Friday, May 31, 2019

A classy and chic date night look

Today's post is very special to me.  Aside from pictures of my outfit, there is a back story to it.  About 2 months ago, I was in the brainstorming and preparation process of taking my blog in the direction of fashion.  I took the kids to school one morning and went to H&M to pick a few things up.  While I was there, I thought to myself that it would probably be a good idea to post a couple outfits from the dressing room to see what kind of feedback I would get while also getting my feet wet with the whole "try on" thing that I kept seeing on Instagram.  A "trial run," if you will.  Well, much to my surprise, this outfit was a hit!  I was blown away at how many people asked me to link it or where they could find it to buy and unfortunately it wasn't on the website at the time.  It has since been added to their New Arrivals and here I am finally sharing it!

Moving onto the outfit...the second I put this on in the dressing room, I thought to myself that this was exactly what I wanted my new style direction to be!  I was on a mission to start buying clothes that made me feel better about myself and more put together.  Wearing this made me feel classy, sexy and confident, which is exactly what I was looking for.  Of all the date nights that I've been on with my husband, I am always at a loss for what to wear and this is exactly what I would wear this to.  It's sexy, yet chic, and I feel great it in!
Outfit Details:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A casual way to wear a button down this summer

Last weekend we went to Seaside, FL for Memorial Day weekend.  This was the very first beach trip that I did not pack one single pair of cut off jean shorts!  I have mentioned this before but I have recently decided to upgrade my wardrobe to outfits that make me feel a little more put together and not taking cut offs to the beach was a huge step in that direction.  I instead packed my new favorite shorts that I now have in every color along with a few versatile tops that I will get a lot of wear out of!

One thing I love about a button down is that it is extremely versatile.  You can dress it up with slacks or a pencil skirt to wear to work or dress it down on the weekends with jeans or shorts.  I can't say enough about this green striped blouse!  The fit is perfect, the color is one that works year round, and the quality and price can't be beat.  Because we were at the beach, I wanted an extra relaxed yet classy feel to this look so I tied the front to add a fun little twist on a classic shirt.  Paired with casual and comfortable slides and my most worn summer bag, this outfit couldn't have been more perfect and put together for a Friday night dinner at the beach!
Outfit Details:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

12 Affordable Summer Bags Undrer $50!

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve

It seems that straw totes, basket bags and all the boho vibes have really taken over this season when it comes to summer accessories.  I have gathered a good mix of styles, sizes and price points in 12 different affordable bags.  From beach totes to chic handbags, you'll find the right bag for any occasion!

Most of the bags can be found at H&M and the reason H&M is my go to for affordable items is because the quality usually always exceeds the price.  It had been years since I had shopped there but after re-opening the store near my house, they have not let me down since!  They have recently launched their rewards program and if you sign up you get 20% off your next purchase!  Time to stock up on summer bags!   
Shoes (Also here) | Watch | Shorts
I recently bought this basket bag and I have already worn it so many times and it will, with out a doubt, be a staple accessory for me this summer.  It is such a versatile bag and the quality is exceptional!  


Monday, May 20, 2019

A classic striped summer dress

Over the weekend we went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  While the summer heat has started early this year, a nice morning breeze made for the perfect weather for this quarter sleeved striped dress.  Paired with summer accessories and my beloved French Market Tote, this outfit was great for a casual yet elegant look for a weekend morning.  

If there is one style dress that I always seem to gravitate towards, it's a fitted dress.  As soon as I saw this black and white striped print, I couldn't get this in my cart fast enough!  A classic print and a flattering fit are 2 characteristics that I look for and this striped summer dress has it all.  The best part about this dress?  It's under $15 and the quality is exceptional for the price!  
Outfit Details:

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bringing the leopard trend to date night

Happy Friday, everyone!  If there is one trend that I am always on board with, it's leopard.  From bathing suits to shoes and clothes, leopard can either make a strong statement or a subtle touch of fun to any look.  I came across these adorable leopard shorts and instantly knew that they would be perfect for a date night!  Paired with black to let the shorts be the statement of my look, this outfit made me feel sexy and stylish.
Outfit Details:
Leopard Shorts | Black Camisole | Crossbody (Similar) (Similar) | Shoes (More affordable here)
 Sunglasses (Also here) | Watch (Similar)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bringing you office wear!

