Jun 30, 2014

June Budget

Before I launch into the list of what I purchased this month, I want to sincerely thank you for your kind comments and the positive feelings you sent my way after this post.  From time to time I feel rather silly taking pictures of my outfits and posting them on the internet, but this blogging journey has become so much more than a page full of selfies because of the friendships I've formed with you.  Who knew when I started my blog almost a year ago that I would find such a warm and supportive community of beautiful women...inside and out!?  I am humbled by your support and am so thankful for your friendships.

Alright, before I tear-up (much more than I already have), let's move on to my June budget.  I really shouldn't even call this a "budget" post.  A "birthday money" post would be a more accurate title.  As you may recall from my May budget post, I was unsuccessful in taking my first quarterly budget and spreading it across three months.  I had already spent all of my money and still had the month of June to go!  Fortunately, my birthday at the end of May brought a healthy amount of birthday money with which to make fun purchases!  All birthday excitement aside, however, I do realize that I have utterly failed at my first attempt at a quarterly clothing budget.  The good news is that tomorrow begins a new quarter and I have hopefully learned from my mistakes!

Here are a few of my favorite purchases that I made with birthday money.  I used this unexpected income to experiment with some new-to-me retailers and I was pleasantly surprised with the goods!

The coral and white striped maxi dress, black pleated skirt, sling-back flats and retro-inspired swimsuit are from Land's End.  Now I'm pretty sure I owned some LE winter boots (or some such thing) when I was little, but this was my first purchase as a style-conscious adult.  I found that the Land's End selection is full of a great mix of on-trend items as well as basic pieces!

My second experiment was with ASOS.  I have a few friends (in real life and in the blogiverse) who wear clothes from ASOS and I've always admired their pieces.  I finally bit the bullet and tried a few of the dresses myself...and I am in love.  I found the swing dress and the skater dress styles to be extremely comfortable and flattering.  And could the paisley and floral patterns in these dresses be any prettier?!

And lastly, I have been itching to order something beautiful and feminine from Ruche for quite some time now.  I've also been eyeing the breezy floral kimono trend of late.  Purchasing the number in the center of the top row satisfied my Ruche and kimono desires!

P.S.  The perfect-for-summer cognac wedges are from DSW, a store to which I am (obviously) not a newcomer.

I'm linking-up with Fran and the Budgeting Bloggers!

Jun 26, 2014

Co-Hosting Très Chic Fashion Thursday

I am very excited to be co-hosting Très Chic Fashion Thursday with Agi from Vodka Infused Lemonade!  If you haven't visited her blog before, I hope you will stop-by today.  Agi is one of the most put-together moms I know and she posts great tips for wardrobe remixing.

In the process of becoming more thoughtful about my wardrobe and how to put my outfits together, I've discovered a trick to getting dressed that is so easy, I feel like I'm cheating:  if there is a piece in your closet that you absolute love, buy similar pieces to fit each season.  That way, you can recreate your favorite previously-worn looks regardless of the weather!

For example, I love my 3/4 length-sleeved, black and white striped top!  I wear it all of the time when the weather is chilly.  Since I know that I get tons of wear out of this shirt, I knew that purchasing a short-sleeved version would be worth every penny.  Look at how I recreated one of my favorite winter ensembles featuring the striped top!

What is your favorite closet staple?  Do you have a version for every season?

And sometimes this happens when your friends volunteer to take outfit pictures:

What I'm Wearing:
Striped Tee: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Belt: Anthropologie (similar, similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Flats: LOFT (similar, similar)

Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday Link Up
 It’s that time of the week for my link up. Thank you to all 107 of you fabulous ladies that linked up last week!!! :) A great turnout, I love it!!!!! If you are interested in co-hosting please email me at If you’ve already co-hosted and would like to again, don’t hesitate to email me.

This week’s fabulous co-host is Whitney from Whitney a la mode

Whitney a la mode

Here are my favourite looks from last week:

Eliz from Tiny Bits of Nonsense

Tiny Bits of Nonsense

Jaime from Regally Soled

Regally Soled

Lindsay & Skyla from Dearest Darling

Dearest Darling


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Jun 25, 2014

When life hands you lemons...

Hello, sweet blogging friends!  I've missed you!  You may have noticed that I haven't been writing very much lately and I would like to offer an explanation.  One thing I always wonder about this little blog of mine, is how much of my personal life I should share with you.  On the one hand, I know that I enjoy reading little snippets about the personal lives of my favorite bloggers.  I feel more personally connected to the writers...which is a good thing, in my book.  Yet on the other hand, I know that I write a style blog, not a lifestyle blog and I try to keep the focus on fashion.

