Let’s just go ahead and put this statement on repeat: “I discovered this product from a sample at Sephora and fell in love with it!” That was definitely the case for this Dior Addict Lip Maximizer. I’m usually not one for a super glossy lip look but sometimes a bit of shine can dress up a neutral lipstick shade (like this duo which has been seeing a ton of play in my routine lately.) I purchased a full tube before my sample ran out because I didn’t want to be without it. I don’t wear it daily but I always love the look of it when I do. It also seems to be more long lasting than other glosses I have used in the past.

If you are looking for a killer dress for work that can also totally hold its own after hours, look no further. This tweed dress with lace is one of the best pieces I have added to my wardrobe in a while. Note, in colder weather, just pair with black leggings and the suede booties below and boom – killer monochrome look. For me, the highest level of excellence a dress can have is garnering compliments from random strangers and this dress received multiple compliments when I was in the airport of all places. I’d say that’s a winner for sure.

It had been way too long since I added a bit of sparkle from Tiny Galaxies to my collection so when I was recently wishing for a pair of neutral-ish yet beautiful studs, these grey and gold leaf glitter posts were a perfect choice. I really love them and know they’re about to be on repeat like a Hanson album when I was 16.

It’s been a while since I have bought jeans but the recent changes in my body necessitated a trip to Madewell, aka the only place I will buy jeans. I ended grabbing a pair of dark wash skinny jeans I already knew I love and then as an impulse, added a pair of these slim boy jeans to my purchase. I didn’t expect to adore them as much as I do but honestly, I practically live in them when I’m not working. I do think they run a bit large though. I bought in the same size as my skinny jeans without trying on but probably should have gone down at least one size. Regardless, they are fabulous!

Yet another “I tried a sample and fell in love” situation. In general in the past I have found most exfoliants to be about equal and nothing to get worked up about but this ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment has really impressed me. It is a bit pricey but I think it is worth it for the results it provides. I also love the smell of it!

I know we may have had a brief tease of warmer weather and it’s so tempting to look toward spring fashion, but at least here in the midwest, we’ve still got a little ways to go. These black suede booties from J.Crew don’t exactly scream spring, but to me they are a timeless piece I have already gotten a ton of wear out of, and I know I will get plenty more in the next few years. Bonus – they are very on sale right now! Don’t fret if your size isn’t available right now. I stalk J.Crew sales enough to know sizes come back into availability so just check back often if you are into them!

I didn’t realize how long it has been since a regular (non-gift guide) Things I’m Loving until I saw how many craft projects I have not shared yet! Here are the deets on the projects pictured here:

I didn’t used to be a hat girl, but that has changed! This pattern for the Bray Cap from Brooklyn Tweed is incredibly beautiful. I used this owl yarn from Quince and Co. (my new favorite of theirs) and I absolutely adore the finished hat!

So much so that I quickly jumped into my next hat, Bough, also from Brooklyn Tweed and also using Owl. Both are such beautiful patterns!

We are huge fans of the Pigeon books by Mo Willems, so I was beyond excited when I discovered pigeon fabric. I really wanted a project that would look good with two different fabrics to include both the pigeon print and the print with the many pigeon quotes. I ended up using the twirl dress pattern from Shwin & Shwin. This pattern is fantastic! Very well written and easy to follow. We LOVE the way this dress turned out. I did have to make some modifications to the skirt given the directionality of the prints, but it was worth the extra effort. Caroline simply adores this dress and it is always the first thing she puts on when all of her laundry is clean!

Last year I decided to start the tradition of making a hand knit sweater for each kid for Christmas. Andrew’s favorite color is red so I knit the Arlo sweater in a nice red yarn for him. Despite the complex looking cable pattern, this was actually a pretty quick project to knit up and the cable pattern was easy to remember. This is a seamed garment and piecing it together does take some time, but it is so worth it for a perfectly fitting handsome sweater.

Caroline’s rainbow obsession (which inspired last year’s birthday party) is still going strong, so I thought this cardigan with a rainbow yoke would be perfect for her. I had to slap back my anti-tacky reflex to get on board with the rainbow striped buttons because even though they aren’t my style, I knew she would love them. I was right – she really does.


Listening is an Act of Love from StoryCorps and edited by Dave Isay: If you loved Tiny Beautiful Things, you will probably love this book as well. It was the very last book I read in 2015 and it was the perfect conclusion. Such a beautiful collection of stories from regular people. These works that show the incredible beauty in the ordinary and not so ordinary moments that constitute our lives are simply the best. Also, fun fact – Amy Schumer and her sister Kim are one of the interviews in this book. Since I would consider myself possibly the world’s biggest Amy Schumer fan, I was extremely excited when I came across their chapter. Their story actually covers a very serious topic but still manages to be uplifting and a bit funny.

