Long Layers and Short Stories

In last week’s post, I had yet to choose a short story collection for my 2019 booklist. Turns out, I had the answer on my bookshelf the whole time! Great American Short Stories: from Hawthorne to Hemingway contains a range of renowned authors and stories. Some I’ve read before (“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a personal fave), but most are brand new to me.

Though I generally gravitate towards novels, one of the convenient things about short stories is that they’re not a huge time commitment. In this particular collection’s introduction, English professor Corinne Demas discusses advantages of the short story. She quotes the poignant words of Edgar Allen Poe: “In the brief tale, however, the author is enabled to carry out the fullness of his intention, be it what it may. During the hour of perusal the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control. There are no external or extrinsic influences–resulting from weariness or interruption.”

I love that notion of staying with a story and it’s characters from beginning to end. We remain fully immersed in the world the author has created and perhaps get as close as we can to the author’s true vision and intent.

I’m excited to share my thoughts on several of these short stories in upcoming posts!

Today I’m sharing how to layer this long wool vest, which was a fabulous find from the Zara sale (still going on in stores and online!). If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I enjoy versatile pieces that can be styled for a variety of settings and occasions. In this post, I’ll be showing two different ways to style this vest.

Up first is a more relaxed weekend vibe, as I paired the vest with distressed denim and a classic white button-up. This look was perfect for a casual family lunch.

Gray wool vest: Zara (similar here and here) White button-up: Gap Distressed denim: Vigoss (similar) Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here)

It’s been very windy here the last few days, and I’m not going to lie–I was pretty darn cold when we were taking these photos!

Black turtleneck: J. Crew Faux leather leggings: Spanx Black sock boots: Mia (similar here and here) Patent leather purse: Louis Vuitton (similar patent leather styles here and here)

For a more polished look, I layered the vest over J. Crew’s tissue turtleneck (I’ve had mine for years, and it’s held up so well!) and the faux leather leggings by Spanx that everyone raves about.

Sleek black sock boots and a patent leather purse complete this neutral outfit. I think it’s cool that when the vest is zipped up, it looks like a dress!

Hope you’re having a great week! Thanks so much for stopping by ❤️

This Is the New Year

We are eight days into 2019! It’s been great to hear what everyone is aspiring to accomplish this year, and I find that writing a specific, manageable list is helpful for me.

I was channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw for the above New Years look in my fabulous tulle skirt by Portland-based fashion brand Tulle on Lace. I had the pleasure of meeting the designer Harriet at FashioNXT in October, and she is so sweet and incredibly talented. You will definitely see me styling this skirt for more occasions and blog posts this year!

Today, I’m rounding up eight of my favorite looks from 2018, and also sharing some goals for 2019–from my booklist, to travel plans, to blog goals and personal resolutions.

8 Favorite Looks from 2018

Gray Blazer: Zara Scarf: Burberry (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof

Classic chic attire with a statement scarf (see original post here)

Yellow Gown: Eliza J (similar)

A bright floral gown for our friends’ wedding in Miami (see original post here)

Striped Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here and here)

A striped jumpsuit that was perfect for dinner on our Caribbean cruise (see original post here)

Chambray shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans (similar) Striped tank: H&M (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Hat: Portland Gear

A comfy athleisure look for a date night at our local drive-in theater (see original post here)

White Blazer: J.O.A. (similar) Graphic tee: Eleven Paris Jeans: Topshop Boots: Sam Edelman (similar) Purse: Prada

A fun weekend look featuring my fave Kate Moss graphic tee and a windowpane-print blazer (see original post here)

Beanie: Kyi Kyi Faux suede vest: Bebe (similar) Belt: Gucci Striped shirt: Romy (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof

A layered look for crisp fall days with a faux suede vest and a versatile striped tee (see original post here)

Camel coat: Calvin Klein Gray sweater: TJ Maxx (similar) Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Chanel

Cozy neutrals and a camel coat for fall/winter (see original post here)

Faux suede jacket: (similar here and here) Cable-knit sweater: H&M (similar here and here) Black jeans: Topshop Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Louis Vuitton

