Category Archives: Fashion

What does Bridget Wear to Work?

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As you guys know, both Casey and I have jobs outside of the DIY Playbook. I am a high school special education teacher and really love what I do. My class schedule looks slightly different from two years ago when I wrote this day in the life post but overall my days are still just as hectic from 7:00am-4:00pm.

I teach workplace skills in the morning and finish my afternoon co-teaching government and economics at the same high school where Casey and I attended just over ten years ago. I work at a high school of almost 4,000 students, so the campus is pretty big. I don’t teach in the same classroom two periods in a row, which means I’m always on the move… literally.teacher-fashion-sweater-skirt-bridget-standing

I share this information with you not to tell you all about my day job, but to show you that I can relate to a lot of you when it comes to buying “work clothes” because that’s what you’ll find me wearing Monday through Friday. I wish I could rock holey jeans, a tee. and converse everyday but that is far from my reality. And I don’t know if you guys feel the same way about finding work wear but as far as I’m concerned… the STRUGGLE IS REAL!

Work to Weekend Wear

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I have a small closet and limited storage space at home so I really try to purchase work wear that I can wear on the weekends too. I know that’s not always the reality for every single piece of clothing, but I really try my best to only choose items that are versatile… and affordable.

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Casey and I were recently chatting about this strategy and realized that we’re probably not alone in the pursuit to find clothing that can double as work wear and weekend wear, all on a budget. So we decided that we are going to start to weave in some “Work to Weekend” posts on Wednesdays so we can highlight pieces in our closets that do double duty for us.teacher-fashion-sweater-skirt-bridget-7

Plus when we turn to Pinterest or even the blogosphere, we don’t see a ton of realistic work fashion finds (not everyone wears heels & a power suit everyday!) so we figured, maybe starting the conversation will teach us all something together! <— we can use all the tips we can get from the amazing community of working women tuning in!

But before we dive into Work to Weekend gear, we figured we should each share a little information about our current work routines so that you can learn what factors go into each our of work wardrobe choices.

Comfy Shoes are a Must!

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Like I said before, I work in a high school Monday through Friday. There isn’t necessarily a strict dress code for teachers but looking professional, dressing modestly, and being comfortable are all important factors. I dress professionally Monday through Thursday and love Fridays because we can wear nice jeans and school spirit gear… with gym shoes!teacher-fashion-sweater-skirt-bridget-4

From Monday through Thursday I try to look professional and feel comfortable. I work in a large school and do not have my own classroom but instead walk to a new room all 8 hours of the day. I recently tracked my steps and figured that I walk almost three miles within the building each day, which means comfy shoes are a must!

The first 3-4 years of teaching I wore heels every single day (ouch!) but have changed my ways a bit since then. I still wear heels on extra special days but usually wear wedges or flats in honor of comfort… and making it to my next class on time!

My Color Scheme
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Sometimes I’ll wear skirts or dresses but in the winter I always pair these staples with tights because it’s just too darn cold without them. In the warmer months I don’t mind wearing dresses or skirts without the tights but that usually means that the skirt/dress must be knee-length so I feel comfortable and professional.

I mostly wear neutral colors because I feel most “me” in them and they are far more versatile. I’ve found that I can pair neutrals with a ton of different outfits for work or the weekend, which has been key in keeping my small closet contained.

Accessories

And last but finally not least, I usually accessorize very simply. You know I love my statement necklaces so I will wear those quite a bit. I’ll wear stud earrings and a watch too but that’s about the extent of my jewelry at work.

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But even on days I don’t wear any jewelry, you’ll always find me with a bag. Since I travel from classroom to classroom, I need to carry around a bag with me. I keep my lunch in there, my laptop, graded student work, and a whole slew of supplies. <— I can never have enough pens or pencils in my bag. If I had a dollar for every time a student asked for a pen, I’d probably be rich by now!teacher-fashion-sweater-skirt-bridget-laughing

Those are pretty much the basics when it comes to choosing my work week wardrobe! I can’t wait to dive into more detail as we roll out the work to weekend series (not every Wednesday, just as we see fit). I feel like a lot of us are in the same boat and could use each other as we all try to build versatile closets that don’t break the bank.

What are your tips?

What do you guys think? Are there certain work to weekend topics or wardrobe items you want us to tackle first? Next Wednesday Casey will dive into her work wardrobe guidelines to give us all a little background on her work environment. Then you guys will have a better idea of each our workplaces so that we can kick-off our first work to weekend post soon!

In the meantime, what factors go into choosing your work wardrobe? We’d love to hear what you do for a living (#GIRLBOSS) and what wardrobe challenges you face!

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23 thoughts on “What does Bridget Wear to Work?

  1. Casaundra Donahoe

    OMG! Thank you for starting this series. Deciding what to wear to work is a daily struggle and when I google for ideas all that comes up are high fashion options which are not realistic. Business casual attire can be so hard!

    Reply
  2. Katy

    I am a manager of a group of engineers — all male besides me. Our dress code policy is “Dress for your Day”, which means that jeans are acceptable as long as you are not meeting with external clients. I really struggle with this dress code, as I sometimes find myself going too casual, but I also don’t want to dress up too much and appear stuffy to my employees. Additionally, I am the only female engineering manager, so there isn’t anyone to look to for guidance. I’m thinking about getting some blazers, but I’m not sure how to incorporate them. I wear a lot of button-up shirts with cardigans in the winter, but summertime is tough as I don’t want to wear layers but my outfits seems to always feel unfinished without them. Obviously, I could use some help!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Katy,
      This is exactly how my workplace operates (dress for your day!) I’ll be chatting more about it next week when I share more about my workwear, but I totally agree with your sentiment. I either feel too casual or too fancy…it’s hard to find a good middle ground.

      Excited to tackle this more here on the blog!

      And Morgan…love the idea for a wrap dress!

      Best,
      Casey

  3. Kara D

    Love this series too! I don’t feel comfortable in skirts/dresses at work, so I’m always wearing pants. Lately, my staple outfits have either been:
    1) Solid dark leggings/skinny pants with long loose tunic tops and tall flat boots
    2) Express Portofino shirts, layered over either a tank top or thin long sleeved top, with trousers. Sometimes a sweater/cardigan layered on over it.

    The tops I will wear over the weekends too, but the bottoms will change to jeans or athleisure pants, etc. Plus the accessories and hairstyles help change up the “fanciness” level.

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Love this plan Kara! Casey is also obsessed with the Portofino shirts from Express. She’ll be sharing more about her work wear next week, but it sounds very similar to yours!

  4. Erin

    my department dress code has changed drastically because we merged with a team that is based in florida, and their dress code is SUPER casual. While our office had always been business casual because we are headquarters. My usual work uniform is heels/wedges with ankle pants & a portofino blouse (and it’s always bright colors).

    However, our dress code has gotten a lot more casual because one, my old boss had broken her foot a couple years ago and since then she’s always worn sneakers. Secondly, the florida team dresses very casual as in they do wear shorts to work! That is a bit much for me! I don’t go that far down the casual road. but i do wear jeans a bit more often. I try to keep it mixed up where I’ll wear dark colored jeans with a dressy top. but i still try to stick with wearing my vans on fridays only!

    Though come summer time, I can’t even bear to think about wearing jeans because it is way too hot to even think about pulling those on — that’s when i default to my work uniform, it’s a lot cooler, and i mix it up between my portofino blouses & sleeveless blouses. I cringe every time i see someone come in the building wearing jeans when it’s 90 degrees outside!

    Reply
  5. DIY Playbook

    The glasses are coach, I got them at my eye doctor a few years ago. If you’re looking for new glasses, check out Warby Parker — seriously amazing (and SO many options!)

    Reply
  6. Sarah

    I am super excited for this series! I work in an office setting that sometimes sees clients we fund coming around (and sometimes without warning), so its pretty formal around here. However, we recently relocated our office and we went from having lawyers and accountants on all the other floors to being the most professional organization in the building and the attire has slowly veered more and more casual since. It’s interesting to see how the others companies and organizations around you affect things such as clothing standards!

    Sarah
    Sweet Spontaneity

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Sounds like you’re having the same struggles we are, Sarah. Hard to find a good balance between super dressy & super casual! Hopefully we can all figure it out together.

  7. kates

    YES YES YES!!! Love this idea. I work for a small arch/eng firm and our dress code is part “wear for your day” part “business professional” and part “business casual”. It is really hard to dress for that some days! Not to mention living in the midwest (Iowa) we don’t always follow the latest fashions and we don’t have a lot of the stores most fashion bloggers use. So love to see your outfits.

    Also big fan of my sperry’s for daily wear. I have a pair of black and tan ones that i have lived in for like 2 years now.

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      I’m glad you’re on board!! And yes, I completely agree when it comes to a comfy pair of shoes… once I find a pair I love, I wear them on repeat to work!

