Monday, November 30, 2015

make your list, check it twice


I've spoken before about my love of giving gifts, really for all occasions, even making up new ones from time to time. I really do take great pleasure in picking out specific presents for individuals in my life - thinking about what they need, & sometimes surprising them with things they didn't even know they wanted, but love (one of my all time successes was giving my now husband a beginners beer making kit, which turned into a full blown passion that he didn't even know he had!)

I have actually already completed my holiday shopping (YAY!!!) - including the 5 birthdays I have in my family from Thanksgiving to New Years (DOUBLE YAY!!!) - & am happy to share some of my shopping secrets.

**Scroll down for a $100 gift card giveaway from Simon Malls to help wrap up your shopping list too!




"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!" - Buddy the Elf

At the minimum, my relatives receive a holiday card from me, with a recent picture inside - I love getting holiday cards from friends & family - as it is sometimes the smallest gestures that make the biggest impacts.


For your friends who have a love to travel - give the gift of a new weekender bag, so they can tackle their next adventure in style. I love this plaid duffle from my local Old Navy Outlet store.


As a style blogger, I have the opportunity to test drive many different clothes & beauty products, & it is fun for me to give friends & family some of my favorites. On this years gift giving list are these chic (& oh so super affordable) black ballet flats from Old Navy, my beloved boatneck striped shirt from J.Crew Factory, & these wonderfully cozy flannel buttons downs (with awesome leather elbow patches) from the J.Crew Factory men's selection.


If you don't know exactly what to give someone this season (or they are someone who already has EVERYTHING!), you can't go wrong with scarves & candles. My favorite scarf shopping destinations (& the order of scarves that I'm holding below), are Gap Factory (the goal dot and grey chevron ones are recent purchases from there), J.Crew Factory (the red one is currently in stock still), & Aerie (freaking love their blanket scarves - you can never have enough!)

Despite my best planning, there always seems to be someone that I forgot (or a last minute hostess gift needed) - so I keep a stock of Yankee candles on hand. They have so many great scents - that will make your house smell like the holidays for weeks & also offer up some super stylish easy melt wax warmers (I just got gifted a stylish white porcelain one that I already have plugged in, making our apartment smell seriously divine!)


I enjoy finding creative ways to wrap my presents & this year I am thinking more about how to eliminate waste in my wrapping paper game. This cute Buffalo "BEAST" bag (from Old Navy Factory) will be a great way to wrap my sister's present - she writes a blog called Ernie Bufflo & is a super beast mom to twin 3 year old girls.


Needing small gifts for co-workers? Give them their favorite gift card (January will be better with a Starbuck's gift card in hand) in this cute polka dot zip pouch, or tech friendly gloves to make their commute cozier (both under $5 & from Old Navy Factory).


My go-to stocking stuffer ideas are socks (shop the men's section for some cheeky printed ones!) or pom-pom hats (socks from J.Crew factory, hats below both from Gap Factory).


The great thing about all of my top shops for finding gifts, is that they are all housed at the Nashville Opry Mills Mall! I prefer going to the mall when I want to cross everyone off my list, all at once, avoiding paying for any shipping costs & I always save a ton. On my recent trip, I scored all of my items (including amazing things for my mom from the Kate Spade Factory store, cozy clothes for my nieces from Carter's, and fun Nashville items for out of town relatives) at over 60% off retail!

Lucky for you, Opry Mills is giving one of you a $100 gift card to finish up your holiday elfing! Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget, & the randomly selected winner will be notified by email next week!

Get social with Opry Mills: Website (lists all of their amazing stores) // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

This post was sponsored by Opry Mills Mall, but all opinions and reviews are my own. Thank you for supporting brands & businesses that are such great partners of my blog. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

couples that sweater together...


Here&Now: couple Christmas card outfit
What I Wore:
jeans: Gap Factory legging jeans - perfect for layering with boots!

What he wore:

Here&Now: Gap Factory sales

See those two bright & smiling faces up there!? Those are faces that have finished their Christmas shopping, taken Christmas card photos, & are ready to rock the holidays! This holiday season Gap Factory has been one of my top destinations for not only preparing my family for being picture perfect, but making sure that everyone on my list would be opening up something special on Christmas Day!

