Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hit The Beach

Now that Memorial Day weekend has come & gone, it feels like summer is just around the corner (my kids only have one week of school left!).  If we could, we'd spend all our time outdoors going for bike rides, family hikes & relaxing in the sand.  Several of you have asked about affordable accessories for upcoming beach vacations, so I decided to do a round-up of some budget-friendly totes & sandals for the season.  I broke these down into different categories, so hopefully there's something here for everyone.  Let me know if you're interested in seeing another post on swimwear & cover-ups for next month!

COLORFUL:  ONE // TWO // THREE (also love this one) // FOUR
NEUTRAL:  ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR (another option here)

SLIDES:  ONE // TWO (own & love these) // THREE
STRAPPY:  ONE // TWO // THREE (cute embellished pair here)


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Made For Play

When my son was born, he had a lot of health problems right off the bat.  It was heartbreaking to watch him suffer as they ran test after test with no answers.  When we finally received a diagnosis (severe GERD), I felt so relieved because we finally knew how to help him.  But because of his rocky start to life, I find myself being so much more protective of him than I am with my daughter...though I can be a mama bear when it comes to them both!

As they get older, we've tried to be more purposeful about setting aside one-on-one time to spend with each of our kids.  It's so important for maintaining open communication & continuing to strengthen that bond.  When we get mother/son dates, he almost always asks to do something outdoors.  He is by far the most active one in our family and I'll admit that sometimes it's hard to keep up with him!

After we returned from Mexico, he went through a massive growth spurt that seemed to occur overnight.  Suddenly all the spring clothes I had bought for our vacation didn't fit him and we had to go shopping again (we donated the things he had barely worn to refugee families in our area).  With the warmer weather we've been having & him becoming more active, he has practically refused to wear any shorts (or pants) that don't have an elastic waist.  

If I let him, he would basically live in activewear and nothing else.  But, I like to have some nicer casual options for church, BBQ's and dinners out.  This soft henley tee & striped linen shorts were the perfect compromise - comfortable & non-restricting for all the playing he does, but still appropriate for summer events (I also plan on having him wear this for a family photo session on the beach).  

And I have to talk a little bit about these white jeans - if you've been searching for a great fitting non-distressed non-sheer pair, then these are your answer!  I found them to be true to size (I'm wearing a 4 regular) & I loved that the denim is slightly thicker than the other brands I own, which creates a flattering smoothing effect.  

On me:
c/o French Laundry Chambray Top, c/o Levi's Skinny Jeansc/o LC Lauren Conrad Sandals
c/o Olivia Miller Saddle Bagc/o Kohl's Earrings (similar here or here)

On him:

We are a big fan of NIKE (probably due to my husband working there for 7 years), so that's his brand of choice when it comes to activewear & athletic shoes.  He loved this baseball plate tee and these comfy shorts so much that he asked me if he could sleep in them!  We bought these a little big so they'll still fit if he goes through another growth spurt this summer (the doctor said he is going to be 6'3", so we are trying to prepare ourselves).  

If you're a mom to a boy, I encourage you to be intentional about spending one-on-one time with your son.  It's good to be active & play outside together, but I also like to take Nolan on more formal dates - to teach him how to be a gentleman, to hold the door open for a lady & to treat women with respect.  I want to continue to foster the sweet sensitive spirit that he was born with & my hope is that he will carry these lessons with him as he grows into a young man.

On me:

On him:

Thank you to Kohl's & ShopStyle for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale

Yesterday, Nordstrom launched their Half-Yearly Sale so I thought I would share a quick round-up of the best under $100 finds.  This is a great time to pull the trigger on some of those items you've been eyeing but didn't want to pay full price for!  I'd love to hear what you've purchased & any reviews you'd like to share in the comments below.

I just returned home yesterday after a quick work trip to Boston - I had such a great time with Nicole from MomTrends, filming our summer video segments for BJ's Wholesale Club.  If you missed it, you can watch the full video here & see all my summer beauty tips.  Thank you so much to everyone who tuned in & participated - it was my first time doing a live video so I was nervous, but it was a lot of fun! (for those who asked, here are my outfit details: Top // Earrings // Similar Skirt // Sandals)

We're leaving tomorrow for our first camping trip of the season & I cannot wait to soak in the sunshine & spend the long weekend being unplugged with my family.  I'll be back here on Tuesday with a new post that's near & dear to my heart.  I hope everyone has a fun & safe holiday weekend!