  8. Pia

    I love this! I too struggle with work clothes – I end up wearing the same “blah” items over and over again because I’m never able to find anything work-appropriate that I actually want to buy or wear!

    I would love to see a post on what you consider your work essentials – like 5-10 awesome (affordable!) items that can be mixed and matched to actually look put together without spending a ton of money or time each morning deliberating!

    Reply
  9. PAM

    I am lucky..I work in an insurance office(crop insurance only) so I pretty much wear what I want. So it’s jeans and tops..tennis shoes(in summer, shorts and tank tops)..hair up in a ponytail if I want..I usually don’t wear makeup either..we rarely see any farmers..it’s all done over the phone or through the mail or online.

    Reply
  10. Meghan Kearney

    What a great topic! I am currently struggling with upping my professional wardrobe. My road blocks seem to be “ease of corralling toddler in the AM and surviving drop off” to “construction site appropriate” since 2-3 days a week I’ll transition from office client meetings to muddy construction sites… I’m always interested in others road blocks and how they overcome them.

    Reply

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Fitness Goals

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For last week’s style series, we chatted all about our favorite athleisure wear. Those items were some of our favorite for both lounging around the house and in less frequent cases…actually working out!

casey-athleisure-24Today, we wanted to chat a little bit about how we each workout and share a few of our healthy-living goals for 2017.

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Today’s Fashion Staple: Fitness Accessories

Plus, since we didn’t have much time to chat about our workout accessories (water bottles, shoes, bags, etc) last week, we figured today’s post would be a good chance to dive into those tidbits too. It’s quite the agenda for this style series, so let’s get right to it! 

Casey

I’m actually a big fan of working out, specifically because I just feel so good afterwards! I feel like I sleep better and have much more energy when I stick to a workout routine.

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But that doesn’t mean that I’m incredibly devoted to getting to the gym everyday. I’d say I average about 3-4 times per week. I specifically LOVE group fitness classes. Maybe because I grew up as a dancer and enjoyed going to dance class everyday? That then continued in college when I was on the pom squad at Notre Dame. There’s just something about being in a room full of other people that motivates you to try your best (or maybe it’s just the competitive side in me. ha!)

My favorite workout class is called Body Pump. Any other body pump lovers out there? It has quite the cult following across the country. Essentially it’s a 60-minute strength class using a bar bell. It’s choreographed to music, with each music track targeting a specific muscle group. By the end you leave with a full-body workout. I started incorporating this class into my workout routine 1x per week last August, and have noticed a change in my body. I feel so much stronger and have developed some lean muscles that I didn’t have before.

yoga-poses-caseyI also enjoy doing yoga. It’s wonderful when I want to clear my head and stretch out sore muscles. They offer a yoga class 1x per week at my work, so I usually stay and do that on Tuesday nights.

casey-athleisure-2So essentially my workout routine consists of a mixture of group fitness classes, cardio on the stair master at the gym, and then occasional BBG workouts at home.

Now onto my favorite fitness accessories that are really beneficial to my workout routine…

drinking-swell-water-bottle-caseyI’m a big H2O lover. While Bridget has a hard time drinking enough water, I drink so much water it’s kinda crazy. I ALWAYS have a water bottle with me, and I recently got 2 S’well water bottles for Christmas.

swell-water-bottleI keep this gold one in my gym bag and I use it for workouts. I have the larger size (in marble…so gorgeous), that I keep at my desk at work. I fill that bad boy up 2-3x during the workday. The best part about these water bottles is that they don’t “sweat.” I hate when watery residue is left all over your desk, so these have been great. They also keep liquids cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours. And it really does work!

casey-athleisure-6I also got this new workout bag for Christmas and I’m obsessed. It’s sleek and has so many pockets and compartments. There’s even a little shoe compartment inside to keep your gym shoes from dirtying up anything else in your bag. Before this I just had a tote that I’d throw my workout clothes in, but now I love having everything organized so I can bring my gym bag to work everyday. This makes me much more likely to stop at the gym on my way home!

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Another “new to me” accessory is this new twisty hair tie! I had seen them before and was always so fascinated as to what it was, so I picked up a 3-pack at Sephora in January.

hair-pony-tailI’m the kinda gal who always has a hair tie on her wrist, and this would often leave a big mark on my skin. Ouch. These are great because they lightly stay on your wrist and then when you use it for a pony tail it doesn’t crease your hair! casey-athleisure-23This has been a game changer for me as I love putting my hair up at night, but then would have to completely re-do my hair the next day. Now I can go another day in between washes and my hair is feeling a lot healthier because of it!

Bridget

Unlike Casey, I’m not as committed to regular gym visits BUT I’m REALLY trying to be better this year.

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Growing up I was involved in lots of sports and was very active. Even in college when I was no longer in organized sports, I would visit the gym regularly on campus and was committed to an active and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately though, I have gotten away from these routine gym visits over the last few years and NEED TO CHANGE that.
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It’s not like I sit around and have lazy days because actually I’m always on the move, partly because I’m busy but partly because I like to “putz” around the house. I’m not one who enjoys sitting down and relaxing because I’m a busy-body. I know that being on the move is a good thing but not regularly stretching or getting my heart rate up (the way “formal” exercise does) is not the routine I want to get into as I enter my 30’s at the end of this year!!! #howdidthathappenathleisure_nike-gymshoes

So I have been hitting the gym fairly regularly after work to walk/jog on the treadmill. It’s been a sloooowwww stat but I keep reminding myself that just being on the treadmill for any amount of time is more than I used to be.athleisure_nike-gymshoe-grey

It hasn’t been easy because I don’t love working out, but I do feel better when I leave so I try to focus on that as motivation to stick with it! Any other tips for me?! Or better yet, does anyone have any suggestions on running workouts to help build endurance over time (for beginners)? I need all the help I can get!athleisure_grey-black

My new gray gym shoes have also been a motivator to get my butt to the gym after work. They’re incredibly comfortable (no breaking in time at all) and are pretty fashionable too.

Our Favorite Accessories for the Gym

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1 Gym bag // 2. No Crease Hair ties  // 3. Marble Swell // 4. Grey Gym shoes (B’s)
5. Gold Swell Bottle // 6. No-Show Socks // 7. Black Gym shoes (Casey’s!)
8. White Gym shoes // 9. Grey Gym shoes // 10. Grey Hatcasey-yoga-workout-fitness

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19 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook Style Series – Fitness Goals

  1. Erin

    i’ve been doing beachbody workouts for about 1.5 years. before that, i was doing random workouts I’d find on pinterest or other stuff. But then i decided to try the beachbody programs. and Love it because i don’t even have to think about what my next workout is. It’s already scheduled. I keep doing it because there is so much variety. my favorite workout thus far is Core de Force — which is MMA training. and it’s quite fun! Plus i’m part of an online group that is super supportive and very motivating! and keeps me going each and every day. and i get to do it from home!

    as for building up your running — the biggest thing that works for a lot of people is strength training. building up your leg muscles (not by bulk, but strength) will make things a lot easier in terms of being able to build your endurance with running. Lots of lunges and squats with weights will do it!

    Reply
    1. Erin

      Sure thing. I promise I am not a coach. I just like the product & i love my coach! Anyway this is a new thing where you can get a year subscription to all the programs that you can view on the web, the app, via apple tv (if you have the new one) or roku.

      you have access to all of the programs, new and old. so you don’t need to buy any dvds!

      you can sign up here: https://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/on-demand-workouts-streaming-plan.do?ICID=BLOG_BB_BOD_SIGNUPAAC

      they do charge you $99.95 and that’s good for the whole year! you can’t go wrong with it!!! the 12 month plan is the best plan to go with. I usually pick a program and follow the calendar for at least a month, but lately i’ve been doing each program for at least 3 months.

      a brief rundown of what i’ve done.
      21 day fix extreme — a mix of strength and cardio. she loves her bonus rounds which I want to die every time. and LOVES leg day! workouts are all 30 minutes! I got bored because i was doing the same workout every week. but it’s a good program!

      Chalean Extreme – mostly strength. I built a LOT of strength from this program. it’s pretty long, but i really enjoyed it. it varied from 30-45 minutes

      Hammer & chisel. I love to hate this program because i can’t get over how much Sagi talks. but it kicks your butt in so many ways. it’s a strength program with cardio here and there. 30-45 minutes.

      22 Min Hard Corps — I only did hell week. and basically died. it’s no equipment really needed except for maybe a pair of dumbells. if you just do the program straight out — it’s 22 minutes a day. that’s it! Mostly cardio with body weight strength

      T25 — this is definitely a cardio program with some body weight strength training. Shaun T is very motivating. i did all 3 months. it was a good mix up. 25 minutes that’s it, but don’t let that fool you.

