Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wear all the colors

What's the best way to combat a grey, dreary day? Wear lots of colors! Though it doesn't look like it in these photos, it poured all day Monday and just managed to snag these snaps in between rain showers.

The only thing that would make this outfit more perfect is Hunter boots. I can't wait for mine to arrive! I've been scouring Pinterest to find the perfect rain boot outfit inspiration.

On an unrelated note, I got a new 50mm lens for my camera for my birthday, and I'm in love. Hooray for delightfully blurry background photos! If you have a Canon, I highly recommend this lens from Amazon. It's not the most expensive, but I think it does a nice job and I'm really happy with it for the price. There's a bit of a learning curve with it, but I think it does an amazing job of making the subject look vibrant and crisp and pop from the background. I've only used it twice, but so far, it's been great!

Top: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Cardigan: Loft (current version)
Pants: The Limited (very similar)
Shoes: Payless (exact, upgrade)
Watch: Target (exact, splurge)
Bracelet: Kendra Scott (exact)
Earrings: Mariana Jewelry (exact)
Necklace: Amazon (exact)

// Today I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore //

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Feels like 33


Last Saturday I turned the big 33. I had an amazingly chill weekend full of window-shopping, girl movies, sleeping in (glorious) and dinner with family. Basically, it was perfect.

I can honestly say I'm pretty happy with my life, which got me thinking about how much has changed in my life in the past 10 years. I made a major move from North Carolina to Florida, had several jobs as I've figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up, bought a house, got married, finished graduate school and had a baby. It's been a busy 10 years! Thinking back to my 23-year-old self, there's definitely a few things I'd like to tell her.

Worry less

I spent so much time in my early 20s worrying. I worried about finding a good job, about relationships, about who I wanted to be. In the end, everything fell into place. I agonized over my decisions, but there was a definite plan in place for my life and if had know how it was all going to turn out, I wouldn't have spent near as much time second-guessing so many of my decisions.

Enjoy being young

After I graduated from college, I felt such pressure to get a great job, get married, be an ADULT. I should have savored my younger days more, enjoyed being single, the lack of responsibilities, only having to worry about myself. Don't me wrong, I love my daughter and my life, but there's some days were I wish for just a moment from those carefree days.

You're NOT fat

Have you seen the meme that says "I wish I was as fat as the first time I thought I was fat"? So, so true. I could smack my skinny 23-year-old self for thinking I was chubby. I wish I had appreciated that wrinkle and stretch-mark free, flat stomached body. I believe the trick is to realize your beauty at every stage in life. I struggle with body image, so it's a lesson I try to remind myself of daily.

Don't be afraid to try new things

I agonized over so many of my decisions in my 20s. I imagined myself married, with a great career and with at least two kiddos before I hit 30. At 24, I made the decision to end a very serious relationship, move three states away and restart my life. I was petrified. I thought I had ruined my so-called perfect life. But the great thing about trying new things is sometimes you get the most amazing results. I ended up doing the whole marriage and kid thing later than I originally planned, but it was absolutely the right decision. I needed to make changes, develop my identity apart from a relationship and eventually open myself up to the right person.

So that's my advice to my 23-year-old self.  If you could go back in time, what advice would you give?

Top: Loft (exact)
Skirt: Loft (exact)
Shoes: Ann Taylor (exact, heels)
Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Earrings: Baublebar (very similar
Watch: Fossil (similar with leather band)
Ring: Charming Charlie: (very similar)


Monday, September 28, 2015

September Budget


$150 budget + $36.61 leftover in August = $186.61
+ $145 blogging income
$331.61 September budget

Spent $319.74 ($11.87 remaining)

This was the month of stripes and a lot of black and white with a dash of red mixed in. Lately, I've been gravitating toward black and white, it's easy to mix and match and works as a great closet staple. I worry that it's getting a little boring, but I'll go with chic instead. :)

TOPTIE Lace Top (see how I wore it here)
This top is super cute, but buyer beware, I had to size way, way up to a 5X and it took FOREVER to arrive, close to a month. It was lost in shipping the first time around, though I read another review with a similar story, so who knows. Don't get me wrong, I like the top, but I think there's a lot of other great lace top options out there like this one, this one or this one that are probably more well made and won't take weeks to arrive.

