Saturday, December 31, 2011

10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1... can you believe it?!

Can you believe it?
2012 is tomorrow! eep!

Usually I would be celebrating New Year's Eve in this fashion:


But this year, the boyfriend decided to take things into his own hands, and arranged to stay at a cabin in the East Tennessee woods. I wasn't on board till I found out there was a hot tub.
Looks like 2012 will be rang in like this:

I guess I can deal with it...

P.S. Maybe if I'm good I'll get some of these!!

What are you doing New Year's Eve? (click for an adorable rendition of this song) 
Talk to you in 2012!
xx
Jessica

resolute resolutions

2011 was a good year, great even! Filled with travel, new friends, new life milestones, and just the regular mundane things that make my life mine. After reading so many blogs online, and being inspired by personal style blogs, street style pictures, and lifestyle blogs, I also mustered up enough courage to join the blogging world for myself. A couple of months, 50+ posts later, and with lots of new creative juices flowing in my body, I am happy to report that my blogging experience is so far so good!

As I look forward to 2012 (tomorrow!!) I want to continue my focus on positive thinking and living in the Here&Now, but I also want to try and better myself through more engaged relationships, treating my body with more respect (more water, more running), and learning new things.

Below I have thought of 12 resolutions to work on in '12. Some are easy (aka set up my paycheck so it direct deposits into my savings/retirement), while others will require me to stretch myself and my time commitments (finding a new church, for example).

I hope that by putting these "resolutions" out there on the intewebs, I will have "you" to hold me accountable for working towards these goals... so here we go!
Any resolutions you are working on in 2012?
Do we have any of the same resolutions?
Do you make a list and write it all out, or keep it in your head?
xx
Jessica

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

This year on Christmas morning we got up early to open stockings from Santa, and gifts from our immediate family (as usual) before driving 2 hours to my Meme & Papa's house to continue celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ ('tis the reason for the season) with the rest of the crew. 

I think I enjoy Christmas even more as an adult. When I was younger it was such a transient experience - something that I looked forward to all year, but it was "over" so quickly (the tearing into presents part that is). But now, I am able to better sit back, and soak up just being around my family. 
Sipping on coffee while my sisters and I sit around the table opening our "Santa" stockings might be my new favorite thing about Christmas Day.  But it is probably tied with seeing my family open the presents I have picked out for them, as well. We were all very fortunate to not only just be all together, but also blessed with thoughtful new presents to remind us of each other throughout the coming year. 

mush alert: it was also wonderful having Ty home with me on Christmas for the first time (awww!)
Clockwise from top left: 
Cheyanne showing off her new Mickey Mouse gear; 
Ty and I tearing into some gifts (I have not a clue what is going on to our left); 
Dad got another Hawaiian shirt to add to his collection; 
Showing off my new blanket sweater (LOVE!); 
Doug is chillin' in the midst of the present opening storm; 
Ty opened his present from my Dad, a "trick" puzzle box that contains pictures of presidents inside; 
Sarah is tired of opening up boxes inside of boxes, "get to the good stuff already!"; 
(middle) Sissy opened the "Monet-esque" painting I did for her

How does your family celebrate the big day? Does "Santa" still visit you? 
Cheers to New Year's Eve Eve!
xx
Jessica

polka dot pretty

Sweater/Belt: J.Crew
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Booties: Gianni Bini
Tights: TJ MAXX 

 For Christmas Day at my Meme & Papa's house, I choose to wear festive polka dots. 
I usually lean towards holiday colors (red, green, metallic) for Christmas celebrations, 
but this year I tried something new (go me!)

Gray (or any color except black, for that matter) tights are also a new thing for me... 
and I am a huge fan now! What do you think?
Sissy and me in our new hand dyed scarves from Meme (she knows how to spoil us!) 
My sister (+TWINS!) with our Meme & Papa (Meme always has the prettiest Christmas tree!)
xx
Jessica

Thursday, December 29, 2011

family traditions (Christmas)

Here's a peek into some of my family's Christmas Eve traditions...
At the Arlington Hotel in downtown Hot Springs, we try to guess the number of candy pieces on the gingerbread house every year. This year my guess was 12,345! 
Across the street from the Arlington, the park is decorated with Christmas trees. My sisters and I pick our favorite tree to take a picture with, this year Ty got to take part in the tradition. My favorite was the big pink guy in the middle!
It was a little chilly, but seeing the glittering lights is worth it!
Once home, Doug and I got ready for bed (we used the Santa tracker to see that he was close!)
xx
Jessica

holiday cheer

Sweater: Banana Republic
Skirt/Belt: J.Crew
Tights: TJ MAXX
Shoes: My Michelle

Christmas Eve is when my family enjoys the majority of our holiday traditions
1. You have to be the first to say "Christmas Eve Gift" to each family member, 
so that you can open your gift early
2. We attend our church's candlelight service
3. After church, we head to downtown Hot Springs to see the park lit up with Christmas trees
4. And then over to the Arlington to see the gingerbread house and guess the number of candy pieces
5. Finally it is time to head home, eat delish food, make gingerbread houses and wait for Santa!

