Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Best Gifts: Uncommon Goods

One of my favorite things is giving gifts - for birthdays, holidays and just because! Of course it is fun to get a gift that the person will enjoy, and extra credit if you get something that they didn't even know they wanted, but adore! Uncommon Goods is one of my best resources for picking unique gifts that are perfect for special occasions, just because & everything in between. I love how their website is organized, so you can find the perfect gift based on occasion (including awesome picks for your anniversary or all those graduations coming up this Spring) or recipient (girlfriends, bridesmaids, or your wife)! And as the name suggests, they are all so unique and sure to please!

Below are my top 10 gifts from Uncommon Goods that fit any budget and occasion! Only 1 more week to get your sweetie something for Valentines Day, and I know that I have many Spring Birthdays coming up quick too!

{1.} Evil Eye Blanket - the print is so on trend, but without being obvious! The perfect thing to class up a new apartment, or make the college student in your life feel super chic when they are curled up studying! 

{2.} Feather Stained Glass Charms - These make me think of my good friend who has an amazing feather tattoo - equal parts free spirit & stylish lady! Gorgeous on their own, or grouped together in a window.

{3.} Wrapped in love Scarf - give your loved one a gift that will remind them of your love every time they wrap this sophisticated scarf around their neck! The script is so pretty, & it feels like a secret love note. 

{4.} "With You I'm Home" Print - My husband & I enjoy getting prints for our house that remind us of cherished memories, & this print makes my heart soar with joy because it reminds me of our road trip past Summer. If you are into prints, Uncommon Goods also sells ones from Pop Chart Lab - I have previously gotten this Beer Print for my husband & we both love referencing it when we try a new brew. 

{5.} Llama Pouch - Can you ever have enough bags & pouches? Me thinks not! Up your pouch game with this adorable llama! Llama for your mama... too much?  

{6.} In the Stars Cuff - Perfect for birthdays or a celebrated occasion, get the sign from the month you got married, or celebrate the lovely Leo lady in your life! 

{7.} Light Box & Letter Set - I have seen these cute light boxes popping up all over Instagram! Make the dinner menu pop, or leave a love note for your sweetie to find before work! 

{8.} Peas in a Pod necklace - Growing up, my mom, sister & I said that we were three peas in a pod. Regardless of the number of peas in your pod, this necklace celebrates your pea pod bond. 

{9.} Personalized Tree Trunk Glasses -  I have always wanted to carve my initials into a tree, but these glasses are so much better because no trees are harmed in their creation, & they hold delicious drinks! Get them with any initials! Many more personalized gifts here!

{10.} Yarn Bowl - Based on my Facebook feed, pretty much all of my friends took up knitting this year, & this adorable "Sherman" the sheep yarn bowl would be the perfect buddy for the knitting buff in your life - regardless of their experience level! 

Where is your favorite spot to find unique and personal gifts? Any favorites from my list above?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Life Update: Slow Blogging

Hello strangers! It does actually feel a little strange to be back in this space after a 3+ month break, but also super exciting! Many of you followed our Summer road trip last year as we relocated from Nashville to Denver & man the process of moving was so super fun, but the reality of moving away from the city we had LOVED for 7 years didn't sink in until we had been here for a couple of weeks, and it was a feeling I just couldn't shake. Below is something that I wrote back in September, but wasn't brave enough to share - it is a small snippet of what I was feeling when I realized we had landed in a foreign town, with no friends, and that the dream job I thought I had landed wasn't quite the dream I thought it to be…


As my 5 year blog anniversary approaches this Fall, I have been putting much thought into what I want out of this space.

When I initially started Here&Now, it was out of a desire to spend more time in pursuit of creative endeavors. In 2011, I was attending graduate school at Vanderbilt University, working towards a PhD in Biomedical Research. Grad school was not a great fit for me - I had a less than supportive mentor who did his best to remind me that research science is a male dominated field; I worked in a toxic environment where co-workers regularly yelled at each other, and I went to the bathroom to cry at least once a week; and I ultimately didn't even know what I would use my PhD for, it more felt like the next required step in the education/career path I had started in college.

