All About Blogs

I start every morning by getting up a little early to enjoy some coffee while skimming through my favorite blogs. If there are several blogs you like to read, a blog reader is hands down the easiest way to make sure you never miss a post.  I’ve been using a blog reader (or RSS feed reader) for several years and I can’t imagine reading blogs any other way. The two easiest ways to read blogs are the following two websites/apps:

Blog Lovin is a simple way to search for blogs and “follow” them. Whenever you log on, it will show posts newest to oldest. Kind of exactly how instagram works except with blogs. You can find my profile here. If you are new to using a blog reader, or you don’t follow a ton of blogs that update several times a day, I would recommend this method.

Feedly is the blog reader I use and I have been very happy with it. I follow quite a few blogs and it allows me to put them into categories (Fitness, Home, Style, News, etc.) to keep them organized. It’s less of scrolling to see individual blog posts and more of a broader prospective so you can easily skip over ones that post 10x’s a day. It’s easy to add the URL of the blogs you read and put them in a folder – here is my feed.

Both Blog Lovin & Feedly allow you to save articles to read later or share them easily. You can find apps for both your smart phone and tablet. I use Feedly on my iPad and have not had a problem. If you follow more than 5 blogs, I highly recommend using one of these readers to make reading posts organized and enjoyable.

 

My Favorite Blogs

I’m going to categorize these the same way I do on my Feedly.

STYLE:

Summer Wind: Sydney’s blog is my favorite to read. I admire how classy she is and the level of sophistication she posses without being showy. Her blog is well written and always keeps my interest!

Classy Girls Wear Pearls: Who doesn’t love Sarah Vickers? She strikes the perfect balance of elegance and creativity. Her outfits not only show her sense of style, but also exhibits her lovely nature as a person.

Proper Kid Problems x J. Riley: Dean is as talented as he is well dress. I love his posts from “10 Bits of Randomness” to a practical post on polishing a pair of leather shoes. I can’t wait to see what’s next in his new collaboration with J. Riley.

Belles in Bows: Bess is a sweetheart with a taste for the finer things in life, such as oriental rugs.  Her blog is a great for style inspiration with her finesse for putting together classy outfits for everyday wear.

A few more –

Simply Raquel Collette: A fellow Michigan girl, she is super cute and has frequent and quality posts. All college girls must follow her as she gives great school organizational tips as well as style.

The Preppy Leopard: Tiernay is hilarious and one of my favorite people from instagram. This girl needs to post with more frequency! Give the people what they want, Tierney!

September & Friends: Paola is a friend of mine from real life that just started vlogging. Her videos are very impressive and cover topics such as various ways to style a t-shirt. Check her out!

HOME:

Marcus Design: Hands down my favorite home decorating blog. Nancy does an incredible job covering a variety of styles with high quality photos.

Thistlewood Farm: You won’t believe the before and after pictures of Karianne’s old farm house. It’s so great that Better Homes & Garden came out and did a shoot there. Not to mention she is super funny which make her posts even more enjoyable.

Apartment Therapy: Whether you live in an apartment or not, this website posts practical articles from cleaning to solving decorating dilemmas. People can submit their own home decor issues and ask people what they think. I always log into my account and comment on any article that asks if they should paint wood moldings (don’t do it!).

Brit + Co: This website is like a Buzzfeed but just for young women. There are a lot of cool articles, however, there are way too many that get posted in a day to read plus a lot of them are phrased like click bait. Overall, there are a few posts I do enjoy reading enough to put them in my favorites. Can you find me in this Brit + Co article?

FITNESS:

Housewife Glamor: Another local blogger, Heather shares fitness and health advice.  I enjoy following her journey in becoming a personal trainer.

Women’s Health Magazine: Great for finding new workouts, playlists, recipes, etc.

 Fit Sugar: Another blog I enjoy for workout inspiration and eating well.

 

Hope you found a new blog or two to follow and an easy way to do so. If you have a favorite blog, please let me know about it. I love adding new blogs to my reader!

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Wallpaper Wednesday

I have three lock screens and two home screens today.

The lock screens were chosen because they have less “busyness” at the top where you’d see your time and date on your iphone, and the home screens are a texture but not too busy to look bad with your apps on it.

Enjoy!