      Insanity Max — I think i love to hate this program the most. Shaun T loves JUMPING. I hate JUMPING. but it was a burner for sure. No equipment needed! and 30 minutes!!

      finally Core de Force: I absolutely am IN LOVE with this program! it is so fun. Cardio with body strength — trust me the body strength portion is HARD. No equipment. but some days the workouts would be 30 minutes all the way to an hour. an hour makes me crazy! I love the trainers — joel & jericho. it is a blast. I’ve been doing it for almost 3 months and am not bored whatsoever!

    2. DIY Playbook

      Wow! This sounds great..totally my kinda workouts! What kind of equipment do you have at home? Did you find that you needed to get a few more items because of any of these?

    3. Erin

      the only thing that i really found that i bought was adjustable weights — but there are girls in the group that do go to the gym and do their workout there and follow along with the videos on their phone. Otherwise, i haven’t really needed any other equipment!

  2. Gretchen Braun

    For Bridget- I would recommend doing a couch to 5k program! It starts you out with running/walking for a short period and gradually helps you start running more and walking less. I also like to set small goals for myself and reward myself- so maybe you can try to sign up for a 5k at the end of training and have a reward for finishing! I’m big into bribing myself 🙂

    I have the same Lululemon bag and it’s AMAZING

    Reply
  3. Kerri Hansen

    I am with Gretchen, a “learn to run” program that alternates walking and running is a great way to go. It starts out so easily that even the biggest of procraster-masters like me, have a hard time making an excuse not to do the work outs. What has worked for me in the past is to sign up with a running group, my favorite is the running room. The second thing is to sign up for a local 5 K, that way I have a goal I am working towards, but most importantly for me (did I mention my tendency towards procrastination?) it’s a deadline! Also, it usually costs a small amount of $$ to register and I hate the idea of wasting money, so that also acts as motivation! I am also trying to get back into running, after a hiatus. I had plans to get going at the beginning of January, had a walk/run program ready to go and was going to register for a race, and then got hit with a flu bug that completely sapped me for over 2 weeks! And then life got busy and I still haven’t got going. I need to plot work out a into my planner and phone! You girls are motivating me to get going! We got this!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      This is such motivation, thank you!! And I’m so glad I’m not in this alone. I can totally relate to the procrastination (only when it comes to exercise… weird?!) and hating to lose money. And I’m glad you mentioned the hiatus because I find myself in that same situation when work gets busy. I’m quick to ditch the work-out routine to catch-up…. but then it’s hard to get back on track. The planner/phone combo sounds like a perfect idea to try and stay committed, I think I should start using that too. Thank you for sharing all of your tips (and your struggles). We can do this!!

  4. Whitney Regeth

    Ooh I really want to try the no crease hair ties! I might have skipped the gym once or twice because I didn’t want to mess up my hair haha. No more excuses! Thank you ladies for being so motivating! (:

    Reply
  5. Christine Casey

    Body pump is my favorite!! I’ve been doing it for about 2.5 years now and it’s such a great workout that’s constantly changing. When we moved back to IL I specifically looked for a gym that taught body pump 🙂

    Reply
  6. Elspeth

    I love fitnessblender.com. The workout videos are free and you can filter them by length, workout type, equipment, etc, depending on what you’re feeling like. No effort needed to drive to the gym! I find that one of my big deterrents is the time it takes to get ready/go somewhere, so I keep my bike on a stationary trainer in the winter in an easily accessible spot.

    Reply

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Athleisure

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Today’s Wardrobe Staple – Athleisure

Just to make sure we’re all starting today’s post on the same page, let’s first start by defining what the heck “Athleisure” is. For most of you this is probably old news, but for the few who are scratching their heads thinking that “these ladies have lost their minds… again”, we want to prove that this ONE time we actually haven’t because Athleisure is a real thing.

casey-athleisure-27Athleisure is technically defined as “a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, casual or social occasions”. <— Thanks Wikipedia!

athleisure_walking-cold-vestIn other words, it’s athletic wear (like yoga pants, tanks, or sweatshirts) that can be worn well beyond the gym (like when you’re running errands, bumming on the weekend, or just because you feel like it). We love athleisure wear because it’s so comfy AND so versatile. And since this type of clothing is very popular now, it’s easy to find a few affordable pieces. You’d be surprised how quickly these pieces creep into your everyday routine.

The one thing we like to keep in mind when buying athleisure is to limit our collection to a few versatile pieces that we really love. We have found that we typically reach for out favorite pieces over and over again so instead of buying 42 different athleisure looks, we keep it simple by buying just a few key pieces that are quality, neutral colors, and looks we really love.

Casey

I could kiss whomever came up with this whole athleisure thing! Clothing that is comfortable & cute, plus it can be worn to workout or to just lounge around?! Yes, please! casey-athleisure-25

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I must admit…I own a lot of athleisure. But honestly, I don’t feel bad about it because I wear these clothes constantly. casey-yoga-workout-fitness

First of all, I do wear my workout gear to actually workout! I belong to a gym in our neighborhood and I find that I’m much more excited to get a workout in when I’m wearing cute active gear. casey-lunging-fitness-workoutAnd then once I’m actually working out, I find that I have a much better workout when I’m wearing the right clothing. I know it may seem crazy to spend a lot of money on leggings, but I’ve found that higher quality ones are well worth the price! They suck everything in, don’t roll down, and don’t require you to pull them up every 15-seconds <– literally the worst thing ever. casey-leggings

These new capri ones are my current favorite! I love the detailing (a little bit scandalous…but still  gym appropriate) and they are incredibly comfortable. I’ve bought cheaper leggings in the past, and have always been disappointed when they would pill and fall apart quickly.

This my first time buying leggings from Zella and I think they just might be my new fav brand. casey-zella-hoodie

Now let’s discuss my new zip-up. Man, it’s another obsession of mine. You know I love me some gray, and this sweatshirt is a new staple in my closet. casey-athleisure-10

I often throw the zip up on over a tank when on my way to workout class, and then after the warm-up I’ll take it off. casey-athleisure-14

But I also wear this hoodie constantly when at home. It is pretty much the best thing to throw on when our condo gets chilly. And the thumb holes on the sleeves make it ever better. casey-athleisure-24

All in all, I’m all aboard the athleisure train and I don’t plan to hop off any time soon!

Bridget

For those of you thinking that you love the leisure part of these outfits without the “ath”-letic part… you are my people! I’m sending you an air high-five from behind my computer right now.
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In honor of full disclosure, when I wear outfits like this I barely wear them to the gym (am I horrible for even admitting that?!). Before recently, I barely went to the gym and when I did, wore super old and ugly “gym clothes”. Now that I’ve been going to the gym more often (cue the confetti emoji but don’t get too excited because it’s only January) I still tend to wear running shorts and old t-shirts. I like to save my athleisure looks for weekend errands, relaxing, and really any activities that involve no sweating. #isitjustme? <—- after reading Casey’s portion of this blog post, I kinda feel like it IS just me and I need to get my act together! 

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This is probably one of the main reasons why I’m the WORST person to give athleisure advice. The fact is that I like to have one or two of these outfits… tops… in my closet because I’ve found that since I don’t wear them to the gym and get them all sweaty, I grab the same outfit over and over again.athleisure_nike-gymshoe-grey

I’ve had these black “yoga”-like leggings in my closet for a long time. They have little zippers on the side, which makes me think they’re probably less yoga and more leggings. But either way I like this particular pair because I can wear them with athleisure gear (they’re stretchy just like yoga pants) or dress them up a bit with booties or boots and a long sweater. No one can ever tell the difference.

athleisure_nike_hoodI recently bought this classic grey hoodie and am pretty obsessed with it! I’m not a huge fan of a traditional hoodie because I feel like it is heavy and constricting on my neck. Instead I love cowl neck sweatshirts because they’re way less restricting and a bit more fashionable in my eyes. You wouldn’t believe how many people comment on the neck of this sweatshirt!

But the neck isn’t even my favorite part of this piece. See that zipper across the front? It unzips to create a huge compartment behind the pockets to hold all of your essentials. It’s almost like a kangaroo’s pouch and it’s a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I wore this outfit on the plane traveling to Mexico and kept my phone, headphones, and passport in that little kangaroo pouch and it allowed me to keep my belongings safe while being hands free. And because there’s extra room in that area of the sweatshirt, you could hardly even see the treasures I had tucked in there.  Honestly, I think I want to travel in this convenient sweatshirt all. the. time. because it’s pretty life changing. Or at least I’ll run more errands with it on the weekends so I don’t have to deal with a purse. <— that counts as “running” right?!
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On cold days, this outfit pairs well with my winter coat or this Northface vest I’ve had for the past few years. I love how the cowl neck adds a bit of fun to the front of the vest without bringing the bulk of a hood.