J. Crew Factory Red Stripe Boatneck Tee 
I've been wanting a red stripe tee that didn't read "Where's Waldo" and I think this top does the trick. It definitely more cream/tan and red than the white and red like it looks online. It fits true to size, I got it in an XXL. I can't wait until it cools off enough to wear it!

Boden Breton Stripe Tee
I apparently can't get enough of stripes. I love my Breton short-sleeve tops, so I was excited to try the long-sleeve version. The fit is great - it's fitted, but not too tight. The shirt is a nice bright white and black and I got it in 16.

Loft Striped Bateau Tee (see how I wore it here and here)
I love that this top is once again my beloved stripes, but has the unique yoke detail and split sides. I got it in a XL and find that it runs true to size.

Ann Taylor Polka Dot Cardigan
This cardigan is going to be on major repeat this fall/winter. It's super soft and, though it's not reversible, the inside is a rich black with dark cream (almost tan) polka dots. For reference, I got it in an XL. It's a definite classic, though I'd wait for a sale to get it.

Frye Qunicy Boat Shoes (see how I wore them here)
These shoes are fantastic. Perfect for walking around in all day. They do run at least a full size larger than normal. I'm a 9/9.5 in flats and got these in an 8.5 and the fit was perfect. I found my shoes on ebay, but sizes 7 and 7.5 are available a lower price point on Amazon. And if red isn't for you, there's a ton of other color options available on Amazon.

Loft Slingback Sandals (see how I wore them here, here and here)
I've been wearing my Target sandals non-stop this summer and thought it would be a good idea to add another sandal into the rotation. While they are cute, they aren't the highest quality shoe, but for less than $10, I won't feel bad if they only last one season. Plus in Florida, there will still be plenty of opportunities to wear them since fall takes forever to get here.

Lulu*s Cream and Black Weekender Bag
I've been wanting a bigger weekender bag for our upcoming trip to Gatlinburg and I am so, so happy with this purchase! It's very well made. It's a striped woven fabric and faux-leather, but it doesn't look cheap. It's roomy enough that I shouldn't have any problems packing for a four-day trip. 

Eloquii Pont Circle Skirt (see how I wore it here)
I've had major FOMO since missing out on Banana Republic's midi from last year. After a lot of searching, I found this skirt from Eloquii (the Limited's plus size brand). It's made from a light-weight ponte, has a nice drape and is super comfortable. For reference, I'm wearing an 18 and find it to be true to size, if not just the tiniest touch big. 

Loft Seamed Ponte Pants (see a mini review of them here)
Confession: My kid is almost 16-months-old and I'm still wearing my maternity leggings. I was time - beyond time - to find a replacement. These pants do the trick. They're made from a nice, thick material that helps hide the lumps and bumps and I like that they flare just the tiniest bit at the bottom of the leg. I know there are meant to be pants, not leggings, but I'm more comfortable wearing them with long cardigans or a slouchy sweatshirt. I got these in an XL and find them to run true to size.

Loft Mixstripe Blouse (see how I wore it here)
Black and white, stripes and polka dots, what's not to love? This shirt feels silky and I love the longer hem in the back. I got this in an XL and the fit is perfect.




Birthday Splurges

Each year for my birthday I like to splash out on one expensive thing that I normally wouldn't buy for myself. I little happy birthday to me gift if you will. This year instead of one big thing, I bought three sort-of expensive things that added up to about the same amount.