That being said, it for some reason seems right to share with you that I have been going through a really rough patch in my personal life lately.  Without going into too many details, I've chosen to part ways with a person who has meant a great deal to me for a very long time.  This has caused hurt for both of us but I'm really hoping that happiness is on the horizon.

For the moment, though, the idea of smiling for pictures (let alone posting them on the internet) hasn't been at the top of my to-do list.  I hope you will bear with me and look past the recent infrequency of my posts.  However, I did start this blog as something for me and I think that having something positive to focus on will help me to move forward.  I'm hoping to get back into the swing of (blogging) things!

But in the meantime, when life hands you lemons, make a gin and tonic and drink it while wearing an adorably lemony dress!

*Click on the images for purchasing information.

Jun 13, 2014

Mixing It Up

The biggest lesson I've learned since finding interest in style blogs is how to remix my clothing.  Now it feels like second nature to constantly change-up my combinations and accessories.  This was not always the case, however.  In the past, I don't think that my style was bad but it was perhaps a little bit boring.  I would purchase a dress, choose one set of accessories to go along with it, and then always wear that combination.  This way of thinking about my wardrobe just feels so silly now!

That being said, I still sometimes feel stumped by how to remix certain pieces in my wardrobe.  Take these red pants, for example.  I mentioned before that I was concerned about splurging on such bold pants because I was nervous I wouldn't be able to think of that many outfits to go with them.  I quickly found, however, that I did have a number of ways to wear them.  Nonetheless, I was still only pairing neutral pieces with the pants...until now!

This was not an outfit that naturally occurred to me.  This was the sort of dressing experience where I put the pants on, then proceeded to try different tops and shoes until something worked.  And the final product still surprises me a little bit!  I wouldn't have expected to put such a colorful top or a pair of coral shoes with the red pants...but I think it works!

How do you find your best outfits?  Are they preplanned or do they magically come to you as you are trying on your clothes?

P.S.  I'm sorry I didn't have time to provide links to the clothing items.  I don't think that I can find the exact matches to any of the pieces I'm wearing.  If you would like me to find similar items for you, just let me know in the comments section which piece you are interested in!

What I'm Wearing:
Sleeveless Top: Gap Outlet (similar, similar)
Chambray Shirt: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Pants: C/O Stitch Fix (similar, similar)
Flats: Hand-Me-Downs (similar, similar) 

Perfectly Coutured- Three-fer Thursday
Rachel and the Hat and Lena B., Actually- Passion for Fashion 
Simple Sequins- Fashion Item Friday
Style Elixir- Friday's Fab Faves
Vodka Infused Lemonade- Très Chic Fashion Thursday

Jun 8, 2014

All Things French

I've mentioned before that I am a high school French teacher.  At this point, I've spent more than half of my life learning and teaching the French language and la culture française.  What started as a choice in 8th grade classes has become a lifelong love of mine.  I have traveled to France five times, including a study abroad trip and school year teaching English in Bordeaux.  When I'm not in France, part of me will always long to be there!

Along with the love of a beautiful country and its culture, my passion has also found me wanting to buy every single shirt, necklace and tchotchke sporting the Eiffel Tower or other French-related things.  Having already purchased a significant number of these items, I now have to stop myself and ask a couple of very important questions: "Do I need this?" and "Is this cool Eiffel Tower or cheesy Eiffel Tower?" (because there is a difference, mes amis).

I own several graphic t-shirts featuring French phrases, including this "Bisous" tee.  And now for your French lesson of the day: "bisous" means "kisses" en français!

I loved mixing the grey stripes of this tee with the printed polka dots of the skirt!  One handy trick to fail-proof pattern mixing is to keep your patterns in the same color I did with grey!  Très chic, non?

And if you love French tees as much as I do, take a look at all of the lovely ones I've found below.  If you happened to send one of these to your favorite blogging French teacher, she would send you a great big "merci" right back!  (Click on the image to be taken to the store.)

What I'm Wearing:
Tee: Banana Republic (see above for similar)
Skirt: LOFT (similar)
Sandals: DSW (similar, similar)

DC in Style- Monday Bloom
Elegance and Mommyhood- Skirts Link-Up
Fizz and Frosting- Mix It Mondays
Greater Than Rubies- Remix Rewear Restyle: Patterned Bottoms
The Modern Austen- Sunday Best
Perspective- What I Wore to Church
Style Elixir- Style Sessions

Jun 4, 2014

Rocks Box Review #1

The last time that I reviewed Stitch Fix, I mentioned that I have been frustrated with the costliness of the items I've received.  I'm giving Stitch Fix one more chance to send me less expensive items and I should be receiving my box within the next few weeks.  Here's to hoping that they listened to my concerns and Stitch Fix continues to be a fun service that I can receive.  (If you are interested in more information about Stitch Fix, please visit my first review here).

