I Bought It. I Returned It.

Hi. My name is Leigh and I’m super picky. And thank god, or I’d be broke. I like to carefully research things and then save the things I want on a Pinterest wish list. After a while, I’ll realize I don’t really want them or else I will buy them, and then sometimes after all that, I’ll realize I don’t want them. I guess it’s a normal part of online shopping.

Madewell Ruthie Sandal
I ordered 4 pairs of very similar sandals and this J Crew pair was the clear winner. If I hadn’t picked them, I would have chosen the “Ruthies.”

Madewell Boardwalk Sandal
No go.

Steve Madden Alexandra Sandal
Not very comfortable.

Madewell Tribune Blazer
I’ve been looking for a black blazer forever. This one was weird, tho. Very stiff (not drapey) and an unusual lapel.

Madewell Harper Mules
I obsessed over these! Finally ordered them even though they were pretty pricey. And you know what? I didn’t really like how they look on my feet.

Madewell Ryder Cardigan
Also, obsessed about this cardigan. It didn’t wow me.

J Crew Chino Shorts in Olive
I haven’t been able to find a replacement for a pair of olive shorts I had years ago. These were too long and too big. J Crew, stop messing with your sizes!

J Crew Leopard Sweater
Strangely unflattering.

J Crew Tippi Sweater in Rose
Not fantastic so I couldn’t justify it.

Rainbow Flip Flops
I heard these we the be all end all of sandals and that they are very comfortable (once broken in) but they just weren’t great in person.

Athleta Swim Top
I love that Athleta has a good return policy — like you can wear something and really try it out and then return it if it doesn’t work. This top was pretty but the fabric of the lining would shift and because it was a different color, it showed.

J.Crew Shorts
I loved these but decided the color wasn’t flattering. Too close to my skin color? Should have gotten the blue color. Also, they run very big. I sized down one size but should have sized down two.

L.L.Bean Cardigan
I bought this in store! But, I ultimately decided this wasn’t right for me. Usually if I don’t wear something right away, and often, it’s not as perfect as I thought. That’s two sweaters I bought and returned. The white cardigan quest continues.

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New Wardrobe Additions: July

New Madewell tank top, purchased on my trip to DC with Madewell jean skirt and JCrew slides.

JULY $186

Athleta Swim Shorts $19
Suddenly decided I wanted more modest/covered-up options for the beach. These are perfect. They run big and I sized down to a small.

Madewell Tank $19
A trip to Madewell with my kids when we went to my home town, DC, and they talked me into this top. Not my usual style but I’m loving it! I can never figure out the knot thing but this comes with a weird front tail that forms a perfect knot without making the shirt too short.

Lucky Jean Shorts $45
I became obsessed with the AGOLDE shorts but couldn’t bring myself to spend $128. I ended up finding these and they’re the perfect replacement for my old Lucky cut offs that I’ve had since 2015!

Everlane Romper (Poshmark) $13
I wanted this when it first came out. When I came across it on Poshmark, I grabbed it. Looks and feels like PJs but I’m okay with that.

Athleta One-Piece Swim Suit $50
I bought this with every intention of returning it but it looked so darn good. God, I love it. Again, feeling like more coverage looks better on me.

J.Crew Rash Guard $40
Also within the theme of modesty, age-appropriateness and responsible skin care, I finally got a rash guard.

All of these pieces were great additions to my summer wardrobe!

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Let’s Get Fit — Ready for Summer

Let’s get real. I did not follow through on my goal to get fit in time for summer. I completely abandoned the idea. As soon as I set out to promote the idea of “getting into shape”, it felt altogether wrong. I mean, getting and staying healthy isn’t wrong. But setting a deadline and trying to look a certain way just suddenly seemed misguided to me. And right around that time, I started to see and hear people advocating for the idea of accepting ourselves as we are and acknowledging that we are so much more than our size. So, I just couldn’t do it.

In the past I set a goal of getting down to a certain weight in time for summer, by the time I had to put on a swim suit. I felt like a needed a little push to be more active (a good thing) and eat healthier (a good thing) but ultimately like I needed to fit into an arbitrary aesthetic ideal (maybe not a good thing). And, as I get older, it seems, well almost cruel to keep holding myself to this standard.

Goal start: March 10, 2019, 137.1 lbs.

Goal end: May 27, 2019, 135.6 lbs.

