champagne & black coffee

A lifestyle and fashion blog offering personal style & beauty tips, inspiration, and glimpses into my everyday life.

Category: Fashion (Page 1 of 2)

Instagram Outfit Roundup

It’s been about a month and a half since I’ve detailed any of my fashion choices here on the blog so I thought I’d do a little outfit roundup of my recent favorites.  I’ve struggled to balance all of the different priorities in my life for the last short while and I think that is reflected in my lack of focus here.  But that’s how life goes sometimes and every once in awhile, something – or a lot of things – has to give. 🙂

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It’s tough to pick a favorite one, but this hippie/boho look probably tops the list.  The perfect combo of comfortable, cute and full of character, these palazzo pants and flowy Aztec top are casual without being frumpy.  Add to that my favorite new accessories from Boho Betty and you’ve got yourself a fairly effortless boho look.  [Bonus for you:  if you use my promo code CHAMPCOFFEE you can get an EXTRA 20% OFF all regular and sale prices!]

Shop my whole outfit here:  Top | Palazzo Pants | Sandals | Bracelets (20% off with code CHAMPCOFFEE)

Similar items:
Top – 6pm.com | Scully
Pants – ABS (73% off) | Adrianna Papell
Sandals – Schutz | Loeffler Randall
Bracelets – BaubleBar | Elizabeth and James | Me to We

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This lemon print dress is a departure from my norm but I LOVE IT!!!  It’s kind of reminiscent of the 50’s and the cut is extremely flattering – fit n flare but there are even extra pleats sewn in to create an even bigger poof.  Just looking at it makes me happy and there’s also a tank, blouse and midi skirt in the same print!  Similar styles linked!

Shop my whole outfit here:  Dress | Clutch | Shoes

Similar items:
Dress – Dolce & Gabbana (65% off)| Lanvin (60% off)
Clutch – Michael Kors | Judith Leiber (20% off with code SUMMER for both)
Shoes – Sole Society | Prada (20% off with code SUMMER)

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Blush and white (and tassels) are a huge trend right now and this is one of my favorite and easiest outfits for summer.  It’s perfect for when you’re in a hurry – and I almost always am! – and need to look put together and comfortable at the same time.  Every single item in the photo below is a bargain and adds up to a total of around $100, including jewelry!!  I featured this bag in one of my earlier Splurge vs Steal posts HERE since it’s a great Chloe’ dupe.  I’ve linked what I can but included similar items as well!

Shop my whole outfit here:  Bag | Peplum Top (30%off)| SkinnyJeans (50%off)

Similar Items:
Bag – Deux Lux (vegan leather and 25%off) | Milly Astor
Peplum – Anthropologie | Nasty Gal
Skinny Jeans – Levi’s (20%off) | Joe’s Jeans (50%off)
Jewelry – Natasha Couture | Trina Turk (70%off) | Liz Claiborne (35%off)
Sandals – VANELi (20%off)| Prada

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I get SOOOO many compliments on this shirt.  Seriously, I can’t leave the house wearing it without someone stopping to ask where I got it or to give a simple compliment.  Great find and an even better price!  [edit:  I think they may be out of stock but I found it at Francesca’s in New Orleans] And these distressed crops are my go-to for just about everything.  I need to look into investing in another pair, but I really want to find some good quality white crops (black ones, too).   Ok, so here are the details – entire outfit under $100.

Shop my whole outfit here:  Top (out of stock)| Crop jeans | Shoes

Similar items:
Top – O’Neill | Moon River (dress)
Crop Jeans – Joe’s Jeans (25%off) | Michael Kors
Shoes – Via Spiga (20%off) | Caslon

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And finally, the outfit that – to me – SCREAMS summertime!!  I love this little crocheted poncho SO much… and what an easy what to make a statement with absolute minimal effort.  I mean, you literally just throw it on over a tanktop and you’re done.   I paired it here with an older pair of French Connection floral jeans I picked up in Vegas a few years back.  Florals and cuffed hems are a huge trend right now so I guess I was ahead of the curve without knowing it at the time. 🙂

Shop my whole outfit here:  Poncho (no longer available) | Shorts | Bracelets (use code CHAMPCOFFEE for 20% off)

Similar Items:
Poncho – Lauren Ralph Lauren (60%off)| Ariat6pm.com (on sale under $35)
Shorts – Levi’s (50%off) | I RAGAZZI DEL ROSSO ($75%off)
Sandals – Sam Edelman | Free People
Bracelets – Bluefly | Aqua
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I hope you’ve enjoyed!  Check my Shop My Instagram Looks page for more style links!

