Thursday, January 31, 2013

1/12 of 2013 in the bag

For 2013 I am budgeting my clothing allowance based on the entire year. Sound crazy? Read more about it { here }

I have to admit that after telling the entire WORLD how much I was going to spend on clothes & inviting everyone to watch as I crash & burn learn how to budget I was more tentative than usual with my shopping this month.

Man those after-Christmas sales sang to me like the Sirens on the Shore making me want to BUY. IT. ALL! But I think I did a pretty good job keeping my wits about me & picked up some great versatile items for my closet.

Best closet staple purchase : a cotton J.Crew Factory Day Dress (actually identical to the one I dreamed of buying here, but for 1/4 of the price! cha-ching)

Purchase I want to wear every single day : J.Crew striped sequin top (current only in limited sizes, but also drooling over this one)

So what came home with me in January?
1. J.Crew sequin striped top (worn here): originally $128.00, on sale for 30% off 44.99 = final price of $31.49
2. J.Crew silk blythe blouse (worn here): originally $110, on sale for 30% off $59.99 = final price of $41.99
3. Boutique Onze striped dress $49.99 (worn here) & 4. zodiac necklace $16.99 (worn here)
 (used $50 Boutique Onze giftcard won from Adventures in Fashion) = $16.98 spent

J.Crew Factory Sale (at one point I think I had everything in my shopping cart): 
5. anytime dress was $148, on sale for 30% off $69.99 = $48.99  
6. sequin tank was $59.50, on sale for 30% off $14. 99 = $10.49 (worn here)

7. Won Maddy Nash clutch voucher giveaway from M.A.S. Fashion, retail value $65.00

January total: 7 items purchased/bought with gift cards
  Retail value = $577.48
  Amount spent = $149.94 (represents 75% off retail!)

- January purchases  $149.94
Remaining = $2,850.06

What did you pick up for you closet in January?
Did you stick to your budget? Or totally blow it?
You can tell me, we are all friends here!

I am linking up with Franish for our monthly shopaholics anonymous meeting (AKD budgeting bloggers round-up). See more frugal fashionistas dish their January budget breakdown { here }

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

take me out tonight

{ What I Wore: Lendperk BB Dakota lace dress c/o // J.Crew leopard belt // Banana Republic trench // Steve Madden pumps }
{Get the look}
lace dress {exact one, rent from $34/month} + leopard belt {$10.50} + classic trench {$79.99} + nude pumps {$43.95}
I LOVE a dress that is so fun it deserves having a special occasion made up for it!
This dress? This dress needs a night out with the girls for tapas at that cute little bistro you have been dying to try, girlie cocktails (you know the kinds with way too much fruit!), then a show at a hip new venue in town to get your dance on!
Are you a girl (like me) who picks up darling dresses, wears them out once, then lets them hang, all alone in your closet wishing they could go out on the town? I can't help it, I am just a one-time dress wearer, try as I might! (I am working on it!)
When Star contacted me about her new venture, Lendperk, I was hooked on her "Netflix for dresses" service. 
With a Lendperk rental service you can rent unlimited dresses (from ASOS, Anthropologie, Modcloth & more), and never have dress boredom again!
Have you ever rented clothing?
Heard of Lendperk yet? If not, check it out & meet your new favorite personal dress closet!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Live Simply : Project PURGE

My New Year's Resolution was to "LIVE SIMPLY"... simply put: less stuff, less worry, more appreciation, more creativity

To start the year off to a clean start, I decided to get rid of 100 things in January!
As daunting as this seemed at the start of the month, I easily completed my goal & if I am honest with myself, I could easily do it again!
{ via }
I donated un-loved books. Passed down clothes to my family & friends. Tossed out stacks of magazines. Sorted through all the stuff that had been weighing me down.
{ via }
Is living simple on your agenda for 2013?
Are you looking to clear out the clutter from your life too?

Here are some PURGING tips I picked up this month:

- Do 1 round of BRUTAL purging & pick a collection place (I had one of those giant blue Ikea bags for mine)
Ask yourself: have you used it in the past 6 months? Is it clean & prominently displayed? Do you love it?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, put it in your collection zone, be brutal

- Over the next two weeks (give yourself a set time period), if you miss any of the items, pull them back out of the collection zone & enjoy your rediscovered item

- Anything that is left in the collection zone, figure out what is the best resting place for it (i.e. trash, donate, sale it on Poshmark, given away to a family/friend) & then act on it. DO IT THEN. Don't wait, or else those things will slowly find their place back into your home (no bueno!)

- Bonus round : now that you have started to get rid of the junk, you will be able to see what you have, what you need & what is just bringing. you. down. Use the joy you have from rediscovering some of your long-lost possessions to keep them clutter free!

