so...I bought this top for $5 ....

Some time ago while shopping at the outlet mall, I found this gem of a top and even better it was marked down to $4.99.  If you know me at all, you know I love a turtleneck - I don't care what season it is.  I spotted a sleeveless cotton turtleneck in a great neutral color for a great price.  At the time I didn't know how or when I would wear it first, but I did know I would wear it.  An item you purchase on sale is not a great deal unless you wear it.

On a chilly evening here in West Michigan the Mister and I were heading out for an impromptu dinner with friends.  Finally .... time to debut the top.  I paired it with my favorite Kut from the Kloth jeans, a black cardigan, and my lace up bootie sandals for the evening.  My accessories included my favorite "seat belt" belt, black hoop earrings, and a simple drop necklace.  This look was casual, yet put together.  

I immediately thought of 2 additional outfits I will make with this sale gem in the weeks and months to come.  I have included pictures of all 3 outfits for you to see.  The second outfit (located top right in the photo below) is a bit more edgy.  I paired my bomber jacket, same belt and earrings, along with mules on my feet.  The shoes tie in so well.  There is a textured leather band that goes across the top of the foot while portion covering the toe box is a beautiful smooth leather.  In the last look (located bottom right in the photo below) I changed the bomber for a green utility jacket, paired that with neutral sandals for another casual, yet put together look.  I will add gold jewelry to this outfit to pull it all together when I wear it.  

 

I may try layering underneath this with a very light tissue tee as it cools down here in West Michigan.  I may even try a button down underneath with the collar popping out of the turtleneck and adding a black blazer over the layers to finish this look.  

I love all the options I am creating with this little bargain.  I would say $5 bucks well spent.  

I would love to hear of a bargain you bought and found several options for.  Better yet, I would love to help with one you are struggling with finding a way to wear now that you saved all that money.  Leave your bargain story in the comments !  

Friday Find

Do you ever go to estate sales?  The mister and I love to go and peruse from room to room and look at all the treasures.  If I'm being honest, I don't go just to find a treasure to buy.  I go to walk thru all the rooms and try to imagine what life was like in that house when it was full of life.  My favorites are the houses with decor still lost to the 60's or 70's.  I walk thru the rec room and I picture the evenings where the families must have gathered with friends and snacks while they played pool and board games and cards.  I make my way to the kitchen where you know meals were planned and cooked and then served and enjoyed.  I love to think about the living room where there may or may not have been a second tv (in addition to the one in the rec room).  Upstairs there is always at least one bedroom with a twin bed and matching dresser.  If it's not on the wall anymore, I can usually picture where the bulletin board was.  Maybe there even some posters from Teen Beat on the wall close to the bulletin board.  From the items for sale its easy to imagine what kind of life the owners lived.  The last sale we went to there was so much sporting equipment, for both summer and winter sports it was obvious this family was active.  The kitchen was so well stocked with cookbooks and all the best cooking equipment, many a good meal must have been enjoyed there.  The office was fully stocked with all the proper office supplies including a dictionary and the good old set of encyclopedias.  The dining room left nothing to wonder about how pretty a proper dinner would have looked like there.  Upstairs there were many treasures in the room that was obviously the master bedroom.  The lady of the house had quite the wardrobe.  Everything from proper 2 piece suiting to beautiful coats to casual wear, she was well dressed.  I know the idea of the sale is for people to come in and make purchases and buy all the stuff so the house is then empty and ready for sale.  I can't help but feel a little sad when we leave.  

This time I did find this treasure though.  Again, I find myself imagining where this purse was carried and how she wore it.  I hope to enjoy it for as long as it's last owner did.  

 

Do yourself a favor, visit an estate sale.  But, take your time.  Walk thru all the rooms, imagine the lives well lived there.  Hopefully on the way out you will find a treasure too.  If you do, I'd love to hear about it. 

