Confessions from a content creator.

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Sometimes life (always) gets the best of us (me), and we don’t make the time we need to do the things we love. It’s almost funny how often I come back here with a plan and end up falling short. But trust me, I’m really trying to breathe some life into this.

Content creation is my full-time job, and surprisingly or unsurprisingly, a very time-consuming one. Most people probably think I’m just scrolling on Instagram all day, but most days I’m looking at and/or plugging-in data, and planning. Planning takes a lot of work, especially when you’re dealing with seasons that are several months in advance. But every day I’m learning, and planning, and searching, and I’m inspired, energized, and excited to do more with my own personal account, while also balancing time with my puppy, Josh, friends, family, taking care of my garden, taking care of my body (still handicapped 😞), and cooking meals. It’s a lot to maintain, but I can’t give up.

Right now, I am “challenging” myself to work with what I have. Within my means, and attempting to discipline myself to be more creative. I don’t have a super awesome camera so my phone will have to do for now. And let’s just state the obvious, I don’t need to go shopping anytime soon, despite Instagram’s relentless effort to get me to purchase more clothes. Ugh, they’re so cute though, and fall is my favorite season!!! In the meantime, I will plan, learn more about photography, editing, and styling, while I save up for a dope ass camera.

I have a lot of ideas that I look forward to sharing with you. Until next time.

Ciao!

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Life Update

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Apologies for the not-so-clever headline, I just mean to say it like it is. I think it’s probably a good time to share what’s been going on at la casa d’Ayres—and if you’re thinking that was neither Spanish nor French, you would be correct, but I digress. First of all, I’m undergoing a content makeover, so expect to see more content, and a lot of polls as I start to incorporate new schtuff. And please—your feedback is more than welcomed and very much appreciated.

Second, I’ve been dormant (again) due to all of the changes in my life. Most significantly, I’ve accepted a new position managing social media for a company that sells fashionable medical uniforms and equipment. Random, I know, but that’s sort of been the normal throughout my professional career. What I’m most excited about is that this new position will be more “my speed” and give me much more time to focus on things I want to do outside of work, like for example, this here blog.

At the very least, I can solely focus on one brand, which will enable me to do social media right, opposed to juggling multiple brands, products, and industries, and only being able to focus on specific tasks.

Albeit the category of clothing, this position does lend itself to “styling” and thoughtfully putting content together, because these are fashionable scrubs, after all. Plus, I will be very involved in styling shoots which will totally benefit me in this arena.

Outside of work and this blog—like literally outside—I’ve been working on my garden. Super, super stoked about that. I’m creating a pollinator-friendly garden this year, starting from seed. Much of my last couple of weekends have been spent working on that, in addition to wrapping things up at G/L. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how all of these wonderful things start to flourish, and I’ll be sure share all the details along the way. 🙂

Sweater Fever

Today, I wanted to talk about a topic that’s very near and dear to my heart: sweaters. It seems the past few years I’ve had an obsession for, traditionally, one category of either clothing, accessories, or shoes. Nevertheless, it seems to be a seasonal fix each year. Last year it was scarves, the year before coats, and before that booties. This year just so happens to be sweaters. I can probably point a lot of blame at a blogger or two, but we don’t need to get into the dirty details of influencer marketing.

As promised, I mentioned on the gram (give or take a week or five) that I would share a few from my own collection and some favorites that I have refrained myself from purchasing. So without further ado, here are my favorite sweaters this season, and links on where to snag em!

Mock Necks

Lucky Brand Mock Neck

The mock neck is sort of in-between a full-on turtleneck and a crew neck, and is probably one of my favorite trends this season. And while the mock neck has been around (here) for much of 2017, the style definitely dominated the sweater category this past fall and I’m so glad it did. My favorite mock neck sweater pictured above, was a steal from a Lucky Brand outlet store in Colorado. But you can find similar items here:

 

  1. White Nep Pullover – Target
  2. Button Side Tunic Sweater – Target
  3. Donegal Northfield Mockneck – Madewell 
  4. Cropped Turtleneck – Target
  5. Knit Sweater – H&M

More favorites here:

 

  1. Let’s Link Up Cable Pullover – Free People
  2. Patchwork Mock Neck Sweater – Nordstrom
  3. Knit Wool-Blend Sweater – H&M
  4. Links Links Mock Neck – Free People
  5. Cuddle Up Pullover – Free People
  6. Ottoman Slouchy Tunic – Free People

Power Sleeves

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Ah, the power sleeve. Not an official style title, just my own personal feeling about them. They are big, they are bold, and you sort of have to have a bit of confidence when you’re wearing such ridiculously large, ballooned-sleeves, amiright? But let’s be honest, all I think about when it comes to a power sleeve is Jerry. But if you’re bold enough to flaunt the power sleeve, more power to you.

