Posts tagged with ‘dailyinspiration’

Elie Tahari for Kohl’s

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Honestly, I don’t shop at Kohl’s so I was hesitant about doing this post. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just don’t have an opinion because I actually forget about it. (I used to get Soffe shorts there—miss you Soffe shorts—in high school and college but that is about the extent of my Kohl’s shopping.) 

Anyway, Elie Tahari recently released a collection for Kohl’s. It’s hard to get a good feel for the products based on the photos on Kohl’s website and I was wary because designer collaborations for lower-end retailers have left a bad taste in mouth over the past few years. I think Target’s collaborations used to be higher quality—or at least the items were priced at a level that made sense given the quality. With all that in mind, I decided to visit Kohl’s to try on what I could from the Elie Tahari collection to give you an idea of whether it’s worth your time. 

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The first thing I tried on was this Ribbed Funnel Neck Sweater ($48 from $64, also available in cream and gray). I really loved this. The fabric was substantial and soft and the style is on-trend for fall. I wore this with the Scuba Mesh Leggings ($37.50 from $50). These were the only pants left in my size so I’m wearing them in all the photos. I really wanted to try these sweatpants ($37) too but oh well! The Scuba Mesh Leggings are available in longs on the website—you can see here that the regular length is a tad short for me, though I like when pants hit me right at or above the ankle. I think it’s flattering with flats. These were very comfortable. They are thick and opaque with a flattering midrise. 

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This NYC sweater ($45 from $60) got some attention when Kate Bosworth and Ashley Tisdale wore it. It’s cute—I like the slouchy fit—but it’s overpriced. 

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I was most curious about the faux suede Motorcycle Jacket ($75 from $100). It’s also available in cream. If Kohl’s is charging $100 for a faux suede jacket, it better be good. It’s pretty good. The faux suede is nice enough to fool someone. It wasn’t a great fit on me (the sleeves were too short) and I wish they’d had the cream one in-store. I would have loved to see that one on. 

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The Ombre Convertible Cardigan ($66 from $88) is interesting. I loved the fabric. Even though it’s acrylic, it felt like wool or a wool-blend. If you’re allergic to wool, this is a great sweater option for you. The detachable scarf is fun. 

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This is the Textured Cardigan Sweater ($66 from $88). This entire outfit would be perfect for a casual workplace (I’m also wearing the Draped Mixed Media Top, $36, below). Again, I found the quality of this sweater to be very good. 

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The Draped Mixed Media Top ($36 from $48) was my favorite piece. It’s available in black, blue/black, cream/white and gray/black. The soft jersey sleeves are cut very long which is always a happy surprise for me. The back has a slight drape to it. One annoyance: the chiffon/charmeuse combination is ripe for wrinkling (as you can see). Still, this would be great for a business casual wardrobe (ponte pants + jacket + pumps) or for the weekend (black ripped jeans + sneakers). 

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This Chenille Sheath Dress ($58 from $78) is pretty but the print is a bit too fussy for my taste. With the right accessories, though, this could be really chic. I think it would look good with a sleek ponytail, black tights, wedge boots and a trench for winter. I was a fan of the longer hemline. It didn’t quite reach my knees, but still—sweater dresses are usually mini dresses on me. 

To sum it up: I really liked it. I was surprised by the fabric quality and the versatility of the clothes. I didn’t buy anything, but I’m considering it—especially the draped mixed media top and the funnel neck sweater (I love turtlenecks). I think Kohl’s clothing really needs to be tried on—I would never have considered some of these items if I went by their website product photos. The photos appear blurry unless you enlarge them and they don’t show some of the crucial angles of the clothing (one sweater has a pleated back but the only photo is head on). Anyway, I’m going to be more mindful about thinking about Kohl’s as an affordable clothing source. If you need inexpensive business casual separates, you should definitely give it a look. 

To see the full collection, click here. Get an additional 15% off your purchase today with code SEPTYES15. I wore size S in each item shown. 

This post was sponsored by ShopStyle in collaboration with Kohl’s, but the items included are things that I independently chose based on my personal preferences. I did not receive any clothing, gift cards, etc., in exchange for this post. 

