What I Bought: Ann Taylor Zip Pocket Ponte Leggings

ann taylor ponte leggings

What I bought: Ann Taylor Ponte Zip Pocket Leggings

What I paid: $15.88 (regular price was $79; final sale price was $39.88; I pounced during a 60% off the sale price flash sale)

So I broke my no-clothes-purchasing rule. But, I am pretty proud of myself for going all of January and nearly all of February without buying any clothes. I bought this pair and a pair of faux leather ponte leggings as well. Since my total price was less than $40, I consider that a win. If I could go the entire year only spending $40 on clothes every other month, it would probably be the least I’ve spent on clothes in YEARS.

I’m in love with these pants. They are crazy comfortable (they do have an elastic waist, after all). They stretch with you and don’t lose their shape. I’ve worn them a couple times and have had good luck so far. While the elastic waist band could work for tummy-slimming, I found that the waist line tended to slip down below my waist after some time and movement.

Like all leggings and skinny-style pants, it’s best for my figure if I pair them with longer shirts. Luckily I have a few J. Crew Factory tunics that I bought late last year that fit the bill. Just a heads up — I didn’t do my hair in any of these pictures. This is what my hair looks like when I let it air dry with no products: half of it is extra wave, half is almost entirely straight. If it was all one way or another, life would be perfect!

jcrew factory tunic ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

jcrew factory tunic ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

jcrew factory tunic ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

Digger decided to join my photo shoot today. The last few times I’ve taken pictures, he’s stayed as far away from the camera as possible — he’s tired of modeling for free, I guess! Dan was doing remodeling work in our family room, which was pretty loud, so I think Dig wanted to be extra close to me.

I’m still obsessed with the idea of layering my necklaces, so I paired the Forever 21 necklace from my wedding outfit options post with another J. Crew Factory necklace. Apparently I only have one good gold layering base option right now — I’ll have to look into rectifying that… I chose to wear my brown riding boots too, but black flats would have been an easy option.

h&m sweater and ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

This is basically a recreation of my Valentine’s Day outfit. Pretty casual, but our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner was at 3:30 in the afternoon on a frigidly cold day, so I didn’t feel like wearing anything more complicated. On the actual day, I wore my old faux leather leggings from Target — I wish I had had these because I think they would have been warmer! This sweater is from H&M, part of last fall’s shopping extravaganza. Shortly after I bought it, I hated it because it seemed to stretch out quite a bit…but then I fell in love with it.

h&m sweater and ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

I paired it with a blush-colored scarf. The pink in the sweater isn’t actually quite the same as the scarf, but since the restaurant was fairly dim during our mid-afternoon dinner, I went with it anyway. These are my new Anne Klein iFlex Briona flats — on Valentine’s Day, I wore black riding boots for warmth.

gibson jacket and ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

In case you were wondering if I’d wear these to work, the answer is definitely yes. Actually, my office is pretty casual, so I’d wear both of the outfits I already featured. But I wanted to show you that the pants dress up nicely when paired with a jacket. I got this Gibson jacket from Nordstrom Rack. My shirt is from Kohl’s and is next to impossible to lay flat while taking photos. Hence the reason I haven’t worn it lately.

gibson jacket and ann taylor ponte leggings | whatlindseylikes

Digger looks so sad! That extra-loud nail gun was really getting to him today.

Back to the pants…I’m so pleased with them! I really wanted to buy multiple pairs, but I was able to show a little restraint.

What I Hate: Being Uncomfortable

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a wedding this past weekend. The wedding went off perfectly — everyone in the wedding looked stunning (none more so than the bride, of course). Seriously, this bride is the happiest person and is so unbelievably in love with her husband — it’s adorable. She also has one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard. Happiest person + finding the love of her life + her wedding day = lots of opportunities to hear her laugh.

Overall, I think weddings are fun: I love watching two people who are over-the-moon in love celebrate with their family/friends surrounding them. But with a wedding comes a reception, and I hate receptions.

“What?! Lindsey, how could you hate receptions?! It’s just a lot of dancing and having fun!” I’m imagining you asking.

