Monday, October 20, 2014

Current Fashion Obsession: Coatigans

You might call them sweater coats or wrap sweaters...but I call them awesome. I think the official term for them is Coatigan (coat + cardigan) and thank you to my Memaw for informing me of the name!

These are a huge fashion trend this season and are so comfy looking. I can totally picture these with some jeans or leggings and boots. Something about them just makes me want to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and watch football...or a Christmas movie.:)

What is a coatigan? In essence, a long sweater that may or may not have any front closures on it. They tend to be a chunkier knit and don't have a lot of structure. Pairing these with a more slim fit on the bottom is the best look. (think skinny jeans or leggings/jeggings) Boots, booties or even some really cute loafers would be great with this look. A chunkier knit/loose fit is better with a more substantial shoe...so I wouldn't really do ballet flats with this look.

Are you jumping on the coatigan train?

Here are some great budget-friendly coatigans: Target, Old Navy, Old Navy, Forever 21Forever 21, Forever 21+, Target +

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fashion Finds: Old Navy

Old Navy used to be one of my go-to stores. Now, it's a bit more hit-or-miss. I like to buy work-appropriate clothing there and usually their dresses and skirts are some of my favorites. They have some really cute items right now and a lot of them are on sale. Here are some of my favorites.

 
I feel like this is the "normal person" version of a tulle ballet skirt. (Which I absolutely adore...but know I could never pull it off. It is not for those graced with larger hips.)
 
 
I own one very similar to this that is navy and textured and I'm obsessed with it. This appears to be the same dress but with a different fabric. This dress is universally flattering and could be worn in almost any season. (Tights + boots+ cardigan in cold temps and with sandals like in the picture above in warmer temps.) Bonus...it's a neutral! So I can wear any of my statement necklaces with it! :)
 
 
I'm obsessed with peplum and this shirt looks like the perfect color and fit! It also comes in black and would be so cute under a cardigan for fall.
 
 
 
I LOVE this and it's a nice alternative to the more expensive versions from Banana and JCrew. It's really a very versatile layering piece.
 
 
I love this! It's totally cute for work or with jeans and a tee on the weekend. It also comes in gray.
 
Do you ever shop at Old Navy?
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How I Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Something for the kids | Carolyne Roehm

Yes, you are reading this correctly...I am writing about Christmas mid-October. But, now is the best time to share my information with you...why? Because now is the time to start planning for your Christmas gifts for friends and family.

The key to saving money on Christmas is PLANNING. 

Instead of putting yourself into debt or spending an extraordinary amount of money between November and December, start planning now. Buy one or two gifts with each paycheck so the cost of the gifts are spread out over a few months. This is how I do it and it's very effective. It also allows you to take advantage of sales early. Now, I know that sales for Black Friday and such are good, but retailers often raise prices of their inventory in order to discount them a lot for the holidays. By purchasing something that's on sale from the normal price instead of the jacked up regular price discounted to a "sale" price, you are saving money.

Does that even make sense?

Let me also say that some things like electronics and movies/games ARE cheaper after Black Friday. So, do your research and know what the normal retail price is so you can gauge whether or not you are actually getting a deal. 

For example, it's mid-October and I'm finished shopping for my mother, my mother-in-law, my father and M. I still have a few gifts to get but I can do so over time...avoiding a financial burden right around the holidays.

Now, please don't get preachy on me about gifts and the true meaning of Christmas. I know what the real meaning of Christmas is, thankyouverymuch, and I know that Christmas presents have nothing to do the original meaning of Christmas. HOWEVER, unless your entire family puts the kabosh on gift-giving (which mine does not) you give gifts. And if I'm going to give gifts I want them to be good gifts that are in my budget. End rant.

