November ’19 Outfit Round-Up

November ’19 Outfit Round-Up

Shopping via links is hard. Trust me, I am also a human who likes to buy from people she is influenced by on the Internet. So in attempts to make it easier to shop my outfits, I am instituting a new monthly blog post where I do a round-up of all my outfits from the month so you can easily shop them from your browser. So in no particular order, here we go!

For reference, I am usually a size 16/18 in dresses, 20 in pants, and almost exclusively a 1X in anything Anthropologie.

what is art?

{ jacket: Jessica London faux fur jacket, booties: Comfortview Henley booties, dress: old Forever 21, but linking a similar dress from Torrid}

i want a hot dog real bad

{top: Anthropologie Mallory ruffled blouse, headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, black jeggings: Sanctuary classic leggings, shoes: Target platform wedges}

comfy cozies

{top: Chic Soul slouchy tunic, leggings: Universal Standard core leggings, slippers: Lands’ End shearling slippers}


{headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, dress: Eshakti ruffle floral cotton dress, shoes: Target booties}


{entire work out outfit: Fabletics}

glam casual

{hat: red beanie,  jacket: Jessica London 3-in-1 puffer, top: Jessica London metallic shirt, black jeggings: Sanctuary classic leggings, booties: Comfortview Henley booties}

holiday look

{barrettes: Quarters & Caviar pearl & geometric barrettes, sweater: Jessica London faux fur-trim sweater, boots: Ivana Wide-Calf Boot by Comfortview}

my winter in FL look

{headband: Ann Taylor velvet knotted headband, dress: Anthropologie ruffled tunic dress by Rossi}

car not included

{top: confetti chenille sweater, skirt: GibsonLook pink pleated skirt, shoes: velvet flats – these are old and from the Gap, but I found some cute ones from DSW that are similar}

swingin’ into the holidays

{headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, jumpsuit: Eshakti stripe matte jumpsuit}

bye fall

{top: Amazon Relipop loose sweater, pants: Old Navy pixie pants in leopard, shoes: Target platform wedges}

How to Throw an Effortless Friendsgiving with HoneyBaked

How to Throw an Effortless Friendsgiving with HoneyBaked

I am someone who loves entertaining. Got that from my momma (and my papa!). The worst part of entertaining to me is the prep for it. Some parts are exciting – like decor and table settings and a theme! – but prepping food for me has always been my least favorite part of hosting an event since it takes time away from hanging out with my own party guests!


This past weekend, I hosted a Friendsgiving with my friend Terri at her condo since she has an amazing dining room table, but it turned out to be pretty effortless so let me take you through what made it pretty easy for us and how you too can throw an effortless Friendsgiving for you and your friends.

  1. Outsource. 

Some years when my parents were hosting a LOT of people for a holiday dinner they would cater part of the dinner. They loved making the main course, but buying sides from a catering company helped cut down the level of effort they had to make and in the process, they got to enjoy their own party a lot more. This year I wanted to host a Friendsgiving but I didn’t want to have to miss half the party because I was in the kitchen cooking which was why when The Honey Baked Ham Company wanted to partner I was thrilled! I knew they had fully cooked entrees that were easy to heat up and serve, but I didn’t know about the many entrees they have as well that also heat and serve ready. In fact, they have 10 different sides that you can pick from!

We got the Honey Baked Turkey Breast, which serves 6-8, as well as six different sides for such a reasonable price. Not only did it cut our cooking time in half (maybe more!), but it saved us money too.

If you’d like to replicate this meal, I have a special code for you to get savings on a Honey Baked Turkey Breast.



2. Plan a smart menu. 

When we planned out our menu, we tried to pick as many of The Honey Baked Ham items that had the same oven temperature and baking times so that we could serve a hot meal! When you live in a small space this is a key way to menu plan! Luckily, a lot of the HoneyBaked sides could go into the oven together.


3. Set your table the night before. 

I do this even when I’m just having a few people over for cocktails and apps. Get out all the bowls, serving dishes, glasses, and decor the night before and set it all up without the food out. That way you only need to focus on getting ready before your guests get there. If you’re anything like me you are waiting until the very last minute to get in the shower!


