Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Club: Nora Roberts Edition

Nora Roberts is one of my very favorite authors.  I am pretty positive I have enjoyed every one of her books I have read...and that is saying a lot, because I am pretty sure I have read a ton of them!  This past month I read two more.

The Liar by Nora Roberts



The Easter Bunny included this book in my basket this year.  This story is about a young woman with a small daughter whose husband died.  After his death, she begins to realize that he was not at all who she thought he was.  She heads back to her hometown and with the help of her family, she is able to find her real self again.  Of course, there are many bumps along the way, a love story, and plenty of murder and mystery.

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the characters and reading this made me want to go find the little town in the story and move there - very idyllic.  Although I had an inkling of who the villian was in the story, the ending still wasn't exactly what I was expecting, so I did feel like it kept me guessing.

The Villa by Nora Roberts.  


I picked this one up at the used bookstore we found in Fulton - still obsessed with that place!  This book is about a family winery.  The matriarch of the family wants to mix things up a bit in regards to the family business by changing around some of the roles.  This causes quite an uproar.  As with the other book, you have a few love stories, murders, and drama.

Another book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I even stayed up late reading the other night so I could finally finish!  I just wanted to know how it all ended!  While the love stories are a bit cheesy (but sweet), the mystery weaves throughout the book, keeping the mastermind behind all the drama a bit of a surprise.

Are you a Nora Roberts fan?  If so, what is your favorite book?

Linking up with Amanda and Annie.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday 4.27.16


Happy Wednesday!  I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...cereal and salads.  My mom picked up some milk and cereal when she was here two weekends ago, and I have to say that I am so glad she did, because that was my lunch Sunday and dinner Monday night.  I am also still stuck on the salad we made that weekend, too.  Spring lettuce mix, chopped pecans, a little bit of chopped red onion, halved grapes, and grilled chicken, topped with balsamic dressing.  The recipe calls for goat cheese, but in efforts to make it a little healthier, I didn't include the cheese this go around.

What I'm reminiscing about...less busy days at work.  Although, I don't know if I have had that feeling in quite some time.  The end is in sight!

What I'm loving...the weather.  The last few weeks have been gorgeous.  Unfortunately the next few days are supposed to be rainy, but I have hopes that it will clear up by the weekend.


What I've been up to...during the week it's work, work, work, work, work and a mixture of being productive and relaxing on the weekend.

What I'm dreading...nothing at the moment!



What I'm working on...weight loss!  This is week two of "The Biggest Winners" at work.  I had a small loss last week, and I am hoping for another one this week.

What I'm excited about...Friday.  Just get me to Friday!  Things at work should slow down and I have a fun weekend planned!

What I'm watching...lots and lots of Bravo.  That is what has been helping me get through my workouts.  Real Housewives, Shahs and Southern Charm.

What I'm listening to...nothing in particular. 

What I'm wearing...I am still all about these pencil skirts from The Limited for work (I have green, navy, khaki and black).  I was finally able to wear my Lilly dress this past weekend.  I can tell that is going to be on repeat this summer, along with these flats (in white)!



What I'm doing this weekend...hanging out with my parents.  There is a flea market close to my apartment this weekend, so weather-permitting we are going to do a little shopping!  I am also hoping to meet up with one of my best gals to catch up.

What I'm looking forward to next month...New York!    

What else is new...after raving about Blogging for Books last Friday, I have to share that I am not quite so keen on that website right now.  I tried to log on, but it said my account had not been validated.  I had logged on last week, with no problems at all.  I emailed them when I first got this error and still no response.  I hope to hear back from them quickly, because I really do love the idea and want to make use of it!  Has anyone else had this problem before?

Can't wait to read what's up with you this Wednesday!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Morels & Microbrews

Saturday, we took a little day trip to Fulton, MO.  Fulton is a super cute little town in the middle of Missouri.  Their claim to fame is Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech made at Westminster College.  There is a Churchill museum there, which was the original reason for our trip.  However, as I mentioned yesterday, we didn't quite make it to the museum.