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What to Wear: Quilted Riding Jackets

Quilted riding jackets have the polished, equestrian style with the functionality of being water repellant. They are insulated with down, which makes them both warm and light weight. This combination of style, function, and warmth make them perfect for Fall & Spring. The classic quilted riding jacket is my go-to for these transition seasons as I have one from Eddie Bauer from a few years ago in a dark tan color, a navy Ralph Lauren one I got from a second hand shop in great condition, and now a deep orange one from L.L. Bean.

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I first saw this jacket in the L.L. Bean catalog and admired the color, cayenne, for being a beautiful orange rather than a color that would make me look like I’d be going hunting. I’m always a fan of adding color to my wardrobe, and I do not have a lot of orange, so I thought this quality jacket would bring some life to my fall outfits. (Quick brag – this jacket is $140, but with many discounts and redeeming my credit card “cash back” points, I ended up paying $5.10 total!) I was immediately impressed with the little details – plaid lining on the inside and olive green corduroy on both inside the opening of the jacket and underneath the collar. I can’t express how amazed I was with L.L. Bean customer service when purchasing it- they were so helpful and kind. I rarely get that impressed with over-the-phone customer service and they proved to be an exceptional exception.

My parent’s ducks photo bombed a few photos…

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Quilted riding jackets are a wonderful staple to your fall wardrobe, and a more neutral navy could even transition from winter into spring. My favorite quilted jacket picks besides L.L. Bean would be C Wonder for their fantastic colors with pattern lining (seriously, check it out), the quality of Eddie Bauer, and for a lower price point with many colors head over to Target.

Lastly, a little more inspiration if you aren’t convinced of the wonders the quilted jacket can do for you. d48195eeb4d2609847c4787bd01552f21ce6cd9491486528f6b4ca64349d3fb857e0708d05b8974e636da82e0a32b48e2fa064ba6633d3e3d046f298cb56a529

What’s In My Purse / Purse Hack

I like to switch purses pretty often, especially in the fall & winter because I have more choices, but sometimes transferring all of the contents of your purse can take some time. Awhile ago I came up with my own system to easily switch bags in a matter of seconds to make my mornings go smoother. Below is the entire contents of my purse currently: photo 1

Sunglasses: With light eyes, these are a necessity for life. These are from Gap and the pouch it came with doubles as an eyeglass cleaner.

Wallet: I like the slim one from Fossil. See below for my fall wallet…

Fossil Keeper: these little pouches that Fossil sells are very handy because they have a wider bottom but are still slim and fit inside whatever purse I’m using. You can find them on the Fossil website, store, or the Fossil outlet. Inside of the keeper I keep:

– tape measure: this is way more handy than you’d think.

– compact mirror: better than using your iphone camera.

– pen: I’ve come to the rescue several times for keeping a pen in my purse.

– comb: no explanation needed here.

– gum: I love this dessert gum for when I’m craving something sweet.

– oil blotting tissue: The Body Shop has the best ones I’ve found hands down.

– lip balm: EOS is my favorite.

– nail file

– lip stain: I’ll also keep whatever color lipstick I wear if I wear lipstick that day.

– tide-to-go pen: either you’ll need it or you’ll be someone’s hero.

 

I use my Fossil keeper to put all those little items inside, and now I only have three things in my purse. This makes it super easy to switch purses quickly since I’ve condensed all my tiny necessities into one small pouch. If you don’t have a Fossil Keeper, try using a small make up bag.photo 2

I’ll soon be retiring my yellow Fossil Wallet for this wallet. It’s from the Ralph Lauren RUGBY collection a few year’s back from the men’s section.

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I love my fall and winter purses and like to switch them often, hopefully this purse hack will help you too. photo 5

iPhone Wallpaper Wednesday

September is here, and here are two lock screens to welcome you into the month. Next week I’ll be getting into autumn backgrounds for both the lock screen and home screen. Enjoy!

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How to Shop: Tommy Hilfiger

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We’ve all seen the brilliant marketing campaign of “The Hilfigers”, but have you bought something Tommy Hilfiger since the 90’s? After the brand Ralph Lauren Rugby was discontinued, a friend recommended I take a second look at what Tommy Hilfiger has to offer. Now some of my favorite pieces are from the brand and I have not been disappointed. The quote above is exactly what sets Tommy apart – it’s classic, yet a little bit different. I like clothes that are traditional and unique at the same time and Tommy Hilfiger fits the bill.

