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. 🙂

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Sayonara Summer

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Sweet, sweet, summer. What a time for exploration, adventures, and new discoveries. Knock the temperatures all you want, but I LOVE summer; lake trips, floating, laying out by the pool, sun-kissed skin, lightened locks, minimal clothing, and ice cold beer.

Yep, I will take scorching temperatures for all of this. Sadly, summer is coming to an end; so to send off summer on a stellar pump, I decided to visit one of my favorite places, dressed head-to-toe in some of my some of my summer favorites.

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Location: Bowood Farms Dress: Urban Outfitters Shoes: Pitaya Wallet: Target

Unfortunately, I found this dress at Urban about 3 months ago, and it’s no longer available online, however, you might be able to find it in-store. The shoes I purchased from Pitaya last year. Although, they are no longer available now, I highly recommend browsing their stores. Awesome, super cute clothes, accessories, and shoes, for incredible prices. I also got my sunglasses from Pitaya and they were $8.

 

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Bowood Farms remains one of my all-time favorite brunch destinations in St. Louis. Not only are the food and cocktails excellent, but in the spring and summer, the nursery is abundant with plants, herbs, blooms, and magnificent florals. It’s an exceptionally charming nursery and cafe and I highly recommend checking it out; at least just to peruse and wander because it’s just simply  a beautiful boutique.

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I hope you enjoy your last weekend of summer by soaking up the sun, and taking some time to reflect on all your accomplishments and finally relax with a big ol’ margarita, chips & salsa, and maybe some shrimp tacos if you’re feeling really spicy. I’m definitely not craving Mexican food…not at all…

Stay tuned for my fall fashion predictions coming soon! Sayonara summer!

Denim in Distress

Hi all!

So here’s the deal – I’ve been getting quite crafty these past few weeks. You see, sometimes the retailer doesn’t have exactly what your heart desires/your size in stock, and you know how the old saying goes; when we can’t buy, we DIY.

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So the two projects I completed were distressed boyfriend jeans, and cut-offs.

Now I’ve had my fair share of hack-job handcrafts, and as I’ve just alluded, they were nothing short of disastrous. This time, however, I watched a few YouTube videos before starting. Here are my tips for creating your very own boyfriend jeans or cut-offs, or both.

First and  foremost, before making destroyed jeans or cut-offs, be sure you’ve got a decent pair of denims. You don’t want any of those shitty super stretchy jeans; and probably ditch the bedazzled studded embellishments.

For my boyfriend jeans, I picked up a pair from the Goodwill for a whopping $4. I did have  a specific look in mind for my boyfriend jeans: light-wash, decent-quality denim, high-waisted, and finally, the back pockets couldn’t be too distracting. I was pleasantly surprised when I found a pair that was nearly a perfect match…except for the size. For the price, I was willing to try and make it work.

I didn’t watch a YouTube video or anything when I started my boyfriend jeans; I just searched for the pair of pants I wanted to buy online, and tried to mimic its style and cut. I took a pen and marked the pants where I wanted to cut and voila! Distressed boyfriend jeans! Kind of.

After my holes were cut, I took the blade of the scissors and frayd the edges  of the holes. I threw those bad boys in the washer and dryer and all of my distressed denim dreams came true; besides the actual size, but hey, that’s what squats are for! Am I right?

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For the cut-offs, I’ve fucked up far too many pairs in the past and decided to take proper precaution by watching a YouTube video or five.

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There are so many ways you can do distressed cut-offs, but I particularly liked this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehcIeqXinSU
but that may be because this is the most adorable vlogger I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. Frankly, I can’t stand the shorts that leave your butt-cheeks hanging out and that’s all I can seem to find these days. I do have a pair of butt-cheek shorts, but I wear long t’s and tanks to cover up my ass. You’re welcome. I did make some alterations to her technique, mostly because I don’t know what she was thinking with those crotch flaps.

The measurements were kind of wonky due to my super low-cut jeans (thank you, 2007), so I also made some adjustments when applying measurements. The key is to mark your desired measurements on where to cut, then cut 2-3 inches below those marks. Try on your shorts and decide whether you want to continue taking off an inch, until you’re satisfied with the length.

I incorporated her “dolphin cut” and I’m very pleased with the look. My absolute favorite part about these denims are the shredded holes. Let me tell you, it’s the best tip in this video (05:16). It took me so long to complete the shredded holes and it was an absolute pain in the ass, but oh my god, so worth it. It gives your cut-offs that store-bought look that I was ultimately trying to achieve. Now I completely understand why distressed jeans are so expensive.

Just like with my boyfriend jeans, I took the blade of the scissors and frayed the edges and any holes that weren’t shredded. Lastly, I threw them in the washer and dryer to give em to complete the look.

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I was very pleased with the results of both of my projects and I would highly recommend it. You just can’t beat recycling and a $4 price tag. Cheers!

