Travel Wardrobe: Weekend in Chicago

I’m lucky beyond measure to have a great group of high school girlfriends who get together whenever we’re all in our hometown. Instead of waiting for the holidays or the next wedding, this year we decided to do a proper weekend in the city we call home (even if most of us live elsewhere): Chicago.

With just over 48 hours to wine, dine, and catch up on each others’ lives, we hit the ground running.  Here was the outfit I wore to travel and then for dinner at a local Italian restaurant:

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Shirt dress: Merona (I previously mis-IDed it as Gap) – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

Side view:

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Roll those roll-tab sleeves for better ventilation.

It held up surprisingly well given that I wore it to work, sweat in it for an hour waiting for a state trooper in the Atlanta heat following a minor car accident, sat in it for a two-hour flight, and then wore it straight to dinner since my accident meant I took a later flight and had no time to change.

You know what the cure for all that nonsense is? Good friends and a good negroni.  :)

The next morning I was up for a run around my hometown wearing workout clothes I had thrifted on the way to the airport. I had forgotten my usual running stuff at home since it hadn’t dried yet. Thrifting to the rescue!  For under $10 I had perfectly serviceable shorts, a running bra, and a tank top, all of which I left at my parents’ house so I don’t have to pack workout gear next time I go home. Genius.

After meeting up for coffee with two of the ladies, we hopped on the train and headed downtown to meet another friend (two others had joined us for dinner the night previously but couldn’t make the city festivities). We hopped into a ride service to get to her apartment and had the most Chicago-esque conversation possible with the driver. Topic #1: the Cubs’ prospects for beating the Cardinals that day (done!); topic #2: where you can eat the best Chicago-style hot dogs (I don’t eat meat but if I can help it a Portillo’s jumbo cheese dog will be my last meal before I leave this earth); and topic #3: obviously Lou Malnati’s does the best Chicago-style pizza.

Once we met up with our city-dwelling friend, we went for a stroll along the recently completed riverwalk and stopped for pictures with the giant deer…

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…before sitting down to rosé and a cheese plate at City Winery. The people-watching was excellent as party boats and kayakers trawled the Chicago River and people meandered alongside it.

Here’s my “day” outfit:

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You can tell I’m super happy to be in my favorite city with some of my favorite people. The guy behind me, however, might be picking his nose. Can you spot the Chicago theater sign?

Shirt: Zara – thrifted
Shorts: American Eagle – thrifted
Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted vintage bracelet (closeup below)
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

I tucked the front of this split-hem shirt into my shorts to give the outfit a jaunty little flair and let the back hang out to give some interest and showcase the two-toned gold thing going on. Sorry I didn’t get any side shots! I still feel a little weird asking people to take outfit pics, even though people generally oblige and they always turn out better than what I take myself.

Next up: dinner at Momotaro, a very hip Japanese restaurant. I swapped my shorts for my white Banana Republic trousers to dress up my dinner look a bit; the gold lamé shirt I already had on took care of the rest.

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What our table looked like.  Source

We feasted on small plates like tomato tartare with milk bread, mentaiko spaghetti with cod roe and an egg, age dashi tofu (a round tofu cake with watermelon turnip purée, scallions, and flaked tuna), shishito peppers, una kyu (barbecued eel roll), and sashimi and beef fried rice for the half of us who eat meat/raw fish. Black currant mochi and green tea chocolate crunches were dessert.

I unfortunately took no pictures, since the lighting was so dim and we were all too focused on salivating over our meal (that part’s not unfortunate!), but here’s what the internet shows for the tomato tartare:

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My favorites were the tartare (not actually involving any meat) and the shishito peppers, but everything was delicious, including the cocktails. Thanks abundantly for dinner, Steph (and David)!

Next we headed up to the rooftop bar at London House, the hotel where another friend had snagged us a comp room thanks to how often her husband travels for work.  Many, many thanks Maddie (& Dan)! The view was incredible – and kind of scary? especially after a cocktail or two:

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By this point I was feeling extra fancy since my normal vacation digs are friends’ guest rooms and my normal vacation fare = Subway on the road. After much laughter and only one broken glass, we headed back to our room and drifted off to dreamland.