J. Crew Factory Field Jacket (see a preview of it here)
I found this jewel and our local factory outlet and have been completely unable to find it online. (cinch-waist version here) I really like that this jacket has tabs instead of the drawstring clinch. The only downfall is that it's a little snug on me, I can zip it up, but I can't layer anything under it. Not a big deal in Florida, but still kind of annoying. Cross my fingers that I can finally lose a few of those stubborn pounds. For reference, I got it in an XL.

Ann Taylor Lace Shift Dress
This dress is going to be perfect for the upcoming fall wedding and special events season. The color is gorgeous and the sleeve length means I don't have to wear a cardigan or shawl with it. I was worried this dress would be too short, so I ordered it in an 18L and it hits right at my knees.

Hunter Original Adjustable Back Boots
I can't wait for these boots to arrive! I've been debating between matte and glossy and finally decided on the matte. I tried the original ones in store, but my larger calves made them a touch too tight, but hopefully the adjustable back will solve that problem for me. I made the right choice with matte, right? Opinions appreciated. :)


Birthday Gifts

Hooray for birthday goodies! I got some really lovely jewelry pieces and (yet another) striped shirt to add to my ever growing collection.

J. Crew Factory Flip Stripe Tee
This shirt is a very thin knit, which is perfect for Florida, and I really like the olive stripes. I found it ran a little large,  and got this in an XL instead of my usual XXL.

J. Crew Factory Pearl Necklace (see how I wore it here, here and here)
I mentioned awhile back I got the Target version of this necklace since the original was no longer available. It came back in stock almost right after I bought the Target version (isn't that the way it goes?) I couldn't justify buying the Factory version since I just bought the other version from Target, so I'm so glad I got this necklace as a gift because there's definite quality difference. The pearls are creamier, it's a heavier weight and lays nicer around the neck.

"E" Initial Necklace (sneak peek of it here)
This necklace is so cute. I love the rose gold and the "e" is just the right size. I sometimes have a problem is chains being too short, but the length is just right.

Mariana Serenity Earrings (sneak peek of them here)
My husband got me these pretty little sparklers. I love Mariana Jewelry, especially their rose gold line. I've already put in a Christmas request for the bracelet and necklace, but the earrings are definitely pretty enough to be enjoyed on their own.

And that's a wrap to a very, very long budget post. Today I'm linking up with Franish and all the Budgeting Bloggers.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thoughts and Whatnots 9.27.15

Birthday celebrations on Instagram:  one  /  two  /  three

Blog Love:

On Teal and Polka Dots:
Favorite Sales:
  • 40% off dresses and skirts at Eloquii with code LOVEIT.
    • I recently picked up this ponte circle skirt in black and I love it! It comes in a ton of different colors; the red would perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
    • My inner girly-girly is dying at this tulle midi skirt. I'll take one in blush please!
    • I'm intrigued with the idea of a plaid midi skirt and Eloquii has three cute options: white with black plaid and a flannel midi black/green plaid or red/black plaid.

Personal:
  • Reading: I'm about half way through JoJo Moyes "The Last Letter from Your Lover" and I'm really, really enjoying it. I love a good period piece - most of this book is set in 1960s England, and I love when an author puts thought into how people dressed, how they thought at that time, what was going on in the world, etc.
  • Watching: Friday the hubs and I went to see The Intern. Overall, it was decent, certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, but definitely not the worst either.
  • What I'm Crushing OnThis.coat.is.gorgeous. The perfect winter-white, super polished and it looks like it was would be warm on cold winter days. If it got colder in Florida, I would be all over this!
  • What's I'm Listening To: I got Ben Fold's new album So There as a birthday present and it's so, so good! It's a mix of pop and orchestral music with the last part of the album a piano concerto with the Nashville Symphony. I was so sad that I missed seeing him with the Altanta Symphony two summers ago (it was too close to the kiddos due date) but I'm glad I now have the chance to listen to it in album form. 
  • Coming up on the blog: Tomorrow I'm posting my September budget. I've got some great finds and a few birthday splurges!
 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

(Re)work It

This was my attempt to assuage my guilt outfit. I've been spendy the last couple of months, so by creating an outfit that consists of  items at least a year old, if not older (which the exception of the necklace and earrings) I hoped to feel a little less guilty about the new purchases. Plus, I love reworking old(er) items to make a pretty outfit. My September budget post is coming Monday, and it's time to come clean. Yikes, but it's my birthday month, so that makes it okay, right? Birthday money and calories don't count.

