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Gift Guide 2016 Smart Buys Uncategorized

Gift Guide for Your Gal Pal

November 16, 2016

It’s almost that time of year. The gift giving extravaganza season.

While I love giving gifts, I struggle to pick out items or experiences for those around me. Anyone else feel this way?

I know what would like, but it is so hard to pick for others. Even if you know them really well!

With that in mind, I have created a gift guide for your gal pals (or sister) that covers a variety of options all under $100. These are tried and true products that I would recommend and thus great options for those ladies around you.


  1. Voluspa Candle
  2. Sugar Paper 2017 Planner
  3. H&M throw
  4. Kendra Scott Addie Drop Earrings
  5. J. Crew Marled Socks (similar J. Crew Factory socks)
  6. Womens Cubs Jersey
  7. 52 Lists for Happiness or here
  8. Leather TOMS  or here


I truly recommend any of these items.

For those of you who have friends who are less girly or enjoy more neutral options, I’d highly recommend the TOMS, marled socks, or list book. I own these TOMS and really love them. I recommend selecting half a size down as they stretch for most people. The list book is another favorite. This book is pretty and offers a new inspiration every week. For those that want to think but not log every thought they’ve ever had, this is the book.

For those friends that are more girly, I’d recommend the Kendra Scott earrings. While I personally love the option above, Kendra Scott sells so many other designs that are fun and unique. You can check out these options at Nordstrom or Kendra Scott.

Finally, for those of you who love the Chicago Cubs, or have a pal who has similar good taste ;] , this jersey is a very cute option. Come spring season, it will be the gift that just keeps giving.

I hope these items help inspire you as the gift giving season amps up. While these items are wonderful they are not the end-all-be-all. Being a friend is.

What picks would you recommend for the season?

Smart Buys

Recent Purchases from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

July 26, 2016

I’m a bit late to the game to post about this – and understandably as I am not a fashion blogger – but I wanted to offer some reviews on my most recent purchases from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

This year I went ahead and signed up for the Nordstrom debit card. This allowed me early access to the sale both in store and online. I SO appreciated this because things do tend to sell out. In fact, some of my purchases no longer exist on the website and so I am giving you a loose version of purchases.

So here we go:

Nixon Watch

Nixon ‘Ragnar’ Watch

Favorite purchase. Hands down. This watch is that perfect blend of classic, unisex, and just awesome. I am not a watch person but was willing to give it a go for this beaut. I have no regrets about this purchase and at it’s current price point it is a really good buy.

BP top

BP. Stripe Top

I actually purchased a short sleeve version of this striped top but it is no longer available. This longer sleeved version is a great alternative though. I love this top as it is so so soft and a little longer in the back. If you can find it in stores, I would recommend long or short sleeve versions. It also comes in a variety of colors.

Sole Soc

Sole Society ‘Thalia’ Crossbody

Again, the actual color I purchased is out of stock, but this is the same bag in grey. I purchased the plum version and just love the color. The inside also has a lovely dalmatian print. It reminds me of those Chloë bags that are so expensive but at a fraction of the price.

While I like this purchase, I’m not sure if it will stay or go back. I’m fairly short and the bag is a big saddle bag that hits awkwardly at the top of my thigh. We shall see.

In addition to the above, I also picked up a Halogen cardigan (no longer available), a Panacea necklace (no longer available but I’m taking mine back – it just isn’t me- and the cutest free people sweater. The Free People sweater is still available here but the photo won’t link :/

The last add on purchase I made was these wonderful Voluspa Candles. They are at a great price and smell SO good. I typically buy a large Voluspa candle at some point during the year but they are so pricey. For this price point I can enjoy them a little bit more.

So there you have it. Any Nordstrom picks that you’d recommend?

Smart Buys

Recent Purchase Reviews

March 18, 2016

As I started my internship, I realized I needed to update my wardrobe a little. I’ve been nannying or working with kids for so long that my main wardrobe staples have been jeans, soft tees, etc. In short, I needed some casual business wear that could easily transition to nannying because yes…I am still doing that too.

While not all of these are business-dress related buys, they are more intentional buys with the idea of transitioning between places every day.

Let’s start with shoes. This is my downfall area every time.

tortoise flats

Tortoise Flats

These tortoise shell flats from Asos were an instantaneous buy. With a coupon they were $20. I had an Old Navy pair of tortoise shell flats a couple of years ago that I wore into the ground. I LOVED them. These flats arrived and I was sooooo excited- until I put them on. It was the equivalent of wearing a pontoon boat. I checked the size and the box and it seemed consistent with the european size I ordered, but they were in no way a US size 8.