4. Pinterest is your BFF. 

When putting together table decor, I always turn to Pinterest to inspire me. Since I was hosting the party with someone else, I created a decor board and then shared with her to see which ones she liked the best and then we pulled different ideas from each of the ones we both liked to create our table! Pro tip: shop NOW for your Thanksgiving tabletop decor. Everything is on MAJOR sale since Halloween is over and people are very much in Christmas mode. We got most of the things on our table from Michael’s and Pier 1 for almost 80% off.

We had the best time at our Friendsgiving celebration because of the time we saved with HoneyBaked. We truly put in the minimal effort for such an amazing time and delicious food. I highly recommend turning to The Honey Baked Ham Company for your Friendsgiving needs. They really hit the spot for us!

This post is sponsored by The Honey Baked Ham Company. Views and opinions are my own.

How Instagram Took Me On a Journey To Love My Body

How Instagram Took Me On a Journey To Love My Body

The first time I ever remember someone telling me I was fat, I was probably 9 or 10 years old and we were at a birthday party at the local high school’s pool. It was a popular girl’s birthday party and I remember feeling really cool that I got invited, but that often happened because my best friend was gorgeous and every boy liked her and every girl wanted to be her. I was her sidekick. I was shy, and apparently “fat”.

I had gone to the locker room to change out of my swimsuit and into my clothes and as I was coming out I overheard the birthday girl telling everyone that I was fat. I don’t remember any other detail than that, but that was the first time I thought, “oh you’re not like these girls.”

Looking back on this it’s easy to know why this girl said what she said. At age 10, I had gotten my period. My body had started to change much sooner than these girls’s bodies had. They were all straight as arrows because they weren’t going through puberty, but I was. I had boobs, tiny but there. I had the starting of a curvy body and she had none of that. I’m not saying she was jealous. I’m saying she probably was just pointing out the obvious – my body was changing and theirs wasn’t but as a 10-year old kid all you hear is, “I am ugly.”

This moment and many others shaped how I looked at myself for years. All I wanted to do was be small like the other girls so that boys would like me and I could wear the clothes they did. I’m sure this is what led my mom to take me to dieticians and let go on Weight Watchers in high school when, to be honest, I wasn’t eating badly AT ALL. I was a super healthy kid (minus the stray pop tart + Cherry Coke breakfast I made a ritual my freshman year). My dad required us to play sports year-round so I was constantly working out and my mom made us lunch and dinner most nights so it wasn’t like I was living at McDonald’s.

The summer before college, I was determined to be “skinny” for my new life. I did Weight Watchers and drank a V8 juice for breakfast, ate a bagel for lunch, and then salads for dinner. Not healthy at allllll, but I lost weight and went to college probably the skinniest I had been in my teen years. I promptly gained it all back my freshman year and deemed myself fat and ugly again.

From then on I think I just resigned myself to the fact that this was who I was, but not in a good body-positive way. More of a welp, this is what you get so eat whatever you want and who cares kind of way. It didn’t help that I was depressed because my mom had recently passed away so add in those factors and my body took a real back seat.

When I moved back to Chicago, my dad could tell that the one thing that kept me from being truly happy was what I thought was the elephant in the room: my weight. He offered to get me a trainer and I worked with Ron consistently for months and I did lose weight but I also felt stronger and I loved it. I was back to not exactly eating healthy though. Not on Weight Watchers, but def limiting myself to very little calories and then binging on late-night food. I never really thought of myself having an eating disorder, but looking back on it I definitely did and still do struggle with my relationship with food. Since I consistently work out or have bouts of time where I work out a lot, I have always been able to keep myself more or less within a certain weight or dress/pant size.

My 20s were a time of insane self-consciousness mainly because I was the biggest I had ever been in my life even with the training and weight loss. I was constantly thinking I wasn’t good enough because I was bigger than my friends. Going to stores and realizing I didn’t fit in anything there. Online dating and no one attempting to talk to you. It can be so demoralizing and can put you in such a bad headspace. Not really seeing anyone in the media and  I would have to take breaks from dating constantly because it would get to be too much – being seen as a fetish, guys meeting you and instantly feeling you could see their disgust on their faces, or not even getting messages at all.

Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t this like cloud of darkness over me. I’ve always been a pretty confident person outwardly. Most of my struggle is internal and people have always remarked about how confident I was. That underlying tone being like, “Oh, you’re so confident…since you’re a big girl.” Despite that, I knew I was smart. I knew I was funny. I knew people tended to like me. I knew I had things to bring to the table other than my weight. I knew I was pretty, but I also knew I wasn’t “hot”. Or at least what the media deemed “hot”.