A faux suede jacket layered with a cable-knit sweater and black skinny jeans (see original post here)

Booklist

This list isn’t complete yet, but here’s what I have so far:

  • Finish a series: I really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, and I plan to read the sequels.
  • A Young Adult novel: I haven’t chosen one yet, any suggestions??? (I loved both The Hunger Games and Divergent series, so I definitely enjoy dystopias.)
  • A classic that I’ve never read before: Either Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion or Emma (maybe both).
  • Re-read some old favorites: The Stranger, The Bell Jar, and Great Expectations are some of my all-time faves.
  • A short story collection: To be determined
  • A poetry collection: I’m thinking about revisiting Shakespeare’s sonnets (I read a lot of them in college), but would also like to read some modern poetry as well.
  • A contemporary bestseller: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple years, so I figure it’s about time I finally read it).
  • Nonfiction: Dirt Is Good (I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and I was gifted this book awhile back.)

Travel Plans

  • Paris: traveling to the City of Lights later this year to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday (this has been on her bucket list for a long time!).
  • Italy: traveling to the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre with my husband (we honeymooned in Italy, and we’re so excited to go back for more of a coastal vibe this time around).
  • California: attending the wedding of my husband’s cousin. We don’t get to see his extended family often so we’re really looking forward to this!
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival: I enjoyed this so much for my birthday last year and would love to go again this summer!

Goals for the Blog & Social Media

  • On Instagram I’ve decided to start doing Workwear Wednesdays. I always get a lot of positive feedback on my posts about business attire, so I want to make this a more regular feature.
  • I also get a lot of great feedback on my posts that illustrate how to style an item multiple ways (these have been some of my favorite posts to put together!).
  • Reach 10k Instagram followers. Right now I’m not far from 6k, but the 10k goal is a blogger milestone on Instagram because of the swipe up feature you gain access to in Stories!
  • Be consistently active on Pinterest
  • Collaborate and build relationships with local designers, boutiques, and bloggers
  • Attend New York Fashion Week as a blogger (this one is more of a long term goal, but definitely something I want on the list!)

Personal Goals, Big and Small

  • Go ice skating at least once a month: Skating over the holidays always makes me realize how much I miss my skating days and that being on the ice still brings me a lot of joy. For years I’ve been telling myself that I’ll skate more frequently, and I want this to be the year I finally do it!
  • Work on my strength and endurance: I wish I was one of those people like my husband who absolutely loves going to the gym (and believe me, I’ve tried). Instead, I’m going to start with small changes like taking the stairs at work and going for a walk during lunch. I’m also looking into purchasing a stationary bike to use at home.
  • Save more $$$: In all honesty, I’ve always been more of a spender than a saver, and I’m currently reading up on strategies to save more consistently. My husband and I have been working hard at paying off his student loans.
  • Improve on organization: I’ve heard rave reviews about the Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and I could definitely use some more organization in my life.
  • Weekly journal: I received a really thoughtful Christmas gift from my cousin’s girlfriend called 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal, which has weekly writing prompts for the entire year. Super excited about this one!
  • Host afternoon tea: Tea, mini sandwiches, and decadent pastries make for the perfect get-together! Macarons from St. Honore Boulangerie would be a sweet dessert option for an afternoon tea.

What are your goals for this year, personally and professionally? Any travels or adventures planned?

I also would love to know: which of these looks from 2018 is your favorite? Share in the comments below! ❤️

I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I took a little break from the blog last week to celebrate Christmas with my family, but I’m back with some winter outfit inspiration and a few thoughts on the coming New Year! (FYI: My high-waist plaid skirt that I wore for Christmas Eve is still available on Zara’s website.)

Olive Coat: Trina Turk (similar here and here) Striped Top: TJ Maxx (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Pointed-Toe Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Louis Vuitton

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I love outerwear that’s both functional and fashionable because of the climate here in the Pacific Northwest. Though, we don’t usually get as much ice and snow as other parts of the country, the chilly weather usually lasts from October through April.

This olive coat by Trina Turk was a Nordstrom Rack find from several months ago, and the oversized collar and asymmetrical zipper are details that initially caught my eye. The wool blend is cozy and warm (and definitely not itchy, which is something I always look out for when purchasing wool items!).

