Friday, August 29, 2014

Not a Maternity Dress

Dress: Gap [similar]
Necklace: Charming Charlie [exact]
Earrings: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Ring: JewelMint [exact]
Shoes: Reef [cute alternative with bling!]
Nails: DIY Chevron [link to tutorial]

This is a few days after the fact, but on Wednesday Aubrey and I had a lunch date with Grammy. In honor of the occasion, I decided to actually fix my hair and put on a dress, for I'm pretty much sure was the first time since I've been on maternity leave (other than when I went to a friend's wedding in Atlanta in July). 

I have a confession, this dress is actually a maternity dress. I bought it at least six months ago, and at that time it was already too tight for my bump. I had every intention of returning it, forgot all about it, then rediscovered it when I did a huge closet purge earlier this month. I decided to try it on one last time before donating it, and decided that while it made a horrible maternity dress, it's a super cute regular dress! And besides, who's going to know it's my dirty little secret, other than anyone who happens to stumble upon and read this post? 

Recent mommas, how many of you have still rocked the maternity frocks months after your little one was born? Let me know in the comments below. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to Work: A Soft Launch

Blazer: New York and Company
Top: Target [exact]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: Madewell [can be found on ebay]
Watch: Fossil [exact]
Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Necklace: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Ring: Baublebar [exact]

Today I had to go back to work for the first time since having the small one. I've been very blessed, I was able to take three months of maternity leave, and I'm now doing a combination telecommuting/going into the office for two days a week schedule during September. Our pay periods are weird, we go from Friday to Friday instead of Monday to Monday, so originally I was going to go in tomorrow, but ended up coming a day earlier since it's back to grind stone with a huge project due to the printer by the end of September. It's going to a whirlwind month! 

The university I work at's school colors are garnet and gold. I thought it would be fun to show a little school spirit for my first day back at work (as well as the first week of fall semester classes) with garnet pants and gold accents. I finished my master's not that long ago and it still feels odd not to be going to school and working!






Can we talk about how in love I am with this ring from Baublebar? When I saw it on Franish back in June, I knew this little pretty had to be mine. Unfortunately, it was out of stock. Thankfully, it came back in stock earlier this month, and I promptly ordered it! It came in the mail Wednesday, too late for my August budget, so it'll be included in the September budget. I'll just consider it a little early happy birthday to me goody!


Nails: Essie in Fiji | OPI in Dazzled by Gold


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Budget


1. Charming Charlie Long Necklace: $15
2. Charming Charlie Necklace Set: $15
3. The Limited Pencil Pants: Originally $79.95 + 50% off = $40
4. J. Crew Factory Pencil Skirt: Originally $75, on sale for $41.25
5. Nina Shoes Heels: Originally $64.99 + 20% off =$51.99

August Budget= $163.24 $121.99

I'm linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers today. 

I've been bad this month. Very, very bad. I'm trying to stay within a $50 a paycheck, $100 a month budget. I completely blew my budget, and while I feel guilty for that, I have to confess I don't feel that guilty as I probably should since I'm really happy with my purchases. 

It started out innocent, a few inexpensive necklaces at Charming Charlie. I bought the necklace set to complete an outfit for a wedding in Atlanta. I refashioned a summer shift dress from J. Crew Factory (blog post to come) and wanted a little sparkle to tie together a cerulean blue and navy dress with a light plum sweater. Did I need it? No, but I love the sparkly pop it added to my outfit and I know I'll get additional wear out of it. I hate buying something I know I'm only going to wear one time!

The long necklace from Charming Charlie was an impulse buy that I got while looking for something to wear with the dress for the wedding. I loved the extra long length and how it's dressy without being too dressy. I love my bling, but sometimes it's nice to go a little more classic and simple. Plus, I think that this necklace looks more expensive than it really is, which is always a nice bonus. I've already gotten a lot of wear of out it, and look forward to showing it off on the blog in the future. 

Last season, I wore the heck out of my black Limited crop pants. The fit was great and it took the guess work out of are my pants too long, too short with heels, etc.? Since the university I work for school colors are garnet and gold, I'm always on the look out for something that has a little school spirit, while still being work wear appropriate. These pants definitely fit the bill. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them tomorrow for my first day back to work after maternity leave.  

Last season I had a stretch pencil skirt in kelly green from Target that I love, love, loved. Sadly, I wore it so much that it piled and needed to be retired. I saw this skirt at J. Crew Factory and though it would be great upgrade replacement. I love the color of the skirt, but I'm not sure about the material, it's a thick cotton that hangs stiff and doesn't have as much drape/stretch as I thought it would, so I'm going to contemplate it, and may return it. *UPDATE: After trying the skirt on a few more times, I decided that I wasn't in love with it, and returned it. 

After I had my daughter my feet grew a whole half size! I thought that whole foot growing thing was a myth, but it's no joke. Now at least a good 50% off my shoes no longer fit, which really sucks. I loved how these shoes have a cute retro look and a slightly thicker heel, which should make them comfier for all day walking and wear. I have a lot of purple in my closet, so they should coordinate with a lot of outfits, or provide a nice contrasting pop of color...maybe this my new green skirt? 

So, not the greatest start to budgeting. Hopefully, next month things will go smoother. However, September is my birthday month, so there may have to be a birthday splurge (or two) mixed in there!

How did you do with your budget? Feel free to comment below. 

*Please forgive any typos, I wrote this frantically while the baby was napping. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DIY: Chevron Nails

I've been into painting my nails lately. I like how a little polish adds an extra layer of pretty to any outfit. Even if I'm just at home, with a bare face and sweats and taking care of the baby, pretty nails help to give my attitude a little lift. 

