Monday, March 31, 2014

the damage: March 2014

I didn't shop much in January, & not at all in February, for reasons that included wedding costs, leaving grad school, having a case of style paralysis & taking time to really figure out what I would need for my new day job as a middle school teacher. I haven't put together a shopping budget as I am in this transition period & know that things will change once I start getting my teacher paycheck & Tyler & I have a serious talk about combining our finances once we are Mr. & Mrs. (in just a few short weeks!!!) So I am still operating by my ~$250/month allowance, & focusing on items that work equally well for work & the rest of my life (ok the leopard booties are just down right ridiculous for any setting, but I love them & scored them for cheap on eBay!) Next up on my shopping wish list - the perfect dress pants, I am going to suck it up & go try on every option at the mall!

In March, I stayed right at my budget & brought home:
{1.} J.Crew Factory tie neck dress - my new favorite for work or play! purchased on sale for $41.65

{2.} J.Crew Factory polka dot blouse (runs super big, I had to switch out the S I ordered for an XXS!) purchased on sale for $45.45 

{3.} Pour la Victoire purse via Nordstrom Rack originally $338, Rack price $119 (received a $100 gift card from Nordstrom Rack)

I also ordered this pair of booties to test out. You can see the two pairs side-by-side in this Insta. I ended up keeping the ones I did because the heel was about a quarter of an inch higher & the leather was softer. Oh & I got them for only $59.95 using a $10 DSW rewards card (got it when I signed up!). If you are in the market for a pair of your own, I've also heard really great reviews about this pair

{5.} J.Crew grey merino tunic sweater - I want it in every color so I can wear it everyday! purchased during a 25% off promotion for $66

{6.} ShoeMint grey heels - adding to my rainbow of classic pointed toe pumps. Retails for $79.98 but I took advantage of a $40 off promotion combined with $29.99 of Mint credit, thereby only spending $9.99!

{7}. Coach bleecker bag - now on sale! (gifted by my local Dillard's)

{8.} ShoeMint Jolly leopard wedges, via eBay $12.99 - I have been wanting these for ages & finally got around to tracking them down on eBay! If you are between sizes, round up!

This month I was also gifted a fun gold foil heart tee from Style Lately, this gorgeous emerald necklace from Accessory Concierge & the 501 shorts from Levi's that I am going to wear the heck out of this Summer! 

Any great purchases for you in March? Anyone else working on figuring out a clothing budget?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

weekend reading: 03.29.14

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you :: get graphic // loving these beach printed items!

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.} Gray is the new black… added a Spring bag to my wardrobe. 

{2.} Playing dress up in edgy pieces with Le Tote. 

{3.} How to dress for cooler temps in Spring. 

{4.} Getting the most bang for my buck… a shopping treasure hunt

{5.} My new hobby.

*Nashville ladies, thank you to everyone who came out to the Dillard's Handbag event on Thursday! If the rain kept you in, don't worry, the trade-in promotion (up to $50 off your new bag) is going through next week at the Green Hills Mall!

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} Dreaming of the jet set life after checking out this list of the best carryon bags

{2.} Nashville City Guide: I love seeing Nashville through the eyes of other people

{3.} Are you doing your dream job?

{4.} Quality for a bargain? No way, right? 

{5.} Outfit crush.  

Friday, March 28, 2014


{ What I Wore to teach: J.Crew sweater (similar) // dress ℅ Muse Apparel // shoes ℅ Sole Society (see similar below) // sunglasses ℅ Silvano // Pour La Victoire purse via Nordstrom Rack* }
*purchased with a gift card from Nordstrom Rack

