What I Wore: j.crew Stripes

I get accused of dressing up a lot-- my co workers, students, my dad, it doesn't matter apparently I "dress up" a lot. For the record, and I am going on record here, I really honestly believe that a dress is the easiest thing/ most comfortable thing I can wear. 
No matter how "dressed up" it makes me look. 
Oh you think I am just making SAYING that I love dresses? 
The other day I counted 40 dresses in my closet-- FORTY, and I can legitimately say that I have worn the heck out of them all. When I saw this little striped cotton dress at j. crew factory I knew it needed to be number 41. Easy, fun and versatile, OH SO VERSATILE!

dress: j. crew factory/necklace: j. crew factory/sandals: Report

(also isn't this little over grown barn back drop to DIE for?)

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Vacation Views

Today I will be soaking up the last bit of my vacation. The crashing ocean (and the heat radiating off of my expired sunscreen experience) the spanish moss draped tree lined streets. The hugs of my mama and my dad asking me what is for dinner. I love it here in South Carolina, but I can't wait to get back to my Texas. 

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High Five For Friday No. 42

Its been a while since I have had a week that was HF4F worthy! Honestly, I think I am ready for school to start back up! I have recovered (or well at least attempted to) recover from summer school and am now craving the structure of a school year. Starting today I am on a whirl wind trip of South Carolina and Central Texas-- ya know ending summer with a BANG! 

** these are massively out of chronological order
1. #LegroomJACKPOT: When I boarded the plane --a little late oops, the very front seat of the plane was open and I got to fly with my legs fully stretched out in front of me for the whole 2 hour flight. It was GLORIOUS. 

2. Purple Peplum Perfection: I bought a purple peplum. I am now never wearing another shirt again. Thanks for visiting.

3. Role Reversal: Normally when an adult child goes to their parents house they can't wait for their mamas home cooking. In this house my parents can't wait for ME to cook dinner. My family is weird. Great, but weird. 

4. So Fresh: I am obsessed with Farmers Markets. My dad and I hit one up after I landed in SC (3rd best in the nation-- Charlotte told me that, she's a local) basically any fruit or vegetable is better in a cute woven wooden basket. FACT. 

5. Friend SURPRISES: Kaitlyn and A are the bestest friends ever and surprised me with a vintage camera for my collection. Think I have enough? Nah-- me either!  

BONUS HIGH FIVE: Look up at the URL ^^... yep thats right this girl got her own .com #ballin
Reese is the bestest boyfriend ever and helped (aka did it all) me make the switch! Yay moving up in the blog world! 

Now my mom and I are going to get mani pedis and shop for things we don't need. Happy FRIDAY! 

Linking Up with Lauren!

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The Tips and Tricks of Styling Sessions

There was a point in college that I was so fed up with my wardrobe that I wore t-shirt and running for like 6 weeks straight... which if you know me at all is SO NOT NORMAL (even in college). Recently I was feeling like I was getting in one of those wardrobe ruts again-- you know the kind, the kind that make you scream "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR" and wear t-shirts and running shorts for 6 weeks straight. Yeah aren't those viable options anymore clothes are required for work and running shorts aren't and option (except if you are a coach... but don't get me started on that soap box), I needed to figure something else. 

Solution: Hire Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth for her virtual styling skills. 
(This is where I would show you a screen shot of video chatting with her, but its all snapchat like and sends them a message that you took a screen shot and I didn't want to be creepy). I learned A LOT though out our session. I also had NO idea how to prepare. So please allow me to share...

How to have a Virtual Styling Session: 

1. Get out of the closet: You've got to actually pull your clothes out. Sometimes you forget about pieces that have been hiding out of sight for years-- I had an AWESOME black blazer that I had forgotten about! 

2.  Pieces not outfits: I both physically and mentally separated my wardrobe in tops, skirts,dresses, and pants. Decide which category is most important to you and focus there. I decided to start with skirts because several skirts that were one-trick-ponies. Lauren helped me open my mind to mixing patterns and colors. 