- Make a rule for bringing in future stuff. Maybe institute a 1-in-1-out rule, or only buy things that you LOVE, that you will USE, & that will add VALUE to your life.

{ via }

Let's all stop accumulating stuff & start curating a life of simplicity!

What is the junk bringing you down right now?
That dark hole corner of your closet you have been meaning to clear out?
The stack of books you know you should pass on?
The desk top that you can no longer see?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hey there Red

I have been wanting to take the plunge for forever, but always chickened out at the last minute.
My dream? To be a red head!
I went from having virgin, un-dyed hair to a new shade of dark red, & it only took 3 hours in the salon!
This is the first step to my eventual dream red-shade. As my hair had never seen dye before, it will take a few more visits before I get all the color & dimensions I dream of, but I am already in love with this new look!
*the true to life color is hard to capture, I am still looking for the best light in which to photograph my new essence
So this first time hair dye-er is looking for your tips... 
How do you keep your shade looking fresh?
Any particular shampoos, products I need for my newly red hair?

What I am most surprised about so far, how different all my lipsticks look now!

P.S. For any of you Nashville ladies, Rachel at Fruition Salon is my girl, & she is amazing!
When I first started going to her, she had the most gorgeous red hair, so I knew she was the one for me!

**Update: Just realized that I get to cross this off my "30 Before 30" list #25!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

weekend reading: 01.26.13

Why don't you : inject some neon into your Winter look
left image // right image
1. Are you having FOMO from all those #AltSumit tweets & Instagram snaps too? Victoria shared some blogging advice that will surely clear your FOMO symptoms right up!

2. Taylor announced the IFBConference speaker line-up. Who would you be most excited to see?

3. I shared my review of the new Canon 50mm f/1.4lens that came home to live with me, but many of you had questions about other lens options. Kelli shared her 50mm f/1.8 review here, and I found this AMAZE round up of camera+lens options for every budget here.

4. Today I am doing something I have NEVER done before… here’s a hint!

5. I finally figured out how to add my blog URL to my Pinterest page… should I post a tutorial, or am I the last blogger on the planet to figure this out?

6. Don't forget to enter the MsDressy.com giveaway for a $80 gift card here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Be Mine

1 // 2 // 3
4 // 5 // 6
7 // 8 // 9
Ok, I'll be the first to admit it, I take any excuse to purchase & send fabulous paper goods, but Valentine's Day certainly has to be my favorite cute-paper-good fueling holiday!

Whether you are throwing a Valentine's soiree, a night out for GAL-entine's day, or snuggling up with your main squeeze there are so many ways you can spread your love by the post - certainly a long ways from my glitter+doily note making days back in middle school!

I personally have my eye on those adorable Rifle Paper Co. postcards!

infinity X infinity

{ What I Wore: J.Crew schoolboy blazer & Blythe blouse // J.Crew Factory sequin tank // ModCloth mint jeans // boutique shoes // Helzberg Infinity X Infinity collection diamond necklace }
{ Get the Look }
J.Crew Factory blazer {$98.00} + blouse {splurge $74.50 // steal $19.80} + J.Crew Factory sequin tank {$39.50, other option on sale for $14.99} + mint jeans {$22.99} + infinity necklace
As much as I love my statement necklaces, I have been seriously gravitating towards small charms, & dainty but sparkly pendants lately. When I learned about the new Infinity X Infinity collection from Helzberg Diamonds I couldn't wait to style up one of their stunning intertwined infinity pieces & share all the details with you ladies! Seriously, how darling is this fabulous necklace, with the glitziest diamond right in the middle!
I adore the sentiment behind the notion that love that lasts for Infinity X Infinity, & these gorgeous pieces are just the way to celebrate that everlasting bond.
Have you ladies started dropping hints about what you hope Cupid brings you for Valentine's Day?
What's your favorite token of love - flowers, chocolates, jewelry, foot massages?
Maybe you should add Helzberg diamonds to your wish list!
Find more dazzling sparkes from Helzberg on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter

Thursday, January 24, 2013

stripes on the town

{ What I Wore: Boutique Onze dress // Plato's closet jacket // Charlotte Russe booties }
{ Get the Look }
stripe dress {$69.99} + moto jacket {$60.00} + pink scarf {$15.99} + black booties {$38.50, buy one get one for $15.50!}
The pieces that I love adding to my wardrobe are those that I can imagine styling in a million ways from day time errands to evenings out on the town. This stripe dress was a score from Boutique Onze using a giveaway gift card won from Adventures in Fashion, & when it arrived I immediately conjured up at least 10 outfits that I can't wait to share with you - this particular rendition is called "chic errand Saturday". 
What is your go-to styling foundation piece?