Back to School

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my pics of Iz’s outfits the past couple weeks. Boden offered to let me choose a few back to school items for Iz from their Mini Boden collection (fits kids 1.5 years to 12 years). I mixed and matched the items I picked out for her—well, she picked out one of them—into outfits that work for the warmer weather right now but will be great for the cooler weather down the road too. 

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I’ll be honest—I try and spend as little as possible on Isobel’s clothing. If I hadn’t received these clothes for free, they would not be in Isobel’s closet right now. Iz grows out of things so fast that it’s hard for me to justify expensive clothing or shoe purchases that I will turn around and donate or throw into a storage bin in a few months (or less). With that being said, I can see that Boden’s Mini Boden clothing is great quality. The fabric is softer and thicker than what I could find at Old Navy or Target. Will that sway my purchasing in the future? Not in a significant way, but I do see the value of investing a little more in kids items that will see much use/abuse—like leggings or outerwear. Iz’s Boden leggings still look like new after a few wash/dry cycles. Warm, high-quality outerwear (like the fuzzy vest) is something I’ll dress her in every day for the next several months. Like everything else with kids, it’s a balancing act. 

P.S. Get 20% off everything plus free shipping/returns at Boden through midnight tonight. 

I’ve been wearing lighter/neutral nail polish (pinks, nudes, whites) a lot this summer because they’re lower maintenance. HOWEVER! It feels like I’m always searching for the perfect light pink polish. I wanted something about the shade of unpainted nails, but I didn’t want it to be sheer—just a clean-looking, opaque pink. I tried lots but combining these two semi-sheer polishes is the closest I found to what I want: 
I do a first coat of OPI Bubble Bath (about $7), then a coat of Essie Sugar Daddy (about $5) and then another coat of Bubble Bath. 3 coats of anything is annoying so I do it while watching TV. If you have any suggestions for other colors or combos to try, help me out! 

I’ve been wearing lighter/neutral nail polish (pinks, nudes, whites) a lot this summer because they’re lower maintenance. HOWEVER! It feels like I’m always searching for the perfect light pink polish. I wanted something about the shade of unpainted nails, but I didn’t want it to be sheer—just a clean-looking, opaque pink. I tried lots but combining these two semi-sheer polishes is the closest I found to what I want: 

I do a first coat of OPI Bubble Bath (about $7), then a coat of Essie Sugar Daddy (about $5) and then another coat of Bubble Bath. 3 coats of anything is annoying so I do it while watching TV. If you have any suggestions for other colors or combos to try, help me out! 

Fall Closet Cleaning

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This weekend Brandon and I went through our attic and closets to organize things long left unorganized. In the attic, we had a baby swing listing precariously on top of squished boxes and the old guest room bed frame and mattress heaved into a corner. It was hot as balls up there and I kept imagining this happening:

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Anyway, we’re still not 100% done but we did get the closets finished! A few notes:

  • I had gone through my closet about 6 months ago and didn’t have a ton to sort through this time. Instead, I tried on every single thing. It was annoying, but I got a decent pile of things that don’t fit anymore.  
  • There were a few dresses that I really loved but weren’t flattering (fit-and-flares will always make me look like a rectangle). When I was waffling (“umm, I like this dress, I don’t know”), I had Brandon take a photo of me. DONATE PILE. 
  • I hadn’t sorted through my outerwear in a long time. Early fall is a good time to check on the coat situation because there is plenty of time to watch for sales before it gets too cold. I found several coats that were too big and a couple college-era favorites that really needed to be replaced. They were missing buttons, one was missing a waist tie, the fabric was looking rough, etc. I really loved those coats, but I had them for almost 10 years and they were looking pretty worn. I have a well-fitting puff coat and a dressier winter coat, so I’ll just search for a new trench to replace the one I donated. That should do me for another 10 years. -____- 
  • I hadn’t tackled my sleepwear/pajama drawer the last cleanout because it was an intimidating catch-all for things I didn’t know what to do with. I pulled an out of sight, out of mind on the pajama drawer(s). That was dumb. A pajama drawer is a free-for-all. It is a special place where random clothes go to die. I had nursing tanks in there. Maternity pajama pants. High school class t-shirts. College t-shirts. I went through it and kept only the things that were actually pajamas. (Annnnnnd my high school intramural championship t-shirts because I am not completely dead inside.) 
  • Brandon hadn’t gone through his closet in years. He had a lot of years-old clothes stuffed in drawers or piled up on shelves. He tried everything on too and the donate pile grew to a small mountain. A lot of his stuff had shrunk over years of wash/dry cycles or just didn’t fit him anymore. His closet looks sparse now—especially after I got him new hangers—but at least he doesn’t have to try on 3 shirts before he finds one where the sleeves aren’t two inches above his wrists. In the end, his small mountain of clothes filled five bags!
  • Speaking of hangers—I had replaced my mismatched ones with the Joy Mangano hangers months ago and bought some for Brandon this weekend too. They are amazing. Clothes stay put (no tank tops or dresses falling onto the floor) and they save a lot of space. They worked great for the super-heavy sweaters and coats that Brandon has. 
  • When I look at my closet now, there is an obvious pattern—I own a lot of denim, tees and leggings—but those are the things I wear all the time. I don’t work in an office, so I sit at my desk at home in tees and leggings. I dress up (marginally) when I leave the house or take Iz somewhere. What I own now is probably not as fun as what I’ve donated over the past two years, but it’s functional, versatile and it fits. 