3. High Vis= High Results: One of the downsides of a virtual styling session is the stylist cant see, touch and feel all of the options available. In order to get the most out of the session they have to see as much as possible in the frame of the chat to get a sense of your style and what they have to work with. I chose to use my dressing area as a backdrop and a large window to "display" my tops. Lauren could see possibilities by calling out the colors that she saw!

4. Don't Try it on-- You know how your clothes fit. If there is something you have not worn in a while try it on before you get into your session. A virtual styling session is a lot about opening your mind to new combinations not necessarily new pieces. Just holding the clothes up together you and your stylist can see if they will work together -- no need to try it on during the session. 

5. Open Minded: I had a pretty open mind when I "met" with Lauren. I was totally ok when we put a outfit together that involved neon and royal blue and all sorts of other colors--something that is totally out of my comfort zone! An open mind is the key to having a successful styling session

6. Photo Finish: When you are done meeting with your stylist TAKE PICTURES of the outfits that yall have come up with. Honestly we came up with so many combinations that I wanted to be able remember all of them... so I broke out my camera and snapped away and keep them in a folder on my computer that I can always access for inspiration! 

Lessons from Lauren

1. Be colorful: In this outfit the colors work together to balance each other out over competing with each other because the blue is saturated. Lesson: Pair bright colors with more saturated jewel tones

2. Blazer it: The white dress in this outfit is SUPER girly and really makes me feel young. I love the dress but haven't been able to wear it and not feel like one of my students. Lauren suggested I pair it with my j. crew school boy blazer. Wa-la instant more mature! 
Lesson: A blazer can age (in a good way) any outfit!
3. Patterns, OH MY: Wearing more than one pattern is SCARY. This outfit work because of the size difference in the two pattens. The green top has a tiny polkadot pattern that compare very well with the big bold navy stripe.
Lesson: Don't be afraid to mix patterns, just be aware of the pattern size!

Clearly I had a busy afternoon! 
Over all I AM SO GLAD that I decided to hire Lauren to take a peek into my closet. I honestly feel like I have a whole new wardrobe with out having to brave the middle school infested mall. I cant wait until school starts again so I can wear some of my "new" outfits!

Find out about her virtual styling sessions HERE  

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Ponds BB+ Cream Review

The only thing I have ever successfully sold in my life is Girl Scout Cookies-- and using the word successful might be a stretch, lets be honest Girl Scout cookies sell themselves. In the 1st grade I sold 100 boxes of deliciousness and received the much coveted pink and green water bottle that coincidentally matched my bike (basically the pinnacle of happiness for an 8 year old) . At one point in the sorting and delivery process a box of Thin Mints disappeared and made my already exhausted mother lose it. I hear rumors the incident is still talked about in therapy sessions. After the unmentionable disappearance of the Thin Mints I pretty much resolved myself to never sell anything again. It just isn't in my blood. Dealing with 8th graders for 8 year olds all day -- totally down for the challenge, Ask me to sell something-- you couldn't pay me enough. Now what I do love is a product that can sell itself (see Girl Scout Cookie example above). 

I was given Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ to try and from the moment it touched my skin I knew it fell into the category of "products that sell themselves".  The best part of trying Pond's BB+ cream is that they gave me 4 products to share with my friends (hi, COOL!) so I thought I would let them tell you about their experience! 