Mid-Season Check-In

We are nearing the end of July now.  For most of us that means summer is more than halfway over.  Now is the perfect time to take a look at your wardrobe and truly see how it is working for you.  Make changes NOW - this will help as you make your way not only thru the rest of this season but also, as you pack away summer and pull out early fall in just a short time.  I have 5 easy steps for you :) :

1)  Evaluate - It's time to go thru your clothing including your accessories and shoes.  What is working and what isn't.  What have you truly not worn all season that is just taking up valuable wardrobe real estate?  What has stains, non-repairable issues, lost it's shape, etc. ?  What doesn't fit anymore?  (Don't spend too long on this one, really!)  If it doesn't fit or equally important, you don't like the way it fits, time to go. Do you have pieces that you have worn so much you are sick of them?   If you have items that once were white and are not anymore or items that were once black and now a shade closer to gray, time to say good-bye.  Which leads me to step 2...

2)  Eliminate - Whatever didn't make the cut from step 1 needs to get out of not only your closet, but your house!  If you keep it there for too long it's likely to creep back in to rotation on a day of desperation.  Part of this process is deciding where it should go.  Let me say again, if it isn't in a condition you would wear it, please don't donate to an organization for the same purpose.  Some non-profits do however, take clothing classified as rags and they can get money for this.  Check at your favorite donation site before you drop off.  Now, to step 3.

3)  Donate- Choose a non-profit organization that best fits you and your beliefs and donate your gently used clothing and accessories to them.  Do it soon so they still have time to get to those people that need it the most.  If you have some almost-same-as-new pieces you would like to consign you may be best served to clean and pack away neatly until early next year for a fresh consignment drop off.  Many consignment stores, like retail stores, are gearing up for fall now.  Your best return on investment will be next year.  

4)  Create - Take a look at the "survivors" of your first step.  Now is a great time to create new ways to wear the pieces you are keeping so your wardrobe feels refreshed.  It's also a great time to begin thinking about which pieces will roll over to the early fall transition period when the temps are so unpredictable.  

5)  Shop.  I know I know.  I was on a roll with the lingo but there isn't a word in the same sound series of evaluate, eliminate, donate, create that means buy new stuff :)  This is a great time of year to stock up on not only basics such as tshirts and tanks, but it's also a great time to purchase early fall pieces as well.  There are a million blog posts and videos about shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so I certainly didn't need to do one.  Nordstrom and other retailers offer you a sneak peek and purchase time right now to buy new fall goods at a reduced price or percentage off.  This is a great time to add things like denim, boots, coats, sweaters, and other pieces essential to fall regardless of trends.  At the same time, summer merchandise is mostly on sale right now as well.  It's a great time to pick up things like white tshirts, other basic tshirts, tanks, camis, etc. at a reduced price.  Wear them now thru the end of the season or pack away for next year.  

In all fairness, I must say fall is my favorite season of the year.  Not only for the colors and the weather, but for the clothing.  I may be a little extra excited to begin planning my fall closet.  Personal favorites aside, this is the best point in the season to evaluate your wardrobe and begin looking ahead.  It will make you feel so much better when September arrives.  

I would love to hear if you do this and how it goes for you.  If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me, I would love to hear from you. 

Friday Find

Some of my favorite things were all combined this past weekend.  One of my favs from my family came to visit.  We went shopping.  We discovered a new local boutique together.  In a week where it's even more important to celebrate women I chose something I bought from the boutique as my Friday Find.  

The name of the boutique is Adored.  It's located on Cherry Street here in Grand Rapids.  Here is what the boutique is all about directly from the Adored website (www.adoredboutique.com).  The boutique carries clothing, accessories, shoes and more.  But today's find is all about the necklace I found.  

Here is a pic of the necklace alone and one of me wearing it (along with Stu).

The necklace is from a company called Mend on the Move.  (www.mendonthemove.org).  The jewelry is made from left over car parts by "women who have survived abuse and found the courage to begin again".

What I love:  

  1. Obviously the company that made it and the mission of the company 
  2. The same of the store where I purchased it- Adored Boutique
  3. Both are local to Michigan
  4. The necklace itself is  a simple, delicate piece so there are so many options of how to wear it.  Whether layered with other pieces or worn alone I have soooo many options.  The metal is neither gold or silver which, for me, means I can mix with all!  
  5. The price - under $30 
  6. So many reasons why this is the best Friday Find in a long time.  