Since this coat is more of a statement piece, I paired it with classic staples like a striped tee, black skinny jeans, and pointed-toe boots. I’ve been wearing these Blondo Waterproof boots nonstop lately (they’re super comfortable and the stylish pointed-toe doesn’t pinch my toes at all!).

I linked coats in similar olive tones above, and also in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes… Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life…”

–British author Neil Gaiman

This time of year we look back on what we’ve accomplished and move forward to what’s next. It’s easy to get fixated on resolutions and goals and becoming some sort of ideal version of ourselves. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have goals and to grow and evolve, but we can’t obsess over perfection or be afraid to make mistakes.

In February of 2018, I finally started this blog, and it’s been a real joy to connect with other bloggers, bookworms, fashion-lovers, and brands. There are so many inspiring people out there, sharing their passions and working towards their dreams, and I’m just glad to play a small part in that here in my little corner of the internet.

I’m striving to grow Shakespeare Loves Chanel even more in 2019 and share more fashion and style, stories and poems, and travel and adventures.

What are your goals for 2019? What’s on your travel itinerary or reading list? (Sharing mine in next week’s post!)

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for following along, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Festive Lights and Winter Ice

Happy Holidays, everyone! I absolutely love this time of year–from the beautiful lights to the festive attire to the special times with family and friends.

In this post, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite holiday activities in the Portland area and, of course, winter outfit ideas that keep you both warm and stylish! Pictured above is the giant tree at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland at sunset.

When I was growing up, we went to Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo here in Portland almost every year during the holidays. It’s such a festive activity that is perfect for all ages, from families with kids to a romantic date night for two.

From left to right: my brother, my mom, my step-dad, me, and my husband ❤️

It was a crisp evening in the 30’s when we went to Zoo Lights, so I knew layers would be key to staying warm!

I love all the festive colors during the holidays, but I also love shades of gray for a classic winter look.

Gray Coat: Zara (similar here and here) Gray Sweater: TJ Maxx (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Leather Boots: (similar here and here) Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs (very similar) Beanie: H&M (similar here)

My gray wool-blend coat I purchased at Zara last fall, but I linked two similar options both under $100. A great pair of leather riding boots is a timeless investment (I’ve had mine for several years), so I linked comparable styles above!

You can also shop this look on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app!

Another favorite activity of mine is skating at the outdoor rink at Winter Village, which is located at Orenco Station in Hillsboro (less than half hour’s drive from Portland). This is the fourth year this little rink is open during the holiday season. The above picture of my husband and me is from a few years ago, the first Christmas after we got married.

This particular activity is near and dear to my heart because I was a competitive figure skater for 11 years of my childhood (more on that in this post back from February). Unfortunately, I had to quit at age 15 due to injuries and health issues, but I do try to get back on the ice during the holidays every year!

Despite the many years I spent skating, this was also only the second time my mom came out on the ice with me! We had a blast, and I highly recommend going later in the evening if you can–we went to the last session at 8pm on a Sunday, and the last half hour we almost had the rink completely to ourselves.

Puffy Vest: Nike (similar here and here) Sherpa Pullover: Elodie (similar here and here) Legwarmers: TJ Maxx (similar) Earmuffs: J. Crew (similar here and here)

Leg-warmers, earmuffs, and a fuzzy sweater are the perfect athleisure look for nighttime skating! ⛸⛸ Cozy sherpa pullovers are really on trend this fall and winter, and I linked two similar styles above–both on sale for under $50. I love how fun and classic earmuffs are (this well loved pair from J. Crew I’ve had since college!), and I linked some comparable options above.

Whether you’re local or visiting Portland, here are a few more ideas for holiday fun:

  • Winter Wonderland lights show at Portland International Raceway (you get to stay in your car for this one and drive through to see all the light displays)
  • Holiday Lights at Peacock Lane (this one is pedestrian only on certain nights so be sure to check out their website for more details)
  • View the Christmas Ships from the Columbia River or Willamette River (be sure to check their website for exact locations, dates, and weather conditions)
  • Holiday river cruises on the Portland Spirit

In next week’s post, I’ll be sharing more holiday outfit attire–from festive workwear for the office, to Ugly Sweater Parties, to Christmas Eve glam!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! ❤️

Sunsets and Subtleties

Hello, all! Can you believe it’s December already?

