Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anchors & Stripes

Happy Tuesday!!! 

Who am I kidding...I don't know many Tuesdays that are happy! :)~

This is my first full week back to work in two weeks, and yes, I have a countdown in my classroom for how many days are left until summer vacation...

...it's 36 days by the way!

If you're anything like my husband, who works year-round, you're probably wishing I'd quit complaining!  But teaching lil' kids is a tough job!  

Us teachers surely need those 2 months off to recharge our batteries and unwind from being with children all...day...long!

As we near closer to the summer, it seems our weekends get busier and busier.  Anyone else feel the same way?  
The hubby and I didn't get a break at all this weekend!  It was my best friend's wedding and my in-laws 30th anniversary all in one weekend...phew!

But hey, we're so blessed to be celebrating such wonderful events with such wonderful people...can't complain there!

We went out to a beautiful Italian restaurant on Sunday to celebrate their 30 years of wedded bliss!

Outfit Details
Shirt Gap (old) loving this // Skirt J.Crew Factory (sold out) dying to get this one // Necklace // Bangle Gap // Charm Bracelet Groopdealz // Crystal Bangle TJMaxx // Sandals

Special thanks to my sweet hubby for taking these pictures for me...even though it caused us to be a few minutes late for dinner!

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a $125 gift card from either J.Crew, Loft, Old Navy or Gap - winners choice! Just simply use the rafflecopter below to enter!

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Linking up with Because Shanna Said SoThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirCoffee Beans and Bobby PinsFace it Catalog, and Fashion and Beauty Finds

Monday, April 29, 2013

$125 Giveaway! (Closed)

Win a $125 Gift Card from J.Crew, Loft, Old Navy or Gap!

I am so excited to team up with these four gorgeous ladies to offer you the chance to WIN A $125 GIFT CARD from either J.Crew, Loft, Old Navy or Gap - winner's choice! Can we say spring shopping spree?! My mind is already racing with all the things I would buy if I could win! I just don't know how I would choose which store!
 photo Collage_zpsf793c1f0.jpg

To enter, you must be a follower of each blog on BlogLovin'. There are options for extra entries as well. Just simply use the rafflecopter below to enter! The giveaway will end at 12:00 A.M. CDT on Saturday, May 4, 2013, and the winner will be selected at random. GOOD LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This past Friday I was selected to be featured on Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins and Face It Catalog for their Friday Five Linkup Party.  So excited to be featured again!   Definitely make sure to head on over to these lovely ladies' blogs and take a look!



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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friday's the Big Day!

Yesterday's post about wedding season couldn't have come at a more perfect time!  My best friend since I was 9 is getting married tomorrow!  I'm packing my bags and heading to Long Island this evening for the rehearsal and festivities!  

Not only is she my best friend, but she is the sister I've never had.
I'm so excited for her and her future husband to start their lives together!

Tomorrow, I'll be there for her, as she was for me on my wedding day.  

Check in next week to see pictures!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What to Wear: Bridal Shower

It is that time of year! Wedding season is upon us! If they haven't already, invitations to all things bridal will start filling our mailboxes. What comes along with the invitations, besides the gifts and parties, are dresses. Lots and lots of dresses. The bridal shower attire can often be the trickiest to plan. As with all things, there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to planning your bridal shower attire.  I have teamed up with two of my favorite bloggers, Bethany from Perfectly Coutured and Meghan with Everyday Fashion and Finance, to share our favorite ways to dress for a bridal shower. Check out our looks and some tips for planning your bridal shower outfit below! 

