OOTD: Kate Spade Morocco Spring Faves - Part Three!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The last installment of my kate spade Morocco collection favorites is here!

Perfect timing too since EVERYTHING Morocco is part of the sale on sale that's going on right now!  It's currently a whole extra 30% off all markdowns at kate spade.  Usually, sale on sales are only an extra 25%, so if you've been eyeing something up, act now!

This kate spade Pom Sweater was one of the highly anticipated items from the Morocco collection for me.  It's really light, so you can definitely wear it in the spring/summer even though it's technically a "sweater."  But do be careful with those poms!  It's on sale right now, so you'd get that extra 30% too!

The kate spade High Waisted jeans are a wash of denim that I love.  They're actually pretty soft too.  They run a little small though, but are currently my go-to pair!

You've seen my striped kate spade Dellie Wedges before.  I wasn't lying when I said they match everything! They're part of the sale on sale as well.

This kate spade mahogany colored Byrdie was from last summer/fall.  I'm still obsessed with the color, and I have no problem wearing just about any color at any time of year.  As long as it goes with what I'm wearing!  The Byrdie is an amazing crossbody.  Even though you can't order it in this color anymore, it comes in a slew of other great shades.  My current fave is the Make it Mine style, where you can switch up the flap on the front and the crossbody strap.

I just had to mention my phone case, even though it's not kate, it's Draper James!  I thought "sweet talkin thing" was the perfect saying to put on my phone.  It's actually my first Draper James purchase.

Well thanks for joining me through this three part Morocco OOTD series!

If you missed my last two spring faves posts, find them right here!


My Favorite Books of Spring

Monday, June 12, 2017

I read a little less than I would have liked to this spring because my graduation cap Etsy business was in full swing.  I felt guilty doing anything but that in my free time.  In hindsight, I probably would have benefited from setting aside a little more time for myself.  Oh well, there's always next year.

I still finished three books, which seems like an adequate amount to write a post about!  But since we're being honest, I should tell you that I actually listened to these books.  I'm a huge fan of podcasts, audiobooks, and things I can listen to while I'm doing other my makeup in the morning.  I like to multitask when I can and let's face it, when you're reading a book, you can pretty much only do that.  (Ironically, I am currently reading a book on why you shouldn't multitask. But more on that next month!)

I use the Overdrive app to listen to audiobooks from the library! Sometimes you have to wait a little for the book you want, but other times you do not.  Either way, FREE IS GOOD.

Of course, I only like to listen to certain types of books.  I like to physically read novels and I don't mind listening to self-help type books or celeb memoirs (because they're always read by the actual person writing them!)

I should note - I started to actually read about 5 other books.  But I do this thing where I feel really inspired to start a book, and then it sits with one chapter read until 6 months later when I pick it back up to finish it!  Lauren Graham's book Talking as Fast as I Can, How to Speak Midwestern, and Hamilton: The Revolution are all part of this category.  Some are read a bit further than others.  Not that they aren't all great, because I can tell they are, but it's just my thing.  Allllll part of the process.  Hahaha.

Books I Actually Finished:

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

I love Master of None on Netflix.  While I waited for the second season, I decided to listen to Aziz Ansari's book.  Expecting it to be a typical celebrity memoir (which I generally like), it was much different!

This book was more of a well-researched account of romance in the modern age.
It had lots of examples and was very up-to-date!  He talked about arranged marriage and some strangely novel ways that people used to find their spouse back in the olden days (think - classified ads).  There was also a ton of findings about the current trends of internet dating, social media, and sexting.

It was a good book for me because I like to learn about the way people interact/communicate and why.  This was exactly that, but focused on romantic relationships.  I liked it!

This particular book was MUCH better listened to than it would have been read.  If you are a fan of his, you know his voice.  And it is very enjoyable to listen to him explain all of his research and stories in his own voice.  Unless you find his voice annoying which is entirely possible, but I personally do not.

Favorite Quotes & Passages:

On dating today as opposed to dating 20 years ago:
"The tools we have to find our soulmates are incredible.  We aren't limited to just the bing bongs who live in our building.  We have online dating that gives us access to millions and millions of bing bongs all around the world."

On online dating (and new-fangled things in general):
"What seems insane to one generation often ends up being the normal to the next."

On social media:
"I'd say it makes it easier to cheat, but it doesn't make it harder to be faithful."