This Summer’s Top 5 One-Piece Swimsuits

One-piece swimsuits.  This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart…. mostly because I have the WORST time finding a one-piece swimsuit that I like, much less love.  In fact, until the last year or two, it’s been nearly impossible to find many I’d even consider trying on based on style alone.  I’m so happy this type of suit has been trending over the last year or two so the designers out there have really stepped up their game in terms of creativity, flattering print and cut.

I’d venture to say that I’ve tried on over 150 swimsuits in the last few years so I’ve started to really hone in on what will and won’t work for my body type.  I have a curvy but athletic build, I haven’t had a truly toned tummy in many years, 5’5″ in height but a very short torso, and a bit busty up top.  One-piece suits are still my absolute nemesis, but I’ve scoured the internet looking for the perfect suit.  For the purposes of the list, I’ve even upped the ante to include zero black or solid suits… a tough feat!!  Here are my Top 5 picks:

1) Marakesh Express Monokini by Gottex – $188
This is perhaps my favorite of my pics (although my husband thinks there should either be more middle coverage or turn it into a bikini – we agree to disagree).  I love that the back looks like a two piece with a scoop bottom and the front provides ample coverage up top.  To me this seems like the perfect middle ground between a bikini and a one-piece and could be an easy transition for any person trying to edge into the style or “hide” their belly without having to wear a granny swimsuit.  No offense, grannies.

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2) Aerin Rose’s Le Marais Mutli One Piece Bandeau – $172
There’s just something about this one.  I can’t imagine it NOT being flattering.  It’s got tons of color and personality, but the design itself is quite simple and minimal.  I love the black side sections and the keyhole back.  The swimsuits that still dip down close to a bikini level in the back just make it fell less old-maidish (is that a word?!).  I love that this suit can be strapless or give you that extra support with some simple black straps.  I’m REALLY tempted to purchase this one for myself!

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3) Mara Hoffman Fractals Red Knot Front – $253
This one honestly reminds me of my childhood…but more mature, obviously.  The little side circle cut outs and the the knot in front, the black and white + kaleidoscope pattern mixing.  I just kinda dig it.  The back on this one is really cute with that extra tie detail, but I’m a bit hesitant about trying this one out personally because of the bum coverage… but I’d be curious to try it on!

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4) Mara Hoffman Wheatfield Slit Front – $218
This is one of those suits I wish would work for me.  The front slit V’s down a bit too far for me – my boobs would be on aggressive display, ha!  But this pattern is SO cute.  And I love the subtle mix of coverage vs exposure.  If my boobs wouldn’t be obscene in this one I’d totally try this one out!

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5) Venus Maui Vibes One Piece – $66 (on sale from $82)
This black floral pattern is awesome!   Actually, just about everything about this suit is awesome!  The back is like a bikini, the front seems to have an extremely flattering cut the hides and accentuates and just the right place.  Yep, I might have to pick this one up , too!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed!  I scour the internet every year – multiple times – looking for THE suit.  Sometimes at the beginning of a season I’ll order 10 or 12 and send most of them back (because they have to be PERFECT and I have to feel confident wearing them).  I’ve definitely improved as far as knowing what to try and what not to bother with, especially with online ordering.  I feel like these particular suits could look great on a variety of people and shapes and could potentially give you that extra bit of confidence most people are searching for as they get closer and closer to spring and summer.  Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if any of these work or don’t work for you!!