Meanwhile, I've decided that I really enjoy the concept of style subscriptions like Stitch Fix.  It's kind of like Christmas morning when I receive a box in the mail full of fashionable goodies.  I also think that it helps me to be more creative in styling myself, in that I might receive something I love that I wouldn't necessarily have picked out for myself in the first place.

While feeling disappointed that Stitch Fix might not work for me in the long run, I decided to research a few other style subscription companies and give one of them a try.  I decided that Rocks Box sounded like fun!

The Details:

Rocks Box is a subscription service featuring only jewelry.  The subscription costs $20 a month (although you can pay for several months at a time and receive a discounted rate, if you are interested).  Once you've signed-up, you take a style survey and then your Rocks Box stylist will send you a package containing three pieces of jewelry.  The thing that I love about RB is that, even if you don't plan to keep and purchase the jewelry, you can wear it around for awhile before sending it back.  Also, as soon as you send the jewels back, your stylist will send you another package.  Therefore, for only $20 a month, you can rent lots and lots of jewelry.  If you decide that you want to keep the jewelry, you receive a 20% member discount.

Personally, I appreciate that with Rocks Box I don't have to worry about items not fitting like I do with Stitch Fix (or any clothing subscription, for that matter).  I also like that I can wear the items before returning them...especially when I love a piece that is a little bit out of my price range.  I do prefer Stitch Fix's policy, however, that the $20 spent to receive the box is then put towards the price of whatever I decide to keep.

As with Stitch Fix, there is a reward for referring new customers.  If you are interested in receiving Rocks Box, I would be oh so thankful if you would follow my link.  The good news is that there is something in it for both of us!  I will receive credit towards my account and you will get $10 off your first month's subscription fee!

The Review:

Izzo was pretty excited about the special delivery, too!

Rocks Box arrives via USPS in a cute little box tied with a pink ribbon.  My favorite item that I received was this beautiful gold necklace by Gorjana.  I loved that its length made it a statement necklace but its design was delicate and pretty.  I can't tell you how versatile this necklace was!  I wore it tons before I sent it back (alas, the cost was too expensive for me to keep it).

The second item of the three was this sparkly, druzy ring by Kristine Lily.  I've totally been in to druzy jewelry lately so I was excited to sport this little gem around town.  Ultimately, I decided not to keep it because I would prefer a colored druzy instead of a black one.

And finally, I received these mint clover earrings by Urban Gem.  So totally adorable and fun to wear but I just didn't love them enough for the cost.

You may have noticed that I sent all three items back...but I don't love Rocks Box any less for it!  I really had fun wearing all three pieces for a couple of weeks!  Also, just like Stitch Fix, I wrote little reviews about each of the pieces so that my next box will be more catered towards my taste.

What do you think?  Which of the three pieces would you want to keep?  Do you have any questions about Rocks Box?

What I'm Wearing:
Necklace: Gorjana (exact)
Ring: Kristine Lily (exact)
Earrings: Urban Gem (similar, similar)

Because Shanna Said So: Random Wednesday
Penniless Socialite: Look What I Got
Perfectly Coutured: Three-fer Thursday
Style Elixir: Style Sessions
Vodka Infused Lemonade: Très Chic Fashion Thursday

Jun 2, 2014

Life is Great

I've been feeling particularly into graphic tees lately.  T-shirts are obviously comfortable, can be dressed up or down, and graphic ones are such a fun way to express your personality.  If you love something, why don't you tell us about on your shirt?!?

Me, for example?  I adore my home state of Michigan!  I mean, I'm pretty obsessed.  So many miles of beautiful coastline along the greatest of lakes, four very different seasons, Michigan State University AND the nicest people's my kind of place!  That's why, when I spotted this Michigan tee at an art festival, I knew I had to have it!  Because life is great in Michigan (not to mention we are surrounded by the Great Lakes...did you pick-up on that play on words?).

As I mentioned above, a graphic tee can be dressed up or down!  I wore mine with my new scalloped shorts and some pop-of-color flats for a casual Saturday spent at a wine and beer festival in Washington D.C.  My t-shirt gave me an instant conversation starter as I wandered around the festival...not to mention it attracted all of my fellow Michiganders!  I'm looking forward to pairing it with skirts and cropped pants for the rest of the summer!

If you could express something that you love on your tee, what would it be?

What I'm Wearing:
Michigan Tee: Smitten Designs Studio (exact)
Shorts: Anthropologie (exact)
Flats: Aldo (similar, similar)

Cha Cha the Fashion Genius and Pink Sole- #HowISummer
Fizz and Frosting- Mix It Monday
Greater Than Rubies- Remix Rewear Restyle: T-Shirts
Style Elixir- Style Sessions