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!

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 🧡

Falling for Fall

III. NATURE XXVIII. AUTUMN by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

I chose this short and sweet Dickinson poem to share this week because it honestly made me chuckle at how relevant it still is!

Dickinson writes of all these beautiful things she’s observing about autumn through the use of personification (giving objects human qualities or attributes). For example, the berry has “cheeks” which are “plumper,” and both the maple and field are wearing metaphorical clothes that exemplify the colors and feel of the fall season.

And–for fear of being “old-fashioned”–Dickinson decides to be like the festively attired foliage and add some sort of adornment (which she calls a “trinket”) to her look. We aren’t told what exactly that trinket might be, but taking inspiration from nature’s vibrant colors feels very familiar to me. A quick glance at my social media feeds this week, and one can see the rampant obsession with fall attire, the warm tones of the changing leaves, and pumpkin-spice flavored everything. I guess Ms. Dickinson was onto something. 😉

We’re quite lucky here in Oregon because our falls are beautiful. This week has been exceptionally so, with sunny blue skies contrasting the bright yellow and orange leaves that are my absolute favorite this time of year.

I also decided that it was the perfect opportunity to go back to brunette! The talented Nichole, who owns Sweet Pea Salon and Spa, took me back to a dark brown color very close to my natural one.

Dress: TJ Maxx (similar styles in neutral colors here and here) Scarf: BP (similar here and here) Boots: Blondo Purse: Prada (similar styles here and here) Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

I love tall boots paired with dresses, and it’s a look that I think is perfect for breezy fall days. This charcoal-colored dress is a TJ Maxx find from awhile back, but I’ve linked some great basic dresses above. Of course black dresses are versatile staples for one’s wardrobe, but I also love gray, navy, and olive for other neutral options.

My knee-high boots are from Blondo, which is truly one of my favorite shoe companies. Their shoes are stylish, comfortable, and waterproof (SO practical and functional for the rainy Oregon climate!).

My exact BP scarf is unfortunately no longer available on Nordstrom’s website, but I’ve linked some great fall scarves above.

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!

Birthday Girl, Part 2

From classic Shakespearean theatre to the great outdoors, my husband planned the perfect birthday weekend getaway!

We road tripped down to southern Oregon, stopping once at the In-N-Out in Grants Pass. It’s the closest location to Portland–about 4 hours away–and one of only two locations in the whole state. I mean, if it’s on the way, you gotta stop! This girl loves her burgers.

I snapped a pic of this road sign because it had both our destinations on it: the historic hotel where we would be staying at, and of course, the Festival itself.

My grandparents used to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival almost every year for their wedding anniversary (I always say they’re where my love for classic lit came from!). They both passed away when I was in my teens, but they weren’t far from my mind this weekend when we saw Romeo and Juliet.

We watched the famous play of star-crossed lovers performed underneath the stars in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. It’s an outdoor theatre, and, though it was a chilly evening, it was such a treat.

Peacoat: H&M (similar) Striped Top: Adrianna Papell (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Clutch: Saint Laurent Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)

I wore a wool coat over a long-sleeved blouse, but I was admittedly still a bit cold. Many playgoers brought blankets with them, which was definitely a good idea this time of year (the evening temperatures were in the mid 50’s). The play’s start time was 8pm and was almost three hours long (including an intermission in the middle).

As for the play itself, I very much enjoyed the set design, the Elizabethan-style costumes that had a modern edge, and the high quality caliber of the actors (we weren’t permitted to take photos inside the theatre itself due to copyright laws). Juliet’s performance was especially memorable–the actress balanced the character’s youthful innocence and fierce passion extremely well. My husband thought Friar Lawrence provided the perfect dose of humor and wit to the tragic nature of the play.

I first read this play in high school in my freshman English class, when I was 14 and quite near Juliet’s own age of 13. Like a lot of teenage girls, I was a bit fanciful then–the whole notion of love at first sight seemed romantic, and the idea of a secret elopement felt exciting and forbidden.