5 Top Spring SPLURGE vs. STEAL Picks

My 5 Top Spring 2016 Splurges and similar finds at a fraction of the cost.

If you’re like me and spend wayyyy too much time browsing every social media site known to man, you’ve probably come across some of the items below a few 100 times or so.   Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE every single one of the splurge items and designer names, but I don’t have an income to support my taste sometimes.  I’ve searched the internet high and low to bring you my 5 current favorite designer style trends and their lower investment cousins.  You’re welcome!

1) SPLURGE:  The Chloe’ “Marcie – Medium” Saddlebag – $1,395
I absolutely adore this bag!  It’s that perfect combination of on-trend and classic.  I couldn’t imagine it not being a bag I’d still want to carry 10 years from now.  But as much as I love it, I can’t think of any scenario where I’d spend almost $1,400 on a bag (or much of anything for that matter!).  Enter my STEAL pick, the Old Navy Tassel Saddle Purse.  Both bags below come in a brown/cognac color, but I really dig the blush color.  In fact, I own this one and have gotten tons of compliments on it each time I carry it!!  If you’re looking for a new spring bag that won’t break your bank account, head on over to the Old Navy link above and scoop up this purse before it’s gone!

Compare Saddlebag

2) SPLURGE:  Aquazzura’s “Wild Thing” Sandal in lipstick red – $795
All fringe all the time!!  We all have at least one item with a hint of fringe, right?  Well, if not… c’mon and join the club!  These red block heel shoes from Aquazzura are calling my name!!  With the combo of a lower block heel, slingback heel, and strappy tassel ankle ties, what’s not to love?  I can’t imagine these shoes NOT being comfortable, and I’m too old to wear super uncomfortable shoes, especially if I’m paying an arm and a leg for them.  But again with that pesky price tag!
My comparable STEAL pick are these Steve Madden Sassey Two-Piece Fringe Sandals. (no, that is not a typo).  The heel height and ankle strap differ slightly, but these shoes are a really similar style option at a price point that is easier to stomach.  I have not tried these guys on (yet) and walked around in them for a bit, but I plan to!

Compare Red Fringe

3) SPLURGE:  Dolce&Gabbana Tie Shoulder Lemon Print Dress – $2,495
I can’t see lemons (or pineapples for that matter) and not think “summertime”.   This D&G dress just oozes summer and I can’t get over it.  The shoulder ties, the perfect flattering cut, and the slight ruffled hem.  It’s just gorgeous!  I would totally wear the heck outta this thing (and some Spanx!) 🙂  But no. Just no on the price tag for me.  I just can’t.  I’m having anxiety just thinking about spending more than my mortgage payment on a dress.
But you guys! Check out my comparable STEAL pick for this one.  New York & Company now carries the adorable Eva Mendes Collection and her Felicity Dress in Lemon Print is just adorable.   I could see myself wearing this dress just about anywhere!  Work, brunch, dinner, church, date night… you name it!  The cut is extremely flattering (and forgiving), it’s modest but sexy, and it has pockets!!  It’s in my shopping cart right now. Literally.  At less than $60, why wouldn’t it be?  (p.s. this site has a very cool Find Your True Fit engine and it’s very impressive!)

Compare Lemon Dress

4) SPLURGE:  Kendra Scott ‘Rayne’ Stone Tassel Pendant Necklace – $80
Kendra Scott everything is all over social media.  I love it.  Very trendy and very cute!  I’ve almost pulled the trigger a number of times on this necklace and a pair of her “Elle” Drop Earrings.  While $80 isn’t over my maximum threshold for an item in general, I just haven’t yet been able to rationalize the spend.  In fact, I love this necklace more than almost all of my recent necklace purchases, but for right now, I’d rather buy 3-4 different necklaces for around the same cost as the one.
My STEAL pick for this one comes from a cute lil’ Etsy shop named thebohemianbuffalo.  There are TONS of Kendra Scott handmade knockoffs out there, but so far, this one is my favorite based on the look and the price point.  I have not purchased from this particular shop (yet), but my husband and I are both Etsy fanatics!  (p.s. If BB&Co made a necklace similar to this one in pink or teal I would buy it in a second!)

