Thursday, March 22, 2018

J. Crew Factory Favorites

Although I'm on a no-shopping month for another nine days, it doesn't hurt to fill up my shopping cart just for fun, right? Shopping for spring styles is my favorite because that means warm weather is on the way. I'm also trying to ignore the fact that we got hit with about 4 inches of snow yesterday on the first full day of spring. On the bright side, I'm on my second snow day, and I've been enjoying the free time!

As I was doing some browsing this morning, I saw that J. Crew Factory is having a really good sale right now on women's tops - buy one, get one free! Seriously trying to resist hitting "place order" on my full cart... so instead, I thought I'd share my favorites here and pretend they're on their way to my closet.

embroidered peasant top in gingham : factorywomen blouses & tops

scalloped cami top : factorywomen blouses & tops

lace t-shirt : factorywomen blouses & tops

Now I have nine days to decide on which one(s) I will be adding to my closet on April 1 :) Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tips for a No-Shopping Month

As I mentioned in my 2018 goals post, I'm really trying to cut down on unnecessary spending. One of the ways I plan to accomplish that is to dedicate a few months of the year as no shopping months. I made it through January successfully, and I plan on doing it again in March. I know a lot of other people are trying to cut down on excess spending, so I thought it would be helpful to share how I did it!

Avoid months with big sales
I was doing just fine with no-shop January... until the Lilly sale came around. It was so good this year, and it took some serious self-control not to buy anything. When you choose your month of no shopping, make sure there are no major temptations!

Set parameters
I allowed myself to still buy things for our house and our wedding - I just cut myself of from buying clothes, shoes, and accessories. I probably spent about $5 on Valentine's Day decorations for our house, $6 on a letter board for my office, and a lot more on our wedding... weddings are expensive, y'all!

Click "add to cart," but don't submit your order
I came across quite a few things I liked while doing some online shopping throughout the month. Instead of buying them on impulse, I just added them to my cart and left them there. By the end of the month, I had time to reflect and realize that I didn't really need the item in the first place. If you're still thinking about the item at the end of the month, go ahead and order!

Plan your next purchase
Having a whole month to reflect on what I have and what I need vs. what I want, I was able to talk myself out of a lot of purchases. Once February rolled around, I ended up buying a few things that I felt like I needed: a chambray button down and a couple dresses for work.

Reward yourself
I thought all month about what I would reward myself with after making it through the month. I ultimately decided on some NYX butter lip gloss in Creme Brûlée, which only cost $5 and is now my go-to lip gloss. Be sure to keep your reward small, though, or it defeats the purpose of saving!

Don't make up for it the next month
When the first day of the next month finally arrives, don't go overboard and buy everything you see. This also defeats the purpose of saving. Just go back to your normal amount of shopping, if not less.

Have you ever done a month of no shopping? If so, how did you make it work?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: Pink Sweater & Statement Studs from Zaful

Remember this post about Zaful and their trendy pieces at budget-friendly prices? Well, they were kind enough to send me a few pieces to review, and I'm so excited to share!

First up is this pink sweater (see my cat in the background).

I love wearing light colored sweaters in February and March because it helps me remember that spring is right around the corner even if it's freezing outside. This pink sweater is perfect for just that, and I couldn't resist the detailing. It adds a nice feminine touch to keep this sweater from looking to boring or boxy. To be honest, I was a little worried because this is a "one size fits all" sweater. I'm on the taller side of average, and I usually have trouble with shirts or shirt sleeves being too short for me; however, this one fit just right! I call it oversized because it is very wide and roomy, but I prefer chunky sweaters like this one to be a little big and cozy.

The back detail on this sweater is what sold me! 

Next are these gorgeous statement earrings

First off and most importantly, they're currently on sale for $3.26!! Most of the studs I own are small, so I was excited to try these out. They add the perfect amount of shine to dress up any outfit. Not that I ever really go anywhere fancy, but I can see them with a little black dress and a curly updo!

Regardless of the size, these earrings are fairly light. I haven't worn them for a whole day yet, but I can tell they won't be very uncomfortable. Since they're so big, they cover up my second hole so I can't pair them with another set of earrings - not that it's a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting.

I ordered one more item from Zaful, but unfortunately it was out of stock. Be on the lookout for one last review once I decide what to order in its place!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Winter Survival Guide

I don't know about you, but this time of year always gets me in such a blah mood. The excitement of Christmas and New Years is over, most everything outside is dead and colorless, and you can't leave the house without layers. In an effort to be more positive until spring rolls around, I've thought up a few ways to help beat the winter blues.

1. Stay stocked on winter essentials
This may be different for everyone, but for me, there are four things that I truly wouldn't be able to make it through winter without.

Lotion - My hands get so dry in the cold months. Sometimes they crack until the bleed. Putting lotion on at least every night before bed helps a lot! I linked my current favorite that I use daily.

Lip Balm - Same goes for my lips. I prefer Burt's Bees over Chapstick. I use this at least once a day.

