My Favorite Things

September 30, 2019

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Today's post is a random collection of things but I wanted to share some of my tried and true favorites with you. These are all things I use at least every week, if not every day, and they're just too good to keep to myself!

Core 10 joggers. One of my coworkers introduced me to Amazon's athletic brand Core 10 and so I decided to try out their joggers a few months ago and the rest is history. I now have two pairs of these because I was always so sad when they were in the wash. They're that good. I am not a leggings person so I've been reaching for these as an option for walking the dog or running a quick errand. They are so so cozy and under $30!

Everlane cashmere sweaters. Cashmere is the ultimate luxury in my opinion because it feels like you're wrapped up in a hug. Can't beat that! This was the first sweater I bought from Everlane over two years ago in heather grey and I've since bought it in camel and the v-neck in black too. That's how much I love these. They're so cozy, the fit is great (TTS for me) and they hold up well over time. I wear one of my Everlane sweaters at least once a week year-round. 

Remington sweater shaver. In order to keep all of my sweaters in tip-top shape I use this sweater shaver for pilling. I was introduced to this gadget when Mackenzie posted about it a few years ago and was very intrigued. You have to be careful with these because I once accidentally made a hole in my sweater when I pushed too hard but I've since gotten the hang of it and now my sweaters are pill-free! 

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Everlane Day Market tote. I am an Everlane fangirl now, I guess! I bought my first Day Market tote early last year after seeing Meghan Markle with hers and I loved it so much that I bought another one after the original was looking a little worse for wear. I now have it in the "Saddle" color and love it. I use it every day for work and it's my go-to personal item for flights. 


Cuyana travel set. I think the moment I realized I was an adult was when I was excited about a fancy toiletry kit. I'm kidding, but I really was thrilled when these Cuyana pouches arrived. They feel so luxurious and help me stay organized. I use the smaller one in my everyday tote to hold lipstick and other beauty products and I use the larger one for travel. I agonized over what color to get and went with the blush. I was worried with them being such a light color that they'd get dirty and scratched but they've held up quite well after a couple of months!

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Oribe texturizing spray. My new hair salon uses Oribe products and I have fallen in love, which is bad news for my wallet because they come at a pretty penny. I bought this texturizing spray on sale during the Nordstrom Sale and I am both happy and sad to report that it is excellent. Happy because it works so well (and smells amazing) and sad because it is definitely an investment. I try to save it for special occasions or when my hair is in dire need of some volume!

Yeti water bottle. Mark got a Yeti water bottle when he worked at Cisco and then became a superfan of the brand. We now have pretty much every size that they make and I use their water bottles every single day. I have three water bottles I rotate between and typically use the straw top which helps me drink more water. I love these because they really do work at keeping things hot or cold and they're dishwasher safe as well as V. durable.

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Revlon ColorStay lipstick. I dedicated a whole post to this lipstick but wanted to share it again because I still love it that much. It's pretty much the only lipstick I wear and I have four colors I rotate between. It lasts all day, layers nicely and the colors are great. My favorites are "Supermodel" and "Fashionista" for fall/winter and "Finale" and "Socialite" for spring/summer. 

Sally Hansen Miracle Cure. This has made the biggest difference in my at-home manicures lasting a full two weeks. I use the Essie Gel Couture polish and top coat which are great but when I put this on first it will last for two weeks with minimal chipping!

Have you tried any of these products? Would love to know your thoughts!
xo Catherine

Recent Reads Vol. 22

September 3, 2019

I have so many good books from this summer to catch you up on so let's just get right to it!

