Friday, July 24, 2015

Home Decor Favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9

Since most people gravitate towards the Fall fashion when the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale takes place each year, I thought I'd take a moment to focus on some neutral home decor that they offer. All of these pieces listed are included in the sale which is running until Aug.2nd. If you haven't seen it yet, you can find my big #nsale post with all of my fall fashion favorites here.

If you've been following my blog for a while then you probably know that I'm an Interior Designer. While I work with clients who have a variety of different design styles, one thing that I try to encourage for longevity sake is incorporating classic neutrals for a timeless look. Neutrals will never go out of style and easily coordinate with a variety of colors and patterns. One of my favorite neutrals is gold as an accent.

I love this gold mirrored bar cart above! Whether it's stocked with liquor and martini glasses or adorned with bath salts and bath products next to a soaker tub, it's an elegant accent piece. The gold lips wall art would be a glam touch above a desk in a home office, in a master bedroom or even leaned up inside a built-in bookcase in a living room space. In my own home we use a lot of baskets for organizing, they're the perfect practical accessory to corral toddler toys at the moment in our playroom as well as Lily's nursery. Baskets with interesting patterns like this chevron basket add a fun touch. While this set of floral print curtain panels is not a typical neutral, it adds a fun pop of color and would be the perfect complement to the paint hue of the moment-gray. They come in this teal color and also in burnt umber as well as grey. Not to be missed is this set of contemporary gold detailed champagne flutes, a perfect complement to the bar car, no?


Right now, everything from bedding to rugs is on sale, so be sure to check out the sale if you're currently looking to refresh your space. Items are going quickly so if you find something in a specific color or size that you like, grab it while you can! If you're looking for a little help to redo a room in your home, I work with clients all over the globe offering e-Design services. I'd love to work with you! You can read more about how that works here.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Perfect Diaper Bag: Skip Hop Versa Review

I hope you're having a great week. I hope you all don't mind but I'm switching gears a bit today. Although it's been nearly two years since I gave birth to my sweet Lily Evangeline (seriously, where does the time go?), I have been meaning for months to share with you my most trusted and highly recommended baby and toddler products. There are a few that I get both compliments on and questions about all the time in person as well as online, so I want to begin with one of them today. As a new mom, trying to figure out which necessities are best for your baby, budget as well as your own lifestyle can be overwhelming and involves a bit of trial and error, but if you're like me, you rely on reviews from others experienced mamas to help narrow down your search and make the process a bit easier so you're not wasting money and time on products that don't perform or stand the test of time. Today, I'm reviewing the Skip Hop Versa Diaper Bag.

I began my baby registry when I was 5 months pregnant after I had just learned that we were expecting a little girl which we were both over the moon about! A stylish, durable, practical diaper bag with organized compartments was at the top of my list. Along with an infant car seat and stroller, it's the one other thing you take with you everywhere, especially the first year. There are so many diaper bags to choose from and I knew I didn't want one that had a cutesy design, was girly or that screamed 'baby bag' in any way. I was on the hunt for something in classic black that I could use daily and my hubby wouldn't feel silly carrying. Some men grab their own backpack style for example but I just felt it was unnecessary to buy two since I was breastfeeding her and she went with me practically everywhere the first year and he was only ever alone with her about 1-2 hours at a time before the next nursing session at home where all of our belongings were anyway. Now that she's older, he uses it every time he takes her out and has learned what each compartment holds. A great bonus is that it has stroller clips, so when not worn on the shoulder (or cross-body), it clips over the stroller handle bar keeping everything up front and eliminates the need for a separate caddy that stroller manufacturers often sell to hold your keys, phone, etc. I purchased the cup holder with my stroller, so that was already taken care of.

Before we begin, I just want to say that I was not compensated by anyone for this review, I just feel so strongly about this product and the great experiences I've had with it, that I wanted to share. Now, let's get to the specifics, shall we?

