Holiday Gift Guide for ... Teachers

I think it’s safe to say we have entered the holiday zone. The time has come for holiday shopping. My hope for you is you truly enjoy the season! Don’t stress out over gift giving or it will suck the joy right out of the whole thing. I love great ideas! I love to create holiday gift guides each year. Not long ago I put a poll on Instagram asking who you would like to see shopping guides for. One of the requests was for — teachers. So, first up, the shopping guide for teachers. I have created a short list of some great picks for gifts for the superhero teachers. In the guide below you can “click” thru to purchase the item. Just a note, if you do “click” thru to purchase it is an affiliate link and I wanted to let you know.

Some notes the Teachers Gift Guide:

  • As is the case with all my guides every year, I encourage you to shop local so I will provide a couple of sources following the guide for businesses local to me here in West Michigan. Be sure to source local businesses close to you as well. (Small Business Saturday is fast approaching - November 24, 2018)

  • Teachers are super heroes in my opinion! Choose a thoughtful for the teacher you are buying for. Though I love a gift card, (who am I kidding ? I hate giving gift cards) try to find something special for them first.

  • If the teacher gift is for your child’s teacher, involve them in the gift giving!

    The guide basically has 3 categories which will inspire you to choose your gift: self-care, treats, personal - unique- to-the-teacher, gifts. As is the case with any “guide” this is meant to inspire you to choose for your special person.

As mentioned above I wanted to encourage you to shop locally. I think this is especially true of the treats! If you looking to buy chocolate, look locally for a chocaltier. In the Grand Rapids Area, check out Mokaya -

Bath bombs, hand cream, etc. take a look at Wanderlux - -

For coffee, be sure they are a coffee drinker (obs) check out a local roaster first. In West Michigan we have super coffee roasters including: Herman’s Boy in Rockford. (

For candles here in West Michigan we have a candle store where you can create your own unique candle scent. This would be a great activity to involve your child as well.

As we begin the craziness of the season, plan your gifts now so you can truly enjoy the season. Need help? Live in West Michigan? I would love to shop for you, help you plan your own gift lists contact me!

Fall Notes, 2

West Michigan weather has us going from 60 degree temps one day to a blustery 30 something the next. All the same, it’s Fall no matter what the thermometer says. The Fall fashion trends have all been talked about and shopped for but I wanted to share one of my new favs. Menswear continues to be an inspiration and I think these plaid pants hit the mark. I hope this inspires you to look for a new plaid to fit in your wardrobe!

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First, and Favorite.

First, I paired the pants with my favorite piece for Fall and Winter, the turtleneck. Honestly, this is the combo I will probably wear most. The only thing easier, is to simply change out the color of the turtleneck, which you will see later. Footwear possibilities are endless. I’m wearing a great pair of pointed Calvin Klein patent flats. (link to shoes Here are a few suggestions: clogs, mules, heels with tights, booties, just naming a few. Layering with a jackety, denim or otherwise, is a given.

plaid and

Unexpected…denim shirt and vest.

A classic denim shirt paired with these pants is a great look. I’ve added my pink vest for a little, well, extra. In this picture I am wearing the same flats I’ve already linked but again, the possibilites are great for footwear options.

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Pink and Black combo.

I’ve dressed up the look just a bit here. I am wearing a sleeveless pink mockneck (not new, from White House Black Market several years ago), a simple black cardi and the same shoes as shown in previous looks. I’ve added the multi-strand pearls for my necklace with pearl stud earrings. The pants have a pink(ish) stripe within the plaid which makes me love the pants even more.

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The Look that Started This.

I found this outfit online on the Anthropologie website at the beginning of September. I purchased it then, on sale and I had my birthday discount. The top came right away. The pants did not arrive until last week. Of course this does not look like the original picture but I love the outfit. The versatility of the pant is greater than you think. The colors are amazing. The fit is great. The silhouette is my favorite. The plaid is on trend with menswear inspiration. I will wear both these pieces a ton — the pants I can see myself also wearing in the spring for sure. The links to this outfit can be found below.