Renee's Bridal Shower Look

what to wear-showers of happiness

Meghan's Bridal Shower Look

What to Wear to a Bridal Shower
What to Wear

Tips for Planning Bridal Shower Attire

1. Don't Wear Solid White
Let the Bride shine on her special day. Enough said.
2. Don't Wear Solid Black 
Solid black is too reminiscent of a funeral or mourning.
3. Don't Wear Red
Red is too "look at me". It is also supposedly a hue associated with adultery. Definitely not wedding appropriate!
4. When in Doubt, Wear Something on the Dressier Side
No one wants to be underdressed. Opt for a dress, if the dress code isn't clear.
5. Keep It Daytime and Grandma Appropriate
Go for a classic and feminine look with a simple cut. Avoid anything super tight or showing too much skin.
6. Go for Color or Prints
A bridal shower is a great excuse to wear a fun, colorful dress. Go for solid bright colors like pink or yellow. Try a fun print like florals, polka dots or classic stripes. Or accent a classic navy dress with a colorful statement necklace. 

What will you be wearing this wedding season? Do you have a go-to bridal shower look? Tell us in the comments below. Don't forget to hop on over to Bethany and Meghan's blogs!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The famous polka dot!

It has been around FOREVER!  

Every time I think I could never love it more than I love it now, something new pops up that I love even more!  It's fun and flirty and a must-have for every girl out there.  

 Black and white polka dots lend itself to any accent color, but pink accents are my most favorite way!  Kate Spade was a genius when she came up with her polka dotted line of accessories.  They are sophisticated, clean and simple, yet perfectly playful for a night out!  

Kate is among many designers who have put their spin on the polka dot, and made it fabulous all over again!  

spot on

H&M print dress  / Kate Spade KedsBetsey Johnson Wallet / Kate Spade bangle / BaubleBar pink bracelet / Apt. 9 bangle/ Kate Spade Wallet / J.Crew belt/  Kate Spade Le Pavillion Large Manuela/ Kate Spade iphone case

I'm obsessed with it all, but high up on my wish list are these Kate Spade Polka Dot Keds!  I'll admit, at first I thought...why on earth would I want polka dot sneakers, especially being that I barely ever wear sneakers.  But the more I saw them, the more I thought I had to have them...and I will find time to wear sneakers! :)

$75 is not too bad for a pair of sneakers, but I have a feeling that a lot of DIYers would be able to recreate this look themselves with a blank pair of Keds, paint and a stencil!  Who's brave enough to try it?!

Still pondering if I want to give the DIY project a go, or just go buy the original!  
What's your take on it? Are you crafty and talented and know you could recreate this look no problem-o? Or are you like me, and a bit insecure with your crafty side and think this might just end up a big mess?! 

Linking up with Because Shanna Said So, Fashion and Beauty Finds, Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins, The Pleated PoppyFace it Catalog


Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Wear: Military Trend

On Friday, I posted about the military or utility jacket craze happening among us.  I'm definitely a fan of this type of jacket because of its versatility.  You can dress it up, dress it down, make it casual, make it trendy etc.  Like I said in this post, it reminds me of a classic jean jacket, which...who doesn't love a jean jacket?!  For those are you who are 'on the fence' about a military style jacket, I've put together some different ways you can style it.  

polished military

J.Crew chambray blouse / A.N.A military fashion / J.Crew cropped jeans / J.Crew floral pumps / J.Crew bangle / J.Crew bangle / J.Crew j crew belt / J.Crew sunglasses
trendy military

Closet short sleeve shirt, / Forever 21 camouflage jacket / Paige Denim loose jeans / Tory Burch real leather handbag / CC SKYE bracelet / Loren Stewart yellow gold jewelry/ Christian Louboutin Heels 

dressed up military

Topshop dress / Old Navy canvas jacket / Chinese Laundry wedge high heels / Tory Burch bow wallet / Fantasy Jewelry Box bangle bracelet / Ivory earrings / Stella & Dot chain jewelry / Linda Farrow Luxe cateye sunglasses, / Warehouse skinny waist belt, / Essie nail lacquer

So, what do you think about the military jacket trend? Which set is your favorite? Are you going to go for the polished look, the trendy look or the dressy look? I think my favorite is definitely the polished look, but I love all three and they all serve different purposes!  Set 1 would be my 'run errands' look (OK, maybe minus the heels), set 2 would be my 'night on the town' look, and set 3 would be my 'Sunday brunch' look.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Finds: Utility Jackets

utility jackets
1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. // 7. // 8. // 9. // 10. // 11.

