Ann Taylor: Making polka dot dreams come true

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Polka dot, black and white, mock neck with a bow? Sign me up. I’d been eyeing this dress at Ann Taylor (again, sorry!) for months, but we all know I wasn’t willing to pay full price for it. (And truly, I am willing to pay full price for very few things). Luckily Ann Taylor almost always has some sort of sale/promotion, so I was able to snag the dress for under $50.

One tip – more often than not the item is less expensive in the store vs. online (at least for LOFT & Ann Taylor), so I would always recommend checking your local store before ordering online. And because they charge $8.95 for shipping of under $125. Not cool guys, not cool.

I’ve been on the hunt for versatile dresses. I really like being able to transition my clothing from work to real life, and vice versa (especially if I really like the item!). I can easily see myself wearing this to a wedding, or dinner/event, as well as the office, which was a key selling point for me.

Tell me,

Do you transition a lot of clothes from the office to real life? And where do you find the best dresses?

Happy Wednesday 🙂

-M

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having a pineapple pants party

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I rarely shop at Ann Taylor, but lately I’ve found myself browsing (in store & online) WAY too often. So often that I may have in fact opened a store credit card two weeks ago to save some more $$$. Whoops. I’ve been slowing trying to add versatile work dresses to my wardrobe, but when I saw these pineapple print shorts it was game over. It didn’t hurt that they were under $25 on sale either.

I’ve written about it before (here), but I find as I get older, shorts shopping is more difficult. I want my body parts covered, but I’m also not trying to have shorts down to my knees. Ann Taylor nailed with the length & cut of these (in my opinion!)

I checked and they are still available. If you’re into pineapples you can shop by clicking the picture below!

Enjoy 🙂

-M

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This summer’s lace up trend (for under $25!)

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Last San Francisco post, I promise, but I wanted to share this lace up swing dress that has been in heavy rotation. I wanted to try to the lace up trend but didn’t want to go all out, so this summer dress was my compromise. The best part? Its under $25!

Pair it with some casual sneakers, a great pair of wedges, or a lace up sandal and you’re good to go. It can easily transition from the beach to a restaurant. I recently noticed that I have about 6 different knit black dresses (all different styles) and they are my most worn items.

Hope you all had a good Wednesday! (Mine was a bit more like riding the struggle bus…)

-M

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overalls by the bay (aka how to look a decade younger)

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Now that I’m looking at these photos I’m not so sure about this outfit. This was my attempt to make overalls super casual for the summer, and while the outfit was great for my last day of exploring San Francisco, I think I look about 14 wearing it. So, if you want to shave a decade off your age (almost) then I highly recommend the crop top/overalls/sneakers combo. Guaranteed to make you look like a teenager.

Keeping it short & sweet today my friends. I have a few busy weeks ahead and my heart is pretty heavy with all the violence in our world lately. Sending all my positive thoughts.

-M

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San Francisco stole my heart…

…and I wasn’t even expecting it to. (But isn’t that how love works?) I actually hopped on the plane with ZERO expectations, really excited to see my girl Lizzie, and the city blew me away. Already excited to get back there!

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I don’t know if you all care what we did for 3 days, but I’m sure at least my mom & grandma do, so I’ll share.

I flew in Saturday afternoon (the flight from SNA —> SFO was 58 minutes!) and Lizzie swooped me at the airport. We immediately headed to the Golden Gate Bridge since it was a gorgeous day. Plus all the traffic gave us time to catch up 🙂

After we headed back to her place to hang out, have a snack, make some plans & change clothes. (Sidenote: both of us live with two men, so it was refreshing for someone to actually care about my outfit haha).

Saturday night we had dinner at Tacolicious, which of course made me happy, as Mexican is my FAVORITE type of food. While waiting for a table we snapped a picture in front of this gorgeous mural (tourist alert!)

FullSizeRendersneakers // dress // similar jacket // clutch

and explored Thread Lounge, an awesome boutique with items the owner collects from her travels all over the world.

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After a delicious dinner (and a Golden State win), we met up with some friends (mostly Michigan transplants!) headed out to handful of bars in the Mission area. I would tell you which bars, but I was blindly following & not paying attention. Whoops.

Lark SF outfit

similar top // jeans // similar earrings // similar purse // watch

Sunday we started our day with brunch at Lark and it was delicious. The best part? no WAIT. None! and we showed up at 12pm. Which is great, because by the time I get to brunch I’m starving, so waiting another hour usually throws me over the edge to hangry, unable to form sentences Maddy. Oh, and they had $13 bottomless mimosas, which no one in the group was mad about.

Everyone loved their food, and we all got something different. Price point is definitely reasonable for brunch in an expensive city (in my opinion) and I would recommend!

Afterward we walked over to Dolores Park & spent a good chunk of the day here (basically until we all got hungry again). It’s a prime time spot for people watching.

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sandals // I wear these ALL the time

After leaving Dolores park, we walked to a beer garden called Zeitgeist with a massive (and crowded) outdoor patio area. On the trip I discovered how BAD I am at pinball. I really thought my hand-eye coordination was better.