By the time the above photo* was taken, on the kids’ last day of school, I was down another pound and today I’m at 133. And, you know what? Who cares?!

During the first few weeks of my fitness regimen, I worked out 2-4 times a week at the gym with lighter workouts on the other days. I didn’t do anything radical in terms of diet. I was more conscious of my choices, but continued to do my usual “just-eat-real-food” philosophy with maybe a little bit of “intuitive eating” thrown in. All along I was nursing a really old injury I always referred to as “tight IT bands from running”. I stretched them religiously and they didn’t get better. They almost seemed to get worse! Then I went to the Chiropractor and he admonished me for stretching what was overstretched and explained that I had a muscle weakness/imbalance. That was a turning point when I had to face the fact that I did not know what was best for me in terms of fitness. I sort of surrendered.

The next couple weeks I was in California and didn’t do much formal exercise. My pain pretty much went away and I resumed workouts, roughly 2 hard classes a week and a little walking. By the time school let out, I willingly gave up the gym and just did whatever. At some point I stopped worrying about planning workouts and recording them on my calendar. So I can’t really tell you what I’ve done this summer. I do know I started really running and it feels amazing. I recently had some suspicious chest pain and actually saw a cardiologist. After I learned that I my heart was 100% healthy I’ve been feeling so grateful for my health and ability to do pretty much anything. That’s what it’s really about, right?

Do I still want to lose weight? Kind of. Do I wish I had more toned legs? Totally. But this is me. It just is. And it’s good.

It’s summer. And I’m ready.



*sorry no bikini shot.



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New Wardrobe Additions: June

JUNE $236

J. Crew Brown Sandals $48
I LOVE these sandals. I tried a bunch of similar options and these were the winners. I wear them all the time, with everything. I feel like Jackie O. on holiday.

Nike Running Shorts $20
I’ve wanted these forever and couldn’t seem to allow myself to buy them. Why? Now I have them, run in them and am finally living my best cool-girls-track-team life.

Old Navy White Tank Top $7
I love this white tank and wear it so much. When it’s in the laundry, I long for it. Seroiusly perfect basic.

Old Navy White Crewneck Sweater $12
I get cold in the summer (?) so I love having this… just in case. It’s a soft and comfy cotton and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it so I feel validated for choosing it.

Old Navy Black Denim Skirt $30
@jillgg made me do it. This is something I didn’t think I needed as a summer basic, but apparently I did! It’s stretchy, casual but an upgrade from shorts.

L.L. Bean Dress $119
I bought this for a recent wedding. You have no idea how long I looked for something wedding-y (but made me look hot, but not hotter than the bride, but also age appropriate and not too dressy…arg!) but I love this and I think I’ll wear more than the once. It’s also a great example of my current style shift I’m calling, “New England Matron”



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New Wardrobe Additions: May

I think I did pretty good in May. I shopped a lot but didn’t buy a lot. It’s good to be picky. I’m known for buying and regretting.

I don’t regret these new black pants at all. I love a good pair of black trousers. I thought these were going to be my go-to, but I never wore them. The cut just wasn’t right. I got this new pair at Old Navy (which has been wowing me lately) and they are just perfect: retro, slim, cropped and very comfy/stretchy.

This month I also got some much needed new running shoes, a basic black tee and a new spring/summer handbag.

MAY $153

Asics Gel Contender $55

Old Navy Mid-Rise Ankle Chinos in black $13

Banana Republic Boatneck T-shirt in black $14

Madewell Medium Transport Tote $71 on Poshmark

I’ve been clearing things out as needed. I’ve got some things for sale on Poshmark, if you’re interested.

And as always, I use Pinterest in order to keep track of things I want and also to delay purchases. You can check out things I might buy in the future on my Spring wish list.