That right there is why I hate receptions: Dancing and fun. Ha, OK, “fun” is a relative term, so it’s not that I hate fun, I just don’t associate dancing with fun. I guess the more accurate reason I hate receptions is just the dancing part. I am so unbelievably self-conscious about my dancing. I don’t know where this came from, but it’s always been a part of me. I don’t remember ever attempting to dance and make a complete fool out of myself (maybe I blocked it from my memory?). Clearly I don’t have a problem putting myself out there since I post photos of myself on this blog whether the outfit is flattering or not, and I write crazy-long posts that could be overly wordy and boring. So making a fool of myself in that way is something I’m open to. But there’s something about dancing that is positively terrifying.

To put it in perspective, I would rather give speeches in front of hundreds of people every day than to have to dance in front of anyone. (Maybe Toastmasters really is working?!)

My friends from college can certainly attest to my fear of dancing. When we went out on weekends, I was typically the one standing stiffer than a board on the dance floor while my friends enjoyed themselves to the fullest. I usually just told my friends to do their thing without me while I sat at a table. This of course would invite guys (total strangers, mind you) to my table to ask super helpful questions like, “What are you so boring and un-fun that you won’t dance?” and “Why do you have to be so uptight?” and a bunch of other things that make a self-conscious person even more self conscious. I’m sure, deep down, these people were trying to get me to understand that it doesn’t really matter if you look like a total idiot on the dance floor — no one really cares. But I totally judge people who are bad dancers, so why would I think that others aren’t doing the exact same thing?

With public speaking, I have full confidence in myself that I can eventually do really well with it. Dancing is something I’m fully confident that I’ll never be good at.

So at the wedding last night, one incredibly intoxicated guy kept trying to coerce me onto the dance floor. He definitely wasn’t hitting on me — I want to make that totally clear. I think he just wanted to help me look like I was having a good time. Unfortunately, even though his intentions may have been good, it just made me that much more defensive about not wanting to dance. Since I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t holding anything in my hands, so I also had my arms crossed.

I totally get that crossing your arms is a major no-no when it comes to positive body language, but seriously, I didn’t know what else to do with my arms!

So my refusal to dance, coupled with my crossed arms, made me an even greater target for the drunkard.

“Why do you have to stand with you arms crossed? Why don’t you try to have a good time? Just come dance for awhile!”

Can’t we all just accept that some people hate dancing and they aren’t going to magically open up to it (at the age of 31 to someone who isn’t even a friend) if they hadn’t already opened up to it in their early 20s with super awesome and supportive friends? We all have our strengths, and being fun at a reception is just not one of mine. Making small talk at dinner? I’m your girl. Judging people about basically anything? Count me in. But receptions are just not my thing.

I should mention that Dan was never around when this guy was pestering me. I don’t think Dan would have done anything since I can clearly take care of myself (ha, in one totally defensive way after another). Dan knows the guy, and knows he was drunk out of his mind, so there wouldn’t have really been any need for Dan to step in. It was mostly a matter of coming up with anything I could say to make him leave me alone.

Oh, one girl was trying to get me to take off my cardigan and “show a little skin.” Here’s my apparently mega prude, uptight outfit (minus the snow on my shoes):

winter wedding | whatlindseylikes

I’m assuming the anti-dancing, arms crossed, fully clothed thing was sending a pretty un-fun vibe in her opinion. I feel like I was everyone’s pet project. To get her to leave me the F alone, I eventually said, “Oh, have you ever done cupping at an acupuncturist’s office? Well, I just did on Friday (which is true!) and now my back has bruises all over it, so it would look totally disgusting if I took this sweater off.” I’m sure she was thinking, “Did this chick seriously just blurt out her cupping experience?!” It was one awkward thing after another. To top it off, I’m pretty sure I threw in a line about someone making a call to domestic services if they saw my back without the story.

I can’t emphasize enough how much better I am at dinner parties than I am at actual parties.

To any of my friends whose receptions I left almost immediately after the meal: It was solely to avoid awkward situations like this. I couldn’t possibly support you or love you more than I do, I just truly hate dancing and any situation where people are going to make me feel even less fun than I already do in situations like that.