There’s a few tiers of Tommy Hilfiger to consider:

The main Tommy website is the brand you’d find in a Tommy Hilfiger store if you’re lucky enough to live by one. These are their highest quality items outside of their runway line. The key to buying from the website is to shop the sale as I have found many of items just from keeping up on sales and taking advantage of their generous “after Thanksgiving sales”. The best part of the website is you can ‘shop the look’ which I like to use for outfit inspiration even if I’m not buying their product. Check out the pictures below to see some of the outfits they post.

Tommy Hilfiger at Macy’s is the smartest way to shop Tommy. Although they have differing items than the main website, Macy’s still offers a full Tommy Hilfiger line full of classic yet different items. What makes it smart is taking advantage of Macy’s sales since you can usually use them on the Tommy Hilfiger line. When you find an item you love, keep an eye on it until Macy’s has a big sale. You can really cut down on the price that way.

Tommy Hilfiger Outlet offers the Tommy style for a discounted price. Honestly, I don’t love their outlet since they cater to the giant logo reminiscent of their 90’s brand, but I have found a few things from there that I like. I think the outlet is best for basics for layering, for example, I found a few short sleeve button downs for wearing under sweaters that I’m really happy with.

Regardless of where you shop the brand, it’s come a long way and is very underrated. My clothes from Tommy Hilfiger get more compliments than any other brand I wear because they are still preppy without being plain. Check them out, I think you’ll become a fan.

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iPhone Wallpaper

I love changing my iPhone background frequently and use photos I find from tumblr to put  as my wallpaper. I used to have a tumblr just for posting iPhone backgrounds a few times a week and it grew pretty popular. I don’t update it anymore, but I thought I’d put a new iPhone wallpaper up on my blog every Wednesday. None of the photos are my own – I just find high resolutions of photos I like and size them for an iPhone screen. Check back next week for a different background!

Hold your finger over the image until it asks you to save image to your camera roll, then save it as your wallpaper from there.

P.S. If you have a different phone and would like to see backgrounds sized for it, please let me know and I’ll consider posting ones of different dimensions.

 

For iPhone 5/5s:

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For iPad:

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Bonus for iPhone 5/5s:

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Transitioning from Summer to Fall

We are past Labor Day, and although the first day of fall is not until September 23rd, people everywhere are prematurely adopting a full fall wardrobe of tall boots and chunky knit scarves amidst the 80° weather.  I’ve been there, I understand, and I know that it’s tricky to transition from one season to another.

Why do we jump full throttle into fall? My theory is that our mentality to wear fall clothes the second we pass Labor Day goes back to grade school. Going “back to school” meant getting new clothes, and those clothes were appropriate for fall. When you get new clothes you want to wear them right away, which means when you buy those new fall arrivals you want to work them into an outfit despite how hot it is outside. ** Let me remind you that here in Michigan and many parts of the country, we have cold weather for a good six months. That’s six months you can work in your cold weather clothes into all the outfits you’d like. **

The key to transitioning seasons is to consider both the weather and the time of year. While working in fall clothes into your current summer clothes, let this be a gradual transition making little switches as the weather gets colder. For example, put away white sandals and bring out your neutral loafers.

Falls colors in summer pieces will bring you into the new season without sacrificing your sanity in the heat. Outfits may slowly have more olive greens, navy blues, shades of red and burgundy, grays, etc.

Mix summer and fall clothes seamlessly. Shorts with sweaters, t-shirts with short boots, boat shoes with lightweight chinos, etc.

I put together four outfits that transition from summer to fall.  (L-R) 1. Lightweight sweater layered over an button down shirt with shorts. These khaki colored chino shorts are a great find to transition in both summer to fall and winter to spring. 2. White sweater, jeans, and lace up wedges use a lighter color top with fall shoes. 3. Chambray shirt, olive green shorts, and short boots. Chambray is your biggest friend when transitioning seasons. It’s both lightweight yet appropriate all year round. Here is where I mixed the summer and fall pieces. 4. Using fall color combination in a sleeveless dress is another example of considering the season and the weather. Olive green flats are a great slip on that will bring you into fall.

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The dresses below are not only great for transitions, but can be worn later with tights when it cools down. Accessories with deep tones, such as the leather strap watch, are also a great switch from summer to fall. Silks scarves in fall colors are always classy and also a lightweight alternative to knit scarves.