Children of Blood and Bone. This is the first book in a YA fantasy series that takes place in the kingdom of Orïsha. The kingdom used to have magic until the king took it away in the raids, leaving Zélie's magical mother dead. Zélie is a maji, which means she would have developed magical powers if the king hadn't stamped out all of the magic. An opportunity arises for Zélie to go on an adventure across Orïsha to bring magic back and it looks like she's the only one who can do it. This book follows her adventure to bring magic back to Orïsha along with her brother and the princess of Orïsha. The plot is hard to explain but just trust me that you will be very into it and counting down the days until the next book comes out! 
Rating: A

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This was my June book club pick and everyone really enjoyed it! Evelyn Hugo is reminiscent of Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe and has been married an astonishing seven times. Sometimes she married for love and sometimes she married for opportunity. Now that she's at the end of her life she has decided to tell her story to Monique, an unknown writer. Monique doesn't know why Evelyn has chosen her to write the tell-all book about her glamorous and torrid life and career but she decides to do it. The story jumps back and forth between Evelyn's history and present day where Monique's life is unraveling. I loved everything about this book. There was mystery, drama, love and scandal and it kept me enthralled the whole time.
Rating: A

The Silent Patient. Alicia has it all, the husband, the big house in London and the successful painting career. So why does she ruin her perfect life one night when she shoots her husband five times and then refuses to speak? Theo, who is the new criminal psychotherapist at Alicia's facility, has made it his mission to find out. This wasn't my favorite thriller ever but there was a good twist and I definitely wanted to find out what happened next.
Rating: B+

The Banker's Wife. Annabel's life in Switzerland is turned upside down after her devoted husband Matthew's plane mysteriously goes missing and then is found downed in the Swiss Alps. Matthew was a banker at Swiss United, which has some seriously shady clients with offshore accounts. Annabel starts digging into her husband's mysterious death trying to find out if it was really an accident or not. The other part of the story is told from Marina's perspective. She is a journalist in New York who is asked to dig into some of Swiss United's clients by her mentor who then winds up dead. Will Marina and Annabel's digging turn up the truth about these mysterious deaths and how they're connected? You'll have to read the book to find out! While this book was pretty suspenseful it didn't feel like a true thriller to me but I still couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen.
Rating: B+

Defending Jacob. Andy Barber is a district Attorney who lives in a small Massachusetts town with his wife Laurie and son Jacob. After one of Jacob's classmates is murdered Jacob becomes the lead suspect. The Barber family is put through the ringer as the trial starts and Jacob is the defendant. Andy and Laurie have to ask themselves the question that no parent wants to think about: is their son a murderer? We read this for my book club last month and while it wasn't something I would normally pick up on my own I enjoyed it. You find yourself flip flopping constantly about whether Jacob is guilty or innocent and there's a good twist in there too.
Rating: B+

Red, White and Royal Blue. If you've been reading here a while you'll know that I lap up pretty much any royal romance book and this was no exception. Alex is the first son of the United States (his mom is the first female president!) and his enemy is the Prince of Wales. After some bad publicity about Alex and Henry's rivalry they're forced to spend time together in an effort to reset the narrative around them. Neither one of them expects to become friends let alone more than friends. This book was truly delightful in every way and perfectly steamy. I didn't want it to end!
Rating: A+

Verity. Lowen is a relatively unknown author living in NYC when her agent calls to set up a mysterious meeting. It turns out that Jeremy Crawford, husband of famed author Verity Crawford, is looking for an author to finish his wife's most famous book series. Verity has been in an accident and has serious brain damage so she cannot complete the books herself. Lowen moves into the Crawford home to go through Verity's notes and do research for the book. While there she discovers Verity's very disturbing autobiography that reveals all sorts of secrets about the family. Lowen starts to have feelings for Jeremy so she wrestles with whether or not to tell him about the autobiography and the secrets she's uncovered. There were some seriously disturbing and creepy moments in this book but I was hooked the whole time! If you're into thrillers I'd definitely recommend.
Rating: A

I'm currently reading Three Women and have mixed feelings about it so I want to wait until the end to give my final verdict! Have you read anything good lately?