Enter the Here&Now MsDressy.com $80 gift card giveaway { here

P.S. I am linking up with the Tiny Heart Blog for her "Look What I Got" Feature { here } & Long Distance Loving for Friday's Fancies { here }

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MsDressy Giveaway {closed}

Thank you for your support yesterday, I really want to grow this blog to be a wonderful little corner of the internet, & I couldn't do it without YOU!
Today I have a fabulous giveaway from a Here&Now sponsor: MsDressy!
I LOVE the MsDressy frock that I wore for NYE, & can't wait to share this great store with you too!

Follow the 3 simple rules (all mandatory for 1 entry) below & you'll have the chance to win an $80 MsDressy voucher! Valentine's Dress anyone!?

Ready? Go!

1. Create an account at MsDressy { here }

2. Like MsDressy on Facebook

3. Leave a comment here with the email you registered in MsDressy (so we can contact the winner!)

**I will choose the winners via random.org. The giveaway closes in two weeks!
Winner announced Wednesday February 6th

MsDressy was so generous and gave me not one, but FOUR gift vouchers to pass out to you lovely readers!
The top winner is Vanessa S
But Melissa S., Theresa J., and Edita K. will also be getting some MsDressy love too!
(all winners were selected by random.org, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another winner is chosen)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

hey girl,

In the spirit of “keeping it real”, I wanted to share something with you – I am looking into selling/placing ads on my blog. I have up until this point accepted button swaps, & had Passionfruit ad options available, but I haven’t actively pursued bringing in advertisements to this little corner of the internet. This was a conscious choice on my part because I felt as if I was just getting to know you, as you were just meeting me, & I didn’t want some big, flashy banner ads in the sidebar to interrupt our first date. But now that we know each other a little better, I want to continue to grow, & bring you new/exciting content, & that means there might be a new ad or two popping up in various places.
We are on this road together! {via
I will never dilute my content just to cater to an ad client, & I want your feedback (the good, the bad, the ugly, just try to be constructive) as these changes roll out. Please do not up & leave me without letting me know what the issues are & giving me a chance to make this a happy place for everyone.

Blogging is not my full time job (not even part time, or other wise either), but actually just my hobby that I am crazy passionate about. It is my only hope that these small changes will help Here&Now continue to be a place you enjoy visiting (everyday, once a week, when you get a chance), hopefully the only differences you will notice are more fun giveaways, exiting new product features, clever campaign announcements, & the like.
Join me on this fun adventure! {via
How can you get involved? 
- In the spirit of change, what would YOU like to see on Here&Now? Weekly series? More/less outfits? Splurge/Steal shopping posts? More of Doug the Pug’s mug (let’s be honest, who doesn’t!?) 
- Do you post ads on your site? What have you found to be the best way? 
- Let’s grow our blogs together! Purchase a “Top Dog” Passionfruit ad & you will get your own shout-out post/giveaway opportunity (this will rock, I swear!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

cabin fever

I hope you aren't burnt out from sales yet, because I have a doozy to share with you : the ModCloth Cabin Fever Sale!

Most of the current sales are cast off clothes that nobody wanted for Christmas, but ModCloth has saved the best to cure your mid-Winter blues.

Clothes you are going to want to wear NOW & on into Spring - party dresses (don't forget that Valentine's Day is coming up!), chic coats, fun sparkly skirts, & cozy sweaters

& it's now up to 70% off! But hurry FAST because styles are seriously limited!

Dresses to wear this Spring 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
Sweet sweaters & tops 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
Party skirts & dresses 1 (down from $104 to $31.99!!) // 2 // 3 // 4 

into the blur

Drumroll please.... these are the first outfit photos that have been taken with my new camera!
See that background blur in the first photo, oh yea buddy! 
I. Feel. So. Cool.
I literally have ZERO bad things to say about the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lens - sure, I have MUCH left to learn about this new addition, but so far it has generated photos that look way better than my current skill level should be able to create. 

I think some of you might be considering this lens purchase for yourself, so I am just going to talk about it a little bit (I do NOT know all the appropriate photography words for the things I am about to discuss, if you know, or have any additional info, please share it in the comments, let's chat!)

This little f/1.4 lens is substantial! Made of metal, even though it is more squat than my 18-55 mm lens (f/3.5-5.6), it has much more heft, you can definitely feel the difference in your hands. 

There is no "zoom" capability - only your feet. With the 18-55 mm lens you can twist the lens to "zoom", but the 50 mm f/1.4 does not do this. I also feel as if I have to stand further back from my subject when using the 50 mm f/1.4 lens. 

