Loft Friends & Family Sale Try-on Session

So I’m trying something a little new on the blog today! My very first try-on session post. I gotta tell ya, it was so hard to walk out of the store without everything I tried on. So much goodness. And to add to the drama, I only had an hour at lunch, so I was limited as it was.

loft friends family sale

I chose Loft for my first try-on session post because they are having their big Friends & Family Sale right now where EVERYTHING is 40% off!! Make sure to use the code FRIENDS at checkout. I think Loft has some of the best workwear that can be easily transitioned to every-day-wear. Make sense? Like, all of these pieces can be worn at the office, or on a date night, or at the park with the baby.

I’ve been sure to include sizing tips in the descriptions below. Loft always makes me feel so good about myself because I usually have to size way down. Also, I’ve included some additional picks from the sale in the widget below. Happy shopping!

 

loft friends family sale

leggings – size down (i actually picked up one size down and one size up not knowing what i was gonna get, but these run big) // tee – true to size

David thinks I’m crazy, but I’ve been wanting to try leather leggings. You can’t exactly tell from my super-fantastic quality photo, but these leather leggings fit soo good. I would worry that on a warmer day that they may get a little hot, so I’d save them for the real winter weather. Also this tee is classic and a great option for layering.

 

loft friends family sale

loft friends family sale

leather leggings // sweater – true to size

I saw this sweater on the website and knew I had to try it. I love the length and it’s super soft. You can also wear it two ways – completely off the shoulder, or as a cowl neck, which is great for the office.

 

suede leggings – true to size (not as much stretch as the leather ones, so i’d buy your normal size) // tee shirt

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of suede leggings, and I really liked how these ones feel. So soft! They are a deep brown color, so something a little different than typical black, but you can wear all the same things you would with your black pants.

 

pants (obsessed with these) – size down, run a little big // top – true to size // cardigan – true to size

I love this outfit! This top isn’t something I’d typically pick up, but with the cardigan and the wine colored pants, it’s such a classic fall outfit. I can’t say enough things about these pants. I am OBSESSED. If there’s one thing you buy from this sale, it should be these. Full disclosure, I went into Loft looking for pants since my work pants from last year are a little big. These are the perfect color and super soft too.

The cardigan is so cozy and I don’t really own a lot of navy, which is weird cause I love it. I also like this cardigan because it hits higher than a lot of others I’ve been buying lately.

jeans – size down // top – true to size

I think Loft jeans are super flattering, and I was happy to realize that these ones were a little big at my regular size. I love the cuff detail on the bottom and the deep denim color. I would definitely size down on these, though. As for the top, I’m not usually a fan of the cold shoulder look on me, but the bell sleeves I can get behind. I think this would be great layering tee and it’s under $20!

jeans // sweater

loft friends family sale

dress – size down

This might be the most flattering dress in the entire world. Doesn’t hurt that it’s black and slimming, and runs a little big! I love the mock turtleneck, and it’s super soft. This would look adorable with heels or booties. It also comes in red.

Make sure to scroll through the widget below to check out some of the other things I picked out from the sale including these fur-lined sneakers and this striped top.

As always, happy shopping!

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Things I’m Loving, Vol. 5

things i'm loving

things i'm loving

Fall fashion is the best! There’s so many goodies out there and I can’t wait to share what I’ve found for this week’s Things I’m Loving. The other great part? A lot of these items are on sale! I’ve become a savvy shopper in my older age 😉 although David may disagree. Nowadays, I’ll add items to my shopping cart and wait until it goes on sale to buy it. And they always go on sale! Do you have any tips or tricks that you use for online shopping?

Things I’m Loving:

womens textured cardigan

 

ON SALE! Textured Cardigan

This sweater looks glorious. I’ve had my eye on it for a few months, and for some reason, it was just sitting there at $78 forever! Probably because it’s so great. It’s now on sale for under $50 and I’m purchasing it as we speak. It comes in 5 colors, but it’s sure to go quickly. Grab one while you can!

