Archive of ‘Tips & Tricks’ category

That’s a Wrap

I love spending extra time wrapping gifts as I think it shows an extra level of thoughtfulness and care. I even have a section of my basement that’s a “wrapping paper table” and has tons of rolls and ribbons nearby. There are so many cute choices for wrapping paper, but some are too cute to be torn into and discarded immediately!

I think back to my wedding – a guest gave us a gift in a nicer box that she had wrapped in gorgeous paper. I still have the box to this day and use it for extra storage and display. It was very thoughtful and I enjoy the look and functionality of it.

stripe shirt wrapping paper c/o sara fitz studio

This wrapping paper I used above is just one of 13 eye-catching wrapping paper options that anyone, especially those who like East Coast style, would enjoy. I’m talking lobsters, whales, basket totes, hydrangeas, etc. Sara Fitz’s watercolor looks just as good on wrapping paper as it does her stationary options! The problem I ran into was I didn’t want to wrap someone’s gift in it for it to get thrown away… It’s too cute for that!

So I took a nicer box I got for a few dollars at TJ Maxx. There are several stores that have these types of hard gift boxes and you can find them on sale.

I thought back to the wedding gift I got in the wrapped box and decided to do the same thing. It was quite simple as I just wrapped the bottom and top separately and took extra care to make sure the pattern lined up right.

For now, I’m keeping this box for myself to keep extra accessories in and display in my room. I may eventually wrap one more box in this paper as a gift box for a friend that I know would enjoy the print. They may keep the box themselves, or use it for a gift to give to someone else who may enjoy it. Regardless, I’m getting more out of the beautiful paper than before!

Please check out Sara Fitz Studio for all the beautiful gift wrap options. She is also a fun account to follow on Instagram!

FacebookPinterestTumblrTwitterGoogle+Share

Summer Pattern Mixing

Pattern mixing is a great way to maximize what you already have in your closet by putting things together you haven’t combined before. You’ll also look like a pro and that you know what you’re doing since pattern mixing is daunting for some! Now that we are mid-summer, I like to throw in some stripes with other patterns to mix things up and wear what I have in new ways. Below are my tips on how to do so seamlessly.

  1. Stripes are your friend. I think a easy way to start with pattern mixing is to use some striped pieces. I am not bold enough to wear stripes with stripes since it can often be too busy, but pairing it with another item that has a larger or more spaced out pattern works great. For this outfit, I would avoid doing a smaller, tiny pattern since the stripes on this skirt are already close together.

2. Mix texture with pattern. I think an interesting way to switch up your wardrobe is taking a patterned item, like this skirt, and pairing it with a coordinating item that has the same color palette but a different texture. This tank has a very subtle eyelet pattern that looks great when worn with the striped skirt. Find some clothing in your closet that has a textured pattern to it and try it with a bolder pattern for a eye-catching look.

 

3.  Have some fun. It’s easy to take a patterned piece, like these seersucker shorts, and go the easy route of wearing a solid color with it. It’s not wrong to do so, and is a refreshing look, but pairing it with this lobster motif makes the outfit pop a little more. Sometimes items like these shorts keep me stuck in repeating the same pieces with it, but with pattern mixing I can open up to more outfit choices. Something busy like the shorts looks great with something a little less busy to balance it out.

Keep in mind that style means something different to everyone and these are only my opinions. My main focus when creating an outfit is to look put-together, so I gravitate towards more conservative approach to pattern mixing that relies on subtlety rather than loud/bold.

Want more pattern mixing inspiration? Check out @respecttheshoes on Instagram – she is my favorite girl for pattern mixing. She keeps it fun and everything always looks well thought out.

Lace Tying Hacks & Other Good Tips

We all know how to tie our shoes, but today’s post is going a little more into detail on different techniques that aren’t taught growing up that can make your shoe tying experience a little better. I personally like being able to slip on shoes without spending a lot of time tying them up. Two pieces of footwear that I’ve “turned into” slip-on’s are my slippers and boots from L.L. Bean. You can use this advice on any version similar to what I own.

Let’s start with boots: I love wearing my Bean Boots but found sitting down to tie them a little tedious when I wear them so often. I’ve seen other people tying their boots this way (eastland knot) and decided to try it out, and 2 years later they’re still tied exactly how I did them and they’ve made a huge different in how I wear them. It’s SO easy to just slip them on and off, so I reach for them even more now. No more sitting down and spending time lacing them! I also like the way they look this way better than when I did a traditional shoelace knot on them. Here are helpful instructions on how to do the eastland knot on your boots.

Tips for tying boots:

  • Loosen up the laces to the point where you find them easy to slip on and off. They won’t be as tight as if you laced them up each time, but you will hardly notice a difference.
  • Start on notch lower than you normally would (see photo) to keep them at that loose point.
  • Know that if you keep this tying arrangement for any period of time your laces will probably be bent that way if you undo it. Laces are fairly inexpensive and I found the trade off for this slip on option to outweigh having straight laces later on. So far I haven’t undone them and don’t plan on it!

