8 Fall Outfits I Like

Ah, Fall.

I tried on a ton of clothes trying to come up with a few options I liked. You’re welcome, because it was a lot of work. I really did it for me, though. Now when I get up I have some idea of what to wear in this season of 80°-90° F “Fall” days.

I thought a lot about what to write for this week’s post and in the end I decided to write about what I’m most interested in. So even if it seems boring or superficial, I’m being true to myself, right?

Whenever I go through my closet like this I find things. Some of these items I don’t wear that often, but realize I should (Hello chambray shirt.) And I was happy to be able to “shop my closet” and not run out and buy a lot of new clothes because it’s Fall. So, yay me. Some pieces and some combinations did not make the cut. I edited my shots down to my absolute favorites.

Note: I started this blog in order to learn how to blog, and learn more about WordPress. I’m a graphic designer, not a model. And I don’t make money from my blog. Unless you count the $1.05 from Ad Sense, which I don’t. I do love blogs, and fashion, and sharing ideas. I added links (if the items are still available) because I find it really helpful when other bloggers do. It helps fuel my shopping addiction! So, that’s where I’m at, for what it’s worth.

Here they are:

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OUTFIT 1  Gap Dress  |  Lucky Shoes

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OUTFIT 2  LOFT Dress  |  Nine West Shoes

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OUTFIT 3  Banana Republic Shirt  |  J. Crew Pants  |  Banana Republic Shoes

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OUTFIT 4  LOFT Shirt  |  J. Crew Pants  |  Banana Republic Shoes

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OUTFIT 5  J. Crew Shirt  |  J. Crew Jeans  | Lucky Shoes

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OUTFIT 6  J. Crew Shirt  |  Gap Chinos  |  Marc Fisher Shoes

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OUTFIT 7  Lucky Shirt  |  Citizens of Humanity Jeans  |  Dr. Scholl’s Shoes

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OUTFIT 8  LOFT Shirt  |  Citizens of Humanity Jeans  |  Nine West Shoes

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How Do You Take Care of Your Skin?

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I have never been big on cosmetics. I just don’t… well, I just don’t care. Or maybe I’m just lazy. I also dislike going to the cosmetics counter. It’s intimidating. I feel like I don’t “speak the language”, that I can’t seem to communicate what I want.

What do I want?

I guess I want to look radiant, beautiful, healthy. With very little effort.

Let’s back up a little.

The first brand I purchased was Clinique. If I bought anything it was always Clinique. Skin care and Make up (I’ll talk about make up in a future post.)

Years later, a friend asked me to buy Mary Kay. For some reason, up until then I had always resisted buying a system, you know, “cleanse-tone-moisturize.”  I tried it.

Another friend was selling Arbonne. I tried that. She got me hooked with the free sample. It had everything: cleanser – toner – anti aging cream – eye cream – SPF moisturizer – night scrub – night cream. It really seemed to make a huge difference. I bought the whole line. But when it came time to re-up, I couldn’t bring myself to drop $275 again. I replaced a few of the items. (I do love the orange-y smell.)

I filled in the gaps with recommendations I got at Sephora or ULTA: from new-to-me brands like Lancome, L’Oreal, and Dermalogica.

Over the summer I just got lazy. And my skin was not looking younger.

Then, just last month, another friend invited me to a Beauty Counter party. I ended up trying a mascara and the Balancing Face Oil.

So now I have this strange, incomplete mix of products:

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Clinique eye cream. Clinique moisturizer. Clinique make up remover. Arbonne eye cream. Lancome exfoliating cleanser. L’Oreal anti aging cream. Dermalogica cleanser. Beauty Counter Oil.

I was really impressed with Beauty Counter, especially their commitment to using only healthy ingredients. I’ve only tried the oil and I haven’t used it a lot. I’m trying to decide if I should invest in more of their products.

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While I was at the party, my friend told me about this new App. It let’s you look up or scan products to see how many toxins are in them. Not all beauty products report on their ingredients (they don’t have to), but you can find a lot.

So that’s where I am. Kind of in skin care limbo. There are so many options out there. I want something that works, doesn’t cost a fortune.

And it has to be simple.

I think I’m ready to grow up a little bit and really take care of my skin.

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The Most Important Thing for Your Health: Meditation

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my favorite place to meditate. this is what meditation looks like for me.

Do you meditate? Do you want to (in theory) but can’t seem to ever get around to it?

Over the last few years meditation has become more and more essential to my health and well being than anything else.

Every time I forget this fact, something comes into my life to remind me.

The first time I really ever meditated was in a yoga class (around 2001.) Most of you are probably familiar with Savasana (my translation: “lie flat on the floor and do nothing.”) It’s at the end of class when you get to relax. It was a rare experience to be still and quiet. I was always moving, always thinking.