Military style jackets are being featured in almost every store I go in lately, and I cannot get enough of them! Sure, the camouflage style might be a bit trendy, but the solid style is definitely a classic, just like the jean jacket! If I had my choice out of all 11 styles and budget didn't matter, I'd definitely go for #3, the J.Crew Boyfriend Fatigue Jacket for $168.  It's sophisticated, vintage military look makes this jacket chic for any casual occasion. If I am considering my budget, my pick would be #2, the Forever 21 Buckled Utility Jacket for $33. It hits all the same notes that the J.Crew jacket hits, but has a much cheaper price tag!

I have to share with you all...I went into Gap yesterday to try on #8, and I was sadly disappointed with it!  It had no shape on me and made me look very boxy. Big let down from Gap my friends. I had high hopes.

Are you feeling the military trend? Would you go all out camo trendy or stay safe and classic with a solid print?
Which style is your favorite?

Good news! My Butterflies and Bling post is being featured on Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins and Face It Catalog today!  Head on over to these lovely ladies' blogs and check it out!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beach-Body Ready!

Coral lululemon
Outfit Details
Crops // Tank // Headband // Bag // Towel // Yoga Mat // Water Bottle & Sleeve

Oh working out...I love you, but I hate you! 

I've always been one for exercise since I was old enough to join a gym.  I joined my first gym at about 15 years old, and I LOVED going.  Not only was I getting in shape, but it was also a time to see friends and chat on the machines.  My bestie and I would go everyday after high school and get in a good two hour workout.  I had all the time in the world for working out!

Now, in my late twenties, I am lucky if I can fit in an hour of exercise 4 days a week! Oh, how times have changed!  I guess life just gets in the way.  Working a full time job, household chores, cooking dinner, taking the dog for a walk...I can't imagine if I threw a couple of kids into this mix! 
Super moms out there, I envy you!

With everyday life, how do you find the time to exercise in order to keep a healthy body and mind?

Back in 2010, before my wedding, I decided to try out P90X.  For those of you you are not familiar with it, it's an intense exercise regimen!  It consists of 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day for 6 days a week of intense classes for 3 months.  The results I got were AH-MAZING!!  It's funny because at the time, I didn't realize how fit I was! 

I was inspired to restart P90X after looking back at some pictures from 2010 and seeing how fit I looked!  It's time to set aside all the other things I have to do when I get home from work and get my fitness on!  Who cares if the house is a mess! I need to be beach-body ready by July! :)

Today was day 4 of P90X, and I can't move feel great!

I put together this Lululemon look for my yoga days.  Yoga is one of my favorite routines on P90X.  At first, it's really challenging because it's 1 1/2 hours of Vinyasas, balance postures, yoga belly, and deep stretching.  1 1/2 hours of ANYTHING  is challenging!  But initially I struggle with this because my upper body strength is weak.  After a few weeks of building up my strength, this is one of my favorite exercises because it leaves me feeling relaxed, limber and in a peaceful state of mind.

Lulu is my most favorite spot to pick up exercise clothes!  Their items are pure quality and breathe well while you're breaking a sweat!  One of my pet peeves is having exercise clothes that makes you feel more sweaty! My go-to crops are my Lulu Wunder Unders. I love them so much that I wear them even when I'm not exercising :)

As you got older and to-do lists got longer, did you struggle to find time for things such as working out?  What do you do to try and make time for these things?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Butterflies and Bling

inspiration wednesday

Jeweled Collar Tilda // Butterfly shorts (sold out) loving these // Jack Rogers // Tory Burch Cross Body // Bracelets // KS Earrings // Sunnies

Inspiration Wednesday brings you the classics!  Jack, Kate and Tory...3 of my all time favorite designers!  Add J.Crew to that mix...I'm in Heaven!