all photos | Zipporah Photography
Shopping for me is a treasure hunt. I do not have the budget nor the closet space to bring home everything I "like". The items that come home with me have to be serious LOVE status.
I had the great pleasure of attending the Nordstrom Rack Market Street store Grand Opening while in San Francisco & it was the ultimate treasure hunt! So many designer labels, dreamy Spring pieces & budget friendly finds! It was hard, but I kept my eyes on the prize, looking for a high quality cross-body bag. Pour La Victoire has been on my radar for a while (#wishlist) & I was pleasantly surprised to find a great selection of their bags at the Rack! 
I had hit the jackpot: classic black, more pockets than I could handle & in soft leather with high quality finishing details. Best part, this bag was originally $325, but the Rack price was $119 - a 60%+ savings! This highly versatile, & budget friendly item was a no-brainer purchase, filling a hole in my closet that will be a go-to bag for YEARS to come. Certainly a piece with a cost per wear of pennies!
My shopping confession: it only looks expensive! #ShopGenius #Frugalista
Have you had a shopping treasure hunt score at Nordstrom Rack? Share your shopping confessions & shopping treasures found at Nordstrom Rack on Instagram using the hashtag #ShopGenius. The best submissions may be featured on Nordstrom Rack’s Instagram account & if you tag me, I will be regramming my favorites as well! Follow along with Nordstrom Rack on Instagram for all the juicy shopping confessions in the months to come.

What is your best shopping secret? Any shopping confessions to share??

Thursday, March 27, 2014

new hobby: calligraphy

via }
I don't know if you have noticed (sarcasm), but calligraphy is having a moment! We have a wonderful business here in Nashville called The Skillery that provides educational classes for adults - anything from photography, sewing, blogging, social media, & apparently calligraphy too! I've been attending Skillery classes since their very first one & am a huge fan. So far I have taken classes on book binding, using my DSLR on manual, sewing 101, & silk screen printing. They always have classes that reflect the current trends in hobbies, so it was no surprise that their first calligraphy workshop sold out ASAP. I got myself on the notification list for the next class, & signed up the instant more spots became available. 

I've always had this notion in my head that calligraphy was HARD & I showed up ready for the instructor to unlock the hidden secrets of this lost art. The class was led by Meredith Bullock & not only did she make it LOOK easy, it actually WAS easy!
{ via }

We learned the set up of the fancy looking pens, the tricks to selecting a good ink & got started tracing the gorgeous font that Meredith created. I was also blown away by the affordability of the starting materials. For $10 I was set up with a nib, pen, ink, & tracing paper. The secret to calligraphy? Finding a font that you love & practicing, practicing, PRACTICING!

{ via }
So, now I find myself pulling out my tracing paper & font during free time… might have even completed some minor calligraphy projects for the wedding too!

Maybe you don't have a resource like The Skillery in your town… no worries, the internet to your rescue! L H Calligraphy not only offers custom wedding invite calligraphy, she also has in person & online classes to get you started on your new favorite hobby! And that was just 5 seconds of Googling around.

I was just so excited about my new hobby that I had to share! Have you found a new skill lately? Any other newbie calligraphers out there??

P.S. Nashvillians: come hang out with me tonight at the Green Hills Mall Dillard's Handbag Trade-in Event. I will be in the accessory department from 5 - 9 pm talking about Spring trends & helping you pick out your next handbag! Find out all the details here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

le freezing

{ What I Wore: French Connection sweater via Le Tote* // J.Crew Factory polka dot blouse (now on sale!) // jeans ℅ Hart Denim // Old Navy booties (only $30!) // sunglasses ℅ Silvano Apparel }
*Le Tote provided me with a complimentary subscription, but their service is one that I truly support & would 100% pay my own money for!

Interested in signing up for LeTote, use my referral link to get special discounts off your first month (I get a credit too).
When Le Tote included this sweater in my subscription box at the end of March, I was a little confused. And then it snowed yesterday & I was thanking the awesome Le Tote stylists for keeping me cozy & cute! Just look at that fun high-low hem!