Missoula by Jon Krakauer: This book examines rape culture on college campuses and with a special focus surrounding student athletes. This is one of those books that I feel should be required reading for all of humanity, and I absolutely will be sure that both my son and daughter read it, hopefully in early high school. I want to make sure we have an open and ongoing discussion regarding consent and rape, and this book will be a good way to help facilitate that. (On a related note, this Amy Schumer skit about rape is simultaneously hilarious and depressingly real. Do not watch if you hate being face with reality.)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: This book is on a whole other level from anything and everything I have read lately. To say it is heavy is an understatement, but to say it is an incredibly necessary hard look at the concept of race and what it means in our current society is a vast understatement. It is very hard to articulate how much I simultaneously loved this book for its cutting and eye opening insights and .  This book changed me and again, it is absolutely required reading for humanity. I find it very unlikely that anything else I read this year will be as important as this.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: This book was recommended to me by a dear friend whose book recommendations I trust above all others. In the first chapter, I was uncertain and honestly I became unsure whether she really knew me as well as I thought she did. Thankfully as I read on, the book hooked me and I ended up finding this to be a highly enjoyable read with a very unique voice. I don’t want to go into much descriptive detail because I am afraid I will spoil something but just trust me and give this one a try!


Can I just say that I am BURSTING with excitement to see the Beyoncé Formation tour?!?!!!!! My obsession with Bey is well known to anyone who knows me well. I think I might be responsible for about 1 million of the views of Formation on YouTube. If you love Formation as much as I do, and you aren’t an avid SNL viewer, let me just direct you to one of the best SNL skits in recent history. Thank you Courtney for bringing this to my attention. So hilarious!

Disclaimer:  These posts are a way for me to share the things I love with you, simply because I love them!  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This helps to offset the costs of running this site and allows me to continue providing you the content you enjoy.

  • Angela

    I’m always a bit giddy when I see the title of the Things I’m Loving posts.

    That dress is amazing. I love all of the knitting projects you’ve done. Seriously adorable children. :) Between the World and Me has been on my to read list for a couple months. I was happy to read your review. I sent that Beyonce SNL skit to everyone last week. I cannot stop laughing. Ah, covert racism. Take that.

    (From what I read, your downtime is a sort of work. Are you an INTJ, too?)

  • I love the sweaters and Caroline’s dress. They are so cute. I really admire you – being a mom, a doctor and doing all these projects. I am not sure how in the world you get all the time to all these. Do you take rest? – oh I meant sleep?. May be my work schedule does not allow, I leave home at 7:45 and come back at around 6:30. But I do have a food blog though :)

    I always want to knit, bought a book with the threads and needle and found it is so much difficult. The book mentioned it is for 12 year old’s. So you can see…

  • Annie

    Aw, I love that you love these posts so much! You’ll be glad to know I had so much that I couldn’t fit it all into this one, so I’ve already started the one for March!

    Not totally sure what you mean – just that I like to work in my downtime? I’m definitely not a sit still and relax sort of person since I have so many hobbies I’m always working on. It’s been a while since I took the Meyers Briggs. In late med school it had me as an ISTJ but not sure where I stand now. I should take it again sometime!

  • Annie

    Thank you! Of course I sleep, usually about 7-8 hours a night. Just depends on my schedule. I am usually out the door by 7 for work (some days I’m out by 6 when I have morning meetings) and get home around 5:30 or 6. I don’t know how to explain all of it except that I don’t sit still well!

    Knitting is such a fun hobby! If at all possible, I highly recommend taking an intro to knitting class at a local yarn shop. That was all the help I needed to get started and once I was able to read patterns, I pretty much just use YouTube to explain any techniques that are new to me.

  • Angela

    I meant that the way you relax is a project where you are working towards something, like proficiency at knitting or another amazing knitting project, like sitting still does not rejuvenate you.

    I am very glad for the working March one. :) These just make me happy.

  • Callie

    These are always my favorite posts! I love seeing what you are loving because so many times those things end up being what I am loving too!

  • I love the rainbow sweater…so cute! Love the buttons too…wish you would sale them. I would order one for ME !! So, Cute!!

  • ENTJ here! I Another awesome post Annie and I’m here to pile in with the others on how extraordinary you are! x

  • Annie

    Yes, you are exactly right! Sitting around is kind of like torture to me. I like to be doing something, whether it is reading, knitting, sewing, etc. Those things relax me!

  • Alyssa

    I love these posts – Thank you! Also, you amaze me. I don’t have kids yet, and I feel like I still couldn’t do half of the amazing projects you take on! I don’t know if you have a specific method of time-management, or how you organize yourself to make time for things like this (in addition to making a home-cooked meal every night, being a mom, etc), but if you do I would love if you could do a post on that! I would love to learn to be able to be half as productive as you. :)

  • Patti Weeks

    My friend made the rainbow sweater for her granddaughter and loved it so much that another friend and I are using it as the project for the sweater class we teach at the adult school.

  • Michelle

    I absolutely adored your handcrafted items, Annie! I’m trying to become better at sewing, and I need to try the Quince and Co. yarn very soon!

