Plaid for Christmas

top row r-l: dress  /  dress  /  dress

bottom row r-l: blouse  /  skirt  / button down

I like to buy a few new “stand out” items to add to my Christmas wardrobe each year, and they usually always end up being plaid. I hope I never get to the point where I think tartan is too over the top and resort to wearing all neutrals. That seems too boring for this festive time of year!

My two favorite items above are the dress in the top center and the button down shirt on the bottom right. I love the tartan colors in the dress, and the pocket on the button down is unexpected. A good time to buy these items would be Cyber Monday so you’ll get a discount and are able to wear them all holiday season.

I almost entitled this post “Things I’d Buy if I Weren’t Pregnant” as they are all items that won’t fit me this year. I might just wait til after Christmas and see if I can get them at a deep discount in my regular size for next Christmas. I get sad thinking of all my normal “holiday” outfits that I traditionally wear that I’m unable to this year, but it’s really no big deal and this time next year I’ll be back to wearing all my favorite things and maybe even a few new things! 🙂

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J Crew Shopping Hack

top row: coat / vest / hat / gloves

bottom row: scarf / skier pajamas / nordic boots

J. Crew’s holiday line is full of great finds this year with lots of plaids, gold, shearling, & preppy motifs. Some of these “stand out” items are hot sellers come Black Friday and it’s not uncommon for them to sell out quickly. To ensure you get exactly what you want from J Crew without missing out on their Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals, you’ll want to buy less than seven days ahead of time.

Works for online orders only: When you buy from J Crew’s website, you have one week from ship date to get a price adjustment. So if I buy something tonight with 25% off, it most likely won’t ship out until Friday at the earliest (if not later than that). This means come Black Friday when they normally run 40% off, I’ll be able to call and get the price adjusted. Buying in-store is a little different so keep this in mind!

I’m interested in getting the nordic boots shown above (comes with neutral and red laces), and last year they sold out very quickly. I figured if I use the strategy above I’ll be able to get them before they sell out and still get a great sale price – hopefully 40% off.

My husband doesn’t care for them, but I think they look so warm and will be a shorter and more lightweight option to slip on since my other winter boots are taller. Not all my pants are “tall boot friendly” and instead of stuffing them into winter boots when the snow hits, I would like to put these on instead. I really like the vintage nordic look that these boots have! I’m not asking for many clothes this year since I’m pregnant and my normal size no longer fits, so I figured boots might be a safe bet for a Christmas gift.

Have you ever used a price adjustment strategically?

What do you think of the nordic boots?

As always, I don’t use affiliate links so no money goes towards me and all my opinions are 100% my own.

 

L.L. Bean Sale

sweater fleece pullovermountain pile fleece vest

wicked good camp slippers   / original 8″ bean boot

fisherman sweater / chunky knit bird’s eye sweater

L.L. Bean doesn’t run many sales, which means most of the time people are paying full price for their items (and rightfully so, the quality is worth the price). Normally around Christmas they will run 15% off, but for the first time in years they are running a 25% off everything – including bean boots. Many items are already sold out on the website because of this great deal.

All the items above are ones that I own and highly recommend. If you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on something, now is the time to buy it! The one item I was hesitant to get were the slippers because I didn’t want to pay $79 for something I just wear around the house. I ended up asking for them for Christmas over 2 years ago and still year them everyday year-round. I couldn’t be happier! There are 500+ good reviews on them if that tells you something. 🙂

My mom is always asking for ideas for Christmas so right when I heard of the sale I asked for this hat (now sold out, but thankfully she snagged it in time), and these snowshoes for me and for Joe. We snowshoe 4-5 times a winter and our old snowshoes come undone so often while using them. I’m excited to try a pair with this different bindings that make it easier to use.

Did you get anything from the L.L. Bean sale?

As always, I don’t use affiliate links so no money goes towards me and all my opinions are 100% my own.

Cold Weather Bedding

I change my bedding 4x’s a year, which seems excessive but it’s the only thing I do to freshen up my bedroom. It’s also very easy because I use a duvet and am only swapping out duvet covers. This plaid duvet is by far my favorite one! I love the way it looks in my room and the plaid is very appropriate for fall and winter. I posted this photo on Instagram over the weekend and had a lot of questions about it. It’s from LL Bean about 4 years ago, but they continue to make a similar one in a smaller plaid pattern.

