

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One of the last events I attended as part of the semester was my program’s end of term potluck. I decided to take a little more time to get ready and to look festive, so I pulled this tunic/dress from Evans that is a green/blue (more green that it appears here), my new studded boots from Lane Bryant, and I *gasp* put on jewelry for work. I topped the look with a silver chain bracelet and silver earrings from, I think, Forever21 (similar earrings here).

I really like this dress, its texture and color, but holy-static-cling. I didn’t realize it was going to be such an issue and was unprepared to deal with it making its way north while walking across campus. Later I used a dryer sheet to neutralize it before heading out with friends, but I think I’ll have to invest in anti-static-cling spray before wearing it out again.

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Grades were due yesterday, and I received my course evaluations this morning. I’m now officially allowing myself to not think about work for the next week. So far my break plans include decluttering and organizing my apartment (a continuation of a project started months ago), going to the movies, seeing family and friends as much as possible, and enjoying sleeping in with Lola. Tomorrow I’m heading in to Charlotte to explore some places that I don’t usually get to during my work week, so follow along on Instagram or Snapchat if you’d like to connect more day-to-day.

 

Thanksgiving Day | November 24, 2016

November 25, 2016

Hi everyone! I hope those of you that celebrate had a great Thanksgiving Day. I put together a short video about my day that I hope you will check out (especially the end!!) I also included some images of what I wore, also posted below:

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Dress/Tunic: Additionelle.com, Leggings: Catherines, Boots: Evans, Earrings: White Owl (similar)

OOTD: Dressing with Your Vision

November 20, 2016

A couple weeks ago I reached out on Instagram and Facebook to seek out your advice on how to style Eloquii’s (now sold out) fit and flare dress. You all gave me multiple suggestions on how to go about it, and the challenge I made to myself was to not spend any additional money on the look. While I got a lot of suggestions, from wearing it with a scarf and moto jacket to “Russian winter theme”, I started with the following suggestions:

eloquii1eloquii2 Now I don’t own a pea coat currently, but I had the booties. My immediate thought was to wear it with this oversized chain necklace I owned, but I felt like it was a style or look I had done in the past, so I started playing with some of the jewelry I have. I was originally going for a shorter necklace, but then just put on the long one to see how I liked it. Then I added in a different chain necklace and found that I really liked the layered look. This is actually the first time I’ve worn layered necklaces. Living on the edge, y’all!

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I also just finished watching Good Girls Revolt on Amazon Prime, so I went with straight hair with a braid along the front.

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I added in the long coat I had from Target. It has a close feel to a peacoat without the distinct button pattern you’d expect.

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I really loved dressing with your vision. It pushed me to try something new, and I think it wasn’t as safe as maybe my first reach would have been when I went to wear the dress. Thanks Eloquii, Sally, and Sarina in helping me style this look!

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Dress – Eloquii, Boots – Evans, Coat – Target, Long Necklace – Charming Charlie, Short Necklace – UrbanOutfitters

You’ll have to let me know if you like offering styling. I’d love to do a post like this one every month or two since it helps me get out of my rut of typical styling choices :).

Introducing 22+ Style Lookbook

November 17, 2016

A few months ago I was approached by Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me about an idea that she had. She wanted to put together a lookbook that featured women size 22+ to both give space to bloggers on the upper end of the plus size size spectrum as well as show how stylish women size 22+ can be, even with less options than our smaller plus size friends.

Marcy summed up this project and her idea well this morning on her FB page: “I am a firm believer that there is no dream too big or crazy AND it is so important to create opportunities for yourself and others. You should never wait to be seen — you should make it possible to be seen. With that said, this project I have been working on with 11 other amazing women is proof of those two key things and I am so happy to finally announce that it is live. I think there should be more diversity shown in the media and campaigns. Too often, us women a size 24 and up get ignored because we’re visibly plus and sometimes people think it’s negative to show larger bodies. Well, this lookbook is proof that style doesn’t stop at a size 22 and that body diversity is a great thing. All bodies are beautiful and everyone is worthy and deserving of fashion. Please check it out! Special thanks to all the babes in this lookbook from so many corners of the world. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with in this Big Girl Revolution.”

I knew I wanted to be involved right away. While the project was a lookbook, Marcy made sure to stress that she wanted to introduce us as people. I though through what my favorite clothes were and how I saw myself, so I tried to choose looks that exemplified how I see myself. My lovely sister-in-law Brittany helped these looks come alive through her photography — thank you!

I’ve shared most of these looks before here on my blog, but there was one I kept until the lookbook was live. It is a simple enough outfit: a white top from xWhoWhatWear at Target, jeans from Evans, and a purse from Aldo, but it was also a look that broke a lot of rules I have placed on myself in the past: no defined waist, slight turtle neck that touches my double chin, and even just posing without a smile. I’m not a model, and posing with a serious expression is something that ends up forcing me into a critique-spiral. These photos made me feel beautiful though.

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Check out the full lookbook with the other 11 participating bloggers below 🙂

OOTD: Another Simple (but cozy) Fall Outfit

November 8, 2016

Interrupting your Election Day anxiety-cheering-whatever-your-emotion evening with a short post of a simple Fall outfit that I wore today. November has finally brought in the cool crisp weather that I’ve been wanting all October, so I could finally wear a jacket and not sweat underneath it. Also, I happen to fall under the anxiety camp in terms of today’s emotions, so layering up in a jacket and scarf was just what I needed to feel a little more cozy during an uncertain time.

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Easiest fall outfit = black leather jacket, jeans (in black or blue), boots, and a scarf. I’m always up for  easy-peasy outfit that looks pulled together but takes no thought (because at 6am, I’m not thinking well).

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The scarf was featured in my last vlog post, and it came free from GwynnieBee (referral link). Jacket is a splurge item from Sejour at Nordstrom, though there are similar more affordable options here, here, and here. Plain black tee from Old Navy, jeans from Torrid, and ankle boots from Evans (similar).

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I hope that however you feel about elections, that you all are having a good evening. I’m currently watching Good Girls Revolt, snuggling with Lola, and everything feels okay (for now).