Monday, August 22, 2016


This past Saturday marked the two year anniversary of Teal and Polka Dots and I thought it would be fun to do a behind the blog/Q&A, including some frequently asked questions.

What has changed the most on this space in the past year?
The past year has seen more DIYs, outfit remixes and day-to-day kind of stuff. Participating in linkups like Currently and Pin to Present have helped me dip my toes into the lifestyle blogging waters and I like having more to offer than my daily outfit post. I'm continuously impressed with the smart, clever women that are part of this community and honored to be a small of it. There's so much inspiration to be found - a fabulous outfit, creative DIY, yummy looking recipe or insightful reflection - which in turn has encouraged me to try new things on this space. While outfit posts are still my bread and butter, I've enjoying having a bit more diversity in posts, and I hope you have as well!

Walk us through the set up of writing a blog post.
I'd love say I'm super organized and plan posts in advance, but most of the time everything is thrown together. A typical outfit post goes like this: the day beforehand (okay, sometimes the day of) my sweet, long suffering husband takes outfit photos for me. We work at the same place, so it's whenever we can find a spare five minutes to knock them out. Sometimes it's first thing in the morning before the workday begins, other times at lunch, and every once and while we get adventurous and find a new spot after work. I'm still using my Canon T3 and standard lens (sadly my 55mm lens broke and I have yet to replace it) and most of the time shoot in full auto. I spend 20 minutes or so in Photoshop cropping, brightening and getting rid of a zits and double chins, then set to work writing content. Usually it's whatever comes to mind at the moment. I chose some time ago to monetize my blog though Shopstyle, and dedicate some time locating outfit items. I then read through the post a time or two for errors (unfortunately miss a few) and hit publish. From photos to finish, I'd say it typically takes me an hour and a half, though posts can take much longer depending on complexity.

What have you learned in the past year?
It's a lesson I have to keep reminding myself, but sometimes you can't do it all. I'm not Wonder Woman and trying to be can quickly lead to burnout. My job is very seasonal, sometimes it's relatively quiet and other times (like now) insanely busy. Feast or famine. In the end it comes down to priorities. My family will always be first. No matter what. Somewhere after family, friends, work and life comes the blog. This is definitely a hobby for me. One I love - but at the end of the day it's not something to stress over, but to enjoy and have fun with!

What it your favorite post from the past year?
My favorite outfit post by far has to be the one where I wore a lilac pleated midi skirt and chambray shirt. I felt so darn pretty and confident, and it was one of those outfits that looked equally fantastic in pictures as well as in real life. I just liked the way I felt in it. It might be cheating a bit to pick two things, but I've loved the monthly Mom Style Remix challenges and how they have inspired me to look at everyday items in my closet differently.

I've noticed you've lost some weight. Can you tell us about the process and do you have any weight loss tips?
I haven't meant to be mysterious about my weight loss, though it's not something I plan to do post on. Long story short, I got sick at the end of December and ended up in the hospital for a week. A long recovery time (and 30lbs later) I emerged a (somewhat skinnier) me. In full transparency, my doctor prescribed me a prescription weight loss pill (which I know is not for everyone). I don't think it made me lose that much weight, but did help keep the weight off. So that's my weight loss journey, and one I wouldn't recommend unless you feel like spending Christmas in the hospital, getting sick to your stomach for months afterwards and having the extra bonus of losing a bunch of your hair from stress. But not to worry, I'm all healthy now, feeling great and my hair is thankfully growing back. :)

How do you see Teal and Polka Dot's continue to evolve in the next year?
One of my goals for next year is to be more organized and have more intent when it comes to this space. I definitely want to be more proactive on social media. While Instagram remains my favorite, with Pinterest a close second, I know I need to give Twitter and Facebook more love. It goes back to the time/hobby thing - the trick is figuring out how to balance it all, which I'm definitely still working on!

Thank you so much for everyone who has made the past two years of blogging so wonderful. The words of encouragements, sweet comments and connections I've made are invaluable!

Read my first-year blogiversary Q&A here. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

thoughts and whatnots 8.21.16

dotted top and black pencil pants:  one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:

favorites sales:

  • what I'm reading: I'm about three quarters of the way through The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin. Overall, I like it. It's a work of fiction based on real people and places, and I've enjoyed reading about Empress Elizabeth of Austria - so much so that I've been doing some research on the real-life person.
  • what I'm watching: I'm sort of watching (mainly listening to) Strangers Things while typing up this post.
  • what I'm crushing on: Having major FOMO that I didn't snag this pleated midi skirt in emerald green before it went out of stock. The pink's pretty - but finger's crossed J. Crew brings the green back!
  • what I'm looking forward to: Not being quite so busy. I know I sound like a broken record lately, but work has been especially intense. I just have to make it until mid-October, which marks the end of our busy season and the beginning of my favorite time of year!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

under pressure

A super short post today. Mainly wanted to say hi and daydreaming of the days when I have enough time to put a real post together and respond to folks' lovely recent comments. I also wanted to show you my super easy - don't have time to put a real outfit together - work outfit: printed top, pencil pants and a fun bag (ignore all the junk peeking out of it). Oh, well real-life and all that you know.

