The Leggings List

One thing I like about blogging is that it allows me to organize my elaborate wishlist. I very much “curate” my possessions, even those as basic as a pair of leggings. Here is a roundup of leggings I have my eye on. (And, admittedly, I just ordered another pair from lamixx).

 

Back to Black
My first debate: Which pair of basic black leggings will prove superior? I hate to drop $100 on these three pairs, but I really can’t decided.

Tried and True by lamixx    $26
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I have probably bought a pair of these each year and I keep going back because I keep LOVING them. The thick fabric is soft and has shine instead of sheer. Downside: the thighs wear out (along the stitching, not through the fabric) and the waistband is minimal so I am always hiking them up. I realize that these may be problems only for curvy girls.

The Infamous Live In by Zella    $54
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Their name precedes them: the live in is supposed to be a flawless pair of leggings that you can just… live in. The secret to the Nordstrom brand Zella is that they have a former Lulu designer on their team. I am skeptical about the texture of the fabric, although the 3,100 reviews assure us that it is a thick and supportive fabric, and I wonder how true the shade of black is (the photo looks a little grey). I am really looking to live in my leggings, not just work out in them.

Essential by Lou and Grey     $24.50
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Another name implying that this pair is all we need. From a brand built on lounge and comfort, it’s worth a try.

New Year’s Sparkle
I’m thinking of ringing in the new year by matching the American symbol: the New Year’s ball. Then again, where would I really wear them and how much am I really willing to spend on leggings….

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Bronze

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Rose Dipped

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Disco 1

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Disco 2

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Disco 3

 

Powerhouse
Here are leggings I would (and do) actually workout in, and feel like a badass while doing it.

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Sweaty Betty

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Outdoor Voices

My Fall Recipe Playlist

Do you find your eating habits shift seasonally? If we’re not careful, that means sweets and chex mix all winter, doesn’t it? I had been drinking delicious green goddess smoothies since spring and then one day I woke up and it was so cold I couldn’t bear the thought of a frozen drink. That is probably the same day I started making soups and using only orange vegetables. Here are the fall recipes that I keep going back to.

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Avgolemono 
A greek lemon-dill soup that takes 15 minutes to whip together, and uses mostly handy ingredients. This soup is for when you are sick (or just cold), and is bright and reminiscent of summer. This can be made with chicken, but I have been using this recipe by Dinner a Love Story and skipping the meat. Next time I will try the heartier family recipe from Jojotastic, also using a vegetable base. The onion, celery, and carrot will give it a flavorful base. To make this a meal worth sharing, butter up some fresh sourdough and serve a crisp salad on the side.

 

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Corn Chile Chowder
This recipe calls for jalepeño, but I decided to add a little New Mexico heat with a load of green chile. Creamy and spicy, this chowder hit the spot. Tamp the heat with sweet cornbread and apple cider.

 

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Kale and Butterbeans
This has become a weekly default, for when I want to eat healthy and have warm comfort food. I add as much kale as I can stand, am generous with the lemon juice, and always skip the parmesan and optional eggs. We recently used up some breakfast sausage by adding it to the mix, and it was very good.

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
I made these because in college, I bought one of these from my favorite coffee shop like, every other day. This batch came out even better than my coffee shop inspiration- they were soft and fluffy on the inside, and the chocolate chips held their shape. Brown butter glaze is always good, but honestly, I could have skipped it and felt better about my breakfast habit!

 

 

 

For other ideas, consider these amazing sweet potato options: stew, noodles, and egg boats.

Coming soon: Stuffed and Curried Sweet Potato

In the mean time: The Meal that was SO Good I Forgot to Take Pictures

Sweater Wishlist

I have been so cold, lately! I guess the changing of seasons sort of snuck on me. As a result, I’ve been keeping tabs on the sweaters that I want the most… and I can’t afford any of them! I am looking for sweaters that are soft and not itchy, breathable but not flimsy. So, here are the sweaters I wish I had to keep me warm.

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The cashmere crew in donegal is a workhorse I would wear for years.

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I love how this cat print is a neutral and is a wild pattern at the same time.

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This is the emerald knit of my dreams. I have been looking for the perfect chunky/oversized/mossy sweater for years. This looks pretty close.

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This waffle knit looks like it has a little more structure than the sweater above, but… the one above is so fuzzy!!

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I love how slouchy and textured this yellow number is. It would be perfect for wearing on dreary days walking around at the museum.

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Loving the cross-back. My sister has this piece as a part of her going out capsule. How mad would she be if I bought one in the same color…?

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I am completely obsessed with Misha and Puffs popcorn sweater in confetti cake (and other amazing colors), and I can get behind their cause and would love to support the makers but I just cannot swing that price. I could buy a trip to the Caribbean for the cost of that sweater. I could buy all of the sweaters pictured above for that price! In my desperate longing for this unique puffy piece, I found these similar styles:

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A perfect pick for a teacher during the holidays… except that kindergarteners would have a field day with the pom-poms, not to mention my cat!

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This dusty pink one is a little more sophisticated than the festive one above. Both are simplified versions of the Misha & Puff, though, with pom-poms just stuck on the front, not knitted all around. Admittedly, this sweater is the closest to my price point.