The next morning I was up for a run along the lakefront. Running in a different spot from my normal route is one of my favorite parts of vacation; there’s something truly invigorating about taking your exercise while taking in a new (or newly revisited) view.

With Chicago in particular, I have a lot of memories: visiting downtown often for field trips and theater as a kid, interning one summer on Michigan Avenue, and taking a college course on Chicago architecture in literature. So I still love to get facetime with treasured landmarks like the Art Institute lions, the Field Museum, the bronze Bowman and Spearman, the Congress Hotel, and a distant Sears Tower (I will always call it the Sears tower). I even tipped my hat to the alien monstrosity that has landed on Soldier Field, then turned around to run on the lakeside, ending back at the Wrigley and Chicago Tribune towers by the hotel.

Views from the hotel:

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So many architecturally magnificent buildings masquerading at ground level as 7-11s (or in this case, Hard Rock):

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When you randomly meet a dinosaur on your run (Field Museum):dinosaur

Railyard with a great view:

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Part of Millenium Park being put to good use:

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It’s a fountain; the mouths of the people portrayed spit water. I always wonder who those people are and if they ever get weirded out seeing their gigantic selves as part of a public art installation…

I got several more GREAT shots but my phone is still misbehaving and corrupted most of them. Grumble grumble grumble.

Breakfast and a shower later, I was ready for the train ride back to my parents’ house for lunch and goodbyes to all:

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Shirt: Madewell – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted
Braided leather belt – unnamed, thrifted
Accessories: same as above

^^That is the best my mane ever looks – right after I went for a run (and didn’t wash my hair). Go figure.

Closeup on the bracelet-turned-necklace:

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All this packed in the Samsonite Silhouette I borrowed from my mom, the tan twin to my grandma’s aqua blue bag – you can see it below.

Fistbump to Cori, who wants you to know she thrifted everything in this rad outfit except the shirt (and who is my environmental soulmate; she snagged that empty Starbucks cup beside us for recycling):

IMG_7577Oh hey Wrigley building and Tribune Tower.

Cheers, ladies – here’s to friendship and to next time!

What I Wore: Blue “Crop Top” for Work

Here’s a what-I-wore shot from last week, featuring the “faux crop” shirt that’s also in this post. I love how the bright, robin’s egg blue pairs with the navy in the pants – one of my favorite color combos:

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Shirt: Dahlia – thrifted
Pants: Alfani – thrifted
Shoes: Bandolino – thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Necklace: DIY from thrifted parts

From the side – a much better view of how this whole thing looks untucked:

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Do you like my post-beach hair? Ha! The salt gives it outrageous body and waves for a few days, but eventually it just turns coarse and I have to wash out the salt. I went to bed with it fine, but woke up with things out of control and no time to wash, so up it went into a bun!

A little better shot of this necklace than last time:

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And just for comparison, how different this top looks when half-tucked into a skirt:

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Do you have a favorite color combo for outfits? Which look do you like better? Click through and scroll down to comment!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Wrap Up + What I Learned

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As you may remember from my intro post, this was basically a travel wardrobe of tried-and-true favorites masquerading as a 10×10 challenge, which means my goal for it wasn’t necessarily to discover anything new about the items therein.  But I made room for the possibility that I’d learn something, and lo and behold, I did!

#1. I love this shirt.
You know those items you wear so easily that you don’t even know how much you love them because it’s so second-nature to just throw them on?  They don’t feel special, exactly, but then you do something like this and realize that they work with everything and you wear them all. the. time.

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Can you tell which one was taken after spending 10 days outside??  Ha.

Three things make this one a winner:

  • Stripes. These have equal amounts blue/white so the navy doesn’t overwhelm my skin tone. They’re a great width, too; stripes that are all too thin/narrow just look busy to me instead of bold.
  • 3/4 length sleeves.  Combined with the open neck and light material, the sleeves keep this right in the middle between hot & cool. Perfect for in-between seasons and temperature changes while traveling.
  • Silhouette/drape. This shirt has give and flow for a not-too-tight silhouette. The drape adds a certain chicness and insouciance (as well as making room for fried scallops and sweet corn).

