KOTN turtleneck review + 7 simple styling ideas

In the past couple years, I’ve embraced the appeal of turtlenecks. I didn’t gravitate toward them for a while—maybe because I wore them a lot as a kid and they held a childish association for me—but when I purchased a black ribbed turtleneck in a Midtown Goodwill on a whim, I learned to love this timeless cold-weather style. Since then, I’ve acquired a few more turtleneck shirts and sweaters, all from various secondhand sources. This season, I wanted to add one in a non-neutral, but still versatile, color.

Enter the fitted turtleneck from KOTN. I saw this piece on one of my favorite blogs, Style Bee, and thought it might be perfect for what I was looking for. I’m happy to say that it is!

Made of 100% cotton, the fabric is pleasantly soft, and stretchy enough to fit snugly without being too clingy. It’s slightly ribbed, but the texture is subtle enough that I didn’t notice it until I had it on. This top is opaque, but it is thin enough that I could see, for example, the outline of a bra strap or tank top.

Based on the size guide, I thought I should order a small, but I was worried that some pandemic weight gain would make that size too small. Luckily, the small fits just right! For reference, I’m 5’9.5″ and about 160 pounds at the moment. The hemline falls to my hip, so I can easily tuck it into a high-waisted skirt or pair of pants, but it might be difficult to tuck into a lower-rise waistband. The sleeves are a good length for me, too.

I chose the color Deep Sea, a dark forest green. The name made me think it’d be a cooler blue-green, but it’s actually pretty neutral—not too cool or too warm, which makes it even more useful in my wardrobe. I’d say the color as depicted on KOTN’s website is quite accurate to its true appearance.

Below, I’ve come up with 7 outfits I can (and very likely will) wear with this turtleneck. It’s super versatile, as you can see—this piece runs the gamut from formal (for me, anyway) to casual, appropriate for a wide range of weather.


This is a go-to kind of outfit for me: a colorful top; my favorite jeans, cuffed; and sturdy slip-on boots. I’d wear it for running errands, seeing friends (at a distance), or bopping around town.


I’ve had this stretchy sleeveless dress for ages and it’s now a bit to short to wear on its own, but luckily it works great for layering over tights and a long-sleeved tee. A short dress with chunky Docs is a classic combo in my opinion!


Wearing this sweatshirt always makes me feel so collegiate. (Which…I still am, but in grad school, the vibe is a bit different!) Wearing the turtleneck underneath, it only peeks out at the collar, but adds that extra layer of warmth to take this outfit further into the cold season.


Who said turtlenecks can’t be sexy? They may cover you all the way up, but I think they have a certain allure. I love this button-front midi skirt because I can unbutton it to show some leg, or keep it fully buttoned for a more modest look. (How many times can I use the word “button” in the same sentence?) I don’t think I have a pair of shoes that matches the vibe I was going for exactly, but I’d probably wear white sneakers if it’s nicer out or brown boots if the weather’s more gross.


Now, of course I wouldn’t wear this top to play a sport, but I’d definitely wear it to watch a sport—assuming things like that were still happening (and I’m sure they will again in the future!). I could see myself wearing this outfit to a football game, or to watch my little brother play soccer. (In either case, the relevant mascot is a mountain lion/cougar. Same as my high school’s mascot, too…)


This vintage L.L. Bean blazer makes me feel like the academic I hope to (someday, maybe) be! The green woven into the blazer’s pattern actually matches the shade of this turtleneck exactly, and the oxfords complete the scholarly look. If I had a more suitable pair of pants, I’d wear them with this outfit instead, but all my dressier pants are gray for some reason.


The wintriest look of the bunch—this one will be on the back burner for another month or so at least (I hope so, anyway) while the weather stays unseasonably warm. I love the look of this oversized cardigan I scored on mega-sale at a fast fashion store ages ago, but it’s pretty itchy on my skin, so I always have to wear a long-sleeved layer under it. This turtleneck is perfect for that task, so this outfit is one I’d bundle up in whenever I have to venture outside this winter.

That’s it for this post! Let me know if you want more “fashion” content in the future. Which outfit is your favorite?

Note: This post contains referral links to get us both a discount if you choose to shop at KOTN.

October 2020 goals and Bullet Journal fun

Somehow, it’s been a full year since I last shared my monthly goals and their accompanying spread in my bullet journal. Does anyone else feel like the past 6 months of pandemic-life have made time fly by?

I finally cleaned my home office/desk space after letting it become a mess of a storage area all summer. I had justified that with the fact that I was doing fieldwork and needed all my equipment easily accessible, which was technically true, but summer crept into fall and my desk was still piled high with unnecessary papers. Last night, I finally dragged myself out of my election season-induced funk and put my space in order. It feels awesome, and I’ve used the accompanying burst of inspiration to create what might be my most “artistic” bullet journal spread ever.

I’m usually pretty by-the-book with the standard bullet journal method—on a normal day, the most I’ll go beyond to-do lists and notes is slightly fancy lettering for the day of the week—but this time, I took inspiration from some monthly spreads I found online to add some fall cheer to my journal’s pages.