We got into town right around lunch time, so we stopped at a place I had found online, Bek's.  I lucked out this time with my googling - this restaurant was great!  The atmosphere was really neat.  It was right downtown in an older building, so lots of great character.  The restaurant was huge, too, so people weren't crammed together in a small space.  We ordered the spinach dip for an app and then split the fried cod sandwich and Bek's burger.  Everything was great!  The service was on point, too.  Our food came out so fast.




The restaurant was in the Brick District which has some shops and other restaurants.  We walked around after we ate and browsed.  One of the antique stores was HUGE and just chalk full of stuff.  I actually was able to find some goods, though.  My grandma collects little creamers and I was able to find two there!  I always look when I am out, but I never, ever find any.  I was seriously so excited.  It worked out even better, too, with Mother's Day around the corner, my mom is going to include them in my grandma's Mother's Day present.  There was also this amazing bookstore downtown.  I was in love.  It was a used book store, so all the books were really cheap, but still in great shape.  I think that would be one of my dream jobs.  I spent quite a bit of time in there looking around, and picked up a few new books to read.



When I was looking up things to do online, I saw that Fulton was holding their annual Morels & Microbrews Festival.  It ended up being on the street right where we had lunch and did some shopping.  So, instead of heading to the museum, we decided to stay and do the beer tasting.  It was so much fun!  There were a bunch of small brewers there, live music, and food.  Since we had just ate, we didn't indulge in any of the food, but enjoyed our tastings and the music.  I was seriously obsessed with the band.  They had like a bluegrass-type feel that just was perfect for the event.



The festival got a bit crowded, so we decided to call it quits.  Instead of heading right home, we headed to the college campus.  It was so gorgeous.  We did get our dose of history, as there were 8 sections of the Berlin Wall displayed on the campus.  It just blows my mind to think that I was standing and touching something that full of history.  So, so cool.




Fulton, MO turned out to be even better than I expected.  I can't wait to go back and check out the museum.  They also have what looks to be a really neat auto museum, so I have hopes of checking that place out, too.  Such a great little town, only about an hour and a half away from the city!

Linking up with LauraJenn, and Mackensey.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  This weekend was really nice - hopefully it means the work week to follow will be just as great!

Friday was rough.  Work was tough, I stayed longer than I had hoped, it just was a long day to the end of a long week.  However, it was nothing that Modern Family couldn't fix!  That show always makes good laughs and lifted moods.

We took a little day trip on Saturday which was so much fun!  We headed about an hour and half outside of St. Louis to Fulton, Missouri.  This is the location of Westminster College, where Winston Churchill gave his "Iron Curtain" speech.  The original reason for the trip was to check out the museum.  However, when we got there, we first stopped to grab a bite to eat.  It just so happened that this weekend was the Morels & Microbrew Festival.  We ended up spending the day in the Brick District at the festival - more on that tomorrow!  When we got back into town, we decided to check out the Elvis & Nixon movie.  It was good!  If you like Elvis, Nixon, or are interested in politics at the time, then this movie is for you.

Sunday was another gorgeous day.  I did my normal gym, grocery shopping, cleaning, but made sure to spend some time relaxing.  I sat outside and read, which was so nice!  

Now on to the work week - it's going to be another busy one, but I have hopes that by the time Friday afternoon rolls around, things will be better.



Linking up with Biana.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites 4.22.16

TGIF!  This work week has been a busy one...so happy it's the weekend!


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1.  My balcony.  I shared here the little makeover my mom and I did this past weekend on my balcony.  I am so excited to have time this weekend to hang outside and relax.

2.  Blogging for Books.  I was so excited when I read about Blogging for Books on Carly's blog.  I love reading and with this site, you are able to get books sent to you to review - for free!  There are rules of course, but it is pretty simple.  Of course, you might not always find a book you like from the ones that are offered, but it is still a great option if you love to read.