On the findings of his research:
"Finding someone to date is probably more complicated and stressful than it was for previous generations, but you're also more likely to end up with someone you're really excited about."

On the current generation of daters:
"We want a soulmate and we are willing to look very far, for a very long time to find one."

The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner 

I truly cannot remember where this book was recommended to me or why.  
If you're not into self-help at all, skip this one.

But like I said, I like learning about why people do and say things the way that they do.  This book is tailored to romantic relationships, but can easily be adapted to any type of relationship.  There are spousal conflicts, parent-child conflicts, etc that are all used as real-life examples in this book.

Anger kind of fascinates me because it's honestly a feeling I don't experience that often.  Thank goodness. But I am not immune to it, so I wanted to learn about it from an expert.  I find it interesting that some people deal with their anger by confronting the problem directly (and potentially...loudly) and that others draw back from the situation completely and take a more passive aggressive approach.  And there are about a million other responses people can have that are between those two extremes.

This book also focuses on WHY a situation can anger a particular person in the first place.  I learned that if someone gets angry, it probably has less to do with you and more with a deeper issue that they're dealing with or something they're afraid to face.  For example: Maybe you're reaching for greater independence and they're uncomfortable with that.

Note:  I had to listen to this at 1.5x the normal speed.  I listen to most things at this speed.  This woman spoke wayyyyy too slowly.  
Side bar - According to my dad, I speak at 1.5x the normal speed.

Favorite Quotes & Passages:

On family relationships:
"As we become more independent, we learn more about our family members, not less.  And we are able to share more about ourselves."

On dealing with people:
"Trying to change another person is a solution that never never works."

On using arguments to protect us from positive change:
"Repeating the same old fights, the same old patterns, protects us from experiencing the anxieties we are bound to experience when we make a change."
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

I'm somewhat of a Drew Barrymore fan, but never really knew much about her personal life.

If you've been paying attention to her life, you probably already know that she grew up with very little parental guidance and was emancipated by age 14.  Other fun facts: She and her bff Nancy (Jimmy Fallon's wife) have their own production company, Flower Films.  She asked Adam Sandler to work with her for the first time via a handwritten note delivered to his office.  She once drove her Bronco through a gate on Sunset Boulevard on New Years Eve (on purpose, they had parties to get to).

She's a good storyteller, and this was another book that was more fun to listen to when read in the author's voice!  (Still...I listened to it at 1.5x.)

It's a cute book.  If you're a fan of hers and looking for a beach read or something, I'd say go for it.  But I have read better celeb memoirs.

Favorite Quotes & Passages:

On dealing with the struggles in life:"I love my life and it takes every step to get where you are.  And if you are happy, then God bless the hard times it took you to get there.  No life is without them, so what are yours and what did you do with the lessons?"

That's all for now!

As usual, I love hearing book recommendations you have for me.
I love every kind of book, but am specifically looking for novels to read this summer.


OOTD: Kate Spade Morocco Spring Faves - Part Two!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Welcome to Part Two of my favorite pieces from the kate spade Morocco collection!

These were the shorts that I had been patiently awaiting.  I knew they would be coming once the March theme of camels launched!  Of course, it's definitely not shorts weather in Wisconsin in March, so I had to wait quite a while before I was able to unveil these for the first time!  Paired with my Darcy handbag in saffron, they are definitely a match made in Morocco.  Enjoy!

kate spade Embroidered Camel Shorts // kate spade Robson Lane Darcy (no longer available online, but similar here and here) // kate spade Imani Sandals (old from last year, but these remind me of them style-wise) // Target Who What Wear Ruffle Blouse (old from last year, but here's a similar one from this year) // Forever 21 Crochet Floral Choker

Like I said, I absolutely love these kate spade Embroidered Camel Shorts.  ALTHOUGH...I do wish they were actually embroidered.  It's in their name, for heaven's sake.  The camels are screen-printed.  I knew in advance, and it didn't deter me from wanting them, but they should really change the product title as not to confuse people.  To me, embroidery means a higher quality piece of apparel.  Nonetheless, I will be wearing the heck out of these this summer.  The tassels hanging from the bottom are my favorite part!