What are some of your favorite things this Friday ???  

 

 

Friday Find

This week I received my latest Fab Fit Fun box, the Summer Box to be exact.  If you aren't familiar with Fab Fit Fun - it is a subscription service in which you can either purchase the box each quarter or sign up for a year.  I do not currently subscribe to any other service and as you probably know, there is basically a subscription for just about anything you can imagine.  I love Fab Fit Fun because it contains a bit of everything (as you will see below) from skincare to jewelry to fitness (even things I use).  It gives me a chance to try things I probably would not normally purchase.  The best part to me?  -  the retail value of the box is always considerably more than the cost of the box.  This is a box containing full size products - no small samples here!  

Here is a peek inside the Summer Box

Included was the Avene sunscreen, Cargo HD bronzer, Michael Stars Sarong, BKR water bottle, Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate, Klorane Dry Shampoo, *Himalayan Pink Salt kit, and the moonstone necklace.  I am so pleased with this box!  So far, of the products to try, I have only tried the Klorane dry shampoo and the bronzer.  I did an unboxing video of the box on my Youtube channel (http://bit.ly/2sG50Of) and immediately swatched the bronzer and sprayed the shampoo.  I love the bronzer!  Even for my pale skin, it's perfect.  The dry shampoo - when I sprayed it on my hand it appeared to be clear and I was sooooo excited.  The next day I actually applied to my hair...and argh ...it's white!  For dark hair, I don't like it and I have to say I am a little bummed.  I have already worn the necklace, which I love.  The Michael Stars is listed ass a sarong but I will wear it mostly as a scarf and I love it! I am already using the water bottle and I am loving it.  I enjoy the color and I like the fact that the bottle is glass.  It's the perfect size to carry with me the day.  The pink salt kit and the moonstone necklace have  an asterisk because they were part of the items that you could pre-select.  For one of the selections you were asked to choose if you were best described as a chef, a traveler, or an artist.  It was tough for me to decide between chef or traveler.  I ultimately chose chef.  For a small charge I could have had both, but do I need both?? Not really.  The moonstone necklace - you could choose the color or be surprised.  I chose the coral and I am so happy I did.  

In a world of a soooo many subscription choices I really do think this is one of the best.  In addition to being a nice surprise for yourself once every three months, I think this makes an awesome (an unexpected) gift.  

This box is an awesome Friday Find!  

Friday Find

This week's find is a simple fashion necessity.  Double sided tape should be part of your "fashion kit" regardless of your bra size.  A gap between buttons, a slipping neckline, a different cut neckline - all of these are situations that occur in daily dressing.  I have been known to create a quick substitute for the real tape in a pinch - such things as scotch tape, an attempt at hiding a safety pin, a misplaced broach have all been quick fixes for me.  This type of "Macgyvering" is never a good idea.  

I typically purchase my tape from Amazon so imagine my delight when on a Target run recently I discovered this tape (along with some other great items for the fashion kit) on a side display in the beauty section :).  The cost was less than $10 and I didn't have to wait for it to arrive.  

When I searched online for the same package I could not find it at Target.com which leads me to believe it is only in the stores at this point.  There is another dress tape available but in tape reel form as opposed to this awesome travel case version.  http://bit.ly/2sxyEqP  

I have tried it only on one fabric so I will keep you posted on how it performs.  Regardless of which brand or type, you should have a fashion double sided tape in your kit.  

What are some must-haves you keep in your fashion kit??  

Inspiration

I was perusing thru social media and came across a gorgeous dress that immediately made me stop...see for yourself

Karl Lagerfeld Paris - Vogue 125 Rose Collection http://bit.ly/2r6GHGR

Karl Lagerfeld Paris - Vogue 125 Rose Collection http://bit.ly/2r6GHGR

Isn't it gorgeous?  Let me tell you why I L O V E this dress.  First, the color.  Second, the silhouette.  I love the midi length of this dress.  Next,  I love the cut and the simple details.  The neckline, the bell sleeves, the ruffles - this is everything to me!   I also adore the flowy feeling this dress has.  It's one of those pieces that looks effortless to wear.  Do you know what I mean?  Like, no matter how you feel that day, once you put this dress on, you will feel better.  So I love it!  It's available at Lord and Taylor, there is a sale right now, they have my size.  Did I order it?  No.  Why?  Several reasons of which 2 I will mention.  The price is obviously a concern and the other is I really don't have an occasion to wear a $200 dress right now.  If I had a special event that called for a dress such as this beauty we would be having a completely different conversation but I really don't right now.  I might however, find somewhere to where a dress inspired by this one if I could find it for, let's say, less of an investment :).  

