Tag Archives: back to basics

back to basics / 05: spring staples


Although I haven’t quite jumped on the capsule wardrobe train, I’ve been trying to pare down my closet this year and am focusing more on buying good staple pieces that will hold up well and that are versatile. To celebrate the coming of spring (which may or may not be here to stay…), I thought I’d put together a post with a few pieces I’ll be wearing a lot this season.

striped tee | everlane

I was all over this striped tee the day that it came out. I like that it’s a little bit more structured and thicker than other shirts; it’s great for this transition weather and works equally well with jeans, shorts, and skirts. There’s a white/black version too but grey is kind of my favorite “color” and I think this color combo is a little springier anyways.

denim vest | old navy

I’ve been eyeing the madewell version of this vest for awhile now but couldn’t justify the price difference and actually like the wash on this old navy one a little better, and it fits just right. I’m planning to wear this over just about everything this season.

ponte skirt | j.crew factory

I have been watching this skirt online for awhile and finally went for it when they had a 30% off sale and free shipping. I love it.  The fit is perfect, it’s amazingly comfortable, and the fabric is just thick enough to have some structure but still breathable and light for spring/summer. The blue is a great color but I think I’ll be ordering one in black (and any other colors they come out with) as well.

vintage-inspired sneakers | brooks

If you saw my running clothes post a couple weeks ago, you already know that I’m obsessed with Brooks running shoes. I like to wear tennis shoes on the weekends for running errands, especially since it’s not quite sandal weather yet, but I don’t like to put extra non-running mileage on my good shoes. These vintage-inspired Brooks sneakers are super comfortable, (obviously) super cute, and come in a ton of color combinations. I got the fuchsia but would easily order pretty much any of them.

statement necklace (similar) | madewell

I don’t wear a ton of jewelry but enjoy a good statement necklace from time to time. This particular one is great for dressing up a simple white t-shirt. It’s not in stock anymore, but I’ve seen similar ones at other stores and also really like madewell’s arrowstack necklace.

What are some of your spring staples?

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back to basics / 04: running gear

We’re currently training for another half marathon, so have been running 4-5 times/week, and unfortunately it’s mostly been in below-freezing temperatures. Consequently I’ve started to amass quite the collection of cold-weather running gear, and thought I would share a few of my favorites here, in case you’re in the market for anything yourself. Happy running!

RUNNING copy copy

shirt | GapFit Breathe long-sleeve tee

These shirts are really soft (like, I’ve worn it as pajamas) and relatively expensive, and bonus: usually on sale online. I think they’re perfect for days where it’s not cold enough for a jacket but you still want a long-sleeve layer, and the thumb holes are another of my favorite features. These tops also work great as a base layer under jackets, etc.

vest | Athleta Stripe Jammin’ Run Vest

I recently got this vest less for an extra layer of warmth and more as something semi-reflective to wear during morning runs in the winter months when it’s pitch black outside. It’s a great top layer and also functions as a light windbreaker because of the material it’s made out of. The side pockets are perfect for my phone, too. And as an added bonus, it’s cute enough to wear around running errands after a workout (or you know, after not working out).

tights | Under Armour ColdGear Qualifier Run Tight

There are a million different kinds of tights out there, ranging from super lightweight to super thermal. I like having something in between that keeps me warm on single-digit runs but that I don’t get super hot in once I’ve warmed up. I have about 5 different pairs and so far, these UA ones are my favorite. They have a light thermal layer inside but still feel really breathable and don’t get too warm. Women’s tights tend to not have pockets so I love that these have one in the back, perfect for carrying a debit card, a few dollars, or some GU.

shoes | Brooks Glycerin 12

Shoes are hard to recommend because the type you buy should be dependent on your gait, pronation, arches, etc. If you’re in the market for new running shoes, as tempting as it can be to buy the $40 pair at DSW (been there), you really should visit a local running store (here in Omaha we love Peak Performance) for a gait analysis and invest in a quality pair of shoes. Your feet will thank you. My last two pairs of shoes have been Brooks Glycerin 12s, so if you’re a neutral pronator with medium-to-high arches then I can’t recommend these enough. Plus they come in obnoxious/amazing colors, like highlighter yellow.

pocket | Roo Sport Magnetic Pocket

I almost always run with my phone, whether for music and/or as a safety precaution, so I usually try to wear something with a pocket that can hold it. That doesn’t always work out, though, so in those times I’m without a pocket, I use the Roo Sport. It’s the perfect size for a phone and has a CRAZY STRONG magnet. That thing isn’t going anywhere once it’s clipped on. It also works well for carrying cash, car/house key, etc. There are a few different sizes available based on what you plan to carry in it.