I am so excited to finally share this post!  When I decided to start blogging again and go in the direction of fashion, I wanted a strong emphasis in office wear.  I follow many fashion bloggers and I often saw readers and followers requesting outfits to wear to the work place.  While in the brainstorming process of narrowing down my style direction and also my own personal style, I really felt that there was a need for more work wear inspiration.  I started researching business attire and I quickly realized that there really wasn't much out there.  I turned towards my own closet and began pulling pieces and putting outfits together.  From there, I had an epiphany that I could do this!  

I would describe my own style as sophisticated, elegant and feminine.  I love to feel put together and have never minded being slightly overdressed.  Feeling good about what I am wearing brings confidence and I am passionate about helping women achieve that same confidence within themselves.  It's empowering to feel good about yourself and exude confidence!  Putting this outfit on for this shoot felt like a dream but it also felt very much like me, and that's when I knew that I was meant to do this.
One of my favorite looks to put together is one with a pencil skirt.  Elegant, sophisticated and extremely versatile, a pencil skirt is a great staple to have in your wardrobe.  They can be worn year round and paired with many different tops to create several different looks.  For this look, I paired my pencil skirt with a camisole to create the base of my outfit.  You can differentiate a basic outfit by adding in seasonal pieces which is what I did when layering the mustard cardigan.  Layering pieces is not only functional but provides a great pop of color as well!
With an outfit that is made up of very simple basics, it's the detail that sets it apart from just being basic.  Adding in classy and sophisticated accessories can dress up any outfit, especially one that is elegant to begin with.  For this look, I went with classic studs and simple jewelry to accentuate the outfit without taking away from it.  Less is always more, in my opinion, and the same would be true for the detail on the back of this pencil skirt.  The fishtail seam going down the back perfectly adds a sexy yet sophisticated touch without being over the top or considered too much.  Pair it with a pair of sleek pumps and you have a classy and chic outfit!
Outfit Details:
Pencil skirtCamisole | Cardigan (Similar here)
Shoes - Christian Louboutin So Kate (More affordable here) | Purse (Similar) | Watch (Similar) | Sunglasses

Monday, May 13, 2019

A feminine dress to wear on Mother's Day

With every Mother's Day that passes, I am always reminded what a blessing it is to have children of my own.  They bring so much joy and laughter to my life and I honestly can not even remember life before my family.  The main thing that I wanted this Mother's Day was time with my family.  Life has been in fast forward lately without any slowing down in sight.  All I wanted yesterday was to slow down and enjoy each other and that's exactly what we did!

While shopping a couple weeks ago, Loyal and I ran into H&M to look for clothes for the kids.  It was Loyal who actually grabbed this off the rack for me to try on and the instant I saw myself in it I said to him, "This is what I'm wearing on Mother's Day!"  Any time I wear a fit and flare dress I feel so comfortable and feminine in it.  It creates the perfect silhouette with a forgiving waistline (perfect for indulging :))  Paired with summer accessories, you're ready for Mother's Day brunch!
Outfit Details:

It was raining here so I threw on my denim jacket and swapped out heels for flats. :)
Hope everyone had a fantastic Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2019

A classic Memorial Day outfit

Memorial Day weekend is just 2 weeks away and we are headed to the beach for the holiday to kick off summer break!  The beach always reminds me of neutrals and classic, seamless looks.  I usually start planning out what I'm packing weeks in advance (mostly because I'm so excited!) and with being so busy at the end of the school year, the planning is well underway.

I know a lot of people will be vacationing this summer so I wanted to share outfits that are easy to put together and will make you feel your best.  When I think about beach, I can't think of a combination that is more classic than navy and white.  I shared these navy shorts on my Instagram last week.  These are hands down my favorite and most flattering shorts!  They are the perfect fit while still extremely comfortable and the 3.5 inch length is just right.  The sleek clean lines in this outfit create an effortless yet elegant look for a casual outfit.  Adding the block heel and trendy basket bag make it perfect for a dinner out.
I paired this outfit with neutral accessories to complement the sleek color block look.  Both the bamboo basket bag and the cork block heels have quickly become 2 of my favorite accessories this season and will definitely be a staple in my summer wardrobe.  
To add a fun pop of color to this neutral look, I tied a hair scarf around the handle of the bag.  I think this would be a great addition to a classic outfit for all of the summer holidays!
Outfit Details
Top (Old) Similar here | Navy Shorts | Basket Bag 
Shoes | Hair Scarf - H&M (in store) | Sunglasses | Watch


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The wrap skirt that you need for summer!