What if I don't know what to get someone so early before Christmas? (this is a frequent question I hear) Well, there are some people...I'm looking at you, sister...who are difficult to shop for and don't make up their mind on what they want until later in the year near Christmas. I just plan for her those people accordingly and get the gifts that I DO know or have planned out beforehand. I had a good idea of what I wanted to get my mother and mother-in-law, so when a store put the items on sale, I scooped some up. The other thing I do is keep a note on my phone of gift ideas for other people or things they mention they'd like in passing. Even if it's February...keeping that list helps to jog your memory when it comes to gift purchasing time. I know my father-in-law will probably want a gift card to a store he goes to all the time...so I get that early too. By knocking the "known" gifts out of the way, you can focus your time, efforts and budget on those "unknowns" closer to Christmas.

Really, the key in all of this is planning, planning, planning. The more you can purchase ahead of November, the better. Also, do not even hesitate to purchase online. I buy Christmas gifts for my friends and family almost exclusively through online shopping and you can score some great deals. The beauty of online shopping is that you may find an item cheaper on a site like Amazon than in the original retail store. (Example: A Columbia fleece is cheaper on Amazon than it may be at the Columbia store or Columbia website.)

I'm happy to offer more advice if you're interested. This is what works for me and my budget so maybe it could work for yours too?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Anjolee Jewelry Review

I’ve got something pretty awesome  to share with y’all today. I was contacted by Anjolee jewelry to review one of their products and I chose this GORGEOUS ring.


It’s item EB1007 and I was able to customize it with CZ and garnet (my birthstone). I’m obsessed with this ring and I’ve received a ton of compliments on it the first day I wore it!



Anjolee jewelry was founded in 1977 and is based out of San Diego, CA. They’ve been a big player in the high-end jewelry game for 40 years or so but branched out in the virtual world of jewelry in 2008. Since then, they've been one of the leading diamond jewelry retailers on the market and sell amazing custom pieces directly to the consumer. 


With the holidays right around the corner (eek!!) you or someone you know might be interested in buying a custom jewelry piece for a loved one and Anjolee is the place to go! One of my favorite parts of their website is their Information section where you can learn about finishes, settings, metals, diamond cuts and clarities and more! I wish M and I had known about this resource when we were shopping for our wedding jewelry…however, you better believe M knows about this awesome education source for any future (hint hint) jewelry purchases. J

I’m thoroughly impressed by the quality of my ring and am certain that anything with the name Anjolee on it will be top quality! 



I love wearing my Anjolee ring by itself or stacked on top of my wedding band when I’m not wearing my engagement ring. It’s so pretty! I really just think I need a few more to stack on top of it. HA! You should check out Anjolee jewelry if you are in the market for a custom jewelry piece.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post. I was provided with a product, free of charge, in exchange for my review. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend Recap

Normally I'm a stay-at-home-and-take-it-easy type gal on the weekends. But this weekend was jam-packed! Recap is below!


On Saturday morning I ran a 5k with my mom. I beat last year's time by over 3 and a half minutes. My official time was 45:05 (pic above was from what I was tracking on my phone). I want to start running more of these because it's addicting and I'm anxious to run more races! 


After the 5k, we made the 1 hour trek down to Columbia to the SC State Fair. Let me just say that it was a good thing that I ran a 5k in the morning because pretty much all we did at the fair was walk around, look at the animals and exhibits...and EAT. 




And man, did we eat. Deep fried Double Stuft Oreos, Deep Fried Reese's Cups, Corn Dogs...mmmm! Also, for the first time this year, we really enjoyed seeing all of the agricultural exhibits. SC sure does grow some pretty things! 


Sunday, my best friend's baby was being dedicated at church. Below is a pic of her and I on Thursday night. Isn't she adorable??


Sunday was wrapped up with grocery shopping and bargain hunting at Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Publix. I did score some great deals. But I've realized that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to couponing...the problem being that I can't stop. Seriously. My non-food stockpile is taking over the linen closet. 

My whirlwind weekend has come to a close. I can say with certainty that I'm ready for the week to start! 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Word Dump Wednesday

Let me apologize before you get very far into this post. It's a word dump. The random thoughts going through my mind. A proverbial diarrhea of the mind and mouth...for your reading pleasure. Let's proceed.

1. I'm looking forward to eating our wedding cake on our anniversary. Our baker is making a small cake for us in the same flavor/design as our wedding cake for our anniversary. We opted for this when ordering the cake to save money. Plus, we don't have to eat year-old cake. Duh. But I'm already looking forward to it. Think there is some sort of 6 month wedding cake eating tradition?