Then, over the next 10 years or so, I would make a half-hearted attempts to meditate. I knew a guy named Dan who was always telling me how great it was. He was the one who told me it was okay to lean against something, with or without my legs crossed, when I meditated. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable. He also gave me a copy of a CD of Pema Chodron and a CD of A New Earth by Eckart Tolle. I tried again to make meditation a regular thing but I didn’t stick with it.

I occasionally went to a meditation group. I found that it’s very different meditating with other people. There you are, sitting in a room, with all these other people and all sorts of sounds and distractions, with your eyes closed. It’s odd at first. Then it’s amazing. I was instructed to focus on my breathing, to watch my thoughts come and go, but keep returning to my breathing. I would always drift off to some story, or a to do list. I couldn’t quiet my mind. I always felt like I was failing.

It helped that a lot of people I knew made regular use of meditation. It wasn’t like some weird 70s commune thing. It was a normal way to manage the stress of life. I’m constantly coming across articles that explain how meditation changes you, mentally, emotionally, physically.

I kept trying.

My (Lutheran) church offered a 6 week class in “Centering” or “Contemplative Prayer.” It was nice. We did some singing and some guided meditation. I’d always thought of meditation as being an Eastern Religion thing, but obviously there are plenty of Christians who meditate.

About a year ago, a friend invited me to try Quaker Meditation. I’d been to a Quaker service, so I had an idea about what it would be like. This was not the same as Quaker Meeting on a Sunday morning. This is called Experiment with Light. There are readings interspersed with silence. The second half of the hour people speak about their experience. I was immediately hooked. It didn’t hurt that it is held in a 300 year old building that feels absolutely steeped in spirituality. Every week is basically the same small group of incredibly kind, welcoming people who don’t seem to mind that I’m not a Quaker. Here are a couple links if you’re interested. The first one is the text written out. The second one is an audio file you can use to try it at home. Or you can seek out a Meeting house near you.

http://www.experiment-with-light.org.uk/medits/modind2.pdf | http://www.experiment-with-light.org.uk/medsta.mov

 

Then, last month I read The Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. I was convinced more than ever how important this was!

Every time I drifted from regular meditation, life got crazy. And every time something would be put in my path to remind me: MEDITATE. I know. I will. I promise. Why is it so hard? It’s actually very easy. But hard. My mind is too loud, too busy. Exactly. Which is why you have to get quiet. I keep trying.

I think we make all these rules about how it has to be. It doesn’t have to be any particular way. As you experiment, you’ll find out what works for you. My advice is: just do it! Do it:

  • for just 5 minutes
  • eyes closed or open
  • siting on the floor or in a chair
  • on a cushion, or 3
  • on a sofa
  • flat on the floor
  • walking
  • listening to a recording
  • alone or with a group
  • focusing on breathing in and out
  • being non-judgemental about your thoughts
  • even though your surroundings are not quiet

I hope some of this is helpful. Make a start. You’ll be amazed.

Posted in Let's Get Fit | 3 Comments

What I’m Reading This Summer

UnknownThe Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty

This has been on my to-read list for so long I forgot who recommended it. I sort of thought I wouldn’t like it, but then I DID. It starts in 1922 and goes almost until present day. It is filled with secrets. Funny, I really liked The Secret Keeper and this has a lot in common, and soon I’m going to start The Husband’s Secret. The Chaperone proves that we can all change, be less judgmental and get second chances. I recommend it!

 

 

 

41+b8t5VrOL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Circle
by Dave Eggers

Think George Orwell’s 1984 only Big Brother is not the Government but Corporate America. If you live/lived in Silicon Valley like I have you’ll recognize and be quicky seduced by the fun, cutting edge, rule breaking Circle (Google? Facebook? A combination?) I read this on vacation and even though I wouldn’t call it a summer read, it was a page-turner.

 

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

I only recently became aware that I am in introvert. I never wanted to believe that because I think I’m pretty outgoing and social. I have fought against the stigma of being shy and thought I was winning. This book has changed the way I look at everything. I am quiet. I like quiet. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Next: The Dharma Punx

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Staying active on vacation

 

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I obsess.

I’m always worrying about getting out of the habit of working out and eating healthy when I’m on vacation. How am I going to work out when I don’t have access to the things I normally do? Should I pack clothes for running? Should I buy a travel scale? Crazy, right?

Then last month I went on a trip and I actually lost weight. Granted I did a lot of walking, but I certainly didn’t watch my calories. This experience helped me relax a little. I recently read an article about how restrictive dieting causes weight gain and that allowing yourself to eat foods you enjoy can help you lose.