Random Monday Thoughts

  • Last week Brandon dropped me off at the airport for a business trip. It was an early flight. We woke up Iz right before leaving the house and buckled her into her carseat in her PJs. She loves airplanes and as soon as we pulled into the departures terminal, she got really excited seeing the planes taking off and landing. I got out and Brandon grabbed my suitcase and I opened the backdoor to give her a hug and kiss goodbye. She started to reach for her buckle. She thought I was taking her with me. She started sobbing before I closed the door. “Mommy, no!” I’ve had to leave her but now that she’s old enough to understand LEAVING? Ugh. It was really hard to walk away from the car. Brandon told me while I was gone the first thing she’d ask every morning was, “Where’s Mommy at?” And she’d look around. When they got home at the end of the day, she’d ask, “Where’s Mommy? Where is she?” 
  • When I got home later that week, she was already in bed (it was midnight, I was tempted to go in her room and see her but cooler heads prevailed). The next morning I jumped out of bed the instant I heard her start talking. I opened the door and she was laying in her bed and she saw me, sat straight up and said, “HI MOMMY!” I ran over and she gave me a big hug and a kiss. It was the best. 
  • Speaking of work, I don’t write about it a lot but I want to mention a few things. First, the event I traveled to is required attendance for most employees. There are several women with small babies and they were able to bring their children (and grandmas!) along and could take breaks at their convenience to breastfeed. Since I work remotely, sometimes the in-house family-friendly policies are less familiar to me so it was great to see them in action. Second, we lost our family healthcare coverage around December. My work had just implemented healthcare for the first time, but because it was a small company and a new pool, the rates for family coverage were really high (almost $1,800 per pay period!). We looked at our options and decided it would be more advantageous for me to do individual coverage through my company and try to use the Maryland Obamacare marketplace options for Brandon and Isobel. That was a nightmare, but after many hours of research, I finally got them settled and signed up with a good plan. It wasn’t cheap—we weren’t eligible for the subsidized plans—but it also wasn’t costing us $1,800 every two weeks! About a month ago, my company was acquired by a much larger company. This meant we were eligible for new benefits. And they are great. We now have paid maternity leave options, gym reimbursements and discounted healthcare premiums for meeting certain health goals. One of the coolest things I read was that if pregnant employees participate in a maternity wellness program, they can earn up to a $1,000 contribution into their health savings account. The premiums are wildly affordable compared to what we’ve been paying to insure our entire family. This is really exciting, but I’m grateful that we had the option of using the Maryland Obamacare plans when we needed them. I’m also thankful that we now have access to benefits that we didn’t before, but I know firsthand what it’s like not having them. Paid maternity leave (if I have to use it), a family-friendly work environment and affordable healthcare premiums aren’t things I will ever take for granted. Despite how common sense these things are, they are not common. They are still a privilege in this country. That’s sad and frustrating and I hope one day it will change. 
  • While I was in Atlanta, Alishan and I had dinner and it was The Best. I had met her briefly in DC for the Nike Half Marathon, but this was the first chance we had to talk and it was SO FUN. Why do we have to live so far apart? That is not The Best. 
  • I got my Fabletics order in the mail and I love everything. They really knocked it out of the park this month. I wore the tank in the link above today to spin and it was so comfortable and cool. It doesn’t have a built-in bra which seems kinda dumb, but it’s cute even with a sports bra on underneath. If you can, also grab the Cayman tank. It’s so flattering and I could easily wear it with shorts or jeans or whatever too. I got it in black. 
  • My mother in law was wearing a really great shade of pale pink nail polish when I saw her recently and she said it was OPI Bubble Bath. She raved about it. I picked it up at Target recently but you can get it on Amazon for $7.79 (add-on item). I’ve haven’t been wearing bright or dark colors on my hands much this summer (a lot of taupes and whites) and this barely-there pale pink is so natural-looking and pretty. If you work in a conservative office, this is a good color for you. 
  • I wrote about this 30 Day Push Up Challenge and Ab Challenge on Instagram. I haven’t done much work on my abs (aside from yoga, which I had to stop late last year because of wrist problems) since before I was pregnant and it was humbling to see how weak my muscles were. I’m on Day 11 of the abs and Day 12 of the push-ups (I skipped a few days while I was traveling). The cool thing about all this punishment, though, is that I’m actually seeing results and it’s only been 12 days or so. I feel stronger and I can see my muscles getting larger and more defined and that feels good. Earlier this summer, I decided that it was time to work on strength training after ignoring it for too long and letting my wrist problems be a handy excuse for putting it off. I’ve always developed lower body strength much faster than upper body strength (pull-ups are NOT my strong suit), so it’s really exciting for me to do 25 push-ups without stopping. That may not seem like a lot of push-ups, but for me? That’s huge. Another great side effect is that my wrist seems to be getting stronger too. I had forgotten to take my brace on my trip and tentatively started the push-ups in my hotel room and was able to finish the set without any pain during or after. A few months ago I couldn’t even hold a push-up position (let alone doing a full push-up) without my wrist radiating this terrible shooting pain. I’m not looking forward to Day 30 on either challenge (65 leg raises wtf) but I’m feeling more confident that I’ll actually be strong enough to handle it by the time I get there. 
  • This LOFT swimsuit is adorable and comfortable. Highly recommend. 
Inspiring me lately:
I don’t think I’m brave enough to wear something like this, but I love the way it looks on her! This crop top from Nasty Gal ($38) and this skirt from ASOS ($41) or this one ($66) are close matches. 
Lupita’s scalloped bikini is everything. I think this is actually the exact one (Marysia, $255). $$$. LOFT has a black one (really cute) for $49.50 (top) and $44.50 (bottom). Roxy has a yellow one for $21 (top) and $19 (bottom). 
I LOVE this outfit. Elastic waistband shorts and a sweater? Ahhh. Ultimate slug. BCBG has a pretty similar pair. They’re on sale for $70 (from $118). That’s still ridiculously expensive, I think. These C&C California ones are similar too ($68). Caslon has a b&w striped pair for $39! Splendid has a real cute pair for $42. Juicy Couture has one of the closest matches, marked down to $40 (from $68) on Shopbop or $47 on Amazon. 
These high-rise white jeans are fantastic. I love the chambray top tucked into them. As far as jeans, ZARA’s are the best I found for the price ($49.90). ASOS has a pair for $57 too. This Gap chambray top is similar to the one in the photo. It’s on sale for $33 (from $60). 
sources: top left, top right, bottom left (unknown), bottom right (unknown, maybe madewell or j.crew?)

Inspiring me lately:

sources: top left, top right, bottom left (unknown), bottom right (unknown, maybe madewell or j.crew?)