I happened to be at Nordstrom Rack yesterday on another project and came across 2 beauties that really spoke to me as my inspiration from the Lagerfeld dress...and...they were both ridiculously on sale.  I am including a couple of pics :)

Top Shop Brit Ruffle http://bit.ly/2rMCMkB

Top Shop Brit Ruffle http://bit.ly/2rMCMkB

in the fitting room ....real life

in the fitting room ....real life

Top Shop He Loves Me  http://bit.ly/2rWm04G

Top Shop He Loves Me  http://bit.ly/2rWm04G

in the fitting room .... real life

in the fitting room .... real life

These dresses were both from Top Shop and both priced below $60 !  I saw in both the same color story, a similar silhouette, the pink family definitely coming thru, similar length and sleeve.  I tried both on (obviously :) ).  I did not purchase either...yet.  As much as I loved them once I tried them on the neckline wasn't working.  For me, and my height (or lack thereof) I feel like a v-neck as in the original, would be better.  I also wasn't completely happy with the uneven hemline for the same reason.  

Having stated all of that, I still believe I will find one that I love that I am inspired to purchase based on the Lagerfeld dress.  I love being inspired in this way.  I don't find this to be a "dupe" a term often used when someone finds usually a cheaper version of something they love but couldn't afford.  I wasn't trying to copy the Lagerfeld dress - I don't believe you can do that.  The Lagerfeld dress is a gorgeous dress that can't be copied.  I instead love to be inspired by it and find one that matches my style.  I talk about this often after watching a red carpet event as well.  I know I won't be wearing any of the gowns I fall in love in with but I do know the key elements of the gowns I love will inspire me to find something to wear from what I saw.  

I have a fashion challenge for you... page thru some magazines, some social media feeds, etc.  find a piece that inspires you then ...go find the perfect inspiration piece from your search.  Let me know what you decide upon.  Need help?  Need inspiration?  Let me know in the comments below.  Find the perfect piece?  Let me know that in the comments below as well.  

Be inspired!

Friday Find

The tale of this Friday's Find begins with an unfortunate "slip" (pun intended) earlier this week.  I happened to be wearing one of my favorite pair of summer shoes - a pair of Clarks nude colored wedges that I wear ALL SUMMER.  While walking in the house my foot got caught on the ledge of the doorway in the breezeway.  Argh...I put a rip of sorts, on the top of my shoe and scraped my toenail to boot!  Now what??????  I need this shoe - or one like it.  I need a nude wedge in my wardrobe.  I wear them with dresses, cropped jeans, pants, etc.  The color, being nude :), goes with everything.   I purchased these shoes a couple of years ago so I first pulled up at the order (QVC) but the shoes are no longer available.  The budget for a replacement is not big so I had to do some "fashion investigation".  Luckily, Amazon came thru for me.  I actually had several options to choose from in a nude wedge-like shoe.  I decided on the cork wedge in nude, also Clarks (so I knew the fit would be great as would the quality) AND they were a great price.  Thanks to Prime - they arrived a quick 2 days later. 

I have to be honest, I do not love these like the others but that's okay.  The color is great, the fit is good, they are comfortable, and the quality is great.  The only true downside is the footbed is suede and (this may be tmi) and my feet sweat, a lot.  I will be watching to see if the color changes too fast.  In the meantime, I am taking the favs to my local shoe repairman to see if he can work any magic to repair my "slip".  

Have you been out searching for any replacements to your favs?  I 'd love to hear more.  Leave your finds in the comments below.

 

 

Is it time to go shopping?