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What I’m Wearing: Winter Wedding Options

I’m going to a wedding tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a winter wedding before, but I love the idea of it. There’s something about a beautiful, fresh coat of snow that glistens off the lights. It’s going to be so beautiful!

Unfortunately I’ve never purchased any winter-wedding-appropriate dresses, so picking an outfit for tomorrow has been a challenge. I had ambitions late last month and earlier this month of coming up with a lot of options and asking you all for help, but I’ve unfortunately procrastinated beyond belief. So here are a few options — none of which are all that appealing to me, unfortunately. Drat!

All of these photos are going to be headless, unfortunately. I took the photos last weekend while my hair was wet and my makeup undone. Just imagine I have an amazing hair style with perfect makeup. Ha, since that’s just my regular look, of course. Oh, and these photos were taken in our under-construction family room, so there’s a bit of sawdust, nails and wet-vacs hanging out.

banana republic skirt | whatlindseylikes

Here’s option one. I bought this skirt from Banana Republic at least 10 years ago. I love this skirt, but I’m not convinced of it. I’m struggling to find a top for it. I went through every shirt in my closet trying to find something winter-worthy, but almost everything I have that looks cute is short-sleeved. And I don’t think any of my cardigan sweaters will work with it…so I tried this. While this looks like a top, it’s actually a dress, but the bottom is hidden under my Banana skirt 🙂 The dress is from Macy’s, probably from 8 years ago. I used to wear this dress all the time, but unfortunately my backside isn’t as small as it was when I first bought the dress, so the skirt isn’t too flattering. I love the top half, though, mostly because of the embellishments along the neckline.

inc embellished dress | whatlindseylikes

banana republic skirt | whatlindseylikes

And don’t bother telling me that heels would be more flattering. While my legs might look better in heels, the rest of me won’t look good after I fall on the floor and twist an ankle.

nordstrom dress | whatlindseylikesHere’s option two — another black and white look! This dress was a Nordstrom anniversary sale from probably 12 years ago. This is the first time I’d ever purchased anything from a Nordstrom. I was on a trip with my mom (I believe we were in Seattle?) and somehow my mom thought I should buy a couple things and so I did. This dress has been a go-to option anytime I’ve needed something for a slightly colder temperature. However, I’m not sure this cardigan is dressy enough for a wedding…and I don’t have anything better.

nordstrom dress | whatlindseylikes

I absolutely love this necklace. Once again, a purchase from close to 10 years ago. It was super cheap from Forever 21 and I consider myself skilled and lucky for it to have held together all this time.

forever 21 bib necklace | whatlilndseylikes

OK, these next two options are a little bit out there, at least for me. I don’t envision myself wearing either because I’m not confident that either is flattering…but I had them on and took the pictures, so we’ll give it a shot. Ha, sometimes you know something doesn’t look good on you, and sometimes you don’t think it looks quite right, but it’s a case of being too hard on yourself. You can quietly judge me if these just aren’t right. Or openly judge me, whatever you prefer.

Forever 21 tunic | whatlindseylikes

OK, I’m going out on a limb with these faux leather leggings. My top is another super old purchase — what’s the deal with that? — from Forever 21. It has to be close to 10 years old. I LOVE this shirt, though. It’s been a favorite for a very long time. The jacket is from Target — maybe last winter. I’ve worn it absolutely zero times. It was on clearance, and I seem to have a soft spot for jackets on clearance.

Forever 21 tunic | whatlindseylikes

The part of this outfit that makes me the most excited is my jewelry. I layered a Forever 21 statement/bib with a necklace from J. Crew Factory. I’m so impressed with myself! I rarely have any skill in layering necklaces.

Forever 21 and J. Crew Factory necklaces | whatlindseylikes

I’m on the lookout for a bold black necklace. I’ve seen a few awesome ones on Etsy…might have to go that route, although they’re more expensive than I’m looking to spend.

Macy's dress | whatlindseylikes

Here’s my second questionable option. This tunic is from Macy’s, during my seasonal job there back in 2009/2010. It’s a fine top, just not sure it’s flattering with faux leather leggings on my body.

