What I Found: Express Cardigans

Cardigans are a wardrobe staple for me. Mostly because I bought a ridiculous number of sleeveless blouses during my first few years out of college, thinking I’d be the uber professional person who wears jackets all the time. Since most of my jackets go unworn, I need something else to cover my arms and prevent me from freezing in the office. Enter cardigans.

Finding the perfect cardigan is hard. Years and years ago, I bought four or five of the exact same cardigan — in different colors — from Ann Taylor. At the time, I thought they fit me really well, and they were on sale, so I bought one in nearly every color. I also stupidly bought a bunch of dry-clean-only cardigans from a different store. I sweat a lot, so I basically got one wear out of each cardigan before needing to take it to the cleaners. Stupid! I’ve gotten smarter about the cleaning instructions for all my clothes. Conveniently, I also don’t sweat as much. So there’s that.

I bought a few of the Eversoft boyfriend cardigans from Gap a few years ago. They were nearly perfect — great length, really soft, non-dry-clean. Unfortunately I wore them ALL THE TIME, so the color has started to fade, especially on the black one. I have a couple black cardigans I bought from Target five or six years ago that I love, but they were clearance purchases. The store hasn’t brought back either of those styles, so I must have been the only person who loved them.

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to try wearing flared jeans again. I went to a bunch of stores, which meant I looked at things other than jeans at a bunch of stores too. While in Express, I tried on a few cardigans and loved all of them. In the end, I settled on this ribbed cascading-front cardigan. I bought it in black (below) and white.

Express open front cardigan | What Lindsey Likes

The length is perfect — it easily covers my bum if I were wearing leggings. It’s not at all clingy, which is a plus in my book. The arms look tight, and they are, but there is plenty of give — I’m able to wear these cardigans over long-sleeve button down shirts. If you wanted to make it slightly more form-fitting through the body, you could easily belt it.

Express open front cardigan | What Lindsey Likes

I was also lucky enough to find a black cardigan that is identical to this oatmeal cardigan I wore here.

j crew factory chambray with faux leather leggings | whatlindseylikes

I love the oatmeal one and had been kicking myself for not getting it in black. I was able to pick it up for less than $15. I had a coupon on top of that, so it was even cheaper! It’s so cozy and comfortable, yet it’s also lightweight so it’s not too warm. I wore it with an Old Navy t-shirt dress a couple weeks ago — it was perfect.

Speaking of Old Navy, I have quite a few cardigans from there as well. Most of them are boyfriend style, meaning they’re really long and not clingy. I bought several on clearance a few years ago in a variety of colors. I’ve worn all of them (yay!), but I don’t wear them often (I wore the cobalt blue one to a wedding I attended in February). There are very few shirts that work well with them — the shirts have to be really long and relatively shapeless. That sounds cute, I’m sure. To balance out the proportions, they almost always have to be worn with skinny jeans or pants. They work well with some dresses, as long as they’re belted. They aren’t the worst things I’ve ever purchased, but also not the greatest.

What I Own: Too Many Jackets

A few years ago, I started a new job that required I wear a jacket almost every day. I bought a ton of jackets just before I started the new job, and then got it stuck in my head that a girl can never have too many jackets. Well, if I had stayed at that company, that could have been true. But I left that job after 6 or 7 months of absolute misery, and joined an organization where jackets were acceptable, for sure, but not really the norm. The organization I work for now is even more casual. Wearing a jacket at my current job means I’ll probably be asked at least once, “Do you have a job interview today?” or “Do you have a big presentation today?”

Thankfully I stopped buying jackets, but I have a very large collection of them collecting dust in my closet. The main reason I don’t wear them? They usually give me headaches. Wearing a jacket feels so constricting — compared to a cardigan — and that generally makes my head start to hurt. I’ve found a few jackets that are made of a knit material, so they’re actually almost as comfortable as a hooded sweatshirt. But, alas, most aren’t like this.