Fast forward to today: I am in my 3rd year of a teaching career that I LOVE, my husband and I celebrated two years of marriage this year, I am living in a new city that I can't wait to explore corner to corner, & life is pretty dang good.

I started Here&Now because I hated grad school & wanted to find my own personal style, but now I am in a career that fulfills me and challenges me in ways that I couldn't have ever imagined, and do truly feel like I have grown into my own body/mind/spirit/style over the last 5 years.

In a time when many bloggers are quitting their day jobs to become full-time online, I am headed in the opposite direction. I am not 100% going to quit blogging here, but I am going to take a step back to focus on my teaching job, relationships, and exploring Denver.

My priorities have shifted, but I cannot imagine a time where I do not seek creative fulfillment through blogging. I am increasingly craving a "less is more" lifestyle, especially as my husband and I dream of buying a house and starting a family (he says the pugs don't count as actual children) one day very soon.

I am going to call this new chapter of my life "slow blogging". I will blog when inspiration strikes, & I will continue to post outfits, murals, Denver explorations, & the pugs on Instagram & more everyday life stuff on Snapchat.

When I think about leaving the blog world for good, it is the connections with people I have met online that make it beyond my ability to commit at this point. I want to be better about connecting & hopefully with less posting, I will have more time to visit other blogs and social media accounts.

Please do not be a stranger! Let me know what you think in the comments. Is blogging on its way out? Is the future of blogland going to be taken over by the mega-blogger? What is your favorite way to connect online?


So while my thoughts about being a "blogger" continue to be conflicted, I am back and ready to share some great experiences here in Denver, brands that matter to me, and my personal style journey as I get shockingly close to 30! Please let me know what you want to see on this site, and know that I am going to continue to be ME… as I work to figure out what exactly that means.

Friday, September 16, 2016

It's Good to be a Girl!

I am excited to be back in cahoots with some of my favorite blogger babes! My ladies Julie, Shelby and Katie are gracing the blog today with their best tailgate outfits! We have teamed up with Vera Bradley to show off their amazing Fall, tailgate ready bags, and It's Good To Be A Girl campaign.

I got the gorgeous Sidesaddle Crossbody, and it is the best of everything! Vera is really knocking out of the park with their leather options!

purse: Sidesaddle Crossbody c/o Vera Bradley

vest: My favorite J.Crew Factory puffer vest (I only own it in 4 colors!)

dress: J.Crew Factory crepe work dress

boots: 4 year old boots, but these go with everything flat boots are my current favorite.

sunglasses: Ray Ban aviators

I can't believe I'm actually saying this, & Nashville me doesn't believe it either, but it is already boot and sweater season here in Denver. Not every day, but we definitely had some sold "Fall" feeling days in September!

I love that with the blog I'm able to look back & see my style evolve, and I definitely feel like I'm settling into a great feeling style groove lately with many beloved pieces hanging in my closet. This dress + boot combo has been in my Fall rotation for over 3 years, and I love it updated this year with my ready for the weekend ready cross body bag & latest J.Crew Factory puffer vest (the count is now up to 4!).
Vera Bradley nails it every time, down to the linings of their bags! This one has all the right pockets in the perfect size!

I hope everyone has a good weekend & be sure to check out the It's Good to Be a Girl campaign from Vera Bradley!

Shop these exact pieces + other favorites:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cool it Y'all

shoes: Levi's white sneakers (similar to my beloved white Converse sneakers)

bag: "Cool it Y'all" cooler bag c/o Draper James

sunglasses: Ray Bans (borrowed from my husband!)

watch: leather strap watch c/o Daniel Wellington

Shop my top game day picks now:

I've been counting down for the past month & can't wait for college football to start this week! College football is my favorite sport & I love getting together to watch games with friends (Go Arkansas Razorbacks & Vandy 'Dores!). This week I'm teaming up with Draper James to celebrate our love of tailgating & you can get in on the action too! Head to the Draper James Instagram page to see how you can enter to win a $250 shopping spree! And be sure to follow along with the action by taking your tailgate ready looks with #GoYall!

