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! ❤️

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! ❤️

Hey, Pumpkin

img_6352

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery

October is one of my favorite months of the year, and it’s not just because it’s officially pumpkin season. I do, of course, enjoy knit sweaters and colorful fall foliage, but I absolutely love scary movies and dressing up for Halloween! I’ll be starting this post off with a recent trip to a local Portland pumpkin patch and cozy fall attire. I’ll also be sharing some couples’ costumes inspiration, featuring some of my faves that my husband and I have worn over the years. Last but not least, I’ll be listing my picks for horror movies and spooky TV series.

Plumper Pumpkin Patch

img_6268

Last week my bestie, her husband, and I drove out to Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm. It was sunny and about 70 degrees–we couldn’t have asked for more idyllic fall weather!

img_6350

img_6281

img_6359

img_6426

Scarf: Kitson (similar here and here) Sweater: TJ Maxx (similar here and hereJeans: Topshop Boots: Blondo Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

We wandered through the pumpkin patch and apple orchard, and I was so glad I wore a trusty pair of Blondo boots. These are the Elvina booties, and, even with the stylish pointy-toe, they’re still super comfortable.

This is one of my favorite fall scarves–I love the red, gray, and cream-colored tones, which contrasts so well with a simple, off-white sweater. My scarf is several years old and was a purchase from Kitson (which is no longer in business), and my sweater is from TJ Maxx. I’ve linked several similar scarves and sweaters above. As much as I enjoy neutrals in my day-to-day life, I especially love red and orange tones in the fall. Scarves are a great way to add a fun accent to an otherwise neutral outfit.

My high-waisted black jeans are the Jamie style by Topshop. I’ve featured these in previous posts because I seriously wear them all the time! They are super flattering and have the perfect amount of stretch–which is ideal when you’re doing something a bit more active, such as searching for that perfect pumpkin! 🎃

facetune_16-10-2018-16-58-16

img_6416

How adorable are the pastel colors of that sweet little farmhouse?!

Halloween Couples’ Costume Inspiration

From Gatsby to Cleopatra, my husband and I have drawn inspiration from history and pop culture for our Halloween costumes. What was great about our Gatsby-era costumes shown above was almost every item was something we already owned in our closet! The black fedora Mark is wearing we borrowed from my brother, and the feathered headband I ordered from Amazon.

Phantom of the Opera is one of our favorite musicals (we saw it in London last year!), so getting to dress up as the Phantom and Christine was a real treat. My off-the-shoulder lace dress I already owned (I love re-purposing items from my closet and using them for costumes!). Our masquerade-style masks and my husband’s cape were all purchased at a very reasonable price from Amazon (seriously, Amazon is one of the best places to find costume accessories or ready-to-wear costume sets!).

e038495e-e72a-43f9-a1f9-5bc2b489c2f8

Last year I dressed up as the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and my husband was the Roman general Mark Antony. I enjoyed practicing the elaborate eyeliner in the weeks leading up to Halloween (Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra makeup was a big inspiration). My headpiece and necklace were awesome Amazon finds, which I wore with a high-neck maxi dress that I already owned. We purchased the Roman costume from Amazon as well, which is still available for purchase.

Sometimes just a few new accessories or costume jewelry can turn an item you already own into the perfect Halloween costume!

Scary Movies and TV Series

Something I have been a fan of since the very beginning is American Horror Story. This groundbreaking anthology series has a different theme every season, though most of the actors return from year to year to play new characters (or, sometimes to reprise the role of a character from a previous season). Though I miss the seasons with the incredible Jessica Lange, actors like Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters have such range and talent that they bring something new and exciting to each and every season.

This show is not for the faint of heart or for those easily spooked; also, it is quite violent at times, along with some graphic sex scenes and nudity. However, it does such an amazing job of weaving together myths, legends, and folklore with the creepy and the supernatural, and every season it never fails to surprise me in some way.

A new Netflix series I just started watching is The Haunting of Hill House. I’m halfway through and am really enjoying it. The first couple episodes were a bit slow in my opinion, but once I got to know each of the main characters I was definitely hooked. So far each episode focuses on one of the five siblings and jumps around in time between the past and the present. Gradually, a picture is emerging of the terrible event that occurred when they were kids, and the way it shaped all their lives.

In a way it’s a family drama, but so far what I find most interesting is the way it makes you question the characters’ realities. Are they truly haunted by ghosts or evil spirits? Or is it something else?

And if you’re not in the mood to invest in a TV series, here are a few of my horror film picks from the last several years: SinisterLights OutDon’t BreatheGet OutIt (the recent one, not the original), Annabelle (I like all the movies from The Conjuring universe). My husband and I watched Hereditary awhile back, and I’ll add it to this list just because it was so very strange and haunting (seriously, I couldn’t get certain images out of my head for days).

I would also add the films Split and A Quiet Place to this list, though some might argue they’re more of the thriller genre than true horror movies. A Quiet Place was particularly memorable–the premise was so intriguing, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt had phenomenal performances. There are few words spoken aloud throughout the entire film, which further contributes to the film’s eerie tale.

img_6420

As much as I love scary movies, I’ve had so much fun soaking up the beautiful weather we’ve been having the last few weeks. Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm was such a cute spot to visit, and it had tons of activities for kids and families as well (if you’re local, check them out!). Unlike some of the Portland-area pumpkin patches, they’re open daily from the last week of September through Halloween from 9:00am to 5:30pm. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon there and marveling at these gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley. I also want to thank my BFF for being my photographer for the day!

Are you dressing up for Halloween? Do you have a favorite scary movie? What do you love most about this time of year? 🎃👻

Have a great week everyone!

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!