 

I also own and love the Wicked Good Moccasin slippers, but like most slippers that you tie, they used to come untied constantly and it became annoying. L.L. Bean came out with a how-to video on how to tie them using the seaman’s knot to ensure they don’t come untied too often. It’s pretty easy, and although they do still come untied, it only happens once in awhile and not everyday. You can tell in this photo it’s slightly different than a regular shoelace knot.

 

I tie a regular shoelace knot for my workout shoes, and then “double knot” them so they don’t come undone during my workout. I do, however, sometimes get in the bad habit of just slipping off my workout shoes when I get home instead of untying them. Make sure you always untie your shoes completely to help the laces last longer. The pair above replaced a different pair I had where I kept it tied all the time, and the laces had worn down and the shoes were not very snug when I did use them. I learned my lesson and now take the time to untie everything.

Do you have any shoe tying woes that you’ve solved?

A Tip for Watch Owners

If you’re someone who owns a lot of watches, you may find yourself only wearing some of your watches seasonally. I have a few watches I wear more in the colder months, and don’t wear them at all in the summer months. They’re usually bulkier/darker ones that I tend not to choose in the summertime.

A great way to save your watch battery is to take the watches you aren’t wearing regularly and pull out the side knob so that the time stops. If it’s not running, it will help conserve your battery and give you double the use out of timepiece.

My mom gave me this tip recently as I brought a few of my favorite watches in to get the battery changed. I only wear them in the winter and wish I would have known this tip before. Hope this can help someone else!

J Crew Shopping Hack

top row: coat / vest / hat / gloves

bottom row: scarf / skier pajamas / nordic boots

J. Crew’s holiday line is full of great finds this year with lots of plaids, gold, shearling, & preppy motifs. Some of these “stand out” items are hot sellers come Black Friday and it’s not uncommon for them to sell out quickly. To ensure you get exactly what you want from J Crew without missing out on their Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals, you’ll want to buy less than seven days ahead of time.

Works for online orders only: When you buy from J Crew’s website, you have one week from ship date to get a price adjustment. So if I buy something tonight with 25% off, it most likely won’t ship out until Friday at the earliest (if not later than that). This means come Black Friday when they normally run 40% off, I’ll be able to call and get the price adjusted. Buying in-store is a little different so keep this in mind!

I’m interested in getting the nordic boots shown above (comes with neutral and red laces), and last year they sold out very quickly. I figured if I use the strategy above I’ll be able to get them before they sell out and still get a great sale price – hopefully 40% off.

My husband doesn’t care for them, but I think they look so warm and will be a shorter and more lightweight option to slip on since my other winter boots are taller. Not all my pants are “tall boot friendly” and instead of stuffing them into winter boots when the snow hits, I would like to put these on instead. I really like the vintage nordic look that these boots have! I’m not asking for many clothes this year since I’m pregnant and my normal size no longer fits, so I figured boots might be a safe bet for a Christmas gift.

Have you ever used a price adjustment strategically?

What do you think of the nordic boots?

As always, I don’t use affiliate links so no money goes towards me and all my opinions are 100% my own.

 

Getting Boots Ready for Winter

Every year I assess my leather boots and decide what needs to be taken care of so they look great and serve me well for an additional year. Before the start of every season and at the very end, it’s a good idea to wipe them down and condition them. Truthfully, I wear them a few times in October and then wait til November to do this task, but it is something that needs to be done at least once a season. If you aren’t taking the time to take care of your leather shoes then you may not get the full life out of them. The beauty of genuine leather is they can be taken care of and look great for years to come.

boot guard / kiwi saddle soap / kiwi cleaning clothes / kiwi express shine

Above are the products I used when taking care of my boots. I have not tried the kiwi express shine before but would recommend it more for touch ups and not what I’m explaining today, which encompasses a more heavy duty cleaning.

I love my leather riding boots! Both are the brand Bandolino that were purchased from Lord and Taylor 6+ years ago and can still be found at many retailers including DSW. Since I wear them a lot, you can see some minor signs of wear that need to be addressed. Cleaning and conditioning them really works well in this case to make them look great again. I’m hoping to get another 6+ years out of them. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Use a paper towel and warm water to get off any excess dirt/dust so you have a clean slate to work with. Let dry.
  2. Use the polishing cloths and get them slightly damp in one area, dip that area into the saddle soap and produce a lather.  Always test the saddle soap in a hidden area and let dry before doing your whole boot just to make sure it works well.
  3. Work the saddle soap into the leather in a circular motion to cover the whole boot.
  4. Let dry and wipe off any excess soap.

