Posts tagged with readerrequests:

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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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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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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Jaclyn, I love, love, love Anthropologie's Meadowlight dress in multi, but I can't afford to spend $168. Any similar options at an under-$60 price point?

- Asked by childthatsgrownold

I couldn’t find any precise matches to the Anthropologie dress, so I tried to find dresses that shared some similarities. 

One of the closest prints I found was on this Vero Moda dress from ASOS ($20.96 from $53). 

This floral H&M dress is just $17.95 and has that same floaty quality as the Anthro dress. 

Another bargain option is this floral dress from Forever 21 with a pleated skirt ($24.80). 

It’s hard to get a feel for how this Romwe floral pleated dress would actually look on ($38) but I love the small floral print and the full skirt. 

Modcloth has a couple dresses you might like. This one is still available in size S and is marked down to $27. This one is also marked down to $27 (size S left). 

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Jaaaclyn, halp! Love the Loeffler Randall "Maia" sandal, but no likey the $400 tag. I thought there would definitely be a dolce vita, sam edelman etc. knockoff but can't find anything in grey. Seen anything similar lately?? Gracias in advance!

- Asked by cosmicvagabond

Hi there! :) Definitely no likey $400! (Here are the Loeffler Randall shoes if anyone else wants to see.) 

One of the closest matches I found is Madden Girl’s “Isobel” sandal (love the name, heh) for $35 (from $50). They are available on 6PM and on DSW (for $40). They’re also on Zappos for $40. 

Another awesome option is Tahari’s “Gigi” sandal ($81). They’re a little more streamlined but they are a similar gray color and have that chunky heel. 

Here are two more options that are similar in look and feel: these Nine West sandals (about $75) and these suede sandals from Sole Society ($69.95). 

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July 4th outfit ideas?

- Asked by preppyhippietx

Here are some random ideas:

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Hi Jaclyn! I'm looking for a great pair of mid-rise, skinny, white pants or jeans. I'm finding that everything is too sheer or low. As a mom, I don't need my rear hanging out. Thanks!

- Asked by mamamcg

I hear you! 

I usually check out Old Navy’s white jeans every year and I found two good pairs this summer. The Rockstar ones I have are nearly sold out online (only available in size 20 regular or 18 petite), but they’re mid-rise and pretty comfortable. They’re a little bit more sheer than the distressed Diva version though—the second pair I have. They’re currently marked down to $22 and are available in short, regular and long lengths. All Old Navy’s white jeans tend to run about a size smaller than their regular denim (who knows why) so keep that in mind. 

Another option you might want to try are these super high-rise jeans from ZARA. They’re just $49.90. 

If you want a more jegging feel, Topshop’s Moto high rise jeans ($65) are available in short, regular or long lengths. 

Another pair that has GREAT reviews is this distressed mid-rise jean legging from Express ($79.90, buy 1 get 1 for $29.90). 

Big Star’s “Alex” mid-rise skinny jeans got good reviews for being thick and not sheer. Piperlime has them marked down to $85 (from $108), but they’re just available in 24 and 27. Zappos has them too (for $73 from $108) and most sizes are available but they’re running low on stock. 

And, just in case you haven’t checked these out, Aerie’s Outta-Sight thong in buff ($12.50) is SO COMFY and completely seamless/invisible under clothing—including white jeans. You can get 4 for $26.50. 

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I just wanted to shoot you a quick but fervent thank you - I hit up Fabletics with your referral link and my first outfit arrived today, and it's LOVELY! My new leggings feel JUST like Wunder Unders and were about 1/5 of the price, and the tank is flattering and light and lovely. I'm hooked. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

- Asked by ellegolightly

Yay! Thank you for the note and for using my link to sign up. :) I agree that the leggings (and crops) are where they really shine. I’ll reach past my Wunder Unders for the Fabletics leggings. The tanks have been a little less consistent for me—sometimes I’ll love the design but hate the fabric—but the Oula and Omemee tanks are A+. The Aventura tank is a great deal (just $15.95 each), but I don’t find the fabric QUITE functional enough for a super-sweaty workout. But, for the price, it’s a great basic tank to have on hand for casual summer outfits. I’m hoping they add some more shorts this next month! 

(See all my posts about Fabletics here.) 

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Re: your recent post - Would the Skip Hop Pronto fit nicely in the Cuyana bag or is it [the Skip Hop Pronto] too big? Thx, Marissa!!!

- Asked by hershyscorner

Yes, I think it would fit! The Pronto is about the same size—give or take an inch or two—as the Honest pouch (which fits nicely in my bag). It’s a great way to turn a regular bag into a diaper bag! 

P.S. Here’s a link to the Pronto ($29 with Amazon Prime) if anyone else wants to check them out. I’ve been a huge fan of Skip Hop products since Iz was born. They’re GREAT purchases, especially for baby shower gifts, new mom gifts, etc. 

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