Shop

 

 

 

cinched jogger pants

 

 

Under $40! Cinched Jogger Pants

Are you Team ‘leggings are pants’ or Team ‘no they aren’t pants’? I tend to lean towards the ‘legging are pants’ side, but I think jogger pants are a great option for those who may overthink things a bit. Not only are these so soft, but they are super cute and under $40. I promise you’ll be wearing these all winter long.

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AE Ribbed Ruffle Sweater

 

American Eagle Ribbed Ruffle Sleeve Sweater

I love a good classic sweater, and the ruffle detail on this one is the cutest. I love the deep wine color as well – perfect for the holidays. This one is currently 25% off and under $35.

 

Shop

 

 

 

DSW Advian OTK Boot

 

DSW Advian OTK Boot

Pro Tip: Order a size up. OTK boots aren’t meant for those of us who spent 15 years playing soccer and adding muscle to our calves. These ones are a little stretchier, but just to be sure, go up a size. These are dupes of the crazy expensive Stuart Weitzman pair, but for under $70!

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Surplice Purl Knit Sweater

 

Knit Wrap Sweater

I tend to stick to neutral colors, but this pink sweater stuck out to me. I love the wrap fit, and it looks so cozy. Plus for $15, if you wear it once, you get your monies worth, right?

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Happy Shopping!

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The Weird Things That Happen to Your Body Postpartum

postpartum body

postpartum body I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but it’s taken a while to get far enough removed from that postpartum time period to even formulate the thoughts I want to convey. There are so many conversations I enjoy having with expecting mamas or other new moms, and this one might be one of my favorite! I’ve never been so in tune with my body and so aware of all the changes that have taken place in the last two years. It’s a truly remarkable thing that happens to your body when you have a baby, and to see myself bounce back has been even crazier.

Emotions

I definitely struggled with the baby blues and maybe even a little bit of depression. I’ve touched on this many times on the blog, but the stress of being a new mom, the hormones, the lack of sleep, the breastfeeding – it adds up. I was in survival mode for the first three months, and never felt like myself until I stopped breastfeeding at eight months.

Give yourself some grace. Your life is never going to be the same, and although that’s an incredibly scary concept, over time you will find your new normal. I always say, baby has it worse – they have to learn how to be a human! Give yourself the okay to eat a little bit more, take a night off, and get out of the house, even when you don’t want to. There are certainly going to be lows, but with them come all those highs!

Body

The initial days and weeks postpartum are uncomfortable, frankly. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, but still had my belly for about six weeks. (I gained around 45 pounds total in my pregnancy with Finn (shoutout to carbs!) but lost about 25 of those in the first week. I lost another 10-15 within the first six months, and the rest over the remaining few months.) I was not prepared for the Jell-o-like my once hard belly would become. I still carry around that mom-pooch, thanks in part to a weak lower back and lack of core muscles (thanks Finn!).

In the first few weeks of pregnancy my boobs were incredibly sore, but nothing prepared me for the feeling of milk coming in. The sensation was excruciating at first – bad enough that I even woke a sleeping Finn to help relieve the pain. Over time, the milk mellows out, but nursing pads are your best friend those first few weeks.

I’ve been taking good care of my body the past few months, working out and eating well. I feel more energetic than I have in a long time. I’ve been playing soccer as well which is a pretty tough workout when you aren’t training for 90 minutes of cardio. I can certainly feel little twinges, especially in my legs, that I didn’t feel before I got pregnant, but I also like to think  of these as my body’s reminder that I need to stretch and warm up. We aren’t 18 anymore, Erica. Also, thanks to the 30-pound baby I have to carry around, my upper body is much stronger than it was before.

postpartum body

 

Hair, Teeth & Nails

During pregnancy, my hair, teeth and nails were strong, sparkly and healthy. I was taking daily vitamins and certainly credit those, but those pregnancy hormones sure do wonders on your skin. I continued taking those vitamins as I breastfed, but around 4 months postpartum, my hair started to fall out clumps at a time. I knew this was completely normal, so I never really freaked out. UNTIL all that hair started growing back in! Now the top of my hair looks completely normal, but when I pull it up, I have about an inch of regrowth making it’s way down my neck. It’s quite the sight! I guess I’ll just have to give it time to grow back out.

