Dec 31, 2018

Top Nine

I'm loving the Top Nine trend on Instagram as a way to capture the highlights of the closing year.  Although, I do mine a little bit differently.  Instead of featuring the nine pictures with the most likes, I select my nine favorite pictures that best reflect the year I've had.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen these pictures already.  But I thought it would be fun to share them here with little descriptions of the top nine events of my 2018.  Here we go, in chronological order:

New Year's weekend I learned how to ski.  A hobby that I look forward to sharing for years to come with my future husband who loves to snowboard.

In February, Justin and I took a trip to Orlando, a place that we've both loved individually and can now visit together.

The Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, JUSTIN PROPOSED!  This is obviously the biggest highlight of my year.  I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with this man!

The morning after Justin proposed, I ran my longest race yet- the Bayshore 10k (a little over 6 miles).  I fulfilled my goal of no walking, only running and finished in under one hour and 15 minutes.

I took a gigantic leap of faith in June when I left teaching, my job of ten years, to start a new career.  I now work in logistics (not necessarily the direction I saw myself going) but I really enjoy it and am excited to see where my job takes me.

These furballs continue to be the little lights of my life.  2018 brought a closer bond between the two of them as they grow more and more used to being brothers and living together.

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that mean the most!  This fall, Justin and I discovered the Rockford, MI Farmer's Market, and from now on, you'll find us there most Saturdays from May to October.

Earlier this month, my parents, Justin and I took a holiday trip to Chicago.  While the boys explored Michigan Avenue, my mom and I went to BHLDN where I tried-on wedding dresses for the first time.  Friends, I might have found the one!

Also in December, Justin and I took engagement photos.  I'm so happy to have some professional photographs that represent how much I love this man and how excited I am for what 2019 has in store for us.

Cheers to a Happy New Year!

Dec 19, 2018

Engagement Photo Sneak Peek: Christmas Pajamas

Justin and I love all things winter wonderland!  We're throwing our wedding celebration next December and thought that it would be fun to kick-off the year of festivities with some holiday-themed engagement pictures.

We met our photographer (the lovely Abby Fox Photography) at a local Christmas tree farm for a bunch of photos.  Then we headed home, changed into some cozy Christmas pajamas, and took pictures next to our Christmas tree and with some hot cocoa and our cats.

I plan to share a collection of our engagement pictures within the next month or so, but thought it would be fun to show you a couple of our pajama pictures for The Blended Blog's Christmas pajama link-up!

Merry Christmas from our cozy home to yours!

Dec 12, 2018

Merry and Bright Holiday Style

Welcome back for another fun style link-up with The Blended Blog!  This week our theme is Merry and Bright- share an outfit that makes you happy.  And truth be told, everything about style this time of year makes me happy!  I love the cozy knits, the glamorous sparkles and the festive colors.  I try so hard not to shop for myself at this time of year so that I focus more on giving than receiving, but it's so hard when my favorite clothing pieces are in stores right now!

I did let myself splurge on a few holiday pieces during the cyber sales on Black Friday.  Two of my favorite things I purchased are this sweater and plaid flannel shirt from American Eagle.  When worn together you have the perfect holiday combination!

What makes you feel merry and bright!  Make sure to link-up with The Blended Blog or my friend, Lisa, at Daily Style Finds!

What I'm Wearing:
Sweater: American Eagle (exact but different pattern)
Flannel Shirt: American Eagle (exact)
Leggings: Fabletics (similar)
Flats: DSW (similar)

Dec 10, 2018

Wedding Planning: The Venue

December 14th, 2019.  That's the date that I'll have the privilege of marrying the kindest, most generous, smartest and most loving man I've ever met.  His heart is the perfect match to mine and I'm so excited to spend the rest of my life with him.

In the meantime, we have twelve more months to plan our dream wedding and I want to share a bit of the process with you!  So for the next year, I plan to write monthly updates about the decisions-- big and small-- that we're making.  To get started you might want to read the post where I share our proposal story.

Today I want to tell you a little bit about the venue that we chose.  As I shared in the above-mentioned post, I've wanted a Christmas wedding for as long as I can remember and Justin (being the winter-lover that he is) agreed.  We originally wanted to get married at a ski lodge but none of them we looked at quite fit the bill.  Once we scratched the Michigan lodges off of our list.  We started visiting venues in our hometown.  We weren't thrilled with the idea of a country club wedding but there was one that seemed like it could work so we scheduled a visit.  After our tour, we walked out, looked at each other, and immediately knew we had found our wedding venue!

The connected ceremony and reception rooms just had the feel that we wanted.  And we can get married in front of a cozy fireplace- a feature that we really wanted at the ski lodges.  The space also features the most amazing chandeliers and lighting to give us that holiday glow.