A Casual Fall Look

Should I call it a casual Fall look or perhaps “Waldo’s Sister”. I love stripes. I don’t, however like stripes screaming from across the room. I put together 2 looks using the same shirt and pants just changing the look slightly by adding a jacket and swapping out the shoes.

I am all about making your wardrobe work for you, if you read my posts here or follow me on social media, you know that’s true. As we work our way into the Fall season I love reinventing what is already in my closet and creating new outfits. I did this with a striped t-shirt from H&M that actually belonged to my son, a pair of chinos from Loft, my favorite clogs, and my favorite denim jacket. Imagine all the possibilities that exist with a pair of chinos and a long sleeve tshirt! These are just 2. Shop your closet and see what new outfits you can create. If you would like to recreate this in some form, I’ve included shopping links below!

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First, the gray chinos with the navy striped tshirt. Simple. Classic. Basic.

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Next, the same chinos and tshirt. Now I’ve added the denim jacket and swapped the clogs for metallic brogues. An updated basic look and I love the way it turned out.

Though some of the items are no longer available, here are links to shop similar. The chinos are the same, just last year. The jean jacket and clogs are also the same.

Spending $100 for Fall ....

Fall Sales are happening everywhere right now. New fall product is in all the stores. Some of the sales happening now made me think…”if I had $100 bucks to spend on one of these sales how would I spend it?” Now - my disclaimer here ****the sales I mention in this post could END AT ANY TIME so check the website of each retailer for the current pricing ****

I am focusing on three stores -

JCrew Factory Outlet - today 40%off selected merchandise by using the promo code QUICK

Banana Republic - Select Fall Styles 40%off

Target - well, it’s Target so just great prices but quantities may be limited

Let’s look at Target first. The items I would purchase for around $100 dollars are listed below with direct links to purchase. In the caption below each item I have given a brief reason for why I would buy these items. Each item is from a new line they are carrying called Prologue. It has a modern vibe and at least here in West Michigan, not much of it is available in the stores. So, first are the paperbag waist plaid cropped pant. I love everything about this pant. It’s patterned fabric is in line with the current menswear trend as is the silhouette with the paperbag waist. Because of the pattern you have so many choices for outfits by pairing different colored tops and various styles of footwear. They will take your wardrobe to many options. The mock turtleneck. Again, on trend with the interesting sleeve. Great neutral color so easy to wear with many things (including the pants). Easily dress it up or wear it more casual. Finally, the blazer. The pattern part of the menswear trend. The blazer, a wardrobe essential. Dress it up with a silk blouse. Wear it more casual with a screen print tshirt and your favorite jeans. Perfect.

Next up is Banana Republic. Anytime they offer 40% is a great time to purchase more traditional pieces that will go from season to season, year to year. Think suits, coats, cocktail dresses, cocktail attire, etc. I chose the classic trench. This is perfection in a coat and at 40% off just brings a bit over the $100! Love it! I would also go the opposite and stock up on the basics if they too, were offered at 40% off.

Last up is JCrew Factory. Today, by entering a code you get 40% off select merchandise. I chose some great pieces and kept my total close to $100.

First is the sleeveless mock turtleneck sweater. The color is a classic neutral. As I mention in the caption you have 3 options for wearing. Layer underneath, layer over or wear alone. Options, people! Next up is the wide legged cropped chino pant. It’s a great twist to the chino pant and I couldn’t love it more. If you have followed me at all, you know I love cropped wide-legged pants. I love this color for my style but they are also available in other neutrals. Next up is the cardigan. It’s not just a cardigan though, it’s cashmere! Cashmere doesn’t go on sale very often so when it does, buy it if you can! I don’t really need to say anything else about the wardrobe value of a cardigan, do I? Last up is a great sweater, or is it a blazer??? It’s a sweater blazer and I love it. It keeps with the menswear trend but with the color choices and the softness, it has a feminine vibe which I love. Pair this with a denim shirt and chinos for a modern casual look. Pair it with a silk top and dress trousers for a more dressy vibe. Once again, Options!!