Below are my choices of fall/winter bedding that are currently available:

LL Bean in Macbeth plaid

 

Land’s End (on sale)

 

Pottery Barn Buffalo Plaid Duvet (on sale)

Pottery Barn Plaid Duvet

 

What to Wear on Thanksgiving

My favorite family Thanksgiving photo circa 2015. Next year we will add another little one to this picture. 🙂

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that allows us to pause with gratitude before the busy Christmas season begins. I love that it’s centered around spending time with loved ones without any expectation of gifts, just quality time.

I tend to dress up for the occasion even when others don’t. I wouldn’t say my Thanksgivings are super casual nor are they formal, so the outfits here are appropriate unless your family gets really dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll see from the outfits below that I like to follow a certain formula that makes picking out an outfit for Thanksgiving a breeze.

Most years I wear some sort of combo of an autumnal pattern – such as plaid, tweed, houndstooth – either as my top or bottom and then keep the rest of my outfit more solid with some texture. You’ll notice I love to layer a sweater over a shirt and pair it with a skirt – my foolproof Thanksgiving go-to outfit. Sometimes I’ll wear a nicer pair of pants with a ruffle plaid top tucked into it and a nicer belt, but I think a skirt looks so nice.

I recommend the wool  Sidewalk Skirt from J Crew Factory (seen on my photo on the far left) because they come in so many great fall colors as well as plaids perfect for Thanksgiving. (Seriously, check out navy multi plaid and brillian pewter plaid). Plus they have an elastic waist so you’ll feel comfortable even when you indulge a little bit.

 

Sarah from Classy Girls Wear Pearls / Elizabeth Gerardi / Unabashedly Prep Archives

I love these three examples of Thanksgiving outfits because they include great layering and color palette perfect for the season. I appreciate when people work the deeper tones of autumn into their outfit instead of only black and gray. Life is too short to dress boring, and one can look both elegant and interesting for the occasion so easily.

So my tips – dress comfortably but not sloppy, use your favorite colors of fall, and don’t be afraid to look polished even when others won’t be dressing up. 🙂

Getting Boots Ready for Winter

Every year I assess my leather boots and decide what needs to be taken care of so they look great and serve me well for an additional year. Before the start of every season and at the very end, it’s a good idea to wipe them down and condition them. Truthfully, I wear them a few times in October and then wait til November to do this task, but it is something that needs to be done at least once a season. If you aren’t taking the time to take care of your leather shoes then you may not get the full life out of them. The beauty of genuine leather is they can be taken care of and look great for years to come.

boot guard / kiwi saddle soap / kiwi cleaning clothes / kiwi express shine

Above are the products I used when taking care of my boots. I have not tried the kiwi express shine before but would recommend it more for touch ups and not what I’m explaining today, which encompasses a more heavy duty cleaning.

I love my leather riding boots! Both are the brand Bandolino that were purchased from Lord and Taylor 6+ years ago and can still be found at many retailers including DSW. Since I wear them a lot, you can see some minor signs of wear that need to be addressed. Cleaning and conditioning them really works well in this case to make them look great again. I’m hoping to get another 6+ years out of them. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Use a paper towel and warm water to get off any excess dirt/dust so you have a clean slate to work with. Let dry.
  2. Use the polishing cloths and get them slightly damp in one area, dip that area into the saddle soap and produce a lather.  Always test the saddle soap in a hidden area and let dry before doing your whole boot just to make sure it works well.
  3. Work the saddle soap into the leather in a circular motion to cover the whole boot.
  4. Let dry and wipe off any excess soap.

I do this every year and am always impressed with the results! The black boots are gorgeous, but I was worried that they were looking rough. This process cleaned and conditioned them and made me a believer all over again. I couldn’t be happier.

I ended with an optional step of using this Clark’s waterproofer on the lower part of my boots that hit closer to the ground. Again, this is something to test before spraying on. I found this waterproofer in a Clark’s store.

Here is a before and after shot of the boots. The photos are untouched, but it is still hard to tell how drastic of a difference it was. You can see there are less cracks in the leather and they have more of a rich depth in color on the right. I can’t imagine not doing this to my boots every year!

BEAN BOOTS

Next up I took a look at my Bean boots to see which ones needed some TLC. If you own Bean boots, it’s worth it to get this Bean boot guard to make them last and look great. I find it’s always good to condition the leather, but more importantly you’ll see some of the stitching on the boots start to stick out. This stuff works almost like a wax that you work into those stitches that keeps them nicely intact.