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed an uptick in my tweets about Candy Crush, the pugs & weather… which can only mean: I'm on Spring Break! While I have only been teaching for 2 months & totally feel like a cheater for getting this indulgent time off… I am taking advantage because the next couple of months are going to be non-stop (wedding, travel, training for my teaching licensure). 
Monday I was up & early, crossing the items off my to do that I had been procrastinating for months: pugs to the vet, car to the oil place, my face to the brow wax lady. Yesterday I braved the snow (!!!) to the recycling place, mall for some returns & post office. Today I plan on staying in bed & making some progress on The Goldfinch. While not quite like my Spring Breaks of the past (Panama City, FL for MTV Spring Break!!), the 26 year old version of myself appreciates it greatly!
Did you get a Spring Break this year?
Is it unseasonably snowing anywhere else? Come on sandal weather!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

in the bag

Here & Now: floral + polka dots
{ What I Wore: Gap denim jacket // scarf ℅ Boden (same print in a gorgeous beach wrap) // Ann Taylor skirt* // Coach purse ℅ Dillard's // Target wedges (similar) // J.Crew silk tank }
Psst… Get 40% off your Ann Taylor purchase now!

all photos | Zipporah Photography
Here & Now: Coach Bleecker Cooper Satchel
I have found the Spring bag of my dreams - soft leather, my favorite neutral (warm gray), slouchy shape, & all the pockets I need + more.

If you are looking for your Spring bag, be sure to come visit me this Thursday at the Green Hills Mall Dillard's! From 5 - 9 pm I will be hanging out in the handbag department, talking about Spring trends, & helping you pick out your next dream bag.

Even better, it's time for Dillard's Handbag Trade-In Event. Bring a bag to donate & get up to $50 off your next purchase (which I will help you find!!). All donated bags will be given to Operation Stand Down, a local military charity. This organization centers their mission around assisting former vets & their families. The donated bags will go to female vets who have been given housing in the Nashville area, & need the adequate interview + lifestyle materials. 
Here & Now: floral + polka dots
Here & Now: floral + polka dots
Here & Now: floral + polka dots
Here & Now: floral + polka dots
Here & Now: Coach Bleecker Cooper satchel
Here & Now: Dillard's Handbag Trade-in Event

Monday, March 24, 2014

about town

{ What I Wore: Le Tote tankskirt, jewelry // Pour La Victoire purse via Nordstrom Rack // RayBan aviators // Zara Basic moto jacket // BCBG Generation booties }

all photos | 
Scott Borrero
Another outfit from my fun visit to the Le Tote San Francisco offices.
I think it is pretty obvious, but I have a huge crush on Le Tote. Getting my Le Tote subscription box in the mail is often the highlight of my week. I love that I get to handpick items for my delivery, but the Le Tote team of stylists always manages to surprise me too (THANKS GUYS!). The service is a low risk way for me to play around with my personal style - choosing to keep what speaks to me, & return what didn't fit with the dream I am creating in my closet. Playing dress up in edgier pieces lets me try on "tough girl" for a day…  cut out tanks, lace-up booties… maybe I should add some more of this to my wardrobe?? But of course mixing it with a feminine skater skirt to get my "classic with a twist" style statement out front & center. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Shopping: Spring Purses

I am obsessed with the variety of shapes for bags this Spring season. Backpacks are making a resurgence (hello 90s!), along with drawstring bucket bags, sleek lady-like satchels, teeny-tiny crossbody bags & delicate clutches. And the finishing touches are so fun! With chain straps, tweedy textures, chunky tassels & blast-from-the-past jelly materials all topping the trend watch lists.

If you're in the market for a new Spring purse, now is the time to head into Dillard's! They are gearing up for the Handbag Trade-In Event (April 2 - April 6) where if you bring in a bag to donate, you'll get up to $50 off your new purse! Some of the brands they carry are so special that they NEVER go on sale, so this is a choice time to pounce!! 

I will be at the Green Hills Mall Dillard's this coming Thursday (3/27) 5 - 9pm, talking Spring style, picking out purses & looking forward to meeting you! 

Be sure to bring in a bag to donate, help out a great cause, & score a deal on your new purse. The Green Hills Mall Dillard's will be giving donated handbags to Operation Stand Down, a local military charity. This organization centers their mission around assisting former vets & their families. The donated bags will go to female vets who have been given housing in the Nashville area, & need the adequate interview + lifestyle materials. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

weekend reading: 03.22.14

1 // 2 // 3
This weekend why don't you :: wear some florals (bonus points for fun print mixing!)

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.} Have you heard yet? It's Spring (sarcasm, every blogger is totes talking about it!) My Spring style for under $75. 

