My favorite bra in all the land—Aerie’s unlined style—is marked down to $20 (from $30) right now. I haven’t yet found a *real* bra as comfortable as this one is. (It’s not a super supportive style, though it does have underwire.) They also have a few sizes left in last season’s version ($17.99) and in the mesh striped version ($14.99). 

P.S. The more I type the word “bra,” the weirder it’s looking to me. Bra. Bra. BRA. 

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This long white embroidered dress from ZARA ($99) is so pretty. 

This long white embroidered dress from ZARA ($99) is so pretty. 

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Suits on Sale:

Hi, love your blog! Please could you make some posts about cute and chic business suits on sale - will be much appreciated. Joanna
joannalovesnyc

I don’t know if I found any cute things (are business suits ever cute?), but they’ll do the job! :)

J.Crew Factory has a massive sale today—50% off clearance items with code EXTRA50—and they have a lot of suiting options available. Their lightweight wool blazer is marked down to $120 in black. The matching pants are $75. The black skirt is $70. They also have a navy pinstripe blazer for $120 and the pants are $75. A cotton blazer (available in gray or navy) is $95. The matching pants are $55. 

You can take an extra 40% off J.Crew’s suiting with code SALEFUN. They’ve got some GREAT pants available. The Campbell pant in stretch cotton has an insane 9 colors available ($60-$79.50). Their cropped linen pant in white or navy is really sharp ($108 from $118). The popular Bristol trouser is $70-$90 in 4 colors (from $98). The Paley pant in stretch wool is $148 (from $158). They also have this great stretch cotton skirt for $98 (from $110) in 4 colors. 

Nordstrom has also marked down a lot of suiting separates for their Anniversary Sale. Halogen’s navy skirt is $45 (from $70). Vince Camuto’s well-reviewed straight leg pants are $52 (from $79). Halogen’s black Ela suit jacket is $76 (from $128). 

Banana Republic has suiting separates on sale too. The promo code BRPICK4 should get you 30% off. This white blazer is $130 (from $158). Their popular Sleek Suit Blazer is $140 (from $158) and is available in 3 colors. I love their small black check wool blazer ($120 from $198). 

Calvin Klein has lots of suiting separates on sale. Ann Taylor’s semi-annual sale has dozens of suiting options marked down. You’ll get an extra 60% off at checkout. 

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I'm booked into my first spinning class next week! What should I expect? Where in class should I try and get a bike? What will I wear?! Any advice to prevent me from looking like such a newbie would be most appreciated!

- Asked by emmafolds

We’ve talked since you sent me this so I know you already read this older post of mine and went to your first class (yay!) but since the post is old here are a few extra tips with another year and a half of these dang classes under my belt:

  • The pre-class snack is important but I go to the first class of the day and so I’m usually eating at 4:50 am. Eating at that time of day is gross. I mean, everything feels gross at 4:50 am, but eating is especially terrible. I’m never hungry when I wake up but I can push myself much harder if I have some fuel in my stomach. I’ve tried many snacks and had varying success. The easiest is a protein/energy bar but they can sit really heavy so I’ll eat half pre-class and the other half post-class. Chia Bars are great. They’re small, taste decent and give me a lot of energy. KIND bars work well too. They don’t sit like lead in my stomach and they’re pretty tasty. Something that doesn’t work well for me? Smoothies or shakes. I tried this a few times but it’s too heavy and I feel like I’m sloshing as I pedal. It’s a good post-workout option, but they’re a little too much first thing in the morning. The winner for me is usually a banana with a spoonful of peanut butter smeared on the top. It’s easy to eat as I drive to class. If we’re out of bananas and I’ve pressed snooze once (or twice) and I’m running late, I’ve been known to gag down two spoonfuls of straight peanut butter. On the rare days I wake up hungry, I’ll make a frozen flaxseed waffle (from Wegmans) in the toaster, spread peanut butter on it and fold it in half like a sandwich so I can eat it in the car. Basically ANY food is better than no food for me, so I’ll grab anything in a pinch—a string cheese, an apple—but I definitely prefer some items over others. 
  • It’s really beneficial to find out how hard you’re actually working. Polar’s FT4 (starting around $60) or FT7 (starting around $70) allow you to track your heart rate in real time. Spin class is so aerobic that regardless of how hard you’re working, you’ll probably sweat. This creates this annoying little setup where I think I’m working really hard (SWEAT ROLLING OFF MY FACE) and then I check my heart rate and I’m working in the high 70’s of my aerobic max. No spin class is immune to this. I’ve read reviews of SoulCycle by fitness instructors (before they were banned) and they were seeing really low total calorie burn numbers. Most things I’ve seen say that 400-600 calories per 45 minute spin class seems to be a good target zone. One of my harder instructors says that 600 calories should be the minimum for her more difficult rides if we follow her to the letter. Basically all this is to say that I’ve had classes where I think I’m putting in some really good effort and then I check my heart rate monitor and realize that I could be pushing myself more rigorously. The way I see it is that I’m taking the time to get out of bed and go to the gym instead of sleeping for another two hours, I better get the absolute BEST outcome I can. Unfortunately (or fortunately), because of the format and self-sufficiency of spin classes, a lot of that responsibility falls to me. A heart rate monitor is really the only way to find out how much effort is actually happening. (Some spin bikes have watts monitors. Watts is a combination of your cadence—how fast you pedal—and resistance. The faster you can pedal at a higher, tougher resistance, the bigger your watts output. Watts monitors are a great way of seeing how much power you’re putting out on the bike—some classes even turn it into a competition against other riders—but a heart rate monitor is still important because you can see how your body is responding to the watts you’re generating on the bike.) 
  • Pay attention to how long it takes to recover breaths and/or heart rate during recovery or active recovery portions of the ride. When you go anaerobic—try to hit that threshold at least once or twice per class—take an informal note of how long it takes you to catch your breath or how long it takes for your heart rate to drop back to aerobic levels. Breathe in through your nose and out your mouth to speed up recovery. You’ll know when you’ve fully recovered either by checking your heart rate or because you can breathe in and out of your nose comfortably. The more classes you take, the faster this recovery gets. This is really important training if you decide to start cycling outside too. (I haven’t run in years but I have to think this kind of cardio training would be great for runners too.) Downhills or coasting are really the only recovery portions of an outdoor ride. Usually you have only a few seconds to bring an anaerobic heart rate to a place where you can start another climb or pick up the cadence without lactic acid eating your legs. Anyway, tracking your cardiovascular fitness as you go to more and more classes is really rewarding. It’s so fun seeing cardio efforts get bigger and recoveries get faster. 
  • Cycling shoes aren’t cheap, but they make a such a big difference. (You can rent them at a lot of spin studios now though.) Sizing can be tricky so I recommend you go to a bike shop for fitting, but if you do know your size, I saw these Shimano shoes selling for $78 in certain sizes on Amazon. The cleats aren’t sold with the shoes (another reason to go to a bike shop, they can get you all situated with the right stuff), but SPD cleats are compatible with most (if not all) spin bikes. 

Have fun! I can’t wait to hear how this week goes. :) 

[ETA: Here’s another post I did about spin class earlier this year.]