What are some of your family traditions?

xx
Jessica

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

sweater girl

Sweater: Lefler's Boutique
Skirt: J.Crew
Heels: Jessica Simpson
Gold bracelet: House of Harlow (gift from my wonderful boyfriend!)

 The day before Christmas Eve ("Christmas Adam"), my sister and I met up with our mother in Little Rock. We toured the President Clinton Museum & Library, and ate a yummy lunch at the Capital Grill. President Clinton is the first president that I remember, and it was interesting learning more about him and his term in the White House. I enjoy doing new things in my own backyard! 
After lunch, we headed back to my sister's house to exchange presents. From my mom I received a beautiful vintage beaded clutch from her family, and a handmade cake platter - beautiful items that I can't wait to use and display in my house
(a more extensive post of my new Christmas goodies to come later this week...)
Sarah, Deborah and me infront of the Capital Hotel's beautiful Christmas tree
xx
Jessica

Saturday, December 24, 2011

happy holidays y'all

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours!
Hope your holidays are more joyful than a pug with a treat!
xx
Jessica

Friday, December 23, 2011

secret agent woman

Banana Republic Jacket
Madewell Jeggings
J. Crew sweater and tank
I have long admired the classic lines of a well tailored trench coat. This very iconic piece (for secret agents and glamorous ladies alike), has been on my wish list for quite some time. My original crush was on this $300 J.Crew trench, but then this little beauty at the Banana Republic outlet stole my heart! It is a trench miracle - I found this $200 Banana Republic trench at the outlet store for $140, and then it was marched down 70%... to less than $50! I'll take it!

Ever since I brought this trench home to live with me, the weather has been unseasonable mild in Nashville and my trench baby has functioned as the perfect all-season cover up. Can't wait to give this beaut some miles in my other favorite seasons- fall & spring!

  

 Now I have 23 of the "50 classics"... working on making my short list of the items I will have my eyes open for next, in case a good deal pops up again!
xx
Jessica

Thursday, December 22, 2011

winter jewels (color brigade)

Button Down/Skirt: J.Crew
Necklace: Lefler's Boutique
Booties: Charlotte Russe
Hold the presses - I am not only wearing red LIPSTICK, but also COLORED tights...{gasp}...! I am trying to embrace more color in my wardrobe and makeup routine, and figured I should just jump right in the deep end.

Have you checked in on the cute&little asian sensation that is Kileen? She has a segment on her blog called the Color Brigade, and I have decided to join the movement (see the new button on the left column of my site?)

Here's hoping that this is the first step forward to embracing more color. Last month it was mustard that I was crushing hard on (here, here, & here), and this month I am gravitating towards jewel tones (ruby, amethyst, peridot). Any go to colors or families of colors in your wardrobe rotation these days?
xx
Jessica

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

home for the holidays

As I get ready to head on down the road to Arkansas I am crossing off all of the items on my never ending "to do before Christmas" list and making a new list of activities I can't wait to partake in while home for the holidays...

{1.} 
Attend my 
church's Christmas Eve 
Candle light service (the sanctuary 
lit by candles is hauntingly beautiful, 
and I love seeing my church family) 
{2.} Spend my first Christmas with Tyler in 
the same place (he is flying down to join my family and me on 
Christmas Eve) {3.} Make Christmas cookies (and eat lots of 
dough!) {4.} Pick out my favorite Christmas light tree in the downtown 
park (family tradition) {5.} Hold my little sister's hand while she gets her 
ears pierced (she is growing up to be such a beautiful young lady!)
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to? Are you going to 
your childhood home, 
staying put or traveling 
to a new 
destination?

I hope your holidays are Merry&Bright, and that you may surrounded by those that love you
Cheers,
Jessica

online inspiration

Have you checked out any of the online magazines that have been popping up like wildflowers? I think this new resource is great! While I still subscribe to several glossy magazines, having this new source of inspiration online has been wonderful.

I originally fell in love with online magazines when I read the first issue of Matchbook Magazine. This mag stole my heart when I read how they define their reader (the "Matchbook girl")... too cute! Every issue is packed with great fashion, lovely interviews, and an overall aesthetic that is perfection.
that about sums it all up.. I wanna be a Matchbook girl
Lonny Magazine has recently gotten on my radar, and I can't wait to see more! The design ideas within the pages are swoon-worthy, and their holiday gift guide was chock-full of gorgeous finds.
table-scapes to try out for the holiday season

I have been a follower of the House of Fifty blog for a while now, and am very excited about following the House of fifty magazine now too. I am in love with their inspirational design spaces, and also their very spot on fashion pieces... aka I want every single one of these boots!
too fabulous!