I will most likely spend any remaining hours before the wedding trying on any other options I might be able to pull together.  It will be a beautiful wedding, no doubt, but I’m not too confident that I’ll be contributing to any of that!

What I Bought: Anne Klein iFlex Briona Flats

anne kleine briona | whatlindseylikes

What I Bought: Anne Klein Briona flat in black (also comes in tan)

What I Paid: $42 (originally $60 at DSW, but 30% off)

I know I’m not supposed to buy clothes…does that mean it’s OK to buy shoes? No, I know it doesn’t, but I did it anyway. If sharing my rationale makes you think better of me, here’s the explanation I used to make myself feel better about myself. Since these shoes are crazy comfortable and totally work-appropriate, but also something I’d wear shopping at the mall while not buying clothes, I decided it was OK. I truly had accepted this explanation, until I started typing it, and then I’ve realized it’s definitely not a worthwhile explanation. Oh well, they’ve been purchased and worn, so it’s too late to feel all that bad.

anne klein briona - whatlindseylikes

My favorite thing about these shoes is how ridiculously comfortable they are. As I get old, comfort has become my No. 1 priority. It’s probably been in the top five for a long time, but it’s moved up to No. 1 after years of asking myself, “Why the hell am I wearing these things that hurt?!”

These shoes have a suede finish, which looks nice…but collects all forms of lint. Here’s a picture in direct sunlight so you can see how they look.

lots o lint

The lint collection wasn’t as noticeable to the human eye — my camera lens was just able to really, really fixate on it. But still, the shoes definitely attract and hold onto lint, dust and anything else that comes their way. While this isn’t the most flattering photo of them, you can see the tassels better, as well as the little chain across the toes.

I tested the shoes with a brunch this morning and a quick grocery trip to Target — no blisters! I will say that wearing flats with no socks and ankle-length pants on a below-freezing day isn’t the most advisable. But I am SO sick of wearing snow boots everywhere. And I wanted to test the shoes.

What I Learned: Don’t Tailgate

I didn’t get in a car accident — let me start by saying that.

And I typically recommend avoiding all forms of road rage, tailgating being one of them.

I was driving home from dinner Wednesday night. I had met a couple friends at a restaurant that was maybe 10 miles away, which isn’t that far, but enough to travel on several highways between the restaurant and my house. I’d safely made it across two of the highways and was exiting onto the third when a person (I’m assuming he was a guy; I have no real reason to assume this — that’s just my stereotypical assumption) in an old Bronco swerved in front of me to make the same exit I was taking. This guy was driving probably 10-15 mph under the speed limit, so he could have easily waited for me to fly by him (ha, OK, I was seriously only going 3 mph over the speed limit). Anyway, he continued being 10-15 mph slower than he needed to be while taking the exit ramp and then merging onto the next highway.

I wouldn’t say I was totally tailgating, but I was definitely closer than the two-second-rule of spacing.

Once we get onto the highway and it’s safe to pass, I do so, and I do so quickly because I’m so annoyed with him that I want to put as much distance between us as possible. When it comes time for me to exit the highway and head onto residential roads, I can see that he’s doing the same thing. “No big deal,” I think. This area of town is mostly residential and tons of people take this same route to access all the houses. When I take my next turn, he does too. I again try to reassure myself that I’m entering an even more densely populated area, so chances are still high that he’s heading toward a house nearby.

I should also say that the distance between us was enough that he was about a block behind me, but his headlights were fairly distinctive, so I could tell — even at a distance — who it was.

I’m finally nearing my own neighborhood. He’s quite a ways behind me at this point, so I feel like I’m in the clear. As I enter my neighborhood, I decide to go a little slower, just to see if he’s still following me. I also wanted to know because I planned to drive past my own house if I realized he was still following me.

HE WAS STILL FOLLOWING ME.

“OK, you live in a big neighborhood — he could live around here or be visiting someone,” I told myself. So when I neared my house, I just kept driving. I went all the way through my neighborhood, then turned onto a busy road and then turned back into my neighborhood. I saw him turn onto the same busy road to follow me, so I immediately called Dan to tell him what was happening.