Now I’m 27 and–needless to say–have a bit more life experience under my belt. I studied the play several times in college, but something that struck me this time around was the fact that Romeo and Juliet share only four scenes together–technically five if you count the death scene at the end; however, they don’t speak with each other because at first Juliet is still asleep, and then by the time she wakes up, Romeo has already killed himself. This is one of the most iconic plays in English literature, and the title characters barely interact with each other!

And yet, four scenes is all it takes. The eloquence of Shakespeare’s writing, the immensity of what’s at stake, and the timeless romanticism of forbidden young love all make it the great tragedy that it is.

Before the play, we had dinner at Larks, a cozy local restaurant adjacent to the Ashland Springs Hotel. I had one of their daily specials (the salmon was excellent!), and I was grateful my husband had made reservations weeks prior to our visit because it was such a busy spot.

We’d also made our hotel reservations at Ashland Springs about 5 months prior (Ashland is a small town and the hotel is so conveniently located to the Festival–barely two blocks away!).

The next day, we headed out on Crater Lake Highway to–you guessed it!–Crater Lake National Park. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life, and yet I’ve never visited this famous site.

It was formed by the explosion of Mt. Mazuma over 7,000 years ago. The crater was filled in with water over time, gradually becoming what is now the deepest lake in the United States.

Hat: Portland Gear Jacket: Levi’s (color is Concrete Indigo) Hoodie: J. Crew (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Sneakers: Nike (similar here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

No filter needed for the incredible blue water of Crater Lake! It’s famous for its vibrant blue hue, and the intense sapphire color truly didn’t disappoint.

I’m no expert, but I learned that the remarkable blue color has to do with the lake’s depth and water purity. Since the water is so clear, sunlight is able to penetrate deep into the water and most of the colors on the light spectrum (red, orange, etc.) are absorbed. But the blue and violet light rays are reflected to the lake’s surface, creating that amazing blue.

We had planned a short hike at Crater Lake, but my husband was just getting over a cold and I was just starting to come down with one, so unfortunately neither of us were up to it. Next time!

I do recommend checking the weather and visibility before making the trek to Crater Lake. We had friends who went earlier in the summer, and they couldn’t see anything because of the smoke caused by the wildfires in Oregon and California.

All in all, it was the perfect birthday weekend! Thank you to my sweet husband for planning such a lovely trip with so many of my favorite activities. ❤️ I’m hoping we can take another visit down to Ashland next summer for some more plays! Is there ever such a thing as too much Shakespeare? 😉

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!

From Work to Weekend

So far on my blog I haven’t shared much of what I wear to work! My day job as an executive assistant means that most days require professional attire (or at the very least, business casual). As such, in today’s post I’m sharing how to style workwear and make it work for you in multiple aspects of your life!

The way I accomplish this is by choosing pieces that go effortlessly from work to play and from day to night. The white blazer I’m wearing above is the perfect example of that.

It’s in a chic, windowpane print and is from the collaboration the brand J.O.A. did with LA-based influencer Chriselle Lim (Currently this blazer is on sale for under $40 on Nordstrom Rack’s website!). It looks so professional with black ankle pants and a simple white blouse.

My structured Prada bag has classic appeal, and the glossy, patent leather adds a luxe feel. My black suede shoes are by Halogen and have a low heel that is perfect for running work errands downtown (similar here).

Blazer: J.O.A. White top: Soprano (similar) Black pants: NYDJ (similar) Purse: Prada (similar size) Bracelets: Natasha (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-ban Clubmaster

If I’m going straight from work to dinner or an event, these simple additions take this look from office attire to out on the town: a bold lip, some wrist bling, and favorite sunnies. I love brown lipsticks for fall and winter!

Graphic tee: Eleven Paris (fun tee options: here, here, here) Jeans: Topshop (similar) Boots: Sam Edelman (similar) Purse: Prada (similar)

This is how I style a blazer from work to weekend. I start with a fun, graphic tee that complements the tones or print of the blazer, like this Kate Moss tee by Eleven Paris that’s been a fave of mine for years. I’ve linked some fun graphic tees above, since I could only find this exact Kate Moss option on sites like Poshmark and eBay (I bought mine at Kitson several years ago).