Can we talk about bokeh for a second? Bokeh, or background blur, was something that my first 18-55 mm lens couldn't do, and was the main reason I desperately wanted to upgrade my lens. You see, I can't convince my neighbors to all wheel their trashcans out of the alley when I want to take pictures, so the next best thing is to blur them out. There is a fine balance of background blur and maintaining focus on the main focal point (one thing I am still working on), and these pictures were taken with a f-stop around f/2.0.

Light - the f/1.4 aperture lets in so much more light, so bright & crisp photos are possible even at low light, & all my photos have a more "true to life" look.

Ok, those are the 4 things I can think of right now. If you are looking to get this lens for yourself & have any additional questions, let me know and I will do my best to help you out in the comments!
{ What I Wore: ASOS leopard jacket // Forever21 striped tee // Cole Haan cross body purse // COH boyfriend jeans // Steve Madden pumps // Bobbi Brown creamy matte lippy in True Pink }

{ Get the Look }
leopard jacket {$55.00, exact one} + stripe tee {$14.80} + boyfriend jeans {$69.95} + nude pumps {$24.80} + gold cross body purse {$24.80, so cute with scallops!}
My new "Leo" necklace from Boutique Onze
What type of camera do you use?
What's your best outfit photo taking tip?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my $50 J.Crew giftcard giveaway { here } & the Because Shanna Said So group giveaway (for a prize package worth $200+!!!) { here }

Friday, January 18, 2013

my mountain style

Good morning! I want to extend a BIG ol' sloppy kiss to all my readers - new & old. I have LOVED seeing so many new members join the Here&Now flock, & can't wait to check out all of your sites this weekend to make some new bloggy friends!

Ok, enough mush, I just wanted to tell you ladies that you know juuuust how to plaster a huge, goofy grin on this girl's face!

Over the New Year's holiday, I headed out to the woods of East Tennessee to ring in 2013 with 17 of my closest friends in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

I of course brought my sparkly kiss-me-at-midnight dress, but most of my suitcase was stuffed with comfy clothes 
(after all, beer pong doesn't have a dress code)
My mountain style? Comfy + Cute - think mixed plaids (stollen from my man friend), fur lined everything, cardigans that double as blankets, & of course my beloved Hunter wellies
{ open cardigan // Hunter wellies // plaid scarf // Old Navy lounge pants // trapper hat // ModCloth heart handwarmer //Old Navy buffalo plaid jacket (stolen from the boys) // fur lined mittens // a good read: The Paris Wife }
The dark horse in my comfy style - the J.Crew Saturday pants. I purchased these at the end of November during one of J.Crew's never-ending sales, thinking they would be cheap PJs... but after putting on these lounge-chic knit pants for the first time I knew that these were much MORE than just PJ pants... they were my DREAM all-around weekend pants - movie pants, brunch pants, running errands in comfort pants. 

Unfortunately they are currently sold out, but the Old Navy ones in the collage above look very similar, & I also have my eye on another pair of legging-sweatpants (that's what I'm calling them) in a cute pattern { dotted option // strawberry print <-- sounds cray, but it's cute! }

And when J.Crew brings back these magical pants, I am definitely scooping up a second pair! (that good!)
This is why they are called the "Smoky" Mountains... baby clouds being born!
The J.Crew Saturday pants in action - Doug the Pug agrees they are comfy TOO!
What's your "comfy" style?
Any fellow J.Crew Saturday pant lovers out there? 
Can a get a holler for the fabulousness that are Hunter wellies!?

Have a great weekend y'all!  {My weekend motto here}
Don't forget to enter my $50 J.Crew giftcard giveaway { here }

P.S. This post is featured on DailyBuzz Style's Mountain Style round-up. See more cozy outfit inspiration { here }

Thursday, January 17, 2013

on the floor (& a giveaway)

The "Winter Maxi Skirt" is a rare bird that I have been planning to catch ever since seeing its fierceness on Sydney (of The Daybook fame, le duh)... & I have finally made it mine
{ What I Wore: J.Crew turtleneck, leopard belt, snood & maxi skirt // Seams to Be (Etsy Shop) hat {won in a giveaway} // Charlotte Russe booties // Michael Kors Watch }
{ Get the Look }
knit beanie {$28.00, exact one!} + handmade snood {$48, from Etsy} + turtleneck sweater {$29.99, exact one} + leopard belt  {$49.50, exact one, now 30% off} + maxi skirt {$29.99} + booties {buy one, get one for $15.50 from Charlotte Russe}
Can we talk about the thick tights I am hiding under this swath of fabric... heavenly warmth!
While this outfit proves to me that maxi skirts do indeed work for Winter (yay extra layers!), it also reminds me that given my crazy shed-a-licious tan dog, I should never leave the house wearing un-lint rolled black tops ever again. (sorrrrry guys!)

