The Perfect Summer Run-A-Round Dress

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No special bra required.

Fashion challenge: Park opening with two toddlers, news cameras and city officials in the summer heat + West Town Mall grand opening – what do you wear without changing?

This dress.

You guys, if you don’t already own what I call a “t-shirt” maxi, what are you even doing with your life?! Honestly this piece right here is THE ONLY thing I miss about summer time. It’s so versatile, comfortable and flattering – sweat can be running down your back and no one notices because the dress is so awesome.

I wish I would have bought 3 of this dress that way I would have it for the rest of my life. I got this particular one at The Loft in Tanger Outlets years ago, but I’ve found some more that you can snag at stores throughout West Town Mall.

But seriously, buy one in a dark color and wear it to a kids splash party – you can look nice, stay cool and not have to worry about water marks from picking up your kid out of the pool. You also don’t have to worry about bending over and flashing everyone which is always feels like a win when that care is off the table, ha!

(And yes, I realize the first two options I bring would show wet spots from a toddler immediately but I’m on a constant hunt for more of this exact dress I’m wearing in the picture, and when I find it I’ll alert you!)

JCPenney: Even though this isn’t a “maxi” version, it’s long enough to where you’re still being modest and look how cute it goes with sneakers!

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This one is also from JCP and has a great cinching at the waist which will help disguise any extra extra you’ve got in that mid region :)

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This one is from Fresh Kale Bath Company – right outside of JCPenney so you don’t have to walk far! And they have it available in multiple colors which will work well into fall… Throw on some booties and a scarf and pick up a pumpkin spice latte and BOOM you’re seasonally appropriate!

 

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And this one…HAS POCKETS (well so does the one above – how great is that!?)

It’s from New York and Co. I also love that is has a hood – which yes, it does make it harder to dress up, but it does add a nice detail that would look good peaking out over a jean jacket.

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The best part? None of these require special under garments. Yay for no strapless bras! :)

Wondering how to wear a maxi dress multiple ways? Oh girl, I got you.

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How to Avoid Packing Nightmares

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The next 8 days are going to be busy ones, so I’m finding ways to make life easier on myself little by little. Bringing you a blog from last summer that I don’t have to write, edit and post is one of those ways. So enjoy this post about packing – hopefully you have a fabulous summer trip on the horizon :)

Want to know my reoccurring nightmare? I dream of showing up someplace and not having the outfit I want.

I spend the entire dream trying desperately to get back to my house so I can get myself ready and look the way I want. Showing up somewhere not prepared or in the proper clothes is what makes me sweat. So when packing for a trip I do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen.

After several nightmare trips, I’ve learned lots of packing lessons that I want to share so you don’t make the same mistakes!

Nightmare: You get there and the outfit you thought was going to be fabulous doesn’t fit right.

So you have your list of where you’re going and you have outfits in mind. Lay them out and try EVERYTHING on.

I used to just piece together what I thought would work, then I’d end up getting to my destination and something wouldn’t fit right. Or the outfit would need one small tweak to make it amazing…but I left whatever it was at home.

Trying on will help you have peace of mind and will point out holes in your style plan that you can fix before you leave.

Nightmare: You have an event to get to as soon as you arrive, but your clothes come out all wrinkled.

Avoid a majority of wrinkles by wrapping clothes in tissue paper. The paper helps prevent some of the friction between the clothes that causes wrinkles and you’re saved or at least, not as much of a wrinkly mess. It’s not fool-proof, but it helps!

Nightmare: No jeans.

On a trip to Vegas a couple years ago, I packed nothing but maxi dresses and skirts to beat the heat, but by the end of the week really missed my jeans. Always, always pack your favorite jeans. I don’t have to sell you on jeans as a whole, so just learn from my mistake and pack them!

Nightmare: You have too much to pack and not enough room.

First of all, after you lay everything out, edit down to reality. Every single time I lay out what I think I need for a trip, I then walk through the trip in my head and realize several pieces are overkill. Once you’ve done that and you still have too many things, use compression bags. Put everything in a giant Ziploc compression bag, suck the air out of it and enjoy a well styled trip!