I don't think I have seen a more extensive or awe-inspiring Holiday Gift Guide then what was presented in the most recent Gifted Magazine Holiday Issue... I had already finished my shopping my the time I came across this, but I have lots of ideas for next year! (keeping my eye out for some of these things on sale after the new year)
awesome stocking suffer ideas!
The recent issue of Anthology Magazine featured spotlights of some wonderful artists, products, and companies. This is a complete lifestyle magazine that has something to offer for everyone! (I particularly appreciated the gift guide for "all the young dudes" as that is a difficult family member to buy for )
perfect ideas for the awesome dudes on your Christmas list
Rue Magazine has drool worthy spaces and also is very in touch with bloggers. A perennial go-to among the it people on the internets... I am loving keeping up
great interviews with fashion bloggers
spaces that are to die for!!
I hope you too can gleam some inspiration from these digital magazines.  Are there any online magazines you are following that I should check out? I am looking forward to catching up with some of my reading list (aka Real Simple, Cosmo & Elle) over the break!
xx
 Jessica

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

saturday night fever

Blazer: Urban Outfitters
Blouse: Lefler's Boutique
Liquid Leggings: Windsor Store
Shoes: Nine West
I have taken the plunge and I am hooked - "liquid leggings" are awesome! While I do feel like I should be going to a Studio 54 Party or flitting around like Sandra Dee from Grease, these pants are my new going out-go to! I have had a big crush on leather pants for a while (blame that on Tina Turner and her amazing legs), and these faux leather liquid leggings are my new favorite purchase. They look very leather like, but are much more comfortable to wear. Maybe not quite working in the lab uniform material, but these babies are going to get some good action in my closet rotation coming up!

P.S. I have seriously been stalking liquid leggings online, and these Windsor ones are not only super hot, but a wonderful price and are great quality!
Look out Sandra Dee
xx
Jessica

Monday, December 19, 2011

come into my closet

A woman's closet is a very personal place - for me it is my treasure chest, and I truly do my best to keep my "treasures" in good condition, as I would any other prized possession. After graduating from college, I began focusing on a less is more idea for my closet - meaning that I wanted to concentrate on buying a fewer quantity of clothes but of ones that are of a greater quality and will last me for many years to come, throughout life's transitions.

In my current living situation, I have a pretty great closet arrangement. Along one entire wall of my bedroom, two large closets hide behind doors. On one side, lives most of my day-to-day clothes (sweaters, button-downs, jeans, slacks, daytime dresses, and most of my shoes).
like my money right where I can see it... hanging in my closet" -Carrie Bradshaw
Current inspiration pictures (torn from magazines) are taped up along the inside of my closet doors. Right now I am inspire by lady like ensembles - embellished "Chanel" coats + skinny jeans, blazers + A-line skirts
 
uniform hangers help classy up my clothes, and make seeing what I actually have easier
(it is like shopping from a boutique everyday!)
Jeans hang on pant hangers in twos to save space
Clothes that I haven't worn in a while hang on the outside handles or are laid out in - having these clothes out in plain sight reminds me to wear them, and if I don't wear them after having them out for a while, it is time to part ways with them.
Shoes are organized in their boxes at the bottom on shelves, my go-to favorites are usually kept out in the front
In the other closet lives my jackets, coats, fancy dresses, boots, and seasonal clothing (i.e. swimsuits are put away in a box right now, while my gloves and hats are out, but this changes depending on the time of year)
Coats and boots have their own closet 
My favorite boots
 This past weekend I went through my closet and had an organize/purge session. I realized that since I have been fortunate enough to not get any taller or wider since high school I have been holding on to a number of clothes simply because they had at one point had actually cost me a lot, or had retained sentimental value, even though I do not wear them regularly or at all. I pulled out all the clothes that I haven't worn in a while and sorted them into 4 piles:
1. Keep - after putting on some of the items I realized that they could be updated or mixed into my closet as is. I hung these up at the front of my closet so that I can make a better effort to wear them (If I still am not wearing them after seeing them everyday for a while, they will get moved to a new pile)
2. Swap - as I mentioned, I have been holding on to some quality clothes for a while, but I simply do not wear everything in my closet. I am currently working on organizing a "swap" with some of my girlfriends so that we can have "new-to-us" clothes for free!
3. Donate - some clothes I have been hanging on to are simply just not working with the other residents of my closet, nor did I think my girlfriends would have any interest in them... to the Goodwill they go.
4. Trash - no one wants to see what I do to ballet flats, there were some "well loved" pairs that simply had no more life in them.

While I did end up removing 2 large bags of clothes (1 for the swap, the other for Goodwill) and even tossed some gross ballet flats, I am confident that I will be able to do more with the clothes I now have hanging in my closet, and even "re-discovered" some gems that I can't wait to mix up!

There are plenty of "clothes diets" and "30 for 30 Remix" stories that challenge us shopping/clothes addicts to rethink our habits, and analyze what we NEED instead of always looking to fill a void with what we WHAT. I think for now I am going to continue my focus on purchasing quality well-made clothes instead of picking up cheaper, more disposable items - which will help my closet remain trim and be more eco-conscious.

How many clothes do you need anyways?
Could you get by on 6 items of clothes? Or go a whole year without shopping?!
xx
Jessica