Tuesday, December 31, 2013

best of: 2013

Welp, prepare your eyes for an over share & your ears for some serious gushing. 2013 was one for the books! I have zero clue how one finds their "top" posts for the year… so let me just share my totally biased favorites. And no, I couldn't limited them to a top 10 or anything piddly like that… kidding, I'm just having a commitment issue these days. But having a deadline to turn my Masters thesis in (T-minus 2 weeks) definitely means that I have time to sort my choices by color… what else would I be doing? 

I want to first & foremost thank YOU for following along in 2013. For reading, commenting, interacting on social media channels, & constantly inspiring me.

I had the immense pleasure of discovering & working with some amazing brands this year, including: Altar'd State, American Eagle, Celebrity Pink Jeans, DaisyGem, eShaktiGentle Fawn, Gigi New York, Lendperk, Fringe & Lace, LookBook Store, Onze Boutique, Muse Apparel, Posh'mina, Skip N' Whistle, Sheer Addiction Jewelry, Sole Society, Wallis Fashion, and Yuni Kelley - & owe you another round of thanks for supporting the many brands, small businesses & bloggers that I partner with.
Another thing that I am unable to do, is link each picture to its original post, but if you have found a new favorite & want to locate it, let me know in the comments and I'll dig up the link.

Be sure to not miss a post in 2014
Follow along on Bloglovin' // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

Cheers y'all! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

totally tuxedo

{ What I Wore: jacket H&M // J.Crew blouse // skirt ℅ Le Tote // ShoeDazzle pumps (similar for under $40!) // thrifted bowtie (similar) // RayBan aviators }
I love the shape of this skirt… totally ready to par-tay!

Who says girls can't rock tuxedos too?
What will you be wearing to ring in 2014?

P.S. See more glitz & glam inspiration for your NYE look on the Walking in Memphis in Highheels link up {here}

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Shopping: Sales!

{1} shimmer shower midi dress // French Connection - extra 50% off sale items (code W13SALE)
{2} polka dot silk top // J.Crew Factory - 30% off new arrivals + extra 30% off sale
{3} ShoeMint - sale items start at $19.99
{4} Tory Burch earrings // Nordstrom Women's sale
 {5} embellished top //  Tory Burch - extra 25% off sale items (code NEWYEAR)
moto jacket // Gap - 30% off all sale items (code GAPBONUS)
pink houndstooth dress // SheInside - extra 20-50% off sale items (as marked)
{8} "lovely" tee // Old Navy - up to 60% off online 
{9} Kate Spade clutch // Piperlime - up to 60% off sale items 
{10} silk pajama shirt // J.Crew - extra 40% off sale (code SHOPHAPPY)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

weekend reading: 12.28.13

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you ::  pop some pink!

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
Well, not much actually! Only 1 post this week, but it IS featuring my current obsession - a Forever21 shag vest that I thought would have been impossible to style, but haven't taken it off in days weeks!  

I have been enjoying unplugging from my "screens" this week & really getting to plug in with some family time. Nothing like a little break to get the creative juices flowing!

Back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday. Happy last weekend of 2013 y'all.

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} I am having so much fun with all the "year in review" posts popping up in my Bloglovin' reader! Some favorites: Always Maylee //  Three 31 // With Love From Kat // Back East Blonde

{3.} Warm & cozy.

{4.} What I wish I was wearing on NYE.

{5.} Santa brought me a kindle & this is the first book I loaded on to it. What are you reading right now? I am looking for some suggestions (fun/slightly mysterious novels are my current jam)

Monday, December 23, 2013


Is anyone still here? I know I can't be the only one wanting to put on my flannel PJs & curl up with family around the fireplace/Christmas tree/kitchen table/[insert your family tradition here]

Things might be a little quiet around here for the next week or so, but I want to make sure that I tell you all THANKS!
Thank you for making this whole area of the internet a wonderful place for me to come everyday. Thank you for the interactions on social media. And most recently, all of your lovely words about my new life chapter. 2014 is looking to be a year filled with many "firsts". Your friendship is a lovely Christmas present!
{ What I Wore: hatSurf Dome // Forever21 vest // J.Crew tee // skirtGentle Fawn // necklace ℅ GroopDealz // super old shoes }

{Get the Look}
cranberry fedora {$55} + stripe tee {splurge $50 // save $16} + skirt {exact, $20} + vest {$40} + tassel necklace {$10} + shoes {$40}

All photos thanks to Zipporah Photography.

