Your Jewelry Box Called, It Needs This

If you have a lot left to do before Christmas, you may want to stop reading. I mean, it’s still going to be wildly entertaining and all, I just don’t want to add to your stress level.

I’m going to be writing about cleaning out your jewelry box.

This time of year it tends to get neglected and be a complete mess because of all the running in and out we’ve done. Throwing on different pieces before we leave, then tossing them back with bleary eyes completely unwilling to put them in their proper place.

Which ends up leaving it looking something like this…

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I was determined to clean mine out and get everything back in order before I opened a single present. Especially since I knew the chances were high that I would be adding to it.

So I first began (like I do every clean out) by straightening up all the clutter. I put everything back so that I could see it all more clearly.

Then I went through and pulled the things I haven’t worn in a while. This is the part where you have to be completely honest with yourself. Sure you love it, but will you wear it? Really?             Really?

It it’s got some kind of emotional attachment, put it in a different spot. I’ve got a designated drawer just for the things I hold dear. But it’s not in my regular path because I don’t need them to be.

Once you’ve cleaned it all out, consider what it is you reach for the most. Like little everyday earrings. Are they easy to get to? Are all your watches out where you can reach them? Think about all the seconds you’d save yourself in the morning if everything was clean and neat and in a spot that you can grab within seconds.

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Let’s talk about your necklaces. Do they all have their own spot? Are they getting tangled up all the time? If so, consider doing this. In fact, if you don’t have room in your closet for this, consider doing it in your bedroom as kind of an artsy way to fill up a wall. Well organized and super chic – sounds like a winning combination.

Or you can always pick up some hangers like this one and hang your necklaces from it in your closet. I got a pack of these at Marshall’s for super cheap!

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Set yourself up for a Merry Christmas and take a few minutes to do this!

Oh the Places a White Long Sleeve Top Will Go

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This winter I’ve determined to give my closet an overhaul. There are pieces in there that I haven’t touched in many, many seasons. So as soon as I get the chance, I’m going to clean it out.

What I want to fill it back up with are easy tops like this one. It’s comfortable, versatile and (most importantly of all) really cute.

I was happy to first grab it in white because to me a white kind of slouchy top like this totally reads off-duty super model. Does it read that to any one else? Probably not, but I carry myself a little more like Miranda Kerr when I’m wearing it so whatever helps. Ha.

It’s a great transitional top, especially for this time of year when quick transitions from work to family/friend Christmas parties is a constant thing.

At work I can wear it with nice jeans, patterned shoes and some earrings. Then after leaving there, I can throw on a sparkly scarf over top and be warm and festive in seconds. I’ve said before that wearing white to a winter evening event is totally unexpected, so burst through those expectations and try something like this.

It will also work well as a layering piece since the arms are so tight and it drapes nicely in the front.

Get your own at the great new-ish store in West Town Mall called Fiore. It’s right across from Charming Charlies!

Gift Ideas for a Gift Exchange Party

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I was going to call it a “White Elephant” party, but not everyone refers to it as such. So here are some ideas for those parties you go to when you’ve got to put your gift in a pile of others gifts, you draw a number and go around the room and pick gifts out of the pile with the ability to steal if you want to.

There. Just so you know what I’m talking about.

The fun thing about those parties is that sometimes you can go a little bit funny with the gift you buy. And who knows, some of this may actually come in handy for someone and they may have never bought it for themselves.

I did include one serious gift in this list, so you’re welcome.

Pitt Mitt from Mori’s Luggage and Gifts:

Beginning top right we’ve got the Ove Glove’s crazy cousin – Pitt Mitt. This guy is so wild he’ll throw himself into open barbeque’s just for some attention. But seriously this glove will allow the user to reach in and pick up something hot on the grill, which will come in handy in the summer months – which is exactly what you should yell out when the person opens their brand new Pitt Mitt!

Lunch Box from JCP:

Here’s the one serious gift. It’s a lunch box. It comes with two Tupperware – a word which I’m just now realizing is really hard to write the plural of without getting the red squiggly  line. You can see it comes with dos. It’s cute, and the person who opens it may or may not have that, “Please someone steal this sucker” look on their face afterwards. But that’s the gamble you take when participating in this game.

Poo-Pourri from Mori’s:

Give the gift of an embarrassment-free bathroom trip this Christmas. This lovely bottle, if sprayed in the toilet bowl before “dropping the kids off at the pool”, will save the person you love most in life the embarrassment of leaving the bathroom smelly. Give this so that your number 1 can hide their number 2.