Another reason I don’t wear jackets is because I’m very particular about the shape and how that works for my body. I’m still trying to figure out what works for my pear shape — and probably will be for the rest of my life. Some jackets I’ve purchased seemed great in theory, but then never looked quite right. For example, this jean jacket (or do we call them denim jackets now?) from Gap. (I realize this is not a dressy jacket AT ALL, but it’s a jacket in my collection of jackets.)

gap jean jacket | What Lindsey Likes

I bought this jacket close to 10 years ago. It was on crazy clearance at the Gap store in Madison, Wis. I was shopping with my mom and hadn’t bought anything. I bought this solely so that I didn’t leave the state empty-handed. Aside from standing on the deck outside my house for this photo, I’ve NEVER worn this jacket before. The fit is wrong in every area. The length is too short for my body type, the arms are really long and the body is at least one or two sizes too big.

Gap jean jacket | What Lindsey Likes

It doesn’t help that the shirt I’m wearing is really long in the back. But still, there’s no hope for this jacket. I’ll try to add it to my closet misfits pile and see if I can figure out at least one way to wear it. I’m not optimistic — I think it’ll be moving from the misfit pile to the Goodwill pile.

So short jackets are clearly not what I should be wearing. Yet I kept buying them for such a long time. This next jacket is still kind of short, but it’s shape makes up for it. I don’t think it’s perfect with this shirt because this shirt is so long in the back, but it goes with quite a few other tops that I have. Plus, most importantly, this is one of those hooded-sweatshirt-material jackets.

Target jacket | What Lindsey Likes

Oh, by the way, I’m blonde now.

This jacket is an improvement over the jean jacket because it has an actual shape. The zipper detail cuts in a little, giving me an actual waist. There’s also some strategically placed darting to make it look a little more feminine. I LOVE this jacket. However, like I said earlier, this shirt is too long, so this probably isn’t an outfit I’d wear. Ha, yet I’m comfortable posting in on my blog.

Target jacket with too long shirt | What Lindsey Likes

This next jacket is awesome because it’s longer than any other jacket I’ve ever seen. I saw a former coworker wearing it once and basically tackled her to the ground to ask where she got it. The jacket is made by Gibson, and is available at both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I bought this one and an identical black one from Nordstrom Rack. I know that I ordered a few additional colors/prints from Nordstrom’s website, but the sizing wasn’t quite the same, so they went back.

Grey Gibson jacket | What Lindsey Likes

So this jacket is a bit deceptive. It LOOKS like the same hoodie material at the green one, but it’s only like that on the outside. The inside is lined like regular suit jackets are, which defeats the whole purpose! So it looks like it’d be crazy comfortable, but it’s not. Plus it’s dry clean only. Worst thing ever! I still love how it looks, though. I love the length and the darting.

Grey Gibson jacket | What Lindsey Likes

This post’s final jacket is on the longer side too, but not quite as long as the Gibson. This jacket came from New York & Company. It was incredibly cheap, and was another purchase that was made solely because I didn’t want to leave the mall empty-handed.

Leopard print jacket | What Lindsey Likes

It’s a straighter fit than the previous two jackets, but that’s OK. It’s still slim enough to give me a little shape rather than just being a box like the jean jacket was.

Leopard print jacket | What Lindsey Likes

I never mentioned the shirt I’m wearing today. I bought this sleeveless top from Banana Republic this weekend. It was originally $55, on sale for $29, plus an extra 50% off, making it $15ish. I had an Old Navy rewards certificate that needed to be spent, so I bought this and a few other things for what amounted to $10. The top might look polka-dotted in these photos, but it’s actually like a mesh. Ha, a classy mesh, if you can believe it. I bought the size small, and as you can see from the photos it’s still fairly large. I tried on the ‘small petite’ size, but it was a lot shorter without much change in the fit of the body. The arm holes are ridiculously large on me, so it’s safe to say I’ll never wear this without a jacket or cardigan unless I’m commuting — alone — to and from work on a warm day.

Sorry for the mixture of headless and head-ful photos. The wind was CRAZY when I took these pictures. My hair was everywhere, namely in my face. Wind is my least favorite element of weather.