I joined Instagram like most people did back in 2010 to take artsy pictures of things around me and, of course, my food. As it evolved into something bigger and people began using it as a way to monetize, I thought hey I could do that and started to take more pictures of my food and of things to do around Chicago. I started sharing stories and my outfits and people reacted to them so alarmingly positive that I started sharing more of my face on my profile.

I didn’t even know about the body positivity movement and barely followed any plus size bloggers until later. I don’t know how I started following Mindy of @mindycityy but I did and I went to an event at Eloquii and I just felt seen. All these confident plus size women in one room chatting and being confident and being STYLISH. I wanted more of it.

I started doing style shots and sharing more of my looks and got such positive reinforcement that I kept doing more and more and more. And finally I shared a post of me in my underwear and work out outfits showing my stomach and my FUPA – things I had been so ashamed of before, but I wasn’t anymore. This was me. I wasn’t going to hide it anymore. And you know what? Those pictures of me showing my stomach and the parts of me I hate are still some of my most liked photos to date. Because I was vulnerable! Because I talked about something that all of us struggle with daily! I wasn’t doing it for attention, but to make myself more confident and to create a community who saw inspiration in that.

Have I figured out the perfect balance of binging on burgers and working out nailed down yet? No. Do I love my body every day of the week? No. Do I want to lose weight sometimes? Of course! But, I see all these body positive bloggers and Instagrammers out there owning who they are and I feel hopeful that someday I’ll stop caring completely about that stuff. However, the fact that I feel like it doesn’t affect my end happiness anymore is such a weight lifted off my shoulders. Do I think I deserve love despite my weight? Yes, of course. And I’m not sure I would have said that even just a few years ago.

I can’t pinpoint the exact point where I went from someone who was confident on the outside and maybe 45% confident on the inside to who I am now – more like 80% confident on the inside, but it feels great. And I have the community on Instagram to thank for that.

What Being an Athlete Means To Me

What Being an Athlete Means To Me

The last time I considered myself an athlete was high school. I was on teams. I was training. I was actively competing against other athletes.

Then I went to college and I stopped playing team sports, but I knew that if I stopped being active I would gain weight so I still took classes off and on at our athletic center or at a nearby gym for the next four years. Since then, I have been what you’d call and off and on gym goer. Not what I’d have ever considered is an “athlete”.

In my mind, an athlete was someone who was on an organized team and was paid professionally to do it or if you’re on a high school or college level, someone who trains to play competitively. Me going to Pure Barre a few times a week did not categorize me as an athlete. And that was still my thought process until I started the mentorship program with Nike that I am doing now.

When I first signed up for this program through Chicago Ideas I even checked with the organizer/producer to make sure I didn’t need to be a “runner” because sure, I exercise but I’m not running 8 miles a day or anything. She assured me they were looking for all kinds of athletes. I sort of chuckled at the word athlete, but I knew I would make a good mentor since I love motivating young women. And then I went to my first event and felt like such a fraud.


Our first time meeting our mentees was a few weeks ago at the USWT soccer exhibition game. We got to meet them before the game and make posters, eat lunch, play games and then went to watch the game with girls. The girl I am paired with, Ashley, is a cross country runner – something I know nothing about other than I know you run…a lot. The other mentor Ashley was paired with is a marathon runner and I automatically felt like I shouldn’t even be there. Not only was Kathleen what I considered a real “athlete”, but all the other women in the room also seemed to be more of what you would consider an athlete. A lot of the mentors own fitness studios, played sports at a college level, or have run 5+ marathons. And then there was me – a plus-size woman who exercises occasionally.

Even though I felt like a fraud, I still loved the camaraderie of the group of mentor women and I knew I was still bringing something to the table so this didn’t feel like a total loss. And then we had the 5K yesterday. Like I said, Ashley is a runner so she sped off like a bat out of hell once they said GO and like I said before, I am not a runner. I tried briefly to be one. About 6 years ago, my coworker, Sarah got really into running because our mentor and manager at work were really into it and encouraged us to run the Hot Chocolate 5K with her. For a brief few months, I did the Couch to 5K thing and ran a few 5Ks and tried to run an 8K and then I gave up. Running was just NOT my thing so why try to make it my thing, right? Same thought I had yesterday. Just do what you can and get there. And I did it. I cut a few corners so that I didn’t miss the rest of the day (we had some professional athletes come to talk to the kids after the run!), but I did it. And Ashley was so proud of me. Yes, my mentee was proud of ME. It’s a laughable moment, I know and such a Lifetime movie. Mentor gets a mentee who she learns more from than the mentee learns from her. So cliche. But it’s true.