My teeth have also taken a hit. I have always taken pretty good care of my teeth, but the dentist mentioned that pregnancy and breastfeeding can do a number to the enamel on your teeth. Makes sense, since so much of the nutrients you are eating are passed along to baby.

Similarly, my nails seem weaker than they used to be. I could blame this on lack of time for pampering (hehe) but in reality, I think it has to do with the nutrients being passed along to Finn. I have to make vitamins more of a regular part of my daily routine.

postpartum body

Mindset

My mom always said that when I became a mom myself, I would understand. Well, once again, she’s right. There’s never been a time that I’ve been so in touch with my feelings and the feelings of my family. It’s like a hyper focus. It’s a good thing, and a bad thing. I know what I can do to help, but it’s also incredibly overwhelming and I’ve become incredibly anxious about normal, everyday things.

This is just a side effect of becoming a parent, I would presume. I would imagine this is something I’ll have to live with and learn to deal with over time. As Finn grows up, there will be new things to worry about.

I’ve prioritized mindfulness and taking some time for just me. Every parent needs to be reminded of who they are without a baby attached to their hip!

Must Have Postpartum Products

Nursing bras, nursing pads and a breast pump are the top items any new mom who plans on breastfeeding should have. Add to that list some lanolin, which helps with sore breasts and witch hazel, which helps with healing.

By the time I gave birth to Finn, I was so over my maternity clothes. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, go out and pick up some new clothing. I suggest looser fitting items, and items like wrap blouses or v-necks to make breastfeeding a little easier.

 

Mamas, can you relate to these feelings?

Were the emotional or physical changes harder for you?

 

 

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How to Start a Lifestyle Blog (& Why You Should Today)

Blogging has always come natural to me. I am a writer, always have been. My thoughts are best expressed in writing. Just ask David about all the love notes I have written to him over the years. I’m just plain bad at expressing myself while talking, writing suits me.

I decided to start my blog back in 2014 – a year that marks a huge transition in my life. I had finished grad school the year before, got and lost a job, moved back home with my parents, got my career job, moved to Virginia, and got engaged. It was a year full of ups and downs and it felt natural to write about all of those feelings. Over the past three years I’ve blogged about some of life’s biggest events and have been able to share them with all of you. Some days I feel incredibly inspired to blog, and others I don’t. I’ve never put pressure on myself to create content. Everything I write about, I want to write about. It’s an outlet and it’s a lot of fun!

start a lifestyle blog

Over time, this blog has transformed into more than just an online diary. I make a little money doing it, so that’s fun! I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I blog and how I got started, so I decided to put together a post that includes all that information and hopefully inspires some of you to do the same.

1. The Why

First, determine why do you want to blog? Do you have an awesome fashion sense you want to share? Are you a really good cook and want to try out new recipes? Do you enjoy writing or taking photos? You can have any reason in the world to start a blog. There are no rules to the type of content you write about. Just make sure that you don’t stray too far off from your niche. For example, if you want to blog about fashion, I wouldn’t write posts about computer games as well – and vice versa. Once you nail down a genre, your audience will expect similar content from you. That’s not to say you can’t write about it all, I would just limit your variety a bit!

Second, come up with a name. You know what you want to write about, so what name is going to give that impression to new readers? I chose Simple & Inspired because it’s how I aim to live my life. Once you determine the name, do a quick Google search to make sure that name isn’t already being used.

2. The What (All That Technical Stuff)

After you have determined why you want to blog, what you want to blog about, and what you want your blog to be named, it’s time to get started. The technical stuff can be a little daunting, but I’ll try to make it simple for you. I set up my blog completely on my own. I don’t necessarily recommend it, but it’s totally doable and a really great skill to have!

Worpress-

The first thing I tell anyone who wants to start a blog is to use WordPress as a content management system. Not only is it pretty much the industry standard, but it’s super user-friendly, and it’s the best for Search Engine Optimization (aka you show up high in Google/Bing/Yahoo searches).
Other reasons to use WordPress:

  • It’s easy to customize
  • There are tons of free themes to use
  • There are plugins available for just about any feature you’d want to include on your site

Head over to WordPress.org and set up a login. With wordpress.org, you will be able to have your own domain name (instead of www.simpleandinspired.wordpress.com) like simpleandinspired.com. This also means that you own all the content on your site. Yes, with those free sites (blogger, Wordress.com) you do not own your content. 