In the midst of holiday decorating over the weekend, I took a break to dive into Mark Manson’s bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’ve heard rave reviews about this book from so many people that–even though I’m usually more of a fiction reader–I had to check it out.

First off, if profanity is not your thing, then this probably isn’t your cup of tea. However, I personally am loving his blunt, no-nonsense approach and life advice.

One of my favorite passages so far: “The person you marry is the person you fight with.  The house you buy is the house you repair.  The dream job you take is the job you stress over.  Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad… We like the idea that there’s some form of ultimate happiness that can be attained.  We like the idea that we can alleviate all of our suffering permanently.  We like the idea that we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives forever.  But we cannot.”

Basically, life is a constant work-in-progress and nothing is sunshine and daisies all the time. I’ve noticed that people (myself included) often think things like, “oh once I get this degree or get this job or get married or buy a house or (fill in the blank here with whatever it might be for you), THEN I’ll be happy. Then I’ll be satisfied.”

But it doesn’t work like that. Even our partner or spouse, whom we may love and adore, will of course sometimes make us mad or drive us nuts. And even that job that we’ve been dreaming of for years will still cause us stress at times.

Just because we may attain a dream or goal doesn’t mean that our life just stops there in a permanent state of perfection. There will always be ups and downs, and Manson asserts that “True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”

There are many thought-provoking ideas in this self-help sensation, and I will definitely do a full review once I finish it!

I’ve been a big fan of this warm caramel shade of orange this fall. This faux suede moto jacket was a TJ Maxx find recently, and I love the vibrant color paired with classic neutrals.

I also got really lucky that my jacket coordinated so well with the beautiful autumn sunset (sometimes it’s the little things 😉)!

Faux Suede Moto Jacket: (similar here, here, and here) Cable-Knit Sweater: H&M Black Jeans: Topshop Boots: Blondo Waterproof Bag: Louis Vuitton (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I’m wearing this jacket with a timeless cable-knit sweater from H&M, my favorite Topshop high-waist jeans, and pointed-toe boots from Blondo. My Louis Vuitton crossbody bag I’ve had for many years, and the vachetta leather trim of the bag accents the color of my jacket nicely.

I’m really enjoying all the different colors of moto jackets that I’ve been seeing lately from a variety of brands (I linked several options above in faux suede and suede, and also in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app).

I have lots of holiday-themed content planned for the coming weeks, including outfit inspiration and some festive activities if you’re local or visiting Portland! Do you have certain holiday traditions that you do every year?

Have a great week! Thank you for stopping by 🧡

Thankful Always

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey

This is one of my favorite quotes about thankfulness and feels very fitting as we head into the week of Thanksgiving.

This time of year, it’s so easy to get swept up in shopping lists and party-planning: from Black Friday madness to decorating the tree to finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a great sale just as much as the next person (I’m listing a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post). However, what I’m saying is this quote illustrates how thankfulness and contentment are all about perspective–we choose what to focus on, whether it’s all the things we do have, or the things we don’t.

The older I get, the more I truly cherish the time I have with my family, and I’m so grateful to spend the holidays with them. I’m also very thankful to call the great Pacific Northwest home (if you scroll through these pictures, you’ll get a glimpse of just how beautiful it is here).

Today, I’m also sharing more Thanksgiving outfit inspiration. This poncho I purchased last winter and wore it on a day trip up to Mt. Hood in January (pictured above). Ponchos feel like wearing cozy, fashionable blankets and, as such, would also be perfect for travels this holiday season.

Poncho: B.P. (similar here and here) Faux Leather Leggings: Spanx Boots: Blondo Waterproof Belt: Gucci

For Thanksgiving dinner, I like to dress casual chic. I definitely reach for items that aren’t constricting–my step-mom goes all out with the cooking, and my sister and I always make the pumpkin pie, so it is definitely not the day to wear something tight!

