Posts Categorized: this week i love

This Week I Love …

jessica smith tv

Jessica Smith TV.

Although I have frequent meetings and commitments out of the house, I have found working from home to be even more sedentary than working at an office. I don’t hustle around to other peoples’ cubes or meet colleagues for lunch across campus. I just sit. And write. And sit some more. While writing. So since the day I became self-employed, I’ve made sure to carve out some time for exercise each day. My preference is to take a brisk walk around my neighborhood while listening to podcasts or books.

HOWEVER. My personal temperature threshold is -10, and last winter passed that mark many, many times. So I started looking around for workout videos I could do in my living room on days when it was so cold outside that my eyelashes froze together. I tried a couple of the store-bought DVD systems and found them to be pretty dull as ongoing fitness tools, and a bit too focused on “getting thin and sexy” or “losing weight fast!” for my taste. Which led me to YouTube. Which led me to Jessica Smith.

Smith has an extremely popular channel with dozens of videos – all of them free – at a variety of skill levels and covering the gamut of fitness topics. She posts a new video each week, including full 30-minute workout routines, shorter workouts for those in a hurry, and a few single-exercise demo videos. She’s developed a walking/weight loss program that she sells on DVD, but never hits her YouTube subscribers with the hard sell. Her channel is a robust and valuable resource.

But the real reason I love Jessica Smith? She never harps on getting thin or losing weight as the obvious end-goals, she clearly enjoys making these videos, and she is meticulous about offering modifications for anyone who needs them. She jokes and encourages and talks you through every movement patiently and carefully. She emphasizes the importance of stretching and talks frequently about avoiding new injuries and accommodating existing ones. Her videos are clear and easy to follow, but pretty low-fi – they’re all filmed at her house, which is probably an intentional choice meant to illustrate that anyone can work out at home in a room with some clear space. And the white French bulldog in her banner is Peanut, her dog, who wanders in and out of most videos. Or just sleeps on her mat the entire time. If you’re a sucker for animals like I am, this is a delightful bonus.

On her website and channel, Smith says, “Our goal is to help you find movement that you enjoy (and actually want to keep doing) so you’ll never have to ‘work’ out another day in your life! You won’t find any crazy exercises, revealing outfits or negative energy here; just common sense fitness, advice and support from a friend and certified fitness professional (and her French bulldog).” Some of her video titles focus on weight loss, sculpting, and other concepts that circle around thinness – likely for SEO reasons – but her banter and narration are always neutral or even body-image-friendly. I’ve never heard her harp on the importance of a bikini body, describe anything as a quick/easy route to getting thin, or say anything that set off beauty-standard alarm bells.

I’ve actually kept up with the videos through the year, adding them to my daily walks and exploring a variety of routines and topics to keep the boredom at bay. When my back is acting up I choose from her knee- and back-friendly workout playlist. When I’m in a rush, I choose a 10- or 15-minute targeted workout. If you can’t afford a gym or can’t motivate yourself to go, if fitness classes make you self-conscious, or if you only have a few minutes a day to yourself, peek at Jessica Smith TV and see if you can find a video or two that suit your needs.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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This Week I Love …

… all things olive green.

Working with a palette that is virtually all neutrals, I rely on quasi-neutrals like burgundy, navy, and olive to keep things from getting too drab. (No pun intended.) Olive green in particular has proven versatile and fun, and I’m always on the lookout for new pieces. Here are a few that I’ve been eyeing lately.

olive green fair trade dress

Fair Indigo Pleated Front Fair Trade Organic Dress – $54.99

100% organic cotton in a super versatile shape, with just enough detailing to make it eye-catching. I’d use a denim jacket and rugged boots to toughen it up a bit. Available in sizes XS – XL, and also comes in black, red, or purple. Also eyeing this Fair Indigo t-shirt dress in olive. (Sustainable pick – fair trade and organic)

olive leather tote bag

Distressed Olive Green Tote Bag by ChicLeather– $145

Mmmmm, a tote with a shoulder strap. In distressed olive leather. I’m drooling a little bit over here. Handmade by French expats living in Morocco, and they’ve got several other olive green styles that are affordable and laptop-friendly. Need a vegan option? This olive canvas tote looks amazing. (Sustainable pick – handmade)


Mynt 1792 Cascade Crepe Skirt – $148

Not cheap, I know, but what a GORGEOUS shape. That notch might make it a little too sexy for some offices, but with tights and boots it will be considerably more subdued. Fully lined and machine washable. Available in sizes 12W – 26W.
olive suede ankle boot

Lucky Brand Basel Boot$93.20 – $155.88
with code 20VETERANS

Suede can be a bit dicey for wet winter wear, but with a waterproofing treatment it’ll work in all but the sloppiest weather. Especially in a sturdy ankle boot shape like this. Available in U.S. sizes 5 – 11, including C/D widths.

olive printed scarf

Lucky Twins Koi Scarf – $44

A bright but still versatile olive, this 40% silk, 60% viscose scarf is hand-printed with water-based pigments. Elegant and funky at the same time. (Sustainable pick – handmade) Need 100% silk? This hand-dyed scarf is spendy but exquisite.