Go Girl from Mori’s:

Speaking of bathroom visits…you never know when you’re going to have to tinkle and you can’t because you’re suddenly in the middle of the woods. Thankfully, someone somewhere had this problem regularly and decided to do something about it. Thus came “Go Girl.” Give the special woman in your life, the gift of being able to pee standing up.

Sand’s Alive! from Mori’s:

Mori’s is a treasure trove of great gifts that are also fun and entertaining. Like this Sand’s Alive set. If there were to be an infomercial about this stuff it would definitely start off with adults playing in the sand box in their living room, in black and white, getting frustrated that the granules are getting everywhere. And that guy would come on and say, “Do you enjoy playing with sand, but hate the mess that it leaves throughout your house? UGH! Now you can enjoy the cool refreshing feeling of sand, without all the messy clean up, with Sand’s Alive!” If you haven’t felt this stuff, you need to. It’s sand that doesn’t come apart. Bend the brains of everyone at the party and throw this in the gift pile.

And hey, grab all of this stuff at West Town Mall!

Tulle Skirts and Sparkle Pants – An Intriguing Tale

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You want to hear the tale of my Christmas program outfit? It involves intrigue and a tulle skirt – as all great adventure tales do.

So at the beginning of the year, I listed in this post that one of my goals for 2014 was to rock a tulle skirt. I was so very serious about that, and when the opportunity arose for me to be in the Christmas program at my church, I thought what better time to wear one then for the program!

What a great idea! So I hunted one down and ordered it. Exactly six days before the program I checked on its whereabouts only to find that it was still hanging out in Hong Kong. Uh….That’s a long way away.

Cue the panic.

Thankfully, I had a back up plan. So let me pause and say how important it is to have a back up plan when you’ve ordered something online. Because that really saved me here. Most of the time for special events I’m locked down to one look and one look only. But it was truly the grace of God that I had another look in mind.

It was also by the grace of God that I was able to get both of these pieces on sale. Truly, I thank God for that.

So here are the deets…the pants are from White House Black Market and the sweater is from The Loft  (it’s actually a petite size because that’s all they had left, so I went a size up and it worked which is good to know). I knew I wanted sparkle pants (I was also hoping to generate a nickname with them ;) so I went to this website – ShopStyle.

When you’re searching for something specific, this is the website to use. All you do is input a description of what you want, you can narrow down the price and add other specifics, but it generates a listing of that item and the stores in which it can be found. I do this, then look for the stores that are in West Town Mall, which is how I found the sparkle pants. It’s 1,000 times easier than running around the mall in a frazzled panic – which is exactly what I wanted to do when I first saw my skirts whereabouts.

I knew that since they were so glittery I could go with a toned down top, so I started out searching for a simple gray sweater. Then I found this one. And it was love at first sight.

When buying special occasion clothes, I’m all about how many wears I can squeeze out of them. Unfortunately, I don’t think these pants will get as much use as say a classic pair of black pants, but they’re instant fun, and who knows, I may get more use out of them then I realize.

The sweater, Lord, I’ll wear that whenever I can get the chance!

So that’s the end. I may have heightened about the level of intrigue at the beginning of this tale, but let me just say that when you see the words “Hong Kong” at 8:30am, that’s all the “intrigue” I can handle.

Shopping My Closet

An Easy Way to Shop for a Holiday Outfit

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One thing is certain, you will not be able to look back on this Christmas season and say that I didn’t help you with what to wear to a party.

I’ve helped you here, here and now today…

I picked up this metallic sweater at JCPenney. And it was truly the easiest outfit shopping I’ve done all year long. Here’s how I did it.

The easiest piece to get that will help you look fresh and glam without spending a lot of money is a top. Especially one like this with a lot of shine. Because you’re not going to have to do too much accessorizing with something like this.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and wanted exactly that – something I could throw on that would be easily accessorized. So late one night I hopped online and started pre-shopping.

Which is something else you need to think about. Instead of aimlessly wandering around stores trying to “shop cold” (as I’m now officially calling it), if you’ll do a little pre-shopping online you’ll be able to instantly rule out any store you don’t want to try.

I went straight to JCP for a couple of reasons…

1. They’ve got a lot of great coupons going on right now so I knew I could get something cheap

2. I was planning to shop on a day where I was working from home and didn’t want to have to get all dolled up to go all over the mall. I just wanted to hit one store, and I knew JCP would deliver.

Sure enough, they did. Found this sweater online, went in the next day tried it on, presented my coupon, badda-bing, badda-boom I’m out the door with a great party outfit and I spent less than $20 and barely an hour on the whole thing.

That, is what I’m talking about.