Compare Tassel Necklace

5) SPLURGE: BCBGMAXAZRIA Ellsie Blouse – $138
The off-the-should style has been on my radar (and everyone else’s for that matter) for awhile now.  I’ve been hesitant to make an online purchase to this point because I’m afraid the style will not be flattering with my body type.  I’m a bit larger in the chest area, and while that’s not really my issue, finding a strapless bra that works for me IS.  I really love the striped seer-sucker look of the BCBG blouse and the back is split about halfway down so it’s open and airy.  REALLY cute, and not too crazy expensive.  I think it’s one I’d need to try on in person first, though.
I recently came across my STEAL pick, this similar style from Banana Republic, but I think – no, I know! – I like it better (for me)!  The fit is a bit more tailored and I love the extra ruching/cinch detail at the shoulders contrasted with the flat panel hemline across the collarbone.  The back is more work-appropriate than the BCBG option, but it has an extra button detail all the way down the middle that gives it that extra touch.  Based on the reviews, this off-the-shoulder stays in place better than others on the market and has 10 5-star reviews out of 10.  I think I may be pulling the trigger on this one, even if I can’t find one in-store to try on first!

Compare OfftheShoulder

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Splurge vs Steal roundup, and even more importantly, I hope you may have discovered the next addition to your wardrobe!!

Weekly Roundup 5.1.16: What I Wore

This week’s roundup, linked where possible:

This blush colored saddle bag is a great under $35 style hack imitating some of the really higher end looks right now like this Chole’ purse.  And if you’re looking for a really versatile eye palette for spring/summer I urge you to go check out the latest Naked palette from Urban Decay Cosmetics – the Naked Smoky melds the best of both neutral and smoky worlds! (plus of course they still have Nakeds 1, 2 and 3)

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Shoes – Enzo Angiolini @ DSW // Purse – Old Navy // Palette – Urban Decay Naked Smoky // Lip Gloss – ULTA Butter Balm in Fiona // Jeans – Michael Kors (last season)

 

This pencil skirt is my personal style challenge for the week – I’ve never owned a pencil skirt that wasn’t boring ol’ black or grey, and have never had ANYTHING that hit below the knee that wasn’t a maxi.  Do yourself a favor and go to your closest Target and try on this skirt!!  Two different floral prints by WhoWhatWear for under $28 each.  So solid.

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Skirt – WhoWhatWear for Target (currently Buy 1, Get 1 50% off) // Shoes – Nine West (old)

 

Oldnavy.com.  Go there now and search “peplum”.  You’ll find this top on clearance for just $12.50!, along with quite a few other great steals!

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Shirt – Old Navy (clearance, just $12.50) // Jeans – Loft // Sandals – Frye (last season)

 

I’ve had my eye on these yellow eyelet shorts for about a month.  They can be found at Belk, but the deal I got was apparently in store only.  These guys were on the clearance rack for an additional 50% off, dropping the price to under $10.  They’re still $42 + 40% off online, so stop by your local Belk (if you’re in the South!)

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Shorts – Crown & Ivy @ Belk (on clearance in store only for $9.99) // Shoes – Me Too @ TJMaxx / Tee and necklace – Target (currently Buy 2, Get 1 Free jewelry)

 

I can’t say enough about the Le Tote style service.  I’ve been a loyal customer for almost 1 year now and it seems like their selection and style variety expands weekly.  If you want to try them out for free for a month, send me your first and last name + email.  I have 1 free tote left I can “give” to a friend.  (no strings, and I do not personally benefit from it).  It’s a win/win!

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Dress – Chelsea & Theodore from LeTote // Necklace – Target // Not shown:  Shoes – Katie & Kelly

Weekly Roundup: What I Wore

This week’s roundup, linked where possible:

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Shirt – Target // Jeans – Target // Shoes – Urban Outfitters // Necklace – Target
Here is a similar shirt and here is a similar pair of shoes since they are no longer available.