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I may not hit the gym as often as I should, but I promise you I get plenty of wear out of my few athleisure pieces. I usually wear them until they are old and ragged and then splurge on a new quality piece.

Regardless of how you use your athleisure gear, here are some of the quality pieces we’re currently loving. The best part is that only a few pieces in your wardrobe can make a huge impact.

 

Athleisure Favorites
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1 Gray Zip-up (Casey’s) // 2. Cowl Neck Hoodie (B’s)  // 3. Asymmetrical Hoodie
4. Athleta Leggings // 5. Gray Tank // 6. Black Capri Leggings
7. B’s Gymshoes // 8. Casey’s Gymshoes // 9. Swell Water Bottle // 10. No Show Socks

So what do you think, do you love athleisure gear as much as we do? And more importantly, do you actually wear your athleisure gear to the gym or everywhere BUT the gym?!

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16 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook Style Series – Athleisure

  1. Trang

    I don’t know the meaning of ‘limiting my collection’ of athleisure gear. 90% of my clothes are athleisure. Like Casey, I go to the gym often (5-6x a week) and have many pieces that are versatile enough to wear out (date night, grocery store, social events, you name it). I find that wearing bright colored items helps me get through the 5:30 AM work outs. And quality is a MUST. I squat a lot and I do not want to show anything, especially at that hour of the day. No one wants to see that. My favorite brands are Lorna Jane (love her tank tops and sport bras), Lululemon (jackets are so wonderful and the last a long time), Alo Yoga (their yoga pants are thick and ultra cute/edgy enough to wear out on the town).

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Trang you need to be our go-to authority on athleisure! Never heard of Alo Yoga (must check them out immediately!) What are your thoughts on Athleta? I just went into their store recently and wanted to buy everything. I left with some leather looking leggings that are good for a night out on the town. Very excited to wear them. But wanted to know your thoughts on the brand in general…let me know!

      xo,
      Casey

    2. Trang

      I like Athleta a lot. I have a couple of tops from them. I do recommend though, because they are owned by Gap and Old Navy, that if you find an item you like on Athleta, try searching for the same on Old Navy and Gap. I’ve been able to get some cute tops a little cheaper that way. It doesn’t work each time, but worth the look. BTW, leather looking leggings are my absolute fav! They are so versatile. Now I have to look on Athleta for some.

      One more recommendation I have is a new clothing line by a fitness model that I follow: Buff Bunny. She has tights that are durable and thick and you can squat all day long without any see through. She has launches (of new products) every few months; there’s one this Sunday at 7 PM, CST. The prices are very reasonable too.

    3. DIY Playbook

      Thanks for the tips Trang! Definitely gonna look for tops at Old Navy & Gap. And yes…check out their leather ones from Athleta. They’re so comfortable and look great.

      Can’t wait to check out Buff Bunny. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Erin

    I don’t mind athleisure…. but in all honesty i don’t even wear that out. I want & love wearing my jeans, pretty clothes. I’m also super conscious about wearing leggings in public.. I am anti leggings as pants. *insert laughing crying emoji!* I do wear skinny jeans though!

    but for actual workouts, I’m a huge fan of the victoria secret sports bra and their knock out pants. i can only wear tank tops while working out. short sleeves or whatever feel super restricting to me! and i do wear shorts in the summer, otherwise i feel like i’m dying if i wear pants. this shorty doesn’t like capris!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      haha Erin you crack us up! It’s funny how some people love leggings as pants, and some are so against it.

      We will definitely have to check out Victoria Secret for their sports bra selection. Never would have thought of them for athletic gear, but love it!

  3. Kerri Hansen

    I am a HUGE fan of the athleisure movement. I am not a morning person, and when I am getting dressed in the morning, “what is most pajama-like” is often the question that guides my clothing selection…because I work from home, and am busy with 3 kids and a dog, leggings and a sweater are my jam! living in Vancouver, Canada I am a loyal fan of Lululemon. As an aside, you should see Chip Wilson’s house, it was just recently assessed at 75 million! Anyway, the “align” pant are the softest most lightweight leggings ever. Can’t say enough about them!
    Great post and “Long Live Athleisure!”

    Reply
  4. shawnna griffin

    Hey girls- Great post! I just bought a pair of yoga pants the other day at TJ Maxx for $16.99 and I really like them! My husband just bought us a treadmill last week so… I have been on that thing almost everyday! yay

    Reply
  5. Marguerite Huber

    Zella leggings are the BEST! I have several pairs and they last for a very long time. I think my oldest pair is probably 5 years old. Always try to get them during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      So happy to hear that they’re still great for you 5 years later! I’m really loving the ones I got and they’re holding up really well. Great tip to buy during the big sale!

  6. Kara D

    I’ve been turning more and more to athleisure these days! Feels so comfortable and cozy. I’m still a bit self-conscious of the booty end in the yoga pants/leggings (um, no one needs to see jello), so I prefer to wear tunic-length tops over them when I’m not working out. Casey – how can you tolerate the capris in Chicago winter weather?? Brrr, I can’t even deal with the teeny bit of skin showing between sneaks and the long leggings!
    Loving the brand suggestions – keep them coming! If you had to pick between Zella and Athleta, which would you pick?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      haha you’re so right…my legs were pretty cold when we took these pics! Usually I’ll wear boots when I walk to the gym and then have a couple inches of skin exposed and it’s always freezing by the time I get there. ha!

      Honestly loving both my Zella & Athleta leggings right now! I was really impressed when I went to the Athleta store though. I wanted to buy everything in there! Plus they have some cute like “real clothing” that’s not for working out, but is still super comfortable.

    1. DIY Playbook

      I’m wearing an XS and it’s not baggy. It’s nice and lose fitting in the torso but the arms are snug (or more form fitting) and they are a hair short (just a hair, nothing bad or noticeable). <– Hope that helps!

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Our Body Types

Emoji Halloween Costume Bridget & Casey

If you would’ve told us a few years ago that we would eventually share personal information about each of our bodies (i.e. the good, the bad and the ugly) on the internet, we would have been convinced that you had lost your mind. But you would’ve been right.

travel-carmel-bridget-casey-rookies-fashion-dressToday we’re pretty sure it’s US who have lost our minds because we are going to do just that. Today we are baring all (not in photos… thank goodness) and sharing the vulnerable information behind our bodies’ imperfections. <— just typing that out makes us extra nervous to press publish.

Bridget_Casey_Chicago_Odyssey_Travel-13You guys overwhelmingly shared how much you enjoy us sharing the DIY Playbook Style Series every Wednesday (thank you!! we are so grateful for your kind, supportive words). Some of you mentioned that you like these weekly posts because you like seeing what we wear, while others mentioned the affordable price of our clothes as your favorite part. And then there were a group of readers that said that they liked this series because we were “just like you”, dressing just like you would.

Those comments were some of the biggest compliments we could get here on the DIY Playbook because that’s what we strive for… showing you that we ARE just like you! And we want to make sure we stay that way by being REAL and transparent and a little vulnerable (as scary as that is), especially through the DIY Playbook Series.

Emoji Halloween Costume Bridget & CaseyReal Talk: We each have imperfections on our bodies that we consciously try to hide when choosing clothes. But let’s be real…. don’t we all?! Skinny or curvy or somewhere in between, we all have parts of our bodies that aren’t our favorite. And guess what? THAT’S OKAY! It’s normal!!!

bridget casey happyWe hope to use this platform to reassure everyone that we feel the exact same way. But instead of focusing on these imperfections, we try to choose clothing that masks our insecurities while making our “strengths” stand out!

If you have a body similar to Bridget’s, you can use her sizing tips every week or the tricks she uses to show off her assets. Or if your body is more similar to Casey’s, you can take her word for fit tips, size guides, and styling tips. And if your body really isn’t similar to either of ours, well heck… at least you can rest assured that we’re not perfect and that’s perfectly okay with us.

