Friday, January 31, 2014

Half United + a giveaway

{ What I Wore: J.Crew Factory blazer // Everlane "Ryan" tank (my obsession) // Old Navy scarf (love this one) // Chip & Pepper for Belk denim (now 50% off) // ShoeMint heels // Michael Kors purse // Half United necklace ℅ Jeweler's Wife // Ray Ban aviators }

all photos | Zipporah Photography

I'm excited to share another brand with you that is making gorgeous products & giving back - Half United. Today I'm proudly wearing the "Jude" fighting hunger necklace made of 3 recycled bullet casings. 
In fact, wearing any of the Half United products is a symbol of the ongoing fight against global hunger. Half United donates 1/2 of all profits to help children in need around the world. The bullet represents the fight against hunger, taking a "negative symbol & turning it into something positive, something that transforms lives & provides a hope for a better future".
And it's a pretty dang good looking necklace too, no?
And, Jeweler's Wife & Half United have joined forces to spread the love to you too today!
Enter to win your own mint Half United necklace.
(Everyone wins with Jeweler's Wife everyday free shipping + $10 off your first purchase of $30+ with code "JW1030") 
(update: this giveaway is only open to US readers)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

bundled & checked

This coat & I just celebrated our 8th anniversary together (sister can you confirm that?)
It is one of those holy grail finds, the type that will never happen again. My sister & I were shopping at our town's new Old Navy (it was HOT stuff in 2005) over Christmas Break, & I was depressed because the jacket that I wanted, the down puffer from J.Crew that was $300, hadn't appeared under the tree a few days prior. But after-Christmas-sale shopping fixes everything, so we were on the hunt for mood-buoying deals.

Stuffed between the other bajillion things on sale, was The Jacket. I hadn't seen any other like it in the store. It was just my size & a dead ringer for the exorbitantly priced J.Crew version. Oh & it was 18 bucks. (You never forget a deal that good).

This jacket carried me through snow ball fights in college, cold drives back home, a move to Tennessee, & now the Polar Vortex of 2014. It is the only coat that I can wash at home & the nylon fabric is a natural repeller of pug hair - so it's my go to & still looking as pretty as the day I brought it home. See, it's the unicorn of sale shopping!
{ What I Wore: Old Navy coat, jeans, ballet flats // J.Crew Factory blouse // Le Tote* sweater + jewels // Anthropologie sunglasses }
*I was gifted a Le Tote clothing subscription. See if you won the Le Tote giveaway, winners now announced.
Photos thanks to Shelby!

Have you ever had a unicorn sale find?

Shop my current favorites from Old Navy's outerwear selection:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

black & tan

Here she is, my new sidekick. Selma. Be prepared to see her. A LOT.
{ What I Wore: J.Crew sweater // Forever21 skirt // BCBG colorblock heels via TJ Maxx // Michael Kors "Selma" Purse & watch // Ray Ban sunglasses }
Photos thanks to Shelby!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

suit up

Well I never thought that the topic of "interview attire" would bubble up so many emotions in me… but boy oh boy it did! Trust me, I have already gotten most of my pant suit dislike out by venting to Tyler (poor dear)… but somehow I still have more to talk about:

1. Maybe I shouldn't have called the occasion I wore this outfit to an "informal interview" - I had been asked to tour the school, a place I am interested in working in the future, & meet with some of the teachers. It was a pre-pre-pre-interview. I felt very comfortable in what I was wearing, I mirrored what other teachers were wearing & in fact what the founder of the school, that I met with during my visit, was wearing. It was during this encounter that I was invited to be involved in a formal interview for a position next school year & also given an offer for some internship/shadowing opportunities over the coming months. But seriously y'all, my query for interview tips had nothing to do with what I was wearing in that post… 

2. Furthermore, it makes me feel icky that in this day & age (it's 2014 people) women still have to dress up like men (i.e. wear a suit) to prove that we are "powerful", "professional" & fit for a job. I didn't wear a suit to my graduate school interviews. In fact I wore a fabulous pair of wide leg trousers, cashmere blazer & silk shell, with my 4 inch heel patent leather pumps. I got accepted at every school I applied, with competitive scholarships, the highest they offered, to boot. I refuse to believe that what I wear on the outside will ever outshine what I am bringing to the table on the inside. Maybe that is naive, cocky, or just plain ignorant, but I have yet to run across an instance where I have ever felt "inappropriately" dressed.

3. But yea - I get it. There is a system in place, & sometimes my "screw The Man" attitude makes it hard for me to play by the rules…. however, I assure you I can. Since my feelings about pant suits are less than rainbows & sunshine, I do not own one. I tossed my last pair of black dress pants in the great purge last month - they were so outdated, a remnant from a high school internship (yuck!). 