I spent a lot of time emailing customer service. I’ll give it to Asos that they are customer friendly, but I would have to ship these shoes back (internationally) with no shipping container available to me as they came in one of those bag things. The cost itself of doing so, just to get a refund, was not worth it. So my sister will be getting these shoes as she’s a shoe size larger than I am. That’s how faulty the shoe was in my opinion. – I don’t know if it was just the shoe was mis-marked or if this is a common european to US conversion issue, but I’m a little wary now. They are however super cute. Saga finished.

tan mules

dv Tan Mules

These tan mules were a Target purchase. They are in the dv line for target and are just really so great. They would look good with jeans, white jeans, boho dresses, and more. Furthermore, they were only $35 which for the quality was impressive. I cannot wait to wear the heck out of them.

stripe bathing suit

Striped Swimsuit

Okay, okay, obviously I am not wearing this swimsuit to work. Can you imagine? Oh man. Gap Factory was running a large sale last week which pushed me toward buying this swimsuit. Both pieces came in for a combined price of less than $20. You almost can’t get a Target swimsuit at that price anymore. The swimsuit came in and I tried it on even while bloated and it still looked good. The top comes down a little lower on the torso which I like. It covers that awkward upper ribcage area. Gap Factory is one of my go to stores when I am looking for decent pricing and trendier items. This comes into play with work items too.

Girlfriend Pants

Girlfriend Pants

Speaking of Gap Factory, these pants were also on sale last week. I like the girlfriend fit because it is looser, but not as baggy as the boyfriend fit. The navy pants are a nice transition piece toward spring and summer.

Dusty Road Peplum

Peplum Tee

I talked about this tee in winter/spring transitional pieces post. I didn’t want to buy the top online because I wasn’t sure about the fit. When in San Francisco recently – that’s another post to come – I found this at the local Urban Outfitters. Our Urban didn’t carry it so I all but jumped for joy. I could have picked a size small in it but if you want it closer cropped, like I did, then I’d size you can easily size down. It’s super comfortable, but it does dye your skin if you wear it too long. Blue skin. It was quite the look.

Fringe Vest

Fringe Vest

Remember my fringe obsession seen here? This vest from Old Navy only heightened my interest in the trend. I purchased this vest as I was making a return last week- yep, yep, that’s how that process goes. The tag is still on the vest though. I wanted to have it available to me, but I’m not sure I like what I paid for it. Old Navy is great but tricky. Sometimes the one item you are interested in is not on sale…when the rest of the store is. That’s the problem. I paid full price for this and I never ever do that at Old Navy. So, though I like this vest, it may go back until I can buy it for less (usually online). Patience in not removing the tag and keeping the receipt can be rewarding.

So these are just a few recent picks. I am trying to keep the dollar amount low and watch for sales as I go. Easier said than done sometimes. My hope is that as I get better at making outfits from current pieces I already have, I won’t need to purchase as many season shifting items for my wardrobe.

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Simple Solution for Undergarment Storage

February 16, 2016

Yesterday I mentioned that our closet has a lack of places to store miscellaneous items.

Though we have a dresser for tops and pants, I have never liked having my undergarments in a drawer. It’s harder for me to find what I need and I always have that issue where my socks get stuck on the drawer slider and then I am tugging away for a long time trying not to lose my religion as I dislodge the sock. Clearly I have some clothing struggles. 🙂

As I prefer to keep my undergarments elsewhere, I developed a system to use that allows me to easily gain access to each piece.

The system I use: the IKEA RÅSKOG utility cart.


Real life image.

This cart fits well under my summer tops and dresses. I have a shelf for scarves and bras, a shelf for tights and socks, and a shelf for scarves and underwear. I roll it out of my closet if need be to reach something or see something better. It is such a simple solution to being able to organize and access my items.

This is the cart that you see in a lot of home magazine posts and Pinterest photos. Often people use it for craft supplies, bathroom items, or a bar cart. It comes in cream, aqua, and gray and is $29.99. It is a really good solution and a really good buy.

Though I use it to store socks and more right now, I know I could reuse it elsewhere in the home. That’s a furniture piece I can get behind.

What storage solutions do you use in your home to make life just a little bit easier?



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Why I Dumped My Plastic Hangers (A Valentine’s Day Story)

February 15, 2016

Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day.