" As a new mom I have very little time to get ready in the morning and I love that when I use Ponds BB cream it is super easy and leaves me feeling fresh confident, and ready to tackle whatever life throws my way" --KatieBeth, Boy Mom 

"From the very first use I knew that this was the BB Cream for me. I previously used one from a brand that shall remain nameless, think green, but I hated how oily it made my skin The Pond's BB goes on so easy and continues to look amazing all day long. I will use this for as long as they make it, and then cry when they don't."-- Kaitlyn; Put a Bow on it Blog

I am SUCH A BIG FAN of this stuff and have pretty much recommended it to anyone I have run across in the two weeks I have had the product! Now if sending me an awesome product in a really cool package and sending full size products for my friends wasn't enough they also have a little contest going on. I made a little video telling a GREAT story about Ponds (really it is family favorite) and the benefits of this product I am obsessed with. 
The prize for this contest is a TV spot on Entertainment Tonight ... yall, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT.
So if ya wanna help a girl out go vote for my video on Ponds Facebook page. On the page click on "Meet our BB+" and scroll though the videos until you find mine! 

(also if you are on your phone it wont work... LAME)
You can vote once a day, don't worry I'll gently remind you :) 

This is a screen shot... go watch it on Facebook!!!
Don't you wanna see this face on Entertainment Tonight?? 
The only face makeup I have on is the BB cream and blush.
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all products complimentary from Influenster. All opinions are my own.


Point Counter Point: Online Shopping

One of the reasons I love Whitney from The Observant Turtle is how we can be so similar but so different at the same time. Making friends as an adult is such uncharted territory for most of us. We are all used to being friends with people we have either known our whole (or most) of our lives or those we share similar interests and ideas with. When we start to make friends as an adult most of the time we have to start branching out and realizing not everyone is exactly like us.  I will always be so thankful for Whit for being my first real "adult friendship"(but really can I be an adult? I am wearing blue nail polish and listening to Taylor Swift!) and not being exactly like me. With all that said Whit and I are going to be doing a few posts that highlight some of our differences... so with out further adu here is our first Point-Counter-Point post...

I am the girl with a full shopping cart on practically every online shopping website just waiting for that "40% off" or "Free Shipping" to come rolling into my inbox. I swear by online shopping, like hand on the bible or a Kardashian saying "bible". I am a bargain shopper by nature, but I also know what I want, so basically I am a girl--really specific and really difficult, cool. I love the versatility, savings, and variety, plus a visit from a man in a brown van is never a bad thing. 

Reasons I Love Online Shopping 

1. Deals: Once I find an item I can't live without I can monitor when it drops in price or has a %off that makes it worth it. I keep a open cart on my frequently shopped stores where I can quickly snap up the deals when they come across my inbox.

2. Frequency: There is ALWAYS a deal somewhere, which is a major pro and a major con. To keep my clicking finger at bay I limit my email notification to a select number of stores.

3. Variety: Most of the stores I order from (minus j. crew/factory) are stores I would otherwise never be able to physically go to because I don't have one close to me or they exist solely online. Many online stores have sizes and colors that they do not have or are out of in stores.

4. Mail: There is really nothing better than having a package welcoming you home. We all love a little snail mail love.

Favorite Online Stores

 Here are two of my favorite completely bought online outfits! Most of it is from j. crew factory.
tiered lack tank (similar)/pleated crinkle chiffon skirt/yellow mod bib (similar)

Wide Striped Mini/Classic Chambray/ Neon Crystal Fan Necklace

Go check out WHITNEY's Counter point!

Are you an online shopper? Where are your favorite places to but from?
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Splurge or Spend 2013 Jewelry Trends

I feel like my whole life is one big game of splurge or save. Most of the time I land on the "save" end of the spectrum. Sometimes my skimping is not always the the best route to go. I have bought jewelry from some of those "deal" websites and been burned almost every time--they are either broken on arrival, fell apart or have a funky cheap metal smell. Finally I got some common sense and realized that sometimes the going with the quality item is the way to go--whether it breaks the bank or not. I love that there are stores and sites that offer trendy jewelry that doesn't cost as much as my rent and are have products that are with quality materials. 
There are a few things that I look at when buying a "save" piece of jewelry: 

1. Clasp-- Is the clasp or fascinator attached well? Does it work well/ or easy to open? There is nothing more frustrating that spending 10 minutes in an already rushed morning than wrestling with a unruly clasp.  
2. Smell-- Does it have a funny smell? Cheap metals give off a metallic smell that will basically drive you crazy all day.
3. Trendy-ness-- Is the item here to stay for a season or two or is it a one outfit wonder? There are some pieces that it is totally acceptable to spend $5 on and then let it gather dust. 