Linking up with: 
Because Shanna Said So// The Pleated Poppy // Style Elixir // Fashion and Beauty Finds // Real Girl Glam // Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins // Face it Catalog

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beachy Daydreams

summer attire

My head is totally in a summer beach cloud this week!  I have the whole week off from work for spring break and I'm really regretting not booking a vacay! #teacherproblems
I don't know what it is about booking a vacation, but it somehow always gives me the motivation I need to keep going everyday.  I know, sad right?  I suppose I just LOVE having something to look forward to! ;)  Who doesn't?!

All of these beachy daydreams has gotten me thinking about my swimsuit selections for the summer, and J.Crew just so happens to be having 30% off all of these beauties right now.  
At that rate, I can afford to buy all three! :)  Normally, I'm a sucker for seersucker, but I can't take my eyes off the liberty print! It's so feminine, soft and sweet...just like me! HAHA! :)

How sweet is this Pottery Barn whale towel?!? Sure, it may be for children, but I'm totally diggin' it's preppy vibe!  I may just have to order one for myself!

Do you have your eye on any bathing suits for the summer season? 
Share with me! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Finds!

Target Finds

Really diggin' Tar-jay lately and I'd like to thank all of my Instagram friends for that!  I was never really a Target shopper...at least not for clothes, until only a few months ago. Now I find myself stopping in there once a week for a quick peek! 

Target is notorious for recreating expensive looks for the budget-conscious fashionista.  Take the glitter sandals listed above...don't they look very similar to J.Crew's version for $98 shown here?  Target has this amazing look-a-like for only $16.99! With the way I beat up my sandals during the summer, I'll save the money and buy the Target version!

Or how about the sold out mini cross body from J.Crew shown here?  I love Target's spin off of this bag for a whopping $25.00! That's just about $100 savings!  I'd especially take the save on this item because neon colors are a trend...and we all know how long trends stay around for!!:)

My favorite look-a-like that I'm dying to find in my size are the canvas wedges.  They are a spitting image of J.Crew's Seville Wedge Espadrilles shown here.  Savings...$98.00!  
Note! I have heard that the Target wedges are not very comfortable, but what's a bargain beauty without pain?

My closet is thrilled to have learned about Target's great deals and look-a-likes!
Do you shop regularly at Target?  
What great finds have you found?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

wish list wednesday


If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I've been a wee bit obsessed with my Jack Rogers since the weather has gotten so nice!  I have been lusting over monogrammed Jack Rogers for a year now and dying to get my hands on the navy and white ones!  My hubby says I'm crazy for wanting $160 sandals, but what does he know! haha :)

I think growing up on Long Island and wearing Jack Rogers goes hand in hand...just sayin'! 

How cute is this Kate Spade Last Straw bag?!?  LOVE!  Kate has the catchiest and cutest saying for her accessories and I'm all on board for it!  I don't know about you, but I use this expression an awful lot :)  It has my name all over it!

Any of these items on your wish list?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chambray, Pink & Navy

This weekend we celebrated my best friend's bachelorette party in the Hamptons at the wineries.  We had such an amazing time.  Wine tasting with friends is always on my list of favorite things to do!  It started warming up this week in NY, so I broke out the open toe sandals!  It reached about 60 degrees on Saturday!! Really psyched to be able to wear sandals, skirts and tanks!

I wanted to plan an outfit that was accommodating to the weather, no matter the outcome.  The chambray shirt (my everyday favorite) paired so nicely with my last season Lilly Pulitzer Worth Straight Jeans and of course my J.Crew look-a-like necklace from Glamour Me Jewels.  

I'm swooning over J.Crew's cork clutch!  It's so perfect for a Long Island summer on the beach.
chambray and pink/navy
Outfit Details
Shoes // Popover // LP jeans (sold out in this color) loving this color // Necklace // Bracelet // Clutch // Watch

We had a fabulous time!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cabela's Story: Canine Meningitis

I haven't been much of myself this past week.  A week ago from today, my husband and I found out that our two-year old border collie mix, Cabela, is suffering from canine spinal meningitis, which can be just as dangerous as meningitis in humans.  