 

 

What I’ve Learned: Must. Take. Notes.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. All of the books I’ve read in the last 6 weeks have been about human behavior. I’m fascinated by how each of us makes decisions. Mostly because I like giving advice — solicited or in-solicited. I happen to think I’m really good at it, but all of you would be better judges of that since you’ve at least read some of my advice here. I love analyzing choices, whether they’re mine or yours, and thinking through all the potential consequences of each choice. I like to assess my own thought process, especially my hesitations or rationalizations around my choices, and then post-decision, see which thoughts were right or wrong so I can either avoid or replicate making decisions based on a certain feeling.

Reading with Digger | What Lindsey Likes

I’ve read three books so far, all of which have been awesome. I went through the first two relatively quickly and thought after finishing them, “Wow, those were good, but if someone asked me for a few of the key points, I’d be at a loss.”

I’ve had this same experience with meetings or situations at work. Even when I’m truly interested in what I’m hearing, I’m most likely going to forget big points of what I experience. Especially if it’s a totally new concept for me, and most of community health concepts are (at work), as are a lot of the behavioral economics concepts I’ve been reading about.

When I was about a third of the way through my most recent book, I stared at the big bold letters that read Chapter 6. I knew I’d read a TON of interesting information up to that point, but I felt like I couldn’t confidently explain it to anyone if someone had asked. So, I decided to start from the beginning, this time taking notes of all the interesting concepts, along with notes that applied the concept to something in real life, usually a work situation, but sometimes my personal behavior, especially in regard to working out, eating healthy or cleaning my house.

Now that I have my notes, I feel a million times better about how I’ve spent my time. Not only can I go back and reference something, but I actually think the concepts are more ingrained in my brain because I read them, wrote them and read them again.

Notetaking | What Lindsey Likes

I actually learned this lesson at work a long time ago, yet clearly I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. A couple years ago at a previous job, I had a boss who would ask me to do things at times that felt random. Not that his requests were random, they just came out of the blue for me — like they weren’t tied to a meeting about the specific topic or at a 1:1. Ha, most of you are probably thinking, “Oh, so he just asked you to do something like everyone else does in the real world?” Yes.

But I learned quickly that I needed to write down everything — from the specifics of his request down to the wording he was using. If I didn’t write that down, I would forget how he worded it and would have basically no recollection of the conversation the next time I looked at those notes.

I didn’t take a picture of this, but you can basically imagine me smacking myself upside my head in disbelief at my lack of a memory. Moving on.

At my current job, I have to take tons of notes in meetings in order to feel like I ‘get’ it. And I definitely have to take notes if someone comes to my desk about a request that wasn’t top of mind or even on my list of things to consider that week or month. The requests my coworkers have are totally legitimate and I’m the person they should ask, but I will 100% forget without detailed notes. I usually make them send me an email, that way I get it in their exact words (my paraphrasing of things with which I’m unfamiliar is pretty horrible) and, more importantly, I have a record of it.

I took detailed notes all through high school and college too, so again, none of this is new behavior, really. It’s more about just accepting — from the beginning — that I will not retain anything without notes.

All of that being said, there are certain times where my memory is crazy good. I remember birthdays for tons of people who I either haven’t talked to in decades or who are spouses of my best friends. Remembering their birthdays is not at all critical to my friendships so I have no idea why those dates stay in my mind. I remember most of my friends’ wedding anniversaries. I remember phone numbers. I can almost always tell Dan where he last had his wallet, keys or cell phone. If I’m missing a tube of chapstick, I can remember which purse or pocket it’s in. I’m sure there is some kind of obvious explanation for this. Maybe this isn’t special — maybe all of you can already do this, PLUS remember people’s requests of you at work. Either way, I will try to read a book about it and take notes so that I remember the answer and can tell you about it later.

Anyway, I’m LOVING these books. In case you’re interested in behavioral economics or human behavior, here are the books I’ve finished (or am about to start):

What I'm Reading | What Lindsey Likes

Here are the details about my fabulous reading/note-taking attire. My sweatshirt is from Express. It’s super comfortable and lightweight. The sequins on the front are reversible — one side is a combo of grey and pale pink; the other side is gold. I don’t know how to clearly describe this in writing, but I’ll try: If you move your hands up the front of the shirt, the sequins turn gold; if you move your hands down the front of the shirt, the sequins told grey and pink. My pants are a pair of lounge capris from Gap Body that I bought last Christmas for like $5. They are crazy comfortable! The adorable fur-ball next to me is my maltipoo Digger.