J.Crew Striped OTS

outfit details linked below!

This is the last picture I took on Sunday, but I was really digging this abstract, colorful bear painting at Orenchi, where we had dinner. (Sidenote: Their edamame was delicious, as well as their saki!)

J.Crew Factory Striped Top

Monday (Memorial Day) was my last day there and we spent majority of the day outside, which made me a very happy camper. We started strong with coffee & bagels from a local coffee shop, Central Coffee, and Asher watering some flowers 🙂

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Lizzie is training for a half marathon, so after breakfast we ran & walked 6ish miles through Golden Gate Park. Exploring on foot is definitely my favorite, and the park wasn’t really hilly (amen.)

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Once we pulled ourselves together post run we headed to the Marina district at tried Blue Barn for lunch. I would highly recommend the “Kickin’ Chicken” sandwich. It was delicious & oh so messy. I think I finished about 2/3 of it and was full until I got home.

We walked off our my foodbaby after, enjoying the sunshine and exploring things like the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (below).

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And then I sadly had to head back to the airport. Where I watched a woman get escorted by 3 police off our flight back to Orange County. (But that’s a story for another day!)

If you read this whole post, congrats! Hopefully you try out one of the restaurants I mentioned if you’re heading to SF.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

-M

Shop all my looks from the weekend:

Festival Style: Expectation Versus Reality (a Memoir)

With Festival season already in full swing, H&M marketing an entire Coachella collection, Forever 21 selling every type of cheap bohemian crop top imaginable and the abundance of flower crowns, I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to Festival style…More specifically expectation vs reality.

I will start with making fun of myself:

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This photo is from 2014 – the year I first attended Electric Forest. (It was not my first camping festival). But, like any college girl, I decided I would go all out with the “festival” themed clothing.

Lacy bralette = check

Crop top = check

Flower crown = check

Jorts = nailed it

I did actually wear this outfit to the festival…and it lasted maybe two hours.

Some of my actual thought during those two hours:

“It is way too humid for a bra, bralette & this crop top”

“I think this flower crown is leaving a mark on my forehead”

“Is that a new freckle on my leg? Oh no, just dirt”

“Sweating in jean shorts is a nightmare”

If you have ever been to a camping festival you may understand. As much as I would love to look great everyday, that isn’t going to happen. Especially not when I’m sleeping maybe 3-4 hours a night, on a camping mat, outside a tent and showering every other day because they cost $10 and I have to hold the water handle on the whole time. That’s right my friends – a one handed $10 shower.

Not to mention your bathroom options are porta potties. Yep, all 4 days. Pure joy really.

I applaud you, ladies who somehow manage to do a full face of makeup, glitter and body paint in their tent every day. You are the strong ones.

As for me – I’ll be over here in my Nike pro athletic shorts & a tank top. Or in this year’s case – this awesome Fabletics crop top.

BUT – I did find these lightweight shorts & this plunge bralette from Aerie that will be coming. So I’ll try to look cute the first day and give up after that.

nike pro shorts festival style

Somerset Music Festival – August 2013 (comfy & sweat wicking. double boom!)

Disclaimer: Music festivals are actually a ton of fun and I look forward to them every summer. Please don’t let me sarcasm dissuade you into thinking they suck.

Happy Festival season my friends.

Shop what I’ll be rocking this year:

So nice I bought it twice…

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how cute are these tassel earrings? (currently under $15) I call them my party earrings 🙂

I’ve raved about these Banana Republic Eryn sandals multiple times since purchasing them in March, and you’ve seen them on the blog 3 times already. (with my floral suit, with a white dress, and for Easter celebrations.) So it only makes sense that I would take advantage of sales & credit card rewards to snag them in another color…right?

Right.

They debuted earlier last week with my awesome floral set from H&M, but I also loved the orange paired with white & light blue of today’s look. I should’ve listened to my art teachers earlier in life, because the color wheel really knows what’s going on with blue & orange (easily becoming a new favorite combo!)

Are you all guilty of liking something so much you bought it in two colors? (I know this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me…)

PS. This shirt is awesome for people that hate strapless bras (me)  is sadly sold out (from J.Crew Factory, but I tried to link similar ones below)

Happy Monday friends!

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How to: Feel like a BABE in sneakers

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how beautiful is this dress? (From Hello Molly)

I wore this outfit my first night in San Francisco and am in love with it. I know I throw the word “love” around a lot of here, but truly, this outfit is me. I’m definitely a dress gal, but because of my current hip issues & lots of walking, I knew heels were out of the question for Saturday night. The Adidas Superstars are the perfect solution for exploring a new city. To tie in the black on the sneakers (and because it was chilly!) I added my leather jacket. (Plus a night out always calls for my magenta Gigi New York clutch).

My recipe for an outfit that makes you feel amazing?

Stick with pieces you LOVE and that you are COMFORTABLE in.