Stay cozy with the amazing selection of totally affordable sweaters, plus cozy extras like this pom pom hat & a faux fur scarf. Make sure that your man friend is all set with a classic utility jacket & dark denim (he will definitely thank you for not having to wear slacks in your Christmas photos).

Looking to please as the best gift giver this year!? Gap Factory has tons of great gift options - all at a great value (which means everyone will think you spent the big bucks, but how much you actually saved will be our little secret!)

Gift your girlfriends this cozy scarf, give the guys in your life a puffer vest (love all of the color options & this color block combo too!) & your mom is going to love these faux fur lined slippers!

Here&Now: styling sweaters for FallHere&Now: couple Christmas card photosHere&Now: pug family photos
Here&Now: How to pose with your dogs for photos
Sign up for Gap Factory emails at www.gapfactory.com to get 15% off your purchase.

Get social with Gap Factory: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

Shop my look:



Shop his look:




Shop my top Gift Picks from Gap Factory:


Thank you to Gap Factory for sponsoring this post. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I believe in...


jacket: faux leather H&M moto jacket (shop similar: faux leather jacket with fur // classic tweed + leather jacket)






I not only love any excuse to rock my leather jacket, but this badass look actually helps support rescue dogs in need - especially those in terrible "high-kill shelters!

This shirt is from Howling Pup, a great group that makes amazing products, that support the cause of putting rescue dogs in safe homes. Every dog deserves a loving home - even if that means they need a new owner to give them a second chance.

Want to get some Howling Pup goodies & back this amazing (& much needed) organization? Shop now & get 15% off your order with code "jesslovespups"

I believe in giving back the love that my dogs give me everyday. Come over for some love licks from the pugs anytime!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Bloggers Who Budget: Holiday Style for Less



shirtstriped J.Crew Factory turtleneck (very oversized, order a size down for a more true to size fit)

jeans: Citizens of Humanity (super old from college, find similar styles on my Lyst below)


accessorieshatscarfglovespurse all ℅ Vera Bradley (love the chic studs!)



The Bloggers Who Budget are back, showing off some of our holiday style! This month we've also teamed up with Lyst for some holiday style inspiration, which is perfect for this time of year because Lyst will send you sale alerts for your favorite items - when they go on sale, or get re-stocked!

Never used Lyst before? Let me fill you in on what you have been missing!


From their website: Lyst is a shopping experience unique to every user.  The more you use the platform, the more it learns about you and your shopping habits so you start to only see things you love! In addition to making a tailored shopping experience, users can also 'lyst' items to plan their wardrobes, create "wish lists", and also be alerted when anything they lyst goes on sale or comes back in stock. 

I think of Lyst as my most helpful shopping buddy! Showing me similar items, allowing you to create new outfits, and the sale/restock alerts are so clutch! For example, some of the pieces in my outfit are way old, so I took to Lyst to find budget friendly similar items that are available now. Shop my look (+ some items on my wish list) on my Bloggers Who Budget Lyst.

Be sure to check out all of the other budgeting bloggers' Lysts (links to all of their posts above). And stay tuned for another fun Bloggers Who Budget post coming on 12/14! 

{Shop this post}


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

casually plaid


jeans: James Jeans

booties: Nordstrom Rack

purse: Michael Kors

scarf: faux fur scarf via Zappos (linked many similar at all price points below)


I'm back talking about some favorite Fall staples.

I already wore this plaid top in an outfit fit for a Christmas photo (see the full outfit here), but I'm really putting it in heavy rotation in my day to day styles! Love this plaid pattern? It's available in a skirt too!

Skinny jeans are perfect for Fall because they work with ankle booties or tall boot styles. I love the stretch in these James Jeans, but if you are looking for a more affordable style, I just tried on these high rise jeans from J.Crew Factory & think they are perfection!

One of my Fall guilty pleasures? Faux fur! I got the faux fur scarf in these photos from Zappos last year & found this similar style at Nordstrom & even this affordable option at Target has colors that will go with everything! Topping my faux fur wish list is this dreamy stole, but I also think that this furry pom pom is so fun (I'm imagining it on my Fall purses!) & you can't go wrong with this classic fur vest

It hasn't gotten cold enough to pull out my faux fur leopard jacket yet (see my outfits featuring it here) - but if you are looking for one to call your own, this style is right on the money!