We opted to stay in and made crockpot braised beef polenta. It was awesome.

While the crockpot did the work for me, I took on another project.

Our closet.

Though not messy, our closet can be a tad frustrating at times. It’s actually a decent size, (Harry Potter would’ve thought it a step up from the Dursley crawl space), but there is no shoe storage or items to hold miscellaneous things like purses, man bags, etc. There’s also this one thing that majorly bugs me…plastic hangers. I should really include their close pals wire hangers as well.

My clothes had been continually sliding, falling, and even snagged by my hangers. I’m typically pretty tidy, so this continual saga ate away at me. My clothes were not easily visible, (half hidden as they slid partially off of the hangers), and the hangers themselves were taking up a ton of space.

*I realize this is an annoyance and not a real life problem. Just trying to keep myself grounded. – an annoyance nonetheless.

So this weekend I decided to make an investment. I went to HomeGoods and bought a ridiculous amount of thin velvet hangers.

velvet hangers

Velvet Hangers


Let me tell you. They are awesome and here is why:

-They look nicer. Visually, not seeing chunky hangers is somehow pleasing to me…this may be weird. I don’t know.

-They take up less space. This means I can actually see my clothing options. This also means I am less apt to buy new things because I forgot about the other thing I have that looks exactly like it.

-My clothes are not sliding, falling, or snagged. It’s only been a day but there’s been no movement. WONDERFUL.

All of these things have made me a believer in dumping my plastic hangers. – I say dump, but most actually made it to my husbands side of the closet. Insert worst wife award.

If you are looking to better organize your closet or to change some things up, I would recommend HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, or Bed Bath and Beyond for cheaper velvet hangers. You can also check some options out here.

While I was shifting my clothing around I also took the time to assess what things could stay and what things should go. I usually make two piles. One pile is Goodwill and the other pile is for friends. I always like to check to see if anyone I know wants something before I donate it. It makes me happy to see someone really like something I no longer reach for or ahem…fit in 🙂 Both piles find a good home, but there are always churches taking clothing and donations like that. So don’t be afraid to give stuff away!! It will find a good home.

Tomorrow I will be back with a simple solution to storing undergarments. Spring cleaning is real you all.



Smart Buys

Transitional Pieces for Spring

February 3, 2016

Spring is right around the corner. When the weather starts to shift to warmer temperatures, it can deliver that hopeful feeling that winter will not last forever. The thing is, spring can take a while to fully develop into sunshine and warmth, (especially in this part of the country). With this in mind, here are some key transitional pieces that I am looking forward to incorporating into my wardrobe this season.

A Classic Trench


Michael Kors Trench

This cute trench is exactly the style I would go for. It’s a lighter color and a nice mid-thigh cut. I really like that the image shows the trench belted. This helps cinch the waist and make a boxier trench look more feminine. Trench coats are great picks for the later winter/ early spring months because they still allow room for a sweater underneath, but are a little lighter weight than say a down coat.

Tights or No tights Dress


Loft Dress

Not only is this wrap-like dress from Loft just adorable, but it is also super functional this time of year. On days that it is colder, you could wear tights underneath and it would still be cute. Come warmer days, go for the look above.

Gray Jeans

grey jeans

Loft Light Gray Jeans

I am a new convert to the gray jean look. I think they are perfect for February, March, April…actually any month. They maintain a lighter look without being full on “Spring”. They are also so versatile. I plan on wearing gray jeans with navy, white, and black tops. When I get brave, I will play wit more diverse colors ;]

Plaid Button-Down

plaid shirt

J.Crew Plaid Top

I like plaid for any season. This larger print plaid suggests spring as do its colors. Playing with different scales and colors of plaid can indicate a shift in season.

Peplum Tee


Peplum Tee

I have had such a crush on this peplum top from Urban Outfitters for some time. Eventually I will purchase it, but I keep hoping it will go on sale. Please Please UO. Anyway, I think peplum in this color is nice because it doesn’t scream one season or another. Peplum is always fun and this is a good way to play around with peplum in a more casual way.

Lace-up Flat


Lace-up Flat

Another crush item. The color and look of these shoes is just great. I like that they aren’t suede because there still may be some snow dustings during this season. They are a nice staple piece in a cool style. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to get these, but they sure are pretty.

These are just some items I would pick up to transition into the spring season. Though some items have trendy elements to them, I think overall these pieces are fairly classic and would transition well throughout the years.

What do you think? What are some pieces that you like to wear as you transition toward spring?