So, along the lines of letting-go-of-how-you-think-you-have-to-be-active, relaxing and enjoying food and having fun on vacation, here are my suggestions for vacationing (in my case, at the Jersey Shore):

  • Ride a really old, rusty bike with a basket around as much as possible
  • Wear a fitbit
  • Take off your fitbit so it won’t get wet in the ocean
  • Jump in the waves for hours
  • Forget about the fitbit
  • Play mini golf
  • Go to yoga
  • Go standup paddle boarding
  • Go for a walk on the beach to clear your head
  • Fly a kite
  • Go to the arcade
  • Have a chin-up contest at a playground
  • Do suicide sprints at a playground and accuse each other of cheating

Do all of these things and you can eat ice cream every night. 🙂

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How to find a style that works for you

It’s always the same with me. Same styles, same brands, same colors. I am even guilty of buying the same exact things I already own. Striped shirts, black skinny jeans, ripped boyfriend jeans…

Here is an assortment of recent(-ish) outfit shots. I take photos to remember what worked (or what didn’t.) I feel silly, but it really gives me a better idea, a more objective idea, than if I just looked in the mirror.

Since I became obsessed with Bloglovin’ and started following fashion blogs on the regular, I feel like I can actually put together an outfit! I know, amazing stuff.

I also get a lot of ideas from Pinterest. I save images of outfits I like, of things I think are staples, and some trends. Then I constantly narrow the pins down to what I feel is truly me. My closet gets more and more edited down to just what I like and know I’ll wear.

My Pinterest outfit board: https://www.pinterest.com/leighfeather/outfits/

I am aware of how self-obsessed this is, but I know I’m not alone! Besides, if you grew up with your Dad buying your clothes (and only from Sears) you’d be a little weird too.

p.s. I recently went way more blonde and I love it.

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Adidas

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I finally got a pair of Adidas Superstars!*

I am always that kid that wants the cool shoes that all the cool kids have. And at the same time I don’t want to get them for precisely that reason, everyone has them.

So, I wait and deliberate. Finally I talked myself into them. My husband has quite a few pair of Adidas and he was wholly supportive. He even taught me how to lace them correctly. Take a close look at the top picture. They didn’t come like that. That’s custom, baby. You have to lace them through the eyelet from the top. You go top down, across, in through the top and across, making sure that the outside always crosses over on top.

Now go get some and enjoy! It’s okay, all the cool kids are doing it.

*They were not easy to find! I live in the northeastern part of the US. The Journeys near me didn’t carry them in women’s sizes in the store and said the web site was 3 months backordered (which convinced me they were super cool and I had to have them!), Nordstrom didn’t have them, not in the color I wanted. Amazon has them but at $140. Foot Locker’s web site said they had them at a (sort of) nearby store. They didn’t. I finally ordered them through FinishLine. They were $79.99 with free shipping. I sized down a half a size based on a lot of reviews I read.

I checked and a lot of places have them now.

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Let’s Get Fit: How to make the number on the scale go down

Salad.

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baby spinach & kale, boiled eggs, red peppers, turkey, asiago cheese, hummus, tapenade with olive oil, apple cider vinegar & mustard dressing

That’s pretty much it. I went back to eating really healthy the way I did last spring when I got fit for summer.

Over the last couple months I have been so frustrated with my lack of progress with my fitness and I know that might seem trivial or unimportant but it affects all areas of my life, and well, it’s just important to me. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I realize now, I was in denial. I was eating poorly.

I have lost 3 pounds over the last 4 days. That’s huge for me. Here’s what I did: I ate 3 healthy meals, no desserts (not even the little dark chocolate squares), minimal snacks, very minimal bread/carbs, no late night snacks/mini-meals. It was hard. But every day the scale went down.

Day: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Breakfast: Blueberries with greek yogurt & granola Spinach banana muffin Carrot/orange juice, banana, spinach & strawberry smoothie Nature’s Path Raisin Bran
Workout: 30 min Walk/Run 90 min Yoga Class 30 min Walk/Run 60 min Spin Class
Lunch: Above salad Another amazing salad with tuna Indian frozen entree Scrambled eggs with black beans & salsa
Snack: Apple Almonds Cashews Turkey, cheese stick
Dinner: Chili Tacos with black beans, cheese & salsa Broccoli, carrot, onion, tofu stirfry with brown rice Chicken orzo soup and salad
Steps: 11,103 10,064 11,064 10,717
Dessert: No No No No
Eat after 8: No No No No

It was encouraging that I got a few new subscribers on Bloglovin’. I really think it helps to fell like I’m doing it “with” you.

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The frozen blueberries my kids didn’t finish, greek yogurt (full fat) & granola from I Quit Sugar cookbook.
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Let’s Get Fit: Do it Anyway

It’s Monday.

