Winter Is Coming: Sweater Trends

It was hard to think about fall with the GORGEOUS summer-like temperatures we had last Saturday, but then Sunday arrived and with it, fall.  And as much as we love summer in the Dells, fall is really where our heart is.  Football, leaves, apple orchards and, most importantly, sweaters!  It’s comfort food season, people…so warm up your casserole and take a seat as we talk about fashion trends for one of our most figure forgiving fashion staples.

First, let’s go casual.  This look couldn’t be more comfy/cozy:22365375_1550856021646206_2926230031372222038_n

SO many things to love about this look.  It’s simple, right?  just a sweatshirt really and a pair of jeans.  But we’ve amped up the style factor with the design of the sweater/sweatshirt with the turtleneck detail and the finishes at the seams.  It’s also super soft, which doesn’t mean a lot from a style perspective, but we’ve ALL had those really cute sweaters that we just can’t wear because they’re so scratchy.  So when a sweater is on trend and comfy it’s a win win.  This look is from Apricot Lane Boutique and on sale!


Another beauty bit of comfy goodness from Apricot Lane: We love this claret ribbed crewneck (perfect for a Badger game).  It’s a simple sweater, but when the multi-pattern scarf and suede riding boots are added, the simple sweater is transformed into a complete and cohesive look.  Not into scarves this season?  You could layer a button down under the crewneck in a fun pattern for another option.


This is variation on the sweater theme from Maurices.  The color palette and the mix of patterns makes the look a bit edgier, but it’s the same basic premise:  Sweater, jeans/jegging, boots.  The best part of this look for us?  THAT BAG.  It’s beyond fun and wearable with so many things.

Now, let’s look at the business/business casual side of the sweater, shall we?  Here’s some options for the Casual Friday look, or any day of the week look if your workplace has a more casual dress code:

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But let’s not forget the dressier side of the sweater.  Like these adorable sweater dresses! Who doesn’t love a sweater dress?  Pull it together with some tights and a pair of boots and you’re out the door in a jif, but looking polished like you slaved away on your look for hours.

And our look of the week:  the basic sweater with the so-not-basic pencil skirt.  This look has us at first sight:  the knotted detail and rusching in the skirt along with the asymmetrical hemline needs a simple sweater to show it off.  Even though the sweater plays in the background here, it’s 100% perfect with the skirt.  And those shoes! Just because it’s cooler out now doesn’t mean you have to completely give up the open toes….just keep it for days when you’re inside most of the day.


Interested in these looks?  Shop at Outlets at The Dells now and get them while they’re hot so you can wear them when it’s cold.  Happy Shopping!














How To “Rock” The Right Look For A Concert

Summer in Wisconsin Dells has drawn to a close, but it feels like we’re just as busy as ever.  There’s something every weekend for people to see or, in the case of this weekend, hear.  It’s Kilbourn City Live, people!  What’s that you say?  Only THE concert to see!  Artists like SMASH MOUTH (yes, we said that), Cracker, Anderson East are coming to downtown (literally, right in the street) to play for free.  It’s 100% amazing and you should definitely drop your other plans and go to it instead, but then that brings up the existential question:  WHAT DO I WEAR?

Ok, so it might not exactly be existential, but it is a great question.  Let’s face it:  two days ago, the high temperature was 91.  Today, we’re wearing sweaters.  So what’s a person to do?


  1. Boots.  If you’re hesitating between anything else and boots, just wear the boots.  It’s fall – the time when we give ourselves and our toes a break from polish.  Plus, it’ll get cooler in the evening, people around you will be enjoying beverages (and perhaps spilling a bit accidentally).  You’ll be glad you wore the boots.  We used a bootie/shootie from Bass Factory Outlet, but Famous Footwear Outlet, Maurice’s, Apricot Lane Boutique, rue21…everyone’s got these styles.  You’ll get a ton of use out of them and they’re really cute.  INVEST.shoe
  2. Jeans or Shorts – We Say Jeans.  Unless you just know that you’re going to be able to stand outside when it’s 45 degrees and still enjoy the music while you shiver; it’s your choice.  But we’re thinking it’s a jeans day.  And they don’t need to be a slim fit like these from Banana Republic (they ARE good, though, aren’t they) – go for a boyfriend, bootcut, straight leg….Levi’s is a good place to go for styling tips on concert-wear.  But choose some that you can move and dance in, for sure.  IMG_20170818_103736989
  3. Again, the rules for concert fashion are not hard and fast, but this tunic sweater is SO GOOD.  You can wear just as it is with a cute necklace (we may be channeling our inner rock star above), but you can also layer it and wear it to work (see below).  It would be even better with a pencil skirt!