Speaking of birthdays, I'm celebrating the fourth anniversary of my 29 birthday (or in less-fun terms, 33) on Saturday. I'm taking off of work tomorrow to celebrate three-day weekend style. My husband has a surprise day trip planned for tomorrow, we have birthday dinner plans with family on Saturday, and my sweet co-workers took me out for an early birthday lunch today. I had seriously the best pumpkin waffle (pumpkin everything please). Perfect way to start the festivities.

Top: Loft (pretty alternative)
Skirt: Target (similar)
Shoes: Madewell (cute alternative)
Watch: Target (exact, upgrade)
Earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Ring: Charming Charlie's (very similar)

// Today I'm linking up with Mix Match Fashion. //

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dots, Stripes and Leopard

As I've become more involved in the blogging world, I've found myself embracing trends that seem completely normal - after all I see them all the time on Pinterest, fellow bloggers and the Internet - like pattern mixing. Who knew stripes and dots went so well together until I had the Internet to tell me so?

At work yesterday, I was feeling extra proud of my pattern making and liking how well the gray dotted cardigan and gray stripes looked together. I was stopped by a co-worker who looked at me all horrified and asked "Are you wearing stripes and polka dots? You're making my eyes hurt." Rude, right? But I had to pause for a moment and debate if I looked ridiculous or fabulous. But then I realized, trendy or not, even if it's a blogger cliche, I love this outfit. So, thank you Internet for teaching me that stripes, polka dots and leopard do go together, even if the naysayers don't realize it's complete awesomeness. :)

Top: Ann Taylor (similar, black stripe)
Pants: The Limited (very similar)
Shoes: Madewell (similar)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Bracelets: Moorea Seal (similar) and House of Harlow via Rocksbox (exact - use code erinbff431 for a month free)
Earrings: Loft (very similar)

// Today I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore. //

Monday, September 21, 2015

Make It Work Monday: Lace Top and Distressed Denim


I love the combination of lace and denim. It's girly, but not too much, it's casual, but still looks like you put some effort into your outfit, AND you can wear it a bunch of different ways.

Since it's still super hot here in the south, I decided to keep it simple and pair a lace top with jeans, heels, and tons of accessories. But imagine this exact outfit with a blazer and boots or boyfriend cardigan. Hurry up fall! I want to recreate all of my pinspiration outfits, so don't be surprised if you see some of these looks in the near future. :)

Pinspiration:
one  |  two  |  three  |  four
five  |  six  |  seven  | eight

Top: Amazon (exact - order up! I got this in a 5X and am normally an XL, similar)
Jeans: Banana Republic (exact)
Heels: Nine West (similar)
Purse: Lulu*s (exact)
Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Watch: Target (exact, upgrade)
Earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Bracelets: Kendra Scott (exact) SageandCo (exact) Urbanite (exact)


Join me for Make It Work Monday! The rules are simple:
  1. Follow Teal and Polka Dots via bloglovin'
  2. Link to your specific blog post, not your blog's main page. 
  3. Link up an outfit that is inspired by a Pinterest pin, a fellow blogger, magazine or other muse.
  4. Pretty please link back to me! Feel free to grab a button (on the right sidebar) or create your own link.
I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! And go...!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week in Review 9.20.15

