Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weekly Top Finds

I tend to wear dresses more in the warmer months than any other time of year - probably due to the fact that throwing on one easy piece is often the simplest solution for looking chic with minimal effort.  I love finding styles that are versatile enough to wear during the day or evening - I just ordered this embroidered dress (which I can also use as a cover-up) & this linen shirtdress (that's perfect for running around town with my kids).  I've rounded up some of my favorite affordable dresses for the season below - everything you see here is less than $60!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Chambray Romper

I've always loved the idea of rompers because they seem to be an an acceptable way to wear what feels like pajamas in public.  But finding a perfect-fitting style is notoriously difficult - most of the options I've tried have been far too short for me to be comfortable in or they look way too youthful for someone my age.  I bought this one on a whim when placing an online order of summer clothes for my kids and I was stunned when it arrived & the fit was flawless.  The ruffled sleeves give it an effortless feel but it's still polished enough to dress up with a statement necklace & heels.  Thanks to the elasticized neckline, I can wear it up over the shoulder too and the lightweight Tencel fabric is ultra-soft & machine washable, which is always a plus!

What I'm wearing:
I Heart Ronson Romper (wearing an XS; get $10 off w/ code SHOP4U), 
c/o Dorothy Perkins Heels (similar here or here), ASOS Clutch (similar here or here), 
BaubleBar Necklace, Bracelets: Forever 21 & BP (similar), 


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wedding Season Beauty

As we head further into spring, many of you have mentioned that you have several weddings to attend this season. Even if you're not in the wedding party & you're just attending as a guest, you still want to look your best as there are lots of pictures being taken.  Now is the perfect time to put a little extra effort into your beauty routine and play around with some deeper colors that will really pop on camera.  Today I'm sharing a simple & pretty wedding tutorial that you can recreate using some of my favorite products.  In my opinion, the most important part of any beauty look is the first step.  Beginning with clean & well-moisturized skin will help your makeup go on more smoothly & stay put longer.  I swear by these steps to create a healthy, glowing look:

1) Exfoliate - I use this scrub twice a week to remove dead skin cells & brighten my complexion.
2) Moisturize - I've talked about POND'S Dry Skin Cream many times before and how it has become a hero product for me.  It literally saved my skin this winter and, even though the weather is warming up now, I'm still hooked on the deep hydration it provides.  After applying, I like to give it a good 3-5 minutes to really soak into my skin before moving onto the next step.
3) Prime - I'm a big believer in the magic of makeup primer - it prevents foundation & concealer from creasing and it multiplies the staying power of your look.  I've tried dozens of brands and this primer is the one I keep coming back to because it glides easily over skin and doesn't clog pores.  As with step 2, I like to let this set for a few minutes before applying my foundation.
4) Base - I use It Cosmetics CC Cream (Light) all over my face, then I apply Benefit Fake Up (Light) under my eyes to moisturize & lightly conceal.  On top of that, I apply It Cosmetics Bye Bye UnderEye Concealer (Light) and set it with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Micro-Powder.  This is the best combination of products I've found to cover my dark circles without caking or looking overdone.

5) Eyes - I can't say enough good things about this Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette.  Though it seemed like a splurge when I first bought it, I've used it so much and feel that I've already gotten my money's worth.  I usually stick to the basic neutrals for every day, but I decided to try mixing some unexpected colors (bronze & navy) for a striking evening look.  

Here are the products & colors I used in each area:

Lids - Radar
Outer Corners - Dagger
Inner Corner of Eyes - High
Browbones - Thirteen
Lower Lash Line - Slanted
Upper Lash Line - BeautyCounter Eye Pencil (Black)
Top & Bottom Lashes - Tarte Lash Paint Mascara
Blush - NARS (Gaiety)
Lips - Trish McEvoy Pencil (Nude) 

This post was created in connection with my appointment as Influencer for POND'S.
Visit POND'S Pinterest for more skin care tips.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Look For Less

I've never been one to care about designer labels or flashy logos because I've always been more concerned with finding versatile items that fit within my budget.  But, there's nothing more thrilling than when I come across affordable pieces that look just as luxe as their more expensive counterparts.  Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite accessories, organized into 3 categories based on price point...further proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to update your spring style!