Warm Socks - If my feet are cold, I'm cold. Cozy socks are a must for inside my boots and just around the house.

Warm Leggings - I live in fleece lined leggings! I always wear them when I'm our running errands in the cold or under a dress at work.

Blanket Scarves - The extra bulkiness of these gives me so much warmth! I love wearing them with sweaters and swing dresses for work.

2. Use your supports
In the colder months, it can be so easy to isolate yourself. I really don't enjoy being cold and feel like sometimes my body just can't handle it, but I make it a point to still go out and do things. Whether it's going out to eat or going over to someone's house to visit, it's important to socialize. We're humans, that's what we're meant to do! In times when you really don't want to or can't go out, at least pick up the phone and send a text or make a call. If you really feel down during the winter months, consider getting some extra help by talking to a professional.

3. Don't pay much attention to the weather forecast if it's over 3 days out
This may only apply to you if you work in education and get excited about snow days. I always get my hopes up for a snow day when I see the snowflake in my 10 day forecast, but it almost always disappears as it gets closer. This makes it so much harder for me to get up and go to work that day! I've recently started to ignore the forecast much more than 3 days ahead of time so I'm not constantly disappointed. I love my job, but there is a certain happiness when you get an unexpected day off!

4. Plan a summer trip to somewhere warm
This is especially easy for me this year because we're planning our honeymoon to Anna Maria Island! We already have our room booked, and a few days ago (while it was 17 degrees outside) we spent a lot of time researching places to see, restaurants and bars to check out, and other things to do. It feels great to have something to look forward to!

5. Take care of yourself
I've said this before, but self care is so, so important. Any little thing counts - painting your nails, treating yourself to Starbucks, a bubble bath, chocolate... whatever your heart desires, you deserve it!

What do you do to beat the winter blues?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Staying Trendy on a Budget with Zaful + Cupon Code

I've recently become more money-conscious since buying a house, and one of my goals for 2018 is to cut back on spending. On the other hand, I am a shopaholic and shopping truly makes me happy. Who can relate? I enjoy keeping up with the latest fashion trends, but that unfortunately means having to buy new clothes every season, which is not always realistic. While I don't mind spending a little more on classic pieces (work pants, jeans, riding boots, etc.), I always try to spend a little less on trendy pieces that might not be in style as long. That's why I get so excited when I find stores that carry on-trend pieces that don't break the bank, and today I'm going to share this one with you!

Zaful recently contacted me about working together, and after scrolling through their site, I was happy to agree. They have all the latest trends - think off shoulder, bell sleeves, pompoms, statement florals, etc. - at prices that will make your bank account happy!

Since we still have a couple months of cold weather ahead of us (and because it was 9 degrees when I left for work a few days ago and I haven't been able to warm up since...), the first thing I checked out was their sweater selection. I've been really into the boatneck/off-shoulder look lately because I recently got a black bralette with cool straps that I want to be able to show off. Several of Zaful's sweaters caught my eye...

Because I like to think about my upcoming honeymoon to Florida to warm myself up, I also took a peek at their collection of tops. Quite a few of them make me think of summertime at the beach, and I could see myself wearing any of these while sipping on a drink with my toes in the sand!

Have you every shopped at Zaful before?

Where do you go for cheap trendy clothes?

P.S. Use code ZAKIRA for a discount at Zaful!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Babe Cave Inspiration

We have two extra bedrooms in our house right now: a guest room and what is someday going to become half man cave half craft room/office, or what I like to call babe cave. In our future house, we plan to have a whole basement for this kind of stuff, but for now, we're making do with the one bedroom. It's currently taken up with mostly wedding stuff, but I do want to get some organization in place for all of my craft stuff and make it a little more aesthetically pleasing. Maybe over spring break?

I have a desk from my bedroom at my parents' that I plan on bringing over, but I'd love to add some additional storage. I also want to do a gallery wall above the desk to hang all of my girly decor that doesn't necessarily go with the rest of the house.

Here's some Pinterest inspiration I've collected so far:

If you have a room like this in your house, how do you decorate and organize it? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals

Happy New Year, friends! I'm more than excited about 2018 because I'm getting married! Don't get me wrong, 2017 was a great year - we bought our first house, had our engagement pictures, and I got my very first niece. I'm so thankful for all of the blessings, and I'm looking forward for more to come.

Moving into 2018, there are a few things I would like to focus on:

Improve my photography skills
I got a camera for Christmas! I've been so excited to start taking pictures. So far, I've been practicing taking pictures of my cats - they make perfect models! I've been saving tons of photography tips on Pinterest and hoping to get outside to take some more pictures once the weather warms up.

Exercise at least twice a week
This goal has nothing to do with losing weight; it has to do with being healthy and reducing the risk of health problems when I get older. I don't have a gym nearby though, so I'm thinking about trying some at home barre classes.

Take more time for self care
Self care is so important in my job. I give and give all day every day, and sometimes I need a little treat for myself every now and then. I'm not talking anything big - this can be anything as simple as painting my nails, crafting, using my favorite sugar scrub that instantly makes me feel relaxed, and maybe even trying a face mask. I plan to do this at least twice a week.