Links You’ll Love

Want to hear a lesson I learned about buying part of your Christmas outfit online? Check the shipping policy. Do that so it doesn’t send you into a panicked frenzy of trying to replace it when you realize it’s not going to arrive on time. Just something that popped into my head just now as I sit here sipping tea by the fire. It wasn’t at all because I just came out of that panicked frenzy myself. Not at all.

Something that will help prevent all of that is shopping local. And yes, buying from stores that are local to your area is awesome, but I’m also talking about not shopping online for something like clothes that you need to cover your body at a certain event. Ha.

Lesson Learned.

Well, now that I’ve gone on that rant, let me tell you about a couple of links I like to shop from. Yeah…didn’t plan for this blog post to become an oxymoron but, hey, that’s the beauty of reading blogs – you never know what you’re going to get.

When you’re not in a rush to buy something, or you’re looking for a great gift, check these links out…

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My inbox is full of stores/brands trying to get my attention. Honestly, I “keep” (I intended the heck out of that pun) this one in there because their subject lines are so hilarious. Proving that witty writing always wins.

Oh and to go along with their great sense of humor, they’ve got a great website full of things you wouldn’t bump into in your friendly neighborhood Target. Things like gorgeous clothes, lovely jewelry and romantic art that says, “You’ll do.” The whole website resides right up my alley.

Buy directly from them or “keep” an item to look back on later.

Sister to Zappos, 6pm is a great way to shop brand names at a discount. And the couple of times I’ve ordered from them it’s actually come in very quickly. Like next day quickly. So if ever I HAVE to buy something online that I need quickly, I go right to them.

But check on it for your area because I’m sure it’s different for everyone.


Add a Little Sparkle

Do not spend one minute of your December stressing over what to wear to a Christmas event.

And yes I typed that sentence out for me just as much as you. There’s enough going on this time of year, there’s no reason we should add more stress to our lives. Especially when all we have to do is add a great necklace!

When it comes to putting together a gorgeous/festive outfit, one of the easiest (and cheapest) routes to go is buying a statement necklace.

Not only will it jazz up what you’ve already got in your closet (saving you some money), but it will also add just enough sparkle and will totally last you past the Christmas holidays (sometimes those sparkly sweaters get neglected once January rolls around).

Here are four necklaces from The Limited (at West Town Mall) that will add some major bling to your basics…

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Have an all black ensemble planned? Then add these red gems for a strong dose of Christmas without being overdone.

The double strands of diamonds would add a gorgeous sparkle to a rose pink sweater or they would dress up a crisp white button up with a blazer and jeans. Or put them all together and wear the necklace over the top of them both!

This tiered gem necklace (in the middle) is a beautifully structured piece. Give it center stage by pairing it with an open neckline. Or give it a cozy back drop and pair it with a slim gray sweater – one that you would have never thought would work at a Christmas party, now totally can!

Allow me to make the word “convertible” even more appealing…this last piece is a convertible mixed media necklace. Which means the longer strands you see can be unattached and worn alone. In fact you can pair the necklace down again and remove some pearls there in the middle. OR you can keep the party going strong and wear it all together with a long waterfall sweater and a metallic tank if you want to go the real YOW-ZAAAA route.

*Note: In an effort to save my sanity and clear off some space on my plate, I’ll be taking Wednesdays off from the blog for the next couple of weeks. Good news is this will allow you to enjoy Tuesday’s post even longer, and get you hungrier for Thursday’s freshness.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a very Merry Christmas season!

Gift Guide for the Hardest Person on Your List (and it’s All Under $25)

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We can all admit to having at least one person on our list who we’re stumped about because we may not know them so well. Do they wear silver? Do they like candles? Do they wear underwear? Maybe we can’t answer any of these questions, but we can still get them a great gift and look like we spent a lot doing so.

I really like this list, and let me just say how incredibly distracting it can be tracking these items down online. I mean…I’m searching through websites of some great stores, it’s REALLY hard not to go on a rabbit trail of shopping. But I pushed through and did it just for you. And by the way, all of these items can be found at West Town Mall!

1. Vera Bradley ID Case – Everyone can use this at some point. It’s perfect for those instances where you need to carry a few things but don’t need a purse. Football games, intense shopping days – this will really come in handy and all you spent was $12.

2. Yankee Candle Travel Tin – Ok, this is pretty cool. It’s a tin that contains a scented oil that you release by pulling up the lid. Pull it up a little or a lot, the scent is supposed to last 4 weeks. This particular one smells like Christmas cookie, but they’ve got all kinds of scents and I just think it’s such a great idea. Buy several (they’re only $5.99!) so the person you’re giving them to can have everything they own smelling like a Christmas wonderland!