3.  New white cake stand.  



This little cake stand was in the dollar section at Target.  Technically it was $5.00, but still a great deal.  The style is classic.  Right now I am using it as a centerpiece, and I just love how it looks on my table.  

4.  The Sound of Music.  I picked up some tickets for The Sound of Music musical that is coming to St. Louis later this month.  I kept seeing commercials about the musical, but never found a good time to sit down and order tickets - pretty much I just kept forgetting.  I finally did remember, though and I am so excited!  I love the movie, and I have high hopes for the performance.  It's always fun to have a night out at the theater, too.      

5.  Blog updates!  My awesome blog designer, Erin, is going to be making some updates for me.  The site might be under construction a bit, but I am excited about the changes.  

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Confessions

Time to confess...

I am over driving.  I feel like every time I head out, I see horrible drivers that frustrate the heck out of me.  People not driving the speed limit, people who don't know how to stay in their lane, people who drive massive cars, but don't know how to drive them...really the list could go on and on.  I was behind a person the other day that just swerved between two lanes...for no reason!  There were no cars around, I just don't think they knew which one they wanted to drive in.  Another day, I was behind a car that decided it needed to drive in both lanes at the same time...that's safe.  And of course, the person in the large SUV - please stay in your own lane.  They were turning left, but instead of getting all the way in the turn lane, they decided it wasn't large enough and they needed to be in both the turn lane and the lane going straight.  Bad drivers just kill me.  I don't know that I am the best driver, but I think I am safe to say that I drive in one lane.  Sorry, I went off in a bit of a tangent - rant over!

I am terrible at folding towels.  That is the last load of laundry I do, and nine times out of ten they stay in the dryer until the next time I need to use the dryer.  Honestly, I just forget about them!  It never fails that when I go do laundry next, I always have an "oh shoot" moment when I realize I never folded the towels and they are still in the dryer.  Oops!

I had my blogiversary post all set to go last week, and it didn't publish as scheduled.  I can only assume that I hit the save button rather than the publish button.  I thought it was kind of fitting though, the post where I talk about some of the troubles I have had with blogging doesn't go as planned.  I am sure that won't be the last time that happens either!

I am constantly quoting/singing Justin Bieber songs.  Sorry and Love Yourself are ALWAYS on the radio it seems, and they constantly get stuck in my head.  The bad part is I only know a few lines...so I just repeat them over and over.  

I have a new HGTV show to watch (as if I need another show to add to the mix)!  My mom mentioned the show, Good Bones to me a few weeks ago.  I really enjoyed it.  It's a mother/daughter duo who renovate homes in the Indianapolis area.  My brother and his family are in Indy, so I think it's really neat that the show is done there.  Not to mention, they do great work!  Some of the finishes are a bit quirky for my taste, but I still can appreciate the style and design.

Linking up with Amanda and Annie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Balcony Refresh

The weather this past weekend was absolutely gorgeous.  With my mom's help, I was able to get my balcony all cleaned up.  Last year, my apartment complex rebuilt some of the balconies, mine included.  It took them quite a bit of time to actually finish, so I was without an outdoor space for awhile.  When the balcony was finally finished, I still didn't use it much.  I really wanted to change that this year, so we refreshed the balcony a bit.  

My mom and I found a small table at Target,  that we thought would work well for the area.  To add a bit of color and comfort, I found some super cute pillows at World Market.  I love how the black and gray tie the new table and my existing gray chairs together.  I love the look of having lanterns outside, so I picked a few up for the table to complete the refresh.

I just love how it all turned out.  Simple additions, but ones that really make a huge difference!  I cannot wait to enjoy dinner or drinks outside.  






Table - Target (on sale!)
Chairs - Ikea
Pillows - World Market
Teal Lantern - Lowe's
Gray Lantern - Target (on sale!)