IMG_20170818_1049014054. Layers:  Because you just never know in Wisconsin, layer up, people!  Same jeans and shooties as before, but now we’re creating a super causal look for the night with a graphic t-shirt and a plaid button-down with some brilliant colors.  Get warm?  Wrap it around your waist.  Cool off?  Throw it back on.  Options are where it’s at.  Also, take note of the bag:  go with a cross-body.  No one looks good trying to dance and keep their bag on their shoulder.  This adorable little canteen-style bag has great chain details and just makes us happy.


5. If You Must Dress to Impress:  Not everyone wants to, or can, let loose for the whole night.  So, if you are just swinging in for a set, then headed to dinner, what’s a person to do?  One word:  JACKET.  They provide structure, polish and style to just about anything.  Here, we paired a camel colored jacket (OBSESSED just isn’t a strong enough word) with a simple high-necked t-shirt, but you could pull it over a graphic t-shirt, dressy tank top….there’s loads of possibilities with this jacket.  Have we mentioned we’re obsessed with it?

So dress to impress , dress to have fun, dress to ROCK ON!  But definitely make the trip to the Dells for Kilbourn City Live.  They’re giving away Outlets gift cards, so we’re rooting for you to win!   See you shopping soon!

Lessons in School Shopping

Remember in May or June when we made ourselves a promise?   This was the summer we were all going to take some more time to slow down and really enjoy each moment with our little ones while they still think we’re cool enough to hang around with.  For those of us who carved out that quality time, great job!  Although we made more space this summer to spend with the kids, two harsh realities were made:

  1. It didn’t actually slow summer down at all.  In fact, it may have seemed to slip by even faster.
  2. This isn’t acutally a bad thing, as we have found our appreciation again for the institution of education.  And it’s willingness to take our children.

So, summer is here and gone.  If you’re like us, school open house is literally tomorrow and no supplies have been purchased yet.  Zero.  DO NOT PANIC….ok, panic a little, but as long as you can still get THE graphing calculator for your 5th grader (how is that even a thing?….we were still learning times tables in 5th grade, I swear), we can make sure they look AWESOME with out too much time and trouble.  Or cash.

Case in point:  We worked with Madison Mom’s Blog   and Gilda’s Club of Madison to outfit 5 children whose families are struggling to make ends meet while they or a member of the family is undergoing cancer treatment.  Each mom was given a gift card for $300 and our Back to School Coupons.  Here’s what they got:


Sometimes, it’s better to see the bags in the hands of people:



That’s A LOT of shopping done, kids!  Each child got:

  • A backpack
  • Nike, Van’s, Converse sneakers
  • At least 3 new outfits
  • A jacket or a vest

Here’s what it looked like when we delivered to Gilda’s house…it was like Christmas come early.  IMG_20170815_164152084

The kids (not featured in photos for privacy reasons) loved everything they received.  And the parent loved it more:  we got to provide a bit of normalcy in a time when these kids just want to be regular kids.  So, the moms saw the value in shopping the Outlets and the kids are ready for The First Day.

Now, another great writer (shamless plug for blogger, Ashley), stopped by the Outlets to write up an article on back to school shopping for teachers.  Because kids aren’t the only ones who deserve a First Day outfit.  Ashley took a tour through Banana Repubic Factory Store and found some AMAZING looks for the workplace and after hours as well!  Here’s the blog (we think it’s pretty great).

So, get the coupons from if you’re shopping in the next couple of days, or hit the sidewalk sales this holiday weekend and get the list done.  Because saving money is always a smart idea.  And you shouldn’t teach the kids how to procrastinate.  And because soon you’ll be saying:


OaD Labor Day


School Style 101

In the middle of a summer of rain and fun and rain and sports and rain and rain…..suddenly, it’s almost August already!  Yikes – how is that even possible?  But it is, and if your house is anything like ours, almost every single shoe and item of clothing is outgrown.  Thankfully, the office just had a back to school photo shoot, so we’re now “in the know” for what the kids want for their first day.