It’s raining.

Whatever you do, you keep (mysteriously) gaining weight.

You can’t decide what to do to workout.

You decide to do nothing.

NO.

You go for a walk. Just around the block. It turns into a run. It turns into a 30 minute walk/run.

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This morning I just couldn’t. I tried meditating. I tried journaling. I even tried asking my husband’s advice (I was desperate.) I wasn’t just discouraged about my fitness. I was discouraged about everything. I tried to think, what did I do in the past that worked? I remembered that I shared my fitness challenges and successes with you (the 150 or so who follow me.) And, maybe that’s why it worked. So, here’s hoping it helps. Here’s hoping it maybe helps someone else.

Don’t give in. And don’t think about it too much. Just keep moving.

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The Ant and the Grasshopper

Portrait of a living grasshopper. Live green grasshopper sits in

You know the story. The Ant works all summer while the Grasshopper plays. Come winter, the Grasshopper is knocking on the Ant’s door…

The Ant didn’t set out to be an Ant. He really wanted to be a spy. He grew up on a little farm in a little town outside of Boston. He went to college at Dartmouth and majored in Russian. He interviewed at the CIA but didn’t get the job. Maybe he always was meant to be an Ant since he was always hardworking and immensely practical. He was one of those people who likes to save. Save, save, save. Never ever spend. He is frugal.

Along comes the Grasshopper. She’s from New York. A big city girl. She has a bit of a reputation, maybe. The Ant is intrigued. She agrees to go on a date with him. After all he has a motorcycle. They date for a few months. The Ant invites the Grasshopper to go to Cape Cod one Labor Day weekend. They take the bike and camp out on the beach, under the stars. He only has the one sleeping bag…

The Grasshopper gets pregnant. (I know, not technically possible, but…) The Ant being practical and reliable does the “right thing.” He takes a government job at the Agriculture Department. A boy is born the next year and then 3 years later, a Girl. The Grasshopper does her best to be a good housewife. She decorates their home with Danish Modern decor even though the Ant often objects to the expense. They go on frugal vacations tent-camping in Nova Scotia and Assateague and to visit family. She finds clothes at yard sales and dresses the kids like characters in a Trufaut film. She takes the occasional job, as a waitress or a secretary. They aren’t very challenging for someone with a degree in Psychology. She takes Japanese calligraphy painting and Pottery classes and makes a few friends. But she grows restless—looking for new experiences, challenging the status quo. She starts to think she’s not cut out for the domestic life. There has to be something more.

Maybe the Ant and the Grasshopper were never compatible or maybe divorce is just what one does in the ‘70s. They split up. Being the responsible one, the Ant stays in the big house in Northwest DC and raises the Boy and the Girl. He takes out a loan from his parents in order to pay the lump sum alimony to the Grasshopper and she hops off. He pays his parents off with interest.

The Ant has a good life, working his way up the ranks in the government, writing regulations for the Department of Agriculture. He rides his bicycle to work and packs a lunch. He saves and saves. He indulges a few hobbies—Judo, Skiing, Scuba-diving and driving old Saabs.

The Boy and the Girl visit the Grasshopper who’s living on a commune in West Virginia now with her grass-smoking grasshopper boyfriend. There’s homemade brown bread and duck eggs to eat. The Boy and the Girl sleep in an old barn with no heat. The Ant drives the kids back and forth from DC to West Virginia many weekends. More than once, believe it or not, the song, “Country Roads” plays on the radio.

Eventually the Grasshopper decides to move to California. When the Boy and the Girl visit her there, they have to take a TWA flight where beautiful stewardesses give them plastic wing pins and decks of playing cards.

In California they stay with the Grasshopper at whatever house she and the boyfriend are ‘housesitting’ (that’s a fancy word for not having a place to live). They eat english muffins if the Grasshopper remembered to get extra food stamps, ice cream sandwiches if she didn’t. (Her roommate works at an ice cream sandwich factory.) Sometimes there’s free food because the Hari Chrishna festival is in town or there’s an art opening. The Boy and the Girl spend all their time Venice Beach playing backgammon and trying to get strangers to buy them french fries from the Sidewalk Cafe. The only job the Grasshopper seems to have is doing Tarot readings or Astrology charts. But it’s never really winter in California, is it?

The Boy and the Girl love the freedom and lack of rules in California and start to think the Ant is really uncool. He’s remarried now, to another Ant this time and they enjoy their lives immensely, living simply. The Step-Ant is frugal and hardworking but being an artist and a woman encourages the Ant to occasionally buy nice girl stuff for the girl and send her to art school.

The Girl grows up. She wonders, is she an Ant or is she a Grasshopper? I guess she’s both. She does love to spend money, though. Especially on Danish Modern furniture.

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