I posted a PSA (public service announcement) on social media a couple of days ago in regards to your summer clothes.  Though it's only June 1st, and the temperatures aren't quite steady summer temps yet, it is time to get whatever you need (want) for your summer wardrobe.  The selections, your sizes, your color preferences, will quickly dwindle starting now.  By July summer sales will be in full swing and before you know it - Back-to-school sales will start.  I know !  I know!  Don't rush it!  I don't want to, but I promise, you will thank me in July when you have just the shorts and t-shirt you want to wear :).

I traveled to our local outlet mall over the holiday weekend armed with some great coupons and my favorite college student.  We were both able to get some great deals at a couple of our favorite outlet stores in that center.  

With holiday sales and coupons (bonus!) I find it's the best time to not only replace those basics you need like t-shirts but it's also a great time to pick up a trendy piece or 2 without spending the bank.  JCrew Factory had an awesome storewide event and I was able to pick up a great basic t-shirt and a trendier one as well.  I spent less than expected, which is always great.  Of course, the sale is over and I am kicking myself for not getting a couple more of the t-shirts - they fit really well and wash equally as nice.  Here is a quick look at the t-shirt and how I have worn it already:

JCrew Studio T - gray http://bit.ly/2rYpnbr    

JCrew Studio T - gray http://bit.ly/2rYpnbr

 

 

There are still some great sales happening at many stores and online.  I encourage you to take inventory of your basics and get what you "need" in that category, at least, for now.  Top of your list should be shorts and tops as these are things that will disappear the quickest.  The other hot seller right now would be swimwear, but let's not even start on that topic now....

 

I would love to hear what you're buying and I would love to help if I can...leave a comment or contact me directly.  

Happy Shopping 

Flowers on a rainy day

It's gray and rainy one minute and then next, the sun pops thru.  I thought I would brighten the day with a bit of floral details.  I chose my new favorite jeans for summer -  these embroidered floral beauties from White House Black Market.

this pair sold out online, here is a similar http://bit.ly/2qXvEBq

this pair sold out online, here is a similar http://bit.ly/2qXvEBq

I added a simple white tie waist blouse and finished the look with a clear bangle, rose gold studded earrings and muted blush sandals.  I spent my day doing some of my favorite things - mentoring and then lunch with a dear friend.  This casual, trend right outfit was perfect and relaxed yet still put together for a great day.  For my style I love to remain current with trends and what's happening in fashion and then interpret those to fit my style and lifestyle.  These jeans are the perfect way for me to carry out the floral happenings that I love right now.  I must admit, I did live thru the floral trend of the 80's and no doubt "over-floraled" then ( I know that's not a word but I just made it one).  In case your forgot the florals from the 80's or weren't alive to see them, here is a quick flashback to some sweet floral jeans ...

In case you were wondering... I probably would have worn my gray stilettos and a top with huge ruffles to accent this awesome look!

Jeans are one of those pieces from your closet that I call a "workhorse".  The possibilities with jeans are endless.  So to have a pair with a little extra detail is just a bonus.  I have styled these jeans many ways already:  with a white tshirt, pink cardigan, and nude flats - with a white tshirt, gray knit blazer, and nude platform sandals - with a white blouse, gray knit blazer and oxfords just to name a few.  These jeans will be one of my favs for summer for sure.  

What are some early contenders for your summer favs?  I'd love to hear in the comments !  

 

 

Closet Tryouts

Recently, I have started taking another look at what's in my own closet.  Once I do a change over for the season I like to go back thru a second time (sometimes a third and fourth) and take a closer look at a few pieces that I haven't worn in awhile but decided to keep.  I find that when I do this I can eliminate a couple more items that I never wear.  Sometimes...I am also able to "reinvent" or refresh a piece and fall in love with it all over again.  