Square Stone Studs:  Michael Kors // Kate Spade // Charming Charlie
Dainty Crescent Necklace:  Gorjana // BaubleBar // Saks Fifth Avenue
Perforated Espadrille Flats:  Loeffler Randall // Sole Society // Target
Lace-Up Espadrille Flats:  Aquazzura // Caslon // Marc Fisher
Striped Woven Straw Tote:  Mar Y Sol // Buji Baja // Kohl's 
Cognac Weekender Bag:  Rebecca Minkoff // Sole Society // TJ Maxx


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Striped Tunic

Finding flattering sleeveless tops can be difficult this time of year - often the arm holes are too large & the fabric is too sheer (which makes a cami necessary) or the length is too short (a problem I frequently have).  So I was thrilled when I found this striped tunic, which is equal parts relaxed & chic.  It looks just as good with slim cropped trousers & pointed flats + I can easily dress it down with a denim pencil skirt or jeans.  Plus it's on sale now for just $14.99! I loved the pop of yellow that this tassel necklace provides against the neutral tones and the way the vertical stripes create a slimming effect.  Other tops I'm loving from Charming Charlie include this cold-shoulder blouse, this embroidered top & this crochet tank. And some other fun yellow pieces to try are this lace dress, these tassel earrings & this embroidered scarf.

What I'm wearing:

Created in partnership with Charming Charlie
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me


Monday, April 25, 2016

Casual Fringe

I love having a few lightweight open-knit sweaters for the spring & summer - they are ideal for this time of year when the weather is in between warm and cool + they are perfect for taking along to the beach for after the sun sets. I was instantly drawn to the fringe detailing on this top, which makes it look so luxe, and I like that I can wear it with jeans, shorts & skirts alike.  I also recently bought this white perforated style (love that the bodice is fully lined so I don't need a cami) and this striped sweater (other color options here & here).  

What I'm wearing:
H&M Knit Top (wearing size 6), LOFT Skirt (similar here or here), H&M Necklace
Madewell Bag (similar here or here), Mango Sandals (similar here or here), 
Bracelets: BP (similar) & c/o Charming Charlie


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weekly Top Finds

Last weekend on our trip to NYC, we had the chance to visit Last Call by Neiman Marcus at the Tanger Outlets.  I love discount stores like this because it gives me the opportunity to afford brands that normally would be out of my budget.  Right now is an especially good time to shop because they are offering an extra 30-65% off everything sitewide.  I've got my eye on this nude bucket bag, this lace dress & this pendant necklace .  Here are a few more of my top picks all under $75:


Friday, April 22, 2016

Your Perfect Pants

In March, I introduced a new series where I will be featuring other women with different body types & talking about how to dress for your shape (here).  The response was overwhelmingly positive & I cannot thank you all enough for the wonderful comments & suggestions.  I'm excited to introduce you to two new women today who are friends of mine - I purposely selected them because they both have a different body type than I do and I knew they would be perfect for this feature.  After last month's post, the majority of you wrote in stating that the item you have the hardest time finding is great-fitting pants.  And I can't say that I'm surprised because it's the garment I have the least of in my wardrobe for the very same reason.  So today we are highlighting 3 different styles of pants that we found from LOFT, sharing why they work for our shapes and what to look for when you're out searching for your perfect pair.


Jennifer is a work-from-home mom of two with a thriving Beachbody Coaching business.  She is 5'5" with a curvy shape and told me that her problem with pants is that they either fit in the waist and are too tight through the hips or she has to size up for the hips, which inevitably makes the waist too large.  Because of this, I knew we would need to search for a fit that was labeled "Curvy".  The Julie pants at LOFT are specifically designed for women with this type of body shape and they fit Jennifer perfectly.  She did go down one from her usual size because the fabric stretches a bit with wear.  

Other pants she tried on & loved were these relaxed chinos (which she purchased in a size 10).  And a pair she liked on the hanger but didn't work on her body type were these trousers, which would best fit someone with a straight up & down figure.  Other brands with curvy pant offerings are Talbots (here & here), The Limited & White House Black Market. Styling tip: If you are larger on bottom than on top, wearing a brightly colored blouse like Jennifer's helps draw the eye up and visually balances out your proportions. 

