Friday, June 17, 2016

Floral Print Maxi Dress



One of the perks to living in Florida is that I get to live in dresses almost year round. April marked the beginning of 90-degree temps for us so jeans and pants of any sort lately have been rare, shorts still feel a bit too clingy and it seems the only thing that is both comfortable and weather-appropriate is long loose flowing dresses or shorter lightweight ones.




Since I'm always on the hunt for beautiful yet affordable dresses, I was so excited when I stumbled upon this online shop a few months ago (you might remember this eyelash + lips tee that I shared via instagram during spring break which was also found there). I couldn't get over their pricing and free standard shipping on any order. When they reached out to me recently to collaborate, I knew I wanted to order one of their dresses as I've been curious about the overall quality and fit for the price.

Since it's sometimes hard to determine quality through a computer screen, I was delighted when this gorgeous blue floral maxi dress arrived and not only did it fit me perfectly but it looked even more beautiful in person just as the reviews stated! As someone who is tall (5'9"), dresses are often not long enough for me-maxi dresses in particular, but this one is true floor length for me, I paired it with my gray medium height wedges to keep it off the ground so if you're shorter you may want to get it hemmed a touch or wear a higher heel. The best part is it's a steal for under $25 on sale right now!















I have always loved halter style tops and dresses for the reason that they evoke a sexiness that isn't overt-just a hit of soft sun-kissed shoulders. This one also has a little peek of exposed back which I personally like. The fabric of this dress is lightweight (but not see-through) and it's both flowing and feminine. I always appreciate dresses that are effortless and can be worn in a variety of ways. I plan to pair it with a red crossbody bag during 4th of July weekend but also look forward to adding a sunny splash of color with a yellow clutch and a white tote bag in the future too.



OUTFIT DETAILS:

Dress: SheIn c/o //  Heels: Nine West (old) similar: here 
Bag: Franco Sarto (not avail. online yet) similar: here, here, here, nearly identical here from SheIn + comes in 4 beautiful colors & is only $31!)
*Designer Chloe cross-body Saddle Bag: hereherehere
 Cat Eye Sunglasses: Versace (no longer avail) similar   //  Pearl Earrings: Majorica 
Lipstick: L'Oreal (color: Blake's red)  //  Nail polish: Julep (color: rose bombshell) 


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I'm going a bit monochromatic today wearing mostly blue with this new Chloe-inspired crossbody saddlebag along with a red lip and pedi polish. I've had my eye on the designer version for months but it's out of my budget at the moment so when I found this gorgeous blue dupe locally for a fraction of the price, I knew I had to get it and that it would pair well with skirts, shorts and of course denim too. It provides a bit of a relaxed bohemian vibe which I like to provide a more relaxed look keep this dress from being too prim.

Below are some other classy dresses that I've had my eye on for summer...








Let's Socialize!



What are your favorites types of dresses for summer?

Thanks for reading!

XO



*In collaboration with SheIn 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

8 Things You Should Always Keep Private




One of a classy woman's most notable characteristics is her ability to remain discreet. Keeping matters private not only creates a sense of trust and mystery but it just adheres to proper protocol and good manners, after all, the goal of being well mannered is to allow others to feel comfortable in our presence. When we blurt out a personal problem or another such confidential matter, we essentially invite others into that space, when in fact it is often not meant for them. Sharing too much can make others feel awkward and unsure how to reply or act after learning of the information that's been revealed. I first tackled the idea of discretion a while ago in this post.




The other day, an old friend reached out to me via private message on Facebook and point blank asked me a question that I was not expecting to answer, it pertained to my personal life and I was a little unsure at first how I wanted to reply. While this person was once one of my best friends and I have always been grateful for that friendship, at the present time we have not seen one another in several years and I would consider them at this point to be an acquaintance. Although the question came from a place of care and concern (and curiosity, I'm sure), I still debated exactly how much I wanted to expose. In the end, I provided a brief little synopsis, I didn't go into all the details but uttered just enough to get them up to speed.