Plus the drop shoulders give it some visual interest – those stripes going perpendicular to each other just jazz the whole thing up a little. (I guess that’s 4 things. Whoops.)

#2. Put it on repeat.
Especially on vacation, I am happy to rewear the same item or even outfit. No shame on these back-to-back outfits, where, just like above, I simply swapped shorts:

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If it works, it works, and I don’t need to reinvent the wheel for no reason. This is related to my next discovery…

#3. Life is a 10×10 remix (or a capsule wardrobe?).
Because the color palette was broader, when I did my first 10×10 remix this spring I wore each piece multiple times, yet felt like there were still SO many options left at the end of the 10 days.  It was exciting and invigorating.

At the end of this summer remix, however, I felt not energized but more… content. I hadn’t worn everything, and probably could have gotten by with even less, yet surprisingly I wasn’t bored with my clothes by the end of the trip. (You know that feeling where you just want to chuck the entire contents of your suitcase, dirty or not, into the laundry hamper because you’re sick of seeing the same clothes? Not this time.) It was like I relaxed into my wardrobe as the days went by.

And when I looked at my closet to get dressed for work the next day, I felt happy and “relaxed into” my clothing there, too. I knew what worked together and what I wanted to wear, and felt no need to go thrifting.

I think after 2 years of blogging (and 10 years of thrifting), I might finally be getting into the groove of this capsule wardrobe concept – not a rigid set of restrictions, but a mix of feeling invigorated by and “relaxed into” the clothes I have and happy with the way they fit together.

I still go thrifting for fun and for inspiration, and to change things up occasionally (example: the grey, blue striped, and olive casual summer dresses in this post were all new styles for me and all really hit the spot in different ways), but I’m not feeling the grabby impulse of yore to THRIFT ALL THE THINGS.

It’s a good place to be.

Last but not least…

#4. Never trust Vermont weather.
Whatever the forecast, even in JULY, just assume it will be colder/rainier than they say and pack accordingly. As I mentioned before, I did just fine with a windbreaker over a 3/4 sleeve shirt, but if I had it to do over I’d have swapped this:

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I kept thinking a sweatshirt would be bulky and take up way too much precious packing space in my tote; I had somehow forgotten about the fleecy, thin wonder that is my Mossimo sweatshirt. Oh well, there’s always next time!

Did you do the 10×10 remix?  What did you learn?  How are you feeling about the current state of your wardrobe? Scroll down to comment!

 

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 10

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity.

Day 10: Beach & Home

My in-laws live in coastal New Hampshire so you better believe that when it turned out to be sunny (unlike our weather last week at the lake!), we hit up that beach like nobody’s business. What a way to go out!

Beach uniform:

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Hat: unlabeled – thrifted
Halter top: Ralph Lauren – thrifted

Bottoms: Target, retail

I wore this dress as a coverup – how versatile!

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Jumping bracingly cold waves with Mini Me in her Wonder Woman suit (gifted from uncles who spoil her deliciously):

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Happy as a clam:

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We hit up a seafood joint with the sweetest, most succulent fried scallops, then nipped back to the in-laws’ to shower and pack and drive to Boston to catch our plane.

The travel uniform in a slightly different permutation from yesterday:

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Love that salty beach hair that won’t quite stay put…

Top: Gap – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted

Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwaters by Hoy – retail

Here ends the 10×10 remix for this go-around. Come back tomorrow for a round-up and my thoughts on the whole shebang!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 9

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity.

Day 9: Goodbye Lake Champlain, Hello New Hampshire

Here was my outfit for driving 4 hours from Vermont to The Granite State, where we stopped over for a night before flying home:

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My 5-year-old cousin made that twist braid – didn’t she do a great job?  I can never get those to stay.