{2.} Easy style… going for that, "I just threw this on" look. 

{3.} My new position as a Nordstrom Rack Ambassador (!!!) 

{4.} A touch of boho

{5.} Interested in seeing how real Nashvillians dress? I just joined the Nashville Style Collective. Come meet the rest of the stylish members

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} The pros & cons of blogging - a great way of looking at this new "industry" 

{2.} Why this blogger didn't attend college (I was/am/always will be so college-centric, I've honestly never thought about it like this!

{3.} New Instagram accounts to follow. 

{4.} Do you suffer from lack of disclosure

{5.} Easy peasy media kit guide

Thursday, March 20, 2014

boho baby

{ What I Wore: Le Tote tank* // jacket ℅ Chicnova // H&M felt hat // purse ℅ Yes Walker (love this splurge worthy one!) // CoH flare leg jeans  (similar) // ShoeMint leopard heels }
I received a free subscription to Le Tote, it is a brand that I truly believe in & love supporting. Check them out!!

all photos | Zipporah Photography
My fiancé is from the great Northwestern part of the United States (Oregon) & always makes fun of me for pulling out my umbrella, even in the slightest drizzle. Apparently people of the NW don't use umbrellas (WHAT!?), but I also don't think that they experience anything close to the drenching thunderstorms of Tennessee (or Arkansas, where I'm from originally).

So, in an attempt to acclimate myself to the norms of a place I may call home in the future, I've been forgoing my trusty umbrella in instances of light rain… & let me just say, I don't know how you NorthWestern women do it! Is there some secret hair spray that you use? Because my hair goes from manageable to Medusa in 0.1 seconds of rain exposure. 
While I've been ditching my umbrella, I have been enjoying my floppy hat instead during the past few weeks of Winter-Spring-confused-weather-drizzles… if I am going to be getting rained on, I best be doing it fashionably!
So, are you a dedicated umbrella user? Or more of a duck & runner in the rain?

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the Total Betty Society giveaway for a fabulous statement necklace.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nordstrom Rack

It is a point of pride for me that I am a blogger who also has a day job. I really do get to enjoy the best of both worlds: pursuing a job that fulfills me by day, & then getting to talk about fashion, style & my favorite products by night. But things like studio fashion shoots & flying to the opposite coast for blog business meetings just aren't things that I ever saw myself doing… but when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it! Nordstrom Rack invited me out to San Francisco to learn about a fun new collaboration. In doing so I got to cross many "firsts" off my bucket list: first time being around so many bloggers in one place, first trip to California, & first photo shoot. I also can't publish this post without first thanking YOU, my readers, as brands would never believe in me if I didn't have you guys. I always say, I have the best readers & it is true! Thank you for making this a positive & fun place to hang out.

Let's just say that my first photo shoot wasn't filled with beginners luck. If we were to play a game called "Spot Jessica's robot fingers" it would get old really quickly. Luckily, we got to work with some awesome photographers that made me feel less like my "I don't know what to do with my hands" awkward self. And playing dress up with your new friends isn't so shabby either!
Seriously little pinkie finger!? Sporting a studded Rebecca Minkoff purse & chain detail bow necklace, both from Nordstrom Rack.
Lots of laughs to go around! Taylor, Kat, Liz & Natalie were so much fun to shoot with!
This pink skirt from Nordstrom Rack is on my wish list for Spring!
That Oscar selfie has nothing on us! #selfie
The whole group! Loved getting to know each & everyone of these wonderfully talented ladies.

Being an Ambassador for Nordstrom Rack this year is a dream come true. All of us will be serving as your "Shopping Geniuses", sharing our shopping confessions & dishing out our best secrets! But you can get in on the action too! Share your shopping confessions & shopping treasures found at Nordstrom Rack on Instagram using the hashtag #ShopGenius. The best submissions may be featured on Nordstrom Rack’s Instagram account & if you tag me, I will be regramming my favorites as well! Follow along with Nordstrom Rack on Instagram for all the juicy shopping confessions in the months to come.

What is your best shopping secret? Any shopping confessions to share??