FIVE // SIX // SEVEN (more Cluse Watches here)
BAGS:  ONE // TWO (also here) // THREE (more colors here)


ROW 2:  ONE (another option here) // TWO // THREE (also love this one) // FOUR
ROW 3:  ONE (distressed option here) // TWO // THREE // FOUR


ROW 1:  ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR (more colors here & here)
ROW 2:  ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR (another option here)
ROW 3:  ONE // TWO // THREE (also love these) // FOUR
ROW 4:  ONE // TWO (stiletto version here) // THREE // FOUR


ROW 1:  ONE (also in coral) // TWO // THREE (love this one too) // FOUR
ROW 2:  ONE (short version here) // TWO (another option here) // THREE // FOUR


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Daily Looks

I've started a new series on Facebook where I post some looks I'm wearing throughout the week.  Unfortunately, we don't always have the time to photograph outdoors every day, so I decided to move my full-length mirror from our bedroom to our sun room & take quick selfies to share these outfits with you.  For those not already following along on that platform, I thought it would be good to highlight them here.  Here are 8 looks that I featured over the past couple of months:

H&M Top (similar), BaubleBar Necklace, LOFT Shorts (similar here or here), Nine West Espadrille Sandals
A&F Blouse (last seen here), J Brand Skirt (similar), Old Navy Wedges (similar)

Marled Ruffled Top, Old Navy Jeans (similar), c/o Everlane Heels

Express Cardigan (similar), Caslon Tee, Forever 21 Necklace (similar), Joe's Jeans (similar), Nine West Mules

LOFT Blouse (love this one too), Old Navy Necklace (similar), Old Navy Jeans (similar), Halogen Slides
American Rag Dress, Anthropologie Necklace (similar), Sam Edelman Sandals


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May Q&A

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions for this month's edition!  For those of you who haven't participated yet, if there's anything you're having difficulty finding, a style question you need answered or any beauty/lifestyle related inquiry, you can email me directly and I'll include it in my next post!  Here are the topics for May:

1) I'm attending a wedding in Central America & am having a hard time finding a dress.  It's not a formal occasion, so I'm looking for a style that has a relaxed feminine feel & something that will work well in the heat & humidity.

I've rounded up some good maxi options below, but if you're looking for something shorter or a different style, I recommend checking ASOS, Zappos, TJ Maxx or LuLu*s - they all have great options under $100 in a wide range of colors & silhouettes.

ROW 1:  ONE (also in yellow) // TWO // THREE (40% off w/ code BRSUMMER) // FOUR (another option here)
ROW 2:  ONE // TWO (another red dress here) // THREE // FOUR (shop Moon River dresses)

2) I remember you mentioning a while back about changing out your household cleaning products to safer options.  I'd love to hear what you're using now & what you've found that works best.

We almost exclusively use Norwex products now - mainly because we love them, but also because we have a family member who we buy them from.  However, I recognize that this is a slightly expensive option, so I've included some more affordable store-bought products below:

3) I just took the plunge & decided to hire a personal trainer...but, after going for a couple of weeks, I quickly realized that my workout clothes need some serious updating.  Can you recommend some affordable activewear that's good for spring & summer?

I almost exclusively wear black & gray workout gear in the winter, but I like the idea of switching that up a bit for the warm weather with lighter colors & fun prints.  I'm usually faithful to Old Navy's activewear, but I've been trying out some new brands lately & have been really impressed with Ideology, Express & Forever 21 (shop sneakers here). Here are some of my favorites for the season:

CAPRIS:  ONE (matching bra) // TWO // THREE (matching bra) // FOUR // FIVE


Monday, May 22, 2017

Spring Refresh

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know I'm a big fan of thrift shopping.  Part of it has to do with how I was raised (my mom would take me to the thrift store to get "dress up clothes" when I was little), but it also has to do with my desire to save money & find truly unique pieces.  Nothing quite compares to the thrill of uncovering hidden gems & I've been fortunate enough to find some amazing pieces over the years (like this pink cashmere sweater, this trench vest & this suede skirt).

