Monday, June 6, 2016

Here&Now Road Trip

Tyler & I are officially moved out of Nashville! We managed to fit most of our Earthy belongings into a 300 cubic feet moving container (after donating/selling/passing off many, many, many items), & everything else we own is with us in our car. We are technically in the process of moving to Denver, but for the next 5-ish weeks we will be taking a road trip through the western United States. Just us, the two pugs, & our Prius. We have a rough plan of where we will be stopping along the way, & I am excited to see many of these places for the first time, + re-visit some spots that I definitely didn't appreciate enough the first time I saw them (the last trip out West was when I was 8). As we will be on the road with spotty connections for the next month, this spot on the internet is going to be pretty quiet, but make sure you are following along on Instagram & Snapchat (jesshereandnow) for all the up to the second action!

Below are 10 of the cities we will be visiting this Summer. We already have lodging planned out (a mix of camping, staying with friends/family, & splurging for hotels), but if you have any restaurant, adventure, or must-do suggestions in the cities below, please let us know in the comments!

1. Hot Springs, AR :: This is my hometown & I am pumped to kick off our road trip with some time on the lake with family. Also on the itinerary - a day trip to Fayetteville (in Northwest Arkansas), eating BBQ (McClard's is one of our favorite local joints) & seeing my parents, sisters, aunt, nieces, & grandparents. 

2. Houston, TX :: My best friend is giving birth to her first child, & we will be rushing down from Arkansas to Houston to meet the little guy! We will be staying down by Galveston (on Tiki Island), & driving into the city for a couple of days. While we plan to spend most of our time visiting with the new parents, I am hoping to squeeze in some Torchy's Tacos & seafood too!
Here&Now Road Trip: Austin, Texas
3. Austin, TX :: I haven't been to Austin since my bachelorette party 2 years ago, & am certainly looking forward to exploring more of this funky city with Tyler! We will be staying at an AirBnB on South Congress & am planning on checking out the bat bridge at sunset, Barton Springs, Rainey Street for food & drinks, & taking the pugs to the dog park on the riverfront.

4. Marfa, TX :: The first new spot we are traveling to is Marfa. I mostly planned our itinerary based around the super chill girls trip that Bri from DesignLoveFest took last Winter (this post). We do have our own adorable trailer at El Cosmico reserved, & a picture in front of Prada Marfa is totes happening (thanks Instagram husband!)

Here&Now Road Trip: Marfa, Texas
5. Phoenix, AZ :: From Marfa we will be continuing across West Texas, hoping to camp somewhere around El Paso (Las Cruces maybe) before heading on to Phoenix. Tyler has family in Phoenix that I've never met, & we are thinking a day trip to Sedona/Flagstaff might be in order too! After leaving Phoenix, we are driving up to Las Vegas & planning to camp around Lake Havasu. 

6. Joshua Tree :: From the famous cactus plants to the pristine star gazing, Joshua Tree has long been on my bucket list, & I am excited that we have 2 nights of camping scheduled here. I am a little worried about the water situation with the pugs in the desert, but day trips to Indio Valley & Salvation Mountain are on the agenda, & I plan to do lots of free spirited running through the desert sands. After camping for two days in the desert, we are treating ourselves to a night at the Saguaro in Palm Springs. I was pleasantly surprised by how dog friendly the Saguaro is & am dying to get myself to that colorful pool! 

Here&Now Road Trip: Joshua Tree National Park
7. Los Angelos, CA :: While my family has vacationed in Disneyworld more times than I can count (seriously, we went every year growing up), but I have never been to Disneyland, & my West coast husband can't wait to treat me to how the other half of the US lives. We are driving from Palm Springs to LA just to spend the day at Disneyland, & are hoping that the Disneyland kennels are as nice as they sound for the pugs to enjoy!

