My [Month] in Over-Processed Photos

Hard to believe it’s the last day of November, huh? No, not really. November started 29 days ago, so this seems like the most obvious outcome. I didn’t do a weekly photo round up this month, so I’m cramming all the over-processed cliched pictures from November into one post. Let’s see what I was up to the past month, shall we?

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I bought a pair of fancy rainboots and then it never rained again; I ate blueberry pancakes; I went to the art museum; I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at Black Market

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I hung out with my adorable cat who is not good at opening her eyes; I had a margarita on laundry night; I watched my two favorite teams play basketball; I watched my wife make me breakfast

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I pointed at a baby

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I looked at another baby (these were just 2 of the 3 that were born to my friends in a span of 4 days…craziness)

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I fought a cold with hot chocolate (and I won); I saw some pretty lights; I saw some big snowflakes; and I admired the Christmas tree that is now up and twinkling in my apartment!

Have a great December, everyone!

What to Wear: Fall/Winter Edition!

Waaaay back in the stone ages (a.k.a. 5+ months ago), I did a post called “What to Wear?” in which I showed you one way I pick out outfits and challenge myself to remix my closet and wear pieces in different ways. I gave you some updates along the way, but I haven’t done that in a while. I recently updated my cards (this will make sense in a minute) for the winter, and I have a lot of new readers now, so I figured this was a good time for a “what to wear” comeback.

In case you don’t want to go back and read the original, here’s a quick review:

I take 4 index cards, one for each week of the month. Then I pick a category (for example: tops, shoes, or jewelry) and on the first line of each card, I write down something in that category. It could be something specific or something more general.

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This time around, I picked 6 categories:

  • Shoes
  • Bottoms
  • Sweaters
  • Necklaces
  • Accessories (non-jewelry)
  • Wild card (just any other item I wanted to add)

20121116-162028.jpgSo what’s the point of all this? Glad you asked.

I use a card as a jumping off point each day that week when I’m deciding what to wear. Alternatively, I might already have a basic outfit in mind but I’ll use the card to think of an unexpected piece to add. When I pick my items, I try to pick a combination of old and new, basic and unique. That way, I remember to not neglect my older clothes, and to mix them with newer things.

If you decide to try out my little scheme, just remember that you make the rules! You can be as strict or as flexible with your cards as you like. You could make more than 4 cards if you don’t want to cycle through so fast. You can put more or fewer items on each card.

If you’d like to see past posts on this topic, just see here (original), here (1st update), here (2nd update), and here (3rd update).

I’d love to hear how you guys decide what to wear! Picking outfits is pretty much the most entertaining thing I do on a regular basis, so I have an abnormal amount of fun thinking of ways to challenge myself to mix up my wardrobe and keep wearing something different everyday! (I’ve always been a little weird.)

Vested Interest

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20121124-211102.jpgYes, you just saw this vest a couple days ago. I don’t care. I’m not trying to impress you. But I mean…I really hope you like me or whatever.

I’m always looking for oversized sweaters appropriate for wearing with leggings (as leggings are not pants and therefore your crotch should be covered), and then I end up being less than enthused about how the oversized sweater looks so oversized and sweatery. In the past, I’ve added belts or chunky necklaces to add some visual interest, and now I can add this vest to my list of things to offset my big sweater. That’s right: I’m using sweater #2 to offset the sweateriness of sweater #1. You never know what amazing things you will learn when you visit me, huh?

Sweater #1: Nordstrom, old (similar)

Sweater #2 (vest): LOFT

Zipper leggings: (similar)

Shoes: Nine West, old (similar on sale)

Bracelets: Stephan & Co. here and here

Lips: Clinique Black Honey

For more amazingness, follow me on Bloglovin’.

Relaxed and Pizazzed

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20121126-203508.jpgI ordered this necklace from LOFT recently (on sale – score!) and I knew it would make a great addition to any party dress. However, my list of parties to go to in the immediate future is rather slim (read: nonexistent), and I didn’t want to wait a couple weeks!