It's cheesy, but my motto for stress is: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Preferably washed down with a frosty margarita.

top: Loft (similarish) last worn here
pants: The Limited (exactlast worn here
shoes: J. Crew Factory (exactlast worn here
bag: Kate Spade (exact in watermelon pink) last worn here
earrings: Stella & Dot (exact)
necklace: Amazon (similar)
bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties (exact pearl, almost exact aqua)
watch: Fossil (exact with a leather band)
ring: Stella & Dot (exact)

Monday, August 15, 2016

red on red

Happy Monday friends! Life has been so busy, it's hard to believe another week has come and gone. And it definitely doesn't feel like mid-August. Last week and this week are the semester break between summer and fall classes at the university I work at, so it's been super quiet on campus with empty parking lots, halls and classrooms. Though work itself has been especially busy helping recruiters and faculty put together last minute print projects. Not to mention working on our annual magazine - my biggest project of the year.

I love the first day of school - full of new beginnings - and I'm one of those nerds who loved stocking up on school supplies - all the fresh pencils, notebooks and Gelly Rolls pens please (not much as changed since then, I still love new office supplies). Maybe it's because back to school feels like the start of fall, even though it's still a million degrees out. I always had to wear all my new school clothes, even if I was sweating in my brand new sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and jeans. Not much has changed there either, I always want to wear something new right away, even if it isn't practical. :)

top: Boden (exact) last seen here
shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact) last seen here
necklace: Kendra Scott (exact) last seen here
earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)
watch: Fossil (same style with a leather band)
bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl, exact arrowhead)

// Sharing on Mix it Mondays.  //

Sunday, August 14, 2016

thougths and whatnots 8.14.16

 aqua for days: one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:
  • on the blog: Eight striped looks for #momstyleremix.
  • on pinterest: Possible cozy DIY?  
  • coming up on the blog: Hopefully an outfit post of two. I have been insanely busy lately and took an unintentional mini break from the blog last week. I'm going to do my best to be present on this space, may posts may be a bit spotty for the next few months while I juggle my most busy time of the year at work, side projects, and such.

favorite sales:

  • what I'm reading: I just picked up The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin at Target. :)
  • what I'm watching: We just rented Zootopia and it was so cute. For whatever reason, I had zero interest in it before, and but I'm happy the husband persuaded me. :) The kiddo loved it too!
  • what I'm crushing on: So many cute things currently on my wishlist from J. Crew Factory from this absolutely adorable navy polka dot puffer vest, to this fun metallic gold strip tee to this gorgeous red herringbone wool blazer.
  • what I'm looking forward to: I just started a new knitting project and it feels good to take up the needles once again. Can't wait to see it all finished!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

mom style remix: stripes

I'm pretty sure I have yet to meet a stripe I didn't like, so instead of showing you pretty much every.outfit.ever on the blog, I narrowed it down to some of my recent blue stripe outfits. Especially since seersucker and blue stripes feel so fresh and crisp - the epitome of summer - perfect for today's #momstyleremix stripes lineup!

look #1: seersucker blazer and lace
blazer: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  dress: Ann Taylor (3/4 sleeve option) |  shoes: Loft (exact)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (same style with a different face) |  bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)

It's nice to play dress up once and awhile, and work gives me the perfect (child-free) outlet to do that. Especially since this is outfits is not so toddler-friendly. Unless sticky-finger polka dots on white dresses become the latest fashion. :) See the original post.

look #2: seersucker blazer, polka dots and jeans
blazer: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  tee: J. Crew (similar)  |  jeans:  American Eagle (similar)  |   shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  necklace: Stella & Dot (exact)  |  watch: Target (similar)  |  bracelets: SageKandCo (designer original, designer inspired)  and Mooreseal (similar pearl cuff)  |  bag: Kate Spade (exact in watermelon pink)  |  earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)

This outfit's one of my recent favorites. I wore it to work for a casual Friday, but I can easily see wearing it out to dinner with girlfriends or switch the jeans out for navy pencil pants and you have a great business casual look. :)

look #3: striped popover and floral skirt
shirt: gap (exact)  |  skirt: Ann Taylor (exact)  |  shoes: Madewell (similar)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (same style with a different face)  |  earrings: Kate Spade (exact)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl wire) and Kreations (cute alternative)