This whole experience, which isn’t over by the way, has taught me that being an athlete is really just a state of mind. I don’t consider myself an athlete because I ultimately I don’t think I do enough to be an athlete, but like Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” This is incredibly true. My adamant statement that I’m not an athlete I believe comes from being plus-size at the gym. Being plus comes with an assumption that I’m not active or that I don’t know how to use gym equipment or I’ve never set foot in a gym at all. It doesn’t help when you meet new people and tell them that you played traveling volleyball and they respond with, “oh really? Never would have thought you’d play sports.” And maybe that’s also because I come off as a girly girl, prissy sort of person, but in my mind, it’s because they think I can’t possibly move my body because it’s larger than theirs.

Sometimes that’s a hindrance for me to want to go to the gym and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I know I’m strong and other days I believe what I think others see in me. However, I also know the importance of being active. I was a student-athlete once upon a time. I know what strength that gave me – to have a voice, to speak my mind, to get to know other women well. It has taught me so many things that are useful for my corporate world life today. It has taught me that being healthy is important. And I know that is what I am bringing to the table for my mentee. Sure, she is teaching me, but I am teaching her what being strong is just by showing up, by participating, by not giving up.

And I think that’s a much better definition of what an athlete is, don’t you?


A Sassy Iceland Guide

A Sassy Iceland Guide

My girlfriends and I like to travel. If you’ve been here long enough you probably know that since we were just in Cabo earlier in the year and we will take random trips around the country like Charleston, LA, and Nashville, but Iceland was our first “adventure” trip together. Usually, our trips revolve around drinking and shopping and then more drinking and then a nice meal out. This trip was more like athleisure wear and waterfalls and then drinking until we did it all over again! Below is the itinerary we followed and some overall tips for navigating Iceland.

Overall Tips

Let’s start with some tips. I did a LOT of research before I went here and I feel like some of it was valid and some were a little off. So here are my two cents:

  • Everyone complains about the food being so expensive, but I didn’t find it to be that pricey. We went out for meals every night in Reykjavik and we usually spent around $50-$60 each time for a nice meal and wine. If I went out to a nice dinner here in Chicago it would cost me way more than that. I think the issue is that normally inexpensive items are expensive like say a salad or a hot dog are double what they normally would be and that’s why people complain about the price. If you are going thinking you are going to spend what you normally would in a big city like NYC or Chicago then you should be fine!
  • Alcohol IS expensive. Most of it is shipped in so wine is expensive. We bought a bunch of wine at Duty-Free when we landed to help us with pre-dinner drinks and that helped a lot. It’s much cheaper at the airport than in town.
  • We went back and forth on having a car or not, but we ultimately went no car. We didn’t want to have to pack up our bags multiple times and travel around so we just did day trips. It actually was probably cheaper for us too to do it this way because gas is actually VERY expensive so while the car itself is cheap, everything else is not.

DAY ONE: Exploring Reykjavik 

We got into Reykjavik early, so we decided to take the first day relatively easy. We took naps, got ready and went out for lunch at Snaps Bistro. The food was fine, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to dine here.

Next up was a puffin tour with Special Tours. My friend who had just visited told me about it and it didn’t disappoint. It is about a two hr. tour that leaves from the port and it goes out to this tiny little island with all the puffins. You learn alllll the facts about puffins and wildlife in the area.

After our tour, we decided to do what we do best and that is participating in happy hour! Happy hour is a time-honored tradition in Reykjavik because booze is expensive so everything is usually half off during these hours and some bars end pretty late so you can go from bar to bar just chasing deals, which is what we did. Here is our little tour that started from the port and ended on a rooftop!

  1. Slippbarinn – They have really good cocktails!
  2. Lebowski Bar – If you area fan of the movie then you will love this place. We aren’t super fans so we walked in and walked out basically, but worth it to stop by at least!
  3. Kaffibrennslan – This was a cute outdoor bar across the street from Lebowski. If it’s nice out, I recommend it but otherwise, these places are a dime a dozen.
  4. Petersen Svitan – Now this was a winner. This rooftop was gorgeous and the drink and food deals were good. Def hit this spot up!