 

  1. Ruffle Sweatshirt – Lucky Brand
  2. Wrap Sweater – Treasure and Bond x Something Navy
  3. Cocoon Sleeve Oversized Crew Neck – Target
  4. Wide Sleeve Sweater – Nordstrom
  5. Her Turtleneck – Free People
  6. Park City Pullover

Ok, to be fair, none of these options are too much power puff—maybe except you green.


Colorful Knits

 

  1. Dundee Fringe Cardigan- Anthropologie
  2. Kaylee Pullover – Anthropologie
  3. Marled Wool Blend Turtleneck – J. Crew
  4. Shelley Pullover – Free People
  5. Castles In The Sky Sweater – Free People
  6. Knit Sweater – H&M

There seemed to be no shortage of spectacularly embellished, bright and colorful sweaters this season, and I can’t say I hate it. Just pure awesomeness. In a closet full of mostly black and grey, I could seriously use a pop of color. I had loads of candidates for this category that unsurprisingly, sold out. 😦


Over-The-Shoulder

image2I tried to find one of the sweaters pictured below in-store at Free People, but the St. Louis store has a lame buyer—sorry, not sorry—I did, however, find this gem at a fraction of the cost of the sweater I initially wanted to buy. You win some, you lose some.

 

  1. Off The Shoulder Sweater – Target
  2. Cold Shoulder Chenille Sweater – Lucky Brand
  3. Off Shoulder Sweater – Lucky Brand
  4. Alluring Sands Pullover – Free People
Turtle Neck

Fear not of the traditional turtleneck. Albeit, a popular and modest style for 80s-90s moms, and classicly paired with a jumper, the turtleneck has made a big and cozy comeback with sweaters this season. No undershirt necessary.

 

  1. Flecked Turtleneck – Madewell
  2. Knit Your Love Turtleneck – Chic Wish
  3. Grid Turtleneck Sweater – Chic Wish
  4. She’s All That Knit Turtleneck – Free People
  5. Heart and Soul Patched Knit Sweater – Chic Wish
Cardigans

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A staple necessary for everyone’s wardrobe if not only for their cozy, casual, and cocoon-like qualities. Here are some of my favorites:

 


That wraps up some of my favorite sweaters this season! Any favorites you can’t stop wearing this winter? Share em with me in the comments below or tag me on the gram! Thanks for peeking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward in 2018

Reflecting on life over the past year and steps I’m taking to move forward in 2018, to improve my skills, capabilities, and my peace of mind.

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2018, I couldn’t be happier to greet you. 2017 was off to a tumultuous start, but on a personal level, made a turn for the better. Josh and I bought our first home, I got a new job, my sister and my future brother-in-law got engaged, several of our wonderful friends got married, I made multiple (mind you) pie crusts from scratch, plus their innards. I was gifted a kitchen aid mixer 🙏🏼, we bought a vacuum cleaner that is the best vacuum cleaner I have ever used, and this past fall, I started planning and working on my garden, which I’m so stoked to really cut my teeth into this spring. Now, if that isn’t a successful year (and super adulting), I don’t know what is.

But all of these accomplishments didn’t come without their hardships. In all my years of life, I don’t believe I have ever been this stressed, riddled with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. I have been challenged, tested, broken, renewed, re-energized, and reconsidered my life decisions more often than I care to admit.

But now I feel (at least today), that I can finally get a grasp on my life, my job, my goals, and finally take a deep breath in, and let it allll out.

I have been reflecting on life over the past year; the accomplishments, the failures, and steps I took to move forward and this year I’d like to take more strides to improve my skills, capabilities, and my peace of mind. To do so will take much persistence and practice, but here’s what I want to focus on in 2018:

Eliminate Stress

Sure, I won’t be able to cut-out all of the stress in my life, but accepting that life happens and continuing to move forward may help reduce some of that pressure. One thing is for sure, I don’t have the energy to deal with stress in 2018.

