Thursday, October 31, 2013

On The Inside

I rarely share deeply personal things on PPF - it was an intentional decision I made early on, in an effort to keep my family/private life protected & separate from the work I do.  My site isn't a "lifestyle blog" & I know that many of you come here specifically looking for fashion ideas, deals & shopping tips.  Which is why I've gone back & forth about whether or not I should write this post...but I ultimately decided it was too important not to share.

Two weeks ago, we found out that my 5-year-old son has Tourette's syndrome.  We had suspected that something was wrong for a while, but I kept telling myself it was allergies (though I knew deep inside there was more to it).  This diagnosis sent us reeling head-first into a sea of emotions...would it affect his ability to play sports, would he get teased at school because of his motor tics, would it get worse with time or better?  A million questions, with no answers to be easily found.  I quickly launched into researching all-natural treatments, supplements & dietary changes we could make to help him.

"Though the pain is an ocean, tossing us around,
You have calmed greater waters & higher mountains have come down."

Since this discovery, we have slowly been adjusting to our "new normal" as a family.  Our faith has played a tremendous role in us coming to terms with his diagnosis & we are confident that there will be good to come from this, even if we can't see it right now.  My research for different therapies led us to a few things that have worked for other families; so we are starting him on new vitamins & avoiding certain food additives & sugar.  Our main concern continues to be that he feels special, loved & accepted just the way he is - the path he has to walk may be a little more difficult, but we are determined to reinforce his value every step of the way.

I share this with you not to gain sympathy, but as a way to say thank you.  In the midst of finding all of this out, there was a sudden influx of emails & encouraging notes from so many of you that flooded my inbox, Twitter feed & Facebook page.  You couldn't have known what I was dealing with at the time, but your kind words were exactly what I needed to push through, keep going & stay positive.  I can't thank you enough for supporting me when you didn't even know that I needed it most.  

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle..."

If you are facing something that has you feeling hopeless or discouraged, you are not alone.  Chances are, there is someone else who has gone through the same circumstances & has come out victorious on the other side. Many people have struggles they are confronting that aren't visible on the surface - I hope this serves as a great reminder for us all to show compassion & grace to those around us.  You never know what that friendly smile or hand-written note could mean to someone who is hurting.  Yours has meant the world to me & I am so grateful. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cozy Cape

In a continued effort to step slightly outside my comfort zone, I've been playing more with voluminous pieces this season, like the wrap coat seen here & now with a classic cape.  These skinny jeans & over-the-knee boots help balance out the swingy silhouette & full shape on top and this faux fur snood added even more interest to the textured tweed & soft plaid patterns.  I couldn't believe how similar this cape is to this Ralph Lauren version (which is over $350!) - I just love finding looks for less like that!

What I'm wearing:


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

20 Under $20

As we near the end of October (so hard to believe!), I am already starting to look ahead to the upcoming holidays. Which is why this month's post includes lots of rich textures, warm & cozy pieces + a healthy dose of sparkle.  I know we all have plenty of presents to buy in the next couple of months, but with everything here ringing in at $20 or less, it's easy to indulge (for yourself) without feeling guilty!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Updated Classics

I love taking classic pieces & mixing modern elements in with them - like this cable knit sweater & plaid trousers, both of which are wardrobe staples.  Layering a leather vest over my favorite trench & adding some ankle-strap heels instantly updates this pairing and makes it feel more current.  My obsession with plaid has grown to an all-time high, so I'll be showing 3 different ways to wear it in my outfit posts this week.

What I'm wearing:


Friday, October 25, 2013

Pleated & Embellished

I usually am quite picky about which trends I decide to try each season - not every one is right for every body type. However, when sweatshirts came back in style, I couldn't jump on the bandwagon fast enough (as evidenced here & here).  I definitely favor a more modern take on this casual piece, which is why I fell hard for this embellished-shoulder version.  It's different enough from the sweatshirts I already own because it's better suited for dressing up & down.  I wore this for a brunch date earlier in the week with my husband, but decided to share below the other ways I plan on styling it (to further prove its versatility).  Let me know if this format is helpful, as I may continue to do this with more outfit posts in the future!

What I'm wearing:


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recent Purchases

Since I already have a closet full of autumn basics like skinny jeans, cozy sweaters & ankle boots, this month's purchases were focused on pieces with rich textures & interesting accents.  (Note: I am still only allowing myself to buy clothes & accessories using money I've made from PoshMark sales.)  When you find items with special details like these, they look so much more expensive & chic...even though everything here was under $70!