On top of the fireplace and glowing lights, the wedding coordinator shared with us that the club decorates beautifully for the holidays.  We were sold!  We booked our date almost immediately.

And this past week, Justin, both sets of our parents and I  returned to the venue to see the Christmas decorations.  They were absolutely spectacular!  From the multi-story tree on the staircase leading to the ceremony room to the wreaths and frosted trees that dot the space, it's a winter wonderland!

It helped that the rooms were set-up for a wedding the following evening, giving us a true feel for what our celebration will look like!  The space was more beautiful than I could have imagined and I absolutely cannot wait to get married there next year!

Dec 5, 2018

Sparkle and Shine Day to Night

Happy holidays, friends!  And if you're stopping by from The Blended Blog, welcome.

We're celebrating one of my favorites today -- sparkles!  Head-over to TBB to see how I styled a little sparkle and shine for the daytime and stick around to see my night look.

I love a good excuse to get dressed-up and it seems like the holidays are full of such excuses!  This weekend, Justin and I attended my office Christmas party at San Chez, a tapas bistro in town.  We mixed drinks at a private cocktail-making lesson and ate and ate and ate.  My team, our significant others and I finished the night with some dancing.

This is what I wore to the office gathering.  I loved the festive green of the dress and, if you look closely, you can see that my tights are covered in little sparkly dots!

How do you like to wear your sparkle?  Make sure to link-up your looks below!

Dec 4, 2018

Currently: December 2018

decorating: our home together for the second year.  Justin and I purchased a lot of Christmas "basics" last year to begin our family collection of Christmas decorations.  This year we're having fun adding little extras like our new stockings.

gifting: shhh, it's a secret!  But I did receive a sweet surprise from Justin last week.  He sent me a beautiful holiday bouquet of flowers, just because.

baking: not a whole lot, but I can mix a holiday cocktail!  We attended my office holiday party this weekend at a local tapas restaurant.  Before dinner, we had a private cocktail-making class where we learned how to make the classic Negroni as well as an espresso martini!

singing: along to our family playlist.  A few weeks ago, my sister had the genius idea to gather each family member's five favorite holiday songs in order to make a playlist.  It's fun to have my favorites on rotation as well as songs that make me think of my favorite people.

mailing: Christmas cards soon!  We are taking our engagement photos this weekend and hope to use one for annual card.  We're going to have to work fast to get them out!  Simply to Impress is the company we used last year and we're planning to order from them again this year.

Linking-up with Anne!

Nov 28, 2018

What's More Holiday-y than a Christmas Tree Farm?

Hi, beautiful blogging friends!  I'm linking-up today with The Blended Blog for this week's Wednesday style theme, Holiday Attire.  I'm excited to see everyone's looks because this theme can be interpreted so many different ways.  Are you featuring a holiday party outfit?  Or a cozy ensemble to wear at home while sipping hot chocolate?

I'm opting to feature what I wore to pick-out our Christmas tree, because what's more holiday-y than a Christmas tree farm?!

Function is definitely important when traipsing up and down the rows of Christmas trees.  Boots and some warm layers are a must!

But you also want to look fun and festive!  Try some pretty colors or a fun pattern to brighten-up your look!

Alright, head over to The Blended Blog or to my friend Vanessa's blog to link-up!

Nov 21, 2018

The Perfect Fall Sweater

It's been awfully cold around here lately, especially since it's only November!  But you won't hear me complaining.  I love snow during the most wonderful time of the year!

I do keep reminding myself, though, to appreciate fall for just a few more days (because the day after Thanksgiving, it's full-blown Christmas season in my book).  So, in the name of autumn, can we appreciate all of the beautiful fall colors in this sweater?!

This sweater was a recent purchase from one of my favorite online stores, Modcloth!  It's my first stop when I'm looking for fun and unique pieces to add to my closet, especially cozy sweaters this time of year!

Are you looking to share your sweater inspiration?  Head over to The Blended Blog or Sarah's blog, Foxy's Domestic Side to link-up!

Nov 7, 2018

What to Wear for Thanksgiving

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks from tomorrow?  Do you think it feels early this year?!  Early or not, I'm not complaining.  The holiday season is my favorite time of year and I'm ready to kick it off with a morning Turkey Trot, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, family time and delicious food!

What does your family wear for Thanksgiving?  Are you a "let's get dressed-up" or a "pajama pants all the way" kind of a group?  My family falls somewhere in between.  We like to look nice but still be comfortable (I mean, obviously we have to be able to fit bellies full of food into whatever we're wearing).