Casey

casey-fashion-styleTypical Size: M/L, Size 8

Height: 5’8″

casey-fall-fashion-24Less than Perfect: Everyone has parts of their body that they don’t love, and I’m no different. As a typical “apple” shape, I am not the biggest fan of my midsection. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never ever have washboard abs, and if I’m ever carrying extra weight…it’s going right to my tummy!  I also have wide shoulder and chest areas, so I’m not the biggest fan of structured dresses that are tight against those parts of my body. I wear a 36C (sometimes D), and don’t love having a larger chest (especially when working out without a proper sports bra #ouch)

casey-fall-fashion-4Favorite Assets: I’ve been so fortunate to get long, (fairly) muscular legs from my mom. I was a dancer my entire life, and I also do a fair amount of squats and lunges at the gym, but mostly they’re all genetics.  They’re by far my favorite asset, and they’re something I don’t mind showing off! Short shorts, skirts, leggings, skinny jeans…those are my favorite because I can showcase my legs.travel-beach-casey-toms-jeans-fall-fashion-scarf

Casey’s Shopping Guide

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  • Shorter Hemlines: Because my legs are my favorite asset, I’m not afraid to show some skin! Short shorts, dresses, and skirts are all a part of my wardrobe. But if I’m showing a lot of leg, I’ll often cover up on top so things aren’t too revealing all over.

casey-fall-fashion-8

  • Skinny Jeans & Leggings: When it comes to leggings, I know there are definitely 2 kinds of women. Ones who don’t consider leggings to be “real pants” and others who wear leggings or athleisure all the time. I’m definitely in the latter group! I love me some leggings or skinny jeans! While I won’t wear leggings to work, I do wear them on the weekends and at night all the time. casey-patio
  • Flowy Tops: Because my tummy isn’t the most flattering part of my body, I tend to wear flowy tops that drape nicely over that area. It makes me feel much more comfortable, and I love the look of tighter pants with a looser top. It creates a good balance for me. casey-fall-fashion-purse
  • V-Necks: Because of my larger chest, high necklines do not look great on me. While Bridget can pull off super cute button downs (all buttoned up), that just does not work for my body. Instead, I find that v-necks are much more flattering as they make my shoulders look more narrow.

Bridgetcasual_necklace_flannel-bridget-laughing

Typical Size: XS-S & Size 0-2

Height: 5’5″

Less than Perfect: I have no butt, well technically it’s back there but it’s flat as a pancake. I don’t have hardly any boobs either (I wear a 34A maybe a 34B if the bra has got some extra padding ;). I also have a really long torso, which isn’t necessarily a negative but it does make finding shirts a bit more tedious. And like Casey, the extra weight that I hold goes straight to my midsection. But probably what I’m most conscious about when choosing my outfits is my extra pale skin. I don’t think I personally look very good when I show a lot of extra skin because I’m so pale, so I typically try to choose outfits that are modest and cover my skin when possible. It’s weird though because often I’ll see other pale people and think they’re gorgeous pale! So I think it’s just a personal thing for me about showing too much skin.

bridget-fall-plaid-vest-booties-style-series-2Favorite Assets: I know that I’m considered skinny and I’m very grateful for my genes because it is not thanks to my diet that I have this body type. But more important than skinny, I’m very thankful to be HEALTHY. When I think of people who don’t have their health I’m reminded how minor these “body imperfections” really are. I vowed a few years ago to choose to focus on how  thankful I am for a healthy body rather than focusing on its imperfections. And to do this, I strategically buy clothing that helps mask those areas while making me feel a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin. As long as I’m healthy, I’m happy!

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Bridget’s Shopping Guide:

  • Longer shirts: I don’t love X-long shirts but I try to buy clothing that is a bit longer on the average person so that it fits me just right.birthday_bridget_cupcake_3_happy
  • High Necklines: I don’t love showing my chest area (except for v-neck t-shirts) so I typically opt for a high neck cut with sleeves. I’ll opt for a collar any day… peter pan collars are my favorite.Bridget Matt
  • Cover up: I’m very modest when it comes to clothing and don’t like to show a lot of skin, mostly because of my super pale complexion. If I show my arms, I typically won’t show my legs in that same outfit. But if I show my legs, I’ll try to cover up my arms. Too much skin is never a good idea for me.travel-carmel-bridget-white-jeans-loft-blousejpg
  • Flowing: I try to steer clear from tight shirts unless I’m pairing them with high-waisted pants. This helps me hide the mid section just a tad and makes me feel a whole lot more comfortable in my skin.

haven-conference-bridget-casey-diy-playbook-rookies-atlantaSorry for getting a little a lot personal today, we just figured we needed to start 2017 Style Series with some REAL TALK. We’re obviously not perfect but that shouldn’t keep us (or anyone) from loving the bodies we have. Most importantly, we’re both very grateful for our health. We’re also very grateful for this platform, which allows us to share that imperfect is NORMAL and totally okay!

We hope this information helps you relate to our weekly fashion posts a bit more and helps you make more intentional decisions when purchasing clothes. But above all, we hope it makes you step back and love your body just a bit more… imperfections and all.

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23 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook Style Series – Our Body Types

  1. Kerri Hansen

    What an important message and thank you two ladies for your honesty. You guys are so brave, to share such personal information. I am right now giving you a virtual standing ovation. Learning to love our bodies and dress them accordingly is not easy. Probably because we are surrounded by fake images and endless pressure to look perfect at every turn. I look at your pictures and think you two are beautiful and so put together, so to learn that even you guys struggle with “imperfections” is reassuring. I think you two are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside! Thanks for keeping it real!😍😘

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Kerri,
      You are too sweet. Thank you for the support. We’ll admit, we were terrified hitting publish…but we’re so happy to hear that so many other women feel the same way that we do.

      Thanks again for your honest feedback & kind words!

      xo,
      B & C

  2. Erin

    Real talk! i love it! Casey — i pretty much am similar to you, except i am 6 inches shorter!!! crew neck style kills me every time & I love my skinnies. I am in the camp that LEGGINGS are not pants and only wear my workout leggings when i am working out, that is it. I get ragged on all the time about my opinion but i just don’t feel like they provide enough support/structure as a pair of skinnies would!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      hahaha Erin your comment made me LOL. I feel ya on the leggings…people are very divided on the topic! Nothing like a nice pair of skinnies to hold ya in and make you feel fabulous 🙂

  3. Claudia

    Ladies – you are practically perfect in every way. Thanks for the whole lot of sharing. Actually great information for me.

    Reply
  4. Austin Schneider

    Thank y’all for being so vulnerable and transparent! Especially in an age where EVERYONE has an opinion and hateful thoughts are shared freely on social media. I’ve felt really dissatisfied with my body lately, and with my wedding coming up, I’m really trying to kick it in gear. However, I know that it’s better to approach it from a place of wanting to be healthy and loving my body than hating it and punishing it (for my own poor diet, no less!). Thank you for encouraging me to love my body for what it is!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Austin, we hear ya girl! It’s terrifying putting yourself out there on the internet. Too much body shaming happening and we want to turn that all around.

      We remember feeling the wedding pressure too, but know that everyone will notice how happy you look on that day…not how toned your arms are!

      Thanks for your sweet words & honesty! We appreciate it 🙂

  5. Whitney Regeth

    Thank you for your honesty! I too struggle with pale skin, especially in the winter. High necklines are perfect for covering up. I love this post, you guys rock!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Diana! We were a bit nervous but since we have the most amazing and supportive readers, it was all worth it! Thank you so much for all of your support — it means the world to us!

  6. Trang

    Half the battle is knowing what body type you are so that you can successfully buy clothes that accentuate and/or hide your ‘flaws’. My problem is seeing an outfit on someone and it looks great on them and then thinking it’s also going to look great on me. You know that ‘vision’ vs. ‘reality’ meme you see all the time….that’s how it is for me.

    I thought you were super cute when I met you Casey. You ladies are what I consider pros at style…you look wonderful all the time!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      You are soooo right Trang! I often see cute things on other bloggers and then go try them in store…and it’s ALL WRONG for my shape. Crazy how that works, isn’t it?

      Thanks for your sweet comment! You are too kind! So happy we officially got to meet in person 🙂

  7. Nicole

    It’s so ironic that you wrote that you see other pale people and think they are gorgeous… bc you are one of those gorgeous pale people! I have a very pale skin type too- just means we need to pack extra sunscreen on vacations 😛

    Reply
  8. Kara D

    I’m right there with the both of you! Isn’t it awful how the weight goes straight to the tummy?? Does that for me too. Thank you for your honesty, this only makes me love you girls more!

    Reply

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Winter Coats

bridget-winter-coat-boots

Coming back from Mexico this past weekend quickly reminded us how COLD Chicago winters can be. Escaping that cold for the week was amazing (full recap Tuesday!) but being greeted by 10 degree temps when we returned… not as amazing. We’re definitely not complaining because we feel extremely grateful for the chance to getaway and even more grateful to call Chicago home sweet home (cold temps and all), but we don’t want to give anyone the false impression that we LOVE the cold.

Quite the contrary actually. We love the pretty white snow and really love seeing 4 different seasons per year, but super cold temps are not our jam… especially since Casey walks to work everyday (rain, shine, or deep freeze!). Because we wear our winter coats everyday for months and want to stay as warm as possible, we don’t feel as bad splurging on this winter staple. We both have black puffy coats for our everyday wear, and Casey has a wool winter coat that dresses up just about any outfit!