3. Kate Spade New York Sticky Note Set – I truly believe that great style means having cute things even if you’re the only one to see them. Give someone the gift of great style this Christmas with these glamorous sticky notes. They’re perfect for magazine surfing, or for making them look really good when leaving a note on someone’s desk. They’ll love you for that. And you’ll only be out $16. Dillard’s is where it’s at.

4. ShutterBall Remote for Smartphones – What’s everyone taking these days? Selfies. What’s going to help a person more easily take selfies? This remote. It comes with a stand so you can set up your phone and take a picture with this remote from up to 60 feet away. Any fashion blogger would love this. Any fashion blogger with a blog that rhymes with sha shmiff would absolutely love this. ;) Oh and hey, it’s only $19.95! Get it at Mori’s Luggage and Gifts.

5. Bliss Mistletoe Gems – The problem 10 out of 10 women face this time of year is dry hands and lips. So will you be spot on with the gift of these ultra-hydrating, antioxidant rich moisturizers. Visit Sephora, give them $15.00 and you’ll walk away with a sure thing.

6. Tarte Ladies Who Lash Limited Edition Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler Set - Can you remember the last time you bought an eyelash curler? Exactly. Give a glamorous one to someone else and throw in a mascara for the low low price of $23. You can also get this at Sephora.

7. Altar’d State Sign – So hopefully you know enough about this person to know if they have a dog or a cat. If you don’t, they’ve got a great selection of really happy signs that anyone with a pulse would love! This particular sign is only $12.

Easy Glamorous Eyes for the Non-Makeup Enthusiast

Tonight is the annual Christmas party for the company I work for. It’s completely my brain child. One that I birthed, reared and have to clean up after.

So I’m going to try and make things as easy as I can on myself tomorrow. Starting with my makeup.

I’m going to demonstrate the look on my model, Dina, here. Thanks Dina!

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Start with a festive shadow. My favorite for this is gold because it really brings out the warmth of my brown eyes. And I think the flecks I have going on in there are gold. The mirror is way too far away for me to confirm that, and let’s face it, you probably don’t even care.

Look at what color the flecks in your eyes are and find a shadow that mimics it.

Apply that all over your lid (lightly) and put a little under your eyes. Ninety percent of the time I apply shadow below my eye as well because I like how it makes them look bigger, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. What I’ll do next is add a little more shadow near my lash line. I always start with a light layer because, much like salt, it’s a lot easier to add more than it is to take it away. I usually do go back and fill it in a little more on my lid, though.

Next, get your eye liner. Take a black eye pencil (you do need an eye pencil for this – not any other liner) and run it over your lid, making it kind of thick. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to smudge it. Ok, now smudge it. Get it there and mess it up! Ok stop.

Now take the pencil and run it really close to your lash line this time. I like a little definition at my lashes to help them look fuller. This line you do want to be a bit more perfect, but if you mess up, it’s ok. Just smudge it again with your finger.

What this creates is kind of a gradient from black to whatever shadow you’ve gone with. Aka: an awesome party look!

Cardigans With Bling

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Gone are the days when the word “cardigan” was associated with celibacy. That’s maybe a little harsh, but we can all admit to never hearing the sentence, “that’s one sexy cardigan you’re wearing.”

They’ve really made over their image and are available in all kinds of patterns, textures, and bling.

Christmas time is a great season to stock up on dazzling cardi’s because you can wear them now and later.

Here area few of my favorites that I’ve spotted around town, starting top left…

Those first two (the sapphire and the fuchsia colored sweaters) are both from Target. Target has a whole slew of great jeweled sweaters. Whatever you do, do not pay full price for one. Keep an eye on it (or save your receipt) because they will put them on sale. If you can’t see it, that fuchsia one has a light scattering of sparkles starting at the shoulder. It’s really pretty.

And the blue cardigan has really pretty jewel bunch at the collar.

Speaking of a great bunch of jewels, that black number in the middle is from Ann Taylor and boy would that look great with a white button down, a sparkly skirt and some black pumps.

The gray sweater has a really cool bead pattern of both silver and gold going on. It’s from White House Black Market and would look beautifully unexpected with some light gold accessories.

The black one, top right, would be the most practical out of the bunch, but is still a step above a boring black cardi. It’s got a smattering of sparkly gems on it as well that glisten at different moments when worn open. It’s from New York and Company, who, by the way, is having an amazing sale right now so go scoop one up.

All of these are proof that you don’t have to settle for boring cardigans anymore! It’s about to be 2015, friends. Let’s let our cardigans get a little wild ;)