Looking for Father’s Day gifts? Macy’s has two promotions running right now on select items. 
New Balance 574 Suede Sneakers, $75 - I like the colors on these. 
Tom Ford Extreme Eau de Toilette Spray, $130 - If you’re going to do cologne for Father’s Day, you have to do it BIG. 
Nike Dri-FIT 3/4-Sleeve T-Shirt, $29.99 (from $35, 25% off with code EXTRA) - These are perfect for wearing to the gym or with shorts on the weekend or with swimming trunks post-beach. 
Quiksilver Way Out Scallop Board Shorts, $49.50 (25% off with EXTRA)- A few weeks ago, Brandon and I went to a million stores looking for new swimming trunks for him. Most of the time they’re either ugly or boring or both. These shorts are not. I wish we’d seen them while we were hunting!
Quiksilver Measure Cargo Shorts, $44.50 (25% off with code EXTRA) - The only thing worse than looking for men’s swimwear is looking for men’s shorts. Oh, they’re terrible. They’re either too long, too short, too big, too denim, too dad. These are good though. I had to hunt for a bit to find them, but here they are. The khaki isn’t too light (that’s key) and they’re the ideal length. They have a slim (but not tight) fit. These are good for wearing all summer with any number of shirts or sweaters. 
FitBit Flex, $99.98 - This is still one of the best gadget gifts. Anyone can use it and everyone gets addicted to them. 
Michael Kors Men’s Chronograph Granger Watch, $225 - This watch is so cool. It’s a little sporty and a little dressed-up at the same time and I love the band. 
Reed & Barton Estate Glasses and Decanter, $50 (from $80) and $80 (from $140) (25% off with code EXTRA) - Booze accessory gifts are good gifts so long as they are given WITH the booze. 
Samsonsite Shuttle iPad Briefcase, $28 (from $56, 25% off with code EXTRA)- This small, lightweight briefcase is meant to hold an iPad or tablet, not a laptop. Handy for a dad that likes to travel light. 
Nike Solarsoft Moccasin Sneakers, $65 in Blue or Black/White - Other than the flip flop, the men’s sandal (or mandal, if you will) is a scarce sight. But sometimes flip flops aren’t practical AND the thought of wearing actual shoes when it’s 100 degrees is depressing. These are the answer. They’re open mesh with a leather upper. Cool, comfortable and they’ll look good with shorts. 
Fossil Mercer Duffle Bag, $178 (25% off with code EXTRA) - Planning lots of weekends at the beach this summer? This bag is great. I love it.  
This post was sponsored by ShopStyle in collaboration with Macy’s, but the items included are things that I independently chose based on my personal preferences. 

Looking for Father’s Day gifts? Macy’s has two promotions running right now on select items. 

  1. New Balance 574 Suede Sneakers, $75 - I like the colors on these. 
  2. Tom Ford Extreme Eau de Toilette Spray, $130 - If you’re going to do cologne for Father’s Day, you have to do it BIG. 
  3. Nike Dri-FIT 3/4-Sleeve T-Shirt, $29.99 (from $35, 25% off with code EXTRA) - These are perfect for wearing to the gym or with shorts on the weekend or with swimming trunks post-beach. 
  4. Quiksilver Way Out Scallop Board Shorts, $49.50 (25% off with EXTRA)- A few weeks ago, Brandon and I went to a million stores looking for new swimming trunks for him. Most of the time they’re either ugly or boring or both. These shorts are not. I wish we’d seen them while we were hunting!
  5. Quiksilver Measure Cargo Shorts, $44.50 (25% off with code EXTRA) - The only thing worse than looking for men’s swimwear is looking for men’s shorts. Oh, they’re terrible. They’re either too long, too short, too big, too denim, too dad. These are good though. I had to hunt for a bit to find them, but here they are. The khaki isn’t too light (that’s key) and they’re the ideal length. They have a slim (but not tight) fit. These are good for wearing all summer with any number of shirts or sweaters. 
  6. FitBit Flex, $99.98 - This is still one of the best gadget gifts. Anyone can use it and everyone gets addicted to them. 
  7. Michael Kors Men’s Chronograph Granger Watch, $225 - This watch is so cool. It’s a little sporty and a little dressed-up at the same time and I love the band. 
  8. Reed & Barton Estate Glasses and Decanter, $50 (from $80) and $80 (from $140) (25% off with code EXTRA) - Booze accessory gifts are good gifts so long as they are given WITH the booze. 
  9. Samsonsite Shuttle iPad Briefcase, $28 (from $56, 25% off with code EXTRA)- This small, lightweight briefcase is meant to hold an iPad or tablet, not a laptop. Handy for a dad that likes to travel light. 
  10. Nike Solarsoft Moccasin Sneakers, $65 in Blue or Black/White - Other than the flip flop, the men’s sandal (or mandal, if you will) is a scarce sight. But sometimes flip flops aren’t practical AND the thought of wearing actual shoes when it’s 100 degrees is depressing. These are the answer. They’re open mesh with a leather upper. Cool, comfortable and they’ll look good with shorts. 
  11. Fossil Mercer Duffle Bag, $178 (25% off with code EXTRA) - Planning lots of weekends at the beach this summer? This bag is great. I love it.  