From the website: Protect your L.L.Bean Boots and other leather footwear products with our boot dressing, a mixture of beeswax, lanolin and oils that waterproof, preserve and restore leather.

This before picture mainly shows a lot of dirt on the rubber portion, but you can see the stitching ends that I referred to above. The pair of the left also has some common scratches inside the tongue of the boot under where the laces go. The boot guard does wonders for all of this.

  1. Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the bean boot, especially the leather portion. Let try.
  2. Use the kiwi cleaning cloth to dip into the boot guard and work into the leather in a circular motion. Again, always test the polish out on a hidden area and let dry before proceeding. Sometimes it may darken it more than you’d like, but I only found this to be the case with my Bison Bean boots which are already a dark brown. 
  3. I spend extra time going over the stitches with the boot guard to keep them nice and intact.
  4. Let dry.

Again, it may be hard to tell in this before and after but in real life the leather looks much better after using the boot guard and has prepared them for another season of brutal winters. I’m especially impressed with how it lessened the appearance of the scratches of the pair on the left.

Do you take the time to take care of your boots? I don’t think many people do, but it’s really important. This whole process (including taking pics during) took maybe half an hour even with dry time. Sometimes it seems tedious, but I often enjoy owning the same thing for many years and it continuing to look great with just a little extra care on my part.

 

Autumn Fallin’

Poncho c/o Marley Lilly ($29 currently!)  /  Corduroy Leggings – Land’s End  / Boots – Bandilo 

I’m really enjoying the poncho trend as it’s comfortable and flattering on everyone. This Marley Lilly one is really cute because it has my monogram in the bottom corner for extra personalization. I love the hunter green color for fall and winter as it will add some rich tones among many of the neutral staples I have, but the poncho is available in several colors.

While I love the poncho trend, there is a trick to wearing them correctly. Because they are more flowy, you’ll want to make sure the rest of your outfit is fitted. Leggings work well in this instance because it keeps proportions in check. I also try to dress up a little more when wearing a poncho so it doesn’t look sloppy. Worn with boots and a turtleneck, the outfit is more polished and looks mature.

I’ve been wearing my leather boots more and recently cleaned and conditioned them. I’ll have a post later this week on how to do the same!

Apple Picking

vest c/o brooks brothers red fleece / sweater – brooks brothers (old), shirt – uniqulo / pants – gap maternity / boots – sperry 

Joe and I went apple picking last Friday and I wore my new vest from Brooks Brothers Red Fleece collection. If you aren’t familiar with Red Fleece, it’s a line from Brooks Brothers that caters to a younger crowd with slimmer proportions and updated fits. They recently came out with a line of puffer jackets and vests and asked me to try one out for their #PassThePuffer campaign.

I love vests (maybe too much) and am glad they’ve been around so long with no sign of going out of style. I like that puffer vests have recently gotten slimmer but with an emphasis on warmth. This means the selection available isn’t just super puffy ones but the lightweight ones are even warmer than before. It’s perfect for traveling because it’s packable and also water repellent in case of those days with unpredictable weather.

Lastly, they have a ton of color selections (eight for men and women, four for kids) and the inside is a contrasting color. You can see in a few of the photos the navy trim on the inside. It makes for an attractive vest that will be worn for years to come!

 

Autumn Attire

topper – c/o pink pineapple shop , shirt – ralph lauren . leggings – tommy hilfiger old, purse c/o mark and graham, boots c/o sperry old (one in a size 7 on poshmark here), 

It’s been such a warm fall so far and there are no signs of cooling off just yet. It’s been really  nice for spending time outdoors but I do miss wearing fall coats! I keep telling myself there will be plenty of cooler days and I’ll wish for these days back.

Since I haven’t been sporting the usual layers, I’ve been enjoying this cashmere blend topper that Pink Pineapple Shop sent me. It’s a really sophisticated item that pairs perfectly with leggings and boots. I already have outfits planned for it for winter that include a plaid scarf to compliment the camel color.

What I like about this topper is how lightweight it is – it’s not too bulky of a layer while still keeping me warm. Great for these nicer days of fall! Pink Pineapple Shop has lots of cute items (many monogrammed), and great prices as well!  Once we get closer to winter I’ll be sporting this warm hat  as much as I can.

 

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