I'm excited to be partnering with thredUP again today to share with you some amazing secondhand finds!  If you're not familiar with them, thredUP is the world's largest online thrift store, where you can find your favorite designers for up to 90% off retail.  Having ordered from them quite a bit in the past, I appreciate that they triple-inspect every item to ensure you're getting the highest quality possible.  They add over 15 thousand items every day so there's always new treasures to find & they offer free shipping on orders over $79 & easy returns!

thredUP challenged me to shop their site & create 3 separate spring looks at different price points ($25, $50 & $100) and I'm sharing them all with you today, along with an exclusive discount code so you can shop & save too (be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to get the details)!  It felt like a treasure hunt as I browsed through their extensive inventory - I was stunned when I saw that, based on the items I selected, I saved a whopping $764.57 off of retail! Here's the full break-down of costs & the outfits I put together:

LOFT Printed Dress - retail price $89.50; thredUP price $24.99
Aqua Sleeveless Blouse - retail price $143; thredUP price $32.99
Max Studio Lace Skirt - retail price $71; thredUP price $17.99
Tibi Printed Top - retail price $265; thredUP price $52.99
Banana Republic Silk Skirt - retail price $148; thredUP price $18.99
Sondra Roberts Clutch - retail price $98 ; thredUP price $17.99

LOOK #1 - $25

What I'm wearing:
LOFT Printed Dress c/o thredUP, Dune London Heels
Charming Charlie Earrings, Mango Straw Clutch

LOOK #2 - $50

What I'm wearing:
Aqua Blouse c/o thredUP, Max Studio Lace Skirt c/o thredUP
Sanctuary Bag, BP Heels, c/o InPink Earrings

LOOK #3 - $100

What I'm wearing:
Tibi Printed Top c/o thredUP, Banana Republic Silk Skirt c/o thredUP,
Sondra Roberts Clutch c/o thredUP, Nine West Heels,
BaubleBar Earrings, Madewell Cuff & Ring

If you're new to online thrift shopping, here are some of my tips for having the best success with your purchases:

1) Shop well-known brands
I recommend sticking with brands you are most familiar with - this way you know how the sizing runs and can be assured you're ordering something that will fit well.

2) Choose fabrics wisely
I specifically search for fabrics that hold up well over time like silk, cashmere and some polyester blends.  These also tend to shrink less than 100% cotton or linen, so if someone has laundered it, it still should be fairly true to size.

3) Narrow your search
Because thredUP has such an enormous selection of items, it can feel a little overwhelming if you are simply browsing through everything at once.  It definitely helps to look for more specific items - for example, I did a search on Banana Republic skirts &  J. Crew tops and then narrowed it down further by selecting my particular size.  You could also try item-specific searches like lace skirts or silk dresses.

And now for the exciting news...thredUP has graciously offered an exclusive discount for PPF readers.  The first 100 people to use my code PENNY40 will receive an extra 40% off their first order (applies to new US customers only; discount up to $50).  I hope you take advantage of this great offer to refresh your closet for spring & have some fun hunting for deals!

Thank you to thredUP for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Top Finds

I'm taking off soon for a work trip, which I'm equal parts excited & terrified for because it involves live filming (more details to come), so Abbey is sharing her top finds with us again today. There are some incredible sales happening this weekend & she's highlighting the best for you below, along with a few spring-to-summer favorites!

Joe Fresh - 25% off sitewide using code MAY25 (I've got my eye on this striped skirt, this flutter-sleeve top & these linen-blend pants)
Ann Taylor - 40% off select full-price styles & an extra 40% off sale styles with code GETDRESSED
Anthropologie - 25% off select + an extra 25% off sale styles (just ordered this tasseled top & these embroidered shorts)
Club Monaco - 20% off $200+; 25% off $300+ or 30% off $400+ with code SUMMER
White House Black Market - extra 25% off markdowns (these blazers are my favorite & I also love this lace skirt - comes in white too!)


Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Monthly Edit

We are working to finalize our summer schedule & it's shaping up to be the busiest one yet!  My husband has to travel for work, both of the kids have camps they are attending & we are trying to squeeze in as many long weekend family trips as we can.  We are definitely of the mindset that we'd rather spend our money on experiences together instead of buying things and my hope is that our kids will come to value that too.  This article explains in detail how family vacations serve as "happiness anchors" for children as they grow up & how those times are scientifically proven to be beneficial for their brain development.  And you don't have to make every trip lavish - we cut costs by bringing or buying groceries & making picnic lunches each day (we even did this when we went to Disneyland)!