gloves | Target C9 by Champion Gloves

If you’re running in single digit or below-zero temps, you’ll definitely need some serious gloves. I’ve gotten by with Target ones for a long time, and in really cold temps will usually layer them over a cheap cotton pair for extra warmth. I’m still on the hunt for a really good cold weather pair that doesn’t cost a small fortune, but for now, this works, and it’s almost spring anyways, right?

headband | Target C9 by Champion Striped Twist Headband

I’m sure there are better headbands out there but I have several different versions of these C9 ones from Target, and they’ve served me well. I apparently have a giant head because beanies don’t ever seem to fit over my ears, so I usually opt for headbands. These C9 ones are warm, cover my ears (most importantly), and stay on pretty well. They also usually have a ponytail hole which is nice.

socks | Target C9 by Champion Heel Tab Socks

I’m willing to spend a lot of money on many other running attire components, but socks do not tend to be one of them. Target never seems to have the exact same socks, so I have many different versions of these C9 ones – I look for the ones that are ankle-cut but cover my heel, and that are made of “athletic” material rather than just cotton, but otherwise, they’re a go! Socks, like shoes, are a super important component, so make sure you find something that works for you, and then stock up and be consistent.

fuel | GU Nutrition Energy Gel, Salted Caramel

For long runs (5 miles +) we usually bring some sort of fuel to have during or sometimes right afterwards. We’ve tried lots of different brands and products but our favorite right now is the Salted Caramel GU. Before I tried it, it sounded like the last thing I’d want to eat in the middle of working out, but it’s actually totally delicious and pretty refreshing. I’d legit put this stuff over ice cream. It’s the perfect sugar boost to get you through those last few miles, and super easy to use since you can just rip off the tab, hold in your hand, and squeeze (it’s basically adult Go-Gurt). As with all electrolyte replacement fuels, make sure you wash it down with some water.

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back to basics / 03: men’s edition

i thought it would be fun to do a men’s edition of the back to basics column, so i asked k to write about a few of his favorite items for summer. i can’t say i was surprised by any of these, since this is basically his summer uniform. hope you enjoy, and if kevin ever expands his wardrobe beyond these three things, more editions to come :)

hk in love | back to basics | men's edition

1 / j.crew factory
washed tees, $16.50 (but always on some kind of sale)

I love these T-shirts! Literally, cannot say enough good things about this shirt. I am pretty sure it’s the softest thing I’ve ever worn in my life. Really. No, it’s REALLY soft. Think of the softest thing you’ve ever worn. Then think softer. J.Crew outlet people. Oh, and it was 10 bucks. Get 5. You won’t regret it.

2 / sperry top-sider for dsw
halyard laceless sneaker, $54.95

Okay, so I’m picky about shoes. Seriously, I’m picky. It’s to the point where we walk in to a shoe store and H has to walk away from me while I try on a ridiculous number of shoes [h’s note: and usually still doesn’t buy any]. We recently went to DSW and within 15 minutes, I walked out with these. Perfect for Summer and pairs well with shorts. Comfortable for walking and being outside!

3 / old navy
broken-in khaki shorts, $22.94 (on sale for $19 now)

I only own these shorts. I have them in 4 colors. They go with everything. See above for my comments about the shoes with them. In fact, I had on all three of these items over the weekend at once! They are comfortable (sensing a theme?), and a little stylish [h’s note: this is first time i’ve ever heard my husband use the word stylish]. Perfect for summer!

other male readers (are there any of you out there?), chime in! do you have any favorite basics that you love? k could use all the help he can get to become more…”stylish.”

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back to basics / 02: favorite bags.

it’s time for round two of the back to basics column! (you can see the first installment here). this time, i thought i’d talk a little bit about my favorite bags. up until a couple of years ago, i always bought inexpensive bags from places like target or old navy. nothing wrong with that, and i still do on occasion, but i started realizing that they don’t hold up very well over time, pieces break, and the quality is just all around not there. just like i’m trying to do with my wardrobe, i’ve started to look towards bags that are in it for the long-haul – that are well-made, relatively neutral so i can wear them with everything, and that are classic vs. trendy. over time, i’ve come to the conclusion that at any given time, i like having three types of bags – (1) an everyday bag that goes with me to and from work, can fit a laptop, and can double as my carry-on; (2) a clutch for going out when i usually just want my ID, debit card, and phone instead of a bulky purse; and (3) a crossbody bag that’s more casual that i can switch to on the weekends or when traveling. it’s taken some time (and $$) to find and purchase well-made bags in all three categories, so in case any ladies out there are still on the hunt, or are ready to upgrade, here are my recommendations…