Here are a few of my favorite Splurges vs. Saves

Gold Chain (Due to the rise of 2 Chains?)

Leather and Studs 

Jewel Tone/Natural Stone 

Colorful Drop Earrings 

Statement Bibs 
What are your biggest "save" tips when buying jewelry?
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2013 Bedroom Redo

Let me start with a confession, I LOVE to redecorate my room. Every year in college I repainted, rearranged and repurposed my room. 4 colors/styles and 4 years later the bug was not out of my system... clearly. I mentioned a few posts back that I moved a lot as a kid and with each of those moves I BEGGED my parents to let me paint my room, normally I got the "well see". I would spend days drawing and dreaming up designs-- clouds painted on the celling, one wall turned entirely into a message board, idea after idea (and to think these were the days BEFORE Pinterest). I never got to do any of them (yeah, yeah I know mom I'll add it to my therapy bill).

I was obsessed then and I am obsessed now... except now I CAN DO WHAT EVER I WANT TO MY ROOM (with in the confines of my lease that I am sure was written by the devil himself). So when I resigned my lease and realized that I would be in this space for at least another 365+ days I decided to once again redo my bedroom. 
I used things I already had from previous redesign venturers, a few coats of spray paint on what I had just laying around, as well as a few new items to add some color! 
I bought exactly 4 new things (see above) --redecorating gets expensive! Everything accept the lamp from Hobby Lobby-- all available online! The lamp I picked up from Home Goods... which is equally as addicting as Hobby Lobby. 

 Where my chest of drawers is now I had a oversized chair taking up space and becoming a catch all of well... ALL of my stuff. Bags, clothes, shoes, bills... you name it and I am sure it took up residence in "the chair". When the chair got the boot and went on to another loving family via Goodwill I was left with an awkward amount of space. Lightbulb moment... enter my dressing area. I TRY (operative word being try) to plan my outfits out the night before because as a wise tweet I read today reads; 
"In the morning, there's a huge difference between waking up at 6:55am and 7:00am."
(Sidebar: I do in fact get up earlier than 7:00... on most days)
 Jasmine Star is COMPLETELY right. I needed a space that was not only functional but would appeal to my sense of "oh pretty, I guess I should get out of bed".

 I used 3M hooks, decorative frames I had from my first attempt at a gallery wall (praise the lord I did not blog in 2009, it was a disaster), and my pride and joy pure glittered deer antlers to create depth and texture. 

 Glittered Deer antlers, you ask? 
Yes, AND THEY ARE AWESOME (Reese does not think so, but this is not his room so HA).

 Fun fact, my school is in the COUNTRY like the check-your-truck-for-knives-and-guns-you-might-have-accidentally-left-from-hunting kind of country. Around Christmas time I was browsing though some blogs and found that Jessica had done a post about deer antlers and the cute things people women were doing with them. I casually asked some of my boys I knew were avid hunters where I could get a pair of antlers-- they few out some suggestions but really didn't give me an answer (shocker). The next day I walked in to my room to find a set on my desk with big Merry Christmas note. So basically my students rock. Then I proceeded to glitter them and they disowned me. 

