Monday, January 26, 2015

to the point

Please pardon the tired teacher eyes, it is Science Fair season, & as excited as I might be about passing a love of science onto my students, I am as equally terrified about grading 120 individual projects.

After 6+ months into teaching, I am definitely finding myself putting on a "uniform" everyday. I have a signature print (polka-dots) that the students pointed out to me, & the other day a co-worker made an observation about the amount of blue that my daily outfits include. So I guess this outfit is as close to my teacher style as it gets. Flats for all day comfort, easy layers to battle the fickle radiators in our old historic building, & a skirt that is cute, but long enough to cover my caboose when I bend over to pick up something a child has dropped for the one millionth time. 

Have you ever come upon your "style" thanks to the observations of others?
{ What I wore to teach: J.Crew Factory Clare cardigan, polka dot button down, flared skirt // (ancient) Gap oxfords (shop similar here) // Kendra Scott necklace }

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Shopping: Spring with Kendra Scott

We have yet to really face the worst of the Nashville Winter (late January into February has been pretty brutal in my 5 years experience); however, I am already OBSESSED with everything from the Kendra Scott Spring line, just released this week! Check out the eye candy below, and shop my 10 top picks! 
Which pretty things for Spring are already catching your eye?

Friday, January 23, 2015

make it work

So we photographed all of my teacher capsule wardrobe outfits in December, while I was wearing them. But I am just now getting around to posting them… blogger shame for sure!

Regardless, this was one of my favorite outfits then, and it is still my favorite, except now with tights + boots. Ya fee?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

back to basics

Thank you for all your sweet words & feedback on yesterday's reflection post. 2014 was a wild & crazy ride, & I am looking forward to being a little less go-go-go & a little more present in each moment during 2015.

As I have been reading my blog roll lately, I sense that I am not the only one that is looking to shed some layers & get back to basics.

I really love what Hallie said in this post about moving forward into the unknown.
"Girl, we’re all faking it. Don’t let not knowing where to start get in your way. It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by possibility, the uncertain and the fear of failure. But you’ll never have everything figured out – just keep going." - Hallie
And then my blog friend Lauren has been taking a more intentional look at her life, & came to this conclusion which definitely resonated with me: 
"What I learned, is that minimalism looks different for everyone. But the basic philosophy is this - the best things in life aren't things, and clearing the excess out of your life allows you to focus on what matters most." - Lauren
With the rise in popularity of "capsule" collection blogs, & the current style mindset that less is actually more, I too am inspired to reduce the stuff in my life in order to enjoy what I do have more. My 2015 goals: fake it till I make it & re-focus what is important in my life.

What are your 2015 resolutions? Anyone else feeling a serious shift in your need to stockpile stuff just for the sake of having "more"?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reflections of 2014

Well, 2014 was certainly one for the record books of Jessica. I imagine that when I look back on 2014, I will remember it as the year that everything changed.

2014 was the year that I quit a PhD grad school program, earned my Master's degree, switched careers, got married, changed my name, moved 4 times in 2 months, jumped head first into teaching 7th graders, learned how hard it is to teach 7th graders, fell even more in love with my husband, said goodbye to old friends, welcomed new friends, & finally realized that it is ok to just be a work in progress.

Part of this incredible year of growth, was coming to terms with not being perfect, with letting some of the cracks show. One way that this manifested, was having to let go of a few things, infact, 2014 produced the least amount of posts since I started blogging 3 years ago.

By the numbers:
2012 - 436 posts
2013 - 374 posts
2014 - 286 posts

I hope that this new blogging schedule works for you guys. It lets me post when I want to, when I feel like I have something to share, & not simply push publish on a "ok" post, just so I will have something gracing the blog each day. Blogging is supposed to be fun!

In terms of the blog, this could also be called the year of photographers. I had the great privilege of working with 4 incredible Nashville photographers. I love the creative eye with which each helped me shape my vision for this space.
Photo credits from L to R: Kate Davis (I love the street style photos we achieved here) // Zipporah Photography  (she was a rock star during this conscious consumerism series shoot!) // Alyssa Torrech  (I'm obsessed with how she captured the light in this work style post.) // Rae Marshall (I really love this wedding guest style post that we did together.)

As always, I had fun looking back at my style evolution in 2014. Below are my 12 favorite outfits - everything from my everyday jean style to some that are bit fancier!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12

And in full disclosure, there were some outfits that looking back, just weren't me. Behold these 6 "flops":
1 (too tight skirt) // 2 (I had to always adjust this dress & felt uncomfortable) // 3 (those pants are doing me NO favors) // 4 (I greatly dislike the finish on that skirt's fabric) // 5 (not a fan of this print mixing after all) // 6 (just a mess!)

One area of the blog that I was especially excited to develop in 2014 was the addition of new Series. While I need to continue to work on maintaining these, I loved introducing the Sip, Shop, See Series for highlighting my favorite Nashville areas, the Teacher Wardrobe posts showing my everyday teaching style, our Wedding, Nashville's Sweet TreatsHoliday Happenings, & my favorite monthly collaboration -  Bloggers Who Budget.

Getting notifications of the comments left on blog posts seriously make my day! If you are looking for some great discussions in the comment sections, check out this post about appropriate interview attire, this one about the best dress pants (so hard to shop for!) & this one about how your personality dictates what you wear.