I then choose a great pair of skinny jeans, like this high-wasted option by Topshop that I’ve purchased in both blue and black because they’re so comfy (the style is called Jamie, and they come in a variety of colors and lengths)!

I finish it off with shoes and accessories: a great pair of black booties, a chic purse, some wrist bling, and sunglasses.

I love the contrast of mixing something fun like a graphic tee with a classy blazer and a structured purse. It keeps the look modern but still polished.

On a different note, I just started reading Crazy Rich Asians and am loving it! The entire series is definitely on my fall reading list. I will do a more thorough post on the novel when I finish it.

It’s also that time of year for Vogue’s iconic September issue! I’ve been reading Vogue since high school, and I love seeing all the fall fashion in their biggest issue of the year.

What’s on your reading list for fall?

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend! ❤️

Stars, Stripes, and Style

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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” –from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

This oft-quoted passage from American novelist Jack Kerouac seemed fitting to discuss for this post as we head into 4th of July weekend. Obviously he mentions roman candles, the longtime firework favorite that is practically synonymous with this American holiday.

But the reason I love this quote is for what the roman candle represents: what kind of people do we want in our lives? He wants the passionate ones, the “mad ones”–those rare individuals who have a fire in their hearts for life and want to share it with everyone they meet.

This beautiful quote never fails to inspire me–to find your passions and pursue them and to treasure those who are the roman candles in your own life.

Style Inspiration

Though the 4th isn’t ’til Wednesday, we’re headed into 4th of July weekend, and a variety of festivities. Whether you’re hosting a BBQ, attending a pool party, or camping in the great outdoors, I’m sharing style inspo in red, white, and blue! I’ll also be sharing a few 4th of July events here in the Portland area for those of you who are local.

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Jumpsuit: Monteau (similar here, here, and hereBag: Prada  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similarSunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

I’m starting off with this fabulous jumpsuit that was a TJ Maxx find! I adore jumpsuits– they’re almost like comfy pajamas but with a certain cool factor. Vertical striped jumpsuits also tend to make me look taller than I actually am, and I love how this particular one ties at the waist. This would be perfect for a 4th of July picnic or an evening barbecue, and I’ve linked great striped options in similar colors above.

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Swim Shorts: O’Neill  Red Bikini Top: Sweaty Rocks (available on Amazon in a variety of colors)  Striped Bottoms: Xhilaration (similar here and here) American Flag Bandana: Target (similar)

Next up: stars and stripes swim attire if you’ll be spending the 4th by the water, whether at a beach, lake, or pool party! My husband’s swim shorts are O’Neill and have been a favorite of his for the last few summers (still available online). I mixed and matched for my ensemble–the red top is from a bikini set from Amazon, and the striped navy/white bottoms are by Xhilaration from Target (I’m a longtime fan of Target’s swimwear!).

I’m so happy that hair accessories are back in style again (bandanas, scrunchies, bedazzled clips, etc.), and my American flag themed bandana is also from Target (similar option linked above!).

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Last but certainly not least, I’m sharing a casual, yet classic look. I love a great striped shirt, and this one from Mailey Rose is so soft and sweet with its little cherry detail. Mailey Rose is a fabulous online boutique based out of St. Louis, and I was thrilled when they contacted me to brand rep for them. This adorable shirt (named the Shirley Top, after the beloved childhood drink garnished with maraschino cherries) was made here in the USA.

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Striped Top: Mailey Rose  Jeans: Topshop  Sneakers: Converse Jack Purcell  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster  Lip: Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss

My high-waisted jeans are by Topshop and are super stretchy and comfortable. I love how flattering they are–even though they’re high-waisted, I definitely wouldn’t call them the 90’s-inspired “mom jeans” that have been trending for awhile now because these are more fitted. Honestly, I’m not really a fan of “mom jeans,” but that’s just me.

This festive, casual look would be great for outdoor activities (though let’s be real–I would leave the red lipstick at home for a camping trip! Maybe unless you’re “glamping,” but that’s a different thing entirely 😉).