 

I’m going to be honest. This post is an excuse for me to save all of my dream sweaters to one page, so that when I have some extra money to spend, I can go for it. Do you have a favorite sweater that never fails? There seem to be strong opinions about fabric and how great merino and cashmere are in the case against acrylic. What do you think?

Related: Fall Outfits in Three Moods

Engage

What is your favorite holiday? I think mine is Halloween. I hope you had a great one, full of spooks and treats. I have been feeling a little slow and dreary lately, and have definitely been dragging my feet here on the blog, with a pitiful 8 posts for the month of October! Thanks for sticking with me. I love this page, and want to keep building the momentum we’ve gained since its origin in March.

October was themed “discovery.” My words on the month were,

“October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.”

Ways I was an explorer in my own world:

-I did in fact wear those goldenrod heels and royal blue velvet clutch to the wedding. It was quite a statement. People were referring to me as “the girl in yellow shoes.”

-I tried something very intimidating and started teaching my middle school students how to play guitar. I also taught my intermediate students a Halloween dance that they performed today. And all of it was… okay. It’s been going well. So trying new things pays off.

-I have made a new habit shift and am not snacking incessantly every night. Tip for others trying to limit their snacks: turn the tv off. Find something else to do. I am playing music while I work tonight, and it provides comfort and company without encouraging me to check out for an hour. Rather, I feel more engaged.

-As frustrating as it has been, I have put a hold on personal spending so that I can provide health care for myself and my cat (who is having a hard time lately), so that I can kill my leftover summer debt, and so that I can by that stock I want and start an money market account. Most difficult, I am committing to a summer job, which will turn my normally blissful hot summer days into… a job.

As I look ahead to November, I am thinking of overused words like “self-care” and “presence.” Not that these aren’t important, but it feels like everyone is talking about it and no one is doing it? What do those things even mean? There is a spa down the street from my climbing gym, but the money I would spend there could buy me two personal training sessions. Is the gym my self care? I am so tired after climbing late at night. Should I be relaxing at home instead? But does that really make me feel better??

Those words are too vague to use as my theme, because I need clear direction in these long and dark months. So, my mantra for the month, both here and guiding my everyday practices, will be engage. I strive to be engaged in each task I commit to, and engaged in my life. At work, in my exercises, while I make music, with my partner, with my family. There are a lot of fun and loving ways to connect that I strive to practice this November.

Happy Halloween!
-K

 

The October Roundup:
Wake Me Up When September Ends?
Discovery
Reflections and Intentions
Fall Outfits in Three Moods
Four Things
Weekend Update
The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend
The Day After Friday the 13th

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The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend

Approaching the beginning of October, I reached out on Facebook to find all novels thriller and mystery. I love these genres but have barely scratched the surface! I was excited for the variety of recommendations my Facebook friend gave, and it was fun to see which books resonated with different people. So, courtesy of my acquaintances new and old, here is our October reading list.

All things Agatha Christie
-Lee

It seems one can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. I have not yet approached these standards of murder mystery! I found this Amazon author’s page helpful in exploring my options with Christie. Do you have a favorite book of hers?

Gillian Flynn: Sharp Objects and Dark Places
-Sara

We’ve all ready Gone Girl, right? I guess I finished the book and just sort of forgot about the author. I enjoyed the book, although sometimes all of the hype before the story leaves me a little let down after I finally finish it. One quality I like about these stories is how the truth of the crime stares you in the face the entire time, but the events throughout the story fill you with self-doubt. The answer to the mystery somehow sneaks up on you!

Gaslight Mysteries
-Christa

This murder mystery series has a midwife as a main character. Any time there is a midwife, you can expect a female centered plot. Bonus: the title of each book has “Murder” as the first word.

Double recommendation for Child 44
-Sara, seconded by Rikky

This Child 44 Trilogy must be incredible. The comment section below this recommendation left few details, just a strong insistence that I must read it. There is also a movie? Somehow this is my first time hearing about the books or movie!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
-Sean

Amazon tells me that devout fans of the show might not love the books. But then again, most people who read a book first always hate the tv version. A freaky book to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Final Girls
-Kate

Kate says “I just finished Final Girls and it was the best book I’ve read in 2017. There were so many wonderful twists and turns. I had no idea whodunit until they revealed it. I read a lot of mystery and thriller so I like to think I’m good at this. Trust me you will enjoy it. It’s the perfect end of summer, beginning of Halloween season read. If you read it lemme know your thoughts!! I’ve been dying to talk about it.” I’m sold.

Tony and Anne Hillerman Books
-Bethany

These books will transport you to the stillness of the west and the sinister mood of not knowing who in your small, close-knit community can be trusted. This police procedural models the inefficiency of “the system,” and the need to keep your bits about you at all times. I ready Skinwalkers just after moving back from out west, and the spooky superstitions are told with the candidness any Navajo will tell these tales with.