About an hour later, the thought crossed my mind that maybe less would have been best, I could have simply just replied 'yes' to their question without feeling the need to explain further. However, given whom I was corresponding with, I didn't want to come across as being short and yet didn't want to tell more than I felt comfortable with sharing at that moment either. In the end after we exchanged a couple messages, knowing this person's level of trustworthiness; integrity and their heart, I was okay with having shared a bit more than I normally would have but it was a good reminder for me that going forward I want to ensure that I only reply or talk about information in the way that I feel is best. I got to thinking about how people often overshare unnecessarily and divulge private details of their life that can often have repercussions. It sparked the topic for today's Manners Monday post.





By now, you might be wondering what some of the off-limits topics are so you can avoid such pitfalls so I'm sharing with you '8 Things You Should Always Keep Private'. While there are many aspects of life that we should keep to ourselves (or at the very least only opt to confide in a Doctor, Psychologist/Mental Health Counselor, our parent(s), our spouse or the closest of trusted friends), there are 3 that rank highest in order of importance, they are: your level of income, details of your love life and the plans for your next move. I have also written about an additional 5 which not to be overlooked. In this age of social media and reality TV where for many their life is an open book for all to read/watch, as a lady we must be keenly aware and conscious not to cross the sometimes blurred line between public and private. Resist the urge of telling your story to anyone who will listen. Don't give people the privilege of knowing of knowing everything about you.



8 Things You Should Keep Private


1. INCOME: Unless you're applying for a home loan or purchasing a new car, your salary should not be a topic of conversation and is best kept under wraps. Among colleagues and coworkers you just never know who earns what and it can create an uncomfortable working environment and can bring about negative emotions from others who have had a longer tenure within a company (especially if they earn less than you). In the company of friends, it can make them feel less than if you have a greater earning capacity however, if you earn less (especially far less) than your friends, they may feel you cannot afford certain outings and may even exclude you from events. Nothing good can come from sharing how much you make.

2. LOVE LIFE: The details of true intimacy between a couple are intended to be enjoyed only by the 2 parties involved. Recounting the details of one's sexual escapades not only invites others into a space they don't belong (and provides others with a visual they probably never wished for) but it creates a level of mistrust. The bedroom (or whatever place one chooses to experience private moments with their partner) is a sacred place, it involves trust, communication and an ability to feel safe as they are able to express and be themselves. This bond is broken when shared in passing during Monday morning water cooler conversation or while out for dinner with girlfriends. If something seems out of the ordinary, ask your health care provider or a sex therapist instead of everyone who you encounter. If you're having the time of your life and thrilled with your partner, there may be a temptation to reveal how amazing everything is but it's just not appropriate conversation and it creates an awkwardness between you and others. There is that old adage... never kiss and tell!

3. NEXT MOVE: Whether you're planning to jump ship and leave your career behind to become a stay-at-home mom or you're moving towards starting your own business, or you're navigating the choppy waters of a difficult divorce, it's wise to stay tight-lipped about future plans. There is something to be said for the element of surprise and while details are still being hashed out, it's important be quiet and allow things to unfold as they do. First off, this can become gossip that certain people would love to feed off and run with and you never know who might tell what to whom. The more people you run your ideas or goals by, the higher the chance the information will get into the wrong hands. Let people see how your life unfolds by your actions, not your words. While some may say that being intentional and telling others what they're doing is actually a form of accountability (and it can be in certain areas of our life such as beginning a new workout program when it's shared with a trusted friend), generally speaking though most times it is not in your best interest.

4. MEDICAL CONDITIONS: Some people take comfort in being able to relate to others who share the same disease or illness they have, we all like to feel as though we have things in common with others, however be careful not to speak about what we know to be the negatives in life. It's easy to adopt a victim mentality and/or find one's identity within an illness. The danger in sharing your medical history and current condition is that it comes across as though you're looking for others to feel sorry for you and a classy woman never looks for other's sympathy. Many health-related topics can also be quite gross to hear about for the average person not in the medical field. It might be your day-to-day norm but completely foreign and cringe-worthy to another person who hears it in passing. I can assure you that nobody wants to hear about an oozing sore, hearing you talk about aches and pains nor do they want to know you that intimately. Even with a spouse or mate, it's wise to use discretion. A health care provider is the best person to talk to and if necessary, a social group with others who are in your shoes.