In addition to continuing my practice of yoga, another way I plan on relieving stress is through meditation. There are so many health benefits of meditation. My only problem is, I can only sit still for about 6 minutes max, and my mind is a mile per minute. Any pointers from anyone who practices? 🙋🏻‍♀️

Preparedness

Not surprisingly, a lot of my stress was a direct result of my lack of preparedness, which had me constantly struggling to keep up. This year I want to focus on seeking opportunities to plan ahead, improve my knowledge and skills, and improve my overall confidence by being prepared.

Being Present

Ironically, it’s difficult to be present in a digital age, especially when your job is social media. However, this year I’d like to be more present to the people who mean the most to me. While I don’t believe I was particularly terrible at being present/communicating before, I think there’s room for us all to improve here. Let’s all put down the phones and have some solid discussions with each other (unless you’re reading this post ;)).

While there are multiple goals/changes I’d like to focus on in 2018, these preceding goals are most important to me. What goals are you setting for 2018? What steps are you taking to achieve them?

Hello? It’s me.

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Hello, world. It’s me again. Pardon my hiatus, as a lot has happened since we last spoke. Oy vey, adulting is serious. Seriously, here’s a quick update on what’s been happening for the last (gasp!) 6 months. I moved in with Josh in November. We (mostly me…ok only me) welcomed 2017 with great concern of the catastrophes that laid ahead. I decided to pay off my debt as quickly as possible, therefore cutting costs spent on my little addiction called, clothing, therefore no new material (literally).

Gretch left me for an epic adventure across the country and left her cat (bean dip) for me to nurture and love as my own. All of the sudden she loves me. Couldn’t be that I feed her every day…

The same weekend Gretch left for her transcontinental voyage,  Josh and I casually decided to look for a house. So then we found a realtor.

In March, I decided to join Ready + Willing again, jump ahead 7 weeks or so, busier than ever at work, under contract for a house, still regretting committing to an 8-week volunteer program and still trying to keep a blog running. Gosh, it’s exhausting just writing about it.

But lately, I’ve been really into these challenges; see how many projects Caitlin can juggle before she burns out. No really, challenges are very attractive to me as of late. Tiny victories feel tremendous and there’s just something about crossing out a task on your to-do list.

I’ve been creating challenges for myself in all areas of my life, such as, what I eat, exercising, skin care regimen, creative challenges, writing challenges, photography challenges, reading challenges, styling challenges, cooking challenges, financial challenges, communication challenges. You name it; I’ve probably turned it into a challenge. And why? Simply to improve my body, mind, soul, discipline, and edge. If there’s anything I’ve learned from these challenges, and/or Grit, is that passion and persistence are key to success.

My latest and greatest challenge is keeping this blog going. I have so terribly missed writing here, and I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve to keep me coming back. So for all of you who have been wondering, I am back, and man it feels good.

Curious about all of my challenges? Leave a comment to learn more. Signing off with these inspirational words from John F. Kennedy.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” — John F Kennedy

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Three Thanksgiving Day Styles (stuffing approved)

Tis’ the season to stuff of our faces full of delicious food and be thankful for our family, friends, good fortunes, and 4-day weekends. This year I am thankful that I have a job that pays the bills, puts delicious healthy food on the table, and gives me time off the be with the people I love. I am thankful for a new chapter in my life, and I am thankful, always, for my brothers and sisters, and my girlfriends, who I might not see or talk to everyday, but who are always willing to listen when I’ve got something on my mind.

With that being said, while those listed above will love me unconditionally no matter what, they’re still going to give me trouble if I show up to Thanksgiving dinner in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. So here are three outfits styled for Thanksgiving Day (stuffing approved).  

Lounge-Like 

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If you are a child of divorce, you can empathize with this child of divorce who has 3 Thanksgiving’s tomorrow, and don’t even get me started on Christmas. Let’s just say the holidays are always, sigh, exhausting. This year I’ve made note on what clothing works for both the comfort of travel and over-eating. Enter leggings, over-sized cardigan, and loose T. You bet I will be wearing this tomorrow.

T-Shirt from Target here. Cardigan (different color) from H&M here. Black Fringe Booties (similar) here. Leggings here.

Denim and Discreet

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Over-sized sweaters are where it’s at this season and not only are they seasonably practical for the weather, they are also practical for eating lot’s of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and vegetables I guess.

Hi, Rodger.

Sweater (similar) from H&M here and here. Booties from Target here. Blanket scarf here.

High Waisted Hero

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Ok so this skirt seriously rocks. I wore this for a Friendsgiving and I had no issues, even after a huge plate of starches and a bottle of wine. If you’ve got any high waisted pleated skirts, I highly recommend those. They’re comfy, chic, and do a lovely job at hiding any bloated discomfort. No high waisted pants, those are way too much pressure on full bellies.