  • Amanda Brewer

    I’m trying to get tickets to the second Chicago show when they go onside to the general public in less than an hour. Wish me luck!

  • Annie

    Good luck indeed! I didn’t even come close to first round (also tried with the presale code and had no luck) so ended up just having to buy resale from someone else. Don’t care – worth it to me! SO EXCITED!!!

  • Lea

    I love these type of posts. I’m usually hesitant to try something new unless it has been recommended to me.

    I bought the JCrew dress based on your recommendation and it was super sale too.

    P.S. can you please add me to your Goodreads account, I would love to follow the books you review

  • Stacey T

    Hi Annie, happy Tuesday! So I wrote my first comment around the beginning of January saying I looked forward to commenting more…yet I never wrote a second! A good deal of work craziness kept me away from blog reading for a while, so I had a nice long catch-up session recently. These are some of my fave posts so I thought an appropriate place to write again!

    I’ve been wanting to ask you – since you are such a J. Crew aficionada – do you feel they are turning things around? Did you ever feel they had totally lost their touch? For a while I was soooo frustrated there, and felt like they went way too far off base from their classic style. When the news came out last year that they had huge profit losses, I seriously yelled “of course they did!” because I just felt it was so bad. They seem to be getting better (loved their flannels this year) but I still think it has a ways to go. You seem to always find nice classic pieces though! I do tend to get frustrated if I don’t see something I like quickly, so maybe I need to exercise some patience and search more in depth online.

    Also, I saw on IG that you’ve tried the American Licks at Jeni’s – I always give up sweets for Lent, and it’s been killing me! I already put it in my calendar to order so that I can wake up on Easter and have it for breakfast. :) (Really.) Glad you liked the Cherries Jubilee – it’s the one I’m most excited to try! Thanks as always for these fun posts and have a great rest of the week!

  • Liz N.

    I am OBSESSED with Lip Maximizer now. I have been using Dior Lip Glow for the past couple of years and love it so much but Lip Maximizer is my new fave. I love the tingly sensation and the sheer gloss that isn’t sticky. It makes me feel like I’m channeling my inner J-Law (love her).

  • Annie

    Yes! So happy to hear you love it too! :)

  • Suzannah

    I love the rainbow buttons! No shame!

  • Mary B

    I have read 3/4 of the same books in the last couple of months! Between the World and Me was so heartbreaking, particularly as I thought of my friends who are raising children of color. Missoula was infuriating and frightening. I really can’t decide how I felt about Kitchens, though – I found myself drawn back to the book over and over again, but I didn’t exactly enjoy it.

  • Annie

    Stacey! I am so sorry it has taken me forever to reply but it has been a WEEK! Good question about J.Crew. I must admit that I have been obsessed with J.Crew since I was in middle school. I believe they started sending me their catalog when I got a subscription to Seventeen magazine and I was instantly hooked (though it would be many, many years and much of my own hard earned money before I would ever own their stuff – my dad was like girl, you crazy! I’m not buying you that!) Anyway, because of my clear obsession and unwavering loyalty, I may not be the best person to comment on how quality has fluctuated or not. Though I love them, I am still a very selective shopper in general. I scour the site frequently but only purchase when something is classically “me” and has primarily positive reviews. And of course, when something doesn’t work out, I just return it, but my method of frequent browsing but discerning purchasing has been thus far successful for me. I don’t know if that even makes any sense. If not, I will try to elaborate more. And as always, some seasons of clothing are more my style than others. Last summer’s Boden dresses had me all googly eyed and I bought several but their fall and winter lines and so far what I have seen for spring have been an utter disappointment.

    And gah! You DO need to try the American Licks collection. I don’t love the ginger one (I’m not a huge fan of strong ginger flavor in anything though) and I have never liked mint, but the rest are fabulous as always.

  • Annie

    Just added you! And so glad you enjoy these posts!

  • Stacey T

    No worries at all! I completely hear you about being an ultra-selective shopper and glad you’ve been happy with them consistently. Very funny about your Dad…those prices definitely could make a parent’s eyes pop and a wallet shut tight ha. I don’t know that I felt the quality took a turn for the worse…it was more the styles. Everything just seemed so shapeless – but, that seems to be the trend everywhere unfortunately. They have been killing it with the shoes at least – just ordered two pairs of gingham flats and couldn’t be happier. I too definitely am not afraid to return, which drives my husband nuts for some reason, but I remind him it’s way better than having clothes with tags hanging in the closet!

    Disappointing to hear about Boden! I’ve only looked at their kids’ stuff lately, but I do remember last summer you raved about their dresses in some of your posts. Hopefully their summer ones will be better!

    T-minus 10 days til Lent is over! I’ve also got the Black Cat Espresso hanging out in my Jeni’s cart – I think I actually might be the more excited for that than American Licks if I’m being honest. I mean…coffee AND cats?!?!?! (Plus my cat looks exactly like the one in her photos…love that little pink tongue sticking out!) Have you had that one yet?? Seems it would be right up your alley as well!