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Shirt – Anthropologie // Jeans – Loft // Shoes – Rocket Dog (old)

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Shirt – Loft // Necklace – LeTote  // Shoes – Clarks // Lipstick – NARS Heat Wave
Here is a similar shirt.

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Shoes – Cole Haan // Jeans – Target // Shirt – Nordstrom

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Dress – Anthropologie // Shoes – Seychelles (last season)

 

Five Friday Fab Finds

I’m always in search of a good deal or a sale, so I thought I would take a few minutes each Friday to highlight 5 of my favorite finds.  Items are all hyperlinked.  You can also link directly to some of my other favorite items/sites on the right side of my home page.

FIVE:  This super colorful and springy Ralph Lauren Wrislet from Macy’s is currently on sale for $31.99 (normally $58).  I love it and may be scooping this one up today!
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FOUR:  Paige Denim Grey skinny jeans from Nordstrom.  These jeans can transition appropriately among all four seasons with no problem.  They are the perfect “treat yo’ self” item that will get a lot of wear over a long period of time!  Currently 33% off at $130 (normally $195)
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THREE:  Floral print everything right now!!  I love this dress for spring and summer.  It can be dressed up or down and is a shift so it ends up being flattering for just about any body type.  They have a darker or lighter print option – both very pretty!  On sale at Nordstrom for 40% off right now for $77 (normally $129)
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TWO:  These open toed perforated grey ankle boots from Kohl’s are calling my name!  I think these could easily be worn in all 4 seasons in the South, except for maybe the coldest part of winter.  The cut outs make them a bit more trendy and a grey shoe is the perfect way to add subtlety and style to a super colorful outfit.  The chunky heel should make it wearable all day! These boots are on sale right now for under $60 (normally $79.99) and you can get an extra 20% off using code SHOWERS20.
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ONE:  And last but not least, probably my favorite find this week (with a tip from my friend Kelly) 🙂  Have you guys tried this whole adult coloring book thing?  If not, I HIGHLY recommend it!  It is ridiculously calming and kind of addicting.   Amazon has a great set of 48 colored pencils on SUPER sale for just $13.50 + free shipping right now (normally $48!)!  If you really want to take it up a notch, instead of trying an adult coloring book, how about about getting an entire adult coloring tablecloth/poster.  I just bought this giant NYC coloring poster.  It should arrive next week and I CAN.NOT.WAIT.  Seriously try it out you guys!
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—- OK, OK, and just for fun, I’m adding in a few SPLURGES below —

  • The Picsticci Bag by Patricia Nash – I own this one and am completely obsessed with it.  It’ll run you just under $400 but I was able to score mine from a private seller for half.  Seriously. My favorite bag I’ve ever owned.
  • Eliza J floral halter maxi – This dress is everything.  I want it.  I think I need it.  I’m going to find a way to splurge on this one somehow.  It’s in my realm of almost reasonable at $158.
  • FRYE white gladiator lace ups – This is a huge style trend right now.  You can find so many versions of this style from the really cheap (dollars and quality) to the wayyyyy too much for me to even glance at.  These FRYE sandals would be a splurge for me at $228, but their quality is undeniable.  I’m also looking at a metallic version like these at a bit of a lower price point.

 

Do You Have Champagne Taste and a Beer Budget?

When it comes to fashion, do you have expensive taste and a broke college student type of fun money budget?  Read on to find out how I spend strategically to bridge the gap!

Who doesn’t like nice things? We all do, right?  But most of us are not incredibly wealthy and usually have 3 options when it comes to style – you can either 1) buy whatever you want but live forever in a ton of debt 2) you can be extremely frugal or 3) you can spend smartly and make the most of what you have within a budget.   I think these 3 options apply no matter how much or how little a person makes, and how much or little they try to save/invest.  Each person’s version of “nice things” varies as well.  I personally have a tough time spending $200 at my absolute high maximum for any 1 item.  Others may think that is outrageous, and others still may have no problem spending thousands on the perfect purse or dress.