So I decided to let my new statement necklace come out and play at school with an otherwise very casual outfit. I’m not sure if I’m dressing up the sweatshirt or dressing down the necklace. It’s one of those questions we may never answer…like “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and “Is global warming real?” Oh wait. To get to the other side, and YES.

Necklace: LOFT (sold out online but similar here and here)

Sweatshirt: Forever 21, sold (similar cardigan here)

Pants: JAG Jeans

Shoes: Target, old (similar)

Thanksgiving Date

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20121124-093017.jpgI’ve done just about every kind of Thanksgiving:

I’ve had plenty of traditional turkey dinners at home with immediate and extended family, where I watched (a) my mom freak out about cooking and/or (b) my grandpa fall asleep on the couch in front of a football game.

One year, I went to New York and saw the Macy’s parade and had dinner with some people I had never met before who very generously let me and my friend come over to their tiny apartment.

I’ve had dinner with Kristin’s very large extended family, which, like the Macy’s parade, involves a large cast of characters. I’ve had Thanksgiving at the beach, which included sipping champagne while watching the waves (that was a particularly good one). Last year, I went to a potluck “Friendsgiving.”

That brings us up to date…to this year, when I added yet another variation of Turkey Day to my repertoire: a Thanksgiving date of dinner and a movie! I spent all day with the person I’m most thankful for (I know…gag). We made breakfast and ate it in bed while watching the parade (the Macy’s one, not her family), then got gussied up and went to see a movie, and finished the night with dinner at Cooper’s Hawk Winery (we took pumpkin pie cheesecake to go and I even shared a little of it). So there you have it: a fabulously uncomplicated and fun Thanksgiving, and a great excuse for this outfit. Now, if anyone can think of something new for me to do next year, let me know! Thanks.

Also, don’t think I forgot today is Cyber Monday. Since this blog is more about  my style and my random nonsensical thoughts than it is about shopping tips, I decided not to do a special post for sales alerts. However, I will be posting links with sales and promo codes on the Sarah’s Real Life Facebook page and on Twitter, so you can follow along there if you’d like!

Dress: Target

Belt: J. Crew (similar on sale)

Shoes: Victoria’s Secret, old (similar)

Bag: old (similar)

Sunglasses: Target

Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’…You’ll get to see what I wear next Thanksgiving and every day in between!

Before & After

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On Friday, I went to visit yet another pair of friends who just had a baby (yes, that makes 3 in one week), then I headed downtown for dinner with the in-laws, some shopping, and – most importantly – to Circle of Lights! Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis gets blocked off to traffic, and there’s a big show with various Christmas-themed performances. Lights are strung up to the top of the monument, and at the culmination of the show (after Santa shows up, of course), the lights turn on and it looks like a giant Christmas tree. It’s just a fun way to start off the holiday season, although it’s more fun when it’s not frigid outside. This just happened to be a frigid year (yay), so I had to prepare to bundle up. I thought I’d show you my basic look, along with the Arctic Tundra version.

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Here’s another side-by-side for ya: the Soldiers and Sailors Monument before and after the lights went on. I would have gotten closer, but as you can see, a couple other people were there. I’m working on getting a private show next year.

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Chambray: Madewell (similar)

Vest: LOFT

Jeans: The Limited

Boots: Matisse via DSW (similar)

Necklace: I.N.C. via Macy’s (similarsimilar)

Coat: J. Crew (25% off and free shipping w/ code COLOR25 thru 11/25)

Hat: handmade gift (similar)

Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Gems & Jam Giveaway Winner!

I’m sure you all had trouble digesting your turkey dinners yesterday because you were quivering with anticipation to know if you won the Gems & Jam giveaway. Well, after a very complex selection process, I am thrilled to announce that the randomly selected entry was…

[opens golden envelope] …Kristi of Biscuits & Navy! I’m excited to see her selections pop up in future outfit posts on her blog 🙂

But wait! Don’t change the channel…

If you really had your heart set on something from Gems & Jam, you can still get it for yourself (or a friend) at a sweet 30% discount! Just use the code Fri2FriSpecial30 on any purchase of jewelry, accessories, and housewares. But do it soon because this code expires one week from today!

And if you still need cheering up, don’t forget I did post an outfit today also. You’re welcome.