Nightmare: You get cold easily but don’t have room for a jacket.

Pack scarves! They’re not only super light weight and easy to get down to a tiny ball, but they’ll also be a great addition to any outfit you’ve already worn on the trip, giving you a fresh look (not to mention the warmth one would bring on a cool summer night)!

Want more from this packing genius? Perfect! I’ve got tips that improved my packing,  what to pack for a quick summer getaway, and packing for people with brain farts (that’s an extra special post, as I announce my first segment on WBIR, which was six years ago!)

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Shop Like a Boss with These Back to School Looks

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Be the CEO of Cute this year!

I’m ready for the bugs to die. Beyond wanting to wear boots and jackets, I’m just excited not to itch somewhere (#CanIGetAnAmen)

But since everything’s on sale right now, I love to use this time of year to showcase ways to shop the summer sales while also prepping for the season ahead and (hold your ears kids) school starting back up.

To add some major cutie to this whole subject I had five models join me on the show this week to strut their stuff in GAP kids (and adult) clothes! This is also a sneak peak into the West Town Mall grand opening celebration that will be taking place Saturday, July 21st. You can read all about it here and can come take part in the festivities that day between 12 and 5!

Special thanks to…

Ainsley Bettis, Tyler Sharp, Bella Savas, Braylan Perry, Sophie McCart (and their moms!) for getting up early (in the summer, no less!) to join me for this segment :)

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Shopping Tips: Dillard’s Outlet

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Strap on your shopping shoes.

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If the combination of “Dillard’s” and “outlet” has you puzzled and confused BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELT.

There are a handful of these stores around. The closest one to me is in Asheville. If you’re blessed to have been to one or if you’re living in the promise land and have one in your own town then count your blessings.

I usually hit mine up on the way back from a trip somewhere. Which means my husband and child are in the car and I’m given a “you get in and out within 45 minutes cause I’m ready to be home” talk. Honestly, I like the time crunch. This place is so vast and potentially overwhelming, that a time crunch really helps me focus and quickly filter what it is I’m willing to look at.

To help you out, here are a few things I’ve learned shopping at a Dillard’s Outlet…

1. They have weird hours and an ever-changing sale cycle. Before you make your trip, call ahead. They have a recording of what’s on sale that week. Also, the one in Asheville is only open from 12-7, so plan accordingly.

2. Don’t go in with a list. You never know what they’re going to have. Every time I’ve been there they’ve had zero boy clothes, but this last time? It was a boy mom’s DREAM. Go in with a full wallet and empty expectations.

3. Be prepared to shop a season ahead. Again, you don’t know what they’re going to have, but they will certainly have a plethora of what the opposite season is. Which means this time of year lots of sweaters, coats and boots. Not saying they won’t have anything for the current season, but don’t discount (#punalert) the section that’s for the next season. This last trip I bought a GORGEOUS Calvin Klein velvet blazer for $24. You know who’s going to love me for that? Future Elizabeth. Keep future you in mind and how much she will love pulling out a brand new item in a few months.

4. Get your digging gloves on…or digging shoes? Either way, be prepared to dig. Really, it’s a Dillard’s “garage sale”. That’s how you have to think of it. Someone lives in Dillard’s and decided to clean out their massive, two story closet, so they threw everything together in a pile and put it on sale. So ya have to dig. But my digging got me an Antonio Melanie bikini that was originally $132 for $20. Yeah girl.

5. Your shopping style needs to be on high speed. Like I said, I’m often on a time constraint, which I’m happy about and recommend. Otherwise I would probably need to be escorted out by security at the end of the night (or fall asleep in the home section). To get the most out of the trip, I crank my shopping style up to high speed – walking down as many isles as I can without even touching a shirt. I just look for something poking out that looks like it fits my style. And you know how when I talk about closet cleaning and how you need to look at something and go with that split-second gut reaction as to whether or not you’ll wear it again? Bring that same decision making ability to this store.

Remember all of these things and you’ll walk out with bags of great deals and quality things to wear all year round (for the whole family – fingers crossed)!

More sale shopping tips right here! And here are my regular Dillard’s sale picks – from the one in West Town Mall.

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