Shirt: Gap – thrifted
Shorts: Bill Blass – thrifted
Hat: unlabeled – thrifted
Crossbody bag: Marco Avané – thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwater by Hoy – retail

I think this can now be called my official travel shirt. I always wear it on airplanes (and apparently in cars) because it’s lightweight yet longish-sleeved, so it does well with shifts in temperature as AC goes on/off, working up a sweat as you run through terminals, etc.  Both top and shorts have some give to them which makes sitting for long periods more comfortable.

Details:

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Once we got to New Hampshire my spouse and I busted out the workout gear and went for a run in the rolling hills dotted with farms. It was absolutely gorgeous – flowers everywhere, blue sky, cows, lusciously painted old farm houses, fresh air… Since we often visit in the winter, I forget how beautiful New England is in the summer.

What’s your go-to travel wardrobe? Scroll down to share!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 8, In Which I Thrift But Wear Nothing Notable

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

This will go down in the fashion books as another never-change-out-of-your-pjs-and-workout-clothes kind of day. All I can say is that it rained so we mostly stayed inside, and I did laundry so I wore my swimsuit under my pj top and Bill Blass shorts and called it good.  This is why you go on vacation, people.

In the absence of anything resembling a bloggable outfit, I’ll share with you the thrifting and antiquing jaunt my aunt and I went on today.

First up, Granny’s Attic in South Hero:

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Housed in the original town hall/Protestant church, Granny’s Attic is operated by volunteers and all proceeds benefit the community. No clothes, sadly, but here are just a few of the treasures I found (my phone ate most of my July pictures, otherwise I’d be showing you many more):

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No one in my family wanted this rabbit mask except my 8-year-old cousin, whose dad vetoed it. Can’t imagine why…

The headband really makes the look:

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All the vacation homes in the area must have thrown up their puzzle closets here:

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If you’re looking for homewares (or puzzles), this place is chock full of ’em. I didn’t buy anything but my aunt nabbed a beautiful metal doorknocker in the shape of a butterfly for a friend’s housewarming present.

Up next, Tinker’s Barn, an antique outpost just down the road:

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Full of super-interesting antiques and an incredible vintage hat collection, this place was a treasure to wade through. Well organized with all those what-the-heck-does-this-do antiques labeled, we had a great time perusing everything from linguini makers to antique snowshoes to pudding steamers.  Sadly, almost all my shots of delicious hats and sumptuous wool jackets were eaten by the misbehaving phone, so here are a few from the internets to give you an idea of how well-stocked this place is:

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And the two photos that survived off my phone. The first I took for a friend with a dachshund who wanted to know why this treasure wasn’t priced at $148 instead of just $48…

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And I took this one because of a family joke involving marble rolling pins:

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I desperately wish the hat I fell in love with had made it into pictures, but alas, it did not.  It was a beautiful cherry red wool bowler, like this in shape, with very dramatic pheasant feathers:

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Alas.

What are your favorite types of thrift/antique stores to hit up?  Anyone been up to the Champlain Islands?

See ya tomorrow for the penultimate outfit!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 7 + My Entire Travel Wardrobe

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 7: Fishing and a Concert

I wore pretty much the exact same outfit as on Day 6, because I’d only worn it for a few hours the night before.  Plus, it was cold enough for pants and I only brought one pair.

Look Ma, I caught a fish!

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That night we headed to a concert at the Snow Farm Winery in South Hero with cooked-on-site pizza and locally made ice cream.  It was cooler with a bit of misty rain so I stuck with the same outfit pictured above.

Here’s the band setting up:

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Since there wasn’t much going on clothes-wise today, I figured I’d show you what’s in my bag.  As you have probably noticed, I went with a muted red, blue, and white palette to keep everything mix-and-matchable:

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Lace yoke top, Old Navy; embroidered 3/4 sleeve top, Lucky Brand; striped tee, Madewell; floral tee, Old Navy; sleep shirt, no label; halter swimsuit top, Ralph Lauren; swimsuit bottoms, Target (retail); striped 3/4 length tee, Gap; red shorts, Bebe; blue shorts, Bill Blass; red pants, Bandolino; striped dress, J. Crew; hat, unlabeled; sunglasses, Ray-Ban (retail); running tank & shorts, Champion; running shoes, Champion (retail); crossbody bag, Marco Avané; sandals, Saltwater (retail).  Everything thrifted unless noted otherwise. Not featured: pj shorts (thrifted), windbreaker (gift – pictured in first picture at top).