5. RELATIONSHIP DETAILS: Whether you're head over heels in love with your new sweetie or had a massive blowout disagreement with your significant other, while the details may seem like juicy gossip to some (you can almost guarantee your words will be repeated!), it's not becoming of a lady to air out all of her dirty laundry for all to know about. We all have problems, no relationship is without the occasional argument or challenge, however when you share with others what is likely just venting in the moment, you violate the trust between yourself and your partner. Even if you had the best first date of your life and you're dying to share-refrain. Once again, something gets taken away and it's not as special once everyone knows about it. If you learned your husband, boyfriend or new date was sharing such details with his friends you'd likely feel a bit awkward, betrayed and maybe even embarrassed, not a great way to build a solid relationship.

6. FINANCES: This is an area that should always be a mystery. Did you just buy a brand new house, a boat, a luxury car? Let people wonder if you just got a promotion at work, won the lottery, received an inheritance, saved up for a decade, etc. This is one of the most personal matters, it's also one area that we know not to ask others about so why it is available for public knowledge? I've overheard people in a casual setting telling others they're broke, their home is in foreclosure, they received trust money (and specified the amount), etc. It is nobody else's business but one's own. Also, resist the temptation in sharing in an effort to learn more about someone else's financials whether it be a friend, acquaintance or someone you're seeing. If you're planning to become married, it's wise to know these details and it's not at all inappropriate to find out-it's smart for a woman who doesn't want to  become blindsided later. Although I can't attest to using these tools before becoming married, these days learning what their FICO score is or running a background check are all part of the modern times we live in, as they can have a serious impact on the quality of your life down the road.
  
7. ANYTHING CONFIDENTIAL: I think it goes without saying that if someone has shared something with you in confidence, it needs to remain that way. Yes, when you get married two become one and there is that temptation to share every single thing with your spouse but not everything needs to be talked about and if you've been explicitly asked not to repeat what was told to you-don't! It's not your story to tell. Even when it hasn't been spoken, oftentimes the nature of the conversation determines that it's implied when certain information should not be repeated. Likewise, details of a legal agreement, settlement, work contract, etc., which are not intended for others' eyes should not be communicated to anyone else outside of the agreement. By sharing such details in confidence, we put others in the uncomfortable position of learning about something that they should not be privy to in the first place and there's no going back after the words are uttered. 

8. THERAPY SESSIONS: I think this is an area where a lot of people speak freely, stating "my therapist thinks..." or "my counselor said..." it seems to have become commonplace in our society as people no longer feel hesitant to seek help (which is a good thing). Therapy of any sort is a time for digging deeper to identify where issues originated from, it's a time for one to become well and make sense of current or past experiences and how they relate to their present situations. Talking this through is quite therapeutic which is why you've employed a therapist to begin with. Don't make the mistake of repeating to your friends and loved ones the details of your sessions as if they were in the room with you. Not to mention, most people have a collection of their own problems to work through, burdening those around us with our issues again and again is not only impolite but it's also selfish.

*Please Note: In the case of someone who requires help for a bodily illness, health concern or mental health issue such as suicidal thoughts, hopelessness or depression, remaining private should never be an option. Seeking professional help and the love and support from family and friends is essential and should be the first priority!


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Let's Socialize!



Have you ever found yourself sharing too much about a private matter only to wish you could retract it afterwards? Has anyone ever left you feeling uncomfortable simply by lacking discretion and over-sharing as it pertains to their own private matters? Let us know in the comments below!

As always, thank you for stopping by!

XO

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Blueberry Picking on Memorial Day Weekend



OUTFIT DETAILS: 

Floral Midi Dress: Banana Republic old (floral: here, here, here) //  Straw Tote: (not shown)
Gold Sandals: Tommy Hilfiger no longer avail.  (very similar)  //  Bracelet: Forever 21
Sunglasses: Versace no longer available (very similar)   //  Pearl Earrings: Majorica
 Nail polish: Julep (in rose bombshell)


I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend with your families and friends! When I was a child one of the simple things I most loved doing was berry picking. I used to go camping with my grandparents every year at the same campground and my cousins and I would head to a massive patch of red and black raspberry bushes and pick as many ripe ones as we could, eating some along the way and carrying the rest back in a large empty yogurt container. We'd then wash them, mash them up and add a bit of sugar to make jam. That was our thing every single summer. This year, with Lily being almost 3, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce her to berry picking. Here in Florida blueberries have been in season this past month and after meaning to go for weeks, we finally made it just in time before the self-picking was over for the year.