Baby Boom

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20121122-193557.jpgYou’re looking at me standing in the lobby of Union Hospital in Terre Haute, IN, where I went to visit two different friends who had babies this week! I got to see both moms and one baby (the other was in the NICU but is doing fine). I figured a great outfit was appropriate for the occasion since hospitals are pretty much the most fashion-starved places ever. Everyone’s in scrubs or hospital gowns. Normally, there are still regularly dressed people visiting, but the residents of Terre Haute are not exactly the best looking crowd (except for my friends, obviously). Actually, in Terre Haute, scrubs and hospital gowns might be an improvement over the norm.

Still, I’m happy to say that one little girl named Dylan got her first style lesson from me! (I also got her her first copy of Vogue, so she’s all set.) Congrats to all the parents! Better you than me!

Sweater: J. Crew Factory

Skirt: Anthropologie (on sale!)

Boots: Target (on sale!)

Bracelets: Forever 21 and Nordstrom

Tune in later today for the official announcement of the Gems & Jam Giveaway winner!

5 Ways to Wear a Flared Skirt

This navy skirt was a total clearance rack impulse buy, but it was $10 well spent. I’ve worn it so many times already, and there’s no end in sight. The above-the-knee length is perfect, as is the waist band and cute flared shape. Every girl who knows what’s good for her needs one of these babies.

So let’s get this party started. Here are 5 ways I’ve styled this flared skirt:

1.  For evening

I believe this was actually the skirt’s debut! I wore it with a silky top, a statement necklace, and bright heels to see a Broadway show this summer.

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2.  With a belt

Since the skirt is solid, this patterned belt added some pizzazz. Well, maybe pizzaz is a strong word, but it added something. I’m sure of that.

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3.  Disguised as a dress

I paired my navy skirt with a navy shirt to look like a dress. It’s only as I write this that I remember I already have a long-sleeved navy flared dress. So this was kind of pointless. But at the time, I was in wisdom tooth extraction recovery and was on some drugs, so I’ll blame that.

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4.  For fall

This was the most recent permutation of my ever so versatile skirt. With a sweater and boots, I was ready for some cooler weather. (I’m thinking some bright tights would be another cold-weather addition. Stay tuned!)

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5.  On vacation

Florida seemed like a good setting to try a knotted gingham button-up and orange flats with my skirt.

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In case you’d like to add a flared skirt to your wardrobe, here are some I picked out just for you!

Flared Skirts

1.  Kirna Zabete for Target, $27.98  //  2.  Dorothy Perkins, $59

3.  ModCloth, $47.99  //  4.  Miss Selfridge, $50.00 (comes in other colors too)

5.  ModCloth, $32.99  //  6.  Topshop, $76

H is for Harrell; That’s Good Enough for Me

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Don’t be fooled: the fact that Tommy Hilfiger made this sweater does not mean the “H” signifies Tommy’s surname. Nope, it stands for Harrell, which is why I wear it with pride.

You see, I’ve never understood the interest in sporting brand name merch for the sake of wearing the name. Don’t get me wrong…I’m certain Louis Vuitton makes excellent quality bags. But if I had the money to buy an LV bag, it certainly wouldn’t be the monogram bag. Unless your name is Lilac Von Trapp, I don’t know why you’d want to have a bunch of LV’s on your arm all the time. (P.S. Lilac Von Trapp is an awesome name…I might name my child Lilac Von Trapp. And by child, I mean my next cat. And you better believe the feline Lilac Von Trapp will have an LV carrier case. Biggest diva at the vet’s office. But I digress…)

The point is: How lucky was I to find a whole table full of sweaters made just for me? Harrell pride.

Sweater: Tommy Hilfiger, old

Gingham shirt: J. Crew

Jeans: Express “barely boot”

Shoes: Cole Haan (similar)

Bracelets: Stephan & Co. via Nordstrom (white, black)

Coat: Victoria’s Secret (similarsimilar shorter)

There’s not much time left to enter the Gems & Jam giveaway for a chance to win $20 worth of fabulous vintageness! Entries are low so your chances of winning are high!