This kate spade Darcy handbag was the bag I bought for my New York trip in March.  I'm very into its color, saffron, that was rolled out in March.  And I clearly have a thing for tassels.  And here comes another big "ALTHOUGH" ...This bag is suede.  It was totally unexpected for me, because it definitely wasn't listed on the website.  And the Darcy that we had in the store I work in was a very soft leather that I definitely would have preferred (due to durability/wearability, mostly).  So that's pretty much what I expected from this one.  I wasn't mad when it arrived (I ordered it from another store to be delivered to my house), but I have never had a suede handbag and probably would have given the purchase a second thought if I had known.  It was a very expensive handbag...  I still wanted to carry it during my New York trip, and the back of it ended up getting pretty badly stained with denim dust even though I used Michael Kors Protect & Renew on it beforehand.  I still am obsessed with the look of this bag, but will probably never buy suede again.  At least in a light color.

The black ruffle top was something I grabbed from the clearance section of Target last summer!  It was super cheap.  It was from the Who What Wear collection too, which I'm a huge fan of.

I picked up the crocheted white floral choker at the Forever 21 at Times Square.  I'm surprised it's still available, but I'm glad I was able to link it!  I have been saving it for a summery look because again, it hasn't really been warm in Wisconsin until very recently.  But it's super cute and I look forward to wearing it with all kinds of things this summer!

The kate spade Imani sandals were my go-to shoes last summer.  I wish they were still available to link for you, but I did link the Central sandals which are a very similar style.  They're a lot more colorful though!  The Imanis were and are great because they match pretty much everything.  I usually would wear black shoes with an outfit like this, but that saffron color in the shorts/bag was a tone that made wearing brown seem okay to me.  Disagree with me if you must, but I think it was the right choice!  Black would have bored me. 

I have one more part to the Morocco collection, and then we are moving on to Mexico!  
Stay tuned!


OOTD: Kate Spade Morocco Spring Faves - Part One!

Monday, May 29, 2017

This spring, kate spade went Moroccan!  

"this whole year, we’re celebrating a global world. there’s so much to see and to learn beyond our desks and homes. it’s full of natural wonders, vintage treasures, and creative minds. travel sparks our imagination, feeds our curiosity and reminds us how much we all have in common."
-Deborah Lloyd, President & Chief Creative Officer

With tassels, camels, and pom poms galore, everything was inspired by the culture and glamour of Morocco.  I have to say it has been one of my favorite collections so far, and I can't wait to travel through Mexico, France, and Russia throughout the rest of the year!  Even though it was imagined with Morocco in mind, the looks are all easy enough to adapt to our weather over here in the Midwest!

I'm going to spend a few posts highlighting my favorite looks from each collection!
Starting with an amazingly springy saffron colored dress and colorful berber striped wedges.

Kate Spade Eyelet Patio Dress // Kate Spade Multi Color (Berber Stripe) Dellie Wedges // Kate Spade White Set in Stone Enamel Hinged Bangle // Alex & Ani Charm Bangles // Forever 21 Daisy Earrings (old) // Charming Charlie Bow Crossbody (old, similar in gold linked here)

This patio dress is an amazing color and I can't wait to wear it this summer!   I just love the detail in the fabric and the tassels that hang from the collar.  The dress also comes with a cord with tassels to tie around the waist, but I just grabbed a skinny brown belt that came from another dress to spice it up a little.  PS: It's on sale right now (and if you go RIGHT NOW as in TONIGHT, you can get an extra 25% off the sale price!)

Just as my brown kate spade Imani wedges were my go-to last year, these new striped Dellie wedges are going to be on my feet at all times this year!  So many colors!

For accessories, I put on these giant daisy studs and my usual stack of arm candy.  For a purse, I tucked the gold chain strap of this maroon crossbody away and used it as a clutch.  (I actually have this bag in multiple colors... Couldn't get enough of it!)

Hope you enjoyed this springtime look and that you come back for more tomorrow!


Fresh and New Bridesmaid & Bride-to-Be Gift Guides!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

It's wedding season!

I bet you know at least one person who is getting married this summer.  Either that, or you could be the bride yourself!  There are so many obvious trends in gift-giving for both the bride and bridesmaids that you've most likely seen ad nauseam over the last few years.  Some are old classics and some could definitely use a refresher!  I've created two gift guides to help you along if you are looking for new ideas.  These are some of my favorites for pre-wedding, during the wedding, and post-wedding.