I’m lucky it was horribly cold that night and that no one was out and about walking around on the streets. I was shaking because I was so nervous, while trying to recount the situation to Dan on my cell phone and peering in my rear-view mirror repeatedly to see where my follower was.

This time when I turned back into my neighborhood, he didn’t follow. I drove really slowly before getting to my house, again to confirm that he was not following me and therefore wouldn’t know where I lived. I opened the garage door, pulled my vehicle into the stall faster than I’ve ever done it, closed the garage door while I was still finalizing my position, then ran into the house once I shut off the car. I don’t think I stopped shaking until after I’d fallen asleep. Which took forever, by the way, because I started running through scenarios of what I would have done if he had followed me into my neighborhood a second time.

Dan’s recommendation was to keep driving, and this time head toward the police station, which is about a mile away. Dan said he would have gotten in his truck to follow me and the creepster, while I would call 911 to explain the situation and hope they’d welcome me into their parking lot and chase off the bad guy. What I was actually hoping would happen is that I’d call 911 en route, and the 911 dispatcher would tell me there just happened to be a cop even closer to where I was and I could just pull up right next to him and he’d save me. I went through a bunch of other scenarios where hiccups in my plan occurred and I had to think of other solutions, but this post isn’t about how paranoid I am, it’s about learning a lesson.

So my advice is that even if you’re following a SUPER ANNOYINGLY SLOW driver, there’s no use in tailgating (or closely following) them. They won’t speed up, they won’t feel bad for cutting you off or preventing you from going the speed you want to go. I would almost tell you that the decrease in speed probably won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of life, but I highly believe in wrong place/wrong time situations, so it would be hypocritical of me to say that any delay — even something between 5 and 90 seconds — is irrelevant.

Instead, your tailgating/close-following behavior will probably just set them off, and they might choose to follow you through multiple residential neighborhoods on a dark, frigidly cold night and scare the crap out of you.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I hope you have too. Don’t tailgate. Oh, and don’t drive annoyingly slow.

What I Did: Survived the Week

How was everyone’s week? Is anyone else as relieved as I am that it’s finally the weekend?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m slowly going broke with chiropractor and acupuncture appointments. While I think there have been some benefits to the treatments, headache relief hasn’t been one of them, which is the main reason I went. On the plus side, we’ve figured out what’s causing my headache pain. I have a vertebrae or two in my neck that prefer to be out of place because I have crazy, disgustingly tight muscles in my shoulders. Apparently I carry all my stress in my shoulders, and I’m apparently a very stressed person. I truly don’t consider myself to be all that stressed. I guess my shoulders are taking all of it!

After multiple chiropractic visits a week, I’ve started to decrease my visits with the intention to wean myself down to once a month or less. My chiropractor said she’s done what she can and it’s kind of up to my neck to get with the program. Well, and me making an effort to have better posture. She transitioned me to her acupuncturist, who started out with the typical acupuncture treatment. But we have quickly realized that my woes aren’t totally treatable with needles. It was time for the next Eastern medicine technique.

Cupping.

Don’t know what cupping is? Well, if you watched the most recent season of the CBS show The Amazing Race, you might remember the episode (episode 9) where contestants had to get a number of Eastern medicine treatments, one of which was cupping, during one of their challenges. You can watch this video clip right around the 14- to 18-second mark for an idea of what cupping is.

When my acupuncturist first mentioned it, I was TERRIFIED. All I could think of was the blood-curdling screams and flowing tears from the Amazing Race. I eventually told her how terrified I was after she had spent several minutes telling me how perfect the treatment would be for my shoulder tightness. To try to ease my fears, she quickly demonstrated the procedure on her arm, and then did it on my arm too. Here’s what happens: She soaks a cotton ball in alcohol, holds it with a pair of skinny tongs, lights it on fire, quickly puts it into a glass jar and pulls it out, then places the glass jar against the skin. The lack of air left in the jar after the fire has done its job turns the jar into a vacuum, so it sucks your skin (and your muscles under the skin) into the jar. She didn’t leave it on my arm for more than a few seconds, but I was able to experience the feeling, which was nowhere near as painful as what the Amazing Race contestants went through.