Bridget

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Like I mentioned in one of our recent Happy Hour posts, my sisters VERY generously got me this North Face Parka for my birthday in October. This coat runs around $299, which is WAYYYYY more than I have ever spent on any piece of clothing. I try to stick around $100 for my winter coat ($150 tops) but honestly this coat has sold me on splurging every once in a while because it is SO WARM and I’ve been living in it all season so far.
bridget_winter_coatWhen I spend the typical $100-ish on a winter coat, that coat usually lasts me that season and then I buy a new one the next year. But since this one was more expensive and is so much better quality than the coats I usually have, I don’t anticipate buying a new one for a few seasons. Lately I’ve been trying to do exactly this…quality over quantity. bridget-winter-coat-boots

And so far, I’m a huge fan because not only do I love the products I wear MORE but I also have less stuff, which is the ultimate goal. <— We have a lot to catch up on in this department but the short and sweet version is that I recently watched the Minimalist on Netflix and it really made a huge impact on me.

snow-hat-winter-coatThis year I’m trying to purchase quality items (even if they cost a bit more) so I don’t have to buy that same item three times over because the first 3 weren’t as great of quality. I promise we’ll dive into a whole post (or a few posts) on this topic soon but it’s already shaping up to be a consistent theme in our household, and I see this coat as a great example of that.

If you too are looking to invest in a quality coat so you can stay warm while practically living in it, I do recommend buying one over the next month or so. I highly recommend mine, however the main goal is that you find one that you’re obsessed with and one you feel is good quality. Now that it’s after the holidays, I’ve noticed SO many coats are on sale, which helps if the coat you have your eye on is a “splurge.”

Caseycasey-coat-gray-jcrew-factory

I completely agree with Bridget’s new approach to her wardrobe. Quality over quantity all the way. And my new dressy coat is a perfect example of that.

I purchased this coat from J. Crew for 50% off on Black Friday…and it was still a large chunk of change for me. However, it was well worth it and made me question why I hadn’t invested in a nice quality coat sooner. Whenever I’d have to dress up for work or an event at night, I’d find myself donning my large puffy coat. This new wool coat instantly makes me feel more put together for those dressy occasions.

casey-coat-winter-cold

The gray color is on brand with my wardrobe, and the coat is so soft. The cherry on top is the gold zipper that adds the perfect touch of trendy…without taking away from the classic look.

Fit Tip: Size down on this one or else it may look a bit boxy on you! I got 1 size down from my normal size and it’s perfect, even with bulky layers underneath!casey-winter-scarf-hat

Since the coat doesn’t have a hood, I’ve been wearing this coat with a scarf, gloves, and a headband or hat on chilly days.

Casey-Chicago-WinterThen on those brutally cold days (Polar Vortex Alert!) I wear my puffy coat and hood. I got it a few years back from Nordstrom Rack and it has been a staple ever since. It’s Michael Kors brand, but I’m not so sure they make it anymore. Casey-Winter-Coat-HoodWith both my wool coat and my puffy black one, I’m ready for just about anything that the Chicago winter brings.

Our Favorite Winter Coatswinter_coats_for_women-001

1 Bridget’s Puffy Coat // 2. Casey’s Wool Coat (in a variety of colors)
3. Grey Parka // 4. Cloth Parka (similar to Casey’s but with a hood!)
5. High Collar Coat (in lots of colors!)  // 6. Puffer Coat under $100

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9 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook Style Series – Winter Coats

    1. DIY Playbook

      That is too funny, Kira! Looks like we all have the winter coats on the mind. It’s that gosh darn cold that is getting us in that mindset. Love some of the puffy coats you linked! So cute.

  1. Erin

    ooh. i’m ready to change out my dressy winter coat — though my friends all swoon over my jacket — it has pleats in the back. but it’s cream, which means it kinda looks dirty sometimes especially on the sleeves. Loving #4 or 5!!!

    I usually just wear my snowboarding jackets when I’m walking the dog.

    Reply
    1. Kara D

      She’s not allowed to get rid of this coat! This is a forever coat. *pointed look* Though we all do have dibs on this coat should she do this forbidden thing.

      I really do like the North Face brand, they make very good quality heavy-duty winter coats! I pull that one out for the brutal cold days, and my long black puffer jacket for the rest of the time. If you guys have a BJ’s (warehouse store) out in Chicago, you should check out their jacket and loungewear area, you’d be surprised that they have really decent things. I’ve gotten a couple of friends hooked on checking it out! Super affordable too, my puffer coat – which is Kenneth Cole Reaction – cost me $40.

  2. Katie

    Perfect time for outerwear sales! I got a coat similar to Bridget’s at Macy’s for $130 a couple years back. It’s saved me in some bad Maryland winters, great investment. Gotta love quality at a sale price!

    Reply
  3. Tammy Capelo Mitchell

    Love all these cute coats girls! Looking forward to meeting you in NYC next week! 🙂
    Tammy | Pink Peppermint Design

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Tammy CANNOT WAIT to meet you in person next week! Our friend Courtney (from A Thoughtful Place) just adores you, and we can’t wait to officially call you a friend too! We won’t be there for the Tuesday dinner (sad face), but we’ll look forward to seeing you all day Wednesday! Safe travels!

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Holiday Sweaters & PJs

casey-christmas-cocoa-sweater

During the month of December our wardrobe can usually be described 2 ways. Either FESTIVE or COMFORTABLE. christmas-sweater-casey-bed

Today we’re showcasing some of our favorite purchases that fit one or both of those categories! We’ve got ugly sweaters for Christmas parties, slippers that you’ll wear all winter long, and even cute pjs for Christmas morning and beyond.buffalo-check-pajama-pants-coffee-mug

Ugly Christmas Sweatercasey-ugly-sweater-christmas

Casey: As a kid, I remember my mom wearing a seasonal sweater or sweatshirt for just about every holiday. Man how I wish I still had some of those today because they were so over-the-top and ridiculously festive!

casey-christmas-cocoa-sweaterI don’t know when or how the “ugly Christmas sweater” trend started, but I think it’s such a fun addition to any wardrobe. With an ugly sweater day at work (and no ugly sweater of my own) I decided to purchase this reindeer sweater from Target in early December. I’m so happy that I did, because now I can partake in those cheesy Christmas activities! casey-ugly-sweater-bedroom-hot-coco

My super cool reindeer number will now be a part of my December wardrobe, and I’ll be busting him out each year for our annual cookie day (where ugly sweaters are encouraged) and any other holiday party that calls for such an over-the-top look! You really only need 1 sweater, and I’m so happy that I now have one in my wardrobe (even if it’s so ugly that it’s kinda cute!).

The Comfiest Slippers & Pajamas

While my ugly sweater is comfy, it isn’t nearly as comfy as my new slippers! I love putting slippers on when I’m home during the winter months, because our place can get a little drafty. slippers

I scooped up these slippers from J. Crew Factory for 50% off on Black Friday and I’m so happy that I did! They’re literally a DREAM to put on. Soooo soft. Plus, I love that the bottoms have grips so I’m not slipping and sliding all over our hardwood floors. casey-bed-christmas-coffee

And you really can’t beat the gold moccasin look. Instead of being frumpy (like some of my past slippers), they’re actually really cute & trendy. bridget-blogger-stylin-home-tour-christmas

Bridget: I don’t usually have a coordinated pajama set throughout the year, as I’m a sweats-and-a-t-shirt-to-bed kinda girl. But something about the holidays always has me excited to pick up a pair of actual pajama pants. This year I opted for a pair that were more “winter-y” and not super “Christmas-y”. I figured choosing a pair that I could wear well beyond December 25th would give me the most bang for my buck! Like Casey, I bought this pair at J. Crew Factory on Black Friday. They were such a great price and worth every penny because they’re SO darn soft.

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I don’t wear the long sweater (in the picture above) to bed, but I do have it on in the house whenever it’s a bit chilly. It is BY FAR the. softest. sweater. I have ever had. It’s from Madewell so the price was steep, but I scored it on sale so I don’t feel as guilty about the splurge. Not only do I love how soft and warm this combo is, I really love that I can wear it long after Christmas!

Comfy Holiday Favoritescozy-holiday-57-pm

Reindeer Sweater // 2. Reindeer Games // 3. Pug Christmas Sweater // 4. Studious Reindeer
5.  Casey’s Favorite Pajamas (pricey, but worth it!) // 6. Thermal PJs // 7. Buffalo Check Pajama Pants
8. Cozy Sweater (pricey, but amazing)  // 9. Initial Mug ($8!) // 10. Gold Moccasin Slippers 

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Men’s Sport Coat Two Ways

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We’ve had so much fun dipping our toes in the waters of “fashion” every Wednesday here on the blog, but this week we’re changing things up a bit! Instead of us awkwardly posing on the streets of Chicago, we had our husbands do all of the “modeling.”mike-finn-watch

Today’s Wardrobe Staple: Men’s Sport Coat, 2 ways

Chances are you may be buying gifts for a few men on your holiday list, so we figured we’d let them share their go-to looks for the holiday season in hopes that you may come away with some ideas for your boys. Plus, if these two like a certain item then you know it’s gotta be good. In fact when they find an item they love, they’ll often buy 5 more of that item (in ever color) to round out their wardrobe. <— being a guy seems so much easier, doesn’t it?! 