This is another one of the outfits that the lovely Shelby styled for me. Seriously, can I have a stylist come play in my closet with me everyday?!

This outfit came about because I told Shelby that I wanted to take some of the items that I had been wearing "preppy" & give them a boho twist. Well, lady friend hit this nail right on the head. I love it! Thoughts?
Starting now, I'm going to try to do a better job of showing you how I wore things before, a new year's resolution if you will (my use of tags should help too, those can be found at the very bottom of each post)

fur vest previously worn here // see orange skirt re-mixed here // stripe shirt last seen here // these shoes have been around the block here // I've worn this hat soooo much this Fall, see all the ways here

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Shopping: J.Crew Sale

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10
Just in case you didn't get your letter off to Santa in time, treat yo' self at the J.Crew sale - all items now an extra 40% off!  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

weekend reading: 12.21.13

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you :: deck the halls.

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.}  MidWeek Mix Up holiday addition (1 dress, 2 ways!) 

{2.} My quarter life crisis (THANK YOU for all your support about my big announcement) 

{3.} A style evolution - where I am headed 

{4.} To save or slurge… my picks. 

{5.} 8 holiday looks for the girl on a budget! 

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} And now I know what I'm packing for Christmas. 

{2.} Thoughts on the new Pantone color of the year

{3.} 1 pant 5 ways… I'm in love with every look! 

{4.} Cons on switching to Wordpress (thanks for the honesty!) 

{5.} My current blogger crush (I dream of shopping & having a cocktail or 5 with this fun & stylish lady!) 

Friday, December 20, 2013

quarter life crisis

I had a friend in college tell me that for someone that talks as much as I do (spoiler alert, I talk a LOT), I never really reveal much about what's below the surface. And I suppose that is true, I have had a blog for 2+ years now, & even if you've read since the beginning, you know that I have 2 pugs, am engaged, live in Nashville, & am going to graduate school at Vanderbilt…. but not much more. I have been afraid to open up too much, to be vulnerable, for fear that my boss would find this corner of the internet, because of worries that I won't look perfect, & because of my own general anxieties.

Well, that last defining characteristic is about to change. As of January 14th, 2014 I will be Master Jessica… leaving Vanderbilt & giving up my dreams of becoming Dr. Jessica Ph.D.

But even writing "giving up" doesn't fit… I am transitioning, following my gut & jumping in with both feet to a new life path. And I couldn't be happier. Mind you I have been physically wrestling with this decision, battling it, struggling & fighting to find which way is up.

I don't think I can even put the words together to describe how disgruntled I had become with graduate school (& I have been trying to pen this post for MONTHS). I think my frustrations really came to a head in September (sorry if my 9/11 subject matter was insensitive to some)… I was searching, truly wondering "what I wanted to be when I grew up" & befuddled as to how everyone else seemed to have their shit act together. I didn't see myself using my Ph.D. (like EVER), I was facing more than a year of school ahead of me, & then WHAT? 

So I turned inward. I feel like I have been inside my own head (in a bad way) for the past 4 months, questioning E.V.E.R.Y. decision, feeling inadequate, & lost despite 26 years of experience on this planet. I literally began searching, starting with Google (where all legit searches find their origins), entering "how to become a ______"…. with everything from "professional organizer" to "stay at home pug mom" filling in that gaping blank.