Another real-life work outfit that's all about stripe/floral pattern mixing. Almost all of today's remix outfits are blue, white and navy, so I wanted to so how a blue stripe shirt can act as a neutral when paired with the bold floral print. There's no blue in this skirt, but I still think it complements the pinks and reds. Pointed-toe flats make for an easy transition from work to running errands. 

look #4: striped popover and dark denim
shirt: gap (exact)  |  jeans:  American Eagle (similar)   |  sandals: Loft (very similar)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (same style with a different face)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (exact)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)

This shirt is fun tucked into a pencil skirt, but I like it best lose with a pair of skinny jeans. It's super comfy, more polished than wearing a tee, and you can still get away with wearing sandals. 

look #5: striped popover and rain boots
shirt: gap (exact)  |  jeans:  American Eagle (current version)   |  rain boots: Hunter (exact)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (same style with a different face)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (exact)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)  |  glasses: Warby Parker (exact in other colors)

Keeping it bright and summery on a rainy day by pairing this stripe popover with white jeans and my favorite Hunter boots. It was perfect for a rainy day of errand running! 

look #6: seersucker dress
dress: Journey Five via Groopdealz (exact)  |  sandals: Target (similar)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (same style with a different face)  |   bracelets: J. Crew Factory (exact pave link) and Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl)

I'm convinced this is the perfect summer dress with pockets deep enough for a cell phone and keys, a flattering sleeve-length and skirt that hits right at the knees. It was great for work, but also would be perfect for a casual summer wedding, bridesmaid luncheon or church. See the original post

look 7: breton stripes and polka dots
  top: Boden (exact)  |  skirt: J. Crew (similar polka dot in limited sizes, solid navy option)  |  shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact style with a different face)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact) and Kreatons (cute alternative)  |  earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive option)

Another work outfit that could easy be worn for brunch or dinner with family. The skirt has plenty of stretch and the low-wedge sandals make this outfit insanely comfortable, but still super pretty. See the original post.

look #8: breton stripes and aqua skirt
shirt: Boden (exact)  |  skirt: J. Crew Factory (exact in other colors)  |  shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  necklace: Reeds Jewelers (similar)  |  earrings: Reeds Jewelers (exact, inexpensive alternative)  |  watch: Target (similar)  |  bracelets: Loft (similar crystal) and Moorea Seal (similar pearl cuff)  

In addition to being a sucker for stripes, I have a thing about skirts with pockets, and this aqua one is no exception. I love the fun, nautical feel the striped tee gives this look and how easy and comfortable it was to wear (comfort being another thing I'm all about). See the original post

I've love how summery all these looks are, but I'm already looking forward to finding ways to style blue stripes this autumn/winter. I think the seersucker blazer would look super cute with a plaid blanket scarf, navy wool pencil skirt and riding boots; the stripe popover would go perfectly with a navy puffer vest, jeans and smoking loafers (I desperately wish these teal ones weren't out of stock in my size); the seersucker dress would look cute with a cardigan, cognac belt and booties; and the breton stripe tee would look great with a cozy cardigan and colored cords.

Thanks Anne and Jenn for hosting the #momstyleremix series! Before to check out the other linkups for some great striped outfit inspiration!

What more #momstyleremix? Check out my colored bottomsT-shirts, cardigans, sneakers, sweatshirts and jeans remixes! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

polka dots and aqua

I'm a literal interpretation of my blog name with my teal and polka dot outfit! Well, technically it's an aqua and polka dotted outfit, but it's all in the same color family, so it still counts. :)

Aside for this outfit, how gorgeous are these lilac crape myrtles? I'm not a fan of summer, but I do love all the pretty flowers that come out to play. While while not a gardener - as the poor, dry hydrangeas in front of my house can attest - I now kind of want a pair of dwarf crape myrtles in our front yard and maybe some boxwoods as well. Unfortunately, we have homeowner association restrictions on plants - our neighborhood is all about palm trees - but seriously, who couldn't love these blooms? Maybe I can win them over, because I think these would look perfect with our light gray stucco house (which we're in the process of repainting). And hey, maybe some shade would keep my hydrangeas from burning up, though aren't they supposed to like sun?

shirt: J. Crew (similar) 
skirt: J. Crew Factory (exact in other colors) last seen here
shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact) last seen here
necklace: Kendra Scott (exact) last seen here
watch: Fossil (same style)
bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl, similar aqua)
earrings: Stella and Dot (exact)

// Sharing on Mix it Mondays. //