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Gingham and chambray button downs are a staple for me all year round and can be worn alone until it’s time to layer. Sweaters in fall tones but worn alone with the sleeves rolled up will allow you to wear your sweaters without the fuss of layering in the heat. Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 10.47.15 AM

Neutral pants and shorts in either blue denim, colored denim, or chinos will help you work with what you already have in your wardrobe without having to bring the heavy corduroy out just yet. Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 10.59.08 AM

Lastly, shoes are a great swap to get you to fall without busting out the tall leather boots. I’ve loving the short boots trend and think they are perfect not only for the transition period but can be worn until next summer. Slip on loafers, slippers, and boat shoes in rich tones to give you the fall appearance without the discomfort of overheating. Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 10.26.52 AM

 

Room Tour – Dressing Room

My house has four small bedrooms, and since it is only my husband and I living there, he graciously let me use the spare room to turn it into my “dressing room”, or basically a big walk in closet. It may not always serve that purpose as we grow older, but it is nice to have the whole space to myself to get ready in.

Here are the closets in the room. I use the left side for shoes and tops, and I store hats, purses, and other accessories on the top shelf. It goes a little deeper in than the pictures shows, so it’s handy for tucking away my hamper. The right side is for skirts, dresses, and in the fall I hang my blazers on this side. It goes in deeper to store my bigger totes, and the top shelf is used for more hats and a basket with my headbands in it.

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Here is the view with the closets closed. I had three hooks in the center to hang a top, bottom, and accessory on the side. I plan what I wear the night before so it’s nice to hang it up. The left closet door has my wedding veil on it.

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I got this ottoman at Marshall’s Home Goods, and it’s great for seating and has storage in it. I use it for folded sweaters in the winter, and in the summer it holds hats (yes, more hats).

photo 2This chandelier was from PB Teen and hangs right above the ottoman. The ceiling medallion is an inexpensive find from Home Depot. I have a plainer one in my dining room and it adds some extra elegance.

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My vanity is my favorite piece of furniture in this room! It was a present from my parents for my bridal shower. I do my make up here and store my jewelry in the drawers.

photo 1The center drawer of my vanity is where I keep my favorite necklaces and bracelets for easy access.

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Picture 6 I have an old dress form that my wedding dress fits on perfectly, which makes a nice display allowing me to enjoy the dress rather than tucking it away somewhere.

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Lastly, my dresser holds my jewelry box, my alarm clock, and a small blue ginger jar lamp.

 

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My lamp is from TJ Maxx and is Ralph Lauren. Picture 7

A few FAQs about this room – I hand stenciled the walls with this stencil, which is an inexpensive alternative to wallpaper. The paint colors are by Glidden – here and here. All the furniture  (with the exception of the ottoman) was built by the Amish and is brown maple with a coffee stain. You may contact me if you want further information on a piece.

National Bow Tie Day!

Today is National Bow Tie Day and I’m proud to be sporting the Floral Bow Tie that Bull & Moose sent me. I’m a big advocate of girls wearing bow ties (see my post about that here), so I couldn’t wait to wear mine. I’m proud to say I tied it myself!

via Bull & Moose instagram

via Bull & Moose instagram

I chose the floral bow tie, and think it’s a style that’s gender neutral and would look fantastic on anyone. For ladies – I’d pair it with a light blue or pink oxford cloth button down shirt, and for the guys – it would look great with a white or light blue oxford cloth button down shirt or a chambray shirt. This would be my pick for a guy for an outdoor wedding outfit! I was impressed with the quality of the bow tie, and even more impressed with the company itself.

All their neck wear averages $25-$40 and every order is shipped free. I’ll be thinking of them when Christmas shopping rolls around for my husband.

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Here are my top 3 picks from Bull & Moose. Cotton Floral Bow Tie  /  Narwhal Silk Bow Tie / Orange Silk Bow Tie Screen shot 2014-08-28 at 9.52.57 AM

Lastly, I think this company does social media very well. They create unique, original content on both their instagram account and their blog. Check out their instagram to see some of these photos below and a few incredible videos by our friend, Paul Havel. Screen shot 2014-08-28 at 9.46.42 AMScreen shot 2014-08-28 at 9.47.51 AMScreen shot 2014-08-28 at 9.47.25 AM

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