A very good friend just got very good news that is going to require her to dress like the #girlboss that she is. She’s in a semi-earthy/creative field, but she is very young to have landed such a big role. So – how to be professional, but still seem hip and cool?

We decided that she needs A Thing. You know how Madeleine Albright wears brooches? That sort of thing. She already has a pretty good collection of cool-girl Madewell jewelry, so I think her Thing should be “minimalist jewelry in earthy metals.” Bonus points if it looks like it might kill somebody.

For clothing, I focused on pieces that felt pulled-together without being overly formal. I’m into the vest-instead-of-jacket look for summer. Plus, her job requires her to be outdoors a lot and I don’t want her getting the sweats.


You guys. Target is ripping off Anthropologie hardcore.

Anthro: $118

Target: $39.95

Black

I have also been exploring this sketchy Chinese website called AliExpress.com (found from this Emily Henderson post) and they also have this suit for $15 but are clearly stealing Anthro’s product picture. I, being a huge cheapo, decided to take my chances on it. It’s shipping from China. I’ll let you know when/if I get it.

And then there’s also this wrap style, which comes back every year and gets yuuuuuuuge (said in my best Donald Trump voice) ratings.

Anthropologie: $118 (Anthro has this in a few prints every year)

Target: $39.99

Green


One: Armadillo lamp.

Two: Anne-Marie Slaughter seems to always get it right. #workingmom

Three: These cute Steve Madden fringe boots for $27!

Four: My increased interest in old lady shoes. (See also: That time I harassed the girl at Banana Republic until she admitted that her cute shoes were Dansko.)

Five: These weird-but-awesome pleather pants I bought at the above trip to Banana. (They were $12 in store!)

Six: Free Valentine’s Day printables.

Seven: Ice Cream For Breakfast Day is Saturday.

Eight: I bought B a pair of Frozen slippers for, like, $3 at Target last week and she is obsessed with them. Wears them to bed – to sleep! – every night. Kind of wish I would have gotten something cooler, like these.

Nine: These always make me want to repaint.

Ten: Is it summer yet? This suit is really cute if you are very comfortable with your bikini line. VERY comfortable.


These gold fish (goldfish?) are $12 at CB2 and I want a school of them.

(The title of this post is inspired by this amazing shirt that Josh got B.)


One: This cool-girl coat.

Two: This important article in the New York Times calling for depression screenings before and after pregnancy. (YES.)

Three: These ridiculously chic, gender-neutral nurseries. (Via Elements of Style)

Four: Kind of obsessed with this crib bedding set by Oh Joy for Target.

Five: That time when only female lawmakers showed up to work during a snowstorm.

Six: I’m trying to “buy better” but this fringe tee from Old Navy is cute and on trend. (Ooh, and they have a similar maternity version…but not for me. #nobabies2016 )

Seven: Also love this peplum cami.

Eight: One of my favorite St. Louis events, the Beggin’ Pet Parade, is this weekend – and it looks like even the weather gods love dogs in costumes.

Nine: I realize this is a random addition, but we just installed this ceiling fan in our bedroom. I was ardently anti-ceiling fan until I realized there was NO AIR MOVEMENT and I hate to sweat. This ceiling fan doesn’t look like it came straight from 1999 and it has a remote, which somehow makes me feel like I am a fancy adult.

Ten: Cute earrings.

 

 


I am not a cook. Not even close. I am famous for the following crockpot recipe:

Kara’s Crockpot Baked Potato

Ingredients: One potato

Directions: Put one potato* in crockpot. Turn crockpot on. Wait six to eight hours. Remove potato. Eat.

*You can modify this recipe by adding more than one potato.

Wait, should this be a food blog?!

My single-sex high school prided itself on not offering “home ec” classes, so I am illiterate in the ways of homemaking, even though my mom is a phenomenal cook and can put any bakery to shame. Josh, who is a pretty good cook, says that I am too ambitious when I decide to try to cook. I hate doing things I’m not good at, so I don’t cook.

But it’s time to Adult.