On Jennifer:
LOFT Tie-Neck Shell (wearing Medium), LOFT Julie Fit Riviera Crop Pants (wearing size 8), 
Tieks Flats (similar), LOFT Bracelet, Similar Earrings


Sheri is a mom of four who also teaches preschool part-time.  She is 5' 2" with a petite figure and also has a hard time with pants because she is short-waisted & if the cut isn't exactly right, they end up overwhelming her small frame.  She wanted a durable pair that she could move around easily in that would be appropriate while teaching & on the weekend with her family.  These classic chinos only have a slight give to them, so they are a more structured fabric than Jennifer's pants & won't stretch as much with wear - she loved the kick crop shape, which give them a modern update.  Sheri bought her usual size, but if you want a more tailored fit, we recommend sizing down.  

Other styles she tried on that fit her well were these cropped pants & these classic trousers.  Because I'm not petite, I haven't paid much attention to that section of stores in the past, but shopping with Sheri made me realize how frustrating it is!  We went into 3 different stores that are known for having petite lines & even then, the selection of clothes to choose from was very small.  Other retailers with good options for petites are J. Crew, Ann Taylor & Banana Republic - just keep in mind that in many cases, there will be far more options online, so you may need to order that way and return any items that don't work to your local store.

On Sheri:
I'm just over 5'8" and, even though I'm pear-shaped, there is only a small difference in inches between my low waist and my hips, which means that a straight cut actually fits me best.  The Marisa pants at LOFT are specifically designed for women with hips that are proportionate to their waist.  Other pants that are cut similarly and fit me well are the J. Crew Martie Pants & the Banana Republic Sloan-Fit Pants (here & here).  Once you find a pair of pants that fits you perfectly, take careful measurements of the waist to hip ratio, the inseam and the rise.  This will help serve as a guide in the future so you can find more options that work for you & it's especially helpful when you're ordering online & can't try on before you buy.

A note on pockets: I very rarely purchase pants with side pockets because I'm curvier and they tend to pucker and bunch in an unflattering way.  The pants I'm wearing here actually do have pockets that are sewn shut - normally you would snip that thread after buying them, but I chose to keep them as is so they wouldn't create a problem for me.  If you do buy pants with pockets that you don't want open, you can have your tailor remove them completely to eliminate any bulkiness they may create and sew the seam shut for you (or do it yourself if you're handy with a sewing machine).

What I'm wearing:
a.n.a Top (wearing XS), LOFT Marisa Fit Skinny Ankle Pants (wearing size 2), 
c/o Dorothy Perkins Flats (similar here or here), Forever 21 Necklace (similar), 
BaubleBar Ring (similar), Forever 21 Bracelets

A special thank you to Sheri & Jennifer for being willing to participate & shoot photos 
with me in the chilly weather.  Please let me know in the comments below what item 
you'd like to see featured next month and share what body type you have so I can 
make sure that everyone gets represented in this series!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tender Stories

My life forever changed the moment I became a mother.  Though it was nearly 13 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.  When they first placed my daughter in my arms, I felt so overjoyed and yet fearful at the same time (read her birth story here).  I have always had a very focused, driven and tenacious personality...but when she was born, something in me softened and I realized that I would ever be the same.  Being a mother is the greatest responsibility, the most difficult job and yet the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Since having my children, I've found that I'm much more aware of the sacrifices my own mom made for me and it has given me an even deeper appreciation of her.

I was incredibly blessed to have a mother who told me that I could be anything I wanted to be.  She encouraged my dreams, supported my interests & cheered me on.  She stood by me during my rebellious phase (which lasted longer than it should have) and she never gave up on me.  Because of her unconditional love, I learned to be confident in who I was and because of her compassion for others, I learned the importance of generosity.  Now that I'm a mother, I am striving to do the same for my son & daughter by teaching them to be kind, selfless, respectful and responsible.  

Mother's Day is always a special day in our family - I look forward to it because it's the one holiday where I get to celebrate my mom & let her know the amazing impact she has had on my life.  When it comes to gifts for special occasions like this, I tend to splurge a little more because I want to purchase something that is unique, meaningful & timeless.  I want her to know how much she means to me and how thankful I am for her love & guidance throughout the years.  And I want the present that I give to her to be a reflection of my gratitude for all that she has done for me.