xo Catherine 

Deck Updates + How to Build a Faux Boxwood Wall

August 12, 2019

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This post has been along time coming but I knew it would take me a while to put together so I've been dragging my feet. That seems to be the theme of all of my posts lately, doesn't it? Oh well, that's just the season of life I'm in right now. Anyway, I am excited to finally share our finished deck with you! I was putting this post off because I wanted to take DSLR photos but my camera hasn't been working so these iPhone pics are just going to have to do. I realize it's mid-August and you're probably not looking for deck inspiration but better late than never! black-and-white-deck-inspiration
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The first step was to build a faux boxwood wall. Our deck is a really nice size and I wanted to make sure we took advantage of Minnesota summer but knew that since our neighbor's house was so close we would feel uncomfortable being out there without any sort of privacy. We looked into buying a retractable option like this or planting some tall, thick plants but neither option was quite right. I then remembered that Hitha (a favorite follow!) had shared Meg's post about how to build a boxwood wall and that idea stuck. I loved the idea of something that provided privacy and would also look nice. Right around the time I was deciding to build my privacy wall Hitha had one put in in her backyard and it looks so so good! I tackled mine a little bit differently than Meg suggested because I didn't want anything permanent but her post is a great one to reference if you're planning to do something similar. 
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I decided to use these trellises as the base. We rent our house so I didn't want to be drilling anything into the deck so I just used a ton of zip ties. I ended up with five trellises and zip tied them together and to the deck railing. The fifth trellis went over the edge of the opening for one of the sets of stairs but I don't really care and think it looks better than having it end before the railing ends. 
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I did some searching on Amazon and these faux boxwood panels had good reviews so I bought two boxes and ended up with some left over. The worst part of the whole project was fastening the panels together and zip tying them to the trellis. They're pretty scratchy and you have to really get in there so my hands got a little scratched up. It only took a couple of hours and then voilà it was finished!

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It didn't end up totally straight and so you can see it doesn't line up on the right side but I wasn't going to redo it so it's good enough!

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The wall made the biggest difference and has definitely served its purpose! I'm also happy to say it's stayed standing and still seem very sturdy even after several windy storms. Still trying to decide if we should just leave it up through the winter or not. 
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The next step was to get a rug. I was between doing a blue and white or black and white color scheme and ultimately decided to do black and white since I'm definitely feeling the neutrals right now. I used pins like this, this, this and this as my inspiration. I realize that getting a partially white outdoor rug isn't the smartest move but it was relatively inexpensive so if we only get 1 or two years out of it I won't be devastated. This is the rug we got and it's currently out of stock but this one is very similar.
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Next up was picking out a furniture set. We were able to snag this one when it was on sale and have been very happy with it so far. 
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Next was the lights! I went with these ones. I stole the idea from my friends to get some pieces of wood, spray paint them and zip tie them to the deck to hang the lights from. I tried hanging them with command strips and found out the hard way that that wouldn't work so then we stapled them and they've stayed put. I don't have a great picture but you can see the posts in the one below. 
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My sister-in-law got me this fun outdoor cart and I decided to turn it into a plant stand. Unfortunately half the plants are already looking pretty sad but I wanted to add some greenery and color to the space. 
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The finishing touches were this geometric table (similar), a portable fire pit, citronella candles and lanterns.
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Well there you have it! I'm so happy with how it turned out and we've already gotten a ton of use out of the space having friends over and even watching Twins games out on the deck. You can find me here until the first snowfall!

xo Catherine 

What I Wore to Work For a Month Part 2

July 22, 2019

I'm back with a summer version of What I Wore to Work For a Month! If you missed it, I first captured my monthly work looks back in January and February so I wanted to do a summer version as well so you could see how I dress for the hotter months at work. Like I mentioned last time, I work at a very casual advertising agency but I do like to look put together since I interact with clients on a regular basis. 

Middle: Similar blush ruffle skirt. Couldn't find a similar crop top but this floral top would pair really nicely with a blush skirt! Kelly & Katie nude sandal. Similar gold circle earrings.








