Breaking the Silence

“Hey! Long time no post!” you say. It’s true. Lots of reasons for that… one being LIFE. The other, and quite honestly, the largest contributor to my hiatus was that I had much I wanted to say, but didn’t know where to start. And because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I want everything to be thought out and neat and tidy and, well, perfect. So in that situation, I tend to say nothing.

Not the best course of action, I know.

All those drafts of blog posts may be reworked and published someday. But today I’m breaking the silence and starting with right now. So let’s pretend I just bumped into you on the street and we’re talking summer fashion, shall we?

old navy swing dress dressed up stella dot necklace crossbody aviator sunglasses target sandals accessories
dressed up Old Navy swing dress
Two words for you this summer: SWING DRESSES. They are flowy and flattering and SO COMFY! Also very easy to style – throw on a statement necklace and some sandals and you’re good to go.

fashion blogger wearing stella dot aviator sunglasses, nomad statement necklace, black old navy swing dress
Stella & Dot Aviator Sunglasses in White and Nomad Statement Necklace, Old Navy Swing Dress
stella dot aviators, goofy, old navy swing dress, silly,
no, I cannot take this seriously
 

When you want a dress to be versatile (remember my style mantra: Dress it Up, Dress it Down, Wear it Straightforward), consider color and pattern. Neutrals tend to look dressier, with black being the easiest to pull off as dressy. Patterns tend to dress down an article of clothing, so if you’re hoping to wear your dress to something a little fancy, stick with a solid color.
Don’t get me wrong, a pattern can be fancy, too. Like my Stella & Dot scarf.

dress up, tassel scarf, fashion blogger, style blogger, summer style
Stella & Dot Destination Scarf, Mirage Necklace and Bungalow Hoop Earrings with Old Navy Swing Dress
If she wasn’t so darn cute!

stella dot nomad necklace destination scarf bunglaow hoops on fashion blogger old navy swing tank dress
would you look at that beautiful print

There’s only one item you need to own to dress down any piece of clothing: Denim Jacket You can use other methods, too, but if you don’t have this wardrobe staple, you need to buy one.

fashion blogger drinking coffee old navy denim jacket swing dress stella dot necklace
must caffeinate
trust me, you couldn’t tell her no
 

Food for thought: Have you ever had to start up a conversation with someone after a period of silence? It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in months or years. It’s weird. And sometimes hard. And we tend to allow the voices in our heads to tell us to stay quiet. That the relationship is broken and can’t be fixed.

That we have no good reason to get in contact. That the other person will ask what took you so long, get angry, or not answer/text back, or hang up if they do answer, scream obscenities, spit in our faces, or any of a zillion other goofy things we come up with. The truth is, the other person will probably just be happy to hear from you. Take a deep breath and tell the voices in your head to hush up, because you have something you want to say, and you’re going to say it even if you’re a little nervous or scared. ❤️ 

Direct Links for Clothing and Accessories:

Old Navy: Swing Dress, Ghillie-Tie Gladiator Sandals

Stella & Dot: Destination Scarf, Mirage Pendant Necklace, Nomad Statement Necklace, Bungalow Hoops, Quinn Cuff, Nomad Stretch Bracelets, Nolita Crossbody in cork, Aviator Sunglasses

Target: Merona Eve Quarter Strap Sandals

Do you use ebates.com to get cash back on all your online shopping? You should – it’s free! Follow this link, sign up and start earning! I average $15-20 back every quarter, and about $100 after Christmas! 

A huge thank you to Amanda for being my photog for this post! You can find her fashionable self on Instagram @amalynstyle.

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thredUP haul and shopping tips

Thanks to a few of you lovely ladies, I had referral credits for thredUP!! Thank you (you know who you are!) for using my referral link to try thredUP. I hope you loved what you got. And I’m loving my latest thredUP haul!

 

5 tops, 1 pair of flats, and sunglasses

 

I love a good top, and lately I’ve been buying up everything I can wear with leggings and skinnies and still feel like all the important parts are covered, know what I mean? I’m also into long necklaces as opposed to shorter statement necklaces, so the tunic length is appealing to me. 

 

all tunic, all the time

 

And in case you think neon shoes (new with tag, might I add) is a bad idea, I totally plan to wear them with 4 out of the 5 tops I bought. 

neon can totally be versatile

Seriously… these sunnies. Outside my tortoise shell comfort zone, and I love them! Love that Vince Camuto! 

   

In case you didn’t read my first post about thredUP, you can here, but read these shopping tips, first.