I do my best to live by the 3rd smart spending option, sprinkling in some splurges here and there. (probably too many if I’m honest)  Here are my personal tips and secrets to having your cake and eating it, too, when it comes to fashion and style:

Tip #1:
Shop the clearance rack at your favorite higher end stores BUT don’t only shop for your size – buy anything in your size OR larger if it’s something you really like and especially if it’s over 60% off the original price.  Take it to your favorite tailor and have it perfectly fitted to your shape and size.  You’ll still pay significantly less than the original cost of the item + you’ll have something that fits you better than almost anything in your closet.
This is probably my absolute favorite breakthrough idea.  I started doing this a year or so after I started dating my husband.  When we first met he took almost every shirt he had to a tailor, even t-shirts. I really didn’t understand it entirely and I wondered how he could waste so much money on fitting t-shirts.  [Now, before you judge, he’s 6’5″ but very slim, so it was tough for him to find a shirt that was both the right width and the right length.]  Eventually I took his advice and had some of my not-so-perfectly fitting items tailored more closely and I was hooked.  HERE is the outfit I wore today – the shirt from the Anthropologie clearance rack, originally a size XL sized down to probably a Medium, and to my exact proportions.  We spent a total of $41, including the tailor’s fee.

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Tip #2:
Budget.  No, really.  Limit yourself specifically, but be as liberal as you want to be while also accomplishing your savings/investment (and getting out of debt) goals.  My friend Scott has a rule he put in place where he allows himself to spend 10% of his total income on self-improvement, whatever that means to him.  Whatever makes him happier and/or healthier.  10% no questions, and his wife does the same.  I love this rule and am in the process of re-working a budget for myself and my husband and will be implementing a percentage-based idea like this.  Whether it’s $100/mo or $2000/mo you’re willing to set aside for “fun money”, make it a rule and stick to it.  It will hopefully influence smarter buying decisions and less waste.

Tip #3:
Follow a bunch of well-entrenched, experienced bloggers on Instagram and read their blogs, too.  So many of them post great finds and solid sales every single day.  Many of them have partnerships or sponsorships with different brands and supply promo codes for 20/30/40% off.  I really love the LIKEtoKNOW.it app as well.  Outfit details and links will be sent directly to your inbox every time you like an IG pic that states it’s linked to the app.  It’s awesome.  The trick is to not get too carried away and keep #3 in mind while shopping.

Tip #4:
Stock up out of season.  Almost every store and brand has amazing end of season sales with ridiculously slashed prices.  Take advantage and buy up some great items as a very reduced rate.  A lot of times this makes more sense for more timeless, classic pieces (will the tassel and fringe craze still be alive and well in 2018?), but you can really save some serious cash by doing this.  Even better, if you have kids, LOAD UP!!!  I know I do.  My son just transitioned out of 12 mo into 18 mo clothes and he already had a whole closet full of things I bought him before Christmas.  Kids grow out of things so quickly so I almost never pay full price for anything, and I’m almost always planning up to a year out.  He’s already fairly well stocked on 24 mo and 2T sizes for the coming seasons as well!

Tip #5:
Splurge sometimes!  I try to have 2 different rules for myself around this.  The first one is goal-based.  For example, “If I hit my quarterly quota (software sales), I will treat myself with a new ($x value) purse I would never buy otherwise”, or “When I lose 10 lbs, I’m going to reward myself with a new swimsuit from xxx brand”.  Set reasonable goals and reward yourself!  The second type of rule is around classic items that never go out of style or items I will wear a TON.  A really good pair of jeans, for example.  I’m much more likely to spend more money on a quality pair of jeans because I know I will get my money’s worth.  If I wear them once a week at $150, that’s less than $3 a week for a year – cut that in half for every additional year you keep them in rotation or if you wear them more than 1x/wk.

You’ll notice I don’t have big name discount stores or outlets on the list.   Now, I LOVE some TJMaxx and outlet shopping… BUT it’s important to know for sure whether or not you’re actually getting a deal or being tricked into thinking you’re getting an amazing deal.  The thing is, there’s no way to know for certain where the clothing in those stores are made, if they are a part of a licensing agreement with a designer brand, or if they were truly made by that brand and slightly damaged/not perfect.  (The same goes for the churn n’ burn retailers like Forever21 or H&M) Read more HERE about what I mean – it’s quite an interesting read and will definitely make you pay more attention.