For me it was:

1.) leather jacket – I wear this at least once a week, instant upgrade to any outfit

2.) dress – in the summer I can almost always be found in a dress – this one is a little tighter than I normally wear, but I thought the high neck and the sneakers balanced it out

3.) sneakers – no hip pain, easy to dance & walk in, no discomfort, blisters, etc throughout the night.

I was comfortable, felt great & received tons of compliments all night.

Only downfall – I managed to spill salsa down the front of the dress, but since it’s lace the salsa actually fell into my bra. What a win there. I finished the rest of our delicious dinner at Tacolicious with a napkin bib – no joke. 🙂 (You really can’t take me anywhere)

Happy weekend my friends! Work on finding your outfit recipe this weekend, I want to hear what it is!

-M

Shop my look:

*shop my exact dress in the link above!

PS. for shoe sizing – I am wearing a boys size 5 in the Adidas – equivalent to a women’s size 7

My World Famous Banana Bread Recipe

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photo borrowed from here (I actually forgot to take an after photo of my own because I was so busy eating it)

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With a title like that I better have a post that delivers, eh?

People love my banana bread.

I’ll admit it, that statement sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m not.

It’s a fact.

Ask any of my friends or past co-workers and they will tell you.

Now, it may be because banana bread is an untapped market and I am the only one that makes it…therefore the best. Or, it may be because I actually am amazing at baking banana bread. If you ever have the chance to eat mine you will have to decide for yourself.

 

So, without further ado, my banana bread recipe (1 loaf):

1.5 cups flour (I chose to use whole wheat unbleached flour for the first time when I made this and am very happy with the results)

2-3 bananas (the uglier the better)

3/4 cup sugar (you can even go down to 2/3 if you want)

1/3 cup of butter (melted)

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

tiny bit of salt

chocolate chips (as many as you want!) – I prefer mini chips but my grocery store was out of them!

** for added flavor you can also put in orange or lemon peel/zest. Generally I opt for chocolate chips though. I’ve never tried both!

IMG_7561I don’t follow too many baking steps/rules, but I do like keeping wet & dry ingredients separate until the end.

In a large bowl mix your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a side bowl beat your egg(s) & let sit.

In another (glass!) side bowl slice up your butter then put in the oven while it preheats (350 degrees) to melt – I find this is way better than using the microwave to melt it.

With your 3 bowls waiting aside, peel and mash your bananas. They should look pretty gross.

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Now you should have one large bowl with dry ingredients & 3 other bowls with separate liquid ingredients.

Pour the egg(s), vanilla and melted butter into your large bowl with the dry ingredients.

I generally mix this bowl a little bit before putting the bananas in. Then, slowly add in the bananas.

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Last summer my grandma gave me her KitchenAid standing mixer (because it was too heavy for her to move around) and I fell in love. It makes baking SO much easier, especially in large amounts.

While everything is mixing lay out your baking pans & spray them. Be liberal with the spray; you want the bread to pop out of the pan easily.

I have many different sized bread pans, and usually double the recipe to make the three different sized loaves you see below.

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Once the ingredients are mixed and the pans are sprayed, begin to pour the batter in. Generally I fill them halfway, mix in some chocolate chips, pour the rest of the batter in, and then add a few more chocolate chips for good measure.

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Once you have enough chips & all the batter has been divided – throw those babies in the oven (350 degrees). Since all my pans are different sizes, they all require different baking times.

You need to do a bit of trial and error, especially since everyone’s oven is different. For these three loaves in the new oven the times were:

Small = 38 minutes

Medium = 43-44 minutes

Large = 55 minutes

I much prefer a little underbaked bread to over baked bread, so keep your preferences in mind when checking the bread in the oven.

Once done baking, remove bread from the oven (I love these Kate Spade Flamingo Oven Mitts), let cool (maybe) & devour!

Hope you enjoy 🙂

-M

Shop my kitchen supplies:

I’ve never met a floral set I didn’t like…

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I’m back with another floral set, but really, is anyone surprised?

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I spent the last 3 days in San Francisco and it was awesome. I’m already excited to go back.

When culottes started showing up on bloggers and in magazines I immediately decided it was a trend I wouldn’t be trying. At 5’3″ and dense (aka more muscular & broad than your average size 2 person) I didn’t think they would be flattering. Plus they’re flared capris…I mean, really?

Fast forward and I’m in H&M returning a jacket a few weeks ago and I spot this floral tank & culottes set. It was a love at first sight moment. Well, not quite, but I knew I would give them a try. It doesn’t hurt that the fabric is lightweight, loose and crazy comfy.

The floral print is a little grandma-esque, so I had to pair them with a fun pair of lace up sandals. My friend Lizzie thought the nude pumps & the set seemed too much like “you’re going to a funeral.” I get her point, haha but does anyone wear floral culottes to a funeral?

So my friends, yes or no on the culottes? I’ll admit, they’re weird. But I think that’s why I like them!

PS. I can’t find the culottes online anymore, but I’ve linked the top below and a few other matching sets from H&M. If you love them I would check your local store!

-M

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