So where do I find appropriate formal interview attire? Suit & Sweet is where. Perfectly tailored Theory suit separates, delivered to your door, ready to help you feel the extra boost of confidence to ROCK the interview. Yup, rental suits! All the style, but without dropping the big bucks for something you wear only a few times a year. Their expert styling tips will prepare you for what to expect, even if you've been out of the game for many years (like me!). I also love that the Suit & Sweet teams donates the gently used suits to disadvantaged women looking for their own meaningful career.
all photos | Zipporah Photography

I chose the cropped trouser pants, something a little different!
And while I do like full jacket + pants look, I'm thinking that I am going to go with the sheath dress + blazer look for my big day! 
So do you ever have to "suit up" for your job?
What are other things that you wear to feel "professional" besides a full suit?

When it all boils down to it, I believe, "look your best, perform your best". (Was I the only one that in college fixed my hair & changed out of my sweatpants before tests because I always totally brought it when I did?)

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Valentine's Tale

I saw the Winter's Tale trailer before Her on the big screen recently & it gave me chills! Literally, goose bumps on my arms. The sneak peek that I saw of the plot - a love story between Jessica Brown Findlay & Colin Farrell, with Russell Crowe being his badass self - got me so excited. These epic romances draw me in every time!
I can totally enjoy getting wrapped up in Hollywood's version of "love", but I'm happy to have my own love story, that couldn't be more different. Our love is a home cooked meal, a good board game battle, an afternoon walk with the pugs & reading in bed at night.

This Valentine's Day Ty & I will be shopping for each other's wedding bands as gifts, the ultimate token of our life-long love & devotion. And in my head I will be wearing this to the jewelry store:
heart stud earrings (every thing else listed below)

In this season of love, I have also been having so much fun pinning things that remind me of our love story! 

Be sure to check out Winter's Tale, in theaters everywhere on February 14th - girl date!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WB Winter's Tale through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about WB Winter's Tale, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Shopping: get & give for Valentine's Day

I'm one of those girls that is in love with love & has a particular penchant for the super cheesy & entirely made up holiday that is Valentine's Day. I can't help it! I've always embraced the celebration of cupid's arrow. Whether I was drinking box wine & loving on my girlfriends, or now that I've spent the past 4 Valentine's with my one & only. Crazy to think that this is our FIFTH! 

Pretty sure that I started sending Valentine's notes in kindergarten & haven't ever stopped. This year people will just be getting wedding invites… you know I'm counting it! But one of my favorite parts, picking out little notions of love for those that are close to me. 

They say (they being Carrie Bradshaw), "You've got to fall in love with yourself first"… so why not treat yo-self with a new pretty on 2/14? These are what's catching my eye… hint hint (seriously blogging makes gift giving way too easy for that man of mine!).
{1} graphic print Coach purse // {2} rose gold watch // {3} peridot studs (I love birthstone jewelry!) // {4} Kate Spade clock // {5} Bobbi Brown fragrance

As far as gift giving for the man in your life, give him a practical little luxury. Something that he uses daily & will bring a smile to his face every time!

And for the lady in your life, shower her with pretty baubles, glitter & glitz! Did anyone else have those message bracelets growing up? I'm totally ok with the fact that they are back in full force… now just to find where I put mine 10 years ago!

Find everything for yourself, him & her on Belk's Valentine's shopping guide.

This post was sponsored through a collaboration with Belk, but all reviews & opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make this blog possible!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

weekend reading: 01.25.14

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you :: bust out your sneakers!

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.}  $500 Shopping Spree Giveaway!

{2.} My favorite budget friendly skirt, 2 ways.

{3.} A new series: conscious consumerism.

{4.} Reflections on my personal style growth.

{5.} I have been getting so much inspiration from Pinterest these days… do you follow?

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} 10 tips for a productive life (finding these helpful to tackle my wedding planning!)

{2.} Utilizing your blog gifts (& yes, I will probably post this series every week - it's so good!) 

{3.} Dreaming of warmer days to wear this.

{4.} Crushing on these tees & sweatshirts.

{5.} Counting down until SJP's shoe line launches!

Friday, January 24, 2014

with a twist

I think the best description I have come up with to describe my personal style would have to be, "classic with a twist".
{ What I Wore: J.Crew schoolboy blazer (save // splurge) // H&M dress // ShoeMint loafers // enamel necklace ℅ DaisyGem // chain bracelet ℅ Shop Jami // Yuni Kelley pave link bracelet }

all photos | Zipporah Photography
What is yours?

Also, don't forget to enter to win a $500 shopping spree {here}.
And for extra credit, you can read my reflections on the style lessons I learned in 2013. I followed the "style assignment" for setting wardrobe goals as posted on Into Mind.

{1}  On a scale of one to ten, how happy were you on average with your style & your wardrobe in 2013? Seven

{2}  What was the biggest style- & wardrobe-related improvement you made in 2013? Focusing on a budget, thinking critically about everything that I brought home.

{3}  What aspect of wardrobe building & refining your style do you enjoy the most & why? Shopping… it is a challenge to find pieces that not only fit my style, but also my budget. And the challenge is fun!