I do this every year and am always impressed with the results! The black boots are gorgeous, but I was worried that they were looking rough. This process cleaned and conditioned them and made me a believer all over again. I couldn’t be happier.

I ended with an optional step of using this Clark’s waterproofer on the lower part of my boots that hit closer to the ground. Again, this is something to test before spraying on. I found this waterproofer in a Clark’s store.

Here is a before and after shot of the boots. The photos are untouched, but it is still hard to tell how drastic of a difference it was. You can see there are less cracks in the leather and they have more of a rich depth in color on the right. I can’t imagine not doing this to my boots every year!

BEAN BOOTS

Next up I took a look at my Bean boots to see which ones needed some TLC. If you own Bean boots, it’s worth it to get this Bean boot guard to make them last and look great. I find it’s always good to condition the leather, but more importantly you’ll see some of the stitching on the boots start to stick out. This stuff works almost like a wax that you work into those stitches that keeps them nicely intact.

From the website: Protect your L.L.Bean Boots and other leather footwear products with our boot dressing, a mixture of beeswax, lanolin and oils that waterproof, preserve and restore leather.

This before picture mainly shows a lot of dirt on the rubber portion, but you can see the stitching ends that I referred to above. The pair of the left also has some common scratches inside the tongue of the boot under where the laces go. The boot guard does wonders for all of this.

  1. Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the bean boot, especially the leather portion. Let try.
  2. Use the kiwi cleaning cloth to dip into the boot guard and work into the leather in a circular motion. Again, always test the polish out on a hidden area and let dry before proceeding. Sometimes it may darken it more than you’d like, but I only found this to be the case with my Bison Bean boots which are already a dark brown. 
  3. I spend extra time going over the stitches with the boot guard to keep them nice and intact.
  4. Let dry.

Again, it may be hard to tell in this before and after but in real life the leather looks much better after using the boot guard and has prepared them for another season of brutal winters. I’m especially impressed with how it lessened the appearance of the scratches of the pair on the left.

Do you take the time to take care of your boots? I don’t think many people do, but it’s really important. This whole process (including taking pics during) took maybe half an hour even with dry time. Sometimes it seems tedious, but I often enjoy owning the same thing for many years and it continuing to look great with just a little extra care on my part.

 

Q&A Friday: How do I un-shrink a sweater?

After getting home from vacation, I washed everything I wore and accidentally shrunk the sweater shown above. I got this sweater when we were on our honeymoon 3 years ago, and along with the cute whale print it’s one of my favorites! I’ve shrunk sweaters before and successful stretched them back to normal, so I was confident I could do it again.

Step 1: Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a little bit of hair conditioner to it. Place sweater in a let it soak for ten minutes. Be careful about what you last used in your sink, some cleaning products and acne products can take the color out of an item. 

Step 2: Drain the sink, but don’t rinse the sweater or ring it out. Instead, place a towel on the ground and place the sweater on it. Roll it up carefully to get a little less damp and transfer to a new flat towel.

Step 3: Carefully start to pull and tug it apart to form it’s a original shape. Make sure you do this right after step 2 while it’s damp so it takes to the pulling. I spent a lot of time gently pulling the sleeves and sides away from each other. Let it dry and then you are all set!

Why does this work? Soaking it in the conditioner is going to soften the fibers in the sweater and allow you to rework the shape. I was so happy that mine went back to normal so I can continue to wear it!

Back to School With Poppy

IMG_1063

Today I’m partnering with my friend, Poppy, to talk about back to school shopping. Poppy is entering Kindergarten this year so we went clothes shopping to get some items before the year started. We had a ton of fun and want to show you what we got:

IMG_1096

IMG_1097

Here are our tips for finding great clothes to take you back to school:

  1. Find your “basics” to start your new wardrobe. Basic doesn’t have to mean boring. We loved the striped shirts because they’re fun and will go with a lot. The striped shirt, for example, can be dressed with with a pretty necklace or worn more casually. We also picked up a pair of gray leggings that she can wear now and later.
  2. Stick to a color scheme to maximize your outfit possibilities. Since Poppy will be going to school 5 days a week now, she has more outfits to put together than ever before. She loves the colors pink and blue, so we stuck more to those tones so that all of her choices could go with each other.
  3. Find items that layer well. School technically starts in the summer, so we wanted to find clothes that she could wear now and layer with later. For example, she can wear her white shirt with leggings now, and then layer the vest over it when it gets cooler out. She also styled the striped shirt under the denim dress for a completely different look.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.18.50 PM

We went to Old Navy, TJ Maxx, and Target to get Poppy’s clothes.

IMG_1087

Thanks for reading!

 

Best of Summer Sales

Even though there’s only a little more time to wear them, shopping summer sales now is a smart way to get steals for next summer. I usually pick up a few items at the end of each season that are a great price, and when I get them out the following year it’s like getting unexpected new clothes.