I found a tutorial on how to create the latest chevron look on The Sassy Life. I made a few modifications, and for a first attempt, I think it worked out okay, but I made need a little more practice in order to perfect the look. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Nail Polish (I used Essie in Fiji and NYC Nails in French White Tip)
  • Scotch Tape (I used the kind with green plaid)
  • Pinking Shears (these need to be nice and sharp. If I redo this look, I'll need to invest in better shears)
  • Acetone
  • Nail Clipper
  • Q-tip


Step 1: Paint all your nails in your desired base color and complete with a top coat. 



Step 2: Paint two strips of scotch tape with white nail polish. Once the polish has dried, cut the tape with the pinking shears. Make sure that the zigs and zags match up. 



Step 3: Stick the painted tape strips directly to the nail. Make sure to match up the valleys and peaks to create the chevron look. 


Step 4: Once you've finished placing the painted tape strips, you'll want to trim the excess with nail clippers. Get as close to the nail bed as possible. I peeled up the tape a little bit and trimmed. 

Step 5: Time to clean up! Using a Q-tip and acetone, clean up any remaining polish and tape. The acetone helps to dissolve the tape. Throw a top coat on to seal, and you're all done!



Monday, August 25, 2014

From Lounge to Work Wear


In preparation for going back to work, I've been playing with dressing up some of my more causal looks. Today I took a cream sweater, and by switching to pencil pants, heels and tons of bling, created a more work appropriate look.

I'll be telecommuting for the next month, so it'll be more of a gradual transition with only Thursday and Fridays in the office and the rest of the week at home. I'm so grateful to have a job that has been willing to work with me while waiting for Little Bit's daycare to become available.

I'm torn about going back to work. There's things I'm really looking forward to - adult conversation, designing, a reason to dress up and wear all the pretty pencil skirts, jewels and lipstick. But am also absolutely dreading putting my sweet baby in daycare and being away from her all day. :(

But for now, a last few days to rock leggings and slouchy shirts.

Sweater: Old Navy [exact]
Tee: Target [exact]
Leggings: Gap

 Sweater: Old Navy [exact]
Pants: The Limited [similar]
Shoes: Nine West via T.J. Maxx [similar]
Pearl Ring: DIY [tutorial by Franish
Ring: JewelMint [exact]
Pearl Bracelet: Target [similar]
Cuff Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Link Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Earrings: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Necklace: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Chain: Baublebar [exact]

Mommy's bracelets are Little Bit's new favorite toys. :)


 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nautical


Today I've been playing around with a nautical stripe top. I love the bold print, but have been a little unsure how to wear it in a way that doesn't make me look huge. I know all the fashion rules say that bigger girls should never, ever wear horizontal stripes, but sometimes it's fun to break the rules. 

First up, causal wear. I just paired this top with a pair of shorts and belt for a day around the house with the baby. 

Top: Loft [exact]
Belt: Target [exact]
Shorts: American Eagle [current version]

Since I'm going to be going back to work soon, I wanted to play with a more dressed up look for a causal Friday at the office.

Top: Loft [exact]
Skirt: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Shoes:  Union Bay via T.J. Maxx [exact]
Necklace: J. Crew Factory [super cute alternative]
Watch: Fossil [exact]
Bracelets: J. Crew Factory [crest stone cuff] [crystal links]
Ring: [similar]



I'm already envisioning all the cute ways to wear this top: with a navy blazer and crisp white pants, or with garnet pencil pants and leopard flats... I especially think a blazer would look great with this top and help to give the outfit more structure. With temps in the upper 90s here in Florida, I'll have to wait a few more months before I can wear my beloved blazers and cardigans.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Having a baby has put us on spending lock down for awhile, so for now I'll just fantasize about all the pretty things. Maybe one day they'll be mine. :) 


Links to shop:
Shoes: Madewell
Skirt: Boden
Necklace: Baublebar
Bracelet: Chloe + Isabel

I've been wanting a fun, but comfortable pair of heels. The Mira Heel has gotten great online reviews for comfort and style and I like how the suede seems more subtle and sophisticated than a shiny patent leather.

I love Boden's clothing. Everything I've gotten from them has been high quality. This skirt is just the right mix of fun and professional and would be perfect for the office. It's currently on sale, but it'll have to come down a bit more for me to be able snag it. Fingers crossed!

I am a complete blazer addict. I love the navy piping on this blazer, a feminine twist on the classic school boy blazer. This one's a bit out of my price range, and now sold out in my size (I've find J. Crew's blazers to run a bit small on me, so I try to size up) but I'm hoping I can find something comparable. :)

I've been seeing a lot of monogram necklaces lately, but have shied away from the trend. But this necklace is so pretty and polished, I think it would be a great addiction to anyone's jewelry collection. 

I just recently discovered Chloe + Isabel. I haven't ordered anything from this yet, but this pretty bracelet and ring are certainly tempting. All together, I think this wishlist would make a great fall work outfit!  

What items are on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!


Play Date

Top: Loft [exact]
Necklace: Forever 21 [cute alternative]
Belt: Target [exact]
Pants: Lucky [similar]
Shoes: Charming Charlie [super cute alternative
Watch: Fossil [exact]
Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Ring: JewelMint [exact]
 
I've been in complete mommy mode since Baby A arrived in May. I think this might be one of the first times I've worn something other than stretch pants and a tee this summer. First day of real clothes = first blog post! Forgive the lackluster photo and messy house, I'm working to rectify both.

Baby A had her first play date today. It went pretty well. The babies took turns being happy, grumpy and hungry. 


Baby A meets Clara. If her face is any indication, she's not so sure about this other baby thing. 


Maternity leave is almost over, so my outfits will be looking much more professional in the near future. In the mean time, I'm going to look forward to my last days of pajamas, tees and sweats!