Today was my first actual cupping treatment. Because I’m super pale and pasty, my acupuncturist warned me that I’d most likely have pretty severe bruising after the treatment. She used eight jars of varying sizes on my shoulders and upper back. As she started attaching them to my back, she said, “Yeah, you’re definitely going to bruise.”

And she was totally right.

The pain wasn’t that bad. I wouldn’t describe it as enjoyable, unless you are someone who finds things like deep tissue massages enjoyable. This was less painful than a deep tissue massage. And I’m not sore at all right now, like I would be if I had gotten a deep tissue massage. But a deep tissue massage doesn’t leave bruises that look like purple pepperonis on my back, so I guess it’s a toss-up.

Thank goodness I’m not wearing any fancy dresses or tank tops in the near future.

I almost considered posting a photo of my back, but looking at it in the mirror almost makes me pass out (I’m a total wuss with those things), so I decided to spare you the super grossness. If you want to see what the result looks like, try Google. And then thank me for not posting any photos. Even Dan thought it was pretty gross.

Instead, I’ll post some pics of Dig, who recently got a haircut.

Digger the Maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

Digger the Maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

Digger the Maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

What I Did: Styled My Wavy Bob Haircut

It took me more than a week, but I finally figured out how to style my new wavy bob haircut. I spent all of last week trying to figure out how to get my hair to look wavy. I watched a million video tutorials. I read tons of articles. I stared intensely at pictures on Pinterest. I tried to learn how to curl my hair using a straightener. I need to just accept that I will never be able to do that. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t know if my wrist rotation is flawed or if I’m lacking the necessary coordination skills — either way, I will be reserving my use of my straightener solely for straightening.

Next I went through my collection of curling irons in various sizes. I tried a 3/4″ iron, a 1″ iron and a 1.25″ iron. And I tried doing regular curling as well as the technique where you wrap your hair AROUND the iron without the clamp. I only burned the tips of my fingers a couple times, so I consider that a win.

Every time I tried what the tutorials said, I got a look I didn’t like. Usually the curls were too intense for me, and my hair was too poofy (and not in the voluminous way). I couldn’t, for the life of me, get my hair to look anything like how my stylist did. I spent the whole week fighting my hair. Once the weekend came, I was “over it.” I decided to leave the vast majority of my styling products out, and simplified.

wavy bob | whatlindseylikes

And I am finally SO HAPPY.

Here’s what I did. I shampooed and conditioned as normal in the shower. I left out the mousse, and let my hair air dry instead of blow drying 100%. While my hair was air drying, I went about my other morning routine chores: breakfast, Digger duties, flossing/brushing my teeth, applying my makeup. This is almost enough time for my hair to air dry completely, but not quite. I spray a little Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray and scrunch my strands. Then I attach my diffuser thingie to my hair dryer and use it for 60-90 seconds — just enough time to get my hair close to 90% dry. Then I use my 1″ curling iron to run a few chunks of hair through wherever I need a little extra wave. My hair moves through my iron quickly — other irons I’ve used kind of stuck to my hair. When I’m adding my curls/waves, I move it right through instead of holding for any amount of time. To finish, I spray my new favorite hair product, Oribe Thick Dry Finishing Spray, throughout my hair to make it piecey.

wavy bob | whatlindseylikes

All of these pictures are after a FULL DAY of work (and an immediate outfit change to my comfy sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt). On top of surviving an entire work day, I was in and out of buildings while it was snowing most of the morning. My hair held the wave all day (thanks to Not Your Mother’s and Oribe).

wavy bob | whatlindseylikes

I’d feel totally comfortable meeting up with friends immediately after work without refreshing my hair if I had to. If I had time in between work and my evening plans, I’d probably spray a little of the Oribe into my roots to pump up the volume a smidge.

wavy bob | whatlindseylikes

I’d like to attempt skipping the sea salt spray whenever I can — I think it’ll dry out my ends pretty quickly.

So that’s it. I’m relieved that I found a method that actually works for me. And I’m relieved that it’s not very time-consuming.