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I’m Looking for the Perfect Bag

Hi, and welcome to my secret world of obsession and indecision. I’ve been looking for a new handbag and although I think I know what I want, I decided to go through what I have to help me make a decision. Here’s what I have:

  1. Black Banana Republic Top Handle Bag (similar): This is my go-to everyday bag. It has multiple pockets and zippered compartments, a top handle and a shoulder strap. It’s a bit heavy though and quite boxy/structured.
  2. Black Liz Claiborne Shoulder Bag (similar): I love this bag. It’s made with a really great quality leather and has a relaxed shape. It used to be my number one bag but now I don’t use it much. It is a great bag…
  3. Brown Madewell Transport Tote: I was thrilled to get this as a Christmas present a few years ago. I love the look of it, but it’s heavy and much too big for what I need to carry most days.
  4. J. Crew Straw Tote (similar): This is my tried-and-true go-to summer bag. I choose it over the others most of the time. So good.
  5. Multi-color Le SportSac Nylon Tote (similar): I don’t know when or why I bought this. I’ve seemingly had it forever. It is really good as a beach tote or if I’m going shopping. It’s lighter weight than the brown leather one and it’s a great choice if it’s rainy. I really like it, but it’s not very chic.
  6. Black and Tan Element Backpack (similar): Why is this even included in my handbag collection? I mean who uses a kid’s school backpack anyway? But, I think it’s good. I actually bought it at Disney World. It’s pretty indispensable for traveling. It carries a lot comfortably. I took it to California last month and I was really glad I did.
  7. David Bowie Ziggy Stardust Canvas Tote: This bag sort of checks off all the boxes. The perfect size. Kind of goes with everything. Not pretentious. It’s the sort of bag Rita would have as her handbag. It was $15 at Target. It’s cool but not very grown-up.
  8. Black Canvas Barney’s COOP Tote: This was the bag I got when I bought a pair of J Brand jeans at the COOP. It was free but I liked it so much I kept it. I often use it to carry my laptop (in neoprene sleeve that fits in the tote perfectly.)
  9. Hawaiian Print Tote: I got this on my honeymoon in Kauai so it’s pretty sentimental. It’s funky and on the small size but good for summer and goes with black better than my straw tote.
  10. Brown Lucky Crossbody Bag: I bought this a couple years ago because I became convinced I needed a bag this color and shape. It’s nice but very stiff and the flap closure kind of annoys me. Also, it’s a little too small for an everyday bag.
  11. Black Banana Republic Crossbody Bag (similar): I like the look of this bag. I like that it’s black and has the gold chain. It’s quite small and not practical for everyday.
  12. Light Blue Coach Crossbody Bag (similar): So cute but so small. I almost never use it and wonder what I was thinking when I bought it. However, I did take it on my last trip and it worked out quite well.
  13. Black J. Crew Clutch (similar): One has to have at least one clutch, so I have this.

My conclusions:

  • I could choose to keep one or the other of my two black bags (or find one that I love.)
  • The Madewell transport and straw tote are both keepers…
  • …as are the nylon tote and backpack. Very functional.
  • I could probably do with just one cute, casual canvas tote.
  • I really only need maybe two crossbody bags – one black and one not black (and the brown one isn’t really working for me.)
  • I really want a Spring/Summer bag that is leather, light colored, medium sized, that’s not too structured and makes me feel like a grown up.

I’m considering one of these:

Everlane $235
Madewell $158
Mark & Graham $199
Cuyana $375
Banana Republic $178

I think my favorite might be the Madewell medium tote (in “Linen”).

What do you think?

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New Wardrobe Additions: April

Okay Madewell, you win. I was doing really well on not going over budget and then the weather got warm and life got stressful and Leigh went to Madewell. I don’t regret it. I pick out 4 items I absolutely LOVE and had been wanting for a long time. Here’s what I added in April:

APRIL $428

Madewell High-Rise Slim Boyjean $135

Madewell Cali Demi-Boot Jeans $128

Madewell Rigid Denim A-Line Mini Skirt $50

Madewell Eyelet Keyhole Peplum Top $70

Athleta Salutation Stash Pocket Capri $45

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What I Packed for Santa Cruz

Packing for a trip is a perfect way to obsess endlessly about the exact right clothes I’ll need. My OCD kicks in as I ponder what to include so that every item coordinates with every other item and I’ll have everything I’ll want, never be too hot or too cold and have it all fit in a small roller board that will fit in an overhead compartment.

I spent a week in Santa Cruz, California (and the Bay area and the Monterey Bay) back at the beginning of April. Having lived in Santa Cruz for 10 years, I knew there was a good chance it would be cool and possibly a little rainy but I was hoping for the best. I even packed a swim suit even though no one goes in the ocean in April.