Finally, I had to save myself from regular trips to Target long ago because I just couldn't handle the attacks on my willpower, however, I made a quick visit the other day & holy moly it is just as dangerous! Particularly the shoe aisle. These 4 styles below are sure to be your go-to for work & play this Fall:


What are your Fall staples? Any secrets to finding affordable styles this time of year?



Monday, November 9, 2015

teacher plaid

sweater: Varsity stripe sweater, old from J.Crew Factory (shop this similar style)



heels: Sole Society (I wish they would bring this style back! Shop similar styles at the bottom of the post)



As much as I sometimes try to be edgy/hipster, I am a preppy clothing lover at heart. Something about this combo of crisp red, tartan plaid, & varsity inspired stripes makes me beyond happy.

Remix alert: I wore this skirt last school year in a quintessentially teacher outfit - see it here.
How would you describe your style?
Do you ever try to fight your natural style tendencies?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Shopping: It Cosmetics

I have blogged about my beauty routine before, & reviewed some favorite makeup lines including Pla beauty, products from my Birchbox subscription & the skin/hair care products that I believe in most.  

This Summer I was introduced to It Cosmetics, & it is currently all I use for makeup products. You can find all of the It Cosmetics products at Ulta, QVC & It Cosmetics online. The thing I like most about It Cosmetics, is how long lasting they are! Using the products below, my makeup stays looking fresh from when I apply it at 5:30 am until I get finished teaching in the afternoon. I also really appreciate how much thought was put into the packaging of the products, everything is easy to use & exactly what I need!

1. Vitality Brightening Anti-Aging Face Disk - my "if you could only have one beauty product for the rest of your life" item is a toss up between concealer & bronzer, & this bronzer disk is certainly an all you need product. The bronzer is the perfect shade for everyday use & the addition of blush + highlighting powder frees up space in my make-up bag.

2. Heavenly Luxe Wand brush - I have never been much of a diva about my brushes, but this one is so dreamy! The softest thing I have ever used, & the perfect pair for the bronzer disk.

3. Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer - The thick past-like consistency of this concealer might appear to be hard to apply at first, but you only need a tiny amount to completely cover your trouble spots. This stuff truly erases any signs of under eye darkness (& sets for all day coverage with the Bye Bye Pores pressed powder, #10 below)

4. Brow Power Eyebrow Pencil - well defined brows are the finishing frame for your face. The brow pencil builds to allow you to fill in a little or a lot, & the combing brush helps to keep everything in place.

5. Hello Light Anti-Aging Luminizing Crème Stick - I like the highlighting powder in the bronzer disk palette, but when I am doing my make up for going out, I like to touch this luminizing stick on my cheekbones, brow bones, & around my eyes for extra pop. The creamy formula goes on smooth & easily blends in for a natural glow.

6. Hello Lashes 5-IN-1 Mascara - Since getting my lash extensions I don't use mascara anymore, however, over the Summer I seriously rocked this mascara. The crazy looking ball on the end helps to get the mascara on every lash, majorly plumping them up!

7. Your Skin But Better CC Cream (with SPF 50+) - I don't wear foundation every day, but when I do want a little extra coverage, this CC Cream is the perfect extra touch. The product actually has a pump top, which helps to keep the mess factor down. I apply it with my fingers & the coverage is medium.

8. No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer - One of the keys to all day make up? Primer! This is a collagen packed primer that leaves my skin feeling baby soft! (I guess petting my face all day probably doesn't help the make up last!

9. Vitality Lip Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain - I love all of my lipsticks, but sometimes I just want moisturized lips with a little hint of color. This product looks clear, but it brings out a natural flush in your lips, subtly accentuating the natural color, while leaving everything nourished! 

10. Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder - My makeup routine goes like this: Primer, CC Cream, under eye concealer, then a finishing layer of this pressed powder. The powder is totally transparent, not adding any additional color, & locking everything in place. 

What makeup products and application tips work best for you? Anyone else struggle to keep make up on your face all day?