Blue pocket blouse on repeat: one  //  two  //  three

Blog Love:
  • How to style athletic shoes for the everyday. I have several pairs of tennies, but other than for working out or walking around Disney, I'm always stumped on how to wear them. Thanks for Merrick, I now have a few ideas. Maybe you'll see tennis shoes in the near future?  
  • Keeping with the shoe trend, I kinda want to try a bootie this fall. If you aren't sure what kind of ankle boot is for you, Putting Me Together has a great bootie style guide. I'm leaning towards something like these boots in the wild mushroom color. Sadly they're sold out in my size, and are a bit more than I want to spend, but they make for great inspiration!
  • Clothing reviews are my favorite. Now I have a major case of the wants for this cute bow top after seeing it on Fran. 

On Teal and Polka Dots:

Favorite Sales:
    • 35% off at J. Crew Factory with code SALEUPGRADE
      • As a mentioned above, this bow top is one of my favorites at J. Crew Factory right now.
      • I wish I was brave enough (or cool enough) to rock these wool skimmer pants in olive. So retro, funky and fun!
      • Now that I've dipped my toe into the plaid trend, I'm hooked! I love this flannel button down (in pink blue plaid of course).
      • This red stripe top is sitting in my mailbox right now, waiting for me to try it out. 
    • 40% off at Ann Taylor with code YESPLEASE.
      • I've been looking for another pair of black ankle pants to add to my clothes rotation; these pants look so polished and work appropriate (and they come in a ton of different colors)!
      • This red wrap dress is perfect for fall and would also great this holiday season. 
      • A ladylike blouse for work that would also look fabulous with a pair of skinny jeans for the weekend. 

      Personal:
      • Reading: I just stared JoJo Moyes "The Last Letter from Your Lover." I'm only about 20 pages in, but so far I like it! Moyes is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. "Me Before You," "One Plus One", "Ship of Brides" - they're all so, so good. 
      • Watching: This morning Little Bit and I have been watching Curious George season 5 while I work on finishing up this blog post. :)
      • What I'm Crushing On: This rose gold moon phase watch by Michael Kors (it's on sale for $200, which isn't bad for a MK watch). And my crafting, DIY self NEEDS a Circuit. NEEDS IT. :)
      • What's aheadTomorrow Monday (September 21) is the Make it Work Monday link- up! Simply link an outfit that is inspired by a Pinterest pin, a fellow blogger, magazine or other inspiration. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

      Friday, September 18, 2015

      Casual Friday

      Some days I feel like being super girly and other days...not so much. Today was obviously a keep is simple day. An easy blue shirt (you can find the almost exact version at Ann Taylor) cropped jeans and sandals. And to finish things off, I threw on a long necklace to add some visual interest.

      This weekend is going to be relatively quiet for me. I have some distant family coming in town, so there will be some visiting and baby showing off, but that's about it. And Target, because there's always Target on the weekends.

      Don't forget: This Monday (September 21) I'm hosting the Make it Work Monday link-up! Simply create an outfit that is inspired by Pinterest, a fellow blogger, magazine or other inspiration. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

      Hope you have a fabulous Friday and amazing weekend (I'm beyond ready for it).

      Jeans: The Limited (very similar)
      Sandals: The Loft (exact)
      Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact in other colors, exact via ebay)
      Watch: Target (exact, upgrade)
      Earrings: The Loft (similar)

      // Today I'm linking of with Pocket Full of Polka Dots for Fabulous Friday! //

      Thursday, September 17, 2015

      Mad for Plaid


      Today I'm all about the plaid. Usually, a tartan shirt makes me think of burly lumberjack men, mostly likely with a axe in hand and sporting a scraggly beard (or maybe I'm thinking of hipsters minus the axe add Buddy Holly glasses and tight pants), but dressed with pearls and a cute pair of heels it can be super girly. I love the contrast of patterns and colors in this outfit and the buffalo print just screams fall.