When I was taking these photos, I realized how pathetic it was that Dan and I don’t have a headboard. I have another post coming later this week or early next week all about that and why I think it’s a sign that I haven’t fully reached adulthood.

What I Bought: Old Navy Linen Boyfriend Tank

This month’s weather has been all over the place — last week we were in the 70s; this week it’s been dreary, rainy and cold. I’m pretty sure we had snow somewhere in there too. As we get closer to the month of May, I know that summer will eventually be here! And it makes me super excited for summer clothing.

Old Navy boyfriend tank and white Express shorts | whatlindseylikes

I had a stockpile of Old Navy rewards certificates collecting dust in my purse, so I bought a few summer-friendly items on a recent trip to Old Navy. This Old Navy linen-blend boyfriend tank top was 40% off at the time, but looks like it’s full-price online (today, anyway).

Old Navy boyfriend tank and white Express shorts | whatlindseylikes

This tank is oversized, hence the “boyfriend” style. The arm holes are bigger than I’d like, and the body is maybe a tad too big, but the next smaller size somehow seemed considerably smaller. Plus, when it’s hot, the last thing I want is something clinging to me. I’ll still have to wear a clingy tank under this one, but you won’t see sweat through this breezy tank.

 

These white shorts are from Express. I love Express shorts (Ann Taylor shorts are another favorite). They come in tons of colors and you can usually get them at a decent price. I bought a super cute pair of light pink shorts last summer and wore them basically every single weekend until the temps changed.

Old Navy boyfriend tank and white Express shorts | whatlindseylikes

Dig’s ready for warmer weather too — we love sitting on the deck on warm afternoons…for about 10 minutes, then he’s over it and ready to go back into the air conditioned house.

I’m wearing mega cheap Old Navy flip flops, but this outfit could easily be dressed up with better shoes and a cute clutch. And hiding your bra straps would take it up a notch too. Clearly I wasn’t uber concerned with that in these photos.

Sorry for going almost two weeks without blogging. I’d like to have a respectable excuse, like illness or heartache or an internet ban. But no. The honest excuse is Game of Thrones (we just finished season 3 — don’t tell me anything!) and Sons of Anarchy. Dan and I are obsessed.

What I Wore: Easter Sunday

When I lived in states other than Minnesota, I thought of Easter Sunday as one of those first weekend days where t-shirts and shorts could be a permanent part of the wardrobe, at least for the next five or six months. In Minnesota, it rarely means that. It typically means that while you are crazy-deep into your spring fever, and that t-shirts have been worn a couple random times as a tease rather than a part of your regular wardrobe for a few weeks.

Yet I still chose to wear warm-weather clothes on Easter as a way to tell Minnesota weather, “You can’t break me!” The blustery wind that day was Minnesota weather’s response, “Don’t push me.”

J. Crew Factory floral shirt | whatlindseylikes

I got this beautiful floral top from J. Crew Factory a few weeks ago (on the same shopping trip when I purchased the two J. Crew Factory necklaces). It was on sale, with an additional 50% off…so I couldn’t really stop myself. I love that it’s a little longer in the back. The pants are from Levi’s and the shoes are from J. Crew (several years old). I actually can’t wear the shoes for longer than 15 or 20 minutes. They are just slightly too small. Somehow they fit perfectly in the store…and then never again. I bought more than one pair of shoes from J. Crew that day, amounting to lots of wasted money and shoes that sit in my closet. I’ll probably never allow myself to buy J. Crew shoes again, which is unfortunate because they’re adorable. But also OK because they are more expensive than I’d prefer to spend.

I think I’ve heard that you can stretch leather shoes if you need to…I should Pinterest-search that sometime…

Easter was a dreary day, so I expected the lighting to be perfect for taking photos. Somehow I still managed to use the wrong settings on my camera, so even after some editing, this shirt isn’t showing up true-to-color when I’m outside. Since I was layering a couple necklaces and wanted a good shot of that, I took a photo inside where the lighting ended up being way better.