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What I’ve Read: Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber
I loved this book. I’m someone that’s maybe a little too obsessed with true crime. I figured the people featured in this book were probably similar to me. Maybe the kind of people who started out watching a lot of Investigation Discovery in their spare time and it snowballed from there. That’s not the case. A lot of them began investigating because there was a local unsolved case that they couldn’t forget about. Some had family members or friends disappear and it pulled them into a labyrinth of other families and friends searching for people too. These sleuths are not really finding out the whodunit of cases. They’re instead solving bodies. They examine descriptions of unidentified bodies—some decades old—and match them up to missing persons reports. (This is a simplistic description and doesn’t really convey the true scope of the hours of research and investigation they do.) 
The book itself is a little jumpy and disjointed. There are a lot of people and a lot of unidentified bodies mentioned throughout and it would be hard to keep them straight anyway, but Halber has a tendency to make cosmic leaps through space and time without much warning. I got mightily frustrated at first (GIRL STAY ON TASK, PLZ) because it bounced around every 10 pages or so. Luckily Halber discovers the power of a cohesive narrative about halfway through and we became friends again. 
Something this book drives home again and again is that there are an obscene amount of unidentified/unclaimed bodies in this country. Some are buried unceremoniously, some are reduced to bones shoved in a banker’s box in the back of a police station storage room. The estimated numbers in the book are mind-boggling. I can see why these armchair sleuths get sucked in. Don’t these people have someone, somewhere wondering where they went? They have to, right? It’s very sobering. 
After reading this book, I looked up how many unidentified bodies have been found in Maryland since 2000. 15 women. 65 men. I clicked on a random woman, aged 25-27. She was assaulted. She had been dead for months when she was found. I hope someone finds out who she is. I hope her family gets to say goodbye. 
And that’s why I’m glad Deborah Halber wrote this book. I hope these unsung detectives keep doing their good work. They deserve this recognition (and more) for all the years of research they do to try and bring people home to their loved ones. 

What I’ve Read: Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber

I loved this book. I’m someone that’s maybe a little too obsessed with true crime. I figured the people featured in this book were probably similar to me. Maybe the kind of people who started out watching a lot of Investigation Discovery in their spare time and it snowballed from there. That’s not the case. A lot of them began investigating because there was a local unsolved case that they couldn’t forget about. Some had family members or friends disappear and it pulled them into a labyrinth of other families and friends searching for people too. These sleuths are not really finding out the whodunit of cases. They’re instead solving bodies. They examine descriptions of unidentified bodies—some decades old—and match them up to missing persons reports. (This is a simplistic description and doesn’t really convey the true scope of the hours of research and investigation they do.) 

The book itself is a little jumpy and disjointed. There are a lot of people and a lot of unidentified bodies mentioned throughout and it would be hard to keep them straight anyway, but Halber has a tendency to make cosmic leaps through space and time without much warning. I got mightily frustrated at first (GIRL STAY ON TASK, PLZ) because it bounced around every 10 pages or so. Luckily Halber discovers the power of a cohesive narrative about halfway through and we became friends again. 

Something this book drives home again and again is that there are an obscene amount of unidentified/unclaimed bodies in this country. Some are buried unceremoniously, some are reduced to bones shoved in a banker’s box in the back of a police station storage room. The estimated numbers in the book are mind-boggling. I can see why these armchair sleuths get sucked in. Don’t these people have someone, somewhere wondering where they went? They have to, right? It’s very sobering. 

After reading this book, I looked up how many unidentified bodies have been found in Maryland since 2000. 15 women. 65 men. I clicked on a random woman, aged 25-27. She was assaulted. She had been dead for months when she was found. I hope someone finds out who she is. I hope her family gets to say goodbye. 

And that’s why I’m glad Deborah Halber wrote this book. I hope these unsung detectives keep doing their good work. They deserve this recognition (and more) for all the years of research they do to try and bring people home to their loved ones. 

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Hi Jacyln - could use some help finding a new pair of jeggings. Would like to spend under $100, darker rinse if possible, and at least a mid rise waist to hold in my mommy tummy. I'm looking specifically for ones that are super tight at the ankle, so will look great with my new booties/short boots I procured from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Yay for getting excited about fall fashion! Thanks in advance!

- Asked by amlevi

For budget-friendly jeggings, you really can’t beat H&M’s $17.95 treggings. They are SUPER comfortable and have a mid-rise fit. The faux pockets make them convincing enough to pass for real denim, but these have a legging-like fit and feel. 