On the left side, I’ve listed the days of the month with dates and events to keep track of, and near the center, I’ve added an activity tracker to cross off the days when I’ve made an effort to move my body.

On the right, in addition to some fun tree stickers and pumpkin doodles, I’ve written out my monthly goals. I’ll likely add to these as October goes on, but I like to start the month with a few specific goals. Let’s take a look!

Read 4 books.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory! It’s a goal I usually set every month, and last month was the first time in awhile that I achieved it.

Complete basic data analysis.

I finally wrapped my my master’s fieldwork last month, and now it’s time to delve into all that data I collected. I need to do some self-guided learning about multivariate statistics, but for now, I want to make sense of the data with the methods I already know—quantifying it with descriptive stats and ANOVAs.

(By the way, I know “data” is technically a plural noun, and I’m usually a total stickler about grammar, but in this case…I have just always referred to it as singular. Maybe it’s a generational thing? Is it really that bad? Language evolves with the people who speak it, so maybe this is a case of evolution in action. I’m probably not going to “correct” myself, but I’d love to hear what you think about this topic in the comments.)

Write 4 blog posts.

Again—this one’s pretty obvious. I’m on track to publish this on the first of the month, so hopefully it bodes well for the rest of them!

Be active 15 times.

This is how I’ll use the “activity tracker” on the left page of my monthly spread. Especially now that I’m not out in the forest 4 days a week (which feels very bittersweet), I need to break up the desk-sitting monotony and move my body. As the weather turns colder, it can be easy for me to get into a routine that doesn’t include exercise, but I always remember how much better it makes me feel when I get back into it.

Pitch a story.

Since my life doesn’t *entirely* revolve around grad school, I’m trying to pursue my interest in journalism (and specifically science writing) in my free time. That means pitching stories! I’m pretty rusty, but that’s no reason not to try.

Gather all landscape variables for LANDIS initialization.

This is a pretty technical one. If any of you readers are familiar with the LANDIS-II forest model, please let me know if you have any tips!

Looking at this list, I am realizing that it’s pretty self development-focused, whether that growth is personal or professional. I should make some goals that reflect outward, too. I do volunteer weekly with a local organization, but I would love to do more…actually, this realization just prompted me to sign up for a volunteer shift tomorrow. Exciting!

Let me know what your goals are for this month in the comments below. Also, if you have any ideas of blog posts you’d like to see, I would love to hear them. Happy fall!

Quick + easy fall makeup look

Normally, I’m an eye makeup fiend. Shadow, liner, you name it—the more, the better! Lately, though, I’ve been drawn to this simple look that’s easy on the eyes (literally!), focusing instead on flushed cheeks and a bold lip. Keep reading to hear about the six products I used to get the look.

BareMinerals Original Foundation in Fairly Light: An oldie but a goodie! BareMinerals is still an excellent powder foundation, and one I’ve been reaching for more often lately in the morning rush. It’s pretty foolproof —no dreaded foundation lines—and gives better coverage than you might expect. I also find that it’s more forgiving of the flaky skin patches I have been getting from both acne and drying skincare products. It does a nice job of evening out my skin tone; my spots aren’t completely covered with this product, but that’s quite alright with me.

Pure Anada Pressed Cheek Colour in Sweet Pea: This lovely mauve is my go-to everyday cheek color. I applied it a bit more heavy-handedly than I might if I was wearing eye makeup. Plus, I love a flushed cheek in the fall and winter. Pure Anada is a really awesome, cruelty-free, affordable brand, and they have a great sample program if you want to try out any of their products.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana: This shade has been my go-to subtle highlighting powder for years, and I’m so bummed that Wet n Wild is no longer cruelty-free. 😦 Still, I’ll use this up while I have it! I applied this highlighter along the tops of my cheekbones, under my eyes, and along the bridge of my nose for a subtle warm glow.

Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara: Being blessed/cursed with dark, bushy eyebrows, I rarely use more than a clear gel to tame and shape them. Essence’s offering is a relatively new one for me, but it’s quickly become a staple! I have used the e.l.f. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara for years, but a new tube would always give my brows an over-gelled, crunchy look. Definitely not ideal. Essence’s clear gel is a bit of a softer hold, so it avoids the crunchiness. It’s a dollar more, but the tube seems to be lasting me longer than e.l.f.’s usually did, so I’ll take it!

SheaMoisture 100% Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil: I combed this castor oil through my lashes to give them a bit of shine and nourish them, too. Normally, I wouldn’t apply this heavy oil during the daytime because it could interfere with the rest of my eye makeup, opting instead to use it as a nighttime treatment. But today, I don’t have on any other eye makeup, so my lashes get a treat! It’s quite nice not to worry about mascara flaking or smudging throughout the day.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Budapest: Another tried-and-true classic product! I’ve been switching up my lip color the past few days, but today I spotted this one in my drawer and felt drawn to it. It’s a great fall color—a rich, warm berry that’s still appropriate for pretty much any occasion. Unfortunately, this product isn’t vegan because it contains beeswax. Otherwise, though, I love it.