J. Crew Factory floral shirt, Bauble Bar necklace, Forever 21 necklace | whatlindseylikes

The blue necklace is one of my Bauble Bar purchases…the one I was going to return, but clearly decided not to! Under that is my favorite Forever 21 necklace because it’s perfect for layering.

Speaking of necklace layering, I’m obsessed. So far I only have the above Forever 21 necklace that I consider to be a solid foundational piece. I remember after I bought it thinking that I wasn’t convinced that I really loved it. Flash forward to today and I am so relieved that I bought it! I need a similar one in silver, though…I’ll add it my wishlist.

What I Love: Me Time

I’ve had the house to myself this week while Dan is on a work trip in California. While I love spending time with him and appreciate his presence… I am absolutely LOVING my time alone this week.

That makes me sound like a horrible girlfriend. #sorrynotsorry

When Dan is home, I typically am the one responsible for dinner. Dan doesn’t put any kind of pressure on me to cook — it’s just a pressure I (like maybe a lot of women?) put on myself. Dan has done tons of work to our house to make it more awesome than it was when we moved in. My contribution to those efforts have mostly been to stay out of the way and to handle some of the house chores, like cooking, cleaning and dishes. I swear that Dan will never stop finding projects to do solely so that he won’t ever have to do dishes. Oh well.

Anyway. When Dan is home, I feel pressured to come up with some kind of meal. As you might remember from my old blog, my favorite foods for dinner were items like spiral-shaped mac and cheese, frozen pizza and cold cereal. While I’ve sort of gotten over the hold the cheese-covered spiral-shaped pasta had over me, I still love cereal. I eat it every single morning for breakfast, and actually get oddly excited when I eat it for dinner.

“Lindsey, what kind of cereal could taste so good that it’s something you get excited about?” you might be asking.

Well, it’s actually not about the taste at all. It’s 100% about the convenience. One thing I hate about cooking is the amount of time that goes into it. Sometimes I just want to eat NOW. A large bowl of cereal satisfies that wish. The most time-consuming step for a cereal dinner is trying to open the plastic zipped bag (I eat the bagged Malt-O-Meal brand cereals and LOVE them!) and getting it zipped shut when I’m done.

When Dan is home, I feel really horrible if I tell him I just want a bowl of cereal, because that means he’s gotta figure out something for himself on his own. Now, Dan is an adult who is fully capable of fixing himself a meal, but that societal pressure comes down on me and I just feel horrible. So no cereal for me.

But this week I was able to eat cereal for dinner guilt-free.

Aside from food choices, there have been a few other awesome perks to having the house to myself. One of which was deciding what to watch on television. Dan and I recently became obsessed with Game of Thrones. My brother was awesome enough to loan us the first few seasons on DVD so we could catch up. Each episode is about an hour long, and  it’s nearly impossible for Dan and I to watch only one episode. So I’d come home from work, we’d eat some fabulous meal that I had cooked, then we’d watch almost three hours of Game of Thrones. Three hours!! I didn’t do any laundry. I didn’t unload the dishwasher. I couldn’t edit photos for my blog. All because I didn’t want to miss a single detail of the show.

Since Dan is gone, I’m taking a break from all of our regular shows (Mad Men too) and watching whatever I want. I watched a couple episodes of the HGTV show Property Brothers on Netflix, but I’ve mostly been listening to podcasts instead. I realize I’m one of the last people to start listening to podcasts…and I’m obsessed! More on that later.

If Dan were home, I wouldn’t be able to listen to a podcast because it would feel weird sitting on my chair with my headphones in listening to my iPad while he’s watching something on TV. Maybe I’ll get over this problem, but for now it feels weird. I don’t have a long enough commute to listen to podcasts while I’m driving, so I’ll just have to find other opportunities, I guess.

Since he’s been gone and I’m not glued to my chair watching Game of Thrones or Mad Men, I’m able to do load after load of laundry. I even spent nearly an hour hand-washing dishes while listening to a podcast. An hour! Hand-washing! Who am I? I cleaned one bathroom on Monday night and another last night. It’s amazing.

Tonight is my last night to myself. I’m considering just relaxing in my chair the entire time, but I have one last load of laundry and a few cereal bowls to wash, so I assume that’s how I’ll spend my evening instead. And I couldn’t be more excited!