Because I had so much fun the first time (& to apologize for my Doug-fur covered sweater) I am over on Because Shanna Said So giving away another $50 J.Crew giftcard! Woot!

You can enter here or there, just enter!

Haven't gotten your fill of giveaway goodies yet!? 
Check out the SUPER FAB group giveaway I am participating in here {with a PRIZE package of $200+!!!}

P.S. Today I am linking up with Long Distance Loving's Friday Fancies. See more outfit crushes { here }

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

feathering my nest

In October, I shared that I moved in with the boyfriend over the summer, but have been silent about that subject since. Well, here is a little more on the matter.
As we are both graduate students, stuck in the time continuum that is this period between college & real life, we are living in "transition". Meaning that we won't live here for forever, & our "cozy" 975 sq. foot apartment isn't our dream place by any stretch of the word. Buuuut, I can't resist my urges to nest for much longer... 

When we first moved in, I styled up mini vignettes that made me happy (I talked about these "sweet spots" over on my friend Tiff's blog { here }), & those placated me for a while...

However, I am still on a mission to add pieces we I LOVE that fit in with what we have now (AKA hand-me-down, college era left-overs) & will mesh with the furniture we add over the coming years (I swear this is the last time I will move this bedraggled college furniture to a new place!)

Turns out my home design process is a lot like my wardrobe building plan...

So what is our my style? The boyfriend isn't that particular (just NO pink), & I am still on the journey to figure that out, but I am attracted to clean, minimalistic design. I blame my first sheepskin pelt from Ikea for my LOVE of all things white, fluffy & Scandanavian.

We have a pretty good base of sleek white surfaces - block storage, side tables, coffee table, book shelf, mod plastic chairs - so for now I am looking to incorporate some items with a little more personality.... because nothing else says this is MY house like a cow hide rug, amiright?
{ 1 chic tulip table // 2 decanters to gussy up my bar cart // 3 fancy pouf for my feets // 4 white fluffy pillows make my heart happy // 5 I can't sleep without a fan, & my current dust-bunny could use an upgrade // 6 two words: cow. hide. (I plan to pick one of these bad boys up at my local flea market come Spring) // 7 plants I can't kill: prints of succulents // 8 purty shag rug // 9 why sit when you ran rock? // 10 Nashville subway art, we got no subway, but we have art }

What do you call your home design aesthetic?

Classic Prep? Girlie Boho? Scandanavian Sleek? College-Chic?

Next home purchase on your radar? Any other cow hide rug lovers out there? (holla!)

P.S. Looking to see more of this gal's burgeoning home design love, check out my Pinterest boards for home, living room, bedroom & more

*Update: This post is now featured on DailyBuzz Style. Check out the other "cozy home" posts { here }

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Midi-Winter Blues (& a giveaway)

Admission - I don't have a "seasonal" wardrobe. All of my clothes hang in my closet year-round. My 975 sq. foot apartment doesn't afford me the luxury of any storage space to pack away out of season styles, so my tank tops & down coats live together in harmony 365 days a year.
{ What I Wore: UO plaid top // Oasap midi skirt // J.Crew belt }
{ Get the Look }
plaid shirt {$19.90} + pleated midi skirt {$35.00, exact one} + brown belt {$4.80} + riding boots {$39.80}
For me this is a good thing, because it makes me be more intentional about my purchases to make sure they fit into my "year-round" wardrobe style (**granted, I live in the South, & Winters here are typically mild, so mate it is easier for me). 

Tank tops have to be layerable & skirts have to be flexible enough for humid Summer days & chilly Winter nights (see how I wore this skirt in the Summer here)

My best skirt outfit maximization: thick tights & knee high boots. By minimizing the amount of skin exposed, your favorite warm weather skirts will be your cold weather saviors (I know I'm not the only one little worn down by the sweater + skinny jeans Winter routine with months to go until Spring rears her dainty head)
** my favorite Winter tights are the Spanx Reversible Tights (brown on one side, black on the other... genius!)
And guess what is WAY better than Winter-time skirts? 
A SUPER GROUP GIVEAWAY hosted by the fabulous Because Shanna Said So.
You want to get in on this, 14 glorious prizes (a $200+ value!) - WINNER TAKES ALL! 
(I am throwing in a Bauble Bar necklace, others have generously offered up giftcards galore, & wonderful ad space to grow your blog!)
(Yep, I'm officially jealous that I can't enter myself!)