Yesterday I met with The Hope Chest boutique to shoot some of their new items that they are releasing.  Their style combines effortless trends and casual comfort, catering to all body types.  With summer approaching, The Hope Chest has some great new items coming your way!
For this outfit we dressed up a simple black racerback tank with a green wrap skirt for a fun and flirty look.  The racerback is a great fit and is a staple piece in everyone's closet.  As a versatile item that can be dressed up or down, the wrap skirt will have many wears for any and all occasions.  Paired with a sexy heel, this style is perfect for a summer night out!
Outfit Details

You can shop all new items at The Hope Chest.  Use code NICOLE10 for 10% off your purchase.

Monday, May 6, 2019

This is me!

2019 has been a bit different for me than the years prior.  I normally try to treat each new year as a fresh start but this year has seemed a bit more accelerated.  I have done a tremendous amount of re-evaluating, re-directing and really getting down to what I want for myself.  Some much needed soul searching, if you will.  In the more recent years, I have really struggled with my identity and what I want for myself verses what is "practical" for my life at this particular moment.  Much of that is attributed to being a stay at home mom and having that feeling of slowly losing yourself as time goes by.  This was one of the main reasons that I blogged and why I always loved it as much as I did.  Blogging was something that was very fulfilling for me.  It always came very easy for me.  Photography became a passion of mine and I quickly learned that writing was a very expressive outlet that I needed.  I would sit down and the words would pour out.  Blogging, overall, was a creative outlet but more than that, it gave me something to be proud of.  Like many of the other things in my life that have taken a backseat to kids and the fast paced life that comes with the territory, blogging did as well.  Upon entering this new year and new phase that I am in, I feel ready and the timing feels right to not only blog again but inspire people in whole new light.

Let's backup to 2018.  I started out the year with the drive and determination to blog again and stick with it.  For most of the year, I did just that.  I accomplished many things and crossed off a lot of goals that I had set for myself.  I spent the year watching and learning from other bloggers that inspired me.  I saw their drive and consistency and that pushed me to do the same.  I categorized myself as a "Lifestyle Blogger" at the time and like so many of the other bloggers that I followed, I shared bits and pieces of my family along with everything else under the sun.  But somewhere around the end of the year, I began to feel like something was lacking.  I was lacking direction, focus and after much thought, I finally came to the realization that I was lacking purpose.  I've always had a passion for helping people and without a true direction for my blog, I didn't feel like I was helping people in any way and the last thing I ever wanted to be was 'just another pretty family on Instagram.'  I wanted more than that.  I want to inspire people.  Inspire to be better, feel better and live a better life.  In the end, I also want that for myself.  I have sat here for the past 6 years, watching so many people influence and inspire others through social media, while I wished that I could one day do that.  I finally decided that it's time.  It's my time to take control back and do what I truly want to do.
So here I am today, re-launching my blog after a good 6 month break.  This re-launch also brings an entirely new direction and one with purpose.  Going in the direction of fashion has always been a dream of mine and for the longest time, I felt that it would forever be just a dream.  It didn't seem practical at any point in my life and the thought of buying clothes just to take pictures of and post seemed somewhat wasteful.  This thought process held me back for years from doing what I wanted to do until one day I had a realization that brought me here.  During this new year of soul searching, I decided that I was ready to start being who I am and who I want to be.  I have let life lead me and my style has been a reflection of that.  While I have always gravitated towards heels over vans and a fitted dress over jeans, that was not the life I was living.  It eventually occurred to me to ask myself, "why not?"  It doesn't have to be that way.  I go on plenty of date nights that I can wear dresses and skirts to.  I can swap out my cut off jean shorts on the weekends for something a little nicer.  So why haven't I been doing that this whole time?  I have learned that it comes with growth.  It took me a long time to feel more confident and comfortable with myself and by putting a little more effort into getting dressed, I can achieve that!
I am here to motivate women to level up their wardrobe.  Together, we will put outfits together that are a bit more polished and sophisticated so that you feel classy and confident in yourself.  A well dressed woman is empowering and better dressed equals bigger success in my book!  Even if you are not in the work place, success isn't limited to the professional setting.  Success can be found in your every day, weekends, relationships, motherhood and everywhere in between.  As a stay at home mom, I can't tell you how much more productive I am when I feel put together.  Getting up early and giving myself just a little bit more time to do my make up and pick out an outfit over grabbing leggings and whatever t-shirt is on top of the stack makes me feel better about myself.  In return, my day follows suit accordingly and that, in my opinion, is what leads me to being a successful mom, wife and woman.  So let's ditch the distressed denim and step our game up!   
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