Domain Name-

Next step, go buy your domain name. I would suggest using one with a .com, since this will add to your SEO as well.

Other tips:

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Make sure the name of your blog is involved
  • Limit the dashes and other punctuation you use, unless it’s completely necessary

Where do you buy a domain name? Sometimes your hosting site offers packages where you bundled the domain and hosting together. However, nothing’s easier than going to GoDaddy.com and purchasing it there. You can also do searches for domain names to see if the one you want to use has been taken or not.

Hosting-

Lastly, you must host your site on a server. There are endless hosting sites out there for WordPress. I use Dreamhost, which can be a little pricey, but they have a one-step setup for WordPress which makes everything so much easier. They also have great customer service. There’s also HostGator, BlueHost, Google even has a hosting portion of their site. Just do your homework, find out how much it costs to host per month and if they integrate well with WordPress.

Full Disclosure – I host this site and 5 others on Dreamhost and I spend about $25 a month to do so. There are certainly cheaper options out there though.

3. What’s Next?

Once you’ve decided on your name, you’ve downloaded WordPress and set up your hosting, it’s time for blogging!

Here are some tips:

  • Keep your content consistent so your audience can expect new things from you and continues to come back to your site.
  • Download the Google Analytics plugin for your blog. This will show you how many people are coming to your site, what they do when they get there, and if they come back for more.
  • Create social media channels to share your content on. I prefer Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest is a huge traffic source for me. (Hint – treat Pinterest like a search engine, not a social media channel – it will do wonders for your traffic.)
  • Connect with me! I’d love to follow along on your blogging journey!

I hope this information is helpful! If you’d like more information on anything I hit on specifically, just let me know. I can always do a deeper dive into the technical stuff!

Good luck and happy blogging!

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Columbus Day Weekend Recap

columbus day weekend

This post is a little misleading since none of the Gregorys actually had Columbus Day off. However, I meant to throw this post up yesterday, but then decided I’d write a wrap up post of all the awesome sales going on, but I didn’t end up getting to that because I was so busy with life! So, like the rest of the world S&I is starting this week on a Tuesday, too!

This weekend was one for the books! It was one of those weekends that seemed to last forever, but ended too quickly. Ya know what I mean?! Saturday started promptly at 7am when Finn wakes us all up. We decided to go get breakfast at one of our favorite local spots, La Taza. I absolutely love their avacado toast and they have the best kids dishes that Finn ate every last bite of! We had to run some errands (so much paperwork happening right now. If you’re wondering why check out my last post) and then did some grocery shopping. We stopped home long enough to let Juneau out and then got back in the car to head to Richmond.

We met up with our friends, Sean and Christina, and their son, Noah, who is just 3 months younger than Finn. The group of us spent the afternoon at the Virginia State Fair. The babies are still a little too young to truly appreciate the awesome/sketchiness of the fair, but it’s my favorite thing in the world to watch Finn interact with animals. He sat there ‘moo-ing’ at the cows for the longest time. It was pretty warm that afternoon, and after my FitBit hit 10,000 steps, we turned around and headed back to Charlottesville.

On Saturday evening, I had tickets to see Zac Brown Band in concert. My girlfriends and I enjoyed one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I went to bed around midnight truly blessed for my crazy, hectic life.

Sunday morning came way too soon, so we decided to take it easy. Finn took a three hour nap (never happens!) and I played soccer in the afternoon. We rounded out the weekend by spending some time at my in-laws house, meal-prepped for the week, and watched some reality TV.

Last week was pretty tough for me for several reasons, so it was so nice to have a refreshing and busy weekend. To top it all off, David surprised with flowers and a card. I can’t say enough good things about my husband. He just gets me 🙂

PS. As promised, some really great content is in the works. I promise to do more than just recap our lives 🙂

 

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