      This look was inspired by the Work Clothes I Suppose Third Thursday Threads plaid challenge. I had originally planned on wearing this top with my new black midi skirt, but I got my Thursdays mixed up and wore my skirt yesterday thinking next week was the link-up. Opps. So instead of wearing my skirt two days in a row (and trust me I thought about it), I decided to go with pants. Overall I'm pleased with the look, though I don't think my pictures are really giving the outfit justice. I promise it was way better in real life. :) As a bonus, I now have a future outfit all planned out and waiting for me the next morning I can't figure out what to wear.

      Speaking of link-ups, Monday (September 21) I'm hosting the Make it Work Monday link-up! Simply create an outfit that is inspired by Pinterest, a fellow blogger, magazine or other inspiration. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

       Top: Old Navy (exact)
      Pants: The Limited (very similar)
      Cardigan: Loft (very similar)
      Shoes: Lands End via Sierra Trading Post (exact)
      Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact)
      Earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)
      Watch: Target (exact, upgrade)
      Bracelet: Kendra Scott (exact) Loft Outlet (similar)

      Wednesday, September 16, 2015

      A Black Midi Skirt

      The past two days have been delightfully cool for Florida. I've woken up to temps in the 60s that warmed up to the low 80s with very low humidity. Pure bliss! Since Florida autumn is elusive, I decided to take advantage of the faux fall by wearing long sleeves, a mid-length skirt and closed-toe shoes. I chose light-weight fabrics to help stay nice and cool. As you can see, I'm still in my black and white rut, but decided to mix things up a little bit with leopard pumps.

      I love this skirt's retro-vibe. I've been looking for a black midi skirt every since I missed out on the gorgeous one Banana Republic sold last year. After a lot of searching, I found this skirt from Eloquii (the Limited's plus size brand). It's made from a light-weight ponte, has a nice drape and is super comfortable. I bought it during the Labor Day sales for $25 and it's currently 40% off for $30. For reference, I'm wearing an 18 and find it to be true to size, if not just the tiniest touch big. I'm already thinking of all the great ways to wear it this fall/winter. With a gray sweater, gingham checks, maybe even plaid...I have a feeling this skirt is going going to be on major repeat.

      Don't forget: Monday (September 21) is the Make it Work Monday link up! Simply link an outfit that is inspired by Pinterest, a fellow blogger, magazine or other inspiration. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

      Top: Loft (similar)
      Skirt: Eloquii (exact currently 40% off, non-plus similar)
      Shoes: Lands End via Sierra Trading Post (exact)
      Purse: Lulu*s (exact)
      Earrings: Kate Spade (exact)
      Watch: Fossil (very similar)
      Bracelet and Ring: Rocksbox (use code erinbff431 for a month free!)

      //  I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore. //

      Monday, September 14, 2015

      Black and White Chic

      There's something very chic about bold black and white stripes. Especially when you combine stripes with elbow patches. Although the day I wore this outfit, feeling all proud of my elbow patch awesomeness, a co-worker asked me if I was depressed because I'd been wearing black for a week straight. So much for being chic. But I still get points for the elbow patches, right?

      In all honesty, now that my hair is dark, I'm uncertain about what colors to wear. What looked good as a blonde just doesn't work anymore, and I since I can't afford to buy an all new wardrobe with more flattering colors, black and white seems like a safe bet. Besides, it's only for about two more weeks and then my awesome hairdresser sister has promised to lighten it when she comes to visit at the end of the month. So be warned, there will probably be a fair amount of black and white in the days to come. :)

      Cardigan: Eloges (exact)
      Shirt: Target (exact plus-size, similar)
      Pants: Express (exact)
      Sandals: Loft (exact)
      Necklace: Baublebar (very similar)
      Watch: Target (exact, upgrade)
      Earrings: J. Crew Factory (similar)


      Don't forget: Next Monday (September 21) is the Make it Work Monday link up! Simply link up an outfit that is inspired by a Pinterest pin, a fellow blogger, magazine or other inspiration. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!