I’ve found a couple crockpot meals to master so I’m not only serving my kids stuff from the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Loin

from sixsistersstuff.com

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Loin Recipe:

(Recipe from Design Times Four)

3 lb. boneless pork loin or tenderloin
16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Place roast in a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Remove roast, slice and serve.

*You can also add a little water and cornstarch to the juices left in your slow cooker if you wish to make a gravy.

Slow Cooker Coconut Basil Chicken

from slenderkitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz. lite canned coconut milk
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 1 jalapenos, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. Add the coconut milk, basil, ginger, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to a blender. Blend until combined.
  2. Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over top. Cook for 4 hours or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

from www.gimmesomeoven.com 

PREP: 5 MINS COOK: 15 MINS TOTAL: 20 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (if you want extra flavor/heat, add an extra pepper)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour tortillas

Possible taco toppings:

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and diced onion to the saute pan. Saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and stir the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and minced chipotle, and whisk into the pan sauce until combined. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a 3-5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the pan sauce down over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef shreds easily.

Shred the beef with two forks, and toss to coat with any of the remaining juices. Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.

 


Yes, another Target post. Last weekend I declared that going to Target alone is one of life’s greatest joys, and I am not backing down from that. Here’s some cute new stuff:

target stuff

One: There are very, very similar boxes from Crate & Barrel for, like, $50. Buy these. They are so cute and affordable.

Two: This is marked down to $35, so it’s probably gonna go fast if it’s not already gone. I keep trying to find a spot for this in one of my bathrooms but the reality is that my bathrooms are small. My friend Jen has something similar in her big, luxurious bathroom and I am eternally jealous that our bathrooms can’t match.

Three: I’m obsessed with this. Less than $100, and looks like it would add a lot of texture and interest in any room. Hoping it would work at the end of the bed we just ordered.

Four: Ordered these. Brass ram bookends? Yes.

Five: Saw this in store and it looks so much more expensive than it is. But – it’s kinda too small for a traditional coffee table and a little low to be a side table, so I can’t figure out how to use it. If you live in a small space or are more creative than I am, get it. Now. Plus, it’s under $100.

Six: I obviously love a bench.

Seven: I, um, also own this. It goes perfectly in our living room and it is big enough and adds more interest and texture than framed pictures or art. It apparently doesn’t photograph that well because it looks a lot better in person. Josh even likes it and he is mostly anti-rug-wall.

Eight: This is in Target’s patio collection. It’s way cute for outside, but wait for it to go on sale. You know it will.

 

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Ok, here’s an update to keep me honest: I’ve bought some stuff in my “no-buy” months of January and February. I bought these pants and this shirt from J. Crew, which were included in this post, so they don’t count. (The pants are great, but I already knew that. I liked the shirt but I think I need a petite to accommodate my T-Rex arms.)

I returned a shirt that I purchased at Madewell before my public declaration…and I miiiiight have bought two other things: a black and white striped sweater and a black dress which is no longer online. I’m confident in both these purchases so get off my back about them, OK? The sweater has been worn a lot already and the dress will work in any season – plus, I was lacking a flattering-but-not-too-fancy LBD.

And then I went to Target. Things fell off the rails a little bit.

I bought a faux- fur vest (no longer online) because it was marked down to $25 and I don’t have a fur vest. I’m going back and forth on whether to return it or not, but I do like it and it was only $25…I dunno. I also bought a chambray because Target’s chambray is surprisingly good and sells out fast and my beloved J.Crew chambray popover has a ketchup stain on it because I’m a garbageperson who is incapable of having nice things.

Anyway, this kind of seems like a fail BUT 1) there have been a ton of sales lately in which I have refrained from buying and 2) I think these items will fill holes in my wardrobe.

Also: Hi. My name is Kara and I’m a shopaholic.

Here are some things I really want to buy at J. Crew. Use code “saleonsale” for an additional 40% off. Buy them so I don’t:

 

 


I wrote about my 2016 resolutions in this post. I’m starting strong on some of them – for instance, we already have a real bed and a couch upgrade on order – 2016 HOME GAME STRONG – and I haven’t eaten anything weird from the break room so far this year. But…fitness. That whole “get on a regular plan” thing isn’t very regular.