In the past, I've only ever used a classic sunscreen (this one for face & this one for body) so I was intrigued when I overheard a few of my girlfriends talking about their preference for a mineral powder formula.  After doing some research & reading reviews, I finally ordered one to try.  This invisible setting powder provides SPF 45 protection & is paraben, oxybenzone & fragrance free.  I like that it not only protects my skin from the sun, but it's also sweat-resistant and helps set my makeup & reduce shine all in one quick about a multi-tasker!

With the weather warm up we are experiencing, my kids have started asking for ice cream & popsicles more frequently.  Though there are some good healthy options in stores now, we prefer to make our own at home & they love helping out with the process!  My son & I both have a dairy sensitivity, so we use cashew, almond or coconut milk for our batches.  Most of the recipes I've found don't even require a traditional ice cream maker (but we use this model for the ones that do).  So far my favorite flavors are this lemon raspberry sorbet, this cinnamon pecan ice cream & this dairy-free chocolate peanut butter.

Swimsuit shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, right up there with going to the dentist & doing my taxes. So, this year, I decided to take a different approach & order suits online so I could try them on from the comfort of home (read: without fluorescent lighting).   Thankfully, most sites are offering free shipping & returns on swimwear this time of year, so that made it easy.  This crochet-trim bikini top & bottoms was my most recent purchase - it looks much more expensive than it is & the fit is just perfect.  Other winners I tried on were this black one-piece (so flattering!), this sporty two-piece (love the print) & this colorblocked suit.  I also found the cutest cover-ups here, here & here (shop pareos here).

This tasseled eyelet top is the picture of summer ease - it's made of a lightweight cotton with an easy fit & great details.  It also comes in the prettiest green, a bold yellow & classic gingham.  J. Crew has so many great new arrivals for the season & they're also currently offering an extra 30% off sale styles & an extra 50% off final sale items with code HELLOSALE.  More of my favorites include this fringe sweater, this linen skirtthese beaded earrings & this off-the-shoulder dress.

Statement earrings are, without a doubt, my jewelry of choice this time of year.  So I'm always on the hunt for affordable styles to add some interest to my looks.  These gorgeous crystal drops are surprisingly lightweight & the mix of colors is perfect for the summer months.  I'm also eyeing these small stone drops, these turquoise earrings & these rose quartz drops (love these Shashi styles too).


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day & Night

I'm talking more about my ever-growing love for Everlane today - I have yet to find a brand that rivals them in terms of quality & price point - they do elevated basics so well!  They just launched a new line of pieces for May & I'm sharing two of my favorites with you below.  Both of these items featured here are made of woven Japanese triacetate, which has a lightweight feel & beautiful drape...but, best of all, it's crease-resistant!  I've highlighted their silk cami before (which I love), but sometimes it's nice to have a higher-neck tank option to wear with skirts & shorts.  This one has a modern cut (you can wear with a regular bra) & flattering fit (not too boxy, not too clingy). It's such a great piece for layering under cardigans & jackets and wearing later in the summer on its own - it's the perfect blank canvas for your favorite jewelry!

What I'm wearing:
LOFT Shorts (recommend sizing down), 
Sandals (similar here or here; shop Sam Edelman styles), 
Kate Spade Bag, Necklaces: BaubleBar (similar) & c/o Capwell + Co. (similar), 
Gorjana Earrings, c/o Capwell + Co. BraceletsOld Navy Rings (Similar here & here)

I can't believe I didn't previously own a classic slip dress.  This is a timeless wardrobe staple & there are so many ways to style it - layer over a fitted white tee with slide sandals, add a leather belt at the waist & pair with colorful heels or simply wear it on its own for a minimal chic look.  I'm wearing the mint color here, but it also comes in white, black & the prettiest blush pink.  If you're on the petite side or worried about the length of this dress, there's a shorter version here.

What I'm wearing:
Blank NYC Jacket, c/o Everlane Slip Dress (wearing size 2), 
Zara Heels (similar here or here), ASOS Clutch (similar here or here), 
Necklaces: c/o Charming Charlie & Kitsch (shop chokers here)
Similar Earrings, Nails: Essie Cascade Cool

Created in partnership with Everlane