Some of the most "Pinch Me Moments" of 2014? Hard to narrow down the list, but they would have to include an awesome Nordstrom Rack collaboration, including flying out to San Francisco to meet the teamShooting with Le Tote (love everything about their business!), making the Macy's "American Icon's" video (posts about it here & here). Meeting Because Shanna Said So (the SWEETEST lady in the biz!) Our wedding on Style Me Pretty, attending the Southern Blog Society Conference & working with the Nashville Style Collective

To be honest, I am still blown away when brands want to work with me. I love putting my perspective on a project & sharing with you all! And 2014 was definitely studded with working with some amazing brands! Including (click to see the posts featuring each brand): Aerie, The Impeccable Pig, Zappos, Murad, Dillard's, Levi's, Of Mercer, Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, MiH jeans, Gigi New York, Boden, Daisy Gem, Redesigned by Two, Chicwish, Living Proof, Le Tote, Kendra Scott, Onze Boutique, Vera Bradley, Lisi Lerch, Mickey Lynn, Lulu's, Shop Dress Up, Maidenform, Fresh Produce, Half United, Shoe Carnival, Kohl's, White Plum, Style Lately, Off Broadway Shoes

While 2014 was a pretty spectacular year, I do have some big blog goals for 2015. 

- I would like to make more "pinnable" pictures (putting labels on pictures)
- Create a better organized tagging system for easier searching on Here&Now
- Continue exploring my new motto: "less quantity, more quality"
- Photograph more of my everyday style

What would you like to see on Here&Now in 2015? (I really do want to know!!)

How was 2014 for you? What is your big goal for 2015? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

but really

{ What I Wore to teach: J.Crew Factory cardigan (under $40, stock up in every color!), striped tee, knit pants // Gap oxfords }

Looking for a quality pair of oxford shoes, I can't recommend local Nashville brand Nisolo more - perfect shoes, with an even better backstory!

All Photos | Kate Davis Photo
But really, this is what my #teacherstyle looks like of late. Stretchy, easy, & a touch of color to brighten up these dreary Winter days.

How are you surviving the Winter slump? When is it reasonable to start the countdown to Spring Break?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top Ten: Moisturize

When I was in college, I had an irrational fear of putting moisturizers of any kind on my face. I was convinced that lotions/creams were THE reason I had chronic breakouts. With age/experience, I have learned that my combination skin CRAVES moisture, & when it doesn't get the moisture it needs, it creates its own (aka grease… ewwww). So now that I am in the latter half of my 20's, I have a pretty extensive collection of moisturizing agents. Below are the 10 that I use on a daily basis… these are all tried & true cures to Winter dryness, & especially for people with combination skin, they hydrate without leaving your skin feeling clogged down.

What have you found to be the best weapon for warding off icky Winter skin?
Listed in the order that I use them each day:

{1} Bigelow & Co Almond body scrub - This is the best way to energize your shower routine. The scent is awesome, & the scrubbing bits wake up my skin, while also leaving behind moisture.

{2} Before I start doing my make-up, I slather on a healthy dose of the By Terry rose balm. This is one of the more expensive items on my daily list, but it really does earn its price tag!

{3} A new duo in my beauty cabinet is this recently released product from Murad. The Youth Builder white clay body cleanser is the perfect everyday body wash, specifically formulated to hydrate & protect the youthfulness of your skin. The AHA hand cream is stashed in my desk at work. The formula hydrates better than anything else I have used, sinking deeply & quickly into my hands.

{4} The base of my face routine is the Murad age-diffusion serum. Soft scent, perfect texture, primes my skin for makeup.

{5} After serum, I apply my daily SPF. I appreciate that this Murad SPF 30 formula soaks in quickly, & there is nothing greasy/oily about it.

{6} I can't be the only one that gets depressed by the translucent color of my skin during Winter months. Adding a little color to my skin boosts my spirits, & I love the light scent + added firming benefits of the Jergens Natural Glow lotion. I apply after my shower, & let it "air dry" while I am putting on my makeup. This gradual tanner has been voted as best scent several years in a row - no nasty fake tan smell!

{7} Burt's Bees Lemon Button Cuticle Cream - This is a product that I apply RELIGIOUSLY! On a recent family trip to Disney World, I was about to run out & an emergency Target run was in order. I have long struggled with picking at my cuticles. It drives me crazy to see them scraggly, & this is the only thing I have found that works to cure my cuticle obsession, while not leaving my hands a greasy mess. I apply this product throughout the day, probably 2-3 times from the mid-morning until I leave work.

{8} After removing my make-up after work, I apply the Murad hydro-dynamic face cream. This is a thicker moisturizer, to provide 8 hours of hydration to protect my skin through the night. I like to also apply it to my neck & chest.

{9} Right before bed, my hands get the Rituals Miracle Scrub treatment. This sugar scrub is seriously a miracle - it helps with the icky cuticle situation (see #7), & also leaves my hands feeling soft + moisturized all night. You will become addicted!

{10} Once in bed, I SLATHER my lips with classic Vaseline. If my nose is feeling irritated, that skin also gets a thick layer. This is the biggest thing I have done to keep my lips from cracking during the Winter months. I wake up each morning with a little bit still on my lips, & the hubby says I have the softest lips (although I'm not sure who's he is comparing them…)

So that is my moisturizing routine. What's yours?