And slowly but surly a plan started for form. An exit strategy. A satisfying move forward. Being that I am slightly massively OCD, I can't make a move without having the next 5 already in place. Again, I didn't want to feel like a failure, so I have hid these 4 months (or more, if I'm being honest) of struggle from you, afraid of floundering in the unknown, all across the internet. 

What's the next chapter look like? I have accepted a teaching position with Nashville Metro schools, and while I am still looking for where my exact placement will be, you are looking at a future high school biology teacher. 

And as for the blog, I am still committed, but truth be told, I don't know how things will change over the coming months… I might look back & think how naïve, but if I managed this situation while working insane graduate student hours, then I surely can keep it together as a teacher… riiiiiight?

Phew… the cat is finally out of the bag & onto the blog. If you have any questions about things, please leave a comment & I would love to expound upon them in a future post. 

Happy weekend y'all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I wholeheartedly believe that fashion should be fun, & that experimentation is an unavoidable part of the game. Over the past two years of chronicling my personal style, I have found things that worked, tried new trends that failed, & refined what is ME. That doesn't mean that the style journey is over, or that experimentation is a thing of the past, but I have turned a personal style corner.

For one, I want to free myself from the mindset that I should save my favorite pieces for special occasions. I want to only own favorite, beloved, curated items… I want to love my clothes more & NEED less.

I want to break out of the idea that I NEED lots of stuff each month. In the past, if I fell in love with a $200 item, I would tell myself that it wasn't in my budget, because I thought that with my $250-300 monthly shopping allowance, I should be getting LOTS of STUFF.

Turns out that I don't NEED anything, & there are many things in my closet that I only kind of like, a consequence of feeling like I constantly should be purchasing THINGS, STUFF & the latest ITEM.

You all should know by now that I like making "rules" & lists, so I present you:

{My style truths}
- I could never have enough slouchy charcoal gray tees & tanks
- I like my tops oversized & my bottoms more fitted
- Splurging on shoes + purses works for me (see Tuesday's post)
- Polished pointy toe pumps will always be my favorites
- Neutrals are my jam
- I add personality with funky necklaces
- I like the ideas of sexy tops, but I own zero (sorry boyfriend)
- Blazers are good for all occasions
- I generally dislike chocolate brown ("cognac" all the way)
- Stripes & leopard are the only patterns I need
- Turns out, I LOVE hats!

So, maybe you have seen my pinning lots of "minimalistic" fashion lately… if not, here are my favorites:
Find more like minded inspiration here, here, here, & here.

During my style soul searching I have started to fine-tune my WANTS & identify wardrobe holes in line with my new streamlined vision. The top 5 pieces (below) are topping my wish list, while the bottom 5 are items already taking up residence in my closet that I imagine will continue to be functional workhorses in my personal style.
(all top 5 pieces are from the online shop Modern Citizen, but no this post is not sponsored by them. I have truly found their clothes to be an inspiration during this shift in my personal style.)

While I am still working on being strong & let go, I am starting to part with some of the pieces that I like but don't love over on Poshmark… shop my closet {here}.

Anyone else feeling the urge to purge? What is your personal style vision for 2014?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

holiday lights

1 pretty frock, 2 holiday party looks.
Head on over to the Fringe & Lace blog to see today's MidWeek MixUp!
{ What I Wore: borrowed Fringe & Lace "In Bloom" dress // J.Crew coat & clutch (similar) // Kate Spade armadillo belt (similar) // Nine West heels (I die for these) // necklace ℅ Stella & Dot }
Which MidWeek MixUp look do you prefer?
Velvet blazer + OTK boots?
Or polished coat + patent pumps?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Save or Splurge

I am itching to clean out my entire closet & just start over… ok, I am exaggerating slightly, but has anyone else been there? So to fight off the urge to purge, I sat down last night & really thought about the items that I can't ever see myself spending boo-coo bucks on, & then those magical other items that I am ready to drop some dough on.

For me, I like to save on:
- sunglasses (so I can afford to have them stashed every where!)