DSC_8459The first day of school outfit is the first impression to a new class, a new teacher, even a new school.  What kind of a statement do they want to make?  In our house, the rules were simple when they were smaller:

  • Is it comfy enough to sit and run and play in?
  • Does it have our favorite superhero/princess on the front of it?
  • Is it our favorite color/covered in butterflies and sparkles/camouflaged?

Now at the ripe old ages of 10 and 11 (almost 12), there’s a whole new set of criteria:

  • What logo is on my shirt?
  • Is what I’m wearing really cool without looking like I’m trying to look cool?
  • And for Mom and Dad:  How long will they wear this before they outgrow this?

So let’s talk about what’s cool this year for back to school:

  • Florals for girls…always in all ways.  From sneakers to shirts to dresses, florals are where it’s at
  • Denim is always a great look as well, especially in Wisconsin where the weather can be so variable.
  • Layers:  Again, because…..Wisconsin and weather. 🙂


Now, for boys.  Although this photo is fairly patriotic in nature, we LOVE the use of primary colors for boys across all ages.  Again, layering is a smart idea:  you just never know what the day will turn out like.  A day that starts out 45 and rainy could easily be 75 and sunny by noon.  DSC_8652

Above all, let your students show some of their personality.  Back to school should be fun and they should get to show some individuality.  If their school has a dress code, then a great way to make that happen is through a backpack.



And above all for parents:  kids grow so fast, make sure you do some savvy shopping.  Back to school shopping can wallop a budget, so make sure you:

  • Shop the back to school sales (August 4-6 at Outlets at The Dells)
  • Shop with your 20% off coupons (available August 1 at
  • Shop with your ELITE Savings Card to save even more!


And remember:  have fun!  School is just around the corner, but there are still WEEKS of vacation and fun to be had.  See you at the Outlets!






Red, White & Blue, Done Right

Happy 4th of July!  This holiday sparks so many memories:  sparklers, barbecues, family time, fireworks and wearing the Red, White and Blue.  But how can you do it without dressing like this:


Now, if you want to do such a literal representation of the flag, so be it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s the most practical outfit to wear to the family barbecue.  So in honor of the holiday, we offer up a few suggestions that might be a bit easier to wear around town.


Love this look:  red slim fit trouser, navy jacket, nautical stripe top.  Individually, all these pieces can be mixed and matched throughout your summer wardrobe.  But pull them together and the look is very polished and super appropriate if you are going to a dressy Independence Day party.  Similar looks can be found at Banana Republic Factory Store and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store.


For a more casual look, how about a great navy stripe short?  These we found at Banana Republic Factory as well:  Just pair them up with a red t-shirt or tank top.  Add in a chambray button down shirt, or a great wristlet like this and you’re set to go to the fireworks!


This is just too sweet:  we love how effortless the patriotic theme carries through the whole family!  Red, white & blue polos or t-shirts are mixed in with white shorts/crop pants.  Want the look?  Head to Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, or find something similar at Gap Factory Outlet or Old Navy Outlet.

There are SO many options for little girls when you’re looking to sport the Red, White & Blue.  We love them all so much, choosing just one was too hard!  Whether you’re looking for a dress or a more casual look, head to Children’s Place, Gymboree Outlet or OshKosh b’Gosh to find these or similar looks.

Now, the 4th of July is just around the corner, so stop in today and pick up a few pieces for the family today!  Or you can wait a couple of days:  Sidewalk sales at Outlets at The Dells are June 30-July 4 and the savings are HUGE.    We’ll see you soon!

Vacation Style For Mom

As a mom, the vacation packing falls squarely on my shoulders (piled on top of the laundry folding, dog walking, lawn mowing and meal making).  As my children  grow and start to be independent, I’ve asked them to start to do more of their own packing; this usually leads to Nerf guns being prioritized over undergarments.  So, I repack their bags, then take care of my own.  And there’s also all the last-minute items needed for the children to replace the old vacation gear they’ve grown out of.  Inherently, this leads to last-minute packing and shopping:  children look great, Mom looks…well, Mom could look better.  Let’s just leave it at that.