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuna Salad

I have another one of my mom's recipes to share with you today.  When my mom comes to visit, she usually brings food, too!  We eat while she is here, and then I get to eat on the leftovers, which is always nice for me.  This weekend she brought tuna salad.  Just love her tuna salad.  It's one of my favorite lunches for spring/summer.  Just very refreshing and so very delicious!


Tuna Salad
1 large can (12 oz.) chunk tuna in water
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 t. finely minced onion
1 heaping T. sweet pickle relish
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/8 t. black pepper
Pinch of salt
1/4-1/3 c. mayonnaise (or any amount to get the consistency/creaminess that you like)

Drain tuna, and place in bowl.  Add the celery, onion, pickle relish, and seasonings.  Stir in desired amount of mayo.  Then gently fold in chopped eggs.  Refrigerate, and enjoy!  

Serve on bread as a sandwich or on top of lettuce/greens.

Linking up with LauraJennMackensey, and Mary.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekend Recap



Whew - what a weekend!  I got so much done, thanks to the help of my mom, that the weekend seemed like it was longer than just 2 days.

Friday night was pretty low-key.  I ended up having to work a little bit later than expected, so we had to forego a movie and just went with dinner out.  It was a really nice time!

Early Saturday I spent some time preparing for my mom to arrive.  When she got here, we immediately headed to the mall.  I need some new shoes for work, so we were on a mission.  We didn't have a ton of luck, but I was able to find a pair of navy pumps at Dillards.  The brand is Calvin Klein, they actually had them at Macy's, too, but just not in my size.  My mom treated me to this super cute green gingham top from The Limited.  We were walking out and spotted it on the mannequin...luckily it was my size!  It's super soft and really light, perfect for these warmer temps!

We stopped at the grocery store after shopping and picked up the ingredients to make this Grilled Chicken and Grape Salad - so good!  After dinner we tackled the cabinets underneath my sink.  I had been wanting to organize it for awhile, but never did.  Luckily with my mom's help and a quick trip to Target, it is all set to go!

We had an even more productive day on Sunday.  It started out with a quick walk around the area.  I just love when the mornings are a bit cooler - perfect start to the day.  We did a lot of  deep cleaning.  And more cleaning...and more cleaning.  It feels so good to get that stuff done.  I am super thankful my mom came to help - she really gets my butt in gear and do things I may otherwise just push off to another time.  One of my favorite things we did yesterday was give my balcony a mini makeover.  I can't wait to spend evenings outside, eating dinner or having a drink while enjoying this gorgeous weather.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend and boy, am I tired.  My mom is just so full of energy, it's hard to keep up sometimes.  I am so very thankful that she was able to come.  And so very thankful that she was willing to be put to work!

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Biana.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Favorites 4.15.16

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It's Friday!  Here are my favorites on this lovely Friday...

1.  Mom's coming to town!  My mom is coming to visit this weekend and I am so excited.  We are going to be doing a little bit of shopping and a whole lot of cleaning.  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, too, so I am sure we will be venturing outside for some walks to enjoy the weather.

2.  Real Housewives of Dallas.  I love the Real Housewives shows, so I was excited that the franchise was expanding to another city.  I watched the first episode and I am not really sure my feelings on the show yet, but I definitely will keep on watching.

3.  The Biggest Winners.  There is a weight loss competition (called The Biggest Winners) going on at work for the next 8 weeks.  It is a team competition, so 4 coworkers and I have formed a team.  While I really have no expectations, I have already found myself being more motivated to stay active and eat better.  I think it is the fact that we are on a team - the possible guilt of letting down everyone else is keeping me accountable.

4.  Spring catalogs.  I received the Nordstrom spring catalog in the mail this week.  I am lusting after this chambray dress.  I feel like it would be the perfect dress for this summer. 



5.  Breakfast bowls.  I mentioned on Monday that I made breakfast bowls on Sunday to eat throughout the week.  They turned out great!  I definitely plan on making them again.  It took less than an hour to prep and only takes a few minutes in the microwave to heat up in the morning.  So easy!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaApril, Katie and Amanda. 