4th of July Events in the Portland Area

For those of you who are local or visiting Portland, Fort Vancouver does an annual “Fireworks Spectacular” across the Columbia River in nearby Vancouver, Washington. It’s one of the largest firework shows in the Portland metro area and starts at 10:05pm on the 4th. You can watch these fireworks at Fort Vancouver, and this year entry is free (though there won’t be any food vendors or beer garden).

My favorite spot to watch this show in years past was on Hayden Island, which is still within the Portland city limits on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. However, the Fort Vancouver Fireworks’ website claims that the fireworks won’t be visible from the Columbia River or Portland this year (good to know!). For more info and restrictions, visit their website here.

If you’re a fan of blues, from July 4-7 the Waterfront Blues Festival will be taking place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which is located next to the Willamette River in the heart of downtown Portland. Visit their website here for info on tickets and passes.

Oaks Park, a historic theme park (opened way back in 1905!) that I frequented often growing up, also will have a fireworks show. The park will stay open until midnight on the 4th (admission prices range from $3 to $6, depending on your age).

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Whatever your plans may be, wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend and a safe 4th of July!

Round and Round We Go

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For the Graduation

By Robert Creeley

for Kate

Round and round
again, and
up and down
again—always

these days do
go by, and
this one is yours
to go by.

This walking on
and on, this
going and coming—
this morning

shines such lovely
light on
all of us.
We’re home.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, with both my siblings graduating (my sister from high school and my brother from my Alma Mater, the University of Oregon). The above lines “round and round again, and up and down again” definitely apply to how we’ve all been feeling. It’s been a special time too though, to see all their hard work and dedication come to fruition.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a unique period graduation is: how you’re on the edge of something old and on the brink of something new, how you’ve achieved one goal and have your sights set on the next.

I read this sweet, poignant poem that acclaimed poet Robert Creeley wrote for his daughter for her graduation. And it reminded me of how commencement is also a time of celebration for the families—that all the years of support and love and sacrifice have culminated in a concrete way.

As a whole, his poem reflects upon the cyclical nature of life–the Earth goes round and round, and so do we: “these days do go by, and this one is yours to go by.”

He also wrote that “This morning shines such lovely light on all of us” and I feel like I know exactly what he means. The light of their achievements and success shines on us too– because we all helped each other, in various ways, to reach the points where we’re at now.

I’m really fortunate to be close to my siblings, and I feel such pride when I see them succeed. We are especially grateful to our mom, who has worked so hard and sacrificed so much. We wouldn’t be here without her.

So here’s to all the graduates, and their friends and families and loved ones, to the sleepless nights and stressful days, and to all the goals and dreams that we have yet to achieve.

Trench Coat: DKNY (similar here and hereKnee-High Boots:Blondo  Purse: Chanel Medallion Tote (similar)

June is generally a busy time of year filled with graduations, bridal showers, weddings, and the official start of summer.

In Oregon we still get a decent amount of rain this time of year, and my sister’s high school graduation was a stormy day when we had a mix of wind, hail, and downpours! As such, I knew my coat was going to be the outfit–especially since the ceremony was outside!–so I chose this silvery gray DKNY trench coat for the occasion.

Floral Dress: Soprano (floral options from the same brand: here, here, and here)  Purse: Chanel Classic Flap (similar here and here)  Ankle-Strap Heels: Breckelle’s (similar)  Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)

For my brother’s graduation at the beautiful University of Oregon campus, the weather couldn’t have been more different. It was a breezy, sunny afternoon and I got to wear one of my favorite floral dresses from Soprano. My brother’s tassel and sash were light pink (representing the Music major), and my mom and I chose to color-coordinate (because we’re cool like that 😉).

I love versatile floral dresses for spring and summer–this particular one I’ve worn to work with a blazer, to a bridal shower, and now to a graduation as well. Soprano always has great prints and fun dresses, and I’ve linked a variety of options above. I’ve also linked some lovely quilted handbags that share a similar design with the Chanel classic flap.

In my next post later this week, I’ll be sharing style inspiration for the 4th of July! Whether you’ll be hosting a BBQ, attending a pool party, or camping in the wilderness, I have outfit ensembles for a variety of occasions. I’ll also be sharing some great activities for the 4th here in the Portland area.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!