For those keeping score at home, the pieces for the Remix include: 2 3/4 sleeve tops, 2 tees, 1 sleeveless top, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants, and a dress, for a total of 9 items (10 if you count the sandals). PJs, workout gear, and outerwear are not included.

All packed in this:

IMG_1362My trusty Samsonite tote inherited from my grandma. It’s at least 40 years old, maybe more.

So far I’ve been pretty happy with this mix. With laundry in both places we’ve stayed, I could easily have gotten away with less, but it’s been nice to have variety.  I haven’t worn the lace yoke top yet; given the chilly temps here in Vermont, I probably should have swapped it for a lightweight sweatshirt. But my windbreaker over my longer-sleeved tees has done just fine in a pinch.

What’s your approach to a travel wardrobe in a small amount of packing space?  Scroll down to share!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 6

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 6: Even More Lake

I spent the vast majority of this day in pajamas and workout gear, only getting dressed right before dinner.  When there are boats to ride, a lake to swim in, gorgeous country roads to run, and s’mores to roast, why bother?

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Shirt: Lucky Brand – thrifted
Red chinos: Bandolino – thrifted

Cuff bracelet: Monet jewelry – thrifted
Belt: no label – thrifted

The gardens at this lake house are quite spectacular:

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Wild bachelor’s buttons and the lake on my run:

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As you can see it’s been overcast but it hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm.

See ya tomorrow!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 5

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 5: Lake Champlain

Hello from the Green Mountain State!  After a hellish travel day involving 5 hours of flight delays and 7 hours in the car (including driving through the night), we’re now hanging out with the other side of the family in Vermont at a beautiful lake house. See the water in the background there?

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That glass is full of delicious local cider which we paired with delicious local cheese.  I heart you, Vermont.

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Shirt: Old Navy – thrifted
Shorts: Bebe – thrifted
Cuff: Monet – thrifted

Sandals: Saltwater – retail
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban – retail

When your spouse tells you to quit posing with his glass because you’re drinking all his cider:

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But you don’t listen:

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I wrote this while watching my cousin clean a bass he caught on the dock. Now off to go swimming in the chilly water!  I’m thinking that horrible travel day was worth it. See ya tomorrow!

Summer 10×10 Remix: Day 4

As part of the Summer 10×10 remix (hosted by UnFancy and Style Bee), I’m attempting to post what I’ve been wearing each day as I live out of my suitcase on back-to-back family reunions. What’s a 10×10 remix? 10 pieces of clothing, 10 outfits, 10 days. What you count as an item is up to you (I’m not counting shoes, workout gear, outerwear) since the point isn’t following strict rules – it’s using limitations to spark creativity. 

Day 4: On the Farm

I feel so fancy having a great backdrop and a real camera to capture outfits!  Turns out it pays to go on vacation with people who will take outfit photos.

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This isn’t our family farm, but this corn crib is similar to one that my uncle & aunt disassembled last year. The 100+ year old aged pine was turned into a beautiful table where lots of us can eat and several other cherished furniture projects.

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Dress: J. Crew – thrifted
Hat: unlabeled – thrifted
Cuff bracelet: Monet – thrifted
Sandals: Saltwater (retail)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (retail)

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This is the most comfortable dress I own – so soft, so practical (I can sit cross-legged, and it has pockets!), and it gives a great silhouette – sort of boxy on top and almost like drawstring shorts on the bottom. Paired with the straw hat and some sandals that got me through fields, barns, and water fights, it just exudes easy, summery chic.

I feel like a legit style blogger over here:

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So many good memories from corn cribs like this and farm yards full of grasshoppers and monarch butterflies by day and studded with fireflies by night.

More tomorrow!