I’m confident I’ll go back to my lazy, dish-washing-hating, laundry-doing-procrastinator self really soon.

Since I want to include photos with this post but think a bowl of cereal would be pretty weird, I’m adding pics of Digger on a walk last weekend.

digger the maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

digger the maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

I like this picture mostly because you get to see Dan’s snazzy shoes.

digger the maltipoo | whatlindseylikes

Life Last Month: The ATL and San Diego

I’m not much of a traveler, so you can imagine my excitement when I had two trips in one month! Not only did I get to practice my carry-on packing skills, but I also got to visit my favorite brother and some zoo animals.

lindsey travels to atlanta | whatlindseylikes

When I planned my trip to Atlanta, I really, really expected that I’d be escaping the Minnesota cold and dreary for a sizzlin’ Hotlanta. No such luck. It was actually colder and drearier (who knew that was a word?) in Atlanta, unfortunately for me. And all of Georgia and its surrounding area. My brother and I tried to plan a couple back-up locales if the Atlanta weather sucked — Nashville, Savannah and Destin (Florida). The weather sucked everywhere within a five-hour radius of Atlanta. So instead of touring a sunny southern city of some kind, we toured a nearby mall and a muddy park, then watched hours upon hours of Game of Thrones.

I want to talk about that show really quickly. I had seen one episode a few years ago with my brother and thought it was an interesting show, but didn’t have the time to keep watching. The grossest of gross weather conditions in Atlanta gave me plenty of time to watch from the very beginning, though. And thankfully my brother has the DVDs. I’m HOOKED. Now I understand why the rest of the world is obsessed with the show. My brother loaned me the DVDs for the rest of the seasons, so I came home and spread the addiction to Dan, and we’ve wasted so many hours the last two weeks watching the show. Last week was the least productive week of my life. I’ve accomplished more when I’ve had the flu than I did when I had seasons two and three of Game of Thrones.

OK, back to the trip. Here I am at the muddy park. Typically this place is beautiful — it’s Piedmont Park. It actually was really pretty, but the day was just dreary, so…

lindsey travels to atlanta | whatlindseylikes

After an hour of dodging puddles and muddy sidewalks, we took a trip to the CDC’s main campus. My brother works for the CDC, although not technically at this location, but I wanted a photo with me in front of the CDC sign. Mission accomplished.

lindsey travels to atlanta | whatlindseylikes

After those two stops, we went back to my brother’s place and watched hours of Game of Thrones. I should have taken a photo of myself lazily sitting on the couch since that would have been the most representative of the trip. My poor brother had to keep pausing the DVD in order to explain the back story.

lindsey travels to atlanta | whatlindseylikes

On my last day in Atlanta, the rain clouds were nowhere to be seen and the sun was shining. We walked around Oglethorpe University for a bit, then made our way toward the airport. While the weather was not at all cooperative for the majority of the trip, it was so great seeing my brother.

Less than two weeks later, I was in the airport again for a work trip to San Diego. Unlike Atlanta, the weather in San Diego was beyond amazing. The hotel where I stayed had beautiful views.

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

My hotel was also walking distance to the USS Midway — it was so cool! There was actually a social event happening my first night for all attendees for the conference I was attending, but I’m too introverted to go somewhere alone, so I stayed in my hotel to watch HGTV. Livin’ the dream!

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

I had some free time before the conference started on my first day in San Diego, so I took a bus and headed to the San Diego Zoo.

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikesA few of my friends and coworkers wanted to hear all about the delicious restaurants I went to while in San Diego. Unfortunately, I’m really unadventurous, so here are the highlights of my meals: over-priced room-service French toast and Cheerios with a fork.

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikesOn my last night in San Diego, I took a stroll along the harbor to watch the sun set. Such a beautiful place.

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes

The best thing about traveling alone is you can do anything you want and go anywhere you want. The worst thing is that you arrive home with basically zero photos of yourself at all the awesome places you went. Oh well. I managed to take this selfie. Of the 10 I took, this was the most-usable 🙂

lindsey travels to san diego | whatlindseylikes