For the Bride

1) Forever Ever Cake Topper - The perfect addition to the cake at her bridal shower!
2) White Marble Monogram Cheese Board - With her new last initial.
3) I Got This Lip Balm - Because the big day is going to be a breeze!
4) Pair of Vow Journals - Matchy-matchy notebooks for them to inscribe their vows!  They say, "how do I love thee" and "let me count the ways."
5) His, Hers, & Ours Decanter Set - For an ice cold old libation after the party is over.
6) Wedding Belles Cake Clutch - She has to have something festive to carry all the necessities!
7) Future Mrs Headband - A must-have for the bachelorette!
8) Say Yes "Mrs" Necklace - The perfect accessory.
9) Balinese Carved Wood Hanger - To get that shot of the dress before she puts it on.
10) Philosophy Here Comes the Bride Skincare Set - To walk down the aisle feeling fresh and clean!
11) Diamond Ring Oven Mitt Set - So she can show off the bling even when she's hungry!
12) White Glitter Keds - She'll thank you once the dance party begins!
13) Bride Tunic Tee - For getting ready.
14) With This Ring Holder - A ring dish for her armoire!
15) The New-Fashioned Wedding - For during the planning process, styling inspo!
16) Passport Holder - For wherever they're going post-nuptials!
18) Happily Ever After Metro Watch - Happily ever after starts now!
19) His & Hers Luggage Tags - For the honeymoon getaway.

For the Bridesmaids

1) Toasting Notes Journal - You've asked her to give a speech, now give her somewhere to write it down!
2) Wake Me For Mimosas Sleep Mask - For the morning before, but especially the one after.
3) Maid of Honor List Tunic Tee - For the champagne pourer, dress holder, hug giver, cheerleader, speech professional.
4) Swell Turquoise Water Bottle - Their own something blue, for when they're parched!
5) Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick - The best of the best lipstick, so they all match!
6) Why You're My Bestie Journal - She's your BFF, fill it out and let her know why.
7) Pinch Provisions Coffee Kit - Post-breakfast kit, just in case!
8) Personalized Champagne Flutes - Mimosas, duh.
9) Cozy Slippers - No cold feet around here.
10) Pizza Best Friend Necklaces - A slice for me and a slice for all of you!
11) Bridesmaid Card Set - You're the hocus to my pocus, the lovey to my dovey, the topsy to my turvy, the itsy to my bitsy, the knick to my knack, the zig to my zag, so... Will you be my bridesmaid?
12) Sonix Portable Charger - This one's for later on in the night.
13) Bon Ami Bottle Opener - Someone's gotta pop those bottle caps!


Midwest Mermaid Travels: Best Lodging, Sights to See, & Foodie Finds In Pensacola Beach, FL!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Just as it began to cool off in Wisconsin last fall, my family hopped on a plane to the Florida panhandle.  Throughout my entire life, we have managed to vacation there just about every other year.  When I say my family, what I actually mean is almost my entire extended family.  More details on how to successfully plan a 20+ person vacay in another post!  

During our stay, we usually spend a day or two in Pensacola Beach before moving to the more remote Navarre Beach.  We have some old favorites that we always visit, but I'm always down to try new places.  So that's what we did!  There are obviously going to be tons of other options for places to stay and things to do, but these recommendations are all based on my personal experiences.

Where to Stay

Margaritaville Beach Hotel

The weekend we arrived in Florida, we stayed at the amazing Margaritaville Beach Hotel.  You walk into a crisp, clean, and white lobby and immediately get a sense of luxury!  All the decor is island themed and the words painted on the walls spell out lyrics to Jimmy Buffett songs.  You definitely will feel like you are residing in an island paradise during your stay.

Accommodations:  Our rooms definitely kept to the clean white theme.  The freshly made beds were like fluffy white clouds.  Our view was that of the Santa Rosa Sound (basically the bay.)  That means that on which ever side you stay, you will either get a view of the Gulf of Mexico or the Sound!  And get this - at Margaritaville, you actually have room to take a comfortable shower!  The bathroom in general is pretty roomy, unlike many other hotel bathrooms I have encountered.  Extra: the robes and their bath products are excellent perks.  Another plus for staying at Margaritaville:  You can also get a shuttle to and from the boardwalk if you want!  Great for going out at night.

Food:  My favorite part of Margaritaville was probably the delicious food they have at their restaurant, Frank & Lola's.  Like the Jimmy Buffett song, where Frank and Lola honeymoon in Pensacola.  Both the breakfast and the dinner were awesome.  I mean, you know the usual caliber of mediocre hotel food (I'm thinking of the WI Dells)...totally not the case here!  We all were so happy with the food and I would definitely come back to eat at Frank & Lola's even if I wasn't staying at Margaritaville.  I have especially fond memories of one seafood filled omelet (shrimp, crawfish, etc) was divine.