We ended our day with dinner at Mat Bar which I cannot recommend enough. The food was FANTASTIC especially the bay scallops which they had hand caught that very day. After dinner, we walked home and got the most amazing sunset. I would highly recommend going to the water to watch it. Our set around 11pm and we were nice and drunk at that point so it was the perfect end to the day!

DAY TWO: Golden Circle Tour 

Day two we started the day very early with a tour of the Golden Circle from Get Your Guide. We did one that involved an hour of snowmobiling on Langjökull Glacier. I could not recommend this tour enough.

We basically had a private tour with a very nice minibus. It was us and a couple on their honeymoon with our tour guide who was local to the area and knew so much about everything. Since it was a small group we really could pick and choose what we wanted to see and explore more of whereas with a big group you’re really on their time table. We saw so many beautiful things this day including the Geysir, Þingvellir National Park, and Gullfoss Waterfall, but of course, our favorite part of the day was the snowmobiling.

Getting up to the glacier is a bit of a pill since it’s rough terrain you’re in a super jeep, but once you get there it is so worth it. They suit you up so you don’t need to bring any gear, but I recommend long socks because you’re wearing your own shoes. Sneakers are completely fine but you do slide around a bit so just be careful on the ice. Being a plus woman, I was nervous they wouldn’t have the gear to fit me but they had suits up to like a 4X since men in Iceland are pretty big and hearty!

Also of note, this tour is about 8-10 hours. You leave early in the morning and get back around 6pm. Since it’s day time until 11pm this didn’t bother us, but this is why a lot of people like to have their own car so they can do things on their own time table.

When we got back to Reykjavik, we got ready to go out and had dinner at Forettabarinn which is right by the port and Slippbarinn where we had had drinks the day before. This restaurant is cute and casual and good for a quieter meal. I like the location because it’s not in the main busy square. My favorite thing we ate was the lemon quesadillas because after a day out on the road eating lamb, I was ready for some American comfort food!

This night we were SET on finding some fun bars because we had struck out the night before and we were very successful when we found a karaoke bar in the basement of Saeta Svinid. Saeta a burger bar in the main square over by Pablo Discobar (which we tried many times to go to, but it was NEVER full of people), and the karaoke bar in the basement was one of our fave spots we hit up. Afterward, we went to a bar our waiter had recommended – Kaffibarinn – which was full of tourists and right up our alley. This bar closes pretty early though so I would start at Kaffibarinn and end at Saeta.

DAY THREE: South Coast Tour 

We did a tour of the slightly-more-out-the-way South Coast on day three. The tour was also about 10 hours because you’re covering more ground. This one was also through Get Your Guide but much cheaper because we were on a giant bus with about 60 other people. We didn’t like this tour as much because it was so rigid and it was way less luxurious and we didn’t get special attention like we had the day before.

However, we still loved that we got to see Skogafoss Waterfall, the black sand beaches that were in Game of Thrones, and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. So many waterfalls! All so gorgeous! You must come to see this part of Iceland, but if you have your own car I would say that’s the way to do it.

Back home we got ready and went to dinner at Rok Restaurant. We got there right before it closed, so we felt a bit rushed and didn’t love our meal but I feel like maybe it was just because they were about to close and didn’t have everything normally on the menu. We ended our night at Bravo for drinks where we ended up meeting some amazing locals. It was hilarious and fun night…and we stayed up way too late.

Day FOUR: Blue Lagoon & Home 

We saved Blue Lagoon for our last day and I am so glad we did because we were dead as doornails after partying the night before at Bravo.

Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and the water is blue and gorgeous and hot AF. This was definitely the most relaxing thing we did the entire time we were there and I say it’s a must. Each reservation gets you four hours of time at the lagoon. We bought the premium experience which got us each a drink of our choice (smoothie, champagne, beer, etc.), a robe, and a reservation at the spa’s restaurant. The spa’s restaurant lets you wear your robe to lunch and it’s glorious. I had the most amazing lamb dish I have ever had here and then afterward we went right back in the hot springs.

The lagoon has its own shuttle back to the airport that costs about $15 (I believe), that you can book prior to getting on-site and we did that. If you have your luggage with you, you will have to check it at the front gate so make sure to leave time to pick it up on your way out.

And that, my friends, is how to spend the perfect four days in Iceland!