 

 

 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or, On the Segregation of the Queen
-My recommendation

A Mary Russell novel, the first book of this series introduces Sherlock Holmes and his partner, not sidekick, but partner in solving mystery. I retired-ish Holmes takes on only cases than interest him, and starts the novel guiding and teaching Ms. Russell. By the end, she is able to keep up, and even wins a few matches of chess against the infallible Sherlock.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series
-My recommendation

The Millennium trilogy is by far my favorite series of books I have ever read. Larson’s writing is captivating, and the main character Salander is such a badass. If you enjoyed the movie, Swedish or English, trust me, you won’t be able to put these books down. I do like the new books, continuing the series under a different pen. They don’t have quite the same impact on me as the originals, though.

All of Ruth Ware’s books
-Recommended by Sara and seconded by me!

I have become such an intense fan of Ruth Ware and everything that she has written. I loved “In a Dark, Dark, Wood,” but I was addicted to “The Woman in Cabin 10.” Ware’s characters are ferociously independent, but the events that lead them to risk are so relatable. A bachelorette party, a work trip, a high school reunion. We all pretty much do all of those things at some point, and they are usually considered safe and pleasant experiences. After finishing “The Woman in Cabin 10,” the gruesome murder of Kim Wall was discovered. I couldn’t get over it because I had just finished this book and been living in the mindset of the protagonist, a journalist who is kidnapped my a murderous owner of the ship. Ruth Ware’s books are almost too real.

 

Thanks to all of the recommendations, friends! Do you have any favorites that I missed?

 

Related: A Collection of Book Lists
Related: True Crime

Four Things

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I think everyone should try their own Face the Foliage project in the spirit of changing leaves and all things fall. What a good opportunity to take a mindful walk and make art.

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This sweet potato round-up is seriously good. I’m between these tempting noodles with cashew sauce (?!) and the sweet potato peanut stew. Yeah. Sweet potato peanut stew.

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My next read, if only to watch the movie after.

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I can’t stop watching these mesmerizing animations of Nigerian hairstyles. What a cool art project.

 

Fall Outfits in Three Moods

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The Look: Alpine Meadow

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The Essentials:  A floral dress in the colors of your soft clutch and bright pumps

The Mood: Energized

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The Look: Franco Feet

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The Essentials: A graphic sweater and ankle pants with french loafers and subtle textured socks in velvet or sheer

The Mood: Mysterious

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The Look: Urban Witch

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The Essentials: Purchase this rare celestial shirt and pair it with raw-hem denim. Find delicate gold charm-like jewelry to make this ensemble sophisticated, not angsty.

The Mood: Powerful

 

Reflections and Intentions

Reflections
-Kept my boyfriend’s birthday gift a secret for a whole month and surprised him with a kayaking trip through downtown Chicago!
-Kept eating right, kept exercising, kept losing weight.
-Took a sick day and felt better for it. It’s hard to know when you are really sick and when rest will fix it. Hint: rest will always fix it.

Intentions
-Schedule group personal training and other exercise opportunities (read: hiking, dancing) for the upcoming months
-Stay one day ahead of schedule so flying to a wedding this weekend is zero stress
-Really, TRULY stay up to date on the blog

Intended
-meet my blog goals. Sorry for the inconsistency, guys!
-My Climb Like a Girl program is almost over. I need to set a new personal challenge.

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Discovery

I really enjoy the personal challenge that comes with each new theme. September was all about resiliency, which translated for me as a strength and firmness. I am excited to learn and evoke more playfulness with October’s theme: Discovery.

October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.

October brings instant thoughts of festivals and Halloween. A month of celebration and adventure, people from all walks of life partake in a bit of blatant paganism. Expect a post on the vital relationship between women and their personal witchiness. It’s coming.

My personal resolutions for discovery including learning something new, trying on a new viewpoint or lifestyle, and trying something I think I don’t like (swimming, pickles, etc.).

Expect invigorating challenges, new things, whimsical stories, and the expected spookiness on the blog this October.

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Wake Me Up When September Ends?

I feel like I sort of blacked out during the month of September. Everything started out fine, and is still fine really, but I lost my focus. I stayed busy and did what I needed to do, but this blog definitely fell back in priority.

Kudos to your readership, though, because we maintained our following with only 11 posts in the month. I am working to maintain some regularity with posts throughout October. I have a lot of great drafts in the works and hope to publish them in the coming weeks. Thank you for sticking with me!

September’s theme was resiliency. Here were some of my early September thoughts on the topic.

I can be resilient.

Resilience requires constance. A commitment to one way- the harder way, usually. I commit to a job that makes me weary but brings the weary up. I commit to food I need even if it’s not the food that I want. I commit to moving when all I want to do is be still.

I think that is how to be resilient. Commit to a few hard things.

I am happy to say that, now in October, I did these things. I started some ass-kicking weight training, I went outdoor rock climbing, my boyfriend and I kayaked through downtown Chicago. Oh, and I lost 10 pounds and counting. It’s been a strengthening month.

Here is a collection of posts from this month on the theme of resilience:
Strategies for Resilience
Learning to Ride a Bike
5 Rules for Your Side Hustle
Game Changing Workout Gear
On Female Friendship
What I Ate in 10 Days

Thanks for sticking with me!

Related: The Best of August on The Wonder Of

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