- party dresses (because I usually only wear them once… I should work on that!)

- costume jewelry (if it isn't fine jewels, I just can't see myself ever splurging on this for myself… but if the fiancé wants to, who's to stop him?)

- clutches (just fun, nothing serious here)

- ballet flats (I saved up for J.Crew ballet flats a few times, turns out, they aren't any better than my Old Navy ones, live & learn)
 But I have somehow justified spending more on:
- handbags (I only need a few, but I need them to be fabulous!)

- coats (during the Winter this is what I am seen in public wearing 85% of the time)

- jeans (Yes, I like my Old Navy Rockstar jeans, but I love my Citizens of Humanity, & they have held up beautifully over the years, some are going on 6+ years!)

- undies (a good bra makes me feel better about myself, & less bitchy because my boobs are where they should be)

- leather heels (a few good pairs will change your mind)
So what do you like to save on?
And what do you have your hard earned savings earmarked for?
Anyone else fall in the same categorizations as me?


Monday, December 16, 2013

Bloggers Who Budget: Holidays

Oh my goodness, during this crazy time of year I am always thankful for some attainable, budget friendly holiday outfit inspiration. So I'm thrilled to be linking up with these lovely ladies for another installment of Bloggers Who Budget, featuring holiday styles!

The holiday look that I am bringing to the table was actually styled by Shelby of Shell B Cheri, a stylist out of D.C. who came to play in my closet one evening last month. She not only helped me see my wardrobe in a new light, but gave me some great ideas for particular pieces that I was having trouble with on my own. 

For example, this backless Zara frock was easy to style in the heat of the Summer, but I was sad to see it hanging so lonely in my closet during these cold Fall/Winter months.

But Shelby encouraged me to pair the very Summery dress with a sequin top for a totally festive look. Stay tuned for more of our styling session creations coming soon!
See below: my budget friendly picks for getting this look.
What is your go to holiday look?
Any unexpected pairings making their way into your outfits lately?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

weekend reading: 12.14.13

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you :: rock a cape (magic capabilities optional)

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.} 1 dress 2 ways (get inspired for that Christmas dress that you think is a one way wear only).

{2.} Thoughtful gifts that they won't know were last minute! 

{3.} My 11th 2013 budget post

{4.} Re-living my perfectly un-perfect engagement story

{5.} A November of outfits. 

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} Tips for a closet clean out  (Speaking of which, I am in the middle of one & you can shop my closet here)

{2.} A yummy drink (sure to warm you from within!)

{3.} 6 ways to love life.

{4.} How can you even pick a favorite?

{5.} My current blogger crush. I want to pin every image from her blog. so. good. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

the little things

To me, the smallest gifts can be the most meaningful. The tiny token that says, "I get you & thank you for being you".
Dainty earrings in her favorite color. A necklace that is as quirky & pretty as she is. This scarf that celebrates her love of art & the global artisans that create it.
Snag these last minute presents & score big with the tricky person on your Christmas List this year.

Earrings: Jojo Loves You has stunning, bling earrings in every color under the sun (seriously, & I love them a llllll). And the site is currently hosting a sale (12/13 - 12/15)
Blings: 3 pairs for $60 // Mini Blings: 3 pairs for $50 // Oval Blings: 3 pairs for $50 // Navette Blings: 3 pairs for $50 // Party Blings: 3 pairs for $60 // And you can Mix & Match...meaning the 3 pairs can be 3 different styles!

Necklace: Daisy Gem is offering you, my lovely readers, a special discount on this necklace ($8 off with code FROG8) or 15% off your entire order (code HERE15)

Scarf: Given Goods
Given Goods is your one stop shop for sourcing products that have a truly tangible impact on artisans' lives around the world, with every item purchased. They built the marketplace to sell high-quality & sought-afer products, but through their efforts, they are telling the stories of artisans. Check out this map to see how far your support of global artisans reaches.

All photos thanks to Zipporah Photography