Pool:  A crucial amenity of any hotel, in my opinion.  The pool area at Margaritaville is super chill and really relaxing!  At least it was when we were there, which was September.  I'm sure if you travel there at a peak tourist time it's a lot more crowded.  But when we visited, it was lovely.  They have the Poolside Tiki Bar where we got, you guessed it, margaritas.  They also had someone playing guitar which was very fitting for the island vibe.

Beach:  You get a nice beach entry to the Gulf of Mexico right from the lobby of Margaritaville!  You just walk down the stairs and you're ready for a day of fun in the sun.  You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas if you want, but we didn't.  It's also a five minute walk from the Pensacola fishing pier, which you can walk all the way down to get nice views of the beach.

We had a great experience at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel and I know you will too!

Where to Eat

Peg Leg Pete's

I can't say I've ever visited Pensacola Beach without eating at Peg Leg Pete's at least once!  Their excellent selection of seafood keeps us coming back.  I always order shrimp (which is my favorite food by the way, in all its forms), so Peg Leg's is the perfect place for me.  We also ordered the grouper sandwich, which you can get either chargrilled or blackened.  We chose blackened, and in that case it is topped with cajun sauce, lettuce, and tomato.  Seriously good.  I have fond memories coming here even as a kid, where I'd order shrimp that would come to me in a souvenir sand pail.  

Red Fish Blue Fish

I have only good things to say about Red Fish Blue Fish!  And I have to add the final line of their slogan and Instagram handle, @yumfishchewfish.  Clever.  A bright and colorful ambience and the most aweeeesome baked oysters.  I had originally ordered oysters for myself, but liked them so much that we ordered the oyster trio to share: spinach and lump crab, cajun sriracha, and jalapeño bacon cheddar.  My fave was the jalapeño bacon cheddar, which is totally something a Wisconsinite would say.  We also tried the tropical fish tacos which were delicious as well.


Flounder's has been a fave of my family's for stopping for a drink and dessert.  You'll find it on the boardwalk.  Their Diesel Fuel is as lethal as it sounds.  My limit is one.  But you can choose from a ton of different tropical flavors!  Or the classic, which actually looks like it could be diesel fuel.  They also have amazing key lime pie.  It's actually three slices of pie on top of one another, so I would suggest sharing.

Carmen's Lunch Bar
(NOT a spot in Pensacola Beach, but in downtown Pensacola.  This was a restaurant we stopped at on our way out of town at the end of our trip!)

Carmen's Lunch Bar was probably my favorite meal while in Florida.  That's saying a lot because I had so many great meals!  At Carmen's, we ordered three menu options.  The Spanish crab cazuela, which was jumbo lump crab, chorizo sausage, manchego cheese, lemon, saffron, and arugula.  The Spanish crab melt sandwich, which was the same thing as the crab cazuela, except served open faced.  The Strocatto pie was slow-roasted beef, sugar snaps, and carrot-whipped potatoes, baked sheppard's pie style.  The iced tea was delicious, I think it was orange and ginger.

Things to See

Fort Pickens

Fact: Fort Pickens was the largest fort to defend Pensacola Bay and the only fort in the South that was never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War.  It's basically ruins now, but definitely worth checking out!  We had initially stopped at there to watch the Blue Angels fly, but they had unfortunately rescheduled to a different day of the week.  We decided on our way out to stop at the pristine piece of national seashore called Langdon Beach.  It was practically vacant (besides a few wandering jellyfish).  Picturesque!

The Boardwalk

I always try to make a stop at the Pensacola Beach boardwalk as soon as I get into town.  Can't pass up the chance to get a picture in the big shell!  But there are lots of cute little boutiques there too and souvenir shops.  I've been going to Alvin's Island since I can remember, and they pretty much still have the same merchandise as they did when I first started going.  Did you need a Pensacola Beach koozie or seashell keychain with your name on it?  You've come to the right place.

Well, that's all for now!

There's obviously tons more to do in Pensacola Beach, but this was all I could squeeze in during my short time there!  Stay tuned for another blog post about the main portion of the trip, at Navarre Beach!

Have you ever traveled to Pensacola Beach?  Let me know of any go-to spots for next time!

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