I've decided to share Cabela's story with all of you as a means of spreading the word about canine meningitis and it's potential for fatal consequences if not caught in the early stages.


Cabela's Story

My husband and I have been watching Cabela grow up since she was born, on Christmas Eve 2010.  Her mother was a rescue dog and had been taken in by New Spirit Aussie Rescue Group.  She was pregnant with a litter of 10 puppies.  From birth, the rescue group provided a webcam of the puppies that was available for us to watch whenever we wanted.  It was wonderful to be able to watch her and her siblings grow.  At 6 weeks old, we were able to finally take Cabela home with us.  We initially thought it was too early to be taken from her mother, but the rescue group assured us that it was time because the mother was no longer feeding them.

Cabela was a rambunctious, wild little puppy.  She gave us a run for our money day after day.  It was a ton of work to train her.  We brought her to puppy kindergarten classes and my husband was very diligent about teaching her commands and tricks.  After a few short weeks, Cabela knew just about every trick in the book.  Sit, speak, roll over, lay down, stay, paw, play dead etc...  She was by far the smartest, most adaptable dog we both had ever owned.

More importantly though, she brought so much love and joy to our little family.  Cabela brings laughter, love, hope, and compassion, and life without her is unimaginable.  She has the most uplifting personality and funny, yet warm smile (yes, she smiles) that would make the worst day seem better.  When I look at her, I feel as though I can see right into her soul...I always say she has soulful eyes.

Diagnosing Cabela's disease did not come quickly for us.  We had been noticing a lot of different symptoms that led us to different conclusions about what may have been wrong.  Initially, we thought she may have had Lyme's Disease.  Overall, a dog who is usually highly energetic and lively, was lethargic and depressed at just a month over being 2 years old.  I knew something wasn't right.  

We first noticed something was wrong when Cabela started to struggle with getting up from a sitting position.  It seemed very difficult for her to get her back legs to work, so she was using an extreme amount of effort from her front legs to pull herself up to a standing position.  At this time, we ran tests for Lyme's Disease, which came up negative.  We continued to monitor Cabela, some days were better than others.  We felt that maybe she was just a bit out of shape, so we started to exercise her more thinking that maybe she had just gained a few pounds. When we saw little improvement from this, we brought her into the vet again for an X-Ray to look for inflammation or tumors in her back.  The orthopedist examined her and found nothing alarming in her examination, but they seemed to notice she had some sensitivity in her lower back. 

At this point, we began laser treatments 3 times a week for 20 minute sessions and started her on an anti-inflammatory medication.  Initially, it seemed to work well, but on week three of treatments, she was still struggling.  I brought Cabela back into the vet for another examination, where at this time it was noticed that her muscles in her back seemed to be seized up and very stiff.  She was beginning to get very rigid in her movements.  Our next step from here was to put her on a muscle relaxer and continue the anti-inflammatory medication and look into getting acupuncture and other treatments on her back. 

However, the next morning when Cabela woke up, she couldn't move her neck without squealing in pain.  We rushed her to the vet again, which is when we finally got referred to see a neurologist for an MRI and spinal tap.  Unfortunately though, we couldn't get an appointment for 2 days since it was the weekend.  Needless to say, we all had a pretty miserable Easter.  All we could do was try to keep her still and pray that she would be OK.  

My husband and I were convinced that she must have had a bulging disc in her back.  She is after all a border collie who loves to leap and fly through the air catching Frisbees and sticks.  She could have easily thrown something out of whack with all the jumping she does.

Meningitis was the furthest thing from our minds.  I didn't even know a dog could get meningitis!  After the MRI came out clean, the spinal tap was done, which showed high levels of white blood cells and therefore leading us to our diagnosis.  After weeks of not knowing what is wrong with our typically spry little pup, we finally had a diagnosis...but I didn't know whether to be happy that we finally knew what was wrong, or horrified at what was actually wrong all along.

Like meningitis in humans, early diagnosis is VERY important for recovery.  I'm glad we were persistent in finding a diagnosis, but praying we found it early enough to make a full recovery. 