Anatomy of a Diaper Bag

1. Overall Design & Style: As someone who opts for a classic look whenever possible, I enjoy investing in timeless pieces that I'll have for years to come (no matter what I'm buying) and can use beyond its intended purpose as in the case of my Skip Hop Versa diaper bag. It's all black in a matted nylon fabric which gives it a nice sheen with a cotton fabric insert where it becomes zipped open or closed for expansion. The interior has an electric blue which I like for a pop of color plus it's gender neutral but most importantly, because it's not black, the bag doesn't become a bottomless pit, it makes it easy to find everything you need. It's finished with gold zipper hardware and ring clips. It's a clean, modern design that goes with anything you may be wearing. I was worried the fabric might snag or get dirty but it completely wipes clean with a damp cloth

2. Organization, Durability & Functionality:

Exterior Compartments-Because this is a bag for mom as much as it is for baby, I looked for one that allowed me to separate my own belongings from Lily's necessities. On the outside of the bag there is a front horizontal zip pocket which is perfect for smaller items keys, lip balm, hair ties, bandages, etc. On either side at the front as well there are two larger zippered pockets which were designed to hold baby bottles and large enough to add ice packs if needed for formula/expressed breast milk. Because I exclusively breastfed and never used a pump or any formula, I use that prime real estate for my belongings due to the easy access. One zippered pocket holds my wallet, the other holds a few misc. items such as my hair comb, lip gloss, gum/mints, nail file and more. On those two zippered pockets are stretchy open pockets which are also the perfect size for bottles. I use one for hand sanitizer spray and the other holds my iPhone since I use those quite a bit. Last but not least, there is a large zippered pocket that runs the length of the bag and comes with an included comfortable folded diaper changing pad that matches the bag. I love how durable the zippers are. I've stuffed the bag and pockets to the gills while flying with Lily and they've never broken or malfunctioned. I can honestly say that Skip Hop makes quality, durable products.

Interior Compartments-Equally as important as the exterior is of course how well the inside is to use. There are 4 main pouches and a large center space. For the pouches I used one for 4 diapers + hard wipe case, one for bibs and feeding items like little plastic spoons and baby food jars/pouches. one for bows, socks, a couple onesies, one for toiletries such as mini baby lotion, extra pacifier, diaper cream, etc. The large open space in the center which is made of  a durable blue nylon was where I placed rolled up baby swaddle blankets, extra bulkier outfits, my own change of clothes, toys & teethers, etc. The material can be wiped clean and if necessary due to any spills, it can even be laundered. I can't personally attest to how it comes out after being laundered because I've never had a reason to put mine into the washing machine. Three times I had a sippy cup of water fall over and spill into the bag soaking it (which was my own fault because her sippy straw cup was leaking) and I just hung it up by the strap outside to dry and it was perfect after-no staining or water marks.

3. Expandability:  I think it's important to invest in a diaper bag that holds everything you'll need but isn't enormous in its body design. I really love that this Skip Hop bag is expandable. When you're running a quick errand and don't need so much extra space, you can just zip it closed down the center and it's instantly made more compact. Likewise, when you're headed out to a theme park, a road trip or just those first 6 months when you need multiple outfit changes, tons of diaper and let's face it, an extra dress or outfit for yourself (it's come in handy for me more than once!), it's nice to have that space similar to when choosing a great piece of luggage.

4. Adjustable Shoulder Strap & Stroller Clips: As I mentioned above, this bag not only has a long adjustable shoulder strap that can be worn over one shoulder like a handbag, but it can also be worn cross-body OR using the attached ring clips, it can be attached to a stroller handle bar for hands-free use in a snap. Not all bags have this feature and it was a definitely selling point because it meant I didn't have to buy separate shopping clips. Since I have a large basket under my stroller, it fits nicely there too. the straps themselves are thick and very durable.

5. Bag Weight: Since this bag is nylon it's extremely lightweight which is just what I wanted. By the time you fill it with baby's everyday needs, it can get pretty heavy. While I'm all for a workout, carrying baby is enough of one for a sleep-deprived mom.