Don’t you want to shop now? I do. I have mentioned this before but I feel like I must mention it again! If you aren’t already using ebates you need to sign up now! If the retailer you are shopping from is an ebates retailer all you have to do is click thru the ebates site (or load the handy tool on your toolbar) and you get cash back for every order. No charge to you! No extra hoops! I love this! I do have a referral code listed below. If you click thru using that code I do receive a small bonus. If you would rather not use the code just go directly to ebates. Either way do it before you shop online for anything else! Speaking of codes, as I’ve mentioned before, if you click thru any of the clothing links and purchase thru the links I do receive a very small fee for you choosing to do that. However you choose to shop get your Fall goodies while the size and color you like are still available. Not sure what to purchase? I’d love to help. Contact me via this website and let’s chat!

Another Dress, more options

Wardrobe options are one of my favorite things to talk about, help you build, and shop for. I have written before about the many ways to wear a dress. Here in the Midwest we are in that transition phase from Summer to Fall and the temperatures are fluctuating quite a bit. When you go to your closet to choose something to wear and you spot a dress, don’t pass it by because of the weather or because you think the dress won’t fit the circumstance. Take another look at the dress, perhaps find a different way to wear it. Make your wardrobe work for you! I love to get multiple looks from the same piece. How about 4 looks from the same dress? The dress I’m wearing is a simple A-line or swing dress with pretty embroidered detailing on the sleeves.

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Dress with tights and heels

Here I’m wearing the dress with opaque tights (they need to be for this look) and my favorite MaryJanes. You could easily do different heel. I didn’t want a “wear to the office” look, but something a bit more fun.

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Dress with Jeans

If you follow me, you know wearing a dress with jeans, especially skinny jeans, is one of my favorite looks. I’ve paired the dress here with a darker jean and my mules for a casual, yet dressier feel. Perfect for date night or a night out with friends.

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Dress with tie scarf and boots

As you can see, the boot is mid-calf and has lots of stitched detailing. To follow the western trend this season, you could change out the boot for a bootie or even a cowboy boot. Because it’s a tie scarf you could change it to be worn with the triangle on the back and just tied at the neck as well.

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Infinity scarf and boots

This looks appears a bit more casual. If you want to dress it up change the boots for a dressier boot with heels and you are all set.

Here is a shopping list with links to similar items from what I’m wearing. My dress was a gift and the other pieces are all part of my wardrobe without the exact piece available to purchase I’ve listed similar choices.

As we move through Fall towards Winter the dress can easily carry thru by adding a layer either over it or under. For an extra layer over it, try a vest (preferably a furry vest). For a different layered look, try adding a denim shirt underneath and wear the look with the skinny jeans and boots. By doing this you have added an extra season and 2 more outfits all for the same dress.

Now, it’s time for you to shop your closet and find a new way to wear that dress that’s just been hanging in there! Have fun and own your style!

Fall Notes, part 1

I think posting about trends is tricky.  I'm more about "trend right" so to speak.  Finding your "trend" with what is going on in fashion at any given moment - THAT idea I can get behind.  If you know me or follow me at all you know I love handbags.  One of the trends I'm seeing and loving for Fall is the smaller handbag or  the mini handbag.  In runway fashion from the latest magazines and internet articles I've seen references to beautiful designer versions that will never be part of my wardrobe.  I wanted to share with you just a few favs I have found browsing and also a couple from my handbag collection that I will be wearing this fall.  I believe we each should interpret the trends to best fit our own style and that's what I will be doing with the mini bags.  Take a look.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I reorganized my handbags a couple of weeks ago.  I re-discovered some of my favorites for Fall and some were minis. 

Vintage Coach

Vintage Coach

I purchased this lovely at one of my favorite consignment stores in Grand Rapids.  This bag has, and will, stand the test of time and fashion. 

What I love:  the hardware, the strap, and the rich brown color.  Rich browns are also on trend for Fall so there you go!