  • MINDSET: You need to think of this as a boutique consignment shop. Everything has gone through an inspection process, but these are previously owned items. Look in the description of the item to see if the item is in excellent condition or shows minor signs of wear. I have been pleased with the condition of all my purchases.
  • URGENCY: If you see something you love, get it NOW because it probably won’t be there tomorrow. You can put items in your cart and they will be reserved while you shop, but your cart will empty after a few hours (I’m not sure how many, but I know sometimes I go back to my cart and it’s all there and sometimes it’s not). For this reason, if I like something, I put it in my cart right away, then edit my cart at checkout, and I don’t wait to checkout for too long. If I have to stop shopping before I check out, I set an alarm on my phone to go back and finish shopping, or at least release the things I’m not going to buy so someone else can have them.
  • FILTER: Definitely use this feature to find clothing/shoes in your size. There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of items on the site and you’ll be browsing for DAYS if you don’t filter. I like to choose my dress size, waist size and shoe size so at least I’m only seeing items that will fit me. Make sure you check include equivalents because there are many European brands and their sizing is different.   
  • SEARCH: I’m so glad this is possible on their site. Have you ever been on a site where you can’t search keywords? Nightmare. And when there are thousands upon thousands of items on their site, searching keywords is a good idea. So if you want to see if thredUP has “gladiator sandals” or a “Kate Spade purse” or a “fringe dress”, you will not be disappointed!

If all of this has gotten you excited about thredUP, here’s a little something to start you out on your retail journey – $10 credit to use on your first order (and I’ll get $10, too). You have to use THIS link and you have to be a new customer. Happy Shopping! 

    Wardrobe Spring Cleaning: How to Edit without the Mental Anguish

    Spring Cleaning is around the corner (end that sentence with the emoji of your choice – mine would be the face of grief mixed with disgust and turmoil). If you’re like the majority of people, you see this as an opportunity to get rid of the things in your home you no longer use or need. Easy peasy if we’re talking about old issues of magazines and expired pantry items, right?! But when it comes to the clothes in your closet that still have tags on them or the pieces you loved but haven’t worn in a while, the task becomes more difficult – ok, if we’re being honest, it becomes emotional and kind of impossible.  So let me help you break it down into easy, actionable and turmoil-free, steps that work for you either as you go or all in one shot. 

    cluttered closet need wardrobe edit
    When your clothes are this close together, it may be time to purge!
     All-at-Once: If you like to tackle a task and have it done in a day, this method is probably for you. Be prepared to make some decisions, get in touch with your feelings and free yourself of clothing that is dragging you down!

    1. Have a bag or box ready for trash and another for items to donate. 
    2. Take everything out of your closet and dresser drawers. You heard me. Everything. (I wasn’t kidding when I said this would take a day.) To make this process go quickly, don’t start sorting until everything is out of your closet and dressers.
    3. You will now take one item at a time and ask yourself this question: How does this item make me feel? If the answer is anything other than positive (for example: guilty, fat, pale, gross, irritated…) it needs to go in the trash or donate box. If the answer is positive (happy, pretty, powerful, optimistic…) ask yourself the next question – When was the last time I wore this? If it’s been over a year, figure out why. Does it need repair? Is it a special occasion item that you will use this year? Is it no longer in style, but it was one of your favorite things? You’ll need to be honest about wearing it again and decide if it’s time to let go.
    4. After all the questions have been asked, place the item in either the trash (stained, ripped, or otherwise inappropriate to donate), donate box, or back in your closet or dresser. 
    5. Repeat these steps for every item you own, and make sure the trashed clothing goes in the trash and the donate box makes it to the donation center. If you want to take the next step in using everything you kept, follow the directions in the As-You-Go section below!

    As-You-Go: This is my personal favorite method. It takes no extra time, but it isn’t done in a day and takes a little more creativity. Your plan of action is to: 

    1. Commit to a minimum of 30 days of unique outfits created from the clothes you already own (no shopping retail – you’re shopping your closet!).
    2. Find your favorite way of keeping track of what you have already worn (my favorite is the fastest way by Hilary Rushford called the Ribbon and Record. Tie a ribbon (yarn, string, or actual ribbon) on the bar at the end of your closet and get a “record” (piece of paper or notebook) for each stack in your dresser. Everything you wear either goes behind the “ribbon” or under the “record”. Then try not to wear that item again during the 30 days. (Please note: I said TRY. I definitely wear my favorite jeans more than once a month – ok, week – but I could swap them out skirts on some of those days, for example.)  
    3. Choose your outfit the night before you wear it, including accessories (jewelry, shoes, bag, outerwear – ALL of it!). This ensures you have time to use your creativity, choose something unique and try it on together. Don’t skip trying it on – just because it looks good in your head doesn’t mean it will look good on your body – I speak from experience.  
      planning what to wear the night before makes for a less stressful morning
       