In case you're wondering, other similar styled bags I considered were this leather tote, this bag, this petunia pickle bottom bag, this Marc Jacobs Bag and this Tory Burch bag. At the end of the day, they were all a lot more expensive than the versa which by the way is only $70. I'm really happy with the overall value after all these months.

Since this is a detailed diaper bag review I won't make it any longer by adding a ton of detail on some of mine and Lily's favorite items that we keep inside it just yet (a few of which are shown in my photos), instead I'll link to them via the image scroll bar below, some are part of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale running until Aug.2nd. I will say that these muslin swaddle blankets (on sale!) are everything! We never left home with our her Sophie teething toy. Her first pair of walking shoes were these moccasins in platinum which are perfect for baby's learning to walk. I've always used organic products and I make no exceptions there with my baby girl, for that reason some of our favorites are the thick honest wipes (we only used the diapers for a short while then they caused leaks) and the diaper rash cream, their baby arrival gift set (currently on sale!) includes several items and it makes an amazing shower gift or post-birth present. We also love Lena the lullabye lamb that Lily got for Easter and just adores.

Whether around town or a plane ride away, if you want to see me using my diaper bag on-the-go in action, you can find some pics here, herehereherehere and here via Instagram where it's always with me clipped to the stroller.

What are your must-have baby items that could not live without? I'd love to know!

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Thanks for Reading!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Favorites

BAGS:  1  //  2   //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6

DRESSES:  1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6

BOOTS:  1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6

COATS: 1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6

ACCESSORIES:  1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7

SWEATERS:  1  //  2  //  3

SHOES: 1 //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9

JEANS:  1  //  2  //  3

JACKETS: 1  //  2  //  3

Every year at this time I look forward to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because it's such a great opportunity to stock up on stylish fall essentials and save money while doing so. Right now until July.16th is early access to the sale before the public for Nordstrom Cardholders. Not a cardholder? No problem. You can either wait until the public access which runs from July.17th-August.2nd (or if you see something here that you love and want to guarantee you'll be able to get it in your size or color choice, you won't want to wait!) You can do what I did and sign up for a Nordstrom Rewards card (credit OR debit options available). As always, everything ships for free which is one major reason why I love ordering online from Nordstrom.

There are so many amazing pieces it's hard to know where to begin, so I've put together all of my classy favorites for you in each category to give you a head start! With the insane heat here in Florida right now, as much as I love summer, I'm really looking forward to cooler weather and am excited for all the fall fashion goodness. Riding boots, jeans and sweaters anyone?

Have you purchased anything from the sale yet? I'd love to know what pieces you snagged! What do you have on your radar for fall?

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Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Classy Fashion Favorites for June

Hi Everyone! I hope you're enjoying your summer so far. Once again, I'm about a week late in posting all of my classy fashion picks for the month however June and July sort of blend into one another as the sun is blazing and staying cool is the name of the game. So, a lot of my selections revolve around rompers, cover ups (or tops/dresses that work as one) for the beach or pool along with swimsuits (isn't this one adorable?)-basically easy, breezy looks. I've also had my eye on more upscale formal/wedding looks too as this is wedding season.

To round everything out, I've included jewelry, handbags and really a bit of everything. If you're going to be throwing a pool party how cute are these pineapple ice cube trays for guests' drinks? They also come in an anchor or flamingo version. This flamingo pool float is a must-have, darling for every age and totally photo opp-worthy! As always, just click on any of the images shown in this boutique gallery and you'll be taken straight to the item source.

Below, I'm sharing some of the best summer sales going on right now. Don't forget that the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale begins tomorrow! If you're a cardholder you get early access to shop from July.9-16th before the public. If you're not already signed up as a cardholder you can do it today, they offer a Nordstrom credit OR Nordstrom debit card (which is what I have and it took me 2 mins to sign up) and it gets approved on the spot so you can begin shopping right away with a bonus of a complementary $20 note for $100 spent the day you sign up on top of the sale deals!! As always the shipping is FREE. All the new fall styles will be on major sale as well as summer favorites to wear for the rest of the season! To make it easy for you, I'll be sure to share a new post daily with easy-to-shop links and images of my favorite classy pieces from the sale!