Coach purple suede mini

Coach Purple Suede Mini

My husband bought this for me for my birthday some time ago.  As is usually the case with Coach handbags, this beauty continues to be perfect regardless the year.  

What I love:  the color, the suede, the hardware, the leather trim.  Everything really!

Franco Sarto mini

Franco Sarto mini

I purchased this bag so many years ago I don't even remember.  The shape of this bag is probably closest to the high-end designer bag I'm seeing in all the "trend photos".  However, obviously, the similarities end there.  This is a great basic black bag.

What I love:  the shape, the color, the leather, the understated detail.  This bag would be great worn casual or more dressy due to it's simplicity.  You could easily dress this up with a beautiful silk scarf tied around the strap.  

I think a handbag really completes the outfit, regardless of the season.  Whether you have 2 handbags or 20, the bag is still important.  If you don't have a mini and have a budget, now is a great time to purchase one.  As you can see by the examples I've shown currently available (there are soooo many more) the price range varies drastically so there is sure to be one in your range.  As you do you - own your style - don't forget the handbag!  



Wear Now, Wear Later

As I mentioned in last week's Musings, we are headed in to that tricky transitional in-between season when it isn't quite time to switch your Summer wardrobe out for Fall but the temps may warrant some different dressing.  Immediately following the in-between we will start moving the Fall wardrobe in to the closet and the summer will be packed away.  Not so fast!  Some of your summer pieces are gems that can be worn from season to season.  Don't forget about them!  By keeping them part of your closet they will help you make your wardrobe work for you!  

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Now - Jeans and a Simple tshirt 

So much can be done with this "building block" outfit.  Change the belt, shoes and accessories and it becomes a totally different outfit to be worn now.

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Later -  Add a Jacket

Take the same jeans and tshirt.  Add a jacket, mules (or other shoe), belt and you have carried this same outfit thru to the next season.  I hate to mention it but Winter?  Change the jacket again to something heavier, say a wool blazer and change out the shoes and belt once again and there you go!

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Now - Adorable "Peasant" Dress

Right now I'm wearing this adorable dress with sandals.  I have worn it with the block heeled sandal shown here but there are so many options.  A flat casual sandal or a great wedge would work just as well.  




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Later - Adorable "Peasant" Dress with Over the Knee Suede boots.

Fast forward to early fall.  A pair of boots are a great way to carry this dress thru to the next season.  The color of the suede matches the dress perfectly.

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Later, Still - Same Dress layered with a fur vest and Chocolate boots.

It's late Fall, early Winter and this look will be perfect.  I can wear tights for extra warmth and color if I choose, but either way this is a great look.  By this time in the season I will easily swap out the boots for skinny jeans for yet another look!

Take a look in your closet.  What do you own similar to the pieces I've shown here.  I bet you will be able to add some great pieces to extend the life of your wardrobe.   Layering is easy.  Think of new ways to layer.  Think dresses over skinny jeans, a jacket over your favorite Summer t-shirt, even your favorite summer dress with a long sleeve t-shirt layered under it.   Shop your closet and create new looks!  Have fun and as always #ownyourstyle!  

The Seasons are Changing Soon, What do I Wear? Or...dressing into Fall on the Summerside

Dressing into Fall on the Summerside...what does that even mean?  Here in West Michigan we are heading in to Fall, and I for one, couldn't be happier.  I LOVE Fall.  I love the colors, the scents, the temperatures and of course, the fashion.  I enjoy dressing in the Fall most of all.  Dressing into Fall on the Summerside refers to how to dress as we transition to the Fall season while still lingering in the Summer season.  Some days now it's still in Summer temperatures but some days and many evening begin to take on cooler temperatures.  The number one way to dress during this time involves layers. 

Layering not only gives you more options but it helps carry over the pieces you love from both seasons.  As I always say - first - Ownyourstyle - make this work for you.  For your lifestyle and sense of style how will you dress during this time.  Here are my best tips for layering as we head in to "Fall on the Summerside."

Jackets and Cardigans ....