I hope you’ve read something you hadn’t thought of before, or that you’re able to take some of these ideas and apply them to your everyday buying habits!

Body Image and Being a New(ish) Mom

Now, I know some of you can relate.  You’re in pretty decent shape, but not where you want to be.  You get pregnant, have a kid, struggle to “get yourself back”, trying really hard off and on.  Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t, sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle, and sometimes you just have a new normal and a new version of healthy because gravity or science won’t allow things to ever return to the way they were before.  Right?  So many of us have been there.  Well, me too.

I’m a little over a year postpartum and I generally look and feel pretty good . . . with clothes on and only if I’m wearing the right clothing for my body.  Or if I’m sucking it all in juuuuust right. 🙂  I’m back to my pre-baby weight, even a few pounds less but everything is still a little different.  So now even finding the right clothes for my body is a bit different than it was 2 years ago.  A few weeks back I finally went through all of my boxed up pre-baby wardrobe becauseI was working to pack for a trip with my girlfriends to Key West.  I had absolutely NOTHING spring/summery in my closet that I felt confident wearing and so I thought – OK, it’s time to face those freaking boxes.

And you guys. It was so bittersweet. SO many things fit (and looked good) that I didn’t expect to, and so many things that I was really counting on still working for me just didn’t.  At all.  My boobs are finally manageable (YES!!!) but my hips/stomach must just be a bit rounder or wider or different-shaped than before.  It was a strange realization, honestly.  But it’s OK.   It really is OK.  And so I’ve begun slowly collecting new warm weather wardrobe staples, focusing on things that make me feel confident and proud of my body, like the dress I wore today, linked below.

My point in writing all of this is that the journey to motherhood is hard, not only on your body but on your mind and your soul.  Many girls struggle with body image, especially when they are younger – myself included – but this was a whole new kind of struggle.  An internal battle of self-worth, the need to be desired and the need to have control over something when your body is not your own.  I still struggle sometimes, but one of the things I’m most proud of is how I’ve finally learned to embrace my body and my strengths for what they are.  I’m not perfect and I’m definitely still self-conscious about plenty of things, but I love myself more today than I ever did when I was teenager-thin with nice abs and perfect muscle definition.  I think this is the first time in my almost-35 years of life I’ve had a genuinely healthy body-image.   Sure, I’d still love to lose 10-15 pounds and tone up some more, and I’m working on it, BUT I’m still going to be happy even if I don’t.  My self-worth is not entangled with that number on the scale or the size of the tag in my pants, but in how I feel.  It’s quite liberating and empowering, and I am really loving all of the Love Yourself sort of campaigns right now like Target’s #NOFOMO.

It’s easier said than done, and requires a lot of self-reinforcement and support from other women… BUT – EMBRACE YOU.  Embrace your curves.  Your thin frame. Your extra junk-in-the-trunk.  Your mosquito-bite boobs.  Your giant, voluptuous boobs.  Your stretch marks. Your sun spots.  Your uneven skin tone. Your bird legs or not-so-toned upper arms.  Whatever your perceived “flaws” are – embrace them – they are you and you are BEAUTIFUL!  Love you for you, and embrace all of it, and dress for your body type.  I’m doing my best to take my own advice and to wear things that make me feel good and feel happy.

On that note, this is one of my absolute favorite spring finds – and it’s currently on sale for just $21.99 at Belk!!  The babydoll/swing style is just perfect for me right now.  It’s a bit more fitted up top, flares in just the right place so it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a big sheet, and the hem is a bit short, so it shows off some leg… but not too much (as long as I don’t bend over).   It’s not form-fitting over the mid-section, but it’s also cut very well to accentuate the curves a little bit.   Check it out – they have lots of prints and a few similar styles.