I love this mid-sized cooler bag - comes in your favorite team colors & is the perfect accessory for bringing beverages + snacks to your next tailgate party! Stay tuned for more game day ready looks on my Instagram page over the next few days!

Shop these exact outfit pieces now:

Monday, August 1, 2016

work pants: the struggle is real

Happy August! Today is back to work for me - after 2 months off, I am excited to meet my new Denver co-workers & return a daily routine. While my Summer break has ended, I am prolonging my Summer style with my favorite warm-weather beauty secrets including these easy waves & my easy tan touring (contouring with sunless tanner) tutorial that I posted on the blog last week.

At the end of last school year, I pledged to find the perfect work pants (something that has eluded me for years!) & I'm excited to share that my search is FINALLY over! During the Summer, I tried on over 15 pairs of work pants, & found 5 great options. Scroll down for the pair I got for myself & a review of 4 other pairs.

pants: Ann Taylor "Ann" Trousers - many of the styles are now on sale!
I feel like a total GIRL BOSS in this pants!

top: J.Crew Factory striped button down (this floral print button down is my current work shirt obsession)

shoes: Sole Society nude wedges (this season's style) - comfortable enough to wear all day!

Pants are notoriously hard to shop for & work pants are a special type of fashion unicorn. In my search, I was looking for a pair that was fitted at the waist, had pockets, & was the right length for my go-to work shoes. I had already found this cropped style (now only $35) to wear with my work flats, & this search was focused on finding a flattering pair of full length trousers.

Try on tips: Take the shoes you want to wear with the pants with you to test length, & wear the type of shirt that you will typically wear with the pants. In each pair of pants, I tucked in the shirt and tested out how they felt while seated and with my hands raised, as I wanted to make sure that my shirt remained tucked while doing my normal activities.

Shopping tips: Work trousers can be pretty pricey, running $50 - $100+, but they often go on sale. In fact, all of my top 5 favorites are currently on sale - time to pounce!

My top pick was the Ann Taylor "Ann" Trousers. They fit the bill when it came to length, flat pockets, & they were fitted at the waist with a straight line of the leg that was the most flattering on me. I appreciate that this cut comes in many weights of fabric, as well as "season-less" material that is a mid-weight and appropriate for many climates.

Ann Taylor: Ann Trousers (shop now to get $25 off your order of $75+)
(also tried & liked the cropped Devin Trousers, & the Kate fit trousers are a great option for women with curvy figures)

Coming in 2nd place was the Banana Republic "Logan" Trousers. They were more fitted at the bottom of the leg - not quite a "skinny" fit, but more tailored than a traditional trouser. The pants cut a clean line and I felt as if they made me look leaner than some of the other pairs I tried.

Banana Republic: Logan Trousers (currently 30% off) - 

The most affordable pair I tried on & loved was the "Marisa" Trousers from LOFT. These had a very flattering fit, but they were not in my top 2 because they lacked pockets. Other than the missing pockets, these were almost identical to the Ann Taylor options I tried.

LOFT: Marisa Trousers (currently on sale for under $50!)

When I started on my work pant search, the Express "Editor" Pant was recommended to me by multiple people & I can see why these are crowd favorites. These pants had the largest amount of stretch, & definitely felt like they would be extremely comfortable for all day wear. The cut of this pair was fitted through the knee, & then flared out to more of a boot cut. However, I did find that the inseam was several inches too long - even when wearing heels.

Express: Editor Pant (buy one, get a second pair for $39.50 - lots of great colors!)

I really wanted to like the J.Crew "Campbell" Trousers, but the cut was not for me. These were the most fitted pair, skinny in the thighs and pretty straight down from the knee, however the fabric was very luxe and the construction felt to be of high quality.

J.Crew: Campbell Trousers (currently $20 off)

What are your favorite work pants? Who can tell me why work trousers are so hard to shop for!?

{Shop these exact pieces}