Talbots Italian Flannel Double Button Blazer – $199

A great option if you prefer a higher vamp blazer, and gets high marks from customers. This darker olive is a great alternative to grays and blacks. Available in regular, petite, plus, and petite plus sizes. Wanna make a suit of it? Talbots also has three styles of pants and two skirts in this same olive melange.

olive soft pants

Old Navy Olive Soft Pants – $12.97

A super bargain and ideal for fall and winter lounging. Medium-weight and made from a super soft rayon blend. Available in regular, petite, and tall sizes. (Smaller sizes sold out online, but check your local stores.)

olive necklace

Geo Terrarium Necklace – $24

This hand-crafted necklace features bright green reindeer moss and flecks of silver leaf preserved in eco-friendly resin. Each pendant will be slightly different, all hung on a 18″ chain. (Sustainable pick – handmade, eco-friendly materials)

olive ballet flats 2

BaliELF Muse – $110

Handmade – and made to order if you need customizations – these ankle-strap flats are so pretty and ever so slightly edgy. Available in U.S. sizes 4 – 13. (They might be able to do widths, too … not sure.) Not a fan of the ankle strap? BaliELF also makes a plain olive ballet flat. (Sustainable pick – handmade)


Everlane The French Terry – $40

I haven’t ordered from Everlane yet and am trying to decide between a striped shirt and this dusty olive super-soft lightweight sweatshirt. I love that this top has a slightly thinner band than is typical in sweatshirts. Available in sizes XS – L, though sizes run small. (Sustainable pick – made in the U.S., transparent production chain)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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This Week I Love …

… shoulder-strap totes.

Sounds like an oxymoron, right. Allow me to explain: With winter comes poofy coats. Poofy coats make shoulder bags a tricky proposition, since the straps tend to slide against the slick nylon. So I’ve come to love totes for winter use. BUT. They must have shoulder straps, too. Because I use all of my bags year-round, and need the shoulder option for non-winter. And also occasionally need both hands in winter and risk shoulder-slippage.

Here are a few totes with removable shoulder straps that I’m ogling right now:

the leather shop etsy

Leather Satchel – $145, The Leather Store

I’m pretty sure this bag has been in my Etsy faves for multiple years running, now. Love the shape of those handles, the external pockets, and that nice, wide shoulder strap. I’ve owned bags from The Leather Store and they’re absolutely top-notch hand-made bags.

frye melissa hobo

Frye Melissa Hobo – $387.95

Technically a hobo, but functionally a tote since that short strap is likely a tight fit on many shoulders. This is a narrow bag, but large at 13″ x 13″ and also comes in three gorgeous weathered browns.

steve madden fringe tote

Steve Madden Blucyy – $59.97

A marvelously oversized tote at 12.5″ x 20″ x 5″, on-trend with fringe accents, and vegan-friendly to boot! This might actually be able to double as a super stylish overnight bag. Also love this slightly smaller tassel-adorned brick red tote from Steve Madden.

small cognac tote

Elliott Lucca Iara Midi Tote – $167.95 – $177.95

Far smaller at 10″ x 4″ x 9.5″, this compact tote still has plenty of room for your everyday essentials. Elliott Lucca is a highly underrated bag designer, in my opinion, and you can get this style in cognac as shown here, as well as black, burgundy, slate felt, blush, or blush felt.

snakeskin tote

Street Level Python Print Tote – $28.98

If leopard feels too loud but you love the look of animal prints, give snake print a try. This medium-sized vegan-friendly option will look chic with everything from neutrals to bold brights.

recycled tire tote

Novica Upcycled Cotton Shoulder Bag with Recycled Tire Accents – $62.99

This bag is such a find: Great price, handmade, and crafted from recycled materials. Nice and big at 14.5″ x 19.75″ x 5.5″, and includes a large exterior pocket.

canvas tote

48 North Canvas Tote with Shoulder Strap – $130

Gotta give a shout-out to Minneapolis-based 48 North, whose waxed canvas totes have also lurked on my Etsy favorites for ages. If you’re not a fan of this olive drab, have this bag made custom in black, sage, gray, or another versatile neutral.

harveys seatbelt bag

Harveys Seatbelt Bag Medium Streamline Tote – $128

Reader Pat reminded me that Harveys bags are made in the U.S. from durable, vegan-friendly seatbelt material. I’m not a huge fan of the traditional woven Harveys bags, but this striped one is adorable.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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