That’s it for my simple fall makeup look! Six products is wayyyy fewer than what I usually use, and it feels nice to do this look in just 5 minutes during a busy month. Clean, groomed brows and lashes, flushed cheeks, and a dark lip make for a great combo. What colors or products are you loving this season? Would you like to see more makeup looks? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Monthly goals, as told by my Bullet Journal

Ah, October. The proper start of fall, and more specifically, of ~spooky season~. Fittingly, I have a couple of spooky goals for this month, and I’d like to share them with you.

Getting in the spooky spirit.
Image: Giphy.

I set goals at the beginning of each month in my Bullet Journal. If you’re not familiar with the Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short, you can read allllllll about it here. Basically, it’s a freehand, paper system for keeping track of anything and everything in your life. (The creator, Ryder Carroll, describes it as “The Analog Method for the Digital Age.” It’s a succinct description, but I don’t love its “not like other girls” energy. No shade, Ryder—I would be lost without you!)

My bullet journal.
Fun fact: yellow is my favorite color!

The “Monthly Log” is one of the main tenets of the Bullet Journal system, and that’s all I’ll say about that because I could easily go down a wormhole of Bullet Journal content. (If that’s something you want to read more about, please let me know!) Anyway, my monthly log is pretty utilitarian (except for the festive little pumpkin), and it has three major components: my calendar, my goals, and my activity tracker.

My monthly log for October.

My calendar is set up Ryder’s way, in a vertical list of each day of the month. Here, I’ve jotted down any events, appointments, meetings, etc. that I know I have. I’ll add to this throughout the month as I continue to fill out my schedule. This area is more of a complement to Google Calendar, which is my main scheduling tool. Still, I like to have a paper version handy so I don’t always have to whip out my phone to double-check a date or deadline.

My activity tracker is parallel to the calendar, on the rightmost edge of my monthly spread. Here, I log any kind of physical activity I had during the day, whether it’s fieldwork, a fitness class, or a particularly strenuous bike ride. As you can see, there’s nothing here so far…But it’s still very early in the month, so I’m cutting myself a break.

Bonus pic: My journal is Max-the-cat approved!

Finally, my monthly goals take up most of the right-hand page. I thought it would be fun to go through these with you. Let’s take a look!

Goal 1: Read 4 books

This is a goal I set every month, for the average rate of a book a week. I am a pretty fast reader, so as long as I have started a book, I can almost always finish it within a week. However, life sometimes gets in the way, and I don’t often meet this goal. I also have a separate page in my BuJo to keep track of all the books I’ve been reading—get a taste of that in my last post.

Goal 2: Plan a Gilman event

This year, I’m serving as an Alumni Ambassador for the Gilman International Scholarship. Part of my duties as an Alumni Ambassador include planning a couple of events for prospective, current, or former Gilman Scholars, and I want to make that happen this month.

Goal 3: Start writing research proposal

My master’s program is research-based, and since I’m in my first semester, I am not doing much fieldwork yet. However, I do need to dive into some background research for my proposal, and I should start working on it soon.

Goal 4: Write at least four blog posts

Hey, it’s a blog-related goal! This is already my second post by the third day of October, so I’m doing pretty good on this one. 🙂

Goal 5: Publicize my blog on social media

By “publicize,” I just mean to post the link so that people in my life actually know I’m doing this. It’s a way to hold myself accountable for posting as often as I can! And hopefully so that anyone who’s interested can keep up with my life in this format.

Goal 6: Be active 3x/week

This is another recurring monthly goal that I try to stick to. I monitor this via the adjacent activity tracker.

Goal 7: Prep for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo! Image: Florida Writers Association.

I decided a few days ago to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. And it’s in the Bullet Journal now, so…it’s official!! If you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. It is a “competition” to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. This month, of course, is October, so I’m dedicating it to preparing for this writing challenge. My sub-goals include: reading a book about writing; outlining my story/plot; and completing “NaNo 101,” a crash-course prep guide to make sure I’m in a good position to start writing on Nov. 1st. I’ve never written a novel before, much less one in 30 days, so I’m excited but nervous for this task! I’m hoping that continuing to post on this blog will warm up my writing muscles.

I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year after learning that Erin Morgenstern wrote her debut novel “The Night Circus” over the course of a couple NaNoWriMos! Her journey to authorship is seriously inspiring.

Goal 8: Look into tarot

My tarot deck and some sweet old books.

A few months back, my lovely friend Robin gave me a tarot deck after I expressed interest in one of his readings. I’m not really a superstitious person, but I’m intrigued by the history and mythology behind tarot and the level of interpretation it allows. To that end, I’ve vowed this month to get serious about it! I’m going to read a book about tarot (I checked out some cool-looking old ones from the school library) and do my first reading.

Funnily enough, this goal was also inspired by “The Night Circus,” a book in which tarot plays a significant role. Who knew that reading novels could lead to reading the future?

So, those are my goals for October. I’ll check back this time next month to update you all on my progress, and share the new goals for November. Hopefully, I’ll be a few thousand words deep in NaNoWriMo by then!

What are your goals for this month? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo, and if so, do you have any tips for me? Let me know!