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Club

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews


Beach Town is about a woman who scouts locations for movies.  The story follows her along as she finds the perfect little Florida town for the movie she is working on.  The movie shoot starts immediately and it is not without its issues.  The story follows along the ups and downs of the movie shooting and the love story that transpires.  Overall, I thought it was another good book by Mary Kay Andrews.  However, the book got a little slow for me at the end - I didn't think one of the story lines really added any value to the book, but other than that, it was a good book.  Perfect to read by the pool or on the beach!




I was super excited to read this book.  I love the Real Housewives and New Jersey is one of my favorites.  This book reads as if Teresa is talking to you, which I thought made it feel really authentic.  In the beginning, she covers a bit of her childhood, her husband, and her kids.  One of the things I found out in this section was that Teresa had a career outside the home - her job sounds like it would have been super neat!  Then, she goes into her legal issues, days leading up to her sentencing, and finally life in prison.  I feel like you get the real story of what it is like in prison - at least at Danbury.  I just found it all very interesting.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  If you are a Teresa fan at all, I would highly recommend this book.

What books have you been reading lately?

Linking up with Amanda and Annie.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

1 Year

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It's been 1 year since I started this blog.  I remember wanting to start a few years ago, but thinking no one would want to read it.  In fact, the few people I mentioned it to at the time, weren't super encouraging either.  I finally just went for it and am SO glad I did. 

When I first started, I had no idea what blogging entailed.  There is so much more to it than you realize!  And then weird things just happen - like for example, a few posts last year just straight up disappeared.  I still haven't figure that one out - if that has ever happened to you, please let me know the secret!  Another thing I had no idea about was making sure I was not a no-reply blogger - I didn't even know what that was when I started out.  Thankfully, that was pointed out to me in the beginning and I was able to get it fixed.  There really is just so much!

As I mentioned earlier, I am so glad I started this blog.  I have really enjoyed putting together these posts.  It's a wonderful way to look back as time has passed, not to mention a great creative outlet.  One of my very favorite things, though, has to be connecting with other bloggers.  I have "met" so many wonderful ladies!  The comments/emails just make my day.  The support the blogging community offers, too, is so nice.  If someone is going through a hard time, you know that others are there with a thoughtful comment, or if you just have a question about the ins and outs of blogging, everyone is super helpful.  I honestly wasn't expecting the connections to feel that real, but they definitely do!  

I am so excited to continue on in this blogging journey and see where it goes!  Cheers!

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mom's Meatloaf

I love my mom's meatloaf.  When I head back to my parents, I almost always ask my mom to make her meatloaf.  It is just so good!  I don't normally make it for myself, even though it is one of my favorite meals.  To switch things up though, I decided to make it for dinner this week.  It's super easy, doesn't require a ton of ingredients, and one of my favorite things about this meatloaf, the leftovers taste amazing - cold or heated up!


Mom's Meatloaf
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well with your hands.  Place in a loaf pan, shaping the meatloaf into a loaf shape (somewhat rounded at the top).  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove meatloaf from the oven and discard of the excess grease, using a baster.  Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

I love adding a little ketchup to my meatloaf when eating (as you can see in the picture above).  My family also loves eating it as a cold sandwich the next day.  No matter how you like it, it is delicious!

Linking up with Laura, Jenn, Mackensey, and Mary.    

Monday, April 11, 2016

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  I had a nice relaxing weekend that has me actually feeling ready for the start of a new week.  Let's hope this positive attitude lasts all through this Monday.

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I didn't do a ton this weekend, but below are a few highlights.

Seeing The Boss.  If you read on Friday, you know I was SO excited for this movie.  It didn't quite live up to expectations.  It was hilarious - many, many funny parts, but the end was a little too ridiculous.  I understand that they were going for outrageous and funny, but I think they only exceeded on the outrageous part, not so much the funny.  Overall, I did enjoy it, I got a ton of laughs out.  It just lost me for a little bit there.