hk in love | back to basics | favorite bags

01 / the everyday
longchamp le pliage in chocolate, prices vary

you’ve likely seen these bags around, as they are very popular. longchamp is a parisian company, and you can order their bags through their website or through other retailers, like bloomingdale’s or nordstrom. kevin bought me my first longchamp – a large shoulder tote in red with a taupe stripe – for our first anniversary, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving, because i use this bag all the time. if you order directly from longchamp, you can personalize your bag, from the panel colors, to the strap length, and even monogramming. it’s pricey, but a special added touch, especially for a bag you’ll use for a long time. last summer, i bought a second one – the medium size – in chocolate, and i love it, too! it’s a more manageable size for when i’m not carrying around very much.

02 / the clutch
gap two-tone leather clutch (previous season) | similar here and here

if you haven’t caught on my now, i’m a lover of all things neutral. i like to keep things simple and muted because it usually means more things match each other which equals more outfit options. accessories, including small clutches like this one, are sort of the exception to my rule and where i usually like to have pops of color. this particular one i found at gap a few seasons ago, but the colorblock trend is still going strong and i’m sure a similar one would not be tough to find.

03 / the crossbody
madewell mini transport crossbody, $148

i had the same brown leather crossbody bag since high school until about a month ago, when i finally bit the $148 bullet and upgraded to this madewell one. i’m so glad i did, and this has become my go-to weekend bag for when i’m just carrying around a few things and want something more casual. the leather is gorgeous, the strap is adjustable, and the inside is striped and has pockets – what more could a girl want?

alright, ladies…i’d love to know, what are some of your favorite bags? 

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back to basics / 01

i’ve been wanting to start a column like this for awhile now, but i always talk myself out of it. this is not a fashion blog, by any stretch of the imagination, and i hardly feel qualified to be giving anything remotely resembling fashion advice. but here we are anyways.

over the past few months in particular, i have been working towards a “better closet” by both donating things i no longer wear frequently enough and purchasing new pieces. for me, purchasing new pieces is a balance of splurging on higher quality items but making sure that every new item i bring in is something i absolutely love and is versatile – this almost always results in simple, staple pieces in neutral colors, hence, “back to basics.”

i’m finally taking the leap with this column because often when i’m researching new clothes to potentially buy, i’m disappointed with the options. i follow some fashion bloggers whose style i love, but let’s just say their idea of splurging is probably pretty different than mine. and when i do finally track down an item that interests me – often for purchase online where i can’t try it on until i order it – i have a hard time finding reviews of the product from other real-life women that i can trust.

so, here i am to do just that! i plan to chronicle and review new pieces that i add to my wardrobe in this series (and maybe get k involved for some men’s versions). in the process, if i can help anyone else find that perfect white tee (still looking, btw, but this comes close) or that dress that works for all four seasons (i have found that, it’s here, order it stat in as many colors as you can afford), then i’ll be that much happier.


without further adieu, the first two pieces:

1 / j.crew factory
gigi pant, $84.50 (i got them for <$50 and with free shipping, so watch for sales)
available in black and navy, with and without pockets

if i could wear leggings every day, i would. i love that they’re comfortable, simple, and most of all, have an elastic waist band. the gigi pant is basically a tailored legging with thicker fabric and more structured lines than a traditional cotton pair. they are so comfortable, and very versatile. i also love that because they’re structured enough and not see-thru, you can wear regular-length tops instead of worrying about your backside being covered. i can only speak to the ones i got from j.crew, but if you search elsewhere for these, it seems like they’re often called ponte pants. after reading other reviews of these, i ordered one size down and am happy with the fit. the one downside to this pair in particular is that they don’t come in petite lengths so they’re quite long on me. regular j.crew (not the factory store) does carry a version with petite lengths, but they’re pricier and not as likely to go on sale. i don’t mind rolling the extra length underneath if i’m wearing flats or heels, but of course you could get them hemmed if it bothered you.

2 / everlane
short sleeve sweatshirt, $30
available in heather grey, black, and navy

i love the idea of a structured, dress-up sweatshirt. i was skeptical as to how this would look on me, and worried that it would be boxy and unflattering, but alas, i am pleasantly surprised with how it fits. the fabric is a “neoprene-inspired french terry,” which makes this a super soft and comfortable piece. anything that is nice enough to wear to work but feels like i’m actually wearing pajamas is a huge plus in my book. i ordered this in the heather grey and in my usual shirt size, and found the sizing to be true-to-size (but haven’t always had that same luck with everlane).
*tip: if you sign up as a member (free), you’ll get free shipping on your first order. for orders thereafter, you qualify for free shipping if you purchase 2+ items. 

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