LOFT Zip-Trim Tweed Skirt (50% off w/code EVERYTHING; also in petite here)
ASOS Leather & Boucle Clutch (10% off w/code 10XTRA + free shipping)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Tweed Dress

I don't own many dresses - mainly because they don't fit me right off the rack & altering them can get quite spendy. But the ones I do have are more dressy styles and I've been looking to add a couple casual versions to my closet.  So when I came across this tweed & zippered shift on sale, I quickly snatched it up.  Admittedly, this is a little shorter than I normally wear, so I will definitely throw on some opaque tights underneath for next time. To keep a mostly-black look from falling flat, I like to mix in different textures.  In this case, tweed, pony hair embossed croc & suede add just the right amount of do my new favorite everyday earrings.

What I'm wearing:


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Favorite Hairstyles

It's easy to get stuck in a rut with your hair, especially when you are short on time in the mornings & don't have a lot of time to put into your look.  So, I decided to share some of my favorite styles (one for every day of the week!) and the products I use to achieve them.  This is a somewhat lengthy post - but my hope is that you can Pin It or bookmark to pull up later when you want to try something new.  These styles will work for nearly any hair texture & most lengths, even those of you with short, above-the-shoulder cuts like mine.  Please share in the comments below if there's a product you use & swear by or a technique you've found that works great - I'd love to hear about it!

Ballerina Bun
Styling Tips: It's best to start with hair that hasn't been freshly washed since the style will hold better.  Tip your head upside down & gather hair at the top of your head (I like to set mine back a little so it's not right on top in the middle). Secure with a sturdy elastic (these are my favorite because they really grip & hold the hair in place).  Thread your ponytail through the donut until it's at the base & then fan out evenly around & tuck ends in.  Use bobby pins to hold bun in place (as many as you need!).  Finish with a light mist of strong hold hairspray.
Products to use:  L'Oreal Elnett Unscented Hairspray // ASOS Small Hair Donut (large size here) // ELLE Bobby Pins

Wavy Half-Up
Styling Tips: If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, let it air-dry or if yours is straight, apply a wave-activating spray and scrunch all around before styling.  Pull up a small section of hair at the crown & push slightly forward to create a little volume.  Secure with a sturdy clip (for thick hair) or criss-crossed bobby pins (for thin/fine hair).
Products to use:  Frederic Fekkai Wave Activating Spray // J. Crew Tortoise Barrette

Braided Updo
Styling Tips: Apply a texturizing & de-frizzing cream throughout hair to start.  Then create a deep part on one side & start french braiding a small section of hair back.  Finish braid & secure with a clear elastic.  Gather all your hair (including the braid) back into a low ponytail.  Twist & wind into a loose bun, anchoring with 1 spin pin on each side.  
Products to use:  AndrĂ© Jourdan Wearable Treatment // Goody Spin Pins (comes in blonde or brunette)

High Ponytail
Styling Tips: One of my favorite tricks is apply this dry shampoo to hair before bed - when you wake up in the morning, you have clean roots & tons of volume!  Lightly tease hair to create volume at the crown.  Then gather into a high pony & secure with an clear elastic or one that matches the color of your hair.  Tease the top of the ponytail to give it a rounded shape & lightly mist with a flexible hold hairspray to tame any flyaways.
Products to use:  Sephora Snag-Free Hair Elastics // Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray (travel size here)

Bouncy Blowout
Styling Tips: Take care when towel-drying your hair (no rubbing back & forth and no wrapping it up like a turban - this roughens up the cuticle & causes more frizz).  Start with a rough blowdry, tipping your head upside down & using just your hands.  Focusing on the roots first, use your fingers to pull the hair up and away from your scalp, creating lift.  Once your hair is 80% dry using this method, clip off sections & blowdry the rest of the way with a round brush. Before hair cools, apply velcro rollers to the top sections & then remove after you've applied your makeup.
Products to use:  Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Mousse // Remington Voluminous Styling Tools

Teased Low Ponytail
Styling Tips: Works equally well on curly hair or straight - work a volumizing product throughout hair & let dry.  Then use brush to tease hair all around at the crown & lightly smooth over the top.  Gather hair back loosely just above the nape of your neck & secure with elastic (extra points for a decorative cuff or leather tie).  The more natural this looks, the if a few face framing pieces fall out, let them be.
Products to use:  KMS California Add Volume Root & Body Lift // Marilyn Teaser Brush // H&M Ponytail Cuff

Soft Loose Waves
Styling Tips: Before beginning, apply a thermal protecting spray to hair to guard against heat damage.  Using 1-inch sections of hair, carefully wrap around the curling wand winding away from your face - the curls should start right around the top of the ear for the most natural look.  If it looks too much like a ringlet once you've removed the wand, tug slightly on the bottom of the section to loosen.  Once hair is cooled, run your fingers lightly through to break up the curls slightly and finish with a light-hold hairspray or shine serum.
Products to use:  Biosilk Thermal Shield // Bed Heads Curlipops 1" Curling Wand


Monday, October 21, 2013

That's A Wrap

Although I tend to favor structured blazers & tailored jackets pretty much year-round, there's something so cozy about oversized-style coats for fall that make you feel like you're wrapped up in your favorite blanket.  The big open collar & faux leather sleeves give this one a modern feel that's perfect for pairing with classic pieces like a crisp button-down, skinny jeans & cognac booties (which are deceivingly comfortable).  