Extend the shorts wearing season by pairing shorts with jackets, long sleeve tops and blouses 

Long Vest or Gilli.  They add color, style and an extra layer.

Dresses over jeans or leggings.  This is probably my favorite!  If you follow my instagram  (if not, you should be!) you already know this!  I am excited to see this continue as a trend for fall.  You really do create endless possibilities with this look.  Depending on the style of the dress, you can layer with leggings, skinny jeans or skinny khakis look great for any season.

As we begin to transition to Fall, don't pack all the warm weather clothes away just yet.  It's time to mix and match between seasons and get the most from your wardrobe, all the while owning your style.  I hope these looks inspire you to shop your closet and create some new looks to carry you thru.  

What Should I Wear to.... Date Night

It's the middle of a heat wave and you finally have a chance for a date night.  The problem is you don't know what to wear.  Don't give up the chance to go out and spend time with your special someone just because of the weather!  Here are my picks for a hot (temps, people!) night out.

What Silhouette? 

Choose something flowy with a looser fit.  Think flowy dress.  An A-line is a great example of the shape perfect for warmer temperatures.   You don't wear dresses?  No problem, go for a flowy wide-legged pant and simple top.  I love the option of a jumpsuit that has a fuller cut leg and not full-length as well.

What Fabric?  - 

Think natural fabrics.  Go for cotton, linen, silk or some blend of any of those.  It's the natural fabric that will continue to breath all evening for you and keep you comfortable.  

How to stay comfortable all evening?

Think layers and possibilities.  Chances are you will be in and out of air conditioning so you will need a layer to add or take off.  I love the idea of a white shirt tied at the waist for this.  You could easily do a denim shirt in it's place.  The other option would be a cardigan, of course.  


I've put together a few of my top picks below.  (Yes, if you order the exact item thru the link I do get a small commission).  Maybe it's time to go shopping or...maybe this will inspire you to shop your own closet.  Either way, take time to spend time, with your someone special soon.  


Color and Your Style

Color in your wardrobe can be magic.  If done well, it's beautiful magic. Color can not only brighten your mood (and the mood of others around you), it can also brighten your complexion.  Edith Head, the famous costume designer, once said of color "color can completely change not only the appearance, but the mood of any woman, whether she is an actress or a housewife".  (Before we go any further, please don't comment on the latter part of the quote and the woman being an actress or housewife - the quote is from 1967).  

Adding color to your outfit is simple.  What you must first decide is how much color you want to use in your outfit.  Here are some different ways I like to add color to my outfit:

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Full Color bottom with more color on top

If you like to wear color throughout your outfit, try making your accessories the extra pop of color.  I wore this great tomato orange pant, black tshirt, denim jacket and then more color with a coordinating scarf.

full color bottom, neutral top

Full Color Bottom, Neutral Top

Try wearing the pop of color in a bottom and keeping it simple on top.  Here, the tomato orange pant but paired with a white tshirt and yellow accents carried with the belt and scarf.

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Add Color with your top and Neutral bottom

Simple orange tshirt paired with khaki green pants.  The belt adds some extra color but also ties the whole color palette together (I love the scarf-as-a-belt thing).

color and print on top with a neutral (jean) for the bottom

Colorful !  

Try pairing a bright top with jeans, add another colorful layer to the top to pull the look together.

Bright floral dress with jeans

How about a colorful dress or tunic ?

Get the most out of your wardrobe by wearing pieces in more than one way.  A dress as a tunic over skinny jeans is one of my favorite ways to do this.  The dress pictured has a colorful underpinning which gives it just enough extra pop!  Easily add more color with a bright shoe and don't forget a statement earring if you like!  

Color and Print combined, Paired with White

Go full color with a Print!

Be bold in your color choice with a colorful print pant, skirt, or dress.  When I wear these pants I tend to keep the top either white or denim but you could easily pull any of the colors thru.  

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Bright Top with Neutral Bottom

Add the colorful print on top and keep it simple on the bottom with a neutral pant.  Here I paired with a neutral shoe but you could easily pop more color with a shoe and even more with a bright, bold statement earring. 

neutral bottom and top then color added as the layer

Add a Pop of Color with the last layer.