8. San Francisco :: From L.A. we are driving straight up the California coast along Highway 101/1, planning to stop somewhere around San Luis Obispo to camp, before ending up in San Francisco for a few days. Two of our friends from grad school got married out in San Francisco a few years back, & now they just had their first child who we have yet to meet! We are going to hang with them in San Francisco (getting a burrito in the Mission is high on my list), before continuing on up the California coast to the Redwood National Forest where we will be camping on the beach & totally driving Petey the Prius through some giant trees.

9. Portland, OR :: Tyler's parents live south of Portland, with many of his friends currently residing in the city. We should be here around 4th of July weekend, and plan to grill out everyday, + squeeze in a camping/fishing trip too!

Here&Now Road Trip: Portland, OR
10. Yellowstone :: After Portland, we haven't planned the rest of the trip as we can't decide if we will want to continue on, or be ready to just get to Denver after 5 weeks of being in the car with 2 humans, 2 dogs & lots of stuff! However, I would really really really like to at least stop at Yellowstone on the way between Portland & Denver. Besides seeing the natural wonders that the park has to offer, I am also really excited about all of the wildlife!

So that is our Summer travels plans! I am so thankful for Tyler & his willingness to engage my wild & crazy ideas! I can't wait to experience these things with him & truly unwind as we transition from our life in Nashville to our life in Denver.

Any road trip veterans with tips for us? Any thing we have to know about traveling with dogs!? We are totally winging this, & while that is slightly exhilarating, the over-planner in me is starting to have some doubts!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bloggers Who Budget: Dresses For Less

We had our first wedding of the season this past weekend, & it was such a beautiful & totally "Nashville" shin-dig! I wore this dress, & I've gotta say, it was very nice to receive many compliments on it, and ever nicer to be able to brag about how affordable it is!

This month, the Bloggers Who Budget are showing off the budget friendly dresses that we have been loving lately! Check out these babes below & their warm weather looks:

dress: pink satin dress ℅ Chicwish

When I first tried on this dress, I was admittedly underwhelmed & shared my "blah" feelings on Snapchat. While the dress did have some fit issues, I loved so much about this dress (the open back, perfect blush color, length, thick satin fabric) that I was dedicated to find a way to make it work. I considered getting it tailored, but the open back straps made that route more complicated than I wanted to deal with. Then I remembered my favorite armadillo belt (leave it to Kate Spade to make a chic armadillo belt!) - and as it cinches to any size, it did the perfect trick for making it fit along my waist, & made the back ruffle detail look much, much better.

The wedding involved lots of dancing, and I felt secure and confident in this dress all night. Sometimes just playing around in your closet leads to the best outcomes!

*Backless/open-back dresses do come with their own underwear issues, but I have a low back bra (similar to this one) that I wore on my own wedding day, that I still wear with any open back dresses - I love that the bustier style stays up so much better than most strapless bras do on me!

belt: similar skinny gold belt here & here (both under $40!)

Have you had any recent triumphs in solving a clothing fit issue?

Any one else super excited for wedding season?? I love getting to party with my friends & see their love cemented into something so special!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

punchy poncho

Ok folks, we have picked a new city & set a moving date! We are relocating to DENVER & our last day in Nashville will be June 4th! With less than 3 weeks to go until blast off (!!!) we are trying to cross as many items off our Nashville bucket list before we leave the amazing place we have called home for the past 7 years. On the first warm weekend at the end of April, we enjoyed one of our favorite snack spots in town - Las Paletas - although I will be very surprised if we don't end up back there in the next few weeks. Packing should always be rewarded with popsicles!!

top: poncho c/o francesca's

I wore this poncho as a swim cover up, but thought it was so cute it deserved its own spin out on the town! The pom-pom trim is just my all time favorite ever! In the market for a new poncho - francesca's has some super fun options here

I also can't help but share some of the other fun tops I spotted at francesca's recently! This peplum tank is so polished! Graphic tees are making a come-back & this one has a message I can totally get behind (& should probably remind myself of daily)! As you are well aware, off shoulder styles are mega hot for Summer, & this one is a little sassy & sweet (white lace gets me every time), while this hot pink number is so chic (both are under $35)!