LILY'S OUTFIT: 

Silver Sandals: Old Navy last year  (similar here)  //  White Shoes Below: Keds (these are cute too!)
Top & Pants: Maggie & Zoe not avail. online  (similar stripe dresses: here + here + love this one!)
Red Hair Bow: Janie & Jack last year (similar here)




I headed 30 mins to Tom West Blueberry Farm which is a no-spray farm (something I specifically inquired about since eating an organic diet is important to us) and they allow you to pick and eat as many berries as you like while filling your bucket, which we took advantage of. I loved that it was such a fun, family-oriented farm that offers boat rides on the small lake, an areas for kids to draw with chalk and because of the holiday, they also had a bounce house which I'm pretty sure was Lily's favorite part of the entire day! ;)




We started out near some bushes that had slightly more tart blueberries (which Lily tried but decided to feed me with instead which she was obsessed with) and were later directed to a short tractor ride away to the back of the fields where all the super sweet berries were. As soon as we arrived, I didn't even have to give her any instruction, with her white bucket in hand my sweet girl had already begun reaching for the biggest berries. The sun was quite intense and it was 92 degrees, so we picked 1 pound of blueberries (which was just $4) and headed back to enjoy some homemade blueberry ice cream while relaxing under in the shade.




I've been living in dresses the past month because it's been so unbearably hot already (but thankfully quite stunning) and this Banana Republic floral midi dress from a few years ago (last seen here) has been a favorite in my closet for years. In case you're wondering, my 'something red' was my toenail polish for my red, white + blue ensemble. Last week I treated Lily to this comfy little nautical outfit I came across at a local store and knew it would be perfect for the day.




While I used to reserve my dressier dresses for church, work or special occasions, I've recently found so much enjoyment in wearing them for day-to-day activities paired with flats or low wedge sandals for a slightly casual yet still put-together outfit. When the sun goes down, I love adding a little cardigan or denim jacket for an effortless look. Although I'm a pretty practical person who considered the potential of blueberry stains with a toddler in tow, I decided to cast those cares aside, packed extra wipes in our bag and it all worked out, we managed to leave stain-free. The only thing we had to change were her shoes afterwards.  I had to laugh, Lily and I both wore sandals and our feet were so dirty by the time we left. I'll definitely be wearing closed-toes shoes there next time around along with a sunhat!











I find midi dresses to be a classy option as they are so ladylike hitting below the knee. I'm obsessed with this dress right now and here are some other midi dresses I've had my eye on:







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Let's Socialize!




Have you done any fruit picking in your own area? What is your favorite to pick?

Thank you for stopping by!

XO


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale: Classy Summer Essentials





Crepe Wrap Dress  //  Sunglasses  //  Boater Hat (just $14!)
Kate Spade Tote  //  Black Espadrille Wedges  //  Suede Heels (comes in 5 colors!)






One of my favorite retailers is having their huge half-yearly sale right now, and it's honestly the perfect time as we move from less predictable spring weather to warm, sunny days ahead sporting our favorite sandals + a breezy feminine dress.

These espadrille wedges above also come in brown and are a summer must-have, a timeless staple you'll enjoy for years to come! They are a great option for those who find high heels daunting or moms like myself who want a more comfortable and safer options while out and about with little ones, yet want to avoid settling for flip flops or tennis shoes. They are under $75 and won't last long so if you see your size right now-grab them! I also adore these gorgeous suede lace-up sandals which come in a sand color as well as black for under $80, sizes are selling out in these fast!

No summer wardrobe is complete without a well-fitting and flattering bathing suit, cover up + floppy hat and it's good to have a few suits on hand especially while traveling as they can take a bit of time to dry. I own 5 great suits of varying styles and colors but I think you can get away with 3. Who says you can only turn heads in a bikini? This asymmetrical single shoulder one-piece swimsuit is both modest and sexy. It's designed to make you appear thinner and keep you covered in all the right places (who doesn't want that?) It's so much nicer to hit the pool or take a dip at the beach and not have to worry about your baby or a wave pulling your bathing suit top down-been there, done that. ;) Sunglasses are so important to not only block the rays while driving and prevent squinting but especially to protect your eyes from sun damage. If you've been following my instagram for a while, you've probably noticed that I wear cat eye sunglasses nearly every day. I started wearing them a few years ago and I just love the way they frame and flatter my face as they draw the eye up and add a chic look to any outfit. They seem to be universally flattering on every face shape.