(THIS is what this looked like before)
 The original ledge/bottle/banner/canvas thing (so technical) was one of my favorite things in my room, BUT none the less it was ready for a change as well. I kept the same basic premis. Put a new coat of white paint on the ledge to freshen up the original 1908 farmhouse green, replaced the shutter with a canvas and rehung the banner. And I am in love with it (pun intended). 
"Love you More" pillow// Cynthia Rowley Comforter (Similar)
 Throw pillows bother the heck out of me, there I said it, I can hear Southern Living taking me off there mailing list as I type. They are also essential to design-- design won out. I really like that I choose to do three different pattered and colors to add interest (also I want you to think I intentionally did that when in actuality the store only had one of each pillow... just keeping it real around here). I picked up my comforter at Home Goods 2 years ago because it was "a blank canvas with some interest" and it is actually they only comforter I have had for a consecutive 2 years. You go pleated comforter. 
Ah, my beloved old camera collection how I love thee. I love thee so much I wrote you a haiku 

Most of you dont work,
but that is ok with me 
you are still pretty.

And last but not least the accessory hub. Having both my earrings and necklaces on one cork board was getting a bit crowed (gee thank Bauble Bar), so when I ran across these cork board letters that just happen to magically be my initials I thought they would be a perfect home for my earrings! Again, monograms for the win! 

And that concludes the tour of my 2013 bedroom redo, join us next year where I may finally paint those clouds on the celling thirteen year old me desperately needed! 

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Snack Obsession: Lesser Evil Chia Crisps

I have mentioned here a few times that I am not a sweets girl. I mean don't get me wrong if you put a slice of cheesecake down in front of me I'd eat it-- I would hate to be rude, but this "sweet tooth" people speak of I have NO frame of reference. I think the last time I actually got a slice of cake at a wedding was three years ago. Before you go applauding me on my amazing self control  I must make a confession to you about my unbridled NEED for salt in my life. I can eat a whole bag of potato chips in one episode of Real Housewives, I can eat ALL my Chick-Fil-A fries before I get home, and I can even (and been known too) eat all the salt from the bottom of the pretzel bag (by the way just because I CAN do all these things dosen't necessarily actually do... well on a regular basis). Clearly I love me the savory side of life. 

It is pretty much a regular occurrence that I feel INCREDIBLY guilty about my salty snack intake which is why I am always on the hunt for healthy salty snacks. 

I picked them up at my local grocery store (HEB for you Texas people, the rest of you I feel sorry for your poor HEB-less souls) intrigued by the well designed packaging, flavor (Dill Pickle chips are the way to my heart, but very hard to find), and STUPID amount of health benefits. I only bought one package (um MISTAKE) because I had played the "I am tasty and healthy" game before and had been doped -fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.   
When I ate my first black bean and chia seed chip it was MAGIC I tell you, pure unadulterated MAGIC. I immediately regretted only buying one bag and resisted the urge to get back in my car and go buy another bag. Ignoring that urge turned out the be a HUGE mistake. My appite had been wet for Dill Pickle Chia crips and when I went back to the store they had exactly ONE bag left, but it was Southern BBQ.  I decided not to discriminate-- I like Southern BBQ too.  
Look at all those health benefits...
All Natural
Gluten Free
Low Glycemic
Cholesterol Free
Good Source of Fiber
Socially Responsible
Not Genetically Modified 
Empty Calorie Free 
No artificial preservatives 
No Milk Hormones 

**As seen on Dr. Oz (I mean just sayin) 

After I, or scratch that Reese and his slightly intoxicated friends, finished off my last bag of BBQ after a wedding I was ON THE HUNT to get my hands on some more bags of these. I went as far as almost buying them on Amazon and paying EIGHT DOLLARS for shipping FOR A BAG OF CHIPS. Yall, that is how great these things are. 
Point is these chips are LEGIT and if you see them you should really pick up a bag.... or 12 (like I did when my grocery store restocked). They are the perfect healthy snack. The grocery store also told me that if I talked to the grocery manager he could order them for me (so I didn't have to pay shipping), just an idea for those who are wooed by the health benefits, my recommendation and the design nerd packaging!  

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Lesser Evil has no clue who I am, I am simply a girl who almost paid $8 shipping on ONE bag of chips.