The other jeggings I can personally vouch for are AE’s hi-rise jegging. They are comfy and flattering (the high rise fit keeps hold everything in). The super-dark Clean Rinse wash looks way more expensive than the $44.95 price tag. (Watch for regular sales on these too.) The slightly lighter Dark Wash is a perfect classic denim color. 

AE released a new fit this season too—the Sky High Jegging ($44.95). The super high rise fit looks great. It’s available in three washes. Rinse Indigo is a nice dark color. 

Two other ideas: Madewell’s Legging Jeans ($98.50) get amazing reviews. I love the way Gap’s new 1969 Stretch & Recovery Legging Jean looks ($79.95, get 30% off with code SUN).

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Picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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The Nordstorm Anniversary sale is huge—with thousands of items marked down—but I searched through for some of my favorites and discounted fall/winter basics that you could wear over and over again. 

ZELLA:

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I can’t recommend Zella leggings enough. Even if you don’t plan to wear them to work out in, you should grab a pair to wear with boots this fall. 

  1. Zella ‘Live In - Streamline’ Reversible Mesh Inset Capris, $31.90 (from $48)
  2. Zella ‘Live In’ Capris, $28.90 (from $44)
  3. Zella ‘Live In’ Eclipse Space Dye Capris, $31.90 (from $48) - The space dye pattern is one of my favorites they have. The full-length leggings aren’t marked down, but these crops are! 
  4. Zella ‘Live In’ Reversible Capris, $28.90 (from $44)
  5. Zella ‘Live In’ Reversible Leggings, $33.90 (from $52) - The pair I bought over a year ago still look brand new. 
  6. Zella ‘Double Scoop - Ocean Stripe’ Tank, $24.90 (from $38) - I love this striped tank. It’s so long! 
  7. Zella ‘Live In’ Leggings (Cross Dye), $37.90 (from $58) - If you want to get away from black, these cross dye leggings are fun. 
  8. Zella ‘Live In’ Reversible Leggings (Plus Size), $33.90 

SHOES UNDER $100:

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  1. Nike ‘Internationalist’ Sneaker Back and Front, $56.90 (from $85) - These would look great with distressed skinny jeans this fall. 
  2. Halogen ‘Marlie’ Calf Hair Pointy Toe Pump, $59.90 (from $89.95) - These pumps are also available in a few other colors, including leopard. 
  3. BP. ‘Train’ Wrap Belted Bootie, $79.90 (from $119.95) - These are a good dupe for last year’s popular Rag & Bone booties. 
  4. Steve Madden ‘Ecntrc-c’ Snake-Embossed Slip-On Sneaker, $59.90 (from $90) - SUCH a good deal. 
  5. DV by Dolce Vita ‘Cactus’ Studded Bootie, $99.90 (from $150) - I’ve found Dolce Vita boots/booties to be really comfortable so if you want a pair that you can walk in all day, these will probably do the trick. 
  6. Yosi Samra Ballet Flat in Leopard or Navy, $51.90 (from $79) - You’re probably sick of hearing me talk about these flats but they are SO GOOD. 
  7. Nike ‘Free TR Connect 2’ Training Shoe, $72.90 (from $110) 

FALL/WINTER BASICS UNDER $100:

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  1. Lush ‘Perfect’ Tunic Henley, $28.90 (from $44) - Great price and I like that you could wear it casually (untucked with leggings/boots) or tucked into a skirt. Available in lots of colors. 
  2. Caslon Drape Neck Zip Cardigan, $44.90 (from $68) - I have a cardigan/jacket similar to this and I wear it all the time. 
  3. Tildon Ruched Long Sleeve Dress, $36.90 (from $56) - This looks so comfy. 
  4. BLANKNYC Quilted Faux Leather Jacket, $98.90 (from $148) - This is one of the best faux leather jackets I’ve seen. The back detail is pretty. 
  5. KUT from the Kloth ‘Jennifer’ Ponte Knit Five Pocket Skinny Pants, $45.90 (from $69.50) - I have some KUT from the Kloth pants and they are really comfortable and flattering. 
  6. BP. High Waist Seamed Moto Leggings, $24.90 (from $38) - These are fun. 