2. Honeycrisp apples. Seriously, they are the most amazing thing. That with some peanut butter on the side makes for one amazing snack. My ONLY complaint is that they are all on the large side for apples. I have to share because I usually can't finish one. I wish they made mini honeycrisp apples.

Because I love miniature everything.

3. On that note, did you know there is farm of miniature animals? I will be planning a special trip to go there...and it is on my life list...cough....M....cough. I need to see this place.

On another similar note: Meet Percy.

4. I'm running another 5k this Saturday. Actually it's the same one I ran last year...but I'm way more worried this year because I haven't been training for it like I did last year. Sigh.

5.  I'm a very light sleeper. I've always been this way. It's become much more of an issue in the last few months with the addition of another human (M) in my bed. He's a thrasher and a talker. Part of me wants to stay awake just to see if he says anything funny. Between a thrashing husband and a dog that spends his evenings alternating between grooming, loudly dreaming and pacing the master bathroom...Zzquil has become a close friend.

6. I hate when Netflix removes some of the shows I'm watching...while I'm watching them. It irks me to no end. On October 1st, apparently they removed Clean House and I was in the middle of Season 4. BUT they added House Hunters, Love it or List it and Man Vs. Food back...so...I'm torn. Really, can't they just ADD stuff instead of removing it?

7. I made breakfast for dinner on Tuesday night and came to the following conclusions: I love bacon but I hate cooking it. (I can thank the grease that flew on to my face for that.) I love bacon but I hate that it literally makes my house smell like bacon for the next 72 days. I love bacon but I'm not that great at cooking it. It's either limp or burned. And finally, the fact that M and I love our scrambled eggs cooked the exact same way means we are destined to be together forever, right? :)

8. Our next door neighbors have gone crazy with their Halloween decorations. Like...stahp. It's enough. We live in townhomes. Our front yards are a postage-stamp sized square and theirs is literally covered in Halloween garb...complete with lights and an inflatable ghost. Also, they are Yankees...and it's recently come to my attention that Yankees or Midwesterners tend to go all out on Halloween decorations more than Southern people. I'd never thought about this until someone mentioned it. Now, it seems so true! Everyone I know that has extensive Halloween decor are from the North or the Northern Midwest. How strange is that?! I wonder if it has anything to do with The South and the Bible Belt? (Many very religious people don't celebrate Halloween...and for lots of Southerners...my mom included...they think it's The Devil's night. True story.) Have you ever witnessed or taken part in this phenomenon? Do you have lots and lots of Halloween decorations?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall's Most Versatile Accessory!

I recently purchased my first leopard print scarf and I love it! The best thing about the scarf is that it can go with so many things.

Often, people think that leopard can really only go with solid colors or other neutrals, but they can go with other prints too! I've said before that for me, leopard print can be treated like a neutral in many cases. This fall, a leopard scarf will look great with stripes, plaid and even polka dots. See my examples below.


Some pattern-mixing tips:

1. In general, I'd keep your print one or two colors or multiple colors in the same range. For example, the black and white plaid and the brown striped tops are both colors that may normally occur in a leopard print pattern.

2. Keep your pattern bold and large. An exception to this is pinstripes, which could work if they are subtle colors. But for the most part, the more bold and graphic the print is, the better it works with a smaller print like leopard (or another animal print, for that matter).

3. If you're going with a non-neutral, go for a bright like red, coral, cobalt or even emerald. If the above sweater were white with black polka dots I don't think it would look as good.

4. Stay away from colored leopard prints...unless that is the look you are trying to match. I've seen leopard printed scarves in unusual colors like pink, green and blue. I'd say to stick with a more neutral palette and you'll have much more versatility with it.

Each of the scarf examples I've listed are $30 or under. It's a great accessory that can go with lots of items in your closet. (I wore mine with black pants, a cream cami and a hunter green cardigan...but I'm chomping at the bit to wear it again.)

Happy leopard print mixing!

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