I seriously love these jeans - perfectly distressed, and thick denim fabric that is super flattering! Call me crazy, but these distressed camo (yes, I said camo!) jeans are totally calling my name too!

sandals: classic Jack Rogers sandals (I can't recommend the platinum color enough!)

What is on your Summer bucket list??

Monday, May 16, 2016

teacher style

The end of the year is near - only 8 school days left!!! - and I feel like I'm finally finding my teacher style groove! Today I'm talking about how I overcome my own teacher style challenges & sharing some great style tips from the experts over at the National Education Association Member Benefits. If you are a teacher, the NEA Member Benefits fashion tips are some really great resources that have helped me see new ways to overcome the difficulties of dressing for our jobs!

Cardigans are my #1 teacher style weapon. They help on those days that start out chilly (especially when you have to leave the house before the sun comes up!), & also cover up my shoulders when wearing sleeveless dresses/tops to maintain our conservative dress code.

This basic black dress can be so many ways, easily accessorized with scarves, necklaces & sweaters. Its versatility comes in handy on my "I have nothing to wear days" & also quickly transforms from my teacher duties to any after school activities!

My jewelry is the biggest part of my wardrobe that I can wear for both school & play. This necklace has been my go to piece for dinners out with my husband & long days at school. The gold fringe adds the right amount of jazz to any outfit!

These are the most comfortable pair of heels I've ever worn! The soles are covered in padding & the heel is the perfect heigh to be flattering, without the pain! I just love the pink leopard spots, & the kids always give me the sweetest compliments when I wear these :)

Fit tip: I am typically a 7.5, but the 7 fits perfect in this style!

Teaching has its own very particular set of wardrobe challenges that I never even considered before I became a Middle School teacher. Most schools enforce professional dress codes (dresses or slacks for women, slacks + ties for men), which oftentimes come with their own fit issues (but seriously, why are work clothes so awkward!?). But then teachers also have to consider the range of activities that they do during any given day - lunch duty, bathroom duty, recess duty, cleaning their rooms (I go through a can of Lysol wipes practically every week), setting up Science experiments, the list literally goes ON & ON! And while I can't speak specifically for the male teachers, female teachers also have to make sure that their skin is appropriately covered, ensuring that when they bend over to pick up pencils, or reach up to write on the board, extra bits are not peeking out!

Combined with the toll standing on your feet for 8+ hours a day takes on your legs & feet, picking out my outfits each morning is much more difficult than when I threw on jeans + a tee everyday as a graduate student.

May is teacher appreciation month, and The National Education Association (NEA) is also celebrating National Member Appreciation Month. To help their community of teachers and educators feel confident in their daily roles, NEA member benefits is taking about teacher style during the month of May. NEA gave three educators amazing makeovers with a style expert.

I loved getting to watch 3 deserving education professionals getting their style updated:

Jossette, is a paraeducator who wants a bolder wardrobe - see her transformation for yourself. Cameron, a 6th-grade teacher who’s stuck in a style rut - see his make-overTara, a 4th-grade teacher who is on a weight-loss journey & got her teacher style updated here

AND, along with the other amazing member benefits that NEA offers, they are now also giving away a personal style make-over too! 1 winner will receive a $1,000 Visa reward card for his or her own style shopping spree, and 25 winners will win $100 Visa gift cards, too. Check out all the details & enter here

Get social with NEA: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest

This post was sponsored in part by NEA Member Benefits, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Shop these exact pieces:

Friday, May 6, 2016

short shorts

Is it ok that it is only the first week of May & I am already declaring these shorts the piece of clothing I will be living in this Summer? #sorrynotsorry

I lived in this chambray top + Panama hat last year, & I love how fresh these beloved pieces look with my new lace up sandals and tassels-on-fleek shorts! (is sleek still a thing?)

How are you updating your warm weather items for the new year?

shorts: fringe trim shorts c/o francesca's
Other favorites include these ivory drawstring shorts, & these embroidered ruffle trim shorts)

purse: tiny tote c/o Dagne Dover

bracelet: anchor bracelet c/o francesca's