As you can see I definitely have about three pairs of shoes that I wear on repeat and I was just starting to explore the headband trend last month. This was the first month that it was warm so I had fun putting together summer outfits for the first time in months and documenting them. It's actually so helpful to be able to go back and see what you wore and to get ideas for how you've styled things before. I find having photos to be really helpful and inspiring. Whenever I buy something new I like to try it on several different ways and take pictures so I can see what looks best. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this peak into my work outfits!

xo Catherine 

Favorite Recent Purchases

June 10, 2019

Today's post is a little all over the place but I wanted to share some random things that I've been loving lately! I can't quite put my finger on why but I've been feeling less and less inclined to share things on Instagram stories lately. I was talking to my girlfriends about this and said that I used to post on Instagram stories all the time and lately just haven't felt like sharing and have even become more self conscious about it. One of my friends pointed out that it could be that I posted a lot more frequently because I was living away from all of my friends and family so that's how I kept in touch was by posting more of my everyday life online. I think that was a really insightful point and could be applied both to social media and to the blog. When we were living in California I had way fewer social plans because I didn't have a ton of friends there so I was blogging and Instagramming more in my free time. Now that I'm back in MN and see friends and family frequently I haven't made sharing online that much of a priority. All this to say that these are some things that in the past I would have probably shared on IG stories but haven't so I wanted to put together a little roundup of my favorite recent purchases here!

My cordless vacuum. This is a game. changer. Our very cheap vacuum didn't make the trip to MN with us so I was on the hunt for something new. I really wanted a Dyson but couldn't justify shelling out hundreds of dollars so I decided to try this version since it had such good Amazon reviews and is only $120. Overall I really like it! The only issue is that every once in a while the battery won't last if I'm trying to vacuum the whole house at once. It can be kind of annoying when that happens but is way less annoying than a cord IMO so I'm happy with the tradeoff!

This gorgeous Tuckernuck scarf. You may remember a similar red scarf from last year (seen here) so when I saw this beautiful summery option come out I pre-ordered it right away and have already gotten so much use out of it!

Non-slip shoe grips. I don't know about you but a lot of the flats and sandals I buy have zero traction so I picked up these sticky grips that you put on the bottom. Et voilà: traction! Such a simple product but they're so helpful.

Spring tops. I realized that this was an area of my closet that was seriously lacking so I picked up this cute Swiss dot top and this linen button up in two colors! I wear one of these pretty much every week and want to pick up even more colors. I'm wearing the French blue in the picture above!

This Target palm print headband also pictured above. I was hesitant to join in on the headband trend for fear that it would look too juvenile but I couldn't pass up this adorable palm print option for only $15. I wore it to work last week and received so many compliments on it!

Natural dry shampoo. I've been trying to swap out my beauty products for natural options where possible. There are some things I'll never be able to give up but dry shampoo seemed like an easy enough product to swap out. I was previously using baby powder as dry shampoo which my old stylist pointed out is just talc. Needless to say, that made me want to switch things up since some studies have found talc linked to cancer. I bought this natural replacement and while it's more expensive than baby powder it lasts for a while and works really well. Pro-tip for applying dry shampoo: blast your hair with your blowdryer after you apply it. It helps it absorb and results in zero white residue! 

This book that has helped tremendously with my anxiety. I haven't mentioned this anywhere but when we flew to Florida in March I had a panic episode on the plane which has never happened before and I was completely unprepared for how to handle it. I think it was a combination of not being sure about my return travel plans, sitting in a middle seat and having to sit on the tarmac for an hour before we took off. It wasn't a full blown panic attack but needless to say it was not pleasant. That was the catalyst that lead me to finally find a therapist in MN. I am happy to say that I found someone I really like and she recommended this book which I have found extremely helpful. We flew to SF over Memorial Day weekend and because I had built it up so much in my head that I might feel panicked again I was very nervous for the flight. At the beginning of our flight to SF I was feeling on edge but was able to use some of the practices in this book to work through it and am happy to report that both flights ended up going very well! 

That seems like a good place to end things — hope you enjoyed! Funny how this roundup of recent products doubled as a little life update as well!

xo Catherine 

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