Thursday, October 12, 2017

have bags, will travel

Tyler & I are thick in the middle of moving to our new house & while I am over the moon to celebrate every possible "holiday" (national cupcake day is a holiday, right?) in our first home, I am also looking forward to my first Thanksgiving shared with my in-laws in Oregon. 

For years, my Oregonian husband only took me to his home state during the Summer, when it was drop-dead gorgeous, with hopes that I would want to move there one day. And he was right, Oregon is a perfect place to be in the Summer - sunny vineyards, crisp coastal whale sightings, rolling hills, & hip Portland patios.

Last year, after 7 years together, Tyler was finally brave enough to invite me to Oregon for Christmas, & I absolutely loved it! Yes, it was rainy/cloudy the entire time, but the temperatures were mild & the landscape so lush! The rain makes everything a vivid green, I don't know why I imagine it before, I just assumed everything just died in the Winter like I grew up with in the South.

I am so thankful for all of the travel opportunities I have had, each one teaching me more about the world outside of my own selfish bubble. And it turns out, everywhere I have visited has had a beauty all its own - don't even get me started on my new found respect of the desert since moving West...

I also love that I have my travel routine down to an art, leaving behind the over-packing days of my youth, discovering that it isn't what I take with me, rather about what I discover along the way. My favorite travel outfit is my definition of comfort + style & always includes a tunic top & stretchy leggings. Coloradans style is much more legging friendly & I love using WikiBuy to find affordable leggings, especially fun printed ones!

When planning what I pack, I always use a carry-on size bag - bet I could do a month out of a carry on at this point! To maximize my carry-on space, I can't recommend my travel cubes any more. Whether you use them to pack by day, style of clothes (tops, pants, etc.), dirty vs. clean items, or outfit (my favorite), I always find more space in my bag when using them! My husband recently spotted my packing cubes & was so jealous, that I picked him up his own set using WikiBuy. Can you believe that all the cubes I'm holding in my hand, fit in that carry-on!? You betcha!

Haven't heard of WikiBuy? Part of the reason why I love to shop is the thrill of the hunt, finding the perfect piece for the perfect price, & WikiBuy offers me all the tools I need to feel like a shopping ninja! The WikiBuy webs offers a Chrome extension that finds lower prices from other sellers while I shop on Amazon & will also check to see where else the product is being sold (+ the price). I can also directly search the site for products, which will shows all the places the item is being sold & what the cost would be on that site. I am also super impressed with the extension that tests coupon codes automatically at checkout & will finds online discounts from other retailers, and the graph of the price of the item over time (just like I use for my airline tickets). Have you used these tools yet? Try it out & let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

stripes, I can't quit you!

I keep finding new ways to justify adding another striped shirt to my closet, & yet another has found its way to me. I love the bell sleeves & gorgeous embroidered details on this one, & with the temps still fluctuating between Fall & Summer here in Denver, I loved pulling out the pink colors with this pretty Cuore & Pelle clutch.

Is it more Summer or Fall where you are? Denver just had their first snow this week, and then today it is back into the 70s... I just don't know how to dress for this!

{shop these exact pieces}

shirt: J.Crew Factory embroidered striped top - still stocked in most sizes & only $30!

jeans: Nordstrom distressed jeans (sold out, linked similar above - all under $75)
I just purchased this pair, same cut but a darker wash!

Monday, October 9, 2017


It is officially official - Tyler & I are first time homeowners in Denver, Colorado! After 8 years of living together in apartments/townhouses, where we have had to fight for parking, battle the elevator to take the pugs out, & listen to our shared wall neighbor's questionable music choices, we have a place ALL OUR OWN! We had our offer accepted in July, signed the papers in August, but had to allow to previous home owner to stay as a renter until October as part of our offer conditions (have you heard about how hot the Denver housing market is!?)... and I have been counting down the days till we could get the keys, and start the next chapter. I cannot wait to show the pugs our amazing back yard, outsmart the snow in our garage, & host a million for-no-reason-at-all get togethers in our house. It isn't huge, but it is perfect for us, & I literally could not be more excited. IT. IS. OURS!

After struggling with establishing ourselves in our new state over the past year, I guess we have to call Colorado HOME now! Thankfully, The Home T hooked me up with my own Colorado sweatshirt so I can sport my new home state pride (always an Arkansan in my heart!), & it is doubly appreciated since Colorado decided to have a SNOW STORM today, & this sweatshirt could not be more cuddly + soft!