  • ANN TAYLOR: 60% OFF summer looks w/code: SUMMER60
  • ASOS: Up to 50% OFF sale styles now. 
  • J.CREW: TODAY ONLY extra 50-60% OFF final sale styles w/code: SALEPERK
  • NORDSTROM: Anniversary Sale begins tomorrow! Be sure to check bright & early!

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Happy Shopping!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Modesty is Classy

While there are many characteristics that a classy woman embodies, I think we all can agree that being modest is one of them. Nobody likes a braggart or someone who parades around flaunting what they have from their killer legs to their 7 figure bank account balance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and ultimately obtaining financial success or in putting in numerous hours at the gym to create a beautiful physique and enjoying the rewards of both. It's when we intentionally flash it in another person's face that it becomes distasteful, off-putting and downright obnoxious at times. Having said that, even if we're not deliberately parading around, it's still important to always be aware and err on the conservative side.

I was recently watching a reality TV show that follows the lives of a few ladies and although I'm not usually a huge fan of what I refer to as mindless television (easy watching at the end of a long day that doesn't require critical thinking or anything too heavy), I still get a laugh and find elements from such shows that inspire my writing. These supposed successful ladies all vary in their backgrounds but they have one thing in common: wealth, an affluent lifestyle and they all happen to live in the same city. I watched as one woman felt the need to constantly remind everyone around her about her past career titles, accomplishments and in an effort to make herself relevant today (which actually just revealed her insecurities), she would not stop repeating herself and talking about her current business ventures and the company to which she is building, much to the dismay of those around her who have heard it all one too many times. To make matters worse, she is a name dropper. Aside from this thought, she actually seems like a fun, outgoing woman and kind friend so it's rather unfortunate that this lack of humility has tarnished her reputation and negatively impacts how others regard her.

There is a certain confidence that every classy woman possesses which allows her to be content with modesty and be herself so there is no need to show off or try to get the attention of others, especially men . Does she feel 100% self-assured in every single situation in life? Of course not. We all have fears, doubts and sometimes nerves that get the best of us, she is aware of her areas for improvement as well as her limitations. How we choose to channel those emotions and project them into the world though makes a big difference in how we are perceived. More than just perception, we want to truly live a life of authenticity and contentment both on the inside as well as the outside. What sense is there in appearing confident to others when you are in fact a self-sabotaging, self-ridiculing, person who doesn't like herself and lacks true confidence an inner peace? In my last post, I wrote on How to Love Yourself. This is key in becoming a confident woman and only when were are first confident in who we are can we truly be modest and humble. There is no need to boast to seek approval from those around us.

For me, there is nothing more attractive than when someone is completely authentic and just at ease. I love meeting someone and learning a bit about them but never once hearing the aforementioned bragging of their life in any way and then later on in time I learn a lot of really neat facts that are so share-worthy but to them it's not necessary because they are centered within themselves and don't need others to validate who they are by what they possess. We have neighbors down the street (an older, retired couple) whom I found out a couple years ago are millionaires. I never would have guessed in a hundred years. It wasn't until my husband befriended them (seeing them while he was outside reading or doing a bit of yard work and they would walk their dog daily and pass our house) and eventually they got talking about life and business also, that's when he learned about what businesses they were involved in and more about their family life, etc. They live in a modest home, drive average cars, don't dress in fancy clothing and are the sweetest couple-totally relatable. Women who are humble make others around them feel comfortable, which at the end of the day is what good manners are all about.

If you're looking for ways to dress more modestly yet stylish, you can take a peek at my last few fashion posts. See some great pieces and looks here, here, here and here.

In what ways do you make an effort to live a more modest life?

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Thanks for Reading!


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