POPULAR ITEMS MARKED DOWN:

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  1. Cole Haan ‘Cassidy’ Wraparound Strap Boot, $184.90 (from $278) 
  2. Donald J Pliner ‘Devi 3’ Boot, $259.90 (from $398) - The sticker shock is real with these, but they get GREAT reviews.
  3. Halogen Flap Pocket Convertible Satchel, $151.90 (from $228) - A good commuter bag option.  
  4. Michael Kors ‘Bailey’ Chronograph Bracelet Watch in Silver ($149.90 from $225) or Gold ($166.90 from $250) 
  5. rag & bone/JEAN ‘Chamberlain’ Stand Collar Step Hem Jacket, $159.90 (from $242) 
  6. Vince ‘Bowen’ Suede Slip-On Sneaker, $149.90 (from $225) - These are available in two other colors.
  7. Hunter ‘Tall Moto’ Rain Boot, $139.90 (from $215)
  8. The North Face ‘Avery’ Fleece Jacket, $110.90 (from $149) - This is available in several other colors too. 

This post was sponsored by ShopStyle in collaboration with Nordstrom, but the items included are things that I independently chose based on my personal preferences. 

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Reading

I got this in an email:

As a married working mom with a young child, when do you find the time to read?

I’m a married SAHM with a 6 month old and almost 3 yr old. Once we put the children to bed it’s mommy/daddy time but I miss reading a good book!

For me, it’s not about how long I read or how many pages I get through. It’s a routine for me. Reading is the way I gauge how much I’m feeling like myself. It’s the way I wind down. It’s my silence and my comfort after hours of standing, moving, cooking, cleaning, working, talking, typing. 

It’s a rare night that I’m too tired to read even a few pages before turning off the light and falling asleep. Reading helps my anxiety. I have a hard time turning off my brain at night. (Did I send that work email? Am I imagining it? Crap, I need to do Iz’s laundry. Speaking of Iz, her lunch! I haven’t gotten groceries in…how long has it been? What am I going to pack for her? Do we even have bread? Brandon—he can go to the store in the morning. Or maybe I should go after the gym. DID I SET MY ALARM) Reading helps this. (Sometimes it doesn’t—sometimes it keeps me awake but staying up late to finish a book is the best kind of insomnia.) I will catch a few minutes of reading during other times too. I love reading in the morning with my coffee. I grab a few minutes here and there during the week while I’m eating my lunch. Occasionally I’ll lay in Isobel’s room on the floor with my Kindle while she “reads” her books or snuggles beside me or plays with her toys. She’s started to take a book to bed with her now. I want to believe it’s because she has already discovered something really important: There is no comfort like a book close at hand. 

The motivation to read has a lot to do with the books that we choose for ourselves. I used to force myself to finish books I didn’t like because it seemed like the right thing to do. I rarely do that now. A good book helps you find the time required to read it. Don’t read something you’re tepid about just because a lot of other people seem to love it. Read something in a genre that YOU love. Romance, mystery, nonfiction, self-help. Everyone has a guilty pleasure genre that they always come back to time and time again. (I love true crime.) Read the books you know you’ll love first. If you find yourself glancing over at it through the day or thinking about the book and wishing you had a quiet moment to yourself to read it, you’ve chosen the right book. 

Reading is also about taking care of myself. It’s one of a handful of truly relaxing activities for me. Sometimes I tell Brandon I just need 20 or 30 minutes to myself to recharge and become a decent person again. 99% of the time this means I retreat to our room and read. 

One of my biggest fears is losing the motivation to pursue my hobbies as I get older. A hobby seems like a childish word, but that’s the point. Children pursue things because they are just fun. Kids lose themselves in their hobbies. It is full-immersion joy. As more and more responsibilities take hold, I fight to keep hold of the bits of what I find truly fun to do.  My child is not my hobby. Neither is my husband. They are people and I love them, but they are not hobbies. Reading is, though. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I stole flashlights to read underneath the quilt. How many miles and miles of forest flew by my parents’ car window while I was in the backseat, legs splayed out past my sister’s, with my nose deep into a book?