My favorite thing about The Home T is that they donate 10% of their sales to Multiple Sclerosis Research, on top of their insanely soft tees, sweatshirts, & other wearable state clothes. If you have a college student in your life, both this Home T sweatshirt & Vera Bradley bag would make amazing Christmas gifts. As a college student, my dream Christmas gift present would always be new luggage filled with goodies that reminded me of home. I adore how the Vera Bradley bag is super cute, durable, & filled with all the storage options that Vera Bradley is famous for - the shoe pocket is straight up genus!

{shop these exact pieces}

sweatshirt: The Home T crewneck sweatshirt (so super soft & part of the proceeds go to MS research!). I also love the baseball tee style!

top: J.Crew Factory button down tunic top (on sale for under $25!)

jeans: Nordstrom distressed denim (under $100)

shoes: Hushpuppies Cyra Catelyn Booties (fit true to size & are super duper comfortable, the footbed is so squishy!)

bag: Vera Bradley "Lighten Up" collection duffle (also available from Zappos & I found this exact bag on sale at Amazon!)

sunglasses: Ray Ban aviators

Friday, September 8, 2017

bring it on Fall!

Yesterday's post featured this dress for all my endless-Summer lovers, but today is all about everyone who is PUMPED for the next season... Pumpkin Spice Latte Season Fall.

I love early Fall because it is so easy to update your favorite Summer pieces for the chillier days ahead with just a few key accessories! For me, my go-to-Fall accessories are a felt hat + {faux} leather jacket + booties. You can literally put this exact combo on almost any Summer dress to take it to the next Fall layer - try it for yourself and let me know!

So, are you an endless-Summer fan, or early Fall celebrator? Which style of dress is more your style?

hat: H&M felt fedora (several years old, previously styled here). Linking similar styles below (for under $30!)

shoes: open toe booties that I've had since 2014. I love this style, especially for the Summer-to-Fall transition - linking similar options below.

jacket: ASOS red vegan leather jacket (under $50!)

necklace: c/o Kendra Scott - I love that it is adjustable from choker length to mid-chest.

{shop these pieces + similar styles}

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

endless Summer

While many declare Labor Day the END of Summer, I recognize the symbolic end of Summer/start of school, but always wear my "summer" styles until the official transition to Fall - Friday September 22nd in case you want to put it in your planner :)

In fact, like many in Game of Thrones, us here in Colorado, know that Winter is indeed coming, & I plan to wear my warm weather pieces until I can't for the remainder of the year, + well into 2018!

I declare this transitional time of year "buy-Summer-clothes-on-sale-&-wear-the-heck-out-of-them" season! Treat yo self & take advantage of businesses already putting all their eggs in the Fall basket. I have recently discovered the brand Boohoo, & can't get enough of their flower child dresses. I feel like maybe I let a little of my free spirit style of dressing behind when I left Music City Nashville, & found myself in Denver - where most people think the idea of dressing up is putting on their best Patagonia jacket (only kind of kidding...).

I felt so comfortable wearing this outfit for a day of exploring in our current neighborhood - RiNo in Denver - before it isn't our neighborhood any more (1 month until we move into our first HOUSE!). We have so many spots left to explore in the area we have called home for the past 14 months, but somehow we always find ourselves right back at our favorite brewery - Epic

And for those of you who just can't wait for Fall, I will be styling this same dress for a Fall look later this week! Are you team endless-Summer or early-Fall?

P.S. There are 2 giveaways going on right now. Check out the Newk's giveaway here & head over to my Instagram to see today's giveaway with August Mae - a new favorite boutique here in Colorado!

hat: Boater Hat from Sole Society - currently sold out, but I love this similar style for only $15! Looking for boater hat inspiration, see how I've styled this piece previously here.

shoes: Nisolo slides (now on sale!)

{shop these pieces + similar styles}

August Mae GIVEAWAY!

You know that feeling when you find a new boutique that has everything you need + all the pretty things you want? That is why I love August Mae!! I am in love with my new poppy dress from August Mae (full post here) & really everything from their collection!

The lovely lady behind this adorable shop is also super sweet + a fellow Coloradan & is offering up a $50 shop gift card to one lucky winner!

It is super easy to enter - head to this Instagram post, make sure you are following me (@jesshereandnow), August Mae (@augustmae.shopstevie) & tag your best shopping buddy! That's it - you are entered!

1 random winner will be selected in 1 week, but in the mean time, start planning what you will purchase! All of the items below are perfect for this still-Summer-almost-Fall weather & under $50!!