{4}  How well do your outfits express your own unique personal style? What factor(s) are preventing you from dressing 100% according to your style? Money, confidence or an undefined style concept? 70% of the time - with the hurdle being an undefined style concept… although, I am getting closer & closer all the time!

{5}  If you had to sum up your look of 2013 in one outfit, what would it be? 
skinny jeans + oversized sweater + hat (aka this).

{6}  What is your main motivation for wanting to refine your personal style? 
I want a focused personal style that gives me the confidence to take on anything!

{7}  How happy are you with your overall shopping strategy? Does your budget tend to get eaten up by impulse buys & bargains? What is your spending philosophy for 2014? 
I am happy with my progress in budgeting. This year's motto is quality over quantity.

{8}  To what extent do you rely on make up and clothes to give you confidence? Is a lack of confidence preventing you from fully expressing your style concept or trying out new things? The right clothes do give me confidence, but it is more a problem of too many options that cause me to fail at properly expressing my style.

{9}  On a scale of one to ten, how expressive, coherent & defined is your style concept? 
Six, still oscillating between preppy, boho, & minimalistic edge (at least that's what I pretend my outfits are in my head…)

{10}  On a scale of one to ten, how well-structured, versatile & functional is your wardrobe? 
Eight - need to cut out the fat!

{1} Write a short review of your style and the progress you made in 2013. How did your style, lifestyle and aesthetic preferences evolve? In 2013 I started to really look at my clothes as an extension of myself, how I wanted the world to perceive me. I realized that while it is easy for me to wear oversized, shapeless pieces, I feel more "me" with a little structure!

{2} Write about your style & wardrobe plans for 2014. Which aspects about your style & your wardrobe do you want to improve, why & how? In 2014 I want to streamline my personal style, accentuating what I truly love & removing the things I only "like". Fewer, better things.

{3} Express your five most important goals in a short, motivating sentence.
I want to build a foundation of basic pieces (1) that takes me from work to play (2), with minimal items (3), & maximal quality (4), while sticking to a budget that reflects my current life situation (5).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

love more

I present you the 3rd & final story for the kickoff of a new "conscious consumerism" thread on the blog. And today it's all about the shoes. (I mean, it's always all about the shoes, but today's shoes rock a little more than usual!)
My friend from High School (AP Bio Lab partner - what what), Patrick Woodyard, co-founded Nisolo Shoes, a social enterprise that is committed to giving Peruvian leather workers a fair & honest wage for their beautiful work.

Seeing & hearing the story of Nisolo unfold in front of me over the years since we graduated college has been a great joy. I was thrilled that the Nisolo team decided to root themselves in Nashville, they not only have one rocking showroom (you have to check it out if in town), but they are also such a strong voice for socially conscious consumerism, one that hasn't always been so prevalent in the South. (you can read about why they chose Nashville for their Headquarters here).
{ What I Wore: headphones ℅ Dillard's Green Hills // Forever21 vest (similar 1 // 2 // 3) // Lands End Canvas sequin skirt (sold out, love this one!) // J.Crew chambray shirt // Nisolo "Oliver" oxfords (borrowed) // fashionABLE leather clutch (borrowed) // Fringe & Lace necklace, not yet released }

all photos | Zipporah Photography
While working for a microfinance organization in Peru, Patrick & his business partners witnessed first hand skilled artisans living amongst poverty, despite their fine talents. A seed was planted, & in what would become Nisolo, the team knew that they had to find a way to get these beautiful products to market. Nisolo provides the "vehicle of opportunity" for these leather artisans & aims to inspire others to do the same around the world (read their whole story here).
"Nisolo" means "not alone" in Spanish & I love how well this truly encompasses the "conscious consumerism" movement. We are not alone on this planet, we all have skills that can be used to benefit others. We have the means to look out from ourselves, & to the rest of the world. 
We are not alone in the world. And I hope this "conscious consumerism" series will at least make you think a little more about your purchases, open your eyes to the fact that sometimes a slower pace, a more expensive product, is a better choice. For each of us to continually be conscious of our great privilege. Let us use that privilege for positive change.
And because I love this so much, I must quote from the Nisolo website:
"Our goal is for the quality, style, & comfort of our products to reflect the talent that exists among producers in the developing world, thus showcasing their ability to newer, much larger markets in the developed world. We live in a time period where there are more & more brands emerging everyday that enable us to make a very positive impact on the world without having to sacrifice our usual desires as consumers. Why then, would we ever choose to support a brand with mass produced products that primarily benefit only those at the very top of the production pyramid? If you can still get what you want, why would you not choose to support brands that are making a difference in the world?"
And seriously, Nisolo makes some gorgeous products! Be sure to check out the Nisolo video relsease… it's a beaut! 

Please consider the origin of your products & how they are made!

And one more gigantic hug to the people that made this shoot possible: Jordan Duncan, stylist // Zipporah Photography // Natalie Sawyer, Fringe & Lace // the fashionABLE team // Kate & the entire Nisolo team.