Check out how Alyson styled the same shoes in black over on her site, The Average Girl's Guide.  And, while you're at it, you should follow her blog for some delicious recipes, vent sessions about real life + great outfit ideas.  She is one of the most amazing women I know - extremely talented yet totally humble, a fighter & survivor despite devastating loss and a sincere & supportive friend who I'm so grateful to have in my life.  (I'm a big believer in women cheering on other women, which is why I couldn't resist bragging on her just a little!)

What I'm wearing:


Friday, October 18, 2013

Steals Under $30

The number one rule I've embraced in the 2+ years since starting this blog is how important it is to shop with a discerning eye when it comes to affordable pieces.  I will admit that I wasn't very good at doing this when I first began living on a budget & I had to learn the hard way more than a few times.  Though it's fairly easy to get items for less, I've found the key to making them look more expensive is to be selective (no impulse buys from the clearance rack), pay close attention to detail & mix them in a way that looks luxe.  All of my picks below are perfect examples of this - they're each under $30, but appear as if they cost much more (it can be our little secret!).

4) Forever 21 Cable-Knit Scarf (also in burgundy) // 5) ASOS Twister Heels (in oxblood here)
8) Madewell Bluestone Cuff (40% off w/code BONUS40) // 9) BaubleBar Silver Mix Link Bracelet
13) Romeo & Juliet Couture Nadia Tote (also in camel & taupe) // 14) Uniqlo Cashmere Beanie 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Polished Tomboy

I've always been a big fan of the menswear trend (evidence here & here) and fall is, without a doubt, the season to fully embrace a borrowed-from-the-boys look.  This black blazer is a classic piece that's definitely a closet staple.  I love the tailored fit, slightly longer length & that it has just the right amount of stretch...which makes it perfect for piling on layers underneath.  I decided to roll up the sleeves & pair it with casual pieces for a dressed-down look.  If you haven't yet checked out the new arrivals at Spiegel, now is a great time since everything is on sale.  My favorites for fall include this perfect LBDthis colorblock coat & these perforated pumps - all under $75!

What I'm wearing:
c/o Spiegel Sadie Blazer (on sale!), c/o Old Navy Denim Vest (on sale!), Joseph A turtleneck (similar), Forever 21 jeans (similar here or here), c/o J. Renee Marli Pumps (on sale!)Merona BeltClare Vivier clutch (similar), Zara ring (similar), Forever 21 earrings (similar), Michael Kors watch (similar), Bracelets: Vintage, c/o Stella & Dot, H&M (similar), Forever 21 (similar)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coat of Arms

It's that time of year again...when the temperatures finally start dipping low enough to require a more substantial coat, especially in the evening.  Although I could easily justify why it makes sense to splurge a bit when it comes to outerwear, I also understand the need to find affordable & stylish options.  When determining your ideal price point, it really comes down to the climate where you live, how many coats you already own & how much you will truly be wearing it.  Since there are so many variables here, I decided to include a wide range of options below...some less than $30, but all priced under $100 (I've also put an asterisk by those with free shipping).  I hope this helps make your coat shopping a little easier! 

Worthington Military Coat (on sale + $20 off w/code CASH37)* // Wallis Asymmetric Zip Coat (on sale!)* 
Zara Basic Wool Coat* // Siena Studio Hooded Coat (on sale + $15 off w/code CASH37)

Merona Peacoat* // Old Navy Wool-Blend Peacoat (20% off w/code ONSAVENOW)

nicole by Nicole Miller Coat (on sale + $20 off w/code CASH37)* // Pim + Larkin Funnel Neck Coat*
Avanti Asymmetrical Coat (on sale + $15 off w/code CASH37)
Tinley Road Vegan Leather Sleeve Coat (30% off w/code FALL)*

H&M Parka (40% off w/code 7913) // Forever 21 Parka*
Dorothy Perkins Parka* // Style&Co. Parka (on sale + 20% off w/code UWS)

Liquorish Coat (on sale!)* // ModCloth Coat* // H&M Coat (40% off w/code 7913)

SHOP MORE COATS (under $100):