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Plus, we really just wanted to see them squirm in front of the camera. And in the end our plan kinda backfired because they both loved getting silly and posing away for the camera.

casey-mike-finn-kiss-goofyWe also hopped in a few of the shots, because we hardly ever get a chance for some nice photos with our husbands…so why the heck not?!

Finn

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I recently have gotten more into men’s fashion to elevate my work attire and showcase a more professional & classic look. I really enjoy the business casual look as it is simple but always appropriate. And to me, the sport coat is the most important piece. mike-finn-power-hands I have only recently added this layer to the wardrobe but I can already tell I have been missing out!  I shop almost exclusively at Express due to the tall and slim nature of the clothes. mike-finn-blazer-expressWhile this may not be for everyone, I think most men would be surprised at how well these “slim” clothes fit. (Trust me I am not slim by any measure, but Express plays confidence building mind games!)mike-finn-fashion-workmike-finn-pocket-square

I love this specific blazer due to the soft and breathable fabric, as well as the small textured fabric. And the red lining on the inside and built-in pocket square adds serious style points too. I have actually ordered three other sport coats from Express, as I truly love these and recommend them for all men looking to take their look up a few notches.

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Similar to Mr. Finn, I too see the many benefits of having a sport coat in my style rotation. The beauty of the sport coat is its versatility. Finn’s professional and classy approach sets the bar extremely high. However, that isn’t the only possible route for this item of clothing. When you step out of the house sporting a t-shirt and jeans, sometimes you just need a little bit extra….a cherry on top, if you will.

Enter the wild card. For some reason, something so simple as a sport coat can add such a stylish look to a very basic outfit. Call it distinguished, call it trendy, but overall, I call it simple.

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As fun as it is to mix and match button downs to wear under a sport coat, sometimes the real fun is finding the right t-shirt. Whether I’m sporting a Cubby Blue Tee or one of my favorite vintage “go-to’s”, the sport coat is always welcoming and accommodating to the new undergarment. When  it comes to my outfit selections, it’s not always about how good the design is, but rather, how good the fit is. Finn isn’t the only one with an (unhealthy) obsession towards Express. Their selection provides form-fitting options that not only make you look good heading out for the night, but more importantly, make you feel good too.

Sport Coat Mix & Matchsport-coat-2-ways-style-series-40-pm

Dress it up —> 1 Finn’s Blazer // 2. Finn’s Dress Shirt // 3. Finn’s Gray Dress Pants //
4. Watch // 5. Polka Dot Dress Shirt // 6. Polka Dot Dress Shirt

Dress it down —> 1. Matt’s Blazer // 2. T-shirt // 3. Jeans
4.  Plaid Flannel // 5. Sneakers // 6. Cubs Shirt

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For even more insight from these two, make sure you tune in tomorrow! Finn & Matt are taking over the blog once more to share their top 10-ish items from 2016 as a gift guide for those “hard-to-buy-for” men in our lives. If you’re still stumped on gift ideas, you don’t want to miss this post (and their advice)! 

 

 

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Holiday Dresses & Skirts

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Although Christmas is still 18 days away (but hey, who’s counting?!), we have a few holiday parties to go to before it gets here. And if you’re anything like us, we like to have one or two go-to holiday looks ready for these holiday parties so we aren’t stressing over what to wear and can simply re-wear that holiday look to each party (don’t tell anyone!).2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-Casey-Bridget-gift-boxjpg
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Today’s Holiday Staple: Dresses & Skirts

Today, we’re diving into each of our holiday outfits this year (Casey in a dress and Bridget in a skirt) and rounding up some of our favorites in each of those categories. Hopefully these tips and tricks will provide you with a little inspiration to choose your “fancy” holiday outfit. And heck, once you find “the one” that you feel comfortable in, you can wear it on repeat all month long!

Casey

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I am all about a LBD, especially during the holidays. I probably own 3-4 black sheath dresses that I’ll wear for work and I fancy them up to make them more special for the holidays. 2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-gifts-Casey-dress

That usually involves adding a pair of fun heels (like these black sandals!), as well as a bit of sparkle. 2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-gifts-red-box-with-bow

My go-to statement necklace instantly adds some glam to this plain black dress, and you can’t go wrong with some bangles & sparkly bracelets too. Really anything with a hint of glam is bound to take your LBD to the next level.

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-red-gift-box-bow2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-gifts-red-plaid-Casey

Since it is a bit chilly now, I’ll often wear an edgy blazer over my dress that I can then ditch once I get indoors. This dress with a hint of texture was a Nordstrom rack find, but I’m always on the lookout for flattering black dresses that can take me from work to night with just a few upgrades to my accessories and makeup!

Bridget

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dresses but the dress I wore in our holiday card isn’t my favorite for the holidays because it shows so much skin (yikes). If you haven’t noticed, I have a VERY fair complexion (read: I’m super pale all the time) so showing that much skin in the dead of winter is not the most flattering look for me. So usually during this time, I opt for a holiday look that is still super fun and somewhat fancy… but also covers up my pale skin!

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When I saw these long pleated skirts in stores, I knew this look was calling my name this holiday season. I actually scored this navy skirt last year on clearance from H&M but linked a very similar one, that’s in stores now, from H&M above. I love the subtle pattern on both options but love the plain, patternless skirts too!

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The long skirt is comfy and can easily be dressed up when paired with a fancy blouse, or dressed down when paired with a more casual blouse like this one.

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The only negative about these skirts is that they tend to be snug around the waist, which is a great way to show off your figure, but not so great when you’re enjoying those big holiday meals. <— aka, there’s not much room to loosen the waist but there is some room to hide the “I’ve-eaten-way-too-much-and-swear-this-isn’t-a-baby-” bump.

holiday_christmas_bridget_skirt_gift_necklace-12

Of course I HAD to add a bold statement necklace to the look to make it feel even more glam for the holidays.

If you’re looking to add a pleated skirt to your holiday wardrobe, I would give you the advice to try to find a more form-fitted blouse to pair with it. I tend to shy away from those blouses and usually buy more loose, flowing shirts but those don’t do you any favors when paired with a skirt like this (trust me!!).

holiday_christmas_bridget_skirt_gift_necklace-5But the real question is, do you guys think I can pair tights with this look!? I’ve seen some great inspiration outfits on Pinterest that make tights and a puffy skirt look adorable and I’m hoping that’s the same for this outfit in case it’s crazy cold (… OR I want to hide those pale legs!).

Holiday Dress & Skirt Favorites:

Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite dresses and skirts to help you get some inspiration for your fancy holiday outfit. Hopefully once you invest in a quality dress or skirt, you can wear it all December long… and even into the New Year!
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Drape Front Dress // 2. Wool Pencil Skirt  (in all colors!) // 3. Swing Dress (long option)
4. Navy Skirt // 5. Plaid Skirt // 6. Lace Pencil Skirt
7. Classic LBD Dress // 8. A-Line Skirt // 9.Peplum Dress

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The DIY Playbook Style Series – Outdoor Boots

black-hunter-boots-flannel

We were really lucky to have an abnormally warm fall season, but our luck has run out and the chill is definitely in the air.

casey-fall-fashion-16While there hasn’t been much snow yet, we know that it’s just around the corner. As lifelong Chicagoans, we’re both very used to it and we know how to bundle up and dress for the cold. Coats, gloves, hats, and winter boots are the norm around here and today we want to chat all about what we put on our feet during this time of the year.buffalo_check_military_jacket_fall_bridget_boots-6

Today’s Winter Staple: Outdoor Boots

We both have Hunter boots and Sperry Duck Boots and this boot combo keeps our feet warm & dry all season long. Let’s first dive into our Hunter boots…

Hunter Rain/Snow Boots
Winter-Chicago-Casey

We both have black matte Hunter boots that we’ve had for YEARS and even though they’re a bit pricey, they were such a great investment. Hunter-Boots

They’re great for snow, but we also wear them for rain & even just as a casual look on the weekends. If you’re going to wear them in the snow then you’ll definitely want to get some boot socks to go with them, because your toes can get pretty chilly without them.buffalo_check_military_jacket_fall_bridget_boots-3

If there isn’t any snow, then Hunter boots sans boots socks work well too! Love this outfit on Bridget for a casual weekend look.

Now onto another favorite winter boot…

Sperry Duck Bootsboots winter

These are our second winter staples and we both wear our Sperry’s all.season.long. Seriously, can’t survive a Chicago winter without these bad boys.
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They’re really warm on the inside, and waterproof on the outside, making them the ideal all-weather shoe.