Spend less
It's no secret that I love shopping. Now that I have added expenses of owning a house, I need to cut down on my fun spending. I've dedicated January as a no-shopping month, and I plan to do the same at least three more times throughout the year. This means no shopping for clothes, shoes, etc. - I'm not buying anything unless it's for our house or our wedding. Wish me luck!

Seasonal cleaning
Like spring cleaning - but once every season. I've gotten into the habit of cleaning out my closet whenever I have a break form work, which ends up being four times throughout the year. Now that i have a house, I plan to clean out every room, not just the closet, and donate things I no longer need.

What are your goals for 2018?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Recent Outfits

When I first started this little blog, my intention was to get at least one outfit post up a month, if not more. Turns out 1. I will never be able to wake up a few extra minutes to take pictures before I leave because I just love sleep an my bed (and the lighting in my room is terrible so early in the mornings), and 2. the first thing I do when I get home from work is put on comfy clothes, so I totally forget about the picture. Oh well. Here are a few work outfits that I've managed to get a picture of recently:

Tank (old, Banana Republic outlet) / Cardigan / Pants / Boots (old, Nordstrom) / Necklace

Shirt / Cardigan (similar on sale!) / Pants / Boots (old, Nordstrom) / Scarf (gift)

Shirt (old, Loft) / Pants / Shoes / Necklace (old, similar on sale!)

Sweater / Pants / Boots (old, Nordstrom) / Necklace

Shirt / Pants / Shoes / Scarf (on sale!)

Friday, December 15, 2017

DIY Flower Girl Proposal

One of the reasons I couldn't wait for my baby niece to be born was so I could officially ask her to be our flower girl! I made my own proposal gifts for my bridesmaids, so of course I had to do one for the baby, too. I scrolled through Pinterest over and over, but there were very few ideas for babies and none of them really hit me. Then I started thinking of things babies would actually use, and it came to me... socks! I had seen these sock bouquets around for baby showers, but I thought it would be absolutely perfect to make for a flower girl proposal. The best part? The whole thing cost me less than $20.

  • Baby socks (color of your choice, I chose this pack with different shades of pink)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Fake flowers
  • Tissue paper
  • Small vase
  • Ribbon
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Marker

  1. Make your sock flowers by laying the sock flat, rolling the sock from the toe up, and folding one side of the opening over the rest of the sock. Check out this tutorial for pictures. 
  2. Stick the popsicle into the bottom of the sock (like the stem of the flower). 
  3. Stuff the vase with tissue paper (this helps the popsicle stocks stay in place).
  4. Arrange the sock flowers in the vase.
  5. Fill in any empty spots with fake flowers.
  6. Design your card on a small piece of scrapbook paper, and tie it on with a bow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Decor

Aside from gift guides, Holiday House Tours are one of my favorite things to see in the blogging world around Christmas time! As I've mentioned before, we've only been in our house for about six months now... but decorating it for Christmas for the first time was one of the things I was most excited about since we signed the closing papers!

Of course, the bar is my favorite place to decorate. I will automatically pick up any little trinket that involves Christmas and wine. I can't help it - note the ugly sweater wine bottle topper! I've also accumulated a collection of Christmas wine glass charms over the years, which I have displayed in the snowflake bowl I picked up from Dollar General. I got the cocktail napkins from the Dollar Tree and the "Merry" sign from Hobby Lobby. The silver and gold trees and the Santa decoration are from the Target dollar spot. I needed something with some color to put in the giant champagne glass, and these little light bulb ornaments from Target did the trick.

To add some Christmas cheer to our dining room, I filled my centerpiece platter with mini silver and gold ornaments and wrapped some garland around it. I also added the Joy pillow to the chair in the corner. I got the ornaments from Walmart and the rest from the Target dollar section (noticing a trend here?). Next year I'm hoping to get some Christmas placemats, too.

This manger scene was one that I got from my grandma's house. I wrapped some LED string lights around the top to give it a little something extra.

Since we don't have a mantle, we opted to hang our stockings on the counter that separates our living room and kitchen. Worked out alright for now! Our next house will definitely have a fireplace.

I had my heart set on some small Christmas trees in pots for either side of the front porch, but I had the hardest time finding them! I originally found the PERFECT ones in Walmart (a set of two for only $20!), but they were sold out. After looking everywhere, we ended up buying these two trees from Dollar General and wrapped lights around them. In the future, I'm going to try to put them in pots to give it a more complete look. We added some candles in the windows, and I'm proud to say that we were one of the first ones in the neighborhood to have lights up!

How do you decorate for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking are one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I always looked forward to opening the tiny gifts one by one on Christmas morning. I'm so glad that even though I'm in my 20s now, my mom still puts one together for me every year! I recently started doing one for her, too, and it's always so fun to pick up little things for it throughout the year. Here are some favorites I've found recently that would be perfect stocking stuffers!