Faux leather skirt from Nordstrom Rack here. Flannel from Target here (only seems to be available in plus size online). Over-the-knee boots from DSW here.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday, full of delicious food, laughter, family and friends, love, and zero politics! Peace, love, and pumpkin pie. Cheers!

 

Fall Trend Forecast

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Guys, the 90’s are back and so are all these Backstreet Boys songs that I fondly replay in my mind while Josh atrociously sings, Goodies. Yes, the Ciara song. Lot’s of throwbacks in the house tonight…ANYWAY, I know what you’re thinking, Caitlin the 90’s have been back, like duhh. True, but at last, they’re back in a good way. Almost. Besides 90’s inspiration for fall trends we’ll take a look at some fashion fixations that I’m certainly looking forward to. Here we go!

  1. Stirrup Pants

Meeeoooww. As the ever-growing trend of athleisure continues to flourish, so begins this throwback. If you haven’t seen them in your yoga class, you will soon. I was skeptical at first, and then I bought these bad boys and my doubts diminished. Unlike the 90’s, 2016 will probably save you from massive camel toes, and thank heavens, the leotard-over-leggings-look hasn’t made a comeback. Plus, 2016 stirrup pants are fitted, unlike the 90’s when we had this awkward flabby fabric sitting at the ankle. I’m a proponent for athleisure, and you can totally make minimal effort look fabulous. I wear my stirrup leggings every single week. Seriously. I’m obsessed with them. Not only are the fantastically comfortable, they’re functional, and SUPA cute.

Where you can find them:

Alo Yoga, Target, Express, Nordstrom, and Google if you have no luck with all 4 of those.

2. Wrap Necklaces

I’m not a super fan of chokers, but I’m loving these. They’re simple, sexy, and have that southwest swagger (which I LOVE). I contested the cost of these necklaces; I mean seriously, it’s a string with tassels, so I opted to make them myself. I spent a solid $23 on several yards of black, brown, and beige suede, and faux leather string. In addition I found these itty-bitty clasps that I fashioned into tassels. It legit took me all of 10 minutes to make 2 necklaces, so if you’d like that how-to insider information, hit a sister up. Otherwise, you can purchase these lovelies here:

Urban Outfitters, Lulu’s, Etsy.

3. Flannel, Plaid, Gingham, you got it!

 

Everyone knows flannel is a fall favorite, but this year is all about the twist- literally, around your waist. Oh yes, this practical 90’s hack is on-trend. Not only should you expect flannel, plaid, and gingham derrière, you may notice it in “new” fashions including, trenches, vests, of course, blanket scarfs (still my favorite accessory), skirts, jumpers, et cetera.

Get your flannel fix here:

Target, Zara, Shabby Apple, Nordstom, Nordstrom again, and Urban Outfitters.

4. Over-the-knee boots and oversized sweaters.

Supa, supa, supa, supa stoked to rock these boots with oversized sweaters this fall! I just have no words. Chunky sweaters are the best and over-the-knee boots are simply sexy. I got my boots here, but you can also find them here:

Asos, Famous Footwear, Nordstrom, Nordstrom again, and Steve Madden.

Speaking of oversized sweaters, look out for oversized tops this fall, like this one (don’t mind scary model).

5. Half pony.

Another 90’s favorite, the half pony is back (hehe) and my go-to for the office. Keep it bohemian chic or make it pop like Ariana Grande. Her hair is a little too extreme (or maybe too juvenile) for my tastes, but that seems to be the bees knees with many. Expect more top knots, and the man buns aren’t over yet.

6. Metallics.

I’m having flashbacks to the millennium all over again; what with Met Gala’s Manus x Machina. Technology advancements, digital interwebs, and the future of fashion; it’s all so shiny! I’ve never understood why futuristic fashion is always metallic. Surely, we will wear something less luminous. That is unless we’re collecting energy with our wearables, or something of that nature. Whether you’re fearless of flash, or just want to add a little sparkle to your OOTD, here are some places you can find some shine:

Zara, Zara,  Zara, Zara, Zara everything, these incredibly beautiful velvet over-the-knee boots, Nordstrom,  and Asos.

(I am an alliteration-animal.)

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So there you have it; my fall trends forecast. Nothing but 90’s, shiny, oversized shirts, chokers, velvet, pleats, and seasonably fit, flannel.

Now let’s hear it. What fall trends are you looking forward to?