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Bridget has light brown ones and I have these black ones, but there are so many cute colors to choose from! We may both be adding to our arsenal this season.casey-fall-fashion-20

Favorite Outdoor Boots boots-10-pm

Hunter Boots // + 2. Knit Socks 3. Tall Socks 4. Knit Socks 5. Leg Warmers
6. Sperry Boots // + 7. Neutral Socks 8. Knit Socks

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8 thoughts on “The DIY Playbook Style Series – Outdoor Boots

  1. Kerri Hansen

    Hi ladies! I have also been a Hunter lover for years. I started out with a black pair many yeas ago. I remember feeling a bit sick about the price, but living in “Raincouver” I quickly came to the conclusion that they were well worth the $$. And then a few years later on a random trip to Costco, there was a frenzy of women around this particular table, when I got close, I realized there were Hunter boots of all colors, probably $50 cheaper than retail. And that is how the gorgeous “Hunter green” beauties joined the ranks in my closet. Last year I started noticing the Sperry boots, on your blog and elsewhere. I bought them and LOVE them so much. We don’t get a lot of snow here, but I live near our local mountains and they are perfect for hiking the trails with my fur baby. And they are darn cute. I tell people when I wear them I feel like I am walking on marshmallows! Great post!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Kerri we are shoe twins! So happy you love your Hunter boots & Sperrys. They really do feel like marshmallows…you’re so right!

      And Hunter Boots at Costco?! That’s awesome!

  2. Kara D

    As a fellow snow-resident, I do have to ask – do you wear your Sperrys when the snow accumulation is high, or is that when you’ll revert to wearing the Hunters? And then do you wear them (either Hunters or Sperrys) all day long at work, or bring in another pair to wear inside?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      These are great questions Kara! The snow certainly makes things hard.

      When I commute, I often wear my hunters or sperry’s and then I’ll change into other shoes when I get to work. My legs can get kinda hot wearing either of them all day long inside. If I’m outside like “playing” in snow (ha…not sure when that happens), I’ll usually wear my hunters with the high socks, so my legs don’t get wet!

      Hope that makes sense! Ugh…winter!

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Holiday Steals & Deals

zillow-gifts

Happy Black Friday everyone! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday surrounded by your loved ones. We both ate & drank to our hearts’ content and we’re excited for another day off today! #4dayweekend

christmas socks coffee Neither of us have ever been ones to wake up super early to hit the stores for deals, but instead we both like to do some online shopping from the comfort of our own homes! There’s nothing like sleeping in after Thanksgiving, sitting in your pjs with a cup of coffee, and browsing deals online to get a start on your holiday shopping <—that is our gameplan all morning long!black-friday-christmas-shopping

We kept our eyes peeled all week long to see what steals & deals are out there and BOY OH BOY are there some good ones! Here are some items we have our eyes on and may just scoop up today!

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  1. I’ve been wanting this cuff bracelet for some time now #treatyoself
  2. I’m thinking these gloves may be a perfect mother-in-law gift
  3. This fleece may make its way under the tree for Mr. Finn…
  4. I’m loving this personalized doormat and I think it’s a great gift idea for my sister-in-law and her husband in their new home!
  5. Oh em gee, is this not the cutest plate ever?! I think my 1.5 year old godson would love this!
  6. I purchased these Chicago rocks glasses a few years back for my dad & brothers. Such an awesome gift for just about anyone. I may buy a couple of these just in case I need a last-minute gift!
  7. I keep finding things that I want to buy for myself (oops…), but this Nespresso maker is on serious sale right now (almost $100 off!) I’ve always wanted to be able to have lattes at home..
  8. Word on the street, these NMD shoes are a big deal in men’s fashion. My brother, Ryan, is reaaaallly into shoes and has these ones. So I think Mr. Finn may be getting a pair for Christmas as well!
  9. Loving this buffalo check throw from Pottery Barn. My mom is always adding cute accessories to her house, so this just might make the cut!
  10. Every year I get Finn a new bottle of cologne in his favorite scent for his stocking!

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  1. This ruffled shirt is simple but can matched with just about everything! I tried it on in store and have been waiting for it to go on sale (today!!) to finally buy it. Because I loved the fit so much, I may it buy it x2 for my sisters. (I hope they’re not reading!)
  2. Love these mittens for just about any of the ladies on my Christmas list
  3. I’ve been eyeing this teepee for awhile (for my nephew) and saw that it’s half off today!! Should I do it or is 6 months old too young for a “toy” like this?! #auntintraining
  4. How adorable is this disco ball “sipper”?! For $8, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer!
  5. Looking for a flannel? I saw that flannels were $15 (!!) this week at H&M.
  6. I know the timing is all wrong, but this hanging planter is on my Christmas list
  7. Although this is more for pre-teens, I’ve heard so much about this book and NEED to read it before the movie comes out. I absolutely LOVE the “choose kind” message and think this could be the perfect (and meaningful gift) for any youngsters in your life.
  8. My sister’s first Christmas as a mom definitely calls for this adorable sweatshirt. #momlife
  9. I got a phone car charger for my birthday and I’m seriously obsessed with this $20 gift, I literally use it everyday!! I know it’s not the most glamorous gift but it’s so practical and it makes my everyday easier. That being said, I think I may buy a few extra as gifts for a few important people on my list.
  10. I’ve been on the look out for flat nude color booties. I haven’t tried these TOMS on but you guys know how much we love TOMS so this pair recently caught my eye. I plan on trying them on next time I’m at Nordstroms and adding them to my Christmas list if they fit (and go on sale!)

Black Friday Savings

  • Nordstrom: Lots of amazing deals on clothes, shoes, coats & accessories…. & FREE SHIPPING!
  • Shopbop: 15%-25% off using code GOBIG16
  • West Elm: Up to 30% Off Everything with code MOREISMORE
  • CB2: 15% OFF and Free Shipping with code SAVE15
  • Land Of Nod: 20% Everything (including furniture!)
  • Amazon: Deals vary depending on the product
  • LOFT: 50% OFF Everything & Free shipping on orders over $125
  • Target: 30% all apparel & accessories, lots of door busters — including our camera!
  • GAP: 50% off everything with code TGIF50; Free Shipping on purchases of $50 or mor
  • Banana Republic: 50% off one regular priced item with code BRFIFTY; 40% off the rest of the purchase with BRFORTY; FREE Shipping on $50+ purchases
  • Express: 50% OFF Everything (excludes gift cards and featured brands)
  • Old Navy: 50% OFF Everything-Ish, no code needed
  • Etsy: Check with individual sellers for individual deals… especially on Monday!
  • Madewell: 25% OFF your purchase with code THATSALE
  • J. Crew: 40% OFF your entire purchase with code HOLIDAY
  • J. Crew Factory Outlet: 50%-60% OFF Everything and free shipping on purchases over $50

Save the Date

You know we’re all about deals here on the DIY Playbook & so we always have our eyes peeled to get the best bang for our buck. We marked our calendars for these upcoming “days to save” and wanted to share these dates with you so you can save too!

  • Today = Black Friday
  • Tomorrow (Nov. 26th): Small Business Saturday
  • Monday (November 28th): Cyber Monday
  • December 16th: Free Shipping Day!!
  • December 18th: Last Day to purchase online, pay standard shipping and receive your gift before Christmas!!

Gift Guide

And if you missed it, make sure you check out this 2016 Blogger Gift Guide because a TON of the items are currently on sale!! All you have to do is hit the middle “CLICK TO READ” button to view the full, shippable gift guide.

neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-19Once the shopping is done, Casey has big plans for the rest of her Black Friday. She is binge watching the new Gilmore Girls (released today!) with her sister, sister-in-law, and mom! It will be a girls day full of snacks, drinks, and our favorite TV show. Anyone else binging GG today too??

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2 thoughts on “Holiday Steals & Deals

  1. Kerri Hansen

    Love the shopping round up! Lots of great gift ideas… for myself😂. That is the challenge for me this time of year…And all these deals are so hard to resist! I just wanted to weigh in on the teepee idea Bridget…as a mom of three AND as someone who has the girlie version of that pillowfort teepee in her house, I say YES! I am so impressed with the teepee, and the price is amazing. It is really well made and so so cute! Your little nephew is a bit young for it yet, but that could be said for just about anything at this stage, really it’s all about the parents at this point! But the teepee is something he will grow into very quickly, and in the meantime, what a cute addition to his happy camper nursery, which BTW you guys knocked out of the Park! Happy Shopping today ladies!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Aw Kerri, you MADE OUR DAY!! Thank you so much for your kind words AND your advice! We really appreciate the feedback!! Hope you find some awesome deals today. Happy Shopping and thanks again for being a part of the DIY Playbook team. We’re so lucky to have you tuning in =)

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