This is the sort of outfit I typically reach for on Thanksgiving morning:
stretchy jeans...check
cozy, tunic-y sweater...check
fall colors...check!

So tell me, what do you plan to wear for Thanksgiving.  Or better yet, show me!  Head over to The Blended Blog or my friend Alison's blog, Puppies and Pretties, to link-up!

Nov 6, 2018

Currently: November 2018

appreciating: quite time at home.  Justin and I had a whirlwind fall.  Between out-of-town weddings and our season tickets to Michigan State football games, we haven't had a weekend since the beginning of September where we haven't had to leave town for something or another.  While we've had a lot of fun, I'm really looking forward to a slower November.  We kicked-off a more relaxing month this weekend with a long run on a local trail, dinner and game night with friends, crockpot cooking and a Sunday spent entirely in pajamas without leaving the house.

cooking: so many fall dishes!  I love cooking this time of year!  From the fall produce to the warm, hearty meals that sound so good as the weather turns cooler, I've been having so much fun meal planning and cooking lately.  I made this Hearty Fall Casserole (photo courtesy of The Weary Chef) on Friday and it was so good and filling!

researching: wedding vendors.  Justin and I went to a Grand Rapids event called the Beer Hop Bridal Show a couple of weekends ago.  It was so fun to meet wedding vendors while drinking our way around a few GR breweries and distilleries.  They even hired a limousine service to take us from venue to venue.

getting: so many pairs of Christmas pajamas!  As a part of our engagement photo shoot, Justin and I are planning to take some pictures at our home (with our cats).  For these pictures we're going to wear Christmas pajamas.  I've ordered no fewer than eight pajama combinations to mix and match.  Don't worry, I'm going to settle on one set and return the rest!

posting: fall outfits.  This isn't only my favorite season for cooking, it's my favorite season for getting dressed, as well!  My new found inspiration is helping me get back into the swing of style blogging.  I've got another fall fashion outfit coming to you tomorrow!

Linking-up with Anne!

Oct 31, 2018

Belgian Cardigan

I know you've heard of Belgian chocolate, but did you know that Belgian cardigans are a thing, too!?  Okay, okay, maybe it's not a thing, but I did buy this cardigan in Belgium!

Speaking of cardigans, do you get as excited about cardigan season (a.k.a. fall) as I do?  I just feel more pulled-together and stylish when I can add a layer to my outfit.  And since this cardigan was a souvenir and is a bit more stylized with the swingy fit and shorter sleeves, I'm extra happy to pull it out of the closet on chilly days.

In other news, I finally made plans to get back into blogging about style.  I put together this outfit and wore it on a day when Justin would be able to take a few outfit pictures...and then my camera dies!  I guess that's what happens when you're an absentee blogger and neglect your camera for a few months.  So this is my only picture!

But you're in luck!  If you are looking for other long cardigan inspiration, make sure to head over to The Blended Blog or visit Lana at My New Happy to link-up and peruse lots of cardigan-themed ensembles.

Oct 24, 2018

TBB Style Link-Up Schedule

Well hello there, friends!  I just want to pop-in today to remind you that Wednesdays are for style around here.  I've gotten myself out of the habit of posting outfit pictures, but as I get back into the swing of things, I'll be linking-up with The Blended Blog every Wednesday with what I've been wearing.

This week my lovely friends are featuring their boho babe looks.  If you want to flaunt your bohemian style, make sure to head to The Blended Blog or our host this week, Andrea's, blog Living on Cloud Nine, to link-up!

And make sure to join me next week (and all the weeks to follow) by dressing for the prompts below!

Oct 22, 2018

Trunk Club Review: Fall 2018

Happy Monday, friends!  I know, I know.  I keep telling you that I'm trying to get back into the swing of blogging.  So here is my fresh start, once again!  (Thanks for always sticking with me through the ups and downs of blogging).

Anyways, back in April, I posted a review of my first Trunk Club experience.  I've elected to receive trunks seasonally and I wanted to share with you what I've received this fall!

If you're unfamiliar with Trunk Club, I'll share the information directly below.  If you already know what the service provides, jump down the first picture!

What is Trunk Club?

Trunk Club is a personal styling service through Nordstrom.  For a $25 styling fee, your personal stylist will get to know you and what you like to wear.  Then she will send you a trunk filled with goodies curated for you to try-on.  From there, you purchase what you want to keep (the $25 fee is applied to what you decide to buy) and send the rest back for free!  Afterwards, you review all pieces so that your stylist can use the information to put together your next trunk.  You can choose to receive a new trunk every month or seasonally (and you can skip trunks if you want).

If this is something you are interested in trying, I would super appreciate you using my my referral link so I can earn money towards my next trunk!