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Top Denim Jacket Picks for Spring!

Springtime is the perfect time to add that extra layer (and extra style) to any outfit, dressing it up or down.  The jean jacket is a classic that will probably never go out of style!!  I love layering over a sundress or maxi for a concert, mixing it up with a nicer dress and funky heels, or just adding more layers to a casual tee and sneakers. After lots of searches and reading reviews, here’s my take on on my favorite jackets available in the market right now.  I don’t own any of these – yet – but will get my hands on a couple of them soon!

  1. Distressed Light Denim ($29) from Forever 21 – the standard with a bit of an 80’s feel in the light colored denim.
  2. Toggle & Loop Denim Jacket from Ralph Lauren ($99.99 on sale) – this one’s got that perfect mix of rustic + preppy.
  3. Coated Stretch Denim Jacket from Ralph Lauren ($29 super sale, size L only) – Too good a sale to pass up if they still have your size.
  4. 1969 Denim Trench from Gap ($49.95) – I LOVE this one.  The trench style and pleats give it that extra feminine feel.
  5. 1969 Deconstructed Denim Vest from Gap ($59.95) – wear this one right on into summer, and fall, too.
  6. Moto Acid Oversized Jacket from Topshop ($85) – super cool in an acid-washed lilac color.  Very 80s/90s!
  7. Carmen Denim Jacket in white from Acquaverde on Revolve.com ($206) – this double buttons and fitted style give this jacket an extra modern look!
  8. Open Shirt Stained Jacket from The Great on Revolve.com (on super sale for $127) – there’s just something about this one. I’m completely obsessed.  It looks like I could absolutely live in this shirt/jacket and never want to take it off.

#6 and #8 are my absolute favorites and will likely be making their way into my closet!!  Images below belong to the sites linked.
Enjoy!

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4.3.16 – Outfit of the Day

Spring is truly in the air here in Raleigh, NC.  We get amazing, gorgeous days mixed with clouds and rain and more rain.  I don’t know about you, but grey and rainy day sometimes has a way of affecting my mood and my spirit, and not in a good way!  What better way to add a little cheer to the gloom by wearing an extra-colorful outfit and amazing shoes?!  Works for me!!

I came across the Crown and Ivy brand at Belk a couple of weeks ago and I just adore their line!   Some of it isn’t exactly my style, but a lot of it is!!  They have some great summery prints, coastal themes, and fun accessories with a great pricepoint to boot.  They also have a Petite line and a Plus Size line.  I urge you to check them out!  Details below.

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  • Tunic by Crown and Ivy for Belk, currently on sale for $42.99.  It looks like this exact shirt is currently unavailable except in petite, but they have plenty to choose from.  I’m thinking about ordering these eyelet scallop shorts in yellow – they didn’t have my size in-store but they are adorable!
  • Distressed capris by Mossimo for Target, $29.99.  I sometimes have a tough time finding jeans or any bottoms to fit me very well but I just love these guys!  I have a little extra junk in my trunk, and my hips are a tad bigger after having a kid.  I hate when things are too loose or sag after a few hours and I will NOT tolerate the “mushroom top” if the waistband is digging in.  I just can’t deal with it. 🙂
  • Lucky Brand orange wedges.  These may be my most comfortable pair of shoes, even with the height!  Beauty = pain of some sort, usually.  Am I right?  Not with these.  Comfortable all day long, no blisters, no weird rubbing, no pain in the ball of my foot.  They’re just all-around great!  These are from last season and I’ve scoured the internet with no luck in finding this exact shoe, but I’m willing to bet that any of the Lucky Brand wedges here or here would be amazing, too!
  • Earrings from Le Tote.  You guys. I LOVE this service.  It’s similar to StitchFix, except they send you unlimited boxes of stuff monthly.  They have a humongous “closet” of all sorts of items so you actually get to style your own tote or swap out a few items if you don’t love their recommendations.  I have been a subscriber for the last 10 months and I highly recommend.  I have 3 free totes I can give to friends or first time subscribers.  Message me if you want one of them – first come/first serve!

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