 

Work Wear Tips to Break Business Casual

Oh guys. This has been a long time coming. The next time I have the bright idea to pick up an eight week volunteer program, and freelance writing gig, someone just slap me. So, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity and great experience to get involved and do free advertising for non-profits in St. Louis, and then in the midst of that opportunity, take on a freelance copywriting project that needed to be complete in oh, a week. No, not a great experience. Let’s try, most awful experience. Needless to say, I’ve been slacking on my blog, and I do apologize…again.

Now let’s move on to the actual purpose of this post: office attire!

So business casual and I don’t really get along all too well. Being one of two female employees under the age of 30, I’d say I’m the most “adventurous” when it comes to work wear. But like I’ve said a hundred times before, balance is everything. If you’re like me and strive to stretch the definition of business causal, make sure you damn well find a balance, otherwise you’re going to find yourself in a rather uncomfortable conversation with your supervisor.

So how does one achieve balance between business causal and fashion forward? With an exceptionally high credit card limit!

Just kidding. I create balance utilizing accessories, semi-casual tops, layers, shoes, hair styling, and of course, the loose/fit rule.

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Madonna, Prince, Jerry Seinfeld?

I was pleasantly surprised to get so much versatility out of this top, wearing as a v-neck crossover, and as pictured, button-up crew neck. However, every time I wear this top this way; although I act confident in my style decision, I still feel like Jerry Seinfeld in ‘puffy shirt.’

Tip #1: Wear pieces with versatility.

I bought this top specifically for work and while I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it at the time of purchase, I found several ways to wear this top; even coming up with a few new outfits. Whether you’re rummaging through your closet for something to wear or shopping around, think about what ways you can wear an item differently. Can you wear it with pants? Shorts? A skirt? Can you wear it outside of work? Would you want to wear it outside of work? Does it look good as is? Does it look better tucked in?

Think about the added benefit, besides it just being really effing cute.

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Tip #2: Give your traditional work wear a twist.

Making simple styling changes to your  traditional styles can really add some wow to your work wear. E.g. Instead of just tucking in (or instead of not tucking in at all), try tucking in the front of the button-up and leaving the tail out. It’s simple, subtle, and totally hip in my opinion. Jazz-up your outfits with different heels, booties, and accessories for fresh looks (when you don’t want to buy clothes for work, you have to get creative to refresh an outfit).

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Tip #3: Let loose.

If traditional collared-shirts don’t tickle your fancy, try flannels, plaids, or patterns and prints. I also do this style with long t’s when I’m feeling extra casual (which, let’s be honest, is everyday).

Side Story:

At the time of this shoot, I wasn’t feeling very enthused or excited. So when Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ came on, I started to forget concern with what looks good and just groove. All of the sudden this shoot didn’t seem so staged, and I was happier with just being myself. Hence, the ‘what-the-hell-is-she-doing?’ pose.

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Tip #4: Layer

I will never forget my discussion with my mentor about women’s “fashion” (quotes because he doesn’t understand fashion, especially women’s, but I digress). He said, “The older women get, the baggier their clothing becomes.” I shot him my skeptical brow and he countered, “It’s true, just wait, you’ll be wearing baggy shawls too.” I hate to admit that he was right, because it was much sooner than I would have expected, although not for the same reasons as he explained. Perhaps it’s because of a long-standing trend, like the skinny jean phenomenon; but I am totally drawn to loose fitting, flowy, comfortable tops, paired with skinny jeans or leggings. And it’s not because I can’t wear the tiny, tight-fit, “young” clothes anymore; like yeah, I’ll still rock that shit. But what I’m attracted to is the harmony and the balance between the loose and the fit. I love layering these tops and I love creating different looks with them.

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Tip #5: Let loose part two.

You know the scenario, you see something on Instagram, in the store, on some 16 year old, and you think, I could never wear that. And then you move one. But I say experiment. Even if you think it’s going to be funky, just give it a try. This dress, I saw it and I was like omg, that’s really cute. But I also worried, will that look terrible on me? Will I get shit because I’m wearing a dress with massive roses on it? And I did, Pete called me Jezebel for the better half of the evening that I first wore this dress. But then something happened. I started receiving compliments from co-workers about my dress, and even though I loved the way the dress looked, it was just that extra support that really made me happy that I made the purchase and took the risk. Anytime there’s a new trend, or a style I’m just not really sure about, I try it out, because why not? There’s only one of two outcomes. You’ll either confirm that a look is totally ghastly or surprisingly on-point. Not only does this mentality apply to your style senses; the same is true for life. We’re so confined to what we know and what we’re used to and comfortable with. Try just to see what happens, experiment, let loose, and learn.

#lifelessons y’all.

Side Story Two: I ordered a ton of clothes that I’m super stoked about wearing to work these days, however, I received them post photo shoot, so I will just post  those outfits on Instagram as they come along. Holler if you see something you like!