The black gaucho pants + peplum striped top are next on my list to pick up!!
What are your favorites from August Mae??

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My Most Versatile Piece: the moto jacket

I recently added this red moto jacket to my wardrobe, & I am finally able to admit that I have a moto jacket obsession. However, after realizing that this is the 3rd moto-style jacket hanging in my wardrobe, I also had to justify that this was going to indeed be a versatile, & well loved item that played nice with the other items already hanging in my closet. I don't have time or room for just so-so pieces that are going to be one-hit-wonders. Read on to see my trip down moto-jacket memory lane...

I picked up this suede moto jacket from Nordstrom last year, but my moto jacket love affair started long before! I found a super cheap Old Navy moto jacket back in 2012 (full outfit here) & I rocked a light blue moto jacket while in San Francisco in 2014 (outfit here).

full outfit posts: here & here

But I realized that a moto jacket truly was a serious staple in my closet when looking back through my blog archives at all the times I have worn my H&M faux leather moto jacket. While it has made more than 20 appearances here on the blog + countless more in my daily life, it still looks as good as the day I bought it! (links to all outfits below collage)

{Shop similar styles - all for under $100}

From top to bottom: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15

Once I had all of these photos together in one place, I was surprised at how versatile the moto jacket had been - from adding edge to denim shorts, texture to a tulle skirt, season transition with maxi dresses, layers with jeans & so many other styles! So it made sense that for me, & my closet, a moto-jacket is a piece that deserves being found in multiples. This might not be the case for everyone's closet, but I certainly recommend this practice if you are considering adding a duplicate (but not identical item to your closet). My thought process for making this and other decisions when buying new clothes:

Do you already get decent use out of the similar items in your closet?

Can you plan at least 3 outfits with the new piece + items you already own?

Is this a piece that feels YOU? (aka, not just a trend)

In my book, I have to be able to say a firm YES to all 3 for an item to come home - & I have another outfit featuring my new red moto-cutie later this week! She's a real winner!!

jeans: Nordstrom distressed jeans (currently sold out, linking similar styles below - all under $100!)

necklace: Older style from BaubleBar, linking my current favorites below

{Shop these exact pieces}

Don't forget, I'm also hosting a Giveaway with Newk's (My favorite fast casual spot to grab a BIG salad!). It is super easy to enter the giveaway now on Instagram (random winner picked this Friday). Enter Now.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Reading List: Top 5

As a middle school teacher, I take my Summer break time very seriously, & am very fortunate to have a partner who understands that my relaxation time is sacred! Between the beginning of June & the end of July, you can find me by the pool, with a book + iced coffee in my hand. This is my definition of bliss!

This Summer I took advantage of my Denver Public Library Card & read at least a book a week, but the 5 books below have stayed with me, & are the ones that I have been recommending to all my friends. One of my favorite ways to find new books to read is to look at books that are being made into movies, that way I know they have strong characters + a juicy plot!

Have you read any of these books? Any other great ones topping your list? Since school started back, I have decided to read all of the Harry Potter books (I missed the train the first time around 20 years ago), but am always looking for a great new read!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Colorado Adventures

Summer might be in its waning days, but I haven't finished crossing items off my Summer bucket list & certainly plan on keeping the adventures going well on into Fall.

I might still be working on feeling like Colorado is *home*, but they beauty of this state has totally started to seep into me & I keep discovering new places to explore. I guess I like to hike now, & have found that they best way to travel in the woods is with a backpack.

When looking for a new backpack, I wanted to find something that was unique, high quality & durable - not an easy search! In the process I stumbled upon Waremakers. I love that they offer so many carefully curated + hand-made  items, all stunning & super functional! I too believe in the motto of "fewer, better things" & could easily see so many of these pieces replacing even more of my mass produced, cheaply made bags/organization products. I picked this backpack cutie from Sac Marin - it comes in several colors & sizes too!

How do you thoughtfully add new pieces to your wardrobe? I am so into a minimalistic kick right now & would love any new tips!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Talk about a dream dress! I have been obsessed with poppies ever since I convinced myself that I was indeed Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz & love the amazing print on this super comfortable, breezy dress that also has pockets! But that's not it... wait for it... it's only $39!

dress: c/o August Mae

earrings: c/o Kendra Scott (I love that they look like Amber!)

shoes: suuuuper old, but I was inspired to pull them out again after seeing lots of similar styles currently in stores. I've had these since the early days of my blog - including this post from 2011 - so it is cool to see the trend come back around.