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Because I live in a warm climate, I'm always on the hunt for pretty yet affordable dresses, especially once the heatwave arrives as I pretty much live in them daily. I look for bright, bold colors and subtle prints such as florals, gingham or stripes but solid colors such as white, black and navy are what I build my dress wardrobe upon. You can never go wrong with a black maxi dress!

Below I'm sharing several more pieces that caught my eye that I thought you might also like. When you click on any of these images, it'll take you straight to the item for more details and into the sale where you'll find thousands of other amazing pieces up to 40% OFF + free shipping!








Let's Socialize!


What are your must-have summer wardrobe pieces? Do you prefer one-piece swimsuits or bikinis?


As always, thanks for reading!

XO

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Elegant Guest Bathroom Design




Hi Everyone! I'm switching gears here a bit today to share a different kind of post. Many of you who have followed along here for a while know that I'm an Interior Designer / Home Stager by day and you may have even seen some of my work via the e-design page above. Some of you have even left comments or e-mailed me over the years to share some of my work her with you all.

Nearly 3 years ago, my precious daughter Lily was born and I made the decision to enjoy all of her 'firsts' by becoming a stay-at-home then work-at-home mom. Since my business involves a lot of face-to-face meetings for design and home staging consultations, I quickly realized that in order to keep working I needed to have an online decorating option which not only allowed me to continue to offer my services locally here in the central Florida area (without hiring a babysitter) but it also opened up new territory by expanding my interior decorating services nationwide and beyond. I currently have clients worldwide, the majority however are still within the U.S.





One of my favorite e-design projects has been working with a family who was renovating their California home room-by-room. They later moved elsewhere and reached out to me once again to work alongside of them and their contractor to build their forever home. Since they are currently under construction and these spaces are not yet completed (nor photographed), I thought I'd share with you a couple mood boards of the designs I created. I began with the guest bathroom which is used by their family of 4, particularly their your children (son and daughter), as well as guests. I envisioned an elegant space that wasn't filled with bold, bright colors and didn't scream 'kids bath' but instead was a space they'd grow into and the style would flow with the rest of their home. Below I'm also sharing the links to the items chosen for this space in case you see something you like. *Please note some items are no longer available as this time.


GUEST BATHROOM SOURCES:

Carrarra Marble Tile 2x8 shown rom tileshop.com no longer available
Pink Potted Orchid (local garden center)
Showerhead Fixture -Home Depot no longer available
Flamingo Print -sold out (similar: here)
Rise & Shine print -not shown but included in the design
Paint Color: Blizzard Fog by Valspar


I also designed a home office space for the lady of the house who frequently brings office paperwork home and wanted a light, relaxing, airy, feminine and elegant retreat that allowed seating for her family who may pop in so say hello or the occasional visit from her assistant. If you keep reading to the end, you can see that mood board in my interview I mention below.

Now that spring is in full swing, for a limited time I'm offering 20% OFF all e-Decorating services! *Offer ends 05/22. This spring special is available to my readers who would like to refresh & update a room (or multiple rooms) in their home! I'll provide a mood board, floor plan layout + list of where to buy all of the furnishings and accessories for your space along with paint color selections, all for just $199!! This is a fraction of the cost of working traditionally with a local Interior Designer and also make a great gift for someone who wants a change but doesn't know where to begin. I work within all budgets. Visit my e-Design page where you can learn more about this service and see other examples of my work. E-mail me directly to get started!




Recently Floor Coverings International reached out to me to do an interview sharing with them my passion for both this blog as well as interior design. You can see our conversation on their blog.

As a Designer, while certain colors, patterns or an overall style sets the tone for the spaces I design, when beginning the design of any room, I always start with the flooring, working from the ground up in a layered effect whether it be tile, hardwood, bamboo or carpet for example before choosing rugs, furniture and accessories. If you're designing your own space, it's a good rule of thumb to follow to ensure you're happy with the overall design and maximize your investment in your home ensuring to get it right the first time.


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Let's Socialize!



I'd love to know, what ways are you currently freshening up your home for spring?

Thanks for reading,

XO


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