Pair neutral pants (or skirt) with a simple tshirt and then add the "pop" on the last layer.  I love the idea of a scarf as a belt because the patterns and colors can really shine thru.  If you are just introducing color to your wardrobe accessories are the best place to start.  Think shoes, scarves, statement necklaces, and earrings for sure.

printed gili with anything

A versatile layering Piece full of Color

Invest in a layering piece full of color!  I promise you will find so many different ways to wear it.  If you follow me here or on social media you know, I wear this gili all.the.time!  

I holope this inspires you to add more color to your wardrobe.  If you already wear color, I hope this inspires you to wear your pieces in different combinations to make your wardrobe truly work for you!  

Need assistance ?  Let me know in the comments below.  I would love to see the outfit you create with color - post it below or on my facebook page !  

Quick blurb on a Great sale this week

You know I love a good sale, and by good I mean great prices and great quality.  Gap is currently in 20% off everything mode.  I love these all inclusive percentages because it's a great time to stock up on basics.  I won't bore you again by talking about how your white tshirts and camis and tanks should be white.  Or how your black t's and tanks and camis should be black (and not washed out gray) but now is a great time to check them to be sure.  I took the liberty to link a few of my favs below.  (As I've mentioned before, these are affiliate links so if you'd rather not shop with them just go to the site directly)

The items pictured are all items I own and love.  They wash well, layer well, and wear well.  You can't miss with any of them really.  They may seem boring and neutral but....that's kind of the point!  Add your style with the rest of the outfit.  Hurry Sale ends June 23, 2018! 


Happy Shopping!  

One pair of shorts, so many outfits ...

Have you ever bought something because of a picture or post from social media?  No?  Are you sure?  Because I have.  The latest is this great pair of shorts I saw on a post from Beth at   

The shorts are a great pair of utility shorts from the brand WhoWhatWear at Target.  First things first - here is the link to the shorts 

The shorts have just the right amount of stretch, the fabric is delightful, and the colors are amazing.  Within a few short minutes I shopped my closet and found some great outfits.  I know there are endless possibilities but I wanted to share just a few of the options I found.  

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First - the basics.

I literally just tried them on with the tshirt I was wearing.  The tshirt is the Studio T from JCrew Factory which I have shown many times before.  I would easily pair with a black tshirt, cream tshirt, or boost it with a pop of color - my choice would be pink or red. 


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Now, add a cute top and some jewelry

Next, I paired them with a top from the same collection.  For a warm summer day when you still want to look put together, but cool this top is perfect.  The tie shoulders are great because there is also a fabric "strap" underneath so the ties are really for decoration.  There is extra interest in the back of the shirt, it actually buttons up the back with a deep v.  I added a resin necklace in blacks and browns to pull the look together.  

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How about a dressy tank?

I added a dressy tank.  The top has a jewel trimmed top in the same tones as the shorts and layers of ruffles.  I am showin a cork slide here.  I would also dress this up with strappy sandals.  I, personally, would add a layer over the tank in most cases.  That's too much pale showing :) 


shorts multiple ways - with a jacket and chunky necklace

Casual dressy

I have the shorts here with a soft utility jacket, a cream sleeveless top, and my chunky necklace.  I added the blush shoes for a different look.  If I wanted to change the look again I would switch the necklace for a short multi-strand pearl necklace.  If I wanted to change it yet again,  I would swap the shoes for my black strappy sandals.  Options!! 

Options in your wardrobe are key to making it truly work for you.  It's also the key to never opening your closet and saying "I have nothing to wear".  There are so many different ways I can wear this single pair of shorts and that's how I will make them work in my closet.  I can't wait for you to see the looks when I wear them!  What's working in your closet?  I'd love to hear your current favs!  

As I try to do, I have included some shopping links below.  They are my "links" meaning I do receive a small commission if you purchase thru the link.  If you'd rather not just google the item and shop!