Why I like Trunk Club better than Stitch Fix.

You might be thinking that TC sounds a lot like Stitch Fix.  That's because it's super similar...but I like Trunk Club better!  Yes, the styling fee is $25 as opposed the $20 for Stitch Fix.  But you get so many more items in your Trunk Club box.  I feel that your odds of getting something you like are way better!  Plus, the styling fee is applied to what you decide to buy anyways, so that extra $5 doesn't matter too much.

I also like the personal connection you have to your Trunk Club stylist.  You actually get to chat with her (or him) in real time about your personal style and what kinds of clothes you are looking for.  That paired with the style survey you fill-out helps your stylist to really pick-out things that are perfect for you!

On top of the variety of pieces you receive and the personal attention, my stylist nailed my fit!  I usually eliminated most Stitch Fix pieces I received because they didn't fit quite right.  My stylist, Abby, made it hard to choose what to keep because all but one piece fit so well!

The Pieces.

Gibson Tie Front Crepe Top: This top is super cute!  I found the wrap detailing to be flattering and interesting enough to let the top speak for itself without adding lots of accessories.  I also love the color (plus it comes in five other hues and patterns).  I'm wearing my typical size medium and the top fits true-to-size.  Ultimately, I didn't keep the top, though.  There was one amazing splurge piece in my trunk that I decided to keep at the cost of returning everything else.  This shirt was hard to say goodbye to!

Good American Good Waist Ripped High Waist Skinny Jeans:  Y'all, these jeans were so soft, stretchy and comfy!  While I didn't keep them, I did wear them around the house a bit and they seemed to hold their shape and smoothed-out my curves.  Speaking of curves, I'm really feeling this new brand, Good American, for more than just these jeans.  They have a great collection of work-out clothes (I mean, check-out these leggingsand they are big on size-inclusivity!  P.S.  I'm wearing a size 6 in these jeans when I typically wear a size 8 in pants.

Baublebar Cathleen Statement Necklace: This necklace is really pretty and would add a fun sparkle to your upcoming holiday attire.  Ultimately, though, I already have a really similar necklace so I passed on this beauty.

Lucky Brand Perrma Bootie: Oh man, did I love these ankle boots!  I loved the color, the detail and the texture was so so soft!  Ultimately, though, I splurged on something else (I'm saving it for the end of the post) so I sent these back.  I still miss them.

Madewell Mock Neck Boxy T-Shirt Dress: This dress would be a great staple piece in your wardrobe! While being a t-shirt dress, the material was thick and hung nicely on my body.  It would be fun to add various cardigans, blazers, scarves and boots to the dress to make for some creative fall looks.  I'm wearing my usual medium.

Nordstrom Cashmere and Silk Wrap: The color and texture of this scarf was beautiful!  Although I honestly found it to be too small to style different ways.  Considering the price of the scarf, this was an easy pass for me.

Halogen Twist Back Sweater:  I apologize for these pictures being rather dark, but to be honest, you're not missing much with this outfit.  I had high hopes for this slouchy sweater with an interesting back.  However the fit was so unflattering that I didn't even bother to try to get a picture of the back.  I'm wearing a medium and I wouldn't say the sizing is necessarily off, just the sweater in general.

Wit and Wisdom Ab-Solution Skinny Ponte Pants: Okay, so these pants were admittedly not as bad as I thought they would be.  But let me tell you, plaid leggings and my legs are not a good mix.  My typical size 8 did fit, though!

Loveappella Short Sleeve Wrap Top Jumpsuit: So from the front, I actually loved this jumpsuit (I did not expect to like it so much) but from the back, it was a total no.  It fit so tightly across my backside that there was no way I would go out in public wearing it.  I'm wearing a size medium so I would definitely recommending one size up from what you normally wear.

Gibson Notch Collar Cotton Blend Blazer: If you're looking for a good classic, yet comfortable blazer, this one would be a great one to check-out!  For me, I know I usually like blazers only when they have some unique detailing so this one went back to Nordstrom. (If you like it, it does run true-to-size)!

Treasure and Bond Glen Plaid Shirt: This shirt was another big 'ole no!  Oversized, more masculine looking pieces definitely aren't my style so I sent this back.  I think maybe had my stylist sent one size down, I may have liked it better.  So definitely size down on this one.

Linea Paolo Dean Pointy Toe Flat: But these shoes, aren't they beautiful!  As soon as I saw them, I knew my chances of keeping anything else from my trunk were slim.  They were definitely a splurge but I think that they will be a great staple in my wardrobe for years to come!

What do you think?  I'd love to know what pieces you liked and didn't like so leave a comment below!