    4. At the end of 30 days (or longer for a more abundant wardrobe), assess what you didn’t wear. Ask yourself why – if the answer is remotely negative (I don’t like the color, it doesn’t fit right, etc.), take it out of your closet and donate it. You will seriously feel better when you do! Your brain won’t use up mental energy cataloging it as you pass over it every day, and you won’t spend any emotional energy on it (feeling guilty that you don’t wear it  because of the amount of money you paid, or having received it as a gift but it’s not your style). Taking those things out of your closet will free your mind, and after they’re gone, you won’t think about them any more! It’s truly amazing. 

    If you’re looking for a little motivation, accountability and community during this venture, join my #springcleaningclosetremix under that hashtag on Instagram and on Facebook here. (It’s a closed group, so only the people in the group will see what you post, not all of your Facebook friends and family – unless you invite them to participate, which is totally welcome – the more the merrier!) You’ll be welcomed by a host of encouraging women, sharing their closet remix creations and what worked for them when cleaning out their closets. I’ll also be chiming in with stylist secrets, tips and tricks to remixing your wardrobe, finding/refining your style and shopping! The challenge begins March 1, so go join the group on Facebook and start outfit planning now! 

      Newest Obsession: thredUP 

      I got my first thredUP box over the weekend. People, I’m obsessed. It’s like consignment shopping online. And any kind of shopping where I get a huge discount without leaving my couch is always welcome.

      They get their clothes from people like you and me cleaning out their closets. They accept Defect-free, On-trend, Top-brand clothing (DOT for short). Everything they accept, they sell and you get a payout (that’s the consignment part). 

      the goods from my first thredUP box

      I did have a credit in my account to try out the service, so these discounted pieces were even less expensive. The completed order screen said I saved 77% ($285.03) off retail  🙌🏻

      This Anthropologie tunic is PERFECT for the current winter weather I’m experiencing. I’m looking forward to styling it casually with leggings, booties and maybe a white long sleeved button upfor my daily life. Dressed up with tights, heels or booties and a clutch for date night sounds pretty good, too.

      Meadow Rue for Anthropologie Tunic paid $18 ($78+ retail)

      I couldn’t resist this cozy cowl scarf by Madison 88 sold at Lord & Taylor and Anthropologie. Faux fur and $10 via thredUP. Perfect to add a little luxe to my very long, very cold, Chicago winter.

      Madison 88 Faux Fur Scarf – paid $10 ($38+ retail)

      And now, the item I’m most excited about: these Dior sunglasses! When I saw them on the thredUP site I was like SHUT UP. They were $40, but with my credit, they were even less. Compare that with upwards of $300 brand new! And, excuse me, but why didn’t anyone tell me that expensive sunglasses are actually WORLDS better than inexpensive ones?! 

       

      Dior Sunglasses – $40 ($300+ retail), perfect condition!
       
      I also love thredUP’s mission and message.  Here are some excerpts from the booklet that came with my purchases. 

        

        

      You can read more about how they Do Good for our environment, our financial well being, and our communities. 

      And in case you’re concerned about returning something, don’t be. Here are the return instructions from the packing slip.

        

      I can live with those terms, especially if I didn’t have to leave my house (you can schedule a USPS pick up at your home, so really, no leaving the house)!

      Wanna try it with a little spending money to start? You’ve got nothing to lose, except free stuff. And I know you don’t want to miss out on free stuff. 

      Use this link to get $20 off your first order: http://www.thredup.com/r/6D2FQ4

      Leave a comment and tell me what you would buy from thredUP! If you try it, let me know what you got. I’m sure I’ll be posting more thredUP purchases in the future. For now, I’m gonna chill in my cozy scarf and cool sunnies. ✌🏻️

      Pledge and Promise

      Blogging: Some do it for business. Some do it for fun. Some do it as a creative outlet, or for therapy… or maybe they haven’t nailed down why they’re blogging at all. One thing is sure – you can immediately tell what category a blogger is in.