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

Inspiring me lately:
I love the simple black swing dress with sneakers for summer. ASOS’ $33 swing dress is perfect and these $55 Jack Purcell Converse finish it off. 
Silver is such a good neutral and I like the idea of wearing silver sandals with dresses or shorts. Gap has an espadrille pair on sale for $30-$50, but I’m not the biggest fan of the espadrille trend. These Seychelles ones are nice ($70), but a little pricey. I like these t-strap ones from BCBGMAXAZRIA ($45). These ZARA sandals ($39) might be the winner. (Or they’re tied with these Sam Edelman sandals that are about $40). For a budget-friendly option, Target’s black and silver sandals are great ($20). 
This Emerson Fry dress is actually on sale right now for $99 (from $248). So you should probably buy it! It’s fantastic. 
I like how sporty a black watch looks. This Adidas one ($75) IS sporty. This Timex one is nice ($65). I’ve been eyeing this Michael Kors one for a while ($250).
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Inspiring me lately:

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Inspiring me lately:
I love Mary-Kate’s black and white layers with messy hair and aviator sunglasses. This H&M coat ($60) plus an oversized white blouse like this from ZARA ($60) and cheap aviators from Forever 21 ($6) would do the trick.
I have been stalking Nike’s Studio Wrap shoes relentlessly. They can be worn several different ways and are good for to/from the gym or yoga, Pilates, barre, etc. The leather version is on sale from Nike for $100 (from $160) and the black version is on sale from Macy’s for $90 (from $110).  
I like this are-they-or-aren’t-they-pajama-pants trend, but they look best with heels (boo) so I haven’t given them the attention that a proper slug probably should. I like the styles that have a cuff at the ankles—I think they’re more flattering than pairs that end mid-calf or ones that fall more loosely over the foot. These ones from H&M ($13) are a little shorter than I’d like, but the price! Aerie’s pants ($35) look good too. ZARA’s are great but really pricey ($119). I think my favorite choices are from ASOS: These are just $33 and these are $52. For a gray pair similar to the picture, try these from Forever 21 ($27.80) or these from Anthropologie ($78). 
One of my favorite purchases from last summer was Old Navy’s jersey pencil skirt ($20). It gives that sleeker pencil skirt silhouette but is still casual enough—since it’s jersey—to be worn with basic tanks and tees. It’s also crazy flattering (butt) and comfortable (stretch waist). I think it would look good with this Banana Republic silk blouse ($89) or, for a casual outfit, this H&M silk tank ($35). This Old Navy blouse ($28) would work too. I plan on wearing a slouchy tee with it this summer too—probably this one ($16). 
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Inspiring me lately:

sources: top left, top right, bottom right

A few of my favorite things for my least favorite season:

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We are now approaching the grossest time of year.* 

These things make it bearable:

*If you live in MD/VA/DC. The end of May through the end of August is a swamp of disgusting nastiness, where everything sticks (your hair to your neck, your clothes to your body) and going for a 5 minute walk requires a 30 minute recovery time in a dark room in front of a fan.