I wanted to dress up the poncho a bit, and the Gucci belt and faux-leather leggings elevated the overall look. The belt also helped give the poncho some definition and shape.

These particular leggings are really popular (I bought mine during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale last year!), and there’s a reason for that: they’re so stretchy and comfy, without compromising the least bit on style.

My brother Mikey takes the majority of my blog photos, and I appreciate him so much for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this (he works two jobs and is also finishing up his last college credits!).

This is what happened when we were taking pics yesterday:

“Is that a cape you’re wearing?” Mikey asked.

“It’s a poncho, but yeah, pretty similar to a cape.”

“And you’ve got the belt and the tall boots with it.”

“Yes…” (By then I was wondering: where is he going with this?)

“So you’re basically dressed like a Jedi. Where’s your lightsaber?” He joked.

At that point, I burst out laughing. “I never would’ve thought of that!”

So there you have it. This is a great Thanksgiving outfit option, but also a modern-day Jedi look. 😂

I’m thankful for my brother, who always knows how to make me laugh (plus, we’re both big Star Wars fans, so this joke was not lost on me)!

A few notes on current and upcoming holiday sales:

  • The Kate Spade Surprise Sale is going on currently and ends on 11/24/18 at 11:59 PM (Pacific Time). All sales are final but the savings are HUGE (up to 75% off). If you or a loved one has a purse on their Christmas wish list, this is definitely the perfect sale to check out!
  • I love Target’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals–in my family, we always do matching pajamas on Christmas morning, and they have family pajamas starting as low as $10 (it is a Doorbuster deal, so it’s while supplies last). I’ve also gotten great savings on their cozy throw blankets in past years, so that’s something I often keep my eye out for.
  • The weekend of Black Friday/Cyber Monday, a lot of big shopping websites offer free shipping with no minimum purchase amount, so that is definitely something to watch out for.
  • My mom and I are obsessed with the 3-wick candles from Bath and Body Works (right now they’re discounted to $12.95 each, whereas full price they’re $24.50 each). I’ll probably wait ’til Friday to see if they add any further discounts or coupon codes.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🦃 I would love to hear what you’re thankful for in the comments below. ❤️

Knits and Neutrals

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” –Albert Camus

It has certainly felt like a second spring the last few days! We’ve had some beautiful sunny weather here in Portland, though it’s been crisp and cold. I’m grateful for the vibrant trees of yellow, orange, and red, though many of the leaves already cover the ground.

Today, I’m sharing two of my favorite things about cold-weather fashion: knits and neutrals. I have a slight obsession with cozy sweaters and classic peacoats, but I truly wear them nonstop during the fall and winter months so I feel like they are pieces worth investing in. In Oregon we wear coats for well over half the year, so I try to choose ones that are functional and fashionable.

Coat: Calvin Klein Sweater: TJ Maxx (similar styles here and here) Black Jeans: 7 for All Mankind Boots: Blondo Waterproof Purse: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar quilted styles here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

This Calvin Klein camel coat is a recent purchase from Amazon. I love its classic silhouette and the super soft cashmere-blend. It’s something I know I’ll be able to wear with a variety of outfits for years to come.

My gray wool sweater is from TJ Maxx and is so cozy and warm for these crisp fall days. This outfit would also be a great option for Thanksgiving because this sweater is more loose fitting–perfect for that extra slice of turkey or pumpkin pie!

My ankle boots are from Blondo Waterproof, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is one of my all-time favorite shoe brands. This pair has a comfortable block heel, which makes it possible for me to wear to work, even if I’ll be on my feet a lot that day.

On a different note, I’m very excited to announce that I’m now a part of RewardStyle, and you can easily shop my looks directly through their LIKEtoKNOW.it app! RewardStyle is such a great way for brands and bloggers to connect with their followers; it makes it so easy to purchase items and looks that you love! Simply download the LIKEtoKNOW.it app for free in the App Store and search for Shakespeare Loves Chanel (or click here!).

I’ll be sharing more Thanksgiving style ideas in the next post and some holiday gift ideas as we quickly approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! ❤️