Here’s my favorite from summer sales:

summer sale

LL Bean Dress / LL Bean Striped Chambray Shirt / LL Bean Poplin Shirt / J Crew Gingham Shorts

Brooks Brothers Gingham Belt / Dooney Crossbody /J Crew Striped Shirt / J Crew White Denim Skirt / Tommy Hilfiger Skirt

Sperry Boat Shoe / Sperry Boat ShoeRalph Lauren Loafers

 

Beauty Favorites

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 11.56.38 PM

lipstick / mascara / foundation / primer / whitening strips

 I wear make up daily, but am not even close to being a make up expert by any means. I appreciate and even envy the way many girls know how to do their make up, but I keep it pretty simple and natural. Through years of trial and error, I’ve found what works best for me and would love to share the items that I’m fiercely loyal to.

  1. Lipstick – I discovered Revlon Colorstay Lipstick from just trying it on a whim and have fallen in love. I have more expensive lipsticks, but these are the best by far! I always find they have great color choices and the color does not wear off. I’m not even afraid to put it on before I have my coffee because I know it will last. The best part is that it’s pretty matte so it doesn’t look too crazy.
  2. L’Oreal Double Extend mascara is one of those products I will stock up on if they ever threaten to discontinue. I have told countless friends about it, who have also switched to this mascara and never looked back. It applies great, doesn’t flake, but the best part is taking it off. I don’t own eye make up remover because this comes off with face wash in one big clump and it’s completely removed. The removal is a little creepy (looks like spider legs all over the towel), but trust me, this stuff is incredible.
  3. I struggled way too long into adulthood without having a foundation I loved or looked natural. I still get acne so I want something that covers zits and redness without being caked on. My mom suggested Estee Lauder Double Stay Light and it’s perfect! I couldn’t be happier with it as it goes on nicely and blends perfectly into my skin tone.
  4. If you have oily skin in the least bit, you need to try this primer. (You will thank me later!) My face used to get oily in the middle of the day and I had to use blotting wipes, but not anymore. I put this on my nose, forehead, and cheekbones and it keeps them from getting shiny throughout the day. I can’t believe more people don’t use this because it really works to keep my face matte during the day. I linked the Ulta link, but you can find it at Target.
  5. Mr. Blanc Whitening Strips are new to me, but have really worked to brighten up my teeth for summer. I’m a coffee drinker, and even though I’m diligent in brushing and flossing, I still like to whiten once in awhile. My teeth can be sensitive to whitening strips, which is why I love that these dissolve in 15 minutes. I can just put them on before I leave the house and they’re gone when I arrive at my destination with whiter teeth!Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.15.57 AMself tanner / hand lotion / face sunscreen / purple shampoo
  6.  Another product all my friends use because I won’t stop raving out it is Fake Bake self tanner. I don’t need it very much in the summer, but sometimes when I’m feeling super pale in the winter I’ll bust it out. If you’ve ever worried about uneven, unnatural self tanners, you will love this worry-free solution. It makes you look instantly (and natural looking) tan overnight so it’s perfect before attending a wedding or big event. I’m against tanning beds and not big on tanning, so this is the perfect solution for when you want to look tan quickly.
  7. I may be alone in this, but I am really bad at using hand lotion. I have a million hand lotions, but I never remember to put them on. I hit a point one winter where my husband mentioned something about how cracked my hands are and I realized it was a problem. After much research, I found O’Keefes and fell in love. It’s really meant for men who work with their hands (think car mechanics, farmers, etc.) and somehow I use it too – I blame washing my hands all the time. The best part is you only have to use it once a day to get your hands super smooth all day since it’s almost a waterproof feel. I use it right before bed and that’s it!
  8. Like I said above, I’m big into sunscreen and must use it on my face and neck even on a cloudy day. I swear it will pay off someday! I was worried about using this stuff because I can get oily skin and the matte primer listed above has been so successful in combating that, but this stuff hasn’t messed with it at all. I can wear it under my make up and it doesn’t get oily.
  9. I get highlights and always worry about my blonde getting too “yellow/gold”. This stuff from Sally’s is the best purple shampoo! I only use it once every couple of weeks and it keeps my hair having cool tones vs. yellow. I’ve used other purple shampoos in the past and this by far is the best!

 

The above products are all beauty products I love, but I’m still in search for products I love for these areas:

I’ve found chapsticks I’ve liked, but nothing that really keeps them hydrated as much as I’d need it. I really want to find one that I love and can buy for life that I can apply minimally.

I’ve also haven’t had much luck in the eyeliner department. I don’t love liquid eye liner as I think it looks harsh on me when I apply it, but pencil ends up smudging on my upper eyelid.

I’m really bad at putting body lotion on after showers, and the ones I use still leave my skin feeling dry.

If you have any suggestions for these, please comment below!

Thanks for reading!

1 2 3 5