Grabbing my favorite gyros for lunch.  


I have mentioned before that I LOVE The Gyro Company.  I hadn't picked up gyros from there in forever, so Saturday seemed like the perfect day to do so.  They were delicious.  Just never disappoint!

Breakfast meal prep.  


I have been pinning a bunch of breakfast ideas lately - I shared some of those last Wednesday.  One that I had posted about was make ahead breakfast bowls.  I put these together Sunday and am so excited to try them out.  I tasted the roasted potato, pepper, and onion mixture when it was done and oh my word, so yummy!  I just know everything together will be so good. 

Reading.  I was able to get in some quality reading time this weekend.  I finished Teresa Guidice's book on Sunday.  Be looking for a review later this week!  

Linking up with Biana.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Favorites 4.8.16

TGIF!!! I for one could not be any happier to be able to say that! Hope you all have an awesome Friday! #TGIF #longweek:
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Another Friday is upon us!  I have to say I am a bit excited to have a low-key weekend ahead of me.  After traveling the past two, I am ready to relax.

1.  The Boss.  I am SO excited to see this movie.  I think Melissa McCarthy is hilarious and I feel like I have been waiting a long time for this movie to come out.  I actually thought it came out last month, so needless to say I was super disappointed when I realized my mistake.  I was in Girl Scouts growing up, so I appreciate the plot, as well as the other cast members.  Fingers crossed it is as good as I am hoping!

2.  Italian Dressing Grilled Chicken.  This is one of my favorite ways to grill chicken and I had forgotten about it for so long until just recently.  My mom taught me to do this when I moved away to college and it has never failed me.  All you do is marinade chicken breasts in Italian dressing, then grill.  I like to marinade overnight, but even just an hour will give the chicken good flavor.  So easy and so delicious.

3.  New York City!  I just found out this week that I will be traveling to New York City for work next month.  I am so excited to have this opportunity for work, not to mention just going to
NYC.  I have never been, and while it is a very short work trip, I am still just so excited!    


4.  Smashburger Buffalo Fries.  I had these fries the other day at lunch and oh my word, they are amazing!    Shoe string fries with a buffalo seasoning - delicious.  I am not usually big on fries, but these are dangerous.

5.  One of my goals for this month is to eat a salad a week for dinner.  Emily posted a bunch of different salad ideas earlier this week - perfect timing for me!  I can't wait to check out some of the recipes this weekend and hopefully make a few this month.  

Linking up with AndreaApril and Amanda.  


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Work Look

Lately, I have been all about work clothes.  With meetings and traveling, I need to add more business professional clothes to my wardrobe.  I stopped in at The Limited, my go-to store for work clothes, and picked up some really cute spring pieces for a meeting last week.  I always try to get items that are versatile, that way I get a little more bang for my buck.


Textured Madison Blazer     Textured Madison Blazer   

The first thing that caught my eye was this blazer.  I love how it has the texture and the fun pattern inside the sleeves.  This Madison blazer comes in pretty much any color you could want!  It was hard choosing, but I figured the navy was the most practical (and I just love anything navy).


Printed Pleat Front Top

After finding the blazer, I knew I wanted to find a printed top to wear under it.  I was looking for something that would go well with the blazer and work with both a khaki and navy bottom.  I also wanted something I could potentially wear by itself, rather than just under a jacket or cardigan.  I fell in love with this floral top.  The print is so pretty - the picture just doesn't do it justice.  It has both the navy and khaki color in the top, as well as pops of other colors.

I paired both items with my favorite pencil skirt - the Cotton Pencil Skirt

Cotton Pencil Skirt

I am not lying when I say this is my favorite pencil skirt.  I have it in khaki, navy, and green.  I am hoping to add black to my collection in the near future, too!  I love the way it fits and the cotton material is so nice.

I completed my outfit with nude heels and pearl studs.  I just love how everything came together, not to mention the versatility of each piece!

Linking up with Amanda and Annie.

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