I finally settled on 1 dress, 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of jean shorts, 4 tee shirts, 4 long sleeve tops, a light jacket, 1 pair of clogs, 1 pair of sandals, 2 pairs of sneakers. Here are some of my try on shots:

A graphic tee, J Crew jean shorts and J Crew sandals.

Comfy Gap top, Madewell jeans and white Nikes.

Comfy Gap top, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

Banana Republic black turtleneck sweater, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

J Crew Tippi sweater, AG jeans and Troentorp clogs.

Gap tee shirt, Madewell jeans and black Nikes.

Banana Republic sweater, AG jeans and white Nikes.

Graphic tee, Madewell jeans and Troentorp clogs.

Madewell eyelet top, Madewell boyjeans and Troentorp clogs.

Gap striped dress and Troentorp clogs.

I had planned to take my Madewell transport tote but switched it out at the last minute for a plain black backpack which I thought was really smart and much more comfortable for travel. I also swapped my army jacket for my a trench coat but ended up wishing I had brought my Uniqlo puffer. I also wished I’d brought a hoodie like my one from Old Navy. I ended up buying Santa Cruz Skateboards sweatshirts for my kids and wore one almost the whole time. I didn’t wear the shorts, the dress or the bikini I brought. Have you figured out that northern California can be cold? It did finally warm up and it was beautiful. I ate a lot of tacos, saw lots of my west coast family and friends and had a really great time.

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How I Organized My Closet

I love to organize. I especially love to organize my clothes. I’ve done so many closet clean outs. I would get rid of things that didn’t fit or I never wore. But then three years ago I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. #konmari #sparkjoy I went through all my clothes, category by category and asked myself if they “sparked joy”. I was able to let go of items that didn’t spark joy even if they were gifts or expensive, or “might come back in style one day”. The whole process was so good! And I followed her advice about folding and arranging things so I could see it all easily. I stopped packing away off season items. All of it worked for me and I have kept it up over the years since.

This is my small walk-in closet. Items are arranged left to right: dresses, skirts, trousers/chinos, jackets, sweatshirts, long sleeve tees, button downs, tees, tank tops. I hang a lot of my clothes. Then, items go left to right: long to short, dark to light, heavy to thin… And I can see all of it at once.

I fold my sweaters and place them on a top shelf, organized by color. Thinner ones tend to go on top but then I get lazy so it’s favorites on top.

In my top dresser drawer are tights & socks, then bras and underwear.

Next is an extra deep drawer with my obsessively curated collection of jeans, followed by shorts.

Drawer three is: pjs tops, pj bottoms, pj shorts, swim suits and finally (summer) scarves.

The bottom drawer is all workout clothes: jackets/long sleeve tops, tanks and sports bras, shorts and capris, and then long leggings. There are some towels tucked in the back…

I have about a dozen bags hung up, including totes, a backpack, handbags and crossbody bags. Then I have my collection of belts and necklaces. I can’t say I ever really wear any of them but I’ve narrowed them down to what I think are essential. I also have a small selection of jewelry on top of my dresser along with some sunglasses and perfumes.

Shoes! I love to see all my shoes, and even though they get a little dusty, I like them lined up on shelves, not in boxes or bins. I made these shelves myself — just plain boards like the one up top for my sweaters. They are long enough to fit 11 pairs across, so my total shoe collection is 33 pairs…not including athletic shoes, or rain & snow boots which are kept elsewhere, along with outerwear, hats, gloves and scarves.

So that’s it! Thanks for reading.

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New Wardrobe Additions: March

I love these new jeans. I was at Nordstrom Rack with a friend and she said, “Here, try these on.” I did and they were perfect. It was supernatural. Also, they were the same exact jeans I had put on my wish list after a few bloggers had recommended them. I did not need another pair of jeans but I don’t know how I ever lived before I got these.

I fell in love with the leopard shoes from J. Crew after seeing them on Natalie Borton. I’ve gotten so many complements on them and they are so unique. This was definitely a solid addition.

Lastly, I added these white sneaks which were probably a mistake. I haven’t worn them much. I’m starting to think that my feet are getting smaller. I’ve always been an 8.5 but think I may be an 8 now. Weird. I think I might have to give them to my daughter who is the same size as me (She’s 10 years old!) but still growing.

MARCH $203

AG Farrah High-Rise Skinny Jeans $90

J.Crew Leopard flats $48

Nike Court Royale Sneakers $65

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