I recommend this step to clients who either have already had a Closet Restyle with me, perhaps in a previous season, or for clients who aren't quite ready for that step.  (more about the Closet Restyle here http://bit.ly/2qW5odj).  If you want to try a "closet try-out" it's super simple.  Tomorrow morning take a look in your closet or a drawer.  Choose an item NOT from the front, but from way in the back.  Now, show it some love.  Perhaps you want to try it out again worn as you did the last time you wore it, oh so long ago.  Maybe you want to wear it in a totally different way.  Maybe it's a piece you usually wear dressy and you want to give it new life by wearing it more casual.  On the other hand, maybe it's something you typically wear on a more casual day such as a graphic tee and now you want to put a new spin on it.  **Stop - official disclaimer ** the item MUST still be in great condition.  You know, free from stains, spots, rips, holes, yellowing**  okay continue :).  Now, be sure it's ready to go.  Give it the best chance it can have.  Accessorize it, be sure it's free from wrinkles, and pair it with a piece you already love wearing.  So, if you are pairing a top for a try-out casual style - pair it with your favorite jeans.  I would never suggest doing a try-out of an entire outfit at once, in my experience it usually doesn't go well.  Wear it all day, post an OOTD to your favorite social media platform and give it the proper "try-out".  At the end of the day evaluate for yourself how it went.  Were you comfortable?  Did this outfit make you feel great?  If so, keep it!  The try-out made it.  If not - if there is any hesitation - donate or consign and free your closet!!

 Last week I looked in my closet and found a top I purchased 2 years ago from Marshall's.  I think I wore it 1 time last Spring/Summer season.  Something that wear that infrequently should not be taking up real estate in my closet!  I pulled it out and decided to wear it again. 

Closet try-out with a top

Closet try-out with a top

I wore it with a pair of my fav jeans and one of my very favorite pair of shoes.  I was sure to accessorize with jewelry also to give the top a fighting chance.  Guess what?  She won!  She made the try-out.  I am already thinking of other ways to wear it.  

I know this process may sound really simple.  You may be saying to yourself, "this is an obvious step that I already do".  Awesome!  Hopefully, though, it serves as inspiration for you take another look - go ahead - in the back of the closet - find a piece and give it a try-out.

 

I would love to hear how it went!  Keep me posted in the comments.  Need suggestions?  Just let me know. 

Mother's Day is coming!

Mother's Day is fast approaching.  There are gift idea posts and lists everywhere for you to see.  I created a short list of some of my favorite ideas as a guide to inspire you to choose a gift with some meaning, albeit at the last minute :).  

Here is the "short list" 

The available links are listed above but here are a few details on each item.

1)  It's no secret my own love for all things from Lush, but they do have some great Mother's Day gifts all ready to go.  Either choose from the selections or choose a few favorites just for your mom.  The idea here is pampering :)

2)  Zingerman's in Ann Arbor Michigan is known for all things delish.  I love this scone treat box.  I would send or give this along with some great coffee or tea for a mom that loves coffee and treats.  The idea here is treats :)

3)  Origami Owl has an expansive selection of different gift ideas to make it really special and personal for your mom or special person.  You can truly make it just about her.  The idea here is personal and sentimental :)

4)  I love the idea of cooking classes.  Whether a novice or expert, this is a great gift.  The other reason I love this is Sur La Table is basically nationwide so this is a great gift to send or deliver.  The bigger picture here can be time.  The idea of doing the class together would be awesome for her.  The idea here is time and fun and personal :)  

5)  Does she love to cook?  Is she just expanding her cooking horizon?  A lovely package of spices is a truly wonderful gift.  This one is from Zingerman's but spice gifts like this are available at places like Dean and Deluca as well.  In addition, you can also research and find a local spice merchant and create your own just for her.  The idea here is still personal but can also be for a mom you don't very well.

6)  Whether she loves to cook or entertain or both - this beautiful piece from Le Creuset is perfect!  She can cook the dish and serve it from this beautiful piece or... simply serve her favorite purchased dish as well.  It's beautiful and perfect for any table.  The idea here is treating something that is simple with some special attention (much better than a vacuum or plain pans :)  )

 

I hope this list inspires you to choose something special for the special mom in your life.  Moms are unbelievable women who do so much for all of us and they get this one day to be recognized.  Whether you and your mom are close, or you have someone else who has been that special person for you, or perhaps you have more than one mom in your life,  make this day special for each of them.  Truly give some thought to the gift you are giving.  I still believe the best gift is time together so don't forget that as well.  

To all the moms - Happy Mother's Day Ladies - you are truly special!