So, the Banana Republic Factory Store event I just attended was a HUGE relief.  Three moms came together and, with the help of some savvy fashion assistance from the staff, we all walked out with summer gear for ourselves and savings to boot!

Truthful moment:  I am not a romper-believer.  I may even go so far as to say I’ve been quoted as saying there should be an age limit on them, and that age limit is elementary-school.  But although I’m not a complete convert on the subject, I did fall in love with this adorable thing:750

That is me, in a romper.  The smile is genuine.  The style is fabulous.  I’ve got several places it needs to be seen already scheduled in my mind for the summer.

Another look I’ve never fully embraced was the ruffled top.  This mom isn’t really a mom who needs ruffles on her top, but I’m always game for trying something new (you never know unless you try).  Long story short, once we criss-crossed the shoulder straps, I liked it.  I LOVED the yellow shorts even more.

I may have loved the desserts the thoughtful staff had for us almost as much as the shorts.

One more “you never know until you try” item:  a maxi dress.  I’m only 5’3″, so I never, ever wear these – they just make me feel like I’m a little girl, dressing up in my mother’s clothes.  Overall, this was cute, but I think a bit too adventurous for my taste.  It’s a pretty look, though.


At some point, I’ve got to get back on task here, so we jump into my comfort zone:  shorter dresses.  I love the ease of one-piece dressing, especially for vacations when you don’t want to have to think too much or work too hard at your style.  Clearly, all three of these dresses came home with me.  Note:  there was a sale, and it was my birthday this month….not like I needed any excuses.

My fellow moms didn’t need an excuse either.  A big thanks to the staff, my friend Lisa for shopping with me and Catie of and her sweet daughter.  I would 100% go shopping with any one or all of them again at the drop of a hat.  They, and the a-MAY-zing staff at Banana Republic Factory Store made my vacation shopping more of a vacation than my vacation will be.

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What A Mom Wants


It’s almost May and we are entering the time when family calling trees start humming as we all try to answer the eternal question:  What are we getting Mom for Mother’s Day?  The struggle is real, people.  She never “needs” anything.  Ever.   So what’s a family to do?  Take her to the Outlets, of course!  We have a plan:


1.Invite Mom to the Mother’s Day Wish List Registry; it’s for charity, so it should be an easy sell.

2.We will pour her mimosas, fill her plate with pastries  and provide some great entertainment and door prizes.

3.All you have to do then is take her for a walk and have her write down everything she thinks is “nice.”  Because let’s be honest, people:  “nice” = “I like it.”  These items should be written down and the list kept in a safe place for future gift giving opportunities.

4.Bring the list back to the mimosas and we’ll keep it safe for you and give Mom a door prize ticket – who doesn’t love a good door prize?!

5. We call you with the list, or email it.  However you like.  When you think about it, it’s kind of ingenious….you’re welcome.  🙂

But what if you can’t get to the breakfast?  What’s a family to do?  Here’s a list of tried and true winners:


Bags/Wallets/Purses. These are all terrific ideas and usually Mom has a definite style preference, so if you look at the bag she has, you’ll get a great idea.  These are on sale at COACH and are really, really cute….but there’s lots of options, so you’ll be in good care here.



Perfume….If Mom has a fragrance she loves, this is an excellent idea!  We like to hit Fragrance Outlet and buy two (there’s always a buy one, get one sale going on): one we know Mom loves and one that we like and Mom might like…that way, if she decides she would rather keep her regular one, you can take it back.  🙂


Jewelry:  You can never go wrong with jewelry, people.  But the budget is not as important as the thought behind it.  Bracelets in her favorite color, necklaces with birthstones, earrings…it’s almost always a safe bet.  We love Kay Jewelers Outlet, Apricot Lane Boutique, Bass Factory Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Outlet for jewelry of all types for all occasions.



There is no shame in giving a gift card.  None.  They’re good at all the stores Mom likes, they never expire, they’re the right size/color/fit.  This is just you showing  your Mom how much you learned from her:  it’s super thoughtful and allows her to make her own decision.

Happy Mother’s Day, to all those hard working moms out there.  You are doing great work.  Thanks for all you do and we hope to see you shopping soon!