Cabela is currently on an aggressive dose of steroids to treat her autoimmune disease.  She will be on these medications for 10+ weeks, treating aggressively and weaning slowly.  We've since learned that there is a large chance of relapse once she is off the steroids and we'll have to monitor very carefully for signs of deterioration.  

Since we've began the steroids, we've noticed a lot of improvement.  She is no longer struggling to get up, her limping has greatly subsided and we barely see it anymore, she is more perky and lively and even trots outside when we go for a walk.  Every night my husband and I have been praying for her recovery, and we'll continue to pray for her recovery.  I truly believe in the power of prayers and am so appreciative to the large support group we have in helping Cabela to recover.  

I know that this post is not about fashion, but I felt I had to share my dog's story with you to help prevent any more cases of this disease.  If sharing Cabela's story helps just one person diagnose their dog earlier, then it did it's job.

Now we're impatiently waiting for the day when our pup will be back to her normal, funny, sweet, energetic, crazy self!

*Prayers for a full recovery for our sweet pup*


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Candy Stripes!

candy stripe sweaters


I have fallen in love with this season's candy stripe craze!  I love how fun and cheery it looks, plus it pairs well with just about any color bottom.  You can chose to go neutral with a blue or white jean, or you can get a little risky by coordinating it with a colored jean! I personally would stick to neutral bottoms, as seen in most of these outfits, but I love how Forever 21 paired theirs with pink shorts! 

I actually own the J.Crew Factory sweater...picked it up in this haul for $15! It was marked down in the store to $30.00 with an additional 50% off!  Again my bargain hunting ways come out. When I first saw this sweater, it immediately reminded me of the J.Crew Candy Stripe Sweater, but I knew that came with a hefty cashmere price tag.  So, knowing it was so close to not being sweater season anymore, I decided to save and purchase the sweater for $15....It was a no-brainer!

I so hope you all were able to make it into the factory store for their 50% off sale...it was amazing!  If not, there will always be another sale! :)

How do you like the candy stripes that are EVERYWHERE in stores? Is it color overload for you or can you not get enough colors?!  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bargain Hunters Rejoice!

Have you ever experienced hitting the jackpot on an unexpected item while out browsing for a gift for someone else?!?

Over the years, I've hit it big on so many items at TJ Maxx that I've made it a weekly ritual to stop in to my local TJM for a quick browse.  

I've talked to many friends who are unsure how to shop at discount stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls.  The large amount of unorganized clothing is overwhelming, making those "jackpot" items in racks and racks of clothing difficult to find.

Not to worry!  I am a pro at bargain hunting (my momma taught me well) and I have some tips to share!!

  1. Always browse the jewelry counter!  TJ Maxx has surprised me numerous times with the amazing jewelry they get in stock.  I've even scored Kate Spade earrings once for $15! Hellooo bargain!
  2. Shop the perimeter of the store for clothes.  I always find that they put their best items on the outside...yes, this is definitely a marketing gimmick!
  3. Take a glance over at your shoe size aisle.  I've found gems as wonderful as Jack Rogers and Sperry's in this section for a fraction of the price than they'd be at a regular retail store.
  4. Browse the bags!  I cannot stress this enough!  My local TJ Maxx carries tons of Kate Spade bags! I've also come across Dooney and Bourke, Michael Kors, and Badgley Mischka.  The trick is to have an eye for the type you are looking for.  I can scan an aisle and find a Kate Spade bag out of a large crowd of bags because I recognize her prints and materials.
A few days ago I went into TJ Maxx to pick something up for a friend, stopped by the jewelry counter and TADA!!! The most perfect look-a-like to the J.Crew Double Tassel Necklace that I've ever seen for only $16.99! 

Not only did I save $51 on this, but the J.Crew Tassel is on back order until May 27th! I will take the save on this beauty, made by Jessica Simpson by the way.

Stay tuned for future stylings with this piece!

Have a lovely day!