      Let’s talk about the business bloggers for a moment, because I know many people have feelings about bloggers who do it for income, and this seems to be the only type of blogging people take issue with. I personally don’t mind the affiliate links if the blogger has actually used the product or service. I figure it’s a win-win-win for all involved: you have easy access to the product through the link (not having to Google something and weed through a bunch of unrelated links: win!), the company makes a sale if you loved the item enough to buy (all hail e-commerce: win!), and blogger makes a little pocket change from your sale (jingle in the pocket: win!). And if you love the blogger’s overall message, super cool that you can support him/her in this way, right?

      So let me tell you up front – I’m here to change lives. Mine and yours. All through my writing about style and sanity and your reading about it, interacting with it and me, and, hopefully, implementing something you read. I’ve written My Pledge and My Promises to you, my dear reader. I’ve posted them by my desk so I can be reminded of them as I blog. And I want to share them here with you.

      My Pledge

      I pledge allegiance to my reader – that I won’t waste your time with meaningless posts. And if I leave an affiliate link, it will be for something I’ve personally paid for, used and loved, and felt compelled to tell you about.

      (Now, if you’re an American, go back and read it like the Pledge of Allegiance. Did you laugh? Just me?)

      In all seriousness, I can’t be bought. I don’t want products or services from companies that want to spread the word about their stuff through people that haven’t used their product or service yet. I know some people enjoy that kind of thing and make money doing it (kudos for the latter part), but that’s not for me. I prefer to spread the word about products and services I’ve already tried and love, awesome places I’ve been, and amazing people I think you should know, too. That’s a little more like real life, don’t you think? 

      I get emails almost daily from companies wanting me to be a brand ambassador or influencer for their product or service. While most are cool and I’m sure could fill a need or want for at least one of my readers, if I wouldn’t pay for it or use it I feel I can’t, in good conscience, promote it. If I wouldn’t pay for it or use it, why would I recommend it to anyone? Could I make money off of it? Sure. Is that my purpose here? No. Does that mean I won’t work/collaborate with companies at all? No, also. It means I’ll only work with and promote companies that I’d spend money with. I hope to collaborate with others whose products, services and messages I believe in. Bottom line: If I don’t love it/wouldn’t use it/wouldn’t spend a penny on it, I don’t share it. Deal? Good. Now, keep reading for my promises…

      My Promise

      I promise to be genuine, like a trusted friend who would tell you if there was something in your teeth. I tell it like it is in real life, usually tactfully. I can’t always promise tact, but I do my best. I won’t make everything look like life is soft pastel in a naturally filtered glow with a blurred background. I just can’t. That’s not my real life. I can’t possibly be put together and at ease and picture perfect every moment of every day, and I don’t want you thinking that’s possible. 

      I promise to give you useful information – whether it’s about a sale or an encouraging word – I want to add value to your life.

      I promise to keep it mostly lighthearted. If you met me in person, you’d know I can’t go more than about 3 minutes without making a joke. I see no reason why my blog wouldn’t be the same way (did you see my pledge?).

      I promise to keep it positive. No tearing down people, products or services here. If I don’t love something, it won’t appear here. There’s enough negativity in the world, #amiright? If you were to straight out ask me about a product and I don’t have a glowing review of it, I promise to tell you, but you won’t see a post titled “Worst ______ I’ve Ever Used” or something like that. My blog posts may never show up on HuffPost or ScarryMommy because of this policy, but that’s fine. 

      I promise any affiliate links will be for products and services I’ve purchased with my own money, or would have purchased if it wasn’t already free. If you click on my link, I’ll make the smallest percentage if you purchase something (usually 4% – 6% of the retail amount paid), or even better, we both get a store credit or you get a percent off your purchase. If you’re cool with that, click away! If not, feel free to open up a new tab, Google whatever I just posted, like “black fit n flare dress”, and weed through the links that come up to see if you can find my exact one for the price I list on my blog. Easier to click on the link, right? *wink* 

      If I receive the product or service free to give a review and you see it here, you can bet that I loved it and the word free didn’t sway me. Because if I get it free and keep it, I loved it. If I get it free and don’t like it, it goes back to the company or the service expires and you’ll never have to hear about it. I PROMISE.

      The Real Deal

      If you’ve followed me for a while on Instagram, you know my deal. I want to encourage you in your journey. I want you to value yourself enough to take care of yourself. I want us to all get along. I also REALLY like jewelry and arm parties, a good deal, a great outfit, strong coffee and community, and I know how all these things can revolutionize our lives. 

      I’m excited for our lives to change through this blog. My hope is that you’ll resonate with what I have to put out there and put some of it into practice, and that you know that I do what I do hoping we are never the same, only better, because of it.