It’s true—my reading time could be better spent elsewhere. The dishes, maybe. Or an extra hour of work. But I need to read and the dishes can wait. 

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What I’ve Read: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Usually a book plot jumping the shark midway through isn’t a good thing, but when Bittersweet did it, I barely noticed. I was too busy speed reading to find out what would happen next. I knew, especially as I neared the end, that we were firmly in soap opera territory, but I didn’t care. This was such a fun summer read—a good mash-up of coming-of-age, mystery and romance set on a wealthy family’s summer compound in Vermont. 
We meet our narrator—Mabel—at college. Bittersweet is ultimately about secrets and Mabel hints at having a few of her own from the start. But she doesn’t linger on them and neither does the reader. We’re too distracted by her beautiful and wealthy roommate Genevra (nickname: Ev). FYI: The names in this book are ridiculous in the best way possible. Birch. Tilde. Galway. Athol. 
Anyway, Ev and Mabel bond a bit and eventually Mabel gets an invitation to spend the summer at Ev’s family summer compound in rural Vermont. Mabel, chronically embarrassed and angered by her family’s modest means, jumps at the chance to pretend they don’t exist. Ev explains to Mabel that each family member is given their own cottage within the compound. Ev has inherited Bittersweet and enlists Mabel to help her fix it up so it will pass her parents’ inspection. While meeting the family, Mabel is introduced to Ev’s eccentric aunt who tasks her with sniffing out certain family secrets. Maybe it’s a set-up, maybe a wild goose chase, but Mabel takes the bait and things start to get weird.
Well, weird but good. I enjoyed every second of reading this. It’s full of twists and rich-family drama that end up in a darker and more absurd place than I would have guessed. l loved that, though. Give more summer books like this, please. 
I received this review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

What I’ve Read: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Usually a book plot jumping the shark midway through isn’t a good thing, but when Bittersweet did it, I barely noticed. I was too busy speed reading to find out what would happen next. I knew, especially as I neared the end, that we were firmly in soap opera territory, but I didn’t care. This was such a fun summer read—a good mash-up of coming-of-age, mystery and romance set on a wealthy family’s summer compound in Vermont. 

We meet our narrator—Mabel—at college. Bittersweet is ultimately about secrets and Mabel hints at having a few of her own from the start. But she doesn’t linger on them and neither does the reader. We’re too distracted by her beautiful and wealthy roommate Genevra (nickname: Ev). FYI: The names in this book are ridiculous in the best way possible. Birch. Tilde. Galway. Athol. 

Anyway, Ev and Mabel bond a bit and eventually Mabel gets an invitation to spend the summer at Ev’s family summer compound in rural Vermont. Mabel, chronically embarrassed and angered by her family’s modest means, jumps at the chance to pretend they don’t exist. Ev explains to Mabel that each family member is given their own cottage within the compound. Ev has inherited Bittersweet and enlists Mabel to help her fix it up so it will pass her parents’ inspection. While meeting the family, Mabel is introduced to Ev’s eccentric aunt who tasks her with sniffing out certain family secrets. Maybe it’s a set-up, maybe a wild goose chase, but Mabel takes the bait and things start to get weird.

Well, weird but good. I enjoyed every second of reading this. It’s full of twists and rich-family drama that end up in a darker and more absurd place than I would have guessed. l loved that, though. Give more summer books like this, please. 

I received this review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

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Everlane’s new Everlane x Langley tanks were released today! They’re priced so well ($24 for the drape tank on the left, $28 for the muscle tank on the right). Both are available in black, cream and navy. I love the length of the drape tank and the muscle tank is a good style if you want a higher neck and prefer to wear a regular bra with your tanks. (Though I think you could wear a regular bra with the drape tank too!)  

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