This TOUS Mama Bracelet is such a gorgeous piece and I love that it's so versatile - though it's fine jewelry, it's also something that can be worn every day.  The cord bracelet gives it an effortless feel, while the gold detailing + mother of pearl add just the right amount of elegance.  And the message "Love Mama" adds a sweet sentimental touch.  This would make a beautiful Mother's Day gift for a mom, sister or that special woman who has been like a mother to you.  The older that my daughter gets, the more I've been thinking about investing in a few pieces of fine jewelry that I can hand down to her - I especially like the idea of gifting this bracelet to her on the special day when she becomes a mother.  If you still haven't found the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday, you can view the entire collection of TOUS Mother's Day jewelry here.

What I'm wearing:

Thank you to TOUS Jewelry for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

20 Under $20

Sometimes all you need are a few on-trend updates at the beginning of a new season to mix in with your wardrobe staples to keep things looking fresh.  Right now I'm focusing on different textures like lace & straw with effortless stripes & fun fringe.  I personally don't like to spend a lot on these types of items, so I've compiled over 20 of my top picks below for spring & summer that you can easily work into your closet without breaking the bank.  Everything you see here is just $20 or less!



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Outlet Shopping Challenge

I had such a fun time spending last weekend in NYC - one of the reasons for my trip was to participate in a shopping challenge (something I'm always up for) with People StyleWatch & Tanger Outlets.  They selected a small group of influencers and asked us to find the best spring deals for under $250.   It was so fun to catch up with other bloggers I hadn't seen in a while & finally meet a few in person that I've conversed with online for years.  They piled us onto a bus & drove us to the Tanger Outlet Mall in Deer Park, NY, where we were given two hours to shop.  

I wanted to make the money stretch as far as I could and since my closet has been in need of a few more dresses for the season, this was the perfect opportunity to find one.  I was thrilled when I came across this printed sundress at Saks Off Fifth - the pattern & colors instantly caught my eye and I love that the cut is so classic & feminine.  This will be easy to dress up with metallic heels & a statement earring for evening or down with a denim jacket & flat lace-up sandals for the weekend.  And the best part is that it was on sale for less than $50, so I had plenty left over to splurge on this designer handbag (under $150 from Last Call) + some fun accessories!

Even though we only had time to visit a few stores, I was amazed at the selection we discovered.  The warm weather months are the perfect time to drive a little outside of town & visit your nearest outlet mall.  Outlets are such a great place to score deals, but it can also feel overwhelming, so here are a few of my tips for a successful shopping trip:

1) Set a budget & make a wish list
In my opinion, this is a healthy habit to develop for all your shopping excursions, but especially when it comes to the outlets.  It's easy to be enticed when you see the incredible discounts, even if it isn't an item you need.  If you have a set dollar amount and a specific list of items you're searching for, it will eliminate those impulse buys that you might regret later.  If you're at a store and find you're on the fence about something, put it on hold and move on to the next retailer.  If you're still thinking about it at the end of the day, you can always go back and buy it before you leave.

2) Check for sales & coupons
Though there are always great deals happening, some weekends are more advantageous than others.  We found it helpful to download the Tanger Outlets App, which enabled us to check our gift card balance while shopping & also gave us access to special coupons & deals so we could get the most for our money.  At Last Call, there was an extra 10% off coupon that helped knock even more off a few of our purchases.  Just be sure to check the tags and/or ask the cashier about their return policy, as some items at outlets are final sale.

3) Get a map & plan your route
When you're heading the outlets, I think it's important to look at the map/directory before you go and make a game plan.  The stores you're interested in visiting might be spread out, so plan accordingly and try to work your way from one end to the other (and don't forget to grab a bite to eat!).  I also recommend taking a friend along - I couldn't have done it without Abbey by my side & it was helpful to have a second opinion/voice of reason to keep me on track and weigh in on my purchases before I pulled the trigger.

Personal note: They gave us the May edition of People StyleWatch to look through while on our bus ride and I was overcome with joy as I flipped through the pages & saw so many women of different sizes being featured.  I absolutely love when magazines choose to celebrate ALL shapes, provide helpful tips for accentuating the positive & encourage women to be confident no matter what.  If you haven't read the latest issue yet, I highly recommend picking it up!

What I'm wearing:

Thank you to People StyleWatch & Tanger Outlets for a fun shopping experience.
* Though a gift card was provided for these items, I was not compensated for this post.  
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.