And there’s still a LOT of “out with the old” that needs to happen.

I’ve decided that I can knock out two birds with one stone: I’m going to re-evaluate my workout clothes which will obviously motivate me to work out constantly and eat like Tom and Gisele. (OK, maybe not all of that because their lives sound kind of terrible.) But for real, some of my running shorts date back to high school track. And do I need 10 pairs of black yoga pants? No, especially since 8 of them suck.

Plus, Athleisure is a thing. Just take a look at the Webster Groves Starbucks, where all the hot moms strut around in their Lululemon. Even Yolanda Foster (Foster?) is wearing lulu to gather lemons get her implants removed. It’s here and it’s real, people.

And since I have more opinions on athletic wear than I previously thought, I’m gonna split this up into a bottoms/tops/shoes/jackets and accessories posts. So, uh, get excited?

Bottoms:

Untitled-1

One: These are the shorts that I have. From high school. To be fair, they have lasted 10 years (plus one year of intense use when I ran track in college) and still look great. They are really the only running shorts you will have to buy…although I probably need to buy some in a, uh, more “mature” size.

Two: These are Nordstrom’s Zella brand Live-In Leggings. They are great. On the Athleisure scale of my life, they skew much more leisure.

Three: I like a run skirt and I’m not ashamed. I think this is the one I have from Athleta. Lululemon’s are cute but are also completely inappropriate for a mom of two to wear. (Also, you should obviously be a rational human and buy the skirt in black, not this weird orange color.)

Four: I am pretty “meh” on Old Navy’s workout apparel except when it’s under $10. But these leggings are legitimately good – comfortable and almost as nice as the Lululemon stuff for a tiny fraction of the price. Also, the Old Navy workout socks are pretty good and I used to professionally sell socks…kind of.


It’s probably time to update the list of B’s favorite things. She is 2.5 now and it seems like her personality gets a little bigger with every passing day. Her favorite things change from day to day – and sometimes minute to minute.

She also has grasped the concept of “favorite” and she keeps us updated.

B’s current favorite things:

Her sister: She’s obsessed with E. It is so cute and something for which I am very grateful, but I would also love if B could learn to hug E without strangling her. Or at least learn how to strangle less.

These weird egg videos on Youtube: Here’s how I realized I’m an Old. B is finding things on YouTube without me and I’ve experienced my first kid-related social media panic AND SHE ONLY RECENTLY LEARNED HOW TO PEE ON THE POTTY. Parenting is an adventure, y’all. And she will never get her own iPad.

Matching games: We got a bunch of matching games/two-piece puzzles for Christmas. I think B likes playing it with us more than the actual game itself. It’s sweet.

Her own Christmas tree: I bought a little tree at an estate sale for $6 (the same estate sale where somebody in my life put brass crabs and old books on layaway). Anyway, B loved this tree and it helped her kind of understand/get into Christmas and she still talks about it even though it’s put away in the attic.

A buckeye: This is random. B’s grandfather (“Pawpaw”) found her a buckeye and she talked about it incessantly. Then our not-so-bright dog decided to try to eat the buckeye and it broke into 20 pieces and B cried big elephant tears. Sweet pawpaw went out and found something like 10 buckeyes to replace the one she lost. And now I have to figure out what to do with a bunch ‘o buckeyes in my house. (Please note that I didn’t even know what a buckeye was before this whole scenario.)

Scissors: B watched me wrap a million presents recently and was VERY interested in what I was doing. Cutting is her current favorite arts-and-crafts activity, and she’s good at it – plus, we’re still holding strong at two pigtails.

Sesame Street Books: B’s Aunt Jen handed down her vintage Sesame Street treasury and they are the current bedtime book pick even though she’s really not that into Sesame Street. I don’t mind Sesame Street now (SO MUCH BETTER THAN DANIEL TIGER) but the characters were so much more interesting in the 80s! I blame Elmo. This article documents the rise of Elmo and it’s actually a really interesting read.